In brief: Death blamed on 9/11 attacks
NEW YORK – A man who died last year of lung disease was added Friday to the official list of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks.
New York City’s medical examiner ruled that 63-year-old Jerry Borg, of Manhattan, who died in December, was killed by complications caused by a lung condition he got from inhaling dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center.
The death brings the official count of World Trade Center attack victims to 2,753.
Borg was working downtown on the day of the attacks and became caught in the dense cloud of pulverized concrete and glass that billowed over lower Manhattan when the twin towers fell.
Weather hinders firefighters
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – High winds and hot weather hampered firefighters’ efforts Friday to protect homes, tinder-dry patches of forest and stretches of high desert from several wildfires burning throughout the Southwest.
Along the New Mexico-Colorado border, winds were pushing flames from one blaze toward breaks carved into the rugged landscape by bulldozers. Fire officials said the wind hampered the work of water-dropping helicopters and air tankers from helping ground crews.
The fire has raced across more than 27,000 acres along the New Mexico-Colorado border, burning eight homes and six other structures and forcing the evacuation of several hundred people in the mountains near Raton, N.M.
Firefighters were focused Friday on keeping the fire from pushing farther into Colorado. In that state, more than 7,100 acres have burned since the fire started Sunday.
Subcontractor admits scheme
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A Navy subcontractor has pleaded guilty in Rhode Island for his part in what federal prosecutors say was a kickback scheme that cost the Navy millions of dollars.
Russell Spencer, 56, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiring to commit bribery. Prosecutors say he helped funnel money from a Navy contractor to a civilian Navy employee who prosecutors say then bumped up funding to the contractor.
Prosecutors say the scheme cost the Navy between $7 million and $20 million.
Cuomo hopeful on gay rights bill
ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he was cautiously optimistic his gay marriage bill will soon become law as he held more one-on-one negotiations Friday with Senate Republicans.
Republicans who hold the critical votes say they worry Cuomo’s bill doesn’t adequately protect religious groups and churches that refuse to preside over same-sex weddings and other services.
The Democrat-led Assembly passed the measure Wednesday as expected, and a vote in the Senate had been anticipated this week.
That action could now be days away, after Senate Republicans didn’t even discuss Friday whether to take that action.