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Archive for Sunday, November 30, 2003

Briefly

November 30, 2003

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Boston

Bishops call gay marriage ruling 'national tragedy'

Massachusetts' Roman Catholic bishops are telling parishioners that a state court decision supporting gay marriage is a "national tragedy" that could "erode even further the institution of marriage."

In a strongly worded letter to be read at Mass this weekend, the bishops also said the Supreme Judicial Court's mid-May deadline for the Legislature to rewrite marriage laws to provide benefits for gay couples was too rushed.

The bishops, among the leading opponents of the ruling, urged parishioners "to contact the governor and their state legislators to urge them to find a way to give our citizens more time to deal with this issue."

Colombia

Rebel commander: Guerrillas will attack U.S. personnel

Colombia's main rebel group warned Saturday that U.S. military personnel aiding government troops would face attack.

Raul Reyes, a commander and spokesman of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, issued the threat barely two weeks after a rebel grenade attack on two Bogota brewpubs killed one person and wounded 72, including four Americans.

The U.S. Embassy has banned its personnel and their families -- and the hundreds of U.S. government contractors in Colombia -- from two neighborhoods featuring bars and restaurants in the wake of the Nov. 16 attack.

Ohio

Ballistics link only two of 11 freeway shootings, police say

Tests on bullet fragments definitively link only two of 11 shootings along a five-mile stretch of highway circling Columbus, authorities said Saturday.

Chief Deputy Steve Martin of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office said two fragments were "a definite match," but not enough was recovered from similar shootings to verify further matches.

On Friday, police said a Nov. 25 shooting that killed a 62-year-old woman -- the only person hit by a bullet -- wasn't accidental and is linked to at least one other case. The string of highway violence began in May, but most of the shootings have taken place in the past seven weeks.

At a news conference, Martin said one or more people were deliberately targeting drivers. But Martin refused to use the word "sniper" concerning the gunman.

Congo

Plane crash kills 22 people

A Soviet-made plane crashed Saturday in central Congo, killing all 22 people aboard, a Congo government spokesman said.

The Antonov 26 went down just after takeoff at the city of Boende, some 550 miles northeast of the capital, Kinshasa, government spokesman Vital Kamerhe said in Kinshasa.

Kamerhe and other government officials said they did not know whether the aircraft was carrying members of the military or civilians. The aircraft is used for passengers and cargo, according to the Aviation Safety Network Web site.

Hamadoun Toure, a U.N. spokesman, said the plane was not one of those belonging to Congo's U.N. military mission.

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