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    Temptations abound at parties, but celebration doesn't have to mean overindulgence. Follow these tips to stay on track. Say no the first time to passed hors d'oeuvres. Chances are good that food will come around again. See what's being served before you decide what to eat. Limit your alcohol. Inhibitions are lowered with every drink, and those cocktails aren't calorie free. Alternate alcohol with water or another calorie free drink. And don't combine alcohol with caffeine. Caffeine speeds up the rate at which alcohol is metabolized, and it masks the effect of the alcohol. Eat before you go. Don't go to a party starving. Eat a hard-boiled egg and an apple, a banana with some peanut butter or a slice of turkey. The protein will fill you up for few calories. You'll be less likely to binge if you're not overly hungry. Treat appetizers as a meal. If you're going to eat 400 calories worth of appetizers, know that that's your dinner. Don't expect to go home and eat a 'real' meal. Survey the spread before you fill your plate. Confronted by so many rich foods, you might want to start piling up the food, but stop and take a deep breath. Think before you serve yourself (and try to serve yourself, so you control the serving size). Keep track of what you're eating. Don't mindlessly eat, and try not to eat and make conversation at the same time. If your eating and drinking is spread out, you might not realize how many calories you're eating. Just because you're not eating an entire meal doesn't mean that those are free calories. Buddy up. If you're worried about eating too many sweets, share your dessert with someone else. You'll eat less and not do as much damage. Use a smaller plate, or commit to just one round of food. Don't pile your food so high that's it's falling off the plate. Be choosy, and stick to proper serving sizes. Take only those foods you really like, and don't overload on them. Bring a dish, if appropriate. If you bring something healthy, like salsa with vegetables, whole-grain crackers and light dip or a large salad, you know there's at least one option for you at the party. Take small helpings of other dishes and load up on your healthier one.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1355
  • The idea that alcohol may be good for your heart has been around for a while. While moderate drinking may offer health benefits, drinking more can cause a host of health problems. So should you turn to alcohol to protect your heart? Here's what you need to know, from what alcohol can really do, to how much you should drink, to which types of drinks—if any—are healthier than others. Use this information in conjunction with your healthcare provider's advice. Research on Alcohol and Heart Disease In several studies of diverse populations, moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with a reduced risk for certain cardiovascular diseases, such as coronary heart disease. These studies were observational—not experimental—and therefore had some limitations. However, they showed the need for experimental studies regarding alcohol intake and heart disease. So in 1999, a meta-analysis was conducted on all experimental studies to date to assess the effects of moderate alcohol intake on various health measures (such as HDL 'good' cholesterol levels and triglycerides), and other biological markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease. As research on this topic continued to expand, researchers conducted another systematic review of 63 studies that examined adults without known cardiovascular disease before and after alcohol use. This latest meta-analysis was published in a 2011 issue of the British Medical Journal (get a link to the full report in the Sources section below). The analysis of these numerous studies suggests that moderate alcohol consumption (defined below) helps to protect against heart disease by: Raising HDL 'good' cholesterol Increasing apolipoprotein A1, a protein that has a specific role in lipid (fat) metabolism and is a major component of HDL 'good' cholesterol Decreasing fibrinogen, a soluble plasma glycoprotein that is a part of blood clot formation Lowering blood pressure Reducing plaque accumulation in the arteries Decreasing the clumping of platelets and the formation of blood clots However, these studies did not show any relationship between moderate alcohol intake and total cholesterol level or LDL 'bad' cholesterol. And while some studies associated alcohol intake to increased triglycerides, the most recent analysis of moderate alcohol intake in healthy adults showed no such relationship. What's the Definition of 'Moderate' Alcohol Consumption? A moderate alcohol intake is defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. One drink contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol and is defined as: 12 fl. oz. of regular beer (5% alcohol) 4-5 fl. oz. of wine (12% alcohol) 1.5 fl. oz. of 80-proof distilled spirits (40% alcohol) 1 fl. oz. of 100-proof distilled spirits (50% alcohol) Are Certain Types of Alcohol Better Than Others? While a few research studies suggest that wine maybe more beneficial than beer or sprits in the prevention of heart disease, most studies do not support an association between type of alcoholic beverage and the prevention of heart disease. At present time, drinking wine for its antioxidant content to prevent heart disease is an unproven strategy. It still remains unclear whether red wine offers any heart-protecting advantage over white wine or other types of alcoholic beverages. Health Risks of Drinking Too Much While moderate drinking may have some health benefits, heavy or binge drinking can have a toxic effect on your health and your heart. Heavy drinking is the consumption of more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 drinks per week for men. Heavy drinking in particular can damage the heart and lead to high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy (enlarged and weakened heart), congestive heart failure, and stroke. Heavy drinking puts more fat into the circulation in your body, raising your triglyceride level. It's also associated with an increased risk of cirrhosis of the liver, cancer of the gastrointestinal tract and colon, breast cancer, violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes. Binge drinking is the consumption within 2 hours of 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men. Binge drinking is also associated with a wide range of other health and social problems, such as sexually transmitted disease, unintended pregnancy, and violent crimes. Who Should NOT Drink According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the following people should not drink alcohol: Adults who cannot restrict their alcohol drinking to moderate levels, as listed above Anyone who is younger than the legal drinking age Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant Anyone taking a medication (prescription or over-the counter) that can interact with alcohol. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you take and alcohol consumption Individuals with certain medical conditions such as liver disease, hypertriglyderidemia, and pancreatitis. Talk to your doctor regarding your health history and alcohol consumption Individuals who plan to drive, operate machinery or take part in other activities that require attention, skill, or coordination or in situations where impaired judgment could cause injury or death, such as swimming Conclusion Research indicates that a moderate alcohol intake has been associated with a decreased risk for certain cardiovascular diseases, particularly coronary heart disease. However, health professionals and dietary guidelines suggest that if you don't drink, don't start. There are other, healthier ways to reduce your risk of heart disease like not smoking, eating right, getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. To find out if a moderate alcohol intake is appropriate for you, talk to your doctor about your consumption of alcohol, medical history, and any medications you use. Sources American Heart Association. 'Alcohol, Wine and Cardiovascular Disease,' accessed March 2011. www.americanheart.org. Brien SE, Ronksley PE, Turner BJ, Mukamal KJ, Ghali WA, 'Effect of alcohol consumption on biological markers associated with risk of coronary heart disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of interventional studies,' British Medical Journal 2011; 342:d636. doi: 10.1136/bmj.d636. Rimm EB, Williams P, Fosher K, Criqui M, Stampfer MJ, 'Moderate alcohol intake and lower risk of coronary heart disease: meta-analysis of effect on lipids and haemostatic factor,' British Medical Journal 1999; 319:1523-8. United States Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition and Policy Information. '2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,' accessed March 2011. www.cnpp.usda.gov.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1622
  • There are many motivations for sticking with a healthy diet. Eating more of the good stuff (and less of the junky stuff) can help you prevent cancer, extend your lifespan, protect your heart and manage your weight. But one thing we don't always remember is that your diet affects not just your weight, but your body from the top down, the inside to the outside. Your body transforms the foods you eat into the cells that make up your hair, nails, skin and bones, along with your brain, heart, blood and joints. You literally are what you eat.   Here are some of the key nutrients that keep your body in tiptop shape from head to toe.   Hair At its staggering growth rate of 0.4 millimeters per day, it takes more than 2 years to grow 12 inches of hair. Add lean meats and beans to your diet to make the most of every millimeter. These foods will also give you zinc to help keep your body in hormone balance and prevent hair loss. B-vitamins from leafy greens, peas, tomatoes and carrots also support cell growth for healthy hair.   Brain Boost your brainpower by noshing on foods with high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) scores—a sign that the food is rich in disease-fighting antioxidants. Plums, cherries, avocadoes, berries, navel oranges and red grapes top the ORAC charts. (Glance through the alphabetical list for more disease-fighting ratings at oracvalues.com.)   Considering your brain is about 80% water, drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Essential fatty acids (named 'essential' because your body cannot make them) help you grow brain cells and stay sharp, so feed your brain with regular doses of fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, and olive oil.     Eyes Good nutrition can keep your peepers peppy throughout the years. The antioxidants for brain health also help the eyes, but really keep your eye on including foods with lutein and zeazanthin (pronounced zay-a-za-thin). These carotenoids, found in spinach, collard greens and kale, protect the retina from macular degeneration.   Teeth & Bones Everyone knows you need calcium for bone health, but are you getting enough? Most adults need between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily. Low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, spinach and soybeans are all good sources of dietary calcium. And calcium doesn't act alone! Its partner-in-crime is vitamin D, which is necessary for proper calcium absorption. Some fish and eggs provide this key vitamin, but there are not many natural food sources of this bone builder. Instead, vitamin-D is often added to milk, margarine and some breads and cereals.   Joints Put a wiggle in your walk with gelatin and vitamin C. These nutrients are key precursors to collagen, the material that cushions our joints and keeps our tendons and connective tissue strong. Gelatin can be found in powdered supplement form or in your basic Jell-O mix. Boost your vitamin C intake with fruits and veggies, especially strawberries, oranges, pineapple, cauliflower and green peppers.   Heart Soy and flaxseed both pack double punches when it comes to heart protection. Soymilk, edamame, tofu and other soy products are packed with cholesterol-lowering phytochemicals and heart healthy soluble fiber. Flaxseed is also another source of soluble fiber that comes with a side of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease. Sprinkle some ground flaxseed in your oatmeal or yogurt, or even add it to your favorite baking recipe.   Intestines Protect your gut with probiotics. These powerful little bacteria support the natural environment in your intestine and combat disease-causing microorganisms. You can find yogurt, kefir and milk supplemented with probiotics. They are often under the name L. Acidophilus.   Fiber is also essential to a healthy gut. Whole grains, especially oats and bran, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables can help you reach your goal. Getting your daily 20-35 grams of fiber keeps your gut and colon health moving in the right direction.   Skin We'll wrap it all up, literally, with nutrition for the skin. It is important to nourish your body's largest organ. Maintain disease-free and healthy looking skin with alpha-lipoic acid (ALA). This antioxidant is more powerful than vitamins C and E, and protects your skin cells from damage and many of the elements it's exposed to each day. Get your fair share of ALA with spinach, broccoli and beef. Vitamins C, E, K, and A, as well as B-vitamins are also important for radiant, nourished skin. Enjoying a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can help you reach the recommended amount of these vitamins.Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1669
  • During family gatherings, food temptations are everywhere. From stuffing and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving to eggnog and sugar cookies in December, to barbecues in the summer, the seasonal temptations are endless. It can be tough enough to navigate the buffet without having your great aunt force an extra helping of potatoes on your plate or resisting Grandma Dolly's pleas that you take a second piece of her famous apple pie. There's always some kind of event going on: birthday parties, family get-togethers, company meetings, bridal and baby showers--and all of these events have one thing in common (besides all the tempting food): food pushers.   Food pushers range from well-intentioned loved ones to total diet saboteurs. Regardless of their motivation, it's important to stick to your guns. You can always be honest and say that you're simply trying to eat healthier, but if that response gets ignored (or doesn't come easily), the following retorts to their food-forcing ways will keep you in control of what goes on your plate and in your mouth!   The Push: 'It's my specialty, you have to try it!' Your Response: 'I will in a bit!' Why It Works: Stalling is a great tactic with food pushers. Odds are the offender won't follow you around making sure you actually try the dish. If they catch up with you by the end of the party to ask what you thought, tell them that it slipped your mind but you'll be sure to try it next time.   The Push: 'This [insert name of high-calorie dish] is my favorite. You'll love it!' Your Response: 'I had some already—so delicious!' Why It Works: A white lie in this situation isn't going to hurt anybody. You'll get out of eating food you don't want or need, and the food pusher will have gotten a compliment on what probably is a delicious dish.   The Push: 'It's just once a year!' Your Response: 'But I'll probably live to celebrate more holidays if I stick with my diet plan!' Why It Works: People can sometimes see healthy eating as vain—a means to the end result of losing weight and looking better. It's harder for a food pusher to argue with you if you bring attention to the fact that you eat right and exercise for better health and a longer life. Looking good just happens to be a side effect!   The Push: 'Looks like someone is obsessed with dieting…' Your Response: 'I wouldn't say obsessed, but I am conscious of what I eat.' Why It Works: Words like 'food snob' or 'obsessed' are pretty harsh when they're thrown around by food pushers. But don't let passive-aggressive comments like this bring you down—or make you veer away from your good eating intentions. Acknowledging your willpower and healthy food choices might influence others to be more conscious of what they eat. Sometimes you just have to combat food pushers with a little straightforward kindness.   The Push: 'If you don't try my dish, I'm just going to have to force you to eat it!' Your Response: 'Sorry, but I don't like (or can't eat) [insert ingredient here].' Why It Works: It's hard to argue with someone's personal food preferences. If someone doesn't like an ingredient whether its sweet potatoes, pumpkin, or butter, odds are that he or she hasn't liked it for a very long time. If you'd like to get creative with this one, go into detail about how you got sick on the ingredient as a kid or how your mom says you always threw it across the room as a baby. Who can argue with that?   The Push: 'You need some meat on your bones.' Your Response: 'Trust me, I'm in no danger of wasting away!' Why It Works: This food push is definitely on the passive-aggressive side. Using humor to fight back will defuse any tension while making it clear where you stand.   The Push: 'One bite isn't going to kill you.' Your Response: 'I know, but once you pop you can't stop! And I'm sure it's so delicious I wouldn't be able to stop!' Why It Works: This is another situation where humor will serve to distract the food pusher from his or her mission. It's a way to say 'thanks, but no thanks' while making it clear that you're not interested in overindulging.   The Push: 'But it's your favorite!' Your Response: 'I think I've overdosed on it; I just can't eat it anymore!' Why It Works: If you have a favorite holiday dish that everyone knows you love, it can be especially tough to escape this push. If a loved one made the dish specifically for you, the guilt can be enough to push you over the edge. But people understand that food preferences change, and most have been in that situation of enjoying a dish so much that they can't touch it for awhile.   The Push: [Someone puts an extra helping on your plate without you asking.] Your Response: Push it around with your fork like you did as a kid to make it look like you tried it. Why It Works: While putting food on someone else's plate can be viewed as passive-aggressive, it was probably done with love. (Let's hope!) Making it look like you ate a bite or two can be an easy way out of the situation, but you can also just leave it alone and claim that you've already had your fill. (After all, you didn't add that extra helping!)   The Push: 'Have another drink!' Your Response: 'I have to drive.' Why It Works: No one will argue with the fact that you want to drive home sober. If they do, you should have no qualms walking away from the conversation, period. If they offer a place for you to stay, you can always get out of the situation by blaming an early morning commitment or the fact that you need to get home to let the dog out. Kids will also get you out of everything.   The Push: 'We have so many leftovers. Take some!' Your Response: 'That's OK! Just think, you'll have your meals for tomorrow taken care of.' Why It Works: Not every party guest wants to deal with the hassle of taking food with them, and this makes it clear that you'd rather the food stay. If the host is insistent, you can feign worry that they'll go bad in the car because you're not going straight home, or it'll go bad in your fridge because you've already been given so many leftovers at other parties recently. Or be polite and take them. You'll have more control of your food intake away from the party anyway. So whether you don't eat the leftovers at all or whether you split a piece of pie with your spouse, you're in control in this situation.   These tactics can work wonders in social situations, but honesty is sometimes the best policy. A simple 'No, thank you' is hard for a food pusher to beat, especially if it's repeated emphatically. Remember, too, that it's okay to have treats in moderation, so don't deprive yourself of your favorite holiday foods. Just make sure that you're the one in control of your splurges—not a friend, family member or co-worker who doesn't know your fitness and health goals!     Do you have a favorite way to say, 'No, thank you,' to food pushers? Share your strategies in the comments section to the right. Article Source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1685
  • President Donald Trump is vowing to step up efforts to combat the nation's opioid addiction crisis, and he's tapped New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to lead the fight. Trump convened an emotional roundtable Wednesday with Christie, members of his Cabinet, law enforcement chiefs, recovering addicts and advocates. It was the first public event tied to the launch of a new addiction commission that Christie, a longtime Trump friend and formal rival, will chair. Trump listened intently as Vanessa Vitolo and AJ Solomon, two recovering addicts from New Jersey, described their harrowing battles with substance abuse. Both became hooked on prescription pain killers, and quickly transitioned to heroin. Trump also heard from a mother whose son died from an overdose after a long battle with addition. Her son, Trump told the mother, hadn't died in vain. 'We want to help those who have become so badly addicted. Drug abuse has become a crippling problem throughout the United States,' said Trump, citing statistics that show drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the country. 'This is a total epidemic and I think it's probably, almost un-talked about compared to the severity that we're witnessing.' Christie, a longtime friend of the president, headed Trump's presidential transition before he was unceremoniously replaced by incoming Vice President Mike Pence in the days after the election due to disagreements over its direction. While the governor has long maintained that he plans to complete his last year in office before moving to the private sector, speculation remains that he is eyeing a top job in the administration, and people close to him have said he is open to potentially joining it one day. Christie told The Associated Press earlier Wednesday that while he has 'no interest in having a permanent role' in the Trump administration at this time, he was happy to spearhead the anti-drug effort at Trump's request. 'He asked me to help with this and I'm going to,' Christie said. 'It's an issue that I care about a lot in New Jersey and for the country and so the president asked me to do this and I was happy to.' Christie has made the issue of addiction a centerpiece of his administration and spoke extensively about it during his own presidential bid. He has dedicated his final year in office to addressing the drug crisis. Last month, he signed legislation that limits first-time opioid prescriptions to five days' worth of drugs and requires state-regulated health insurers to cover at least six months of substance abuse treatment. 'This issue causes enormous pain and destruction to everyday families in every state in this country,' said Christie, who has been working behind the scenes with White House officials since shortly after Trump's inauguration. Trump promised during his campaign to stop drugs from 'pouring' into the country, and said the new group would work with local officials, law enforcement, medical professionals and addicts to improve treatment options, prevent people from getting hooked in the first place and stop the flow of drugs across the border. He signed an executive order formally establishing the commission later Thursday. 'Drug cartels have spread their deadly industry across our nation, and the availability of cheap narcotics — some of it comes in cheaper than candy — has devastated our communities,' he said. But critics say that Trump's actions as president so far undermine his rhetoric. The failed GOP 'Obamacare' replacement bill that Trump pushed to pass sought to end the Medicaid expansion, which provides substance abuse and mental health treatment. It also would have stripped requirements that insurance plans provide the services as 'essential' benefits. 'There is a massive gulf between President Trump's promises to tackle this crisis and the policies this administration has proposed during his first two months in office,' said New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, who also called on the commission to reevaluate other budget cuts the administration has proposed. The commission was rolled out as part of a new office led by Trump's son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner, whose father Christie prosecuted in his former role as U.S. attorney. Christie, who had lunch with Kushner Tuesday, downplayed reports of tensions between the two, calling it 'ancient history.' Christie's history with drug policy dates to his first elected position in county government more than 20 years ago. The issue became personal more than a decade later, when one of Christie's best friends from law school developed an addiction to prescription drugs and died of an overdose in a New Jersey motel. The focus also gives Christie a chance to try to move past negative headlines that have helped fuel his unpopularity in New Jersey. As Christie was appearing at the White House, two former aides were sentenced for their roles in the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal. Bill Baroni was sentenced to two years in prison, while co-defendant Bridget Kelly was sentenced to 18 months after they were convicted last November on counts including wire fraud, conspiracy and misusing the bridge for improper purposes. The scandal derailed Christie's presidential aspirations and may have cost him a chance to be then-GOP nominee Trump's running mate — a role Christie openly courted. Several of Christie's former aides now work in the Trump administration. __ Associated press writers Vivian Salama in Washington and Josh Cornfield in Trenton, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
  • Argentina's Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill legalizing the use of cannabis oil and other marijuana derivatives for medicinal purposes, and setting up a regulatory framework for the state to prescribe and distribute them to patients. The legislation approved by senators Wednesday also creates a medical marijuana research program at the Health Ministry, which must 'guarantee free access' to cannabis oil and other derivatives to patients who join the program. The legislation was passed by the Chamber of Deputies earlier. 'In history, the big things always come in small steps,' said Valeria Salech, president of a private pro-medical marijuana group called Mama Cultiva Argentina, which has argued that cannabis can radically change the quality of life for children suffering everything from HIV to epilepsy. Her group is already lobbying to push the legislation further, to permit the families of patients to grow their own marijuana. Under the new legislation, government agencies will be authorized to grow marijuana for research purposes and to produce cannabis oil and derivatives for patients. The state can import cannabis derivatives until they can be produced locally. Other nations in Latin America are also debating allowing medical uses of marijuana. But Uruguay is the only country in South America that has legalized recreational pot. In the U.S., voters in California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada last year approved recreational use of marijuana, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Canadian officials have recently said they hope to legalize recreational pot in 2018.
  • Nine senators are pushing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reveal what he knows about a reported investigation into Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s stock trades that a top federal prosecutor might have begun before being fired by the Trump administration this month. In a letter Wednesday, six senators — five Democrats plus Vermont independent Bernie Sanders — called on Sessions to assure them that any investigation of Price — or others connected to the Trump administration — would be “allowed to continue unimpeded.” Three Democratic senators sent a different letter a day earlier, asking Sessions to “provide greater clarity” about why Manhattan’s former U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara, was fired and whether any investigation of Price was a factor in Bharara’s removal. ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, reported March 17 that Price was being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office for his stock trades, though it did not specify which trades Bharara was investigating before his dismissal. The website attributed its report to an unnamed person familiar with the U.S. attorney’s office, and neither the Justice Department nor other news media organizations have confirmed its existence. If an investigation had begun, it would be derail. But investigations of federal officials are always sensitive cases, said Donald Langevoort, a securities law professor at Georgetown University. “The higher up the food chain you go, the more prominent the person is, the more confident you better be that you have the evidence you can present to a jury,” he said. “But I think any attempt to quash an investigation would backfire considerably.” Price, a prominent Republican congressman until he joined Trump’s Cabinet this year, was questioned extensively at his confirmation hearings about stock purchases he made in health care, pharmaceutical and medical device companies while serving on the House of Representatives’ health subcommittee. The activity raised conflict-of-interest concerns for some members of Congress because Price’s trades overlapped with his sponsorship of bills, advocacy or votes on issues related to those companies or their industries. The Democrats  called attention to Price’s investment in a small Australian biotech firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics, which Price testified he learned about from another congressman, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Innate’s largest shareholder. Price bought most of his shares at discounted prices in two private stock placements in 2016 offered to a small number of sophisticated investors — many with personal or professional ties to Collins. Congressional Democrats slammed Price at his hearings for buying shares at advantageous prices not available to all investors. Some questioned whether Price had violated insider trading laws or the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which bans members of Congress from trading on stocks using information they received in carrying out their official duties. “Despite the many unanswered questions that remained, Republicans rushed Price’s nomination through the Senate without waiting for answers,” six senators said in Wednesday’s letter. When he was confirmed Feb. 10, Price agreed to divest his stock holdings within 90 days of  taking his post. An HHS spokesperson said Price has completed those divestitures but declined to provide further information. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only senator who signed both letters to Sessions. Other names on Wednesday’s letter were Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.). Tuesday’s letter was also signed by Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.). Sessions’ office confirmed it had received Tuesday’s letter from the senators but declined to comment on either one. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan also had no comment.Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • To believe or not to believe? That is the question, when it comes to President Donald Trump's comments about what comes next on health care. Since the Republicans' coverage bill died in the House last week, marking the defeat of Trump's first major legislative initiative, the president has sent conflicting signals about trying again and left people guessing about whether his words on the subject are meant to be taken literally. At a White House reception for senators from both parties and their spouses Tuesday night, he told them: 'I know that we're all going to make a deal on health care. That's such an easy one.' As Trump learned, health care is a hard one. So hard the legislation to replace 'Obamacare' failed in the Republican-controlled House, without ever going to the Republican-controlled Senate. So hard that in his late February news conference, Trump was moved to say: 'I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.' Sean Spicer, his spokesman, said Wednesday that Trump was only making a lighthearted crack at the reception. 'He was poking fun and making a joke,' he said. Trump, normally not one to practice self-deprecating humor, delivered the comment in a serious tone , without a smile. He also told the reception, regarding a second attempt to make a deal on health care, 'I have no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly.' Whether Trump actually intends to try again soon remains to be seen. After the bill was pulled without a vote, he indicated he would wait indefinitely, predicting that Obamacare would fall apart from problems in the marketplace, that Americans would cry out for a replacement and that lawmakers would then have more appetite for action. Likewise, House Speaker Paul Ryan said ruefully that the law would remain in place for the 'foreseeable future.' They've since suggested they may return to the subject promptly, despite a political climate that remains forbidding. Trump's spokesman did not describe a president in a rush. 'We'll see,' Spicer said, 'but I think the idea that the president has put out there is that if people want to float ideas and suggestions on how we can grow this vote and get to a majority, he'll entertain them.' Spicer said, 'We're not trying to jam that down anyone's throat right now. It's an ongoing discussion.' A look behind the rhetoric of public officials
  • Note to President Donald Trump and House Republicans: People really don't like your approach to overhauling America's health care. If you're hoping to revive the effort, you may want to try something different. Sixty-two percent of Americans turned thumbs down on Trump's handling of health care during the initial weeks of his presidency, according to a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday. It was his worst rating among seven issues the poll tested, including the economy, foreign policy and immigration. Of six changes the failed House GOP bill would have made to President Barack Obama's law, five drew more negative than positive reviews. An overwhelming 8 in 10 opposed the Republican proposal to let insurers boost premiums on older people. Seven in 10 disapproved of premium surcharges for people whose coverage lapses. By wide margins, people also disliked proposed cuts in Medicaid, which helps lower-earning people cover medical costs, a halt in federal payments to Planned Parenthood and a transformation of the Obama law's subsidies — based on income and premium costs — into aid linked to age. 'His campaign promise was great health care for everyone, for all Americans at great prices,' said Raymond Brown, 64, a Republican and retired truck driver from Rio Grande, New Jersey. 'He isn't fulfilling his campaign promise.' Overall, just over half in the poll said they worry many Americans would have lost coverage had the GOP bill become law. Would their own families and average Americans have been better or worse off? More said worse. The results underscore that annulling Obama's statute is not an issue to be trifled with. More people support than oppose that law by 45 percent to 38 percent, a slightly narrower margin than in January. And a slender majority say covering all Americans is a federal responsibility — a view embraced by Democrats but not Republicans, who instead focus on access and lower premiums. The survey was conducted over five days preceding and following last Friday's withdrawal of the GOP health care bill. Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., short-circuited a House vote that would have spelled defeat for the Republican legislation because of opposition from conservative and moderate Republicans. It was a mortifying setback for Trump and his party. The poll suggests that health care is damaging Trump's image. Fifty-eight percent disapproved of his overall performance as president, not much different from his negative grade on health care. Even among those approving the job he's doing in office, about 1 in 5 was unhappy with his approach to health care. The GOP bill scared off many Republican lawmakers after the Congressional Budget Office projected there would be 24 million more uninsured people over a decade and a boost in out-of-pocket costs for many, especially poorer people and Americans nearing retirement age. The negative views in the poll make any new GOP effort embracing pieces of the crumbled legislation potentially perilous for the party. Nearly all Democrats and most independents disapproved of Trump's performance on health care, but so did around 1 in 3 Republicans. In addition, Republicans had mixed views on the collapsed House GOP bill. Clear majorities of them opposed boosting premiums for older people and those who've had gaps in coverage. They were more likely to oppose than support cutting Medicaid and were divided over linking subsidies to age more than income. Republicans did mostly back the Republican bill's blocking of federal payments to Planned Parenthood. And they were likelier to say their own families and average Americans would have been better off, not worse, under the legislation. Rosiland Russell, 71, a retired apartment complex manager from Clifton, Texas, said she was glad to see the attempt to unravel Obama's law. 'It's not cheap, it's not what it's cracked up to be,' Russell, a Republican, said of Obama's statute. 'We've got to have change, it's ridiculous.' Of the proposed Republican changes examined by the poll, only one received a positive reception. That was its elimination of the tax penalty on people who don't buy coverage, though by a modest 48 percent to 35 percent margin. Strong majorities backed two Obama requirements the GOP would have left in place: Insurers can't deny policies to sick people and must cover children up to age 26 under their parents' plans. ___ The AP-NORC poll of 1,110 adults was conducted March 23-27 using a sample drawn from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points. Interviews were conducted online and using landlines and cellphones. ___ Online: AP-NORC: http://www.apnorc.org/
  • A study that measures the human toll of air pollution from global manufacturing and trade shows how buying goods made far away can lead to premature deaths both there and close to home. More than 750,000 people die prematurely from dirty air every year that is generated by making goods in one location that will be sold elsewhere, about one-fifth of the 3.45 million premature deaths from air pollution. The study says 12 percent of those deaths, about 411,000 people, are a result of air pollution that has blown across national borders. 'It's not a local issue anymore,' said study co-author Dabo Guan, an economist at the University of East Anglia in England. 'It requires global cooperation.' It has long been known that that the environmental burden of manufacturing often falls heaviest on countries where companies set up shop to take advantage of low labor costs and relatively loose environmental regulations. But this is the first study to bring together economic, manufacturing, trade, atmospheric and health data to calculate the number and location of premature deaths from air pollution. It found that people in Western Europe buying goods made elsewhere were linked to 173,000 overseas air pollution deaths a year, while United States consumption was linked to just over 100,000 deaths, according to the study published in Wednesday's journal Nature. What that looks like in China: 238,000 deaths a year associated with production of goods that are bought or consumed elsewhere. That number is 106,000 deaths in India and 129,000 deaths in the rest of Asia. 'We have a role in the quality of the air in those areas,' study co-author Steven Davis, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California, Irvine, said in an interview. 'We're taking advantage of our positon as consumers, distant consumers.' Still, the study says three-quarters of the 1 million air pollution deaths in China — and the nearly half a million deaths in India — are from production of goods that are consumed locally. China and India also have pollution that travels elsewhere and kills between 65,000 and 75,000 people in other countries, the study said. India's migrating pollution kills more because China's pollution, which hits Japan and South Korea, often heads over the Pacific Ocean where its effects dissipate over the miles, Davis said. India's pollution heads directly to more populous neighboring countries. The study starts by looking at the 3.45 million deaths a year that this and other studies say are triggered by tiny airborne particles often called soot or smog. About 2.5 million of those deaths are associated with making and consuming of goods, including the energy needed to produce and ship them. The rest are due to natural factors like dust and fires and other causes that can't be tracked, said study lead author Qiang Zhang, an atmospheric chemist at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Like smoking, air pollution increases the risk of getting diseases like heart disease and stroke, said study co-author Michael Brauer, a public health professor at the University of British Columbia. Using well-established methods, researchers calculate death estimates using health statistics, pollution levels, and other factors. Dr. Howard Frumkin, a former director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now at the University of Washington, was not part of the study, but praised it. He said the calculations done by the study are crucial for understanding the larger problem. 'This is a moral question as much as a scientific one,' Frumkin wrote in an email. 'But the scientific approach here — linking data on manufacturing and associated pollution emissions, import and export flows, pollutant movement across national boundaries, and the health impact of pollution exposure — is exactly what's needed.' Producing more goods locally would change where deaths occur and potentially reduce overall deaths — if local emissions rules are tighter. Bringing back manufacturing to the United States, as President Donald J. Trump and politicians from both parties want, would bring more air pollution deaths to the U.S., but reduce deaths worldwide because pollution laws are stricter, Davis and others said. Production is likely to remain concentrated in Asia, however, and it will have to be up to those countries to better regulate their own industrial emissions, said Peter Adams, an engineering professor and air pollution expert at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who wasn't part of the study. 'Relying on consumer altruism,' he said, won't be enough. ___ Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein .

News

  • Pickens County deputies are searching for an armed fugitive.  Authorities are looking for Nicholas Bishop in the area of Priest Circle in Talking Rock.  Bishop is believed to be armed with a handgun and on foot after he abandoned a stolen vehicle around 2 p.m.  If you see him, call 911 immediately. Officials say do not attempt to approach him. - Please return for updates.
  • One more time, Doris Payne, the 86-year-old infamous international jewel thief, has pleaded guilty to the usual crime. She admitted Wednesday to stealing a necklace from Von Maur at Perimeter Mall last year, the DeKalb County District Attorney’s Office said. Payne, who recently said she’s been dealing with a possibly cancerous tumor, was sentenced to 120 days of house arrest and three years of probation.  She was also banned from all Von Maur locations and every mall in DeKalb County. Payne, who’d been free on bond, was arrested last month for missing a court date. Shortly after the would-be appearance, she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she wasn’t medically able to attend. “I ain’t runnin’,” she said in a phone interview. “I’ve never in my life been late for court. Last month, Payne was deemed too ill to stand trial by the judge presiding over a Fulton County case stemming from a missing set of earrings at Phipps Plaza. Payne has been open about her habits of theft, which she detailed in a documentary called, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” RELATED: Huge DeKalb center with (at least) 8 popular chains is opening soon RELATED: Cop helps elderly woman who got kicked out of dentist office in DeKalb RELATED: A DeKalb family’s tale of two dead bodies and a crying baby girl Like DeKalb County News Now on Facebook | Follow on Twitter and Instagram
  • A drunken driver destroyed a row of headstones at a historic Carrollton cemetery, causing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of damage, police said. According to police, the driver was coming down Martin Luther King Street on March 19, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb and crashed into the city-owned cemetery. The broken headstones range in date from the late 1800s to 1950. 'And what we discussed is, if one is damaged beyond repair, we'll put something back that's respectful. It's hard to replace it with the exact same item. The families aren't around anymore, so the city will take on the responsibility,' city manager Tim Grizzard said. TRENDING STORIES: Thousands of Georgians could lose food stamps next week 16-year-old in custody after hoax call about school gunman Food prices at SunTrust Park vs. Mercedes-Benz Stadium: What's the difference? The 35-year-old driver, Ray Antonio Baker, was arrested and charged with DUI. City officials said they will ask his insurance carrier to pay for the damage. 'Our plan is to go after the individual's insurance to pay for repairs. If that doesn't pay for everything, the city will certainly pick up the tab,' Grizzard said. Officials said this isn't the first time a driver has damaged headstones, but it's not a big enough problem to put up a wall. 'It's not something that has happened often enough that we need to put up a barrier. If it was a recurrent spot, we would do something,' Grizzard said. City officials said it could take weeks to repair the damage.
  • Their hug was silent, their smiles broad. After more than six weeks in custody, a Mexican man who had been arrested despite his participation in a program designed to prevent the deportation of those brought to the U.S. illegally as children was freed Wednesday pending deportation proceedings. Daniel Ramirez Medina, 24, greeted his brother — also a participant in the program — in the lobby of the Federal Detention Center in Tacoma, surrounded by lockers and metal detectors. 'He's free to go,' a guard told them, and after conferring with one of his lawyers, Ramirez stepped into the sunshine and hugged his brother again for a crowd of news cameras waiting just beyond the chain link-and-barbed wire fence. He spoke to reporters briefly in Spanish, thanking his supporters, and later issued a written statement in English through his lawyers. 'I'm so happy to be reunited with my family today and can't wait to see my son,' it said. 'This has been a long and hard 46 days, but I'm so thankful for the support that I've gotten from everyone who helped me and for the opportunity to live in such an amazing country. I know that this isn't over, but I'm hopeful for the future, for me and for the hundreds of thousands of other Dreamers who love this country like I do.' Judge John Odell in Tacoma approved freeing the 24-year-old Ramirez on $15,000 bond until his next immigration court hearing. Immigration agents arrested him last month in suburban Seattle, saying he acknowledged affiliating with gangs. Officials then revoked his protected status. Ramirez adamantly denies any gang ties or making any such admission. He spent 40 minutes answering questions from prosecutors during a two-hour hearing Tuesday, repeatedly denying any gang connections, his attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said. 'He answered every question the government put to him,' Rosenbaum said. 'He stayed true, and the government had no evidence whatsoever.' U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a statement Wednesday noting that Ramirez's own attorneys had twice declined to have their client participate in bond hearings that could have resulted in his earlier release — something his lawyers said was designed to keep his case in federal court, rather than immigration court. Immigration agents arrested Ramirez on Feb. 10 at an apartment complex where they had gone to arrest his father, a previously deported felon. Ramirez, who came to the U.S. at 7, has no criminal record and twice passed background checks to participate in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children to stay in the country and work. Immigration officials have started deportation proceedings against him. His legal team, which includes the Los Angeles based pro-bono firm Public Counsel as well as Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, have pressed claims in federal court that the arrest and detention violated Ramirez's constitutional rights. They sought to keep the case out of immigration court, saying U.S. District Court was better suited to handle those claims. A federal magistrate judge in Seattle agreed to hear the constitutional claims, but declined to release him in the meantime. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez upheld the decision not to release him last week, saying he instead should challenge his detention in immigration court. Martinez nevertheless said 'many questions remain regarding the appropriateness of the government's conduct' in arresting him. Among those questions, his lawyers have said, is whether U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents misinterpreted a tattoo on his forearm when they described it as a 'gang tattoo' in an arrest report. The lawyers say the tattoo, which says 'La Paz BCS,' pays homage to the city of La Paz in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur, where he was born. Ramirez's case is one of several recent arrests that have left immigration activists fearing an erosion of protections under the DACA program instituted by President Barack Obama in 2012. ICE agents in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday arrested Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez, a DACA participant who was brought to the U.S. from Morelia, in Mexico's Michoacan state, at age 5. Last December, he entered a diversion program following a drunken driving arrest and had attended all his court dates and required meetings, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon said in a statement. The agency said Monday that it targeted Rodriguez Dominguez because of the DUI and that he would be released on bond pending deportation proceedings. About 750,000 immigrants have enrolled in the DACA program since it began.