- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Bush calls troops on Christmas Eve
President Bush made a round of Christmas Eve calls to American troops on the front lines in the war against terrorism, thanking them for their service and sacrifice, the White House said yesterday.
Mr. Bush called a total of nine soldiers, sailors and airmen to express "his gratitude for their service to the country," White House spokesman Jimmy Orr said. The troops were based in Pakistan, on ships in the Arabian Sea, and elsewhere.
"The president passed along his best wishes to the soldiers to let them know the country is thinking of them," Mr. Orr said. "These are Americans who are making great sacrifices during this holiday season."
Mr. Bush called the troops from the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland, where the first family was spending the Christmas holiday.

White supremacist denies anthrax charge
SEATTLE A white supremacist accused of mailing white powder and racist literature to a woman with a Chinese surname during the height of the anthrax scare was being held yesterday without bail.
Donald Bruce McAninch, 45, pleaded not guilty to federal charges of "threatened use of certain weapons of mass destruction," mail theft and mail fraud.
The pizza-delivery driver has served 21/2 years in prison for past mail-related crimes.
Prosecutors accuse him of mailing an envelope containing white powder to a woman with a Chinese surname because of her "actual or perceived" race. He also is accused of putting pornographic and racist material in people's mail.

Coast Guard returns 30 refugees to Cuba
MIAMI Thirty Cubans will spend Christmas back home on the communist-ruled island and not in Miami as they had hoped.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it had repatriated the group yesterday to Bahia de Cabanas, three days after the speedboat in which they were trying to reach the United States stalled 17 miles off the Florida coast.
The refugees was picked up by a Coast Guard cutter in rough seas. A suspect is in custody, accused of trying to smuggle the group into the United States.

Web rendezvous ends in rape, torture charges
IRVINE, Calif. A college sophomore is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl he met on the Internet and carving swastikas on her face, police said.
Brian Dance, 20, a student at the University of California at Irvine, was booked on charges of torture, rape by a foreign object and robbery. He was being held at the Orange County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. His arraignment is set for tomorrow.
Authorities say Mr. Dance met the 15-year-old girl in an online chat room and picked her up Thursday afternoon at an Orange County mall.

Fireman killed in double hit-and-run
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. An off-duty fireman was killed when he was struck by a driver who had dumped the body of a homeless woman along the side of the road, police said.
The driver apparently feared Peter Firehock, 48, a Delray Beach firefighter, had witnessed the dumping of Beth Nowell late Saturday, police said. Miss Nowell had been run down earlier, then moved to the spot, police said.
Mr. Firehock was bicycling with his dog, Pepper, when he was struck and killed instantly. A passer-by found Mr. Firehock just off a bike trail with the dog waiting next to his body.

Bullet leads to airport evacuation
DANIA BEACH, Fla. A bullet found outside a gate at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport prompted authorities to evacuate a busy concourse yesterday, delaying flights up to three hours.
A passenger discovered the small-caliber bullet at about 7:40 a.m. outside the gate leading to Spirit Airlines Flight 604 to New York's LaGuardia Airport, FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said.
The passenger alerted sheriff's deputies who were providing security at the airport.

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