Iran has called for more efforts to help prevent and control non-communicable diseases in the world.
Mohammad Hassan Tariqat Monfared, the caretaker of Iran’s Health Ministry, made the above remark in a meeting with the representatives of United Nations in Tehran on Tuesday.
“Iran has been very successful in controlling communicable diseases after the Islamic Revolution,” Monfared said, adding that the main health problem in the world is non-communicable diseases, which has become a tsunami today.
Monmfared noted that obesity has increased in Iran because of changes in diet and leading sedentary lifestyles.
According to recent statistics, about 60 percent of people are overweight in Iran, which gives rise to different diseases from diabetes to cardiovascular diseases.
Ten facts about non-communicable diseases are as follows:
1) Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) account for 63 percent of all deaths.
NCDs, primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are responsible for 63 percent of all deaths worldwide (36 million out of 57 million global deaths).
2) 80 percent of NCD deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
3) More than nine million of all deaths attributed NCDs occur before the age of 60.
4)Around the world, NCDs affect women and men almost equally
5) NCDs are largely preventable by means of effective interventions that tackle shared risk factors, namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and use of alcohol.
6) NCDs are not only a health problem but a development challenge as well. They force many people into or entrench them in poverty due to catastrophic expenditures for treatment.
7) One and a half billion adults, 20 and older, were overweight in 2008.
8) Nearly 43 million children under five years were overweight in 2010.
9) Tobacco use kills nearly six million people a year. By 2020, this number will increase to 7.5 million, accounting for 10 percent of all deaths.
10) Eliminating major risks could prevent most NCDs. If the major risk factors for chronic disease were eliminated, at around three-quarters of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes would be prevented; and 40 percent of cancer would be prevented.
China Sprays Grass Green
The grass actually is greener in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu, but only because it has been dyed.
In China’s sprawling smog-blanketed cities, life can sometimes seem a little grey. But Chengdu’s officials hit upon an easy solution to cheer up their city’s appearance: specifically, a chemical solution called Top Green Turf Greening Agent, Telegraph reported.
Chinese reporters filmed workers from Chengdu’s municipal landscaping department as they busily painted the grassy verges of the city’s roads with a fluorescent green spray.
“Two workers were spraying the grass, turning the yellow grass into green. Were they painting the grass?” said He Tao, a Chengdu resident, to the China Daily newspaper. “Wouldn’t that pollute the environment?”
Not according to Yang, a salesman for Top Green, the makers of the dye.
“It is absolutely not toxic. It is just a green dye. We have been selling it to the Chengdu government for at least five or six years, and we have lots of other government clients, like the city of Tianjin, and many northwestern provinces. And we also sell it to golf courses,” he said.
According to Top Green’s website, the color “lasts for ten to 14 weeks and is not washed away by the rain”.
“It also turns the soil green,” it adds.
But some residents found the dye also turned their shoes green as they walked across the city’s newly lush lawns.
The landscaping department declined to comment on the use of the dye, but said earlier to Chinese journalists that the chemical was a “nutrient fluid” to help keep the grass alive during winter.
But Yang, the salesman, said there were “no nutrients” in Top Green’s dye. “Maybe they added some,” he speculated.
The Communist party has a long history of similar Potemkin projects designed to project a harmonious image of China.
When Chairman Mao went on inspection tours of the countryside, fields of crops were uprooted and replanted along his route so he would see a landscape of thriving fertility.
More recently, fake sheep were installed on the ravaged grasslands of Inner Mongolia to convince tourists that they are still grazeable.
Indian Women Use Smartphones To “Pin the Creeps”
With virtual bodyguards, panic buttons and maps to pinpoint harassment blackspots, women in urban India are using their smartphones for protection after a notorious gang-rape in New Delhi.
Interest in safety apps and websites has surged since the fatal December attack, in which a 23-year-old student was set upon by a drunken gang on her way home from a cinema in the Indian capital, Theglobeandmail.com reported.
After outrage and protests erupted, four businesswomen set up Safecity.in, a website for victims of harassment to channel their anger. The site encourages them to “Pin the Creeps” by reporting incidents of harassment and abuse--ranging from catcalling to rape--which are added to an online map and sent to those requesting alerts.
Mumbai-based Elsa D’Silva, a founder of the site, said social media has allowed women to speak out and warn others of dangerous areas, even if they are reluctant to give their name or make a complaint to the police.
“Now you feel more empowered to do something about it, even if it’s just sharing your experience,” said D’Silva. “We’re not going to keep quiet any more.”
The website has linked up with new mobile app SafeTrac, developed by tech firm KritiLabs and downloadable for free, which has an SOS button to alert emergency contacts and let relatives or friends track the user’s journey.
It joins a host of similar apps designed to reassure women, especially those working late and travelling alone--that is, if they can afford mobile Internet access.
The first such Indian app was FightBack, launched by non-profit trust Whypoll a year before the Delhi attack, since when it has gone free of charge and seen a flurry of downloads. Whypoll Founder Hindol Sengupta said they were now working on a “next generation” app that will include guidance for reporting abuse.
“Women often don’t know their legal rights when they go to the police station and they can be further violated there,” he said. “The kind of people who have reached out to us for information has astounded me.”
Such developments are being encouraged. India’s IT trade body NASSCOM has opened a contest to find the best app for women’s safety.
Separately, free app Stipator (Latin for ‘bodyguard’) won an award for social innovation last month from NASSCOM. A government commission, set up to prevent sex crimes after the Delhi attack, recommended the development of mobile phone apps for sending distress signals to the police.
Ghana to Launch IT Hub
Ghana has launched a project to build a $10-billion (£6.6 billion) information technology (IT) hub near the capital, Accra, within three years.
Dubbed Hope City, it will have Africa’s tallest building, at a height of 270 meters (885 feet), an investor says, Newsrt.co.uk reported.
It will be built on an empty land and will employ about 50,000 people and house 25,000 people, the investor adds.
In January, Kenya unveiled plans to build “Africa’s Silicon Savannah” within 20 years at a cost of $14.5 billion.
Kenya’s Konza Technology City, about 60 km (37 miles) from the capital, Nairobi, is supposed to create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030.
The IT hub would be made up of six towers, including a 75-storey, 270-meter-high tower, “the highest in Africa”, RLG Communications says on its website.
Attacks on Tanzanian Albinos Condemned
The UN human rights chief has condemned a recent spate of “horrific attacks” on people with albinism in Tanzania, including the murder of a young boy.
The government should act to stop the “vicious killings” and discrimination they faced, Navi Pillay was quoted as saying by Topix.com.
The mutilation and murder of people with albinism are often linked to witchcraft, the UN says.
Only five people have been convicted in Tanzania since 2000 for killing people with albinism, it adds.
Some 72 people have been killed in that time.
In 2009, President Jakaya Kiwete said the murders had brought shame to Tanzania and launched a national campaign to end the persecution of people with albinism.
In 2010, Salum Khalfani became the first person with albinism to be elected as an MP in Tanzania.
In a statement, Pillay said four attacks on Tanzanians with albinism had been documented in just 16 days between the end of January and mid-February.
“These crimes are abhorrent. People with albinism have the right to start living, like anyone else, without fear of being killed or dismembered,” she said.
Pillay urged Tanzania’s authorities to step up efforts to bring the attackers to justice.
“Public awareness campaigns should also be launched to end the stigma associated with albinism,” Pillay said.
Some witchdoctors say magic charms are more powerful if they contain body parts from people with albinism--this has led to a lucrative criminal trade in these body parts.
Modern Childhood Ends At Age 12 in Britain
Childhood is over for many British children by the age of 12, according to members of a parenting website.
Netmums website users are complaining that children are under pressure to grow up too fast, BBC reported.
They say that girls are made to worry about their appearance and boys are pushed into ‘macho’ behavior at too young an age. The website’s co-founder Siobhan Freegard blamed a “toxic combination of marketing, media and peer pressure”.
“The pace of modern life is so fast that it is even snatching away the precious years of childhood,” she said.
“Children no longer want to be seen as children, even when as parents we know they still are.”
“There needs to be a radical rethink in society to revalue childhood and protect it as a precious time--not time to put pressure on children to grow up far too fast,” said Freegard.
The website asked for its members’ views and received more than a thousand replies.
Dubai Tree Plantation
In a bid to instill the importance of environmental conservation in Emiratis, over 47,000 trees and shrubs have been planted along Dubai’s Bypass Road.