Graham defends film about life of Christ
The Rev. Billy Graham gave an enthusiastic thumbs-up to Mel Gibson's biblical epic, "The Passion of Christ," after a private screening with the movie star.
The film, which describes the hours before Jesus Christ's crucifixion, has generated complaints from some Jewish leaders, who say it suggests Jews were responsible for Christ's death. Conservative Catholics who have seen the film have called it powerful.
"The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we all have sinned," the 85-year-old evangelist said. "It is our sins that caused his death, not any particular group."
In a statement released Tuesday by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn., the Southern Baptist also said he "was moved to tears" by the film.
Shopper trampled in rush at Wal-Mart
A mob of shoppers rushing for a sale on DVD players trampled the first woman in line and knocked her unconscious as they scrambled for the shelves at a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Orange City.
Patricia VanLester had her eye on a $29 DVD player, but when the siren blared at 6 a.m. Friday announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-year-old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers behind her.
"She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of elephants," said VanLester's sister, Linda Ellzey.
Ellzey said some shoppers tried to help VanLester, but most people just continued their rush for deals.
She was flown to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where doctors told the family VanLester had a seizure after she was knocked down and would likely remain hospitalized through the weekend.
Settlement allows boy to attend private school
A blond 12-year-old and his mother have agreed to drop their lawsuit challenging the exclusive Kamehameha Schools' Hawaiians-only admissions policy in exchange for the boy being allowed to stay at the school until he graduates.
The settlement, announced by both sides Friday, prompted criticism from Hawaiian activists who fear the move will lead to more non-Hawaiians attending the schools, which were established under the 1884 will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to educate "the children of Hawaii."
"I'm upset, angry and frustrated," said Vicky Holt-Takamine, president of the Ilioulaokalani Coalition, which organized rallies in support of the Kamehameha Schools. "I think there are a lot of Hawaiians who are going to be upset."
Fire marshal orders freeze on ice hotel
The state fire marshal has put a freeze on construction of an ice hotel near Fairbanks, but the man behind the subarctic architecture is still chipping away.
The Alaska Fire Marshal's Office on Nov. 21 ordered a halt to construction of the planned Aurora Ice Hotel at Chena Hot Springs Resort, citing unspecified building code and public safety concerns.
The 30-foot-high, seven-room Gothic palace was intended to be a tourist draw similar to ice hotels in Scandinavia and Quebec. Creator Bernie Karl had planned to charge guests $878 for a two-person, two-night stay that included Arctic-grade sleeping bags and other survival gear.
Karl, is continuing work with champion ice carver Steve Brice, but now says what he's building isn't a hotel, but one of Alaska's largest works of art.