- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003

Sharpton to form exploratory committee

NEW YORK The Rev. Al Sharpton announced yesterday that he will form a presidential exploratory committee, saying he is probably more qualified than any other Democrat seeking the White House.

"I am running for president to finally put the issues concerning most Americans onto the front burner," the 48-year-old civil rights activist said in a statement.

He expects to file papers with the Federal Election Committee on Jan. 21, spokeswoman Rachel Noerdlinger said.

"I'm qualified, probably more qualified than any other person who is expected to be on the Democratic ticket for 2004, because I actually have a following and I speak for the people," said Mr. Sharpton, who has never held public office.

Sydney Omarr, astrologer, dies at 76

LOS ANGELES Sydney Omarr, the astrologer to the stars who came to write horoscopes that appear in more than 200 newspapers, has died. He was 76.

Mr. Omarr, who was blinded and paralyzed from the neck down by multiple sclerosis, died Thursday at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif., of complications from a heart attack, the Los Angeles Times reported. His ex-wife, assistants and several close friends were by his side.

Born Sidney Kimmelman in Philadelphia, Mr. Omarr decided to change his name at age 15 after watching a movie called "Shanghai Gesture," starring Victor Mature as a character named Omar. He changed the spelling of his first name and adopted Omar as his last name, but added a second "r," in accordance with certain numerological formulas.

Woman treated by Frist is brain dead

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. A woman involved in a rollover crash where Sen. Bill Frist stopped to treat the victims is brain dead, but is being kept alive so her organs can be transplanted, a hospital spokeswoman said yesterday.

Doctors were awaiting a family member's decision on whether to remove life support from Shadia Rene, 20, the half-sister of two children who died from injuries sustained in the rollover, spokeswoman Jenny Pudwell said.

Felicienne Kali, 11, and her brother, Felix Kali, 14, were killed in the crash, police said.

Their mother, Stella Kali, 41, who Mr. Frist treated, was in critical condition yesterday morning. Their father, Jocelyn Kali, 40, and family friend Meme Chery, 33, were in fair condition. All are from Tampa, Fla.

News organizations may junk vote service

NEW YORK After two elections in which their system failed, six news organizations are considering revamping or scrapping the organization they built to count votes and conduct voter surveys, according to a network executive.

Representatives from ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel and the Associated Press are scheduled to meet Monday to talk about Voter News Service, according to the executive, who described the options on the condition of anonymity. All of the members have been asked not to speak publicly about their deliberations.

FDA approves Prozac for children

Prozac is now formally available for depressed children. Psychiatrists have prescribed the world's best-known antidepressant, and its competitors, to their youngest patients for years, despite a shortage of studies proving they work in children.

But the Food and Drug Administration declared yesterday that there's finally proof that Prozac alleviates depression in children 8 years and older, the first drug among the newer antidepressants which boost the mood regulator serotonin to win such approval.

Maker Eli Lilly & Co. said it didn't intend to market Prozac for children. Still, putting child-specific information on Prozac's FDA-mandated label means more doctors, not just depression specialists, may prescribe it.

The FDA also approved Prozac's use in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the third serotonin-enhancing drug to win that designation.

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