Man’s Divorce Blog Starts Free Speech Dispute

DOYLESTOWN, Pa., Aug. 1 (UPI) — A bitter, divorced Pennsylvania man’s blog has triggered a free-speech debate, officials say.

Doylestown resident Anthony Morelli created his blog,, in 2007 as a way to blow off steam about his ex-wife, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

But then his ex-wife, Allison Morelli, found out about the Web site and became very upset, calling it “heartbreaking” and potentially harmful to their 9- and 12-year-old sons.

At a June 6 custody hearing, Bucks County Court Judge Diane Gibbons ordered Anthony Morelli to take down the Web site and banned him from mentioning his ex-wife “on any public media” or saying anything about his children online “other than ‘happy birthday’ or other significant school events.”

Over the following two days, Morelli posted two more entries, one saying he would comply with the judge’s ruling and then another calling Allison Morelli “a f- psycho” and a “black-out drunk,” and asked “what kind of f- judge gives the kids back to her?” He also wrote he would keep the blog going, saying, “The judge has no say over what I write here.”

On June 14, Gibbons called the Morellis back to court, saying “It is not just venting that I have read in these pages. It amounts to outright cruelty,” and had the Web site shut down.

In early July, Anthony Morelli hired a new lawyer to appeal the case to Superior Court, claiming Gibbons violated his right to free speech.

Some experts agree Gibbons’ ruling abridged Morelli’s free speech.

“I think the judge did overstep her bounds a little bit in ordering the Web site taken down,” said Robert D. Richards, founding director of the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment at Pennsylvania State University.

Allison Morelli said she just wants the legal battle to end.

“What the judge said in court made perfect sense to me,” she said. “Stop doing what you’re doing, and do the right thing for your children.

3 Dead In Canada Helicopter Crash

STEWART, British Columbia, Aug. 1 (UPI) — A helicopter crashed in Canada Sunday, killing the pilot and two passengers, police said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the aircraft, owned by Vancouver Island Helicopter Ltd., went down about 4 p.m. on Nelson Glacier near Stewart in northern British Columbia, the Vancouver Sun reported.

The helicopter was reported to have been on a geological mission when it crashed.

The names of the victims had not been released and the cause of the accident had not been determined, the newspaper said.

Violence Erupts Again In Xinjiang-Uighur

BEIJING, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The ethnically tense Xinjiang-Uighur region in China’s northwest erupted in violence again during the weekend, leaving several people dead, state media report.

Noting the region, which has a large Muslim population, has been under a “terrorist threat,” the official Xinhua news agency reported the latest violence broke out Saturday in the border town of Kashgar.

The report said violence began after the attackers killed at least seven people in Kashgar Saturday night.

On Sunday, two suspects hijacked a truck after stabbing the driver to death. It said the two then rammed the truck into pedestrians before jumping out of the vehicle.

The two also hacked pedestrians and killed three of them, Xinhua said, quoting witnesses. Local sources were quoted as saying there were also blasts at the scene.

It was not clear how many people were allegedly involved in the violence but Xinhua said four suspects were later shot dead by police Sunday, four more caught and another four being sought.

“Xinjiang, home to China’s Uighur minority and other ethnic groups, has been under terrorist threat,” Xinhua said.

On July 18, police shot 14 rioters who attacked a police station and killed four people in Xinjiang’s Hotan city, another border town near Pakistan, Xinhua said.

Police concluded the Hotan incident was “a severely violent terrorism case” that was organized by terrorism groups, Xinhua said, but gave no other details.

Commenting on the Hotan incident to Washington Post, the World Uighur Congress an exile group in Germany had said the protesters were trying to rally at the police station in support of detained people when the police opened fire on them.

The region was the scene of rioting in July 2009 in the capital Urumqi, in which 197 people died and about 1,700 were injured in the worst such ethnic violence.

The Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority which considers Xinjiang their homeland but resent being ruled by Han Chinese.

Amnesty International has accused Chinese police of torture and secret mass arrests to repress the Uighurs.

Man Sues Hilton Over 75-cent Newspaper

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1 (UPI) — A guest at the Hilton Garden Inn in Santa Rosa, Calif., filed a class-action lawsuit against the hotel over a 75-cent charge for a newspaper, officials say.

Rodney Harmon, 55, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, claiming the hotel chain deceived him and is also hurting the environment.

“He did not request a newspaper and assumed it had been placed there by hotel staff,” his suit states. Harmon accused the Hilton of intentionally hiding the cost of the newspaper by “extremely small font, which is difficult to notice or read” on the sleeve of room cards.

The suit also claims that as newspaper readership and circulation has been declining, hotel guest are probably not even reading the papers place at their doors. The unread papers are an “offensive waste of precious resources and energy,” the suit states, adding “deforestation caused by paper production is a matter of concern and worry in this state, country and worldwide.”

“The alleged consumer injury is substantial, causing millions of guests at defendant’s hotels to unwittingly part with money for a newspaper they did not request and reasonably believed was provided to them without charge,” the suit says.

Hilton representatives have not commented on the pending litigation.

FBI Has New Lead In D.B. Cooper Case

SEATTLE, Aug. 1 (UPI) — The FBI says it received a promising lead in the unsolved 1971 D.B. Cooper jetliner hijacking case.

The FBI was given what it say is the “most promising” lead to date in the nation’s only unsolved hijacking case — a name of a previously not investigated man and an item of his with fingerprints to be tested, reported.

The lead was handed over by a law enforcement official who questioned someone who may have been close to Cooper.

“With any lead our first step is to assess how credible it is,” said Ayn Sandalo Dietrich, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle office, where the Cooper evidence is kept. “Having this come through another law enforcement [agency], having looked it over when we got it — it seems pretty interesting.”

“It’s back at our lab and we hope to compare it to partial fingerprints we got in the hijacking,” Sandalo Dietrich told the online newspaper. “It would be a real break if it came back.”

Currently, the Seattle FBI file on Cooper contains a partial DNA sample from a black clip-on tie Cooper left on the plane, the parachute he discarded after he jumped from the plane, his boarding pass with “DAN COOPER” written in red ink and a few bills from the $200,000 ransom Cooper received.

The FBI has investigated more than 1,000 people since the hijacking 40 years ago, and have not released the name, age, hometown or possible criminal record of the current person of interest, or any specifics on the item received.

Train Collision In India Injures Dozens

NEW DELHI, Aug. 1 (UPI) — An express train and another local train collided in eastern India, causing several cars to derail and injuring dozens of people, authorities said.

The express train was traveling from Guwahati in eastern Assam state to Bangalore in southern India when it collided Sunday evening with a local passenger train at Jamirghata in West Bengal state.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported 11 passenger cars derailed, and one person died and 50 more were injured. The report, however, quoted Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi as saying the body found near the site may not be related to the collision.

“We are getting details about it,” the minister said, adding the priority was to complete the rescue operations.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Early last month, a passenger train carrying more than 1,200 passengers derailed in northern Uttar Pradesh state, killing more than 50 people.

Bundy’s DNA To Be Added To FBI Database

TACOMA, Wash., Aug. 1 (UPI) — Officials in Florida are working to get executed serial killer Ted Bundy’s DNA added to the FBI’s national database in hopes of solving cold cases.

The effort has spanned several years. David Coffman, regional crime lab director for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and other officials are working to have it added by mid-August, The Tacoma (Wash.) News Tribune reported.

Lindsay Wade sparked the latest effort after she became the most recent Tacoma homicide detective to look into the Ann Marie Burr case. Bundy has long been a suspect in the 5-decade-old case as he had ties to the missing girl’s neighborhood.

Wade contacted Coffman in January after discovering Bundy’s profile was not in the FBI database to make a comparison. Coffman had a partial DNA sample, which is not enough to link Bundy in any unsolved murders, or upload to the database, the newspaper said.

The two contacted various institutions for blood samples or other evidence to test to no avail until Coffman reached the clerk’s office in the Florida county where Bundy killed a 12-year-old girl. Investigators still had a vial of Bundy’s blood from that 1978 case.

“We were shocked how we got a complete profile,” Coffman said. “It was a beautiful profile.”

To get the blood uploaded to the database was another set of hurdles, because the sample was taken before Bundy’s convictions.

Coffman worked with a legal team to get Bundy’s profile into a special “legal” category.

“This is sort of an unusual situation,” Coffman said. “He’s a suspect but a dead suspect.”

Last week in Tacoma, Wade went through evidence from the Burr case to have it ready to send to the state crime lab, with Bundy’s DNA profile on its way to the FBI database for comparison.

Bundy, executed in 1989 at age 42, admitted to killing 30 young women and girls, however investigators have not been able to identify all of his victims, and suspect he killed many more.

9 Die When Boat Hits Barge On Moscow River

MOSCOW, Aug. 1 (UPI) — A pleasure boat collided with a barge on the Moscow River Sunday, killing nine people aboard the recreational vessel, authorities said.

Russia’s Investigative Committee issued a statement saying seven other passengers were rescued following the 1:30 a.m. accident, RIA Novosti reported.

The investigative committee said the boat had permission to carry no more than 12 passengers.

An investigation was under way to determine whether water transport safety and operation rules had been violated.

India Tiger Population Up 20 Percent

NEW DELHI, July 31 (UPI) — The tiger population in India, home to half the world’s big cats, rose to 1,706 in 2010, up 20 percent from 1,411 in a 2006 survey, the government said.

“The increase in tiger numbers is due to the fact that tiger populations in [the states of] Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in tiger density,” the Ministry of Environment and Forests said on its Web site.

“The inclusion of Sunderbans, some portions of North East and parts of Maharashtra have also contributed to the increase.”

The ministry said the survey methodology used various sampling approaches and indicators.

The ministry, however, warned that despite their greater numbers, the tigers still face danger as they have lost 12.6 percent of their habitat, resulting in more of them being cramped into a smaller area.

The World Wildlife Fund had noted in March that tiger population recovery requires strong protection of core tiger areas and areas that link them, as well as effective management in the surrounding areas.

“With these two vital conservation ingredients, we can not only halt their decline, but ensure tigers make a strong and lasting comeback,” Mike Baltzer, the wildlife organization’s Tigers Alive Initiative head, said.

4 Kids Rescued From Hot SUV In Dallas

DALLAS, July 31 (UPI) — A Dallas couple were arrested for allegedly leaving their four young children in a steaming-hot vehicle Sunday while they donated plasma, authorities said.

The children, ages 2 months, 15 months, 3 years and 5 years, were taken to a Dallas hospital and later placed with Child Protective Services, Dallas’ WFAA-TV reported.

Arrested were Natasha Hamalian, 22, and Nicholas Madison, 24, both of Dallas, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Dallas police reports said the pair were arrested on suspicion of abandoning/endangering a child, the newspaper said.

Temperatures were hovering around 100 degrees when authorities were summoned about 12:30 p.m.

WFAA-TV reported Good Samaritans first spotted the children in the vehicle and called for help.

“The witnesses that actually opened up the door and got the kiddos out of the car, they knew that they had called the police, so I think they felt safe,” Dallas police Sgt. Charles Young said.

Authorities estimated the children had been inside the sport utility vehicle for at least 2 hours, the TV station said.

“They were just giving them IV because they were severely dehydrated,” witness Brandon Finley said. “The way they was looking, they was pretty bad.”

As it turned out, Young said, it was “a positive outcome.”

“This could have been much, much, much worse,” he said.

Obama: Compromise Reached

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) — The following are U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement Sunday night of a deal being reached to cut the deficit and raise the debt ceiling:

Good evening. There are still some very important votes to be taken by members of Congress, but I want to announce that the leaders of both parties, in both chambers, have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default — a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy.

The first part of this agreement will cut about $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years — cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process. The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president — but at a level that still allows us to make job-creating investments in things like education and research. We also made sure that these cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on a fragile economy.

Now, I’ve said from the beginning that the ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balanced. Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions. Despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they’re still around for future generations.

That’s why the second part of this agreement is so important. It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit, which will then be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote. In this stage, everything will be on the table. To hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don’t act. And over the next few months, I’ll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job.

Now, is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could have made the tough choices required — on entitlement reform and tax reform — right now, rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need, and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.

Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months. And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.

Now, this process has been messy; it’s taken far too long. I’ve been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence and the economy as a whole over the last month. Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise. And I want to thank them for that.

Most of all, I want to thank the American people. It’s been your voices — your letters, your emails, your tweets, your phone calls — that have compelled Washington to act in the final days. And the American people’s voice is a very, very powerful thing.

We’re not done yet. I want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days. It will allow us to avoid default. It will allow us to pay our bills. It will allow us to start reducing our deficit in a responsible way. And it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create jobs, boost wages, and grow this economy faster than it’s currently growing.

That’s what the American people sent us here to do, and that’s what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Thank you very much, everybody.

6.8 Quake Rattles Papua New Guinea

WEWAK, Papua New Guinea, Aug. 1 (UPI) — A 6.8-magnitude earthquake shook Papua New Guinea Monday, a monitoring agency said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred at 9:39 a.m. local time at a depth of 10 miles. The epicenter was 81 miles east of Wewak, 135 miles north-northwest of Mandang, 162 miles north-northeast of Mount Hgen, 265 miles northwest of Le n 438 miles north-northwest of Port Moresby.

The Melbourne Herald Sun reported there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

“No destructive widespread tsunami threat exists based on historical earthquake and tsunami data,” the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, though it added earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive.

The Papua New Guinea Geophysical Observatory said people in Wewak, a city of about 18,000 people, likely felt a substantial jolt but early reports suggested no major damage or injuries.

“Preliminary reports we are receiving indicate that no real life-threatening damage and it is not an event where a tsunami is thought to be generated,” spokesman Lawrence Anton said.

Most Avoid Discussing A ‘good Death’

BUFFALO, N.Y., July 31 (UPI) — There is an avoidance of death in U.S. society that often sidesteps important issues until it is too late for critically ill patients, a professor suggests.

Professor Deborah P. Waldrop of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work says, when asked, the majority of people say they want to die at home surrounded by their family. However, 60 percent of chronically ill people die in hospitals and 20 percent die in nursing homes, so these wishes are often unfulfilled, Waldrop says.

“Too often, their lives have ended in pain and despair, spending their final days in an alienating institutional environment, just another patient in an impersonal progression that leads to ‘reciprocal suffering” for families who also watch their loved ones die,” Waldrop says in a statement.

Waldrop says there is a growing emphasis on factors that contribute to a “good death” — a transition to a home that has sustained them for many years, surrounded by the people who have given their lives meaning with “comfort” can be the defining goal of a death without pain and suffering.

“We’re not addressing what people want. When you don’t really talk about it, things like unwanted aggressive treatment or another emergency room visit happen by default,” Waldrop says.

The loss of functional abilities that requires more care-giving from families can be one of the trigger points for patients and families to ask for palliative care — treatment that concentrates on reducing the severity of disease symptoms, rather than striving to halt, delay, or reverse progression of the disease itself or provide a cure.

Man Arrested For Carrying Knife On Plane

TAMPA, Fla., July 31 (UPI) — An airplane passenger was arrested Sunday after a security breach allowed the man to carry a knife onto a plane in Tampa, airport officials said.

Philippe Francois Martinez, 43, of Clearwater, Fla., was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, the St. Petersburg Times reported.

Transportation Security Administration personnel noticed the knife while Martinez was going through security screening and alerted airport police, said airport spokeswoman Brenda Geoghagan.

Martinez was able to reach his plane because police officers first detained and searched the wrong man, then had to shut down security screenings at the terminal.

Police later found Martinez aboard an American Airlines flight to Miami. They searched the man’s carry-on and found the knife.

“This was a very unintentional incident,” Geoghagan said.

Martinez was set to travel from Miami to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The incident caused a 10-minute delay for the American Airlines flight, and 15- and 40-minute delays for two US Airways flights.

TSA does not permit knives in carry-on luggage, except for plastic or butter knives. Other kinds of knives are permitted in checked luggage.

Back-to-school Adjustment Should Begin Now

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., July 31 (UPI) — Since summer break ends in August in the South, parents and children should begin adjusting to back-to-school routines now, a U.S. researcher says.

“Returning to the routine of the school year can be overwhelming for adults and students,” Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health, says in a statement.

“During the school year there’s a sleep schedule, a tighter timeframe for performing household chores and the sense of fewer hours in the day. Altogether, this can lead to debilitating anxiety.”

Throughout the summer months, parents and children develop new habits and routines, and breaking those is extremely difficult to accomplish in a day, Klapow says.

“But if you don’t try to go cold turkey, the transition should remain pain-free,” Klapow says.

“This means adjusting bed times and morning alarms starting now. If they already haven’t been reading through the summer, have the children pick up a book for at least 20 minutes a day, to mimic homework time. This helps everybody re-adapt.”

More U.S. Kids On Government Healthcare

DURHAM, N.H., July 31 (UPI) — With unemployment staying high and parents losing health insurance, more U.S. children are being covered by public health insurance plans, researchers say.

“When people become unemployed, not only do they lose their employment-based private insurance, but, with the loss of income, families may become newly eligible for public plans,” researchers at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire say in a statement.

“In addition, the generally poor economy and expanded eligibility for public plans may also play less direct roles in the shifting rates of health insurance among children.”

Public health insurance for children is provided principally via Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, but Congress is considering budget cuts with proposals ranging from cutting $100 billion over 10 years to $1 trillion over the same period.

The researchers also say:

— Health insurance coverage among children increased 1.3 percentage points from 2008 to 2009, with the most growth in central cities and rural areas.

— The Northeast has the highest rate of coverage, with more than 95 percent of children covered, the South the lowest at 89 percent.

— Forty-four states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had a significant increase in the number of children covered by public health insurance.

— Twenty-seven states saw a decrease in private health insurance coverage for children.

Concrete Slab Tumbles From Montreal Tunnel

MONTREAL, July 31 (UPI) — A nearly 50-foot slab of concrete fell near one end of a highway tunnel in Montreal Sunday, forcing closure of the road’s eastbound lanes, police said.

No one was hurt in the incident on the Ville-Marie Expressway and no motorists were stuck in the tunnel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

It wasn’t known how long the eastbound lanes would remain blocked. The highway’s westbound lanes were partially closed, as well.

Police said the chunk that fell was designed to block light so motorists entering and exiting the tunnel are not blinded.

Construction workers told the CBC they believed vibrations created while they were working on the tunnel’s walls may have caused the slab to fall.

Transport Quebec spokeswoman Caroline Larose said the department’s engineers were inspecting the 39-year-old tunnel structure.

Body Parts Found On Canada Tribal Reserve

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, July 31 (UPI) — Authorities in Canada say they are investigating the death of a female whose body parts were found scattered at Sandy Bay First Nation.

A large area of the tribal reserve on the western shore of Lake Manitoba was cordoned off as the investigation was being conducted by investigators from the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The body parts were discovered Saturday in a ditch and another site on the reserve, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.

The victim had not been identified and the manner of death had not been determined.

1 Dead, 2 Wounded After Toronto Parade

TORONTO, July 31 (UPI) — A shooting incident involving Toronto’s police just after the city’s Caribbean Carnival parade left one man dead and two other people wounded, officials said.

The names of the 30-year-old man who died, and the woman and man who were wounded, had not been released, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit told the CBC Sunday that while city police officers had “interacted” with three men just prior to the Saturday night shooting, it was unclear whether the officers fired the bullets that led to the fatality and other injuries.

A festival organizer said the shooting “sad” and “shocking,” but noted it took place after the parade had ended.

3 Die In 3 Shootings In 4 Hours In Oakland

OAKLAND, Calif., July 31 (UPI) — A man, a woman and a teenage boy were killed in three separate shootings in Oakland in a span of less than 4 hours ending early Sunday, police said.

City police officer Kevin McDonald said the 16-year-old boy was the first victim. He was shot several times on a street corner shortly before midnight Saturday and died about 3 a.m. Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Shortly after 3 a.m., a 26-year-old woman shot in West Oakland died at a hospital. Details of that shooting were unavailable, the newspaper said.

Then at 3:25 a.m., a 21-year-old man was found shot on a street.

The victims’ names had not been released, the Chronicle said.

Workers Asking For More Time Off

MELVILLE, N.Y., July 31 (UPI) — Since the recession, U.S. workers focused on keeping their jobs, but this summer there is a shift toward family, a survey indicates.

The survey, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Adecco Staffing US, a workforce solutions provider, indicates the desire for time and work flexibility this summer cuts across gender lines.

Fifty-nine percent of women are choosing “extra vacation days” as one of the three workplace benefits they’d most want, while 47 percent of men say the same. Sixty percent of men show a greater interest in having the ability to leave work early.

“In the last few years, American workers have had more of a focus on keeping their jobs and perhaps less on other elements, including taking vacation and time off from work to spend with family and friends during the summer months,” Joyce Russell, president and EVP of Adecco Staffing US, says in a statement.

“This summer we’re seeing a bit of a shift from this way of thinking with survey respondents showing that maintaining one’s personal life and a more relaxed work environment is valuable to them.”

In addition to time flexibility, 42 percent of U.S. workers also want the option for casual workplace attire this summer, although 80 percent of women say mini-skirts are inappropriate at work compared to 61 percent of men, the survey says.

No survey details were provided.

Recession Increasing Burn Out In Employees

CHICAGO, July 31 (UPI) — Nearly half — 45 percent — say they think workers at their organization are currently burned out on their jobs, a U.S. survey indicates.

The national survey, by, was conducted May 19 to June 8, included more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals and nearly 5,300 employees.

Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, says employers who saw a rise in worker productivity during the recession primarily attribute the increase to the fear of losing a job and the effects of downsized staffs on individual workloads.

In addition, 73 percent are seeing the increase sustain today, while 14 percent state productivity has increased even more.

“The recession produced consequences for not just those who were laid off, but for those who were asked to work harder as a result of leaner staffs,” Rasmussen says in a statement.

“While getting more out of a smaller workforce is a sign of organizational agility during unpredictable times, it’s hard to see such yields in productivity holding forever. Headcount will be needed to meet increasing demands.”

Looking at burnout from the worker’s perspective — 77 percent of workers say they are sometimes or always burned out in their jobs and 43 percent say their stress levels on the job have increased during the last six months, while only 8 percent say their workloads decreased.

The survey was conducted by Harris Interactive. No margin of error was provided.

Companies Spending On Picnics, Again

TREVOSE, Pa., July 31 (UPI) — After the economic downturn, many U.S. companies scaled back morale boosting pursuits, but a survey indicates that at least the company picnic is back.

A survey by the Advertising Specialty Institute of 400 individuals working at companies indicates 41 percent say they’re planning a company picnic this summer and 8 percent say they are hosting a picnic for the first time or the first time in recent years.

“Companies that are finally making money again are rewarding their employees for all their hard work and boosting morale with big employee picnics this year,” Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI, says in a statement.

“Whether you do it with pony rides and barbecue or competitive tournaments and beer, it’s clear from our survey that companies are having fun again.”

The company picnic survey indicates that:

— 50 percent of employees generally attend.

— 63 percent say family is always or sometimes invited.

— 41 percent always give away promotional products to attendees, while 28 percent sometimes do.

— Of those who give items, 51 percent give away t-shirts; 44 percent give away recreational items like Frisbees, games and toys; and 32 percent give away caps and headgear.

Picnic offerings include: bouncy houses, inflatable slides, crafts, games, races, carnival attractions, raffles, water guns, hot dog eating competitions, medical testing, jousting and drinking games.

Companies spend an average of $4,116 on their company picnic, the survey says.

No survey details were provided.