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Jet diverted by cabin pressure problem

By TIMES WIRES
Published August 19, 2006


SEATTLE - An Alaska Airlines jetliner was diverted to Seattle after the plane's cabin failed to pressurize normally Friday during a flight from Canada, an airline spokeswoman said.

The Boeing 737 landed safely at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where medics treated 10 passengers and three crew members complaining of ear and sinus pain, airline spokeswoman Amanda Tobin Bielawski said.

An altitude warning alarm sounded when Flight 690 reached 33,000 feet, indicating a problem with the air pressure inside the cabin, Bielawski said. She said the plane's oxygen masks did not deploy.

The Seattle-based airline brought in another plane which took the 122 passengers the rest of the way to San Francisco. The original flight had taken off from Vancouver, British Columbia.

N.J. man faces hundreds of child porn, sex charges

NEWARK, N.J. - A self-employed contractor was indicted Friday on hundreds of child sex assault and child pornography counts after authorities said he spent years molesting children and recording them while he worked at their homes.

Clement Bilski Jr., 43, is accused of preying on at least 11 girls and boys, the oldest just 8 years old, from 1998 to 2005.

"The depravity in this case has no boundaries," Monmouth prosecutor Luis Valentin said.

Working as a carpenter and handyman, Bilski abused the children in their own homes, often while caretakers were elsewhere in the houses, then offered them toys and candy to stay quiet, Valentin said.

He used ropes and handcuffs to detain children, videotaped himself abusing them and showed pornographic photos and videos to at least two of them, the prosecutor said.

Bilski was charged in the grand jury indictment with 74 counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, 30 counts of second-degree aggravated sexual assault and 295 counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child by the manufacture of child pornography. If convicted, he faces 20 years in prison on each of the sexual assault charges.

Elsewhere...

AIRPORT SCARE: A day after two bottles of liquid tested positive for explosive residue, prompting a Charleston, W.Va., airport to close for nearly 10 hours, the FBI said neither the containers nor the pregnant woman who carried them were a threat. State police said chemical tests on the bottles turned up no explosives, and the FBI said a second round of tests also turned up negative.

MONUMENT FIGHT: A federal judge on Friday said a Ten Commandments monument outside an Oklahoma courthouse can stay, rejecting arguments that it promotes Christianity at the expense of other religions. U.S. District Judge Ronald A. White in Muskogee ruled that Haskell County did not violate the Constitution by erecting the monument. The county did not "overstep the constitutional line demarcating government neutrality toward religion," he wrote.

GOVERNOR'S ILLNESS: Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen went home Friday after four days in the hospital with flu-like symptoms that could be related to a tick bite. Bredesen, 62, was admitted Monday to Centennial Medical Center with a high fever.

WESTERN FIRES: Near Casper, Wyo., cooler weather and high humidity Friday helped firefighters battling a wildfire that had threatened hundreds of homes and burned four cabins. Officials said people were allowed to return to 60 homes, while around 300 remained evacuated. Firefighters had cleared a fire break around half of the wildfire, which had blackened about 12,000 acres. With the favorable weather, officials hoped to have the fire 80 percent contained Friday night.

[Last modified August 19, 2006, 01:32:52]


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