- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007


4 persons missing from boat

MIAMI — Four crew members were missing from a boat found adrift, and two passengers, one of them a fugitive from Arkansas, were being questioned by federal authorities yesterday after they were rescued in the Florida Straits near Cuba.

Kirby Logan Archer, 35, of Strawberry, Ark., and Guillermo Zarabozo, 19, of Hialeah, were found in good condition Monday morning on a life raft. They were brought back to land, and FBI spokeswoman Judy Orihuela said they were being questioned about what happened on the boat.

The two men had paid the crew of a Miami Beach charter boat $4,000 to take them to Bimini, Bahamas, where they said women were waiting for them, authorities said. Mr. Archer is accused of stealing $92,620 in cash from a Wal-Mart in Batesville, Ark., authorities said.


MacArthur awards ‘genius grants’

CHICAGO — A woman who helps students go to college with their “posse,” a psychiatrist who treats combat veterans and a museum director on Alaska’s Kodiak Island are among the 24 winners of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius grants.”

The $500,000 fellowships were announced yesterday by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Recipients may use the money however they wish.

“It’s an incredible gift,” said Deborah Bial, 42, founder and president of the Posse Foundation, which helps form social networks to support college students.


ACLU sues over scholar’s visa

BOSTON — A well-known South African scholar and political commentator is being kept out of the United States because he has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq and the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the American Civil Liberties Union charged in a lawsuit filed yesterday.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Boston, the ACLU said the U.S. government’s decision to revoke the visa of Adam Habib last year has forced him to turn down invitations to speak to various political organizations, violating the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens who were prevented from hearing his views.

In the lawsuit, the ACLU said Mr. Habib, a Muslim, reapplied for a visa in May so he could participate in various events in the United States, including the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in New York City last month. His application still has not been processed, he said.

The lawsuit seeks an order compelling the government to process Mr. Habib’s visa application immediately and an injunction barring the State Department and Department of Homeland Security from excluding Mr. Habib on the basis of speech.


CBP agent killed in crash is identified

ALBUQUERQUE — A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) air interdiction agent who died in a crash Monday while performing training at Moriarty Airport near here was identified yesterday as Julio E. Baray.

“Today, the Customs and Border Protection family mourns the loss of Officer Julio Baray,” said Michael Kostelnik, assistant commissioner for CBP’s Office of Air and Marine. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Officer Baray, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Mexico, joined the U.S. Border Patrol in September 1998 and served as a canine handler before he joined the CBP Office of Air and Marine in February to become an air-interdiction agent. He was stationed at El Paso air branch in Texas.

Survived by his wife and two children, Officer Baray, 39, was flying a syllabus training mission in a Cessna 210 with an instructor pilot, who suffered injuries in the crash and was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque for treatment. The officer, who has not been identified, was listed yesterday in stable condition.


Terror camp suspect extradited to U.S.

NEW YORK — A Lebanese-born Swede suspected of plotting to set up a terrorist camp in Oregon was extradited to the United States yesterday.

Oussama Kassir was taken to FBI offices for fingerprinting and processing after arriving on a flight from Prague. Federal prosecutors were expected to discuss the case later in the day.

Mr. Kassir was arrested on Dec. 11, 2005, at Prague’s Ruzyne International Airport in the Czech Republic while flying from Sweden to Lebanon. The United States requested his extradition, and Czech Justice Minister Jiri Pospisil ruled on Sept. 18 that there was no reason to refuse the request.


Bill targets in-flight movies

RALEIGH — Prompted by parents’ complaints about sex and violence in in-flight movies, two congressmen introduced legislation yesterday calling for airlines to create child-friendly zones on planes.

“The airlines have chosen to put our children in a situation that I don’t feel comfortable with,” said Rep. Heath Shuler, North Carolina Democrat.

He and Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones, also from North Carolina, call their proposal the Family Friendly Flights Act.

The bill calls for the creation of sections on commercial flights where there would not be any publicly viewable movie screens.


College to pay up in dispute over sign

PROVIDENCE — A public college will pay $5,000 to a women’s group that filed suit that said its free speech rights were violated when campus police removed signs that read: “Keep your rosaries off our ovaries.”

Under a settlement announced yesterday, the school, Rhode Island College, also has made changes to its policy on signs to clarify what can be posted on campus.

The Women’s Studies Organization posted the signs near the campus entrance in December 2005 to coincide with a day of activism for women’s rights. A Roman Catholic priest arriving at the campus to conduct a weekly Mass complained to the college administration, and police were directed to take the signs down. Rhode Island College spokeswoman Jane Fusco said the signs were removed because they were placed in an area of campus where signs are typically prohibited.

Jennifer Magaw, the president of the women’s organization, said the signs were intended to provoke discussion about the refusal by pharmacists locally and nationally to distribute emergency contraceptive to customers for religious reasons.


Equipment failure grounds flights

MEMPHIS — The Federal Aviation Administration shut down all airline traffic within 250 miles of Memphis yesterday, grounding dozens of passenger and cargo flights across the country, because communications equipment had failed at the regional air traffic control center there.

Air traffic control centers in adjacent regions handled flights that were already in the air when the problem was discovered, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said.

High-altitude flights through the region were discontinued while the equipment was being fixed. By 3 p.m., the FAA started allowing departing and arriving flights to resume at airports inside the 250-mile radius.


Pet rabbit stolen from preschool

SPOKANE — A pet rabbit named Sugar Bunny was stolen from a preschool, and fliers protesting circus animal acts were left in its empty cage.

The preschool’s children gathered in a circle Monday to remember Sugar Bunny.

“We talked about how some people have different ideas about animals,” said teacher Lori Peters. “Some people don’t think they should be in cages.”

Sugar Bunny vanished from the Community Building Children’s Center on Saturday, teachers said.

The fliers bore the names of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Northwest Animal Rights Network.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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