Milestones Feb. 27, 2006

CLEARED. MERCK, multinational drugmaker; of responsibility for the death of Richard Irvin, a Florida man who had a fatal heart attack after taking the company's painkiller Vioxx for less than a month; in a federal court in New Orleans. Merck faces more than 9,500 lawsuits over the drug, which it pulled in 2004. The victory was Merck's first in federal court, following a loss and a win in state-court trials last year.

DECLARED PRESIDENT. RENE PREVAL, 63, ex-leader of Haiti; by election officials, following allegations of ballot fraud after Préval's lead appeared to be dwindling as the vote count wore on;...

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