- The Washington Times - Monday, January 4, 2010


Activist e-blocks crime sweeps

PHOENIX | An advocate for immigrant rights has started using text messages to warn residents about crime sweeps by a high-profile Arizona sheriff.

Lydia Guzman, director of the nonprofit immigrant advocacy group Respect/Respeto, is the trunk of a sophisticated texting tree designed to alert thousands of people within minutes to the details of the sweeps, which critics contend are an excuse to round up illegal immigrants.

Ms. Guzman said the messages are part of an effort to protect Hispanics and others from becoming victims of racial profiling by sheriff’s deputies.

“Everyone is responsible for sending it out to their own networks, and that is how it spreads like wildfire,” she said of the text messages.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has repeatedly said his deputies do not engage in racial profiling, and he publicizes the details of his crime sweeps ahead of time. He said he suspects the real goal of the text messages is to help illegal immigrants avoid arrest.

“This little group of people is (in favor of) open borders, and they don’t like what I am doing. That is the bottom line,” Sheriff Arpaio said. “But it isn’t interfering with our operations because every time we do it, we still arrest a good number of people, including illegal aliens.”


Restaurant crash kills customer

EL CAJON | Authorities say a 66-year-old man eating breakfast at a California fast-food restaurant was killed when a vehicle plowed through the corner of the building.

El Cajon Police Lt. Jeff Davis says the man was sitting in a front corner booth at a Carl’s Jr. in San Diego County on Sunday morning when a Honda CRV slammed into the restaurant.

The 74-year-old driver, a resident of El Cajon, was taken to a hospital with moderate injuries. The cause of the crash is under investigation. A witness told officers it appeared the SUV was going 45 to 50 mph.

The restaurant is closed as officials determine the structural integrity of the building.


Warning light grounds flight

ORLANDO | An AirTran flight bound for Philadelphia returned to Orlando International Airport shortly after takeoff because a warning light came on in the cockpit.

Airline spokesman Christopher White says Flight 623 experienced “a minor maintenance issue” with one of its engines after it took off as scheduled Sunday morning. The plane had 117 passengers and five crew members on board.

Mr. White said the Boeing 717 turned around “out of an abundance of caution” and landed safely.

The passengers were rebooked on later flights.


Repairs wrap up on ‘Mighty Mo’

HONOLULU | The battleship Missouri is scheduled to return to Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor this week after three months of maintenance and preservation work.

The 887-foot “Mighty Mo” is expected to leave dry dock at noon Thursday for the 2-mile return to its previous pier a few hundred yards away from the sunken battleship USS Arizona.

The Missouri underwent an $18 million renovation that included painting, stripping its hull, replacing its mooring lines with chains, and building a new enclosure for events on the fantail.

A grand reopening for the 55,000-ton warship is planned for Jan. 30, a day after the 66th anniversary of the ship’s launch. The Missouri was the site of Japan’s unconditional surrender on Sept. 2, 1945.


Science finds no autism-diet link

CHICAGO | An expert panel says there’s no rigorous evidence that digestive problems are more common in children with autism compared with other children, or that special diets work.

That’s contrary to claims by celebrities and vaccine naysayers.

The panel’s report is being published in the January issue of Pediatrics and is being released Monday. It says painful digestive problems can trigger problem behavior in children with autism and should be treated medically.

Autism is a spectrum of disorders affecting a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others. More than 25 experts met in Boston in 2008 to write the consensus report after reviewing medical research. The Autism Society and other autism groups funded the effort, but gave no input.


Scripps shows still off network

NEW YORK | The spat over a fee increase between Cablevision Systems Corp. and Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. heated up Sunday with cable TV viewers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still caught in the crossfire.

About 3.1 million subscribers lost access to HGTV and the Food Network on Friday after Scripps pulled its programming while negotiating a new contract with the cable provider.

In a statement Sunday, Cablevision said Scripps is demanding a 200 percent fee increase, which would drive up customer rates if accepted. For 2010, the average rate increase for subscribers is 3.7 percent, Cablevision spokesman Jim Maiella said.

The company maintains that the HGTV and Food Network channels remain available to Cablevision subscribers if Scripps chooses to turn the programming back on while a contract is worked out.

In a separate statement Sunday, Scripps said it continues “to engage Cablevision in meaningful discussions so that we can right this situation and get Food Network and HGTV back on the Cablevision channel lineup.”


Missing woman to get media blitz

WEST VALLEY CITY | Friends and family of Susan Powell are launching a social media blitz in the search for the missing Utah mother of two.

James Hofheins, one of the organizers, says the three-day effort beginning Monday will use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to information about Powell and her picture throughout the Internet.

He says there will also be a purple ribbon campaign and Facebook users are being asked to change their profile pictures to a purple ribbon.

Mrs. Powell has been missing since Dec. 7. Police have labeled her husband Josh Powell as a person of interest. He has told police he went camping with the Powells’ two young boys around the time she went missing.


Anti-Nazi activist dies at U.S. home

NORWICH | Freya von Moltke, a former Nazi resister who lived in Vermont since the 1960s, has died at the age of 98, her son said.

Helmuth von Moltke told the Lebanon Valley News that his German-born mother died Friday after suffering a viral infection last week.

A memorial service is scheduled for Friday at the Norwich Congregational Church, the Rev. Mary R. Brownlow, the associate pastor, said Sunday.

Mrs. von Moltke and her husband were prominent members of the German resistance during World War II, and she chronicled the work of the German resistance after his death.

Born into a banking family in 1911, Freya Deichmann met her future husband, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, when she was 18. They were married in 1931 and both received law degrees. Helmuth von Moltke set up a law practice in Berlin as Adolf Hitler rose to power in the 1930s.

Helmuth von Moltke was drafted into the German army as an international law expert, but he used his influence to help would-be victims of the regime escape and demand that Germany and its occupied territories adhere to the laws set forth by the Geneva Conventions. He was convicted of treason and executed in January 1945.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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