News In Brief
Missing nuclear secrets apparently resurfaced at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, prompting Congress and the Department of Energy to reconsider security procedures. Two computer hard drives containing highly classified data, discovered missing May 7, were found behind a copying machine at the lab. FBI experts were investigating the drives to determine their authenticity and the extent to which they may have been compromised. Congressional inquiry was centered on rules changes made by the Bush administration that relaxed accounting for "secret" - as opposed to "top secret" - information, such as the drives.
Public support for the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion has softened in recent years, a new Los Angeles Times poll revealed. Only 43 percent of respondents supported the Roe v. Wade ruling, down from 56 percent in 1991. More than half considered abortion murder, but a majority of that group agreed that a woman should have a right to choose an abortion. The Times reported that while the poll's findings appear contradictory, they indicate two strong, but competing sets of feelings.
Americans increasingly support stronger legal protections for homosexuals despite continued feelings that gay sex is immoral, the same Los Angeles Times poll found. Contrasted with poll results in the mid-1980s, significantly more Americans said they know homosexuals personally and feel comfortable around them. Almost 70 percent of respondents supported antidiscrimination measures for gays and lesbians, while half felt same-sex couples deserved the same legal benefits enjoyed by married couples. Still, 58 percent opposed same-sex marriages, and 64 percent said they think homosexual relations are generally wrong.
Plans to construct a national missile defense system were questioned by a Pentagon-appointed panel, The Washington Post reported. The panel, headed by retired Air Force Gen. Larry Welch, cited familiar criticisms in its classified report. Among them: doubts about the system's ability to distinguish real missiles from decoys and a construction schedule that calls for a working system in five years. Citing senior defense officials, the Post reported that the Welch panel concluded that the shield should eventually work as designed.
Seven months after the collapse of a log tower for its annual bonfire, killing 12 students and injuring 27 others, Texas A&M University said it was putting the tradition on hold for two years, pending new guidelines. President Ray Bowen made the announcement following a commission's finding that blamed the accident on flawed construction and a lack of supervision.
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