Nation briefs 4/16/04

Friday, April 16, 2004

McDonald's adds healthy adult Happy Meals

CHICAGO -- Striving for a healthier image in the age of obesity, McDonald's is rolling out new Happy Meals specially for adults with salad, bottled water and pedometers -- and coming soon for the kids, fresh fruit instead of fries. Now it's up to the patrons of Big Macs and fries to decide how big an appetite they have for a healthier McDonald's, which unveiled its latest low-fat offerings Thursday.

Governor asks for counsel to stop gay marriage

BOSTON -- Gov. Mitt Romney said Thursday he will seek emergency legislation aimed at forestalling gay marriages, which are scheduled to become legal in Massachusetts on May 17. The legislation would allow Romney to appoint a special counsel who would ask the state's highest court to delay its ruling on gay marriage. The governor said it would allow him "to protect the integrity of the constitutional process."

Increase in terror warrants overwhelming Justice

WASHINGTON -- The number of secret surveillance warrants sought by the FBI has increased 85 percent in the past three years, a pace that has outstripped the Justice Department's ability to quickly process them. Even after warrants are approved, the FBI often doesn't have enough agents or other personnel with the expertise to conduct the surveillance. And the FBI still is trying to build a cadre of translators who can speak languages such as Arabic, Pashto and Farsi.

U.S. Catholic hospitals still to honor living wills

ST. LOUIS -- Roman Catholic hospitals are reassuring patients they'll honor living wills in the wake of a papal pronouncement that hospitals should never re-move feeding tubes from patients in persistent vegetative states. In a talk March 20, Pope John Paul II said that feeding and hydrating such patients is "morally obligatory" -- and that withdrawing feeding tubes constitutes "euthanasia by omission."

-- From wire reports

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