- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Cell phones may get radiation labels

SAN FRANCISCO | Mayor Gavin Newsom is endorsing a proposal that would make San Francisco the first city in the country to require radiation labels for cell phones.

The legislation would require cell phone retailers to post radiation levels next to each phone in a font at least as large as the price.

The retailers also would have to inform customers about what the radiation levels mean.

Scientists do not agree on whether radiation from cell phones poses any health hazard.

The federal government has established limits for safe exposure. The Federal Communications Commission says all phones legally sold in the U.S. are safe.


Court: Actors can’t smoke on stage

DENVER | The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld a state ban on smoking on stage, ruling that public health trumps actors’ freedom of expression.

The court ruled 6-1 Monday that the statewide smoking ban can legally apply to theaters.

Theater production companies challenged the ban, arguing that smoking is necessary to accurately produce plays.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers argued that actors could use fake cigarettes to get the point across.

The dissenting justice said character and plots would lack depth and expressive force without such effects as smoke hovering on stage or an actor’s poignant puff.

The General Assembly banned smoking in 2006 but exempted airport smoking lounges, cigar bars and casinos. Casinos lost their exemption in 2008.


Swine flu shots for kids recalled

ATLANTA | Hundreds of thousands of swine flu shots for children have been recalled because tests indicate the vaccine doses lost some strength, government health officials said Tuesday.

The shots, made by Sanofi Pasteur, were distributed across the country last month, and most have already been used, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 800,000 pre-filled syringes that were recalled are for young children, ages 6 months to nearly 3 years.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, a CDC flu expert, stressed that parents don’t need to do anything or to worry if their child got one - or even two - of the recalled shots. The vaccine is safe and effective, she said.

The issue is the vaccine’s strength. Tests done before the shots were shipped showed that the vaccines were strong enough. But tests done weeks later indicated that the strength had fallen slightly below required levels.

Why the potency dropped isn’t clear.


Terror suspect denied release

CHICAGO | A federal judge in Chicago has refused to release on bond a man who is accused of having advance knowledge of the 2008 terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nan Nolan said Tuesday that Tahawwur Rana has the means and the knowledge to flee internationally to avoid prosecution. She also said that with an estimated net worth of $1.6 million, Mr. Rana has the financial resources to flee.

Mr. Rana, 48, is charged with taking part in a plan to attack a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. The cartoons prompted weeks of protests in the Muslim world.

Mr. Rana is also accused by federal prosecutors of knowing in advance that a Pakistan-based terrorist group would attack Mumbai. The attacks killed 166 people.


Magazine regrets ‘Afro Picks’ cover

NEW YORK | Publishers Weekly, the book trade magazine, is apologizing for a cover that has been strongly criticized for being racist.

The magazine’s current issue shows a black woman with a crown of afro picks. The headline reads, “Afro Picks,” a pun referring to an article about black literature. The photo was taken from Deborah Willis’ “Posing Beauty,” a new book of portraits and snapshots.

Responding to numerous angry Twitter comments, Publishers Weekly senior editor Calvin Reid calls the picture a sweet, funny and striking image of “quirky black hair power.”

He wrote Tuesday on the magazine’s Web site that he regrets offending anyone but that it never occurred to him that anyone would be offended.


Police accused in beating cover-up

WILKES-BARRE | Three Pennsylvania police officers have pleaded not guilty in connection with an alleged cover-up in the fatal beating of a Mexican immigrant.

Shenandoah Police Chief Matthew Nestor and two of his officers face charges including witness tampering and lying to the FBI in the 2008 death of Luis Ramirez. They will be held until a bail hearing Wednesday.

A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday accuses the three of wrongdoing in the investigation into Mr. Ramirez’s death. The Mexican immigrant died after being beaten by a group of teenagers in July 2008.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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