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In Brief

In Brief

Pandemics not easy to grow, scientists say
WASHINGTON, D.C.
Scientists who spliced a common flu virus together with the H5N1 avian influenza virus failed to make an infectious strain and said on Monday their experiment showed pandemics may not arise as easily as had been feared.
The team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta also said its findings were not reassuring and that bird flu still posed a serious risk to humanity.
"This research study was undertaken in order to better understand the genetic changes that are needed for an H5N1 virus to acquire the genetic changes needed for better transmission," Dr. Jackie Katz of the CDC's Influenza Branch told reporters in a telephone briefing.
One way viruses can evolve into epidemic and pandemic forms is by mixing their genetic material with other viruses. Flu pandemics that killed millions in 1957 and 1968 did this.
Team member dies
ANCHORAGE, Alaska
A member of a salvage team examining an abandoned ship drifting in the Aleutian Islands slipped down the ship's deck and suffered a fatal blow to his head, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
The four-member salvage team was preparing to leave the Cougar Ace, which is listing almost on its side, when the naval architect lost his footing Sunday and was knocked unconscious.
He was flown to a nearby Coast Guard cutter equipped with a surgeon and a clinic and pronounced dead about an hour later, Coast Guard spokeswoman Sara Francis said.
Blair still hopeful
LONG BEACH, California
Despite the postponement of a U.N. Security Council meeting on creating a multinational force for southern Lebanon, British Prime Minister Tony Blair remains hopeful of quick action on a resolution that will stop the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas.
Blair acknowledged Monday the situation was "complicated and difficult," but said that he still believed progress was being made.
"People have now got the basic elements of a resolution that can be agreed at the Security Council, so that when we put that resolution down, the pathway and the framework will be clear, so that people can be sure the violence and conflict is going to stop, and stop on both sides," Blair said.
Mistrial declared
SAN FRANCISCO, California
A mistrial was declared in the case of a mother whose 12-year-old son was fatally mauled by the family's two pit bulls last year while she was at a school picnic with her daughter.
Jurors deadlocked on a felony endangerment charge against Maureen Faibish after two days of deliberations. Her lawyer said Monday the split showed jurors were not swayed by arguments that her client recklessly put the child in harm's way. Faibish faced up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
"None of them believed that when Ms. Faibish walked out the door she believed her son would be seriously injured or killed," said Lidia Stiglich.
Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek a retrial, said Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.


Updated : 2021-10-16 09:45 GMT+08:00