Troops asked about attitude toward gays

WASHINGTON — A Defense Department survey sent this week to 400,000 service members asks such provocative questions as whether its troops have shared shower facilities with a gay person or if they would be comfortable using a base commissary if their neighbors were gay.

The survey, part of what the military says is its effort to prepare for the possible integration of gays and lesbians into the armed forces, provoked immediate criticism from some human rights groups, which called the survey biased and apt to fan fears of gays in the military.

The unauthorized public disclosure of the $4.5 million survey and the fierce reaction to it also prompted the Pentagon to worry that the fallout could skew the results of the poll.

Five indicted in theft of 3-D TVs from train

LOS ANGELES — Five men were indicted Friday on charges of trying to snatch nearly $200,000 worth of 3-D televisions from a freight train in a nighttime heist captured on video by investigators tailing them in the Southern California desert.

The men were arrested June 25 after unloading 45 televisions from a BNSF Railway train parked near Ludlow, a Mojave Desert town in San Bernardino County, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

The arrest followed a two-month investigation involving secret recordings of conversations between a confidential informant and the suspected ringleaders.