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United adds new safety measures

United Airlines has voluntarily imposed strict new safety measures in reaction to the TWA disaster, ordering its employees to stop accepting small packages without opening them first and demanding two forms of identification from the person trying to check them.

The new security measures were being imposed without any orders from the Federal Aviation Administration, United president John Edwardson said Tuesday.

United also will step up spot searches of bags on international trips, and may require bag-matching on all domestic flights, which would prevent planes from taking off unless all customers who checked bags are on board. Many international flights already operate under such a procedure.

The cost of domestic bag-matching _ up to $250-million _ would likely be passed on to the customer, Edwardson said.

"It is an expensive measure; it is probably inconvenient for the customer," he said. "We are not sure U.S. customers would really want to put up with this."

It was not immediately clear what specific measures other airlines might have taken; most do not discuss security procedures.

TWA said it has been on a heightened security awareness since the downing of its Flight 800 Wednesday night. Northwest Airlines said it has increased security in several areas since the crash, and a Continental spokeswoman said they would review the measures adopted by United.

American Airlines spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan declined to comment. Delta Airlines spokesman Todd Clay said the carrier, which heightened security for the Atlanta Olympics, believes its current response level is appropriate, and declined to say whether any additional measures were imposed.

Lottery players bet on 8-0-0

It may sound gruesome, but in the wake of last week's TWA crash thousands of people in New York and Connecticut have decided to make 800 their lucky number.

In Connecticut, it made them winners.

Jim Heckart, lottery claims supervisor for the Connecticut Lottery Corp., said that more than 6,000 people played 8-0-0 Saturday, and when the numbers won, it paid out slightly more than $1-million _ for a loss of about $680,000 on the day.

"We actually paid out three times what we took in," Heckart said. "We're finding that a number that is heavily in the news gets heavily played. I guess it's just one of those things that people do. They see a number in the news and they think somehow the number was lucky."

He added that the trend usually keeps up for a week to 10 days, or until the number wins. The way it worked in Connecticut, if you played 50 cents on 8-0-0, you won $250. If you bet 50 cents for any combination of eight and two zeros, you came away with $83.50.

New York lottery players also were not above trying to cash in on the numbers. Ric Grenell, a spokesman for the New York state lottery, said that Daily Number betting was stopped on 800 Thursday and Friday because it reached the state's maximum liability level _ $5-million. The number did not win.

Flight delayed by bomb threat

A Singapore Airlines flight was delayed for six hours in San Francisco after the airline received a bomb threat.

A caller telephoned British Airways in Newcastle, England, saying there was a bomb on Singapore Airlines Flight 001 from San Francisco to Hong Kong, said Edwin Kwee, an airline vice resident.

The information was relayed to airline officials in San Francisco. They received the warning at 1:40 a.m. PDT, about the scheduled departure time, although it was already 30 minutes late, Kwee said.

Passengers, who had already boarded the 747, were asked to get off, Kwee said. The plane was taken to a remote area of the airport, bags were removed and X-rayed and the bomb squad searched the plane, finding nothing.