Nation briefs 4/5/06

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Brother of 'milkshake murder' victim stabbed

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The brother of an investment banker poisoned in Hong Kong in what became known as the "milkshake murder" was found stabbed to death in his home, police said. When movers found the body of Andrew M. Kissel on Monday, his hands and feet were bound, a manager for JB Moving Services in Stamford said. An autopsy Tuesday confirmed the 46-year-old had died from multiple stab wounds. Greenwich police were interviewing friends and family members, including Kissel's wife, Hayley, police said. No one has been arrested and there are no suspects, said Lt. Daniel Allen, a police spokesman.

Study: no greater cancer risk from aspartame

WASHINGTON -- A huge federal study in people -- not rats -- takes the fizz out of arguments that the diet soda sweetener aspartame might raise the risk of cancer. No increased risk was seen even among people who gulped down many artificially sweetened drinks a day, said researchers who studied the diets of more than half a million older Americans. A consumer group praised the study, done by reputable researchers independent of any funding or ties to industry groups.

McCain booed by labor activists during speech

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain threatened Tuesday to cut short a speech to union leaders who booed his immigration views and later challenged his statements on organized labor and the Iraq war. "If you like, I will leave," McCain told the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department, pivoting briefly from the lectern. He returned to the microphone after the crowd quieted. "OK, then please give me the courtesy I would give you." It was a contentious session that tested McCain's commitment to the straight-talking image he honed during his failed 2000 presidential bid. The Arizona Republican is expected to seek the 2008 GOP nomination as a front-runner.

Online posts offer rooms in exchange for sex

SAN FRANCISCO -- In Atlanta, an online ad offers a room in exchange for "sex and light office duty." In Los Angeles, a one-bedroom pool house is free "to a girl that is skilled and willing." And in New York City, a $700-a-month room is available at a discount to a fit female willing to provide sex. On the widely used Web site, some landlords and apartment dwellers looking for roommates are offering to accept sex in lieu of rent. "They have to be attractive. I don't let just anybody come into my house," said Mike, a man who answered the phone at the New York City listing but declined to give his last name -- and refused to say whether he has, in fact, collected the rent under the sheets. It is unclear how much success people have had with their rent-for-sex ads. Legal experts say Craigslist is shielded by a 1996 federal law that protects online service providers that merely pass along unedited information provided by someone else.

Low-calorie diets reduce age-related DNA damage

CHICAGO -- Longevity researchers say they've shown for the first time that following a strict low-calorie diet can decrease DNA damage linked with aging. Some people who took part in the six-month diet study ate as little as 890 calories a day. Their insulin levels fell and metabolisms slowed -- changes that are thought to increase longevity. The findings are provocative, but preliminary. Longer-term research will try to sort out whether such changes can meaningfully extend people's lives, said senior author Eric Ravussin of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University. "They are the first proof that what has been observed in rodents seems to be also working in humans," Ravussin said.

-- From wire reports

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