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News Briefs, part 1

University of California Rescinds Ban on South Africa

Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO

University of California regents on Thursday voted to rescind their once controversial policy banning investments in companies that do business in South Africa, freeing university officials to invest in more than 700 companies that have been off-limits.

The unanimous vote by the Board of Regents' Committee on Investments ends what had been a thunderous issue for the University of California system in 1986, when regents bowed to student and community pressure for economic sanctions to protest apartheid and underscore demands for the release of jailed civil rights leader Nelson Mandela.

Nearly seven years later, Mandela is free and, in September, he appeared before the United Nations to call for renewed investment in South Africa. And on Thursday, black and white political leaders ratified a new nonracial constitution that paves the way for free elections in April.

"For all of that to happen in the last 10 years is major progress for the world," Regent William T. Bagley told his colleagues before they voted to lift the ban.

Virginia Loses Out on Lego Park

The Washington Post

WASHINGTON

Lego, the Danish toymaking giant, told Prince William County, Va. officials Thursday that the company will build a $100 million theme park in Southern California instead of Northern Virginia, dashing local hopes of having a second major theme park join Walt Disney Co.'s proposed development there.

After two years of negotiations between the company and county officials, who were hoping to capitalize on the facility's 900 jobs and $2.2 million in annual tax revenue, the larger numbers of young children in California and the state's sunnier weather were the key factors in Lego's decision, according to company spokesman David Lafrennie. But Lafrennie said the company has not abandoned the idea of building in Prince William eventually.

Friday Lego plans a news conference in Carlsbad, the Southern California city of 65,000 that has been chosen for the company's first U.S. theme park.

"The number one criteria was the population in terms of families with young children," said Lafrennie. He added that climate would enable a California park to stay open year-round, which would not be possible in Prince William.

Lego's theme park will be the company's third, modeled after facilities built in Denmark and planned for Windsor, England.

Los Angeles Woman Charged With Castrating Her Husband

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES

In a case likened to that of a Virginia woman who cut off her husband's penis, a Los Angeles woman Thursday was accused of castrating her mate with a 5-inch pair of shears as he slept.

Aurelia Macias, 35, initially was charged with corporal injury to a spouse, a felony that carries a 4-year prison term. But at a court hearing on Thursday, Deputy District Attorney Larry Longo added the more serious charge of mayhem, after he learned from medical records the extent of injuries to her husband, Jaime.

In the hours before the attack on Sept. 20, 1992, the Maciases had spent several hours at a baptismal celebration at an apartment next door. According to Longo, Jaime Macias drank and danced with women other than his wife.

The couple left the party and went home. At 4 a.m., Jaime Macias woke up with a searing pain in his groin. He discovered the injury when he got up and went to the bathroom and found blood all over his pajamas. He went into shock, Longo said.

When officers arrived at their home, they found Jaime Macias on the toilet and a pair of bloody, chrome-plated scissors on a kitchen table. Aurelia Macias was in a second bedroom. The testicles were not found.

At the hearing, Whitfield told Superior Court Judge Marsha N. Revel that the Maciases, who have been separated since the attack, want to reconcile their 17-year marriage.