- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 11, 2008

Burma lobbying sinks GOP figure

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The man picked to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned yesterday after a report that his lobbying firm once represented the military regime in Burma.

Doug Goodyear resigned as convention coordinator and issued a two-sentence statement: “Today I offered the convention my resignation so as not to become a distraction in this campaign. I continue to strongly support John McCain for president, and wish him the best of luck in this campaign.”

Mr. Goodyear is chief executive of DCI Group, a lobbying firm that Newsweek reported in a story posted online was paid $348,000 in 2002 to encourage the U.S. to “begin a dialogue of political reconciliation” and lead a public relations campaign to improve the Burmese military junta’s image.

The death toll from Cyclone Nargis is widely expected to top 100,000 with more than a million homeless, and human rights and relief groups have accused the junta of neglecting disaster victims and blocking foreign donations of relief supplies.



“It was our only foreign representation; it was for a short tenure; and it was six years ago,” Newsweek quoted Mr. Goodyear as saying. The magazine said Mr. Goodyear called the junta’s handling of cyclone relief “reprehensible.”

Twisters kill 11 in Missouri, Oklahoma

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Thunderstorms and tornadoes tore across the nation’s heartland last night, killing at least 11 people, mangling buildings and trapping people in the rubble of their homes in areas still reeling from other recent bouts with severe weather.

A twister killed at least six people in the northeastern Oklahoma town of Picher yesterday and left widespread destruction, authorities said.

The death toll could go higher, said Oklahoma Emergency Management spokeswoman Michelann Ooten. The tornado caused major damage in a 20-block area, she said.

“I know they are going through the rubble, trying to find people missing,” she said. “There are numerous injuries.”

First responders were working to free people trapped in the rubble, the department said.

At least five people died in southwestern Missouri after the storms plowed through, the National Weather Service said.

Alien smuggler gets life for fatal crash

PHOENIX — A man who crashed an overloaded sport utility vehicle, killing 10 illegal immigrants while fleeing U.S. Border Patrol agents, has been sentenced to life in federal prison.

Mexican citizen Adan Pineda Doval, 22, was convicted in October by a Phoenix jury of 10 counts of transporting illegal immigrants causing death and two lesser charges. A federal judge handed down the sentence last week, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Phoenix.

Pineda was driving a Chevrolet Suburban packed with 20 illegal immigrants outside Yuma on Aug. 7, 2006, when border agents spotted him. He fled, ignoring pleas of the passengers to stop, swerved to avoid a spike strip that agents had placed in the road, and crashed.

Murdoch withdraws bid to buy Newsday

NEW YORK — News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Rupert Murdoch, has withdrawn its bid to purchase the Long Island daily paper Newsday, a News Corp. spokeswoman said yesterday.

The revocation came just days after Mr. Murdoch confidently predicted he would clinch a deal to buy the newspaper within a week. In the New York market, News Corp. already owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post and two TV stations.

News Corp. had offered about $580 million for the paper, but it was competing against rival bids from Cablevision Systems Corp. and New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman. Cablevision had reportedly offered $650 million for the paper, now owned by the Tribune Co.

News Corp. spokeswoman Teri Everett didn’t immediately elaborate on why the company withdrew its offer, but she hinted at the potentially higher price tag, saying, “It became uneconomical for us to continue.” Mr. Murdoch had indicated earlier that he wouldn’t raise his bid.

Democrats shun attorney general

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Democratic Party no longer considers scandal-plagued Attorney General Marc Dann one of its own, voting yesterday to strip an officeholder of his endorsement for the first time in the organization’s history.

Members of the state party’s executive committee moved quickly with a voice vote after little discussion. Only one member of the roughly 150-member committee voiced a “no,” and no one spoke in defense of the attorney general, who was not present.

Mr. Dann admitted on May 2 to an affair with a subordinate, which he said contributed to an atmosphere leading to sexual harassment claims against a top aide in his office. Three of his aides were forced out of their jobs, and another resigned. Mr. Dann has refused to resign, even as both Republicans and Democrats in the Ohio House are considering impeachment.

“One of Marc’s strengths a year-and-a-half ago was his stubbornness,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern after yesterday’s vote. “Now it becomes increasingly evident that it’s a weakness.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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