Ap, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Sweet incense filled the hot air as hundreds of Korean students in navy blue blazers stood silently in their dusty schoolyard Sunday, bidding farewell to classmates killed by a gas explosion in Taegu.
Forty-two students from the Yon Nam Middle School were among 100 people killed in Friday's blast, the latest in a string of disastrous accidents.
Throughout the country, growing anger over lax enforcement of safety standards was directed at the government. Police announced Sunday that seven people responsible for drilling a hole in a gas line would be arrested and charged with negligence.
The gas had poured out from the broken line and into the water main, collecting at a nearby subway construction site until a welding spark ignited it 20 minutes later. AP
***** PHILIPPINES Former Navy Airstrip Reopens As Airport
The former U.S. Navy airstrip at Subic Bay reopened Sunday as an international commercial airport.
Philippine President Fidel Ramos inaugurated the new airport with a call for more investors to build factories on the former base, 50 miles west of Manila.
U.S. forces withdrew from Subic Bay in December 1992 after the Philippine Senate rejected a treaty to extend the base's lease for another 10 years. The base was turned over to the Philippines and converted into a free port modeled after Hong Kong. About 158 companies, mostly foreign, are already doing business in the facility, according to Richard Gordon, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
Subic Bay was the largest U.S. naval base overseas. It was a major supply and training base for naval forces in the western Pacific. AP
***** NATION WASHINGTON Dole Urges Quick Reform For Medicare
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole agreed Sunday with House Speaker Newt Gingrich that Congress and the administration should give urgent consideration to Medicare reform, separate from the budget debate.
Dole, R-Kan., speaking on ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley," acknowledged that it would be difficult to craft a plan to balance the budget by 2002 without including cuts in Medicare.
But with the federal health care plan for the elderly facing bankruptcy in the next decade, Dole said, "We're talking about preserving the integrity of this system and protecting this system. And we'd better do that very quickly."
Senate and House Republicans have talked of trimming $250 billion to $300 billion from Medicare spending as part of the bills both chambers will produce to balance the budget by 2002. AP
***** JUSTICE DEPARTMENT In 10 Years, Population Doubles In Jails
The number of inmates in jails across the nation reached a record 490,442 last year, more than double the population a decade earlier, the Justice Department said Sunday. …