Alex, Near Hurricane Force,

Heads Toward N.C. Coast

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A hurricane warning was issued for the North Carolina coast Monday as Tropical Storm Alex, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, approached the Outer Banks.

Alex had maximum sustained winds near 70 mph, just short of hurricane strength, as of 11 p.m. The warning was extended for the North Carolina coast from Oregon Inlet to the Virginia border.

The storm was centered about 95 miles south of Wilmington, N.C. Tropical-storm-force winds extended out 105 miles from the storm center, and the storm was moving toward the northeast at 9 mph.

* MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Former Alabama chief justice Roy Moore, who refused a federal court order to move a Ten Commandments monument and then said he was ousted for "pressing a belief in God," appealed his removal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Attorneys for Moore argued that a judicial ethics panel imposed an "unconstitutional religious test" on Moore when it expelled him in November.

* NEW YORK -- The Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors Tuesday for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001. In Lower Manhattan, the post office that was damaged in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center across the street reopened.

* LOS ANGELES -- A world-famous gene therapy pioneer charged with sexually abusing a young girl who took karate lessons from him pleaded not guilty and was ordered to surrender his passport. W. French Anderson, 67, allegedly molested the girl, now 17, starting when she was 10. The University of Southern California scientist faces 56 years in prison if convicted.

* GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Former prosecutor Joe Paulus, who accepted more than $48,000 in bribes in exchange for dismissing or reducing charges against defendants, was sentenced to nearly five years in prison. U.S. District Judge William Griesbach said the four-year, 10-month term exceeded federal guidelines because the "horrendous crime" undermined public confidence in the criminal justice system.

* SEBRING, Fla. -- Church choir director Dennis Ray, who wrote a newspaper opinion piece supportive of gay marriage, was fired after officials at Faith Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) took issue with his assertion that half of the church's members believe in acceptance of gays. The church considers homosexuality a sin.

* CONWAY, Ark. -- Farmer Wesley Bono, who acknowledged spreading three tons of manure along the route of a gay rights parade in June, pleaded not guilty to a harassment charge, saying he was exercising his constitutional right to free speech.

* CHICAGO -- A Japanese man flying to Dayton, Ohio, was arrested after a fellow passenger turned him in for writing "suicide bomb." He was released without charge after explaining that he saw the words in a newspaper and wrote them down to look up the meaning later. Police said the man is learning English by reading newspapers.

* WAVERLY, N.Y. -- Michael Bostwick, 25, of Sayre, Pa., who broke into an Upstate New York animal shelter to abandon his German shepherd there, was sentenced to 10 years of not owning an animal. He was ordered not to have contact with animals and to make restitution to the humane society.

-- From News Services