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Lung cancer mortality declines for women

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time, women's death rates from lung cancer are dropping, possibly a turning point in the smoking-fueled epidemic.

It's a small decline, says the nation's annual report on cancer -- just under 1 percent a year. But the long-anticipated drop -- coming more than a decade after a similar decline began in U.S. men -- is a hopeful sign.

"It looks like we've turned the corner," said Elizabeth Ward of the American Cancer Society, who co-authored Thursday's report.

Smoking became rampant among men long before women, and thus men's lung cancer deaths soared first. But in the early 1990s, death rates began dropping among men as older smokers died and fewer younger men took up the habit.

Researchers had long anticipated that the same pattern would appear among women. But only now, with a solid five-year trend, are they confident that the decline is real, said National Cancer Institute statistician Brenda Edwards, a report co-author.

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Judge blocks Walker on bargaining curb

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin judge Thursday did what thousands of pro-union protesters and boycotting Democratic lawmakers couldn't, requiring that Republican Gov. Scott K. Walker halt plans to implement a law that would strip most public workers of their collective-bargaining rights.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi, who had issued an order intended to block implementation of the law while she considered a challenge to its legitimacy and warned of sanctions for noncompliance, amended her order Thursday to clarify that the law had not taken effect, as Republican leaders argued it had.

The governor's top aide issued a statement saying Walker would comply with Sumi's order.

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House panel OKs limit on abortion insurance

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A House panel voted Thursday to limit tax breaks for insurance policies that cover abortions.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted, 22-14, on a party-line vote to pass the bill, which would prevent people from deducting the cost of an abortion from their taxable income. The bill also would prevent small businesses and taxpayers from using tax credits in the new health care law to provide or pay for insurance policies that cover the procedure.

If women pay for an abortion using tax-free income set aside in a health savings account, the money would have to be reported as taxable income.

The bill now goes to the full House, where it is supported by GOP leaders. The bill, however, faces strong opposition in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

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Officers sent to prison in post-Katrina killing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Calling the crimes inexcusable and barbaric, a judge sentenced two former city police officers to prison Thursday for their roles in the shooting death of an unarmed man whose body was later set on fire in the chaotic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The sentence of 25-plus years that David Warren received for shooting Henry Glover, 31, to death was the stiffest punishment so far in the Justice Department's investigations of post-Katrina misconduct by police.

Former Officer Gregory McRae was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for burning Glover's body after he was gunned down.

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