- The Washington Times - Friday, September 23, 2005

Cabdriver arrested in passenger rape

SAN FRANCISCO — A taxi driver has been charged with raping a passenger, and police yesterday were asking any other victims to come forward to help the investigation.

Huseyin Akbana, 35, was arrested Thursday while driving his cab and booked on rape and false imprisonment charges.

Police said Mr. Akbana picked up his victim Monday in downtown San Francisco, drove her to the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood, climbed in the back seat and sexually assaulted her.

Police also said they were investigating a similar Sept. 10 attack but gave no details.

‘Able Danger’ testimony unresolved

A Senate committee said yesterday that the Pentagon has dropped its refusal to let five persons with knowledge of a highly classified intelligence program testify about it during hearings.

But a Pentagon spokesman said it remained opposed to such testimony in an open hearing.

Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the five will testify at an open hearing Oct. 5.

Asked about Mr. Specter’s announcement, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, “Our position with respect to this has not changed. Our concerns have not changed.” He said the Pentagon has not agreed to permit the five to testify in public, although discussions with the committee were continuing.

Mr. Whitman said the Pentagon has provided a great deal of information about the intelligence program, called “Able Danger,” to the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, and will continue to do so.

Nightclub owners file for bankruptcy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The owners of a nightclub where 100 persons died in a 2003 fire during a Whitesnake concert said yesterday that they and their company have filed for bankruptcy.

Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, owners of the Station nightclub in West Warwick, said in a joint statement that they were “unable to satisfy all of our present creditors or our potential future creditors.”

The Chapter 7 filing, which could lead to debt being wiped out entirely, comes a week before the Derderians were to stand trial in Workers’ Compensation Court on charges that they failed to make full payments to the families of four workers killed in the Feb. 20, 2003, fire.

The Derderians are awaiting trial on involuntary manslaughter charges and have been sued in federal court by the survivors of the fire and relatives of the victims.

The club burned to the ground during a rock concert. The blaze, triggered by a pyrotechnics display during the performance, ignited foam that the nightclub had used as soundproofing and quickly spread. The band’s former tour manager, Dan Biechele, who lit the pyrotechnics, also is charged with involuntary manslaughter.

Trapeze artists pull man from river

NEW YORK — Two trapeze instructors helped rescue a man who leaped into the Hudson River.

Police say Paul Cannon and Jonah Spear were teaching a class at the Trapeze School New York Thursday afternoon when a police officer ran in asking for rope and a flotation line to help save a man who had jumped into the river from a nearby pier, the New York Post reported.

Mr. Cannon snatched a safety rope used to harness students when they fly through the air and, along with Mr. Spear, ran with the officer to the water’s edge.

While the officer tied the rope to the guardrail, the two acrobats leaped in to save the man.

“It was a vague shadow in the green water,” Mr. Cannon told the newspaper, explaining that the man was starting to sink.

Cheney to undergo surgery for aneurysm

Vice President Dick Cheney will have an aneurysm repaired in his right knee today and then will have a similar procedure performed at a later date on an aneurysm behind his left knee, a spokeswoman said yesterday.

Mr. Cheney is expected to remain in the hospital for up to 48 hours after today’s surgery at George Washington Hospital Center, said Lea Anne McBride.

The condition was discovered earlier this year during a routine checkup. The surgery will be performed under local anesthetic, his office said.

Mr. Cheney, 64, has had four heart attacks, though none since he became vice president in 2001. That year, he had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator inserted in his chest. The pacemaker starts automatically if needed to regulate his heartbeat.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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