WASHINGTON - The 2000 computer glitch will cause many errors in automated systems worldwide but their combined damage will be ''moderate,'' a United Nations-created information clearinghouse said yesterday. In its final report, the World Bank-funded International Y2K Cooperation Center, in Washington, said most critical systems ''will function about as well as they normally do in the first days of the new year.'' It said computer errors that stop short of triggering shutdowns will lead to ''degraded performance in many infrastructures,'' such as electricity generation and distribution. ''The world will be well into January before a considered assessment can be made of the medium term effects'' of Y2K, the design flaw that could confuse some computers when their clocks roll over to 2000.
''We expect few serious Y2K-caused effects in energy, telecommunications, finance, transportation, customs and immigration, food and water infrastructures'' in the first days of next month, the report said. (Reuters)
Israel reportedly will shut reactor
JERUSALEM - Israel's top secret Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert is to shut down for two days over the New Year to avoid possible Y2K glitches, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported yesterday. It said the reactor, which Israel has kept off limits to international nuclear inspectors, would shut for two days starting on New Year's Eve. Israeli officials were unavailable for comment. The newspaper quoted an official from the country's Atomic Energy Committee as saying: ''The citizens of Israel have nothing to worry about. The reactors in Dimona and Soreq have been made Y2K compliant.'' (Reuters)
Systems need work, Seoul says
SEOUL - South Korea's Defense Ministry said on Sunday that it has identified hundreds of potential Y2K trouble spots in its computer systems but that it was fully prepared to address them. The ministry will keep a task force of mostly computer experts on alert from Dec. 31 to Jan. 4 to cope with any problems that might arise, ministry spokesman Kim Jae-hwan said. The ministry plans to shut down most computer systems during the date changeover to avoid possible problems. Kim said the ministry has detected 677 Y2K problems in weapons systems and 482 in information systems. But he said there was no possibility of accidental missile firing or other such errors. The Y2K task force will operate until the end of March, he said. (Reuters)
Course on Joyce rolls back the clock
GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The University of North Dakota English department's preliminary schedule for next fall shows a professor teaching a course about James Joyce in the fall of 1900, when the author was still a student in Ireland. The schedule gaffe was the first time English department administrative secretary Ursula Hovet had seen evidence of the Y2K bug. ''I was amused,'' she said. In this case, the problem was a hard-coded ''19'' in the date line of the preliminary schedule program. That caused the computer to keep the ''19'' when it rolled the date from fall 1999 to fall 2000. ''It was an oversight,'' said Dorette Kerian, interim director of UND's computer center. She said it was quickly fixed. (AP)