- The Washington Times - Friday, June 7, 2002

House rejects vote on ABM treaty

The House defeated a bid by Democrats yesterday to force a vote on President Bush's decision to withdraw from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty.

Representatives voted 254-169 to bar the challenge to Mr. Bush's plan to pull out of the treaty signed 30 years ago with the Soviet Union that bars deployment of national missile-defense systems. The withdrawal becomes effective June 13.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, pressed for a House vote on the treaty, saying Mr. Bush was overriding congressional powers and acting unilaterally to repeal the law.

Pro-life activist enters not-guilty plea

BUFFALO, N.Y. The pro-life activist accused of gunning down Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo abortionist, four years ago pleaded not guilty yesterday to murder.

A day after being returned from Europe in leg irons and chains, James Kopp, 47, appeared in state Supreme Court.

Mr. Kopp was captured in March 2001 after a 2½-year international manhunt. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court to violating a federal law against using deadly force to interfere with the right to abortion.

Judge fines Amish for traffic infractions

EBENSBURG, Pa. A judge fined 20 members of an Amish sect yesterday for refusing to put bright orange reflective triangles on their horse-drawn buggies, saying public safety overrides their religious objections.

The plain-dressing Swartzentruber Amish had complained that the garish symbols violate their beliefs.

Twenty members of the sect were hit with 27 fines of $95 each for failing to use the slow-moving-vehicle symbol.

One judge to hear all Boston church suits

BOSTON All civil cases against the Boston Archdiocese claiming sexual abuse by priests were assigned to a single judge yesterday, a move sought by lawyers on both sides.

The attorneys believe having one judge hear the cases which involve hundreds of plaintiffs will lead to more consistent rulings.

"I think it's superb," said Jeffrey Newman, an attorney with 48 pending lawsuits, and who was one of three lawyers who filed a motion seeking the assignment of a single judge. "To me, it's the beginning of the end."

Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney will hear the cases. She has been overseeing 86 lawsuits against defrocked priest John Geoghan, who is serving a 9-to-10-year sentence on a molestation conviction.

Crusader boosters fire back at Rumsfeld

A group of prominent retired U.S. warriors accused Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld yesterday of "madcap" misbranding of the Army's next-generation Crusader artillery gun to keep Congress from reversing his scrubbing of the $11 billion program.

"The Department of Defense cancellation of Crusader is a madcap, ill-conceived effort to junk a much-needed weapon system by misbranding it as 'Cold War' and not in vogue with transformation," three Army boosters said in a statement.

Signing were retired four-star Army Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House National Drug Policy director from 1995 to 2001; David Maddox, a former commander in chief of the U.S. Army in Europe; and Joe Reeder, a former undersecretary of the Army.

Senate press gallery chief said to be retiring

Robert Petersen, director of the Senate Press Gallery since 1983, has told his staff he is retiring.

Officials in the Senate sergeant-at-arms' office said Mr. Petersen, 57, of Fairfax, is on administrative leave. Sources at the Capitol said there is an investigation into whether Mr. Petersen falsified his annual employee evaluation.

William Roberts of Bloomberg News, chairman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents at the Capitol, said Mr. Petersen's departure is a personnel matter.

"We are constrained not to discuss it publicly," Mr. Roberts said.

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