- The Washington Times - Friday, May 20, 2005


Baby gorilla treated for bone disease

BOSTON — A baby gorilla at the Franklin Park Zoo is back in her mother’s arms after an emergency medical procedure to treat a rare bone disease, zoo officials said yesterday.

Veterinarians at the zoo became concerned when the 6-month-old gorilla started showing signs of abnormal behavior in the past few weeks.

Tests performed on the gorilla Saturday showed signs of a metabolic bone disease, which is marked by a deficiency of vitamin D. When her condition appeared to worsen last Friday, the zoo assembled a team of specialists to treat the gorilla.

The gorilla’s mother, Kiki, was sedated Saturday so the baby could be taken from her and treated with vitamins and a calcium intravenous drip.


NAACP battles black biker discrimination

MYRTLE BEACH — The chief operating officer of the NAACP says the city of Myrtle Beach is trying to put up a fence between whites and blacks and that the fence must go.

The Rev. Nelson B. Rivers III, a South Carolina native, spoke at a press conference on the steps of City Hall.

The civil rights group has sued the city over the use of a one-way traffic pattern on Ocean Boulevard for Memorial Day weekend’s black biker rally, Atlantic Beach Bikefest.

A two-way pattern is being used for this week’s Harley-Davidson rally, which is attended mostly by whites.

Mr. Rivers likened it to his younger days when blacks had to swim at Atlantic Beach and a fence that extended into the surf separated them from an adjoining white beach. He says representatives from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will be monitoring the rallies for any discrimination.


Yukon flooding cuts off freight

ANCHORAGE — Water overflowing the banks of the Yukon River has flooded the only road between the Yup’ik Eskimo village of Emmonak and its airport, crippling the community, officials said Wednesday.

Flooding also filled a city public works building with several feet of water and briefly affected the water and sewer system, Mayor Andrew Kelly said. The road damage is the biggest concern, he said.

“The stores are saying they’re not going to be able to get the freight in from the airport,” Mr. Kelly said.

Larry Rundquist of the National Weather Service River Forecasting Center said the ice breakup in Alaska this year has been severe. “Every village from Aniak on down had some degree of flooding due to ice dams and high water in the system,” he said.


Jury seated in terror aid trial

TAMPA — A federal jury was picked yesterday for the trial of a former Florida professor accused of helping the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad carry out deadly attacks in Israel.

The jury was seated over the objections of attorneys for Sami al-Arian and three co-defendants, who say their clients cannot get a fair trial in Florida because of extensive press coverage about the case and bias against Arabs and Muslims.

U.S. District Judge James Moody completed the selection of 12 jurors and six alternates in 31/2 days from a pool of 150 candidates. No information was released about the jurors.

Judge Moody still must rule on a motion by defense attorneys to move the trial, which is scheduled to start June 6.


Cameras, restraints urged at courthouse

ATLANTA — Courtroom surveillance cameras and proper restraints for inmates were recommended yesterday as ways to improve security at the courthouse that was the site of a shooting rampage two months ago.

The panel also suggested that a machine detecting weapons and bombs be activated on a skywalk between two court facilities and that high-risk inmates be escorted by two deputies. The suspect in the March 11 shootings, Brian Nichols, was being escorted by one deputy before he reportedly escaped and killed four persons, including a judge.

U.S. Marshal Richard Mecum, chairman of the panel that was appointed to review security, will send a letter to Fulton County Sheriff Myron Freeman recommending the changes.


Balloonists killed near power line

SHREVEPORT — A man and woman were killed when their hot-air balloon hit a power line and caught fire, spreading debris over three miles.

Pilots Bill Harwell, 52, and Sandi DeMoss, 54, were either thrown or fell from the basket just after 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Shreveport firefighters think the basket struck a power line, as a short in the 34,000-volt power line tripped breakers and caused a momentary outage in the area, the Shreveport Times reported yesterday.


Yemeni convicted of lying for job

DETROIT — A man who was discharged from the Air Force amid accusations that he expressed sympathy for Osama bin Laden was found guilty yesterday of lying to get a job as a baggage screener at the Detroit airport.

A federal jury deliberated for about four hours before convicting Yemeni immigrant Sadeq Naji Ahmed on two counts of making false statements.

Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison; sentencing was set for Aug. 22.


Truck slams into deputy

LITTLE CANADA — A sheriff’s deputy helping a woman along a busy highway was slammed by a pickup truck but escaped with only minor injuries.

Video from a state patrol vehicle showed the truck clipping Ramsey County Deputy Glen Pothen’s patrol car Wednesday, sliding at an angle and slamming into Mr. Pothen’s back, with his head appearing to slam backward onto the hood of the truck.

Mr. Pothen, 35, was treated at a hospital and released.


Young quake victim gets surgery in U.S.

ST. LOUIS — An 8-year-old girl whose home was damaged by an Indonesian earthquake has successfully undergone surgery on a birth defect to remove an unsightly bulge between her eyes that seemed to swallow up her nose, a surgeon said yesterday.

During the 12-hour operation, doctors removed the mass — caused when a gap in the skull allows brain membranes to protrude — and used a bone graft from Mawarni Zega’s skull to rebuild her nose.

Her face “will look dramatically different from what it did,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leonard, pediatric neurosurgeon at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

If the defect were left untreated, potentially dangerous complications such as meningitis could occur.


Building collapses; at least 11 injured

NEW YORK — A building under renovation collapsed yesterday, injuring at least 11 construction workers, one critically, officials said.

Neighboring buildings were evacuated as a precaution after the four-story building in the East Williamsburg section of Brooklyn gave way.


Cow gives birth to triplets

EMERADO — On the day that the horse Giacomo was pulling off a 50-1 upset at the Kentucky Derby, an Angus cow was overcoming greater odds on a farm east of here.

The cow, known simply as No. 5, delivered triplets May 7.

North Dakota State University extension beef specialist Greg Lardy said the odds of triplet calves are about one in 105,000.


New hearing set for Pfc. England

FORT HOOD — The Army scheduled another Article 32 hearing for next week in the Iraqi prisoner abuse case against Pfc. Lynndie England, Fort Hood officials said yesterday.

Pfc. England, a West Virginia reservist whose guilty plea was rejected this month by a military judge, has been charged with seven counts arising from abuse of Iraqi detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in late 2003.

The Article 32 investigation, set to begin Tuesday, is the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation. An officer will receive evidence from both prosecutors and the defense and make a recommendation on whether to send the case to a court-martial.

It will be the second Article 32 hearing for Pfc. England; the first one was held in August at Fort Bragg, N.C. The legal process is starting over because of the failed plea deal.

Pfc. England’s plea was rejected after the account of the reputed abuse ringleader, Pvt. Charles Graner Jr., cast doubt on whether she knew what she was doing when she participated in the abuse.


Soldier surprises graduating daughter

WINOOSKI PARK — The graduation ceremonies yesterday at Vermont’s St. Michael’s College were interrupted by a surprise guest — a soldier who had rushed in from Iraq to see her daughter graduate.

Sgt. 1st Class Lecia Whyte-Rodriques, mother of graduate Dawana Whyte, and a communications and computer specialist at Camp Anaconda in Iraq, made the flight from Baghdad to surprise her daughter.

The ceremony for 460 graduates was halted when President Marc vanderHeyden reached Miss Whyte’s name in the rolls. Her mother then walked down the aisle to the podium and greeted her surprised daughter. The audience responded with a standing ovation.


Cancer victims awarded $500,000

SPOKANE — A federal jury awarded more than $500,000 yesterday to two thyroid cancer victims who blamed their disease on radiation from the government’s Hanford nuclear installation, which made plutonium for bombs for 4 decades.

Three government contractors that ran operations at Hanford — General Electric Co., DuPont Co. and UNC Nuclear Inc. — were ordered to pay the damages.


Camel takes seat on top of woman

SHINNSTON — A 1,500-pound camel picked an unfortunate place to take a breather.

A woman called for help on her cell phone Wednesday after a camel sat on top of her while she was painting a fence.

Firefighters and the camel’s owner helped move the animal off the woman, who was having trouble breathing, ambulance driver Brent Hicks said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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