- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2001

Thurmond returns for Senate vote

Sen. Strom Thurmond returned to his job yesterday, one day after fainting in the chamber and being taken to a hospital.

Doctors said the 98-year-old South Carolina Republican likely suffered from dehydration and kept him overnight for tests after he slumped over on his Senate desk Tuesday and was taken by ambulance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Mr. Thurmond, the nation's oldest and longest-serving senator, left the hospital and returned the Senate in time to vote early in the afternoon against a bill normalizing trade with Vietnam. It passed 88-12 despite his opposition.

Gay group seeks to block ballot

BOSTON A homosexual group wants Massachusetts' highest court to stop two ballot initiatives that define marriages in the state as consisting of men and women.

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) said the ballot questions would deny homosexual couples the right to "marry" and would limit the power of state courts to recognize families that are not married couples.

"These measures should never have been certified by the attorney general," said GLAD attorney Jennifer Levi. The lawsuit, filed in the Supreme Judicial Court, seeks to overturn the Sept. 5 decision by state Attorney General Thomas Reilly to certify the ballot questions.

Senators seek aid for Klamath farmers

GRANTS PASS, Ore. Oregon's senators are seeking aid for farmers in the Klamath Basin, where water was diverted this past summer to sustain endangered fish.

Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, and Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Oregon Republican, sent letters yesterday to members of Congress requesting $110 million be added to the Department of Agriculture budget to make up for an estimated $200 million in drought losses.

Mr. Wyden cautioned that getting the money is a long shot. "I don't think anybody is going to call this one a walk in the park," he said.

Terrorist victims may get park passes

The survivors, victims' families and rescue workers directly affected by the terrorist airliner hijackings could get a free lifetime pass to all national parks, forests and recreation areas that charge entrance fees.

The "Hope Pass," cleared on a voice vote yesterday by the House Resources Committee, is modeled on the Interior Department's $65-a-year Golden Eagle pass offering access to at least 200 recreation sites in 41 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Governor caught joking about firing

BOSTON Acting Gov. Jane Swift joked about firing staff members after a televised speech in which she announced the ouster of Logan International Airport's security chief.

In the speech, she announced State Police Superintendent Col. John DiFava would replace Joe Lawless as security chief at the airport, the departure point for two hijacked jetliners that crashed into the World Trade Center.

When staff members applauded Mrs. Swift after the speech, she said, "They work for me and they know I'm in a firing mood." She then said, "Just kidding. I hope my mike wasn't on."

Court to reconsider verdict against activists

SAN FRANCISCO A federal appeals court said yesterday it will reconsider a ruling in which it threw out a $107 million verdict against pro-life activists behind Old West-style wanted posters that branded abortionists as "baby butchers."

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the court will hear the case again with 11 judges.

Posters and a Web site called the "Nuremberg Files" listed the names and addresses of abortion providers, declaring them guilty of "crimes against humanity." Planned Parenthood and four doctors filed suit two years ago under a 1994 federal law that makes it illegal to incite violence against abortionists.

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