arlington, va
April 1, 2006

Carlton Cardinal Combs - Thanks Steve!

Hail Mary, Full of Cocaine... From Reuters March 31.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Two men suspected of helping smuggle cocaine to New York from Mexico inside statues of the Virgin Mary were arrested Thursday, U.S. authorities said.

Peter Matheis, 52, and Rafael Serrano, 36, both Mexican nationals, were indicted in New York and Houston respectively on money-laundering and narcotics charges along with six others arrested previously in the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

Five 3-foot-tall statues of the Virgin Mary, filled with 242 pounds of cocaine, were seized in a Brooklyn warehouse as part of the police operation.

The drug ring used the statues to smuggle cocaine worth millions of dollars, FBI agent John Gilbride said in a statement.

But Wait ... There is more. And this is really good news for some of us of the None of the Above persuasion. (From the BBC News)

Praying for patients undergoing heart operations does not improve their outcomes, a US study suggests.

A study found those who were prayed for were as likely to have a setback in hospital, be re-admitted, or die within six months as those not prayed for.

The Duke University Medical Center study of 700 patients, in the Lancet, said music, image and touch therapy did appear to reduce patients' distress.

The results of this study contradict earlier findings from the same team which suggested a drop of a quarter or more in "adverse outcomes" - including death, heart failure or heart attack.

However, that trial involved only 150 patients. Other research since has found no evidence of any benefits.

This study looked at 700 patients undergoing angiograms (an X-ray of the blood vessels) or other heart operations at nine hospitals across the US.

Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Buddhist prayer groups were assigned to pray for 371 of the patients. The rest had no prayer group.


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