Archive for Sunday, April 17, 2005


April 17, 2005



Agency: Schiavo wasn't abused, exploited

State investigators found no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by either side of her family, according to documents released by Florida's Department of Children & Families.

The agency investigated 89 complaints dating to 2001, when Schiavo's feeding tube was removed for the first time and the legal battle surrounding her right-to-die case intensified.

The calls alleged that the brain-damaged woman was being mistreated by her husband and her parents for financial gain. One complaint alleged that Schiavo's parents were selling videos of her through a Web site; another said Schiavo's husband wasn't spending money intended for her rehabilitation.

But investigators said they found no evidence that either her husband or parents were exploiting her, and often noted in their records that they found Schiavo well cared for on their visits to her Pinellas Park hospice.

The agency released the records Friday under court order.


Reports: Airport security hasn't improved

Security at U.S. airports is no better under federal control than it was before the Sept. 11 attacks, a key House member says two government reports will conclude.

The Government Accountability Office -- the investigative arm of Congress -- and the Homeland Security Department's inspector general are expected to soon release their findings on the performance of Transportation Security Administration screeners.

"A lot of people will be shocked at the billions of dollars we've spent and the results they're going to see, which confirm previous examinations of the Soviet-style screening system we've put in place," Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., told The Associated Press on Friday.

Mica chairs the House aviation subcommittee and was briefed on the reports.

The TSA won't comment on the specifics of the reports until they are released, spokesman Mark Hatfield Jr. said.


Officials say student fell from fifth-floor ledge

A U.S. Naval Academy student found dead earlier this month fell more than 60 feet from his dormitory's fifth-floor ledge, academy officials said.

The body of Midshipman 2nd Class Jay Michael Dixon, 21, of Destrehan, La., was discovered April 9 outside the building that houses the school's 4,000 midshipmen. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Academy officials said Friday they found no evidence of foul play.

Dixon, a third-year midshipman, was a physics major and a member of the campus radio station. He joined the academy "because he loved his country dearly," his aunt, Donna Hendley, told The Washington Post.

In February, a judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Navy filed by the family of a student who had fallen more than 50 feet from his dorm window in 2002. Since then, safety devices have been installed on windows.

Los Angeles

Lawsuit: AOL monitor seduced teen online

An Internet chat room monitor hired to keep children safe from sexual predators seduced a California girl online and was about to meet her for sex when he was found out by a co-worker, a lawsuit charges.

According to documents filed April 1 in Los Angeles Superior Court, the online relationship began when the girl was 15. She met the AOL employee in a children's chat room and confided in him about her parents' divorce and her troubles making friends.

They were preparing to meet on the girl's 17th birthday when one of the monitor's co-workers became suspicious and prevented the encounter.

The lawsuit charges AOL and its parent company, Time Warner Inc., with failing to supervise the employee and of falsely advertising that its online service was safe for children.

America Online spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company fired the monitor and contacted authorities after learning of the situation in April 2003. The man, who was 23 when he met the girl online, has not been charged with a crime.


Newspaper warns about comic's content

The Star Tribune warned its readers Saturday that some might be offended by a comic strip about the Red Lake Indian Reservation shootings.

In the syndicated "La Cucaracha" strip that also ran Saturday, a teacher asks what President Bush might have said to console those affected by the shootings last month which left 10 people dead, including the teenage gunman.

One student answers, "I'm really so sorry you're not an Anglo suburban reservation." Another says, "You shoulda stuck to arrows." A third says, "Pow? Wow!"

Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, in a note to readers, said the paper was not aware of the topic of the comic strip until after the section had been preprinted. He said the paper gives broad latitude to comics and rarely pulls a strip, but it wanted to recognize that some readers could find the cartoon inappropriate.


Earthquake shakes southern part of state

A magnitude-5.1 earthquake struck in Southern California on Saturday and could be felt dozens of miles away in downtown Los Angeles, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck at 12:18 p.m. and was centered about 13 miles east of Maricopa and 25 miles south-southwest of Bakersfield, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Maricopa is about 85 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, a Kern County Sheriff's Department supervisor said. A spokesman for the Los Angeles city fire department said he received no damage reports.

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