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Refusing to testify, Al-Arian refuses to eat

Published January 25, 2007


Former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian has begun a hunger strike to protest "continued government harassment," his supporters said.

Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty in May to aiding a Palestinian terrorist group, stopped eating after being held in contempt Monday for the second time after refusing to testify before a grand jury in Virginia, the Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace said Tuesday in a news release.

Al-Arian has less than 18 months left on a 57-month sentence for aiding the Palestinian Islamic Jihad with nonviolent activities.

Al-Arian went on a 140-day hunger strike shortly after he was arrested in February 2003, his supporters said.


2 still hospitalized after sidewalk crash

A Palm Harbor couple injured Tuesday when a van struck them at a Tarpon Springs shopping plaza remained hospitalized Wednesday, officials said.

Lillian Wright, 79, was in critical condition, and her husband, Donald, 82, was in serious condition at Tampa General Hospital, a spokesman said.

Amelia E. McBride, 92, of Tarpon Springs, died shortly after Tuesday's crash. The three were hit as Sandra K. Burns, 69, of Trinity was trying to leave the Tarpon Plaza shopping center at 780 S Pinellas Ave., police said.

Burns backed up and veered onto a sidewalk, striking the three people outside the Hospice Thrift Shop, police said. No charges had been filed Wednesday.


Selmon's restaurant may buy road signs

The board that oversees Hillsborough's toll roads has begun negotiating for new signs for the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway - which would be purchased by the owners of the Selmon's restaurant chain.

OSI Restaurant Partners Inc., which owns Lee Roy Selmon's All-American Grill, presented a letter this week to the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority with a $250,000 plan to replace 240 signs that direct motorists to the toll road and also are posted along its route, said authority spokeswoman Diane Jones.

She said a study done in 2000 by construction company URS Corp. suggested having "standardized signage on the roadway" because it had no uniformed look. But the agency had no budget for the task, Jones said.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 00:43:13]

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