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Paul
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Slow news week, but here we go.

 

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Prague Mayor Pavel Bem has received a closeup look at how the city's notorious taxi drivers operate this week when he went undercover for a ride and was overcharged by some 500 percent.

Bem, at the request of the daily Mlada Fronta Dnes, wore a disguise and pretended to be a foreigner when he hailed a taxi from Old Town Square to take him to Prague Castle, a route commonly travelled by the city's tourist masses.

 

Upon arrival Bem could not believe his eyes when the three kilometre (1.8 miles) trip cost a whopping 785 crowns (18.1 pounds) about 500 percent over the official rate.

 

During another ride the mayor asked to pay in euros, and the fare rose instantly by 200 percent.

 

With hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking to Prague's ancient centre each year, tourism is a major industry for the new EU member.

 

But taxis have long been a sore point with visitors -- last year a German parliamentarian complained she was overcharged during a visit -- and some officials fear the reputation will tarnish the city's image.

 

"I expected to be overcharged by maybe 50 or 100 percent. But not by 500 percent!" Bem said afterward adding controls on taxis will be increased.

 

His advice to tourists? "Agree on a price in advance."

 

Of course, he didn't say how tourists in a foreign city should know what the real fare should be in advance.

 

Credit: Reuters.com

 

 

The last sentance is a good point! ;)

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - A study has found that people who sleep less tend to be fat, and experts said it's time to find if more sleep will fight obesity.

 

"We've put so much emphasis on diet and exercise that we've failed to recognize the value of good sleep," said Fred Turek, a physician at Northwestern University.

 

"In fact society emphasizes just the opposite," in work places where billed hours are crucial and long work days are common, he added.

 

Monday's study from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk covered 1,000 people and found that total sleep time decreased as body mass index -- a measure of weight based on height -- increased.

 

Men slept an average of 27 minutes less than women and overweight and obese patients slept less than patients with normal weights, it said. In general the fatter subjects slept about 1.8 hours a week less than those with normal weights.

 

"Americans experience insufficient sleep and corpulent bodies. Clinicians are aware of the burden of obesity on patients," the study said.

 

AN EXTRA 20 MINUTES

 

"Our findings suggest that major extensions of sleep time may not be necessary, as an extra 20 minutes of sleep per night seems to be associated with a lower body mass index," it added.

 

"We caution that this study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between restricted sleep and obesity (but) investigations demonstrating success in weight loss via extensions of sleep would help greatly to establish such a relationship."

 

The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine along with an editorial by Turek and Northwestern colleague Joseph Bass commenting on it and related research.

 

In an interview with Reuters, Turek said some studies have shown sleep deprivation causes declines in an appetite suppressing protein hormone called leptin, and increases in another hormone that causes a craving for food. In addition neuropeptides in the brain governing sleep and obesity appear to overlap, he said.

 

"It is now critical to determine the importance of lack of sufficient sleep during the early formative years in putting our youth on a trajectory toward obesity ... a trajectory that could be altered if sleep loss is indeed playing a role in this epidemic," the editorial said.

 

Obesity has been rising dramatically in developed countries and reached epidemic levels in the United States, it added, leading to a variety of health problems.

 

"In recent years, a new and unexpected 'obesity villain' has emerged, first from laboratory studies and now ... in population-based studies: insufficient sleep," it said.

 

"However, while there is a growing awareness among some sleep, metabolic, cardiovascular, and diabetes researchers that insufficient sleep could be leading to a cascade of disorders, few in the general medicine profession or in the lay public have yet made the connection," it added.

 

 

Credit: Reuters.com

 

W00t, thats good news for me! lol.

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