- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 9, 2009


Church holds Easter service in bar

LITTLE ROCK | A fledging Arkansas church will see if distilled spirits can mix with the Holy Spirit this Easter.

A new Little Rock church called the River will hold both of its Easter services at the Rev Room, a bar and nightclub in the city's River Market.

Pastor Shane Montgomery told KLRT-TV that it's an effort to attract a new audience to his nondenominational ministry.

However, bar employees said it's not yet clear if their liquor license will allow them to serve beer and booze during a Sunday morning service.

The church said it would also like to hold Mother's Day and Father's Day services at a bar.


No suspect yet in girl's slaying

TRACY | Police have served more than 15 search warrants in their attempt to hunt down whoever killed an 8-year-old girl and stuffed her body in a suitcase, but say they “don't want to rush to judgment” and so far have no suspects in the case.

Sgt. Tony Sheneman said everyone has been cooperative, but he declined to give many details about who was questioned and why, and what was seized during searches of a local church and mobile-home park.

Sandra Cantu was last seen March 27, when she was caught on a surveillance video skipping down a street near her home at Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park. A massive search ended Monday when her body was discovered stuffed in a suitcase that was dumped into a pond only a few miles from her home.


Accountant posts bail in UBS case

FORT LAUDERDALE | A wealthy accountant who is the first U.S. citizen charged in a wide-ranging tax probe of Swiss banking giant UBS AG was released from jail Wednesday on $12 million bail.

Federal prosecutor Jeffrey Neiman said the unusually large amount was necessary because of the high risk that Steven Michael Rubinstein might flee the country. Mr. Rubinstein, 55, is also a citizen of South Africa and owns a condominium in Israel besides his main home in Boca Raton, Fla.

U.S. Magistrate Barry Seltzer also ordered Mr. Rubinstein to a dusk-to-dawn home curfew, to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet and travel only within South Florida. He agreed to surrender keys to a 45-foot boat docked outside his home and gave up his U.S. and South African passports.

Mr. Rubinstein is scheduled to enter a plea April 22 to charges of filing a false 2007 tax return by failing to disclose income from his UBS accounts, which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence.

The Internal Revenue Service claims Mr. Rubinstein failed to report UBS income on his returns from 2001 to 2007, but he is only charged so far for the 2007 return.


Need for bathroom leads to arrest

ATLANTA | A man rushing to get to the restroom on an international Delta Air Lines flight has been charged with assault, accused of twisting a flight attendant's arm.

Joao Correa of Concord, Ohio, said he had a bathroom emergency but his path was blocked by a beverage cart during the March 28 flight from Honduras to Atlanta. He asked if he could use the lavatory in business class, but was told no.

Federal Aviation Administration policy requires passengers on international flights to use the restroom in their seating class.

Authorities said Mr. Correa, 43, is accused of pulling and twisting the flight attendant's arm. He was arrested when the plane landed in Atlanta and charged with assault.


School district settles Muslim suit

RENO | The Washoe County School District has agreed to pay $400,000 to settle civil rights lawsuits involving a Muslim girl who dropped out of school after being bullied over her religion and for wearing a head scarf.

Jana Elhifny will receive $350,000 in the settlement announced early Wednesday. Stephanie Hart, a non-Muslim who was ostracized when she befriended Jana at North Valleys High School and also left school will receive $50,000.

Jana and her family came to Reno from Egypt in 2003. In her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, she said she faced death threats and harassment, and that school administrators did nothing to stop it.

The monetary award will be paid by the district's insurance carrier.

The district also agreed to work with lawyers on harassment and discrimination policies.


Doctor suspended in hepatitis outbreak

TRENTON | A doctor who health officials suspect was the source of a hepatitis B outbreak had his medical license suspended indefinitely Wednesday by state regulators.

Nearly 3,000 of Dr. Parvez Dara's patients have been warned to get tested after five cancer patients tested positive for the disease, which is transmitted through exposure to infected blood and can cause serious liver damage.

The state is still investigating the outbreak.

Members of the state Board of Medical Examiners decided to temporarily suspend the Ocean County oncologist's license on an emergency basis on Friday. On Wednesday, the full board voted to continue the suspension.

Dr. Dara's attorney, Robert Conroy, said his client would appeal the decision.


Police say gunman fired 98 shots

BINGHAMTON | The man who gunned down 13 people at an upstate New York immigration center fired 98 shots from two handguns in a little more than a minute, police said Wednesday.

Ballistics reports showed Jiverly Wong fired 87 times from a 9 mm Beretta and 11 times from a .45-caliber handgun.

Police said almost all 13 victims died instantly. Four others were wounded, but survived. Wong killed himself as police were rushing to the scene. He was found with a satchel containing several full ammunition magazines.

Police have speculated that Wong, who was ethnically Chinese but was from Vietnam, was angry over losing a job and frustrated about his poor English-language skills.

Two employees and 11 immigrants taking an English class died in the assault.


Brown renames Columbus Day

PROVIDENCE | Brown University is taking the “Columbus Day” out of Columbus Day weekend.

The faculty voted at a meeting Tuesday to establish a new academic holiday in October called “Fall weekend.” The long weekend coincides with Columbus Day.

Hundreds of Brown students asked the Providence school to stop observing Columbus Day, citing the explorer's purportedly violent treatment of American Indians he encountered.

The change will take effect in the fall. Brown will remain closed on Columbus Day, in part to avoid inconveniencing staff members whose children might have the holiday off.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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