Gov’t: Antidepressants need warnings

Antidepressants should come with the nation’s strongest
warning — in a black box on the label — that they can
sometimes spur suicidal behavior in children and teenagers, the
government’s scientific advisers decided yesterday.

It’s a rare risk, and therefore families need detailed
information on how to balance that concern with the need to treat
depression, which itself can lead to suicide, cautioned advisers to
the Food and Drug Administration.

So antidepressants prescribed to minors also should come with an
easy-to-read pamphlet that explains how to decide if the child is
an appropriate candidate for the drug and what are the warning
signs of suicide, the panel concluded.

Also, FDA should consider the extra step of making parents sign
a form, saying that they understand the risks before the child
receives the first pill.



Israel to pay Jewish settlers to leave homes

Israeli Cabinet ministers approved cash advances yesterday of up
to $115,000 to Jewish settlers willing to leave their homes in the
Gaza Strip and West Bank — the first concrete step toward
carrying out Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s contentious
pullout plan.

In a sign of growing tensions, Israeli police said Sharon and an
official planning the withdrawal have been the targets of death
threats by Jewish extremists.

Israeli security officials have repeatedly voiced concerns that
opposition to Sharon could turn violent. Yesterday’s
statement by Jerusalem police commander Ilan Franco marked the
first time a senior security official has publicly issued such a

Sharon wants to pull out of all 21 Gaza settlements and four
small ones in the West Bank in 2005, removing 8,500 settlers from
their homes. After four years of conflict with the Palestinians,
Sharon says the moves are needed to improve security and pre-empt
new international peace plans.



Gulf Coast prepares for blast from hurricane

Frightened residents of the Gulf Coast from Florida’s
Panhandle to Louisiana’s bayous boarded up windows, packed
and hit the road yesterday as Hurricane Ivan charged in their
direction. Schools and coastal casinos were ordered closed and more
than 1 million people were urged to evacuate the vulnerable New
Orleans area.

A hurricane watch was posted for a 420-mile-long swath from St.
Marks in the Florida Panhandle, just south of Tallahassee, to New
Orleans and Morgan City, La. Authorities ordered or strongly urged
residents and tourists to evacuate coastal areas of the Florida
Panhandle, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Schools were closed
in New Orleans and parts of Florida, Mississippi and Alabama, and
some areas started opening shelters.



Man charged in terrorism of Russian school

Russian prosecutors charged a Chechen man with terrorism and
murder in the deadly hostage-taking at a school in southern Russia,
the Interfax news agency reported yesterday.

The man, identified as Nurpashi Kulayev, was charged with nine
counts, including kidnapping and banditry, General Prosecutor
Vladimir Ustinov was quoted as telling Interfax.

The three-day siege in Beslan in Russia’s North Ossetia
region ended in chaos that left 330 people dead, including 171
children, Ustinov said.

Kulayev was detained by authorities and he was later shown on
Russian state television looking frightened as he was manhandled by
masked law enforcement officers.


— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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