Nation, World Briefs: Episcopals select lesbian for bishop

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles on Saturday elected the first openly gay bishop since the national church lifted a ban that kept gays out of its highest ordained ministry. Clergy and lay leaders, meeting in Riverside, chose the Rev. Mary Glasspool, 55, who has been in a committed relationship with a woman since 1988, from a field of six candidates. Glasspool’s election to fill one of two openings for suffragan, or assistant, bishop followed the selection Friday of the Rev. Canon Diane Jardine Bruce, 53, the rector of a San Clemente church. The two became the first women elected as bishops of the diocese in its 114-year history.

Colorado: University gun ban

Joining most major colleges nationwide, Colorado State University has banned concealed weapons on campus with a vote that pitted faculty asking for a prohibition against students demanding the right to carry guns. The university’s Board of Governors voted 7-0 Friday to require gun bans on its campuses in Fort Collins and Pueblo. Guns are already off-limits at K-12 schools in Colorado, the University of Colorado and at virtually all campuses nationwide.

Arizona: Parachute death

Authorities said a Tucson man has died after parachuting from a cell phone tower at night and hitting high-voltage power lines. A Pinal County sheriff’s official said 23-year-old Darrell Dunafon and two friends broke into a cell tower site about 30 miles south of Phoenix on Friday night and were parachuting off the approximately 400-foot-tall antennae. Dunafon’s parachute became tangled in nearby 12,000-volt power lines and he was shocked with a live wire.

Texas: Mammoth display

A site where dozens of prehistoric mammoths died in a landslide and flooding some 68,000 years ago has opened to the public in Waco. The fossils were found in 1978 by two men hunting for snakes. They took one of the bones to a Baylor University museum official who identified it, triggering an archaeological dig. Baylor and the city preserved the remains for two decades and a permanent pavilion was built over the site, which opened to the public for the first time Saturday.

Pennsylvania: Fitness class

Obese students at a historically black college near Philadelphia won’t have to take a fitness class to graduate after all. Lincoln University faculty nixed the idea this week amid complaints the so-called “fat course” undermined a school principle of equal treatment. The school had initiated the policy to address high rates of obesity and diabetes, especially in the African-American community. The “Fitness for Life” course will instead be suggested to certain students.

Ireland: Abuse by priests

The head of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland said he will meet Pope Benedict XVI next week to discuss a devastating report that found the church covered up clerical child abuse for decades. Cardinal Sean Brady said he and Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin would meet the pontiff at the Vatican. The report found that church leaders in the Dublin Archdiocese failed to inform authorities about sexual abuse by priests, while police failed to pursue allegations under the belief that church figures were above the law.

Japan: Japan Airlines loans

The government likely will include a state guarantee of up to 700 billion yen for loans from financial institutions for cash-strapped Japan Airlines in the second supplementary budget for fiscal 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported Saturday. JAL, now under state-supervised reconstruction, had requested the government support fund-raising necessary to keep the airline in operation. The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry said Nov. 24 that the airline’s current dire situation, if not addressed, could seriously impact operations and affect customers.

Police detain U.S. teenagers

Police have arrested four teenagers living on a U.S. military base for allegedly putting a rope across a road that caused a woman to crash her motorbike and suffer a head injury, officials said Saturday. The four were handed over to Tokyo police by officials at Yokota Air Base, on Tokyo’s outskirts, a spokeswoman for the base said. A woman was reportedly riding her motorbike on Aug. 13 when she hit the rope and fell, fracturing her skull.

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