January 3, 2009 in Nation/World

Schools chief to be Senate selection

FILE Associated Press photo

Michael Bennet, seen here in July 2003, is superintendent of Denver Public Schools.
(Full-size photo)

Gov. Bill Ritter is expected to name Denver Public Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet to fill a Senate vacancy that will be created by the promotion of Sen. Ken Salazar to interior secretary in the Obama administration, sources told the Associated Press.

Bennet had been mentioned as a possible choice for Obama’s education secretary, but Obama chose 44-year-old Arne Duncan, chief executive officer of Chicago public schools, for the Cabinet post.

Bennet was considered a dark horse candidate for the Senate spot because of his lack of legislative experience.


Bone drugs linked to cancer risk

The family of bone-strengthening drugs called bisphosphonates – best known by the brand names Fosamax, Actonel and Boniva – pose a small risk of causing esophageal cancer, a Food and Drug Administration official reported Thursday in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

Diane Wysowski of the FDA’s division of drug risk assessment said the agency has received 23 reports of the cancer developing in patients taking Fosamax, manufactured by Merck & Co. Eight of the patients died.

European and Japanese authorities have received an additional 21 reports of cancers involving Fosamax and six involving Procter & Gamble’s Actonel or Roche’s Boniva.

To put that into perspective, more than 2 billion prescriptions have been written for the drugs since their introduction in 1995.

Wysowski recommended that physicians not prescribe the drugs to patients who already have problems with their esophagus.

San Francisco

Payback sought from tiger victim

Officials want a survivor of a tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo to reimburse the city more than $75,000 for his medical treatment and are asking that the money come out of any cash settlement the victim may receive.

The tax department said in a lien filed this week in federal court that Kulbir Dhaliwal has yet to pay for medical treatment provided by the city after the mauling on Christmas Day 2007.

The filing comes less than two months after Dhaliwal and his brother, Paul Dhaliwal, sued the San Francisco Police Department, the zoo and a public relations firm hired by the zoo in the days after the attack.

The lawsuit accuses the zoo of negligence because the tiger enclosure was lower than recommended national standards.

From wire reports

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