- The Washington Times - Monday, August 12, 2002

Court reviewing death-penalty law
WILMINGTON Delaware's Supreme Court will review the state's death-penalty law to determine whether it is constitutional.
The review follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave the jury, not the judge, the power to impose the death penalty, overturning sentencing laws in five states.
The General Assembly rewrote Delaware's death-penalty law in the closing days of its session in June to ensure compliance with the high court ruling in the Ring vs. Arizona case.
A Superior Court judge in Wilmington asked the state's high court on Friday to decide whether the new law is constitutional.
Delaware's old law allowed juries to make a recommendation on death-penalty sentences but gave the judge the final say. The new law requires a unanimous jury vote to impose the death penalty.

CNN shrinking student news program
ATLANTA CNN is shrinking its commercial-free news program designed for school classrooms.
The daily "CNN Student News" show will be cut from 30 minutes to 10 minutes, effective Sept. 16.
As part of the changes, fewer than 10 of the more than 30 people who work for the company's Turner Learning Inc. unit will lose their jobs, the company said. CNN began telling those workers Friday.
Officials said the changes were designed to make "CNN Student News" more useful to teachers.
"One of the things we heard is 30 minutes is too much; teachers don't have that kind of time," Joy Rosen, who oversees business development for Turner Learning, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Cases of murine typhus reported in Maui
WAILUKU Two new cases of murine typhus have been confirmed on Maui, state health officials said.
That brings the statewide total of the flulike disease to eight cases, including seven on Maui. Maui had confirmed two cases last year.
Murine typhus is typically spread through a flea biting a rodent carrying Rickettsia typhi and then biting a person. Maui has been battling an explosion in the mouse population.

Governor wants to shrink laptop fund
AUGUSTA Maine is trying to scale back a $37.2 million laptops-for-students contract it had signed with Apple Computer Inc.
Gov. Angus King has proposed shrinking the state's laptop fund from $25 million to $15 million, and some lawmakers have suggested eliminating the computer fund outright to help remove a state budget deficit of $180 million.
The state's four-year contract with Apple calls for the delivery of 36,000 iBooks to seventh- and eighth-graders and their teachers at all of the state's public schools.
Attorney General Steven Rowe has said it would be legal but risky for the state to cancel the program. Mr. King said last week that Mr. Rowe's opinion may discourage lawmakers from trying to kill the program.

Flesh-eating bacterium kills fisherman
BOSTON A rare flesh-eating bacterium has been blamed for the death of a fisherman, state public health officials said.
Al Holt, 69, died Aug. 1 as a result of infection by Photobacterium damsela, which lives in fish. State officials said they could find only 17 cases of illness caused by the bacterium documented in U.S. medical literature.
Contracting the disease would require being gouged by an infected fish or by a hook that had been in an infected fish. Authorities and family members believe Mr. Holt had a cut on his hand that allowed the bacterium to infect him when he went fishing July 15.
The fast-moving infection destroyed tissue in his left arm by July 16, then spread to his major organs.

Law conducts Mass as part of celebration
CARTHAGE About 40,000 Vietnamese Catholics from nearly every state, as well as Vietnam and Canada, gathered here Saturday for a four-day religious celebration, which opened with a solemn procession through the streets led by Boston Cardinal Bernard Law.
Cardinal Law was given a warm reception at the annual Marian Days celebration, held on the grounds of the Congregation of the Mother Co-Redemptrix, a Vietnamese monastery.
An additional 20,000 people lined the Ozark town's streets to watch the four-block procession behind a float covered in flowers and bearing a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
Cardinal Law, a central figure in the sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, made no comments about it during a homily at Mass on Saturday evening.

Elephant recovering from tuberculosis
ALBUQUERQUE Irene was depressed. She ignored her paints and brushes; she stopped balancing tires on her head for fun; she was nauseated and ate dirt, and the only food that interested her was small cottonwood branches to control her upset stomach.
She lost 2,000 pounds.
But these days the 5-ton Asian elephant at the Rio Grande Zoo is feeling much better, after recovering from the side effects of medications for tuberculosis.
"It's been a very gratifying, satisfactory effort to see an enormous, incredible animal like this, whose life was really threatened by this infection, do so well," said Dr. Gary Simpson, medical director of the state Infectious Diseases Bureau.
In October 2000, Irene was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She was given massive doses of medications for over a year. The treatment ended in January, and now she's acting like herself again.
The 38-year-old elephant never showed symptoms of the disease but suffered from side effects of the drugs the same ones human TB patients take.

Rockettes facing open auditions
NEW YORK A dancers union says the current roster of Rockettes shouldn't be kicked out of Radio City Music Hall.
The corporate owner of the landmark concert venue wants to replace the standing roster of Rockettes with a system of open auditions. The dancers with the trademark high-leg kicks have been working without a contract since February.
Talks are scheduled to resume today, said John Hall, chief negotiator for the American Guild of Variety Artists.
The Rockettes' performances in New York could be jeopardized if an agreement isn't reached, Mr. Hall said.
Cablevision Systems Corp. has offered buyouts to dancers on Radio City's roster of 41 Rockettes. New productions would use open auditions, with at least half the slots filled by dancers from the show of the previous year.

Report: Pilot refuses to fly Israeli official
CINCINNATI A pilot for a Delta Air Lines subsidiary would not fly Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Melchior from Cincinnati to Toronto, citing a security risk, an Israeli radio station reported yesterday.
Mr. Melchior, who was being escorted by State Department officials, told Israel Radio that he waited on the plane Friday for more than an hour before the pilot evacuated it, saying the minister posed a security risk.
When Mr. Melchior disembarked, he said he was told he would not be allowed to get back on the plane.
He said he flew out on another Delta plane about a half-hour later. He has since returned to Israel.
The Israeli Embassy in Washington has taken the matter up with the State Department, Mr. Melchior said.

Six killed in crash on interstate
PURCELL A tractor-trailer carrying a cargo of peaches slammed into two cars on Saturday, killing six persons, including a family of five from Nebraska, police said.
The truck, traveling northbound on Interstate 35, hit a sport utility vehicle carrying the family, including three children and their parents, police said. It traveled 120 feet farther and hit a car, killing a female passenger from Tishomingo, police said.
Road construction had closed one of two northbound lanes. Police said the SUV and the car appeared to have slowed or stopped before the crash.

Weather improves for firefighters
GRANTS PASS Higher humidity and favorable wind yesterday assisted firefighters trying to corral the northern end of Oregon's largest wildfire in more than a century.
Wind out of the northeast helped firefighters set controlled fires during the night to remove fuel from the path of the 333,890-acre blaze.
The fire was burning about 16 miles from Brookings, a coastal city near the California state line, and about four miles from the tiny outpost of Wilderness Retreat, he said. It was about 25 percent contained, said Carol Tocco of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.
Elsewhere in the Northwest, a fast-moving fire just across the Columbia River Gorge near the small town of Murdock, Wash., was brought under control by yesterday morning, authorities said.
More than 6,000 firefighters were at the site of blaze, which covers more than 460 square miles in southwest Oregon and northern California.

Locals fight Smithsonian over rescue capsule
PITTSBURGH The rescue of nine men from a western Pennsylvania coal mine has set off a tug of war over the metal capsule that lifted the men to safety from 240 feet underground.
The Smithsonian Institution wants to add the grungy, yellow cage to its collection, although the federal agency that owns the capsule isn't ready to let go of it.
And now officials from a small mining history center in Somerset County, where the rescue took place, are putting in their own plea. Paul Douglas Newman, a history professor at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown, and some local officials are campaigning to get the capsule for the Windber Coal Heritage Center, near the Quecreek Mine where the men were trapped by rapidly rising water.
However, the 30-year-old capsule is owned by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, and agency officials say they can't part with it without a replacement.

Actor awarded honorary doctorate
COLUMBIA Mickey Rooney has an Oscar, an Emmy and now an honorary degree in fine arts.
Mr. Rooney, 82, was awarded the honorary doctorate during commencement on Saturday at the University of South Carolina.
The actor, writer, composer and musician said the ceremony was especially meaningful because of his strong belief in education.
Mr. Rooney, whose movie career began in the 1920s and includes appearances in about 300 films, graduated from Los Angeles' Fairfax High School and attended the University of Southern California.
For the past several years, Mr. Rooney and his wife, Jan, have been touring the country with their "One Man, One Wife" show of song, dance and nostalgia.

Voters to decide on hemp cultivation
ABERDEEN In addition to casting ballots for governor, House and Senate in November, South Dakota voters will be making a decision on a crop known as a close cousin to marijuana.
Initiated Measure 1 is aimed at changing state law to allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp on the state's farms. However, hemp cultivation still violates federal law.
The organization behind the hemp initiative, the Washington, D.C.-based Vote Hemp, is pushing hard not only to persuade South Dakota voters to OK hemp farming, but also to press the state's top politicians to take a stand on the issue.
Republican Gov. Bill Janklow, who's running for House, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Abbott are the only ones taking a stand both are against hemp farming.
Mr. Janklow is against hemp farming because the plant's appearance is almost identical to marijuana's.

Wagoner, Carlisle to join Hall of Fame
NASHVILLE Porter Wagoner, 74, and Bill Carlisle, 91, will be joining country music's most elite club the Country Music Hall of Fame.
They got the word from the Dixie Chicks on Saturday during the "Grand Ole Opry" radio show.
"You guys are going to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame," Dixie Chick Martie Maguire told them on the air. "What an honor."
The Nov. 6 induction will be part of the Country Music Association Awards, broadcast live on CBS. Hall of Fame members are selected by a committee of the CMA, a trade organization that promotes country music.
Mr. Carlisle's hits include "Too Old to Cut the Mustard" and "Is Zat You, Myrtle." Mr. Wagoner's hits include "A Satisfied Mind" and "The Carroll County Accident."

Mexico seeks clemency for condemned killer
HOUSTON Mexico is seeking clemency for one of its citizens scheduled to be executed in Texas on Wednesday, contending the Mexican consulate wasn't notified before charges were filed.
Similar protests in 1993 and 1997 on behalf of Mexican citizens on Texas' death row including a convicted police killer failed.
Javier Suarez Medina, 33, convicted of the Dec. 13, 1988, shooting death of a Dallas undercover narcotics officer, would be the fifth Mexican citizen executed since Texas reinstated the death penalty in 1982. A total of 276 inmates have been executed.
The Mexican government has written to Gov. Rick Perry and spoken with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell requesting clemency in Suarez's case.
"It is very clear that he committed a crime and he must pay for it, but we don't believe in the death penalty," Mexican Consulate spokesman Marco Nunez said Friday.

Trade show offers high-tech camping gear
SALT LAKE CITY There's nothing like the smell of a wet dog inside your tent to put a damper on the wilderness experience. And boy, wouldn't a hot shower be nice on a long camping trip.
Solutions to the problems of the otherwise simple life can be found at the 21st annual Outdoor Retailer show, where 843 manufacturers this weekend pitched everything from soft Gore-Tex jacket shells to fix-anything hand tools and a $3,000, all-wheel-drive mountain bike.
Zodiac Outback Gear of Park City displayed every camper's dream a compact propane burner, priced $139, that can heat shower water in 10 seconds. A tiny battery-operated pump delivers the 100-degree water through a hose.
Greg Kennedy of Gearheads in Moab pitched a multicolor, LED bulb glow stick for $25.

Murder trial begins in serial killings
TACOMA Robert Lee Yates, who has admitted murdering 13 persons, is fighting for his life as he goes to trial for two additional killings.
A final round of jury selection is scheduled today in his trial on aggravated murder charges that could bring him the death penalty.
Yates, 50, has confessed to 13 murders dating to 1975. Ten of the dead were Spokane-area women involved in drugs and/or prostitution who disappeared from 1996 to 98. The other three were a couple and a woman killed elsewhere in the state.
In exchange for a guilty plea two years ago, Yates was sentenced to 408 years in prison rather than the death penalty.
But Pierce County prosecutors refused to sign off on the plea bargain. Former prosecutor John Ladenburg was "adamantly opposed" to allowing Yates to bargain away the death penalty. Yates has been behind bars since.

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