- - Friday, January 15, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Top cop sues e-cigarette maker

SACRAMENTO — California’s attorney general is seeking to halt the sale of one company’s electronic cigarettes in the state, saying they contain dangerous chemicals and are being marketed to children.

State Attorney General Jerry Brown filed suit Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court against Florida-based Smoking Everywhere Inc., a leading manufacturer of e-cigarettes.

Mr. Brown said the company has no evidence to back up claims their product is safe.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Metro chief to retire in April

Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. on Thursday announced that he is stepping down.

The transit agency said Mr. Catoe informed Metro’s board of directors of his decision Thursday. His last day will be April 2.

Mr. Catoe said his retirement after three years at the helm would let Metro “move beyond the current distractions.”

D.C. Council Member Jim Graham, who chairs the Metro board, said the board regrets Mr. Catoe’s decision and he continues to have the board’s “full confidence.”

Mr. Catoe’s announcement comes after a series of accidents, including the most deadly in Metro’s history. The June 22 Red Line crash killed nine people.

ILLINOIS

2 men indicted on terror charge

CHICAGO — Two Chicago men were indicted Thursday on charges they planned a violent attack on a Danish newspaper and helped lay the groundwork for the November 2008 terrorist rampage that killed 166 people in the Indian city of Mumbai.

David Coleman Headley and businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana were named in a 12-count superseding indictment that for the first time alleged Mr. Rana was in on the planning of the attacks by a team of 10 terrorists.

Mr. Headley, 49, an American citizen, and Mr. Rana, 49, a Canadian national who has been in business in Chicago for more than a dozen years, are both in federal custody in Chicago.

NEW JERSEY

Giants Stadium to be sold off

EAST RUTHERFORD — Want a piece of Giants Stadium? You won’t have to break out the power drill or chisel.

Everything from seats to pieces of turf to goal posts are being sold as the 34-year-old stadium nears demolition.

The sale is being run by Steiner Sports, the company that also is selling memorabilia from the old Yankee Stadium.

A pair of seats is priced at $499.99, while a piece of turf will go for $29.99. Proceeds will go to the corporation that’s building the new Giants Jets Stadium and tearing down the old one.

NEW YORK

Pendergrass dies of colon cancer

NEW YORK — R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass, who was one of the most electric and successful figures in music until a car crash 28 years ago left him in a wheelchair, died Wednesday of colon cancer. He was 59.

Mr. Pendergrass died in suburban Philadelphia, where he had been hospitalized for months.

The singer’s son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago and had “a difficult recovery.”

NORTH CAROLINA

Marijuana found in buried bus

KINSTON — An undercover drug buy led North Carolina detectives to an underground marijuana garden in a buried school bus.

Multiple media outlets reported Thursday the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for the source of the marijuana for three years and had been flying over the area with a helicopter.

Then sheriff’s narcotics officers bought several pounds of pot in a recent undercover buy. Sgt. Eddie Eubanks said officers traced the pot to a rural residence.

A search dog fell through a camouflaged trap door leading down to a full-length school bus buried 8 feet under a backyard tool shed.

Deputies seized 68 plants, each 4 feet tall and weighing about 35 pounds. Sgt. Eubanks said the plants were worth about $40,000.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-inspector charged in child-sex sting

STROUDSBURG — A former U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq is facing child-sex charges.

Scott Ritter of Delmar, N.Y., is charged in Pennsylvania with unlawful sexual contact with a minor for alleged online exchanges with police posing as a 15-year-old girl. The Pocono Record first reported the case Thursday.

Monroe County authorities said they traced the exchange through his cell-phone number. Police said Mr. Ritter gave them a video of him masturbating during an Internet chat.

TENNESSEE

Man pleads guilty in plot to kill Obama

JACKSON — An Arkansas man pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he plotted to kill then-Sen. Barack Obama and dozens of other black people in 2008.

Paul Schlesselman, 19, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of conspiracy, one count of threatening to kill and harm a presidential candidate and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in April.

A co-defendant, Daniel Cowart, 21, of Bells, Tenn., remains in custody. They were arrested in October 2008 and have been held without bond since.

From wire dispatches and staff reports