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Assassinate Chavez, Robertson says

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Virginia Beach, Va.

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson called on Monday for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, calling him a “terrific danger” to the United States.

Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition of America and a former presidential candidate, said on “The 700 Club” it was the United States’ duty to stop Chavez from making Venezuela a “launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.”

Chavez has emerged as an outspoken critic of President Bush, accusing the United States of conspiring to topple his government and possibly backing plots to assassinate him. U.S. officials have called the accusations ridiculous.

“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it,” Robertson said. “It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war … and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop.”

Venezuela is the fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier of oil to the United States.

Justices protect children of same-sex couples

San Francisco

Same-sex couples who raise children are lawful parents, and just like heterosexual couples, they must provide for their children if they break up, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The justices ruled for the first time that custody and child support laws that hold absent fathers accountable also apply to estranged gay and lesbian couples who used reproductive science to conceive.

Being a legal parent “brings with it the benefits as well as the responsibilities,” said Justice Joyce Kennard.

The court’s ruling, involving three separate cases, is the latest to recognize rights of same-sex couples.

The court granted a Marin County woman the right to be the second mother of twins after the birth mother moved out of state. It ruled that a lesbian woman cannot avoid paying child support for her former partner’s biological children. And it decided another woman could not go to court to terminate the parental rights of her former lover years after obtaining a court order stipulating both were parents.

London police modify story about man they shot

London

Scotland Yard acknowledged Monday that Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician mistaken for a suicide bomber, had done nothing unusual before he was shot by officials after entering a London subway last month. Police said Menezes used a ticket to enter, had not jumped a turnstile and was not wearing a padded jacket that could have concealed a bomb.

That version of events, recounted by police in a written statement, was significant because it was similar to a widely publicized report leaked last week about the killing of Menezes, 27. The report, which followed an independent investigation, had contradicted an official explanation of why police shot Menezes seven times in the head on July 22.

Skull in Georgia put at 1.8 million years old

Tbilisi, Georgia

Archaeologists in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have unearthed a skull they say is 1.8 million years old – part of a find that holds the oldest traces of humankind’s closest ancestors ever found in Europe.

The skull from an early member of the genus Homo was found Aug. 6 and unearthed Sunday in Dmanisi, an area about 60 miles southeast of the capital, Tbilisi, said David Lortkipanidze, director of the Georgian National Museum.

In total, five bones or fragments believed to be about the same age have been found in the area, including a jawbone discovered in 1991.

Researchers said the findings in Georgia were about 1 million years older than any widely accepted pre-human remains in Western Europe and were the oldest found outside Africa. The discoveries have provided additional evidence that human ancestors left Africa a half-million years or more earlier than scientists had previously thought.

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