DES MOINES, Iowa – Owners of Teflon-coated pots and pans in 15 states are seeking to have their cases combined in a $5 billion class-action lawsuit claiming DuPont Co. failed to disclose possible health risks from using the nonstick cookware. The lawsuits claim DuPont continued to tell the government and consumers for years that Teflon was safe even though its own studies showed the material could become toxic when heated “enough to fry an egg,” according to a Des Moines attorney, who represents six plaintiffs from Iowa.
Georgia: State to offer Bible classes
Georgia became what is believed to be the first state to offer government-sanctioned elective classes on the Bible, with Gov. Sonny Perdue signing a bill into law Thursday. The governor also signed a bill permitting the display of the Ten Commandments at courthouses, an issue that has raised thorny constitutional questions. Critics say the measures blur the line between church and state. National civil rights groups said they want to see how the laws are implemented before deciding whether to challenge them in court.
Kansas: School slaying plot alleged
Five teenage boys accused of plotting a shooting rampage at Riverton High School on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre were arrested Thursday after a message authorities said warned of a gun attack appeared on the Web site MySpace.com. Deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and messages in the bedroom of one suspect, officials said. Authorities also found documents about firearms and references to Armageddon in two suspects’ school lockers. The sheriff said he would ask prosecutors to bring charges of conspiracy to commit murder against the teens, ages 16 to 18.
Missouri: Abortion law challenged
Abortion-rights advocates argued before an appeals court Thursday that a South Dakota law requiring abortion doctors to warn patients about the procedure forces physicians to give inaccurate information and infringes on their free-speech rights. A panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis heard the challenge by Planned Parenthood of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. The law would require doctors to tell women that abortions end human lives and cause serious psychological problems.
California: T-shirt ban upheld
Schools in the western U.S. can forbid a high school student from wearing a T-shirt with a slogan that denigrates gay and lesbian students, a sharply divided federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled Thursday. In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said that a T-shirt which proclaimed “BE ASHAMED, OUR SCHOOL EMBRACED WHAT GOD HAS CONDEMNED” on the front and “HOMOSEXUALITY IS SHAMEFUL” on the back was “injurious to gay and lesbian students and interfered with their right to learn.”
Illinois: The loneliness gene
If you’re feeling lonely, perhaps you should blame your genes. That’s what scientists at the University of Chicago and in the Netherlands found when they studied twins to see whether there is a genetic predisposition to loneliness. There is. Researchers found that about 50 percent of identical twins and 25 percent of fraternal twins shared similar characteristics of loneliness. That’s powerful evidence that feeling lonely can be inherited.