Annan Urges Sharing

Of Vaccines to Fight Flu

UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary General Kofi Annan on Thursday called on governments and private corporations to share vaccines and other medical technology with competitors and poor countries to enable them to better prevent a possible avian flu pandemic.

Annan, speaking before an international health summit organized by Time magazine and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also called on wealthy governments to compensate poor farmers who have been forced to kill off infected birds. "If they are not compensated, they are not going to tell you when their birds are sick," he said.

Annan and U.N. health experts said the major challenge is to halt the spread of the avian flu virus among the world's 18 billion poultry animals, particularly backyard chickens that are hard to reach with vaccines.

The remarks come a week before representatives of U.N. health agencies and governments are to meet in Geneva to chart an international strategy for combating the spread of the deadly avian flu strain H5N1 before it can mutate into a virus that can be transmitted from person to person.

Several of Annan's proposals echoed plans outlined by President Bush, who asked Congress to approve $7.1 billion in funding for the prevention of a pandemic.

Nuclear Material Is

Moved to Secure Sites

ALBUQUERQUE -- The federal government has finished moving its most sensitive weapons-grade nuclear material from a Los Alamos National Laboratory technical area to more secure sites, a lab spokesman said.

The weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium are no longer within the lab's Technical Area 18, a site at the bottom of a steep canyon that critics said was vulnerable to a terrorist attack.

The transfers were driven by new threats after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and cost-saving efforts, lab spokesman Kevin Roark said. Officials at Los Alamos, which has been rocked by fiscal and security lapses, have said that they could keep the nuclear material secure but at high cost.

* AURORA, Colo. -- Three pit bulls mauled a 10-year-old boy in his back yard two days after the city banned new fighting dogs and added limits on those already owned. The boy was in "very critical" condition, police said. His name was not released.

* COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Two violent felons who escaped from a maximum-security prison by hiding on a trash truck were captured at a motel after a three-day manhunt. Jimmy Causey, 35, a kidnapper, and Johnny Brewer, 39, a murderer, had been on the loose since Tuesday, when they escaped from the Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia.

* BOULDER, Colo. -- Home Depot Inc. was sued by a shopper who says he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue. Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding. "They left me there, going through all that stress," Dougherty told the Daily Camera.

-- From Staff Reports

and News Services