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Panel recommends new vaccine

An influential federal advisory panel recommended Tuesday that U.S. infants be vaccinated against rotavirus, a common and potentially fatal cause of childhood diarrhea and vomiting. Children should receive a three-dose vaccination series during roughly the first six months after birth, according to a unanimous vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. The panel's recommendation cannot become policy unless it is adopted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Food and Drug Administration on Feb. 3 licensed an oral rotavirus vaccine for infants, named RotaTeq. Manufactured by Merck & Co., the vaccine has a proposed sale price of $187.50 for the three doses, which could pose a challenge to state health departments that promise to vaccinate all children.

Teen broadsides governor's car

A car carrying Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, 59, was broadsided by another vehicle Tuesday morning, but neither the governor nor anyone else was hurt, officials said. A car driven by 17-year-old Juliet Ben-Ami struck the driver's side door of the governor's car just after 7 a.m., according to Brookfield police. "It seems like everything happened so fast," Rell told WTNH-TV. "She got out of the car. She said, "I always wanted to meet the governor, but not like this.' So I said, "It's okay,' and I hugged her." The teen received a written warning for failing to drive in the proper lane.

THE UNUSUAL

San Francisco tries doggie power

San Francisco officials are hoping to harness the power of dog doo. San Franciscans already recycle more than 60 percent of their garbage, but in this dog-friendly town, animal feces makes up nearly 4 percent of residential waste, or 6,500 tons a year, according to the city. Within the next few months, Norcal Waste will begin a pilot program under which it will use biodegradable bags and dog-waste carts to pick up droppings at a popular dog park. The droppings will be tossed into a "methane digester," a tank in which bacteria feed on feces to create methane gas. The methane could then be used by appliances, or to generate electricity. San Francisco - the city named after Saint Francis, patron saint of animals - has an estimated 240,000 dogs and cats.

UPDATE

Space shuttle

Atlantis will be the first of NASA's three space shuttles to be retired, most likely in 2008, as the shuttle program winds down in four years, a senior agency official said Tuesday. Atlantis' parts will be used by the remaining shuttles, Discovery and Endeavour, until the aging spacecraft are mothballed in 2010, shuttle program manager Wayne Hale told workers at the Kennedy Space Center last week.

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