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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.

Powerful men in red

Clothing and color choices are strongly connected together, and it is a striking correlation between red garments and power.

Like women, men do also follow the cultural codes that come with the situation and certain patterns and colors as well. A book written by a Swedish professor distinguishes between; money power, physical power and beauty of power.
At the beginning of the 2000s we saw clearly how men would belong to the cultural elite which are knowledge power, dressed in full black and often with a polo shirt to focus on the face and so used the 1600s professors, and many other scholars to do. They dressed because they were men without body, just brains. So why is it so important for men to show that they have power? Maybe because it is linked to masculinity and that power is defined as male.

The red tie

The Norwegian PM chooses often to wear a red tie. Probably not only because he is socio democrat as even the Swedish PM who is conservative often wears a red tie. George W. Bush had very often a red tie, and he was definitely not a socialist. Some studies shows and indicates that today’s top politicians often wear a red tie, and especially when they want to show that they have the power by a political meeting or when they will emerge with particular gravity, for example on TV. They express power to act with his red tie.

 

So why does red sig­nal rank? The au­thors see both cul­ture and bi­ol­o­gy at work. In human so­ci­eties across the globe, red tra­di­tion­ally has been part of the re­ga­lia of the rich and pow­er­ful.  Along with this learn­ed as­socia­t­ion be­tween red and sta­tus, the au­thors point to bi­o­log­i­cal roots of human be­hav­ior. In non-human pri­ma­tes, like ma­ndrills and ge­la­da ba­boons, red is an in­di­ca­tor of male dom­i­nance and is ex­pressed most in­tensely in al­pha ma­les. Females of these spe­cies mate more of­ten with al­pha ma­les, who in turn pro­vide pro­tec­tion and re­sources.

“When wom­en see red it trig­gers some­thing deep and probably bi­o­log­ic­ally en­grained,” said El­li­ot. “We say in our cul­ture that men act like an­i­mals in the sex­u­al realm. It looks like wom­en may be act­ing like an­i­mals as well in the same sort of way.”

Historical view of the color red

If we travel back in time, we can see that in the Middle Ages and renaissance, it was very common and important to demonstrate masculinity through the color and clothing. And as for the nobles and royals there was only one color; RED.

The Duke of Urbino – one of Machiavelli’s favorite princes would wear red from head to toe when he was pictured. Red was also an obvious choice in the Catholic Church’s powerful cardinals and Napoleon used red when he was on the top of his career as emperor. An­cient Chi­na, Ja­pan and sub-Saharan Af­ri­ca all used the vi­brant tint to con­vey pros­per­ity and sta­tus. An­cient Rome’s elite were lit­er­ally called “the ones who wear red.” Even to­day, the au­thors note, busi­ness­men wear a red tie to de­note con­fi­dence, while celebr­i­ties and dig­ni­tar­ies are fet­ed by “rolling out the red car­pet.”

Women that time preferred brown, beige, pale pink, pale green and other pastel colors. But the 1800s marked the end of the color party and men went from being peacocks to gray and black sparrows and red became the color for women and children.

Studies in University of Rochester

Studies made by researchers at the University of Rochester found out that men wearing the color red become more attractive to the woman who is unaware of this color effect. “We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it’s this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction,” Professor Elliot said.

The researchers found that the red effect was limited to status and romance as red made the man seem more powerful, attractive, and sexually desirable, but did not make the man seem more likable, kind, or sociable. The effect was consistent across cultures: undergraduates in the United States, England, Germany, and China all found men more attractive when wearing or bordered by red and the effect was limited to women. When males were asked to rate the attractiveness of a pictured male, color made no difference in their responses. In earlier work, Elliot documented that men are more attracted to women in red but the red effect depends on the context.

The same effect goes for the red neckties. As red is a very powerful color and when it is matched properly it will create a more powerful image allowing you to look like you are in authority and power. Most guys wearing red ties are those guys that are oozing with self-confidence and self-esteem. Red represents powerful sensations such as influence, confidence and even strong secrets even adventurous personalities rarely use red for their neckties.

If you want to match red neckties with shirt, go for the safest which is white. When it is worn on a white background, it will create an enigmatic look and irresistible attractiveness. Some men tend to avoid using neckties that are colored red especially when it simply does not represent the kind of personality that they want to project. Subtle personalities will shy away from red because it is not their color. But, if you want to create a more powerful look for your next corporate event and you are dressed to impress then red ties, black suit and white shirt would be the best outfit for you.

Research done by Daniela Niesta Kayer, University of Rochester; Tobias Greitemeyer, University of Innsbruck; Stephanie Lichtenfeld, University of Munich; Richard H. Gramzow, University of Southampton; Markus A. Maier, University of Munich; and Huijun Liu, Tainjin Medical University.

The research was funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and an Excellence Guest Professorship at the University of Munich.

University of Rochester

World News Headlines of March 27

The war in Libya: Nato decides how far it wants to go

Nato’s governing body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC), is meeting today in Brussels to decide how deeply it is willing to be drawn into the Libyan conflict. Washington is very keen to hand over this chalice in time for Hillary Clinton and Bob Gates to go on the Sunday morning talk shows and tell the nation that Libya is not longer America’s…

Radioactivity soars in Japan reactor

Radiation at a hobbled nuclear plant in Japan was 10 million times more than normal, officials said. Workers were evacuated on Sunday from the reactor building in Fukushima to prevent exposure, the plant’s operator said. The high radiation levels were detected at reactor number 2 in water that had accumulated in the turbine housing…

Syrian protesters target Baath Party offices

Protesters and Syrian security forces have clashed in the coastal city of Latakia, where mourners attending a funeral set fire to the local Baath Party building and a police station. There were witness reports of Syrian security forces firing tear gas on several hundred protesters who staged a silent sit-in near a mosque in the southern city of…

Latest World News

A peaceful protest. The inevitable aftermath The Independent

Libyan rebels take back oil towns of Brega and Ras Lanuf in westward push The Guardian

Japan land 1-2 in world’s richest race Khaleej Times

Libya revolt: Advancing rebels capture oil town Brega BBC News

Old agents rally around corrupt, murderous ex-colleague John Connolly Boston Herald

Our child alcoholics NZ Herald

Gilani accepts PM’s invitation to watch Indo-Pak semifinal The Times of India

Slides force evacuation in San Pablo San Fransisco Chronicle

Important Events on March 27

March 27: Tatmadaw Day in Burma

1782 – Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, a leading British Whig Party statesman, began his second non-consecutive term as Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1884 – Outraged by a jury’s decision to convict a man of manslaughter instead of murder, a mob in Cincinnati, Ohio, US, began three days of rioting.
1958 – Nikita Khrushchev (pictured) became Premier of the Soviet Union following the death of Joseph Stalin.
1975 – Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, an oil pipeline spanning the length of the U.S. state of Alaska, began.
1981 – The Solidarity movement in Poland staged a warning strike, the biggest strike in the history of the Eastern Bloc, in which at least 12 million Poles walked off their jobs for four hours.
2009 – The dam holding Situ Gintung, an artificial lake in Tangerang District, Indonesia, failed, releasing floods that killed at least 100 people.

Akbar the Great ate Cheetah the Great (Indian Cheetah)

Cheetah which once roamed freely across Asia is now only found in less than hundred found now only in Iran’s central desert with few sightings in Baluchistan – Pakistan. The head and body of the adult Asiatic Cheetah measure from 112 to 135 cm with a tail length between 66 and 84 cm. It can weigh from 34 to 54 kg, but the male is slightly larger than the female. Cheetah is the only specie which become extinct in India in last 100 years.

Percept as the trophy hunter for black buck & gazelle hunting. At one time Mughal Emperor Akbar used to had 1000 Indian Cheetahs as pets used mostly for his hunting expeditions, its depiction can be seen in paintings & miniatures of mediaeval era.  Hunted for passion & driven near to extinction also because of the habitat loss & conversion of grasslands into farm lands. The survival rate is also low as there the fertility is very low & infant mortality rate is high, captive breeding has never been successful of Cheetahs worldwide & has never been attempted for Asiatic Cheetah.  Cheetah’s presence in India known to have from many centuries, its name was derived from Sanskrit word chitraka.

The last three Indian Cheetahs were shot in 1947 in Sarguja Madhya Pradesh – India by Maharaja Ramanuj Pratap Singh Deo.

Indian Cheetah used to prey on black bucks, nilgai, hare, spotted dear, sambar.

The Rewilding Program: Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has initiated a program for re introducing Asiatic Cheetah in India under captive breeding program but the vets are concerned & has warned about the gene pool disaster as the pure gene pool is limited & lacks the fertility ration due to the near extinction numbers.      

World News Headlines of March 26

At least 1 million flee violence from Ivory Coast standoff

DAKAR, Senegal — As many as 1 million people have fled their homes in Ivory Coast’s main city, Abidjan, to escape the increasing violence and collapsing economy stemming from the nation’s political crisis, the United Nations said Friday. Daily gunfire spurred by Laurent Gbagbo’s efforts to stay in power after losing a presidential election in…

Japan crisis: nuclear workers exposed to 10,000 times more radiation than normal
Concerns over the extent of radioactive contamination in Japan deepened after it emerged that three workers admitted to hospital this week were exposed to radiation levels 10,000 times higher than normal This photo, taken on 11 March and released on 23 March, shows waves forming in the sea after the tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant…

Yemen’s Saleh says willing to quit under conditions
SANAA (Reuters) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Friday he was ready to cede power to prevent more bloodshed in Yemen but only to what he called “safe hands” as a massive “Day of Departure” street protest against him began. Western countries are alarmed that al Qaeda militants entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula country…

Deal set for NATO to lead Libya ‘no-fly ‘ mission
WASHINGTON – NATO will assume leadership from the United States of patrolling the skies over Libya, but the military alliance remains divided over who will command aggressive coalition airstrikes on Moammar Khadafy’s ground troops, NATO and US officials said yesterday. After a day of confusion and conflicting reports out of NATO headquarters in…

Death of the Hired Man and American Worker
Correspondent Dallas Darling. In Robert Frost’s dramatic poem “The Death of the Hired Man,” one dim night Mary informs her husband Warren (both of whom own and live on a farm), that Silas, a seasonal and elderly hired hand, has returned and is searching for work. Warren does not find Silas very useful or dependable. He believes…

Egypt’s revolutionaries say abusive treatment persists
Egypt: Revolution in doubt? Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — “Where is the revolution going, the revolution that began in Tahrir Square?” asked a short brunette holding a microphone. “What happened to the revolution we created?” Human rights lawyer Ragia Omran repeated the question before a crowd of activists, concerned citizens and politicians from parties…

Video shows police in Manaus, Brazil, shooting teenage boy
FIVE police officers have been detained after Brazilian television released amateur video that shows officers repeatedly shooting a 14-year-old boy. The boy survived but was seriously…

Latest World News

Important Events on March 26

March 26: Independence Day in Bangladesh (1971); Earth Hour (20:30 local time in various areas, 2011)

Dr Jonas Salk prepares an injection of his polio vaccine

  • 1830 – The Book of Mormon, the defining sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement, was first published.
  • 1953 – Jonas Salk (pictured) announced the successful test of his polio vaccine on a small group of adults and children.
  • 1974 – A group of peasant women in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, India, used their bodies to surround trees in order to prevent loggers from felling them, giving rise to the Chipko movement.
  • 1979 – By signing the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty, Egypt became the first Arab country to officially recognize Israel.
  • 2010 – An explosion allegedly caused by a North Korean torpedo sank the South Korean warship ROKS Cheonan, killing 46 sailors.

Elizabeth Taylor – an Era by gone

The actress Elizabeth Taylor was buried yesterday, the day after she died of heart failure.

Around 40 of the actor’s family members and friends were present during the funeral, according to The Guardian. The ceremony began 15 minutes late. This was to fulfill the actor’s last wish as she wanted to be late for her own funeral said Sally Morrison, Taylor’s spokeswomen.
Actor Colin Farell read poetry and grandchildren Taylor performed “Amazing Graze” on trumpet at the private ceremony.

Taylor, who was married 8 times, converted to Judaism before she married Eddie Fisher in 1959 and Jewish custom requires that the funeral will take place within 48 hours after death. The actress is now buried in a mausoleum in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles, the same place as her good friend Michael Jackson is buried.
According to Fox News is also the graveyard the final resting place for stars like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, WC Firelds, Walt Disney and Nat King Cole.

World News Headlines of March 25

Deal set for NATO to lead Libya ‘no-fly ‘ mission

WASHINGTON – NATO will assume leadership from the United States of patrolling the skies over Libya, but the military alliance remains divided over who will command aggressive coalition airstrikes on Moammar Khadafy’s ground troops, NATO and US officials said yesterday. After a day of confusion and conflicting reports out of NATO headquarters in…

Egypt’s revolutionaries say abusive treatment persists

Egypt: Revolution in doubt? Cairo, Egypt (CNN) — “Where is the revolution going, the revolution that began in Tahrir Square?” asked a short brunette holding a microphone. “What happened to the revolution we created?” Human rights lawyer Ragia Omran repeated the question before a crowd of activists, concerned citizens and politicians from parties…

Video shows police in Manaus, Brazil, shooting teenage boy

FIVE police officers have been detained after Brazilian television released amateur video that shows officers repeatedly shooting a 14-year-old boy. The boy survived but was seriously…

BP’s deal with Rosneft on the verge of collapse

BP’s controversial $16bn share swap and arctic exploration deal with Russia’s Rosneft was thrown into disarray last night, with an independent arbitration panel ruling it could not go ahead. The ruling dealt a potentially fatal blow to BP’s most ambitious attempt to move beyond the crisis of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year.

NATO countries to enforce Libya no-fly zone

NATO countries have agreed to enforce a no-fly zone in Libya “to protect civilians” against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters. He said the military alliance’s mandate did not go beyond the no-fly zone but NATO could also act in self-defence.

Syria: President offers freedoms after forces kill 37

Deraa: President Bashar al-Assad made an unprecedented pledge of greater freedom and more prosperity to Syrians Thursday as anger mounted following a crackdown on protesters that left at least 37 dead. As an aide to Assad in Damascus read out a list of decrees, which included a possible end to 48 years of emergency rule, a human rights group said a…

Ex-Ukraine President Charged

Associated Press KIEV, Ukraine—Former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said he has been charged in the brutal slaying of an…

Portugal, Ireland woes dominate EU summit

BRUSSELS (AP) — Portugal’s political crisis and uncertainty over the true scale of problems at Irish banks dominated a summit of European Union leaders that was designed to finally put an end to the region’s crippling debt crisis. The summit was going to be the day for EU leaders to give their final approval to the overhaul of their crisis…

Workers suffer radiation poisoning

TWO emergency workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have been admitted to hospital suffering from radiation injuries….

Latest World News

 

Important Events on March 25

March 25: Feast of the Annunciation in Christianity; Independence Day in Greece (1821)

Church of San Giacomo di Rialto, Venice

  • 421 – According to legend, the city of Venice (in modern Italy) was founded exactly at the stroke of noon with the dedication of the first church, that of San Giacomo (pictured) at the islet of Rialto.
  • 1821 – Metropolitan Germanos of Patras raised the Greek flag in the Monastery of Agia Lavra to symbolically mark the beginning of the Greek War of Independence.
  • 1911 – The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed more than 140 garment workers, many of whom could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits.
  • 1949 – The Soviet Union began mass deportations of over 90,000 people from the Baltic states to Siberia.
  • 1975 – King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was shot and killed by his nephew Faisal bin Musa’id.

International World Tuberculosis Day, 24th March

24th March every year is the World Tuberculosis day designed to spread awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease. Today, this disease causes the deaths of about 1,6 million people each year, mostly in the third world.

The reason that it is on 24th March is because the day commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, the TB Bacillus. By the time of the announcement in Berlin, Europe and Americas was already being raged by the TB-virus causing the death of every one out of seven people.

In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of Robert Koch’s presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that March 24th would be proclaimed as an official World TB Day.

Signs and symptoms

Click at the picture for a larger image

When the disease becomes active in the human body, 75% of the cases are pulmonary TB, that is, TB in the lungs. The symptoms include; chest pain, coughing up blood, and a productive, prolonged cough for more than three weeks. Systemic symptoms include fever, chills, night sweats, appetite loss, weight loss, pallor, and fatigue. Tuberculosis also has a specific odour attached to it; this has led to trained animals being used to vet samples as a method of early detection.

In the other 25% of active cases, the infection moves from the lungs, causing other kinds of TB, collectively denoted extra pulmonary tuberculosis. This occurs more commonly in immunosuppressed persons and young children. Extra pulmonary infection sites include the pleura in tuberculosis pleurisy, the central nervous system in meningitis, the lymphatic system in scrofula of the neck, the genitourinary system in urogenital tuberculosis, and bones and joints in Pott’s disease of the spine.

Causes

The cause of TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), is a small aerobic non-motile bacillus. High lipid content of this pathogen accounts for many of its unique clinical characteristics. It divides every 16 to 20 hours, an extremely slow rate compared with other bacteria, which usually divide in less than an hour.

Epidemiology

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A third of the world’s population has been infected with M. tuberculosis, and new infections occur at a rate of one per second. However, not all infections with M. tuberculosis cause TB disease and many infections are asymptomatic. In 2007, an estimated 13.7 million people had active TB disease, with 9.3 million new cases and 1.8 million deaths; the annual incidence rate varied from 363 per 100,000 in Africa to 32 per 100,000 in the Americas. Tuberculosis is the world’s greatest infectious killer of women of reproductive age and the leading cause of death among people with HIV/AIDS.

In 2007, the country with the highest estimated incidence rate of TB was Swaziland, with 1200 cases per 100,000 people. India had the largest total incidence, with an estimated 2.0 million new cases. The Philippines ranks fourth in the world for the number of cases of tuberculosis and has the highest number of cases per head in Southeast Asia. Almost two thirds of Filipinos have tuberculosis, and up to an additional five million people are infected yearly. In developed countries, tuberculosis is less common and is mainly an urban disease. In the United Kingdom, the national average was 15 per 100,000 in 2007, and the highest incidence rates in Western Europe were 30 per 100,000 in Portugal and Spain. These rates compared with 98 per 100,000 in China and 48 per 100,000 in Brazil. In the United States, the overall tuberculosis case rate was 4 per 100,000 persons in 2007. In Canada tuberculosis is still endemic in some rural areas. The incidence of TB varies with age. In Africa, TB primarily affects adolescents and young adults, however, in countries where TB has gone from high to low incidence, such as the United States, it is mainly a disease of elder people, or of the immunocopromised.

What are the main causes of TB?

There are a number of known factors that make people more susceptible to TB infection such as HIV. Co-infection with HIV is a particular problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, due to the high incidence of HIV in these countries. Smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day also increases the risk of TB by two to four times. Diabetes mellitus is also an important risk factor that is growing in importance in developing countries. Other disease states that increase the risk of developing tuberculosis are Hodgkin lymphoma, end-stage renal disease, chronic lung disease, malnutrition, and alcoholism.

Diet may also modulate risk. For example, among immigrants in London from the Indian subcontinent, vegetarian Hindu Asians were found to have an 8.5 fold increased risk of tuberculosis, compared to Muslims who ate meat and fish daily. Although a causal link is not proved by this data, this increased risk could be caused by micronutrient deficiencies: possibly iron, vitamin B12 or vitamin D. Further studies have provided more evidence of a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of contracting tuberculosis. Globally, the severe malnutrition common in parts of the developing world causes a large increase in the risk of developing active tuberculosis, due to its damaging effects on the immune system. Along with overcrowding, poor nutrition may contribute to the strong link observed between tuberculosis and poverty.

Prisoners, especially in poor countries, are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB. Prisons provide conditions that allow TB to spread rapidly, due to overcrowding, poor nutrition and a lack of health services. Since the early 1990s, TB outbreaks have been reported in prisons in many countries in Eastern Europe. The prevalence of TB in prisons is much higher than among the general population, in some countries as much as 40 times higher.

Robert Koch

Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch (11 December 1843 – 27 May 1910) was a Prussian physician. He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the Tuberculosis bacillus (1882) and the Vibrio cholerae (1883) and for his development of Koch’s postulates. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his tuberculosis findings in 1905 and considered one of the founders of microbiology,

Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch was born in Clausthal, Prussia one of the German states as the son of a mining official. He studied medicine under Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle at the University of Göttingen and graduated in 1866. He then served in the Franco-Prussian War and later became district medical officer, Wollstein (Wolsztyn), Prussian Poland. Working with very limited resources, he became one of the founders of bacteriology, the other major figure being Louis Pasteur. After Casimir Davaine showed the direct transmission of the anthrax bacillus between cows, Koch studied anthrax more closely. He invented methods to purify the bacillus from blood samples and grow pure cultures. He found that, while it could not survive outside a host for long, anthrax built persisting endospores that could last a long time. These endospores, embedded in soil, were the cause of unexplained “spontaneous” outbreaks of anthrax. Koch published his findings in 1876, and was rewarded with a job at the Imperial Health Office in Berlin in 1880. In 1881, he urged the sterilization of surgical instruments using heat.

In Berlin, he improved the methods he used in Wollstein, including staining and purification techniques, and bacterial growth media, including agar plates (thanks to the advice of Angelina and Walther Hesse) and the Petri dish, named after its inventor, his assistant Julius Richard Petri and these devices are still used today. With these techniques, he was able to discover the bacterium causing tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in 1882 (he announced the discovery on 24 March). Tuberculosis was the cause of one in seven deaths in the mid-19th century.

In 1885, he became professor of hygiene at the University of Berlin, then in 1891 he was made Honorary Professor of the medical faculty and Director of the new Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases (eventually renamed as the Robert Koch Institute), a position from which he resigned in 1904. He started traveling around the world, studying diseases in South Africa, India, and Java. He visited what is now called the Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), Mukteshwar on request of the then Government of India to investigate on cattle plague. The microscope used by him during that period was kept in the museum maintained by IVRI. Probably as important as his work on tuberculosis, for which he was awarded a Nobel Prize (1905), are Koch’s postulates, which say that to establish that an organism is the cause of a disease, it must be:

  • found in all cases of the disease examined
  • prepared and maintained in a pure culture
  • capable of producing the original infection, even after several generations in culture
  • Retrievable from an inoculated animal and cultured again.

Koch’s pupils found the organisms responsible for diphtheria, typhoid, pneumonia, gonorrhoea, cerebrospinal meningitis, leprosy, bubonic plague, tetanus, and syphilis, among others, by using his methods.

Robert Koch died on 27 May 1910 from a heart-attack in Baden-Baden, aged 66.

Source info; Wikipedia

NATO – Deterrent of Unification

Overview:

After World War II the shadow of another possible war now looming over the sky which if comes into picture the enemy at the gates will bang it will full lightening; the name of that shadow was Cold War era which started immediately after the much daunted D-Day. The fear of Soviet invasion was irresistible as after the war more than half of the Europe was under communist control & influence. So the Western European countries of UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands & Luxembourg signed the Treaty of Brussels on 17th March 1948 which is considered as the precursor of NATO.  But in order to counter balance the power of Soviet Union participation of US was necessary, so the talks to form new alliance started immediately after it. These talks resulted into the formation of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation on 4th April 1949 with the signing of North Atlantic Treaty in Washington D.C which increased the horizon of a complete military alliance including the members of Treaty of Brussels & new members the US, Canada, Italy, Iceland, Portugal, Norway & Denmark with its headquarters based in Belgium with its Parliament General Assembly which meets at an Annual Session.  But the first few years of its formation were full of crisis as the influence of US was a major concern in the organisation which resulted into French withdrawal from NATO & development of French nuclear deterrent. With the start of Korean War NATO galvanised its military structure under the command of US Marines. However after the formation of Warsaw Pact by the Eastern Bloc, NATO started developing its standardization program for its arsenal systems.   The reason for its non involvement in Falkland War was that since its formation & as its name suggest that NATO always want to limit itself above the Tropic of Cancer so, since the southern hemisphere is not under its operational limit NATO kept itself out of that.

Post Cold War: After the collapse of USSR & the German reunification in 1990 NATO has increased its member states & limits which has now crossed the borders after the Prague summit of 2002 held for the first time in the Eastern Bloc country which enlarged its horizon by including Albania, Croatia, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Mauritania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania has been brought under the NATO umbrella while Ukraine & Georgia were told that they will be included as a prominent members. The inclusion of these states irked Russia who has now threatened NATO of withdrawing from CTE which was signed between RUSSIA & NATO as a peace agreement due to the posting of US anti missile defence system which as per Russia’s concern will trigger a new arms race in the region. The first NATO intervention was in 1995 bombings of Bosnia & Herzegovina and in 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia. With the inclusion of Turkey, Spain & Greece NATO now controls almost all the bordering points with Russia.

Post 9/11 Terror Attacks:  caused NATO to invoke Article 5 of the NATO Charter for the first time in its history. The Article says that an attack on any member shall be considered to be an attack on all with invocation of its Article 5 NATO invaded Afghanistan in 2001 & consequently invading Iraq in 2002 under its military force command of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Groups under NATO:

EURO – Atlantic Partnership,

Individual Partnership Action Plans,

Contact Countries

2008-2009 Recession: NATO which has 70% of total world’s defence budget announced huge budget cuts due to the economic meltdown in the majority stake holding countries of US & Western Europe Which accounts 43% by the US alone & the 15% by UK, France & Germany.

Future Enlargement plans of NATO are for Asia to confront China’s rise & the nuclear crisis of North Korea, Iran, Burma, Pakistan & Syria.

World News Headlines of March 24

NATO still split on taking over Libya operation

BRUSSELS – NATO failed again to agree on Wednesday on taking over command of military operations against Muammar Gaddafi’s forces in Libya from the United States, chiefly due to Turkish reservations. After ambassadors of the 28-nation NATO alliance ended a third day of wrangling in Brussels without a deal, one senior NATO diplomat said: “No…

Yemeni president offers early elections

Yemen’s president has offered to hold parliamentary and presidential elections before the end of the year, in his latest attempt to appease protesters calling on him to step down. “At this historic moment Yemen needs wisdom to avoid slipping into violence … that would destroy gains and leave the country facing a dangerous fate,” Ali Abdullah…

Dissidents’ release draws line under Cuba crackdown

The Cuban government has freed the last two political prisoners detained during a major crackdown on opposition activists in 2003. Felix Navarro, 57, was a teacher and political activist; 40-year-old Jose Ferrer a fisherman and member of one of the opposition movements. They were serving 25-year jail terms and considered prisoners of conscience by…

Syria crackdown on protests continues; 15 killed

Security forces raided a mosque in the city of Dara where demonstrators had sought shelter, witnesses say. The government says it stepped in only after a doctor and two others were killed by armed groups….

Portugal PM resigns after parliament rejected new austerity plan

PORTUGAL’S Prime Minister Jose Socrates tendered his resignation today after parliament rejected a new government austerity plan, greatly…

Jerusalem bomb: Benjamin Netanyahu in security pledge

Israel’s prime minister has pledged to act “aggressively and responsibly” to restore security after a bomb exploded at a bus stop in central Jerusalem. One person was killed and more than 30 others were injured after the blast at a crowded bus stop in Jerusalem….

Gates visits Egypt to take stock of democratic transition

Following US Secretary Clinton’s visit to Egypt last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates arrived unannounced in Egypt today to hold talks with Egypt’s interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, as well as meet with his counterpart, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi. Upon arrival, Secretary Gates was greeted by Egyptian Maj. Gen. Hassan al-Roueini,…

Blast Strikes Outside Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station

JERUSALEM — A small device exploded outside Jerusalem’s central bus station on Wednesday, leaving at least 12 injured, according to Israeli emergency services. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the bomb was strapped to a telephone poll near the stop, located outside the International Convention Center and across from the central…

West will end in ‘dustbin of history’, Gaddafi says

Western powers attacking Libya will end up in the dustbin of history, Muammar Gaddafi said as his troops held back poorly equipped rebel forces despite four nights of coalition air strikes. While Western air power has grounded Gaddafi’s warplanes and pushed back his forces from the brink of rebel stronghold Benghazi, disorganised and poorly…

Portugal bail-out looms as government nears collapse

Portugal’s opposition parties have withdrawn their support for austerity policies that may lead to the Lisbon government’s collapse on Wednesday. The government’s expected defeat in a parliamentary vote is likely to trigger an international financial rescue.

Latest World News

 

Important Events on March 24

March 24: Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice in Argentina

Scanning electron micrograph of Mycobacterium tuberculosis cells

  • 1603 – After Queen Elizabeth I died at Richmond Palace, King James VI of Scotland acceded to the throne of England, Wales and Ireland, becoming James I of England and unifying the crowns of the four kingdoms for the first time.
  • 1869 – The last of Māori leader Titokowaru’s forces surrendered to the New Zealand government, ending his uprising.
  • 1882 – German physician Robert Koch announced the discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (pictured), a bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
  • 1980 – One day after giving a sermon in which he made a plea to Salvadoran soldiers to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights, Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while celebrating Mass in San Salvador.
  • 2008 – The Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, led by Jigme Thinley, won 45 out of 47 seats in the National Assembly of Bhutan in the country’s first-ever general election.

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