Showing posts from October 24, 2010

Our View: Vote yes, four times on constitutional admendments | Editorial | Idaho Statesman

I daho’s publicly owned airports, community hospitals and city-run electric utilities need the flexibility to serve their customers and adapt to fluid markets. On Tuesday, voters should grant that flexibility. They should vote yes on three complicated but important constitutional amendments to allow these public entities to finance projects and purchases without voter approval. The amendments appear a la carte on the ballot: House Joint Resolution 4 covers hospitals’ ability to go into debt on equipment or property; HJR 5 covers airport projects, such as runways, hangars or terminals; HJR 7 would allow utilities to complete capital projects or sign long-term contracts to purchase power. Still, there are some unifying threads: Æ The amendments would not grant public entities a blank check to commit property tax dollars to long-term debt, which now requires a two-thirds voter supermajority. These debts would be financed strictly by consumers: by patient bills, by air travel

Dia de los Muertos: Dancing with the dead | Religion | Idaho Statesman

When the soul of Idaho’s legendary mule packer Jesus Urquides comes back to Boise for a visit this year, he’ll find a warm welcome at the Idaho Historical Museum. The museum and the Mexican Consulate have teamed up for Day of the Dead festivities, which showcase altars by about a dozen Idaho artists throughout the museum. One will be devoted to Urquides. Part of the consulate’s mission is to foster cultural exchanges between Mexico and the United States, said spokesman Sebastian Galvan Duque. A blend of pre-Columbian and Catholic beliefs, Day of the Dead celebrates the return of souls to the Earth for a day to be with their families. “It’s so different from the American Halloween,” said Kurt Zwolfer, education specialist at the Idaho Historical Museum. “It’s about family memory, and that’s what this building is about.” Urquides’ altar will be at his saddle in the middle of the Idaho history exhibit, where he belongs, said Ana Maria Schachtell, who is preparing it. “For the Lat

FDA rejects second diet drug in a week - Health - Diet and nutrition

WASHINGTON — Federal health regulators have decided not to approve an experimental diet pill called Qnexa, which had been touted by many experts as the most promising weight-loss drug in more than a decade. The drug's maker, Vivus Inc., said in a statement Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration declined to approve the drug in its present form. The agency asked for more study results and additional information on its possible health risks, including major cardiovascular events and risks for women of childbearing potential. The FDA did not ask for any new clinical studies, but more may be required if the agency's concerns aren't addressed, Vivus said. Related content Obese teens may lack brain size, not willpower Eat whole grains to bust belly fat Obesity care may cost twice previous estimates Illegal drugs in many herbal weight-loss supplements

BBC News - US Midwest battered by 56 tornadoes in two days

Advertisement US storm tornado caught on CCTV in Indiana Residents of US states from North Dakota to North Carolina are cleaning up after a fierce storm unleashed driving rain, blustery winds, heavy snow and 56 tornadoes in just two days. The National Weather Service said the storm had caused the second-largest October tornado outbreak on record. Injuries from the storm have been reported in states across the US. Conditions in many states returned to normal on Thursday as the storm made its way north-east toward Ontario. Continue reading the main story Related stories Fierce storm strikes US Midwest Midwest slammed by severe storms But windy weather is still being felt in some regions in the Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. Snow and gusty winds struck North and South Dakota for a second day on Wednesday, leaving roads throughout the state covered

BBC News - BP oil disaster: Pre-spill tests 'showed cement flaw'

28 October 2010 Last updated at 16:45 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print BP oil disaster: Pre-spill tests 'showed cement flaw' The explosion killed 11 workers and ultimately caused millions of gallons of oil to leak into the Gulf The firms drilling a BP Gulf of Mexico oil well had tests showing cement used to seal it before it blew out was unstable, US investigators have found. The findings conflict with statements by US oil contractor Halliburton, which supplied the cement and has said tests showed it was stable. But a presidential panel on the disaster found that three tests prior to the blowout showed the opposite. The 20 April rig explosion killed 11 workers and caused a massive oil leak. Continue reading the main story US Oil Spill

BBC News - Despair in Sindh three months after Pakistan floods

28 October 2010 Last updated at 13:14 ET Help Aid agencies have warned that the crisis caused by extensive flooding in Pakistan three months ago is entering a new and critical phase. Orla Guerin travelled to the southern Province of Sindh, where she found flood victims desperate for aid and mourning the deaths of their young. via Just a reminder that help is needed long after events are often forgotten. Any little bit will help, and I'm sure any aid agency with which you're comfortable can tell you how to donate. Posted via email from Peace Jaway

BBC News - Freezing ovaries 'could boost fertility' in older women

28 October 2010 Last updated at 07:48 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print Freezing ovaries 'could boost fertility' in older women By Katia Moskvitch Science reporter, BBC News Many women choose to concentrate first on their career, leaving motherhood for later Young women should freeze parts of their ovaries if they want to postpone motherhood until later in life, a US fertility expert has said. Dr Sherman Silber told the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Denver a woman could freeze her ovary at 19 to use when she was 40. Dr Silber, who says the procedure would work better than egg freezing, did the first full ovary transplant in 2007. But UK experts warned ovary freezing had not been sufficiently tested. Continue reading the main story Related stories

BBC News - AstraZeneca profits hit by tougher competition

28 October 2010 Last updated at 05:48 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print AstraZeneca profits hit by tougher competition AstraZeneca lost out on sales because it did not have a swine flu vaccine A mixture of legal costs, competition from cheaper rivals, and the lack of swine flu drug sales have hit AstraZeneca's third-quarter profits. Underlying pre-tax profits, which Astra said better-reflect its performance, fell 10% to $3.1bn (£1.95bn). The firm has set aside $473m against claims that its anti-psychotic drug Seroquel has harmful side-effects. AstraZeneca, which faces competition from generic drugs in the US, had warned that trading would be tough. Revenues in the three months to end-September fell almost 4% to $7.9bn. The results were just below analysts' consensus expectations, and the company's shares were down 2% in mid-morning trading. Ho

BBC News - No terror arrests from stop and search, says government

28 October 2010 Last updated at 07:25 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print No terror arrests from stop and search, says government Police use of stop-and-search powers is controversial Not one person stopped and searched under anti-terrorism powers in Britain was arrested for terrorism-related offences last year, figures show. The Home Office statistics also showed no terror suspects had been held in custody before charge for longer than 14 days since 2007. In all, 101,248 people were stopped and searched in England, Wales and Scotland under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act. Of the 506 arrests that resulted, none was terrorism-related. Since July, police are not allowed to stop and search people unless they "reasonably suspect" them of being a terrorist. Of all the searches, four out of five were made in the Metropolitan Police area, with almost a fi

BBC News - MySpace overhauled in attempt to stem decline

Advertisement 27 October 2010 Last updated at 18:25 ET Help When News Corporation bought MySpace back in 2005 it had the young, fashion conscious audience that advertisers target, and the social networking site was growing fast. But five years on, News Corporation is trying to reverse a decline in visits and stem losses, that one analyst put at $350m last year. Juliana Liu reports. via Posted via email from Peace Jaway

BBC News - US not tracking spending on Afghan projects, audit says

28 October 2010 Last updated at 07:15 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print US not tracking spending on Afghan projects, audit says Billions have been spent on contractors in Afghanistan, but US records are poor The US government has spent about $55bn on rebuilding in Afghanistan since 2001 but cannot easily show how the money was spent, a government watchdog says. The special inspector general's office for Afghanistan reconstruction talked of a "confusing labyrinth" of spending. It said some 7,000 contractors received $17.7bn from 2007-09 but data prior to 2007 was too poor to be analysed. It is the first comprehensive audit of US spending in Afghanistan since US-led troops ousted the Taliban in 2001. Continue reading the main story Taliban Conflict

BBC News - More species slide to extinction

26 October 2010 Last updated at 18:28 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print More species slide to extinction By Richard Black Environment correspondent, BBC News Some 13% of birds qualify for inclusion on the Red List One fifth of animal and plant species are under the threat of extinction, a global conservation study has warned. Scientists who compiled the Red List of Threatened Species say the proportion of species facing wipeout is rising. But they say intensive conservation work has already pulled some species back from the brink of oblivion. The report is being launched at the UN Biodiversity Summit in Japan, where governments are discussing how to better protect the natural world. Continue reading the main story Biodivers

BBC News - Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims

27 October 2010 Last updated at 13:01 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print Dream recording device 'possible' researcher claims By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News The researchers have developed a way to record higher brain activity A US researcher has said he plans to electronically record and interpret dreams. Writing in the journal Nature , researchers said they have developed a system capable of recording higher-level brain activity. "We would like to read people's dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf. The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream. For centuries, people have been fascinated by dreams and what they might mean; in ancient Egypt for example, they were thought to be messages from the gods. More rece

BBC News - World Series may be blacked out for Cablevision viewers

27 October 2010 Last updated at 18:03 ET Share this page Facebook Share Email Print World Series may be blacked out for Cablevision viewers Cablevision's last-ditch offer to Fox to try to resolve the dispute before the World Series was turned down A dispute between US cable TV firm Cablevision and pay-TV outfit Fox may deprive Cablevision's customers of coverage of baseball's World Series. The firms disagree on how much New York-based Cablevision should pay to carry Fox, which owns the baseball final rights, on its cable network. With the World Series just hours away, Cablevision made a new offer to Fox. However Fox declined, calling the offer "incomplete". Fox has now been off-air to Cablevision viewers for 11 days. In its latest offer Cablevision, which has three million subscribers, said it was willing to pay the same rate as rival Time Warner Ca

Being Healthy at 100 Takes Some Homework — Jane E. Brody

Many changes take place in physical abilities as we age. Try as I may, I simply can’t swim as fast at 69 as I did at 39, 49 or even 59. Nor am I as steady on my feet. I can only assume my strength has waned as well — I’m finding bottles and jars harder to open and heavy packages harder to lift and carry. But in August, I hiked in the Grand Canyon, prompting my 10-year-old grandson Stefan to ask, “Grandma, how many 69-year-olds do you think could do this?” The answer, of course, is “a lot.” And the reason is that we work at it. For my part, I exercise daily, walking three miles or biking 10, then swimming three-quarters of a mile. In spring and summer, heavy-duty gardening strengthens my entire body. But now that my physically stronger spouse is gone, I see that I need to make some improvements. With no one handy to open those jars or lift those heavy objects, I’ve begun strength training so I can remain as independent as possible as long as possible. In

Can’t Keep a Bad Idea Down

I confess, I find it dispiriting to read the polls and see candidates, mostly Republicans, leading in various midterm races while promoting many of the very same ideas that got us into this mess. Am I hearing right? Let’s have more tax cuts, unlinked to any specific spending cuts and while we’re still fighting two wars — because that worked so well during the Bush years to make our economy strong and our deficit small. Let’s immediately cut government spending, instead of phasing cuts in gradually, while we’re still mired in a recession — because that worked so well in the Great Depression. Let’s roll back financial regulation — because we’ve learned from experience that Wall Street can police itself and average Americans will never have to bail it out. Let’s have no limits on corporate campaign spending so oil and coal companies can more easily and anonymously strip the Environmental Protection Agency of its powers to limit pollution in the air our kids breathe.

End the War on Pot

LOS ANGELES I dropped in on a marijuana shop here that proudly boasted that it sells “31 flavors.” It also offered a loyalty program. For every 10 purchases of pot — supposedly for medical uses — you get one free packet. “There are five of these shops within a three-block radius,” explained the proprietor, Edward J. Kim. He brimmed with pride at his inventory and sounded like any small businessman as he complained about onerous government regulation. Like, well, state and federal laws. But those burdensome regulations are already evaporating in California, where anyone who can fake a headache already can buy pot. Now there’s a significant chance that on Tuesday, California voters will choose to go further and broadly legalize marijuana. I hope so. Our nearly century-long experiment in banning marijuana has failed as abysmally as Prohibition did, and California may now be pioneering a saner approach. Sure, there are risks if California legalizes

The Juice Cleanse - A Strange and Green Journey

A MONTH ago I went on a juice cleanse. You know what it cleans out of you best? The will to live. This is not entirely fair, because I didn’t strictly play by the rules. But I was trying this increasingly popular purge after realizing there was perhaps room for improvement in my lifestyle choices. When did I know this for sure? Was it when I was at the Temple Bar one evening, having eaten nothing all day so I could enjoy my repast of three mojitos, five bowls of popcorn and six deviled eggs? Or was it the day I realized that I was about 20 pounds overweight as I rounded out my 40s? I had to start somewhere. Why not here? The idea of consuming only water or juice to rid the body of so-called toxins is not new. Virtually every major religion has some fasting and cleansing ritual that supposedly allows the body to heal, regenerate and, in a sense, apologize for being such a jerk. The Hebrew word for fasting, for example, is “tsum” — which means, roughly, “to afflic