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Gay-marriage foe to march in N.Y.C. gay pride parade
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 13:01

NEW YORK (AP) — The Catholic League will be allowed to march with an anti-gay-marriage banner in New York City's annual gay-pride parade, organizers said on the heels of a St. Patrick's Day parade prohibition on gay-rights signs and subsequent boycott that drew widespread attention.

Parade organizer David Studinski said Thursday he has no problem with Catholic League President Bill Donohue's plan to participate in the June 29 parade.

"His group's presence affirms the need for this year's pride theme, 'We Have Won When We're One,'" Studinski said in a statement. "Straight is great — as long as there's no hate."

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay-rights group GLAAD, said several straight and Catholic organizations have previously marched alongside LGBT groups, according to Newsday (http://bit.ly/1h1rxGw ).

"As a fellow Irish New Yorker, I'm hoping Bill will march with me at NYC Pride," Ellis said.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Guinness beer boycotted the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade because organizers wouldn't allow participants to carry pro-gay signs.

And in Boston, Mayor Martin Walsh opted out of his city's St. Patrick's parade this week after talks broke down that would have allowed a gay veterans group to march. Late last week, The Boston Beer Company, brewer of Samuel Adams, pulled its support.

___

Information from: Newsday, http://www.newsday.com


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 
Three dead, eight injured, in Jersey shore motel fire fire
Written by WAYNE PARRY, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 09:38

POINT PLEASANT BEACH, N.J. (AP) — A fire early Friday destroyed a Jersey shore motel that was housing people displaced by Superstorm Sandy, killing three people, critically injuring three others and leaving 10 unaccounted for, authorities said.

Officials weren't ruling out the possibility that the 10 had escaped before the fire engulfed the Mariner's Cove Motor Inn in this popular summer resort town at around 5:30 a.m. The wooden building was overwhelmed by flames by the time firefighters arrived, and at least one person leaped from a second-floor window to escape.

Investigators interviewed motel management, and determined about 40 people were staying there when the fire broke out, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said. The motel's office was destroyed and many records were lost, he said, making an accurate accounting difficult.

Coronato said authorities hope the missing hotel occupants had simply gone elsewhere to stay with relatives, or to another motel, and asked them to check in with police.

"We are trying to make sure they are safe and unharmed," he said.

Survivors described a chaotic scene of flames, smoke and screaming.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 March 2014 13:06
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Thousands of preschool kids face suspension
Written by JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:32

WASHINGTON (AP) — Even preschoolers are getting suspended from U.S. public schools — and they're disproportionately black, a trend that continues up through the later grades.

Data to be released Friday by the Education Department's civil rights arm finds that black children represent about 18 percent of children enrolled in preschool programs in schools, but almost half of the students suspended more than once. Six percent of the nation's districts with preschools reported suspending at least one preschool child.

Advocates have long said that get-tough suspension and arrest policies in schools have contributed to a "school-to-prison" pipeline that snags minority students, but much of the emphasis has been on middle school and high school policies. This data shows the disparities starting in the youngest of children.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration issued guidance encouraging schools to abandon what it described as overly zealous discipline policies that send students to court instead of the principal's office. But, even before the announcement, school districts have been adjusting policies that disproportionately affect minority students.

Overall, the data shows that black students of all ages are suspended and expelled at a rate that's three times higher than that of white children. Even as boys receive more than two-thirds of suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates than girls of any other race or most boys.

Read more...
 
Google enhances encryption technology for email
Written by EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:35

WASHINGTON (AP) — Google has enhanced the encryption technology for its flagship email service in ways that will make it harder for the National Security Agency to intercept messages moving among the company's worldwide data centers.

Among the most extraordinary disclosures in documents leaked by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden were reports that the NSA had secretly tapped into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world.

Google, whose executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, said in November that he was outraged over the practice, didn't mention the NSA in Thursday's announcement, except in a veiled reference to "last summer's revelations." The change affects more than 425 million users of Google's Gmail service.

Yahoo has promised similar steps for its email service by this spring.

Google and other technology companies have been outspoken about the U.S. government's spy programs. The companies are worried more people will reduce their online activities if they believe almost everything they do is being monitored by the government. A decline in Internet use could hurt the companies financially by giving them fewer opportunities to show online ads and sell other services.

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Australia says nothing spotted in search for plane
Written by KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press SCOTT MCDONALD, Associated Press   
Friday, 21 March 2014 06:23

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Search planes flying deep into the southern Indian Ocean have found nothing so far that could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, Australia's acting prime minister said Friday.

The planes are part of an international effort to solve the nearly 2-week-old mystery of what happened to Flight 370 with 239 people aboard. They are looking for two large floating objects detected by a satellite off the southwest coast of Australia, about halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.

"The last report I have is that nothing of particular significance has been identified in the search today but the work will continue," said Warren Truss, who is acting prime minister while Tony Abbott is in Papua New Guinea.

Truss said the search was difficult due to testing weather conditions and because the satellite imagery was five days old. "So something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating — it may have slipped to the bottom. It's also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometers."

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