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News Briefs

Israeli Aircraft Make Multiple Attacks in Gaza

THE NEW YORK TIMES -- GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP

Israeli warplanes and helicopter gunships struck Gaza five times on Monday, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 90, Palestinian hospital authorities said, as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon affirmed Israel’s threat to remove Yasser Arafat.

Sirens wailed through Gaza City late Monday night while Israeli aircraft continued to tear through the darkness overhead, after one of the most intensive, lethal air barrages of the conflict, now more than three years old.

The deadliest attack of the day came after dark, south of here in the Nuseirat refugee camp. Palestinian witnesses said that Israeli helicopters fired at a car, then fired again as a crowd gathered.

Hospital officials said that at least eight people were killed and 70 were injured. It was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were militants and how many bystanders. Witnesses said that two of the three people inside the car were killed.

The Israeli army said that helicopters fired several missiles at the getaway car of gunmen who fled after being spotted trying to cross the barrier that brackets Gaza against the Mediterranean Sea.

The army said that two other gunmen from the same cell had been shot near the fence. It was not immediately certain if they were killed.

Residents of the camp crowded around the charred remains of the vehicle, chanting for revenge.

A Violent Blast from a Volcano And a Society Was Undone

THE NEW YORK TIMES

For decades, scholars have debated whether the eruption of the Thera volcano in the Aegean more than 3,000 years ago brought about the mysterious collapse of Minoan civilization at the peak of its glory. The volcanic isle (whose remnants are known as Santorini) lay just 70 miles from Minoan Crete, so it seemed quite reasonable that its fury could have accounted for the fall of that celebrated people.

This idea suffered a blow in 1987 when Danish scientists studying cores from the Greenland icecap reported evidence that Thera exploded in 1645 B.C., some 150 years before the usually accepted date. That put so much time between the natural disaster and the Minoan decline that the linkage came to be widely doubted, seeming far-fetched at best.

Scientist Says Many Athletes Use Undetected Steroids

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Don Catlin, the scientist who identified a previously undetected steroid and oversaw tests indicating that as many as six athletes in track and field had used the drug, said Monday that he thought athletes were probably using similar unidentified drugs.

Catlin, a molecular pharmacologist at UCLA’s Olympic Analytical Laboratory, led an eight-man team that identified the steroid tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG.

The drug is at the center of an investigation that started in track and field but appears likely to involve dozens of other professional athletes. About 40 have been called before a federal grand jury in San Francisco to investigate a sports nutrition company accused of creating the drug.

Among them is Jason Giambi of the Yankees, who said Monday that he had not done anything wrong and was only vaguely aware of the investigation.

“There’s not really much I know about it,” Giambi said in Miami on an off day of the World Series. “The only thing I can do is wait until someone contacts me and see what they’re looking for.”