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Briefs (right)

Loan for Foreign Mining
In Ghana Is Approved

By Celia W. Dugger

On Tuesday, the board of the International Finance Corp., the World Bank’s investment agency, approved a $75 million loan to a subsidiary of Newmont Mining, the world’s largest gold producer, for a project in Ghana. The investment agency’s managers say they hope the project will be a model for the developing world.

An alliance of advocacy and environmental groups urged the IFC to postpone approval until it won additional safeguards to protect the thousands of people who are losing land and livelihoods to the gold mine’s development, and to prevent contamination of drinking water from mine waste.

But a senior official at the agency said the loan had been approved on the condition that the company meets stringent social and environmental standards. The more than 9,000 people — many of them subsistence farmers — whose homes or land are being displaced by the project are being resettled in new villages or compensated for their losses.

“The company is really committed, and the fact that they have deep pockets will help address many of these issues as they come up,” said Rashad Kaldany, who heads the oil, gas, mining and chemicals department for the World Bank and its investment agency.

The $470 million project, already three-quarters built, will create 620 permanent jobs, IFC officials said, and, depending on the price of gold, generate $300 million to $700 million for Ghana over the next 20 years.

Wounded ABC Newsmen Return

By Mark Landler

The ABC News anchor and cameraman wounded in a roadside bombing in Iraq arrived Tuesday night at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., after a brief stay at a military hospital in Germany, according to the network’s Web site.

A doctor who treated both of them in Germany said Tuesday that the men had made “remarkable” progress since being admitted there Monday. The anchor, Bob Woodruff, has been able to move his fingers and toes, said the doctor, Lt. Col. Guillermo Tellez, the chief of surgery at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.

Woodruff, 44, remains heavily sedated, Tellez said, but “he does open his eyes a little bit.”

While the full extent of Woodruff’s injuries are not yet known, and he faces months of recovery, Tellez said he could imagine him going back to work someday as a broadcast journalist. “He has a very good chance,” he said.

The cameraman, Doug Vogt, 46, who was not as severely injured as Woodruff by the explosion, was “awake a lot, and talking to family and friends,” said Marie Shaw, a spokeswoman for the medical center. Tellez said, “We’re optimistic that in the long term, they will do very, very well.”

Women at Extra Risk Than Men
For Undetected Coronary Disease

By Denise Grady

Women are more likely than men to have a hidden type of coronary disease in which their heart muscle is starved for oxygen even though their coronary arteries look clear and free of blockages on X-rays, doctors are reporting.

The condition, which may affect 3 million American women, greatly increases the risk of a heart attack. Its main symptom is chest pain or discomfort. In many women, the pain occurs but nothing shows up on an angiogram, a test in which dye is injected into the coronary arteries and they are X-rayed in a search for blockages, so doctors conclude that no treatment is needed.

But patients may then go on to have heart attacks or develop heart failure, a weakening of the heart muscle that can be debilitating and ultimately fatal.

“When there are no blockages, everybody slacks off, including the patient, and we don’t want to do that,” said Dr. George Sopko of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Such patients almost certainly need treatment, he said.

The findings are among those in a series of articles to be published Wednesday in two medical journals — Circulation and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology — exploring the differences in heart disease between men and women. The subject has drawn increasing interest in recent decades, as scientists began to realize that the results of previous studies, done mostly in men, did not always apply to women.

Walmart to Face Suit
On Emergency Contraception Pill

By Bruce Mohl

Three Massachusetts women are planning to file a lawsuit Wednesday against Wal-Mart for failing to stock and sell a prescription emergency contraception pill called Plan B.

Details of the lawsuit and the names of the plaintiffs were not available in advance of a press conference Wednesday, but an attorney representing the three women said the case is based on longstanding pharmacy regulations in Massachusetts.

The emergency contraception pill is a high dose of hormones that women can take three to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. The pill, because it is viewed by abortion opponents as a way of terminating a pregnancy, has stirred controversy both nationally and locally.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman said the company doesn’t carry a number of products, including Plan B, “for business reasons.” The spokeswoman, Sarah Clark, declined to discuss the specific “business reasons” associated with Plan B.

Clark said it is company policy to refer customers seeking a product that Wal-Mart doesn’t carry to a competitor who does stock the item. She also said Wal-Mart pharmacies in Massachusetts will stock the Plan B pill if the retailer receives a directive to do so either from the Massachusetts Pharmacy Board or the state attorney general.