Nation briefs 10/14/05

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cases of polio virus found in Amish community

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Four children in a Minnesota Amish community have become infected with the polio virus, the first known infections in the U.S. in five years, state health officials said. Health officials said the cases do not pose a threat to the general public because most people have been vaccinated against polio. But they said they expect to find more infections within the Amish community because some of its members refuse immunizations on religious grounds. None of the children have shown any symptoms of the paralyzing disease.

Job losses from hurricanes jump to 438,000

WASHINGTON -- The number of people who have lost their jobs because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita jumped to 438,000 last week as the economic shockwaves from the nation's costliest natural disaster continued to be felt six weeks after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The Labor Department reported that an additional 75,000 hurricane-related claims were filed last week out of a nationwide total of 389,000 new claims for unemployment benefits.

Prosecutor subpoenas DeLay's phone records

WASHINGTON -- A Texas prosecutor subpoenaed telephone records for the home phone of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and his political campaign Thursday. Also subpoenaed were phone records for two numbers for his daughter, Dani DeLay Ferro. The subpoenas list telephone numbers, but not whom they belong to. They ask for information about the calls, voice mail service, and long-distance calls made from or charged to the numbers.

British playwright wins Nobel Prize in literature

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- British playwright Harold Pinter, who juxtaposed the brutal and the banal in such works as "The Caretaker" and "The Birthday Party" and made an art form out of spare language and unbearable silence, won the 2005 Nobel Prize in literature Thursday. Pinter "in his plays uncovers the precipice under everyday prattle and forces entry into oppression's closed rooms," the Swedish Academy said. The chilling, understated style of his work even inspired an adjective all his own: Pinteresque.

4,000-year-old noodles found in western China

BEIJING-- And you thought your leftovers were old. A 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles has been discovered at an archaeological site in western China -- possible proof for the argument that China invented pasta before Italy. "These are definitely the earliest noodles ever found," said Lu Houyuan, a researcher with the Institute of Geology in Beijing who studied the ingredients of the pristinely preserved pasta. The discovery of the yellow noodles in Minhe County in the province of Qinghai is reported in this week's edition of Nature magazine. The clump of noodles was found inside an overturned bowl under 10 feet of sediment from a flood that researchers suspect wiped out the Qijia Culture of the late Neolithic era.

-- From wire reports

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