Climate apartheid will push 120 million into poverty by 2030.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

Climate apartheid will push 120 million into poverty by 2030.

The world is facing a “climate apartheid” between the rich who can protect themselves and the poor who are left behind, the UN has warned. A new report published on Tuesday estimated that more than 120 million people could slip into poverty within the next decade because of climate change.

As extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and hurricanes become more frequent, the world’s poorest people will be forced to “choose between starvation and migration,” the report warned.
“We risk a ‘climate apartheid’ scenario where the wealthy pay to escape overheating, hunger and conflict while the rest of the world is left to suffer,” said Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
Alston said the difference between how climate change affects the wealthy and the poor is already apparent. One example he gave in the report was the aftermath of the 2012 Hurricane Sandy in New York City. While thousands of low-income people were left without power and healthcare for days, the Goldman Sachs HQ on Manhattan was kept safe by tens of thousands of sandbags and powered by a private generator.
'I'm scared for my daughter': Life in India's first city that's almost out of water

‘I’m scared for my daughter’: Life in India’s first city that’s almost out of water
Researchers from Stanford University have previously warned that climate change is making poor countries poorer, widening global inequality between nations. But extreme weather events fueled by climate change are also deepening disparities within countries.
Research published in 2017 in Science journal projected that the poorest counties in the United States will see the most economic damage from events like droughts and hurricanes. Poor communities and women are more vulnerable, because they tend to be more reliant on agriculture.
This week's heat wave in Europe is a preview of what the climate crisis has in store

The livelihoods of the world’s poorest are most exposed to climate change disasters, because poverty makes it impossible to escape, says the research. When extreme weather hits, the poorest lack the resources necessary to recover, and become even poorer, creating a vicious circle.
“Perversely, while people in poverty are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions, they will bear the brunt of climate change, and have the least capacity to protect themselves,” Alston said.
The UN has also warned that just slowing down the rise in temperature as outline by the 2015 Paris Agreement won’t be enough to save millions of people who are already suffering.
“Even the unrealistic best-case scenario of 1.5 (degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming by 2100 will see extreme temperatures in many regions and leave disadvantaged populations with food insecurity, lost incomes, and worse health,” the report said.
What would life be like in a zero-carbon country?
Yet despite the warnings, most countries are not on track to meet their climate targets. The European Union last week failed to agree a net zero emissions deadline, President Donald Trump has taken the US out of the Paris Agreement and the G20 is preparing to water down its climate promises, according to a report in the Financial Times.
Tuesday’s UN report has again highlighted the need for nations to recognize that basic human rights — to life, food, housing, and water — will be dramatically affected by climate change, especially if they fail to take action.

Why we stop circumcising baby boys and start viewing it as mutilation.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

Why we stop circumcising baby boys and start viewing it as mutilation.

It’s not my charming accent or dapper dress-sense that sets me apart as an Englishman in America: It’s my foreskin. Let’s talk about it.

My uncircumcised penis provides quite the social lubricant at after-work drinks, because when it comes to American guys, I’m the minority. ‘EW’, ‘that’s disgusting’ and ‘you know, I have the name of a great doctor who’d be happy to take care of it for you’, are just a few of the reactions I’ve had. And don’t get me started on the ladies. Many have told me — with hardcore grimace — that they’d leave the bed if they discovered their date was carrying a little extra tackle down there.

Someone please tell me what America’s problem is. ‘Because the circumcised penis is still the norm among adult American men, a good number of men and women in this country have never seen an intact penis,’ said Georganne Chapin, founding executive director of Intact America — an organization changing the way Americans think about the snip. Georganne, founder of Intact America stands with pro-foreskin campaigners. She told Metro US: ‘Stigma and bias – about any topic – are the results of unfamiliarity and misinformation. ‘Further, most Americans don’t know much about circumcision. What they have heard is that “it’s cleaner”. This is absurd, of course, but like a lot of cultural myths, it’s accepted unquestioningly, and the intact guy is viewed as weird or unclean. Crazy, right? Like the average guy isn’t just as capable of washing his genitals as the average woman is.’

intact-america-1-jpeg.jpg

The idea that uncircumcised schlongs are dirtier than those cut is an insidious ruse. Look, I’m not going to lie; sometimes there’s a little extra cheese on the taco, but it’s nothing a two-minute shower can’t fix. In fact, Georganne says it’s actually cleaner for baby boys to have a foreskin. ‘It keeps the glans from coming in contact with urine and feces in the diaper,’ she explained. ‘Most people aren’t aware that circumcised toddlers often experience urinary complications in childhood and as adults because the glans of their penises were exposed and irritated when they were in diapers.’ Intact America was out and about at this year’s Gay Pride event in New York.

intact-america-1-jpeg.jpg

Circumcision usually takes place within ten days after birth, but most get cut before 48 hours. Reasons for circumcision? Well, it can be for religious beliefs, but it’s mainly a cultural thing. Around 75 percent of American men have been circumcised, according to an independent study by Dan Bollinger, strategic adviser at Intact America. This compares to 32 percent in Canada, ten to 20 percent in Australia and seven percent in New Zealand. In the UK it’s extremely rare, at less than one percent. That explains my pride and joy over here. Fears for girl, 16, who ‘flew to London after texting older British man’ In a separate study, the same author found that more than 100 infants die in American every year due to circumcision-related incidents. However, the circumcision rate in the US has dropped from 81 percent in 1981 to 55 percent. So the trend is shifting.

A big part of the pro-foreskin movement is Intact America. The cause has exploded since the organization was founded in 2008. Graphic shows how common circumcision in newborn boys is in America. But what about the supposed link between circumcision and HIV? This is a huge topic of contention. Various studies by medical experts suggest that circumcision helps reduce the risk of HIV and other STDs. The World Health Organization (WHO) state on its website that controlled trials have found that those with the snip are 60 percent less likely to contract heterosexual HIV. It said: ‘WHO/UNAIDS recommendations emphasize that male circumcision should be considered an efficacious intervention for HIV prevention in countries and regions with heterosexual epidemics, high HIV and low male circumcision prevalence.’ Africa is attacking groups like UNICEF for its voluntary circumcision program. These groups, along with UNICEF, push for voluntary medical male circumcision (VMMC) in such countries. However, one African empowerment organization issued a letter to UNICEF this month, raising concerns about mass circumcision propaganda being spread and how the procedure seems to be viewed as some sort of ‘surgical condom’. The VMMC Project claims western public health agencies are ‘actively misinforming Africans that circumcision is protective against HIV’. Its website states: ‘This false security is a leading contributor to the HIV epidemic today. In Malawi, the national HIV rate is reported to have doubled from ten to 20 percent in the first year VMMC was implemented.

intact.jpg

In Uganda where we conducted our investigation, Ministry of Health statistics show higher HIV rates now than before VMMC implementation.’ Furthermore, the group say their investigation revealed less-than-voluntary recruitment methods for circumcision, including $3 vouchers to impoverished men and the targeting of schoolboys without their parents’ consent. Campaigner say Africa is being fed false information from western health agencies.

pri_43276539.jpg

When it comes to circumcision and the supposed medical benefits on our home turf, however, Georganne has very strong views. She explained: ‘Since circumcision began as a medical procedure (i.e., carried out by doctors), its promoters have been searching for rationales. ‘Over many decades, new “benefits” have been proposed, only to be discredited and then replaced by a subsequent one. The conditions that circumcision has been proposed to prevent or cure have, without exception, been the confounding or misunderstood maladies of a given time. ‘Of course, one needs to look no further than to the fact that the HIV epidemic got rolling in the United States at a time when (conservatively) three-quarters of American men were circumcised.

American cemeteries are full of circumcised men who died of AIDS. And the prevalence of HIV throughout Western Europe, where most men are intact, is lower than the prevalence in the United States, where most men are circumcised.’ Intact America is the first group in the States to solely focus on this one cause every day. It has a meticulous content strategy, and is reaching more and more people every day thanks to the power of social media. Their end goal is to completely halt circumcision in America, and ‘ensure a healthy sexual future for all people’. They’re doing this — with success, btw — by changing the way people think about circumcision.

For Georganne, circumcision is much more than a standard procedure — it’s mutilation. She said: ‘Most people don’t question it because they are uninformed or don’t want to confront their own feelings about mutilating babies or having been mutilated themselves. ‘It just always seemed wrong to me. It makes no sense that half of the world’s population would need corrective surgery in their first few days of life. It’s nonsensical.

When I first learned about female genital mutilation, my initial reaction was, “but isn’t this what we do to little boys?”. ‘We don’t amputate any other healthy body part, and never when someone is not capable of giving his or her consent. Circumcising babies is a violation of human rights, bioethics, and the Hippocratic oath doctors take to “Do No Harm”.’ But she says the mood is changing quickly. Now, a lot more Americans are keeping their sons intact.

Georganne thinks this is the result of people coming into contact with other cultures through TV and the internet. ‘Americans are becoming aware that intact penises are actually nice and sexy,’ she continued, explaining how her 36-year-old son and his intact friends have never felt their foreskins to be an obstacle in their love lives.’ On a personal note, I can 100 percent vouch for that. And as for the squeamish, Georganne has this message: ‘I say that if any man or woman doesn’t like an intact man’s penis, it’s a good indication that the person is shallow. An intact man should be grateful for the heads-up — so to speak — and move on.’

Source: http://bit.ly/2Pm4nIG

Deadly Fentanyl Hits the Streets Disguised as Xanax and Norco.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

Deadly Fentanyl Hits the Streets Disguised as Xanax and Norco.

The rise in prescription opioid and heroin abuse creates countless problems for healthcare professionals, law enforcement, the drug abusers themselves and society as a whole. It’s a complex issue that continues to claim lives. Unfortunately, Fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times more powerful than morphine, is showing up on the streets disguised as other drugs, such as Norco and Xanax. The results are an increase in fatal overdoses.
Fake Xanax With Fentanyl
Problems with fentanyl are not new. As recently as last year, we wrote about the dangers of fentanyl when it is mixed with heroin, and Dr. A.R. Mohammad, the founder of Inspire Malibu, did a recent interview with FOX 11 News in Los Angeles regarding the rise in fentanyl on the streets. What is new, however, are reports of synthetic fentanyl, likely manufactured in illegal labs in the states, China and Mexico, sold under different drug names to unsuspecting users.

In March of this year, Sacramento County, California, saw six deaths and 22 overdoses as a result of fentanyl peddled as Norco, which is supposed to be a mix of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. “In reality, they’re taking fentanyl, which is much, much, much more potent,” Laura McCasland, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, told The New York Times.
Fentanyl Disguised as Norco
Legally manufactured fentanyl is an injectable opioid often administered before surgeries. It also comes in a time release lozenge or patch for patients coping with severe chronic pain from conditions like pancreatic, metastatic and colon cancer.

Fentanyl is so strong, fast-acting and creates such a high tolerance, many patients find that other opiates no longer work for them. This is also one of the reasons that fentanyl is so addictive.

With abuse and addiction to fentanyl, quitting “cold turkey” can cause severe withdrawal.

What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Fentanyl?

  • Fast heart rate and rapid breathing
  • Muscle, joint and back pain
  • Insomnia, yawning and restlessness
  • Sweating and chills
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Anxiety, depression and irritability
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite and stomach cramps

Even a tiny amount of fentanyl can be deadly. The president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, J.P. Abenstein, told National Public Radio, “What happens is people stop breathing on it. The more narcotic you take, the less your body has an urge to breath.”

Abenstein added that people who don’t know how much to take will easily overdose. This no doubt also applies to users who aren’t even aware they’re taking the dangerous opiate when it’s sold under another name or mixed with heroin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that of the estimated 28,000 people who died from opioid overdoses in 2014, almost 6,000 of those deaths were fentanyl related.

The agency also suggests that states make Naloxone (Narcan), an overdose-reversal drug, more widely available in hospitals and ambulances to prevent deaths.

Abstinence from illicit drug use is the only guaranteed way to avoid an accidental overdose on fentanyl. Addiction, however, changes the brain’s chemistry and drives those affected to make decisions and behave in a manner that continues to put them at risk.

Source: http://bit.ly/33UZOs0

Russian LGBTQ activist is killed after being listed on gay-hunting website.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

Russian LGBTQ activist is killed after being listed on gay-hunting website

Yelena Grigoryeva sounded the alarm after her name appeared on a website that offered prizes for attacking gays. Days later, she was dead.
Image: Yelena Grigoryeva

Police detain Yelena Grigoryeva during an anti-LGBT discrimination rally in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 17.Anton Vaganov / Reuters file

Autism largely caused by genetics, not environment, study finds.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

Autism largely caused by genetics, not environment, study finds.

The largest study of its kind, involving more than 2 million people across five countries, finds that autism spectrum disorders are 80% reliant on inherited genes.

That means that environmental causes are responsible for just 20% of the risk.

The findings could open new doors to research into the genetic causes of autism, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says affects 1 in every 59 U.S. children.

It might also help ease fears that autism is caused by maternal factors — a mother’s weight, mode or timing of delivery, or nutrient intake, for example. The new study found the role of maternal factors to be “nonexistent or minimal.”

Instead, “the current study results provide the strongest evidence to our knowledge to date that the majority of risk for autism spectrum disorders is from genetic factors,” said a team led by Sven Sandin, an epidemiological researcher at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

The new study might help dampen public interest in supposed — but unproven — “environmental” causes of autism, such as vaccines. Long-discredited, fraudulent data linking childhood vaccination with autism is still widely cited by the “anti-vaxxer” movement.

“The contribution of the environment to autism spectrum disorder risk appears to be much smaller than the contribution of genetics,” a team of experts said in an editorial comment on the new study, which was published in July in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

However, genetic factors are frequently ignored, and instead environmental factors “often receive disproportionate attention from the public and the media, even when (as in the case of vaccine fears), they are debunked,” wrote psychiatrists Drs. Amandeep Jutla, Hannah Reed and Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele in the editorial. They are all from Columbia University in New York City.

According to Sandin and colleagues, the new study is the largest and most rigorous yet conducted into the causes of autism. The researchers looked at the medical histories of more than 2 million children born in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Israel and Western Australia between 1998 and 2012. All were tracked until 16 years of age. Of the group, just over 22,000 went on to develop an autism spectrum disorder.

Based on the data, about 80% of their risk of developing the condition was due to genetics, with the remainder of the risk tied to as-yet-unidentified environmental causes. Only a negligible amount of risk, about 1%, was due to maternal factors, the study researchers said.

They noted the new numbers are roughly in line with those from prior, smaller studies on the issue, further bolstering their validity. Dr. Andrew Adesman directs developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Reviewing the findings, he agreed that it “provides stronger evidence that autism is mostly due to genetic, and not environmental, factors.

“Although families are often most concerned about environmental risk factors for autism, the reality is that genetic factors play a much larger role overall,” Adesman said.

But he stressed that the findings don’t let potential environmental factors — which, unlike genetics, can be changed — off the hook.

“Environmental factors also play a smaller, but important, role,” Adesman said, so “this does not mean that we can completely ignore the environmental risk factors and their interaction with the genetic risk factors.”

And he noted that despite the new data, “we are not yet able to identify a specific genetic cause for autism in many children.” The next step, according to Adesman, is for researchers “to identify more of the different specific genetic differences or abnormalities that lead to autism in an individual child or family.”

Source: http://bit.ly/2YHvz8S

Author of Christian relationship guide says he has lost his faith.

Join us: facebook.com/unitedhumanists

The American author of a bestselling Christian guide to relationships for young people has announced that his marriage is over and he has lost his faith.

Joshua Harris, whose biblical guide to relationships I Kissed Dating Goodbye sold nearly 1m copies around the world after it was published in 1997, has also apologised to LGBT+ people for contributing to a “culture of exclusion and bigotry”.

In his book, Harris, a former pastor at a US megachurch, urged young Christians to reject dating for “courtship” under the guidance of parents and observing sexual abstinence. Young couples should not kiss, hold hands or spend time alone together before marriage, he said. Dating was spiritually unhealthy and a “training ground for divorce”, the book argued.

The book, written by Harris when he was 21, was widely circulated within evangelical Christian youth groups, helping to promote a “purity culture” and vows to preserve virginity until marriage.

Harris later became a senior pastor in the Covenant Life church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, which he left in 2015. The church had been accused of covering up allegations of child sexual abuse by failing to report the claims to police.

Last year, Harris disavowed the ideas in I Kissed Dating Goodbye, saying in a statement: “I no longer agree with its central idea that dating should be avoided. I now think dating can be a healthy part of a person developing relationally and learning the qualities that matter most in a partner.

“To those who read my book and were misdirected or unhelpfully influenced by it, I am sincerely sorry.”

This month he announced on Instagram that he and his wife were separating after 21 years of marriage because “significant changes have taken place in both of us”.

Another Instagram message posted nine days later said he had “undergone a massive shift in regard to my faith in Jesus”.

He wrote: “The popular phrase for this is ‘deconstruction’, the biblical phrase is ‘falling away’. By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian. Many people tell me that there is a different way to practise faith and I want to remain open to this, but I’m not there now.”

He added: “I have lived in repentance for the past several years – repenting of my self-righteousness, my fear-based approach to life, the teaching of my books, my views of women in the church, and my approach to parenting to name a few.

“But I specifically want to add to this list now: to the LGBTQ+ community, I want to say that I am sorry for the views that I taught in my books and as a pastor regarding sexuality.

“I regret standing against marriage equality, for not affirming you and your place in the church, and for any ways that my writing and speaking contributed to a culture of exclusion and bigotry. I hope you can forgive me.”

His bestselling book was to be discontinued because of its “flaws”, he said.

Source: http://bit.ly/2MP3jKj

%d bloggers like this: