ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA

Hurricane Ivan terrorizes Caribbean

Hurricane Ivan made a direct hit on Grenada with ferocious
winds, causing “incalculable damage” and killing at
least nine people as it turned concrete homes into rubble and
hurled hundreds of the island’s landmark red zinc roofs
through the air, officials said yesterday.

The most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in 14 years
reportedly devastated Grenada’s capital, St. George’s,
and damaged homes in Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. Thousands
were without water, electricity and telephone service just days
after Hurricane Frances rampaged through.

“We are terribly devastated here in Grenada,” Prime
Minister Keith Mitchell said in comments broadcast yesterday by
radio stations in Barbados. “It’s beyond any
imagination.”

The prime minister, whose own home was destroyed, spoke from
aboard the British naval patrol vessel HMS Richmond, apparently by
satellite telephone.

Ivan strengthened even as it was over Grenada on Tuesday,
becoming a Category 4 storm. It got even stronger as it headed
across the Caribbean Sea, passing north of the Dutch Caribbean
islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.

 

WASHINGTON

Greenspan says economy is picking up

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress yesterday
that the economy has “regained some traction” after a
lull in late spring, reinforcing expectations of higher interest
rates during the final stretch of the presidential campaign.

Greenspan said the economic pickup follows a “soft
patch” caused in large part by soaring energy prices.
“The most recent data suggest that, on the whole, the
expansion has regained some traction,” said the Fed chief,
who offered his latest thoughts on the economy in an appearance
before the House Budget Committee.

The modestly upbeat assessment two months before Election Day
comes as President Bush and Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry clash over the economy and jobs.

A Federal Reserve survey of the economic climate said activity
expanded in July and August. Many Fed regions reported modest
growth. The St. Louis region, however, said business conditions
were improving slowly; San Francisco reported solid gains. Consumer
spending, the lifeblood of the economy, showed mixed results across
the Fed’s 12 regions.

 

JERUSALEM

Sharon moves barrier back closer to Israel

The separation barrier in the West Bank will move closer to
Israel in one area to minimize hardship to Palestinians, leaving
three small Jewish settlements on the Palestinian side, Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon decided yesterday.

However, the system of concrete slabs, fences and trenches will
also swing around at least two large Jewish settlement blocs so
they can be included on the Israeli side.

Sharon’s decision came during a meeting with defense
officials, who presented a revised route for parts of the barrier,
in line with an Israeli Supreme Court directive that planners must
try harder not to disrupt the lives of Palestinians.

Meanwhile, a lengthy Palestinian leadership crisis flared again
when Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia sent a letter of resignation to
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, but Arafat refused to accept
it.

 

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH

Space capsule crashes after six-year mission

The Genesis space capsule, which had orbited the sun for more
than three years in an attempt to find clues to the origin of the
solar system, crashed to Earth yesterday after its parachute failed
to deploy.

It wasn’t immediately known whether cosmic samples it was
carrying back as part of a six-year, $260 million project had been
destroyed. NASA officials believed the fragile disks that held the
atoms would shatter even if the capsule hit the ground with a
parachute.

“There was a big pit in my stomach,” said physicist
Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which designed the
atom collector plates. “This just wasn’t supposed to
happen. We’re going to have a lot of work picking up the
pieces.”

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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