Nation briefs 10/28/02

Monday, October 28, 2002

Study: Weak single-bolts caused WTC collapse

NEW YORK -- The single-bolt connections in the framework of the World Trade Center popped and fell apart during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, causing the floors to collapse on top of each other, according to a new study.

The analysis, conducted by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, concludes the bolts did not properly secure the Twin Towers' steel floor trusses, The New York Post reported Sunday.

The bolts were pulled toward the center of the buildings while the floor trusses sagged, the report concluded.

Experts have been disputing how and why the twin towers collapsed.

A study by a Manhattan engineering firm said damage caused by the planes, and the resulting fires, caused both buildings to crumble.

A federal investigation said the towers' unconventional design contributed to the collapse, noting weak floor supports gave way during the attacks -- a similar conclusion to the one drawn by the MIT researchers in their upcoming report.

Catholic church baptizes children of gay couple

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- A gay couple who became parents of quadruplets after enlisting the help of a surrogate mother had their 3-month-old children baptized Saturday in a Roman Catholic church.

Father Paul Prabell blessed the men, Thomas Dysarz and Michael Meehan, and baptized their daughter and three sons at Lexington's Cathedral of Christ the King.

"This is what Christ would do," said Meehan, the quadruplets' biological father. The babies "are God's children. That's how the church should view it."

Saturday's ceremony was attended by about 30 friends and relatives.

The mother, 23-year-old Brooke Verity, has said she thinks Dysarz and Meehan, a Lexington lawyer, will become great dads. She conceived Michael, Jacob, Tristan and Taylor through in-vitro fertilization in January and gave birth in July.

Several injured at concert after railing gives way

MINNEAPOLIS -- Several concert-goers suffered minor injuries Saturday night when a railing gave way at the Target Center during a performance by the rap artist Bow Wow.

About 10 people were taken by ambulance for treatment, said Reid Katzung, director of operations. The most serious complaints appeared to be of lower leg pain and of back pain, he said.

Four people were being treated for minor injuries at Hennepin County Medical Center late Saturday, a nursing supervisor said.

The railing gave way as fans pressed forward when Bow Wow worked his way into the crowd about 10 p.m., near the end of his show, Katzung said.

The railing snapped in three places, causing fans to fall forward, Katzung said. Bow Wow was unhurt and resumed his performance shortly afterward.

Gay activists protest outside Falwell's church LYNCHBURG, Va.-- Gay activists gathered in Rev. Jerry Falwell's hometown Saturday to announce a permanent presence in central Virginia.

"It's safe to come out," the Rev. Mel White, founder of the gay rights group Soulforce, told a rally of about 200 crowded under a chain of balloons tied like a rainbow.

White, a California minister who was friends with Falwell before announcing his homosexuality, said he decided to move to Lynchburg last year when Falwell said God allowed terrorists to attack America because of the work of gays, abortionists and feminists.

"Jerry Falwell is the source of misinformation about sexual orientation," White said. "He's a gadfly. He likes to say these horrible things."

Since White arrived, Falwell hasn't answered any of his phone calls or invitations to dinner. Falwell said his mind is made up about homosexuality, and he won't socialize with someone who he considers living in sin.

"But they are certainly welcome in the neighborhood," Falwell said. "Our church doors will always be open -- and when they visit our church, I hope they will hear something really worthwhile."

-- From wire reports

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