- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 24, 2008


State: Teen said he planted bombs

COLUMBIA — The teenager accused of planning to bomb his high school told investigators he had placed several pipe bombs around his family’s home, but authorities have found no explosives, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Ryan Schallenberger may have just been bragging, state prosecutor Jay Hodge said

A search that included the use of a bomb-sniffing dog found nothing Saturday, when the boy was arrested after his parents discovered he had ordered ammonium nitrate on E-Bay.

Mr. Schallenberger, 18, faces several state and federal charges, including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, which carries a possible life sentence.


DNA tests on sect children completed

SAN ANGELO — Texas authorities said yesterday they had finished taking DNA samples from all the children housed at a coliseum since being removed from a polygamist compound more than two weeks ago.

Roughly 500 samples were taken from the children at the San Angelo Coliseum beginning Monday as child-welfare officials try to sort out the complicated family relationships at the ranch compound of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

On Tuesday, Child Protective Services moved 114 children from the coliseum to foster facilities. They’ve declined to say when the other children might be moved, but a half-dozen buses arrived at the coliseum yesterday morning.


Death-row inmate dies of cancer

MONTGOMERY — A death-row inmate who was challenging Alabama’s method of lethal injection died Tuesday, apparently of complications from cancer, officials said.

Prison system spokesman Brian Corbett said Daniel Siebert, 53, was pronounced dead at 1:35 p.m. at Holman prison near Atmore, where he had been awaiting execution for more than 21 years for strangling four people.

Siebert died less than a week after the U.S. Supreme Court approved the most widely used method of lethal injection, prompting states to move forward with executions after a nearly seven-month halt.


Actors union delays talks

LOS ANGELES — The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists said yesterday that it will delay the start of its contract talks with Hollywood studios for a week to give negotiations by the larger Screen Actors Guild (SAG) a chance to succeed.

The move postponed the beginning of talks from the original date of April 28 to May 5.

But the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said on its Web site that it was not close to reaching a deal with SAG.

AFTRA said it made the move at the request of the major studios and thinks it will not hurt its members.


Pooch brings out beauty of bulldogs

DES MOINES — Buddy is a sleeping beauty: Reddish brown, he is usually asleep on his back, snoring loudly with his large tongue lolling out.

He was wide-awake Monday, though, when he was crowned winner of a “Beautiful Bulldog” contest.

The 3-year-old dog owned by George and Cindy DuBois was among 50 bulldogs from mostly Midwestern states who competed. The beauty contest honors Drake University’s mascot and one of the events leading up to the Drake Relays, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious track and field competitions. On Saturday, he will ride in a golf cart at Drake Stadium before about 18,000 spectators.

Buddy competed unadorned, unlike many of his rivals. They dressed up as fairy princesses, rock stars, cheerleaders, bumblebees and even Snow White and Mr. T.


Judge orders halt to Bible giveaways

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge ordered a public school system to stop allowing in-school Bible giveaways, saying the practice violates the First Amendment ban on the establishment of religion.

“Distribution of Bibles is a religious activity without a secular purpose” and amounts to school-board promotion of Christianity, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ruled in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board.

Defense attorney Christopher M. Moody said the school board would appeal the ruling to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit for an anonymous family whose daughter said she felt pressured into taking a Bible even though she doesn’t believe in God.


Breakfast found to help heart

BOSTON — Mothers always said “eat a healthy breakfast,” and a U.S. health newsletter now advises that it just might stave off heart attacks.

The Harvard Heart Letter says eating breakfast — particularly a meal with whole grains — could reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart failure.

The newsletter says several small studies indicate that eating breakfast is linked to less spikes in blood sugar and insulin all day. This can help lower harmful cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps tame appetite.


Churchill painting sells for $420,000

NEW YORK — An oil painting by Winston Churchill of a sunset over mountains in Morocco, a view he later took President Franklin D. Roosevelt to see during World War II, was sold yesterday for $420,000.

The British wartime leader’s “Sunset over the Atlas Mountains” was sold to an anonymous phone buyer after a short bidding battle, said Staci Smith, a spokeswoman for Bonhams New York, which auctioned the painting.

Bonhams had estimated the painting would fetch $400,000 to $600,000.

Mr. Churchill painted the work from his balcony in a Marrakech hotel while on vacation in 1935. He used bright-colored paints, many straight from the tube, said Malcolm Walker, an authority at Bonhams.


Mom pleads guilty in tots’ deaths

DAYTON — A woman pleaded guilty yesterday to killing her two young children by setting fire to the family’s suburban home.

Heather Silverman, who initially pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, entered her pleas to two counts of murder and three counts of aggravated arson.

The July 2006 fire started two hours before a court hearing was scheduled on whether the county’s child welfare agency should be given temporary custody of her 4-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter.

Silverman’s husband, Doron Silverman, had been accused of molesting the boy. His conviction on gross sexual imposition was reversed on appeal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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