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Nation in brief: Byrd hospitalized with pain from fall

 (The Spokesman-Review)
Byrd (The Spokesman-Review)

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia was hospitalized Tuesday after complaining of back pain following a fall at his home, his spokesman said.

Byrd, 90, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the longest-serving senator in history, was staying overnight at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for observation, said spokesman Jesse Jacobs. It was not immediately clear whether he had suffered broken bones.

Jacobs said Byrd fell at his Virginia home Monday night. He came to his office Tuesday and was on the Senate floor to vote for an Indian health bill. But after noticing he was wincing in pain, Byrd’s staff recommended that he see the Capitol physician.

Los Angeles

Most cats’, dogs’ neutering required

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday signed one of the nation’s toughest laws on pet sterilization, requiring most dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered by the time they are 4 months old.

The ordinance is aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the thousands of euthanizations conducted in Los Angeles’ animal shelters every year.

“We will, sooner rather than later, become a no-kill city and this is the greatest step in that direction,” Councilman Tony Cardenas said as he held a kitten at a City Hall news conference.

The ordinance does exempt some animals, including those that have competed in shows or sporting competitions, guide dogs, animals used by police agencies and those belonging to professional breeders.

The average pet owner, however, must have their dog or cat spayed or neutered by the time it reaches 4 months of age (as late as 6 months with a letter from a veterinarian). People with older unneutered pets and newcomers to the city with animals also have to obey the law.

Little Rock, Ark.

Diocese opposes donations to Komen

The Catholic Diocese of Little Rock is urging its members not to donate to a breast cancer foundation known for its fundraising races across the globe because the group supports Planned Parenthood.

The diocese says the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, which has invested about $1 billion in cancer outreach and research, gives money to Planned Parenthood to hold breast exams and offer education to women in its clinics.

“Donors cannot control how an organization designates its funds,” a diocese statement reads. “Therefore, money donated for a specific service … directly frees up funds to support other areas of an organization’s agenda.”

Marianne Linane, director of the diocese’s “respect life” office, said those other areas include abortions and contraceptive services.

Kingman, Ariz.

Polygamist leader in Arizona custody

Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was handed over to Arizona authorities Tuesday to face sex charges stemming from the arranged marriages of two teenage girls to older relatives.

He already has been convicted in Utah in connection with one of those cases, involving a 14-year-old girl.

“Now it’s our turn,” Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said.

Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, will plead not guilty to the Arizona charges today in a Kingman court, said defense attorney Mike Piccarreta.

Jeffs, 52, is charged as an accomplice with four counts of incest and four counts of sexual contact with a minor in an indictment.


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