Saturday, 2 June 2012

Swimming Pools Are Public Toilet Bowls for Many

Suggestion: Don't swim near anyone looking this relieved.
If you're taking a refreshing dip in a pool with four other people, odds are one of you is urinating. This is not gross-out myth, but cold, depressing facts from a recent surveyconducted by the Water Quality & Health Council, a scientific research group sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. 

The survey, conducted in April, asked around 1,000 adults whether they urinate in pools. One in five bravely admitted their mistakes. And those are the ones who admitted it. 

Building's amazing balcony pools 
We may act like potty-trained adults on land, but something about a body of water, even a small one, opens our natural floodgates and, according to doctors, puts us all at risk. 

"No matter how easy it is to pee anonymously in the pool, swimmers should avoid doing so," says public health expert and WQHC chairman, Dr. Chris Wiant. 

Video: Safety tips for summer swimming 
It is easy isn't it? Maybe that's because many of us were taught as kids that chlorine counteracted any accidents. Technically that's mostly true. If pool operators maintain proper chlorine and ph levels most waterborne germs are killed on contact. 

But 54 percent of public pools tested by the WQHC last year failed at providing the proper chlorine levels and 47 got low marks for PH balance. You can blame poor pool maintenance, but frequent urinators don't help.  The icky hazards of public pools. In this photo: Bodies pack the pool during the Sunday afternoon pool party at the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas (AP) 

"Anything foreign that gets in that pool consumes disinfectant makes the pool less capable of catching the next bug," Dr. Wiant tells Shine. So while chlorine is working overtime to clean up someone's mess, it's weakened by the time more serious bacteria dives in. 

That comes from the germs we carry on our body even before we get into to the water. While only one in five of us cop to peeing in the pool, seven in ten say they don't shower before they swim. As much as a cold pre-swim shower ruins that first dip feeling, Wiant makes a good case for why it's crucial. 

(You may want to stop eating lunch right now, before reading on) 

The additional bacteria we carry on skin, in particular sweat and traces of fecal matter (yes even on adults) gets mixed in the pool. "If disinfectant isn't right, bacteria is allowed to grow in pool, so someone accidentally consumes a mouthful of water like we all do when we're swimming and suddenly they're subject to serious bacteria like e-coli or salmonella." 

The high risk offenders, according to the Center for Disease Control, are those water recreational parks, a dangerous combination of packs of young swimmers and lots of accidental gulps. One targeted study by Georgia's Division Public Health found that e-coli infected at least 26 people at one water park in the summer of 1998, ultimately resulting in one fatality. Another study found the parasite Cryptosporidium survives even well-chlorinated water parks, posing a potentially fatal threat to those with lowered immune systems. 

But small private pools and large public ones are also potential health hazards depending on how they're maintained. The CDC notes a rapid rise in gastro-instentinal illnesses borne from dirty swimming pools across the country in the past two decades. 

Short of getting pool maintenance certification or sweating out an unbearable summer, what can you do? 

The first step is to be a good pool Samaritan. Take it to the restroom, folks, and emphasize lots of bathroom breaks for your kids. Another important to-do: always shower before getting in the pool. If you've done your part, you still can't trust your blissfully clueless fellow swimmers. 
6 signs you shouldn't swim there 
To find out of your pool is safe, look for some tell-tale signs of bacteria. 

"Check if you see the bottom," says Dr. Wiant. "If a pool is clear it's likely very clean and balanced but if it's it cloudy or the sides are slimy, those are signs that bacteria is prevalent and the pool isn't filtering out germs the way it should." 

Hyper-vigilant swimmers can also purchase pool test strips at any drug store and do their own scientific assessment. "They're easy to use," he adds, "just crack one open and dip it in the pool and you'll be able to tell right away if the pool is clean." 

Another signal its time to get out of the pool: burning, stinging eyes. Although it's not seriously harmful, when "urine combines with chlorine it becomes an irritant," Wiant says. So if you find yourself squinting in pain after a dive, ask yourself why that person doing the backstroke in the next lane looks so relaxed. It's not that nice of a day. 

Ex-Microsoft staffers invent algorithm for bra fitting

The world of cheap, fancy bras in a myriad of trendy patterns and cuts can be tempting to impulse shoppers. But when your latest find leaves you sagging, many women drag themselves to get professionally fitted under unforgiving fluorescent lights by an eager lingerie company representative
Not your thing? A new online bra shop, True & Co, may be your solution. Founded by two ex-Microsoft staffers, Aarthi Ramamurthy and Michelle Lam have put their knowledge of code to good use by inventing what they claim is a computer algorithm that can accurately fit women for a bra, simply by answering a few questions, reports the New York Daily News. Clients are then offered a selection of bras from a variety of different brands to choose from — all offered at $45 each.
If accurate, this could mean good news for women who don't love having their bits handled, measured and moved by a stranger in the tight confines of a department store dressing room.
But not everyone is convinced of the magical properties of computers. Tonilee Coordes, a Hamilton-based professional bra-maker and owner of Bliss Bras, says she's seen computer-generated programs and patternmakers come and go, as they just don't measure up to the personal experience.
"I think you still need the personal, hands-on feel," she says. "Some women like a more natural breast shape, some like a more rounded, youthful breast shape. Some like to be pushed together and I don't think that a computer can really do that, never mind the measuring."
Do you think a computer algorithm could find you a well-fitting bra better than a specialist? (Thinkstock)
Coordes admits to meeting women who are shy about shedding their clothes in front of a stranger, but most don't have a problem with it, she says. In fact, she points out, women who require specialty bras seem to prefer the human touch.
"Women that need a custom bra because they've had a mastectomy, lumpectomy or birth defect can't find a ready-to-wear bra because they're two different sizes or the cup/band combination isn't available in ready-to-wear," explains Coordes. "They are more than willing to get undressed in front of you and have you measure them and suggest a style for them."
Not convinced of the importance of a properly fitted bra?
You're not alone, reports Canadian Living. Monika Sheldrake, a spokesperson for La Senza Lingerie, tells the magazine that 75 per cent of women are not wearing their proper bra size. Some of the tips offered include being measured by a pro and allowing yourself to accept new suggestions.

Mubarak sentenced to life in prison

Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to life in prison for role in protester killings
CAIRO — An Egyptian court sentenced 12 Christians to life in prison and acquitted eight Muslims on Monday in a case set off by religious tensions in the country’s south.
7-year jail, $6.2 million fine for Mubarak’s aide
The Christians were found guilty of sowing public strife, the possession of illegal weapons and shooting dead two Muslims in April of last year in Minya province, about 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo.
The religious tension in Minya spilled over into violence last year when a Muslim microbus driver, angered by a speed bump outside a wealthy Christian man’s villa, got into a scuffle with security guards who beat him.
Egypt court gives 12 Christians life sentences in case set off by religious tension

After returning to his village of Abu Qurqas that evening, he rounded up the villagers who then gathered outside an ultraconservative Islamist group’s main office there to protest his beating. According to rights researcher Ishak Ibrahim, the Christians nearby thought they were going to be attacked and shot from their rooftops down at the crowd, killing two and wounding two others.
Egypt's Mubarak sentenced to life in prison
For several days after, angry villagers torched dozens of Christian homes and stores.
The eight Muslims on trial in the same case had been charged with possession of illegal weapons and burning down the Christian-owned homes and stores after the shooting.
Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak sentenced to life in prison‎
“The fact that the Muslims were acquitted means that the attorney general’s investigation from the beginning was faulty and unfair because there was evidence to prove these men had burned Christian property,” Ibrahim said.
The State Security Court, whose rulings cannot be appealed, handed down its sentence on Monday. The ruling military council is the only entity with the power to request a retrial.
Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s estimated 80 million people, complain that the courts and police often turn a blind eye to discrimination or violence against them. Some fear the surge of ultraconservative Islamists to power after Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow last year could further curtail their rights.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Egypt court gives 12 Christians life sentences

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tragic Tapia found dead at 45

The American boxer's life and career were marked by tragedy, drug addiction and controversy, but he shrugged everything off to win belts in three different weight categories - super-flyweight, flyweight and bantamweight - during an 11-year stretch in which he was never beaten.
Details of the cause of death have not yet been revealed but local police confirmed that the circumstances were not suspicious.
Tapia was a huge fan favourite after overcoming the most horrific of tragedies: his father was murdered while his mother was still pregnant with him; at the age of seven he survived a horrendous crash when a bus he was in careered off a 100ft cliff; and worst of all, a year later his mother was raped, tortured and murdered.
Dedicating himself to boxing from the age of nine, he quickly shone and enjoyed a stellar amateur career before turning professional in 1988. Two years later he was unbeaten and seemed set for the top of the sport, but he was suspended for three and a half years after testing positive for cocaine.
The tragic life of five-times boxing world champion Johnny Tapia has come to an end as he was found dead at home in Albuquerque. He was 45. - 2
Johnny Tapia Dead at 45; Boxing Champion's Body Found at Home
He returned to the ring in 1994 and soon won his first world title, the WBO super flyweight crown, and added the IBF version of the title three years later before moving up to bantamweight and become WBA champion in 1998.
Johnny Tapia Found Dead at 45
A year later he lost the first bout of his professional career against Paulie Ayala, and was so devastated that he tried to commit suicide with a drug overdose. He survived, in the process recording the first of five times that survived after being pronounced clinically dead.
In 1999, however, he returned to the ring to become WBO bantamweight champion, before going up another weight category and collecting the WBC and IBF featherweight titles before eventually losing his titles to Marco Antonio Barrera in 2002.
In 2007 he announced he would fight one more time before retiring, but after narrowly losing a split decision he almost died after a cocaine overdose.
Tragic Tapia found dead at 45
Tragedy still refused to stop following him, however: his brother-in-law and nephew were killed in a car crash as they were on their way to visit him as he recovered in hospital.
Tapia continued to struggle with drug addiction, and spent time in prison on several occasions, including once when he violated his parole by helping his family to search for a missing cousin. The cousin was found dead four days later.
His last spell in jail came after he failed a drug test in 2010 but once again he returned to the ring, earning three more victories to end his career with 59 wins, five defeats and two draws in one of the most extraordinary sporting lives of all time.

Parents held over children's arson deaths

The parents of six children killed in an arson attack on their home have been arrested on suspicion of murder.
Mick Philpott, 55, and his wife Mairead, 31, have been detained in connection with the attack on the house in Derby.
They are in custody and will be questioned by officers.
The fire broke out at the house, in Victory Road, Allenton, in the early hours of Friday, May 11.
Duwayne Philpott, 13, Jade Philpott, 10, and brothers John Philpott, nine, Jack Philpott, seven, Jessie Philpott, six, and Jayden Philpott, five, all died as a result of the fire.
Derbyshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cotterill said: "I suspect there may still be people with crucial information who have not yet come forward to speak to us.
"In view of the arrests, I would urge anyone who may have been holding back, not felt comfortable to voice their concerns or not had the confidence, to do so now.
"They have my personal reassurance that we will deal with their information sensitively.
"We still need information to help us in this inquiry. The latest arrests are just one step further in the investigation.
"It is absolutely vital that if you know anything you think could help us, come forward now, do not wait any longer. It is important that we find justice for these six young children."
He added that the investigation would be lengthy, and urged the local community to be patient.
"Although the fire happened more than two weeks ago, this is a complex inquiry and it will take time for us to piece together the events from that tragic evening.
"I know this case has deeply affected the local community and residents want answers as to what happened and why.
"But I would ask them to be patient and to continue to show the excellent support they have given us to date. Our investigations are detailed and painstaking and they will take time."
A 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman, who were arrested on suspicion of murder shortly after the fire, were released without charge the following day.
Mr Philpott and his wife faced the media at a news conference five days after the fire.
Parents held over arson deaths
He repeatedly wiped away tears as he thanked those who tried to rescue his children and members of the local community for their support.
Talking to reporters for about two and a half minutes, Mr Philpott repeatedly paused to compose himself and said he and his wife had decided to donate Duwayne's organs for transplant.
Tributes and gifts, which remain outside the house more than two weeks after the fire, are being moved with the family's agreement. They will be put into a nearby church because of the likelihood of rain.

Deadly earthquake rocks Italy for second time

Italy (Canadian Press)
Deadly earthquake rocks Italy for second time

MILAN - A magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit northern Italy on Tuesday, killing at least 10 people in the same region still struggling to recover from another fatal tremor on May 20.
Premier Mario Monti pledged in a hastily called news conference that the government will do "all that it must and all that is possible in the briefest period to guarantee the resumption of normal life in this area that is so special, so important and so productive for Italy."
The quake, which struck just after 9:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT), was centred 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of the city of Bologna, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was just miles from where a 6.0 temblor killed seven people earlier this month. The quake was felt from Piedmont in northwestern Italy to Venice in the northeast, and as far north as Austria.
The ANSA news agency reported that 10 people had died, while the LaPresse news agency said others were still buried under the rubble of collapsed homes and factories. Concordia Mayor Carlo Marchini confirmed the death of one person struck by falling debris in the town's historic centre.
The mayor of San Felice sul Panaro told Sky News 24 that there were fatalities in his town. News media said a tower in the town had collapsed.
A dog walks amid debris of a collapsed factory in Mirandola, northern Italy, Tuesday, May 29, 2012. A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the same area of northern Italy stricken by another fatal tremor on May 20. (AP Photo/Marco Vasini)
A dog walks amid debris of a collapsed factory in Mirandola, northern Italy, Tuesday
As far away as Milan, tall buildings and schools were evacuated as a precaution before people were allowed to re-enter. Train lines connecting Bologna with other northern cities were stopped while authorities checked for any damage.
When the quake hit Tuesday, Monti was meeting with emergency officials in Rome to discuss the impact of the earlier quake, which struck in the middle of the night and left at least 7,000 homeless.
Television footage on Sky News 24 showed evacuees from the May 20 quake peering out of their shaking emergency tents in disbelief. In the first quake, four of the victims were working overnight shifts in factories that collapsed; the other three died of heart conditions or other illnesses brought on by fear.
Residents had just been taking tentative steps toward resuming normal life when the second quake struck. In the town of Sant'Agostino, a daycare centre had just reopened. In the town of Concordia, the mayor had scheduled a town meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the aftermath of the first quake.
The May 20 quake was described by Italian emergency officials as the worst to hit the region since the 1300s. In addition to the deaths, it knocked down a clock tower and other centuries-old buildings and caused millions in losses to a region known for making Parmesan cheese. Its epicenter was about 35 kilometres (22 miles) north of Bologna.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Italy star to miss Euros over match fixing

Criscito - who currently plays for Zenit St Petersburg in Russia but has represented Juventus and Genoa in the past - had his room searched at Italy's Coverciano training camp after police arrived at 6.40am on Monday morning.
Police also spoke to Juventus defenderLeonardo Bonucci over allegations during his time at Bari, but he is not under formal investigation so will go to the tournament.
"I have talked with Bonucci, he has already been heard by prosecutors in Bari. He is calm and so are we," Prandelli added.
"At the moment he has not received any communication. If Bonucci is OK, he will be in the list of 23 for the Euros."
Italian federation vice-president Demetrio Albertini has now confirmed that the defender will not travel to the finals in Poland and Ukraine as he wants to "clear his position with prosecutors".
"It has been a decision agreed between (coach Cesare) Prandelli and the federation," Albertini told reporters.
"He (Criscito) was also sorry for the repercussions on the national team and on the dressing room. He explained some things to me and I believe his version and in his innocence."
Criscito, who prosecutors allege was photographed in a restaurant with match-fixing suspects while still a Genoa player, told reporters: "I have nothing to do with this. I was only out for dinner with some Genoa fans".
Italy Star Dropped Over Match-Fixing Probe
"I am not taking Criscito because he would have been under pressure which no human being can bear," Prandelli said.
"The other reason is that he could have been summoned by the prosecutor at any moment, before a match."
Italian police investigating a football match-fixing scandal also placed Juventus trainer Antonio Conte under investigation and arrested the captain of Lazio Stefano Mauri and former Genoa midfielder Omar Milanetto, authorities said on Monday.
A police statement said five people had been arrested in Hungary on suspicion of being part of an illegal international betting ring headed by Singaporean gambling identity Tan Seet Eng, who was arrested in December.
Criscito out due to match-fixing probe
Police in the northern city of Cremona said they had made 19 arrests and were investigating Conte, fresh from his triumph in leading Juventus to the Italian Serie A championship for the first time since the club was relegated in 2006 in an earlier match-fixing scandal.
It said searches were conducted at the homes of a number of players, trainers and administrators of clubs in Serie A, Serie B and the lower division Lega Pro on suspicion of involvement in match-fixing on behalf of international criminal organizations.
Monday's operation was part of "Last Bet", a wider investigation into match-fixing in Italian football which has already seen a number of arrests of current and former Italian players.
"In this part of the investigation, indications have emerged of manipulation in matches from the 2010-11 Serie A championship, including games between Lazio and Genoa and Lecce and Lazio," Raffale Grassi, director of SCO, the police service responsible for the investigation told SkyTG24 television.
In June last year, the Interior Ministry set up a special match-fixing task force in response to a number of high profile cases.
Former Atalanta captain and Italy midfielder Cristiano Doni, was banned for three-and-a-half years in August for his part in the 'Calcioscommesse' match-fixing scandal involving Serie B matches last season.
Atalanta, promoted from Serie B, were deducted six points in the top flight this season as a result of the scandal.
Former Lazio and Italy striker Giuseppe Signori was banned for five years and 15 other players were banned for between one and five years for their part in the same scandal.
The following 25-man squad has been called up ahead of Tuesday's friendly against Luxembourg - however it will be trimmed to 23 by noon on Tuesday, with Andrea Ranocchia and Mattia Destro expected to be left out.