Paul Pierce scores 28 points to lead Boston Celtics over Indiana Pacers

By JIMMY GOLENAP Sports Writer
BOSTON – Paul Pierce played more than 44 minutes in Orlando on Thursday night, then boarded a plane with his Celtics teammates and arrived in Boston after 3 a.m. Friday.

If he was tired, he didn’t show it.

One night after helping Boston erase a 27-point deficit to beat the Magic, Pierce scored 17 of his 28 points in the third quarter as the Celtics pulled away from the Indiana Pacers to win 94-87.

“I like to come out in the third quarter and just be aggressive,” said Pierce, who also had 10 rebounds and eight assists. “You can make your run. You can’t really settle on the lead. I try to focus on extending the lead, being more aggressive and getting better as the game goes on.” 

Kevin Garnett and Mickael Pietrus added 13 points and eight rebounds apiece as the Celtics won their fourth straight game despite playing without starters Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and Jermaine O’Neal.

Pierce was 4 of 7 from 3-point range, one of them to break a 46-46 tie early in the third quarter. He added two more baskets as the Celtics ran off 11 points in a row to take the lead for good and extend it to double digits.

“Hats off to Paul Pierce. He turned back the clock,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Obviously, he’s playing like one of the best players in the league again, carrying the load for them. They deserved to win tonight.”

The Celtics had a home-and-home series with the Magic this week, beating them in Boston on Monday and then falling behind by 27 in the first half in Orlando on Thursday before holding them to eight fourth-quarter points in a 91-83 victory.

The Celtics flew back to Boston and arrived early Friday morning; most of the players went to sleep, but the coaches stayed up to prepare for the Pacers.

Meanwhile, Indiana was in Boston, resting.

“They were going to try to run us out of the gym,” Rivers said. “This was a tough game against a good team that had a day off, waiting for us.”

Danny Granger scored 21 points for Indiana, which had beaten Boston both previous meetings this season – both times by more than 10 points. Paul George scored 16 with nine rebounds and David West had 14 points and eight rebounds.

It was 46-all with 8:44 left in the third when Pierce hit his 3 to break the tie. In the next 2½ minutes, Pierce fed Avery Bradley for a layup and then, after Roy Hibbert was called for an offensive foul, Pierce hit a layup, Garnett made a jumper and then Pierce drove for another basket to make it an 11-point game.

“This was their night,” Hibbert said. “Paul Pierce made some real tough shots. He’s been leading this team since Ray and Rondo went out.”

The Celtics were up 90-80 with 35 seconds left when Pietrus was called for a flagrant foul under the Pacers’ basket and a technical for taunting. After three free throws, the Pacers got the ball trailing by only seven. But Garnett blocked Granger’s attempt to drive for a layup, and the Celtics were able to make their free throws to run out the clock.

The Celtics opened the second half with a 42-34 lead, but the Pacers cut it in half on two quick layups by Granger and then tied it at 46 when he stole a bad pass from Pierce and brought it in for another.

Reserve Chris Wilcox had 14 points and six rebounds, and Brandon Bass had 12 points for Boston.

Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick share same coaching roots (although it's hard to tell)

belichickcoughlin.jpgBy BARRY WILNER 
They come from the same coaching tree, disciples of Bill Parcells. That and a no-nonsense approach are what Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick have in common.
Otherwise, the men who have done some of their best coaching to get their teams to next Sunday's the Super Bowl are very much opposites. Coughlin, the offensive guru, is demonstrative on the sideline, his face getting redder with every snap. Belichick, the defensive mastermind, is stoic, unemotional, seemingly detached — even as he manipulates everything from under his hoodie.
The players take after their coaches, too. The Patriots follow Belichick's never-say-anything-revealing lead; the Giants tackle tough questions with verve.

Eli Manning, who has flourished under Coughlin's tutelage and now must be ranked among the game's elite quarterbacks, says the Giants not only appreciate Coughlin's style, but become better players because of it.
"Just the way he prepares, the way he gets his team ready, his messages." Manning says. "The way his attitude is portrayed onto the players and the players kind of take on that attitude in their preparation and approach to play."
Coughlin once was almost unapproachable, so set in his ways that players feared him more than respected him. That changed before the 2007 season, when a group of Giants veterans asked him to "loosen up," as Michael Strahan, then a star defensive tackle, described it. They believed Coughlin's intense, even relentless approach caused friction throughout the team.
To his credit, Coughlin saw the merits to opening up, did so, and the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl, shocking the 18-0 Patriots for the championship.
Coughlin showed his sense of humor during the buildup to that game when asked if, because the Giants were stronger defensively, would they consider kicking off to New England's record-setting offense if they won the coin toss?
"What," he said with mock astonishment at the prospect, "and give them one more time with the ball?"
By all accounts, the 65-year-old Coughlin has gotten even looser the last few years, although former punter Matt Dodge wouldn't support that view. When the rookie's kick down the middle of the field on the final play against Philadelphia was returned for a winning touchdown by DeSean Jackson, Coughlin looked ready strangle Dodge.
The Giants have one of the more relaxed locker rooms in the NFL, but when it's "business time," as defensive end Justin Tuck says, nothing has changed.
Players still need to be early to meetings, and clocks remain set 5 minutes ahead at the training facility. When the Giants fell to 7-7 in December with an ugly loss to Washington, Coughlin didn't allow panic to set in. He simply presented the scenario that if New York won its last two games, it would win the NFC East. And from there, as the Giants proved in 2007, anything truly can happen.
Fear certainly has turned to respect among his players.
"I am happy for coach Coughlin to be back in this game because he is coaching me and that means I am back in this game," Tuck says. "I think he deserves it and he has done a great job of continuing to believe not only in himself and what he brings to the table, but also because of this team. At 7-7, everybody and their mom was counting us out, but he just stayed persistent and stayed true to who he is as a coach and a person.
"It trickles down when you see a person has faith in you when nobody else does. It is kind of easy for us to continue to have his back and do our best. We have been rewarded for that."
Among Coughlin's rewards: He can coach the Giants for as long as he wants. Even as fans in New York, among the toughest places to coach or play in pro sports, were calling for his dismissal as the Giants underachieved in the regular season, the organization never gave it any credence. Owner John Mara laughingly says he kept a "Fire Coughlin" folder with emails urging just that, and was tempted to respond to those messages after the Giants beat San Francisco last weekend.
"I'm pretty sure you will probably have to drag him out of here," says Giants guard Chris Snee, Coughlin's son-in-law.
There are no such movements to send Belichick packing. Only Tom Landry coached his team to five Super Bowls, and given his work this season, when the Patriots were down to using wide receivers in the secondary and plagued by inexperience in some areas, Belichick was at the top of his game.
Not that he would ever compare this season to any other, at least not publicly. For the 59-year-old Belichick, there is the here and now. That's it. Ask about the past Super Bowl wins or the 2008 loss to the Giants, and he dismisses them as irrelevant to next Sunday's game at Indianapolis.
"I don't really think there's any other way to do it," Belichick says. "What else is there to work on but the game, the next one on your schedule, the one that you're playing? You try to cover all your bases for that game, you play it, and then you start the process all over again with the next one."
Coughlin, on the other hand, sees value in the past, particularly in examining the history of the franchise "and the great players who have been here and achieved some great things."
Belichick and Coughlin won a Super Bowl together in 1990 with some of those great Giants, Belichick as defensive coordinator, Coughlin as receivers coach. Coughlin eventually went to coach Boston College and Belichick had a failed stint as head man in Cleveland.
As part of the NFL coaching fraternity, they stayed in contact through the years as Coughlin built the Jacksonville Jaguars from scratch as an expansion team to a contender, while Belichick rejoined Parcells with the Jets before departing for New England in 2000. Coughlin was hired as Giants coach in 2004 — the last season the Patriots won the NFL title.
"We've talked about common problems," Belichick said. "He's shared things with me and I've shared things with him. But I mean, that's part of a friendship, that's part of a mutual respect that we have. We both have similar positions within the same league, so there's some of that. We're not in the same conference, so it's a lot easier than talking about something with somebody that's within your division, let's say."
Now, they are in the big game again, and one of their former peers and a Super Bowl winner, Tony Dungy, says what we have always seen is what we will get Sunday.
"We do what we do best and we're going to be fine. We just have to execute," is how Dungy sums up Coughlin's philosophy. "You can pretty much know when you play them: We know what we're going to have to deal with, but you'd better be ready for it; you'd better not make any mistakes because his guys aren't."
As for facing Belichick, who Dungy beat in the AFC championship game before winning the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, it's "What are they going to do different? What's going to be the wrinkle? How are they going to try to take different things away? What are they going to show you that you haven't seen?"
"It's always anticipating on the fly and being ready and withstand that first salvo," Dungy says. "You pretty much know you're going to get some different wrinkles, especially in this type of situation where you've played them several times."
The last three times they met, Coughlin more than held his own against Belichick, going 2-1, winning the biggest matchup of all, 17-14 four years ago in the Arizona desert.
Regardless of how things go in Indy, Coughlin will be marching up and down the sideline, slamming his play chart to the ground when peeved, vigorously clapping when satisfied. Always demonstrative.
And Belichick, decked out in his Patriots hoodie, will impassively view the proceedings, somehow seeming aloof even as he is in total control.
Two coaches from totally different limbs on the same football tree.

Former Boston Mayor Kevin White dies at 82

Former Boston Mayor Kevin White, who led the city for 16 years and shepherded it through a period of racial tension and court-ordered school desegregation, died on Friday at age 82.

White, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2003, died at his Boston home, family spokesman George Regan told local media.

Boston was torn by racial violence in the 1970s as the city implemented court-ordered busing to desegregate schools. White, who ran the city from 1968 to 1984, was lauded for focusing on protecting children caught in the unrest.

He arranged for police escorts for school buses after ones carrying black children were pelted with stones as they arrived in white neighborhoods.

White, a Democrat, was also credited with revitalizing Boston's downtown, including the reopening of the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

"Tonight is a sad night for the city of Boston," Mayor Thomas Menino said in remarks carried on local news channel 7News, an NBC affiliate.

"Kevin was the new era of mayors: Young, liberal, progressive, and he's noted for his belief that the revitalization of downtown was important to making Boston a world-class city," he added.

White made an unsuccessful bid for Massachusetts governor in 1970, and two years later was seen as a potential contender to run for vice president alongside George McGovern, but was ultimately passed over.

White left political life in 1984, choosing not to seek a fifth term in office, after a number of city officials were indicted following a federal corruption probe into his administration. He was never charged with any crime.

After leaving office, White taught at Boston University.

Berkeley energy lab plans big expansion

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said it will expand beyond its 200-acre Berkeley, California, campus with a 90-acre site in neighboring Richmond, California, hoping to ride gains in U.S. government energy research funding.

A new 300,000 square foot building will consolidate into one site the satellite offices employing some 800 researchers, most of them focused on biology, who are currently scattered around the San Francisco Bay Area. It could eventually grow up to 2 million square feet and involve researchers in other fields, according to planning documents released by the lab on Thursday.

Founded by cyclotron inventor Earnest O. Lawrence in 1931, the laboratory at first focused on nuclear energy but has gradually diversified and is now as much known for microscopy and nanotechnology as it is for energy.

The new campus will begin with work on biofuels, genomics and cancer research, said laboratory director Paul Alivisatos.

"The lab has been so successful that it's branching out in all directions," said Raymond L. Orbach, director of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas, Austin, and a former undersecretary for science in the U.S. Department of Energy.

"It's quite unusual for one lab to contribute across the spectrum," he added.

Thirteen Nobel laureates have worked at the lab, which is primarily funded by the Department of Energy but run by the University of California.

After stagnating for a decade, U.S. funding for energy research will rise to $4.5 billion in 2012 from about $3.8 billion in 2007, said Matt Hourihan, a budget analyst for the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. "There is bipartisan support for energy research," he said.

The site in Richmond is already owned by the University of California, so the laboratory will not need to pay for its purchase. The lab is working now to set a budget for the new building, said lab spokesman Jon Weiner.

The laboratory's budget for 2011 was $735 million, with an additional $101 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for a total of $836 million.

Its 2012 budget has not yet been set, said Weiner.

"If we work hard together and make this long-range development plan, start to secure the financing and work our way through the environmental impact studies, and get all the input from the community, I'm optimistic we will be back here in 2016 opening the doors to the campus," said Alivisatos.

The construction and staff spending associated with the new campus is expected to boost the economy of Richmond, which has struggled with high unemployment.

St. Louis to host first major parade for Iraq War vets

At least 1,000 Iraq War veterans and their family members are expected to march in St. Louis on Saturday in the nation's first major homecoming parade honoring U.S. soldiers who served in the war, a coalition of veteran groups, private citizens and local officials said.

Since the last troops left Iraq in December there have been scattered small events, including a speech by President Barack Obama at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, thanking veterans for their service, but no major parade of the style seen at the end of World War One and World War Two.

Organizers said the downtown St. Louis parade was being run by a non-profit veteran group and several residents disturbed by the lack of a major pomp-and-circumstance homecoming for troops. They raised nearly $30,000 by Friday for the event.

"We thought that if we can have a victory parade for the Cardinals World Series victory, we certainly should be able to have one for the vets of Iraq," said St. Louis attorney Tom Appelbaum, who helped get the plans underway a month ago.

"It seems silly that there was a national debate about it," he added.

Veterans from the Iraq or Afghanistan wars may march with their families in the parade, expected to feature 83 floats, the hometown Budweiser Clydesdales, high school marching bands and units from police and fire departments, organizers said.

The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 quickly toppled Saddam Hussein, but the country descended into sectarian violence and an occupation that dragged on for nearly nine years before the last U.S. forces pulled out in December.

For Obama, the military pullout fulfilled an election promise to bring troops home from a conflict inherited from his predecessor that evolved into the most unpopular U.S. war since Vietnam.

About 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq, and the occupation was marred by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and the killing of civilians by troops or private security contractors.

Thousands of Iraqi troops also died in the war as did thousands of Iraqi security forces in the chaotic years following the invasion, along with more than 100,000 civilians.

Parade organizers plan to begin the weekend with a ceremony starting at 9:11 p.m. on Friday at the Soldiers' Memorial near the Gateway Arch. There, the names of more than 6,000 American service men and women who died in the wars since the September 11, 2001, attacks will be read by volunteers through the night.

Supporters of the Iraq invasion cited in part a threat that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, but none were recovered, leading to increasing criticism of the war, which some thought also sapped focus from the hunt for those responsible for the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

"The fact that we have had no support from the government shows how out of touch it is with how the majority of us vets feel," said former Specialist James Casey, 29, a parade organizer from St. Louis who was part of the 2003 invasion.

"This had to be done through the grass roots. We have had tremendous support here from all generations," he added.

The parade was organized through a Facebook page that has received 1,500 "likes" and the veteran's organization, the Mission Continues.

"We want to show that the skills of the post-9/11 vets can be transferred back into the civilian world," Casey said. "We are not broken and we can still lead from the front."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay helped smooth the details for the parade.

"These vets did all of this for all of us and they have a lot to offer us at home," Slay said. "They know how to get things done."

Kuznetsova and Zvonareva win Australian Open doubles

Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Vera Zvonareva of Russia shake hands with Sara Errani of Italy and Roberta Vinci of Italy  after their women's doubles final match at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 27, 2012. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz
 Russians Svetlana Kuznetsova and Vera Zvonareva ground down the Italian pairing of Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani 5-7 6-4 6-3 to win the Australian Open women's doubles title on Friday.
The unseeded Russians captured the decisive break in the second game of the third set at Rod Laver Arena and survived five break points before closing out the match on the third match point.

The win secured the Fed Cup team mates their first grand slam doubles title in their first tour final, though each had won major doubles titles separately.

Kuznetsova won the 2005 Australian Open with Australian Alicia Molik, while Zvonareva won the 2006 U.S. Open with France's Nathalie Dechy

Facebook takes on 'clickjacking' spammers in court

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010.Facebook and the state of Washington sued a company on Thursday they accused of a practice called "clickjacking" that fools users of the world's top social network into visiting advertising sites, divulging personal information and spreading the scam to friends.

The scheme, also known as "likejacking" because victims are tricked into using Facebook's "Like" button to perpetuate it, has grossed $1.2 million a month for the Delaware-based firm, Adscend Media, according to the state attorney general's office.

Adscend profits from the scam by collecting money from its advertising clients for every Facebook user unwittingly misdirected to a target ad or subscription service, the plaintiffs said.

Two separate but similar claims filed in federal court by the state and Facebook accuse Adscend of violating federal and state statutes outlawing misleading or deceptive commercial electronic communications and unfair business practices.

The legal action is believed to mark the first time any state government has gone to court in a crackdown against spam spread by Facebook, the world's most widely used social media network, said Paula Selis, senior counsel for the attorney general.

She said schemes such as clickjacking have grown steadily more pervasive, and that millions of Facebook users have probably been exposed to Adscend's spam.

"Security is an arms race," Ted Ullyot, Facebook's general counsel, told a news conference at the California-based company's Seattle office to announce the lawsuits. "It's important to stay a step ahead against spammers and scammers."

Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican running for governor, said Washington state was taking action because "we've brought other cases like this and, more than any other state, we've developed technological and legal expertise" in the field of cyber fraud.

Representatives of Adscend or two co-owners also named as defendants could not immediately be reached for comment.


As described in the lawsuits, the scam works as follows:

Facebook pages designed as "bait" are disseminated to social network users as posts that seemingly originate from friends, offering visitors an opportunity to view salacious or provocative content.

However, that viewing is contingent on completing a series of steps that will supposedly unlock the content but are actually designed to lure Facebook users onto other sites, where they are tricked into giving away personal information or signing up for expensive mobile subscription services.

First the victims are encouraged to click the "Like" button on the Facebook "bait" page, which then alerts their friends to the page's existence, thus helping propagate it. Then they are told they cannot reach the content without filling out a form for an online survey or advertising offer.

In one example cited, the "Like" button is overlayed with a link labeled: "This man took a picture of his face every day for 8 years!" The promised content often does not exist, and the user instead is directed through a series of prompts taking them off Facebook and to a string of ads and subscription offers.

In some cases, a hidden code embedded in an enticing link on the "bait" page activates the "Like" button without the user even clicking it, sending it to friends' news feeds.

Selis said it may seem unlikely that anyone would click on such links, "but unfortunately they do."

While the number of Facebook users actually scammed by clickjacking is not known, Selis said investigators have determined that some 280,000 users visited the locked content pages of Adscend during February 2011 alone.

"So we know there are probably millions of Facebook users" exposed to the deception, she said.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the Adscend action was the latest in "our pursuit and support for civil and criminal consequences for spammers or others who attempt to harm Facebook or the people who use our service."

He cited three federal court judgments worth several hundred million dollars each obtained by Facebook against spammers since 2008

Texas executes man caught years after crime by DNA

Rodrigo Hernandez in an undated photo. REUTERS/Texas Department of Criminal JusticeTexas executed a convicted murderer by lethal injection on Thursday, administering the ultimate punishment to a man who had been paroled for an assault in Michigan when his DNA linked him to a years-old murder in San Antonio.

Rodrigo Hernandez, 38, was convicted of sexually assaulting and strangling Susan Verstegen in 1994, leaving her body in a San Antonio trash can.

The execution, which a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said was carried out at a prison in Huntsville, was the second in the United States this year after Oklahoma executed Gary Welch on January 5 for stabbing a man to death during a drug dispute.

Among Hernandez's final statements, he said: "I want to tell everybody that I love everybody. Keep your heads up," according to the Department of Criminal Justice spokesman. "We are all family, people of God almighty."

Shortly before lapsing into unconsciousness, he said: "This stuff stings, man," according to Jason Clark, the department spokesman.

Hernandez's victim was a 38-year-old Frito-Lay worker who was stocking snacks at a grocery store when she was attacked in 1994, according to the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Hernandez's DNA wasn't matched to the crime until 2002, when Michigan officials took a sample from him as he was paroled for a separate crime and put it into a national database.

Hernandez was the first person executed this year in Texas, which executed 13 people in 2011 and has put to death more than four times as many people as any other state since the United States reinstated capital punishment in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Hernandez told the San Antonio Express-News in an interview published this month he didn't kill Verstegen and will "take that to the grave."

But Verstegen's mother, Anna Verstegen of San Antonio, said this week she hoped Hernandez would, before he died, feel sorry for what he did to her daughter, who left behind a 15-year-old son.

"It's never too late," she told Reuters. "We're just praying for him. The kind of God I believe in can forgive."

In 2010, Michigan investigators said DNA evidence linked Hernandez to the 1991 murder of Muriel Stoepker, 77, of Grand Rapids, but that he would not be tried because he was already on death row in Texas.

An execution that had been scheduled in Texas for next week was stayed on Wednesday by the Supreme Court. The convict granted the reprieve, Donald Newbury, was to be executed for his role in the 2000 murder of an Irving, Texas, police officer.

Newbury, part of a group known as the "Texas Seven," escaped from prison and robbed a sporting goods store at gunpoint. The officer, Aubrey Hawkins, was killed outside the store as the group left the scene.

Newbury was granted the stay after his attorneys raised concerns about the effectiveness of his lawyers during post-conviction proceedings.

Nationwide, the number of executions fell for the second year in a row in 2011, with 43 inmates put to death compared with 46 in 2010 and 52 in 2009, Death Penalty Information Center figures show. In 1999, a record 98 prisoners were executed.

Police arrest Utah students accused of school bomb plot

Police in Utah have arrested two high school students accused of making detailed plans to bomb a school assembly and then escape in a plane they planned to fly themselves, police said on Thursday.

The duo, 18-year-old Dallin Morgan and 16-year-old Joshua Hoggan, were arrested on Wednesday after being pulled out of classes at their high school in the city of Roy, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, Roy Police spokeswoman Anna Bond said.

"Initial investigative discovery has uncovered a plan to use explosives during a high school assembly," Bond said in a statement.

"Maps of the school and information about security systems had been prepared with plans for an escape using a plane from the Ogden Hinckley Airport," she added. "Self-taught usage of technical flight simulation programs were used in the planning and preparation."

The students were both booked on suspicion of conspiracy. Morgan was being held in the Weber County Jail while Hoggan was at a juvenile facility, police said.

No explosives were found at the school during the investigation, which was prompted by a tip from a student.

"It was really the work of a heroic student coming forward with a tiny piece of information that she took to the school, and the school contacted police," Bond said.

It was not clear when the attack on the school assembly was scheduled to occur. The school was in session on Thursday. The FBI will assist in a forensic analysis of the computers used by the students, police said.

Psychedelic mushroom trips point to new depression drugs

Boxes containing magic mushrooms are displayed at a coffee and smart shop in Rotterdam November 28, 2008.  REUTERS/Jerry Lampen (NETHERLANDS) The brains of people tripping on magic mushrooms have given the best picture yet of how psychedelic drugs work and British scientists say the findings suggest such drugs could be used to treat depression.
Two separate studies into the effects of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, showed that contrary to scientists' expectations, it does not increase but rather suppresses activity in areas of the brain that are also dampened with other anti-depressant treatments.

"Psychedelics are thought of as 'mind-expanding' drugs so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity," said David Nutt of Imperial College London, who gave a briefing about the studies on Monday. "But, surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas."
These so-called "hub" regions of the brain are known to play a role in constraining our experience of the world and keeping it orderly, he said.
"We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange."
In the first study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal, 30 volunteers had psilocybin infused into their blood while they were inside magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, which measure changes in brain activity.
It found activity decreased in "hub" regions and many volunteers described a feeling of the cogs being loosened and their sense of self being altered.
The second study, due to be published in the British Journal of Psychiatry on Thursday, involved 10 volunteers and found that psilocybin enhanced their recollections of personal memories.
Robin Carhart Harris from Imperial's department of medicine, who worked on both studies, said the results suggest psilocybin could be useful as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
Nutt cautioned that the new research was very preliminary and involved only small numbers of people.
"We're not saying go out there and eat magic mushrooms," he said. "But...this drug has such a fundamental impact on the brain that it's got to be meaningful -- it's got to be telling us something about how the brain works. So we should be studying it and optimizing it if there's a therapeutic benefit."
The key areas of the brain identified -- one called the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and another called the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) -- are the subject of debate among neuroscientists, but the PCC is thought by many to have a role in consciousness and self-identity.
The mPFC is known to be hyperactive in depression, and the researchers pointed out that other key treatments for depression including medicines like Prozac, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and deep brain stimulation, also appear to suppress mPFC activity.
Psilocybin's dampening action on this area may make it a useful and potentially long-acting antidepressant, Carhart-Harris said.
The studies also showed that psilocybin reduced blood flow in the hypothalamus - a part of the brain where people who suffer from a condition known as cluster headaches often have increased blood flow. This could explain why some cluster headache sufferers have said their symptoms improved after taking the psychedelic drug, the researcher said.
The studies, which are among only a handful conducted into psychedelic substances since the 1960s and 1970s, revive a promising field of study into mind-altering drugs which some experts say can offer powerful and sustained mood improvement and relief from anxiety.
Other experts echoed Nott's caution: "These findings are very interesting from the research viewpoint, but a great deal more work would be needed before most psychiatrists would think that psilocybin was a safe, effective and acceptable adjunct to psychotherapy," said Nick Craddock, a psychiatry professor from Cardiff University.
Kevin Healy, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists' faculty of medical psychotherapy said it was interesting research "but we are clearly nowhere near seeing psilocybin used regularly and widely in psychotherapy practice."

U.S. experts urge more study of nanotechnology threat

Studying the potential health hazards of nanotechnology will require an additional $24 million a year to close the knowledge gap about the tiny particles used in a fast-growing array of consumer products, the National Research Council said on Wednesday.

A new federal oversight agency is also required to integrate research by private business, universities and international groups, the non-profit research council said in a study sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Nanotechnology involves designing and manufacturing materials on the scale of one-billionth of a meter. It is used in areas ranging from stain-resistanth cloting and cosmetics to food additives.

The sector's product sales were about $225 billion in 2009 and it is expected to expand rapidly in the next decade, said the study by the research council, a unit of the National Academy of Sciences.

"Despite the promise of nanotechnology, without strategic research into emergent risks associated with it -- and a clear understanding of how to manage and avoid potential risks -- the future of safe and sustainable nanotechnology-based materials, products, and processes is uncertain," said the study by a committee of 19 scientists.

There is insufficient understanding about the environmental, health and safety effects of engineered nanotechnology materials (ENMs). Little progress has been made on the health effects of ENMs that have been swallowed, inhaled or absorbed by humans, it said.

There also has been little research on potential damage from more-complex ENMs that are expected to come into the market in the next decade.

The federal Centers for Disease Control says there are indications "that nanoparticles can penetrate the skin or move from the respiratory system to other organs."

"At this time, the limited evidence available suggests caution when potential exposures to nanoparticles may occur," the CDC says on its website.


Half of nanomaterials are made from ceramic nanoparticles, with another 20 percent each from carbon nanotubes and nanoporous materials, the report said.

The complexity of ENMs and their coatings make them challenging to assess as risks. For example, a nanomaterial can change its surface properties depending on where it is, such as in lung fluid or air, the study said.

The federal government has set aside $123.5 million in its 2012 budget for ENM safety research, and that level should remain stable for about five years, the report said.

Public, private and international groups should designate another $5 million a year for collecting and disseminating information on ENM, and $10 million for instrumentation, it said.

Investment in developing and providing benchmark nanomaterials should be from $3 million to $5 million a year. Identifying nanomaterials sources and developing research networks each need $2 million a year.

All the new spending should be kept in place for five years, the report recommended.

The panel called for replacing the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which coordinates federal agencies' investments in sector research and development, with a body that has the authority to direct federal safety research.

The new body also should ensure that federal research is meshed with that from private business, universities and international organizations, it said.

U.S. commandos free two hostages in daring Somalia raid

American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen in a combination image. REUTERS/Danish Demining GroupElite U.S. Navy SEALs swooped into Somalia on Wednesday and rescued two hostage aid workers after killing their nine kidnappers, a rare and daring raid in the Horn of Africa nation to free foreign captives.

American Jessica Buchanan, 32, and Poul Hagen Thisted, 60, of Denmark, humanitarian aid workers for a Danish demining group, were rescued three months after they were kidnapped on October 25 in the town of Galkayo in the semi-autonomous Galmudug region of the Horn of Africa country.

The SEALs came from the same elite Navy unit -- SEAL Team Six -- that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan last year, U.S. officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The mission also involved other U.S. forces providing airlift for the SEALs to and from the raid.

"The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people and will spare no effort to secure the safety of our citizens and to bring their captors to justice," President Barack Obama said in a statement.

The SEALs parachuted into a location near the town of Gadaado in central Somalia and then hiked to the encampment where the two hostages were being held by their nine abductors, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity.

It was not clear that any of the same SEALs were involved in both the Somalia and bin Laden raids even if they came from SEAL Team Six.

The raiding party arrived prepared to detain the kidnappers but was not able to do that and all nine were killed, Pentagon officials said. The kidnappers were heavily armed and had explosives nearby, they said. None of the U.S. forces was hurt.

Obama authorized the raid on Monday and military commanders gave the final go-ahead on Tuesday, Pentagon officials said.

They said a confluence of factors, from the health of the hostages to the available intelligence and operational conditions, gave Obama a window of opportunity to act and prompted Washington to move ahead with the raid.

Buchanan was suffering from a possible kidney infection, according to people involved with the hostages. New evidence obtained last week suggested her health was deteriorating, said Pentagon officials, who would not elaborate on her condition.

"We're confident that there was enough of a sense of urgency, there was enough actionable intelligence to take the action that we did, for the president to make the decision that he did," said Navy Captain John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman.

Buchanan and Thisted were flown to neighboring Djibouti, home to the only U.S. military base in Africa and France's largest base on the continent, a U.S. official said on condition of anonymity. They were under the care of U.S. military doctors, officials said.


Obama was overheard congratulating Panetta on the success of the operation as the president entered the U.S. House of Representatives chamber on Tuesday for his annual State of the Union speech.

Panetta had been at the White House before the speech and had been monitoring the progress of the operation. The raid was still being wrapped up when the president spoke to him.

"Leon. Good job tonight. Good job tonight," Obama said.

The Pentagon said there were no known links between the kidnappers and Islamist militant groups in the region. Kirby said the U.S. military had no evidence to connect them to piracy.

But Obama called them "criminals and pirates" in his statement, as did local officials.

"About 12 U.S. helicopters are now at Galkayo. We thank the United States. Pirates have spoilt the whole region's peace and ethics. They are mafia," Mohamed Ahmed Alim, leader of the Galmudug region, told Reuters.

He was speaking from Hobyo, a pirate base north of Haradheere, where he said he was negotiating the release of an American journalist seized on Saturday, also from Galkayo.

Somali pirate gangs typically seize ships in the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden and hold the crews until they receive a ransom. The kidnapping of the aid workers in Galkayo would be an unusual case of a pirate gang being behind a seizure on land.

U.S. and French forces have intervened to rescue pirate hostages at sea, but attacks on pirate bases are rare.

Pirates and local elders say the American journalist and a number of sailors from India, South Korea, the Philippines and Denmark are being held by pirate gangs.

A British tourist kidnapped from Kenya on September 11, 2011, is also still held captive in Somalia.

Somalia's government applauded the mission and said it welcomed any operation against pirates.

U.S. special forces killed senior al Qaeda militant Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan in a raid in southern Somalia in 2009. Several other al Qaeda or al Shabaab officials have been killed in U.S. drone strikes in Somalia over the past few years.

In an excerpt of a CBS "60 Minutes interview released on Wednesday, Panetta said al Qaeda "is still a threat" that the United States would pursue around the world, including Africa.

"We're confronting the nodes of al Qaeda in Yemen, in Somalia, in North Africa," Panetta said.

Panetta visited U.S. troops in Djibouti last month on his way to Afghanistan and Iraq, in a stopover that reflected Obama's growing focus on the militant and piracy threats from Yemen and the eastern edge of Africa.

In Djibouti, the United States has a platform to monitor al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen and Somalia's al Shabaab, a hard-line rebel group with links to al Qaeda.

Manufacturers top Street's profit forecasts

Three major U.S. manufacturers reported better-than-expected profit and stuck to their forecasts of earnings growth this year, with solid emerging market demand and a modest U.S. recovery offsetting weakness in Europe.

Both United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N) slightly missed Wall Street's revenue forecasts, with their earnings growth reflecting their focus on cost controls.

Textron Inc (TXT.N) reported results that easily topped analysts' results and forecast 11 percent revenue growth for 2012, driven by strong growth forecasts at its Cessna corporate jet and Bell helicopter units.

Its shares surged as much as 16 percent to their highest level since July.

United Tech, the world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, beat analysts' earnings forecasts by a penny even as revenue grew just 0.6 percent to $14.97 billion, $100 million short of forecasts , according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The shortfall reflected slowing Chinese elevator orders and a sharper-than-expected decline in demand in North America for air conditioning equipment, Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes said in an interview.

"Overall, it was a very slow-growth fourth quarter," Hayes said.

United Tech reiterated the 2012 profit target it had issued in December, which calls for profit to rise 6 percent to 9 percent excluding the costs of its largest-ever acquisition, a $16.5 billion pending takeover of aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp (GR.N).

Rockwell, a maker of factory automation systems whose fiscal year ends in September, reiterated its forecast of 5 percent to 13 percent profit growth this year.

The shaky global economy -- and particularly Europe's debt crisis -- is taking a toll on big industrial companies' results. Germany's Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE) posted a sharper-than-expected drop in operating profit on Tuesday, and CEO Peter Loescher warned investors that he expected a tough year.

Likewise, General Electric Co (GE.N) on Friday reported a revenue decline that was sharper than Wall Street expected.


Textron reported a 7-cent-per-share net loss in the quarter after taking a number of charges, including 41 cents per share to write down the value of its golf mortgage portfolio.

That was a legacy of the company's prior efforts to diversify its finance arm into businesses other than providing loans to buyers of Textron-made jets, helicopters and other equipment.

The company now accounts for its golf mortgages as a property it plans to sell, rather than to continue to operate.

"There's not a lot of liquidity going back into the golf mortgage portfolio area," Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said. "Now we're in a position where we can go out and start to market those assets. I don't think it's going to be one big transaction, I don't think it's going to happen in six months . I still think this is more like a two-year time horizon kind of deal."

Factoring out those charges, the maker of Cessna aircraft and Bell helicopters posted a profit of 49 cents per share, topping analysts' expectation of 34 cents. Revenue came to $3.25 billion, modestly above forecasts.

The company set an initial 2012 target of profit from continuing operations of $1.80 to $2.00 per share, up from $1.31 in 2011. It said revenue would rise about 11 percent to $12.5 billion, helped by strong growth at Cessna and Bell.

Textron shares were up $2.99 to $24.60.

"Although the guidance came in ahead of our estimate ... the operating performance was pretty much in line with our forecasts," wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard, in a note to clients.

Rockwell reported a 22.1 percent rise in first-quarter profit to $183.3 million, or $1.27 per share, compared with $150.1 million, or $1.04 per share a year earlier. Analysts had expected $1.21 per share.


Emerson Electric Co (EMR.N) and TE Connectivity Ltd (TEL.N) reminded investors about Europe's economic weakness.

Emerson posted a slight improvement in trailing three-month orders, blaming Europe for lower orders in the company's network power business, which makes uninterruptible power systems and other products. Orders fell in the climate segment, reflecting weak global air conditioning markets.

Emerson, however, noted strong investment by oil and gas producers and said U.S. commercial construction was improving.

TE Connectivity, the company formerly called Tyco Electronics, said industrial markets were weak in Europe and Japan, as it reported disappointing profit and lowered full-year sales and profit forecasts. Its shares fell 12 percent to $31.50, erasing its gains for the month.

United Tech shares eased 2 percent to $76.15 and Rockwell slid 3.3 percent to $79.08 on the New York Stock Exchange.