Friday, July 31, 2009

For my Spanish speakers

For those of you who speak Spanish, and would like to be able to type in Spanish, I have the keyboard codes so that you may utilize them. They include the accented letters, the letter ñ, the upside-down question mark, and the upside-down exclamation point. Also included are the capitalized accented letters. Enjoy!

á = ALT + 0225
é = ALT + 0233
í = ALT + 0237
ñ = ALT + 0241
ó = ALT + 0243
ú = ALT + 0250
ü = Alt + 0252
¿ = ALT + 0191
¡ = ALT + 0161
Á = ALT + 0193
É = ALT + 0203
Í = ALT + 0205
Ñ = ALT + 0209
Ó = ALT + 0211
Ú = ALT + 0218
Ü = ALT + 0220

A pic of that sexy Jeremih

Here he is ladies and gents. A pic of that hot, sexy Jeremih. This is close enough to a shirtless pic that I could find for now. Enjoy!

Another One of My Favorite Singers: Vanessa Williams

Here are some of Miss Vanessa's videos of some of my favorite songs of hers. Enjoy.

1. Vanessa Williams: “The Right Stuff”

2. Vanessa Williams: “Dreamin’”

3. Vanessa Williams: “Darlin’ I”

4. Vanessa Williams: “Save the Best for Last”

5. Vanessa Williams: “The Way That You Love”

6. Vanessa Williams: “The Sweetest Days”

7. Vanessa Williams: “Colors of the Wind”

8. Vanessa Williams and Brian McKnight: “Love Is”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I love these songs. They're such great dancing songs. Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga: “Poker Face”

Lady Gaga: “Just Dance”

New Video from Hot Sexy Jeremih

Here's a listening event for Whitney's new album, "I Look to You". Enjoy!

OMG! I can't wait! She's coming. The wait is nearly over.

Whitney's new album drops on August 31, not September 1st. I know I can't wait. She still sounds good, no matter what others say or think. I love her new song; she will get better after she's been back awhile. She's Whitney, and she's going to bounce back better than ever. So, move over Beyoncé, Alicia, Rihanna, and all you other divas, the supreme diva is back. Go Whitney!!!!!

Here is the song list on her new CD.

The final track listing is as follows:

1. Million Dollar Bill
2. Nothin' But Love
3. Call You Tonight
4. I Look To You
5. Like I Never Left (feat. Akon)
6. A Song For You
7. I Didn't Know My Own Strength
8. Worth It
9. For The Lovers
10. I Got You
11. Salute

Another Favorite Song...

Whitney Houston: "One Moment in Time"

She's back! Whitney Houston!!

Videos of my favorite Whitney Houston songs, here for you to enjoy.

1. Whitney Houston: "Try It On My Own"

2. Whitney Houston: “I Learned from the Best”

3. Whitney Houston: “My Love is Your Love”

4. Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey: “When You Believe”

5. Whitney Houston: “Step by Step”

6. Whitney Houston and Cece Winans: “Count on Me”

7. Whitney Houston: “The Star-Spangled Banner”

8. Whitney Houston: “Run to You”

9. Whitney Houston: “I Have Nothing”

10. Whitney Houston: “I Will Always Love You”

11. Whitney Houston: “Miracle”

12. Whitney Houston: “All the Man That I Need”

13. Whitney Houston: “I’m Your Baby Tonight”

14. Whitney Houston: “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?”

15. Whitney Houston: “So Emotional”

16. Whitney Houston: “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”

17. Whitney Houston: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)”

18. Whitney Houston: “The Greatest Love of All”

19. Whitney Houston: “How Will I Know”

20. Whitney Houston: “Saving All My Love for You”

21. Whitney Houston: “You Give Good Love”

22. Whitney Houston: “One Moment in Time”

One of my favorite songs...

Amy Grant: "I Will Remember You." It is such a touching, heart-warming song. If you've broken up with, or recently divorced from someone you loved, then this is a great song to hear. I got a little teary-eyed from hearing the song. Here is the video of the song; you can find it on Youtube. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kelly Clarkson's New Single Controversy: All She Never Wanted

Posted Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:15pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker in Reality Rocks

Poor Kelly Clarkson. It seems like the girl just can't catch a break. Even though she's returned to her sugary pop sound after famously feuding with her label over artistic differences, she's still battling Sony-BMG over her latest single. And once again, when it comes to this feud, I am Team Kelly. I'm always Team Kelly. We all remember what happened in 2007, when the original American Idol tried to shed her "America's sweetheart" image by going for a darker, edgier, grittier sound on her largely self-penned (and largely underrated) third album, My December, and a massive battle with Sony-BMG label honcho Clive Davis ensued. So for her recently released fourth album, All I Ever Wanted, Kelly got back in line and went back to pure pop, letting slick songwriters-for-hire like Sweden's Max Martin provide her with hits, hits, hits--like the record-breaking, "Since U Been Gone"-soundalike smash, "My Life Would Suck Without You." But her life is to starting to suck again, it seems--as the album's third single, "Already Gone," has created yet another Kelly controversy.
Apparently, according to an interview she did on Canadian radio this past weekend, Kelly fought once again with her label over "Already Gone," a song she co-wrote with OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (the Midas-touched man behind such radio smashes as Leona Lewis's "Bleeding Love," Jordin Sparks' "Battlefield," Jennifer Lopez's "Do It Well," and Natasha Bedingfield's "Love Like This," among other hits). She told Canada's CBC that she battled to keep the ballad from being included on All I Ever Wanted after she realized it bore an uncanny resemblance to Beyonce's "Halo"--a song that, perhaps not coincidentally, was also written by Ryan Tedder.

Ex-Idol Contestant Says Show Is Rigged

Posted Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:48pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker in Reality Rocks
Some ousted season 8 American Idol top 36 semi-finalists--including Felicia Barton, Kendall Beard, and Ju'Not Joyner--participated in an online chat with the Idol website AI Now today. And during his frank online conversation with fans, Ju'Not came right out and said that the TV talent show is in fact rigged, and that its contracts are unfair to contestants. "It's a fixed thing if I ever saw one," he boldly declared--much to the shock of many naive chatters, who responded with capslocked interjections and frowny-faced emoticons.
It was hardly the first time that AmIdol had been accused of wrongdoing. A book loosely based on anonymous former Idol employees' experiences with the show, Stage 46, made similar allegations last year. But few detractors have ever been as brutally honest as Ju'Not was today.
Ju'Not--who by his own account was labeled a "troublemaker" by Idol producers for questioning the contract (which he dubbed a "slavetract") that all auditioners are required by Fox/19 to sign, and was allegedly told by Idol bigwig Ken Warwick, "You're not going to ruin my show"--explained that he wanted to set the record straight today. He stated that he wanted to reveal "truth of Idol" because "Idol ain't all it is cracked up to be...It's certainly not the fairytale most think it is."
Ju'Not claimed he was cut from the competition, and not invited back for the Wild Card round (a shock to many viewers wowed by his memorable "Hey There Delilah" performance) because of his concerns regarding the fairness of the Idol contract.
"They pay for our lawyers to negotiate against their lawyer (which is BS)," he said. "They make us COLLECTIVELY choose the lawyer, then they act like it's in our best interest. Craziest stuff I've ever seen. I have a son to feed. I HAD to ask questions and know what I was signing. Plus I write my own songs and I needed to know details...Some folks were like, 'Just shut up and sign on the dotted line.' I know better than that...I wasn't complaining...I was asking basic legal questions. There's a huge difference between the two."
He continued: "I definitely believed that affected my time on the show. They didn't like the fact that I wouldn't sign 'just anything' and that other contestants were coming asking me questions. So I think they ousted me the first chance they could get...Even if I didn't get in on did I not get picked for the Wild Card show when I received comments from the 'judges' that were better than most of the contestants who were picked for the Wild Card show?"
Ju'Not also theorized that he was not selected for the top 13 because he refused to let the show's producers exploit his sympathetic "back story" of being from "the hood." Said Ju'Not: "They wanted me to put that out to the world and expose my personal business for ratings. I wouldn't do it."
While Ju'Not made it clear he believes Kris Allen is indeed talented and deserved to win this season, he also maintained that Kris's victory was fixed. "The producers know who they want and they slant it to reflect that. They fix it in a way that makes you surprised but it's still manipulated," he typed. "Think about it...ADAM, ADAM, ADAM, then...Kris....SURPRISE SMITHCHES!!!!
"What I mean is that people think AI is a talent show," he elaborated. "No. It's a reality show with writers!! We're all actors. All these shows have writers that guide the public opinion. The Hills, Real World. All of them." He even bluntly questioned the validity of the public's votes, saying, "Do you think a billion-dollar enterprise is subject to the whim of the public?"
Naturally, while some chat participants applauded Ju'Not's frankness, others questioned his motives, since few other Idol contestants have come forth with such accusations. Ju'Not explained: "No one else is complaining because a lot of the contestants don't understand how this business works. They've never had record deals or seen a record contract...I have. So I knew what questions to ask. It's kinda like ignorance is bliss. Some contestants may have thought it was just cool to be on TV, but this is my career. I take this thing VERY seriously...Very few people spoke up. They saw me as the ringleader. I'm not naming names. Because I have nothing against the other Idols."
So, was Ju'Not speaking the truth? If so, then he is to be commended for his bravery. But it's possible he was just trying to drum up publicity for the "hot" new album he's self-releasing this winter, in which case he's a typical showbiz opportunist. Or maybe he's just a bitter reject, desperately angling for a 16th minute of fame and dreaming of what might have been. All of this is up for debate.
But there is no debate that Ju'Not is, as he worded it today, "a straight-up person." He definitely went there.

New Whitney album

Whitney Houston's upcoming album, "I Look To You," is already #3 on the Amazon's Music Chart! Sitting behind only Michael Jackson's iconic "Thriller" and "Off The Wall" albums, Whitney's "I Look To You" is on sale for just $9.99!

From Yahoo! Food: Skirt Steak Fajitas with Lime and Black Pepper

Best Cities For Singles 2009

It hasn't been an easy year for New Yorkers, what with the fall of Wall Street, a media-industry shakeout and a significant decrease in consumer spending. Just in June U.S. retail sales experienced a year-over-year decrease of 9%, to $342.1 billion, according to the Commerce Department.
These financial stresses have brought a shift in priorities for singles: Living in New York City no longer requires making your first million by the age of 30, but instead means finding happiness with another person (though having achieved the former certainly can't hurt with the latter). With an unemployment rate of 8.2%, many of this metro area's finest unmarried folks-- 28% of the overall population--are taking advantage of generous severances and enjoying the spoils of the city--including its 35,000 restaurants, 3,800 bars and 734 museums--with dates they've found online. The New York metro area boasts a larger number of active accounts on dating site than any other place in the country, making up 8% of the entire site's active members.
While it's the biggest metro included--New York should have even more active members--other large metros don't participate nearly as much. For example, only 2% of Angelinos, who live in the second-largest metro in the country, actively use the site. (Match is based in Dallas, Texas, which ranks 17th on our list.)
It's still not cheap to live in New York--the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the borough of Manhattan, for example, is $3,522-- but the average entry-level salary is a lot higher too, at $35,593. (For singles making entry-level money, there are more affordable accommodations in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as across the river in New Jersey.) The average rent for a one-bedroom in Milwaukee is just $813.65, but the average starting salary is only $30,453. Close competition with New York includes Boston, Chicago, Seattle and Washington, D.C., which round out the top five best cities for singles.
Behind the Numbers
To generate our list, we ranked 40 of the largest continental U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in seven different categories: coolness, cost of living alone, culture, job growth, online dating participation, nightlife and the ratio of singles to the entire population of the metro. Each metro was assigned a ranking of 1 to 40 in each category, based on quantitative data, and all categories were weighted equally. The ranks were then totaled to determine the final rankings. A metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographic entity defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics.
The biggest factor in the rankings this year was an increase in online dating, not just in New York but across the entire U.S. Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sociology professor at University of Washington in Seattle and the relationship expert at, says that the Seattle-based dating site has seen a 48% increase in subscriptions year-over-year. She believes that it's directly related to the recession.
"I don't think that it's an accident," says Schwartz. "People are telling us that when things are tough, core needs are most important. And love--someone to share your life with--is a core need."
Of course, not every single is looking to settle down. But that's why our top cities offer a little bit of everything for every kind of person. Washington, D.C., for example, has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country--6.2%, compared with a national average of 9.1%--so this metro area is a promising spot for those who are single as well as ambitious. Boston, on the other hand, is ideal for those unsure about their future prospects. Home to over 40 colleges and universities, those seeking graduate degrees find plenty of like-minded peers around them.
Farther down on the list, spots like Austin and Portland prove to be up-and-coming singles capitals. From March's annual South by Southwest music, film and media festival to the city's ever-growing creative community of artists, musicians and designers, Austin ranks high on the coolness scale. It also gets points for job growth; the number of jobs in the city will increase by 17.5% over the next five years, according to New York-based research firm Moodys' And while Portland is pricey--a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,124 on average, and the entry-level salary is below the national average--the city's indie music and arts scenes, as well as its myriad bars and clubs, are all positives.
But wherever you live, even if it's Jacksonville, Fla., which falls dead last on our list, there's a community of singles making the best of that particular place. Whether that means embracing the great outdoors around Denver or buying the next round of tequila shots in nightlife-oriented Virginia Beach, there are plenty of other like-minded people on the prowl. And right now, the easiest place to find them is online.
Full Methodology
To determine the best city for singles, we ranked 40 of the largest continental U.S. metropolitan statistical areas in seven different categories: coolness, cost of living alone, culture, job growth, online dating, nightlife and number of singles. Each metro is assigned a ranking of 1 to 40 in each category, based on quantitative data. All categories are weighted equally. The ranks are then totaled to determine the final rankings. A metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is a geographic entity defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget for use by federal agencies in collecting, tabulating and publishing federal statistics.
Coolness: To determine coolness, market research company Harris Interactive conducted a poll in July 2009 of adults from across the U.S., each of whom was asked, "Among the following U.S. cities, which one do you think is the coolest?" Data were provided by Harris Interactive.
Cost of living alone: Our proprietary cost of living alone index is determined by the average cost of a metro area's one-bedroom apartment rent, a movie ticket and a six-pack of Heineken. Additionally, we factored in entry-level salary data. Raw data came from the Accra Cost of Living Index, provided by the Arlington, Va.-based Council for Community and Economic Research and New York-based Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
Culture: Our cultural index is determined by the number of museums, sports teams and live theater and concert venues per capita in each metro area. Data were provided by New York-based AOL City Guide and the U.S. Census Bureau. Job growth: Job growth rankings are determined by the projected percentage of job growth over the next five years for each metro. Data were provided by New York-based research firm Moody's
Online Dating: Online dating rates are determined by the percentage of active profiles in each city of the overall active member data based of Dallas, Texas-based dating site
Nightlife: Nightlife is based on the number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs per capita in each standard metropolitan area. Data provided by AOL City Guide.
In Depth: Best Cities for Singles

Out on a limb: Arm-swinging riddle is answered

Tue Jul 28, 7:49 pm ETPARIS (AFP) – Biomedical researchers on Wednesday said they could explain why we swing our arms when we walk, a practice that has long piqued scientific curiosity.Swinging one's arms comes at a cost. We need muscles to do it, and we need to provide energy in the form of food for those muscles. So what's the advantage?Little or none, some experts have said, contending that arm-swinging, like our appendix, is an evolutionary relic from when we used to go about on all fours.But a trio of specialists from the United States and the Netherlands have put the question to rigorous tests.They built a mechanical model to get an idea of the dynamics of arm-swinging and then recruited 10 volunteers, who were asked to walk with a normal swing, an opposite-to-normal swing, with their arms folded or held by their sides.The metabolic cost of this activity was derived from oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) production as the human guinea pigs breathed in and out.Arm-swinging turned out to be a plus, rather than a negative, the investigators found.For one thing, it is surprisingly, er, "'armless" in energy costs, requiring little torque, or rotational twist, from the shoulder muscles.Holding one's arms as one walks requires 12 percent more metabolic energy, compared with swinging them.The arms' pendulum swing also helps dampen the bobbly up-and-down motion of walking, which is itself an energy drain for the muscles of the lower legs.If you hold your arms while walking, this movement, called vertical ground reaction moment, rises by a whopping 63 percent.Should you prefer to walk with an opposite-to-normal swing -- meaning that your right arm moves in sync with your right leg and your left arm is matched to the motion of your left leg -- the energy cost of using your shoulder muscles will fall.The downside, though, is that opposite-to-normal swing forces up the metabolic rate by a quarter.The study, headed by Steven Collins at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, says we should give the thumb's-up to arm swinging."Rather than a facultative relic of the locomotion needs of our quadrupedal ancestors, arm swinging is an integral part of the energy economy of human gait," says the paper.It appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the biological research journal of the Royal Society, Britain's de-facto academy of sciences.

Study: Tanning beds definitely cause cancer

By MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer Maria Cheng, Ap Medical Writer – 2 hrs 49 mins agoLONDON – International cancer experts have moved tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation into the top cancer risk category deeming both to be definite causes of cancer.For years, scientists have described tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation as "probable carcinogens."A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30.Experts also found that all types of ultraviolet radiation caused worrying mutations in mice, proof the radiation is carcinogenic. Previously, only one type of ultraviolet radiation was thought to be lethal.The new classification means tanning beds and ultraviolet radiation are definite causes of cancer, alongside tobacco, the hepatitis B virus and chimney sweeping, among others.The research was published online in the medical journal Lancet Oncology on Wednesday by experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization."People need to be reminded of the risks of sunbeds," said Vincent Cogliano, one of the cancer researchers. "We hope the prevailing culture will change so teens don't think they need to use sunbeds to get a tan."Cogliano said the classification means experts are confident that tanning beds cause cancer, but he noted they may not be as potent as other carcinogens like tobacco or arsenic.Most lights used in tanning beds give off mainly ultraviolet radiation, which cause skin and eye cancer. As use of tanning beds has increased among people under 30, doctors have seen a parallel rise in the numbers of young people with skin cancer, though most types of skin cancer are benign.According to the studies reviewed by Cogliano and colleagues, using tanning beds caused about a 20 percent increased relative risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer.Cogliano said it was impossible to know how many benign skin cancers might be caused by tanning beds, because of complicating factors like exposure to regular sunlight. He and colleagues examined data from more than 7,000 melanoma cases and found a strong association between tanning bed use and the disease. He compared the link to that found between tobacco and lung cancer.In Britain, melanoma is now the leading cancer diagnosed in women in their 20s. Normally, skin cancer rates are highest in people over 75. According to a British study from 2003, about 100 people every year die of melanoma attributable to tanning beds.Previous studies found younger people who regularly use tanning beds are eight times more likely to get melanoma than people who have never used them. In the past, WHO warned people younger than 18 to stay away from tanning beds.The American Cancer Society advises people to try bronzing or self-tanning creams instead of tanning beds.

Organic food is no healthier, study finds

LONDON (Reuters) – Organic food has no nutritional or health benefits over ordinary food, according to a major study published Wednesday.Researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said consumers were paying higher prices for organic food because of its perceived health benefits, creating a global organic market worth an estimated $48 billion in 2007.A systematic review of 162 scientific papers published in the scientific literature over the last 50 years, however, found there was no significant difference."A small number of differences in nutrient content were found to exist between organically and conventionally produced foodstuffs, but these are unlikely to be of any public health relevance," said Alan Dangour, one of the report's authors."Our review indicates that there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority."The results of research, which was commissioned by the British government's Food Standards Agency, were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.Sales of organic food have fallen in some markets, including Britain, as recession has led consumers to cut back on purchases.The Soil Association said in April that growth in sales of organic products in Britain slowed to just 1.7 percent in 2008, well below the average annual growth rate of 26 percent over the last decade, following a plunge in demand at the end of the year.(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Simon Jessop)

Delta enhancing frequent-flier program

By HARRY R. WEBER, AP Airlines Writer Harry R. Weber, Ap Airlines Writer – Tue Jul 28, 3:39 pm ETATLANTA – Delta Air Lines Inc. is taking a page from the cell phone industry and will be allowing elite frequent fliers to roll over miles earned above their qualification status in a given year so they have an easier time maintaining that status or improving to a higher one the next year.The world's biggest airline operator planned to announce Tuesday enhancements to its SkyMiles Medallion program that will go into effect over the next nine months.The changes come at a time of weak demand in the airline industry amid the recession. Business travel, in particular, has been in a slump, and giving extra advantages to elite frequent fliers could be one way to lure in more business travelers.Atlanta-based Delta has three elite frequent flier statuses — silver, gold and platinum — and will be adding a fourth, diamond. Customers reach those levels by flying a lot — you reach the lowest level after flying 30 segments in a year — and in return they get extra benefits like priority boarding, waived checked bag fees and free upgrades.Now, Delta says it will allow customers to retain any Medallion qualification miles earned above a Medallion threshold at the end of the year, supplementing the ability to earn status the following year. For example, should a member accrue 40,000 Medallion qualification miles in one calendar year, the 15,000 Medallion qualification miles that exceed the 25,000 threshold for silver status will be rolled over to the following year.Delta said there is no limit to the number of miles rolled over, and the benefit takes effect immediately.The rollover idea is similar to one offered for several years to some AT&T cell phone customers, who can roll over unused minutes in certain plans to the following month.Among other changes coming from Delta:_The new diamond level for flyers who earn 125,000 MQMs or fly 140 segments per calendar year will include a complimentary Delta Sky Club membership, among other benefits._Diamond, platinum and gold Medallion members will have ticketing fees waived for all bookings, whether completed by phone, online or in person.

Modern Insanity: What Really Makes Us Crazy

Robin NixonSpecial to robin Nixonspecial To – Wed Jul 29, 8:33 am ET

Last month, researchers found that schizophrenics were more likely to have been subjected to influenza in the womb than healthy individuals. Other common experiences can also drive away our wits, long after we are out of diapers.In fact, the typical American lifestyle teems with risk factors for mental illness, says Stephen Ilardi, a psychologist at the University of Kansas and author of "The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs" (DeCapo Press, 2009). But we can protect ourselves by adopting the habits of our distant ancestors, he said."In modern life, our environment is continually activating the brain's stress response," Ilardi said, bombarded as we are by email, tragic news and interpersonal demands. Certain circuits in the brain react to stress as if it is an infection, triggering social withdrawal, inflammation and potentially leading to brain damage in areas such as the hippocampus, the frontal cortex and the basal ganglia, Ilardi said.In many mental disorders, "inflammation is a big culprit," Ilardi said.In short bouts, inflammation is the body's way of protecting itself. But if prolonged, it can take a tremendous toll. Like heart disease and insulin resistance, mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression, autism, anxiety and bipolar disorder have all been linked to inflammation. And the prevalence of many of these illnesses has increased in lockstep with modernization, Ilardi said.The relative sanity of our distant ancestors should not imply they led stress-free lives. Hunting dangerous game does not exactly instill Zen-like breaths. But "our remote ancestors had many factors woven into the fabric of their lives that turned off the brain's stress response," - habits that in most developed countries have fallen out of fashion, Ilardi said.For example, if met with an impediment on a path to some succulent boar, hunter-gatherers may have vented their frustration by, say, heaving a boulder out of the way. Physical exertion holds up a potent stop sign to the stress-inflammation circuitry, Ilardi said. But today, an urban dweller stuck in traffic can do little but stew.Many mental illnesses are recognized as a problem with brain chemistry, and therefore treated chemically with medication. But behavior also alters brain chemistry. Several primitive habits, researchers have found, may check the stress response and prevent it from making our brains sick. A program developed by Ilardi and colleagues - that helps individuals adopt the habits of cool, collected cavemen - is proving more effective in treating mental illnesses than conventional medication.For primal protection from modern insanity, try to:Balance your OmegasThe ideal balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fats is one-to-one. In the typical American diet, the ratio is closer to 16-to-one, largely due to the modern tendency of feeding livestock grains instead of grass. Compounds derived from Omega 6 fats encourage inflammation, cross the blood-brain barrier and can trigger depressive responses, Ilardi said. Omega 3 fats, found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, are anti-inflammatory and can help break the stress-inflammation cycle.Get more ZzzzsA century ago, Americans were averaging nine hours of sleep every night. These days, according to the National Sleep Foundation, many people get less than seven, a trend that has been linked to an overall decline in mental health. Strive to get 8 to10 hours of sleep each night to help your brain and body fully recuperate.Seek social supportWhile our distant ancestors likely enjoyed being the best at something, say the best gooseberry spotter among their community of 50 to 100 individuals, in "today's global village of 6.5 billion people, nobody is the best at anything," Ilardi said. Finding a niche in a subset community may dissuade this inevitable ego knocker as well as provide other mental health goodies, such as halting rumination.Interrupt circle-thinkFocusing on a problem or discomfort can be adaptive; it helps us find solutions. But when we become fixated, the repetitive stress can erode our ability to rebound. Rumination, Ilardi says, is particularly common when we're alone, a state familiar to many inhabitants of developed countries. In contrast, our ancient ancestors rarely went solo. Having company or partaking in engaging activities can stop ruminative thoughts in their tracks.Walk it offWe evolved as recreational athletes. Our ancestors not only spent much of the day engaged in moderate aerobic activity but also undertook regular weight-bearing chores, such as digging ditches and building huts. Studies have shown, just 90 minutes of exercise a week can be as effective as psych-medicines such as Zoloft.Take time to baskEveryone knows sunlight feels good. But it may also stave off illness. Sunlight - in modest quantities - triggers the production of an endogenous form of Vitamin D that, like Omega 3 fats, is anti-inflammatory and can help deter a runaway stress response.Develop a world viewWhile research on the relationship between religion and mental health is inconclusive, individuals who have a global framework - a way of understanding the world, whether it be religious, philosophical or scientific - may have an increased ability to withstand blows to their mental health, Ilardi said.What's Behind Human Insanity?Humans: The Strangest Species5 Keys to HappinessOriginal Story: Modern Insanity: What Really Makes Us chronicles the daily advances and innovations made in science and technology. We take on the misconceptions that often pop up around scientific discoveries and deliver short, provocative explanations with a certain wit and style. Check out our science videos, Trivia & Quizzes and Top 10s. 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Lawmakers propose ban on texting while driving

By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writer Ken Thomas, Associated Press Writer – 28 mins agoWASHINGTON – A group of Democrats want states to ban texting while driving or face cuts in highway funds, citing the need to reduce driver distraction and potential highway deaths and injuries."When drivers have their eyes on their cell phones instead of the road, the results can be dangerous and even deadly," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who unveiled the legislation Wednesday with Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have passed laws making texting while driving illegal.Some critics have questioned whether the laws could be enforced, whether there is enough data to warrant such bans, or if reckless driving statutes already cover texting behind the wheel.The Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety agencies, said it does not doubt the dangers of texting and driving but does not support a ban because it would be difficult to enforce."Highway safety laws are only effective if they can be enforced and if the public believes they will be ticketed for not complying. To date, that has not been the case with many cell phone restrictions," said Vernon Betkey, the highway safety association's chairman.The proposal follows a series of studies showing the dangers of operating handheld electronic devices while driving.In a study released earlier this week, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that when drivers of heavy trucks texted, their collision risk was 23 times greater than when not texting. Dialing a cell phone and using or reaching for an electronic device increased risk of collision about six times in cars and trucks.The Virginia Tech researchers said the risks of texting generally applied to all drivers, not just truckers.The lawmakers also cited a separate report by Car and Driver magazine that found that texting and driving is more dangerous than drunken driving.Texting has grown from nearly 10 billion messages a month in December 2005 to more than 110 billion in December 2008, according to CTIA, the cellular phone industry's trade group.The legislation would require states to ban texting or e-mailing while operating a moving vehicle or lose 25 percent of their annual federal highway funding. It would be patterned after the way Congress required states to adopt a national drunken driving ban.The transportation secretary would be required to issue guidelines within six months of the measure becoming law, and states then would have two years to approve the bans on texting and driving.States could recover highway funds by passing the legislation following the two-year period.The bill would target the activity in a moving vehicle and not prohibit a driver from texting or e-mailing in a stopped car.

After stunning loss, Phelps rebounds with record

By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP National Writer Paul Newberry, Ap National Writer – 27 mins agoROME – Now that's more like it. Michael Phelps bounced back from a stunning loss with something more familiar — another world record Wednesday.One night after he was soundly beaten by Germany's Paul Biedermann, Phelps set a world record in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 51.51 seconds — more than a half-second ahead of his previous mark, 1:52.03.Phelps whipped around quickly to see his time and held up his right index finger when the "WR" was posted. And just like Beijing, he has taken down another of Mark Spitz's standards, this time with the 34th world record of his career — one more than Spitz had during his brilliant run in the pool."I wanted to step on it in the first 100 to get out there in the clean water, and that's pretty much what happened," Phelps said. "It was a lot more pain last night than tonight."There couldn't have been a more appropriate place for Phelps to add another record to his resume. Shortly after he climbed from the pool, Italy's Federica Pellegrini sent the home crowd into a frenzy when she set the 20th world mark of the four-day-old meet in the 200 freestyle.Before the night was done, South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh broke the mark he set in the semifinals to win the 50 breaststroke and China's Zhang Lin took down Grant Hackett's four-year-old 800 free by more than six seconds, with Tunisia's Ous Mellouli also going under the old mark but only getting silver. Both are non-Olympic events.Earlier, Germany's Daniela Samulski and Russia's Anastasia Zueva got things rolling by setting records in consecutive semifinal heats of the 50 backstroke, another event not on the Olympic program. And let's not forget American Mary Descenza, who took more than three seconds off her personal best to swim the fastest women's 200 butterfly ever — in the preliminaries, no less.For those who've lost count, that's 22 records in Rome, hardly living up to it label as the Eternal City. Nothing is sacred in these high-tech bodysuits, which have already helped surpass the 15 records set at the last worlds in Melbourne two years ago, with four days still to go.Phelps couldn't wait to get on the podium to collect his first individual title at the Foro Italico. While his name was being announced in English and Italian, he stood impatiently with his right foot already on the stand.Finally, he hopped up to the highest rung, thrust both arms in the air with a defiant look that melted into a crooked smile. He was back on top.The scene was much different than a night earlier, when Biedermann blew away Phelps in the 200 free, winning by more than a full body length and snatching away one of the American's five individual world records.The loss — Phelps' first in an individual race at the Olympics or world championships since 2005 — was followed by coach Bob Bowman's angry tirade against the sport's governing body, which allowed polyurethane suits to be used at these championships.FINA plans to ban all bodysuits sometime early in 2010, but Bowman said Phelps might take his goggles and go home until the rule goes into effect, believing Biedermann's Arena suit gave him a huge edge over Phelps' once-revolutionary Speedo LZR Racer because it's more buoyant.Phelps stuck with Speedo for the fly, though he did change out of a model that stretches up to his shoulders, going with one that stretched only from waist to ankles."It didn't feel right in warmup," Phelps said. "I changed out of it and put this on. This is what I've always worn in this race.""He actually warmed up with the full body and he just said it felt too tight and he took it off," Bowman said. "Then I noticed he hadn't shaved his chest, but I'm like, 'Just don't worry about it.'"No worries, indeed. No one was even close."I said to Bob beforehand, 'I'm going to go for the 150 and whatever happens, happens. I'm going to try to hang on the last 50,'" Phelps said. "I was able to."Bowman knew Phelps had it when he made the last turn ahead of everyone else, no matter how hard he went out."He swam a really fast first 150 and he paid for it a little on the last lap," the coach said. "I'm sure he'll be tired, but I knew nobody was getting by him. That's how he is."Actually, Bowman was confident from the moment he saw Phelps at lunch. Instead of fretting over the loss to Biedermann, he had that look the coach likes to see — and there weren't any concerns about someone having a technological edge."I just felt like he was really relaxed tonight," Bowman said. "I saw him at lunchtime and he was in really good spirits. You can always tell when something like this is kind of going to happen. He was definitely there tonight."

Health care progress seen on Capitol Hill

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer Liz Sidoti, Associated Press Writer – 39 mins agoRALEIGH, N.C. – Congress reported progress on legislation to overhaul the nation's health care Wednesday as President Barack Obama introduced a retooled message asserting his plan would protect Americans and limit insurers' power."We have a system today that works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn't always work well for you," Obama told more than 2,000 people in a North Carolina high school gymnasium. "What we need, and what we will have when we pass these reforms, are health insurance consumer protections to make sure that those who have insurance are treated fairly and insurance companies are held accountable."Obama also acknowledged a setback in the drive to enact his top domestic priority, saying he doesn't expect Congress to vote on legislation until the fall because bills aren't even out of committees. The White House had pressed for passage before the House and Senate left for their August break."We did give them a deadline, and sort of we missed that deadline. But that's OK," Obama said."We don't want to just do it quickly, we want to do it right," he added. But he also signaled that he won't be patient if negotiations continue to drag, saying: "The American people can't wait any longer. They want action this year. I want action this year."Back in Washington, there were signs of significant movement after a period of stalemate.House lawmakers indicated they were moving ahead on their version of the health care legislation after leaders and fiscally conservative Democrats worked out a deal.Four of the seven so-called Blue Dog Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said they resolved their differences with Chairman Henry Waxman of California and have agreed that the full House would not vote on the legislation until September so lawmakers can read the bill and listen to constituents. The lawmakers also had been meeting with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., head of the Blue Dogs health care task force, appeared pleased with the agreement, saying: "It cuts the cost of the bill significantly by over $100 billion. It protects small businesses and it saves our rural hospitals and ensures that if there is a public option, it will be just that. It will be an option providing consumers more choices. It will not be mandated on anyone. And it now will clearly be on a level playing field."Senators trying to reach a bipartisan compromise also reported progress in paring the costs of the plan as they push for an agreement they hope will appeal to the political middle.Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the Democrat leading the negotiations among three Democrats and three Republicans, said new estimates from the Congressional Budget Office show the plan that's taking shape would cover 95 percent of Americans by 2015, and cost about $900 billion over 10 years — under the unofficial $1 trillion target the White House has set.As Congress continued to haggle over various bills on Capitol Hill, the president flew to North Carolina to emphasize consumer protections that he said would be in any bill he would sign. He was making the same pitch later in Virginia.Among those protections: Insurers would be required to set annual caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses, would have to fully cover routine tests to help prevent illness and would be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder paid the premium in full. Insurers also would be barred from refusing coverage because of pre-existing conditions, scaling back insurance for people who fall very ill, charging more for services based on gender or and placing limits on coverage. And, they wouldn't be able to deny children family coverage through age 26."Whether or not you have health insurance right now, the reforms we seek will bring stability and security that you don't have today — reforms that become more urgent and more urgent with each passing year," Obama said.Many, if not all, of the consumer protections are included in legislation under discussion in both houses. But conservative-to-moderate Democrats are balking at the bills, making the legislative process move slower than the White House would like and presenting political challenges to the Democratic president.The president is seeking legislation to extend health insurance to millions who lack it, even as he is asking lawmakers to slow the growth in the skyrocketing cost of medical care overall. To coax legislation from Congress, the president is making a major investment in his time and political capital. His trips outside of Washington and retooled message are part of that effort.Greeted with cheers, he bounded onto a North Carolina stage backed by four huge American flags, a scene reminiscent of last year's presidential campaign. The audience was friendly, its questions hardly critical. The White House said people signed up for a drawing to get tickets through a Web site and phone number.The welcome was in contrast to criticism Obama met as his motorcade made its way from the airport to Needham B. Broughton High School. Thick groups of protesters held signs that said "Obamacare is Socialism," "Politicians + Health Care Disaster," and "Hands Off Our Health Care."Once inside, Obama got hearty applause as he introduced each element in his introductory remarks.As he has nearly every day for weeks, Obama countered concerns about costs to taxpayers and the scope of government in any overhaul, saying, "No one is talking about some government takeover of health care. ... These folks need to stop scaring everybody."He cast the debate as a choice between doing something to bring down rising costs, provide better insurance and control exploding deficits — and doing nothing, which he said would have disastrous consequences by doubling health costs over the next decade, making millions more Americans uninsured and bankrupting federal and state governments.Obama dismissed critics' claims that he was playing politics with health care, telling the crowd: "You know this isn't about politics. This is about people's lives. This is about people's businesses. This is about our future."

Microsoft and Yahoo strike Web search partnership

By Alexei Oreskovic and Bill Rigby Alexei Oreskovic And Bill Rigby – 54 mins agoSAN FRANCISCO/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp and Yahoo Inc inked a 10-year Web search deal to challenge market leader Google Inc but stopped short of combining their display advertising businesses.The long-expected deal effectively means Microsoft's new Bing search engine will be combined with Yahoo's experience attracting advertisers to pose the first serious threat to Google, if the companies get regulatory approval and can make the partnership work.Yahoo shares fell 11 percent as some investors were disappointed by the limited scope of the deal, which did not include upfront payments for Yahoo, which could have been $1.5 billion or more, according to a Sanford Bernstein research report last week."Microsoft will be able to report a greater share in terms of search... And Yahoo doesn't have to spend any more money on search," said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which owns rival search engine of Microsoft were flat, while Google shares fell 1.2 percent.Microsoft and Yahoo still face antitrust and privacy issues and likely opposition from Google, which dropped its plans for an advertising partnership with Yahoo last year under pressure from the U.S. Justice Department.The companies said they expect the deal to be "closely reviewed" by regulators, but were "hopeful" it can close in early 2010.Google said on Wednesday only that it was "interested" in the Microsoft/Yahoo partnership, while the chairman of the U.S. Senate antitrust panel said the deal warrants "careful scrutiny."The deal culminates a lengthy, and at times contentious, dance between the two companies. They have been in on-and-off-again talks on a search partnership since Yahoo rebuffed Microsoft's $47.5 billion takeover bid last year.Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer clashed last year with former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, who was strongly opposed to an all-out acquisition. Relations between the two companies improved under new Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, who took the reins in January and started to shake up Yahoo's top management.Ballmer and Bartz met "three or four times" over the past six months as they hammered out a deal, according to Ballmer.HOW THE DEAL WORKSUnder the deal announced on Wednesday, Microsoft's Bing search engine will power search queries on Yahoo's sites. Yahoo's sales force will be responsible for selling premium advertising based on search terms for both companies.Microsoft's AdCenter technology will serve the standard sponsored links that appear alongside search results.While Yahoo CEO Bartz had previously said that any deal would require a partner with "boatloads of money," she said on Wednesday that the agreement provided "boatloads of value", saying the revenue share agreement in the Microsoft deal was more valuable to Yahoo than a one-time payment."Having a big up-front cash payment doesn't really help us from an operating standpoint," Bartz said in a conference call with Microsoft CEO Ballmer.Microsoft will compensate Yahoo through a revenue-sharing agreement that pays Yahoo at an initial rate of 88 percent of search revenue generated on Yahoo sites in the first five years.Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force, they said.Analysts said it will be tough for the two companies to make a significant dent in Google's dominance in search, but it was a step in the right direction.According to comScore, Google has a 65 percent share of the U.S. search market, compared to Yahoo's 19.6 percent and Microsoft's 8.4 percent."Overall, it's a big positive for two companies that have been struggling to keep up with Google. This consolidates their resources and allows them to make a more concerted push as the No. 2 entity," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Ross Sandler.Yahoo estimated the deal will boost its annual operating income by about $500 million and yield capital expenditure savings of $200 million. Yahoo also expects the deal to boost annual operating cash flow by about $275 million.Yahoo reported income from operations of $13 million in 2008, hurt by $487.5 million in goodwill impairment charge and $107 million in restructuring charges. In 2007, operating income was $695 million.Yahoo's Bartz said that the deal will result in "redundancies" in Yahoo's staff, though she declined to be specific. She stressed that any changes would not occur until after approval by antitrust authorities in the U.S. and Europe and full implementation of the partnership.Shares of Yahoo were down $1.89 at $15.33 on Nasdaq, while shares of Microsoft were flat at $23.47. Google shares were down $5.13 at $434.72.

Jackson's mother seeking info from estate lawyers

By RYAN NAKASHIMA, Associated Press Writer Ryan Nakashima, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 2 mins agoLOS ANGELES – The legal team for Michael Jackson's mother asked a judge for the power to press the administrators of her son's estate for more information ahead of a key hearing next week, but the judge rebuffed the effort.Lawyers for Katherine Jackson on Tuesday requested the authority to interview attorney John Branca and former music executive John McClain this Friday, as well as demand they produce business contracts and other documents related to the late pop star.Her lawyers argued in a court filing that the information was "potentially crucial" to a hearing set for Monday that could determine the permanent representatives of Jackson's estate, which is estimated to be worth more than $500 million.Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff put off dealing with their request until Monday, effectively quashing it.Beckloff may determine at Monday's hearing whether special administrators Branca and McClain will transition from temporary to permanent representatives of the estate, and whether an allowance will be granted to Katherine Jackson and to Jackson's three children.Jackson's 2002 will puts his assets in a trust that benefits Katherine, his three children and unnamed children's charities.Tuesday's filing was meant to expedite the process of obtaining "important personal, business and legal information and documents relating to Michael Jackson" including his deal with concert promoter AEG Live, according to a written statement from L. Londell McMillan, who is part of Katherine Jackson's legal team.They're also seeking "life insurance policies, settlements and disputes, as well as agreements between the temporary special administrators and Michael Jackson (and others)."McMillan said they'd requested some of the documents earlier and had hoped to see them before the Aug. 3 hearing.Katherine Jackson's lawyers alleged in filings that Branca and McClain were "intent on keeping her in the dark as much and for as long as possible."Branca and McClain's legal team responded that the singer's mother had made "voluminous, burdensome and invasive discovery demands" that were impossible to meet in a short time frame.It added that it could not produce the contract detailing Jackson's comeback tour with promoter AEG Live because of confidentiality provisions, but was willing to share the contract if Katherine Jackson agreed to the provisions. The parties were unable to agree on the terms.The administrators' legal team also argued that it was unclear why Katherine Jackson was demanding so much information. Her subpoena and deposition notices had "all the earmarks of a protracted and expensive legal battle which does not appear to be justified," the administrators' lawyers said in a filing.Attorney Howard Weitzman, who represents Branca and McClain, said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that comments McMillan has made on Katherine Jackson's behalf indicate "they want to rewrite Michael's will to make Mrs. Jackson 'Guardian of the Estate' and have her appointed as an Executor and Trustee of Michael Jackson's Estate.""In his will, Michael was very specific that his mother act as the Guardian of his children and that Mr. Branca and Mr. McClain be the Executors of his Will and Trustees of his trust," Weitzman said.In response, McMillan referred to Weitzman's statement as "half-truths.""We accept the will, but Mrs. Jackson has not accepted both executors and trustees, and the law provides Mrs. Jackson legal recourse for removal of unfit fiduciaries," McMillan said."For now, we have three questions: Who drafted the will and where is the trust, what happened between 2002 and 2009 among Michael Jackson and the proposed executors, and why would anyone reject Mrs. Katherine Jackson to continue to serve as a trustee for Michael's most important business activities, especially when the will and/or trust allows them to include her?" he said. "This is quite troubling to us, and we shall get to the bottom of it."

4,000 displaced as troops battle Nigeria militants

By NJADVARA MUSA, Associated Press Writer Njadvara Musa, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 13 mins agoMAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Soldiers in tanks and armored cars besieged the shelled compound of a radical Islamist sect and sporadic gunfire exploded as hundreds of innocents fled Wednesday, the third day of fighting in Nigeria's northern city of Maiduguri.Relief official Apollus Jediel said about 1,000 people had abandoned their homes Wednesday, joining 3,000 displaced this week in four states caught up in the violence.It is not known how many scores of people have been killed. Police say most of the dead are militants, from a group that wants to impose Taliban-style rule across this multi-religious country of 140 million. Dozens of people have been arrested.Reporters on the ground say the trouble started with militants attacking a police station in Bauchi state Sunday. Then they attacked police in Kano, Yobe and Borno, of which Maiduguri is the capital.But President Umaru Yar'Adua disputed that, saying troops struck first."I want to emphasize that this is not an inter-religious crisis and it is not the Taliban group that attacked the security agents first, no. It was as a result of a security information gathered on their intention ... to launch a major attack," the Nigerian leader told journalists before he left Tuesday night for a state visit to Brazil."The situation is under control," Yar'Adua saidBut people around Maiduguri railway station area, a stronghold of the sect, said they were kept up all night by running gunbattles.From dawn, people started streaming out, carrying bundles of belongings and cooking pots and braziers.Sporadic bursts of gunfire erupted there Wednesday morning.Also Wednesday morning, journalists saw several bodies of alleged militants sprawled outside the main police headquarters, where hundreds of people have sought safety. Others are camping at two military barracks.The sect's compound has been cordoned off since Monday by police and soldiers reinforced Tuesday by elite troops under the command of Maj. Gen Saleh Maina.On Tuesday, Maina launched a mortar attack on the sect's sprawling compound, which is believed to stretch for about four kilometers."The shelling of the strongholds of the religious sect, mosques and operational point must be precise and swift to prevent further loss of life and property in this state," Maina said.Smoke billowed from the area after his forces attacked.Authorities imposed curfews Tuesday night and security forces poured onto the streets.The radical sect behind the latest violence is known by several different names, including Al-Sunna wal Jamma, or "Followers of Mohammed's Teachings" and "Boko Haram," which means "Western education is sin."Some Nigerian officials have referred to the militants as Taliban, although the group has no known affiliation with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.Riots, religious conflicts, sectarian violence and communal fights over land and water explode periodically in northern Nigeria. According to reports commissioned over the years, they often are orchestrated by politicians and religious leaders.Analysts say the recent trouble has brewed for months, as police began raiding militant hideouts and finding explosives and arms.While Nigerian officials profess secularism, and religious and ethnic intermarriage is common, religion is a sensitive, often political, issue.Muslim and Christian leaders have condemned the latest violence.Religious leaders saw to it that the minarets of the national mosque and the tower of the main cathedral in Abuja, the capital, were the same height to promote unity amid sectarian violence unleashed at the end of military rule — most by Muslim northerners in uniform — in 1999.Shariah — Islamic law — was implemented in 12 northern states after Nigeria returned to civilian rule. More than 10,000 Nigerians have died in sectarian violence since then."Those who were excited about the possibility of Sharia have been disappointed. Corruption ... did not stop when it came in," said Junaid Mohammed, a former member of Nigeria's parliament. "People have been disappointed by the system and are looking for ways to vent their anger."Violence was a common way of expressing political frustration in Nigeria, Mohammed added, pointing to the ongoing kidnappings and bombings in the Niger Delta, a southern region roiled by a struggle over oil money.After eight years of rule by an elected southern Christian, all the main political parties nominated northern, Muslim candidates for the 2007 presidential race. Some said that was a necessity in this former British colony roughly split between a Christian-dominated south and a Muslim north where Arabs had ancient footholds.Yar'Adua, who comes from an aristocratic Muslim family in the north, won the election. But he has struggled to overcome questions of legitimacy after thugs openly purchased votes, stole or stuffed ballot boxes, and intimidated voters. About 200 people died in election-related violence.Yar'Adua also is challenged by a long-standing kidney ailment. His detractors say his health, charges he won power through fraud and his cautious personal style have made for an ineffective administration.Nigeria should be wealthy, with its copious oil reserves, but corruption and inefficiency have left most people impoverished. Despite promises of reform, Yar'Adua's government, like its predecessors, has failed to deliver even basic services like piped water and electricity.The current unrest is expected to die down, as flare-ups have in the past.Nnamdi K. Obasi, a Nigerian analyst with the International Crisis Group, said the militants don't have the weapons or numbers to have much impact beyond the north. But the trouble will return unless deeper issues are addressed."You're talking about improving governance as a whole," Obasi said. "Reducing corruption. Year after year, you don't see progress on these issues, and this is one of the biggest problems of Nigeria."

Royal Caribbean 2nd-qtr loss wider than expected

Wed Jul 29, 10:28 am ETMIAMI

Royal Caribbean Cruises said Wednesday it took a loss in the second quarter as people booked fewer cruises amid concerns over swine flu and the recession.The Miami company said the swine flu virus hurt earnings by 5 cents per share and is expected to hurt third-quarter and full-year results as well.Shares tumbled $1.23, or 7.5 percent, to $15.16 in morning trading.Royal Caribbean's quarterly loss totaled $35.1 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a profit of $84.7 million, or 40 cents per share, last year.Revenue fell 15 percent to $1.35 billion from $1.58 billion a year agoAnalysts polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a loss of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.36 billion.The company also offered third-quarter and full-year earnings guidance below analyst expectations.It expects third-quarter earnings between 95 cents and $1 per share in the third quarter and 70 cents to 70 cents for the year. That includes a drag on earnings related to the swine flu, also known as the H1N1 flu, of 18 cents per share in the third quarter and 27 cents per share for the year.Analysts expect earnings of $1.22 per share in the third quarter and 94 cents for the year."Obviously, the economy continues to be a challenge and the impact from the publicity surrounding H1N1 has been very frustrating," Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO said in a statement.Aside from flu concerns, the company said summer bookings have been stable outside of Spain. Also, new bookings for the fall have started to outpace the same time last year, although booked load factor, or occupancy, and prices remain lower than last year's levels.

Mom of decapitated baby: 'I didn't mean to do it'

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press Writer Paul J. Weber, Associated Press Writer – 51 mins agoSAN ANTONIO – A Texas woman accused of decapitating her 3 1/2-week-old son screamed that she didn't mean to kill her child after her sister made the gruesome discovery and called police.The four-minute 911 call San Antonio police released Wednesday ends with mother Otty Sanchez crying, "I love him. I didn't mean to do it. He told me to." Her sister pleads with the 911 operator for an ambulance to come to the house.Priscilla Sanchez also tells a dispatcher during the call that her sister stabbed herself in the heart and stomach and that "there is blood all over the bed."Authorities say Otty Sanchez told them the devil made her kill Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez early Sunday.Otty Sanchez is charged with capital murder and being held on $1 million bond.THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Otty Sanchez, a schizophrenic with a history of hospitalizations, refused to take medication for her postpartum depression, her son's father said. She'd been going to regular counseling and had been briefly hospitalized since the boy was born.But the 33-year-old woman's troubles only became apparent to authorities when they found her before dawn Sunday, in a house where she had access to samurai swords, screaming that she had killed her baby. Her 3 1/2-week-old son was dismembered in a scene so gruesome police were left shaken."Maybe we missed" warning signs, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said. "I don't know."Sanchez was released Tuesday from a hospital where she was treated for self-inflicted cuts to her torso and an attempt to slice her own throat. The former home health care worker, charged with capital murder, is being held at Bexar County Jail on $1 million bond. Calls to relatives were not immediately returned and it was not clear whether Sanchez had an attorney.Authorities said Sanchez attempted suicide after butchering her newborn son, Scott Wesley Buchholz-Sanchez, with a steak knife and two swords while her sister and two nieces, ages 5 and 7, slept in another room.Sanchez told police that the devil made her kill, mutilate and eat parts of her only child.Scott W. Buchholz, the infant's father who met Sanchez six years ago while they were studying to be pharmacists assistants, said although his girlfriend had postpartum depression and only recently told him she was schizophrenic, she didn't appear unstable. He wants prosecutors to pursue the death penalty."She killed my son. She should burn in hell," Buchholz, 33, told The Associated Press.Otty Sanchez's medical history is muddled. A family member said Sanchez had undergone psychiatric treatment and that a hospital called looking for her several months ago. Gloria Sanchez, Otty's aunt, said her niece had been "in and out of a psychiatric ward."In May 2008, Otty Sanchez's mother, Manuela Sanchez, called police after her daughter didn't return from a trip to Austin, saying she was concerned about her daughter's safety. Manuela Sanchez said she suspected Otty was into drugs and specifically told police she wasn't suffering from any mental issues.Buchholz, who is himself schizophrenic and takes six anti-psychotic and anti-convulsive medications, said Otty had postpartum depression and had been going to counseling after the birth, but refused to take prescription medication for her depression. Still, "she seemed like a a very caring, loving mother.""She held him, she breast fed him. She did everything for him that was nice," he said.Sanchez was taken to the hospital for depression July 20 and released less than a day later, Buchholz said. Sanchez told him she was schizophrenic and was going to live with her parents and sister. Sanchez was arrested at her mother's house, where police found her and the dead infant.On Saturday, Sanchez brought "Baby Scotty" for a visit but stormed out after Buchholz asked for a copy of the birth certificate and other documents, Buchholz said. Buchholz called 911 to report that Sanchez drove away with the infant without properly restraining him in the car, and deputies investigated it as a disturbance."If this guy had given us an indication that she had postpartum depression, or mental defects she was suffering from, we may have addressed it differently," said Bexar County Sheriff Chief Deputy Dale Bennett.Buchholz said he may have told the deputy Sanchez was depressed, but that he wasn't sure.While schizophrenia generally develops in men in their late teens and early 20s, women tend to develop the illness, marked by abnormal impressions of reality, later in life.Most new mothers suffer from postpartum blues as hormones shift after a pregnancy and they're fatigued handling a new baby. But as many as one-fifth suffer from the more serious postpartum depression, which includes symptoms like despair and failing to eat or sleep.Postpartum psychosis is far rarer, affecting only about one woman in 1,000. Women with postpartum psychosis have delusions, frequently involving religious symbols and a desire to harm their newborn, said Richard Pesikoff, a psychiatry professor at the Baylor College of Medicine.He testified in the second trial of Andrea Yates, the high-profile case of a Houston-area mother found not guilty by reason of insanity after drowning her five children. Similar to Sanchez's claim that the devil told her to kill her son, Yates told authorities Satan was inside of her and she was trying to save her children."The most common part of postpartum psychosis is the delusional thinking," said Pesikoff. "Often but not always, it encompasses some type of religious thought."The risk of developing postpartum psychosis is 50 percent or higher for women with schizophrenia who are not taking medication, said Lucy Puryear, another psychiatrist who was involved in the Yates case.