Only 10 percent of Iranian elderly individuals are living alone, as Iranians have shown respect to their older family members historically.
Announcing this, Hussein Nahvinejad, the head of the Secretariat of Elderly Population’s National Council, said old people living alone in Iran have not been abandoned by their family, as it is their own decision.
“Between 17,000-18,000 elderly individuals, who have no families, are receiving care in centers supervised by State Welfare Organization,” he said, adding that in Iran no elderly, who has a family member, is abandoned.
“Some old individuals are in such a critical condition that they need the assistance of professional people,” he said, adding that not all old people can be kept in homes because of their special condition.
He recommended that Iranian families live with their old members as long as they can, because older people are a source of blessing and not a burden.
“While old people are seen as a heavy burden in some nations, Iranians have always respected the elderly,” he said, adding that most Iranian families are aware of the values attached to grandparents.
Nahvi-Nejad put the Iranian elderly population stands at 5.4 million.
“The proportion of people over 60 years is rising rapidly in Iran. Iran’s elderly population is expected to reach 25 million in the next 30 years,” he said.
Noting that old people have their own special needs, Nahvinejad urged the responsible entities to set new policies to meet the needs of old people in Iran.
Low Population Problematic
The declining population of Iran can cause many problems for the elderly in future, the same as what is currently happening in other nations.
As the number of children declines in families, old people have a lower chance of living with families. This is what is happening in many countries such as Britain and China.
In most countries, old people must pay to be kept in care homes or receive the care services in their own homes. Those who are unable to afford these services have to stay alone.
In China, due to the one-child policy, parents have an opportunity of living in a family after they become old. Many old people in China have to receive assistance from the same-age friends.
84% of World’s Population Can Read, Write
Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova, in her message on the occasion of the International Literacy Day (Sept. 8), announced that at present, 84 percent of the world’s population can read and write, compared to 76 percent in 1990.
According to a press release issued by the UN Information Center (UNIC), the full text of her message reads:
Literacy is a basic right and an essential motor for human development. It paves the way to autonomy, the acquisition of skills, cultural expression and full participation in society, IRNA reported.
Illiteracy in the world has fallen over the two decades, thanks to international efforts and work towards the Millennium Development Goals.
At present, 84 percent of the world’s population can read and write, compared to 76 percent in 1990. In 20 years, the illiterate population has been reduced by more than 100 million people.
This is still not enough. Behind these figures, there are still serious inequalities.
Two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate adults in the world are women. Most of the children and young people who do not go to school are girls. Fifty-seven million primary school-age children and 69 million secondary school-age children do not have the opportunity to attend.
Children lucky enough to go to school do not always leave being able to read and write. Even in economically developed countries, the proportion of the population lacking basic reading and writing skills is too high. This is a serious obstacle to individual fulfillment, to the development of societies and to mutual understanding between peoples.
This situation is exacerbated by the rise of new technologies and modern knowledge societies that make the ability to read and write all the more essential.
Literacy is the first condition for dialogue, communication and integration into new connected societies.
Young people need new skills to enter and succeed in the job market: knowledge of several languages, understanding of cultural diversity, lifelong learning.
Literacy is the key for acquiring knowledge, interpersonal skills, expertise and the ability to live together in community--all skills that are the foundations of modern society. In the 21st century, more than ever before, literacy is the cornerstone of peace and development.
Literacy is much more than an educational priority--it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the 21st century.
We wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy.
On this International Literacy Day, we call on governments to work together to achieve this dream. This requires new funding, policies drawn up with the populations concerned, new and more innovative forms of action, taking full advantage of new technologies.
The progress made in recent years shows that this is possible and UNESCO is committed to doing all that it can to make it happen.
Fukushima Radiation Leak Deadly
The crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has radiation leaks strong enough to deliver a fatal dose within hours, Japanese authorities have revealed, as the government prepares to step in to help contain leaks of highly toxic water at the site.
On Wednesday, the country’s nuclear regulation authority said radiation readings near water storage tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant have increased to a new high, with emissions above the ground near one group of tanks were as high as 2,200 millisieverts [mSv] per hour--a rise of 20 percent from the previous high, Guardian reported.
Earlier this week, the plant’s operator, Tepco, said workers had measured radiation at 1,800 mSv an hour near a storage tank.
That was the previous highest reading since Tepco began installing tanks to store huge quantities of contaminated water that have built up at the plant.
An unprotected person standing close to the contaminated areas would, within hours, receive a deadly radiation dose. The nuclear regulation authority said the radiation comprised mostly beta rays that could be blocked by aluminum foil, unlike more penetrative gamma rays.
Tepco’s admission in August that about 300 tons of radioactive groundwater are escaping into the nearby Pacific Ocean every day, and the more recent discovery of leaking storage tanks and pipes, prompted the government to inject more than £300 million to contain the water crisis.
The emergency measures, announced on Tuesday, involve building a mile-long impenetrable frozen wall beneath the plant to prevent groundwater from mixing with contaminated coolant water. The coolant becomes tainted after coming into contact with melted uranium fuel deep inside the damaged reactors.
Currently, about 400 tons of groundwater are streaming into the reactor basements from the hills behind the plant each day. The water is pumped out and held in about 1,000 storage tanks. The tanks contain 330,000 tons of water with varying levels of toxicity.
Officials are conducting a feasibility study into the frozen wall, with completion expected by March 2015. Although the technology isn’t new, the scale of the Fukushima Daiichi project is unprecedented for an atomic facility.
The government also wants to speed up the development of a new water treatment system that can remove most radioactive substances from the water.
Tepco has already constructed one such facility but it has not been used since equipment was found to have corroded during a trial run.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he understood the growing concern at home and overseas about the state of the plant but said his government was now “taking the lead” to solve the problem.
“To do that, we are resolutely implementing drastic measures,” he said.
Abe, who will make Tokyo’s final pitch in the city’s bid to host the 2020 Olympics at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aries this weekend, added, “I will be explaining to the IOC that in seven years’ time, 2020, it will not be a problem at all.”
Indians Dying of Air Pollution
A study has found that Indians have 30 percent lower lung function compared to Europeans as a result of worsening air quality in Indian cities.
The study was conducted on 10,000 healthy, non-smoking individuals in Jaipur, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Kashmir.
“We measured the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate, the rate at which a person exhales, to assess lung function. North Indians fared slightly better than South Indians but overall the results were appalling--we found that lung function in Indians was 30 percent lower than Europeans,” said Dr Sundeep Salvi, director of Pune-based Chest Research Foundation, who led the study, Banglanews24.com reported.
Similar results were seen in an international study on lung function in 17 countries, including India, by Canadian researchers. Indians were found to have the worst lungs in the study that measured the volume of air exhaled one second after a forceful exhalation. The test is called Forced Expiratory Volume.
Salvi said the main reason for worsening lung health of India was air pollution.
“The number of motor vehicles, a major contributor to air pollution, in India has gone up from 37.2 million in 1997 to 100 million in 2012. In 1951, there were just 0.3 million motor vehicles,” he said.
“Even cars and buses running on CNG, which is touted as a green fuel, release ultra fine particles (less than 10 microns in diameter). These can enter directly into the lungs and other organs and probably causes more harm.”
Dr Randeep Guleria of AIIMS’ Department of Pulmonary Medicine said lung health in metros has deteriorated sharply.
“We are seeing a sharp increase in cases of chronic bronchitis, allergies, persistent cough and inflammation of airways in the last few years,” he said.
Dr Guleria said when pollution levels peak, such as on Diwali, the number of emergency admissions for respiratory problems and heart attack increases sharply.
“People who smoke are at double risk for compromised lung function. Many smokers--aged between 25 to 30 years--who come to us with respiratory diseases have lung function equal to that of a 70-year-old,” he added.
As per the 2010 global burden of disease report, outdoor air pollution caused more than 6.2 premature deaths in India and nearly 18 million healthy years of life were lost that year.
Zimbabwe Elephants Poisoned By Poachers
Poachers have used poison to kill 41 elephants in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
Zimbabwe Parks Spokeswoman Caroline Washaya Moyo also told BBC it was suspected that cyanide was used to poison salt pans but tests are still being carried out.
She said it was Zimbabwe’s worst case of elephant poaching.
There has been a rise in the killing of elephants and rhinos in parts of Africa in recent years, mostly to feed demand for horns and tusks in Asia.
The horns and tusks are used in traditional medicine in parts of Asia, even though scientists say they have no beneficial properties.
“Five of the suspected poachers have been arrested,” Washaya Moyo said.
She said touching the poisoned carcasses posed a danger to any animal or human.
She said the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority had reminded people who live near the park, in western Zimbabwe, not to eat the meat of any dead animals they find.
Some poachers were found with a large haul of tusks and cyanide earlier this year.
Two years ago, nine elephants, five lions and two buffalo were poisoned.
Invasive Alien Species Threaten EU
Europe’s towns and cities are particularly vulnerable to the threat posed by invasive species, say experts.
They say urban areas are at higher risk from invasive alien species (IAS) as a result of more transport links, Genevosi reported.
IAS are non-native plants or animals that have no natural predators, spread rapidly and overwhelm an area’s native flora and fauna.
Next week, the European Commission is expected to outline its plans to tackle the continent’s invasive species.
“These non-indigenous species represent one of the main threats to the world’s biodiversity,” explained Chantal van Ham, European program officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN(.
“This threat is set to increase unless meaningful action is taken to control their introduction and establishment”.
The problem is that invasive species take over resources and space from the indigenous species.
Urban areas are quite vulnerable to these species. Often they are introduced, for example, through the trade in plants but also through accidental arrivals in ports and airports.
Cigarette Graphic Images
Picture warnings on cigarette packets depicting the dangers of smoking make little impact on teenage smokers.