Clashes In Yemen Leave At Least 16 Dead

SANAA, Yemen, July 30 (UPI) — Clashes between Yemeni government forces and militants have left at least 16 people dead and scores injured, officials said Saturday.

The incidents occurred when government troops fought with tribes outside the capital in Sanaa and elsewhere in the country Friday and Saturday, CNN reported.

Fighting between government troops and militants has increased in the days before the start of Ramadan, a Muslim holy fast that starts Monday and runs through Aug. 29.

A senior official, who spoke anonymously, said five members of a terrorist network and six security forces were killed in Friday clashes in Wadi Dofas. The dead included three soldiers and an officer who led field operations in Zinjibar, Abyan.

The “al-Qaeda militants were killed in the clashes when they were seen trying to secretly enter Wadi Dofas,” the official said. “We are fighting extremists in nine different fronts in Abyan. The militants are witnessing strong blows … at least 100 al-Qaida fighters have been killed in July.”

Fighting in Abyan has been ongoing since May, when suspected al-Qaida militants took control of the province and declared it an Islamic emirate.

A Republican Guard air raid outside the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, left five tribesmen dead and wounded 11 others, tribal leaders said.

Yemen has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations and militant activity for several months. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in a Saudi Arabian hospital, recovering from wounds he received in an attack last month.

Shiite Group Gunned Down In Pakistan

QUETTA, Pakistan, July 30 (UPI) — Gunmen sprayed a van with bullets Saturday in the southwestern Pakistan city of Quetta killing 11 people and injuring three others, police said.

The victims were all Shiite Muslims, a minority in the province of Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan, the BBC said.

The attack was carried out by gunmen on motorcycles and was the third incident targeting Shiites in 24 hours, The Nation newspaper reported. Suspected sectarian violence has killed 21 people in Quetta since Thursday night, the newspaper said.

A militant group with known ties to the Sunni Muslim al-Qaida terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the latest attack, the BBC said. Its leader was recently freed from prison after completing a 10-year sentence on terror-related convictions, the report said.

While police and local authorities visibly stepped up security patrols and made statements pledging to fully investigate the attacks, locals reacted violently to Saturday’s bloodshed.

Angry residents took to the streets and blocked a major road with a stack of burning tires as they threw stones at police and passing cars, The Nation said.

Jet Breaks In Half In Crash Landing

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, July 30 (UPI) — A Caribbean Airlines plane broke in half in a crash landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana, but no deaths were reported, officials said.

Flight BW523, with 154 passengers and eight crew members, originated in the United States, The (Kingston) Jamaica Gleaner reported.

It wasn’t immediately known what caused the accident, which happened about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Guyana’s health minister, said the most serious injuries were broken legs. The injured were treated at the Diamond Diagnostic Hospital before being taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corp. for further treatment.

Uninjured passengers and crew fled the wreckage without their luggage, the report said.

The Trinidad and Tobago Minister of Transport and airline officials were expected to hold a news conference Saturday to provide further information about the accident.

Ramadan: More Syrian Protests Expected

DAMASCUS, Syria, July 30 (UPI) — The Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts Monday and runs through Aug. 29, is likely to take on a different attitude this year, Syrian officials said.

Usually a month of quiet reflection and prayer, Ramadan is anticipated this year as an opportunity to focus protests against embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad, who many Syrians want out of power, The Guardian reported Saturday.

“It’s become a cliche to say it will be like Friday every day as people gather for prayer, but it will be,” said a former political prisoner with links to the Sunni community, speaking in his house in Damascus. “Pressure on the regime will increase from more frequent protests and more people coming out.”

Anxious protesters in some areas haven’t waited for the official start of Ramadan to call for Assad’s overthrow. In the city of Hama Friday they were chanting, “Our God, help us to fast and pray … and topple the regime.”

Assad’s security forces, forcing some dissidents to remain unseen during the day and become active at night, have killed an estimated 1,600 protesters since the uprising against Assad started.

At least nine people were killed across Syria Friday as thousands took to the streets, defying a heavy security presence, the report said, including in the city of Deir Ezzor, where deaths were also reported earlier this week.

GOP: ‘Surely’ Debt Agreement Can Be Struck

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) — With the United States on the brink of an unprecedented financial failure, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said Saturday partisanship has to be toned down.

After Tuesday, the country will be in financial limbo and unable to pay some of its debts unless President Barack Obama’s Democrats that control the Senate and the Republicans, who have a House majority, can reach accord on raising the nation’s debt limit.

In the GOP’s weekly media address, Kyl sounded less adamant than other Republicans in recent weeks about the crisis.

“No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government,” the senator said.

Kyl said Republicans remain “united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible.”

He also gave a fleeting warning to aging citizens about the consequences of a debt default.

“Markets would likely respond, dropping in value and hurting the retirement savings of millions of Americans,” he said.

For his part, President Obama said in his weekend address “the parties are not that far apart” on crafting an economic bill to avoid default.

Jetliners Bump Wings In Chicago

CHICAGO, July 30 (UPI) — Two Delta Airlines aircraft were out of commission in Chicago Saturday after a wing-to-wing collision while they were maneuvering for takeoff, officials said.

Around 7:30 p.m. Friday, two planes were being pushed back from a passenger terminal at O’Hare International Airport when their wings clipped one another, the Chicago Tribune said.

No injuries were reported and there was no leakage of fuel from the planes’ wing tanks, fire officials said.

A Delta spokeswoman said both jets were taken out of service to be checked.

The aircraft were bound for Atlanta and Minneapolis. Passengers had to wait while their luggage was removed from the planes and Delta staff made alternate flight arrangements, the newspaper said.

Obama: Parties ‘not That Far Apart’

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) — President Barack Obama says Republicans and Democrats are not “far apart” but must resolve their differences quickly to keep the United States out of default.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said the bill passed in the House Friday — on a vote of 218-210, with 22 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting no — “wouldn’t solve our fiscal problems, but would force us to re-live this crisis in just a few short months.”

“It would hold our economy captive to Washington politics once again,” he said. “If anything, the past few weeks have demonstrated that’s unacceptable.”

Obama said avoiding default after the federal government’s borrowing authority expires Aug. 2 will require a bipartisan solution.

“It must have the support of both parties that were sent here to represent the American people — not just one faction of one party,” he said. “There are multiple ways to resolve this problem. Congress must find common ground on a plan that can get support from both parties in the House. And it’s got to be a plan that I can sign by Tuesday.

“Look, the parties are not that far apart here,” the president said. “We’re in rough agreement on how much spending we need to cut to reduce our deficit. We agree on a process to tackle tax reform and entitlement reform. There are plenty of ways out of this mess. But there is very little time.”

Obama once again suggested the debt limit must be raised so the federal government can access funds to pay obligations including “Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, and contracts we’ve signed with thousands of American businesses. If we don’t, for the first time ever, we could lose our country’s Triple A credit rating.”

“The time for putting party first is over,” he said. “The time for compromise on behalf of the American people is now.”

Home Invasion Robbers Posed As FBI Agents

BURBANK, Calif., July 30 (UPI) — Police in Southern California said they were searching for three men who robbed a family of $20,000 by posing as FBI agents.

Burbank police said the men forced their way into a home just after midnight Wednesday while a couple and their teenage son were inside, The Burbank Leader reported Friday.

The invaders identified themselves as FBI agents.

Sgt. Robert Quesada said the men, who were armed, forced the family onto the floor and demanded cash.

Quesada said the robbers fled with $20,000 in a briefcase and drove off in a dark-colored sedan.

The sergeant said the family members sustained only minor bumps and bruises and they were treated at the scene by paramedics.

Grapes May Protect Against Sun Radiation

BARCELONA, Spain, July 30 (UPI) — Substances in grapes can reduce the amount of cell damage caused in skin exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, researchers in Spain say.

Marta Cascante, a biochemist at the University of Barcelona, and colleagues at the Spanish National Research Council say UV rays act on the skin by activating “reactive oxygen species,” and these compounds in turn oxidize macromolecules such as lipids and DNA, stimulating certain reactions and enzymes — JNK and p38MAPK — that cause cell death.

The researchers showed some polyphenolic substances extracted from grapes, flavonoids, can reduce the formation of reactive oxygen species in human epidermis cells that have been exposed to long-wave ultraviolet A and medium-wave ultraviolet B radiation.

“These polyphenolic fractions inhibit the generation of the reactive oxygen species and, as a result, the subsequent activation of the JNK and p38 enzymes, meaning they have a protective effect against ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun,” Cascante says in a statement.

The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Motorcycle Helmets May Be Hard On Hearing

BATH, England, July 29 (UPI) — Motorcycle helmets may protect bikers’ brains but they also may contribute to hearing loss, researchers in Britain say.

Researchers at the University of Bath and Bath Spa University in England say the distinctive roar of a Harley’s engine is loud, but studies have revealed the biggest source of noise for motorcyclists is actually generated by air whooshing over the riders’ helmets. Even at legal speeds, the sound can exceed safe levels, the researchers say.

The researchers placed motorcycles helmets atop mannequin heads, mounted them in a wind tunnel and turned on the fans. By placing microphones at various locations around the helmet and at the mannequin’s ear, the researchers found that an area underneath the helmet and near the chin bar is a significant source of the noise that reaches riders’ sensitive eardrums.

The team also investigated how helmet angle and wind speed affected the loudness.

The study, Aeroacoustic Sources of Motorcycle Helmet Noise, is accepted for publication in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

Three-quarters Of Adults Care For Parents

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) — Three-quarters of U.S. adults who work at least 15 hours per week care for an aging parent, most of whom are 75 or older, a Gallup poll indicates.

U.S. adults who self-identified as caregivers in Gallup Daily tracking surveys throughout 2010 were re-contacted, and 2,805 were interviewed for a Pfizer-ReACT/Gallup poll specifically about caregiving.

Most of the caregivers’ time is spent on errands and general day-to-day tasks such as shopping, doing laundry and providing transportation. Caregivers spend an average of 13 days per month handling these types of tasks, the survey found.

Caregivers spend about six days per month performing personal tasks such as helping the person they are caring for eat, get dressed and go to the bathroom. In addition, caregivers spend about 13 hours per month on administrative-type tasks such as researching care services or disease-related needs, coordinating physician visits and managing financial matters.

On a typical day spent giving care, caregivers report devoting an average of 5 hours providing companionship or supervision.

Fifty-five percent of caregivers say they have been providing care for three years or more, the poll says.

Previous Gallup studies indicates working caregivers suffer emotionally and physically.

The poll, conducted Dec. 28, 2010, to Jan. 9, 2011, has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

Americans Sicker Post-Sept. 11, 2001

IRVINE, Calif., July 29 (UPI) — Doctor-diagnosed illness climbed by 18 percent in a nationally representative sample of adults In the three years following Sept. 11, 2001, researchers say.

E. Alison Holman, an assistant professor of nursing science and a health psychologist at University of California, Irvine, says the increase was highest among those with pre-existing health conditions, but people who were healthy before Sept. 11, 2001, also experienced an increase in physician-diagnosed ailments.

“We cannot underestimate the impact of collective stress on health,” Holman says in a statement. “People who work in health professions need to recognize symptoms related to stress and need to consider the potential effect of indirect exposure to extreme stress.”

Study co-authors Holman and Roxane Cohen Silver, a UCI professor, say the study involves almost 2,000 adults who completed Internet surveys in the days, months and years after Sept. 11, 2001, who disclosed whether a physician had diagnosed them with any of 35 illnesses and the number of times they had seen a doctor in the past year.

Sixty-three percent had viewed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks live on TV, and 4.5 percent had been directly exposed to them, the researchers say.

“Those who watched the attacks live on TV — as opposed to those who learned about them only after they happened — experienced a 28 percent rise in physical ailments over the following three years,” Holman says.

The study, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, finds the percentage of the sample with at least one physician-diagnosed disorder over that period climbed from 79.2 percent to 89.5 percent.

System Could Warn Of Bridge Dangers

COLLEGE PARK, Md., July 29 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say a new, affordable early warning system for the nation’s aging bridges might avert bridge collapses that could result in loss of life.

A University of Maryland engineer says his inexpensive, wireless system could prevent the kind of bridge collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145 on a Minneapolis interstate bridge on Aug. 1, 2007, and do so at 1 percent of the cost of current wired systems.

“Potentially hundreds of lives could be saved,” Mehdi Kalantari says. “One of every four U.S. highway bridges has known structural problems or exceeded its intended life-span. Most only get inspected once every one or two years. That’s a bad mix.”

Kalantari has developed tiny wireless sensors that monitor and transmit minute-by-minute data on a bridge’s structural integrity that can be analyzed by a central computer to warn officials instantly of possible trouble, a UM release said Friday.

The sensors measure a number of indicators of a bridge’s structural health — including strain, vibration, flexibility and development of metal cracks.

“This new approach makes preventive maintenance affordable — even at a time when budgets are tight,” Kalantari says. “Officials will be able to catch problems early and will have weeks or month to fix a problem.”

Data Contradict Climate Model Predictions

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., July 29 (UPI) — Satellite data suggest climate models are overestimating the warming of Earth’s atmosphere by not taking into account some phenomena, U.S. scientists say.

Researchers at the University of Alabama Huntsville say data from NASA’s Terra satellite show that when the climate warms, Earth’s atmosphere is apparently more efficient at releasing energy into space than current climate models have been programmed to consider, a university release reported Friday.

Resulting climate forecasts predict substantially faster warming than is actually occurring, Roy Spencer of the university’s Earth System Science Center says.

“The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show,” Spencer said. “There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans.”

Not only does the atmosphere release more energy than previously thought, it starts releasing it earlier in a warming cycle, in contrast to models that forecast the climate should continue to absorb solar energy until a warming event peaks.

“At the peak, satellites show energy being lost while climate models show energy still being gained,” Spencer said.

Happiness Research May Help Depressed

RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 29 (UPI) — U.S. researchers propose a new approach for treating depression by teaching patients to increase their positive thinking and positive behaviors.

Kristin Layous and Joseph Chancellor, graduate students at University of California, Riverside; Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Laboratory at UC Riverside; and Dr. Lihong Wang and P. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University conducted a review of previous studies of Positive Activity Interventions.

Positive Activity Interventions are intentional activities such as performing acts of kindness, practicing optimism and counting one’s blessings taken from decades of research into how happy and unhappy people are different, the researchers say.

“Over the last several decades, social psychology studies of flourishing individuals who are happy, optimistic and grateful have produced a lot of new information about the benefits of positive activity interventions on mood and well-being,” Lyubomirsky says in a statement.

“However, few psychiatrists collaborate with social scientists and no one in my field ever reads the journals where most happiness studies have been published,” Doraiswamy says.

“It was eye-opening for me as a psychopharmacologist to read this literature,” Doraiswamy says.

This approach may help the some 60 percent of depressed individuals who don’t respond to pharmacotherapy, are not able or willing to obtain treatment, is less expensive to administer, is relatively less time-consuming and promises to yield rapid improvement of mood symptoms, holds little to no stigma and carries no side effects, the study says.

The findings are published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

East Africa Gold Mining Makes Headway

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, July 29 (UPI) — Gold mining in Tanzania and other East African sites is making headway with work in progress on prospecting and resource development at eight sites.

Impetus for the work is coming partly from a buoyant gold market. Gold prices ended the week the way it began, hitting a record price Friday in New York as equities retreated with news of a slowing economic recovery.

Gold set records Monday and Tuesday and added $12.70 to $1,628.90 per troy ounce Friday on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Canada’s Lake Victoria Mining Co., Inc. said its teams were busy on eight gold projects and further exploration in Tanzania.

“The company is continuing with its solid strategic approach in the development of its eight gold projects with the goal of discovering a commercially feasible gold resource in Tanzania,” Lake Victoria Mining Co. said.

Tanzania is Africa’s third largest gold producer, after South Africa and Ghana, and also has reserves of uranium, nickel and coal. Gold exports earned the East African country $1.076 billion in 2009, up from $932.4 million the previous year.

Lake Victoria Mining recently ended its joint ventures with Otterburn Ventures of Vancouver, British Columbia, affecting four of the gold mining exploration projects at Singida, Geita, Kalemela and North Mara. Lake Victoria Mining retains 100 percent of its rights to all four of the projects.

The partnership ended upon disappointing results received at Singida, one of the poorest regions in Tanzania, where gold prospecting has raised hopes of an economic turnaround.

Lake Victoria Mining said its expert research had determined there may be scope for small-scale commercial gold mining at Singida, currently the site of two drilling projects.

The end of the rainy season in northwestern Tanzania would allow the mine prospecting crews to resume exploration at the Uyowa gold project, which produced encouraging results in earlier research in 2003.

Other work is continuing at the Musoma Bunda project, at Suguti and Murangi.

Lake Victoria Mining Co. President and Chief Executive Officer David Kalenuik said: “We have eight gold projects in Tanzania. Although we have focused our primary attention on the Singida gold project over the past two years, all of our project areas are prospective for gold and we have been steadily advancing a number of these along behind the scenes.”

Based on the results to date, he said, the company plans to soon decide what to do with Singida, where to go ahead with developing the mine despite its low gold yield or try a joint venture or sell it.

Elsewhere in the exploration area, he said, “we are very excited about the potential that each of them could result in over the next few months.”

He said the company was “fully committed to discovering a major gold resource out of our portfolio.”

Pakistanis Still Trust Military

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 29 (UPI) — The military remains one of the most trusted Pakistani institutions although its reputation dipped after the death of Osama bin Laden, a poll indicated Friday.

A Gallup poll taken May 9-12 found 78 percent of Pakistanis have confidence in the military. That was down from 86 percent in an earlier poll, mostly conducted before a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs assassinated bin Laden May 2.

The military is trusted in most countries, including the United States, Gallup said. Pakistan had a military government for almost a decade, ending in 2008.

“In Pakistan’s case, this high confidence likely reflects the military’s strong, ongoing presence in civil society and reinforces how relatively weak the civilian government and institutions still are,” Gallup said in its analysis of the poll results.

The Abu Dhabi Gallup Center also questioned Pakistanis about their trust in the national government in the May poll. Less than one-third of respondents, 31 percent, said they had confidence in the government, an insignificant uptick from 28 percent in the earlier poll.

Gallup conducted face-to-face interviews with about 1,000 adults between April 25 and May 14. A second poll of 1,000 adults was done May 9-12. The margin of error for both was 4 percentage points.

Sheep And Goats Could Restore Wis. Prairie

MADISON, Wis., July 29 (UPI) — Herds of sheep and goats devouring invasive brush will help restore the native prairie at a Wisconsin site of a former army ammunition plant, officials said.

Officials of a commission overseeing the transition of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant to local control for eventual recreational use are considering how to restore prairie, a goal of the commission’s land reuse plan, the (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday.

One of the groups responsible for land management at Badger has proposed using goats and sheep to remove the existing brush and control invasive vegetation in the future.

“There are people that actually have businesses throughout the United States and use sheep and goats in vegetation management as a consulting service,” Cherrie Nolden of the Sauk Prairie Conservation Alliance said.

The oversight commission approved Nolden’s concept plan for an eventual two-year study on the use of animals to control vegetation.

“Badger has a huge invasive species problem, and she probably put one and one together to make two,” commission Chairman Bill Wenzel Jr. said of Nolden. “It seems like a pretty good fit. It’s a go as far as we’re concerned.”

Nolden, who studied wildlife biology and ecological systems at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, say animals are vital to prairie health.

“Our prairies evolved with large herds of bison, elk, deer and since we reduced those populations the prairies have declined,” Nolden said. “The prairie needs disturbance to remain a prairie or they’re going to be invaded by brush or trees.”

Calif. City To Allow Shooting Of Coyotes

LAGUNA WOODS, Calif., July 29 (UPI) — A Southern California community has voted to allow professionals to shoot wild coyotes following an attack that injured a resident and left her dog dead.

The Laguna Woods City Council voted Thursday to authorize the city manager and police chief to issue permits to licensed exterminators, veterinarians or other animal-control professionals that will allow them to shoot coyotes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The vote came amid an increase in coyote attacks in recent month against cats and dogs.

Karen Sherif, 64, was walking her Yorkshire terrier Tuesday when a coyote snatched the dog and ran off, dragging Sherif, who was holding the dog’s leash, into the street.

She suffered cuts and bruises, officials said, and her dog was later found dead.

Under the scheme approved by the City Council, the hours and locations that shooting coyotes is allowed as well as the type of guns that can be used will be limited, City Manager Leslie Keane said.

Before the council vote only police officers could discharge a gun within city limits and then only in the line of duty, the Times reported.

Puppy Fatally Injured With Crossbow

RIVERSIDE, Calif., July 29 (UPI) — A German shepherd puppy died this week after being shot with a crossbow in Southern California.

A security guard found the dog Wednesday on the campus of La Sierra University in Riverside, the Los Angeles Times reported. Investigators are unsure if the dog was hurt elsewhere and dragged itself to the campus or if it was shot there.

The puppy, which had no identification and appeared to be about 6 months old, had an arrow piercing its side.

Veterinarians at the Western Riverside County/City Animal Shelter tried to treat the puppy, giving it antibiotics and pain medication. They decided the only humane course was euthanasia.

“He was bleeding from his nose, and he was having difficulty breathing,” Eileen Sanders, a veterinary technician and spokeswoman, said. “His right-side lung was either filled with blood or had collapsed.”

The ASK Foundation, an animal advocacy group that works with the shelter, has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the shooter.

“We’re a big organization. We come across some heinous things,” Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh said Thursday. “But this is one of the ones that really make you shake your head. It’s malicious and disgusting.”