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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Students Honor Classmate Slain on Prom Day at Beach Gathering

Students Honor Classmate Slain on Prom Day at Beach Gathering


Students Honor Classmate Slain on Prom Day at Beach Gathering

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:41 AM PDT

Friends and classmates of 16-year-old Maren Sanchez, who was fatally stabbed on Friday, held a seaside memorial to the murdered teen on what would have been their prom night.

Students of Jonathan Law High School in Milford, Conn., many of whom were dressed in tuxedos and prom dresses they had picked out for the event, paid tribute to Sanchez by holding up her green dress and offering remembrances, People reports. More than 200 people attended the memorial. The prom has been postponed indefinitely.

https://twitter.com/The_TruckBabe/status/459892621792403456/photo/1

Police took the alleged attacker, a 16-year-old male classmate, into custody and are investigating whether or not Sanchez was killed for rejecting the suspect’s invitation to be his prom date. Authorities are not releasing his name because of juvenile offender laws, but multiple media reports identify the suspect as Chris Plaskon. The suspect’s attorney says his client could be charged as an adult in accordance with Connecticut law, the New York Times reports.

“We are obviously devastated by the loss of one of our students, Maren Sanchez,” Superintendent Elizabeth Feser said Friday at a press conference. “She was a 16-year-old junior – vibrant, very, very involved in Jonathan Law High School, an incredible contributor, someone who was loved and respected.”

[People]

This is The Nerdiest State in America

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 09:11 AM PDT

Utah is known for many things: the Great Salt Lake, its high Mormon population, hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics and, now, being the ultimate nerd capital of the United States, apparently.

Real estate website Estately published a list of the nerdiest states in America this week and the Beehive State came out on top, followed closely by Alaska, Wyoming and Idaho. On the other end, Washington, D.C., Mississippi and New Jersey were named the least nerdy.

Estately created the list by calculating the percentage of users in each state, plus the District of Columbia, who listed one of the following as an interest on Facebook: cosplay, anime movies, fantasy lit, comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, LARPing, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Magic: The Gathering, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The data revealed a few trends: Nerds prefer less-populated, more rural states over places like California, New York, Texas and Florida, and they also seem to avoid the South like the plague.

There are some issues with the list, however. For starters, anyone who thinks Washington, D.C. is the least nerdy place in the country has clearly not spent much time in the land where people openly identify as “policy wonks.”

Second, because the list is determined by Facebook interests, it only charts the openly nerdy among us — Mississippi may not seem like a nerd paradise, but for all we know, it could have the largest secret network of social media-averse Dungeons & Dragons players meeting up in the dead of night to roll their polyhedral dice in peace.

Afghanistan Presidential Election Set For Run-Off

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 08:18 AM PDT

Afghanistan’s former foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah won the most votes in the country’s election of a new president, but not enough to avoid a run-off election with second place rival Ashraf Ghani.

None of the candidates in the April 5 election received the necessary 50% of the votes to win outright, according to preliminary results. The winner will replace outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who is constitutionally forbidden from running for a third term.

Abdullah, who ran against Karzai in the previous presidential election in 2009, won the most votes with 44.9 percent, the BBC reports. Former finance minister and World Bank official Ghani received 31.5 percent. The two could plausibly form a coalition government together, but are expected to compete in a run-off.

Final results will be confirmed on May 14 to allow time to process complaints. Reports of fraud have been increasing amid accusations from all sides that votes were purposefully miscounted and ballot boxes were stuffed. A run-off vote is expected to take place on May 28.

[BBC]

Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl’s The BFG

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:51 AM PDT

Steven Spielberg is set to direct the big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

The live-action movie about a big friendly giant — or BFG — who becomes friends with a young girl will shoot next year and open in theaters in 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

DreamWorks acquired the rights to the 1982 children’s book in 2011, though several directors had been attached to the project before Spielberg committed. Melissa Mathison, who wrote Spielberg’s E.T., has written a screenplay.

The book was previously adapted as an animated television movie in the U.K. in 1989. Several of Dahl’s works have also been made into movies, including James and the Giant Peach in 1996; Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory in 1971 (a similarly titled remake starring Johnny Depp premiered in 2005); and The Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

[THR]

Preliminary Count in Afghan Presidential Vote Shows Abdullah Ahead, Runoff Likely

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:30 AM PDT

(KABUL, Afghanistan) — Preliminary results in Afghanistan’s presidential election show former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah won the most votes but not the majority needed to avoid a runoff.

The chairman of the Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, said Saturday that Abdullah had 44.9 percent of the vote and ex-Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai came in second with 31.5 percent. The preliminary results are due to be finalized on May 14 after investigations into fraud complaints.

Electoral law requires a runoff between the top two candidates if no one candidate gets a majority. A runoff should be held within 15 days of final results.

The candidates are vying to replace President Hamid Karzai, the only president Afghans have known since the U.S.-led invasion to topple the Taliban’s hard-line Islamic regime.

Severe Storms, Tornados Forecast Across Large Swath of U.S.

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:27 AM PDT

Multiple tornados and severe thunderstorms are forecast this weekend from Nebraska to Texas, in what could be the worst severe weather event of the season so far.

The storms are expected to begin late Saturday and could last into the night before spreading to other areas, according to AccuWeather.com.

“South-central Kansas to west-central Oklahoma would be in an elevated risk area for severe weather Saturday evening,” meteorologist Scott Breit said. The storms could then move in the direction of Omaha, Neb., Wichita, Kan., Oklahoma City, and Dallas later at night.

Sunday could see more tornados and strong hail lasting into the evening as well, according to National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. It warned that Saturday’s storms would be severe, but “isolated and scattered.”

The relatively tame severe weather season so far makes the upcoming inclement weather a particular source of worry. “A reason for extra concern this weekend is that tornadoes have been nearly non-existent so far and people tend to forget what they have learned from year to year,” said Accuweather senior vice president Mike Smith.

[AccuWeather.com]

15 Myths and Facts About Cellulite

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 07:00 AM PDT

Got cellulite? You’re not alone: The cosmetic condition affects nearly 90% of women at some point during their lives, even women who are otherwise slender and fit.

As common as cellulite is, there’s also an awful lot of misinformation out there about what it is, what causes it, and how to get rid of it. So before placing blame, scheduling a cosmetic procedure, or spending a fortune on over-the-counter products, read up on the real story behind cellulite.

Health.com: How to Get Rid of Annoying Body Problems

Cellulite is caused by toxins in your body

Myth

Some over-the-counter cellulite products may claim to help remove impurities and toxins from the body. But neither their efficacy nor their claims about what causes cellulite are supported by science. Rather, cellulite occurs when underlying fat deposits begin to push through layers of collagen fibers, or connective tissue, under the skin (often in the buttocks and thigh areas, but also on arms, stomachs, and other common trouble spots, as well). Connective tissue can be weakened by hormones, lack of exercise and muscle tone, excess fat, and poor circulation, says New York City-based dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, MD. But the condition is not caused by “toxins.”

Women get more cellulite than men

Fact

Women tend to carry more fat around their hips and thighs. We also have less supportive connective tissue to keep it all in place. “If you think of a scaffolding outside a building that has those X crosses on them, that is sort of what men’s fat chambers have,” says David McDaniel, MD, director of the Institute for Anti-Aging and assistant professor of clinical dermatology at Eastern Virginia Medical School. It is estimated, however, that about 10% of men suffer from cellulite, as well.

Cellulite gets worse with age

Fact

Hormones also seem to play a role in the appearance of cellulite: As women age, their bodies produce less estrogen—a hormone that helps keep blood vessels flowing smoothly. Less estrogen can mean poorer circulation, which can also mean a decrease in new collagen production and the breakdown of older connective tissue.

Health.com: 13 Everyday Habits That Age You

Cellulite may be in your genes

Fact

It’s true that cellulite runs in families; if your mother and grandmother had cellulite, you have a better chance of also developing it. In fact, there’s even a genetic test on the market that can tell you whether you have a gene variant that puts you at higher risk for moderate to severe cellulite—but, considering that most women will develop cellulite in their lifetimes (and the fact that you’ll know it when you see it), it’s not exactly worth its hefty price tag. If you’re not one of the lucky ones with smooth-skinned relatives, take heart: Genetics is only one small part of the cellulite puzzle; factors like diet, exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight also play a role.

Cellulite only happens to out-of-shape people

Myth

Being overweight does make the appearance of cellulite more noticeable; the more fat you have underneath your skin, the more it’s likely to put stress on your connective tissue and bulge out of its weak spots. But cellulite also happens to women of all shapes and sizes, says Shira Ein-Dor, owner of the American Cellulite Reduction Center in New York City. “I even treat Victoria’s Secret models,” she says. “They’re very lean, they work out and eat well, they do everything right but they still have cellulite.”

Exercise can reduce the appearance of cellulite

Fact

A regular exercise practice cannot cure cellulite—but in many cases it can help prevent or reduce its appearance. Cellulite occurs when connective fibers underneath the skin become weak or lose their elasticity, but stretching and strengthening those areas (in addition to burning away excess fat overall) can help. “Firming and toning those muscles will in turn tighten the skin, giving the illusion that cellulite is less noticeable,” says Dr. McDaniel. Yoga routines that target the butt and thighs can help, as well as strength-training moves that build muscle and boost circulation.

Cardio is best for reducing all-over jiggle

Myth

Running or other forms of cardio can help keep weight off, which may reduce the appearance of dimples and dents. But to really smooth out your skin, you’ve got to strength train. One study by researchers at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts, found that adults who did three 30-minute aerobic workouts each week for eight weeks lost four pounds, but gained no muscle—and only slightly improved body composition. When they paired 15 minutes of aerobic activity with 15 minutes of strength training three times a week, however, they lost 10 pounds of fat, added two pounds of muscle, and saw a greater overall improvement in body composition. In other words, they looked better and lost some of the wiggle!

Skin-firming creams can cure cellulite

Myth

Despite what you might read on their labels, no topical creams—prescription or over-the-counter—have been shown to permanently reduce the appearance of cellulite. Studies have found, however, that products containing retinoids (labeled as retinol over-the-counter) may provide some temporary effects by creating a thicker skin cover that can help camouflage bumps. There is limited evidence that creams or scrubs with stimulant ingredients, like caffeine, ginger, and green or black tea, may also help by improving circulation and breaking down fat-cell stores, but they are less proven. “Mostly I think if these topical creams work—and I think most probably do little or nothing—they are more likely to help with slimming and body contouring, which is not the same as cellulite,” says Dr. McDaniel.

Health.com: The Best Strength Moves for Weight Loss

Skin fillers can even out dimply skin

Fact

Injectable dermal fillers like Restylane and Radiesse, used primarily to plump up sagging cheekbones and remove facial wrinkles, have also shown to be beneficial—at least temporarily—for cellulite-plagued sections of skin. “It’s like putting icing on a lumpy cake to make it look better,” says Dr. Karcher. “Especially if someone is really skinny and they have a few really deep divots, a filler can plump that up and even it out really well. However, the procedure can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars per leg, she adds, and the results tend to only last a few months.

Non-invasive procedures for cellulite really do work

Fact

Laser, radio-frequency, and massage techniques have been used for several years to reduce the appearance of cellulite—and while their results are not permanent, they are effective in the short-term, says Dr. Karcher. “These are going to work better than some drug-store cream, and they can be worth it if you have the time and the money to spend on them.” Some (like TriActiv and VelaSmooth laser treatments) require 10 to 15 sessions to significantly improve appearance, and require monthly maintenance appointments. Others (like the radio-frequency treatment Thermage CL) are more expensive but results seem to last six months to a year.

Health.com:16 Ways to Lose Weight Fast

Liposuction will make your legs (or arms, or tummy) look better

Myth

If cellulite is your problem, liposuction should not be your solution, says Dr. McDaniel. In fact, the cosmetic procedure could even make fat distribution more uneven, making its outward appearance even worse. Another vacuum-like (but non-surgical) procedure, however, known as Endermologie, has been shown to help: During Endermologie, a technician runs a suctioning device surrounded by rollers over a patient’s skin, pulling and squeezing trouble spots for about 30 minutes. Resultsare visible after about 10 visits (two per week), which can cost between $80 and $150 each.

Certain foods can help fight cellulite

Fact

Your diet alone can’t determine whether you will or will not get cellulite, but eating a well-balanced, plant-heavy diet can reduce inflammation throughout your body and help you maintain a healthy weight, says Dr. McDaniel. Staying hydrated—both by drinking water and by eating plenty of foods withhigh water content—will also keep your connective tissue strong and supple, and may even help you slim down. Aim to eat more cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, and bell peppers, which (along with many other fruits and veggies) are all more than 90% water.

Only a dermatologist should perform cellulite treatments

Myth

A skin doc is a good place to start, and many dermatologists do perform treatments in their clinics. But cellulite is not a medical condition, says Ein-Dor, and a medical professional is not required to treat it. “I am not a doctor, but because I focus only on cellulite, I can provide many more options in my center than most doctors can provide in their offices,” she says. Medi-spas can also perform treatments such as Endermologie and non-invasive laser procedures—but Ein-Dor cautions that you make sure your technician is licensed and has received proper training on whatever device you choose. (If you want a surgical procedure like Cellulaze, however, you’ll need to see a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.)

The clothing you wear can make an impact

Myth

Yes, wearing compression-style leggings while you exercise can reduce thigh jiggle as you move—but it’s only a temporary effect, says Dr. Karcher, and you’re unlikely to see any change after you strip down post-workout. “For any clothing that claims to actually have lasting results, it’s just a marketing gimmick and it’s not true,” she adds. In fact, for some tight clothes, the opposite may be true: Elastic bands on underwear, for example, can actually contribute to the appearance of cellulite if they cut off circulation and limit blood flow.

Smoking can affect the appearance of cellulite

Fact

Cigarette smoke has been shown to reduce blood vessel flow and to weaken and disrupt the formation of collagen, allowing for the connective tissue to become stretched and damaged more easily and for underlying fat to show through. Plus, smoking can make you look bad (literally) in lots of other ways, as well: It causes premature wrinkles and aging, leave skin dry and discolored and can contribute tostretch marks, to name a few.

There’s no permanent cellulite solution

Fact (for now)

This one’s not exactly true or false, but scientists do seem to be getting better and better at finding long-term solutions for treating trouble spots. The most recent and promising procedure is a surgery called Cellulaze, approved by the FDA in 2012, in which an optic laser melts fat, breaks up fibrous connective tissue and stimulates the growth of new collagen, all through a pinhole-sized incision in the skin. “It’s great because it works on both those fibers that are pulling down your skin and on the fat globules that are popping through,” says Dr. Karcher. Recovery is quick, too: “You might be a little bit sore afterward, but you can have it done on a Friday and be back to work by Monday.” The treatment starts at about $3,500 per leg, but results seem to last at least a year or two.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

Egypt Reports First Case of MERS Virus

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 06:50 AM PDT

Egypt has identified its first case of the often deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the country’s health ministry announced on state media Saturday.

The 27-year-old patient, who is in stable condition at a Cairo hospital, had been living in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports.

With more 313 confirmed infections, Saudi Arabia has been hit the hardest by the virus, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia and has more than a 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases.

Although the number of MERS patients worldwide is relatively small, the recent, rapid spread of the virus within Saudi Arabia has concerned health workers.

Scientists are unsure of the virus’ exact origins but believe it may have spread from camels. The virus does not spread as quickly as the similar SARS virus and could die out on its own, but scientists warn it could also mutate into something more easily spread, especially as millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca later this year.

[Reuters]

Catholics Flock to Vatican for Historic Papal Canonization

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 06:36 AM PDT

More than one million Catholics were expected to flock to Rome Saturday for the historic double canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII on Sunday.

The city of Rome has been repairing roads and preparing the city for the large influx of pilgrims planning to attend the ceremony officiated by Pope Francis, the National Catholic Register reports. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who resigned the papacy last year, will attend the ceremony, CNN reports, though he will not officiate at the altar with his successor.

Pope John Paul II led the Catholic church for almost three decades and was an extremely popular figure among the laity. His canonization to sainthood was considered a formality after his death in 2005.

But the decision to canonize the late pope so swiftly is controversial for some, NBC reports. Traditionally, five years must pass after a pope’s death before the canonization process can began, but Benedict waived that requirement for John Paul II, leading some to believe he was fast-tracked too quickly.

Additionally, groups such as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say they do not support sainthood for John Paul II because they believe he did respond adequately to the wide-ranging child sex abuse scandal within the church, that came to light during his papacy.

[National Catholic Register]

G7 Nations Confirms New Russia Sanctions As Military Observers Detained

Posted: 26 Apr 2014 06:04 AM PDT

The United States and other G7 countries announced “broader, coordinated” economic sanctions to be imposed on Russia Friday, while Russia negotiates the release of military observers detained by separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine.

In a statement, the G7 leaders praised Ukraine for taking steps to meet the de-escalation agreement brokered in Geneva two weeks ago, while condemning Russia for neither taking appropriate steps nor castigating the actions of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

“We have now agreed that we will move swiftly to impose additional sanctions on Russia,” leaders from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States said in a statement.

“Given the urgency of securing the opportunity for a successful and peaceful democratic vote next month in Ukraine’s presidential elections, we have committed to act urgently to intensify targeted sanctions and measures to increase the costs of Russia’s actions.”

The sanctions could begin as early as Monday, the Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, negotiators worked Saturday to secure the release of 13 visitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) detained by Russian separatists, including eight from a German-led party and five Ukrainians, ABC reports.

Russia said it would do all it can to release the detainees, according to state media. “Russia as a member of the OSCE will undertake all possible steps in this matter,” Russia’s OSCE envoy Andrei Kelin said.

A separatist leader in Donetsk, Denis Pushilin, announced his group would be willing to release a group of detained military observers it suspected of being NATO spies in exchange for the release of jailed pro-Russian supporters, the AP reports.

 

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