Nation/world digest 08/09/06

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Sugary drinks are piling on pounds, report says

Americans have sipped and slurped their way to fatness by drinking far more soda and other sugary drinks over the last four decades, a new scientific review concludes. An extra can of soda a day can pile on 15 pounds in a single year, and the "weight of evidence" strongly suggests that this sort of increased consumption is a key reason that more people have gained weight, the researchers say. The report was published Tuesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Federal Reserve keeps interest rates steady

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve halted the longest unbroken stretch of interest rate increases in recent history Tuesday -- a reprieve for millions of borrowers after years of rate pain. The Fed held a key interest rate steady at 5.25 percent. It marked the first time in more than two years that the Fed did not boost rates.

Army shoots down idea for military theme park

McLEAN, Va. -- The Army shot down a developer's proposal Tuesday to build a military theme park on a Virginia Army base that would feature rides that allow visitors to "command the latest M-1 tank" and "feel the rush of a paratrooper freefall." "That proposal ... was dead on arrival," said Keith Eastin, the Army's assistant secretary for installations and environment. Eastin said the Army is willing to consider some type of "visitor destination concept" to go with the museum, but it would have to be done "in a tasteful and appropriate manner."

Study questions some defibrillators' reliability

CHICAGO -- A review of safety data raises questions about the reliability of the heart zappers that hang on the walls of airports, shopping malls and health clubs. Harvard Medical School researchers found that over the past decade, one in five automated external defibrillators were recalled because of the potential for malfunction, and devices that failed were associated with 370 deaths. Nevertheless, the devices have saved tens of thousands of lives, and the benefits outweigh the risk of malfunctions, said study author Dr. William Maisel.

Bombs shake Baghdad as U.S. patrols streets

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- At least 20 people were killed Tuesday in a string of bombings in the center of Baghdad, as more American soldiers patrolled the streets of the capital in a make-or-break bid to quell sectarian violence. Nearly 60 people were wounded in the blasts, police said. The explosions began when three bombs went off simultaneously near the Interior Ministry in central Baghdad, killing 10 people and wounding eight, police Lt. Bilal Ali Majid said. Two more bombs ripped through the main Shurja market, also in central Baghdad, killing 10 more civilians and wounding 50, police Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun said.

Israel declares no-drive zone in Lebanon

BEIRUT, Lebanon -- Israel declared Tuesday a no-drive zone in the entire region south of Lebanon's Litani River -- 20 miles from the border -- warning residents that any vehicle on the roads would be destroyed on the assumption it was carrying Hezbollah rockets or supplies. The order left the streets of the region's main city Tyre empty and civilians in villages across the south unable to flee. Meanwhile, diplomats at the United Nations struggled to keep a peace plan from collapsing over Arab demands for an immediate Israeli withdrawal.

-- From wire reports

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