Nation briefs 2/16/04

Monday, February 16, 2004

Tests link latest bullet to series of Ohio shootings

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ballistics testing has confirmed that a shot fired at an SUV on a busy highway was the 24th in a series of highway shootings in the Columbus area, investigators said Sunday. The bullet recovered from the sport utility vehicle that was struck Saturday on Interstate 70 matches eight others recovered during the investigation. Witnesses to Saturday's shooting said a man standing on a highway overpass fired a handgun, hitting a Chevy Suburban in its front right fender. The witnesses described the shooter as a clean-shaven white male in his 30s with dark hair, wearing a hat and sunglasses and driving a small black sedan.

NASA's Spirit examines flaky rock dubbed 'Mimi'

LOS ANGELES -- NASA's Spirit rover stopped to examine an unusual, flaky rock on the surface of Mars Sunday as scientists prepared to send it on a trek that would more than double its one-day distance record. The Mars Explorer team hopes the rover will travel about 82 feet today morning and make the same distance again during the afternoon. Spirit's longest previous trek was 70 feet in a day, the record for any robot on the Martian surface. Mission manager Jim Erickson said scientists would like to know why the rock, dubbed "Mimi," is flaky but its neighboring rocks are not.

Demand for same-sex licenses too great for S.F.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Demand for same-sex marriage licenses has been so great that on Sunday officials turned away hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up outside city hall, saying they simply didn't have the time or resources to meet all the requests. San Francisco authorities calculated they could process 400 licenses during special weekend hours -- but on Saturday they granted 600 licenses and performed 270 weddings by late afternoon. Then officials gave numbers to 320 couples securing them places in line for Sunday.

-- From wire reports

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