- The Washington Times - Monday, December 7, 2009


NASA spacecraft to map universe

LOS ANGELES | NASA is getting ready to launch a space telescope that will scan the sky in search of never-before-seen asteroids, comets, stars and galaxies.

One of its main tasks will be to catalog objects posing a danger to Earth.

Principal investigator Edward Wright of the University of California at Los Angeles says the mission is “to survey everything that’s out there,” creating a map of the universe.

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, is designed to detect objects that give off infrared light or heat, which often can’t be seen by optical telescopes.

If all goes as planned, WISE will circle the Earth 15 times a day, about 325 miles out, and take about 7,500 images a day in four infrared wavelengths. Scientists expect it will take about six months to finish its work.

The first launch opportunity will be Friday before dawn, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


Police find nothing from Blago burglary

CHICAGO | Police said a search of a Chicago home didn’t turn up any of the items stolen from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s attorneys.

Chicago police said late Saturday that “a thorough search of the premises revealed none of the stolen items from the law firm.”

Police said they made one arrest on weapons charges, but it wasn’t related to the burglaries.

On Friday, burglars broke into the offices of Blagojevich attorney Sam Adam and his son, Samuel E. Adam, and took items that may contain information about Mr. Blagojevich’s case, police said. Those items include eight computers and a safe.

Mr. Blagojevich is charged with scheming to trade or sell President Obama’s former U.S. Senate seat. Police said their investigation continues.


Missing DNA linked to children’s obesity

NEW YORK | British researchers think some children get severely obese because they lack particular chunks of DNA, kicking their hunger into overdrive.

The researchers checked the DNA of 300 children who had become very fat - on the order of 220 pounds by age 10. They found evidence that several rare DNA deletions may promote obesity.

One kind is found in less than 1 percent of about 1,200 severely obese children. The deletion on chromosome 16 apparently gives children a strong desire to eat by removing a gene that the brain needs to control appetite.

Researchers said their work has already been applied to the cases of four British children whose parents had been blamed for overfeeding them. The parents of two of the children are now off the hook with child-welfare authorities, and the other two cases are under discussion.

The study is being reported online by the journal Nature.


Kidnap suspect’s writings analyzed

SALT LAKE CITY | A psychiatrist is expected in federal court Monday to discuss the religious writings of the man accused of abducting Elizabeth Smart. The self-proclaimed prophet is said to have claimed in his work that she went with him willingly as a young girl and with the permission of her parents.

Brian David Mitchell drafted the “Book of Immanuel David Isaiah II” after his arrest and interrogations by police in March 2003, said Dr. Michael Welner of New York. In the work, Mr. Mitchell addresses the charges levied against him and writes that no weapons or violence were used when Miss Smart was taken from her home in June 2002.

“He clothes his defense in a religious document,” Dr. Welner said Friday in U.S. District Court. “But it’s advocacy; he’s making his best argument.”

Dr. Welner has been paid $500,000 to evaluate Mr. Mitchell for federal prosecutors. A 10-day hearing is being held in Salt Lake City to determine whether Mr. Mitchell, 56, is competent to stand trial. The competency hearing enters its second week Monday.

Dr. Welner said the “Book of Immanuel David Isaiah II” is an addendum to a 27-page manifesto written a few months before Miss Smart’s abduction.


Hundreds accuse Jesuits of sex abuse

SPOKANE | More than 500 people in the Northwest filed claims against the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus in advance of a November deadline, alleging members of the Catholic order sexually abused them as children.

The Spokesman-Review in Spokane reports the claims against the Jesuits span decades and range from native Alaskan children to students at Spokane’s Gonzaga Preparatory School.

A federal judge overseeing the Chapter 11 reorganization of the province set a Nov. 30 deadline for people to file the claims. The organization includes Jesuits in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

The Jesuits already have settled 200 additional sex-abuse claims.


Homicide suspect still eluding police

MADISON | Police sought help from the public Saturday as the search for a Wisconsin man wanted in the deaths of his two young daughters and their mothers stretched into its third day.

Authorities released no new details on the slayings but continued to call Tyrone Adair armed and dangerous. He has strong family ties to the Madison area, but so far has eluded capture. Police have warned law enforcement agencies nationwide to watch for him.

“We’re just encouraging anyone who has any information at all to come forward,” Madison Police Lt. Wayne Strong said.

Prosecutors charged Mr. Adair, 38, of suburban Middleton, on Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide in the deaths of Tracy Judd, 33, and Deja Adair, 23 months. They also consider him a “person of interest” in the killings of Amber Weigel, 25, and Neveah Weigel-Adair, 2. Mr. Adair is the father of the two girls.

Mr. Adair’s family issued a statement through police late Saturday evening pleading with him to surrender “immediately.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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