Officials: Cannibal Wanted To Eat 10 More

MOSCOW, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A Russian man who invited another man into his Murmansk home, fatally stabbed and ate him, and hoped to eat “at least 10 other people,” authorities say.

“The defendant wanted to try eating at least 10 people in the future,” an investigative committee in the Russian Arctic city said Monday.

The 21-year-old man, who allegedly confessed to the crime, had become acquainted with the victim through the Internet, investigators believe, RIA Novosti reported.

“According to preliminary information, one of them was seeking a sexual partner,” Murmansk Investigation Committee Chief Fyodor Bludenov said. “The accused explained later that such people are not open, and they prefer to hide their contacts.”

In a statement, the Investigation Committee said, “The accused stabbed the man a few times, and after having assured himself that the man was dead, he cut up his body and ate him.”

The mother of the victim, who was born in 1959, contacted police in mid-August and investigators checked out his contacts, which led to the suspect.

The suspect could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if found guilty, but will undergo a psychiatric exam first to determine whether he is fit to stand trial, RIA Novosti said.

RIA Novosti did not identify the cannibal or the victim.

New Energy Standard For Fridges Announced

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) — The U.S. Department of Energy announced Friday new efficiency standards for refrigerators it says will cut the energy use of most new models by 25 percent.

A typical refrigerator in 2014 will use about one-fifth as much electricity as one from the mid-1970s, the department said in a release Friday.

The standards have been revised three times since their enactment in 1987, and the latest standards are based on a joint recommendation filed in 2010 with the Department of Energy by the groups and refrigerator manufacturers represented by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

“New fridges are bigger and cheaper than they’ve ever been, but due to several rounds of state and national efficiency standards they use much less energy,” said Steven Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. “These new standards will deliver even more benefits for consumers and the environment.”

Contact With Lockerbie Bomber Confirmed

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Aug. 29 (UPI) — The Scottish government said the Libyan man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 is dying and the matter should be left there.

Lockerbie bomber and former Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released from prison by Scottish officials in August 2009 on compassionate grounds because of a terminal prostate cancer diagnosis.

Following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year, U.S. lawmakers started examining whether Megrahi’s release was tied to a BP deal to look for oil in Libya. British, Scottish and BP officials deny charges Megrahi’s release was related to oil.

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who led an inquiry last year into Megrahi, said he felt there was a solid case linking Megrahi’s release to oil.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in a statement last week, said with the rebel-backed Transitional National Council gaining momentum, it was time to bring the Lockerbie bomber to justice.

The Scottish government said there was contact with Megrahi’s family and stated that his medical condition is consistent with someone suffering from terminal prostate cancer.

“Any change in Megrahi’s circumstances would be a matter for discussion with the National Transitional Council as the legitimate governing authority in Libya,” the Scotish government said in a statement.

Megrahi is the only person convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in which 270 people died.

Mixed Views To EPA Emissions Rules

WASHINGTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) — New rules governing air pollution from coal plants in the United States will have to develop gradually, an analyst said amid concerns of economic calamity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed rules meant to reduce industrial pollution tied to coal-fired power plants. Cross-state air pollution rules that deal with the chemicals that cause acid rain are to go into force by 2012.

The new regulations could force up to 20 percent of the plants in the United States to close, industry officials say, because of the costs tied to meeting the new regulations, the Financial Times reports.

Free market advocates described the EPA move as likely to create a “train wreck” that could lead to blackouts, higher energy prices and more unemployment, the newspaper adds.

Brannin McBee, an adviser at consultancy Bentek Energy, said the EPA will likely phase in many of its proposed measures in order to give the energy sector time to cope.

“The general consensus in the industry is that the new rules will have to be delayed somehow,” he said.

The Financial Times points to a study published by the Congressional Research Service that said most of the concern over the new EPA regulations was based on hype.

Oil Pipeline Divisive Issue In U.S.

LINCOLN, Neb., Aug. 29 (UPI) — The route for a pipeline carrying oil from tar sands projects in Alberta, Canada, doesn’t seem like a good idea for Nebraska, a federal lawmaker said.

The U.S. State Department cleared a major obstacle for TransCanada’s plans to extend a pipeline network that would carry heavy crude oil to refiners in Texas.

Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, said the project, Keystone XL, could be developed without causing major damage to the environment.

“There would be no significant impacts to most resources along the proposed pipeline corridor,” she said in a statement.

But at least one lawmaker disagrees. U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., called for two public meetings in his state next month to review the route for the project.

“Many Nebraskans share the view that TransCanada has simply chosen the wrong route,” he said in a statement. He doesn’t oppose the project, he stressed, but noted that current plans have it passing through a regional aquifer.

Cindy Schild, refining manager for the American Petroleum Institute, said Washington should back the project not only to boost U.S. employment numbers but also because of its benefit to energy security.

“More energy from a friendly ally makes sense,” she said in a statement.

Protesters blocked the steps of the White House during recent protests over Keystone XL. Critics, like environmental advocacy group Friends of Earth, said the State Department’s analysis of the pipeline fell “far short of the standards required under law.”

Space Station May Be Temporarily Abandoned

HOUSTON, Aug. 29 (UPI) — Astronauts may have to temporarily abandon the International Space Station after the crash of a Russian supply rocket, officials said.

The Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress 44 supply ship, expected to deliver 3 tons of supplies to the orbiting lab’s six-man crew, crashed in eastern Russia after a booster rocket failure just minutes after launch.

Russia’s Federal Space Agency uses similar versions of its Soyuz rocket to launch both drone cargo vehicles and its manned space capsules, SPACE.com reported Monday.

Safety concerns over the Soyuz rocket could force the space station to fly unmanned beginning in November, officials said.

“Logistically, we can support [operations] almost forever, but eventually if we don’t see the Soyuz spacecraft, we’ll probably going to unmanned ops before the end of the year,” Michael Suffredini, NASA’s space station program manager, told Spaceflight Now.

“We will understand, to our satisfaction, the anomaly, what is believed to be the cause [of the crash] and how they resolved it,” Suffredini said. “If we’re not happy, we won’t put our astronauts on the Soyuz.”

Russia’s space agency Roskosmos has postponed the launch of a new mission to the ISS from Sept. 22 to the end of October or beginning of November due to the accident, RIA Novosti reported.

Roskosmos said it would make two unmanned Soyuz launches before sending a new mission to the ISS.

“I think we will make one or two launches of the unmanned craft, either an automated one or a freighter, or both, and a manned launch afterwards,” the agency’s manned flight program spokesman, Alexei Krasnov, said.

Centuries-Old Viking Girl To Get Face

STOCKHOLM, Sweden, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A girl who lived 1,200 years ago in a Viking settlement in Sweden is about to get a face, scientists say.

Researchers at Stockholm’s Historical Museum say reconstructing the face of a skeleton in the museum’s collection will allow visitors to meet a person from Sweden’s Viking Age.

The skeleton is of a 6-year-old girl who lived on an island in Lake Malaren, west of Stockholm, in a thriving market town.

Objects buried with her indicate she belonged to a wealthy family, researchers said.

Her skull will be scanned at a hospital to yield a three-dimensional image that will be used to create a plastic replica an artist will use to reconstruct the face.

The finished model will be a part of the museum’s permanent Viking exhibition, Stockholm News reported.

“We believe that the Birka-girl in this way will help us to remember that people lived here at that time in a completely different way than what objects can do,” museum project leader Li Kolker said.

Omega-3 Reduces Stroke Severity

LAVAL, Quebec, Aug. 27 (UPI) — A diet rich in omega-3s, found in fatty fish like salmon, reduces the severity of brain damage after a stroke, researchers in Canada say.

Jasna Kriz and Frederic Calon of the Universite Laval showed the extent of brain damage following a stroke was reduced by 25 percent in mice that consumed DHA type omega-3s daily.

Researchers observed that the effects of stroke were less severe in mice that had been fed a diet rich in DHA for three months than in mice fed a control diet.

In mice from the DHA group, they saw a reduction in the concentrations of molecules that stimulate tissue inflammation and, conversely, a larger quantity of molecules that prevent the activation of cell death.

“This is the first convincing demonstration of the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of DHA in the brain,” the researchers say. “This protective effect results from the substitution of molecules in the neuronal membrane: DHA partially replaces arachidonic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid known for its inflammatory properties.”

The consumption of omega-3s creates an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective environment in the brain that mitigates damage following a stroke, Kriz says.

“It prevents an acute inflammatory response that, if not controlled, is harmful to brain tissue.”

America Fatter Since Recession Began

WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (UPI) — West Virginia has the highest obesity rate in the United States at 34.3 percent, while Colorado has the lowest at 20 percent, the Gallup poll indicates.

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on 177,237 interviews conducted daily from January through June, uses self-reported height and weight to calculate body mass index scores. A number of 30 or higher is considered obese, Gallup officials say.

The overall national obesity rate of 26.3 percent this year is essentially unchanged from 26.6 percent in 2010, but higher than the 25.5 percent rate in 2008.

This year, states already high for obesity tended to get higher, and states lower in obesity are getting lower, the survey indicates.

The states with the highest rates of obesity continue to be clustered in the South and the Midwest, as in past years, while western and northeastern states continue to have the lowest levels of obesity.

The telephone survey has a margin of error of 0.2 percentage points, but the margin of error of most states is 1 percentage points to 2 percentage points, but can be as high as 4 percentage points for smaller states such as Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Hawaii.

Blacks’ Kidney Failure Rate Explained

ATLANTA, Aug. 28 (UPI) — Blacks are more likely to excrete protein in their urine than whites and this may account for why blacks have more kidney failure, U.S. researchers say.

Dr. William McClellan of Emory University and colleagues analyzed information from 27,911 individuals — 40.5 percent African-Americans. Among the findings:

— After an average follow-up of 3.6 years, 133 individuals developed kidney failure.

— There were 96 cases of kidney failure among African Americans and 37 among whites.

— Kidney failure was most common in individuals who excreted large amounts of protein in their urine.

— African-Americans were more likely to excrete large amounts of protein in their urine than whites.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology, finds African-Americans are four times more likely to develop kidney failure than whites.

The study investigators speculate several factors may explain why African-Americans tend to excrete more protein in their urine including: blood pressure and other heart-related factors, obesity, smoking, vitamin D levels, genetic differences, income and birth weight.

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Society Nephrology.