U.S. Teens Hardly Eating Any Produce

ATLANTA, Nov. 29 (UPI) — U.S. teenage consumption of fruit and vegetables comes nowhere near the recommended four to five servings per day, health officials say.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found in 2010, median U.S. teen consumption was 1.2 servings per day for both fruits and vegetables.

“In addition, about one in four U.S. high-school students consumed fruit less than once daily, and one in three consumed vegetables less than once daily,” the report said.

“A diet high in fruit and vegetables is associated with a decreased risk for many chronic diseases and some cancers and can aid in weight management. Current daily fruit and vegetable recommendations for adolescents who participate in less than 30 minutes of physical activity daily are 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for females and 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables for males — 1 cup is approximately equal to one medium apple, eight strawberries, 12 baby carrots, or one large tomato.”

To assess fruit and vegetable consumption among high school students, the CDC analyzed data from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study.

Overall, 28.5 percent of U.S. high school students consumed fruit less than once daily, and 33.2 percent of high school students consumed vegetables less than once daily, the CDC report said.

Laptop WiFi May Affect Men’s Sperm

CORDOBA, Argentina, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Sperm exposed to a wireless Internet-connected laptop exhibited reduced motility and suffered DNA fragmentation, researchers in Argentina found.

Conrado Avendano of Nascentis Medicina Reproductiva in Cordoba and colleagues said the study involved semen samples from 29 healthy donors that were divided into two groups.

One-half of the sperm was exposed in the laboratory to a WiFi-connected laptop for 4 hours; the other half was used as a control without being exposed to the laptop, Avendano said.

The study, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, found the sperm samples exposed to laptop WiFi showed a significant decrease in progressive sperm motility — the ability to move spontaneously and actively, consuming energy in the process — and an increase in sperm DNA fragmentation.

However, levels of dead sperm showed no significant differences between the two groups, Avendano said.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the direct impact of laptop use on human spermatozoa. Ex vivo exposure of human spermatozoa to a wireless Internet-connected laptop decreased motility and induced DNA fragmentation by a non-thermal effect,” Avendano and colleagues said in the study.

“We speculate that keeping a laptop connected wirelessly to the Internet on the lap near the testes may result in decreased male fertility. Further in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to prove this contention.”

Youth Attempt Suicide Sooner Than Thought

SEATTLE, Nov. 29 (UPI) — About one in nine people attempt suicide by the time they graduate from high school, U.S. researchers say.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, found nearly 40 percent of young adults who said they had tried suicide said they made their first attempt before entering high school.

Lead author James Mazza of the University of Washington and colleagues found suicide attempts during childhood and adolescence were linked to higher scores of depression at the time of the attempts.

“Young adults who end up having chronic mental health problems show their struggles early,” Mazza said in a statement. “This study suggests that implementation of mental health programs may need to start in elementary and middle schools, and that youth in these grades are fairly good reporters of their own mental health.”

Mazza and colleagues asked 883 young adults age 18-19 about their history of suicide attempts and nearly 9 percent said that they had tried suicide at some point. Suicide attempt rates showed a sharp increase around sixth grade, about age 12, with rates peaking around eighth or ninth grade, the study said.

However, for the 39 respondents reporting multiple suicide attempts, their first attempt was significantly earlier — as young as 9 — than for those making a single attempt, Mazza said.

Poll: 37 Percent Text While Driving

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Thirty-seven percent of U.S. drivers say they text while driving, but most say they engage in some type of distraction when driving, a survey indicates.

A Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll of 2,810 U.S adults conducted Nov. 10-14 indicates 86 percent of U.S. adults admitted to eating/drinking while driving, 59 percent talked on a non-hands-free cellphone, 41 percent set or adjusted a GPS device and 44 percent said they felt sleepy while driving and “sometimes even momentarily dozed off.”

In addition, U.S. drivers admitted to while driving:

— 36 percent say they read a map and 10 percent do it often or sometimes.

— 1-in-10 say they regularly comb or style their hair.

— 7 percent apply makeup regularly.

— 9 percent regularly surf the Internet.

— 7 percent say they watch video on a cellphone or in-board system often or sometimes.

Although large percentages of drivers say distracting behaviors are dangerous, they admit to doing them, the poll said.

“The number of drivers who engage in potentially dangerous, in some cases extremely dangerous, behaviors while driving is terrifyingly high, particularly when you remember that every 1 percent of drivers polled represents more than one-and-three-quarters of a million people,” Humphrey Taylor, chairman of The Harris Poll, said in a statement.

Facebook Thinking Big For IPO

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 29 (UPI) — Facebook Inc. is exploring an April to June initial public offering that could value the U.S. company at $100 million, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Sources have warned that Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has not made any final decisions in an IPO offering.

“We’re not going to participate in speculation about an IPO,” company spokesman Larry Yu said recently.

But sources said Facebook would attempt to raise $10 billion in a stock sale that would place it among the highest IPO sales in history.

Thirteen IPOs have topped $10 billion, the largest being a $21.9 billion day for the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China in October 2006.

Among U.S. companies, Visa Inc. raised $19.7 billion in 2008 and General Motors Co. raised $18.1 billion in 2010. In 2000, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. raised $10.6 billion.

Among U.S. Internet companies, Facebook is likely to top them all by a considerable margin. In 2004, Google Inc. went public and raised $1.9 billion, valuing Google at $23 billion, currently the record for U.S. Internet companies.

Facebook expects revenue to reach $3.8 billion in 2011, up from $1.86 billion in 2010, the Journal reported.

Google Map Service Heads Indoors

MOUNTAIN VIEW, D.C., Nov. 29 (UPI) — Where maps are available, U.S. Internet giant Google said it will offer a service to help pedestrians get their bearings indoors.

The Tuesday launch of “My Location,” allows consumers with a mobile device outfitted with Google Maps 6.0 for Android to download maps of shopping malls, airports and other indoor terrain, Google said.

Google said it had formed initial partnerships with “some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the U.S. and Japan” to get the service off the ground.

The initial partnerships include Mall of America, IKEA, The Home Depot, select Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, Daimaru, Takashimaya and Mitsukoshi locations, Google said.

Also on line will be the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco International Airport, and Narita International, Google said.

Bankrupt American Airlines To Keep Flying

FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 29 (UPI) — AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines and American Eagle, said the carriers will keep flying despite landing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York Tuesday.

AMR, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said its board of directors determined a Chapter 11 reorganization was in the best interest of both the company and its stakeholders.

“The Chapter 11 process enables American Airlines and American Eagle to continue conducting normal business operations while they restructure debt, costs and other obligations,” AMR said in a statement.

AMR said the restructuring was necessary to “address our cost structure, including labor costs, to enable us to capitalize on these foundational strengths and secure our future.

“Our very substantial cost disadvantage compared to our larger competitors, all of which restructured their costs and debt through Chapter 11, has become increasingly untenable given the accelerating impact of global uncertainty and resulting revenue instability, volatile and rising fuel prices, and intensifying competitive challenges.”

The company said flights would continue, but that chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerard Arpey had retired and would be replaced by Thomas Horton, who will continue to serve as president of AMR and American.

“American expects to continue normal business operations throughout the reorganization process, and the business will continue to be operated by the company’s management,” AMR said in a statement.

Normal business operations include “normal flight schedules, honoring tickets and reservations as usual, and making normal refunds and exchanges,” the company said. In addition, “American’s AAdvantage frequent flyer program is not affected.”

The airline will continue its membership in the oneworld alliance “and all of its codeshare partnerships continue,” the statement said.

Job Cuts Top 2010 Total

CHICAGO, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Announced job layoffs for the year have already surpassed the total for U.S. job cuts announced in 2010, a private research firm said.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas said November’s layoff announcements was steady compared to October with 42,474 cuts announced after a total of 42,759 in October.

In the month, however, U.S. employers surpassed the total for 2010 with layoff announcements coming to 564,297 January through November, compared to 529,873 for all of 2010.

For the eighth month of the year, government layoffs led all employment sectors for layoffs. For the year, the government has announced 180,881 job cuts, 30 percent more than the same period of 2010, the report said.

In November, 13,500 out of 18,508 the announced government job cuts were layoffs of civilians working for the United States Air Force.

“Even if Congress finds a way to delay the automatic military spending cuts triggered by the failure of the deficit reduction super committee, there is still immense pressure to cut costs. The drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq are likely to result in further personnel reductions,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.

206,000 Private Jobs Added In November

ROSELAND, N.J., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Payroll firm Automatic Data Processing Inc. said Wednesday the U.S. economy added 206,000 jobs in November, nearly twice the average gain since May.

Small businesses, those with fewer than 50 employees, added the bulk of the jobs, 110,000, while large businesses, those with more than 499 employees, added 12,000 jobs. Medium-sized businesses added 84,000 jobs, ADP said.

ADP’s monthly report tracks private sector jobs. The Labor Department’s monthly job situation report, due Friday, includes private and public sector jobs.

ADP revised October’s figures to show 130,000 jobs added in the private sector, rather than the 110,000 previously announced.

For November, private-sector, goods-producing jobs rose by 28,000. Manufacturing employment increased 7,000. Construction employment grew 16,000.

“This month’s jobs figures show positive growth in all major sectors of the economy and are in line with the recent drop in the national unemployment rate and weekly jobless claims,” said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP.

“November’s advance was the largest monthly gain since last December and nearly twice the average monthly gain since May when employment decelerated sharply. Today’s [Wednesday's] report, notably above the consensus forecast, suggests that employment, which decelerated during the spring, accelerated in November,” said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, which helps produce the ADP report.

Greater broadband use touted as key to South American development

BRASILIA, Brazil, Nov. 30 (UPI) — A wider introduction of broadband and Internet telecommunication will help development and social inclusion throughout Latin America, the Inter-American Development Bank said in studies released at a ministerial conference.

International telecommunications organizations, governments and non-government organizations sent representatives to the meeting, which also looked into promotion of intercontinental fiber-optic networks in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Broadband network expansion in Latin America is linked to issues of chronic poverty issues, patchy development and lack of resources. But this year’s experience of telecommunications playing a key role in the Arab Spring in the Middle East and Africa has given a stronger voice to those backing broadband expansion in Latin America.

Connectivity and access to the Internet is linked to income disparities in Latin America and within countries seen from the outside as buoyant and increasingly prosperous emerging markets.

Income disparities that affect access to broadband are the strongest in high-growth countries, including Brazil, analysts said.

IDB said member countries of the Union of South American Nations need to improve cooperation and stimulate private investment to increase broadband access. UNASUR has 12 members — Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela — and two observers, Mexico and Panama.

Greater accessibility to broadband will lead to lower costs and greater usage, conclusions reached in the studies said. The documents were released at the meeting of UNASUR communication ministers.

Although Latin America’s broadband infrastructure is growing, it lags behind China and other parts of the world, the study indicated. The region’s connectivity is rated at about seven per 100 inhabitants, less than China’s 9.4 and the Organization for Economic Co-operations and Development’s 25 per 100, IDB Science and Technology Division head Flora Painter told the meeting.

The OECD comprises 34 nations dubbed developed or industrialized. Chile is the OECD’s only South American member.

IDB says Latin American countries need to promote public-private partnerships, give more tax incentives and modify regulations to stimulate investment.

“South America will accelerate economic development if it increases access to broadband services to low-income populations and businesses, especially small and medium-sized companies,” Painter said.

“UNASUR member countries have a great opportunity to invest in coordinated efforts to improve regional and international connectivity and increase the production of local content, which we consider necessary to democratize and reduce the cost of access.”

UNASUR members should build more domestic and regional connection points as that will cut the distances for data traffic and lower costs.

The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean says 75-85 percent of the region’s traffic, including locally produced content, goes through Miami. In contrast, most of Europe’s traffic stays within its borders.

IDB is also promoting greater user of underwater fiber-optic networks in Latin America, which lags behind Africa even though the region generates more business.

An earlier meeting on broadband expansion in Miami looked at the Caribbean region.

U.S. Offers $50,000 In ‘Shredder Challenge’

ARLINGTON, Va., Nov. 29 (UPI) — The research arm of the U.S. military is offering a $50,000 prize to the person who presents the best way to piece together shredded documents.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency said participants in the “shredder challenge,” which began in October and ends Dec. 4, are asked to find a fast and cost-effective method of reconstituting the “shredded” documents posted on the contest Web site, www.shredderchallenge.com, and then solve the puzzles contained in the documents, The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot reported Monday.

Officials said four of the five challenges have been solved thus far, with teams using methods including computer programming and piecing the documents together by hand.

“We’ve been utterly pleased with the results so far,” said Norm Whitaker, deputy director of DARPA’s information innovation office.

DARPA said the goal of the project is to find an efficient way to piece together shredded documents that may contain valuable information about the country’s enemies.

Christmas Photos Come With Gun Backdrops

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Nov. 29 (UPI) — An Arizona gun club is giving families the chance to take Christmas card photos with Santa Claus in front of firearms-themed backdrops.

The Scottsdale Gun Club said families can come in during the Santa and Machine Guns event, scheduled for Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and have photos taken with jolly old St. Nick in front of backdrops ranging from an $80,000 Garwood minigun to common pistols, KSAZ-TV, Phoenix, reported Monday.

“I think it’s going to be all in fun from those who support the second amendment and those who don’t. Whether you’re a gun advocate or not, you should have a lot of fun with it,” gun club member Richard Jones said.

Election Tie Broken With Number Drawing

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa., Nov. 30 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania township resolved a tie from the recent board of supervisors election by having the candidates pick envelopes containing numbers.

Democrat Joseph Claar was chosen to serve a six-year term as a Greenfield Township supervisor Monday when he picked an envelope containing a lower number than the envelope chosen by his opponent, Republican Edward Helsel, The Altoona (Pa.) Mirror reported Tuesday.

Helsel and Claar each received 221 votes in the election.

Claar, whose previous term on the board ended six years ago, said the envelope-drawing tiebreaker was not the first for the township.

“It’s been done this way for years. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” he said.

Helsel has held a seat on the board since 1988.

Police: Woman Stabbed With Ornament

SOUTHINGTON, Conn., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Police in Connecticut said a woman accused of stealing items from a Christmas Craft Fair allegedly used an ornament to stab a woman who was blocking her escape.

Investigators said Ruth Wagner, 55, of Southington, allegedly stole several items from the city’s Christmas Craft Fair and began fleeing when she was approached by a vendor who saw her take a seashell ornament, WVIT-TV, New Britain/Hartford/New Haven, Conn., reported Tuesday.

The vendor called out for someone to stop the woman and Wagner allegedly stabbed a woman who tried to block her exit in the arm with the seashell ornament.

The injured woman was taken to a local hospital to have a piece of the shell removed from her arm.

Witnesses took down Wagner’s license plate number and she was arrested at her home, police said.

Wagner was charged with robbery in the first degree, assault in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, larceny in the sixth degree and breach of peace in the second degree. She was released on $100,000 bond.

Suit Donated With $13,000 In Pockets

MOLINE, Ill., Nov. 30 (UPI) — A Goodwill spokeswoman said workers were searching for a suit donated by an 80-year-old Illinois man who believes he left $13,000 in the pockets.

Goodwill spokeswoman Dana Engelbert said the Moline man, who asked not to be identified, donated an old suit to a local Goodwill store and realized about a week later that his life savings, about $13,000, had been in the pockets, WQAD-TV, Moline, reported Tuesday.

“We’re sorting through the donations that came in at the time,” Engelbert said.

She said the store was searched and workers are looking through donations from the location that were shipped to an Iowa City warehouse. However, she said the suit may have already been sold.

The man’s daughter said her father has been taking care of his wife, who has stage 4 cancer, and is “devastated and embarrassed” by the costly mistake. She said a $1,000 reward is being offered to the potential buyer of the suit if that person “does the right thing.”

Woman who calls police arrested in hit-run

PINELLAS PARK, Del., Nov. 30 (UPI) — A Florida woman who called police to ask them to remove her boyfriend from her apartment was arrested in a fatal February hit-and-run crash, police said.

Heather Lynn Mayo, 33, called the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office Monday night, saying she feared her boyfriend, Robert Worden. But Worden implicated her in the hit-and-run and pointed officers to the neighbor’s truck she was driving at the time, The St. Petersburg Times reported.

Worden, who had just been released from jail after 40 days for issuing a worthless check and said he had come to see his 7-year-old daughter, left the Palm Harbor apartment. Heading out, he showed deputies the damaged 1997 black Ford Ranger in the parking lot and told them Mayo had borrowed the truck Feb. 4 to drive to Pinellas Park to buy marijuana, officials said.

Worden told deputies Mayo had admitted to him she had hit and killed a pedestrian on 66th Street North but was too afraid of going to jail to stop, the Times said.

Police said the victim, Jeannie Fisher, 50, had violated the driver’s right of way but state law required the driver to stop and identify herself.

The Sheriff’s Office called the Pinellas Park Police Department, and Mayo was arrested after confessing to the hit-and-run, police said.

The Ranger had not been repaired since the crash, the report said.

Mayo was booked into the Pinellas jail, where she was being held Tuesday on $52,250 bail.

She had also been arrested on a warrant for driving with a suspended license and was cited for driving under the influence last year, the Times said.

GOP seeks to accelerate Keystone permit

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — A bill was introduced in the U.S, Senate Wednesday requiring issuance of a construction permit for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline within 60 days.

Republican senators said the legislation would overturn the Obama administration’s decision to kick the project back for further study, likely until after next year’s presidential election.

The sponsors of the legislation said the project needed to commence quickly to both secure new supplies of Canadian crude oil and put Americans to work.

“The Keystone XL pipeline is the largest infrastructure project that is ready for construction now,” Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said in a written statement , “President Obama has the opportunity of creating 20,000 new jobs. Incredibly, he has delayed a decision until after the 2012 election apparently in fear of offending a part of his political base.”

The “political base” includes environmentalists who oppose the planned pipeline route through a critical water aquifer in Nebraska.

But the sponsors of the bill said it included requirements for strict environmental safeguards and provisions to change the pipeline route in Nebraska, but allowing construction to begin outside the state in the meantime.

In the meantime, the bill would make it official that the environmental impact statement on the project was adequate and require the U.S.State Department to issue the necessary permits within 60 days of passage.

U.S.: Canada hid salmon virus for 10 years

SEATTLE, Nov. 30 (UPI) — U.S. officials have expressed annoyance an 8-year-old Canadian scientific report on a deadly West Coast salmon virus wasn’t shared or published.

Molly Kilbenge was the lead of four authors of Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans report in 2004 that said the deadly infectious salmon anemia virus had been found in three types of wild salmon in 2002 and 2003.

In November, Kilbenge asked for federal permission to publish the article, but was denied, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

The wild coho, pink and sockeye salmon migrate along the coast of Washington and British Columbia, past huge farms of captive salmon farms, where the virus is suspected to originate, the report said.

Jim Winton, a fish virologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told the Seattle Times Canada’s decision to withhold the data was “puzzling and very frustrating” as it affects the entire west coast fisheries north to Alaka.

“No one ever revealed that there was a publication that was ready to go to a journal or that the data were as compelling as they appear to be,” he said.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., denounced Canada’s decision to withhold findings.

“We should not rely on another government — particularly one that may have a motive to misrepresent its findings — to determine how we assess the risk ISA may pose to American fishery jobs,” Cantwell said.

Kremlin rival declares win in S. Ossetia

TSKHINVALI, Georgia, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The former education minister in Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia said she won a presidential contest despite a court annulment.

Kremlin-backed Emergency Minister Anatoly Bibilov squared off against former Education Minister Alla Dzhioyeva in a runoff election during the weekend.

A high court in the breakaway republic annulled the election, however, claiming there were violations committed by Dzhioyeva’s supporters.

Nevertheless, she declared herself president and vowed to set up a 10-member governing council to serve as an interim administration.

“The council will operate until a legitimate government is formed,” her office was quoted by Russia’s state-run news RIA Novosti as saying.

Both candidates claimed victory in the second round of voting, though no official results were declared.

Russia went to war with Georgia in 2008 over South Ossetia and Abkhazia, another breakaway republic. Russia has military installations there. NATO said it doesn’t recognize the right of either republic to form a unilateral administration.

Dzhioyeva is accused by her rivals of trying to start a revolution.

Ivorian leader Gbagbo in ICC custody

THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo arrived Wednesday at the International Criminal Court to face crimes against humanity charges, the court said.

Gbagbo was handed to ICC authorities Tuesday by Ivorian officials answering an arrest warrant issued by the court last week.

The court said Gbagbo allegedly bears responsibility as an indirect co-perpetrator for four counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and “other inhuman acts” following last year’s election.

Gbagbo refused to step down after the international community recognized Alassane Ouattara as the winner of a November 2010 election. Gbagbo is charged with crimes allegedly committed from last December to April, when he was arrested in Abidjan with the help of French peacekeepers.

The ICC estimates at least 3,000 people were killed in the unrest that followed an election meant to unite a country divided by civil war in 2003. Ivory Coast isn’t a party to the Rome Statute that created the court but was called on to investigate the atrocities by the Ouattara administration.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, chief prosecutor at the ICC, said the Ivorian victims would see justice for the “massive” crimes committed in their country.

Human rights groups allege both sides likely committed atrocities during the post-election violence.

“Mr. Gbagbo is the first to be brought to account, there is more to come,” Moreno-Ocampo added in his statement.

Gbagbo is the first former head of state to face ICC prosecution.

First settlements in Ohio stun-gun lawsuit

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 30 (UPI) — An Ohio county has agreed to pay $40,000 to settle lawsuits related to the alleged use of stun guns on jail inmates.

The settlement was approved by Franklin County commissioners. The suits were filed by two former inmates 2010, claiming the alleged use of excessive force by sheriff’s deputies in non-violent situations.

The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch said Wednesday the settlements would soon be followed by six more cases filed on the same issue by current and former prisoners.

A class-action suit was filed by the Ohio Legal Rights Service and was joined by the U.S. Department of Justice.