The Fiji Times 6 October 2014AS best mates Travis McIntosh, 23, and Matt McCormick, 24, were married before a celebrant dressed as Darth Vader, jokes flew at their predicament and even a streaker joined in the occasion.The straight men’s wedding ceremony, inside the home of rugby Eden Park, Auckland, included quips about “reach arounds” and “coming together in marriage but not in other ways”, reported GayNZ.The bromance wedding, a competition to win a trip to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in London, was run by radio station, The Edge.McIntosh, an engineering student from Otago University, and McCormick, a teacher at Musselburgh School in Dunedin, are devoted All Blacks fans.Family First, a lobby group opposed to same-sex marriage, said the outrage expressed by gay rights groups was ironic.Director Bob McCoskrie said the change in law was “an arrogant act of cultural vandalism”.“This competition makes a mockery of marriage, but so did the redefining of marriage.”http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=282294
NZ Herald 2 December 2015A bill which will prevent convicted child sex offenders from changing their names is set to pass its first hurdle tonight.National, New Zealand First and the Act Party have indicated they will support National MP Jian Yang’s private member’s bill, meaning it has the numbers to pass its first reading.Dr Yang told Parliament this afternoon that his bill was designed to maintain public safety and assist with the rehabilitation of criminals.He said it would give parents confidence that people who worked with their children had been properly vetted.“This will prevent … sex offenders from being able to change their names in an attempt to get closer to innocent children,” he said.The National MP has cited the case of Henry Te Rito Miki, who was employed at six different schools despite being subject to a supervision order that prevented him from coming into contact with children.He evaded detection by changing his name.Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.Dr Yang indicated the bill could require some redrafting.When it was introduced, lawyer Graeme Edgeler pointed out that it could capture a broad range of offences including burglary, kidnapping, and discharging a firearm with intent.Said Dr Yang: “I look forward to the select committee input on this bill to meet the objective of preventing child sex offenders from legally changing their name.”Labour and the Greens said they would oppose the legislation.Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe said the purpose of the bill was “admirable”, but his party believed it would be a waste of a select committee’s time because it was poorly drafted.“It is our assessment that this bill needs to go back to the drafting table to be completely rewritten,” he said.Mr Rurawhe was also concerned about the Attorney-General’s finding that it unjustifiably breached the Bill of Rights by limiting freedom of expression.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11554855
Former US President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea Clinton, are in Kenya on behalf of the Clinton Foundation for a visit of charity projects around the country that are run by the foundation.During her visit to Kenya’s Mbagathi District Hospital Friday Morning, Chelsea praised the work of the hospital’s maternity unit.The maternal program of the hospital is supported by the Clinton Foundation.Over the weekend they are expected to focus on issues to do with investing in women and also empowering them. They will also address matters of climate change.Mr Clinton and his daughter started their nine day tour in Tanzania, which will also taken them to Liberia and Morocco.Some of the projects that are run by the Clinton Foundation in Tanzania include commercial farm projects that partners with thousands of neighboring smallholder farmers to provide training and seeds for corn and soy crops.Clinton was accompanied by an entourage of donors, whose plan is to visit projects funded by the Clinton Development Initiative to boost agriculture, health, education and wildlife conservation. Bill Clinton on arrival in Kenya
French President Francois Hollande is vowing to stamp out terrorism.Bombing ISIL in Syria and Iraq will be combined with new laws and greater cooperation between France and its European partners plus the US and Russia.Last Friday, terrorists succeeded in staging an attack in the French capital, Paris, despite new anti-terrorism and surveillance laws passed in the wake of the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine ten months ago.France is now considering stripping citizenship from suspected terrorists, extending the state of emergency for three months and will recruit 5,000 extra police and 1,000 more justice officials in trying to balance increased surveillance with trying not to alienate France’s large Muslim minority.
65 Views no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Share HealthLifestyle The real secret to a longer life: Learn how to rebound from stress. by: – April 12, 2011 Tweet Share The secret to living to age 100 or older may be mostly in the genes, but there’s another secret to longevity, and it has nothing to do with super surgeries, or where your ancestors are from. It has to do with managing stress—or, more specifically, knowing how to rebound from stressful situations.There’s a direct link between psychological stress and biological aging, says Thea Singer in her new book, Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate the Body and the Mind.” And that link goes all the way down to our cells.In a groundbreaking study, 2009 Nobel Prize-winning cell biologist Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Ph.D., and health psychologist Elissa S. Epel, Ph.D., both at the University of California, San Francisco, discovered that that chronic stress “literally gnaws at our DNA—its tips, or telomeres, to be precise—speeding up the rate at which our cells age.” In fact, Singer told me in an interview, “Women who perceived themselves as being under the most stress had telomeres that were shorter by equivalent of 10 years.”Telomeres, she explains, protect the ends of our chromosomes “like the plastic tip on the end of a shoelace protects the shoelace from fraying.” Babies have longer telomeres than adults, simply because they’ve been exposed to less stress than adults have. As our cells reproduce, our telomeres become shorter, until they’re so short that they can’t offer enough protection anymore; that’s when we start to see the signs of aging.But there’s good news: It’s possible to turn back the clock and actually lengthen our telomeres. There’s no magic bullet, but way we react to stress matters—and trying to avoid stress altogether isn’t actually healthy. Some stress, in fact, is actually good for us.“Basically, we’ve been hearing forever that stress can make us sick,” Singer says. “When people hear the word stress, they often think ‘bad.’ But is we got rid of stress, as Bruce S. McEwen puts it, we’d be dead.”“Acute stress—short term, intermittent stress, or ‘challenge’ stress—is actually good for us,” Singer points out. “Exercise is a form of good stress. And sex has been shown to be a form of good sex in mice!” Where we get into trouble is with chronic or constant stress. “When the stressors don’t let up, when it’s chronic or consistently repeating, there’s no time to come back to baseline.” And that’s when it starts to really affect our physical health.Acting, instead of fretting, in the face of stress can give you a feeling of being in control of your circumstances. And, as Singer points out in her book, studies show that people who feel that they are in control actually look different from people who feel that they are not.“There’s no such thing as objective stress,” Singer points out. “It’s really about the way we look at stress. We can’t change circumstances, but we can change the way we look at circumstances.”On NPR’s “Morning Edition,”109-year-old Helen Reichert’s doctor chalks her long life up to her ability to “bounce back from stress.”“You don’t get to be 109 without life hurling a few curve balls at you, and Reichert has had more than her share,” he points out. “And after each, she dusts herself off and moves on. A few years back, she had a modest stroke that affected her language abilities. I don’t think I’ve seen a patient of any age tackle rehabilitation and speech therapy the way she did.”So what can you do to change the way you deal with stress—and lengthen your tolemeres in the process?1. Exercise. It can help stress-proof your brain, so that when you’re in a stressful circumstances, your brain will be less reactive. “People who exercise have longer telomeres, too,” Singer points out. The trick is to find a form of exercise that you really enjoy; when your work-out is a chore, your body releases stress hormones that undermine the positive effect of the exercise.2. Eat mindfully, but don’t diet. Omega-3 fatty acids and pistachio nuts (1.5- to 3-ounces per day) are the superfoods to watch for, but eating only when hungry and learning really savor and experience your meals makes more of a difference—and causes less physical and psychological stress—that dieting.3. Sleep is really important. Without enough, your whole stress threshold is lower. “Don’t think of it as a catch-as-catch-can experience,” Singer suggests. If you think you’ll have trouble sleeping, a hot bath taken 90 minutes before bedtime can help. Our bodies need to be relatively cool in order to achieve that slow-wave sleep that we really need. Soaking in a hot bath elevates your body temperature, and when you get out you cool down rapidly, which helps you slip into a deeper sleep.4. Counter negativity. That doesn’t mean you need to put on those rose-colored glasses, Singer says. Look for the good things in your day and write them down or tell someone about them in order to “bring it into the world” and put things in perspective. Keep a gratitude journal, focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, do something nice for someone else, set reasonable and attainable goals, and put a positive spin on a negative experience. An example: “I went to my club to work out and realized I’d left my headphones in my car,” Singer says. She started to get upset, and then put a positive spin on the irritating setback: She decided that the walk back to her car and then back to the gym would be her warm-up, so she could jump right into her workout once she retrieved her headphones.5. Meditate. Or, at least, remember to breathe deeply. It can actually slow down the aging process. Singer writes that daily meditation can lead to an increase in perceived control which, in turn, decreases stress and increases the amount of the enzyme telomerase in your body. More telomerase means longer telomeres.Stress gets bad “when we’re ruminating, we’re worrying, we’re obsessing about things and we’re not expending any of the physical energy,” Singer says. “It’s in heads, but it’s our bodies and brains that pay the price.”by Lylah M. Alphonse, Shine Staff
HealthInternationalLifestylePrint EU pledges 140m euros for Ebola-hit West Africa by: – September 5, 2014 Share Sharing is caring! Share Share Tweet BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) – The European Union on Friday announced 140 million euros ($183 million) in funds to fight the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa, a sharp increase over its previous aid as the outbreak worsens.The commission said the aid was necessary to boost measures to stop the “worst ever outbreak of the epidemic” from ravaging Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.“Today the commission is unveiling a 140-million-euro package of funding for all the countries currently affected by the Ebola virus,” European Commission spokesman David Sharrock told reporters.The aid is designed to boost overstretched health services, fund mobile laboratories for detecting the disease, safeguard the provision of food, water and sanitation as well as help the broader economy and strengthen overall public services.“An essential part of halting the epidemic is getting support to the health services,” said Sharrock, spokesman for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response.About a third of the assistance would go towards strengthening healthcare systems in affected countries, he said.The formal announcement was made by EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, during a trip to Benin.Sharrock said the EU had previously committed 12 million euros in aid to fight Ebola, with the sharp increase reflecting the gravity of the crisis.“A crisis caused by the Ebola virus is threatening the entire region. This is the worst outbreak ever of the epidemic,” Sharrock said.The World Health Organization put the official Ebola death toll at 1,841, out of a total of 3,685 cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, said the situation in the Ebola zone was “going from bad to worse.”“We are helping make a difference on the ground, but the needs are outpacing the international community’s capacity to react,” she said.“We need to pool our efforts and provide adequate air transportation and medical equipment to our partners in order to fight this menace.”Associated Free Press 113 Views no discussions
HealthLifestyle Immune Boosting Foods by: – November 4, 2014 331 Views no discussions Share Tweet Share Sharing is caring! Need that extra boost for your immune system. Here are some foods that will help boost your immune system.SWEET POTATOESSweet potatoes have double immune-boosting power thanks to vitamin C and beta-carotene (an antioxidant that our body converts to vitamin A); both vitamin A and vitamin C are believed to support healthy immune system function.GARLICGet rid of germs before they can make you sick; laboratory test results show that garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, giving it some serious infection-fighting potential.OATSOats are a good source of beta-glucans (naturally occurring sugars) that have been shown to promote a strong and healthy immune system. If you don’t like oats, try barley instead; it’s also a good source.YOGURTWhen you’re choosing a yogurt, select one that contains live and active cultures (or “good” bacteria). The good bacteria that the probiotics support can have a positive impact on many aspects of your body’s immune response.MUSHROOMSMushrooms are a good natural source of selenium, an antioxidant that strongly influences immune response. Cremini and shiitake mushrooms are among the most selenium-rich.PUMPKIN SEEDSSnacking on pumpkin seeds can help you boost your vitamin E intake. Vitamin E is recognized as a powerful antioxidant that helps maintain a healthy immune system, especially in older adults.GINGERGinger works to support immune health in more ways than one; it has anti-bacterial properties and helps prevent the accumulations of toxins that can make you susceptible to infections.CHICKEN SOUPIt turns out, there’s some truth to the idea that chicken soup can cure a cold; chicken releases amino acids during cooking that resemble bronchitis-fighting medicine. Plus, many chicken soup recipes are loaded with vitamin-rich vegetables and infection-fighting garlic. Share
Tweet Share Share HealthLifestyle Ebola virus mutating, scientists say by: BBC News – January 29, 2015 Hundreds of blood samples are being analysed to keep track of the virusScientists tracking the Ebola outbreak in Guinea say the virus has mutated.Researchers at the Institut Pasteur in France, which first identified the outbreak last March, are investigating whether it could have become more contagious.More than 22,000 people have been infected with Ebola and 8,795 have died in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.Scientists are starting to analyse hundreds of blood samples from Ebola patients in Guinea.They are tracking how the virus is changing and trying to establish whether it’s able to jump more easily from person to person“We know the virus is changing quite a lot,” said human geneticist Dr Anavaj Sakuntabhai.“That’s important for diagnosing (new cases) and for treatment. We need to know how the virus (is changing) to keep up with our enemy.”It’s not unusual for viruses to change over a period time. Ebola is an RNA virus – like HIV and influenza – which have a high rate of mutation. That makes the virus more able to adapt and raises the potential for it to become more contagious.“We’ve now seen several cases that don’t have any symptoms at all, asymptomatic cases,” said Anavaj Sakuntabhai.“These people may be the people who can spread the virus better, but we still don’t know that yet. A virus can change itself to less deadly, but more contagious and that’s something we are afraid of.”But Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist at the University of Nottingham, says it’s still unclear whether more people are actually not showing symptoms in this outbreak compared with previous ones.“We know asymptomatic infections occur… but whether we are seeing more of it in the current outbreak is difficult to ascertain,” he said.“It could simply be a numbers game, that the more infection there is out in the wider population, then obviously the more asymptomatic infections we are going to see.”Member of MSF at isolation ward in Conakry, Guinea. 29 June 2014The current outbreak began in south-eastern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra LeoneAnother common concern is that while the virus has more time and more “hosts” to develop in, Ebola could mutate and eventually become airborne.There is no evidence to suggest that is happening. The virus is still only passed through direct contact with infected people’s body fluids.Infectious disease expert Professor David Heyman said“No blood borne virus, for example HIV or Hepatitis B, has ever shown any indication of becoming airborne. The mutation would need to be major”Virologist Noel Tordo is in the process of setting up a new from the Institut Pasteur in the Guinea capital Conakry. He said,“At the moment, not enough has been done in terms of the evolution of the virus both geographically and in the human body, so we have to learn more. But something has shown that there are mutations,”“For the moment the way of transmission is still the same. You just have to avoid contact (with a sick person)”“But as a scientist you can’t predict it won’t change. Maybe it will.”Researchers are using a method called genetic sequencing to track changes in the genetic make-up of the virus. So far they have analysed around 20 blood samples from Guinea. Another 600 samples are being sent to the labs in the coming months.A previous similar study in Sierra Leone showed the Ebola virus mutated considerably in the first 24 days of the outbreak, according to the World Health Organization.It said: “This certainly does raise a lot of scientific questions about transmissibility, response to vaccines and drugs, use of convalescent plasma.“However, many gene mutations may not have any impact on how the virus responds to drugs or behaves in human populations.”‘Global problem’The research in Paris will also help give scientists a clearer insight into why some people survive Ebola, and others don’t. The survival rate of the current outbreak is around 40%.It’s hoped this will help scientists developing vaccines to protect people against the virus.Researchers at the Institut Pasteur are currently developing two vaccines which they hope will be in human trials by the end of the year.One is a modification of the widely used measles vaccine, where people are given a weakened and harmless form of the virus which in turn triggers an immune response. That response fights and defeats the disease if someone comes into contact with it.The research may explain why some people survive Ebola and others do notThe idea, if it proves successful, would be that the vaccine would protect against both measles and Ebola.“We’ve seen now this is a threat that can be quite large and can extend on a global scale,” said Professor James Di Santo, and immunologist at the Institut.“We’ve learned this virus is not a problem of Africa, it’s a problem for everyone.”He added: “This particular outbreak may wane and go away, but we’re going to have another infectious outbreak at some point, because the places where the virus hides in nature, for example in small animals, is still a threat for humans in the future.“The best type of response we can think of… is to have vaccination of global populations.” Sharing is caring! Share 108 Views no discussions
Tweet 46 Views no discussions Share Share The construction industry is booming across the country in housing, factories and office buildings.In turn, construction is spinning-off other growth areas in the supply of materials, transportation, and also in the spending by the work force on consumption – food, rent, clothing and so on.Guyana’s debt to GDP ratio is now around 60 per cent, considerably lower than many Caricom countries whose ratios are more than 100 per cent, and its foreign reserves represent five months of its import requirements.This is remarkable not only because many Caricom countries are seeing their foreign reserves dwindling, but also because of the years of cutting back on imports that Guyana suffered because of insufficient foreign earnings.Helping the communitiesA striking development in social terms is the steady increase in government expenditure directed at old age pensioners and other vulnerable communities.US$20 million is now dedicated to these communities, again with a mutiplyer effect in the economy since these funds are spent on consumption.In the current budget, the government has also allocated US$300 million to building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals; a sum twice as large as it was five years ago and which provides much needed pubic goods as well as employment, consumer spending and workers’ savings in banks.Information Technology boostA significant development in Guyana has been the use of Information Technology.More than 2,000 computer literate Guyanese young people, mostly women, are employed in call centres providing services to companies located in countries as distant as Australia.Experts suggest that the sector could employ as many as 6,000 people by 2013 given the fact that Guyana is English-speaking and its telecommunications infrastructure is improving to provide faster broadband service. The salvation of Guyana has been in its natural resources, and the diversification of its productive base to exploit these resources more effectively.Twenty years ago, Guyana depended almost entirely on export earnings from sugar, rice and bauxite. Today, while these three commodities remain important, the agricultural sector has been diversified and Guyana is now a net exporter of agricultural products.Natural resourcesBut, it is its other resources, especially gold, that has made a difference in recent years, and will catapult the country’s economic growth in the future.For instance, last year the country earned US$346.4 million from gold, almost three times the sum it earned from bauxite (US$114.6 m), sugar (US$104 m) and rice (US$154.6 m).Singh is confident that –as early as this year – the country’s gold sector is set for “catalytic investment” on an unprecedented scale that will earn the country even greater revenues while introducing new technology that conforms to the high environmental standards that Guyana has set as part of its policy to employ a low carbon development strategy.And then there is oil. Studies done by the United States indicate that the basin off-shore Guyana contains rich reserves of oil.This possibility is now being explored by several oil companies, large and small, and there is even on shore exploration. It is almost a creed amongst Guyanese that it is only a matter of time before oil starts to flow.Measured by its rich natural resources, its recent economic performance, and the investments set to be made in gold and oil, Guyana’s economic prospects and the contribution it can make to Caricom look healthy and heartening.Election year2011 is an election year in Guyana. So far, there is no sign of anything but a peaceful process. The political parties are each engaged in trying to identify a candidate for the nation’s Presidency.There are five known candidates in the ruling Peoples Progressive Party and a similar number in the main opposition Peoples National Congress.By mid-March both parties would have chosen their candidate in processes which have been internally rancorous but have shown no sign of erupting into national strife.There are smaller political parties including the Alliance for Change which has a settled candidate.Elections have to be held by November, and the campaigning season will start in earnest by April.Whichever party wins the Presidency and forms the government, it will inherit an economy that is stronger than it has ever been with every indicator for greater growth.For Guyana – the fabled land of “El Dorado” may be in sight at last if this election is conducted by mature democratic standards and the new government uses the country’s resources for the benefit of all, especially its disadvantaged. Share NewsRegional El Dorado maybe in sight at last by: – February 22, 2011 Since the late 1970’s and until recently, the economy of Guyana has been the sick man of the Caribbean falling second only to Haiti as the poorest country in the region. Much of that has changed, and the economy looks set to change for the better even more.The improvement in Guyana’s economic circumstances will have several beneficial effects.Among them will be a reversal of the migration of people from Guyana to others parts of the Caribbean and, indeed, the world.This trend has already begun to happen, particularly from Caribbean countries.More than 80 per cent of Guyana’s tertiary educated people live outside of Guyana; a return of a fraction of them would help to accelerate economic activity and the rate of growth.Apart from the remigration of Guyanese to Guyana, if the economy continues on its upward trajectory, the country could also become a magnet for nationals of other Caribbean countries, fulfilling its promise as the land of the future for the Caribbean Community and Common Market (Caricom).Good for CaricomA richer Guyana would be good for Caricom as a whole in other ways.Already, the share of Guyana’s imports from Caricom countries has increased and, as the economy expands and advances creating a better-off population, that share will increase still further helping to sustain employment and revenues throughout the regional grouping.Between 2006 and 2010, Guyana enjoyed average economic growth of 4 per cent – an enviable achievement among Caricom countries, the majority of whose economies have contracted especially since the global financial crisis that started in late 2008.Economic growthThe Guyana Finance Minister, Ashni Singh, attributes the growth in the economy to several factors, among them being the diversification of the productive sector; studied government policy decisions to generate activities that have a mutliplyer effect in the economy; and the creation of a stable environment for doing business.In terms of the business environment, Singh emphasizes that Guyana enjoys exchange rate stability, low and declining interest rates, and a low rate of inflation.These factors give existing and new investors a platform of predictability for planning their businesses.In his January budget, Singh also lowered corporate taxes by 5 per cent to 40 per cent for commercial companies and 30 per cent for manufacturing firms.There is certainly clear evidence of investment in the economy. Efforts have been made towards saving the natural resources The construction industry is booming across Guyana BBC Caribbean Sharing is caring!
Tweet Share 23 Views no discussions Share NewsRegional Record number of dengue fever cases in Bahamas by: – August 12, 2011 Share Sharing is caring! Minister of Health Dr Hubert Minnis (BIS photo) NASSAU, Bahamas — The Bahamas has now broken its record for the number of dengue fever cases reported during the yearly seasonal outbreaks, with more than 1,500 confirmed cases, according to Minister of Health Dr Hubert Minnis.Minnis, speaking at a press conference at the Ministry of Health on Wednesday afternoon, added that the inordinate number of cases this year has stretched the public health care system to the limit, as hundreds of people have been showing up at public clinics across the island with symptoms of dengue fever.“The cases of dengue fever continue at our medical facilities,” he said. “For the last five days we have seen an average of approximately 100 cases per day from all reporting sites, including public and private facilities.”While the number of cases in The Bahamas has been high, according to Minnis, the mortality rate from the virus has been extremely low. He said there has been a 99.9 percent recovery rate for those afflicted with the virus and a 0.01 percent fatality rate.“Case management protocols are in place and we have documented positive outcomes,” he said.As the public health clinics continue to be inundated with reported cases of dengue fever, Minnis said health officials have extended clinic hours and weekend coverage to meet the needs of the public.Minister of State for the Environment Phenton Neymour joined Minnis at the press conference on Wednesday to assure the public that the Department of Environmental Health Services is doing everything it can to control the spread of the dengue virus.“We have completely fogged the entire island of New Providence twice in the last two weeks,” he said.“In densely populated areas, we have been fogging two to three times per week. All fogging is carried out during peak Aedes activity times.“The chemical currently being used is colorless, odorless and completely harmless to humans. We have more than adequate vector control supplies to carry out our mandate.”Minnis said that a dengue fever outbreak is affecting the Caribbean region and insisted that the low mortality rate in The Bahamas compared to the rest of the region speaks to the prime level of healthcare being provided to people afflicted with dengue fever.Neymour insisted that in order to stem the spread of dengue, the public has to get involved by ridding their yards and neighborhoods of anything which can hold water and incubate the larvae of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is responsible for spreading the virus.He added that the rainy season and the heat factor have promoted optimal conditions for the Aedes aegypti mosquito to breed.“Know that it takes only six days for this mosquito to develop from an egg to an adult,” he said.“The Ministry of the Environment cannot overemphasize the requirement for social participation, as all residents of The Bahamas make our best effort to eliminate dengue infection.“We have overcome this before, but we need public support. It is our Bahamas. We strongly urge public participation and cooperation to help us to reduce the number of sources of breeding and ultimately the cases of infection.”Chester Robards, Nassau Guardian Staff ReporterSource: Caribbean News Now