- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2005

Man held in threats against Islamic group

TOLEDO, Ill. — An Illinois man is accused of sending an e-mail bomb threat to the headquarters of an Islamic civil rights group, the Department of Justice said.

Max Oakley of Toledo, Ill., purportedly sent an e-mail July 29 threatening to blow up the D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) unless it agreed to close down.

Police searched CAIR’s building, but did not find any evidence of explosives, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein said. CAIR officials then contacted the FBI and Washington police, who were able to trace the e-mail back to Mr. Oakley. He was arrested Friday. Mr. Wainstein said Mr. Oakley admitted sending the e-mail threat.

No signs of trauma in water park death

ORLANDO, Fla. — Medical examiners said there were no signs of trauma on the body of a 12-year-old girl who died after collapsing in a wave pool at a Walt Disney World water park.

Lifeguards noticed Jerra Kirby of Newport News, Va., on a ledge of the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon on Thursday and asked if she was OK, sheriff’s officials said. She said she was fine and wanted to be left alone, but passed out when she stood up, officials said.

Lifeguards performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Early results of Friday’s autopsy revealed no obvious signs of trauma, meaning it could take several weeks to determine the cause of death, said Steve Hanson, chief investigator of the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner’s Office.

Diocese settles church abuse suits

SAN FRANCISCO — The Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland has agreed to pay $56 million to settle lawsuits filed by 56 purported victims of priest sexual abuse, the diocese said Friday.

The agreement is a series of individual settlements with each remaining victim who purported abuse by Oakland priests, according to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

The diocese did not say how much each purported victim would receive.

The settlement means at least 15 trials set to begin in upcoming months will be canceled, the plaintiffs’ attorneys said.

Thousands march for Voting Rights Act

ATLANTA — Thousands of demonstrators streamed down Martin Luther King Jr. Drive yesterday chanting, singing and marching in support of extending the 40-year-old Voting Rights Act.

Organizers hope the “Keep the Vote Alive” march will pressure Congress and President Bush to extend key provisions of the landmark law, which expires in 2007.

“Forty years later, we’re still marching for the right to vote,” said Rep. John Lewis, Georgia Democrat, who participated in the civil rights struggles that helped secure passage of the law in 1965. “Don’t give up, don’t give in. Keep the faith, keep your eyes on the prize.”

Soldier’s mom protests Iraq policy

CRAWFORD, Texas — The mother of a fallen U.S. soldier staged a protest near President Bush’s ranch yesterday , demanding an accounting from the president of how he has conducted the war in Iraq.

Supported by more than 50 shouting demonstrators, Cindy Sheehan, 48, told reporters, “I want to ask George Bush: Why did my son die?”

Mrs. Sheehan’s son, Casey, 24, was killed in Sadr City, Iraq, on April 4, 2004. He was an Army specialist and a Humvee mechanic.

Mrs. Sheehan, of Vacaville, Calif., vowed she would camp out as close as she could get to the president’s ranch until Mr. Bush comes out and talks to her.

Local law enforcement officials were keeping Mrs. Sheehan four to five miles away from the ranch’s entrance.

Cell phone ban targets young drivers

DENVER — Beginning tomorrow , Colorado is banning young drivers from talking on cellular phones while they’re behind the wheel.

The Colorado law affects teens with restricted licenses — brand-new drivers who must have an adult drive with them for a year. Police can issue a citation only if the driver is stopped for another violation.

This year, 38 states tried to pass legislation restricting cell phones, most focusing on younger drivers and driving while distracted. Bills were passed or are still being considered in 22 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver.

So far, only New York, New Jersey, the District of Columbia and Connecticut prohibit the use of hand-held phones while driving, though other states have adopted limited restrictions for young drivers or school bus drivers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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