- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 5, 2004

Mormon choir cancels trip over terror issues

SALT LAKE CITY — The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has canceled its planned tour of northern Europe next year because of concerns about terrorism and instead will tour the Northwest.

The 360-member choir was scheduled to make a summer tour by ship of Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland. However, Gordon B. Hinckley, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, decided the trip would make the group an easy target for terrorists.

Jackpot can’t save couple’s marriage

NEW YORK — Money — even $149 million — can’t buy you love.

Juan Rodriguez, who collected the windfall in the Mega Millions lottery last month, is now on the outs with his wife, the New York Post reported yesterday. Iris Rodriguez wants a divorce from her husband of 17 years, and she filed the paperwork just 10 days after Mr. Rodriguez bought the winning ticket Nov. 19.

Mrs. Rodriguez is seeking a portion of her husband’s huge lottery check, the Post said. Mr. Rodriguez, 49, opted to take his winnings in a single lump-sum payment of $88.5 million before taxes.

Eight migrants die after boat capsizes

MIAMI — Eight Dominican migrants died and 83 were rescued Friday after their overladen boat capsized in rough seas off Puerto Rico, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Four U.S. Coast Guard helicopters fished survivors from the water and brought them to shore. Two Coast Guard cutters diverted to the accident were kept away by reefs off Dorados, northwest of San Juan, said Petty Officer Ryan Doss.

Petty Officer Doss said the crowded “yola,” or small wooden boat, capsized in high seas as it was shadowed by a Coast Guard surveillance aircraft.

Lutheran congregation stripped of status

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — The Pacifica Lutheran Synod has revoked a San Bernardino mission’s congregational status because its pastor is in a committed lesbian relationship.

The decision to remove the Central City Lutheran Mission, an urban ministry that serves poor and homeless people, of its official recognition is the harshest punishment of a Lutheran congregation with a homosexual pastor in more than a decade.

“This is the first time in 14 years that any congregation or any pastor has been dealt with this harshly. We thought those days were over,” said the Rev. David Kalke, who leads the San Bernardino mission. “It appears conservatism has raised its ugly head here in Southern California, much to our surprise.”

Colombian cartel head transferred to U.S. jail

MIAMI — A founder of a Colombian drug cartel that became the world’s chief supplier of cocaine in the 1990s was transported to a Florida jail yesterday after he was extradited from Colombia.

Gilberto Rodriguez-Orejuela, 65, landed before dawn in a U.S. government plane and was driven to a downtown Miami jail. His first court appearance is set for tomorrow.

Rodriguez-Orejuela and his brother, Miguel, are charged with running a drug network responsible for producing 80 percent of the U.S. cocaine supply in the 1990s. The brothers have been jailed in Colombia for nearly a decade.

Eleven others also face charges in the conspiracy, but Rodriguez-Orejuela is the first defendant to be extradited to the United States. He faces life in prison if convicted.

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