October 8, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: Report finds screener lapses

From Wire Reports
 

NEWARK, N.J. – An internal report shows screeners at Newark Liberty International Airport are properly executing standard pat-downs of passengers only 16.7 percent of the time.

The report obtained by the Star-Ledger of Newark also shows that screeners identify and take appropriate action on prohibited items in only a quarter of all cases.

But it also found that in numerous categories, including removing prohibited items found during physical searches and exhibiting good listening skills, screeners performed their duties properly 100 percent of the time.

The report was compiled by undercover teams of Transportation Security Administration employees from other airports who observed the Newark Liberty screeners at work over several months. TSA officials conduct the evaluations at airports around the nation and use the results to improve their screening practices.

Dead whale in Boston Harbor

BOSTON – Coast Guard officials say a 50-foot finback whale has been found dead, floating in Boston Harbor.

Authorities don’t know the cause of death.

Petty Officer Robert Simpson said the whale was spotted early Sunday. He said the Coast Guard took a team from the New England Aquarium to examine the whale and take samples.

New England Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse told WCVB-TV that biologists spotted bruising and pressure lines on the finback, which can be caused by something wrapping around the whale.

Simpson said the whale has been beached at Long Island, in the middle of Boston Harbor, and a necropsy is planned.

The finback is the second-longest whale in the world behind the blue whale. It can reach about 70 feet and weigh up to 70 tons.

Einstein God letter to be sold

LONDON – A letter in which Albert Einstein dismissed the idea of God as a product of human weakness is being sold on eBay for a starting price of $3 million.

The letter, handwritten in 1954, a year before Einstein’s death, was addressed to philosopher Eric Gutkind. In it, Einstein discussed his views on religion, including calling “the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

An anonymous collector who bought the letter in 2008 is putting it on sale on online auction site eBay today. The auction closes Oct. 18.

Eric Gazin, a spokesman for the sale, said Sunday: “With the interest in Einstein, along with the questions this (letter) touches on, we feel it is well worth the price.”

Wife carried to Maine win

NEWRY, Maine – A Finnish couple has added to their victories by taking first place in the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Maine’s Sunday River ski resort.

Taisto Miettinen and Kristina Haapanen traveled from Helsinki, Finland – where they won the World Wife Carrying Championship – for Saturday’s contest. The Sun Journal reports that the couple finished with a time of 52.58 seconds on a course that includes hurdles, sand traps and a water hole.

The winners receive the woman’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.

For Miettinen and Haapanen, that meant a check for $530. They shared their beer winnings with the second- and third-place finishers – Jesse Wall and Christine Arsenault, of South Paris, and David and Lacey Castro, of Lewiston.


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