2 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 27, 2001
Supreme C to decide legality of
executin tly retarded inmates
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court
rejoined the heated national debate over the death
penalty yesterday, announcing it will decide
whether the Constitution's ban on "cruel and
unusual punishment" bars execution of mentally
The justices said they will hear an appeal by North
Carolina death-row inmate Ernest McCarver, whose
lawyers say he is retarded. The justices halted his exe-
cution early this month just hours before he was to
have been put to death.
The justices decided in 1989 the Constitution
allows execution of mentally retarded killers.
McCarver's lawyers say Americans' standards of
decency have changed since then.
"There has been a substantial change in American
society," his lawyers wrote in his appeal. "The penal-
ty of death is plainly cruel when imposed on those
whose culpability is lessened by their inability to rea-
The Constitution's Eighth Amendment bans "cruel
and unusual punishments." The question, McCarver's
lawyers contend, is whether a punishment offends
Prosecutors said considerable evidence showed that
McCarver was not mentally retarded, but they added
that even if he was, his execution would not violate
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley denied
clemency, saying McCarver planned the 1987 stab-
bing and choking death of a co-worker, motivated
This month, the justices blocked the execution of
another man said by his lawyers to be borderline
retarded. Antonio Richardson had been scheduled to
be put to death March 7 in Missouri.
The court also plans to hear arguments today in
another case involving a death-row inmate whose
lawyers say he is mentally retarded.
The case involving Johnny Paul Penry of Texas
does not ask whether the Constitution prohibits exe-
cuting the mentally retarded. Instead, Penry's lawyers
say jurors who sentenced him to death for murder did
not have the chance to properly consider his mental
NEWS IN BRIEF
Infant slain in latest round of Mideast fighting
A Palestinian sniper killed a 10-month-old Israeli girl yesterday in the tense
and violent West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. Israeli
tanks retaliated with machine-gun and artillery fire into the neighborhood where
the shooting originated.
The infant was slain - and her brother and father were wounded -- in front of
her home in a fortified Jewish enclave that lies near the center of Hebron, just
below a Palestinian hilltop neighborhood called Abu Sneinah. The girl, identified
as Shalhevet Pas, was the youngest of about 65 Israelis killed since the
Palestinian uprising began Sept. 29, during which time about 350 Palestinians
have been slain.
The shooting took place at about 5 p.m., a Palestinian policeman in Hebron
said. Immediately afterward, Israeli soldiers and settlers began to fire up into
Abu Sneinah and an adjacert neighborhood. The assault lasted about 45 Min-
utes and injured at least seven Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials.
The Israeli military command in the West Bank then told Palestinian security
forces to tell residents to leave Abu Sneinah or face the danger of a heavy at#.
Few left, the Palestinian policeman said, and the attack did not take place Monday
evening. However, shooting fromthe settlement continued.
Military sufers two separate losses in Europe
U,. military aviation suffered two hard blows yesterday with the fatal crash oif an
Army plane in Germany and the disappearance - and apparent loss - of two Air
Force fighter jets in Scotland.
An Army RC-12, a twin-engine propeller aircraft used to detect, identifyd
locate enemy radar and electronic communications, crashed in a forest about P ,ht
miles from Nuremberg, killing the two pilots on board, Army spokeswoman tfilde
Patton said from 5th Corps headquarters at Heidelberg.
German and American authorities at the scene were attempting to recover the
pilots' remains from the crash scene, Patton said. There was no initial indication of
what caused the crash.
At roughly the same time, the Air Force disclosed that two F-15C fighters were
overdue on a return flight to their home base at Lakenheath in southern Englnd
after conducting low-level flght training in Scotland.
Several hours later the Air Force said there had been no word from the two -15
pilots nor any confirmation of their fate. The lack of communication suggested a
strong possibility that they had crashed, officials said.
Bush takes tax promotion tour to heartland
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Presi-
dent Bush yesterday injected a new tone
of urgency into his public appeals for
Congress to quickly pass his $1.6 trillion
tax cut, saying the economy "has slowed
and we better do something about it."
Campaigning anew in the heartlands
for his economic agenda, the president
told several hundred business people
that his plan "has the potential to turn
(the slowing economy) around."
Bush's remarks, both in Kansas City
and yesterday evening in Billings, Mont.,
set the stage for what top White House
aides said would be a major address on
the economy today in Kalamazoo.
"It's going to be the president's
assessment of where the economy is,
why his plan is the best plan to help the
economy recover," said Ari Fleischer,
the White House press secretary.
WRITE FOR US.
President Bush shakes hands with a crowd gathered to greet him yesterday in
Billings, Montana where he outlined his economic agenda.
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Montana is the 21st state that Bush
has visited since becoming president-
testament to his determination to take his
tax-cut campaign beyond what he gently
denigrated on yesterday as "the filter"-
meaning the Washington establishment,
Upon the president's arrival in
Kansas City, he dropped in on First
Watch, a popular diner, before address-
ing local businessmen and women
gathered at Bajan Industries, a minori-
ty-owned enterprise that produces spe-
cialty cards for Hallmark and employs
many former welfare recipients.
There, the president delivered his
standard stump speech, laying out his
rationale for the across-the-board tax cut
and debt reduction while explaining his
proposals to rebuild the military and
extend the solvency of Medicare and
a bad mx
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON - Evidence that
many Americans may poison their liv-
ers by unwittingly taking toxic doses of
acetaminophen has the government
considering if consumers need stiffer
warnings about the popular over-the-
Its not the first time acetaminophen,
best known by the Tylenol brand, has
drawn federal concern.
There are warnings not to take it if
you consume more than three alcoholic
drinks, because the combination can
poison your liver.
But the latest worry is about over-
doses: taking too much for too long, or
mixing the myriad acetaminophen-con-
taining headache, cold/flu and other
remedies, or just popping extra pills.
Because acetaminophen is nonpre-
scription, "people think it must be safe
and they take it like M&Ms," sighs Dr.
William Lee of the University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
Lees data suggest acetaminophen
overdoses could be a bigger cause of
liver failure than some prescription
drugs recently banned for liver poi-
soning, such as the diabetes medicine
He tracked more than 300 acute liver
failure cases at 22 hospitals and linked
38 percent to acetaminophen, versus 18
percent of cases caused by other med-
ications. In a second database tracking
307 adults suffering severe liver
injury-not full-fledged failure -at
six hospitals, Lee linked aceta-
minophen to 35 percent of cases.
"Most were accidents and should
have been preventable," Lee contends.
The findings surprised Food and
Drug Administration officials, who this
month began investigating how big a
risk the painkiller poses and whether
Americans need more explicit warn-
ings to use it safely.
They even are seeking data from
Britain, where so many people used
acetaminophen for suicide that British
health authorities now restrict how
many tablets are sold at once,
"Acetaminophens liver toxicity is
conspicuous in its magnitude com-
pared to some of the other bad players
we've taken off the market;' says Dr.
Peter Honig, FDAs postmarketing
drug safety chief.
"Were looking at the data to decide
if something has to be done, and what"
Certainly millions of Americans
safely take acetaminophen every day.
Tylenol maker McNeil Consumer
McCain finance bill
dealt blow in Senate
The Senate voted narrowly yesterday
to ban certain late-campaign advertis-
ing by advocacy groups such as the
National Right to Life Committee and
the Sierra Club, compliating efforts
by Sen. John McCain and his allies to
pass legislation reining in the campaign
The vote was 51-46 on a proposal
by Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) he
said he wanted to "pkug one large
loophole" in the campaign finance bill
that allows independent groups to pay
for late-campaign attack ads while
banning unions and corporations from
"If I thought it was constitutional I
would have voted for it," said McCain
(R-Ariz.). He watched on the Senate
floor while some supporters of the
underlying bill sided with Wellstone,
joined by Republican lawmakers hop-
ing to kill the entire legislation.
Bloody knives found
in suspect's room
Knives found in the bedroom of one
of the teen-agers accused of murdering
two Dartmouth College professors
were stained with blood matching one
of the victims, according to court docu-
ments released yesterday.
The two knives were found in a box
in the bedroom of Robert Tulloch, 17,
according to the prosecution docu-
Tulloch and James Parker, 16, both
of Chelsea, Vt., are accused of fatally
stabbing Half and Susanne Zantop in
the professors' Hanover home on Jan.
"On one knife, DNA consistent with
Susanne Zantop was detected," the-roc-
uments say. "On the second knife,
DNA consistent with Susanne Za p
was detected, with a mixture of an er
source of DNA." The documents do not
identify the source of the additional
U.S., Russia shut
down child porn site
In a joint operation, the United
States and Russia have shut dox a
Moscow-based international pornog-
raphy ring that used the Internet to
sell videotapes of children engaged
in sexual acts, authorities said yes-
Law enforcement officials arrested
nine people, including four in the Unit-
ed States, and issued 15 search wtar-
rants as a result of the investigation by
the U.S. Customs Service and Mos v
Authorities dubbed the ong'ing
investigation Operation Blue Orchid,
after the studio in Russia where many
of the videotapes were made. A Web
site using the same name allegedly
advertised the tapes, which were then
distributed worldwide through the
mail. Most of the tapes, which Cost
between $200 to $300, were shipped to
the United States, authorities said.
- Compiled from Daily wire rep .
iI aItfL __ti
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