Sunday, May 18, 2008

Overnight - a roundup of news items that you might have missed

Obesity threatens a generation American kids are fatter than they have ever been before and as a result of that epidemic of obesity, they are suffering from diseases that used to be thought of as diseases of middle and later adulthood. New studies reveal that being overweight at a young age is far more destructive to overall health than adding extra pounds later in life. Obesity in youth seems to compromise every single organ system and severe damage appears to be irreversible...Doctors are seeing confirmation of this daily: boys and girls in elementary school suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and painful joint conditions; a soaring incidence of type 2 diabetes, once a rarity in pediatricians' offices; even a spike in child gallstones, also once a singularly adult affliction. Minority youth are most severely affected, because so many are pushing the scales into the most dangerous territory....with one-third of all American kids overweight, the future looks grim - productivity will be compromised, while healthcare costs spiral. "There's a huge burden of disease that we can anticipate from the growing obesity in kids," said William H. Dietz, director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is a wave that is just moving through the population."

Disease and infection poised to unleash a second wave of devastation on survivors of Chinese quake As the official death toll hovers near at 34,500, with the expectation that it will rise to 50,000, doctors treating the survivors are confronting a stark reality... survivors are facing conditions that still threaten their lives. Deep infections and waterborne diseases are the latest threat, as the rescue workers shift from rescue to recovery efforts. The World Health Organization is warning that water, adequate food and proper sanitation must be available at the camps that have been set up for suddenly-homeless survivors. Chinese authorities say that no disease outbreaks have occurred to date, but the conditions are favorable, and the danger in the area of the quake persists. Three people were killed in a 6.0 magnitude aftershock on Sunday in the city of Jiangyou.

Microsoft really wants a piece of Yahoo! On Sunday Microsoft announced a new offer to acquire a piece of Yahho!'s advertising business but that would not constitute a complete takeover. In the statement, Microsoft said it was “considering and has raised with Yahoo an alternative that would involve a transaction with Yahoo but not an acquisition of all of Yahoo,” but provided no further details. People close to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity said that the new round of talks centers on a partnership or joint venture for search-related advertising to compete with Google. Yahoo! has been under fire from shareholders for letting the previous takeover attempt fizzle, and last week, Carl C. Icahn launched a proxy contest to replace Yahoo’s entire board, saying the directors had “acted irrationally and lost the faith of shareholders.” In todays statement, Microsoft denied that another takeover bid was in the offing, but hinted that in the future that could change. “Microsoft is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative depending on future developments and discussions that may take place with Yahoo or discussions with shareholders of Yahoo or Microsoft or with other third parties,” the company said.

Speaking of Microsoft...Microsoft has finally been persuaded to join the One Laptop per Child educational effort by allowing the Windows operating system to be installed on the computers. Microsoft had previously resisted participation in the project because the computers used Linux, an open-source OS that is a free alternative to Windows. The small, rugged laptops designed for use by children in developing nations have been lauded as a breakthrough program, but governments and education ministries, the entities that purchase the units for distribution to students, have been reluctant to purchase the laptops because they don't have Windows operating systems. They insist that they want Windows on the units because Windows is the dominant OS and would offer the children who learn it future employment possibilities.

The leader of the ruling junta in Burma/Myanmar finally made a trip to a refugee camp where he patted babies on the head and shook hands with survivors. The cyclone that has killed tens of thousands of that countries citizens. Criticism has mounted as the junta has failed to respond to the needs of the people, and Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the U.N. announced that he would travel to the affected area next week after the generals who rule the country rebuffed U.N. efforts to discuss the situation and offer assistance.

McCain turns to der Party for financing in the face of the Obama money machine that rolls on and on and on, while his own fundraising is anemic at best. But it is a catch 22 - using party money means using money raised with the help of aWol, but McSame is trying to distance himself from the current occupant who has zero support outside the lunatic fringe.

This joke is so not funny There is a joke going around Saudi Arabian right now that asks, "what is Riyadh's preferred price for a barrel of oil at the end of each of the next five years?" The answer is "$100, $100, $100, $10 and $100." The reason it is supposed to be "funny" is the ten dollar answer: If oil prices don't collapse every now and then, alternative energy might actually emerge to compete. But so long as prices collapse at intervals, the companies developing alternatives are effectively bankrupted, and then prices rebound and they laugh all the way to the bank again, after the competition is eliminated.

I'm sure they will get right on fulfilling his wish list because he leads by such stellar example. After his outrageous behavior in Israel, Bush left a long to-do list with Arab leaders in the neighboring nations. He also reiterated his delusional insistence that he can do what presidents with actual diplomatic skills have failed to achieve - bring about a Palestinian state.

Japan offers Africa a $10 Billion aid package to Africa
to help battle climate change. The formal announcement and details will be unveiled on May 28th during the opening ceremonies for the Tokyo International Conference on African Development that will be held in Yokohama at the end of the month.

Ted Kennedy remains hospitalized, undergoing testing to try to determine the etiology of the two seizures that caused the Senator to be airlifted to a hospital in Boston. We want to take a moment to remind everyone that roughly half of all seizures are isolated incidents and no causation is ever diagnosed.

Soldier who desecrated Koran removed from Iraq The U.S. military in Iraq continued to move quickly to defuse potential backlash among Iraqis by shipping the soldier who desecrated a Koran by shooting it full of holes and scrawling graffiti across it's pages. "If you ask any Iraqi, they are sad, but there is no organized reaction," said Mithal al Alusi, an independent secular Sunni lawmaker. "We don't need to push it into the center of our problems now or into the middle of the Iraqi-American dialogue." Alusi called the soldier an "American idiot" but said "you also have Iraqi idiots." The American reaction seems to have been the appropriate one. There has been no street violence like that stemming from the Danish cartoons of Mohamed.