Feds investigate Asiana response to SF plane crash
LOS ANGELES — Federal transportation officials are investigating whether Asiana Airlines failed to meet legal obligations to help the families of passengers whose flight crash landed at San Francisco International Airport.
Under U.S. law, Asiana was required to provide a range of services to family members of the 291 passengers. Among them: the prompt posting of a toll-free number to gather and distribute information, and providing transportation and lodging so family members could comfort injured loved ones.
Congress created the rules in the late 1990s following crashes after which airlines were roundly criticized for ignoring family members.
The Asiana investigation is the first into an airline’s “family assistance” response of 10 major accidents covered by the rules, the U.S. Department of Transportation said. Three people died and dozens were injured when Asiana Flight 214 clipped a seawall following a trip from South Korea, where the airline is based.
FBI agents begin gruesome work at Kenya mall
NAIROBI, Kenya — Working near bodies crushed by rubble in a bullet-scarred, scorched mall, FBI agents began fingerprint, DNA and ballistic analysis Wednesday to help determine the identities and nationalities of victims and al-Shabab gunmen who attacked the shopping center, killing more than 60 people.
The current death toll is 67 and is likely to climb with uncounted bodies remaining in the wreckage of the Nairobi mall. Another 175 people were injured, including more than 60 who remain hospitalized. At least 18 foreigners were among those killed.
Senators unveil NSA reform bill
WASHINGTON — Spying by the National Security Agency has cost the United States economically and angered allies, a bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday in unveiling legislation that would end the collection of millions of Americans’ phone records and data on Internet usage.
Three Democrats — Oregon’s Ron Wyden, Mark Udall of Colorado and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — and Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky outlined their legislation to end longstanding NSA surveillance practices and open up some of the actions of the secret federal court that reviews government surveillance requests.
The lawmakers argued that their bill is the appropriate response to disclosures this past summer about the sweeping surveillance programs — one that gathers U.S. phone records and another that is designed to track the use of U.S.-based Internet servers by foreigners with possible links to terrorism.
Wyden said the programs and revelations have undercut U.S. businesses required to provide data to the intelligence community while infuriating foreign leaders. Earlier this week, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff accused the United States of violating her country’s sovereignty by sweeping up data from billions of telephone calls and emails that have passed through Brazil, including her own.
In protest, Rousseff scuttled a scheduled state visit to the United States.
Sudan drops off Internet on third day of riots
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudan dropped almost completely off the Internet Wednesday as riots over the lifting of fuel subsidies entered their third day and protesters battled security forces in the capital.
Renesys Corp., a company that maps the pathways of the Internet, said it could not confirm whether the blackout was government-orchestrated. But the cut recalls a similarly dramatic outage in Egypt, Sudan’s neighbor, when authorities shut off Internet access during that country’s 2011 uprising.
Three people have died during the three days of rioting.
By wire sources