- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Agency head quits over veterans home

PHOENIX — The head of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services resigned in the wake of an inspection that found shortcomings in care provided by the state’s nursing home for military veterans, Gov. Janet Napolitano said yesterday.

Miss Napolitano’s announcement that she had accepted the resignation of Patrick F. Chorpenning came one day after she removed him from direct responsibility over the facility and ordered an immediate review of the home in Phoenix.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services penalized the state $10,000 on March 16 for substandard care conditions that were found during a routine inspection of the veterans home in February. The federal agency also threatened to pull the state home’s status as a Medicare provider unless conditions improved.


Foster parent law rejected by panel

LITTLE ROCK — An attempt to reinstate a ban on homosexual and unmarried couples adopting or fostering children suffered a setback yesterday after a legislative panel rejected it.

The Arkansas Supreme Court last year struck down a ban on homosexual foster parents, but the state Senate this month passed a bill to revive it — and include adoption and unmarried, heterosexual couples. That effort failed yesterday before the House Judiciary Committee when no one moved to pass it, and it later was rejected by a voice vote.

The state Child Welfare Board instituted the ban on homosexual foster parents in March 1999.


Jury selection begins in military secrets trial

SANTA ANA — Jury selection began yesterday in the federal trial of a former top engineer at a major U.S. defense contractor accused of stealing military secrets for the Chinese.

Federal prosecutors have portrayed defendant Chi Mak as a foreign agent who used his position to steal some of the most advanced and closely guarded naval technology in the world, including silent-running propulsion systems that can make submarines undetectable.

Defense attorneys argue that the 66-year-old engineer is a devoted American who would never harm his adopted country.

An initial group of about 75 jurors was brought to the courtroom yesterday. Opening statements could begin later this week for a trial that U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney has said could run four to six weeks.

Mr. Mak, a U.S. citizen since 1985, is charged with conspiracy to export U.S. defense secrets to China, possession of property in aid of a foreign government and failure to register as a foreign agent. He could get more than 50 years in prison if convicted.


Scientists bend liquid with power of light

CHICAGO — French and American physicists have found a way to bend and direct liquid using only the force of light, according to a new study.

They used a laser beam to produce a long, steady jet of soapy liquid that was narrower than a human hair. When directed at a different angle, it pushed the liquid into a humplike shape.

The discovery could lead to advances in biomedical and biotechnological research by offering a new way to control the flow of fluids through extremely narrow channels.

The discovery was made by accident while University of Chicago professor Wendy Zhang was visiting colleagues at the University of Bordeaux. Miss Zhang, who studies fluids, was invited into a lab where scientist Jean-Pierre Delville had observed a strange and unexpected result after completing a previous experiment involving the behavior of the same fluid under a less-intense laser beam.

Mr. Delville turned up the laser power just to see what it could do. “He turned up the power and then saw this amazing thing,” Miss Zhang said.

She took the concept back to Chicago and started working out the theory of what happened with a graduate student, Robert Schroll, who is lead author of the study to be published in the Physical Review Letters on Friday.


Woman, 90, dies of tornado injuries

ALBUQUERQUE — A 90-year-old woman whose mobile home was flattened when tornadoes swept through the state over the weekend died of her injuries yesterday morning, becoming the storm’s only known fatality.

The tornadoes damaged more than 500 homes late Friday in the Clovis area where Heleneta Blevins lived near the Texas border.

At least 16 tornadoes hit the area. Initial assessments showed more than 500 homes were damaged with 75 classified as destroyed, and about 35 people were injured.


Bus refitted as oven for Passover matzos

SPRING VALLEY — It wasn’t your typical fire.

When police responded to a report that something smelled of smoke in the middle of the night last week, they found an old school bus that had been converted into a supersized oven for Passover matzos — complete with a smokestack, exhaust fans and working fire. A building inspector said the bakery bus wasn’t up to code but was “very creative.”

The derelict red-and-white bus, connected by a plywood passageway to a single-family house, was out of sight of casual passers-by in this New York City suburb.

Its owner, Rabbi Aaron Winternitz, said Monday he had been making the unleavened bread there for three Passovers and was eager to do the same this year, with Passover coming up in a week. Observant Jews eat matzo during Passover week to illustrate how the Jews had no time to let their bread rise as they fled slavery in Egypt.

Manny Carmona, Spring Valley’s deputy building inspector, told Mr. Winternitz that he has to move the bakery bus away at least 10 feet from the house, disconnect the unauthorized gas line that was fueling the oven and come up with documents to show that a licensed engineer had overseen the project.


Town seizes sheep being kept as pets

APEX — Authorities seized a flock of sheep that had wandered away from a home to graze on floral arrangements in the town cemetery.

Animal-neglect charges were pending yesterday against the animals’ owner, David Watts, who kept about 80 of the animals in his crumbling house in this Raleigh suburb, police said.

“He lives upstairs and the sheep were living downstairs,” police Sgt. Robert Towell said. “He considered them pets.”

About 30 sheep were euthanized because of ailments, said Michael Williams, director of the Wake County Animal Care, Control and Adoption Center. Police were waiting to see whether additional animals would be euthanized before determining the extent of the charges. Up to 30 healthy sheep could be available for adoption, officials said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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