Nation briefs 5/5/06

Friday, May 5, 2006

Congressman allows $5 million for 9-11 memorial

WASHINGTON -- A House panel on Thursday approved spending $5 million in federal funds to buy land for a memorial on the Pennsylvania field where United Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. Rep. Charles H. Taylor, R-N.C., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, had held up funding for the project for the past two years, saying he wanted assurances that sufficient private donations would be raised and a federal bailout wouldn't be necessary. The White House had requested $5 million for the land purchase, and Taylor on Thursday included that amount in a larger appropriations bill that his subcommittee subsequently approved.

Ban on flag desecration advances in the Senate

WASHINGTON -- A Senate panel on Thursday advanced a proposed constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration, a measure with little chance of congressional passage but potential political impact in an election year. Approved 6-3 by a Judiciary Committee panel on the Constitution, the amendment reads: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." The House already has passed the amendment. Just bringing up the measure scores points with conservative voters who are crucial to the Republicans' plans to keep control of the House and Senate in November.

Rumsfeld heckled by protesters during speech

ATLANTA -- Anti-war protesters repeatedly interrupted Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a speech Thursday and one man, a former CIA analyst, accused him in a question-and-answer session of lying about Iraq prewar intelligence. "Why did you lie to get us into a war that caused these kind of casualties and was not necessary?" asked Ray McGovern, the former analyst. "I did not lie," shot back Rumsfeld, who waved off security guards ready to remove McGovern from the hall at the Southern Center for International Studies. Three protesters were escorted away by security as each interrupted Rumsfeld's speech by jumping up and shouting anti-war messages. Throughout the speech, a fourth protester stood up in the middle of the room with his back to Rumsfeld in silent protest.

Man shoots his relatives at Florida hospital

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. -- A man shot three of his relatives in a hospital parking lot Thursday, killing one and critically wounded the others before committing suicide outside a nearby school, the county sheriff said. All four were related by either blood or marriage and apparently had been involved in a domestic dispute, Nassau County Sheriff Tommy Seagraves said. He declined to release details and did not identify the victims or their ages. Two female victims were airlifted to Shands hospital in Jacksonville. Both women were in critical condition, he said, correcting earlier information he was given that one of the women had died.

-- From wire reports

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