- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Separated twins leave hospital
LOS ANGELES Guatemalan twins born joined at the skull were released from the hospital yesterday to return to their homeland, five months after the girls were separated in a 23-hour surgery.
Maria Teresa and Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez are set to fly back to Guatemala City aboard a Federal Express business jet with their parents, Alba Leticia Alvarez, 23, and Wenceslao Quiej Lopez, 21.
The toddlers were separated Aug. 6. But their return home was delayed to give them time to recover from follow-up surgeries. A second delay came at the request of Guatemalan health authorities, who needed more time to prepare for their arrival.
The two girls still face additional surgeries to allow them to grow full heads of hair by stretching their scalps to eliminate the skin grafts.

Governor says victims' families 'misled'
CHICAGO Illinois Gov. George Ryan said yesterday, just before leaving office, that he may have "misled" the families of murder victims with his decision to reprieve 167 prisoners awaiting execution.
Mr. Ryan's decision, which was announced Saturday, set off a storm of criticism from the families of murder victims and from prosecutors, even as international statesmen saluted his move. President Bush also defended the use of the death penalty.
"I told the families [blanket clemency] was on the front burner, the back burner, that I wouldn't do it at all," he said before standing down yesterday. "I have probably misled them, certainly not intentionally. I apologize to those people."
The clemency was given to all 167 prisoners on Illinois' death row, a move unprecedented in scope in modern U.S. history.

Older teens beat up four young boys
ANCHORAGE Four young boys were assaulted while walking to a school bus stop last week, and the older teenagers who beat them up videotaped the incidents, police said.
Four males between the ages of 15 and 18 are suspected of taking part in the assaults, said police spokeswoman Marlene Lammers. All have been contacted by police. At least one of the suspects told police that he got the idea for the attacks from the television show "Jackass," Miss Lammers told the Anchorage Daily News.
According to the police report, Miss Lammers said the four teens, all wearing dark-colored clothing and ski masks, would approach the victim. One of the teens would shout military-type commands such as "Code Red" and "Attention" Two other teens would assault the victim and "whitewash" him meaning throw him in the snow.

Young hero honored as a cowboy
DENVER A 7-year-old boy considered to be a hero for helping to save his mother's life two months ago was honored as a rodeo cowboy after winning the Mutton Bustin' competition at the National Western Stock Show.
Titus Adams bested six other riders his age by clinging to the back of a bucking sheep for the longest time at the annual event Sunday. Titus was awarded with a custom-made saddle and bridle, a gold and silver belt buckle and the Colorado State Patrol's Award of Excellence.
In November, Titus was praised for running for help through a snowy field in his pajamas after his mother was seriously hurt when their pickup truck crashed.

Millionaire kidnapped, returned unharmed
GREENWICH The millionaire chairman of an investment company was reportedly kidnapped for more than 30 hours, then released unharmed Sunday, authorities said.
Federal authorities took three persons into custody Sunday night in the kidnapping of Edward S. Lampert, 40, of Greenwich. There was no demand for ransom; authorities would not discuss a potential motive and the FBI did not give any information about the suspects late Sunday.
The chairman of ESL Investments Inc., Mr. Lampert was kidnapped Friday at 7:30 p.m. and dropped off unharmed at an undisclosed location at 2:50 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Cuban dissident appeals for tolerance
MIAMI Leading Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who has headed a petition campaign for reform in communist-run Cuba, visited the heart of the exile community in Miami yesterday and appealed for respect from those who have criticized him as being too moderate.
"The [Cuban] reality is very complex and solutions to it are as well," he said at a news conference after meeting with several hundred members of Miami's large exile community.
"It's important that we respect each other in diversity," Mr. Paya said of those exiles who condemn him for seeking change by using the Cuban system rather than flatly shunning President Fidel Castro's government.

Governor to work on recycling program
HONOLULU Gov. Linda Lingle said she will work with city officials to establish a recycling program as part of an effort to deal with Oahu's garbage problem.
At a workshop on island sustainability, the governor said she would take up the recycling issue with state lawmakers during the current legislative session.
Mrs. Lingle also vowed the state would get at least 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Lost kitten survives month in crate
JUNCTION CITY An 8-month-old kitten named Lilo may have exhausted several of his nine lives surviving more than a month trapped in a crate.
"We are dumbfounded. It is a little miracle," said Lilo's owner, Army Sgt. 1st Class Brody Hilstock.
The lost pet had been confined in the crate from early December until he was freed Thursday. He had lost more than half of his normal body weight, but will likely survive.
Sgt. Hilstock was stationed at Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii before his transfer to Fort Riley. He and his family packed up their belongings on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3 but they couldn't find Lilo, named after the star of Disney's Hawaii-themed film "Lilo and Stitch."
The kitten had crawled into a set of box springs. And on Wednesday, as the cargo passed through Denver, a North American Van Lines worker heard meek meowing.

Bishop acknowledges recommending Shanley
BOSTON A bishop accused of mishandling sexual-abuse claims against two priests has acknowledged vouching for one of them despite a complaint that the priest had spoken graphically about sadomasochism.
Bishop Robert J. Banks, now in Green Bay, Wis., said he did not know of any sexual-abuse complaints against the Rev. Paul Shanley when he wrote a letter recommending him to the Diocese of San Bernardino, Calif., in 1990, according to deposition transcripts released yesterday.
Bishop Banks said he discounted a complaint from a patient at a psychiatric hospital who said the priest "came on" to him by talking about sadomasochism.
Mr. Shanley, who is no longer a priest, awaits trial on charges of child rape.

Ripley may take over Duluth aquarium
DULUTH The company behind "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" may be asked to take over the Great Lakes Aquarium to help prevent the $33.8 million attraction from failing.
A task force appointed to save the freshwater aquarium is expected to recommend hiring Ripley Entertainment Inc.
Ripley owns several tourist attractions across the nation, including the country's most visited aquarium, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Tennessee.

New rule bans stinkers from buses
BEND You better hit the shower before you board the bus in Bend.
Proposed new city rules would ban spitting, defecating, smoking, skateboarding, and stinking on city buses.
The regulations ban anyone who "emanates a grossly repulsive odor that is unavoidable by other Bend Extended Area Transit customers" from being in the bus station or on a bus.
"It's an effort to keep the riding experience as pleasant and safe as possible," said City Attorney Jim Forbes. He noted that the city already has an ordinance prohibiting people from releasing "highly objectionable odors" from their property.
The City Council will consider preliminary approval of the ordinance tomorrow.

Man ordered to stop tax-return practices
HARRISBURG A tax protester who reportedly promotes a bogus legal loophole to convince people they owe no taxes was ordered by a federal judge to stop the practice and turn over his clients' records.
U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner's order came Friday in the government's effort to force Thurston Bell of Hanover to stop giving clients supposedly false tax advice and charging large fees for filing tax returns.
The Justice Department, in a 2001 lawsuit against Mr. Bell, said that he shows clients how to use Section 861 of the tax code to falsely claim they owe no payroll or income taxes. The department said Mr. Bell tells clients that Section 861 exempts from taxation all domestic income earned by U.S. citizens. The Internal Revenue Service has said the Section 861 argument is frivolous.
The government has not provided any evidence that Mr. Bell said anything "false" and has been unable to prove that Mr. Bell's interpretation of the tax codes is wrong, Mr. Bell, who operates the National Institute for Taxation Education, said in a interview yesterday.

State budget sits in $1.8 billion hole
AUSTIN Texas is facing a $1.8 billion deficit in the current budget and an estimated $8.1 billion hole in the next one, the state comptroller said yesterday.
Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn noted that in the past six years, Texas had billions in surpluses. "This year, the stockings are empty," she said.
The shortfall is attributed to the downturn in the economy and higher Medicaid costs. With neither an income tax nor a statewide property tax, Texas gets most of its revenue from sales, business and automobile taxes.
Lawmakers who begin the new legislative session today will be faced with a $1.8 billion hole in the state's two-year, $114 billion budget. To maintain current services for the next two-year budget, which begins Sept. 1, the state will need an extra $8.1 billion.

Man, 84, seeking Eagle Scout rank
PORT ANGELES Seventy years ago, Erling "Bub" Olsen baked bread and served the hungry on Depression-era bread lines as the final project in his bid to become an Eagle Scout.
But he drifted away from scouting after the death of a friend. It wasn't until Saturday at the age of 84 that he went before a board of review to seek the Boy Scouts of America's highest rank. The national organization will make the final call in February.
Mr. Olsen had forgotten about scouting until last year, when his pacemaker quit and his family wondered how long he had to live.

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