August 3, 1997 in Nation/World

Week In Review A Look Back At The Top Stories From The Last Week

 

SCIENCE/ENVIRONMENT

A dose of reality

The National Cancer Institute on Friday released a summary of its report on the health effects of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950s. The news was disturbing.

Children in 25 U.S. counties - most in Montana, Idaho and Utah - got the highest exposures from fallout, according to the study. Those at highest risk for developing thyroid cancer are people exposed as young children from 1951 to ‘58.

In a copyright story last Thursday, The Spokesman-Review reported that the institute estimates the release of radioactive iodine 131 is responsible for up to 50,000 excess thyroid cancers in the United States. Some 2,500 of those cancers would be expected to be fatal.

Sunken history

Deep, cold and mostly Roman is the best way to describe the ancient subsea graveyard where eight ships - one dating to the time of Christ - were recently explored in the Mediterranean Sea, an archeological search team announced last week.

“There’s more history in the deep sea than all the museums of the world combined,” said sea researcher Robert Ballard, who led the expedition, which employed a Navy submarine and a robotic submersible. Ballard, who earlier found the sunken luxury liner Titanic, first spotted the Mediterranean wreck site in 1989, but has only now explored it in detail.

The relics include five ships from Roman times, lost between 100 B.C. and A.D. 400, plus one ship from an Islamic country from the 18th or 19th century, and two modern ships from the 1800s, the search team said. The wrecks sit beneath 2,500 feet of cold water, under a trade route plied by ships for thousands of years.

They’re out there

NASA and U.S. Air Force asteroid hunters have detected seven objects larger than half a mile across that could smash into the Earth, causing worldwide devastation.

NASA officials hastened to assure the public that none of those asteroids is on a course that would hit the Earth - at least not for 200 years.

The scientists also cautioned that only 10 percent of the sky has been surveyed for asteroids, and most of the potentially hazardous objects remain unknown.

CRIME AND COURTS

Killers on the rails

Police suspect a racist gang of hobos is responsible for the murder of as many as 300 transients, including at least 10 in Spokane, Kootenai and Bonner counties, over the last decade, The Spokesman-Review reported.

Spokane police officer Bob Grandinetti says the Freight Train Riders of America has terrorized transients in freight trains, rail yards and hobo camps for years.

“These guys are basically serial killers,” said Grandinetti, recognized by law enforcement as the expert in FTRA activity.

On the average, three transients die each year along rail lines in Spokane; 70 to 90 die along tracks nationwide, according to police and the FBI. Few of the cases involving foul play are solved.

“These murders, most of the time, are just written off,” Grandinetti said. “They are the hardest to investigate, the hardest to solve.

“The gang is there,” he said. “They’re not held accountable for it because they commit the crimes and are gone. There’s nothing they aren’t capable of doing.”

WORLD

Peace in tatters

Israelis cried out for tough action against Palestinian militants after Wednesday’s terror bombing of a crowded Jerusalem market in which 15 people were killed and more than 150 wounded.

“You lied to us!” a grieving man shouted to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s finance minister at one of the funerals that turned Israel’s capital into a city of grief.

Netanyahu vowed to “do whatever is necessary to protect my people” and threatened to send troops into Palestinian territories to stop any new terror attacks.

A Palestinian negotiator said that would amount to a “declaration of war.”

Israel suspended peace talks immediately after the bombing, which was the first major militant attack since Netanyahu came to power in May 1996. The attack came just days after Palestinian and Israeli leaders agreed to return to the negotiating table after a four-month deadlock.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

MEMO: Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman from wire reports

Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman from wire reports


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email