In Missouri, Judge

Blocks Abortion Law

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A federal judge on Friday blocked enforcement of a new state law further restricting abortions, saying it would have forced an end to the procedure in part of Missouri.

The new law requires doctors performing abortions to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. It also lets parents sue people who "intentionally cause, aid or assist" minors in getting abortions without their parents' consent.

U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughery said the civil liability language "threatens an immediate chilling effect on all abortion counseling within Missouri and nearby states," in part because the language is too vague to know what actions could be targeted.

Lasker Prizes Given for

Stem Cell, DNA Work

NEW YORK -- Two scientists who first identified stem cells and two others who did pioneering work in DNA research won $50,000 prizes from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation.

The prize for basic medical research will be shared by Ernest McCulloch and James Till of the Ontario Cancer Institute and the University of Toronto for their pioneering identification of a stem cell. Stem cells can give rise to specialized cell types, and scientists are studying them in hopes of creating treatments for diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's.

The Lasker prize for clinical medical research will be shared by two Britons, Sir Alec Jeffreys of the University of Leicester and Sir Edwin Southern of Oxford University. Jeffreys discovered in 1984 that the DNA of an individual differs from that of another, making it a unique identifier. Southern, in the mid-1970s, devised a now-standard lab technique, called Southern blotting, that allows scientists to detect specific bits of genetic code within an organism's overall DNA. Jeffreys used it in his work, and it played a crucial role in mapping the human genome.

The Lasker public service award, which carries no honorarium, goes to Nancy Brinker, founder and president of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

* CHATHAM, Mass. -- Tropical Storm Ophelia rushed past southeastern Massachusetts with little effect other than wind and heavy rain overnight. Waves reached 19 feet well offshore, but Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod were spared the brunt of the storm, which was forecast to lose strength as it headed toward Nova Scotia.

* BOSTON -- Police officers involved in the fatal pellet gun shooting of Red Sox fan Victoria Snelgrove, 21, outside Fenway Park last fall were suspended, demoted or reprimanded, Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole announced. Officer Rochefort Milien, who fired the pellet that struck Snelgrove, agreed to a 90-day suspension over disciplinary charges that he exercised unreasonable judgment and excessive force. Officer Samil Silta also accepted a 90-day suspension, on the same charges. Superintendent James Claiborne, who was in charge of security that night, was demoted to captain.

-- From News Services