Nation briefs 9/30/04

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Feds fault electricity industry's reliability

WASHINGTON -- A year after the nation's worst blackout, federal regulators issued a scathing review Wednesday of the electricity industry's voluntary efforts to make their power grids more reliable. Industry audits play down shortcomings of the grid, rely on ambiguous standards that often are ignored and reflect "vast differences between the best and the worst" performers, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Scientists say Mount St. Helens likely to erupt

SEATTLE, Wash. -- Mount St. Helens began rumbling more intensely Wednesday, prompting scientists to warn that a small or moderate eruption could happen in the next few days. Earthquakes ranging from magnitude 2 to 2.5 were coming about four times a minute, possibly weakening the lava dome in the crater of the 8,364-foot mountain, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

FBI rounds up reputed Gambino family leaders

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Eighteen people, including the alleged No. 2 man in the Gambino crime family, were indicted Wednesday following an investigation into organized crime in Connecticut, Rhode Island and suburban New York. Anthony "The Genius" Megale, a Stamford man believed to be the highest-ranking Mafia member in Connecticut, was arraigned on a 46-count federal indictment charging him with racketeering, extortion and illegal gambling.

-- From wire reports

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