Spice Used In Curry May Help Tendinitis

NOTTINGHAM, England, Aug. 9 (UPI) — A common spice used in Indian curries shows promise for those suffering from tendinitis, a team of British and German researchers say.

Dr. Ali Mobasheri of the University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science and colleagues at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, say curcumin, which gives the spice turmeric its trademark bright yellow coloring in curry and mustard, can be used to suppress biological mechanisms that spark inflammation in tendon diseases.

“Our research is not suggesting that curry, turmeric or curcumin are cures for inflammatory conditions such as tendinitis and arthritis,” Mobasheri says in a statement.

“However, we believe that it could offer scientists an important new lead in the treatment of these painful conditions through nutrition. Further research into curcumin, and chemically-modified versions of it, should be the subject of future investigations and complementary therapies aimed at reducing the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, the only drugs currently available for the treatment of tendinitis and various forms of arthritis.”

Tendons, the tough cords of fibrous connective tissue that join muscles to bones, are essential for movement because they transfer the force of muscle contraction to bones, but they are prone to injury, particularly in athletes who may overstretch themselves and overuse their joints.

The findings are published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Economics Behind Britain’s Riots?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Large portions of London and other British cities are continuing scenes of raging, mindless violence amid the worst wave of rioting in recent European history.

Gone for good is the image of Britain as a particularly civil society where cups of tea and polite discourse solved all.

Debris from looted stores, broken shop windows, vehicles set alight and buildings torched are the current image of London. And mobs of hooded youths tossing Molotov cocktails, bricks and stones are others.

London’s Metropolitan Police are rushing in reinforcements from outside the city to swell their numbers from 6,000 to 16,000 and are considering using rubber bullets for the first time.

Armored vehicles have taken to the streets to break up mobs of rioters and looters whose numbers grow steadily.

By tradition, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons aren’t used by British police but amid the scale and breadth of violence since Sunday tradition may fall to the wayside.

“We’ll do everything necessary to restore order on Britain’s streets and to make them safe for law-abiding citizens,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron, who cut short a vacation to return to London. “This is criminality pure and simple and it has to be confronted and stopped.”

More than 525 people have been arrested since violence erupted Sunday in an area called Tottenham and which then spread to numerous compass points around the city through Twitter posts and exhortations.

Tottenham, Clapham, Streatham, Hackney, Croydon, Camden, Lewisham, Deptford: battle grounds all. Even middle-class Ealing and gentrified Notting Hill have been caught in the contagion of youth on a rampage.

“The sight of blood to crowds begets the thirst of more, As the first wine-cup leads to the long revel,” the English poet Lord Byron once wrote.

The spark to the initial rioting is simple and understandable but the underlying causes and implications for its spread should give the rest of Europe and the United States pause.

News reports say trouble stemmed from the police shooting of a 29-year-old suspected drug dealer. When police failed to notify the dead man’s family of the killing and full circumstances, a protest was called for outside a Tottenham police station.

A rock was thrown and the convulsion began. Soon stone-throwing and looting spread elsewhere as newscasts reported the violence and participants allegedly began sending Twitter messages calling for uprisings elsewhere.

British youth — bored, jobless, angry and apparently without moral qualms — heeded the call.

Not only stores were looted and trashed but public buses and even a children’s hospital were attacked by youths said to be appear as young as 10.

Reports now say there has been a noticeable change in the cruising mobs of sociopaths, older youths in cars weren’t systematically looting businesses of televisions, clothing and other items.

A likely motivation, or contributing factor to the anarchy, could well be economics. Britain, like virtually all industrialized nations, is deep in the throes of an economic crisis, trying to scale back expenditures by cutting entitlement programs.

In Britain, belt-tightening has included modifications to its subsidy program for people looking for work. Tottenham is said to have 10,000 people searching for jobs, and each available job has some 54 people vying for the position.

Although overall unemployment in Britain dipped from 8 percent to 7.7 percent in February to May, youth unemployment is staggering — 20.4 percent for those age 16-24 who aren’t in school. That the highest such rate in 20 years.

Under 18s are included since Britain has a school-leaver tradition. Those not academically inclined have in the past been encouraged to leave school for jobs in manufacturing and other low-skill industries, which now are struggling to survive given the global economy and economic downturn

The youth unemployment rate for the rest of EU countries is about 21 percent.

Meanwhile, prices for everything from groceries to clothing go up.

It’s a good bet the ramifications of joblessness are playing the role in Britain’s convulsion, which unlike demonstrations in Greece and elsewhere has no single apparent grievance.

But then, violence doesn’t always have an easy explanation. Take for example the flash gangs in Philadelphia that loot stores and invade restaurants.

If there is a lesson in all this, perhaps it’s that we’re in a time of social, as well as economic, upheaval and more violence is yet to come.

“A mob is the scum that rises upmost when the nation boils.” poet John Dryden said.

Clerk Killed, 2 Wounded In Fla. Robbery

FORT LAUDERDLE, Fla., Aug. 9 (UPI) — A holdup at a check-cashing store in South Florida ended badly Tuesday with a clerk shot to death and two other people, wounded, authorities said.

WTVJ-TV, Miami, reported the shootings occurred after Broward County sheriff’s deputies responded to a robbery report about 9:30 a.m.

Officials said the deputies were shot at when they approached the store and returned fire, wounding a suspect in the parking lot, the TV station said.

The sheriff’s office said paramedics also were fired upon as they approached the suspect, and when they retreated, another person across the street was hit by gunfire.

WTVJ said the wounded suspect was hospitalized in critical condition. The condition of the second person wounded, believed to have been an innocent bystander, wasn’t known.

SWAT officers disarmed the suspect in the parking lot and found the fatally wounded clerk inside the store.

Police said no other suspects were found.

Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said the slain clerk alerted authorities to the robbery.

“Actually we got two calls, one from inside the store, from the clerk, who said they were being robbed, and the clerk apparently called another check-cashing store to tell them that they were being robbed,” Lamberti said.

“Deputies responded, and when they got here, shots were fired.”

The names of the shooting victims had not been released.

HHS Grants To Expand Healthcare Access

WASHINGTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Sixty-seven community centers will share $28.8 million to help build health service delivery sites, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department said Tuesday.

The health service delivery sites are expected to serve an additional 286,000 patients, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a release.

The funds were made available through the Affordable Care Act.

Community health centers work to improve the health of the nation’s underserved communities and vulnerable populations by ensuring access to comprehensive, culturally competent, quality primary healthcare services.

The grants will help support new, full-time sites that provide comprehensive primary and preventive healthcare services, the department said.

“We are making an investment in the health of people and the health of our communities,” Sebelius said. “These awards demonstrate a commitment to improving and expanding access to quality healthcare for local communities. We are removing barriers that stand in the way of affordable and accessible primary health services.”

Four Fla. Men Charged In Home Loan Scam

BOSTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Four Florida residents were arrested Tuesday on charges they defrauded homeowners nationwide in a home loan modification scam, the U.S. Justice Department said.

An indictment was unsealed in federal court in Boston, where some of the alleged victims lived, charged Christopher S. Godfrey of Delray Beach, Dennis Fischer of Highland Beach, Vernell Burris Jr. of Boynton Beach and Brian M. Kelly of Boca Raton with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and misuse of a government seal, Justice officials said in a release.

The indictment alleges from January 2009 through May 2011, the defendants and their employees made a series of misrepresentations to induce financially distressed homeowners looking for a federally funded home loan modifications to pay HOPE $400 to $900 in up-front fees for its home loan modifications, modification services and “software licenses.” With HOPE’s assistance the homeowner was virtually guaranteed to receive a loan modification under the Home Affordable Modification Program, a federally funded mortgage assistance program, the indictment said.

The company also misled homeowners by telling them they could stop making mortgage payments while they waited for HOPE to arrange their loan modification and that HOPE would refund the customer’s fee if the modification was not successful, among other things, the indictment said.

Prosecutors said in exchange for the up-front fees, HOPE allegedly sent customers a do-it-yourself application package nearly identical to the application the U.S. government provides free, the indictment said. HOPE customers who used the provided forms to apply on their own for loan modifications had no advantage in the application process, the indictment said. In fact, most of their applications were denied.

Police Retrieve Ring From Stomach

CICERO, Ill., Aug. 9 (UPI) — A home repairman working in Cicero, Ill., stole a diamond ring, then swallowed it to keep its owner from getting it back, law enforcement officials said.

Wilfredo Gonzalez, 30, of Chicago has been charged with felony theft.

The Chicago Tribune reported Gonzalez was doing remodeling work in the alleged victim’s west suburban home last Friday when he asked to use the bathroom, the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said.

Prosecutors said when he finished, the homeowner noticed her diamond ring was missing. She told her husband. Gonzalez denied the theft and began struggling with the husband, prosecutors said.

During the struggle, prosecutors allege, Gonzalez took the ring from his clothing and swallowed it.

Police took Gonzalez to a nearby hospital, where the ring showed up in an X-ray of his stomach, the Tribune said.

Cicero police recovered the ring — but didn’t say how they did it, the Tribune reported.

Gonzalez faces up to 3 years in prison if convicted of felony theft, and was being held at the Maywood Courthouse on $10,000 bail, the newspaper said.

632,000 Pot Plants Seized In California

UKIAH, Calif., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Law enforcement officers who spent three weeks combing California’s Mendocino National Forest collected a pile of 632,000 marijuana plants, officials say.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and state Department of Justice said officers also seized about 2,000 pounds of processed marijuana, $38,000 in cash and 20 vehicles. A total of 132 people were arrested in Operation Full Court Press, the Ukiah Daily Journal reported Monday.

The three-week operation, which involved more than 300 officers from 25 law enforcement agencies, sought out illegal marijuana patches in six counties, the newspaper said.

The operation also resulted in the removal of 51,404 pounds of trash, 40 miles of irrigation line, 5,459 pounds of fertilizer and 149 pounds of pesticides from the marijuana-growing sites.

“I’ve spent 18 years with the [Bureau of Land Management] in Northern California, and I’ve seen the marijuana industry evolve from small, personal use gardens to large-scale complexes with armed guards on public lands,” BLM Special Agent in Charge Laurel Pistel said. “We were proud to be a partner in this large-scale effort. It’s a win for the environment and the public.”

Witness At Alleged Gangster’s Trial Killed

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Aug. 9 (UPI) — Florida police are investigating the shooting death of a man scheduled to testify in a case against an alleged gang leader, The Palm Beach Post reported.

The Post, citing unidentified sources, reported the body of Eguel Geffrard, 25, was discovered about 7 a.m. the parking lot of a medical building.

A West Palm Beach police spokesman would not confirm the identity of the victim but said another man arrived Monday morning at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach with gunshot wounds. The spokesman did not provide an identity or other information.

Geffrard had been scheduled to testify Monday against 30-year-old Futo Charles, suspected of leading Top 6, a gang authorities blamed for a violent gang war in Lake Worth and Boynton Beach in 2006 and 2007, the Post said.

Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Karen Miller adjourned Charles’ racketeering trial Monday. It was expected to resume Tuesday.

Miller has rejected two plea agreements prosecutors and defense attorneys sought in the case.

The Post said Geffrard, alleged to have ties to Top 6, had been arrested 18 times since 2003 on a range of charges from drug possession to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors in Charles’ case and his attorney, Marianne S. Rantala, would not comment Monday’s shooting.

Salgado Says Spain Is On Target

MADRID, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado said Spain would hit its financial goals this year without an international bailout.

“Spain’s fundamentals show we are very far from requiring a bailout,” Salgado said during a radio interview, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

With help from the European Central Bank, yields on government bonds in Spain and Italy fell Tuesday seven days after Spanish bond yields hit a record high on Aug. 2 at 6.458 percent.

Yields in Spain fell to 5.019 percent, while yields on 10-year bonds in Italy reached 5.143 percent.

The senior foreign-exchange strategist at Rabobank International in London, Jane Foley, said the ECB interventions “may have had clear benefits in treating the symptoms of the crisis (but) is not a cure.”

Spain, meanwhile, has set a goal of lowering the budget deficit from 9.2 percent of the gross domestic product to 6 percent of the GDP for 2011, the Times said.

To do so, the federal government has to focus on regional governments that have hard-to-control budgets. “The risk of fiscal slippage in the regions are likely to persist,” said Antonio Garcia Pascual, an analyst at Barclays Capital.

Crowd Turns Rowdy At Boehner’s Ohio Office

WEST CHESTER, Ohio, Aug. 9 (UPI) — Staff members at the Ohio office of Speaker of the House John Boehner say they locked the office doors when a protest by union groups and others got rowdy.

About 125 protesters showed up at the Republican congressman’s West Chester office Tuesday and wanted to send two protesters inside to talk to staff members, who locked the doors when confronted by the angry crowd, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

One protester reportedly kicked at the door several times.

Union officials said hundreds of people would rally to insist Boehner address the question of jobs for people in his district.

No arrests were made, police said.

Boehner was not at the office during the incident as he was taking part in a fundraising golf event in Dublin, Ohio, the Enquirer reported.