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In the Nation


Equality campaign targets the South

A national organization is launching a three-year, $8.5 million campaign to promote LGBT equality and push for new legal protections in three Southern states dominated by conservative politics and religion and known for resistance to change: Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi.

The Human Rights Campaign is planning a movement based on using chats and front-porch visits between relatives and friends to foster an environment more welcoming toward people of all sexual orientations.

The idea is borne out in polls: People are less likely to oppose expanded rights and acceptance if they know someone who's gay. "You overcome all of the objections by having conversations and getting to know your neighbors," Chad Griffin, an Arkansas native and Human Rights Campaign president, said. The group plans to open offices in each state and staff them with 20 people, primarily residents. - AP

Suspect in hospital

A teenager charged with stabbing a fellow high school student to death on the day of their junior prom is being held in a hospital under psychiatric evaluation where he will likely remain for two weeks, one of his attorneys said Saturday. The name of the 16-year-old suspect was not officially released but people who saw him taken into custody identified him as Chris Plaskon. He is accused of stabbing to death Maren Sanchez, 16, at Jonathan Law High School in Milford. - AP

Tornado damage

Residents, meteorologists, and emergency officials in eastern North Carolina were surveying the damage Saturday from multiple tornadoes that damaged more than 200 homes the previous day and sent more than a dozen people to the emergency room. Meteorologists said tornadoes with winds of more than 111 m.p.h. touched down in Pitt and Beaufort Counties on Friday, and they were continuing to investigate storm damage. - AP