- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 19, 2002

Accused shoe bomber pleads not guilty

BOSTON A man purportedly trained by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network pleaded not guilty yesterday to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with bombs hidden in his shoes.

Richard C. Reid, a 28-year-old British citizen, shuffled into a federal courtroom in shackles and answered "not guilty" to eight charges, including the attempted murder of 197 passengers and crew members aboard an American Airlines flight last month. A judge also entered, on behalf of the accused, a plea of innocence to a ninth charge.

Reid was initially charged with interfering with a flight crew. New charges issued this week accuse him of having trained in Afghanistan and of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

States suing Enron and eyeing Andersen

With the Enron collapse wiping out at least $1 billion from the retirement funds of teachers, firefighters and other public employees, states are joining a class-action lawsuit to win back some money from the former energy-trading giant.

Several other states are examining their ties to accounting firm Arthur Andersen, or weighing legal action against it. Florida has already filed subpoenas for a potential civil lawsuit.

Attorneys general in Georgia, Ohio and Washington state have asked a federal court in Texas to make them the lead plaintiffs in existing investors' securities-fraud litigation. Others seeking to lead the class-action suit include agencies overseeing pension funds in Florida and New York City and the university pension fund in California.

Losses in each state accounted for just a fraction of a percent of each retirement fund's value.

Sen. Clinton to help Enron employees

NEW YORK Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said yesterday she would donate her campaign contributions from Enron to a charitable fund being set up to help employees of the failed energy giant.

She joins a growing list of lawmakers unloading Enron Corp. contributions as questions arise about the company's collapse. Sen. Clinton received $950 from Enron employees during her Senate campaign, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.

She said she would also donate any contributions she received from Enron's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen.

Democrats give final OK to earlier primary

Democrats will protect Iowa's and New Hampshire's leadoff positions in the presidential-selection process while speeding up the primary calendar for 2004, allowing other states to move contests to early February.

The changes were approved by the Democratic National Committee's rules panel despite Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer's request to "end the unfair monopoly Iowa and New Hampshire have" on the presidential-selection process.

Suspect arrested in school shooting

NEW YORK A teen-ager was arrested early yesterday in the wounding of two students at a city high school earlier this week, the first such shooting in more than seven years.

Vincent Rodriguez was taken into custody at his Upper West Side home about 3 a.m., police spokesman Sgt. Ralph Carone said. Charges against him were pending.

Mr. Rodriguez, who turned 18 yesterday, apparently shot the two because they had teased his girlfriend, police said.

Safety questions hit anthrax program

There is a new problem with the Pentagon's troubled program to protect military forces from the deadly anthrax virus: Pregnant women have mistakenly been given anthrax vaccinations that may cause birth defects.

The Defense Department has ordered military health workers to come up with new plans for avoiding such mistakes after learning of the study by the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

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