New Jersey
Princeton to get meningitis vaccine

A meningitis vaccine approved for use in Europe and Australia but not in the United States can be imported to try to stop an outbreak of the disease at Princeton University in New Jersey, federal health officials said Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration agreed this week to the importation of Bexsero for potential use on the 7,900-student campus, said Barbara Reynolds, spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The school reported its seventh meningitis case of the year last week, university spokesman Martin Mbugua said. University trustees are meeting this weekend to discuss the outbreak.

Bexsero, a new vaccine made by Swiss drugmaker Novartis, is designed to protect against a strain of the disease, serogroup B, that is not as common in the United States as in other parts of the world, Reynolds said. She said she did not know how quickly the vaccine could be available. It would be optional for the students at Princeton, she said.

— Reuters

New York
Afghan boy helped by Army is recovering

An Afghan boy born with his bladder outside his body awoke from corrective surgery Friday just in time to say goodbye to the U.S. Army officer who helped make the treatment possible.

Bilal Sharif, 7, had the surgery Thursday at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York. Maj. Glenn Battschinger came to see him Friday before leaving for a yearlong deployment in Africa, the Scranton Times-Tribune in Pennsylvania reported Saturday.

“I was getting ready to say so long, and he kind of opened his eyes,” Battschinger said. “I gave him a hug and a kiss and said, ‘I’ll see you when I see you.’ ”

The operation was a success, said Bilal’s host mother, Laureen Dempsey, and he will be at the hostpital at least 10 more days.

Despite his medical condition, Bilal worked alongside his father making bricks in Afghanistan before Battschinger intervened more than a year ago and made corrective surgery a possibility.

— Associated Press

N.J. town plans to buy foreclosures: Irvington, N.J., is moving forward with plans to become the second municipality in the nation to use eminent domain to buy mortgages that are in foreclosure. At a rally Saturday, Mayor Wayne Smith said the city will perform a legal study of the proposal to use eminent domain. The city of 53,000, near Newark, has been hard hit by foreclosures. Officials said that nearly 1,800 homes there have been foreclosed on since 2008. Smith said Irvington’s plan would focus on “private label” security mortgages, which are not backed by the U.S. government.

— Associated Press

High school to keep Arabs team name: California school officials say the “Arabs” team name is here to stay, but the costumed mascot that represents them may be changing. The Coachella Valley Unified School District held a meeting Friday night to address the conflict over the Coachella Valley High School Arabs and their bearded, snarling mascot who wears a headscarf. Superintendent Darryl Adams said changing the “Arabs” name, used since the 1920s by the school near Palm Springs, is off the table, the Desert Sun reported. District officials planned to meet next week with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. The group launched an online petition to pressure the school to toss the mascot. The petition has been signed by 900 people. Adams said district officials are open to changing the mascot’s image and will make an announcement next week.

Body of man who fell from plane found: Miami Police believe they have found the body of a man who on Thursday fell 2,000 feet from a plane flying off the Florida coast. Around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Miami-Dade Police Department homicide officers found a body near the shore in a mangrove area south of Northeast 184th Street in Miami. Police had earlier identified the plane victim as Gerardo Nales, 42, of Key Biscayne, Fla. Police told the Los Angeles Times that they are awaiting official identification from the medical examiner’s office. Police said that on Thursday afternoon a pilot reported that a man had opened the door of his small plane and had fallen or jumped out about eight miles southeast of Kendall-Tamiami Executive Airport.

— McClatchy-Tribune