hDeer hunter on trial
HAYWARD, Wis. -- A deer hunter went on a rampage last fall, killing six hunters and wounding two others, after he felt insulted, a prosecutor told jurors Saturday. The defense said Chai Soua Vang felt physically threatened by a group of white hunters who tormented him with racial slurs. Vang's attorney, Steve Kohn, said Vang, 36, of St. Paul, Minn., started shooting because he believed another hunter fired at him first. "You will hear him telling you that he felt he was under siege," Kohn said during the opening day of the trial in Sawyer County. "He knows he was shot at by some very hostile individuals." Earlier, prosecutors said Vang fired first because he was angry the others were disrespectful to him and said they would report him to state game wardens for trespassing, Assistant Attorney General Roy Korte said.
Icefalls in Greenlandworrisome to populace
ILULISSAT, Greenland -- The gargantuan chunks of ice breaking off the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier and thundering into an Arctic fjord make a spectacular sight. But to Greenlanders it is also deeply worrisome. The frequency and size of the icefalls are a powerful reminder that the frozen sheet covering the world's largest island is thinning -- a glaring sign of global warming, scientists say. "In the past, we could walk on the ice in the fjord between the icebergs for a six-month period during the winter, drill holes and fish," said Joern Kristensen, a fisherman and one of the indigenous Inuit who are most of Greenland's population of 56,000. "We can only do that for a month or two now. It has become more difficult to drive dog sleds because the ice between the icebergs isn't solid anymore." In 2002-03, a six-mile-long stretch of the Sermeq Kujalleq glacier broke off and drifted silently out of the fjord near Ilulissat, Greenland's third-largest town.
TOKYO -- It sounds like mission impossible: Take the developed world's longest-ruling political party, one weighed down by a history of corruption, waste and patronage, and turn it into a symbol of dynamic change. Japanese voters were deciding today whether Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has accomplished that task for his Liberal Democratic Party during elections for the 480 seats in the powerful lower house of Parliament. "I think we need reform to adjust to changing times," said Michitoshi Koroki, a 68-year-old voter outside a polling station in Tokyo. "But it's a matter of how to change, so it's not easy to know what party to vote for."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite their state's history of promoting gay rights, Californians have been split on the subject of same-sex marriage -- a contrast that's expected to become even more pronounced because of two overlapping voter initiatives. Fearing that courts eventually will support the rights of gay couples to marry, opponents want voters to amend the state Constitution to allow only heterosexual unions. However, a rift among conservatives has led competing groups to promote two different bans and snipe at each other over which is best. Both petitions would do away with rights associated with domestic partnerships as well as same-sex unions. Conservatives worry the infighting could doom the initiatives, while gay-rights advocates say voters are not likely to discard established domestic partnership rights.
Aviation pioneer dies
LOS ANGELES -- Aviation pioneer Jack Real, who helped develop the Apache helicopter and authored a book on his friendship with reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, has died. He was 90. Real died Sept. 6 of heart failure at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, longtime companion Betty O'Connor said Saturday. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease and had been hospitalized for nearly a year. "He was a such a special man and had an influential role in the aviation industry," said O'Connor, a former executive administrative assistant at Lockheed. "He was a very kind, gentle man, but firm." Real was a vice president for Lockheed Martin Corp. and headed Hughes' helicopter division before becoming president and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. At the time of his death, Real was chairman emeritus of the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Ore.