- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 9, 2002

Retail-chain founder Dillard dies at 87

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. William T. Dillard Sr., who built one of the nation's largest retail chains out of a modest store he started during the Great Depression, died yesterday. He was 87.

Dillard's said its founder died at his Little Rock home.

Mr. Dillard was the chairman of Dillard's Inc., formerly known as Dillard Department Stores. The chain he started in 1938 with a 2,500-square-foot store in southwestern Arkansas now has nearly 350 stores in 30 states.

U.S. frees $25 million in Afghan assets

The Bush administration authorized yesterday the release of $25.5 million to cash-starved Afghanistan in assets frozen while the country was ruled by the Taliban militia.

The latest assets ordered unblocked belong to four government-owned banks, the Treasury Department said. Treasury identified the banks as Afghan Export Promotion Bank, Bank Millie Afghan and its subsidiaries, Afghan House and Afghan Trading.

Last month, the administration released assets now valued at $218 million belonging to the Afghan Central Bank.

House of lesbian couple gutted in arson case

MISSOULA, Mont. The house of a lesbian couple was set on fire yesterday, just days after the two had been named as lead plaintiffs in a discrimination lawsuit against the Montana University system.

Fire Marshal Bob Rajala said there was "no doubt whatsoever" that the blaze was intentionally set. The home was gutted.

Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff escaped the fire with their infant child through a window. They were not seriously injured.

Execution stopped by U.S. Supreme Court

ANGOLA, La. The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of a Louisiana inmate last night less than a half-hour before he was scheduled to die.

Warden Burl Cain told inmate Leslie Martin and witnesses that the justices had blocked the execution so they can consider whether to hear Martin's appeal.

"The prisoner was a little bit stunned, a little bit shocked," Mr. Cain said.

1,300 people threaten to sue New York City

From rescue workers who claim they have lung problems to business owners who claim their shops were damaged, 1,300 people have given notice they may sue the city for a total of $7.18 billion over the aftermath of the World Trade Center attack.

The claims involve injuries or damage caused not by the attack itself but by the purported negligence of the city during the recovery and cleanup.

The vast majority are from firefighters who say the city gave them inadequate respiratory protection at the smoldering trade center site.

OSHA: Forest Service disregarded safety

YAKIMA, Wash. The Forest Service willfully disregarded employee safety at a wildfire last summer in which four firefighters were killed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration said yesterday.

OSHA said the Forest Service did not provide a place of employment that was "free of recognized hazards that could cause serious harm or death."

The blaze, started by an abandoned campfire, blew up July 10, growing from 25 acres to 2,500 acres in less than three hours. Fourteen Forest Service firefighters and two campers were trapped by the inferno in the narrow Chewuch River Canyon in Washington state's Okanogan National Forest.

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