- The Washington Times - Friday, February 4, 2005

CALIFORNIA

Jackson blames ‘fiction’ on fame

SANTA MARIA — Michael Jackson said in a TV interview scheduled to air tomorrow that many of the news reports about him are “fiction” and that his celebrity makes him a target.

Mr. Jackson was barred by a gag order from talking about the molestation charges he faces. But he said in an interview with Fox News Channel’s “At Large w/Geraldo Rivera,” excerpts of which were released yesterday, that he thinks the truth ultimately will emerge.

“The bigger the star, the bigger the target,” Mr. Jackson said in the interview, which was taped two weeks ago. “People come at celebrities, we’re targets. But truth always prevails. I believe in that.”

COLORADO

Immigrants’ guide to go back online

DENVER — State officials plan to repost an edited version of a guide for immigrants on its Web site, a document that was yanked after critics said it provided tips for illegal immigrants.

State education commissioner William Moloney said yesterday that staff members were reviewing the guide and would remove parts deemed objectionable.

He didn’t have any details on what would be removed, but said most people agree that “99 percent” of the guide contains good information and should be available to immigrants.

CONNECTICUT

Death-row inmates hold hunger strike

HARTFORD — Five death-row inmates waged a hunger strike yesterday, asking to be allowed recreation with one another and calling their solitary confinement “inhumane and tantamount to psychological torture.”

The inmates said their protest was not about serial killer Michael Ross, whose execution was put on hold this week after his attorney said Ross’ living conditions could have contributed to his decision to forgo further appeals.

The protest, publicized by a group that opposes the death penalty, was confirmed by Department of Correction spokesman Brian Garnett.

GEORGIA

Judge orders sheriff to reinstate deputies

JONESBORO — Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill was found in contempt of court yesterday and ordered to restore 23 fired deputies to their former posts.

Mr. Hill must comply with the decision by noon Thursday or face a possible fine of $1,000 per day, Judge Ben Miller said in his ruling.

Originally, 27 deputies had been fired Jan. 3 — Mr. Hill’s first day as sheriff. The next day, Clayton Superior Court Judge Stephen Boswell issued an order that said Mr. Hill must reinstate the employees pending a lawsuit challenging the firings.

The employees — mainly white, male deputies, several of them high-ranking — claimed discrimination and political retaliation by Mr. Hill, the county’s first black sheriff. Many of the fired deputies had supported the incumbent, white sheriff in last year’s election.

MISSISSIPPI

Brett Favre foundation plans night of ‘Faith’

JACKSON — Deanna Favre has faith.

Since being diagnosed with breast cancer last year, the 36-year-old wife of Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre wears a bracelet in support of breast cancer awareness with the words “Hope, Faith and Love.”

Although the couple normally hosts a charity dinner at their Hattiesburg home each year, Beth Seymour, executive director of the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation, said the foundation decided to do things a little differently this year.

She said the board selected a larger location — the Grand Casino in Biloxi — and a big-name entertainer — Faith Hill.

“A Night of Faith,” on March 12, will help the foundation raise money for underinsured and uninsured breast cancer patients.

MISSOURI

Developers propose Christian community

BLUE EYE — A Branson developer hopes to build a Christian-themed residential community with televangelist Jim Bakker’s new broadcast studio as the centerpiece.

Jerry Crawford and his wife, Dee, have purchased 590 acres just north of Blue Eye, a city about 30 miles south of Branson, where Mr. Bakker currently tapes his television show.

The proposed development, called Morningside at Blue Eye, will offer affordable housing and an environment conducive to such activities as Bible study and counseling, Mrs. Crawford said.

MINNESOTA

Air pollution rises to unhealthy levels

MINNEAPOLIS — Air pollution rose to unhealthy levels around the upper Midwest, a wintertime rarity caused by the absence of strong wind, and problems were expected to continue yesterday for children and other sensitive groups.

Minnesota officials warned that air in the Twin Cities was unhealthy for anyone Wednesday, and Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, this week had their first-ever winter air alerts, warning of unhealthy conditions for people at risk.

Sunnier skies and increased wind were improving conditions in Minneapolis yesterday, but air was expected to remain at levels unhealthy for children, the elderly and people with breathing problems from there to central Ohio.

NEW YORK

Homosexuals catch rare venereal disease

NEW YORK — Two New York men have been diagnosed with a rare sexually transmitted disease that has recently been making inroads in Europe among homosexual and bisexual men.

The disease, a rare form of chlamydia known as lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV, can cause serious illness, permanent disfigurement and fuel the spread of AIDS, according to New York health officials.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed six recent cases in the United States — the two in New York, three in San Francisco and one in Atlanta.

TEXAS

Abu Ghraib soldier begs for leniency

FORT HOOD — Sgt. Javal Davis pleaded for leniency yesterday in the sentencing phase of his trial for abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib, saying he hoped a few minutes of poor judgment would not end his Army career.

“I’m not a perfect soldier — I’m not GI Joe,” Davis said on the stand, providing a sometimes tearful explanation of his acts. “I’m embarrassed and ashamed that I embarrassed the country and the Army that I love.”

The penalty phase is expected to conclude today. Davis pleaded guilty Tuesday to battery, dereliction of duty and lying to Army investigators in a deal with prosecutors that caps his sentence at 18 months.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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