; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, December 26, 2011

Just the Facts?: Hoffa Buried at GM HQ -- Protein Shakes Cause Baldness -- Russia Screws Up Again

Book claims Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa was buried in cement at General Motors' HQ

The disappearance of Teamsters union boss Jimmy Hoffa remains one of America's most enduring mysteries.

But now, nearly four decades after Hoffa vanished, his driver has claimed he knows where he is buried – and how he got there.

Marvin Elkind said Hoffa was killed by a mob enforcer and buried in the foundations of the towering General Motors’ HQ in Detroit, Michigan.

‘It was his own people who did it,’ Mr Elkind said in excerpts of a new book published in the New York Post, adding Mafia member Tony Jack insinuated he was responsible.

The startling claim comes 36 years after Hoffa, who led the labour union for 13 years, vanished while on his way to meet two mobsters he knew well, Anthony Provenzano and Tony Jack – real name Anthony Giacalone.

Mr Elkind explains how, during a Teamsters conference in 1985, he was among a group of men walking from the city’s Omni International when the Center came into view.

Tony Jack nodded toward the tower’s base and said, ‘Say good morning to Jimmy Hoffa, boys’, Mr Elkind alleges in The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mobby Adrian Humphreys.

He also describes the rush to build the Renaissance Center following the disappearance of Hoffa – and claims the body was buried in wet cement.

‘There was a mad rush to get the concrete poured,’ the New York Post quotes the book as saying.

Hoffa was declared legally dead July 30, 1982, when he would have been 69.

Secrets: Elkind makes the claims in The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob by Canadian journalist Adrian Humphreys

He was a union stalwart, serving as its General President from 1958 to 1971 and playing a key part in its growth and development.

During his term as its leader, membership surged to more than 1.5 million members, becoming the largest single union in the country.

As well as a role as Jimmy Hoffa's driver, Mr Elkind had careers as a loan collector, a boxer - and a police informant.

He was working as a busboy in a Toronto restaurant frequented by Jimmy Hoffa's crew when he was poached as a driver.

Mr Elkind initially said he didn't want the job, but he was told: 'Nobody's asking you.'

He began testifying against the mob when police discovered he'd worked with a con man. They gave him an ultimatum - tell or be charged.

The book, by Canadian reporter Adrian Humphreys, follows his life.

It takes its title from Mr Elkind's nickname, The Weasel, which he claims was his boxing moniker - rather than to do with his snitching. - dailymail

The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob


Protein shakes increase baldness

The number of men seeking treatment for baldness has surged by a third in the last year - and experts say protein shakes are partly to blame. Young mining workers in Australia preoccupied with their appearance, who were also turning to Botox to keep their youthful looks, were driving the increase, according to Western Australia ’s only hair transplant surgeon Jennifer Martinick.

Dr Martinick said she was booked out for more than six months and performing more than 400 procedures annually – up about 30 per cent from a year ago. She was also seeing double the number of bald men in their 20s and 30s than a decade ago and partly attributed the rise to protein shakes which caused the body to produce chemicals that caused or worsened baldness.

“Lots of young guys these days are very image conscious,” Dr Martinick said. “They are 20 or 30-something, go to the gym, some even have Botox, take protein shakes to build up muscle but don’t realise it can contribute to baldness. They have lots of disposable income so they come for treatment because they also want a full head of hair.

“There is a growing feeling that people are getting balder earlier and it may be possibly because of diet. There are a lot of animal fats in the western diet and then guys go to the gym and take things like creatin, whey protein isolates and think they’re doing the right thing.” The New Hair Clinic physician said she advised patients to stop consuming protein shakes to prevent further hair loss and was able to delay baldness in some cases with medication.

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Russia screws up another rocket launch

Three hours before a new crew arrived at the International Space Station on Friday, bringing the outpost back up to full staff for the first time in months, Russia racked up its fifth launch accident within a year.

A Soyuz-2 rocket carrying a military communications satellite failed to reach orbit after blastoff from the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia. The botched launch is again due to an upper-stage engine problem.

Though the motor is different from the one used on the Soyuz rockets that fly Progress cargo and Soyuz capsules to the station, the trend is troubling.

"There are problems," Vladimir Popovkin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, said through a translator at a press conference at the Russian Mission Control Center outside Moscow and broadcast on NASA Television following the arrival of the new space station crew.

"There is aging of many resources. We need to optimize everything. We need to modernize," Popovkin said.

"It’s also aging of human resources," he added. "Given the troubles we had in the '90s, quite a lot of people left and nobody came to replace them."

NASA said the Soyuz-2 accident is "unlikely to have any effect on operations to the International Space Station," agency spokesman Joshua Buck told Discovery News.

A trio of astronauts arrived at the space station at 10:19 a.m. EST Friday. Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, NASA's Don Pettit and the European Space Agency's Andre Kuipers blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

Russian launch troubles had kept the station short-staffed for most of the past three months. Crew flights to the station were delayed while Russian engineers scrambled to find and fix the cause of an Aug. 24 Soyuz rocket failure that claimed a Progress cargo ship. The rocket is virtually identical to one used to fly Soyuz crew capsules.

That accident was traced to contamination or a blockage in a fuel line. Russia beefed up its inspection and quality control systems and resumed flying on Oct. 30.

Kononenko, Pettit and Kuipers join station commander Dan Burbank and two cosmonauts, who have been aboard the outpost since Nov. 16.

The string of launch accidents include the Nov. 9 flight of Phobos-Grunt, an ambitious mission to return soil samples from the Martian moon Phobos. The probe was left stranded in Earth orbit after an upper-stage rocket failed to fire to send the spacecraft on its way to Mars. It is expected to crash back into Earth’s atmosphere between Jan. 9 and 16.

Other launch accidents include two Proton rocket failures in December 2010 and August; and the February failure of a Rokot vehicle.

Popovkin took over as the head of Roscosmos in April.


Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels

Angels don't just sing at Christmastime. For most Americans, they're a year-round presence. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 77 percent of adults believe these ethereal beings are real.

Belief is primarily tied to religion, with 88 percent of Christians, 95 percent of evangelical Christians and 94 percent of those who attend weekly religious services of any sort saying they believe in angels.

But belief in angels is fairly widespread even among the less religious. A majority of non-Christians think angels exist, as do more than 4 in 10 of those who never attend religious services.

Beyond the religious gap, women are more likely than men to believe angels are real, and those over 30 are more apt than younger adults to think they exist.

The finding mirrors a 2006 AP-AOL poll, which found 81 percent believed in angels.

Previous polling has found the public a bit more likely to believe in God, but far less likely to believe in other other-worldly beings. In May, 92 percent of adults told Gallup pollsters they believed in God. But just 34 percent in an AP-Ipsos poll in 2007 said they believed in ghosts or UFOs.

The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Dec. 8-12 and is based on interviews with 1,000 adults nationally. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. - cbsnews