AP News


Surgeon general urges new resolve to end smoking PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer   
Friday, 17 January 2014 07:18

WASHINGTON (AP) — It's no secret that smoking causes lung cancer. But what about diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, erectile dysfunction? Fifty years into the war on smoking, scientists still are adding diseases to the long list of cigarettes' harms — even as the government struggles to get more people to kick the habit.

A new report from the U.S. Surgeon General's office says the nation is at a crossroads, celebrating decades of progress against the chief preventable killer but not yet poised to finish the job.

"The real emphasis needs to be put on the fact that we still have a major and tragic catastrophe going on," said acting Surgeon General Boris Lushniak.

The report is being released Friday at a ceremony at the White House, after a week of headlines marking the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 surgeon general's report that launched the anti-smoking movement. Far fewer Americans smoke today — about 18 percent of adults, down from more than 42 percent in 1964.

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Russell Johnson, 'Gilligan' professor, has died PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer   
Friday, 17 January 2014 07:16

NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Russell Johnson, who became known to generations of TV fans as "The Professor," the fix-it man who kept his fellow "Gilligan's Island" castaways supplied with gadgets, has died. He was 89.

Johnson died Thursday morning at his home in Washington State of natural causes, said his agent, Mike Eisenstadt.

Johnson was a busy but little-known character actor when he was cast in the slapstick 1960s comedy about seven people marooned on an uncharted Pacific island.

He played high school science teacher Roy Hinkley, known to his fellow castaways as The Professor. There was seemingly nothing he couldn't do when it came to building generators, short-wave radios and other contraptions from scraps of flotsam and jetsam he found on the island. But, as Russell would joke years later, the one thing The Professor never accomplished was figuring out how to patch the hole in the bottom of the S.S. Minnow so the group could get back to civilization.

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Madden, 'Partridge Family' agent, dies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer   
Friday, 17 January 2014 07:05

NEW YORK (AP) — Comic actor Dave Madden, who played the child-hating agent on the hit 1970s sitcom "The Partridge Family," died in Florida on Thursday at age 82.

Madden died at a hospice center near his home in the Jacksonville area, his niece Mary Frances Miller said.

Towering and rumpled, Madden was best known for his role as Reuben Kinkaid, who managed the Partridge family band and regularly clashed with its impish pre-teen bassist, played by Danny Bonaduce.

While the series starred Shirley Jones, with her real-life stepson David Cassidy as the resident heart-throb, it was Madden and the freckle-faced Bonaduce who became the reigning comic duo.

Jones said Madden "made the show, I felt."

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'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin Ruth Robinson Duccini dies PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 17 January 2014 07:01

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Ruth Robinson Duccini, the last of the original female Munchkins from the 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz," has died. She was 95.

With her death, only one actor who played one of the original 124 Munchkins in the movie remains alive.

Duccini died of natural causes in Solari Hospice Care Center in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Her death was confirmed by Stephen Cox, author of "The Munchkins of Oz." He says he learned of it from Duccini's son.

Duccini, born in Rush City, Minn., traveled to California with a troupe little people, and was cast in the MGM fantasy movie starring Judy Garland. Duccini was 4 feet tall.

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Obama to back modest gov't surveillance reforms PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by JULIE PACE, Associated Press KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press   
Friday, 17 January 2014 06:57

WASHINGTON (AP) — Capping a monthslong review, President Barack Obama is expected to back modest changes to the government's surveillance network at home and abroad while largely leaving the framework of the controversial programs in place, including the bulk collection of phone records from millions of Americans.

 

The approach reflects a president seeking the middle ground in the resurgent debate over Americans' privacy and the security measures needed to keep the country safe.

Obama was to detail his decisions in a much-anticipated speech Friday morning at the Justice Department. The speech follows an internal review spurred by disclosures about the government's sweeping surveillance programs by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden.

But the president's address may leave many questions about reforms to the surveillance programs unanswered. He was expected to recommend further study on several of the 46 recommendations he received from a presidential review group, including a proposal to strip the NSA of its ability to hold Americans' phone records and ideas for expanding privacy protections to foreigners.

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