- The Washington Times - Friday, October 13, 2006

FAA announces flight ban

Most small, fixed-wing planes have been banned from flying along the East River in New York City unless the pilot is in contact with air-traffic controllers, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said yesterday.

The announcement comes two days after a plane carrying New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, above the East River slammed into a skyscraper.

The ban will affect small aircraft, which had been allowed to fly along the river, which runs along the east side of Manhattan Island.

The FAA exempted seaplanes that fly in and out of a seaplane base in the river. Those pilots are more familiar with the airspace than private pilots such as Mr. Lidle and his flight instructor, who were new to the area. Helicopters also are not affected.

The flight restrictions go into effect immediately, the FAA said.

Charges dropped against evangelist

CHICAGO — Charges against a Christian activist accused of disrupting the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago last July have been dismissed after neither police nor other witnesses agreed to come to court to pursue the case.

Chicago prosecutors announced on Oct. 4 that the “disorderly conduct” charge against Michael Marcavage, director of Repent America, were being dropped because they could not locate the “complaining witness” and police refused to come to court.

A tape of the event that police had confiscated presumably to use as evidence against Mr. Marcavage could not be used, prosecutors said, because police had recorded over it.

Mr. Marcavage says he was arrested by Chicago police as he stood on a public sidewalk, holding a sign supporting traditional marriage, and was briefly incarcerated.

Imam pleads guilty to aiding Hamas

ATLANTA — The imam of a northern Georgia mosque pleaded guilty to providing material support to the militant group Hamas in a case in which the agreement, charges and even the plea hearing were handled in secret.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said yesterday that the charges and plea agreement involving Mohamed Shorbagi were filed Aug. 28 in federal court in Rome, Ga., a division of Atlanta’s federal court, but were sealed until yesterday.

Shorbagi, 42, agreed to a maximum 15 years in prison, prosecutors said. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Prosecutors said that from 1997 to 2001, Shorbagi provided financial support to Hamas, a group designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization. He also was accused of conspiring with unnamed others to provide material support to Hamas.

4 found shot along highway

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Police yesterday found what appeared to be a family of four fatally shot overnight along an isolated stretch of highway. The woman clutching two children apparently in an effort to protect them, with a man’s body nearby.

Investigators think that the victims’ vehicle had pulled to the side of the Florida Turnpike before someone else in the vehicle shot them and drove away sometime between 1:30 and 3 a.m., Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

The sheriff would not say whether investigators knew of a motive or had any suspects.

A passer-by spotted the bodies at about 8 a.m. in Port St. Lucie, about 100 miles north of Miami, and alerted the Florida Highway Patrol. The bodies were in a grassy area near a golf club, several miles from the nearest rest stop.

The names of the 29-year-old man and 25-year-old woman were withheld until relatives could be notified. The children were thought to be 4 to 6 years old, the sheriff said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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