Archive for Tuesday, January 18, 2005


January 18, 2005



Former bishops leader becomes archbishop

On the same day the nation honored the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the first black leader of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was installed Monday as archbishop in King's native city.

Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory, a Chicago native, became Atlanta's sixth archbishop and its third black archbishop.

Gregory, 57, said he chose the King holiday for his installation as a tribute to the slain civil rights leader. King's widow, Coretta Scott King, was on hand for the ceremony.

"We gather in prayer and festive joy on Dr. King's memorial day and in a city that holds a special place among all American cities that reverence this great man's legacy," Gregory told the crowd of about 8,000 at the Georgia International Convention Center, located in College Park, a suburb just south of the city.

Gregory was the first black president of the bishops conference when he was elected in November 2001. His historic elevation was quickly overshadowed by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

Wasington, D.C.

More studies associate drug with heart risks

Two studies released Monday have turned up new evidence that all of the popular arthritis painkillers known as COX-2 inhibitors may put users at greater risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The first of the two papers published online by the journal Circulation found that patients who had had heart bypass surgery and were taking Pfizer, Inc.'s Bextra, in combination with an experimental medication, were three times more likely to have strokes and heart attacks than patients taking a placebo.

A second study found that when mice that are genetically prone to hardening of the arteries were treated with a COX-2 drug and an aspirin substitute, their condition worsened rather than improving, as researchers had anticipated.

Lead researcher Garret A. FitzGerald of the University of Pennsylvania said the two studies led him to conclude that the entire class of drugs poses a risk. He also said an upcoming clinical trial proposed by Pfizer, the maker of Celebrex, to test whether that drug may help patients with heart disease, should not go forward.


Officials advise agaist removing mudslide

In a setback for residents trying to rebuild their town, Ventura County officials said Monday that the mound of earth that buried 13 homes and killed 10 people last week in La Conchita should remain there indefinitely because moving it would be too dangerous.

County workers are fencing off the mud pile and plan to leave it in place to buttress the unstable hillside that rises 600 feet above the coastal community. At least 400,000 tons of earth swamped the town, leaving a mass of mud and debris measuring 30 feet deep in places.

Geologists have advised steering clear of the slide or risk making things worse, said County Executive Officer Johnny Johnston, adding that there has even been talk of replacing some of the dirt removed during the rescue operation to help shore up the massive mud pile.


Town of Embarrass hits 54 below zero

Temperatures approached a record low Monday in northern Minnesota, as thermometers registered a low of 54 degrees below zero at Embarrass.

"You keep living, but it gets old after a while," said Christine Mackai, the town clerk for the community of about 1,400 people in northeast Minnesota.

Minnesota's record is 60 below, set on Feb. 2, 1996, in Tower, about 10 miles north of Embarrass.

Mackai said Embarrass had been prepared for bitter cold as early as last Thursday. "It only got down to 28 below, and that's nothing. That's no big deal," she said.

Elsewhere Monday in northern Minnesota, Babbitt chilled to 51 below, and International Falls -- which calls itself the Nation's Icebox -- dropped to 44 below.

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