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CALIFORNIA/Anti-gay lawmaker is gay

Republican state Sen. Roy Ashburn said Monday he is gay, ending days of speculation that began after his arrest last week for investigation of driving under the influence. Ashburn, 55, who consistently voted against gay rights measures during his 14 years in the state legislature, came out in an interview with KERN radio in Bakersfield, the area he represents. Ashburn said he felt compelled to address rumors that he had visited a gay nightclub near the Capitol before his DUI arrest. The father of four said he had tried to keep his personal life separate from his professional life until his March 3 arrest.


Student visa fraud

A California man was charged Monday with operating a ring of illegal test-takers who helped dozens of Middle Eastern nationals obtain U.S. student visas by passing various proficiency and college-placement exams for them, federal authorities said. The allegations reveal a potentially dangerous security breach in the country's student visa system. Eamonn Daniel Higgins, 46, of Laguna Niguel made an appearance in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana on one count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud as federal immigration agents arrested 16 of his suspected clients who remained in Southern California. A judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.


TEXAS/Gunman targets father, son

A gunman apparently angry over business dealings wounded a father and son at their financial services company inside an office building yesterday, then shot himself as police closed in, authorities said. The gunfire happened about 10:30 a.m. After the two men were shot, the suspect apparently turned the gun on himself as three officers were coming down the hall toward the third-floor suite, said Dallas police spokesman Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse. The suspect was in critical condition yesterday. The victims, Richard Smith, 66, and R. Chris Smith, 39, were in stable condition. It was not clear exactly why the suspect opened fire inside the offices of Smith Financial in northern Dallas.

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