FDA clears bird flu test

FDA clears bird flu testIn an effort to prepare for an avian flu epidemic, the FDA announced it has cleared a new, more rapid test for avian influenza A virus.

The test, which is called AVantage A/H5N1 Flu Test, detects influenza A/H5N1 in throat or nose swabs collected from patients who have flu-like symptoms in less than 40 minutes.

Previous FDA-approved tests took three to four hours to produce results.

"This test is an important tool to help quickly identify emerging influenza A/H5N1 infections and reduce exposure to large populations," says Dr Daniel G. Schultz, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

"The clearance of this test represents a major step toward protecting the public from the threat of pandemic flu," he adds.

According to the CDC, the H5N1 subtype virus – which is found mostly in birds – has caused the largest number of detected cases of serious disease and death among avian influenza viruses that have infected humans.

The most challenging aspect in the fight against H5N1 lies in its capacity to quickly mutate and spread, which may lead to an influenza pandemic.

Thus far, global health authorities have confirmed 412 human cases of bird flu, almost all in Asia and northern Africa.

It has not yet been detected in the Americas, according to the FDA.

Bill to Clamp Down On Federal Reserve Gains Steam

Rep. Ron Paul is pushing a bill (H.R.1207) that calls for the comptroller general of the United States to audit the Federal Reserve. And the bill is gaining steam as more members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, sign on.

The bill is called the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009, and it requires an audit of the Fed’s Board of Governors and the Federal Reserve Banks be completed and reported to Congress by the end of 2010.

The Federal Reserve is a government-established private entity that can enter into agreements with foreign central banks and foreign governments. However, no agency has oversight over the Fed and the Government Accounting Office is prohibited from auditing or viewing any agreements. So no one, except for the Fed’s Board of Governors, truly knows what’s going on there.

According to reports, Paul says every problem with the American economy from the Great Depression to the current crisis results from Federal Reserve policy. It’s true. The Fed’s manipulation of money has led to inflation and a devaluation of the dollar that’s robbed the American people of their wealth.

No less an expert than former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan agrees. In a 1966 essay entitled Gold and Economic Freedom, Greenspan wrote:

“In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.”

The Constitution gives Congress the right “to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures” in Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 5.

The Fed is a non-constitutional institution created in 1913. It was given a monopoly on the issue of all bank notes, and national and state banks could only issue deposits redeemable in Federal Reserve Notes or gold (gold ownership was outlawed 20 years later then reinstated in 1975). All national banks were forced to become members of the Federal Reserve.

The U.S. Government is out of control in many respects, and the Federal Reserve is one of them. Congress’ policies of increasing spending to prop up failing businesses, fund entitlements and expand government and pay for it by having the Fed print fiat money (money no longer backed by gold) are responsible for the loss of trillions of dollars of wealth around the globe.

This bill by Paul—now co-sponsored by 28 legislators—is a step toward fiscal responsibility. Perhaps, if it passes, the bill will show the masses the great fraud that has been perpetrated on them for the last 96 years.

Once that is done maybe, just maybe, a loud hue and cry from the masses will ensue, our country will go back to a gold standard, and some of the madness will end.

Eating more apples may lower cancer risk, says study

Eating more apples may lower cancer risk, says study A total of six studies conducted during the past year have shown evidence of the beneficial impact of apple consumption on risk of breast cancer.

They were all reported by Cornell researcher Dr. Rui Hai Liu in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In one of them, he looked at the development of mammary tumors in rats.

He found that 81 percent of the animals in the control group developed it but only 57 percent, 50 percent and 23 percent of the rats fed low, medium and high doses of apple extracts became ill during a period of 24 weeks.

"We not only observed that the treated animals had fewer tumors, but the tumors were smaller, less malignant and grew more slowly," said Dr. Liu who is an associate professor of food science and a member of Cornell’s Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology.

The ingredients responsible for the anti-cancer and anti-proliferative effect are phytochemicals known as flavonoids whose rich sources include apples and many other fruits and vegetables.

In a separate experiment, Dr. Liu also found that apple peel contains a variety of other phenolic compounds that have potent antioxidant effects.

According to the American Cancer Society, 184,450 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and 40,930 will die from the disease. However, if detected early and treated properly, breast cancer is one of the most curable of all cancers affecting women.

Experts offer tips on surviving inflation

Experts offer tips on surviving inflation As economic uncertainty continues and government spending skyrockets, some experts have offered advice on how best to prepare for what they see as an inevitable rise in inflation.

According to the National Inflation Association (NIA), the smartest way to shield one’s net worth from the damaging effects of rising prices is to do away with U.S. bonds, treasuries and other dollar-denominated assets.

Due to uncertainties surrounding the stock and the real estate markets, NIA also suggests precious metals, especially gold and silver, will become an ever more attractive class of assets to invest in, given their liquidity and tradability.

"Gold and silver have been accepted as real money for thousands of years and could replace the U.S. dollar as the ultimate safe haven for Americans to store their money," the association said.

Because inflation leads to rising prices of food, clothing and other necessities, it may also be a good idea to stock up on canned foods, bottled water, medicine, toothpaste and first aid products in case government imposes price controls that would lead to shortages, it says.

In times of economic hardship, some people have moreover benefitted from planting their own gardens or starting a farm.

NIA concludes its inflation warning by saying that those who have debt should try to refinance it into smaller monthly payments over a longer period of time and should not loan money to anybody given that inflation increases the real value of debt.

Broccoli may prevent stomach cancer

Broccoli may prevent stomach cancerBacterium known as Helicobacter Pylori is a major cause of stomach ulcers which may cause stomach cancer, but new research has found compounds in broccoli sprouts may act to kill the germ.

Scientists in Japan conducted a study of 48 Helicobacter-infected people who were assigned 70 grams of fresh broccoli sprouts daily for eight weeks.

What they found was what researchers around the world long suspected, namely that the phytochemical sulforaphane found in broccoli significantly reduced the bacteria count.

After testing the group which ate broccoli they established H. pylori levels that were significantly lower at eight weeks among those patients who had eaten broccoli sprouts, while remaining the same for patients who had not.

"Broccoli has recently entered the public awareness as a preventive dietary agent," says Dr. Jed Fahey, research associate in the Department of Pharmacology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

"This study supports the emerging evidence that broccoli sprouts may be able to prevent cancer in humans, not just in lab animals," he adds.

This finding adds to the mounting evidence of health benefits associated with broccoli consumption.

An study published earlier this year found that the vegetable may help protect against respiratory inflammation that causes asthma, allergic rhinitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


You’re Making a Mistake! And You Shouldn’t Leave Home Without It!

Chances are everyone over age 50 is guilty, without exception. Why? Because symptoms of aging are unnoticeable until we get symptoms. As we become seniors we all begin to lose that life-giving and life-preserving substance from our stomachs called hydrochloric acid. The pharmaceuticals make billions and billions of dollars on our ignorance. What’s more, instead of putting hydrochloric acid in, they take it out with antacids until we are sick, or worse—we have stomach cancer.

For some reason the lack of that most vital stomach acid produces symptoms of acid indigestion and heartburn. Bingo! We are set up for advertising deception and huge profits for the drug companies.

The deception is completed when we actually get temporary relief as the advertisements claim. The FDA is silent and the crime goes on. And it gets worse! They even claim that one gets “healing” from these antacids like the "healing purple pill." Nothing could be further from the truth. Would any thinking person reason that he is getting "healing" from a substance that actually shuts down the stomach acid pump?

Ahh, but they put in a disclaimer. "Symptom relief does not rule out other serious stomach conditions." So the public can’t say that they weren’t told. This is criminal and nobody objects because the public gets "relief" from heartburn, acid indigestion and acid reflux, temporarily. But the price is high. What is "temporary relief" to the total breakdown of health?

Just because we may not at this moment be having heartburn, acid reflux or acid indigestion does not indicate that we do not have low stomach acid. Aging guarantees it.

The human stomach is created as an acid machine—not an antacid machine. We need to preserve this acid machine at all costs. It is the very foundation of health and longevity.

While the rest of the body is normal at a pH of about 7.2, we need to keep it slightly alkaline for optimal health. But the stomach is very acid, as low as a pH of 3 or 4, if normal.

The amount of hydrochloric stomach acid we have is directly related to how well we digest and assimilate our food. It follows that food assimilation is basic to health.

As the years pass we silently lose stomach acid. This is the cause: Acid indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux are the symptoms and deteriorating health is the effect. But we never relate the loss of stomach acid to developing health problems.

When we do not digest our food because we are low on stomach acid, we develop putrefaction or rotting food in our stomachs causing organic acids of fermentation and causing the symptoms of heartburn, acid indigestion and acid reflux. Often this translates to stomach or colon cancer. It is very serious!

For the want of a nail, the shoe is lost. It is so simple and the cost is oh so low and the benefits are oh so unbelievable. Now we can assimilate our food and nutrition with betaine hydrochloric, which helps normalize stomach pH, supports protein digestion and absorption of minerals. The result is the disappearance of flatulence, indigestion, malassimilation, pernicious anemia, demineralization, vomiting and diarrhea.

My confession: I didn’t leave home without betaine hydrochloric in my wife’s purse, but I always forgot to take it before meals. When overwhelming therapeutic evidence finally prompted me, I developed the habit of taking betaine hydrochloric before every meal and even with my vitamin food supplements. Oh man, what a difference! You’ll see!

Alternative therapies may benefit children as well

Alternative therapies may benefit children as wellDoctors increasingly believe that children can benefit from safe and effective complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies.

Alternative medicine has been shown to be effective when OTC medications were not. Doctors now increasingly recommend natural remedies such as honey to treat common colds or cough in children over the age of one.

"There is a huge place for complementary and alternative medicine in pediatrics," says Dr. Dolores Mendelow, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan Medical School.

She also stresses that CAM therapies are safe and effective if conducted under the supervision of a physician.

Dr. Mendelow further points to acupuncture, nutritional supplements and herbal or botanical therapies as being most promising for the treatment of a range of common childhood illnesses.

In addition to that, therapies such as yoga, with its deep breathing techniques, have been show to relieve symptoms in asthmatic patients and reduce stress in teens and adolescents.

According to a survey by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 40 percent of adults and more than 10 percent of children sought alternative medicine help in 2007.

Some have suggested that the increasingly dysfunctional healthcare system that excludes millions of Americans and frequently provides insufficient coverage for those who have insurance has also contributed to the growing popularity of alternative medicine.

House Committee holds ‘kangaroo court’ hearing

House Committee holds 'kangaroo court' hearingThe National Center for Public Policy Research has accused U.S. lawmakers of holding one-sided hearings on the consequences of the California drought.

The hearing was held on March 31 by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources and focused on climate change as the main culprit of the critical water shortage while glossing over the role of activist-inspired environmental policies.

In addition to that, only representatives of government agencies were permitted to testify.

"At the height of a California drought and during a serious recession with massive unemployment in California’s Central Valley, one would hope that the committee cared enough about agricultural workers and minorities to invite as witnesses actual unemployed farm workers," said R.J. Smith, a senior fellow at The National Center.

"Let’s have an open committee hearing and hear real people discussing the impacts on their lives from government regulations and massive job losses – instead of more government bureaucrats who are only causing the problem," he added.

According to University of California at Davis, 80,000 jobs could be lost in the Central Valley. The state risks agricultural losses of over $2 billion for the upcoming season and $3 billion in total economic losses in 2009 as a result of the drought.

Advocacy group: Tax system ‘hurts the economy’

Tax system 'hurts the economy,' says advocacy group.As the deadline for filing income tax returns approaches, an organization dedicated to promoting a fairer tax system has said the present tax law confuses taxpayers and damages the economy.

According to Ken Hoagland, national communications director of FairTax.org, taxpayers nationwide become victims of the complex and "indecipherable" rules and regulations each year resulting in millions of dollars spent on tax expert services.

However, the impact on the economy is far greater, he suggests.

"American job growth has all but disappeared, [yet] we continue to tax every hiring decision by requiring employers to pay half of Social Security and Medicare taxes," he wrote in a statement, adding, "Our tax system drives American jobs offshore and undermines American competitiveness."

To remedy the situation, FairTax.org proposes a shift in federal taxation from earnings to consumption and giving the middle class significant relief.

It also blasts the "billion dollar a year, recession-proof lobbying business in Washington" that pushes for special interests loopholes as well as the "industry" of advocates, scholars and specialized publications that has grown around them.

FairTax.org is a grassroots campaign to win a progressive national retail sales tax to replace the income tax system.

It’s Time for Some New Tea Parties

Come April 15th, a lot of Americans will be taking the opportunity this Tax Day to tell their elected officials that they’re T.E.A.’d off. That is, that they’re Taxed Enough Already.

Good for them! May their numbers multiply. And may more politicians in Washington and the state capitols start to listen to them.

If you remember your history, the original Tea Party took place on December 16, 1773 in Boston, in what was then the British crown colony of Massachusetts. Earlier that year, the British Parliament had passed the Tea Act, imposing new taxes on the outraged colonists. Remember the “no taxation without representation” battle cry? (Look how bad it’s gotten with representation.)

When officials in Boston, acting on orders from the Royal Governor, refused to return the tea to England, a group of colonists, some disguised as Indians, boarded the ships and tossed the cargo into Boston Harbor.

The Boston Tea Party, as it came to be known, led Parliament to clamp down on the colonists even further. In 1774, it passed the Coercive Acts, which closed Boston’s wharfs until the British East India Company had been paid for the destroyed tea. Colonial resistance hardened, leading to the First Continental Congress and ultimately open rebellion. A year later, the war for American independence had begun.

This time, no one is suggesting tossing anything (or anyone) into the water, more’s the pity. Instead, patriotic Americans are gathering in cities and towns across the country to protest the Obama Administration’s plans to tax us even more. And who can blame them?

Despite the demagogic cry that the “rich” need to pay “their fair share,” the truth is that the top five percent of U.S. taxpayers already pay 60% of U.S. income taxes. While the bottom 40% pay no income taxes at all. When President Obama talks about “lowering” their taxes, what he really means is that he’s going to take more money from those who earn it and give it to those who don’t. This is not a “tax reduction” — it is a blatant example of a Marxist redistribution of wealth.

At the same time he’s promising more give-aways to the poor, Barack Obama wants to raise the top income-tax rate from 35% to 39.6%. Plus, he intends to reduce the deduction the so-called rich can take on their charitable contributions, mortgage interest, and other taxes they pay. Slash the amount of those deductions by 20% and you’re effectively raised their tax rate by another 7.9%.

In other words, if your income stays the same, better get ready to see your after-tax dollars shrink … a lot.

So what can you do about it? It’s a little late to vote the rascals out of office — although we’ll get another chance at the polls in 18 months. And while I’d never discourage anyone from writing your congressman, the sad truth is that Congress today — especially the House of Representatives, where by law all spending bills must originate — is solidly in the hands of the liberal left. What are the chances that enough constituent correspondence would cause Nancy Pelosi to change course? About the same as the odds of an ice storm in the Sahara Desert.

That’s why I was glad to hear about the Tax Day Tea Parties being organized across the country. Newt Gingrich, the best-selling author and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, has become one of the chief promoters of the protests. Here’s how he describes what’s happening:

“In outrage against the billions of our dollars being used to pay for the irresponsible behavior of others — and the trillions more in the Obama budget that will be used to expand government even further into our lives — the Reagan coalition of the faithful and the fiscally conservative is reassembling.”

And Newt adds,

“There’s no super-rich sugar daddy like George Soros pulling the strings. There’s no special-interest group like Moveon.org creating the illusion of a grassroots movement. And it’s not a taxpayer-funded ‘protest’ group like ACORN. It’s just ordinary Americans who believe in preserving American values and principles, like faith, freedom, and smaller government.”

If that sounds like you, I encourage you to contact one of the sponsors of the Tax Day Tea Parties and make plans now to spend part of next Wednesday, April 15th, at the meeting nearest you. According to the latest reports, there are more than 250 such gatherings planned in all 50 states.

Go on the website www.TaxDayTeaParty.com or www.TeaPartyDay.com to find the location nearest you. The first is a coalition of various conservative and patriotic groups; the second is a joint effort by Renewing American Leadership and the American Family Association, which say they already have more than 10,000 people of faith signed up.

Also, Newt’s own organization, American Solutions, is offering a “Tea Party Tool Kit.” To get yours, go to his website, www.AmericanSolutions.com.

Radiation exposure ‘greatly increased’ since early 1980s.

Radiation exposure 'greatly increased' since early 1980s.In 2006, Americans were exposed to more than seven times as much ionizing radiation from medical procedures, such as CT scans, as was the case in the early 1980s, according to a new report.

The report was released by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements at its annual meeting in Maryland.

It also found that as of 2006, medical exposure constituted nearly half of the total radiation exposure of the U.S. population.

Other sources included background radiation that comes from soil, rocks, space and the radon gas which penetrates into buildings.

Hence, it is good to keep in mind a few suggestions about protection against radiation.

For day-to-day protection against radon, a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas, it may be a good idea to have the home tested. If the radon level is 4 pCi/L or more, the home needs to be fixed.

In case of an emergency, it is important to keep in mind that the amount of radiation exposure increases with the time people spend near the source and decreaes with the distance from it.

Shielding also plays an important part. A thin piece of light material, such as paper, provides protection against alpha particles. However, there is no protection against inhaled or ingested alpha emitters.

Heavy clothing is necessary to protect against beta particles because some of them can penetrate and burn the skin while only thick shielding, such as lead, can provide adequate protection against gamma rays.

Pension plan performance improves in March

Pension plan performance improves in March The funding status of an average U.S. corporate pension plan improved by 6.4 percentage points in March, according to new statistics.

The estimate, published by the Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon Asset Management, credited a strong stock market rally and wider spreads for corporate bonds with the much-needed boost.

"This was, by far, the best month for pension plans since the funding status of these plans began deteriorating in May 2008," said Peter Austin, executive director of BNY Mellon Pension Services.

In addition to the stock market rebound, long AA corporate bond yields rose 60 basis points in March, contributing to an increase in the AA corporate rate from 6.84 percent to 7.19 percent and driving down the value of liabilities, he added.

According to the BNY Mellon Pension Liability Index, assets for a typical moderate risk portfolio increased 5.6 percent, while liabilities fell 3.5 percent during the month. For the year to date, the funding ratio for the average plan is up 5.7 percentage points.

However, the experts caution that plans face the threat of narrowing spreads and lower yields as corporate bond yields are significantly over their historic levels.

Vitamin supplements may prevent birth defects

Vitamin supplements may prevent birth defectsA combination of vitamins may be useful for the prevention of hydrocephalus, a new study has found.

Scientists at the University of Manchester and Lancaster University conducted laboratory tests which have shown that a cocktail of vitamins that includes tetrahydrofolate and folic acid significantly diminishes the risk of the debilitating condition.

The research also established that the beneficial effect occurred at any stage of pregnancy.

As a result, Dr Jaleel Miyan, who led the research team, has suggested the combination folate supplements could be given to a woman whose fetus has been shown to have hydrocephalus to improve brain development and perhaps even reverse the process.

Hydrocephalus stems from a change in the composition of the cerebrospinal fluid leading to a build-up of fluid within the chambers of the brain which prevents normal growth of the brain cells.

It typically causes significant brain damage.

Women who are planning on becoming pregnant are also encouraged to increase their daily intake of folic acid to help prevent other birth defects, such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.


Salt Has A Salty History

The Law of Moses required that all offerings contain salt.

Leonardo da Vinci painted an overturned salt dish in front of Judas which represented an ill omen for his traitorous act.

The importance of salt originated not only from its nutritional value as a mineral source, but also from its usefulness in preserving foods for seasons when people would otherwise have starved.

Many societies have used salt as a form of currency. The expression "not worth his salt" comes from the practice of trading slaves for salt in Greece.

For thousands of years salt has been considered an irreplaceable component of the human diet.

But guess what! Government-sponsored salt-related research triggered in 1979 "Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention" identified salt as a major factor in hypertensive conditions. Then another government study concluded that in general, societies with higher salt intake will have higher average blood pressure.

And even more damning was a 1999 study that followed more than 20,000 Americans for 25 years. The results were that people who ate more salt had "32 percent more strokes, a whopping 89 percent more deaths from stroke, 44 percent more heart-attack deaths, and 39 percent more deaths from all causes."

Well, an independent review of all this proved that the conclusions were false. The relationship of salt to cardiovascular disease was only true for persons hugely overweight. In fact, Michael Alderman, an epidemiologist and past president of the American Society of Hypertension, concluded quite the opposite and wrote that for persons who were not overweight, "the more salt you eat, the less likely you are to die."

While some hypertensive persons are sensitive to salt, it is false to conclude that high salt intake is a cause of high blood pressure.

Alderman concluded that those who consumed the least salt had the most myocardial infarctions and other cardiovascular complications.

An article published in The Lancet, a prestigious British medical journal, in 1998, similarly concluded that people "who eat lots of salt live longer than those who avoid it." The 25 percent of people who consumed the lowest amount of salt had a higher risk of death compared with the 25 percent who consumed the highest amounts of salt. Likewise, in an eight-year study of hypertensives in New York, those on low-salt diets had more than four times as many heart attacks as people with normal sodium intake.

Rosch states that reduced salt intake actually has a number of negative consequences including: increased levels of renin (an enzyme that is associated with hypertension), increased levels of LDL (low-density lipids—the bad type of cholesterol), insulin resistance (the cause of adult onset or Type 2 diabetes), reduced sexual activity in men and cognitive difficulties and anorexia in the elderly.

There is not a doctor in the land who would not advise to cut your salt. What kind of salt is best? Celtic Sea Salt from France or Real Salt from Utah.

Meanwhile, they never mention sugar.

Reference: Rosch, Paul J., M.D., "Take the Latest Low Sodium Advice with a Grain of Salt."

Gun group files lawsuit against attorney general

Gun group files lawsuit against attorney general The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against Attorney General Eric Holder in connection with his move to enforce the federal law against firearm purchases by non-resident American citizens.

The suit was filed jointly by SAF and two U.S. citizens Maxwell Hodgkins and Stephen Dearth who live in the UK and Canada, respectively, and have been denied the opportunity to buy firearms.

The complaint alleges the law Holder is enforcing is unconstitutional as it prevents citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights. It also asserts that the law violates their right of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment.

"This is what happens when anti-gunners rush to pass a restrictive gun law that ignores the constitutional rights of law-abiding American citizens who happen to be living abroad," says SAF founder Alan Gottlieb.

"Honest Americans who live in other countries for a variety of reasons should not be denied their Second or Fifth Amendment rights when they return to American soil," he added, calling Hodgkins and Dearth "victims of anti-gun rights zeal."

In recent weeks, SAF has also threatened to sue the Mayor of Seattle Greg Nickels if he goes ahead with his plan to ban legally-carried firearms from city property, which, according to local media reports, may be enacted as early as May.

Tornado season underway in the U.S.

Tornado season is underway in the U.S. Spring marks the height of the tornado season, and it is important to know key facts about tornado survival.

Last month, 108 homes were damaged and 24 people injured in Mississippi when two tornados hit the state on March 25 and 26.

A tornado is a violently rotating storm that commonly occurs in central U.S. between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachians. Most last less than 10 minutes, but they can be extremely destructive.

According to Roger Edwards from the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, people living in affected areas should know where to seek shelter and practice tornado drills at least once a year.

He dispels a common myth about opening windows to equalize pressure. In fact, doing so during a tornado only increases the risk of being injured by flying glass. When hiding in a shelter or a basement, widows should also be avoided.

Vehicles are extremely dangerous in a tornado as they can be violently tossed about. It is best to exit a car or a truck and move away from it. Similarly, it is a mistake to seek shelter under a bridge which offers little protection against flying debris.

When out in the open, individuals should seek shelter in a sturdy building. If that is not possible, they should lie face-down on low ground, protecting the back of the head, and make sure they are away from trees which may be blown onto them.


Vitamin D measurement set for new standard

Scientists have announced they will unveil a new standard for Vitamin D measurement Scientists have announced they will unveil a more accurate set of standards for measuring vitamin D levels in blood later this year.

This comes on the heels of recent studies that have found many Americans are not getting enough vitamin D and are thus exposed to a range of debilitating conditions.

In addition to maintaining bone strength by facilitating calcium absorption, vitamin D promotes overall health, and its deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

However, despite concerns about adequate vitamin D intake, there is neither a standard laboratory test for measuring vitamin D levels in humans nor universal agreement on what the optimal vitamin D level should be.

Dr Mary Bedner, an analytical chemist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) points out that "[r]ight now, you can send a blood sample to two different labs and get completely different results for vitamin D."

That is why NIST has been leading efforts to develop a standard for measuring vitamin D in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements.

The result of their work that will be unveiled to the public later this year could lead to better prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, rickets and other bone diseases.


Obama climate plan may cost trillions

Obama climate plan may cost trillionsBy the admission of White House staffers, the administration’s climate proposal could cost industry up to $2 trillion, and the Senate has just blocked the efforts to put climate-change legislation on a fast track.

President Obama’s proposal calls for a carbon cap-and-trade system that would set limits on greenhouse gas emissions and force industry to buy permits to pollute. However, it has been blasted by critics as a tax on carbon-emitting companies.

"The last thing we need is a massive tax increase in a recession, but reportedly that’s what the White House is offering," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner.

"And since this energy tax won’t affect manufacturers in Mexico, India and China, it will do nothing but drive American jobs overseas," he added.

Given its potential consequences, the Senate has rejected the administration’s efforts to fast-track the legislation through Congress.

Republican Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska hailed the move by stressing that the climate legislation can have a deep impact on American families and the economy, and as such it should be subject to appropriate scrutiny and open debate.

Reuters has reported Democrats could still try to attach the bill to the federal budget allowing it to be passed by a simple majority, but it says the chances are slim because they do not have enough support.

Natural remedies for stress

Natural remedies for stressToday, people lead stressful lives, and it is easy to simply reach for pills when symptoms become difficult to control. However, there many natural and efficient techniques that can make a big difference.

Firstly, it is important to know what triggers stress or anxiety and avoid such situations.

However, as this is not always possible and thankfully there are many natural products that have calming effects. These include chamomile, valerian and passionflower extract that can be found in many herbal stores.

Before using them one should always read the attached leaflet to determine if the product is right for them.

Besides herbal supplements, stressed individuals may choose from a range of mind/body techniques such as breathing exercises, physical exercise, yoga, tai chi, hypnosis, massages or meditation.

Popular among some people are alternative therapies such as Ayurveda, massage, Chinese medicines or Thai massage that sooth and help get rid of stress and anxiety. Specialized treatment called Ayurvedic Panchakarma is also said to have beneficial effects on the nervous system.

Interested individuals should inquire about alternative medical centers near them. For example, the American Botanical Council has announced it will open an Ayurvedic Herbal Garden at its Case Mill Homestead location in Texas.

Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest systems of traditional healing. Commonly used Ayurvedic herbs include ginger, turmeric, neem and ashwagandha.

IRS offers incentives to holders of offshore assets

IRS offers incentives to holders of offshore assetsThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced it will offer leniency to Americans who come forward with assets invested in offshore accounts.

The agency unveiled a plan last month to lower the 50 percent penalty levied on offshore account holders. It also said volunteers will avoid prosecution provided their money has not come from criminal activities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In addition to that, "the IRS is clearly interested in information about bankers, financial advisers, lawyers and intermediaries," says Scott D. Michel, a lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale, quoted by WSJ.

"Lawyers who go in for voluntary disclosures are being asked to identify any such people with whom their clients interacted," he adds.
However, Bob Bauman, in his blog written for Sovereign Society, warns the government’s move may be "a trap."

He points out the requirement that the government present hard evidence of tax avoidance when asking banks for disclosure of offshore activities, and stresses the "illogical" approach that assumes everyone with an offshore account is a tax evader.

That is because under the U.S. law opening an offshore bank account is completely legal so long as it is reported, he adds.

In conclusion, Bauman, citing opinions of tax experts, cautions that volunteers can still be prosecuted under the proposed "amnesty" and that those who want to come forward should consult a lawyer before contacting the IRS.