Stronger Robot Seeks EgyptAir Black Boxes

NEWPORT, R.I.--A tougher, nimbler underwater robot with a seven-jointed titanium arm was lowered into the sea yesterday to find the black boxes that may answer what doomed EgyptAir Flight 990.

Searchers hoped the Magnum would succeed where another robot, the Deep Drone, failed after exploring the murky, sunless depths over two days.

More than a week after the plane plunged from 33,000 feet and killed all 217 people aboard, the cockpit voice and flight data recorders that could hold the most complete picture of what went wrong remained 270 feet beneath the Atlantic.

Investigators are looking into all possibilities, including mechanical failure, human error and sabotage.

The Magnum has a seven-jointed arm that can be manipulated from its ship to grasp the recorders. It also has a cage that protects it from the heavy seas.

The civilian salvage ship Carolyn Chouest, which carries the Magnum, can also withstand rougher conditions than the USS Grapple, which carried Deep Drone, because the Carolyn Chouest can float in a fixed spot without dropping anchor.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island's attorney general filed a petition seeking authority to issue certificates declaring that the victims are presumed dead. Family members have requested such a measure to begin clearing up legal matters.

11-Year-Old Boy Pleads Not Guilty in Sex Case

GOLDEN, Colo.--An 11-year-old Swiss American boy pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually molesting his 5-year-old sister in a case that has angered Swiss authorities who say Colorado has treated the boy as if he was a hardened criminal.

The boy entered his plea during a hearing that was closed to the public because of his age. His attorney, Arnold Wegher, told reporters the boy will return to court Wednesday for a hearing on a defense motion to dismiss the case on grounds that the youth did not receive a speedy trial as required by Colorado law.

The boy was arrested in August, three months after a neighbor in a suburb of Golden reported that she witnessed him touching his sister inappropriately.

Officials have declined to say why they waited three months before arresting the boy and they have come under heavy criticism from Swiss officials for their treatment of the youth.

The boy's parents, who have denied the charges, returned to Switzerland as soon as he was arrested, saying they were afraid their three other children would be taken away.