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POSTED March 18, 2012 5:45 p.m.

STUDY OF 'METH BABIES' FINDS BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS: CHICAGO (AP) — The first study to look at methamphetamine's potential lasting effects on children whose mothers used it in pregnancy finds these kids at higher risk for behavior problems than other children.

The behavior differences — anxiety, depression, moodiness — weren't huge, but lead researcher Linda LaGasse called them "very worrisome."

Methamphetamine is a stimulant like crack cocaine, and earlier research showed meth babies have similarities to so-called "crack babies" — smaller in size and prone to drowsiness and stress. Results in long-term studies conflict on whether children of cocaine-using mothers have lasting behavior problems.

Whether problems persist in young children of meth users is unknown. But LaGasse, who does research at Brown University's Center of the Study of Children at Risk, said methamphetamine has stronger effects on the brain so it may be more likely to cause lasting effects in children.

The study was published online Monday in Pediatrics. The National Institutes of Health paid for the research, including a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Government data suggest more than 10 million Americans have used meth; fewer than 1 percent of pregnant women are users.

COMEDIAN GALLAGHER OUT OF COMA, TELLING JOKES: LEWISVILLE, Texas (AP) — The comedian Gallagher is telling jokes after being taken out of a medically induced coma that doctors put him in following his heart attack last week in Texas.

Doctors slowly woke up Gallagher on Sunday morning. His promotional manager, Christine Scherrer, says Gallagher immediately recognized his family and started talking to them. She says he's breathing on his own, moving and joking around.

The comedian, whose full name is Leo Anthony Gallagher, is known for smashing watermelons with a sledgehammer.

Scherrer says Gallagher had two stents replaced after collapsing Wednesday before a performance at Lewisville bar, near Dallas. Gallagher had a minor heart attack last March after collapsing while performing in Minnesota.

POWER OUTAGE CAUSES DELAYS AT CALIFORNIA AIRPORT : SANTA ANA (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration says a brief power outage at a Southern California airport's air traffic control tower forced controllers to use portable radios to communicate with pilots and caused several flight delays.

Agency spokesman Ian Gregor says the outage Sunday at John Wayne Airport in Orange County lasted a little more than an hour.

Gregor says the tower had been running on an emergency generator since commercial power failed Friday. He says the backup generator stopped working at 11:42 a.m. Sunday, but the tower was able to revert back to commercial power by 1 p.m.

During the outage, controllers used radios to guide pilots through landings. Gregor says around 10 departing flights were delayed by a little over a half-hour.

1940 CENSUS DATA RELEASE NEAR NEW YORK (AP) — It was a decade when tens of millions of people in the U.S. experienced mass unemployment and social upheaval as the nation clawed its way out of the Great Depression and rumblings of global war were heard from abroad.

Now, intimate details of 132 million people who lived through the 1930s will be disclosed as the U.S. government releases the 1940 census on April 2 to the public for the first time after 72 years of privacy protection lapses.

Access to the records will be free and open to anyone on the Internet — but they will not be immediately name searchable.

For genealogists and family historians, the 1940 census release is the most important disclosure of ancestral secrets in a decade and could shake the branches of many family trees. Scholars expect the records to help draw a more pointillistic portrait of a transformative decade in American life.

Researchers might be able to follow the movement of refugees from war-torn Europe in the latter half of the 1930s; sketch out in more detail where 100,000 Japanese Americans interned during World War II were living before they were removed; and more fully trace the decades-long migration of blacks from the rural South to cities.

ROMNEY WINS PUERTO RICO, GOP CAMPAIGN CONTINUES: SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Mitt Romney scored an overwhelming win Sunday in Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary, trouncing chief rival Rick Santorum on the Caribbean island even as the two rivals looked ahead to more competitive contests this week in Illinois and Louisiana.

The victory in the U.S. territory was so convincing that Romney, the GOP front-runner, won all 20 delegates to the national convention at stake because he prevailed with more than 50 percent of the vote. That padded his comfortable lead over Santorum in the race to amass the 1,144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

Nevertheless, the GOP nomination fight is unlikely to end anytime soon, with Santorum refusing to step aside even though Romney is pulling further ahead in the delegate hunt.

As the day began, Santorum claimed he was in contest for the long haul because Romney is a weak front-runner.

NYC ACTIVISTS DIFFER ON OCCUPY'S DIRECTION: NEW YORK (AP) — A day after police broke up a rally at Manhattan's Zuccotti Park and arrested dozens, Occupy Wall Street protesters said Sunday that their movement for economic justice would pick up momentum with the spring.

Activists listed issues including student debt, the environment and the November elections as priorities going forward. But some observers who watched workers hose down the now-barricaded park that was Occupy's home wondered whether a movement so diffuse could accomplish anything.

"I'm really grateful to be part of a generation that wants change, 'cause we should all want change," said Jennifer Campbell, a graduate student in documentary filmmaking at Hofstra University. "But I'm not sure what that change is, or if they know what that change is."

The crackdown at Zuccotti happened late Saturday after hundreds of activists had gathered to mark the sixth-month birthday of the movement.

"There was a lot of silliness and just kind of singing and dancing and really very jovial," said Chris Casuccio, who works for a nonprofit organization. "We had some banners up. There was one tarp that was up but it was tiny. It could fit like five people under it."

But Detective Brian Sessa of the NYPD said protesters had started breaking park rules against setting up tents and tarps.

 

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