PORTSMOUTH, Va.

Search ends for missing in tanker explosion

The Coast Guard last night suspended the search for 18 crew
members missing from an ethanol-laden tanker that exploded in the
Atlantic Ocean, and were unsure whether search efforts would resume
this morning.

The Coast Guard will decide whether to continue the search after
a crew flies over the area this morning, Chief Warrant Officer Gene
Maestas said.

“Realistically, the longer the search goes on, the less
likely it is that we will find anyone who is still alive,”
Rear Adm. Sally Brice-O’Hara, commander of the Coast
Guard’s 5th District, said at a news briefing earlier
yesterday.

The Bow Mariner, a tanker carrying 3.5 million gallons of
ethanol, exploded and sank Saturday night about 50 miles off
Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Three men died and six were
rescued.

Three of the survivors were released yesterday from Sentara
Norfolk General Hospital. The others were in good condition and
could be released this morning, hospital spokeswoman Ann Keffer
said.

Two Coast Guard workers were treated for minor injuries.

 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.

Harvard reveals stem cell research plans

Harvard University plans to launch a multimillion-dollar center
to grow and study human embryonic stem cells, the school said
yesterday.

The center, to be announced April 23 at a scientific conference,
could be the largest privately funded American stem cell research
project to date, the Boston Sunday Globe reported. President Bush,
citing ethical considerations, has limited federal funding for
embryonic stem cell research to existing lines of cells.

Harvard issued a statement yesterday confirming its plans,
saying the school is “proceeding in the direction of
establishing a stem cell institute.” Final details are not
complete, it said.

“Harvard believes stem cell research is essential in
advancing potential treatments for serious human ills. Harvard will
continue to work within the laws and regulations in advancing these
treatments,” the statement read.

Harvard has not decided how much money needs to be raised for
the center, said Provost Steven E. Hyman. Scientists involved,
however, told the Globe that the fund-raising goal is about $100
million.

 

NEW YORK

Edwards rips into Kerry during debate

Democratic presidential underdog John Edwards dismissed John
Kerry’s ideas as “the same old Washington talk”
in a feisty debate yesterday, two days before the 10-state slate of
contests known as Super Tuesday.

Edwards shed his congenial style and delivered his toughest
critique yet of the Democratic front-runner. He said Kerry voted
for bad trade agreements and that his proposals would “drive
us deeper and deeper into deficit.”

In a swipe back at the freshman senator from North Carolina,
Kerry, a 19-year-Senate veteran, said the country needs a president
with experience and “proven ability to be able to stand up
and take on tough fights.”

Polls show Edwards trailing in all the states that vote
tomorrow, and he faces increasing pressure to bow out if he
can’t turn it around. He rejected the idea that he was
angling to become vice president.

 

CARACAS, Venezuela

Chavez supporters protest recall efforts

Chanting “Chavez! Chavez!” more than 100,000
Venezuelans marched yesterday to support President Hugo Chavez as
opponents demanding his recall staged demonstrations in several
cities.

Venezuela’s National Elections Council said it would
decide yesterday on the validity of more than 3.4 million
signatures opponents say they submitted to demand the recall
vote.

Last week, the council announced it would ask hundreds of
thousands of citizens to confirm that they had signed petitions
that have technical problems. The decision infuriated opposition
leaders, who have urged followers to wage a campaign of civil
disobedience.

In Caracas, security forces fired tear gas during a funeral
procession for a man killed in an opposition march Friday.

 

DALLAS

Buyers unaffected by recent food scares

Mad Cow Disease. Fish tainted with mercury and PCBs.
Contaminated green onions from Mexico. Bird flu in ducks and
chickens. Is anything safe to eat these days?

Across the nation, many consumers have made adjustments to their
grocery lists, opting for organically grown meats and vegetables
following recent food-borne illness scares.

Most, however, expressed confidence in the safety of the
country’s food supply.

“Mad Cow doesn’t bother me,” Ohio State
University chemistry Prof. Barbara Pappas said while buying ground
round, steaks and chops in Columbus. “The probability is so
remote. A person smoking next to me is more dangerous.”

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