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Nation in brief: Congress honors heart surgeon

Thu., April 24, 2008

Famed heart surgeon Michael DeBakey can add Congressional Gold Medal to his long list of honors.

President Bush presented DeBakey with the medal during a ceremony Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda.

The Houston surgeon pioneered such procedures as heart bypass and has invented medical devices to help heart patients. He’s also recognized for developing the idea of battlefield mobile surgical hospitals known as MASH units.


Five bodies found in ransacked home

Authorities found the bodies of five young people Wednesday inside a ransacked house on Chicago’s South Side, raising the body count in an already violent spring, police said.

It appeared the three men and two women had been shot, but investigators were waiting for the Cook County medical examiner’s office to confirm a cause of death, said Chief of Detectives Thomas Byrne.

“This is very serious,” Byrne said at a news conference near the two-story house. “There’s five victims. There’s five families right now that are grieving over this.”

The discovery comes on the heels of a spate of violence in Chicago. Nine people died in 36 shootings over the past weekend.


Feds will re-try Sears Tower case

Federal prosecutors stung twice by deadlocked juries said Wednesday they would make a third attempt to convict six men accused of scheming with al-Qaida to topple Chicago’s Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices in several cities.

The decision was announced at a hearing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Gregorie, who also said most of the defendants soon will be able to post bail for the first time since their highly publicized June 2006 arrests.

U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard declared a mistrial last week in the second trial because jurors could not agree on any verdicts. The first trial in the “Liberty City Seven” case ended the same way in December, except that a seventh defendant was acquitted.

Gregorie said the violent nature of the threats allegedly made by purported ringleader Narseal Batiste required yet another trial to “safeguard the community.”

Batiste, 34, has denied terror ambitions and claimed he was only discussing fictional attacks with paid FBI informants in hopes of conning one of them out of $50,000.


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