USA

The Pentagon again disputed allegations suggesting its investigators had found evidence that Mohamad Atta and other 9/11 hijackers were in the US almost two years before they attacked. But the assertion was contradicted by a second actve-duty military officer, who confirmed the claims of last week by Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. In a statement, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott said "my story is consistent" with Shaffer's. Phillpott said he'd briefed the 9/11 commission on the matter but refused to "discuss the issues outside of my chain of command."

Without comment, the Supreme Court refused to reconsider its controversial decision earlier this year granting local governments more eminent domain power to seize private property for economic development. That ruling, by a 5-to-4 vote, drew a chorus of protest across the nation and led, among other efforts, to a campaign to seize Justice David Souter's residence in New Hampshire for a hotel. Monday's follow-up decision had been expected; requests that the court revisit its rulings are rarely granted.

Full parenting rights were won by homosexuals in rulings Monday by the California Supreme Court. In three separate, closely watched decisions, the court said children born to same-sex couples have two legally recognized parents with the same obligations as heterosexuals. The court is expected to hear a case next year on the constitutionality of state laws limiting marriage to heterosexuals.

Two complaints against controversial University of Colorado Prof. Ward Churchill were dropped by an investigative committee of his peers. But seven others were recommended for further study. Churchill, who enraged critics by comparing victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to a World War II Nazi leader, also was under fire for alleged plagiarism and for claiming a Native American heritage. The latter complaint, his lawyer said, was deemed by the panel as irrelevant to his scholarship.

Three Cuban migrants were rescued from their capsized boat by the crew of a passing freighter in the Florida Straits and were returned home, reports said. But the Coast Guard and naval units were conducting an intensive search for 31 others. Their Florida-registered boat was recovered.

Only Oregon did not register an increase in obesity rates among its adult residents last year, an advocacy group reported. The Trust for America's Health, using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said obesity worsened in 48 other states, led by Alabama. Hawaii was not included in the study.

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