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Archive for March, 2011

World News Headlines of March 31

Pro-Ouattara forces sweep through I.Coast

Pro-Ouattara forces in Duekoue, western Ivory Coast. Forces backing Ivory C… Picture taken on March 29 shows damaged houses in Duekoue, in western Ivory… A member of the pro-Ouattara forces takes a break in Blolequin. Forces back… Forces backing Ivory Coast’s recognised president Alassane Ouattara captured key cities and warned his rival…

Libya’s foreign minister defects

London – Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, one of Muammar Gaddafi’s closest advisers and a former spy chief, defected and flew to Britain on Wednesday in protest at attacks by Gaddafi forces on civilians, a friend said. A British government source described his resignation as “a significant blow” to Gaddafi and Koussa’s predecessor…

Arming Libya’s rebels: A cautionary tale

As the fortunes of the Libyan opposition forces rise and fall, there is a growing concern within the coalition that its air power may not be enough to prevent the rebels’ defeat, raising the spectre of…

Syrian Leader Calls for Reform but Warns of ‘Plots’

CAIRO — A day after his cabinet resigned, President Bashar al-Assad appeared before Syria’s Parliament on Wednesday to deliver a major speech that could help determine his destiny as he seeks to to address protests against his authoritarian rule. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images An image taken from Syrian television shows President…

Japan crisis: Four stricken reactors at Japan Fukushima nuclear plant to be scrapped

TOKYO/FUKUSHIMA: Scrambling hard to tackle its worst atomic crisis, Japan today said it will scrap four stricken reactors at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear facility, as radiation seeping into seawater reached its highest level yet and the President of the troubled plant’s operator hospitalised. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant’s…

Leaders talk as cricketers clash in Mohali

The prime ministers of India and Pakistan are meeting during a World Cup cricket match between the countries, hoping to use one of the world’s biggest sporting contests to rebuild relations shattered by the Mumbai attacks. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited his counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani to watch the semi-final match in the northern…

Bali bomb suspect arrested in Pakistan: Indonesia

JAKARTA: An alleged mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people has been arrested in Pakistan, an Indonesian counter-terrorism official said on Wednesday. The official told AFP on condition of anonymity that Umar Patek had been detained on Tuesday but declined to give details about where or how the arrest was made.

Floods trigger southern Thai landslides; 15 dead

BANGKOK (AP) — At least four people have been killed in landslides in southern Thailand, bringing to 15 the death toll in the flood-battered region. A Krabi province official says another 10-20 people are missing in the landslides from late Tuesday night. Some seven villages were affected by the slides, three of which were inaccessible Wednesday…

Radiation levels soar in Japan sea water

Radiation levels in sea water near Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant have reached more than 3,000 times the legal limit, officials said, as efforts continue to bring the country’s nuclear crisis under control. Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday that water near the crippled plant’s No. 1 reactor contained radioactive iodine at…

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World News Headlines of March 30

World mulls arming Libyan rebels on the run

AJDABIYA, Libya (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s forces were pushing rebels further back in east Libya on Wednesday after routing them outside the key city of Sirte as world powers mulled arming the rag-tag band of fighters. Correspondents said Kadhafi’s troops were closing in on the oil refinery town of Ras Lanuf, 370 kilometres (230 miles)…

Radiation levels soar in Japan sea water

Radiation levels in sea water near Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear plant have reached more than 3,000 times the legal limit, officials said, as efforts continue to bring the country’s nuclear crisis under control. Japan’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday that water near the crippled plant’s No. 1 reactor contained radioactive iodine at…

Arms to Libya rebels ‘not ruled out’

US President Barack Obama has said he does not rule out arming the rebels seeking to overthrow Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. He said in an interview that Col Gaddafi had been greatly weakened and would ultimately step down. Pro-Gaddafi forces have driven the rebels back tens of kilometres over ground they took in recent days after…

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh loses grip on several provinces

A tribal insurgency in the north and Islamic militants in the south capitalize on turmoil to make territorial gains. Share Related Stories By Garrett Therolf, Los Angeles Times…

Ivory Coast: Laurent Gbagbo calls for ceasefire

Ivorian incumbent Laurent Gbagbo has appealed for an immediate ceasefire after advances by forces loyal to President-elect Alassane Ouattara. A spokesman for Mr Gbagbo said the army had adopted a strategy of tactical…

Virginia Tech Fined $55K for Response to Shootings

The Associated Press By DENA POTTER Associated Press RICHMOND, Va. March 29, 2011 (AP) Mario Tama/Getty Images Mourners hug during Virginia Tech’s Day of Remembrance honoring the 32 people killed by Cho… Mourners hug during Virginia Tech’s Day of Remembrance honoring the 32 people killed by Cho Seung-Hui April 16, 2008 in Blacksburg, Virginia….

Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi should go, say world powers as rebels advance

WORLD powers have vowed to continue military action until Muammar Gaddafi stops his “murderous attacks” on Libyan civilians, as loud blasts rocked his stronghold in Tripoli. At a meeting of more than 35 nations in London, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Prime Minister David Cameron said that allied air strikes would go…

Syria Cabinet Resigns Amid Unrest

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria’s Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago and is now threatening President Bashar Assad’s 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian and closed-off nations in the Middle East. Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the…

The influence of unions worldwide

COMING TO A BANK NEAR YOU? Although it was not covered much by the media, over 400,000 people recently demonstrated in central London, decrying the government cuts in its budget. UK newspapers report that although some were there to peacefully demonstrate, unions used 600 coaches and 9 trains to take union members to the scene, where they created…

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World News Headlines of March 29

Carter in Cuba amid heightened US-Havana tension

Former US president Jimmy Carter launched a three-day mission in Cuba on Monday aimed at easing tensions with Havana, and raising hopes a jailed US government contractor may be freed. Carter, 86, is visiting the communist-run island at the invitation of the Cuban government for talks to help improve strained relations between Washington and…

Japan on ‘maximum alert’ over nuclear crisis: PM

Osaka: Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan today said his government is in a “state of maximum alert” over the crisis at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, Jiji Press reported. Kan told a lower house budget committee meeting that the situation “continues to be unpredictable” and that the government “will tackle the problem while in a state of…

Barack Obama defends US military intervention in Libya

US president gives speech to nation claiming US action has saved ‘countless lives’ – but rules out targeting Gaddafi Barack Obama said the US would ‘work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power’.

US apologizes for more Afghan ‘kill team’ photos

WASHINGTON: The US military apologized again on Monday after Rolling Stone published more photos and videos of members of an alleged rogue army unit “kill team” accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport. A week after one soldier was jailed after striking a plea bargain to testify against the alleged ringleader, the weekly magazine published a…

Ivory Coast braced for final battle as city falls

Forces loyal to Ivory Coast’s internationally recognised President claimed yesterday to have seized an important city, an event that could mark the beginning of military operations in the West African country that has teetered for months on the brink of civil war.

West End Retailers Call For Protest Protection

London’s West End shops are calling for increased protection from protesters after shops were damaged and forced to close during Saturday’s massive cuts march. Many on Oxford Street and Piccadilly had to close their doors as a splinter group daubed paint on facades and smashed windows.

Berlusconi in court over tax fraud case

Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, has appeared at a court in Milan over allegations of tax fraud and breach of trust in his business interests. Prosecutors have accused the 74-year-old premier of fraud in the sale of film rights by his Mediaset company.

Libyan rebels target Gadhafi’s hometown

Beginning of Story Content Libya’s rebel forces closed in Monday on Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte, the gateway to the western half of the country, after it was targeted for the first time by international airstrikes. Witnesses in Sirte said that bombing was heard Sunday night and then again 6:30 a.m. local time, but there was no fighting in…

Japanese nuclear plant says partial meltdown caused water contamination

Incorrect radioactivity readings given by Fukushima officials were ‘absolutely unforgivable’, says government Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant: A partial meltdown of fuel rods caused high levels of radioactivity in a water leak at the No 2 reactor.

York Central MP Hugh Bayley insists Government will not be able to ignore London cuts protest

HUNDREDS of union members, councillors and campaigners from York and North and East Yorkshire joined the thousands of protesters in London marching against the Coalition Government’s spending cuts. Conflicting reports suggested the march, thought to be the largest gathering organised by the TUC in 30 years, was attended by between…

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Inbreeding – Cousin marriages and health disorders

It is estimated that at least 55% of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins and the tradition is also common among some other South Asian communities and in some Middle Eastern countries. But there is a problem: marrying someone who is themselves a close family member carries a risk for children, a risk that lies within the code of life, inside our genes. Communities that practice cousin marriage experience higher levels of some very rare but very serious illnesses known as recessive genetic disorders.

Such unions are seen as strong because they build on tight family networks and family events gets better because the in-laws are already related to each other and have the same family history. But the statistics for recessive genetic illness in cousin marriages is serious as British Pakistanis are 13 times more likely to have children with genetic disorders than the general population.

Cousin marriages

Cousin marriage is marriage between two cousins. This kind of marriage is highly stigmatized today in the West, but it does account for over 10% of marriages worldwide as it is common in the Middle East, where in some nations they account for over half of all marriages.

According to Professor Robin Fox of Rutgers University, it is likely that 80% of all marriages in history have been between second cousins or closer. It is generally accepted that the founding population of Homo sapiens was small, anywhere from 700 to 10,000 individuals. Rates of first-cousin marriage in the United States, Europe, and other Western countries like Brazil have declined since the 19th century, though even during that period they were not more than 3.63% of all unions in Europe. But in many other world regions cousin marriage is still strongly favoured: in the Middle East some countries have seen the rate rise over previous generations, and one study finds quite stable rates among Indian Muslims over the past four decades.

Cousin marriage has often been chosen to keep cultural values and ensure the compatibility of spouses, preserve familial wealth, sometimes via advantages relating to dowry or bride price. Other reasons may include geographic proximity, tradition, strengthening of family ties, maintenance of family structure, a closer relationship between the wife and her in-laws, greater marital stability and durability, ease of prenuptial negotiations, enhanced female autonomy, the desire to avoid hidden health problems and other undesirable traits in a lesser-known spouse, and romantic love.

United States

The United States has the only bans on cousin marriage in the Western world. As of February 2010[update], 30 U.S. states prohibit most or all marriage between first cousins together with other 6 states.

Cousin marriage was legal in all US states in the Union prior to the Civil War. However, according to Kansas sociology professor Martin Ottenheimer, after the Civil War the main purpose of marriage prohibitions was increasingly seen as less maintaining the social order and upholding religious morality and more as safeguarding the creation of fit offspring. By the 1870s, Lewis Henry Morgan was writing about “the advantages of marriages between unrelated persons” and the necessity of avoiding “the evils of consanguine marriage.” Cousin marriage to Morgan, and more specifically parallel-cousin marriage, was a remnant of a more primitive stage of human social organization. Morgan himself had married his mother’s brother’s daughter in 1851.

In 1846 the Governor of Massachusetts appointed a commission to study “idiots” in the state which implicated cousin marriage as being responsible for idiocy. Within the next two decades numerous reports appeared coming to similar conclusions, including for example by the Kentucky Deaf and Dumb Asylum, which concluded that cousin marriage resulted in deafness, blindness, and idiocy. Perhaps most important was the report of physician S.M. Bemiss for the American Medical Association, which concluded “that multiplication of the same blood by in-and-in marrying does incontestably lead in the aggregate to the physical and mental depravation of the offspring.”

These developments led to thirteen states and territories passing cousin marriage prohibitions by the 1880s. Though contemporaneous, the eugenics movement did not play much direct role in the bans, and indeed George Louis Arner in 1908 considered them a clumsy and ineffective method of eugenics, which he thought would eventually be replaced by more refined techniques. Ottenheimer considers both the bans and eugenics to be “one of several reactions to the fear that American society might degenerate.” In any case, by the period up until the mid-1920s the number of bans had more than doubled. Since that time, the only three states to successfully add this prohibition are Kentucky in 1943, Maine in 1985, and Texas in 2005. The NCCUSL unanimously recommended in 1970 that all such laws should be repealed, but no state has dropped its prohibition since the mid-1920s.

Europe

Only Austria, Hungary, and Spain banned cousin marriage throughout the 19th century, with dispensations being available from the government in the last two countries. Protestant, the Church of Sweden didn’t ban first-cousin marriage until 1680 and required dispensation until 1844. England maintained a small but stable proportion of cousin marriages for centuries, with proportions in 1875 estimated by George Darwin at 3.5% for the middle classes and 4.5 % for the nobility, though this has declined to under 1 % in the 20th century. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were a preeminent example.

The 19th century academic debate on cousin marriage evolved differently in Europe than it did in America. The first-cousin marriage was legal in ancient Rome from at least the Second Punic War (218–201 BC) to its ban by the Christian emperor Theodosius I in 381 AD in the west and until after Justinian (d. 565 AD) in the east.

Early Catholic marriage rules forced a sharp change from earlier norms in order to deny heirs to the wealthy and therefore increase the chance they would will their property to the Church.

Middle East

The Middle East has uniquely high rates of cousin marriage among the world’s regions. Saudi Arabia, have rates of marriage to first or second cousins that may exceed 50%, Iraq was estimated in one study to have a rate of 33%, and figures for Iran and Afghanistan have been estimated in the range of 30–40%. Though on the lower end, Egypt and Turkey nevertheless have rates above 20%.

All states in the Persian Gulf currently require advance genetic screening for all prospective married couples. Qatar was the last Gulf nation to institute mandatory screening in 2009, mainly to warn related couples who are planning marriage about any genetic risks they may face. The current rate of cousin marriage there is 54%, an increase of 12–18% over the previous generation. A report by the Dubai-based Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS) in September 2009 found that Arabs have one of the world’s highest rates of genetic disorders, nearly two-thirds of which are linked to consanguinity. Research from CAGS and others suggests consanguinity is declining in Lebanon and Egypt and among Palestinians, but is increasing in Morocco, Mauritania and Sudan.

Dr. Ahmad Teebi, a genetics and pediatrics professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, links the increase in cousin marriage in Qatar and other Gulf states to tribal tradition and the region’s expanding economies. “Rich families tend to marry rich families, and from their own – and the rich like to protect their wealth,” he said. “So it’s partly economic, and it’s also partly cultural.” In regard to the higher rates of genetic disease in these societies, he says: “It’s certainly a problem,” but also that “The issue here is not the cousin marriage, the issue here is to avoid the disease.”

Africa

Cousin marriage rates from most African nations outside the Middle East are unknown. It is however estimated that 35–50% of all sub-Saharan African populations either prefers or accept cousin marriages. In Nigeria, the most populous country of Africa, the three largest tribes in order of size are the Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo. Muslim Hausa practice cousin marriage preferentially, and polygamy is allowed if the husband can support multiple wives. Divorce can be accomplished easily by either the male or the female, but females must then remarry. Even for a man, lacking a spouse is looked down upon. Baba of Karo’s first of four marriages was to her second cousin. She recounts in the book that her good friend married the friend’s first cross cousin.

The Yoruba people are split between Islam and Christianity. A 1974 study analyzed Yoruba marriages in the town Oka Akoko, finding that among a sample of marriages having an average of about three wives. These included not only cousin marriages but also uncle-niece unions. Reportedly it is a custom that in such marriages at least one spouse must be a relative, and generally such spouses were the preferred or favourite wives in the marriage and gave birth to more children. Finally, the Igbo people of southern Nigeria specifically prohibit both parallel- and cross-cousin marriage, though polygamy is common. Men are forbidden to marry within their own patrilineage or those of their mother or father’s mother and must marry outside their own village. Igbo are almost entirely Christian, having converted heavily under colonialism

In Ethiopia the ruling Christian Amhara people were historically rigidly opposed to cousin marriage, and could consider up to third cousins the equivalent of brother and sister, with marriage at least ostensibly prohibited out to sixth cousins. A man marrying a former wife’s “sister” was seen as incest, and conversely for a woman and her former husband’s “brother.” Though Muslims make up over a third of the Ethiopian population, and Islam has been present in the country since the time of Muhammad, cross-cousin marriage is very rare among most Ethiopian Muslims.

South Asia

Attitudes in India on cousin marriage vary by region and culture. For Muslims it is acceptable and legal to marry a first cousin but for Hindus it may be illegal under the 1955 Hindu Marriage Act, though the specific situation is more complex. The Hindu Marriage Act makes cousin marriage illegal for Hindus with the exception of marriages permitted by regional custom. Cousin marriage is proscribed and seen as incest for Hindus in north India. In fact it may even be unacceptable to marry within one’s village or for two siblings to marry partners from the same village but in south India it is common for Hindu’s to marry cross cousins, with matrilateral cross-cousin (mother’s brother’s daughter) marriages being especially favoured. In Mumbai, studies done in 1956 showed 7.7% of Hindus married to a second cousin or closer in contrast to the northern city of New Delhi where only 0.1% of Hindus were married to a first cousin during the 1980s.

India’s Muslim minority represents about 12% of its population (excluding Jammu and Kashmir) and has an overall rate of cousin marriage of 22% according to a 2000 report. Most Muslim cousin marriages were between first cousins with a rate of 20%.

United Kingdom

There has been a great deal of debate in the past few years in the United Kingdom about whether to discourage cousin marriages through government public relations campaigns or ban them entirely. The debate has been prompted by a Pakistani immigrant population making up 1.5% of the British population, of whom about 55% marry a first cousin. There is evidence that the rate of cousin marriage has increased among British Pakistanis from rates in their parents’ generation. Most British Pakistani marriages are arranged, but these can be of two types: conventionally arranged marriages where the bride and groom have little or no say, and what some British Pakistanis describe as “arranged love marriages” where the bride and groom play an important role.

Other regions

In the East, South Korea is especially restrictive with bans on marriage out to third cousins, with all couples having the same surname and region of origin having been prohibited from marrying until 1997. Taiwan, North Korea, and the Philippines also prohibit first-cousin marriage. It is allowed in Japan, though the incidence has declined in recent years. China has banned it since passing its 1981 Marriage Law, yet there is a conspicuous lack of data on actual cousin marriage rates there.

Recent 2001 data for Brazil indicates a rate of cousin marriage of 1.1%, down from 4.8% in 1957. For example, in São Paulo in the mid-19th century the rate of cousin marriage apparently was 16%, but a century later it was merely 1.9%.

Social aspects of cousin marriages

People may think that cousin marriages are more common among those of low socioeconomic status, among the illiterate and uneducated, and in rural areas due to the dowries and bridewealths that exist, but some societies also report a high prevalence among land-owning families and the ruling elite: here the relevant consideration is thought to be keeping the family estate intact over generations.

In South Asia, rising demands for dowry payments have caused economic hardship and have been linked to “dowry deaths” in a number of North Indian states. The increasing number of cousin marriages in the West may also occur as a result of immigration from Asia and Africa and some observers have concluded that the only new forces that could discourage such unions are government bans like the one China enacted in 1981.

Genetics

In April 2002, the Journal of Genetic Counseling released a report which estimated the average risk of birth defects in a child born of first cousins at 1.7–2.8% over an average base risk for non-cousin couples of 3%, or about the same as that of any woman over age 40. In terms of mortality, a 1994 study found a mean excess pre-reproductive mortality rate of 4.4%, while another study published in 2009 suggests the rate may be closer to 3.5%. Put differently, first-cousin marriage entails a similar increased risk of birth defects and mortality as a woman faces when she gives birth at age 41 rather than at 30. Critics argue that banning first-cousin marriages would make as much sense as trying to ban childbearing by older women.

In Pakistan, where there has been cousin marriage for generations and the current rate may exceed 50%, one study estimated infant mortality at 12.7 % for married double first cousins, 7.9 % for first cousins, 9.2 % for first cousins once removed/double second cousins, 6.9 % for second cousins, and 5.1 percent among nonconsanguineous progeny. Among double first cousin progeny, 41.2 % of prereproductive deaths were associated with the expression of detrimental recessive genes, with equivalent values of 26.0, 14.9, and 8.1 % for first cousins, first cousins once removed/double second cousins, and second cousins respectively.

For example because the entire Amish population is descended from only a few hundred 18th century German-Swiss settlers, the average coefficient of inbreeding between two random Amish is higher than between two non-Amish second cousins. First-cousin marriage is taboo among Amish but they still suffer from several rare genetic disorders. In Ohio’s Geagua County, Amish make up only about 10 % of the population but represent half the special needs cases. Similar disorders have been found in the highly polygamous FLDS, who do allow first-cousin marriage and of whom 75 to 80 % are related to two 1930s founders.

A BBC report reported about Pakistanis in Britain where 55% of whom had married a first cousin and many children come from repeat generations of first-cousin marriages. The report stated that these children were 13 times more likely than the general population to produce children with genetic disorders, and one in ten children of first-cousin marriages in Birmingham either died in infancy or would develop a serious disability. The BBC story contained an interview with Myra Ali, whose parents and grandparents were all first cousins. She has a very rare recessive genetic condition, known as Epidermolysis bullosa which will cause her to lead a life of extreme physical suffering, limited human contact and probably an early death from skin cancer. Knowing that cousin marriages increase the probability of recessive genetic conditions, she is against the practice. Finally, in 2010 the Telegraph reported that cousin marriage among the British Pakistani community resulted in 700 children being born every year with genetic disabilities.

The increased mortality and birth defects observed among British Pakistanis may, however, have another source besides current consanguinity. Genetic effects from cousin marriage in Britain are more obvious than in a developing country like Pakistan because the number of confounding environmental diseases is lower. Increased focus on genetic disease in developing countries may eventually result from progress in eliminating environmental diseases there as well.

Public Health in Norway published in March 2007 a research on intermarriage in Norway. The report identifies both the prevalence of intermarriage and the medical consequences for the children. The analysis was done on the basis of data from the Medical Birth Registry, Statistics Norway, Population Register and the Cause of Death Register of data for all persons born in Norway from 1967 to 2005 because Norway is the only country in the world that keeps the statistic numbers between the parents of all born babies. These were the key findings:

Prevalence of intermarriage:

  • In Norway, the most widespread intermarriage can be found among people of Pakistani origin. In first-generation immigrants from Pakistan intermarriage is 43.9% of all children born of parents who are cousins, and the total intermarriage ratio is 54.4%.
  • Among the descendants of first generation immigrants from Pakistan, the proportion of cousin pairs 35.1%, and the total intermarriage ratio 46.5%. Interbreeding units are therefore somewhat lower than in the parental generation.
  • Intermarriage-shares seem to be heading down in the Norwegian-Pakistani population, both first generation immigrants and descendants.
  • Intermarriage is relatively common also among people with origins from Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Sri Lanka, Morocco and Somalia.
  • For people of Norwegian origin, intermarriage is very rare, but it used to be more common a few decades back. This particularly applies to second cousin marriages. In those of Norwegian origin is 0.1% of parental pairs cousins ​​and second cousins ​​0.4% (in the period from 1967 to 2005).

Medical risks of intermarriage
Intermarriage leads to increased risk of stillbirth, infant death and congenital malformations. In addition, there is an increased risk of death right up to adulthood among children of intermarried parents.
For children of cousin marriage is the increase of risk in the following order:

  • Stillbirth: 60%
  • Deaths during the first year: 150%
  • Congenital malformations: 100%
  • Deaths from the age of one year and up to adulthood: 75%

These findings are statistically reliable, and not the result of random variation.

The significance of intermarriage for public health
Since intermarriage is rare in the population as a whole, intermarriage does little for public health in Norway, however, it is a major cause of illness and death among children in the country groups where intermarriage is common.
One must always bear in mind that most children of intermarriage, marriage is healthy and completely normal. Illness and death affects only a small minority of them.

Jewish communities affected by Tay-Sachs

Tay–Sachs disease (TSD, also known as GM2 gangliosidosis or Hexosaminidase A deficiency) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder. In its most common variant, known as infantile Tay–Sachs disease, it causes a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities that commences around 6 months of age and usually results in death by the age of 4. Tay-Sachs is caused by a genetic defect in a single gene with one defective copy of that gene inherited from each parent. The disease occurs when harmful quantities of gangliosides accumulate in the nerve cells of the brain, eventually leading to the premature death of those cells. There is currently no cure or treatment but the Tay–Sachs disease is rare.

Tay-Sachs disease was named after British ophthalmologist Warren Tay, who first described the red spot on the retina of the eye in 1881, and the American neurologist Bernard Sachs of Mount Sinai Hospital, New York who described the cellular changes of Tay-Sachs and noted an increased prevalence in the Eastern European Jewish (Ashkenazi) population in 1887. Research in the late 20th century demonstrated that Tay–Sachs disease is caused by a genetic mutation on the HEXA gene on chromosome 15. These mutations reach significant frequencies in several populations. French Canadians of southeastern Quebec have a carrier frequency similar to Ashkenazi Jews, but they carry a different mutation. Many Cajuns of southern Louisiana carry the same mutation that is most common in Ashkenazi Jews. Most HEXA mutations are rare, and do not occur in genetically isolated populations. The disease can potentially occur from the inheritance of two unrelated mutations in the HEXA gene.

Millions of Ashkenazi Jews have been screened as Tay-Sachs carriers since carrier testing began in 1971. Jewish communities, both in and outside of Israel, embraced the cause of genetic screening from the 1970s on and the increasing number of Tay–Sachs disease led Israel to become the first country to offer free genetic screening and counseling for all couples making Israel a leading center for research on genetic disease. Both the Jewish and Arab/Palestinian populations in Israel contain many ethnic and religious minority groups, and Israel’s initial success with Tay–Sachs disease has led to the development of screening programs for other diseases.

Tay-Sachs has sometimes created an impression that Jews are more susceptible to genetic disease than other populations. Sheila Rothman and Sherry Brandt-Rauf, of Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Society and Medicine, have criticized this emphasis on ethnic identity in the study of disease. When several breast cancer mutations were discovered in the 1990s, the TSD model was applied, both consciously and inadvertently. Researchers had initially focused on breast cancer cluster families, not on ethnic groups. But because thousands of stored DNA samples were available from Tay-Sachs screening, researchers were quickly able to estimate the frequency of newly discovered mutations in Ashkenazi Jewish populations.

Inbreeding in the Royal and Nobel families

The family relationships of royalty are usually well known to be highly inbreeded. Royal intermarriage was mostly practised to protect property, wealth, and position.

  • In ancient Egypt, royal women carried the bloodlines and so it was advantageous for a pharaoh to marry his sister or half-sister. Normally the old ruler’s eldest son and daughter (who could be either siblings or half-siblings) became the new rulers. All rulers of the Ptolemaic dynasty from Ptolemy II were married to their brothers and sisters, to keep the Ptolemaic blood “pure” and to strengthen the line of succession. Cleopatra VII (also called Cleopatra VI) and Ptolemy XIII, who married and became co-rulers of ancient Egypt following their father’s death, are the most widely known example of brother and sister marriage.

The family-tree of Charles II of Spain shows an extraordinary number of uncle-niece and cousin unions of varying degrees that can be seen on the picture.

Click at the picture for a larger image

  • Among European monarchies Jean V of Armagnac formed a rare brother-sister relationship. Also other royal houses, such as the Wittelsbachs had marriages among aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews. The British royal family had several marriages as close as the first cousin, but none closer.
  • The most famous example of a genetic disorder aggravated by royal family intermarriage was the House of Habsburg, which inmarried particularly often. Famous in this case is the Habsburg jaw/Habsburg lip/Austrian lip typical for many Habsburg relatives over a period of 6 centuries. The condition progressed through the generations to the point that the last of the Spanish Habsburgs, Charles II of Spain, could not properly chew his food.
  • Besides the jaw deformity, Charles II also had a huge number of other genetic physical, intellectual, sexual, and emotional problems. It is speculated that the simultaneous occurrence in Charles II of two different genetic disorders: combined pituitary hormone deficiency and distal renal tubular acidosis could explain most of the complex clinical profile of this king, including his impotence/infertility which in the last instance led to the extinction of the dynasty.
  • The most famous genetic disease that circulated among European royalty was haemophilia. Because the progenitor, Queen Victoria, was in a first cousin marriage, it is often mistakenly believed that the cause was consanguinity, however, this disease is generally not aggravated by cousin marriages, although rare cases of haemophilia in girls (though not including Victoria) are thought to result from the union of haemophilic men and their cousins.
  • Intermarriage within European royal families has declined in relation to the past. Inter-nobility marriage was used as a method of forming political alliances among elite power-brokers and these ties were often sealed only upon the birth of progeny within the arranged marriage. Marriage was seen as a union of lines of nobility, not of a contract between individuals as it is seen today.
  • Some Peruvian Sapa Incas married their sisters. The Inca had an unwritten rule that the new ruler must be a son of the Inca and his wife and sister. He then had to marry his sister (not half-sister), which ultimately led to the catastrophic Huáscar’s reign, culminating in a civil war and then fall of the empire.

Queen Victoria

Royal dyslexia
When we look at the Norwegian history, marriage between cousins was rare and attempted to be prohibited in 1687 but the exception was the royals. They married relatives to build alliances, and ensure values ​​and positions. It is not different from the today’s cousin marriages except the only difference was that the royal house had a stronger fundamental superstructure that was at the family’s superiority. Monarchical thinking assumes that your place in society is God-given and that your family is predetermined.

King Olav V and Queen Maud of Norway
To keep the heritage in their own hands, the Spanish Habsburgs started to marry more and more within the family. The result was that the lethal inbreeding within a few generations brought the male succession to destruction with 11 royal marriages in 200 years. 9 of these were intermarriages including two marriages between uncles and nieces and four between cousins. As a consequence of this, the Habsburgs suffered stillbirths and deaths of babies. Between 1527 and 1661 there was born 34 children and of these, 10 died before the age of 1 year. Another 17 died before the age of 10.

The Habsburgs last king, Carlos II, was born in 1661 and the Spaniards called him El hechizado, the enchanted. He had a large head and was relatively weak as a baby. He did not learn to speak before he turned four, and learned to walk when he was eight years old and stayed weak and very thin. His first and second wife claimed he was impotent and he would vomit and suffer from diarrhea. As a 30-year-old, King Carlos looked like he was an old man. He also couldn’t manage to bring an heir so the Halsburg Dynasty died with him in 1700.
Scientists have calculated that 25.4% of his gene variants were inherited in double dose and they believe he was hit by two genetic diseases that today are known as CPHD and distal renal tubular acidos (dRTA).

The Danish royal house was struggling with similar problems. Early in the 1800s did not King. Several diseases spread in the European royal houses of the 1800s and the British Queen Victoria’s descendants were affected by haemophilia resulting in her son Leopold death of the disease as 30-year-old. Her daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Alice brought the disease to the European royal houses.

Porphyria is another “royal disease” and the British king George III (1760 to 1820) was known as “Mad George” for his madness. Two professors of molecular genetics, Martin Warren and David Hunt of the University of London, examined in the book Purple Secret (1998) a thesis that George III’s illness was porphyria. They followed “Mad George” s genes down to today’s royals, and estimated that the Queen’s cousin William, who died in 1972, suffered from the disease. Also porphyria was brought further into the European royal families.
Norwegian Princess Astrid has been open to and told how she has experienced it to be dyslexic, like King Olaf was and the Princess’ five children also struggling with this problem.
In contrast, Swedish King Carl Gustaf, the Crown Princess Victoria and her brother Prince Carl Philip has been open with the disorder.

Swedish royal family

Camilla Stoltenberg of Public Health in Norway explains:
“If you inherit the gene from one parent, you may get a slight degree of the condition. Inherit it from both mother and father, the stronger the disposition, and then you can get a more serious disorder.” What then is the relationship between intermarriage and dyslexia?
“The chance that you get two identical copies of a gene is higher. This is also true for genes that predispose to dyslexia. And since dyslexia is probably conditioned by many genes, it is also a greater chance that you may have received two copies of several of the dysleksidisponerende genes,” she says.

Fatwa vs Reforms in Indian Muslim Society by Fahad Hussain

Start of war within:

When Indian got independence in 1947 leaders approached evry community to encourage them for their participation in forming proper national constitution. It was the time when few laws & reservations were passed on the demand & requirements of the specifc communities; in this race though suffered & torned apart by the partition Indian Muslim community was still confident that they will make it to the national liberty & will enjoy the social status which this community enjoying from centuries. The thought priviledged section of the Indian society was then started to diminish in environment of nationalism & economic development. Tied in the useless ideologies & reserved vains Muslims contibution to the nation fell drastically & were left behind in the race of community development. When the reforms were introduced it was felt that there will be a massive change in the Muslim society but to no avail. Sikhs improved, Jains Improved, Hindus were raised from their age old boundations of caste system, Christains improved, Buddhists who were just known of their monk culture & traditions were also moved ahead in the society but when nation looked towards its Muslim citizens they were struggling to survive & facing the threat of radicalization. Though every Indian citizen whether he or she has equal rights in the constitution the muslim society at large was never benefited from it. The reason for this is just because the system with in which neither the Islam recognise nor the society have enrooted the community as a whole which have not only affected the development of the Muslims in India but have also pushed them backward positioning them as the least productive society of India.

Muslim Dimise:

Indian constitution recognize the religious education & its system as per religious laws. In just 60 years millions of madarsas have sprunged up across India without having a proper strategy which can streamlined them with the national output, many religious Islamic centers have been formed, Three central universities were exclusively established but the condition remained the same & with little exception it further got deteriorated instead of growing. The major role in the demise of the Indian Muslim society was played by the clerics themselves as they have never accepted the reformed & an influential non muslim society & its culture. Every time they talk about the religious duties but what exactly the rights which Islam gives to its followers were never told clearly & specifically. The conditions now are such that even in centers of their religious sutdies like universities, madarsas, other centres hardly have proper scholars & professional efficiency rate like the education that is given in the madarsas hardly stands out as world requirement. The ideology they are taught about is not fully transparent rather its is more dark & short sighted consising the scholars in the dark world of fundamentalism. Whenever a society wants to move forward & there is a talk of upliftment especially for women their voices started sounding out from the corners of these institutions & the Fatwa is passed without any consideration of proper Sharia & the opinion of the society. They says women should not work, they should not go outside the household, girls education is not important but they never says that women should be uplifted in the society, women must be respected & allowed to work, children at any cost must be send to school, abortions are not allowed, divorces must be prevented, jobless youths should get to work; they never fight against the odds of polygamy which though allowed but on certain rightfull conditions under sharia but now a days has become a way to get more bodily pleasure. Due to their blind perceptions the Islamic society in India has now been divided into many factions or radical school of thoughts having specific ideologies & false histrical proofs. The contidion of Indian Muslim society is deteriorated to such an extent that only 14% of muslims women contributes to the work force in the muslim society national figure is much less even lesser than the other religions, there are only 6% muslims who are qualified enough are working in the public departments. With 34% of the contibution in the national population muslims economic contirbution is hardly 5% in the national GDP. Non of the muslim politician after 1970s has made to better political ministeries. Confined to & oftenly related to their torned vains of Pakistan, muslims just because of their low self esteemed & un acceptable care less perceptions are now being discriminated & are linked to foreign spying agnecies. This has also resulted into a various restructions in their beureucratic promotions & posistional restrictions in the institutions such as like Secret services, Armed Forces, Politics as well as in Private sector too. There is a need of proper social reforms in the Indian Muslim society where every member of it can move & stand shoulder to shoulder with others contributers. The centres of muslim education must be streamlined with the national education system. There is also need of reforms in the clerical system in India where clerics must know about the actual situation of the society & must take decision in more familiar & peaceful manner. Women in Islam always enjoyed the liberty & respect as well as in Indian society too whose law & contitution’s portion also considers & practice many sharia laws & its system exclusively for Muslim society. It is the only constitution in the world which have sections & articles & laws compatible to all the religions.  Fatwa order must be respected & circumstancial position of the society must be understand properly before issuing it. It should not be issued just in case or on the bases of personal opinion but rather it should be issued with the proper consideration of sharia & the local laws which too are compatible with the Islamic Sharia here.

India is a host of many great islamic institutions like for example: Aligarh Muslim University (Asia’s Largest & India’s Oldest Central University), Osmania University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Dar Ul Uloom – Deoband (world’s second largest islamic madarsa & university), Centre & Head Quarters of Bareillvi School of thought – Bareilly, Centre & Head Quarters of Jamait E Islami, Islamic Centre of India, Islamic Research Foundation – India. India is also a host of world’s biggest Waqf Board & has separate Ministry of Hajj. There are also several big deemed universities dedicated to Muslim minority but also exclusively for Islamic education.

World News Headlines of March 28

YSR’s brother slaps MLA during Andhra assembly session

HYDERABAD: In perhaps the first time in the history of Indian legislature, a minister in the AP government slapped an opposition MLA right in the assembly minutes after the house met for the day. The minister in question is Y S Vivekananda Reddy, the brother of former…

Shot man an earthquake refugee

Did you see the shooting? A man shot dead in an armed stand-off with police was an only child who had moved to Napier to escape the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake. Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, of Flaxmere in Hastings, was shot by an officer with a standard issue Glock pistol in Fernhill, about 15km from Napier, around 1.30am and died in hospital about 3am. Police said Mr Kelly-Tumarae had presented a shotgun at police officers in both Maraenui and at Fernhill. Early reports were that he had fired his weapon before he was shot, eastern district commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle said. James Tumarae, the uncle of Mr Kelly-Tumarae, said…

Bomb in Sunday newspaper injures Vacaville man

VACAVILLE — An elderly Vacaville man retrieving his newspaper this morning was severely injured when explosives packed inside the paper blew up in his hands, city officials said….

One by one, the milestones on the road to Tripoli are falling

The last time the rebels made it as far west as Bin Jawad, it ended in disaster: their fighters ran into a murderous ambush, lost 70 men, and were forced into a terrifying retreat that nearly ended their campaign. But yesterday, after a stunning sweep across the territory for which they have fought so hard and for so long, they were back. This time, with Western air power destroying almost all that is left of the regime’s armour and artillery, the mood was very different. The rebels’ eyes were cast towards Sirte, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s birthplace and the centre of loyalist resistance.

Turkey offers to broker Libya ceasefire as rebels advance on Sirte

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan challenges western direct action and says prolonged conflict could lead to a ‘second Iraq’ Libyan rebels outside Ras Lanouf: The Turkish prime minister urged that ‘we have to bring an end’ to the civil war. Photograph: Anja Niedringhaus/AP The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signalled that Turkey is ready to act as a mediator to broker an early ceasefire in Libya, as he warned that a drawn-out conflict risked turning the country into a “second Iraq” or “another Afghanistan” with devastating repercussions both for Libya and the Nato states leading the intervention….

Libya revolt: Advancing rebels capture oil town Brega

Libyan rebels have recaptured two more towns after re-taking the port of Ajdabiya from Muammar Gaddafi’s forces. They have seized the eastern coastal towns of Brega and Ujala without a fight and say they are moving towards the heartland of Col Gaddafi’s support. Rebel fighters also say they now control the key oil town of Ras Lanuf, but this has not been…

Crash in Boston’s Sumner Tunnel kills 1 person

BOSTON – A vehicle crash in a Boston tunnel has left one person dead. Massachusetts state police say the one-vehicle crash happened…

Western air strikes turn tide back in rebel favour

RUADH N Mac CORMAIC in Paris LIBYA:LIBYAN REBELS regained the initiative over Muammar Gadafy’s forces yesterday, pushing further west with the help of western air strikes and recapturing towns abandoned by retreating government soldiers. Opposition forces were in control of all the main oil terminals in the eastern half of Libya last night. They had retaken Ajdabiya, Brega and Ben Jawwad, the westernmost point the rebels had reached in early March before they were pushed back by Col Gadafy’s better-equipped forces to their stronghold of Benghazi.

 

Important Events on March 28

March 28: Teachers’ Day in the Czech Republic; Serfs Emancipation Day in Tibet

Three Mile Island nuclear power plant

  • 193 – Praetorian Guards assassinated Roman Emperor Pertinax and sold the throne in an auction to Didius Julianus.
  • 1802 – German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers discovered 2 Pallas, the second asteroid known to man.
  • 1942 – World War II: In occupied France, British naval forces successfully disabled the key port of Saint-Nazaire.
  • 1979 – A partial core meltdown of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (pictured) near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S., resulted in the release of an estimated 43,000 curies (1.59 PBq) of radioactive krypton to the environment.
  • 2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In a friendly fire incident, two members of the United States Air Force attacked the United Kingdom’s Blues and Royals of the Household Cavalry, killing one and injuring five British soldiers.

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