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Nation in brief

Senators expect close assault weapons vote

By Wire services
Published March 2, 2004

WASHINGTON - The outcome of today's Senate showdown on a proposal to extend an expiring assault weapons ban is so uncertain that Vice President Dick Cheney should be prepared to cast a tie-breaking vote, lawmakers said Monday.

Informal vote tallies by both sides are so uncertain that Democratic presidential aspirants John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina were asked by their Senate colleagues to slip off the campaign trail on Super Tuesday to cast what could be crucial votes for keeping the ban.

Sponsors have offered the bill as an amendment to a popular gun liability bill. That bill would protect gun manufacturers and dealers against any lawsuits, existing or in the future, based on any grounds other than illegal sales or defective products.

Ga. lawmakers to debate gay marriage again

ATLANTA - Georgia House members will debate a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage - again - after voting Monday to reconsider their rejection of the amendment last week.

The House voted 127-48 to have another vote on the same-sex marriage ban. Last week, the Democrat-controlled chamber was three votes short of the two-thirds majority required to change the constitution.

American Airlines settles discrimination charge

WASHINGTON - The government announced Monday a settlement with American Airlines over complaints that the carrier discriminated after Sept. 11, 2001, against passengers it thought were of Arab, Middle Eastern or Southeast Asian descent.

The airline agreed to spend about $1.5-million over three years for civil rights training to employees who deal with the public.

American did not admit that it broke federal antidiscrimination laws.

The Transportation Department reached a similar settlement with United Airlines in November.

Bodies of missing Miss. family found in woods

YAZOO CITY, Miss. - The bodies of three family members who disappeared from their home on Valentine's Day were found in a woods in Mississippi on Monday, and a relative was charged with murder, authorities said.

Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, told CNN that the bodies of what are believed to be Michael and Rebecca Hargon and their 4-year-old son had been found.

The discovery of the remains and the charges against Earnest Lee Hargon capped an intense three-week search for clues in the case.

Hargon, a 43-year-old truck driver, was arrested on unrelated drug charges Friday.

Also ...

JANKLOW APPEAL: Former Rep. Bill Janklow appealed his manslaughter and reckless driving convictions to the South Dakota Supreme Court on Monday, and indicated he will ask to be set free until the justices hear the case. Janklow, 64, began serving a 100-day sentence Feb. 7 for the August crash that killed a motorcyclist.

NICHOLS TRIAL: Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols after the judge refused to postpone proceedings while the FBI reviews whether investigators suppressed evidence of a wider conspiracy. Nichols, already serving a life sentence on federal charges for his role in the bombing, could get the death penalty if convicted.

[Last modified March 2, 2004, 01:44:59]

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