- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2001

Mrs. Bush introduces campaign to end hate
With a gaggle of schoolchildren at her feet, first lady Laura Bush opened a nationwide drive yesterday to break the cycle of prejudice.
Mrs. Bush visited a Barnes & Noble bookstore to lend her name to the chain's "Close the Book on Hate" campaign in conjunction with the Anti-Defamation League.
She prodded some two dozen children from a nearby school to talk about their own experiences with prejudice. Little girls complained about being excluded from games because they were too young. One boy said he was hurt when a teammate told him he "stinks at soccer."
Mrs. Bush told them they should speak up when people say mean things and should read books to understand different people and cultures.

Number of smokers holds steady
ATLANTA The number of American adults who smoke has hardly budged over the past several years, holding steady at roughly one in four.
The figures are frustrating to health officials, who want to see the smoking level much lower by the end of the decade.
A 1999 study released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 23.5 percent of adults about 46 million persons are regular smokers. That is a modest decline from 24 percent in 1998 and 25 percent in 1993.
The government set a goal of 12 percent by 2010.

Conjoined twins separated in surgery
DENVER Doctors say the prognosis for normal lives is good for conjoined 7-month-old twin girls who were separated in a 15-hour procedure.
Alexandra and Sydney Stark were in good condition after the Tuesday surgery at Children's Hospital, doctors said.
"The girls tolerated the procedure well. They're stable, and finally for the first time in their life, they're sleeping in separate beds," said Dr. Joseph Janik, the lead surgeon. Five doctors took part in the operation.
The girls were born March 9 attached at the lower back and pelvis. Doctors said each has her own heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and intestines.

Court rules benefits can't be seized
OLYMPIA, Wash. In a decision that could force the state to pay back millions of dollars to orphans and disabled children, the Washington Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the state cannot seize the Social Security benefits of foster children to pay for their care.
The ruling upholds a lower court judge who ordered the Department of Social and Health Services in 1999 to stop the practice and devise a way to return the money.
The department collects about $615,000 each month in foster children's Social Security benefits under a law aimed at lessening the state's cost of foster care. The money helps the state compensate foster parents for providing needs such as food, clothing, shelter and medical care.
But the high court ruled that the practice violated a federal law protecting Social Security from creditors.

Mother pleads guilty in 'rebirthing' death
GOLDEN, Colo. A mother pleaded guilty yesterday to child abuse resulting in death for enrolling her adopted daughter in a discredited therapy where the girl was smothered in the process of simulating a birth.
Jeane Newmaker, 48, a pediatric nurse, was ordered to perform 400 hours of community service and undergo psychotherapy. If she stays out of trouble for four years, her felony plea will be wiped off her record. Newmaker could have gone to prison for up to 12 years and been fined up to $750,000.
Her guilty plea marks the end of the final criminal case in the April 2000 death of 10-year-old Candace Newmaker of North Carolina.
Therapists Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder are serving 16-year sentences for reckless child abuse and two other assistants last week were given probation and community service. Watkins and Ponder are appealing their convictions.

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