National briefs: $540M bequest to fight cancer

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BALTIMORE -- Johns Hopkins University scientists will share in one of the largest one-time philanthropic gifts for cancer research ever made: $540 million.

The $90 million marked for Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center -- among the biggest donations for the center and the university -- will help researchers build on pioneering work identifying the genetic mutations responsible for cancers.

The money comes from the New York-based based Ludwig Cancer Research, an organization named for the late shipping tycoon Daniel K. Ludwig.

Hopkins and five other U.S. institutions received $20 million each to establish their own research labs in 2006 and will each receive funding from the newest bequest. The researchers collaborate from their labs, also located at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University and the University of Chicago.

Deceptive ads crackdown

WASHINGTON -- Makers of a weight loss additive called Sensa will return more than $26 million to consumers to settle federal charges that the company used deceptive advertising claiming that consumers could lose weight by simply sprinkling the powder on their food.

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday the company used bogus clinical studies and paid endorsements to rack up more than $364 million in sales between 2008 and 2012.

The settlement with California-based Sensa is part of a broader crackdown. The FTC also will collect $7.3 million from LeanSpa, a company that promotes acai berry and "colon cleanse" weight loss supplements. Also swept up in Tuesday's action are skin cream maker L'Occitane and HCG Diet Direct, which sells unproven hormones for weight loss. They will together return about $34 million to consumers to settle the charges.

Oil export ban debated

WASHINGTON -- The push to end the ban on exporting U.S. crude oil is at a level not seen in decades, with the top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee joining the call Tuesday.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski argued that the ban, put in place after the 1970s Arab oil embargo, doesn't makes sense given the current U.S. oil production boom. But lifting it is controversial. Congress meant the ban to protect American consumers from gasoline shortages and price spikes, and some lawmakers say it's still needed.

Hubble finds faint galaxies

WASHINGTON -- The Hubble Space Telescope has peered back to a chaotic time 13.2 billion years ago when never-before-seen galaxies were tiny, bright blue and full of stars bursting to life all over the place.

Images released by NASA on Tuesday show galaxies that are 20 times fainter than those pictured before. They are from a new campaign to have the 23-year-old Hubble gaze much earlier and farther away than it was designed to see.

Also in the nation ...

Raoul Weil, 54, once a top UBS AG banker, pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to use Swiss bank secrecy to help thousands of Americans cheat on their taxes. Mr. Weil, who is free on $10.5 million bail and under house arrest in New Jersey, is the highest-ranking banker charged in a U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion. ... Los Angeles County supervisors were expected to pick an interim sheriff after the surprise retirement of Lee Baca. Early support appeared to be for Terri McDonald, a well-regarded assistant sheriff who was brought in from the state prison system to reform the county's troubled jails.


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