The Guardians new column features excerpts from The Bernie Sanders Show Republicans fail twice in a single week on healthcare and more
A chat with
Bernie Sanders! The Guardians new column features excerpts from The Bernie Sanders Show( with Sanders permission, of course ). This week: Sanders discusses North Korea and atomic weapon with former secretary of defense William J Perry. Take a seem .
New alcohol guidelines have stressed the importance of cutting back. Could an ancient Chinese herbal redres help you get that pleasurable buzz while drinking less, asks Michael Mosley.
One of the main reasons we drink alcohol is why it constructs us feel more sociable. But when we drink too much the committee is also does huge injury. Recent guidelines recommend we stick to 14 divisions a week, which will be harder for some than others.
I’m currently “enjoying” a dry January, which has turned out to be easier than I dreaded – I am sleeping better, losing a little weight and I don’t really miss it. Well , not much
So when I return to moderate drinking in February I plan to stick to abstinence, at least three days a week. But I also want to try out a herbal supplement called kudzu. Because, much to my astound, it turns out that this ancient Chinese remedy for heart disease may also help us cut our alcohol intake without truly noticing it.
Now, many of us make the resolution to cut back on alcohol, but like better than good solvings there is the danger of slippage. So for those working of us with the modest purpose of simply cutting back a little bit, could kudzu genuinely help? To find out more the Trust Me I’m a Doctor team lately set it to the test.
The Kudzu plant is a type of vine that is native to South East Asia. It’s a plant with a long history, as Prof Elizabeth Williamson of the University of Reading, explains.
“Traditional employs, going back 2,000 years, were for things like coughings and colds and flu, and also for blood pressure, hypertension, angina. But it also has been used since at least AD600 for helping avoid alcohol abuse.”
I’m generally sceptical about herbal supplements. Even if the original plant has impressive health-giving properties, and many of our guys more efficient medications are derived from plants, that doesn’t mean that supplements based on those plants will be effective. They rarely capture the complexity of a plant and there is so little regulation of the market that you literally don’t know what you are buying.
Nonetheless, there have been a few intriguing surveys suggesting that after taking kudzu supplements people drink less, almost without noticing.
Intrigued, we decided to test kudzu in the wild, so to speak, with a group of Brits.
So we recruited a group of volunteers from Reading willing to have two nights out in the name of science.
Two hours before starting we gave them pills – some get kudzu extract, others a placebo( a harmless sugar pill ). None of them knew which they had just taken.
Then we allowed them access to the bar for 90 minutes, during which day they could have their fill of brew, wine or spirits. We were, of course, closely but surreptitiously monitoring how much and how quickly they drank.
Group of plants in the genus Pueraria, native to South East Asia, East Asia and some Pacific islands , native to South East Asia, East Asia and some Pacific islands Utilized widely in the US in the 1930 s and 40 s as a way of controlling soil erosion, it is now considered an invasive species and has been the subject of a government programme to control its spread since the 1990 s Kudzu fibre is used in basketwork and its leaves as an animal feed; the starch from its root is widely used in Asian food
The plight of a four-year-old boy who virtually succumbed after his mothers devoted him 12 alternative medicines has prompted physicians to warn against the treatments.
Doctors at Newham Hospital in east London said the mothers were “devastated” that their good purposes had made him so unwell.
The boy took a dozen supplements supposedly to help treat his autism.
The National Autistic Society said it was crucial for physicians to talk through health risks of alternative therapies.
The boy developed a potentially fatal condition after taking supplements from a naturopath( natural health practitioner) for a number of months, which included vitamin D, camel’s milk, silver and Epsom bath salts.
He was admitted to A& E after losing 6.5 lbs( 3kg) over three weeks, suffering from symptoms including vomiting and extreme thirst.
Dr Catriona Boyd and Dr Abdul Moodambail, writing in the British Medical Journal Case Reports , said it was not until the boy had been at Newham Hospital, which is part of St Bart’s Health Trust, for several days that his mother told them about the holistic supplements.
Dr Moodambail told the BBC: “This happens on many occasions with other patients as well.
“Often the mothers think that these supplements are natural, safe and do not cause any side effects or adverse effects, but this is not true in many cases like this.”
He added: “The situation was stark because the child developed vitamin D toxicity leading to the highest calcium levels, attaining the child quite unwell and this can even be fatal as well.”
The boy made a full recovery in 2 week after being treated with hyperhydration and medications to reduce his calcium level.
What are complementary and alternative therapies?
Complementary and alternative medications( CAMs) are therapies that fall outside of mainstream healthcare Generally when a non-mainstream practise is used together with conventional medicine, it is considered “complementary” When a non-mainstream practice is used instead of conventional medication, it is considered “alternative” Examples of CAMS include homeopathy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic and herbal medications Some complementary and alternative medicines or therapies are based on principles and an evidence base that are not recognised by the majority of independent scientists Others have been proven to work for a limited number of health conditions, such as osteopathy, chiropractic and acupuncture for treating lower back pain When a person uses any health therapy – including a CAM – and experiences an improvement, this may be due to the placebo effect Osteopaths and chiropractors are regulated in the same way as mainstream medical professionals There is no statutory professional regulation of any other CAM practitioners
By pulling all events, including the opening rounds of the three men basketball tournament, out of North Carolina because of the pas of the controversial House Bill 2, the NCAA has finally gotten something right
This isnt something that can be said very often, but the NCAA actually got something right for a change. On Monday, the oft-maligned governing body for college athletics announced that it would be moving seven events, most notably the opening round of the three men basketball tournament, out of North Carolina due to the occur of House Bill 2 earlier in the year. The NCAAs decision comes several months after the NBA built the decision to move the all-star game from Charlotte to New Orleans.
The NCAA stimulated it immediately clear that this was not a move they were building without putting much thought into it. In a detailed press release, the NCAA explained their decision to move all seven events scheduled to take place in North Carolina throughout the 2016 -1 7 academic year. Most of their reasons detail the blatantly discriminatory nature of HB2, which attains it illegal for transgender individuals to use restrooms that differ from the sexuality on birth certificates credential, nullifying local laws that would protect LGBT people while effectively legalizing governmental discrimination against them. All in all, it mostly reads as the NCAA taking a praiseworthy stance against LGBT discrimination.
This is certainly how theyre going to frame this decision, making a particular point in associating it back to their nominal role as an educational institution. NCAA president Mark Emmert, speaking with CBS This Morning, said this is an issue to an issue thats fundamental to higher ed … Fairness and inclusion are at the heart of what the NCAA does and what universities do. For our university chairpeople, this was a proverbial no-brainer.
That all sounds nice but the NCAA is, 501 c3 nonprofit status notwithstanding, a business organization and, from that view, there was probably considerable more debate about this decision. First of all, it could end up injury their relationship with a region that has been virtually synonymous with college basketball for decades: no country has hosted more tournament games than North Carolina. While both Duke University and the University of North Carolina have released statements supporting the NCAAs decision, they run the risk of alienating a significant percentage of customers.
Its bigger than only North Carolina, though. The NCAAs announcement comes during a heated political climate dominated by discussions among bigotry and discrimination. Unsurprisingly, this decision has been received quite differently by those on opposite ends of the aisle. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clintons Twitter feed blandly praised the NCAAs decision 😛 TAGEND
Meanwhile, the North Carolina GOP responded to the news with a gonzo mishmash of offensive sillines that feels right in line with the Republican presidential candidates public persona.
Coming at a time where half the country is perfectly outraged over a backup quarterbacks option of posture, the NCAA had to be aware that this decision would build them a target for conservative criticism. Its encouraging that this ultimately didnt dictate their decision.
But they didnt make it in a vacuum. After breaking down the numerous routes HB2 was discriminatory and inconsistent with their stated beliefs, the NCAA acknowledges that there was also a logistical facet at play. It became increasingly difficult to keep the events where they were because five nations plus numerous cities proscribe travel to North Carolina for public employees which could include student-athletes and campus athletic faculty. In other words, the fact that these states( New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont, Connecticut) barred government travel to North Carolina in the wake of HB2s passing forced their hand somewhat.
It also likely isnt a coincidence that they made this decision after the NBA announced that it was moving the 2017 all-star game. Its impossible to imagine the board agreeing to move multiple championships if the NBA had decided it wouldnt be feasible to relocate a single event. The NCAA also knew that other industries had already decided to stop doing business there.
Basically, every nation government, business or organization that built the decision to stay out of North Carolina as long as this discriminatory statute was in effect built it that much easier for the NCAA to take this rather drastic step. The hope now, at the least for those who believe that applying economic pressure is the most effective way in get HB2 rewritten or repealed wholly, is that this latest high-profile boycott will embolden others to join in.
For that reason, the NCAA should be commended for taking a stance against discrimination here. Even if it was a no-brainer in an ethical sense, it could still end up being a costly one for the NCAA, both in terms of the expenditure and hassle of actually relocating the events and in terms of the inevitable backlash to come.
Of course, they do have plenty of experience in dealing with the latter, the only thing they will have to adjust to is being on the right side of criticism for once.
KABUL, Afghanistan — The deviations corridor of Hamid Karzai International Airport is a curious melange of people and goods: foreign security contractors, stacks of nuts, groups beginning their Hajj pilgrimage and — most bizarre of all — burqa-wearing teddy bears. Their ears, eyes and sewed curvy smiles are encased in the blue crinoline that has become emblematic of the disenfranchised, impoverished Afghan woman.
The all-encasing burqa is the image the world has become accustomed to over recent decades, and one I was determined to shatter when I returned to Kabul in March to manage the inaugural round of Sahar Speaks: a new program for Afghan female journalists. Twelve hand-picked participants were taught multimedia journalism skills over the course of one week. They have since been paired with experienced female mentors, and are currently producing news packages that will be featured on The Huffington Post, marking the first time female Afghan correspondents are consistently published in a global media outlet.
This project was borne out of anger — my own — at the deeply flawed, sexist system that is Kabul’s foreign media landscape. Not a single Afghan woman works for the international press in the country, in any capacity. And she never has. This is certainly not for lack of trying: we received far more applications than places available. In the words of one participant *, “People have no idea how we really live. Of our suffering, but also our education, our lives.” The inaugural round included moms, household breadwinners, self-described “poetesses, ” basketball players, guitar enthusiasts and journalism students.
Why dont we rename the program Sahar Shouts? A Sahar Speaks participant
When asked who their female role model were, some named their own illiterate mothers and grandmothers, who had pushed for their education. Others mentioned French feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir and the celebrated Iranian poet Simin Behbahani. These girls, who are between the ages of 18 and 31, are keen, feisty and hungry to make their mark on the world. “Amie jan, ” one of them asked me early on, employing the Afghan term of endearment, “Why don’t we rename the program Sahar Shouts? ”
As an unseasonably warm wintertime violated into spring, unleashing explodes of cherry blooms across Kabul, our participants dutifully learned how to create content for a foreign audience. On the second day, an experienced journalist in a turquoise headscarf seemed, unannounced, asking if she could “sit in and learn.” Her enthusiasm impressed me, and she became part of the group. It turns out this was not the first time she had muscled her route into a classroom: As a girl, she eluded the Taliban restriction on female schooling by disguising herself as a son.
It soon transpired that we were dealing with a massively under-utilized resource. These were extraordinary journalists who were doggedly driven to relay the stories of their half of the population. In Afghanistan, the genders are often strictly separated, meaning most women cannot speak to most men. Guest speaker Danielle Moylan, an Australian freelance journalist in Kabul, set it nicely when she said that “even foreign women don’t get true access, the real impression for what the narrative is about.”
After the participants had relaxed a little and we got to know one another, some of the headscarves would slip, disclosing onyx-colored tresses and French braidings, admired and examined by the rest of the group. They stayed this route until the tea-man reappeared with his constant creek of black and green tea that the women consumed like air, accompanied by Turkish biscuits. As he came in, without even turn back, sleeves were automatically rolled down and scarves pulled back over their heads.
We — another British female trainer and I — taught in an oblong blue metal box in the middle of a media NGO’s yard. It felt like a shipping container, but with big windows. A thin red carpet ran through its middle like an unfurled tongue. Feral cats would pace the sides, casting delicate shadows. Being spring, they also mated, rendering yowling that attained the participants roar with laughter. Through giggles, one of the younger women remarked, “This class reminds me of childhood. When we were free.”
Cocooned in our own private world, “were in” shielded from the male gaze by thickly interweave blue and saffron-yellow draperies. These demonstrated necessary: Our classroom soon became an object of great curiosity. Each tug on the draperies or reopening of the door made guffaws from onlookers: Small groups of prying humen outside became regular fixtures, where they jostled and pushed for a better position. “What do they want? ” I asked the working group, irritated. “Afghan humen want to see Afghan girls, ” one answered, plainly.
Lunchtime was marked by the energy abruptly turning off, a trick to save money, plunging the classroom into semi-darkness. While eating on a long table under the sun, different groups swapped the latest news: the opening of a female swimming pool, the reporting of Afghan daughters deceived into Dubai’s sex trade, and other aspects of Kabul women’s lives.
As the lessons rolled on, it became clear that life had not been easy for these women. Harassment by humen — at work, on the street, in the market — was a daily topic, bringing heated and animated deliberation. Born into what they felt was a never-ending war, each had her own personal combats and victories, narratives about how she had fought every step of the way to get where she was. To become journalists, some had worked hard to convince male family members, while others had support from the beginning. I was especially moved by a young lady whose mothers, an illiterate mother and an auto mechanic parent, brought her up to believe there was nothing Afghan women could not achieve.
One afternoon, we talked about transgender people, analyzing the histories of two men from a neighboring country who underwent gender verification surgery. Initially, I was hesitating to approach such a taboo topic in a country where homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. I could not have been more wrong. The next morning, one of the participants was flustered with excitement. She described how she rode her bicycle through Kabul’s women-only park, under the fragrant branches of flowering trees. “I always believed there was nothing worse than being a woman, that humen didn’t like us, ” she explained. “But when we learned there are men who want to be women I became so happy.”
A high point for the group came at the Canadian embassy, which held a reception in our honor. Over herb-infused pilaf rice and chicken kebabs, some of the women volunteered to speak. A especially headstrong participant told the crowd, “We’re tired of being called victims. Instead “weve been” fighters.” Another read an acrostic lyric,’ Daughters, ’ that she had penned the night before, and a third lambasted “Afghan society for ignoring females journalists.”
The participants are also, of course, just like young women around the world. They are glued to social media, obsessed with selfies, enjoy laugh, giving one another nicknames, dancing, making gags and trading make-up tips-off. Quite a few had a penchant for playing chess, and this, too, came with gender-related annoyances. “Men can play chess outside, in the fresh air. But we can’t, ” one woman said.
Mid-way through train, we celebrated International Women’s Day( March 8) with flowers and cake, and dedicated half a day to reporting on women’s rights. A ceremony was held at the media NGO, where cross-legged girls played drums and the lute-like rubab. A large banner adorned the outside of our classroom, calling females “the essential syllable of life.” We were presented with headscarves, wrap in thin paper. While one of the women opened her gift, she exclaimed, “I would have preferred a pen! ”
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We are safer now than perhaps any time in our history. Lets take the cheery topic of violent death, for example. In most of the world, murder rates are falling along with other violent crimes. A recent UN analyse reported that homicide rates in Northern america, Europe and Asia have been declining for last 15 years, and wars have also become less deadly when compared to conflicts around the 20 th century. Even contemporary atrocities in the Middle East do not comparison to the industrial genocide of Stalin, Mao, or Hitler. Research by the Early Warning Project for example, has shown a clear decline in mass killings in wars and conflicts since 1992.
Despite gruesome on-going conflicts, as a planet we are arguably living in the most peaceful time in human history. On the surface, that runs for nuclear threats too. Nuclear bunkers have been turned into nightclubs, civil defence has become an interesting historical curiosity, and the five countries of the nuclear club has been successful in adhere to the principle major international treaties that ban making and testing nuclear weapon for over two decades.
A mutually-assured obsession
Recently however, the atomic scenery has begun to change. North Korea has undertaken a series of nuclear tests, including its fifth and largest detonation in September 2016, and the UN Security Council will soon successfully implement sanctions, which could have wide-reaching outcomes. Although the vast majority of UN member states voted in favour of a ban on nuclear weapons, there are increased tensions between NATO and Russia, continuing volatility between India and Pakistan, and new nuclear nightmares and geopolitical scenarios that never existed during the course of its halcyon days of the Cold War.
Ex-Pentagon chief William Perry claimed this year that nuclear destruction is a bigger danger today than during the course of its 70 s and 80 s. The shock election of Donald Trump, described by US military officers as easily baited and quick to lash out, has furthermore resurrected our atomic anxiety. With Donald soon to be in sole command of 7, 000 nuclear warhead, are we one step closer to nuclear destruction?
Being the cheerful optimists that we are, we decided to explore how stances have changed towards nuclear deterrence, the current emotional geopolitics attached to nuclear weapons, and to hold what would happen in the basically impossible scenario that an instantaneous and multilateral nuclear war occurs in 2017.