Nation briefly

Baited traps failed for a second day Saturday to catch a black bear near the mountaintop swimming hole where one of the normally shy animals killed a 6-year-old girl described as an animal lover. The girl’s 2-year-old brother was in fair condition but their mother remained in critical condition, hospital officials said. Doctors said they expected both to recover. Officers detected some “bear activity” around the traps that were rigged Friday in the Cherokee National Forest Chilhowee Recreation Area, a U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman said.

New Jersey: Smoking ban begins

As New Jersey ushered in its indoor smoking ban at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, there was no fanfare at the Green House Grill in Lakewood. Dance music played uninterrupted, and a couple of smokers at the bar snuffed out their last cigarettes. New Jersey’s ban prohibits cigar, cigarette and pipe smoking in restaurants, bars, private office buildings and other indoor places, with fines of $250 to $1,000 for people who light up and the businesses that let them. The state becomes the 11th to ban indoor smoking.

California: Immigration protest

Several thousand people-many of them students-marched through downtown Los Angeles Saturday to protest federal legislation that would crack down on illegal immigration. Organizers of the march dedicated the event to Anthony Soltero, an Ontario 14-year-old whose mother says he killed himself after a vice principal allegedly told him he would be sent to jail for missing class to take part in an immigration rights march. School district officials said they have found “no corroborating evidence” that the boy was ever threatened with jail.

Massachusetts: Gay adoption

Catholic adoption agencies won’t be penalized by the state for refusing to consider gays and lesbians as adoptive parents, though doing so violates state anti-discrimination laws. The state Department of Early Education, which regulates adoption agencies, said it is not taking action because Gov. Mitt Romney has proposed legislation that could allow the agencies to refrain from considering gays on religious grounds. “We’re going to wait and see how the legislation plays out,” the agency’s general counsel said.

From Herald news services

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