In the Nation

Former student Ty'Sheoma Bethea speaks at a ceremony for a school that got help after her letter to President Obama.
Former student Ty'Sheoma Bethea speaks at a ceremony for a school that got help after her letter to President Obama.
Posted: April 19, 2011

Arizona axes gun, 'birther' bills

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed two controversial bills Monday that would have allowed guns on university campuses and required presidential candidates to provide additional proof about their citizenship status.

The surprise veto of the gun measure disappointed advocates of gun rights, who vowed to bring it back next year. The bill had been softened somewhat after strong criticism, but Brewer said the language in the bill was unclear.

Constitutional questions prompted Brewer to veto the Birther bill that would have required presidential candidates to present their long-form birth certificates or other documents to prove their citizenship, a measure pressed by lawmakers who question President Obama's birthplace.

"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president . . . to submit 'early baptismal or circumcision certificates,' " she said. "This is a bridge too far." - N.Y. Times News Service

S.C. girl gets wish for a new school

DILLON, S.C. - Construction is beginning on a new school in South Carolina, more than two years after a student wrote Congress about the decrepit conditions at her school.

Ty'Sheoma Bethea, 16, joined officials at a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for the new middle school in Dillon County.

In 2009, Bethea sent letters to South Carolina's congressmen asking for help, saying other schools had far better facilities. President Obama recounted her plea in a speech to Congress.

The replacement of South Carolina's oldest school was made possible with a $36 million low-interest federal loan and a $4 million federal grant. The middle school is the largest of three Dillon County school projects to benefit from the financing.

- AP

Ex-general eyes Texas Senate seat

WASHINGTON - Democratic officials said Monday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to run for the U.S. Senate in Texas, giving Democrats a high-profile recruit to fill the seat being vacated by GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Sanchez is a retired Army lieutenant general and was commander of coalition forces in Iraq when revelations about prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib became public.

He gave up his command in June 2004 and has since maintained that he never authorized torture at the prison. He retired from the military in 2006, blaming the Abu Ghraib scandal for his retirement.

Sanchez would become the first prominent Democrat to seek Hutchison's seat.

- AP

Elsewhere:

Motorcycle deaths dropped 2 percent in the first nine months of last year, but a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association may signal just a blip, not a lasting improvement. There were 80 fewer motorcycle deaths from January through September of 2010 than in the same period the previous year, the report said. But fatalities had started to climb back up during the last three of those nine months.

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