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Residency rule upheld in Lewis' candidacy

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- A federal judge has upheld the state's four-year residency rule for political candidates that knocked former Olympic great Carl Lewis off the ballot.

Judge Noel Hillman ruled Thursday that the residency requirement doesn't violate Lewis' guarantee of equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Lewis lawyer Bill Tambussi argued that the rule is unconstitutional. Lawyers for New Jersey and members of the state's Republican Party said the rule has been on the books for 167 years and is part of the state Constitution. Tambussi said he will appeal.

All sides agreed there is urgency to decide the case because ballots for the June primary are supposed to be mailed today. Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medalist, is pursuing a Democratic bid for State Senate. He is a New Jersey native but owns a home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a business in Los Angeles.

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Hepatitis C drug called step forward

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal health experts say an experimental hepatitis C drug from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a significant step forward in treating the virus, despite a high rate of rashes among patients taking the tablet.

The Food and Drug Administration's panel of experts voted unanimously, 18-0, that telaprevir is a safe and effective treatment for hepatitis C. The agency generally follows the recommendations of its panels. A final decision is expected by May 23.

Panelists commended the Massachusetts-based drugmaker for developing a drug that appears to raise the cure rate for hepatitis C from roughly 40 percent with current therapies to nearly 80 percent.

The most significant side effect with the drug was a rash, which affected more than half of all patients. Panelists said the issue could be addressed by educating patients and doctors through materials and a toll-free hotline.

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Priest suspended over transfer refusal

CHICAGO (AP) -- An activist Catholic priest who made headlines when he mocked Hillary Rodham Clinton during her presidential campaign has been suspended by the Archdiocese of Chicago because of a disagreement over a proposed transfer from his South Side church.

The Rev. Michael Pfleger recently has said he would leave the church rather than be removed from St. Sabina Church, where he has been pastor for more than 30 years. Cardinal Francis George earlier this year offered Pfleger the presidency of a Catholic high school near the church.

"If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish," George wrote Wednesday.

Pfleger has gained national attention for his protests on everything from gun violence to Jerry Springer's television show.

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Postal Service offers royal wedding stamps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- If you're hunting royal wedding souvenirs on the U.S. side of the pond, the Postal Service is there for you.

Britain's Royal Mail issued special stamps for the wedding and American postal authorities are offering them as part of a commemorative packet. The British stamps can't be used on mail in this country, but collectors wouldn't be doing that anyway. The Royal Wedding Presentation Pack sells for $7.95. They're sold through www.usps.com/shop or by calling (800) 782-6724.

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