- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Strong quake jolts Anchorage

ANCHORAGE | A strong earthquake jolted Alaska’s most populous region Monday, sending residents and office workers diving under desks and huddling in doorways but causing almost no damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.4-magnitude temblor struck about 24 miles from the town of Willow at 11:28 a.m. The rumbling lasted several moments in Anchorage, 58 miles from the epicenter, and was felt as far south as Kenai and north to Fairbanks, a span of 300 miles.


Baby sea lion rescued on freeway

OAKLAND | A baby sea lion has been rescued after wandering onto a busy San Francisco Bay Area freeway.

Drivers on Interstate 880 started calling authorities early Monday morning after spotting the creature waddling along the center divider near the Oakland Coliseum.

California Highway Patrol Officer Peter Van Eckhardt said the sea lion may have come from a San Francisco Bay estuary nearby.

The pup was taken to the Marine Mammal Center in Marine County, where spokesman Jim Oswald said the animal is alert but malnourished.


Blogger arraigned on threat charge

HARTFORD | A New Jersey blogger accused of encouraging violence against two Connecticut legislators told police that he hoped nobody would harm the lawmakers but added, “you never can tell.”

A judge arraigned Harold Turner of North Bergen, N.J., in Hartford Superior Court on Monday. A Connecticut capitol police report detailing the allegations was released after the brief hearing.

The 47-year-old former radio talk-show host urged his blog readers earlier this month to “take up arms” against the two lawmakers and suggested government officials should “obey the Constitution or die.”

Mr. Turner was angry over legislation that would have given lay members of Roman Catholic churches more control over their parishes’ finances. His lawyer says Mr. Turner was exercising his right to free speech.


Former fundraiser gets three years

CHICAGO | Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod R.Blagojevich’s former chief fundraiser was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for hiding the use of his company’s money to pay thousands of dollars in gambling debts and other expenses.

Christopher G. Kelly, 50, who was a key member of Mr. Blagojevich’s inner circle, also was fined $7,500 and ordered to pay more than $600,000 in restitution to the federal government.

As head of the campaign fund, Kelly helped Mr. Blagojevich raise millions of dollars to bankroll his races for governor. Along with convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko, Kelly emerged as one of Mr. Blagojevich’s top advisers.


Globe contract said advancing

BOSTON | The Boston Globe and its largest labor union are moving closer to a deal on concessions, the head of the Boston Newspaper Guild said Monday.

The union and the Globe’s parent, the New York Times Co., were exchanging information by telephone and e-mail, according to representatives from both sides.

The talks resumed after the union - which represents about 700 editorial, advertising and business employees - narrowly rejected a new contract that called for an 8.3 percent wage cut, unpaid furloughs, benefit cuts and the elimination of lifetime job guarantees for nearly 200 staffers.


Sterilization victims are remembered

RALEIGH | North Carolina recalled a regrettable side of its history Monday by unveiling a roadside marker remembering low-income people, mental patients and prisoners who were sterilized against their will by state officials.

The cast aluminum sign in downtown Raleigh provides a permanent remembrance of the program intended to keep thousands of people considered mentally disabled or otherwise genetically inferior from having children.

At least 7,600 people were sterilized by “choice or coercion” under the state’s so-called eugenics program between 1933 and 1973, according to the marker’s text. North Carolina was one of more than two dozen states that ran such programs after social reformers began advocating for the approach a century ago.


Three arrested in hostage standoff

McALLEN | Armed men who authorities say held 12 suspected illegal immigrants in a Brownsville house for several days while trying to get money from their relatives were arrested Monday after a three-hour standoff with police.

Ten men from Mexico and two women from El Salvador were turned over to U.S. Border Patrol agents for processing. They told police that their captors had held them in the home on the Mexico border for four days.

The standoff began after one immigrant escaped and ran to a nearby home to call police. It ended peacefully after police surrounded the home and negotiators defused the situation, Brownsville police Sgt. Jimmy Manrique said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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