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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The last piece of legislation President John F. Kennedy signed marks its 50th anniversary Oct. 31, the transformative Community Mental Health Act.

The bill aimed to build 1,500 mental health centers to treat people while they worked and lived at home, rather than being housed for years in often-abusive state institutions.

Recent events including deadly mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard have focused public attention on how the nation is treating mental illness.

It's clear Kennedy's vision was never fully realized. While the legislation helped usher in positive changes, it was never fully funded so many of the sickest people had nowhere to turn.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is gathering advocates this week for the Kennedy Forum to develop an agenda for improving mental health care.

Read more...

NEW YORK (AP) — Topping the box office for the third straight week, the space adventure "Gravity" continues to be the box-office juggernaut of the fall.

The film, starring Sandra Bullock, earned $31 million over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Warner Bros. film has now made more than $170 million in three weeks.

Tom Hanks' Somali pirate docudrama "Captain Phillips" also held in second place at the box office, taking in $17.3 million in its second week.

"Gravity" and "Captain Phillips," both likely Oscar contenders headlined by veteran stars, were able to best the horror film remake "Carrie" in its debut weekend. The Sony film opened with $17 million.

The WikiLeaks drama "The Fifth Estate" opened poorly, taking in a paltry $1.7 million. Sylvester Stallone's "Escape Plan" debuted with $9.8 million.

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) — City halls in several New Jersey cities and towns are adding extra office hours today to accept marriage license applications for same-sex couples.

The state's highest court says the marriages can start Monday. Jersey City, Hoboken, and Asbury Park clerk's offices will be open today.

Gov. Chris Christie says he disagrees with the state Supreme Court ruling to recognize same-sex marriages in the state, but he will comply with the decision. He says the people, rather than the courts, should have been the ones to decide the issue.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen.-elect Cory Booker says he will officiate at weddings of both gay and heterosexual couples as the mayor of Newark. Booker was elected this week to the Senate and has been a strong supporter of gay rights.

Read more...

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