hGenetic flaw meansno sweet tooth for cats
IPSWICH, Mass. -- Mary Chatterton gives a treat to her cat Clark at their home in Ipswich. Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and their collaborators said Sunday they found a dysfunctional feline gene that probably prevents cats from tasting sweets, a sensation nearly every other mammal on the planet experiences to varying degrees. Researchers took saliva and blood samples from six cats, including a tiger and a cheetah, and found each had a useless gene that other mammals use to create a "sweet receptor" on their tongues. The gene in question does not produce one of the two vital proteins needed to form the receptors. Clark took part in the study.
Penn Station evacuatedafter bomb scare occurs
NEW YORK -- A bomb scare emptied the nation's busiest commuter rail station Sunday for about an hour, disrupting service on trains and subways. The midday threat at Pennsylvania Station arose after someone threw a backpack at an Amtrak ticket agent and said it was a bomb, said Marissa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit. It was a false alarm, and service on all lines was restored by early afternoon. Amtrak spokeswoman Sarah Swain said railroad police had detained a man, but she did not know whether he had been arrested. The incident came days after a second bombing attack in London, which prompted New York police to start random inspections of subway riders' bags. Also Sunday, a double-decker tourist bus was evacuated in midtown Manhattan after a bus company supervisor became suspicious of five male passengers with "stuffed" pockets. The supervisor called police, who handcuffed the men and searched about 60 passengers before determining there was no threat.
Mystery illness kills17 farmers in China
BEIJING -- An unidentified illness has killed 17 farmers and sickened 41 others in southwestern China after they butchered sick pigs or sheep, China's official news agency said Sunday. Those affected had symptoms including high fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and "became comatose later with bruises under the skin," Xinhua news agency said. Over the past four weeks, 58 people from areas around the cities of Ziyang and Neijiang in China's southwestern Sichuan province were hospitalized with such symptoms, Xinhua said. Seventeen died, while 39 remain hospitalized and two have recovered, it said. The report said that medical experts believe the illness "is not spreading further among humans," and that there were "no obvious signs of [an] epidemic."
Impeachment complainttargets President Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine opposition lawmakers filed an impeachment complaint today against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, accusing her of vote-rigging and other allegations. The filing against Arroyo, a staunch U.S. ally, claims she "stole, cheated and lied" to obtain and hold power. Her aides have moved to block the complaint on a legal technicality after Congress convenes following Arroyo's scheduled State of the Nation speech later today. A summary of the complaint, seen by The Associated Press, accuses Arroyo of 10 major crimes including election fraud and corruption. It claims she can be impeached on at least four grounds.
Gert heads for coast;Franklin's end seems near
MIAMI -- Tropical Storm Gert headed for Mexico's Gulf Coast on Sunday, bringing the threat of several inches of rain to areas already soaked by Hurricane Emily. Gert's predecessor, Tropical Storm Franklin, appeared to be on the verge of falling apart over cooler water in the Atlantic. Mexican officials posted a tropical storm warning for parts of the Gulf coast, stretching from Palma Sola northward to La Pesca. Richard Pasch, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said Gert could deliver 4 to 8 inches of rain to some areas, with isolated mountain regions receiving up to 12 inches.