MINNEAPOLIS — Presbyterian leaders will not redefine marriage in their church constitution to include same-sex couples. The surprise vote to shelve the marriage issue at the Presbyterian general assembly late Thursday passed by a slim margin of 51 percent. The vote means that the definition of marriage will remain as between a man and a woman for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) while the denomination continues to study the issue for at least the next two years. Earlier in the day, Presbyterian delegates had voted to allow non-celibate gays in committed relationships to serve as clergy.
Nevada: Crash at Navy base
Navy officials said a jet has crashed shortly after takeoff from the Fallon Naval Air Station, and the pilot ejected to safety. A base spokesman said the pilot was taken to a Fallon hospital with non-life-threatening injuries Thursday. He said the pilot is an employee of a Navy contractor that owned the A-4 Skyhawk, a jet once used by the military. The contractor, Aircraft Tactical Advantage Co., simulates enemy aircraft for Navy pilots during training exercises.
California: Deadly shooting
A white former transit officer was convicted of involuntary manslaughter Thursday in the shooting death of an unarmed black man on an Oakland train platform in a 2009 encounter that set off days of rioting in the city. Prosecutors had wanted Johannes Mehserle convicted of murdering 22-year-old Oscar Grant, who was shot as he lay face-down. Mehserle was placed in handcuffs and taken away after the verdict. The jury had a choice between murder and lesser charges of voluntary and involuntary manslaughter.
W. Virginia: Byrd replacement
West Virginia’s attorney general said in a legal opinion issued Thursday that Gov. Joe Manchin has the authority to call a special election in November to fill the seat of the late Sen. Robert Byrd, clearing the way for Manchin to appoint a temporary replacement. The ruling, by Attorney General Darrell McGraw, also enables Manchin, a Democrat, to declare his own candidacy for the Senate seat. Byrd died June 28 and was the longest-serving member of Congress in history.
D.C.: Secret code in logo
The Pentagon’s new U.S. Cyber Command has embedded a 32-character string of secret code in its logo, causing a stir among bloggers and curious techies eager to decipher the veiled message. Wired.com’s Danger Room last week offered a T-shirt or ticket to the International Spy Museum to the first person to crack the code, which is: 9ec4c12949a4f31474f299058ce2b22a. The new military command was launched in late May to help centralize Defense Department efforts to protect its computer networks.
Switzerland: Solar pioneer
An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night. The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun. Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at 9 a.m.
Georgia: 130th birthday party
Authorities in the former Soviet republic of Georgia claim a woman from a remote mountain village turned 130 on Thursday, making her the oldest person on Earth. Antisa Khvichava from western Georgia was born on July 8, 1880, a spokesman for the civil registry at the Justice Ministry said. The Gerontology Research Group currently recognizes 114-year-old Eugenie Blanchard of Saint Barthelemy, France, as the world’s oldest person. The organization is yet to examine Khvichava’s claim.
Spain: Two gored during run
Two people were gored Thursday during a tense and dangerous second running of the bulls at Spain’s famed San Fermin fiesta, and at least five other people were hospitalized after falling or being trampled by the hulking beasts. Thousands took part in the dash to keep ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers who try to keep the bulls together in a tight pack along the 930-yard course from a holding pen to the northern town’s bullring.
From Herald news services