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-T r v I - uI. I vIIviIc;aniy - I iurusay, reruay y,1J/ , NATE ON IW oRsLD
Car phones may contribute to accidents
. Drivers at high risk
when talking on the
phone while behind
The Washington Post
Talking on a cellular phone while dri-
ving may quadruple a person's risk of
havipg a serious auto accident, a new
Study has found.
The research, reported in today's
issue of The New England Journal of
Medicine, examined crash reports and
telephone billing records of several
hundred Canadian drivers with cell
phnrles who had collisions during a 14-
month period. The authors calculated
that within a few minutes after begin-
fung a call in their cars, drivers were 4.3
times more likely to have an accident
thaff they were when their phones were
not in use.
at increased risk, they conclude, is
"similar to the hazard associated with
driving with a blood alcohol level at the
legal limit" and drivers should consider
additional "road safety precautions"
while talking on the devices.
In a surprising coinci-
dental finding, University
of Toronto physicians
Donald Redelmeier and
Robert Tibshirani also
determined that cell-phone
"units that allowed the
hands to be free offered no
safety advantage over
The authors emphasized
that their study does not
prove that cell phones cause accidents;
it only indicates that use is associated
with increased risk. There are numerous
possible contributory factors,
Redelmeier said yesterday, and "we
don't know anything about what (the
drivers) were doing with their radios or
coffee cups" at the time of their colli-
"It's very difficult with this kind of
study to establish causality," noted
Michael Goodman of the National
Highway Traffic Safety
Administration, which is
planning to issue a two-
year comprehensive review
of international research on
". n the subject in late March.
S". "It could be," he said, "that
the very circumstance that
gets the person on the
phone - being late for a
meeting, involved in an
BSm fOme84 argument, being distraught
- itself could precipitate the crash."
Goodman, the technical manager for
NHTSA's forthcoming study, said there is
no definitive measure of "the magnitude
of the problem, if there is a problem."
Nor, he said, is it clear whether any
risks posed by car-phone use outweigh
the incontestable benefits they provide
in notifying police, fire and ambulance
services of highway emergencies.
Nonetheless, he said, "the process of
alerting the public to some of these con-
cerns is very important."
In a statement in response to the
Toronto study, the Cellular
Association (CTIA) concurred with the
"conclusion that drivers should be vigi-
lant." But the group noted that while the
cell-phone market has been expanding
drastically (in 1995, the Toronto
researchers write, "the number of new
subscribers in the United States exceed-
ed the birth rate") there has been no
apparent corresponding rise in accidents.
"From 1988 to 1995," CTIA observed,
"wireless phone users grew 1,685 per-
cent to nearly 34 million subscribers.
During the same period, injuries resulting
from auto accidents decreased by 16.6
percent and fatalities fell by 26 percent,'
House rejects federal term limits
WASH INGTON - In the first politically significant vote of the new session of
Congress, the House killed yesterday a proposed constitutional amendment to set
term limits for federal legislators.
Although a majority of the lawmakers voted for the term limits measure, the
217-211 tally fell 69 votes shy of the two-thirds majority the amendment needed
to clear the House.
"To adopt term limits is to play Russian Roulette with the future," said Ho#
Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (R-1ll.) whose panel sent the propos-
al to the floor. If the Constitution is changed and legislators are limited to only 12
years of service, "developing effective leaders would be a roll of the dice - a
revolving door leadership with no continuity, no stability and no historical memo-
ry," Hyde added.
A provision offered by Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Fla.) would have restricted
House members to six two-year terms and senators to two six-year terms. The
amendment wouldn't have been retroactive to affect time already served by sitting
legislators; it would have required ratification by three-quarters, or 38, of the 50
state legislatures within seven years of congressional passage.
The House vote effectively ends the matter for this session, avoiding the need*
debate or votes in the Senate.
nears strike deadline
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The Washington Post
WASHINGTON -- President
Clinton yesterday urged American
Airlines Inc. and its pilots union to set-
tle their contract dispute, but declined
to intervene in the matter before tomor-
row night's strike deadline, despite
entreaties from congressional leaders
from several affected states.
As negotiators for both sides report-
ed little progress yesterday in their
agreement to reach a new contract,
American announced it had canceled
about 129 round-trip, long-haul foreign
flights beginning tomorrow, to avoid
stranding crews and aircraft abroad.
Cancellations will affect mostly
flights to South America, Japan and
Europe. Flights to London will leave as
American, which carries one out of
every five air passengers in the United
States, has said it will shut down its
entire worldwide operation if members
of the Allied Pilots Association strike at
12:01 a.m. Saturday.
A strike would hit the airline at the
start of the Presidents' Day holiday
weekend, the nation's second-biggest
air travel holiday of the year.
Members of the Senate aviation
subcommittee have unanimously
urged Clinton to intervene by
appointing a special Presidential
Emergency Board that would auto-
matically force a 60-day cooling-off
period. One American official said
yesterday the company would prefer
the president to ask both sides to sub-
mit, the dispute to arbitration rather
than appoint an emergency board.
But White House aides said Clinton
is loathe to get involved.
"This issue has huge implications for
our country and in particular for specif-
ic parts of our country," Clinton told
reporters during an event on improving
"I have been following it very close-
ly. Today I want to say that the time has
not expired and I want to encourage the
parties to make maximum use of the
mediation-board process," he said.
Clinton's language seemed to track
the provisions of the law, which man-
dates that he determine that a strike
would pose "a substantial economic
threat" to deprive a region of a "central
transportation service" to intervene.
During a meeting with White House
Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles yester-
day, several senators pushed for the
president to step in more quickly, not-
ing that waiting until the deadline
expires would set off a chain reaction
that would scramble flights across the
country, no matter how quickly the mat-
ter could be settled at that point.
JACKSON, Miss. - Gov. Kirk
Fordice denounced same-sex relation-
ships as "perverse" yesterday as he
signed a law making Mississippi the
17th state in a year to ban homosexual
"For too long in this freedom-loving
land, cultural subversives have engaged
in trench warfare on traditional family
values," Fordice said.
Mississippi's law also denies recog-
nition of homosexual marriages per-
formed in other states.
And Fordice said the law would
ensure that gay couples do not enjoy
benefits of marriage such as health
"Insurance benefits for dependents
were never intended for perverse rela-
tionships such as the same-sex mar-
riage'"he said. "They were intended for
State Rep. Jim Evans, one of three
lawmakers who oppose the bill, said
the governor should "be giving it a see-
ond thought before he begins to moral-
ize right now."
Mississippi lawmakers were
responding in part to a gay rights case
in Hawaii, which is appealing a judge's
ruling that the state must grant mar-
riage licenses to gay couples.
"The whole nation has felt threate
by the actions in Hawaii," Fordice said.
Sackson, wife may
ave new baby boy
LOS ANGELES - KNBC-TV, cit-
ing hospital sources, said Michael
Jackson's wife gave birth to a baby boy
yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical
However, a source close to the hose
tal who requested anonymity told The
Associated Press that Debbie Rowe
Jackson had been admitted to the hospi-
tal but had not given birth by late after-
noon. Her due date is Valentine's Day.
Medical center officials and Jackson
representatives said they could not con-
firm that Mrs. Jackson was even at the
to be masters of their country ... killed
when they (Russians) wanted to kill,
burned when they felt like it, labeled
'bandits' when they felt like it, deport-
ed when they felt like it."
As part of the festivities outside
Chemists' Palace of Culture, hundreds
of bearded former fighters in fatigues
fired guns triumphantly in the air.
Abright's roots no
secret to Israel
JERUSALEM - Two years ago,
long before last week's public dise
sure and before Madeleine Albrig t
said she knew herself, the Israeli gov-
ernment learned of her Jewish roots,
according to current and former
Foreign Ministry officials.
Gad Yaacbbi, who served as Israel's
ambassador to the United Nations, said
he received information about this mat-
ter" in late 1994 from George
Weidenfeld, an Austrian-born Jew who
knew Albright's father in London.
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
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CheChnya swears in
new president %
MOSCOW - A new president for
post-war Chechnya was sworn in yes-
terday, in a ceremony which marked a
formal end to two years of war with
Russia's armies in the separatist
southern region but which a grumpy
Moscow still treated with scant
In the Chechen capital of Grozny,
Aslan Maskhadov, a moderate whom
Russia has grudgingly accepted as the
least objectionable of the military lead-
ers who defeated Moscow's troops,
swore his presidential oath on the
Koran. He pledged to realize the dream
of independence for which his ances-
tors and contemporaries have always
"Now it is the duty of each and every
one of us to realize the expectations of
our ancestors, our heroes fallen in holy
war, of the right to live freely and inde-
pendently," he said in his inaugural
speech. "For hundreds of years, our
people were not allowed to live freely,
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NEWS Jodi S. Cohen, Managing Editor
EDITORS: Jeff Eldridge, Laurie Mayk, Anupama Reddy, Will Weissert.
STAFF: Janet Adamy, Brian Campbell, Prachish Chakravorty, Jeff Enderton, Megan Exley, Marla Hackett. Jennifer Harvey, Heather Kamins.
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COPY DESK Jason Hoyar, EdI
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: W ydi AIspaCn Mysonu rwer ,il iwin mat Spe , , YaV e "uwd.
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Adam Pollock, Editor
Tracey Harris, Edits'
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