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Posts Tagged ‘risk’

Two hours of TV-watching boosts heart risk

In Uncategorized on January 12, 2011 at 7:09 am

People who spend more than two hours per day of leisure time watching television or sitting in front of a screen face double the risk of heart disease and higher risk of dying, a new study said.

Researchers said the effect was seen regardless of how much people exercised, indicating that how we choose to spend our free time away from work has a huge impact on our overall health.

“It is all a matter of habit. Many of us have learned to go back home, turn the TV set on and sit down for several hours — it’s convenient and easy to do,” said Emmanuel Stamatakis, expert in epidemiology and public health at University College London.

“But doing so is bad for the heart and our health in general,” said Stamatakis, who along with the other study authors is advocating public health guidelines to warn of the risks of being inactive during non-work hours.

A family watching TV. People who spend more than two hours per day of leisure time watching television or sitting in front of a screen face double the risk of heart disease and higher risk of dying, a new study has shown

Such warnings are urgent, “especially as a majority of working age adults spend long periods being inactive while commuting or being slouched over a desk or computer,” said the study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Researchers studied data from 4,512 adults who took part in the Scottish Health Survey of households.

The information on screen time came from self-reported data about TV or DVD watching, leisure time computer use and playing video games.

When scientists compared people who reported spending less than two hours a day in front of screen-based entertainment to those who spent four or more hours per day, they found a 48 percent higher risk of death from any cause.

In those spending just two or more hours per day in front of screen after work, they also found a 125 percent higher risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack.

“These associations were independent of traditional risk factors such as smoking, hypertension, BMI (body mass index), social class, as well as exercise,” the study noted.

However researchers were able to make associations between the levels of inflammation and cholesterol in sedentary people.

“One fourth of the association between screen time and cardiovascular events was explained collectively by C-reactive protein (CRP), body mass index, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol,” said the study.

CRP, an indicator of low-grade inflammation, was about twice as high in people who spent more than four hours of free time daily in front of a screen compared to people who spent less than two hours a day.

Stamatakis said he intends to continue to study how prolonged sitting impacts human health and how lifestyle changes could be advocated to reduce the amount of time people spend inactive.

Source: SGGP

Some 200,000 at risk of cholera in Haiti, U.N. says

In Uncategorized on November 13, 2010 at 9:23 am

Mullen says WikiLeaks release puts lives at risk

In Uncategorized on October 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

WASHINGTON, Oct 24, 2010 (AFP) – The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has condemned a new release of Iraq war documents by the group WikiLeaks, saying it was putting lives at risk.

Iraqi soldiers from the Ministry of Defence sit along side blindfolded detainees in the back of a pick-up truck, as they drive along a road in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on October 24, 2010, a day after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended the unauthorised release of 400,000 classified US military documents on the war in Iraq. AFP

“Another irresponsible posting of stolen classified documents by WikiLeaks puts lives at risk and gives adversaries valuable information,” Mullen said in a one-sentence posting on the website Twitter late Saturday.

On Friday, WikiLeaks released 400,000 classified US military documents on the war in Iraq, saying they revealed the “truth” about the conflict.

The mass of documents from 2004 to 2009 offer a grim snapshot of the conflict, especially of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.

Source: SGGP

W.Bank: Rising Asian currencies pose growth risk

In Uncategorized on October 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm

The World Bank warned Tuesday that capital inflows into fast-growing East Asian economies have inflated regional currencies and could threaten growth by making exports less competitive.

“Appreciating exchange rates so far have not crippled the recovery, but further appreciation will bear close watching,” said the World Bank, pointing out that regional currencies are 10-15 percent above pre-2008 crisis levels.

A bank employee counts notes in Hanoi, Vietnam.

“So far, export growth has remained robust, but with continued real appreciation of East Asian currencies this growth could slow,” a report said.

The World Bank report came as fears grow of a “currency war”, in which nations, trying to export their way back to economic health, are seeking to cap or lower their currencies to make their goods more competitive.

The bank urged regional debate at a Hanoi summit this month, saying “the issues need to be discussed in the context of ASEAN and ASEAN+6, where member countries could fashion a common approach to these regional challenges.”

Source: SGGP

‘No risk’ of currency war: Geithner

In Uncategorized on October 13, 2010 at 8:10 am

There is “no risk” of a global currency war erupting, despite recent currency interventions by nations ranging from Japan to Colombia, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said.

Geithner acknowledged in an interview on “The Charlie Rose Show” broadcast on Bloomberg TV that Brazil has made reference to the possibility, but he brushed aside fears.

“They used that phrase,” Geithner said. However “there is no risk of that.” Geithner’s comments came despite a failure this weekend by the world’s top finance officials meeting in Washington to reach a consensus on measures that could head off a potential currency battle.

A Chinese bank worker counts US dollar notes alongside stacks of 100-yuan notes in central China’s Anhui province

In a statement, the International Monetary and Financial Committee — the policy arm of the IMF — on Saturday stopped short of any specific call on China or others to change policies of using a low currency and accumulation of reserves to boost exports.

The International Monetary Fund steering committee, which has been struggling to address friction among key economies including China and the United States, noted “tensions and vulnerabilities” due to “widening global imbalances” but said the organization should continue to study the situation

Geithner on Saturday said the IMF “must strengthen its surveillance of exchange rate policies and reserve accumulation practices,” adding that “excess reserve accumulation on a global scale is leading to serious distortions in the international monetary and financial system.”

Recent IMF figures showed Beijing had currency reserves of 2.447 trillion dollars, the largest in the world and nearly 30 percent of the global total.

Washington maintains that China purchases large amounts of dollars to keep the yuan artificially low, which distorts global trade by boosting Chinese exports.

Source: SGGP

US aid arrives as Russia says no nuclear risk from fires

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

The first planeloads of US aid for the Russian wildfire tragedy arrived in Moscow on Saturday as officials said a fire raging close to a top nuclear facility did not risk causing an atomic catastrophe.

Officials said that nationwide the area alight with fires was almost a quarter that of a week ago, although there appeared to be little progress in reducing the size of the blaze close to Russia’s main nuclear research centre in Sarov.

Two US Air Force C-130 planes carrying aid for Russia touched down early Saturday at a Moscow airport, followed by a charter flight from California ordered by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, state television and the foreign ministry said.

Two additional C-130 flights were expected in the “next days”, the Russian foreign ministry said. Another charter was also due in the coming week.

A Russian man attempts to put out a blaze some 155 kms south of Moscow in Shatura on August 13.

“We will always remember this gesture, this arm that was extended to us at a very difficult time,” the deputy head of the international department of the Russian emergencies ministry, Valery Shuikov, said at the Vnukovo airport.

According to the US State Department, the total value of the support from Russia’s Cold War-era ex-foe is around 4.5 million dollars.

The emergencies ministry said there were still 480 fires in Russia covering an area of 56,000 hectares (138,500 acres), a quarter of the area of almost 200,000 hectares (495,000 acres) reported at the peak of the crisis and down around 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) from Friday.

“At the current moment the situation with the wildfires has improved considerably,” said Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu in a statement on the ministry’s website.

“The weather has not helped us. Everything has been done by the emergency services, the interior ministry, the defence ministry and volunteers.”

Along with Sarov, fires have also raged close to another research centre in the town of Snezhensk and the Mayak nuclear reprocessing site, both in the Urals, but the authorities appear to have controlled those fires.

“There are no threats from the forest fires to potentially dangerous sites. Potentially dangerous sites are reliably protected,” said Shoigu.

The head of Russia’s Rosatom nuclear agency, Sergei Kiriyenko, told reporters that the fire that has been menacing the Sarov centre, 500 kilometres (310 miles) east of Moscow, for the past two weeks does not risk causing a nuclear disaster.

“We can say today for sure that there is no nuclear risk, no radioactive threat and that there is not even an ecological threat on Sarov territory,” Kiriyenko told Russian media.

“We pushed back an attack from the west side two weeks ago. Now the fire is coming from the east… and it continues to burn. Nevertheless, the situation on the eastern side has ceased to be critical,” he said.

Kiriyenko said radioactive and explosive materials had been removed a second time from the Sarov centre because of the threat of the flames, which approached the perimetre of the installation on Friday before being brought turned back.

The Mordovia region emergencies ministry said the fire in a neighbouring nature reserve that threatens Sarov, a town still closed to foreigners as in Soviet times, covers 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) and is still not under control.

Thousands of firefighters have been sent to the reserve to put out the flames.

Kiriyenko said that if the winds shift the Sarov centre could come under threat once again from the fires in the nature reserve.

“Until (the fires are) put out there, Sarov remains at risk,” he said.

The fires have been sparked by the worst heatwave in Russia’s history, which destroyed one-quarter of its crops and last week blanketed Moscow in a toxic smog that has raised major concern for public health.

There have also been fears the fires could stir up particles on land in western Russia still contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster but officials have said radiation is normal throughout the country.

Source: SGGP

Leaked Afghan war files a ‘dangerous’ risk: Gates

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said leaked US documents on the Afghan war posed grave risks for Americans in battle and for US relationships in the region.

Gates vowed the Pentagon will “aggressively investigate” and prosecute those behind the leak and had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help in the probe.

The leak of 92,000 classified documents by the website WikiLeaks contained no surprises and did not call into question the US strategy in the Afghan war, Gates and the US military’s top officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, told a press conference.

Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website ‘WikiLeaks’, speaks during a press event in London

Gates, however, said “the battlefield consequences of the release of these documents are potentially severe and dangerous for our troops, our allies and Afghan partners, and may well damage our relationships and reputation in that key part of the world.”

The leak exposed sources and methods for US intelligence agencies and allowed US adversaries to learn about military tactics and procedures, said Gates, clearly angry over the episode.

The founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, has defended the release of the files, saying he hoped it would spark a debate about the war and that his site had checked for named informants before distributing the papers.

But Admiral Mullen said there were better ways to question the war and that Assange may have blood on his hands.

“Mr Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing, but the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family,” he said.

Gates promised a thorough probe to find out how the “massive breach” occurred, to identify who was responsible, and to assess what information was compromised.

The military will take additional steps to protect classified information and to safeguard the lives of US service members as well as Afghans possibly endangered by the leaks, Gates said.

The unprecedented leak jeopardized the trust vital to gathering intelligence in the field, said Gates, a former CIA director.

“We have considerable repair work to do,” to fix relations damaged by the leak, he said.

“That is one of the worst aspects of this, as far as I’m concerned. Will people trust us?

“Will people’s whose lives are on the line trust us to keep their identities secret? Will other governments trust us to keep their documents and their intelligence secret?”

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Thursday condemned the release of the documents, saying it could endanger the lives of Afghans cooperating with the US-led force.

Gates declined to comment on a Wall Street Journal report that authorities had evidence linking an army soldier, already accused of leaking a classified video from Iraq, to the leaked Afghan war documents.

Private First Class Bradley Manning was charged earlier this month with illegally releasing a video of a helicopter attack as well as State Department documents.

The Pentagon chief said the leak will force the military to review how it shares intelligence with soldiers on the battlefield.

In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has worked to ensure soldiers deployed on the front line had the latest intelligence, entrusting troops with sensitive information.

“We want those soldiers in a forward operating base to have all the information they possibly can have that impacts on their own security, but also being able to accomplish their mission,” Gates said.

He said he would be discussing with commanders in Afghanistan and Iraq whether to “change the way we approach that, or do we continue to take the risk.”

Source: SGGP

Historical sites at risk for damage, transgression

In Uncategorized on July 5, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Many of Ho Chi Minh City’s historical sites have been severely damaged and denigrated, experts said at seminars on “searching and preserving value of historical sites,” and “planning, preserving and promoting value of historical sites in HCMC within 2010 and 2010,” held by the municipal Department of Culture, Sport and Tourism.

Phung Son (or Chu Go) Pagoda on 3/2 Street has been transgressed by pavement cafes.  (Photo: Sggp)

Surveys have shown that historical sites including Phung Son and Giac Vien pagodas in District 11, Hung Loi pottery-kiln in District 8 and others are being used, controlled, transgressed and otherwise misused. People have occupied the land illegally for living, trading or storing.

The city now has 73 artful edifices, whose architecture dates back hundreds of years, which have been damaged due to time and weather.

It is not easy to restore ancient constructions. Apart from the need for major capital, experts have to focus on the risk of losing their specific historical and cultural traits.

Streets built in 1872 have been broken down for the construction of buildings and trade centers. Hai Thuong Lan Ong in District 5 is now the only remaining ancient street in Ho Chi Minh City.

The municipal government and functional departments should plan the city in accordance with the Cultural Heritage Law to preserve ancient artful architecture, said scientists.

Source: SGGP

Over 200 rare aquatic species at high risk of extinction

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2010 at 4:33 am

A book just released by the government says that 234 precious marine species are in danger of extinction in Vietnam due to over-fishing, according to material released at a press conference in Hanoi June 14.

Black coral is disappearing from Vietnam waters. (Filed photo)

The book, “Atlas of Precious Aquatic Species at High Risk of Extinction in Vietnam,” was published and released by the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development’s General Directorate of Fisheries on that day.

According to Chu Tien Vinh, vice director of the General Directorate of Fisheries, the country’s aquatic resources have been overexploited recently. Many precious aquatic species are seriously threatened by extinction, mostly due to illegal fishing.

To date, Vietnam has around 130,000 fishing boats used to exploit the country’s waters.

But decreasing the number of fishing boats to protect resources would make life difficult for fishermen and their families, said Vinh, arguing that precious aquatic specious therefore had to be better protected and regenerated

Vinh also mentioned a major sea preservation project aiming to establish 16 sea preservation areas by 2015.

Plans to develop a system of inland water area conservation parks through 2020 call for the building of 45 inland water area conservation parks in 63 provinces and cities nationwide, he added.

 The project aims to protect and develop fishery resources and water ecosystems, Vinh said.

Source: SGGP

New ash risk closes British, Irish airspace

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2010 at 8:36 am

LONDON, May 5, 2010 (AFP) – Britain and Ireland were closing parts of their airspace Wednesday after a fresh cloud of ash arrived from the Icelandic volcano that caused air travel chaos in Europe last month.

British regulators ordered an airspace shutdown over parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland from 7:00 am (0600 GMT) for 12 hours for most affected airports, warning that high ash levels could damage plane engines.

Passengers wait at Belfast City Airport as flights are delayed due to volcanic ash in Northern Ireland, on May 4, 2010. AFP photo

“Forecasts show that levels of ash in the atmosphere over Scotland and Northern Ireland will exceed the concentrations that engine manufacturers have agreed are safe for operations,” said Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“Unfortunately, this means that the CAA anticipates all Scottish and Northern Ireland airports will be closed from 07:00 local time (Wednesday).”

According to meteorologists, the cloud over Britain had “increased in density as ash emissions from the Icelandic volcano… have become stronger,” said the air watchdog in a statement.

Irish aviation chiefs meanwhile said restrictions would be introduced at some airports from 8:00 am (0700 GMT).

The new shutdowns followed a closure of Irish, Northern Irish and some Scottish airspace for several hours Tuesday, which caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights and travel misery for thousands of passengers.

Airspace across Europe was closed for up to a week last month after the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjoell volcano, but was re-opened after emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

The CAA said some Scottish airports, including Glasgow, would likely be closed for 12 hours until 7:00 pm (1800 GMT).

In Northern Ireland, Derry airport would shut down early Wednesday for 12 hours, and airports in Belfast would only close later in the day, said the air safety watchdog.

Other airports were also at risk of closure, including Edinburgh and some in the northwest of England, said the regulator.

But regulators did not indicate that the ash was an imminent threat to airports further south, including London Heathrow, Europe’s busiest air hub.

In Ireland, restrictions would be brought in from 8:00 am (0700 GMT) at airports in the northwest, followed by Dublin at 11:00 am (1000 GMT).

After a cloud from the Iceland volcano last month caused the biggest aerial shutdown in Europe since World War II, ash once again grounded flights in British airspace late Monday.

Aviation chiefs grounded flights over the Outer Hebrides, a group of islands off Scotland’s northwest coast, before extending the flight ban to Northern Ireland for several hours early Tuesday.

The Irish Aviation Authority also grounded flights into and out of Ireland for several hours Tuesday.

Both air authorities cleared flights to resume from 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), but new restrictions for Wednesday were announced just several hours later.

Tuesday’s airspace closures came on the same day European Union transport ministers met in Brussels to discuss last month’s shutdown as the new ash cloud hovered over Ireland.

A notable absence was Irish Transport Minister Noel Dempsey — unable to fly to the meeting because of the new ash cloud chaos.

Meanwhile Irish airline Aer Lingus said the flight ban last month had cost it about 20 million euros (26 million dollars), while warning that “the final cost will depend on the actual level of customer claims.”

The Association of British Insurers estimated Tuesday that the travel chaos caused by the ash had cost insurers around 62 million pounds (94 million dollars, 72 million euros).

Eurocontrol, the continent’s air traffic control co-ordinator, said more than 100,000 flights to, from and within Europe had been cancelled between April 15 and 21, preventing an estimated 10 million passengers from travelling.

Source: SGGP