- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2001

GOP ousts Democrats from committee chairs

COLUMBIA, S.C. Republicans, in charge of the South Carolina Legislature for the first time since Reconstruction, opened the Senate session yesterday by ousting Democrats from their committee chairmanships.

The change could be problematic for Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges, who is trying to carry out an agenda that includes creating a lottery, increasing teachers' salaries and cutting a half-billion dollars in spending.

Republican Glenn McConnell was elected Senate president pro tem yesterday by a vote of 23-20, unseating Democrat John Drummond.

Too much vitamin A dangerous, panel says

Don't pop too many vitamin A supplements, because large amounts, particularly megadoses available from health food stores, can be dangerous, the government says in guidelines that update how much of certain nutrients Americans should consume for good health.

Men need 900 micrograms of vitamin A a day and women 700, says yesterday's report by the Institute of Medicine, which slightly lowers the "recommended daily allowance," or RDA, of the nutrient.

Never eat more than 3,000 micrograms a day, because such high levels can cause severe liver disease and birth defects in pregnant women, the panel concluded.

News group to survey Florida's ballots

MIAMI Several of the nation's largest news organizations contracted with a research firm yesterday to conduct a comprehensive survey of disputed ballots from the presidential race in Florida.

Joining the group are the Associated Press, Cable News Network, the New York Times, Tribune Publishing, the Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and two Florida newspapers, the Palm Beach Post and the St. Petersburg Times.

The news organizations have retained the National Opinion Research Center to produce a database that will describe in detail the estimated 180,000 ballots that didn't register a vote for president during machine counts. The news organizations will use the database to produce their own stories, and the overall data also will be released to the general public for additional research.

Mississippi House backs emblem vote

JACKSON, Miss. A bill that would ask voters to decide whether to retain the Confederate emblem on the state flag was overwhelmingly approved by the Mississippi House yesterday.

The bill, which authorizes an April 17 referendum, is expected to gain passage in the Senate later this week. The House backed it 119-1.

Voters would be given the option of retaining the current flag or replacing the battle emblem with a circle of stars.

Cancer hospitalizes Maureen Reagan again

SANTA MONICA, Calif. Former President Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen, is hospitalized and undergoing treatment for cancer that has spread since she was diagnosed with melanoma four years ago.

Surgeons removed a golf ball-sized malignant tumor from her pelvis and removed all the lymph nodes between her right knee and groin in November, doctors said yesterday.

The daughter of the former president and actress Jane Wyman entered the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center last month to begin aggressive treatments.

Annual wetlands loss drops 80 percent

The nation has slowed its destruction of wetlands by 80 percent over the past decade because of federal environmental laws, but nearly 60,000 acres continue to be lost each year, the government said yesterday.

A net of 644,000 acres of wetlands were lost between 1986 and 1997 in the lower 48 states, leaving 105.5 million acres, according to a report by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The report estimates the nation now loses a net of 58,500 acres annually, 80 percent less than it was losing in the 1980s.

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