Former N.Y. Sen. Moynihan dies at 76

WASHINGTON

Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a New York City shoeshine boy who became an iconoclastic scholar-politician and served four terms in the Senate, died yesterday. He was 76.

Moynihan’s death was announced on the Senate floor by Sen. Hillary Clinton, who two years ago was elected to the Senate seat Moynihan had held for 24 years.

“We have lost a great American, an extraordinary senator, an intellectual and a man of passion and understanding for what really makes the country work,” she said.

The New York Democrat died from complications stemming from a ruptured appendix at 4:15 p.m. yesterday at the Washington Hospital Center, hospital officials said. He had undergone surgery on March 11 to remove his appendix, and was moved into intensive care later that week, suffering from infection and pneumonia.

The lanky, pink-faced lawmaker, who preferred bow ties and professorial tweeds to the Senate uniform of lawyer-like pinstripes, reveled in speaking his mind and defying conventional labels.

Known for his ability to spot emerging issues and trends, Moynihan was a leader in welfare reform and transportation initiatives, and an authority on Social Security and foreign policy.

Israeli copters leave three dead, four injured

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip

Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians in the northern Gaza early today, killing three policemen, Palestinians and the Israeli military said.

Witnesses said Israeli helicopters fired two missiles at a Palestinian police post in the town of Beit Hanoun. Hospital and security officials said three police died and four were wounded.

Also, about 10 Israeli tanks headed for the residential part of the town.

The Israeli military said soldiers were arresting suspected militants in an attempt to stop rocket gunfire and bomb attacks. Palestinians fired at soldiers from several locations, including the police post, and troops fired back, the military said.

In recent weeks Israel has frequently sent troops into Palestinian cities, towns and refugee camps in the Gaza Strip. The Israelis say they’re hunting militants from Hamas, an Islamic group that has been responsible for dozens of attacks during more than two years of conflict.

Also, the Israelis have been trying to stop militants from firing homemade rockets from Gaza at Israeli towns just across the fence.

N. Korea ends talks with U.S. military

PANMUNJOM, Korea

Accusing the United States of planning an invasion, North Korea yesterday cut off the only regular military contact with the U.S.-led command that monitors the Korean War armistice.

The move will further isolate the communist North amid tensions over its suspected nuclear weapons programs.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday dismissed as “groundless” allegations by the North that American forces may attack.

“There will be no war on the Korean Peninsula as long as we do not want a war,” Roh was quoted as saying by his office, adding that Washington has pledged to resolve the crisis peacefully.

U.N. envoy Maurice Strong said that North Korean officials told him in meetings in Pyongyang last week that they “reserved the right” to reprocess their spent fuel rods that experts say could yield enough plutonium for several atomic bombs within months.

Supreme court hears Texas sodomy case

WASHINGTON

The Supreme Court should reverse course and strike down a ban on homosexual sex as outdated, discriminatory and harmful, a lawyer for two men arrested in their bedroom argued yesterday.

The court appeared deeply divided over a Texas law that makes it a crime for gay couples to engage in sex acts that are legal for heterosexual couples. The court was widely criticized for a ruling 17 years ago that upheld a similar sodomy ban.

States should not be able to single out one group and make their conduct illegal solely because the state dislikes that conduct, lawyer Paul Smith argued for the Texas men.

“There is a long history of the state making moral judgments,” retorted Justice Antonin Scalia. “You can make it sound very puritanical,” but the state may have good reasons, Scalia added.

Christian group backs anti-abortion phone co.

WASHINGTON

The Christian Coalition of America is raising money by encouraging members to sign up and make their calls using an anti-abortion phone company that will send its profits back to the coalition.

The 2 million-member coalition, long a force in Republican politics, recently sent out a solicitation encouraging its members to sign up for the local or long-distance services of Pro Life Communications. “For the first time ever, with Pro Life Communications we have a local phone company that desires to honor God, uphold family values and save the 3,500 innocent babies that are killed each day in the name of `choice,'” coalition president Roberta Combs wrote in the e-mail appeal.

The Christian Coalition’s arrangement with the St. Charles, Mo.-based company is the latest example of interest groups delving into commerce to raise money.

– Compiled from Daily wire reports.

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