Russell discovered danger of X-rays for embryos

Liane Russell, a refugee of Nazi Europe, became one of the most distinguished female scientists of her era.

She built a colony of more than 200,000 laboratory mice that she used to demonstrate the importance of protecting developing embryos from X-rays and other forms of radiation.

In 1947, she and her husband, fellow scientist William Russell, joined what became the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Both had doctorates in zoology and specialized in genetics. Together they built the "Mouse House," as their colony of laboratory mice was known, with the goal of using mice to better understand the effect of radiation on living things and particularly mammals.

Russell's research showed that radiation, such as from X-rays, harms embryos, particularly in their early stages of development. Because of her work — as any female patient who has ever sat in a dentist's chair can attest — women of childbearing age are routinely asked if they are or might be pregnant before they are X-rayed.

Russell died July 20. She was 95.


Jawara was Gambia's first elected president

BANJUL, Gambia — Dawda Kairaba Jawara was known as the father of Gambia because he was the country's first democratically elected president.

The Gambian president's office called him a "champion of international peace, justice and humanity."

Jawara spearheaded the talks that led to Gambia's independence from Britain in 1965.

He served as prime minister while Queen Elizabeth II was head of state before he succeeded her in 1970 with his election as president.

Jawara remained in office until a 1994 coup. The soldiers who overthrew him were led by Yahya Jammeh, who also would lead Gambia for more than two decades.

Jawara went to the U.K. after the coup and returned to Gambia in 2002. Jawara died at the age of 95, the government announced Tuesday.- AP

Piech wielded power as Volkswagen patriarch

BERLIN — Ferdinand Piech was the longtime patriarch of Volkswagen AG and the key engineer of its takeover of Porsche.

Piech — a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, who founded the company that bears his name and designed the first version of VW's signature Beetle — was an auto industry mainstay for more than four decades.

He was credited with turning around Volkswagen in the 1990s, leading it back to profit during a nine-year stint as chief executive. He then became the company's supervisory board chief — a post in which he wielded unusual influence.

The industry power broker crowned his career with his starring role in a long drama in which luxury automaker Porsche first tried to take over Volkswagen, then had the tables turned on it by VW.

Piech died Aug. 25 at age 82.— AP

She created famous dress worn by Michelle Obama

NEW YORK — Isabel Toledo, a Cuban American fashion designer with an avant-garde flair, created former first lady Michelle Obama's standout lemon grass-colored sheath dress and matching overcoat for her husband's 2009 inauguration.

Though she presented her first collection in 1985, Toledo's work grabbed attention after Obama wore some of her looks at the inauguration, including the lemon grass shift dress in wool and lace. Obama had been a fan of Toledo before donning the famous outfit.

Demi Moore, Debi Mazar and Debra Messing are among celebrities who have worn Toledo's creations, both on screen and on red carpets.

Toledo met her collaborator and husband, the illustrator and painter Ruben Toledo, in high school. The Toledos won a Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award in 2005.

Toledo died at age 59, her studio said Monday.— AP

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