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Diabetes ad campaign used altered photo

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's latest public health campaign warning against diabetes features a photo of an overweight amputee, but an ad agency, not the disease, was to blame for his missing leg.

The photo was digitally altered to make it appear that the man's right leg is missing below the knee, the New York Times reported Wednesday. The original photo, taken by photographer Morten Smidt, shows a man with all his limbs.

Smidt took the photo in 2008 and sold it to the stock photo agency Image Source, which then sold it to the ad agency. "They altered the image," Smidt said.

The city's Health Department said the ad agency it used was DCS, based in Brazil.

A subway poster with the doctored photo warns that growing food portion sizes can lead to diabetes, which is characterized by high blood sugar levels and can result in poor circulation, difficult-to-treat infections or sores and slow healing.

The Health Department said the diabetes poster highlights a serious health issue -- even if it's not a testimonial from a real person. "Sometimes we use individuals who are suffering from the particular disease; other times we have to use actors," department spokesman John Kelly said.


Attorney general backs federal mortgage probe

ALBANY (AP) -- Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Wednesday promised to keep investigating the collapse of mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the national economic downturn, praising President Obama's creation of a new investigative effort Schneiderman is expected to head.

"The American people deserve a robust and comprehensive investigation into the global financial meltdown to ensure nothing like it ever happens again," Schneiderman said.

His office will work with federal authorities to hold accountable those responsible for the economic crisis, "providing meaningful relief for homeowners commensurate with the scale of the misconduct," he said.

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, Obama said he is establishing a new special unit of federal prosecutors and attorneys general "to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis."


'SHCOOL' crossing flunks spelling test

NEW YORK (AP) -- An embarrassing misspelling of "school" is gone from the school crossing marker on the street outside a New York City school.

Utility workers on Tuesday used machinery to grind out the wrongly placed "H" and "C" in the "SHCOOL X-NG" marker.

The correction was made a day after the New York Post reported the spelling error.

The words had been created with "textured tape" that permanently sticks to the asphalt.

Con Ed told the Post the blunder occurred when a contractor ripped up the street for utility work and replaced the existing markings with the incorrect spelling. It said the mistake outside the Lower East Side building that houses three schools had been there since July 2010.