Tuesday, April 30, 2013

FDA to investigate Wrigley’s caffeinated gum and other foods with added caffeine

04/30/2013 6:17 PM

Alert Energy gum ad that ran in newspapers
Wrigley’s launched a caffeinated gum this week called Alert Energy, adding to the numerous foods and beverages now containing added caffeine for “energy”. The US Food and Drug Administration has finally decided to investigate whether all these new caffeinated foods are causing any health hazards.

The agency is “is taking a fresh look at the potential impact that the totality of new and easy sources of caffeine may have on the health of children and adolescents, and if necessary, will take appropriate action,” Michael Taylor, FDA deputy commissioner, said in a statement. “The only time that the FDA explicitly approved the added use of caffeine in a food was for cola and that was in the 1950s.”

Although Alert Energy wasn’t mentioned by name, the FDA cited caffeinated gum as the reason for its investigation.

It’s odd, in my opinion, the FDA decided to speak up only now. The agency declined to protest when caffeinated Cracker Jacks hit the market last November or when caffeine was added to jelly beans, Crystal light, beef jerky, or breakfast cereal.

But FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess emphasized to me that the agency isn’t singling out Wrigley’s; the agency is going to review any and all products with added caffeine, to see how consumers -- especially kids -- use them in the real world.

Several lawsuits were filed against the manufacturers of highly caffeinated energy drinks after several teens died after drinking them.

Each piece of Wrigley’s new gum has 40 milligrams of caffeine -- equivalent to the amount in one-half cup of coffee -- and there are eight pieces per blister-pack. The Wrigley website said the gum “is an energy product for adults who consume caffeine for energy.”

In a full-page ad in national newspapers, Wrigley offered a free pack of Alert Energy to anyone who purchased a Skinny Salted Caramel Mocha or other large hot -- and presumably caffeinated --beverage at their local 7-Eleven store. Wrigley did not respond to a request for comment on the FDA’s investigation.

Combining various caffeinated products is what most concerns the FDA, as well as physician groups such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has taken a strong position against caffeinated foods, beverages, and supplements. People can potentially overdose on caffeine if they’re already having several cups of coffee a day along with caffeinated energy drinks, gum, and candy.

Too much caffeine can lead to increased blood pressure, irregular heart beat, and anxiety; in rare cases, excess caffeine has been linked to strokes, heart attacks, and deaths. Children may be particularly vulnerable to caffeine’s effects, and the pediatrics group noted that high amounts have been “linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems.”
Task Force Recommends HIV Screening For All Adolescents And Adults
4/30/2013 9:22 AM ET 
Early detection of a disease goes a long way in providing timely treatment. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is now urging clinicians to screen adolescents and adults aged 15 to 65 years for HIV infection, irrespective of their risk of contracting the disease.

All pregnant women, including those in labor who are untested and whose HIV status is unknown, and people younger than 15 years and older than 65 years if they are at increased risk should also be screened, according to the new guidelines.

The HIV screening tests include the conventional serum test, rapid HIV tests, combination tests (for p24 antigen and HIV antibodies) and qualitative HIV-1 RNA qualitative assay.

The earlier recommendations laid out by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, or USPSTF, in 2005, required that clinicians screen for HIV only those adolescents and adults at increased risk for HIV infection, as well as all pregnant women.

The new recommendations of the task force are based on evidence which showed that initiating the treatment for HIV earlier reduces the risk for AIDS-related events or death substantially and lowers the risk of virus transmission from HIV-positive persons to uninfected heterosexual partners.
In concurrence with CDC's recommendations, the task force also advocates that HIV screening should be voluntary; patients should be informed orally or in writing that HIV testing will be performed unless they decline (opt-out screening), and before HIV testing, patients should receive an explanation of HIV infection and the meaning of positive and negative test results.

Owing to insufficient evidence to determine optimum time intervals for HIV screening, the task force has not recommended the screening intervals. However, the task force considers a 1-time screening of adolescent and adult patients to identify persons who are already HIV-positive, with repeated screening of those who are known to be at risk for HIV infections as a reasonable approach.
The recommendations are published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Monday, April 29, 2013

U.S. female sailor beats Dubai rapist bus driver into submission

An off-duty U.S. navy sailor wrestled a Dubai bus driver to the ground and beat him into submission after he tried to rape her at knifepoint on Jan. 19, a courtroom heard Wednesday.
The woman, 28, was on 24-hour shore leave in Dubai when she was attacked by a bus driver after he picked her up from the Mall of the Emirates shopping center.

“I noticed he did not take the main road and when I asked him he told me not to worry,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.
He then stopped where several other buses were parked and tried to kiss her. After she refused, he pulled out a knife and tried to rape her.
Prosecutors said that she knocked the knife from his hand, broke it in two, bit him in the hand, forced him to the ground and locked him between her thighs, the Daily Mail reports.
The man, known as K S, has been charged with attempted rape, threatening to kill, assault and consuming alcohol illegally, the Daily Mail reports.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/apr/25/us-female-sailor-beats-dubai-rapist-bus-driver-sub/#ixzz2Rr05EjGp
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

Friday, April 26, 2013

American tourists recoving after swimming for 14 hours when ship sinks in Caribbean

  • Caribbean US Shipwrec_Angu.jpg
    This Nov. 2009 photo courtesy of Dan Suski shows Kate Suski, right, and her brother Dan while on vacation in San Diego, Ca. The brother and sister are recovering in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia after their ship sank on April 21 during a fishing trip, forcing them to swim almost 14 hours to reach land, according to the siblings. (AP/Dan Suski)
The fishing trip off the rugged north coast of St. Lucia was supposed to last all day, but about four hours into the journey, the boat's electric system crackled and popped.
Dan Suski, a 30-year-old business owner and information technology expert from San Francisco, had been wrestling a 200-pound marlin in rough seas with help from his sister, Kate Suski, a 39-year-old architect from Seattle. It was around noon April 21.

He was still trying to reel in the fish when water rushed into the cabin and flooded the engine room, prompting the captain to radio for help as he yelled out their coordinates.

It would be nearly 14 hours and a long, long swim before what was supposed to be a highlight of their sunny vacation would come to an end.

As the waves pounded the boat they had chartered from the local company "Reel Irie," more water flooded in. The captain threw life preservers to the Suskis.

"He said, `Jump out! Jump out!"' Kate Suski recalled in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press.

The Suskis obeyed and jumped into the water with the captain and first mate. Less than five minutes later, the boat sank.

The group was at least eight miles from shore, and waves more than twice their size tossed them.

"The captain was telling us to stay together, and that help was on its way and that we needed to wait," Kate Suski said.

The group waited for about an hour, but no one came.

"I was saying, `Let's swim, let's swim. If they're coming, they will find us. We can't just stay here,"' she recalled.

As they began to swim, the Suskis lost sight of the captain and first mate amid the burgeoning swells. Soon after, they also lost sight of land amid the rain.

"We would just see swells and gray," Dan Suski said.

A plane and a helicopter appeared in the distance and hovered over the area, but no one spotted the siblings.

Several hours went by, and the sun began to set.

"There's this very real understanding that the situation is dire," Kate Suski said. "You come face-to-face with understanding your own mortality ... We both processed the possible ways we might die. Would we drown? Be eaten by a shark?"

"Hypothermia?" Dan Suski asked.

"Would our legs cramp up and make it impossible to swim?" the sister continued.

They swam for 12 to 14 hours, talking as they pushed and shivered their way through the ocean. Dan Suski tried to ignore images of the movie "Open Water" that kept popping into his head and its story of a scuba-diving couple left behind by their group and attacked by sharks. His sister said she also couldn't stop thinking about sharks.

"I thought I was going to vomit I was so scared," she said.

When they finally came within 30 feet of land, they realized they couldn't get out of the water.
"There were sheer cliffs coming into the ocean," she said. "We knew we would get crushed."

Dan Suski thought they should try to reach the rocks anyway, but his sister disagreed.
"We won't survive that," she told him.

They swam until they noticed a spit of sand nearby. When they got to land, they collapsed, barely able to walk. It was past midnight, and they didn't notice any homes in the area.

"Dan said the first priority was to stay warm," she recalled.

They hiked inland and lay side by side, pulling up grass and brush to cover themselves and stay warm. Kate Suski had only her bikini on, having shed her sundress to swim better. Dan Suski had gotten rid of his shorts, having recalled a saying when he was a kid that "the best-dressed corpses wear cotton."

They heard a stream nearby but decided to wait until daylight to determine whether the water was safe to drink.

As the sun came up, they began to hike through thick brush, picking up bitter mangoes along the way and stopping to eat green bananas.

"It was probably the best and worst banana I've ever had," Dan Suski recalled.

Some three hours later, they spotted a young farm worker walking with his white dog. He fed them crackers, gave them water and waited until police arrived, the Suskis said.

"We asked if he knew anything about the captain and mate," Kate Suski said. "He said he had seen the news the night before and they hadn't been found at that time. I think we felt a sense of tragedy that we weren't prepared for."

The Suskis were hospitalized and received IV fluids, with doctors concerned they couldn't draw blood from Kate Suski's arm because she was so dehydrated. They also learned that the captain and mate were rescued after spending nearly 23 hours in the water, noting that their relatives called and took care of them after the ordeal.

St. Lucia's tourism minister called it a miracle, and the island's maritime affairs unit is investigating exactly what caused the ship to sink. Marine Police Sgt. Finley Leonce said they have already interviewed the captain, and that police did not suspect foul play or any criminal activity in the sinking of the ship.

A man who answered the phone Thursday at the "Reel Irie" company declined to comment except to say that he's grateful everyone is safe. He said both the captain and first mate were standing next to him but that they weren't ready to talk about the incident.

The brother and sister said they don't blame anyone for the shipwreck.

"We are so grateful to be alive right now," Kate Suski said. "Nothing can sort of puncture that bubble."

Upon returning to their hotel in St. Lucia earlier this week, the Suskis were upgraded to a suite as they recover from cuts on their feet, severe tendonitis in their ankles from swimming and abrasions from the lifejackets.

"It's really been amazing," Dan Suski said. "It's a moving experience for me."

On Saturday, they plan to fly back to the U.S. to meet their father in Miami.

Once a night owl, Kate Suski no longer minds getting up early for flights, or for any other reason.
"Since this ordeal, I've been waking up at dawn every morning," she said. "I've never looked forward to the sunrise so much in my life."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/26/american-tourists-recoving-after-swimming-for-14-hours-when-ship-sinks-in/?intcmp=trending#ixzz2RZWDNJaQ

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 2013 Last updated at 20:17 ET
Woodstock icon Richie Havens dies at 72

Richie Havens was famous for his distinctive guitar and singing style

Richie Havens, the folk singer who opened the legendary 1969 Woodstock rock festival, has died of a heart attack at 72.

He died at his home in Jersey City, New Jersey, his agent, Roots Agency, told Reuters.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, the musician was famous for his distinctive guitar and singing style.

Recalling Woodstock, Havens once said: "Everything in my life, and so many others', is attached to that train.''

His improvised version of the gospel song Motherless Child evolved into Freedom at the festival and became an anthem of the 1960s hippy generation.

The Woodstock concert film captured his performance for posterity.
Richie Havens in Paris, 12 March 2008 Havens in 2008 in Paris

More recently, the soundtrack of Quentin Tarantino's award-winning slavery-era film Django Unchained featured Havens singing a version of Freedom.

Tributes to the singer have come in, with his contemporary and fellow singer Stephen Stills saying Havens "could never be replicated".

Havens underwent kidney surgery in 2010 and he never recovered enough to perform concerts as he had in his heyday.

He released more than 25 albums, and other songs he recorded include versions of Bob Dylan's Just Like a Woman and the Beatles' Here Comes the Sun.

In 1993, he performed at US President Bill Clinton's inauguration.

His family said a public memorial would be announced later and asked for privacy in the meantime.

Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humour and his powerful presence”
"Beyond his music, those who have met Havens will remember his gentle and compassionate nature, his light humour and his powerful presence," they said in a statement.

Roots Agency said Havens had been "gifted with one of the most recognisable voices in popular music".

"His fiery, poignant, soulful singing style has remained unique and ageless," it added.

Havens moved to Greenwich Village in New York City at the age of 20 to perform poetry, imbibe folk music and learn how to play the guitar.

Stills said he remembered hanging out with him in the Village.

"Richie Havens was one of the nicest, most generous and pure individuals I have ever met,'' he said in a statement.

Richie Havens on stage at Woodstock The celebrated performance by Havens at Woodstock

"When I was a young sprite in Greenwich Village, we used to have breakfast together at the diner on 6th Avenue next to The Waverly Theatre.
Turning point
"He was very wise in the ways of our calling. He always caught fire every time he played.''

Woodstock proved the turning point in Havens' career, thanks in part to the scheduling chaos at the festival that featured headliners such as Jimi Hendrix, The Who and Janis Joplin,

Havens, originally scheduled to go on fifth, got bumped up because of travel delays. His performance continued for three hours because the next act had not shown up.

Monday, April 22, 2013

New Jersey hoarder found dead, mummified inside own apartment

Two months after being reported missing, a New Milford woman was found dead in her trash-strewn apartment, her mummified body hidden beneath clothing and debris that had apparently concealed her presence during earlier searches, authorities said.

Alice Klee, 68, was found on her bedroom floor Friday by her landlord, who was there to open a window after getting court permission to clean out the apartment, said Police Chief Frank Papapietro.
"It was by chance that he caught her hair sticking out under the debris," Papapietro said Monday.

The medical examiner's office determined the woman died of natural causes, the chief said.

Family members, New Milford police and other agencies including animal control had searched Klee's apartment multiple times during the past two months, he said.

Papapietro, who had also visited the apartment the first time police went there, said so much debris was piled up, officers could not make their way fully inside.

"Clothes, garbage, trash, cat feces, cat urine, it was just horrendous," Papapietro said.

Klee lived alone in the cramped apartment with her cats. Animal control had to set up traps to find some of the cats among the debris, the chief said. One was found dead.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/04/18/new-jersey-hoarder-found-dead-mummified-in-own-apartment/?intcmp=obnetwork#ixzz2RCNW2YJJ
Arabs Brutally Attack American Jew In Venice

    New Year’s Day in the gondola-laden city of Venice brought with it a vicious attack of a young America Yeshiva student by 15 Arab youths.

The student was visiting his family for the holidays and nearly lost his life. The victim remains unnamed for fear of his family’s safety.

The attackers used various weapons and only fled once onlookers started to shout at them- yelling that police and paramedics were on the way.

It is believed that if the bystanders didn’t intervene, the student would either have permanent damage or would have lost his life. Many Jewish leaders are blaming the Italian politicians. Observatory researcher Stefano Gatti is quoted saying:

“Italian pundits and politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi, Beppe Grillo or Piergiorgio Odifreddi are now writing discriminatory posts and telling racist jokes. Making certain issues seem normal, even funny, is one of the root causes of the rise in anti-Semitic episodes in Italy.”

It is sad to see that such racial violence in still prominent in the world we live in today. This is only one of many recent attacks on the Jewish people. With all that is going on in Israel these days, it is unlikely that these acts of hate will stop.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A federal judge has ruled that the Unites States government must make the most common morning-after pill available over the counter for all ages, instead of requiring a prescription for girls 16 and under.
The decision, on a fraught and politically controversial subject, comes after a decade-long fight over who should have access to the pill and under what circumstances, and it counteracts an unprecedented move by the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services secretary who in 2011 overruled a recommendation by the Food and Drug Administration to make the pill available for all ages without a prescription.

Scott Brown not ruling out run for office in N.H.

Former senator notes ties to New Hampshire

Scott Brown watched a traditional drum ritual of the Pequot tribe Nashua, N.H., Thursday evening. (AP) Scott Brown watched a traditional drum ritual of the Pequot tribe Nashua, N.H., Thursday evening. (AP)
By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / April 4, 2013         
aying “I don’t think I’m done with politics,” former Senator Scott Brown stressed his ties to New Hampshire following a speech in Nashua on Thursday and refused to rule out a run for elective office in the Granite State.


Brown, speaking to reporters after delivering the keynote speech at a dinner to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death, noted that he owns a home in New Hampshire, has “been a taxpayer” there for 20 years, and has relatives who live in the state.
When asked directly if he would rule out a run for office in New Hampshire, Brown — who lost his reelection bid in Massachusetts in November to current Senator Elizabeth Warren — left his options open.
“I’m not going to rule out anything right now, because I really haven’t thought a heck of a lot about it,” said Brown. The Wrentham resident dashed the hopes of many of the Republican faithful in Massachusetts when he passed on the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Secretary of State John F. Kerry.
When a reporter said Thursday that “it would be Senator Shaheen’s seat” in New Hampshire, a reference to Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen— who is up for reelection next year — Brown repeated a mantra that inspired supporters during his upset victory in the 2010 special Senate election in the Bay State.
“It’s the people’s seat,” he said.
That line became a rallying cry in his stunning victory over Attorney General Martha Coakley to fill the Senate seat that was long held by the late Edward M. Kennedy and considered a lock to remain in Democratic hands that year.
But Brown stopped short of making any bold pronouncements in Nashua.
“Listen, I know Jeanne,” Brown said. “Certainly, it’s not something I’ve been spending any time really focusing on. I was asked to speak, I’ve been asked to speak at five or six other events coming up. I’m going to come and spend time here as I do every year. And I’m not sure what I'm going to do politically yet.
“I’m just recharging the batteries.”
A spokesman for Brown declined to comment on Thursday, and Brown did not return calls seeking comment.
Jennifer Horn, chair of the New Hampshire Republican Party, said in an e-mail that she had no information about Brown’s future plans.
“However, I would say that NH Republicans represent a broad spectrum of ideas and I am sure that if Sen.Brown chose to run here voters would listen to what he has to say and give him an honest chance,” Horn wrote.
But Clare Kelly, executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, was less sanguine.
“We suspect the voters in New Hampshire will reject a candidate that has a record of voting with Wall Street and against the middle class, just as they did in Massachusetts last November,” she said in a statement.
A spokesman for the Massachusetts GOP declined to comment.
Brown has remained largely out of public view since leaving office in January. He recently accepted a job at the Boston law firm of Nixon Peabody and is working as a Fox News contributor.
He rejected the notion on Thursday that his affiliation with the conservative network might hurt his standing with moderate voters.
“That’s why they hired me, it’s because I am a moderate,” Brown said. “They don’t have a moderate voice in the news media today on any station.”
He also touted his moderate voting record in Washington, calling himself “the least partisan senator” during his tenure who bucked the GOP leadership on nearly half of his votes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hollywood Actor Goes Full Libertarian On Mayor Bloomberg, Slams ‘Terrible’ Nanny Statism

Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons (“The Mission,” “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” “Brideshead Revisited”) on Wednesday savaged New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempts to coerce people into healthier lifestyles, comparing the mayor’s policies to a “nanny state.”
“I’m a complete libertarian. I think it’s very, very dangerous. I really mean that. I think the smoking ban is a tip of an iceberg of society — the leaders of society telling us how to be,” he said during an interview on HuppPost Live
“I think it’s not their business. I think it is their business to tell us to care for and respect each other and each other’s happiness and each other’s health, and we are responsible enough to do that,” he adds.
He continued:
I think it’s terrible, it’s the tip of the iceberg, because it’s an attitude, it’s an attitude where the governors think “we know what’s best for people, and they’re so stupid that they would only not do it if we ban it.”
And personally, I think about smoking tobacco — it suits some people, it doesn’t suit other people. A lot of people who are bored and unhappy smoke cigarettes. Of course if you’re bored and unhappy, you’ll die early. So that’s why those two things add up.
Breaking his line of thought for a moment, he paused to clean his back teeth.
“I have a grandmother of a friend of mine in Greece, who grew tobacco all her life, that’s what they did, in northern Greece, they grew tobacco,” he continued.
“She died at 103, she smoked from the age of 13. So it suits some people, it doesn’t suit others. But I think, when governors tell us how we can behave and how we can’t, I don’t believe it’s the way to go.”