Probe of hepatitis C outbreak spreads from N.H. to other states
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) -- A dozen hospitals in seven states are scrambling to identify people who might have been infected with hepatitis C by a traveling medical technician who was charged a week ago with causing an outbreak in New Hampshire.
With details of David Kwiatkowski’s resume still emerging, a hospital official in Arizona said he had been fired from her facility in April 2010, after he was found unresponsive in a men’s locker room with syringes and needles. Kwiatkowski was treated at the hospital, and tests showed he had cocaine and marijuana in his system, said Monica Bowman, chief executive officer of the Arizona Heart Hospital.
Kwiatkowski, 33, is accused of stealing anesthetic drugs from Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire and contaminating syringes used on patients. His same strain of hepatitis C, a blood-borne viral infection that can cause liver disease and chronic health issues, has been diagnosed in 30 of the patients.
Testing has been recommended for about 4,700 people in New Hampshire alone, and officials are still determining who should be tested elsewhere. In addition to Arizona, hospitals and state health agencies have confirmed that Kwiatkowski also worked in Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania before being hired in New Hampshire in April 2011.
Romney causes stir in Britain with comments
LONDON (AP) -- Mitt Romney wanted to highlight U.S.-British bonds -- and show off his diplomatic skills to boot -- but he managed to rankle the Olympic hosts instead, from Prime Minister David Cameron on down.
The Republican presidential candidate, taking a turn on the world stage, called London’s problems with Olympic Games preparation "disconcerting." That prompted Cameron to retort on Thursday that doubters would "see beyond doubt that Britain can deliver." And London Mayor Boris Johnson told tens of thousands gathered in Hyde Park: "There’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know if we are ready. Are we ready? Yes we are!"
Amid the uproar, Romney tried to back off his critique, finally concluding, "I expect the games to be highly successful."
Romney also caused a stir with his attendance at a fundraiser with banking executives tainted by a British interest rate-fixing scandal. And he inadvertently disclosed that he held a secret meeting with the head of Britain’s intelligence service.
The bobbles threatened to undermine Romney’s first international tour as the man who would replace Democratic President Barack Obama.
Syria’s most prominent defector offers himself up as unifying figure; opposition skeptical
BEIRUT (AP) -- Syria’s most prominent defector offered himself up Thursday as a figure to unite the fractious opposition, saying he failed to persuade his former friend, President Bashar Assad, to end a bloody crackdown that has killed thousands of Syrians.
The remarks by Manaf Tlass, a Syrian brigadier general until he abandoned the regime this month, were published in a Saudi newspaper just as opposition factions gathered in Qatar to try to agree on a transitional leadership if Assad’s regime falls.
Some opposition members are deeply skeptical of Tlass, believing he’s far too close to the regime.
Mahmoud Othman, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, said Tlass would simply "bring back the regime with a different image."
"Those who recently defected from the regime must not take part in leading the transitional period," Othman told The Associated Press from Istanbul, where he is based. "After the transitional period, the Syrian people will choose whomever they want through the ballots."
Culture war flares over chicken sandwiches; gay activists, Bible Belt conservatives take sides
ATLANTA (AP) -- All of a sudden, biting into a fried chicken sandwich has become a political statement.
Chick-fil-A, the fast-food chain known for putting faith ahead of profits by closing on Sundays, is standing firm in its opposition to gay marriage after touching off a furor earlier this month.
Gay rights groups have called for a boycott, the Jim Henson Co. pulled its Muppet toys from kids’ meals, and politicians in Boston and Chicago told the chain it is not welcome there.
Across the Bible Belt, where most of the 1,600 restaurants are situated, Christian conservatives have thrown their support behind the Atlanta-based company, promising to buy chicken sandwiches and waffle fries next week on "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day."
The latest skirmish in the nation’s culture wars began when Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that the company was "guilty as charged" for backing "the biblical definition of a family." In a later radio interview, he ratcheted up the rhetoric: "I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage."’
Facebook’s first public quarter proves solid as revenue grows 32 percent but stock tumbles
NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook’s first earnings report as a public company had solid numbers, but in the end it landed with a thud -- much like its rocky initial public offering two months ago.
Facebook reported stronger-than-expected revenue and a gain in user numbers Thursday. But investors weren’t impressed and after a brief spike, its stock fell more than 10 percent, or $2.74, to $24.10 in after-hours trading. The decline means Facebook’s stock will most likely open at its lowest level since going public.
It’s another big disappointment for the Harvard-born company that was supposed to usher in the next Internet boom.
"They didn’t break any banks," said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer. "They did not come out any better than anybody had expected."
What may have rattled investors is that Facebook’s revenue growth has slowed. Between 2009 and 2010, the company’s revenue nearly tripled. In the first quarter of this year, revenue climbed 44 percent. In the second quarter, Facebook Inc.’s revenue increased 32 percent to $1.18 billion from $895 million a year earlier. Analysts, on average had expected slightly lower revenue of $1.16 billion, according to FactSet.