- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 7, 2008

Assembly workers strike Boeing Co.

EVERETT, Wash. | Boeing Co. machinists walked out on strike Saturday after talks with a federal mediator failed to produce an agreement.

About 100 union members hoisted their strike signs at 12:01 a.m. outside the Boeing plant in this city north of Seattle, cheering and blasting air horns at passing cars, many of which honked back.

“It’s been about lack of respect,” said Steve Morrison, 42, a tester at the Everett plant. “They always tell us we’re valued … but labor is the first out the door, the first to be outsourced.”

The machinists assemble Boeing’s commercial planes and some key components. Key strike issues include pay, outsourcing, retirement and health care benefits.

This is the machinists’ second strike in as many contract negotiations with Boeing. They went on strike for 24 days in 2005.

Candidates and stars make historic night

LOS ANGELES | Three TV networks, cancer research advocates and more than 60 celebrities from music, sports, TV and film made history Friday night with a live telethon that aired simultaneously on NBC, ABC and CBS.

Jack Black, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry and Keanu Reeves - along with presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama - were among the stars participating in “Stand Up to Cancer,” an hourlong, commercial-free fundraising show spearheaded by entertainment-industry heavyweights whose lives have been touched by the disease.

“This is an absolutely historic night, thanks to the unbelievable generosity of the three networks,” producer and cancer survivor Laura Ziskin told the audience at the Kodak Theatre before the show began.

Cancer survivors Lance Armstrong and Elizabeth Edwards kicked off the program with statistics: Cancer kills 550,000 Americans and 6 million people worldwide each year.

Second trial to start in KFC murders

HOUSTON | Darnell Hartsfield, 47, goes on trial this week in one of Texas’ oldest unresolved mass murder cases - the September 1983 slayings of five people abducted during a robbery at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in East Texas.

Prospective jurors were to gather Monday at the Brazos County Courthouse in Bryan, where Mr. Hartsfield faces trial on five capital murder charges.

Mr. Hartsfield’s cousin and co-defendant, Romeo Pinkerton, took a plea deal midway through his capital murder trial last year, avoiding a possible death sentence by accepting five life prison terms. Mr. Hartsfield apparently is not negotiating a plea, said State District Judge J. Clay Gossett.

The five victims were found dead along an oil-field road about 15 miles from the KFC restaurant in Kilgore, where they were abducted during a holdup the previous night, Sept. 23, 1983. All but one of them worked at the restaurant.

Launch provides new eye in sky

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. | A satellite that can produce super-sharp Earth-imaging has been launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central California coast.

A Delta 2 rocket carrying the GeoEye-1 satellite lifted off at 11:50 a.m. Saturday. Video on the GeoEye Web site showed the satellite separating from the rocket moments later on its way to an eventual polar orbit.

The satellite makers say GeoEye-1 has the highest resolution of any commercial imaging system. It can collect images from orbit with enough detail to show home plate on a baseball diamond.

The company says the satellite’s imaging services will be sold for uses that could range from environmental mapping to agriculture and defense.

Big campers fill parks despite fuel prices

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. | In the heart of the park here on a recent warm day, all 358 spaces at the Fishing Bridge Recreational Vehicle Park were jammed with RVs and camping equipment.

Despite high fuel prices and a sputtering economy that have hurt RV sales and caused many people to put the brakes on vacation plans, plenty of the lumbering rigs, which average only about 10.5 miles to the gallon, have taken to the road this summer.

More than 1.1 million RVs visited National Park Service campgrounds through the first seven months of this year, according to preliminary figures.

The numbers are down about 6 percent from the same period last year, said Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson. But July and August are the busiest months for RV camping in national parks and many campers are out during the fall, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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