- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2009


Spring breakers warned on Mexico

PHOENIX | Universities across the country are joining the State Department in warning college students headed for Mexico for spring break about a surge in drug-related killings and mayhem south of the border.

“We’re not necessarily telling students not to go, but we’re going to certainly alert them,” said Tom Dougan, vice president for student affairs at the University of Rhode Island. “There have been Americans kidnapped, and if you go, you need to be very aware and very alert to this fact.”

More than 100,000 high school- and college-age Americans travel to Mexican resort areas during spring break each year. Much of the drug violence is happening in border towns, and tourists generally have not been targeted, though there have been killings in the big spring-break resorts of Acapulco and Cancun, well away from the border.

The University of Arizona in Tucson is urging its 37,000 students not to go to Mexico. Other universities - including Pennsylvania State, Notre Dame, Colorado and Buffalo - said they would call students’ attention to the travel warning issued Feb. 20 by the State Department.


Emissions limited for Silicon Valley

SACRAMENTO | California air regulators have broadened their reach into Silicon Valley, implementing rules intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions from semiconductor plants.

The California Air Resources Board voted Thursday to regulate some of the most potent gases produced by the semiconductor industry, which makes chips for cellular phones, computers and cars.

By 2012, more than a dozen California chip manufacturers must reduce their use of fluorinated gases, which trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere at a rate that is 23,000 times higher than the same amount of carbon dioxide.

Industry officials say the regulations will cost businesses about $37 million at a time when the chip industry is grappling with falling global sales.


Ancient tools found in yard

DENVER | Landscapers were digging a hole for a fish pond in the front yard of a Boulder home in May when they heard a “chink” that didn’t sound right. Just some lost tools. Some 13,000-year-old lost tools.

They had stumbled onto a cache of more than 83 ancient tools buried by the Clovis people - ice age hunter-gatherers who remain a puzzle to anthropologists. The home’s owner, Patrick Mahaffy, thought they were only a century or two old before contacting researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

“My jaw just dropped,” said CU anthropologist Douglas Bamforth, who is leading a study of the find, one of only a few Clovis-age artifacts uncovered in North America. “Boulder is a densely populated area.”

The tools reveal an unexpected level of artistry, he said, describing the design as “unnecessarily complicated.” Biochemical analysis of blood and other protein residue revealed that the tools were used to butcher camels, horses, sheep and bears.


Euthanasia group accused in death

ATLANTA | As authorities try to determine how many deaths nationwide are linked to an assisted suicide ring, members of the group known as the Final Exit Network are defending a mission that they call “self-deliverance.”

The network’s president, its medical director and two other members were charged Wednesday in the death of John Celmer, a 58-year-old Georgia man who suffered for years from cancer of the throat and mouth. They each face up to five years in prison if convicted on charges of assisted suicide.

Members bristle at the term “assisted suicide,” saying they don’t play an active role in a person’s death, but rather support and guide those who decide to kill themselves. Authorities say new members pay a $50 fee and are vetted through an application process.

Those seeking to kill themselves are assigned a guide who instructs them to purchase two new helium tanks and a hood, known as an “exit bag.” Mr. Celmer died of suffocation.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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