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Feb. 5, 2013 at 5:00 PM   |   0 comments

Independent probe set in Superdome outage

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Mercedes-Benz Superdome operators said Tuesday an independent investigator will look into the power outage during the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District and SMG, the facility's management company, said in a statement issued jointly with Entergy New Orleans Inc. they will hire a third-party expert to conduct the assessment, after consultation with the National Football League.

A recent electrical system upgrade at the Superdome may have contributed to the blackout during the Super Bowl Sunday, officials say.

While a Superdome official said a switchgear tripped after it "sensed an abnormality," what caused the problem was still being investigated, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Monday.

After Entergy News Orleans spent $4.2 million in December to add another feeder line to the two already supplying the stadium, a test found the equipment had "some decay and had a chance of failure." An engineer hired by stadium management found the power lines were "not sufficiently reliable," so more than $1 million in upgrades were ordered to the feeder cables that allowed the Entergy updates to be put online, authorities said.

The switchgear that shut off Sunday night was part of the upgrades.

While the equipment worked as it was supposed to, Doug Thornton, senior vice of SMG, which manages the Superdome, said it's "premature at this point to say what it was or what caused it."

Entergy spokeswoman Yolanda Pollard said the switchgear was the current point of focus because it's "the component that's on our side, that we can check."


Lindsey Vonn out for season

SCHLADMING, Austria, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Lindsey Vonn will miss the rest of the World Cup season due to a knee injury suffered Tuesday at the World Championships in Austria, U.S. team officials said.

Vonn lost a ski on a jump while competing in the women's super-G at Schladming and had to be airlifted off the slope with a fractured leg and torn knee ligaments.

The U.S. Ski Association said in a written statement her injuries specifically included torn ACL and MCL ligaments in her right knee and a lateral tibial plateau fracture.

"She will be out for the remainder of this season but is expected to return to racing for the 2013-14 Audi FIS World Cup season and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi," the statement said.

Vonn was in third place in the World Cup overall standings behind Tina Maze of Slovenia -- who went on to win Tuesday's super-G, and Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany. She was second in the super-G standings behind Maze and led in the downhill points race.


Klizan wins three-set match in Zagreb

ZAGREB, Croatia, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Fifth-seeded Martin Klizan advanced but No. 7-seeded Grigor Dimitrov was ousted Tuesday in first-round play of the PBZ Zagreb Indoors in Croatia.

Klizan needed three sets to get by Matteo Viola 4-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1. Klizan fought off nine of 10 break points in the third set and pulled off four breaks in the set.

He won 63 percent of the points in the set off Viola's serve after taking about 40 percent of the points when receiving serve in the first two sets.

Dimitrov lost a match in which he didn't see a break point. However, he didn't have a break opportunity, either, as Ivo Karlovic came away a 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3) winner over Dimitrov.

Servers won more than 79 percent of the points in the match. Karlovic edged ahead in the first-set tiebreaker and went up 6-0 in the second in advancing.

Grega Zemlja stopped Ilija Bozoljac 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 and earned a second-round berth against top-seeded Marin Cilic.

Philipp Petzschner's 7-5, 6-2 win over Mate Pavic put him into a match against No. 2-seeded Andreas Seppi.

Other winners Tuesday were Blaz Kavcic, Igor Sijsling, Lukas Rosol and Somdev Devvarman.


Ex-soccer great seeks tax relief in Italy

NAPLES, Italy, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Former Argentinian soccer great Diego Maradona says he is appealing to Italy's politicians to mediate in his dispute with the country's tax authorities.

Italian tax revenue officials say Maradona, 52, owes $54 million for unpaid taxes on his earnings and sponsorship deals between 1984 and 1991.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported Maradona's lawyer said last week the agency had canceled the debt, but representatives from the agency said they have not.

ANSA said authorities have seized Maradona's diamond-studded earring and Rolex watch on his past visits to Italy.

"I cannot freely return to Naples with peace of mind and this is not right," he said in a video message released by his lawyer. "I appeal to the politicians. I didn't steal anything. If I did things wrong, it was about other stuff. I want to return to Naples freely."

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