The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 45.0°F | Light Rain

News Briefs

Russia May Issue Arrest Warrant For Journalist It Handed Over

THE BALTIMORE SUN -- MOSCOW

It has been nearly two weeks since Russian authorities announced that they had handed over a captive Radio Liberty reporter to Chechen rebels, and now, amid the international outcry and skepticism that have followed, they say they want him after all.

The whereabouts of Andrei Babitsky, who was shown on a Federal Security Service videotape being delivered into the custody of a masked man described as a Chechen fighter, are unknown. The Chechen government of Aslan Maskhadov says it doesn’t have him. His supporters believe he may still be under detention by Russian special services, or by a Chechen group allied with Moscow, or by a Chechen kidnapping gang.

The general prosecutor’s office is considering issuing an arrest warrant for Babitsky if he doesn’t turn himself in, the Interfax news agency reported Monday.

Having claimed with some satisfaction that they gave him away, Russian law-enforcement authorities now say that Babitsky is wanted for questioning. They plan to ask Interpol to help arrest him, Interfax reported.

In his years with the radio station, financed by the U.S. government, Babitsky earned a reputation for fearless reporting. He enraged Russian officials with his accounts from Grozny, the Chechen capital. He was among the first to report that more than 100 Russian soldiers had been killed in the city at a time when Russian generals were denying troops had been sent in.

He was supposed to be on his way to Moscow; then it turned out he was being given over to someone in exchange for three Russian prisoners, as if he were a hostage. Then it was for two prisoners. Then the army said it wasn’t an exchange at all, but the Interior Ministry said it was.

Brain Activity, Ability to Think Hurt by Lack of Sleep, Study Says

THE WASHINGTON POST

When people don’t get enough sleep, researchers have long known, their ability to think suffers. But it has been unclear exactly how sleep deprivation affects the brain. Now a study has examined this question -- and has come up with some surprising results.

J. Christian Gillin of the University of California at San Diego and colleagues conducted brain scans on 13 subjects while they performed word memory tasks after 35 hours without sleep.

As expected, activity in a part of the brain involved in verbal memory known as the temporal cortex was reduced.

But another area known as the parietal cortex, which synthesizes information and is inactive when the brain is rested, became more active when the subjects were sleep-deprived, apparently to compensate.

But even more surprisingly, the prefrontal cortex, which plays a role in short-term memory, also became more active. The sleepier the subjects were, the more active it became.

“These findings show that there are dynamic, compensatory changes in cerebral activation during verbal learning after sleep deprivation,” the researchers wrote in the Feb. 10 issue of Nature.