Amid Probe, Illinois Governor

Defends Hiring Practices

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich defended the state's hiring practices Wednesday as a federal inquiry into the matter widened, and said he had nothing to hide.

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed the governor's office and the Department of Children and Family Services. State officials confirmed Wednesday that the Department of Transportation also was subpoenaed.

"This kind of examination isn't a bad thing if you're confident that your systems are working and that you know that you try to do things honestly and ethically and responsibly," the first-term Democrat said after cutting the ribbon for the state's new emergency operations center.

Blagojevich said his administration is cooperating fully but played down the significance of the subpoenas.

Fish and Wildlife Service

Sued Over Hunting Rules

Saying that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated the Endangered Species Act last month when it allowed trophy hunters to shoot three rare antelopes on U.S. game ranches, several animal welfare groups sued the government yesterday to overturn the agency decision.

The groups, led by the Humane Society of the United States, said that the service properly agreed last month to list the scimitar-horned oryx, the addax and the dama gazelle as endangered.

But the suit says it overstepped its authority when it created a hunting park "loophole" that allows the animals to be shot in the estimated 1,000 fenced hunting ranches in the United States. The antelopes, and other endangered animals, are raised in captivity and then hunted by paying customers.

* DEARBORN, Mich. -- Visitors streamed into the Henry Ford museum for a glimpse of the bus that officials say was the historic one Rosa Parks rode, now draped with purple-and-black crepe to mark her death. Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala., sparked the modern civil rights movement, died Monday at age 92.

* SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- The city council voted 4 to 2 on Tuesday to create a municipal department to coordinate the distribution of medical marijuana and promised to fight federal regulators in court over local control of the drug.

* NORMAL, Ill. -- A body found in a burned-out chicken coop in Lake, Miss., has been identified as that of an Illinois college student who disappeared two weeks ago, authorities said. Police did not disclose the cause of death. Dental records were used to identify the remains of Illinois State University senior Olamide Adeyooye, 21, authorities said.

* SANTA FE -- New Mexico's indicted state treasurer Robert E. Vigil (D) resigned shortly after lawmakers began considering whether he should be impeached. Vigil's resignation came more than a month after he was arrested and charged with extortion in a federal investigation into an alleged kickback scheme involving state investments.

-- From Staff Reports and News Services