“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.”
– Arundhati Roy
“We must answer their call. Our Mother Earth, militarized, fenced-in, poisoned, a place where basic rights are systematically violated, demands that we take action. Let us build societies that are able to coexist in a dignified way, in a way that protects life. Let us come together and remain hopeful as we defend and care for the blood of the Earth and of its spirits.”
– Berta Caceres, Indigenous rights and environmental activist of the Lenca people, murdered in Honduras in 2016
A few years ago when I was in Panama I was fortunate to spend some time with the indigenous Ngäbe–Buglé. They reside in the lush rainforest that blankets much of the country. Their villages are simple, but graciously laid out with the natural world around them. The people have a reverence for wildlife, using only what they need, and culture, ancestral ways and community are paramount. But as in every other place on the planet they have been under siege by the forces of capital.
Dam projects largely devised to benefit mining companies have inundated scores of villages and devastated farms and fishing. Rare species like the Tabasará rain frog are threatened with extinction due to the loss of habitat. Four years ago a dam claimed a small indigenous village on the sacred Tabasará River. The villagers narrowly escaped drowning as their homes flooded in the night. They were given no warning.
Source: The Global Assault on Indigenous Peoples : Counter Punch
Some things don’t change. The promise of a new year. The excitement of new love. Donald Trump being a petty, self-promoting liar with ties to sketchy Russians.
That would be the best way to sum up the new book,“Mar-a-Lago: Inside the Gates of Power at Donald Trump’s Presidential Palace” by New York Times best-selling author Laurence Leamer. As Leamer made it clear when I interviewed him on “Salon Talks,” Trump has not changed much since the day he bought his 17-acre Mar-a-Lago estate in 1985.
Source: Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be king | Salon.com
Obesity is often portrayed as a Western problem, with under-nutrition found in poorer countries.
But the truth is more complex. Nine out of 10 countries are in the grip of a health epidemic known as the “double burden” – where overweight and undernourished people live side-by-side.
A worldwide explosion in the availability of unhealthy foods, a shift towards office jobs and the growth of transport and television are among the many causes.
Often, this double burden occurs not only within a community, but also within the same family.
It can even happen within the same person, who is overweight but lacking in vital nutrients. Alternatively, they can be part of a phenomenon known as “thin-fat”, where people appear to be a healthy weight, but carry large amounts of hidden fat.
Every country in the world is struggling with a nutrition problem of some kind.
The number of people suffering from chronic food deprivation reached an estimated 815m in 2016 – a 5% increase in two years. Much of the increase was in Africa, where 20% of people were malnourished.
Meanwhile, obesity rates have tripled over the last 40 years. Globally, more than 600m adults are obese, while 1.9bn are overweight.
The number of obese people in developing countries is catching up with the developed world.
Source: The places where too many are fat and too many are thin – BBC News
An Atlanta-based psychologist is aiming to change the narrative about Black women and mental health. Through her platform Therapy for Black Girls, Joy Harden Bradford hopes to erase the stigma surrounding seeking help for mental illness within communities of color, the Huffington Post reported.
Source: Therapy For Black Girls Aims To Erase Stigma About Mental Health | News One
Given the reaction of some parts of the media, one could be forgiven for assuming that Europe and the rest of the Western world has become besieged by burqa-clad women. The “fear” is now so rife that empty bus seats in Norway were mistaken for a group of women wearing the burqa.
Meanwhile, in a much derided stunt in Australia, far right leader Pauline Hanson wore a full-face covering burqa into the senate chamber. Hanson’s aim was to prohibit Muslim women from covering their faces and to get the burqa banned in the country.
To look at it, the burqa is simply a veil which covers the body and face – and yet it is also sometimes associated with oppression, terrorism, and extreme religious beliefs. Some burqas only have a mesh screen for the wearer to see through. The niqab, on the other hand, is a face veil worn with a headscarf which leaves the eyes uncovered, while the hijab is a scarf which covers the head and neck. In Europe, the term “burqa” is used to refer to women who wear robes to cover the body and face, but their eyes may be left uncovered, as seen in the main image of this article.
Source: How many Muslim women actually wear the burka in the UK? It’s probably less than a few thousand – The i – Weekend Reads #55
It’s quite a claim: a woman can reduce her risk of developing breast cancer by 50 to 80 per cent, all by eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and taking exercise. That’s according to Dr Kristi Funk, the surgeon who has treated celebrities including Angelina Jolie and Sheryl Crow.
She makes these arguments in her book Breasts: An Owner’s Manual, which was published earlier this year, with an excerpt recently appearing in i.
As two doctors who also specialise in breast cancer – and have had the disease ourselves – we were surprised at Dr Funk’s conclusions. Reading her book, we were glad that she debunks alkaline diets as nonsense and explains the commonly quoted statistic of one in eight women getting breast cancer is often misunderstood as it applies over a whole lifetime and takes ageing into account, too.
Source: Research fails to back assertions that breast cancer is avoidable : iNews
There is a profound unfairness in the way the state supports families with pre-school children. Whilst significant support is rightly offered, in the form of tax-free childcare and 30 hours of free childcare a week, to couples in which both parents work, nothing is offered to families in which one parent chooses to remain at home, caring full time for their children. This is not only deeply unjust, but it utterly undervalues the important work done by those – often, but by no means exclusively, women – who make this choice.
Many people argue that the Government should not impose one form of lifestyle upon families. But the status quo, by embedding such a large disparity in support, does precisely this: it strongly encourages a family in which both parents work and discourages the equally valid choice in which one parent chooses to look after their own children. All subsidies distort choices, and at over £5,500 a year – about a fifth of the median household income – the level of disparity is of a scale to fundamentally distort the choices and options available to most families.
In reality, every family is different. In some families, it is absolutely right for them that both parents go back to work. In others it may be better, both for the parents and for the well-being of the children, if one parent – whether they are a man or a woman – stays at home to look after those children. It all depends on both the talents and inclination of the parents and the nature and needs of the children concerned. In an ideal society, each family would be able to make that choice depending on what was best for them and their children; however, under our current system, only the former is given support. This means that many parents are forced back to work as the only affordable option, even if when that is neither economically efficient nor what they wish to do. Increasingly, caring for one’s own children is becoming a luxury available only to those that have at least one high-earning parent.
Source: Iain Mansfield: To bring greater fairness to families, free childcare should be linked to the transferable tax allowance | Conservative Home