Saturday, July 28, 2007

What's really in the water?

Aquafina labels to tell water’s source — the tap
Associated Press

Pepsi agrees to change as industry comes under increased criticism

NEW YORK - So you thought that water in your Aquafina bottle came from some far-away spring bubbling deep in a glen? Try the tap.

PepsiCo Inc. is the latest company to offer some clarity about the source of its top-selling bottled water as it announced on Friday it would change the label on Aquafina water bottles to spell out that the drink comes from the same source as tap water.

See Complete Article: Aquafina labels will list water's source: the tap

Gorbachev says U.S. is sowing world ‘disorder’

Ex-Soviet premier blasts Bush as helping create ‘very dangerous’ situation
Reuters News Service

MOSCOW - Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev criticized the United States, and President Bush in particular, on Friday for sowing disorder across the world by seeking to build an empire.

Gorbachev, who presided over the break-up of the Soviet Union, said Washington had sought to build an empire after the Cold War ended but had failed to understand the changing world.

“The Americans then gave birth to the idea of a new empire, world leadership by a single power, and what followed?” Gorbachev asked reporters at a news conference in Moscow.“What has followed are unilateral actions, what has followed are wars, what has followed is ignoring the U.N. Security Council, ignoring international law and ignoring the will of the people, even the American people,” he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bush say they are friends but ties have been strained by U.S. plans for a missile defense shield in Europe, disagreements over Kosovo and the war in Iraq, and competition for allies in the former Soviet Union.

Many Russians view the United States as a rival and enemy.

“When I look at today’s world I have a worrying feeling about the growth of world disorder,” he said.

“I don’t think the current president of the United States and his administration will be able to change the situation as it is developing now — it is very dangerous,” he said.
‘Massive strategic mistake’Gorbachev said Russia’s hopes of building stronger ties with Washington had waned in the face of a series of U.S. administrations interested in building an empire.

“It is a massive strategic mistake: no single center can command the entire world, no one,” he said. “Current America has made so many mistakes.”

He said the U.S. administration was apparently unable to adapt to a swiftly changing world and had ignored — or was unable to see — the rise of Brazil, Russia, India and China as economic heavyweights.

See Complete Article: Gorbachev: U.S. sowing world 'disorder'

Friday, July 27, 2007

America's Caffeine Addiction Keeps Growing

Make That a Double-Our desire for caffeinated 'energy' products is soaring
By Anna Kuchment
Newsweek Health

July 30, 2007 issue - A few years ago, it dawned on Zach Thomas that coffee didn't have enough caffeine. At the time, he was pulling all-nighters as a student at the United States Military Academy at West Point. By the time he became an instructor at the U.S. Army Ranger School in Fort Benning, Ga., he lived by a common saying at his school: "Sleep is a crutch." "I used to just drink a pot of coffee, but then you have to go to the bathroom 100 times during the day. If you could just get more caffeine in one cup, then that would be the best of both worlds," he says. In 2005 Thomas, now 30, founded Ranger Coffee, with a "hypercaffeinated" blend that contains double the caffeine of regular coffee, or about 300 milligrams per 12-ounce serving—the equivalent of six Diet Cokes. The small, Rockmart, Ga.-based company sells 1,700 bags of coffee a year, nearly half of them to troops stationed in Iraq.

These days you don't have to be a war hero to be a caffeine addict. Everywhere you look, people are wired on caffeine or touting its benefits—or both. Tabloids run images of celebrities sipping Red Bull or toting Starbucks venti lattes; Dunkin' Donuts ads feature a coffee-swilling Rachael Ray, who moves so fast she leaves tread marks on the floor. There's no shortage of ways to get your caffeine fix. Sales of energy drinks like Red Bull and Full Throttle have grown tenfold since 2001, and new ones enter the market weekly. Products that already have caffeine are adding more—in the past few months Diet Pepsi, Jolt and Mountain Dew have all rolled out extra-caffeinated versions. Novelty items, like caffeinated lip balm, caffeinated sunflower seeds, caffeinated beer and even caffeinated soap ("Tired of waking up and having to wait for your morning java to brew?") are also popping up in retail stores and nightclubs. In a spoof on this caffeine arms race, the site launched a "death by caffeine calculator" that shows a 180-pound adult would have to down 44 tall cups of Starbucks coffee before checking in to the big java house in the sky. See: America's Caffeine Addiction Keeps Growing

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

African Hebrews proud of community's first officer

First member of Dimona's African Hebrew Israelites completes officer training course. 'This is a big step for us,' community leader says
Anat Bereshkovsky
Israel News

Itay Ben Yisrael of the African Hebrew Israelites community in Dimona is the first member of the group to become an officer in the IDF. Some 120 young community members currently serve in the army, after the IDF began promoting their enlistment several years ago.

Itay said that the move from life in Dimona to military life was "a culture shock" for him. "I was stunned by how the other guys talked, the curses, the foul language, the direct approach to everything. They could ask me the most intimate questions, as if we grew up together in the same room.

"On the other hand, in the army I discovered the value of friendship. The guys with whom I trained are today my best friends," he added.

The community's leader, Ben Ami Yisrael, told Ynet, "Itay could become a symbol for all of us here in Israel. this is a big step for us. From now on, no one will doubt our willingness to serve in the Israeli army. Itay is certainly a pioneer, our first officer, and we're proud of him."

See: African Hebrews proud of community's first officer

Zero calories, same great taste (and heart risks)

Diet soda linked to same health problems as sugary drinks in bubbly puzzle
MSNBC News Service

Sodas — even diet ones — may be linked with increased risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, researchers said on Monday.

They found adults who drink one or more sodas a day — diet or regular — had about a 50 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome — a cluster of risk factors such as excessive fat around the waist, low levels of “good” cholesterol, high blood pressure and other symptoms.

“When you have metabolic syndrome, your risk of developing heart disease or stroke doubles. You also have a risk of developing diabetes,” said Dr. Ramachandran Vasan of Boston University School of Medicine, whose work appears in the journal Circulation.

Prior studies have linked consumption of sugar-laden sodas with multiple risk factors for heart disease, but Vasan and colleagues also found the link extends to diet sodas.

The results surprised the researchers who expected to see a difference between regular and diet soda drinkers. It could be, they suggest, that even no-calorie sweet drinks increase the craving for more sweets, and that people who indulge in sodas probably have less healthy diets overall.

See: Full story

‘Fat tax’ could save thousands of lives each year

Study: Charging extra for unhealthy foods would cut consumer demand
Reuters News Service

LONDON - A “fat tax” on salty, sugary and fatty foods could save thousands of lives each year, according to a study published on Thursday.

Researchers at Oxford University say that charging Value Added Tax (VAT) at 17.5 percent on foods deemed to be unhealthy would cut consumer demand and reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes.

The purchase tax is already levied on a small number of products such as potato crisps, ice cream, confectionery and chocolate biscuits, but most food is exempt.

The move could save an estimated 3,200 lives in Britain each year, according to the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

“A well-designed and carefully-targeted fat tax could be a useful tool for reducing the burden of food-related disease,” the study concluded.

See: ‘Fat tax’ could save thousands each year

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Hazards of Refined Sugar the Mind and Body

Of all the foods consumed today, refined sugar is considered to be one of the most harmful. ...In 1997 Americans devoured 7.3 billion pounds of candy. Americans spent an estimated $23.1 billion dollars on candy and gum. The average American consumed a record 27.3 pounds of candy and gum in the same year-the equivalent of about six regular sized chocolate bars a week-marking the fifth consecutive year of increased demand.

...Consumption of processed foods (which are laced with sugar) cost the American public more than $54 billion in dental bills each year, so the dental industry reaps huge profits from the programmed addiction of the public to sugar products. ...Today we have a nation that is addicted to sugar. In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption (per year) was around 15 to 20 pounds per person. Today the average person consumes his/her weight in sugar, plus over 20 pounds of corn syrup. This means that since there are some people that use no sweets, or much less than the average figure, a percentage of the population consumes a great deal more refined sugar than their body weight. The human body cannot tolerate this large amount of refined carbohydrates. The vital organs in the body are actually damaged by this gross intake of sugar.

...Refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories. What happens when you eat a refined carbohydrate like sugar? Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize the incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar.

Many times, so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become osteoporotic due to the withdrawn calcium. Likewise, the teeth are affected and they lose their components until decay occurs and hastens their loss. ...Refined sugar is void of all nutrients, consequently it causes the body to deplete its own stores of various vitamins, minerals and enzymes. If sugar consumption is continued, an over-acid condition results, and more minerals are needed from deep in the body to correct the imbalance. If the body is lacking the nutrients used to metabolize sugar, it will not be able to properly handle and rid itself of the poisonous residues. These wastes accumulate through the brain and nervous system, which speeds up cellular death. The bloodstream becomes over-loaded with waste products and symptoms of carbonic poisoning result.

Click here to read complete article: The Hazards of Refined Sugar

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Murder toll mounts in Philadelphia

With 5 killed early Sunday, city on pace for deadliest year in a decade
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA - Five people were shot to death within six hours early Sunday, including three who were killed after an argument in a neighborhood bar, police said.

The deaths bring the number of killings in the city this year to 232, on pace to be the highest rate in a decade.

No suspects were immediately arrested in any of Sunday’s shootings.

Police said a man opened fire shortly after midnight at Abay Wheelers Bar in the Kingsessing section of the city, killing three men, ages 20, 30 and 31, and injuring a fourth.

On Sunday, a small memorial of stuffed animals, balloons and signs sat outside the corner bar.
A 23-year-old man was also killed in north Philadelphia, and an unidentified man died in the Wynnefield section of west Philadelphia in separate shootings.