November 24, 2005 in Nation/World

Famed urban climber arrested in Houston

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Houston The French building climber who calls himself “Spiderman” was thwarted in a bid to scale a Houston skyscraper and charged with trespassing and possessing drugs – two pills to relieve anxiety.

Robert Alain Philippe, 43, was arrested Tuesday as he was to begin climbing the 678-foot-tall One Houston Center building. Houston police spokesman John Cannon said two tablets, believed to be the sedative Xanax, were found on Philippe.

Philippe, who goes by the stage name Alain Robert, is known for climbing some of the world’s tallest buildings with his bare hands and without a safety net. His conquests include the Eiffel Tower and the world’s tallest building, Taiwan’s 1,667-foot Taipei 101 tower.

Philippe was charged with criminal trespassing and illegal possession of a controlled substance, Cannon said. He was released on $1,500 bail Tuesday and scheduled for a court appearance next Tuesday.

Two supervisors shot by fired truck driver

Glen Burnie, Md. A fired employee shot two supervisors at a food distribution business Wednesday, then shot himself in the head just outside the front door, authorities and the business’s owner said.

Both victims were in stable condition at the University of Maryland R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, said Lt. David Waltemeyer, a police spokesman. He said the shooter was in critical condition.

George Wagner, the owner of the business, told WJZ-TV in Baltimore that the shooter walked into H&M Wagner and Sons through the front door. He said the victims were both supervisors, and that one was shot in the leg and the other was shot in the stomach.

“All he had to do was take about 12 steps, and (he) started firing,” Wagner said.

The company had fired the man several weeks earlier, Waltemeyer said. According to Wagner, he had been a truck driver for the company for about four years.

Investigators were trying to determine his motive for the shootings and pin down exactly why he was fired, Waltemeyer said.

Gay Republican retiring from Congress

Phoenix Rep. Jim Kolbe, a leading proponent of free trade and the only openly gay Republican in Congress, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a 12th term next year.

Kolbe, 63, said in a statement that he wants to find “new avenues of service” and spend more time in Arizona. Kolbe did not disclose any specific plans.

Kolbe often disagrees with his party on gay rights issues. He reluctantly acknowledged in 1996 that he is gay, beating to the punch a national gay magazine that planned to do an article on him after he voted against federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Trapped dog rescued after days in a pipe

Premier, W.Va. Five men used picks and shovels in freezing temperatures Wednesday to free a dog that had been trapped for several days in a 12-inch-wide pipe at an abandoned mine.

The dog, named Charlie, appeared to be healthy, said Cathy Patton, a spokeswoman for the McDowell County Commission.

Volunteers had been trying to rescue Charlie since Monday after nearby residents reported incessant barking that began Saturday. It was not clear exactly when or how Charlie got in the pipe.

Abortion law requiring waiting period upheld

Indianapolis The Indiana Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld a law that requires women seeking an abortion to get counseling about medical risks and alternatives, and to wait at least 18 hours after the session before going through with the procedure.

The court ruled in a 4-1 vote that opponents of the law could not pursue their lawsuit, which argued that privacy is a core right under the state constitution that extends to women seeking to end their pregnancies.

The court said such a challenge would fail because the law “does not impose a material burden on any right to privacy or abortion that may be provided or protected” under the state constitution.

The court said it was not ruling on whether the state constitution included a right to privacy or abortion.

Fran Quigley, executive director of Indiana Civil Liberties Union, said his group would discuss with the abortion providers who filed the lawsuit whether to seek another hearing before the state Supreme Court, which has the final say in the matter.


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