Saturday, June 26, 2004

Early test reveals mad cow disease

An animal in the United States tested positive in a preliminary screening test for mad cow disease, Agriculture Department (USDA) officials said yesterday.

John Clifford, deputy administrator of USDA veterinary services, said officials learned of the “inconclusive” test result late yesterday. The carcass is being sent to USDA National Veterinary Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, for additional tests. Results are expected in four to seven days.

Mr. Clifford declined to identify the animal or its location until testing is complete, noting that it’s “very likely” final testing could turn up negative.

“The animal in question didn’t enter the food chain,” he said. “If positive, we’ll provide additional information on the animal and origins.”

Bishop backs ban on gay ‘marriage’

The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops yesterday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban homosexual “marriage.” He urged all Roman Catholics to lobby for its passage.

The statement from Bishop Wilton Gregory was the first from the American church backing a specific amendment that would deny recognition of same-sex “marriage.”

In a letter this week to his fellow bishops, Bishop Gregory wrote that the Senate leadership had asked them to “formally register support” for the legislation.

Introduced by Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Republican, the measure defines marriage as “the union of a man and a woman” and is expected to come before the Senate around July 12.

Bishop Gregory asked bishops to urge their senators to get behind the amendment, and to encourage priests and parishioners to do the same.

Kerry wants ad off Bush Web site

John Kerry’s campaign is calling on President Bush to pull down ads on his campaign Web site that replay a liberal advocacy group’s anti-Bush ads linking the president to Hitler.

“The Bush campaign should immediately remove these hateful images from its Web site and apologize for using them. The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong,” said Kerry campaign spokesman Phil Singer.

The Internet ad replays scenes from various Democratic politicians harshly criticizing Mr. Bush during the primary season, and also replays scenes from two ads submitted to a contest sponsored by liberal group, both of which compared Mr. Bush to Hitler.

Mr. Kerry’s campaign did not issue a statement condemning when the two ads were submitted to its contest in January.

The Bush Internet ad ties together the submissions, the Democratic candidates, and remarks by Al Gore and filmmaker Michael Moore, calling them “The faces of John Kerry’s Democratic Party: The coalition of the wild-eyed.”

Stowaway fox heading to zoo

SEATTLE — An arctic fox that apparently survived on garbage for two weeks after becoming an inadvertent stowaway on a ship will be displayed at a zoo, officials say.

The bluish-brown fox is believed to have boarded the ship during a port stop in the Aleutian Islands. An employee found the animal in the vessel’s trash bin after it arrived at a shipyard last month.

“The first thing I thought was, ‘Boy he’s been in here awhile,’” said Cooter Whitaker, a Samson Tug and Barge terminal manager.

Woodland Park Zoo curator Dana Payne said the animal will be the zoo’s first arctic fox. About 45 of the animals are found in North American zoos, she said.

The stowaway is “not shy about people,” appears to be elderly and would likely have difficulty surviving in the wild, Miss Payne said.

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