New Briefs

Catherine Zeta-Jones gives birth

Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones and husband Michael Douglas welcomed their second child into the world. Carys Zeta Douglas weighed six pounds, 12 ounces. The birth comes less than a month after Zeta-Jones won the Oscar for the best supporting actress role for “Chicago.”

Powder test nontoxic

Powder found in two mailrooms in Tacoma, Wash. were determined nontoxic by federal officials Tuesday. The powder was found in two envelopes, one addressed to the city’s police department and the other to the U.S. State Department. An initial field test showed the powder was toxic and shut down the distribution center until recent test results were available. In addition, a powdery substance was found in a postal facility in Florida. Preliminary tests indicate the material is not toxic.

Santorum takes heat for comments

Republican Sen. Rick Santorum has come under fire for his recent comments on a pending Supreme Court case concerning sodomy laws in Texas. The Pennsylvania senator said if the government has no right to intervene between two consenting (gay) adults then it should not have the right to intervene in cases of bigamy, polygamy, incest and adultery. Gay rights advocate Winnie Stachelberg called Santorum’s remarks deeply hurtful. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee called on the senator to resign as chairman of the Republican Senate Caucus.

Scott Peterson pleads not guilty to murder

Scott Peterson, the husband of murdered Laci, pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of murder. Modesto police list the Petersons’ home as the crime scene, but prosecutors caution there is not yet enough evidence. Under California law, Peterson could face the death penalty for the murder of his wife and their unborn son.

United States reflects on SARS

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Julie Gerberding said Tuesday that although the United States only has 39 probable SARS cases, the country is not out of the woods. Her organization recently issued a travel alert for Canada, where 14 people have died from SARS. CDC personnel are traveling to the country to advise its medical staff. Thus far, China has reported the most SARS cases – 2,001.

Doormen in New York threaten a strike

Unless New York City building owners and the union representing 28,000 doormen, porters, elevator operators, superintendents and handymen come to an agreement, the workers will begin a strike Wednesday. The workers, who are employed in about 3,000 luxury buildings in the city want increased wages and better benefits in their next three-year contract. The starting salary for union members, who also get tips, is $27,000. In 1991, doormen picketed for 12 days for higher wages.

Can teachers and students date?

Faculty members at the University of California will vote on some new rules this spring. Professors could vote on a policy that would make the university the latest school to ban relationships in the classroom. The policy would prohibit professors from any sexual or romantic relationship with former, present or potential students. Nationally, many universities have banned professor/student relationships altogether.

Texas couple pleads innocent

The Texas couple accused of decapitating their three children pleaded innocent Tuesday. The two were found in their apartment March 11 along with trash bags stuffed with their three children’s bodies. Police say the couple confessed to strangling the children, decapitating them, washing their bodies and then having sex. A trial has been set for August 18. A psychologist was appointed to evaluate the couple’s competency.

Hurricane season begins early

Tropical storm Ana, with winds of more than 50 mph, has formed 460 miles east-southeast of Bermuda. The storm began more than one month before the start of the hurricane season, which lasts until the end of November. The early start is said not to be a predictor of the upcoming season.

Nude photographs in London

A photographer in London is taking pictures of naked people a short distance away from Parliament. More than 160 people have volunteered to be photographed naked. Spencer Tunick, 35, has been photographing people in the nude in public places since 1992. He has organized more than 50 group shots, during which the photographer has been arrested several times.

Halle Berry thinks she’s ugly

Despite being named as one of the sexiest women in the world, Halle Berry recently told a German magazine that she thinks she’s ugly. The Oscar-winning actress said she doesn’t have any illusions and doesn’t feel like a star. Berry also said Hollywood film studios and directors are sill apprehensive about hiring black actors for main roles.

Croatian teacher rescued from books

After being trapped under a pile of books in his bedroom for three days, a 60-year-old Croatian math teacher was rescued by police. The books apparently fell from a shelf, leaving the man trapped. The teacher was treated at his home.

Baboons attack girls for water

Four young girls in Kenya were attacked by a pack of baboons Friday. The animals were apparently after the buckets of water the girls had just drawn from a well. Kenya has suffered from severe drought recently and humans and animals often find themselves at the same watering holes.



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