Haitians Protest Treatment

MIAMI--Scores of Haitians protested what they said is the unfair treatment of their countrymen compared to the way U.S. officials treat immigrants from other nations, particularly Cuba.

Holding signs reading, "Freedom yes, deportation no," and chanting and singing, about 150 people demonstrated yesterday outside a detention center, seeking the immediate release of two Haitians who have been in Immigration and Naturalization Service custody for months, as well as the release of others held across the country.

They also demanded repeal of a tough 1996 U.S. law requiring deportation of immigrants who commit crimes, even years after they complete their sentences, saying it is applied differently to different groups.

"We are . . . asking for the 1996 law to be repealed because it is unfair to blacks and to Haitians," Marleine Bastien, president of Haitian Women of Miami and an organizer of the demonstration, said. "It is practically refugee cleansing."

Woman Donates Kidney

MINNEAPOLIS--A woman donated a kidney to a complete stranger, undergoing surgery and a battery of physical and psychological tests simply because she knew there was a long waiting list for organs.

Experts said that transplants in which neither donor nor recipient knows the other person were almost unheard of until a few years ago.

In this case, the 50-year-old donor was "purely motivated by altruism," said Cheryl Jacobs, a social worker who took part in the psychological screening of the woman.

The donor and the recipient both asked to keep their identities secret, even from each other. The transplant took place early last month but was not disclosed until Thursday, after the patients had left the hospital at the University of Minnesota.

Transplanted kidneys generally come from a cadaver or a living relative. Transplant programs have been reluctant to accept kidney donations from living strangers for several reasons, including concern about exposing the donor to the risks of surgery.

The 42,000 people on the nation's kidney transplant waiting list generally will have to wait three to five years for a new organ.

In 1998, there were 11,990 kidney transplants in the United States, and just over 4,000 came from living donors. Of those, 163 were unrelated to the recipients, according to the United Network on Organ Sharing.

Muscular Dystrophy Therapy

COLUMBUS, Ohio--A 36-year-old traffic controller received a gene therapy injection for muscular dystrophy to test the safety of a possible treatment for the debilitating disease.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association said Donavon Decker of Huron, S.D., is the first person to receive the injection. A muscle on the top of one of his feet was injected with genes for a missing muscle protein. The other foot received a placebo injection in the one-hour hospital procedure Thursday night.

Researchers will take biopsies to compare the muscles in six weeks while also monitoring Decker for any adverse reactions.


* WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.--A twin-engine Beechcraft King Air BE-90 clipped a building and crashed while trying to make an emergency landing in the dark, killing the eight people aboard. The victims were pilot George Rivera; Constantine Peter Chambers, 64, who founded the Chambers Hair Institute; Andrea Coolidge, 31; Shawn Meckelburg, 19; Erica Jones, 22; Mindy Marino, 17; Peter Passaris; and Alan Steven Rivera, 19. All were from Florida.

* WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.--John A. "Junior" Gotti was sentenced to nearly 6 1/2 years in federal prison and fined $1 million for following his father as boss of the Gambino crime family. He pleaded guilty in April to bribery, extortion and other charges and has until Oct. 18 to report to prison.

* HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.--Seven of the eight miles of famed "Surf City, USA" beach along the Southern California coast reopened Thursday after fecal bacteria that forced them closed this summer all but disappeared. Health officials said they believed urban runoff in storm drains--rather than a sewage leak--may have caused the beach fouling.

* CLEVELAND--One woman was killed and more than three dozen people were injured after a dense fog led to accidents involving 70 cars and trucks along a 32-mile stretch of the Ohio Turnpike, officials said.