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> CALIFORNIA

Marine who led attack on Iraqis discharged

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Marine Corps has discharged the lone Marine convicted in the 2005 killings of unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Former Sgt. Frank Wuterich ended his service Friday, said Marine Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph Kloppel.

Wuterich's attorney, Neal Puckett, said in an email to the Associated Press on Tuesday that the Marine Corps gave him a general discharge under honorable conditions -- one step below an honorable discharge.

Wuterich, 31, had his rank reduced to private as part of a plea deal that abruptly ended his manslaughter court-martial last month at Camp Pendleton and spared him imprisonment.

The father of two pleaded guilty to negligent dereliction of duty as the leader of the squad that killed 24 Iraqis after a roadside bomb exploded in the town, killing a fellow Marine and wounding two other Marines.

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> VIRGINIA

Bill banning adoption by gays approved

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Private adoption agencies could deny placing children with prospective parents who are gay under a bill that received final approval in the Virginia General Assembly on Tuesday.

The Senate voted, 22-18, to pass the bill and send it to Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who has said he will sign it. Virginia will become just the second state with such a law, which proponents said was modeled after North Dakota's statute. The legislation allows agencies to deny placements that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs, including opposition to homosexuality.

Supporters of the "conscience clause" measure said it protects the religious rights of private agencies, many of them faith-based, that contract with the state to provide adoption and foster care services.

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> INDIANA

Sugarland lawyer casts partial blame on fans

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Fans who were killed and injured when stage rigging and sound equipment collapsed onto them as they awaited a

Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair failed to take steps to ensure their own safety and are at least in part to blame for their injuries, the country duo's attorneys said.

Calling the powerful winds that toppled the stage Aug. 13 an "act of God," Sugarland's attorneys said fair officials and Mid-America Sound Corp. were responsible for the stage setup and that the fans voluntarily assumed risk by attending the show.

Sugarland manager Gail Gellman issued a statement to the Associated Press on Tuesday saying Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were upset that anyone might think they were not concerned about their fans.