- The Washington Times - Monday, May 3, 2010


Businesses attacked in May Day rally

SANTA CRUZ | Close to 20 businesses were damaged after a May Day protest in downtown Santa Cruz turned violent, requiring police to call other agencies for help, authorities said.

Police spokesman Zach Friend said an estimated 250 people started marching through the city around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

It was a peaceful but “unpermitted and unsanctioned event,” he said, until some in the crowd started breaking windows and spraying paint on retail shops that line the downtown corridor.

A fire was started at a coffee shop entrance but was extinguished after police cleared the way for firefighters, Mr. Friend said. Eighteen businesses were damaged, with the cost of repairs estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000. No injuries were reported.

Mr. Friend said he wasn’t sure whether the damage was caused by people marching in support of immigrants’ rights. There were numerous demonstrations across the country on May Day in support of an immigration amnesty and/or against Arizona’s new immigration law, but the day is traditional march day for supporters of socialism and communism.


Immigrant convicts nabbed in South

ATLANTA | Federal agents said they arrested 596 immigrants with criminal records during a three-day enforcement sweep across the Southeast.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said Friday that the operation, dubbed Operation Cross Check, was the largest ever conducted by the agency targeting foreign nationals convicted of crimes. They said the immigrants have served their sentences and authorities will now seek to deport them.

Atlanta ICE Field Director Felicia Skinner said three of the people arrested this week had been convicted of murder and 144 were convicted on assault charges.


Civil unions OK’d; bill goes to governor

HONOLULU | Hawaii is a step closer to joining a small group of other states in allowing same-sex civil unions.

In a move that still needs the governor’s signature to become law, the House of Representatives Thursday night approved a measure that has drawn some of the state’s biggest protest rallies. Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, hasn’t said whether she’ll reject the legislation or sign it into law, but her office said later that she will carefully review the bill.

The House voted 31-20 in favor of the legislation, which had been stalled but was unexpectedly revived on the last day of this year’s legislative session. The Senate passed it in January.

The measure would grant gay couples the same rights and benefits that the state provides to married couples, but not marriage itself. Five other states — California, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington — essentially do this now.


Buffett, Munger back investment banks

OMAHA | Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger again defended Goldman Sachs Group on Sunday, saying faulty government regulations are to blame for most of the economic turmoil of the past few years, not investment banks.

The executives met with reporters a day after taking questions before a crowd of about 37,000 at the Omaha company’s annual meeting.

Mr. Buffett has been one of Goldman’s biggest supporters before and since the Securities and Exchange Commission filed its civil lawsuit against the bank last month. Berkshire holds $5 billion in preferred shares of Goldman, which Mr. Buffett said he has no plans to sell because they remain a very good investment and pay 10 percent interest a year.

Mr. Munger said he thinks Goldman is the nation’s best investment bank in terms of morality and competence and that vilifying Goldman won’t help the economy’s woes.


Suspicious package disrupts marathon

PITTSBURGH | A suspicious device near the finish line of the Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday prompted police to briefly stop the race after it had begun. The device was disabled and police said it was not thought to have been an actual explosive.

The device, in a small microwave oven, was spotted Sunday morning on the sidewalk next to the Greyhound bus station after the race leaders had finished the course, police Lt. Kevin Kraus said.

The bomb squad determined that it had contents that resembled an explosive, and the area was evacuated, Lt. Kraus said. He declined to describe the materials that concerned authorities pending a further evaluation. “Certainly, from what we did see on the X-rays, we were highly concerned,” he said.

Lt. Kraus said police stopped the 26.2-mile race in the area for 10 to 12 minutes. The competition resumed after the bomb squad used a robot to disable the device and the area was cleared shortly before 11 a.m., he said.


Wal-Mart fight will continue

RICHMOND | A judge kept alive Friday the fight to block a Wal-Mart Supercenter near an endangered Civil War site where Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant first met on the field of battle.

Circuit Court Judge Daniel R. Bouton rejected a bid by Orange County to dismiss the challenge and instead ruled residents who live near the Wilderness Battlefield and a historic group can contest the county’s approval of the store at trial.

The decision resurrects a fierce national effort to protect a battlefield in Northern Virginia where 180,000 soldiers fought and 26,000 were killed or injured 146 years ago.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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