June 23, 2008

Nation &World

Jobless claims decline by 5,000

WASHINGTON - The number of newly laid-off workers filing applications for unemployment benefits dropped slightly last week but remained at a level showing the strains of a weak economy.

The Labor Department reported today that jobless claims fell by 5,000 last week to 381,000 after having surged by 27,000 the previous week.

The small improvement was not enough to keep the four-week average from rising to 375,250, pushing it close to the level reached in early April, when the average had jumped to highs not seen since the wave of layoffs following the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

Gastric bypass

may reduce cancer

toronto - Gastric bypass surgery - a treatment for obesity that is already known to reduce heart disease and diabetes - decreases the incidence of cancer by 80 percent over the five years following the procedure, Canadian researchers reported.

The incidence of two of the most common tumors, breast and colon, were reduced by 85 percent and 70 percent respectively, Dr. Nicolas Christou of McGill University in Toronto said.

Wednesday's study confirms the findings of two papers last August that showed the surgery reduced overall deaths from cancer. The new study goes a step further by showing reductions in the incidence of several specific types of cancer, said Dr. Philip Schauer of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, who was not involved in the study.

Man gets life for

baby's drug death

HOUSTON - A man whose teething infant died after apparently sucking on his father's cocaine-tainted fingers has been sentenced to life in prison.

Dennis Ray Driver, 26, was convicted Wednesday of felony murder for the overdose death of his 8-month-old son, Dennis Jr. The jury also fined Driver $10,000.

Driver said he fell asleep at his apartment on Dec. 28 with his son lying on his chest. When he awoke, the baby wasn't breathing. The infant died the next day at a hospital.

Driver had told investigators that he had chopped up cocaine and the baby later sucked on his fingers, prosecutor Murray Newman said.

Pit bull kills

5-year-old boy

WESLACO, Texas - A pit bull fatally mauled a 5-year-old boy staying at a southern Texas home with relatives, authorities said.

The boy was pronounced dead at the scene Wednesday. Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Rosa Trevino said the condition of the child's body suggested there was no way emergency responders could have saved his life.

Authorities were trying to determine whether the dog had been confined and how it came in contact with the boy, Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino said.

Coffee fiend snags

half-ton of beans

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Police in Hawaii say a thief got his caffeine fix when he made off with more than 1,000 pounds of Kona coffee beans.

Police say the beans were taken from a home sometime between May 27 and May 29. The beans were in 100-pound burlap bags.

Police are asking the public to report anyone trying to sell green coffee beans.

The Kona area of Hawaii's Big Island is famous for its premium coffee beans.


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