Nation briefly Oct. 11
Tonight’s debate to focus on economy
MILFORD, N.H. (AP) – In an election that’s supposed to hinge on jobs and the economy, the Republican presidential contest in recent months has been defined by almost everything else.
Immigration and children’s vaccines. Race and religion. Homosexuality and health care. The issues range far from the economic woes that concern most voters, but they have captivated Republicans in New Hampshire and other early voting states, providing the candidates with ways to distinguish themselves from their rivals. The biggest applause lines on the campaign trail usually have little to do with a candidate’s economic positions.
The dynamic was on display Monday, even as the contenders prepared for a Tuesday night debate focused solely on the economy.
“Even the richest man can’t buy back his past,” intoned a web video that Texas Gov. Rick Perry rolled out to assail chief rival Mitt Romney’s personal wealth and the Massachusetts health care overhaul that Romney signed into law. “America’s most damaging prescription: RomneyCare,” the video said.
Romney mentioned it during a town hall-style meeting here and suggested that his opponents would use any issue they could to tear him down.
2 Americans win Nobel in economics
PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) – Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent have no simple solutions to the global economic crisis. But the work that won them the Nobel Prize in economics Monday is guiding central bankers and policymakers in their search for answers.
The two Americans, both 68, were honored for their research in the 1970s and ’80s on the cause-and-effect relationship between the economy and government policy.
Sims is a professor at Princeton University. Sargent teaches at New York University and is a visiting professor at Princeton.
Among their achievements, the two Nobel laureates – working separately for the most part over the years – devised tools to analyze how changes in interest rates and taxes affect growth and inflation.
Their work doesn’t provide prescriptions for policymakers to solve today’s crises. Rather, their achievement has been to create mathematical models that central bankers and other leaders can use to devise policy proposals.
After 9/11, authorities allowed dozens of foreign insects, plant diseases into US
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) – Dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases slipped undetected into the United States in the years after 9/11, when authorities were so focused on preventing another attack that they overlooked a pest explosion that threatened the quality of the nation’s food supply.
At the time, hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for stopping invasive species at the border were reassigned to anti-terrorism duties in the newly formed Homeland Security Department – a move that scientists say cost billions of dollars in crop damage and eradication efforts from California vineyards to Florida citrus groves.
The consequences come home to consumers in the form of higher grocery prices, substandard produce and the risk of environmental damage from chemicals needed to combat the pests.
An Associated Press analysis of inspection records found that border-protection officials were so engrossed in stopping terrorists that they all but ignored the country’s exposure to destructive new insects and infections – a quietly growing menace that has been attacking fruits and vegetables and even prized forests ever since.
“Whether they know it or not, every person in the country is affected by this, whether by the quality or cost of their food, the pesticide residue on food or not being able to enjoy the outdoors because beetles are killing off the trees,” said Mark Hoddle, an entomologist specializing in invasive species at the University of California, Riverside.
7 people, including 4-year-old, survive 20 hours at sea
MARATHON, Fla. (AP) – Four hours into a family fishing trip, rough waves flipped a 22-foot boat off the Florida Keys, tossing eight people overboard. Seven of them, including a 4-year-old girl, survived by clinging desperately to their capsized vessel and a small blue cooler for almost 20 hours, suffering exhaustion, jellyfish stings and hypothermia.
A 79-year-old woman, the matriarch of the group, was missing and presumed drowned.
“When the will to live kicks in, human beings can do amazing things,” Coast Guard Petty Officer Nick Ameen said.
Those rescued were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
The family left Layton in the Middle Keys around 8 a.m. Saturday to go fishing in less-than-ideal conditions. It was raining, seas topped 7 feet and winds were whipping up to 38 mph. After they anchored 3 1/2 miles off the island chain, two waves hit suddenly, capsizing the vessel.
Judge sets $1 million bond for Wisconsin woman accused of abducting woman, cutting out fetus
MILWAUKEE (AP) – A Milwaukee woman accused of abducting a pregnant mother and cutting a full-term fetus out of her womb, killing both of them, is being held on a $1 million bond.
Thirty-three-year-old Annette Morales-Rodriguez faces charges of first-degree homicide while armed and first-degree intentional homicide of an unborn child while armed. Both offenses are punishable by mandatory life sentences.
The bond was set Monday during a brief appearance in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
According to a criminal complaint, Morales-Rodriguez’s boyfriend wanted a son but she couldn’t get pregnant. Authorities say she told him she was pregnant and panicked as the supposed due date approached. The complaint says on Thursday she offered a ride to 23-year-old Maritza Ramirez-Cruz, beat her with a baseball bat and cut the fetus out of her uterus.
Illinois woman gives birth to healthy daughter hours after finishing Chicago Marathon
CHICAGO (AP) – Amber Miller felt contractions just minutes after crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon. A few hours later, the suburban Chicago woman – who slogged her way through 26.2 miles while nearly 39 weeks pregnant – delivered a healthy baby girl.
“For me, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I was running up until that point anyway,” Miller told The Associated Press in an interview from the hospital where she was recovering Monday. “I am crazy about running.”
Sunday’s marathon was the eighth for the 27-year-old, who has been running for more than a dozen years. She found out she was pregnant with her second child days after signing up for the Chicago race and decided to play it by ear on whether or not she would run.
When the baby hadn’t been born by Sunday, she got clearance from her doctor to run half. She completed it with a with a half-run half-walk approach, drinking lots of fluids and eating a lot along the way. She finished in 6:25:50, much slower than her usual marathon time, but still content.
“Lots of people were cheering me on: ‘Go pregnant lady!”‘ she said. “I was expecting some negative comments. I don’t remember anything.”