Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Louis J Sheehan Esquire 301085 photo 51

Jose Padilla, an American once accused of plotting with al Qaeda to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced yesterday to a relatively lenient prison term of more than 17 years on unrelated charges.

Prosecutors, who long ago dropped the dirty-bomb claim that made Mr. Padilla infamous, had sought life terms for Mr. Padilla and two co-defendants, but a federal judge said authorities never proved Mr. Padilla was a terrorist.

"There is no evidence that these defendants personally maimed, kidnapped or killed anyone in the United States or elsewhere," U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke said. "There was never a plot to overthrow the United States government."

Judge Cooke took into account the harsh, isolated conditions Mr. Padilla faced during the 31⁄2 years he was held in a brig in Charleston, S.C., without charge, as an enemy combatant after his 2002 arrest. Defense lawyers claim he was tortured by the military, but U.S. officials denied that, and Judge Cooke never used the word torture.

After a three-month trial, Mr. Padilla, 37 years old, and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun, 45, and Kifah Wael Jayyousi, 46, were convicted in August of being part of a support cell that sent recruits, money and supplies to Islamic extremists world-wide, including al Qaeda. Mr. Padilla was billed as a star recruit, while Mr. Hassoun was the recruiter and Mr. Jayyousi served as a financier and propagandist in the cell's early years, according to trial testimony.

Mr. Padilla was added to the case in late 2005, just as his legal challenges to continued detention without criminal charge were reaching the Supreme Court. Mr. Padilla was declared an enemy combatant a month after his highly publicized arrest on the purported radioactive dirty-bomb plot, but those allegations were quietly discarded.

The strongest evidence in the case was a form Mr. Padilla completed in 2000 to attend an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan that was recovered by the CIA shortly after the U.S. invasion in late 2001. Prosecutors repeatedly invoked the al Qaeda connection and used a video of an old Osama bin Laden interview in an attempt to link the three to the world's most notorious terrorist.

Ultimately, Judge Cooke said at the sentencing hearing, there was not enough evidence linking Mr. Padilla and the other two men to specific acts of terrorism or victims.

Sentencing guidelines had suggested a range of 30 years to life for all three, but Judge Cooke used her discretion to go below even the minimum. Mr. Padilla got 17 years and four months; Mr. Hassoun, 15 years and eight months; and Mr. Jayyousi, 12 years and eight months. Their prison time will probably be even less counting months already served in pretrial detention and automatic reductions for good behavior, their lawyers said.

Judge Cooke said life sentences should be reserved for the most serious terrorist offenders, such as Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui or Terry Nichols, convicted in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

"I feel good about everything. This is amazing," said Mr. Padilla's mother, Estela Lebron. "He's not a terrorist. ... He's just a human being."

All three men are likely to appeal their convictions and sentences, their lawyers said. But even they were surprised at the leniency shown by Judge Cooke. "It is definitely a defeat for the government," said Mr. Hassoun's lawyer, Jeanne Baker.

The Justice Department praised the efforts of prosecutors and investigators in the case, which centered on tens of thousands of FBI wiretap intercepts collected over eight years. "Thanks to their efforts, the defendants' North American support cell has been dismantled and can no longer send money and jihadist recruits to conflicts overseas," said Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security.

London's East End is notorious for its criminals, from serial murderer Jack the Ripper to mobsters the Kray twins.

The latest candidate for this rogue's gallery is Janet Devers, a 63-year-old woman who runs a vegetable stall at Ridley Road market. Her alleged crime: selling goods only by the pound and the ounce.

Ms. Devers, whose stall has been in the family for 60 years, faces 13 criminal charges stemming from not selling her produce by the kilogram and the gram. She stands accused of breaking a European Union-instigated rule that countries must use metric measures to standardize trade. The rest of Europe is metric.

But Brits drink their milk and beer by the pint. On the road they rack up miles. Imperial measurement "is what we know, how we are. Who's to tell us to change?" said Scott Lomax, a fellow vegetable-stall owner.

Ms. Devers, who pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Friday, is being lionized for her stand in Britain's feisty tabloids. If convicted, she could be fined as much as $130,000.

"It's disgusting," said Ms. Devers of the charges. "We have knifings. We have killings," she said. "And they're taking me to court because I'm selling in pounds and ounces."

And, equally illegally, in bowls. Ten of the counts against her relate to purveying produce, such as hot Scotch-bonnet peppers, by the bowl.

The United Kingdom wrote an exemption into its measurements law to meet the EU metric requirement in 2000, as Brussels allowed. It stated that traders must use metric weights, but they could use imperial measures as well. The problem is that Ms. Devers allegedly didn't have metric prices on all of her produce when she was charged late last year, and two of her scales only measured in pounds and ounces.

The British imperial system dates back at least to medieval times. Notable holdouts still using it are Britain and the U.S. It doesn't help that the metric system was created over 200 years ago across the Channel in France, England's ancient archrival.

Aversion to the metric system is one of many signs of the U.K.'s lingering reluctance to integrate with its continental neighbors. Britain shuns the euro in favor of the pound sterling, drives on the left-hand side of the road and has a tradition of "euroskeptic'' politicians who thrill some sections of the public by bashing the Continent.

One recent overcast Thursday afternoon at Ridley Road market in Hackney, a low-income district in East London, shoppers from Turkish, Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities browsed the stalls. Shouts from traders touting deals like "50p a basket of mangoes" mingled with reggae music blasting from a stall that sells posters and T-shirts.

Insulated from the chilly January day in a faux-fur- trimmed hat, Ms. Devers chatted up customers from behind her covered stall piled with eggplant, ginger, green beans (£1 a pound for the beans). Though her signs currently carry prices in pounds as well as the equivalent in kilograms, she said her customers prefer pounds -- and sometimes complain when she uses kilos that she's trying to cheat them.

"I always shop in pounds," said Sophia Levicki, a 60-year-old part-time shop clerk and a regular at Ms. Devers's stall. "If it's good enough and cheap enough, I'll buy it," she added, as she asked for two pounds of shiny, purple-skinned eggplant.

Nearby stall owner Mr. Lomax added prices in kilos as well as pounds to his signs after warnings from local authorities in recent years. "The customers don't understand kilos," he said. Like many stall owners he uses metric scales, which he got after the EU metric directive was introduced into U.K. law in 2000.

Ms. Devers's trouble with the law began one Thursday this September, when two representatives from the local government council, accompanied by two policemen, came up to her stall and seized her imperial scales. They told Ms. Devers she was using illegal scales and that she wasn't allowed to weigh in pounds and ounces, she said. "I was furious," said Ms. Devers, who asked the police officers if the council was allowed to do that, to which they responded that it was.

Around Christmas, a 67-page letter landed in her mail. It outlined 13 criminal charges against her, including one charge of improper pricing of goods and two charges related to using imperial scales. She also faces 10 counts related to selling by the bowl.

"I think it's so ridiculous," she said, noting that pricing per bowl is common practice because customers perceive it as good value. "If they're going to do me for bowls, they have to do the whole country."

Alan Laing, an official with the local authority that is prosecuting Ms. Devers, said that "making sure traders comply with weights-and-measures legislation is also part of the job."

Ms. Devers wouldn't be the first to be pounded down by the metric law. Four market-stall owners -- including her brother -- lost an appeal to the High Court in 2002 for not using metric measurements. They received conditional discharge -- which means no further action is taken as long as they don't break the law again within a specific period of time. A group campaigning to pardon them is helping coordinate financing for Ms. Devers's case and calls them "metric martyrs."

It's about "who governs Britain," says campaigner Neil Herron, from Sunderland, England.

With the help of her brother, Ms. Devers found lawyers willing to take on the case for a nominal fee. Their planned legal strategy is to argue various technicalities such as a loophole for imperial scales that predate the law. They plan to lean on what they see as a recent softening in Brussels. After pressure from U.K. companies as well as others that trade with Britain and the U.S., the European parliament recently adopted legislation that would let the U.K. continue to use imperial alongside metric measures indefinitely, instead of phasing it out by next year. The measure is awaiting European Council approval.

Her legal team may also call customers as witnesses to say that they like paying pounds for pounds, one of the lawyers involved said.

Ms. Devers faces fines of up to $10,000 per charge, or a total of about $130,000. "It would ruin me," said Ms. Devers, who declined to detail her earnings. She says she canceled a planned trip to New York with her twin sister, because having a criminal record could make entering the U.S. difficult.

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Devers appeared in Thames Magistrates Court in East London. She pleaded not guilty.

Her barrister, Nicholas Bowen, mocked the nature of her alleged crimes. "If somebody sells a punnet of strawberries at Wimbledon is that a criminal offense?" he asked. A punnet, as all Britons know, is roughly the equivalent of a couple of handfuls -- or about half a liter.

Ms. Devers and her legal team won a victory of sorts. The magistrate granted their request that the case be tried by a jury. Jurors, with perhaps some shoppers among them, will likely be sympathetic, Mr. Herron says.

Ms. Devers smiled as she left the courthouse to go back to her stall. The scales of justice sit, she said, "in the hands of the people."

Defendants in high-profile lawsuits typically keeps their mouths shut, letting their lawyers and or public relations experts do the talking. But not John Yoo, the Berkeley Law professor and former Bush administration official who was sued by convicted terrorist Jose Padilla and Padilla's Yale Law School lawyers earlier this month. He's not taking this lawsuit lying down, and he vented this weekend on the WSJ's op-ed page. (Click here for prior Law Blog coverage on the suit.)

Yoo summarizes the lawsuit nicely: "Padilla wants a declaration that his detention by the U.S. government was unconstitutional, $1 in damages, and all of the fees charged by his own attorneys." He warns of the dangers of this litigation. "The lawsuit by Padilla and his Yale Law School lawyers is an effort to open another front against U.S. anti-terrorism policies," he writes. "If he succeeds, it won't be long before opponents of the war on terror use the courtroom to reverse the wartime measures needed to defeat those responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on 9/11."

Yoo, an architect of the White House's policies on detaining terrorist suspects, spends much of the essay detailing Padilla's odyssey and the history of detaining alleged wartime criminal like him. He then decries the lawsuits filed against him and other Bush administration officials (e.g., Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and Wolfowitz).

Yoo says the "qualified immunity" doctrine, which holds that government officials cannot be sued personally unless they had intentionally violated someone's clearly established constitutional rights, isn't enough:

The legal system should not be used as a bludgeon against individuals targeted by political activists to impose policy preferences they have failed to implement via the ballot box . . . .
The prospect of having to waste large sums of money on lawyers will deter talented people from entering public service, leading to more mediocrity in our bureaucracies. It will also lead to a risk-averse government that doesn't innovate or think creatively. Government by lawsuit is no way to run, or win, a war.

Genentech Inc.'s discovery of two new genes linked to lupus raised hopes of earlier diagnosis and better targeted treatment of the autoimmune disease, which affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

Genentech already has two experimental drugs in Phase III, or late stage, studies to treat lupus: a compound called an anti-CD20 antibody, and its older drug Rituxan, widely used as a cancer treatment. The latest advance restores the company's momentum in combating lupus after two patients who had taken Rituxan -- not yet an approved treatment for the illness -- died of brain infections in December 2006. The two patients weren't study subjects and had other risk factors, Genentech has said.

Chief Executive Art Levinson this month highlighted his hopes that the lupus trials will help boost the flow of important data emerging from Genentech's pipeline of new drugs in development this year after "a quiet period."

Analysts fear the South San Francisco, Calif., biotech giant's earnings growth could flatten unless it can score another big hit to supplement revenue from its blockbuster Avastin.

A number of other companies also are developing lupus treatments, including Amgen Inc., a biotech rival based in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Discovery of the new genes, labeled BLK and ITGAM, was reported by Genentech scientist Timothy W. Behrens and his colleagues in the New England Journal of Medicine's online edition on Sunday. The report coincided with that of a rival team from the International Consortium for Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Genetics in the journal Nature Genetics.

Dr. Behrens's team believes the BLK gene influences one component of the immune system -- B cells -- while the ITGAM gene affects another, T-cells, in ways that trigger the immune system to attack a lupus patient's own body like friendly fire.

Scientists hope the findings will improve the diagnosis and targeted treatment by predicting patient response to drugs. Lupus attacks many organ systems and can cause death, often from cardiovascular damage. Women and minorities suffer the brunt of lupus cases.

"Way too many young women have strokes and heart attacks," Dr. Behrens said. "This disease attacks blood vessels and every organ has a blood supply, so it manifests itself in the kidney, brains, joints, heart."

Dr. Behrens added that lupus is often difficult to diagnose and that "it's not unusual for someone to go several years with vague and undiagnosed symptoms."

Genentech's findings are relevant to continuing studies because Rituxan targets B cells, the very cells that express the newly discovered BLK gene. But BLK and ITGAM are just two of about 10 genes linked to the immune disorder, which may eventually be discovered to be linked to another 20 or 30 genes, Dr. Behrens said. The findings may help predict who can benefit from treatment, though Dr. Behrens cautioned the timeline for such applications is uncertain.

The Behrens paper not only adds to the growing number of genes linked to lupus, but is significant in that it uses a powerful genetic-testing technology that is yielding insights into many previously unrecognized genes linked to disease, said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a unit of the National Institutes of Health.

The findings aren't expected to produce a full picture of the disorder just yet, because none of the study subjects was African-American, a group that suffers disproportionately from lupus.

Researchers said they identified a genetic variant that is linked to both an increased risk of a heart attack and a person's chances of preventing such an attack by taking a cholesterol-lowering pill called a statin.

The variation, in a gene called KIF6, is present in nearly 60% of the population, the researchers found. In four large studies involving a total of more than 30,000 patients, carriers of the mutation had a risk of heart attacks, strokes or death related to heart disease as much as 55% higher than those who didn't have it.

The impact of the variant was independent of such conventional cardiovascular risk factors as smoking status, cholesterol levels and diabetes.

Discovery of the KIF6 variant was announced by Celera Group-Applera Corp., an Alameda, Calif., diagnostics company known for having mapped the human genome in 2000 in a high-profile race with a government-funded project. Details are reported in three studies being published Jan. 29 by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and now available on the publication's Web site.

The interaction of KIF6 with statin therapy "is a very interesting and unexpected finding," said Marc Sabatine, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, and a co-author of one of the papers. While it would be "premature" to base treatment decisions on a patient's KIF6 status, he said, the results "take us one step closer to personalized medicine" in which doctors use genetic data to tailor therapy for patients.

Celera plans to launch "in the coming months" a genetic test for about $200 for the KIF6 variant through its recently acquired Berkeley HeartLab unit, said Kathy Ordoñez, president at Celera.

But the KIF6 gene -- for "kinesin-like protein family member 6" -- hasn't previously been linked to heart disease, nor has it shown up in several other genome scans probing DNA for heart-disease genes. Some experts said more study is needed to confirm the findings and determine KIF6's role in evaluating and treating patients at risk for cardiovascular disease.

"It's quite provocative," said Eric Topol, a cardiologist and director of Scripps Genomic Medicine and a cardiologist at the Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, Calif. "It could be a marker but there are a lot of question marks surrounding it."

The report is the latest in a flurry of studies linking tiny single-letter variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, in a person's DNA with risk of disease. Researchers hope that such discoveries will shed light on the biology illnesses, reveal potential new drug targets, and drive the field of personalized medicine.

The hunt for SNPs related to heart disease is especially intense. Earlier this month, deCode Genetics Inc. of Iceland reported that a variant of the gene 9p21 is associated with risk of two serious vascular conditions, aneurysms of the abdominal aorta and the brain. The gene is established as increasing heart-attack risk, Dr. Topol said. DeCode recently began selling a $200 test for the gene.

But otherwise, finding validated SNPs linked to cardiovascular disease has proved difficult. A report last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 85 SNPs that had been cited as possible heart-attack genes and found evidence for all of them wanting.

As part of its studies, Celera tested 35 different SNPs in patients who had suffered heart attacks. Only the KIF6 mutation turned out to have a strong statistical link. The 9p21 gene wasn't among those Celera tested.

"We think this marker will stand up to [validation] in spades," said Thomas J. White, chief scientific officer at Celera and a co-author of one of the new papers.

The KIF6 finding resulted from a collaboration between Celera and academic researchers who led four previously published landmark studies, including three large randomized trials that demonstrated the effectiveness of statin drugs in preventing heart attacks.

DNA samples were obtained at or near the trials' beginnings. Since researchers now know which patients had heart attacks and which were treated with statins, they could see what genetic differences might have influenced outcomes.

For instance, in a study called Care that originally compared Bristol-Myers Squibb Corp.'s Pravachol against placebo in patients who had already had heart disease, 12.4% of KIF6 mutation carriers treated with placebo suffered heart attacks compared with 8.1% of those who didn't have the mutation. Researchers said that translated to a relative 50% increased risk after adjusting for other factors.

Among KIF6 carriers who got Pravachol, there were 37% fewer heart attacks compared with placebo. Among noncarriers, there were 14% fewer heart attacks on the drug than on placebo, suggesting those with a genetic variant responded better to the drug.

Researchers conducted a similar look at a study called Prove-It, in which the maximum dose of Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor proved superior to a moderate dose of Pravachol in preventing heart attacks and death among people on the verge of a heart attack. The genetic analysis showed that nearly all of the benefit from Lipitor occurred in carriers of the KIF6 mutation.

In each case, the benefits weren't related to how much a statin lowered cholesterol.

Separately, the researchers looked at DNA taken from participants in the 25,000-patient Women's Health Study at Harvard Medical School and found that the KIF6 variant was associated with a 34% increased risk of heart attacks among women.

Researchers said further study of KIF6 could help identify mechanisms for how heart disease develops and possibly new targets for drugs to treat it.

Bristol-Myers sponsored the original statin trials and provided access to the DNA for two of the current papers, but neither Bristol-Myers nor Pfizer funded the new analysis, which Celera paid for.

More than one in 20 patients undergoing breast surgery later developed infections at incision sites, according to a new study, a complication that was more common than thought.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the infection rate following breast removal surgery at 2%, although earlier surveys put it at anywhere between 1% and 28%.

In the two-year study published in this month's issue of the Archives of Surgery, 5.3%, or 50, of nearly 950 patients developed infections within a year of their procedures, inside and outside the hospital. The average time between surgery and infection was 47 days.

"The surgical site infection rates following breast surgery seem to be much greater than the nationally reported incidence of 2% and much higher than what is expected for clean surgical procedures," Margaret Olsen of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis wrote in her report.

The cost of follow-up medical care was put by the study at roughly $4,000 a patient.

Roughly one in eight women in the study who had a cancerous breast removed and then underwent breast reconstruction with an implant developed an infection. The infection rate was 7% among those who had breast reconstruction using tissue from the abdomen, where infections also struck. Infections occurred in 4% of women having a mastectomy, and among 1% of those having breast-reduction surgery.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts wants to start paying doctors and hospitals a flat fee per patient per year, the Boston Globe reports. The sum would depend on the age and illnesses of the patient, and there would be big bonuses for progress on measures such as access to the care and control of diabetes and high blood pressure.

The system evokes “capitation,” the per-patient payment systems that had a brief wave of popularity in the 1990s. But Blue Cross says its new plan would protect against problems such as undertreatment and underpayment that sunk capitation the first time around. “We have no interest in returning to the heyday of managed care or denying care,” Blue Cross exec Andrew Dreyfus told the Globe.

The big insurer says it’s bringing back the flat fee in yet another effort to slow the growth of health care spending and create more financial incentives for doctors to focus on patient outcomes.

Big health systems the Globe spoke with said they supported the principles behind the plan, but worried about the impact on revenues, and about being held responsible for care and costs over which they have limited control.

Health-care policy wonks and advocates seemed warm to the plan. John McDonough, who runs Mass.-based Health Care for All, told the paper it was promising. “What we have now is killing us financially, and in some cases medically,” he said.

* Against the Odds magazine (ATO)
o #19: Not War But Murder
o #20: A Fatal Attraction
o Biafra!
o Look Away! The Fall of Atlanta
o Wintergewitter
* Alea magazine (Ludopress)
o #32: Dios Patria y Rey
* Armchair General Magazine
o Brothers By My Side
o Lee at Gettysburg
o Operation Iraqi Freedom
* Avalanche
o Alamein
o Alaska's War (supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series)
o East of Suez (in the Second World War at Sea series)
o Eastern Fleet (in the Second World War at Sea series, reprint)
o Edelweiss Expanded Edition (supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series)
o Fronte Russo (supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series)
o Iron Curtain (in the Panzer Grenadier series)
o Mediterranean (in the Great War at Sea Series, reprint)
o Napoleonic Battles: Austerlitz
o Queen of the Celts (in the Rome at War series)
o Sea of Troubles (supplement inthe Great War at Sea series)
o Soldier Kings (reprint)
o South Africa's War (supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series)
o They shall not pass
o Tiger of Malaya
o White Eagles (supplement in the Panzer Grenadier series).
o Zeppelins (in the Great War at Sea series)
* Battle-Market
o #1: Hanba'al/Chinggis Khan/Zeppelin
o #2: Ma'alinti Rangers: Black Hawks Down/Tannenberg/Grunwald 1410: Downfall of the Teutonic Order
* Bayonet Games
o Strike Force Hunter
o Warfighter 101: Maneuver Warrior
o Blackshirt, The Italian Invasion of Egypt, 1940
* Roger Campbell
o Brown Water Submarines
* Canons en Carton
o Auerstaedt 1806 (in the Jours de Gloire series)
o Friedland 1807 (in the Jours de Gloire series)
o Swords and Crown (in the Au fil de l'Epée series)
o Saalfeld 1806 (in the Jours de Gloire series)
o Schleiz 1806 (in the Jours de Gloire series)
* Clash of Arms
o Campaigns of King David
o Close Action: Monsoon Seas
* Lou Coatney
o Moscow Defended!
* Columbia Games
o Athens & Sparta
o Wizard Kings (2nd ed.)
* Compass Games
o Red Storm Over the Reich
o Silent War (reprint)
* Cool Stuff Unlimited
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o Verdun (reprint)
* Command and Strategy magazine (UGG)
o #6: Operation Walküre
* Critical Hit

o Action at Carentan (scenario in the Squads & Leaders series)
o Advanced Tobruk (3rd ed.)
o Arnhem Master Set (2nd ed. of Arnhem-Defiant Stand and Oosterbeek Perimeter)
o Arnheim Third Bridge (supplement compatible with Advanced Squad Leader. 2nd ed.)
o Battle For The High Ground (scenario pack for the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Busting the Bocage (supplement compatible with Advanced Squad Leader, 3rd ed.)
o CSIR Nikitovka (in the Advanced Tobruk series).
o Facing the Blitz (maps/scenarios in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Grossdeutschland at Stonne 1940 (compatible with Advanced Squad Leader)
o Hot Stove Pack (in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Parkers Crossroad (expansion for Darkest December in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Roman Glory (supplement compatible with Advanced Squad Leader)
o So Full of Fire (expansion in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Sudden Full Contact (compatible with Advanced Squad leader)
o Stonne (in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Toktong Pass 1950 (in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Warfighting Guide #1 (in the Advanced Tobruk series)
o The Western Front 1944 (scenario pack for the Advanced Tobruk series)
o Witches Cauldron (compatible with Advanced Squad leader)
* Days of Wonder
o Memoir '44 Air Pack (Memoir '44 Expansion Set)
* Decision Games
o Land Without End
o Luftwaffe (rev. ed.)
o Nine Navies War
o Storm of Steel
* Devir
o Espana 1936
* Ediciones Rotura
o 1936 Guerra Civil (English ed.)
* Kelly Everit
o Imperial Ambitions
* Fantasy Flight Games
o Tide of Iron
* Feucht

o First Strike
* Fiery Dragon
o Algeria (reprint)
o Barnard's Star (reprint)
o Byzantium Reborn (rev ed.)
o Operation Whirlwind (reprint)
* Firefight Games
o Blow by Blow: Pakistan Invades India, September 1965
o Cossack Revenge: Denikin's Abyss, March 1920
o Crazy Horse, Black Shield, White Cloud
o Kakhovka
o Heroic Frenzy
o The Koltov Corridor: Disaster at Brody (East Front), July 1944
o Meatgrinder
o One Bullet, One German
o Operation Fischfang: Smashing the Allies at Anzio, Feb. 1944
o Operation Westindien
o Remagen 1945
o Storm Over Taierzhuang: Samurai Stalingrad 1938
o Vencr O Morir: Kundt's Pocket at Campo Via, Dec. 1933
o Wicked Narrows: Rome's Disaster at Kalkreis, Sept. 9, 2 AD
* @games online
o Malaya
o Watchtower (in the Action Front! Series)
* GMT Games
o 1914, Twilight in the East
o Asia Engulfed
o Combat Commander: Vol. II - Mediterranean
o Combat Commander Battle Pack #1: Paratroopers
o Conquest of Paradise
o Gergovia (module for Caesar: Conquest of Gaul)
o Glory III
o The Great War in Europe (rev. ed of The Great War in Europe and The Great War in the Near East)
o Monmouth (in the American Revolutionary War series)
o Ran (in the Great Battles of History series)
o Samurai (in the Great Battles of History series, reprint)
o Squadron Pack 2: Bombers (in the Down in Flames series)
o Sword of Rome Expansion
* Grenier Games
o Operation Weserübung
* Guild of Blades
o The American Revolution
o Battle of Thermopylae (2nd ed.)
o Beyond Hadrian's Wall (rev. ed.)
o The War To End All Wars (3rd ed.)
* Hasbro
o Axis & Allies: Guadalcanal
* Hexasim
o Marne 1918-Friedensturm (English ed.)
* Eric Hotz & Phil Hall
o Blue Max/Canvas Eagles
* Interformic
o Unbreakable
* Dave Kershaw

o ACW Solitaire
* Khyber Pass Games
o Prairie Aflame, The Northwest Rebellion, 1885
o Rosebud: Prelude to Little Bighorn
* L2 Design Group
o War at Sea (3rd ed.)
o Waterloo: Fate of France
* Little Page of Games
o Hohenfriedeberg
* Lock 'n Load Publishing
o Battle Pack Alpha (scenario pack for the Lock 'n Load series)
o Corps Command: Totensonntag
o Island War Deluxe
o Not One Step Back
o Omaha Beach (reprint from Armchair General)
o Swift and Bold (expansion to Band of Heroes)
o Valley of Tears (reprint from Armchair General)
o World at War: Eisenbach Gap
* Lost Battalion Games
o The Kaiser's Pirates
* LPD Games
o Across the Wide Missouri
o Battle of Gettysburg
o Battle of Honey Springs
o Grant's Early Battles
* Minden Games
o Battleship Captain: Tactical Naval Combat, 1890-1945
o Pacific Salvo!
o Case Blue (in the Operational Combat series)
o Few Returned (in the Advanced Squad Leader series)
o Red Star Rising, The War In Russia, 1941-1944
o Starter Kit #3 - Tanks (in the Advanced Squad Leader series)
o Talavera/Vimeiro (in the Napoleonic Brigade series)
* New England Simulations
o Overlord: D-Day and the Beachhead Battles (expansion for The Killing Ground)
o 1813: The Year That Doomed The Empire
o The Habit of Victory
* Outpost 31
o The thing
* Panzer Digest (Minden Games)
o #1: Falaise Pocket/Advanced Salvo! 1939-194/Penal Battalion/Longstreet's Disaster
o #2: Swordfish at Taranto/Field of Honour/The Evacuation of Konigsberg
* Pegasus
o The War Game: World War Two
* Perfect Captain
o Spanish Fury: Voyage
Pratzen Editions
o Le Grand Empire
* Red Sash Games
o Türkenkrieg: The Russo-Austro Turkish War, Balkan Theatre 1737-39
* Riachuelo Games
o Monte Castelo and Gothic Line
o Riachuelo's Naval Battle
o Unternehmung 25
* Schutze Games

o Aleutian Campaign
o Sands of Iwo Jima
* Sierra Madre Games
o How We Became Human
* Luiz Silva
o Congo
* Simmons Games
o Napoleon's Triumph
* Strategos
o #2: Iwo Jima
* Strategy and Tactics magazine (Decision Games)
o #241: Twilight of the Ottomans: World War I in the Middle East
o #242: They Died With Their Boots On 2: Pershing and Mad Anthony
o #243: Sea Lords: The Vietnam War in the Mekong Delta
o #244: Drive on Moscow
o #245: The Triple Alliance War
o #246: Manila '45: Stalingrad of the Pacific
o #247: Holy Roman Empire: Wars of the Reformation, 1524-38
* TCS (Roberto Chiavini)
o Edgehill (reprint)
o First Newbury
o Dunbar
o Gliders from the Sky: the Fall of Eben Emael
o I Obey (reprint)
o Innocence lost (reprint)
o Montebello (reprint)
o Prussia Rising
* Richard Trevino
o Charge at the Alamo
* Vae Victis magazine
o #73: Magenta 1859/Reichshoffen 1870/St. Nazaire 1942
o #74: Ultimus Romanorum
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o #76: Les deux Bretagne (1341-1364)
o #77: Eylau 1807
o #78: La Bataille de Hongrie 1944-5/Otterburn
* Valley Games
o Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage
* Dan Verssen Games
o Down With The Empire
o Marine Air (expansion set for Hornet Leader II)
o World War I Bombers (a Down In Flames expansion)
* Warfrog
o 1630 Something (rev. ed.)
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o Cowboys: The Way of the Gun
o Prussia's Defiant Stand
* Z-Man Games
o Duel in the Dark

The effects of the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 are only too well known: It knocked the hell out of Aceh Province on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, leveling buildings, scattering palm trees, and wiping out entire villages. It killed more than 160,000 people in Aceh alone and displaced millions more. Similar scenes of destruction were repeated along the coasts of Southeast Asia, India, and as far west as Africa. The magnitude of the disaster shocked the world.

What the world did not know was that the 2004 tsunami—seemingly so unprecedented in scale—would yield specific clues to one of the great mysteries of archaeology: What or who brought down the Minoans, the remarkable Bronze Age civilization that played a central role in the development of Western culture?

Europe’s first great culture sprang up on the island of Crete, in the Aegean Sea, and rose to prominence some 4,000 years ago, flourishing for at least five centuries. It was a civilization of sophisticated art and architecture, with vast trading routes that spread Minoan goods—and culture—to the neighboring Greek islands. But then, around 1500 B.C., the Minoan world went into a tailspin, and no one knows why.

In 1939, leading Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos pinned the blame on a colossal volcanic eruption on the island of Thera, about 70 miles north of Crete, that occurred about 1600 B.C. The event hurled a plume of ash and rock 20 miles into the stratosphere, turning daylight into pitch darkness over much of the Mediterranean. The explosion was recently estimated to be 10 times as powerful as the 1883 eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia, which obliterated 300 towns and villages and killed at least 36,000 people. So extreme was the Thera eruption that many writers linked it to Plato’s legend of Atlantis, the magnificent island city swallowed up by the sea. Marinatos’s theory was bolstered in 1967 when he dug up the ruins of Akrotiri, a prosperous Minoan town on Thera that had been buried in volcanic ash. Akrotiri became famous as a Bronze Age Pompeii because the ash preserved two-story dwellings, exquisite frescoes, and winding streets almost intact.

On further examination, though, the ruins did not confirm the theory. It turned out that the pottery on Akrotiri was not from the final phase of Minoan culture; in fact, many Minoan settlements on Crete continued to exist for at least a generation or two after the Thera cataclysm. Archaeologists concluded that the Minoans had not only survived but thrived after the eruption, expanding their culture until they were hit by some other, unknown disaster—perhaps some combination of fire, earthquake, or foreign invader. Thera’s impact, it seemed, had been overestimated. But startling new evidence is forcing archaeologists to rethink the full fury of the Thera explosion, the natural disaster it may have triggered, and the nature of the final blow to the once-great Minoan civilization.

Each summer, thousands of tourists encounter the Minoans at the spectacularly restored ruins of Knossos, an 11-acre complex four miles south of Crete’s capital, Heraklion. Late-19th-century excavations by Sir Arthur Evans revealed Knossos to be a vast, intricately engineered, multistory building, complete with flushing toilets, statuettes of bare-breasted priestesses, and frescoes of athletes vaulting over bulls. In 1900, Evans discovered an impressive stone throne, from which he believed the legendary King Minos and his descendants had presided over Bronze Age Crete. In the 1980s, however, a new generation of archaeologists, including Joseph Alexander “Sandy” MacGillivray, a Montreal-born scholar at the British School at Athens, began questioning many of Evans’s assumptions. Smaller-scale versions of Knossos have turned up at nearly every Minoan settlement across Crete, and scholars now suspect there was no single king but rather many independent polities.

MacGillivray also became interested in how the civilization ended. At Palaikastro, in the island’s far northeastern corner, MacGillivray and his colleague Hugh Sackett have excavated seven blocks of a Minoan town of perhaps 5,000 inhabitants, their plastered and painted houses arranged in a network of tidy paved and drained streets. One striking find was the foundations of a fine mansion, paved with fancy purple schist and white limestone and designed around an airy central courtyard “of Knossian pretensions,” as MacGillivray puts it. “But after the house was destroyed by an earthquake, it was abandoned and never rebuilt, and that preserved some things we had a hard time explaining.”

The house was dusted with a powdery gray ash, so irritating that the diggers had to wear face masks. Chemical analysis showed that the ash was volcanic fallout from the Thera eruption, but instead of resting in neat layers, the ash had washed into peculiar places: a broken, upside-down pot; the courtyard’s drain; and one long, continuous film in the main street outside. It was as if a flash flood had hosed most of the ash away, leaving these remnants behind. Some powerful force had also flipped over several of the house’s paving slabs and dumped fine gravel over the walls—but this part of the site lies a quarter of a mile from the sea and far from any stream or river.

That wasn’t the only oddity. Another building “looked like it had been flattened, the whole frontage facing the sea had been torn off, and it made no sense. And we asked ourselves, could a wave have done this?” MacGillivray says.

The strangest and most significant find, however, was a soil layer down by the beach that looked like nothing MacGillivray had ever seen in four decades as a field archaeologist. A horizontal band of gravel about a foot thick was stuffed with a mad jumble of broken pottery, rocks, lumps of powdery gray ash, and mashed-up animal teeth and bones. Perhaps an exceptionally violent storm had inflicted this chaos, MacGillivray considered, but he began to suspect that a tsunami was the more likely culprit.

MacGillivray invited Hendrik Bruins to Palaikastro. The Dutch-born geoarchaeologist and human ecologist had a reputation as a skillful analyst of the thorny dating controversies that beset archaeology in the Middle East, but figuring out the chaotic layer overlooking the beach presented a novel scientific challenge. “Identifying a tsunami deposit is a completely new field,” Bruins explains. “Until the early 1990s, earth scientists didn’t even recognize that tsunamis do more than just destroy the coast—they leave distinctive deposits behind as well. I needed to do a lot of different tests to convince myself, as well as my colleagues, that we were dealing with a tsunami and not something else, like debris from a storm surge.”

Another building looked like it had been flattened. Could a wave have done this?

Bruins sent thin sections of the chaotic deposit to micropaleontologist Chaim Benjamini, a colleague at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. Benjamini identified the tiny round shells of foraminifera and fragments of red coralline –algae; these marine organisms suggested that the ocean, rather than a river or a flash flood, had been involved. If the marine organisms had been scooped up from below sea level and dumped on the elevated promontory, something much bigger than a storm surge must have pounded the coast of ancient Crete.

The strange pattern of gravel deposits in the town offered further evidence of a deep oceanic disturbance. Then there were lumps of gray ash in the beach layer, “resembling unstirred instant-soup lumps at the bottom of a cup,” according to Bruins. He sent samples of these lumps to two state-of-the-art geochemistry labs in Germany, which analyzed the sample’s geochemical signature. The results of both tests were identical: a perfect match between Theran ash and the “soup lumps” on the beach.

Finally, there was the question of when all this disruption occurred. Bruins sent fragments of cattle bones and seashells from the chaotic layer to the radiocarbon dating lab at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Because of well-known problems in calibrating dates from 3,500 years ago, he knew the lab would be unable to pin down the exact calendar age of the samples, but the uncalibrated measured age of the cattle bones closely matched the latest equivalent dates for the cataclysm on Thera.

All the clues pointed to one answer: A giant wave had struck Palaikastro Bay while freshly fallen ash from Thera was still lying about, inundating the town for miles inland and streaking it with strange patterns of ash. But could even a giant wave be big enough to wipe out an entire civilization?

MacGillivray consulted Costas Synolakis, an energetic Greek-born earth scientist at the *University of Southern California, where he pioneered the predictive computer model used by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii. Synolakis’s first attempts to model tsunamis in the early 1990s began as a solitary exercise. Everything changed after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. Synolakis visited Banda Aceh, the city in northwestern Sumatra closest to the epicenter of the undersea quake, where hundred-foot waves had destroyed a city of more than 150,000 people in minutes. “It was a surreal, absurdist landscape,” he says. “It took an effort of imagination to conceive that people had ever lived there.” Almost overnight, Synolakis’s expertise in computer modeling of tsunamis became a focus of worldwide scientific and media attention.

In 2000, Synolakis had con- sulted on a study to model a hypothetical Minoan tsunami. He found that no matter how steep the waves were when they started out at Thera, they dissipated quickly, reaching only three to nine feet at most when they hit Crete, some 70 miles away. The study concluded that such waves could have been “disruptive,” but not devastating, to Minoan Crete.

Synolakis was still thinking that way when he visited Palaikastro in May 2006. Then MacGillivray took him down to the beach. “The moment I looked at that debris layer, I was absolutely stunned,” Synolakis says. “The image that came to me, right then and there, is what I saw everywhere after the December 2004 tsunami: a blanket of cultural debris, broken dishes, broken glass, bits of bone, people’s belongings scattered everywhere. It looked exactly like that kind of debris carpet, and you don’t get it in a smaller tsunami. The presence of this chaotic deposit suggested that the tsunami was at least three or four meters [10 to 13 feet] at the shoreline.” What had begun as a casual visit now turned into a full-blown research project. Synolakis hired a boat and took depth measurements of the seabed in Palaikastro Bay. When he tested the hillside behind the Minoan town to establish how far the wave had penetrated inland, he found what appeared to be more layers of chaotic debris at an astounding 90 feet above sea level.

About 60 miles to the west of Palaikastro, near the palace of Mallia, the research team found yet another strikingly similar chaotic deposit. Plugging in all the new data, Synolakis drastically revised his tsunami model. “When we put it all together,” he says, “we’re looking at a wave that’s on the order of 15 meters [50 feet] when it hits the shore at Palaikastro. This is a gigantic wave, much larger, wider, and longer than we thought; its volume is 10 times more than what we estimated only six years ago. We’re talking about an extreme event, certainly on the order of the 2004 Indian Ocean disaster.”

With eyewitness video of that disaster lingering in everyone’s minds, it took little imagination to visualize the physical destruction that must have hit Palaikastro, Mallia, and elsewhere along the Cretan coast. But evidence suggests that the Minoans survived the disaster for at least a generation or two; the real end came later, in an outbreak of fiery vandalism. Throughout Crete, temple-palaces were burned and ransacked, and there are no obvious signs of battle, invasion, or natural disaster at these ruins. Of all the great Minoan palaces, only Knossos survived; eventually it was taken over by the Mycenaeans, the mainland Greeks who prospered as the fortunes of Crete declined.

A leader of the Palaikastro team, Belgian archaeologist Jan Driessen, contends that the wave of destruction was the tail end of a spiral of instability that the Thera catastrophe set in motion. A steep drop-off in the number of Minoan sites suggests that there had been a famine or an epidemic, one perhaps touched off by the environmental effects of the eruption combined with the later tsunami.

There may have been a spiritual crisis as well. At Palaikastro, archaeologists found that a shrine had been violently destroyed and a cult statuette deliberately smashed and burned. Driessen suggests there may have been a reaction against the religious cult represented by the statuette, perhaps as part of a populist uprising against the elite in their villas and temple-palaces. The loss of life and livelihood after the eruption may have aggravated problems of class difference and widened the gap between the elite and the commoners, which Driessen says “existed already in Minoan society.”

The terrifying scale of the Thera eruption, followed by the devastating force of the giant tsunami it created, may have led to a gradual unraveling of the values and beliefs that had sustained this brilliant civilization for so long. In his poem “The Hollow Men,” T. S. Eliot writes these famous lines: “This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper.”

For the Minoans, it appears their world ended with both.

In 2007, excavators of a remote site in southeastern Iran reported finding evidence of a writing system that dates back more than 4,000 years. Featuring odd geometric symbols, three baked mud tablets unearthed near the Iranian city of –Jiroft could reveal much about a sophisticated and independent urban culture that flourished between the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley civilizations. However, many scholars are skeptical about the authenticity of the finds, which they –suspect may have been planted by locals.

Archaeologists first began digging at large mounds near Jiroft in 2001 after flash floods uncovered ancient graves nearby. The team has since found evidence of a large city dating to 2500 B.C.

Then, in 2005, a worker brought Yousef Madjidzadeh, the archaeologist in charge of the excavation, a tablet covered with strange symbols on the front and back, saying he dug it up in his village a few hundred yards away. Last winter, Madjidzadeh ordered his team to dig at the spot, where they uncovered two more tablets. The three appear to show a progression: The first has 8 simple geometric signs; the second includes 15 slightly more complex signs, while the third has a total of 59 signs. The variants might be precursors to Elamite, the writing system used on the Iranian plateau in the late third millennium B.C. They could also be unrelated or, as some have said, fakes. Madjidzadeh vows to return in 2008 to uncover more tablets and silence his critics.

The temples of Angkor are architectural marvels and international tourist attractions. But in an August paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archaeologists from Australia, Cambodia, and France reported using a combination of ground surveys and aerial scans to create a broader, more comprehensive map of the ancient Cambodian ruin, confirming that it was once the center of an incredibly vast city with an elaborate water network.

Lead researcher Damian Evans, an archaeologist at the University of Sydney, says the true extent of the city is apparent only from above. Between A.D. 800 and 1500, Angkor’s complex canals, roads, irrigated fields, and dense settlements sprawled across more than 1,160 square miles, almost the size of Rhode Island—and far beyond the area protected within the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s zone today. The city was the preindustrial world’s largest urban complex, made possible by some of the most complicated hydraulic works the world had ever seen.

American technology played a critical role in the analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory flew a 747 specially equipped with ground-scanning radar over the site, teasing out subtle differences in elevation and soil content. Added to conventional aerial photography and confirmed through ground surveys, the radar images showed that Angkor was unsustainable. Stripping off the area’s natural forest cover exposed the complex irrigation systems to unexpected erosion and flooding. “They very intensively reengineered the landscape wherever they went,” Evans says. “When you start creating these incredibly elaborate engineering works, it’s inevitable that you create problems. Angkor engineered itself out of existence.”

In September, a team of surgeons and immunologists at Duke University proposed a reason for the appendix, declaring it a “safe house” for beneficial bacteria. Attached like a little wiggly worm at the beginning of the large intestine, the 2- to 4-inch-long blind-ended tube seems to have no effect on digestion, so biologists have long been stumped about its purpose. That is, until biochemist and immunologist William Parker became interested in biofilms, closely bound communities of bacteria. In the gut, biofilms aid digestion, make vital nutrients, and crowd out harmful invaders. Upon investigation, Parker and his colleagues found that in humans, the greatest concentration of biofilms was in the appendix; in rats and baboons, biofilms are concentrated in the cecum, a pouch that sits at the same location.

The shape of the appendix is perfectly suited as a sanctuary for bacteria: Its narrow opening prevents an influx of the intestinal contents, and it’s situated inaccessibly outside the main flow of the fecal stream. Parker suspects that it acts as a reservoir of healthy, protective bacteria that can replenish the intestine after a bacteria-depleting diarrheal illness like cholera. Where such diseases are rampant, Parker says, “if you don’t have something like the appendix to harbor safe bacteria, you have less of a survival advantage.”

Women who have struggled through a miscarriage are often desperate for clues to what went wrong, and what they can do differently the next time. But doctors seldom have solid answers.

The latest research seems only to muddy the picture. A study by Kaiser Permanente in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology this week reports that women who consumed the equivalent of two cups of coffee or more daily had twice the miscarriage rate as those who avoided caffeine. Yet a study from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in the journal Epidemiology this month, found that drinking more moderate amounts of caffeine didn't increase a woman's risk of miscarrying.

Either way, caffeine consumption is just one small piece of this heartbreaking puzzle for many couples. A host of other problems can sabotage a developing fetus, and if patients are aware of their options, they might be able to fill in at least a little of that puzzle.

Roughly one million pregnancies in the U.S. end in miscarriage every year, according to the National Center on Health Statistics. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester, and some 60% are thought to be due to a random genetic error in the egg or the sperm or the first crucial cell divisions. No amount of prenatal care or dietary precautions will make a difference in these cases.

Even if the baby is genetically normal, other problems can doom the pregnancy. Some can be tested for, and treated, if doctors investigate. But they seldom do. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends looking into possible causes after a woman has had two consecutive miscarriages. But because miscarriages are so common and so often thought to be genetically based, many OB/gyns still don't look for other explanations unless a woman has had at least three. And many insurers won't pay for tests to investigate "recurrent miscarriage" until a woman has had three.

In the meantime, the admonition is to "just try again" -- which can be very frustrating for couples to hear, particularly if they postponed childbearing and had trouble conceiving. And the chance of miscarrying gets higher after the mother reaches 35.

"You almost want something to be wrong so you can treat it," says Kelly Maguire, a counselor for Resolve, a support group for fertility issues, who had four miscarriages before having two healthy babies. "My experience is, it's all up to you and how much you push your doctor."

Among the things women can do to find explanations is to press for a genetic analysis of the miscarried tissue, if it's feasible to save. If it's abnormal, that alone will explain the miscarriage. But it's a good idea to seek genetic tests of both parents that could reveal whether the problem is likely to recur.

After a second miscarriage the mother should be tested for imbalances of hormones, including thyroid, prolactin and progesterone, as well as for polycycstic ovarian syndrome. Some are easily treatable. Autoimmune disorders such as antiphospholipid antibodies can cause blood clots that clog vessels in the placenta. Those may be treatable with baby aspirin and blood thinner. Bacterial infections, including some that linger for years with no symptoms, can also thwart pregnancy, and can be treated with antibiotics. A uterine abnormality may limit the space for the fetus. That can be seen on a sonogram, and in some cases, corrected by surgery.

To be sure, many recurrent miscarriages remain a mystery even after lengthy investigations. But that number is getting smaller all the time, says Jonathan Scher, a Manhattan OB/gyn who treats patients with recurrent pregnancy loss. "Patients who miscarry back to back should not take no for an answer. It's very old fashioned to accept 'it's nature way,' " he says. "Miscarriage doesn't always have to happen. Today, we can find answers in many cases, and in many cases, treatment is available."

In some cases, Dr. Scher even works with perinatal pathologists to seek clues from a patient's prior miscarriages if tissue from a D&C was sent to a pathology lab. Some states require such slides to be saved for years, and they can reveal traces of clotting problems or infection, as well as genetic problems.

How environmental agents might fit in is less well understood. But most OB/gyns have been telling pregnant women for years to go easy on caffeine, as well as to quit smoking and drinking alcohol and to avoid other hazards, such as cat litter and undercooked meat. As a result of the Kaiser study, the March of Dimes has lowered its recommended caffeine limit to 200 mg from 300 mg daily.

"Reducing caffeine won't prevent a miscarriage that's destined to happen," says Tracy Flanagan, Kaiser's director of women's health in Northern California. "But this does give women the opportunity to do something that may reduce their risk."

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