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World War II submarine found in Gulf of Mexico



Published: Sat, June 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



World War II submarinefound in Gulf of Mexico

NEW ORLEANS -- The wreckage of a sunken World War II German submarine has been discovered 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and the find may rewrite a bit of wartime history.

BP and Shell Oil Co., which had been surveying the gulf floor for an oil pipeline, announced the discovery Friday of the U-166, which sank in 1942 after it destroyed an American ship.

"This is the find of a lifetime. It really is," said Robert Church, a marine archaeologist with C & amp;C Technologies, which identified the wreckage in March. Video taken May 31 and June 1 confirmed the find, which lies about 45 miles from the mouth of the Mississippi River.

Since 1942, an airplane was thought to have sunk the U-166.

It was known that a plane had bombed a submarine on Aug. 1, 1942, two days after the U-166 sank the American passenger-freighter Robert E. Lee.

But the location of the sub and its condition may show that the Robert E. Lee's Coast Guard escort actually sank the U-166, said Jack Irion, a marine archaeologist with the U.S. Minerals Management Service.

Black bears makea splash in LA suburb

BRADBURY, Calif. -- A pair of 300-pound black bears caused a stir when they wandered into this Los Angeles suburb Friday. One of the bruins took a dip in a backyard pool.

The bears retreated back into the San Gabriel Mountains after ambling for several hours through the town.

State Fish and Game workers kept a close eye on the bears. Schools were notified and authorities asked residents to stay inside -- and not feed the bears.

"They are just roaming, looking for food," sheriff's Lt. Debra Lenhart said.

Bears frequently wander out of the 694,000-acre Angeles National Forest.

"They come down at least once a month. We are so close to the mountains. And they like to cool off in the pools," Lenhart said.

Court convicts 4 menin bishop's slaying

GUATEMALA CITY -- A court convicted three military men and a priest Friday of the 1998 murder of Roman Catholic Bishop and human rights crusader Juan Gerardi, handing out long prison sentences and ordering the investigation of more army officers.

Human rights activists -- hundreds of whom waited for hours in Guatemala's largest courtroom for the ruling -- hailed it as a historic blow against the impunity enjoyed by rights abusers in a country where courts have long been cowed by the military.

Gerardi, the 75-year-old head of the church's human rights office here, was bludgeoned to death with a concrete block at his seminary two days after he presented a report blaming the military for the overwhelming majority of the 200,000 deaths in Guatemala's 1960-1996 civil war.

The three-judge court found Col. Disrael Lima Estrada guilty of homicide and sentenced him to 30 years. Convicted on the same charges were his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, and Jose Obdulio Villanueva, both former members of the presidential guard. Each was sentenced to 30 years, with Lima given two more on a false documents charge.

The court convicted the Rev. Mario Orantes, Gerardi's former assistant, of giving the killers access to and information on Gerardi. He was sentenced to 20 years.

Navy exercises to begin

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico said Friday that U.S. Navy exercises on Vieques Island will begin on Wednesday, but the first day of maneuvers will involve no bombing.

During the last exercises in April, scores of anti-Navy protesters invaded the range to protest the bombing. The Navy had to pause bombing at least twice to clear the protesters, and at least 180 were arrested.

Wednesday's maneuvers will involve only practice flights by helicopters and jets from the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, said Vieques Commissioner Juan Fernandez.

In subsequent days, jets will drop dummy bombs on the practice range, he said. Fernandez said he was briefed on the plans by Navy officials.

On Friday, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Katherine Goode said she could not provide any information on the exercises. "For the safety of participants, we don't discuss the specifics," she said.




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