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News Wrap: Supreme Court Considers Giant Cross in Mojave Desert

October 7, 2009 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news, the Supreme Court took up the separation of church and state in a case involving public lands in California, and two Americans and an Israeli received the Nobel Prize in chemistry.
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JIM LEHRER: In other news today, the separation of church and state was back before the U.S. Supreme Court in the form of a giant cross in California. The arguments involved the monument’s presence as a war memorial on public land. The justices appeared divided over letting the cross remain if the site is transferred to private owners.

The 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded today to two Americans and an Israeli. In 2000, they detailed the machinery in living cells that makes proteins. Their findings are being used to create new antibiotics. One of the Americans, now working in England, had this reaction.

VENKATRAMAN RAMAKRISHNAN, Nobel laureate: It’s gratifying in a way to have one’s work vindicated by what is, after all, the most prestigious award in science. On the other hand, it’s important to remember that that’s not why we went into science. We went into science out of curiosity, to tackle important problems, and the hope is, you know, that that remains the case.

JIM LEHRER: The other American winner, Thomas Stytz, works at Yale.

The U.S. federal budget deficit more than tripled in the fiscal year that ended last week. The Congressional Budget Office reported today the red ink totaled a record $1.4 trillion. It was due to a drop in tax revenues, the financial rescue programs, and economic stimulus spending.

On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 5 points to close at 9,725. The Nasdaq rose 6 points to close at 2,110.