California Gov. Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill that critics said would have hindered the use of cheaper versions of high-priced biotechnology drugs, providing a victory for health plans and generic drug companies over brand-name pharmaceutical manufacturers. In a veto message Saturday, Brown said the bill was premature because federal regulators had not even determined the standards governing the cheaper drugs. With billions of dollars in sales at stake, biotechnology companies, led by Amgen and Genentech, have been lobbying in many states this year for laws like the one considered in California. But California has attracted particular scrutiny because of its size and because it is the home state of Amgen, Genentech and many other biotechnology companies.
Gay rally ends in violence
A gay rights rally in St. Petersburg ended in scuffles after several dozen protesters were confronted by about 200 conservative and religious activists on Saturday. The police standing nearby waited until clashes broke out between the two groups before intervening. According to Russian news agencies, the police detained 67 people from both sides. The St. Petersburg city government had sanctioned the rally despite the Russian government's June passage of a contentious law outlawing gay "propaganda." Gays in Russia have faced increasing pressure and threats of violence from vigilantes.
3 children, mom die in house fire
A Long Island mother was overcome by smoke as she tried to save her three young children from a fast-moving fire, and everyone in the house died, authorities said Saturday. The blaze, at a small home in Shirley, about 60 miles east of New York City, was reported by startled neighbors about 10:15 p.m. Friday. Suffolk County police identified the victims as Jennifer McCusker, 41, son Aidan Tarbell, 7, and 2-year-old twins, Brendan and Ava Jane Mistretta.
Death of student is investigated
Apparently seeking to prevent a student's death from becoming a rallying cause for the backers of Egypt's deposed Islamist president, authorities said Saturday that they were investigating the circumstances of the young man's killing. The announcement came a day after Belal Ali Saber, a 19-year-old engineering student, died in a protest at the site where security forces killed hundreds of followers of the ousted leader, Mohammed Morsi, in August. Demonstrations were held Friday in Cairo and other cities to commemorate 100 days since the military ousted Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president.
Mali: An overladen boat carrying hundreds of passengers along the Niger River in central Mali capsized at night, and nearly 200 people were missing the following day, the mayor of a nearby town said Saturday.
Peru: A makeshift bus carrying 51 Quechua Indians back from a party in southeastern Peru plunged off a cliff into a river, killing everyone on board, including 14 children.
China: A physician and a human rights advocate, both Americans, said they were denied a medical visit to ailing Chinese democracy activist Zhu Yufu in a jail in eastern China on Saturday and were held briefly.