- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 19, 2008

Camp counselor accused in choking

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Authorities say a 17-year-old camp counselor has been arrested after teaching the “choking game” to two boys who passed out for several minutes.

Ronald Edward Riley was a counselor at a camp for children of deployed soldiers or those preparing to go overseas. Authorities say he put his hands around a boy’s neck and choked him unconscious twice. A second boy also told authorities Ronald choked him until he passed out.

The Saluda teenager was arrested at his high school this week on assault and unlawful conduct charges. He was being held yesterday at a Clarendon County jail on $30,000 bail.

The choking game has killed 82 children from 1995 through 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The game is a fad among youth seeking the euphoric, dreamlike feeling that people get as blood rushes back to the brain.

5.2 temblor hits Midwest

WEST SALEM, Ill. — Bricks shook loose and fell from buildings. Walls cracked. Books tumbled off shelves.

A 5.2-magnitude earthquake centered near this southern Illinois town struck before dawn yesterday, rocking skyscrapers in Chicago, 230 miles north of here, but doing little damage and seriously hurting no one.

It was the kind of tremor that might be ignored in earthquake-savvy California, but the temblor shook things up from Nebraska to Atlanta and rattled nerves in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and Louisville, Ky., where bricks toppled to the pavement.

“We thought [the house] was falling on us, we really did,” said 85-year-old Anna Mae Williams, who was shaken awake at 4:37 a.m. in tiny West Salem, six miles from the epicenter.

Dozens of aftershocks followed, including one with a magnitude of 4.6.

Pentagon warns against tanker fight

The Pentagon’s top acquisition official yesterday asked Congress to avoid interfering with the Air Force decision to buy new aerial tankers from an Airbus consortium.

John Young, the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, told reporters that moves by some House members to override the Air Force decision by canceling funding would open up “slippery slopes and dangerous precedents.”

The Air Force rejected a competing bid from Washington state-based Boeing Co. when it awarded the Airbus consortium with the tanker contract. On Thursday, Rep. Norm Dicks, Washington Democrat and vice chairman of the House defense appropriations subcommittee, said he is “going to try to eliminate the funding” and restart the contract process.

“It is going to be dangerous to set aside valid source selections on a political basis,” Mr. Young said. “Do we have the California delegation kill a program because the Georgia delegation won? I don’t know where this stops.”

Tower blueprints found in trash

NEW YORK — The government agency building a 102-story skyscraper at the World Trade Center site is investigating the discovery of two sets of blueprints for the building that a homeless man says he found in the trash.

The schematic documents for the Freedom Tower, under construction at ground zero, were marked “Secure Document — Confidential,” the New York Post reported yesterday. The documents, dated Oct. 5, 2007, contain plans for each floor, the thickness of the concrete-core wall, and the location of air ducts, elevators, electrical systems and support columns, the Post reported.

Michael Fleming told the newspaper he found the documents on top of a public trash can in downtown Manhattan, with written warnings on it to “properly destroy if discarded.”

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey requires secure and nonsecure documents to be shredded, spokeswoman Candace McAdams said. Mishandling the blueprints could lead to “termination for employees and breach of contract and legal action for contractors,” she said, though adding that the plans have been updated many times since October.

Alaska governor has fifth child

JUNEAU, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin has given birth to a boy about a month before her due date.

Trig Palin was born at 6:30 a.m. yesterday and weighed 6 pounds, 2 ounces. A news release from the governor’s office says she and the baby are doing well and resting comfortably.

The governor went into labor Thursday while in Texas at an energy conference. She was able to travel back to Alaska in time to deliver her baby. Trig is the fifth child and second son for Mrs. Palin and her husband, Todd.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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