- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 10, 2006

Repeat molesters now face death

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma yesterday became the fourth state to allow the death penalty for repeat child molesters, although legal scholars questioned the constitutionality of the new state law.

Similar statutes already are in place in Florida, Louisiana and Montana, and South Carolina’s governor is expected to sign a similar law soon.

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry didn’t discuss the measure yesterday as he signed it into law.

The law makes the death penalty a possibility for anyone convicted of a second or subsequent conviction for rape, sodomy or lewd molestation involving a child younger than 14.

Vets remove dead calf from elephant’s womb

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Veterinarians removed a dead 330-pound calf from the womb of an Asian elephant stalled in labor for four days in a rare surgery at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo.

Zoo staff were walking Romani around in the elephant barn about 30 minutes after the four-hour surgery Thursday to widen her birth canal, an operation similar to a human episiotomy, zoo spokeswoman Sarah Fedele said.

The female calf was taken to Cornell University’s veterinary school for a necropsy. Veterinarians will try to determine when it died and why it became trapped inside the birth canal, Miss Fedele said.

Copter accident kills soldier, injures 4

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — A soldier was killed as a military helicopter was landing yesterday near Fort Campbell, and four others were taken to a hospital, an Army spokeswoman said.

Cathy Gramling, a spokeswoman for Fort Campbell, said the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter made a “precautionary landing” at 11:30 a.m. after a warning light came on in the cockpit. The soldier died during emergency procedures to exit the aircraft, she said.

The Army was not releasing how the soldier was killed. Miss Gramling said she had no information on the condition of the other soldiers.

The helicopter was from the 159th Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, which is based at Fort Campbell. It was on a routine maintenance mission when it landed at an airfield in Clarksville, Tenn., just outside the base on the Kentucky-Tennessee line.

Judge orders ‘rock, paper, scissors’

TAMPA, Fla. — A federal judge, miffed at the inability of opposing attorneys to agree on even the slightest details of a lawsuit, ordered them to settle their latest dispute with a game of “rock, paper, scissors.”

The argument was over a location to take the sworn statement of a witness in an insurance lawsuit.

In an order signed Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell scolded both sides and ordered them to meet at a neutral location at 4 p.m. June 30 to play a round of the hand-gesture game often used to settle childhood disputes. If they can’t agree on the neutral location, he said, they’ll play on the steps of the federal courthouse.

The winner gets to choose the location for the witness statement.

Teen comes home after MySpace trip

DETROIT — A 16-year-old Michigan girl headed for home yesterday, after she tricked her parents into getting her a passport and flew to the Middle East to be with a West Bank man she met on MySpace.com, authorities said.

U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded her to turn around and go home before she reached the West Bank.

Katherine R. Lester is a straight-A student and student council member, said her father, Terry Lester .

“She’s a good girl. Never had a problem with her,” he said.

MySpace.com is a social networking Web site with more than 72 million members that lets users post photos, Web logs and journals.

Katherine disappeared Monday after talking her family into getting her a passport by saying she was going to Canada with friends, sheriff’s officials said. She apparently planned to visit a man whose MySpace account describes him as a 25-year-old from Jericho, Undersheriff James Jashinske said.

JFK archivesto go online

BOSTON President John F. Kennedy’s personal archives will go online under an ambitious government project that will make it the first full presidential collection to be made accessible to Web surfers around the globe.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston said yesterday —Fridayt planned to turn millions of documents, photos and audio recordings relating to the former president into a digital library that can be accessed over the Web.

It will take more than a decade to complete the project. The records in his archives touch on some of the key issues that defined the 20th century, including the civil rights movement, the Cuban missile crisis and the race to land a man on the moon.

Fire consumes 15,000 acres

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Embers from a burn barrel ignited a fire that spread to 15,000 acres yesterday, burning at least one building and forcing people to evacuate homes along a 13-mile stretch of highway, officials said.

Strong wind pushed the flames along the Parks Highway toward the city of Nenana, a river and rail transportation hub of an estimated 550 people about 55 miles southwest of Fairbanks. The fire came within a mile of Nenana, with the Tanana River between the city and the flames.

All the homes along the stretch of highway were evacuated Thursday night, and aircraft were dropping fire retardant on the blaze, said Pete Buist, fire information officer for the Alaska Division of Forestry. He didn’t know how many homes were evacuated but said six or seven were in the most danger.

The fire started Wednesday at a home near Anderson, and wind gusting up to 25 mph spread it north.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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