Archive for Wednesday, March 30, 2005

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March 30, 2005

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Virginia

Falwell hospitalized in critical condition

The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in critical condition Tuesday, battling his second case of viral pneumonia in just five weeks, hospital and church officials said.

Falwell, 71, was admitted to Lynchburg General Hospital shortly before midnight Monday suffering from "respiratory arrest," the hospital said in a statement, meaning his breathing had slowed or stopped.

"His cardiac status is stable and there is no evidence of a heart attack," said hospital spokesman Tom Urtz, reading from a statement. "He is alert and responding to questions. Reverend Falwell is clinically stable, but is still critically ill."

Ron Godwin, Falwell's executive assistant, said Falwell was "on a respirator and he's resting comfortably."

Doctors said they expected to have a clearer prognosis today.

Dallas

Boy Scout official faces child porn charge

A longtime Boy Scouts of America official who directed a national task force to protect children from sexual abuse has been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

Douglas Sovereign Smith Jr., 61, was accused of receiving images over the Internet in February of children engaging in oral sex, intercourse and other sexually explicit conduct. The charges were filed by federal prosecutors March 21.

"We're shocked and dismayed to learn of this," said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, based in the Dallas suburb of Irving. "Smith was employed by the Boy Scouts for 39 years and we had no indication of prior criminal activity."

Smith's job did not involve working directly with children, Shields said. Smith was put on leave immediately after the Boy Scouts officials learned of charges, then chose to retire, he said.

Washington, D.C.

500 new agents to patrol Arizona border

The Homeland Security Department will assign more than 500 additional patrol agents to the porous Arizona border, saying they will help keep potential terrorists and illegal immigrants from entering the country, The Associated Press has learned.

The border buildup was to be announced today -- two days before civilian volunteers with the so-called Minuteman Project begin a monthlong Arizona patrol against immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico line.

About 155 agents will be immediately sent to Arizona, according to department officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the buildup was not yet announced. More than 370 additional agents -- all new trainees -- will be permanently assigned to the Arizona border throughout the year.

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