Nation briefs 4/21/05

Thursday, April 21, 2005

NYSE to merge with Archipelago

NEW YORK -- The 213-year-old New York Stock Exchange vaulted into the top ranks of electronic stock trading Wednesday, announcing a merger with all-electronic rival Archipelago Holdings Inc. in a stunning move that will also transform the NYSE into a for-profit, publicly traded enterprise. The NYSE, famous for its busy trading floor, says it has no intention of becoming an entirely computer-based exchange. Instead, by offering a fast electronic option alongside the slower floor-based operation, the NYSE hopes to effectively compete with its chief U.S. rival, the Nasdaq Stock Market Inc., and tackle increasing global competition. Still, the merger moves the NYSE toward all-electronic trading.

Conn. approves civil unions for gay couples

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut on Wednesday became the second state to offer civil unions to gay couples -- and the first to do so without being forced by the courts. About an hour after the state Senate sent her the legislation, Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed into law a bill that will afford same-sex couples in Connecticut many of the rights and privileges of married couples. The state House passed the measure last week but amended it to define marriage under Connecticut law as between one man and one woman. The Senate approved the amended bill Wednesday 26-8.

Sept. 11 suspect plans to plead guilty to charges

WASHINGTON -- The only person indicted in the United States in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks plans to plead guilty to charges that could bring him the death penalty, two federal officials said Wednesday. Zacarias Moussaoui is charged with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, commit aircraft piracy, destroy aircraft, murder government employees and destroy property. The first four charges carry a maximum sentence of death.

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