- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 1, 2003

Klansman found guilty of 1966 murder
JACKSON, Miss. A Mississippi jury yesterday found an aging former Klansman guilty of murdering a black farmhand in 1966 as part of a bizarre plot to lure and then assassinate civil rights leader Martin Luther King.
Ernest Avants, accused of being part of a Ku Klux Klan trio who abducted and shot Ben Chester White in the Homochitto National Forest in southwest Mississippi, sat passively as the verdict from the racially mixed jury was read out in a federal court in Jackson, the state capital.
Avants, 72, could face life in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 9. His two purported co-conspirators are dead.
"It's like being hungry for so long and then getting a good meal under your belt," Jesse White, the victim's son, said about the verdict. "I was raised to forgive. … They [the Avants family] have my prayers and sympathy."

Bible college gets 666 out of phone number
VANCLEVE, Ky. After months of asking for a new telephone number, a conservative Bible college has finally has been able to drop the 666 prefix that many recognized as the biblical mark of the beast.
"We're just elated that the number has been changed," said Rob Roy MacGregor, vice president of business affairs for Kentucky Mountain Bible College. "It was like we had this 'Scarlet Letter' attached to us."
Mr. MacGregor said the college is now removing the offending number from printed material, including the college's official letterhead.
The 666 prefix had been the only one available in this eastern Kentucky town since telephone service arrived.

Carter to guide Georgia flag debate
ATLANTA Former President Jimmy Carter will help lead a public discussion of whether Georgia should again enlarge the Confederate emblem on its state flag, Gov. Sonny Perdue said yesterday.
Details of such a meeting had not been worked out, said Mr. Perdue, who campaigned last fall on a promise to let residents vote on the flag's design. The ballot would not be binding.
The flag issue has been brewing in Georgia for years. The banner had included a big Confederate emblem until two years ago, when the legislature reduced it to a tiny square.
Supporters of the emblem say it reflects Southern heritage, while opponents, many of whom are black, say it represents racism and slavery.

PETA comparison to Holocaust draws fire
NEW YORK An animal rights campaign comparing the slaughter of chickens and pigs to the mass murder of Jews in Nazi death camps has caused an outcry among U.S. Jewish groups, which say it trivializes the Holocaust.
The "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign by the Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals juxtaposes images of Jews in camps and livestock stuffed into cages.
PETA says the campaign was sponsored by an unidentified Jewish philanthropist and cites as justification for its message the Jewish Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, who wrote: "In relation to [animals], all people are Nazis."
The project has been condemned by Jewish organizations, including the New York-based Anti-Defamation League whose national director, Abraham Foxman, described it as "abhorrent, outrageous and offensive."

Smuggler sentenced for aiding terrorists
CHARLOTTE, N.C. The first person convicted under a law that bars aid to terrorists was sentenced yesterday to 155 years in prison for leading a cigarette-smuggling ring that funneled profits to the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Mohamad Hammoud, 29, masterminded a scheme to bring cigarettes from North Carolina, where low taxes keep down prices, to Michigan for resale. In June, he was found guilty of sending $3,500 to Hezbollah.
"Terrorist acts cannot be carried out without the wherewithal of those who fund them," Assistant U.S. Attorney Ken Bell said outside court.
Hammoud's older brother Chawki Hammoud was sentenced to more than four years in prison for his role in the smuggling ring.

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