- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2002

Study urges fireproofing for high-risk buildings

Fireproofing that sticks to steel beams and emergency stairwells hardened to withstand the catastrophic impact of a plane should be included in high-risk buildings as a result of the World Trade Center collapse, a federal study says.

The report from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Society of Civil Engineers also said the trade center's unusual steel supports called trusses "may have played a role in allowing the buildings to collapse in the manner that they did." But the report released yesterday said more study was needed before a conclusion could be drawn.

The report confirmed the consensus that, barring a windstorm or an earthquake, the twin towers could have withstood the impact of the two hijacked Boeing 767 airliners that plowed into the trade center on September 11. The towers succumbed to the ensuing fire fed by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel that softened the buildings' steel framework.


T-ball opening Sunday at the White House

Play ball. It's T-ball season at the White House again.

Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said yesterday that two Little League teams will square off Sunday on the South Lawn of the White House. President Bush will be on hand to watch the Sluggers from Uniondale, N.Y., face the 6&11 Sluggers from Trenton, N.J.

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez will coach first base. Hall of Famer Tony Perez will coach third base. Cal Ripken, the retired Baltimore Orioles shortstop, is helping the White House organize the game.


2 Chinese-Americans guilty of arms violations

Two Chinese-Americans have been convicted in a federal court in Baltimore on charges of conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act by attempting to ship sophisticated military encryption equipment to China.

A federal jury deliberated several hours before returning the guilty verdicts Tuesday night against Eugene You-Tsai Hsu of Blue Springs, Mo., and David Tzu Wvi Yang of Compton, Calif.

A four-month undercover investigation by U.S. Customs Service agents in Baltimore prevented the export of the military technology and resulted in the arrest of Hsu and Yang in August 2001. A sentencing date in the case is pending.


Blake denied bail in murder case

LOS ANGELES Actor Robert Blake, accused of murdering his wife, was denied bail yesterday after making a personal plea to the judge to release him, saying, "This is my right to fight for my life."

Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash said he was not ruling out the possibility that Mr. Blake could be released on bail later, but said he wants to see the evidence in the case at the preliminary hearing before he makes such a ruling.

Mr. Blake's attorney, Harland Braun, was arguing when Mr. Blake asked if he could speak.

"I'd like to be out and see Rosie [his daughter] and the sunshine of the world. But this is my right to fight for my life," he said.

He told the judge that he is so severely dyslexic that he cannot read any of the legal documents, and would have to have them read to him.


Judges hear appeal in Wilson case

Judges yesterday heard the appeal of the Justice Department and a prospective Bush administration appointee in a case against Victoria Wilson, the disputed commissioner who has refused to relinquish her seat on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is reviewing a lower court's ruling that allowed Miss Wilson to maintain her seat, preventing Bush appointee Peter Kirsanow from taking over.

At issue is the statute under which Miss Wilson was appointed by President Clinton in 1998 to fill an unexpired term. Her attorneys maintain that the appointment was made under a 1994 statute that required her term be six years.

The Justice Department believes that a 1983 statute is applicable, which would have forced Miss Wilson out of office in November.

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