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Study: Diet drinks can lead to stroke, dementia

Diet sodas — one of America's favorite caffeine-delivery systems — appears to be just as unhealthy as their sugary cousins

The Washington Post reports that a new study refutes the theory that diet drinks are a better option than those made with sugar or corn syrup.

>> Read more trending news

The new study in the journal Stroke says people who drink diet soda are three times as likely as those who don’t to have a stroke or develop dementia.

“This included a higher risk of ischemic stroke, where blood vessels in the brain become obstructed and Alzheimer’s disease dementia, the most common form of dementia,” Matthew Pase, a Boston University School of Medicine neurologist told The Washington Post.

Paseo is the lead author of the study.

He stressed the study showed just a correlation and not a causation but that diet pop simply “might not be a healthy alternative.”

The study of 2,888 individuals age 45 and older looked for the development of a stroke and 1,484 participants age 60 and older for dementia over a 10-year period.

There was no association with stroke or dementia found in a parallel study of sugary drinks.

The diet sodas used by those in the study contained the artificial sweeteners saccharin, acesulfame-K and aspartame.

“So, the bottom line is, ‘Have more water and have less diet soda,” said Christopher Gardner, director of Nutrition Studies at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, in an American Heart Association news release. “And don’t switch to real soda.”

He added: “Nobody ever said diet sodas were a health food.”

The American Beverage Association said low-calorie sweeteners have been proven safe by worldwide government safety authorities as well as hundreds of scientific studies and there is nothing in this research that counters this well-established fact.

“While we respect the mission of these organizations to help prevent conditions like stroke and dementia, the authors of this study acknowledge that their conclusions do not — and cannot — prove cause and effect,” the beverage association noted.

To read the whole Washington Post story click here.

Man accused of lighting 69-year-old on fire at Denny's restaurant

Deputies arrested a 24-year-old man Thursday night after authorities said he set a 69-year-old man on fire at an Oregon Denny’s restaurant.

>> Read more trending news

Deshaun James Swanger, of Milwaukie, Oregon, was charged with attempted murder after the attack Wednesday at a Denny’s in Happy Valley. He was apprehended at a transitional house after a neighbor and former roommate called to report his whereabouts, KATU reported.

"It's disgusting to me, hearing what happened to this elderly man," neighbor Buck Sleight told KATU. "He didn't deserve that, so anything they give him, he's going to get what he deserves."

Deputies asked for help identifying Swanger through surveillance images after the attack sent a 69-year-old man to the hospital with critical injuries.

Swanger sat in a booth adjacent to the one his victim was in around 9 p.m. Wednesday, deputies said. He dumped what appeared to be gasoline on the man before throwing lit item on the victim, causing a flash.

He ran from the restaurant, deputies said.

In a statement released to KGW, Denny’s said employees were “deeply disturbed” by the “random act of violence.” 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our guest that was seriously injured,” the statement said. “Both guests and team members acted quickly to help this guest and ensure the safety of others in the restaurant. We are actively assisting authorities in their investigation.”

Authorities are also investigating whether Swanger might have been behind a separate incident reported Sunday night at the Clackamas Town Center, according to The Oregonian. During a showing of “The Fat of the Furious,” a man dumped what appeared to be gasoline from a water bottle onto another man

Witness Ron Steinhauser told KATU that he saw someone light a book of matches and throw it onto the gas-covered man.

“The flames started to catch, I think, on his arm, but it went out very quickly with his movement,” Steinhauser told the news station.

The attacker ran before authorities arrived.

Family discovered nearly 24 hours after fatal plane crash

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a weekend plane crash in Florida that killed a family from Georgia.

>> Read more trending news 

Nathan Enders, his wife, Laura Enders, and their two sons, 7-year-old Jaden Enders and 5-year-old Eli Enders, died in the crash, Clay Connolly, the deputy chief of police in Williston, Florida, confirmed.

Nathan Enders was an air traffic controller who worked at the FAA Terminal Radar Approach Control in Peachtree City, Georgia, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said. The family lived in Williamson, Georgia. 

Although the plane, a 1948 Cessna 170 registered in Texas to Nathan Enders, crashed at Williston Municipal Airport about 3:10 p.m. Saturday, the family wasn’t discovered until Sunday.

Officials said more than 20 planes flew out of the airport Saturday.

It could take authorities several months to determine what caused the crash, NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway said.

But officials know the plane refueled somewhere in Georgia at 11:30 a.m. and arrived at Williston airport about three hours later, Connolly said. Williston is about 105 miles northwest of Orlando.

The plane tried to take off shortly after 3 p.m., but it crashed just beyond the end of the north side of the taxiway, Connolly said.

An emergency locator transmitter continued to send radio signals that should have been noticed by pilots within 2 or 3 miles, he told the Gainesville Sun in Florida.

But no one alerted police until 1:12 p.m. Sunday, he said.

“This is really a huge complacency issue,” Connolly told the newspaper.

Investigators will continue to go through medical records, maintenance records, radar data and air traffic control communication. They wrapped up preliminary work Monday before moving the aircraft to a secure facility. 

Megan Sabol, Nathan Ender’s sister, is collecting donations via GoFundMe.

“It is so awful still, thinking of their last few moments and what was going through their minds -- if they knew what was happening or felt any pain as they sat there upside down waiting 21 hours to be found,” Sabol, wrote on Facebook. “I have not been able to find peace yet as the tears will not cease.”

According to the family’s GoFundMe page, a third son was not on the plane.

Married man sends fake email alleging plane hijacks to avoid vacation with mistress

An Indian man was arrested Thursday after he sent police an email falsely claiming that he overheard a conversation that detailed plans of scheduled plane hijackings. 

He sent the emails in an effort to get out of a planned vacation with his online girlfriend, police said.

>> Read more trending news

According to CNN, Motaparthi Vamshi Krishna, 32, sent Mumbai police an email Saturday in which he claimed to be a woman who overheard six men plotting to hijack planes in three Indian cities: Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai.

Police increased security presence at three international airports in the cities after receiving the tip.

The email said the woman, who claimed that she couldn’t provide details of her identity, overheard the conversation while having lunch at a hotel. The claim stated six Muslim men discussed a plan to have 23 people involved in the hijackings, authorities said. “They spoke some other things also but I (could) not hear them, as I heard only these few sentences from them. I don’t know do am I doing correct or not, and they are true or not but heard this so kindly go through this and as I informed this as a duty and a citizen of India and (please) don’t make me to get into issues,” the email read, in part.

Krishna wrote the fake email in an effort to get out of going on a trip with an online girlfriend, police said. 

Hyderabad police tracked down Krishna after following the the IP address of the email to an internet cafe. 

After being questioned, Krishna told police that he perpetrated the hoax after his girlfriend suggested that the two travel together and wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Krishna, who didn’t have enough money for the trip, created a fake plane ticket for his girlfriend from Chennai to Mumbai. He emailed the fake ticket to the woman and hoped that her flight would get canceled after sending the anonymous tip to police.

“He didn't have the money, but if he canceled because of that, it would have hurt his pride, and his friendship with the girl would’ve come to an end,” said B. Limba Reddy, deputy commissioner of police at the Commissioner's Task Force in Hyderabad. “So, his thinking was that if the flight was to be canceled, and it was because of the airport, he wouldn’t be at fault.”

Krishna was charged with impersonation and providing false information, CNN reported. He could face jail time.

According to KTLA, Krishna is married with a child. 

Read Krishna’s full email to police here.

8-year-old boy dies after TV falls on him

An 8-year-old boy died after a television fell on him at a home in Jacksonville, Florida, his parents said.

>> Read more trending news

Jacksonville police officers were called to Painted Pony Drive early Friday morning and found Christian Dozier unresponsive in his bedroom.

He was taken to the hospital, where he died from his head injuries.

His parents told ActionNewsJax that he was kicking an entertainment center when the TV fell on him.

His mom said he loved to hang out with his siblings and play sports.

"It's horrible … especially when you know your grandchild plays with them -- so it's horrible," neighbor Regina Williams said. "It's horrible anytime something (happens) to a kid so when I (saw) the crime scene tape, that's the last thing I thought, is that it'd be one of the children."

Horse fosters orphaned calf

A mare who never raised a horse of her own has become the adopted mother of an orphaned calf. 

The barely week-old calf was found beneath Moonshine, a horse who never raised her own ponies, trying to get a drink.

"It was something I've never seen before,” Gerda Glasson told ABC News. “She's never actually raised a foal; she's never been a (mother). So she might be thinking that this is her chance.”

>> Read more trending news

Moonshine, who is 16, gave birth about a decade ago, Glasson said but the young horse died. Moonshine does not produce milk, so the calf is being bottle fed by the Glassons. 

The calf is in good condition and is yet to be named. Suggestions from the Glassons’ children include Sunshine, Sunny and Horse.

Watch: Car dragged along highway after collision with tractor-trailer

A tractor-trailer driver struck a car on a California interstate Wednesday afternoon, dragging the vehicle for nearly a mile before nearby motorists were able to stop him, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Video posted on Facebook by a passing driver showed the smoking tires of a red Nissan Maxima as it was pulled by a truck along Interstate 15, just north of California State Route 138. The car’s driver can be seen waving for help out the vehicle’s window.

“Look at that,” driver Brian Steimke says in the video. “They’re dragging that car.”

The tractor-trailer was hauling 50,000 pounds of carrots north on Interstate 15 around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday when it sideswiped the Maxima and the car became stuck, the California Highway Patrol said in a statement released to KABC. Both drivers were merging into the same lane when the accident Maxima got stuck, troopers said.

The truck’s driver, a 62-year-old Bakersfield man, did not realize that the Maxima had become lodged into the truck and traveled for almost a mile before stopping, the California Highway Patrol said.

The truck driver will not face charges in the accident. Neither he nor the car’s driver were injured, troopers told KCBS-TV.

Giant, invasive lizard threatens Florida

Considered one of the most invasive reptiles staking claim in Florida, the Argentine tegu threatens birds, alligators and pets and could be more destructive than Burmese pythons, whose robust population has lead wildlife officials to sanction state sponsored snake hunts to reduce their numbers. 

While Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are concerned about the growing population of the invasive lizard, there are no eradication efforts in place like those for the problematic python, according to WFTS

>> Read more trending news

The black and white lizard has sharp teeth, strong jaws and pointed claws. They grow up to four feet long, can be purchased at pet stores and when they become too unwieldy, pet owners typically dump them. 

Although not aggressive the lizard will defend itself if threatened.

"A big lizard can be a very exciting animal for a young kid to run across, they want to catch it," Lewis Single, who works in the herpetology department at a Tampa zoo, told WFTS. "If they want to grab a large tegu, they could get sent to the hospital."

Biologists captured 13 of the reptiles in 2009. By 2015, 760 were trapped and released to track their movements, according to the Miami Herald. Trappers believe the population now number in the thousands.

“They’re not staying put. And the capture rates don’t look like they’re diminishing yet,” Frank Mazzotti, a University of Florida biologist leading tracking efforts, told the Herald.

The reptile, which can lay up to 35 eggs in a year, is native to South America and has found two nesting areas in Florida, the Tampa area in Hillsborough County as well as Florida City near the Everglades in Miami-Dade. The hatchlings are born in early summer.

“Government comes up with all the reasons why it can’t act faster, but the tegus don’t care,” Mazzoti said. “They can’t say we understand there are budget problems so we won’t reproduce this year. No, that’s not how it works.”

Politico: Emails between Bill O’Reilly, attorneys hint at last-minute effort to save job

Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his attorneys debated whether to share an email with his bosses at 21st Century Fox in the hours before he was fired from the company, according to a story from Politico.

The email that O’Reilly and his lawyers discussed was from Mary Pat Bonner, a Democratic Party fundraiser connected with the watchdog group Media Matters. The email described an “advertiser education campaign” aimed at companies that purchased ads during O’Reilly’s show to cancel their sponsorships.

The email, which was shared with Politico, referred to two upcoming conference calls with Media Matters president Angelo Carusone to discuss "the success of the campaign so far, and our plans moving forward." The email that Politico received did not include the recipients' names, and it was not clear how O’Reilly’s attorneys came into its possession, though the campaign was not a secret.

Media Matters released this statement from Angelo Carusone:“Fox News was forced to act. They had years to address serial sexual harassment at Fox News. They didn’t; they actually enabled it. So individuals and groups took action to educate advertisers. Advertisers fled because they immediately recognized what Fox News has ignored for over a decade: that serial sexual harassment is not only wrong but bad for business.

"Without advertisers, Bill O’Reilly’s show was no longer commercially viable. Fox News had no choice but to fire O’Reilly. Accountability came from the outside, not from within. Fox News deserves no accolades, only scorn for the industrial scale harassment they have forced their employees to endure.”

According to the story, O’Reilly and his attorneys intended to point to the email as proof that there was a coordinated move to get him fired, and that the effort was a conspiracy based on unfounded allegations of sexual harassment.

"If we show to Fox tomorrow, word will get out and the Thursday call may be canceled," O'Reilly wrote Tuesday in an email exchange with his attorney.

The email was forwarded to Politico on Wednesday, which O’Reilly’s attorney said was a mistake.

For the full story, see Politico.


What will April the Giraffe's calf be named? Here are the top 10 contenders

After months of anticipation, April the Giraffe of New York’s Animal Adventure Park gave birth to her fourth calf on April 15. 

>> Related: World rejoices as April the giraffe finally gives birth

The male calf has yet to be named. 

Animal Adventure Park put out a call to fans to submit names to be considered for the newborn. 

Participants of the contest paid $1 each to submit a minimum of five votes at

The park revealed the top 10 names Wednesday on social media. 

In the post, Animal Adventure Park said the calf has quite the personality. 

In no particular order, the top 10 names are as follows:

  • Unity
  • Patches
  • Patch
  • Peter
  • Harpur
  • Geoffrey
  • Apollo
  • Ollie
  • Noah
  • Allysa’s Choice

>> Related: April the Giraffe fans, here’s how you can help name her calf

The park will hold another vote to determine the winning name. The winning name is expected to be announced about five days after the last round of voting begins, according to the park.

Animal Adventure Park said proceeds from the voting will benefit the park, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Ava’s Little Heroes, an event that supports local families whose children experience unexpected medical expenses.

Animal Adventure Park is a for-profit organization.

>> Related: How long are giraffes pregnant?

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