- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Acidic water caused salmon to move

ANCHORAGE — An overflow of volcanic ash, rocks, water and ice from Mount Chiginagak was the cause for a puzzling absence of fish in King Salmon River this season, scientists said.

The water remains so acidic that it would kill fish and be unrecognizable to salmon looking for home. Scientists say the salmon might have gone to spawn in nearby rivers instead.


More soldiers train for pilotless planes

TUCSON — The number of students training to operate unmanned aircraft, which can be used to spy on enemy troops, has more than quadrupled at southern Arizona’s Fort Huachuca since military campaigns began in Iraq and in Afghanistan.

The Army’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicle training center at the base’s military intelligence school is in overdrive as it tries to produce enough soldiers who can operate the drones to meet growing demand from commanders overseas.


Authorities call gator capture a hoax

LOS ANGELES — Authorities yesterday dismissed a claim that a wrangler had nabbed a 7-foot-long alligator named Reggie from a city lake, where he had been dumped several months ago and repeatedly has avoided capture.

Earlier yesterday, a man claiming to be wrangler Jay Young, who had been hired by the city, told several press outlets, including the Associated Press, that he had caught the alligator overnight.

The story was cast into doubt when the promised delivery of the alligator to the Los Angeles Zoo never happened.


Algae blamed for fish kills

NAPLES — A tenacious red tide bloom that has lingered in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa Bay all year is being blamed for recent fish kills 100 miles off southwest Florida, state biologists said.

Tests of samples taken Monday confirmed the presence of the toxic algae that can be deadly to fish, said Jeremy Lake, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

Strong westerly breezes are aggravating the problem by washing the dead fish ashore and causing some respiratory problems for people, he said.

“The red tide is there, but in low concentrations,” Mr. Lake said.

Crews in both counties have been cleaning up hundreds of dead fish from the beaches every day since last week, officials said. In some places, fish were washing up as fast as workers could remove them.


Man accused in storm aid scam

PARIS — Wayne Combs faces charges that he falsely said he was raising money for victims of Hurricane Katrina on behalf of a church.

The Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department said a church official told deputies that Mr. Combs, 42, wasn’t authorized to solicit money. The $28 collected by Mr. Combs was given to a group helping hurricane victims.


Hotel auctioned for hurricane relief

BRETTON WOODS — Want to have a sleepover with 499 of your closest pals?

Now’s your chance. To raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, the Mount Washington Hotel is auctioning itself off online. The winner gets the complete use of the hotel — all 200 rooms, which can accommodate 500 people.

There’s also golf, tennis, horseback riding, carriage and sleigh rides, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing, ice skating, snow tubing, and alpine and cross-country skiing at Bretton Woods ski area.

Hotel officials said the auction will begin today on EBay and end Sept. 24. The winner gets use of the hotel the night of Nov. 9. The hotel puts the value of the auction at $50,000.

The hotel said the full amount of the winning bid will be donated to the American Red Cross relief efforts.


Four plead guilty in illegal-exports case

NEWARK — Four company owner and operators of a Mount Laurel business pleaded guilty yesterday to charges that they used their business to illegally transfer items controlled for national security reasons to state-sponsored research institutes in China.

U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said Manten Electronics president Xu Weibo, 38; purchasing agent Xiu Ling Chen, 34; vice president Hao Li Chen, 29; and company controller Kwan Chun Chan, 29, entered their pleas before U.S. District Judge Joseph A. Greenaway Jr. in Newark.

All four are naturalized U.S. citizens.

Authorities said they pleaded guilty to a three-count information charging conspiracy to violate the Export Administration Act and the Arms Export Control Act. Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 6.

Mr. Christie said the four agreed as part of their plea bargain to forfeit $391,337, which represented their revenue from the illegal exports. Arrested in July last year, they pleaded guilty to illegally exporting items that are used in a variety of defense weapons systems, including radar, smart weapons, electronic warfare and communications.


U.S. enlists university to fight ‘dirty bombs’

ROCHESTER — The federal government gave $21 million to the University of Rochester to help develop medical techniques to cope with the detonation of a radioactive “dirty bomb.”

The school is one of seven research centers asked to develop ways to assess, prevent and treat radiation exposure in large numbers of people. Among the project’s goals are creating models to quickly test new drugs.


New charges filed against GOP aides

DALLAS — An Austin grand jury yesterday handed up new felony charges against two officials of the Texans for a Republican Majority, beating by hours a deadline that would have made the charges moot.

The two officials, political consultants John Colyandro and Jim Ellis, had been charged in the fall, but the re-indictment yesterday added more serious charges.

The first-degree felony charges say the two laundered a $190,000 check from a corporation into campaign funds for Republicans running for Texas House seats in 2002 — as Republican candidates swept into control in the Texas House for the first time in more than 100 years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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