Ex.-Sen Arlen Specter again being treated for cancer

Former senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is being treated again for cancer, his office confirmed Tuesday.

Specter, 82, was recently diagnosed with an unspecified form of cancer, according to several published reports that quoted sources and friends who said he was hospitalized Monday for a “serious illness” and “a big flare-up” of the new disease.

At his Philadelphia office Tuesday, spokeswoman Kathleen Harvey would say only that Specter was being treated for an unspecified form of cancer.

In a statement provided by Harvey, Specter said: “I’m battling cancer. It’s another battle I intend to win. I’m grateful for all the well-wishes I’ve received. I’m looking forward to getting back to work, to the comedy stage, to the squash court and to the ballpark.”

Specter previously has been treated for a brain tumor and twice for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in 2005 and 2008.

He served in the Senate from 1981 to 2011 and has since relaunched his legal career, written a memoir and made occasional appearances at Philadelphia comedy clubs to muse about his days in the Senate and share his observations on former president Bill Clinton, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and other political figures.

Before being elected to the Senate, he served two terms as Philadelphia district attorney.

In 2009, Specter switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. He lost in the 2010 Democratic primary to Joe Sestak, who in turn lost to Republican Pat Toomey.

FRESNO, Calif.

1,700 campers notified of rodent-borne virus deaths

About 1,700 people who stayed in tent cabins at Yosemite National Park this summer were warned Tuesday they may have been exposed to a deadly rodent-borne virus blamed for the deaths of two campers.

Four people who spent time in Signature Tent Cabins at Curry Village around the same time in June have contracted hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, an illness spread by rodent feces, urine and saliva.

One of the people who died was from outside California. The Centers for Disease Control confirmed the death within the past few days. Two other people were infected and expected to survive.

The disease can incubate for up to six weeks before flu-like symptoms develop. It’s fatal in 30 percent of all cases, and there is no specific treatment.

“This is certainly an issue and we’re getting word out,” said park spokesman Scott Gediman. “We’re very concerned about visitors and employees, but we feel we are taking proactive steps.


Woman in child-starving case goes from jail to convent

A woman who let two 8-year-old girls starve in a cellar and helped her pedophile husband carry out horrific abuse of other girls went from prison to a convent Tuesday, outraging Belgians who opposed the early release of one of the country’s most despised criminals.

The nation’s highest court approved Michelle Martin’s release after serving 16 years of a 30-year prison term for her role in the mid-1990s kidnappings, rapes and killings by her then-husband, Marc Dutroux.

Martin left prison in an unmarked vehicle late Tuesday for a Clarisse convent in Malonne, a 45-mile trip south of the capital, where her lawyer said she will seek atonement for her crimes. More than 100 people shouted insults at her as she arrived, some trying to break through police barriers.