House expands hate crimes law

WASHINGTON — A House vote Thursday put Congress on the verge of significantly expanding hate crimes law to make it a federal crime to assault people because of their sexual orientation. The legislation would bring major changes to law enacted in the days after Martin Luther King Jr.' s assassination in 1968.

Civil rights groups and their Democratic allies have come close to expanding the hate crimes bill several times in the past decade, but have always fallen short because of lack of House-Senate coordination or opposition from former President George W. Bush.

But this time it appears they may succeed. The bill was attached to a must-pass $680 billion defense policy bill that the Senate could approve as early as next week.

Scam e-mail calls off Columbus Day parade

DENVER — A Denver parade in honor of Christopher Columbus is back on — despite an e-mail that falsely said Saturday's downtown celebration was canceled for lack of funds.

Sons of Italy president Richard SaBell says someone used his name to send an e-mail to the mayor's office and media Thursday saying the parade was canceled. The e-mail also said protesters had "ruined" the event and tarnished the legacy of an Italian hero.

Local media started reporting the parade was off, and SaBell rushed to assure people the e-mail was a hoax. He says he reported the phony e-mail to police.