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December 25, 2003

AK TFR: Valdez #1

In Effect Until Further Notice NOTAM:  3/2148  Issued:  12/25/2003 00:39  Effective:  Immediately - Until Further Notice  State:  AK  Facility:  ZAN - ANCHORAGE (ARTCC),AK.  Type:  SECURITY  Description:  VALDEZ, ALASKA.

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AK TFR: Valdez #2

In Effect Until Further Notice NOTAM: 3/2149 Issued: 12/25/2003 00:42 Effective: Immediately - Until Further Notice State: AK Facility: ZAN - ANCHORAGE (ARTCC),AK. Type: SECURITY Description: VALDEZ, ALASKA.

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727 Downed in Africa

A Boeing 727 carrying 140 people has apparently gone down shortly after takeoff from the West African nation of Benin. The aircraft, reportedly operated by a Lebanese charter outfit by the name of UTA, was designated flight 141 and appears to have impacted in the sea, just after departure from the capital city of Cotonou. Benin is a small nation, west of Nigeria, and bordered by the Atlantic ocean. Beninese airport spokesmen reported that the aircraft appeared to be having problems retracting it's landing gear when it hit a building at the end of the runway and impacted in the sea, about 1415 GMT, Christmas Day.

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Security Threats Affect LA, Chicago, Paris

Intelligence warnings about terrorists bent on using foreign airlines to attack targets in the US forced the cancellation of Air France service between Paris and Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday. They also triggered high-level, intensive security talks between officials in the US and France. Six flights were cancelled Christmas Eve and Christmas Day -- three headed from LA to Paris and three headed from Paris to LA. In addition, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, often seen by aviation advocates as the man who cried wolf, secured from the Department of Homeland Security TFRs over parts of the Windy City. For the third time in two years, flights below 3,000 have been banned by the TSA over downtown Chicago unless otherwise given permission.

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Beagle 2 Silent After Landing

After being instructed to land on the surface of Mars Christmas Day, the European Space Agency probe Beagle 2 has been ominously silent. Still, flight controllers say they're optimistic the lander is alive and well and will be able to start transmitting soon. ESA officials had hoped Beagle 2 would send a signal to be picked up by NASA's Mars Odyssey satellite orbiting overhead. But NASA says it has received no signal from the European lander.

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