With an asterisk, WTC is back on top in NYC

Posted April 29, 2012, at 8:05 p.m.

NEW YORK — One World Trade Center, the giant monolith being built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, will lay claim to the title of New York City’s tallest skyscraper on Monday. Workers will erect steel columns that will make its unfinished skeleton a little over 1,250 feet high, just enough to peak over the roof of the observation deck on the Empire State Building.

Workers are still adding floors to the so-called “Freedom Tower” and it isn’t expected to reach its full height for at least another year, at which point it is likely to be declared the tallest building in the U.S., and third tallest in the world.

Those bragging rights, though, will carry an asterisk.

The 408-foot-tall needle that will sit on the tower’s roof will put the World Trade Center back on top if the needle is counted as part of the structure. Otherwise, the building will be No. 2, after the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Animal abusers would be named under bills in 25 States

LANSING, Mich. — Those who batter, abuse or kill dogs and cats would get the same public scorn as sex offenders in bills introduced in legislatures throughout the U.S.

Online registries for convicted animal abusers already have been approved in three New York counties, including Suffolk, where the nation’s first takes effect May 7. Twenty-five states have considered such laws since 2010, according to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which is leading the campaign.

Backers say the bills recognize a growing awareness of animal rights — and the public-safety benefits of stopping abusers, who studies show often go on to harm humans.

Other states where legislatures are considering similar bills include New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Maryland, according to the Cotati, California-based Legal Defense Fund.

Study: Heavy teens have trouble managing diabetes

LOS ANGELES — New research sends a stark warning to overweight teens: If you develop diabetes, you’ll have a very tough time keeping it under control.

A major study, released Sunday, tested several ways to manage blood sugar in teens newly diagnosed with diabetes and found that nearly half of them failed within a few years and 1 in 5 suffered serious complications. The results spell trouble for a nation facing rising rates of “diabesity” — Type 2 diabetes brought on by obesity.

The federally funded study is the largest look yet at how to treat diabetes in teens. Earlier studies mostly have been in adults, and most diabetes drugs aren’t even approved for youths. The message is clear: Prevention is everything.

A third of American children and teens are overweight or obese. They are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, in which the body can’t make enough insulin or use what it does make to process sugar from food. Until the obesity epidemic, doctors rarely saw children with Type 2 diabetes. The more common kind of diabetes in children is Type 1, which used to be called juvenile diabetes.

Study: Pacific reef sharks populations decline sharply when close to humans

Pacific reef shark populations have plummeted by 90 percent or more over the past several decades, according to a new study by a team of American and Canadian researchers, and much of this decline stems from human fishing pressure.

Quantifying the decline for the first time, the analysis, published online Friday in the journal Conservation Biology, shows that shark populations fare worse the closer they are to people, even if the nearest population is an atoll with fewer than 100 residents.

The team of eight scientists examined the results of a decade of underwater surveys across 46 Pacific islands and atolls and found densities of reef sharks — gray, white-tip and black-tip reef sharks, as well as Galapagos and tawny nurse sharks — “increased substantially as human population decreased” and the productivity and temperature of the ocean increased.

“Our results suggest humans now exert a stronger influence on the abundance of reef sharks than either habitat quality or oceanographic factors,” the authors wrote.

Near populated places, such as the main Hawaiian islands and American Samoa, the study found, there were roughly 26 sharks per square mile. Remote reefs, such as in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and Johnson Atoll, a U.S. territory west of Hawaii, by contrast, boasted 337 sharks per square mile.

“In short, people and sharks don’t mix,” Marc Nadon, the study’s lead author and a scientist at the University of Hawaii’s Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, said in a statement.

NATO reports deaths of 3 troops in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO says separate bomb attacks in Afghanistan’s south and east have killed two of its service members, while a third died of non-battle injuries in the south.

The coalition says all three service members died Saturday.

The U.S.-led coalition did not provide their nationalities nor disclose other details in its late Saturday and Sunday statements.

So far this month, 40 coalition members have died in Afghanistan, bringing the year’s toll to 131.

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