Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United states

Asbestos bosses convicted

A father and son were sentenced Thursday to long prison terms after being convicted of running a statewide asbestos-removal operation that prosecutors said exposed countless people, especially their employees, to potentially fatal lung diseases. Alexander Salvagno, 38, received 25 years in federal prison. His father, Raul Salvagno, 72, who worked as a partner at their corporation, AAR Contractors of Albany, received a sentence of 19 years and seven months. Craig Benedict, the assistant US attorney who prosecuted the case, said the sentences were the longest ever handed down for an environmental crime. The Salvagnos were also ordered to pay more than US$23 million to victims.

■ United kingdom

Brit to write for `Simpsons'

Springfield, the garish home of the American cartoon family The Simpsons, is a long way from Slough, west of London. But the two towns will be linked next year in the form of Ricky Gervais, aka David Brent of the hit TV comedy The Office, who said Thursday he had been asked to write for the American series. Matt Groening, a fan of British comedy in general and The Office in particular, asked Gervais to write an episode after meeting him in Los Angeles last year when the British comedy won two Golden Globe awards.

■ United states

FDA warns against painkiller

The Food and Drug Administration recommended Thursday that doctors limit prescriptions for the popular pain pills Celebrex and Bextra because recent studies have suggested that they may increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. The agency's advisory did not ban prescriptions of the drugs for any group of patients, instead simply telling doctors to use their best judgment in light of those studies. Indeed, it said patients who were at high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding or had done poorly on other pain pills "may be appropriate candidates" for Celebrex and Bextra.

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