Week In Review

March 11, 2007

Anne Arundel

Internet virus idles 2,000 computers

An Internet virus that has bedeviled media outlets across the country forced Anne Arundel County to shut down more than 2,000 computers, sending technicians on a furious race to contain the outbreak and produce payroll checks for county employees.

The fast-mutating virus, known as Rinbot, disrupted operations at the Turner Broadcasting System, then attacked computers at The Boston Globe and almost all of McClatchy Co.'s 32 newspapers.

The malicious software, which takes command of PCs and can turn them into "zombies" that attack other systems or send out millions of spam e-mails, turned up in Anne Arundel County on Wednesday.

Officials said technical-support staff began receiving scattered reports Wednesday morning of PCs that started up slowly and displayed repeating symbols and numbers where text was supposed to appear. Realizing that a virus was on the loose, administrators shut down much of the county's non-emergency network to keep the virus from spreading.

Bill Ryan, the county's information technology officer, said the county was cleaning up infected computers with software provided by Symantec, the Cupertino, Calif., security firm that is paid $70,000 a year to protect Anne Arundel's computers from such attacks.

A section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Leeway granted in jury selection

The Naval Academy superintendent's hard line against sexual abuse will play a role in next month's trial of a former Navy football player, after a military judge's ruling.

Marine Col. Steven F. Day will give attorneys for Kenny Ray Morrison, 24, more leeway in choosing a jury, going along with a previous judge who questioned e-mails and a training video distributed by Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt.

But Day, chief judge of the Navy Marine Corps Trial Judiciary, said Wednesday that he did not agree with the finding by Lt. Col. Paul McConnell that Rempt might have had undue influence over possible jurors.

"There is certainly no evidence of unlawful command influence," Day told lawyers in a courtroom at the Washington Navy Yard. "I'm not sure there is enough evidence to suggest that there is even an appearance of unlawful command influence."

Day will allow prosecutors to submit as evidence a 44-minute taped conversation between Morrison and one of his two accusers. Investigators asked the woman to make the call, in which Morrison acknowledges that they had sex.

Rape charges against Morrison, a backup linebacker, were dropped after evidence that he gave the women a date rape drug was discredited. He is charged with two counts of indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer after having sex with one woman in a Georgetown hotel in February and with the second at a private home in April. Both women said they had been drinking heavily.

The trial is scheduled to begin April 2.

Maryland section, Thursday

Annapolis

Historic fountain due for 2nd chance

For decades, pedestrians and drivers passing Church Circle have hardly noticed the slender cross atop a shallow octagonal base, except as a traffic island.

Now the city of Annapolis is giving Southgate Fountain a second chance in its second century, before it crumbles in plain sight. Using city and grant funds, the city will spend about $100,000 restoring the 1901 fountain to make it shine for the Charter 300 celebration, marking the tricentennial of Annapolis' charter, said Donna C. Hole, the city's chief of historic preservation.

"This step is long-awaited for a very special site and memorial," Hole said. "It's especially appropriate as Annapolis approaches its 300th birthday."

No date has been set for turning the water back on after a long dry spell. But Hole said finishing the project in time for next year's celebration is key because the fountain is named for a major figure in city history.

William Scott Southgate was a beloved Episcopal rector of St. Anne's Parish from 1869 until his death in 1899. He was considered one of the healers of the post-Civil War era, known for reaching out to the newly emancipated former slaves to establish a separate parish, St. Philip's Episcopal Church, not far from St. Anne's.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

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