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Nation in brief

No evangelical rally invitation for Frist after stem cell stand

Associated Press
Published August 3, 2005

WASHINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist spoke by video to the first "Justice Sunday" evangelical rally in April, but he wasn't invited to address "Justice Sunday II," even though it's in his home state of Tennessee.

Since the first rally, the potential 2008 presidential candidate has angered the events' organizers by stating his support for expanded human embryonic stem cell research. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, was invited to speak at the Aug. 14 rally.

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said Tuesday on the group's Web site that Frist's recently announced stem cell stance "reflects an unwise and unnecessary choice both for public policy and for respecting the dignity of human life." Perkins also has been annoyed with Frist for allowing a compromise on President Bush's judicial nominations.

In a telephone interview late Tuesday, Perkins said Frist wasn't invited because he had participated by videotape in the group's previous event. The main reason the event is being held in Nashville, he said, is that it is easier to line up country music stars there to perform.

"There is a disagreement" with Frist, he said, but held open the possibility that the majority leader could be invited to future events.

The Aug. 14 gathering - entitled "Justice Sunday II: God Save the United States and this Honorable Court!" - is the second in a series of televised church demonstrations.

Former Alaska Gov. Hammond dies at 83

JUNEAU, Alaska - Jay Hammond, a rugged bush pilot and hunting guide who served two terms as Alaska's governor and helped create the oil-royalty fund that dispenses annual dividend checks to nearly everyone in the state, died Tuesday (Aug. 2, 2005). He was 83.

Mr. Hammond died of natural causes at his home at Lake Clark, about 200 miles west of Anchorage, state troopers said.

Troopers were told of Mr. Hammond's death by the National Park Service, said Alaska State Trooper spokesman Greg Wilkinson. Mr. Hammond's remote home is near Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, the nearest government agency in the area.

Mr. Hammond, a Republican who was both a conservative and a conservationist, was governor from 1975 to 1982, during which oil began flowing through the Alaska pipeline.

State Department issues worldwide terror caution

WASHINGTON - Americans around the world remain under threat of attack from al-Qaida and groups linked with the network headed by Osama bin Laden, the State Department said Tuesday.

Current information suggests attacks are planned in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the department said in a statement designed to heighten vigilance.

In issuing the worldwide caution, the department said its purpose was to bring information on a continuing threat up to date. The last worldwide caution was issued in March.

Highway bill has record number of projects

WASHINGTON - When President Dwight Eisenhower proposed the first national highway bill, there were two projects singled out for funding. The latest version has, by one estimate, 6,371 of these special projects, a record that some say politicians should be ashamed of.

The projects in the six-year, $286.4 billion highway and mass transit bill passed by Congress last week range from $200,000 for a deer avoidance system in Weedsport, N.Y., to $330 million for a highway in Bakersfield., Calif.

For the beneficiaries - almost every member of Congress - they bring jobs and better quality lives to their communities and states. To critics, they are pork barrel spending at its worst.

"Egregious and remarkable," exclaimed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., about the estimated $24 billion in the bill.

[Last modified August 3, 2005, 00:37:06]

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