Coffee drinkers more likely to avoid diabetes, horsemeat consumption on the decline, a $9,150 toothpick

Coffee drinkers more likely to avoid diabetes, horsemeat consumption on the decline, a $9,150 toothpick

Neigh sayers: if animal rights activists have their way, horsemeat deliveries like this one in Paris, will be a thing of the past 

•  The effects of the recession combined with years of negative publicity have resulted in a 12 per cent decrease in the amount of horsemeat eaten in France. Animal rights activists are taking advantage of the lull. One group is even seeking new legislation that would upgrade horses’ legal status from production animals to “companions.” [Reuters]

• In what is being called the toughest anti-alcohol campaign since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Kremlin is upping the minimum price of vodka in January. Experts say that excessive drinking is the main reason why Russia’s population is shrinking by a whopping 700,000 people each year. A similar move may not be so far-fetched in Canada: some are calling for a hike in liquor prices in B.C. to curb growing alcohol consumption. [Telegraph]

• An anonymous bidder has bought a gold and ivory toothpick, once owned and used by Charles Dickens, for $9,150 (USD). The ostentatious toothpick has a retracting mechanism and is also engraved with the author’s initials. A letter of authenticity from Dickens’ sister-in-law assures any would-be skeptic that the author did, in fact, use the toothpick “when travelling and on his last visit to America.” [Associated Press]

• A Georgia couple who mistakenly showed up a day early for a tour of the White House were surprised, to say the least, to find themselves escorted to an invitation-only breakfast with the Obamas. White House officials say they were just being hospitable, and that the couple was allowed to attend the breakfast as a courtesy as there were no other tours scheduled that day. [Associated Press]

• A new study reveals that those who drink lots of coffee or tea (presumably without sugar) have a lower risk of developing type two diabetes. And by lots, we mean the more, the better: each additional cup of coffee or tea consumed per day apparently lowers the risk of diabetes by seven per cent. Researchers aren’t sure why the beverages have such an affect—they suggest that heavy coffee and tea drinkers eat healthier diets—but they know that caffeine is not responsible, as decaffeinated drinks had the same effect. [CTV]