Dem. senator now supports gay unions

Dem. senator now supports gay unions


South Dakota Sen. Tim Johnson, who announced his retirement last month, has reversed his position on gay marriage, saying Monday that he supports the legalization of same-sex unions.

The 66-year-old Democrat has said for years that he doesn’t support gay marriage, and he voted for the 1996 federal law that defined marriage as the union of a man and woman and provided that a state did not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

Israel remembers Holocaust victims


Israel came to a standstill for two mournful minutes Monday as sirens pierced the air in an annual ritual to remember the 6 million Jews systematically murdered by German Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust in World War II.

Commemorations took place around the country as Israel marked its annual Holocaust memorial day. The main wreath-laying ceremony took place at the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem. Visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were among officials and Holocaust survivors in attendance.

Group: ‘Alarm fatigue’ can kill


Constantly beeping alarms from devices that monitor the vital signs of the critically ill have “desensitized” hospital workers who sometimes ignore the noise, leading to at least two dozen deaths a year on average, a hospital accrediting group said Monday.

And these cases probably are vastly underreported, said the Joint Commission in an alert to hospitals calling attention to the problem.

The beeping devices include those that measure blood pressure and heart rate, among other things. Some beep when there’s an emergency, and some beep when they’re not working. That can lead to noise fatigue, and the delay in treating a patient can endanger lives, the accreditation commission says.

Bracing for snow


Forecasts for snow and high winds have parts of Colorado bracing for 3-foot snowdrifts by tonight.

High winds already were delaying flights Monday evening in Denver. A few Denver-bound flights were diverted to Colorado Springs.

The National Weather Service says the Denver area could get 6 to 11 inches of snow through today.

In Wyoming, snow is falling, and a winter storm warning covers cities including Cheyenne, Laramie and Riverton.

Senate confirmation


The U.S. Senate confirmed Mary Jo White’s nomination as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday, making her the first former prosecutor to lead the federal agency that oversees Wall Street.

White was approved by a Senate voice vote. She will replace Elisse Walter, who has been interim SEC chairwoman since Mary Schapiro resigned in December.

Doomsday Clock creator dies at 96

Martyl Langsdorf, an artist who was married to a nuclear physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, created the widely known Doomsday Clock for the first cover of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

That June 1947 magazine put the clock, meant to depict how close the world is to nuclear holocaust, approaching 11:53 p.m., with midnight being the zero hour.

Langsdorf, 96, died March 26 at a rehabilitation facility near her home in Schaumburg, Ill., after a lung infection.

Combined dispatches

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