- The Washington Times - Friday, February 10, 2006

Jail officials separate blacks, Hispanics

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County jail officials separated black and Hispanic inmates, began transferring troublemakers out and brought in clergy to try to restore peace after a week of racially charged brawls they feared would continue to erupt through the weekend.

“It’s got momentum,” sheriff’s Chief Marc Klugman said yesterday. “They’re battle-hardened. They’re angry.”

Thousands of Hispanics and blacks clashed Feb. 4, and a black inmate was beaten to death at the Pitchess Detention Center, a 6,500-inmate complex outside the city limits. Brawls then broke out during the week at the two smaller jails at Pitchess. About 90 inmates in all have been injured.

All 19,000 inmates in the Los Angeles County jail system will remain on lockdown through the weekend, meaning no visits or other privileges, Chief Klugman said.

Researcher accused of ‘misbehavior’

PITTSBURGH — A U.S. stem-cell specialist committed “research misbehavior” in his work with a now-disgraced South Korean scientist, but his actions don’t constitute scientific wrongdoing, university investigators said yesterday.

The University of Pittsburgh Research Integrity panel concluded that Dr. Gerald Schatten “likely did not intentionally falsify or fabricate experimental data” and said there was no evidence he knew of misconduct in Dr. Hwang Woo-suk’s work in South Korea.

A South Korean academic panel recently determined that Dr. Hwang fabricated data to support his claim that he cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells from them. It also concluded Dr. Hwang falsely claimed to have developed 11 stem-cell lines tailored to specific patients.

Dr. Schatten remains a tenured professor and active researcher at the university, officials said.

Screeners find head in woman’s luggage

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Airport baggage screeners found a human head with teeth, hair and skin in the luggage of a woman who said she intended to ward off evil spirits with it, authorities said yesterday.

Myrlene Severe, 30, a Haitian-born permanent U.S. resident, was charged with smuggling a human head into the United States without proper documentation.

Customs and Border Protection officials found the head Thursday, after Miss Severe arrived at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on a Lynx International Airlines flight from Cap Haitien, Haiti, said Barbara Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Miami.

“It still had teeth, hair and bits of skin and lots of dirt,” Miss Gonzalez said.

Miss Severe, who also was charged with failing to declare the head and transporting hazardous material in air commerce, faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.

Former governor leaves prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — Former Gov. John G. Rowland walked out of federal prison yesterday after serving 10 months for corruption, promising to “try to be a better person.”

Rowland, 48, was released from a prison in Pennsylvania before dawn. He will be fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and spend four months under house arrest. He also must perform 300 hours of community service.

He offered no hint about his long-term plans.

“Actions speak louder than words, and I am going to try to be a better person and show my family and friends and the people of Connecticut how truly sorry I am for letting them down,” he said in a statement issued through a friend.

The three-term Republican resigned in 2004 amid an impeachment inquiry and pleaded guilty to conspiracy, admitting he accepted more than $100,000 in vacations and chartered trips to Las Vegas from a state contractor and a jet company that received a tax break.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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