Minn. bishop electedto lead Lutheran group
INDIANAPOLIS -- An Evangelical Lutheran Church in America assembly Saturday narrowly elected as national leader Bishop Mark S. Hanson, who has coped with divisions over homosexuality and relations with the Episcopal Church as bishop of St. Paul, Minn.
The Chicago-based church, with 5.1 million members in 10,816 local congregations, ranks fifth among U.S. Protestant groups.
Hanson, 54, defeated the more conservative Bishop Donald J. McCoid of Pittsburgh for a six-year term as presiding bishop. The delegates' vote was 533 for Hanson to 499 for McCoid.
After the announcement, Hanson told the assembly that "there are people in this church who are not rejoicing in this moment and are feeling great anxiety."
The election followed an intense debate on whether to allow clergy ordination of people involved in committed homosexual relationships. Action on that and other issues regarding homosexuality is pending.
At Saturday's session Lutheran delegates also approved a rewrite of an ecumenical pact with the Episcopal Church that went into effect in January. It would allow clergy on grounds of conscience to be ordained by pastors rather than bishops.
The Episcopal Church strongly opposed the revision.
Convicted killer faststo protest prison diet
PHILADELPHIA -- A convicted killer and former counterculture guru extradited from France after a long court battle says he is fasting to protest his diet at the state prison where he is being held.
In a handwritten note to The Associated Press, Ira Einhorn said he was diabetic and hypoglycemic and could not maintain his health on what he said was a sugar-rich prison diet.
"My response is to fast for as long as it takes to get me back on the diet I need to maintain my health," Einhorn wrote in the letter dated Wednesday. "I will not eat food that I know makes me sick. I would rather die."
He said he started fasting Wednesday after authorities at Graterford state prison outside Philadelphia suspended an arrangement he had worked out with the kitchen staff to control his sugar level.
Leslie Hatcher, a prison spokeswoman, said Einhorn has been eating but would not give specifics.
American matchesUnited air fare cuts
DALLAS -- American Airlines said Saturday it would match a move by rival United Airlines by slashing fares on some flights between Chicago's O'Hare International and other major U.S. cities.
The nation's largest carrier also promised to eliminate Saturday night stay restrictions for an unspecified number of flights.
"We have matched United on a limited number of flights in and out of Chicago," American spokesman Dale Morris said Saturday. "We've matched all their pricing and all their provisions as well."
Chicago-based United announced its cuts Thursday, responding to increased competition from lower-cost flights at nearby Midway Airport.
The move to eliminate the Saturday-night stay restriction was a bid by the nation's No. 2 carrier to win back business travel that has dropped off drastically in a weaker economy.
Morris said Fort Worth-based American began matching United's fares Thursday evening.
"Business travel has been down for everyone -- for the entire industry due to the economic situation," Morris said.
Power handed back
BELFAST, Northern Ireland -- Britain ordered power to be handed back to Northern Ireland's Protestant-Catholic government at midnight Saturday, and plotted a longer-term effort to restore faith in the region's shaky 1998 peace accord.
Britain decided to take direct control of Northern Ireland for 24 hours, a maneuver aimed at allowing it to postpone a Saturday deadline for the territory's legislature to elect a new Protestant leader.
Ulster Unionist chief David Trimble resigned six weeks ago from the post and said his Protestant party would not fill it as required unless the Irish Republican Army scrapped weapons first. An abortive vote Saturday would have compelled Britain to dissolve the whole administration and legislature, which has taken years of painstaking negotiations to create.
The new deadline was expected to be Sept. 24.
Britain's secretary of state, John Reid, signed the order authorizing the transfer of authority back to local control after he met Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen for a formal "review" of the crisis Saturday.