- - Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ARKANSAS

Doctor convicted in bomb attack

LITTLE ROCK | An Arkansas doctor accused of seeking revenge on a state medical board that repeatedly disciplined him was found guilty Monday of masterminding a homemade bomb attack that disfigured and partially blinded the board’s chairman.

A federal jury deliberated for a little more than two days before convicting Randeep Mann, 52, of using a weapon of mass destruction and destroying a vehicle with an explosive in the February 2009 attack that nearly killed Dr. Trent Pierce.

Mann, a federal firearms dealer, also was convicted of illegally possessing 98 grenades and a machine gun. He was acquitted of illegally possessing a shotgun.

He faces up to life in prison for the weapon-of-mass-destruction charge when he is sentenced at a later date.

CALIFORNIA

Bell officials subpoenaed over pay records

LOS ANGELES | California’s attorney general subpoenaed nine current and past Bell, Calif., city officials Monday, ordering them to turn over their financial records and undergo questioning under oath in a widening investigation into a salary scandal.

“When city employees of a tiny suburb of L.A. make as much as or nearly double the salary of the president of the United States, things are out of control,” Attorney General Jerry Brown said.

Mr. Brown’s office ordered the officials to turn over records related to their pay and pension benefits, gifts they received or gave, tax returns, bank accounts and outside business interests.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Nearly 400,000 Hondas recalled

Honda Motor Co. is recalling the popular Accord and Civic passenger cars to address problems with an ignition switch that could allow the key to be removed without the transmission being shifted into park, its third recall over the problem since 2003.

Honda said the most recent recall involved 384,220 vehicles and includes 2003 model year Accord and Civics and 2003-2004 versions of the Honda Element. Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the defect with the automatic transmissions could lead to a vehicle rolling away and increase the risk of a crash.

The Japanese automaker said in a statement the recall would involve about 197,000 Accords, 117,000 Civics and 69,000 Elements.

The company said it has received several complaints about the ignition interlock and “is aware of a small number of related incidents, including one that resulted in a minor injury.”

The three related recalls have involved about 1.4 million vehicles since 2003.

HAWAII

Man convicted of selling China secrets

HONOLULU | A federal jury on Monday convicted a former B-2 stealth bomber engineer of selling military secrets to China.

Noshir Gowadia was convicted on 14 counts, including conspiracy, violating the arms export-control act and money laundering. He was found not guilty on three counts of communicating national defense information.

Gowadia, who has been in federal custody since October 2005, faces life in prison when he is sentenced in November.

Prosecutors accused Gowadia of helping China design a stealth cruise missile. They alleged he pocketed $110,000 over two years for his exhaust-nozzle design.

Defense attorneys said they plan to appeal.

MASSACHUSETTS

‘Peak oil’ theorist dies of heart attack

BOSTON | Matthew Simmons, who argued the world was rapidly approaching peak oil-production capacity and predicted that BP PLC would be driven bankrupt, died at his home in North Haven, Maine, the energy research group he founded said Monday.

He died suddenly Sunday, his Ocean Energy Institute said.

Mr. Simmons, 67, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, suffered a heart attack while in a hot tub, local media reported, citing the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.

In his 2005 book “Twilight in the Desert,” Mr. Simmons argued that Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves were nearing the highest levels of production they were capable of achieving, after which point the world’s yearly oil supply would begin to decline.

While Mr. Simmons’ views on peak oil were regarded as somewhat controversial, he drew even more attention for a June 9 interview with Fortune magazine, in which he predicted BP had “about a month before they declare Chapter 11” as the cleanup costs for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill mounted.

MINNESOTA

2 plead not guilty in Somali terror probe

ST. PAUL | Two Minnesota women have pleaded not guilty to federal charges of supporting a Somali terrorist group.

Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, both of Rochester, entered their pleas Monday in federal court.

The judge set a trial date of Oct. 12, but prosecutors told him that may change.

The two women were among 14 people named in indictments unsealed last week. They are accused of being part of a pipeline that routed money and fighters from the U.S. to the Somali insurgent faction al-Shabab.

Attorneys for the women declined comment. About a dozen Somali women demonstrated outside the courthouse, saying the women were engaged in legitimate aid efforts for the poor in Somalia.

NEW YORK

Lennon’s killer up for parole again

BUFFALO | John Lennon’s killer will seek his freedom for a sixth time at a parole hearing this week.

A parole hearing for Mark David Chapman, 55, is scheduled at Attica Correctional Facility, the upstate New York prison where he has been held for nearly 30 years.

Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, said last week she continues to oppose Chapman’s release because he remains a potential threat.

Chapman has been denied parole five times, appearing before the board every two years since 2000. His next interview could take place as early as Tuesday, Division of Parole spokesman Marc Violette said. He could not be more specific, he said, because Chapman is one of dozens of parolees with interviews scheduled for this week, and it is not known when the two-member panel will get to his.

The former maintenance man from Hawaii is serving a sentence of 20 years to life for shooting Lennon four times outside the ex-Beatle’s Manhattan apartment building Dec. 8, 1980. He pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.

Lennon would have turned 70 in October.

TEXAS

Cop hurt while in Obama motorcade

DALLAS | A Dallas police officer suffered minor injuries when his motorcycle crashed as he led President Obama’s motorcade, police said.

A police statement said the crash happened about 4 p.m. Monday at an intersection as Mr. Obama’s motorcade was heading to a Democratic Party fundraiser.

Police Chief David Brown said Officer Mike Manis was taken to a hospital for a precautionary examination, but complained only of pain in his hand. Chief Brown said Officer Manis has been a motorcycle officer for about six months.

Witnesses said Officer Manis appeared to lose control of his motorcycle before flipping on a median.

In February 2008, a Dallas motorcycle officer died in a crash while escorting then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s motorcade.

VIRGINIA

Attacks probed for ties to serial killer

LEESBURG | Police in Virginia said Monday they think a serial killer who stabbed five people to death and wounded 10 others in Michigan was responsible for three attacks in Northern Virginia, and all of the attacks have almost exclusively targeted black men.

Leesburg Chief of Police Joseph R. Price said he was confident, though not certain, that a white man was responsible for two stabbings and a hammer attack in his town in the last week, as well as the Michigan slayings.

The Leesburg victims were two black men and a Hispanic teen with a dark complexion. In Michigan, all but two of the 15 victims were black.

Police in Toledo, Ohio, are also investigating whether a stabbing Saturday that critically injured a church janitor, a black man, could be linked to the serial stabber.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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