How Mexico's Drug Cartels Are Driving Up the Price of Limes

How Mexico's Drug Cartels Are Driving Up the Price of Limes

A lime shortage is threatening the U.S. food and beverage industry, with some bars and restaurants jacking up drink prices, charging extra for a slice—or refusing to serve the citrus at all. But there’s another reason to rethink that margarita: The pricey limes you’re buying from Mexico might be supporting drug violence.

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Adam Shankman Heads to Rehab

Taking some time away from the industry to better himself, Adam Shankman checked in to a rehabilitation center on Monday (December 9).

The “Hairspray” director’s representative released a statement reading, “Adam Shankman is currently seeking treatment in a rehabilitation center. His friends and family support him and wish him well on his journey to recovery.”

On Sunday, the 49-year-old made an appearance at Trevor Live LA.

Mr. Shankman has spearheaded numerous films, including “Rock of Ages” and “The Wedding Planner.”

Source: http://celebrity-gossip.net/celebrity-news/adam-shankman-heads-rehab-983719
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Viber announces Viber Out wordlwide, brings low-cost calling to any number

Viber

Promises no connection fees and significantly lower per-minute charges than Skype

Viber, the popular cross-platform messaging and VOIP calling application, is rolling out their Viber Out service worldwide. The service uses credit purchased through in-app purchases, or via credit card for desktop users. Purchased minutes can be used on Android, iOS or the desktop client.

In addition, Viber is also adding more stickers to their paid Viber Sticker Market, and will continue to add more content.

The most interesting part — the rates — are detailed after the break along with the full press release.

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/androidcentral/~3/4VVezUrASFY/story01.htm
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First Satellite Built by High School Kids Is Heading to Space Tonight

First Satellite Built by High School Kids Is Heading to Space Tonight

Your coolest high school science project probably involved some baking soda and a paper mâché volcano, right? A little chemical reaction and a big mess? Well, kids these days are smarter than you. They’re building satellites and sending them to space.

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Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/4RY2L7kyjMM/first-satellite-built-by-high-school-kids-is-heading-to-1467640783
Category: Miss Universe 2013   Lara Flynn Boyle   Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2   Navy Yard shooting   labor day  

5-year-old California boy a smash hit as ‘Batkid’

Miles Scott, dressed as Batkid, second from left, raises his arm next to Batman at a rally outside of City Hall with Mayor Ed Lee, left, and his father Nick and brother Clayton, at right, in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Scott was called into service on Friday morning by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to help fight crime, as San Francisco turned into Gotham City as city officials helped fulfill the 5-year-old leukemia patient’s wish to be “Batkid,” The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation says. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old, finished treatment in June and is now in remission, KGO-TV reported. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Miles Scott, dressed as Batkid, second from left, raises his arm next to Batman at a rally outside of City Hall with Mayor Ed Lee, left, and his father Nick and brother Clayton, at right, in San Francisco, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Scott was called into service on Friday morning by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to help fight crime, as San Francisco turned into Gotham City as city officials helped fulfill the 5-year-old leukemia patient’s wish to be “Batkid,” The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation says. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old, finished treatment in June and is now in remission, KGO-TV reported. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Batman assists Miles Scott, 5, dressed as Batkid, as he prepares to save a damsel in distress in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Miles is a leukemia survivor from Tulelake in Siskiyou County. After battling leukemia since he was a year old, Miles is now in remission. One of his heroes is Batman. To celebrate the end of this treatment, the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area granted his wish to become Batkid for a day. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Gary Reyes)

The crowds cheer for Batkid, Miles Scott, 5, as he arrives at City Hall in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Miles is a leukemia survivor from Tulelake in Siskiyou County. After battling leukemia since he was a year old, Miles is now in remission. One of his heroes is Batman. To celebrate the end of this treatment, the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area granted his wish to become Batkid for a day. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Gary Reyes)

This Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 image released by the San Francisco Chronicle shows a front page of the Gotham City Chronicle to honor Miles Scott, as Batkid. Scott was called into service on Friday morning by San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to help fight crime, as San Francisco turned into Gotham City as city officials helped fulfill the 5-year-old leukemia patient’s wish to be “Batkid,” The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation says. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old, finished treatment in June and is now in remission, KGO-TV reported. (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle)

Batkid, Miles Scott, 5, is greeted as he arrives at City Hall in San Francisco on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Miles is a leukemia survivor from Tulelake in Siskiyou County. After battling leukemia since he was a year old, Miles is now in remission. One of his heroes is Batman. To celebrate the end of this treatment, the Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area granted his wish to become Batkid for a day. (AP Photo/Bay Area News Group, Gary Reyes)

(AP) — Dressed in a black Batman costume, his fists clenched as he took on foe after foe around San Francisco, a 5-year-old boy who has battled leukemia for years fulfilled his wish Friday to be his favorite superhero.

In the process, Miles Scott became a darling of social media and attracted thousands of fans around the country, including the White House.

“When you have an illness, it’s very important to know you have a support system,” said Gina Futrell, a 51-year-old with multiple sclerosis, who was among a large crowd gathered at Union Square for a chance to so see the “Batkid” in action. “I have an extremely strong support system, and I hope he does too. He’s such a little hero.”

Batkid was called into service by Police Chief Greg Suhr and spent the day zooming from one “crime scene” to the next. Accompanied by an adult Batman impersonator, Batkid rescued a damsel in distress from cable car tracks, captured the Riddler as he robbed a bank, and saved the San Francisco Giants mascot — Lou Seal — from the Penguin’s clutches.

Miles was able to fulfill his wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the city and volunteers who stepped forward to help. He was diagnosed three years ago, underwent chemotherapy treatment and is now in remission.

Batkid had a police escort worthy of a dignitary as he sped around the city in a black Lamborghini with a Batman decal, with officers blocking traffic and riding alongside him on motorcycles. The White House sent out a tweet encouraging Batkid to “Go get ‘em!” In a video recording, President Barack Obama said, “Way to go, Miles! Way to save Gotham!”

The crowds grew after each stop, reaching into the thousands by the time Miles got to Union Square for lunch at the Burger Bar atop Macy’s. Spectators climbed trees and clambered up lampposts, and police and organizers struggled to keep a path open for the motorcade, which drove past onlookers lining the streets six deep for several blocks.

At Batkid’s stop in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood, a woman sat on the cable car tracks in a dress and thigh-high black boots. She had a handkerchief around her mouth, and her hands were bound behind her back.

Batman and Batkid sprang into action, with the aid of a trampoline, as the crowd roared. They rescued the woman and disabled a plastic replica bomb she was tied to.

The two masked superheroes then took off to nab the Riddler as he robbed a downtown bank. They later jetted to the Penguin’s kidnapping of Lou Seal.

The 5-year-old at first seemed overwhelmed by the outpouring, quietly working through each scenario with clenched fists and tight lips amid delirious chants of “bat kid, bat kid.” But by the time he reached City Hall to receive a key to the city in front of perhaps 10,000 people, Miles was all smiles and bravado.

Though he didn’t address the crowd, he raised his fist twice and wore a grin as he was feted with chocolate, an FBI “raid jacket” and a San Francisco Police Department cap. A clothing company donated $10,000 to Miles’ family, and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proclaimed Nov. 15 to be “Batkid Day Forever.”

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag unveiled an “indictment” charging the Penguin and Riddler with conspiracy as the crowd that stretched for blocks roared with delight.

Miles father, Nick Scott, was asked what the boy liked best about Batman. “The cape, I guess,” he said.

The father thanked the crowd, organizers and the city for showing his son a good time.

“This is closure for us,” Nick Scott said. “It has been a hard three years.”

Miles, who lives in Tulelake in far Northern California, didn’t know what was in store for him and thought he was in San Francisco just to get a Batman costume so he could dress like his favorite superhero.

He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 18 months old and ended treatments in June.

Make-A-Wish has fulfilled similar wishes across the country. In Anaheim, a child became Batman’s sidekick, Robin; and in Seattle a child was a secret agent, said Jen Wilson, a spokeswoman for the local organization.

The San Francisco Chronicle, KGO-TV and thousands of volunteers participated in the event. At Union Square, the Chronicle distributed hundreds of copies of special-edition newspapers with the headline “Batkid Saves City.”

“This is off-the-hook San Francisco,” Suhr said.

___

Associated Press writers Channing Joseph and Terry Collins contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2013-11-15-Boy’s%20Batman%20Wish/id-60bcc46c7d404e35a1e2acc35b1e9809
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GOP sees health care law as big 2014 opportunity

In this Nov. 15, 2013, photo, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., walks on on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. In his West Virginia district, the TV ads attacking Rahall over the calamitous startup of President Barack Obama’s health care law have already begun. The 19-term veteran, a perennial target in a GOP-shifting state, is among many in the president’s party who have recited to constituents Obama’s assurance that they could keep insurance coverage they liked under the 2010 overhaul. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

In this Nov. 15, 2013, photo, Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., walks on on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. In his West Virginia district, the TV ads attacking Rahall over the calamitous startup of President Barack Obama’s health care law have already begun. The 19-term veteran, a perennial target in a GOP-shifting state, is among many in the president’s party who have recited to constituents Obama’s assurance that they could keep insurance coverage they liked under the 2010 overhaul. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., left, and Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., leave the office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, before a vote on a measure to let insurers keep offering health coverage that falls short of the law’s standards. A day earlier, the president changed course in the face of a public uproar over the flawed debut of the Affordable Care Act and said he would take administrative action — which doesn’t need congressional approval — to let companies continue selling such plans for at least another year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama makes a statement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, before the start of a meeting with representatives of health insurance companies. From left are, Chris Jennings, deputy assistant to the president for Health Policy; Department of Health and Human Services Office of Health Reform Director Michael Hash; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Marilyn Tavenner; the president; White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough; White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

(AP) — In his West Virginia district, the TV ads attacking Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall over the calamitous startup of President Barack Obama’s health care law have already begun.

The 19-term veteran, a perennial target in a GOP-shifting state, is among many in the president’s party who have recited to constituents Obama’s assurance that they could keep insurance coverage they liked under the 2010 overhaul.

That has proved untrue for several million Americans, igniting a public uproar that has forced Obama to reverse himself on part of the law and sent many Democrats scrambling into political self-preservation mode ahead of next year’s congressional elections.

Rahall was among 39 Democrats who, despite an Obama veto threat, voted Friday for a GOP measure that would let insurers continue selling policies to individuals that fall short of the health care law’s requirements. It was approved 261-157.

“I’m concerned about my integrity with voters who have returned me here 38 years. They know me enough to know I wouldn’t purposely mislead them,” Rahall said this past week. “They have that confidence in me, and I want them to continue to have that confidence in me.”

Republicans are emboldened by Obama’s reversal and the Democrats’ scramble for cover. They are already compiling lists of dozens of Senate and House Democrats such as Rahall who, in video clips and written statements, have parroted Obama’s pledge that voters’ existing coverage would not be annulled.

“There’s nothing more damaging than when your word is devalued and people think they were misled,” said Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House GOP’s campaign arm. “And especially damaging is when it actually affects you and your family. So in terms of degree of impact, this is off the Richter scale.”

Top Democrats, who need to gain 17 seats to retake the House majority, scoff that next November’s elections are far off. They say by then, the health care law will be to their advantage because it will be working well.

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., who leads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said his party will focus the campaign on the economy, Democratic efforts to fix it and the GOP’s preference for cutting Medicare and granting tax breaks to the wealthy.

The Republican emphasis on the health care law’s problems “from a partisan perspective gins up the Republican base. But it alienates independent and moderate voters,” said Israel, who said those voters “are more interested in solutions.”

Other Democrats agree that plenty can change in a year but concede that the issue poses problems.

Martin Frost, a former Texas Democratic congressman who headed the House Democratic campaign committee, said many people still may lose their coverage because state officials have ample power over insurers. And he said the Obama administration cannot allow additional foul-ups.

“If I were still in Congress, I’d be concerned,” Frost said.

Sensing an edge, the GOP plans to cut commercials featuring Democrats’ promises that people could keep their health insurance. They are already emailing press releases to reporters attacking Democrats on the issue.

“With Obamacare proving to be a total disaster — from the botched website to the broken promises — it’s no surprise that Barber is now desperate to hide his support,” said one GOP release distributed in the district of freshman Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz.

Republicans are aiming similar attacks against Democrats challenging GOP incumbents, urging reporters to ask them their views on the health care law.

America Rising, a GOP political action committee that compiles research on opposition candidates, is collecting video of Democrats’ comments on the law. Some conservative groups are already running television spots, with Americans for Prosperity airing ads attacking Rahall and Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., while defending Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., for opposing the law.

“It forces thousands to lose the plans they love and the doctors they know,” says the 30-second spot running on television and radio in Rahall’s West Virginia district.

Barber also voted for the Republican bill. He said he believes that eventually, people will be able to keep the plans they want and the government’s troubled health care website will be fixed.

“If that gets resolved satisfactorily, I think it will be less of an issue than it is today. That’s why you have to take the long view,” said Barber.

Though Democrats opposed the House GOP bill 153-39, the vote was evidence of the pressure they feel over canceled policies.

The health care law let insurers cancel some existing coverage that lacked the improved features now required. More than 4 million policyholders have received termination letters from their carriers, according to an Associated Press tally.

Feeling public heat, Obama on Thursday took administrative action to let insurers continue current plans for a year. He took the blame for the confusion, saying, “That’s on me,” not congressional Democrats. House Democratic leaders told reporters later that day that they had nothing to apologize for.

Even so, most House Democrats felt Obama’s action was not enough and demanded a vote on a Democratic proposal.

“They want to be on record,” said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa. “Members are not judged by administrative fixes. Members are judged by their voting records.”

Top Democrats finally proposed their own plan. But that was not until rank-and-file lawmakers threatened to back the GOP bill, which Democrats said would weaken the law because it would let insurers issue new substandard policies, not just renew old ones.

A similar dynamic is in play in the Senate.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., backed by colleagues who like her face competitive re-elections next year, has proposed legislation requiring insurers to renew policies canceled because of the law.

Not eager to breathe life into a challenge to the health care overhaul, leaders have not decided whether they will allow a vote on Landrieu’s bill.

___

Associated Press writers Henry C. Jackson and Laurie Kellman contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/89ae8247abe8493fae24405546e9a1aa/Article_2013-11-16-Health%20Overhaul-Politics/id-4fa83ae047fb44c791667914576394cb
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Redesigned protein opens door for safer gene therapy

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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

13-Nov-2013

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Contact: Zeger Debyser
zeger.debyser@med.kuleuven.be
32-163-36332
KU Leuven

A fusion protein engineered by researchers at KU Leuven combining proteins active in HIV and Moloney murine leukaemia virus (MLV) replication may lead to safer, more effective retroviral gene therapy.

Gene therapy involves inserting healthy genetic material into a diseased cell. Using a carrier derived from a retrovirus, the genetic material is smuggled into a human cell where, once inside, it integrates itself into the cell’s DNA. But gene therapy is not without risks. If integrated too near a carcinogenic gene, the newly introduced genetic material can also induce disease-causing mutations.

In gene therapy, the delivery vehicle is not the retrovirus itself, but a viral vector: a derivative form of the retrovirus that retains its proteins but not its DNA. One of the most widely used viral vectors is derived from MLV. But this particular virus-borne carrier is both a weapon and a risk. It can cure disease but, if inscribed in the wrong place in a cell’s DNA, it can also cause leukaemia.

A separate protein, which plays a role in HIV, does not have that problem. It only integrates itself in ‘safe’ places in the host cell’s DNA.

The researchers put one and two together to create a safer viral vector: “We developed a fused protein with the head of the protein that HIV uses and the tail of the protein that MLV uses,” Dr. Rik Gijsbers explains.

Writing in Cell Reports, the researchers say their retrofitted retroviral vector works: “Our experiments with cell cultures show that in the presence of this protein, the viral vector always inscribes itself in a safe place, just as it does in the HIV virus,” says Dr. Gijsbers.

Several years ago, scientists successfully used viral vectors derived from MLV to treat a congenital immune system abnormality in children. Some of these children later developed leukaemia. “In these cases, the viral vector embedded itself near a carcinogenic gene,” explains Professor Zeger Debyser, the corresponding author. “This disrupts the gene and leads to a higher leukaemia risk a serious setback for gene therapy. It put a heavy damper on gene therapy’s future development.”

Until recently, it was not known how or why retroviruses inscribed themselves near cancer genes. Research by the Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy research group at KU Leuven sheds new light on this enigma. Their previous research into HIV proved essential, says Dr. Jan De Rijck: “In 2003, we discovered that HIV uses a particular protein as an anchor to embed itself into the host cell. We asked ourselves whether MLV used a different protein in a similar way, and that was indeed the case. The BET (bromodomain and extraterminal, eds.) proteins we found are the anchors of MLV.” This discovery led the KU Leuven researchers to develop the fusion protein.

Though the initial results are promising, more research is needed to refine them, says Dr. Gijsbers. “But this definitely opens new avenues in the search for a new generation of safe viral vectors in gene therapy, particularly for various blood diseases.”


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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

13-Nov-2013

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Contact: Zeger Debyser
zeger.debyser@med.kuleuven.be
32-163-36332
KU Leuven

A fusion protein engineered by researchers at KU Leuven combining proteins active in HIV and Moloney murine leukaemia virus (MLV) replication may lead to safer, more effective retroviral gene therapy.

Gene therapy involves inserting healthy genetic material into a diseased cell. Using a carrier derived from a retrovirus, the genetic material is smuggled into a human cell where, once inside, it integrates itself into the cell’s DNA. But gene therapy is not without risks. If integrated too near a carcinogenic gene, the newly introduced genetic material can also induce disease-causing mutations.

In gene therapy, the delivery vehicle is not the retrovirus itself, but a viral vector: a derivative form of the retrovirus that retains its proteins but not its DNA. One of the most widely used viral vectors is derived from MLV. But this particular virus-borne carrier is both a weapon and a risk. It can cure disease but, if inscribed in the wrong place in a cell’s DNA, it can also cause leukaemia.

A separate protein, which plays a role in HIV, does not have that problem. It only integrates itself in ‘safe’ places in the host cell’s DNA.

The researchers put one and two together to create a safer viral vector: “We developed a fused protein with the head of the protein that HIV uses and the tail of the protein that MLV uses,” Dr. Rik Gijsbers explains.

Writing in Cell Reports, the researchers say their retrofitted retroviral vector works: “Our experiments with cell cultures show that in the presence of this protein, the viral vector always inscribes itself in a safe place, just as it does in the HIV virus,” says Dr. Gijsbers.

Several years ago, scientists successfully used viral vectors derived from MLV to treat a congenital immune system abnormality in children. Some of these children later developed leukaemia. “In these cases, the viral vector embedded itself near a carcinogenic gene,” explains Professor Zeger Debyser, the corresponding author. “This disrupts the gene and leads to a higher leukaemia risk a serious setback for gene therapy. It put a heavy damper on gene therapy’s future development.”

Until recently, it was not known how or why retroviruses inscribed themselves near cancer genes. Research by the Molecular Virology and Gene Therapy research group at KU Leuven sheds new light on this enigma. Their previous research into HIV proved essential, says Dr. Jan De Rijck: “In 2003, we discovered that HIV uses a particular protein as an anchor to embed itself into the host cell. We asked ourselves whether MLV used a different protein in a similar way, and that was indeed the case. The BET (bromodomain and extraterminal, eds.) proteins we found are the anchors of MLV.” This discovery led the KU Leuven researchers to develop the fusion protein.

Though the initial results are promising, more research is needed to refine them, says Dr. Gijsbers. “But this definitely opens new avenues in the search for a new generation of safe viral vectors in gene therapy, particularly for various blood diseases.”


###


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AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.

Source: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/kl-rpo111313.php
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Typhoon-hit victims in Philippines plead for aid

Survivors move past the damages caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Survivors move past the damages caused by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Survivors carry bags of rice from a warehouse which they stormed due to shortage of food at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A survivor cries as she tells her ordeal beside a ship that was washed ashore in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s typhoon Haiyan and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Survivors stay beside a ship that was washed ashore hitting makeshift houses near an oil depot in Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s typhoon Haiyan and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

A survivor writes a message on their port to call for help at typhoon-ravaged Tacloban city, Leyte province central Philippines on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013. Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces had been affected by Friday’s disaster and at least 23,000 houses had been damaged or destroyed. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

TACLOBAN, Philippines (AP) — Typhoon-ravaged Philippine islands faced an unimaginably huge relief effort that had barely begun Monday, as bloated bodies lay uncollected and uncounted in the streets and survivors pleaded for food, water and medicine.

Police guarded stores to prevent people from hauling off food, water and such non-essentials as TVs and treadmills, but there was often no one to carry away the dead — not even those seen along the main road from the airport to Tacloban, the worst-hit city along the country’s remote eastern seaboard.

At a small naval base, eight bloated corpses — including that of a baby — were submerged in sea water brought in by the storm. Officers there had yet to move them, saying they had no body bags or electricity to preserve them.

Two officials said Sunday that Friday’s typhoon may have killed 10,000 or more people, but with the slow pace of recovery, the official death toll remained well below that. The Philippine military confirmed 942 dead, but shattered communications, transportation links and local governments suggest the final toll is days away. Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said “we pray” that the death toll is less than 10,000.

Tacloban resembled a garbage dump from the air, punctuated only by a few concrete buildings that remained standing.

“I don’t believe there is a single structure that is not destroyed or severely damaged in some way — every single building, every single house,” U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Paul Kennedy said after taking a helicopter flight over the city. He spoke on the tarmac at the airport, where two Marine C-130 cargo planes were parked, engines running, unloading supplies.

Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon, which is called Yolanda in the Philippines but is known as Haiyan elsewhere in Asia. It’s one of the most powerful recorded typhoons to ever hit land and likely the deadliest natural disaster to beset this poor Southeast Asian nation.

Philippine soldiers were distributing food and water in Tacloban, and assessment teams from the United Nations and other international agencies were seen for the first time. The U.S. military dispatched food, water, generators and a contingent of Marines to the city, the first outside help in what will swell into a major international relief mission.

“Please tell my family I’m alive,” said Erika Mae Karakot, a survivor on Tacloban’s Leyte island, as she lined up for aid. “We need water and medicine because a lot of the people we are with are wounded. Some are suffering from diarrhea and dehydration due to shortage of food and water.”

Authorities said they had evacuated some 800,000 people ahead of the typhoon, but some of the evacuation centers proved to be no protection against the wind and rising water. The Philippine National Red Cross, responsible for warning the region and giving advice, said people were not prepared for a storm surge.

“Imagine America, which was prepared and very rich, still had a lot of challenges at the time of Hurricane Katrina, but what we had was three times more than what they received,” said Gwendolyn Pang, the group’s executive director.

Emily Ortega, 21 and about to give birth, was among those who had thought she was safe. But the evacuation center she had fled to was devastated by the 6-meter (20-foot) storm surge, and she had to swim and cling to a post to survive. She reached safety at the airport, where she gave birth to a baby girl. Bea Joy Sagales appeared in good health. Her arrival drew applause from others in the airport and military medics who assisted in the delivery.

The winds, rains and coastal storm surges transformed neighborhoods into twisted piles of debris, blocking roads and trapping decomposing bodies underneath. Ships were tossed inland, cars and trucks swept out to sea and bridges and ports washed away.

“In some cases the devastation has been total,” said Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendras.

Residents have stripped malls, shops and homes of food, water and consumer goods. Officials said some of the looting smacked of desperation but in other cases items taken included TVs, refrigerators, Christmas trees and a treadmill. An Associated Press reporter in the town said he saw around 400 special forces and soldiers patrolling downtown to guard against further chaos.

Brig. Gen. Kennedy said Philippine forces were handling security well, and that his forces were “looking at how to open up roads and land planes and helicopters. We got shelter coming in. (The U.S. Agency for International Development) is bringing in water and supplies.”

Those caught in the storm were worried that aid would not arrive soon enough.

“We’re afraid that it’s going to get dangerous in town because relief goods are trickling in very slow,” said Bobbie Womack, an American missionary and longtime Tacloban resident from Athens, Tennessee. “I know it’s a massive, massive undertaking to try to feed a town of over 150,000 people. They need to bring in shiploads of food.”

Womack’s husband, Larry, said he chose to stay at their beachside home, only to find the storm surge engulfing it. He survived by climbing onto a beam in the roof that stayed attached to a wall.

“The roof was lifting up and the wind was coming through and there were actual waves going over my head,” he said. “The sound was loud. It was just incredible.”

Marvin Daga, a 19-year-old student in Tacloban tried to ride out the storm in his home with his ailing father, Mario, but the storm surge carried the building away.

They clung to each other while the house floated for a while, but it eventually crumbled and they fell into churning waters. Marvin grabbed a coconut tree with one hand and his father with the other, but Mario slipped out of his grasp and sank.

“I hope that he survived,” Marvin said in an army medic room as tears filled his eyes. “But I’m not expecting to find him anymore.”

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said in a statement he had a declared a “state of national calamity,” allowing the central government to release emergency funds quicker and impose price controls on staple goods. He said the two worst-hit provinces, Leyte and Samar, had witnessed “massive destruction and loss of life” but that elsewhere casualties were low.

Haiyan hit the eastern seaboard of the Philippines on Friday and quickly barreled across its central islands, packing winds of 235 kph (147 mph) that gusted to 275 kph (170 mph). It inflicted serious damage to at least six islands in the middle of the eastern seaboard.

The storm’s sustained winds weakened to 120 kph (74 mph) as the typhoon made landfall in northern Vietnam early Monday after crossing the South China Sea, according to the Hong Kong meteorological observatory. Authorities there evacuated hundreds of thousands of people, but there were no reports of significant damage or injuries.

It was downgraded to a tropical storm as it entered southern China later Monday, and weather officials forecast torrential rain in the area until Tuesday. No major damage was reported in China, though Xinhua News Agency said heavy winds tore a cargo ship from its moorings in southern China and drove it out to sea, killing at least two crew members.

The Philippines, an archipelago nation of more than 7,000 islands, is annually buffeted by tropical storms and typhoons, which are called hurricanes and cyclones elsewhere. The impoverished and densely populated nation of 96 million people is in the northwestern Pacific, right in the path of the world’s No. 1 typhoon generator, according to meteorologists. The archipelago’s exposed eastern seaboard often bears the brunt.

Even by the standards of the Philippines, however, Haiyan was an especially large catastrophe. Its winds were among the strongest ever recorded, and it appears to have killed more people than the previous deadliest Philippine storm, Thelma, in which about 5,100 people died in the central Philippines in 1991.

The country’s deadliest disaster on record was the 1976 magnitude-7.9 earthquake that triggered a tsunami in the Moro Gulf in the southern Philippines, killing 5,791 people.

___

Associated Press writers Oliver Teves and Teresa Cerojano in Manila and Minh Tran in Hanoi, Vietnam, contributed to this report.

Associated PressSource: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2013-11-11-Philippines-Typhoon/id-81a58fed8aec46c3addca261e9d899d9
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Most Beautiful Items: November 2 – 8, 2013

Most Beautiful Items: November 2 - 8, 2013

Maybe we’re entering that time of year when you never want to leave your house. That’s just fine, because there are plenty of beautiful things for you to pass your time with right here. From a cloud bridge, to perfectly looped GIFs, here are the most beautiful items of the week.

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Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/YKgJjXWmNk4/most-beautiful-items-november-2-8-2013-1461110221
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