- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ARIZONA

State may charge illegals with trespass

PHOENIX | Arizona could become the only state to criminalize the presence of illegal immigrants through an expansion of its trespassing law under a bill likely to pass this year.

The bill also would require police to try to determine people’s immigration status when there’s reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.

Over the past several years, immigration hard-liners in the Legislature have persuaded colleagues to approve such policies, only to be thwarted by a Democratic governor’s vetoes.



This year, even opponents expect the current Republican governor to approve the changes.

CALIFORNIA

Smithsonian refuses O.J’s acquittal garb

LOS ANGELES | The Smithsonian Institution has rejected a donation of the suit O.J. Simpson wore when he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

The decision announced Tuesday comes a day after a judge approved the donation as the solution to a long court battle over the clothing. Smithsonian spokeswoman Linda St. Thomas says the suit is not appropriate for the museum’s collection.

The agreement reached Monday between Simpson, Fred Goldman and Simpson’s former sports agent, Mike Gilbert, provided that if the Smithsonian turned it down, they would seek another museum or institution of higher learning. It was not immediately clear which entity would be offered the suit next.

Simpson wore the suit on Oct. 3, 1995, when he was acquitted of killing Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

COLORADO

Shooting suspect now faces 15 counts

GOLDEN | A man accused of shooting two Colorado students last week now faces 15 charges, including attempted murder, assault and child abuse.

Prosecutors formally filed charges Tuesday against Bruco Strong Eagle Eastwood, 32, accused of opening fire in the parking lot of Deer Creek Middle School in suburban Denver on Feb. 23.

He faces almost 100 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Mr. Eastwood appeared on a video link from the jail during Tuesday’s court hearing. He said nothing, and his public defender didn’t directly address the charges.

Mr. Eastwood was initially held on two counts of attempted murder. Prosecutors had said other charges were planned.

The two wounded students are recovering.

IDAHO

17 states to fight college dropout rates

BOISE | More than a dozen states have formed an alliance to battle dismal college completion rates and figure out how to get more students to follow through and earn their diplomas.

Stan Jones, Indiana’s former commissioner for higher education, is leading efforts in 17 states, with about $12 million in startup money from several national nonprofits including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr. Jones founded the nonprofit Complete College America last year and says about one in every two Americans who start colleges don’t finish.

The campaign’s goal: Make sure 60 percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 35 hold an associate or bachelor’s degree by 2020, up from the 38 percent that now claim this status.

States participating include Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia.

IOWA

Man convicted of killing coach

ALLISON | A jury has convicted an Iowa man of first-degree murder in the shooting of a nationally known high school football coach.

The jury deliberated for 24 hours over four days before reaching its decision Tuesday, finding Mark Becker, 24, guilty in the June 24, 2009, killing of Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas, 58.

Becker gunned down Mr. Thomas in the school’s makeshift weight room in front of students, shooting him at least six times before walking away. Becker told police that Mr. Thomas was Satan and that the coach had been tormenting him.

MICHIGAN

GM shuffles sales leaders once again

DETROIT | General Motors Co. says it will restructure its sales and marketing operations for the second time in less than three months.

The automaker will split sales from marketing after combining them under Susan Docherty in December. Southeast Asia Executive Director Steve Carlisle will now head sales while Miss Docherty leads marketing.

The company also split up sales and marketing for its remaining brands, Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac and reassigned other executives.

CEO Ed Whitacre Jr. has said that new executives will have little time to show results.

NEW YORK

Chile earthquake may have shortened day

NEW YORK | Earth’s days may have gotten a little bit shorter since the massive earthquake in Chile. The difference would be only about one-millionth of a second.

Richard Gross, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and colleagues calculated that Saturday’s quake shortened the day by 1.26 microseconds. A microsecond is one-millionth of a second. The length of a day is the time it takes for the planet to complete one rotation — 86,400 seconds or 24 hours.

An earthquake can make Earth rotate faster by nudging some of its mass closer to the planet’s axis, just as ice skaters can speed up their spins by pulling in their arms. Conversely, a quake can slow the rotation and lengthen the day if it redistributes mass away from that axis, Mr. Gross said Tuesday.

He said the calculated changes in length of the day are permanent.

OHIO

Teen convert, parents talking

COLUMBUS | An Ohio teenager who ran away to Florida after converting from Islam to Christianity and her Muslim parents have agreed to continue counseling to work out their differences.

Attorneys for Rifqa Bary, 17, and her parents came to the understanding Tuesday after a juvenile court hearing in Columbus.

The arrangement requires the girl and her parents to continue working with individual counselors. It does not mandate joint meetings.

Judge Elizabeth Gill told Miss Bary and her parents they need to work hard on their situation before she turns 18 in August. Miss Bary’s parents have denied her claims that she would be harmed or killed for becoming a Christian.

The agreement also clarifies how Miss Bary can have contact with Christian pastors who allegedly helped her run away in July.

RHODE ISLAND

Union files complaint over school firings

PROVIDENCE | A teachers union has filed state labor relations charges over a plan to turn around one of Rhode Island’s worst-performing high schools by firing the entire faculty.

The Central Falls Teachers’ Union filed the complaint Monday. It says the firings were an unfair labor practice and accuses the school district of failing to bargain and not providing the teachers with enough information.

The board of trustees for the Central Falls district voted last week to fire more than 90 teachers and other staff members by year’s end from the city’s high school. No more than half of the staff could be hired back under federal rules.

President Obama cited the firings in a speech Monday as an example of a need for accountability regarding poor student performance.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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