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News Briefs

Christopher Reeve, Real-Life Superhero, Dies

By Douglas Martin

The New York Times

Christopher Reeve, the cinematic Superman who became a real-life inspiration through his painstaking efforts to overcome total paralysis, while speaking out for stem-cell research and other potential treatments, died on Sunday at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was 52 and lived in Pound Ridge, N.Y.

Reeve was being treated for a pressure wound, a common complication for people in wheelchairs, said his publicity agent, Wesley Combs. These wounds result from constant pressure in one spot, reducing the blood to that area and finally killing the affected tissue.

Combs said that Reeve fell into a coma on Saturday. The wound had become severely infected, and the infection spread through his body.

A riding accident in 1995 had left the actor paralyzed from the neck down. After briefly pondering suicide, Reeve had become a powerful proponent of causes ranging from insurance reform for catastrophic injuries to unleashing the possibilities that some scientists believe lie in using embryonic stem cells for research.

2 Mavericks Win Economics Nobel

By Louis Uchitelle

The New York Times

An American and a Norwegian economist were awarded the Nobel prize for economics on Monday for their efforts to demonstrate that innovative new technologies and shocks, such as a sharp increase in oil prices, play a much greater role in causing booms and recessions than fluctuations in demand.

The $1.3 million Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science went to Edward C. Prescott, 63, and Finn E. Kydland, 60, for two papers they wrote between 1977 and 1982. Their findings contradicted Keynesian theory, which held that changes in demand, particularly consumer demand, played the greatest role in business cycles. The Prescott-Kydland papers “transformed academic research in economics” and also transformed policy making, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its citation.

Their first paper, which appeared when both were at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, argued in effect that government officials should adhere to rules rather than resort to short-term policy shifts when circumstances change.

Rural States Benefit in Allocation Of Domestic Security Funds

By Dean E. Murphy

The New York Times ANCHORAGE, Alaska

In the nationwide scramble for domestic security dollars, officials in Alaska are in a predicament that would be the envy of most other states. They must figure out how to spend $2 million in federal money.

The Department of Homeland Security rejected a proposal by Alaska to use the money to buy a jet, but indicated it would be “happy to entertain” further proposals for the $2 million. Officials are now obliging. One of the nation’s least populous states, Alaska is flush with domestic security grants, on a per-resident basis second only to Wyoming and about three times the amount allocated to New York over the last two years.

Money is so readily available that the Northwest Arctic Borough, a desolate area of 7,300 people that straddles the Arctic Circle, recently stocked up on $233,000 worth of emergency radio equipment, decontamination tents, headlamps, night vision goggles, bullhorns -- even rubber boots.

Alaska’s good fortune highlights what many critics say is a serious failing in the way that America is fighting the battle against terrorism at home.