Archive for June, 2011


New domain names coming

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The trusty old Internet addresses we know and love — the .coms, .nets, .orgs — are about to get some new competition.

Global Internet regulators met in Singapore to finalize rules for a major expansion of “generic top-level domains,” that will clear the way for new offerings like .law, .coke or .nyc. Sites with those endings are expected to start rolling out late next year.

“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers — the non-profit, global coordinator of the Internet’s naming system — has for years been kicking around the idea of suffixes for brand names, cities and general keywords. But because changes to the Internet’s domain structure have complex and global ramifications, ICANN moves toward them at a glacial pace.

Way back in 2000, the organization decided to expand the domain-name system. Since then, it has gradually rolled out a handful of new domains, including the controversial .xxx domain that got the green light in March.

6 milestones in Web history

Early Monday ICANN approved a plan that will open the floodgates and accept hundreds of applications for new domains. Potential competition is keeping most organizations from disclosing their plans, but a few have gone public with their interest: .nyc.parisUnicef, Deloitte, Hitachi andCanon.

“The way things are now, technically anyone can buy a dot-com domain to imply a relationship with a brand,” says Ben Crawford, CEO of dotBrand Solutions, a recently launched consulting and services company.

Crawford is also the head of CentralNic, a London-based domain registry and the parent company of dotBrand Solutions. He set up the offshoot company to get an early toehold in a market that’s non-existent now but could soon be doing big business.

Crawford thinks dot-brand sites will be a hit with major companies. In addition to marketing benefits, they could help on the security front: HSBC, for example, could tell customers that a purported HSBC site isn’t legitimate unless it ends in .hsbc. And a company like Verizon (VZ,Fortune 500) could market products at cellphones.verizon and store locations at losangeles.verizon.

But these benefits don’t come cheaply — or easily. ICANN charges at $185,000 per domain application, which Crawford says typically must include about 150 pages of policy documents.

Technical setup takes another $100,000 or so, he says, and upkeep can cost an additional $100,000 each year.

ICANN is slated to begin reviewing applications in November or December, and says that new domains should roll out in July 2012.

“Given how long this all has taken, that could easily slip to the end of next year,” Crawford quips.

It’s a slow and painstaking process. With domains like .law and .sport, many suitors may be battling for the same coveted keyword. So if multiple applicants want a single domain, and ICANN deems them equally worthy, it goes to auction — which could end up costing millions.

And even if two keywords aren’t exactly the same, “confusingly similar” domain suffixes are verboten. That is, if an apple farmers’ union grabs .apples, then iPad maker Apple (APPL) would be blocked permanently from registering .apple. To top of page


Food allergies rising problem in children

B.J. Hom, center, died of an allergic reaction in 2008. His brothers Brandon, left, and Steven also have susceptibility to allergies.
B.J. Hom, center, died of an allergic reaction in 2008. His brothers Brandon, left, and Steven also have susceptibility to allergies.
  • Study: 8% of American children have food allergies
  • Older children tend to have more severe reactions
  • People at risk of food-allergic reactions must carry an epinephrine auto-injector

(CNN) — “Dad, my throat hurts. Can you get me some cough drops?” B.J. Hom asked his father, Brian.

Brian had no idea those would be the last words he would hear his son say.

The Hom family had just arrived at a resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, to celebrate B.J.’s high school graduation and 18th birthday. But while Brian went to get cough drops at the gift shop, B.J. collapsed, his lips blue and his face pale, gasping for breath. He died that night from an allergic reaction, probably to unnoticed peanuts in a dessert from the dinner buffet.

“It was like someone reached in and ripped our hearts out,” said Brian Hom of San Jose, California.

Since then, Hom has been speaking about the dangers of food allergies and educating people about protecting themselves and their children from a possible deadly reaction.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics reaffirms this growing problem of food allergies among young people. Researchers found that 8% of children under 18 in the United States have at least one food allergy. In the past, estimates had ranged from 2% to 8%, adding to the growing body of evidence that increasingly more children have food allergies.

Even more striking, among those with food allergies, about 39% had a history of severe reaction and 30% were allergic to multiple foods. The most common food allergen was peanuts, followed by milk and shellfish.

Child food allergies on the rise

Life with food allergies

2010: Guidelines for kids’ food allergies

“Sometimes when people think of food (allergies), they think of rash or stomach ache. What I don’t think people understand is that it can be life-threatening. You can have a severe reaction and end up in the hospital and even die of food allergy,” said Dr. Ruchi Gupta, associate professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and lead author of the study. (Gupta is no relation to CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.)

Unfortunately, although allergists can identify people at risk for reacting to particular foods, there is no test to determine who is most likely to suffer a severe reaction and who will respond with only mild symptoms. There also is no cure for food allergies; the course of action is to avoid the offending foods and carry an epinephrine auto-injector in case of emergency.

Food allergy help for grown-ups

Hom regrets having had a somewhat lax attitude toward allergies in the past.

B.J. had never been tested for food allergies, but he knew from his experience with fish — and the hives he’d get when eating peanuts — that he should avoid certain foods. He seemed to manage these relatively mild reactions with antihistamines and did not carry an epinephrine auto-injector.

“We always heard the stories, but we thought every time he’d get a reaction it would be these hives or itchy throat and he’d just feel uncomfortable,” Hom said. “We thought, OK, then, we’re safe. You don’t think it could get to the fatal stage.”

After B.J.’s death in July 2008, Hom had his other sons, Brandon and Steven, tested for food allergies. They both tested positive for peanut allergy, which may have explained why Steven broke out in hives after eating the same dessert from the buffet that led to his brother’s death.

“For a child with food allergies, it’s almost a nightmare to be at a buffet,” Gupta said. There’s no telling what ingredients are in the foods, or whether they’ve had contact with allergens in the kitchen, or even if the serving implements have had contact with various offending foods, he said.

The Homs make sure to have an epinephrine auto-injector around all the time for Steven, who is now 15. But Brandon, 18, says he doesn’t need to carry one, because he had no reaction to an oral test for peanut allergy.

B.J.’s experience also reflects a trend, shown in Gupta’s research, that children experience more severe allergic reactions as they get older. Gupta believes that’s not because the allergy itself is getting worse, but rather because parents are less able to monitor their children’s eating habits as they get older and become more independent. Food allergies even make kids a target of bullies.

“Teenagers find it ‘not cool’ to carry an auto-injector,” said Dr. Clifford Bassett, director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York and member of the public education committee for the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. There’s a sense of embarrassment associated with food allergies for teens in particular, especially when they have to decline a kiss from a date who has just eaten peanuts or other offending foods.

The new research found that Asian and black children are more likely to have food allergies than white children, yet white children are more likely to get a confirmed diagnosis than Asian, black and Hispanic children. Those who came from regions outside the Midwest were also more likely to have food allergies. Children in households with an income of less than $50,000 had less of a chance of having food allergies.

It’s hard to know what to make of these disparities, Bassett said. They could reflect differences in access to health care — those with higher incomes may have more means to seek diagnostic tests, for instance — but more research is needed to confirm these associations.

The study found that food allergies were more severe among boys than girls, among children 2 and younger, and among those with multiple food allergies.

The study, which included data about more than 38,000 children, does have limitations. Participating parents supplied their own information about their children, and researchers did not confirm diagnoses of the children with doctors.

The bottom line: If you suspect you or your child has a food allergy, get tested by a certified allergist. If your allergist tells you to avoid certain foods, make sure you read labels on everything you eat, ask about all ingredients at restaurants and carry an epinephrine auto-injector. Work with your doctor to develop a food allergy action plan.

Hom has resolved to spread the word about the seriousness of food allergies. He speaks frequently on the topic, and he is promoting amemorial 5K race in San Jose in honor of his son in October.

“I hope one day we will find a cure and that we can find the cause,” he said, “so that the future generation will not have to live in fear of going out to eat.”

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    • zbzbzbzbzbzb

      ALWAYS have a first aid kit which includes an Epi pen which can be used during severe anaphylaxis. Never leave anyone unattended when they show symptoms, even if it includes an headache! (Sign of a stroke among others)
    • excite171717

      I registered to post comments solely for this story. All the comments blaming the parents in this article: may you never have a child die and the world turn and point its giant ugly finger at you as you gasp in pain from  your loss. Have a heart! Would they have even suspected they would have done e… more
    • XRaDiiX

    • JanetMermaid

      Prove it. Every single kid I grew up with had vaccines and we didn’t develop food allergies. Quote some facts, not some conspiracy theory sites.
    • zbzbzbzbzbzb

      Yeah and you can die more from the diseases they vaccinate you against than the allergies. You pick which one you’d choose.
    • zbzbzbzbzbzb

      ALWAYS have a first aid kit which includes an Epi pen in cases of severe anaphylaxis. Also, never leave any unattended during any medical symptom as small as a headache (sign of a stroke as well).
    • MotTheHoople

      Yep! I actually believe our culture’s obsession with killing germs is causing these allergies (and asthma, too). Keep your environment too sterile, and your body, with no germs to defend against, starts attacking itself (which is what allergies are).
    • MotTheHoople

      I am amazed when I hear people with severe food allergies patronizing restaurants. If you want to put your life in the hands of a waitress or a cook, depending on them to accurately answer whether or not the food contains allergens, go ahead.
    • sickciety

      You either live life or you simply exist.
    • spacial

      People do not realize at least 80 percent of the food we consume has been genetically altered. You WILL see more things like this happening. Guarenteed.
    • Businessown

      No you will not! Will it happen again, YES. But an outbreak, NO. Our bodies adjust to the food we are consuming.
    • coolmind

      Agree .Plus all the chemicals, pesticides, packaging, etc … And this crap is fed to children … 😦
    • KCXPat

      People in different income brackets eat different foods.  Someone who can afford it will eat a $15 organic salad at a cafe in Berkeley while someone who can’t eats a five dollar extra value meal of genetically modified grissle and fat.
    • kvhudson

      “For a child with food allergies, it’s almost a nightmare to be at a buffet,”  Not to sound insenstive, but if you’re taking a child with food allergies to a buffet….you’re a horrible parent.  No matter how cheap the buffet, you can always make a cheaper, healthier, even better tasting meal at hom… more
    • TheTopStuff

      They were at a resort, herp a derp, read moar
    • blksmsthang

      All fast food is a killer but people still eat it. It just tears you down over time while lining the pockets of the executives who laugh on a daily basis at all the ignorant people who line up to buy the crap they sell. Keep eating yourself to death fat Americans.
    • kvhudson

      Wow, did we invade your country or something?  I’m detecting a little hate in your comment.
    • debbie149

      I’ll even go out on a limb here and say I believe waht many cal ADHD may actually be a food sensitivity if not a reaction.
    • brian1976

      What evidence to you have of this?  …or is this just wild speculation off the top of your head????
    • carlee78

      I found out I was allergic to peanuts during the Carter administration.
    • khill9702

      Sad story but all to common. Our neighbor’s 10 year old routinely came in and out of our house since occasionally my mom babysat him when his parents were out. I answered the door and no sooner did he take his first step forward through the doorway he froze, backed up and his eyes narrowed and widen… more
    • ajkf

      Debbie–do you know the exact name of the dye? My son has had two weird reactions to pain medicine, and we suspect dye, but have not been able to isolate it, as he has not had reactions with any food with coloring.
    • jturgeon

      food additives such as dyes rarely cause allergic reactions. Yes it may of happened to you, but you are the RARE exception, not the rule.
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Tales of terror from Sudan

More than once, the world has pledged never again: after the Holocaust in World War II, after Rwanda in 1994, then Bosnia in 1995, and most recently after the slaughter in Darfur. So it is no surprise that when reports of alleged ethnic cleansing begin to bleed out, Western policymakers start to squirm. This raw nerve was on exhibit once again this past week, when President Obama on June 15 devoted a special two-minute radio address to an obscure, renewed conflict in the remote mountains of central Sudan. But if the reported atrocities escalate, will words be all the world can offer?

Sudan’s history is strewn with cases of mass atrocities against non-Arabs in the south and north, with Darfur being only the latest; reports in recent weeks from Sudan’s South Kordofan state suggest history could be repeating itself yet again. There, members of a minority, opposition-aligned African ethnic group are being slaughtered “like animals,” in the words of one alarming church statement. The diverse tribes live in a rugged land of mud-hut villages called the Nuba Mountains. So far, besides an aerial-bombardment campaign against the Nuba areas, the targeted killings against them have been mostly confined to the major towns, as tens of thousands flee into the hills where, for now, they are mostly safe.(See pictures of southern Sudan going to the polls.)

But internal U.N. documents obtained by TIME show that refuge might soon come under attack too. Hundreds of military vehicles have streamed into South Kordofan’s capital of Kadugli, the center of the bloodbath, according to U.N. reports. Preparations for a major ground offensive were becoming increasingly clear, the U.N. Kadugli base warned in a June 15 confidential dispatch, which urgently called for political intervention to ward off the crisis.

Since fighting started two weeks ago, the Sudanese government under President Omar Hassan al-Bashir has done its best to isolate the already remote region to keep information from flowing out and humanitarian assistance from flowing in. But aid workers in the affected area who recently escaped to Juba, the capital of South Sudan — set to declare formal independence in July under a cloud of conflict — tell TIME of a land facing impending doom. “You can see it in all their eyes. They are scared. They see this as a fight for survival,” said one in an interview in Juba. The children and women pouring in from Kadugli and other towns wear signs of deep trauma and hunger, say aid workers, and tell stories of Arab militias killing anyone who is black. “The government thinks that all black people are opposition supporters and are therefore targets, even if they are children or old grannies,” explained an aid worker who had just left the area. One visibly disturbed Nuba aid worker who had fled with his family from Kadugli said the pro-government forces were acting as if under an order to clear out the Nuba population.

It is a brutal but old counterinsurgency tactic — draining the pond, to use an old adage — and the Sudanese government has used it numerous times before. The aid workers interviewed predicted that if the ground offensive commences, “absolute carnage,” in the words of one, could ensue. None of the aid workers wished for their names or organizations to be mentioned for security reasons.

Their accounts align with official statements from church and domestic and international advocacy groups, based on reports they are gathering from the ground. The Anglican Church’s Archbishop of Canterbury warned last week, “The risk of another Darfur … is a real one,” and both church and advocacy groups are already using the term ethnic cleansing. While death tolls are impossible to calculate, there seems to be agreement that the number is at least in the hundreds. The U.N. estimates that at least 60,000 have been displaced. But the real fear is over what could come next.

The tepid response from the international community so far has been met with frustration, but not surprise. The U.N. has received scathing criticism. Its peacekeeping presence has been confined to its Kadugli base, where it is trying to protect up to 8,500 who have camped there in hopes of finding safety. Egyptian peacekeepers, seen as biased toward Sudan’s Arab government, are accused by many Nuba of being complicit in targeted assassinations within the U.N. displaced camp, a charge that cannot be independently confirmed. Whether or not that is true, distrust against the Egyptians among the displaced population was so high that Bangladeshi troops were flown in to guard the camp instead.(See pictures of southern Sudan readying for a referendum.)

As for the U.S., Obama’s stern appeal to end the fighting has had no discernible effect on the ground. The U.S. special envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, tells TIME that the U.S. is working hard to get a cease-fire — including via a direct meeting with Nuba rebel leader Abdelaziz al-Hilu at his South Kordofan base this past week — but says the Administration is not looking at any intervention plans should the situation escalate. Due to already heavy sanctions, the U.S. has little soft leverage besides incentives — a normalization of ties, delisting Sudan as a sponsor of terrorism and approving the nation’s access to international financing and debt relief. Lyman says these things are what Sudan ultimately needs, adding, “Their future depends on coming back to the international community.”

But prospects of a cease-fire appear slim. Al-Hilu has agreed to negotiate, but only for a lasting political solution that includes power sharing and an arrangement for the tens of thousands of his rebel fighters from the civil war. It is still not clear whether the government in Khartoum is even willing to talk. As for the Nuba, this seems like just another chapter in a familiar history. In the early 1900s, Winston Churchill, then a young British soldier on a military campaign in Sudan, described how a fierce Sudanese battalion was sent down to fight the Nuba, a “mountain people who cared for nothing but their independence,” just to give the elite soldiers something to do. In the 1990s, as many as half a million Nuba were killed when the Sudanese government declared jihad against them. When I was in the Nuba Mountains in April, I found a people terrified that war would return but resigned to their frightful and uncertain future. Given their history and the history of their government, they seem to have good reasons to be fearful

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Mayor explains stance against Georgia law


  • Paul Bridges, mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, has joined civil suit against new immigration law
  • He says law could tear local economy and family structure apart as people live in fear
  • He says law makes helping, driving undocumented in community a criminal offense
  • Bridges: Law is un-American, unconstitutional, extreme and incursion on privacy

Editor’s note: Paul Bridges is the mayor of Uvalda, Georgia, and a member of a class-action lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and other organizations to prevent Georgia’s new immigration enforcement law, House Bill 87, from going into effect July 1.

(CNN) — Many are surprised to learn that a conservative Republican mayor like me is involved in a class-action civil-rights lawsuit against my state. And yet, I’m proud to participate in this challenge to Georgia’s harsh “papers please” law, which runs counter to America’s greatest values and threatens to run my town’s economy to the ground.

HB87, which was signed last month by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, would authorize Georgia police to demand proof of citizenship from criminal suspects not carrying an approved form of identification and would also impose criminal penalties for anyone who knowingly harbors or transports an undocumented immigrant.

This law strikes fear in all skilled laborers and anyone associated with them. It will allow officers untrained in immigration issues to detain and investigate anyone they choose. It threatens to tear families apart — citizen spouses and children will risk permanent separation from undocumented loved ones; grandparents will lose their grandchildren if a family feels forced to leave Georgia.

The people who are challenging this law come from all walks of life, but we all believe that we must fight this broad attack on our basic freedoms and local economies.

Georgia mayor: Immigration law heinous

April 2011: GA passes immigration bill

Though the law hasn’t yet taken effect, its effect can be seen in the farms across southern Georgia. In Uvalda and in neighboring towns, it’s not uncommon to see farmers struggling to find enough hands to pick the last of their Vidalia onion, squash and berry crops.

Local businesses will soon be deprived of reliable revenue provided by the workers — both with and without papers — who contribute to our economy. Many farmers in southern Georgia fear that this picture will look much bleaker if the law takes effect on July 1 as scheduled.

A farming couple in Graham is sleepless with worry about not being able to repay the federal loan to start their berry business. They fear they won’t have workers to pick their berries, a job machines can’t do.

I ran for mayor of Uvalda in 2009 because I wanted to see my town become a fairer and more prosperous place. With only 600 people in our town, we know one another pretty well. We give rides to our friends and don’t ask for their papers. During harvest season, we open our homes to those who work in the fields. Several farmers provide housing for workers. Even family of friends have stayed in my own home during blueberry season.

Under Georgia’s new law, those simple, neighborly activities could become criminal acts. If I fail to use my turn signal or speed while taking fellow parishioners to church, and I incur a traffic violation with an undocumented person in the van, then I could end up with a criminal penalty. If I don’t check the papers of friends who stay with my family, I might be charged with harboring an undocumented person.

This shocking governmental intrusion on one’s private activities is why Republicans like me are fighting to keep this heinous law off Georgia’s books. Other Republicans, like Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, have understood this issue; even former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue sees the problem. I don’t feel alone in this stance.

Furthermore, the law imposes an unfunded mandate that will mean a significant burden on every town’s resources. Rather than focusing on their mission to protect and serve, our police officers will now be forced to rent space to jail anyone caught working or living in Uvalda without papers.

In other words, we’ll take someone who had previously been contributing to our economy and pay to house him in a jail far from the community. No one knows how long it might take to process the prisoner and then to be picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This isn’t the fiscal conservatism my party is supposed to promote.

Worse, the men and women who have friends or family members who are undocumented will be less likely to call the police as witnesses or victims of crime — and that makes all of us less safe.

Simply put, the Georgia law will strip my town of its economic livelihood and deny those living here of their right to drive with their friends, host members of their family or engage in other daily activities without government intrusion. Any American who values liberty, privacy and prosperity should fight this unnecessary, unconstitutional and extremist law.

I know families leaving Georgia — a state they have called home for 15 years or more — rather than break up their families.

One Latino father, who was born in Texas, explained to me last week that his family lives in fear of what happens if he is arrested and charged with transporting an illegal alien — his wife. He said that his family cannot call 911 if an emergency occurs at their home. His extended family members are affected, too. These are real people in anguish.

Although those fighting this law have been painted as left-of-center, I’ll stand proudly with them on Monday to ask the court to recognize that this law goes against the values my Republican Party often pledges to protect. Uvalda, like towns across Georgia, has too much to lose for me to stay out of this fight.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Paul W. Bridges


Misery index looks at conditions

Like the wind chill factor, the Misery Index takes unpleasant objective conditions and tries to gauge just how bad they make people feel. But the two factors that go into the Misery Index – unemployment and inflation – affect various subgroups within the U.S. population quite differently. That helps explain why people have such divergent opinions about what sacrifices need to be made to fix the economy.

The Misery Index isn’t a scientific measurement. It was dreamed up in the 1960s as a shorthand way of describing the human impact of economic problems. Just as the wind chill factor combines temperature and wind speed to gauge how cold a person might feel standing outside on a street corner, the Misery Index combines unemployment and inflation to get an idea of how squeezed an American family might feel when the economy is lousy.

(MORE: Why rising prices might be good for the economy)

Not surprisingly, people feel kind of crummy nowadays. Indeed, the Misery Index has reached 12.6, its highest level in 28 years. It last peaked at the end of the Carter Administration when lax Federal Reserve policies combined with soaring oil prices to create the combination of economic stagnation and inflation known as stagflation.

The trouble with all such benchmarks is that they assume everyone is in the same boat. In reality, though, people may all be sailing the same waters, but their boats are not equally seaworthy. Each of the different strata in the U.S. population really should have its own Misery Index.

For starters, consider the fact that unemployment levels vary enormously by race, sex and age. Men are suffering more than women, blacks more than whites, and the young more than the old. Male black teenagers – who lose on all three counts – have an unemployment rate above 40%, compared with 7.1% for the most favored group, adult white women.

Education counts for a lot, too. For Americans with graduate degrees, unemployment is 4% or less, lower if the degree is in a subject that’s actually useful. For those with no more than a high-school degree, it’s 10% to 14%.

Trying to determine the impact of inflation on people at different income levels is a lot harder, and you might think that workers with inflation-adjusted wages and benefits would be better shielded than people with a lot of savings that would be devalued by inflation. But it turns out that the affluent can find ways to protect their financial assets and are also likely to have job skills that enable them to survive better in tough times.

(MORE: TIME’s cover story on the 5 Myths of the American Recovery)

The bottom line is that although the national Misery Index is 12.6 right now, your own personal Misery Index could be anywhere from 5 to 50. As a result, Americans in different economic strata have conflicting ideas of how urgent problems are and what sacrifices are acceptable to solve them. If you’re in a high-crime city that has had to lay off a large part of its police force, you’re likely to size things up differently from someone who has to wait to see the latest incomprehensible Terence Malick film because the local library has fallen behind on acquiring movie DVDs.

Where all are called on to share in sacrifice, big divergences in misery are likely to require a lengthy tug of war before common national solutions can be agreed upon. That’s why I believe it will be impossible for economic policy makers to sort things out quickly. In my view, investors should plan on following very defensive strategies for several more years.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that a recovery will never come. Even if it takes longer than one would like, the economy will eventually rebound. Stocks will likely advance to new highs – and you want to be invested to profit over the long term.

Wherever you are on the Misery Index – even if you feel like a character in Les Miserables – just remember: For the wretched of the earth, there is a flame that never dies. Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

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