Report: ‘Rich’ diseases on rise in developing nations

The world is facing a growing avalanche of death from heart attack, stroke, cancer, emphysema and diabetes, with many of the victims working-age people in poor countries. Up to half of those deaths could be prevented or deferred by implementing a short list of interventions, some by individual people and some by governments. But no country is doing all it could.

Those are the messages of a global scorecard on the prevention of chronic illnesses released Tuesday by the World Health Organization.

The report summarizes two decades of research challenging the view that people in poor countries die of infections and people in rich countries die of diseases brought on by the effects of overeating, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle. While not entirely untrue, that stereotype masked an overlooked and growing number of “rich-people’s diseases” in the developing world.

More than 80 percent of deaths from cardiovascular disease and diabetes now occur outside industrialized nations such as the United States, France and Japan.


Jailed Americans could be freed on $500,000 bail each

Iran’s president predicted Tuesday that two Americans arrested while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border and sentenced to eight years in jail on espionage-related charges could be freed “in a couple of days” after a court set bail of $500,000 each.

The events appeared timed to boost the image of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad coinciding with his visit to New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly session. Last year, a third American was released on bail around the same time.

In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the United States was “encouraged” by Ahmadinejad’s comments about freeing Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal.


Warming oceans spawning bacteria growth, paper says

Warning: The warming of the world’s oceans can cause serious illness and may cost millions of dollars in health care.

That is the alarm sounded in a paper released online Tuesday on the eve of a two-day conference in Brussels.

The 200-page paper is a synthesis of the findings of more than 100 projects funded by the European Union since 1998. It was produced by Project CLAMER, a collaboration of 17 European marine institutes.

The paper says the rising temperature of ocean water is causing a proliferation of the Vibrio genus of bacteria, which can cause food poisoning, serious gastroenteritis, septicemia and cholera.

The paper also describes a host of other effects of ocean warming, both documented and forecast, including melting ice, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, increased storm intensity and frequency, along with chemical changes in the sea itself, including acidification and deoxygenation.


Woman, 101, evicted after son ignores bills for years

A 101-year-old woman was evicted from the southwest Detroit home where she lived for nearly six decades after her 65-year-old son failed to pay the mortgage.

Texana Hollis was evicted Monday and her belongings were placed outside the home. Her son, Warren Hollis, said he didn’t pay the bill for several years and disregarded eviction notices.

“I kept it from her because I didn’t want to worry her,” Warren Hollis told WXYZ-TV for a report that aired Monday night. “I was just so sure it wasn’t going to happen.”

Wayne County Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski said Tuesday that the Hollises took out an adjustable-rate mortgage in 2002. A default and foreclosure notice was filed in November.

“They ended up owing $80,000 on the home,” Szymanski said. “Warren indicates … he got the notices, but threw them away.”

Said Szymanski: “The teachable moment here is for people not to stick their head in the sand.”


Former Obama official to challenge Sen. Brown

Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and former Obama administration official who became a hero to liberals with her sharp critique of the nation’s financial institutions, will announce today that she is challenging Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts for his seat in 2012.

Warren, 62, had been widely expected to run and had been conducting a campaign-style listening tour. She will formally announce her intentions with an online video statement as she travels the state.

Her candidacy will set up one of the nation’s most high-profile Senate races. Democrats, who are trying to hold control of the Senate, hunger for a win in one of the nation’s most liberal states, particularly if it would mean snatching back the seat once held by the late Edward M. Kennedy.

Brown, a Republican, won the seat in a 2010 special election after Kennedy’s death. He has pursued a shrewd, moderate course in the Senate and remains popular in the state.


Obama health plan loses ruling on mandate clause

President Barack Obama’s plan to require individual Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, a key pillar of his health care legislation, is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa.

U.S. District Judge Christopher C. Conner said in a 53-page opinion that the federal government’s power to regulate commerce did not give it the authority to compel individual citizens to purchase products against their will.

The lawsuit was filed by a married couple from Etters, Pa., against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, asking that the law be overturned. The couple, Barbara Goudy-Bachman, 48, and Gregory Bachman, 56, said they dropped their health care coverage because of the expense — more than their monthly mortgage payments.

The couple, who operate a bait-and-tackle and marine engine repair shop, said they preferred to pay for their health care out of pocket.

The case is one of several dozen lawsuits playing out in various jurisdictions challenging the constitutionality of Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, which seeks to provide health insurance coverage to millions of Americans without insurance.


Precautions taken after gasoline tanker is stolen

Authorities in Maryland say a tanker truck carrying more than 3,000 gallons of gasoline has been stolen.

Kent County Sheriff’s Sgt. Glenn Owens says the FBI is assisting with the search.

He says nothing about the investigation points to terrorism, but in light of a possible threat linked to the 9/11 anniversary and the proximity to Washington, they are taking precautions.