July 17, 2008 in Nation/World

Rule mandates fuel-tank device


A device to prevent airplane fuel tanks from exploding must be installed on certain passenger jets and cargo planes, federal officials said Wednesday, 12 years after such an explosion destroyed TWA Flight 800, killing all 230 people aboard.

The new safety requirement, announced by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, applies to new passenger and cargo planes that have center fuel tanks like TWA 800, a Boeing 747, which exploded over the Atlantic Ocean off Long Island on July 17, 1996, after takeoff from New York’s Kennedy Airport.

The rule also requires airlines to retrofit 2,730 existing Airbus and Boeing passenger planes built since 1991 with center wing fuel tanks with the changes over the next nine years. The retrofit schedule is based on the normal aircraft maintenance schedule.

Manufacturers have two years in which to comply with the rule, although Boeing is already making some new planes with the changes.


Fox: Jackson used slur off-air

The Rev. Jesse Jackson used the N-word during a break in a TV interview where he criticized presidential candidate Barack Obama, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.

The longtime civil rights leader already came under fire this month for crude off-air comments he made against Obama in what he thought was a private conversation during a taping of a “Fox & Friends” news show.

In additional comments from that same conversation, first reported by TVNewser, Jackson is reported to have said Obama was “talking down to black people,” and referred to blacks with the N-word when he said Obama was telling them “how to behave.”

Though a Fox spokesman confirmed the TVNewser’s account to the Associated Press, the network declined to release the full transcript of the July 6 show and did not air the comments.

Jackson – who is traveling in Spain – apologized in a statement Wednesday for “hurtful words” but didn’t offer specifics.

San Francisco

Gay-marriage ban challenge denied

The California Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to hear a challenge to a ballot initiative that seeks to ban same-sex marriages.

The unanimous decision means that, barring further legal action, voters will consider a constitutional amendment in November that would again limit marriage in California to a union between a man and a woman. The court did not give a reason for deciding not to accept the case.

If it passes, the amendment, known as Proposition 8, would overrule the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in the state as of June 16.

From wire reports

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