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Friday, May 26, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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ACROSS THE NATION

FAA orders operators to replace insulation on 719 Boeing craft

WASHINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered operators of 719 Boeing aircraft yesterday to replace insulation blankets covered with a form of Mylar that could increase the risk of a fire spreading.

The agency directive applies to MD-80, MD-88, MD-90, DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft designed by McDonnell Douglas, which Boeing bought in 1997.

"The risk of fire aboard these aircraft is very low, but this is a prudent action to take to raise the bar on safety," FAA Administrator Jane Garvey said.

Boeing spokesman John Thom said the company will work with aircraft operators to help them comply with the FAA order.

The order affects U.S.-registered aircraft operated by Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Boeing, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Federal Express, Frontier Airlines, Midwest Express, Northwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Trans World Airlines, US Airways and World Airways.

The operators have five years to replace the insulation blankets.

Researchers say new virus can infect animals, humans

WASHINGTON - A virus that killed 106 people in outbreaks during 1998 and 1999 in Malaysia and Singapore has been identified as a new viral species capable of infecting both animals and humans.

A study appearing today in the journal Science said the virus has been named Nipah, and researchers said it is closely related to another new virus called Hendra.

Together, the two viruses represent a new genus within the family of viruses known as Paramyxoviridae, said co-author Dr. William Bellini of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Unlike other members of the virus family, which generally infect one type of animal, Nipah and Hendra are capable of infecting a variety of animals - dogs, cats, pigs, bats, horses and humans. Most animals recover from the virus, but it is lethal to about 40 percent of human patients, causing severe encephalitis, Bellini said.

L.A. County workers accused in fraud scheme, drug sales

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. - Eleven employees of the Los Angeles County sheriff's office were accused yesterday of involvement in a ring that used stolen credit cards to obtain up to $1 million. At least two of the 11 also are suspected of having sold black-tar heroin at a jail near downtown, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The four sheriff's deputies and seven civilian employees were relieved of duty but not arrested after they were caught in a sting. Investigators plan to ask the district attorney to bring charges.

A preliminary estimate of actual losses ranged between $500,000 and $1 million, said Sgt. Mike Pippin, the lead detective.

Texas, Oklahoma execute 3 over a period of 24 hours

A former clerical worker who abducted and killed an elementary-school teacher in 1987 was executed by injection yesterday, Texas' third execution this week.

James Edward Clayton, 33, was condemned for the murder of Lori Barrett, 27, who apparently surprised him while he was robbing her apartment near Abilene Christian University.

Twenty-four hours earlier, a man who fatally shot a feed-store owner with a sawed-off shotgun during a robbery was executed. Richard Donald Foster, 47, shot Gary Cox once in the back of the head while robbing his store near Springtown in 1984.

And in Oklahoma early yesterday, Charles Adrian Foster, 51, was executed by injection for killing a 74-year-old man delivering groceries to his home in 1983.

Siberian tiger rips off arm of Colorado refuge volunteer

AGATE, Colo. - A Siberian tiger that tore the right arm off a volunteer at an exotic-animal refuge will not be euthanized, the district attorney's office said.

The attack occurred Saturday at Prairie Wind Wild Animal Refuge, about 55 miles east of Denver.

Witnesses said the 28-year-old volunteer reached into the tiger's cage to pet it, and the animal responded by nibbling at her hand. The woman panicked and jerked her hand back, and the tiger tore her arm off near the shoulder.

"That's nothing more than a tiger being a tiger," said Michael Knight, a spokesman for the Elbert County district attorney.

Nursing-home patient, 87, dies after 1,625 ant bites

SARASOTA, Fla. - An 87-year-old nursing-home patient with Alzheimer's disease died a day after she was bitten 1,625 times by ants as she lay in her bed, authorities said yesterday.

The Sarasota County medical examiner's office is investigating the case of Mary Morales Gay, who died at the Quality Health Care Center in North Port.

Copyright (c) 2000 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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