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Saturday, 26 September 2009

Swine Flu Q&A

Why are we still talking about swine flu?

Pandemics of the past show us that the first wave of infection is followed by a second bigger wave. Children transmit the virus much more easily than adults, and experts think the summer outbreak died down because the schools closed for the summer holidays. The number of cases in Scotland started to rise as soon as the autumn term began so a second wave this autumn/winter looks likely.

Wasn't it all over-hyped the first time round?

The situation in Mexico seemed to suggest we were heading for a deadly pandemic. We still don't fully understand why there were so many deaths and cases needing hospital treatment in Mexico, but it may have been because there were other viruses around at the time, and swine flu may have been more prevalent in the population than the authorities thought (i.e a low death rate compared to the total number of cases.) We now know that H1N1 is a very mild virus. 1 in 100 of all the people who catch it will go to hospital, and only 1 in 1,000 will die. That is broadly in line with the death rate from normal seasonal flu. Encouragingly, even those who need intensive care have a good chance of survival. However, unlike seasonal flu, this virus disproportionately affects the under-60's. This means there will be a larger impact on the workforce, because they will be ill themselves or looking after ill children. The vast majority will recover after about a week, but employers (including the NHS) may have to cope with large levels of staff sickness.

Should I have the vaccine? Is it safe?

Tried and tested methods are used to make all flu vaccines. Each time there is a new strain of flu, scientists deactivate the virus and add that to the basic vaccine to give you the protective effect. Extensive trials will have been carried out on the swine flu vaccine to make sure it is safe before it is released. However, no trials can predict extremely rare reactions which may occur in a very small number of people.

The chances of you becoming seriously ill with swine flu are small. The chance of you dying from swine flu is even smaller. But the chance of you dying or being seriously affected by a swine flu vaccine is absolutely miniscule. It is up to you which risk you would prefer to take!

The vaccine should become available in October and priority will be given to frontline health and social care workers, those living in the same household as people with suppressed immune systems, those in 'at-risk' groups such as people with asthma, and pregnant women (if experts decide it is safe for pregnant women.)

I'm pregnant, what should I do?

You are at no higher risk of catching the virus than anyone else, but if you do catch it you are at increased risk of complications including miscarriage, particularly if you are in the third trimester of pregnancy. If the vaccine is licensed for pregnant women, you should seriously consider having it (see above). In the meantime research has shown that good hygiene, such as regular hand washing, can be extremely effective in preventing you getting the virus. I was at a swine flu conference recently and a panel of swine flu experts were asked if they would discourage a daughter from becoming pregnant at this time - they all said 'no'.

Should my child's school close if there is an outbreak?

During the first outbreak of swine flu the Scottish government advised some schools to close to try to limit the spread of the virus. However, there is a danger that the reaction to the pandemic is worse than the pandemic itself. If large numbers of schools are closed thousands of parents (including nurses and doctors) have to take time off work to look after their (largely healthy) children, business will be disrupted and the NHS will not have enough staff to treat those who are really ill. Most children will recover quickly so we can expect most schools to stay open unless large number of pupils and, in particular, staff are affected.

Do I still need to have the seasonal flu vaccine if I usually get it?

There is some interesting evidence that swine flu 'knocks out' other flu viruses. However I have heard experts disagree over this, so at the moment it looks like the government will recommend that you continue to have the seasonal flu vaccine if you normally get it. If that applies to you, you'll probably receive two flu vaccines: one for seasonal flu (which contains the H3N2 strain this year) and one for swine flu, or H1N1.

If I think I've got it, will I be tested?

Testing has been abandoned for most people because there are too many cases and we simply do not have enough labs to cope. Many other countries, including the USA, abandoned swab testing long before we did. However some GP surgeries are still testing patients in order to give the government's experts some indication of how widespread the virus is. Since the outbreak began many people have reported flu symptoms but only around two in every ten actually test positive for swine flu. There is some evidence that the swab test is not particularly accurate and experts think the vast majority of people who have swine flu never feel sick enough to visit their doctor, let alone be tested.

If I've got it, will I get antivirals like Tamiflu?

Your doctor can still prescribe antivirals, but as we learn more about the virus, so doctors are learning when antivirals can be most effective. Antivirals need to be taken early, but most people don't go to their doctor until they've had flu symptoms for three or four days, and by then they are already half-way through the illness. We also know that side effects, such as vomiting, are common and may be worse than the illness itself - although nothing to worry about. Your doctor should be able to give you sensible advice on whether antivirals are right for you. There is a wider debate about whether large-scale use of antivirals will encourage the virus to become resistant, and we are seeing a small number of resistant strains emerging. Interestingly, the largest number of resistant strains have been seen in countries which have not used antivirals as much as we have, so this may be due to the virus mutating in a random way.

BBC Scotland.

Swine Flu Vaccine Off To A Bumpy Start

The opening of the vaccination campaign for swine flu is “going to be a little bumpy,” the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted Friday as he gave new details about how the vaccine would be distributed.

The first doses should reach doctors by Oct. 6, said the director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, but almost all will be the FluMist nasal spray version, which has some limits on who may use it. By mid-October, 40 million doses of both the nasal spray and injectable versions should be out.

The FluMist version is not recommended for infants under 2, adults over 49, pregnant women or anyone with a range of underlying health problems. But it is easy to use, and some pediatricians prefer it because many children fear needles.

With vaccines going from 5 manufacturers to 90,000 distribution points, Dr. Frieden said he expected shortages in some places and oversupply in others. Distribution will be different from that of seasonal flu vaccine, which doctors buy on their own. All the swine flu vaccine has been ordered and paid for by the federal government, which is also paying for its distribution and providing syringes and other items with it.

In some states, the swine flu vaccine will be injected at public sites like schools and city clinics, as polio vaccine was doled out in the 1950s. The best-prepared school systems have already asked parents to sign consent forms and have discussed plans at parent-teacher association meetings, Dr. Frieden said. Doctors, pharmacies and companies may also dispense it; the government is urging them to keep fees minimal.

Dr. Frieden said that the virus had not mutated in any threatening way and that the vaccine was still a good match for it.

Flu activity, normally almost nonexistent in September, is now widespread in 26 states, up from 23 a week ago. Dr. Frieden said activity was “beginning to trend down in some areas,” including Georgia, the site of his agency. But, he added, that predicted little because in New York City, where he was health commissioner last spring, swine flu surged after being introduced at a school in Queens, quieted down briefly and then resumed until schools closed for summer.

Dr. Frieden also discounted news reports in Canada that some doctors there thought that having had a seasonal flu shot made a patient more likely to catch swine flu. No data from Canada supporting that has been published in medical journals, he said, and a review of data from New York City and the United States over all, as well as by Australian authorities of their recent winter flu season, showed no such effect.

Dr. Frieden said seasonal flu shots did not protect against swine flu but did not create a proclivity for it either.

NY Times by Donald G NcNeil

Twitter Funding Round Is Said to Value Company at $1 Billion

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc., the social-networking site used by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to British royalty, received venture financing that values the company at about $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Twitter received $100 million in the deal, according to two people who wanted to remain anonymous because terms of the agreement are private. Twitter announced the investment on its blog, without citing an amount. The investors included T. Rowe Price Group Inc., Insight Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Institutional Venture Partners and Benchmark Capital.

Given a $100 million equity investment, a $1 billion valuation would mean that investors acquired a 10 percent stake, said John Taylor, vice president of research at the Arlington, Virginia-based National Venture Capital Association. Twitter and the people familiar with the deal didn’t say how investors arrived at the $1 billion. Setting the value of a company involves assumptions about how investors will earn a return, possibly through an initial public offering or acquisition.

The company could use its latest investment for acquisitions and product development, said Charlene Li, an analyst with Altimeter Group LLC in San Mateo, California. Twitter could be preparing for a possible IPO, instead of being bought by a larger company, she said. Twitter has yet to report any significant revenue.

In Search of Revenue

“It’s interesting to see, almost 10 years since we had the first Internet bubble, that we’ve now got billion-dollar valuations on companies that haven’t defined how they’re going to monetize their traffic,” said David Garrity, principal at GVA Research LLC in New York. “It would be nice to see how the company is going to, one, generate revenues, and two, generate profits.”

A $1 billion valuation would make Twitter about the size of bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. and about twice the size of online travel agent Orbitz Worldwide Inc.

Twitter had more than $50 million in funding from earlier investment rounds. The company, founded in 2006, now is preparing a revenue plan. It intends to add services for businesses that will generate sales in the fourth quarter, co- founder Biz Stone said this month.

The products might include an “analytics dashboard” that would help companies monitor Tweets about their business, or verified corporate accounts on Twitter, he said. The San Francisco-based company also is leaving the door open for advertising, Twitter said on its blog this month.

User Growth

Twitter attracted 25 million users in August, compared with 2.2 million a year earlier, according to Nielsen Co. in New York. The site, embraced by celebrities such as Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher, lets people post messages of up to 140 characters.

“Where you have audiences, you will make money,” said Ellen Siminoff, a former Yahoo! Inc. executive who last year co- founded education Web site Shmoop University Inc. in Mountain View, California.

T. Rowe Price’s involvement in the deal suggests that Twitter may be a safer bet than it appears, said Alan Patricof, managing director of Greycroft Partners LP, a venture-capital firm in New York.

“It’s hard to argue with the growth they’ve had in the number of users,” Patricof said. “This company is unbounded at the moment. No one knows what it’s going to do.”

Venture Slump

The latest investment round comes in a slow period for the venture-capital industry. Venture investments declined 51 percent last quarter to $3.7 billion from a year earlier, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association.

Venture capitalists have put fewer dollars into early-stage startups and invested most of it in their existing portfolio companies to keep them afloat while the IPO and acquisitions markets remain blocked.

Twitter, founded by Chief Executive Officer Evan Williams with partners Jack Dorsey and Stone, rejected an offer to be acquired by Facebook Inc. last year, Todd Chaffee, general partner at Institutional Venture Partners, said in an interview earlier this year.

Twitter’s investors plan to retain it as an independent media company, he said.

“They could still be acquired by somebody, but when you get into valuations at that level, acquisitions get harder and harder,” Altimeter’s Li said.

By Brian Womack and Joseph Galante

Michael Jackson Raves From The Grave

MICHAEL Jackson had a crush on Princess Diana, "chickened out" when he had a chance to have sex with Tatum O'Neal and Brooke Shields, and had a falling-out with Madonna, a new book reveals.

In "The Michael Jackson Tapes" -- based on 30 hours of interviews conducted nine years ago by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach -- the King of Pop described Princess Di as "very feminine and classy. She was my type for sure, and I don't like most girls."

As for Tatum, "I was 16, she was 13. And I was naive. She wanted to do everything and I didn't want to have sex at all." Jackson cited his Jehovah's Witness beliefs -- "I said, 'Are you crazy?' "

Jackson called Shields "one of the loves of my life" but he also rejected her: "We had one encounter when she got real intimate and I chickened out. And I shouldn't have."

With Madonna, the book reveals, she "laid the law down to me before we went out: 'I am not going to Disneyland, OK? That's out . . . we are going to a strip bar.' I said, 'I am not going to a strip bar.' Guys who cross-dress! Afterwards she wrote some mean things about me in the press, and I wrote that she is a nasty witch."

Likely to cause the most controversy, Jacko praised the showmanship of "genius orator" Adolf Hitler. "To make that many people turn and change and hate, he had to be a showman and he was," he said of the Nazi dictator.

Most poignant was Jackson's prediction of an early death: "When the body breaks down and you start to wrinkle, I think it's so bad . . . I don't want to grow old . . . I would like some kind of way to disappear."

Ken Sunshine, the spokesman for the Jackson family, said yesterday, "We will not dignify this with a comment."

Friday, 25 September 2009

TV Show Contestant Murdered His Actress Girlfriend

A self-proclaimed preacher who was on the TV beauty pageant "The Sexiest Bachelor in America" will be arraigned next week for allegedly torturing and murdering his girlfriend, an ex-adult movie actress.

Brian Lee Randone, 45, was charged last week with one count of murder and one count of torture. He was scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 29 and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Randone remained jailed Friday on $2 million bail. Robison did not know whether he had an attorney.

Randone was arrested on Sept. 11. Prosecutors said he beat and choked Felicia Lee during a domestic dispute at their apartment in the foothill community of Monrovia, northeast of Los Angeles.

He then dialed 911 to report she was unconscious, investigators said.

"It appeared to be torture prior to the murder," Sgt. Brian Schoonmaker, a homicide detective working the case, said Friday. Lee apparently suffered dozens of injuries in the 24 hours before she died, Schoonmaker said, but he did not provide details.

The two had lived together for only a few months, Schoonmaker said. Investigators were still trying to determine the motive for the killing.

In 2000, Randone appeared on the Fox special "The Sexiest Bachelor in America." He vied with contestants from other states but did not win.

A Fox spokeswoman said Friday that she was not immediately familiar with the show.

Lee, who was born in Singapore, had parts in the movies "Rush Hour 2" and "The Fast and the Furious" and had done some modeling for the Playboy television channel, according to her Web site, which she shut down last year.

She also appeared in several adult movies under the name Felicia Tang. Candace Kita, a model who had worked with her, said Lee was nude in the movies but did not portray any sex acts.

Randone was involved in ministry as a mime and did "some evangelistic types of entertainment," Schoonmaker said. He did not know when or where Randone performed.

According to the CBS blog "48 Hours Crimesider," Randone had a Web site in the early 2000s advertising a ministry that offered "critically-acclaimed performances."

According to "Crimesider," Randone said on the Web site that he had no plans to "try to be sexy" in the pageant, where he represented his home state of Nebraska.

"I hope to talk about qualities that are really important, what's inside, such as faithfulness, love, commitment and self-control, the masculine characteristics of a Christian," he said.

He also wrote that "we are all sinners" and that sin "is as small as thinking a bad thought and/or as big as murder."

"Because of sin, we deserve hell. I know that if there is one thing I deserve in life its (sic) hell," he said.

Randone has a bachelor's degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and a master's of divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

He worked as a mime on the campus of Baylor University in Texas in 1996, the newspaper said.

Lee's murder is reminiscent of another case last month, in which Ryan Jenkins, a former contestant on the reality TV show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," allegedly killed his wife, ex-model Jasmine Fiore, in Los Angeles, then fled to Canada and killed himself.

From Associated Content

Swine Flu Today Is Far More Deadly

For months the country was gripped in fear and panic over swine flu. What was rumor and what was truth were mixed as the government planned a massive inoculation program. The year was 1976.

What is happening today is similar to the what happened in 1976, with a few exceptions. Then, Gerald Ford was in the White House, and bell-bottom trousers were in style. Today, the strain of swine flu sweeping the globe is much more deadly, and is known to have caused almost 3,000 deaths since it emerged earlier this year in Mexico and the U.S. And, today it is commonly referred to H1N1.

In 1976, "President Gerald Ford went on TV discussing the nationwide alert about the swine flu and that was the first time I had heard of swine flu," said Don Stroup, a clinical laboratory technician and supervisor in the hematology department of Coshocton Hospital.

At that time, Stroup had been at the hospital for four years as a lab tech. He was engaged to be married with two young children and he made sure his family received the shot.

"It wasn't really an epidemic or a pandemic. Way back when, we didn't have computers. We didn't have quick access to the news sources and such," he said. "I got it, because here at the hospital they urged health care workers to get it. At that point in time they didn't offer (flu shots) as they do now."

On Oct. 1, 1976, about 15 local clinics were announced by county health nurse Jeane Shuck for those older than 60, and younger residents in high-risk health groups. Shuck said she expected to receive about 1,500 doses of the vaccine in the first shipment to Coshocton County, just a quarter of the county's total allotment.

"In 1976 they identified a new form of the virus and were worried it was going to cause the next pandemic. They were pushing a vaccine out then the virus never circulated," Coshocton County Health Commissioner Robert Brems Jr. said.

By late October of that year, the vaccination drive was basically a disaster. City health nurse Candace Huff at that time said only 229 people had appeared at the first clinic.

By the end of November -- after the vaccinations were opened up to all adults -- only 4,124 vaccinations were reported county wide by Shuck, when about 6,000 doses total were allotted for the county.

A possible cause for the low turnout was said to be rumors in various outlets that the vaccination caused deaths. Excerpts from a letter by the Ohio Director of Health to local agencies, and printed in the Oct. 24 edition of the Coshocton Tribune, said of the 35 deaths reported within 48 hours of flu immunization all were attributed to other health factors and had nothing to do with receiving a flu shot.

"There was massive rumors floating around at that time that the vaccine would potentially kill you. There were rumors flying both positive and negative, either taking it or not taking it, roughing out the potential of getting the swine flu against getting the vaccination and being protected against it, but having the possibility of dying from the vaccine," said Stroup.

Coshocton Hospital Infection Control Nurse Kathy Reed said she was only in high school back then, but she would guess a major difference is hospitals today have better planning and policy models. Additionally, hospitals worked closely with the health departments and other area hospitals. That means if a surge in patients is seen in any area it's detected early and the proper personnel and equipment can be mobilized.

"I think we're a lot better prepared," she said . "We're not just in our own little world."

Brems said regardless of the disease, there are risks associated with taking medicines and getting vaccinated.

"Is the risk appreciably less than getting the illness?" Brems asked.

He said numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control reveal more than a million people in the U.S. have or have had H1N1.

"So we have a known virus that is circulating that is causing lots of people to get sick and a number of people to die. In '76, very few people were getting sick," Brems said. Speaking about today's vaccine, Brems said it not required, but is recommended. "We're not going to force people to get it if they don't want it."

Reed wants to make sure that people realize that all influenza is a major health issue and that extreme panic shouldn't be given to the H1N1 strain.

"The flu, in general, people need to take seriously. It is a serious illness," she said.

Prisoners get drunk On Swine Flu Gel

Convicts started a fist fight after getting drunk on hand gel designed to combat swine flu.

Now all the dispensers have been removed from category-C Verne Prison in Portland, Dorset.

A prison staffer said yesterday: "I couldn't quite believe it when they were put out in the first place."

Alcohol-based soap was recently removed from a hospital in the county after vagrants wandered in and started drinking it.

The prison governor was not available for comment.

From the Mirror UK

Texas Teacher Stabbed To Death In Classroom

A Texas teacher who helped children with special needs by playing them the guitar was stabbed to death by a juvenile student at a high school in Tyler on Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Todd Henry, 50, was stabbed in the neck and shoulders in a classroom at John Tyler High School a little before 9 a.m. CDT, according to police.

The attacker, who is in custody, has not yet been identified. Police haven't said whether the suspect was a special-needs student or what led up to the attack.

Henry was in the classroom with a paraprofessional and three students, one of whom is the alleged killer, said Randy Reed, superintendent of the Tyler Independent School District.

Following the incident, Henry was rushed to a local hospital. The school was placed on lockdown and the student was taken in to custody by school district police.

Reed said the attack was "not gang related or racially motivated. All reports suggest this was a random act by a single student." Henry, a father and a grandfather, was an "accomplished and respected guitarist" who worked as a music therapist with special-needs students at the school, his brother Jody Henry told the Associated Press.

Classes were cancelled at 10:45 a.m., when many parents arrived to pick up students from the building.

Local police are cooperating with the school district's own police force, Don Martin, spokesman for the Tyler Police Department told ABC News.com.

The accused student "has been taken to Smith County Detention Center, a juvenile facility," Martin said.

The local Tyler Morning Telegraph reported the police scanner chatter "indicated that a fight escalated to the point that [school district] police had to call for backup from Tyler Police."

Locals in Tyler were reeling from the shock, some of them seeking solace in New Life Community Church across the street from the high school.

"He was a very good friend of mine and we all loved him very much. Him and his family are in my prayers, as well as the student and the student's family that was involved in the altercation," Tiffany Channon told ABC News affiliate KLTV.

Suspect used Web to find bomb supplies

NEW YORK — Aghan-born Najibullah Zazi set up shop in suburban Denver, scouring the Web and visiting beauty supply stores in a hunt for chemicals needed to build bombs for al-Qaida, authorities charge, calling the alleged plot one of the most significant terror threats to the U.S. since 9-11.

Most chilling in the 12-page memorandum outlining the alleged conspiracy was the repeated phrase "and others," evidence of a possible al-Qaida cell plotting a homemade bomb attack on U.S. soil.

Zazi, a 24-year-old coffee cart owner in New York and Denver airport shuttle driver, was charged in New York with conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. He was to appear in court in Denver on Friday.

Since he was arrested a week ago on a lesser count of lying to terrorist investigators, investigators have fanned out over New York City, going to beauty shops, home improvement stores and neighborhoods Zazi frequented looking for possible accomplices, while the government issued national terrorism warnings for sports complexes, hotels and transit systems.

Prosecutors said they have yet to establish exactly when and where the Zazi attacks were supposed to take place. But Attorney General Eric Holder said in Washington, "We believe any imminent threat arising from this case has been disrupted."

A law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that Zazi had associates in New York who were in on the plot. Court papers say that during the summer, Zazi and three unidentified associates bought "unusually large quantities" of hydrogen peroxide and acetone — a flammable solvent found in nail-polish remover — from beauty supply stores in the Denver area, products with names like Ion Sensitive Scalp Developer and Clairoxide.

He searched a Queens home improvement store Web site for another ingredient needed to make a compound called TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide), the explosives used in the London bombings that killed over 50 people, prosecutors said.

Zazi has publicly denied being a terrorist since his arrest. He left a Denver court Thursday without commenting.

The government motion seeking to deny bail laid out a chronology of the alleged scheme, which prosecutors said had been in the works for over a year.

Zazi — a legal U.S. resident who immigrated in 1999 — began plotting as early as August 2008 to "use one or more weapons of mass destruction," when he "and others" traveled from Newark, N.J., to receive explosives training in Pakistan, prosecutors said.

Within days of returning from Pakistan in early 2009, he moved to the Denver suburb of Aurora, where he used a computer to research homemade bomb ingredients and to look up beauty supply stores where he could buy them, according to prosecutors.

A second law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation said associates of Zazi visited Colorado from New York to help him buy the chemicals, using stolen credit cards to make the purchases before returning to New York.

Security video and receipts show that some of the purchases were made near a Colorado hotel, according to court papers. On Sept. 6 and 7, Zazi checked into a suite at the hotel with a kitchen and a stove, the papers say, and tried to contact an unidentified associate "seeking to correct mixtures of ingredients to make explosives."

"Zazi repeatedly emphasized in the communications that he needed the answers right away," the papers said. "Each communication" was "more urgent than the last."

FBI explosives testing later found residue in the vent above the stove, authorities said.

On Sept. 8, court papers say, Zazi searched the Internet for home improvement stores in Queens before driving a rental car for a two-day trip to the city. The visit triggered a series of searches in Denver and New York City over the past two weeks, and netted backpacks, cell phones and a scale at a home where Zazi spent the night.

A law enforcement official said Thursday that authorities had been especially worried about Zazi's Sept. 10 visit to the city because it coincided with a visit by President Barack Obama, and considered arresting him right away. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation continues.

Beauty supply store employees in New York and the Denver suburbs said authorities had been there recently asking whether anyone had come in buying a lot of hydrogen peroxide or acetone.

At Beauty Supply Warehouse in suburban Denver, Paul Phillips said a co-worker told investigators he had sold chemicals to Zazi. Company president Karan Hoss said the firm turned over security video of a man matching Zazi's description to the FBI. A check of sales found that someone bought a dozen 32-ounce bottles of a hydrogen peroxide product in July. More was purchased in late August, Hoss said.

Zazi's father, Mohammed Wali Zazi, and a New York City imam, Ahmad Wais Afzali, also appeared in court Thursday on charges they lied to investigators. Mohammed Zazi, 53, was ordered freed under court supervision in Denver until an Oct. 9 hearing. Afzali, who was accused of tipping off the Zazis to the federal probe against them in a tapped telephone call, was released in New York on $1.5 million bail.

Afzali's attorney, Ron Kuby, denied his client knew anything about a plot.

"Obviously, the government would not be consenting to bail if it thought he was involved in a terrorism conspiracy," he said.

In unrelated terrorism cases elsewhere around the country Thursday:

_ Michael C. Finton, a 29-year-old man who idolized American-born Taliban soldier John Walker Lindh, was arrested after attempting to detonate what he thought was a bomb inside a van outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill., officials said. FBI agents had infiltrated the alleged plot months ago.

_ A 19-year-old Jordanian was arrested after placing what he thought was a bomb at a downtown Dallas skyscraper, federal prosecutors said. The decoy device was provided by an undercover FBI agent. Federal officials said the case against Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, who is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, is unrelated to the Illinois case.

_ Two North Carolina men under arrest since July on international terrorism charges were also accused by prosecutors of plotting to kill U.S. military personnel.

Associated Press writers Steven K. Paulson and P. Solomon Banda in Denver and Samantha Gross in New York contributed to this report

World leaders relaunch G20

G20 leaders will today agree plans to reshape the world economy and give more say to developing nations such as China, India and Brazil when they conclude their summit in Pittsburgh.

The reforms will secure a seat at the top table of global economic policy for emerging nations, with world leaders agreeing that the G20 should become a board of directors on global economic co-operation, shifting the decades-old global balance of power away from Europe.

The G20 group, which includes Argentina, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa, will replace the G7, which for more than three decades has dominated the world financial stage. The deal was thrashed out by Barack Obama, who is hosting his first major summit as US president.

The agreement, to be officially announced today at the conclusion of the Pittsburgh summit, will see the world's richest nations pledge to retain emergency economic supports until recovery is secured and work together to tackle climate change. They will agree to tighten banking regulation in an effort to avoid a repeat of the last two years' global economic turmoil. Governments across the world have pumped an estimated $5tn into their economies to deal with the greatest shock to the system since the 1930s.

"Today, leaders endorsed the G20 as the premier forum for their international economic co-operation," said a White House statement after a summit dinner last night. "This decision brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy, reform the financial system and lift the lives of the poorest."

Divisions remain over the questions of bankers' pay. France and Germany are holding out for tougher restrictions on the highly paid executives blamed for bringing down the world financial system.

The US treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, said there had been progress on pay and that G20 countries had reached a consensus on the "basic outline" of a proposal to limit bankers' compensation by the end of this year. He said it would involve setting separate standards in each of the countries and would be overseen by the Financial Stability Board, an international group of central bankers and regulators.

His comments came shortly after the European commission president, José Manuel Barroso, again pressed for the limits.

"Europeans are horrified by banks, some reliant on taxpayers' money, once again paying exorbitant bonuses," Barroso said. "It is important we take action."

Geithner offered the prospect of greater voting rights in the International Monetary Fund for Asian countries over the reservations of European nations, who would lose influence. Given the rise of China's economic power "it's the right thing" and Europe recognised this, Geithner said.

Neither the G7, which was created in the 1970s as the oil crisis struck western economies, nor the G8, which includes Russia, will be disbanded. The latter will instead focus on issues such as national security, while diplomats say the G7 will deal with geopolitical issues.

The new role for the G20 as the premier forum for international economic co-operation will begin with two summits next year, in Canada and South Korea, then annual summits.

Musicians to back Three Strike action over illegal filesharing

The music industry moved last night to heal a rift over illegal filesharing as artists including Lily Allen, George Michael and Sandie Shaw voted to support a "three-strikes" rule that would see online pirates have their broadband connections constrained.

After a three-hour meeting in London, the Featured Artists Coalition, which emerged as a breakaway lobby group in the summer, backed the government's proposed introduction of "technical measures" to combat the rising tide of copyright theft. If they ignore two warning letters, persistent illegal filesharers should have their broadband connections throttled "to a level which would render filesharing of media files impractical while leaving basic email and web access", according to a statement after the meeting.

Earlier in the day, the industry's umbrella group UK Music sent Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, a letter calling for persistent offenders to be given written warnings. As a last resort, the letter added, flagrant offenders should face having their connections suspended.

Signed by lobby groups representing musicians, managers, music labels and record companies – including the Musician's Union and rights collection agency PRS – the letter said: "We support government proposals which would see internet service providers (ISPs) send notifications and apply technical measures to impede and discourage the use of unlicensed peer-to-peer networks and to encourage the use of legitimate services.

"We agree that a clear distinction should be made between how technical measures are applied to the casual infringer, compared to how they are applied to the persistent infringer, with temporary suspension of broadband accounts being applicable only as a last resort."

The letter and the consensus reached by FAC come just days ahead of the closing of the government's consultation on how to tackle online piracy, which was sparked by June's publication of the Digital Britain report.

A music industry source said last night: "We are delighted this historic agreement has been reached."

Speaking after the meeting in the Air Studios in north London, FAC board member and Radiohead guitarist Ed O'Brien described the outcome as "groundbreaking".

"The last week or so there has been a perceived split in our opinions as artists ... we all came together," he said. "I think everyone has listened to one another and been human beings and reasonable."

Earlier in the day Lily Allen, one of the few younger artists to speak out against online piracy, said she was dropping her public campaign against copyright theft because "the abuse was getting too much". She had set up a blog "It's Not Alright" – in reference to her first album Alright, Still - collating artists' views after her comments that "filesharing is a disaster" for new talent. In its statement last night the FAC, expressed support for Allen and condemned "the vitriol that has been directed at her in recent days".

The FAC still does not support persistent illegal filesharers having their connections suspended, but its support for "a final sanction of the restriction of the infringer's bandwidth" does mark a significant change in its tone. But O'Brien denied any climbdown. "There is no talk of capitulation, everybody's really happy," he said. "The outcome is entirely consistent with the way that we have been talking and our concerns."

Yesterday, Mandelson, who last month shocked consumer groups and internet service providers with his anti-piracy plan, warned it is vital to the economy to protect the UK's creative industries. "We have got great talent but we have got to nurture it and we have got to protect it and we have got to ensure that people who become performers or work in these industries get properly compensated," he said after a visit to the Brit Academy in Croydon, south London. Asked about his proposal that illegal filesharers should have their connections cut-off, he added "we are talking about a temporary, possibly short-lived, suspension of persistent unlawful filesharers after many written notifications with a chance to appeal."

"It does not get more modest or more fair than that, but we have a responsibility to put these options forward for people to debate and consider because we want to see talent protected. We want to see talent properly compensated otherwise that talent is not going to produce the music that people want to hear in this country."

But the ISPs are adamant they will not pick up the bill for securing the future of the music industry. John Petter, head of BT's consumer division, warned yesterday that suspending the connections of users caught illegally downloading copyrighted files could cost £1m a day – or £25 a year for every broadband customer in the country. BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor, however, angrily retorted that BT's figures are "unsubstantiated" and the company should "recognise that reducing illegal use of its network is a cost of running a socially responsible business".

"BT is clinging on to an old business model which is supported by illegal downloading. That's not only unfair to artists and creators, but penalises BT's many customers who use the internet legally," he said.

The Second Wave Of Swine Flu Hits 66 Schools

At least 66 schools in England have suffered swine flu outbreaks since the start of term.

The number of cases across the country has almost doubled in a week, from an estimated 5,000 to 9,000.

Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: "Everything suggests we are seeing the start of the second peak, but we just don't know how big that will be."

The number of deaths linked to the virus in the UK is 82 - up three in a week. The number being treated in hospital in England is up from 143 to 218 this week.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Business Minister To Gorden Brown Quits The Gov

High-flying Business Minister Shriti Vadera has left the Government.

Baroness Vadera - one of Gordon Brown's closest economic advisors - is one of the most influential and controversial figures in Westminster.

Dubbed 'Gordon's representative on Earth', Baroness Vadera spent eight years as economic adviser to Mr Brown while he was at the Treasury.

The 45-year-old former investment banker has a fearsome reputation for speaking her mind. Her tendency to shout has earned her the nickname 'Shriti the Shriek' among civil servants.
Little known outside Westminster, Baroness Vadera was propelled out of the shadows when the Prime Minister made her a junior minister in the Department of International Development in 2007.

Last year, she was moved to the new Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform.

Ugandan-born Baroness Vadera's family fled to India in 1972 when Idi Amin expelled Uganda's Asian population. When she was 15, the family moved to England.

She studied at a private school and then Oxford. One of her fellow students described her as 'the ringleader of a rather bitchy group', adding: 'They wanted to rubbish everything.'

After leaving university, Baroness Vadera joined the investment bank UBS Warburg - where she spent much of her time on debt relief and played a role in the partial privatisation of South African Telecom.

She first encountered Mr Brown in the early 1990s.

They hit it off immediately and he asked her to join him in the Treasury in 1999.

Despite being only 5ft 2in, she has developed a reputation for being one of Westminster's most intimidating figures.

Officials claim she has reduced junior staff to tears and she was once supposed to have 'torn strips' off Tony Blair.

During her time at the Treasury she hit the headlines by describing Railtrack shareholders as 'grannies' who 'added no value to the company' during the investors' High Court case against the Government.

Baroness Vadera - who is single - has struggled to get used to being in the limelight.

She once remarked: 'I am publicity-shy and I am not very good at doing the lines to take. I think politicians are very skilled at certain things that I am not skilled at.'

Baroness Vadera lives in one of London's most exclusive areas, Holland Park, and has a holiday home in Italy.

New Michael Jackson Song To Be Released By Sony

Sony Music announced on Wednesday that they will be releasing the first new single from Michael Jackson since he died this summer. The song entitled “This Is It”, which is also the name of the upcoming concert film, will be released October 12.

The song is also going to be part of the new “This Is It” album. The 2-disc collection will feature the biggest hits from Jackson in the same sequence that they appear on the film. There will also be two versions of the new single, one of which will be played during the end credits of the film and the other at the end of disc one in the album collection.

The second disc included in the album will have previously unreleased versions of some of the King of Pop’s most popular hits. It will also include a spoken word poem written by him that has never been heard before. The poem is entitled “Planet Earth”.

Also with the “This Is It” album will be a booklet with 36 pages featuring exclusive pictures of the last rehearsals Jackson had for what would have been the 50-concert “This Is It” tour at the London O2 Arena, which was all sold out. The album is set for an October 27 release in the US, while the film will be in theaters for two weeks starting October 28 with tickets going on sale September 27.

John McClain, the co-producer for the album, said that the new single from Jackson only defines again that Michael is one of the greatest gifts God gave us, which the world already knows. There’s no doubt that the King of Pop will continue to live in the hearts of fans through his music.

HIV Vaccine Hailed As Historical Milestone

The combination of two vaccines that has previously failed to produce a response on their own has cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 per cent.

It is the first time in human trials that a vaccine has protected against the virus which leads to Aids.

The trial was conducted in 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, with half receiving the combination of the two vaccines and the other half receiving dummy jabs.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the development was "not the end of the road," but said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.

"It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result" and developing a more effective Aids vaccine, he said. "This is something that we can do."

The trial was carried out by the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

Seth Berkley, chief executive and president of The International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) said: “The outcome is very exciting news and a significant scientific achievement.

“It’s the first demonstration that a candidate Aids vaccine provides benefit in humans. Until now, we’ve had evidence of feasibility for an AIDS vaccine in animal models. Now, we’ve got a vaccine candidate that appears to show a protective effect in humans, albeit partially.”

The challenge will now to be improve the efficiacy of the vaccines to a level which clear protection so it can be licensed for widespread use.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National Aids Trust, said: "These vaccine trial results are very good news - ultimately vaccines are the most effective way by far of tackling serious infectious disease. And with over two million new HIV infections a year this option is desperately needed.

"Obviously there is much more work to do with these promising findings, but they justify the continuing investments and efforts of the international community, including the UK Government, to develop a vaccine."

Wayne Koff, IAVI Senior Vice President for Research and Development, said: “At the very least, these results give researchers a platform on which to improve and to validate animal models and assays, and a way to attract new investment and creative energy to the field of Aids vaccine R&D.”

"Today marks a historic milestone," said Mitchell Warren, executive director of the Aids Vaccine Advocacy Coalition, an international group that has worked toward developing a vaccine.

"It will take time and resources to fully analyse and understand the data, but there is little doubt that this finding will energise and redirect the Aids vaccine field.

Even a partially effective vaccine could have a big impact. In 2007, two million died of Aids according to the United Nations agency UNAIDS.

Colonel Jerome Kim, who helped lead the study for the US Army, which was also involved in the trial, said: "It is the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine."

The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study, which used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Scientists stressed it is not clear whether the vaccine would work against other strains in the United States, Africa or elsewhere.

The study tested a two-vaccine combination where the first injection primes the immune system to attack HIV and the second strengthens the response.

The vaccines are ALVAC, from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis; and AIDSVAX, originally developed by VaxGen Inc. and now held by Global Solutions for Infectious Diseases, a non-profit founded by some former VaxGen employees.

All the participants tested negative at the start of the trial and were given condoms, counselling and treatment for any sexually transmitted infections. They were tested every six months for HIV and any who became infected were given free treatment with antiviral medicines.

Participants were followed for three years after vaccination ended.

The results were that new infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31 per cent lower risk of infection for the vaccine group.

The vaccine had no effect on levels of HIV in the blood of those who did become infected, providing "one of the most important and intriguing findings" of the trial, according to Dr Fauci, giving scientists important clues in identifying whether treatment drugs actually make a difference by giving protection to the immune system.

The researchers have been careful to say the vaccine combination appears to have an effect on the HIV strain circulating in Thailand and it may not work on other strains elsewhere in the world.

Full details of the $105 million study will be given at a vaccine conference in Paris in October.

Metal Detector Enthusiast Unearths Largest Anglo-Saxon Gold Stash Ever Found

The largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found has been unearthed on farmland in Staffordshire by a metal detector enthusiast, archaeologists revealed today.

Terry Herbert, 55, from Burntwood, came across the huge hoard as he searched a field near his home. The exact location of the discovery has not been disclosed but it is understood to be near the Lichfield border in South Staffordshire, in what was once the independent Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia.

Experts said that the collection of more than 1,500 pieces, including helmets, sword pommels and sword hilts possibly looted on the field of battle 1,400 years by a victorious warlord, is unparalleled in size and may have belonged to Saxon royalty.

The hoard contains around 5kg of gold and 2.5kg of silver, far bigger than previous finds such as the Sutton Hoo burial site.

A coroner is holding an inquest today at which he is expected officially to classify the find as treasure. After that a Treasure Valuation Committee made up of independent experts will put a market value on the hoard, a process expected to take more than a year, and local museums will be given the option to buy it.

The hoard is being held in secure storage at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, but some of items are to be displayed at the museum from tomorrow until October 13.

Staffordshire County Council, Birmingham Museum and also the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery have already discussed buying the hoard. The money is paid to the finder, who usually gives half to the landowner — suggesting that both Mr Herbert and the farmer stand to receive a substantial sum. At today's bullion prices, 5kg of gold is worth more than £100,000 according to gold merchants Baird & Co, but historic artefacts will have a much higher price.

Mr Herbert claimed that finding it with his 14-year-old detector was destiny. “I have this phrase that I say sometimes: ’Spirits of yesteryear take me where the coins appear’, but on that day I changed coins to gold," he said.

“I don’t know why I said it that day, but I think somebody was listening and directed me to it. Maybe it was meant to be, maybe the gold had my name on it all along, I don’t know."

Under the Treasure Act, anyone who finds a group of coins buried together, or any artefact that is 300 or more years old and has a 10 per cent gold or silver content, must declare it to the coroner within 14 days. About 500 such finds are reported each year.

Dr Kevin Leahy, National Finds Adviser from the Portable Antiquities Scheme, who catalogued the hoard, said: “The quantity of gold is amazing but, more importantly, the craftsmanship is consummate.

“This was the very best that the Anglo-Saxon metalworkers could do, and they were very good. Tiny garnets were cut to shape and set in a mass of cells to give a rich, glowing effect; it is stunning.

“Its origins are clearly the very highest-levels of Saxon aristocracy or royalty. It belonged to the elite.”

He speculated that the treasure might have been built up by a warlord in the course of a long military career, but could equally have been the loot from a single battle. He predicted that historians would debate it for decades.

The fact that the largest of the golden crosses had had its arms folded inwards so that it could fit into a smaller space has already prompted speculation that the hoard was buried by pagans.

Leslie Webster, former keeper at the British Museum’s Department of Prehistory and Europe, said that the importance of the find couldn't be overstated. “[It is] absolutely the equivalent of finding a new Lindisfarne Gospels or Book of Kells," he said.

“This is going to alter our perceptions of Anglo-Saxon England as radically, if not more so, as the Sutton Hoo discoveries."

Mr Herbert, who has been metal detecting for 18 years, came across the treasure in July after asking a farmer friend if he could search on his land.

“This is what metal detectorists dream of, finding stuff like this. But the vast amount there is just unbelievable,” said Mr Herbert.

“My mates at the [metal detecting] club always say if there is a gold coin in a field I will be the one to find it. I dread to think what they’ll say when they hear about this.”

Duncan Slarke, finds liaison officer for Staffordshire, was the first professional to see the hoard.

He said: “Nothing could have prepared me for that. I saw boxes full of gold, items exhibiting the very finest Anglo-Saxon workmanship.

“This is absolutely phenomenal. When I first saw the material I was absolutely staggered. To see the volume and the quality of this Anglo-Saxon precious metalwork was absolutely stunning and I was literally speechless.

“It is a hugely important find — the most important one that I have dealt with, but this has got to rank as one of the biggest in the country.

“The volume and size and range of material is amazing and there are things here that we have not seen before.

“At this stage we are still unsure why the material was put in the ground and exactly what some of the material is. Even the dating is difficult because we’re relying on previously found material to date this.

“This is such a huge amount, this will probably change the way we date Anglo-Saxon metalwork in the future.”

He added: “I feel very privileged to have been the finds liaison officer that dealt with Staffordshire Hoard.”

Steve Dean, County Archaeologist for Staffordshire, said: “It wasn’t until Duncan started to send the photographs through that it actually dawned that this was something incredibly more substantial than we’d previously imagined.

“We had a look at our records and there was no indication for that area actually having the potential for that sort of find so it was a big surprise.

“It is almost certainly nationally important and potentially internationally important and it is going to tell us an awful lot about the development of the Mercian kingdom, which obviously Staffordshire lies within.

“The quality and quantity is something I haven’t come across and I don’t think any archaeologist in this country has. It is out of this world. It is going to be the basis of research for the next 20 years.

“I’m loathe to compare it to Sutton Hoo because it is something very different. Sutton Hoo is a burial. This is different — this is a hoard. There is more material, and in some places the quality is higher. It is unique.”

Marilyn Manson diagnosed with Swine Flu

Marilyn Manson has being diagnosed with Swine Flu.

The goth rocker revealed via his Facebook earlier this week (September 21) that he has caught H1N1.

"So I have officially been diagnosed, by a real doctor, with THE SWINE FLU," he wrote.

"I know everyone will suggest that fucking a pig is how this disease was obtained. However, the doctor said, my past choices in women have, in 'no way' contributed to... me acquiring this mysterious sickness. Unfortunately, I am going to survive. M."

Swine Flu Set To Slow US Economic Growh Futher

H1N1 influenza could slow growth in key industries and stall the already-weak GDP growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2009 in the US, says a report.

"Tourism and travel are vitally important sectors in the economy of many US cities and communities," says Bryce Sutton of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Business who led the team that conducted the study.

"Depending upon the severity of the spread of the virus, consumers and businesses may respond by restricting travel and vacation plans, which would dampen an already weak recovery in these areas."

As many as 60 million Americans annually travel 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during the peak vacation period surrounding the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Sutton says airlines, hotels and other service industries impacted by tightened consumer spending could face double jeopardy should H1N1 infections or even fears of exposure keep would-be travellers at home.

According to him, other business sectors could suffer too if sick workers and absences cut deeply into productivity and revenues.

"Although business managers have had time to prepare contingency plans, those that already have cut the number of employees in an effort to reduce costs during the downturn may be hardest hit," Sutton says.

"In many cases, companies that already are working with the bare minimum staff face further productivity challenges should large numbers of the remaining employees contract H1N1."

Sutton says more research is needed to measure the more precise impact of the H1N1 virus once the traditional US flu season has passed.

"The most recent case we have to study is the Asian SARS outbreak in the early 2000s, which negatively impacted a range of industries in Asia."

SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome is a respiratory disease that assumed near-pandemic proportions between November 2002 and July 2003 and, according to one report, killed 774 people in 37 countries.

Mass Blood Tests For School Children For Swine Flu

Public health chiefs want to blood test school pupils in a bid to track the swine flu virus as the anticipated second wave of the pandemic approaches.

It is hoped the move would help the health services to more accurately calculate how many people have contracted the virus.

Dr Jim McMenamin of Health Protection Scotland said it would need pupils in only one secondary school to take part.

The tests would be carried out on a voluntary basis.

Dr McMenamin, a consultant epidemiologist, said the health service had traditionally relied on swabs taken from people's noses or throats to calculate the spread of the virus.

However, these are usually only carried out on people who have displayed symptoms of the virus.

Blood testing would allow health professionals to detect people who have developed swine flu but have only very mild or no symptoms - giving a more accurate picture of its spread.

We are proposing that at most one or two Scottish schools, and perhaps a similar number in other parts of the UK, would be asked to volunteer
Dr Jim McMenamin
Health Protection Scotland

Dr McMenamin said this would be particularly important when health professionals are planning for the winter period, when it is important to calculate how many people are likely to have swine flu and how easily it is spread between people.

He told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme: "What we are proposing is, to get a better idea of the spread of this infection, that there is a limited opportunity for us to look at a very small number of the school population.

"We are proposing that at most one or two Scottish schools, and perhaps a similar number in other parts of the UK, would be asked to volunteer to take part in an investigation to see if H1N1 [swine flu] is spreading in their particular school.

"We are proposing this because our colleagues in the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, who advise the UK government, have suggested this would be a good way forward for any investigation to add to the knowledge that we have."

Dr McMenamin said children of school age were of particular interest as they were among the most likely to contract the virus.

He stressed that the blood tests, which would only be carried out on secondary school pupils, would not be compulsory, and parents would be asked to give consent.

But he said it was "not clear at the moment" whether any school would want to take part.

ABC's new series Eastwick: Based on the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'

ABC's new series Eastwick: Based on the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'?

ABC premiered the new series Eastwick this evening. I have to admit, I was not impressed. It seemed to me as if Eastwick was just a remake of the movie 'Witches of Eastwick', and we are suppose to watch each and every week in hopes of seeing something original.

I don't think so...I mean, come on.

There is a blond, a red head and a brunette in ABC's series Eastwick. Just as they have on the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'.

One is easy, one is practical and one is a bookworm in ABC's series Eastwick, just as in the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'.

They each make a wish on ABC's series Eastwick...just as they did on 'Witches of Eastwick'. This wish seems to be coming true.

The warlock learns of the wish that the ladies of Eastwick make. Just like in the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'. He goes in search of these women.

Each lady of Eastwick realizes that they have a power, just as it happened in the movie 'Witches of Eastwick'.

I could go on, but what would be the point.

I think I see a pattern here. I will not be wasting my time with ABC's Eastwick.

Foxy Brown leaked video

Foxy Brown is the latest celebrity to have a sex tape leaked on the Web.

The troubled 31-year-old rapper is the star attraction in what has been dubbed the "Foxy Brown Superhead Video," an ode to her, er, performance perhaps.

In the steamy clip, a woman baring a striking resemblance to Brown is seen performing a sex act on an unidentified male.

Brown has endured her fair share of legal troubles over the years. Most recently, she was sentenced to a year in jail for violating probation that stemmed from a fight with two manicurists in a New York City nail salon.

The "Foxy Brown Superhead Video" can be found online at NSFW.com (not safe for work).

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

The seasonal flu shot may put people at greater risk for getting swine flu

Preliminary research suggests the seasonal flu shot may put people at greater risk for getting swine flu, CBC News has learned.

"This is some evidence that has been floated; it hasn't been validated yet, it's very preliminary," cautioned Dr. Don Low, microbiologist in chief at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

"This is obviously important data to help guide policy decision. How can we best protect people against influenza?"

It's important to validate the information to make sure it's not just a fluke, and that the observation is confirmed elsewhere such as in the Southern Hemisphere, which just completed its seasonal flu season, Low added.

The four Canadian studies involved about 2,000 Canadians in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, sources told CBC News. Researchers found people who had received the seasonal flu vaccine in the past were more likely to get sick with the H1N1 virus.

Researchers know that theoretically when people are exposed to bacteria or a virus, it can stimulate the immune system to create antibodies that facilitate the entry of another strain of the virus. Dengue fever is one example, Low said.
No seasonal flu shot?

The latest finding raises questions about the order in which to get flu shots.

Across Canada, public health authorities are fiercely debating the idea of shortening, delaying or scrapping their seasonal flu vaccination campaign in favour of mass inoculation against H1N1.

The main reason is because the H1N1 may be dominant strain of influenza circulating when the fall flu season hits, meaning it could be a waste of time and resources to mount a seasonal flu vaccine campaign.

Health authorities in Quebec are considering cancelling or postponing seasonal flu shots for some groups, such as healthy, younger adults.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says its up to provinces and territories to decide on when to roll out flu shots.

"You can imagine the people over the age 65 who are relatively protected against H1N1, it may make perfect sense for them to get the seasonal vaccine. People who are younger than that, if we don't see a lot of seasonal flu, probably the pandemic vaccine's the way to go. But we're going to make that crystal clear to people," said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infectious diseases prevention and control at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion.

Seasonal flu could also appear after Christmas, said Dr. David Scheifele, director of the vaccine evaluation centre at B.C. Children's Hospital in Vancouver.
With files from The Canadian Press

Mamas and Papas, a closer look at Mackenzie’s father

As we reported earlier today, actress and singer Mackenzie Phillips, has just revealed the shocking family secret that she had kept hidden for 31 years. And it turns out, that the secret she had been hiding was that she’d slept with her father.

This has obviously come as a shock to many, as Mackenzie’s father was John Phillips, better known as Papa John from the 1960’s band, The Mamas & The Papas. John Phillips is the father to Jeffrey, Mackenzie, Chynna, Tamerlane and Bijou.

John Phillips was born in South Carolina, to a retired United States Marine Corps officer and a Cherokee Indian, who his father apparently met in Oklahoma. In his autobiography, John Phillips described his father as a heavy drinker.

Phillips had been married four times, with his first wife being Susan Adams, who is the mother of Jeffrey and Mackenzie Phillips. His second wife was Michelle Gilliam, who was also a member of the group The Mamas & The Papas.

The Mamas & The Papas were formed in the 1960’s and included the members Cass Elliot, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty, as well as John Phillips, who was the primary songwriter for the group. They went on to have several top 10 hits.

They split up in 1968 and in1970, John Phillips released his first solo album. That is when John started using narcotics. In 1972, he married his third wife, Genevieve Waite. John then moved to London in 1973, where he worked with Mick Jagger.

Then in 1981, John was convicted of drug trafficking. Could this be where Mackenzie got her drug problems from? Mackenzie says that it started, with her father raping her when she was unconscious, but soon turned into a consensual relationship.

You can read more on John Phillips here.

What do you think of John and his daughter Mackenzie?

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Under 24s Higest Priority For Swine Flu Vaccine

It's that time of year again!

No, wait. Its not Christmas time yet, it is time to buckle down for a potentially rougher than usual flu season.

Not only does the CDC advise getting a flu vaccine, they also recommend getting a swine flu (H1N1) vaccine too this year. What may surprise you is that the high priority groups for vaccination do not start with the elderly, but in fact they are geared mainly towards younger children. Groups at risk first include pregnant women, those who interact with children under 6 months of age, health care providers, individuals between 6 months of age to 24 years of age, and lastly ages 25 through 64. Those with health disorders & or compromised immune systems are also encouraged to get the vaccine.

Dating back to 1918, H1N1 (Spanish Flu) killed 50-100 million worldwide, the worst flu pandemic. Next in 1976 there was a second US outbreak in which the vaccines caused as much fear as the actual virus. A confined case of H1N1 was recorded in 1988. In 1998, swine flu was found in pigs in four U.S. states. "By 1998, it had spread through pig populations across the United States. Scientists found that this virus had originated in pigs as a recombinant form of flu strains from birds and humans. This outbreak confirmed that pigs can serve as a crucible where novel influenza viruses emerge as a result of the re-assortment of genes from different strains." (Desmon)(1)

Signs & Symptoms for Children:

* Fast breathing or trouble breathing
* Bluish or gray skin color
* Not drinking enough fluids
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Not waking up or not interacting
* Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Signs & Symptoms for Adults:

* Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
* Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
* Sudden dizziness
* Confusion
* Severe or persistent vomiting
* Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Health officials expect the swine flu to kill up to 90,000 people in the United States. Normal seasonal flus only kills about 36,000 Americans a year.

For more info: Visit the Center for Disease Dontrol (CDC) website for more information about swine flu.

Swine Flu - A Cause of heart attack

Influenza infections can be especially troublesome for people with cardiovascular disease, increasing the rate of heart attacks by as much as 50%, British researchers report online today in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases. Vaccination against influenza can reduce the incidence of heart attacks in at-risk people, they found, but usually only 30% to 40% of patients actually receive the seasonal flu vaccine. The results may be even more dismal this year when patients will require vaccination against the seasonal flu and the pandemic H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu.

Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine reviewed 42 papers, published between 1932 and 2008, that covered 39 studies examining the link between flu and heart attacks. All the studies consistently showed a rise in heart attacks during periods when influenza viruses were circulating, with the increase ranging from 35% to 50%, and a weaker association with death from heart attacks. Four of eight observational studies and two small clinical trials also showed that vaccination lowered the rate of heart attacks.

"The message here is so strong and logical that it's hard for us to ignore," Dr. Ralph Brindis, vice president of the American College of Cardiology, told the Associated Press.

Influenza viruses cause inflammation throughout the body, including in the heart and blood vessels. That can lead to clots breaking off and lodging in the heart, where they cause heart attacks. The best protection: Get your swine flu shot.

Obama on Letterman Video

NEW YORK -- Add this one to the presidential collection: the heart-shaped potato.

By the time Barack Obama came on stage to the taping of the "Late Show" on Monday, host David Letterman had offered up 10 reasons why in the world the president had agreed to do it.

Among Letterman's theories: Obama said yes without thinking about it, or as Letterman put it, "Like Bush did with Iraq."

But Obama had other ideas. It turns out he was listening when Letterman had bantered with a woman in the audience who brought -- yes -- a potato in the shape of a heart to the show.

Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/21/obama-on-letterman-video-_n_293936.html
Watch CBS Videos Online

Six Flags Over Georgia is under water

Flooding is so bad in Georgia that reports say Six Flags Over Georgia is also now under water. Six Flags amusement park is under water Tuesday with reports that “portions of the roller coaster tracks have disappeared under brown, murky water.”

What many are calling the 100 year storm is still not letting up in the South. Weeks ago, the region was suffering from a two year drought. Now some regions are seeing 21 inches of rain, cars washed away. The death toll now stands at 6 persons, with an additional six people missing.

Even worse - the water is bitter cold - causing many to reportedly suffer hypothermia.

Khloe Kardashian is getting married

Khloe Kardashian is getting married. The youngest of the Kardashian sisters is getting married to LA Lakers’ star Lamar Odom on September 27, 2009, according to reports from CNN.com. It was also reported they will be marrying in or near Los Angeles. The rumors of the wedding of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom were circulating all around the web but these rumors were not confirmed or denied neither by the couple nor by their families.

Khloe Kardashian has become a famous celebrity after she was featured in E!’s ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and currently in ‘Khloe and Kourtney Take Miami’, with her elder sister Kourtney Kardashian. In Miami, she also has had her own radio talk show ‘Khloe After Dark’, which is pretty popular. With her elder sisters Kourtney and Kim, she also owns ‘Dash’, which is a popular woman’s clothing store.

Obama's first appearance as president on CBS' Late Show - the low down

Barack Obama's first appearance as president on CBS' Late Show was marked by some banter with host David Letterman and serious words about policy.

Obama made his case for changing the nation's health care system. He also expanded on comments he made Sunday on CNN about former president Jimmy Carter's assertion that some of the heated criticism directed at him is because of his race.

OBAMA TO DAVE: 'I was actually black before the election'
SUNDAY: Obama pitches health care in talk show rounds

"I was actually black before the election," Obama told Letterman. "The American people … gave me this extraordinary honor. That tells you a lot, I think, about where the country is at."

Obama conceded that whenever a president tries to bring about "significant" change, such as with his health care plan, "there is a certain segment of the population that gets riled up."

On Afghanistan, Obama indicated he would not yet make a decision on sending more U.S. troops. "I've got to make sure that the policy in place was worthy of their sacrifice," he said.

In a lighter moment, Letterman quipped that the top reason Obama agreed to appear on the show is that he "wanted to congratulate Dave on the big Emmy win." (The Emmy for best variety show on Sunday went to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.) That segment ended up being cut from the broadcast but was available on CBS' website.

Letterman also asked about first daughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8. Obama joked that he worries what will happen when they get older. "I suppose they are going to want to go on dates," he said, "and I'll have all these men with guns around. At that point, they may have some stress."

Obama began his day touting New York's resilience amid the recession, saying better days would be coming with help from his administration. "We must choose to do what past generations have done: shape a brighter future through hard work and innovation," Obama said at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y.

Lilian Garcia leaving WWE

Sadly Lilian Garcia announced that she will be leaving WWE. That’s like one of the saddest days ever. Well, she first announced the she is quitting on Monday night at RAW, however, all the good stuff happens on Twitter and the WWE Diva also posted on the popular micro-blogging service that she’s going away. Another nice thing that she posted was a very nice picture with her very nice WWE Divas and a very nice cake.

So are you going to be affected by Garcia’s departure? I am. She’s a very beautiful lady, and… I don’t know, that’s pretty much it. I guess it’s good for her that she created a Twitter frenzy as thousands of users were adding the #ThankYouLilian hashtag at the end of their posts. The #ThankYouLilian movement is sure getting big, but in the meantime we’re just sad that Lilian Garcia is leaving WWE for a better life or because she’s just bored.

Joe Dado Found Dead

Penn State freshman Joe (Joseph) Dado, reported missing and last seen leaving a Phi Gamma Delta frat party at 3 am on Sunday, was found dead by a repairman.

Following his disappearance, a police helicopter search had been started while the family and the police have been searching the campus.

Unfortunately, Joseph Dado’s body was found around 7 am in a stairwell placed between two campus buildings. The news broke out on several news sites where fellow students posted the unfortunate result before an official statement was made.While no official comment was made regarding the elements the led to his death, it is highly probable that alcohol poisoning was a main factor in this tragic event.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Welcoming the Blah Girls

The Blah Girls a animated series that will keep you up to date with current fashion, celebrity gossip, life and of course relationship. The Blah Girls is very interactive animated series and focuses on popular culture. Of course using their own perspective – or The Blah Girls Perspective = Britney, Krystle and Tiffany.

Alexandra Wentworth guest co-hosts ‘The View’

Actress Alexandra Wentworth is plopping down on the tempestuous sectional sofa on ABC’s The View this Monday morning. Alexandra Wentworth is the star of the Starz original series Head Case, about a psychotherapist to the celebrity elite who is more neurotic than therapeutic herself.

Alexandra Wentworth got her start as part of the ensemble cast in the groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color. Since her In Living Color days, Alexandra Wentworth has also scored guest appearances on Seinfeld and Felicity.

Alexandra Wentworth is one of a series of guest hosts currently rotating in on ‘The View’ while official co-host and champion of all things Beck, Bush and Cheney Elisabeth Hasselbeck is on maternity leave. Last week’s guest co-host was the newly coiffed Kate Gosselin. Future guest hosts for the week include southern cooking mistress Paula Deen and Fox News commentator E.D. Hill. Former The View cast member Lisa Ling is scheduled to guest co-host for two days in October.

Josie's Story Q&A with the author

This is truly a parent's worst nightmare. In 2001, 18-month-old Josie King was taken to the nation's best hospital, Johns Hopkins, after she was severely scalded in the bathtub at home. A few weeks later, she was dead of complications from dehydration, due to a series of preventable medical errors.\

The Baltimore Sun chronicled Josie's plight -- and her mother's campaign to stomp out medical errors. Now the mother, Sorrel King, who still lives in Baltimore, has written her own account, "Josie's Story." Reporter Kelly Brewington interviewed King about the book and her crusade through the Josie King Foundation. It's interesting reading -- especially these days, when health care reform is dominating the news. Here's an excerpt:

Why did you decide to write this book? And can you explain the process you went through to do so.

I wrote it for the health care industry, to inspire them. I wrote it for a parent who lost a child. I wrote the book for my children. I wrote the book for the general public so it can be another tool in my toolbox to raise awareness on this issue that I don't think people quite get. The most important thread to me that I hope to get out to all these categories is the book is about loss. We are all going to suffer some kind of loss at some time in our lives - loss of a job, death, cancer, divorce. What do you do when something bad happens? I hope people learn to take it and learn how to make something good come out of it.

Schools forced to shut down Monday in several north Georgia counties.

A foot or more of rain Sunday and overnight forced schools to shut down Monday in several north Georgia counties, including Gwinnett, Douglas, Paulding and Carroll counties in metro Atlanta.
Enlarge photo
Flooding shut down the two right lanes of I-75 southbound just north of the Brookwood Interchange during Monday's morning commute.
Mike Morris, mmorris@ajc.com Flooding shut down the two right lanes of I-75 southbound just north of the Brookwood Interchange during Monday's morning commute.

* Rain causes major accidents, one fatality
* Check forecast
* National Weather Service radar
* You weather photos
* Spaghetti Junction is open again
* See WSB traffic map

Related Metro stories »

* Spaghetti Junction is open again
* Severe weather closes roads, shuts some schools
* Hearing scheduled in bar slaying
* 'Developments' in Yancey case

Roads were closed by high water throughout the metro area, and in Douglas County, flooding washed out the main line of the Norfolk Southern railroad washed out near Villa Rica.

Emergency personnel in at least two metro counties were busy rescuing residents from high water before daybreak Monday.

While the flood warning was posted after midnight for Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, eastern Cobb, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, the worst flooding appeared to be in Douglas and Paulding counties, which had been under a flood warning since earlier in the evening.

There, National Weather Service radar estimated that as much as 15 inches of rain had fallen since Friday, much of it beginning on Sunday afternoon, when a series of strong storms began training, or following one another, northward through the area.

Those storms were still dumping rain across the western suburbs at 4 a.m.

The Weather Service said 3 to 7 inches had fallen just since 9 p.m. Sunday from Franklin in west Georgia through Carrollton and Douglasville to Dallas.

In addition to the flood warnings, a flood watch was in effect through Tuesday morning for all of north and central Georgia, as streams such as Sweetwater Creek in the western suburbs and Big Creek to the north continued to rise.

Other parts of the state were also hard hit by the heavy rain.

In the northwest corner, a flood warning was posted for Catoosa, Chattooga, Walker and Whitfield counties, where an estimated 4 to 8 inches of rain had fallen since 8 p.m. Sunday. Schools were open Monday in Whitfield County, but closed in the other three counties.

To the northeast, Stephens County schools were closed Monday and a state of emergency was declared as much of the county was without running water because of flooding.

Flash flood warnings were also issued before daybreak for Hall, Banks, Jackson and Barrow counties.

Several major roads were blocked by high water in Paulding County early Monday, authorities said. Among the roads closed were U.S. 278 and Ga. 92 in the Hiram area, Paulding County sheriff's spokesman Brandon Gurley said. He said more than 60 roads were closed countywide.

"We're still having problems all over the county, people stranded in homes and vehicles," Gurley said at 4:15 a.m. He said deputies were involved in "quite a few" rescues, but no injuries had been reported.

Power was also out in many areas of the county, including the major business district around U.S. 278 and Ga. 92, and a couple of convenience stores on Ga. 92 were reported flooded. The county courthouse was closed Monday due to the flooding.

Authorities in Douglas County also reported numerous rescues underway at 4:15, and power was out along Douglas Boulevard in the area of Arbor Place Mall.

Douglas County fire and sheriff's personnel were "on the scene of multiple car floodings and lower floors of house floodings," county spokesman Wes Tallon said. Crews were using boats to rescue residents from low-lying homes along Berea and Pool roads.

Tallon said that Post Road just south of I-20 was "completely washed out." He said that more than 40 other roads across the county were also closed or washed out by the flooding.

The westbound lanes of I-20 in Douglas County were shut down overnight, but had reopened by 4 a.m., according to the state Department of Transportation.

The county opened its Emergency Operations Center just before 1 a.m., Tallon said.

"The storm continues over the top of Douglas County and more rain is coming," Tallon said at 5:30 a.m.

"The storm runoff is going at speeds higher than a person can walk through," he said. " This is a dangerous situation and Douglas County residents are requested to stay home, if possible, until conditions improve. "

Just before 6 a.m., Douglas County officials issued a "boil water" advisory for the entire county "due to multiple line breaks in the system, particularly in road washout and bridge failure areas," Tallon said.

In Cobb County, flooding was reported in a subdivision off Oakdale Road at 7:30 a.m.

Cole Road in front of Gwinnett County's Parkview High School was flooded and portions of the pavement washed away, said Officer Brian Kelly, a spokesman for the Gwinnett County Police Department.

Some of the worst problems at about 7:30 a.m. were in the Stone Mountain area on U.S. 78 from the DeKalb County line to Ross Road, Kelly said.

Five Forks Trickum Road from Rockbridge to Killian Hill was closed, he said.

"I don't know that we have areas particularly deep in water where cars are in danger, it's more just standing water," Kelly said. "It's pretty much widespread."

Other trouble areas include U.S. 29 near Rose Creek, Oakbrook Parkway and Indian Trail, he said.

All lanes of Lawrenceville Highway east of Bethesda School Road in Gwinnett were shut down after the pavement partially collapsed, according to state DOT spokesman Bryan Gunter.

A precinct on the county's southside had to call in officers from other areas for help responding to emergency calls, Kelly said.

Gwinnett County Public Schools shut down for the day after initially planning a 1 1/2 hour delay.

Sloan Roach, the school system's spokeswoman, said, with several roads closes around the county, other roads were getting jammed.

"That was going to make the buses very very late in making their pickups," she said. "And we didn't want children standing out in the rain for a long time."

In the Sandy Springs area, there were several trees down on wires in the area of Mount Vernon Highway and Powers Ferry Road.

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said about 9,300 of the utility's metro Atlanta customers were without power at 5:30 a.m.

Kraft said that anyone encountering downed power lines should "treat them as if they were live and stay away from them."

The "Spaghetti Junction" interchange of I-285 and I-85 in DeKalb County was completely shut down by high water from before 7 a.m. until about 7:45. A few miles away, a mud slide blocked two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane on U.S. 78 at Hugh Howell Road.

All eastbound lanes of I-20 eastbound at Lee Road in Douglas County were closed by high water at 7:45, but were reopened shortly after 8 a.m.

In Marietta, downed utility lines blocked the southbound lanes of Cobb Parkway near White Circle.

The rain was expected to continue, heavy at times, throughout Monday and overnight into Tuesday, the Weather Service said.

The chance of rain is 100 percent on Monday, 70 percent Monday night and 60 percent Tuesday.

A little break could come on Wednesday, when the chance of rain drops to 40 percent, and the chance of rain is only 20 percent on Thursday, forecasters said.

The Global War On Swine Flu

As the UK prepares for a winter wave of the virus, Health Editor Madeleine Brindley examines how swine flu is affecting the rest of the world

IN FRANCE the practice of greeting someone with a kiss could be at risk, while the thousands of pilgrims who make the Hajj to Mecca this year are being told to take precautions against swine flu.

The French health ministry recommends avoiding direct contact with people, including not kissing, shaking hands or caressing the face of others especially sick people.

It also advises maintaining a one-metre buffer zone from other people and although it does not specifically mention la bise, some children are being told not to kiss their teachers or other students.

In one town in western Brittany so-called bise boxes have been set up to allow pupils to put heart-shaped greetings into before they are exchanged in class.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised the elderly, pregnant women, the chronically ill and children not to take part in the Hajj this year.

Pilgrims will also need to be able to prove that they have been vaccinated against seasonal flu before applying for a visa to travel to Mecca. All passengers arriving in Saudi Arabia will be screened.

Elsewhere in the world both Angola and Lesotho have recorded their first cases of swine flu, while in China more than 9,000 people have already been confirmed with swine flu, as rates begin to spike.

More than 200 people have died in India after contracting swine flu. Schools, colleges and even cinemas have been closed temporarily in a bid to control the virus.

Passenger screening has been introduced at Indias 22 international airports because it is thought that a large number of cases have been in people returning from overseas travel.

In the southern hemisphere there is evidence that the flu season is coming to an end.

At its peak in Australia, more than 90 people a day were being admitted to hospital with swine flu, that figure had fallen to about 70 at the end of last month.

In neighbouring New Zealand a country with many similarities to Wales restrictions put in place by the Catholic Church to prevent the spread of infection have been lifted as the spring starts. More than 3,000 cases of swine flu were confirmed by laboratory tests and 17 deaths have been linked to the virus.

Dr Roland Salmon, director of the communicable disease surveillance centre at the National Public Health Service for Wales, said: New Zealand has had an epidemic but it has been modest and that gives an indication of what we may expect.

In the four months since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a pandemic, swine flu cases have been reported on every populated continent. The latest figures reveal there have been more than 277,000 confirmed cases the actual total is considerably higher as most countries no longer test every person with symptoms and at least 3,205 deaths.As the southern hemisphere moves into spring, rates of swine flu are declining but WHO said there is still active transmission in the tropical regions of the Americas and Asia.

Swine flu activity in the northern hemisphere, however, is variable. In the United States, regional increases in influenza activity are being reported, most notably in the south eastern states. Most of Europe is reporting low or moderate respiratory diseases activity Wales continues to see low level activity but WHO said some parts of Eastern Europe are beginning to report increases in activity.

Experts are continuing to warn that although the majority of people infected with the H1N1 virus will experience a mild illness, there is a risk of severe respiratory illness in at-risk groups, including pregnant women and those with asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes and people who are immuno- suppressed.

The WHO added: Current evidence points to some important differences between patterns of illness reported during the pandemic and those seen during seasonal epidemics of influenza.

The age groups affected by the pandemic are generally younger. This is true for those most frequently infected, and especially so for those experiencing severe or fatal illness. To date, most severe cases and deaths have occurred in adults under the age of 50 years, with deaths in the elderly comparatively rare. This age distribution is in stark contrast with seasonal influenza, where around 90% of severe and fatal cases occur in people 65 years of age or older.

Swine flu hotline - poorly trained staff are putting lives at risk

Swine flu hotline staff are poorly trained and are risking lives by misdiagnosing serious illnesses as flu, doctors have warned.

A survey has revealed that 37% of GPs have had to deal with patients who were misdiagnosed by call centre staff and told they had swine flu when they were really suffering from life-threatening illnesses, including meningitis and pneumonia.

Three of the doctors surveyed by Pulse magazine said their patients had died because of the confusion.

One doctor in Derbyshire said a three-year-old had been diagnosed with swine flu and was given Tamiflu by the hotline - but was later diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia and admitted to hospital.

The GP said: "It was unlikely she ever had swine flu. It's near-impossible to diagnose a febrile illness over the phone, and I am afraid one could miss meningitis or other serious illnesses by presuming it is swine flu."

The survey of 205 GP surgeries also revealed that 91% of respondents called on the government to review its policy of offering Tamiflu to all patients with swine flu symptoms.

It was previously reported that some employers are preparing for absence rates of up to 27% at the peak of a second wave of swine flu.

Jessica Lange won her first Emmy

Jessica Lange won her first Emmy Sunday for her performance in HBO's movie "Grey Gardens," playing a fictionalized version of the real-life Edith Bouvier Beale.

The film is based on Albert and David Maysles' 1975 documentary about "Big Edie" and her daughter, "Little Edie," relatives of Jackie Kennedy Onassis who were discovered living in squalor on Long Island in the early 1970s. The documentary chronicles the conditions in which they lived and the heavily codepedent relationship between mother and daughter.

The HBO movie goes deeper into the the Beales' lives, using Little Edie's diaries to dramatize their earlier lives as members of Manhattan's high society and their gradual retreat from the world at their summer home in the Hamptons. In addition to Lange's victory, "Grey Gardens" won the Emmy for best made-for-TV movie, and Ken Howard won best supporting actor in a movie or miniseries. Drew Barrymore, who played Little Edie, and Jeanne Tripplehorn, who played Jackie, were also nominated.

The 60-year-old Lange has been nominated for Emmys twice in the past. She's also won two Oscars.

Here's a look at some scenes from "Grey Gardens" and the stars talking about inhabiting their characters.