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News Briefs

Lawmaker Accuses CIA Of ‘Obstructionism’ on Iraq


Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Thursday accused the CIA of “obstructionism” for failing to provide the panel with crucial intelligence assessments of Iraq in a timely manner.

Graham said the CIA’s foot-dragging had affected committee members’ ability to judge for themselves whether it is time to go to war with Saddam Hussein.

“We’re trying to carry out a very important responsibility, and given the nature of this classified information, we are the only means by which the intelligence community can communicate to the legislative branch of government,” Graham said. “And if they refuse to do so ... then they are effectively shutting down the people who the Constitution says have the responsibility to declare war and support wars and the intelligence operation that wars require.”

At issue are two National Intelligence Estimates, one concerning Iraq’s biological, chemical and nuclear capabilities; the other Iraq’s conventional forces.

Michigan Infant Infected With West Nile through Breast Milk


Federal health officials have concluded that a Michigan newborn was infected with the West Nile virus through her mother's breast milk, and are investigating how four other babies contracted the disease.

The 40-year-old mother had most likely been infected through a blood transfusion she received six hours after giving birth, the officials said Thursday.

While the Michigan infant has remained healthy despite having the virus, the discovery is considered worrisome because it adds to the number of ways that West Nile virus can be spread -- through mosquito bites, blood transfusions, organ transplants and now breastfeeding.

Still, federal officials stressed Thursday that more than 99 percent of West Nile infections come from mosquito bites, and that they still strongly recommend that mothers breastfeed their infants.

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also confirmed Thursday that a 55-year-old woman from St. Mary’s County, Md., who tested positive for the West Nile virus died a month after receiving a kidney transplant. The officials said it remained unclear, however, how the woman had gotten the infection.

Stewart Resigns From New York Stock Exchange Board


Plagued by insider-trading allegations and a blazing media spotlight, style guru Martha Stewart resigned Thursday from the board of the New York Stock Exchange.

Stewart’s resignation came a day after federal prosecutors first outlined a potential insider-trading case against her as part of their indictment of Merrill Lynch broker assistant Douglas Faneuil. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for concealing from investigators what he knew about Stewart’s sale of ImClone Systems Inc. stock last December.

In her resignation letter, Stewart cited the “rigors of my own very busy and demanding corporate life” as reasons for stepping down. A statement released later went further: “I did not want the media attention currently surrounding me to distract from the important work of the NYSE,” said Stewart, herself the chief executive of a large Manhattan-based media company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.