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    Connecticut Probe Apple, Amazon E-book Deals

    Attorney General says deals could end up hurting consumers

    Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal says he has launched an investigation into the agreements between the countrys largest e-book publishers and two of the largest sellers -- Amazon.com, Inc. and Apple, Inc. Blumenthal says he's concerned the alliances may block competitors from offering cheaper e-book prices.

    Both Amazon and Apple have reached agreements with the largest e-book publishers that ensure both will receive the best prices for e-books over any competitors -- contract provisions known as most favored nation (MFN) clauses.

    In letters to Amazon and Apple, Blumenthal is calling on the companies to meet with his office to address these concerns. Publishers that have reached such agreements with Amazon and Apple include Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins and Penguin.

    Blumenthal says these agreements appear to deter certain publishers from offering discounts to Amazon and Apples competitors -- because they must offer the same to Amazon and Apple. This restriction blocks cheaper and competitive prices for consumers.

    After a preliminary review, Blumenthals office has reported that e-book prices offered by Amazon, Apple, Borders and Barnes & Noble for several New York Times Bestseller books were identical among all four sellers.

    These agreements among publishers, Amazon and Apple appear to have already resulted in uniform prices for many of the most popular e-books -- potentially depriving consumers of competitive prices, Blumenthal said. The e-book market is set to explode -- with analysts predicting that e-book readers will be among the holiday seasons biggest electronic gifts -- warranting prompt review of the potential anti-consumer impacts.

    Blumenthal says Amazon and Apple combined will likely command the greatest share of the retail e-book market, allowing their most-favored-nation clauses to effectively set the floor prices for the most popular e-books.

    Such agreements -- especially when offered to two of the largest e-book retail competitors in the United States -- threaten to encourage coordinated pricing and discourage discounting.

    Connecticut Probe Apple, Amazon E-book Deals...

    Don't Overlook Health Benefits of Sleep

    Getting enough sleep can improve and lengthen your life

    Youve heard that expression, Ill sleep when Im dead. Well, it turns out that getting enough sleep, and other kinds of rest, just might postpone when your death occurs as well as increase the effectiveness and joyfulness of your life.

    Consider this: the Nurses Health Study conducted by Harvard University found that getting too little sleep is linked to a greater risk of getting breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

    Furthermore, sleep deprivation causes drowsy driving which can lead to accident fatalities. As reported by the the National Sleep Foundation at their website devoted to drowsy driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries are caused annually because of falling asleep at the wheel.

    In another study, a review of information about 28,000 children and 15,000 adults found that too little sleep doubled the chances of being obese. Obesity has, in turn, been linked to a variety of life-threatening illnesses including sleep apnea, a condition in which we stop breathing during sleep. As pointed out in Sleep Apnea Tied to Increased Risk of Stroke, especially for men over the age of 40, having sleep apnea more than doubles their potential for a stoke.

    Preventing an early death or decreasing the likelihood you will become obese arent the only reasons we need to get enough sleep and rest. We also need it so we can be alert at work, making it less likely that well make mistakes, have accidents, or fall asleep during meetings, which could embarrass you or, worse, get you fired. Also, too little sleep can increase someones tendency to fly off the handle or to be overly emotional, reduce memory retention and increase depression. Simply put, too little sleep reduces the overall quality of our lives.

    How much sleep do Boomers really need?

    You may have grown up being told that eight is the magic number for the hours of sleep you need each night. It turns out there is no absolute number of hours. Everyone requires more or less sleep depending on a variety of factors including your individual makeup as well as your lifestyle. What counts is that you are getting enough sleep for your body and mind to be replenished, whether that is six, seven, or eight hours or more.

    How do you determine how much sleep is enough for you? Start with a weekend or a day when you sleep in and dont set an alarm. That will give you a more natural time for sleeping so you wake up refreshed. Then try to duplicate that number of hours every day.

    We Boomers also need to know that as we age, our biological clock resets. Sleep expert and physician Matthew Edlund, M.D. says that from the ages of 20 to 70, there is a 90-minute move forward in the typical biological clock. Dr. Edlund, author of The Power of Rest (HarperCollins) and The Body Clock Advantage (Circadian Press), points out that as we age, we go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. He calls it s a genetic biological clock phenomenon.

    Sleep apnea on the rise

    If youre a Boomer still looking for a reason to lose weight, heres a two word reason: sleep apnea. Overweight Boomers have a significantly higher likelihood of developing this condition that causes you to stop breathing while asleep. In fact, one of the first recommendations for treating someone with sleep apnea, especially if someone is obese, is to lose weight. Kathleen Myer, a registered respiratory therapist and sleep technician at HealthBridge in Manhasset, Long Island, New York, sees a lot of obstructive sleep apnea with Boomers, and that it is definitely life threatening.

    A recent study conducted by Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, an associate professor at Boston Universitys School of Medicine, as reported by the National Sleep Foundation, found that men between the ages of 40 and 70 were 68% more likely to develop coronary heart disease than those who did not have obstructive sleep apnea as a predicting risk factor.

    Unfortunately, only 10% of sleep apnea cases are even diagnosed. If it is diagnosed, the primary treatment is a nasal continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device.

    Denver-based 50-year-old Barbara says shes had sleep apnea most of her life. I can remember my sister waking me up in the middle of the night when I was in my early teens because I was snoring loudly enough to wake her, she said. My first husband claimed I would shake the walls down. Finally, someone who shared a room with me suggested a sleep study. From that sleep study, Barbara learned that she was waking up 152 times an hour. I was so tired during the day that I would fall asleep at work or in the car when I stopped at a light.

    A CPAP device has made all the difference in Barbaras life.

    I wake up far more rested. I can stay awake during the day and work on the computer or watch TV two activities that I would fall asleep after a few minutes when I tried to do them before the CPAP. Now I sleep much more solidly, and actually have dreams and uninterrupted sleep. Using the CPAP for the past 11 years has extended my life. I have often suggested a sleep study to people who are tired all the time or talk about snoring. My life got much better when I could sleep! said Barbara.

    If you or your bedroom partner have sleep apnea, it is important to comply with the doctors request to use a CPAP device. Myer points out, however, that this can be especially challenging for single men and women who are dating and prefer not to allow their romantic partner to see them using a CPAP device. To go without the CPAP machine for even one day, however, can have grave or even fatal consequences. Myer says there are CPAP devices called nasal pillows that have a strap and small cushions that just go into the nostril so that much less of the face is covered by that device.


    There may also be an increase in insomnia with Boomers. One cause can be the frequent awakenings that are due to a male having to go to the bathroom during the night due to prostate enlargement or a female who suffers from incontinence. Fortunately, both conditions are treatable.

    Anxiety is another cause of insomnia. These days more boomers are worrying about money, job loss, and foreclosure and thats causing us to toss and turn rather than get a good nights sleep. If this describes you or your bedmate, you need to work on solving those problems that are keeping you up at night. There are other reasons for insomnia and some of those factors are, fortunately, easier to correct than the financial, career, or real estate challenges. Here are 10 tips to help you to get a better night of sleep:

    What to do

    Here are 10 tips for a good nights sleep

    1. Be as consistent as possible about how much sleep you get as well as about when you go to bed and when you wake up, including weekends.

    2. Attend to the physical aspects of your sleep environment that you can change such as a comfortable bed, pillow, temperature that is not too hot or too cold, and minimal noise or interruptions.

    3. If you take long or too many naps, that can interfere with your nighttime sleep so adjust accordingly.

    4. If you have temporary insomnia due to stress or other transitional situations, including medications, pains, or illnesses that may be causing sleep problems, deal with the underlying causes of your insomnia.

    5. If you find you have a chronic sleep-related issue, consider going to a sleep center staffed by trained sleep experts to have it properly diagnosed so you can be treated. (For a list of sleep centers, go to the American of sleep which maintains a free updated database.)

    6. Watch your coffee or alcohol consumption immediately prior to sleep.

    7. Exercising early enough in the day may help you to fall asleep at night but too close to your bedtime may act as a stimulus that keeps you up.

    8. Some of the old-fashioned natural solutions for falling asleep include warm milk, taking a hot bath, or counting sheep. You might want to try one or all of those techniques before seeking out pharmaceutical help, such as sleeping pills, which need to be used with caution because of any possible side effects or the potential for becoming dependent whether over the counter or prescription. (See What about sleeping pills? below.)

    9. Be careful about what TV programs, movies, or books you read at bedtime. Upsetting or riveting plots can keep you reading or watching long after you really wanted to go to sleep.

    10. You might find writing a to do list of what you need to accomplish the next day will help you get to sleep since you wont be constantly mulling over in your mind all those things you need to do.

    What about sleeping pills?

    As pointed out in The Encyclopedia of Sleep and Sleep Disorders," sleeping pills are medications that induce drowsiness and facilitate the onset and maintenance of sleep. Some of the more well-known hypnotics include Lunesta (eszopiclone), Sonata (zaleplon), and Ambien (zolpidem).

    Consult with your physician about whether or not a hypnotic medication is the right treatment for your insomnia. Make sure you are fully aware of any potential side effects to any prescribed or even over-the-counter sleep aids including the possibility of developing a tolerance, dependence, or addiction to a specific sleeping pill. (See, for example, FDA Wants Stronger Warnings on Sleep Disorder Drugs.)

    Rest is More than Sleep

    Recently sleep experts have found that in terms of rejuvenating our mind and bodies, rest may be more important the sleep. In his book, The Power of Rest: Why Sleep Alone is Not Enough, Dr. Edlund says that sleep is only one form of rest and non-sleep rest is so much more than relaxing and watching TV. Other ways to feel replenished include: mental rest, which enables you to obtain calm and relaxed concentration quickly and effectively as you concentrate attention on something beyond your body social rest, which means you are using the power of social connectedness to relax and rejuvenate; spiritual rest, the practice of connecting with things larger and greater than ourselves; and last, but not least, physical rest, by focusing your body and its simplest physiological processes, provokes calm, relaxation, mental alertness, and surprisingly better health.

    Here are some of the techniques that Dr. Edlund discusses in greater detail in his book:

    Mental rest
    • Self-hypnosis
    • Focusing the eye
    • Walking to music
    • Ear popping (According to Dr. Edlund, you simply put both your index fingers in your ears deep enough to stop outside noise. Leave your fingers there for ten seconds if you have the time, five if you dont. If youre in a place where its socially acceptable, also close your eyes.
    • Garden walks

    Social rest
    • Sex
    • Social touch
    • Social networking and social support
    • Making a special connection
    • Visiting a neighbor of coworker you dont know well
    • Walking to lunch with a colleague, friend, or neighbor

    Spiritual rest
    • Meditating
    • The power of prayer
    • Following the ways of the Zen Buddhist teachings, Contemplating suchness, all the world where we live
    • Simple observational meditation

    Physical rest
    • Deep breathing
    • Yoga techniques including the mountain pose or the gravity pose
    • Napping (a short nap, as quick as six minutes, can improve your concentration).

    Dr. Edlund recommends a daily approach to life that is typified by the acronym: FAR using food, activity, and rest in a sequence that is repeated throughout the day. The above rest techniques will help you to be more rested during the day and able to sleep better at night.

    The Importance of Dreams

    Sleep and dream specialist Rubin Naiman, Ph.D., author of Healing Night and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson, says, Good sleep can help us age very well. Naiman advocates not just looking at sleep as a necessary evil. Its not like flossing your teeth. Instead, says Naiman, We need to restore the sacred or spiritual side to sleep and to help increase dreaming.

    Dreams are important because your dreams can help you deal with issues you cant face consciously. Sometimes, if youve been wrestling with a problem, the solution will come to you in a dream.

    So start getting enough sleep and rest so youll feel rejuvenated, start dreaming more often, and making the next third of your life a long and healthy one.

    Don't Overlook Health Benefits of Sleep...

    Five More Banks Fail In Last Week

    Toll for year rises to 108 with latest failures

    The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation had another busy week, stepping in to close five more banks that failed, bringing the toll for the year to 108.

    Two banks in Florida, and one each in Washington, Oregon and Georgia closed their doors and were taken over by other financial institutions.

    Bayside Savings Bank, Port Saint Joe, Florida and Coastal Community Bank, Panama City Beach, Florida, were closed by federal and state banking agencies, which then appointed FDIC as receiver for both institutions. To protect depositors, the FDIC entered into purchase and assumption agreements with Centennial Bank, Conway, Arkansas, to assume all the deposits and essentially all the assets of the two failed institutions.

    Bayside Savings Bank was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision, and Coastal Community Bank was closed by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.

    Collectively, the two failed institutions operated 13 branches. As of March 31, 2010, Bayside Savings Bank had total assets of $66.1 million and total deposits of $52.4 million. Coastal Community Bank had total assets of $372.9 million and total deposits of $363.2 million.

    NorthWest Bank and Trust, Acworth, Georgia, was closed was closed by banking regulators, with its assets and deposits assumed by State Bank and Trust Company, Macon, Georgia. As of March 31, 2010, NorthWest Bank and Trust had approximately $167.7 million in total assets and $159.4 million in total deposits.

    LibertyBank, Eugene, Oregon, has been taken over by Home Federal Bank, Nampa, Iowa, after it was closed by federal and state regulators Friday. As of March 31, 2010, LibertyBank had approximately $768.2 million in total assets and $718.5 million in total deposits.

    The Cowlitz Bank, Longview, Washington, was closed by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions, which appointed FDIC as receiver. To protect the depositors, the FDIC entered into a purchase and assumption agreement with Heritage Bank, Olympia, Washington, to assume all of the deposits of The Cowlitz Bank.

    As of March 31, 2010, The Cowlitz Bank had approximately $529.3 million in total assets and $513.9 million in total deposits.

    FDIC covered customer deposits, up to $250,000, in all five banks. The cost to the insurance fund was more than $335 million, FDIC said.

    Scam alert

    Customers of the failed banks should be on the alert for scam artists who use the situation to their advantage. Bank depositors will not receive any email notifications or telephone calls from the banks or any government agency asking them to verify, confirm or "unlock" any of their personal information.

    Banking customers should never give any personal information, especially account numbers, passwords and Social Security numbers, to anyone they do not know. Nor should consumers follow an email link to a Web site supposedly set up to verify accounts. If in doubt, consumers should personally visit their bank branch or call the FDIC numbers provided in this report.

    Consumers can also find information about specific bank closings on the FDIC Web site.

    Five More Banks Fail In Last Week...

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