- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 17, 2005

ARIZONA

Agents arrest, ID MS-13 member

NOGALES — U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona arrested a suspected member of the violent Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, gang over the weekend during the apprehension of more than a dozen illegal aliens in the desert about 40 miles west of here.

Border Patrol spokeswoman Ernestine Fobbs said Omar Nunez-Jairo, 29, a native of Honduras, was identified by agents through the agency’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System as a member of the MS-13 gang.

Mr. Nunez-Jairo was apprehended Saturday morning by members of the Border Patrol’s Search Trauma and Rescue team after he and other illegals were spotted by a Border Patrol Air Operations helicopter. He was among 17 illegals taken into custody.

Miss Fobbs said MS-13 members, about 20,000 of whom are believed to be in the United States, have been known to be involved with all aspects of criminal activity, including drug trafficking and murder. She said Mr. Nunez-Jairo has an arrest history in the United States for crimes ranging from criminal mischief to malicious wounding and acts of violence by a mob.

ARKANSAS

Trial opens in suit over airport defects

LITTLE ROCK — Jury selection began yesterday in a federal lawsuit claiming a deadly American Airlines crash was caused in part by the unsafe layout of the Little Rock airport, with approach lights dangerously close to the runway.

The lawsuit was filed by the widow of Capt. Richard Buschmann, who was among 11 persons who died June 1, 1999, when he attempted to land Flight 1420 from Dallas in a severe thunderstorm. The MD-82 hit a structure with approach lights at the end of the runway with such force that the plane broke in half and caught fire. In addition to the dead, 110 of the 145 passengers were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on the pilots’ decision to land in such conditions and said their failure to set wing panels that would have helped slow the plane on the slick runway caused the crash.

FLORIDA

Jury selection starts in aiding-terror trial

TAMPA — One potential juror was dismissed after he mentioned September 11 and another when she said she has a bias, as jury selection began yesterday in the trial of a former state university professor who is charged with aiding a Palestinian terrorist group.

Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida computer scientist, and three co-defendants are charged with raising money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which is on a State Department list of terrorist organizations.

Attorneys for Mr. Al-Arian and the federal public defender’s office, which represents co-defendant Hatim Naji Fariz, claim the jury pool has been tainted by politics and media coverage and asked U.S. District Judge James Moody to move the trial out of Florida. But he said he will wait until potential jurors have been questioned before making a decision.

ILLINOIS

Mother charged in hanging of son

CHICAGO — A woman was charged with first-degree murder yesterday for reportedly hanging her 4-year-old son to death by wrapping a sheet from a bunk bed around his neck, authorities said.

Nicole Harris, 23, is accused of killing Jaquari Dancy on Saturday after becoming angry at him for disobeying her orders to not leave the house when she went to do laundry. She discovered the boy and his 5-year-old brother outside when she returned about 45 minutes later, then beat him with a belt and sent him to his room, prosecutors said.

When he would not stop crying, she wrapped a sheet from the a bunk bed around his neck and hanged him, prosecutors said.

IOWA

Muffin wins space-food contest

AMES — Thinking of a muffin and cuppa joe on your way to Saturn?

Nutraffin, a spicy bite-sized muffin made from carrots, soy milk, peanut and wheat flour, is perfect for space travel.

A team of Oklahoma State University students designed the product to win a contest at the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center at Iowa State University.

The muffin is high in fiber, protein and essential vitamins and minerals required by astronauts. It has a high calorie content that provides an energy boost and is low in sodium and iron.

The Oklahoma State team will present Nutraffin to NASA scientists this fall.

MICHIGAN

Problems found in Albom columns

DETROIT — A review of more than 600 columns by Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom turned up no pattern of inaccuracies, but did find the best-selling author sometimes used quotes from other news outlets without credit, the paper reported yesterday.

The review — the results of which were printed on yesterday’s front page and two full pages inside — found that other Free Press columnists also have failed to give credit for quotes gathered by other news organizations. Carole Leigh Hutton, publisher and editor, said the problems reflect a lack of familiarity with the paper’s rules on attribution. She pledged to take steps to address them.

The investigation was prompted by an April 3 column in which Mr. Albom wrote that former Michigan State players Mateen Cleaves and Jason Richardson, who now play in the NBA, attended the April 2 Michigan State-North Carolina NCAA basketball game. In fact, neither player was at the game. The column was written in advance of the event.

The paper previously has said Mr. Albom, host of a nationally syndicated radio show and author of the best-selling books “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” and four other employees were disciplined but did not say what action was taken.

MISSISSIPPI

Agency predicts many hurricanes

BAY ST. LOUIS — The East and Gulf coasts can expect another hurricane season that’s worse than average, the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said yesterday.

The Atlantic will have 12 to 15 tropical storms, seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major, with sustained winds of at least 111 mph, Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr. said.

It’s too early to predict where they might hit, he said at a conference starting hurricane-awareness week.

The hurricane season begins June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

Mr. Lautenbacher said the eastern and central Pacific are expected to have a lighter-than-normal season. The eastern Pacific can expect 11 to 15 tropical storms, six to eight of them becoming hurricanes, and two to four of them major, Mr. Lautenbacher said.

NEBRASKA

Deer enters, ‘shops’ at Wal-Mart store

NORFOLK — So exactly how do you stop a charging deer in Wal-Mart? You take away its credit card.

Shoppers at the Wal-Mart here wish they would have thought of that. It would have been a whole lot easier.

A deer without a grocery list entered through the doors of the supermarket part of the store Thursday.

After doing a little looking around, the deer was tackled by a customer. Others of the human persuasion then tied the deer’s legs so it couldn’t kick, placed it in a shopping cart and pushed it outside.

Officials took the animal to nearby Ta-ha-zouka Park and released it.

NEW YORK

Reputed smuggler goes on trial

NEW YORK — The woman suspected of being behind a 1993 voyage that ended in the deaths of 10 Chinese illegal aliens in the waters off New York went on trial yesterday, accused of running a human-smuggling ring out of a Chinatown storefront.

Cheng Chui Ping, 56, known as “Big Sister Ping,” was “one of the most powerful and successful smugglers of aliens of our time,” federal prosecutor David Burns said.

Working out of a souvenir shop, she reportedly became a major “snakehead,” or immigrant smuggler. By early 1990s, authorities said, she had made tens of millions by smuggling thousands of immigrants, often on vessels like the Golden Venture.

Authorities claim she was a mastermind of the voyage of the rickety freighter that ran aground after completing a 16,000-mile trip to New York with 300 Chinese illegal aliens aboard. Ten died while trying to swim 200 yards to shore.

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