U Of I Names New Chancellor

URBANA, Ill., Aug. 4 (UPI) — Phyllis M. Wise, who has held leadership roles at major public research universities, has been named chancellor of the University of Illinois’ Urbana campus.

Wise, now provost and executive vice president at the University of Washington, is to take on the new role Oct. 1, pending approval by the U of I Board Trustees, the university said in a release.

She also is to serve as a university vice president.

Wise, who served as interim president at the University of Washington in the 2010-11 academic year, also had been dean of the College of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis, from 2002 to 2005 and chairman of the Department of Physiology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, from 1993 to 2002.

U of I President Michael J. Hogan praised Wise’s leadership and scientific achievements, including membership in the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, and noted she is a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

“Dr. Wise has the full package, ” Hogan said. “She is a proven scholar with a deep commitment to public higher education and has an exceptional reputation as a leader at some of the nation’s top universities.”

Wise has a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and a doctorate from the University of Michigan.

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the most respected institutions of higher education in the world,” she said. “I look forward to working with the faculty, staff and students and the university’s many external stakeholders and partners to build on its strengths and create new opportunities for the university to have an even greater impact.”

N.Y. Priest, 87, Arrested On Sex Charges

NEW YORK, Aug. 4 (UPI) — An 87-year-old New York priest was arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a teenage girl who had just begun working in his church, authorities said.

Father Jaime Duenas was arrested Wednesday inside the rectory of the Church of the Blessed Lady in Queens, the New York Daily News reported.

The 16-year-old victim had started working in the church rectory last week where Duenas allegedly sexually molested her.

Duenas has been charged with sexual abuse, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.

“She didn’t protest to getting a massage,” Duenas said in his cell while awaiting arraignment, prosecutors reported.

“She was wearing short skirts.”

Duenas has been released without bond and ordered to stay away from the victim, the Daily News reported.

Karachi Violence Troubles London

LONDON, Aug. 4 (UPI) — A peaceful Karachi is integral to a prosperous and stable Pakistan, the British government said amid concerns of ethnic violence.

Ethnic and political violence in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, claimed at least 10 lives in recent days, raising the death toll to at least 36 during the first week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Violence has largely involved members and supporters of the Urdu-speaking Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the ANP representing ethnic Pashtuns.

British Middle East and North African Minister Alistair Burt in a phone conversation with officials in Karachi expressed London’s view that stability in Karachi was in the interest of Pakistan and the rest of the international community.

“I said that peace and prosperity in Karachi was necessary to encourage further foreign direct investment which would be vital to Pakistan’s future economic growth and stability,” he said in a follow-up statement.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani was quoted as saying by The Daily Times newspaper in Pakistan that there were no plans to divide the city along ethnic lines.

“I warned that inflammatory statements from any political party risked making the situation worse and that all political leaders and their parties have a duty to refrain from inciting violence and to reduce tensions and restore calm,” added Burt.

Suit: School’s ‘Wigger Day’ Discriminatory

RED WING, Minn., Aug. 4 (UPI) — A lawsuit charges a Minnesota school violated anti-discrimination law by allowing a racist homecoming event in which white students mocked African-Americans.

During “Wigger Day” — a reference to whites who imitate mannerisms, speech and clothing of some African-Americans — dozens of students wore baggy pants and displayed gang signs, the suit says, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

The event at Red Wing High School violated Title VI, which forbids racial discrimination at a federally funded school, the suit contends, because it “failed to take adequate steps to address the conduct.”

The suit says the event, held in 2007, 2008 and 2009, constituted discrimination and bullying and led to “deep depression” for black student Quera Pruitt, who almost dropped out as a result before graduating last year.

“It’s offensive to black folks and, frankly, it’s offensive to anyone,” said Joshua Williams, Pruitt’s lawyer.

Pruitt’s suit seeks more than $75,000.

Only about 3 percent of the 879 eighth- through 12th-graders at the school, northeast of St. Paul, are black, the Minnesota Department of Education says.

The school district denied discrimination.

“(Red Wing school district) has been and continues to be committed to providing an education to its students that is free from discrimination and harassment based upon race or otherwise,” Superintendent Karsten Anderson said in a statement.

“The district denies the allegations that it has created a racially hostile environment and looks forward to meeting these allegations in court.”

Morocco Rolls Out F-16s

MARRAKECH, Morocco, Aug. 4 (UPI) — The Moroccan air force Thursday unveiled the first four of 24 Lockheed Martin F-16s it purchased in a ceremony at Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco.

Senior representatives from the Moroccan and U.S. governments and air forces were present for the roll out.

The aircraft are the first F-16s to be operated by the country.

The F-16C/D aircraft, obtained through a Foreign Military Sale agreement, are in the Block 52 configuration and tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Moroccan air force.

The sale includes the aircraft, mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other U.S. and international contractors.

The new aircraft will supplement the RMAF’s existing fleet of fighter aircraft and will contribute to the upgrade and modernization of the Moroccan air force.

“The delivery of these aircraft places Morocco among the very elite group of air forces of the world who operate the advanced multirole F-16,” said Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Aeronautics business area.

Polish Report Blames Army For Plane Crash

WARSAW, Poland, Aug. 4 (UPI) — The Polish military has disbanded the regiment blamed for last year’s plane crash in Russia that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others.

The decision followed an investigation that determined the pilots had not received adequate training and had been given documents that showed their qualifications to be greater than they really were, the Warsaw Business Journal reported. The 36th Army regiment was responsible for preparing for the flight.

Kaczynski, his wife and other Polish leaders were flying to a commemoration of the Katyn Forest massacre when the Soviet secret police killed 22,000 Polish military officers, police officers and intellectuals captured during the invasion of Poland. The victims of the crash near Smolensk in April 2010 included the chief of the general staff, other high-ranking military officers, political and religious leaders, and relatives of those killed in the Katyn massacre.

Bogdan Klich resigned as defense minister last Friday after the report was released, and 13 military officers, including three generals, have been sacked.

Booze Allen To Support Army Training

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 4 (UPI) — The U.S. Army has given a prime contract to Booz Allen Hamilton for mission services in support of the Army Training Support Center.

The support extends to Army-wide organizations that comprise the Training Support System Enterprise, which manages Army ranges, land assets and training support across the service’s emerging live, virtual, constructive and gaming domains.

Booz Allen is one of four contractors issued an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity award totaling $490.9 million, which has a one-year base period and four option years.

Committed to using live, virtual and constructive simulation to efficiently develop and deliver training policy and programs, Booz Allen will support all five functional areas, including the Sustainable Range Program which includes Integrated Training Area Management; the Soldier Training Support Program; the Mission Command Training Center Support Program; the Training Development Support Program; and the Combat Training Center Support Program.

These areas provide key Army training capabilities such as ranges; instrumentation; battle command training centers; training aids, devices, simulators and simulations.

Sentence Passed In Black Expo Shootings

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 4 (UPI) — A teenager who pleaded guilty to shooting nine people during Indianapolis’ Black Expo Summer Celebration last year was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Shamus Patton, 18, pleaded guilty to charges of battery, aggravated battery and criminal gang activity, The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday.

Marion Superior Court Judge Carol Orbison, in sentencing Patton to eight years in prison, two years in community corrections programs and two years on probation, called the shootings “absolutely horrendous.”

In the shootings, thought to be gang-related, Patton fired into crowds at two Expo activity sites in downtown Indianapolis on July 17, 2010, wounding nine victims ages 10 to 19.

The Rev. Charles Harrison, head of a group of ministers attempting to improve relations between police and black youths, said the shootings made people realize that gang violence in the city’s neighborhoods could also threaten the city’s downtown area.

“I think we have to be vigilant and report what we see,” Harrison said. “I think we can no longer be quiet about what’s going on.”

Patton’s sentence should be an example, he said.

“I think we have to send a strong message to our young people in the community,” he said, “that this kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated.”

No Concessions Made On Syria, U.S. Says

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Washington didn’t make any concessions at the U.N. Security Council regarding the measure reached on Syrian bloodshed, the U.S. envoy said.

The Security Council issued a strong statement Wednesday condemning the use of force against civilian demonstrators opposing the government.

The council in its statement expressed regret over the loss of hundreds of lives at the hands of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad but stopped short of issuing a formal resolution.

“Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable,” the Security Council statement read.

Assad has enacted a series of political reforms that Damascus said should ease protesters’ concerns. Violence, however, has continued despite the new measures.

Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the “important and strong statement” of condemnation against Syria was “long overdue.”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the Security Council action sent a strong and unified message to Damascus, noting Security Council members would meet again in one week to review the situation.

Rice, who acknowledged Washington supported a resolution, denied there were any concessions made in getting the statement through Security Council members.

Lebanon, a non-permanent member of the Security Council, dissociated itself from the statement but made no effort to block its adoption.

Virginia Tech Police Search For Possible Gunman

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 4 (UPI) — Campus police are looking for a possible gunman spotted Thursday on Virginia Tech’s campus in Blacksburg, Va., the university said.

Virginia Tech police worked with four other police departments to search the campus for the person reportedly with a weapon, the university said on its Web site.

“We ask people to remain secured indoors,” the post said.

Three juveniles attending a camp at the university reported seeing a white male outside a residence hall “holding what may have been a handgun” that was covered by either a cloth or clothing, the university Web update said. The man was walking in the direction of the volleyball courts.

“There have been no other sightings,” the post said.

Law enforcement officers from the campus police department, the Blacksburg and Christiansburg police departments, the Virginia State Police and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office were searching for the subject.

In 2007 a lone gunman opened fire on the Virginia Tech campus, killing 32 people and wounding 25 others before committing suicide.