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Judge gives Downey probation in drug case



Published: Tue, July 17, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Judge gives Downeyprobation in drug case

INDIO, Calif. -- Robert Downey Jr., who faced a possible prison sentence on drug charges, was ordered to undergo rehabilitation under a new state law that stresses treatment over punishment for substance abusers.

Downey was sentenced Monday to a year in a live-in rehabilitation program and three years of probation after pleading no contest to cocaine possession and being under the influence. A third charge was dropped.

The actor also was ordered to comply with a set of regulations including random drug testing and random searches.

Downey, nominated for an Oscar for the film "Chaplin" and for an Emmy last week for "Ally McBeal," was arrested at Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa in Palm Springs in November. Authorities reportedly found the drugs in his hotel room.

The judge warned Downey he could go to prison for up to four years if he violated the terms.

Newspaper executiveremains hospitalized

BOISE, Idaho -- Katharine Graham, chairman of the executive committee of The Washington Post Co., remained hospitalized in critical condition and unconscious early today.

The 84-year-old was in Sun Valley to attend a business conference and fell Saturday afternoon on a path outside a condominium, said Chip Knight, spokesman for the Post company.

Graham underwent surgery late Saturday at the St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, hospital spokeswoman David Smith said.

"We haven't had a status change," he said. "She has been unconscious since her fall."

At the family's request, no additional details about her injuries were disclosed. Smith declined comment on whether Graham might be transported to Washington, D.C.

Centrist Democratsgather for boot camp

INDIANAPOLIS -- Moderation and pragmatism took center stage as centrist Democrats gathered for a two-day boot camp to talk up a mainstream political agenda.

"People are tired of extremism," said Arizona state Rep. Debora Norris. "We want solutions, and the middle ground is where we are going to find them."

Norris was among about 250 elected Democrats who participated Monday in the first day of the event, sponsored by the moderate Democratic Leadership Council.

Democrats heard from Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, two people mentioned in speculation about the 2004 presidential campaign.

Lieberman, Al Gore's running mate in last year's election, urged his party to take a new approach to religion.

"We have too often dismissed and disparaged the importance of faith in American life and made the faithful feel unwelcome in our party, particularly if they are open and outspoken about their religion," he said.

He also said that cultural values must play a more prominent role in decision-making by Democrats. "We have sometimes seemed too worried about offending our friends in Hollywood when they do not seem to be worried enough about offending our values," he said.

Suit over blood clots

SYDNEY, Australia -- Three people who say they suffered potentially fatal blood clots during long flights have sued three international airlines.

South African Debbie Daniels and Australians Naomi Forsyth and Lawrie Gillott filed damage claims today against Qantas Airways, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and British Airways, as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia.

Their law firm, Slater & amp; Gordon, said it is seeking unspecified damages in the Victoria state Supreme Court. The airlines and CASA declined comment or said they did not know about the case.

Reports of passengers developing clots after long flights have mounted since media coverage of the October death of a young woman during a flight from Australia to London. "Not until then did many who suffered illness realize that they were not alone," lawyer Paul Henderson said.

In March, World Health Organization medical experts and airline representatives meeting in Switzerland said there is likely a link between long-haul flights and deadly blood clots.

Clots develop in blood vessels in the legs when circulation slows.




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