Study: Narcissists Don’t Make Good Leaders

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Narcissists rise to the top because people think their confidence, dominance and self-esteem make them good leaders — but they’re not, Dutch researchers say.

“Our research shows that the opposite seems to be true,” University of Amsterdam psychologist Barbora Nevicka says.

The study by Nevicka and colleagues found narcissists’ preoccupation with their own brilliance inhibits a crucial element of successful group decision-making and performance — the free and creative exchange of information and ideas — an article in the journal Psychological Science says.

Narcissism can occasionally be a good thing in a leader, Nevicka says. In a crisis some people will feel that a strong, dominant person will take control and do the right thing, “and that may reduce uncertainty and diminish stress,” she said.

But in the everyday life of an organization “communication — sharing of information, perspectives and knowledge — is essential to making good decisions.

“That’s the benefit of teams. That’s what creates a good outcome.”

Good communication comes from leaders asking questions and summarizing the input of everyone — something narcissists are too self-involved to do, Nevicka says.

Father Of Drowned Children Files Claims

CITY OF NEWBURGH, N.Y., Aug. 9 (UPI) — The father of three children who drowned when their mother drove their minivan into the Hudson River says he’ll sue a New York city and county for $80 million.

Jean Pierre says the City of Newburgh should have had a barrier at its boat ramp, where Pierre’s estranged girlfriend LaShanda Armstrong killed herself and three of her four children April 12, when she drove down the ramp and into the river, the (Middletown, N.Y.) Times Herald-Record reported Tuesday.

Pierre said Orange County should have known for months the children were in danger and the county Department of Child Protective Services had the responsibility to monitor Armstrong, 25, and the children after 2-year-old Landen Pierre was found Feb. 7, half-dressed and wandering the streets.

Pierre had been watching the boy that night and was arrested after police discovered he had left Landen alone while he went to a gas station.

A Newburgh judge later granted a temporary order of protection against Pierre on April 12, the day neighbors said they heard Pierre pounding on Armstrong’s door and shouting at her from the sidewalk, less than an hour before Armstrong loaded the kids into the minivan.

Pierre has filed a notice of claim against the city and county for $40 million each.

Armstrong’s aunt Angela Gilliam said she was outraged by Pierre’s high-dollar claims.

“Someone should file a claim against him,” Gilliam said. “Forty million? Are you kidding me?”

Twins At Center Of Killing Investigation

CHANDLER, Ariz., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Prosecutors in Arizona are trying to determine which identical twin brother allegedly fired a fatal shot at a nightclub when both were there, authorities said.

Several witness identified Orlando Nembhard, originally from Yonkers, N.Y., as the man they saw brandish a pistol in February outside a crowded Chandler nightclub and fire on a young club-goer who later died, The New York Times reported Monday.

But as prosecutors prepared their case, it was learned Nembhard’s identical twin brother Brandon was also at the nightclub in the early hours of Feb. 12, the time of the shooting.

Lacking any forensic evidence pointing to the gunman’s identity, police said, it was down to the witnesses.

“Every investigation, as simple as it may look at face value, has certain levels of complexity,” Detective Seth Tyler of the Chandler Police Department said. “When you respond to a scene like this, where you have a few hundred people who may have witnessed the crime, and people are saying different things, that complicates it.

“Then, to top it all off, you have twins who were both there.”

The brothers moved from New York to Arizona with their mother about five years ago, authorities said.

Complicating the case is the fact police have not found the murder weapon.

“The evidence and witness statements that we’ve gathered at the scene led to a grand jury indictment of Orlando Nembhard,” Tyler said. “But just because he was arrested doesn’t mean we’re not continuing the investigation. It’s still very much going on, and everything is still on the table.”

Study: Graphic Warnings To Reduce Smoking

SELINSGROVE, Pa., Aug. 9 (UPI) — A U.S. study suggests the new health warnings with graphic pictures on cigarette packages will reduce demand for cigarettes, researchers say.

Study co-author Matthew Rousu, a professor of economics at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., and colleagues say the study involved a sample of 404 adult smokers from four states who participated in an experimental auction on cigarette packs with four different kinds of warning labels.

All packs carried the same message — smoking causes mouth cancer — but the first pack featured a text-only message on the side of the pack, which mimics the current U.S. policy on smoking warnings. The second pack had a text-only message that covered 50 percent of the lower half of the front, back and one side of the pack, and a third had the same text message, but with a photo depicting mouth cancer, the researchers say.

The fourth pack had the same text and graphic photo, but was a mostly unbranded pack with all color and symbolic brand elements removed except for the brand’s font, size and descriptors.

The study, scheduled to be published in the September issue of the journal Health Policy, bids for cigarette packs that had a grotesque photo and no brand imagery received bids that were 17 percent lower than the bids for the package with the current U.S. warning label.

“Results from our study suggest that the new health warnings with graphic pictures will reduce demand for cigarettes,” Rousu says in a statement.

Baucus, Kerry, Murray On ‘supercommittee’

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Majority Leader Harry Reid Tuesday named three U.S. Senate colleagues to serve on a so-called supercommittee to come up with further debt reduction this year.

The Nevada Democrat chose Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., along with Democrats John Kerry of Massachusetts and Patty Murray of Washington, to serve on the committee, which must come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction by Thanksgiving.

The supercommittee — established in deficit reduction legislation enacted last week — is to consist of 12 members, six from the Senate and six from the House, with six members coming from each of the two major political parties.

In announcing the appointment of Baucus, Kerry and Murray, Reid characterized all three as bipartisan, The Hill reported.

“I have great faith in Senator Murray as the co-chair of the committee,” Reid said. “Her years of experience on the Senate Budget and Appropriations committees have given her a depth of knowledge on budget issues, and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines.”

Reid called Baucus and Kerry “two of the Senate’s most respected and experienced legislators. Their legislative accomplishments are matched only by their records of forging strong bonds with their Republican colleagues.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is to name three members. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will appoint three House members each to the committee.

None of the three appointed by Reid are members of the so-called Gang of Six, which last month proposed including Medicare and Social Security cuts in a deficit reduction package.

Study: Chimpanzees Are Naturally Generous

ATLANTA, Aug. 9 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say chimpanzees have shown a significant bias toward prosocial, or altruistic, behavior among themselves, contradicting some earlier studies.

Scientists as Emory University said their study is in contrast to previous studies that had characterized chimpanzees as reluctant altruists and led to the widely held belief that human altruism evolved only after humans split from apes, a university release said Tuesday.

In the study, primate researcher Victoria Horner and colleagues offered seven adult female chimpanzees a choice between two similar actions involving food, one that rewarded both the female chimp and a partner, and another that rewarded only the female chimp herself.

The test animals could make a choice between responses that resulted in food treats for both members of the pair — pro-social — or a treat for just the chooser — selfish.

“We were excited to find female after female chose the option that gave both her and her partner food,” Horner said.

Choosers behaved especially altruistically toward partners that either patiently waited or gently reminded the choosers they were there by drawing attention to themselves, while the chimpanzees making the choices were less likely to reward partners who made a fuss, begged persistently or spat water at them, demonstrating their altruism was spontaneous and not subject to intimidation, the researchers said.

Falklands’ New Oil Find Seen As Viable

STANLEY, Falkland Islands, Aug. 9 (UPI) — The latest offshore oil discovery in the Falkland Islands waters is seen as a viable proposition, encouraging news for investors who have staked millions into developing the British overseas territories as a major energy hub.

Rockhopper Exploration, one of the prospecting firms with financial interests closely tied to British investors, said its latest drilling yielded oil that could lead to the area becoming an economically feasible oil province.

The drilling was conducted west of a well that didn’t produce as encouraging results as the latest operation.

The British-backed oil exploration and oil well development are a sore point for Argentina, which invaded the islands while under a military dictatorship in 1982. Britain pushed back Argentina’s advance after a 74-day conflict that caused about 1,000 deaths among civilians and troops. Argentina revived its sovereignty claim after the military gave way to an elected government.

Each new oil discovery seen as financially beneficial to the Falklands economy gives renewed momentum to Argentina’s claim for the islands.

Rockhopper Exploration said the latest results had given the company hope that the oil find is large enough to open up the South Atlantic region for more development.

The company said the latest appraisal well, designated as 14/10-6 in the exploration area’s Sea Lion feature, was drilled west of the 14/10-2 discovery well. The drilling reached a depth of 8,878 feet into the South Atlantic waters.

The company said its experts collected samples that proved that the Sea Lion feature had hydrocarbon deposits that were “commercially viable.”

The results will be included with other data to establish the full potential of the oil, the company said.

Rockhopper is one of several exploration companies drilling off the coast of the Falkland Islands. The drilling has involved leasing of rigs and exploration platforms at a cost of several million dollars and investors are keen to see positive results.

Two of Rockhopper’s earlier appraisal wells also produced encouraging results with commercially viable flows of oil during the stages of the exploratory operation.

Other exploration firms, including Desire Petroleum, haven ‘t been so successful with locating commercially feasible areas for development. However, Rockhopper’s efforts mean the Falkland Islands’ realizable reserves are slowly inching toward potentially profitable business.

Early exploration for oil in 2009 and 2010 raised hopes the islands’ waters could contain large reserves that could rival North Sea oil deposits.

While the Rockhopper awaits results to enter the next stage of development, the company has seen its equity values rise again after sharp falls. Industry experts said the company could be worth $683 million.

Teenage Pregnancy May Be ‘contagious’

BRISTOL, England, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A study of about 42,000 Norwegian teen girls suggests those who had an older sister who had been pregnant are more likely to become pregnant, researchers say.

Professor Carol Propper of the University of Bristol and colleagues in Norway examined data of children born between 1947 and 1958 to compare families from a similar background from different regions of Norway.

The researchers said the probability of the younger sister having a teen pregnancy doubled to two in five if the elder sister had a baby as a teenager, the BBC reported.

Teens who spent longer time in school were less likely to become pregnant as a teenage, but this was on a smaller scale than the “sister effect,” Propper says.

“Sisters generally spend more time together than schoolmates or friends and so sisters are likely to be influenced by the behavior of their siblings,” the study says.

Propper said two groups of girls are particularly vulnerable to the “contagious effect of teen motherhood,” those in poor households and sisters who are close in age.

Bomb At Teacher’s Home Investigated

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Six North Carolina high school students are suspected of putting a bottle bomb in a teacher’s mailbox, police say.

No one was hurt by the device, comprised of Drano and aluminum foil in a plastic bottle, found last week, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported Tuesday.

Bud Cesena, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ police chief, said the teen suspects, at least most of whom are soccer players at Butler High, allegedly had planned to put the bottle bomb at the home of a girlfriend and only placed it in the Butler teacher’s mailbox after being scared off. They apparently didn’t know a teacher lived at the residence, Cesena said.

“I feel pretty good that they were just stupid,” Cesena said.

The chief added that the type of bomb made was not as dangerous as one using gasoline or gunpowder, but has been known to produce shrapnel.

“Depending on the amount of product you use, it can be very, very dangerous,” Cesena said.

Ryan McIntyre, 18, and Nicholas Fichman, 16, were both charged with misdemeanor criminal property damage for allegedly damaging the inside of the mailbox. The other students were not identified because they had not been charged.

Police were looking into whether or not a Butler High faculty member had been a part of the scheme, as a parent of a soccer player said the teenagers were talking about the prank after practice and showed their coach the bomb materials.

Teens Charged In Vandalism Spree

CLOTS NECK, N.J., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Four juveniles are accused of stretching plastic wrap across two roads in Colts Neck, N.J., which a motorcyclist hit, police say.

The youths, 13- and 14-year-olds from Colts Neck, who allegedly stretched industrial-grade plastic packaging wrap and duct tape across the roads, were arrested Saturday, the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press reported.

The motorcyclist that struck the plastic wrap was not injured in the ensuing crash.

Along with several counts of interference of transportation, the juveniles are charged with other acts of vandalism, theft and criminal mischief.

Between Monday and Friday last week, the suspects allegedly broke mailboxes, stole property, scattered trash and moved property around on various residences, Detective Sgt. Joseph Whitehead said. At least one car had been wrapped in plastic wrap and duct tape.

“In one case, a child’s swing-set seat was tampered with and the mother of the child was able to catch her daughter before she fell to the ground,” Whitehead said.