- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Lawmakers modify law seeking to cure gays

SACRAMENTO | California lawmakers have voted to modify a decades-old law that classifies gays as sexual deviants and calls for research on the causes of homosexuality.

Supporters say a change was long overdue in the law, which was written in 1950 in reaction to a series of sex crimes, including the molestation and murder of a 6-year-old girl in Los Angeles.

The law classifies gays as sexual deviants and requires the state to conduct research to find the causes of sex crimes against children. It also singles out gays as a group that should be studied and calls for research into a cure for homosexuality.

The bill, approved 62-0 Monday by the state Assembly, changes that law by removing all references to homosexuals in the provision that calls for research. The measure now goes to the state Senate.

FLORIDA

Shuttle flight delayed until November

CAPE CANAVERAL | NASA’s last space shuttle mission will be delayed until November so scientists can adapt a $2 billion particle detector for an extended life aboard the International Space Station, officials said Monday.

Three more shuttle flights remain, and the U.S. space agency planned to close out the program by Sept. 30 with a final mission by shuttle Discovery to resupply the orbital outpost.

That mission now moves ahead of shuttle Endeavour’s launch with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a 16-nation project overseen by Nobel laureate Samuel C.C. Ting, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

AMS, which is designed to look for antimatter particles and other exotic forms of matter in space, had been set to fly in July. But with the Obama administration’s proposal to extend the space-station program until at least 2020, scientists decided to switch the detector’s cryogenically cooled superconducting magnet, estimated to last three years, to a permanent magnet that would last 10 to 18 years.

MICHIGAN

Kevorkian’s death van no longer for sale

DETROIT | The Volkswagen camper van Dr. Jack Kevorkian used during his assisted-suicide campaign is no longer listed for sale on eBay.

Current owner Jack Finn put up the van for auction on eBay last week, and the top bid was at $3,400 at 12:30 p.m. Monday, with three days left. An hour later, the item no longer was listed. A phone message was left for Mr. Finn, and e-mail messages were left for eBay.

Kevorkian, 82, used the van in several deaths, including the poisoning of an Alzheimer’s patient that launched his public effort in 1990. Kevorkian lawyer Mayer Morganroth said Kevorkian turned in the 1968 van for scrap in 1997.

MISSISSIPPI

Cost of twisters that killed 10 mount

JACKSON | Tornadoes that killed 10 people in Mississippi destroyed at least 700 homes and did tens of millions of dollars in damage, state authorities said Monday.

Homeowners and local authorities began a clean-up operation in some of the state’s central counties Monday, two days after the worst storm in the state in years, which also left two dead in northern Alabama.

Shopping centers, cars and farm buildings were destroyed, and insurance estimates would likely be “a lot more” than $50 million, said Mike Chaney, the state’s insurance commissioner, who gave an initial estimate after touring the area by helicopter.

OKLAHOMA

House overrides abortion-curb vetoes

OKLAHOMA CITY | The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Monday to override vetoes of two restrictive abortion measures Gov. Brad Henry has called unconstitutional intrusions into Oklahomans’ private lives and decisions.

The Senate was expected to follow suit Tuesday, after which the bills would become law.

One of the measures requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The other prohibits pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy.

Mr. Henry, who vetoed the measures Friday, has called the ultrasound legislation flawed because it does not allow exemptions for victims of rape and incest. The Center for Reproductive Rights, a national abortion rights group, calls it among the strictest anti-abortion measures in the nation.

VIRGINIA

Northrop Grumman moving to D.C. suburbs

RICHMOND | Defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. will move its headquarters to Northern Virginia, to be closer to its key customers in the U.S. government, officials said Monday.

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley congratulated the region for winning an intense sweepstakes between the two states for the corporate control center. Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell planned to announce the relocation on Tuesday in Arlington.

The company announced in January that it wanted to move from Los Angeles to the Washington area by 2011.

The site will be either in western Fairfax County, near Washington Dulles International Airport, or in the Crystal City area of Arlington.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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