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News Briefs

Recall Complete, Schwarzenegger Plans His Next Steps


Arnold Schwarzenegger moved quickly Wednesday to prepare for governing, naming a prominent Republican congressman to run his transition and suggesting he would call on President Bush to provide federal aid to California, now in Republican hands.

Schwarzenegger, who will become only the second governor in U.S. history to emerge from a recall election, held a post-election news conference here that set a tone of confidence, good humor and reconciliation.

“I made it very clear in my campaign that I will be the peoples’ governor,” Schwarzenegger said. “That is the most important thing: governor for the people, not for special interests, but for everybody.”

The movie star, whose celebrity helped drive his victory, said he would place his businesses in a blind trust and would stop making films. Yet he still used movie terminology, telling reporters with relish that one of his last campaign appearances had been “a good visual.”

He largely avoided specifics about his plans for dealing with the state’s biggest problems, including its chronic budget deficit.

But he repeated promises made during the campaign not to raise taxes, to repeal the recent tripling of vehicle registration fees and to rescind a law signed last month by Davis that allows undocumented workers to apply for a driver’s license.

Rumsfeld on the Defensive At Defense


The White House and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld moved quickly on Wednesday to contain an unusual public breach over Iraq policy, a day after Rumsfeld testily told European reporters that he was not consulted before a reorganization designed to give the White House more control over the occupation of the country.

Appearing at a NATO conference in Colorado Springs on Wednesday afternoon, Rumsfeld tried to dismiss any talk of his diminished role in Iraq policy, suggesting at one point that reporters should concentrate on “something more important,” like the World Series potential of his hometown Chicago Cubs.

That tone contrasted with his harsh language on Tuesday, when he said President Bush and had never discussed with him the creation of the Iraq Stabilization Group, set up by Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser. He said that the first he heard of it was in a memorandum from Rice last week. In a seeming criticism of the White House he suggested that the National Security Council was finally focusing on doing what it should have been doing all along -- coordinating the work of the many government agencies dealing with Iraq.

He told reporters on Tuesday “it’s not quite clear to me why” Rice sent him a memorandum on the subject. When he was pressed on the question by a German broadcast reporter, he retorted, “I said I don’t know. Isn’t that clear? You don’t understand English? I was not there for the backgrounding,” a reference to explanations of the new approach that were provided on Sunday to The New York Times.

Bush’s spokesman, Scott McClellan, retracted on Wednesday his statement on Monday that Rumsfeld had been fully involved in the decision to create the new group.

But several administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said on Wednesday that Rice had, in fact, discussed the issue with Rumsfeld and the other members of the national security council last week. The memorandum that she sent out last Thursday to Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and the director of the central intelligence agency, George Tenet, refers in its first sentence to previous discussions she had had with all of them.

Administration officials said that Rumsfeld’s display of pique appeared rooted in the widespread perception that his power was being diminished -- a perception that Rice disputed on Sunday.

Drug Regimen Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrence, Study Says


A new drug regimen can markedly reduce the chance that breast cancer will recur in postmenopausal women, a large international study has found.

The results, in fact, were so strongly, and surprisingly, positive that the investigators ended the study early and offered the women taking a placebo the drug instead.

The study involved 5,187 women in the United States, Canada and Europe. It asked what to do after they finished the recommended five-year course of tamoxifen, the standard treatment to prevent breast cancer recurrences.

Tamoxifen, which blocks estrogen, is remarkably effective in postmenopausal women whose cancers are fueled by the hormone. But women gain no additional benefits after they take tamoxifen for five years, so doctors have told them simply to stop taking it then and hope for the best.

They are better off for having taken it -- the drug’s effects last for years after it is stopped -- but they are left vulnerable to its return.

Half of all recurrences happen five or more years after a woman’s cancer is first diagnosed, and women face a 2 percent to 4 percent chance each year that a cancer might return.

The new study found that if the women took a different drug, letrozole (Femara), made by Novartis, after their five years of tamoxifen, they could cut that risk nearly in half.

After an average of 2.4 years after their tamoxifen treatment ended, 132 women who were taking placebos developed new breast cancer or recurrences, compared with 75 of the women taking letrozole, a 43 percent reduction in risk.