- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2003


‘Virtual reality’ match begins

NEW YORK — Chess czar Gary Kasparov yesterday took his “man versus machine” challenge into cyberspace when he started a series against the computer X3D Fritz without a chessboard.

The Russian-American is playing four games against X3D Fritz at the New York Athletic Club, but he is resigned to the fact that soon chess grandmasters will stand no chance against computers.

Mr. Kasparov, 40, is wearing 3-D glasses, gazing at a chessboard that appears to float in the air, dictating the movements of his pieces with voice commands.

The International Computer Games Association and the United States Chess Federation are presenting the first chess challenge fought “in total virtual reality.”


Chief Illiniwek faces retirement

URBANA — The debate over the University of Illinois’ Chief Illiniwek mascot will get another airing tomorrow when the school’s trustees consider a resolution calling for his retirement.

If the resolution comes to a vote, it will be the first on the issue since 1990, when the board voted 6-1 to retain the symbol.

The resolution is being presented at a time when there are four new board members, all appointed by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich. The resolution may indicate that those new members want to decide the issue, university spokesman Tom Hardy said.

Opponents argue that the symbol is degrading to American Indians. Supporters say the 75-year-old mascot honors the American Indians who inhabited Illinois.


Residents oppose education cuts

MOBILE — An overwhelming majority of residents oppose a plan to cut education spending by almost $200 million and to eliminate funding for 3,400 teaching posts, according to a poll of 407 Alabamans by the Mobile Register newspaper and the University of South Alabama.

Two months ago, voters rejected a plan to raise taxes by $1.2 billion to support schools and state services.


Restaurant sued over condom in soup

LOS ANGELES — Waiter, there is something worse than a fly in my soup.

A California woman who found a condom in her bowl of clam chowder has sued the upscale restaurant that served it to her — saying she had suffered depression and anxiety from the shocking discovery.

An attorney for McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant in Irvine, Calif., says the eatery has no idea how the condom got into Laila Sultan’s food. Miss Sultan, 48, and her three companions are suing the restaurant for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress in a case that is expected to go to trial early next year.

“I thought it was calamari or shrimp or something, so I chewed one more,” Miss Sultan told KCAL-TV Monday. “It felt rubbery. I told my friends, ‘My God, there’s something in my mouth.’”

Miss Sultan said she spit the offending object into a napkin and at first thought it was a latex glove. Then her friend realized what it was.


Law shields man in shooting death

AULT — A man accused of killing his neighbor in a dispute that started with a barking dog will not be charged with a crime because of Colorado’s “make my day” law, which protects residents protecting themselves from intruders.

Weld County District Attorney Al Dominguez said Monday that he had no choice.

“I have a dead human being, and that death was caused by someone shooting a shotgun at him. Under normal circumstances, that kind of behavior demands a consequence,” Mr. Dominguez said.

Eric Griffin, 33, upset by the barking of a dog belonging to neighbor Richard Hammock, reportedly wounded the animal with a pellet gun Nov. 2. Mr. Hammock, 48, then went to Mr. Griffin’s home carrying a 3-foot board, authorities said.

Mr. Griffin’s girlfriend told police that she heard breaking glass and a shotgun blast. Mr. Dominguez said the woman reported that Mr. Griffin told her he fired when Mr. Hammock tried to enter the house.


Town will send packages to troops

CANTON — Residents and town officials are undertaking a mission to send a holiday package to every Connecticut National Guard soldier serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

The effort began after Elizabeth Cotterman heard on a radio show that the troops think the country has forgotten them, she said. The town will assemble 550 packages.


Police more diverse than other agencies

DOVER — Although the State Police Department has drawn repeated complaints about a perceived lack of diversity in its work force, statistics show some other state agencies are far less diverse.

Ethnic minorities made up about 12.5 percent of the state police work force, a larger share than several other state agencies, including the governor’s budget office and the state agriculture department.


Power to cut spending upheld

JEFFERSON CITY — A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging Gov. Bob Holden’s constitutional power to cut approved spending for public schools.

The plaintiffs, led by the Liberty School District in suburban Kansas City, claimed the governor had no authority to withhold money from public schools, even if revenues fall short. That argument was rejected.


Judge OKs challenge to gay ‘marriage’ ban

LINCOLN — A federal judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit Monday challenging Nebraska’s ban on same-sex “marriages.”

U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon refused a request by the state to dismiss the lawsuit filed in April by the American Civil Liberties Union and others.

The lawsuit says the ban, which was approved by voters in 2000 and added to the Nebraska Constitution the next year, violates the rights of homosexual couples.

Thirty-four states have “defense of marriage” laws, but Nebraska’s ban is the only one that prohibits same-sex couples from many of the legal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy.

Attorneys for the state said the ACLU and the other groups did not have standing to challenge the lawsuit.

But Judge Bataillon said the law would prevent such advocacy groups and homosexual couples from lobbying to obtain the same benefits as heterosexual couples.


Friendship rekindled after 68 years

REDMOND — Back in 1935, Roy Domigan gave his 16-year-old girlfriend, Louise Fowler, a gold and diamond engagement ring.

Their romance began as neighbors in the town of Temperance, Mich. Miss Fowler used to climb on the back of Mr. Domigan’s Harley-Davidson, and together they would race down the highway.

Then one day, Miss Fowler’s family shipped her off to California to keep her from marrying Mr. Domigan, who was 23 at the time. This weekend, Miss Fowler, now 83, rekindled the friendship when Mr. Domigan, 90, flew out from Michigan for a two-week visit.

“It’s amazing to think after 68 years, he would want to get in touch with me,” Miss Fowler said.

The reunion was made possible by Mr. Domigan’s chance encounter with Miss Fowler’s nephew, who provided her address and telephone number. He called her in May.


Interfaith coalition backs mosque

PHILADELPHIA — A Muslim group moved ahead yesterday with plans for a new mosque in a small New Jersey town, where an interfaith coalition helped overcome opposition from some locals who issued leaflets claiming the place of worship would attract terrorists.

The zoning board for Voorhees, a Philadelphia suburb, approved the $193,000 plan for the mosque last week, despite opposition from some neighbors who feared the facility would bring terrorist links to their doorsteps.

“It was approved because there was no legal reason in the world to disapprove it,” said the Rev. Melanie Morel Sullivan, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church in nearby Cherry Hill, N.J.


CNN plants debate question

PROVIDENCE — A college student who asked the Democratic presidential candidates at a debate whether they preferred the PC or Mac format for their computers says the question was planted by CNN.

The news network yesterday acknowledged that a producer went “too far” in telling Brown University student Alexandra Trustman what to ask. CNN televised the debate, co-sponsored by the nonprofit Rock the Vote organization, last week. It was billed as an event geared to the interests of young people.

CNN spokeswoman Christa Robinson said the cable network regrets the producer’s actions. She would not identify the employee.

“In an attempt to encourage a lighthearted moment in this debate, a CNN producer working with Ms. Trustman clearly went too far,” she said.


Woman tries to sell her breast milk

SALT LAKE CITY — A 23-year-old woman who tried to sell her extra breast milk through a classified ad says she became the butt of jokes.

The woman, who did not want to be identified because of the potential for more jabs, says she was just trying to help women who have difficulty breast-feeding. Since having her baby two months ago, she has been producing too much milk, so she placed an ad in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Following doctors’ recommendations for pumping and proper storage, she managed to save 400 ounces of breast milk. The ad offered the frozen milk for sale at $1 an ounce or $350 for all of it.

Instead, she received prank phone calls. One of the callers was a man asking if it came in a chocolate flavor.

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