- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Researchers develop fast smallpox test
Mayo Clinic researchers have developed a rapid test for smallpox that could detect the deadly virus in people in as little as two hours, Scripps Howard News Service reports.
The test relied on the same technology that Mayo employed to develop a rapid anthrax test in the fall, when anthrax sent through the mail made bioterrorism fears a reality. The smallpox test also is another tool against bioterrorism, Mayo researcher Thomas Smith said.
Like traditional tests, Mayo's test detects whether the virus's genetic material is present. The test uses the LightCycler made by Roche Applied Science of Indianapolis.

Democrat can't use mental-illness defense
PHILADELPHIA Former Rep. Edward Mezvinsky could not use a defense of mental illness against charges that he bilked friends and associates out of more than $10 million, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
Mr. Mezvinsky, Pennsylvania Democrat, was scheduled for trial Oct. 7 on charges that he defrauded his friends and family, including his mother-in-law. Prosecutors said he was to invest the money but ended up losing it, including millions of dollars that disappeared in an African pyramid scheme.
Defense attorneys argued that Mr. Mezvinsky suffered brain damage caused by an anti-malarial drug, Lariam, and bipolar disorder.

Judge eases restrictions on shoe-bomb suspect
BOSTON A federal judge yesterday eased communications restrictions placed on a man accused of trying to blow up a plane with explosives hidden in his shoes.
Over the objections of prosecutors, U.S. District Judge William Young ruled that Richard C. Reid's attorneys could share their conversations with Reid with others involved in his defense. Prosecutors said Reid might try to communicate with terrorists.
Reid, a British citizen, is charged with attempting to blow up an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami on Dec. 22.

Weapon developed against AIDS virus
Tapping into one of nature's oldest defenses against disease, biologists have developed an entirely new weapon that is showing promise against the virus that causes AIDS, Scripps Howard news service reports.
The process employs tiny pieces of RNA the coded molecules that contain blueprints for many viruses to smother the production of new viruses inside infected cells.
Known as "RNA interference" or "gene silencing," this ancient molecular weapon was discovered in plant cells in 1998 and had since prompted a flurry of research that found evidence of it in primitive worms, fruit flies and mammalian cells.

Officer faces retrial in torture
NEW YORK About 600 prospective jurors reported for the selection process yesterday in the retrial of an ex-patrolman accused of violating the civil rights of a Haitian immigrant who was handcuffed and assaulted with a broken broomstick in a station-house bathroom.
The Aug. 9, 1997, attack in Brooklyn's 70th Precinct resulted in protests claiming widespread abuse of minorities. Six officers were convicted and the city paid $8.7 million to the victim, Abner Louima.
An appeals court this year overturned Charles Schwarz's 1998 conviction for violating Mr. Louima's civil rights.

Murder charges filed against former nurse
COLUMBIA, Mo. A former nurse at a Veterans Affairs hospital was charged yesterday with 10 counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of 10 patients in 1992.
The charges against Richard Williams were filed by Boone County prosecutor Kevin Crane and capped a lengthy investigation aided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the FBI.
More than 40 patients on Ward 4 East at Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital in Columbia died in 1992 while under the care of Mr. Williams.


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