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Nation In Brief

Kucinich questions Bush’s mental state

PHILADELPHIA — Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich questioned President Bush’s mental health in light of comments he made about a nuclear Iran precipitating World War III.

“I seriously believe we have to start asking questions about his mental health,” Kucinich, an Ohio congressman, said in an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board on Tuesday.

Kucinich, known for his liberal views, trails far behind the leading candidates in most Democratic polls.

Va. Tech gives aid to victims, families

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech has distributed more than $8.5 million in donations to aid victims of the mass killings on campus in April, school leaders said Tuesday.

Families of the 32 people killed by student gunman Seung-Hui Cho were eligible for cash payments or a combination of funds and endowed scholarships in the victims’ names.

Funds also were distributed to more than two dozen who were injured in the classroom building where Cho killed most of his victims and himself.

1 convicted of hiding nuke plant problem

TOLEDO, Ohio — A federal jury convicted a former nuclear plant worker Tuesday of concealing the worst corrosion ever found at a U.S. reactor. A second defendant was acquitted.

David Geisen, the Davis-Besse plant’s former engineering design manager, was accused of misleading regulators into believing the plant along Lake Erie was safe. He faces as many as five years in prison.

Private contractor Rodney Cook was acquitted by the same federal jury.

United Methodists: Minister can stay

BERKELEY, Calif. — A council of the United Methodist Church has decided to allow a transgender minister to retain his job, but it stopped short of addressing whether a change of gender violates the denomination’s rules.

At a session over the weekend in San Francisco, the United Methodist Judicial Council considered whether to remove the Rev. Drew Phoenix from his post. The council allowed Phoenix to stay on the job, referring to a church policy stating that a clergyperson in good standing can’t be terminated unless there has been administrative or judicial action, according to the ruling, posted on the church’s Web site.

Tasered student to avoid charges?

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Andrew Meyer became an Internet sensation because he wouldn’t shut up.

But the 21-year-old University of Florida journalism major hasn’t said a word publicly in the six weeks since he was stunned by a police Taser and was arrested on a felony charge for resisting officers who tried to stop his aggressive questioning of U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

Prosecutors announced Tuesday that charges would be dropped against Meyer if he stays out of trouble for 18 months and if he wrote letters of apology to the university, its police force and its president, Bernie Machen.

Iowa hunter shot in leg by his dog

DES MOINES, Iowa — A hunter is recovering after he was shot in the leg at close range by his dog, who stepped on his shotgun and tripped the trigger, an official said Tuesday.

James Harris, 37, of Tama, was hit in the calf Saturday, the opening day of pheasant season, said Alan Foster, a spokesman with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

“He had surgery and is doing pretty well,” he said. “He took between 100-120 pellets in about a 4-inch circle to his calf.”

High court blocks Miss. execution

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court halted an execution in Mississippi on Tuesday, less than an hour before a convicted killer was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection.

The last-minute reprieve for Earl Wesley Berry is the third granted by the justices since they agreed late last month to decide a challenge to Kentucky’s lethal injection procedures. Tuesday’s order was the latest indication that most, if not all, executions by lethal execution will be halted at least until the justices decide the Kentucky case.

Calif. sheriff faces corruption charges

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Orange County’s sheriff has been charged with accepting bribes in exchange for political favors and pressing a witness to lie as authorities investigated whether he used his office to enrich himself.

The case against Michael S. Carona purportedly involves more than $350,000 in cash and gifts, as well as a “get out of jail free card” for a wealthy appointee whose son was arrested twice, according to a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday.

Compiled From Wire Reports

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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