Nation digest 05/14/03

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Second man charged in fire death of student

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A man who allegedly watched an acquaintance rape, beat and try to smother a university student found burned in her dorm room was charged Tuesday with murder.

Stephen Soules, 20, was arrested late Monday, a day after Lucas Goodrum, 21, was charged with the same crime in the May 7 death of Katie Autry.

The 18-year-old student was found in her burning dormitory room at Western Kentucky University on May 4 and died three days later.

An affidavit filed Tuesday did not say whether he participated in the attack, and it did not offer a motive.

A judge entered innocent pleas and set bail at $1 million for each suspect. A preliminary hearing for both men was scheduled for May 19.

Nation sets record for tornadoes in one week

WASHINGTON -- Last week's almost 400 tornadoes set a record for the number of twisters in the United States during a single week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday.

A preliminary count showed 384 tornadoes in 19 states between May 4 and May 10, NOAA's National Weather Service said. More than 40 deaths were blamed on the storms.

The most active previous week for tornadoes was May 12-18, 1995, when 171 tornadoes occurred.

Trade deficit grows to second-highest level

WASHINGTON -- A big jump in imported oil helped catapult the U.S. trade deficit in March to $43.5 billion, the second-highest level on record.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that the trade gap grew by 7.6 percent in March from February's deficit of $40.4 billion.

Although exports went up in March for the third month in a row, imports rose nearly five times faster, leading to a bloated trade deficit that was second only to the record deficit of $44.9 billion produced in December.

One day without smokes affects sense of time

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- For smokers separated from their cigarettes, time seems to stand still. New research indicates there's good reason for that.

Time perception, one of the simplest indicators of a person's ability to concentrate, is impaired after just one day without cigarettes, according to a study in the Psychopharmacology Bulletin.

In the study, 22 nonsmokers and 20 active smokers were asked -- after 45 seconds -- how much time they thought had passed. They were generally within five seconds of being right. But smokers tested the morning after a day without cigarettes overestimated the time by about 50 percent.

Smokers "may be mis-estimating all sorts of things that may be making quitting seem more burdensome," said Timothy B. Baker,of the University of Wisconsin's Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention.

-- From wire reports

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