LANSING, Mich.

Ailing Arkansas fugitive deemed not dangerous

A request to return a 63-year-old fugitive to Arkansas is not a high priority, Gov. Rick Snyder said Thursday, citing the convicted killer’s poor health and saying he has caused no trouble in Michigan.

“I have heard of the situation but I haven’t spent time on it because my understanding is this person is not a threat to public safety in Michigan at this point in time,” the Republican governor said.

“So in terms of prioritizing it, I wouldn’t say it’s the highest priority I have on the desk,” he said.

Stiggers was sentenced to life in prison for killing his father as a teenager in 1965. When he was granted a five-day leave from prison for good behavior, he headed to Michigan, where his mother lived.

ST. PAUL, Minn.

Gay marriage expected to pass Legislature

A historic vote Thursday in the Minnesota House positioned that state to become the 12th in the country to allow gay marriages and the first in the Midwest to pass such a law out of its Legislature.

Lawmakers approved it 75-59, a critical step for the measure that would allow same-sex weddings beginning this summer. It’s a startling shift in the state, where just six months earlier voters turned back an effort to ban gay marriage in the state Constitution.

Senate leaders also expect the measure to pass, and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign it.

WASHINGTON

1963 Alabama bombing victims honored on Capitol Hill

Four victims of a deadly Alabama church bombing at the height of the civil rights movement are now just a presidential signature away from receiving Congress’ highest civilian honor.

The Senate on Thursday approved by voice vote a measure that would posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley and Denise McNair. The four girls were killed when a bomb planted by white supremacists exploded at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963.

Senate approval follows a 420-0 vote in the House.

ISLAMABAD

Taliban blamed for most election season violence

An especially violent spate of killings, kidnappings and bombings marred the run-up to Pakistan’s nationwide election, capped Thursday by the abduction of the son of a former prime minister as he was rallying supporters.

Saturday’s election marks the first time in Pakistan’s military coup-riddled history that a civilian government has finished its term and will hand over power to another. But the significance of the occasion has been overshadowed by the relentless violence targeting mostly liberal, secular parties.

More than 125 people have been killed by a series of bombings and shootings that can mostly be traced to Taliban militants who have vowed to disrupt a democratic process they view as un-Islamic. Separatists in the southwest also attacked candidates and their supporters across the spectrum.

There was no claim of responsibility for the abduction of 25-year-old Ali Haider Gilani, but suspicion immediately fell on the Taliban.

— From news service reports