Memo show Robertssupported school prayer
WASHINGTON -- Supreme Court nominee John Roberts showed sympathy for the idea of permitting prayer in public schools in 1985, according to a memo released on Monday, writing that a ruling to the contrary "seems indefensible" under the Constitution. As a young lawyer working in the Reagan administration, Roberts wrote he would have no objection if the Justice Department wanted to express support for a constitutional amendment permitting prayer. Referring to a Supreme Court ruling issued earlier that year that struck down an Alabama school prayer law, he said, "The conclusion ... that the Constitution prohibits such a moment of silent reflection -- or even silent 'prayer' -- seems indefensible." The Alabama law, ruled unconstitutional by a divided court, mandated a one-minute period of silence for meditation or prayer. Roberts' two-paragraph memo, written to White House counsel Fred Fielding, was among nearly 5,400 pages of records released Monday by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. They comprise a portion of the material relating to Roberts' tenure as a member of the office of White House counsel. The library contains an additional 40,000 pages relating to Roberts, expected to be made public before Senate confirmation hearings convene Sept. 6.
Study links painkillersto high blood pressure
DALLAS -- Women taking daily amounts of non-aspirin painkillers -- such as an extra-strength Tylenol -- are more likely to develop high blood pressure than those who don't, a new study suggests. While many popular over-the-counter painkillers have been linked before to high blood pressure, acetaminophen, sold as Tylenol, has generally been considered relatively free of such risk. It is the only one that is not a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID, a class of medications the federal government just required to carry stricter warning labels because of the risk for heart-related problems. Those include ibuprofen (sold as Advil and Motrin) and naproxen (sold as Aleve). Many had turned to those painkillers in the wake of problems with prescription drugs, such as Vioxx. However, the new study found that women taking Tylenol were about twice as likely to develop blood pressure problems. Risk also rose for women taking NSAIDS other than aspirin.
Iran appoints hard-linerto oversee nuclear talks
TEHRAN, Iran -- A hard-liner who once said Iranian negotiators had traded "a pearl for a lollipop" when they agreed to suspend nuclear activities was appointed Monday to lead the agency that oversees nuclear talks with the European Union. Ali Larijani, 47, a former Revolutionary Guard commander and close ally of Iran's supreme leader, was named the secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council, state-run TV reported. Given Larijani's previous comment, many observers believe he will take a tougher stance in nuclear negotiations. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not say if Larijani would also personally handle the talks with European counterparts who want Iran to maintain a freeze on uranium enrichment. "It is expected that you prepare the ground for making the right decisions to defend national security and integrity," said Ahmadinejad.
Pope promotes publicdisplay of crucifixes
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy -- Pope Benedict XVI on Monday encouraged the display of crucifixes in public buildings, saying that God needs to be present in community life. He mentioned no specific disputes, but the issue of whether religious symbols have a place in government buildings has been divisive in Italy and elsewhere. "It is important that God is great among us in public life and in private life," Benedict said in his homily in a parish church in Castel Gandolfo, the hill town outside Rome where the Vatican has its vacation retreat. "In public life, may God be present in signs of the cross in public buildings. May God be present in our community life," Benedict said. A Muslim activist in Italy in past years turned to the courts, unsuccessfully, to seek the removal of crucifixes from public schools in Italy. Although Italy is officially secular, a 1924 law requires schools to display a crucifix. Benedict's predecessor, John Paul II, stepped into the debate over crucifixes in public schools in 2003 when he told European officials that the removal of religious symbols dear to a society can lead to instability and even conflict in Europe's multiethnic societies. Benedict appeared to be making the same argument when he told the parishioners that "contrasts become irreconcilable" when God is shunted aside.