tampabay.com

Third attempt at abortion ban fails early

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published February 22, 2007


PIERRE, S.D.

A bill to ban most abortions in a direct challenge to Roe vs. Wade appeared dead Wednesday after a state Senate committee rejected it. The surprising 8-1 vote marked the third time in four years that measures to bar abortion in the state were defeated. The bill would have allowed abortions only in cases of rape, incest, a threat of severe injury to a woman's health and to save a woman's life. The Legislature passed an even stricter ban last year, but it was rejected by the voters in November.

WASHINGTON

Board blames Rita bus fire on lax oversight

A bus explosion that killed 23 nursing home patients fleeing Hurricane Rita on Sept. 23, 2005, was due in part to flawed government oversight of bus companies, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded Wednesday. While the safety board ruled that lack of oil in a wheel assembly probably caused the fire, it said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was also responsible because it had done a poor job of making sure bus companies were safe. The safety board also blamed the bus company, Global Limo Inc., because it didn't conduct preventive maintenance, require drivers to inspect the vehicles or keep inspection records. But it was still rated satisfactory in an inspection three months before.

NASHVILLE

Abuse concerns raised about denomination

The victims advocates who dogged the Roman Catholic Church over sex abuse by its clergy have now turned their attention to the Southern Baptists, accusing America's largest Protestant denomination of also failing to root out molesters. Church leaders concede there have been some incidents of abuse, but they say their hands are tied because churches are independent. The Southern Baptist Convention does not have the legal authority to create the independent investigative board suggested by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, president Frank Page said. "As much as possible within our structure, we're going to assist churches," Page said. "We're deeply concerned about this."

ELSEWHERE

CHICAGO: Two cousins were arrested Wednesday on federal charges of conspiring to wage holy war against Americans overseas. Zubair A. Ahmed, 27, and Khaleel Ahmed, 26, both of the Chicago area, are to be sent to Ohio for arraignment.

EL PASO, TEXAS: A federal judge on Wednesday denied a request by anti-Fidel Castro activist Luis Posada Carriles to be released from jail while immigration officials figure out where to deport him. He is suspected of bombing a Cuban jet 31 years ago.

HARRISBURG, PA.: Kevin P. Eckenrode, 26, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in his girlfriend's fall from his 23rd-story apartment window on Feb. 25, 2006, was sentenced Wednesday to 11 1/2 to 23 months in prison.