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Nation in brief

Study finds no link between vaccines, SIDS

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 13, 2003

WASHINGTON -- There is no evidence of a link between crib death -- known as sudden infant death syndrome -- and multiple vaccines given in infancy, a study concludes.

Many parents became concerned about vaccines after an Australian researcher in the 1980s argued there was a connection. But an Institute of Medicine report released Wednesday reinforces previous studies that found no relationship between the vaccines and SIDS.

"Although the timing of infant vaccinations coincides with the period when SIDS is most likely to occur, parents should rest assured that the number and variety of childhood vaccines do not cause SIDS," said Marie McCormick, head of the committee that wrote the report.

The available data do not answer all possible questions about SIDS and vaccines, said McCormick, head of the department of maternal and child health at Harvard School of Public Health.

"However, we believe that the data we do have, along with the increasing rarity of these kinds of infant deaths, make a review of the vaccine schedule unnecessary," she said.

Most American children during their first 12 months get several vaccines, including the combined diptheria-whooping cough-tetanus vaccine and immunizations against influenza, hepatitis B, polio and pneumococcal bacteria. Whooping cough is also known as pertussis.

Commission approves Air Force Memorial plans

WASHINGTON -- Plans for an Air Force Memorial got off the ground Wednesday.

The National Capital Planning Commission approved a towering design of three curved steel spikes on a triangular base. A memorial chamber of glass panels will be at the base.

Edward Grillo Jr., president of the Air Force Memorial Foundation, told commissioners the design was meant to evoke flight. The sculpture will be reminiscent of the white contrails left by the Air Force Thunderbirds as they perform their signature high climb and peel-away maneuvers.

Planning commissioners expect the memorial to be especially popular at night, because it will have good views of downtown and other monuments.

Plans call for a groundbreaking next year and completion of the $38-million project by 2006.

Two ex-governors among Courage award honorees

BOSTON -- Two Southern governors voted out of office after defying constituents over the Confederate flag were among three politicians named Wednesday to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

The annual award, given to officials who defend sometimes-unpopular principles, honored former Govs. Roy Barnes of Georgia and David Beasley of South Carolina and Georgia state Rep. Dan Ponder Jr., a conservative Republican who pushed for hate-crime laws in his state.

"They took a strong and unpopular stand, and I think the committee felt that each of them did so knowing that their base of support might be eroded," said John Seigenthaler, chairman of the selection committee and founder of the First Amendment Center in Arlington, Va.

Couple charged in deaths of three beheaded children

BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- A woman and her common-law husband have confessed to killing three children who were found beheaded in a squalid apartment near the Mexican border, police said Wednesday.

The woman's daughters, ages 3 and 2 months, were found stuffed into a garbage bag; the couple's 1-year-old son was found on a bed.

Angela Camacho, 23, and John Allen Rubio, 22, were charged early Wednesday with three counts each of capital murder, and could face the death penalty.

Elsewhere . . .

ASTRONAUT BURIED: On Wednesday, Columbia astronaut David Brown became the 19th astronaut laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Brown will rest alongside Columbia crew mates Laurel Clark, whose funeral was Monday, and Michael Anderson, buried last Friday. Brown is the last of the Columbia seven to be buried.

DUKE SENTENCED: Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was sentenced Wednesday to more than a year in prison and a $10,000 fine for bilking his supporters and cheating on his taxes. Duke pleaded guilty in December to tax and mail fraud; the sentence was the same one agreed to in his plea bargain.

3 SENTENCED IN MOB BEATING: Three teenagers were sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven to nine years Wednesday in the beating death of a neighborhood man who was set upon by a mob of youngsters and adults.

Levar McNeil, 16, Devin Beamon, 16, and Lavelle Mays, 18, pleaded guilty to reckless homicide in the death of Charlie Young Jr. The beating was triggered by a fight over an egg thrown in a prank.

ALASKA AIRLINES PROBE REOPENED: Federal authorities have reopened a criminal investigation into the January 2000 crash of an Alaska Airlines jet that plunged into the Pacific Ocean, killing all 88 people aboard, the airline's parent company disclosed Wednesday.

Alaska Air Group made the disclosure in its annual financial report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Federal authorities did not immediately return calls for comment.

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