Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Hands On Health: The Healing Benefits Of Massage

Hands-On Health: The Healing Benefits of Massage

by

Nicky Pilkington

The healing power of human touch is a positive experience that many people enjoy through therapeutic massage or bodywork. The effects of a good massage go much deeper than the skin’s surface. Massage can:

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1) Help improve circulation of the blood and lower blood pressure. 2) Act as a detoxification system by propelling toxic waste products through the lymphatic system. 3) Help to improve muscle tone and prevent muscular atrophy resulting from inactivity or illness. 4) Reduce emotional stress and promote a sense of well-being. How can something as simple as this hands-on therapy have so many positive benefits? A tense or painful muscle is one which is often chronically contracted. In an acute situation such as recent injury, the muscle can be in actual spasm. This contraction or spasm decreases the flow of blood to the muscle, which leads to a decrease in the nutrient and oxygen supply to the cells of the muscle and related nerves. A chronically contracted muscle will build up lactic acid, a sign of fatigue. This oxygen shortage and lactic acid buildup irritates the nerve cells, which perpetuates the contracted muscles. Massage can help remove the lactic acid and other metabolic waste products from the cells and reverse this process, interrupting the vicious cycle of pain-spasm-pain. There are a multitude of massage styles which are beneficial, depending upon the individual’s needs and preferences. They include: Swedish Massage: this is the basic “relaxation” style of bodywork, which uses long strokes, squeezing and kneading. The Swedish practitioner helps to improve circulation by working to loosen or relax the superficial layers of muscle. This type of massage is particularly useful for muscles which are already sore from stress or a tough workout, as it is often more gentle than other styles. Sports Massage: this form of massage works on a deeper level of musculature or connective tissue. This style fits more with the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. The therapist uses slow, hard strokes and deep, sustained finger pressure to work deeply into the contracted muscles, fascia and tendons. This technique increases flexibility, encourages muscles to work at their fullest capacity, and speeds up the healing process by reducing swelling following an injury. It is especially indicated for athletes and “week-end warriors” who suffer from tight or sore muscles. Shiatsu and Acupressure: rather than being simply relaxing, this form of bodywork tends to be invigorating. Fingers, thumbs, fists and elbows are used to apply pressure to points along acupuncture meridians, which are believed to be the energy pathways of the body. The focus of this type of therapy is on relieving blocks in the pathways and rebalancing the flow of energy. Reflexology and Zone Therapy: reflexology works on the assumption that parts of the feet (as well as parts of the ears and hands) correspond to other parts of the body’s anatomy. In other words, stress or illness in a certain part of the body may show up as a painful or sensitive area on a specific area of the foot. Reflexologists apply pressure to the side, top or bottom of the feet to help reduce dysfunction in other parts of the body. Not all techniques work for everyone, so make sure to inquire about the philosophy and style of the massage therapist you call. If your massage isn’t as satisfying as you had hoped, don’t give up. Try another therapist! Massage therapy schools are a cost-effective way to test out different styles of massage; senior students generally work for lower fees while they complete their internship. There are a few conditions in which massage would not be a good option, such as marked inflammation, fever, significant swelling or very severe pain. But for the garden variety aches and pains that most of us experience, as well as for the general stresses of life, massage is an outstanding way to treat ourselves to a positive, revitalizing experience.

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Ozzy Osbourne’s personal possessions fetch $800,000 for charity

Sunday, December 2, 2007

American heavy metal performer Ozzy Osbourne, who became famous as the lead vocalist for Black Sabbath and later as a solo act, has raised more than US$800,000 for The Sharon Osbourne Colon Cancer Program, founded by his spouse Sharon Osbourne at the Cedars Sinai Hospital, by auctioning off personal items.

A number of the items that he auctioned off over the two day period have been seen on his reality TV show The Osbournes, which featured home life with Sharon, Ozzy and their two children. Amongst some of the higher-priced items were a carved walnut Victorian-style custom built pool table which raised $11,250, a painting from Edourad Drouot which fetched $10,500, a pair of Ozzy’s famous round glasses which raised $5,250 and a dog bed given to Sharon by Elton John which sold for $2,375.

Some more famous items were also amongst the 500 lots offered. Ozzy’s black satin coat, complete with bat-wing cape, raised $3,300 and a hand-painted floral cup used regularly on The Osbournes made $1,625. A bronze plaque of a demon’s head that was regularly seen in its position adorning the front door of their house had been expected to go for $800 to $1,200instead raised $8,750. A wire model of the Eiffel Tower from on the kitchen table sold for $10,000, while skull-covered trainers Ozzy had worn reached $2,625. Bidders came from as far away as Germany to buy what they could from his mansion in Beverly Hills, California.

However, three cars included in the auction failed to attract bidders and did not sell. They were a 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, estimated at $160,000 to $180,000, a 2005 Cadillac CTS-V sedan estimated at $30,000 to $40,000 and a 1950 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88 Club Coupe previously owned by author Danielle Steel estimated at $40,000 to $50,000. Sharon had earlier said of the cars “We’re not great car people. They really don’t do a lot for us.

Darren Julien, president of Julien’s Auctions, which organised the two-day sale, said “It did very well. It raised some good money for a very worthy cause.”

“For a celebrity garage sale, it was pretty spectacular.,” he went on. He also commented on the fact that there was fierce competition for the many artworks included. “We had Ozzy fans bidding against these sophisticated fine art buyers, which you don’t see every day. For the most part the metalheads were outbidding the art crowd.”

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Death sentences in 2008 Chinese tainted milk scandal

Monday, January 26, 2009

On Thursday, the municipal intermediate people’s court in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China pronounced sentences for 21 defendants implicated in the 2008 Chinese milk scandal which killed at least six infants and sickened nearly 300,000 others.

In the local court’s decision, 17 accused were indicted for the crimes of “producing, adding melamine-laced ‘protein powder’ to infant milk or selling tainted, fake and substandard milk to Sanlu Group or 21 other dairy companies, including six who were charged with the crime of endangering public security by dangerous means.” Four other courts in Wuji County, in Hebei, China had also tried cases on the milk scandal.

Zhang Yujun, age 40, of Quzhou County (Hebei), who produced and sold melamine-laced “protein powder” in the milk scandal, was convicted of endangering public security and sentenced to death by the Shijiazhuang intermediate people’s court.

The court also imposed the penalty of death upon Geng Jinping, who added 434 kg of melamine-laced powder to about 900 tons of fresh milk to artificially increase the protein content. He sold the tainted milk to Sanlu and some other dairy companies. His brother Geng Jinzhu was sentenced to eight years imprisonment for assisting in adding the melamine.

A suspended capital punishment sentence, pending a review, with two years probation, was handed down to Gao Junjie. Under the law, a suspended death sentence is equivalent to life imprisonment with good behavior. The court ruled that Gao designed more than 70 tons of melamine-tainted “protein powder” in a Zhengding County underground factory near Shijiazhuang. His wife Xiao Yu who assisted him, was also sentenced to five years imprisonment.

Sanlu Group General Manager Tian Wenhua, 66, a native of Nangang Village in Zhengding County, who was charged under Articles 144 and 150 of the criminal code, was sentenced to life imprisonment for producing and selling fake or substandard products. She was also fined 20 million yuan (US$2.92 million) while Sanlu, which has been declared bankrupt, was fined 49.37 million yuan ($7.3 million).

Tian Wenhua plans to appeal the guilty verdict on grounds of lack of evidence, said her lawyer Liang Zikai on Saturday. Tian testified last month during her trial that she decided not to stop production of the tainted milk products because a Fonterra designated board member handed her a document which states that a maximum of 20 mg of melamine was allowed in every kg of milk in the European Union. Liang opined that Tian should instead be charged with “liability in a major accident,” which is punishable by up to seven years imprisonment, instead of manufacturing and selling fake or substandard products.

According to Zhang Deli, chief procurator of the Hebei Provincial People’s Procuratorate, Chinese police have arrested another 39 people in connection with the scandal. Authorities last year also arrested 12 milk dealers and suppliers who allegedly sold contaminated milk to Sanlu, and six people were charged with selling melamine.

In late December, 17 people involved in producing, selling, buying and adding melamine to raw milk went on trial. Tian Wenhua and three other Sanlu executives appeared in court in Shijiazhuang, charged with producing and selling fake or substandard milk contaminated with melamine. Tian pleaded guilty, and told the court during her 14-hour December 31 trial that she learned about the tainted milk complaints and problems with her company’s BeiBei milk powder from consumer complaints in mid-May.

She then apparently led a working team to handle the case, but her company did not stop producing and selling formula until about September 11. She also did not report to the Shijiazhuang city government until August 2.

The court also sentenced Zhang Yanzhang, 20, to the lesser penalty of life imprisonment. Yanzhang worked with Zhang Yujun, buying and reselling the protein powder. The convicts were deprived of their political rights for life.

Xue Jianzhong, owner of an industrial chemical shop, and Zhang Yanjun were punished with life imprisonment and 15 years jail sentence respectively. The court found them responsible for employment of workers to produce about 200 tons of the tainted infant milk formula, and selling supplies to Sanlu, earning more than one million yuan.

“From October 2007 to August 2008, Zhang Yujun produced 775.6 tons of ‘protein powder’ that contained the toxic chemical of melamine, and sold more than 600 tons of it with a total value of 6.83 million yuan [$998,000]. He sold 230 tons of the “protein powder” to Zhang Yanzhang, who will stay behind bars for the rest of his life under the same charge. Both Zhangs were ‘fully aware of the harm of melamine’ while they produced and sold the chemical, and should be charged for endangering the public security,” the Court ruled.

Geng Jinping, a suspect charged with producing and selling poisonous food in the tainted milk scandal, knelt before the court, begging for victims’ forgiveness

The local court also imposed jail sentences of between five years and 15 years upon three top Sanlu executives. Wang Yuliang and Hang Zhiqi, both former deputy general managers, and Wu Jusheng, a former raw milk department manager, were respectively sentenced to 15 years, eight years and five years imprisonment. In addition, the court directed Wang to pay multi-million dollar fines. In December, Wang Yuliang had appeared at the Shijiazhuang local court in a wheelchair, after what the Chinese state-controlled media said was a failed suicide attempt.

The judgment also states “the infant milk powder was then resold to private milk collectors in Shijiazhuang, Tangsan, Xingtai and Zhangjiakou in Hebei.” Some collectors added it to raw milk to elevate apparent protein levels, and the milk was then resold to Sanlu Group.

“The Chinese government authorities have been paying great attention to food safety and product quality,” Yu Jiang Yu, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said. “After the case broke out, the Chinese government strengthened rules and regulations and took a lot of other measures to strengthen regulations and monitor food safety,” she added.

In the People’s Republic of China, the intermediate people’s court is the second lowest local people’s court. Under the Organic Law of the People’s Courts of the People’s Republic of China, it has jurisdiction over important local cases in the first instance and hear appeal cases from the basic people’s court.

The 2008 Chinese milk scandal was a food safety incident in China involving milk and infant formula, and other food materials and components, which had been adulterated with melamine. In November 2008, the Chinese government reported an estimated 300,000 victims have suffered; six infants have died from kidney stones and other acute renal infections, while 860 babies were hospitalized.

Melamine is normally used to make plastics, fertilizer, coatings and laminates, wood adhesives, fabric coatings, ceiling tiles and flame retardants. It was added by the accused to infant milk powder, making it appear to have a higher protein content. In 2004, a watered-down milk resulted in 13 Chinese infant deaths from malnutrition.

The tainted milk scandal hit the headlines on 16 July, after sixteen babies in Gansu Province who had been fed on milk powder produced by Shijiazhuang-based Sanlu Group were diagnosed with kidney stones. Sanlu is 43% owned by New Zealand’s Fonterra. After the initial probe on Sanlu, government authorities confirmed the health problem existed to a lesser degree in products from 21 other companies, including Mengniu, Yili, and Yashili.

From August 2 to September 12 last year Sanlu produced 904 tonnes of melamine-tainted infant milk powder. It sold 813 tonnes of the fake or substandard products, making 47.5 million yuan ($13.25 million). In December, Xinhua reported that the Ministry of Health confirmed 290,000 victims, including 51,900 hospitalized. It further acknowledged reports of “11 suspected deaths from melamine contaminated milk powder from provinces, but officially confirmed 3 deaths.”

Sanlu Group which filed a bankruptcy petition, that was accepted by the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People’s Court last month, and the other 21 dairy companies, have proposed a 1.1 billion yuan ($160 million) compensation plan for court settlement. The court appointed receiver was granted six months to conclude the sale of Sanlu’s assets for distribution to creditors. The 22 dairy companies offered “families whose children died would receive 200,000 yuan ($29,000), while others would receive 30,000 yuan ($4,380) for serious cases of kidney stones and 2,000 yuan ($290) for less severe cases.”

Sanlu stopped production on September 12 amid huge debts estimated at 1.1 billion yuan. On December 19, the company borrowed 902 million yuan for medical and compensation payment to victims of the scandal. On January 16, Sanlu paid compensation of 200,000 yuan (29,247 U.S. dollars) to Yi Yongsheng and Jiao Hongfang, Gangu County villagers, the parents of the first baby who died.

“Children under three years old, who had drunk tainted milk and had disease symptoms could still come to local hospitals for check-ups, and would receive free treatment if diagnosed with stones in the urinary system,” said Mao Qun’an, spokesman of the Ministry of Health on Thursday, adding that “the nationwide screening for sickened children has basically come to an end.”

“As of Thursday, about 90% of families of 262,662 children who were sickened after drinking the melamine-contaminated milk products had signed compensation agreements with involved enterprises and accepted compensation,” the China Dairy Industry Association said Friday, without revealing, however, the amount of damages paid. The Association (CDIA) also created a fund for payment of the medical bills for the sickened babies until they reach the age of 18.

Chinese data shows that those parents who signed the state-backed compensation deal include the families of six children officially confirmed dead, and all but two of 891 made seriously ill, the report said. Families of 23,651 children made ill by melamine tainted milk, however, have not received the compensation offer, because of “wrong or untrue” registration details, said Xinhua.

Several Chinese parents, however, demanded higher levels of damages from the government. Zhao Lianhai announced Friday that he and three other parents were filing a petition to the Ministry of Health. The letter calls for “free medical care and follow-up services for all victims, reimbursement for treatment already paid for, and further research into the long-term health effects of melamine among other demands,” the petition duly signed by some 550 aggrieved parents and Zhao states.

“Children are the future of every family, and moreover, they are the future of this country. As consumers, we have been greatly damaged,” the petition alleged. Chinese investigators also confirmed the presence of melamine in nearly 70 milk products from more than 20 companies, quality control official Li Changjiang admitted.

In addition, a group of Chinese lawyers, led by administrator Lin Zheng, filed Tuesday a $5.2 million lawsuit with the Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China (under Chief Grand Justice Wang Shengjunin), in Beijing, on behalf of the families of 213 children’s families. The class-action product liability case against 22 dairy companies, include the largest case seeking $73,000 compensation for a dead child.

According to a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange Market Friday, China’s Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Company, which has a domestic market share of milk powder at 8 percent, reported a net loss in 2008 because of the milk scandal. A Morgan Stanley report states the expected company’s 2008 loss at 2.3 billion yuan. The scandal also affected Yili’s domestic rivals China Mengniu Dairy Company Limited and the Bright Group. Mengniu suffered an expected net loss of 900 million yuan despite earnings in the first half of 2008, while the Bright Group posted a third quarter loss at 271 million yuan last year.

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra, said Saturday it accepted the Chinese court’s guilty verdicts but alleged it had no knowledge of the criminal actions taken by those involved. “We accept the court’s findings but Fonterra supports the New Zealand Government’s position on the death penalty. We have been shocked and disturbed by the information that has come to hand as a result of the judicial process,” said Fonterra Chief Executive Andrew Ferrier.

“Fonterra deeply regrets the harm and pain this tragedy has caused so many Chinese families,” he added. “We certainly would never have approved of these actions. I am appalled that the four individuals deliberately released product containing melamine. These actions were never reported to the Sanlu Board and fundamentally go against the ethics and values of Fonterra,” Ferrier noted.

Fonterra, which controls more than 95 percent of New Zealand’s milk supply, is the nation’ biggest multinational business, its second-biggest foreign currency earner and accounts for more than 24 percent of the nation’s exports. Fonterra was legally responsible for informing Chinese health authorities of the tainted milk scandal in August, and by December it had written off its $200 million investment in Sanlu Group.

Amnesty International also strongly voiced its opposition to the imposition of capital punishment by the Chinese local court and raised concerns about New Zealand’s implication in the milk scandal. “The death penalty will not put right the immense suffering caused by these men. The death penalty is the ultimate, cruel and inhumane punishment and New Zealand must take a stand to prevent further abuses of human rights.” AI New Zealand chief executive Patrick Holmes said on Saturday.

“The New Zealand government does not condone the death sentence but we respect their right to take a very serious attitude to what was extremely serious offending,” said John Phillip Key, the 38th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and leader of the National Party. He criticized Fonterra’s response Monday, saying, “Fonterra did not have control of the vertical production chain, in other words they were making the milk powder not the supply of the milk, so it was a difficult position and they did not know until quite late in the piece. Nevertheless they probably could front more for this sort of thing.”

Keith Locke, current New Zealand MP, and the opposition Green Party foreign affairs spokesman, who was first elected to parliament in 1999 called on the government and Fonterra to respond strongly against the Chinese verdict. “They show the harshness of the regime towards anyone who embarrasses it, whether they are real criminals, whistleblowers or dissenters,” he said. “Many Chinese knew the milk was being contaminated but said nothing for fear of repercussions from those in authority. Fonterra could not get any action from local officials when it first discovered the contamination. There was only movement, some time later, when the matter became public,” he noted.

Green Party explained “it is time Fonterra drops its overly cautious act.” The party, however, stressed the death penalty is not a answer to the problems which created the Chinese milk scandal. “The Green Party is totally opposed to the death penalty. We would like to see the government and, indeed, Fonterra, speaking out and urging the Chinese government to stop the death penalty,” said Green Party MP Sue Kedgley.

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U.S. Senator calls for nationwide investigation into Army recruitment tactics

Saturday, May 14, 2005

U.S. Senator Wayne Allard (RColorado), in a letter to Army Secretary Francis Harvey, said that the secretary of the Army should launch a nationwide investigation into reports that some Army recruiters engaged in questionable recruiting tactics. In the letter Allard wrote that “according to these reports, the rules weren’t just bent, they were broken and tossed away.”

One of the reports the Senator is referring to is the attempted recruitment of David McSwane, a 17 year old editor of a high school newspaper in Golden, Colorado. McSwane posed as a high school dropout, with a drug problem that he was “unable to kick”. Then he recorded, on audio tape, conversations allegedly showing that the recruiters told him how to obtain a phony diploma on the Internet and what medication to buy to cover up the drug problem. A friend of McSwane’s also video-taped a recruiter taking McSwain to a store to buy a “detox” medication to help him pass the army physical. David said he was told by the recruiter to buy the product.

A voice on the audio tape is heard saying, “You just have to follow instructions to a tee. It has got like a 150 percent guarantee that you will pass. You know, I’ve seen it work before.”

“If I were a soldier out on the front line, I wouldn’t want someone next to me who my life could be depending on going through withdrawal or having a drug addiction or just being someone I can’t trust. I just don’t think that’s something we need on our front lines,” David McSwane said on CNN.

His mother, concerned that people may think he was being unpatriotic by setting up the “sting” operation said: “He’s probably one of the most patriotic kids I know. He was in the Young Marines for almost a year and earned a couple (of) awards.”

Major General Michael Rochelle, the general in charge of recruiting for the U.S. Army responded to the allegations and tapes. “I was disappointed by it,” Rochelle said. “I was very disappointed by it.” He is shutting down recruiting offices for 1 day to review their procedures.

Jim Massey, a former Marine recruiter, expanded the accusations by saying the same fraudulent recruitment practices existed in the United States Marines Corps.

“This isn’t just an isolated incident,” Massey said. “This is a widespread epidemic. I would say 98 percent [of the recruits Massey enlisted] were frauded into the military.”

The Army has suspended two recruiters in Golden, Colorado.

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Some Tips On Getting And Keeping A Lush Green Lawn

By Luis Sanchez

You’ve just pulled into your host’s driveway and as you get out of the car you notice how beautiful the lawn looks and wonder why you can’t get yours to look the same. You water, feed and spray for pests, yet your lawn looks more like Charlie Brown’s lawn, instead of the lawn you’re looking at right now.

Well, I am here to tell you that you can definitely upgrade the appearance of your lawn. If you just follow a few simple steps and keep on treating your lawn with the same care you are now, then in a few weeks time, people will be looking at your lawn and wondering how you did it!

1. The most important and most overlooked step is to make sure your soil is in good shape. Once a year test the ph of your soil and make sure it falls between 6.5 and 7.0, because it has been determined that grass grown in slightly acidic soil is best able to absorb nutrients. (Soil that is too acidic can be “sweetened” with lime; soil that’s not acid enough can be made more “sour” by adding sulfur.)

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2. Also, once a year, have your lawn aerated if you feel that it’s too firm or compacted. Soil that is loose enough to permit water and nutrients to filter down to the lawn’s root system will help give you a healthier lawn.

3. Your lawn needs to be fed the proper mix of nutrients, but avoid the weed and feed type of fertilizers. Find a slow release fertilizer that’s made for your type of grass, and use it once or twice a year. Apply it per the directions on the bag, but don’t use it when you expect a heavy rainfall, since that will mean money and pollution down the drain.

4. Mow your lawn before it gets to be overgrown, and take off no more than one third of the leaf height. Keeping your leaf blades between 2 and 3 inches high will allow more sunlight top be taken in. This enables it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system, which in turn helps the grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage, and fend off diseases. Longer grass also shades the soil surface keeping it cooler, helping it retain moisture, and making it difficult for weeds to germinate and grow. Also use a mulching mower which creates smaller clippings and leave the clippings on the lawn. Don’t bag it!

5. Water deeply but not too often. The best rule is to water only when the lawn begins to wilt from dryness – when the color dulls and footprints stay compressed for more than a few seconds. It’s also best to water in the early morning, especially during hot summer months, to reduce evaporation. Apply about an inch of water – enough that it soaks 6-8 inches into the soil.

6. Be realistic! Why fight a losing battle with your lawn? Grass sometimes will not grow in certain areas so why not just place some dry-garden landscaping into that area, wood chips, or even some shade loving ornamentals? You don’t have to have a putting-green perfect lawn. Besides those plants in your small landscaped area can also be a focal point for the lawn, making a better overall impression to your visitors.

See, its not too hard to have a great looking lawn. Just remember not to over-fertilize and use the slow release type, water infrequently but deeply, and leave the clippings on the lawn and before you know it people will be looking at your lawn with envy!

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Iraqi restaurant hit by suicide bomber

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A suicide bombing in Iraq has killed at least 55 people and injured at least 120 more, according to local police.The suicide bomber struck at a restaurant located about 2 miles north of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk on Thursday morning. The Abdullah restaurant, where the explosion took place, is popular among Kurdish officials. The attack comes on the Muslim religious holiday Eid al-Adha, known in English as the “Festival of Sacrifice”.

At the time the restaurant was struck, it was full of families marking the final day of Eid. Five women and three children were among the dead.

Kirkuk is the scene of ongoing ethnic tensions, although the reasons for this attack in particular are currently unknown.

Salam Abdullah, 45, was one of the people in the restaurant at the time of the attack. “I held my wife and led her outside the place. As we were leaving, I saw dead bodies soaked with blood and huge destruction,” he stated, commenting on his experiences. “We waited outside the restaurant for some minutes. Then an ambulance took us to the hospital.”

Awad al-Jubouri, who was injured in the incident, condemned the bombers. “I do not know how a group like al-Qaida claiming to be Islamic plans to attack and kill people on sacred days like Eid. We were only meeting to discuss our problems with the Kurds and trying to impose peace among Muslims in Kirkuk.” Jubouri is a tribal leader, who was attending a lunch that was intended to precede a meeting discussing was to lessen tensions between local communities.

Last July, an affiliated restaurant of the same name was the site of a suicide bombing which claimed the lives of six and wounded twenty five.

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Most complete dinosaur from Britain goes on display

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bristol, United Kingdom —The most complete dinosaur to be found in the United Kingdom has recently been put on public display. The scelidosaurus dinosaur was discovered on the Dorset coast, from which it was moved to Bristol City Museum & Art Gallery for public display. The director of Geology for the museum said, before the display was opened to the public, that “this is certainly a coup for Bristol.” He then said that the museum was “pleased to have these outstanding specimens, [as] they are the best-preserved dinosaur remains ever found in England.”

Large numbers of people have visited the museum in the last few days to see the dinosaur, which is believed to have died in a flood. The remains of the dinosaur’s final meal are visible near the neck of the animal.

The children of the dinosaur were also recovered in Dorset, and they have been included in the display at the Bristol museum.

The scelidosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived in the Jurassic period, almost 200 million years ago.

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The Tourist Attractions Of Switzerland!

Submitted by: Roger Smiths

There is good reason why Switzerland is fondly called Paradise on Earth. You can only know what we re talking about when you visit this beautiful country. The mesmerizing beauty of the place attracts people in love all the time. It is almost a celebration of love. Zermatt is a ski resort that attracts tourists from around the world. It is at the foot of the most famous peak of the Swiss Alps, the Matterhorn. Everything from the amazing Snowy Alps, the picturesque villages, the rivers filled with music, gorgeous valleys, breathtaking landscapes, adventurous trekking trails, the out-of-this-world weather, all come together to tingle your senses and make you forget everything else but the heavenly beauty of the surroundings.

It is this beauty that lures people in love to spend intimate moments among such divinity. Thousands of people from all over the world visit Switzerland to enjoy the beauty of the place. It goes without saying that this is the place that honeymooners choose, as long as they can afford it.

Countries like France, Italy, Germany and Austria surround Switzerland. It is not a big place, but it certainly is one of the richest in the world. Apart from enjoying the beauty of the place, there are a few place you would have to visit while there.

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The Chillon Castle: One of the most famous castles in Switzerland, the Chillon Castle on Lake Geneva, is from the 11th century and consists of 100 buildings. You may be able to spend the night in a tent there, but it is a must-visit. This is the only national park in Switzerland and covers almost half of the country s area. This is where the former Savoy nobility lived. It offers a great view of the lakes and beyond.

Zermatt: Zermatt is a ski resort that attracts tourists from around the world. It is at the foot of the most famous peak of the Swiss Alps, the Matterhorn. It is a must visit even for people who do not ski. Just relax in a restaurant or shop around in the exotic surroundings.

Geneva Jet D eau: This is the world s tallest fountain and is 140 meters high. Having been built in 1891, this fountain has come to be the symbol of the city of Geneva. If you re visiting Geneva, you would want to see other places like the museums too, and the most famous is the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.

Swiss National Park: This park offers outstanding views of the Alps as you hike there. You may be able to spend the night in a tent there, but it is a must-visit. This is the only national park in Switzerland and covers almost half of the country s area. It is home for various wildlife, such as marmots and eagles.

Swiss Transport Museum: If you love automobiles and the like, then you have to make time to visit the Swiss Transport Museum, where you ll find different locomotives, aircrafts, automobiles, ships and all other modes of transportation and communication exhibited. Love art? You will find Hans Erni, the Swiss painter and sculptor in his works exhibited here.

Switzerland has a lot to offer and when you re there, while you can t help admiring the beauty of the place, try and concentrate on the rich culture of the country. You will be amazed at the diversity you find there.

About the Author: Roger Smith is a professional writer who has written several articles on Top Tourist Attractions. You can check out his articles at

toptouristattraction.com

Source:

isnare.com

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isnare.com/?aid=1725992&ca=Travel

US airlines Delta and Northwest agree to merge

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Rival United States airlines Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced today that they have agreed to merge. The new airline, which will use the Delta name, will be the largest commercial airline in the world.

Technically, Delta will be buying Northwest in a roughly US$3 billion deal. Northwest shareholders will receive 1.25 shares of Delta for each share of Northwest. Based on Monday’s closing prices on the New York Stock Exhange this represents a 17% premium for Northwest shareholders.

Richard Anderson, the Delta chief executive officer who will also head the new company, said: “We said we would only enter into a consolidation transaction if it was right for all of our constituencies; Delta and Northwest are a perfect fit. Today, we’re announcing a transaction that is about addition, not subtraction, and combines end-to-end networks that open a world of opportunities for our customers and employees. We believe by partnering with our employees, including providing equity to U.S.-based employees of Delta and Northwest, this combination is off to the right start.”

The combined company would have $35 billion in annual revenue and approximately 75,000 employees. The deal does have to receive regulatory approval. “We will look at the competitive effects of the transaction and how it would affect consumers,” said Gina Talanoma, a spokesperson for the United States Department of Justice.

Airline industry consultant Robert Mann told Reuters, “It’s a very optimistic view on an industry that’s been very dismal for the last couple of weeks.”

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