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Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

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May 29, 2004

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Indiana

Strong thunderstorms move across Midwest

Powerful thunderstorms that spawned tornadoes and soaked the Midwest pushed southward on Friday, leaving flooded roads and toppled trees in its wake.

Dozens of West Virginia schools canceled or delayed classes Friday, while some residents had to be rescued by boat from flash floods that stranded them on highways or in flooded homes.

Tornadoes touched down Thursday in Indiana, Kentucky and Missouri, damaging a handful of homes. There was no immediate word of any injuries.

In Indiana, the Blue River surged out of its banks near Salem, lifting semi trailers from a parking lot and carrying them down river.

CLEVELAND

First voter-created partner registry upheld

A judge ruled Friday that the nation's first voter-approved domestic partner registry is constitutional.

The decision by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Robert T. Glickman rejected the challenge filed by the Rev. Jimmie Hicks Jr., a Cleveland Heights councilman. Hicks sued in February to stop the Cleveland suburb from continuing to register gay and straight unmarried couples.

Hicks' lawsuit had claimed the city did not have the authority to create the registry, but Glickman disagreed.

"The city of Cleveland Heights Domestic Partnership Registry is not beyond the scope of the municipalities' grant of power" from the state, Glickman wrote.

South Carolina

Killer gets death in electric chair

A man convicted of killing two women while looking for money 12 years ago was executed Friday in South Carolina's electric chair.

James Neil Tucker, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:11 p.m. He was the first person to die by electrocution in a year.

Tucker was remorseful in a final statement read to witnesses by his attorney: "To those I have harmed: my abject apologies and regrets. I am ashamed," the statement said.

Tucker was convicted of killing 54-year-old Rosa Lee "Dolly" Oakley in her home in June 1992. He stole $14 from Oakley, then shot her in the head. He said he needed money to help his pregnant wife.

Tucker was convicted of killing 21-year-old Shannon Mellon six days after killing Oakley. Tucker took her car and $20.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Report: Lax security puts bank data at risk

The Depression-era agency that protects Americans' bank deposits has such lax security that major losses of money, information and other data are possible, congressional auditors said Friday.

The report by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said many weaknesses of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. result from its lack of a fully established security management program.

The GAO studied 2003 audits of the FDIC's Bank Insurance Fund, Savings Association Fund and Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. Resolution Fund.

New Mexico

Los Alamos workers indicted in scandal

Two former employees of the Los Alamos National Laboratory have been indicted on federal criminal charges for their alleged roles in a purchasing scandal that rocked the lab in 2002.

Under the indictment, Peter Bussolini and Scott Alexander were charged with theft, embezzlement, fraud, conspiracy and making false statements.

The 20-page indictment alleges that the men used lab funds to buy TV sets, radio equipment, vacuum cleaners, barbecues, hunting gear, car tires and other items between Feb. 1, 2001, and Oct. 31, 2002.

Items purchased were given bogus names to make them seem more in line with lab uses. A television was called a "command center monitor," a barbecue rotisserie attachment was a "basket positioner" and a remote-control airplane kit was a "receiver."

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