National briefs: Germans flew bridge flags

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NEW YORK — Mystery solved? The New York Times got a call this week from a pair of artists in Berlin who say they were the ones who pulled off the stunt of the summer, hoisting two big all-white U.S. flags atop the Brooklyn Bridge last month, swapping them for the usual Stars and Stripes.

When the white flags appeared, rumors flapped: It was a prank or a grave security breach.

But the artists, Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, said the flags had nothing to do with terrorism. They only wanted to celebrate “the beauty of public space” and the great American bridge whose German-born engineer, John Roebling, who died in 1869 on July 22, the day the white flags appeared.

Connecticut nominee

Connecticut Republicans on Tuesday nominated Tom Foley, a Greenwich businessman, as their challenger to Democratic incumbent Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Mr. Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland who lost narrowly to Mr. Malloy four years ago, defeated state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

Md. gun ban upheld

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A federal judge Tuesday upheld Maryland’s gun control law, which includes a ban on assault rifles and a limit on magazine size, according to court documents.

The Firearm Safety Act of 2013 is one of the strictest legislative packages for gun control. The law was a response to the December 2012 massacre of 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gunman with an assault rifle.

Lawyers for gun groups had argued that the state's ban on semiautomatic weapons, which also limits magazine capacity to 10 rounds, was unconstitutional and deprived gun owners of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

Bullet train line approved

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials Tuesday cleared the way for construction of a major segment of the California bullet train project: 114 miles of track from Fresno to Bakersfield.

After months of reviewing the proposed route and related environmental studies, the Surface Transportation Board conditionally approved the longest section of the Central Valley alignment, exempting it from further board oversight.

The approval requires the agency to build a route designated by the Federal Railroad Administration and to address potential environmental problems during construction.

Unusual Maserati

BRAINTREE, Mass. — Police patrol cars are usually Fords or Chryslers, not Maseratis.

So when a patrolman in Braintree, Mass., spotted a Maserati resembling a police cruiser over the weekend, he pulled it over.

Deputy Chief Wayne Foster tells The Patriot Ledger the luxury Italian vehicle’s body was painted black and white with a police-style shield on the doors, and police-related decals.

The driver, whose name was not made public, was summoned to court to face a charge of impersonating a police officer.

Wolverines denied status

SALMON, Idaho — U.S. wildlife managers Tuesday denied federal protections for rare wolverines, outraging conservationists but pleasing Western states that opposed adding the reclusive but feisty member of the weasel family to the endangered and threatened species list.

But on Tuesday, federal wildlife managers said there was "insufficient evidence” that climate change would harm wolverines, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had said last year.


— Compiled from wire services


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