- The Washington Times - Friday, September 8, 2000

Pregnant sect member ordered held in custody

ATTLEBORO, Mass. A judge yesterday ordered a pregnant member of a fundamentalist sect held until her baby is born, saying he could sense what the fetus would say to him: "I don't want to die like my brother."
Rebecca Corneau, 32, was ordered placed in a secure institution for pregnant women last week because she refused to consent to a court-ordered medical examination. Her sect rejects conventional medicine as blasphemy.
Mrs. Corneau, believed to be 8 and 1/2 months pregnant, is suspected of covering up the death of another child in a case still under investigation.
Prosecutors and a court-appointed lawyer for the fetus asked Judge Kenneth Nasif yesterday to keep Mrs. Corneau in state custody for her safety and for that of her unborn child.
The judge extended his custody order 30 days or until the child is born.

Researchers develop better gene test

Genetic testing may take hours, instead of days, and be performed in a doctor's office, instead of at a distant lab, with the use of a new gene identification technique developed at Northwestern University.
Researchers report today in the journal Science that the technique uses tiny gold beads and a modified photo-developing solution to highlight the presence and density of DNA in a test specimen.
The new technique reads the results using a simple photo scanner costing less than $100, said Chad A. Mirkin, a co-author of the study. The most widely used DNA-testing technique requires a $60,000 microscope, he said.

Man arrested in sex assault on boy, 4

MINNEAPOLIS An HIV-positive man charged yesterday with sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy faces several counts, including one based on his HIV status.
Gabriel Pugsley, 22, was charged with kidnapping, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of first-degree assault and one count of attempted first-degree assault which typically is defined as trying to inflict great bodily harm.
In this case, Mr. Pugsley is accused of doing so by attempting to knowingly transfer a communicable disease. He was being held pending a hearing today.

AMA denounces efforts to open doctor records

A lawmaker's efforts to open to the public a national databank that details doctors' malpractice history is being denounced by the American Medical Association as retaliation for physicians' support of a patients' bill of rights.
House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas J. Bliley Jr., Virginia Republican, yesterday introduced the bill that opens the National Practitioners Databank. The databank now is used only by the profession for the licensing of doctors.
Doctors groups have cried foul, accusing Mr. Bliley of targeting them because of their support to expand the rights of managed care patients, including the right to sue their health maintenance organizations.
The patients' rights bill is stalled in conference with House and Senate negotiators.

Statue of chief placed in Rotunda

As tribal chants, drums and prayers echoed throughout the Capitol Rotunda, Chief Washakie of the Eastern Shoshone Indians became the second Wyoming leader to be honored with a likeness in the National Statutory Hall.
"Having Chief Washakie represent us here in Statutory Hall is a great honor to all of our people," James Trosper, Chief Washakie's great-great-grandson, said as the statue of the Wyoming leader was unveiled yesterday.
The statue will remain in the Rotunda for six months in a doorway opposite a bust of George Washington.
After that, the chief will take his place in the Capitol's Statuary Hall alongside women's rights leader Esther Hobart Morris, Wyoming's other representative.

Jury awards $6 million in Aryan Nations case

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho A jury yesterday awarded $6.3 million to a woman and her son who were attacked by Aryan Nations guards outside the white supremacist group's north Idaho headquarters.
The jury found that Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, the group and its corporate entity, Saphire Inc., were negligent in the selection, training and supervision of the security guards who assaulted Victoria and Jason Keenan two years ago.
The Keenans' attorney, Morris Dees, had asked the jury to award more than $11 million in punitive damages. Mr. Dees, of the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center, has said he hoped the penalty would be severe enough to bankrupt the Aryan Nations.

Evidence weak on cause of illnesses

There is insufficient evidence to link the chronic illnesses suffered by some Persian Gulf war veterans to a specific cause, concludes a study by the Institute of Medicine.

The agency studied the toxic nerve agent sarin; a drug used to pre-treat against exposure to nerve gas; depleted uranium; and vaccines to prevent anthrax and botulism but was unable to find a strong link between them and the illnesses.

"We'd like to give veterans and their families definitive answers, but the evidence simply is not strong enough," Harold C. Sox Jr., chairman of the committee that did the research, said in a statement. Dr. Sox heads the department of medicine at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

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