Search planned near 9/11 site
NEW YORK - The medical examiner's office plans to search for Sept. 11 human remains in an alley behind a mosque near the World Trade Center where airplane landing gear was suddenly discovered.
The rusted landing gear piece is believed to be from one of two hijacked airliners that decimated the twin towers in 2001, exploding with fiery debris and killing thousands of people.
On Saturday, yellow police tape blocked access to a metal door that leads to the hidden alley behind 51 Park Place. The chief medical examiner's spokeswoman said the area first will be tested as part of a standard health and safety evaluation for possible toxicity. The official said sifting for human remains is to begin Tuesday morning.
Retired fire department Deputy Chief Jim Riches, who lost his son in the terrorist attack, visited the site Saturday. He said the latest news left him feeling "upset."
"The finding of this landing gear," he said, "just goes to show that we need federal people in here to do a comprehensive, full search of lower Manhattan to make sure that we don't get any more surprises." - AP
FAA suspends staff furloughs
NEW YORK - The Federal Aviation Administration said that the U.S. air traffic system will resume normal operations by Sunday evening after lawmakers rushed a bill through Congress allowing the agency to withdraw furloughs of air traffic controllers and other workers.
The FAA said Saturday that it has suspended all employee furloughs and that traffic facilities will begin returning to regular staffing levels over the next 24 hours. The furloughs were fallout from the $85 billion in automatic-across-the-board spending cuts this spring.
The furloughs started to hit air traffic controllers this past week, causing flight delays that left thousands of travelers frustrated and furious. Planes were forced to take off and land less frequently, so as not to overload the remaining controllers on duty.
The FAA had no choice but to cut $637 million as its share of $85 billion in automatic, government-wide spending cuts that must be achieved by the end of the federal budget year on Sept. 30. - AP