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

SUNDAY, JAN. 4, 1998


Time runs out

The University of Michigan stood one play from the possibility of securing its first national football championship in 50 years Thursday. Beneath the darkening skies of Pasadena, a perfect season came down to an excruciating finish - the sight of Washington State’s Ryan Leaf, one of the top passers in the history of college football, maneuvering for one last shot at the end zone.

It never happened. For just as the Cougars put themselves in position for an all-or-nothing pass, the 84th Rose Bowl came to an odd, abrupt halt.

With no timeouts left, Leaf spiked the ball into the ground to stop the clock, but it was ruled too late. The scoreboard was reduced to zeros.

Michigan won, 21-16.


A death in the family

Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of Robert F. Kennedy, died Wednesday afternoon in a skiing accident in Aspen, Colo.

Kennedy, who was enmeshed last summer in accusations about an affair with a teenage baby sitter, struck a tree while skiing with several members of his family.

Kennedy’s death brought more sorrow to a family and American political dynasty singularly marked by untimely deaths. Kennedy’s father and his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, were killed by assassins’ bullets. His brother David died of a drug overdose in 1984.

Feeling groovy

The last time Americans felt this good about the economy, they were on something.

The Conference Board, a private research group, reported Tuesday that its index of consumer confidence rose to 134.5 this month, the highest it has been since 1969.

And why not? The economy has been growing for about eight years, unemployment is way down, we are competitive with the rest of the world and velour is back in style.

New year, new rules

It’s one minute after midnight on New Year’s Day in a California bar.

“Would you mind putting out that smoke, buddy?”

At San Francisco’s Cafe DuNord, Granger Davis, Peter Rossi and Frank Barnhardt kept on smoking despite the nation’s toughest anti-smoking law that had just gone into effect.

Each had a different reason for breaking the law.

“Because I’m drunk,” Davis said.

“Because addiction doesn’t stop at midnight,” put in Rossi.

“Because (it’s) communism,” added Barnhardt.


‘Bird flu’ slaughter

Hong Kong authorities exterminated an estimated 1.3 million chickens in a bid to eradicate the virus that causes “bird flu.”

Health officials said they believe the virus could have been brought into the territory by chickens infected elsewhere in China.

Lessie Wei, director of the Agriculture and Fisheries Department, isn’t taking any chances with the virus, which has killed four people. At least 14 people have been confirmed infected, of whom six have recovered.

“No chicken will be allowed to walk free anywhere in the territory,” Wei pledged.

Chaos at 31,000 feet

United Airlines Flight 826 was just beginning a climb from 31,000 feet to avoid annoying light turbulence over the Pacific Ocean on Sunday. The captain had turned on the Boeing 747’s fasten-seat-belt sign and flight attendants were encouraging the 374 passengers to buckle up.

Then, without warning, came “the event.”

A sudden upward push of air almost twice the force of gravity, followed by a sharp downward push, pulled passengers out of their seats, hurling unbuckled passengers and flight attendants about the cabin.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident that killed one woman and injured 102 others in just 6-seconds.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by news editor Kevin Graman from staff and wire reports.


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