News & Notes
By Quicker disability rulings planned
Published March 28, 2006
People who are clearly disabled could be approved for disability benefits in as little as 20 days under new Social Security Administration procedures. The rules, to be finalized today, will be used in six states in the Northeast beginning Aug. 1 and put in place nationwide over several years. Among the changes, a special unit will screen applicants for cases of clear disability that can be quickly approved for benefits.
U.N. Human Rights Commission folds
The discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission held its last meeting Monday before being replaced by a new body, ending a 60-year history in which some of the world's worst offenders often used their membership to protect one another from condemnation. The 53-nation commission held its final session in Geneva. The new 47-member Human Rights Council will hold its first meeting June 19 in Geneva, and the U.N. General Assembly will vote on new members May 9.
NASA restores asteroid probe
NASA on Monday resurrected an ambitious mission to explore two of the solar system's largest asteroids, weeks after budget woes killed the project. The space agency scrapped the Dawn project to orbit the asteroids Ceres and Vesta because of cost overruns and technical problems. After the Jet Propulsion Laboratory appealed the cancellation, a NASA review found that the Dawn team had made significant progress in addressing technical problems. The spacecraft is set to launch in July 2007.
New Orleans vote
A federal judge on Monday refused to delay New Orleans' April 22 mayoral election, telling both sides to solve any problems that might hinder displaced residents' ability to vote. Civil rights groups had urged U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle to postpone what would be the city's first municipal elections since Hurricane Katrina, arguing that too many black residents won't be able to participate. Mayor Ray Nagin is running for re-election against nearly two dozen opponents.
Egyptian girl dies
An Egyptian girl who underwent surgery to remove a second head died of a severe infection on Saturday, her surgeon in Egypt said Monday. Manar Maged was born March 30, 2004, with a rare birth defect called craniopagus parasiticus, which occurs when an embryo begins to split into identical twins but fails to complete the process, leaving an undeveloped conjoined twin in the womb. The 14-hour separation surgery was performed 13 months ago. There were 10 previous cases like Maged's throughout the world when she underwent surgery, but Maged had been the only one to survive the procedure.
[Last modified March 28, 2006, 03:01:29]
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