March 28,2000 – a day full of mixed signals, not the least from Mars. On this day 16 years, OPEC was meeting in Vienna, debating a production increase of oil production. If they did decided to boost production, it would not be with the support of Iran. In a terse statement to reporters, Iran’s Oil Minister said there was no shortage of fuel. After eight hours of formal negotiations, Iran said an increase in production should be left to 1 million barrels a day, hinting Iran would not be part of an agreement. Iran said it tried to reach flexibility but it could not reach unanimity. The word from OPEC was unsettling to Capitol Hill, where there was talk of cutting gasoline taxes by 4 1/2 cents by as early as the following week for the rest of the year and cut them again if the average price exceeded $2.00 a gallon. The cost would come out of the budget surplus, but opponents said it wouldn’t do enough to gas prices to be worth it.
Meanwhile on Mars – NASA was expressing embarrassment over the loss of two expensive Mars probes. Saying they were attempting to do too much with too little, NASA engineers concluded the loss of the Mars Polar Lander was probably due to false and mixed signals which caused its main engines to shut down 130 feet above the Martian surface, causing the lander to hit the ground at some 50 miles per hour, destroying it on impact. NASA said the Mars Polar Lander and Mars Climate Orbiter, which also failed the year before, were underfunded by at least 30%, and that JPL who was managing both projects, was being asked to do “the impossible”. Red faces at NASA.
And the saga of Elian Gonzales was slowly coming to the boil as Federal Officials were giving the relatives of the young boy until Thursday morning to sign a statement promising to hand the boy over if they lost their court fight. Otherwise, proceedings to return Elian to Cuba will get underway immediately. Residents in the Cuban community in Miami vowed to set up a human chain to prevent Federal officials from taking the boy and sending him back home.
And that’s just a small slice of what happened, this March 28th in 2000 as reported on The CBS World News Roundup.
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