A Montgomery county school bus driver is now out of a job--
She was fired for leaving a child on the bus after completing her route.
And neither the U-S nor China is budging in the stand-off over a grounded Navy spy plane.
Find out what happened at today's meeting between the ambassadors of the two countries.
Clouds dominated the sky this morning but this afternoon many of the clouds will make way for some sunshine. Our midweek forecast is here.
News 7 at noon is coming up.
Good Afternoon, I'm Kimberly McBroom.
The standoff continues as China demands an apology from the U.S.
But American officials keep saying they have nothing to apologize for, since the Navy spy plane was in INTERNATIONAL airspace when it collided with a Chinese fighter jet over the weekend.
China's foreign minister reportedly demanded an apology during today's meeting with an American ambassador.
Meanwhile, that meeting has done little to calm the fears of the families of crew members STILL in China.
Teri Okita is in Washington with the latest.
(///// SOT /////)
[SUPER=01-Jiang Zemin/China's President;]
[SUPER=01-Gen. Neal Sealock/U.S. Defense Attache;]
[SUPER=01-John Bensing/Crew Member's Father;]
[OUT Q=no fault position.]
((TRACK: CHINA ISN'T BACKING OFF IT'S HARD-LINE STANCE. PRESIDENT JIANG
ZEMIN REMAINS ADAMANT THE U-S OWES THEM AN APOLOGY.
(NATSD FULL OF JIANG ZEMIN)
TRACK: IN CHINESE CULTURE, RECEIVING AN APOLOGY FOR WRONGDOING IS DEEMED
OF HIGHEST REGARD, BUT THE U-S TODAY REITERATED THAT IT DID NOTHING
WRONG.. AND THERE WILL BE NO APOLOGY. THE 24-U-S CREWMEMBERS DETAINED IN
CHINA HAD ONE QUICK MEETING WITH A U-S DEFENSE ATTACHE. HE SAYS THEY'RE
IN GOOD SPIRITS.
(Super: Gen. Neal Sealock/US Embassy Defense Attache)
TRACK: SOURCES TELL CBS NEWS THAT THE CREW OF THE DOWNED SPY PLANE WAS
ABLE TO DESTROY MUCH OF THE HIGHLY-SENSITIVE INFORMATION ON-BOARD THE
EP-3. BUT U-S SATELLITES ALSO SHOW THE CHINESE CLEARLY TAKING ADVANTAGE
OF THE PLANE BEING ON THEIR AIRFIELD ... WITH INCREASED ACTIVITY AROUND
TRACK: AND AS DAY FOUR OF THIS INCIDENT PASSES, FAMILIES BACK HOME GROW
MORE FRUSTRATED THAT THEY HAVEN'T SPOKEN WITH THEIR LOVED ONES.
SOT: (John Bensing/Father of Crew Member) 10:09:46 Im sure words exist
where they can express regrets for the occurrence without compromising
their no-fault position))
A plane crash in the Sudan has reportedly claimed the lives of 14 high- ranking military officials.
State radio in Sudan says the country's deputy defense minister and 13 others were returning from a military area, when their plane crashed on take-off.
The accident reportedly happened in an oil- rich zone in the southern part of the African nation.
No word on the cause.
The crash took place in an area where rebels have attacked aircraft as part of a long civil war.
The Montgomery County bus driver who left a child behind after finishing an afternoon route has been fired.
Seven-year old Justin Nester fell asleep on the ride home...when he woke-up the bus was empty and parked at Shawsville Middle School.
The frightened Christiansburg boy says he started walking but was picked up by a woman, who with his directions, got him home safely.
The unidentified bus driver was immediately put on suspension and let go yesterday.
School administrators say they are trained to check their buses.
Rubatex and its union agree on a new contract.
After a YEAR and a half of debate over forced overtime and benefits, Bedford's Steel Workers have signed a new contract.
The company signed on the dotted line yesterday.
The International Steelworker's union in Pittsburgh will finish with signatures over the next day or so.
Rubatex's parent company R-B-X is in the process of filing for bankruptcy.
New financing and a new labor agreement are expected to take pressure off the struggling Bedford facility.
Another tradition at Virginia Military Institute is under fire -
Some students say prayer doesn't belong at their dinner table.
Teresa Hamilton has more from Lexington.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=It's just]
[SUPER=01-Neil Mellen/VMI Cadet; :40]
[SUPER=@Teresa1; :57 quick!!]
[SUPER=01-Parker Reeves/VMI Cadet; 1:08 QUICK!!]
[SUPER=01-Philip Metz/VMI Cadet; 1:13 QUICK!!!]
[SUPER=01-Tony Conway/VMI Cadet; 1:18 QUICK!!! ]
[OUT Q=NEWS 7, Lexington.]
(( It's just before six o'clock in the evening at Virginia Military Institute... as cadets march in formation to supper.
Once inside-- a student chaplain gains the crowd's attention and reads the prayer of the day.
((PLEASE BOW YOUR HEADS. OH, GOD, WE ASK YOUR BLESSING ON THE CORPS. STRENGTHEN OUR COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE, ESTABLISH OUR HEARTS IN HONOR, CONFIRM UPON US HONORABLE CONDUCT.))
[OUT Q= HONORABLE CONDUCT.]
It's a tradition now challenged by two V-M-I cadets who question the constitutionality of imposing religious traditions of the majority on the entire corps.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=If I chose]
((NEIL MELLON/VMI CADET: IF I CHOOSE NOT TO PRAY IN THIS MANNER... WITH PEOPLE CURSING AT ME FOR NOT PARTICIPATING... THAT's WHAT I FIND OFFENSIVE.))
[OUT Q=I find offensive.]
The pair has also gained the support of the A-C-L-U.
[in q= Prayer is]
((PRAYER IS OFFERED SIX DAYS A WEEK-- BUT ONLY DURING ONE MEAL WHICH IS SUPPER.))
[OUT Q= being supper.]
That's where we approached some cadets to get their opinion on the issue.
[in q=I just]
((I JUST THINK IT'S RIDICULOUS IT'S SOMETHING ELSE THE ACLU IS STICKING THEIR NOSE INTO.))
(( MY OPINION IS THAT YOU KNOW IT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT'S FORCED UPON SOMEONE IT'S OPTIONAL YOU DON'T HAVE TO PRAY.))
((I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY IT'S SUCH A BIG PROBLEM PERSONALLY I'M NOT THAT RELIGIOUS BUT I STAND MOSTLY OUT OF RESPECT ANYWAY.))
The military school is letting the State Attorney General's office handle the issue.
Mark Earley says he intends to vigorously defend the Institute and the tradition.
Teresa Hamilton, NEWS 7, Lexington.))
The Roanoke Valley now has a center that specializes solely in eye surgery.
It's called the Roanoke Valley Center for Sight.
It took three years to get approval to build the center because Carilion Health System fought against it.
Carilion said it would take away too much business.
But Doctor Frank Cotter says competition is healthy --and it will only mean better service for patients.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=If the patients has a struggle between]
((DR. FRANK COTTER/ROANOKE VALLEY CENTER FOR SIGHT: IF THE PATIENT HAS A STRUGGLE BETWEEN COMPETING FACILITIES YOU'RE GOING TO FIND HIGHER QUALITY, LOWER PRICES, GREATER CONVENIENCE AND IN THE LONG RUN THE PATIENT IS GOING TO WIN))
[SUPER=01-Dr. Frank Cotter/Roanoke Valley Ctr. for Sight]
[OUT Q=the patient is going to win]
The center performs about 60 surgeries per week.
It offers cataract and glaucoma surgery --as well as plastic surgery.
A Palestinian official says that the situation in the Middle East "keep getting worse".
Israeli helicopters fired rockets at Palestinian Authority buildings in the Gaza Strip.
That was in response to a mortar attack from Palestinian areas that critically injured a Jewish baby and wounded his mother.
But an Israeli army spokesman says all targets in the attacks are involved in terror activities against Israel.
Israel also charges that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has done nothing to stop the attacks.
Lynchburg residents are concerned about what spending cuts in the city could mean for them and their safety.
Steve Smallshaw has more.
(///// SOT /////)
[IN Q=Only a handful]
[SUPER=01-Jesse Bobbitt/Taxpayer; :18]
[SUPER=01-Lenn Lennard/Fraternal Order of Police; :33]
[SUPER=01-Jason Campbell/Lynchburg Firefighters Association; :53]
[SUPER=01-Carl Hutcherson/Lynchburg Mayor; 1:10]
[OUT Q=News7, Lynchburg.]
(( Only a handful of residents turned out to discuss Lynchburg's 114- million dollar spending proposal.
Real estate rates are going up, on the average of eight and a half percent.. one resident saw the value of his vacant lot more than double in two years.
((JESSE BOBBITT/TAXPAYER: THAT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. I JUST WISH YOU WOULD COME THERE AND LOOK AT THE LOT AND IF YOU THINK IT'S WORTH 20- THOUSAND DOLLARS, I'LL TAKE IT RIGHT NOW.))
[OUT Q=it right now.]
Even with more real estate revenue coming in, every city department has been asked to cut four percent from its budget.
For the police department, that means two fewer officers.
((LENN LENNARD/FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: THE POLICE OFFICERS THAT I SPEAK TO FEEL THAT THEY ARE NOT APPRECIATED BY THIS CITY.. THEY ARE OVERWORKED AND THEY ARE UNDERPAID.))
[OUT Q=they are underpaid.]
Firefighters are under the gun too.
With a budget that's 95 percent personnel, cutting four percent has meant trimming four positions.. placing equipment or even an entire fire station out of service.
((JASON CAMPBELL/LYNCHBURG FIREFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION: ONCE YOU CLOSE A FIRE STATION THAT MEANS THAT UNITS FROM THE OTHER FIRE STATIONS WILL HAVE TO COVER THE TERRITORY THAT WAS COVERED BY THAT STATION WHICH WILL RESULT IN DELAYED RESPONSE TIMES, WHICH WILL THEN RESULT IN THE END RESULT IN GREATER PROPERTY AND CASUALTY LOSSES TO THE CITIZENS.))
[OUT Q=to the citizens.]
((CARL HUTCHERSON/LYNCHBURG MAYOR: IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE NECESSARILY WANT TO DO AND HOPEFULLY WON'T HAVE TO DO, BUT IT HAS TO BE ONE COMPONENT OF HOW YOU GO ABOUT DOING YOUR BUDGETARY WORK.))
[OUT Q=your budgetary work.]
Three more budget work sessions are scheduled before council adopts its final spending plan in late May.
Steve Smallshaw, News7, Lynchburg.))
Living next to the tracks could mean money for some local residents.
Norfolk Southern is paying some towns for a possible increase in train traffic.
It's offering 10-thousand dollars for each house within 73-feet of its Shenandoah line.
The line runs from Front Royal to Roanoke.
If the railroad doesn't settle with local governments, it can pay the 63 affected homeowners.
The tracks are 30 feet from the home of Troutville residents Lowell and Alta (AL-tuh) Cole.
They say they'd use the money to repair cracks in their walls caused by the trains.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 11:57:38 - :44]
[IN Q=We think that]
((ALTA COLE/HOMEOWNER: WE FEEL LIKE THAT WE SHOULD BE COMPENSATED BECAUSE WE'RE THE MOST AFFECTED BY THE VIBRATIONS.))
[SUPER=01-Alta Cole/Troutville Homeowner;]
[OUT Q=by the vibrations]
The payments are part of the 1997 merger deal between Norfolk Southern and Conrail.
Like other communities, Troutville will decide whether the money should go to the town or directly to the residents after a public hearing later this month.
Some of California's power woes may come down to financial misconduct--
The state's power regulators will investigate the PARENT companies of the utilities, to find out whether they milked the utilities for cash and hoarded profits.
Meanwhile, California's governor is planning a "historic announcement" Thursday night.
Residents have ALREADY been told that rates would jump as much as 46- percent.
(///// SOT /////)
[SOT 10:16:24 ]
[IN Q=My sense is]
((SEN. DEBORAH ORTIZ/D- SACRAMENTO:MY SENSE IS THAT THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO THANK CALIFORNIANS FOR
TIGHTENING THEIR CONSERVATION BELTS. AND ALSO ASK US TO DO MORE. ))
[SUPER=01-Sen. Deborah Ortiz/(D) Sacramento;]
[OUT Q=to do more.]
But if the the Public Utilities Commission DOES find evidence of wrongdoing, the holding companies could be fined-- and that might
reverse the rate increase.
Meanwhile, the holding companies say they've done nothing wrong.
In case there ARE any lingering doubts as to who actually won the Presidential election, two newspapers confirm George W- Bush as the victor.
Nearly five months have passed since Election Day, but all the contested votes in Florida have finally been counted.
The "Miami Herald", along with "U-S-A- Today" says Bush would have won by an even wider margin if the Supreme Court had allowed a hand recount.
You may eventually only need to check your mailbox Monday through Friday--
The U-S Postal Service says it is considering eliminating Saturday mail delivery.
The agency says huge projected losses may make it cut back to a Monday through Friday schedule.
Postal officials say they face a two to three BILLION dollar loss this year.
That's after a a big loss- of nearly 200-MILLION dollars this year.
In addition to ending Saturday delivery, the postal service is considering closing some post office branches.
And before we leave you this afternoon--
Zoologists in Brazil are celebrating the birth of
[SUPER=03-Atlantic Forest, Brazil;]
a baby Golden Lion Tamarin, one of the most endangered animals in the world.
Just 30 years ago, there were only 200 of the primates left.
This newest birth brings the population to a- thousand.
Within months, the infant will be independent, and eating fruit and insects on its own..