Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best Jobs for Your Zodiac Sign

Aries (March 21-April 19)You are enthusiastic, alert, outspoken, ambitious, strong-willed and creative. A career in television or radio, advertising or architecture would suit your ambitious and creative nature. Because you are a strong, natural leader, the military or law enforcement would also serve you well.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)A Taurus is practical, methodical, determined, patient, honest, dependable and a good team player. Look to the fields of banking, accounting and scientific research for your perfect job.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)You are very optimistic, inquisitive, intelligent and full of energy. You need a vocation that keeps your interest piqued and keeps you going, such as a travel guide, nature explorer or a sales position where travel is required.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)Cancers are imaginative, dramatic, philosophical, nurturing and protective. You're best at dispensing advice, so consider law, psychology, teaching, nursing or social work for your life's vocation.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)You are spontaneous, gregarious, independent and born to lead, with a true lust for power. These magnetic qualities make Leos good CEOs, managers, editors and perfect for government positions.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)Precise, witty, cheerful, perfectionist, detail-oriented, hard-working and neat, with a knack for languages -- all describe you. Technician, statistician, medical researcher, investigator or translator are perfect career options for Virgos.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)Libras are very diplomatic, charming, sociable, easy-going and cooperative. Your sense of cooperation and ability to engineer a compromise mean you would do well in the United Nations or as a lawyer, mediator, negotiator or administrator.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)You are penetratingly intuitive, intelligent, analytical, hard working, motivated and resourceful. Because you like to solve mysteries, consider espionage, police investigation, law, physics, research and writing.

Sagittarius (Nov. 11-Dec. 21)Sagittarians have a positive attitude, boundless energy, love of travel and a strong spiritual side. A sales position would be ideal, as would public relations, social administration or theology.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)You are rock-solid, dependable, responsible, highly organized, goal-oriented, logical and clever. You thrive in positions of power or any vocation where math or money is involved. Consider an IT position because you love software and computers. You are also well-suited for being a doctor, accountant or lawyer.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)Intelligent, original, progressive, humanitarian and visionary are all qualities that describe Aquarians. Choose a job in astronomy, natural history, aviation, photography, poetry, character acting or music.

Pisces ( Feb. 19-March 20)Pisces are generous, friendly, sensitive, popular, artistic, versatile, compassionate and spiritual. You will do well in any of the arts: drama, literature, painting, music, but your compassion also makes you well-suited for philanthropy and judicial positions.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chinese report on U.S. human rights record

BEIJING, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday hit back at a United States report on its human rights with its own report on the U.S. human rights record.

"The U.S. practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with human rights issues and has undermined its international image," the Information Office of the State Council said in its report on the U.S. human rights record.

For years, the United States had positioned itself over other countries and released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices annually to criticize human rights conditions in other countries, using it as a tool to interfere with and demonize other nations, the report said. The U.S. has turned a blind eye to its own violations of human rights.

"As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions, including China, but mention nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory," China said in its report.

"The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States, and as a reminder for the United States to reflect upon its own issues," China said.

The report reviewed the U.S. human rights record from six perspectives: life and personal security; civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; rights of women and children; and the United States' violation of human rights in other countries.

The report warned the United States that widespread violent crime posed serious threats to its people's lives and security.

According to a report published in September 2008 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the country reported 1.4 million violent crimes, including 17,000 murders and 9.8 million property crimes in 2007.

More frequent gun killings were a serious threat to the lives of U.S. citizens, the report said.
It quoted the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention assaying that 1.35 million high school students in 2007 were either threatened or injured with a weapon at least once on school property.

The report said an increasing number of restrictions had been imposed on civil rights in the United States.

It cited government surveillance of online activities, new legislation on government wiretapping last July, more cases of police abuse of force and neglect of basic rights of 2.3 million prisoners in the United States.

The United States was facing a number of social problems, including a wide wealth gap, increasing number of homeless, needy people and those suffering hunger, the report said.

It quoted the U.S. Census Bureau as saying in August 2008 that 12.5 percent of Americans, or 37.3 million people, were living in poverty in 2007, up from 36.5 million in 2006.

The unemployment rate increased from 4.6 percent in 2007 to 5.8percent in 2008, the report said.

People in the United States saw their pension plans shrink, health insurance cut and school tuition increase, while drugs, suicide and other social problems prevailed, according to the report.

The report said racial discrimination prevails in "every aspect of social life" in the United States, ranging from income, employment, education, to judicial system, often with African Americans as major victims.

"Nearly one quarter of black American households live below the poverty line, three times that of white households," it said, citing The State of Black America, issued by the National Urban League in March 2008.

The jobless rate for blacks was 10.6 percent in the third quarter of 2008, twice that of the whites, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

The report said the African American high school graduation and college entry rates still lingered at the level of whites "two or three decades ago", and African American students in public schools were "more likely to get physical punishment than White children."

"African American youths arrested for murder are at least three times more likely than their white peers to receive life imprisonment without the possibility of parole," the report said, quoting a 2008 report of the New York-based Human Rights Watch.

It also mentioned the infringement of basic rights of indigenous Americans, inhumane treatment received by immigrants, and serious racial hostility and rising hate crime in the United States.

On "worrisome" conditions of women and children, the report said gender-based discrimination in employment, and domestic violence and sexual violence toward women were quite serious.

Also, an increasing number of children were living in poverty and danger of being physically or mentally harmed due to abuse and violence.

"The United States is one of the few countries in the world where minors receive the same criminal punishments as adults," the report said. "It is the only country in the world that sentences children to life in prison without possibility of parole or release."

"The United States has a string of records of trampling on the sovereignty of and violating human rights in other countries," the report said.

It listed the Iraq war, prisoner abuse at Guantanamo, the five-decade embargo against Cuba and arm sales.

The war in Iraq had claimed more than 1 million civilian lives and caused the same number of homeless people, it said.

The United States maintained the embargo against Cuba, though the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution urging itto end the embargo in last October.

U.S. arm sales reached 32 billion U.S. dollars in 2007 and weapons were sold to more than 174 nations and regions.

The United States was inactive on its international human rights obligations and offered outbound humanitarian aid that was dwarfed by its status as the richest country in the world, the report said.

China in the report advised the U.S. government to "face its own human rights problems with courage, and to stop applying double standards to human rights issues".

This is the 10th consecutive year that the Information Office of China's State Council has issued a report on the human rights record of the United States to answer the U.S. State Department's annual report.

"Respect for and protection of human rights is an important indication of civilization and progress of human society," the report said. "Every government shoulders a common responsibility in committing itself to the improvement of human rights conditions.

Historical lecture to the American people (Part II)

Native Americans
When in 1492, Columbus arrived to America and made his first contact with the indigenous people, he marked the beginning of the persecution and genocide of Native Americans. European colonization of Americas and rise of the new US Government brought nothing but problems to Native Americans.

European explorers and settlers killed many Native Americans, they used force to expel them from their lands and brought infectious diseases (chicken pox, smallpox and measles) to North America against which the Native Americans had no natural immunity and medicine. Later, American Revolutionary War tucks additional Native American lives. Most Native American joined the struggle by siding with the British, hoping to use the American Revolutionary War to stop the progress of further colonial expansion onto Native American land, with some, however joining the revolutionaries.

In 1783, the British made peace with the Americans by the Treaty of Paris, through which they ceded vast areas of Native American territories to the United States without informing the Native Americans, immediately leading to the Northwest Indian War. American policy toward Native Americans had continued to evolve after the American Revolution. Native Americans who fought with British against rebels were treated as a conquered people who had lost their lands by the United States Government. The Native Americans lost 5,000,000 acres (20,000 km2) of land with just one rule by the State of New York.

The newly formed United States Government was eager to expand, to develop farming and settlements in new areas. During American expansion into the western frontier, one primary effort to destroy the Native American way of life was the attempts of the US government to make farmers of the Native Americans, to force them adopt the practice of private property, to built homes, to educate their children, and embrace Christianity. In addition, one of the most extensive methods to destroy their way of life was the deliberate destruction of flora and fauna which the Native American used for food, including slaughtering of buffalos.

In addition, President Andrew Jackson and United States Congress passed the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which authorized the President to conduct treaties to exchange Native American land east of the Mississippi River for lands west of the river. In one word; it was a policy of the US government to ethnically cleanse Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the river. The Removal Act of 1830 set into motion a series of events which led to the "Trail of Tears" in 1838; a forced march of the Cherokees, resulting in the destruction of most of the Cherokee population.

The age of “Manifest Destiny” had serious consequences for Native Americans. Policy was put into action to clear the land for white settlers. Methods for the removal included slaughter of villages by the military and also biological warfare. These methods caused increased death of Native American, diseases, starvation, and destruction of their way of life.

By conservative estimates, the population of the Native Americans prior to European contact was greater than 12 million. Today there are around 2.8 million Native Americans living on the territory of the United States, or around 0.8% of total population. In addition, in 2000, eight of ten Americans with Native American ancestry were of mixed blood.

However, maybe the biggest historical question is: who are Americans, really?

The majority of 306 million people currently living in the United States consist of White Americans, who trace their ancestry to the original peoples of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Most White Americans are European American, descendants of immigrants who arrived since the establishment of the first colonies.

According to the United States Census Bureau’s report from 2008; 68% of the US population are White Americans, 15% Hispanic, 12% African Americans and 5% Asian Americans. This numbers are likely to change by the year 2050 when White Americans will no longer be majority; 46% White Americans, 30% Hispanic, 15% African American and 9% Asian American.

In 2000 census, Americans were able to state their ancestries; 7.2% of the US population was unaware about or could not trace ancestry, so they were counted as “Americans”. The most interesting part was the fact that German ancestry counted 15.2% or 42,885,162 million of the total population, second was African American with 12.9% or 36,419,434. Also, very interesting was the fact that in 1980 US Census 61.3 million Americans reported British ancestry (English, Scottish, Scotch-Irish, Welsh); just two decades later, that number is 36.4 million.

If we look back to political history, the ancestry of 42 US presidents is limited to the following seven heritages, or some combination thereof: Dutch, English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Swiss, or German. These include; John F. Kennedy (Irish), Franklin D. Roosevelt (French and Dutch), Abraham Lincoln (English), Martin Van Buren (Dutch), among others.

Eight Presidents were born British subjects: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and William Henry Harrison.

Therefore, our good friends and neighbors who like to condemn others should remember these facts next time they decide to criticize and lecture. They should address other countries and nations with respect, because Americans and the United States are the creation of older and astute countries and nations. The US Americans are in fact Europeans, Africans and Asians, and everything good or bad that they do to others; they in fact do to themselves, or better to say to their ancestors.

Historical lecture to the American people (Part I)

By Ivan Simic
Every day we have the opportunity to read the articles, opinions and news analysis from one group of the American people, in which they more or less express their will in sometimes, very confusing way. Many of them do not know historical facts about their own country, not to mention history of other countries.

Sometimes, they behave like the world did not existed before formation of the US; like Americans felt out from the sky in 18th the century; and everything good that happened in the world, happened because of the United States. Many of these Americans publicly criticize other countries and nations, accusing them of injustice, genocide, the devaluation of human rights, racism, war crimes, among others. However, they seam to forget their own history, therefore, it pertinent to remind them about few very interesting things concerning US history.

The American Revolutionary War - the American War of Independence (1775 – 1783)

The American Revolutionary War was a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen united former British colonies – British America, and not war between Americans and British as many present in public. In 1776, during the American War of Independence, British Revolutionaries gained control of the thirteen united colonies and declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, claiming sovereignty and rejecting any allegiance to the British Monarchy.

This act resulted as a way for the United States to be officially recognized as the sovereign state by the Treaty of Paris in 1783. Therefore, we can say the American Revolutionary War was a civil war fought on colonized soil, as a war between British Crown and British rebels with help of other immigrants from Africa, Asia and Europe, not war between Americans and British, at least not, until international recognition of the US.

Pertaining to the US independence from the Great Britain, the US proclaimed independence first and as a new nation; the United States of America. Other countries did it much later. However, when it comes to independence, there are similarities between the US and Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Gambia, India, among others, they all gained independence from the Great Britain. Except, these countries were fully functioning countries before colonization, the US was not.

Therefore the question that arises is: does Her Majesty British Queen still have the document which makes her the owner of the United States land?

There is a strong believe in the United States that the American Revolutionary War was a good war which brought freedom to the people and gave birth to the US. Yes, it was, but only for the new American nation. Many of these Americans forgot the other side of this war, like the fact that the war started as the war between Kingdom of Great Britain and British rebels in the North America and extended out to the Europe and the European colonies, ending as a global war between Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands (Dutch Republic).

The American Revolutionary War also left African Americans and Native Americans humiliated. African Americans saw the revolution as a fight for liberty, own liberty and freedom from slavery, however they were wrong. Both Patriots and Loyalist used African Americans for their own cause.

African Americans

More than 20,000 African Americans such as Agrippa Hull and Prince Hall sided with the Patriot cause. Around 5,000 black men served in the Continental Army during the war, however, when George Washington took command of the Continental Army in July 1775, he issued an order to recruiters, ordering them not to enroll "any deserter from the Ministerial army, nor any stroller, negro or vagabond", despite the fact that they had fought side by side with their white counterparts at the battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill.

In November 1775, the Royal Governor of Virginia, Lord Dunmore issued a proclamation that he would free blacks who came to fight with the British. By December 1775 the British army had 300 slaves wearing a military uniform.

In response to Lord Dunmore proclamation, in 1776 George Washington issued orders to the recruiters to re-enlist liberated blacks who had already served in the army, and worried that these soldiers might cross over to the British side. The British also feared that blacks with weapons in their hands would start slave rebellions.

After the war, British loyalist left America with their African slaves. There were about 2,500 African Americans who belonged to the White loyalists and they generally remained slaves until slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834. Blacks who sided with the British were registered to the Book of Negros and were promised freedom. As the book came to close, they sailed to London and Nova Scotia as a free people as others left for Jamaica. Life for those who left for London and Nova Scotia was not easy; therefore, in 1792 around 1,193 blacks left for West Africa.

The African American Patriots who gave loyal service to the Continental Army receive no reward. In 1792, the United States Congress formally excluded the African Americans from military service, allowing only "free able-bodied white male citizens" to serve military. An estimated 100,000 African Americans escaped, died or were killed during the American Revolution.

One fifth of the total American population in 1776 was enslaved, about 500,000 black men, women and children. By 1860, there were 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the United States due to the Atlantic slave trade; another 500,000 African Americans lived free across the country. After 200 years of depression, the African Americans saw freedom with the Civil Rights Movement, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Black Power movement.

To be continued…

Monday, February 23, 2009

The economic outlook

The economic outlook: 2012 and beyond
The worst is not; So long as we can say, "This is the worst." (William Shakespeare)

It is said that today is pregnant with tomorrow. What and how we have done things in the past has shaped out today and what and how we do things today determine the shape of our future. To see into the future of our economies, with some small degree of certainty, we have to pay attention to what is happening around us and what we do.

But to get an idea of how the future will be, one has to have a real picture of the present. This is important since a false picture will present us with false alternatives, on which we act which in turn will result in unexpected outcomes (i.e., future that we are not prepared for).

It is not always easy to see through all the false pictures and data that we are constantly presented with. For example, in Norway on February 18th, the real-estate association came out with the statement that the housing crisis was almost over and the bottom was reached. This was plastered all over the place. Next day on February 19 th, the Norwegian Centre for Statistics came out with its own forecast; stating that house prices will continue to fall for the next year and that situation will deteriorate further.

It was clear to some of us that the real-estate association was putting out false information to drum-up business for its members. But if banks, industrialists, and even politicians also send out false and misleading information, then the average person will make decisions that may be contrary to his or her best interests.

Most of us do not have the time, energy, or even the necessary knowledge to gather and sift through large amount of data. We rely on news media, and the experts to make most of our decisions. Until last year, very few people were talking about the tremendous crisis that was well under way; even though as early as 2006, there were clear signs that the economy was under tremendous pressure.

In this article I will try to provide you with a picture of the present situation and then try to extrapolate based on the current policies adopted by various governments, what the near future will look like.

The current economic situation

Let me tell you in no uncertain terms that we are facing a synchronised global economic depression and I am not the only one that is saying this. In early February, the International Monetary Fund’s chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said the world's advanced economies -- the U.S., Western Europe and Japan -- are "already in depression”. Gordon Brown, the UK’s Prime Minister also used the word "depression" to describe the global economy, although his aides quickly said it was a slip of the tongue.

The politicians and others of course avoid using the term “depression” for fear of creating a panic; instead they use terms such as “severe recession” or “one of the most serious financial crises since the great depression”, etc. But they all are saying the same thing, we are in a depression and all the available data support this. An important fact to remember is that this depression is synchronised and this synchronicity has been made possible by the globalization and accompanying deregulation; the very things that were making workers poorer and the rich, richer.

Now the chickens have come home to roost. All economies are now suffering. Such promising economies as Iceland’s saw its GDP shrink by 10%, while the success show case of Europe, Ireland, had its GDP shrink by 6%. Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy shrank by 2.1% in the three months to December, seconded by Italy, which suffered a 1.8% drop in GDP. The French economy also contracted by 1.2% while IMF put Spain on its vulnerable list. UK ‘s GDP has also suffered and is forecasted to contract by 3.5% in 2009.

The misery list includes most of the Eastern European countries as well with some such as Ukraine set to experience severe contraction. According to IMF Ukraine’s GDP will shrink by 8 to 10% in 2009. The Russian economic growth is also set to fall. According to the Russian Deputy Economic Development Minister Andrei Klepach the forecast for the Russian economy has worsened to a 2.2-percent contraction in GDP.

Japan ’s economy, the second largest in the world, contracted by 12.7 per cent on a seasonally adjusted annualised basis in the fourth quarter and is set to contract by. According to the Taiwanese government, Taiwan’s GDP will shrink by 3% in 2009. Another big economy in Asia is Korea. According to S&P sovereign ratings, Asia's fourth-largest economy will contract by about 3.5 percent this year. All other South East Asian economies are reporting severe slow down or outright contraction except China.

According to National Bureau of Statistics of China, by comparing the fourth quarter 2007 to that of the fourth quarter 2008, China had achieved a 6.8 percent growth in 2008. However, many believe that this figure is misleading and that the Chinese are hiding the extent of the economic contraction of its economy. They point out that energy consumption in China has substantially been reduced. This could not have happened without a marked slowing down of the economy.

According to the article published in The Epoch Times (17 Feb 09) “Economists at the Standard Chartered Bank estimate China’s growth rate to be around 1 percent. Morgan Stanley analysts estimate it to be at 1.5 percent. This is much lower than the CCP reported 15 percent for the first quarter of 2007. According to economists at Merrill Lynch, the sequential growth rate of fourth quarter of 2008 was zero percent.”

Middle Eastern countries have also been severely affected by the financial crisis. The revenue from their major source of income, oil, has fallen at an incredible rate. Oil prices that were around 120 to 140 dollars last year have come down to around 30 to 40 dollars this year. Every country has slashed its expenditure with the accompanying slowing growth. For example recently UAE was forced to halt construction projects worth $582 billion or fully 45% of all projects.

A recent report in New York Times (11th Feb. 09) paints a grim picture of the situation in Dubai. The report states that ” with Dubai’s economy in free fall, newspapers have reported that more than 3,000 cars sit abandoned in the parking lot at the Dubai Airport, left by fleeing, debt-ridden foreigners (who could in fact be imprisoned if they failed to pay their bills)”. Iranians, Saudis, Iraqis, Kuwaitis and others have also been forced to slow down or freeze many projects. One must not forget that many of these countries’ petro-dollars are re-circulated back into the US and European economies. Those funds are drying-up fast.

Turkey sitting between the Europe and Middle East is also suffering. Turkey has the largest GDP in the Islamic world. Turkey's GDP was 750 billion in 2008, the GDP of Saudi Arabia was 600 billion dollar for the same period. A once dynamic economy is now negotiating with IMF for help.

Having surveyed most of the economic landscape of Europe and Asia, we can now look at the world largest economy, the US. The US economy is in a terrible shape, with all sectors going through severe depression. Housing market has completely collapsed. The auto industry is going bankrupt. The banking sector is alive only by the grace of the government handouts. The entertainment industry (TV and film industry excluded) is facing severe problems and unemployment is increasing rapidly.

The Federal Reserves’ forecast for 2009 shows a contraction of 0.5 to 1.3 percent of the GDP with official unemployment rising to 8.5 or 8.8 percent. Here one should note that this official unemployment rate does not present a true picture, since all those who give-up registering with the unemployment office or are barely working (part-time workers, etc) are not counted as unemployed.

Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway. He is a management consultant and a contributing writer for many online journals. He's a former associate professor of Nordland University, Norway. He can be contacted at:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Those who snore may not wake up one day

Many people disregard snoring thinking that it does not cause any health problems except for sleepless nights to those who sleep beside. As a matter of fact, snoring can be extremely dangerous.

“Snoring can be dangerous because it can develop into the obstructive sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome, when a person may have a respiratory arrest,” Doctor Valery Svistushkin said. A respiratory standstill may reoccur frequently, but a person may not breathe again if it lasts too long.

The phenomenon may also trigger a stroke or an infarction because blood pressure rises considerably when a person stops breathing. Such problems may occur 20 or 30 times a night, which may lead to death. Besides, a person suffers from a lack of sleep and becomes languid because the brain does not get enough rest. About 25 percent of men develop erectile dysfunction and a whole bouquet of other diseases because of snoring.

The frequency and the occurrence of respiratory arrests can be revealed through a special technique known as polysomnography. It is a comprehensive recording of the biophysiological changes that occur during sleep. A polysomnogram typically shows all parameters of sleep: the snoring amplitude, respiratory pauses, blood pressure changes and oxygen deficit.

However, even if you do not have respiratory arrests, it does not mean that you can disregard your snoring. Sleep disorder can occur at any moment, so it would be better to consult a doctor before it happens.

Sometimes it can be enough to have a nasal septum surgery, get rid of the chronic nasal cold, reduce the size of the soft palate or remove the enlarged tonsils. If it is a child that snores, he or she may have problems with adenoids.

Overweight people often snore because fat deposits in the neck narrow the throat. Smoking is another risk factor because tobacco smoke provokes throat edema. Alcohol produces a similar effect – it makes throat muscles flaccid.

Special equipment can be used in the event surgery does not help. The treatment is known as SIPAP therapy.

Those who want to improve their condition at least to a certain extent may try not to sleep on the back. A person can fix a ping-pong ball to his or her back to let a patient control positions of the body during sleep.

Cancer to remain incurable even in 100 years

The World Health Organization published the forecast of most common reasons of mortality in 2030. The picture of the possible future was based on the data of present-date causes of death supplemented with certain expectations. There are three most common reasons of mortality nowadays in the world: oncological diseases, ischemic heart disease and stroke.

The WHO believes that the three most common killers will keep and even improve their leading positions during the next coming decades. Strangely enough, cancer will be killing more people despite the development of modern medicine: the people, who would die of other diseases before, would live up to cancerous diseases. Heart attacks and strokes will cause many deaths among elderly people due to scientific achievements in medicine too.

The number of deaths in car accidents will be growing in the future. The technical development of the human civilization has always been ahead of the evolution of culture.

The global death rate may also increase in the event people decide to refuse from vaccinations. There were such outbursts before, for example in 1873-1874 in Stockholm, when many declined vaccination for religious reasons and fell victims to smallpox. The epidemic of smallpox in the Swedish capital ended only as a result of massive vaccination. Outbursts of whooping cough in Britain during the 1970s, measles in Holland, Ireland, Nigeria and the USA during the 2000s occurred for the same reason.

Acute respiratory infections, TB, malaria and child labor death rates will decrease. The forecast of the World Health Organization includes the countries of the golden billion and the third world states, where the above-mentioned death rate is especially high. The decrease of the overall death rate in Africa and South-East Asia will depend on the state of the world economy. If mankind goes through a decade of the economic recession, similar to the Great Depression of 1929-1940, the humanitarian missions in developing states will not be able to expand their activities.

AIDS as a cause of death will be getting more frequent before 2015. The AIDS-related death rate will start to decrease afterwards. Specialists probably pin their hopes on the invention of the anti-AIDS vaccine.

No one knows if the vaccine is ever going to become possible due to frequent mutations and changes of the nature of the virus. However, the death rate is possible to decline. Even modern therapy guarantees a considerable level of survival for HIV-positive individuals.

Some other scientists, for example, Bryan Sykes of Oxford University, wrote in his book, “Adam’s Curse”, that men would disappear in the course of the human evolution. The scientist believes that the Y-chromosome, which is responsible for the male sex, will eventually disappear due to numerous defects. Men may become extinct in about 125,000 years, Sykes believes.

Russia, Europe and NASA explore ocean depths of Jupiter’s Europa

Russian scientists intend to send a research spacecraft to one of Jupiter’s satellites, Europa. US and European space agencies revealed similar plans as well.

The Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences welcomed several delegations of foreign scientists last week to discuss the issues of exploring one of Jupiter’s moons. The specialists gathered to discuss the potential problems, which may appear during research missions to Europa.

Europa is one of the most attractive celestial bodies in the solar system. Scientists do not doubt about the existence of the ocean underneath its layers of ice. They actively discuss a possible existence of life forms in the water environment of the moon. The rovers that may head to Europa in the future will try to find an answer to this question.

“It is too early to say that a mission to Europa is ready. We will have to study every detail of the project at first and look into all potential difficulties that may arise from this initiative. The process will take a couple of years, and we will then decide if the Russian mission to Europa becomes a reality or not,” a leading scientist of the above-mentioned institute, A.V. Zakharov told

If Russia eventually decides to launch a spacecraft to Europa, it will take seven or eight years to complete all technical preparations to the project. Thus, the rover will most likely be launched not earlier than 2020.

NASA also announced its readiness to launch a group of rovers to Europa. The US space agency is expected to make an official announcement on the matter this week.

Europa was discovered in 1610 by Galileo Galilei (and possibly independently by Simon Marius), and named after a mythical Phoenician noblewoman, Europa, who was courted by Zeus and became the queen of Crete. It is the smallest of the four Galilean moons.

At just over 3100 km diameter, Europa is slightly smaller than Earth's Moon and is the sixth-largest moon in the Solar System. Though by a wide margin the least massive of the Galilean satellites, its mass nonetheless significantly exceeds the combined mass of all moons in the Solar System smaller than itself. It is primarily made of silicate rock and likely has an iron core. It has a tenuous atmosphere composed primarily of oxygen. Its surface is composed of ice and is one of the smoothest in the Solar System. This young surface is striated by cracks and streaks, while craters are relatively infrequent. The apparent youth and smoothness of the surface have led to the hypothesis that a water ocean exists beneath it, which could conceivably serve as an abode for extraterrestrial life. Heat energy from tidal flexing ensures that the ocean remains liquid and drives geological activity.

Although only fly-by missions have visited the moon, the intriguing characteristics of Europa have led to several ambitious exploration proposals. The Galileo mission provided the bulk of current data on Europa, while the Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter, cancelled in 2005, would have targeted Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. Conjecture on extraterrestrial life has ensured a high profile for the moon and has led to steady lobbying for future missions.

Old theories cannot explain all things which are possible

One of our recent scientific articles “Mendel was true scientist, not Darwin!” written by our author Babu G. Ranganathan caused a lot of feedbacks from our readers. The following is one of them which we think is the most interesting. It is written by Mark H., New Jersey, USA.

I am an amateur student of science and scientific history. In my opinion, Babu G. Ranganathan's article, "Mendel was true scientist, not Darwin!", makes some confused interpretations of scientific ideas and history. I hope I can add some clarity.

To quote from the article, "Mendel ... showed that there are natural limits to biological variations. Variations within biological kinds ... are possible but not variations across biological kinds, especially from simpler kinds to more complex ones."

I think it is closer to truth to say, that Mendel studied variation within biological kinds. His experiments were within species, or with hybrids of closely related species. Darwin (and Wallace) published their ideas about evolution a few years after Mendel began his researches. I am aware of no evidence that Mendel intended to study evolution, or that he connected his work with evolutionary concepts, or that he was looking for inherited connections between very different forms of life.

Accordingly, it is reasonable to consider that Mendel did not show the possibility of variations across biological kinds ... because he was not looking for them!

As a good experimental scientist, Mendel learned from nature by direct observation. With the species he was studying, the scope of his observations on heredity covered small numbers of generations.

I understand that among people who believe as Mr. Ranganathan does about the origin of species, many also believe that Earth is less than 100 centuries old -- but to the great majority of geologists, who believe that Earth is many millions of centuries old, and to the great majority of biologists, the evolution of new species is understood to take place over a span of many thousands, millions, or even billions of generations.

If you spent one day of your life carefully studying as many trees as you could (in one day!), how much do you think you would you learn about how trees grow from a seed to dozens of meters in height? When Mendel studied short-term variation, he was not trying to study evolution -- and even if he had wanted to, his short-term observations could show only a little, about what can happen over huge stretches of time.

In modern terms, we can say that Mendel studied, and through his genius was able to gain important understanding, of patterns of inheritance that result from sexual combination of genes. You can study this on a short time scale, because it happens with every specimen, in every generation. Just think of how different children are, from their parents, brothers, and sisters! Missing from Mendel's understanding was the phenomenon of modification of genes by random alteration of DNA, and other rare accidents. This is not to criticise Mendel -- he would have little chance of learning enough to make a theory of mutation, from the short-term data he carefully collected.

To make Ranganathan's statement closer to scientific knowledge, Mendel showed that there are natural limits to the most common kind of biological variation. But Raganathan's article implies that these are absolute limits on every possible cause of natural variation. There is very strong and clear science, showing that this is not true!

When Ranganathan writes that it would be quite difficult to support Darwin's ideas of the origin of species, using a purely Mendelian theory of genetic variation, his reasoning is valid. But in scientific history, Mendel's discoveries were a brilliant and wonderfully useful beginning of genetic theory. Genetics has advanced very, very far since Mendel's time, and the modern theory of genetics supports Darwin's ideas very well.

To get a good picture of Ranganathan's mistake, suppose someone said, "our concept of the solar system is wrong, because these planetary motions cannot be explained by Galileo's physics!" Or, "airplanes cannot fly, because Newton's theory of fluids predicts very high drag!"

If we hadn't learned anything new since Galileo or Newton, these statements would be sensible. If we hadn't learned anything about genetics since Mendel, Ranganathan's argument would make a real challenge to evolutionary theory. But because thousands of scientists around the world keep asking questions about Nature, and the most of them communicate their findings openly and honestly, our knowledge of Nature keeps growing -- and we can understand that things are possible, that could not be explained by our great-grandfather's theories.

In Mendel's day, people still crossed the oceans in sailing ships, and the fastest way to travel on land was in a train pulled by a steam-driven locomotive. Mothers still died from needless infections, because doctors delivering babies did not believe that they should wash their hands. I am very grateful, that the world has learned better. Does anyone, while drinking their cup of tea, believe that a nuclear power plant (that perhaps provided electricity to to heat the water) cannot work, because no scientist of the 1800s had a theory for nuclear chain reactions?

Modern women sick of metrosexual men, switch to neosexuals

It seems that metrosexuals yield the palm to the new kind of modern-day men – a fine combination of sensitivity and masculinity. A recent research conducted by one of the largest makers of consumer goods identified the new type of men as neosexuals.

The neosexual is a male distinctive for his masculine qualities and who at the same time can be sensitive and emotional. This is a hybrid of a patriarchal man and a metrosexual. The neosexual is an emotionally developed individual who instinctively understands the needs of modern-day women.

The research showed that women begin to complain of effeminate men and prefer to choose partners of a more masculine image, of the cowboy type, for example. In addition, women do not encourage the type of behavior that erases the sex differences, Argentina ’s Corrientes Noticias newspaper wrote.

The weaker sex hates it when a man spends a lot of time taking great care of himself, not to mention the fondness for cosmetic products that men can often develop nowadays. Women want to have the good old traditions back.

The research showed that the new type of men can be attractive simply because of the fact that neosexuals are physically strong and sexually substantial.

It seems that women do not enjoy online communication as much as they did before. Not only are they tired of metrosexual men, but they are sick of another type of modern men who lead frantic lifestyles and become very addicted to the Internet. Quite on the contrary, ladies prefer to talk to their boyfriends and husbands on the phone, they expect men to ask them out on a date and would like to bid farewell to trivial text messages.

Seventy-two percent of the polled women said that they would prefer a strong and confident man who knows what he wants.

Eighty-five percent confirmed that they would be easily tempted with a passionate kiss of a strong man. Many of the polled women said that they at times admire men’s straight-forwardness in their sexual intentions. They think that it is a man who is supposed to take on the initiative during a moment of passion because this is exactly the moment when women feel desirable and seductive.

Sixty-five percent of the polled women said that the sight of a man dolling himself up in front of a mirror is depressing. Women say that a man should take care of himself, of course, although they can not stand it when they need to wait for a man while he is dressing up.

Being a real man is the hardest occupation of all

There are a number of occupations that can be categorized as male occupations only. For example, a Norwegian whaler, a Soviet smelter, a Japanese samurai, etc.

Many women think of such men as the only true men that have the genuine nature of a real man. There are many of such women who share this opinion, but they may not even realize that they think it wrong.

All genuine feminine women love genuine masculine men. What is the definition of masculinity, though? Is there a formula to it?

Men have their own notion of manhood, which may often differ from what most women think on the matter. Some men think that it is very man-like to spit in public on the street, others believe that it is very masculine to scratch and touch the groin area so that other people could see it.

What’s next? It’s very macho-like to smell like a rat, to breathe tobacco and drink wine 24/7.
As a matter of fact, masculinity, which seems to be a very attracting factor for many women, is different with every individual. A male often takes all attempts to make females dislike him. He acts rude, he farts and burps in front of other people and makes them pay attention to it, he tells dirty jokes and refers to other women as ‘chicks’.

Most women would hate it, but some of them can develop an attraction even to this type of men. They fall for something else, though.

It may often happen that the image of a macho man is just a mask that a man wears to hide his weak character. As a rule, men hide real-man traits somewhere deep inside and prefer not to expose them to everyone. A man may not look like a macho man, but if he works had to maintain his family, his children, if he is responsible for his loved ones, he can absolutely be categorized as a real man in the sense of this word.

Here are the traits that define a real man in the world today: a man takes care of his family and is distinctive for his reliability. A man must be responsible for others, if he wants to become a real man.

It is extremely important for a man to be a socially realized individual. This aspect is much more important for men than it can be for women. If a man does not feel that he is fulfilled at the moment when he turns 30, if he feels that he has not achieved a social status, he begins to drink and resorts to other ways of self-destruction.

A man who changes his partners all the time is not a real man at all. A woman must feel that she can rely on her man, but if he swaps sex partners every other day, he can not be referred to as ‘reliable.’ Such men simply waste their man power. A womanizer is a careless man; he is lost in a way, which indicates his weakness and helplessness. Women prefer to avoid this type of men.

Speaking of men’s responsibility, what does it mean to be a boy? It means not to cry, not to complain and not to ask. A boy is supposed to be strong; he is supposed to be able to defend himself. What do parents usually tell their sons ?

“You need to be patient!”

“Don’t cry, it makes you a girl!”

“Why didn’t you hit him back when he hit you?”

A boy begins to realize from early childhood that he is not supposed to feel anything or display his feelings about anything. He begins to realize that he has to be ashamed of such things. Being a man means being hard-hearted. As a result, women have to deal with cold-blooded unemotional men of whom they always complain.

When a boy goes to school, he needs to learn to fight with other boys. He learns to be disobedient and mischievous, he learns to insult and despise girls. As a boy grows into a teenager, he needs to learn to smoke, to drink and to swear. He needs to learn to be like everyone else. He is not supposed to be different, or he may have severe problems with his peers otherwise.

When a man has a family, he takes on a new responsibility to maintain his wife and children. If he does not cope with it, his wife and everyone else will think of him as a wreck. If he works hard, he spends all his days at work, he hardly sees his wife and children, he loses interest in sex and becomes a very bad man in the eyes of his wife again.

Men become used to constant stresses, they develop nervous breakdowns and start having heart attacks in their forties. Most men can not relieve their tension just as naturally as most women do: they can not complain to their mothers or share everything with their friends. Most men can only pretend that their problems do not actually exist, that everything is fine and normal. It is easy to be a man? Not at all. One has to be very strong indeed to become a real man.

Most women do not understand a thing about men

Men are mysterious beings. There is no way women can ever understand men’s logic, just like men can never understand what women want from them. Women typically think of men as strange human beings, whose actions go beyond their understanding.

For example, men do not want to meet a woman again after a very good date, they can suddenly disappear and leave phone calls and text messages unanswered, they say that they never want to get married, but then become faithful husbands.

What if women simply do not want to know the true reasons that make men break up a relationship, lose a phone number and make proposals to other women? What if women prefer not to know those reasons just because they may not like them? What if women prefer to believe only what they want to believe (all men are assholes)?

Here is the all-matching answer to all of those questions. Why doesn’t he call me? Because he doesn’t like you. Why did he leave me? Because he doesn’t like you . Why did he disappear ? Because he doesn’t like you.

This may probably be true, although it does not explain men’s indifference. Women tend to think of themselves as victims of men’s games. As a rule, they do not acknowledge any responsibility for an unsuccessful relationship and think of men as emotional criminals. The woman’s world evolves around Bridget Jones Diaries and Sex and the City. This world portrays men as either charming scoundrels or ‘weddable’ downers.

Any man would agree with the following saying: “We are not that weird and mysterious as women think of us. We are guided by sex, although we pretend to have other motives too.”
If it is true, why would a man ever want to have a family? Aren’t they supposed to inseminate as many women as possible? However, even a hopeless bachelor can become a caring husband. They say that it is very hard to find a good man. On the other hand, if you ask a lonely guy he would definitely tell you that it is very hard to find a good woman too.

To put it in a nutshell, women can ruin relationships just as easily as men can. Women can be just as violent in a relationship, although people prefer not to talk about it too much just because of the fact that men are stronger emotionally and physically. One should always bear in mind the fact that men can suffer from loneliness and one-way love.

Victims of rape must always blame themselves?

There are people who say that victims of rape are guilty of their experience themselves.

“What do they want when they put on a very short skirt for a party in a night club? Why do they join a company of men for a picnic?” Strangely enough, these are the typical thoughts of not only men, but women too.

If a woman thinks so, it is obvious that she has never been sexually abused. It goes without saying that there is a phenomenon of risky behavior. A young woman takes a late walk alone, flags down a car and agrees to have a free ride in a company of a male driver. This is an example of risky behavior indeed, but does it give rapist any advantage? Sexual violence is not a question of sex, it is mostly a question of power and control over a victim.

In southern countries it is considered a tradition for local men to buy a cup of coffee or a glass of juice to a foreign woman. If a woman accepts the drink, men take it as a signal: she is ready for everything. It would be correct to ask a direct question to a woman who may not be familiar with local “coffee traditions.” However, many people believe that women, who agree to join men for a picnic or accept a free taxi ride offer, agree for something more.

It may seem strange to some, but many women may accept offers without having any second thoughts at all. They just say yes to what they were offered, whether it is a hike, a weekend party outdoors, or just a pleasant conversation with a handsome man. Furthermore, there are not many women who believe that they need to sleep with someone for some food or drinks. Some women are inexperienced, others are silly, while some others need to have their protection instinct improved.

Even if a woman is silly, who has a right to punish her for her silliness? Women tend to believe that a girl will never be raped if she goes in for kick-boxing or karate, if she wears baggy sweaters and jeans and does not care about makeup. A woman will never become a victim of rape if she comes home early before it gets dark, if she does not flag down cars, if she does not take a late commuter train with a group of drunk men in a carriage. Pepper gas or a stun gun can be just as reliable as a condom. This is what they seem to think.

Needless to say that women need to have simple rules of their own personal safety. However, such rules do not minimize danger. Any average man is physically stronger. If you don’t see microbes it does not mean that they don’t exist.

Anything can happen. A friend of mine was raped by two men in broad daylight, just some 200 meters away from her home. The daughter of my other friend encountered a man who liked showing off. She was at school, doing something alone in her classroom when the bastard came in. Do you really believe that those girls were guilty of what has happened to them?

As long as people blame victims of rape and try to justify rapists, the amount of sex crimes in our society will not reduce.

It would be stupid to say that a woman can recognize a rapist in a crowd of people. A married respectable man having a good job and a decent car may lead a completely different life when he is alone. Rapists plan most of their crimes and commit them in daylight hours. Many women can be on very good terms with their rapists.

There are too many rules, conditions, rituals and dress codes for girls. Boys must always follow only one and very simple rule: ‘no means no.’ It does not mean ‘maybe,’ or ‘try me.’ It only means ‘stop.’

Calorie restriction boosts memory

German scientists have suggested that cutting 30 percent of the daily calorie intake improves memory function in the healthy elderly.

According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, individuals who reduce their calorie intake have sharper memories and think faster.

Diets low in calories but rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as the Mediterranean diet are reported to be beneficial for brain function and reduce the future risk of Alzheimer's.

The calorie restriction is believed to boost memory through reducing insulin resistance and inflammation, linked to age-related cognitive decline.

Scientists are optimistic that their findings will pave the way for the development of new methods to tackle age-related cognitive decline.

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Education lowers Alzheimer's risk?

Despite the common belief that education can tackle Alzheimer's disease (AD), studying does not slow cognitive decline among the elderly.

Previous studies had reported that more education lowers the risk of AD and dementia.

According to a study published in Neurology, the rate of cognitive decline does not depend on one's number of years of schooling; education, however, provides the individual with higher levels of cognitive functioning in old age.

Rush researchers concluded that more education is linked to becoming debilitated due to AD and dementia at older ages, adding that doing brain exercises can reduce the high cost of caring for individuals suffering from the condition.

In a separate study, US researchers reported that insulin protects the brain from the toxic proteins associated with AD, suggesting that taking diabetes drugs such as Avandia, or rosiglitazone can enhance this protective effect.

Vitamin supplements good for kids?

A new study shows that the majority of children regularly taking vitamins are in a good health and do not need these supplements.

Scientists warn that at-risk children and adolescents including those with less healthy nutrition and activity patterns, greater obesity, lower income, lower food security, poorer health, and lower healthcare access use the lowest amounts of vitamin supplements.

According to a study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, low-income families are less likely to provide their children with vitamins and minerals regardless of the child's health status.

About one-third of US children and teens who regularly take vitamins are healthy and active; children in fair or poor health with bad eating habits, however, are less likely to take the pills.

The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend vitamin supplements for healthy children over the age of one following a varied diet.

Scientists, however, concluded that taking the pills on a daily basis and following the dose recommended on the label will not harm such children.

They urged families to adopt a healthy diet, adding that a varied diet consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables and fiber is the best source for vitamins and minerals.

Study: No limit to eating eggs

Despite the belief that eating more than three eggs a week is troublesome, a study says there is no limit to the number of eggs one can eat.

Previous studies had linked eggs to high blood cholesterol levels, leading to cardiovascular diseases. A new study, however, reports that limiting one's egg intake has little impact on cholesterol levels.

According to the study published in the British Nutrition Foundation's Nutrition Bulletin, the amount of saturated fat in the daily diet (fatty meat, full fat dairy products and cakes, biscuits and pastries) has a greater effect on blood cholesterol levels compared to dietary cholesterol.

Other factors such as smoking, obesity and physical activity can influence blood cholesterol levels and the subsequent risk of developing heart diseases, adding that only one third of the cholesterol in the body comes from the diet.

Many individuals can eat eggs everyday as part of a balanced diet without being concerned about subsequent health problems.

Mediterranean diet tackles dementia

Following a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil can help improve memory and tackle Alzheimer's disease.

According to a study published in the Archives of Neurology, following a healthy diet lowers the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, characterized by forgetfulness and difficulty in concentrating, as well as the risk of subsequent Alzheimer's disease.

Adopting a strict diet lowered the mild cognitive impairment risk by 28 percent, whereas moderate adherence to such diet was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.

Individuals with mild cognitive impairment who eat a Mediterranean-style diet are 45 percent less likely to make the transition into Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists concluded that following this diet helps keep the brain healthy through reducing inflammation and improving cardiovascular risk factors such as elevated cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Passive smoking leads to dementia

Passive smoking increases a person's risk of dementia and other forms of cognitive problems, British and US researchers have said.

The report, published in the British Medical Journal on Friday, found a 44 percent increased risk for passive smoking.

"Our results suggest that inhaling other people's smoke may damage the brain, impair cognitive functions such as memory, and make dementia more likely," said David Llewellyn of Britain's University of Cambridge, who led the study.

Earlier research proved that passive smoking leads to lung cancer and heart disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that more than half of children in the world inhale second-hand smoke in their homes.

Previous studies had linked smoking during pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

Smoking can also increase the risk of developing diabetes, one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, by seven percent.

Regular exercise cuts colon cancer risk

A new medical research has revealed the fact that those who take regular exercise cut their risk of colon cancer by 25 per cent.

The study further confirmed that even walking reduces the likelihood of developing colon cancer, which is one of the most common cancers. Meanwhile, the analysis showed that the benefit of the physical exercise was the same for both men and women.

The results of the study are published in the advanced online 10 February issue of the British Journal of Cancer. It is believed that exercise cuts the risk of colon cancer by reducing weight and increasing the speed at which cancer-causing chemicals in food pass through the gut.

According to researchers, regular workout can also help reduce bowel inflammation and the level of hormones linked to the growth of tumors.

Drinking tea can reduce strokes

A new study in the United States has found out that drinking three or more cups of tea per day can reduce the risk of stroke.

"By drinking three cups of tea a day, the risk of a stroke was reduced 21%," said Lenore Arab, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine. The professor also said that the more you drink, the better your odds of staving off a stroke. Drinking three more cups can drop another 21%.

The effect was found in tea made from the plant Camellia sinensis, not herbs, Arab said. Researchers speculate that the anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate or the amino acid Theanine in tea may be what helps. Some studies show anti-oxidants help prevent coronary artery disease, daily news reported Friday.

"If we can find a way to prevent the stroke, or prevent the damage, that is simple and not toxic, that would be a great advance," Arab said.