In brief | Nation & World, March 30, 2014


Black box detector to join jet search after Chinese plane spots 3 objects; still no firm clues

PERTH, Australia — A warship with an aircraft black box detector was set to depart Australia on Sunday to join the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after ships plucked objects from the Indian Ocean to determine whether they were related to the missing plane. None were confirmed to be from the plane, leaving searchers with no sign of the jet more than three weeks after it disappeared.

Twenty-nine Chinese family members, seeking answers from Malaysia’s government as to what happened to their loved ones, arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, said Malaysia Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy. Two-thirds of the 227 passengers aboard Flight 370 were Chinese, and their relatives have expressed deep frustration with Malaysian authorities since the plane went missing.

It will still take three-to-four days for the Australian navy ship, the Ocean Shield, to reach the search zone — an area roughly the size of Poland about 1,150 miles to the west of Australia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which oversees the search, said the ship will be equipped with a black box detector — the U.S. Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator — and an unmanned underwater vehicle, as well as other acoustic detection equipment.

Ships from China and Australia on Saturday scooped up items described only as “objects from the ocean,” but none were “confirmed to be related” to Flight 370, AMSA said.

Studies find new drugs greatly lower cholesterol; may aid people not helped enough by statins

WASHINGTON — A new class of experimental medicines can dramatically lower cholesterol, raising hopes of a fresh option for people who can’t tolerate or don’t get enough help from Lipitor and other statin drugs that have been used for this for decades.

The first large studies of these drugs were presented Saturday at an American College of Cardiology conference in Washington, and more will follow on Sunday.

Several companies are developing these drugs, which are aimed at 70 million Americans and millions more worldwide who have high LDL or “bad” cholesterol, a major risk for heart disease.

Three studies of Amgen Inc.’s version of these drugs, called evolocumab found it lowered LDL or “bad” cholesterol by 55 to 66 percent from baseline levels compared to others who took a fake drug, and by nearly that much when compared to Merck’s Zetia, another cholesterol medication.

Utah boy digs trout pond in backyard, finds remains of ancient American Indian

SALT LAKE CITY — A 14-year-old boy digging a trout pond in the backyard of his father’s Salt Lake City home stumbled across a surprise: the remains of an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago.

Experts from the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts spent Friday removing the remains, which were confirmed by medical examiners as those of a person from a millennium ago, and investigating the site for archaeological clues after ninth-grader Ali Erturk’s discovery earlier in the week.

“Humans have occupied this valley for up to 10,000 years,” department spokesman Geoffrey Fattah said. “We do run into situations where progress runs into the ancient past.”

A forensic anthropologist will analyze the remains to try to learn more, including the person’s gender and cultural affiliation. A report will go to the state Division of Indian Affairs, which will try to determine whether the remains are linked to current tribes, Fattah said. A tribe may claim the remains and perform interment rites.

Other private property in Salt Lake City has occasionally yielded Native American graves. The department typically receives about six reports of ancient remains statewide each year, Fattah said.

By wire sources