- The Washington Times - Monday, February 12, 2001

Confederate flag retired in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. The Confederate battle flag that has flown at the Florida Capitol since 1978 has been removed.

The flag was retired quietly Feb. 2, in contrast to the uproar in other states over the Confederate flag, which some say symbolizes Southern heritage but others contend represents slavery.

"The governor believes that most Floridians would agree that the symbols of Florida's past should not be displayed in a manner that may divide Floridians today," Gov. Jeb Bush's spokeswoman, Katie Baur, said in a statement.

Last month, the Georgia Legislature approved a new state flag that is dominated by a gold state seal. The previous flag included the Confederate emblem.

In July, South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its Statehouse after pressure from a boycott led by the NAACP.

The Florida Museum of History will now house the removed flags, including the Confederate flag and three others commemorating the French, Spanish and British governments that once ruled the state.

Fugitive pleads guilty to murdering wife

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. A fugitive who was returned to the United States only after foreign aid was withheld from the Dominican Republic has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his wife.

Carlos Grullon, 37, admitted on Friday that on Oct. 26, 1991, he followed his wife, Yolina Camacho, to a hotel where she worked as a maid and shot her three times with her co-workers watching.

Grullon, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life. Sentencing was set for March 22.

Grullon was arrested in the Dominican Republic soon after the killing but was released on bail and disappeared.

Last year, Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman, New York Republican, unhappy with efforts to capture Grullon, put a hold on $6 million in aid to the Dominican Republic.

Hip replacements help elderly, study says

CHICAGO Healthy people age 80 and older can benefit significantly from having rickety joints replaced and may do just as well after surgery as younger patients, according to a Canadian study.

While decisions on who should get hip and knee replacements tend to be based on age, and most operations are done on patients younger than 80, the authors of the study say their findings suggest that such thinking should be revised.

"With increasing life expectancy and elective surgery improving the quality of life, age alone is not a factor that affects the outcome … and should not be a limiting factor," the authors wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Army sergeant killed in training exercise

FORT BENNING, Ga. An Army sergeant was killed when he was fired on at close range by a soldier who was mistakenly given live ammunition during a training exercise, officials said.

Sgt. Richard M. Robak Jr., 25, of Vona, Colo., died Friday after a soldier fired two rounds on him during routine "blank-fire" night training, Fort Benning spokeswoman Elsie Jackson said Saturday.

Military police ruled out criminal intent.

The Army post did not identify the soldier who fired on Sgt. Robak or release other details of the incident.

Tea canister in attack was really cardboard

MIAMI Police have acknowledged that the tea canister Mayor Joe Carollo reputedly threw at his wife during an argument was cardboard, not the hard pottery they originally reported.

Mr. Carollo was charged with one count of misdemeanor simple battery for reportedly injuring his wife, Maria Ledon Carollo, and spent a night in jail. His attorney has said the golf-ball size lump on her head was caused by an accident but won't elaborate.

Police initially said that a tea canister seized by investigators when Mr. Carollo was arrested Wednesday was made of terra cotta. Mr. Carollo disputed that description Friday, and later the Police Department agreed.

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