Brazilian kin still plan fight for boy

The Brazilian family of Sean Goldman, the 9-year-old boy returned by court order to his father in New Jersey, said yesterday that it would fight to regain custody.

Lawyers for the family said they would push forward with a request from his Brazilian maternal grandmother, Silvana Bianchi, to let the boy make his own wishes known in court. The request was initially denied, but Brazil's Supreme Court has not issued a final ruling on that matter. It does not convene until February.

Last week, a Supreme Court judge ordered Sean returned to his father, David Goldman, of Tinton Falls. The two have since returned to the United States.

Yesterday, attorneys for the Brazilian family of Goldman's deceased ex-wife said they were only obeying the judge's order in returning the boy, not stopping their legal fight.

At a news conference yesterday in New Jersay, Goldman and his attorney Patricia Apy said they did not know exactly what sort of claim the Brazilian family would make. Goldman also said his son arrived in New Jersey on Monday and was eager to play outside, even in the cold New Jersey wind. - AP

Drums probed in N.H. anthrax case

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire officials are trying to determine whether a drum-circle gathering is the source of what they say may be the nation's first known case of gastrointestinal anthrax.

Dr. Elizabeth Talbot, an adviser to the state's public health division, says one theory is that anthrax spores became airborne through vigorous drum-playing, and that the woman who fell ill swallowed them.

Officials have shut down the United Campus Ministry center in Durham, where spores have been found on two drums and an electrical outlet. Vaccines and antibiotics will be available to people who attended the event last month or who live or work in the building, they said yesterday. - AP

San Francisco's sea lions vanish

SAN FRANCISCO - More than 1,000 sea lions that used to hang out on fabled Pier 39 in San Francisco Bay - to the delight of tourists - are now mostly gone, and experts think they left in search of food.

Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, said more than 1,700 sea lions were on the pier in October, a record. But by Thanksgiving, they had largely disappeared, and only about a dozen remain.

That so many sea lions stayed for so long was even stranger than their disappearance, Boehm said. He guessed they probably stuck around to eat their favorite foods such as anchovies and sardines and left to follow the food source. He said he expected they would be back by the spring. - AP

Elsewhere:

A survivor of the 2000 USS Cole suicide bombing in Yemen was found dead in his bed last Wednesday at his home near Miami. A cause of death for Navy Petty Officer Third Class Johann Gokool, 31, has not been determined. His sister Natala Gokool said he had severe post-traumatic stress disorder and frequent, violent panic attacks. He also lost a foot when al-Qaeda terrorists bombed the ship, killing 17 U.S. sailors.