Tags: CCP, China, human rights, persecution of dissidents, Society
By Lu Chen
While International Human Rights Day is celebrated around the world, in Beijing the day was marked by security rounding up and detaining those who dared to complain about violations of their rights.
On Wednesday—Human Rights Day—many petitioners showed up at Liangmaqiao Station, a subway station in Beijing close to many foreign embassies, in the hope of raising awareness in international society of the deteriorating human rights condition in China.
Beijing police were arrayed to meet the petitioners, with the train stations and streets near the embassies heavily guarded.
Petitioner Wang Fang from Wuhan City, Hubei Province said all the 50-some petitioners from Wuhan, including herself, were captured at Liangmaqiao Station by police, according to New York-based New Tang Dynasty (NTD) television.
“Police officers and police cars were everywhere near Liangmaqiao,” Wang said. “Every subway exit was guarded with 40 to 50 police and several police cars. All the captured petitioners were sent away in large buses to Jiujingzhuang.”
Jiujingzhuang is an extra-legal detention center in suburban Beijing that detains and makes records of the petitioners. Wang said she escaped from the bus she was on when many buses filled with petitioners were waiting in line to get into Jiujingzhuang.
Yin Xu’an, a petitioner from Hubei Province, said police strictly checked IDs at the train station exits, and frequently arrested petitioners, the NTD report stated. Yin explained that petitioners who have been detained before all have records in the police identification information system.
“They [police] check your ID as long as you look a little like a petitioner,” Yin said, “If you are a petitioner, their identification equipment will recognize it. They immediately pull you into the vehicle.”
Yin said he witnessed eight large buses fully loaded with arrested petitioners driving away from the site within 40 minutes.
Yu Nanzhe, a petitioner from Jiangsu Province, told NTD that police examined people’s bags, and once police found materials for protesting in their bags, the police forced those petitioners onto prearranged buses.
Yu saw that buses loaded with petitioners had formed a long line waiting to get into Jiujingzhuang since around 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Each of the buses had 40 to 50 petitioners, and Yu estimated thousands or even 10,000 petitioners were sent to Jiujingzhuang on Human Rights Day.
This week thousands of petitioners with grievances have come to Beijing, and protested in different places, such as Tiananmen Square, foreign embassies, the headquarters of China Central Television, among others.
On the day before Human Rights Day, over 100 Chinese petitioners put up banners in front of the Yongdingmen Square in central Beijing, urging the Chinese Communist Party to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, according to Sound of Hope (SOH) radio.
The demonstration was soon interrupted by police. Petitioner Li Zhiguo from Henan Province participated in the protest and told SOH that the demonstration lasted for about 20 minutes with over 100 petitioners yelling slogans and holding banners.
“Then the police came, crushing my banner and cellphone. They didn’t allow us to stay there and took our stuff away. We ran away. Some other [petitioners] were taken away by police,” Li said.
“Chinese petitioners live lives worse than the grass in Beijing,” Li said. “Our human rights are harmed. We come to Beijing and sleep on the streets. We have been chased and arrested by police here and there. … No one takes care of our disputes. … When we attempted to visit the central inspection officials to report the issues, we were blocked and beaten. We called the central inspection teams, and no one answered the phone.”
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Tags: Body & Mind, Food, health
By Loyola University Health System
While mainstream medicine recommends eating right, exercising and getting your flu shot to stay healthy during cold weather months, Eastern medicine takes this advice a step further.
“Traditional Chinese medicine teaches us to live in harmony with the seasons to protect our health,” said Aaron Michelfelder, MD, a family medicine and integrative medicine physician at Loyola University Health System. “Making certain adjustments to our diet, sleep regimen and lifestyle will make us more in sync with nature and better equipped to cope with the plunging temperatures.”
Dr. Michelfelder recommends the following Eastern medicine tips to “winterize” your body and protect your health this season:
Eat Warming Herbs and Foods
The environment and the food we eat can create imbalances in the body, according to Eastern medicine guidelines. Using warming ingredients for meals that are in season to counteract any imbalances created by the cold weather. Warming herbs and foods include cinnamon, ginger, garlic, spicy foods, sweet potatoes, squash, meat and nutrient-dense soups and stews. Save raw, leafy greens for the summer.
We typically are not as active during the winter so we require less food. Cut down on your caloric intake.
Traditional Chinese medicine recommends following the sun and sleeping more in the fall and winter because we have fewer hours of daylight. It is best to get nine to 10 hours of sleep as opposed to the recommended eight hours in the summer and spring.
We should expect ourselves to slow down naturally and be less active during winter months. This is a hard concept for many Americans to grasp given our busy culture.
As our bodies naturally slow down, it is best to slow the mind as well through meditation. Don’t resist what the body is naturally meant to do this time of year.
Turn to Acupuncture
An acupuncture winterizing treatment naturally restores balance and boosts energy levels.
Get a massage, engage in social activities and take a vacation, if possible. Self-care will help you recharge your body.
“Our immune system is naturally suppressed in the winter,” said Dr. Michelfelder, who also is a professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “Try not to fight the seasons. If we are not aligned with the natural cycles of life, we won’t be able to recharge our immune system to protect our health.”
Tags: CCP, China, Hong Kong, human rights, Society
By Wang Taotong
As the Hong Kong government continues to clear democracy protesters from the streets, drawing the world’s attention to the Umbrella Movement, Beijing faces the problem of how to handle the anger in Hong Kong over the denial of universal suffrage.
On Nov. 25, Wall Street Journal quoted news sources saying that Beijing authorities are discussing how to respond to the Hong Kong public’s dissatisfaction with the reform package that stated how Hong Kong’s next chief executive would be elected.
The reform package resolution was passed on Aug. 31 by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee and states that Hongkongers can elect their chief executive with universal suffrage as long as the candidates are chosen by a nominating committee. The nominating committee in question is largely controlled by Beijing.
This decision provoked widespread anger in the Hong Kong public, who viewed it as blocking them from true universal suffrage and democracy. The event triggered tens of thousands of students to protest in Hong Kong on Sept. 22 and the start of the Umbrella Movement for democracy on Sept. 28.
According to WSJ, the Beijing authorities’ decision would include adjusting the composition of the chief executive nominating committee to make it better reflect public opinion, especially the voice of pan-democrats. However, the decision must also ensure that Beijing continues to control the elections.
The two factions of the Chinese Communist Party, one headed by current Party leader Xi Jinping and the other supporting former leader Jiang Zemin, have delivered conflicting messages on how the Party is planning to handle Hong Kong.
Jiang faction member Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said to Hong Kong pro-Communist groups on Sept. 16 that the NPC Standing Committee has the highest unshakable legal power over the decision about Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, also a Jiang faction supporter, has declared that dialogue with the protesters must be carried out under the framework of the NPC. In response to the Umbrella Movement, Leung said he was “willing to have dialogue with anyone who is in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law and the resolution of the NPC.”
Xi Jinping, on the other hand, has never mentioned the NPC’s reform package in public since it was made.
On Sept. 22, Xi held a high-profile meeting with over 70 Hong Kong businessmen in Beijing. Xi said in his speech that there would be no change to the “one-country, two-systems” policy that gives Hong Kong a high degree of independence from China.
When official Party media reported on Xi’s speech, they did not mention the reform package but emphasized maintaining the authority of the Basic Law instead of the authority of the NPC. This indicates the difference between the two factions’ stances.
In Beijing on Nov. 9, Xi met Leung Chun-ying, who was attending the APEC summit. Xi started their talk with a request for a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the “one-country, two-systems” principle and the Basic Law, to support the development of democracy in Hong Kong under the legal system.
In Xi’s public speeches and the subsequent reports by official Party media, there has been no mention of either the reform package or the White Paper made by the Jiang faction earlier this year that stated Hong Kong only has as much power as Beijing is willing to give it.
The NPC has gradually become an anti-Xi Jinping base. On Sept. 30, Li Shenming, deputy director of the Standing Committee of the NPC, published an article in Party mouthpiece newspaper People’s Daily with an implied threat to Xi. Li quoted former Party leader Mao Zedong in the article: “Our chairman cannot dissolve the National People’s Congress; on the contrary, the NPC can remove the chairman from office.”
Sources in the Party have said that Zhang Dejiang intended to solidify the power of the NPC and prevail over Xi by disturbing Hong Kong’s situation, using the Aug. 31 reform package resolution to create trouble for Xi.
The sources reported that Xi has almost full control of the army since the Party’s fourth Plenary Session in late October. It is expected that once he fully controls the Central Military Commission, Xi will move against Zhang, and the situation will change dramatically.
Is That Fear?
Washington-based China expert Shi Cangshan said that Xi’s officials have apparently not changed the NPC’s resolution and have not made Leung Chun-ying step down according to Hongkongers’ wishes. However, Shi pointed out that sources have said Xi would expand the make up of the nominating committee, which would in fact change the NPC’s resolution.
According to Shi’s analysis, the Party is horrified that the struggle for democracy in Hong Kong has created an obstacle against the Party. In addition, mainland Chinese people are supporting the Umbrella Movement and continuing to speak out, which is a major blow to the Party.
The Chinese Communist Party has actually been forced to compromise. Shi believes that a lot of major policies will be changed gradually after this.
Shi said the Jiang faction is playing a life-and-death game with the Xi faction. He thinks the Xi faction is about to continue its widespread purging of Jiang faction members, making use of the military.
Translation by Susan Wang. Written in English by Sally Appert.
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Tags: Body & Mind, Chinese culture, chinese medicin, health, psychology
Obesity, insomnia, and depression can all result from trouble with the spleen
By Christopher Trahan
While Western medicine views disease as being biochemical or mechanical, in Chinese medicine, all disorders can involve both physical and psychological processes.
Therefore, when we talk about an organ in traditional Chinese medicine, it has a different scope than the Western organ with the same name (and for this reason, is capitalized in this article).
So, while Western spleen diseases all affect the “Spleen” of traditional Chinese medicine, the Spleen of Chinese medicine also includes other physiological functions.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the Spleen provides perhaps the most far-ranging array of physiological functions and is the most complex when compared to its Western equivalent organ.
The Spleen of Chinese medicine maintains our daily energy and metabolism. It includes our digestive system, our immune and lymphatic systems, our blood nutrients, and various aspects of our endocrine system.
The Spleen’s mental-emotional states are worry, over-thinking, pensiveness, and rumination. In modern Western psychological terms, the Spleen relates to anxiety and nervousness and some forms of depression and insomnia.
In Chinese medicine terms, the Spleen “Governs Transportation and Transformation” of food and fluids. In Western terms, this includes digestion, assimilation, the distribution of nutrients, and the utilization of lipids, hormones, and electrolytes.
Imbalances in these functions of the Spleen produce most digestive disorders, including diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, excess or lack of appetite, obesity or emaciation, eating disorders, water retention, and skin disorders such as acne and weeping eczema.
In traditional Chinese medicine, wind, heat, cold, dryness, and dampness can unbalance the body and cause illness.
Spleen disorders are particularly affected when a person is exposed to damp environments. Damp weather aggravates conditions like diarrhea, edema, and excess mucous.
On both physical and mental levels, dampness is associated with dullness, slowness, and lack of energy. Dampness can weaken the Spleen energy, causing fatigue and lassitude, and can lead to hypothyroidism. When the Spleen is weak as a result of dampness, a person can develop environmental, seasonal, and food allergies, as well as yeast infections.
The taste associated with the Spleen is sweet. Craving sweets can indicate an imbalance in the Spleen, and over-consumption of sweets, including carbohydrates, can cause the Spleen to lose energy. Taken to the extreme, sweetness and excess dampness can lead to obesity. Deficient Spleen energy can also result in hypoglycemia and diabetes.
Spleen imbalance often occurs in combination with imbalances of other organs. Insomnia of all types relates to the heart, which is said to “house the mind” in Chinese medicine.
When people have trouble falling asleep, this relates to the blood of the Spleen failing to nourish the heart and is often due to over-thinking, anxiety, or worry.
Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that the Spleen’s digestive function, which produces blood, relates to onset-insomnia. Chinese doctors understood the sleep-stomach connection, thousands of years before modern Western medicine discovered that some 70 percent of serotonin metabolism occurs in the gut.
Treating the Spleen
In my practice, at least 30 percent of my patients experience frequent insomnia, and most of them have trouble falling asleep, which can occur both at the start of the night or when their sleep is interrupted.
In my practice, I always use formulas combining herbs to flesh out the benefits to the Spleen and to address other organs’ imbalances.
Chinese herbal medicine treats all deficient Spleen energy with formulas featuring ginseng and other Spleen tonics such as astragalus and atractylodes.
When we treat Spleen disorders such as excess dampness, we use herbs such as hawthorn to enhance lipid digestion and utilization, and alisma to promote urination.
Global Herbal Medicine and Homeopathy
I also use global herbal medicine and homeopathy to treat spleen issues. In global herbal medicine, I use Ayurvedic and Western herbs to treat spleen syndromes.
In classical homeopathy, I treat these syndromes, including physical and mental-emotional issues, with one or more of homeopathy’s hundreds of plant-based remedies.
The homeopathic remedy Lycopodium treats digestive and mental symptoms associated with Spleen imbalances. I also use the remedy Ceanothus, which dilates the splenic artery, allowing more oxygenated blood to get to the spleen, which enhances the spleen’s function as filtration.
I have found that classical homeopathy often achieves even more impressive results than traditional Chinese medicine and global herbal medicine when it comes to treating more severe psychological pathologies such as depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Homeopathy is also very effective in some cases of hormonal and immune disorders, including infertility and allergies.
Dr. Christopher Trahan, O.M.D., L.Ac., is the medical director of the Olympus Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine. He is nationally board-certified in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine (NCCA) and is a classically trained homeopathic physician. He has been in clinical practice for over 30 years. Complimentary consultation: Olympus-Center.com
Tags: animals, Body & Mind, environmental issues, Food, health, Nature, Science, sustainable development
Millions of bees dropped dead after GMO corn was planted few weeks ago in Ontario, Canada. The local bee keeper, Dave Schuit who produces honey in Elmwood lost about 37 million bees which are about 600 hives.
“Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. While many bee keepers blame neonicotinoids, or “neonics.” for colony collapse of bees and many countries in EU have banned neonicotinoid class of pesticides, the US Department of Agriculture fails to ban insecticides known as neonicotinoids, manufactured by Bayer CropScience Inc.
Two of Bayer’s best-selling pesticides, Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, are known to get into pollen and nectar, and can damage beneficial insects such as bees. The marketing of these drugs also coincided with the occurrence of large-scale bee deaths in many European countries and the United States.
Nathan Carey another local farmer says that this spring he noticed that there were not enough bees on his farm and he believes that there is a strong correlation between the disappearance of bees and insecticide use.
My comment: I once saw a television program about the death of bees, and there it said that one drop of dew from a GMO plant in a GMO crop field kills a bumble bee when it drinks it in the morning (as bumble bees usually do…). GMO really kills…
Tags: Body & Mind, books, Culture, health, psychology
Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water? Are you “too shy” or “too sensitive” according to others? Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
For those people who have a keen imagination, are labelled too shy or too sensitive, who perform poorly when being observed even though they are usually competent, have vivid dreams and for whom time alone each day is essential – this is the book to help them understand themselves and how best to cope in various situations. Highly sensitive people are often very bright and creative but many suffer from low self esteem. They are not neurotics as they have been labelled for so long. However, high sensitivity can lead them to cease to engage with the outside world.
In The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, you will discover:
* Self-assessment tests to help you identify your particular sensitivities
* Ways to reframe your past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem in the process
* Insight into how high sensitivity affects both work and personal relationships
* Tips on how to deal with overarousal
* Informations on medications and when to seek help
* Techniques to enrich the soul and spirit
Tags: Body & Mind, health, psychology, Spirituality
By David Tucker, L.A.c. LMP, thezenofhealing.com/blog/
The Autumn season and Metal element in the body is governed by our Lung and Colon meridians. They have a reciprocal relationship of receiving or inhaling the very highest quality of life, of Spirit, and then a release of what is no longer useful for us. And if we are not letting go, then we are not making room for new “inspiration”. This is true on all levels – physiological, mental, emotional, spiritual.
So I’d like to focus on the letting go aspect. Much of the world’s suffering exists today because of grasping, clinging, attachment. Holding on to a particular idea, thought, emotion, experience. We say all the time, “I wish this moment could last forever”. And people try and try with all their might to create a reality in which that feeling endures. Our expectations and preconceived notions really get us into trouble – what a friend should be, a partner, a son, a teacher, what a parent SHOULD be. Why trouble?? Well, most of the times our ideas of what people SHOULD be very rarely coincides with how we they actually express themselves in the moment. Then can we watch our reaction… can we observe without judging, criticizing, blaming or labeling? This takes a lot of practice, luckily, we never seem short on opportunities!
As my Grand Zen Master used to say…”Put it all down!”. Not that its a terrible thing to have desires, opinions, preferences, etc., but we must watch how we cling to them. If we are holding on so tight, then we allow for a sort of mental constipation which is NO FUN! There is no mental constipation that won’t find its way to manifest physically. That may be in our actual Colon, but it can manifest as any sort of stuckness – bloating, pain, insomnia, depression, etc. An important thing to remember is that the Colon meridian is not only charge of disposing of its own trash but all the garbage from the other meridians as well. So if there is a back-up, we can see “symptoms” coming from any of the meridians… which is a reminder that symptoms do not always point you to the root cause.
So what we can do? Well, on a physiological level… keep your Lungs and Colon healthy. Keep your lungs filled with pure, clear air and that they get plenty opportunity to “breathe” – yoga, meditation, aerobic exercise. For the Colon, we certainly want to encourage the physiological releases! Good dietary sources of fiber, omega-3 fish oils, aloe vera juice/gel, and plenty of water to name a few. On the deeper layers, many alternative therapies are wonderful for encouraging our processes of inspiration and letting go – of course, acupuncture and massage… but how about dance, drumming, martial arts, music. Utilizing rhythm and/or the voice… really powerful! On a more quieter note… journaling or a creative art project.
What’s most important is that we are checking in with ourselves internally. It would make a wonderful daily practice, ask yourself, “What am I holding on to?” or “What can I let go of today?”. Watch how it can not only ease your suffering, but those around you as well!
Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at www.tcm007.com.
Tags: CCP, China, documentary, Falun Gong, film, human rights, Kilgour and Matas, labor camps, organ harvesting, persecution of dissidents, Society
“Davids and Goliath,” a film about organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, won Best Documentary at the 9th Hamilton Film Festival in Hamilton, Canada. The movie is currently available here to view for free until Nov. 27: http://tinyurl.com/nzx7fed
“It’s a movie like this that needs to get out to the public, and more people to become aware of it that it’s happening and how it’s happening. That kind of thing needs to be stopped.”— Administrative director of the Hamilton Film Festival, Nathan Fleet.
“Davids and Goliath” focuses on the investigation into organ harvesting by Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Secretary of State (Asia-Pacific) David Kilgour. Both were separately nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on forced organ harvesting in China.
Read more: http://tinyurl.com/q5cjkzm
Tags: Body & Mind, environmental issues, health, sustainable development
By Michael Edwards
Organic Lifestyle Magazine
Our floors are the largest surface area in our homes that require regular cleaning. If we use chemicals, we breathe them in day and night until they dissipate. There is no need to add to our indoor air pollution when we can use simple and handy, homemade cleaning solutions.
How to Clean Wood, Bamboo, and Laminate Floors
It would be so easy to clean every floor of our home with a steam cleaner. No muss, no fuss, nothing but water turned to steam. But regardless of the claims made by the manufacturers, steam cleaners can damage wood, bamboo, and laminate floors.
Laminate floors consist of layers of materials glued together. Any water, but especially steam, will break down the bonds between layers, causing them to buckle and split. Steam can strip the finish that is protecting your hardwood floor. Moisture that seeps into the wood will cause grains to swell and the wood to warp and splinter.
The primary rule for bamboo, laminate, and hardwood floors is the same: do not wet mop–dry mop (though damp mop would be a better descriptive term). After thoroughly sweeping or vacuuming your floor, use a well wrung out sponge or rag mop with plain water, water with a few drops of essential oil, or water with 1/4 cup of vinegar (added to a 2 gallon bucket). Use warm water; it will evaporate faster than cold. Buff the floors dry with a soft cloth or towel.
Perusing the net, you will find other suggestions such as 1/2 cup of lemon juice added to water. However, a manufactures’ site warns against using citrus to clean laminate flooring as it will damage the finish after repeated use. Many sites, including a manufacturer’s site, suggest using 1/4 cup of dish soap to a bucket of water to clean sealed hardwood floors–without rinsing. But it only stands to reason that, over time, soap residue would accumulate. If you do rinse, you are using more water. Since the object is to clean with the least amount of water possible, this method doesn’t make sense.
One wood laminate manufacturer suggests mixing vinegar and water into a spray bottle. Rather than spraying the liquid on the floor, use it to dampen the bottom of your dust mop.
Another solution, claimed to be even better for wood floors than vinegar, is cleaning with tea. Brew black tea, (1 tea bag per cup of water) and either fill a spray bottle to mist the floor (a small area at a time) then follow with a damp mop, or make enough tea to immerse your mop in a bucket. As before, wring out your mop so it is as dry as possible.
How to Clean Linoleum, Tile, and Stone
Linoleum and tile floors can also be cleaned with vinegar and water. The ratios vary according to preference from 1/4 cup of vinegar to a one-to-one ratio of vinegar to water. For a really dirty floor, try the following recipe:
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap (remember to choose a natural soap)
- 2 gallons hot water
- Add a few drops of essential oil, if desired
Rinsing is not required, but if streaking occurs, rinse.
Do not use lemon juice, vinegar or other acids on marble, limestone, or travertine. To wash these floors, use a squirt of liquid soap (such as castile soap or dish soap, not detergent) in your bucket of water and wet mop. Rinse. Too much soap will cause streaking.
These floors may be the best candidates for a steam mop, but first check with the manufacturer to be sure steam mopping does not void your warranty.
All floors of all types are scratched and scarred by dirt. Mats outside and inside each entrance can help limit the amount of dirt on your floors. A shoeless house can make a tremendous difference. Remember, how often you sweep or vacuum and what you use to mop your floors will determine the longevity of your floor’s finish as well as the level of pollution in your home.
Tags: Body & Mind, cellphones, environmental issues, IT and Media, Science, sustainable development, technology
By Ronnie Cohen
Reuters Health – Swedes who talked on mobile or cordless phones for more than 25 years had triple the risk of a certain kind of brain cancer compared to those who used wireless phones for less than a year, a new study suggests.
The odds of developing glioma, an often deadly brain cancer, rose with years and hours of use, researchers reported in the journal Pathophysiology.
“The risk is three times higher after 25 years of use. We can see this clearly,” lead researcher Dr. Lennart Hardell told Reuters Health in a telephone interview.
His finding contrasts with the largest-ever study on the topic – the international Interphone study, which was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and funded in part by cell phone companies. That study, published in 2010, failed to find strong evidence that mobile phones increased the risk of brain tumors.
Even if the odds of developing a glioma were doubled or tripled, however, the risk would still remain low.
A little more than 5 out of 100,000 Europeans (or 0.005 percent) were diagnosed with any kind of malignant brain tumor between 1995 and 2002, according to a 2012 study in the European Journal of Cancer (bit.ly/1xIlQam). If the rate triples, the odds rise to about 16 out of 100,000 (or 0.016 percent).
Hardell, an oncologist from University Hospital in Orebro, Sweden, and his colleague Michael Carlberg matched 1,380 patients with malignant brain tumors to people without such tumors and compared their wireless phone use.
People who reported using wireless phones for 20 to 25 years were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with glioma as those who reported using them for less than a year, the study found. Those who used cell and cordless phones for more than 25 years were three times more likely to develop one of these tumors.
Tags: archaeology, Culture, Science
By April Holloway
The Phaistos Disc is a fired clay plate from the 2nd millennium BC with both sides showing a spiral of strange stamped symbols. Ever since its discovery in 1908, in a palace called Phaistos on the island of Crete, the meaning of the unusual inscription has mystified scholars. But now, after more than a century, scholars may have finally come a step closer to solving one of the most famous mysteries in archaeology.
The Phaistos Disc, along with other artifacts, was first discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in a basement room of an ancient Minoan palace, which had collapsed due to earthquake or volcanic eruption. Phaistos had been a powerful centre of the Minoan civilization, and one of the wealthiest cities in Crete.
Mysterious Symbols The Phaistos Disc was inscribed with 241 picture segments created from 45 unique symbols thought to be similar to Linear A, an undeciphered writing system used in ancient Greece. The symbols portray images such as an eagle, a helmet, a plumed head, a beehive, and more.
Nearly 30 notable attempts have been made over the years to decipher the code, but each met with a dead end, until now. According to the Archaeology News Network, the latest attempt to unravel the mystery was made by Dr Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, who says he has worked out some of its keywords and the general message it conveys.
Cracking the Code
Dr Owens looked at groupings of signs found in three parts on one side of the disc. They spell out I-QE-KU-RJA, which means “great lady of importance”, while on the other side, he identified the word AKKA, which means “pregnant mother”. Dr Owens’ interpretations is that the Phaistos Disc is a prayer to the mother goddess of the Minoan era.
“The most stable word and value is ‘mother,’ and in particular, the mother goddess of the Minoan era,” said Owens, according to Archaeology News Network.
Speaking at a TED talk in May, Dr Owens explained how he worked with John Coleman at Oxford University for six years to crack the code. “It’s the closest thing to a partial Minoan Rosetta Stone,” he said, stating that they can now read 90 per cent of ‘Side A’ of the disk. Work is still underway to try to decode the remainder of the symbols. Watch TED talk with Dr Gareth Owens:
Tags: CCP, China, human rights, Society
By Lu Chen
A student member of Scholarism, an organization leading the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong, was recently refused entry by customs officers in the city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.
On Nov. 8. Scholarism posted on Facebook that the customs officers accused a middle school student of “participating activities violating state security” and refused his entry to Shenzhen on Nov. 7.
The student was a volunteer of Scholarism who’s not well-known and had not been interviewed by any media, the Scholarism statement says. The student’s trip to mainland China was simply for personal errands unrelated to politics.
Scholarism leader Joshua Wong expressed deep concern that members’ information has been leaked. He said the name list of Scholarism members has never been open to the public and few people in the organization have the list, the Facebook post says.
Wong indicated that the organization would be more concerned and cautious when taking on volunteers in the future.
Vice secretary of Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) Lester Shum expressed disappointment at the mainland authority’s action of banning a supporter of the pro-democracy Occupy Central, according to Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily.
Shum believes that the blocking of this Scholarism member’s trip to the mainland is related to the plan of pro-democracy activists to visit Beijing. The students plan on appealing to the central authorities for the Hong Kong people to have the right to nominate candidates for the chief executive.
According to a decision handed down at the end of August by the Standing Committee of the Chinese regime’s rubber stamp legislature, the nominees for the chief executive position will be chosen by a committee that Beijing effectively controls.
HKFS stated last week that it was planning on marching to Beijing jointly with Scholarism and the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front. HKFS requested Tung Chee-hwa, a former Hong Kong chief executive who’s currently a Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, to arrange a meeting with the central leadership.
Tung hasn’t given a clear answer, and has urged the students to end the protests and go back to their studies.
Shum told Apple Daily that HKFS’s plan of going to Beijing would not be influenced by mainland customs refusing entry to the Scholarism member, and once again urged Tung to arrange the meeting soon.
The human rights group Amnesty International reported on Nov. 7 that at least 76 mainland Chinese have been arrested for supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. It urged the Chinese authorities to release mainland supporters immediately and unconditionally.
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- Hong Kong Uncensored: Police and Protesters Clash in Mong Kok
- Hong Kong Students Hope for Audience in Beijing After APEC
Tags: Body & Mind, China, Food, health
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Ryan Woo)
A criminal gang in eastern China has sold almost 100 metric tons 110.23 tons of toxic tofu onto the local market, the latest in a string of scares that have thrown light on shady practices in the country’s food industry.
The gang added industrial bleaching agent rongalite to make dried tofu sticks brighter and chewier, the Shanghai Daily reported on Monday, citing official media in Shandong province. Rongalite is banned in food production as it can lead to cancer.
Gut-wrenching food scares erupt regularly in China and highlight the challenges firms face to control supply chains.
Tags: Body & Mind, psychology, Science
By University of Texas at Austin
Scientists have previously found that resting the mind, such as daydreaming, helps strengthen memories of events and retention of information.
Now, research shows that the right kind of mental rest, which strengthens and consolidates memories from recent learning, may boost later learning.
At the University of Texas at Austin, graduate student research Margaret Schlichting and associate professor of psychology and neuroscience Alison Preston gave participants in the study two learning tasks in which participants were asked to memorize different series of associated photo pairs.
Between the tasks, participants rested and could think about anything they chose, but brain scans found that the ones who used that time to reflect on what they had learned earlier in the day fared better on tests pertaining to what they learned later, especially where small threads of information between the two tasks overlapped.
Participants seemed to be making connections that helped them absorb information later on, even if it was only loosely related to something they learned before.
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Tags: Body & Mind, psychology, Society
NEW YORK—Anthony Cruz is a different man now that he has been locked up several times.
Before serving his 10-year sentence in New York state prisons for manslaughter in the first degree he was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and depression, among other mental health conditions. Cruz spent a total of three years in solitary confinement, but he said he was denied help from mental health staff in prison. Unless he had suicidal thoughts, he wasn’t allowed to talk to a psychiatrist.
Since Cruz was released on parole two years ago, it’s been difficult finding a steady job with a felony conviction on his record. This summer, he received notice from the city that his family would have to relocate from their current homeless shelter location in the Bronx. Then, his wife’s temporary teaching job ended, and her weeks of job searching didn’t yield results. To cope with the stress, Cruz turned to MDMA, a drug he was addicted to before. “I was going through so much,” Cruz explained.
At a regular visit to the parole office for a drug urine test, Cruz was caught with the drug in his system.
He had a panic attack upon hearing that he’d have to go to jail at Rikers Island for his parole violation. “I was wailing and crying, telling the parole officers that I didn’t want to go back to a cell.”
Cruz suffered several more panic attacks while inside. He couldn’t sleep being around so many people. He was reliving his deepest fear.
Local jail reform advocate Five Mualimm-ak, with the Incarcerated Nation Corporation, sought to get Cruz treatment for his drug dependence and other mental health needs, but nothing came of the requests.
Across the country, people with mental illness and substance abuse are repeatedly cycled in and out of the criminal justice system. The latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) estimate that more than 1.26 million mentally ill adults are detained in the country’s jails and prisons. Some cities are trying to change this statistic through programs that offer some of these nonviolent offenders a way out of incarceration, and a chance to improve their lives.
Out of Jail, Into Treatment
In the 1980s and ’90s, different communities across the country created programs to provide treatment alternatives to incarceration for people like Cruz, who would otherwise face jail time for nonviolent drug charges, or those who committed offenses during a mental health crisis.
For example, in the late ’80s, the police department in Memphis, Tenn., devised a crisis intervention team (CIT) where officers would be trained in identifying and responding appropriately to the emotionally or mentally disturbed. Police are taught de-escalation techniques to calm down individuals who may be agitated or aggressive. And instead of arresting them, police would bring them to a mental health treatment center.
The Memphis model has been adopted by other cities, including in San Antonio, Texas, where police officers bring people to The Restoration Center. There, they can get medical and mental health treatment, as well as social services such as housing and job training.
San Antonio also has a detox center and a 90-day residential program for those in need of substance abuse treatment. For those in need of more intensive care, they get transferred to state hospitals or private institutions if the individual has private health insurance.
Leon Evans, the director of San Antonio’s mental health care system who developed the center, said he got the idea after he saw the county jail overcrowded with people in need of mental health treatment.
Police would bring the mentally distressed to the emergency room or jail, but without treatment or housing, they get released back to the streets and may turn to drugs and alcohol to deal with their illnesses. “They would get arrested the same day and go right back into jail,” Evans said.
“Texas is a pretty conservative place,” said Evans. “[W]e realized that putting them in jail was the last thing we should be doing.”
Evans said the center has been proven effective: about 70 percent of those who graduate from the center’s treatment programs are living and working independently a year later. Since the center was built five years ago, the county has also saved $10 million per year.
Dangerous for the Mentally Ill
The country’s jails and prisons are toxic environments for those with a mental illness.
In August, a DOJ investigation of jail conditions at the city’s main jail Rikers Island found that adolescent mentally ill inmates were routinely abused by corrections officers and placed into solitary confinement for extended periods of time—as punishment for breaking rules, or getting into verbal disputes with the officers. Several high-profile cases of mentally ill inmates dying under questionable circumstances while detained at Rikers have been reported in the last year.
DOJ data shows that across the country, mentally ill jail inmates are twice as likely to be charged with a rule violation and three times as likely to be injured in a fight. Studies have also shown that mentally ill inmates are detained longer on average than those without a mental illness.
Incarceration also has heavy financial costs. A recent analysis by the city comptroller’s office revealed that in fiscal year 2014, it cost city taxpayers more than $96,000 a year to house an inmate in jail.
Treatment is more cost-effective than jail, said Jim Parsons, research director at the Vera Institute, a criminal justice policy research organization based in New York. The organization found that alternative-to-incarceration programs in New York City save an average of $7,038 per person.
Read more: Help, Not Incarceration