Nation briefs 12/21/05

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Throng gathers in L.A. for gang leader's funeral

LOS ANGELES -- Hundreds of people attended a star-studded funeral Tuesday for executed killer Stanley Tookie Williams in the violence-wracked South Los Angeles section where he founded the murderous Crips gang three decades ago. Under heavy police presence, mourners including gang members waited in line to enter the Bethel AME Church. A big TV screen was set up in a parking lot for an overflow crowd. The Rev. Jesse Jackson decried the execution of Williams. Williams, 51, was put to death by injection Dec. 13 at San Quentin Prison for the 1979 shotgun murders of a 7-Eleven clerk and three motel owners.

Group sues to halt Illinois rule on contraceptives

ST. LOUIS -- A group founded by evangelist Pat Robertson is suing to stop Illinois from requiring pharmacies to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, saying the rule violates a druggist's right to refuse on religious and moral grounds. The American Center for Law and Justice filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Ill. The lawsuit names Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the heads of the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and its Division of Professional Regulation as defendants. The rule requires pharmacies that sell federally approved contraceptives to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control "without delay" if they have the medication in stock.

Study: 7 million U.S. teens would flunk treadmill test

CHICAGO -- About a third of U.S. teens would flunk a treadmill fitness test, a new study shows, meaning that more than 7 million youngsters could face higher risks for heart disease later in life. While that finding is not surprising -- given previous research showing that about 16 percent of U.S. schoolchildren are seriously overweight -- it's "very concerning," said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital Boston. He said the results show that "at a time in life when adolescents and young adults should be at peak levels of fitness, there's in fact a very high prevalence ... of very low fitness." The analysis of nationally representative data from government health surveys by Northwestern University researchers found that 34 percent of girls and boys aged 12 to 19 showed a poor level of cardiovascular fitness on an eight-minute treadmill test.

eBay backs off allowing live animal sales

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Under a deluge of angry user letters, eBay Inc. has decided it won't allow people to sell live pets on its site, after all. Company officials on Monday canceled plans to allow free classified ads from animal shelters and paid ads from breeders. The San Jose-based company currently allows the sale of fish and snails but bans other live animals. An eBay manager posted an online message over the weekend revealing that the company was considering lifting the ban. Already, the company has received letters from 2,000 users, most of whom want the ban to remain, said company spokesman Hani Durzy. Users feared that changing the policy would encourage unsanitary puppy mills, and it would be hard to screen for legitimate animal shelters and less reputable sources.

-- From wire reports

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