- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Girl kept confined for four years
DALLAS — The 8-year-old girl who was found locked in a closet and severely malnourished was kept in a confined space for four years, a district attorney testified during the girl's custody hearing yesterday.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Lunden said Lauren Calhoun was kept in a "closet, attic or small room" since 1997. He said Lauren's five siblings were told to lie about her existence.
Judge Cheryl Lee Shannon held the hearing to gather information on who should gain custody of the six children. The judge did not indicate yesterday when she would rule.
Lauren was locked in a closet and weighed only 25 pounds when she was rescued earlier this month from her home in Hutchins, south of Dallas. Lauren is hospitalized at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.

Bush beefs up missile-defense effort
The Bush administration will ask Congress for $7.9 billion in fiscal 2002 to speed up a missile-defense program that would go beyond the limited, ground-based system proposed by President Clinton, Pentagon documents obtained yesterday showed.
The total is $2.2 billion more than the figure included in an earlier "placeholder" defense budget, according to a memorandum approved Friday by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.
The Bush program will explore "to the fullest extent possible" land, air and space platforms to thwart missiles in all flight stages, according to Program Budget Decision 816.

Study finds autism more common
CHICAGO — Autism and similar developmental disorders may be more prevalent than thought among preschool children — a finding that could help focus efforts on early intervention — researchers reported yesterday.
The report from the Central Clinic, Stafford, England, and King's College, London, involved 15,000 children ages 2 to 6 in the Staffordshire area in central England in 1998 and 1999.
The researchers estimated the prevalence of autism in the group was nearly 17 cases per 10,000 children. By contrast, earlier studies have placed the disorder at about four to six cases per 10,000.

North Dakota may drop North from name
BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakotans can't move their state to warmer climes, but some hope a proposed name change at least will help the state seem a little less northern.
The Greater North Dakota Association, the state's chamber of commerce, is backing a proposal to cut the state's name to "Dakota." Supporters insist the plan would help alter the state's image as a frigid, treeless prairie.
Gov. John Hoeven said he was willing to listen to arguments from advocates of the idea but thought North Dakota's name worked well.

Celebrities remember'All in the Family' star
LOS ANGELES — Celebrities and entertainers said farewell yesterday to Carroll O'Connor, the gruff actor who satirized prejudice as the buffoonish bigot on "All in the Family."
Among the hundreds in attendance were comedian Carl Reiner and his son, actor-director Rob Reiner, who played the liberal son-in-law dubbed "Meathead" by Archie Bunker, Mr. O'Connor's character on the sitcom.
Comedian Don Rickles, "Dallas" star Larry Hagman and Martin Sheen of "The West Wing" also attended the service at St. Paul the Apostle Roman Catholic Church.

Death-penalty juries may hear about families
PHILADELPHIA — The state Supreme Court has upheld a Pennsylvania law that allows a jury considering the death penalty against a murder defendant to hear testimony about the effect of the crime on the victim's family.
A lower court had declared the law unconstitutional because it did not give jurors enough guidance on how to weigh such testimony.

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