Printed on: September 07, 2013

National news briefly

Baptist chaplains nix same-sex rituals

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention, which provides the largest share of active-duty military chaplains, has barred members from taking part in weddings, counseling sessions and couples retreats for same-sex couples.

The North American Mission Board, an arm of the Nashville, Tenn.-based SBC, also prohibits chaplains from participating in any services that would appear to endorse or accept same-sex unions.

The group issued the decision in the wake of the U.S. Department of Defense recognizing same-sex marriages and extending benefits to same-sex spouses.

"Our chaplains want to uphold the authority and relevancy of Scripture while continuing to serve in a very diverse setting," Doug Carver, a retired Army major general who leads NAMB's chaplaincy efforts, said in a statement Aug. 29. "We believe these updated guidelines will help them do that while still sharing the love and the hope of Christ with everyone."

FDA: Arsenic in rice is minimal amount

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Food and Drug Administration says consumers shouldn't worry too much about levels of arsenic in rice -- but should vary their diets just in case.

The agency released a study Friday of arsenic in 1,300 samples of rice and rice products, the largest study to date looking at the carcinogen's presence in that grain. Consumer groups have pressured the FDA to set a standard for the amount of arsenic that can be present in rice products.

Oil hits 2-year high on jobs report, Syria

NEW YORK (AP) -- The price of oil closed at a two-year high Friday on a combination of fear of escalating tension in the Middle East and hope for continued stimulus measures from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been trying to win support at home and abroad for military action against Syria, but Russian President Vladimir Putin stoked fears of a bigger confrontation when he said his country will continue helping Syria if it comes under attack.

U.S. economic news also gave a boost to oil as the latest jobs data fueled expectations that the Fed will keep its economic stimulus measures in place.

Benchmark oil for October delivery rose $2.16, or 2 percent, to close at $110.53 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the highest closing price since May 3, 2011.

Brent, the benchmark for international crudes, gained 86 cents to $116.12 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In the U.S., the average price of a gallon of gasoline slipped 1 penny to $3.58. That's unchanged from a week ago, but down 24 cents from this time last year.