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Children leave home as stalemate ends



Published: Sun, June 3, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Children leave homeas stalemate ends

GARFIELD BAY, Idaho -- Five children left their isolated home Saturday evening after a five-day stalemate with sheriff's deputies.

The children were seen riding past sheriff's barricades in a large sport-utility vehicle at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

The children had been speaking to two negotiators most of the day on Saturday, Sheriff's Sgt. Rob Rahn said. He identified them only as family members and close friends of the children.

The children and a 15-year-old brother who surrendered to authorities Thursday withdrew to the house on Tuesday, when their mother, JoAnn McGuckin, was arrested for child neglect. Their father died May 12.

After the mother's arrest, Bonner County deputy sheriffs returned to the home about 10 miles south of here to take the children into state custody. But they withdrew after 15-year-old Benjamin McGuckin yelled "Get the guns!" and the children unleashed more than two dozen dogs.

The family became increasingly reclusive as financial hardships increased after father Michael McGuckin was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. His death was attributed to dehydration and malnutrition, complicated by his illness.

Museum dedicatedto famed cellist opens

EL VENDRELL, Spain -- A hometown museum dedicated to cellist Pablo Casals opened Saturday with traditional Catalan folkloric dances and performances by cellist Mstislav Rostropovich and soprano Monserrat Caballe.

Some 500 celebrities and dignitaries, including King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, toured the museum, whose 17 rooms each represent a different stage in the musician's life. The museum, 40 miles south of Barcelona in Spain's Catalonia region, opens to the public Monday.

It is housed in the renovated house where Casals lived until he went into self-imposed exile in 1939 to avoid living under the dictatorial regime of Gen. Francisco Franco.

"He was a man of personal warmth and a generous spirit who firmly believed in peace, in justice and freedom," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a letter read by his envoy, Silvia Fuhrman.

Born in 1876, Casals was a child prodigy who grew into a virtuoso cellist, a brilliant conductor and composer. A fierce supporter of human rights, he refused to play in countries that were not democracies.

Bush urges actionon education proposal

WASHINGTON -- President Bush urged Congress on Saturday to build on the momentum of his tax cut package and move ahead with an overhaul of public school education.

"We are within reach of historic education reform; so far, the signs are very good," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Both parties have been working together and I hope both parties will vote together as well."

Last weekend's passage of the $1.35 trillion tax cut bill was "an important bipartisan achievement," the president said. He is expected to sign the legislation this week.

The House has passed a $24 billion education package that requires schools to test the reading and math skills of students in grades three through eight. Schools that do not sufficiently improve test scores after one year would qualify for extra federal aid, but could be forced to replace some staff.

Also, low-income students in schools receiving federal funds would have the choice of transferring to another public school.

Exchange of prisoners

BOGOTA, Colombia -- The Colombian government and leftist guerrillas agreed Saturday to swap sick prisoners in what would be the first major breakthrough since peace talks began more than two years ago.

The agreement was reached following a meeting Saturday between government peace envoy Camilo Gomez and Manuel Marulanda, chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the official state news agency said in a statement.

Although it wasn't immediately clear how many prisoners would be freed, the first captive slated to be liberated is police Col. Alvaro Acosta, who was captured by the rebel army more than a year ago when his helicopter crashed. Acosta was critically injured in the crash.

The announcement did not specify when the swap would begin, but FARC spokesman Raul Reyes had said Friday that it would happen a few days after an agreement.

The 16,000-strong FARC, the nation's largest rebel army, is holding some 500 police and soldiers caught during fighting.




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