nation briefs



Markey to face ex-SEAL for Senate seat

Veteran U.S. Rep. Edward Markey has won the Democratic nomination to run in Massachusetts’ special election for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by John Kerry. Unofficial returns show Markey defeating fellow U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. In the June 25 special election, Markey will face businessman and former Navy SEAL Gabriel Gomez, who won a three-way Republican primary against former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and state Rep. Daniel Winslow.


Officials search for human remains at plane debris site

The New York City medical examiner’s office says its workers are now sifting soil for possible human remains at a site near the World Trade Center where a plane part was found last week. Personnel from the fire and police departments also were at the scene, where a tent was erected on the sidewalk to give medical examiners and inspectors a place to work as they remove piles of dirt and other material. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the jet part could be removed today and handed over to the police department. Of the nearly 3,000 victims, the remains of about 1,000 have never been recovered.


U.S. allows hunter to import rare rhino trophy

The U.S. is allowing a hunter to bring a slain African rhinoceros back to Wisconsin, the first time American officials have allowed a black rhinoceros hunting trophy to be imported since the animal was listed as endangered in 1980. David K. Reinke, 52, of Madison, killed the rhino in 2009 with the blessing of the Namibian government. He argued that the killing was an act of “conservation hunting” because he was culling an elderly rhino that was unable to reproduce but could still aggressively crowd out fertile rivals. But the decision angers wildlife supporters, who worry the decision sets a dangerous precedent encouraging trophy hunters to kill endangered animals.


Gay marriage bill headed to final vote

Rhode Island appears poised to become the nation’s 10th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry after a legislative panel voted Tuesday to forward same-sex marriage legislation to the full House for a final vote. The outcome of Thursday’s House vote is not in doubt, as the House overwhelmingly passed an earlier version of the bill in January. The Senate passed the bill by a comfortable margin last week, but it had to return to the House because of small changes made in the Senate. Gov. Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign the bill into law quickly after it passes the House.


Number of homicides in Chicago declines

Chicago appears headed for its best April in more than 50 years, with 23 homicides as of Tuesday evening, police statistics show. The first four months were just as strong — with Chicago recording fewer than 100 homicides through April for the first time since 1963, the department said. The April total will be far below the average of about 40 homicides for the month over the past 10 years, a decade in which Chicago saw significant declines in its homicide rate from the 1990s. At 23 homicides, April would mark the lowest total for the month since 1962, when 17 homicides were recorded, the department said.


Russia charging NASA $70M per astronaut seat

The U.S. space agency is paying $424 million more to Russia to get U.S. astronauts into space and home again, and the agency’s leader is blaming Congress for the extra expense. NASA announced its latest contract with the Russian Space Agency on Tuesday. The $424 million represents flights to and from the International Space Station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, as well as training, for six astronauts in 2016 and the first half of 2017. That’s $70.6 million per seat. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said if Congress had approved the space agency’s request for more funding for its commercial space effort, the latest contract would have been unnecessary.


Elementary school adopts all-vegetarian menu

A New York City elementary school has adopted an all-vegetarian menu, serving kids tofu wraps and veggie chili. Public School 244 is the first public school in the city to go all-veggie. The Queens school has 400 students in pre-kindergarten through third grade. It wanted to offer healthy food options and started serving a vegetarian lunch three times a week and then increased it to four times a week. It recently went all-vegetarian. Principal Robert Groff said Tuesday the kids gravitated toward veggie offerings, including black beans and cheddar quesadillas served with salsa and roasted potatoes.