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Nation in brief

California marriage rush goes on

By wire services
Published February 16, 2004

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SAN FRANCISCO - Demand for same-sex marriage licenses has been so great that on Sunday officials turned away hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up outside City Hall, saying they simply didn't have the resources to meet all the requests.

San Francisco authorities calculated they could process 400 licenses during special weekend hours - but on Saturday they granted 600 licenses and performed 270 weddings by late afternoon. Then officials gave numbers to 320 couples securing them places in line for Sunday.

After quickly distributing another 80 numbers Sunday morning, disappointed couples lined up around the block were asked to return Monday.

"We're at capacity right now," said Mabel Teng, the official who oversees marriage licenses for city government. "We normally do about 20 to 30 couples a day. We're doing about 50 to 60 an hour."

In a controversial challenge to both legal and social convention, San Francisco officials began issuing same-sex licenses and officiating at City Hall marriages on Thursday. The city has gone out of its way to provide services - City Hall is normally closed Sundays.

Ohio shooter seen to be growing bolder

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The day after the chief investigator said authorities were closing in on a serial highway shooter, a man stood in plain view on an overpass and fired a handgun at cars below. He then walked to his car and slipped into traffic.

Ballistics testing has confirmed that the Saturday morning shooting was the 24th in a series in the Columbus area, investigators said Sunday. No one was injured.

The bullet recovered from the battery of a sport utility vehicle struck on Interstate 70 matches eight others recovered during the investigation, including the one that killed a woman in November, according to a release. The others have been linked by factors including location and circumstances.

Investigators said the shooter is becoming bolder after evading capture for three months, when authorities first established a pattern in the shootings.

"Parody' scholarship draws a color line

BRISTOL, R.I. - A student group at Roger Williams University is offering a new scholarship for which only white students are eligible, a move they say is designed to protest affirmative action.

The application for the $250 award requires an essay on "why you are proud of your white heritage" and a recent picture to "confirm whiteness."

Jason Mattera, 20, who is president of the College Republicans, said the group is parodying minority scholarships.

The stunt has angered some at the university, but the administration is staying out of the fray. The school's provost said it is a student group's initiative and is not endorsed by Roger Williams.

Avian flu strikes at Pennsylvania farm

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Agriculture Department has confirmed an outbreak of avian flu at a Lancaster County farm, but said the strain infecting the flock is not likely to be harmful to humans.

The flock near Mount Joy in southeastern Pennsylvania was infected with the H2N2 strain of avian influenza, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis C. Wolff.

That's a slightly different version of the virus than the H7N2 that was found on two farms in Delaware and in live bird markets in New Jersey. And none of the virus found so far in the United States resembles the H5N1 virus that has jumped to humans in Asia and killed at least 20 people in Asia.

The infected farm was quarantined and flocks on 16 nearby farms were being tested.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey lost millions of birds during avian-flu outbreaks in the 1980s. An outbreak that affected several eastern states in 2001 and 2002 forced the destruction of more than 4.7-million birds in Virginia and 170,000 in Pennsylvania.

[Last modified February 16, 2004, 01:31:39]


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