National Digest

NATIONAL DIGEST

August 09, 2004|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

California GOP to oppose bonds for stem-cell study

SAN DIEGO - Ending a three-day state convention, California Republicans voted yesterday to oppose a November ballot measure that would provide $3 billion in state bonds for human embryonic stem cell research in California.

Although President Bush has pointed to ethical issues in arguing against the expansion of such research, party members framed their voice vote largely as a budget issue. They said the state can't afford $3 billion in interest payments that would bring the true cost of Proposition 71 to $6 billion.

The measure would distribute $300 million a year for 10 years to California-based research.

SUV hits church bus, killing 3 people in Fla.

BOCA RATON, Fla. - A church bus filled with teens was hit by an SUV and ran off a highway, plunging into a canal and killing three people, police said yesterday.

The bus, carrying about 25 people from First Baptist Church at Hillsboro in Coconut Creek, was submerged in about 16 feet of water, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Roger Reyes said. Police initially believed a fourth child was missing, but no one was found by divers or when the bus was pulled from the canal early yesterday, leading officials to believe that the child was not on the bus, Lt. Pat Santangelo said.

Reyes said the bus was returning from an Orlando-area theme park late Saturday when the accident occurred. A Ford Explorer had a blowout and hit the bus, running it off the road and into the canal at about 10 p.m., Reyes said.

Calif. wildfires force scores from their homes

HEMET, Calif. - Firefighters battled yesterday to contain several wildfires that blackened thousands of acres and forced scores of people to evacuate their homes.

A new fire moved rapidly through thick brush in Riverside County, charring 400 acres and triggering evacuations as it threatened an unknown number of houses in the tiny desert community of Anza, about 110 miles southeast of Los Angeles. About 300 firefighters and nine aircraft battled the blaze in heat that reached 112 degrees.

Nearly 700 firefighters converged on another blaze in the Angeles National Forest that had burned 1,200 acres near the Los Angeles suburb of Castaic and destroyed two outbuildings. The fire, reported Saturday afternoon, was expected to be fully contained late yesterday.

In Northern California, firefighters expected to extinguish the remains of three wildfires that began Friday and consumed more than 4,000 acres near Angels Camp, about 110 miles east of San Francisco.

Former Vietnam foe helps find U.S. soldier's remains

SMITHVILLE, Texas - The remains of an American soldier who had been missing since the Vietnam War are coming home after being located with help from a former enemy.

Marine 2nd Lt. Donald John Matocha of Smithville was killed in a firefight in April 1968 on Dong Ma mountain in what was then the Republic of Vietnam, but his body was not recovered. The Defense Department had essentially given up trying to locate his remains by 1993, said Hattie Johnson, a case officer with the Marine Corps casualty office in Washington.

Then in 1996, Nguyen Van Loc, a 58-year-old farmer who had been a squad leader of the 320th Division of the People's Army of Vietnam, appeared at the Army's POW/MIA office in Hanoi. He said he had found a dead American on Dong Ma mountain in the spring of 1968 and helped bury him in a bomb crater. Matocha's grave was found in March. A nephew is scheduled to escort Matocha's remains to Smithville on Sept. 16.

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