Monday, October 31, 2011

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Israel aircraft hit Gaza, 2 found dead

(AP) ? The Israeli military says its aircraft struck at a rocket squad that attacked Israel from the southern Gaza Strip, and Palestinians officials report that two men were found dead in the area.

Palestinian security officials say two bodies were discovered around dawn Monday. They say the men were wearing the uniform of a little-known group with ties to Hamas that previously had not been involved in violence against Israel.

They say the men were unarmed and that no rocket launchers were found in the area.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Deadly violence between Israel and Gaza militants flared over the weekend. In earlier fighting, 10 militants and an Israeli civilian were killed.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2011-10-31-ML-Israel-Palestinians/id-8633c218d26e480b81a76710ed55b230

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No anthrax vaccine testing on children ? for now (AP)

WASHINGTON ? It will be a while longer before the government decides whether to test the anthrax vaccine in children.

A government advisory board said Friday that ethical issues need to be resolved ? but if that is accomplished the vaccine could be tested in children to be sure it's safe and to learn the proper dose in case it's needed in a terrorist attack.

Because of concerns that terrorists might use the potentially deadly bacteria, the government has stockpiled the vaccine, which has been widely tested on adults but never on children.

The question is whether to do tests now so that doctors would know if children's immune systems respond to the shots well enough to signal protection.

---

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children?

Concerned that terrorists might use the potentially deadly bacteria in some future attack, the government has stockpiled the vaccine, and it's been widely tested on adults. But never on children.

The question is whether to do those tests now so that doctors would know if children's immune systems respond well enough to the shots to signal protection ? or just wait and, if there is an attack, offer the vaccine experimentally at that time.

That issue was before the National Biodefense Science Board on Friday. The board gives advice to the Department of Health and Human Services on preparations for chemical, biological and nuclear events.

Even if the board recommends testing, there is no deadline for the government to decide whether to go along. And if it does agree, it's not clear how much time it would take to find money for such research and get clearance from review boards at medical centers that would conduct studies.

Another big question is whether parents would sign up their children to test a vaccine when there is no immediate threat. It's not possible to get anthrax from the vaccine, but there are side effects. In adults, shot-site soreness, muscle aches, fatigue and headache are the main ones, and rare but serious allergic reactions have been reported.

Anthrax is among several potential bioterror weapons and is of special interest because it was used in letters sent to the media and others in 2001, claiming five lives and sickening 17. That prompted extensive screening of mail and better ventilation and testing at postal facilities and government agencies.

The FBI has blamed the attacks-by-mail on Bruce Ivins, a scientist at an Army biodefense laboratory, who committed suicide before he could be charged.

Anthrax can be difficult to treat, especially if someone has breathed anthrax spores. Millions of doses of antibiotics have been stockpiled since the 2001 episode, and two experimental toxin-clearing treatments also are being stored.

U.S. troops deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries are required to get anthrax shots. Since 1998, more than 1 million have been vaccinated. After lawsuits objecting to the requirement, a federal judge suspended the program in 2004, finding fault in the Food and Drug Administration's process for approving the drug. The next year, the FDA reaffirmed its finding that the vaccine was safe.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111028/ap_on_sc/us_sci_anthrax_vaccine

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

No anthrax vaccine testing on children ? for now (AP)

WASHINGTON ? Should the anthrax vaccine be tested in children? It will be a while longer before the government decides.

An advisory board said Friday that ethical issues need to be resolved ? but if that can be accomplished the vaccine can be tested in children to be sure it's safe and to learn the proper dose in case it's needed in a terrorist attack.

Because of concerns that terrorists might use the potentially deadly bacteria, the government has stockpiled the vaccine. It has been widely tested on adults but never on children.

The question is whether to do tests so doctors will know if children's immune systems respond to the shots well enough to signal protection. The children would not be exposed to anthrax.

The National Biodefense Science Board said Friday a separate review board should look into the ethical issues of doing such tests in children. If that is completed successfully, the panel, said, the Department of Health and Human Services should develop a plan for a study of the vaccine in children.

How to protect young people after an anthrax attack is a challenging issue, said Dr. Nicole Lurie, a member of the board and assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Public Health Service. "Protecting children still stands, for me, among the most important responsibilities that we have as a nation."

The board gives advice to the Department of Health and Human Services on preparations for chemical, biological and nuclear events. Its vote was 12-1.

There is no deadline for the government to decide whether to go along. And if it does agree, it's not clear how much time it would take to find money for such research and get clearance from review boards at medical centers that would conduct studies.

Another big question is whether parents would sign up their children to test a vaccine when there is no immediate threat. It's not possible to get anthrax from the vaccine, but there are side effects. In adults, shot-site soreness, muscle aches, fatigue and headache are the main ones, and rare but serious allergic reactions have been reported.

Anthrax is among several potential bioterror weapons and is of special interest because it was used in letters sent to the media and others in 2001, claiming five lives and sickening 17. That prompted extensive screening of mail and better ventilation and testing at postal facilities and government agencies.

The FBI has blamed the attacks-by-mail on Bruce Ivins, a scientist at an Army biodefense laboratory, who committed suicide before he could be charged.

Anthrax can be difficult to treat, especially if someone has breathed anthrax spores. Millions of doses of antibiotics have been stockpiled since the 2001 episode, and two experimental toxin-clearing treatments also are being stored.

U.S. troops deploying to Iraq, Afghanistan and some other countries are required to get anthrax shots. Since 1998, more than 1 million have been vaccinated. After lawsuits objecting to the requirement, a federal judge suspended the program in 2004, finding fault in the Food and Drug Administration's process for approving the drug. The next year, the FDA reaffirmed its finding that the vaccine was safe.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/parenting/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111028/ap_on_sc/us_sci_anthrax_vaccine

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Clock this: UK may consider time zone switch (AP)

LONDON ? Britain's government may reconsider long-touted proposals for the U.K. to switch to Central European Time, a move which advocates insisted Saturday would bring lighter evenings and possibly offer the country's sluggish economy a boost.

Campaigners claim a lawmaker's proposal made earlier this year to permanently switch Britain's clocks 60 minutes ahead of current settings would extend the tourism season, cut road deaths and help promote outdoor activities.

Debate over the change, which would see British clocks synchronized with those in continental Europe, has rumbled for years and seen repeated attempts by legislators to press forward the case for reform.

However, opponents insist that northern regions would be badly affected, with darker mornings across northern England and Scotland. Some critics claim that the sunrise in Scotland could come as late as 10 a.m. during some winter months.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking during a visit to Australia, said he continued to be interested in the idea of changing the country's time zone ? but stressed that semiautonomous authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would need to agree.

"Discussions are under way across Whitehall and with the devolved authorities but that's the key, you can only do this if there is real national consensus and pressure between all the nations of our United Kingdom," Cameron said.

Clocks in Britain go forward by one hour in the spring when daylight savings time takes effect and are turned back in the fall, a regime adopted in 1916 and known as British summer time.

During World War II, summer time was set two hours ahead, and the country has previously experimented with year-round summer time from Feb. 18, 1968, to Oct. 31, 1971, drawing protests in Scotland.

Scottish Nation Party lawmaker Angus MacNeil said that northern parts of Britain would likely oppose any changes. Any reform "would have massive implications for the safety and well-being of everyone living north of Manchester," MacNeil said, referring to the city in northwestern England.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111029/ap_on_bi_ge/eu_britain_time_for_a_change

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Daily aspirin cuts risk of colorectal cancer

Aspirin dramatically reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer in people with a family history of the disease, providing the most direct evidence yet that the drug can be used for cancer prevention.

While previous studies have hinted that aspirin might prevent cancer, this is the first study where the primary goal was to look at whether the drug reduced the risk of cancer. "We set out to see if aspirin would prevent cancer, and it does," says John Burn of Newcastle University, UK, who led the study.

Although the study focused on hereditary colorectal cancer, it adds weight to the argument that anyone at high risk of colorectal cancer ? and possibly other cancers ? should consider taking the drug.

Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, with around 160,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US alone. Of these, between 2 and 7 per cent are caused by a hereditary form of the disease called Lynch syndrome, which affects genes responsible for detecting and repairing DNA damage and increases the risk of colorectal and womb cancer.

Two years

Burn and his colleagues studied 861 people with Lynch syndrome who began taking two 300-milligram tablets of aspirin a day or a placebo between 1999 and 2005. By 2010, there had been 19 new colorectal cancers in those who had taken aspirin and 34 in the placebo group.

However, when they looked at those people who had taken aspirin for more than two years ? some 60 per cent of the total ? the effects were even more pronounced, with 10 cancers in the aspirin group and 23 in those who took the placebo ? a 63 per cent reduction.

"It provides the first evidence that aspirin is effective in reducing the very high risk of cancer that these individuals have," says Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford, who earlier this year published results suggesting that a daily dose of 75-mg aspirin for more than five years reduced the risk of death by around 34 per cent for all cancers and as much as 54 per cent for gastrointestinal cancers, such as oesophagus, stomach, bowel, pancreas and liver cancers. "Without the previous evidence that aspirin prevents colorectal cancer in the general population, it would be difficult to generalise the results to people without Lynch syndrome. Because we already know that it does, this data is very powerful in helping to remove any doubt that the effect can be generalised."

Risk and benefit

But what about reducing the risk of non-colorectal cancers? When Burn's team looked at all cancers related to Lynch syndrome, including cancer of the uterus, almost 30 per cent of people taking the placebo and 15 per cent of those taking aspirin developed a cancer. Other studies, like Rothwell's, have also shown a benefit for cancer more widely, although there is less evidence that it prevents hormone-driven cancers like breast or prostate cancer.

However, aspirin also slightly increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeds and ulcers meaning that this risk has to be weighed against the potential benefits.

"I take aspirin, and that was a balanced judgement based on that weighing of risk and benefit," says Burn, who adds that there is now around 25 years of observational data suggesting a link between aspirin and a reduced risk of cancer. "Everyone can take the evidence and make their own choice."

Inflammation link?

In the current study, 11 people in the aspirin group and 9 people in the placebo group experienced a gastrointestinal bleed or ulcer during the course of the study. The risk of side-effects can be reduced by taking enteric-coated aspirin or antacids to reduce stomach irritation, although before anyone begins to take aspirin on a regular basis, they should consult their doctor.

As for how aspirin prevents cancer, one possibility is that it blocks Cox-2, an enzyme associated with inflammation, that is often up-regulated in colorectal cancer. "One theory is that blocking that inflammatory process in some way damps down cancer," says Burn.

Aspirin also seems to prevent cancers from developing in the first place. Lab work has shown that salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, enhances apoptosis ? programmed cell death ? if cells develop an abnormality while dividing. Since the cells lining the colon are replaced every five days by a resident population of stem cells that is constantly dividing, Burn says, "What might be happening is that salicylate enhances cell death of malignant stem cells."

Journal reference: Lancet, DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61049-0

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New findings contradict dominant theory in Alzheimer's disease

ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2011) ? For decades the amyloid hypothesis has dominated the research field in Alzheimer's disease. The theory describes how an increase in secreted beta-amyloid peptides leads to the formation of plaques, toxic clusters of damaged proteins between cells, which eventually result in neurodegeneration. Scientists at Lund University, Sweden, have now presented a study that turns this premise on its head. The research group's data offers an opposite hypothesis, suggesting that it is in fact the neurons' inability to secrete beta-amyloid that is at the heart of pathogenesis in Alzheimer's disease.

The study, published in the October issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows an increase in unwanted intracellular beta-amyloid occurring early on in Alzheimer's disease. The accumulation of beta-amyloid inside the neuron is here shown to be caused by the loss of normal function to secrete beta-amyloid.

Contrary to the dominant theory, where aggregated extracellular beta-amyloid is considered the main culprit, the study instead demonstrates that reduced secretion of beta-amyloid signals the beginning of the disease.

The damage to the neuron, created by the aggregated toxic beta-amyloid inside the cell, is believed to be a prior step to the formation of plaques, the long-time hallmark biomarker of the disease.

Professor Gunnar Gouras, the senior researcher of the study, hopes that the surprising new findings can help push the research field in a new direction.

"The many investigators and pharmaceutical companies screening for compounds that reduce secreted beta-amyloid have it the wrong way around. The problem is rather the opposite, that it is not getting secreted. To find the root of the disease, we now need to focus on this critical intracellular pool of beta-amyloid.

"We are showing here that the increase of intracellular beta-amyloid is one of the earliest events occurring in Alzheimer's disease, before the formation of plaques. Our experiments clearly show a decreased secretion of beta-amyloid in our primary neuron disease model. This is probably because the cell's metabolism and secretion pathways are disrupted in some way, leading beta-amyloid to be accumulated inside the cell instead of being secreted naturally," says Davide Tampellini, first author of the study.

The theory of early accumulation of beta-amyloid inside the cell offers an alternate explanation for the formation of plaques. When excess amounts of beta-amyloid start to build up inside the cell, it is also stored in synapses. When the synapses can no longer hold the increasing amounts of the toxic peptide the membrane breaks, releasing the waste into the extracellular space. The toxins released now create the seed for other amyloids to gather and start forming the plaques.

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The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Lund University.

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Journal Reference:

  1. D. Tampellini, N. Rahman, M. T. Lin, E. Capetillo-Zarate, G. K. Gouras. Impaired ?-Amyloid Secretion in Alzheimer's Disease Pathogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (43): 15384 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2986-11.2011

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111028103219.htm

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

UNESCO to vote on Monday on Palestinian entry (Reuters)

PARIS (Reuters) ? U.N. cultural agency UNESCO will vote on Monday on a Palestinian request for membership, part of a wider Palestinian campaign for recognition as a state within the wider United Nations system.

UNESCO's executive board decided on October 6 to allow the 193 member countries vote on the application, angering Israel and the United States, which provides 22 percent of the funding of the U.N. subsidiary and could cut that lifeline as a result.

A UNESCO spokeswoman said the vote was likely to take place late on Monday morning at UNESCO's Paris headquarters, during an

annual gathering that runs from October 25 to November 15.

UNESCO is the first U.N. agency the Palestinians have sought to join as a full member since applying for membership of the United Nations on September 23.

The bid for a full U.N. seat, which can be granted only by the Security Council, is destined to fail because Washington has vowed to use its veto in the forum if it comes to a vote.

Washington views the Palestinian quest for U.N. recognition of statehood as a unilateral move unhelpful to U.S. efforts to revive stalled peace negotiations with Israel, which it says are the only way forward.

The Palestinians say talks with Israel, which also opposes the Palestinian U.N. initiative, have brought them no closer to their goal of independence in the two decades since such negotiations began.

(Reporting By Vicky Buffery; Editing by Brian Love and Alistair Lyon)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/mideast/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111028/wl_nm/us_palestinians_unesco

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Ireland picks new president from crowded field

Irish Presidential Candidate Sean Gallagher speaks to supporters at the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan, Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Voters across Ireland go to the polls Thursday to elect the country's ninth president. ?A record seven candidates have been vying for support, with the campaign marked by bitter claim and counter-claim involving leading contender Sean Gallagher in the final 72 hours. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Irish Presidential Candidate Sean Gallagher speaks to supporters at the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan, Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Voters across Ireland go to the polls Thursday to elect the country's ninth president. ?A record seven candidates have been vying for support, with the campaign marked by bitter claim and counter-claim involving leading contender Sean Gallagher in the final 72 hours. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

Ireland Presidential Candidate Sean Gallagher speaks to supporters at the Kilmore Hotel, Cavan, Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Voters across Ireland go to the polls Thursday to elect the country's ninth president. ?A record seven candidates have been vying for support, with the campaign marked by bitter claim and counter-claim involving leading contender Sean Gallagher in the final 72 hours. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

A poster for Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness adorns a wall on a house in west Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. McGuinness is the most prominent of seven contenders seeking to win the Oct. 27 election to become Ireland's president, its symbolic head of state. He also is the most controversial because of his past as a leader of an underground group responsible for killing nearly 1,800 people. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(AP) ? Voters are picking Ireland's next president Thursday from a crowded field of seven candidates, among them a reality TV star, a former Irish Republican Army warlord and the country's top gay-rights crusader.

About 3.2 million Irish citizens are eligible to vote for a successor to President Mary McAleese, Ireland's popular head of state for the past 14 years.

The president has no government powers but is Ireland's senior ambassador and, under McAleese's stewardship, has promoted reconciliation with Britain and the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland.

Ballot counting will start Friday but a winner is unlikely to be declared until Saturday because of Ireland's complex election system. It allows voters to rate candidates in order of preference, and means ballots must be counted several times. That system also makes forecasting a winner treacherous.

All recent opinion polls have favored Sean Gallagher, a 49-year-old entrepreneur who gained fame as a judge of business talent on an Irish reality TV show, "Dragon's Den." The political novice has promised voters that as president he could help get debt-struck, high-unemployment Ireland back to work, too.

But Gallagher's bid suffered untold damage when he flubbed the campaign's final TV debate and left the impression that he was a "bagman" ? a collector of undisclosed and potentially corrupt donations ? for Ireland's most ethically challenged party, Fianna Fail.

Voters furious at Ireland's international bailout decimated Fianna Fail in February parliamentary elections, a defeat so overwhelming that Fianna Fail hasn't even fielded a presidential candidate. Gallagher is running as an independent after resigning from Fianna Fail's executive in January.

Gallagher has softpedaled his Fianna Fail loyalties and insisted, under questioning from journalists and political opponents, that he encouraged only a few personal friends to donate to his former party.

His story was forced to change Monday after a rival candidate, former IRA chief Martin McGuinness, ambushed him at the last debate.

McGuinness announced he'd just talked to one businessman who had told how Gallagher personally solicited him, then collected a euro5,000 ($6,950) check in person. That businessman, a convicted fuel smuggler, later issued a statement through lawyers confirming the story and details of the donation.

Caught off guard, Gallagher conceded he might have collected "an envelope" from the man. Audience members gasped, and Gallagher has never come off the defensive since.

The biggest beneficiary of Gallagher's 11th-hour troubles could be Michael D. Higgins, an elfish 70-year-old lawmaker and former Cabinet minister renowned as a champion of arts, literature and left-wing human rights causes.

All opinion polls taken before Monday's debate rated Gallagher first and Higgins second. No polls have been taken since Gallagher's gaffe.

Running third was Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, whose campaign has been dominated by unrelenting media questioning of his role in orchestrating IRA violence.

McGuinness has insisted he quit the IRA in 1974 to become a fulltime peacemaker. That claim is at odds with histories of the Northern Ireland conflict identifying the 61-year-old as a top IRA figure until the outlawed group itself went out of business in 2005.

McGuinness' low point on the campaign trail came when the son of an IRA victim confronted him face to face. The son accused McGuinness of shielding his father's killers from justice. When McGuinness denied knowing anything about it, the man called him a liar. Elsewhere, other IRA victims' families accused McGuinness of direct involvement in the deaths of their loved ones, which he also denied.

The campaign's initial front-runner, Sen. David Norris, a former Trinity College professor and authority on the writings of James Joyce, has languished in fourth place in recent polls with support confined largely to Dublin.

Renowned for his wit and theatrical charm, Norris rose to national prominence by leading a decade-long legal fight that forced Ireland to decriminalize homosexuality in 1993. But his candidature has never recovered from a revelation that he wrote letters seeking clemency in Israel for his former Palestinian partner, who faced prison after being convicted of raping a 15-year-old boy.

Stuck at the bottom of most polls is Dana Rosemary Scallon, a Catholic conservative who was Ireland's first winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970. Her campaign was overshadowed by eccentric family disputes and her own claims that someone tried to assassinate her by slashing one of her car tires. Police insisted the tire ruptured on a highway because it was not properly inflated.

The government also is seeking public approval for two constitutional amendments in Thursday's voting. One proposed amendment would give lawmakers the power to cut judges' pay in line with wider budget-cutting moves. The other would grant Ireland's parliament the authority to mount fact-finding investigations.

Voters in the Dublin West constituency also are filling a parliamentary seat previously held by former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, who died of cancer in June.

___

Online:

Higgins, http://www.michaeldhiggins.ie/

Gallagher, http://www.seangallagher.com/

McGuinness, http://www.thepeoplespresident.ie/

Norris, http://norrisforpresident.ie/

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/cae69a7523db45408eeb2b3a98c0c9c5/Article_2011-10-27-EU-Ireland-Presidential-Election/id-6c92afa4b142485e90af8b57d212e112

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Madoff: Has remorse, doesn't contemplate suicide

In this Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 file photo, Bernard L. Madoff, the accused mastermind of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, leaves Federal Court in New York. A book by Stephanie Madoff Mack, Madoff?s daughter-in-law, ?The End of Normal: A Wife?s Anguish, A Widow?s New Life? goes on sale Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, file)

In this Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 file photo, Bernard L. Madoff, the accused mastermind of a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, leaves Federal Court in New York. A book by Stephanie Madoff Mack, Madoff?s daughter-in-law, ?The End of Normal: A Wife?s Anguish, A Widow?s New Life? goes on sale Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson, file)

In this April 6, 2009 file photo, Ruth Madoff is escorted by private security as she leaves the Metropolitan Correctional Center after visiting her husband, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In this undated photograph provided by Security Traders Association of New York, Mark Madoff is shown. Madoff, one of Bernard Madoff's sons, was found dead of an apparent suicide Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010. A book by Stephanie Madoff Mack, Mark Madoff's widow, "The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, A Widow's New Life," goes on sale, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Security Traders Association of New York, Kimberly Unger) NO SALES

(AP) ? Disgraced financier Bernie Madoff has told an interviewer he has terrible remorse and horrible nightmares over his epic fraud, but also said he feels happier in prison than he's felt in 20 years.

Barbara Walters told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday that she interviewed Madoff for two hours at the prison in Butner, N.C., where he's serving a 150-year sentence. No cameras were allowed in the prison.

Walters said Madoff told her he thought about suicide before being sent to prison. But since he's been there, he no longer thinks about it.

His comments come ahead of his wife's appearance Sunday's edition of CBS' "60 Minutes." Ruth Madoff said in excerpts that they tried to kill themselves after he admitted stealing billions of dollars in the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

Walters quoted Madoff as saying: "I feel safer here (in prison) than outside. I have people to talk to, no decisions to make. I know I will die in prison. I lived the last 20 years of my life in fear. Now, I have no fear because I'm no longer in control."

She also said he told her he understands why his one-time clients hate him, and that the average person thinks he "robbed widows and orphans." But he also told her, "I made wealthy people wealthier."

Ruth Madoff's appearance on "60 Minutes" will be her first interview since her husband's December 2008 arrest. She says they had been receiving hate mail and "terrible phone calls" and were distraught.

"I don't know whose idea it was, but we decided to kill ourselves because it was so horrendous what was happening," she says in the interview, according to excerpts released by CBS.

She says it was Christmas Eve, which added to their depression, and she decided: "I just can't go on anymore."

She says the couple took "a bunch of pills" including the insomnia prescription medication Ambien, but they both woke up the next day. She says the decision was "very impulsive" and she's glad they didn't die.

The couple's son Andrew Madoff also will talk about his experience.

Another son, Mark Madoff, hanged himself by a dog leash last year on the anniversary of his father's arrest. Like his parents, he had swallowed a batch of sleeping pills in a failed suicide attempt 14 months earlier, according to his widow's new book, "The End of Normal: A Wife's Anguish, A Widow's New Life."

Bernie Madoff was arrested on Dec. 11, 2008, the morning after his sons notified authorities through an attorney that he had confessed to them that his investment business was a multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. He admitted cheating thousands of investors. He pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

Madoff, who's in his 70s, ran his scheme for at least two decades, using his investment advisory service to cheat individuals, charities, celebrities and institutional investors.

An investigation found Madoff never made any investments, instead using the money from new investors to pay returns to existing clients ? and to finance a lavish lifestyle for his family. Losses have been estimated at around $20 billion, making it the biggest investment fraud in U.S. history.

___

Online:

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/60minutes/main3415.shtml

http://abcnews.go.com/watch/good-morning-america/SH5587637

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2011-10-27-People-Madoff/id-66b25c806cea48fb918a0fbd09d64200

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The Hops Ceiling

But in fact it was Carol Stoudt who was doing the brewing, filling the kegs, filing the paperwork, and pounding the pavement to turn bars and restaurants onto her beer. It was slow going at first. She says some of her best early clients were restaurants owned and operated by women. But eventually, driven by awards and strong reviews, more clients came, the brewery grew, and she didn?t have to do all the work by herself. It?s now a family business that includes a restaurant run by her and her husband. Two daughters and a son have followed them into the beer business, both at Stoudt?s and elsewhere.

Source: http://feeds.slate.com/click.phdo?i=528183ff9ca3f3cfd460f65e7b1aafb5

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Rick Perry's flat tax plan: Would you have to do your taxes twice?

People could opt for flat tax rate of 20 percent or stick with the current tax system. The Rick Perry plan offers choice, but people might need to do two calculations to tell which is best, some say.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has entered the flat tax sweepstakes.

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Mr. Perry is hoping his 20-20 flat tax rate will resonate as widely as Herman Cain?s "9-9-9" tax plan, which features a 9 percent sales tax, 9 percent personal income tax, and 9 percent corporate income tax.

?This is a change election, and I offer a plan that changes the way Washington does business,? the Texas governor said Tuesday at an event in Gray Court, S.C.

But on his way to simplifying the tax code, Perry says, he wants to let Americans choose their tax rate: A taxpayer can opt for the 20 percent flat tax ? with certain deductions ? or stick with whatever rate he or she is currently paying. To quote a well-known ad jingle, ?have it your way.?

For people who opt for the flat tax, says Perry, filing will be as simple as mailing in a postcard, saving a collective $483 billion in costs associated with complying with the federal tax code.

On the postcard is room for deductions for home-mortgage interest, charitable giving, and state and local taxes, for those making less than $500,000 a year. At the same time, the standard individual exemption would jump from $3,600 to $12,500.

That means the 20 percent tax rate actually might be quite a bit lower, especially for people who borrowed a lot of money to buy a house, paid high property taxes, and gave a lot of money to charity.

At the same time, businesses would pay a 20 percent rate on profits, down from today's top rate of 35 percent. Multinationals would get a break in the form of a low 5.2 percent tax rate for $1.4 trillion currently parked overseas.

Some outside experts say Perry?s attempt at simplicity will have the opposite effect on taxpayers.

?It will force some to do taxes twice to see which way they come out ahead,? says Bruce Bartlett, a former domestic adviser to President Ronald Reagan and a former Treasury official in President George H.W. Bush?s administration. ?It adds complexity to an already complex system.?

Some commentators ask whether taxpayers might be tempted to ?game? the system by figuring out how to structure their income and deductions to maximize whatever side of the coin they want to come out on.

?You still have to use TurboTax [software] to figure out which is better,? quips Ted Gayer, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. ?If you can jump back and forth between tax systems in different years, you might want to structure your deductions to fit the tax code.?

Even some who are not opposed to flat taxes have doubts about the Perry plan. ?The reason to do a flat tax is to get rid of the sham deductions out there,? says economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa. ?If you keep a lot of them in there, you are missing the whole point of the flat tax.?

Mr. Naroff says that once one deduction is allowed ? for example, the deduction for mortgage interest ? it is easier for other groups to lobby for their own deductions. ?You open the door to recreate the current structure,? he says.

The way Naroff sees it, Perry is trying to prevent any group from being worse off because of his proposed tax changes. ?That?s a little hokey,? he says.

Perry?s plan comes amid public distrust of politicians and their promises about taxes. According to a Clarus poll released Tuesday, 55 percent of 1,000 registered voters say Obama?s tax plan will raise their taxes and 41 percent say Cain?s 9-9-9 plan will, as well.

?Many voters don?t believe what politicians from either party tell them about raising, reforming, or cutting taxes,? says Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus. ?This surprising data explains why the president is having such a hard time selling his jobs package.?

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/csm/~3/uZgPT3YloF0/Rick-Perry-s-flat-tax-plan-Would-you-have-to-do-your-taxes-twice

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Engadget Podcast 262 - 10.28.2011

Nokia World: it's like Disney World with a funny accent and with higher pixel density. And we've got the whole scoop, with help of the mobi-omniscient Myriam Joire. The Engadget Podcast: dial it up!

Hosts: Tim Stevens, Brian Heater
Guest: Myriam Joire
Producer: Trent Wolbe
Music: Try It Out

01:30 - The Nokia World 2011 keynote liveblog!
02:00 - Nokia announces the Lumia 800, the 'first real Windows Phone' (video)
02:30 - Nokia Lumia 800 vs. Nokia N9: the tale of the tape
05:00 - Nokia Lumia 800 unboxed: we shed some light on what's inside
14:40 - Nokia's Lumia 710 Windows Phone announced alongside the 800, hitting select markets by end of year
23:30 - Nokia Asha 200, Asha 300 and Asha 303 hands-on (video)
32:00 - Nokia's kinetic future: flexible screens and a twisted interface (video)
36:30 - Future Nokia phones repellent, says water (video)
41:05 - Richard Kerris moves from HP to Nokia, becomes Global Head of Developer Relations
42:00 - HP will keep PC division, hope alive
45:50 - Mythical snow-white N9 spotted at Nokia World
50:05 - Sony to buy out Ericsson's stake in joint venture, call it quits after ten years
50:39 - Motorola Atrix 2 review
53:02 - Porsche Design P'9981 BlackBerry provides a long-awaited design jolt, compensates for a lot
55:05 - Amazon focusing on 'lifetime' Kindle revenue, anticipating record device sales for Q4
01:01:30 - HTC Rhyme review
01:03:00 - Listener questions



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Engadget Podcast 262 - 10.28.2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 13:40:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/28/engadget-podcast-262-10-28-2011/

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

World stocks mixed ahead of Europe plan (AP)

TOKYO ? World stock markets were mixed Tuesday as investors waited for European leaders to unveil a plan to tackle the continent's ongoing debt crisis.

European leaders have said they made progress at a weekend summit and plan to unveil comprehensive plans for containing the crisis by Wednesday.

Among measures, the 17-nation eurozone is set to shore up its bailout fund, and German lawmakers said the plan could boost the fund's lending capacity to more than euro1 trillion ($1.39 trillion).

European stocks rose modestly in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 was less than 0.1 percent higher at 5,550.49. Germany's DAX fell 0.4 percent higher at 6,033.09. France's CAC-40 slipped 0.5 percent to 3,204.59. Wall Street headed for a lower opening, with Dow Jones Industrial Futures up less than 0.1 percent to 11,819 and S&P 500 futures sliding less than 0.1 percent to 1,246.30.

Asian shares ended mostly higher after a skittish day of trading. Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed 0.9 percent lower at 8,762.31, with exporters struggling in the face of a strong yen. The dollar hovered near the 76-yen line, just above a new record low of 75.78 yen hit before the weekend.

Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Japan would take measures to slow the yen's acceleration if necessary, firing a shot at speculators who may be adding to the volatility.

The yen's sharp climb "does not reflect the real economy, and we have to believe that this is a speculative move," Azumi told reporters, according to Kyodo News agency. "If this goes further, then we will take decisive action."

His comments did little to stem selling in export-reliant sectors like high-tech and autos, which are now also struggling with lost production to the flooding in Thailand. Toyota Motor Corp. fell 1.7 percent, and Canon Inc. was down 1.8 percent.

Credit Suisse describes the eurozone as "inching forward" and that "there are as many questions as answers." But for any plan to be effective in the long term, it says, leaders must spur growth in Europe.

"At a minimum, we believe the crisis in the periphery will not end until there are current account surpluses... or clearly cheap currencies," the Credit Suisse report said. "We believe that the (European Central Bank) has to expand its balance sheet to weaken the euro and thereby create growth."

Elsewhere, South Korea's Kospi lost 0.5 percent to 1,888.65, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index rose 1.1 percent to 18,968.20. Benchmarks in mainland China, India, Taiwan, Singapore, and New Zealand also advanced.

Thailand's SET index was 2.8 percent higher at 941.93, even though the country is being battered by its worst flood in decades. Ratings agency Moody's says it does not expect the floods ? the worst to hit Thailand in decades ? to affect its creditworthiness.

"The government will have ample fiscal space to absorb flood-related costs without prompting a permanent deterioration in its debt ratios," Moody's said in a report.

Overnight in New York, the Dow Jones industrial average finished with a gain of 104.83 points, or 0.9 percent, at 11,913.62.

The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index rose to 1,254.19, marking the highest close for the S&P 500 since Aug. 3, just as Washington was resolving a showdown over raising the country's borrowing limit.

In currencies, the dollar rose slightly to 76.12 yen from 76.07 yen late Monday in New York. The euro stood at $1.3909 from $1.3951.

Benchmark crude for December delivery was up $1.62 cents at $92.84 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $3.87, or 4.4 percent, to settle at $91.27 in New York on Monday.

Brent crude was down 2 cents at $111.43 a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/stocks/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111025/ap_on_re_as/world_markets

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Source found for immune system effects on learning, memory

ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2011) ? Immune system cells of the brain, which scavenge pathogens and damaged neurons, are also key players in memory and learning, according to new research by Duke neuroscientists.

Earlier studies by Staci Bilbo, an assistant professor in psychology & neuroscience, had shown that laboratory rats experiencing an infection at an early age have an aggressive immune response to subsequent infections, which also harms their learning and memory.

In a study published in the Oct. 26 Journal of Neuroscience, Bilbo's team identifies the source of the learning difficulties and traces it back to the immune system itself.

The researchers found that specialized immune system cells in the brain called microglia release a signaling molecule called Interleukin-1, or IL-1, in response to an infection. IL-1 is also crucial to normal learning and memory in the hippocampus region of the brain. But too much IL-1 can impair learning and memory in laboratory animals.

"These same molecules go up in response to any brain infection. I don't really understand why you would build a brain that way, except that there are clearly benefits in other aspects of immunity, outside the brain," Bilbo said.

In a series of experiments she has been conducting for nearly a decade, very young rats are exposed to infection and then challenged again later with a second infection consisting of only harmless, dead bacteria. The "second hit" has been shown to affect learning and memory while these rats mount a highly effective immune response.

"The microglia remember that infection and respond differently," she said. "The infection itself wasn't doing permanent damage. It was changing the immune system somehow."

The second infection doesn't even have to be directly involved with the brain. A bacterial lesion on a limb produces enough of a signal to make the glia in the brain pump out extra IL-1. "These rats handle peripheral infection really well, but at a cost to the brain," Bilbo said.

To find out what had changed in the brains of the infected rats, the team used techniques borrowed from immunology to sort out one specific cell type from brain tissue rapidly enough that they could see what the cells had been doing.

The work adds to an emerging picture of glial cells acting in the brain much the same way immune system macrophages operate elsewhere in the body -- gobbling up other cells and tearing them apart. The glia also perform a pruning function to streamline the brain's neural architecture as it matures. But some brain disorders appear to be a case of dysfunctional pruning, Bilbo said.

To test how the immune response affected memory, Bilbo's team placed all the rats in a novel environment and exposed them to a sound and a mild shock through their feet. A normal rat remembers the environment after one trial, freezing in place immediately when they enter the familiar setting a second time.

But rats exposed to infection, who tend to overproduce IL-1, stroll through the previously painful experience as if they've never seen it before, Bilbo said.

Even without experiencing the second immune challenge, the rats infected as youngsters also seem to show cognitive declines earlier than their normal control counterparts. "This is intriguingly similar to what you see in Alzheimer's. It's really kind of scary," Bilbo said.

"These findings could help us understand why some humans are more vulnerable than others to cognitive impairments from chronic infections, aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease," said Raz Yirmiya, a professor of psychobiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was not involved in the research. "This might also lead to new approaches toward diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic procedures for these conditions."

Any illness that triggers an immune response tends to slow a person's cognition down as their body enters a recovery mode, but these animals have some sort of permanent change in their immune response, Bilbo said. The newborn rats exposed to infections in these experiments are roughly equivalent to a third-trimester human fetus, but it would be too soon to say what parallels these findings may have in humans, she said.

Bilbo believes the early infection triggers a permanent change in gene expression, and is now looking at the role of microglial cells in addiction, and the interactions between maternal care and immune function.

This research was supported by an ARRA stimulus grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Duke University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. L. Williamson, P. W. Sholar, R. S. Mistry, S. H. Smith, S. D. Bilbo. Microglia and Memory: Modulation by Early-Life Infection. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (43): 15511 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3688-11.2011

Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of ScienceDaily or its staff.

Source: http://feeds.sciencedaily.com/~r/sciencedaily/~3/hih18Ox3MqI/111026143803.htm

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Ashley Greene Mocks Dating Rumors in Latest Magazine Spread


With Kristen Stewart off shooting Snow White and the Huntsman, Ashley Greene has become the female face of the Breaking Dawn marketing campaign these days.

The gorgeous actress is covering multiple magazines this month, from Flare to Allure to the latest example, BlackBlook.

Ashley Greene BlackBook Cover

Inside this issue, the actress jokes about her supposedly packed love life, while also opening up about her dad. Excerpts follow...

Is she dating anyone? "I'm dating everyone! My brother lives in LA and won't even walk outside a restaurant with me. He's like, 'I don't want to be romantically linked to you.'"

What other jobs has she held? "I worked at the dry cleaner across from my school, I worked accounts payable for a company, I did hosting, I worked at a bowling alley, I worked at a boutique. I worked at a hotel, I worked at a restaurant, I did modeling, I worked everywhere. And I didn't get fired!"

What was her father like growing up? "My dad used to be in the Marines, so no one is going to give him flack. At 14, I was being a little brat, I thought I knew everything, and my dad was like, 'I own your bed, your TV, everything.' There was a lot of discipline, and with what I'm doing now, I'm glad for it."

Source: http://www.thehollywoodgossip.com/2011/10/ashley-greene-mocks-dating-rumors-in-latest-magazine-spread/

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Garden design: A guide to curb appeal

A guide to giving your yard curb appeal that expresses your personality.

Each day, your front garden welcomes friends and family, as well as those passing by on foot and in vehicles.

Skip to next paragraph

It's not difficult to improve your home's curb appeal so it pleasantly welcomes visitors all year long. This is a desirable notion since, as the old adage goes, you don?t have a second chance to make a good first impression.

Display your personality starting at the edge of your property by creating a style that is uniquely yours.

As you walk up your drive, consider what others see. Is it an expression of who you are? Can your visitor clearly find the front door? Is it pleasing to the eye year-round? Does everything just seem to fit? With a fresh eye, evaluate what you have and see where this may lead you. [There are two photos above that illustrate what's possible. To see the second photo, click on the arrow at the right base of the first picture.]

Choose a theme

The style of your home will guide you in choosing a theme. Staying within this theme helps to pull everything together. Your home?s style gives you the place to start. Adding elements that speak to who you are is where you come in.

Just remember, for a look that all fits together, stay within your style choice. Sweet, flirty pedestal urns will look out of place in a garden of a contemporary-style home.

A ranch-style home is the most flexible in allowing you to tweak your style. But, whether accentuating a traditional, relaxed, or formal look, maintain the look throughout.

Your best investment

Your best investment of time and money is to focus on the entryway. A visitor should not be confused, so make the entrance clear and obvious. Ideally, the path is wide enough for 2 adults to walk side-by-side (that is, four to five feet wide) and made with a material that compliments your home?s style.

Adding color at the entrance provides the most impact and welcomes visitors. It also makes it easier for the homeowner to maintain. Color can be added to containers, garden beds, and with garden accents.

Containers

Container gardens at the home?s entrance work well with any home style. Experiment with the placement and arrangement of containers. A staggered, asymmetrical placement with a small grouping getting bigger as you the approach the house, leads the eye forward.

A pair of pots formally frames the front door. For a more relaxed style, add layers of planters beyond the front steps. Adding window boxes, arrangements on the front porch, and hanging baskets from the roof eaves can add impact to welcome your visitor.

Garden beds

Well maintained garden beds and borders will convey a relaxed feeling. Remember, the front garden is always on show. Keep beds weeded, pruned, and top-dressed with fresh mulch, with an edge that is clean and crisp.

Garden beds and plantings should be in scale with the home. A Southern Magnolia is excellentas an specimen tree for a two-story home, but would be overpowering next to a single-story ranch.

Garden accents

A well-placed garden bench at the front entrance welcomes your visitor. Garden art, boulders, sculpture, or a fountain can be added to create the perfect greeting to visitors.

Putting these ideas into action, you can begin today creating curb appeal that tells people something of your personality even before you open the door and say, ?Welcome.?

-----

Helen Yoest lives in North Carolina and writes about Gardening With Confidence. She's a garden writer, speaker, and garden coach. She's also a field editor for Better Homes and Gardens and Country Gardens magazines and serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum. You can follow Helen on Twitter and Facebook. To read more by Helen here at Diggin' It, click here.

Source: http://rss.csmonitor.com/~r/feeds/csm/~3/S5OaznGxgis/Garden-design-A-guide-to-curb-appeal

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Defense to highlight positives of Jackson doctor

Dr. Conrad Murray listens to testimony during his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)

Dr. Conrad Murray listens to testimony during his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)

Cherilyn Lee, Michael Jackson's former nurse practitioner, testifies during testimony at the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)

Dr. Conrad Murray, right, looks over at his attorney Ed Chernoff, not seen, during witness testimony at his involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)

Randy Phillips, Chief Executive of AEG Live and promoter of Michael Jackson's 'This Is It' concert tour testifies at the Conrad Murray involuntary manslaughter trial in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Murray has pleaded not guilty and faces four years in prison and the loss of his medical licenses if convicted of involuntary manslaughter in Michael Jackson's death. (AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool)

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? After weeks of hearing prosecutors and witnesses cast the physician charged in Michael Jackson's death as a bad doctor, defense attorneys will shift the case to some of Dr. Conrad Murray's positive traits as the case nears its close.

Murray's defense team plans to call up to five character witnesses Wednesday who will likely speak about the Houston-based cardiologist's care and life-saving abilities. The attorneys did not name the witnesses, but they are expected to be Murray's patients.

The flurry of character witnesses come as defense attorneys wind down their case. They told a judge Tuesday that after the character witnesses, they will only call two experts to try to counter prosecution experts who said Murray acted recklessly by giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid.

Defense attorneys could rest their case Thursday. They have already called nine witnesses, including a doctor and nurse practitioner who treated Jackson but refused his requests to help him obtain either an intravenous sleep aid or propofol.

Murray, 58, has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. He faces up to four years behind bars and the loss of his medical license if convicted.

His attorneys contend Jackson was desperate for sleep and gave himself the fatal dose of propofol when his doctor left the room. They attempted to argue that Jackson would have been indebted to concert promoter AEG Live for nearly $40 million if his shows were canceled, but a judge blocked any mention of the figure to the jury Tuesday.

Instead, jurors heard from two witnesses who knew Jackson and described their interactions with the singer in the months before his death.

Nurse Cherilyn Lee testified about trying to help Jackson gain more energy in early 2009 to prepare for rehearsals for his planned series of comeback concerts. She said the singer complained he couldn't sleep, and on Easter Sunday asked her to help him obtain Diprivan, a brand name for propofol.

Lee, at times tearful, said she initially didn't know about the drug. But after asking a doctor about it and reading a reference guide, Lee said she tried to convince Jackson it was too dangerous to use in his bedroom.

"He told me that doctors have told him it was safe," Lee testified of Jackson's request for the anesthetic. "I said no doctor is going to do this in your house."

The singer, however, insisted that he would be safe as long as someone monitored him, she said.

By Murray's own admission, he left Jackson's bedside on the morning of his death. When he returned, Jackson was unresponsive, according to his interview with police two days after Jackson's death on June 25, 2009.

The physician said he only left Jackson's bedside for two minutes, although his own attorneys have suggested it might have been longer. Phone records show Murray made or received several calls in the hour before Murray summoned help.

Lee acknowledged that she told detectives that she had told Jackson, "No one who cared or had your best interest at heart would give you this."

After refusing to help Jackson obtain propofol, she never saw the singer again.

Another defense witness, AEG Live President and CEO Randy Phillips, said Jackson appeared to have total confidence in Murray during meetings in early June, just a weeks before the "This Is It" concerts were to debut in London.

Jackson had missed some rehearsals and there were complaints from the show's choreographer that the singer didn't seem focused. A meeting was convened to discuss Jackson's health, and Murray reassured Phillips and others that the singer was healthy and would be able to perform.

"It was very obvious that Michael had great trust" in Murray, Phillips said.

Phillips said he attended Jackson's final rehearsal and was impressed.

"I had goose bumps," he said, adding that wasn't a typical reaction. "I am as cynical as you can be about this business."

After the rehearsal, Phillips said he walked Jackson to his vehicle, which was waiting to take him to the rented mansion. "He said, 'You got me here. Now I'm ready. I can take it from here,'" Phillips recounted.

By the time Jackson and security arrived at the home, Murray had already arrived at the house and was waiting to help the singer get to sleep.

___

AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report. Anthony McCartney can be reached at http://twitter.com/mccartneyAP.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/4e67281c3f754d0696fbfdee0f3f1469/Article_2011-10-26-US-Michael-Jackson-Doctor/id-921c03a151cb445397f04f11fd1855d8

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2-week old baby rescued after Turkish quake (AP)

ERCIS, Turkey ? A 2-week-old baby girl, her mother and grandmother were pulled alive from the rubble of an apartment building in a dramatic rescue Tuesday, 48 hours after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake toppled some 2,000 buildings in eastern Turkey.

Television footage showed a rescuer, Kadir Direk, in an orange jumpsuit squeezing into the hulk of crushed concrete and metal to free the baby. The infant, named Azra Karaduman, was wrapped in a blanket and handed over to a medic amid a scrum of media and applauding emergency workers.

Close to 500 aftershocks have rattled the area since Sunday, according to Turkey's Kandilli seismology center, and a moderately strong one on Tuesday, measuring 5.4, sent residents rushing into the streets.

Authorities said the death toll had jumped to 432 as rescuers in Ercis and the provincial capital, Van, raced against time to free dozens of people trapped inside mounds of concrete, twisted steel and construction debris. At least nine people were rescued on Tuesday, although many more bodies were discovered.

Authorities have warned survivors in the mainly Kurdish area not to enter damaged buildings and thousands spent a second night outdoors in cars or tents in near-freezing conditions, afraid to return to their homes. Some 1,300 people were injured.

There was still no power or running water and aid distribution was disrupted as desperate people stopped trucks even before they entered Ercis. Aid workers said they were able to find emergency housing for only about half the people who needed it.

The baby's mother, Semiha, and grandmother, Gulsaadet, were huddled together, with the baby clinging to her mother's shoulder when rescuers found them, Direk, the emergency worker, told The Associated Press. There was a bakery at the ground floor of the building, which may have kept them warm, he said.

The baby was in good health but was flown to a hospital in Ankara, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported. Hours after she was freed, the two others were pulled from the large, half-flattened building and rushed to ambulances as onlookers clapped and cheered. The mother had been semiconscious, but woke up when rescuers arrived, Direk said.

"Bringing them out is such happiness. I wouldn't be happier if they gave me tons of money," said rescuer Oytun Gulpinar.

Firefighters and rescuers ordered silence while they listened for noise from other possible survivors in the large 5-story apartment block, parts of which were being supported by a crane. Workers could not find the baby's father and there were no other signs of life in the shattered building, said Direk.

Direk was chosen to rescue the three because he was thinnest in the group and was able to squeeze through the narrow corridor that they had drilled, according to NTV television.

He chatted with the woman while trying to get her out, at one point jokingly asking her to name the baby after his own son, Cagan.

"She replied that the baby was a girl, and that she wanted her named Azra," said Direk, who traveled from the western city of Izmir.

The Hurriyet newspaper reported the family live in Sivas, central Turkey, but were visiting the girl's grandmother and grandfather.

Nine-year-old Oguz Isler was rescued along with his sister and cousin, but on Tuesday he was waiting at the foot of the same pile of debris that was his aunt's apartment block for news of his parents and of other relatives who remain buried inside.

Turkish rescue workers in bright orange overalls and Azerbaijani military rescuers in camouflage uniforms searched through the debris, using excavators, picks and shovels to look for Oguz's mother and father and other relatives still inside.

Dogs sniffed for possible survivors in gaps that opened up as their work progressed.

"They should send more people," Oguz said as he and other family members watched the rescuers. An elder cousin comforted him.

Mehmet Ali Hekimoglu, a medic, said the dogs indicated that there were three or four people inside the building, but it was not known if they were alive.

The boy, his sister and a cousin were trapped in the building's third-floor stairway as they tried to escape when the quake hit. A steel door fell over him.

"I fell on the ground face down. When I tried to move my head, it hit the door," he said. "I tried to get out and was able to open a gap with my fists in the wall but could not move my body further. The wall crumbled quickly when I hit it."

"We started shouting: 'Help! We're here,'" he said. "They found us a few hours later, they took me out about 8 1/2 hours later. ... I was OK but felt very bad, lonely. ... I still have a headache, but the doctor said I was fine."

"They took me out last because I was in good shape and the door was protecting me. I was hearing stones falling on it," the boy said.

Hundreds of rescue teams from throughout Turkey rushed to the area, while Turkish Red Crescent dispatched tents and blankets and set up soup kitchens. Some residents complained that they could not get tents and stoves for their families. The Milliyet newspaper on Tuesday reported fistfights in front of some aid trucks.

"The aid is coming in but we're not getting it. We need more police, soldiers," resident Baran Gungor said.

Tents were erected in two stadiums but many preferred to stay close to their homes for news of the missing or to keep watch on damaged buildings. Some left Van to seek shelter with friends or relatives elsewhere.

Turkish Red Crescent director Omer Tasli admitted shortfalls in sheltering all the survivors.

"We couldn't cover ... all the families," he said. "Now just maybe 50 percent of them (are) under a tent."

The government said it would set up temporary homes and would begin planning to rebuild destroyed areas with better housing. Turks across the country began sending blankets and warm clothing.

The earthquake's epicenter was the village of Tabanli but damage there was minimal; No deaths were reported and its mud-brick homes were relatively unharmed.

Turkey lies in one of the world's most active seismic zones and is crossed by numerous fault lines. In 1999, two earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 7 struck northwestern Turkey, killing about 18,000 people.

Istanbul, the country's largest city with more than 12 million people, lies in northwestern Turkey near a major fault line, and experts say tens of thousands could be killed if a major quake struck there.

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Associated Press writers Suzan Fraser in Ankara, and Christopher Torchia in Istanbul, contributed to this report.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/topstories/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111025/ap_on_re_eu/eu_turkey_quake

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