TOKYO (AP) — Grand champion Asashoryu of Mongolia beat compatriot Tokitenku on Sunday to win a one-day sumo tournament.

Asashoryu overpowered Miyabiyama in the semifinals before facing Tokitenku in the final at Ryogoku Kokugikan.

Asashoryu lost to compatriot Hakuho on the final day of the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament last month in his return to sumo after serving a two-tournament suspension for playing in a charity soccer tournament in Mongolia.

Asashoryu, who has won 21 Emperor’s Cups, became the first wrestler to win the annual one-day event three times in a row.

Hakuho started the one-day event from the second round but made an early exit after losing his first bout to Tokitenku, who defeated Bulgarian ozeki Kotooshu in the semifinals.

 

SOURCE: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_SPT_SUM_ASASHORYU_ASOL-?SITE=YOMIURI&SECTION=HOSTED_ASIA&TEMPLATE=ap_sports.html

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Yokozuna Asashoryu made time in between interviews with TV “personality” Mina Monta to beat fellow Mongolian Tokitenku in the final of the 32nd Japan Ozumo Tournament at Ryogoku Kokugikan on Sunday.

The yokozuna had a relatively straightforward route to the 2.5 million yen first prize, helped by yokozuna Hakuho’s loss to Tokitenku–a No. 1 maegashira at the New Year basho–in the second round.

(Feb. 11, 2008)

Researchers have found a correlation between drinking diet soda and metabolic syndrome — the collection of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes that include abdominal obesity, high cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and elevated blood press

The scientists gathered dietary information on more than 9,500 men and women ages 45 to 64 and tracked their health for nine years.

Over all, a Western dietary pattern — high intakes of refined grains, fried foods and red meat — was associated with an 18 percent increased risk for metabolic syndrome, while a “prudent” diet dominated by fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry correlated with neither an increased nor a decreased risk.

But the one-third who ate the most fried food increased their risk by 25 percent compared with the one-third who ate the least, and surprisingly, the risk of developing metabolic syndrome was 34 percent higher among those who drank one can of diet soda a day compared with those who drank none.

“This is interesting,” said Lyn M. Steffen, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota and a co-author of the paper, which was posted online in the journal Circulation on Jan. 22. “Why is it happening? Is it some kind of chemical in the diet soda, or something about the behavior of diet soda drinkers?”

Source:  Symptoms  Metabolic Syndrome Is Tied to Diet Soda – New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/health/nutrition/05symp.html

Barack Obama, then known as Barry, in a 1978 senior yearbook photo at the Punahou School in Honolulu. At Punahou, a preparatory school that had few black students, he talked with friends about race, wealth and class.

Nearly three decades ago, Barack obama  stood out on the small campus of Occidental College in Los Angeles for his eloquence, intellect and activism against apartheid in South Africa. But Mr. Obama, then known as Barry, also joined in the party scene.

Years later in his 1995 memoir, he mentioned smoking “reefer” in “the dorm room of some brother” and talked about “getting high.” Before Occidental, he indulged in marijuana, alcohol and sometimes cocaine as a high school student in Hawaii, according to the book. He made “some bad decisions” as a teenager involving drugs and drinking, Senator Obama, now a presidential candidate, told high school students in New Hampshire last November.

Mr. Obama’s admissions are rare for a politician (his book, “Dreams From My Father,” was written before he ran for office.) They briefly became a campaign issue in December when an adviser to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Obama’s chief Democratic rival, suggested that his history with drugs would make him vulnerable to Republican attacks if he became his party’s nominee.

Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has never quantified his illicit drug use or provided many details. He wrote about his two years at Occidental, a predominantly white liberal arts college, as a gradual but profound awakening from a slumber of indifference that gave rise to his activism there and his fears that drugs could lead him to addiction or apathy, as they had for many other black men.

Mr. Obama’s account of his younger self and drugs, though, significantly differs from the recollections of others who do not recall his drug use. That could suggest he was so private about his usage that few people were aware of it, that the memories of those who knew him decades ago are fuzzy or rosier out of a desire to protect him, or that he added some writerly touches in his memoir to make the challenges he overcame seem more dramatic.

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.

Vinai Thummalapally, a former California State University student who became friendly with Mr. Obama in college, remembered him as a model of moderation — jogging in the morning, playing pickup basketball at the gym, hitting the books and socializing.

“If someone passed him a joint, he would take a drag. We’d smoke or have one extra beer, but he would not even do as much as other people on campus,” recounted Mr. Thummalapally, an Obama fund-raiser. “He was not even close to being a party animal.”

Mr. Obama declined to be interviewed for this article. A campaign spokesman, Tommy Vietor, said in an e-mail message that the memoir “is a candid and personal account of what Senator Obama was experiencing and thinking at the time.”

“It’s not surprising that his friends from high school and college wouldn’t recall personal experiences and struggles that happened more than twenty years ago in the same way, and to the same extent, that he does,” he wrote.

What seems clear is that Mr. Obama’s time at Occidental from 1979 to 1981 — where he describes himself arriving as “alienated” — would ultimately set him on a course to public service. He developed a sturdier sense of self and came to life politically, particularly in his sophomore year, growing increasingly aware of harsh inequities like apartheid and poverty in the third world.

He also discovered that he wanted to be in a larger arena; one professor described Occidental back then as feeling small and provincial. Mr. Obama wrote in his memoir that he needed “a community that cut deeper than the common despair that black friends and I shared when reading the latest crime statistics, or the high fives I might exchange on a basketball court. A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments.”

Mr. Obama wrote that he learned of a transfer program that Occidental had with Columbia and applied. “He was so bright and wanted a wider urban experience,” recalled Anne Howells, a former English professor at Occidental who taught Mr. Obama and wrote him a recommendation for Columbia.

Read more:Friends Say Drugs Played Only Bit Part for Obama

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/09/us/politics/09obama.html

Religion gets personal

February 9, 2008

Japanese attitudes toward religion have often been considered something of a paradox–most Japanese consider themselves nonreligious but still visit religious facilities. In this installment of the “Currents” series, The Daily Yomiuri examines what religion means to the Japanese.

In a sun-filled, spacious “house” replete with refined European furniture, the former beauty queen’s grandchildren sang the heartwarming “Shiki no Uta” (Song of Four Seasons), the family’s favorite song. The family watched home videos, often chuckling as they recalled lighthearted moments and events that had slipped from memory over the years.

It was a pleasant family gathering on a pleasant day. And as they said their final goodbyes to the 88-year-old woman, her funeral came to an end.

Rather than following traditional funeral rituals, her relatives had opted for a more personal ceremony that they thought reflected the closeness of the family.

Witnessing this funeral service four years ago convinced Kenichi Nitto, the general manager of funeral company Kansai Shinseikatsu Gojokai, that he had been right to foresee a growing demand for such personalized rites in which families have more input in the proceedings.

When Nitto entered the funeral business about 30 years ago, he took it for granted that Buddhist rituals would be an integral part of any funeral. But when Nitto looked ahead to his own funeral, he realized he wanted a personal ceremony with a more homey feel that would assuage his family’s grief.

The result was Memorial House Keyakinomori funeral hall in Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture. Furnished with a stylish bathroom, beds, a kotatsu and even a kitchen, Keyakinomori is a far cry from the conventional funeral halls where Buddhist monks chant sutra before a wooden altar adorned with rows of chrysanthemums and other flowers.

Funerals held there since it opened in 2003 have catered to personal preferences and often are largely free of religious influence.

“More and more people are stepping away from the preconception that funerals require monks,” Nitto said. “At first, we were very worried whether people would accept such an extraordinary idea. But it turned out to be just what people wanted.”

Many Japanese people still associate funeral services with Buddhism. But this religion–in its original form–did not attach much importance to funeral services.

Instead, Shintoism–the indigenous religion of Japan–has influenced funeral traditions and rituals, said Sachiya Hiro, who has written many books on religion.

“Today’s funerals are actually shaped by Shintoism,” Hiro said. “Buddhism doesn’t have a conventional role in funerals. Buddhist thinking follows that whatever happens after people die should be left alone.”

Buddhism came to play a big part in funeral services in Japan in the late Edo period (1603-1867) at the politically motivated instruction of the shogunate. Before that, community leaders had conducted rituals in accordance with Shinto-influenced customs when a member of their community died.

In an attempt to stamp out Christianity, the shogunate required all families to register with a temple and placed the Buddhist institution in charge of ritual care of the dead. With the funeral being such an important Christian rite, the shogunate could deduce that anyone who did not follow the Buddhist service after death was likely to be a Christian.

“The monks were ordered to conduct funerals for common people. Until then they had never arranged such rituals,” Hiro said. “So they simply copied the rituals they had performed for funerals of their fellow monks.”

The practice of giving kaimyo–posthumous names to go to the spirit world–also spread to commoners at this time, according to Hiro.

After the sweeping reforms led by the GHQ of the Allied Occupation of Japan after World War II, temples were stripped of the income from their large land holdings, and had little option but to rely on funerals or anniversary memorial services as a way of generating revenue, he said. About the only other recourse available was to transform themselves into tourist attractions to stay afloat.

As illustrated by the services offered at Keyakinomori, however, a growing number of people are opting for funerals that they feel better accommodate their personal preferences.

A quiet change is also afoot in funeral practices.

Since the early 1990s, the practice of scattering ashes, called sankotsu, which was not uncommon before the Edo period, has gained growing acceptance, particularly among people uncomfortable with the manner and cost of conventional funerals and those who do not want to burden their family with the responsibility of looking after an ancestral tomb. For example, the Grave-Free Promotion Society, a nonprofit organization, has performed such “natural funerals” for more than 2,200 people on nearly 1,300 occasions since 1991.

===

Changing perceptions?

Recent trends indicate a diluted embrace of organized religion with regard to funerals, but what about Japanese consciousness of religion overall?

In recent years, more and more Japanese have considered themselves nonreligious. According to a 2005 Yomiuri Shimbun survey, 75 percent of respondents said they did not really believe in any religion.

But scholar Tetsuo Yamaori brushes off the argument that Japanese are nonreligious, saying Japanese simply do not follow specific faiths in the same way as followers of monotheistic faiths. He blames the post-Meiji education system’s fixation with modernization for causing the Japanese to misunderstand their indigenous religion.

Since the reintroduction of Western religions shaped intellectuals in the Meiji era (1868-1912) and influenced the definition of the term “religion,” Japanese have fallen into the habit of viewing their indigenous faith from the viewpoint of monotheistic religions such as Christianity, which believe there is only one god, said Yamaori, a professor emeritus of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies.

“For more than 100 years, we have identified our own faith through the framework of monotheistic religions,” he said. “We’ve come to think that our own religion is primitive and less sophisticated and it’s not what a religion should be.”

According to Yamaori, Japanese religion is polytheistic and tolerant of other religious beliefs, and evolved around nature worship, which he calls season religion, and the concept of “mu,” or nothingness.

Japanese people have long appreciated seasonal change, such as the blooming of cherry blossoms or the arrival of autumn foliage, and sensed the existence of many gods in nature. At the same time, Japan’s vulnerability to natural disasters cultivated feelings of awe toward the environment. Tenets of Buddhist belief, such as that nothing remains unchanged and everyone that is born must die, fit snugly with this sentiment.

The claim that many Japanese are nonreligious seems to come unstuck when one considers the number that still feel a connection to religious sites.

In the 2005 Yomiuri survey, more than 80 percent of respondents said they had visited a shrine, temple or church at some time during the past year. The survey also found many seek divine help when trouble strikes. And just last month, the National Police Agency said 98.2 million people visited shrines or temples across the country in the first three days of 2008–the highest number since 1974.

This paradox–in which many Japanese regard themselves nonreligious but still visit religious facilities–has intrigued observers.

“If you are looking at the cognitive dimension of religion where you’re focusing on belief, it seems Japanese are rather less religious than, say, Americans,” said Mark Mullins, a professor of Japanese religion and society at Sophia University. “But if you look at ritual behavior and participation, all of a sudden, the population is actually fairly religious.

“You might say [hatsumode and doing things relating to the family and graves of ancestors] is just a custom. That may be, but they are going to a sacred place,” he said.

Mullins added that this kind of practice, however, only rarely translates into exclusive commitment or belonging to one religious organization, with survey research revealing that just under 10 percent of Japanese claim to belong to a religious organization.

===

Revival of spiritualism

Japanese culture, society and civilization have been predicated on religious beliefs, yet many Japanese have drifted away from these beliefs as negative images of organized religion have put down deep roots.

Many religious scholars say the 1995 subway sarin attack carried out by the Aum Supreme Truth cult accentuated negative attitudes and suspicions about religion, leading to what has been dubbed a Japanese “allergy” to organized religion.

However, Japanese religious behavior does not necessarily correspond to their cognitive-level beliefs.

Many people seem to be seeking alternative ways to find solace or peace of mind–on a spiritual level.

Fumio Kaneki of Yokohama travels to the trendy Tokyo district of Nishi-Azabu on Monday evenings. Shopping and a fancy dinner are not on his mind: rather, Kaneki makes his way to the heart of one of the world’s busiest capitals to find some quiet and peace of mind. Tucked away down a quiet side street, Chokokuji temple offers zazen meditation sessions.

“I’ve been coming here for about 20 years,” the 75-year-old said. “At first I would drop in after a day at the office, just to recharge my batteries.”

According to Shobo Shimizu, who is in charge of zazen at Chokokuji, the temple provides the sessions in the evening so people can come and unwind for an hour or two after work. When The Daily Yomiuri visited Chokokuji last month, about 65 people were attending the session. On average, about 40 to 70 people aged from their 20s to their 70s take part each week, with some coming from as far away as Saitama and Chiba prefectures, Shimizu said.

Naoki Kashio, Keio University associate professor, said spirituality is nothing new to Japanese.

“Spirituality has been at the core of religion since ancient times. But existing religions are no longer doing very well at inducing this sense of spirituality in people,” Kashio said. “Yet people still want to believe in the existence of a higher being and feel a connection with something intangible.”

In 2004, Kashio and some fellow researchers launched a Web site called “Spiritual Navigator,” aimed at improving understanding of religion. The site mainly attracts people in their 20s and 30s and receives 1 million hits a month.

Kashio’s assertion that people have a craving for a spiritual connection is being borne out by a recent spiritual boom.

Take, for example, spiritual counselor Hiroyuki Ehara, who has achieved almost rock-star status, appearing regularly on TV and in magazines. His books have sold more than 9 million copies, and the popularity of his late-night TV show saw it shifted to a prime-time slot.

“There are still people who are seekers for some kind of meaning or some kind of practice that makes life worth living or manageable,” Mullins said. “I think this reflects a new individualism and volunteerism in Japanese religiosity, more experimentation outside of institutional religion.”

(Feb. 9, 2008)

Dichlorvos, an organic phosphorus pesticide detected on the packaging of frozen gyoza linked to a food poisoning case in Fukushima Prefecture, is widely used in China, including for the production of bootleg liquor.

The pesticide is used by farmers to exterminate insect pests, and also as a domestic pesticide for killing mosquitoes and other insects.

According to reports in the Chinese press, there was a mass-poisoning case in the country’s northwestern Gansu Province in 2006 in which a middle school student was killed and three other children fell seriously ill after they mistakenly consumed the chemical.

In 2001, a woman in northeastern Heilongjiang Province mistakenly sprinkled the chemical, which was kept in a small bottle in her kitchen, on a plate of gyoza dumplings.

She fell ill after eating the gyoza and was treated in a hospital.

In China some believe that the chemical can be used to give home-distilled liquor a more punchy flavor.

There are media reports that a man developed poisoning symptoms after drinking liquor to which he had added dichlorvos.

In 2007, the authorities in Guizhou Province confiscated bottles of dichlorvos as well as syringes when they raided a factory producing bootleg mao-tai liquor.

A man suspected of involvement in producing the liquor said the pesticide made the bootleg product very similar to genuine mao-tai.

There have also been reports of a pickle producer adding the pesticide to its products to keep them fresh, and a meat processor selling sausages that had been kept in a liquid solution of the chemical.

A 30-year-old farmer who lives near Tianyang Food Processing in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, whose products sparked the food poisoning scare in Japan, said he considers the chemical safe.

“I’d eat a tomato covered with dichlorvos after giving it a quick wipe with my hands. It would be all right as the pesticide is not a deadly poison,” the farmer added.

===

Employees investigated in China

By Satoshi Saeki

Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

BEIJING–Authorities in China’s Hebei Province, where the scandal-hit Tianyang Food Processing firm is located, confiscated company documents, including personnel records, as part of a probe into its employees, a Japanese government team that inspected the company said in Beijing on Wednesday.

According to the team, the authorities’ investigation is focusing on employees who worked at the factory during the period the gyoza packages tainted with chemicals were produced.

The team said the authorities seem increasingly inclined to believe somebody intentionally laced the products with chemicals, rather than being an incident caused by a failure of sanitary control.

(Feb. 8, 2008)

NAGOYA–A former sumo stablemaster was arrested Thursday on suspicionarrested sumo wrestlers of assault resulting in the death of a 17-year-old wrestler in June, police said.

The former Tokitsukaze stablemaster, whose real name is Junichi Yamamoto, was arrested along with three wrestlers from the stable over the death of Tokitaizan, whose real name was Takashi Saito, after apparent hazing. The three wrestlers are Yuichiro Izuka, 25 (known as Doto), Masanori Fujii, 22 (Tokiomaru), Masakazu Kimura, 24 (Akiyutaka).

Yamamoto, 57, became the first person to be arrested over a sumo-related incident that took place when he was a stablemaster.

According to the Aichi prefectural police and Inuyama Police Station, Yamamoto, the three arrested wrestlers and four others assaulted Saito during training sessions between 12:40 p.m. on June 25 and 11:30 a.m. on June 26 at the stable’s temporary lodgings in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, where they were staying ahead of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament. Saito collapsed after full-contact practice called butsukarigeiko on June 26. He was sent to the hospital but died later the same day.

Yamamoto allegedly hit Saito over the head with a beer bottle on June 25 after the wrestler tried to flee the stable’s lodgings. Yamamoto also allegedly told the three wrestlers to assault Saito. During the butsukarigeiko, he allegedly hit Saito with a wooden stick.

According to the police, Yamamoto admitted to hitting Saito with a beer bottle, but he denied it was because Saito had tried to escape. Yamamoto also denied having instructed the wrestlers to assault Saito.

Izuka and Fujii basically admitted to the allegations, but Kimura said he believed he was disciplining Saito.

The police plan to send papers on four other wrestlers suspected of taking part in the assault.

The police initially said Saito died from illness, but an autopsy at Niigata University found he died from traumatic shock. Later, an examination by Nagoya University specialists of Saito’s body tissue also found a connection between the assault and his death.

Butsukarigeiko involves a wrestler repeatedly pushing an inert opponent, who is in a brace position, across the ring. It is designed to build stamina and usually occurs at the end of training sessions. Normally lasting for a maximum of five minutes, it is not uncommon for wrestlers to vomit after such training. Police say Saito was forced to undergo the training for about 30 minutes.

Yamamoto was dismissed by the Japan Sumo Association in October over the scandal.

JSA Chairman Kitanoumi lamented the arrest of Yamamoto and the three others Thursday night. “It’s so regrettable that sumo wrestlers have been arrested,” Kitanoumi said at a press conference held at Tokyo’s Ryogoku Kokugikan.

The chairman said he hoped the four would cooperate with the police investigation. Referring to a possible punishment by the JSA on the four, he said, “We’ll take measures that we think necessary while looking at a future judicial judgment.”

He added that the JSA committee set up after the incident to examine ways to prevent a recurrence will take measures to handle the case.

Source:  http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20080208TDY01304.htm

A Kenyan policeman is to be charged with murder after being filmed shooting at two men who were later found dead during election protests, police say.

A Kenyan TV captured the moment when police fired on protesters in Kisumu. ( video of shooting)

The shooting in the western city of Kisumu shocked the country and led to an official enquiry.

Former UN chief Kofi Annan, who is mediating peace talks, says it is too dangerous to hold new polls for a year.

An estimated 1,000 people have been killed and 300,000 others fled their homes during the clashes.

Meanwhile, the talks between the government and opposition aimed at ending five weeks of unrest are on the brink of collapse, says the BBC’s Noel Mwakugu in Nairobi.

He says the two sides could not agree on a proposal to share power while fresh presidential elections were organised.

The United States has put a travel ban on 10 MPs from both sides for allegedly being involved in the violence since dispute elections.

Kenya’s KTN television, which broadcast the footage of the protesters allegedly being killed, reports that Constable Edward Kirui has been arrested and transferred to Nairobi, where he is to appear in court.

He was seen firing his gun as protesters taunted police during protests at alleged election fraud in the opposition stronghold of Kisumu on 16 January.

He then went over to one of them as he lay on the ground and kicked him in the back.

George William Onyango and Ishmael Chacha were later found dead with bullet wounds.

The opposition has accused the police of having a shoot-to-kill policy.

The UN humanitarian affairs coordinator Louise Arbour has sent a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights violations during the violence.

‘Commendable’

The US envoy in Kenya Michael Ranneberger said those affected by the travel ban had been notified by his office and the move would also affect their immediate family members.

Government spokesman Alfred Mutua welcomed the move and urged the US to name those affected to avoid speculation.

“This is a commendable move and it exhibits the American government’s strong stand on crimes against humanity and genocide,” he said in a statement.

The opposition Orange Democratic Movement is yet to respond.

Both sides have accused their rivals of ethnic cleansing after attacks on members of ethnic groups seen as backing either President Mwai Kibaki or ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Mr Kibaki was declared the winner but Mr Odinga says he was cheated of victory.

The talks led by Mr Annan were adjourned on Wednesday amid sharp disagreements.

“I would be totally opposed to a re-election in this climate. There’s lots of insecurity around parts of the country,” the former UN secretary general said.

The government team insisted that the dispute be resolved through legal means or constitutional reforms.

Both sides were however in agreement that re-tallying or a recount of the presidential votes should not be done.

The ODM has questioned the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK).

Mr Annan says tough issues have returned to haunt the talks but both groups have found common ground on the need to disband and reconstitute the ECK.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council called on Kenya’s political leaders to solve the crisis there through “dialogue, negotiation and compromise”.

In its first official response to the unrest sparked by December’s disputed election, the council expressed concern at the “dire humanitarian situation”.

Foreign ministers from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Somalia have arrived in Nairobi for a meeting of the East African regional group, Igad, on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

Source: BBC NEWS Africa Murder charges for Kenya police http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7232372.stm

Becoming overweight as a child is more likely to be the result of your genes than your lifestyle, claims a study.University College London researchers examined more than 5,000 pairs of identical and non-identical twins.

Their American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that differences in body mass index and waist size were 77% governed by genes.

An anti-obesity group said regardless of genes, a balanced diet and exercise were vital to good health.

Children who are overweight are likely to be overweight or obese in adulthood, raising the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, stroke and diabetes later in life.

However, despite the emergence of some possible genes that contribute to obesity, there is still debate as to the extent to which we are pre-programmed to be overweight by our genetic makeup.

The study, from the Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL, goes some way to answering that question.

Background match

Twin studies are a good way to test how far our genes or our environment influence our development.

Identical twins have exactly the same genes, while non-identical twins are genetically different, like brother and sister.

However, because they were born at the same time, and raised in the same household, they can be assumed to have roughly similar upbringing in terms of food.

This allows scientists to measure differences in weight and calculate how much of that difference can be blamed on environment, and how much on genes, even though it doesn’t identify individual genes which might be linked to obesity.

Even if someone has a gene which predisposes them to obesity, it doesn’t mean they will become obese if they work hard to eat healthily
Tam Fry
Child Growth Foundation

They worked out that the effect of a bad environment was far less marked than the effect of a child’s genes.

Professor Jane Wardle, who led the study, said: “It is wrong to place all the blame for a child’s excessive weight gain on the parents – it is more likely to be due to the child’s genetic susceptibility.

“These results do not mean that a child with a high complement of susceptibility genes will inevitably become overweight, but that their genetic endowment gives them a stronger predisposition.”

Exercise call

Tam Fry, from the Child Growth Foundation, said that it was important that parents did not give up on healthy lifestyles.

“The gene pool hasn’t changed so dramatically in the last 30 years, at a time when obesity has grown out of sight.

“Even if someone has a gene which predisposes them to obesity, it doesn’t mean they will become obese if they work hard to eat healthily, and take more exercise to burn off those calories.”

Sara Hiom, from Cancer Research UK, said that parents of children showing early weight gain should have additional support to keep them healthy.

“We know that obesity is an important risk factor for a number of cancers so it is important for us all to do what we can to reduce our risk of the disease by eating healthily and maintaining an active lifestyle.”

In a separate piece of research, US scientists said they had found clear signs that obesity was “hard-wired” into the brain at birth.

Differences in the brains of obesity-prone rats could be spotted just weeks after birth, the journal Cell Metabolism reported.

Source:  BBC NEWS   Health   Obesity ‘may be largely genetic’ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7230065.stm

An Indian doctor has been sentenced to life in jail for secretly filming his patients while they were naked and placing the footage on the internet.
The court in the city of Chennai (Madras) heard orthopaedic doctor L Prakash had placed nude footage of his women patients on paid websites.

He was also charged with having lured people to his property for sex.

Another three people, two of them medical staff, were sentenced to seven years each for their involvement.

They were found guilty of criminal intimidation and kidnapping or abduction for sex.

Source:BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Indian doctor gets life over porn http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7233350.stm