Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Defuse the Population Bomb

How to Defuse the Population Bomb: "It’s an ancient problem, with a very obvious solution: give women full reproductive rights, including easy access to contraception and other family-planning options. Family planning and reproductive health are some of the most crucial tools for reducing human suffering in a changing and increasingly crowded world."



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Tests confirm Cambodia HIV mass infection - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

Tests confirm Cambodia HIV mass infection - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English: "Battambang, Cambodia - A third round of tests has confirmed that at least 90 villagers in a small rural community in northwest Cambodia have contracted HIV in an unexplained and panic-inducing mass infection.

Dr Didier Fontenille, director of the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia, said that samples sent from Roka commune in Battambang province, where the unusually high number of infections were first detected this month, have tested positive for the virus.

"It has been confirmed three times by different techniques. Around 90 [people] have tested positive," Fontenille said.

More samples taken from residents in the area will be tested on Saturday, he said.

On Saturday afternoon, members of a parliamentary commission on public health attempted to address the concerns of the villagers in the northwest of the country."



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Brain-damaging Side Effects Force Army to Pull Mefloquine

Brain-damaging Side Effects Force Army to Pull Mefloquine: "The top doctor for Green Berets and other elite Army commandos has told troops to immediately stop taking mefloquine, an anti-malaria drug found to cause permanent brain damage in rare cases.

The ban among special operations forces is the latest development in a long-running controversy over mefloquine. The drug was developed by the Army in the 1970s and has been taken by millions of travelers and people in the military over the years. As alternatives were developed, it fell out of favor as the front-line defense against malaria, a mosquito-borne disease that international health officials say kills roughly 600,000 people a year.

The new prohibition among special operations forces follows a July 29 safety announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that it had strengthened warnings about neurologic side effects associated with the drug. The FDA added a boxed warning to the drug label, the most serious kind of warning, saying neurologic side effects like dizziness, loss of balance and ringing in the ears may become permanent."



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How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids From How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning | MindShift

How ‘Deprogramming’ Kids From How to ‘Do School’ Could Improve Learning | MindShift: "One day, Adam Holman decided he was fed up with trying to cram knowledge into the brains of the high school students he taught. They weren’t grasping the physics he was teaching at the level he knew they were capable of, so he decided to change up his teaching style. It wasn’t that his students didn’t care about achieving — he taught at high performing, affluent schools where students knew they needed high grades to get into good colleges. They argued for every point to make sure their grades were as high as possible, but were they learning?



 “I felt I had to remove all the barriers I could on my end before I could ask my kids to meet me halfway,” Holman said. The first thing he did was move to standards-based grading. He told his students to show him they’d learned the material, it didn’t matter how long it took them.



 ‘We know how kids learn; we know what classes should look like, and yet our classes look almost the opposite.’



“The kids realized this made sense,” Holman said. He taught physics and math at Anderson High School in Austin, before moving on to become a vice-principal. His students were mostly well-off, high achievers, and they knew how to play the game to get the grades they needed. But Holman found when he changed the grading policy, students worried about grades less and focused more on working together to understand the material.



 “It turned my students into classmates and collaborators because I didn’t have a system in place to deny the collaboration,” Holman said. His students stopped copying homework. There was no curve that guaranteed some kids would be at the bottom. Instead, the class moved at its regular pace, but if a student persisted at a topic until they could show they understood it, Holman would give them credit. “It turned the kids on my side,” Holman said. “I was there to help them learn.”"



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Non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ in Penang | TODAYonline

Non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ in Penang | TODAYonline: "GEORGE TOWN — Non-Muslims can use the word “Allah” in Penang as the enactment banning the use of the word cannot be enforced on them, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

The Penang lawmaker said it is clearly stated that the Administration of Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004 applies to Muslims only.

“Even if it mentions that non-Muslims can’t use these words, it is not enforceable because this enactment only applies to Muslims and is only enforceable on Muslims,” he said.

He said the state government had not passed any law to allow the enactment to apply on non-Muslims.

A list of 40 words, including Allah, Solat, Ulama, Soleh, Mufti, Iman, Surau and Nabi, were decreed as exclusive to Muslims by the Penang mufti and enforced in 2010 as provided under subsection 48(3) and (4) of the Administration of Religion of Islam (Penang) Enactment 2004."



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Mahathir: Penang CM politicizing ‘Allah” | Free Malaysia Today

Mahathir: Penang CM politicizing ‘Allah” | Free Malaysia Today: "“This has never been an issue before in this country,” said Mahathir on the sidelines of a function at the National Academy. “In Sabah and Sarawak, they (non-Muslims) have always used Allah.”
“Lim is using the Allah issue for political purposes.”
He did not mention the Sikhs whose Holy Book mentions “Allah” 37 times.
Lim, in a public spat with MCA which first raised the issue, has repeatedly taken the position that fatwas are not binding on non-Muslims.
He also pointed out that the issue of non-Muslims using or not using Allah does not arise. “The non-Muslims in Penang pray in Tamil, English and Malay,” he said in a reference to the fact that only those who pray in Malay, including Christians, use the term Allah.
He has conceded that religious enactmen"



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Revealed: the true story of 'Maya', the CIA analyst who hunted down Osama bin Laden - Telegraph

Revealed: the true story of 'Maya', the CIA analyst who hunted down Osama bin Laden - Telegraph: "In the film Zero Dark Thirty, she was the persistent, conscientious CIA officer who finally tracked Osama bin Laden to his lair.
In real life, her identity and current position were carefully hidden: until now. Following the release of the controversial US Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture and rendition, she has had her less-than-sparkling record picked over, been dubbed by the media “The Queen of Torture” and now finally been outed.
While the film’s portrayal of her as a life-long al-Qaeda expert is accurate, her career is revealed to feature a series of blunders and accusations of misleading Congress.
“She dropped the ball when the CIA was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks,” wrote Jane Mayer, author of a definitive history of the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” practices, in the New Yorker.
“She gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the CIA on an absurd chase for al-Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked.”"



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