Around the world
YOUNG DEFENDANT: A 10-year-old London boy is being sued by the driver of a car that ran him over and broke his leg. Peter Biggs, believed to be the youngest person ever sued in a British civil court, faces a $300 claim for denting a car in an accident outside his home that has left him with a permanent limp. The driver, 21-year-old Sarah Dowson, says the boy's father agreed initially to pay the repairs but then changed his mind. Peter Biggs, awaiting a decision, told reporters Wednesday: "I don't like going to the court. It scares me. I don't know what they are talking about."FUNNY MUNNY: Counterfeiters misspelled the word "Russia" on phony 50,000-ruble bank-notes, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported Thursday. Local officials discovered the fake bills in Vologda, 240 miles north of Moscow. The forgers left out the final "i" in "Bank Rossii," Russian for "Bank of Russia," which appears prominently on the top of the 50,000-ruble note, worth about $22. Other than this major misspelling, the notes appear genuine, the news agency said. Vologda radio reported Wednesday that authorities believe the counterfeit cash was produced in Chechnya, a southern region with a reputation for lawlessness that declared its independence three years ago, ITAR-Tass said.
STUNG: A swarm of African killer bees attacked 140 people Wednesday in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, official news agency Notimex said. Local police in the town of Concepcion del Oro said the attack occurred at a funeral for one of the town's residents, the agency reported. Notimex said the victims were all treated for bee stings at local hospitals but gave no condition reports.
Across the nation
NO BUFFER: A 15-foot buffer zone protecting an abortion clinic from protesters is an unconstitutional restriction on free-speech rights, a federal appeals court has ruled. In Wednesday's 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit said the zone "sweeps too broadly . . . than is necessary to protect the government's significant interests in the safe performance of abortions, in public safety and in protecting all persons' constitutional rights." The ruling came two months after the U.S. Supreme Court approved a 36-foot sanctuary around a Florida clinic that had been besieged by abortion foes. The 15-foot zone was included in a federal injunction against pro-life activists from Project Rescue who were demonstrating at a Buffalo clinic.
TEENAGER ARRESTED: A 15-year-old boy was arrested in a highway sniper attack that injured one trucker, police said in Rockford, Ill. The boy, whose name was not released, was charged Wednesday with aggravated discharge of a firearm. He was being held in juvenile detention. Trucker David G. Pepper, 37, was hit in the left wrist Tuesday by a bullet that shattered his passenger window as he drove along Interstate 39 south of Rockford. Two other trucks were hit, but the drivers were not injured. Lt. Roger Costello said witnesses led police to the boy, who likely did not intend to injure any drivers. "He shot at the trucks themselves," Costello said. "He was only trying to hit the main body of the truck."
BAN SOUGHT: A citizens group asked the Food and Drug Administration Thursday to ban a widely used prescription drug to treat nocturnal leg cramps because the drug was dangerous and had not been shown to be effective. Public Citizen's Health Research Group said the prescription drug - the major one is Quinamm, sold by Marion Merrell Dow Inc. - should be banned for the same reasons the FDA recently banned over-the-counter forms. The group's director, Sidney Wolfe, said in a letter to FDA Commission Chairman David Kessler that the reasons were "lack of evidence of efficacy and serious dangers." The OTC drugs are Legatrin, made by Columbia, and Q-Vel, by Ciba Consumer, a unit of Ciba-Geigy Corp.
THE COUNTDOWN for Friday's launch of space shuttle Discovery was going well Thursday, though technicians were running a little behind at the pad, NASA said in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Workers fell behind because of the need to replace a frayed hose in Discovery's engine compartment on Wednesday. . . . RESCUERS PICKED through the remains of a two-story Moscow police station Thursday in search of survivors of an explosion that killed six people and injured at least 46. Twenty-one people, including five children, were hospitalized after Wednesday night's explosion, said Katya Glebova, a spokeswoman of the Ministry for Emergency Situations. Four people were in critical condition. . . . JANOS SZENTAGOTHAI, a prominent neurobiologist who was president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and a member of parliament, died Wednesday at 82, the state news agency MTI reported in Budapest. Szentagothai also composed poetry and painted, often illustrating his own anatomical studies.