Saliva test may help predict which teenage boys will later develop major depression
LONDON (AP) -- A saliva test for teenage boys with mild symptoms of depression could help identify those who will later develop major depression, a new study says.
Researchers measured the stress hormone cortisol in teenage boys and found that ones with high levels coupled with mild depression symptoms were up to 14 times more likely to suffer clinical depression later in life than those with low or normal cortisol levels.
The test was tried on teenage boys and girls, but found to be most effective with boys.
About one in six people suffer from clinical depression at some point in their lives, and most mental health disorders start before age 24. There is currently no biological test to spot depression.
"This is the emergence of a new way of looking at mental illness," Joe Herbert of the University of Cambridge and one of the study authors said at a news conference on Monday. "You don’t have to rely simply on what the patient tells you, but what you can measure inside the patient," he said.
Venezuela president gives American diplomats 48 hours to leave country amid protests
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Nicolas Maduro’s government on Monday gave three U.S. Embassy officials 48 hours to leave the country, accusing the Obama administration of siding with student protesters who Venezuela accuses of inciting violence.
The announcement by Foreign Minister Elias Jaua came amid fears that renewed clashes could erupt Tuesday when both pro- and anti-government activists have announced plans for demonstrations in the capital.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said that the senior U.S. consular officers were trying to infiltrate Venezuelan universities, the hotbed of the recent unrest, under the cover of doing visa outreach. Repeating charges by Maduro, who has expelled American diplomats twice before, Jaua said that the U.S. is conspiring with opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and student activists in an attempt to oust the socialist president.
The U.S. has denied the charges but is expressing concern about rising violence that led to three deaths last week during anti-government demonstrations, and about the government’s attempts to block peaceful protests.
Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that Lopez’s arrest would have a "chilling effect" on Venezuelans’ right to free expression.
Ethiopian co-pilot hijacks plane to Geneva to seek asylum
GENEVA (AP) -- It seemed like a routine overnight flight until the Ethiopian Airlines jetliner went into a dive and oxygen masks dropped from the ceiling. Only then did the terrified passengers -- bound for Italy from Addis Ababa -- realize something was terribly wrong.
The co-pilot had locked his captain from the cockpit, commandeered the plane, and headed for Geneva, where he used a rope to lower himself out of a window, then asked for political asylum.
Authorities say a prison cell is more likely.
One passenger said the hijacker threatened to crash the plane if the pilot didn’t stop pounding on the locked door. Another said he was terrified "for hours" Monday as the plane careened across the sky.
"It seemed like it was falling from the sky," 45-year-old Italian Diego Carpelli said of the Boeing 767-300.
UN letter warns North Korea on-accountability for ‘crimes against humanity’
GENEVA (AP) -- A U.N. panel warned North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday that he may be held accountable for orchestrating widespread crimes against civilians in the secretive Asian nation, ranging from systematic executions to torture, rape and mass starvation.
It is unusual for a U.N. report to directly implicate a nation’s leader. But in a letter accompanying a yearlong investigative report, the chairman of a three-member U.N.commission of inquiry, retired Australian judge Michael Kirby, directly warned Kim that international prosecution is needed "to render accountable all those, including possibly yourself, who may be responsible for crimes against humanity."
"Even without being directly involved in crimes against humanity, a military commander may be held responsible for crimes against humanity committed by forces under the commander’s effective command and control," Kirby wrote.
He urged Kim to take "all necessary and reasonable measures" to stop crimes against humanity and insure that they are properly investigated and prosecuted. Kirby added, however, there was no indication the North Korea would do so.
The investigative commission’s 372-page report is a wide-ranging indictment of North Korea for policies including political prison camps with 80,000 to 120,000 people, state-sponsored abductions of North Korean, Japanese and other nationals, and lifelong indoctrination.
Roof of South Korean resort collapses at university freshman orientation, killing 9
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- The roof of a resort auditorium collapsed during a welcoming ceremony for South Korean university freshmen, killing nine and likely trapping about 10, officials said Tuesday.
The dead included seven students and an adult; officials weren’t sure yet if the ninth victim was a student. About 80 people were sent to hospitals with minor injuries, according to officials at the state-run National Emergency Management Agency who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the media.
Recent heavy snow, sleet and icy roads hampered rescue operations after the roof’s collapse late Monday. Emergency staff worked to pry students from beneath twisted metal and rushed the injured on stretchers to waiting ambulances. Officials initially estimated that 17 people were seriously injured but later said the injuries weren’t severe.
South Korean media reported that the heavy snowfall was believed to have resulted in the collapse, but the cause was still being investigated.
About 560 students from Busan University of Foreign Studies had been scheduled to attend a two-day freshman orientation at the Manua Ocean Resort in the southeastern city of Gyeongju and were in the auditorium when the roof collapsed, the officials said. An official had earlier incorrectly said there were a total of 1,000 students at the resort.
Egypt: Sinai bombing seen likely to hurt key tourism industry struggling to emerge from slump
CAIRO (AP) -- A deadly suicide bombing that hit a bus of South Korean Christians visiting Biblical sites in Egypt and Israel has raised fears that Islamic militants battling security forces in the Sinai Peninsula are turning to target foreign tourists, a potential new blow to a struggling industry vital to Egypt’s economy.
Though it has proven resilient to past attacks, Egypt’s slumping tourism is already suffering from three years of political turmoil that has scared away visitors. After hopes of a rebound, last year saw the fewest visitors yet since the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
The new attack could be even more damaging because it threatens a region that has kept Egypt’s tourism alive even during the downturn -- the beach resorts of the Red Sea in the Sinai Peninsula. Those resorts on Sinai’s eastern and southern coasts, a favorite of divers and Europeans escaping the winter, had seemed a world away from the political unrest in the Nile Valley, and even from the wave of Islamic militant violence on Sinai’s northern Mediterranean coast.
Militants have waged a campaign of bombings and shootings targeting the military and police forces since the army ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi last summer. Their nascent insurgency began in northern Sinai, but has struck with increasing frequency in the capital Cairo and other cities.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s bombing of the bus in Taba, a Red Sea resort on the border with Israel. But suicide bombings have become a hallmark of the al-Qaida-inspired militant groups operating elsewhere.
Penn State trustees name Eric Barron president; former PSU dean was Florida State leader
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) -- Eric Barron, a former professor and dean at Penn State University and president of Florida State University, was chosen Monday to lead Pennsylvania’s largest university as it continues grappling with fallout from the Jerry Sandusky scandal. He’ll bring with him the experience of managing a major state university known as much for its for storied athletic program as its academic mission, as well as the fallout from a sex-abuse scandal with ties to big-time college football.
Penn State trustees unanimously approved the selection at a special meeting in State College after a 15-month search process in which university officials had kept the new president’s identity secret, refusing to confirm whether Barron was even being considered until the meeting began.
Barron, who worked at Penn State for 20 years, including four as dean of its College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, will succeed President Rodney Erickson, who plans to retire when his contract expires in June. Barron is getting a five-year contract worth $1 million a year and will start in May, if not sooner.
Erickson, Penn State’s former provost and executive vice president, was named president in November 2011 after then-president Graham Spanier was forced out following child molestation accusations against Sandusky, a former assistant football coach. Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted in 2012 of 45 counts for the sexual abuse of 10 boys. Spanier was later charged in an alleged cover-up.
Barron called the Sandusky scandal painful and saddening but focused on the changes it has brought.