- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ex-professor agrees to deportation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Former Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, who was acquitted on terrorism charges last year, has agreed to be deported rather than face a new trial, according to reports yesterday.

Mr. Al-Arian and three co-defendants were arrested in 2003 and charged with providing money and support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

The United States lists the PIJ as a terrorist organization and says it is responsible for more than 100 deaths in Israel, including three Americans.

In December, a federal jury in Tampa found Mr. Al-Arian not guilty on eight charges and failed to reach a verdict on nine others after a six-month trial. He has been held in jail since then while federal prosecutors decide whether to have a new trial on the remaining charges.

The St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune both reported yesterday that Mr. Al-Arian had agreed to be deported after he pleads guilty to one charge. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tampa refused to comment on the report, the newspapers said.

Indoor smoking ban goes into effect

LAKEWOOD, N.J. — As New Jersey ushered in its indoor smoking ban at 12:01 a.m. yesterday, there was no fanfare at the Green House Grill. Dance music played uninterrupted, and a couple of smokers at the bar snuffed out their last cigarettes.

Patron George Santos said he was resigned to the new reality.

“This won’t stop me from smoking,” he said. “It just means I’ll have to take a few more breaks when I go out.”

New Jersey’s ban prohibits cigar, cigarette and pipe smoking in restaurants, bars, private office buildings and other indoor places, with fines of $250 to $1,000 for people who light up and the businesses that let them. The ban does not apply to casinos.

The state becomes the 11th to ban indoor smoking. There are similar bans in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Cat freed from building

NEW YORK — Molly the cat is finally free.

After two weeks stuck behind a brick wall in a 19th-century building, the bashful 11-month-old feline was rescued from her plight Friday night by a volunteer who found her wedged in a crawl space between bricks and a piece of sheet metal.

At the end of the ordeal, the black cat emerged from the building lying in a metal cage — calm and docile as cameras flashed and onlookers cooed.

“I think you’ll all agree that she is in great shape,” said Peter Myers, who owns the delicatessen housed in the building and kept Molly in his store to catch mice.

Her first meal? Nibbles of roasted pork, sardines in oil, and water, Mr. Myers said.

Couple charged with false claims

BOSTON — A couple has been charged with filing fraudulent insurance claims that said they had eaten glass found in their food at restaurants, hotels and grocery stores, federal prosecutors said.

Ronald and Mary Evano filed the claims in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland, an indictment made public Friday said. Mrs. Evano is still being sought.

The couple used aliases, false Social Security numbers and identity cards and, in some cases, had eaten glass intentionally to support their insurance claims, prosecutors said. The glass did not come from the food they had bought, prosecutors said.

Mr. Evano is being held by police in Maryland. He is scheduled to return to Massachusetts where he will be charged in U.S. District Court, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Boys’ bodies found in lagoon

MILWAUKEE — Two boys missing for almost a month apparently drowned in a park lagoon near where they were last seen, and police said yesterday foul play was not suspected.

Purvis Virginia Parker, 11, and Quadrevion Henning, 12, disappeared the afternoon of March 19 after they asked Quadrevion’s grandfather whether they could play basketball at the nearby park.

The bodies were found in the park lagoon on Friday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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