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Computer Problems Hit N.Y. Times HQ

August 22, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ The New York Times brought computers in its newsroom back online one by one at its headquarters Friday, after ``system difficulties″ earlier in the day forced employees to shut the machines down.

Spokesman Toby Usnik declined to discuss the type or scope of the problems, but said the newspaper would publish a Saturday edition.

``We asked our employees at 43rd Street to shut down their computers″ as a precaution because of the system problems, Usnik said. ``The systems department staff members are circulating through the building and bringing them on one at a time.″

Usnik stressed that the Times’ computer systems were never actually down, and that the paper’s Web site operated without a problem.

He said he could not say whether a computer virus, like the Sobig virus currently sweeping the country, might be to blame.

Sobig has caused e-mail disruptions at several businesses, universities and other institutions. Derivatives of another virus, ``Blaster″ shut down signaling, dispatching and other systems at CSX Corp.’s Jacksonville, Fla., headquarters earlier this week, as well as Air Canada’s check-in systems Tuesday.

The Times’ stock closed down 17 cents to $44.36 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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