National Briefs: Probe spurs R.I. resignation

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Gordon D. Fox, speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives, resigned his leadership post Saturday and said that he would not seek re-election in the fall, a decision that came a day after federal and state law enforcement authorities raided his office and home.

Mr. Fox, a Democrat, said in a written statement that he was abandoning the speakership he has held for the last four years because he did not want the raids to distract his colleagues from addressing the challenges the state faces.

Federal and state law enforcement agents raided Mr. Fox's office at the State House and his home in East Providence, R.I., on Friday, but did not disclose the reason for the raids. Mr. Fox, too, has been silent on the raids.

Mr. Fox, who is gay, was instrumental in pushing through the legislation last May that legalized same-sex marriage in Rhode Island. And at the bill signing ceremony on the steps of the State House he spoke emotionally about his relationship with his longtime partner, Marcus LaFond.

Biden speaks on gays

LOS ANGELES -- As hundreds of gay couples in Michigan flocked to clerks' offices Saturday -- only to have a federal appeals court again halt same-sex marriages in the state hours later -- Vice President Joe Biden made a forceful case for gay rights, both in the United States and worldwide.

"The single most basic of all human rights is the right to decide who you love," Mr. Biden said, adding that Americans in 20 years would look back with dismay at current discrimination against gays and lesbians in some states.

Mr. Biden has hinted that he may run for president again in 2016. And speaking to an annual gathering of the Human Rights Campaign -- an organization that works for gay, lesbian and transgender rights -- Mr. Biden sought to underscore his own bona fides as a champion of gay men and lesbians, who make up an important donor base within the Democratic Party.

Tribeca, MSG join forces

NEW YORK -- Tribeca Enterprises, the film company co-founded by Robert De Niro and the presenter of the Tribeca Film Festival, has sold a 50 percent stake to the Madison Square Garden Company.

The deal, announced Saturday night, combines two major New York show business players. It gives Tribeca Enterprises the marketing power of a growing sports and entertainment company and offers the MSG Co. an entry into the film business.

The deal values Tribeca Enterprises at $45 million. The acquisition comes just weeks before the 13th annual Tribeca Film Festival begins April 16.

Gas jumps almost 5 cents

HOUSTON -- The average price for regular gasoline at U.S. pumps rose 4.74 cents in the past two weeks to $3.5572 a gallon, the highest since Sept. 20, according to Lundberg Survey Inc.

The survey covers the period ended March 21. The average is 15.02 cents below a year ago.

1 dead after bus crash

WASHINGTON -- A shuttle bus transporting a group back from a birthday party collided with a car and overturned before dawn Sunday along a highway south of the nation's capital, leaving one person dead and sending 16 others to the hospital, Virginia State Police said.

The driver of the white sedan on Interstate 95 did not stop but was arrested later Sunday and charged with one felony count of hit-and-run, the Virginia State Police said.


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