- The Washington Times - Friday, June 2, 2006


New Orleans mayor takes oath of office

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor C. Ray Nagin was sworn in for a second term yesterday on the first day of the new hurricane season.

Mr. Nagin, 49, was re-elected May 20 after urging the people of New Orleans not to change leaders on the brink of another hurricane season.

“Thank you, thank you for the gift of leadership,” he said. “It’s a gift. It’s a gift I do not take lightly.”

The swearing-in took place at the Convention Center, where thousands took refuge without food or water in increasingly squalid conditions after the Aug. 29 storm blew ashore.

Mr. Nagin, who defeated Louisiana Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu in a runoff, started the day at an interfaith service at St. Louis Cathedral.


Mauled Kenyan boy has reconstructive surgery

HOUSTON — A 4-year-old Kenyan boy who was mauled by dogs after he was abandoned on a trash heap at birth went into surgery yesterday for the first of a series of procedures to reconstruct his face.

Part of the operation will rebuild Daniel Wachira’s jaw with one of his ribs. Doctors also plan to take muscle from Daniel’s shoulder to form a cheek.

The boy’s legal guardians, Larry and Frances Jones, learned about Daniel through the Christian relief organization Feed the Children, which they founded in 1979.

Daniel had been abandoned at birth and left on a trash heap in Nairobi, where dogs mauled him before a passer-by spotted the child and took him to a hospital.

Associated Press

New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin traveled in style for inauguration day after attending an interfaith service at St. Louis Cathedral in the historic French Quarter.


Suspect held in lawyer kidnap

BIRMINGHAM — The ordeal began early in the morning, when witnesses said they saw a gunman force a family-law lawyer back into the Lexus she was driving. Then, they sped away.

It ended nine hours later, when authorities said they found 34-year-old Sandra Eubank Gregory at a Comfort Inn motel a few miles away. The man suspected in her kidnapping was under arrest, police said.

Police swarmed the motel at about 5:20 p.m. Wednesday and arrested Dedrick Griham, 35, holding him down on a walkway outside of a second-floor motel room before putting him in the back of a police car. Miss Gregory was led out of the room moments later with a covering over her head and appeared to walk out under her own power.

Lt. Henry Irby said she was “reportedly all right” but would not comment further on her condition. Lt. Irby said police do not think she knew the man who abducted her. No charges had been filed against Mr. Griham late Wednesday.


7 Marines, sailor face murder charges

SAN DIEGO — Military prosecutors plan to file murder, kidnapping and conspiracy charges against seven Marines and a Navy corpsman in the shooting death of an Iraqi man in April, a defense lawyer said yesterday.

The eight men are being held in solitary confinement in the brig at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north of San Diego, said Jeremiah Sullivan III, who represents one of the men.

The Iraqi’s death, which occurred April 26 west of Baghdad, was unrelated to the shootings of as many as two dozen civilians in the western Iraqi city of Haditha in November. The men being held at Camp Pendleton served in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, and are members of the battalion’s Kilo Company. The highest-ranking among them is a staff sergeant.

Mr. Sullivan said he learned from Marine Corps attorneys that the charges have been drafted and that official charging documents could be given to the men as early as today. A Pentagon official said yesterday on the condition of anonymity only that unspecified charges likely will come “very soon.”


Four soldiers die in copter crash

DOERUN — A military helicopter clipped a TV tower in rural Colquitt County and crashed yesterday morning, killing four soldiers on a training mission, officials said.

A fifth soldier aboard the MH-47 Chinook helicopter survived, said Lisa Eichhorn, a spokeswoman for Fort Rucker, Ala., home to an Army helicopter training school, where the soldiers were headed.

The helicopter had left Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga., and it went down just after 8 a.m., said sheriff’s dispatcher Becky Perry. As it flew past a television station’s 1,000-foot-high tower, it clipped a wire, said Deborah Owens, station manager of WFXL-TV.

Officials were uncertain whether the collision with the television tower caused the crash or whether the helicopter was already in trouble. A team of military police from the nearby Marine base was called to secure the area, and authorities were keeping reporters away.

The Army didn’t release the names of the soldiers and wouldn’t confirm to which unit the copter belonged.


University posts Social Security data

LEXINGTON — The University of Kentucky inadvertently posted about 1,300 employee Social Security numbers on a Web site that was accessible to the public for several days.

“This is a regrettable incident, and the University considers any breach of privacy and confidentiality a serious matter,” the school’s general counsel wrote in a memo sent Wednesday to current and former employees who were affected.

The school learned late last week that a spreadsheet containing the personal data was available online. It immediately was removed from the school’s server, the memo said.

University of Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton said yesterday that the site where the numbers were posted had received 41 hits while the information was available online.


State’s jobless rate falls to 7.3 percent

JACKSON — Mississippi’s unadjusted unemployment rate for April fell seven-tenths of a percentage point to 7.3 percent. The decline is good news for a state still reeling from Hurricane Katrina.

Harrison County had the highest jobless rate at 14.3 percent followed by Hancock County at 14.2 percent. Both are coastal counties hit hard by Katrina.


Cigarettes must be self-extinguishing

CONCORD — New Hampshire is joining four other states in requiring that all cigarettes sold be self-extinguishing. Gov. John Lynch signed the law, which takes effect in October 2007.

The cigarettes are wrapped in ultra-thin paper with bands that inhibit burning unless a smoker draws in air. New Hampshire retailers carrying ordinary cigarettes will face fines up to $1,000 per sale. New York, California, Vermont and Illinois have similar laws.


Teen accused of spiking rival’s drink

HURST — A teenager accused of spiking a fellow theater student’s drink with bleach because she wanted the lead role in a school play surrendered to authorities.

Katherine A. Smith, 18, turned herself in Wednesday, more than a week after a warrant was issued for her arrest. She was charged with tampering with a consumer product, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and was released on $2,500 bail.

She is accused of putting bleach in Mountain Dew and then handing the drink to a 15-year-old in February, a day after the opening of L.D. Bell High School’s production of “Ha!” — a trio of one-act comedies. Test results confirmed that the drink contained components of bleach, according to police reports.

The 15-year-old noticed the odor and told an assistant principal, who contacted police. Police said Wednesday that the investigation took more than three months because of problems with testing the drink.


Anthrax threat sent to parole board

MURRAY — A threatening letter accompanied by white powder was sent from the Utah State Prison to offices of the state Board of Pardons and Parole. The letter said, “If this anthrax doesn’t kill you, I will.”

Officials said the offices were locked down as firefighters tested the powder, which turned out to be baking soda. Authorities are assuming the letter came from an inmate, and police are investigating.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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