Monday, April 28, 2008

140kg accused killer in US complains jail doesn't feed him enough

April 28, 2008

BENTONVILLE (Arkansas) - AN INMATE awaiting trial on a murder charge is suing the county, complaining he has lost more than 45kg because of the jailhouse menu.

Broderick Lloyd Laswell says he isn't happy that he's down to 140kg after eight months in the Benton County jail.

He has filed a federal lawsuit complaining the jail doesn't provide inmates with enough food.

According to the suit, Laswell weighed 187kg when he was jailed in September. Police say he and a co-defendant fatally beat and stabbed a man, then set his home on fire.

'On several occasions I have started to do some exercising and my vision went blurry and I felt like I was going to pass out,' Laswell wrote in his complaint. 'About an hour after each meal my stomach starts to hurt and growl. I feel hungry again.'

But Laswell then goes on to complain that he undertakes little vigorous activity.

'If we are in a small pod all day (and) do next to nothing for physical exercise, we should not lose weight,' the suit says. 'The only reason we lost weight in here is because we are literally being starved to death.'

The suit also asks that the county be ordered to serve hot meals.

The jail has served only cold food for years.

The meals, provided through Aramark Correctional Institution Services, average 3,000 calories a day, jail Capt. Hunter Petray told The Morning News of northwest Arkansas for a story on Saturday.

A typical Western diet consists of 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day.

Laswell's suit was filed without a lawyer in US District Court in Fayetteville. -- AP

Friday, April 25, 2008

Aerobic exercise helps turn back biological clock

April 25, 2008

NEW YORK - MAINTAINING aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond could delay the aging process by more than a decade and prolong independent living, according to a new review of research on aerobic fitness and dependency in old age.

Twenty years ago, Dr R. J. Shephard of the University of Toronto in Ontario and his colleagues proposed that adequate aerobic capacity was a key factor in helping very old people to maintain a high quality of life and live independently. In a review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Shephard analyses the latest data on the issue.

Regular aerobic exercise improves the body's ability to take in oxygen and use it, but a person's maximal aerobic power falls steady as people age.

According to Dr Shephard, studies of aerobic training response in older people have shown that workouts, especially more intense physical activity maintained for a longer duration, can improve aerobic power. In fact, seven studies of this type of exercise found people's aerobic power increased nearly 25 per cent - equivalent to reversing 12 years' worth of aging-related loss of fitness.

Based on his review, Dr Shephard concludes that elderly people who engage in progressive aerobic training can maintain their independence longer, in effect by turning back the clock on the loss of aerobic fitness that occurs with aging.

Other positive spin-offs of aerobic fitness include reduced risks of serious illness, faster recovery after injury or illness, and reduced risks of falls due to maintenance of muscle power, balance and coordination.

'There remains a need to clarify the importance of deteriorations in fitness relative to other potential causes of dependency but, from the practical viewpoint, regular aerobic activity can address many of the issues of both functional loss and chronic disease,' he writes. -- REUTERS

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Scientists say menstrual blood can repair hearts

April 24, 2008

TOKYO - THE monthly discomfort many women see as a curse could pay off someday as Japanese researchers say menstrual blood can be used to repair heart damage.

Scientists obtained menstrual blood from nine women and cultivated it for about a month, focusing on a kind of cell that can act like stem cells.

Some 20 per cent of the cells began beating spontaneously about three days after being put together in vitro with cells from the hearts of rats. The cells from menstrual blood eventually formed sheet-like heart-muscle tissue.

The success rate is 100 times higher than the 0.2-0.3 per cent for stem cells taken from human bone marrow, according to Shunichiro Miyoshi, a cardiologist at Keio University's school of medicine, who is involved in the research.

Separate in-vivo experiments showed that the condition of rats who had suffered heart attacks improved after they received the cells derived from menstrual blood.

Dr Miyoshi said women may eventually be able to use their own menstrual blood.

'There may be a system in the near future that allows women to use it for their own treatment,' Dr Miyoshi said on Thursday.

The cells can be stored for a long time in a tube the size of a pinky finger and cultivated when necessary, he said.

He also said menstrual blood could be used to build stockpiles of cells which have a variety of immune types.

This could help people with matching HLAs, or human leukocyte antigens, a key part of the human immune system, he said.

'In proper storage, we would be able to stock up a tremendous count of cells in a small space. If they are not used for 100 years, they could stay there for 200 years or 300 years' waiting for a perfect match, he said.

In a strict sense, the connective cells harvested from menstrual blood cannot be called stem cells, which can turn into any type of cell in the body, Dr Miyoshi said.

But they also have high potential to develop into muscle cells, suggesting the blood could in time be used to treat muscular dystrophy, he said.

The study has been conducted jointly by researchers from private Keio University and the National Institute for Child Health and Development.

Initial results were recently published in the online edition of the US journal Stem Cell. -- AFP

Umno still in dreamland despite wake-up call

April 24, 2008

By Karim Raslan
AS SOMEONE with a long family tradition linked to Umno and who counts many party leaders among his personal friends, the results of the last general election came as an enormous surprise to me.

Initially, I found it almost impossible to believe that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and the Democratic Action Party (DAP) could have secured five state governments.

I was concerned about their ability to manage these states as well as about the potential impact of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's leadership: Could the leopard change its spots?

Prompted by these concerns, I hit the road to interview the new political players, to find out for myself what they are like. I must admit that the leaders of the new opposition states have impressed me with their seriousness and integrity.� �

Even more eye-opening was the company I found myself in when I ventured out of my privileged Damansara Heights eyrie. Descending one night into gritty Puchong, I ended up at a vast election thanksgiving dinner sitting around a table with DAP chairman Karpal Singh and his colleagues.

What a difference one day's vote can make. I never thought that I would one day end up sandwiched between DAP leaders. But as the physically weakened Mr Singh was wheeled in, and I saw the warmth and admiration with which he was greeted, I got a sense of how 'connected' the opposition coalition's leaders are to Malaysians at large. �

Compare that to Umno's and Barisan Nasional's (BN) leaders. What are we to make of the back-biting, racialist chest-beating and general turmoil that have beset the ruling party since the elections?

I'm beginning to wish that BN had lost on March 8. Because it held on to power, the ruling coalition is still deluding itself that it will be business as usual. It appears to feel that it can continue to rule without a total overhaul of its policies and principles.� �

Umno leaders should be learning from Asia's other, once dominant parties - Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT), India's Congress and Indonesia's Golkar - which lost office but were able to reinvent themselves and regain power. The KMT in particular should be a sterling example to Umno. The parallels between the two parties are startling. Both led their respective people to self-governance. Both oversaw tremendous economic growth, but at the cost of spiralling corruption and autocratic leadership. Like Umno, the KMT lost power in an election, but its defeat was complete whereas Umno's was not but should have been. After 50 years of rule, the KMT was defeated in Taiwan's 2000 presidential election and suffered the further indignity of being routed in the 2001 legislative polls. �

The Nationalists, however, looked themselves in the mirror and did what needed to be done. They took steps to dismantle the business empire that the KMT had acquired through decades of patronage. They also broke many policy taboos that would have been unthinkable under Chiang Kai-shek.

By contrast Umno, after the election result, is dealing mainly with the superficial - blogs for MPs, say, or outbursts against ungrateful voters. The substantive - namely whether or not the party should pursue a more multiracial future - is being ignored.

Several Umno leaders like Datuk Razali Ibrahim and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have tried to place this issue on the agenda. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has also surprised many by calling for Umno to become a 'supra-ethnic, national party' that deals in a just manner with all Malaysians regardless of race while still defending its 'traditional vision'.�

These leaders recognise that Umno has to move either to the 'right' - embracing a more Malay nationalist and Islamist ethos - or to the 'left' - to garner votes from the multiracial 'Middle Malaysia'.

To my mind a push to the right would be disastrous for the party. Umno can never hope to defeat PAS on its own turf. Moreover, in pursuing the nationalist and Islamist vote, Umno would destroy its chances with the larger vote-banks in 'Middle Malaysia'.�Sadly, while Malaysia has changed, the party of 'Merdeka' is still locked in a time warp, regurgitating credos about Malay rights and power. What party leaders do not seem to want to acknowledge is that their monopoly of the Malay vote is gone - forever. Their arrogance and smug complacency have repelled large chunks of the community. The community has become too diverse to be represented by one political party and this is why the PKR and PAS were able to reap the electoral harvest. �

The burden of history and the party's own failings are preventing Umno from regaining the Malay vote, much less the support of 'Middle Malaysia' - the world that slipped its grasp on March 8.

Umno and its leadership do not seem to have realised that a broader, non-communal approach could well regain for BN much of what is currently under opposition control. The party is trapped in the arrogance and rent-seeking that cost it so many votes. One wonders if a defeat on the scale that the KMT suffered would be the only thing that could truly shake up Umno. Is it possible the strong medicine Umno needs to save itself is a good four or five years on the opposition benches?�

The writer is a Malaysian columnist.

Monday, April 21, 2008

World No. 1 Lin Dan out

April 20, 2008

Johor Baru - Chen Jin of China upset compatriot and world No 1 Lin Dan in the semi-finals yesterday at the Asia Badminton Championships, the last qualifying tournament before the Beijing Olympics.

Chen quickly downed the defending champion 21-13, 21-14. Lin, once again, was stopped short of his first ABC crown. Lin's usual attacking play was absent, and Chen, seeded No 4, won comfortably.

'Both of us played our usual game,' said Chen. 'And because we knew each other so well, we could anticipate each other's shots. But I believe Lin Dan was nursing an injury and it affected his game.'

The event, which offers a total prize money of US$125,000 ($169,000), is the last tournament to determine rankings for the Olympics in August.

Lin's surprisingly quick defeat was good news for China, as it maintained Chen's Badminton World Federation (BWF) ranking at No 4 - enough to ensure an Olympic berth.

Lin is still No 1. Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei is No 2 and China's Bao Chunlai is No 3.

According to BWF guidelines, a country has the right to three places in the Olympics if its players are ranked among the top four.

[Comment: It is fortuitous then that the world #1, whose position was not at risk, lost to the world ranked #4 who might have be reduced in ranking if he had lost. In other words, a happy coincidence my eye! I smell a rat!]

Chen will go up against South Korea's Park Sung Hwan in the final today. The latter beat Indonesia's Sony Dwi Kuncoro 14-21, 21-16, 21-19 in the other semi-final.

The 24-year-old Park said: 'I'm happy to be in the final. I'm going to give it my best shot, even though, in our last meeting at the Asian Games in Doha two years ago, I lost to Chen.'

It will be an all-China affair in the women's singles final, with defending champion Jiang Yanjiao taking on Wang Lin.

Jiang beat 2006 champion Wang Chen of Hong Kong 21-17, 21-16, while Wang Lin beat another Hong Kong player, No 3 seed Yip Pui Yin, 21-14, 21-18 in the semi-finals.

The women's doubles final will be between world No 1 pair Yang Wei and Zhang Jiewen of China, and Taiwan's Cheng Wen-hsin and Chien Yu-chin, the third seed.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Teen detained at President's pleasure for murder of lover's husband

April 15, 2008

TEENAGER Muhammad Nasir Abdul Aziz, who killed his lover's husband, was ordered by the High Court on Tuesday to be detained at the President's pleasure, an indefinite jail sentence.

Muhammad Nasir Abdul Aziz, 17, pleaded guilty to the murder but was not given the death penalty because of his age. He was two months short of 17 when he stabbed Mr Manap Salip, 29, a disc jockey, to death outside his 16th storey flat at Block 74, Whampoa Drive, on July 1 last year.

In all, he stabbed Mr Manap nine times in the back and on his neck. He threw the knife into a canal next to the block after the killing before taking a taxi home.

["Detained at the President's pleasure sounds like he becomes the President's sex slave. A better phrase is needed. How about, "Detained at the discretion of the President"?]

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bush paid S$302,975 in 2007 federal tax

April 12, 2008

CRAWFORD (Texas) - PRESIDENT George W. Bush and first lady Laura Bush reported taxable income of US$719,274 (S$983,248) for 2007 and paid $221,635 in federal income tax, the White House said on Friday.

Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, earned more than three times as much, reporting taxable income of US$2,528,066 while paying US$602,651 in federal income taxes, forms released by the White House showed.

The president's income included his salary as president, listed as US$397,839, and income from trusts in which his assets are held. The first lady received a US$150,000 advance for a children's book she co-authored with daughter Jenna, the White House said.

Mrs Bush donated her net proceeds from the advance to Teach for America and the New Teacher's Project. President and Mrs Bush contributed US$165,660 to churches and charitable organizations, including the Volunteer Fire Department in Crawford, Texas.

The Cheneys income included US$292,208 in salary, US$75,420 in taxable interest, US$654,730 in ordinary dividends, business income of US$180,976, US$1,418,428 in capital gains and US$430,276 in other income.

Both the Bushes and the Cheneys had a big tax bill at the end of the year. The Bushes had to pay US$17,741, while the Cheneys had to send in a check for US$136,486.

The release of the president's and vice president's tax forms came as President Bush spent the weekend at his Crawford ranch with his parents, brother Jeb and other family members. -- REUTERS

[Comment 1: The US President's salary is only US$400,000. Obama & Hillary are raising and spending up to US$20m a month each to win the nomination for President. When the Democrat and the Republican candidates campaign for the presidential election, they will probably spend even more. All this for a US$400,000 a year job? US President and the people who support them are either stupid, have no sense of cost-benefit analysis, or are fully aware that there are more to the Presidency than the salary and they have more to gain than just the explicit salary.

Comment 2: We never hear the Istana give a public report of what the Singapore president, or the ministers' paid in taxes. This is a transparency that the US has and we should also have. ]

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Calls for Mahathir to be charged

April 5, 2008

Opposition and activists seek probe of ex-PM for abuse of power
KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIAN activists and opposition leaders yesterday called for former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be charged in court for abuse of power during his 22-year reign.

Datuk Param Cumaraswamy, former UN special rapporteur on judicial independence, this week publicly urged the government to act against Tun Dr Mahathir based on testimony by the anti-corruption watchdog.

'Mahathir must be charged. He must be held accountable,' he told AFP.

Datuk Param said that during the corruption trial of former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, the former anti-corruption agency head Shafee Yahya told the court that Tun Dr Mahathir ordered him to close a 2000 probe into a top government official.

'From Shafee's evidence in court, Mahathir virtually scuttled the investigations,' Datuk Param said.

Legal experts said abuse of power is a criminal act carrying a penalty of 14 years' imprisonment.

The calls for the former premier to be investigated came from the 82-year-old former leader himself.

Last week, Tun Dr Mahathir wrote an open letter to Malaysians asking for some cases linked to the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to be probed by 'credible foreign agencies' in order for it to clear its name.

Added Tun Dr Mahathir: 'Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was prime minister. Well if that is so, let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also.'

[Comment: It is embarassing to see Dr M pawn his dignity and his legacy to attempt to bring down Abdullah in a wrongheaded belief that it is for the good of Malaysia and UMNO (or is it the other way around?). It is also an indication of how far gone his reasoning is when he would subject Malaysia's govt to the investigation of "foreign agencies". How would he feel if he sought the UN's help in this investigation and the UN appointed Singapore, or a Singaporean to head the investigation? Hmm?]

Since the March 8 general election, in which the ruling coalition lost a third of parliamentary seats and five states, Tun Dr Mahathir has shot back into the headlines with a campaign to topple his successor, Datuk Seri Abdullah.

Mr Lim Kit Siang, adviser of the opposition Democratic Action Party, said there should be an inquiry into alleged abuses of power during the former premier's tenure, which he said had undermined institutions like the judiciary.

Mr Ezam Mohamad Nor, chairman of the anti-corruption group Gerak, also joined the calls for an inquiry.

'PM Abdullah should make sure the country's anti-corruption watchdog and the judiciary are independent. If there is enough evidence, Mahathir should be charged,' he said.


Friday, April 4, 2008

Obama's fundraising outpaces Clinton's

April 4, 2008

CHICAGO - MR Barack Obama hauled in more than US$40 million (S$55 million) in campaign donations in March, keeping up a breakneck pace of fundraising that gives him a big advantage as rival Hillary Clinton raised only half that amount.

The tallies announced by the two campaigns on Thursday underscored the intense scramble for cash in a hard-fought Democratic presidential race that has shattered all fundraising records.

Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton are vying to run against Republican Senator John McCain in the November election to succeed President George W. Bush. Mr Obama leads Mrs Clinton in the number of delegates that will determine the outcome of the Democratic race.

The US$40 million raked in last month by the Illinois senator was less than the US$55 million his campaign brought in during February. The February total was an all-time high for any presidential candidate during a primary and the March number, while lower, was the second highest.

'Forty-million dollars is a tremendous amount of money to raise in one month, even though it was still less than February,' said Mr Massie Ritsch, spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Mrs Clinton's campaign raised US$20 million, according to a campaign source. But the source added: 'That's our second-best fundraising month to date.' Mrs Clinton, a New York senator, raised US$35 million in February.

Mr Obama's prowess at raising money over the Internet, much of it from small donors, has helped account for his large campaign war chest. Mrs Clinton, who had previously relied heavily on the more traditional method of raising money through large donors, has recently stepped up Internet fundraising as well.

Both Mrs Clinton and Mr Obama have outraised Mr McCain, an Arizona senator whose campaign ran short of money last year before the decorated Vietnam War veteran started winning primaries. Mr McCain raised US$11.7 million in January and nearly US$11 million in February.

Advantage Obama
Mrs Clinton has significantly less money available than her Democratic rival because of weaker fundraising and higher debt.

Also, some of the money she has raised can only be used if she becomes the party's nominee.

Mrs Clinton had some US$10.9 million in cash left at the end of February compared with US$31.6 million for Mr Obama, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by the Washington-based Campaign Finance Institute.

The figures showed Mrs Clinton had significantly higher debts - she owed US$8.7 million, not including the US$5 million she herself loaned to her campaign. Mr Obama had about US$625,000 in debt to be paid.

Mr Obama's campaign said the more than US$40 million he raked in during March came from some 442,000 contributors, including 218,000 first-time donors. The average contribution level was US$96, the campaign said.

'Senator Obama has always said that this campaign would rise or fall on the willingness of the American people to become partners in an effort to change our politics and start a new chapter in our history,' said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

'Many of our contributors are volunteering for the campaign, making our campaign the largest grass-roots army in recent political history.'

Mr Obama, who would be the first black president, and Mrs Clinton, who would be the first woman to win the White House, have been campaigning heavily over the last few days in Pennsylvania, which holds its voting contest on April 22. Mrs Clinton is ahead in the polls there. -- REUTERS

[Comment: They are raising US$20m - US$40m a *month* to campaign for a job that
pays US$200,000 a year. They would have ended up spending about US$200m or more each for the whole campaign. Sponsors, especially large donors obviously want something back for their donation. That makes the whole scene smell of corruption. Maybe not outright, but definitely pork barrel politics and influence peddling. Also Obama support comes from the internet donors which are many many small donors. So in a sense, because these are the small donors who individually cannot influence him, he would be less influenced by large donors. Obama may well be the more democratically selected candidate.]

Mark of a leader 'not in his top grades'

April 4, 2008

That is the assessment of those who were top students. They value competence, leadership qualities, including EQ, more
By Jeremy Au Yong
ACADEMIC grades are a useful measure for identifying a potential political leader but it should not be the topmost criterion.

That assessment came, interestingly enough, from people who were top students, with four As in their A levels.

They were reacting to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's statement on his urgent search for a successor in an interview on Tuesday, when he also highlighted the brain drain among the 4As students. PM Lee had also indicated that based on past experience, it would take about three elections to groom a leader.

The Straits Times interviewed 10 people who had 4As, and the key traits they seek in the country's leaders are competence, capability and leadership qualities, including emotional quotient or EQ.

Top grades are not critical, they added.

Even a PM without a university degree is not anathema to civil servant Jenny Tan.

'I'm not vehemently against it,' said the 28-year-old. 'It's just one factor. Work and track record are more important.''

Another civil servant, Mr C.L. Lian, 31, put it this way: 'The person must have demonstrated intellect and problem-solving ability, but the emphasis doesn't have to be on grades. I'm sure Bill Gates would be someone you want.'

Mr Gates, co-founder of software giant Microsoft, is one of the world's most famous university dropouts.

Mr Lian added that though the current selection system was sound, the grooming period might have to be shortened.

'Currently, there is this grooming period but we may not have 20 years to give,' he said, referring to PM Lee who entered politics in 1984 and became PM in 2004.

Mr Lian said it was important for the political leaders to decide which parts of government need leaders with knowledge and experience in government, and which ministries can do with leaders without government experience.

He cited Senior Counsel K. Shanmugam - who is going straight from being an MP to Law Minister - as a case of a person who was not groomed to be a minister, but had the right skills and experience.

Some interviewed, like Nominated MP Siew Kum Hong, felt there may be a need to change the way leaders are chosen.

Said Mr Siew, who had 4As in his A levels: 'Now, we seem to be going about choosing one like we go about giving scholarships. There's this list of objective criteria.'

The answer to who should be the next PM will depend on how the question is framed, he added. 'If we are looking for technocrats and managers, then you'll be competing with the world. If you frame it differently, if you're looking for leaders of the future, you probably could come up with a different characteristic.'

MP Baey Yam Keng, another top scorer, said academic excellence was a 'necessary although not sufficient' criterion. Even then, he said exceptions could be made. 'Grades are important at the entry point but over the years, they become less and less important.'

In his interview with The Straits Times and Lianhe Zaobao, PM Lee had highlighted data that show one in four - 150 out of 600 - top A-level students yearly works overseas after their studies. 'This flow is going to continue. So it's a big challenge to find successors, particularly for politics,' he said.

The extent of this brain drain does not surprise those interviewed, who added that it is not at the heart of the problem.

Said corporate tax associate Sarah Seow, 26: 'I believe the greater problem isn't the brain drain, but the political apathy of my generation.

'I know that among my peers still staying on in Singapore, many of us are talented and intelligent enough to become the Government's next tier of leaders - the only problem is that we may have become so caught up in our own careers and desires that we don't see a reason to get involved in politics.'


[Comment: I think the point was not that only Top 4A students can become PM or ministers, but that there is a brain drain as evidenced by the number of top students (defined as those with 4 "A") who are leaving, or staying away from Singapore after graduation. This is the style of Singapore's govt. They don't say vague things like, "there is brain drain" without providing evidence.]

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Crawling fish with forward-looking eyes may be part of new family

April 3, 2008

SEATTLE - A UNIVERSITY of Washington professor says a recently discovered fish that crawls instead of swimming and has forward-looking eyes like humans could be part of an entirely unknown family of fishes.

The creature sighted in Indonesian waters off Ambon Island has tan- and peach-colored zebra-striping. It uses its leglike pectoral fins to burrow into cracks and crevices of coral reefs in search of food.

UW professor Ted Pietsch says this relative of the anglerfish will have to undergo DNA scrutiny to verify that it is unique. But the world's leading authority on anglerfish says he's never seen anything like it.

Prof Pietsch says they have probably escaped notice until now because they are so good at sliding into narrow crevices. -- AP

When it comes to sex, length (of time) matters: Sex therapists

April 3, 2008

NEW YORK - A SURVEY of sex therapists have concluded the optimal amount of time for sexual intercourse was 3 to 13 minutes.

The findings, to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, strike at the notion that endurance is the key to a great sex life.

However, the time does not count foreplay, and the therapists did rate sexual intercourse that lasts from 1 to 2 minutes as 'too short.'

Researcher Eric Corty said he hoped to ease the minds of those who believe that 'more of something good is better, and if you really want to satisfy your partner, you should last forever.'

The questions were not gender-specific, said Prof Corty. But he said prior research has shown that both men and women want foreplay and sexual intercourse to last longer.

Dr Irwin Goldstein, editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, cited a four-week study of 1,500 couples in 2005 that found the median time for sexual intercourse was 7.3 minutes. (Women were armed with stopwatches.)

It's difficult for both older men and young men to make sexual intercourse last much longer, said Dr Marianne Brandon, a clinical psychologist and director of Wellminds Wellbodies in Annapolis, Maryland.

'There are so many myths in our culture of what other people are doing sexually,' Dr Brandon said. 'Most people's sex lives are not as exciting as other people think they are.'

Fifty members of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research in the US and Canada were surveyed by Prof Corty, an associate professor of psychology at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, and student Jenay Guardiani.

Thirty-four members, or 68 per cent, responded, although some said the optimal time depended on the couple.

Prof Corty said he hoped to give an idea of what therapists find to be normal and satisfactory among the couples they see.

'People who read this will say, 'I last five minutes or my partner lasts 8 minutes,' and say, 'That's OK,'' he said. 'They will relax a little bit.' -- AP

Research debunks health value of guzzling water

April 3, 2008

NEW YORK - THERE is no clearcut scientific rationale for the average healthy individual to drink a lot of water - and it may be downright harmful - according to two kidney experts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Walkable towns curb obesity, pollution

April 2, 2008

NEW YORK - DESIGNING walkable communities is a cost-effective way to address the growing epidemic of obesity in the United States and cut down on harmful car emissions and pollution, a researcher told the American College of Sports Medicine's 12th annual Health and Fitness Summit in Long Beach, California.

Check into a HOSPITEL

April 2, 2008

Hospital-cum-hotel complex coming up in Farrer Park by 2010

By Jessica Jaganathan

A GROUP of local doctors are building what they hope will be Singapore's first 'mediplex' - hospital, hotel and specialist medical centre rolled into one - above the Farrer Park MRT station.

M'sia's ruling party dissidents launch attack on PM Abdullah

April 1, 2008

KUALA LUMPUR - FORMER Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad urged his supporters on Tuesday to openly rebel against the prime minister after massive losses in general elections plunged the ruling party into its worst crisis.