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Fri, 27 Jan 2023
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Research Shows Rise in Child Suicide Rates in Ireland

While still rare, suicide rates among Irish children have increased, especially among 15- to 17-year-olds, research published yesterday shows.

Researchers from University College Dublin and St Vincent's University Hospital, Dublin, analysed age and sex-specific suicide mortality data from 1993-1998 and compared it with similar data from 2003-2008 for those aged 18 and under.

The results, published in the current issue of the Irish Medical Journal, show that overall suicide rates in both males and females have increased.

Suicide in children under 15 was extremely rare in both decades, with average overall rates of 1.6/100,000.

Suicide occurred significantly more often in boys, and more commonly between ages 15 and 17 in both sexes.

Commenting on the research, lead author Prof Kevin Malone said, "A wave of young people is currently moving through Irish society where suicide rates amongst their peers have increased substantially from those of their parents . . . Yet mental health services in Ireland are currently under-developed for the children within this age group [16- to 18-year-olds] transitioning from child to adult support."


Doctors Call on Ottawa to Reject 'Backdoor' Attempt to Recriminalize Abortion

© Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press
Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth takes part in the March For Life rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on May 10, 2012. Mr. Woodworth is pushing for legislation to have fetuses declared persons.
Canada's doctors have sternly rejected what they see as a stealth attempt to recriminalize abortion.

At the general council meeting of the Canadian Medical Association on Wednesday, delegates called on the federal government to reject attempts by a Conservative backbench MP to amend the Criminal Code so that a fetus is defined as a human being.

"This constitutes the criminalization of abortion or any form of contraception," said Dr. Geneviève Desbiens, a urologist from Valleyfield, Que.

"This change could even prevent a pregnant woman from travelling or taking certain drug treatments," she said.

Dr. Desbiens also warned that doctors who counsel or provide abortion services could become criminals.


The Practice of Female Circumcision To Be Revived in The Name of Religion in Egypt

Female Circumcision
© PreventDisease.com
Egyptian human rights groups and female activists are alarmed at renewed parliamentary calls to revive the practice of female circumcision. They appeal to the authorities to stop advocating what was officially banned in 2007.

Female circumcision, performed on as many as 3 million girls each year, complicates childbirth later in life and causes higher mortality among their babies, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated.

Women who had undergone the practice, also known as female genital mutilation, were up to 70 percent more vulnerable to potentially fatal hemorrhage after delivery than those who had not.

A study involving some 28,000 women at obstetric centers in six African countries where the practice is common, said babies born to circumcised women were as much as 55 percent more likely to die during or immediately after childbirth.

The removal of the clitoris and labia--is promoted and continues to be advocated in some Muslim and African countries to control women's sexuality.

Ignorant traditionalists in Egypt are under sharp criticism for their continued ascribed religious beliefs and cultural traditions involving horrific forms of female genital mutilation (FGM, which they defend as a form of "female circumcision"). Many well-meaning people are also confused about the actual nature of the scientific evidence and the religious prescriptions regarding all sorts of practices involving any form of cutting in the genital areas.

Alarm Clock

Teenager Kills 5-year-old niece With a Scythe

© Family Handout
Jada Beth Williams, 5.
Matthew Kaleb Pierson, 18, admitted to leaving Jada Beth Williams beaten and blooded in the garage of the girl's grandmother's house, police say.

An Ohio teenager is in jail on $500,000 bond after he confessed to brutally killing his 5-year-old niece with a scythe, WXIX-TV reported.

Jada Beth Williams' body was found lying in a pool of blood in the garage of a home in Jackson Township.

Tina Williams, the little girl's grandmother, made the gruesome discovery and called 911, telling the dispatcher that Jada "was here with the guy I live with and my grandson, and she is dead."

In a recording of the call, obtained by the Fayette Advocate, Williams says the girl is "covered in blood."

2 + 2 = 4

Poverty Forces Some to Consider Betting on Their Lives

© Photo illustration by Katherine Wolkoff. Models: COACD; FunnyFace Today.
'Do you see lights?" Ruben Robles asked his brother, Mark, in 2007. Bright, star-shaped and white, they flashed before Ruben's eyes while he was driving, shopping at Costco, feeding the cats. Mark didn't see anything, so Robles went to a doctor, who thought that the visions might be stress-induced. Robles ran a collection agency in Los Angeles, and the hours were long, the debtors argumentative. Several weeks later, Ruben began suffering seizures. He went to see another doctor, and this one ordered an M.R.I., which revealed a ghostly white orb on his left frontal lobe. The diagnosis was brain cancer. Only 36 years old, Ruben was told that he might not live to see his 38th birthday.

Horrified, Robles says he thought constantly about God. But his crisis was practical as well as existential. Over the next year and a half, surgeons operated on his brain three times, excising as much of the cancer as they safely could. The side effects of the operations left Robles barely able to walk and unable to speak more than a word or two at a time. He shuttered the collection agency. His wife left him, and Robles, needing daily help, squeezed into his mother's Chihuahua-filled apartment. The medical bills were mounting, and Robles was worried: though he believed God would provide for him in the afterlife, what he desperately needed until then was money.


Man Accidentally Shoots Self in Theater During 'Bourne Legacy'

Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the buttocks at a Nevada movie theater during a showing of The Bourne Legacy.

Police in Sparks, Nev., say the 56-year-old man's injuries are not life-threatening and no others were hurt.

Eye 1

Texas Shootout Gunman Had Mental Illness

Thomas Caffall

Thomas Caffall
Texas - In the months leading up to Monday's shootout near Texas A&M University that killed three, gunman Thomas Alton Caffall III had cut off contact with his family, even though his mother was seriously ill.

Caffall's family said the 35-year-old told them he had his own issues, an unspecified mental illness they declined to comment on.

On Monday, Caffall opened fire on a law enforcement officer who was trying to serve him with a court summons for being two months behind on rent. The officer was killed.

Police said officers shot and killed Caffall during the 30-minute shootout. A bystander also died and four others were wounded; police did not say whose gunfire struck them.

"It breaks our hearts his illness led to this," Caffall's family said in a statement released through an attorney.

Authorities continued their investigation Tuesday, saying Caffall was in possession of multiple weapons and fired numerous times.

Bizarro Earth

Philadelphia Woman Faces $600-a-Day Fine for Feeding Needy Neighborhood Kids

brown bag lunch
A Pennsylvania woman who offers free lunch every day to low-income children in her neighborhood faces a $600-a-day fine next summer if she continues because she did not clear the food giveaway with township officials.

Angela Prattis donates her time to distribute the meals -- supplied by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia -- and adheres to strict paperwork, like filling out weekly reports and being visited bi-weekly from a state worker, MyFoxPhilly.com reports.

"Angela saw it as a way to contribute to the community in a positive way," Anne Ayella, a member of the archdiocese, said. "There was nothing in it for her."

Prattis laughed and said, "I don't make a dime."

Prattis lived in the township for three years. She reportedly distributes the meals to the 60 or so children at a gazebo on her property during the summer months, when children are home from school.

Wall Street

Chinese Companies Leaving US Stock Markets over Prices and Accounting Scrutiny

© AP Photo/Andy Wong
A Chinese man walks past a TV advertising screen by Focus Media Holding Ltd. on display near an apartment lift in Beijing Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012. Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges.
Chinese firms leave US stock markets amid complaints about price, accounting scrutiny

Beijing -- Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges.

This week, Focus Media Holding Ltd., announced its chairman and private equity firms want to buy back its U.S.-traded shares and take the Shanghai-based advertising company private. The deal would value Focus Media at $3.5 billion, according to financial information firm Dealogic.

Smaller companies also are withdrawing from U.S. exchanges. In a sign of official encouragement, a Chinese business magazine said a state bank has provided $1 billion in loans to help companies with listings abroad move them to domestic exchanges.

The withdrawals follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies and a deadlock between Beijing and Washington over whether U.S. regulators can oversee their China-based auditors.

Bad Guys

Chevron's refinery, Richmond's peril

Chevron Richmond
© Lance Iversen / San Francisco Chronicle / Associated Press
People view the fire at the Chevron Richmond Refinery. The fire burned out of control for more than five hours, sending a giant black cloud of toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, thousands of feet into the air and out across the bay.
The facility that caught fire violates pollution rules and is a daily threat to workers and neighbors.

Stay inside, close your windows and doors, and turn off air conditioning and heating units. Pets and all children in sporting activities should be brought inside, and have duct tape ready should you need to further seal windows and doors.

These are among the "shelter in place" warnings made to Bay Area residents last week in response to a massive fire at theChevron Corp.refinery in Richmond. The fire burned out of control for more than five hours, sending a giant black cloud of toxic chemicals, including sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, thousands of feet into the air and out across the bay. While automated calls went to more than 18,000 people, some 160,000 residents live in the areas directly affected by the warning. More than 5,700 people have sought medical treatment.

Chevron is the world's eighth-largest corporation and hands-down the largest in California. The Richmond refinery is also the state's single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, having released 4.5 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2010 alone.

Built in 1902, the refinery shows its age. Rather than use its $27 billion in 2011 profits to run the cleanest, safest and most transparent refinery possible, Chevron operates a refinery that is in constant violation of federal and state law and a daily threat to the health and safety of its workers and neighbors.