Nation briefs 10/31/06

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Red Cross announced major overhaul Monday

NEW YORK -- The American Red Cross, stung by criticism of how it handled Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attacks, announced plans Monday for a major overhaul that would include slashing its 50-member board and reducing the influence of presidentially appointed overseers. The reforms are intended to ease recurring friction between board members and Red Cross management, and to address complaints that the organization was at times too bureaucratic and unaccountable after Katrina and the attacks.

Bloomberg campaigning with Sen. Joe Lieberman

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Republican New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised Sen. Joe Lieberman's independence Monday, saying the three-term Democrat is willing to work across party lines in an era of partisan gridlock. "I think the voters of Connecticut understand they need proven independent leadership. Joe Lieberman provides that," Bloomberg said at a news conference.

Bronx zoo elephant recognizes self in mirror

WASHINGTON -- If you're Happy and you know it, pat your head. That, in a peanut shell, is how a 34-year-old female Asian elephant in the Bronx Zoo showed researchers that pachyderms can recognize themselves in a mirror -- complex behavior observed in only a few other species. The test results suggest elephants -- or at least Happy -- are self-aware. The ability to distinguish oneself from others had been shown only in humans, chimpanzees and, to a limited extent, dolphins. That self-recognition may underlie the social complexity seen in elephants, and could be linked to the empathy and altruism that the big-brained animals have been known to display.

-- From wire reports

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