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In the Nation

San Francisco to renew gay vows

SAN FRANCISCO - Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon's nuptials at City Hall ignited the gay-wedding spree that thrust San Francisco into the national spotlight in 2004. Now the city plans a repeat of the ceremony when same-sex marriage becomes legal Monday in California.

Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to officiate at the couple's wedding, just as he did in 2004. He said Martin, 87, and Lyon, 84, would be the only same-sex couple married Monday at City Hall. The clerk's office will issue licenses for other couples beginning Tuesday.

Martin and Lyon are lesbian activists who have been together for more than five decades. They were plaintiffs in the case that led to the state's legalization of same-sex marriage.

- AP

Air-traffic classes clogged by hires

WASHINGTON - The government is hiring so many air-traffic controllers to replace departing veterans that it cannot efficiently train them, the Transportation Department's inspector general said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is so swamped with new hires that it has exceeded its own maximum trainee numbers at 22 percent of its 314 air-control facilities, said a report by inspector general Calvin L. Scovel III. It said the FAA uses a database replete with erroneous information to manage the training program and failed to implement remedial steps the agency itself promised in 2004.

The FAA accepted most of the inspector general's recommendations but rejected the idea of making public an accurate count each year of how many fully certified controllers and how many trainees work in each of its facilities.

- AP

Detainees at risk, rights group says

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Guantanamo Bay detainees are at increasing risk of mental illness because most are held in extreme isolation, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

Most of the men held at the base in Cuba - none of whom has been convicted - are worse off than convicts at the highest-security "supermax" prisons in the United States, because they are denied family visits and are not allowed radios or televisions in their cells, the group said.

A Guantanamo spokeswoman, Navy Cmdr. Pauline Storum, said the United States had no immediate comment. Over the last year, officials have announced some steps to ease conditions such as letting prisoners call their families. Human Rights Watch said about 185 of Guantanamo's 270 detainees were in maximum-security conditions, confined to individual cells for up to 22 hours a day.

- AP


The astronauts aboard

the orbiting shuttle and space-station complex shook hands and hugged goodbye yesterday as the doors swung shut between their spacecraft on the eve of undocking. Discovery is due to pull away this morning and return home Saturday.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg

(D., N.J.) voiced outrage over President Bush's threat to veto a bill to fund Amtrak for the next five years. Lautenberg, a lead sponsor of the bill, said Bush should end his hostility toward energy-efficient rail service in light of rising gas and airline ticket prices.