Impact of Rapid Urbanization on Health by CESAR CHELALA

July 7, 2015

Rapid urbanization has significant repercussions on migrants’ health. The increasing movement of people from rural to urban areas often alters the characteristic epidemiological disease profile of the country, and at the same time new diseases appear or old ones reemerge. Such is the case of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. Urbanization is also associated with changes in diet and exercise that increase the prevalence of obesity with increased risks of type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Additional mobility-related risks among migrants include poverty, vulnerability to sexual abuse and exploitation, dangerous working conditions and separation from social support networks. Many of these conditions affect the most vulnerable segments of the population: women, children and the elderly. Although many migrants are young and healthy when they arrive in the cities, poor and overcrowding conditions increase the incidence of some diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and respiratory diseases when compared to local residents. In recent years, for example, tuberculosis has shown higher rates of infection, a problem compounded by delayed diagnosis and inadequate care. In addition, migrants show high rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Because of their high mobility, migrants tend to spread the virus when they return to the countryside,

Bangladesh Cuts Hunger Rates in Half By Supporting Small Farmers and Women – Christina Sarich

June 29, 2015

Once a recipient of food donations from around the world, Bangladesh has now become a model for reducing food hunger. By supporting small farms and women, the country has reduced the number starving citizens significantly. A recent UN report outlines how Bangladesh, a South Asian country who was once among the poorest in the world, has turned the corner when it comes to eradicating poverty and hunger – a huge step since the country was rampaged with devastating floods in the 1970’s. Glenn Denning, a professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs in New York and a noted expert in development and nutrition, said in response to the UN report: “These kinds of successes have demonstrated that if you bring certain things together” – he lists economic growth, improved agricultural productivity, a focus on farmers’ market accessibility, and social safety nets for the most vulnerable – “you can bring hunger down.” Part of allowing small farmers a say in the country’s agricultural health is an enormous part of Bangladesh’s success; this includes women. This has also helped countries like Ethiopia to improve their hunger statistics. Mahfuza Rahman, a female farmer interviewed for CSISA-Bangladesh states: “My husband did not initially really trust my

BP Data Suggests We Are Reaching Peak Energy Demand – Gail Tverberg

June 25, 2015

Some people talk about peak energy (or oil) supply. They expect high prices and more demand than supply. Other people talk about energy demand hitting a peak many years from now, perhaps when most of us have electric cars. Neither of these views is correct. The real situation is that we right now seem to be reaching peak energy demand through low commodity prices. I see evidence of this in the historical energy data recently updated by BP (BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015). Growth in world energy consumption is clearly slowing. In fact, growth in energy consumption was only 0.9% in 2014. This is far below the 2.3% growth we would expect, based on recent past patterns. In fact, energy consumption in 2012 and 2013 also grew at lower than the expected 2.3% growth rate (2012 – 1.4%; 2013 – 1.8%). Recently, I wrote that economic growth eventually runs into limits. The symptoms we should expect are similar to the patterns we have been seeing recently (Why We Have an Oversupply of Almost Everything (Oil, labor, capital, etc.)). It seems to me that the patterns in BP’s new data are also of the kind that we would expect to be seeing, if

A “Secular ISIL” Rises In Southeast Asia By Andrew KORYBKO

June 25, 2015

A triad of Great Power interests intersects in the confined area of the India-Myanmar border, and each actor has differing objectives, motivations, and apprehensions. When one includes Myanmar itself into the foray, a ‘quarrelling quartet’ of contradictory trajectories emerges: Myanmar: Internal Balancing Beginning with the country most adversely affected by domestic and foreign militancy (as well as the subject of the three Great Powers’ intrigues), Naypyidaw is in the midst of a very dangerous internal and external balancing act. On the home front, it’s struggling to manage an extraordinarily sensitive truce between the myriad rebel groups fighting against it. General elections are planned for early November, and Myanmar’s new Western partners will be observantly watching to make sure that it goes according to their subjectively determined expectations, and any internal turmoil prior to the vote could ‘discredit’ it or result in its delay. Both of these scenarios would see the West serve harsh rebukes and thinly veiled economic and political threats to Myanmar, which the country’s authorities are keen to avoid at this moment, thus bringing one to the topic of the international tightrope that it’s currently walking. External Balancing Myanmar used to be closely aligned with China during its ‘pariah period’ from 1989-2011, during which the

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides

June 24, 2015

The Deadly Duo of Genetically Modified Food and Toxic Pesticides Richard Gale and Gary Null PhD Progressive Radio Network, August 12, 2014     After decades of rearing hogs, Danish farmer Ib Borup Pedersen was alarmed the growing incidence of malformations and biological defects among his new born piglets. Deformities included gaps in piglets’ skulls, deformed bones, missing limbs and even a female piglet with testicles. Never having witnessed such large numbers of deformed pigs before, Pedersen realized that it was after switching three years earlier to Monsanto’s GMO feed, which had been grown with glyphosate that these birth defects began to appear. Pedersen had the piglets’ bodies sent to a Danish laboratory for analysis. The results were clear: there were high concentrations of Monsanto’s glyphosate pesticide, commonly known as Roundup, in the piglets’ organs.[1] The analyses’ findings were subsequently published in a recent Journal of Environmental and Analytical Toxicology,[2]   Pedersen’s experience is another blow against Monsanto’s public relations campaign to convince governments, farmers and populations that Roundup is one of the world’s safest pesticides and poses no risk to animal and human health. For many years Monsanto has stood by this myth with fanatical religious fervor against all

A “Secular ISIL” Rises In Southeast Asia By Andrew KORYBKO

June 24, 2015

India just carried out one of its largest-ever covert operations in peacetime, striking a Myanmar-based terrorist group and killing over 100 of its members. The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang), known more popularly by its initials NSCN-K, was targeted because of the terrorist attack it pulled off last week in the Northeast Indian state of Manipur. In the worst ambush suffered by the Indian military in 20 years, the group killed 18 troops and injured 20 more before escaping back across the border with only one loss. The NSCN-K is part of a much larger problem, however, since it’s part of a recently created umbrella group of Northeast Indian terrorists called the United Liberation Front of West South East Asia (UNLFW), which brings together Assamese, Bodo, and Naga separatists (Rajbongshi militants from West Bengal are also involved, but due to their relative geographic exclusion from the others, they’re excluded from the present analysis). The UNLFW shares many tactical and strategic similarities with ISIL, and barring religious distinction (or lack thereof), they’re essentially the same type of cutting-edge destabilizing organization. Since India has indicated that it’s willing to wage its own War on Terror in the Northeastern states and Myanmar, it’s necessary to explore the situational

STUDY: Farmer suicides in rained areas of India correlate with Bt cotton adoption

June 23, 2015

An important new paper by respected researchers deconstructs the false hype around Bt insecticidal cotton in India. The study shows that: * Bt cotton, introduced in 2002 to control bollworm and other pests, is grown on more than 90% of the cotton area * By 2013 insecticide use was high – back to 2000 levels (before the introduction of Bt cotton) * Yields have plateaued nationally, and farmer suicides have increased in some areas * Pink bollworm causes damage in irrigated cotton, but not in rainfed cotton unless infested from irrigated fields. Therefore use of Bt cotton seed and insecticide in rainfed cotton is questionable * Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton * Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills * Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs) * High-density short-season non-GM cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton * Policy makers need to conduct a holistic

Seeds of doubt: Monsanto never had Bt cotton patent – Shishir Arya & Snehlata Shrivastav

June 12, 2015

Fourteen years after US multinational Monsanto brought the genetically modified (GM) Bt Cotton (Bollgard) to India, there is no clarity on the discovery having ever been patented in the country. Clueless Indian farmers and seed manufacturers have paid crores as royalty to the company from 2002 until 2006, when the company came out with Bollgard 2, which was, incidentally, patented. Two arms of the central government differ on the patent issue. The Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), in an RTI reply to farm activist Vijay Jawandhia, emphatically stated that Monsanto’s ‘cry1ac Mon 531′ gene was never patented in India. However, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) wrote to him that the Bt seed developed by University of Agriculture Sciences (Dharwad), which was found to contain the Mon 531 strain, “cannot be launched in the market” due to a “patent violation”. It did not specify who held the patent. Queries to Monsanto specifically on the patent issue were avoided. “Monsanto has proprietary rights in its regulatory data as well as its biological materials, trade secrets and know-how, which are also protected under Indian law. The Mon 531 is subject to such rights,” said a company spokesperson and never got

Organic farming thrives in India as growers revert back to traditional methods by Julie Wilson

June 9, 2015

Thousands of farmers throughout India are reverting back to traditional farming methods as the consequences of Western agriculture have begun to negatively impact the region’s food and water supply, and the health of its people. More than 40 years after the “Green Revolution,” a period in which India’s agricultural yields skyrocketed following the introduction of commercial farming techniques, growers are returning to traditional, organic methods that date back to centuries ago. In a last-ditch attempt to save the country’s weakened resources, and the health of its people, India has emerged as a global leader in organic farming, as they’ve welcomed 600,000 certified producers. The benefits of the “Green Revolution” lasted less than a decade before threatening India’s food and water supply In the 1970s and 1980s, the “Green Revolution” introduced farmers in the state of Punjab to synthetic fertilizers, high-yield seeds and irrigation, which transformed the country into an economic powerhouse, allowing them to produce enough wheat and rice to feed a once-starving population. Through the use of commercial agriculture, which included the use of synthetic fertilizers such as urea and phosphate, Punjab produced nearly two-thirds of the country’s wheat and rice in the 1980s and 1990s, lining the pockets

Insane Heat Wave in Alaska Put Temperatures Higher Than in Arizona – Cole Mellino

June 8, 2015

Alaska, along with the rest of the Arctic, has been warming even faster than other regions of the world due to climate change. That was the findings of a report this spring from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which found that the rate of warming will only continue to increase in the coming decades. The signs of rapid warming in Alaska were everywhere this past winter. The Iditarod was moved north 300 miles to Fairbanks because Anchorage had record low snowfall. A ski resort outside of Juneau had to close because of low snowfall and warm temperatures that inhibited snow-making. Now the 49th state experienced a heat wave at the end of May. Over Memorial Day weekend, while Texas was being inundated with floods, parts of Alaska were warmer than Arizona. On May 23 in Fairbanks, the temperature reached 86 degrees Fahrenheit, while Phoenix topped out at 83 for the day, reports Al Jazeera. Even the town of Bettles, which is north of Fairbanks and falls within the Arctic Circle, recorded a temperature of 82. That same day, Eagle, Alaska hit 91 degrees Fahrenheit, marking the earliest 90-degree day in state history, according to NASA Earth Observatory. And it wasn’t just one unusually warm day. “Between May 16 and May 24, Eagle hit 27 degrees Celsius
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