- The Washington Times - Friday, February 22, 2002

Ex-priest sentenced for molesting boy

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. A former priest who became a central figure in a sex-abuse scandal that shook Boston's Catholic community was sentenced yesterday to the maximum of nine to 10 years in prison for fondling a 10-year-old boy at a swimming pool in 1991.

Former priest John Geoghan "hid behind his collar" and his position in the church to prey on young boys, Judge Sandra Hamlin said in announcing the sentence.

She said Geoghan's admissions of molesting other children and psychological evaluations citing his tendency to blame his victims showed he was not a candidate for rehabilitation.

Microbes survive extreme pressure

Two ordinary microbes survived under almost a quarter-million pounds of pressure in an experiment that suggested bacteria may thrive in extremes on Earth and in the solar system where life was thought impossible, researchers said.

Scientists at the Carnegie Institution squeezed the bacteria between the jaws of a diamond anvil at up to 17,000 times normal atmospheric pressure. It was the first time that scientists have demonstrated that common bacteria could adapt to such pressures and survive, said Anurag Sharma, first author of a study appearing today in the journal Science.

Revised GED has tougher questions

HARRISBURG, Pa. Test-takers tackling the GED face a new challenge a revised, tougher exam that its designers say is more reflective of what is taught in the nation's high schools.

The new General Educational Development test, in effect since Jan. 1, includes more graphs and charts, and questions about business documents such as memos and job applications. The science section includes questions about setting up experiments and analyzing their results. Test-takers also will be able to use calculators provided by the testing centers for part of the math test.

Cuomo takes money from HUD-related firms

ALBANY, N.Y. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo has accepted more than $200,000 in contributions to his campaign for governor from companies that did business with the federal agency.

At the same time, the Democrat has been criticizing his rivals Republican Gov. George E. Pataki and Democratic state Comptroller H. Carl McCall for taking campaign money from people doing business with the state.

Cuomo campaign manager Josh Isay said Mr. Cuomo showed no favoritism to the companies involved.

Officials report threat to Liberty Bell

PHILADELPHIA Federal authorities kept a close watch on the Liberty Bell yesterday after receiving a "nonspecific" threat that someone planned to attack it. It was not closed to tourists.

Security at the historic block that includes the Liberty Bell pavilion, Independence Hall and a federal courthouse, and the surrounding Old City neighborhood, was tightened after authorities issued a warning about the bell's safety on Wednesday.

The bell site opened for visitors as usual yesterday, and a handful of people lined up to enter.

Judge throws out Guantanamo challenge

LOS ANGELES A federal judge yesterday threw out the first legal challenge to the U.S. military's detention in Cuba of prisoners from the Afghanistan conflict.

Judge Howard Matz said he was rejecting the petition brought against President Bush and other defendants by a group of lawyers and clergymen because they had no relationship with the detainees.

The challenge, brought last month, claimed that Washington's incarceration of the Taliban and al Qaeda members violated the U.S. Constitution and international treaties.

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