Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a conservative Republican re-elected in November, on Tuesday rescinded an executive order issued by a Democratic predecessor that offered protections for gay and bisexual state workers. Brownback said he was rescinding a 2007 order signed by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius that established a "protected class of rights" for state employees specifically for sexual orientation and gender identity. In its place, Brownback said he was issuing an executive order that would boost state employment-related aid for veterans and disabled people, while reaffirming the state's "commitment" to employment practices that do not discriminate based on "race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age." Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, said Brownback's order was an outrage and erases job protections for gay, lesbian and transgender employees who had trusted they would be safe from harassment and discrimination.
By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - Top Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi took the witness stand in New York on Tuesday as the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization fight a lawsuit that would force them to pay up to $3 billion to victims of attacks in Israel. Victims and their families have sued the authority and the PLO over six shootings and bombings in the Jerusalem area from 2002 to 2004 that killed 33 and wounded more than 450, claiming the defendants provided support to the militants who carried out the attacks. Ashrawi, a member of the PLO’s executive committee, said she and other leaders, including the late Yasser Arafat, worked with U.S. and Israeli officials to combat terrorism during those years. “It didn’t serve the cause of the Palestinian Authority or the PLO, nor the cause of freedom,” she said of the attacks.
High contamination levels persist along a North Dakota creek more than a month after a massive wastewater spill was found in the state's oil patch, but levels have dropped considerably in larger rivers downstream, according to documents released by the state Tuesday.