WASHINGTON -- President Bush's dog Barney, left, checks out the newest addition at the White House, Miss Beazley, a Scottish terrier at the White House. The puppy was a birthday gift to the first lady from the president.
Panel OKs Johannsfor agriculture post
WASHINGTON -- Agriculture Secretary-nominee Mike Johanns on Thursday became the first of President Bush's second-term Cabinet choices to win approval from a Senate committee after facing pointed questions about the administration's decision to reopen U.S. borders to Canadian cattle. The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved the Nebraska governor's nomination after a three-hour hearing. "I will always be a farmer's son with an intense passion for agriculture," said Johanns, whose father was an Iowa dairy farmer.
Education nominee OK'd
WASHINGTON -- Margaret Spellings said Thursday that as the nation's schools chief she would address "horror stories" about the most demanding education law in a generation, which she helped write. Spellings, President Bush's nominee for education secretary, received praise and friendly questions for the most part at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Education Committee. The committee unanimously recommended Senate confirmation, which is expected soon.
WASHINGTON -- The government has begun testing a computerized screening system that compares airline passengers' names with those on terrorist watch lists, a Transportation Security Administration official said Thursday. Called "Secure Flight," it's meant to replace a plan that never got to the testing stage because of criticism that it gave the government access to too much personal information. The testing has not turned up any suspected terrorists.
Details of drug trialsto be posted on Internet
NEW YORK -- The embattled pharmaceutical industry announced its intention Thursday to publish more data about clinical drug trials, despite skepticism about whether the initiative will really increase transparency and improve drug safety. The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, along with three other industry associations covering Europe, the United States and Japan, said they will disclose a free, detailed registry of current and completed drug trials on the Internet.
Study: Gene wards off AIDS
WASHINGTON -- Having extra copies of a gene that produces a blocking protein helps protect people from AIDS, a finding that may explain why some people are more susceptible to the disease than others, a new study reports. Researchers wondering why people from the same ancestry varied in their ability to resist HIV and AIDS found differences in the number of copies of the gene that encodes CCL3L1, a protein that blocks HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Researchers hope the finding, reported in Thursday's online issue of the journal Science, help them identify people who have a higher or lower susceptibility to the disease.
China's 1.3 billionth born
BEIJING -- Greeted by national television coverage of his first bath, a boy born Thursday was declared China's 1.3 billionth citizen in a blaze of publicity to promote the government's controversial "one child" birth limits. The eight-pound infant was presented with a certificate of his status following his birth at 12:02 a.m. at Beijing Maternity Hospital. State TV's evening news showed his mother, Lan Hui, a 31-year-old employee of Shell China, receiving a bouquet of flowers and the newborn getting a bath and a massage.
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