Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Friday, August 22, 2008

Report: 9/11 Fire Caused Building to Collapse

Federal investigators issued a report Thursday concluding that fires brought down a skyscraper next to New York's twin towers on Sept. 11, refuting conspiracy theorists who have long believed that explosives caused the collapse.

Scientists with the National Institute of Standards and Technology say their three-year investigation of the collapse of the 47-story World Trade Center 7 was the first known instance of fire causing the total failure of a skyscraper.

The investigators also concluded that the collapse of the nearby towers broke the city water main, leaving the sprinkler system in the bottom half of the building without water.

The structure has been the subject of conspiracy theories for the past seven years, partly because the collapse happened about seven hours after the twin towers were felled. That fueled theories that something else might have caused the collapse.

Execution Delayed in Texas

HUNTSVILLE, Tex. -- U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia delayed the planned execution of an inmate pending an evaluation to determine if the inmate is able to understand why he is to be put to death. Jeffery Wood was to have been executed Thursday evening for taking part in the 1996 robbery of a convenience store in which a clerk was fatally shot. Garcia granted a request by Wood's attorneys to delay his execution so they could hire a mental health expert to pursue their arguments that he is incompetent to be executed. Texas courts had previously refused similar appeals.

Measles Cases on the Rise

Parents refusing to have their children vaccinated against measles have helped drive cases of the illness to their worst levels in a dozen years in the United States, health officials reported. In 2008, 131 cases of measles have been reported, with 15 serious enough to require hospitalization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Most of those infected were not vaccinated, and there is no reason for any cases to occur when vaccines can prevent them, the CDC said in a weekly report on death and diseases.

Lawmaker's Replacement Sought

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