- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Teen on solo sail to stop in Mexico

MARINA DEL REY | The 16-year-old Southern California girl attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone says she is stopping in Mexico with power problems.

On her blog, Abby Sunderland of Thousand Oaks wrote Saturday she is headed for Cabo San Lucas to add a “new battery or two” because solar panels and wind generators aren’t keeping up with her energy needs.

Abby said she will rehoist the sail on her 40-foot craft Wild Eyes soon.

She set sail Jan. 23 from Marina Del Rey and plans to be at sea for five or six months.

The problems bring an end to Abby’s goal of making no land stops during the trip. She can still break the record of 17-year-old Mike Perham of Britain, who stopped on land during his voyage.


Wet summer, demand problematic for seeds

DES MOINES | Home gardeners might have a hard time finding some seeds this year.

Seed dealers say wet weather that made for a poor growing season last year and increased orders from Europe could result in a shortage of seeds this spring for the most popular cucumber variety and some vegetables.

Bill Hart is in charge of seed purchasing at Chas. C. Hart Seed Co. in Wethersfield, Conn., and he said his company hasn’t been able to get seeds for sugar snap peas at all.

Others say open-pollinated cucumbers seem most scarce, but carrots and onions also may be in short supply.

Kathy Gocke of Bondurant, Iowa, said she orders her seeds early and advises other gardeners to do the same because there is always a good supply before Jan. 1.


Autopsy: Imam shot 20 times at FBI raid

DETROIT | A medical examiner said a Muslim prayer leader was who shot 20 times during an FBI raid at a warehouse in a Detroit suburb last fall died instantly.

Wayne County’s chief medical examiner released the autopsy report for Luqman Ameen Abdullah on Monday, three months after Abdullah was killed. It had been withheld at the request of police.

The FBI said Abdullah was killed while resisting arrest and firing a gun inside a Dearborn warehouse on Oct. 28. He was the imam of a Detroit mosque.

It will take several more weeks for Dearborn police to complete their investigation.

The FBI said Abdullah was a leader of a national radical Sunni group that wants to create an Islamic state within the U.S. His family has denied allegations that he was anti-government.


NYC official: Fatal blaze ‘likely’ arson

NEW YORK | New York City’s fire commissioner said it appears arson caused a weekend blaze that killed five people in Brooklyn.

Commissioner Salvatore Cassano told reporters: “It’s very likely that this was an incendiary fire.”

Tests for accelerants were incomplete. But Mr. Cassano said accidental fires don’t usually start at the front door of a building.

Four men and a woman, all Guatemalan immigrants, perished Saturday. The woman’s 2-month-old daughter suffered a fractured skull. The baby’s father tossed her from a third-floor window of the burning building.

The fire was the city’s deadliest since 2007. That blaze killed 10 people, nine of them children, in the Bronx.


Counter sit-in marks 50th anniversary

GREENSBORO | Today is the 50th anniversary of a sit-in that changed America.

It was Feb. 1, 1960, that four black college freshmen walked up to the “whites only” lunch counter at an F.W. Woolworth in Greensboro sat down and demanded service.

Five days after that protest, the demonstration reached at least 1,000 people.

Within two months, sit-ins were happening in 54 cities in nine states. And within six months, the Greensboro Woolworth lunch counter was desegregated.

The International Civil Rights Center and Museum has opened on the site of the Greensboro Woolworth store. Part of the original counter is now at the Smithsonian, but the original stools where the four students sat are still there.

One of those students, Franklin McCain, now says “sitting on that dumb stool” was “the best feeling of my life.”

The building remains because it was bought in 1993 from a bank that had planned to turn it into a parking lot.


College remains open in face of racial threat

NELSONVILLE | The head of an Ohio technical college said the school remains open for classes in the face of a threat that black students would be killed Tuesday.

President Ron Erickson said in a letter on Hocking College’s Web site that the school has responded with better security, law enforcement officers and counselors.

A message threatening blacks and including Tuesday’s date was found scrawled on a bathroom wall in a dormitory more than a week ago. At least two black students have withdrawn from school and several others have moved out of the dorm.

In the letter dated Saturday, Mr. Erickson said every effort is being made to keep students, employees and visitors safe.

He described the graffiti as an “ignorant act” that doesn’t represent the school.


Riverboat carrying 80 runs aground

ASTORIA | The Coast Guard said a riverboat carrying 80 passengers ran aground near Portland but no one was injured.

The 87-foot Willamette Queen was being escorted by two Coast Guard vessels when it ran aground about 5:30 p.m. Sunday night at Oregon City.

A Coast Guard helicopter and two boats rushed to the scene and a tugboat successfully freed the sternwheeler and towed it to Willamette Park in Portland.

The Coast Guard said there were no injuries and the sternwheeler didn’t appear to have serious damage.

The boat carries thousands of people a year on cruises.


Defense: No intent to kill car guards

PHILADELPHIA | Defense lawyers trying to spare their client the death penalty said he never intended to kill two security guards during a brazen cash-machine heist in Philadelphia.

Mustafa Ali, 38, of Philadelphia, admitted to police soon after the crime that he killed the two armored-car guards as they serviced an automated teller machine near a busy shopping mall in north Philadelphia in October 2007.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the videotaped slayings of the two retired Philadelphia police officers, 65-year-old William Widmaier and 54-year-old Joseph Alullo.

Mr. Ali, formerly Shawn Steele, served seven years in prison for robbing several banks in the early 1990s. In opening statements Monday, his lawyers said he planned another robbery, not an execution.

Mr. Ali told police that he and Officer Alullo exchanged fire — he got off eight shots and the guard two — after Officer Alullo refused to put his gun down. Mr. Ali said he was retreating at the time.

“We are not suggesting Mr. Alullo is to blame,” defense lawyer Marc Bookman said. “The case is about what was in Mr. Ali’s mind at the time he approached these men and at the time he fired his weapon.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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