100 injured in head-on train wreck
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April 21 (UPI) -- More than 100 passengers were injured -- 13 critically -- when two trains crashed head-on Saturday in Amsterdam, Netherlands, police said.
At least 56 people sustained severe injuries during the 4:30 p.m. crash near the Sloterdijk district in the west of the Dutch capital, Britain's The Guardian newspaper reported.
"We assume many people were thrown around the train by the crash -- against walls, seats and other people," police spokesman Ed Kraszewski told Amsterdam's AT5 news station.
The accident, at a busy intersection of the country's rail system, disrupted service between Amsterdam and The Hague and at Schiphol airport, the newspaper said.
"Everybody was in panic. Everybody was screaming. A lot of people were injured. There was a lot of blood," passenger Giovanni Laisina said. "I was shocked in the beginning, but because I don't have any injures at all … for me it's OK. It's a little bit surreal."
An investigation was under way to determine how both trains wound up on the same track.
Some in GOP fear focus on social issues
WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Some Republican leaders fear state legislative battles over abortion, guns and evolution could hurt the party in the U.S. presidential race.
The GOP has been aggressive on social issues in many states since the 2010 election, The New York Times reported.
John Weaver, a strategist for Sen. John McCain during the 2008 presidential race and for former New Mexico Gov. Jon Huntsman this year, said that could hurt the Republican effort to win voters in some significant groups, including independents, young people and women.
"I think it's problematic not just for this national election we're facing, but for the long-term health of the party," Weaver said.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, on the other hand, suggested the party and its presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, can win this year by focusing on economics in the national campaign and leaving the social-issue fights to the states.
Some governors are finding social issues tough to leave behind when they make national appearances. Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" as head of the Republican Governors Association, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said he wanted to talk about the drop in unemployment in his state but also had to answer questions about his decision to sign a bill requiring ultrasounds before women can get abortions.
Bishop of Salisbury supports gay marriage
LONDON, April 21 (UPI) -- The bishop of Salisbury Saturday called on the Church of England to recognize same-sex marriage.
The Right Rev. Nicholas Holtam compared those who use biblical references to dismiss homosexual relationships to those in the past who used the Bible to justify slavery, The Daily Telegraph reported. He spoke at a conference in London on the church and homophobia.
Holtam's statement follows a letter from a group of senior clergy, including retired bishops and the deans of some cathedrals, that said the push for gay marriage is a sign of "God's grace."
"Experience might lead us to be cautious about the certainty with which moral positions are built with biblical support.
"Before Wilberforce, Christians in this country saw slavery as having biblical support for what was the God-given in the ordering of creation," Holtam said, referring to the great 18th-century abolitionist, William Wilberforce.
Britain now allows civil unions for gay couples. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed extending that to marriage.
The Catholic Church is opposed to gay marriage. The Church of England, which ordains openly gay priests, appears to be split on the issue with most bishops urging the government not to take the step.
Nixon aide Colson dies at 80
WASHINGTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Former Nixon aide Chuck Colson died Saturday at age 80, CBS News reported.
Colson, who was also an evangelical leader, author and non-profit founder, died at a hospital in Northern Virginia, three weeks after brain surgery. CBS said the surgery was to ease a large pool of blood in his brain.
Special counsel to President Richard Nixon, Colson was involved in the Watergate scandal which led to Nixon's resignation. Known as Nixon's "hatchet man," Colson also served on the president's re-election committee, CBS said, attempted to steal information from the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate.
After pleading guilty to obstruction of justice, Colson served seven months of a one-to-three year prison sentence.
But Colson became a born-again Christian before being sentenced, and after he was released, he founded the Prison Fellowship. The non-profit organization conducts outreach to prisoners to "through the power and truth of Jesus Christ," CBS said.
Jim Liske, chief executive officer of Prison Fellowship, told CBS Colson met with top elected officials and leaders but "would rather be in prison embracing an inmate."
The former prisoner wrote more than 30 books on religion and faith, and consistently advocated on behalf of conservative policies. President George W. Bush gave Colson the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008.
CBS said Colson is survived by his wife Patty, three children and five grandchildren.
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