Thursday, May 3, 2007

Spanning the Globe: All the News That...


Mrs. Tzipi Livni (that's right, Mrs.), Israeli foreign minister, is one step away from becoming only the second female Prime Minister in the country's history. Livni, 48, appears to be next in line for the job should current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resign.

On Wednesday, a poll of Israeli adults in the daily, Maariv, showed that 73 percent of those who responded believed that Olmert should step down.

Livni, who has two sons, ages 19 and 17, has risen relatively quickly to power - first within the Likud Party as a protege of Ariel Sharon, and currently in Kadima, the party set up by Sharon in the fall of 2005.

A former Mossad agent, Tzipi Livni held a classified post within Israeli intelligence, following her graduation from Bar-Ilan University school of law.

Though details of Livni's personal life have been kept just that, personal, it is believed that Livni's rise to the heights of power in the Knesset had nothing to do with a wealthy husband or a desire on her part to find a hobby after the kids were grown.


Eli Lilly and Co., manufacturer of Prozac, and Pfizer Inc., manufacturer of Zoloft, said they would comply with the FDA's request, and begin labelling the two anti-depressant products as a potential cause of suicidal tendencies in consumers age 18 to 24.

Antidepressants are already believed to cause increased risks for those under 18.

A statement issued by Eli Lilly read, "We believe this step will help insure that millions of people with depression... can make informed treatment decisions while minimizing the fear and stigma associated with depression."

Shreya Pudlo, a Pfizer spokesperson, took her statements in a different direction.

"There is no established causal link between Zoloft and suicide in adults, young adults or children."

According to Dr. Thomas Laughren, for every 1,000 patients 18 to 24 treated with antidepressants, the FDA expects that an additional five patients can expect to experience suicidal thoughts or suicidal behavior. According to Laughren, who oversees psychiatric drugs for the FDA, these studies were conducted with 11 different antidepressants on more than 77,000 patients.

According to the ads, depression hurts. And, apparently, anti-depression kills.

And in other chemical treatment news...


Britney Spears will perform the third in a series of "comeback" concerts tonight at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. Spears, who's last public concert appearance was nearly three years ago, kicked off her "comeback" Tuesday night with a fifteen minute show at the San Diego House of Blues. The following night, the 25-year-old Spears (Thank God she's no longer in that dangerous 18 to 24 demographic!) played the chain's Anaheim location.

The Tuesday gig was advertised as a show by "The M&M's". No indication was given whether the lap dance given to one of the San Diego patrons will be an ongoing feature of Spears' "comeback" tour.

Last stop...


An plain-clothed Manhattan Beach police officer was struck by a motorist as he observed the driving habits of parents at an elementary school in the city.

"We've seen motorists driving too fast, driving on the wrong side of the road at times," according to Manhattan Beach PD Lt. Derrick Abell. "One motorist drove on the wrong side of the road and hit one of our officers."

Other drivers were observed double-parking, leaving vehicles with the engine running for minutes at a time to pick up students, and even making, "offensive gestures to other more patient, law abiding drivers," Abell said.

"People are not paying attention to the rules of the road. The Manhattan Beach Police Department places a high priority on keeping our children safe."

The City of Manhattan Beach is one of the wealthiest cities in the state of California, with a 2006 average household income of just under $123,000.

In a related statistic, the city's schools rank 5th in state academic performance standards.

It's great to know the children of Manhattan Beach are just as driven as their parents.

Copyright © 2007 Bill Friday