Navy Grounds Osprey For Hydraulics Repairs

The Navy has grounded its test fleet of V-22 Osprey aircraft for about two weeks so workers can replace potentially faulty hydraulic lines, military officials said yesterday.

Testing at the Texas factory that assembles the Ospreys found that hydraulic lines were failing much more quickly than they should have, said Ward Carroll, a spokesman for the Osprey program. The Navy switched suppliers and will begin replacing the potentially faulty hydraulic lines Monday, Carroll said.

The grounding comes at a critical time for the $40 billion Osprey program, which has been plagued by safety problems and faces a crucial hearing in May before a Pentagon panel that will recommend whether to keep or scrap it. Testing of the helicopter-airplane hybrid resumed last year after being suspended in December 2000 after two fatal crashes.

* AUSTIN -- Former Texas attorney general Dan Morales surrendered to face federal charges for allegedly trying to get hundreds of millions of dollars in attorneys' fees from the state's 1998 $17 billion settlement with tobacco companies. Prosecutors accused Morales of scheming with a friend, Houston lawyer Marc Murr, to get $520 million of the $3.3 billion in fees paid to a team of private lawyers hired to sue major tobacco firms.

* PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The owners of the Station nightclub, where a fire killed 99 people last month, were cited for allegedly failing to carry workers' compensation insurance. Michael and Jeffrey Derderian and their company, Derco LLC, could be fined between $500 and $1,000 a day for the time there was no coverage, state labor officials said.

* COARSEGOLD, Calif. -- Corina Reeves, 32, ordered her three children to unbuckle their seatbelts and then steered her car off a 40-foot cliff, killing herself and seriously injuring the 6-year-old boy and two girls, ages 9 and 11, police said. Family members told authorities that Reeves was terminally ill.

* DETROIT -- The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the manslaughter conviction of former police officer Larry Nevers in the 1992 beating death of black motorist Malice Green. Nevers's 1993 conviction was overturned in 1997; he was retried in 2000, but the appellate panel said the trial judge had improperly instructed the jury on involuntary manslaughter.

* CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. -- Attorneys for former forest worker Terry Lynn Barton, who started Colorado's largest wildfire, said her 12-year prison sentence should be thrown out because the judge had to flee his home to escape the smoke. Attorney Sharlene Reynolds said she will file a motion asking state District Judge Edward Colt to step down from the case, which would automatically vacate the sentence.

* LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- A federal grand jury indicted David Hudak, the president of a counterterrorism training company, over its contract to provide combat training to the United Arab Emirates. The new indictment said the company lacked permission from the State Department to offer the combat training to the United Arab Emirates, a U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf region. Hudak, a Canadian citizen who was in the country on an expired visa, was charged earlier with illegally possessing warheads and more than five dozen guns.

-- From News Services