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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Americans Frequently Lie About Church Attendance, Study Says

Americans Frequently Lie About Church Attendance, Study Says


Americans Frequently Lie About Church Attendance, Study Says

Posted: 17 May 2014 10:16 AM PDT

A new study suggests Americans are prone to fibbing when asked how regularly they go to church.

A report by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that Americans inflate reports of their church attendance depending on the setting in which they’re asked. When asked on the phone, survey respondents were more likely to exaggerate their Sunday diligence than when they were asked online.

In a telephone survey, 36 percent of Americans report attending religious services weekly or more, compared to 31 percent on the online survey.

The phone and online surveys of American adults were conducted in 2013, with 2,002 people interviewed by cell and landline and a demographically comparable group of 2,317 answering questions online.

White mainline Protestants have the hardest time admitting they “seldom or never” attend church, with 28 percent saying they rarely go on the telephone, but 45 percent admitting to playing hooky in an online questionnaire.

Black Protestants seem to inflate church attendance the most, with 54 percent claiming they go weekly when asked on the phone, and just 40 percent saying they attend weekly in an online survey.

Isn’t there some commandment about this? Well, maybe you have to go to Church to find out.

700 Migrants Rush at Spain’s Border, All Repulsed

Posted: 17 May 2014 10:02 AM PDT

MADRID (AP) — Spanish authorities say around 700 African migrants have charged its barbed-wire border fences in the country’s North African enclave of Melilla but all were repulsed by Spanish and Moroccan border guards.

An official statement says about 500 rushed the border in the first wave Saturday. About 20 stayed atop the 20-foot (6-meter) high fences for 30 minutes, then were escorted away by Moroccan forces.

Two hours later another group of about 200 persons was intercepted by Moroccan police.

Spain’s North African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta have been targeted by a tide of African immigrants trying to cross into Europe.

Spain and Morocco stepped up border vigilance in February after 15 migrants drowned trying to enter Ceuta.

San Diego Wildfire Destruction Could Reach 30,000 Acres

Posted: 17 May 2014 09:48 AM PDT

San Diego residents began returning home Saturday even as some of the worst early-season wildfires in California’s history continued to carve a swathe of destruction along the city’s drought-wasted outskirts, threatening to engulf up to 30,000 acres of land.

The dozen or so fires that raged in the less populated areas around California’s second-largest city had desolated more than 26,000 total acres of land, or 40 square miles by early Saturday, Cal Fire Capt. Richard Cordova told TIME. Only one of the seven major blazes had been fully contained, and the rest are expected to spread further.

A fire that began on Naval Weapons Station Fallbrook on Wednesday had affected over 6,500 acres and a separate fire first reported Thursday—the “Las Pulgas” fire—engulfed 15,000 acres.

A total of 11 single-family homes in San Diego county and 25 structures of the Harmony Grove Spiritualist Association have been destroyed so far in the 2,520-acre Cocos fire, based on a damage assessment late Friday by local authorities. Dozens of home have been swallowed up over the course of the week.

An unusually harsh drought this season, along with hot, arid winds from the east have made the region particularly susceptible to fire, said Cordova, exacerbating the risk of the region’s 10-year fire cycle, which lands this year.

“We get extreme fire behavior every 10 years and the drought doesn’t help. This is very odd for the month of May to have these types of fires,” Cordova said.

Parts of the county were reopened for residents after some of the worst fires were quelled, with sections of San Marcos and the Del Dios corridor around Lake Hodges, but much of the area remained closed as the fire continued to burn actively with strong winds.

Up to 125,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, Reuters reports.

Authorities were investigating how so many fires started at the same time and whether they were intentionally set. Two teenagers were arrested on Thursday on suspicion of setting two small fires that bystanders quickly extinguished. A 57-year-old man was also charged with arson Friday in connection with a fire near the suburban area of Oceanside.

The fire erupted Wednesday near the town of San Marcos after the worst drought season since the federal government began monitoring levels in 2000.

Local firefighters are working closely with the U.S. military and national guard this year, who will deploy aid within 24 hours, faster than the four to five days of previous years, the Cordova said.

The fire could burn as much as 30,000 acres but cooler, more humid weather over the next few days will help firefighting efforts.

9 Things Your Feet Reveal About Your Health

Posted: 17 May 2014 09:21 AM PDT

The nurse just took your temperature, checked your blood pressure, and even made you step on the scale (with that heavy sweater on, no less). And as she hands you the paper gown, she gives her final directive: "You can leave your socks on."

When it comes to your health, that could be a big mistake. A change in your feet—whether on the skin, nails, or even how they feel—can be the first sign of a potentially serious problem that, if caught early, could save your life. "Our feet are the first parts to be affected by nerve issues because they're the farthest from our hearts and spine," explains Carolyn McAloon, DPM, a Bay Area podiatrist and president of the California Podiatric Medication Association. Even more reason to never ignore feet: They're easily compromised when our bodies feel threatened, since we send blood to the internal organs and the brain before the extremities. (Check out 9 Insanely comfortable podiatrist-approved sandals that won't wreck your feet. )

Here, we reveal what could be lurking behind your most common foot concerns. If you see something familiar on the list, it's best to get it checked by your doc or podiatrist before attempting any treatment.

1. Hairless feet and toes

What it might mean: Serious circulation problems

Sure, it's a pain during sandal season, but hair on your toes is a good thing. Sudden baldness can be a sign that your feet aren't getting enough blood flow to sustain hair growth. Expect your doctor to check for a pulse in your feet, which is another indication that your heart may not be able to pump enough blood to your feet, says Dr. McAloon.

2. Frequent foot cramping

What it might mean: Dehydration and nutritional deficiencies

Randomly occurring cramps are about as generic as foot problems get. They can be as serious as circulation and nerve issues, or as harmless as a nutritional deficiency. If you're exercising, be sure to drink plenty of water, since dehydration often leads to muscle cramping. You might also try upping your intake of potassium, magnesium, and calcium (with your doctor's go-ahead, of course), since their deficiencies make cramps more common. "For relief, soak feet in a warm foot bath and stretch your toes toward your nose, not pointing down," says Dr. McAloon. If the cramps don’t let up, see your doctor for testing to rule out circulation issues or nerve damage.

3. A sore that won't heal

What it might mean: Diabetes or skin cancer

Stubborn sores are red flags for diabetes. Uncontrolled glucose levels in the blood can lead to nerve damage all the way down in your feet, which means any cut, sore, or scrape can come and go without you ever feeling it. And if it gets infected, the most serious cases may call for amputation.

A non-healing wound can also be a sign of skin cancer, says Dr. McAloon. Melanoma can pop up anywhere on your body—even in between your toes—so be sure to include your feet in your regular skin checks. (Brush up on your mole-detecting skills here.)

4. Perpetually cold feet

What it might mean: Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the most common cause of feet that just can't get warm. And if you're over 40, you could be living with a sluggish thyroid without even knowing it. Unfortunately, cold feet are the least of your problems—hypothyroidism can also cause hair loss, fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and depression. Get your feet feeling toasty again by heading to your doc for a simple blood test, and you'll start warming up shortly after starting the daily medication.

5. Suddenly enlarged big toe

What it might mean: Gout or other inflammatory issue

"The sudden onset of a red, hot, swollen, and painful joint requires immediate medical attention," says Dr. McAloon. Typical causes include gout, inflammatory arthritis, infection, or trauma.

6. Bunions

What it might mean: Inherited faulty foot structure

If you thought your bunions were caused exclusively by a closet full of gorgeous (yet restrictive and often painful) shoes, you can stop blaming the boutique. Bunions are actually a sign of a flawed foot structure that's often inherited and merely aggravated by inappropriate shoes. "The first foot bone drives toward the middle of the body, and you see the bump," explains Dr. McAloon. It can be painful and unsightly, but the only way to really correct it is with surgery.

7. Heel pain

What it might mean: Plantar fasciitis

You can't mistake it—that sharp pain in the bottom of the heel when you get out of bed or stand up from a chair. It's a strain of the ligament that supports you arch. And whether you did it by wearing too-tight shoes, walking in flip-flops, or wearing worn-out workout sneakers, the longer you let it go, the longer it takes to heal. Your podiatrist will probably tell you to ease up on your workout at first, rethink your footwear, and adopt a good stretching routine.

8. Flaky, itchy, or peeling skin

What it might mean: Fungal infection

Even if you're never donned an athletic jersey in your life, you could still be walking around with athlete's foot—the euphemistic term for a fungal infection. The most common cause of itchiness and peeling, it can be treated by applying anti-fungal cream and keeping your feet as cool and dry as possible during the day. If you're fungus-free, you might be dealing with eczema or psoriasis—both to be determined by your podiatrist through a skin sample.

More from Prevention: 9 Highly Effective Eczema Treatments

9. Yellow toenails

What it might mean: Fungus or pedicure overload

Seeing yellow when you look down? Don't freak out—especially if you’ve been wearing nail polish for months on end without a break. "Yellowness can also happen naturally with age," says Dr. McAloon. If it's accompanied by brittleness or flaking, it's most likely you have a fungal infection like athlete's foot.

The article was written by Nina Elias and originally appeared on Prevention.com

A Quick Guide to India’s Next Prime Minister

Posted: 17 May 2014 08:34 AM PDT

On the news that Narendra Modi will be India’s next Prime Minister, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE Sensex) experienced its biggest gains in five years.

The market leaped on the election of the tea vendor turned politician due to his stellar track record increasing the economy of his state Gujarat by 10% annually. Many hope he can do the same for the nation’s economy as a whole.

But Modi comes with some baggage. In 2002, religious riots in Gujarat left more than a thousand Muslims dead, on his watch. Modi has been cleared by the Indian Supreme Court of any blame, but remains a controversial figure despite his economic knowhow.

These Are The 69 Words GM Employees Were Forbidden from Using

Posted: 17 May 2014 08:07 AM PDT

Documents released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Friday show that there are some things you can say if you’re an employee at the kingpin automaker… and there are other things you just can’t.

Released as part of General Motors’ $35 million settlement with the U.S. government over its faulty ignition switch scandal, the slides from a company presentation in 2008 told employees to choose their words carefully, because anything said could end up publicized.

Basically, the presentation is a 101 in how to avoid a PR disaster. It’s not hard to imagine how the meeting unfolded.

GM management appears to have asked employees not to liken vehicles to “rolling sarcophagi,” and not to compare an automobile to the “Titanic” or the “Hindenburg.” And it could have really unnerved drivers if they heard that GM engineers had called their Chevrolet Malibus “gruesome” “deathtraps.” Staying away from the whole death thing was apparently highly recommended.

Employees were asked to avoid the use of the world “inferno” (unless, perhaps they were referring to the epic poem by Dante Alighieri, or the equally classic Dan Brown tale), and they were asked to avoid language that might evoke “explosions” or “powder kegs.” Cutting imagery such as “mutilating,” “lacerating” and even the more equivocal “potentially-disfiguring” was also to be eschewed.

Apocalyptic language, particularly in reference to their vehicles, was not condoned. And no, “Kevorkianesque” was not acceptable language, unless perhaps employees were rationally discussing the merits of euthanasia.

Here’s a full list of example words employees were asked to avoid:

always, annihilate, apocalyptic, asphyxiating, bad, Band-Aid, big time, brakes like an "X" car, cataclysmic, catastrophic, Challenger, chaotic, Cobain, condemns, Corvair-like, crippling, critical, dangerous, deathtrap, debilitating, decapitating, defect, defective, detonate, disemboweling, enfeebling, evil, eviscerated, explode, failed, flawed, genocide, ghastly, grenadelike, grisly, gruesome, Hindenburg, Hobbling, Horrific, impaling, inferno, Kevorkianesque, lacerating, life-threatening, maiming, malicious, mangling, maniacal, mutilating, never, potentially-disfiguring, powder keg, problem, rolling sarcophagus (tomb or coffin), safety, safety related, serious, spontaneous combustion, startling, suffocating, suicidal, terrifying, Titanic, unstable, widow-maker, words or phrases with a biblical connotation, you're toast

A spokesman for GM, Greg Martin, said the company’s culture has changed since the 2008 training session in which the PowerPoint presentation was shown. “Today’s GM encourages employees to discuss safety issues, which is reinforced through GM’s recently announced Speak Up for Safety Program,” Martin said in a statement to Reuters.

GM has promised to improve employee training regarding documentation practices and discussion of safety issues, as part of the government settlement. But don’t expect the automaker to name its next SUV model “Challenger” any time soon.

Here’s the list as seen on the original document:

Screen-Shot-2014-05-17-at-11.05

After Huge Win, Next Indian PM Begins Victory Lap

Posted: 17 May 2014 07:52 AM PDT

NEW DELHI (AP) — Thousands of people welcomed India’s next prime minister in the capital on Saturday after he led his party to a resounding election victory, with Narendra Modi flashing a victory sign to his cheering supporters and telling them that the win “created a new confidence among people.”

Results announced Friday from the weekslong polls showed that Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had won the most decisive election victory India has seen in three decades, sweeping the long-dominant Congress party from power.

On Saturday, Modi was greeted by roaring crowds outside the BJP’s headquarters in the heart of New Delhi, where he met with the party’s leadership to discuss forming a new government.

The headquarters were festooned with garlands made of marigold flowers and multicolored balloons. Supporters blew conch shells, which traditionally mark the start of most Hindu rituals. As Modi walked toward the office, he was showered with rose petals.

In a country where elections usually result in cacophony rather than a single roar, Modi pulled off a mandate of staggering proportions, leaving him unfettered to pursue the agenda of economic revival and development that propelled him to victory.

What remains to be seen is how quickly Modi, who has ruled the western state of Gujarat since 2001, can match the enormous expectations he has created in an electorate that is hungry for change.

“One might envy Narendra Modi his awesome electoral victory yesterday. But the challenges he faces as India’s 17th prime minister are scarcely enviable,” Mohan Guruswamy, an economist long associated with the BJP, wrote in The Citizen, an online journal.

For most of the past two years, Modi, 63, has worked relentlessly to market himself as the one leader capable of waking this nation of 1.2 billion from its economic slumber, while trying to shake off allegations that he looked the other way amid communal riots in his home state in 2002 that killed 1,000 people, most of them Muslims.

On Saturday, as thousands of people cheered and danced in the streets to welcome him to the capital, it was clear that Modi had managed to win the confidence of a large number of Indians.

Modi and the BJP wiped out a Congress party that had dominated Indian politics for all but a decade since the country gained freedom from British rule in 1947.

The final tally showed that the BJP had won 282 seats and Congress just 44 in the 543-strong Lok Sabha, or lower house of Parliament — meaning Modi will be able to form a government without the support of smaller parties.

The last time any single party won a majority in India was in 1984, when the Congress party swept more than 400 seats following the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

But 30 years later, India is in the midst of rapid socio-economic change. About 13 million young people are entering the job market each year, but not enough jobs are being created in an economy that has slowed down to below 5 percent in the last two years. Prices of food have spiraled, as has unemployment.

For voters, the priorities in this election were no longer bound by old traditional religious and caste allegiances. Instead, jobs and development were their main priority, and after having promised them that, Modi’s real challenge lies ahead.

The BJP has promised to change tough labor laws that make foreign manufacturers reluctant to set up factories in India. Manufacturing makes up only 15 percent of India’s economy, compared to 31 percent in China. Attracting manufacturing investment is key to creating jobs, and foreign investors have been pouring billions of dollars into Indian stocks and bonds in anticipation of a Modi victory.

Modi himself looked forward, confidently promising to start work on his agenda quickly and thanking voters for giving him a clear mandate.

A new government will take office sometime after the BJP’s newly elected lawmakers formally appoint Modi as prime minister on Tuesday, but no date has been set, party President Rajnath Singh told reporters.

Outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Indian President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday and gave him his resignation.

Continuing his victory lap, Modi headed later Saturday to Varanasi, the town on the banks of the Ganges river that is revered by millions of devout Hindus. An elaborately decorated platform was built for him to offer prayers on the banks of the river. Saffron flags fluttered above the flower-bedecked platform, and thousands of supporters and onlookers milled around to watch as Hindu priests chanted sacred verses and burned incense.

But amid the euphoria of the win, Modi’s own party struck a restrained note.

“Our promises will be fulfilled within the five-year mandate that we have been given,” close Modi aide and BJP General Secretary Amit Shah told New Delhi Television channel, brushing aside questions on what the party’s agenda in the first 100 days in office would be.

Gurcharan Das, the former head of Procter & Gamble in India, said Modi “should go for the low-hanging fruits first.”

“There are so many projects that are stuck at various stages,” Das said. “If he gets a group of talented people, gives the bureaucracy a sense of purpose and clarity of what he wants, that will be the quickest way to start executing projects.”

Modi’s critics have questioned whether his divisive past makes him a leader under whom India’s many religious minorities — especially its 138 million Muslims — could feel safe.

Sreeram Chaulia, a political analyst and dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, said that Modi “may have started his career on the extreme right, but he’s coming more toward the center now. And he will have to. The average voter is not interested in religious tensions.”

Modi’s foreign policy is likely to focus heavily on trade and investment, which he has said the current government ignored. But overall, it’s unlikely to be dramatically different from his predecessors, including relationships with key nations such as the United States and China.

“There may be a change of emphasis, but in terms of foreign policy, I don’t foresee any drastic or dramatic departure from the past,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian ambassador to the United States.

‘Biggest Dinosaur Ever’ Unearthed in Argentina

Posted: 17 May 2014 07:11 AM PDT

Move over, Godzilla.

The largest dinosaur ever known to walk the earth has been unearthed in Argentina, and it really is a monster.

Based on its thigh bones, the dinosaur was 130 feet long and 65 feet tall, and at 85 tons, it was the weight of 14 African elephants. Basically, picture a seven-story building as long as a large yacht, and then add a set of teeth.

Scientists believe it is a previously undiscovered species of titanosaur — a herbivore, luckily for other dinosaurs who lived during the Late Cretaceous period.

The remains were discovered in the desert La Flecha about 135 miles west of Patagonia by a local farm worker, and excavated by paleontologists from Museum of Palaeontology Egidio Feruglio. About 150 bones have been found “in remarkable condition,” researchers said.

The huge herbivore lived in the forests of Patagonia between 95 and 100 million years ago, the team said.

[BBC]

San Diego Wildfires Leave Haunting, Burned-Out Landscapes

Posted: 17 May 2014 07:06 AM PDT

5 Healthy Ways to Eat More Chocolate

Posted: 17 May 2014 07:00 AM PDT

I'm a huge fan of dark chocolate, not only on a personal level (it's one of my fave treats!), but also as a health professional. In fact, in my last book, I devoted an entire chapter to its benefits, which include reducing blood pressure, protecting the heart and brain, and curbing cravings for both sweet and salty foods. I even built a 'daily dark chocolate escape' into the book's weight-loss plan. But many people I talk to have a tough time not overdoing it.

If you find that a treat of one or two individually wrapped squares quickly turns into a handful, try incorporating small amounts of dark chocolate into meals and snacks instead. Here are five delectable ways to do just that, so you can satisfy your choc-o-tooth without derailing your healthy efforts.

Health.com: 27 Healthy Chocolate Recipes

Blend it into a smoothie

In addition to adding dark chocolate chips or few squares of chopped dark chocolate to smoothies, you can also get your fix (and the health benefits) by whipping in unsweetened cocoa powder. The chocolaty flavor and sweetness of the cherries mask the bitterness of greens like kale, so you can sneak in an extra serving. Look for raw or pure non-Dutched cocoa powder. Dutching or alkalizing is a chemical process that lowers acidity, which has also been shown to markedly reduce the cocoa's antioxidant content. It's often done to reduce bitterness, but I find that quality brands taste wonderful in their natural, non-alkalized state.

Health.com: 25 Fattening Foods You Should Never Eat

Add it to cereal

Add some healthy decadence to the most important meal of the day by chopping a square or two of dark chocolate and swirling it into hot oatmeal, or sprinkling chocolate shavings onto cold cereal, along with sliced strawberries or a chopped mini banana. Research shows that having "dessert at breakfast" helped weight-loss seekers prevent rebound weight gain by reducing hunger and keeping cravings under control. Scientists even found that this strategy helped reduce blood levels of ghrelin, the so-called "hunger hormone." Chocolate for weight loss? Yes, indeed!

Health.com: The 20 Best Foods to Eat for Breakfast

Drizzle it

Melt a bit of dark chocolate by adding hot (but not boiling) water a little bit at a time as you continually stir, then drizzle it onto anything from fresh fruit to popped popcorn, along with a sweet spice like cinnamon. But don't stop there: A hot culinary trend is to pair dark chocolate with other unexpected foods, like chocolate-dipped asparagus, roasted cauliflower drizzled with dark chocolate, or chocolate-covered olives, sundried tomatoes, and cloves of black garlic. Hey, you never know until you try it!

Fold it into nut butter

I'm kind of obsessed with nut and seed butters. I currently have jars of every kind I could find, including pecan, walnut, macadamia nut, cashew, almond, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, hemp seed, and coconut butter. I use them in lots of ways, but one of my favorite tricks is to add things to them, including minced, unsweetened preservative-free dried fruit, spices like fresh grated ginger, rolled whole oats, and chopped dark chocolate. Smear the combo onto fresh fruit, like sliced figs or wedges of apples and pears, or use it as a filling for celery stalks or a dip for baby carrots.

Health.com: 20 Snacks That Burn Fat

Add it to savory dishes

Chocolate-dipped veggies may sound adventurous, but incorporating chocolate into savory dishes isn't all that unusual. Think: mole, the traditional Mexican sauce made with chocolate, chilis, and other spices. Other delicious ways to incorporate dark chocolate at lunch or dinner include adding it to vegetarian chili, eggplant caponata, or even hummus. Bon appetit!

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master's degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she's Health's contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches.

This article originally appeared on Health.com.

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