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Archive for Wednesday, April 9, 2003

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April 9, 2003

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Cincinatti: Church tries minister for same-sex weddings

A closed trial was held Tuesday by Presbyterian Church (USA) leaders for a minister who has acknowledged marrying same-sex couples in defiance of church doctrine.

The trial for the Rev. Stephen Van Kuiken was the first to result from complaints filed by Presbyterian members in about 20 locations. They demand that the 2.5 million-member denomination require its ministers and congregations to obey the church constitution.

Van Kuiken, 44, represented himself during the proceedings

The Presbyterian Church follows the biblical interpretation generally held by major Christian denominations that marriage can be a covenant only between a man and a woman. The highest Presbyterian court ruled in 2000 that ministers may bless same-sex couples, but cannot marry them.

Washington, D.C.: Education hot line is free to parents

Parents with questions about their children's education can get advice from principals or psychologists through a free, anonymous hot line starting Sunday.

For the 14th year, the National Association of Elementary School Principals will field questions on reading, discipline, learning difficulties and any other subject callers choose. Members of the National Association of School Psychologists will provide specialized help.

The hot line will operate 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. CDT Sunday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. CDT Monday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. CDT Tuesday. The number is (800) 944-1601.

Questions also may be submitted by e-mail at www. naesp.org starting Saturday. Translators will be available for those who speak Spanish.

Boston: Shooting at hospital leaves two dead

A man and a woman who worked at Massachusetts General Hospital were shot to death in an office Tuesday, and police said they were alone at the time.

Authorities would not say whether it was a murder-suicide, but police spokeswoman Mariellen Burns said investigators didn't believe anyone else was involved and were not seeking suspects. She said several shots were fired from a handgun found in the office.

Dr. Brian McGovern, a prominent cardiologist, and a woman who worked at the hospital were pronounced dead when they arrived at the emergency room.

Neither police nor hospital officials would comment on a possible motive for the shooting. Burns said police were waiting for autopsy results and interviewing people who worked in the office as well as people who knew the two.

Washington, D.C.: Safety officials ban candles with lead wicks

The agency that polices consumer products has voted to ban the manufacture and sale of lead-cored candle wicks and the candles that use them because they pose a lead poisoning hazard to young children.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that some lead-cored wicks can emit relatively large amounts of lead into the air while burning. Children can inhale the vaporized lead or face exposure by placing objects in their mouths after lead has settled on them, the commission said.

A CPSC investigation found that despite a voluntary industry agreement in the 1970s to remove lead from candle wicks, a small percentage of candles sold over the past few years still contained lead-cored wicks. Some candles tested by commission staff emitted lead levels at seven times the rate that could lead to elevated lead levels in a child.

Lead poisoning in children can lead to behavioral problems, learning disabilities, hearing problems and growth retardation. The ban against manufacturing, importing or selling candles with lead wicks will be effective in October.

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