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Ex-con arrested for 1968 murder

Sat., Nov. 19, 2005, midnight

Appleton, Wis. A 75-year-old man was arrested at a group home and charged Friday with murdering a night watchman during a robbery at a car dealership nearly 40 years ago.

District Attorney Carrie Schneider said authorities decided to charge Robert D. Mitchell after he recently confirmed information that investigators had gotten from others.

In court papers, authorities said Mitchell had confessed to involvement in the crime to a friend and a girlfriend.

Mitchell, who spent the majority of his time since the 1968 murder in prison for other offenses, was arrested Thursday and appeared in court Friday in a wheelchair. His attorneys said they would seek a competency exam to determine whether Mitchell could help in his defense.

Late-season wildfire threatens SoCal homes

Ventura, Calif. Pushed by fierce Santa Ana winds, a 2,000-acre wildfire crept toward about 200 large, ridge-top homes Friday, prompting a voluntary evacuation.

At midmorning, a wall of flames as high as 30 feet snaked along hillsides and by early afternoon a huge plume of whiskey-brown smoke carried ash to the nearby Pacific Ocean.

The late-season blaze was first reported around 3:30 a.m. in a hilly, rocky area between Ventura and Ojai, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Wind gusts of more than 50 mph helped the fire more than triple in size in just a few hours. The fire started in the area of an oil field facility.

FDA issues warning on three asthma drugs

Washington The Food and Drug Administration warned Friday that three asthma drugs may increase the risk of severe asthma attacks and even death.

The agency asked the manufacturers of Advair, Serevent and Foradil to strengthen the warning labels to reflect this risk.

The FDA said that even though the drugs decrease the frequency of asthma attacks, they can make the attacks more severe when they occur. The agency said the drugs should be prescribed only if other medicines do not control patients’ asthma.

The FDA cautioned patients not to stop taking the drugs without consulting their doctors.

‘In God We Trust’ challenged by atheist

San Francisco An atheist who has spent four years trying to ban the Pledge of Allegiance from being recited in public schools is now challenging the motto printed on U.S. currency because it refers to God.

Michael Newdow seeks to remove “In God We Trust” from U.S. coins and dollar bills, claiming in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that the motto is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

Newdow, a Sacramento doctor and lawyer, used a similar argument when he challenged the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because it contains the words “under God.”

He took his pledge fight to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2004 said he lacked standing to bring the case because he did not have custody of the daughter he sued on behalf of.

An identical lawsuit later brought by Newdow on behalf of parents with children in three Sacramento-area school districts is pending with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, after a Sacramento federal judge sided with Newdow in September.


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