National briefs

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Mosquitoes carrying malaria found in Virginia

LEESBURG, Va. -- Malaria-carrying mosquitoes have been found near the homes of two infected teenagers. Authorities say it is the first case in at least two decades in which malaria was detected in mosquitoes and humans in a U.S. community.

Two pools of malarial mosquitoes were discovered Wednesday near the Potomac River, one 4 miles and the other 6 miles from the Loudoun County homes of the two teenagers, who were diagnosed with malaria over the summer, county officials said.

The strain is relatively mild and can be easily treated, they said. Both were given antibiotics and are recovering.

Study: Ozone levels rising at polluted parks

WASHINGTON -- A 10-year government study of air quality at major national parks found foliage-killing ozone levels rising at 20 of the 32 parks surveyed, including Yellowstone, Shenandoah, Great Smoky Mountains and the Everglades.

About half of 29 parks surveyed for acid rain were found to have continuing or worsening problems from nitrate deposits.

The National Park Service study last week came as the National Parks Conservation Association, a citizen watchdog group, released a report citing Virginia's Shenandoah; the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee; Kentucky's Mammoth Cave; Sequoia and Kings Canyon in California; and Maine's Acadia as the five most polluted parks in the United States.

Cracks found in building near World Trade Center

NEW YORK -- Streets were blocked off around a two-story building near the World Trade Center site Saturday after cracks were found in an exterior wall and the windows began bulging outward.

Officials were making plans to demolish the building, which sits on the corner of Greenwich and Rector streets, directly above a subway station that was closed for more than a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The building is four blocks south of the World Trade Center site.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the structural problems.

Frank McCarton, deputy commissioner for the city's Office of Emergency Management, said the building posed an immediate danger and would be razed by Sunday morning.

Ford to shield gas tanks on 350,000 police cars

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Some 350,000 police cars across the country will be retrofitted to make their gas tanks less likely to explode, although critics said the fixes haven't been independently tested and civilian owners of the same model cars won't get the free changes.

Ford Motor Co. agreed Friday to pay for the installation of shields around the gas tanks on police-issued Crown Victorias to reduce the chances that the vehicles burst into flames in high-speed, rear-end crashes.

While pleased that Ford agreed to make the modifications, the families of some victims said independent testing on the fix should be done. At least a dozen officers have been killed in rear-end crashes.

Report: Sept. 11 program doesn't fulfill promises

NEW YORK -- A state program designed to provide emergency assistance to people affected by the Sept. 11 attack has extended far less aid than originally promised and less than half of the applications submitted have been reviewed, a newspaper reported.

The Individual and Family Grant program has still to review 37,000 applications for aid out of the 73,000 requests for emergency assistance received, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The program has approved just 10,100 grants for an average of $1,040. State officials had said that grants of $15,000 would be available to applicants who lost jobs and property as a result of the attacks.

"Of all the problems we've seen in the delivery of aid, the failures of IFG program are really the worst," U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, told the Times.

-- From wire reports

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