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CALIFORNIA

Doomsday prediction by ministry bogus again

SAN FRANCISCO — A California ministry that warned the end of the world would come Friday awoke to discover that Earth was undergoing its usual gyrations with no signs of a cataclysmic event.

Oakland-based Family Radio International stirred a global frenzy when it predicted the rapture would take 200 million Christians to heaven on May 21. Its most recent pronouncement said natural disasters would destroy the globe last Friday.

Though two moderate quakes did jolt the San Francisco Bay area on Thursday and floods still threaten to swamp Bangkok, the planet remained intact.

The ministry and its 90-year-old leader, Harold Camping, are avoiding the media this time around and perhaps a repeat of the international mockery that followed the previous prediction.

GEORGIA

Drunk reservist kills deputy, then himself

ATLANTA — A National Guardsman who appeared to be drunk and had been firing at passing cars shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy, then committed suicide alongside a Georgia road, authorities said Sunday.

Evidence shows Christopher Michael Hodges, 26, fired 35 rounds from his M4 semiautomatic rifle, said Richmond County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Gay said. Mr. Hodges and 47-year-old Deputy James D. Paugh were found dead on the side of Bobby Jones Expressway after 1 a.m. Sunday, Capt. Gay said.

Mr. Hodges was based with the Tennessee National Guard but was on temporary duty at Fort Gordon in eastern Georgia for training, said Buz Yarnell, a spokesman for the military post.

Sheriff Ronnie Strength told the Augusta Chronicle that Deputy Paugh was off duty and on his way home when he saw a suspicious car on the side of the road. He was shot several times when he stopped to check on the car and apparently fired two shots from his service weapon before he was killed.

“He was just checking that car. He pulled over his motorcycle and didn’t even get to put the kickstand down before the suspect began firing on him,” the sheriff said.

ILLINOIS

BPA exposure tied to toddler behavior

CHICAGO — Exposure to BPA before birth could affect girls’ behavior at age 3, according to the latest study on potential health effects of the widespread chemical.

Preschool-age girls whose mothers had relatively high urine levels of bisphenol-A during pregnancy scored worse but still within a normal range on behavior measures including anxiety and hyperactivity than other young girls.

The results are not conclusive and experts not involved in the study said factors other than BPA might explain the results. The researchers acknowledge that “considerable debate” remains about whether BPA is harmful, but say their findings should prompt additional research.

The researchers measured BPA in 244 Cincinnati-area mothers’ urine twice during pregnancy and at childbirth. The women evaluated their children at age 3 using standard behavior questionnaires. Nearly all women had measurable BPA levels, like most Americans. But increasingly high urine levels during pregnancy were linked with increasingly worse behavior in their daughters. Boys’ behavior was not affected.

KANSAS

Abortion clinic rules eased by state

WICHITA — State officials are easing contentious new regulations governing abortion clinics, but the move may not be enough to placate abortion providers who have already persuaded a federal judge to block earlier versions, the Associated Press has learned.

The AP obtained an advance copy of the new permanent rules that will take effect Nov. 14. A comparison with temporary versions of the rules shows Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials have removed some of the provisions that have been criticized during a public comment period and in a federal lawsuit.

The revised regulations no longer specify required patient room sizes and give clinics wider latitude to adjust a room’s temperature. They also pare down the list of required medications and equipment doctors need to have on hand.

But the bulk of the original provisions remain, including rules that require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic and that require patient medical records to be available at the clinic for state health department officials to review.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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