Many flights not covered despite marshal increase

Sunday, June 16, 2002

WASHINGTON -- When the Bush administration denounced the idea of guns for pilots, it said trained air marshals would be able to handle terrorists on planes.

Trouble is, there are not enough marshals to cover every commercial flight, and some lawmakers say there aren't even enough armed officers to protect passengers on the long-range trips considered most likely to be targeted by terrorists.

The exact number of marshals remains classified, but proponents of arming pilots say there should be guns in the cockpit, no matter what.

Transportation Security Administration chief John Magaw said the marshals, who before Sept. 11 flew only on international flights, are now on domestic routes as well.

Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., said he believes there are about a thousand air marshals. That would be considerably more than the pre-Sept. 11 level, believed to be less than 50. But there are 33,000 to 35,000 commercial flights a day to protect, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Mayors vote to oppose radioactive waste dump

MADISON, Wis. -- A committee of mayors voted Saturday to oppose transporting high-level nuclear waste to a national repository unless federal officials can guarantee the safety of all cities along proposed routes.

The resolution adopted on an unanimous voice vote stopped short of opposing the creation of a nuclear waste repository in Nevada's Yucca Mountain. Three Western mayors had urged their counterparts earlier in the day to oppose the repository, saying that shipping radioactive waste to the site would threaten the entire country.

Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said an earthquake centered 12.5 miles from the proposed site at Yucca Mountain on Friday reinforced his concern that the site was unsafe for nuclear waste.

"That's our problem," Goodman told the U.S. Conference of Mayors. "The nation, however, has a problem with transportation."

Goodman, Salt Lake City Mayor Ross Anderson and Reno, Nev., Mayor Jeff Griffin said the federal government had not done enough to study the risks posed by shipping nuclear waste to the proposed site by highway or rail.

Search for 14-year-old girl scales back in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- Volunteers shut down a makeshift command center Saturday and appealed to neighborhood groups to search for a 14-year-old Utah girl apparently abducted from her bedroom at gunpoint 11 days ago.

The family of Elizabeth Smart said a decentralized search would make it more efficient for groups by not having to appear at a central command.

The command center set up at a Mormon meeting house was dismantled and a nearby park used as a helicopter pad again became a soccer field.

Police had no new leads into the June 5 disappearance and called off regular daily news briefings. Sgt. Fred Louis said police will brief media only when developments occur.

The focus turned back to Utah after a frantic police chase Friday in Texas and New Mexico turned up the wrong man wanted as a possible witness to the kidnapping.

--From wire reports

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