Hot Docs: Covering Military Coffins and Trials, Settlement on Deceptive Drug Ads, and More

Today's selection of timely reports.

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Fallen Hero Commemoration Act: Since the 1991 Gulf War, the Department of Defense has banned the media from covering the return of the remains of U.S. soldiers killed overseas. The Pentagon has allowed only a few exceptions to this rule, and access has been even more restricted since 2003. The Fallen Hero Commemoration Act, recently introduced by Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), would reverse the ban, ensuring access for accredited members of the media. The bill, which cites the First Amendment principle of a free press as its basis, has been sent to the House Armed Services Committee for consideration.

Military court information difficult to access: It can be tough for reporters to access legal information, particularly when the trial venue is a military court. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press examined the rules surrounding military court-martial proceedings, finding access to records and schedules uneven. Local policies are often unclear, and rules inconsistently applied. The group recommends the establishment of a centralized docket that would provide basic data about military trial proceedings.

Makers of Airborne Settle FTC Charges of Deceptive Advertising: The makers of Airborne, a product that was heavily promoted as a cure for the common cold, have reached a $30 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC found no credible evidence that the treatment was effective in preventing illness. In response to a class action lawsuit, consumers who bought Airborne can file a claim for a refund through September 15.

Alternative Vaccine Strategy Shows Promise in Prostate Cancer Patients: The National Cancer Institute announced the results of a new study, which looks at an alternative approach to treating prostate cancer. Researchers administered constant, low doses of a prostate cancer vaccine to patients. Their findings suggest that the treatment may be effective in bolstering patients' immune responses, while causing fewer side effects for many.

Foreign Students in U.S. Academia: In the United States, foreign-born students are an increasing part of the population in academia, particularly in engineering and science disciplines. In 2005, more than 63 percent of engineering doctorates went to students from abroad. This report by the Congressional Research Service looks at the positive and negative impacts of such a shift in the U.S. academic population. These students often go on to fill needed jobs in the U.S. economy, but some worry that it could mean that American students often do not pursue these fields of study.