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Sun, 23 Feb 2020
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Health

Canadians don't care for Sicko

Michael Moore is handing out fake bandages to promote his new film Sicko, an exposé of the failings of the U.S. health care system.

But he may feel like applying a couple to himself after the mauling he received yesterday from several Canadian journalists - present company included - following the film's first viewing at the Cannes Film Festival.

"You Canadians! You used to be so funny!" an exasperated Moore said at a press conference in the Palais des Festivals.

"You gave us all our best comedians. When did you turn so dark?"

We Canucks were taking issue with the large liberties Sicko takes with the facts, with its lavish praise for Canada's government-funded medicare system compared with America's for-profit alternative.

Attention

Spate of suicides from Hudson spans spurs look at prevention

Normally, the bridges that take commuters over the Hudson River provide a pleasant view of the river on some days or torturous traffic on others. But they also take some people on a journey to another place.

The bridges of the Lower Hudson Valley have long exerted a fatal lure to the despondent and suicidal. Over the past 10 years, 27 people have leapt to their deaths from the Tappan Zee Bridge and nine from the Bear Mountain Bridge, along with many other attempted suicides.

Now, a spate of attempted and successful suicides on the Hudson Valley bridges, including three incidents this year on the Tappan Zee, has brought renewed focus to suicide deterrence. Echoing a mounting public conversation from San Franciso's Golden Gate Bridge to New York's bridges, mental health experts and public safety officials have been studying ways to stop the dying.

Question

More poisoned products may have originated in China

Diethylene glycol, a poison, has been found in 6,000 tubes of toothpaste in Panama, and customs officials there said Friday that the product appeared to have originated in China.

"Our preliminary information is that it came from China, but we don't know that with certainty yet," said Daniel Delgado Diamante, Panama's director of customs. "We are still checking all the possible imports to see if there could be other shipments."

Bomb

Study: Gulf War vets' children have higher birth defect rates

WASHINGTON - Children of veterans of the first Gulf War are more likely to have three specific birth defects than those of soldiers who never served in the gulf, a government study has found.

Comment: Gee! Could it be from the Gulf War veterans exposure to depleted uranium???


Red Flag

Company in U.S. Recalls 129,000 Pounds of Beef

A meat company is recalling 129,000 pounds of beef products in 15 states because of possible E. coli contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

Attention

U.N. again delays destruction of smallpox virus

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday delayed for at least four years any decision on when to destroy the world's last known stockpiles of smallpox, a deadly virus eradicated nearly 30 years ago.

There is no treatment for the virus that was killing millions of people a year as recently as the 1960s and left many more blind and scarred. In 1979, it became the first disease officially stamped out after a worldwide vaccination campaign.

But the United States and Russia, which hold the only known stockpiles of the virus in high-security laboratories, have long resisted calls to destroy them in case smallpox is found to exist elsewhere.

The 60th annual World Health Assembly, the top decision-taking body of the United Nations agency, reaffirmed a previous commitment to getting rid of the remaining stockpiles but agreed to postpone any decision on when this should happen until its 2011 meeting.

Health

Massage, Acupuncture, and Yoga May All Be Part of Your Health Plan

Sure, our health care system is messed up. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be taking full advantage of your own plan's benefits. Here are five goodies you should know about.

Comment: The author puts a positive spin on the situation of health in America and takes it for granted that her readers are employed and have a health insurance. Something a lot of Americans are lacking.


Attention

Mercury in energy-saving bulbs worries scientists

There's an old joke about the number of people it takes to change a light bulb. But because the newer energy-efficient kinds contain tiny amounts of mercury, the hard part is getting rid of them when they burn out.

Mercury is poisonous, but it's also a necessary part of most compact fluorescent bulbs, the kind that environmentalists and some governments are pushing as a way to cut energy use.

With an estimated 150 million CFLs sold in the United States in 2006 and with Wal-Mart alone hoping to sell 100 million this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most are ending up in garbage dumps.

Attention

"Experts" say: Fluorescent Lights' Mercury Poses Dim Threat. Go Back To Sleep.

They're breakable, contain toxic material, and are becoming increasingly commonplace. But fears of mercury poisoning from new energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs are overplayed, experts say.

Long billed as a "green" product for environmentally conscious consumers, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are quickly becoming the norm in household lighting - and may soon replace traditional incandescent bulbs altogether.

But CFLs' cool-burning illumination is made possible by a pinch of poison - about five milligrams of mercury sealed inside every glass tube - and the need for the element is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin and long-lived environmental contaminant, and even the small amount present in CFLs poses a problem. When the bulbs break, either in the house or at a waste disposal site, their mercury content is released.

Bomb

Peace processes are failing women in a men dominated world

As societies emerge from conflict, men's dominance at all levels of decision-making ensures women never feel truly secure according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

In a unique study of women's security and participation in three post conflict societies - Northern Ireland, South Africa and Lebanon - researchers found that women see security differently from men. And because men dominate the institutions of peace-making and peace-building, they often fail to consider the specific security needs of women.

The investigation, which was part of the ESRC's New Security Challenges Programme, was carried out through a research partnership between the University of Ulster, Queen's University Belfast and Democratic Dialogue and with research associates in South Africa (Centre for Study of Violence and Reconciliation) and Lebanon (Lebanese American University in Beirut).

In all three case studies, women saw security as much more than physical safety. It was about feeling represented in societal institutions, having a job, an education for their children, a good health service and a feeling that society recognised the specific interests of women.

"For me, the word security in Arabic is not to be afraid. First, not to be afraid to be hungry, to move, to think, and to be misjudged," explained a Lebanese woman to the researchers.