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News Briefs

February 29, 1996
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EST

Study: Most teen deaths caused by car accidents, guns

Teen deaths

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Motor vehicle accidents and firearms account for 64 percent of the injury-related deaths of children up to 19 years of age in the United States, according to a study released Thursday by Johns Hopkins University.

But the study also found a 7.6 percent decrease in the death rate from injuries for that age group between 1986 and 1992.

Gun-related deaths climbed by 63 percent during the study period, while deaths from farm machinery declined by 44 percent.

Hopkins professor Susan Baker, who led the study, recommended that households with children have no guns at all. In addition to the risks to very young children who can access guns, she said, the potential for suicides also increases when guns are available.



FDA orders grains fortified to fight birth defects

Folic acid

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In an attempt to prevent crippling birth defects, the Food and Drug Administration has directed that most bread, flour, pasta, and other food from grains must be fortified with folic acid.

A study published last year in the American Journal of Public Health said the additional reinforcement of folic acid in certain foods could prevent at least 300 and possibly up to 700 birth defects every year.

Folic acid is a trace B vitamin found in citrus fruits and dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach. Eating enough folic acid is said to reduce by 50 to 70 percent a woman's risk of having a baby born with developmental defects, which are caused by an improperly formed brain and spinal cord .

Some 2,500 U.S. babies are born with the defects annually.



Judge in Kevorkian case refuses to drop charges

Kevorkian

PONTIAC, Michigan (CNN) -- The judge in the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian refused to dismiss assisted suicide charges against him but issued revised jury instructions that may make it harder to convict the retired pathologist.

The defense had requested directed verdicts of acquittal, but Circuit Court Judge Jessica Cooper ruled there was circumstantial evidence to suggest Kevorkian may have played a role in the assisted suicide death of Dr. Ali Khalili, 61, in November 1993.

Kevorkian is accused of helping two people kill themselves in 1993. Michigan's ban on assisted suicide has since expired.



Pregnant student killed in shooting on school bus

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- A pregnant 15-year-old was killed and a driver wounded Thursday when a teen-ager boarded a school bus and began firing at them. The dead girl's baby survived, but was reportedly in critical condition.

St. Louis police fanned out in the city's north side to search for the gunman, who was reported to be between the ages of 16 and 18. Police had yet to establish a motive for the attack.

Police were also uncertain as to whether the 15-year-old victim, had been targeted or was shot at random. Doctors delivered her baby by cesarean section. The 3 pound girl appeared to be one to three months premature.

The 60-year-old bus driver was in serious condition with three gunshot wounds.



Japan is spying on U.S., key lawmaker says

Specter

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania alleged Thursday that Japan was trying to steal high-tech, commercially valuable secrets from the United States.

Urging Washington to be "a lot tougher" on Tokyo, Specter told defense writers at a breakfast meeting Thursday that Japan is one of at least 51 countries to deploy spies in the United States. He declined to discuss any specific case of alleged spying.

Federal Bureau of Investigation director Louis Freeh told Congress Wednesday that FBI investigations have indicated that 23 countries are engaged in economic espionage activities against the United States.



Illegal alien deportations up

immigration graphic

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Amidst the congressional debate over immigration reforms, the Immigration and Naturalization Service Thursday announced a 48 percent increase in deportations in January compared to a year ago.

The increase in so-called illegal alien removals also includes exclusions of aliens, but not voluntary returns.

The agency said there were 5,263 removals last month as opposed to 3,564 in January 1995. This year's number also is higher than the last two months of 1995.

Among the January 1996 removals were 2,674 criminal aliens. INS spokesman Eric Andrus said the agency expects at least 62,000 alien removals in 1996, compared to 49,300 in 1995.



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