In brief: Same-sex couples get Justice slack

San Francisco – Federal officials no longer plan to contest joint bankruptcy pleadings brought by legally married same-sex couples, a Department of Justice spokeswoman said.

The Obama administration’s recent position is that the federal law forbidding government recognition of same-sex unions is unconstitutional.

Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that government lawyers decided last week that letting gay and lesbian couples jointly petition for bankruptcy protection is consistent with that stance.

Harmless package empties park

Chicago – A suspicious package that forced the evacuation of Chicago’s Millennium Park on Saturday did not contain explosives and was left there by people participating in a “role-playing event,” police said.

The police department issued a statement late Saturday saying the package contained two bricks and that detectives are questioning three people in relation to the incident. Police were told of the package at about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and emptied the crowded park while officers inspected it.

Officer Darryl Baety, a police spokesman, said the package was wrapped in duct tape and had wires sticking out of it.

Van for inebriated weaves, crashes

Anchorage, Alaska – An Anchorage city van used to pick up drunken people was taken on a joyride by a man suspected of drunken driving, police said.

The Anchorage Daily News reported that 35-year-old Donny H. Weston was arrested late Thursday after police say he got into a Community Service Patrol van parked with the keys in the ignition. Police said social workers were attending to inebriated people when Weston got into the van.

Police say Weston drove the van for a significant distance, including driving against traffic, and eventually crashed the van into a bus and ditched it.


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