- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006


Tiger cubs undergo first medical exam

Veterinarians got their first look yesterday at three tiger cubs born May 24 at the National Zoo.

During a quick medical exam, the vets checked the cubs’ sex, weight and general health and said all the cubs are doing well.

The two females and one male are the sixth litter of Sumatran tiger cubs born at the zoo in its 117-year history.

The cubs will not be on public exhibit for several months.

The male cub weighs 6.8 pounds and the female cubs weigh 5.8 pounds and 4.8 pounds.

The tigers do not have names, but the public will be asked to vote on names later this summer.

Fewer than 500 Sumatran tigers are thought to exist in the wild and 210 live in zoos around the world. The National Zoo now has five Sumatran tigers.



Man grabs girl on way to school

Anne Arundel County police are searching for a man who tried to assault a student yesterday morning.

Police said a 15-year-old girl at Arundel Middle School was walking to school when a stranger grabbed her by the arm. She told police that she was able to break free and run to school.

Police said the girl was in a wooded area near the front of the school when the incident happened.

Police searched the area but were not able to find the assailant. Officers were stationed at the school and surrounding schools until classes ended.


Crane accident closes Route 90 bridge

A crane accident on the Route 90 bridge forced authorities to close the bridge yesterday just outside of Ocean City.

The crane apparently lost control and hit the side of the bridge’s wall, witnesses told the Salisbury Daily Times.

The incident cut off traffic between Ocean Pines and Ocean City for several hours.

Several fire department crews responded to the scene of the accident about 5:20 p.m. It was not clear whether anyone had been injured.

Steve Price, an Ocean City fire department spokesman, said the Route 90 bridge was expected to remain closed for several hours between Route 589 in Ocean Pines and Ocean City’s Coastal Highway.

Ocean City resident Liz Coleman said that traffic was flowing regularly on Coastal Highway, but that town and state police cars were blocking access to the highway.


Ruptured gas line prompts evacuations

Residents in a neighborhood were evacuated from their homes yesterday morning after a contractor ruptured a gas line.

Capt. Oscar Garcia, a Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesman, said the incident began about 9 a.m. in the 13300 block of Rushing Water Way when a contractor laying fiber optics hit a gas line.

Capt. Garcia said 35 residents were evacuated from nearly 70 town houses in the area near Clopper Road. They were allowed to return shortly before 11 a.m.


Teen found guilty of killing during robbery

A Montgomery County teen was convicted yesterday of killing another teen.

Tristen Michael Bryant, 19, of Germantown, was convicted by a Montgomery County Circuit Court jury after a six-day trial for first-degree murder, armed robbery, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.

His victim, Ezekiel Babendrier, 19, of Damascus, was at a party June 12 in Germantown with about 15 other teens, when he went outside with a friend to retrieve some cigars from his truck. There they encountered three other teens, including Bryant.

Bryant used a knife to rob Mr. Babendrier while another teen robbed Mr. Babendrier’s friend with a replica handgun.

Mr. Babendrier struggled with Bryant and was stabbed several times. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Bryant faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment plus 55 years. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 9.


More hate symbols found on lawns

Howard County police have learned about three more houses where racist words and symbols were burned into lawns.

Similar hate crimes were first found Monday. The additional crimes were found yesterday.

The small markings included swastikas and the letters “WP.” Police said all three residents are members of racial minorities.

Police think all of the crimes were committed at the same time, likely late last week.

The first incident was discovered Monday night when a homeowner noticed a swastika and the words “white power” burned into his grass.

Authorities continue to offer a reward and are asking anyone with information about the crimes to contact police.



Students challenge ban on booze ads

Student newspapers at two Virginia universities filed a lawsuit yesterday challenging state regulations that prohibit them from running ads for alcoholic beverages.

Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Times and the Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia say the ban is unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Richmond against the State Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which is representing the newspapers, said there is no evidence that the ad restriction achieves the goal of discouraging underage drinking.

“The state needs to show a strong link between alcohol ads in college newspapers and illegal drinking in order to justify this kind of censorship,” state ACLU Executive Director Kent Willis said. “Freedom of the press is too important in our society to be restricted on a hunch.”

Tucker Martin, spokesman for Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell, said the state’s lawyers have not yet reviewed the lawsuit. “However, the policy of prohibiting the advertising of alcohol to underage students who cannot drink appears to be sound,” he said.

The student newspapers say, however, that they have a substantial number of readers who are 21 or older. They also say the ban puts them at a disadvantage in competing for advertising revenue.

The ACLU noted that the University of Pittsburgh’s student newspaper, Pitt News, successfully challenged similar restrictions in 2004.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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