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Crash tied to inspection system

Federal safety officials on Thursday blamed the United Airlines inspection system for failing to detect a flawed engine part that caused a crash in Iowa last year that killed 112 people. The National Transportation Safety Board, issuing its opinion without dissent, said at a hearing that because of United's quality-control procedures, inspectors missed a fatigue crack in a critical area of a titanium fan disk in the tail engine of the DC-10 aircraft. The disk was made by General Electric. United officials rejected the board's conclusion. "GE gave us a bum part," said Bob Doll, United's vice president for engineering and quality assurance.Refugees tossed overboard

MIAMI _ Haitian refugees jammed into an overloaded sailboat told rescuers that 10 passengers were thrown overboard before a patrol found the survivors Thursday, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said. The Haitians were battling each other when the cutter Northland pulled alongside about 6 a.m. 20 miles north of Haiti, said Lt. Cmdr. Jeff Karonis. He added that it was not immediately known what sparked the fighting or the alleged drownings. Ninety-four people were packed into the 45-foot boat, and examinations showed many had cuts, bruises and broken bones. The refugees said that several healthy people had been thrown off the boat about six days before. Four nights later, some sick and dying passengers were reportedly tossed overboard as well.

Elsewhere . . .

SAN FRANCISCO _ Federal Judge Robert Aguilar was sentenced Thursday to six months in prison for disclosing a wiretap to a onetime mobster and lying to the FBI. Aguilar, named to the bench by President Jimmy Carter in 1980, also was placed on two years probation, fined $2,000 and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. _ State Attorney General Steven Clark was convicted Thursday of abusing his expense privileges. He was fined $10,000 but drew no prison time. "Obviously, I'm very disappointed," Clark said. "As I've said all along, it was never my intention to defraud or deceive."

EL MONTE, Calif. _ Residents of the Los Angeles region breathed easier during the summer of 1990 because ozone pollution dropped to its lowest level in more than 40 years and smog alerts declined 60 percent.

CARTHAGE, Mo. _ The doctor of a woman who has been in a coma for seven years testified Thursday her condition is "a living hell" and the feeding tube keeping her alive should be removed. Dr. James Davis testified about Nancy Cruzan during a Circuit Court hearing. The U.S. Supreme Court rejected a request by Cruzan's parents to end her life, but the couple's lawyer went back to court, saying he had new evidence showing she would want to die.

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