- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2000

12 arrested at Statue of Liberty

NEW YORK Twelve persons protesting the Navy's use of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques for bombing exercises were arrested yesterday after a man climbed out onto the spires of the Statue of Liberty's crown and attached flags and banners to it.

A spokesman for the U.S. Parks Police said the 42-year-old man attached flags of Puerto Rico and Vieques to spires and draped two banners reading "Peace for Vieques" in Spanish from the top of the crown.

The protest lasted about an hour and a half, said Sgt. Steven Battista, a spokesman for the U.S. Parks Police.

Alberto DeJesus Mercado, 42, was charged with unlawful demonstration, criminal mischief and reckless endangerment and was in police custody last night. Of the others, seven were released after being cited for misdemeanors, and four were released without charges.

Judge rules in tobacco case

MIAMI A class-action case by sick Florida smokers against tobacco companies in which a jury awarded a record $145 billion in punitive damages belongs in state court, a federal judge ruled.
The judge's decision to accept a motion by the smokers' attorneys means the plaintiffs can return to the state court to pursue a court order to finalize the jury verdict reached in July and opens the way for the appeals process to get under way.

Man charged in dragging death

LEWISTOWN, Pa. A man accused of wrapping a clothesline around the neck of a drinking buddy he had just met in a bar, tying him to the back of a pickup truck and dragging him several hundred feet to his death will face trial.
A hearing was held Thursday for Robert Freed, 45, in the Oct. 22 death of Joseph Land, 40. Mr. Freed was held without bail and charged with criminal homicide and aggravated assault, among other charges.
Mr. Freed told police he and Mr. Land had been drinking in Mr. Freed's truck when Mr. Land became "arrogant and cocky and pulled a knife" on him, according to a police affidavit.
Police said Mr. Freed hit Mr. Land, tied a clothesline around his neck, wrapped the other end to his truck and dragged him away. The truck got stuck near railway tracks and was hit by a train.
Police responding to reports of the accident found Mr. Freed bleeding from the hand. Less than a mile away, they discovered Mr. Land's partially nude body with the clothesline around his neck.

Utah town requires homes to have guns

VIRGIN, Utah This tiny southern Utah town has enacted an ordinance requiring a gun and ammunition in every home for residents' self-defense.
Most of Virgin's 350 residents already own firearms, so the initiative has lots of support, Mayor Jay Lee said.
Residents had expressed fear that their Second Amendment right to bear arms was under fire, so the town council modeled a similar measure passed by a Georgia city about 12 years ago.
The mentally ill, convicted felons, conscientious objectors and people who cannot afford to own a gun are exempt.

Study links pesticide to Parkinson's disease

New research using rats suggests that long-term exposure to a widely used pesticide kills brain cells and triggers debilitating physical symptoms associated with Parkinson's disease.
Scientists say the experiment's results strongly indicate what scientists have suspected for several years that the most common form of Parkinson's disease might result from toxins in the environment.
The new study, published in the December issue of Nature Neuroscience, does not prove that the pesticide used in the test, rotenone, causes Parkinson's in humans.
But scientists who reviewed the experiment said the results are powerful and should reinvigorate the search for environmental toxins that may contribute to Parkinson's, the most common neurological disorder after Alzheimer's.

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