Government approvesclinical test of Ecstasy
WASHINGTON -- For the first time since the drug Ecstasy was made illegal, the government will allow researchers to test the drug as a treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Approval came Tuesday from the Food and Drug Administration and marks a shift for the agency, which has virtually banned the drug from researchers for more than a decade.
The trial has not been approved by a review board at the Medical University of South Carolina, the proposed site for the research.
If the university accepts the plan, the test will be supervised by the husband and wife team of Dr. Michael Mithoefer, a psychiatrist, and Annie Mithoefer, a psychiatric nurse in Charleston.
Michael Mithoefer said research should not be impeded because Ecstasy is a hot commodity among some teen-agers.
"It's ironic that when these drugs become illegal, the legitimate research goes to zero, and the illegal and recreational use goes way up," Mithoefer said. "It seems foolish to me to have a situation where millions are using the drug in an uncontrolled way and yet physicians who want to do careful research are not allowed."
Flash floods kill 66in southern Philippines
CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines -- Torrential rains spawned flash floods in the southern Philippines and sent volcanic boulders crashing down into villages, killing at least 66 people and leaving dozens more missing today.
A steady four-hour downpour from tropical storm Lingling triggered pre-dawn floods on Camiguin, an island province famed for its beach resorts just north of Mindanao Island, said Casiano Matela, regional director of the Office of Civil Defense.
"I could not believe this would happen. Entire houses were swept away," Camiguin Gov. Pedro Romualdo said by cellular telephone.
He said at least 51 bodies were brought to a gymnasium in Mahinog town, which bore the brunt of the storm on the eastern side of the island.
Matela reported three people also were killed in the provincial capital of Mambajao, seven in Sagay and three in Catarman. The civil defense office said at least 57 people were missing. Two girls were killed in Toledo City in central Cebu province, which also was hit by floods and landslides.
U.N. issues forecaston population growth
LONDON -- World population could skyrocket to 10.9 billion by mid-century if women don't receive better education, health care and access to birth control, a United Nations report said today.
The U.N. Population Fund said women must also gain equal status and rights to plan family size if the planet is to contain population growth at 50 percent to 9.3 billion by 2050.
The report forecast all projected growth -- from a current 6.1 billion -- would take place in developing countries, intensifying poverty and environmental strains globally.
The report, "State of the World Population 2001," said the world will be changed on an "unprecedented scale," with more people and greater consumption degrading soil, polluting air and water, melting ice caps and destroying natural habits.
The world's 49 least-developed countries -- already the most severely challenged by soil and water degradation and food shortages -- will nearly triple in size, from 668 million to 1.86 billion, the report said.
Veteran crime fighter
MEDFORD, Ore. -- A 75-year-old Navy veteran collecting money for Disabled American Veterans delivered three stiff whacks with his cane to a man who he says tried to steal a can of donations.
"That money is veterans' money," Richard Powers said, "and I wasn't about to let him get away with it."
According to Powers, Darren Lukkes, 36, grabbed Powers' collection can outside a supermarket Monday and ran. Powers caught up to Lukkes across the parking lot and whacked him through the open window of a rented truck.
Powers said his cane fell into the truck, so he opened the door, grabbed his cane and struck Lukkes again.
After one more whack, Lukkes dropped the can -- containing about $100 -- and sped off, Powers said.
Passers-by followed the truck and called police.
Lukkes was caught after he jumped from the moving truck, driven by his wife.
"After [Lukkes] hit the pavement at 20 mph, he was done," Medford police Sgt. Roy Skinner said. "There was no more fight in him."
Lukkes was being held on charges of robbery, possession of methamphetamine, theft and driving under the influence of intoxicants.