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Nation in brief: Demolition goes awry, killing worker

An abandoned power plant collapsed during a demolition project Monday, killing a worker and seriously injuring two others.

One worker escaped with the help of co-workers and was taken to a hospital with a life-threatening leg injury, Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said. A second was trapped for more than half an hour before being taken to a hospital with “crushing leg injuries.”

The body of the third worker remained under metal rubble for hours after the collapse, Talmadge said, while inspectors tried to determine the safest way to reach it.


New law prohibits sale of F-14 parts

President Bush signed legislation Monday prohibiting the Pentagon from selling leftover F-14 fighter jet parts, a move prompted by security gaps in the military’s surplus auction.

Those gaps made the surplus auction a prime place for Iran to shop for the spares it desperately needs for its Tomcat fleet.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., proposed the ban after the Associated Press reported last year that buyers for Iran, China and other countries exploited weaknesses in Pentagon surplus-sale security to obtain sensitive military equipment including parts for F-14s and other aircraft and for missile components.


Poor VA care may have role in deaths

Substandard care at a southern Illinois Veterans Affairs hospital may have contributed to 19 deaths over the past two years, a VA official said Monday as he apologized to affected families and pledged reform.

The hospital in Marion, Ill., initially drew scrutiny over deaths connected to a single surgeon, but two federal reports found fault with five other doctors.

The hospital undertook many surgeries that its staffing or lack of proper surgical expertise made it ill-equipped to handle, and hospital administrators were too slow to respond once problems surfaced, said Dr. Michael Kussman, U.S. veterans affairs undersecretary for health.

The VA will help affected families file administrative claims under the VA’s disability compensation program, he said. Families also could sue.


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