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News Briefs

Marchers Descend on Washington To Promote American Families

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- WASHINGTON

Tens of thousands marched in a peaceful, celebratory crowd that stretched from below the steps of the Capitol to the Washington Monument, promoting the strength of the American family.

The gathering was called by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and took place on the fifth anniversary of the original men’s march. The rally seemed smaller than the Million Man March -- which also took place on a Monday -- but it is believed to be the largest gathering of black Americans since.

Farrakhan, who in the past has provoked controversy with his anti-white and anti-Semetic rhetoric, Monday called the recent desecration of holy places in the Middle East “madness.” During a wide-ranging speech of more than two hours, he also condemned abortion and described the family as “the basic unit of civilization.”

Members of the largely black crowd, many with children, set blankets and lawn chairs on the Mall on a summer-like day and responded with cheers and applause as a steady stream of speakers extolled the importance of strong and unified families. The broad expanse of Constitution Avenue took on the sounds, sights and smells of a street carnival, closed to traffic, and with vendors hawking T-shirts, hats and food.

High Court Rejects D.C. Plea For Voting Member of Congress

THE BALTIMORE SUN -- WASHINGTON

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that residents of the District of Columbia do not have a constitutional right to vote for their own representative in Congress or, as an alternative, to help choose Maryland’s congressional delegation.

The ruling, coming in a brief unexplained decision to uphold a lower-court ruling, blocked an attempt to win from the courts what the capital city’s residents have been unable to gain from Congress or a constitutional amendment. Justice John Paul Stevens was the lone dissenter.

The 8-1 decision leaves the city’s voters with the right to select only a nonvoting delegate to the House -- a position now held by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat.

Amy W. Slemmer, executive director of D.C. Vote, an activist group that is seeking to gain full voting rights for district residents, said, “We take this as a mandate for the work we’re doing, to raise the tenor of the grass-roots debate so that the national legislature will effect a solution. This requires a political fix.”

Funerals Cited for Ebola Outbreak

THE WASHINGTON POST -- GULU, UGANDA

Health workers here fear Ebola may be spreading by an unexpected means: funerals. The first nursing student who died of Ebola is assumed to have caught it from an unknown patient. But Matthew Lukwiya, head doctor at Lacor Hospital, said the two fellow students might have been infected at her funeral.

By long custom, funerals here are intimate affairs. Mourners crowd into the small, mud-daubed huts where most people live, keeping vigil with the body until burial, usually the following day. Before food is shared, the mourners eschew the custom of washing and dip their unwashed hands into a common bowl.

“What is the good of that?” a WHO officer asked several women who had gathered Friday in a neighborhood where eight people had perished in the previous three weeks. “Unity,” three women replied.

“That custom will have to be suspended,” the district health officer declared, to nods all around.