- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

Boy Scouts recalling badges

The Boy Scouts of America said yesterday it is recalling more than a million badges worn by young Cub Scouts because of a lead-paint danger.

The made-in-China plastic “totem” badges are painted blue and yellow with the words “Progress Toward Ranks.” Cub Scouts ages 7 and 8 normally wear them on their shirt pockets.

“During a routine test of products, the Boy Scouts’ supply group discovered lead paint” on the badges, said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America.

“No illness related to the product has been reported to us,” he said, adding that about 1.5 million of the badges are in circulation. They have been distributed in kits since 2000, with each kit containing eight to 10 badges.

The badges are supplied by Kahoot Products Inc., of Roswell, Ga., Mr. Shields said.

Convicted tax-evaders arrested

CONCORD, N.H. — U.S. marshals posing as supporters arrested convicted tax-evaders Ed and Elaine Brown at their rural fortresslike home, the head marshal said yesterday .

“They invited us in, and we escorted them out,” U.S. Marshal Stephen Monier said, releasing the first details of Thursday night’s arrests.

The arrests ended a months-long standoff that began in January, when Brown, 65, a retired exterminator, and his dentist wife, 67, walked out of their federal trial in Concord. She returned to the trial but soon joined her husband at home, where they vowed to resist violently if authorities tried to arrest them.

The Browns were turned over to federal corrections officials to serve prison terms of 63 months. They were convicted in January of scheming to avoid federal income taxes by hiding $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003 and were sentenced in April.

The couple claims the federal income tax is not legitimate.

Accused kidnapper set to plead guilty

ST. LOUIS — A former pizzeria manager accused of kidnapping two Missouri boys will plead guilty next week to kidnapping, attempted murder and sexual assault, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Washington County prosecutor John Rupp said Michael Devlin will plead guilty to all charges in the 2002 kidnapping of Shawn Hornbeck and will be sentenced Tuesday.

Mr. Devlin was arrested in January after police found Shawn and Ben Ownby at his apartment in the St. Louis County town of Kirkwood.

Loyd Bailie, Ben’s uncle, told the Associated Press yesterday that the family had been briefed by prosecutors that Mr. Devlin will plead guilty next week in all four jurisdictions where he is charged — in three Missouri counties and in federal court.

Shawn was 11 when he went missing while riding his bike near his Washington County home in 2002. Ben, 13, had been missing four days after being abducted after getting off a school bus in Franklin County.

Breast-feeding mom wins appeal

BOSTON — An appeals court cleared the way yesterday for a Harvard student to receive extra break time during a lengthy medical-licensing exam so she can pump breast milk for her infant daughter.

The state Appeals Court refused to overturn a decision issued by a single justice of the court last week allowing Sophie Currier, 33, an extra 60 minutes of break time.

Ms. Currier is scheduled to take the nine-hour exam over two days next week, but the National Board of Medical Examiners planned to appeal to the state Supreme Judicial Court, said the board’s attorney, Joseph Savage Jr.

A justice of the Supreme Judicial Court declined to hear the case last week, saying the board had to first go to the appeals court.

Ms. Currier sued after the national board said she could have only the standard 45 minutes of break time.

Travel agency accused of fraud

TRENTON, N.J. — A travel agency is accused of charging more than 50 Muslims thousands of dollars on a Mecca pilgrimage tour only to leave them standing in airports at the last minute without tickets.

The state Attorney General’s Office purports that Shama Hajj Ziyarat Tours LLC and its owner, Molana Syed Alihaider Abidi, violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by selling the trip packages to Saudi Arabia, then failing to provide the tour or a refund.

The state wants the company, which also does business as Karwan-E-Iman-E-Sajjad (USA), to give refunds.

“These last-minute cancellations without explanation cost consumers thousands of dollars and prevented them from making a pilgrimage to Mecca,” Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

A man who answered the phone at the travel agency who identified himself as Mr. Abidi’s son wouldn’t answer questions. He directed all inquiries to Thomas Monahan, an attorney for the agency. Mr. Monahan didn’t return calls seeking comment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches.

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