National briefs 3/23/04

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Young people more supportive of gay marriage

CHICAGO -- While the majority of Americans oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, people younger than 30 have consistently been more supportive of it than their elders. For instance, a poll taken last month for the National Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania showed that just over half of people ages 18 to 29 would oppose a law in their states that would allow lesbians and gay men to marry a same-sex partner. That compares with 61 percent of 30- to 44-year-olds; two-thirds of 45- to 64-year-olds; and 81 percent of those 65 and older. Experts say the difference in attitudes can largely be tracked to young people's exposure to homosexuality in everyday life.

NASA replacing shuttle braking mechanisms

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- To prevent another catastrophe, NASA will replace braking mechanisms on all its space shuttles after discovering some of the gears were installed backward. Shuttle program manager Bill Parsons said Monday he has launched an investigation into why the rudder speed brake gears -- all old original parts in the shuttle tails -- were never inspected in more than two decades of flight. If one of the improperly installed gears had been in a high-stress position, it probably would have led to the destruction of the spacecraft at touchdown, he said. All the rudder speed brake gears in NASA's inventory -- dating as far back as the 1970s -- are being X-rayed to see whether they were properly built, and to look for rust and microcracks, already spotted on some gears.

Judge: Schwarzenegger won't be deposed -- yet

LOS ANGELES -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger must answer written questions, but doesn't have to give a deposition in a libel lawsuit filed by a Hollywood stuntwoman who alleged he groped her on film sets, a judge ruled Monday. Judge Robert L. Hess said the governor may be deposed later if attorneys for Rhonda Miller can justify it. Miller claimed Schwarzenegger and his campaign defamed her after she alleged the film star groped her on the sets of "Terminator 2" and "True Lies." Hours after she made the allegations, campaign spokesman Sean Walsh sent an e-mail to reporters directing them to a court Web site, where records for a Rhonda Miller showed a history including prostitution and disorderly conduct. It was a different Rhonda Miller.

Army reprimands Muslim chaplain on minor charges

ARLINGTON, Va. -- A Muslim Army chaplain arrested last year on charges of mishandling classified documents at a prison camp for terror suspects was reprimanded Monday only on minor charges. His lawyer said he deserved an apology. "Of course I am disappointed in the outcome," Capt. James Yee, 35, said after the Article 15 proceeding, used by the Army to settle minor disciplinary issues. He will appeal the reprimand. The commanding officer at the Guantanamo Bay base, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, found Yee guilty of two violations of military law -- adultery and improperly downloading pornography onto an Army computer. In an Article 15 proceeding, a finding of guilt does not result in a criminal conviction.

-- From wire reports

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