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Wednesday, April 21, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Across The Nation

More Electrical Inspections Ordered For MD-11 Aircraft

WASHINGTON - MD-11 aircraft must undergo emergency wiring inspections because mechanics found a loose wire in the cargo hold of one airplane.

An emergency airworthiness directive, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration late Friday but made public yesterday, is the latest in a series of inspections and emergency repairs ordered in the aftermath of last September's crash of Swissair Flight 111, an MD-11.

That investigation is focusing on wiring in the cockpit and entertainment systems of the Swissair plane, and investigators do not believe the latest discovery explains that crash.

The Swissair MD-11, made by McDonnell Douglas before the company was bought by Boeing, crashed Sept. 2, killing all 229 on board. The jet plunged into the ocean off Nova Scotia, 16 minutes after pilots reported smoke in the cockpit.

Since then, mechanics have paid close attention to all wiring on the planes. During maintenance on an MD-11, the FAA said, "mechanics found evidence of wire chafing in the cargo loader control unit and burnt insulation. They also discovered that a wiring harness support bracket and clamp that supports a wire bundle may not have been installed on the aircraft."

Operators of the MD-11 were required to perform inspections, verify the installation of the bracket and repair any damaged wires.

FTC proposes online limits on getting kids' personal data

WASHINGTON - Companies that want to collect personal information from children on the Internet will first have to get a credit card, signed document or some other verifiable form of consent from parents under a rule proposed yesterday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The proposal is the first attempt by the FTC to define how the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 should take effect. That law prohibits World Wide Web sites targeted at children from collecting the names, addresses and other personal information from children under 13 without a parent's permission.

The FTC will accept comments on the proposal through June 11.

U of Texas asks appeals court to reconsider Hopwood ruling

AUSTIN, Texas - The University of Texas has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider a decision that led to the elimination of affirmative-action policies at the state's public colleges and universities.

School officials asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday to reconsider its so-called Hopwood ruling, which came in a lawsuit against the University of Texas law school's former affirmative-action admissions policy.

The ruling, which found that the policy discriminated against whites, was allowed to stand in 1996 by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Former Attorney General Dan Morales then issued a legal opinion directing Texas colleges to adopt race-neutral policies for admissions, financial aid and scholarships. Legislators asked new Attorney General John Cornyn for a second opinion. His office helped university officials write the appeal submitted yesterday.

The appeal argues that limited consideration of race in admissions is necessary to overcome the effects of past discrimination.

Judge approves settlement that ends racial admissions

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal judge has ordered an end to 16 years of race-based enrollment in San Francisco public schools, approving a settlement of a lawsuit by Chinese Americans who were denied admission to the city's preferred campuses.

Despite protests by blacks and Hispanics, U.S. District Judge William Orrick said racial admissions violate Chinese Americans' constitutional rights to equal treatment in choosing their schools. He approved the settlement yesterday.

Plume of hog waste contained after pouring out of lagoon

KENANSVILLE, N.C. - A 2-mile-long plume of hog waste was contained in a North Carolina swamp after pouring out of a lagoon on a farm owned by the nation's largest hog producer, a state spokeswoman said yesterday.

About 1.5 million gallons of brown waste poured into a creek after the lagoon's dam was breached Monday, and officials had been concerned the waste would cause a major fish kill if it reached the nearby Northeast Cape Fear River.

Law-enforcement agents were looking into whether vandals had breached the lagoon's dam at Murphy Family Farms near Kenansville, about 70 miles southeast of Raleigh.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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