Nation briefs 5/28/04

Friday, May 28, 2004

Three children found decapitated in Baltimore

BALTIMORE -- Three young children were found decapitated Thursday in an apartment in northwest Baltimore, police said. The children's mother found their bodies when she arrived home late Thursday afternoon, police spokeswoman Nicole Monroe said. The children were all under the age of 10, she said. The mother, who neighbors said was Hispanic and speaks little English, notified a neighbor, who called 911.

Report: One of every 75 U.S. men in prison

WASHINGTON -- America's prison population grew by 2.9 percent last year, to almost 2.1 million inmates, with one of every 75 men living in prison or jail. The inmate population continued its rise despite a fall in the crime rate and many states' efforts to reduce some sentences, especially for low-level drug offenders. The report issued Thursday by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics attributes much of the increase to get-tough policies enacted during the 1980s and '90s.

California happy with Schwarzenegger so far

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's job-approval ratings are soaring, even though most voters remain concerned about the direction the state is taking, according to two polls released Thursday. The California Field Poll reported that 65 percent of voters approve of Schwarzenegger's job performance -- approaching record highs for any governor in the past quarter century. Another poll from the Public Policy Institute of California reported 69 percent of likely voters approve of the governor's performance.

Spammer sentenced to seven years in prison

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A man who sent 850 million junk e-mails through accounts he opened with stolen identities was sentenced to up to seven years in prison on Thursday. Atlanta-based Internet service provider Earthlink Inc. said it hoped the sentence and an earlier $16.4 million civil judgment against Howard Carmack will deter other spammers. Jurors sentenced Carmack to seven years for convictions in March of forgery, identity theft and falsifying business records. He must serve a minimum 3 1/2 years.-- From wire reports

CDC: Alternative medicine growing in U.S.

ATLANTA -- Alternative medicine -- including yoga, meditation, herbs and the Atkins diet -- appears to be growing in popularity in the United States, perhaps because of dissatisfaction with conventional care, the government said Thursday. More than a third of American adults used such practices in 2002, according to the government survey of 31,000 people, the largest study on non-conventional medical approaches in the United States.

N.M. wildfire grows to more than 25,000 acres

CAPITAN, N.M. -- A lightning-sparked wildfire in the Capitan Mountains continued to burn out of control early Thursday. The blaze grew to 25,000 acres and has burned a dozen cabins -- mostly summer homes -- and several outbuildings in the rural area of south-central New Mexico. Burnout operations were planned for today, and firefighters on Wednesday built lines along the northern perimeter of the fire in preparation, said fire information officer Jackie Denk.

Surgeon general expands diseases linked to smoking

WASHINGTON -- The list of diseases linked to smoking just got longer. Surgeon General Richard Carmona released his first official assessment of smoking Thursday. The surgeon general's report concluded that smoking causes a number of diseases not previously attributed to smoking. They include: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach; abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.

First 2004 human cases of West Nile reported

PHOENIX -- Arizona and New Mexico have reported this year's first human cases of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, health officials said. On Wednesday, New Mexico reported its first human case. At a news conference Thursday, Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, said an adult from the county developed symptoms May 8 and was admitted to a hospital. Weisbuch said that person has now fully recovered.

Vatican appoints Law head of Rome basilica

BOSTON -- Cardinal Bernard Law was appointed by the pope Wednesday to a ceremonial but highly visible post in Rome, outraging many in the archdiocese Law left in disgrace as the height of the clergy sex scandal. Law, 72, will have the title of archpriest of St. Mary Major Basilica, a post often given to retired prelates.

Panel wants more fish, fewer grains in meals

WASHINGTON -- A revised food pyramid coming from the government to guide Americans' eating habits should recommend more fish and fiber and fewer refined grains such as white bread, federal advisers decided Thursday. The advisers, who were instructed by the Agriculture Department to shift the focus of the guidelines from maintaining a healthy diet to losing weight, also recommended that people exercise more and watch less television.

-- From wire reports

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