- The Washington Times - Friday, May 3, 2002

Senate panel backs Bush's NIH nominee

A Senate panel unanimously backed President Bush's nominee to head the National Institutes of Health yesterday, setting the stage for the full Senate quickly to confirm Elias Zerhouni, an Algerian-born physician and medical school administrator.

"Leading the NIH in this new century of the life sciences is an awesome responsibility, and I'm confident that Dr. Zerhouni will meet this extraordinary challenge," said Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Mr. Bush nominated Dr. Zerhouni, 51, in March to head the NIH, which has a $27 billion budget and helps determine national biomedical research priorities ranging from fighting cancer to thwarting bioterrorism.

A Muslim who was born and educated in Algeria, Dr. Zerhouni and his pediatrician wife, Nadia, came to the United States in 1975. An expert in medical imaging and biomedical engineering who pioneered new ways of imaging living tissues, he became a top administrator at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Two men wrestling die in fall from window

LEXINGTON, Ky. A college student and a man he was wrestling with died early yesterday after they fell out of a third-story window at a University of Kentucky dormitory, a school spokeswoman said.

Jeffrey Pfetzer, a 19-year-old University of Kentucky freshman from Villa Hills, was pronounced dead at the scene. Matthew Rzepka, 22, of Bowling Green, who was visiting his brother at the 23-story Kirwan Tower, died later at the University of Kentucky Hospital.

"The two males were apparently wrestling in an open area of the third floor of the dormitory," spokeswoman Mary Margaret Colliver said. "They smacked against a plate glass window, the window gave out and the two fell three stories to the ground."

School suspends girl for stick-figure doodle

MOUNT LEBANON, Pa. A school suspended an 11-year-old girl for drawing two teachers with arrows through their heads, saying the stick figures were more death threat than doodle.

Becca Johnson, an honor-roll sixth-grader at Mellon Middle School, drew the picture on the back of a vocabulary test on which she had gotten a D.

"That's my way of saying I'm angry," Becca said, adding she meant no harm to the teachers.

Judge orders suspect in rape to pose nude

MONTESANO, Wash. A 35-year-old woman accused of having sex with a 14-year-old boy has been ordered by a judge to pose nude for evidence photos sought by the prosecution.

Prosecutors said their case against Dewanna Granberg, who is charged with third-degree child rape, will be strengthened if the boy's description of her physical characteristics is confirmed by the photos.

Committee advances judicial nominee

The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday unanimously advanced U.S. District Judge Julia Gibbons' nomination to the half-empty 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the first time a nomination has moved forward for that court in five years.

Only eight of 16 judgeships on the 6th Circuit in Cincinnati are filled. Judge Gibbons' nomination now goes to the Senate.

Man commits suicide after starting wildfire

MAYHILL, N.M. A man who started a wildfire in the Sacramento Mountains that has burned more than 9,500 acres and destroyed at least 20 structures committed suicide because he couldn't live with what happened, a sheriff said yesterday.

The man wrote a suicide note and then shot himself in the head Wednesday night at his home near Mayhill, Otero County Sheriff John Lee said.

Lady Bird Johnson taken to hospital

AUSTIN, Texas Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson was hospitalized last night, a longtime family friend said.

George Christian said Mrs. Johnson was in the intensive care unit at Seton Medical Center in Austin. A hospital spokeswoman said the nature of her illness hadn't been determined but that she was resting comfortably.

Mr. Christian said Mrs. Johnson, 89, was at her home when she became ill for reasons he did not know. Mr. Christian was President Lyndon Johnson's press secretary and has been a family friend for years.

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