National briefs (8/12/12)
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DETROIT -- Democrats unanimously voted Saturday to endorse same-sex marriage in their party's platform, the first time a major political party has supported the issue in its statement of policies.
The action at the platform committee meeting sends the document for ratification by delegates to next month's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. President Barack Obama said in May that he supports same-sex marriage. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney doesn't.
A drafting committee included the same-sex marriage provision in the platform last month. Platform committee members raised no objections.
LOS ANGELES -- After a week of transmitted dramatic photos of Mars, rover Curiosity is going to have a four-day "brain transplant."
Engineers will be updating Curiosity's software, currently primed for its flight stage, to prepare it for its Martian surface operations. The update will add two crucial functions -- the ability to use the geochemistry lab's sampling system and to drive.
The update had to wait until the rover landed because its processor, built years ago to withstand the harsh environment of interplanetary space, is limited compared to today's consumer technology, said senior software engineer Ben Cichy.
NEW YORK -- Time magazine and CNN suspended Fareed Zakaria, the writer and television host, on Friday after he apologized for plagiarizing sections of his column on gun control in the Aug. 20 issue of Time.
Some passages in Mr. Zakaria's column, "The Case for Gun Control," closely tracked those in a longer article on guns in America by the historian Jill Lepore in the April 23 issue of The New Yorker.
The similar text was spotted by the conservative website Newsbusters, and quickly spread across the Internet after appearing on the media blog JimRomenesko.com.
CONCORD, N.H. -- A 72-year-old vacationer who disappeared in New Hampshire last month hitchhiked, walked and worked odd jobs to get himself home to North Carolina, where a sheriff's deputy finally identified him by the initials on his wedding band.
New Hampshire state police said Hugh Armstrong was found in good health around 1 a.m. Saturday walking along a roadway in Marion, N.C. Authorities said he was confused and unsure where he was headed. Marion is about 240 miles west of his home in Clayton, N.C.
Mr. Armstrong vanished July 25 while visiting Stinson Lake, leading to an extensive search.
DETROIT -- General Motors is recalling more than 38,000 Chevrolet Impala police cars in the U.S. and Canada because a part in the front suspension can crack and cause a crash.
The recall affects police cars from the 2008 through 2012 model years. The lower control arm in the suspension can fracture, causing sudden changes in handling that could make the driver lose control, GM said in documents posted Saturday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website.
Impalas sold to the public have some different suspension parts and are not affected by the recall, spokesman Alan Adler said. "We tested for durability on the civilian Impala, and we believe there are no issues," he said.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published August 12, 2012 12:00 am