- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 19, 2009

Official: Man admits links to al Qaeda

DENVER | A man under investigation in a terrorism probe in New York and Denver has indicated that he is associated with al Qaeda and played a key role in a planned terrorist attack, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Friday.

Najibullah Zazi’s attorney said he has never met with al Qaeda operatives and isn’t involved in terrorism. Mr. Zazi completed a third day of questioning by FBI agents in Denver on Friday but was not under arrest. More questioning was expected Saturday.

The intelligence official in Washington told the Associated Press that Mr. Zazi has indicated that he is directly linked with al Qaeda. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss intelligence matters, said Mr. Zazi played a crucial role in an intended terrorist attack but that it was not immediately clear what the targets were.

The official went on to say that the plot was being directed from outside the United States.

Mr. Zazi has undergone hours of questioning this week, and his apartment as well as his uncle and aunt’s home in suburban Denver have been searched.

Closing remarks in Astor case

NEW YORK | A Manhattan prosecutor said the government has proven that Brooke Astor’s son plundered her $198 million estate in the sunset years of her life. A jury will soon decide whether it agrees.

Assistant District Attorney Joel Seidemann was scheduled to resume closing arguments Friday at the trial of Anthony Marshall and a co-defendant.

Mrs. Astor’s last will, created in 2002, left millions of dollars to her favorite charities, but later amendments greatly increased Mr. Marshall’s share.

The prosecution contends that Mrs. Astor, who died in 2007 at age 105, was not mentally competent to sign legal documents.

Defense lawyers said in their closing arguments that although she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Mrs. Astor had lucid moments.

Muslim teenager sues Abercrombie

OKLAHOMA CITY | A Muslim teenager claims in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsat that she was denied a job at an Abercrombie & Fitch clothing store at a mall there because she wore a head scarf.

In the lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Samantha Elauf, 17, said she applied for a sales position at the Abercrombie Kids store in the Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008. The teen, who wears a hijab in accordance with her religious beliefs, claims the manager told her the head scarf violates the store’s “Look Policy.”

“These actions constitute discrimination against Ms. Elauf on the basis of religion,” the lawsuit states.

A spokeswoman for the New Albany, Ohio-based retailer declined to comment on the lawsuit but said the company has “a strong equal employment opportunity policy, and we accommodate religious beliefs and practices when possible.”

In 2004, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. agreed to pay $50 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the commission that accused the company of promoting whites over minorities and cultivating a practically all-white image in its catalogs and elsewhere.

Clinton gives eulogy at Simon funeral

Former President Bill Clinton described Melvin Simon as one of the most remarkable people he’s ever met in his eulogy Friday during the funeral for the billionaire shopping-mall developer and Indiana Pacers co-owner. The founder of Simon Property Group Inc. died Wednesday at age 82.

Mr. Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, basketball stars Larry Bird and Reggie Miller, and NBA Commissioner David Stern were among about 2,000 mourners who attended the funeral at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis.

“He made a lot of money, but he didn’t sit on it,” Mr. Clinton said. “He shared it.”

After the hourlong service, Mr. Simon’s casket was wheeled out as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played.

Big Dig glue firm will plead guilty

BOSTON | The company that supplied epoxy glue used in the part of the Big Dig highway project in which a ceiling collapsed and killed a motorist, has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of making a false statement.

Prosecutors said Powers Fasteners Inc. of Brewster, N.Y., has agreed to a $100,000 fine. They said the firm failed to disclose in a manual that an epoxy it supplied for the project was not suitable for securing overhead loads such as the ceiling panels.

Powers denied any wrongdoing and said Friday that it settled “a technical charge” to avoid further litigation. The company earlier settled with the state and the family of the motorist.

Distributor recalls cartons of spinach

SALINAS | The California Department of Public Health on Thursday said Ippolito International LP is recalling 1,715 cartons of spinach harvested from Sept. 1-3, and sold to retail, food service and wholesale buyers. Routine testing detected salmonella, although no related illnesses have been reported.

The bulk of the cartons were packed under the Queen Victoria label and shipped to California, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and three Canadian provinces. The recall affects cartons packed under the “Tubby” label and distributed in California and New York.

Mentally ill killer escapes on trip

SPOKANE | A statewide alert advises that a mentally ill killer escaped during a hospital field trip to a fair in Spokane.

Sgt. Dave Reagan of the Spokane County sheriff’s office said Phillip Arnold Paul, 57, remained at large Friday and officials think he was headed to the town where his parents live.

Sgt. Reagan said the longer Mr. Paul is off his medication, the more unstable he’ll become. Anyone spotting him should call 911 and not try to confront him.

Mr. Paul was last seen Thursday on the fairgrounds during a supervised outing for patients from Eastern State Hospital. He was committed after he was acquitted by reason of insanity in the 1987 slaying of a woman.

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