Saturday, July 21, 2007

Bush cedes power to VP during colonoscopy

Cheney temporarily in charge; screening procedure described as routine
Associated Press

CAMP DAVID, Md. - President Bush transferred the powers of the presidency to Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday just before being sedated for a routine screening to detect colon cancer.

With a signed letter to the leaders of the House and Senate, Bush temporarily transferred his authority at 7:16 a.m. EDT to Cheney, who is at his home on the Chesapeake Bay in St. Michaels, Md., about 30 miles east of Washington.

“The vice president is now serving as acting president,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

He said the temporary transfer of power will end when Bush transmits a second letter to the congressional leaders advising that he is resuming the powers of the presidency immediately.

Bush relinquished his authority by implementing Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment — approved in 1967 four years after President Kennedy was assassinated — has been used only twice before. See: Bush undergoes colonoscopy

Nigeria files new lawsuit against Pfizer

U.S. drug maker did not properly obtain consent from families while testing an experimental drug on their children
Associated Press Writer

ABUJA, Nigeria - Government lawyers filed a new $7 billion civil lawsuit Friday against Pfizer Inc., adding a more serious fraud charge to their allegations that the U.S. drug maker did not properly obtain consent from families while testing an experimental drug on their children.

The government has accused Pfizer of taking advantage of a 1996 meningitis epidemic to test an experimental drug without authorization or the full understanding of the families involved — allegedly contributing to the deaths of some of the children and sickening others. Pfizer denies wrongdoing.

Pfizer treated 100 meningitis-infected children with an experimental antibiotic, Trovan. Another 100 children, who were control patients in the study, received an approved antibiotic, ceftriaxone — but the dose was lower than recommended, the families' lawyers alleged.

Eleven children died — five of those on Trovan and six in the control group, while others suffered physical disabilities and brain damage. Pfizer has always insisted its records show none of the deaths was linked to Trovan or substandard treatment, noting that the study showed a better survival rate for the patients on Trovan than those on the standard drug. Meningitis survivors sometimes sustain brain damage or other complications from the disease.

See Complete Article: Nigeria says Pfizer did not obtain family consent for experiments

Thursday, July 19, 2007

In UK wealth gap 'widest in 40 years'

The gap between rich and poor in the UK is as wide as it has been for 40 years, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation warns
BBC News Service

The JRF found that households in already wealthy areas had become "disproportionately" richer compared with society as a whole.
But the social policy think tank said the number of "poor" households had risen over the past 15 years.

Since the 1980s, wealthier people have moved to the suburbs while the poor remain in inner cities, the JRF added.

Society polarised
Looking at wealth patterns over the past four decades, the JRF found that the gap between rich and poor actually narrowed in the 1970s. But during the 1980s and 1990s inequality had increased, as a "polarisation" in British society had occurred.

As for the decade beginning in 2000, the report said the picture was "less clear", with some initiatives such as tax and pension credit helping the poor while wealthier people were gaining from a property market boom.

Rich and poor are also less likely to be living next door to one another than in the 1970s, it was reported. See: News - Wealth gap 'widest in 40 years'

Over the past 40 years wealth gap in US widens

Chasm between wealthiest households and everyone else has grown more than 50% since the early 1960s
By Jeanne Sahadi senior writer

NEW YORK ( -- Over the past 40 years, those at the top of the money food chain have seen their wealth grow at a rate far outpacing everyone else, according to a new analysis released by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research group.

In the early 1960s, the top 1 percent of households in terms of net worth held 125 times the median wealth in the United States. Today, that gap has grown to 190 times.

The top 20 percent of wealth-holding households, meanwhile, held 15 times the overall median wealth in the early 1960s. By 2004, that gap had grown to 23 times. See: Wealth gap has widened more than 50% during past 40 years - Aug. 29, 2006

75 percent of Americans overweight by 2015

Two-thirds considered heavy or obese now; rate still increasing, study finds
Reuters News Service

WASHINGTON - If people keep gaining weight at the current rate, fat will be the norm by 2015, with 75 percent of U.S. adults overweight and 41 percent obese, U.S. researchers predicted on Wednesday.

A team at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore examined 20 studies published in journals and looked at national surveys of weight and behavior for their analysis, published in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews.

Obesity is a public health crisis. If the rate of obesity and overweight continues at this pace, by 2015, 75 percent of adults and nearly 24 percent of U.S. children and adolescents will be overweight or obese,” Dr. Youfa Wang, who led the study, said in a statement.

For more info see: 75 percent in U.S overweight by 2015

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

An oasis of African-American soul in Israel's desert

A people who have pride and are able to point to certain successes that have been elusive for the African world
By Simona Kogan Israel21c

Deep in the heart of Israel's Negev desert, where you would expect to find mostly camels and sand, a community of expatriate black Americans has made a new life for itself in towns like Dimona, Arad and Mitzpe Ramon.

They call themselves the African Hebrew Israelites, but they are better known in Israel as the Black Hebrews, a 2,000-strong religious group dressed in colorful African prints made of natural fabrics like silk and linen according to their doctrine. And while it's taken most of the 40 years they've been residing in Israel to feel like part of the country, today Black Hebrews can be found in many facets of Israeli society - from the army to the entertainment industry.

"We are a people who have pride and are able to point to certain successes that have been elusive for the African world," says national spokesman Ahmadiel Ben-Yehuda, who lives in Dimona, but spent time in Ghana, South Africa, and other African locations studying African cultural connections and migration patterns.

The Black Hebrews movement originated in Chicago in 1966 when their leader Ben-Ami Ben-Yisrael, then a steel worker named Ben Carter, had a vision where the Archangel Gabriel revealed to him that African Americans were descended from the lost tribe of Judah. In 70 CE, the Israelites were exiled from Jerusalem by the Romans and ended up in West Africa where they were later transported to America as slaves.

See: An oasis of African-American soul in Israel's desert

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Judge OKs $660M Clergy Abuse Settlement

The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese
Associated Press Writer

The settlement is by far the largest payout by any diocese since the clergy abuse scandal emerged in Boston in 2002. Individual payouts, to be made by Dec. 1, will vary according to the severity of each case.

Cardinal Roger Mahony, whose archdiocese counts 4.3 million Catholics, sat through the hearing but did not speak. He issued an apology Sunday after the settlement was announced and said Monday in a statement that he would spend the rest of the day praying for those who claimed abuse.

District Attorney Steve Cooley said in a statement that there could still be a criminal case, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on statutes of limitations in molestation cases.

"We are aware there could be records that may become available to us as a result of today's settlement. If these documents reveal evidence of criminal activity on behalf of individual priests or anyone else, we will pursue them," Cooley said. "The book is not closed on our investigation."

The deal settles all 508 cases that remained against the archdiocese, which also paid $60 million in December to settle 45 cases that weren't covered by sexual abuse insurance. The archdiocese, the nation's largest, will pay $250 million, insurance carriers will pay a combined $227 million and several religious orders will chip in $60 million.

The remaining $123 million will come from litigation with religious orders that chose not to participate in the deal, with the archdiocese guaranteeing resolution of those 80 to 100 cases within five years, Hennigan said. The archdiocese is released from liability in those claims, said Tod Tamberg, church spokesman.

Plaintiffs' attorneys can expect to receive up to 40 percent of the settlement money -- or $264 million. The settlements push the total amount paid out by the U.S. church since 1950 to more than $2 billion.

Previously, the Los Angeles archdiocese, its insurers and various Roman Catholic orders had paid more than $114 million to settle 86 claims. Several religious orders in California have also reached multimillion-dollar settlements in recent months, including the Carmelites, the Franciscans and the Jesuits. See: Judge OKs $660M Clergy Abuse Settlement

Dining Out: Soul Vegetarian South

“The food, the people, the price: Soul Vegetarian can’t be beat!”

PETA pal John Feldmann, lead singer of the punk band Goldfinger, raves: “Soul Vegetarian has the most awesome vegan lasagna and vegan gyro sandwiches ever!”

John’s not the only one singing the praises of the Soul Vegetarian restaurants. PETA’s elephant specialist, Jane Garrison, says, “When you walk into Soul Vegetarian South, the aroma of the food carries you (running) down the hall to the dining room. The people who run the restaurant always greet you as if you are entering their home—after the second visit, we were greeted with hugs!

“My favorite dish is the ‘bar-b-que twist’—absolutely incredible fib ‘ribs.’ The texture is amazing—not too mushy and not too tough. The homemade sauce is so delicious, you will find yourself trying to lick every bit off your fork! This dish is served with the best vegan potato salad I have ever had and some yummy Southern-style greens. Every meal at Soul Vegetarian for me is followed by my favorite dessert: sweet potato pie topped with vegan vanilla ‘ice cream.’ The crust of the pie is so sweet and delicious, you feel like you are eating a pie that has been placed on a cookie!

“Other amazing dishes include the lasagna, baked tofu, pasta casserole, divine protein salad (mock chicken salad)—and anything else they are serving as the special for the night!

“The food, the people, the price: Soul Vegetarian can’t be beat!”

For more than a decade, Soul Vegetarian has been the place where vegetarians and nonvegetarians come to enjoy a more healthful way of eating without concern for loss of flavor or the joy of eating. Colorful and delicious dishes, exotic d├ęcor, and superb staff combine to create a completely vegan dining adventure that must be experienced to be believed.

Contact us in Atlanta at:

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant
879-A Ralph Abernathy Blvd. SW
Atlanta, GA 30310
(404) 752-5194
Soul Vegetarian International
652 North Highland
Atlanta, GA 30306
(404) 874-0145

Click here to see all of our locations: Soul Vegetarian

Monday, July 16, 2007

Strong earthquake jolts northwestern Japan

7 killed, hundreds of homes destroyed; nuke plant leaks radioactive water
MSNBC News Service

KASHIWAZAKI, Japan - The impact of a strong quake Monday in northwestern Japan caused the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant -- the world's largest – to leak water containing radioactive materials, a company spokesman said.

At least seven people were killed by the quake, which destroyed hundreds of homes, buckled seaside bridges and caused a fire at the nuclear power plant.

The quake, which left fissures 3 feet wide in the ground along the coast, hit shortly after 10 a.m. local time and was centered off Niigata state. Buildings swayed 160 miles away in Tokyo. Sirens wailed in Kashiwazaki, a city of about 90,000, which appeared to be hardest hit.

See: Strong earthquake jolts Japan