News briefs

Local news

Health department urging Utahns to get vaccinated for two flu strains

Salt Lake City

The H1N1 flu strain reached pandemic proportions last spring, but health officials say the worst is yet to come.

The Salt Lake Valley Health Department is urging people to prepare themselves. In fact, the organization said this flu season may be more severe than Utah has seen in many years.

The Salt Lake Valley Health Department predicts the H1N1 flu pandemic will strike close to 40 percent of the valley’s population and will result in more than 100 deaths than in a typical flu season.

Vaccines for H1N1 will be in Utah around the beginning of November, but it is recommended that everyone still get a seasonal flu shot.

Because the peak is expected before vaccines are available, the Health Deparment says the best defense comes from covering coughs, staying home if sick and frequent hand washing.

With H1N1 vaccine not expected until late October or early November and with a limited initial supply, residents should know that not everyone will receive a vaccination.

Priority groups to receive the H1N1 vaccine

• Pregnant women

• People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age

• Healthcare and emergency services personnel

• People 6 months through 24 years of age

• People ages 25 through 64 years with chronic health disorders such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, chronic cardiovascular disease and those with compromised immune systems.

National news

Tufts University: No sex in room while roommate is present

Boston, Massachusetts

A new policy at Tufts University prohibits students in dorms from having sex while their roommate is in the room, according to the university’s 2009-2010 student handbook.

The Massachusetts university’s formal rule also bars so-called “sexiling” – exiling a roommate from the room so the other roommate can engage in sexual activity.

A school spokeswoman says students have expressed concerns over roommates having sex in the dorms and that the news policy is really about consideration and respect for others.

The new guidelines for students hosting overnight guests say that “You may not engage in sexual activity while your roommate is present in the room. And sexual activity within your assigned room should not ever deprive your roommate(s) of privacy, study or sleep time.”

Students agree that the new rule is going to be difficult to implement; however the school explained that if a problem is identified and brought to the attention of residence officials, the university will help the affected student have a conversation with his/ her roommate to address the situation.

Travolta testifies Bahamas medic threatened him

Nassau, Bahamas

John Travolta testified on Sept. 30 that a Bahamas paramedic threatened to sell stories to the news media suggesting the movie star was at fault in the death of his 16-year-old son.

Travolta said paramedic Tarino Lightbourne, who is now on trial for extortion, demanded $25 million.

If he did not pay, Travolta told the jury, Lightbourne indicated he would use against him a consent document that the actor initially signed refusing to have his son Jett sent to a local hospital. The document cleared Lightbourne of any liability.

Travolta was testifying in the second week of the trial of Lightbourne and Pleasant Bridgewater, a former Bahamas senator who allegedly negotiated with the actor’s lawyers for the medic. Both defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Travolta testified last week that he signed the document because he initially wanted his son flown to Florida for treatment. But Jett, who had suffered a seizure at a family vacation home on Grand Bahama island, was taken instead to a local hospital, where he died on Jan. 2.

Travolta and his wife, Kelly Preston, left the Nassau courthouse immediately after his testimony in an entourage of cars with their attorneys and bodyguards.

A Bahamian attorney for Travolta, Allyson Maynard-Gibson, has testified that Bridgewater told her in a January meeting that the paramedic was talking with a woman from an unidentified American news outlet “who said it might be beneficial to him if he could show that Travolta was negligent.” She said Lightbourne was also in talks with several other media companies.

The actor testified that he authorized his lawyers to contact Bahamas police after hearing about the alleged threat from Lightbourne.

The trial began Sept. 21 and is expected to last several weeks.

World news briefs

New photos highlight rainforest devastation

London, England

A series of photographic exhibitions have been organized in Europe and North America this fall to highlight a campaign by Britain’s Prince Charles to combat tropical deforestation.

The photographs were taken by world-renowned environment photographer Daniel Beltra who was this year’s winner of the Prince’s Rainforest Project Award at the Sony World Photography Awards earlier this year.

The images graphically depict the effects of climate change on the rainforests in the South America, Africa and Indonesia.

Beltra was born in Spain but is now based in the United States. His work, which includes freelancing for the international environmental group Greenpeace, has taken him to over 50 countries and he is a fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

Prince Charles has long been a passionate defender of the environment. He founded the Prince’s Rainforest Project and works with governments, international businesses, non-profit organizations and rainforest nations to find a solution to the deforestation and degradation of the rainforests.

Beltra hopes that his pictures will raise further awareness of the perils that humans face in the wake of continued rainforest destruction.

The multimedia exhibitions organized by Sony are taking place at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew in London; the Hotel de Ville, Paris; the Alexa Center, Berlin and the Mercy Corps Action Center, New York.

Vitamin cafes: Japan’s latest health injection

Tokyo, Japan

In trendy neighborhoods of Tokyo, customers are lining up for vitamin injections that promise to improve health and beauty.

These intravenous vitamin “drips” are part of the latest quick-fix health fad catching on in Japan: the I.V. café.

Each drip pack contains saline solution and specific vitamins and minerals to target a particular health aliment or beauty concern.

There are 10 different varieties to choose from at one such café, Tenteki. The “orange” variety touts anti-aging properties and is loaded with antioxidants. The “placenta pack” is said to help rejuvenate and ease muscle stiffness. “Blue” is the most requested vitamin pack among male customers: a concoction of B1 and vitamin E that claims to offer relief from exhaustion.

Prices range from $20-$30 per injection and are administered by registered nurses and doctors. However, there is no conclusive medical evidence to back up the health claims. Many nutritionists actually caution against using injectable vitamin supplements because the quantities are not regulated and can be toxic in very high doses.

In Europe and the United States vitamin shots are popular among celebrities with hectic lifestyles and little time to sleep, particularly vitamin B 12. Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell and singer Robbie Williams have both confirmed they’ve used the shots as part of their diets to maintain stamina during tours. Dermatological injections of Vitamin C are also popular among women hoping to keep their skin looking young. Former supermodel Cindy Crawford has admitted using such injections to keep her skin firm and wrinkle-free.

News courtesy of CNN and KSL

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