News Briefs

American ground troops enter Northern Afghanistan

At a Pentagon briefing on Tuesday, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld acknowledged that there is a “modest” number of U.S. ground troops in northern Afghanistan for “liaison purposes, coordination and targeting.” Rear Admiral John Stufflebeem described the troops’ presence as a “measured risk” in a campaign that the U.S. has committed to “for as long as it takes.” U.S. airplanes launched another round of air strikes early Tuesday on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, with low-flying jets pounding the southern Afghan city and knocking out most electricity and all running water, according to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein warned Tuesday that the U.S.-led war on terrorism could spread beyond Afghanistan. In a letter addressed to the “people and governments of the West, including the United States,” Hussein called the military action in Afghanistan a spark that could set “the world on fire,” according to the AP. “The world now needs to abort the U.S. aggressive schemes, including its aggression on the Afghan people, which must stop,” Hussein wrote.

New York, N.Y.

Ford Motor Company trades former chief executive for heir

The Ford Motor Company announced yesterday that William Clay Ford, Jr. will replace Jacques Nasser as the company’s chief executive officer. Ford is the great-grandson of the company’s founder, Henry Ford. Nasser, who has been chief executive since 1999, resigned his position in one of many management changes to the company. According to The New York Times, there is some rumor that Ford dealers were dissatisfied with Nasser. The Ford Motor Company has experienced mounting losses in recent months, including a $629 million third-quarter loss, and lost market share to competitor General Motors. “These changes will help us build a stronger company for our customers, employees and shareholders,” Ford said in a statement. Ford is the first family member to run the company since his uncle, Henry Ford II, stepped down from his position as chief executive in 1979, according to The Times. “We won’t hesitate to pull the trigger if something isn’t fitting in well,” said Ford, according to

South Hadley, Mass.

Holyoke Range fire burns more than 350 acres

A fire in the Holyoke Range has consumed more than 350 acres of forest in South Hadley and Hadley since it began on Friday. Despite the efforts of the Air National Guard and more than 400 firefighters from around the region, the fire still burns fed by high winds and unusually dry weather. The fire has gone underground and is burning through the root systems, as well as above the ground, according to The Daily Hampshire Gazette. “This is a very difficult fire to fight,” said the commissioner of forest fire control, Michael Tirrell. “We have to dig down into the soil and saturate it with water.” All hiking trails on the land have been closed, according to Tirrell, as the fire keeps popping up in new places. Tirrell also said that he suspected that the fire was of human origin but had no additional information, other than to say that the fire probably would not be completely extinguished until the next rainfall. The fire does not pose a danger to residents, because it is located in remote state forest land, according to The Gazette.