- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 27, 2003

President pays tribute to journalists
In a solemn address to a gathering of the capital's most influential journalists and their guests, President Bush paid tribute yesterday to reporters who died covering the war in Iraq.
"Since we last gathered for this dinner we have lived through some extraordinary events. We have seen a dictator defy the world, and we have seen a coalition of free nations give its answer," the president told the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
At least 13 journalists from around the world died covering the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the ouster of its leader, Saddam Hussein.
In his address, Mr. Bush singled out two American reporters who died early this month in Iraq: Michael Kelly and David Bloom.
Mr. Bush praised Mr. Kelly, saying, "He wrote with integrity and moral conviction, never attempting to gain favor or to please the powerful."
Mr. Kelly, 46, editor-at-large for the Atlantic Monthly magazine, died April 3 near Baghdad when the vehicle in which he was riding ran into a canal.
The president called Mr. Bloom, a 39-year-old reporter for NBC News, the "perfect man to carry viewers along on the charge to Baghdad."
Mr. Bloom died April 6 from a blood clot while covering the war south of Baghdad.
Military investigates Marine who said he shot soldier
LAS VEGAS Military officials are investigating a Marine who says he shot an Iraqi soldier twice in the back of the head after a grenade attack on his comrades.
The Marine Forces Reserve announced the preliminary inquiry of Gunnery Sgt. Gus Covarrubias on Friday, the day the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an interview in which he described the killing.
Sgt. Covarrubias, 38, of Las Vegas, said that during an intense battle in Baghdad on April 8, he pursued a member of the Iraqi Republican Guard who fired a rocket-propelled grenade at his unit. Sgt. Covarrubias said he received a concussion in the attack and that several other Marines were also injured.
Sgt. Covarrubias, a 20-year Marine veteran, said he found the soldier inside a nearby home with the grenade launcher by his side. Sgt. Covarrubias said he ordered the man to stop and forced him to turn around.
"I went behind him and shot him in the back of the head. Twice," Sgt. Covarrubias told the Review-Journal.
He said he also shot the man's partner, who tried to escape. He showed what he said were the men's ID cards.
"I'm not vindictive, and I might get in trouble for telling you this, but I take it very personally when you do that to my family," Sgt. Covarrubias said. "The Marines are my family."
The Marine Forces Reserve said the preliminary inquiry by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service will determine whether Sgt. Covarrubias "met the established rules of engagement and complied with the law of war" and whether a formal investigation is warranted.
Heston too weak to give NRA speech
ORLANDO, Fla. Charlton Heston made his final appearance as president of the National Rifle Association yesterday, shuffling onto the stage before a crowd of 4,000 NRA members but being too weak to give a farewell speech.
The actor, diagnosed with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, was strong enough to raise an 1866 Winchester rifle over his head and deliver his trademark line, "from my cold, dead hands."
He received a standing ovation but spoke only three more sentences at the annual NRA meeting yesterday.
"Thank you for everything not only now, but for all the years," Mr. Heston said. "It has been a wonderful run. I'm going to miss you."
Mr. Heston, 78, was diagnosed last year with symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Two cruise lines to screen passengers
MIAMI Having a fever above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit and recently having visited Toronto could get you booted from Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruises under a new policy intended to stem the spread of SARS.
Both cruise lines said Friday that they would send home anyone who had been in Toronto in the past two weeks and had a fever or showed other symptoms of severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The cruise lines had banned passengers who had recently traveled to China, Singapore, Hong Kong or Vietnam. Toronto was included after the World Health Organization this week added the city to a list of places travelers should avoid because they are hot spots for SARS.

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