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Vodka to blame for high death risk in Russian men

© Alexei Sazonov, AP

London - Russian men who down large amounts of vodka - and too many do - have an "extraordinarily" high risk of an early death, a new study says.

Researchers tracked about 151,000 adult men in the Russian cities of Barnaul, Byisk and Tomsk from 1999 to 2010. They interviewed them about their drinking habits and, when about 8,000 later died, followed up to monitor their causes of death.

The risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-liter bottles of vodka a week was a shocking 35%.

Overall, a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with 7% of men in the United Kingdom and less than 1% in the United States.

The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years - placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category.

It's not clear how many Russian men drink three bottles or more a week. Lead researcher Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University said the average Russian adult drinks 20 liters of vodka per year while the average Briton drinks about three liters of spirits.

"Russians clearly drink a lot, but it's this pattern of getting really smashed on vodka and then continuing to drink that is dangerous," Peto said.

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Amanda Knox extradition attempts 'doomed to fail', say diplomats

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Amanda Knox reacting to an interviewers questions about a Florence court upholding the guilty verdict for her and her former boyfriend during her recent interview on ABC's Good Morning America show in New York

Knox was sentenced to 28 years in prison by a court in Florence for murder. She already served four years for the crime, returning to Seattle in 2011. The U.S. Supreme Court has to confirm the guilty verdict before extradition. Critics say no Secretary of State will ever send her back to Italy.

Attempts by Rome to extradite Amanda Knox from the United States are doomed to failure, diplomatic sources have warned.

The 26-year-old American is at the centre of a diplomatic tug of war after an Italian court on Thursday sentenced her to 28 years prison for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.

Gem

SOTT Talk Radio: Into the Mystic - Interview with Laura Knight-Jadczyk

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We recently interviewed author and SOTT.net founder Laura Knight-Jadczyk on SOTT Talk Radio. Laura shared some stories from her past, explained how her life's work came into being, discussed her current research interests and answered listeners questions about the state of the world and what's on the horizon for humanity.


Here's the transcript:

Comment: Further reading

Andrew Bard Schmookler: Moral Endo-skeletons and Exo-skeletons: A Perspective on America's Cultural Divide and Current Crisis

Bob Altemeyer: Amazing Conversions: Why Some Turn to Faith & Others Abandon Religion

Frrancesco Carrota - The Gospel of Caesar

Roger Beck - The Mysteries of Mithras - A new account of their genesis

Gary Courtney - Et tu, Judas? Then Fall Jesus!

Joseph Atwill - Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus


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Body parts found along St. Clair Township roads in Michigan

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© Jeffrey Smith.
Officers from the St. Clair County Sheriff' Department investigate a scene Thursday where bags of human remains were discovered on Allington Road near Fred Moore Highway in St. Clair Township.
Police are looking for a woman in connection with the grisly discovery Thursday afternoon of multiple bags containing human body parts scattered along snowy roads in St. Clair Township.

St. Clair County Sheriff Timothy Donnellon said police are searching for a middle-aged white woman driving a late 90s gray or tan sport utility vehicle, similar in appearance to a GMC Jimmy or Chevy Blazer.

St. Clair County Sheriff Detective Stacy Tunich said several bags containing human body parts were discovered on Allington Road between Fred Moore Highway and Trumble Road. A bag also was found on Fred Moore Highway, Tunich said.

Heart - Black

Poorest households in England face £80 council tax rise

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© Photograph: PA
This year will be the first that the government will not provide dedicated cash to local authorities to take the poorest out of council tax.
Dozens more local authorities say they are reducing protection for vulnerable residents, research finds

More than 270,000 of the poorest households in England face council tax hikes of £80 a year as the government's safety net is withdrawn, a survey of local authorities has revealed.

Using freedom of information requests, research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has found that from April another 48 local authorities are reducing protection for vulnerable residents.

Ministers cut funding for the means-tested benefit by £500m, around 10% of the total, last April and instructed local authorities to decide how the reduced benefit should be distributed.

However, to cushion the blow ministers offered £100m in subsidies to councils that designed schemes that would offer some protection to the poor. This scheme has not been renewed, with the result that this year will be the first that the government will no longer provide a dedicated stream of cash to take the poorest out of council tax.

The result of this - and further cuts to local authority budgets - is that more than a quarter of a million working-age households will see bills rise by an average of £78 a year, taking the amount of yearly council tax that they will have to pay to £176.

Extinguisher

Armed tribesmen bomb main oil pipeline in Yemen

© Unknown
File photo shows smoke rising after an oil pipeline was attacked in Yemen’s Shabwa province.

Armed tribesmen in Yemen have bombed a major oil pipeline in the central province of Ma'arib, halting the flow of oil, officials said.


The attack took place on Saturday in the Serwah district, oil and local officials noted.

The blast caused a huge blaze that led to the closure of the pipeline and stopped the oil flow from Ma'arib fields to the Ras Isa oil terminal on the Red Sea.

The pipeline was also attacked in the Wadi Obaida area on December 26 and was repaired on January 5.

Furthermore, on December 20, the pipeline was bombed shortly after the facility was repaired.

Officials earlier said tribesmen carry out such attacks in order to pressure the government to create jobs, release their relatives from prison and settle land disputes.

Eye 1

Amanda Knox (American) is an ice maiden says her over-emotional (Italian) prison guard - Cultural Differences

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Actress? Amanda Knox appears on Good Morning America in NYC.
Foxy Knoxy showed no emotion over death of Meredith and masterfully plays the part of a tearful victims says her prison guard

Amanda Knox is an Ice Maiden who has reinvented herself as teary-eyed victim, says the guard who watched over her in prison.

Unveiling the real Foxy Knoxy, Angela Antonietti told how the cold hearted killer never once cried during her time inside and was completely devoid of human compassion.

Angela, 65, said: "Now she's become this TV star, who cares passionately about what happened to her friend Meredith Kercher, and wants the truth to come out.

"She's painting herself as a warm, loving human being, but the Amanda I knew was so composed, I never saw her suffering and other prisoners and staff called her the Ice Maiden.

Comment: "Broke her cover"???! Obviously, this is a problem of serious cultural differences and not evidence that Amanda Knox is a killer.


Question

Lynne Spalding death: Twin brother speaks out about UK San Francisco consulate's reluctance to help solve mystery

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Lynne Spalding
The twin brother of a British woman found dead in a US hospital stairwell has said UK officials refused to help him discover how she died.

Lynne Spalding, 57, from Haswell in County Durham, was being treated at San Francisco General Hospital when she disappeared on 21 September.

She was found 17 days later after a flawed search.

Her brother Bill said he was treated "like a pariah" by UK consular staff when he visited the city.

The Foreign Office said it would not comment on individual cases, but said Mr Spalding could complain in writing about any perceived failings.

'Quiet moment'

Ms Spalding, who moved to San Francisco several years ago and worked in the city's tourism and hospitality industry, was being treated for a bladder infection at the hospital.


Comment: For more background, see:

Suspicious death of Lynne Spalding: British woman's body discovered in locked stairwell of San Francisco General Hospital


Snakes in Suits

Former Fed member is third banker 'found dead' this week

© Russell Investments via AP Photo
Mike Dueker
If the stock market were already crashing then it would be simple to blame the dismally sad rash of dead bankers in the last week on that - certainly that was reflected in 1929. However, for the third time in the last week, a senior financial executive has died in what appears to be a suicide. As Bloomberg reports, following the deaths of a JPMorgan senior manager (Tuesday) and a Deutsche Bank executive (Sunday), Russell Investments' Chief Economist (and former Fed economist) Mike Dueker was found dead at the side of a highway in Washington State. Police said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Via Bloomberg,
Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Russell Investments, was found dead at the side of a highway that leads to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington state, according to the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. He was 50.

He may have jumped over a 4-foot (1.2-meter) fence before falling down a 40- to 50-foot embankment, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said yesterday. He said the death appeared to be a suicide.

Dueker was reported missing on Jan. 29, and a group of friends had been searching for him along with law enforcement. Troyer said Dueker was having problems at work, without elaborating.

Dueker was in good standing at Russell, said Jennifer Tice, a company spokeswoman. She declined to comment on Troyer's statement about Dueker's work issues.
But as Michael Snyder noted recently, if the stock market was already crashing, it would be easy to blame the suicides on that. The world certainly remembers what happened during the crash of 1929...

Comment: Also see: Two top American bankers commit suicide in London as one jumps 500ft to his death from JP Morgan skyscraper and another hangs himself


Question

Lynne Spalding death: San Francisco hospital claims 'improved security measures', but still no news about what actually happened to British patient

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Lynne Spalding
Security measures have been improved at a hospital in the US where a British woman was found dead in a stairwell.

Lynne Spalding, from Haswell in County Durham, was found yards from her bed at San Francisco General Hospital last October, 17 days after going missing.

Health inspectors have now carried out an investigation into patient safety, privacy and security at the hospital.

A spokesman said Ms Spalding's family was in the "forefront" of their minds as they worked to improve standards.

Ms Spalding, 57, who moved to San Francisco several years ago and worked in the city's tourism and hospitality industry, was being treated for a bladder infection at the hospital.

Following her disappearance on 21 September, the hospital was searched and police opened a missing person investigation. But Sheriff Department deputies failed to look in all the stairwells.

Comment: There have been so many conflicting accounts of what happened to this woman, and still no clarification from Californian authorities...

Suspicious death of Lynne Spalding: British woman's body discovered in locked stairwell of San Francisco General Hospital