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Dublin: New Blog For Citizen’s Free Press Ireland.com

11 Oct

FOLLOW THIS LINK FOR FUTURE POSTS:

http://www.citizensfreepressireland.com/

Current Photo Albums at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/106601042721625135361

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http://www.facebook.com/greagues2 &

http://twitter.com/freepressdublin 

Link to photo Archive:

https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=7d84d8d85790ac27

 
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Lamezia Terme, Italy: Pope Denounces ‘ndrangheta mob’ As “Inhuman Mafia”

9 Oct

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives with his popemobile to celebrate …

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives with his popemobile to celebrate a mass in Lamezia Terme, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

LAMEZIA TERME, Italy (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday denounced the “inhuman” mafia that plagues southern Italy and urged residents there to respond to the region‘s suffering by caring for one another and the common good.

Benedict made the comments while celebrating an open-air Mass in Lamezia Terme, in Calabria in the “toe” of boot-shaped Italy.

The region is home to the ‘ndrangheta mob, which is today considered more powerful than the Sicilian Mafia and is one of the world’s biggest cocaine traffickers. Calabria is also one of the poorest regions in Italy, with a 27 percent unemployment rate.

Benedict noted the region is seismic — “not just geologically but from the structural, behavioral and social point of view” — and said high unemployment and Calabria’s “often inhuman criminality wounds the fabric of society.”

He praised Calabrians for their ability to live with such problems and a near-constant state of emergency and urged them to continue responding to the ills afflicting the region with faith and Christian values.

“Force yourselves to grow in the ability to collaborate with one another, care for one another and all the public good,” he said.

It was Benedict’s first visit to the region and police estimated about 40,000 people had turned out under cold, dark skies for the Mass.

The city’s mayor, Gianni Speranza, welcomed Benedict but didn’t gloss over the region’s ills. “Welcome to Lamezia Terme, your holiness, a land of suffering,” he said.

He said the region’s young people needed a sign of hope that they can live without the mob and fear. “Enough with the mafia!” he added.

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives to celebrate a mass in Lamezia Terme, Italy, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011. At right is Lamezia Bishop, Luigi Cantafora. (AP Photo/Adriana Sapone)

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful as he arrives to celebrate a mass in Lamezia …

Nepal: Unpaid Charity Workers ‘Turn To Prostitution’ For Survival

9 Oct

Desperate AIDS charity workers in Nepal are turning to prostitution to pay bills and buy food because government bureaucracy has denied them their wages, campaigners said Friday.

Gay rights and AIDS charity the Blue Diamond Society said it had been unable to pay its outreach workers, who receive as little as 3,000 rupees ($38) a month, for 12 weeks because of a lack of funding.

The group’s leader, Nepalese lawmaker Sunil Babu Pant, said he employed about 400 “educators” in Nepal, some with HIV, who worked to raise awareness about safe sex, contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases.

“We don’t have exact details, but many have turned to sex work to survive,” he explained.

Nepalese youth volunteers take part in a rally to mark World AIDS Day in Kathmandu in 2009

Pant said some of his employees working in border areas might even be failing to use condoms because of the lack of free contraception there.

The World Policy Institute think-tank highlighted this week that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) battling HIV/AIDS in Nepal were being denied $10 million in aid currently being held by the government.

The money has been in limbo since 2009, when Nepal announced it would stop funding HIV/AIDS education programmes, saying that infection rates were slowing down.

After pressure from the World Bank, the deeply impoverished Himalayan country agreed to reverse its decision, but problems with contract negotiations and other bureaucratic delays have meant the money has still not been released.

“While stories of stagnant bureaucracy in Nepal?s fledgling democratic government are not new, the consequences this time will put those increasingly dependent on NGO support at great risk,” said Kyle Knight, author of the World Policy Institute blog post.

About one percent of the adult population of Nepal is estimated to be HIV positive, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

But female sex workers are said to be a particularly high-risk group.

Since Nepal?s first cases were reported in 1988, the disease has primarily been transmitted by intravenous drug use and unprotected sex, UNAIDS said.

“About 70,000 people are estimated to be infected with HIV in Nepal, most of whom are not aware of their infection,” the United States Agency for International Development‘s 2010 Nepal HIV/AIDS profile said.

“As of the end of 2009, only 14,320 HIV-positive persons were officially reported.”

Nepal’s National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) reports HIV infections to be more common in the far western region of the country, where migrant labour is more common, and in urban areas.

Poverty, low levels of education, illiteracy, gender inequalities, marginalisation of at-risk groups and stigma and discrimination compound the epidemic?s effects, the organisation said.

No one was available for comment from the health ministry.

Desperate AIDS charity workers in Nepal are turning to prostitution to pay bills …

Nepalese transgender performer Swecha Lama dances on World AIDS Day in Kathmandu in 2008

New York: Sexual Behaviour Causing Spread Of Mouth & Throat Cancer: Study

5 Oct

NEW YORK – Cancer of the back of the mouth and throat is on the rise, primarily because of more cases stemming from a viral infection called human papillomavirus (HPV), according to a US study.

The number of people who were diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer in 2004 was triple the number diagnosed in 1988 – due largely, researchers suspect, to changes in sexual behaviour that have helped spread the virus.

HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that can cause genital warts and certain cancers, including of the cervix, anus and penis.

“The whole relationship between HPV-related head and neck cancer completely changes our ideas of who is at risk, how to treat the cancer, the prognostics of the cancer, and prevention,” said Maura Gillison, at the Ohio State University, who led the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology .

Dr Gillison and her colleagues examined oral cancer tissue collected from 271 patients over a 20-year period.

The type of cancer they examined, called oropharyngeal, originates in the back of the tongue, the soft part of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, or the side of the throat.

They checked the samples for evidence of HPV infection and found that the HPV-related cases became more and more common each decade, while those samples that did not test positive for the virus became less common.

From these results, they estimate that HPV-related oral cancers afflict 26 out of every million people in the United States, compared with eight out of every million people in 1988.

Tina Dalianis, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden who did not take part in the study, said she believed the increase in oral cancers were due to an HPV epidemic. “We believe sexual habits have changed, and that there is an increase in sexual activity earlier on in life, with an exchange of many more sex partners in general,” she wrote.

The current study confirms what Dr Dalianis had found previously in Sweden – that HPV-related oral cancers were becoming the dominant form of the disease.

Previously, tobacco had been the primary cause of oral cancer, and most oral cancer cases were HPV-negative.

Dr Gillison’s group found that HPV-negative cancers have been cut in half since the 1980s. HPV-positive cases, which had made up just 16 per cent of oral cancer cases in the 1980s, comprised more than 70 per cent in the 2000s. – (Reuters)

Indianapolis: Cocaine Abusers More Likely To Develop Glaucoma: Study

3 Oct

(HealthDay News) — People who use cocaine are 45 percent more likely to develop open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the eye disease, according to a new study.

The study authors said the cocaine abusers who developed the condition were nearly 20 years younger than glaucoma patients who did not do drugs. They suggested that the findings could help doctors develop new treatments for the disease, which is currently the second most common cause of blindness in the United States.

“The association of illegal drug use with open-angle glaucoma requires further study, but if the relationship is confirmed, this understanding could lead to new strategies to prevent vision loss,” the study’s first author, Dustin French, a research scientist with the Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Indianapolis, said in a news release.

In conducting the study, published in the September issue of the Journal of Glaucoma, the researchers examined information on 5.3 million men and women seen in Department of Veterans Affairs’ outpatient clinics over the course of one year.

The study found about 1.5 percent of those patients had glaucoma. Over this same time frame, about 3.3 percent of all those seen in the outpatient clinics had used cocaine.

Although the study doesn’t prove that using cocaine causes glaucoma, the researchers concluded there is significantly higher risk for the eye condition among those with a history of drug abuse — particularly since people are usually in their teens or 20s when they start using illegal drugs.

The study’s authors noted more research is needed to explore the long-term effects of cocaine use on the development of glaucoma.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information on glaucoma

Dublin: Homeless People Afflicted By Addiction and Ill Health: Report

3 Oct

Report highlights ill health suffered by homeless people

DEPRESSION, dental decay and the threat to health from alcohol and drug use feature heavily among homeless people, almost half of whom suffer from both physical and mental ill health, according to a report.

To add to their tragedy, members of the homeless community are plagued by a range of conditions, including hepatitis, arthritis, asthma and high blood pressure.

Nor are they faring well mentally: the survey shows out of 600 people surveyed by Simon Communities of Ireland, more than one third suffer from depression, while schizophrenia, panic attacks, bipolar disorder and social anxiety disorders feature in up to 10%.

Among the other alarming findings of the National Health Snapshot study, published today to mark the start of Simon Week, are:

* 50% used alcohol, of whom 44% reported health complications as a result.

* 31% used drugs (more than half intravenously) causing abscesses, hepatitis C and B, vein collapse, overdose and deep vein thrombosis.

* More than three quarters using drugs used one or more types of drugs (polydrug use), with heroin the most popular (58%), followed by cannabis, prescribed methadone, unprescribed benzodiazepines and headshop drugs.

* 12% had a diagnosed intellectual disability, most commonly attention deficit disorder and autism.

* 19% self-harmed, almost one quarter expressed suicidal thoughts and 17% attempted suicide in the previous six months.

Niamh Randall, Simon’s national research and policy manager, said the results showed an ongoing need for targeted interventions for the homeless as well as better access to mainstream services.

“For instance in Cork, we have a multidisciplinary team which can address a multitude of needs at the same time.

“Or in Dublin, we have Safetynet, a primary care network where GPs come to the hostels and provide primary care intervention on site, which, when you are homeless, provides a point of contact for people who might not necessarily show up at a surgery.”

Ms Randall said there had been no decrease in the 5,000 people using Simon’s services in the past couple of years and the challenge was to maintain services in the face of decreased funding from the Department of Health.

The stark findings of today’s report come hot on the heels of two reports published last week which found Dublin Simon recorded a 26% increase on last year in the number of people sleeping rough during the early summer months and Merchants Quay Ireland said it was providing 1,100 extra meals every week for mainly homeless and financially desperate people, up 26% on last year.

* The Simon National Conference, Health and Homelessness — Making the Link, takes place today at the Radisson BLU Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin.

London: Children With ‘Green Fingers’ Behave Better’: Research

3 Oct

 

Teaching children how to garden helps them to become responsible, realise where food comes from and calms their behaviour, a survey suggests.

A poll by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reveals that more than eight in 10 (81.6%) parents garden with their children.

But it also raises concerns that today’s parents may be outshone by their youngsters and their own parents, because few of them were taught to garden at school.

Teaching children how to garden helps them to become responsible, a survey suggests

Almost half of the parents questioned (48%) said their child knows more or the same amount about gardening as they do. And four fifths of parents said their own parents know more or the same about gardening as they do.

The RHS warned that a lack of gardening instruction at school had left today’s generation of parents without proper horticultural knowledge.

Less than 1% (0.6%) of parents were taught to garden by a school teacher, the RHS claimed, compared with 55% of grandparents and 40% of children.

Just 26% of parents said they had a school garden when they were a child, while 58.8% said their child now has access to a school garden, with 76.2% revealing their youngster uses the facility.

Sue Biggs, director-general of the RHS, said: “These findings suggest that today’s parents, who attended school during the 1980s and 90s, missed out on a huge opportunity, especially as gardening dropped off the agenda.

“When children learn to garden it is a skill that stays with them for life, something they will use and fall back on as they grow up. This is evident from the grandparents we surveyed, among whom nearly 80% say they like to garden, and more than a third of them grow their own fruit and vegetables.

“From the schools we work with we know they are desperate for more help from local parents and other adults to build and maintain school gardens. But with 65% of parents admitting that their own parents (now grandparents) know more about gardening than they do, and nearly half believing their own children, aged 4-11, have equal or better horticultural knowledge than themselves, it would seem today’s parents are shy of volunteering their time probably due to a lack of knowledge.”