- The Washington Times - Monday, September 21, 2009


Shuttle begins flight to Florida

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE | Space Shuttle Discovery is on a cross-country flight to Florida after landing from space earlier this month in Southern California.

The Discovery left Edwards Air Force Base north of Los Angeles about 6:20 a.m. Sunday, being ferried atop a modified 747 aircraft, known as a Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.

NASA said the shuttle should reach Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday. Shuttle managers planned to make at least one fueling stop - scheduled for Rick Husband International Airport in Amarillo, Texas, Sunday afternoon - as well as an overnight stop at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La.

The Discovery landed at Edwards on Sept. 11 after completing a two-week, 5.7-million mile mission to the International Space Station.


Christians fast during Ramadan

DENVER | A small group of Christians fasting during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan opened a new chapter in interfaith relations between two traditions often at odds.

The fast was promoted by Brian McLaren, a well-known evangelical author and speaker. He and his partners said it was a neighborly gesture of solidarity that deepens their respective faiths and sends a message about finding peace and common ground.

But some evangelicals said that fasting alongside Muslims, however well-intentioned, was a dangerous blurring of the lines and runs contrary to Christianity.


6 found dead in an apartment

NAPLES | Authorities said five young children and a woman have been found slain inside an apartment.

Investigators with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office are looking for the woman’s 33-year-old husband, Mesac Damas, though they have not named him as a suspect.

Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Michelle Batten said investigators think Mr. Damas boarded a flight to Haiti from Miami International Airport.

Sheriff’s officials said they want to talk to Mr. Damas, who is a person of interest. He’s described as just over six feet tall, 230 pounds, with short black hair and brown eyes.

Authorities said the six bodies were found inside their home Saturday evening. Investigators have not said how they died or how old they were.


Bacteria link eyed in scientist’s death

CHICAGO | The University of Chicago Medical Center says the infection that killed a scientist may be connected to bacteria he researched that causes the plague.

The university said Saturday that its researcher studied the genetics of harmful bacteria including Yersinia pestis, which causes the illness. He died Sept. 13. His name and age haven’t been released.

The medical center said the bacteria he worked with was a weakened strain that isn’t known to cause illness in healthy adults. The strain was approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for laboratory studies.

An autopsy found no obvious cause of death, but did find the presence of the bacteria. More tests are planned. No other illnesses have been reported.


Politics blamed for bar attack

ATLANTIC | A City Council member said a man who attacked him at a bar claimed it was retaliation for comments he made about the man’s niece, a political opponent.

Kern Miller, a council member in Atlantic, told KJAN-AM on Saturday that he and Ryan Dean Johnson, 49, were talking about football Friday before he was attacked. Mr. Miller suffered a lacerated kidney and is recovering at a Nebraska hospital.

Mr. Miller said Mr. Johnson told him the attack was for what he said about his niece, whom Mr. Miller defeated in a City Council race two years ago. Mr. Miller said he doesn’t recall what he may have said.

Mr. Johnson was charged with aggravated assault and freed on $2,000 bond. A message left at a phone number listed for him wasn’t returned Saturday.


Doctor, government reach settlement

LOUISVILLE | A Kentucky doctor has reached a $5 million settlement with the federal government over the deaths of her husband and 8-year-old daughter, who died after flooding washed them over a 184-foot waterfall at a national park in Hawaii.

Dr. Holly Brown of Louisville and her son, Clayton, 17, sued in 2004. They claimed there should have been warning signs about possible flooding in Haleakala National Park near Maui, Hawaii.

Kevin and Elizabeth Brown died while the family was vacationing in Hawaii in 2003. The two were hiking when they were overcome by a torrent of water.

The government does not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement announced Friday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brady Miller said prosecutors had no objection to the deal.


Ex-boxer sentenced in club DJ’s death

PATERSON | A former professional boxer who beat a disc jockey to death outside a northern New Jersey dance club has been sentenced to 13 years in state prison.

Freddie Cadena, 32, must serve at least 11 years under the sentence imposed Friday. He pleaded guilty in May to aggravated manslaughter in the death of Rafael Falcon, 27, outside Paterson’s Rio Grande nightclub in October 2005.

Prosecutors said the former junior welterweight fighter punched Mr. Falcon, knocking him to the ground.

Mr. Falcon was dating the mother of Cadena’s children. He died of head injuries nine days later.

Cadena won his first 15 professional fights, but his career was cut short when he suffered seizures after a nationally televised bout in 2003.


Housekeeping chief nabbed in slaying

NEW YORK | A housekeeping manager at a luxury New York hotel next to Central Park has been arrested in the death of a woman found strangled with a knife sticking from her neck.

Police said 29-year-old Derrick Praileu was arrested in the hours after the body of Andree Bejjani was found at Manhattan’s Jumeirah Essex House, which is near Broadway and upscale Fifth Avenue shops. The hotel said Mr. Praileu was a longtime employee.

There was no answer Sunday at a Bronx telephone number listed for him. Police don’t know whether he has an attorney.

Police said a maid found the 44-year-old Miss Bejjani face-down and naked on the kitchen floor in a condominium at the hotel Saturday. An exercise rope was wrapped around her neck.

The medical examiner’s office said she was strangled.


Scent IDs by dogs called junk science

DALLAS | A group that tries to free wrongly convicted people says scent identifications using trained dogs are based on junk science and should be scrapped.

The Innocence Project of Texas said it will release a report next week outlining its reasons why scent identifications should be inadmissible in court. Texas and Florida are the only states that regularly use the method.

The Texas group is critical of Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Pikett, who said his trained dogs have sniffed out criminals in more than 2,000 scent-identification lineups.

Deputy Pikett has been sued by two men who were charged after being picked in his lineups. Charges were later dropped in both cases. His attorney, Randall Morse, said his client maintains the identifications are accurate.


Macedonia president offers war troops

COLCHESTER | The president of Macedonia said 80 soldiers from his country are ready to serve in Afghanistan alongside soldiers from the Vermont National Guard - if the Pentagon gives the go-ahead.

President Gjorge Ivanov attended a briefing Friday at the Vermont National Guard headquarters to discuss some of the details of the proposal.

Since 1995, the Vermont National Guard has mentored the Macedonian military, which is hoping to join NATO. Mr. Ivanov said his military has met NATO standards. Vermont National Guard Adjutant Gen. Michael Dubie said if the mission is approved, the Macedonians and Vermonters would be one fighting force.


Police recapture escaped killer

SEATTLE | An insane killer who slipped away from the staff of a mental institution on a field trip to the Spokane County International Fair last week was recaptured Sunday more than 180 miles away.

With a helicopter overhead and dozens of law enforcement officers swarming around Goldendale, Phillip Arnold Paul, 47, seemed ready to surrender when he walked out to a road about 22 miles east of town about 4 p.m., just as search personnel arrived at the scene, Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas said.

Capt. Dave Reagan said the arrest was made by Spokane County Sheriff’s Detective Roger W. Knight, who also nabbed Paul after he gave Eastern State Hospital personnel the slip during a field trip in Medical Lake, where the mental institution is located, in 1991. After that arrest, Paul knocked Detective Knight unconscious in the jail booking area, separating his shoulder, and was convicted of first-degree escape and second-degree assault.

Paul was committed after he was diagnosed as schizophrenic and acquitted by reason of insanity in the slaying of an elderly woman in Sunnyside in 1987. He soaked her body in gasoline to throw off search dogs.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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