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Michigan, S.C. clear abortion legislation

Michigan's Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bill requiring minors to get permission from a parent or judge before having an abortion, and South Carolina senators unanimously approved similar legislation with a twist. Under South Carolina's bill, parents who deny a daughter's request for an abortion would have to share legal and financial responsibility for her child until the young mother turns 18.The Michigan legislation, adopted 29-8, now goes to the House. The South Carolina bill now returns to the House, which can either accept Senate amendments or work with senators on a compromise bill.

California primary may be advanced

WASHINGTON - The Democratic Party moved Wednesday to allow California to shift its presidential primary from June to early March. The Democratic National Committee's rules and bylaws committee agreed to change party rules to permit the March vote. The change would set up a calendar under which Iowa, New Hampshire and California would make their choices on successive weeks, followed one week later by the so-called Super Tuesday primaries.

Stage fright wins pension for judge

SAN DIEGO - A judge who resigned after developing what he called "stage fright" on the bench has won a lifetime disability pension at age 44. Former Municipal Judge Joseph K. Davis received the pension - currently $56,002 annually - to settle a dispute with a state agency over the severity of psychiatric problems he had after nine years on the bench. Davis resigned a year ago, the final day of a six-year term.

In the lawsuit filed last summer, Davis said he developed "stage fright" about a year after taking the bench. He said the problem became so bad that it interfered with his ability to perform routine judicial tasks.

Copters grounded at Whiting Field

WHITING FIELD - The Navy has grounded most of its Bell TH-57 Jet Ranger training helicopters because of cracks in landing-skid supports, a spokesman said Wednesday. All 140 of the Navy's orange-and-white TH-57s are based at this air station in the Florida Panhandle, the only installation where the service trains new helicopter pilots. Only 25 TH-57s were flying as of Wednesday, said a public affairs officer.

Cracks were found in 123 of the aircraft, reducing flight operations by 80 percent as of Monday, but Petty Officer 1st Class Jon Gagne said repairs are being made, and the reduction is expected to be down to only 10 percent by March 15.

Advisers to Texas candidate are killed

PUTNAM, Texas - A small plane carrying five business associates of Republican gubernatorial candidate Clayton Williams crashed and burned in a rural area Wednesday, killing everyone aboard, officials said.

Williams is considered the front-runner in a March 13 primary for the seat that will be vacated by Republican Gov. Bill Clements. The victims were not members of his staff but were described as "key advisers and key people" in his campaign.

Worker wins suit over cursing

HAHNVILLE, La. - A plant worker who said she suffered an anxiety attack after her foreman cursed at her has been awarded $60,000 in damages. A jury last week ordered Monsanto Co. and a supervisor to pay Irma White the amount for emotional and physical stress. Monsanto spokesman George Williamson said the company will appeal.

Students could help environment

WASHINGTON - College students admit they aren't doing much to protect the environment but the majority believe they can do something to help, according to a study released Wednesday. The National Wildlife Federation, the nation's largest conservation organization, found in a survey of 500 undergraduates that only 16 percent considered themselves "very active" on environmental issues and conservation. However, 76 percent of those polled said they thought there was something they personally could do to help protect the environment, such as not littering, reducing their use of environmentally harmful products and taking part in environmental organizations.