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Posts Tagged ‘life’

Genomic Fossils Reveal Explosion of Life 3 Billion Years Ago

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 6:25 am

Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.5 billion years, but there is very little fossil record left for most of that time. However, two researchers have used modern genomes to look back in time and reconstruct the evolution of ancient cells.


Their work has revealed an explosion of life about 3 billion years ago, coinciding with the appearance of the chemical mechanism that makes possible two crucial processes – respiration and photosynthesis. [Scientists Hunt for Signs of the Earliest Life on Earth]


“What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms,” said one of the researchers, Eric Alm, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and biological engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He collaborated with Lawrence David, who received his doctorate from MIT and is now a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows.


To turn the clocks back, Alm and David used information about modern genomes in combination with their own mathematical model that took into account the ways genes evolve, such as, the creation and inheritance of new gene families and the loss of genes. Using this technique, they traced thousands of genes from 100 modern genomes back to those genes’ first appearance on Earth.


This genomic “fossil record” indicates that the collective genome of life expanded between 3.3 billion and 2.8 billion years ago. During this period, 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being. The pair dubbed this the Archean Expansion.


This expansion coincided with the development of modern electron transport, which is the biochemical process responsible for shuttling electrons within cellular membranes to make breathing oxygen and carrying out photosynthesis possible.


“Our results can’t say if the development of electron transport directly caused the Archean Expansion,” David said. “Nonetheless, we can speculate that having access to a much larger energy budget enabled the biosphere to host larger and more complex microbial ecosystems.”


After the Archean Expansion, about 2.5 billion years ago, the atmosphere filled with oxygen, a dramatic event in the history of life on Earth, called the Great Oxidation Event. A type of photosynthesis, made possible by electron transport, is believed to have driven the oxygenation of the atmosphere.


Alm and David detailed their findings online Dec. 19 in the journal Nature.


 

Source: SGGP

Average life expectancy of Vietnamese people 72.8 years

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2010 at 9:28 am

The average life expectancy of a Vietnamese person is now 72.8 years, Dr. Duong Quoc Trong, Director of the General Department of Population and Family Planning announced at a meeting in Hanoi on December 20.

The average life expectancy of a Vietnamese person is now 72.8 years, but the age that most people experience a healthy life is only up to 66

He said this at the meeting held to mark Vietnam’s Population Day, which is December 26.


Although the life span rose to 72.8 years old, the age that most people experience a healthy life is only up to 66. Vietnam is rank 116 over 182 nations in the world in the field.


However, most of the population is still faced with many challenges, such as low quality living and the imbalance of gender issues. During the year, 1.24 million babies were born, 4 percent less than in the same period last year.


In addition, the gender ratio in Vietnam was 106 boys per 103 girls. But now this has changed to 111 boys per 103 girls.


The number of the third child was 122,600, which is a 6 per cent decrease over the same period last year. Nevertheless, only nine provinces reported a third child, meanwhile 40 over 63 provinces, state that the newly born babies have decreased dramatically.


The factors that determine whether a population grows or falls includes rates of reproduction and survival of people and the longevity of the citizens.

Source: SGGP

Campaign to follow Uncle Ho’s moral life

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2010 at 2:50 pm




Campaign to follow Uncle Ho’s moral life


QĐND – Saturday, November 27, 2010, 21:42 (GMT+7)

The “Study and follow Ho Chi Minh’s moral example” campaign has made great impacts on society and gained important initial outcomes, said Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh.

The Party Chief, who is also the Head of the Central Steering Committee for the campaign, made the affirmation at the committee’s meeting in Hanoi on Nov. 26.

According to Manh, the campaign has continuously created clearer and stronger changes in work styles of Party members and State officials and raised their sense of following the late President’s example in the field.

The campaign has also helped drive back degradation in political ideology, ethics and lifestyle of Party members, State employees and the entire society, said the Party Chief.

He emphasised that the campaign had contributed significantly to the country’s accomplishment of socio-economic tasks as well as to building the Party purely and strongly and organising the party committee congresses at all levels successfully to prepare for the Party’s XIth National Congress.

Steering Committee members agreed that after four years of implementation, the campaign had become an important facet of all operations of the Party, the administration, and mass organisation at all levels, and made positive changes in awareness in Party members and people.

They also underlined the need to create a high level of consensus in the Party and the entire political system, firstly with those who hold key positions in all branches at all levels, on the significance, importance, goals, requirements, content and responsibility regarding the implementation of the drive.

In addition, they said the content of the campaign must be specific and combined closely with political tasks in each period and stressed the necessity to step up the spread of information on Uncle Ho’s moral example and outstanding individuals in the campaign.

Source: VNA


Source: QDND

Life Heritage Resort Hoi An hailed as one of Asia’s top ten resorts

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Canadian colonel gets life for sex attacks, murders

In Uncategorized on October 22, 2010 at 7:54 am

A Canadian judge imposed two life jail sentences on a top air force colonel, branding him a “sick and dangerous man” for a spree of murders, sexual assaults and burglaries.


Colonel Russell Williams, who once piloted a plane for the British royal family, broke down and sobbed as the two consecutive life terms were announced after he admitted killing two young women and coldly videotaping their murders.


Police arrested Williams in February for the disappearance and death of 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd, who was last heard from in January.


He was later charged with the November 2009 murder of Marie-France Comeau, a female corporal under his command at the Trenton military base.

A Canadian fighter jet inside a hangar.

Williams was also charged with two home invasions in which women were confined and sexually assaulted, and 82 counts of burglary and attempted breaking-and-entering in the Ontario cities of Ottawa, Belleville and Tweed.


A stash of women’s undergarments taken by police from his Ottawa residence was linked to the burglaries near his home and job.


Hundreds of photographs and videos of the sexual assaults and murders were also found on his home computer.


Throughout the week, the court heard horrific evidence and Williams’s chilling confession to police of how he repeatedly raped Lloyd and Comeau over several hours before strangling one and taping the other’s mouth and nostrils closed to watch her suffocate.


Williams, 47, had commanded Canada’s busiest air force base, the 437 Squadron in Trenton, east of Toronto, for more than a year prior to his arrest.


He had only met Comeau once prior to her death. She was working as a flight attendant on a military flight. But as her boss, he knew her schedule and that she lived alone.


On the night of November 23, 2009, he left his office at the military base, broke into her home through a basement window and attacked her. They struggled. He beat her nearly unconscious with a flashlight, tied her up and covered all of the windows in the house.


She pleaded with him: “I don’t want to die. Leave me alone. I don’t want to die.”


Afterwards, Williams washed her bed sheets and drove directly to Ottawa for a meeting with military brass.


He would later send a signed letter of condolence on behalf of the Canadian Forces to Comeau’s father, a 45-year veteran of the military.


Williams took an interest in his second victim, Lloyd, after spotting her once on a treadmill through a window as he was driving by her house.


Over a 24-hour period, he kept her confined and took more than 900 lurid photographs of her while raping her.


Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Scott described Williams as a “sick and dangerous man” as he handed down the most severe sentence available under Canadian law.


Williams will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.

“Russell Williams will forever be remembered as a sadosexual serial killer, (and)… Canada’s bright shining lie,” he said. “The depths of the depravity shown by Russell Williams have no equal.”

The disgraced colonel apologized for the pain and suffering he caused, for “violating people’s intimate privacy” and betraying his family, friends and military colleagues.

Most of the break-ins occurred at night, and at least once while he wore his military uniform.

“Your Honour, I stand before you ashamed of the crimes I’ve committed,” he said. “I deeply regret what I’ve done, and the harm I’ve caused with these despicable crimes.”

Outside the courtroom, prosecutor Lee Burgess described Williams as “one of the worst offenders in Canadian history.”

“As long as he dies in jail, I’m happy,” said Andy Lloyd, the brother of one of Williams’ victims.

Before overseeing the repatriation of dead soldiers from Afghanistan, Haiti relief flights and Arctic search and rescue from the Trenton military base, Williams was in charge of Canada’s secretive Camp Mirage in Dubai.

The married pilot also flew the jet used to ferry Canada’s prime minister as well as the British royal family on a visit.

“I guess we still don’t understand the why, and this is something that troubles Canadians at large as it troubles those who have known this individual,” said Chief of the Air Staff Lieutenant-General Andre Deschamps.

“How could we have known? What could we have done differently? I’m not sure we’ll ever get answers to that,” he said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada’s military has been “very badly wounded and betrayed” by this “horrific series of events.”

Source: SGGP

Australian father gets life for drowning three sons

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

SYDNEY (AFP) – An Australian man was sentenced to life in jail Friday for murdering his three young sons by driving his car into a reservoir and leaving them inside.


Robert Farquharson had denied deliberately killing the boys, who were aged two, seven and 10, on Fathers’ Day 2005, saying he lost control of the car after blacking out during a coughing fit.

File photo shows police outside the Supreme Court in Melbourne. AFP

But a Victoria Supreme Court jury rejected his story. In sentencing him, Justice Lex Lasry said Farquharson had subjected his children to a terrifying death while his actions had devastated a number of people.


“Primary among them is your ex-wife Cindy Gambino, the mother of these three children,” Lasry said, adding that the tragedy of the case “almost defies imagination”.


Farquharson was returning home from a Fathers’ Day visit with Jai, 10, Tyler, 7, and two-year-old Bailey in September 2005 when he drove into the reservoir in southern Victoria state.


He managed to swim to the surface but the children, trapped by their seatbelts, drowned. Their mother Cindy Gambino said no sentence would ever be enough.


“I have a life sentence, so should he,” she said outside court.


Farquharson, who will not be eligible for parole for 33 years, is expected to appeal.

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Source: SGGP

Photo exhibitions of life in big cities

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2010 at 3:22 pm

A photo exhibition titled “Colors of life” featuring around 65 pictures of Chinese Vietnamese photographer Tran Quan Lai is being held at the Ho Chi Minh City Photography Association’s office.

                      A photo is on the display “Colors of life”

It is the fourth solo exhibition of the photographer at the age of 72. He has spent 35 years for taking art works of the land and people in the country.

The display will run until August 20 at 122 Suong Nguyet Anh Street in Ho Chi Minh City.

 

In addition, another exhibition called “Hanoi in me” opened at the Information and Exhibition House, 45 Trang Tien Street, Hanoi on August 17.

Photo titled “In front of the statue of King Ly Thai To” in the exhibition “Hanoi in me”

The display introduces to audiences 90 color, black and white pictures of the landscapes and daily activities of the people in the capital.

They are selected from photos which have been taken since 2000 by Tat Binh who was born and grow up in Hanoi.

The show is organized by the Hanoi Information and Exhibition Center and Hong Ha Photography Club.

Source: SGGP

Natural disasters caused heavy losses in life and property

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 at 7:18 pm




Natural disasters caused heavy losses in life and property


QĐND – Sunday, August 01, 2010, 21:10 (GMT+7)

The first and second tropical storms in July, Conson and Chanthu, caused great losses of human lives and resources, and seriously impacted production and the daily lives of the local people.


The General Statistics Office (GSO) says that the natural disasters have left 40 dead and missing and caused a total of VND1,300 billion in property damage. The northern port city of Hai Phong suffered most, with a material loss of about VND1,200 billion.


According to a preliminary report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), more than 100 houses collapsed and about 1,900 more were partially damaged, while nearly 13,000 hectares of rice and other crops were damaged or washed away.


Each year, about 750 people are killed or go missing in Vietnam due to natural disasters, and an estimated 1.5 percent of the nation’s GDP in property is lost. Functional agencies need to increase their forecasting and warning capacity for floods and storms and make more joint efforts in responding to natural disasters.


The Central Steering Committee for Flood and Storm Prevention and the National Committee for Search and Rescue should draw up flexible plans to help local people cope with natural calamities to minimise human and material losses.


Source: VOV


Source: QDND

Only 10 percent Vietnamese babies breastfed exclusively during first six months of life

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 7:20 am

Only 10 percent of children in Vietnam are breastfed exclusively during the first six months of life. This situation calls for urgent action to promote breastfeeding, particularly by healthcare providers and communities in Vietnam.

Breastfeeding exclusively during the first six months of life plays an important role in babies and infants’ lives.  


The Ministry of Health, the United Nations and the Alive & Thrive initiative co-organized a press conference to launch World Breastfeeding Week 2010 (WBW) and the “call for action” is just part of WBW.

Deputy Health Minister Nguyen Ba Thuy stressed breastfeeding is the most complete form of nutrition for infants and small children during the first six months of life, only 10 percent of children in Vietnam are breastfed exclusively during this critical period of their lives and only 55 percent of Vietnamese mothers initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth.

The main reasons cited for delayed initiation of breastfeeding are a belief that mothers’ breast milk production is inadequate; C-section deliveries; separation of mother and child immediately after birth; insufficient counselling from healthcare providers due to busy schedules; and the availability of milk formula.

Research has also found that feeding infants with water after breastfeeding is a popular practice in both urban and rural areas of Vietnam (‘exclusive breastfeeding’ means infants receive no food or drink other than breast milk unless doctor ordered).

Some mothers believe that they lack sufficient breast milk to adequately nourish their children up to six months and often begin to supplement breast milk with formula milk and/or other foods at around four months of age. For those employed in the formal sector (20-30 percent of all mothers), the need to return to work after four months of maternity leave poses a challenge to continued exclusive breastfeeding. Lack of support from family members and health workers is another barrier to mothers exclusively breastfeeding their children.

Themed “Breastfeeding: Just 10 Steps, the Baby-Friendly Way,” World Breastfeeding Week this year aims to highlight the vital role that healthcare workers and facilities play in promoting breastfeeding. It calls for every health facility providing maternity services and care for newborn infants to provide support to mothers in breastfeeding using the ten steps.


The ten steps to successful breastfeeding were first presented in the 1989 WHO/UNICEF Joint Statement on the Protection, Promotion and Support of Breastfeeding: The Special Role of Maternity Services. Since then UNICEF and WHO have called for the implementation of the ten steps to successful breastfeeding in all maternity facilities because health workers play a critical role in influencing mothers’ decisions on how to feed their infants and young children.

WBW is celebrated in more than 120 countries to encourage breastfeeding as an important way to improve the health and development of infants and young children.


Efforts to encourage better breastfeeding practices in Vietnam are part of a national program on children and mother’s care to help ensure that children grow and reach their full potential. The country’s “Child Survival Action Plan” has set out the goal to achieve a 50 percent exclusive breastfeeding rate across the country by 2015.


The Ministry of Health will work closely with line ministries and mass media outlets to achieve the goal, recognizing that without improving breastfeeding rates and child nutrition would jeopardize attaining the Millennium Development Goals in Vietnam.

Source: SGGP

AIDS charity Life Ball raises 1.5 mln euros

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2010 at 11:17 am

VIENNA, July 22, 2010 (AFP) – Vienna’s glitzy AIDS charity Life Ball last weekend raised 1.5 million euros (1.9 million dollars) for international and national HIV and AIDS projects, organisers said Thursday.


This year’s event on the square in front of the Austrian capital’s neo-Gothic Town Hall and attended by former US president Bill Clinton and Hollywood actress Whoopi Goldberg was marred by heavy thunder storms and cloudbursts.


“If the weather had been better, the amount of money raised would probably have been even higher,” commented organiser Gery Keszler.


Nevertheless, tens of thousands of gays, lesbians, drag queens and their friends, all dressed in outrageous costumes, paid between 75-150 euros for a ticket to the 18th annual fashion-show-cum-party event, aimed as a brilliant and dazzling pendant to Vienna’s stiff and haughty Opera Ball much earlier in the year.

Picture shows new HIV protection gel for women on July 21, 2010 during the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna.AFP PHOTO

Also in Vienna, the 18th World AIDS conference, which runs until Friday, is being attended by some 25,000 experts, health professionals and policy makers to discuss progress in fighting AIDS and look at ways to provide further prevention and treatment against the HIV virus which causes it.

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Source: SGGP