- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sea lion bites surfer

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — A sea lion that had been charging at beachgoers bit a surfer taking a breather, then waddled into the water and swam away.

Josh Duncan had come within 5 feet of the sea lion Friday when it bit him, requiring the 27-year-old surfer to get stitches and a tetanus shot for the inch-long wound on his thigh, lifeguard Capt. Mike Cunningham said.

In recent weeks, as many as 70 sick and dying sea lions have been lumbering ashore along the Southern California coast. Scientists believe they’re victims of demoic acid poisoning from a seasonal red tide algae bloom.

Parents to allow radiation treatments

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 13-year-old cancer patient will get the radiation treatment her parents had opposed after new medical tests showed she is no longer in remission.

Katie Wernecke’s parents decided to drop their objection to the treatment after the test results were disclosed during a juvenile court hearing Friday. Katie, who turned 13 yesterday, will remain in state custody as her therapy gets under way.

Michele and Edward Wernecke lost custody of Katie last week after doctors said lack of treatment could be life-threatening. The parents had insisted that the four rounds of chemotherapy Katie received had killed the cancer and that more radiation would only harm a healthy girl.

The new testing result “changes everything,” said lawyer Daniel Horne, who represents Mr. and Mrs. Wernecke.

Nerve agent spills at chemical facility

NEWPORT, Ind. — About 30 gallons of a liquid containing a deadly Cold War-era nerve agent spilled at a chemical-weapons depot, but it was safely contained in a sealed area and no one was injured, the Army said yesterday.

The spill occurred Friday night at the Newport Chemical Agent Destruction Facility, where more than 250,000 gallons of the agent VX are stored. VX can kill a healthy adult with a single pinpoint droplet.

The spill happened during a process to destroy the nerve agent by converting it into a caustic chemical called hydrolysate. The facility has destroyed nearly 2,900 gallons of VX since the process started a month ago, the Army said.

Employees in protective gear were working yesterday to clean up any surface that the liquid touched.

Soldier gets life for slaying two

FORT RILEY, Kan. — An Army sergeant convicted of fatally shooting two fellow soldiers last year at his farmhouse will serve life in prison with no chance of parole, a military jury decided yesterday.

Sgt. Aaron Stanley, a 23-year-old veteran of the Iraq war, was sentenced a day after his conviction by the same eight jurors on two counts of premeditated murder.

Stanley was convicted of killing Staff Sgt. Matthew Werner, 30, of Oxnard, Calif., and Spc. Christopher D. Hymer, 23, of Nevada, Mo., in September in Clay Center, about 30 miles west of Fort Riley.

Stanley, of Bismarck, N.D., argued that he had acted in self-defense and to protect another soldier who was there, but prosecutors said he shot the two men to conceal an illegal drug-trafficking operation, believing the victims to be informants for Fort Riley police.

Cornell president stepping down

ITHACA, N.Y. — The president of Cornell University announced yesterday that he will step down at the end of the month, citing differences with the Board of Trustees at the Ivy League school.

Jeffrey Lehman, a Cornell alumnus who also is a law professor at the school, made the surprising announcement at the end of his annual “state of the university” address to alumni attending Reunion Weekend.

“Over the past few months, it has become apparent to me that the Board of Trustees and I have different approaches to how the university can best realize its long-term vision,” he said. “These differences are profound, and it has now become absolutely clear that they cannot be resolved.”

The announcement was surprising because there was no apparent sign of any feud between Mr. Lehman and the board.

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