National Roundup

Denmark

Greenpeace in court for climate summit stunt

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) -- Greenpeace activists appeared in court on Monday on charges of trespassing when they gate crashed a climate summit banquet in Copenhagen two years ago.

Activists managed in December 2009 to unfurl a protest banner at a banquet of world leaders after gaining access to the building in a limousine equipped with a false police light that joined a convoy of vehicles en route to the venue.

The 11 defendants also are accused of falsifying a license plate and impersonating a police officer. If found guilty they face prison sentences and fines.

The defendants include demonstrators from Spain, Switzerland, Norway and Netherlands. A verdict is expected on Aug. 19.

In March, 10 Greenpeace protesters were given one-month suspended sentences for a similar protest at a 2009 European Union climate summit in Belgium.

The activists got into the Brussels meeting by arriving in a shiny Mercedes, using fake accreditation and wearing suits to blend in with the European leaders. In front of dozens of cameras and journalists a demonstrator read from a text urging more EU action on climate change before being whisked away.

New York

Cops: NY mom sent threat when son didn't make team

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (AP) -- A suburban New York woman is accused of sending threatening letters to a Little League official and his son because her boy didn't make a summer baseball travel team.

Nassau County police say 44-year-old Janet Chiauzzi of East Meadow on Long Island also falsely claimed that the official abused his children.

She was arraigned Sunday on charges of stalking, falsely reporting an incident and endangering the welfare of a child.

She didn't respond to a telephone message seeking comment.

Police say when one of her two sons didn't make the team, she wrote "letters of a threatening nature" to the official and his young son. Police say the letters also mentioned the official's wife and daughter.

California

Cat thief 'purr-loins' hundreds of treasures

SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) -- A prolific cat burglar has stolen hundreds of precious possessions from homes near San Francisco.

But police are staying off the case -- the burglar really is a cat.

Dusty, a 5-year-old feline from San Mateo, has taken hundreds of items during his nearly nightly heists.

Owner Jean Chu tells the San Francisco Chronicle he has pilfered gloves, towels, shoes and more since she adopted him from the Humane Society.

Dusty has a special love for swimsuits. Neighbor Kelly McLellan says he stole her bikini -- on two separate trips. She said he appeared focused on keeping the ensemble.

Experts say Dusty's predatory instincts have gone astray, leaving him hunting for people's stuff.

The cat's thieving has made him a minor celebrity.

Indiana

No word on whether spy can attend father's funeral

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- A former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst convicted of spying for Israel has not been allowed to attend his father's funeral in Indiana.

The White House had spurned requests by Israel to let Jonathan Pollard visit his father before he died Saturday. Morris Pollard was buried Monday in South Bend, Ind., without his son present.

The only mention of Jonathan Pollard during the graveside service was when his sister said one of their father's few regrets was "not being able to help his son achieve freedom."

Pollard was a civilian intelligence analyst for the Navy when he copied and gave to his Israeli handlers enough classified documents to fill a walk-in closet.

Arrested in 1985 after unsuccessfully seeking refuge at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, Pollard was convicted and sentenced to life in prison two years later. He is scheduled for release in 2015, according to a U.S. Justice Department website.

U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke said Monday that an inmate's request to attend a funeral would typically be considered by the prison warden, and that information on whether permission was granted cannot be released until after the event.

Denise Simmons, a spokeswoman for Butner Federal Correctional Complex in N.C., said she could not comment on Pollard's status at the prison, saying it is not public information.

Before he died, Morris Pollard, 95, a retired biology professor at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, said he couldn't sleep at night because of his son's incarceration. He called it "an overwhelming miscarriage of justice."

New York

New charge for man cleared of 1972 slaying

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- A 78-year-old man recently cleared of killing a blind upstate New York woman in 1972 has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

Willie James Kimble was acquitted in March of bludgeoning to death Annie Mae Cray at her Rochester home. It was one of the nation's oldest cold-case murders to come to trial.

Kimble remained locked up on a federal criminal complaint and was arraigned Monday on a charge that carries a maximum 10-year sentence. He's already spent two decades in prison for rape and attempted rape.

In 2009, police obtained a DNA match from a semen-stained blanket kept in storage for 38 years. Kimble skipped town while the murder was re-examined and was tracked down in Sarasota, Fla., last year.

Florida

Teachers union sues over state pension plan changes

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Education Association is suing to block pension plan changes affecting teachers, state workers and many local government employees.

The statewide teachers union filed the suit Monday in state circuit court in Tallahassee.

The class action targets provisions in a new pension law requiring employees to contribute 3 percent of their pay to the Florida Retirement System and phasing out cost-of-living benefits.

The pension plan covers 655,000 active employees and provides benefits to 219,000 retirees.

The suit lists 11 plaintiffs including teachers, school maintenance workers, sheriff's deputies, a community college instructor, a county solid waste worker and public hospital employees.

They allege the new law violates their contract rights as well as a state constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining.

Published: Tue, Jun 21, 2011

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