USA

New Jersey legalized civil unions Thursday, becoming the fifth state to allow some form of gay marriage. Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed a law granting gay partners the benefits afforded to married couples, including adoption, inheritance, hospital visitation, and medical decisionmaking rights.

Protesters called on the New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to resign Thursday, in response to last month's fatal shooting of Sean Bell, 23, whom police hit 50 times. Thursday's event, called a "Day of Outrage" and held in Manhattan's financial district, followed a series of demonstrations. Participants also demanded that the officers involved face prosecution.

US soldiers in Iraq seem to disagree with commanders in their support for extra troops. The latter fear that increased forces will dampen Iraqis' motivation to take control of the country, military leaders have told Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who is touring the country.

The President may ignore Congress's requests to ensure that US nuclear transfers to India don't end up in Iran, lawmakers said, after President Bush released a statement calling one of their directives on US-India civil nuclear cooperation only "advisory." Legislators had stipulated that all deals meet the standards of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (which seeks to restrain nuclear trade) and that Bush report yearly on India's efforts to restrain Iran's nuclear program.

At least 20 percent of felons' DNA information may be missing from Virginia's database, prompting state authorities to begin reviewing 54,000 people who are on probation or parole. Although the state is considered a national leader in DNA crime technology, a portion of felons' genetic samples may be absent because local and state agencies failed to request them.

Defense contractor Raytheon Co. has decided to sell its aircraft business for $3.3 billion to Hawker Beechcraft Corp., a company formed by a Goldman Sachs affiliate and Canadian private-equity firm. Raytheon Aircraft Co. employs 8,500 people and has 100 centers worldwide.

Rap lyrics may have influenced jurors' decision to convict Ronell "Rated R" Wilson, for murder this week, and could affect his sentencing. "Ain't goin' stop till I'm dead," the prosecutor had quoted to jurors from the 23-year-old's music. More defendants are seeing their violent rhymes used against them in court to establish motives and demonstrate character. Some lawyers oppose the tactic, saying it treats art as fact.

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