- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Abu Ghraib detainees testify about abuse

FORT HOOD — A Syrian insurgent held at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq testified by video yesterday that Army Spc. Charles Graner whistled, sang and laughed while brutalizing him and forced him to eat pork and drink alcohol in violation of his Muslim faith.

A second witness, Hussein Mutar, an Iraqi detainee, later told the court that he was among a group of prisoners stripped by Spc. Graner and other Abu Ghraib guards, and stacked up naked in a human pyramid while female soldiers watched.

The prosecution rested after Mr. Mutar’s video testimony.

Spc. Graner’s defense case is scheduled to begin today. His attorneys have maintained that he and other soldiers had no choice but to obey orders to soften up detainees.


Charges dismissed against nun

WOODBRIDGE — Charges were dismissed against Sister Catherine Iacouzze, 69, who had been accused of threatening to knock out the teeth of a St. Cecelia School student for leaving class without permission.

The 11-year-old student’s father withdrew the charges after the Diocese of Metuchen fired the nun.

Miss Iacouzze’s attorney said she only made a sarcastic remark to a sassy student.


Power outage throws village into freeze

ANCHORAGE — Blowing snow forced two rescue helicopters to turn back yesterday while trying to deliver emergency help to the Arctic village Kaktovik, where an electrical generator failed during a weekend blizzard that sent the temperature to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mike Haller, a spokesman for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said another attempt to reach the village would be made later yesterday by the military Pave Hawk helicopters, which were carrying repair technicians and equipment from Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Kaktovik’s community power plant failed Sunday evening for reasons that were not clear. Many residents sought shelter at the village school, which had its own source of power, until that failed later Sunday.


Rescuers find 2 skiers; man still missing

GRAND JUNCTION — Rescue crews found a woman and her daughter alive early yesterday, two days after they failed to return from cross-country skiing, but the woman’s husband is still missing.

Debra Walker and 18-year-old Camille were found uninjured, said police officials, who didn’t have details on their condition. There is no word on Mrs. Walker’s husband, Don.

Up to 8 feet of snow has fallen on the top of 10,500-foot-high Grand Mesa since Saturday, and temperatures have been in the 20s, the National Weather Service said.


Sheriff to pay fired employees

JONESBORO — The newly sworn-in sheriff of a suburban Atlanta county said yesterday that he will restore pay and benefits for 27 fired employees, but he insisted that they won’t necessarily get their same jobs back despite a court order.

Sheriff Victor Hill of Clayton County fired the employees on his first day in office on Jan. 3 as part of a reorganization. He refused to say yesterday why he fired the employees, but defended his actions as legal and appropriate.

The day after his decision to fire the employees, a county Superior Court judge ruled that the sheriff must reactivate the jobs. A court hearing was set tomorrow to determine whether Sheriff Hill’s decision to fire the employees was legal.


State House passes gay-rights bill

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House yesterday passed a bill that bans discrimination against homosexuals and sent it to Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, who has said he supports the measure.

If the Democratic governor signs it, Illinois will join 14 states that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. The measure adds “sexual orientation” to the state law that protects people from bias based on race, religion and similar traits. The law applies to discrimination in such areas as jobs and housing.

The House’s 65-51 vote came on the last possible day; the bill would have died had it not been approved before the new legislature is sworn in today. The Senate approved the measure Monday 30-27.


Patrol plane crashes, kills 2

MONROE — A small Civil Air Patrol plane crashed during a training exercise in a swampy area of northeastern Louisiana, killing the pilot and a second man on board, authorities said yesterday.

The men were among at least six persons killed Monday night in small-plane crashes in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Florida and South Carolina, officials said.

The wreckage of the single-engine Cessna 182 from the Louisiana arm of the Civil Air Patrol was found near a state highway about 10 miles northeast of the airport in Monroe yesterday morning, said sheriff’s Capt. Danny Acree. Rescuers had searched for the plane for 11 hours, he said.

Also Monday, a small plane crashed into the Arkansas River as it approached the Little Rock airport, killing one person on board, officials said. One person was missing.


School board decides not to offer Bible class

FRANKENMUTH — A rural school district will not offer a religious group’s Bible class as an elective high-school course, ending a yearlong debate.

The school board in Frankenmuth, about 75 miles north of Detroit, decided with one dissenting vote Monday not to offer the “Bible As Literature and History” class at Frankenmuth High School, after the recommendation of school Superintendent Michael Murphy.

Mr. Murphy said the class was not academically rigorous enough and that classes in English, art and history already include studies on how the Bible affects American society.

“It goes beyond talking about religion and becomes faith-based,” he said.


Police chiefs favor mandatory seat belts

CONCORD — The New Hampshire Association of Police Chiefs is supporting a mandatory seat-belt law for the first time. The move follows an increase in highway deaths to 167 in 2004, up from 119 in 2003.

New Hampshire is the only state that doesn’t require seat belts for everyone in a car. Currently, only occupants younger than 18 have to buckle up.


Bloomberg takes credit for recovery

NEW YORK — Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg signaled yesterday that his re-election campaign this year will focus on his legacy as leader of New York as it rebounded from the death and destruction of the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Bloomberg gave himself much of the credit for the September 11 turnaround as he delivered his annual State of the City address, which set the stage for his re-election bid.

He recalled that at his swearing-in ceremony in 2001, smoke was still rising from the World Trade Center site.

“New Yorkers there and throughout the city were asking ourselves the same questions: Will we be able to come back? Can we recover? Will we be safe? Would we ever be the same?” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Three years later, I can stand before you and tell you that we have answered those questions.”


City officials earning more than governor

SIOUX FALLS — Some city officials earn more than the mayor and even the governor, city officials said.

Lyle Johnson, city public works director, leads the city’s salary list at $137,280. Gov. Mike Rounds’ yearly salary is $103,221, which would put him in sixth place if he worked for the city. Mayor Dave Munson earns $96,173.


Three persons dead in garage shooting

JACKSON — A man opened fire yesterday at a state Department of Transportation maintenance garage, killing his wife and two others and wounding two, authorities said.

David Jordan went to the garage’s office about 11:30 a.m. and fatally shot his wife, Donna, a transportation department employee, before walking outside and fatally shooting deliveryman David Gordon, said police Chief Rick Staples.

Police said Mr. Jordan also killed Jerry Hopper, a state forestry department employee, who was having a maintenance check performed on his state vehicle.

Mr. Jordan was arrested soon after the shooting not far from the scene.


Kangaroo may settle in Midwest

MADISON — A kangaroo that went on a walkabout of frigid Wisconsin just might settle down in the Midwest after all.

The red-haired marsupial, now known as “Roo,” was captured in a snowstorm outside Dodgeville last week. Sheriff’s deputies cornered the 150-pound critter in a barn after receiving calls for days from shocked residents who had seen it.

Roo remains under quarantine at the Henry Vilas Zoo, and if no one claims it, zoo officials plan to introduce it to their other kangaroos to see whether they get along.

But if things don’t work out, resident Margaret Suter said she has room at her home near Madison, where she keeps six kangaroos and a wallaby.

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