- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2003

CALIFORNIA

28 protesters arrested at Bechtel office

SAN FRANCISCO — Police arrested 28 persons yesterday for blocking the headquarters of construction giant Bechtel Group Inc. in downtown San Francisco to protest “corporate invasion of Iraq.”

The protest, which began early yesterday morning, remained peaceful, and Bechtel said none of its workers had experienced more than minor delays in getting into their offices.

About 200 protesters, organized by the group Direct Action to Stop the War, surrounded the Bechtel building to speak out against the construction company’s role in reconstructing Iraq.

Privately-held Bechtel last month won a contract worth up to $680 million to repair the country’s war-ravaged electricity and water systems and other key infrastructure.

INDIANA

University chooses its first black president

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana University trustees voted yesterday to name former Florida universities chief Adam W. Herbert as the school’s next president.

The unanimous vote made Mr. Herbert, 59, who is black, the first minority group member to oversee the system’s eight campuses and 98,000 students.

He replaces Myles Brand, who left in January to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

COLORADO

Mayors seek funds for homeland security

DENVER — Homeland security and the costs of providing it are most deeply felt in the nation’s cities, and mayors need help to meet those demands, the U.S. Conference of Mayors president said in advance of a weeklong meeting of city leaders.

More than 225 of the nation’s mayors are expected at the five-day U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting that was set to begin yesterday. The International Conference of Mayors, which includes 25 mayors from 19 nations and five continents, also will gather in Denver.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said cities need help paying a $2.6 billion tab for homeland security measures that were taken after the September 11 attacks.

CONNECTICUT

States sue EPA over list of pollutants

HARTFORD — Three states sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday to force the federal government to regulate the amount of carbon dioxide permitted in the air.

The lawsuit seeks to add carbon dioxide to the list of pollutants regulated under the Clean Air Act. The present list includes carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulates and sulfur oxides.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the EPA had failed to use its authority to protect the public.

FLORIDA

Terror suspect loses bid for immediate trial

TAMPA — A former professor accused of financing terrorism lost his bid yesterday for an immediate trial and could spend the next 18 months jailed before his case is heard.

Sami Al-Arian and three other men are accused in a 50-count indictment of being U.S. operatives of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and raising money for the group. They will not go to trial until January 2005, U.S. District Judge James Moody decided.

Lawyers for Al-Arian, a former computer engineering professor at the University of South Florida, had pushed for an immediate trial. But attorneys for his co-defendants wanted a delay so that they could wade through the massive amount of evidence gathered in the nine-year investigation of Al-Arian’s Islamic charity and academic think tank.

GEORGIA

Flu season milder Athan year ago

ATLANTA — Federal health experts yesterday described the 2002-2003 flu season in the country as mild, noting that deaths due to pneumonia and influenza are likely to have declined from last year.

Influenza, which is marked by respiratory inflammation, fever, muscular pain and intestinal tract irritation, kills about 20,000 Americans and requires 114,000 to be hospitalized every year.

MASSACHUSETTS

Firefighters paid overtime to pick up layoff checks

TAUNTON — The Taunton Fire Department was criticized for paying nine firefighters $1,400 in overtime to pick up layoff notices during the weekend.

They had to be picked up by midnight Saturday, officials said. Each were paid for four hours, the minimum required by contract.

Taunton has a $6.8 million budget deficit and is laying off 164 city workers July 1.

MINNESOTA

Fourth-grader collapses on field, dies

HASTINGS — A fourth-grader collapsed on an elementary school soccer field during a physical education class and died, apparently of natural causes.

Mitchell O’Brien, 10, collapsed Wednesday morning at Pinecrest Elementary School. The boy, who was administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation, was pronounced dead after paramedics took him to a nearby hospital.

He apparently died of natural causes, said Lindsey Thomas, chief of the Minnesota Regional Coroner’s Office.

MISSOURI

Guard convicted of misdemeanor assault

SPRINGFIELD — A former guard who stood on a jail roof and urinated on four inmates playing basketball below was convicted of misdemeanor assault Wednesday.

Justin Hastings, 23, faces a $300 fine and 15 days in jail on each of the four counts. But Judge Don Burrell delayed sentencing after a juror acknowledged reading articles about the trial. Judge Burrell gave lawyers 10 days to file briefs concerning the juror’s actions.

Charges against another guard were dropped after prosecutors said DNA evidence linked urine samples collected from the roof to Mr. Hastings. Both guards have resigned. Greene County also paid a total of $100,000 to the four inmates.

NEBRASKA

Inmate says DNA would prove innocence

LINCOLN — An attorney for a man sentenced to death for the murder that inspired the movie “Boys Don’t Cry” asked for DNA testing yesterday to prove his client’s innocence in the killing of a cross-dressing woman.

Death-row inmate John Lotter says that another man convicted in the crime, Marvin Nissen, had murdered Teena Brandon and two witnesses on New Year’s Eve 1993.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Escaped inmates caught in Massachusetts

CONCORD — A convicted killer and two other inmates who escaped from a New Hampshire prison by cutting through two fences were captured yesterday.

Authorities said the men offered no resistance. Investigators said the inmates apparently had outside help getting street clothes and transportation. The three inmates were identified as Kevin Gil, Philip J. Dick and Christopher McNeil.

NEW YORK

Haass named president of research group

NEW YORK — Richard N. Haass, director of policy planning at the State Department, will become president of the Council on Foreign Relations, the private research group announced yesterday.

Mr. Haass, 51, will take over July 1 from Leslie H. Gelb, who has served on the council for 10 years, council Chairman Peter G. Peterson said in a statement.

NORTH CAROLINA

Kidney recipient arrested on drug charges

FAYETTEVILLE — A teenager who made national headlines three years ago when he received a transplanted kidney from his science teacher was arrested on drug charges, with 10 others rounded up, in a raid.

Michael Carter was 14 and had renal disease when he received the kidney from Jane Smith, his science teacher at a Fayetteville middle school. She was awarded the National Kidney Foundation’s Gift of Life medal in 2000 for the organ donation.

Mr. Carter was charged Wednesday with maintaining a dwelling for drug activity and conspiracy to sell and deliver cocaine.

OHIO

Nonstarter getaway car foils foul play

CLEVELAND — Would-be bank robbers take notice: Keep your getaway car running.

After rifling the tellers’ drawers, a bank robber on Monday bolted to the waiting getaway car.

The car wouldn’t start.

The driver didn’t move, but the holdup man jumped out and tried to steal a car parked in the lot. When that failed, he ran into a home, where he tried to steal the keys to another car. Still no luck.

Then he ran to Interstate 90, where he tried to flag down cars and trucks. The only response he got was from the police.

“I don’t think we’re dealing with geniuses here,” one officer said.

OREGON

Cougar enters home after door is left ajar

BEND — When Linda Bertolani left her front door ajar for her Himalayan cat, she got another feline visitor: a full-grown cougar.

The cougar sneaked into her kitchen Sunday night and let out a high-pitched scream, Miss Bertolani said. He had her 16-year-old cat, Sebastian, in his mouth.

The cougar dropped Sebastian, ran from the house and vanished over a fence before the police and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife got there.

PENNSYLVANIA

Judge jailed for extorting money

PITTSBURGH — A county judge was sentenced yesterday to more than two years in federal prison for extorting money from a lawyer to pay off personal debts.

Joseph Jaffe, who has been removed from the Allegheny County bench, also was ordered to spend three years on probation and fined $5,000.

“Your actions left a stain on the fabric of the judicial system which will take years to clean,” U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose said in sentencing Jaffe to 27 months in prison. Jaffe pleaded guilty in March to extortion for soliciting $13,000 from attorney Joel Persky in return for granting Mr. Persky’s firm unfettered access to the judge.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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