Stingray attack in Fla.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Doctors pulled a 21/2-inch stingray barb from James Bertakis' heart early Thursday, but the 81-year-old man's condition remained perilous. After five hours of surgery, Bertakis improved to critical but stable condition at Broward General Medical Center's intensive-care unit, said Dr. Eugene Costantini at a morning press conference. Bertakis was boating on the Intracoastal Waterway in Lighthouse Point, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon when a 3-foot-wide stingray burst from the water and stuck his chest with its barb. He was able to pilot the boat to land and call 911. Dr. Costantini said doctors repaired puncture wounds in Bertakis' heart after the barb entered the left side, pierced the septum separating the two chambers of the heart and then bore through the right side.
GOP plans ad warningof new terror attacks
WASHINGTON -- The Republican Party will begin airing a hard-hitting ad this weekend that warns of more cataclysmic terror attacks against the U.S. homeland. The ad portrays Osama bin Laden and quotes his threats against America dating to February 1998. "These are the stakes," the ad concludes. "Vote November 7." Brian Jones, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said the ad would run on national cable beginning Sunday, but he declined to discuss specifics of the buy.
Kids, Ritalin: Be careful
CHICAGO -- The first long-term government study of preschoolers who take Ritalin, the popular attention deficit disorder drug, warns of side effects but also found benefits in children with severe problems. The drug isn't approved for use in children under age 6, and the researchers said those youngsters need close monitoring. Preschoolers are more likely than older children to develop side effects, experts said. The research was done because of concerns over reports that soaring numbers of very young children are being given psychiatric drugs, including Ritalin. The study's message is, proceed with caution, said Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
With Congress on break,mine safety chief named
WASHINGTON -- President Bush appointed an embattled nominee to head the agency in charge of miners' safety Thursday over the opposition of the United Mine Workers of America and Senate Democrats. Congress is in recess, which means the president can appoint Richard Stickler to the job without Senate approval. Stickler, of Terra Alta, W.Va., will head the Mine Safety and Health Administration, which has been without an agency head for two years. The lawmakers and the UMW said Stickler spent too many years as a mining executive and failed to demonstrate adequate concern for safety problems in the mining industry.
2 charged in bully attack
YAPHANK, N.Y. -- A mentally disabled handyman was hospitalized after two teenagers sexually brutalized him with a plumbing snake at the Long Island bowling alley where he worked, police said Thursday. One of the attackers, who had been bullying the victim for several years, twisted the plumbing tool so far into his rectum that it had to be removed during a surgical procedure that took several hours, police said. The 21-year-old man was reported in stable condition. Steven Rodriguez, 19, and Michael Lunsford, 17, were arrested this week and charged with aggravated sexual abuse, punishable by up to 25 years in prison.
Hydrochloric acid leakforces evacuations in Ky.
FULTON, Ky. -- A railroad tanker spewing hydrochloric acid forced evacuations Thursday in parts of this town along the Tennessee line as emergency workers struggled to contain the leak. Between 150 and 200 homes were evacuated, along with two schools and a seed company with several dozen employees, Fulton City Manager Kenney Etherton said. The evacuation stretched about a half-mile north and east of the rail yard.
OPEC cuts oil production
DOHA, Qatar -- Oil cartel OPEC decided to cut production by a greater-than-expected 1.2 million barrels a day today, and some members indicated it was open to further cuts. United Arab Emirates oil minister Mohammed bin Dhaen al-Hamili made the announcement at a news conference after OPEC's oil ministers held an emergency meeting in the capital of Qatar.