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Health insurance missing Hispanics

Hispanics are much less likely to have health insurance than other Americans, a congressional study said Tuesday. The absence of coverage is due mostly to the fact that many Hispanics are employed in low-wage jobs without health benefits. The General Accounting Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said 33 percent of all Hispanics were without private or public health insurance in 1989. Among Mexican-Americans, it was 37 percent, the report said, with lower rates among people of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent. In that same year, the latest for which it provided information, 19 percent of blacks and 12 percent of whites were without health insurance, the GAO said.

"Earthwinds' balloon

remains grounded

AKRON, Ohio _ An attempt to make the first non-stop trip around the world in a balloon remained grounded Tuesday, at the mercy of uncooperative weather, organizers of the expedition said Tuesday. "The system is ready to go," said Bill Armstrong, spokesman for the Earthwinds balloon project. "All we need are the concurrent weather patterns we've looked for from the beginning _ light surface winds in Akron and a jet stream track that will carry the balloon on its first leg so it enters European air space somewhere between Gibraltar and the Baltic republics." The three-man Earthwinds crew originally had hoped for a launch around New Year's Day.

Briefly Postal Service under investigation: The U.S. Postal Service is under investigation for its purchase of two pieces of New York real estate, including one it knew was contaminated by toxic waste that would cost millions of dollars to remove. Sen. David Pryor, D-Ark., has asked the General Accounting Office _ Congress' investigative arm _ to look into the deals, according to a letter released Tuesday. The properties involved are 37 acres in Maspeth, Queens, for which the Postal Service paid $14.6-million, and a former AT&T building in College Point, Queens, for which it paid $65-million.

Testimony: Infertility doctor misled patients: An infertility doctor being tried on fraud charges in Alexandria, Va., misled a "staggering" number of patients through false pregnancies and miscarriages, a doctor who examined his records testified Tuesday. Dr. Cecil Jacobson "knew exactly what he was doing," said Dr. Mary Damewood, an infertility specialist at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Jacobson faces 52 counts of fraud and perjury. He is accused of using hormone injections to trick some patients into believing they were pregnant when they were not and of fathering up to 75 children by using his own sperm in artificial insemination while lying about the source.

National Symphony to help the deaf: The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., announced on Tuesday that some of its concerts will be signed for the hearing impaired as part of a program to bring music to the handicapped. "As the orchestra of the nation's capital, we have an obligation to be in the forefront of efforts of this kind," said Albert Beveridge, president of the National Symphony Orchestra Association. Stephen Klein, executive director of the association, said several concerts had been designated for signing during the current season and a number were under consideration for the 1992-1993 season.

24 injured in Idaho crashes: A chain-reaction crash involving up to 50 vehicles on icy Interstate 15 near Pocatello, Idaho, injured 24 people, one critically, police said. Most of the accidents occurred within three minutes late Monday along part of the highway through Malad Pass, 25 miles north of the Utah line.

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