Category Archives: Violence & Human Right

These ‘ultra-processed’ foods are linked with a higher risk of cancer

Thanks;Maria LaMagna

Published: Feb 15, 2018 3:19 p.m. ET

A new study shows foods including desserts and chicken nuggets create higher risk

Ultra-processed foods include packaged snacks and soda.

One of the ways to reduce your risk of cancer may be simply changing your diet.

Eating “ultra-processed” foods was associated with a higher cancer risk in a study published this week in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal. Epidemiologists studied more than 100,000 participants 18 years and older, starting in 2009. People who had a 10% higher intake of these ultra-processed foods had more than a 10% increase of risk for cancers including breast cancer, the study concluded.

The study’s subjects recorded everything they ate, amounting to more than 3,300 different food items. The researchers then classified those foods according to how processed they were. Foods considered ultra-processed often have higher fat, saturated fat and added sugar and sodium, plus lower amounts of fiber and vitamins. They also may contain contaminants with carcinogenic properties, meaning they could contribute to cancer risk.

The report is timely. World Health Organization has declared Feb. 15 International Childhood Cancer Day. And this week, McDonald’s MCD, +0.49%  announced changes to its children’s Happy Meals, in order to make them healthier. The restaurant chain will now only list hamburgers and chicken nuggets on its Happy Meal menu, and cheeseburgers will only be available by request (presumably to lower the amount of calories in the burger.)

But it’s not just what’s in the food. The latest study also looked at packaging. Ultra-processed foods might also be packaged with materials that also have carcinogenic properties, the researchers said. And they may contain food additives — including sodium nitrate, which is often used in processed meat, or titanium dioxide, which is a white food pigment — which have been found to have some carcinogenic properties.

Ultra-processed foods include:

• Mass-produced breads and buns

• Packaged snacks

• Industrially-produced desserts

• Sodas and sweetened drinks

• Packaged meatballs

• Packaged nuggets made from poultry or fish

• Meat products that contain preservatives other than salt

• Instant noodles or soups

• Frozen or shelf-stable instant meals

• Hydrogenated oils

McDonald’s, meanwhile, is also reducing the size of its French fries in Happy Meals, from a small size to a “kids” size. Kids’ fries are 1.3 ounces and have 110 calories, and small fries are 2.6 ounces and have 230 calories. And it’s working to reduce sugar in chocolate milk. Bottled water will become a drink option for kids’ meals later this year. McDonald’s has already removed artificial preservatives from its Chicken McNuggets and said it will remove artificial flavors, colors from artificial sources, and will reduce artificial preservatives “where feasible.”

It has partnered with a nonprofit called Alliance for Healthier Generation since 2013 to promote healthier eating.


Pope Francis arrives in crisis-hit Peru




*Pope Francis was greeted by thousands of people on the streets of Lima

Pope Francis has arrived in Peru on the final leg of a two-nation trip to South America.

He was met at Lima airport by Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who appealed to the pontiff to help resolve a continuing political crisis.

Peruvians have been protesting against the authorities’ decision to pardon former President Alberto Fujimori.

The Pope arrived from Chile, where he met victims of sexual abuse by priests in the country.

The 81-year-old Argentine pontiff said he felt “pain and shame” over the scandal, asking the victims for forgiveness.

He has been criticised in Chile for a decision to ordain a bishop accused of covering up sexual abuse by a priest.

Pope Francis landed in the Peruvian capital on Thursday.

Before his arrival, President Kuczynski called the pontiff a “messenger of peace and hope”.

He said he hoped the Pope’s visit would help to heal the nation.

The protests in Peru began after Mr Kuczynski pardoned the former president on health grounds on Christmas Eve.

Mr Kuczynski later acknowledged the anger at his decision but said he could not “allow Alberto Fujimori to die in prison”.

Fujimori, who was serving 25 years for human rights abuses and corruption, has low blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat.

In Peru, Pope Francis will visit the cities of Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo, before holding a Mass in Lima on Sunday.

North Korea Hit One of Its Own Cities With a Missile

Thanks;Daily Deast


A North Korean ballistic-missile test that failed in flight crashed and caused considerable damage to a complex in the city of Tokchon in April of last year, according to the online magazine The Diplomat. Though the failure of the launch was reported at the time, it wasn’t clear until Wednesday’s report that the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile came down in the populated area, about two hours outside Pyongyang. Using Google Earth and satellite images, The Diplomat said it found the errant missile struck a complex of facilities—either agricultural or industrial—that are adjacent to a residential area. The news site was not able to determine if there were any casualties caused by the explosion.

North Korea set to reach out for talks: Seoul

Thanks;ANN Desk

Published;26 Dec 2017 12:54

SEOUL (Korea Herald/ANN Desk) – Official forecast says Pyongyang will change tack in 2018, emboldened by nuclear advances

North Korea is likely to explore the possibility of dialogue with the United States in 2018 as the communist state seeks recognition as a nuclear-armed country, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on Tuesday.

“North Korea may continue to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities while searching for an outlet externally,” the ministry said in its predictions for North Korea in 2018. “In searching for the recognition of its status as a de facto nuclear-possessing state, [the North] would explore the possibility of negotiations with the US.”

At the same time, the North is also likely to attempt to engage with South Korea in order to restore inter-Korean relations next year, it said. The ministry will monitor North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year address on January 1 to see if it alludes to such possibilities.

In 2017, Pyongyang has distanced itself from dialogue and engagement with Seoul as it prioritised dealing with the US, according to the ministry.

Next year, North Korea is expected to start to feel the pinch of international and bilateral sanctions on the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, the ministry said.

“North Korea is forecast to maximise efforts to endure [the impact of sanctions] by tightening social control and mobilising its people for building the economy,” the ministry said. It predicted the sanctions’ economic impacts may start to show in 2018, with effects including cuts in trade volume and foreign currency inflow, as well as reduced production in various economy sectors.

North Korea’s economy is already suffering the affects of sanctions, with foreign countries taking fewer North Korean workers as well as cutting humanitarian assistance to the North, according to the Unification Ministry.

North Korea’s exports to China, its largest trading partner, tumbled 31.7 per cent to US$1.6 billion in the January-November period, compared to a year earlier. The overall North Korea-China trade volume in the January-November period dropped 10.2 per cent on-year to $4.67 billion, according to the ministry data.

Rice prices and the US dollar-North Korean won exchange rate remain relatively stable with one kilo of rice fetching around 5,000 won and one US dollar exchanged for some 8,000 won recently. But they are currently showing signs of rapid price changes, the ministry noted.

Gas prices in North Korea have risen about two to three times this year, it also said, indicating United Nations Security Council sanctions’ tightening grip on North Korea’s oil procurement.

‘Satellite launch imminent’

Pyongyang is preparing to launch a satellite, a Seoul newspaper said on Tuesday, as outside observers warn that the nuclear-armed regime’s space programme is a fig leaf for weapons tests.

“Through various channels, we’ve recently learned that the North has completed a new satellite and named it Kwangmyongsong-5”, the Joongang Ilbo daily reported, quoting a South Korean government source.

“Their plan is to put a satellite equipped with cameras and telecommunication devices into orbit”, he said.

Independent observers warn that Pyongyang’s fledgling space programme is a cover for its weapons tests.

The North launched its Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite in February 2016, which most in the international community condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test, AFP reports.

The North’s latest missile test, on November 29, showed the capability of reaching mainland United States and prompted another round of international sanctions. The latest UN resolution bans the supply of nearly 75 per cent of refined oil products to the North, caps crude deliveries at current levels and orders all North Koreans working abroad to be sent back by the end of 2019.

It also bans sales of all industrial machinery, trucks, iron, steel and other metals to the North and added 15 Pyongyang officials to the UN sanctions blacklist for global visa ban and assets freeze.

U.N. council to meet on North Korea rights abuses, nuclear program in December


Published;FRI DEC 1, 2017 / 8:51 PM EST

FILE PHOTO: People watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korea firing what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that landed close to Japan, in Seoul, South Korea, November 29, 2017.

*Reuters- United Nations Security Council ministers will meet on Dec. 15 to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programs and the body will also meet separately this month to discuss human rights abuses in the North Asian country, an annual meeting that its ally China has tried to prevent for the past three years.

Japan’s U.N. Ambassador Koro Bessho, president of the 15-member council for December, said several ministers were confirmed to attend the Dec. 15 meeting. He also said the meeting on human rights in North Korea could be held on Dec. 11.

China has unsuccessfully tried to stop three previous human rights meetings by calling a procedural vote. A minimum of nine votes are needed to win such a vote and China, Russia, the United States, Britain and France cannot wield their vetoes.

This year’s meeting has the backing of nine members – the United States, France, Britain, Italy, Japan, Senegal, Sweden, Ukraine and Uruguay.

Last year, the United States angered North Korea by blacklisting its leader Kim Jong Un for human rights abuses.

A landmark 2014 U.N. report on North Korean human rights concluded that North Korean security chiefs – and possibly Kim himself – should face justice for overseeing a state-controlled system of Nazi-style atrocities.

Michael Kirby, chairman of the U.N. Commission of Inquiry that drew up the report, said at the time that the crimes the team had cataloged were reminiscent of those committed by the Nazis during World War Two. “Some of them are strikingly similar,” he told Reuters.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations of human rights abuses and blames sanctions for a dire humanitarian situation. Pyongyang has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missiles and nuclear programs.

“Despite persistent sanctions and pressure by the U.S. and other hostile forces, my government concentrates all its efforts on improving people’s livelihood and providing them with a better future,” the North Korean Permanent Mission to the United Nations said in a statement on Nov. 14.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, editing by G Crosse)

There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists: Dalai Lama

Thanks;IANS in India


There are no Muslim or Christian terrorists because terrorists are no more religious once they embrace terror, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Wednesday.

“People cease to be Muslim, Christian or any group the moment they became terrorists,” the Dalai Lama said at a public reception here on the second day of a three-day visit to Manipur.

The Tibetan leader also said that he does not like the “America first” slogan of US President Donald Trump.

A strong votary of non-violence, the Nobel Prize winner said violence does not solve any problem.

“India, which has a tradition of 1,000 years of non-violence, could ensure world peace by reviving the ancient knowledge.”

According to him, almost all the problems people face today were “our own creation”.

He underlined the need to control emotions. Anger weakens people’s immune system and as such was bad for health, he warned.

“Out of seven billion people on earth, six billion are children of god while one billion are non-believers.”

Problems around the world can be solved through dialogue, said the Dalai Lama, who has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959 and who is hated by the Chinese Communist regime.

India with her ancient knowledge and education could ensure world peace, he said. “China has also potentialities except for the Communist ideology.”

The spiritual leader said that the widening gap between the rich and poor was morally wrong. “This gap is visible in India and Manipur also.”

In his speech, the Dalai Lama recalled how he came to India as a refugee 58 years ago. India is also home to some 100,000 Tibetans.

Mexico’s Long Wait for Building Inspections

Thanks;Whitney Eulich

Published;Sept. 27, 2017, at 11:01 a.m

Mexico City — Once Eduardo Mijares and his team of young architects and engineers completed their preliminary inspection of the vast public market Mercado Argentina following the Sept. 19 earthquake, the real work began.

When community members noticed the group of volunteers, decked out in neon work vests and hard hats, they didn’t hesitate to approach.

“Could you come to my house? It’s just around the corner,” one woman asked, poking her head out of the window of her natural foods stall. “When are you coming to look at the school? Can we send our kids on Monday?” a man called out as the group left.

Photos: Earthquake Rocks Mexico

Mexico City fared far better last week than it did on the same day in 1985, when a magnitude 8.1 quake leveled buildings across the city and left thousands dead. But there is still plenty of destruction, with some 40 buildings collapsing and trapping residents, and thousands more suffering damage, officials say. Some 194 people died in Mexico City alone – 27 of them children, according to the mayor. The total number of casualties has climbed to more than 330.

The city is just beginning the long process of deciding which structures will stay and which must go. Some residents have already learned their homes are uninhabitable, moving in with family or sleeping in temporary shelters, while others are trying to decide if they even want to risk a return to damaged – but possibly repairable – properties.

It’s not a quick process, and it’s taking a toll on jittery residents, on edge once again after a 6.1 aftershock swayed the city the following weekend. The inspections could result in many more families permanently losing their homes, and the process creates a test for public institutions that have historically been susceptible to corruption. Some estimate it could take months – or even a year – before at-risk buildings start to come down. Many see this as a dangerous proposition.

But for others, they’d rather avoid certain streets and leaning buildings if it means ensuring that they’re thoroughly checked for signs of building code violations before vital evidence is demolished into a pile of rubble.

When the earth started to shake on Sept. 19, employees in a fifth-floor office building in the Roma Norte neighborhood evacuated past broken support beams and shattered walls.

The asset manager for the building, Rafael Espeja, immediately put out calls for an inspection, he says. An inspector with qualifications recognized by the city arrived the next day, deeming the structure, built in 1962, in need of demolition. Several support columns were floating a few inches off the ground. The neighboring building is evacuated for the time being, due to the risk of the office falling.

“That’s why we are rushing with authorities and the insurance company to tear this down as soon as possible. If there’s an aftershock, it could collapse,” Espeja says.

But, according to Felix Villaseñor, the president of Mexico City’s professional association of architects, even pressing cases like this one may not see any concrete action in terms of demolition for at least a month. Others put the estimate, given the flood of damage and layers of paperwork involved, closer to a year.

Mexico City’s secretary of civil protection, Fausto Lugo, announced this week that there have been more than 10,000 buildings inspected so far, with at least 500 in need of demolition or major reconstruction, and another roughly 1,300 in need of repair. The city said it would initially make available some 3 billion pesos ($1.7 million) of its emergency response fund to help support victims of the quake and reconstruction efforts.

But the priority at the moment is putting resources toward search and rescue.

“We’re getting an impressive number of requests for inspections,” Villaseñor says. The majority are coming via an online form, which at one point had so much traffic that Google shut down the page, suspecting the deluge of requests were spam.

But for those living next door to damaged buildings, the idea of waiting even another day instills more anxiety. In the hard-hit Condesa neighborhood, Lorena Irita Ruiz, 52, looks up at a formerly eight-story building. Brass railings and window frames protrude over the sidewalk in a twisted pile of right angles after one floor collapsed onto another in the quake.

“And if we have a strong aftershock?” asks Ruiz, who is walking back from volunteering at a support center set up in the nearby Parque Mexico. “There are neighboring buildings, people on the street, we’re all in danger while this kind of building remains,” she says before a soldier patrolling the area asks her not to loiter.

After Mexico City’s 1985 quake, building codes were modernized, matching or exceeding global standards for quake-prone cities. But implementation isn’t always enforced.

A 2015 study of Mexico City building code compliance found that “It would appear that the regulator is not performing its duty” in ensuring the enforcement of building standards. Many of the mid-rise buildings evaluated in the study were found not to meet even minimum requirements of the capital’s strict – at least on paper – codes.

Although inspectors doing the first take on damaged structures after Tuesday’s quake say it appears that most buildings that fell or had significant damage were from prior to 1985, there were newer buildings in the mix, as well, underscoring the presence of corruption.

A brand new building in the Portales neighborhood crumbled in the quake, with engineers and architects at the building location reporting that the columns weren’t built to code, according to Mexican news site Animal Politico. Two people died in the collapse.

“Some people are noting the differences between today and 1985 and saying, ‘Look, there’s clear evidence of improvement,'” says Paul Lagunes, an assistant professor at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs, who specializes in corruption and corruption control.

“That’s fair. But 1985 was an extremely low bar…. Yes, we are doing better, but not as well as we should be.”

In front of the Association of Architects, a line of nearly 100 eager volunteers fills the sidewalk. They’re mostly recent graduates or young professionals hoping to contribute their engineering and architecture skills to the earthquake relief efforts. But it’s also a professional development opportunity, as teams of less experienced volunteers are matched with experts like Mijares to conduct an inspection.

Back at the Mercado Argentina, Mijares hasn’t identified any structural damage. But he found the experience heartening. He served as a volunteer on a team like this one when he was a young architect in 1985.

“These kids know far more about building safety than I did at that point in my career,” he says. “I’m hopeful.”

Robotics in Rural Lithuania

Thanks:Nikolaj Ambrusevic

Published;AUGUST 31ST, 2017

One of our charity partners in Lithuania, Robotikos Mokykla (Robotic School), recently invited us to participate in a workshop in the tiny village of Karvys, 30km north of Vilnius. Robotic School is a charity working primarily with young people to foster an interest in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) through engaging and practical workshops. The project also aims to create a safe space for young people and help develop social and other skills.

The main idea of this session was to reach out to young people who cannot go to organised classes and who have little access to the internet at home. Robotic School’s enthusiasts Jonas and Evaldas told us not to expect much from the workshop as the majority of rural children are busy helping their parents with agricultural and other duties, so computers and other devices are mainly used just for entertainment.


During the workshop, tools based on simple programming for creating animation and games were introduced to two groups of young people from 5-12 years, and 16-18 years. While the younger group were creating their very first cartoon, the teenagers had a chance to get familiar with micro bit programming. Although the majority of participants had little knowledge of computer technologies, they showed a huge interest in programming and shared positive feedback afterwards. It was good to observe how small achievements in a new digital environment changed their attitude, making them more focused and persistent.

The social workers of the club were amazed by the overall impact of our visit and were keen to run similar activities again in the future. I was so glad to be a part of it and am proud that Euromonitor is supporting Robotic School through our CSR programme.


Barcelona truck attack reportedly leaves at least 12 dead and 80 injured


Published: Aug 17, 2017 4:27 p.m. ET

MW-FS548_barcel_20170817131833_ZHPeople move from the scene after a van crashed into pedestrians near the pedestrianized central thoroughfare Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Officials embark on terrorism investigation

MADRID (MarketWatch) — A popular promenade in Barcelona, Spain, became a scene of panic and devastation on Thursday after a van rammed pedestrians, leaving a dozen people dead and dozens more injured.

The incident took place on Las Ramblas, a long, tree-lined street that is typically packed with tourists and locals, around 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. Eastern time).

Local media were at one point reporting that hostages were being held at a bar near the scene of the attack by other assailants, but later reports cast doubt on the matter. The Associated Press cited the regional president in reporting that two suspects had been arrested.

The Wall Street Journal, citing the jidahist-activity-monitoring organization SITE Intelligence Group, reported that Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the attack. Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, tweeted that terrorists would never defeat a united people who love freedom.

The seaside city was on lockdown in the immediate wake of the attack, with residents told to not leave their homes and many reported to be sheltering inside stores and restaurants and bars that closed the moment news of the attack reached them.

Media reports in Spain and the U.S. indicated the police were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. The police presence on streets in the Spanish capital Madrid, some 600 kilometers southwest of Barcelona, was sharply escalated in the wake of the Barcelona attack.

Nathalie Lezcano Sticchi, a 28-year-old resident of Barcelona who lives near the area, told MarketWatch she had passed the scene of the attack just five minutes before, stepping off the Ramblas to go into a Zara clothing store on a side street.

“When I was on the first floor, one of the guys who was working [at Zara] said, ‘You have to go outside, we are going to close because something is happening at the Ramblas,’ ” Sticchi said in a telephone interview. She said a friend had forwarded her a message from his mother, who had been at Las Ramblas and seen a truck crashing into people.

Sticchi ran to her house, as stores drew their shutters all around her. “People were running everywhere, and no one understood what was going on,” she said, “and I started hearing ambulances.”

Several metro lines were closed in Barcelona, and the area remained sealed off into the evening. Police were urging individuals not to share images of the crash site on social media. They also thanked the media for pixellating images they had chose to use of victims:

India celebrates 71st Independence Day – peacefully

Thanks;Asia NEWS network

published:16 Aug 2017 13:42

                        NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN News Desk) – Millions poured out of their homes to take part in Independence Day related events across the country. 

India on Tuesday celebrated its 71st Independence Day peacefully, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that “goli” (bullet) and “gaali” (abuse) cannot resolve the Kashmir problem.

Millions poured out of their homes to take part in events big and small across the country. A shutdown called by separatists affected life in the Kashmir Valley and in some parts of the northeast.

The highlight of the day was Modi’s fourth speech from the 17th century Red Fort where he unfurled the national flag and vowed to build a “New India” minus corruption and terrorism by 2022.

“Security of the country is our priority. Internal security is our priority. Whether it is our oceans or borders, cyber world or space, for all kinds of security India is capable of defeating all such inimical forces,” Modi said amid a dragging border row with China.

He said “bullets” and “abuses” cannot solve Jammu and Kashmir’s problem but love can, urging people to embrace Kashmiris and asking the militants to take to the mainstream.

Beyond India, the day was also celebrated by Indians living abroad. Even the Indian cricket team got into the act at its hotel in Colombo.

Amid clear weather, thousands thronged the Red Fort to listen to Modi. Similar scenes were seen in almost all major venue across the country.

From tricolour marks on cheeks to flag designs printed on T-shirts, from tricolour caps to suits, the Indian flag could be seen everywhere.

Despite persistent tensions, border guards of India and Pakistan exchanged sweets along the International Border in Punjab.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s unfurling the Indian tricolour at a government-aided school in Kerala’s capital Thiruvananthapuram even after being told by authorities that political personalities are not allowed to do so triggered a row.

Days after over 60 children died in a Gorakhpur hospital, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the tragedy an “eye-opener” and sought to blame it on encephalitis.

In neighbouring Bihar, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar pledged to provide good governance and not to compromise with corruption.

In Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asked the young to give up guns and stones and also vowed to fight for the state’s special Constitutional status.

Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered a crackdown on rave parties and late-night music events in remote areas of his state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee unfurled the tricolour and oversaw a colourful parade at the arterial Indira Gandhi Sarani.

In Bhubaneswar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik suddenly felt unwell while addressing the gathering. Aides later said he was fine.

Independence Day celebrations were also reported from Hyderabad, Shimla, Thiruvananthapuram, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Gurugram, Gurdaspur, Aizwal and other state capitals and major cities.Tulips.jpg