SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A pregnant woman's exposure to outdoor air pollution may increase the risk of her baby being born at a lower birth weight, according to a large multinational study.
Researchers from 14 sites in nine countries, including Seoul, South Korea; Atlanta; and Vancouver, British Columbia, compiled the average levels of particulate air pollution to which women were exposed during the course of their pregnancy. Sources of particulate air pollution include traffic exhaust, power plants and even dust.
Researchers then looked at the birth weights of infants that were carried to term. Altogether, researchers analyzed data from roughly 3 million pregnancies and births, making this the largest study to date to assess the relationship between maternal air pollution exposure and low birth weight.
The researchers found that for every 10-microgram increase of pollution particles per cubic meter of air, birth weight decreased by 8.9 grams, roughly one-third of an ounce, and infants were 3 percent more likely to be a low birth weight. An infant is considered low birth weight if he or she weighs less than 5 pounds 8 ounces at birth.
Low birth weight is a known risk factor for infant mortality as well as heart, breathing and behavior problems later in life.
Pollution levels at study sites ranged from approximately 10 to 70 micrograms per cubic meter of air. "These are definitely exposures that people would have in many places around the world," said study author Tracey Woodruff, Ph.D., a reproductive health scientist in the division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center. "This study increases our confidence that the impact of air pollution on birth weight is real."
The study, led by Dr. Payam Dadvand at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology in Barcelona, Spain, was published today in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Previous studies assessing the relationship between maternal exposure to air pollution and a variety of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm birth, stillbirth and congenital abnormalities, have turned up mixed results. While some of the studies have found a strong association between outdoor air pollution and fetal growth, others have not.
The authors of this latest study cannot say for sure whether the lower birth weights were due to air pollution levels or some other factor that they were unable to fully account for, such as the mother's socioeconomic status and whether or not she smoked, two variables that have been linked to low birth weight in previous studies.
In the study, infants were considered full-term if their mother's pregnancy was 37 to 42 weeks. As a result, some babies were up to six weeks older than others at delivery, which could partially explain the results, according to the researchers. A fetus can gain up to eight ounces a week during the last weeks of pregnancy.
"The clinical significance of these changes in birth weight remains unclear," said Carrie Breton, Ph.D., an environmental epidemiologist at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Because the changes were small, it is difficult to interpret what the study results would mean for an individual pregnancy, she added. Breton was not involved in the new study.
Still, the fact that the researchers found a small but consistent shift in birth weight across so many pregnancies shows there is something significant going on at the population level, according to Virginia Guidry, Ph.D., who studies the impact of air pollution on children’s respiratory health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Guidry was not involved in the study.
"This study indicates that birth weight should be considered when air pollution policies are made," she said.
Nobody knows for sure exactly how a mother's air pollution exposure may influence her infant's birth weight. Some scientists hypothesize that air pollution can affect the attachment of the fetus to the placenta, the organ that connects the growing child to the wall of the uterus and allows nutrients to pass between the mother and fetus.
Air pollution may also stress the mother's body, which could affect fetal growth, said Woodruff. Particulate air pollution has been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes in adults, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
It's impossible to say from this study what impact reducing personal air pollution exposure may have on individual pregnancies. However, "there are so many studies showing the negative health effects of air pollution that it is always a good idea to try to reduce exposure when possible," said Guidry.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that people reduce their exposure to air pollution particles by avoiding strenuous exercise outdoors in areas and at times when air pollution is high. Local air quality conditions and forecasts can be viewed at airnow.gov.
Last August, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., struck down a rule imposed by the EPA that was designed to curb the spread of harmful emissions from power plants across state lines.-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Fox News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – According to IQNA’s branch in Europe, the program will be attended by representatives of Islamic organizations, religious scholars and intellectuals from different parts of Russia, lecturers and students of Islamic educational institutes of the country, officials of Moscow Municipality and diplomats from Islamic countries residing in Moscow.
Tawasheeh (choral religious song) groups from Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kyrgyzstan will perform programs on the auspicious occasion. - www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- Mary had withdrawn into the temple of prayer, where she was visited by the angel Gabriel (Arabic: Jibrail) to give the glad tidings of a holy son.
The Qur'an states that God sent the message through the angel Gabriel to Mary that God had honoured Mary among the women of all nations. The angel also told Mary that she will give birth to a holy son, named Jesus, who will be a great prophet, to whom God will give the Gospel. The angel further told Mary that Jesus will speak in infancy and maturity and will be a companion to the most righteous. When this news was given to Mary, she asked the angel how she can to conceive and have a baby when no man has touched her? The reply of the angel to Mary was, " "Even so: Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, 'Be,' and it is!". The Qur'an, therefore, states that Jesus was created from the act of God's will. The Qur'an compares this miraculous creation of Jesus with the creation of Adam (Adem), where God created Adam by His act of will (kun-fa-yakun, meaning "Be and it is"). According to the Qur'an, the same answer was given to the question of Zechariah, when he asked how his wife, Elizabeth, could conceive a baby as she was very old.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The U.S. birth rate dropped to its lowest level in more than 90 years, led by a drop among immigrants, according to a report data released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
In 2011, the overall birth rate was 63.2 per 1,000 women of childbearing age, the lowest since at least 1920, Pew reported, citing numbers from the National Center for Health Statistics. The birth rate reached 122.7 in 1957, the peak of the Baby Boom. After the mid-1970s, the birth rate stabilized at about 65 to 70 births per 1,000 women annually, until the beginning of the Great Recession.
Since 2007, both the U.S. birth rate (the number of live births per 1,000 women ages 15-44) and the number of births have dropped significantly, according to the report.
Overall, the birth rate declined 8 percent from 2007 to 2010. Among U.S.-born women, the birth rate dropped 6 percent. The decline among foreign-born women was 14 percent. Among Mexican women, the birth rate fell even more, to 23 percent.
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Despite the recent decline, foreign-born moms continue to give birth to a disproportionate share of the country’s babies, the report said. In 2010, immigrants represented about 13 percent of the U.S. population while foreign-born mothers accounted for 23 percent of all births.
After 2007, the number of U.S. births, which had been rising since 2002, fell abruptly, according to the report. This decrease was also led by immigrant women. Overall the number of births between 2007 and 2010 dropped 7 percent, pulled down by a 13-percent drop in births to immigrants. By comparison, births to U.S.-born women dropped only 5 percent.
The Pew researchers attributed that drop to a change in behavior (the falling birth rates) rather than a change in the number of women (those born in the U.S. or immigrants) of childbearing age.
An earlier Pew report attributed the recent fertility decline to “economic distress.” The study showed that states with the largest economic declines between 2007 and 2008 were most likely to experience relatively large fertility declines the following year.
Hispanic women - both those born in and those born outside the U.S. - experienced larger birth-rate declines from 2007 to 2010 than other groups. They also experienced greater percentage declines in household wealth than white, black, or Asian households between 2005 and 2009, according to the report. Latinos also experienced a greater rise in poverty and unemployment than non-Latinos after the Great Recession began.
The recent decline in births to foreign-born moms reversed a trend in which immigrant women accounted for a rising share of the country’s births, according to the report. In 2007, immigrant mothers accounted for a quarter of all U.S. births, compared to 16 percent in 1990. By 2010, foreign-born moms accounted for 23 percent of all births.
Despite the drop-off among the foreign-born, Pew population projections indicate that immigrants who arrived since 2005 and their descendants will account for 82 percent of U.S. population growth by 2050. Even taking the recent decline in immigration into account, new immigrants and their descendants are still expected to lead most of the nation’s population increase by mid-century, according to the report.
- The majority of births (66 percent) to U.S.-born women were to white mothers. That share has dropped since 1990 when it was 72 percent. The majority of births to foreign-born mothers were to Hispanic moms.
- Teen mothers make up a greater share of births among U.S.-born women (11 percent in 2010) than foreign-born mothers (5 percent).
- Mothers ages 35 and older make up a higher share of births to immigrants (21 percent in 2010) than to moms born in the U.S. (13 percent). Mothers born outside the country accounted for more than a third of births to women ages 35 and older that year.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) - Angola's post-war economy is booming and its capital, Luanda, is the most expensive city in the world after Tokyo.
Although the country is Africa's second-biggest oil producer, most Angolans live on less than $2 a day.
Meanwhile, the country's president and his ruling party have clung on to power for over three decades, gaining tight control of both the public and private sectors, and stifling dissent and protest.
But in 2011 - inspired by the Arab uprisings - a group of young Angolan activists took to the streets, demanding an end to decades of mismanagement and corruption.
Arrested, harassed, beaten - the activists refuse to step down. This is the story of the birth of their movement.
By Ana de Sousa
Angola is a country that has long fascinated me, and having lived there between 2007 and 2008, it always amazed me how little is known about it beyond the Portuguese-speaking world.
I had wanted to make a piece about Angola for a long time, and when a number of underground musicians emerged as key players in a spate of anti-government protests in 2011, my interest was immediately sparked.
When I had last visited the country in 2008, public protests were virtually unheard of, and people rarely spoke ill of the government or the country's president in public.
Though hard for others less familiar with Angola's history to understand, the very fact of 17 people attempting to hold a protest felt like a huge change. And as the year progressed and the protests grew, it just got more interesting.
Angola: Birth of a Movement follows three of the brave young activists taking on an enormously powerful and deeply entrenched political and economic elite.
They all come from widely different backgrounds; Luaty is a famous rapper and a member of the wealthy minority; Mbanza is a student from the city's sprawling and impoverished shantytowns; and Carbono is a rapper and designer from the inner city's lower middle class.
But since 2011, they have found themselves thrown together in the struggle for a different future to that being offered by the country's rulers.
Eighty per cent of Angola's population has known only one leader, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has now been in power for 33 years - making him one of the world's longest-serving rulers.
A small and increasingly wealthy political elite has ruled the country since its independence in 1975, relying on complex patronage networks to maintain political power and control of the country's booming oil economy.
History, too, plays an important role; widespread fear of a return to war, and the distant memory of a political massacre several decades ago, had successfully stifled the spirit of public protest among those old enough to remember those events.
But more than half of the country's population is under the age of 20 and the burgeoning youth have neither the fear of their parents, nor their allegiance to the party that brought independence to Angola.
Music has played an important role in empowering dissenting voices.
For many, the underground rap scene has helped articulate the frustrations of Angola's disenchanted youth, while being used as a medium to spread alternative ideas.
None of the activists featured in the documentary (all proponents or admirers of Luanda's underground rap scene), had anticipated how big a role it would play in their struggle. But their humility is part of the charm of Luaty, Carbono and Mbanza.
They always go to great lengths to stress that they are only three of many activists in a broader movement, and that they were not behind many of the protests that took place throughout 2011.
They have a great and very funny relationship, and are always joking. Even when talking about violent attacks on their homes or time spent in prison, their accounts are full of humour and positivity, and it is impossible not to admire that youthful spirit.
As news of the Arab Spring reached Angola in early 2011, nervous leaders from the ruling People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) sought to proclaim: "Angola is not Egypt! Angola is not Tunisia! Angola is not Libya!"
And it is not; but the frustrated, marginalised and rebellious youth of Luanda looked north and saw in the Arab Spring a source of inspiration and courage.
Over a year since the first protests, the activists' movement is still in its early days, still evolving, still defining itself. But their determination to see change in Angola remains undeterred.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — On the occasion of birth anniversary of Imam Reza (AS), a ceremony will be held on September 27 at Bait-ul-Zahra (SA) Center in Paris, France.
According to the center's website, officials and the staff of Iranian representative offices in France as well as Iranian families residing in this country and Iranian students have been invited to attend the program.
Organized by Paris Bait-ul-Zahra (SA) Center, it will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time.
Komeil supplication, speeches on the auspicious occasion and congregational evening prayers will be some parts of the program.
The Islamic center is actively involved in dissemination of Ahl-ul-Bayt's (AS) culture, holding programs on various religious occasions.— www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Teenage girls may prefer the pill, the patch or even wishful thinking, but their doctors should be recommending IUDs or hormonal implants -- long-lasting and more effective birth control that you don't have to remember to use every time, the nation's leading gynecologists group said Thursday.
The IUD and implants are safe and nearly 100 per cent effective at preventing pregnancy, and should be "first-line recommendations," the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in updating its guidance for teens.
Both types of contraception are more invasive than the pill, requiring a doctor to put them in place. That, and cost, are probably why the pill is still the most popular form of contraception in the U.S.
But birth control pills often must be taken at the very same time every day to be most potent. And forgetting to take even one can lead to pregnancy, which is why the pill is sometimes only 91 per cent effective.
An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic inserted in the uterus that can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. An implant is a matchstick-size plastic rod that releases hormones. It is placed under the skin of the upper arm and usually lasts three years.
The new guidelines don't tell teens not to use other methods, but "if your goal is to prevent a pregnancy, then using an implant or an IUD would be the best way to do this," said Dr. Tina Raine-Bennett, head of the committee that wrote the recommendations.
The organization's previous guidelines, issued in 2007, also encouraged the use of IUDs and implants among teenagers. The new guidelines go further in saying physicians should discuss the two types of birth control with sexually active teens at every doctor visit.
The gynecologists group said condoms should still be used at all times because no other birth control method protects against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
While it may sound surprising that such invasive contraceptives are being endorsed for teenagers, 43 per cent of girls ages 15 to 19 have had sex, a government survey found. Most are using some kind of effective birth control, but only about 5 per cent use the long-lasting devices, the gynecologists group said.
In 21 states, all teenagers can get contraceptives without parental permission, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks laws affecting women's health. A few other states allow it under certain circumstances.
The IUD and implant cost hundreds of dollars. The new health reform law requires health insurance plans to cover birth control without co-payments. Also, some publicly funded health clinics offer birth control free or at a reduced cost.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has been more cautious and has not endorsed specific methods of birth control, but is updating its guidance. Some pediatricians have been reluctant to recommend IUDs for teens, partly because of concerns over infection risks; an older model was blamed for infertility.
Dr. Paula Braverman, a University of Cincinnati physician involved in updating the academy's position, said the gynecologists' advice does a good job of clarifying misconceptions about IUDs and implants.
An IUD called the Dalkon Shield that was sold in the 1970s was linked to dangerous and sometimes deadly infections. Newer IUDs have been found to be safe, and the gynecologists group said the risk of pelvic infections increases only slightly during the first three weeks after insertion.
The hormonal implant has been updated, too. The newest kind uses just one thin rod; an older type no longer sold in the U.S. used six rods that sometimes didn't stay in place. IUDs and implants can be removed at any time with no lasting effect on fertility, the gynecologists group said.
"The ones on the market today are extremely safe," said Dr. Mary Fournier, an adolescent-medicine specialist at Chicago's Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital, who praised the new recommendations. "That is what everybody should be telling their patients."
She said she already recommends IUDs for her patients and is being trained in how to insert birth control implants.
Raine-Bennett, research director for women's health at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif., said she gets mixed reactions from her patients about both methods.
"Some of them say, 'Great! Something that I don't have to think about.' Others are, like, 'Hmmm, something in my body?' It really varies," she said.
Doctors need to be sensitive to that and provide detailed information to dispel any myths and allow teens to make informed decisions, Raine-Bennett said.—www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: CTV News
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – On August 22 and under the burning sun, hundreds of “loyalists”, labours and voters were lined up in Mishwar square in front of the royal palace in Rabat, Morocco for the loyalty and homage celebration marking the 13th anniversary of king Mohammed Al-Sades’ sitting on the throne. The celebration has been postponed t after the end of the month of Ramadan and merge it with the 49th birthday of the king.
Attendants were seen in their embarrassing long white dresses waiting for the opening of the big gates where the king appeared in his luxurious dress riding his horse slowly with small steps and accompanied by his servants, one guiding the horse and the other holding a fancy umbrella to cover the sunlight from his master.
The appearance of the king before his people was supplemented by embarrassing rituals such as firing five cannons and playing military music before paying allegiance to the king. The minister of interior affairs was leading the loyalists and labours followed by the different party members. Attendance of the current government ministers was not noticed.
The members of the parties were quick to start the rituals by bowing extensively to their master (the king) three times saying: “May Allah help you, we say to you oh master”, “May Allah protect you, we say to you oh master”, “May Allah be pleased with you, we say to you oh master”.
This homage celebration has raised controversy among many people in the country and was criticised by political activists and some religious figures considering it a humiliation to the human’s dignity for bowing to other than Allah. Other people were taking the other direction defending this ritual of paying allegiance to the leader due to its “Islamic” historical background. Some went even further considering the umbrella similar to the tree under which some of the Prophet’s (P) companions paid allegiance to him!
Now the question is, do some “Muslims” really went back the ignorance era? How do they call themselves Muslims and yet bow to a human but Allah? Did they lose their dignity and honor to a level so they follow someone who does know anything about the poor and the oppressed in his country and who calls himself “Commander of the faithful”?
No one will ever be called this way but the real Commander of the faithful, Imam Ali (A.S.), and no bowing will ever be made, by real Muslims, but to Allah (S.W.T).
Translation by SHAFAQNA from original Arabic article
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) —Last night, people of Qatif and AlAhssa celebrated the mid of Ramadan as they do every year. This night coincides the birthday of Imam Hasan bin Ali bin Abu Talib; the first grandson of Prophet Mohammad.
On this traditional, religious event which is called “AlNasfah”, “AlQurqay’an” or “AlGraigshon”, local people previously decorate their mosques, Husainiahs, streets and houses. They, also, prepare various programs with the participation of clerics, poets and artists for celebrating it.
In the past, AlNasfah was a small event in which children used to step by the close houses and knock their doors to get candies and peanuts which is regionally known as “Seksabal” or “Sabal”. Then, the children turn back to their homes glad with what they got.
However, many things in this festival had changed nowadays, and several activities are added to it like literary and cultural programs and heritage exhibitions. Moreover, children still, at this night, wear folkloric customs, carry their bags and stroll between houses to collect different kinds of candies, nuts and toys while repeating traditional chants.—www.shafaqna.com/english
Source: Saudi Shia