- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2002

U.S. offers defense systems to S. Korea
The United States has offered to sell South Korea three sophisticated Aegis warship defense systems built by Lockheed Martin Corp. for an estimated $1.2 billion, the Pentagon said yesterday.
The Defense Department told Congress Seoul had expressed interest in the systems, which can track and shoot down a number of aircraft at the same time, for use on destroyers in the South Korean navy.
South Korea is also looking at a ship-defense system built in the Netherlands, said one Pentagon official who asked not to be identified.

Man admits he killed girlfriend's parents
NEW YORK A young New York City man pleaded guilty to murder yesterday, admitting in court that he strangled his girlfriend's parents because they disapproved of the younger couple's interracial relationship.
By pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree murder in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Eric Louissant, 21, faces a possible 30 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on May 15.
Louissant, who is black, admitted killing the parents of his Asian-American girlfriend, Connie Leung, then 17, on Nov. 2, 2000. Miss Leung faces second-degree murder charges. Her trial date was to be set on March 25.

Iranian jailed after plane incident
LOS ANGELES An Iranian who reportedly threatened to kill Americans when he was caught smoking in the toilet of a jet just after last year's terror strikes on U.S. targets was jailed yesterday for nearly three years.
A Los Angeles judge jailed Javid Naghani for 33 months and fined him $6,000 following the incident on a Los Angeles-Toronto flight on Sept. 27 that forced the jet to return to Los Angeles under military escort.
Naghani was convicted on Dec. 6 of one count of interfering with the flight crew of a plane but denied the threats, contending that he had been trying to explain his business to flight attendants.

Cholesterol vaccine unclogs mouse arteries
LOS ANGELES An immunization against "bad" cholesterol sharply reduces artery-clogging plaque in mice with very high cholesterol levels, researchers said yesterday.
The experimental vaccine, designed to mimic low-density, or bad, cholesterol, cut fatty buildup by 60 percent to 70 percent in the arteries of mice genetically engineered to have high cholesterol that were also fed a high-fat diet, said Dr. Prediman K. Shah, director of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center's cardiology division in Los Angeles and an author of the study.
Dr. Shah said the vaccine, if eventually proved to be effective and safe in humans, could be used to protect people at high risk of developing heart disease.

Destructive floods sweep through South
HARLAN, Ky. A second day of heavy rain in the hills of Kentucky and Tennessee triggered floods and mudslides yesterday that destroyed dozens of homes and forced some to flee by boat as water lapped at the rooftops.
Tennessee authorities blamed at least five deaths on the storm, which dumped as much as 6 inches of rain on the region Sunday. Showers are expected over the next couple of days.
Flash flooding in the riverfront town of Cumberland sent a trailer plunging over a 50-foot embankment with a family inside.

NASA keeping launch times secret
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Beginning with the next space shuttle flight in two weeks, NASA is keeping its launch times secret until 24 hours in advance to guard against possible terrorist attack.
It is the first time in more than a decade that the space agency is refusing to give out a shuttle launch time well in advance. "NASA is choosing to be extra careful," Kennedy Space Center spokesman Bruce Buckingham said yesterday.
Under the new policy, approved late last week by top NASA officials, the space agency will give out four-hour launch periods until about 24 hours before liftoff, when the precise time will be announced.


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