- The Washington Times - Friday, January 26, 2007

Huckabee explores presidential bid

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Republican Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and a favorite of conservatives, will take the first step in a 2008 presidential bid, an official told the Associated Press yesterday.

Mr. Huckabee, 51, plans to file papers Monday establishing an exploratory committee that will allow him to raise money and hire campaign staff, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting a formal announcement.

Mr. Huckabee faces difficult odds as he enters a crowded Republican field topped by better-known, better-funded candidates such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

“My brand of conservatism is not an angry, hostile brand. It’s one that says ‘conservative’ means we want to conserve the best of our culture, society, principles and values and pass them on,” he said last month.

Wife pulls husband from lion’s mouth

SAN FRANCISCO — A 65-year-old woman saved her husband’s life after fending off a mountain lion that mauled him as they hiked in a California park, wildlife officials said yesterday.

Nell Hamm attempted to gouge the lion’s eyes with a pen before picking up a large branch and clubbing the big cat into submission after it sunk its jaws into her husband Jim’s head during the attack on Wednesday.

Mr. Hamm, 70, was recovering in a hospital after the ordeal, which took place at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, 350 miles north of San Francisco.

“There’s no doubt she saved his life,” said California Department of Fish and Game spokesman Steve Martarano.

Wildlife authorities later shot two mountain lions near the trail. The lions will be tested to determine whether either was involved in the attack.

Royal couple seeks culture in Philly

PHILADELPHIA — Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, arrived yesterday to begin a weekend of public appearances that include a visit to Independence Hall, where American colonists first declared independence from Britain.

The royal couple arrived on a British Airways jet, choosing a commercial flight in keeping with the prince’s recent announcement that he would avoid private jets to reduce his travel’s effect on the environment.

The pair were to spend 24 hours visiting historic sites, a nonprofit group and the city’s Academy of Music.

9 youths convicted in racial attack

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Nine black youths were convicted yesterday in juvenile court of beating three white women in a racially charged attack on Halloween night.

The youths, ranging from 12 to 18 years old, could receive sentences from probation to juvenile detention until age 25. All were charged with felony assault. The judge found eight of them guilty of hate crimes.

Prosecutors said the confrontation began when a crowd of black youths threw objects at the three young white women. Some hurled racial insults and one was heard shouting “I hate whites,” authorities said.

The group then attacked the victims, knocking them to the ground. The beating stopped when a black man driving by pulled the assailants away and shielded the women with his body, prosecutors said.

The judge scheduled a hearing Wednesday to decide on punishments.

Censure called for suspected groper

PIERRE, S.D. — A state Senate panel yesterday recommended the censure of a lawmaker accused of groping a male page in a motel room bed.

The full Senate could vote next week on the proposed punishment for Democratic Sen. Dan Sutton. Censure would carry no loss of the politician’s powers.

The nine-member panel could have recommended that the lawmaker be expelled or exonerated. The vote for censure was 6-3.

Austin Wiese, now 19, testified that Mr. Sutton, a longtime family friend, touched his genitals through his shorts while the two shared a king-size bed at a motel last February. The young man was 18 at the time. No criminal charges have been filed.

Teens plead guilty to cooking puppy

ATLANTA — Two teenagers accused of duct-taping a puppy’s snout and paws and cooking the animal alive in an oven pleaded guilty yesterday to animal cruelty and other offenses.

Prosecutors said Joshua Moulder, 17, and his brother, Justin, 19, broke into a newly refurbished community center, where they tortured and killed the 3-month-old puppy, damaged computers, broke glass and splattered paint on the walls.

The brothers then brought neighborhood children to see the dead puppy and threatened to kill them if they reported it, prosecutors said.

They will be sentenced next month. They face up to 90 years in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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