USAir and representatives of its striking ground crew workers reported no progress after separate meetings with federal mediators on Wednesday. As the talks in Washington continued into the evening, USAir announced it would maintain its curtailed schedule for the next seven days and plans to add flights soon. The strike by 8,300 members of the machinists union is in its third day. The airline is operating about 60 percent of its normal service, not counting its Northeastern shuttle and regional commuter line, which were not affected. The airline said it was operating 29 of its 49 Tampa jet departures on Wednesday and planned to maintain that level for the next seven days. USAir spokesman David Shipley said passenger loads had been down on the remaining flights because many people have been waiting for a settlement before again flying on USAir. David Supplee, a member of the machinists union in Tampa, said his members are optimistic that a settlement will be reached soon.
George Wallace's condition improving
MONTGOMERY, Ala. _ The condition of former Gov. George C. Wallace has improved, and doctors are hopeful he will recover from an infection that almost killed him last month, a hospital official said Wednesday. Wallace, 73, was in serious condition and improving after spending nearly two weeks in critical condition with a poor prognosis, a spokeswoman at Jackson Hospital said. Wallace was hospitalized Sept. 25 with septicemia, a massive blood infection. He suffered heart failure, underwent two operations and remains on a respirator in intensive care.
Panel to study photos for clues on POWs
WASHINGTON _ A Senate committee investigating the fate of Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War has turned its attention to reports that satellite photography may have picked up messages from prisoners as late as 1988. The panel, the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIA Affairs, plans to hold hearings on this issue on Oct. 15 and 16 but has not decided how much will be public, said Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., the committee chairman. The photographs under investigation, analyzed in newly released Pentagon and CIA documents, seemed to show letters or symbols marked on the ground or incorporated in building markings. The signs appear to match those that service personnel were told to use to identify their locations in captivity.
Shelters could get funds to feed children
WASHINGTON _ Federal money is now available to help public homeless shelters feed their preschool children, an Agriculture Department official said Wednesday. Betty Jo Nelsen, administrator of USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, said the agency is soliciting grant applications from city- and county-run shelters seeking federal money to feed infants and toddlers. The feeding program had been limited to private, non-profit shelters until this summer, when a new law opened the program to publicly run shelters. According to the Congressional Budget Office, there are nearly 25,000 children under age 6 living in shelters.
Air Force discharges homosexual airman
TUCSON, Ariz. _ An honorable discharge has been ordered for an airman who announced on national television that he is gay, the Air Force announced Tuesday. Staff Sgt. Thomas Paniccia was recommended for an honorable discharge by a hearing board last month. "Homosexuality . . . seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission," a release from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base said. Base officials had no further comment. On July 23, Paniccia said on ABC-TV's Good Morning America that he is gay. He made similar comments later in interviews. Paniccia's attorneys are planning a lawsuit on constitutional grounds to challenge the military's ban on homosexuals.
Two teens plead guilty in slaying of girl
MADISON, Ind. _ Two teenage girls offered to plead guilty Tuesday to charges they tortured and killed a 12-year-old girl out of jealousy over her relationship with another girl. As part of a plea agreement, Mary Laurine Tackett and Melinda Loveless offered to plead guilty to murder, arson and criminal confinement resulting in serious bodily injury. Tackett, who has since turned 18, and Loveless, 16, were among four girls arrested in the slaying of Shanda Rene Sharer, whose body was found Jan. 11 outside Madison in southeast Indiana. She had been molested, beaten and burned alive. A hearing has been set for Nov. 30 when a judge will decide whether to accept the pleas. If he does, the teens no longer will face the death penalty.
Briefly . . .
Army scraps tank plan: In a new move to slash spending after the Cold War, the Army Wednesday scrapped a $58.4-billion plan for a new generation tank and five other battlefield vehicles with a common chassis.
Plant halts nuclear weapons production: The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., has completed its last regular production run, after more than 40 years of building parts for every type of nuclear weapon in the nation's arsenal.
Dry dock "Queen Mary,' report urges: Rusted rivets on the Queen Mary indicate the ship should be put in dry dock immediately and repaired, a consultant's report says. The repairs needed to keep the tourist attraction safe and afloat in Long Beach, Calif., could cost an additional $6.2-million, the report said. That nearly doubles the amount of immediate work recommended in a July report by the same marine engineer.