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News Briefs

Doctors’ Fears Might Limit Use of New Abortion Pill

THE WASHINGTON POST

While the approval of RU-486 promises to transform the abortion debate, advocates and opponents say the abortion pill’s impact could be muted by trepidation among doctors about prescribing the controversial drug.

Although the drug’s availability through private doctors’ offices is expected to make it much harder for antiabortion activists to target abortion providers, some medical professionals might remain fearful of protesters or even violence, experts say.

Some states, including Virginia, already have abortion reporting requirements that would apply to RU-486 and make it difficult for doctors who use it to remain anonymous. Antiabortion activists have begun looking for ways to use such fears to their advantage, including seeking similar laws in other states.

“I think the big concern for doctors is security. They do not want to ... be intimidated or subject to violence or have their staff and families subject to the actions of anti-choice people,” said Maxine Klane, a registered nurse and vice president for patient services at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington. “Physicians have been killed in this country over abortion.”

Doctors also may shun the pill because they are not familiar with administering it or dealing with the complications that could arise.

Milosevic Attacks Opponents, West

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- BUDVA, YUGOSLAVIA

As the opposition tightened the screws with strikes and roadblocks, President Slobodan Milosevic fought back Monday in a rare address to the nation in which he attacked his opponents as puppets of the West who would lead Serbs to extermination.

In a 20-minute speech on state-run television, the defiant leader said his main rival, Vojislav Kostunica, who, like Milosevic, has won popularity by attacking the West, isn’t the opposition’s “real boss.”

Milosevic claimed that the shots are really being called by Kostunica’s much less popular campaign manager, Zoran Djindjic, whom he branded “a collaborator of the military alliance that waged war against our country.”

Kostunica and his backers say they won an outright victory over Milosevic in elections Sept. 24, but the Federal Electoral Commission says no candidate won a majority and it scheduled a second round of voting for Sunday.

FDA Confirms Taco Shells Had Genetically Modified Corn

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

The Food and Drug Administration confirmed the presence of unapproved genetically engineered corn in some grocery taco shells, and Monday announced plans to begin testing other corn-based products to see if they have been contaminated, too.

“We plan to test other processed corn products, though there has been no determination yet exactly which products,” an FDA official said. “It’s a logical follow-up to the whole incident. We didn’t expect to find unapproved pesticide in the taco shells, but we did. So now we’ll look to see if it is anywhere else.”

In addition, the FDA plans to issue an official recall of the Taco Bell taco shells, marking the first recall of a bioengineered product by the agency. The recall was based on the FDA’s determination that the shells posed a potential but limited threat to human health.

The move will be a technicality since the taco shells were already recalled last month by their distributor, Kraft Foods, which found the corn in its own tests. The recall underscores the seriousness of the incident for the biotechnology industry.