- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Traficant-case jury begins deliberations
CLEVELAND The jury in the bribery case against Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. began deliberating yesterday after the nine-term congressman declared, "There's not one damn bit of evidence that anybody gave me any money."
Mr. Traficant, who is defending himself even though he is not a lawyer, suggested he was the victim of a government vendetta.
"Does the IRS like me? Hates my guts. They have too much power," he said, pointing at the prosecution table.

Women using civil unions law
Women are using Vermont's civil unions law far more often than men, statistics show.
From July 1, 2000, the first day that licenses were granted to same-sex couples, through Jan. 4, 2002, 3,471 licenses were issued. Of those, 2,291 were to female couples and 1,180 were given to male couples, Bill Apao, director of public health statistics at the Vermont Department of Health, told Associated Press.
Lesbians may be more likely to seek civil unions because they are more likely to have children, said Esther Rothblum, a psychology professor at the University of Vermont.
To date, four civil unions have been officially dissolved; three were female couples.

Shuttle launches seven-time astronaut
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. The space shuttle Atlantis roared off its launchpad yesterday, several minutes late because of a software glitch but still in time to deliver astronaut Jerry Ross to the record books.
Mr. Ross, 54 became the first person to be launched into space a seventh time as he and six crew members headed for the International Space Station with a new $600 million segment for the orbiting outpost.

Disney, Koppel bury the hatchet
NEW YORK Ted Koppel, anchor of the late-night news program "Nightline," made peace with his bosses at ABC network parent Walt Disney Co., who a month ago were on the verge of replacing the program with David Letterman's late-night entertainment show.
Robert Iger, Disney's president and No. 2 executive, expressed his support yesterday for "Nightline," which has aired on the network for 22 years, and pledged to strengthen the program in an e-mail message distributed to ABC News staff.
Mr. Koppel said in the same message, "It is especially gratifying for me and everyone at 'Nightline' to have questions about the future of the broadcast so warmly and enthusiastically resolved at the highest levels of the corporation."

Bloomberg featured in ads for legal pot
NEW YORK He is a billionaire, the mayor of the largest U.S. city and soon he will be the unwilling poster boy for an advertising campaign to decriminalize marijuana.
The NORML Foundation, a group calling for the legalization of marijuana, said yesterday it would launch a $500,000 campaign featuring a statement by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, made to a magazine before he was elected, that he smoked pot and enjoyed it.
"I'm not thrilled," said Mr. Bloomberg, when asked about the ad during a City Hall press conference.

Federal judge tosses firefighter race quota
LOS ANGELES A federal judge yesterday threw out a 28-year-old quota system for hiring city firefighters, saying the 1974 decree had "outlasted its purpose."
U.S. District Judge Harry L. Hupp granted the city's request to terminate a consent decree entered into with the Justice Department.
"I think it's beneficial to anybody who believes applicants should be judged on their merits and not their race," said Manuel Klausner, an attorney for the four white applicants who challenged the quotas.
Battalion Chief Bob Franco said racial minorities made up only about 10 percent of firefighters in 1975, but now constitute nearly 50 percent of the force.

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