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STUDY REPORTS OBESITY LINKED TO BIRTH DEFECTS

CHICAGO

Infants born to obese mothers are one-third more likely to suffer significant birth defects, including spina bifida, heart defects and at least five others, according to a study released Monday. The study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found the risk for spina bifida more than doubled, while that for omphalocele, a condition in which the intestines or other organs protrude from the belly button, increased 63 percent. About 4 percent of infants born to obese mothers had significant birth defects, compared with 3 percent for infants born to all women, said senior author Kim Waller, an epidemiologist at the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health.

WASHINGTON

European origin focus of study

Early humanlike residents of Europe may have arrived out of Asia, rather than just Africa, according to report in Monday's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by an international team of researchers. The report says Asians appear to have played a larger part in the settlement of Europe than did Africans. The team reached that conclusion after analyzing more than 5,000 fossil teeth from early hominins, an early form of human predecessors.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.

Medical plane crashes, killing 5

A medical plane crashed en route to a hospital, killing all five on board, including a 15-month-old patient and her mother, authorities said Monday. The plane left the Ruidoso Regional Airport late Sunday on a flight to University of New Mexico Hospital, and crashed almost immediately in Devil's Canyon in the Lincoln National Forest, said Peter Olson of the Department of Public Safety.

NOBLE, OKLA.

Shooting at snake leaves a boy dead

A police officer shooting at a snake apparently killed a 5-year-old boy who was fishing at a nearby pond, officials said. Austin Haley was fishing with his grandfather, Jack Tracy, when Tracy said he heard a shot and saw something hit the water just a few feet in front of the boat dock where he was standing. Moments later, a second shot hit Austin in the head. A Noble police officer who had responded to a report of a snake in a tree apparently fired the deadly shot while trying to kill the snake on Friday, City Manager Bob Wade said.

Elsewhere

Washington: The government on Monday approved a novel drug from Pfizer Inc., Selzentry, to help patients with the AIDS virus who are running out of options, while acknowledging lingering questions about the pills' long-term effects.

New Orleans: The doctor and two nurses once accused of killing patients in a flooded hospital after Hurricane Katrina face no further criminal charges, authorities told a judge on Monday. A grand jury has refused to indict the doctor.

Seeley Lake, Mont.: Residents who fled a large wildfire burning in southwestern Montana were briefly allowed to return Monday to check on their homes and gather belongings as firefighters braced for worsening weather.

New York: A U.N. translator, Vyacheslav Manokhin, was arrested Monday on charges that he and two others used U.N. stationery in a visa fraud scheme, prosecutors said.

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