Teenager dropped by football club loses post-traumatic stress claim

Sen Cookes father says his sons dream of playing in the UK was harmed when he was denied the opportunity to play in front of talent scouts

An Irish teenager has lost a case taken against his former football club, where he claimed he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after he was dropped from the team as a 13-year-old.

Sen Cooke, 18, sued Carrigaline United over alleged ill treatment by coaches at the club. Cooke told Judge Sen ODonnabhain at Cork circuit court that he was a good player who hoped to play professionally in Britain, but was not given the chance to play in front of talent scouts after he was allegedly dropped.

His father, Declan Cooke, brought a vote of no confidence against the clubs coaches in the 2012-2013 season, the Irish Independent reports. He lost by a vote of 9 to 2.

Tim Mawe, who succeeded Declan Cooke as manager of the club in 2011, said everything possible was done to accommodate Sen.

Mawe said Sen played regularly during the successful 2011-2012 season, but he was told by other parents that there was non-stop complaining about the clubs management from his father.

The court heard Mawe was very hurt when Cooke brought the vote of no confidence against him, but rejected suggestions from barrister Matthew Maguire that he took any bad feelings out on Sen. We were volunteers. We were doing a great job. It was hurtful. There was no appreciation. He was the same as any player. We picked on merit.

Mawe said Sen was injured in the summer of 2012, missed a lot of pre-season training as a result and had to come off the pitch one time because he was injured.

Sen Cooke told the court that before a game in 2012 Mawe pulled him aside and said that he was not good enough to play. Mawe denied this, saying Sen Cookes mother arrived at the match and once she realised her son was not playing there was a huge commotion.

Maguire told the court that Cooke was not allowed to play during a match which was attended by a talent scout from the English club Aston Villa.

The judge said it was an emotional and difficult case and that Declan Cooke was undoubtedly a caring parent but was not over-blessed with insight.

In dismissing the case ODonnabhain said Mawe appeared to be conscientious and truthful.

In a statement published on Twitter, Sen Cooke said he had no regrets in taking the case. We wanted justice to be served, he wrote.

Cooke added that he had to leave the club I played for and loved since the age of six as a result of being dropped from the team.

Im very proud of my parents for taking the stand for me and sticking up for what was the right thing to do … We feel justice has been served as this case has now been exposed and we can move on from these traumatic years and leave this case behind us.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/30/teenager-dropped-by-football-club-loses-post-traumatic-stress-claim

Triple-lock: Call for pensions policy to be revamped – BBC News

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One of the key figures behind the introduction of the triple-lock pension policy is calling for its revamp.

Steve Webb, pension minister from 2010 to 2015 and now a director at mutual insurer Royal London, has proposed a “middle way” on state pension policy.

Under triple lock, the state pension rises each April to match the highest of inflation, earnings, or 2.5%.

However, it is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and some have called for it to be scrapped.

A recent review by former CBI director-general John Cridland, who was appointed as the government’s independent reviewer of state pension age last year, recommended that the triple lock be withdrawn in the next Parliament.

The Conservatives have not committed to maintaining it.

The Labour Party has said it will keep the policy in place through the next parliament.

How much does the triple-lock cost?

Labour pledges to keep the triple-lock

In his report for Royal London, Mr Webb proposed that the government retained the triple-lock for pensioners who retired before 6 April 2016.

Those retiring after that date would have their pension increases linked to earnings only. The report said the move would save almost 3bn per year by 2028.

It also said that, as newly retired pensioners are on average 100 per week better off than those aged over 75, the policy would increasingly target money on the older, poorer group.

“There’s a big difference between pensioners who retired 20 years ago… for whom the state pension really matters, and someone who just retired,” Mr Webb said.

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Media captionAngus Robertson: “Will the PM give a clear and unambiguous commitment to maintaining the triple lock on the state pension?”

Mr Webb says his proposals would control costs and give pension increases to those most in need.

“This is the first time that someone has said anything other than scrap it or keep it,” Mr Webb told the BBC.

He said the triple lock had delivered “big improvements” to pensioner incomes since 2010, but political parties would be concerned about the long-term cost implications of the policy “on top of increased spending on health and social care associated with an ageing population”.

But Tom McPhail, pensions expert at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown, said the plan added a layer of complexity to pension policy.

“It would be better to review the triple-lock; the level of the state pension, which was set too low; and state pension ages as a complete package,” he said.

He added: “The challenge has always been how and when to move away from the triple-lock without upsetting a key constituency of voters.”

Related Topics

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-39748174

Well-Meaning New Zealander’s Are Killing Endangered Birds By Accident

Well-meaning residents of New Zealands capital may be killing the city’s endangered birds with kindness. It turns out that the chicks of the kk birds that live in Wellington are failing to survive because locals are feeding the parents the wrong type of food.

Anurban ecology team for Wellington have been keeping track of the birds that live in the parks and reserves surrounding the city, and found that last year 80 percent of the chicks failed to make it to adulthood. Investigating this devastating survival rate, they found that residents feeding the adults food such as nuts, seeds, and bread, which then go on to regurgitate it for their offspring, is causing the chicks to develop metabolic bone disease.

This causes problems with the strength of the bones in developing birds. Some kk have been found to grow up with deformed limbs and bone abnormalities, including beaks that struggle to close. It is thought that even if the chicks do survive to adulthood, their bones are so weak that the slightest of knocks can cause them to shatter.

Last year we did autopsies on kaka chicks we found dead and in a number of them we found nearly every bone in their body had fractured because of the disease, the councils urban ecology team leader Myfanwy Emeny told the Guardian. The saddest thing about this condition is it is a preventable disease. People just love the birds, they are trying to do the right thing by feeding the parents but it is resulting in this horrible condition in the chicks.

The birds are a type of large parrot that are native to the islands, but have been decimated in numbers in recent times. Usually found living in the forests, the kk have declined greatly due to habitat loss, invasive predators, and competition with wasps and bees. The introduced stoats are known to predate on nesting females as they incubate their eggs, while breeding birds are being outcompeted by wasps in the collection of a vital food source: honeydew.

This is not the only example of people trying to do good by feeding wild birds but instead inadvertently harming them. Angel wing is a condition that can afflict ducks and geese that are fed a diet too high in bread, causing the wings of developing chicks to grow to such an extent that they are not able to fly.

The urban ecology team recommend that rather than feeding the kk nuts and bread, residents should instead plant native trees and shrubs, in addition to providing drinking water. They say that there is plenty of natural food in the surrounding parks to keep the birds sustained.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/wellmeaning-new-zealanders-are-killing-endangered-birds-by-accident/

43 Married People Confess Why They Stopped Having Sex With Their Spouse

Found on AskReddit.

1. We got married and had kids.

Easiest way to scale back your sex life? Get married.

Easiest way to reduce it to twice a year? Have kids.

2. My wife decided three years ago sex is too icky.

My wife decided three years ago sex is too icky. No discussion no easing into it. Just Nope, not anymore. Our marriage isnt going well.

3. He likes to finger keyboards more than my vagina.

He likes to finger keyboards more than my vagina.

4. Simply put, we hate each other and cheat regularly.

Simply put, we hate each other and cheat regularly, but we also have a dynamic that nobody can ever replace and love each other for that.

5. My wife has so many excuses for us not having sex that I can’t name them all.

My wife has so many excuses for us not having sex that I can’t name them all.

Every suggestion I offer to help her get into the moodshot down.

About to hit the three-year mark for no sex, and next week is our 10th anniversary.

6. Honestly were both just not attractive anymore. Better to masturbate.

Honestly were both just not attractive anymore. Better to masturbate.

7. I’m not in love anymore and I want out.

I’m not in love anymore and I want out.

8. We’re both on anti-depressants which have totally messed with our sex drives.

We’re both on anti-depressants which have totally messed with our sex drives. We’ve been together 11 years and we were both on them before we met. She has never really had much of a sex drive and I did a little bit but I’ve gotten on more pills in the last few months which has driven it down a little. She can have orgasms, which I’m thankful for, so when we do have longer sex sessions, it means more and I don’t feel inadequate about being the only one getting anything. When I was in school last year we went on a big stretch from September until December without doing it and even after then, we’ve probably done it 3-5 times.

9. My ex used to use sex as a way to get what she wanted.

My ex used to use sex as a way to get what she wanted. Used to use it as tool to manipulate (She’s a certified narcissist) after about a year together I caught on. I completely stopped initiating sex I would go rub one out. She could come to me whenever she wanted but I would never initiate. This went on for 4 years before I figured out you can’t have a relationship with a narcissist. It’s all give, no give and take.

10. She had a complete mental breakdown and no longer bathes.

My wife had a complete mental breakdown in 09 and can no longer work. She is diagnosed bipolar and has extreme anxiety. Unfortunately, one of the things she has anxiety about is bathing, so it doesn’t happen very often. I love my wife, but the lack of hygiene combined with the added stress of taking care of the family mostly on my own means that I’m not in the mood very often. We’ve had sex I think once or twice in the past year.

11. Got tired of doing all the work and following the exact same script every time.

Got tired of doing all the work and following the exact same script every time. Took me a while but I finally got the hint.

12. She gained over 100 lbs., and I am just not attracted anymore.

She gained over 100 lbs., and I am just not attracted anymore.

This happened over the 12 years we have been married. She’s the love of my life and has given me 2 children. We have talked about it, but it’s not easy. The problem is, she’s lazy, and we’ve talked about that, too. Honestly, I’ve been through an emotional roller coaster of everything from acceptance to resentment to depression. It’s the single biggest stressor in my life (maybe that means I’m lucky, since others have it worse). In the end, I can’t justify splitting up our family over it, so I just deal with it.

13. I got fat. She doesn’t find me (as) attractive anymore.

I got fat. She doesn’t find me (as) attractive anymore (fair enough).

Still trying to shed the weight since I miss the sexy times.

Also I’m simply exhausted from work and she’s shattered from looking after our 18-month-old so we are both passing out most nights on the sofa. We then wake up, realize we have missed two episodes of some show on Netflix, and crawl our way to bed to start over the next day.

14. She says it takes away from her work as a nude cam model.

My wife cams and since I don’t like doing that with her anymore sex drive pretty much disappeared because she does it every day almost and having sex takes away from her wanting to work or because of her work she won’t want toso I just please myself and we are good.

15. She got drunk and said she was sick of acting like my dick did something for her.

She got drunk and said she was sick of acting like my dick did something for her. She later said that she was just mad and trying to hurt my feelings but I don’t know what to believe. Now she thinks we’re trying to work through it but, in reality, I’m just waiting for our lease to end to kill myself.

16. She said no often enough that I quit asking.

She said no often enough that I quit asking.

I’d rather be celibate than accept a pity lay or have her have sex with me out of duty. I’m good-looking and relatively fit, she’s just more interested in exhausting herself with kids and other people and doesn’t save energy enough for me (she’s not a very touch centric person with her affections).

So I just decided to reset my mental expectations so that I’m not disappointed or angry at her. No unmet expectations=not angry with my wife.

It does feel more like we are roommates who are partners in raising kids than anything else though.

17. It has gotten to the point where I could tell she was only doing it for me, and I began to feel as though I was essentially raping her.

I gave up.

We’ve been together since the mid-80s, so there’s that. I still find her very attractive, but she has 0 interest. Until last fall we were still doing it, but over the past four or five years it has gotten to the point where I could tell she was only doing it for me, and I began to feel as though I was essentially raping her. I never forced myself on her, but her lack of enthusiasm (to the point of curling up when facing me so I could not see or touch her breasts or vagina) made me feel like a total creep. I was frank with her. She claims she wants to continue, but I just don’t believe it. If I made her dinner every night and she hardly touched it, over time I would get the impression she didn’t like my cooking. Why make the effort if it’s not wanted? That’s how I feel. So I’m done.

18. My wife developed a germ/dirtiness phobia around year one of our marriage.

My wife developed a germ/dirtiness phobia around year one of our marriage. It’ll be 5yrs soon and there’s little to no contact of any kind physically at this point.

19. She started blatantly using it to get something she wanted or to cover up something she did.

It stopped being fun after 30 years married. She started blatantly using it to get something she wanted or to cover up something she did. That feeling of being played just kills you inside.

20. I am coming to the realization that she doesn’t love me anymore.

12 years married. We’re very compatible together in every way but that one. I don’t know what happened. She claims she just doesn’t have much drive anymore. In the span of one year, we had sex one time. And at the one year point, I was gutted emotionally and had almost completely disengaged. I did make an effort to try again and have a nice weekend but when we got to that time, she rejected me again. I flipped the hell out and oddly enough, she didn’t know that it had been, in fact, a year. It got better (subjectively) for about three months but it’s been another three months since last time. I feel like we’re slipping back into the old routine of nothing again.

In these last three months, I have been genuinely observing her. I am coming to the realization that she doesn’t love me anymore. We had people visiting in January and she was all about affection to them. I asked her later if she thought she was the same person around our friends as she is to me. She didn’t take to that question very well but I think it woke something up because she started being more affectionate.

I’m steadily growing bitter about it and I know that doesn’t help at all so it’s a vicious cycle.

21. She was prescribed several medications that resulted in multiple health issues and is completely asexual.

We’re both 58 and we’ll be married 38 years in July. Our last intimate encounter took place in August 2002. She was diagnosed with a mental disorder after almost successfully committing suicide during that time frame. She was prescribed several medications that resulted in multiple health issues and is completely asexual. She took care of me and the children in our younger days when I was in the military and frequently deployed. It’s my time to take care of her. She understands I still have needs and would probably look the other way, but I keep my promises.

22. His low testosterone has slowly taken away his sex drive.

Low testosterone. It’s slowly taken away his sex drive and has altered him a lot physically and mentally. Our sex life ground to a halt a couple years ago, not long after we got married. However, we’re still happy together and in love and I’m supporting him through it. The desire for a baby seems to be giving him some of his spark back so I think we’re on the up 🙂

23. She never initiated and Im tired of being the only one with a sex drive.

Weve been together over three years now. And we stopped just cause she never initiated and Im tired of being the only one with a sex drive. I just feel like my sexual needs are a tiresome burden to her so I dont even try to anymore.

It doesnt help the few times we have had sex I have to do all the work. I just dont feel loved or satisfied if my partner is basically waiting for me to finish.

24. My husband is not very good at sex and shows no interest in improving.

The truth: my husband is not very good at sex and shows no interest in improving in a way that will be enjoyable for of us.

We had very different experience levels when we got together. I’d only had two partners, but one of the relationships was very long-term. He’d had twice that number, but all of the relationships were very short-term. So I knew what I enjoyed. He, it seemed, did not.

No problem. I could teach. I thought it would be OK for him to learn what he liked and what I liked and we’d mesh.

The sad truth? He doesn’t seem to like any of the things I like. Or maybe he doesn’t like sex. Or maybe he doesn’t like sex with me. Hell, I don’t know. And I don’t care anymore.

Because he won’t do the basic stuff. I’m not talking about reciprocal oral sex (though there is that; I giving and receiving, but guess which is the only one to happen?). I’m talking we’ve been married over five years and he can’t find my clit reliably. As far as I can tell, the only purpose of foreplay, to him, is to arouse . If I get going too, great, otherwise oh well. I’m pretty sure I could be a pair of disembodied tits (his fetish thing) and he’d be perfectly happy.

Needless to say, nothing even mildly kinky happens. There has been thing I introduced that he did more than once, and he took it to such an extreme it was no longer enjoyable for me. Everything elseand this is only mildly naughty Frederick’s of Hollywood stuffwe’d do once, and then never again.

, I am the one expected to initiate. By which I mean, when I finally couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore, sex stopped. Completely. We have had sex twice in more than a year, and even before that it was once every few months when I broke down and got something going in hopes that maybe a long break would make him at least pretend to care like he did early in our relationship.

You need two people to talk something out, and he will. not. talk. I mean, when I broach the subject of sex, zero words come out of his mouth.

Outside of the bedroom, he’s not a shitty husband. Not great, but not terrible. Still, the specter of having incredibly short, incredibly bad sex a couple of times a year for the rest of my life is depressing as fuck, and once the kids are grown, I am out of here.

25. Infertility killed my sex drive.

Infertility killed my sex drive. Trying to have a baby is fun at first, but then every month that it fails it becomes more and more stressful and like a chore tbh. Then it worked! Then I had a miscarriage and my sex drive somehow dropped even more. We still have sex 2-3 days a month near ovulation time. But now the fertility drugs make my ovaries swell? And sex is painful, but we want a family. Good news is I tried a new fertility drug this month and I wanted sex. Turns out a side effect is increased sex drive.

26. I got tired of swallowing his cum and taking it up the ass.

He’s only interested in oral or anal these days & to put it as bluntly as possible: I got tired of swallowing his cum and taking it up the ass. We have two great kids and work together as a team in every respect, but he’s pretty much made it clear that he isn’t interested in normal intercourse. At all.

The thing isI’d happily give an occasional blowjob. I just don’t think it’s fair to have to give him one on demand as often as he likes with no satisfaction in return. When it got to the point where I started looking forward to anal sex because at least then I’d get off, too, I knew it was time to just hang it up. (Plus, he had this habit of making anal sex last for an absurd length of time, and it starts NOT feeling good after a couple of hoursyes, hoursof having your butt penetrated.)

He got pretty upset about it at first, but he refuses to go to any kind of counseling about it. So after many, many arguments I finally just cut him off cold turkey. He did make a few attempts at regular sex, but his heart clearly wasn’t in it, and he could barely maintain any kind of erection. Plus he had this idea that one time trying weakly to have regular sex earned him a couple of weeks of twice-daily blowjobs and anytime anal, and that just didn’t fly. I get that he was making an attempt, but the point isn’t to be willing to do something you hate just because the other person wants it (as much as I hated the frequency/duration/unfairness of everything else we did, I never hated those things). The point is to please them by to do it. And he simply isn’t capable of wanting that one thing so I can’t bring myself to do the rest of it.

The sad thing is, I’m sitting here typing this and feeling guilty that I haven’t gotten him off in a really, really long time and considering giving him a few weeks of what he wants just so I can feel like a good person again.

27. She almost doubled her weight.

Long-term relationship (5 years). We haven’t done the deed in about a year, haven’t done it regularly in a normal capacity in over 2.

She gained weight. When we met, she was about 130 lbs. Over time she gained weight and is now at 230lbs. Sexual drive dropped off at the same rate as her weight. Don’t get me wrong. Every other aspect of our relationship is great. We make each other laugh, connect emotionally, protect each other, and I still think she has the most beautiful eyes and hair I’ve ever seen. Our relationship isn’t in risk of breaking. But I just can’t bring myself to do it when everything below the head has turned into what it is.

What kills me most about it is how it will affect her health. She never learned good eating habits, because in high school and college she had pretty severe eating disorders. So not only does she eat like crap, it’s a touchy subject that has to be tiptoed around because freaking her out about weight will just cause her to say OK and lose 40lbs/month by eating basically nothing.

28. He withheld sex, said he didn’t feel emotionally connected with me and we would go months without it.

He withheld sex, said he didn’t feel emotionally connected with me and we would go months without it. I suffered from depression, anxiety…you name it, mostly stemmed from him being a colossal butthole, didn’t seem to process that when he treated me well I was happy, didn’t argue with him, did more around the house, took better care of myself etc. He’d just treat me worse and worse the more depressed I got, the more depressed I got the less connected I felt, he cheated, I got more depressed, he felt less connected, he sought emotional connections elsewhere…it was a vicious circle.

29. I’ve had ED for about 3 years now.

I’ve had ED for about 3 years now, I’m 37, she’s 31. She deals with it by making me have sex with her with my limp dick. She claims to enjoy it while I add oral and finger her, but I hate doing it because it feels like a chore and I’m not hard so its only certain positions to use. So I try to avoid it as much as I can until she starts to argue and fight about it. I know I need to change my habits…diabetes, fucked up eating, no exercise, and being depressed but it’s really fuckin hard to stay focused on getting right even though I’m killing myself.

30. I just taught myself to satisfy my own needs even better.

My husband has a very low sex drive and some issues from his youth regarding physical contact, so we never had much sex. Married 17 years now, we have 1 kid (planned and executed on my request, impressed we made it!). If I remember correctly we last had sex 5 years ago? Thereabouts.

We hug and kiss, and he gives me backrubs and foot massage. But I’ve given up on trying to entice him into anything more.

I am quite sexual and luckily well able to satisfy myself, so that’s what I do. When I was a bit younger I contemplated having an affair due to sexual frustration, but it didn’t feel like the right thing to do. I wouldn’t enjoy it even though he told me he’d understand. So I just taught myself to satisfy my own needs even better.

Maybe we’ll suddenly hit another phase some day when the kid is grown up, or maybe we’ll just go on like this. We love each other, so whatever happens this is the life and the man I chose. I stand by it.

31. She is heavily into BDSM. I am not, so we have an open relationship.

We have been together for 13 years, married for just over 8, no sex for going on 2. We match on everything pretty much, except sexual interests. I don’t think either of us are each others types. She is also heavily into BDSM, I am not, and once she started exploring that I pushed to let her enjoy it with people who are actually into it as equally as her. This led to us opening our marriage and now, we both date and have sex with other people, going on 7 years. She is still my anchor partner but now there isn’t any pressure to do something neither of us are really into with each other.

It isn’t for everyone but it works for us, and I feel closer to her since we made this choice.

32. Our sex was rare and predictable and boring and stayed that way for 20-plus years.

Our sex was rare and predictable and boring and stayed that way for 20-plus years. My wife refused to discuss or consider changes. My dissatisfaction and discontent were irrelevant. They only thing that seemed to matter was her feelings and her limited tolerance for sex. I was chronically angry.

In March 2015 was the last time we had sex. We were on vacation and having fun and when it looked like she was in the mood, I got excited and hopeful. Bang. But despite my efforts to get her into a position other than missionary, the sex was the exact same thing as every single time since before our kids were born, and I became dispirited. I just decided I was done. We went 18 months after that with me thinking life was better without sex. I didn’t approach her, didn’t hold her hand, didn’t discuss it, didn’t make comments about how hot she was if I saw her naked, didn’t touch hernothing. It was like we were brother and sister. I never told her that’s what I was thinking. I just knew I was done. Talking about it seemed pointless. We’d tried talking about it so many times and the conversation went the same every time. She never seemed to notice or care that I stopped showing interest, never questioned the fact that I had stopped approaching her and that there was no affection between us.

Fall 2016, I was joking around with her and she was laughing and in a good mood and said she wanted to have sex, but only if we started having it with condoms because that way she wouldn’t have to be exposed to any sperm. (We’re both in our late 50s; she’s done with menopause and can’t get pregnant.) I told her no, I didn’t want to have sex any more. I was fucking done. I told her it is easier if I just assume we won’t have any sex. I don’t come on to her and get rebuffed. I don’t get my hopes up when she gets close to me and it turns out it was an accident. If we’re out to dinner or with friends and it feels like we’re having fun, I don’t come home feeling turned on only to get turned down. I don’t get disappointed when she doesn’t want to discuss sex since now there’s no reason to begin a conversation on that. That part of our life is over and it makes me really depressed thinking about it, but less depressed and less angry than when we had robo-sex three times a year.

33. It just feels creepy to be crawling on top and doing my business on a bored, uninterested woman.

I have a very weird situation.

My wife fawns on me and waits on me hand and foot. If I wanted to, she’d let me play video games all night while she did laundry, dishes, cleaned the houseetc.and she’s never complained about it. If I’m playing a game and I’m like, Hey can you bring me a sandwich and something to drink, then poof, she runs off and does it. She doesn’t nag, she never raises her voice.

Even weirder, if I see something that needs to be done like sweeping up some dog hair, she gets mad at me if she catches me doing housework, What? You don’t think I can do my job? No honey, you do a great job, the house looks fantastic, I just noticed some dog hair under the couch and wanted to help you out. Well don’t. I’ve got it. Just tell me if you see something.

She’s a stay-at-home wife since I earn just enough money for the both of us and our three kids to live comfortably. I’ve never asked her to, or expected her to work. She can if she wants, but it’s her choice.

THEN we get in bed. Sooo honey, wanna make out?

I’m tired and I have a headache. I’ll just lay here and you can do what you want. OR I promise I’ll get sexy this weekend and we’ll have fun.

The first thing is not something that I want. It just feels creepy to be crawling on top and doing my business on a bored, uninterested woman. The second thing where she promises to get sexy on the weekend never happens at all.

At least three times in the past ten years, I’ve broken down and told her it’s over. I’m done. I want a divorce. Then she breaks down into a heap on the floor. Begs and cries. Says I’m the only thing in her life and that she loves me.

If I persist, she stops eating and drinking. Essentially goes on a hunger strike.

The last time this happened, she even threatened to kill herself. So I give in, and I take her back every time.

For about a month or two afterwards, the sex will be great and exactly what I want. Then it slowly goes back to tired and headache land for another year or more before I lose my patience again.

We’re in our 17th year of marriage. The sex was great for about three (?) of them.

34. Layers of issues from health to addiction.

I’m planning my getaway. It’s going to take a year or two but I refuse to live without sex for the rest of my life….I’m waiting because children are involved and my financial situation needs to be better.

Layers of issues from health to addiction. He had problems with addiction years ago before we met and his old demons have returned. So I’ve also lost companionship. There is zero desire to go anywhere or do anything. I talked about going to see the opening of for weeks. When the time came, he was well on his way to becoming incoherent. Foaming at the mouth and nodding off. He will drop his phone and pretend it just slipped out of his hand, then drop it again. I’ll admit I over drink, I own it. He will use this if I try to address his multiple addictions. I’ve come to see that we are both enabling each other. I don’t think he is capable of rehabilitation. Or at least, not with me.

I can’t live like this much longer. I feel like I’m being dragged down. No sex is just another problem.

I’m not out of love but I’m not in love anymore. I’m loving and supportive in every way. Still talk dirty etc., but honestly, his sex drive was never very high anyway. It has been an issue for me over the years, having a lot more desire and feeling I’m always the one initiating. Now, he just can’t even get it up when we try.

35. Anytime I tried to initiate sex she showed the biggest lack of interest imaginable to the point it felt like I was feeling up a shop dummy.

Been with my wife for 11 years (3 of those married)

In the last year, she has started holding my hand less, giving less enthusiastic cuddles, proper kisses are nonexistent, it’s just quick pecks on the lips or cheeks. Anytime I try to give her a proper cuddle I can physically feel her pulling away and not wanting a close cuddle or kiss. Our sex life used to be great, we did a lot of things, i.e., toys, naked texts, oral (now only I do that) and other bits and pieces but that generally slowed down to sex 3 times a week to 3 times a month and this continued till our child was born 7 months ago.

The first four months were great, she wanted sex more, was frisky and was more physical. Then it just stopped all of a sudden. She hardly gives me a kiss or a hug now. Anytime I tried to initiate sex she showed the biggest lack of interest imaginable to the point it felt like I was feeling up a shop dummy. It’s now been two months without any proper intimacy, and I just don’t know what to do.

36. Because I hate myself.

Because I hate myself. She is beautiful and makes it clear that she wants me, but I can’t understand why she would. I guess I picked a good time to have a migraine since I’m wearing sunglasses while I write this. Hope I can change someday before she’s gone.

371. About five or six years ago sex had become a sterile function.

Been together 18 years. She’s always been vanilla, I’m, we’ll, Zapp Brannigan. Game for anything, but never any real chances. About five or six years ago sex had become a sterile function.

I go down on her, she has an orgasm, I have to wait it out (literally cockblocked), get in, give her another orgasm, get my own before she dismounts me (or just tells me to finish). Sunday nights, only after she takes a shower. Wants lotion beforehand. It all sounds pretty big and sensual, but it was mechanical as hell.

With the start of some ED, (I can get it up but not sustain if no proper stimulus is applied) I got sick of it. It was crushing to have this thing that was such a part of my inner self, if not a part of reality, to just be so unknowable. After a while I would try every couple months, but it was just maintenance. I was pulling away from her and shutting down emotionally.

Then I met a great girl, gamer like I am, dirty humor, intelligent and drop-dead gorgeous. Way out of my league. It wasn’t long before we were having deep conversations. And God did I get hard over her.

There was a point where I said fuck it. And went for the gold. She knew I was married, we even had plans on trying to bring my wife into it. (Did I mention vanilla, like off brand diluted vanilla?)

I told her I wanted to be her lover, and after 4 months, I had the first totally turned on, rampaging sex in years.

As you might have guessed, she was a little more damaged goods than stable. I’d say we got about 6 good months in before she started getting all weird about something I said or did. She was actually trying to ice me out (something she said she did to others, hindsights 20/20 and all that) when I got a patch of bumps on the side of my penis. HSV 2, it turns out.

Last I spoke to her was to let her know, before she stopped all communication.

Q&A Yes, my wife knows I have it. No, she doesn’t know about her. The time with my girlfriend was the best I’ve been to my wife. Not guilty nice, it was an entire weight between us gone. When I had to confess, wife has not tested positive yet, and now I’m fully celibate.

We came to an agreement (more like I explained to her) that she never was as interested in it as I was, and she was fully capable of going withoutamply proven throughout our marriage). I had made my bed I’m lying in it. I don’t tell her how much I’ve lost of what makes me, me. I do my best now to show her affection, but simply avoid any sexuality.

38. She laughed at me when I said I wanted more sex.

Ive been married around 12 years. Married at 19, house, 2 kids, nice cars. Not wealthy but our household income is over 100k. So we dont starve. Sex hasnt ever really been great. I joke shes done it at least twice. After our second I took a hardcore back seat to pretty much everything. I would work 12-14 hours then coach youth soccer like she asked. A few months ago, I had enough. I told her I wanted to have sex more and it had really been bothering me. I didnt feel wanted and I felt rejected. So, she laughed and said…you can always get yourself off. It didnt sit well with me. I packed a bag that week and left. Ive been gone now, 1.5 months. One of the better decisions Ive made. Ive saved a ton of money and have been really able to reflect on life. She suddenly is all about making me happy though. Maybe because daddy war bucks is gone. I have a hard time placing it. But she struggles from low self-image. I was understanding for a long time. But if I can work myself to death doing what she asks…she doesnt need to laugh at my wants.

39. Due to physical problems she doesnt enjoy sex, so it feels like Im raping her.

Well, it’s a bit of a sore spot for me if I’m being honest. I love my wife, but due to medication and other physical problems she doesn’t enjoy sex. In fact, because of her germ problems it sort of disgusts her. Her body will respond very well, but mentally she can’t get into it and doesn’t enjoy it. So it basically felt like I was raping her, which isn’t so fun (I have a darker side and that sort of thing pushes me closer than I’d like to falling down that hole again). So I try not to bring it up, but due to my past choices and my libido running at the speed of a Ferrari, if I don’t have sex at least every day it causes me physical pain. It’s been about five months, and she’s getting upset with me for how distant I seem. So I try and do things to remind her I love her, like buy her flowers once a month, make her gifts, wrote her poetry/stories, etc. I even managed to snag tickets to the premiere of beauty and the beast. It’s something I have to deal with on my side and she has to deal with on hers. I wish I could help her, but I can’t. So there’s the basics of it.

40. She has never had a sex drive and when we do have sex, it’s the same script every time.

I’ve been married for 18 years. I tell her I want to break up about every 3 years or so but she convinces me to try again. We get on okay outside of the bedroom but not great and have never had a sex life to speak of. I would guess we have sex maybe every 4-6 weeks (I masturbate typically at least once a day).

She has never had a sex drive and when we do have sex, it’s the same script every time (I go down on her while she lies there until she coums, then she lies there while I stick it in until I cum). She has no interest in trying anything else and refuses to even consider offering me oral as she considers it dirty. I can’t even begin to tell you at 40 years old, how curious I am about what a BJ would feel like.

I am and have always been a super unattractive guy, she is the only one who would sleep with me at all, so it’s not even a case where I could leave and find someone new, it’s really where I just get so weary of the relationship I’d rather live the rest of my life alone than with her.

She is very attached to me (she loves me deeply, I know this) and whenever I try to break up with her it is just devastating to her and I don’t have the heart to go through with it.

I’ve read too good to leave, too bad to stay and if you think of it as a 10-point scale where 1 is, LEAVE! GET OUT NOW! and 10 is, You need this relationship, cling to it forever, then I’m at a 4, ready to leave but she’s at a 9 and desperately needs the relationship to continue.

Despite lack of bedroom stuff, I love her and just can’t bring myself to do that to her.

Honestly, it’s reached a point now where I’m just waiting for my parents to pass on. Once they’re gone I plan to leave my wife, travel somewhere they don’t know me and just end it (I haven’t decided yet whether to go somewhere like South America where I can find the right drugs and an unvisited part of the forest and just disappear or whether to go to a certain country in Europe where you can pay about $8-$10k and they’ll end your life for you legally in a hospital).

41. He’s made it pretty clear that he’s more interested in anal than anything else, while I’ve rarely found pleasure in.

He’s made it pretty clear that he’s more interested in anal than anything else, while I’ve rarely found pleasure in it (only thought it was ok when very drunk). He’s said things to me like I’ve never dated anybody who didn’t like it, most girls I know like it, you’re so lame, you’ve liked it before (referring to when I was drunk) to try and manipulate me into it I guess. I tried to be open minded, I tried to like it, but I just can’t. It makes regular sex really annoying because he only seems interested in positions that give him a view of my butt. So I’ve grown resentful, I don’t find sex with him fun, and I learned that I could get him to help with chores if I offered anal (which I know is not a healthy thing to do in a relationship, but shit’s gotta get done and I’m only one person).

So there’s that, on top of some issues I have with his behavior outside of sex which have made me slowly lose respect for him. He doesn’t help much with chores, at 31 he is only now learning how to pay bills and use a bank (I had been doing it for the past 10 years, all the while asking him to get more involved, until recently when I found myself very depressed and he had to try and figure it out), he’s too insecure to have honest conversations about our relationship or problems we have, he refused to go to couple’s therapy, he’s often patronizing, brags a lot, and interrupts me (and others) when in conversation.

All that said, he’s not a terrible person. I feel bad painting a picture of some monster. He has great qualities too; he’s very smart, friendly, attractive, and loyal. But the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives when it comes to my attraction to him.

42. He is very cold to me.

Hello people. Long story short, my husband does not engage or touch me anymore. We have been together for 11 years and married for nine.

He is aware this is a big problem but refuses to do anything about it. For example, last week he had an interview and did really well (so he thought) so I came home early from work, freshened up, put in the black lacy nightie he bought for me a few weeks ago and waited for him…when he got home he said that he was all dressed up and would rather go to dinner. He could not be bothered with getting redress if we has sex.

I have not been touched in many months. He is very cold to me. I have been a loving and faithful wife and have a feeling that now things are going well for me career wise he is actively trying to sabotage our relationship by trying to manipulate me in order to mitigate the control he has lost over me since I have my own money and sources of income now.

I was an ARMY wife, student, and stay at home mother for a time while he was deployed and injured. Now that he is out (med retirement) I feel like we are now useless to him since he does not need the loving wife and child image anymore to forward his career. I feel like we are a throw away family that he does not need anymore.

He refuses to talk about this, get counseling, or attempt to help us in anyway. I am falling out of love with him day by day and all he can seem to do is ignore me, and our daughter.

He does not kiss me, he does not touch me, he does not ask me how I am doing, he certainly does not have sex with me anymore. It is like I am living with a roommate and I absolutely hate it. We had our beautiful days too, but no more.

43. My wife lost her sex drive because of depression.

My wife lost her sex drive because of depression. Even when she was happy again it didn’t come back. Whenever she was in the mood, it would go away before we’d even start. 5 times in the past year and a half. She just left me so I could find someone better

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/lorenzo-jensen-iii/2017/03/43-married-people-confess-why-they-stopped-having-sex-with-their-spouse/

Yahoo hackers manipulated search results for erectile dysfunction medications

One of the hackers alleged to be responsible for a 2014 hack of Yahoo that affected half a billion users also manipulated search results in his favor to make some money on the side, according to the indictment filed today by the Justice Department.

Alexsey Belan has been charged multiple times with e-commerce fraud and hacking offenses, but managed to escape to Russia in 2013 after his arrest in Europe but before he could be extradited. His alleged offenses in the Yahoo case appear to be more opportunistic than those of his colleagues.

One of his schemes was to manipulate some of Yahoos search engine servers so that when people searched for erectile dysfunction medications, (as the indictment puts it, but perhaps less formal inquiries were also included) they were forwarded to an online pharmacy company that paid commissions to traffic-drivers. This was done using an unnamed cloud computing company that apparently (and no doubt unknowingly) acted as intermediary between the Yahoo link and the pharmacy.

This rather expands the access hypothetically enjoyed by the hackers; whereas before it was certain that emails, hashed passwords and security questions (among other common data) were stolen, this implies interference at a considerably deeper level. If Belan could plant search results for what must be a closely monitored market and query set, what else could he have tweaked to his or a clients advantage?

Two weeks ago a Yahoo SEC filing also revealed new details about the hack, namely that the intrusion had exposed proprietary code. What code? How? At the current rate Yahoo is hemorrhaging unflattering information about the hacks, it may not be long before we find out.

Disclosure: Verizon, which owns Aol, which owns TechCrunch, is in the process of buying Yahoo.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/15/yahoo-hackers-manipulated-search-results-for-erectile-dysfunction-medications/

Trump rallies his base on his 100th day

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump hit on some of the biggest issues he has tried to tackle during his first 100 days in office at a rally Saturday in Pennsylvania, where he struck a consistently divisive and determined tone.

The threat from North Korea, getting a health care bill passed and possibly renegotiating the Paris climate accord were among the big talking points of Trump’s nearly one-hour speech on his 100th day as President, which he delivered to a crowd in Harrisburg.
“I’ll be making a big decision on the Paris accord over the next two weeks, and we will see what happens,” Trump said on the same day that protesters backing action on climate change took to the streets in Washington and other cities across the country as part of the “People’s Climate March.”
    While Trump’s raucous rally was straight out of his campaign playbook, he also did something he rarely does — call out, by name, US congressmen from Pennsylvania who were in attendance.
    “We’re going to give Americans the freedom to purchase the health care plans they want, not the health care forced on them by the government,” Trump said. “And I’ll be so angry at Congressman (Mike) Kelly and Congressman (Tom) Marino and all of our congressmen in this room if we don’t get that damn thing passed quickly.”
    Trump, who found his stride in front of large, cheering crowds across the country in states where his populist message resonates, took the stage Saturday night alongside Vice President Mike Pence.
    “There is no place I’d rather be than right here in Pennsylvania to celebrate our 100-day milestone, to reflect on an incredible journey together,” Trump said.
    In addition to speaking at the rally, Trump signed two executive orders in Harrisburg, one directing a review all US trade agreements and the second establishing the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy.
    Among the crowd favorites at Trump rallies are the President’s attacks on the press, and this especially rang true at Saturday’s event because many members of the press are celebrating at the White House Correspondents’ dinner in what Trump calls the “swamp” of Washington — setting up a prime-time duel with what has become his No. 1 foe, the media.
    “A large group of Hollywood actors and Washington media are consoling each other in a hotel ballroom in our nation’s capital right now,” Trump told the crowd. “They are gathered together for the White House Correspondents’ dinner — without the President. And I could not possibly be more thrilled than to be more than 100 miles away from Washington’s swamp, spending my evening with all of you and with a much, much larger crowd and much better people.”
    Trump held that divisive tone throughout the speech, prompting former presidential adviser and senior CNN political analyst David Gergen to call the remarks “deeply disturbing” in a special prime-time edition of “CNN Newsroom” with John Berman and Poppy Harlow.
    “This was the most divisive speech I have ever heard from a sitting American president,” Gergen said. “Others may disagree about that. He played to his base and he treated his other listeners, the rest of the people who have been disturbed about him or opposed him, he treated them basically as, ‘I don’t give a damn what you think because you’re frankly like the enemy.’ I thought it was a deeply disturbing speech.”
    This marks the first time in 36 years that a sitting president has not attended and spoken at the dinner. President Ronald Reagan missed the dinner while recovering in the hospital from an assassination attempt, but he still made remarks by phone. Richard Nixon was the last president to skip the dinner completely.
    The last time Trump attended the dinner was in 2011, when he was a New York real estate mogul and reality TV star who had just jumped into politics by getting involved in the “birther” movement, calling for President Barack Obama to release his birth certificate. Trump ended up being the butt of the jokes that night from comedian Seth Meyers and Obama himself.
    But no matter where he was, the spotlight was on Trump on Saturday since the day also marked a significant milestone in the career of a president. After serving as commander in chief for 100 days, his achievements, as well as shortfalls, were being closely scrutinized.
    On paper, Trump lacks a major legislative achievement, has the lowest approval ratings of any new commander in chief since World War II, has seen several key immigration goals held up by the courts and has failed to deliver the health care overhaul he promised again and again on the campaign trail.
    Trump’s sole big win has been the successful nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court — something a president hasn’t done in his first 100 days since James Garfield appointed a justice within that time frame 136 years ago.
    Trump, a longtime critic of the number of Obama’s executive orders, issued more executive orders in his first 100 days than any other president aside from Harry Truman.
    It’s also been 100 days plagued with controversy, from appointing his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to key White House posts to dealing with allegations of possible ties between some of his campaign aides and Russia.
    His campaign promises on such major items as repealing and replacing Obamacare and overhauling the tax code — things he rallied crowds with for months all over the country — have yet to be enacted. Even his promise to build a wall on the border with Mexico is caught up in a spending debate, with no support from Democrats and little to no progress being made.

    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/29/politics/donald-trump-100-days-rally/index.html

    Alec Baldwin does a double take as Bill O’Reilly and Donald Trump on ‘SNL’

    (CNN)Alec Baldwin apparently can do everything on “Saturday Night Live.”

    “Tonight’s ‘Talking Points Memo’ is the scandal that everyone’s been talking about all week, a scandal no one thought I’d have the guts to address head on … about the shocking allegations of the abuse of power that have been leveled against the Obama administration,” Baldwin as O’Reilly said to laughs.
    The faux Fox host then tried to bring on a female correspondent before realizing that she no longer worked at the company.
      “Did she get the check? Okay, fine,” Baldwin’s O’Reilly said, referencing the reports of settlements that had been paid to women alleging sexual harassment against O’Reilly.
      The scandal has led to an advertiser exodus for Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” which the variety show made fun of by showing which sponsors had stuck around.
      When Baldwin’s O’Reilly took a commercial break, he found that the only sponsors left on “The Factor” were “Dog Cocaine,” an erectile dysfunction drug for horses, and the film “Chips.”
      The sketch somehow even got more Baldwin, as O’Reilly brought on President Trump, who was also played by Baldwin but in a split screen, as a guest.
      “I actually see a lot of myself in you, Bill,” Baldwin’s Trump said.
      The real-life President Trump defended O’Reilly earlier this week, saying that he didn’t think that the host did anything wrong.
      As for “SNL’s” O’Reilly, he ended the sketch promoting his book “Old School.”
      “It’s about having great morals and values,” Baldwin’s O’Reilly said. “And it couldn’t have come at a better time.”

      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/09/entertainment/snl-bill-oreilly-alec-baldwin/index.html

      The rise of biodynamic farming: a return to ‘the way farmers farmed for millennia’

      Biodynamic foods are more nutritious than conventionally farmed crops but critics are questioning biodynamic farmings ability to feed the masses

      When John Chester, a filmmaker from California, quit his job to become a farmer, he didnt do it out of a desire to feed the world. Instead, he says: Im trying to feed my neighbors and if everyone did that, we would be able to replicate this.

      He is referring to Apricot Lane Farms, a 213-acre biodynamic and organic farm in Moorpark, California, that Chester runs with his wife, Molly. The couple nurtures 100 different types of vegetables, 75 varieties of stone fruit, and countless animal residents: Scottish highland cattle, pigs, chickens, sheep, ducks, hens, horses and livestock dogs. Last year, Apricot Lane Farms was recognized by the National Wildlife Federation and the North American Butterfly Association for supporting so much wildlife not a recognition typically given to farms.

      Apricot Lane is part of a growing movement in biodynamic farming. The number of biodynamic farms in the US is rapidly increasing, according to Elizabeth Candelario, co-director of Demeter USA, the nonprofit certifier of biodynamic farms and consumer products in the US. According to Demeter, the total acreage for biodynamic farming in the US increased by 16% last year, totaling 21,791 acres.

      Earlier this year, Demeter began collecting topsoil samples from biodynamic farms. This will help the organization determine if the soil quality is improving year after year on certified biodynamic farms. According to Candelario, Demeter is the only national farming organization implementing this practice. This will provide a tool for farmers who continue to focus on building healthy soil, and give voice to power about biodynamic agricultures role in mitigating the impacts of climate change, she says.

      So what distinguishes biodynamic farming from organic? Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, the godfather of organic and biodynamic farming, encouraged farmers to look to the cosmos before planting and harvesting crops. The biodynamic calendar is based on the positioning of the stars and the moon, meaning a seasonal crop cycle. Many biodynamic farmers utilize the lunar calendar, although it is not a requirement for certification.

      The National Organic Program (Nop) standard forms the base to the Demeter standard so if its not allowed in organic, its not allowed in biodynamic. If a farm is certified biodynamic, it means it has met the requirements of organic, with some additional measures. For example, while organic permits imported organic fertilizers and pesticides, biodynamic requires that a farm system itself produce its own fertility meaning compost and nutrients as much as possible through the integration of livestock and the rotation of crops. There are limits to the amount that can be imported from the outside for example, no more than 36lbs of nitrogen per acre, per year.

      Also, while organic certification allows for organic feed imported to the farm from anywhere in the world, biodynamic requires 50% of livestock feed be grown on the farm. Biodynamic also requires that a farm set aside 10% of the total farm acreage for biodiversity, and strive for a balanced predator/prey relationship.

      Where a conventional farm would bring in synthetic fertilizers, and an organic farm would substitute inputs that are allowed under the Nop, a biodynamic farmer would think: Why is my farm needing this additional fertility, and how can I come up with a solution out of the farm system itself instead of being imported from the outside?

      Biodynamic agriculture treats the farm like a living organism, self-contained and self-sustainable, Candelario says. Biodynamic is what organic farming has emerged from. Its the way farmers have farmed for millennia, before the advent of industrial agriculture.

      For example, on Chesters farm, the wildlife is vital in dealing with infestations. Last year, the farm had a slug problem. I could have poured Sluggo and that would have killed them off, Chester says. But instead, I let the wildlife sort it out. As a result, Im producing duck eggs that have been enriched by an escargot diet.

      Molly and John Chester, who run Apricot Lane Farms. Photograph: Yvette Roman

      Biodynamic principles were first introduced in the US after 1924, when Rudolf Steiner first delivered his agricultural lectures. In 1938, the Biodynamic Association was established, making it the oldest sustainable agriculture nonprofit organization in North America. Still, there are only about 300 certified biodynamic farms in the US today, compared to 21,781 certified organic operations, representing a growth of almost 12% between 2014-2015, according to data released in 2016 by the Agricultural Marketing Services National Organic Program. This is the highest growth rate since 2008, with an increase of nearly 300% since the count began in 2002. The total retail market for organic products is now valued at more than $39bn in the US, compared to $75bn worldwide.

      Candelario says the reason for the slower growth in biodynamic farms is that although its principles were adopted in the 1930s, theyve been slow to catch on. It was really winemakers that caught on first. Winemakers couldnt help but notice that some of the finest wines in the world are made from grapes grown in biodynamic vineyards. Vineyard and winery adoption has occurred so quickly that [the US] now has the third largest number of biodynamic vineyards and wineries in the world, following France and Italy.

      Now, Candelario says the natural food industry is beginning to recognize that you cant have a sustainable business model if the farming that stands behind your products is unsustainable. More than a dozen US food companies, including Republic of Tea, Back to The Roots, Amys Kitchen, Lakewood Juices and Lundberg Family Farms, are now sourcing from biodynamic farms, citing commitments to sustainable practices.

      Last year, Demeter worked with more than 50 US brands to bring biodynamic products to the market. Errol Schweizer can attest to the demand; he was the lead merchandiser and negotiator at Whole Foods for nearly a decade and now consults at numerous health food retailers across the US. When Schweizer joined Whole Foods, the company was carrying few biodynamic brands. Schweizer added more to the shelves, not only because of the farming practices but because of one basic test: taste.

      Customers want it, even if they dont recognize the biodynamic certification on a box, he said. What they want is food that tastes good and is grown ethically.

      Apricot Lane Farms sells its grass-pastured, soy-free eggs to local health food stores such as Erewhon. Photograph: Apricot Lane Farms

      Biodynamic foods are more nutritious than conventionally farmed vegetables and fruits, according to research. Like organic farming, biodynamic farming prohibits the use of chemical pesticides, allowing plants to produce more of their own antioxidants to fight damage. These antioxidants are not only beneficial to humans, but they also impact taste and flavor, resulting in more flavorful food.

      But, while it may be healthier and taste better, critics of biodynamic farming raise questions about its ability to feed the masses. Nikhil Arora runs Oakland-based Back to the Roots, which sells biodynamic cereal. Arora sources the wheat from Fred Kirshenmanns 1800-acre farm in Windsor, North Dakota, which is certified organic and biodynamic. Kirshenmann was an early adopter of Steiners methodology; in 1975, the farm was organic but by 1981, he had become one of the first biodynamic farms in the country.

      Launched in January 2016, Back to the Roots biodynamic cereal sells in Whole Foods and Krogers for about $5 a box, on par with health food cereals such as Kashi and Natures Path. The companys cereals are also in 2300 schools across the country. The demand has been tricky to manage. We want to scale but we have to be mindful of how much supply we have, Arora says. Were working directly with the farmer, not a commodities market. We pre-purchase the wheat before he even harvests it. So its a different model.

      Apricot Lane Farms likes to keep it local, selling eggs to local health food stores such as Erewhon. Some of the vegetables and fruits are sold to LA restaurants and the rest are sold at specialty markets as well as online.

      What people dont understand is that biodynamic farming is about responding to the farm, living, breathing it, Chester says. If you have a problem, you have to think of three solutions that come from the farm itself. Those so-called problems are part of the art of farming, which has been lost in this rat race to produce cheap food.

      Chester argues that buyers have to change the equation by voting with their purchases. Candelario agrees.

      Consumers need to continue to demand transparency in the food they purchase and support the brands, and the farms, that are bringing products to market in the most ecological way possible. The beautiful short term reward in all of this is that our food is only as good as the farming that stands behind it.

      Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/mar/05/biodynamic-farming-agriculture-organic-food-production-environment

      Caster Semenyas comeback puts her on course for Rio gold

      Since Caster Semenya emerged in 2009 sports law has adjusted its position and now the South African runner is posting remarkable times with the Olympics four months away

      Caster Semenya took to the track three times on Saturday and with every stride suggested she was hurtling back towards the extraordinary. First she won the South African 400m title in 50.78 seconds, not only the fastest time in the world this year but a personal best by nearly two seconds. Then, after a 50minute rest, she coasted to the 800m title in 1:58.45, another worlds best in 2016. Finally, for good measure, she romped home in the 1500m.

      It was the first time anyone had won three South African titles in a day but it was the manner of their achievement which left the deepest impression. Semenya barely broke sweat in each race until the home straight. As the TV commentator in the 800m, which she won by seven seconds, put it: My word this is something special. She is jogging! As the renowned South African sports scientist Ross Tucker put it: Its impossible to know how quickly she could have run but it looked so easy. She looked capable of running in the low 49-seconds for 400m and the 800m in 1:55 or faster.

      Predictions are a dangerous business. But Semenya appears a red-hot favourite for 800m Olympic gold. And, if that happens, many of the controversies which raged in 2009 when her crushing world 800m title triumph was overshadowed by accusations and insinuations about her gender will again swirl around Rio like a tornado.

      After that victory, by more than four seconds, the 18-year-olds world changed and largely for the worse. She was subject to gender tests which were never made public but were alleged, according to the Australian Daily Telegraph, to show she had no womb or ovaries but had internal testes. The IAAF, athletics governing body, was accused of violating her human rights, gross insensitivity and even racism. It insisted it was merely trying to ensure women with higher testosterone did not have an unfair advantage. Arguments flared, subsided and flared again; Semenya mostly suffered in silence.

      Since then she has been very good rather than great. There were silver medals at the 2011 world championships and the 2012 Olympics, which may yet be upgraded given the Russian Mariya Savinova, who beat her both times, is facing a life ban. But after struggling at the world championships last year, Semenya has suddenly rediscovered her mojo and her motor. As Tucker says: She looks ridiculously lean and athletic. Shes a different athlete compared with last year.

      So what has changed? It is probably down to not only her training but a decision in a Swiss courtroom. The fallout from Semenyas case in 2009 made the sporting authorities replace their gender testing policies with an upper limit for women athletes testosterone levels with anyone above it required to take hormones to lower them to more normal levels to compete. Yet in July the Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed that rule after considering the case of the Indian sprinter Dutee Chand, who was due to compete at the Commonwealth Games until discovered to have high testosterone.

      Chands lawyers insisted she was not to blame for her genetic advantages, just as some basketball players cannot help being seven foot tall. They also claimed that the existing law was discriminatory against women, because men are not screened for high natural testosterone levels. However, as Dr Marjolaine Viret, a Swiss-based attorney in sports law who frequently deals with CAS arbitration explains: The decisive factor for the CAS panel was whether testosterone above the 10nmol/L threshold set by the IAAF gave female athletes a competitive advantage over their fellow competitors, which brought them within a range comparable to male athletes. Here the burden of proof was declared to be on the IAAF.

      Given the lack of sufficient scientific evidence, the existing hyperandrogenism regulations law was suspended for two years allowing any female athlete on testosteronesuppressing medication to come off it. Tucker, for one, thinks CASs decision was wrong. The old rule was a workable compromise with a scientific basis, he says. It was an attempt to manage a difficult situation and CAS have effectively removed the management. Now theres no regulation and ultimately this changes the nature of womens sport.

      He believes there is another flaw in its verdict. CAS were also saying that testosterone you inject is different from testosterone your body produces, which is ridiculous because its the same thing.

      This, and other arguments around athletes rights, are often difficult to weigh up but for Tucker the key question is when does being an outlier become a problem and exceptional become unfair. Thats the crux of the issue. We say you can and should have certain advantages if you want to win but at some point the type of advantage you have, and its magnitude, must be checked. For a middleweight boxer, this happens at 75kg. But for men versus women, it happens somewhere. We just dont know where.

      Meanwhile Semenyas gaze is firmly focused on better times ahead. I am a dreamer, she says. And what I dream of is to become Olympic champion, world champion, world record holder.

      All three goals appear tantalisingly within her grasp, including Jarmila Kratochvilovas once seemingly impenetrable 800m world record of 1:53.28. Yet however bold her attempts to make history, one fears she will never completely outrun controversy.

      Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/apr/17/caster-semenya-comeback-rio-olympics-gold

      Why Muslims are marching for climate

      (CNN)From the cropless farmer to the beleaguered first responder to the person forced to evacuate their flooded home, we all have our reasons for caring about climate change. As an Indonesian-born Muslim living in California, it is my faith that compels me to protect our earth.

      For many people like me who cherish tolerance and clean air, the first 100 days of the Trump presidency have not been easy. As a Muslim immigrant to America, it has been painfully frustrating to witness the Trump administration reinforce xenophobia against both immigrants and Muslims.
      As someone whose faith is bound up with combating climate change, it hurt to see Trump impose an executive order that effectively denies the impacts of climate change I have seen with my own eyes.
        Frustration must never lead to resignation, however: that is why, on Saturday, I and many other Muslims will be marching in Washington, D.C. in solidarity with thousands of others for our climate and the protection of the vulnerable.
        Prophet Mohammed (peace and blessings be upon him) leaves Muslims like me in no doubt as to the duty we humans share: “God has made the Earth green and beautiful, and He has appointed you as stewards over it,” he said. There is no greater threat to our “green and beautiful” Earth than the more frequent and intense droughts, floods and storms brought by climate change.
        Muslim-majority countries around the world are some of the most severely affected by climate change impacts like heat waves, floods, droughts and extreme weather events like the recent famine in Somalia, which has led to more than 16 million people facing food shortages and death.
        Many Muslims live in parts of the world that are particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as Bangladesh and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Pakistan is another country that is extremely short of freshwater resources. With a continuously increasing of climate crisis, the water availability has decreased severely, which then placed the country as water scarce nation and in turn it will have an adverse influence on poverty.
        Maldives is another Muslim-majority country that could become the first in history to be completely erased by the sea level rise at the turn of the century.
        And with last year’s COP 22 taking place in Morocco, the responsibility has shifted to the governments of Muslim majority countries and their religious leaders to step up and play their role in the growing grassroots movement accross Muslim communities around the globe, to reverse the effects of climate change.
        That means phasing out greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible, shifting away from fossil fuels to clean sources of energy, including urging the Muslim petropowers and oil-producing nations to take the lead in the transition toward renewable energy based development. (Rich and oil states should phase out their emissions by the middle of the century and provide generous support to help the poor nations to combat climate change).
        The consequences of climate change are already having significant and costly affects on our communities, our health and our ecosystem. Globally, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were the three hottest years on record. From January to March 2017, the US experienced five billion-dollar weather and climate disasters, a national record that killed 37 people. Climate change likely worsened the impact of Colorado’s deadly 2013 floods and has exacerbated droughts in California. Of course, it is always the poor and vulnerable who are impacted most.
        These facts and figures are no abstractions for me. In February 2007 I was in Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, as the city was paralyzed by severe flooding — the worst in its history — that inundated about 70 percent of the city, killed a number of people, cut off the highway connecting to the country’s major airport and sent about 450,000 fleeing their homes.
        In January 2014, a couple years after I moved to the US, California Gov. Jerry Brown declared a “drought state of emergency” due to ongoing water shortfalls following the driest calendar year in state history. He asked Californians to cut their water usage by at least a fifth. As a California resident, I witnessed first hand firefighters battling a wildfire in San Diego County during the severe Santa Ana Wind and heat wave in 2016.
        I am not alone. Muslims — and indeed the majority of Americans outside the White House — are united on the urgency of the issue of climate change. In August 2015, I witnessed over 80 global Muslim leaders from over 20 countries release the Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change in Istanbul, urging world governments to phase out fossil fuels and make a transition to renewable energy to tackle climate change.
        In December of that year, by signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, almost 200 governments set a path to do just that. The Global Muslim Climate Network, of which I am chair, is also doing its part to encourage more Muslims to focus on solutions and take concrete actions, such as running their local mosques on solar energy.
        By seeking to undermine the Paris Agreement, which the Trump administration could do if it decides to formally withdraw or which arguably it is already doing by seeking to eradicate climate regulations and funding for climate science research — Donald Trump and his administration are reneging on a promise to have the interests of the vulnerable and forgotten at heart.
        Together with his divisive rhetoric against Muslims and immigrants, Trump represents a potentially disastrous departure from the inclusive and multicultural American society that I love.

        Join us on Twitter and Facebook

        Saturday’s People’s Climate March reminds me of a verse in the Holy Quran that says, “We have created you into different nations and tribes so that you may come to know one another.” This march — images of which will be shared around the world — is a demonstration of how people are coming together to tackle one of the fiercest humanitarian and moral challenges humanity has ever faced.
        Muslims, including Muslim faith leaders and Imams, will be marching shoulder to shoulder with thousands of people of all faiths and those who ascribe to none.
        I’ll be marching to show President Trump that I will not allow him to claim to represent the vulnerable while slashing the legislation that is designed specifically to protect them. I will not allow him to claim to represent the forgotten while he stokes further divisions within American society. We will already have achieved a lot in the fight against climate change — a fight whose ultimate aims are peace and joy — if we can overcome that which attempts to divide us, embrace each other and work together.

        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/opinions/muslim-world-climate-march-firman-opinion/index.html

        The first 100 days in LGBT rights

        (CNN)Even before US President Donald Trump took office, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans feared his administration would roll back gains they made in the Obama administration.

        Now, 100 days into Trump’s presidency, advocacy groups say their concerns have been realized through Cabinet appointments and policy decisions that undermine civil rights for LGBT Americans.
        Here’s a timeline of key actions affecting LGBT Americans from the first 100 days.

          Reversing course

          February 10: In the first sign of a new Justice Department with different priorities, the agency dropped its defense of Obama-era protections for transgender students in a key lawsuit.
          After the departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance in May 2016 directing schools to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, officials in a dozen states sued to block their implementation.
          A federal judge in Texas granted the states’ request for a nationwide injunction to halt the guidelines’ enforcement. The Obama administration’s Justice Department appealed to reduce the injunction’s scope to states involved in the lawsuit while the case was alive.
          Then, the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, the Justice Department said it withdrew its appeal so it could decide how to “best proceed” with the lawsuit.
          February 22: A few weeks later, the Trump administration withdrew the guidelines entirely, in a joint decision from the departments of Justice and Education.

            Protections pulled from trans school restrooms

          MUST WATCH

          March 27: Trump signed an executive order that nullified an Obama administration initiative to ensure that federal contractors complied with labor and civil rights laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
          March 28: Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s efforts to collect data on LGBT Americans had begun to unravel.
          Advocates have long pushed for the government to gather data on LGBT Americans, including how numerous they are. There’s no official national count of gay, bisexual or transgender Americans. Therefore, advocates welcomed the inclusion of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” in the Census Bureau’s road map for 2020 data collection. But celebrations were premature. The agency later said it found “no need” to collect the data.
          The reversal came days after Secretary Tom Price’s Department of Health and Human Services eliminated questions about about sexual orientation and gender identity in proposed versions of two critical health-care surveys addressing the needs of the elderly and the disabled.
          Advocates said their inclusion in surveys helps assess needs within the LGBT community and collect data to support policy changes.
          April 14: After North Carolina repealed and replaced its so-called bathroom bill with another measure that prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, the Justice Department halted its litigation related to the laws.

          Meanwhile, a handful of state and district courts have sided with transgender students in lawsuits against schools. And, observers are waiting to see what’s next for transgender teen Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. The withdrawal of the guidance led the Supreme Court to return the case to a lower court to consider whether anti-discrimination protections extend to gender identity.

            The teen at the center of the transgender bathroom debate

          MUST WATCH

          Trump’s appointments

          Presidential appointments speak volumes about what an administration will stand for, said Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at legal aid group Lambda Legal.
          LGBT advocacy groups opposed the nominations of then-US Sen. Jeff Sessions and then-US Rep. Tom Price to head the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services based on their legislative track records on gay rights issues.
          As lawmakers, both supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006, though Sessions promised in his confirmation hearings that he would follow the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality. It didn’t come up in Price’s hearings, and observers are waiting to see whether he upholds anti-discimination measures in the Affordable Health Care Act that protect LGBT Americans.
          When in Congress, Sessions and Price co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, the so-called religious liberty bill preventing the federal government from punishing businesses for denying services to same-sex couples. They voted against expanding federal hate crime statutes to include sexual orientation, gender and disability. They condemned the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that forbade gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.
          LGBT advocates are concerned about the White House appointment of former Heritage Foundation employee Roger Severino to lead the Health and Human Services civil rights office. He came out against a provision of the Affordable Care Act banning discrimination against transgender patients, saying the rule would “threaten the religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and independent medical judgment of health care professionals.”

            Transgender identity, in their words

          MUST WATCH

          The road ahead

          From the President to the attorney general to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the administration has said it’s trying to balance civil rights with states’ right to set their own policies.
          But advocacy groups say the administration’s actions are efforts to erase them from America narrative.
          “One hundred days of Trump translates into 100 days of erasure for the LGBTQ community,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of advocacy group GLAAD.
          “From the census exclusion, to rescinding Obama’s guidance for trans youth in schools, and lack of any LGBTQ mentions on the White House website, he has spent the early days of his administration trying to remove us from the very fabric of this country, and we must resist.”

          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/politics/first-100-days-lgbt-rights-trnd/index.html

          Tad Cummins told wife he slept with teen, she says

          (CNN)The wife of the former Tennessee teacher accused of running off with a 15-year-old student says she knew the answer but asked anyway.

          “I said, ‘Well, did you sleep with her?’ ” Jill Cummins said in an interview with “Inside Edition,” describing a jailhouse phone conversation with her husband.
          “Yes, I did,” Tad Cummins replied, according to his wife, who has filed for divorce.
            “I didn’t want any details,” she told “Inside Edition” in an interview that aired Thursday. “But I knew the truth. I just wanted to hear it from him to me. I told him, I probably wouldn’t be answering the phone anymore.”
            Cummins was arrested last week outside a remote cabin in Cecilville, California, at the end of a 39-day manhunt for him and the teen, who was reported missing some 1,900 miles away, in her hometown south of Nashville.
            The girl was found safe. Cummins now faces one federal count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual intercourse as well as state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping.
            When her husband recently contacted her by phone, Jill Cummins told “Inside Edition” that she went into a rage.
            “Do you know what you’ve done to me and to your girls and to your grandchildren?” she said she told him. “He pretty much, just over and over, said, ‘I’m sorry.’ “
            She said it was hard to hear his voice. She thought she’d never hear from him again after he disappeared with his former student. She said she told him she felt betrayed and would not allow him to hurt her or their family again.
            “I told him, ‘She is a child, and you are a 50-year-old man and that’s not right,’ ” Jill Cummins recalled. “She didn’t have a choice whether or not go with you. He said, ‘She did have a choice.’ “
            Before his capture April 20, Tad Cummins and the young woman he called his wife slipped into the remote Northern California community of Cecilville unrecognized. He passed himself off as a down-on-his-luck Colorado man who’d just lost his job and home, according to the man who eventually tipped off police.
            The pair had been in the heavily wooded area 60 miles south of the Oregon line about a week, according to Griffin Barry, who says he eventually helped police capture Cummins.
            Cummins and the teen arrived at a gas station there a week earlier, apparently on their way to visit a commune, Barry told CNN.
            Cummins told Barry he was 44, and that the teen was his 22-year-old wife, according to the cabin’s owner.
            As Barry discussed the pair with someone at a bar later, the other person found Cummins’ picture online in an Amber Alert widely distributed by authorities. He called police.
            Cummins and the girl disappeared March 13 as a police investigation into their relationship was heating up.
            A high school health sciences teacher in the Tennessee town of Culleoka, Cummins had been suspended in February, less than a month after a student reported seeing him and the 15-year-old kissing in a classroom.
            At the time of his disappearance, Jill Cummins said, her husband left her a note saying, ” ‘I’m getting away to clear my head of all this crap. I love you. Please don’t call the police… They’ll just think I’m guilty and I’m not. I’m so sorry.”
            She said she believed him until she learned the teenager also was missing. The revelation pretty much ended what she described as a “perfect … loving Christian household.”
            In the days before the alleged abduction, Tad Cummins refilled a prescription for the erectile dysfunction drug Cialis, took out a loan for quick cash and made hotel reservations in another state, according to a criminal complaint.
            In a Friday interview on “Inside Edition,” Jill Cummins said she talked to her husband about the teen before he disappeared.
            “He was getting close to her, a father-daughter close,” she said. “A friendship close. And I discussed that with him and explained to him she’s your student — we can’t be so close to her. Never did I think there was a romantic thing going on between the two of them. There were no signs of that.”
            When asked if she felt the teenager betrayed her, Jill Cummins said, “I do feel slightly betrayed by her because she knew him. She knew what she had. And what she was destroying.”
            Ashley, one of the couple’s daughters, said on Friday’s “Inside Edition” that she fully supports her mother but, at the same time, stands by her father.
            “He was the definition of what a father should be. He really was and is. I still believe that,” she said. Ashley said she may someday talk to her father about what he did, but for now, “he needs to at least know that everybody is not against him.”
            Jill Cummins said he would never take her husband back, but doesn’t hate him.
            “I hate what he did,” she said.

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/us/tennessee-teacher-wife-interview/index.html

            Where the Mexico City Policy matters the most


            She has five children and works as a farmer in Budadiri, Uganda, east Africa.
            “I want to look after my children,” Mudua says. “But I am a woman alone, and any time a man could force me into sex and I could get pregnant.”
            Women like Mudua, thousands of miles away from Washington and the White House, are the ones starting to feel the reverberations of US President Donald Trump’s Mexico City Policy, reintroduced in January amid a slew of executive orders from the newly inaugurated President.
            Mudua currently receives her contraception from Marie Stopes Uganda, a non-profit that provides family planning advice and sexual health services across the country.
            “I’m going to be OK because I will not have to give birth to a child I don’t want on my own,” she says.
            But for Mudua and others like her, things are about to change.
            Named after the venue of the conference where it was first announced by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, the Mexico City Policy, also known as the “global gag rule” withholds American aid (USAID) from any international non-governmental organizations that offer women advice on abortion.
            Marie Stopes Uganda says that 94% of its outreach work, which aims to bring contraception to women in rural and remote areas, is funded by USAID.
            It estimates that these funds will start to dry up around September, which over the next three years could result in an extra 1.1 million unwanted pregnancies in Uganda alone.

            ‘US funds never used for abortions’

            Any criticism leveled at the President for the manner in which he signed the order (surrounded by a group of white men) or the potential impact on global health services was drowned out by the widespread condemnation and confusion that met Trump’s controversial travel ban announced three days later.
            Meanwhile, governments, NGOs and health organizations on the ground have been coming to grips with the far-reaching consequences of the policy, which experts say will have little to no impact on the number of abortive procedures.
            “United States government funds have never been used for abortions,” says Tewodros Melesse, director general of International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
            “Even during the Obama administration or Clinton administration, it was not possible to use US funds for abortion.”
            NGOs that performed the procedure could receive US funding for other programs, though, including those related to contraception and sexual health.
            Now organizations that offer abortions as part of their family planning services — or even refer patients to other clinics that can perform abortions — will be prevented from receiving any assistance at all from the US Agency for International Development, one of the largest contributors to international development assistance.
            Melesse says it’s going to have a huge impact. “We’re going to be losing around 100 million US dollars over the next three to four years.”

            ‘Unequivocal’ evidence

            Major reproductive care NGO Marie Stopes International says complying and removing safe abortion from its services isn’t an option.
            The evidence is “unequivocal,” says Marjorie Newman-Williams, Marie Stopes’ vice president and director of international operations, that doing so would expose women to increased potential dangers.
            According to the latest WHO data, 21.6 million women annually are so desperate that they gamble with the risk of life-threatening injuries or even death to have unsafe abortions. Every year 47,000 women die from complications.
            “Agreeing to the Mexico City Policy would mean accepting their fate and turning our backs on the very women who need us most,” says Newman-Williams.
            In 2003, shortly after the policy was last introduced by George W. Bush, the Center for Reproductive Rights published a report highlighting horror stories from women who’d sought out surgery from the wrong practitioners.
            In one example, a poor 17-year-old house help wanted to terminate her pregnancy.
            The person she went to see “did not know the anus from the vagina,” one Kenyan NGO reported. “He destroyed her anus, rectum, uterus and some of the small intestine.”

            Contraception conundrum

            Newman-Williams says that laws attempting to stop women from having abortions don’t work because they don’t stop the need for women to have abortions in the first place.
            And, paradoxically, as NGOs lose funding and are less able to provide contraception, the number of unwanted pregnancies is only likely to increase, which drives up the demand for abortions.

            Washington-based Impassioned Advocates for Girls and Women reports that after the last reinstatement of the policy in 2001, shipments of US-donated condoms and contraceptives completely stopped to 16 developing countries — mainly in Africa.
            Family planning providers in another 16 countries (also mainly in Africa) lost access to condoms and contraceptives because they refused to accept the conditions of the Mexico City Policy.
            One healthcare worker on the ground in Uganda told CNN she currently issues contraceptive injections to between 30 and 50 women a month.
            “Women will walk for many miles to a health clinic and find that they cannot provide the services,” says Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) volunteer Akiiki Jemimah Mutooro. RHU anticipates it will lose $420,000 in funding.
            “If we are unable to continue this service, many women will lose out.”
            The reduction in access to contraception will also have a profound impact on the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including the battle with HIV, according to IPPF.
            “All the effort the United States has made over the years to support funding for HIV Aids initiatives is going to be affected by telling organizations who have received funding … that they cannot inform the patient about abortion,” says Melesse.

            She decides?

            Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be one of the hardest-hit regions, says Marie Stopes International’s director of strategy, Maaike van Min.
            It’s the largest recipient of American aid and already has more abortion-related deaths than any other continent.
            She says a lot of work is being done on domestic financing, but social welfare systems are still in their infancy across much of the developing world and there are competing priorities for scarce resources. “It will be a challenge to try to meet the funding gap,” she says.
            In February, dozens of governments and private philanthropists pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to a global fundraising initiative called She Decides, launched by Dutch Development Minister Lilianne Ploumen.
            In 2002, the European Commission came forward and said it wanted to make up the shortfall after Bush’s reinstatement of the policy. This was an important move, says Melesse, because it proved “the US cannot tell the world how women’s health and sexual reproductive health should be handled.”
            White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says President Trump has always made it very clear that he’s pro-life and he’s staying true to his pre-election promises.
            “He wants to stand up for all Americans, including the unborn, and I think the reinstatement of this policy is not just something that echoes that value, but respects taxpayer funding as well,” Spicer said in a press briefing at the time.
            In January, Republican Congressman Chris Smith, chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, lauded the move in a press release.
            “Organizations like Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation have reported performing over 1 million abortions annually,” Smith said, citing a January 2017 poll where 83% of American respondents said they opposed US tax dollars being used to support abortion abroad — but omitting that in the same poll 52% of Americans also said they were pro-choice.
            The deprivation of this choice for women in less-privileged circumstances is what jars with Melesse the most.
            “This government is coming and telling the rest of the world: you cannot have the democracy that the United States has,” he says. “That’s really the most critical part.”

            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/28/africa/mexico-city-policy-impact/index.html

            ‘I know he is alive’: wife of Taiwan activist seized by China pleads for release

            Lee Ming-che has been detained by Beijing authorities amid a targeting of activists, dissidents and scholars based abroad

            The wife of a Taiwanese human rights activist detained in China for over a month without charge has vowed to take her fight for justice to the US and European Union, urging them to pressure Beijing to release him.

            It has now been 40 days since Lee Ching-yus partner, best friend and confidante suddenly disappeared while travelling to visit friends in Guangzhou, southern China.

            Beijing, which views democratic Taiwan as a renegade province, admitted only after 10 days that Lee Ming-che, 42, a community college worker known for supporting human rights, had been detained for allegedly threatening national security.

            He is feared to be the latest victim of an escalation in Chinas repression of rights and free speech.

            It is only through international support that we can force a country that encroaches on human rights to stop this action, Lee Ching-yu told The Guardian in her first interview with the British press. She intends to seek help in Washington DC and Brussels next month.

            Under standard Chinese criminal law, Lees husband should have been charged or released on Monday, after 37 days in custody.

            Instead, her hopes of a speedy resolution were shattered on Wednesday when Chinas Taiwan affairs office announced that Lee was still under investigation, that his health was good, and that he has clearly explained the relevant situation to his family in a letter.

            The letter, which contained scant information, was delivered in early April by an unofficial middleman Lee Ching-yu did not know whether to trust.

            It was my husbands handwriting but he made no connection with me, she said. He did not write that letter voluntarily.

            Lee, also 42, has struggled largely alone, with the support of a few local activists, to uncover the truth.

            With little government support, she has fended off unidentified brokers offering help through unofficial channels.

            One suggested her silence and inaction might buy her husbands freedom, or at least spare him the humiliation of a video confession. But Lee has refused to strike a backroom deal.

            She is defiant but the strain of her ordeal has made her visibly more gaunt and she frequently fights back tears. I have to keep a strong face in front of the media, but when I see my husbands photo I get very emotional, she said.

            The couple met at college 20 years ago and were drawn to each other through a shared passion for human rights.

            Lee Ching-yu became a researcher at the Shin Ming-te foundation, studying the history of Taiwans own dark period of martial law, when thousands were disappeared. Her work both gives her strength and haunts her. I can imagine what my husband might have gone through, she said.

            Lee Ming-che kept his human rights work low key. Supporters believe he may have been targeted after speaking openly on Chinese messaging service WeChat about Taiwanese democracy.

            The values and beliefs that my husband holds and spreads would not be charged in any democratic or civilised country, said Lee.

            She broke down describing how he had tried to help the poverty-stricken families of Chinese activists, imprisoned for their beliefs.

            At least I know my husband is alive, she said. Others who disappear dont receive the same media attention and they might be in more danger. When I realise how severe the situation in China is, its hard to stay calm.

            Lee has approached the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances for help.

            Her husbands case has been complicated by Taiwans lack of international clout and by frozen diplomatic ties between Taipei and Beijing over Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wens refusal to endorse Chinas view that the self-governed island and mainland are part of a single Chinese nation.

            Taiwans government maintains it is working behind the scenes to resolve Lees case, but local NGOs argue they could do more.

            Mrs Lee is already standing so strongwe need support from the government, not only to just keep it low key, said E-Ling Chiu, head of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights.

            Many fear Lee may have fallen foul of a harsh new Chinese law to monitor and control foreign-funded NGOs, enforced earlier this year as part of a crackdown on civil society.

            The environment for foreign and domestic human rights NGOs had become treacherous, said Maya Wang an Asia researcher with Human Rights Watch.

            The case of Mr Lee fits within the greater pattern of a new trend of the Chinese government targeting activists, dissidents, or even scholars based abroad, she said. All of these cases deserve equal press and attention.

            However, Lee may also have become a pawn in internal Chinese politics by factions opposed to President Xi Jinpings perceived mild approach to Taiwan, ventured Michael Cole, a Taipei-based political analyst.

            It would be difficult for Xi to back down while demonstrating strength over Taiwan, he said. Equally, Tsai had to tread cautiously.

            It would not serve Mr Lees interests if she came out guns blazing. Ultimately his case is part of something thats much bigger.

            Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/28/wife-of-taiwan-activist-seized-china-pleads-for-release-lee-ming-che

            6 ED risk factors that have nothing to do with age

            As any man whos suffered from bedroom issues knows, erectile dysfunction (ED) can take a major toll on self-esteem and romantic relationships. In the absence of a cure, as many as 30 million American men suffer from ED, and 30 percent of those are age 70 and older.

            While ED mostly impacts older men, age usually has nothing to do with it. Fox News went to the experts to identify six medical risk factors that are linked with ED. If you suffer from any of the conditions below, they may be at the root of your performance problems.

            1. Heart disease
            For the majority of men with ED, cardiovascular problems such as arteriolosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, and high cholesterol are at the root of the issue.

            Thats because, to achieve an erection, the arteries must allow blood to flow throughout the body, not just in the penis. Anything that clogs up your arteries or narrows arteries is going to affect blood flow, Dr. Dudley Danoff, a urologist in Los Angeles and author of The Ultimate Guide to Male Sexual Health, told Fox News.


            In fact, studies suggest men diagnosed with ED can have a heart attack or stroke within three to five years.

            To check blood flow, your doctor may order a penile doppler ultrasound study, which includes an injection to cause an erection, along with ultrasound imaging. If the rate of blood entering the penis is too low, we know thats usually do to arterial disease, Dr. Peter Stahl, assistant professor of urology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, told Fox News.

            Your doctor will refer you to a cardiologist and you may be prescribed a PDE5 inhibitor medication like Viagra, which studies show can help ED and your heart.

            In fact, men who had heart attacks and were prescribed PDE5 inhibitors or alprostadil, another type of medication for ED, were 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure than men who were not using the drugs, according to a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 66th Annual Scientific Session in March.

            2. Neurological problems
            Any medical condition that affects the brain, the spinal cord or the small autonomic nerve fibers that send nerve signals from the spinal cord to the penis and from the penis to the spinal cord can lead to ED.

            Men who have multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries or a degenerative disc disease, or those who have had surgery or radiation for prostate, bladder or rectal cancer, can be affected. The most common neurological condition that leads to ED and the most difficult to treat is diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage that occurs with diabetes.


            Although vasodilator medications can help, they will only work in men who have some nerve function, Stahl said.

            3. A leak
            Venoocclusive dysfunction, or venous leak, is a problem with the penis ability to trap blood. The penis has two erection chambers that expand and compress the veins that drain blood from the penis. Due to age, diabetes or other problems, the erection chambers can lose their elasticity and their ability to expand sufficiently. 

            No matter how fast blood rushes in, it leaves just as fast, so those patients can never achieve fully rigid erections, Stahl said.

            Venoocclusive dysfunction requires invasive treatment procedures or even a penile implant.

            4. Hormones
            Hormonal problems, such as thyroid dysfunction or pituitary tumors or malfunction, can lead to ED.

            Although testosterone deficiency plays a part, those hormone levels affect libido, not erectile function. If a mans libido is low, that certainly can affect his erections, but it does it indirectly, Dudley said.

            Whats more, it can be hard to tell whether ED is related to low testosterone, as men with low T can also have symptoms like fatigue, and weaker erections. Whether or not that is related to testosterone deficiency or usual things like not sleeping enough, poor lifestyle and lack of exercise, is very difficult to discern, Stahl said.   


            Although testosterone replacement therapy isnt a standard treatment for ED, studies suggest it improves erectile function in men with both ED and testosterone deficiency, Stahl said.

            5. Anxiety
            When men have performance anxiety, the sympathetic nervous system gets activated, adrenaline is produced, and blood flow gets diverted away from the penis, which can result in a mild loss of rigidity, albeit initially, Stahl said.

            Yet the anxiety can lead to more anxiety, lessening blood flow to the penis and affecting a mans ability to get an erection. It can happen to anybody, and it can be very difficult to break cycle, Stahl said.

            One way to tell whether ED is related to anxiety or another medical condition is to have a nocturnal penile tumescence (NPT) test. Using a device similar to a blood pressure cuff, the test will measure your ability to get an erection during sleep, when psychological barriers are absent.

            If you get erections, its likely not related to a physical problem. In that case, talk to your doctor or a therapist about things you can do to prevent ED.

            6. Medications
            Finasteride, used to treat prostate enlargement and male pattern baldness, can cause ED and, in a small subset of patients, permanent sexual dysfunction.

            Drugs for high blood pressure like beta blockers, thiazide diuretics and calcium channel blockers may cause mild ED. SSRIs and SNRIs for depression and anxiety can also affect arousal, desire and orgasmic function. Yet trying a different type of medication is usually all thats necessary to reverse the effect.

            Julie Revelant is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the healthcare industry. She’s also a mom of two. Learn more about Julie at revelantwriting.com.

            Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/04/12/6-ed-risk-factors-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-age.html

            Leonardo DiCaprio Invests In Frozen Seafood Biz In Unexpected Move

            Talk about a fishy move!

            Leonardo DiCaprioannounced Tuesday via a press release that hes investing in LoveTheWild, a frozen food company that sells sustainably-sourced seafood kits.

            Estimates show the earths population approaching nine billion by 2050, putting tremendous pressure on our natural food resources, said DiCaprio. Seafood is a primary source of protein for nearly a billion people but climate change,acidification and over fishing are putting increased pressure on our oceans natural stability.

            He added, LoveTheWilds approach to sustainable, responsible aquaculture is promoting the development of a secure and environmentally-conscious solution to feeding our planets growing population.

            The Oscar-winning actors passion for the environment is well-known. At the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation,which was founded in 1998, he and his team work to raise awareness about climate change, indigenous rights, and wildlife and marine conservation.Given LoveTheWilds commitment to sustainable sourcing, it makes sense the actor would partner with them.

            In order to make its business environmentally sustainable, the company says it only sources four farm-raised varieties of fish: striped bass, barramundi, catfish and red trout. Labels on LoveTheWilds food ensure that customers can trace exactly where their fish comes from.

            If youre interested in finding out if the seafood you purchase is sustainable, check out Seafood Watch, a website run by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The site, which is updated regularly, offers recommendations for seafood you should be eating, as well as tips to ensure your eating and dining out habits are ocean-friendly.

            TheHuffPostLifestylenewsletterwill make you happier and healthier, one email at a time. Sign uphere.

            Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leonardo-dicaprio-is-getting-into-the-frozen-food-business-for-one-simple-reason_us_58c03916e4b0ed718269120a?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

            An unusually large number of humpback whales died last year

            (CNN)The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched an investigation Thursday into a large number of humpback whale deaths from Maine to North Carolina.

            The agency declared the deaths an unusual mortality event, the first one observed in humpback whales in nearly a decade. An unusual mortality event (UME) is defined under the Marine Mammal Protection Act as “a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response.”
            The last unusual mortality event declared for humpback whales was in 2006. Two other events were declared in 2005 and 2003, said Deborah Fauquier, veterinary medical officer for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources. The cause of those UMEs was undetermined.
              Forty-one whales died in the region last year. According to NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources, the 16 year average for the region from 2000-2015 is 14 whales per year. As of April 24, 2017, 15 whales have died.
              Out of the 41 dead whales that died last year, 20 of them have been examined so far, said Mendy Garron, Stranding Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region. Of those, 10 appear to have hit marine vessels. The whales’ bodies showed evidence of blunt force trauma, Garron said.
              Vessel strikes have been documented in Virginia (3), New York (3), Delaware (2), Massachusetts (1) and New Hampshire (1).
              Greg Silber, Large Whale Recovery Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources, said many factors could have caused the whales to move closer to shipping routes, but there hasn’t been a spike in ship traffic.
              “It’s probably linked to prey sources,” he said. “Humpback whales follow where the prey is and there may be aggregation in certain areas.”
              Now that the unusual mortality event has been declared, NOAA’s investigation will involve data collection and analysis as well as monitoring environmental and habitat conditions, including human-caused threats.
              Humpback whales were recently taken off the endangered species list, but are still protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Fauquier said.
              Since the marine mammal UME program was created in 1991, there have been 63 formally recognized UMEs in the United States involving a variety of species.

              Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/27/us/humpback-whale-death/index.html

              Palestinians highlight prisoners’ strike with ‘Salt Water Challenge’

              (CNN)Palestinians across the world are posting videos of themselves on social media drinking salt water, as part of a new online challenge intended to draw attention to Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

              The challenge involves saltwater because that’s what the hunger strikers are drinking to stabilize their health while abstaining from food.
              More than 1,000 Palestinians in eight Israeli prisons launched a “Hunger Strike for Freedom and Dignity” on April 17 to demand better living conditions and medical treatment. The strike was coordinated by Marwan Barghouti, a high-profile prisoner who enjoys broad support among Palestinians.
                An Israeli court convicted Barghouti in 2004 of five counts of murder, including orchestrating attacks against Israelis. He has denied the charges and claimed to be targeted by Israeli authorities for his politics and activism against Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories.
                The Salt Water Challenge appears to have been started by Barghouti’s son, Aarab Marwan Barghouti, who on Wednesday posted a video of himself on social media drinking salt water.
                “My father, along with 1,700 other political prisoners started the Hunger Strike for Freedom and Dignity in demand for human rights and humane living conditions in the prisons,” the younger Barghouti said in the video.
                Among those he challenged was “Arab Idol” winner Mohammed Assaf, who responded in kind helping the online campaign to go viral.
                “I challenge everyone, all honorable people wherever they may be, to take on this challenge in solidarity with our heroic detainees until they gain their freedom,” Assaf said in his video.
                Palestinians from across the Middle East, Europe and North American quickly followed suit with videos of their own. While most spoke in Arabic, others took up the challenge in English, French and other languages.
                Israeli authorities have stated that they will not meet the prisoners’ demands.
                Assaf Librati, spokesman for the Israel Prison Service, said the prison service does not negotiate with prisoners.
                “Hunger strikers in prison endanger the health and life of the prisoners in custody of the state who is in charge of their well-being — organized hunger strikers even more so,” Librati said.
                There are approximately 6,500 Palestinians in Israeli prisons, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. They are imprisoned for a number of offenses — including protesting, inciting violence and affiliating with groups Israel considers to be terrorist organizations. Many are also imprisoned under a controversial administrative detention law, which allows Palestinians to be held without charge.
                Israeli authorities consider these detainees to be criminals and terrorists; Palestinians say they are political prisoners.

                Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/27/middleeast/salt-water-challenge-palestinian-prisoners-strike-trnd/index.html

                Shockwave therapy for ED: What to know about the treatment

                A common kidney stone treatment may actually help improve erectile dysfunction (ED) though the treatment is not yet approved in the United States.

                That treatment, shockwave therapy, has been used since the 1980s to treat kidney stones, Dr. Kevin Campbell, a physician with The Urology Group in Cincinnati, told Fox News. For the procedure, a machine generates a pressure wave strong enough to break or fragment a kidney stone, he explained.


                A modified, low-intensity version of shockwave therapy has also been shown, in some trials, to help with ED but doctors arent entirely sure how it works yet.

                They have some ideas: Campbell explained that, during a normal erection, the penis fills with blood. However, illnesses like diabetes or other blood vessel diseases can often lead to a buildup of scar tissue that decreases blood supply to the area. However, shockwave therapy may help increase the flow of blood to the penis, possibly by promoting the growth of stem cells, which can proliferate into different types of cells such as blood vessels, Campbell said.


                Its certainly promising, Campbell said of the treatment, but noted that before he would suggest it to patients, he would want answers to a number of questions including how shockwave therapy works and the best way to administer the shocks of pressure. (So far, theres no consensus on how many treatments should be administered, how high the intensity level of the shocks should be, and the exact placement required for the shocks.)

                One crucial, potential benefit of shockwave therapy? Unlike oral medications such as Viagra, Campbell explained, shockwave therapy could actually treat the cause of the problem not just its symptoms.

                If eventually approved, the treatment could help the 30 million American men the National Institutes of Health estimates suffer from ED. Now, thats something to get excited about.

                Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2017/04/10/shockwave-therapy-for-ed-what-to-know-about-treatment.html

                Plain cigarette packaging could drive 300,000 Britons to quit smoking

                Review by research organisation Cochrane suggests impact of UKs ban on branded packs could echo results seen in Australia

                Plain cigarette cartons featuring large, graphic health warnings could persuade 300,000 people in the UK to quit smoking if the measure has the effect it had in Australia, scientists say.

                Standardised cigarette packaging will be compulsory in the UK from 20 May. A new review from the independent health research organisation Cochrane on the impact of plain packaging around the world has found that it does affect the behaviour of smokers.

                In the UK, the tobacco industry has become increasingly innovative in the design of cigarette packets as other controls on sales and advertising have taken hold, according to Ann McNeill, professor of tobacco addiction at Kings College London. The tobacco industry has been focusing its efforts on the tobacco packs, she said.

                Among those that will be banned are vibrant pink packets, targeted at young women, and gimmicky cartons that slide rather than flip open. The rules that come into force next month require all packs to look alike, with graphic health warnings across 65% of their surface.

                The Cochrane reviewers found 51 studies that looked at standardised packaging and its impact on smokers, but only one country had implemented the rule fully at the time. Australia brought in plain packs in 2012.

                Analysing the evidence from Australia, the team found a reduction in smoking of 0.5% up to one year after the policy was introduced. According to the Australian government, that translates to 100,000 people no longer smoking. The decline was attributable specifically to plain packaging, after taking into account the continuing drop in the numbers of smokers caused by other tobacco control measures.

                Dr Jamie Hartmann-Boyce of the Cochrane tobacco addiction group at Oxford Universitys Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences said: We are not able to say for sure what the impact would be in the UK, but if the same magnitude of decrease was seen in the UK as was observed in Australia, this would translate to roughly 300,000 fewer smokers following the implementation of standardised packaging.

                The review found signs that more people were trying to quit smoking as a result of plain cartons, rising from 20.2% before to 26.6% after introduction. There was also evidence that standardised packs were less attractive to those who did not smoke, making it less likely that they would start.

                However, the researchers say variations in the way countries are introducing standardised packs may affect the outcomes. Some allow different colours, slightly different carton shapes and the use of descriptive words such as gold or smooth.

                Cancer Research UK backs plain packaging. Smoking kills 100,000 people in the UK every year, so we support any effective measure which can help reduce this devastating impact. The evidence shows that standardised packaging works and helps to reduce smoking rates, said George Butterworth, the charitys tobacco policy manager.

                Its too soon to see the impact in the UK, as the new legislation will only be fully implemented in May, but we hope to see similar positive results as the UK strives towards a day when no child smokes tobacco. Cancer Research UK is continuing to evaluate the impact of standardised packaging in the UK and will share the lessons with other countries who are considering introducing them.

                Simon Clark, director of the smokers group Forest, said the idea that plain packaging would have an impact on the number of smokers in the UK was based on hope and anecdotal evidence.

                Since plain packaging was introduced in Australia, smoking rates have fallen, but only in line with historical trends, he said. Its grasping at straws to credit plain packaging with the continued reduction in smoking rates, because the most significant anti-smoking measure in recent years in Australia has been a massive increase in tobacco taxation. Like graphic health warnings, the novelty of plain packaging quickly wears off.

                Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/apr/27/plain-cigarette-packaging-could-drive-300000-britons-to-quit-smoking

                ‘100 Percent OJ’ Probably Isn’t As Natural As You Think

                When we pick up a carton of 100 percent orange juice, not from concentrate from the store, the image of oranges being carefully juiced is often what comes to mind. Something like this:

                Ripe oranges being carefully squeezed by hand. 

                Its suggested in the language, so its totally normal to have that assumption. But in most cases,it couldnt be further from the truth. Our store-bought glass of morning OJ is actually made by pulverizing oranges in giant processing machinery to extract its juice.

                The process of making commercial OJ looks more like this:

                Oranges being juiced in a commercial orange juice processing plant.

                Thats not such a bad thing, but thats not all. Alissa Hamiltons book,Squeezed: What You Dont Know About Orange Juice, explained back in 2010 that theres a lot more work that goes into making commercial OJ. And its far from natural.

                Because oranges only come into season during a specific time of year different times, depending on the variety and yet orange juice is craved all year round, orange juice companies have to store the juice for long periods of time. In order to do that without the juice spoiling, the juice is stored in million-gallon aseptic tanks and the oxygen is removed from it.

                Heres the thing you should know: when the oxygen is removed from the juice, so too are the natural chemicals found in the juice that give it that orange-y flavor and smell. Karen Mathis from the Florida Department of Citrus shared with HuffPost in 2011 a little insight on the process:

                During processing, natural components such as orange aroma, orange oil from the peel, and pulp may be separated from the orange juice. After the juice is pasteurized, these natural orange components may be added back to the orange juice for optimal flavor.

                In other words, before the juice is bottled it is re-flavored and re-scented with something that in the industry callsflavor packs,which are not a natural food product but rather are designed by flavor and fragrance companies. Yes, the same companies that make your perfume.

                These flavor packs are why each carton of a brand of orange juice tastes exactly the same, despite the fact that this isnt true of the fruit itself. And thats also why each different brand of orange juice has its own unique flavor, because the company has invested in its own flavor pack.

                The reason you dont see flavor packs printed on ingredient lists is because food companies dont legally have to, since the flavors are not made from artificial ingredients theyre made from citrus essence and oils ). While this isnt as scary as some ingredients that can be found in our foods, it does illuminate the fact that OJ is a processed food.

                Might want to start juicing your own oranges from now on.

                Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/commercial-orange-juice_us_58c971a4e4b0cb7d28ce2582?gr6lzd3vm22qbmx6r&ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

                Cheap, widely available drug could stop thousands of mothers bleeding to death

                Tranexamic acid could save the lives of a third of women who die in childbirth from excessive bleeding, which kills 100,000 a year

                A cheap and widely available drug could save the lives of thousands of women who die in childbirth from excessive bleeding, one of the main killers of women worldwide.

                The drug, tranexamic acid, is available over the counter in the UK to women suffering from heavy periods. In Japan and the far east, it is used as a skin whitener. But now a very large study of 20,000 women in 21 countries has shown it can stop a third of cases of bleeding to death after giving birth.

                Haemorrhage after childbirth kills 100,000 women a year, mostly in low and middle-income countries. It is not only the women dying it is the impact on the child that has to grow up without a mother, children who might already be in the family and the husband, said associate professor Haleema Shakur from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who led the trial.

                This is of absolutely huge importance. While a single mother is dying, we need to keep fighting for them.

                The drug has already been proven to cut the death toll from bleeding after accidents in a trial of similar size. The latest trial, published in the Lancet medical journal, recruited more than 20,000 women who either gave birth in one of 193 hospitals involved or managed to get there after starting to bleed. They were randomly assigned either tranexamic acid or a placebo.

                The researchers found that tranexamic acid was most effective when it was given soon after the bleeding began. The trial was originally intended also to find out whether the drug saved women from having to undergo a hysterectomy the removal of the womb. But the scientists discovered that in many countries, where anaemia is common and blood supplies are limited, surgeons operated immediately as the surest way to save the womans life.

                If all women who haemorrhage after childbirth were given the drug, the trial suggests that 30,000 lives could be saved a year. In practice, that will be more difficult. Tranexamic acid was given in an intravenous injection in the hospitals, as the quickest way to have an effect. Many women give birth at home and may not get to a hospital in time.

                It is available in the form of a tablet for heavy periods, but absorption may take too long, said Shakur. They are now working on new ways to get it rapidly into womens systems perhaps as an injection in the arm muscle or as a capsule under the tongue. It is also possible that women deemed to be at high risk of haemorrhage could be given a tablet before they give birth. The trials have shown no side-effects, making the drug very safe.

                Of the two-thirds of women who died in spite of being given the drug, Shakur said some arrived at hospital too late, while others had underlying illness including severe malaria and anaemia which may have been the cause of death.

                It has taken a long time to show that the drug does work in the context it was designed for. Professor Ian Roberts from the London School, who co-led the study, said: The researchers who invented tranexamic acid more than 50 years ago hoped it would reduce deaths from postpartum haemorrhage, but they couldnt persuade obstetricians at the time to conduct a trial. Now we finally have these results that we hope can help save womens lives around the world.

                There are many next steps, said Shakur. We have to make sure tranexamic acid is available wherever a woman gives birth and is at risk, she said. We must make sure doctors and midwives are aware of the results of the study. And we need health ministers to make sure that the drug is available in their country and is on their shopping list of essential medicines.

                Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/26/cheap-widely-available-drug-could-stop-thousands-of-mothers-bleeding-to-death-tranexamic-acid

                Lilly Uses Horny Goat Weed to Fend Off Cialis Royalty Demands

                Eli Lilly & Co. told a federal jury that a German company is trying to take credit for centuries-old Chinese medicine in seeking royalties on the use of its erectile-dysfunction drug Cialis to treat an enlarged prostate.

                Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR, a company founded by researchers from Hannover Medical School, claims it’s entitled to royalties from Lilly’s sale of Cialis based on a patent for prostate treatment. UroPep is seeking $84.3 million, or 12 percent of the $704 million in Cialis sales since 2011 that relate to its use in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, also known as BPH.

                “We offered to give Eli Lilly permission” to use the patented invention, UroPep lawyer John Hughes of Bartlit Beck in Denver told a federal jury in Marshall, Texas. “Their response: silence.”

                Lilly said the patent didn’t cover anything new — and pointed to Chinese home remedies including one known as Horny Goat Weed, which it said is used both for erectile dysfunction and to treat BPH. It’s not the first time Lilly has brought up the herb — it was used to successfully invalidate part of a Pfizer Inc. patent for the rival impotence drug Viagra.

                “UroPep filed a patent with nothing more than an idea,” Lilly lawyer Todd Vare of Barnes & Thornburg in Indianapolis told the jury. The idea “is well-known and obvious throughout the world.”

                The drug, more commonly prescribed for erectile dysfunction, generated almost $2.5 billion last year, more than 11 percent of the Indianapolis-based company’s revenue. It’s Lilly’s second-biggest seller, behind the insulin Humalog, used to treat diabetes. Hughes told the jury that UroPep was not seeking royalties on any sales of Cialis for impotence.

                The UroPep patent, issued in the U.S. in 2014, is for the use of a class of compounds to treat certain prostate diseases, including BPH. Lilly contends the patent doesn’t cover the specific active ingredient in Cialis, called tadalafil.

                Cialis was approved by U.S. regulators to treat erectile dysfunction in 2008 and in December 2010 Lilly asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to also approve Cialis for treatment of the signs and symptoms of BPH.

                After Lilly got approval, one of the UroPep inventors emailed Lilly to inform it of the then-pending patent application. Lilly didn’t respond to requests for licensing talks, UroPep contends.

                This isn’t the only case in which Lilly is trying to fend off royalty demands from Cialis. The drugmaker is working to invalidate a patent owned by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute for a method of arresting penile fibrosis.

                Presiding over the trial is Circuit Judge William Bryson, who occasionally handles district court cases but normally sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which handles all patent appeals. While neither Lilly nor UroPep are based in Texas, the case was filed there because the court is the most popular for patent litigation.

                The jury is expected to begin deliberations by Friday.

                The case is Erfindergemeinschaft UroPep GbR v. Eli Lilly & Co., 15cv1202, U.S, District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall).

                Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-17/lilly-uses-horny-goat-weed-to-fend-off-cialis-royalty-demands

                The return of Caster Semenya: Olympic favourite and ticking timebomb

                The South African 800m runner is back and tipped to blow the field away in Rio, but those who have followed her career closely fear that the reaction to her success would reignite uncomfortable debates from the past

                Its a ticking timebomb, Daniel Mothowagae says quietly on a winters night in Johannesburg as he anticipates the furore that is likely to explode when Caster Semenya runs in the Olympic Games. Apart from being described by many athletics specialists as an almost certain winner of the womens 800m in Rio, Semenya will suffer again as she is made to personify the complex issues surrounding sex verification in sport.

                An hour earlier Mothowagae had filed his copy for the latest edition of The Sowetan newspaper. It had been a busy day with the announcement of the South African Olympic squad and, even as he relaxed into our conversation, Mothowagae spoke of his niggling worry. After a month of interviewing insiders and experts in this incendiary debate, I understood what he meant. The fierce opposition of opinion has made my head spin. Even the way in which each person describes Semenya is strikingly different.

                Mothowagae, who is friendly with Semenya, sounds innocent when saying: Caster is just a tomboy. His fellow sportswriter, Wesley Botton, who has followed Semenya more closely than any reporter since her surprising emergence as a world champion in 2009, laments the fact she has become the poster girl for hyperandrogenism. Jean Verster, the athletes coach, stresses that Caster is a fantastic human being, a down-to-earth person and a great athlete who is like a mother to some of the girl athletes in our group. Meanwhile Ross Tucker, the eminent South African sports scientist, regrets the personalisation of hyperandrogenism, but he is dreading the Olympics because Semenya will win and the fallout will be deeply unpleasant.

                These contrasting South African voices are united by shared conviction. They all believe Semenya is about to unleash the full force of her supreme ability and smash a world record that has stood for 33 years. But they also agree Semenya will be confronted by an invasive scrutiny on her alone even when there are open secrets that three of the Olympic 800m finalists might be intersex athletes. Verster, South Africas most accomplished running coach, concedes that even now, I am trying to protect Caster.

                Semenyas 800m times

                The debate around hyperandrogenism is as poignant as it is thorny. In simplistic summary it asks us to decide whose rights need to be protected most. Is it the small minority of women whose exceedingly high testosterone levels, which their bodies produce naturally, categorise them as intersex athletes? Should their human rights be ring-fenced so that, as is the case now following an overturned legal ruling, they are free to compete as women without being forced to take medication that suppresses their testosterone? Or should the overwhelming majority of female athletes be protected so they are not disadvantaged unfairly against faster and stronger intersex competitors?

                We all differ in our opinions, Mothowagae says, but for me its a closed case. Caster is allowed to compete. Cas have made their ruling.

                In July 2015 Cas, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, overturned the 2011 IAAF regulations that curbed testosterone levels in female athletes. They also suspended hyperandrogenism regulations for two years.

                Caster always tells me that as long as the rules say she can compete she will run, Mothowagae says. Rio will test how much officials have learned from her ordeal at the 2009 world championships. If Caster could survive it as an 18-year-old she can face anything at 25. She is brave and she can look at the world. But the administrators dont seem to have any strategy even though we know Caster will be insulted again. She suffered psychological torture before but its building to a new level. The bomb is ticking.

                That ticking has been intensified by Semenyas blistering form. After being in the doldrums for much of the period when she was compelled to take testosterone-suppressing medication, with other factors also bringing her down, Semenya has produced some astonishing performances in 2016. She won the 400m, the 800m and the 1500m in imperious style one unforgettable afternoon at the South African championships in April and then, this month, ran 1.55.33 in Monaco. It was the fastest womens 800m time since 2008.

                She is proof of the benefit of testosterone to intersex athletes, Tucker argues. Having had the restriction removed she is now about six seconds faster than she had been the last two years.

                Caster Semenya has had a strong body of support in South Africa during a career that has seen her undergo a number of tough, unpleasant ordeals. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

                I have spoken to others who offer more personal reasons for Semenyas accelerated form. Botton recalls her breakout performance in July 2009 in Mauritius. She came out of the blue and ran 1.56, the sportswriter says. I tried to get hold of her and remember being very confused, man. Shes got such a deep voice, especially on the phone, I thought I was speaking to a man. I ended up Googling her and all this information came up. Until then I had no idea. There were blogs saying [wrongly] she was an hermaphrodite. I just remember that first interview being very difficult because, apart from being so young, she was very shy.

                Was the teenager surprised by her time? No she knew she was capable of those times. Caster always runs within herself until its a major championship. Thats the only time she puts the hammer down.

                Semenya put the hammer down in Berlin and became world champion in August 2009 after powering her way to victory in 1:55:45. The IAAF had already revealed the day before that Semenyas dramatic appearance on the world stage had nothing to do with doping. It was confirmed she had been subjected to gender verification tests in South Africa and Germany. An endocrinologist, a gynaecologist and a psychologist had tried to establish whether Semenya, who had lived her whole life as a girl, was actually a man. She was allowed to run in the final as the IAAF implied that further sex tests had been conducted.

                Another 800m finalist, Italys Elisa Cusma, sneered at the silent new champion: She is a man. Athletics South Africa [ASA] meanwhile accused the IAAF of racism and denied having tricked Semenya into verification tests. Their disgraced president, Leonard Chuene, soon admitted he had lied while South Africas sports minister, Makhenkesi Stofile, warned of a third world war should Semenyas intersex status be confirmed.

                Semenya celebrates the 800m victory in the 2009 World Championships that saw her explode onto the global stage. Photograph: John Giles/PA

                Ive been told that they made the decision to withdraw her before the heats, Botton says. But politicians forced her to run. They wanted that medal and she was the first black South African woman to win a world track title. So they threw Caster to the wolves.

                Ockert de Villiers, now the chief Olympic writer for The Star in Johannesburg, remembers that in 2009 I was working for an Afrikaans tabloid called Sondag [Sunday] and they took a nasty angle with Caster. They called her a trassie Afrikaans slang for transvestite. The terminology is completely wrong when we know Casters condition.

                Botton is plagued by other memories. Caster needed help and she was approached by people she shouldnt have trusted. Someone sold an article with Caster to You magazine where they dolled her up in a dress. You never see Caster in a dress. It was so awkward. Caster went off the rails. Over the next few years her performances dropped for a multitude of reasons. It wasnt just [testosterone-suppressing] medication. She was a long way from home a very rural community and thrust into this global limelight. Then she fell out with her old coach Michael Seme and, apparently, started partying hard in Pretoria. Michael said she was spending more time with her girlfriend than training.

                She then went to Maria Mutola [the former Olympic 800m champion from Mozambique] and won silver at the London Olympics. But then Mutola had business problems in Mozambique and went home. Everything only improved dramatically when she moved to Potch to work with Jean Verster.

                Potchefstroom is a mere 75 miles from Johannesburg. But it feels like another world. It is a small and secluded university town and an ideal training centre for international athletes. The chatty and intelligent Verster tells me of his past work with Kelly Holmes and the World Cup-winning Spanish football squad in Potch. He also explains how his working relationship with Semenya unfolded.

                In October 2014 Caster called me and asked to join our training group. I said No problem but I didnt know what to expect. Id read about her knee injury and it was terrible to see her struggling in 2013 and 2014. She was limping when running. She was overweight and going through a hard period. It was a surprise when she phoned but what a pleasure. I was amazed by the person she is. She brought a new dynamic to the group always smiling and laughing even though she was so unfit. With Caster its been a long, hard and great journey to get healthy and in form.

                Semenya is now running faster than at any time in the last two years and it is inevitable that questions will be asked if this form continues. Photograph: Anesh Debiky/AFP/Getty Images

                Verster transformed Semenyas persona. The often surly athlete, who had been burned so badly, seemed a new person. When we saw Caster the first time after she went to Potch she looked so much leaner and fitter and she was smiling, Botton remembers. I hadnt seen her smile in ages. She was no longer abrupt and abrasive. Sometimes she had been very rude to me but I took it with a pinch of salt because I knew what shed been through. She can be aggressive. She can swear at you. But since she moved to Jean she is so much happier. She looks liberated.

                On 27 July 2015 Semenya was liberated further when Dutee Chand won her landmark case at Cas. The 19-year-old Indian sprinter was cleared to run competitively after her lawyers argued that her exclusion on the basis that sex-verification tests, relying primarily on levels of testosterone, were discriminatory. All regulations around hyperandrogenism were suspended until July 2017. Semenya was free to run naturally again without testosterone-suppressing medication.

                When I suggest to Verster that Semenya must have been bolstered psychologically he insists: No, no. To be honest with you she didnt even know about the ruling. Shes very serious about her studies shes taking a sports science degree at Potch. Every minute she spends running, she spends five minutes studying.

                Semenya attempts to keep a hostile world at bay so it is possible she had not followed the Cas ruling closely. But once she heard the news she must have discussed with Verster the fact she could stop taking restrictive medication which, for four years, had been legally prescriptive? Well, Caster does what she needs to do, Verster replies. Of course every now and then, as shes only human, she would go through patches of feeling tired. Some days we had to do a little less.

                Verster wants to protect Semenya and so his avoidance of discussing her intersex status publicly is understandable. Marjolaine Viret, a Swiss-based attorney with specialist knowledge of Cas, is more helpful. To regulate something this complex you have to find some form of compromise and in these science-related domains its difficult to strike the right balance, she explains. In Dutee Chands case it came down to a question of whether the IAAF regulations had a sufficiently solid scientific foundation. The Cas panel defined the crucial factor as being whether intersex athletes would have sufficient advantages to outweigh any female characteristics and make them comparable to male-performance levels. They assigned the burden of proof to the IAAF and the party which has the burden of proof usually fails. When they assign the burden of proof they almost predetermine the legal outcome.

                Did Viret agree with the ruling? From a legal perspective there were various issues I wouldnt agree with especially the interim ruling. They didnt put an end to the dispute. If the IAAF comes back with evidence in the next year there will be new proceedings. But its a question of proportionality and how you balance the interests of a minority with the majority interest.

                Dutee Chand will run at the Olympics after Cas issued a landmark ruling that challenged her suspension for hyperandrogenism. Photograph: Aijaz Rahi/AP

                Tucker also disagrees with the Cas ruling from a scientific and sporting perspective. The fundamental issue is why do we have separate competition for women? If you answer truthfully its for fairness and equality. If you didnt have a separate competition women would have no chance to win anything in sport ever. Female competition exists to protect women.

                Look at Paula Radcliffes record in the marathon. Its the strongest world record in womens sport compared to men. The average difference between mens and womens world records is 12% and Radcliffes is 10%. That record was set in 2003 and back then it was 4,300th on the all-time record for men. Its now outside the top 5,000.

                That enormous difference is not just down to testosterone. But most of the distinctions between men and women lean muscle-mass, larger lung capacity, cardiac volume can be attributed to testosterone development. Ask parents. Up to the age of 11 and 12 their children can play together. But after that you cant have boys and girls playing sport together because puberty brings testosterone and testosterone brings differences.

                People say: Oh, there is overlap between testosterone levels and there is a little. Some women are always faster than some men. But the best men are always faster than the best women. Testosterone is the least overlapping physical characteristic Ive ever encountered. Its the most obvious difference between men and women other than the gene.

                With Semenya we know what happened. She went on testosterone-suppression and came off it and the transformation in performance is dramatic. Last year she was running 2:01. In Monaco she ran 1:55. In Rio it could be 1:53. Thats eight seconds. 7% in one season. If you didnt know the context you would say that person, without a shadow of doubt, is doping. But of course there should be no accusation of cheating against Semenya.

                Verster presents a counter argument. People ask me why Caster didnt run well last year but she actually did if you consider everything. We were building nicely but in April she injured the same knee and couldnt train much in May and June. In July we said lets go to Europe and run two races. She surprised herself by qualifying for the world championships in Beijing.

                She ran 1:59 in the heats but on semi-final day she felt awful because she hadnt done back-to-back sessions for a long time. She didnt go well and she was angry and wanted to redeem herself. On the same day as the final in Beijing, we did a session at the back of the stadium on the warm-up track. She was flying doing 400m in 55 seconds and feeling really good. I told her: If you had been in the final you would probably have won it.

                Verster outlines Semenyas subsequent progress citing her injury free-happiness, a voracious appetite for hard work and the inspirational use of a male pacemaker to intensify her training. But how does he respond to Tuckers arguments? Ag, Verster says, using an Afrikaans verbal shrug, we dont bother with people like that. My opinion is theyre looking for sensation. Theyre probably looking to sell a new book. I know about [Tuckers writing] but I havent read it. I dont think Caster even knows about it. What he has to say with scientific evidence and other cases has nothing to do with us. We think everyone from the IOC down is happy. Were happy focusing on what we do best.

                Tucker does not sound like a sensationalist to me so I ask Botton for his perspective. Ive been wrapping my head around this subject for so many years, he says. I hate the fact that, again, Caster is the poster girl for hyperandrogenism when other athletes are also affected. The intersex debate defines her whereas for me the most important thing is that Caster is a phenomenal athlete. When you watch her run and she opens up you forget the other issues. I get the same feeling watching Caster Semenya as I do with Usain Bolt. Shes that good.

                Semenya has been described as the poster girl for hyperandrogenism, and compared to Usain Bolt for her thrilling physical potential. Photograph: Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

                Botton and Tucker approach Semenya from contrasting positions but they both love athletics and were there on the momentous day this year when Semenya won three national titles in a single afternoon in Stellenbosch without looking like she was stretching herself. Near the end of the 800m, which she won by seven seconds, a television commentator exclaimed: My word, this is something special. She is jogging!

                It was extraordinary, Tucker agrees. What she did in three hours was unbelievable.

                Bottons response is almost identical. What she achieved that day was unbelievable. When Dominique Scott came over from the US to run the 1500m and Scott was in good shape I didnt see Caster having anything left. But she ran an incredible 400m, went under two minutes in the 800 and killed Scott in the 1500. Caster can do anything. Ill never doubt her again.

                Verster is less incredulous. I half-expected it. Wed joke and shed say: Coach, Im doing all three and Id say, You cant She kept on hammering and eventually I conked in and said: OK, lets give it a go.

                There is a chance that Semenya could also run the 400m in Rio. Verster is trying hard to dissuade her. From a coaching perspective I advised Caster months ago that we can double or even triple at the South African and African championships. But this is the Olympics. In my opinion we should just focus on the 800. Obviously she feels she should do the 400 as well. But the Olympics only happen every four years and we should not take it lightly. Well make a final decision soon but I hope its just the 800m.

                Tucker has predicted the drama and vitriol that would erupt if Semenya persuades Verster and she proceeds to beat the USs most celebrated female runner, Allyson Felix, and wins the 400m before the 800m. But can a sceptic like him ever lose himself in Semenyas majestic running? Its a tough one. But I cant because knowledge gets in the way. The truth matters to me. If Semenya can eventually run 1:51 she is better than Bolt comparatively. But Bolt doesnt compete in a protected category for people with fast-twitch muscle fibres. He isnt subjected to the same classification issues as Semenya is by virtue of the fact were trying to protect women.

                In regard to intersex athletes my position is that testosterone levels should be lowered to a level higher than the female average. The IAAF regulations were an acceptable compromise because, now, when I watch the 800m I think there are so many other athletes who have given their life to win this medal. Its not fair to them to have no regulations.

                Three months ago Tucker conducted a fascinating interview with Joanna Harper who describes herself as a scientist first, an athlete second and a transgender person third. Harper made the startling claim that we might see an all-intersex podium in the 800 in Rio and I wouldnt be surprised to see as many as five intersex women in the eight-person final.

                Does Tucker agree? I know four of them but I dont think the fourth got selected. Two of the others are an open secret in track-and-field. But its not fair for someone to be named an intersex athlete. What happened to Semenya in Berlin made it permissible but I suspect the athletes who win medals with this condition wont tell anyone. I dont know how many medallists in Rio will have an intersex condition. There might be half a dozen maybe 10 if we look to weightlifting or contact sports where testosterone has a big influence.

                Botton admits his own conviction wavers. You want to support Caster but theres always this niggling thought. Is it fair for her to run? Im glad I dont have to make the decision, that Im not the IAAF or Cas, because I dont know where you draw the line. There are doctors and scientists, lawyers and administrators, and as long as they have said that, for the time being, she can run, I try to treat her just as an athlete.

                Tucker suggests that, in regard to possible changes to the Cas ruling in 2017, the IAAF are hoping these athletes run as fast as possible and shoot the lights out. Then they can go back to court and say: Here you go heres your evidence. But Cas might keep the ruling to satisfy human rights and ethical elements.

                The scientist sighs. Im actually dreading the Olympics. People only want to hear a good story so when Semenya wins gold the South African media will go crazy. If she breaks the world record, which I think she will, itll be even crazier. You can lie and say: Happy days. Lets celebrate our golden girl which the politicians and media want. Or you can be honest and principled and say: Actually, there are many things we need to address. Thats very unpopular. And then well have terrible online abuse of Caster from the other side.

                Botton also stresses the likelihood of a world record. Caster used to hold off and try not to break records. But now she doesnt seem to care how much trouble it might cause. She wants Olympic gold and she wants to prove how good she is. If I had to put money on it Id say she is going to break that world record and it will cause all kinds of problems. Can you imagine how fast she can run if she really lets rip?

                Semenya finished well clear of the pack in Rome earlier this summer, fuelling thoughts that a world record-breaking Olympic win is possible. Photograph: Gregorio Borgia/AP

                Verster is clear when asked if he agrees Semenya could obliterate Jarmila Kratochvilovas world record of 1:53:28 set in July 1983? Yes I do. Of course I believe Caster can do it. But our main goal is to win gold and even though Caster ran the fastest time in eight years, in Monaco, on the all-time list its not even in the top 20. We talk about taking baby steps.

                Semenyas personal best is the 22nd fastest-ever womens 800m but most of those quicker times were fuelled by doping. The South African is running clean but, because of her natural testosterone levels, she is running towards trouble.

                Ja, Verster agrees, but Caster has a blunt way of speaking. She says: We do our thing stuff the rest. In Rio, we will go into shutdown. I believe its important to get to the village as late as possible. Well keep her away from everything.

                Does Verster expect a happy outcome, on and off the track, for Semenya? Absolutely. We wouldnt be doing this if we didnt believe that.

                Back in Johannesburg, on a cold night, Daniel Mothowagae speaks warmly of his friendship with Semenya. Caster has come a long way. We all have. Most South Africans want to support Caster. In our community we know Caster is just a tomboy. But people are excited because every time Caster goes on the track she wins. They dont care what science says about her.

                Mothowagae pauses when asked if he also imagines a happy ending for his favourite athlete? Shew, he eventually exclaims. Its a difficult question. But, yes, I hope it will be a happy ending to a controversial career in inverted commas. I also think it is one that the world will debate for years to come because Caster Semenya is a gamechanger.

                Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/29/the-return-of-caster-semenya-olympic-favourite-and-ticking-timebomb

                Prosecutor: ‘Brutal’ genital mutilation won’t be tolerated in US

                (CNN)Two Michigan doctors and a medical office manager were indicted Wednesday by a Detroit grand jury in the first federal female genital mutilation case in the United States.

                Detroit emergency room physician Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, internal medicine physician Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and his wife, Farida Attar, face one count of conspiracy to commit female genital mutilation, two counts of female genital mutilation and one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
                Doctors Nagarwala, 44, and Attar, 53, also face one count of conspiracy to transport a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity — a charge that carries a potential sentence of up to life in prison.
                  Both doctors also face one count each of making a false statement to a federal officer.
                  “Female Genital Mutilation has serious implications for the health and well-being of girls and women,” said Daniel Lemisch, acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
                  “This brutal practice is conducted on girls for one reason, to control them as women. FGM will not be tolerated in the United States,” the prosecutor said in a statement. “The federal government is continuing this investigation to ensure those responsible are brought to justice.”
                  The defendants have not entered pleas, but attorneys for all three argue their clients are not guilty of all charges.
                  According to the indictment and a criminal complaint filed against Nagarwala, the investigation into Nagarwala and the Attars dates back to October of 2016. The FBI had received information that the banned procedure was being performed at the Attar’s medical office in Livonia, Michigan, west of Detroit. Court documents do not indicate the source of the information.
                  Investigators saw two 7-year-old girls and their mothers arrive at the Burhani Medical Clinic, which Attar owns, after having traveled from Minnesota. Attar, his wife and Nagarwala were already inside.
                  Investigators said interviews with the girls and medical exams conducted after the visit to the clinic, revealed both girls had been victims of female genital mutilation — a painful surgical procedure to remove part of the clitoris or clitoral hood to suppress female sexuality.
                  Both girls, their parents and the three defendants are members of the Dawoodi Bohra Islamic sect, according to the criminal complaint.

                  Indictment: Conspiracy dates back to 2005

                  According to the indictment:
                  — The three defendants had conspired to perform the procedure on girls under 18 years of age since 2005.
                  — Attar allowed Nagarwala to perform the procedure at his clinic after it was closed for the day. He was present at the clinic during the procedure, while his wife, Farida, assisted Nagarwala in the examination room.
                  — Attar and Nagarwala agreed to make false statements to law enforcement regarding whether the procedure took place.
                  — The three defendants told others not to speak about the procedure and to lie to federal investigators about the procedure.
                  — Attar and Nagarwala took steps to delete evidence.
                  — Nagarwala told investigators she had never been present or had knowledge that this procedure was being performed on children.
                  — Attar told investigators this procedure had not taken place at his clinic.

                  Attorney: Procedure is ‘religious practice’

                  The Attars were scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a detention hearing, but after the indictment was released that hearing was postponed until May 3.
                  Dr. Attar’s attorney Mary Chartier, who spoke to reporters after Wednesday’s initial appearance, said her client is “not aware of any crimes committed at his clinic” and that “what happened at the clinic was not FGM.”
                  “He was aware that Dr. Nagarwala used the clinic. He offered that to her and let her do that,” Chartier said. Chartier said that Attar was never present in the examination room and that he never “met these girls.”
                  Chartier said that at the heart of her client’s defense is a misunderstanding over his religious practice. When asked to clarify what that practice was, she did not respond.
                  “I do believe that the government does not fully understand the religious practices of Dr. Attar and Dr. Attar’s religion, and I think that’s why we are in this courthouse today, and what we’ll be fighting over for the next few months,” Chartier said.
                  “They have a religious belief to practice their religion. And they are Muslims and they’re being under attack because of it. I believe that they are being persecuted because of their religious beliefs and I do not make that allegation lightly,” Chartier said.
                  Farida Attar’s attorney, Matt Newburg, did not speak to reporters following the hearing. Over the weekend, he told CNN his “client has not admitted guilt.” He said she has not entered a plea, “but we look forward to defending the case against her.”
                  In court, the Attars sat next to each other both wearing orange prison jumpsuits and religious head coverings. While being escorted back to jail, they waved to a supporter in the gallery and smiled.

                  Nagarwala in court on Thursday

                  Nagarwala is expected to be arraigned on Thursday at 1 p.m. in a Detroit federal court. She will remain in jail awaiting trial, after a federal judge deemed her a flight risk and a threat to the community.
                  During a court hearing on April 17, Nagarwala’s attorney, Shannon Smith, told a judge the procedure did not involve cutting and was religious in nature, CNN affiliate WXYZ reported.
                  Smith argued the procedure is practiced by the Dawoodi Bohra and that the clinic was used to keep procedures sterile, WXYZ reported.
                  The Detroit Free Press reported that at the hearing that Smith said her client removed membrane from the girls’ genital area using a “scraper” as part of a religious practice. The girls’ parents would then bury the membrane in the ground in accordance with their religious custom, Smith said, according to the Free Press report.

                  A crime or a religious practice?

                  Leaders of the Dawoodi Bohra sect’s Michigan mosque released a statement Friday saying they are offering assistance to investigators, according to the Detroit News.
                  “Any violation of US law is counter to instructions to our community members,” the statement said.
                  “It is an important rule of the Dawoodi Bohras that we respect the laws of the land, wherever we live,” the statement continued. “This is precisely what we have done for several generations in America. We remind our members regularly of their obligations.”
                  CNN’s calls to the sect’s headquarters and the mosques attended by the parents and the defendants were not returned.
                  A 2012 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found that roughly 513,000 women and girls in the United States were at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation, which was more than three times an earlier estimate based on 1990 data. The World Health Organization considers the procedure a violation of human rights of girls and women.
                  No charges have been filed against the parents of the girls.
                  The FBI has a tip line for victims of female genital mutilation, or anyone who might suspect such activity. They can call 800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or submit a tip via FBI.GOV/FGM.

                  Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/26/health/fgm-indictment-michigan/index.html

                  People whose ‘brain age’ is older than their real age more likely to die early

                  Scientists at Imperial College London used MRI scans and algorithms to produce computer-generated brain age and spot risk of dying young

                  Doctors may be able to warn patients if they are at risk of early death by analysing their brains, British scientists have discovered.

                  Those whose brains appeared older than their true age were more likely to die early and to be in worse physical and mental health, a study by Imperial College London found.

                  The research found a way of predicting someones brain age that could help to spot those at risk of dying young.

                  The study, piloted in Scotland, suggests using MRI scans to estimate a persons brain age compared with their real age could also help to spot who might be at increased risk of poor health as they grow older.

                  By combining MRI scans with machine learning algorithms, a team of neuroscientists trained computers to predict the age of a persons brain based on their volume of brain tissue.

                  When the technique was tested on a group of older adults in Scotland, they found that the greater the difference between the computer-generated brain age and the persons actual age, the higher their risk of poor mental and physical health and the more likely they were to die before they turned 80.

                  Those with a brain age older than their real age also had weaker grip, lower lung capacity and slower walking speed.

                  Researchers say that if the initial findings could be applied to a screening programme, the technique could be used to inform doctors, showing whether or not a patient had a healthy brain age or was above or below the line, similar to how body mass index (BMI) is used. They could then advise patients to change their lifestyle or start a course of treatment.

                  James Cole, a research associate who led the study, said: People use the age of an organ all the time to talk about health. Smokers are said to have lungs that are 20 years older than they should be, you can even answer online questionnaires about exercise and diet and get a heart age. This technique could eventually be like that.

                  However, it would need more fine-tuning for accuracy before it could be used in this way, Cole said. At present it has a margin of error of about five years. MRI scans are also currently too expensive to be used as a widespread screening tool but researchers hope that costs will come down in the future.

                  In the long run it would be great if we could do this accurately enough so that we could do it at an individual level, he said. However, at the moment, its not sufficiently accurate to be used at that sort of individual level.

                  Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/26/people-whose-brain-age-is-older-than-their-real-age-more-likely-to-die-early

                  6 WTF Realities Of Common Food You Buy At The Supermarket

                  We all know it’s best for everyone involved if we don’t think too hard about the mysteries that dwell within hot dogs. But assorted-liquefied-beast-filled wieners definitely aren’t the only processed food harboring terrible, barf-worthy secrets. Wanna drop a few pounds before climate change turns the entire year into “beach season”? No diet will be more effective than simply reading about all the crap (sometimes for real) they’re putting in your chow. Like how …


                  Pretty Much All Hamburgers Contain A Little Bit Of Poop

                  The “sustainable foods” crowd found much reason to rejoice when a Consumer Reports investigation revealed that “no-antibiotic, grass fed, and organic” ground beef had a markedly lower rate of bacteria such as enterococcus and E. coli — you know, the stuff in poop. But ultimately, no matter what type of pureed bovine you eat, it’s going to contain some amount of shit.

                  “Bon apPOOtit.”

                  Indeed, every single sample that was tested, from the grodiest of cut-rate bodega meat to the smuggest of natural food store offerings, contained evidence of cow-pie-related bacteria. But if you’d like to minimize your intake of the southbound emergences of northbound cows, then yes, you’re better off shopping in places where there’s also an abundance of kale and artisan cheeses. The choice is yours: Would you rather be full of shit literally or figuratively?

                  Still, everyone can surely agree that the ideal situation would be if there was no poop in the equation. It’s not just the fact that it’s extraordinarily gross, but also that these (often antibiotic-resistant) colonic cow-borne bacteria can seriously fuck you up. While you’d think you might be able to flame-broil the grossness right out with enough heat, the nature of ground beef means the filth is dispersed throughout the length and breadth of your burger — but go ahead and keep ordering stuff rare, cowboy.


                  How Much Of Your Pantry Is Vermin Parts? We Did The Math!

                  You may have heard about how the FDA allows companies to sell us food with “acceptable” amounts of horrid things (like insect parts, rat hair, etc.) that sort of accidentally come along for the ride. If you hadn’t, good news: We went ahead and did the math for you, so you can have some vividly graphic context for how repugnant eating a normal meal can be.

                  For starters, a can of mushrooms is allowed to contain, for every 100 grams, an average of 20 maggots. If you have a hard time visualizing what 100 grams looks like, the average can of drained mushrooms contains about 156 of ’em. Bonus points: The maggots can be of “any size.”

                  Now that you have a feel for how big a 100-gram portion is, can you picture 13 decapitated insect heads inside one? That’s what you should expect if you’re the kind of weirdo who has a jar of fig paste in your pantry. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be some fancy-pants fig gourmet to get this type of “bonus” — ground black pepper is even more lenient in terms of the inclusion of random bits of formerly-wriggling bug. As in, you can get 475 fragments per 50 grams. For those who say “Hey man, it’s all protein,” try using that argument with rat hair … which, yes, is also allowable per 50 grams of pepper. Incidentally, fuck pepper.

                  This brings us back to everyone’s favorite topic: poop. And mold. And any combination thereof. Which are also all A-OK in certain quantities, according to legal standards. “But the amounts would have to be so negligible as to be practically nonexistent!” some may be whimpering as they hurriedly call a plumber to fix their fig-paste-inundated garbage disposal. Well, not in the case of canned pineapple, in which may reside no less than an “average mold count” of 20 percent or more. And yes, there is a permissible amount of “mammalian excreta,” with the exact percentage varying from food to food. But don’t worry too much — ingesting small amounts of rat feces isn’t going to kill you. Just, you know, take it in moderation, buddy.


                  Your Bread Might Contain Duck Feathers And Pig Fur

                  For those of you who are now terrified of every snack in the fridge and have decided to spend the rest of your days nibbling on the occasional crust of bread like an ascetic monk, we have some unfortunate news. We’ve discussed before about how an average loaf might contain a disconcerting amount of human hair, but that might sound downright appetizing when you come to find that very same loaf could also be fortified with duck feathers and hog fur.

                  It’s not an accidental thing wherein pigs and ducks get caught in a wheat thresher and wind up being turned into pumpernickel. Feathers and swine fuzz are ingredients in a widely used flour additive called L-cysteine. As is, it bears repeating, human hair. The hair in question is swept up from the floor of Chinese hair salons and then harvested for their amino acids — a practice that is actually kosher, as long as the hair donors weren’t dead at the time. (Please imagine a reporter asking a perplexed rabbi about this.)

                  It’s also perfectly fine to take the follicle-related refuse that’s lying around on the killing floor of the ol’ rendering plant. But come on — considering that we eat animals on the regular, from snout to tongue, this is about as “natural” as it gets. Would you really feel better about it if these additives were concocted synthetically in a lab? (The answer is: Holy fuck, yes.)


                  One Third Of All Fast Food Packaging Contains Harmful Chemicals

                  Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Super Size Me may have been a total load of deception-flavored baloney, but the fact remains that eating a lot of fast food isn’t the ideal choice for maintaining a figure that doesn’t look like a sack of chewed bubble gum. Adding insult to obesity, it turns out even the wrappers and boxes fast food comes in can play their own part in reducing your grease-lovin’ life span.

                  Chalermchai Chaisri/iStock
                  And we’re not talking about the times you’re so hungry that you wolf down the carton like a goat.

                  In fact, it’s grease (or rather, mankind’s age-old battle against it grubbing up our fingers) that’s partially to blame. According to a recent report by a coalition of U.S. researchers, the grime-repellent chemicals that are used in a third of all fast food packaging are not only carcinogenic like a motherfucker, but can also lead to conditions like “elevated cholesterol, decreased fertility, thyroid problems and changes in hormone functioning,” with “adverse developmental effects and decreased immune response in children” as a bonus. Yeah, there might be a very good reason that gawky teenager with the filthy smock keeps forgetting to give you enough horsey sauce packets.

                  “Um, would you mind cramming my 17 enchiritos into one paper cup, please?”

                  The chemicals in question, called PFAS’s (short for “fluorinated out the wazoo”), can be found in all sorts of products, from furniture to carpets to rain coats. Unless those happen to be places where you store your spare sammiches for extended periods of time, though, there’s little risk of potential cancer-causing agents seeping into your meals. Why, you’d have to cover your food in PFAS’s for the danger to be real! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.

                  The most depressing part may be how those PFAS whatsamajiggers were intended to be an improvement on what companies were formerly inundating our bodies with — namely, Teflon. So what now? Do we start infusing our wrappers with yet another untrustworthy chemical that may or may not turn a sizable portion of the next generation into lobster babies? Or maybe we finally should all agree that it’s socially acceptable to walk around in public with both our faces and extremities resplendent and shining with delicious filth.


                  Most Canned Goods Still Contain BPA, A Chemical That Was Banned From Baby Bottles

                  Consumers have been stressing out for a while now about the potential dangers of exposure to Bisphenol-A, better known by its dreaded acronym BPA. It’s a man-made chemical used to harden plastic, and could once be found in everything from microwaveable food containers to baby bottles. Oddly, it seems to mimic estrogen in laboratory rodents, which might explain Mickey Mouse’s high-pitched tone of voice.

                  Less amusingly, BPA might be contributing to health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive problems. Oh, and every one of us likely has some of it coursing throughout our veins as we speak.

                  To be clear, aside from making rats more effeminate, it hasn’t been definitively proven yet whether BPA is truly a menace. Nonetheless, the FDA decided it was a risk that wasn’t worth taking and banned its use in those aforementioned baby bottles, while many companies publicly moved away from its use in their products. The extraordinarily cautious could always avoid plastic stuff and stick to eating their beans from straight out of the can like a hobo, except that — surprise, hippies — canned foods are chock-full of BPA too.

                  Yep, there’s BPA in the sealant that’s found in canned foods. Luckily, the majority of studies on BPA seem to conclude that it’s harmless in the small doses that a “normal” person gets exposed to. But then there’s that pesky “gray area” in the research — the one that doesn’t account so well for how pregnant women, babies, and small children might be affected. And those even peskier findings that even a little bit of BPA can go a long way in causing an increase in the rate of heart disease. We’re going to have to wait and see, it seems. (And maybe keep a caged rat by the cupboard.)


                  A Loophole Lets Companies Put The Randomest Crap In Your Food If It’s “Generally Regarded As Safe”

                  There’s something called “GRAS” infiltrating grocery store shelves, and we’re not talking about the fancy kind you get from deliciously murdering a goose. These are substances which are legally “generally regarded as safe,” with the “generally” part being be code for “who the fuck knows?” It’s basically an FDA loophole that’s been around for decades, and allows companies to feed us yummy things like car wax and the anal expressions of beavers.

                  No part of that last sentence is a joke.

                  It’s not as if the FDA has given companies carte blanche to sneak strychnine into our Hot Pockets or anything like that (although that might be considered redundant). It’s just that the criteria for what’s “generally safe” is a bit … let’s say … loose. Since 1997, there’s been a permanent law in place that, according to Consumer Reports, “allows food companies to add new ingredients to the food supply with almost no federal oversight.” It was originally put in place to allow common ingredients like salt and vinegar to get around the lengthy review processes every time a manufacturer wanted to put them in something new. But since its inception, go figure, certain liberties have been taken in regards to what counts as “common.”

                  For instance, a form of trans fat was on the GRAS books until last year. And something called carnauba, otherwise known as “the queen of waxes,” is still there. Aside from Camaro polish, carnauba can be found in all sorts of products, like varnishes, beauty supplies … or frosting, candies, chewing gum, and gravy. But is it dangerous to consume? Who knows! We have no clue what exactly it does once we eat it, due to the “almost complete lack of biological studies” ever having been performed on it.

                  Then we have the vanilla flavoring known as castoreum, a substance which any discriminating connoisseur knows is derived from smack dab in the middle of a beaver’s butthole. It’s not as popular as it used to be (inexplicably), but for decades, it was in all sorts of perfumes, ice cream, cookies, and cakes. Even today, you’ll never know if you’re in fact gobbling a beaver’s colonic goo, since manufacturers can label it as “natural flavoring” thanks to the magic of GRAS.

                  While munching on something that comes about through the painstaking labor of milking the sphincter of a rodent may be off-putting, there’s nothing inherently dangerous about it. So perhaps we shouldn’t work ourselves up into a lather about GRAS dining. That we recently found out that some of them might be causing rats to die horribly from cancer shouldn’t worry you in the slightest.

                  E. Reid Ross is the author of Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You’ll Never Want To Go Outside Again, which is in stores now and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

                  Also check out The 6 Most Horrifying Lies The Food Industry is Feeding You and 4 Disgusting Ingredients Restaurants Secretly Added To Food.

                  Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 8 Popular Foods With Ingredients That Will Haunt Your Dreams, and other videos you won’t see on the site!

                  Follow us on Facebook, and let’s best friends forever.

                  Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24733_6-dark-secrets-nobody-told-you-about-food-at-supermarket.html

                  Man, 95, who bludgeoned wife in ‘mercy killing’ bid gets suspended sentence

                  Judge tells Denver Beddows he will not be jailed so as not to prolong his agony after acceding to wifes requests to take her life

                  A great-grandfather who attempted to murder his wife in an act of mercy after she repeatedly begged him to end her life has been spared jail.

                  Denver Charles Beddows, 95, attempted to kill his wife of 65 years, who he described as the most beautiful woman in the world, with a lump hammer and ceramic pan.

                  Beddows, who ran a car body repair businesses for 40 years, carried out the act at the couples home in Warrington after his 88-year-old wife, Olive, pleaded with him to end her life so that she would not die in a care home.

                  Liverpool crown court heard that the fiercely independent couple had a perfect and happy marriage but both their physical and mental health suffered after Olive Beddows was involved in a car accident around nine months before the attack.

                  In the weeks preceding the incident the couples family said she had become increasingly anxious and had to be prescribed medication after her mental health was described as fragile.

                  Anya Horwood, prosecuting, said: She became increasingly apprehensive and claimed they are coming to get me. It would appear that the additional care required for Mrs Beddows was placing an additional strain on the defendant who resolutely refused the assistance of social services.

                  On the evening of 3 February the couples son and daughter-in-law went to the Beddows home to help them prepare for bed and found the couple in a confused state.

                  At 10.15 the next morning Beddows rang his son sounding distressed, and said: Ive tried to kill your mother. Beddows told him he had hit her with a hammer.

                  Their son, also named Denver, and his wife rushed to the house and found blood in the hallway and broken crockery.

                  The couple were sitting together on the bathroom floor with Beddows holding his wifes head on a pillow and mumbling in distress.

                  Olive Beddows was taken to hospital with multiple open skull fractures and injuries to her head and face.

                  Beddows was confused and shaking, telling police officers: My wife was going mad. I tried to kill her why didnt she die? I went to get the hammer from the garage. I couldnt stab her.

                  I wanted her to die and I havent managed to and now I have just increased her suffering.

                  Beddows, who was also taken to hospital, told staff his wife had begged him to kill her because she did not want to go to a hospital.

                  The pensioner who joined the RAF at 19, has had depression since 1962 and is now suffering from a form of post-traumatic amnesia said he had been working himself up to the attack for days but did not want to kill his wife in her sleep.

                  He told officers: Then I got to this morning and it was now or never. But I messed it up and she isnt dead. Shes the most beautiful woman in the world and Ive made it worse. I would happily be a murderer please tell me I killed her.

                  The judge was urged to suspend the inevitable prison sentence describing it as an act of mercy.

                  Philip Tully, defending, said Olive Beddows had repeatedly asked her husband to end her life, which he had refused to act upon until that day when he was in state of exhaustion and despair in relation to her health and well being.

                  Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, told Beddows who had been in custody since the incident that he would not be going to jail so as not to prolong your agony.

                  He said: Although this was a terrible crime the blame which attaches to you for what you did is far outweighed by the tragedy of the situation and the circumstances in which you found yourself.

                  You hit her out of bed with a pan and then subjected her to a repeated attack with a hammer in a determined effort to end her life for one reason and one reason alone she did not wish to end her days in a home or hospital where she believed that her deteriorating mental health was leading her.

                  You were under immense pressure in the days leading up to your attempt to kill her and your acts were acts of last resort because you failed to persuade her that she was going nowhere.

                  He said that he took into account that despite the severity of her injuries Olive Beddows was making a significant recovery, had forgiven her husband and wished to be reunited with him.

                  That is indeed true love no doubt earned by you over 65 years of devoted and loyal married life described by you as perfect and happy, the judge added.

                  Beddows, who was wearing a body warmer over his jumper, became visibly emotional during the proceedings, before saying: Thank you sir as he was led from the dock. He had pleaded guilty to attempting to murder his wife at their home in Warrington. He had been in custody since his arrest, having declined to apply for bail. He was given a two-year sentence suspended for two years.

                  The couples family said in a statement: As a family we are trying to come to terms with the tragic events that took place on 4 February. The last 12 months have been particularly difficult, as we all attempted to cope with mums mental illness, which is still yet to be diagnosed.

                  At present we are supporting both mum and dad.

                  Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/25/denver-beddows-95-mercy-killing

                  Caitlyn Jenner doesn’t regret voting for Trump despite LGBT ‘mistakes’

                  (CNN)Caitlyn Jenner may not like everything US President Donald Trump’s administration has done so far — especially when it comes to actions affecting transgender Americans like her.

                  But she does not regret her decision to vote for Donald Trump, she told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday.
                  “As far as LGBT issues, yes, he’s made some mistakes,” she said. “I don’t support him in everything that he does. But we needed to shake the system up.”
                  It’s been almost two years since the famed US Olympian came out as transgender in an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer, revealing she had “the soul of a female.” Weeks later she debuted her new look in a Vanity Fair cover story that was heralded as a watershed moment for transgender visibility.
                    Jenner reveals what the past two years have been like for her in a new memoir, “The Secrets of My Life.”
                    At the time, Jenner said she was still a Republican despite the party’s anti-LGBT positions. She later said Trump appeared to be a champion for women and LGBT rights. When Trump famously said people should use “whatever bathroom they feel is appropriate,” including Jenner, she took up his offer to use the women’s restroom in Trump Tower.
                    Her position evolved when the Trump administration withdrew Obama era guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination in public schools. She called the decision a disaster and urged him to “fix it.”
                    She told CNN she’s still a Republican and she still believes Trump is the man “we need to turn this country around,” for better or worse.
                    “To, you know, to have career politicians constantly, the Clintons, the Bushes, run this country. We need to get outside that box and shake things up again.”

                    Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/25/entertainment/caitlyn-jenner-interview-don-lemon/index.html

                    5 shocking revelations from the Tennessee teacher criminal complaint

                    (CNN)In the days before he allegedly abducted his 15-year-old student, Tennessee teacher Tad Cummins refilled a prescription for Cialis, took out a loan for quick cash and made hotel reservations in another state, actions investigators believe show he was planning to leave with the girl.

                    The car

                    On March 13, Cummins told his wife he needed to borrow her Nissan Rogue to go for a job interview at the Williamson County Medical Center.
                      Cummins’ wife later returned home to discover a note from her husband, in which he said he was heading to Virginia Beach or Washington to “clear his head.” He said he would return and told his wife not to call police.
                      “Subsequent investigation revealed that Cummins had no scheduled interview,” the complaint said.

                      The loan

                      Shortly after Cummins disappeared with one of his students, Tennessee authorities discovered that he had falsified information on an application for a $4,500 title loan.
                      Cummins’ wife told authorities on March 14 that her husband wanted to get the loan “to meet their financial needs during his suspension from work without pay.” He was suspended for his interactions at school with the student. Cummins’ wife also said the money from the loan, two handguns, clothes and toiletry items were missing after he left.

                      The pills

                      Cummins had been prescribed Cialis — a drug used to treat erectile dysfunction, his wife told investigators. He obtained two refills of Cialis before leaving town.

                      The one-bed motel-rooms

                      Investigators found out that Cummins booked rooms — in his own name — at Super 8 motels in Oklahoma City and in Guymon, Oklahoma, in March. Employees at both properties told investigators each room had one bed.

                      The purchases

                      Cummins and the student visited a Wal-Mart when they were in Oklahoma. In Guymon, Cummins bought women’s razors, chocolates, and a “commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse,” according to the complaint.
                      Here’s the full complaint:

                      Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/21/us/tennessee-teacher-criminal-complaint-trnd/index.html

                      Tad Cummins arrest: Tipster reveals how teacher covered up identity

                      Cecilville, California (CNN)Tad Cummins was an intensely sought fugitive, trumpeted from coast to coast as the Tennessee teacher accused of running off with his 15-year-old student.

                      But before his capture this week, Cummins and the young woman he called his wife slipped into a remote Northern California community unrecognized. Cummins passed himself off for days as a down-on-his-luck Colorado man who’d just lost his job and home, according to the man who eventually tipped off police.
                      Cummins was arrested — and the girl was found safe — Thursday outside a cabin in Cecilville, ending a 39-day hunt for the teen who was reported missing some 1,900 miles away in her hometown south of Nashville.
                        Police say the two spent at least one night in the remote cabin — a one room structure that was in the process of being built. It had no electricity or furniture. On Friday, a grill, pots and pans, a bag of rice and boxes of food and empty bottles of soda and water remained in the cabin.
                        The former teacher, facing federal and state charges stemming from her disappearance, is in federal custody and is expected to be arraigned in Sacramento on Monday, Siskiyou County prosecutor Kirk Andrus said.
                        Elizabeth was reunited Friday with family and friends. She is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma.
                        “She is a little girl in every sense of the word. This was the abduction of an impressionable, little child,” family lawyer S. Jason Whatley said.
                        “There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is only just beginning.”

                        A suspicious couple

                        The pair had been in the heavily wooded area 60 miles south of the Oregon line since at least last week, according to Griffin Barry, the man who says he eventually helped police capture Cummins.
                        Cummins and the teen arrived at a Cecilville-area gas station last week, apparently on their way to visit a commune, Barry told CNN.
                        Cummins, 50, told Barry he was 44, and that the teen was his 22-year-old wife, according to the cabin’s owner.
                        “He was like, ‘We’re from Colorado. We had a house fire and lost everything,” Barry told CNN. “He’s like, ‘This is my last $10.”
                        Barry said he gave Cummins $40 and paid another $15 to put gas in Cummins’ vehicle.
                        The pair went to the commune but returned to the gas station this week, with Cummins explaining they didn’t get along with people at the commune, Barry said.
                        Barry said he offered Cummins work — moving rocks to build a wall on the property — and a place to stay: a small cabin for which Barry was the caretaker.
                        But Barry and some acquaintances eventually became suspicious, noting that Cummins was driving a vehicle without any license plates, and that Cummins’ companion spoke few words for herself.

                        ‘That’s the guy’

                        As he discussed the pair with someone a bar Wednesday night, the other person found Cummins’ picture online in an urgent Amber Alert widely distributed by authorities.
                        “I said, ‘That’s the guy,'” Barry said.
                        He called police Wednesday night. After Barry told them he and Cummins had planned to move more rocks Thursday morning, authorities asked the caretaker to help them capture Cummins.
                        At officers’ instructions Thursday morning, Barry drove by the cabin and shouted for Cummins. When Cummins left the cabin, investigators were there to arrest him, the cabin’s owner, Monk O’Hare, told CNN.
                        Siskiyou County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Gilley confirmed that his team worked with a neighbor to draw Cummins out of the cabin. Cummins was taken into custody. Elizabeth was walking behind him and was detained.
                        “There aren’t words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced by the Thomas family,” said Whatley. “Now begins another hard chapter, but for now, we celebrate.”

                        The disappearance

                        Cummins and the girl disappeared March 13 as a police investigation into their relationship was heating up.
                        A high school health sciences teacher in the Tennessee town of Culleoka, Cummins had been suspended in February, less than a month after a student reported seeing him and the 15-year-old kissing in a classroom.
                        Surveillance video showed the pair at a Walmart in Oklahoma City on March 15. Cummins and the teen also visited a Walmart in the Oklahoma Panhandle city of Guymon on March 16, and he rented a one-bed motel room in Guymon on March 16 and 17, a criminal complaint filed in federal court Thursday alleges.
                        After that, the trail appears to have gone cold.

                        The complaint alleges Cummins left a note for his wife on March 13 saying he was leaving for a while to “clear his head.” He took out a $4,500 loan and picked up two prescription refills of Cialis, an erectile dysfunction drug, the complaint says. His wife reported that two handguns and some clothes and toiletries were missing from their home.
                        After the capture, Cummins was charged with one federal count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual intercourse, said Jack Smith, acting US attorney for Middle District of Tennessee. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years.
                        He also faces state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last month.

                        ‘Our goal is to seclude (her) with her family’

                        Whatley, the attorney for the girl’s family, said her immediate future wasn’t clear.
                        “Obviously, our goal is to seclude (her) with her family,” Whatley said. “We have mental health people that are engaged actively in this case that are going to be working with her for her best interests.
                        “We are following their recommendations completely, and so we are waiting on further instructions from them.”
                        Gilley described her condition as alternating between “stoic” and “emotional,” understandable given the circumstances, he said.
                        “It was a very traumatic experience for her. Her mood was very alternating,” he said. “The two obviously have a relationship … her response to us and to law enforcement escalated up and down.”

                        Estranged wife speaks out

                        Cummins’ estranged wife, Jill Cummins, was “very emotional” when she learned both were found safe, her attorney, Michael Cox, said.
                        “She is excited that they were found and nobody was hurt,” Cox said. “She has not spoken to Tad.”
                        Jill Cummins had already filed for divorce, saying she felt betrayed by her husband. She had no idea why her husband went to northern California.
                        “This is not somewhere they had frequently visited,” her attorney said. “I’m not aware that they had ever been there.”

                        Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/21/us/tennessee-teacher-kidnapping-suspect-arrested/index.html

                        Robert Pirsig: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance author dies aged 88

                        Book telling the father-son story of a motorcycle trip across the western United States was published in 1974 and quickly became a best-seller

                        Robert Pirsig, author of the influential 1970s philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, has died at the age of 88.

                        Peter Hubbard, executive editor of his publisher William Morrow & Co, said in a statement that Pirsigs wife Wendy had confirmed his death at his home in Maine after a period of failing health.

                        Published in 1974 after being rejected by more than 100 other publishers, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was the father-son story of a motorcycle trip across the western United States. Loosely autobiographical, it also contained flashbacks to a period in which the author was diagnosed as schizophrenic.

                        The book quickly became a best-seller. Pirsig said its protagonist set out to resolve the conflict between classic values that create machinery, such as a motorcycle, and romantic values, such as experiencing the beauty of a country road.

                        Born in Minneapolis, Pirsig had a high IQ and graduated high school at the age of 15. He earned a degree in philosophy and also worked as a technical writer and instructor of English before being hospitalised for mental illness in the early 1960s.

                        His philosophical thinking and personal experiences during these years, including a 1968 motorcycle trip across the US West with his eldest son, Christopher, formed the core of the narrative of the novel.

                        Pirsig worked on the sequel, Lila: An Inquiry into Morals for 17 years before its publication in 1991. The story traced a sailboat journey taken by two fictitious characters along Americas eastern coast.

                        Pirsig lived the last 30 years in South Berwick, Maine and is survived by his wife Wendy, two children and three grandchildren. His son Chris died in 1979.

                        Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/apr/25/robert-pirsig-zen-and-the-art-of-motorcycle-maintenance-author-dies-aged-88

                        King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud Fast Facts

                        (CNN)Here is a look at the life of the late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

                        Death date: January 22, 2015
                        Birth place: Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
                        Father: King Abdulaziz bin Abdulrahman al Saud
                          Mother: Fahda bint Al-Asi Al-Shuraim
                          Marriages: Wives’ names not available publicly, but according to Islamic tradition, he was allowed no more than four at a time.
                          Children: Exact number is not available publicly; sons include: Khalid (eldest son died June 2011 at age 54); Mitab; Abdulaziz; Mishal; Faisal; Badr
                          Education: Early education at the Royal Court
                          Religion: Wahhabism (a conservative Islamic sect)
                          Military: Commander of the Saudi Arabia’s National Guard, 1962-2010
                          Other Facts:
                          Was one of 37 sons.
                          Was prime minister and head of state from 2005-2015.
                          Helped create the Allegiance Authority, a committee of princes who vote on the eligibility of future monarchs and crown princes.
                          During his leadership, Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization.
                          Bred pure Arabian horses and founded the equestrian club in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
                          Spoke with a stutter.
                          1962-2010 –
                          Commander of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard.
                          1975-1982 – Is Saudi Arabia’s second deputy prime minister.
                          1976 – During his first visit to the United States, he meets with President Gerald Ford.
                          June 13, 1982 – He becomes Crown Prince Abdullah after King Khalid dies.
                          1982-2005 – Deputy Prime Minister.
                          October 1987 – During his second visit to the United States, Crown Prince Abdullah meets with President George H.W. Bush.
                          March 1, 1992 – Is confirmed heir to the throne of Saudi Arabia by King Fahd.
                          November 1995 – Crown Prince Abdullah assumes the duties of King Fahd after the regent suffers a stroke.
                          September 1998 – Meets with President Bill Clinton in the United States.
                          February 2002 – Proposes a comprehensive peace plan to address the violence in Jerusalem and other Israeli-Palestinian areas. It is the first such plan introduced by an Arab nation since 1947. This plan calls for full Arab recognition of Israel as a nation, and a complete withdrawal by Israel from territories gained since the 1967 war.
                          April 25, 2002 – Meets with President George W. Bush at the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.
                          2004 – In a 2004 speech broadcast on Saudi television, Abdullah warns Saudi citizens not to support extremists who want to overthrow the ruling family, and vows to hunt them down, regardless of how long it takes.
                          August 1, 2005 – Becomes sixth king of Saudi Arabia following the death of King Fahd. He chooses Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz el Saud as crown prince.
                          2008 – King Abdullah hosts President Bush at the royal ranch in Jenadriyah.
                          February 2009 – Appoints the first woman to Saudi Arabia’s council of ministers.
                          November 13, 2010 – Transfers his position as commander of Saudi Arabia’s National Guard to his son Prince Mitab bin Abdullah.
                          November 2010 – Is in New York to undergo back surgery on a herniated disc and blood clot.
                          September 25, 2011 – Announces that women can run for office and vote in local elections in 2015.
                          October 2011 – Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud dies. Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Saud is named crown prince.
                          October 2011 – Undergoes his third back surgery within a year, at a Riyadh hospital.
                          June 16, 2012 – Crown Prince Nayef dies.
                          June 18, 2012 – Abdullah’s half-brother, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud is named crown prince.
                          November 2012 – Has his fourth back surgery since 2010, at a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
                          January 11, 2013 – Appoints 30 women to the Shura Council, the first time women have been chosen for the country’s top consultative body.
                          March 27, 2014 – Names former intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz as the deputy crown prince. Prince Muqrin follows Crown Prince Salman in the line of succession.
                          December 31, 2014 – Is admitted to King Abdulaziz Medical City hospital in Riyadh, the capital. On January 2, 2015, the state-run Saudi Press Agency says that King Abdullah is suffering from pneumonia and was given a breathing-aid tube temporarily.
                          January 22, 2015 – Dies at a hospital in Riyadh.

                          Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/28/world/meast/king-abdullah-bin-abdulaziz-al-saud—fast-facts/index.html

                          End of the road: 39 days on the run for missing teacher and student

                          Cecilville, California (CNN)They traveled about as far away from Tennessee as they could get in the US, finally settling — at least for a night — in a remote cabin on a tree-covered mountainside in Northern California.

                          The man told people the young woman with him was his wife. He said their house had burned down in Colorado, and he was down to his last dollar.
                          But Tad Cummins failed to mention that he was the subject of a nationwide manhunt and that his companion, 15, had been his student, listed in an Amber Alert as abducted and in danger.
                            During the five weeks the teacher and student were missing, residents tied green ribbons on trees back in Culleoka, Tennessee. There, relatives of the teenager fielded dozens of media inquiries, while authorities plastered the airwaves and the Internet with surveillance images of the pair at a store in Oklahoma, asking for the public’s help in finding them.
                            The arrest of Cummins, 50, and the recovery of the 15-year-old girl came Thursday after the cabin’s caretaker alerted authorities.
                            “I’m glad this is over,” the teacher told sheriff’s deputies when they took him into custody.

                            5 weeks of mystery

                            The exact path that Cummins and his student took from Tennessee to California isn’t clear, but the teacher’s next trip is: At some point, he’ll be extradited to the Volunteer State to face charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, among other counts.
                            Many questions remain about what happened: Where were they from the time they left Culleoka in mid-March until they were found Thursday in the tiny town of Cecilville? What were their plans? And did the student leave willingly with her teacher, who had already been warned to stay away from her?

                            Accusations of inappropriate contact

                            Cummins and Elizabeth Thomas disappeared March 13, about two months after another student reported seeing the two kissing in his classroom. Culleoka Unit School learned about the incident the following day, January 24, but the girl’s father didn’t find out until a week later when the Maury County Sheriff’s Department notified him, his attorney said. Meanwhile, his daughter said she was still in Cummins’ class.
                            “If it is true that contact between this student and Mr. Cummins has continued in light of these allegations, I can tell you that my client will use whatever legal means are at his disposal, including filing suit, to assist Maury County Schools in protecting (his daughter) from Mr. Cummins,” Anthony Thomas’ attorney, Jason Whatley, wrote in a letter to the school February 6.
                            The school district said in a February 8 internal memo, provided to CNN by Whatley, that the student had been removed from Cummins’ forensics class and that assertions she remained in his class were false.
                            Cummins was suspended from his job February 6, and he was fired more than a month later — the day after he disappeared with his student.
                            Authorities believe the teacher groomed Elizabeth for nearly a year. He told her stories about what he said was his past as a CIA and FBI agent flush with cash, her father said.
                            “He convinced her that he had been a secret agent and … that he had all kinds of money,” her father told HLN. “It was clear that he had really put a lot of notions into her head.”

                            ‘She did expect to be home by dinner’

                            For her part, Elizabeth said that, like many students, she looked to Cummins as a counselor. She had been to church with him, she said. According to the report about the incident in his classroom, he never made her feel uncomfortable, and he never touched her, except for the occasional fist bump. He also grabbed her hands one time to calm her down, she said.
                            On the morning of March 13, a friend dropped her off at a restaurant in Columbia, near Culleoka. Around the same time, surveillance footage showed Cummins pumping gas nearby, according to authorities.
                            Elizabeth told asibling she was going somewhere that day but to call police if she hadn’t returned by 6 p.m., her brother, James Thomas,told HLN last month.
                            “She didn’t think she was going to be gone that long, I guess, because she did expect to be home by dinner that night,” he said.

                            Plans for a trip

                            It appears Cummins, at least, had been planning to leave with his student for some time. According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in federal court in Tennessee, the teacher filled two prescriptions for Cialis shortly before March 13. The drug is used to treat erectile dysfunction and enhance sexual performance. He also applied for and received a $4,500 loan — which he told his wife they needed because he no longer had a job.
                            On the day he left, he told his wife, Jill, that he needed to borrow her Nissan Rogue to go on a job interview. When she got home that day, she found a note saying he was leaving for a while to “clear his head” and she shouldn’t call police. She also discovered that the loan money, two handguns, clothes and toiletry items were missing.
                            Cummins did some research online about the SUV to see if law enforcement could track certain features on the vehicle, police said. He also looked at websites concerning teen marriage, authorities told HLN last month.
                            “That is an issue that we have some major concerns of because it might potentially speak to his intentions for her,” Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said March 22.
                            Investigators also discovered that Cummins booked rooms — in his own name — at Super 8 motels in Oklahoma City and in Guymon, Oklahoma, in March.
                            Authorities have surveillance video from a Walmart in Oklahoma City from March 15 showing the pair, and images of Cummins purchasing women’s razors, chocolates and a “commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse,” according to the criminal complaint.
                            Jill Cummins made a tearful entreaty to her husband to turn himself in four days after police issued an Amber Alert for Elizabeth. She has since filed for divorce.

                            How authorities found them

                            After 39 days on the run, Cummins and his student ended up in Northern California, where they apparently tried to get into a commune near Cecilville, according to the man who said he tipped police off to their presence. Griffin Barry told CNN affiliate KRCR-TV that Cummins said he was 44 and that his “wife” was 22.
                            “The first time he was like, ‘We’re from Colorado. We had a house fire and lost everything.’ He said he used to be a raft outfitter, or something like that,” Barry told CNN.
                            He told Barry he was down to his last $10.
                            “And I was like, ‘Oh, man, I’ve had my own struggles. So (I’ll) try to help you out,'” Barry said.
                            He said he offered Cummins work — moving rocks — and a place to stay: a small cabin for which Barry was the caretaker. But he said he eventually became suspicious, noting that Cummins was driving a Nissan Rogue without any license plates and that his female companion spoke little, he told KRCR.
                            Researching the pair, Barry saw Cummins’ picture online in an urgent Amber Alert. He called police Wednesday night, KRCR reported, and authorities asked the caretaker to help them capture the teacher.
                            On Thursday morning, Barry asked Cummins to come outside and help him build a rock wall on the property. When Cummins left the cabin, investigators were there to arrest him, the cabin’s owner, Monk O’Hare, told CNN. Elizabeth was right behind him, and she was taken into federal custody.
                            The girl alternated between being “stoic” and “emotional” — understandable, given the circumstances. Siskiyou County sheriff’s Sgt. Mike Gilley said.
                            “It was a very traumatic experience for her. Her mood was very alternating,” Gilley said. “The two obviously have a relationship. … Her response to us and to law enforcement escalated up and down.”

                            Facing justice

                            Cummins was charged with one federal count of transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual intercourse, said Jack Smith, acting US attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. The charge carries a minimum of 10 years.
                            He also faces state charges of sexual contact with a minor and aggravated kidnapping, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said last month.
                            Tennessee law allows children older than 12 to decide whether to leave their families unless their removal or confinement “is accomplished by force, threat or fraud.”
                            To prove kidnapping, prosecutors will need to show the 15-year-old was unlawfully removed or had her freedom restricted.
                            That determination remains to be seen. But what’s important now, Elizabeth’s relatives said, is that she comes home and begins the process of healing.
                            “There aren’t words in the English language to describe the level of relief and elation experienced by the Thomas family,” said Whatley, the family’s attorney. “Now begins another hard chapter, but for now, we celebrate.”

                            Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/21/us/tennessee-fugitive-teacher-arrest-weekend/index.html

                            It’s Time For These 101 Ridiculous Science “Facts” To Die

                            Who hasn’t shared an amazing science fact only to feel embarrassed later on, when you find out the information was wrong? No more!

                            It’s time to put an end to the most alluring science myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.

                            To help the cause we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the most shocking science “facts” that are bizarrely wrong about food, animals, the Earth, biology, space, alcohol, andhealth.

                            FOOD MYTHS

                            MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

                            This one is no longer true.

                            Before April 2012, Starbucks’ strawberry Frappucino contained a dye made from the ground-up bodies of thousands of tiny insects, called cochineal bugs (or Dactylopius coccus).

                            Farmers in South and Central America make a living harvesting and smashing the bugs that go into the dye. Their crushed bodies produce a deep red ink that is used as a natural food coloring, which was “called cochineal” red but is now called “carmine color.”

                            Starbucks stopped using carmine color in their strawberry Frappucinos in 2012. But the dye is still used in thousands of other food products from Nerds candies to grapefruit juice. Not to mention cosmetics, like lovely shades of red lipstick.

                            Sources: Business Insider, CHR Hansen, AmericanSweets.co.uk, FoodFacts.com, LA Times

                            MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

                            MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

                            Flickr / Rubbermaid Products

                            It’s the worst when something you really wanted to eat falls on the floor. But if you grab it in five seconds, it’s ok, right?

                            The five-second-rule isn’t a real thing. Bacteria can contaminate a food within milliseconds.

                            Mythbusting tests show that moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration.” Instead, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is.

                            Whether you eat it or not after that is up to you, but if the people that walk on that floor are also walking around New York City, for example, we wouldn’t recommend it.

                            Sources: Business Insider, Discovery.com

                            MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

                            MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

                            Bev Currie/Flickr

                            Who doesn’t love the post-Thanksgiving nap? After all, turkey contains tryptophan an amino acid that is a component of some of the brain chemicals that help you relax.

                            But plenty of foods contain tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has even more than turkey, yet cheddar is never pointed out as a sleep inducing food.

                            Experts say that instead, the carbs, alcohol, and general size of the turkey-day feast are the cause of those delicious holiday siestas.

                            Sources: Business Insider, LiveScience

                            MYTH: There’s beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

                            You’ve probably heard that a secretion called castoreum, isolated from the anal gland of a beaver, is used in flavorings and perfumes.

                            But castoreum is so expensive, at up to $70 per pound of anal gland (the cost to humanely milk castoreum froma beaveris likely evenhigher), that it’s unlikely to show up in anything you eat.

                            In 2011, the Vegetarian Resource Group wrote to five major companies that produce vanilla flavoring and asked if they use castoreum. The answer: According to the Federal Code of Regulations, they can’t. (The FDA highly regulates what goes into vanilla flavoring and extracts.)

                            It’s equally unlikely you’ll find castoreum in mass-marketed goods, either.

                            Sources: Business Insider, Vegetarian Resource Group, FDA, NY Trappers Forum

                            MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.

                            MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.Flickr/lhongchou’s photography


                            For one month, scientists fed dozens of people candy bars containing 10 times the usual amount of chocolate, and dozens of others fake chocolate bars.

                            When they counted the zits before and after each diet, there was “no difference” between the two groups. Neither the chocolate nor the fat seemed to have any effect on acne.

                            Source: JAMA

                            MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

                            MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.


                            Apples are packed with vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important to long-term health, but they aren’t all you need.

                            And if certain viruses or bacteria get into your system, an apple will unfortunately do nothing to protect you.

                            Go ahead and get that flu shot, even if you eat apples.

                            Source: Business Insider

                            MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

                            Organic food isn’t free of pesticides and it isn’t necessarily better for you.

                            Farmers who grow organic produce are permitted to use chemicals that are naturally derived and in some cases are actually worse for the environment than their synthetic counterparts. However, pesticide levels on both organic and non-organic foods are so low that they aren’t of concern for consumption, according to the USDA.

                            Eating organic food also doesn’t come with any nutritional benefits over non-organic food, according to a review of 98,727 potentially relevant studies.

                            Sources: University of California – Berkeley, Annals of Internal Medicine, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

                            MYTH: Natural sugar like honey is better for you than processed sugar.

                            A granola bar made with honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup is not better for you.

                            That’s because sugar in natural products like fruit and synthetic products like candy is the same: “Scientists would be surprised to hear about the ‘clear superiority’ of honey, since there is a near unanimous consensus that the biological effect of high-fructose corn syrup are essentially the same as those of honey,” professor Alan Levinovitz told Business Insider.

                            The problem is that candy and other related products typically contain more sugar per serving, which means more calories a difference you should actually be watching out for.

                            Sources: Business Insider, SciShow, Dr. Joy Dubost/Huffington Post

                            MYTH: Milk does a body good!

                            MYTH: Milk does a body good!

                            liz west/flickr

                            This is an incredibly successful bit of advertising that has wormed its way into our brains and policiesto make milk seem magical.

                            The US Department of Agriculture tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk a day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D.

                            However, multiple studies show that there isn’t an association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and having fewer bone fractures.

                            Some studies have even shown an association with higher overall mortality, and while that doesn’t mean that milk consumption itself was responsible, it’s certainly not an endorsement.

                            Sources: Business Insider, NYTimes, Journal of Bone Mineral Research, JAMA Pediatrics, The Lancet, British Medical Journal

                            MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

                            MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

                            Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

                            Most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

                            In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

                            Advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth: Cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called “Postum” as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the “evils” of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children.

                            Sources: Business Insider (1, 2), Smithsonian Magazine

                            MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

                            If you’re home sick with a cold, you can totally go ahead and comfort yourself with some ice cream.

                            The idea that dairy increases mucous production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

                            Bless him.

                            Sources: Business Insider, American Review of Respiratory Disease, Mayo Clinic

                            MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

                            In the 2009 book “Fat Chance,” the author, Dr. Robert Lustig, claims that sugar stimulates the brain’s reward system the same way that tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and even heroin does, and therefore must be equally addictive. Lustig even cites studies that show parts of our brain that light-up from a sugary reward are the same parts that get excited for many types of enjoyable activities, from drinking alcohol to having sex.

                            The problem, however, with these types of scientific studies of the brain is that “In neuroimaging, there is no clear-cut sign of addiction,” Hisham Ziaudden, an eating behavioral specialist, told Levinovitz.

                            So, scientists don’t know what addiction in the brain looks like, yet, and until that mystery is solved we should not be living in fear from something as fanciful as sugar addiction.

                            Source: Business Insider (1, 2), “Fat Chance

                            MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

                            MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

                            REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

                            In the mid 19th century before sugar purportedly caused diabetes or hyperactivity sugar was thought to ignite sexual desire in women, children, and, more controversially, the poor.

                            One vintage Kellogg advertisement even claimed “Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences powerfully excited the genital organs and lead to the [solitary vice].”

                            So don’t get worked up over sugar. There’s little to no evidence to support the notion that it or any food, including chocolates stimulates sexual desire.

                            Sources: Business Insider, Mayo Clinic

                            MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

                            Numerous scientific studies have tried and failed to find any evidence that supports this off-the-wall notion.

                            The myth probably emerged in 1974, when Dr. William Crook wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published it. “Only in the past three years have I become aware that sugar … is a leading cause of hyperactivity,” the letter stated.

                            A letter does not include the rigorous scientific research that a paper does, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health: “The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it.”

                            Sources: University of Arkansas for Medial Sciences, Business Insider, NIH

                            MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

                            Dogs and cats have much better color vision than we thought.

                            Both dogs and cats can see in blue and green, and they also have more rods the light-sensing cells in the eye than humans do, so they can see better in low-light situations.

                            This myth probably comes about because each animal sees colors differently than humans.

                            Reds and pinks may appear more green to cats, while purple may look like another shade of blue. Dogs, meanwhile, have fewer cones the color-sensing cells in the eye so scientists estimated that their color vision is only about 1/7th as vibrant as ours.

                            Sources: Today I Found Out, Business Insider

                            MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.

                            MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.


                            Lemmings do not commit mass suicide.

                            During their migrations they sometimes do fall off cliffs, or if they wander into an area they are unfamiliar with.

                            Source: Alaska Department Of Fish And Game

                            MYTH: Sharks don’t get cancer.

                            Back in 2013, researchers reported a huge tumor growing out of the mouth of a great white shark, and another on the head of a bronze whaler shark.

                            And those aren’t the only cases of shark cancers. Other scientists have reported tumors in dozens of different shark species.

                            The myth that sharks don’t get cancer was created by I. William Lane to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.

                            Sources: Journal Of Cancer Research, LiveScience

                            MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand.

                            MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand.

                            Trisha Shears

                            Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when threatened. In fact, they don’t bury their heads at all.

                            When threatened, ostriches sometimes flop on the ground and play dead.

                            Source: San Diego Zoo

                            MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

                            MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.


                            Frogs or toads won’t give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can.

                            The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.

                            Source: WebMD

                            MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

                            MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

                            public domain

                            Many people would call this dinosaur a Brontosaurus even Michael Crichton did in “Jurassic Park.”

                            It is actually called the Apatosaurus. The myth emerged some 130 years ago during a feud between two paleontologists.

                            Source: NPR

                            MYTH: Sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away.

                            This one is a big exaggeration. Jaws is not coming for you from across the ocean if you bleed in the water.

                            Shark have a highly enlarged brain region for smelling odors, allowing some of the fish to detect as little as 1 part blood per 10 billion parts water roughly a drop in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

                            But it the ocean is much, much, much bigger and it takes awhile for odor molecules to drift. On a very good day when the currents are favorable, a shark can smell its prey from a few football fields away not miles.

                            Source: American Museum of Natural History

                            MYTH: Bats are blind.

                            MYTH: Bats are blind.

                            DeeAnn Reeder/Bucknell University

                            Being “blind as a bat” means not being blind at all.

                            While many use echolocation to navigate, all of them can see.

                            Source: USA Today

                            MYTH: Goldfish can’t remember anything for longer than a second.

                            Goldfish actually have pretty good memories.

                            They can remember things for months, not seconds like many people say.

                            Source: ABC News

                            MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

                            Giraffes have fairly typical sleeping patterns.

                            To debunk this one, researchers closely monitored a herd of five adult and three young giraffes for 152 days, counting all of their naps and deep sleeps.

                            The animals typically slept overnight and napped in the afternoon (sound familiar?).

                            In total, each giraffe slept about 4.6 hours every day.

                            Source: European Sleep Research Society

                            MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

                            You often hear sharks can breathe only when swimming pushes water over their gills.

                            That’s true of some sharks, but many others like bottom-dwelling nurse sharks can pump oxygen-rich water over their gills without swimming.

                            All sharks lack swim bladders, however, so if they stop swimming they will sink to the bottom. Luckily a shark’s body is incompressible and rapid descents or ascents don’t harm them.

                            Source: American Museum of Natural History

                            MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.

                            MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.


                            Poinsettias won’t kill you or your pets, though you still shouldn’t eat them.

                            The flowers might make you a bit sick with some gastrointestinal issues.

                            Source: The New York Botanical Garden

                            MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

                            MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

                            flickr user: kvn.jns

                            HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.

                            It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.

                            Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine

                            MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

                            MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

                            Flickr user Charles 16e

                            Dropping a penny from the Empire State building is very unlikely to maimanyone.

                            A penny weighs roughly 1/11th of an ounce and tops out at 50 mph in freefall, which isn’t fast enough to kill. It’d hurt like heck, though.

                            Sources: Today I Found Out, US Mint

                            MYTH: The great wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.

                            MYTH: The great wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.

                            Matt Barber

                            The Great Wall of China isn’t the only man-made structure visible from space. It all depends on where you believe space begins above Earth.

                            From the International Space Station 250 miles up, you can see the wall and many other man-made structures. From the moon, you can’t see any structures at all only a dim glow of city lights.

                            Source: NASA

                            MYTH: The moon’s gravity pulling on water causes the tides.

                            This is only half true.

                            On the side of Earth that’s facing the moon, the moon’s gravity does indeed pull water toward it to cause tides.

                            On the other side of Earth, however, gravity is weaker (from the moon’s pull on the other side) and it’s the inertia of water from the Earth’s rotation at work: spinning at about 1,040 mph flings ocean water into a slight bulge we recognize as the tide.

                            Sources: NOAA, NASA

                            MYTH: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

                            MYTH: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

                            Scott Olson/Getty Images

                            Lightning does strike twice.

                            Some places, like the Empire State Building, get struck up to 100 times a year.

                            Source: WeatherBug

                            MYTH: The Earth is a perfect sphere.

                            MYTH: The Earth is a perfect sphere.

                            NASA (illustration by Tech Insider)

                            The Earth rotates at about 1,040 mph. That’s about 60% the speed of your typical bullet after it shoots out of the muzzle.

                            This inertia slightly flattens the planet’s poles and causes a bulge of rock around the equator.

                            Due to global warming and the melting of glaciers (and less weight pushing down on the crust), scientists think that bulge is now growing.

                            Sources: StarrySkies.com, MythBusters the Exhibition

                            MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

                            MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

                            Mauna Kea.Creative Commons

                            The world’s tallest mountain technically is not Mount Everest.

                            Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but if we’re talking mountain base-to-summit height, then the tallest is the island of Hawaii that peaks as Mauna Kea.

                            Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea only stands 13,796 feet above seal level, but the mountain extends about 19,700 feet below the Pacific Ocean. Over half of it is submerged.

                            That puts the total height of Mauna Kea at about 33,500 feet nearly a mile taller than Everest.

                            Source: Tech Insider

                            MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

                            MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

                            flickr user: elitatt

                            Pure or distilled water doesn’t conduct electricity well at all.

                            The reason we can get shocked when standing in electrified water is because water we come across will be contaminated by minerals, dirt, and other things that will conduct electricity.

                            Source: USGS

                            MYTH: There was a global warming pause.

                            Earth’s average surface temperature hasn’t really budged since the start of the 21st century, but 70% of the planet is covered in water and that’s where 90% of heat trapped by global warming ends up.

                            In fact, warming of the oceans has caused them to thermally expand, creating a huge share of the sea level rise that scientists see today.

                            Sources: Scientific American/Climate Wire, Tech Insider

                            MYTH: Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart.

                            Older edges of a tectonic plate are cooler and denser, causing them to sink into the mantle where they’re recycled. Where two plates are being yanked apart by this sinking, ocean ridges appear.

                            That’s where the tectonic plate is being built by hot, buoyant rock that convects upward and emerges from the stretched-out weak point. The resulting volcanism isn’t what pulls two plates apart.

                            Source: USGS

                            MYTH: The Sahara is the biggest desert on Earth.

                            MYTH: The Sahara is the biggest desert on Earth.

                            REUTERS/Deborah Zabarenko

                            Not all deserts are hot and full of sand. They need only be dry and inhospitable.

                            Antarctica fits the bill, since it receives only two inches of precipitation a year and has few land animals.

                            At 5.4 million square miles compared to the Sahara’s 3.6 million square miles, the Bottom of the World is a vastly larger desert.

                            Sourcse: USGS (1, 2), NASA, Encyclopedia of Earth (1, 2)

                            MYTH: Diamonds come from coal.

                            MYTH: Diamonds come from coal.

                            REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

                            Most diamonds aren’t formed from compressed coal.

                            Instead, they’re carbon that is compressed and heated 90 miles below the surface of the Earth. Coal is found about 2 miles down.

                            Source: Geology.com

                            MYTH: People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat.

                            During the early Middle Ages, almost every scholar thought the Earth was round, not flat.

                            This myth picked up steam in the 1800s, right around the same time the idea of evolution was rising in prominence and religious and scientific interests clashed.

                            Sources: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Patheos

                            MYTH: Summer is warm because you are closer to the sun.

                            The northern hemisphere of the Earth is not closer to the sun when it is summer, nor is the southern hemisphere during its summer.

                            It is always warmer during the summer because Earth is tilted; during its year-long orbit, our home planet’s tilt allows the sun’s energy to hit us more directly.

                            Source: NASA

                            MYTH: Lightning causes thunder.

                            MYTH: Lightning causes thunder.

                            Getty Images/Ethan Miller

                            A scientific and philosophical nitpick here, but lightning is just a stream of electrons zapping from cloud to cloud or ground to cloud. This in turn heats air into a tube of plasma that’s three times hotter than the surface of our sun.

                            That tube violently expands and contracts nearby air, creating an unmistakable crack and rumble not the flow of electrons itself.

                            Source: Scientific American

                            MYTH: Your blood turns blue when it’s out of oxygen.

                            Your blood is never blue: It turns dark red when it’s not carrying oxygen.

                            Blood only looks blue because you are seeing it through several layers of tissue, which filters the color.

                            Source: UCSB ScienceLine

                            MYTH: Every gene in your DNA codes for exactly one protein.

                            MYTH: Every gene in your DNA codes for exactly one protein.

                            Getty Images/William Thomas Cain

                            One gene does not equal one protein.

                            Many genes make multiple different proteins, depending on how the mRNA from the gene is sequenced and cut up in the cell. And many other genes don’t make proteins at all.

                            Source: Annual Reviews Of Biochemistry

                            MYTH: Humans have five senses.

                            MYTH: Humans have five senses.

                            Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

                            Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning.

                            Don’t forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time and nociception, our sense of pain.

                            Source: Business Insider

                            MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women’s vagina.


                            Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening if a woman is born with one at all.

                            Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.

                            Sources: Columbia University, College Humor

                            MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.

                            Vitamin A is a major nutrient found in carrots, and it is good for the health of your eyes especially those with poor vision. But eating a bunch of the vegetables won’t give your all-seeing superpowers.

                            The myth is thought to have started during as a piece of British propaganda during World War II. That government wanted to secret the existence of a radar technology that allowed its bomber pilots to attack in the night.

                            Source: Smithsonian Magazine

                            MYTH: Blonde and red hair colors are going extinct.

                            Blondes and redheads are not “going extinct.”

                            Genes rarely die out, and recessive genes, like those that lead to red or blonde hair color, can be carried from generation to generation without creating the hair color. (As much as 40% of some populations, for example, carry a gene that leads to red hair color.)

                            When two people with the correct recessive genes have a baby, there’s a good chance the kid will have red or blonde hair color even if the parents don’t have red or blonde hair themselves.

                            Sources: John McDonald/University of Delaware, BritainsDNA

                            MYTH: Pregnancy gives you “baby brain” and makes you dumb.

                            Studies on this turn up mixed results, at best.

                            Some studies on changes to working memory during pregnancy do show a small effect on the brain, though other studies show no negative impacts whatsoever.

                            There’s actually growing evidence that being pregnant makes women more organized and smarter, at least, according to a study on rats.

                            It makes sense, though, since pregnant women and new mothers have a lot more to worry about and think about for their brains to keep up they may even be getting a boost.

                            Sources: Dr. Myra Wick/Mayo Clinic, New Scientist

                            MYTH: Hair and nails keep growing after death.

                            Hair and fingernails do not keep growing once someone dies.

                            Instead, the skin dries out and shrinks, giving the appearance of further growth.

                            Sources: Lecture Notes: Dermatology, Tech Insider

                            MYTH: Humans can’t grow new brain cells.

                            You are not born with all of the brain cells you will ever have.

                            There is plenty of evidence that the brain continues to produce new cells in at least a few brain regions well into adulthood, through a process called neurogenesis.

                            Source: The Scientist

                            MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

                            MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

                            flicker user: slalit

                            There’s actually no such thing as a “photographic” memory only very good memories.

                            Even people with exceptional or autobiographic memories don’t recall events with visual details precise enough to mimic the fidelity of film or a camera sensor.

                            Source: Moments of Science

                            MYTH: People only use 10% of their brain.

                            MYTH: People only use 10% of their brain.

                            Getty Images/Matt Cardy

                            This myth has been debunked over and over again, but it just won’t die.

                            Just because you’re not doing math equations and juggling while you write a sonnet doesn’t mean you aren’t using all the parts of your brain at once.

                            You can use your entire brain, and you do the brain is 3% of the body’s mass but uses 20% of its energy.

                            Source: Scientific American

                            MYTH: “Left-brained” people are creative. “Right-brained” people are analytical.Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/its-time-for-these-101-ridiculous-science-facts-to-die/

                            The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit | Katrina Karkazis

                            In pressing their case on hyperandrogenic athletes the IAAF have ensured hostile scrutiny will always fall on women who defy norms imposed by the powerful

                            The image that will stay with me long after the last competitor leaves Rio this week is a decidedly un-Olympic one. Caster Semenya, the womens 800m gold medallist, extends her arms to fellow competitors Melissa Bishop of Canada and Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain. Sharp, who came in sixth, holds a tearful Bishop, who took fourth, in a tight embrace. Rather than respond to Semenya they remain in their embrace ignoring her. The photo was a sad endnote to one of the most vitriolic media and social media uproars I can recall, one in which the athletes were the casualties. And the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) did nothing to quell it.

                            In the month leading up the to the race, a cacophonous and spurious alarm sounded unfairly on Semenyas right to compete. She endured relentless hostility and a deluge of cruel harassment from both the traditional and online media, something she has been withstanding for the seven years since the IAAF confirmed it was investigating her. It was reported she was even provided with a security team in Rio due to concerns the hostility might turn violent.

                            Semenyas athleticism was attributed to a single molecule testosterone as though it alone earned her the gold, undermining at once her skill, preparation and achievement. South Africa as a nation has pushed back with #handsoffcaster, coming to the defence of one of the worlds most scrutinised athletes despite her having done nothing wrong and competing with the support of the court of arbitration for sport (Cas).

                            It didnt have to be this way. Instead of quashing the media storm, the IAAF aggravated it, continuing to fail in its articulation and management of the issue. On the eve of the Olympics, IAAF president Sebastian Coe said they would challenge the currently suspended policy that places a limit on a female athletes natural testosterone levels.

                            He then issued an additional 11th-hour avowal just before the 800m finals, which seemed to be timed specifically to cast doubt on Semenyas right to compete. He immediately followed this statement with a halfhearted and telling reminder that these are human beings, knowing full well that his comments would throw into question not only Semenyas participation but others too. A tinderbox was left smouldering, one breath of accusation was all that was needed to ignite the debate once more. Coe fomented an atmosphere that divided women athletes from their peers and even pitted them against each other.

                            So its no surprise that athletes such as Sharp, who have worked just as hard and sacrificed just as much, may feel frustrated and denied even though they werent, and how, in anger, grace failed them. In an outsized display of entitlement, the women made comments that called into question and eclipsed the entire podium, such as Polands Joanna Jozwik, who finished fifth between Bishop and Sharp, saying: Im glad Im the first European, the second white to cross the line. Its unsporting behaviour they will hopefully look back on and think better of.

                            Its impossible not to note the optics of this controversy the three black women from sub-Saharan Africa ebullient on the podium and the three white global north women feeling they should be there instead because they signify a great deal. Their polarised perspectives stem from the policy regarding hyperandrogenism and the asymmetry regarding who it burdens and who it benefits.

                            To be clear: the policy harms all women athletes. But its no secret that it disproportionately harms black and brown women from the global south. Women from the global north benefit from a policy in which the prevailing notion of fairness doesnt target them. Sharps comment about relying on the people at the top sorting it out further divulged as much.

                            The we here is key. For Semenya and others, the people at the top are not initiating policies that reflect their interests. Its a familiar pattern where those with power write policies benefiting the more powerful. Likewise when Sharp said, We know how each other feel, its easy to see how the Europeans awareness of each others views can reinforce feelings of injustice. The problem is that they dont know how the athletes being scrutinised feel and what seems unfair to them.

                            It is also clear the increased scrutiny is reserved for women perceived as not feminine enough, which is the bedrock of what is in the policies. For example, it is stated that: The individuals concerned often display masculine traits and have an uncommon athletic capacity in relation to their fellow female competitors. Gender variance has always incited scrutiny, and this scrutiny is often racialised. Living outside of these normative racialised gendered expectations means coming under scrutiny and probing in ways invisible to the institutions and individuals doing the looking.

                            This was not lost on many observers, including Semenya, who said: It is not about discriminating people and looking at people in terms of how they look, how they speak and how they have run Its not about being masculine. Its about sports.

                            If this were a simple case of sour grapes it would fade with few caring. But the stakes are far higher. The IAAF is going back to Cas to defend a policy that it accepts discriminates against women. A policy whose explicit aim is to make women slower. That benefits no one.

                            Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/23/caster-semenya-olympic-spirit-iaaf-athletes-women

                            Tad Cummins Sister Says Hes In Denial

                            The sister of Tad Cummins, the 50-year-old former teacher accused of abducting a 15-year-old girl in Tennessee, says her brother doesnt believe he kidnapped the teen.

                            I asked him why why would he do this and the answer he gave me is that she wanted to run away … and he didnt want her to go alone, Cummins older sister, Daphne Quinn, told NBC News in an interview that aired Monday on the Today show. And so, he went with her so that he could know that she was safe.

                            Authorities issued an Amber Alert for the teen after her parents reported her missing on March 13. At that time, authorities said they suspected Cummins, a former Culleoka Unit School health science teacher, had abducted her.

                            On April 20, the teenager and Cummins were found on the other side of the country, in a remote area of Siskiyou County, California. The cabin they were staying in at the time is more than 2,000 miles from where the search began.

                            Tad Cummins is seen in this booking photo after his arrest by the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department on April 20.

                            In addition to state charges, which include aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor, Cummins faces federal prosecution for transportation of a minor across state lines for the purpose of criminal sexual intercourse.

                            The charges filed against Cummins could keep him behind bars for many years, according to Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

                            Cummins wife filed for divorce earlier this month, amid the nationwide manhunt. Quinn said her brother has yet to grasp the gravity of the situation.

                            Hes repentant sounding and I think he would like to get his family back, but I think it just hasnt hit him yet that thats not going to happen, Quinn said on NBC. Hes just going to have to learn a new normal … and hes just going to have to deal with it.

                            Harrison McClary/Reuters
                            Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Mark Gwyn announces the arrest of Cummins.

                            The girls disappearance, according to police, came more than a month after a student reported seeing Cummins kiss her. When school officials questioned the girl about the incident, she allegedly denied that it happened. School officials waited until February to suspend Cummins. He was formally dismissed the day after the teen was reported missing.

                            More disturbing allegations in the case surfaced on Friday, when authorities released a copy of Cummins criminal complaint.

                            According to the investigative document, Cummins filled two prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medications before fleeing with the girl, and while on the run, purchased commonly used lubricant for sexual intercourse.

                            The affidavit further alleges investigators believe Cummins and the teen were involved in a sexual relationship and traveled in interstate commerce to continue their relationship and to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

                            Cummins is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face the federal charges. It remains unclear whether he will enter a plea during the proceeding.

                            Hes done this horrible thing that he has to pay for, but hes still my brother and I love him, Quinn said on NBC.

                            The victim in the case has since been reunited with her family.

                            She is being evaluated and treated by mental health experts specializing in trauma, family attorney Jason Whatley said in a Friday statement. There is no doubt that she has suffered severe emotional trauma and that her process of recovery is just beginning.

                            A portion of the statement family attorney Jason Whatley released Friday.

                            Whatley said he was taken aback by the girls appearance, which he said greatly differs from earlier photos that had been released to the media.

                            She is a little child, he said. She could easily pass for 12 … She is a little girl in every sense of the word. This was the abduction of an impressionable, little child.

                            David Lohr covers crime and missing persons. Tips? Feedback? Send an emailor follow him on Twitter.

                            Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tad-cummins-sister-says-hes-in-denial_us_58fe0ab5e4b06b9cb9189b70

                            Elton John cancels Las Vegas shows due to ‘potentially deadly’ infection

                            The singer announced he was pulling out of several shows after contracting a bacterial infection in South America that led to two nights in intensive care

                            Sir Elton John has pulled out of a series of concerts in Las Vegas due to an unusual bacterial infection he contracted in South America, which left him in intensive care.

                            The singer announced he was pulling out of the shows on Monday in a statement that explained that he spent two nights in intensive care and was released on 22 April after becoming ill on a flight to the UK from Chile.

                            During a recent, successful tour of South America, Elton contracted a harmful and unusual bacterial infection, the statement read.

                            During his return flight home from Santiago, Chile he became violently ill. Upon returning to the UK, Eltons doctors admitted him to hospital, where he underwent immediate treatment to remove the infection. After spending two nights in intensive care followed by an extended stay in hospital, Elton was released from hospital.

                            It added that the infection was rare and potentially deadly but that the stars medical team identified it quickly and that he is expected to make a full and complete recovery.

                            Elton John also added: I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologise for disappointing them. I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.

                            The affected shows were part of the Million Dollar Piano show and were due to take place at Caesars Palace in April and May, while another gig in Bakersfield, California, on 6 May was also cancelled.

                            The singer is expected to return for his scheduled gigs at Twickenham, in London on 3 June.

                            Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/apr/24/elton-john-cancels-concerts-las-vegas-bacteria-infection