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Ex-president 'improving'

HOUSTON -- A family spokesman said Friday former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who has been in hospital more than a month, "continues to improve" but remained in intensive care at a Texas hospital.

"The president is alert and, as always, in good spirits, and his exchanges with doctors and nurses now include singing," family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a brief statement.

Physicians remained "cautiously optimistic the current course of treatment will be effective," McGrath added. Bush was moved into intensive care Sunday for treatment of a fever following a bronchitis-related cough.

Doctor's killer dies

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Jean Harris, the girls' school headmistress who spent 12 years in prison for the 1980 killing of her longtime lover, Scarsdale Diet doctor Herman Tarnower, in a case that rallied feminists and inspired television movies, has died. She was 89. Harris died Sunday at an assisted-living facility in New Haven, her son, James Harris, said Friday.

Sailors sue over radiation

SAN DIEGO -- Eight U.S. sailors are suing the Tokyo utility that operates the Fukushima nuclear power plant, charging the company lied about the high level of radiation in the area where they were carrying out a humanitarian mission after the tsunami that triggered the reactor crisis.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in San Diego last week against Tokyo Electric Power Co., owned by the Japanese government. Plaintiffs include the infant daughter of two of the sailors who was born seven months after the March 2011 disaster.

Russia restricts adoptions

WASHINGTON -- Russia's move to prohibit Americans from adopting Russian orphans is the latest threat to the Obama administration's flagging attempt to "reset" relations between the two Cold War rivals.

President Vladimir Putin Friday signed a bill to ban U.S. adoptions of Russian children. The country's parliament approved the bill in retaliation for a new U.S. law sanctioning Russians accused of human rights violations. The prohibition goes into effect Jan. 1, according to a statement emailed by the Kremlin.

The United States expressed "deep concerns" about the ban, with State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell saying that more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans in the past 20 years.

Smuggling tunnel found

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities have discovered a sophisticated smuggling tunnel equipped with electricity and ventilation not far from the Nogales port of entry into Arizona, U.S. and Mexican officials said Friday.

The Mexican army said the tunnel was found Thursday after authorities received an anonymous call in the border city of Nogales, Sonora, south of Arizona. U.S. law enforcement officials confirmed that the Mexican military discovered the football field-long tunnel with elaborate electricity and ventilation systems. U.S. Border Patrol spokesman Victor Brabble said the tunnel did not cross into the U.S.

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 29, 2012 A30

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