- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 7, 2001

Judge voids adoption in Internet case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. An Arkansas judge yesterday nullified the adoption of twin 8-month-old girls caught up in an international custody battle.

The girls were adopted in Arkansas on Dec. 22 by a British couple, setting off a dispute with an American couple who had also tried to adopt the children through the same Internet broker.

Pulaski County Probate Judge Mackie Pierce said neither the British couple nor the American birth mother, who put them up for adoption, met Arkansas' 30-day residency requirement. As a result, the Arkansas courts had no right to grant the adoption, Judge Pierce said.

Judge Pierce also recommended to British courts that the children return to the United States for further proceedings on who should get custody.

Terrorists change mind of death penalty foes

NEW YORK Americans view terrorism with such abhorrence that about a fifth of those who usually oppose the death penalty would support the execution of a defendant convicted in such an attack, a survey showed.

About 20 percent of the respondents surveyed by Los Angeles-based DecisionQuest, a jury and trial consulting firm, said they opposed the death penalty under all circumstances.

However, a significant number of those same participants said they would change their mind if a terrorist act was involved, particularly if the attack was both carried out by and killed Americans. Of these respondents, 24.5 percent said they would sentence to death an American who committed a murder through terrorism that killed people in the United States.

The results of the survey were released to Reuters yesterday.

Heroin seen spreading to U.S. suburbia

Heroin use is on an upsurge in the United States, especially along the East Coast, while use of the drug is spreading from inner cities into suburbs and even rural areas, law enforcement and health officials say.

"From 1998, we started seeing heroin starting to spread beyond the cities into the surrounding area, with some dealers setting up shop in apartments in the suburbs and smaller towns," said Erin Artigiani, coordinator of the Drugs Early Warning System at Maryland's Center for Substance Abuse Research.

A report from the Community Epidemiology Work Group at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued in December showed heroin growing in popularity in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Miami, Newark, N.J., Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis and New Orleans.

20th Century Fox loses legal battle on script

ANN ARBOR, Mich. A small Detroit publishing firm won a $19 million lawsuit against 20th Century Fox yesterday after a jury agreed the movie studio swindled the script for a hit Christmas movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Murray Hill Publications claimed in the lawsuit the script for the 1996 movie "Jingle All the Way" bore a remarkable resemblance to the screenplay "Could This Be Christmas?" written by high school teacher Brian Alan Webster.

In both, a boy draws a picture of an action figure he wants for Christmas and puts it on the refrigerator, where his father sees it, Mayer Morganroth, a lawyer for the publishing firm, said. The father visits a toy store to find the action figure, only to realize the hottest-selling gift of the season has long sold out.

Worker killed in movie-set accident

DOWNEY, Calif. A welder building sets for the movie "Spider-Man" was killed yesterday in a crane collapse.

The crane toppled onto a construction basket in which the welder was riding and struck him in the head, authorities said.

"There was a slight breeze this morning and that could have been a factor," Deputy Fire Marshal Robert Rowe said.

No filming was under way and no actors were on the uncompleted sets.

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