- The Washington Times - Monday, June 17, 2002

Southern Baptist leader says Islam no foe
PLANO, Texas The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who defended a pastor's characterization of Islam founder Muhammad as a "demon-possessed pedophile," told his church congregation yesterday that the denomination isn't battling Islam.
"Our enemy is Satan, not any other religion," the Rev. Jack Graham said. "Our issue in life is not Muhammad or any other religious leader; it's Jesus Christ."
Mr. Graham was named last week to a one-year term as the leader of the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

NASA mission to probe comet
In a mission that could help defend Earth against catastrophic impacts with matter from deep space, NASA scientists are to make their most ambitious attempt to investigate a comet.
An unmanned space probe will blast off next month and try to take the first samples of material from a comet's core, affording scientists a greater understanding of the mysteries of the mountain-sized chunks of primordial matter.
The probe, called Contour, will come within 50 miles of the core of Encke, a comet that orbits the sun between Jupiter and Mercury.

Endeavour aims for touchdown today
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Despite rain in the forecast, space shuttle Endeavour aimed for a touchdown today to end a six-plus-month voyage for the returning crew of the International Space Station.
It was a quiet Father's Day in orbit for record-setting American astronauts Carl Walz and Daniel Bursch and their Russian commander, Yuri Onufrienko. Here on Earth they have nine children among them, ranging in age from 3 to 20.
"The best Father's Day gift we can get would be an on-time landing at Kennedy Space Center," Mr. Walz said yesterday.

Arab elected Presbyterian moderator
COLUMBUS, Ohio An Arab born to Palestinian parents in Israel began his duties yesterday as moderator of the 2.5-million-member U.S. Presbyterian Church, one of the largest Protestant churches in America.
The Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel, 58, a naturalized American from Atlanta, was elected presiding officer of the world's largest Presbyterian denomination Saturday night in the opening session of the church's 214th annual General Assembly. Mr. Abu-Akel, founder and director of the Atlanta Ministry with International Students, received 57 percent of the votes from the assembly delegates.

Swiss banks face lawsuit over apartheid
A U.S. attorney plans today to present a class-action lawsuit in the United States against Switzerland's two biggest banks on behalf of victims of South Africa's former apartheid regime, the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung said yesterday.
Attorney Ed Fagan, who played a key role in compensation claims against Swiss banks by Holocaust survivors, will initiate the lawsuit with a court in Manhattan, his partner in Switzerland, Norbert Gschwend, confirmed to Agence France-Presse.
It demands payments from UBS and Credit Suisse banks of at least 80 billion Swiss francs ($51.3 billion).

Como's cachet drives prices high at auction
An auction of singer Perry Como's estate drew 2,100 bidders 1,800 via the Internet and rang up $700,000 in sales for items including jewelry, household decor, memorabilia and even the singer's trademark sweaters, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
During the auction held May 30 through June 2, Dawson's, an auction house and appraising firm in Morris Plains, N.J., sold a white cotton sweater for $2,000; a 19th-century oil painting by Fred Hall of a goose, golden egg and country cottage for $18,000; and a necklace with gold-album charms of Mr. Como's hit recordings belonging to Roselle, the singer's wife, for $2,000.


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