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News Briefs, Part 1

Lawyer Confirms Smith's Confession in Sons' Deaths

The Washington Post

With bits and pieces of his client's life story emerging, the attorney for 23-year-old Susan Smith confirmed Monday that she told authorities she was planning to kill herself as well as her children the evening she stepped out of her car and sent them, strapped in their safety seats, to die at the bottom of a remote fishing lake.

Lawyer David Bruck also said that one of the defenses he is considering is an insanity plea. But he said it is one of many options under consideration.

Bruck confirmed the accuracy of portions Smith's written confession, first reported Sunday by Cable News Network, in which she recounted her suicide plan.

"I wanted to end my life so bad and was in my car, ready to go down that ramp into the water and I did go part way, but I stopped," Smith said in her confession. "I went again and I stopped. Then I got out of the car a nervous wreck.

"I dropped to the lowest when I allowed my children to go down that ramp into the water without me. I took off running and screaming, Oh God, oh God no. What have I done?' "

Microsoft Plan to Buy Intuit Raises Concern

The Washington Post

The reach of software giant Microsoft Corp. has so vexed some in the computer industry that a major trade association is convening two meetings to talk about it.

Monday, the Arlington, Va.-based Information Technology Association of America said that it was asking companies throughout the industry to voice their opinions on Microsoft's latest proposed conquest - Intuit Inc., the leading maker of personal finance software. Microsoft announced on October 13 that it planned to buy Intuit for stock worth $1.5 billion.

"This is a dramatic acquisition by a very elite and powerful company," said Bernard Goldstein, who will chair a special ITAA committee to solicit industry comments on the deal. "We want to understand why many firms in the information technology industry are agitated by this proposed transaction."

The ITAA, which represents 325 software and hardware companies, plans to turn over relevant comments to the Justice Department, which is reviewing whether the proposed deal might squash competition. The agency must give approval before the deal can be consummated.

Emergency Recommendation Issued On Plane Involved in Indiana Crash

The Washington Post

The National Transportation Safety Board Monday night issued an emergency recommendation that the type of plane that crashed in northern Indiana last week killing all 68 on board be grounded whenever there are icing conditions, pending a special government review.

The Safety Board, while not prejudging the cause of the crash of American Eagle Flight 4184, said there is enough concern about the plane's characteristics when operating in icing conditions that immediate action is needed.

The plane, a twin-turbo prop ATR72-210, flew for about 35 minutes in icing conditions while holding for a landing slot at O'Hare International Airport. The plane experienced a sudden deflection of the ailerons - flat pieces of wing that control turns - turned on its back and plunged into a soybean field.

The Federal Aviation Administration has already issued new flight standards for the ATR series of airplanes, made by a French-Italian consortium, most of which fly in the United States. Those standards recommend that the auto pilot not be used in icing conditions and that various other anti-icing procedures be strictly adhered to.

The Safety Board, an independent agency that investigates major airline crashes and makes recommendations, said it agreed with the FAA action but said the recommendation does not go far enough.