- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

House panel backs bill to stop gun lawsuits

A bill to grant gun manufacturers and sellers broad protection from lawsuits, including a spate of litigation aimed at holding them responsible for gun violence, easily passed a House panel yesterday.

Rep. Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, and other sponsors of the legislation said it would stop "frivolous" and politically motivated lawsuits aimed at driving gun makers into bankruptcy. It passed a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on a voice vote, with only a few Democrats dissenting.

More than 30 cities and counties have filed lawsuits against gun makers. Mr. Stearns, chairman of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, termed those lawsuits "blatant interference with the constitutional right to sell and market" a legal product.

Bush plan boosts same-sex education

The Bush administration is moving to provide local educators with more freedom to establish single-sex classes in U.S. public schools with plans to amend a 1972 law targeting sex bias in education.

The Education Department on Wednesday announced its intention to propose changes to the Title IX statutes that ban sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities as part of a plan to broaden public school choice.

The department said it would pursue the changes to support efforts by school districts to improve education and to provide parents with more educational options for their children.

Navy secretary says helo-airplane is fixed

All technical and management problems with the V-22 Osprey aircraft project have been corrected and the hybrid helicopter-airplane is ready to resume flight testing, Navy Secretary Gordon England said yesterday.

The V-22, which was grounded in December 2000 after two catastrophic crashes, is often mentioned as being vulnerable to cancellation as the Pentagon looks for long-term savings. Mr. England, however, said the Marine Corps needs the V-22 and he expects it to prove its worth in coming flight tests, scheduled to resume this month.

Prosecutor opens probe of 16 priests

DETROIT The Wayne County prosecutor said yesterday that his office was opening investigations into 16 priests suspected of sexual misconduct.

The Archdiocese of Detroit last week gave prosecutor Mike Duggan's office files containing accusations by 50 persons against 37 priests.

Mr. Duggan said the statute of limitations was expected to be an obstacle in most of the cases. The cases go as far back as 1943, and all but two involved incidents that took place at least 10 years ago.

Iceberg breaks off Antarctic ice shelf

An iceberg 47 miles long and 4.6 miles across has broken off the Ross Ice Shelf in the Antarctic, the National Ice Center reported yesterday.

The giant sheet of glacial ice and snow was named C-18, meaning that it's the 18th iceberg to be tracked in that section of Antarctica since 1976, when record-keeping began.

The iceberg, floating close to the ice shelf, is not considered a hazard to navigation. It was spotted on satellite images.

Blake's daughter wins custody of half-sister

LOS ANGELES Robert Blake's 2-year-old daughter was placed temporarily in his adult daughter's care yesterday, more than three weeks after the actor was arrested and charged with killing his wife.

Superior Court Commissioner H. Ronald Hauptman granted the petition by Delinah Blake, 35, who says she has cared for her half-sister since about September 2000.

Cary Goldstein, a lawyer representing the family of the child's mother, Bonnie Lee Bakley, did not object and said the family would consider pursuing guardianship after an evaluation to determine if the girl, Rosie, was being raised in a healthy environment.

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