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Study links fan's use to lower risk of SIDS

CHICAGO : Using a fan to circulate air seemed to lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in a study of nearly 500 babies, researchers reported yesterday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. Placing babies on their backs to sleep is the best advice for preventing SIDS, the leading cause of death in infants ages 1 month to 1 year. Experts also recommend a firm mattress, removing toys and pillows from cribs, and keeping infants from getting too warm. Such practices helped slash SIDS deaths in the United States by more than half over a decade to about 2,100 in 2003. "The baby's sleeping environment really matters," said study senior author Dr. De-Kun Li of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. "This seems to suggest that by improving room ventilation we can further reduce risk."

2 strong quakes kill more than 30 in Tibet

BEIJING : Two earthquakes jolted the capital of Tibet and surrounding areas yesterday, killing more than 30 people and collapsing hundreds of houses, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. Rescuers rushed in to try to save people buried in the rubble. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first quake measured magnitude 6.6 and struck at 4:30 p.m. about 50 miles west of Lhasa; the second temblor, measuring magnitude 5.1, hit about 15 minutes later, about 60 miles west of the Tibetan capital. Thirty people died and hundreds of houses collapsed in Gedar township near the epicenter in Dangxiong County. An unknown number of people were trapped, and soldiers and rescue workers were dispatched to the site, Xinhua said. Deaths also were reported in a neighboring county, but no figures were available.

New Ford feature to let parents set teen limits

DETROIT : Starting next year, Ford Motor Co. will roll out a new feature on many 2010 models that can limit teen drivers to 80 mph, using a computer chip in the key. Parents also have the option of programming the teen's key to limit the audio system's volume, and to sound continuous alerts if the driver doesn't wear a seat belt. "Our message to parents is, hey, we are providing you some conditions to give your new drivers that may allow you to feel a little more comfortable in giving them the car more often," said Jim Buczkowski, Ford's director of electronic and electrical systems engineering. The feature, called "MyKey," will be standard on an unspecified number of Ford models when the 2010 cars and trucks come out late next summer. The feature will spread to the entire Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup as models are updated, a spokesman said. .

Bush calls on Senate to confirm federal judges

CINCINNATI : President Bush reminded Americans yesterday that his eight years of appointing conservative judges will affect the nation for decades, hoping to secure his legacy but also to help fire up Republicans in must-win Ohio a month before the presidential election. Bush told about 700 conservative legal scholars, judges, students and activists that he has appointed more than one-third of all sitting federal judges and that "few issues are more hotly debated or have a more lasting impact on our country." He called on the Democratic-run Senate to vote on filling 34 vacancies in the federal circuit and district courts and criticized the "ruthlessness that now characterizes the confirmation process." Democrats say that they have confirmed 326 of Bush's judicial nominees and that just 26 are pending.

17 killed as mortar fire hits Mogadishu market

MOGADISHU, Somalia : Mortar rounds slammed into a market in Somalia's capital yesterday, killing at least 17 people, after a failed insurgent attack on the presidential palace. Al-Shabab, a radical Islamic group at the heart of the Somali insurgency, claimed responsibility for the initial attack on the palace. Mortar shells then slammed into the Bakara Market, where people can buy everything from packets of rice and sugar to grenades and AK-47s. The government suspects insurgents use the market as a base, and it often comes under fire.

Suicide bomber kills 27, injures 80 in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka : A suspected rebel suicide bomber blew himself up yesterday inside a crowded opposition party office in northern Sri Lanka, killing a retired army general and 26 others. At least 80 were wounded in the bomb attack at the United National Party office in Anuradhapura town, a military spokesman said.

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