- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Group attempts whale rescue

WOODLAND BEACH — A marine-mammal rescue group is trying to free a pygmy sperm whale and calf found scraped and bloody yesterday morning at Woodland Beach.

Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute’s (MERR) executive director, Suzanne Thurman, said there are a few possible locations they can take the beached mammals. MERR is based in Lewes.

The adult whale is 8 feet long and weighs more than 1,000 pounds. And the calf is 4 or 5 feet long and weighs 250 pounds.


Foundation awards millions in TB grants

CHICAGO — Research to fight the global tuberculosis epidemic got a shot in the arm yesterday with $280 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for work to develop more effective vaccines, diagnostic tests and drugs.

The lion’s share of the award — $200 million over five years — went to the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation to study up to six vaccine candidates in early stage clinical trials.

Aeras Chief Executive Jerald Sadoff, a former vaccine researcher at Merck & Co. Inc., said his group will use the Gates funding to start a series of trials on human volunteers with the hope of having a new vaccine by 2015.

Dr. Sadoff hopes to test vaccine candidates in up to 8,500 patients in 10 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and the U.S.


State senator sues God

LINCOLN — A Nebraska lawmaker has filed a lawsuit against God.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers accuses God of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more. Mr. Chambers said God can be sued in Douglas County, Neb., because He’s everywhere.

The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, blames God for natural disasters and is seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.

Mr. Chambers said he’s trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody. He said the lawsuit was triggered by a federal suit filed against a judge who recently barred words such as “rape” and “victim” from a sexual-assault trial.

He said he considers that lawsuit frivolous.

The accuser in the criminal case, Tory Bowen, sued Lancaster County District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront, claiming that he violated her free-speech rights.


Simpson arraignment set for today

LAS VEGAS — Prosecutors filed formal charges yesterday against O.J. Simpson, saying the fallen football star committed seven felonies, including kidnapping, in the armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a casino-hotel room.

Mr. Simpson was arrested Sunday after a collector reported a group of armed men charged into his hotel room and took several items Mr. Simpson claimed belonged to him.

Mr. Simpson, 60, was booked on suspicion of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon. Clark County District Attorney David Roger filed those charges and added kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to court documents.

Mr. Simpson, who was accused along with three other men, was also charged with one misdemeanor. He faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.

He was being held without bail and was scheduled to be arraigned today.


Police say teens held at gunpoint

SALEMBURG — Three men were arrested on charges they held 10 teenagers at gunpoint and forced them to smoke marijuana and perform sex acts on one another, authorities said yesterday.

The suspected abductors also fired four shots into the floor of the home where the teens were held early Sunday, Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said. He described the victims as six high school-age girls and four boys and said the home belonged to one of the victims.

Three men in their 20s were arrested Sunday and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon and second-degree kidnapping.


Quaker school gets $128 million gift

PHILADELPHIA — A woman is donating more than $128 million to a Quaker high school in honor of her late father, an economist who taught Warren Buffett.

The gift, nearly twice the school’s current endowment, is thought to be among the largest ever to a secondary school.

The George School in suburban Newtown announced yesterday it will receive the money in installments over 20 years from a trust established by Barbara Dodd Anderson, a 1950 graduate.

Her father, David Dodd, was a business professor at Columbia University and an economist who co-wrote the influential investing book, “Security Analysis.” He also was Mr. Buffett’s teacher, mentor and later his business partner.

In 1956, armed with $105,000 raised from a handful of friends and relatives, Mr. Buffett founded an investment partnership that later bought control of a New England textile firm called Berkshire Hathaway. Today, the company has assets of more than $250 billion and owns more than 60 subsidiary businesses including insurance, clothing, candy and furniture.


Man pleads guilty in kidnapping, rape

BEAUFORT — A man accused of kidnapping a 14-year-old girl and raping her in an underground bunker pleaded guilty yesterday, moments before his trial was to begin.

Vinson Filyaw stood with his arms clasped behind him as he quietly answered, “Yes, sir,” when the judge asked him whether he was freely pleading to the charges. The victim sat with family members, her mother’s arm around her.

Filyaw, 37, could spend the rest of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty to kidnapping and all 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct, one for each day prosecutors said he held the girl captive a year ago in Kershaw County.

The teen was rescued last year after she sent a cell phone text message more than a week after her abduction.


Defense begins case in polygamist trial

ST. GEORGE — Defense attorneys for a polygamous-sect leader charged with sex crimes in the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old girl and her older cousin began their case yesterday, trying to debunk the contention that his church places women in submissive roles.

Warren Jeffs, 51, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), is accused of using his influence to push the girl into a marriage with her 19-year-old cousin in 2001 and forcing her to have unwanted sex. He is charged with two counts of rape as an accomplice.

The prosecution ended its presentation and then Mr. Jeffs’ attorneys began calling witnesses, arguing against the idea that men and church leaders have more power than women. Testimony from the young bride, now 21, and sermons from Mr. Jeffs played for the jury, have suggested that women are without a voice in FLDS marriages and that they must submit to their husbands “mind, body and soul.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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