Nation briefs 12/11/02

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Master plan for WTC site to be finished Jan. 31

NEW YORK -- A master plan for the World Trade Center site is scheduled to be completed by Jan. 31 under an accelerated schedule, officials said.

The plan will include details on a memorial, transportation hubs and the estimated cost of the project.

Seven alternative proposals for redeveloping the 16-acre site are to be unveiled Dec. 18.

Staff from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the two agencies overseeing the rebuilding, will begin working on the plan after reviewing the work of the seven design teams.

A design for the memorial for the nearly 2,800 victims is to be chosen by Sept. 11, 2003, the second anniversary of the attack, after an international competition.

Stanford University plans to clone human embryos

Stanford University announced Tuesday its intention to develop human embryonic stem cells through nuclear transfer technology, becoming the first U.S. institution of higher education to publicly embrace an effort many consider to be cloning.

The project's intent is to produce stem cells for medical research.

"Our avowed goal is to advance science," said Stanford medical professor Irving Weissman, who will direct the effort. "For any group to stay out of the action and wait for someone else to do it because of political reasons is wrong."

Weissman, and the university, emphatically denied that the project involves cloning embryos. He said Stanford's work would involve taking DNA from diseased adult human cells and transferring them into eggs, then growing them in the lab.

AK Steel ends three-year lockout at Ohio plant

MANSFIELD, Ohio -- AK Steel said Tuesday it was recalling its union workers after a three-year lockout, ending one of the nation's longest labor disputes.

The decision came after a contract was reached, the company said. Neither side would provide details of the agreement, which had been approved earlier by union workers, with the exception of minor details.

The United Steelworkers union represents 620 hourly production and maintenance workers locked out from the Mansfield Works plant in north-central Ohio by the plant's former owner, Armco Inc., when their contract expired Sept. 1, 1999. AK Steel acquired Armco and has continued to operate the plant with about 250 temporary replacements.

Magazine: Chickens may contain harmful bacteria

WASHINGTON -- A consumer magazine says it found harmful bacteria, much of it drug-resistant, in almost half the chickens it bought from stores nationwide.

The bacterium campylobacter, which can cause food poisoning, was found in 42 percent of 484 fresh broiler chickens tested for a survey in the January issue of Consumer Reports. The magazine said Tuesday that 12 percent of the chickens had salmonella, another bacterium. Both bugs can cause diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain and sometimes death.

The report said people sickened by the bacteria would stay sick longer, and treatment would be more difficult for doctors because 90 percent of the campylobacter samples and 34 percent of the salmonella resisted treatment by commonly used antibiotics such as tetracycline.

The report said consumers can kill campylobacter and other germs by cooking chicken thoroughly so it is not pink. Experts recommend heating a whole chicken up to 180 degrees and chicken breasts to 170 degrees.

-- From wire reports

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