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By United Press International  |  Oct. 6, 2004 at 6:30 AM
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Jack Daniels watering the whiskey

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Bourbon drinkers are upset by Brown-Forman Corp.'s decision to lower the alcohol content of its famous Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey from 86 proof to 80 proof.

Critics say the lower alcohol content of the legendary "Old No. 7 Brand Black Label" sour mash sippin' whiskey amounts to the Lynchville, Tenn., manufacturer watering the booze.

An Internet publication called Modern Drunkard Magazine was outraged that Brown-Forman cut the alcohol content of Jack Daniel's from 43 percent to a less-potent 40 percent in February and began gathering signatures on an online petition to protest, the Louisville Courier-Journal said.

"You can't screw with a legend like that and get away with it," Modern Drunkard Magazine editor Frank Rich said.

A spokesman for Brown-Foreman said the 80 proof Jack Daniels sold better than the more-potent 86 proof bourbon in test marketing last year.

Tip: Forget check floating after Oct. 28

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- Consumer advocates say a law taking effect Oct. 28 could leave millions of U.S. residents, accustomed to floating checks, with bounced check charges.

Known as Check 21, the law was passed to help banks avoid check-clearing delays caused by terrorism or bad weather. It will speed up the time it takes banks to process checks -- but it does not require them to process deposits faster, the Washington Times reported Tuesday.

"A lot of people who have never bounced a check before now are going to bounce their first one after Oct. 28," said Gail Hillebrand of the Consumers Union, a non-profit advocacy group that has criticized the law.

By mid-2005, consumers could be bouncing almost 7 million more checks and paying an additional $170 million in fees each month, the Consumers Union said.

The law, which takes effect Oct. 28, lets banks to replace original paper checks with "substitute" checks that are made from digital copies of the originals.

U.K. ban on flu vaccine worries U.S.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- U.S. public health officials expressed concerns Tuesday over a British decision to halt flu vaccine production over contamination worries.

British regulators imposed an immediate three-month suspension on Oxford-based Chiron, which makes Fluvirin, the No. 2 flu vaccine in the United States.

"Clearly, the loss of the Chiron flu vaccine poses a serious challenge to our vaccine supply for the upcoming flu season," said a Health and Human Services spokesman.

"We will need the help of the public, the public health community and the medical community to make sure that the vaccine goes to those who truly need it most."

Chiron had been expected to make between 46 million and 48 million doses of influenza vaccine for the United States, which had planned for a total supply of about 100 million doses this flu season.

Last year the U.S. residents wanted 87 million doses.

HHS said it expects to have about 54 million doses of influenza vaccine from Aventis and about another 1 or 2 million doses of FluMist nasal spray.

The World Health Organization said the suspension could have a major impact elsewhere -- particularly since the flu season is just beginning in the northern hemisphere.

Organ harvest leads to homicide ruling

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo., Oct. 5 (UPI) -- A Colorado coroner has ruled a registered organ donor who attempted suicide died from the removal of his organs, not a bullet wound in his head.

Mark Young's review of medical records of the 31-year-old Montrose County man resulted in the determination that William Rardin was still alive when his pancreas, liver, heart and kidneys were removed, thus making his death a homicide, the Denver Post reported Tuesday.

Young, who said more tests should have been performed on Rardin to conclude definitively he was brain-dead, said the autopsy showed he would have died within days in any case.

Rardin's death certificate showed he died Sept. 28, when a transplant team at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction finished removing his organs. He had been certified dead two days earlier at Montrose Memorial Hospital where he had been taken by ambulance. No tests to determine brain death were performed and he was airlifted to St. Mary's the same day for organ harvesting.

Rardin's family agreed to the donation while Rardin's heart was kept beating artificially.

A spokeswoman for the Donor Alliance, the organ procurement organization serving Colorado and Wyoming, said she was troubled by Young's decision to call the death a homicide.

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