California Fines Walmart $2.1 Million

SAN DIEGO (UPI) — A judgment in California concerning scanning errors at Walmart Stores has been extended and revamped, court papers say.

San Diego, Calif., Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Barton agreed with prosecutors who charged Walmart Stores Inc., with failing to follow through on a 2008 judgment that also involved overcharging customers.

Barton ordered an additional $2.1 million fine be assessed on top of the previous agreement.

The 2008 judgment was an order for Walmart to give customers in California $3 off on items on which they overpaid due to scanning errors, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Thursday.

But Walmart has not complied with the order, which included posting signs about the issue.

Prosecutors said items at stores were still scanning at prices that were higher than the price advertised.

Judge Barton also ordered the $3 refund deal to be continued for an additional year.

“We always strive for 100 percent pricing accuracy and will continue to make improvements to ensure we meet this goal,” said Steve Restivo, senior director of community affairs for Walmart.

“California families can trust Walmart to deliver on our mission to help them save money and live better.”

Hospitals Slow To Adopt Life-Saving Drug

LONDON (UPI) — Hospitals worldwide have been slow to embrace use of a cheap generic drug that has been saving injured U.S. soldiers on the battlefield, researchers said.

The drug, tranexamic acid, had been sold over-the-counter in Britain and Japan for heavy menstrual flow. However, a 2010 trial on 20,000 hemorrhaging trauma patients in 40 countries showed it saved lives and the U.S. and British Armies added to its medical arsenal.

The World Health Organization added it to its essential drugs list last year and British ambulances carry the drug but adoption of its use in the United States has been slow.

Dr. Ian Roberts, clinical trials director for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and leader of the 2010 trial — called Crash-2 — the slowness of U.S. hospitals was due to “inertia.”

“The people who do the urging and the talking about new drugs are the pharmaceutical companies, and if they’re not interested, it’s not done,” Roberts told The New York Times.

A study published this month in the journal BMC Emergency Medicine said about 6 million people die worldwide each year of trauma. The study estimated tranexamic acid could save as many as 128,000 of lives a year, 4,000 of them in the United States.

Dr. David E. Lounsbury — a retired colonel who served as U.S. Army medical liaison officer to the British Army, and co-authored the 2008 Army textbook, “War Surgery in Afghanistan and Iraq: A Series of Cases, 2003-2007″ — said U.S. Army doctors in the mid-2000s used recombinant factor VIIa, a very expensive new clotting drug.

Its use faded after some wounded personnel developed life-threatening clots on evacuation flights out of a war zone, but tranexamic acid was never in his combat hospital’s pharmacy, Lounsbury said.

“An old generic doesn’t have any hair-on-your-chest bravado, so we didn’t even take it to the battlefield,” Lounsbury told the Times.

Sronger Food Aroma, People Eat Less

WAGENINGEN, Netherlands (UPI) — Foods with strong aromas lead to people eating smaller bite sizes, possibly resulting in people eating less, researchers in the Netherlands said.

Study leader Dr. Rene de Wijk of Wageningen University in the Netherlands said bite size depends on the familiarly and texture of food — smaller bite sizes are taken for foods that need more chewing, and are often linked to a sensation of feeling fuller sooner, Wijk said.

The researchers separated the effect of aroma on bite size from sensations associated with other foods. They used a custard-like dessert that was modified to give off a variety of scents to participants’ noses.

The results showed the stronger the smell, the smaller the bite.

“Our human test subjects were able to control how much dessert was fed to them by pushing a button. Bite size was associated with the aroma presented for that bite and also for subsequent bites — especially for the second to last bite,” de Wijk said in a statement.

The finding suggests manipulating food aroma could result in a 5 percent to 10 percent decrease in food intake per bite, and combining aroma control with portion control could fool the body into thinking it was full with a smaller amount of food — and aid weight loss — de Wijk said.

The study was published in the journal Flavour.



Tobacco Hurts Poorer Nations More

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Tobacco is responsible for nearly 6 million deaths worldwide annually and is the world’s top cause of preventable death, a U.S. journal says.

A supplement published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control featured 11 studies showing the disproportionate impact of tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure, and tobacco-related cancer and disease among those those of lower socioeconomic position and, in some cases, by gender and race/ethnicity.

“Tobacco’s impact has reached epidemic proportions around the world,” Dr. Donna Vallone, senior vice president for research and evaluation at legacy and co-editor of the special supplement, said in a statement. “This special issue confirms what we have known in public health for many years: Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer, it impacts the health and economies of poor nations.”

The World Health Organization said nearly 80 percent of the world’s 1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

Studies conducted in Vietnam and China show how vulnerable populations — including women and children, racial/ethnic minorities and the poor — are disproportionately affected by secondhand smoke exposure, Vallone said.

In addition, data from Southeast Asia show a five-fold mortality increase from oral cancers among tobacco chewers compared to never chewers with a strong and inverse association with education.

“This is a critical opportunity for preventing the progression of tobacco use among women in many low- and middle-income countries particularly those in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia,” Vallone said. “The supplement allows us to take a look at where the burden lies, so that interventions can be tailored accordingly.”


Quality Protein Helps Fight Aging

DALLAS (UPI) — Raising daily protein intake can help fend off age-related muscle mass loss, while exercise keeps muscles and bones strong, a U.S. registered dietitian said.

Lona Sandon, assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said the older people get, the more important it becomes to pay attention both to the quantity and quality of the calories consumed.

“The good news about calories taken in is the more physically active you are, the more calories you can consume at any age,” Sandon said in a statement. “The bad news is because we are aging, we are losing muscle mass, and we need the right type of calories to help promote and keep that lean muscle mass.”

A healthy diet rich in quality protein helps minimize muscle loss and experts recommend the average adult consume .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight — although for older individuals that benchmark jumps to nearly .7 grams. For example, for someone who weighs 154 pounds, the .7 gram of protein translates into about 4 ounces of recommended daily protein.

A 4-ounce piece of grilled trout provides roughly 28 grams of protein, Sandon said.

It is important to consider the quality of the protein, like that packed with essential amino acids — lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, cheese and yogurt — Sandon said.



Scheduled Feeding May Lower Baby’s IQ

ESSEX, England (UPI) — Babies breastfed or bottle-fed to a schedule may not perform as well in school as babies fed on demand, British researchers found.

Study leader Dr. Maria Iacovou of the Institute for Social and Economic Research at University of Essex and at the University of Oxford said this was the first ever large-scale study to investigate the long-term outcomes of schedule versus demand-fed babies.

The study, published in the European Journal of Public Health, found demand-feeding was associated with higher IQ scores at age 8, and higher school scores at ages 5, 7, 11 and 14.

Scheduled feeding times did have benefits for mothers, who reported feelings of confidence and high levels of well-being, Iacovou said.

“The difference between schedule and demand-fed children is found both in breastfed and in bottle-fed babies,” Iacovou said in a statement. “The difference in IQ levels of around 4 to 5 points, though statistically highly significant, would not make a child at the bottom of the class move to the top, but it would be noticeable. To give a sense of the kind of difference of the increase, in a class of 30 children, a child who is right in the middle of the class, ranked at 15th, might be, with an improvement of 4 or 5 IQ points, ranked higher, at about 11th or 12th in the class.”

Man Called 911 To Make Wife Go To Bed

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (UPI) — A Florida man serving a 60-day jail sentence for misuse of 911 called the emergency line because his wife would not leave him alone to check his Facebook.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said Doyle Hardwick, who began serving his sentence Tuesday, called 911 on Sept. 24 and told the dispatcher his wife refused to stop sitting next to him and go to bed, the Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla., reported Thursday.

Hardwick, 57, told the operator his wife told him she would go to bed if he let her drink some beers, but she refused to leave the seat next to him upon finishing her beverages. He said he was upset his wife would not let him “look at Facebook peacefully,” the 911 transcript states.

Deputies said both Hardwick and his wife smelled of alcohol when they arrived at their home.

Hardwick pleaded no contest to misuse of 911 in February and an arrest warrant was issued when he failed to show up to serve his sentence. He turned himself in Tuesday and began serving his 60 days.


Cat Falls 19 Stories, Only Minor Injuries

BOSTON (UPI) — A Boston woman said it was a “miracle” when her cat survived a 19-story fall without any serious injuries.

Brittany Kirk said her cat, Sugar, plummeted from the window of her 19th floor apartment on Storrow Drive and veterinarians with the local Animal Rescue League said the feline incurred only minor bruising to her lungs, WBZ-TV, Boston, reported Thursday.

“I’m just so thankful. When I came home from work today and I saw her, I was just very thankful. It’s a miracle,” Kirk said.

Brian O’Connor, a manager with the Animal Rescue League, said Sugar fell an estimated 150 to 200 feet. He said studies have shown cats have a greater chance of survival when they fall from higher than nine stories.

“The cats were able to relax, orient themselves in a flying squirrel position with the legs spread out. It slowed their descent down,” O’Connor said.

Kirk said she is having screens installed on her windows to prevent future falls.


Woman Bragged About Jury Lies On Radio

DENVER (UPI) — Authorities in Denver said a woman who told a radio show she lied to get out of jury duty is facing felony charges.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office said Judge Anne Mansfield, who dismissed Susan Cole from jury selection June 28, was listening to KOA-FM, Denver, in October when Cole told host Dave Logan how she had feigned mental illness to get out of jury duty, The Denver Post reported Thursday.

Cole, a published author and cosmetologist, claimed to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when she appeared in Mansfield’s courtroom.

The District Attorney’s Office said Mansfield recognized Cole’s story and reported her to authorities. Cole was charged Wednesday with felony counts of perjury and attempting to influence a public servant.

Wedding Postponed To Buy Chemo For Lizard

LONDON, March 22 — A British woman said she had to postpone her wedding after spending more than $4,700 on chemotherapy for her pet lizard.

Lizzie Griffiths, 25, of London said she adopted George, her bearded dragon, last year and decided to postpone her wedding to Chris Fisher so she could spend their saved cash to treat the reptile’s cancer, The Sun reported Thursday.

“Chris knows George will always come first,” Griffiths said. “I fell in love with George the minute I saw him and knew I’d do anything to look after him properly. So right now we can’t afford a wedding.”

Griffiths said George, who became the first bearded dragon in Britain to undergo chemotherapy, is now in remission.

Fisher said he understands that George will always be “Lizzie’s No. 1.”

Texas City Manager Lays Himself Off

KELLER, Texas (UPI) — The city manager of Keller, Texas, declaring municipal management positions needed to be trimmed, announced his own layoff.

Dan O’Leary told the City Council of his decision Tuesday and the public Wednesday, saying, “It’s a little unusual for a city our size to have three managers,” a reference to his two assistant city managers, Steve Polasek and Chris Fuller.

Keller is a northern suburb of Fort Worth with a population of about 40,000. A replacement will be chosen by the City Council.

O’Leary said his last performance review was positive and that there are no issues forcing his self-removal. He is leaving ahead of city elections in May before an annual budget process gets underway and after last week’s auditor’s report was submitted.

“This was the best time,” he said.

His last day on the job will be April 20. No other staff reductions are planned, the Fort Worth, Texas, Star-Telegram reported Thursday.

‘Calmer’ 2012 Hurricane Season Forecast

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (UPI) — The first forecast for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season calls for a calmer-than-average period for the sometimes destructive storms, U.S. meteorologists say.

Scientists from Colorado State University said the six-month season that opens June 1 will have less activity than usual, USA Today reported Wednesday.

“A warming tropical Pacific and a cooling tropical Atlantic are leading us to think that the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season will have less activity” than average, meteorologists Philip Klotzbach and William Gray said in their online report.

An average Atlantic hurricane season will produce about six hurricanes.

“The tropical Atlantic has anomalously cooled over the past several months, and it appears that the chances of an El Nino event this summer and fall are relatively high,” the forecasters said.

The El Nino phenomenon is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean that tends to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

Colorado State will release a full, detailed forecast for the season in early April.

Future Of Monarch Butterflies A Concern

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (UPI) — The numbers of Monarch butterflies moving north across Texas from their breeding grounds in Mexico are expected to be down alarmingly this year, scientists say.

Texas A&M researcher Craig Wilson said reports by the World Wildlife Fund and Mexico’s Michoacan state show Monarch numbers will be down almost 30 percent in 2012 as they make their annual trek north into the United States.

The figures show an alarming decades-long decline in their numbers, Wilson says.

“Last year’s severe drought and fires in the region no doubt played a part, resulting in less nectar for the Monarchs as they migrated south,” he said in a university release.

“But estimates show that each year, millions of acres of land are being lost that would support Monarchs, either by farmers converting dormant land for crop use — mainly to herbicide tolerant corn and soybeans — or the overuse of herbicides and mowing.

“Milkweed is the key plant because it’s the only plant where the female will lay her eggs,” Wilson said.

The loss of such lands is a critical issue for the Monarchs’ survival, he said.

“We need a national priority of planting milkweed to assure there will be Monarchs in the future,” Wilson said. “If we could get several states to collaborate, we might be able to promote a program where the north-south interstates were planted with milkweed, such as Lady Bird Johnson’s program to plant native seeds along Texas highways 35-40 years ago.

“This would provide a ‘feeding’ corridor right up to Canada for the Monarchs.”

Angry Birds Space Game Unveiled

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — The Finnish maker of the popular Angry Birds game says its Angry Birds Space sequel is out now for iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Mac and Windows.

Complete with a NASA tie-in, the new version from game developer Rovio allows players to fling angry birds at the horrible green pig villains in zero gravity, slingshot them around a moon, and even manipulate the gravity of nearby space objects for “trick” shots, PC World reported Thursday.

Owners of iPhones and iPods can buy the game for $0.99 while the cost of the iPad version is $3.

Angry Birds Space is optimized for the new iPad’s 2,048-by-1,536 resolution Retina display, but PC World reported some problems playing the game on an original iPad, with continual crashes.

Computer users can also play Angry Birds Space. The Mac App store has it for $5 and Windows computer users can purchase it directly from Rovio for $6.

A free ad-supported version for Android smartphones is available from Google Play, with Rovio saying it is planning a non-ad version for $0.99.

Students Receive Images From Moon Orbiter

PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — NASA says one of its twin GRAIL spacecraft orbiting the moon has sent back the first student-requested image of the surface taken with its on-board camera.

Fourth-grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont., had received the honor of making the first image selection by winning a nationwide competition to rename the two spacecraft. Previously named Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory A and B, the twin spacecraft are now called Ebb and Flow.

The image was taken by the MoonKam, or Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school students, on the Ebb spacecraft, a release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said Thursday.

More than 60 student–requested images were taken by the Ebb spacecraft March 15-17 and downlinked to Earth March 20.

“MoonKAM is based on the premise that if your average picture is worth a thousand words, then a picture from lunar orbit may be worth a classroom full of engineering and science degrees,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL mission principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

GRAIL is NASA’s first planetary mission to carry instruments fully dedicated to education and public outreach.

Students can select target areas on the lunar surface and request images to study from the GRAIL MoonKAM Mission Operations Center in San Diego.

“Through MoonKAM, we have an opportunity to reach out to the next generation of scientists and engineers,” Zuber said. “It is great to see things off to such a positive start.”


Annual Bird Count Has Some Surprises

ITHACA, N.Y. (UPI) — Bird watchers taking part in an annual bird count have recorded the most unusual winter for birds in the count’s 15-year history, U.S. researchers said.

Participants in Cornell University’s Great Backyard Bird Count reported 623 species during Feb. 17–20, including an influx of Snowy Owls from the arctic, early migrating Sandhill Cranes, and Belted Kingfishers in northern areas that might normally be frozen over, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology reported Thursday.

The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell lab and the National Audubon Society, with Canadian partner Bird Studies Canada.

“The maps on the GBBC Web site this year are absolutely stunning,” John Fitzpatrick, the lab’s executive director, said. “Every bird species has a captivating story to tell, and we’re certainly seeing many of them in larger numbers farther north than usual, no doubt because of this winter’s record-breaking mild conditions.”

Some arctic species moved farther south than usual, researchers said, as count participants recorded Snowy Owl sightings in record-breaking numbers throughout the Great Plains and Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canadian bird watchers recorded four times as many owls as last year.

Bird experts say they believe Snowy Owls move south from their usual arctic habitats in years when prey, such as lemmings, are scarce.

“Citizen scientists are helping us document changes to birds, starting in our own backyards, which is also where the solution begins,” Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham said. “My preschool-age daughter came out with me to count birds in the yard and around the neighborhood — we’re still talking about the experience weeks later.”

Report: France Gunman On U.S. No-Fly List

TOULOUSE, France (UPI) — The gunman who died Thursday when cornered by French police was on the radar of U.S. authorities as well, sources told The Wall Street Journal.

Mohammed Merah, 24, was on the U.S. no-fly list because he had been in custody in Afghanistan in 2010 before being sent back to France, sources familiar with the case told the newspaper.

The circumstances of Merah’s detention in Afghanistan were not clear, and the Journal said U.S. officials said there was no record of him ever being in the custody of the American military.

Merah was also named as a member of a group called Forsane Alizza, or Knights of Glory, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said. The French government banned the group in January for trying to recruit people to fight in Afghanistan.

Merah’s career in terrorism came to an end Thursday when he was fatally shot while jumping out of a window in an apartment house in Toulouse by a police tactical team. Police had surrounded the building for more than 30 hours.

Merah reportedly admitted he had carried out the drive-by shootings in southern France that left seven people dead. The victims included three French soldiers gunned down last week and four people, including three children, killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse Monday.

The Los Angeles Times said Merah made video recordings of last week’s shootings, which were in the hands of police. Toulouse prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters Merah said to one paratrooper “You kill my brothers; I kill you” as he opened fire.

Investigators Thursday were looking into any potential accomplices Merah may have had. The Journal said the gunman’s older brother and mother were in custody, but prosecutors did not say why.

Web Details Of Abortions Pulled From Bill

NASHVILLE (UPI) — A provision of a bill in Tennessee’s Legislature calling for details of abortions to be listed on a state Web site has been withdrawn, its sponsor said.

Rep. Matthew Hill told members of the Legislative Health and Human Service Committee Wednesday that he is rewriting the bill, HB3808, deleting the section that requires doctors to post information on the Department of Health Web site about any abortions performed in the state, and concentrating on a requirement that doctors obtain admitting privileges at area hospitals.

The bill has received national attention and comment, and Hill said he has received death threats, the (Nashville) Tennessean reported Thursday.

Jeff Teague, chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee, said Hill should contact law enforcement authorities if threatened, as his organization does.

“It’s exactly what happens when we have threats against the safety and security of our staff, physicians and clients,” Teague said.

The issue of admitting privileges is meant to ensure that doctors can easily admit patients who experience complications after abortions, Hill said.



John Edwards Denies Ties To NYC Madam

NEW YORK (UPI) — Attorneys for former presidential candidate John Edwards denied a report that he was a client of the “Millionaire Madam” prostitution ring in New York.

The Web site reported this week that a reputed call girl told investigators that she had sex with the former North Carolina senator in 2007 while he was in New York raising money for his presidential campaign.

Edwards said through his attorney’s Thursday that the woman’s allegations were untrue.

Sources told the woman told her story in 2008 to investigators from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office who were looking into the alleged prostitution ring run by Anna Gristina.

Edwards is awaiting trial in North Carolina on charges he used campaign contributions for personal expenses, including covering up an affair with campaign videographer Rielle Hunter, whom he coincidentally met at a Manhattan hotel where he stayed frequently during the same period he was allegedly patronizing Gristina’s alleged sex ring, said.


White House: 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2013

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE, March 22 (UPI) — A White House spokesman said Thursday the United States will have 68,000 troops in Afghanistan next year after surge forces withdraw.

Press Secretary Jay Carney spoke to reporters on Air Force One covering President Obama’s trip to Columbus, Ohio.

Asked about the testimony of Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, before a Senate panel, Carney confirmed the general’s figure.

“What General Allen was referring to is that 68,000 troops which will remain after the withdrawal of the surge forces is a good number going into the period of the post-surge-withdrawal period,” Carney said. “But the president’s position has not changed, and that position is that we will steadily draw down U.S. troops as we continue to transition security lead to Afghan security forces as they continue to be trained and their numbers increase.”

Allen testified Afghan security forces are “better we thought they would be” and could lead to a further reduction in U.S. troops.

“If part of the outcome of my evaluation is that there is a reduced requirement for U.S. or ISAF combat power, I’ll make that part of my recommendation,” Allen testified.

Carney said the president is still “focused on implementing a strategy that has as its core objective the goal of disrupting and dismantling and ultimately defeating al-Qaida.”

He added there will be a full transition to Afghan troops by the end 2014, but the announcement of any more troop withdrawals will come only after surge troops are withdrawn.

Senator Lugar To Pay Back Indy Hotel Expenses

WASHINGTON (UPI) — Senator Richard Lugar, R-Ind., said he would reimburse the federal government about $4,500 in hotel expenses he rang up in recent years.

The funds had been used to pay for stays in Indianapolis in recent years and were mistakenly paid through his Senate office account due to staff errors, he told Politico.

“I was unaware of routine staff work over the course of several years where we may have made mistakes,” Lugar said. “I’m sorry that I was not more observant.”

Politico said Thursday the oversight could have repercussions for Lugar in areas other than his checkbook. Lugar has withstood repeated criticism from political opponents who contend his long tenure in the Senate has nullified his Indiana residency.

Senate rules require members to have a “duty station” in their home states where they live when the Senate is not in session. Senators are not allowed to use office funds to pay for hotel stays during those periods.

The duty station rules come into play for Lugar, Politico said, because he does not own a home back in Indiana even though he lists a place he sold in 1977 as his Hoosier home address.

Lugar’s camp has brushed off complaints about his residency and recently ran a campaign ad calling the complaints “Mickey Mouse.”

Your TV Soon May Be Watching You

In George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” the time protagonist Winston Smith spends inside of his home mostly is taken up either hiding from the all-seeing screen that hangs upon his wall or taking direct orders from it.

Orwell writes, “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself–anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide…”

While it may not be a tool of a totalitarian regime (yet), a new breed of televisions is raising concerns of an Orwellian future among privacy advocates. According to the Daily Mail, new products from Samsung, including plasma and HDTVs, are closer than ever to personal computers meant to sit in your living room and include built-in HD cameras, microphones and face- and speech-recognition software.

Critics say the new television technology opens homes of unsuspecting people up to hackers and possibly companies seeking information for marketing purposes, and there is no way to disable the cameras and microphones to ensure privacy.

Gary Merson, who runs a website called HD guru, said: “What concerns us is the integration of both an active camera and microphone. A Samsung representative tells us you can deactivate the voice feature; however this is done via software, not a hard switch like the one you use to turn a room light on or off. And unlike other TVs, which have cameras and microphones as add-on accessories connected by a single, easily removable USB cable, you can’t just unplug these sensors.”

No Food For The Homeless

New York City’s nanny Mayor Michael Bloomberg has again issued a regulation in his city that many New Yorkers find ridiculous. Now, no food can be donated to homeless shelters in the city by individuals because the government can’t assess salt, fat and fiber content of the sustenance.

According to the National Center For Public Policy Research, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond said the complete ban on food donations is consistent with Bloomberg’s emphasis on “improving nutrition for all New Yorkers.”

In an opinion piece in the New York Post, Jeff Stier, a critic of the policy, writes:

This is very different from another recent high-profile food-police case. When a North Carolina prekindergarten aide took away a 4-year-old’s home-packed lunch last month, the school defused the incident by blaming a teacher’s bad judgment.

Here, there’s no teacher to scapegoat. The ban on food donations is the direct result of work by many city agencies, all led by a mayoral task force.

Fine, the city’s making enough nutritious food available to our homeless. (Court mandates require it.) But that’s no excuse for turning away charity that brings a tiny bit of joy into these lives.

The Bloomberg administration is so obsessed with meddling in how we all live that it’s now eating away at the very best that New York citizens have to deliver.

Bloomberg said that the city’s shelters do not accept donations for safety reasons, according to CBS New York.