- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 13, 2003

Ex-N.Y. Times editor discusses Blair scandal

NEW YORK — Howell Raines, former executive editor of the New York Times, said in his first public interview since resigning over the Jayson Blair scandal that he stepped aside only because of pressure from publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.

“Arthur said, ‘I don’t think we can calm this place down. … I’m having to ask you to step aside,’ ” Mr. Raines said during an appearance Friday on “The Charlie Rose Show.”

Mr. Raines resigned from the paper June 5, five weeks after the discovery that Mr. Blair had fabricated parts of stories and lifted material from other publications.

The hour-long interview focused more on the changes Mr. Raines tried to put into place at the Times than specifically on the Blair scandal.

Study says E. coli found in Lake Superior

ASHLAND, Wis. — Unsafe levels of E. coli bacteria have been found on 14 beaches of Lake Superior, state officials have said.

The state Department of Natural Resources said the unsafe levels were measured this spring and summer at beaches in four counties. One beach remains closed to swimming.

There have been no cases of illness reported in connection with the beaches, and DNR beach program coordinator Ben Vail said the findings by themselves should not cause alarm.

He said the federally funded testing program is in its first year, so there are no data to compare it with and no way of telling if levels are higher than in the past.

Missing children believed dead; father arrested

CONCORD, N.H. — New evidence found in the search for two children missing since the Fourth of July has led authorities to believe they may be murder victims, the state’s assistant district attorney said yesterday.

Police haven’t found the bodies of Sara Gehring, 14, or Philip Gehring, 11, but the investigation has changed from a missing persons case to an apparent double-homicide investigation, Assistant Attorney General Jeffery Strelzin said.

Mr. Strelzin wouldn’t say what specifically led authorities to believe the children are dead.

When their father, Manuel Gehring, 44, of Concord, was arrested in California on Thursday, the children weren’t with him. Authorities have said he drove more than 3,200 miles from Concord to Gilroy, Calif., between July 4 and July 10.

According to court documents, the children were in tears when they and their father left an Independence Day fireworks display. The documents also said Mr. Gehring did not agree with a new custody arrangement between him and his ex-wife reached a week earlier.

Rain soaks wildfire on Arizona mountain

TUCSON, Ariz. — Rain soaked parts of a mountain wildfire for the first time since the blaze broke out nearly a month ago and destroyed more than 300 homes and cabins, helping firefighters who are trying to keep it from growing.

The fire in the Santa Catalina Mountains overlooking Tucson should be fully contained by Tuesday evening, fire information officer Dick Fleishman said yesterday. The 84,750-acre blaze was 80 percent contained by firebreaks yesterday.

Officials said one-quarter to three-tenths of an inch of rain fell on the mountains along with some hail.

SARS-related alert lifted for Beijing

ATLANTA — U.S. officials have lifted a SARS-related travel alert for Beijing, leaving Taiwan the only area remaining on the list.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the Beijing alert was lifted because more than 30 days had elapsed since the last SARS case there developed symptoms.

A CDC travel alert is not a recommendation against travel to an area, but it advises travelers of a health concern. Hong Kong was dropped from the list Thursday.

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