Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2004

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February 22, 2004

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New Jersey

Governor to declare funding for stem cell research

New Jersey is poised to become the first state in the nation to finance stem cell research.

Gov. James E. McGreevey will announce in his budget address Tuesday that the state will provide $6.5 million for a stem cell research institute, The New York Times reported in Saturday's editions.

Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey will run the institute, which will be based in New Brunswick.

McGreevey wants to spend $50 million over the next five years for research on human embryonic stem cells.

London

Journal regrets publishing vaccination-autism study

A leading medical journal said Saturday it should not have published a controversial 1998 study that claimed a link between childhood vaccinations and autism.

The editor of the Lancet, Dr. Richard Horton, said Dr. Andrew Wakefield and a team of British scientists who conducted the study on the triple measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine didn't reveal that they were being paid by a legal aid service looking into whether families could sue over the immunizations.

Horton called it a "fatal conflict of interest."

Wakefield's study suggested that the MMR vaccine could put children at risk of autism and inflammatory bowel disease.

The paper has since been discredited on scientific grounds, but some parents have clung to the findings and health officials say that vaccinations have fallen dangerously low since its publication.

Virginia

Mega Millions drawing yields one $230 million winner

There was one winning ticket for the jackpot of at least $230 million in the Mega Millions lottery, the biggest single prize in the game's history.

The lucky ticket, purchased at a Stephens City convenience store, matched all five lotto numbers and the Mega Ball number to win the 11-state jackpot. Lottery officials waited Saturday for the holder or holders of that single ticket to come forward. The numbers drawn Friday night were: 1-13-20-21-30, and the Mega Ball was 24.

Lottery officials were still tallying the final jackpot, driven beyond the $230 million mark by bigger sales on Friday than expected, said Penelope Kyle, Virginia Lottery director.

London

Prime Minister Tony Blair says he'll seek third term

British Prime Minister Tony Blair, his popularity bruised after leading Britain into a divisive war in Iraq, said he intended to seek a third term in office.

In an interview published today in the News of the World newspaper, Blair said that "whatever the problems and pressures, this is an immensely enjoyable and fulfilling job and I intend to carry on doing it. I will be putting myself forward."

An election must be held by mid-2006, but could come next year.

Blair's Labour Party was elected in 1997 after 18 years of Conservative rule, and won another landslide victory in 2001.

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