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Thursday, June 2, 2011


LONDON – An entirely new super-toxic bug is causing the frightening food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least 1,600 people and killed 18, researchers and global health officials said Thursday.
The DNA of the new E. coli strain, believed to have contaminated salad vegetables, was analyzed by Chinese and German scientists. It contains several genes that cause antibiotic resistance and is similar to a strain that causes serious diarrhea and is found in the Central African Republic, according to a statement from the Shenzhen, China-based laboratory, BGI. Those scientists were working together with the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.
"This is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before," Hilde Kruse, a food safety expert at the World Health Organization, told The Associated Press. The new strain has "various characteristics that make it more virulent and toxin-producing" than the many E. coli strains people naturally carry in their intestines.
Preliminary genetic sequencing suggests the strain is a never before seen combination of two different E. coli bacteria, with aggressive genes that could explain why the outbreak appears to be so massive and dangerous, the agency said.
Researchers have so far been unable to pinpoint the food source of the illness, which has now spread to at least 10 European countries and fanned uncertainty about eating tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce. The germ has caused 499 to develop a kidney failure complication. Germany is hardest hit.
Fearful of the outbreak spreading east to Russia, the country extended a ban on vegetables to the entire European Union from just Germany and Spain, a move the bloc quickly called disproportionate.
Kruse said it's not uncommon for bacteria to continually mutate, evolving and swapping genes. It is difficult to explain where the new strain came from, she said, but strains of bacteria from both humans and animals easily trade genes, similar to how animal viruses like Ebola sometimes jump into humans.
"One should think of an animal source," Kruse said. "Many animals are hosts of various types of toxin-producing E. coli." Some scientists suspect the deadly E. coli might have originated in contaminated manure used to fertilize vegetables.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flashback: Obama: U.S. Involvement in Libya Action Would Last 'Days, Not Weeks'

President Obama told a bipartisan group of members of Congress today that he expects the U.S. would be actively involved in any military action against Libya for "days, not weeks," after which he said the U.S. would take more of a supporting role, sources tell ABC News.
The White House meeting with 18 lawmakers came as Obama delivered an ultimatum to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he must immediately implement a ceasefire in all parts of Libya and allow international humanitarian assistance, or risk military action against his regime.
"Moammar Gadhafi has a choice. The [U.N.] resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a ceasefire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop," the president said today. "Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya."
"These terms are not subject to negotiation," Obama said. "If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences and the resolution will be enforced through military action."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Liger cubs nursed by dog in China's Xixiakou Zoo

                        Dog nurses two liger cubs in Weihai, China (19 May 2011)

Four cubs were born at the Xixiakou Wildlife Zoo earlier this month but only two survived.
The mother stopped feeding the cubs after a few days so the dog, which had recently had its own puppies, was enlisted to help.
Ligers are extremely rare and are thought to only be born in captivity.
Zoo spokesman Cong Wen said it was not clear why the tiger had stopped feeding her cubs, the Associated Press reports.
But she said that after some initial problems, the pair were feeding well from their canine stepmother.
Although they are a different species, tigers and lions are able to breed together.
Ligers are the largest known cat, usually growing much larger than either parent.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Pile of debt would stretch beyond stratosphere!

President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high.
                 The National Debt Clock, which displays the current United States gross national debt and each American family's share, hangs on a wall next to an office for the Internal Revenue Service near Times Square, in New York, May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Chip East
That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.
In $1 bills, the pile would reach to the moon and back twice.
The United States hit its legal borrowing limit on Monday, and the Treasury Department has said the U.S. Congress must raise the debt ceiling by August 2 to avoid a default.
The White House is trying to hammer out a deal with lawmakers to cut federal spending in exchange for a debt-limit increase.
Most people have trouble conceptualizing $14.3 trillion.
Stan Collender, a budget expert at Qorvis Communications, said the biggest sum most Americans have ever handled -- in real or play money -- is the $15,140 in the original, standard Monopoly board game.
The United States borrows about 185 times that amount each minute

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Broadcaster silent as "Judgment Day" hours tick by ..


With no sign of Judgment Day arriving as he had forecast, the 89-year-old California evangelical broadcaster and former civil engineer behind the pronouncement seemed to have gone silent on Saturday.
Family Radio, the Christian stations network headed by Harold Camping which had spread his message of an approaching doomsday, was playing recorded church music, devotionals and life advice unrelated to the apocalypse.
Camping previously made a failed prediction Jesus Christ would return to Earth in 1994.
In his latest pronouncement, he had said doomsday would begin in Asia, but with midnight local time come and gone in Tokyo and Beijing and those cities already in the early hours of May 22, there was no indication of an apocalypse.
The Oakland, California, headquarters of the network of 66 U.S. stations was shuttered with a sign in the door that read "This Office is Closed. Sorry we missed you!"
Family Radio officials, with the help of supporters, had posted over 2,000 billboards around the country warning of a May 21 Judgment Day.
The headquarters, which appears to be normally closed on Saturday, was also shuttered on Friday.
Camping, whose deep sonorous voice is frequently heard on his radio network expounding the Bible, could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Woman pulls sword at Pizza Hut

Police say a woman involved in an argument at a Louisville Pizza Hut raised the stakes considerably when she tried to pull a sword.
It happened Thursday night, shortly after 9 p.m. at the Pizza Hut on 7th St. Rd., near Dixie Hwy.
According to an arrest report, police were called to the restaurant after they received reports that 29-year-old Wynika Mason was "causing trouble." When they got there, she allegedly began yelling at the officers.
An employee told the officers that, shortly before they arrived, Mason began yelling at him and told him that she had a sword on her person. The employee said that Mason, "began to raise it out of the sheath" when her brother seized it from her and put it in their vehicle outside.
Police say Mason told them that she did indeed have a sword and it was still in the vehicle. Officers recovered the sword, according to the arrest report.
Officers say customers and employees were both inside the Pizza Hut when the events occurred, and that the employees, "felt threatened by her behavior."
Mason was charged with disorderly conduct and menacing.

(Wynika Mason)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

7-Year-Old Gave Heroin To Classmates!

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Police are investigating after a teacher found bags of heroin in the backpack of a 7-year-old student.
The incident happened at Quentin Roosevelt Elementary School in Carrick. The school houses grades pre-K to 5.
Sources say the 7-year-old kindergarten student cut his finger with a razor blade. His teacher started questioning him and discovered 18 suspected heroin stamp bags in his backpack and locker.
Pittsburgh Police brought a drug-sniffing dog into the school Wednesday afternoon to search for heroin that might still be inside the building. No additional drugs were found.
(Credit: KDKA)
Police sources say the boy told them he got the drugs from his father’s bedroom. Police searched the boy’s home, but did not find any drugs. The boy also said he gave heroin to three of his friends.
It’s unclear if he gave out the drugs on the school bus or in the school building or both.
This is crazy!!