World and Nation

Shorts (left)

Stock Markets Continue Their Decline

The fallout from last week’s global stock dive showed few signs of letting up on Monday, as markets from Hong Kong to New York deepened their losses.

Share prices in the United States fell for the eighth time in the last nine trading days. The combined losses have wiped out more than 5 percent of the American market’s value.

Wall Street started the morning in the red, then bobbed in and out of positive territory. At first, investors appeared moved to sell by a report showing that business activity in the service industry fell to the lowest level in almost four years. But those losses were later reversed, and for much of the day it looked as if stock prices would finish the day with some moderate gains.

But in the final half-hour, prices dropped sharply. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 63.69 points, or about 0.5 percent, to close at 12,050.41. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fared even worse, losing 13.05 points, or about 1 percent, to close at 1,374.12.

Cheney Treated For Blood Clot After Global Trip

Vice President Dick Cheney was treated Monday for a blood clot in his left leg that independent experts said was probably not related to his history of heart disease but rather the result of his recent around-the-world trip, which included 65 hours of plane travel over nine days.

Cheney’s office said the vice president experienced “mild calf discomfort” Monday after delivering a late morning speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and visited his doctor’s office at George Washington University.

An ultrasound revealed a deep venous thrombosis, a blood clot, in the lower portion of his left leg. He was treated with anti-coagulant medication, which he will take for several months, and he returned to work. Although blood clots in the leg can be dangerous if left untreated, experts say most are successfully treated with the anti-coagulant drugs that the White House says Cheney is now receiving.

A key determinant in treating blood clots in the leg is the size of the clot, which a statement Monday from Cheney’s office did not describe. Nor did the statement give the clot’s specific anatomical location.

Failure in New Computer Diverts Air Traffic

A failure in one of the Federal Aviation Administration’s newest air traffic computers early Monday morning forced controllers to hold airliners on the ground, send others on detours over hundreds of miles and put two into holding patterns over the ocean near Bermuda, an unusual procedure for intercontinental flights.

The system handles airplanes over water, beyond the range of land-based radar. It receives position reports relayed by satellite, and is supposed to allow planes to fly closer to one another while still assuring that they are safe from collision.

About 1 a.m. on Monday the system began to indicate that numerous airplanes were on paths that would bring them too close. Controllers say that the system occasionally generates such messages erroneously, and that this can be corrected by deleting a plane from the system and re-entering it. That procedure, however, takes three to five minutes and is hard to do for more than one plane at a time.