Court Order to Give Up

Tobacco Memo Reversed

A tobacco company facing racketeering and conspiracy charges can continue to try to keep a potentially damaging corporate memo out of the ongoing trial, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday.

The three-judge appellate panel said the federal judge presiding over the tobacco industry trial should not have ordered British American Tobacco Co. to turn over the document -- known as the Foyle memorandum -- even though the company failed for more than a year to acknowledge its existence.

The panel said the company had reason to think the document might not be required in the case, and U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler erred in entirely rejecting the company's argument that the document should be kept private.

Government lawyers believe that the Foyle memorandum, discovered recently in an Australian court case, will help prove their case that the tobacco industry tried to defraud the public about the known dangers of smoking. In the 1990 memo, which has not yet been made public, a lawyer named Andrew Foyle describes a corporate policy of forwarding sensitive documents to company lawyers.

Some tobacco activists believe the memo reflects a tactic that companies used to hide or destroy documents that could hurt them in smokers' lawsuits. British American Tobacco has argued that the memo is protected by attorney-client privilege, as it was prepared by a lawyer for the corporation.

U.S. Identifies 6 Airmen

Killed in Laos in 1966

Six U.S. airmen killed in Laos in 1966 in the Vietnam War have been identified with genetic tests and other methods, the Pentagon said yesterday.

They were aboard an AC-47 "Spooky" gunship flying a nighttime mission over southern Laos when it went down June 23, 1966, in a heavily wooded area in Khannouan Province, the Pentagon said.

The six Air Force airmen will be buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors Friday, said Larry Greer, spokesman for the Pentagon's POW-MIA office. The cause of the crash remains unknown.

They are Col. Theodore Kryszak of Buffalo; Col. Harding Smith of Los Gatos, Calif.; Lt. Col. Russell Martin of Bloomfield, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. Harold Mullins of Denver; Chief Master Sgt. Luther Rose of Howe, Tex.; and Chief Master Sgt. Ervin Warren of Philadelphia.

The remains were recovered by a team of U.S. and Laotian specialists in May and June 1995, Greer said.

Impotence Treatment

Has Hidden Danger

Consumers should not take Actra-Rx, a product advertised as a natural impotence treatment that actually contains the ingredient in Pfizer Inc.'s prescription pill Viagra, the Food and Drug Administration warned yesterday.

Tests of Actra-Rx found prescription-strength levels of sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra, the FDA said. Actra-Rx is imported into the United States from China under the name Yilishen and sold via the Internet as Actra-Rx, the FDA said.

Sildenafil can cause a dangerous lowering of blood pressure if taken with certain prescription drugs used to treat diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.

Officials at Body Basics Inc. of Los Angeles, which sells Actra-Rx online, did not immediately return a call for comment.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports