- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2009

Obama hosts captain once held by pirates

President Obama met Saturday with the captain of a U.S. cargo ship who was held hostage by Somali pirates last month.

Mr. Obama met with Capt. Richard Phillips and his wife, Andrea, in the Oval Office. The White House released a photograph of the three sitting together, but did not announce the meeting ahead of time.

Capt. Phillips was master of the Maersk Alabama when Somali pirates attacked it. He was held hostage on a lifeboat for five days and was freed when U.S. Navy snipers killed three of his captors.

Capt. Phillips was in Washington to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday evening.

High school orders shot glass favors

LITITZ, Pa. | A Pennsylvania high school ordered more than 450 shot glasses for its prom, a move the assistant principal now says sent the wrong message.

As the Warwick High School students left last week’s dance, the prom committee handed them souvenir shot glasses. The girls who attended last year’s prom got a picture frame; the boys, a money clip.

Assistant Principal Scott Galen explained, “Unfortunately, this year the junior class didn’t have quite as much money.”

Mr. Galen says the principal signed off on the purchase order, but the paperwork simply said “prom souvenir” and didn’t identify the mementos as shot glasses. Mr. Galen says he’s certain it will never happen again.

The school is in Lancaster County, about 65 miles east of Philadelphia.

Fog, wind aid coast firefighters

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.| Fire officials in Southern California say fog and calmer wind were helping in the battle against a wildfire that has damaged or destroyed a reported 80 homes.

Authorities said at a news conference Saturday that the 8,700-acre blaze was 30 percent contained overall and has been contained along its northern flank above the city.

Santa Barbara County Deputy Fire Chief Chris Hahn cautioned that weather in the hilly coastal area can be fickle and firefighters weren’t letting down their guard.

The morning fog was a sharp break from days of torrid temperatures and gusty Sundowner wind that helped the fire make ferocious advances, destroying multimillion-dollar homes.

More than 30,000 people remained under evacuation orders. Thirteen firefighters have been injured.

Rabbi sentenced in child molestation

NEW YORK | A rabbi convicted of molesting his daughter has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Monsey Rabbi Israel Weingarten was found guilty in March of abusing his daughter through much of her childhood.

Weingarten acted as his own attorney and put his daughter, now 27, through cross examination.

Federal Judge John Gleeson told Weingarten on Friday that his behavior during the trial had made his crime even worse, saying “You seemed to enjoy yourself in a perverse sort of way.”

The judge said he would never forget the woman’s pain.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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