Nation briefs 9/19/04

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Alabama's Deidre Downs wins Miss America

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Miss Alabama Deidre Downs, an aspiring doctor who put off medical school to compete for the Miss America crown, won it Saturday night. Downs, 24, of Birmingham, Ala., outsmarted and outperformed 51 other women in a spiced-up version of the 83-year-old pageant that included a head-to-head showdown between the last two contestants. Miss North Carolina Kristin Elrod was second runner-up, followed by Miss Arkansas Lacy Fleming and Miss California Veena Goel.

Suggestion of warning label prompts caution

WASHINGTON -- Alarmed at a recommendation that antidepressants for children carry a strict new warning label, some parents are not letting their children take the drugs as part of a clinical trial for young people who have attempted suicide. Government health advisers said last week the labels on these drugs should have bold warnings surrounded by a black box to draw attention and say that, in some cases, the medication increases suicidal thoughts and behavior. A study financed by the National Institute of Mental Health is designed to determine whether treatment -- medication or behavioral therapy, alone or combined -- can prevent future suicide attempts. Children enrolled in the small pilot study have attempted suicide previously, which normally would exclude them from such scientific trials.

Hurricane Karl forms in the central Atlantic

MIAMI -- Hurricane Karl formed in the central Atlantic on Saturday but posed no immediate threat to land, forecasters said. Karl, the seventh hurricane this season, had top sustained winds near 110 mph and was expected to get stronger throughout the day, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. At 4 p.m. Central time, Karl was centered about 1,075 miles west of the Cape Verde islands -- still closer to Africa than the Caribbean -- and was moving west-northwest near 13 mph. Karl comes on the heels of Tropical Storm Jeanne, which was nearing the southeastern Bahamas, and could gain strength. Karl was the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

-- From wire reports

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