Nurse sentenced forkilling at least 29 patients
SOMERVILLE, N.J. -- A nurse who killed at least 29 patients was sent to prison for the rest of his life Thursday after his victims' loved ones angrily branded him "vermin," "garbage" and a "monster" who ruined lives and shattered their faith in the medical profession. Charles Cullen -- one of the most prolific killers the U.S. health-care industry has ever seen -- escaped the death penalty after making a deal with prosecutors to tell them which patients he killed with hard-to-detect drug injections. He received 11 consecutive life terms at a tense and sometimes turbulent hearing in which he came face-to-face with his victims' families for the first time.
Panel agrees to expandoversight of eavesdropping
WASHINGTON -- The House Intelligence Committee has agreed to expand its oversight of the Bush administration's anti-terror eavesdropping program and will seek full briefings for select members of the panel. The deal -- worked out Thursday between House Intelligence Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and the panel's top Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif. -- would open a comprehensive review of whether the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act needs to be modernized. Hoekstra and Harman sent the Justice Department a list of 27 questions they want answered. In an interview, Hoekstra said he has an agreement with the White House to fully brief an undecided number of lawmakers -- perhaps seven to 12 -- about the most classified operational details of the secretive National Security Agency's work.
Ice loss in Antarctic
WASHINGTON -- The Antarctic ice sheet is losing as much as 36 cubic miles of ice a year in a trend that scientists link to global warming, according to a new paper that provides the first evidence that the sheet's total mass is shrinking significantly. The new findings, which are being published today in the journal Science, suggest global sea level could rise substantially over the next several centuries. It is one of a slew of scientific papers in recent weeks that have sought to gauge the impact of climate change on the world's oceans and lakes. Just last month two researchers reported that Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, and a separate paper in Science today predicts that by the end of this century lakes and streams on one-fourth of the African continent could be drying up because of warmer temperatures.
Libertarian candidate dies
FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Harry Browne, who twice ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate, has died. He was 72. Browne, an author and investment adviser, died at his home Wednesday night, family friend Jim Babka said. He died of Lou Gehrig's disease. Browne received 485,134 votes, or 0.5 percent, for president in 1996 and 384,431, or 0.367 percent, in 2000. He never held elective office, Babka said. He campaigned actively across the country, promoting the value of smaller government. "He was gentlemanly, courteous and cultivated his personal happiness," Babka said in a telephone interview from Washington, where he is president of Downsize DC, a small government advocacy group. Browne was co-founder of the group. Browne wrote 12 books that sold more than 2 million copies, the party said in a news release.
South Dakota movesto forefront in debate
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- South Dakota is suddenly in the vanguard of the movement to overturn Roe v. Wade. But in truth, it was a role that was decades in the making. Since the 1973 Supreme Court decision establishing the right to an abortion, the state Legislature has become increasingly dominated by lawmakers from both parties promoting what they see as traditional family values. In fact, in the 1990s, South Dakota's Democrats dropped abortion rights from their party platform. The conservative shift culminated last week in passage of a bill to outlaw nearly all abortions -- a measure aimed ultimately at getting Roe v. Wade overturned. The ban sailed through the House and Senate, and Republican Gov. Mike Rounds has said he is inclined to sign the measure, which would make it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless necessary to save the woman's life. The bill would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.

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