Why are our kids getting fatter? (New Zealand article)


Niki Bezzant
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11697961

5:00 AM Sunday Aug 21, 2016

Being a Kiwi kid is a risk factor for obesity. Photo / Getty Images

I have always thought it strange to refer to obesity as an epidemic. It implies being fat is somehow catching, like a virus.

But looking at our childhood obesity statistics, you can see some factors that, just as with viruses, make it more likely a child will “catch” obesity.

Simply being a Kiwi kid is a bit of a risk factor, sadly. We are ranked the third-most-obese country in the OECD. One in nine children in New Zealand is obese (11 per cent) – about 85,000. A further 22 per cent are overweight – about 170,000.

Maori and Pacific children are more likely to be obese – at 15 and 30 per cent respectively. And if you’re poor it’s even more catching. Children in the most deprived areas are five times as likely to be obese as children living in the least deprived areas, according to the Ministry of Health.

Why are our kids getting fatter?

It’s a complex question, and of course the answer is not simple.

However, there is wide consensus among the experts that we live in increasingly obesogenic environments. That is, environments that make it easy for us to get fat – where making a healthy choice is harder than making an unhealthy choice.

Recently I reread the report from the World Health Organisation Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, chaired by Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister’s chief science advisor.

The report details what needs to happen to address this urgent, global issue. Its recommendations are comprehensive and the language is firm.

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“The greatest obstacle to effective progress on reducing childhood obesity is a lack of political commitment and a failure of governments and other actors to take ownership, leadership and necessary actions,” it says.

For years health experts in New Zealand have called on the government for comprehensive action on obesity, meaning a combination of legislation, education and community-based initiatives. It’s fair to say there has been a muted response.

And so it is left to non-government groups to take action. Fortunately, some good things are happening.

One of these, about to start, is the Empower programme, a partnership between two non-profit groups, Life Education Trust and Garden to Table – for which I’m proud to be an ambassador.

The programme’s goal is to fight childhood obesity, through a combination of nutrition education and hands-on learning in the garden and kitchen.

This has the potential to instil lifelong knowledge, skills and habits in 32,000 kids in 170 schools around NZ.

Tellingly, one of the Who’s recommendations for education is about teaching kids to cook.

Giving kids these skills – not just what’s healthy but also how to make healthy happen – has the potential to create a healthier generation, maybe one with more years in its life and life in its years than ours.

Niki Bezzant is editor in chief of Healthy Food Guide.

– Herald on Sunday

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UN admits contaminating Haiti’s water with cholera


‘We were involved’: UN admits role in introducing cholera in Haiti

Researchers say there is ample evidence that cholera was introduced to Haiti’s biggest river in October 2010 by inadequately treated sewage from a UN peacekeeping base

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 August, 2016, 11:20am

UPDATED : Fri
Associated Press

The United Nations is saying for the first time that it was involved in the introduction of cholera to Haiti and needs to do “much more” to end the suffering of those affected, estimated at more than 770,000 people.

Researchers say there is ample evidence that cholera was introduced to Haiti’s biggest river in October 2010 by inadequately treated sewage from a UN peacekeeping base. The United Nations has never accepted responsibility, and has answered lawsuits on behalf of victims in US courts by claiming diplomatic immunity.

UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq’s statement referring to the UN’s “own involvement”, , came a step closer to an admission of at least some responsibility and was welcomed by lawyers for the victims.

SSIt is high time for the UN to make this right and prove to the world that ‘human rights for all’ means for Haitians too

Mario Joseph, human rights attorney

“This is a major victory for the thousands of Haitians who have been marching for justice, writing to the UN and bringing the UN to court,” said Mario Joseph, a Haitian human rights attorney whose law firm is leading a high-profile claim on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims who blame the UN for introducing the disease.

“It is high time for the UN to make this right and prove to the world that ‘human rights for all’ means for Haitians too,” he said.

Haq said in the statement that the United Nations has been considering a series of options, and “a significantly new set of UN actions” will be presented publicly within the next two months.

He told reporters later that a UN-appointed panel already looked into the UN’s involvement and found that a local contractor failed to properly sanitise the waste at the UN base.

“We’ve been trying to see exactly what we can do about our own particular role as this has been going on” and how “to bring this outbreak to a close,” he said.

Haq wouldn’t say whether reparations were under consideration.

His statement on UN involvement was first reported by The New York Times.

Five UN human rights experts criticised the United Nations in a letter to top UN officials late last year for its “effective denial of the fundamental right of the victims of cholera to justice”.

However, a US federal appeals court has upheld the United Nations’ immunity from a damage claim filed on behalf of 5,000 cholera victims who blame the UN for an epidemic of the deadly disease in Haiti. In a decision issued late Thursday, the US 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York affirmed a lower court’s January 2015 dismissal of a lawsuit brought in the worst outbreak of cholera in recent history.

“We have considered all of plaintiffs’ arguments on appeal and find them to be without merit,” the US appellate judges said.

Haq reiterated on Thursday that the UN’s legal position in claiming diplomatic immunity “has not changed”.

According to government figures, cholera has sickened more than 770,000 people, or about 7 per cent of Haiti’s population, and killed more than 9,200. As of March, it was killing an average of 37 people a month.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and only 24 per cent of Haitians have access to a toilet. Sewage is rarely treated and safe water remains inaccessible to many.

At a dusty crossroads on the outskirts of Haiti’s capital, local residents gathered on Thursday at a trash-clogged stream to wash clothes and bathe.

“So now they are going to find a way to clean the disease from the country? It’s been here for years and it seems like it is here to stay,” said labourer Jhony Nordlius as he pushed a wheelbarrow past a fetid canal where children were splashing and collecting garbage.

Maxcilus Vale, who ekes out a living shining shoes by the trash-clogged waterway, was more hopeful.

“Maybe now we’ll get more sanitation and water treatment to help make cholera go away. I hope so because it has harmed many people,” said Vale, as he washed his socks in a roadside pool of stagnant water.

Researchers said cholera was first detected in the central Artibonite Valley and cited evidence that it was introduced to Haiti’s biggest river from a UN base where Nepalese troops were deployed as part of a peacekeeping operation which has been in the country since 2004. Cholera is endemic in Nepal.

In December 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced a US$2.27 billion initiative to help eradicate cholera in Haiti and the neighbouring Dominican Republic, which share the island of Hispaniola, but the ambitious 10-year plan is underfunded. According to a report last November, only US$307 million has been received.

Haq said the announcement of UN plans for new action to address cholera was made in response to a draft report by the UN special investigator on extreme poverty and human rights.

Ahead of its release, likely in late September, he said “we wanted to take this opportunity to welcome this vital report.”

Haq said its findings and recommendations “will be a valuable contribution to the UN as we work towards a significantly new set of UN actions”.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as:

UN admits contaminating Haiti’s water with cholera

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What a few can deliver…… ENTER STAGE RIGHT Port Huron, Michigan


Local theater group Enter Stage Right was slated to open their first season with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at the Citadel Stage on Aug. 4, but have been delayed due to building safety issues with the sprinkler system. A new date will be announced by the end of the week.

Aside from fixing the sprinkler system, the black box theater floors still need to be stained and finished, a handicap lift needs to be installed to allow visitors to access the basement, the ticket booth and concession stand need to be built, and minor aesthetic works needs to be completed.

But that’s not stopping the cast from telling the tragedy of Hamlet.

“After ‘Hamlet’ we still have a lot of work to do,” said Regina Spain, Enter Stage Right director. “We are going a little rustic right now, but we have everything essential we need to host our first show.”

While the cast rehearsed the production, crew members worked to install lighting and air conditioning on Monday – both essential for the show to go on. Seats and risers were installed Tuesday.

Laura Lynn Lavely, left, acts out a scene with John Lusk and Anson Pavlov, Monday, Aug 1, during rehearsal for Hamlet at the Citadel Stage in Port Huron. (Photo: ANDREW JOWETT, TIMES HERALD)

The theater will open for the first time at 7 p.m. Thursday. The show will start at 7:30 p.m. Hamlet will run Aug. 4 -14, Thursday through Sunday. Shows running Thursday through Saturday will begin at 7:30 p.m., Sunday shows will be at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $16 and can be purchased at http://www.thecitadelstage.org.

But the Hamlet production will have a different cast set-up than Shakespeare enthusiasts are used.

The genders of all of the main characters have been switched. Male characters will be played by women, and female characters by men.

“We are used to thinking poor Ophelia, she went mad in love and killed herself,” Spain said. “We wanted to see if it would have a different meaning if it was a man in pursuit of a girl who went mad, and surprisingly for us, it didn’t change anything.”

Spain said the gender swap turned into a wonderful example of universal desires.

“At our core, male and female, we have the same emotions, wants, desires, and fears,” she said. “At our core, we are the same.”

Spain said she is interested to see how members of the audience perceive the change.

After the Hamlet production is wrapped up, Enter Stage Right will focus on raising the remaining funds needed to install the handicap lift that will allow patrons to access handicap accessible bathrooms in the basement.

Originally the project was quoted at $7,000, Spain said. But as the project progressed it was found that additional architecture work, like moving the ceiling, will need to be done in order to accommodate the lift. That put the project closer to $18,000.
Pictures and rest of article here “At our core, male and female, we have the same emotions, wants, desires, and fears,” she said. “At our core, we are the same.”

Spain said she is interested to see how members of the audience perceive the change.

After the Hamlet production is wrapped up, Enter Stage Right will focus on raising the remaining funds needed to install the handicap lift that will allow patrons to access handicap accessible bathrooms in the basement.

Originally the project was quoted at $7,000, Spain said. But as the project progressed it was found that additional architecture work, like moving the ceiling, will need to be done in order to accommodate the lift. That put the project closer to $18,000.
Spain said the gender swap turned into a wonderful example of universal desires.

Entire article The Times Herald.com enter stage right

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Moneylender shot 16 times near Kuala Lumpur shopping mall, crime captured on video


Police officers investigating the scene of a shooting near the Setapak Central mall, in Kuala Lumpur, on July 27, 2016.
Police officers investigating the scene of a shooting near the Setapak Central mall, in Kuala Lumpur, on July 27, 2016.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
PublishedJul 27, 2016, 6:22 pm SGT

UpdatedJul 28, 2016, 2:20 pm

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – A man was shot 16 times which led to his death in a gruesome incident near Setapak Central in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday afternoon (July 27).

At 3.35pm, the man, a 43-year-old moneylender and father of three, was driving along the road alone near the mall when four men on two motorcycles approached his car.

“They came when the victim’s car was at the traffic light. One shooter went to the left and another to the right before both opened fire,” said City CID chief Senior Asst Comm Rusdi Mohd Isa at a press conference at the Setapak police station.

He added that the shooter on the right of the car fired about three to four shots, while the other fired 12, and that both bikes quickly fled shortly after.

Both shooters were riding pillion.
Investigations on the body showed wounds on the head, body and legs.

The shooter on the right of the car fired about three to four shots while the other fired 12. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

The man had been en route to meet a relative nearby.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar at a media conference.

Related Story

No arrest so far after moneylender killed execution-style in Kuala Lumpur

“Family members of the victim have confirmed his identity,” said SAC Rusdi, adding that the police would withhold his identity from the press for now.

When asked if the shooting was gang-related, he said that “there is a possibility”.

“We have early information on his background of being involved in gangs,”said SAC Rusdi.

He added that the victim had a previous arrest record in 2014 and that investigations will explore every avenue.

A post-mortem would be conducted on the body.

Wangsa Maju OCPD Supt Mohamad Roy Suhaimi Sarif asked members of the public who were present at the time of the shooting to come forward to their nearest police station with any information pertaining to the murder.

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Attack on low-caste men sparks protests


Attack on low-caste men sparks protests
AAP
10:53PM July 20, 2016

Protesters from India’s low-caste community have blocked roads and attacked government buses in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state in a third day of demonstrations over the flogging of four men accused of skinning a cow.

The four members of the Dalit community were last week tied to a car in Gujarat state, stripped and flogged with sticks by self-styled hardline Hindu cow protectors who then published a video of the attack as a “warning” to others.

The beatings sparked the most serious protests by Dalits in years in Gujarat, with seven youths trying to kill themselves in protest by taking pesticide in different parts of the state, an act that further inflamed tempers.

Cows are revered in Hinduism and their slaughter is banned in most Indian states including Gujarat, where Modi ruled as chief minister for a decade and spearheaded a 2011 ban.

Dalits in the state, however, say they earn their livelihood from skinning cows that die naturally, buffalos and other animals, and have vowed to fight anyone trying to stop them from doing so.

Dalits are at the bottom of India’s ages-old social hierarchy, making them vulnerable to attacks perpetrated by self-styled cow-protecting vigilantes.

Several people accused of eating beef have also been attacked, including a Muslim man who was last year beaten to death by a mob in a town near New Delhi.

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Its back to school at Cleveland Elementry School


Today at 1:06 AM

Students lined up outside Cleveland Elementary’s front doors Tuesday with bright backpacks, jittery anticipation and eager smiles. The familiar scene might seem a couple months too early for most families, but its back to school at Cleveland Elemtary School. c. Within an hour of the first day, principal Michelle Kritsistick said she received plenty of hugs and even a purple flower from students who were excited to get back to learning.

“I think we’re going to have a great year,” said Kristick, whose first day as principal of the school also was Tuesday.

Cleveland Elementary is the only school in Port Huron Area School District that is on a balanced — year-round — calendar. Kristick said this means that although students are in class 180 days as are their peers at schools with traditional calendars, the school days are distributed through the entire year. The students will have four-day school weeks until October and their winter and spring breaks will be three weeks each.

Cleveland Elementary adopted its balanced calendar in the 2014-15 school year as part of a three-year pilot program.

A $383,235 Michigan Department of Education grant covered most of the cost of installing air conditioning within the building, making it possible for Cleveland Elementary to transition into the new schedule. The grant specified the school must have a balanced calendar for at least three years, said Tracie Eschenburg, Port Huron Schools executive director of employee and student services.

Because other schools in the district lack climate control, Eschenburg said they are not being considered for year-round classes.

Cleveland Elementary was also chosen for the balanced calendar because it is considered an at-risk school, based on poverty rates in the area, said Eschenburg.

“The greatest impact is in those schools where you have more economically disadvantaged students,” Eschenburg said. “There is research that shows it supports improved academic performance, especially at your most at-risk schools.”

Kristick said being on a balanced calendar prevents “the summer slide.”

“When they’re not in school, their test scores dip a little bit,” Kristick said. “We don’t have to reteach expectations.”

The school’s 250 students began their new school year on Tuesday after a month-long summer break.

Kristick said she was able to get to know a number of the students at the school’s open house earlier this month. Kristick is new to the school but not the district. She taught reading recovery and was an interventionist at Woodrow Wilson Elementary for the past four years.

“It was nice to reconnect with those parents and students I met at the open house,” she said of the first day.

Isabella, 5, said she was excited to begin first grade because she loves to read books. Her mother, Paige Currier, said when she first learned the school was on a year-round schedule, she was apprehensive.

THE TIMES HERALD

But she has grown to appreciate the program and likes that the students aren’t out of school for the usual three-month break that other schools have. Currier likes the pace of the curriculum at Cleveland Elementary.

“(Isabella) learned to read in kindergarten,” Currier said.

Kristick said there are 29 students at Cleveland who enrolled through Schools of Choice.

Wendell Callahan said his son Xzavier, who just began third grade, first started at Cleveland Elementary because they lived in the area. They later moved away, though, but Xzavier wanted to stay at Cleveland with his friends.

Callahan said Xzavier was ready to get back to school because he was already starting to get bored with his break.

“I think it keeps him fresh and keeps him out of trouble,” Callahan said.

Xzavier, 9, said he is hoping that he can take technology classes this year and that he’s looking forward to getting started.

Due to changes in state testing, Eschenburg said there is no comparable data to look at Cleveland Elementary’s performance before and after the balanced calendar was put in place.

However, perception and feedback has shown the district that the balanced calendar has been beneficial.

“It has allowed us to implement extended learning opportunities through a partnership with district Title I funding and Port Huron City Recreation,” Eschenburg said. “We have also found that the shorter breaks reduce the need for as much reteaching related to school routines and academics.”

Although Cleveland Elementary is in its final year of the pilot program, Eschenburg said the district currently has no plans to return Cleveland Elementary to a traditional calendar.

“We will analyze everything at the end of the year and analyze the three-year trend to make a decision,” Eschenburg said. “But at this point, based on the positive feedback, there is no plan to end it.”

Contact Anya Rath at (810) 434-2172 or arath@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter @anya_rath.
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HINDI TIMES – Pensions of ‘dead’ persons restored


TelanganaNational
JAIPUR, July 9, 2016
Updated: July 9, 2016 23:18 IST

Mohammed Iqbal
Rights groups demand reopening of about 7.5 lakh pension accounts closed in Rajasthan

After the Rajasthan government’s acceptance of wrong classification of living persons as “dead” and restoration of their social security pensions, civil rights groups here have demanded reopening of about 7.5 lakh pension accounts closed earlier and re-verification of about 10 lakh pensioners in the State.

The physical verification by activists of the Right to Information Campaign and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in one revenue village, Chaak Hirat in Rajsamand district, revealed that out of the 11 people who had been classified as “dead”, as many as nine were still alive. The State government resumed the Rs. 500 per month pension of eight of them earlier this week.
New applications
After acknowledging mistakes in official documents, the district administration attempted to get the affected pensioners to file new applications, but the activists refused to see this as a solution. Though they also raised the demand for compensation and penalties in such cases, the authorities did not give any response to it.

Nikhil Dey of MKSS on Saturday said the RTI activists had carried out more verifications in Kushalpura panchayat of Rajsamand district and found that 13 more people who were alive were classified as “dead” in the panchayat, and some more in neighbouring panchayats. This showed that these were not isolated instances, he said.

The Suchana Ka Adhikar Abhiyan has written to the State Social Justice Secretary with the demand for restoration of pensions with arrears in the 13 fresh cases identified as well as action against those responsible for wrongly verifying and stopping the pensions.
Verification process
“More importantly, we have demanded immediate reopening of the verification process of all the 7.5 lakh people whose pensions have been cancelled. Besides, the cases of about 10 lakh pensioners, who have not received payment for several months, should be re-verified,” said Mr. Dey.

He said this should be a “transparent, consultative and robust” verification process that should have accountability mechanisms built into the structure. He underlined the significance of accountability law in the context of the pension issue and said legislating such a generic law at both the State and national levels was the need of the hour.

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National
JAIPUR, July 9, 2016
Updated: July 9, 2016 23:18 IST

Pensions of ‘dead’ persons restored

Mohammed Iqbal

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Rights groups demand reopening of about 7.5 lakh pension accounts closed in Rajasthan

After the Rajasthan government’s acceptance of wrong classification of living persons as “dead” and restoration of their social security pensions, civil rights groups here have demanded reopening of about 7.5 lakh pension accounts closed earlier and re-verification of about 10 lakh pensioners in the State.

The physical verification by activists of the Right to Information Campaign and Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in one revenue village, Chaak Hirat in Rajsamand district, revealed that out of the 11 people who had been classified as “dead”, as many as nine were still alive. The State government resumed the Rs. 500 per month pension of eight of them earlier this week.
New applications
After acknowledging mistakes in official documents, the district administration attempted to get the affected pensioners to file new applications, but the activists refused to see this as a solution. Though they also raised the demand for compensation and penalties in such cases, the authorities did not give any response to it.

Nikhil Dey of MKSS on Saturday said the RTI activists had carried out more verifications in Kushalpura panchayat of Rajsamand district and found that 13 more people who were alive were classified as “dead” in the panchayat, and some more in neighbouring panchayats. This showed that these were not isolated instances, he said.

The Suchana Ka Adhikar Abhiyan has written to the State Social Justice Secretary with the demand for restoration of pensions with arrears in the 13 fresh cases identified as well as action against those responsible for wrongly verifying and stopping the pensions.
Verification process
“More importantly, we have demanded immediate reopening of the verification process of all the 7.5 lakh people whose pensions have been cancelled. Besides, the cases of about 10 lakh pensioners, who have not received payment for several months, should be re-verified,” said Mr. Dey.

He said this should be a “transparent, consultative and robust” verification process that should have accountability mechanisms built into the structure. He underlined the significance of accountability law in the context of the pension issue and said legislating such a generic law at both the State and national levels was the need of the hour.

Posted in freedoms lost, government discrimination, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment