Gov. Bush says he will talk with
Muslim groups about threats
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Jeb Bush told Muslim leaders Monday the state will assess the safety of all Florida mosques and Islamic schools following the arrest of a doctor accused of plotting to blow up Islamic buildings.
Officers with the state’s regional anti-terrorism task forces will visit each of the buildings by Tuesday, Bush and Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Tim Moore told Muslim leaders during a conference call.
“We’re here to provide a level of security,” Bush told the leaders. “It is a duty of the state government, and local government and federal government ... to protect people’s rights and to make sure they are not targeted because of their ethnicity, their nationality or their religion. Period. I take this very seriously.”
’N Sync singer Lance Bass
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA welcomed its first celebrity space tourist on Monday: ’N Sync singer Lance Bass, who hopes to clinch a deal with the Russians soon and fly to the international space station in two months.
The 23-year-old boy-band member began a full week of training at Johnson Space Center in Houston along with the rest of his crew, a Russian and a Belgian. All three flew in from Moscow over the weekend after training at the cosmonaut base in Star City, Russia.
Johnson’s public affairs office fielded numerous calls about Bass’ presence, but it was not excessive and no groupies were reported outside the center gates, said spokesman John Ira Petty.
NASA agreed to teach Bass about the basics of space flight — and the particulars of the U.S. side of the space station — even though his trip is still up in the air because of contract issues with the Russians.
The three men are supposed to blast off from Kazakhstan on Oct. 28 in a Russian Soyuz capsule that will remain at the space station and serve as a fresh lifeboat. But Bass has yet to come to financial terms with the Russian Space Agency despite months of wrangling, and he’s yet to be endorsed by a panel of space station representatives.
ACT to add an optional essay
to its college entrance exam
The maker of the nation’s second-most widely used college entrance test, the ACT, said Monday it will include an optional essay on its exam which students can take depending on the admissions requirements of the colleges where they’re applying.
The announcement comes less than two months after owners of the ACT’s rival, the SAT, said they would add a mandatory essay to that test.
ACT Inc., headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, said its decision was influenced by the expectation that the University of California system will later this year require a writing sample from prospective students.
San Francisco Chronicle
to close PM Edition
SAN FRANCISCO — Less than two years after its debut, the San Francisco Chronicle has decided to stop the presses on the newspaper’s afternoon edition. The last issue will be published Sept. 27.
Chronicle publisher John Oppedahl made the announcement to staffers in a memo distributed last Friday and made public Monday on an Internet media news site.
Oppedahl said the current “harsh economic reality cannot justify the continued costs” of publication. “The deep financial hole we’re in is something we must face, as we’ve been saying for some time.”
About 8,000 copies of the afternoon edition are being sold daily, the newspaper said. The Chronicle’s morning circulation is 525,897 daily and 537,145 on Sunday, although Oppedahl told employees new circulation figures slated for release next month would reflect “significant gains.”