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Archive for Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Briefly

June 16, 2004

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Dallas

Zoo officials explain gorilla's escape

A gorilla that was shot to death in March by police after breaking out of its enclosure at the Dallas Zoo escaped by leaping from a mound of dirt over a 12-foot wall, officials said Tuesday.

Jabari, a 340-pound western lowland gorilla, went on a rampage March 18, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and injuring three other people.

Zoo investigators believe the gorilla climbed a dirt hill that was roughly as high as the wall but about 12 feet away. They said Jabari probably got a running start and sailed over the wall, clearing an electrical wire atop it that is supposed to give a mild shock.

The zoo is raising the walls to 15 feet.

Washington, D.C.

Senate votes to extend hate-crime protections

The Senate voted 65-33 on Tuesday to give gays and lesbians protection under the federal hate-crime law, and officials said a debate was likely next month on a far more controversial measure to amend the Constitution with a ban on homosexual marriages.

Taken together, the developments signaled the full Senate was moving onto politically charged terrain less than five months before the fall elections.

"Before you get to marriage, you've got to get over hate, and today the Senate did," said Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, the leading Republican advocate of hate-crimes legislation that has cleared the Senate three times in recent years but has yet to pass the House.

Virginia

Campaign warns against sex with minors

The blunt message will be pasted on billboards and barroom coasters across Virginia: "Isn't she a little young?" it will ask in bold pink and white lettering against a black backdrop. "Sex with a minor," the wording will continue. "Don't go there."

The Virginia Department of Health is launching a campaign in Northern Virginia, Richmond and Roanoke to stop men from engaging in sex with underage girls. Health officials say they hope their program will reduce the number of pregnancies that result from such conduct.

The campaign begins this month with the distribution of hundreds of thousands of coasters, cocktail napkins and postcard-size messages in Arlington, Alexandria and Falls Church.

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