National briefs: Obama targets sports injuries

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WASHINGTON -- Chatting about football in the Blue Room of the White House this week with President Barack Obama, Maria Hanes brought up the Chicago Bears' 1985 Super Bowl champion quarterback, Jim McMahon -- only to have Mr. Obama finish her sentence.

Mr. McMahon, he noted, is "suffering from dementia."

The brain-injury reference was no accident. Ms. Hanes' younger brother suffered his fourth concussion while playing the sport and can no longer play under doctor's orders. Ms. Hanes has developed a "Concussion Cushion" -- a gel-filled helmet cover that softens the impact when two helmets collide.

Ms. Hanes, a 19-year-old from Lancaster, Calif., and Mr. Obama will join 200 sports officials, medical experts, parent activists and young athletes today for the first White House summit on sports concussions. The gathering is aimed at finding new ways to identify, treat and prevent serious head injuries, particularly in youth sports.

Dreamliner ruled reliable

WASHINGTON -- Boeing's 787 Dreamliner will be allowed to fly farther from the nearest airport on some long over-water trips after U.S. regulators concluded that the once-troubled jet has proved its reliability.

The clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration will let airlines put 787s on more-direct routes, cutting fuel burn. The FAA's decision means Dreamliners will be able to fly as far as 51/2 hours from an airport, the top duration for any plane, instead of the previous three hours.

The was grounded last year to fix battery meltdowns.

Prison rape-fight grants

WASHINGTON -- The majority of U.S. states and territories are taking steps to reduce sexual assaults in prisons as required by federal law, Justice Department officials said Wednesday.

But seven states and one territory face a 5 percent reduction in federal grants because their governors have either refused to adopt federal standards to combat prison sexual assault as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or have not committed to comply with the law, the officials said.

Salmonella in meat targeted

WASHINGTON -- A health advocacy group based in the District of Columbia has sued the Agriculture Department for not doing enough to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant strains of salmonella in meat.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a lawsuit Wednesday in the U.S. District Court asking the USDA to respond to a 3-year-old petition urging the agency to treat antibiotic resistant strains of salmonella as an adulterant.

Doing so could give the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service broader powers to issue recalls and prevent tainted meat from reaching the marketplace.

Executions put on hold

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A federal judge has blocked executions in Ohio to allow time for the parties to work on legal issues involved in a new lethal injection protocol put in place after an inmate appeared to struggle for more than 10 minutes when he was put to death earlier this year.

In an order released Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost put all executions on hold until at least Aug. 15 or until he issues a further order. Ronald Phillips of Summit County is scheduled to be executed July 2 and William Montgomery of Lucas County is scheduled to be executed Aug. 6.

-- Compiled from news services

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