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News Briefs 2

Gov't Nears Settlement with Families Of 12 Radiation Subjects

The Washington Post

Hoping to close the books on a dark episode in U.S. history, federal negotiators are nearing a financial settlement with families of 12 people who were unwitting subjects of radiation experiments during the earliest days of the atomic era.

Relatives of the victims would get a combined total of $4.8 million in compensation under a draft agreement with the Department of Energy that is expected to be made final within days, Martin H. Freeman, a lawyer representing family members, said Thursday.

Families also would receive a personal apology from the Energy Department, the agency that inherited many of the functions of the nation's World War II-era nuclear-research program, he said.

The 12 - all of them now deceased - were among at least 18 hospital patients were unknowingly were injected with plutonium or uranium in the 1940s in a series of medical experiments approved by the U.S. Army's Manhattan Project. Relatives of some of the other subjects are involved in separate negotiations, DOE officials said.

Their cases represent the most grievous examples from a body of mostly secret radiation experiments involving thousands of subjects in the decades of 40s and 50s. News accounts about the tests - which were administered in some cases to terminally ill patients, nursing mothers, prison inmates and even children - sparked a national outcry.

USAir to End All Travel Ties, Agreements with British Airways

The Washington Post

USAir said Thursday it will sever all travel ties with British Airways effective March 29, the latest move in an escalating legal fight between the two airlines over British Airways' proposed marketing alliance with American Airlines.

USAir said it had informed British Airways that it would end both its code-sharing arrangements and frequent flier agreements. Under the code-sharing agreement, a passenger could buy a single ticket to Great Britain on USAir, but would actually make the transatlantic part of the trip on a British Airways flight.

The airline said passengers booked to travel on code-sharing flights before March 29 are unaffected by Thursday's announcement.

British Airways called USAir's action "disappointing" and said the continued alliance between the two airlines was in the best interests of everyone, from passengers to shareholders. It said frequent flier awards could still be earned and redeemed up to the March 29 deadline and it would soon issue details of the frequent flier program after March 29.

A British Airways spokesman said there was no way to predict the economic impact of USAir's action on either airline.

The agreements between the two airlines were made in 1993 when British Airways bought 24.6 percent of the Arlington, Va.-based carrier as part of a financial rescue package. The agreements have allowed British Airways to take advantage of USAir's dominance of East Coast feeder markets, while USAir could guarantee its overseas passengers access to London's Heathrow Airport.