- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2011


Christian group now sees end of world Friday

SAN FRANCISCO | The Oakland-based Family Radio International, which stirred a global frenzy when it predicted the rapture would take 200 million Christians to heaven on May 21, now says the cataclysmic event will destroy the globe on Friday.

This time, the ministry and its 90-year-old leader, Harold Camping, are avoiding the media and perhaps a repeat of the international mockery that followed when believers awoke on May 22 to find themselves still on Earth.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we at Family Radio have been directed to not talk to the media or the press,” Mr. Camping’s daughter Susan Espinoza wrote in response to an email request about Friday’s doomsday scenario.

Mr. Camping, who suffered a mild stroke three weeks after his prediction failed to materialize in May, still spreads the word through his Family Radio International website. God’s judgment and salvation were completed on May 21, Mr. Camping says in a message explaining the mix-up in his biblical math.


Midwest, West highest in contemplating suicide

ATLANTA | More adults in the Midwest and West have suicidal thoughts than people in the rest of the country, but Rhode Island leads in suicide attempts, according to the first government study of its kind.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released Thursday, presents a different look at suicide in America - one that focuses on suicide in the planning stages.

Overall, the Midwest and West had significantly higher rates of suicide contemplation than the South and Northeast. Researchers say they don’t have any data to explain why some states or regions were different from others.

Utah had the highest rate of serious thoughts of suicide (1 in 15 adults) while Rhode Island was at the top of the range for planning a suicide (1 in 36) and suicide attempts (1 in 67).

Georgia was at the bottom of the range for suicidal thoughts (1 in 50), planning a suicide (1 in 1,000) and, along with Delaware, for suicide attempts (1 in 1,000).


Cop acquitted of stomping Katrina victim

NEW ORLEANS | A federal judge on Thursday acquitted a police sergeant of a charge he stomped on a dying, mentally disabled man who was gunned down on a New Orleans bridge after Hurricane Katrina, overturning parts of a jury verdict that convicted five current or former officers of civil rights violations.

U.S. District Judge Kurt E. Engelhardt upheld the majority of the officers’ convictions, but he concluded jurors didn’t hear sufficient evidence to convict Sgt. Kenneth Bowen of stomping on Ronald Madison, 40, after another officer shot and fatally wounded the man on the Danziger Bridge in the 2005 storm’s aftermath.

Judge Engelhardt also found insufficient evidence to convict Mr. Bowen and three other officers of conspiring to falsely prosecute shooting victim Jose Holmes, who wasn’t arrested or charged with wrongdoing after he was wounded by police.

But the judge left most of the verdict intact and rejected defense attorneys’ bids for a new trial.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten said his office is reviewing Judge Engelhardt’s ruling and is weighing options, including whether to appeal.


Trial date set in Rutgers suicide case

NEW BRUNSWICK | A former Rutgers University student accused of using a webcam to spy on his roommate’s intimate encounter with another man turned down a plea deal Thursday that would have limited his time behind bars to five years and could have kept him out of prison altogether.

Dharun Ravi, 19, affirmed his decision to go to trial, at which a conviction could mean 10 years or more in prison. A judge set a trial date of Feb. 21 for the case, which helped set off a national conversation about bullying of young gays and lesbians.

Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old violinist in his first weeks at Rutgers, killed himself in September 2010, just days after the alleged spying. Mr. Ravi faces 15 criminal counts in all, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime.

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