|Appalachian School of Law Shootings|
Fri, 18 Jan 2002
SMALLPOX VIRUS TO BE PRESERVED
GENEVA—Acting on fears of bioterrorism, the World Health Organization’s governing body on Thursday reversed a long-standing order for the destruction of all smallpox virus stocks and recommended they be retained for research into new vaccines or treatments. The U.N. health agency’s 32-member Executive Board endorsed a recommendation by WHO Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland to drop a 2002 deadline for destroying the virus, held at top security laboratories in the United States and Russia. U.S. Assistant Surgeon General Kenneth Bernard said research into improved vaccines is vital after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent anthrax scare.
Hart building reopening delayed
WASHINGTON—The Senate has postponed plans to reopen the Hart Senate Office Building today after a bag with gloves and a protective suit was found above a hallway ceiling. Preliminary tests found no evidence of the bacteria on the protective gear, which was used in a massive cleanup after an anthrax-contaminated letter was opened in the building three months ago. Officials said a decision to reopen would depend on final test results, expected this afternoon.
Study: Stress leaves brain hypersensitive
WASHINGTON—Even relatively short periods of stress may cause changes that leave brain cells hypersensitive for weeks, report Israeli scientists trying to uncover the molecular root of post-traumatic stress disorder. The experiments were with mice, and it’s far from clear if human brain cells react the same way. In today’s edition of the journal Science, Hermona Soreq and colleagues at Hebrew University argue that a key player is a brain protein called acetylcholinesterase, or AChE, which is important in helping messages jump from one neuron to the next. Within minutes, relatively short periods of stress caused the mice to produce a usually rare, abnormal version of AChE that doesn’t provide the same help in neuronal signaling. That somehow left the mice’s neurons hypersensitive.
Sharon retains Labor Party backing
JERUSALEM—The Labor Party voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to remain in the coalition government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, beating back left winger Yossi Beilin’s argument that the party was being used to make the hard-line policies of Sharon look more acceptable to moderates. Party leader Binyamin Ben-Eliezer said it should stay in the government, but leave if Sharon doesn’t work toward the resumption of peace talks.
Lyme disease cases rise 8%
ATLANTA—Reported cases of Lyme disease, the tick-borne illness that can cause fatigue, sore joints and heart damage, climbed to a record high in 2000, the government reported Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it recorded 17,730 cases, up 8 percent from 1999. The disease was found in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Lyme cases nearly doubled in the 1990s, in part because more Americans built homes in the woods, exposing themselves to ticks, according to the CDC. Lyme disease can badly damage the heart and nervous system if it goes untreated by antibiotics.
Jury mulls whether priest touched boy
BOSTON—Jurors deciding whether to convict defrocked Catholic priest John J. Geoghan of indecent assault on a young boy a decade ago began deliberations Thursday and will continue today after a swift trial of less than two days. The former priest, who has pleaded not guilty, is charged with one count of indecent assault and battery on a child, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. The jury must decide if Geoghan intentionally slid his hand beneath the boy’s bathing suit and squeezed the boy’s buttocks while in a boys and girls club swimming pool a decade ago.
2 Air Force jets collide, killing 1 pilot
TUCSON, Ariz.—Two single-seat A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets collided and crashed Thursday while on a training mission over Arizona, the Air Force said. One pilot was killed, the other was airlifted to a hospital where he was in stable condition. The pilots were assigned to the 355th Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The crash site was in a rugged area north of the U.S.-Mexico border in the southeast corner of Arizona.
Law student foresaw attack
GRUNDY, Va.—An expelled law school student accused of killing his dean and two others in a campus shooting spree was so paranoid and prone to outbursts that at least one classmate said he saw the violence coming. At Thursday’s arraignment on three counts of capital murder, Peter Odighizuwa, 43, told the judge he was sick and needed help. “I was supposed to see my doctor,” Odighizuwa said. “He was supposed to help me out. … I don’t have my medication.” Police said Odighizuwa opened fire with a handgun at the Appalachian School of Law on Wednesday, a day after he was dismissed from the school for a second time. Classmate Kenneth Brown, 28, said of the suspect: “He was kind of off-balance. When we met last year, he actually came up and shook my hand and asked my name. Then, like five minutes later, he came back and said, ‘You know I’m not crazy, but people tick me off sometimes.’ Out of the blue.”
Jury convicts pilot impostor for lying
NEW YORK—An Egyptian man who flew to Kennedy International Airport in September with a fake pilot’s uniform and license was convicted Thursday of lying to investigators about his plans to attend aviation school. But jurors acquitted Wael Abdel Rahman Kishk, 21, on a second charge of trying to impersonate a pilot by carrying a forged document. Kishk faces up to five years in prison on a federal charge of making false statements. Kishk was detained at Kennedy Airport in New York on Sept. 19. Defense attorney Michael Schneider told the jury his client was guilty of nothing more than “poor judgment.”