Browsing articles from "August, 2018"

‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Choreographer Paul Taylor

Aug 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Fresh Air’ Remembers Choreographer Paul Taylor

Taylor, who died Wednesday, began dancing when he was 22 and worked with some of the world’s most renowned choreographers before establishing his own dance troupe. Originally broadcast in 1987.

Paul Taylor, Giant Of Modern Dance, Has Died

Building A Health Care Pipeline To Underserved Areas

Aug 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Building A Health Care Pipeline To Underserved Areas

There are relatively few doctors and dentists in North Carolina from minority backgrounds. That’s especially true in comparison to the growing population of minority groups, and even more so in rural areas.

Liz Schlemmer (@LSchlemmerWUNC) of WUNC reports on a decadesold program at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill designed to help fill that gap.

Noxious Mix of Smoke And Pollution Stresses Health In California’s Heartland

Aug 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Noxious Mix of Smoke And Pollution Stresses Health In California’s Heartland

A thick layer of smoke from the Carr Fire settles over California’s Central Valley in a view from a jet earlier this summer. Fine particulate matter from drifting wildfire smoke mixes with industrial ozone and can become trapped between the mountain ranges.

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A thick layer of smoke from the Carr Fire settles over California’s Central Valley in a view from a jet earlier this summer. Fine particulate matter from drifting wildfire smoke mixes with industrial ozone and can become trapped between the mountain ranges.

George Rose/Getty Images

Viviana Aguirre, 14, knows the air is bad when she has to reach for her inhaler once, maybe twice a week.

The air in her low-income neighborhood in East Bakersfield, Calif., has been thick with smoke for weeks, she says, forcing her to remain indoors most of the time. It’s hard tell, she says, whether the smoke is coming from the usual controlled burns in the farmers’ fields surrounding her home — or from the record-breaking wildfires blazing to the north and south of her.

“I do see smoke,” Viviana says. “But I see smoke most of the time.”

People like Viviana and her family are hit disproportionately when wildfires ignite — because smoke adds another layer of toxic substances to the already dirty air, researchers studying the issue say.

Report: Pollution Kills 3 Times More than AIDS, TB And Malaria Combined

“Without a doubt, these communities are at higher risk” when fires break out, says Emanuel Alcala, a health statistician and postgraduate fellow with the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at California State University, Fresno. “Especially because you already have other environmental hazards: toxic waste sites, poor quality of water, and sometimes no air conditioning.”

More than a dozen major blazes still are raging across California, including the Mendocino Complex fire in the northern part of the state that has charred nearly 460,000 acres and is now the largest in the state’s recorded history.

Fires are also burning in Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Smoke from these blazes has drifted as far as Ohio. Portions of northern Nevada recorded in July some of their worst ozone pollution ever, because of the fires, and officials across the West have issued health warnings to alert sensitive groups — such as young children, older adults and people with respiratory diseases — of the potential risks.

As Wildfires Rage, Smoke Chokes Out Farmworkers And Delays Some Crops

In neighborhoods like Viviana’s, which lies within a few miles of dairy farms, packing sheds and oil fields, particulate and ozone pollution already poses a health threat. The air is sullied by a constant, diesel-spewing stream of big rigs as well as by pesticides and dust from agricultural operations.

The smell of petroleum and cattle saturates the neighborhood, says Gustavo Aguirre, Viviana’s dad; existing pollution creates a noxious brew with the wildfire smoke.

“When I go outside just to hang out with my friends, I start coughing and I have to come back in,” Viviana said.

About 26 percent of school-aged children in the San Joaquin Valley, California’s agricultural heartland, have asthma — the highest rate in the state, according to California Health Interview Survey.

Cities in the valley top the list of those with the worst air pollution in the country, according to the American Lung Association. The valley is also home to some of the state’s poorest communities: Seven of the 10 California counties with the highest child poverty rates are there, according to a 2017 report by the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund.

“The geography and climate of the valley can trap unhealthy air for days, if not weeks,” says Will Barrett, clean-air advocacy director for the American Lung Association in California.

California Wildfires Leave Seasonal Agricultural Workers In Limbo

The combination of industrial ozone and fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke becomes trapped between the mountain ranges surrounding the valley and pushes air quality to dangerous levels. “You’re combining two of the most widespread and pervasive pollutants,” Barrett says. “It really is a double whammy.”

In southwest Fresno, a San Joaquin Valley community dense with public housing, Maria Garcia, 62, lives within 2 miles of a poultry processing plant, warehouses and Highway 99.

Garcia considers herself healthy, but says a persistent cough this summer left her gasping for air.

She compares some of her recent symptoms — such as chest pressure and headaches — to those experienced by her adult son, who has asthma.

“My guess is it’s probably the smoke,” Garcia says.

Other regions in the state also are suffering. Smoke from the nearby Mendocino Complex fire has drifted into the San Francisco Bay Area, about a three-hour drive south of the flames.

A mobile asthma clinic called the Breathmobile provides free appointments and pulmonary function tests for children at East Bay schools with a high number of students enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program for low-income residents.

“Kids on Medi-Cal have more asthma,” says Mary Frazier, a registered nurse and project director of the Northern California Breathmobile program, “It can be because they are exposed to more triggers. They live in low-income housing, which has some poor indoor-air quality and the houses are near freeways or industry.”

When she starts visiting kids again in September after classes resume, Frazier says she expects to encounter many children who have been coughing and wheezing because of the smoke.

Back in southwest Fresno, Gary Hunt, 54, has remained mostly house-bound this summer, leaving home only for important errands and medical appointments. Even then, he wears a mask.

Pollution from fires are “definitely making a drastic difference,” Hunt says, worsening his asthma and plaguing him with more fatigue, chest pain and headaches.

But extinguishing wildfires won’t guarantee relief. There is a meat-rendering plant near his home, and busy state Route 41 is about a quarter-mile away. Both bring trucks — and the pollution they emit — into his neighborhood.

“Because of where we are, we don’t really get a break,” Hunt says.

Three years ago, Hunt had a severe asthma attack that sent him to the hospital. He had to leave his job as a school maintenance worker and lost his job-based insurance. He enrolled in Medi-Cal, and soon learned that not all doctors accept public insurance — which means that getting quick access to care during fire season can be a problem.

For instance, he says, he needs to see a pulmonologist — but has to wait three months for an appointment.

People who rely on Medi-Cal or those without insurance can in some cases wait up to a year for treatment, says Kevin Hamilton, a respiratory therapist and the CEO of the Central California Asthma Collaborative.

Hunt says he is frequently asked, even by physicians, why he and his family don’t move to a healthier community. The answer is that he simply can’t afford to move.

“If I could, I wouldn’t be here,” he says.

PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin’s Soul Celebrated At Funeral

Aug 31, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on PHOTOS: Aretha Franklin’s Soul Celebrated At Funeral

Flowers adorn Aretha Franklin’s casket at the start of her star-studded funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday.

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Flowers adorn Aretha Franklin’s casket at the start of her star-studded funeral at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit on Friday.

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Aretha Franklin’s funeral service remembers and celebrates the “Queen of Soul.” Beloved by millions around the world, Franklin — who died of cancer on Aug. 16 — also leaves behind a six-decade career of advocacy, becoming a symbol and transformative leader in both the women’s rights and the civil rights movements.

Here is a visual recollection of the funeral of one of America’s most celebrated artists. This collection will updated throughout the day.

Well-wishers left handwritten notes on boards outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier this week during the public viewing for Aretha Franklin in Detroit.

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Well-wishers left handwritten notes on boards outside the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History earlier this week during the public viewing for Aretha Franklin in Detroit.

Paul Sancya/AP

The casket carrying the late singer Aretha Franklin arrives at the Greater Grace Temple for her funeral service in Detroit.

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The casket carrying the late singer Aretha Franklin arrives at the Greater Grace Temple for her funeral service in Detroit.

Mike Segar/Reuters

The Rev. Al Sharpton took a shot at President Trump during the funeral: “When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘She used to work for me,’ ” he said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”

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The Rev. Al Sharpton took a shot at President Trump during the funeral: “When word went out that Ms. Franklin passed, Trump said, ‘She used to work for me,’ ” he said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “No, she used to perform for you. She worked for us.”

Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

American gospel singers The Clark Sisters perform their hit “Is my Living in Vain?” at Aretha Franklin’s funeral.

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American gospel singers The Clark Sisters perform their hit “Is my Living in Vain?” at Aretha Franklin’s funeral.

Mike Segar/REUTERS

Pop singer Ariana Grande sings the soul icon’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

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Pop singer Ariana Grande sings the soul icon’s “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.”

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Guests arrive at the funeral on Friday, the culmination of a weeklong tribute to the singer whose voice and soul touched millions.

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Guests arrive at the funeral on Friday, the culmination of a weeklong tribute to the singer whose voice and soul touched millions.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

More than 100 pink Cadillacs are parked outside the church to honor Franklin, who in “Freeway of Love” sang: “We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac.”

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More than 100 pink Cadillacs are parked outside the church to honor Franklin, who in “Freeway of Love” sang: “We goin’ ridin’ on the freeway of love in my pink Cadillac.”

Leah Millis/REUTERS

It wasn’t just friends, family and the famous who turned out for the funeral. Fans also gathered in hopes of getting in to honor the singer.

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A flower arrangement sent by the family of late singer James Brown sits in the lobby at the Greater Grace Temple on Thursday ahead of the funeral.

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A flower arrangement sent by the family of late singer James Brown sits in the lobby at the Greater Grace Temple on Thursday ahead of the funeral.

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Fans of soul music icon Aretha Franklin line up outside Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple for the singer’s homegoing celebration.

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Fans of soul music icon Aretha Franklin line up outside Detroit’s Greater Grace Temple for the singer’s homegoing celebration.

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Former boxer Tommy Hearns (right) and friends head to the church for the funeral service. He was among many well-known attendees.

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Former boxer Tommy Hearns (right) and friends head to the church for the funeral service. He was among many well-known attendees.

Mike Segar/Reuters

Motown artist Martha Reeves, lead singer of the 1960s group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, arrives for the service.

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Motown artist Martha Reeves, lead singer of the 1960s group Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, arrives for the service.

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Aretha Franklin fans line up outside Greater Grace Temple at 2:30 a.m., hoping to be one of the thousand members of the general public allowed in to the singer’s funeral.

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Aretha Franklin fans line up outside Greater Grace Temple at 2:30 a.m., hoping to be one of the thousand members of the general public allowed in to the singer’s funeral.

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

People gathered throughout the night outside of the Greater Grace Temple ahead of the funeral for the “Queen of Soul.”

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People gathered throughout the night outside of the Greater Grace Temple ahead of the funeral for the “Queen of Soul.”

Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Emailing On Your Commute? That’s Work, A New Study Says

Aug 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Emailing On Your Commute? That’s Work, A New Study Says

If employers pay for workers’ time during their commutes, it could bring “more surveillance and accountability for productivity” along with its benefits for employees, researcher Juliet Jain says.

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If employers pay for workers’ time during their commutes, it could bring “more surveillance and accountability for productivity” along with its benefits for employees, researcher Juliet Jain says.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

If you use your commute to catch up on work email, that time “should be counted as part of the working day,” according to a new study by researchers who analyzed thousands of commuters’ online habits.

“If travel time were to count as work time, there would be many social and economic impacts,” said Juliet Jain, one of the academics from the University of the West of England who surveyed several thousand commuters on trains in and out of London.

“Many respondents expressed how they consider their commute as time to ‘catch up’ with work, before or after their traditional working day,” according to a summary of the study. “This transitional time also enabled people to switch roles, for example from being a parent getting the kids ready for school in the morning to a business director during the day.”

The study quotes a working mother named Katheryn saying, “It’s really important to my sanity that I can get work done on the train. I am a busy mum and I rely on that time, so I can get things done.”

Another commuter, Andrew, told the researchers, “It’s dead time in a way so what it allows me to do is finish stuff and not work in the evenings.”

The study notes that while work rules vary around the world, some commuters in Norway are already “able to count travel time as part of their working day.”

The findings on workers’ use of smartphones and other devices to stay plugged in highlight the importance of providing Wi-Fi to commuters, according to the academics, who presented their study Thursday at the Royal Geographical Society. To collect the data, they focused on two train lines that boosted the amount of free Wi-Fi they offered. On the Birmingham to London line, 60 percent of commuters connected to the enhanced network.

The results hint at what are likely to be increasingly complicated work-life discussions, in which employees and their bosses debate what qualifies as “work” and where the line between personal and professional time should be drawn.

Discussing the results in a news release, Jain said, “It may ease commuter pressure on peak hours and allow for more comfort and flexibility around working times. However it may also demand more surveillance and accountability for productivity.”

In addition to potential ramifications for mass transit that the British researchers highlighted, the idea of claiming commuting time on the clock could also appeal to workers who use other means of travel.

Take, for instance, people who rely on ride-share companies to get to their jobs. And the discussion seems certain to widen in the near future, to include a looming wave of self-driving cars that — in theory, at least — promises to free up more travel time for drivers.

As for rail commuters, the researchers said their work shows it’s important that trains “offer a good working environment including tables, power, space and good continuous connectivity for internet and phone calls.”

‘Gross Anatomy’ Turns Humor On Taboos About The Female Body

Aug 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Gross Anatomy’ Turns Humor On Taboos About The Female Body

When humorist and writer Mara Altman was 19 and attending college at UCLA, she learned something about herself which, she says, felt devastating at the time.

It happened while she was flirting with a server at a Mexican restaurant one evening. His name was Gustavo and he said five simple words: “I like your blonde mustache.”


Gross Anatomy

Gross Anatomy

Dispatches from the Front (and Back)

by Mara Altman

Hardcover, 312 pages |

purchase

Now, she knew about this blonde mustache. But she had been bleaching it for years in the hopes that no one else would notice it.

Altman’s latest book, Gross Anatomy: Dispatches from the Front (And Back), is a personal, darkly witty investigation into the human body — how we think about it and how it works. In a mix of personal anecdotes, science and cultural reporting and interviews, Altman explores pressing questions like, is PMS real? How come some people sweat so much? And who decided women shouldn’t have body hair, anyway?

In an interview with NPR’s Ailsa Chang, Altman says she began the book with her fuzzy lip story because she wanted to reframe the shame she and the rest of us often feel about our physical selves — and lighten the taboo. She decided to face the facts — starting with a confession to her now-husband, Dave, that she does everything she can to rid herself of facial hair.

“I needed him to know that he was marrying a woman with a goatee,” she says with a laugh. “I just didn’t want (1) to have him find out later and be upset, and (2) to just have to hide it anymore. I was just so tired.”

“You know, I wrote this book to kind of investigate why we feel the way we feel about our bodies,” says Mara Altman. “But a wonderful bonus was kind of realizing that we all have such a big variation.”

Courtesy of Pablo Mason


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Courtesy of Pablo Mason

“You know, I wrote this book to kind of investigate why we feel the way we feel about our bodies,” says Mara Altman. “But a wonderful bonus was kind of realizing that we all have such a big variation.”

Courtesy of Pablo Mason

Her husband’s response when Altman told him? “It’s just hair!” She says he couldn’t have cared less.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

On where the idea that women should be mostly hairless comes from

[Women in] the United States in the early 1900s — they were fine being hairy. But then … advertisers came on strong in the 1930s. They said that having armpit hair was dirty and gross; being clean-shaven was respectable, feminine. And then you also look at another kind of theory that we are all so afraid of our mortality; that we cover up anything that kind of hints at us being beasts, or animals. We put on perfumes, we cover up our holes — anything that excretes or is moist we don’t want anything to do with.

On what it was like to grow up in a family that encouraged ‘going natural’

In 'Calypso,' David Sedaris Blends Slime And The Sublime

I still had the experiences at school where I didn’t feel like I totally fit in. I was trying so hard to be natural, to be authentic like my parents said. But you still have the friends on the schoolyard who are like, ‘Ah, she’s hairy — gross!’ … I was in junior high and I was in PE class just getting ready to play dodgeball or something. And a girl pointed at my legs and said, ‘Ew, gross, you’re hairy!’ And I just felt totally seen and ashamed and wanted nothing more than to rip out every single hair on my body. And yet that went against everything in our household about being natural. And then I had to confront my mom about it, and finally ask her if I could shave.

On what a psychology professor said when she asked whether premenstrual syndrome is real

She said that when we say that PMS made us do something, that we’re using it as a scapegoat — and kind of discount it. And she also said that hormones don’t create moods, but they can exacerbate moods. [Those feelings are] very legitimate; we should pay attention to them. Every time we say that PMS made us do it a misogynist gets his wings! It feeds into this idea that we’re angry; that we don’t know what we’re doing. But really — like a woman who just feels really strong feelings and in another society would be extremely respected.

On how she found out sweat is awesome

The sweat researcher that I talked to said that if we were overheating and we couldn’t sweat, we’d basically die in, like, 20 to 30 minutes. So when I see my own sweat stains now on my pits, which is probably daily, I try to appreciate that that’s where we come from. That’s how we’re human. And I think that researching or learning about our bodies can also lessen the shame around it.

On being at a nudist resort while pregnant with twins — for research

You know, I wrote this book to kind of investigate why we feel the way we feel about our bodies. But a wonderful bonus was kind of realizing that we all have such a big variation. … I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! All these people. So many various sizes [and] shapes don’t fit into any of the beauty standards we typically talk about or see. There are rolls! There’s cottage cheese! There are hairy moles!’ … And they’re walking around indulging in life. And you’re like, OK, you know what? We’re just lucky we have bodies. That we get to do all this cool stuff in our bodies.

Alyssa Edes and Renita Jablonksi produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Alyssa Edes adapted it for the Web.

In Digestion: Mary Roach Explains What Happens To The Food We Eat

Read an excerpt of Gross Anatomy

In Bangladeshi Camps, Rohingya Refugees Try To Move Forward With Their Lives

Aug 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on In Bangladeshi Camps, Rohingya Refugees Try To Move Forward With Their Lives

In the Balukhali refugee camp, boys between the ages of seven and 11 play with forfori, homemade toy airplanes.

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In the Balukhali refugee camp, boys between the ages of seven and 11 play with forfori, homemade toy airplanes.

Jason Beaubien/NPR

Even amidst the trauma they have endured, and a declaration this week by the U.N. that they suffered “gross human rights violations” at the hands of Myanmar’s military, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are moving forward with their daily lives in Bangladesh camps.

Myanmar's Military Leaders Should Be Tried For Genocide, U.N. Investigators Say

A fact-finding mission from the United Nations Human Rights Council labeled last year’s attacks against Rohingya Muslims “crimes against humanity” and called for top military officials in Myanmar to be prosecuted for genocide. Its report found that Myanmar troops attacked hundreds of Rohingya villages, killed thousands of people, torched homes and systematically raped women and girls.

“Rapes were often in public spaces and in front of families and the community, maximizing humiliation and trauma,” the report states. “Mothers were gang raped in front of young children, who were severely injured and in some instances killed.”

Tarps and refugee shelters cover steep hillsides in the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh. Many of the sandy slopes have collapsed in the monsoon rains.

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The attacks by Myanmar soldiers spurred more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee across the border into Bangladesh. According to the U.N., it was the fastest human displacement since the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

One year later, those hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees remain stuck in sprawling, makeshift camps in Bangladesh. The conditions have improved somewhat over the last year — there are more water wells, pit latrines and drainage ditches — but the camps remain overcrowded and at risk of landslides, especially in the monsoon season.

UNICEF estimates that more than half the Rohingya refugees are children.

Kids in the Balukhali Rohingya refugee camp try to get the propellers on their homemade toy airplanes to spin as fast as possible.

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On a hillside in the Balukhali camp, two dozen boys have climbed to the highest point on a sandy ridge to fly homemade toy airplanes called forfori, “fan” in the Rohingya language. Each toy is made from a plastic soda bottle with a small strip of metal stuck to the cap as a propeller. Some are strapped onto sticks of bamboo so the boys can thrust them higher into the winds that sweep across the camps.

'I Would Rather Die Than Go Back': Rohingya Refugees Settle Into Life In Bangladesh

Umar Farooq, who’s 11 years old, says he and his friends also used to make forfori back in Myanmar.

“The most important part is the zinc,” he says, referring to the propeller.

Farooq is one of the older boys. The youngest of the group says he’s seven. They maneuver their toys in the air, trying to get the propellers spinning as fast as possible.

A girl picks a flower from the roof of a shelter in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. The flower had sprouted from a sandbag used to weigh down the plastic and bamboo roof.

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There’s a word in Rohingya — afándhi — that means children roaming around, not doing anything of importance. Parents worry that conditions in the camps could amplify this. And international aid groups have warned that the refugee children could become a lost generation.

Farooq and his friends, however, say they keep themselves very busy. They tick off all the things they do each day — playing forfori and soccer, collecting firewood, studying. But the reality is that most refugee kids are not attending school regularly — or as much as international aid agencies say they should.

Forced To Flee Myanmar, Rohingya Refugees Face Monsoon Landslides In Bangladesh

Bangladeshi officials have resisted allowing charities to set up formal schools in the camps, fearing that such amenities will encourage the refugees to stay. Instead of schools, aid groups have opened “learning centers” and “child-friendly spaces,” where kids go for about two hours a day.

Farooq says proudly that he goes six days a week.

Keeping busy in the camps can still be a challenge for adults. The Rohingya technically are not allowed to work in Bangladesh. Each family receives bi-monthly rations of rice, lentils and cooking oil from the U.N. World Food Program.

A day after moving into a newly built shelter on the edge of what is now the largest refugee camp in the world, Mohammed Salaam opened up a small shop selling snacks, betel nut and soft drinks.

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The camps are so crowded that there’s no room to grow crops, but some of the Rohingya fish in nearby rivers.

Some men are able to get a few days’ work clearing drainage ditches or carrying goods into areas of the camps that are accessible only by foot. Women and girls often collect firewood to sell.

Despite the restrictions on working, suppressing the entrepreneurial streak of many refugees is apparently impossible. Recently, more and more of them have been setting up small businesses. Simple outdoor markets have emerged along the main paths through the camps. Residents sit behind piles of vegetables and spices that they’re offering for sale.

In the Balukhali 2 refugee camp, three young men have set up a barbershop under a tarp. They picked up their barber skills by trimming each other’s hair when they couldn’t afford a professional cut.

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But there are also more formal businesses — small tea shops and stalls where young men charge cell phones from a solar panel. Some vendors even occasionally sell phones, ranging from the cheapest Nokias to high-end Android smartphones. The devices are a way to stay connected via Facebook and WhatsApp throughout the sprawling camps.

In the Balukhali 2 camp, Eliyas Mohammed has set up two long mirrors under a tarp to create a barbershop. Along with two of his friends, he trims hair for roughly 40 cents a cut.

“When we got here, we didn’t have any work,” he says. “At that time, we just got rice, oil, lentils, and we thought, ‘How can we survive here?’ We decided it would be better to start this shop to make some money to support our families.”

When they opened the barbershop at the end of 2017, he says there were few customers because hardly any Rohingya had money. But in a sign of how the camp economy has grown, Mohammed says that’s slowly changed. On a good day, he might get a dozen customers and can take home $4 or $5. This, he says, allows his family to eat more than just the basic international food rations. And, he adds, running the shop gives him something to do.

Argentina Hikes Interest Rate To 60 Percent In Bid To Halt Currency’s Fall

Aug 30, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Argentina Hikes Interest Rate To 60 Percent In Bid To Halt Currency’s Fall

Pedestrians pass a building decorated with the Argentinian national flag in Buenos Aires’ financial district earlier this summer.

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Pedestrians pass a building decorated with the Argentinian national flag in Buenos Aires’ financial district earlier this summer.

Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images

When Argentine President Mauricio Macri told the country he had asked the International Monetary Fund to speed its disbursement of a $50 billion loan, he consciously aimed to assuage the fears of uneasy market watchers.

“We have seen new expressions of a lack of confidence in the markets, specifically over our financing capacity in 2019,” Macri said in a speech posted to Facebook Wednesday, adding: “This decision aims to eliminate any uncertainty.”

By Thursday, however, the move appeared to have had just the opposite effect — and Argentine authorities were scrambling to mitigate it.

Argentina’s currency, the peso, followed a rough day of trading with a still more dreadful drop when markets opened again Thursday morning. It plummeted 15 percent within minutes and spent the rest of the day hovering at record lows. At one point, a single dollar could buy more than 41 Argentine pesos.

The country’s central bank acted quickly in response, raising its benchmark lending rate 15 points up to 60 percent — the highest such rate in the world, according to The Associated Press. The drastic measure intended to bolster the currency’s sagging value — and ease fears of a negative trend that has also seen a worrisome inflation rate.

The currency has lost nearly 50 percent of its value since the year began.

The IMF, for its part, has said it’s amenable to adjusting the timeline of its loan to Argentina, which was agreed to in May. The managing director of the international banking system, Christine Lagarde, said Wednesday that revisions were warranted in light of “the more adverse international market conditions, which had not been fully anticipated in the original program.”

Those inclement conditions are rooted partly on what’s going on in the city where the IMF is based, Washington, D.C. It’s there that the U.S. banking system, the Federal Reserve, has responded to a strong American economy with a couple of small increases to its own key interest rate in recent months.

Venezuela, Racked With Hyperinflation, Rolls Out New Banknotes

“Because the U.S. economy is strengthening, that is having a ripple effect in emerging markets around the world. Many of these countries have borrowed a fair bit in international markets and especially done a lot of this borrowing in dollars when dollar borrowing was cheap,” global economist Eswar Prasad of Cornell University told NPR’s All Things Considered earlier this month.

“Now,” he added, “the chickens are coming home to roost when interest rates in the U.S. are rising, and it’s putting pressure on emerging markets around the world.”

That includes Argentina — but it is by no means limited to the Latin American country. Currencies in Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia have all suffered to varying extents as the dollar grows stronger and attracts more international investment away from these emerging markets, Prasad says.

Within Argentina, the IMF’s support does not necessarily come as welcome news. Many Argentines still blame their country’s economic collapse nearly two decades ago on reforms pushed by the international organization. As the BBC observes, “going to the IMF is the most unpopular move a president could make in Argentina.”

Lagarde, however, anticipates a far brighter outcome this time around.

“I am confident that the strong commitment and determination of the Argentine authorities will be critical in steering Argentina through the current difficult circumstances,” the IMF director said, “and will ultimately strengthen the economy for the benefit of all Argentines.”

Texas Nurse Loses Job After Apparently Posting About Patient In Anti-Vaxxer Group

Aug 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on Texas Nurse Loses Job After Apparently Posting About Patient In Anti-Vaxxer Group

Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are displayed on a counter at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Mill Valley, Calif., in 2015.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


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Vials of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine are displayed on a counter at a Walgreens Pharmacy in Mill Valley, Calif., in 2015.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A hospital in Texas has cut ties with a nurse who apparently posted about a young patient with the measles in a Facebook group dedicated to “anti-vaxxers,” people who reject the scientific evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

Screenshots show a self-identified nurse saying the sick child’s symptoms helped her understand why people vaccinate their children, but that “I’ll continue along my little non-vax journey with no regrets.”

Texas Children’s Hospital tells NPR via email that a nurse “posted protected health information regarding a patient on social media.” The hospital did not name the nurse.

“We take these matters very seriously as the privacy and well-being of our patients is always a top priority,” hospital spokeswoman Veronika Javor-Romeis tells NPR. “After an internal investigation, this individual is no longer with the organization.”

She also confirmed that the hospital is treating a measles patient and that the hospital will be assessing the risk posed to other children who may have come in contact with the patient.

“This is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable infection,” Javor-Romeis said. “We know vaccination is the best protection against measles.”

The measles vaccine is extremely effective. But to prevent outbreaks and protect those who are not vaccinated, a high enough percentage of the population must be vaccinated to create “herd immunity.”

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Lower vaccination rates for measles and other preventable diseases have been tied to outbreaks in the U.S. and Europe. Experts point to anti-vaccine sentiments, fueled in part by a fraudulent paper in the late ’90s that spread false information about vaccine risks.

Texas Children’s Hospital would not specifically comment on whether the nurse’s anti-vaccination position played a role in the hospital’s investigation and the nurse’s departure.

Javor-Romeis says all staff are “strongly encouraged” to receive routine immunizations, and that employees who opt out may not be allowed to work in some areas of the hospital.

The anti-vaccine Facebook posts in question were apparently shared in a group called “Proud Parents of Unvaccinated Children-Texas.” As of earlier this month, the group had more than 5,000 members.

The group has since been deleted. But a Facebook user posted screenshots of the nurse’s posts on the Texas Children’s Hospital’s Facebook page, and the Houston Chronicle says it also acquired screenshots of the comments.

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According to those screenshots, a user who said she worked as a PICU/ER nurse at the West Campus of Texas Children’s Hospital told the group, “for the first time in my career I saw Measles this week.”

“Honestly, it was rough. This kid was super sick … it was terrible,” she said. “By no means have I changed my vax stance, and I never will. But I just wanted to share my experience and how much worse it was than I expected.”

She said she understood how some parents choose to vaccinate “out of fear,” as she put it. In a follow-up she said she deleted some responses to avoid risking her job, and reiterated “we are not wrong in our beliefs/convictions.”

Another screenshot shows her saying she considered “swabbing his mouth” to bring a live measles sample home to her child.

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“We are aware of this situation and have started a thorough investigation,” the hospital said in a response on Facebook. “We take these matters very seriously.”

“The views of this employee do not represent that of the organization,” the hospital added shortly after.

The screenshots were shared with the hospital on Friday, several days before the Texas Children’s Hospital or Houston Health Department had officially announced a patient had the measles.

On Monday, the Houston Health Department said the case, which it described as “suspected” measles, involves a child between the ages of 1 and 3 who recently traveled overseas.

Before this patient, the last confirmed case of measles in Houston was in 2013, ABC 13 reports.

‘Godless’ Creator Was Determined To Put His Own Spin On The Classic Western

Aug 29, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   News from US  //  Comments Off on ‘Godless’ Creator Was Determined To Put His Own Spin On The Classic Western

Scott Frank packed his Emmy-nominated Netflix miniseries with train robberies and shootouts — but challenged Western norms by putting women in charge of the town. Originally broadcast Dec. 11, 2017.

Hear The Original Interview

'Godless' Creator Was Determined To Put His Own Spin On The Classic Western

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