- Associated Press - Monday, April 16, 2012

LOS ANGELES — The trial is winding down for a former NASA-affiliated computer specialist who says he was fired because of his belief in intelligent design.

Closing arguments began Monday in David Coppedge’s wrongful-termination case against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Mr. Coppedge worked as a team leader on the Cassini mission exploring Saturn. He claims he was discriminated against because he engaged his co-workers in conversations about intelligent design and handed out DVDs on the idea while at work.

Intelligent design is the belief that a higher power had a hand in creation because life is too complex to have developed through evolution alone.

Mr. Coppedge was let go last year after 15 years on the mission.

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory denies the allegations.


Governor signs new limits on abortion

JACKSON — Mississippi’s already strict abortion laws have become even tighter with Gov. Phil Bryant’s signing of a bill that will place new regulations on the state’s only abortion clinic.

Effective July 1, the new law requires that anyone performing abortions in an abortion clinic must be an obstetrician-gynecologist who has admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Republican governor signed the bill Monday.

Such privileges aren’t easy for doctors to obtain, particularly for those who live out of state or because some religious-affiliated hospitals may refuse to provide the privileges to physicians who perform elective abortions.

Diane Derzis, who runs the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, said the requirements threaten the clinic’s existence. She said the clinic will try to comply with the new regulations but she will file a lawsuit if it can’t.


State to require drug tests for welfare benefits

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation that would require thousands of people applying for welfare to pass a drug test before they could receive benefits.

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