- - Tuesday, February 1, 2011

CALIFORNIA

‘Sham university’ probed for fraud

SAN FRANCISCO | The government of India is urging the United States to show leniency toward Indian students who were enrolled at a “sham university” in California that U.S. authorities say was a front for illegal immigration.

The U.S. attorney’s office alleges the owner of Tri-Valley University in Pleasanton used the unaccredited school to charge foreigners millions in tuition fees and help them obtain student visas to stay in the U.S.

Officials at Tri-Valley did not respond to a request for comment Monday.

There were 1,555 students enrolled at Tri-Valley last fall and about 95 percent were from India, according to a complaint filed Jan. 19 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

Many of those students, who took Tri-Valley courses online, could be deported if they are found to be in violation of their immigration status.

DELAWARE

Family seeks data on body in trash

WILMINGTON | The family of a slain former Pentagon official whose body was found in a Delaware landfill still doesn’t know what happened to him, and their attempts to get more information from law enforcement officials have been rebuffed, their attorney said Monday.

Colm Connolly, an attorney for John Wheeler III’s family, said he has asked for forensic reports, search warrants and a copy of a video surveillance tape showing Mr. Wheeler in downtown Wilmington the night before his body was found. Mr. Connolly also noted that Mr. Wheeler’s family learned only through the media last week that a medical examiner officially determined that Mr. Wheeler died of blunt trauma injuries after being assaulted.

The family was told early in the investigation that Mr. Wheeler had died of a heart attack caused by an assault.

Mr. Wheeler’s body was found in trash being dumped at the Wilmington landfill on the morning of Dec. 31. Mr. Wheeler, 66, was seen on video surveillance cameras wandering around downtown Wilmington two days before his body was found. The garbage truck that dumped his body had collected all of its trash from commercial disposal bins in Newark, several miles from both his home in New Castle and from downtown Wilmington.

Police, who do not have any suspects, still don’t know how Mr. Wheeler wound up in Newark.

FLORIDA

Space shuttle fixed, back on launch pad

CAPE CANAVERAL | Space shuttle Discovery is back on the launch pad after unprecedented repairs for its final voyage.

NASA moved Discovery out of its hangar Monday night, and the shuttle reached the pad well before dawn Tuesday. Barring any more trouble, it should mark the last time Discovery makes the three-mile trip.

Discovery was supposed to make its last flight to the International Space Station in November. But cracks appeared in the fuel tank. NASA sent the shuttle back to the Vehicle Assembly Building before Christmas for extensive repair work.

In the meantime, the lead spacewalker for the mission was hurt when he wrecked his bicycle in Houston last month. His replacement is getting quick training to be ready for the Feb. 24 launch.

GEORGIA

CDC: Only half get treated for cholesterol

ATLANTA | Health officials say only about half of U.S. adults with high levels of bad cholesterol are getting treatment.

And not all those treated are managing to control the problem.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that as many as two out of three Americans with high levels of bad cholesterol do not have their problem under control.

The new report focuses on LDL or “bad cholesterol.” That kind accounts for most of the body’s cholesterol and is considered a worrisome contributor to strokes and heart attacks.

The report found that one in three U.S. adults had high levels of bad cholesterol, and the problem was more common in Mexican-Americans or those 65 and older.

NEW YORK

German wins run for sixth time

NEW YORK | Thomas Dold of Germany has won the Empire State Building Run-Up for a record sixth straight year.

Wearing knee-high black socks and yellow sneakers, Mr. Dold, 26, dashed up 86 flights of stairs on Tuesday in 10 minutes, 10 seconds. He beat last year’s winning time by 6 seconds. Two others have won the race five times.

The New York Road Runners club said Alice McNamara, 24, of Australia won the women’s division. She is a medical student and a member of Australia’s national rowing team. Her time was 13 minutes, 3 seconds. The 2010 women’s champion, Melissa Moon of New Zealand, did not defend her title.

The race features 1,576 steps from the lobby to the outdoor observation deck of New York’s tallest building.

PENNSYLVANIA

‘Jihad Jane’ suspect pleads to terror plot

PHILADELPHIA | A Pennsylvania woman who called herself “Jihad Jane” online pleaded guilty Tuesday to her role in a plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who had offended Muslims.

Colleen LaRose, 47, helped foreign terror suspects intent on starting a holy war in Europe and South Asia, prosecutors said.

LaRose, who also was accused of using the online screen name “Fatima LaRose,” has been in custody since October 2009 and faced a possible life sentence under charges of a four-count indictment.

Speaking clearly but quietly, LaRose said Tuesday she had never been treated for any mental health problems and was entering her plea freely. She whispered a few comments to her lawyers, some of them prompting a smile from public defender Mark T. Wilson.

Mr. Wilson declined to comment afterward.

LaRose and co-defendant Jamie Paulin-Ramirez of Leadville, Colo., are the rare U.S. women charged with terrorism. Miss Paulin-Ramirez has pleaded not guilty since she was arrested in Ireland with other terror suspects.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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