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Hundreds at funeral of family killed in French train fire

NORTH BRANFORD, CONN. (AP) -- More than 800 people gathered Saturday for the funeral of five family members killed in a fire aboard a French train.

Salvatore M. Amore and his wife, Jeanne, both 43, their children, 12-year-old Emily Jeanne and 8-year-old Michael Bernhardt, and Michael Amore's mother, 72-year-old Susanne Amore, died with seven other passengers Nov. 6 when fire broke out in their sleeping car as they traveled through Nancy, France.

"Perhaps in some people's eyes they were unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in God's eyes, there is no wrong place or wrong time," the Rev. Joseph Kaminsky said during the service in St. Augustine's Church.

Officials said an electrical problem may have caused the fire, but investigators also were looking into whether human error may have been to blame.

Massachusetts governor hospitalized with meningitis

BOSTON (AP) -- Acting Gov. Jane Swift, 37, was diagnosed with viral meningitis Saturday, a day after being admitted to a hospital with headaches and nausea.

The illness is not life-threatening, but Swift will remain hospitalized for another one to three days, said Dr. Troy Brennan of Brigham and Women's Hospital. She should be back to full strength quickly, he said.

He said it was not related to exhaustion or overwork.

Doctors found no bacteria present in Swift's cerebrospinal fluid, which means she doesn't have bacterial meningitis, which is more serious.

Swift was elected lieutenant governor and became acting governor in 2001 when Paul Cellucci was appointed U.S. ambassador to Canada. She did not run for election and will be replaced by fellow Republican Mitt Romney in January.

Vermont diocese refuses to report abuse charges

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will no longer immediately report allegations of sexual misconduct by priests to state authorities. Officials said the diocese will first look into charges to determine if they're credible.

Last spring, under pressure from the Vermont attorney general, the Burlington Diocese agreed it would promptly give authorities any information it receives on alleged sexual misconduct by priests or church employees.

But the diocese now says it will return to a policy of first investigating on its own. If the diocese determines the allegations are credible, then the information will be given to authorities.

The Rev. Wendall Searles, vicar general at the Burlington Diocese, said church law dictates that the church take steps to protect the rights of priests.

He said that policy goes beyond the requirements of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which was approved last week by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops at a meeting in Washington, D.C.

Human rights watchdogs to object to military school

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) -- Thousands of people attended workshops and religious ceremonies Saturday in preparation for a demonstration today against a military school they say abuses human rights in Latin America.

The demonstration will be the 13th annual protest outside Fort Benning by the School of the Americas Watch.

The protests were started after the Nov. 16, 1989, killings in El Salvador of six Jesuit priests. Some involved in the killings had attended the Army's School of the Americas, which moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984.

As many as 7,000 protesters took part last year.

The Army's School of the Americas was replaced last year by a new institution operated by the Defense Department and supervised by an independent 13-member board that includes lawmakers, scholars, diplomats and religious leaders.

Officials say the new school -- the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation -- still trains Latin American soldiers but also focuses on civilian and diplomatic affairs. Human rights courses are mandatory.

Construction worker's body found in collapsed garage

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) -- Rescue crews Saturday found the body of a construction worker who had been missing since Friday afternoon when a seven-story unfinished parking garage collapsed, killing two others.

The body of the unidentified worker was recovered shortly after 3 p.m., police said. He was part of a work team on a 15-day assignment from North Carolina.

Crews spent Saturday gingerly lifting away concrete slabs before the body was discovered. They had searched through the night in pouring rain, using cameras on long, snaking cables to peer into dark crevices in the rubble.

The cause of the collapse was still unclear Saturday. Just before the floors fell, workers heard a popping noise but no explosion, police said.

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