Nation briefs 11/22/04

Monday, November 22, 2004

Inspector: Congress must restructure Amtrak

WASHINGTON -- Though Congress approved a $1.2 billion subsidy for Amtrak, the money-losing passenger railroad still is careening toward a major disruption in service. To save it, the Transportation Department's inspector general says, Congress must do more. Considering current Amtrak policies, says inspector general Kenneth Mead, it's up to lawmakers to determine what must go and what may stay to restructure Amtrak and stop the hemorrhaging.

N.D. bolstering sex offender programs

BISMARCK, N.D. -- In the year since college student Dru Sjodin was abducted from a North Dakota parking lot and killed, allegedly by a convicted sex offender, the state has worked to make its sex offender laws among the strictest in the nation. Officers like Brian Weigel, who search sex offenders' apartments, have to determine if an offender is sticking to restrictions that often include a ban on sexual material in the home.

Water rushes sediment to desperate Grand Canyon

GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. -- Scientists flooded the Grand Canyon on Sunday to restore beaches and save fish and plants that have been disappearing since sediment-free water began flowing from a man-made dam 40 years ago. A torrent of gushing water raced down the Colorado River and into the canyon, carrying badly needed natural sediment with it, as four giant steel tubes at the base of Glen Canyon dam were opened.

Billy Graham wraps up historic L.A. crusade

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Rev. Billy Graham's Southern California crusade, one of the last for the 86-year-old evangelist, attracted tens of thousands of people going into Sunday's conclusion of a four-day appearance. The crusade in the 92,000-seat Rose Bowl marks the 55th anniversary of the Los Angeles revival that propelled Graham to national fame. He is scheduled to appear at what will likely be his last revival in New York's Madison Square Garden in June.

-- From wire reports

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