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Archive for Sunday, May 9, 2004

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May 9, 2004

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Mississippi

Ex-hostage says prayer fortified will to escape

Former hostage Thomas Hamill, back home Saturday after his three-week ordeal in Iraq, credited God and worldwide support for his survival and said the rebuilding mission that nearly cost him his life must continue.

"I knew I was going to make it. I knew I was coming home," Hamill told reporters before a prayer vigil held in his honor at the Noxubee County Court House. "I told the Lord to pick the time and place."

Speaking publicly for the first time since his early-morning return to Mississippi, Hamill, above with wife Kellie, said daily, multiple prayers reinforced faith that he would survive captivity.

The truck driver was wounded and captured when his convoy was ambushed April 9.

Utah

Republicans eliminate governor from primary

Utah Republicans took Gov. Olene Walker, the state's first female governor, out of the running to keep the job Saturday night, choosing a pair of businessmen to fight for the party's nomination instead.

Walker finished fourth in an eight-way contest for the GOP nomination at the party's convention.

Jon Huntsman Jr., a former ambassador and heir to his father's chemical conglomerate, and Nolan Karras, a financial consultant who serves as chairman of the state Board of Regents, advance to a June primary that will determine the GOP candidate for governor. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen finished third.

It was the first time a standing Utah governor failed to win a party nomination in 48 years. But Walker has been governor only since November, when Gov. Mike Leavitt left to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Virginia

Iran embassy hostage dies in riding accident

Elizabeth Ann Swift Cronin, one of two women held hostage for 444 days after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, in 1979, died Friday in a horseback riding accident. She was 63.

Cronin was the ranking political officer at the embassy when Iranian students angered by American policies seized the compound. She and Kathryn Koob, then director of the Iran-American Society, were kept largely separated from the 50 men also taken captive.

After her release in January 1981, she continued her State Department career with postings in Greece, Jamaica and London and served as a deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizens services. She retired in 1995.

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