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Question of the Day
Cabbie sentenced for terror training
A D.C. cabdriver who admitted that he attended terrorism training camps in Pakistan in 2002 was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Mahmud Faruq Brent Al Mutazzim was portrayed as eager to serve a terrorist group, even if it meant attacking the United States.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said the sentence is "on the low side" of sentences for terrorism defendants but is the maximum available under the charge.
Defense attorney Hassen Ibn Abdellah called Brent a hardworking family man who might have been "naive, young, impressionable" when he went to the camp in 2002.
Brent, who was born in Akron, Ohio, and recently lived in Baltimore County, waved and smiled to family and friends in court but declined to speak before he was sentenced.
The judge said Brent went to Pakistan in 2002 to receive terrorist training from Lashkar-e-Taiba, which the U.S. designated a terrorist organization in 2001. His crime involved receiving the training and "then returning home to await his opportunity to put his training into action," Judge Preska said.
Brent was arrested in August 2005 in a case that ensnared a Florida doctor, Rafiq Abdus Sabir; New York musician Tarik Shah and New York bookstore owner Abdulrahman Farhane. Sabir was convicted of supporting a terrorist organization; Shah and Farhane pleaded guilty.
Judge sets damages in attack on USS Cole
A federal judge yesterday ordered Sudan to pay nearly $8 million to the families of 17 sailors killed in the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole.
The families had sought $105 million, but U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar, in Norfolk, ordered the African country to pay $7.96 million.
Judge Doumar applied the Death on the High Seas Act, which permits compensation for economic losses but not for pain and suffering.
"It is depressing to realize that a country organized on a religious basis with religious rule of law could and would execute its power for purposes which most countries would find intolerable and loathsome," the judge wrote in his ruling. "It is a further tragedy that the laws of the United States, in this instance, provide no remedy for the psychological and emotional losses suffered by the survivors."
The families accused Sudan's government of providing support, including money and training, that allowed al Qaeda to attack the destroyer while it was in the harbor of Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000. In March, Judge Doumar found the country liable for the attack on the Navy destroyer, which has been repaired. His ruling yesterday reaffirmed those findings.
Sudan sought unsuccessfully to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds that too much time had passed between the bombing and the filing in 2004. Lawyers representing the Sudanese government did not offer opening statements or closing arguments or question witnesses.
An attorney for the families has said it would be up to the attorneys to collect damages from Sudan's assets that have been frozen in the United States.
Funds approved for local road projects
The Virginia House approved funding for several transportation projects in the Washington area.
The bill provides $3 million for improvements to the 14th Street bridge. The money will be used to build a merge lane from the bridge to the George Washington Parkway, said U.S. Rep. James P. Moran, Virginia Democrat.
About $500,000 in federal funds will go to Arlington County to implement a new traffic monitoring system along major roads to help reroute traffic in an emergency.
Metro will receive $400,000 for safety enhancements, including cameras on buses.
Tech to dedicate memorial Aug. 19
Virginia Tech plans to dedicate the memorial for the victims of the April 16 shooting the day before the new school year begins.
President Charles W. Steger will dedicate the new memorial site at noon Aug. 19, the school announced.
Last month, the school announced it would construct a permanent memorial to replace the temporary one put up in the days after the shooting.
The memorial consists of 32 stones etched with the names of each student and teacher killed placed in an arc formation in front of the Drillfield viewing stand near Burruss Hall. It will be surrounded by a walking path.
Construction began last month and will be completed by mid-August.
Sixth victim dies after fiery crash
A sixth person died yesterday from injuries he suffered Tuesday in a fiery crash on U.S. Route 58, police said yesterday.
The victim was a boy who was pulled to safety after the Honda he was riding in crossed the median and collided head-on with a truck, Suffolk police spokeswoman Lt. Debbie George said.
The other five victims were also in the Honda. The driver of the truck was in serious condition, and a passenger in the truck refused treatment at the scene, Lt. George said.
The car was going east when it crossed a 100-foot wide grassy median into the westbound lanes and collided with the truck, which was transporting a piece of heavy equipment. The truck came to rest on top of the car and both vehicles burst into flames.
Police have not released the identities of anyone involved in the crash.
Marshall Williams, 23, of Suffolk, was driving behind the truck and said he saw the Honda "acting squirrelly" before crossing the median.
38 guns seized from sex offender
Police confiscated 38 guns from the home of a convicted sex offender early Tuesday morning.
Orlando Yarborough, 61, a former karate instructor, was convicted of sexually abusing his students. The conviction makes it illegal for him to own a gun.
Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III said that two of Yarborough's guns were used in crimes in the city, and several other guns could not be accounted for.
The weapons included an Uzi submachine gun and a sawed-off shotgun.
Police said they learned about the cache from a tip given to the state attorney general's office.
Teacher charged with abusing student
A former Anne Arundel County teacher is charged with sexually abusing one of his students.
Christopher Thomas Newman, 31, a teacher at South River High School, is charged with sex abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sex offense. Authorities said the abuse happened in January and February when Mr. Newman was a county teacher.
School officials said he was removed from the classroom in March after the charges were filed.
The 16-year-old sophomore told her grandmother the story after she said Mr. Newman wrote sexually suggestive e-mails, reached inside her pants and kissed her in his classroom. Police also learned of the accusations from school administrators who learned of it from a friend of the student.
Teens sue police in beating while cuffed
Two teenagers who said they were beaten by police in Ocean City last summer after they were wrongly suspected of shoplifting have filed a $18.6 million lawsuit against the department.
Demar Leonard and Brandon Bisho, both 18, were standing outside a 7-Eleven last July when they said police officers approached them, thinking they were responsible for shoplifting from a CVS store a week earlier.
In their lawsuit, the teens said they were cuffed, beaten and choked by the officers, and that they were approached simply for being young black males.
Police charging documents of the incident said Mr. Leonard and Mr. Bishop antagonized police, shouting profanity and taunting the officers. An internal investigation by the police department revealed no wrongdoing by the officers.
Courthouse project overruns budget
The Washington County Commissioners had to raid the capital budget to cover cost overruns in the county courthouse renovation project.
The commissioners approved the transfer of $535,000 on Tuesday to cover the cost of delays. County special projects director Gary Rohrer said he may have to ask for even more money.
The work has already been delayed 18 months and exceeded the original $4.6 million cost estimate by more than $2 million. The project is now expected to be finished in February.
Inmates to build affordable homes
The Cumberland Housing Authority plans to use prison labor to build houses for low- and moderate-income families.
Plans call for three-bedroom modular homes to be built on former playgrounds.
Inmates would build the houses as part of a job training program at the Federal Correctional Institution.
Officials said the first houses can be finished before winter and will sell for less than $100,000.
Communications cut during road repairs
More than 6,000 homes and businesses lost phone and Internet service after a contractor cut communications lines yesterday.
Verizon spokeswoman Sandy Arnette said two telephone cables and two fiber-optic trunks were cut — three of them completely.
It could take days to repair the phone lines but the fiber-optic lines were repaired last night.
They were damaged by a contractor working on Route 450. Miss Arnette said 6,300 customers were affected.
From wire dispatches and staff reports
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