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Of Human Interest: News lite

By ELLEN BECK, United Press International   |   Aug. 2, 2002 at 4:30 AM   |   Comments

CBS WINS FOR FAMILY PROGRAMS

CBS led the field when the Family Friendly Programming Forum -- which includes more than 40 national advertisers that promote family TV viewing -- presented its 4th Annual Family Television Awards in Beverly Hills.

The network took top honors for best TV movie for "The Rosa Parks Story." Angela Bassett starred as Parks, a black woman who became a civil rights icon for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white rider in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.

The CBS drama "The Guardian" won for best new series and its star, Simon Baker, was named best actor. Baker plays a hotshot lawyer who is ordered to perform 1,500 hours of community service after a drug bust. In the bargain, he becomes a child advocate at Legal Aid Services -- where he sees first-hand how difficult life can be for kids in troubled families.

The PBS series "American Family" -- starring Edward James Olmos, Sonia Braga and Raquel Welch -- won for outstanding special series. ABC's "Dinotopia" won for best animated special, while another ABC show, "My Wife and Kids," was named best comedy.


TIRED NEVADA LAWMAKERS OK MALPRACTICE CAP

Bleary-eyed lawmakers in Nevada passed a bill to cap medical malpractice lawsuit awards. It was shortly before dawn Thursday during a special session and afterward, they adjourned.

The special session was called to deal with what physicians said were spiraling malpractice insurance premiums that were forcing them to give up their practices or move to other states.

"It is an outstanding bill," declared Gov. Kenny Guinn, who is expected to sign the measure next week.

The bill places a $350,000 cap on jury awards for pain-and-suffering. Insurers and physician groups contended behemoth pain-and-suffering awards were driving the price of malpractice insurance toward $100,000 per year, well out of reach of many doctors.

(Thanks to UPI's Hil Anderson in Los Angeles.)


2002 HOTTEST ON RECORD SO FAR

The first six months of the year have been the warmest on record in the northern hemisphere and the second warmest globally, according to the British Meteorological Office.

The office says the average temperature in the northern part of the globe in the first six months was the warmest in 143 years. Globally, only 1998 had a warmer first half of the year, because of the influence of El NiƱo.

The data were compiled from land and sea statistics.

Briony Horton, climate research scientist noted: "Globally 2002 is likely to be warmer than 2001, and may even break the record set in 1998."


WATCHING THE TROPICAL ENVIRONMENT

Scientists gathered in Panama City, Panama, this week to plan how to monitor the world's tropical environments.

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute brought together rainforest biologists with engineers at the forefront of sensor and communications technologies.

Julio Escobar, president of Centauri Technologies Corp., says field biologists may be unaware of the latest technological innovations or may be unable to afford novel equipment. Also, new technology designed for commercial uses may not easily lend itself to biological applications.

Elusive ocelots, bats flying through underbrush and male beetles who secretly manipulate their mates were the study subjects mentioned as biologists came up with a "wish list" of questions to be answered if the appropriate technology were available.

Conservation of the Amazon basin, where 40 percent of the world's remaining rainforest is under immediate threat of destruction, has been helped by initial efforts to monitor land use via remote sensing devices and satellite technology.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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