The Baltimore Sun

NAACP chairman Bond won't seek new term

BALTIMORE: Veteran civil rights activist Julian Bond will not seek another term as chairman of the NAACP's national board, saying the time is right to "let a new generation of leaders" take over the century-old organization. Bond, 68, has served as chairman since 1998. He announced yesterday that his current one-year chairman's term, which expires in February, will be his last, although he plans to remain on the board. "This is a time for renewal. We have dynamic new leadership. The country has a new president in Barack Obama; the organization has a new CEO in Benjamin Jealous, and we'll soon have a new chairman of the NAACP board," Bond said in a statement. "The NAACP and the country are in good hands."

Ginkgo fails to prevent dementia in elderly

CHICAGO: The medicinal herb ginkgo biloba is not effective in preventing dementia or Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Between 2000 and 2008, researchers at five U.S. medical centers, including Johns Hopkins, studied the effects of ginkgo biloba extract on 3,069 patients ages 75 and older. Some patients were given 120 milligrams of the supplement twice daily, while others took a placebo. Investigators found that the herb was not effective in reducing the rate of dementia or Alzheimer's disease among more than 1,500 participants after several years of use.

Al-Maliki supports U.S. pact in TV address

BAGHDAD: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki delivered a nationally televised address yesterday to rally domestic support for a U.S.-Iraqi security pact, calling it a step toward full sovereignty and assuring neighbors it will prevent cross-border attacks. Hours earlier, Iraq said it will hold provincial elections Jan. 31 for the first time since 2005, when the country was in chaos. The ballot also could come with a clear timetable for a U.S. withdrawal in place, if parliament approves the security pact in a vote scheduled for Monday. The agreement would keep U.S. troops in Iraq until 2012 but put them under strict Iraqi oversight for the first time since they led an invasion five years ago.

Mikulski gets a top job in drafting health plan

WASHINGTON: Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland was named yesterday to lead a Senate working group that will help draft a national health care plan next year. Senate Health Committee Chairman Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who has said he would introduce a universal care plan early in the new session of Congress, selected three Democratic veterans to head the groups. Mikulski will focus on improvements in the quality of care. Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin will concentrate on prevention and public health, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is to deal with insurance coverage.

Md. crab disaster relief could reach $10 million

WASHINGTON : Maryland will receive up to $10 million in federal disaster relief for watermen and crab processing plants hurt by this year's decline in the crab harvest, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced yesterday. State officials welcomed the announcement, though the money is one-third less than they had sought. The state must submit a plan showing how it will use the money. Gov. Martin O'Malley and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine had asked for $15 million each. Maryland officials say they plan to use the federal aid to supplement $3 million in state funds already earmarked to employ watermen and provide financial assistance to seafood businesses affected by the crab decline.

Lieberman gets to keep committee chair job

WASHINGTON: Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent from Connecticut, was allowed to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee yesterday despite his support for Sen. John McCain in the presidential campaign. Democratic senators voted instead to oust him from the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he had been chairman of a subcommittee. That penalty was a slap on the wrist compared with the prospect of losing the homeland security leadership.

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