- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Medical marijuana passed by council

The D.C. Council has passed a measure to legalize medical marijuana, sending the bill to D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.

Under the measure passed Tuesday, the nation’s capital would join 14 states that allow medical marijuana.

Patients with chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or cancer could obtain marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. It would be given out at five to eight distribution centers.

Patients would be limited to two ounces of marijuana per month. The mayor could raise the cap to four ounces if he determines more is needed.

If Mr. Fenty signs the bill as expected, Congress would have 30 days to review before it becomes law.

In 1998, residents voted to legalize medical marijuana, but Congress blocked the initiative from taking effect for years.


Lawsuit: Workers kept at sea

MIAMI | Three workers who survived an explosion aboard an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico have filed a lawsuit claiming they were kept floating in lifeboats at sea for more than 10 hours.

The lawsuit filed in Galveston, Texas, said the men couldn’t even call home to say they were OK. It seeks damages for them and the family of a crane operator who died aboard the Deepwater Horizon.

Attorneys for the rig workers said those most seriously injured were evacuated by helicopter, but the others had to wait on lifeboats and some didn’t make it home for 40 hours.

Rig owner Transocean Ltd. defended its response and noted that 115 people survived.


Lutherans reinstate two gay ministers

ATLANTA | A gay Atlanta pastor and his partner who have been at the center of a battle over the treatment of gay clergy by the nation’s largest Lutheran denomination are being reinstated to the denomination’s clergy roster, church officials announced Tuesday.

The Rev. Bradley Schmeling and his partner, the Rev. Darin Easler, have been approved for reinstatement, the Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America said in a news release. Their reinstatement comes about eight months after the denomination voted to allow gays and lesbians in committed relationships to serve as clergy, and about three weeks after the ELCA’s church council officially revised the church’s policy on gay ministers.

Mr. Schmeling, who serves as pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta, was removed from the church’s clergy roster in 2007 for being in a same-sex relationship with Mr. Easler. A disciplinary committee ruled that Mr. Schmeling was violating an ELCA policy regarding the sexual conduct of pastors.

“I think the church saw the gifts and the abilities of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and saw that the spirit was calling them into ministry and wanted to create a way for people to serve,” Mr. Schmeling said.


Release of militia members delayed

DETROIT | Prosecutors won a delay in the release of nine Michigan militia members who had been ordered freed from jail to await trial on a charge of trying to wage war against the government.

U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts gave prosecutors until 5 p.m. Wednesday to declare whether they will appeal a ruling that frees the nine. At that point, the judge will decide whether to further delay their release.

The nine members of the southern Michigan-based Hutaree group were charged in March with conspiracy to commit sedition, or rebellion, against the government and attempted use of weapons of mass destruction.

Prosecutors claim they are too dangerous to be free until trial. The judge disagreed Monday and set several strict conditions for their release, including electronic monitoring.


Man admits to lying to FBI

MINNEAPOLIS | A Minnesota man who was caught up in the FBI’s investigation into missing Somali men has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice.

Abdow M. Abdow, 26, on Tuesday entered his plea to the reduced charge before U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum.

Abdow acknowledged providing false statements to FBI agents about his travels in October.

The FBI agents were investigating the disappearances of young men from the Minneapolis area who had returned to Somalia to fight for an alleged terrorist group.

The sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 10 to 16 months in jail. Defense attorney Earl Gray said he’ll argue for a lesser sentence.


Mummified corpse missing from grave

CONCORD | A mummified body at the center of a dispute between a family and police has been removed from a cemetery, police said.

The family had the mummy for nearly a century. Family members think it was possibly the stillborn son of a great-great-uncle.

Concord police learned about it in April 2006, and a judge ordered the remains to be buried. The corpse was interred in 2008.

Concord police said Tuesday that a visitor to the cemetery on Monday reported that a grave appeared to have been unearthed. The remains haven’t been recovered.

A lawyer for Charles Peavey, whose family considered the mummy an heirloom, said police searched Mr. Peavey’s house Monday. He said Mr. Peavey denies disturbing the grave site.


Producer sentenced in Letterman case

NEW YORK | The former CBS television producer who tried to shake down David Letterman over the comic icon’s office affairs started a six-month jail sentence Tuesday, closing a case that opened Mr. Letterman’s behind-the-scenes behavior to public scrutiny.

Carrying a Bible to a court date he knew would end in time behind bars, Robert Halderman declined to speak before he was led from a Manhattan court in handcuffs to begin his jail term, to be followed by 1,000 hours of community service. He agreed to both when he pleaded guilty in March to attempted grand larceny.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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