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DEFENSE ASKS FOR A MISTRIAL AS SMOKING TRIAL WINDS DOWN

MIAMI (AP) -- Testimony in first class-action lawsuit by smokers to go to trial ended Friday, with a lawyer for smokers and their families mocking claims that tobacco companies worked to make their products safer and the defense asking for a mistrial.Holding an unlit cigarette to his lips, Stanley Rosenblatt told jurors there is "no way to make this product safe, and all the efforts, all the so-called efforts at making it safe, are a con and are a game."

After Rosenblatt finished and the jury left the courtroom, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. lawyer Ed Moss asked Circuit Judge Robert Kaye for a mistrial.

HOMELESS MAN FACES CHARGES AFTER PRIEST IS FOUND SLAIN

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) -- A priest was found slain under a pile of robes near the altar Friday as parishioners waited for morning Mass to begin.

A homeless man found a short time later in the rectory of St. Matthew Church was charged with murder in the death of Rev. Robert J. Lysz. Michael Ouellette, 32, was carrying Lysz's credit cards, said Police Chief John DiVenere.

He was being held on a $1 million bond and is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday.

Lysz's body was found shortly after the 7:30 a.m. Mass was scheduled to begin at the Roman Catholic church.

AGENTS ARREST PETTY OFFICER IN BREAKUP OF SMUGGLING RING

MIAMI (Reuters) -- Federal agents said on Friday they had broken up a drug-smuggling ring and arrested a U.S. Coast Guard officer on charges of selling agency information to dealers.

Petty Officer Michael Miller, 31, who was stationed at the Coast Guard's Fort Pierce station in southeast Florida, was arrested on Thursday after an investigation that began in September.

"Several members of the crew at the station were suspicious of him and they went to the commander," Coast Guard Lt. Ron LaBrec said.

"It's an isolated incident, and we're glad we were able to put a stop to it. We're supporting the U.S. attorney in prosecuting him."

COUNTY IN FLORIDA OUTFITS DOGS WITH BULLETPROOF VESTS

SANFORD, Fla. (Reuters) -- Fearless police dogs in Florida are dressing for danger in bulletproof vests made of the same Kevlar armor that their handlers wear.

"We really don't want to lose any of our dogs," Deanna Brown, spokeswoman for the Seminole County Sheriff's Department in central Florida, said Friday.

The department fitted its four German shepherd dogs with the vests this week. Made by a company called Second Chance, they weigh about 2 pounds and are similar to those that human officers wear, except they have four armholes.

"They don't seem to mind them at all," Brown said.

BLOOD COMPATIBILITY PIONEER DR. LOUIS DIAMOND DIES AT 97

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -- Pediatric hematologist Dr. Louis Diamond, who recognized in 1932 the problem of blood group incompatibility between a mother and a fetus, known as the Rh factor, has died at the age of 97.

"He was the grandfather of pediatric hematology," said colleague Stephen Feig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. "He trained virtually all of the people who went on to establish the field."

Diamond is credited with solving the blood compatibility problem in 1946 through whole-body transfusions of the fetus' blood through the umbilical cord, a method that reduced the death rate of the disease from 50 percent to less than 5 percent, saving the lives of 20,000 babies a year.

HOSPITAL CURTAINS DESIGNED TO KEEP OUT UNWANTED NOISES

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Researchers said Friday they had designed curtains that can shut out noise in hospitals such as the sound of snoring ward-mates, clacking carts and shouting staff.

The team at the Georgia Institute of Technology sandwiched sheets of noise-shielding material between two pieces of fabric. A system of pockets holds the noise-blocking material, which can be made of anything from cardboard to metal, in place.

In tests, the curtains, called Quiet Curtains, reduced noise by about 7 decibels -- 12 if extensions were added to take them up to the ceiling and down to the floor.

WORKER CHARGED IN RAPE, BEATING DEATH OF R.I. WIDOW

LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. (AP) -- A construction worker who had been putting an addition on a widow's home was charged Friday with raping and fatally beating her, dumping her in her bathtub and dropping a plugged-in hair dryer into the water.

Jeremy Motyka, 23, of Fall River, Mass., was arrested Thursday in the May 29 slaying of 66-year-old Angela Spence-Shaw, following DNA tests on semen found in the woman's body. Motyka was jailed without bail.

The slaying of the British-born woman was the first murder in 34 years in this picturesque New England town of 3,400 people, with its grassy town park, old homes and 150-year-old church.

NEW REGULATIONS TO PROTECT WHALES FROM E. COAST SHIPS

BOSTON (AP) -- Ship captains along the East Coast are subject to new regulations aimed at preventing collisions with endangered right whales.

Starting Thursday, large ships entering waters off Cape Cod and the Florida-Georgia state line will have to transmit their vessels' position. A Virginia computer center will then transmit to the ships the latest information on right whale sightings.

An estimated 300 North Atlantic right whales remain. Collisions with ships account for nearly half of all known right whale deaths.

Jim Baker, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said he is optimistic the requirements can curb collisions and save the whales from extinction.