Computer Glitch Causes

Delays at Ports of Entry

Inbound travelers at more than 400 U.S. ports of entry were delayed yesterday afternoon when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection national computer network failed for about two hours, a Department of Homeland Security official said.

Border agents switched to local systems, but travelers encountered delays at airports, seaports and border crossings nationwide after the breakdown at 2 p.m. Eastern time.

"There was absolutely no time where the processing stopped, or that there were any kind of security breaches going on," said department spokesman Jarrod Agen. "The technology people say they don't see anything intentional. . . . It just looks like a computer glitch."

Interruptions in the sophisticated system occur "from time to time," Agen said, but the two-hour disconnection was the most severe in about a year.

* HUDSON, Ohio -- Two bodies discovered in Ohio may be those of Sarah and Philip Gehring, whose father confessed to killing them and burying them somewhere along a 700-mile stretch of Interstate 80 21/2 years ago, authorities said Friday. Sarah, 14, and Philip, 11, were shot to death by their father as he fled across the country amid a custody dispute with his wife in July 2003. Manuel Gehring confessed to the slayings but strangled himself in prison before he could be tried.

* NEW YORK -- A federal judge ruled that random police searches of subway riders' bags to deter terrorism do not violate the Constitution and are a minimal intrusion on people's privacy. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman upheld the tighter security measures instituted by police in New York after the deadly terrorist bombings in London's subway system this summer.

* HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii -- About 44 acres of coastline collapsed into the ocean, setting loose a glowing stream of lava that shot out from the newly exposed cliffside 45 feet above the water. The plume, six feet in diameter, sent up a tower of steam as it hit the water and began forming a ramp of new land. The collapse of solidified lava shelf and sea cliff Monday was the largest since the Kilauea volcano began its current eruption in 1983.

* SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A federal judge ruled that a lesbian student can sue her school district and her principal for revealing her homosexuality to her mother. Charlene Nguon, 17, may go forward with her lawsuit claiming violation of privacy rights, U.S. District Judge James V. Selna ruled. Orange County's Garden Grove district had argued that Nguon openly kissed and hugged her girlfriend on campus and thus had no expectation of privacy.

* PHILADELPHIA -- A judge halved a $12.8 million verdict won by families whose homes were destroyed when police dropped a bomb on a radical group's barricaded rowhouse in 1985. A jury had awarded the money in April to 24 homeowners whose houses were among about 60 that burned to the ground during the city's battle with MOVE. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam ruled that each of the 24 homeowners is entitled to $250,000, for a total of $6 million. The jury had awarded them $534,583 each.

* MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Epsilon strengthened into the 14th hurricane of a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season but was not forecast to retain its intensity for long or to threaten land, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was 1,165 miles west of Portugal's Azores islands and moving northeast at 12 mph, away from the British territory of Bermuda.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports