Nation digest 11/28/01

Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Airline sues Georgia man over security breach

ATLANTA -- AirTran Airways has sued the man accused of breaching security at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, leading to a temporary shutdown of the nation's busiest airport.

AirTran, which operates an Atlanta hub, filed the federal complaint Monday against Michael Shane Lasseter of Gainesville, Ga. The airline, which said the Nov. 16 cancellations and diversions of flights cost it more than $1 million, will seek at least $100,000 in damages.

Lasseter, 32, was charged with disorderly conduct for running past security guards and down an up escalator. He said he did not see any guards and was not aware that he had caused the security alert.

Decline in production not as bad as reported

WASHINGTON -- The string of monthly declines in industrial activity didn't last as long as the Federal Reserve previously thought, according to annual data revisions released Tuesday.

Earlier this month the Fed reported that industrial production fell for 13 months in a row, the longest stretch of declines since the Great Depression. But in its revisions, the Fed said the industrial activity actually rose one month -- by 0.1 percent in July -- during that period.

Teen who opposes war pulled out of school

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A high school student who was suspended last month for her anti-war, pro-anarchy stances has been pulled out of school by her mother because of safety concerns.

Amy Sierra said her daughter, Katie, 15, has been attacked, threatened and insulted by students at Sissonville High School. The mother said it was her choice to withdraw Katie and enroll her in a program in which she will complete assignments on a computer from home.

Katie was suspended for three days for defying school orders not to form an anarchy club or wear T-shirts that include slogans opposing the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

Study finds no benefits for low-tar cigarettes

WASHINGTON -- People who switch from regular cigarettes to brands marketed as "low tar" or "light" do not reduce their chances of getting smoking-related diseases, the National Cancer Institute said Tuesday.

"The use of these 'decreased risk' cigarettes have not significantly decreased the disease risk," an NCI report concluded.

It found some people who switched to low-tar brands smoked more to get the same amount of nicotine, since the ratio between tar and nicotine generally remains the same in all cigarettes. Tar is a carcinogen that is produced when tobacco is burned.

Condit takes step closer to running for re-election

MODESTO, Calif. -- Rep. Gary Condit took a step toward seeking re-election by filing signatures to put his name on the March primary ballot.

Condit's son, Chad, said his father still has not decided whether he will run, but the 4,800 signatures filed Monday allow him to avoid paying a $1,451 filing fee to put his name on the ballot.

The congressman has been mum about his political aspirations since he was romantically linked to missing Washington intern Chandra Levy, 24. Police have said he is not a suspect in her disappearance.

Opponents of Philly school plan to file suit

PHILADELPHIA -- Groups trying to stop privatization of dozens of Philadelphia public schools are filing suit to block Gov. Mark Schweiker from seizing control of Pennsylvania's largest school district.

The state is expected to assume control of Philadelphia schools as early as Saturday. Schweiker wants to allow 60 of the city's worst-performing schools to be run by private companies.

A coalition of labor unions, minority groups and community activists said Monday that they will file a lawsuit as early as today asking the state Supreme Court to declare the law allowing a state takeover unconstitutional.

-- From wire reports

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