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Archive for Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Briefly

January 13, 2004

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Connecticut

Gift scandal pressures governor to resign

Gov. John G. Rowland came under increased pressure to resign Monday as a prominent GOP congressman called on him to step down and a new poll indicated nearly two-thirds of voters want him out of office.

Six more GOP state senators also urged the Republican governor to resign for accepting gifts from friends, employees and a state contractor at his summer cottage. Eleven of the state's 15 Republican senators have now asked that he resign.

Rep. Christopher Shays said he had been prepared to forgive Rowland, who had initially denied accepting the gifts and then admitted lying about it.

"But I am not prepared to stand by a governor, even a friend, who has done wrong, lied about it and then refused to account for his actions," said Shays, a nine-term congressman.

Florida

Space station air leak may have been solved

A leaky hose on the American side of the international space station seems to be the source of the slow drop in cabin pressure over the past three weeks, NASA said Monday in Cape Canaveral.

If the hose is confirmed as the culprit, a spare will be sent up on a Russian spacecraft as early as the end of the month, the space agency said.

The air leak began just before Christmas, and NASA has said all along that it was so small it never endangered the crew or space station operations.

Astronaut Michael Foale and cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri discovered the leaky hose Sunday using a handheld ultrasound leak detector in the American-made laboratory. They did not find anything wrong in a check of the area last week, but this time they briefly turned off the scientific equipment and heard the hiss of escaping air.

Salt Lake City

Lawsuit challenges ban on polygamy

A civil rights attorney challenged Utah's ban on polygamy Monday, citing a Supreme Court ruling that struck down a Texas sodomy law.

The lawsuit says Salt Lake County clerks refused a marriage license to a couple because the man was already married to another woman, who had consented to the additional marriage.

In denying the marriage license, the county violated the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to practice their religion, attorney Brian Barnard said in the complaint.

The suit says polygamy is the plaintiffs' "sincere and deeply held religious tenet." The complaint does not say what religion the plaintiffs observe.

The suit argues the Supreme Court protected defendants' privacy in intimate matters when it struck down laws criminalizing gay sex in June.

Polygamy, a felony under Utah law, was part of the early beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but was abandoned more than a century ago as the territory sought statehood.

Florida

Disney closing animation studio

The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it was closing its Orlando animation studio and cutting more than 250 jobs as it shifts from hand-drawn animated films to computer-generated ones.

Some of the employees will be offered jobs at Disney's animation studios in Burbank, Calif., the company said.

Disney has been steadily reducing its animation department for the past few years, from a peak of 2,200 employees in 1999 to 600, all of whom will be based in Burbank.

The Orlando studio, opened in 1989, has animated some of Disney's more popular movies, including "Lilo & Stitch," "Mulan" and "Brother Bear."

But Disney has had its most success with animated films it produces in cooperation with Pixar, which uses computers. Hits produced that way include "Finding Nemo."

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