- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 10, 2009

5 shot at school in Chicago

CHICAGO | Authorities say five people were shot at a high school on Chicago’s South Side.

Fire department spokeswoman Eve Rodriguez said five males were taken from inside Paul Laurence Dunbar Vocational Career Academy on Friday night. She said three were in serious condition and two in critical condition.

Teenagers outside the school say there was a basketball game at Dunbar on Friday night.

Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Antoinette Ursitti said it appeared the victims were shot.

Firefighter killed in truck crash

BOSTON | A Boston Fire Department ladder truck coming down a hill plowed through an intersection Friday and crashed into a high-rise apartment building, killing one firefighter and injuring several others.

Dozens of firefighters bowed their heads and held their helmets over their hearts as they created a pathway for the body of the dead firefighter — covered in a black body bag on a stretcher — to be carried from the wreckage and put into an ambulance.

The truck apparently barreled down the steep Parker Hill Avenue, went through the intersection at Huntington Avenue and slammed into the building, said fire department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

It was not immediately clear how many people were injured. A Boston police spokeswoman said there were “multiple injuries,” but could not be more specific. Mr. MacDonald confirmed four firefighters were among those injured.

N.J. homeowner programs OK’d

TRENTON, N.J. | Gov. Jon Corzine signed legislation Friday that provides $40 million for two programs aimed at keeping financially distressed homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure.

The bills are part of a package of legislation proposed by Mr. Corzine in October to help state residents get through what he called “the single worst economic challenge this country has faced in the last 150 years, except the Depression. … We are proactively putting in place actions on housing stabilization that are unequaled across the country as far as I could see.”

The bill allocates $25 million to a program that will help homeowners refinance first mortgages in imminent danger of foreclosure. The remaining $15 million will go toward a program that allows those who have been foreclosed upon to remain in their homes as tenants while saving to buy back their homes.

Dictator’s son gets 97 years in jail

MIAMI | “Chuckie” Taylor, son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor, was sentenced in U.S. federal court Friday to 97 years in prison for torture and summary executions in the west African country.

Charles McArthur Emmanuel Taylor, 31, was found guilty in October for crimes committed while he was the head of Liberia’s anti-terrorist services during his father’s 1997-2003 rule.

Judge Cecilia Altonaga said there was no reason for a reduced, 20-year sentence requested by the defense, instead insisting “1,164 months in prison is the appropriate sentence” for crimes of “universally condemned torture.”

Witnesses testified that one victim was placed naked in a pit as stinging fire ants were shoveled over his body, and that Taylor tormented victims with melted plastic, electric shocks, scalding water and beatings with “sharp metal rods.”

Taylor had faced life in prison after the first trial under a 1994 U.S. law allowing prosecution of American nationals charged with torture outside the United States. Shackled and dressed in a brown prison jumpsuit, sporting a long beard and mustache, Taylor asked forgiveness from his victims.

Judge: No bias in Polanski case

LOS ANGELES | A Los Angeles County judge has rejected a motion by Roman Polanski’s lawyer to disqualify the staff of the county court from the director’s rape case because of bias.

Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza ruled Friday that he and the other judges in the county are not biased against Mr. Polanski.

The 75-year-old director of “The Pianist” pleaded guilty to a single charge of sexual intercourse with a minor more than 30 years ago. He fled to France before being sentenced for the rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Mr. Espinoza said the county court system has 600 judges and that only in extremely rare instances could it be possible to find no judge qualified to preside over the matter.

Man with 37 guns arrested at airport

LOS ANGELES | A motorist with 30 handguns, seven rifles and fully loaded ammunition magazines in his truck was arrested Friday at Los Angeles International Airport.

Airport spokeswoman Nancy Castles said the truck was stopped by airport police officers at an entrance to the passenger terminals area.

Ms. Castles said the man was arrested for investigation of weapons transportation violations. His name was not immediately released.

Airport police official Jim Holcomb told the local KCAL-TV news station there was no indication the man was out to do any harm at the airport. He was apparently picking someone up.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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