VIDEO: Today's Headline News from Associated Press
PA. GIRL WHO TOOK ON DONOR RULES GETS ADULT LUNGS
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A 10-year-old girl whose efforts to qualify for an organ donation drew public debate over how organs are allocated was getting a double-lung transplant Wednesday after a match with an adult donor was made.
Sarah Murnaghan, who suffers from severe cystic fibrosis, was receiving her new lungs Wednesday at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, family spokeswoman Maureen Garrity said. Murnaghan's relatives were "beyond excited" about the development but were "keeping in mind that someone had to lose a family member and they're very aware of that and very appreciative," Garrity said.
No other details about the donor are known, including whether they came through the regular donor system or through public appeals.
Murnaghan's health was deteriorating when a judge intervened last week, giving her a chance at the much larger list of organs from adult donors.
"Some people would look at this and say it's evidence that if you get a PR campaign, a congressman and federal judge to pay attention, you're going to have far greater access to a transplant, but I don't think that's true," said ethicist Arthur Caplan of the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York of the Murnaghans' public stance.
The Newtown Square, Pa., family received word about the donor lungs Tuesday night, Garrity said. The surgery began just after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday and was expected to take at least six hours, she said.
FACEBOOK INTRODUCES HASHTAGS
NEW YORK (AP) -- Facebook is introducing hashtags, the number signs used on Twitter, Instagram and other services to identify topics being discussed and allow users to search for them.
Facebook Inc. said in a blog post Wednesday that users will be able to click a hashtag to see a feed of discussions about a particular topic. For example, typing a number sign in front of "ladygaga" or "sunset" will turn the words into a link that users can click on to find posts about Lady Gaga or sunsets.
Facebook said hashtags are a first step toward making it easier for users to find out what others are discussing. The company is not giving exact details about other tools it might introduce. If Twitter's use of hashtags is any indication, Facebook will likely incorporate them into its advertising business.
"We'll continue to roll out more features in the coming weeks and months, including trending hashtags and deeper insights, that help people discover more of the world's conversations," wrote Greg Lindley, product manager for hashtags, in the post.
The hashtags will conform to users' privacy settings - so putting a hashtag in a post that's only visible to your friends won't make it show up for anyone other than your friends.
Facebook said it will make the clickable hashtags available to users in the coming weeks, beginning on Wednesday. Though hashtags haven't worked on Facebook until now, many people were using them anyway, having grown accustomed to them on Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere.
Using hashtags will help users gain a larger view of what others are talking about, Lindley said.
BIG STORM THREAT BREWING FROM IOWA TO MID-ATLANTIC
CHICAGO (AP) -- An unusually massive line of storms packing hail, lightning and tree-toppling winds Wednesday could affect more than one in five Americans as it rolls from Iowa to Maryland.
Meteorologists were even warning about the possibility of a weather event called a derecho (duh-RAY'-choh), which is a storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles. The storms are also likely to generate tornadoes and cause power outages that will be followed by oppressive heat, said Russell Schneider, director of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.
"We're becoming increasingly concerned that a major severe weather event will unfold," Schneider said. "The main thing is for folks to monitor conditions and have a plan for what to do if threatening weather approaches."
For the first time this year, the center was using its highest alert level for parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The storms will start in late afternoon in eastern Iowa, Schneider said, and could hit Chicago around rush hour. Wednesday night's White Sox game against the Toronto Blue Jays was postponed in anticipation of bad weather.
All told, the area the weather service considers to be under heightened risk of dangerous weather includes 74.7 million people in 19 states.
For Washington, Philadelphia and parts of the Mid-Atlantic the big storm risk continues and even increases a bit Thursday, according to the weather service.
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