Tag Archives: United States

Eight persons slaughtered in Caycara Orinoco, Venezuela

The Orinoco River, here in Amazonas State, Ven...

The Orinoco River, here in Amazonas State, Venezuela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They say it’s the worst slaughter that is registered in the town of Caycara Orinoco, two of the victims were minors CARACAS, Eight men, including two children aged 16 and 17, were killed with shots to the head after being forced to kneel while celebrating a party at a home in southeastern Venezuela, reported the Office.

The incident took place “in the early morning hours of Saturday during the celebration of a festival in the town of Caycara Orinoco” when “several men carrying firearms appeared and shot multiple times into a group of people celebrating” the Prosecutor said in a statement. He added that he has appointed prosecutors along with police investigate and to establish the causes of the attack, and to identify those killed, in addition to the two teenagers, two aged 18, two 19, one 28 and another 35.

There have been 16,072 homicides committed in Venezuela since 2012 According to the digital version of the local newspaper Correo del Caroni, the “thugs” arrived on a motorcycle and stealthily entered the house where the party was held, apparently for graduation from secondary education of the two children killed. Before forcing them to kneel, “beaten and then executed him mercilessly.’s The worst slaughter that has ever lived in Caycara; want justice, mourn our streets,” said a woman who witnessed the fact that “for fear asked to leave their identity anonymous, “wrote the newspaper. On the causes of crime said neighbors shuffled various scenarios, including “a reckoning” between members of criminal gangs. “Not all those who were killed misconduct, but by one paid everyone,” said another witness daily the fact, which occurred the same day the Venezuelan Minister of Interior, General Miguel Rodriguez said the offense is been reduced in the country.

Crime has fallen by an average of 30% since beginning of year launched the “Plan Secure Homeland” against crime, the minister said in an interview sabatina television. According to the plan for reducing crime and in the first 29 weeks in which the plan was put into action the reduction in homicides was 58%, he added, noting that includes patrolling streets of major cities with more than 12,000 soldiers in operations supporting some 23 000 The latest official figures realized that in 2012 there were 16,072 homicides in Venezuela, 14% more than in 2011, equivalent to a rate of 54 homicides per 100 000 inhabitants, rising to 73 per 100 thousand inhabitants, according NGO Venezuelan Violence Observatory (SVO).

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Posted by on 07/22/2013 in Crime!


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All the reasons for me to live in Thailand


Retirement (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Why Retire Abroad?

By Brittany Stepniak | Thursday, July 18th, 2013

In June, we revealed some of the best locations across the globe for retirement.

Today we want to talk more in depth about why you may want to consider this option, even if you’ve lived in the United States all your life…

In explaining the pros (and don’t worry, I’ll touch on the cons, too!) of overseas residency, let’s focus on four reasons you might want to at least visit another one of these countries before you settle in for the long run.

1. Cheaper Cost of Living. Before you really delve into the details of retiring abroad, allow me to state the obvious: At the outset, it can feel like a daunting endeavor.

Even more concerning, it sounds expensive. Think of all your international travels over the years. I’m sure they cost a pretty penny.

The reality is that there are at least six exotic locations you can retire overseas for $1,250 a month or less…

Due to extreme economic turmoil this past decade, baby boomers on the brink of retirement are feeling the added pressure of earning extra retirement income to compensate for dwindling savings.

Add to that the fact that many retirees have health conditions that prevent them from feasibly working full or even part time beyond a certain age, and the market’s volatility can easily leave investors and their nest eggs in a worse place than they started.

That’s why we want to shed light on the alternative options (and locations) that may allow you to retire at ease, regardless of your ability to continue working or pick up a hot stock and buy and sell at the perfect time.

In 2012 a ranking system indicated that Americans could find the best values for retirement in Latin America. For less than $2,000 a month, you could enjoy all the finer things life has to offer — cuisine, wine, having a maid and a gardener — while maintaining excellent health care and spending time doing the activities and hobbies you’ve grown to love over the years.

Looking for cheaper real estate and an overall cheaper cost of living while having abundant opportunities for entertainment in a temperate climate? You may want to consider retiring abroad.

Ecuador was recently voted best place in the world to retire. Here a couple can live comfortably for less than $1,500 per month, including rent! Dining out won’t put you over your budget either: A nice meal out costs about $25 max, but is usually much less expensive.

Although there is strife within the government in Ecuador, and wages are low for residents (as is the case in many nations, including our own), retirees may be willing to look past these flaws, knowing they can live so lavishly on their retirement savings alone.

2. Reduced stress.

Let’s be honest, financial woes are one of the biggest stressors facing Americans, especially in the aftermath of the Great Recession in light of the jobless crisis, housing bubble, and now a student loan bubble. And it seems the older we get, the more expensive it is to take care of our families, our livelihood, and ourselves.

But you could cut that stress — and your bills — in half simply by retiring somewhere where everything from rent to dental care is often unbelievably more affordable.

Take Gail Humbert, for example. She needed major dental work, and consultants quoted her a net cost of $35,000-$40,000. Instead of settling for that offer, Gail decided to explore an alternative option…

She remembered hearing a story on National Public Radio about an uninsured building contractor who had gone abroad to receive medical care in order to pay a small fraction of what he’d been quoted in the U.S. Taking a page from his book, Gail traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica, to receive the dental implants she needed. She took two separate trips out there for treatment before the work was completed. And you’ll never believe how much she spent…

The total lump-sum cost for the dental work, two round-trip flights, and all necessary accommodations amounted to just $14,000 — not even close to half the cost the consultants quoted her for the dental work alone in the U.S.

Gail was impressed with her treatment, commenting on her confidence in the well-trained dental team, the high-quality care she received, and the fact that every procedure was explained to her in detail ahead of time.

According to Gail, the service part of the experience was even better than what she would have expected, had she chosen to pay $21,000 more for the same procedures back home.

3. Less hostility and anxiety.

I know this sounds crazy, the notion that leaving your homeland could actually land you in an environment with less hostility…

Sure, you’ll have to take into account that you would be the foreigner in a new territory, so you’ll have to be willing to learn the ropes a little.

But once you learn and respect the regulations, cultural mores and traditions, I’m willing to bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your new surroundings…

Because chances are you’ll be met with several other expatriates who share your life views and values if you end up moving somewhere overseas like Granada, where about 1,000 expats currently reside. This will be a welcomed fresh breath of air for Outsiders already frustrated with the way things are going in our country right now.

Instead of retiring in an overcrowded American city with so many groups of people, many hostile or fearful towards almost anybody these days, why not move somewhere where you can afford a big plot of land absent of rude neighbors to interrupt the peace and relaxation most you deserve in your retirement years?

Unless you’re going somewhere like France, I doubt you’ll feel overwhelmed with an arrogant, haughty, or otherwise surly population — but remember, you could come off this way if you complain or argue too often in your new community. Keep that in mind if you want to keep the peace with your new neighbors.


4. New experiences strengthen mental health and ward off onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Visiting or living in a foreign country can act as “intellectual candy” for the brain.

The new experiences will help improve your mental and emotional health — especially if you can save thousands of dollars in the process!

And removing yourself from a mundane routine can stimulate senses in a profound way. New sights (beautiful never-before-seen landscapes), sounds (ethnic music), smells (new flora and fauna and local foods), tastes (new foods you’ve never tried before) can all improve overall health and mood.

Additionally, Alzheimer’s researchers across the board have found that engaging in new experiences and maintaining an active physical and social life helps ward off the onset of dementia by strengthening neuron transmission and communication in the brain.

Moving abroad will inevitable provide plenty of stimulating new opportunities to check off your bucket list while you reconnect with a spouse or form new bonds with the locals and other expats.

*Bonus: Healthcare is relatively affordable in most of the countries on the list. So the notion of engaging in new adventures to stimulate brain activity while maintaining the luxury of lower costs of living combined with inexpensive health care is bound to leave you in a happier, healthier state of mind.

Test-Driving Your Overseas Retirement

If you’re still entertaining the idea of living overseas, but aren’t comfortable with the long-term commitment just yet, the best way to cure cold feet is to spend time living in a foreign country before officially becoming a resident.

Of course, we’d never want you to settle for anything less than what is truly best for your unique individual needs and desires…

That’s why we firmly recommend a visit to your location of interest and possibly renting there for a month or two before you commit to moving there.

In the meantime, I urge you to take another look at the most affordable, senior-friendly countries for your retirement consideration.

Farewell for now,

Brittany Stepniak

@AngelPubGirl on Twitter

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Posted by on 07/19/2013 in Living!


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President Obama “No future, no vision concerning Africa! Only Gay rights!

Orthographic map of Africa

Orthographic map of Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

President Obama’s trip to Africa is little more than a public relations stunt to a continent desperate for his help, Lawrence K. Freeman, editor of Executive Intelligence Review magazine, told RT.

RT: What can we expect from Obama’s three-nation tour, do you think? 

Lawrence Freeman: There’s not going to be much accomplished. The purpose of the trip is not to help the African people to develop these African nations. This is a very calculated, glorified public relations tour to three countries and most people in Africa are going to realize, and do realize already, that this country is doing nothing to help their continent. And what they do know is that the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi, led by Obama and NATO, has been a catastrophe for north and West Africa in supporting various elements that have now allowed the destabilization of many of these countries, especially with the arms and the flow of Tuaregs and terrorists coming out of Libya. So the South African people are not pleased or happy with President Obama and he’s going to offer absolutely nothing except maybe entice private sector companies to make a few investments. But this is really pathetic in terms of what Africa needs. 

RT: To what extent is this more about China’s influence there? 

LF: Well there is this silly notion in the US that somehow China is our competitor in Africa. But in fact what China has done over the last recent period, five to ten years, is invest massively and construct all types of infrastructure projects throughout many African countries totaling tens of billions of dollars per year. So the US had to stop doing that 40 years ago. The US does not build infrastructure. The US does not provide government-backed investment in the kinds of projects that are necessary for the people of Africa. We’ve done nothing, for example, to develop water management in the African Sahel. We’ve done nothing to develop the Arab culture capability of these regions and therefore you have the spread of terrorism, the spread of insurgency because you have these alienated youth who see no future because their economies are dying. In fact Obama’s done less than George Bush and less than Bill Clinton even though he’s called the Son of Africa. So he has a record of failure and in fact he’s been supporting destabilization, such as the overthrow of Gaddafi, which has actually worsened conditions throughout Africa. 

RT: In terms of visits, he had one brief visit to Ghana in 2009 and now this short visit. Why only that, why not more? 

LF: He’s not really concerned. In 2009 he spent less than 24 hours and made one speech in Ghana. Here he’s visiting three countries – Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania – and avoiding going to other countries such as Nigeria, such as Mali, many other countries that are in the spotlight right now. He doesn’t have anything to offer them, the United States – the transatlantic community of Europe and the United States, the financial system, is collapsing. We see this throughout Europe and the United States, dying economically, politically, and culturally. We have no vision, we have no future. Obama cares nothing about the welfare of the South African people as he cares nothing about the welfare of the people of the United States. In fact he’s supporting a British policy of genocide throughout Africa by allowing destabilization and by allowing hunger and shortages of food and medicine to kill Africans in large numbers, and this is something that could be corrected and changed if we had a policy to do that.

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Posted by on 06/29/2013 in The Face of Evil


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Narco-tunnel found in old immigration office in Sonora

It is located a few meters from the border between Sonora and Arizona, is less than a meter wide and is 55 meters long

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Hermosillo, Federal police located the entrance to a narco-tunnel in a building formerly housed government offices, which now looks abandoned property and is located a few meters from the border line between the homonymous cities of Nogales, Sonora and Arizona.

It was mentioned that the underground passage was allegedly used for the smuggling of drugs was identified by federal authorities in the United States, who gave notice to the Federal Police to initiate a binational action from both sides of the border.

On the Mexican side, the building where they found the entrance to narco-tunnel worked for four years as the State Center for Migrant Care, is located west of the main gate called DeConcini, in the center of the city of Nogales, on the street corner International and Calle Del Cerro de la Colonia Buenos Aires, where until Wednesday afternoon military personnel and federal police inspected the building and its surroundings.

Unofficial sources explained that the passage was built by hand with pick, shovel and chisel.

The tunnel is less than a meter wide, four feet deep and 55 feet long, and connects to the drainage system shared by the two Nogales, where the water flows by gravity from Sonora, Mexico, to the neighboring state Arizona, in the United States.

The discovery was made by police allegedly American Border Division minutes before midnight on Tuesday, when they were alerted to drug trafficking activities.

The officers used breathing apparatus to enter the passageway, due to moisture and reduced space. In addition, it required the help of a k-9 officer (trained dog).

On the Mexican side, when police officers arrived at the scene, some men managed to escape the building, not reported the arrest of any individual or assurance of drugs, weapons, money or vehicles.

This would be the third narco-tunnel Nogales discovered so far in 2013, according to official reports, over the past six years the Mexican army was able to detect and destroy 54 narco-tunnels built between the borders of Baja California and Sonora to the United States.

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Posted by on 06/21/2013 in Crime!, Drugs


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Pena Nieto government reaching an accommodation with some cartel figures

English: Logo of Agua Prieta.

English: Logo of Agua Prieta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rumors of the Pena Nieto government reaching an accommodation with some cartel figures such as Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera have persisted, even as the Mexican government arrests key operatives in Guzman’s network, such as Ines Coronel Barreras, Guzman’s father-in-law, who was arrested May 1 in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Indeed, on April 27, Washington Post reporter Dana Priest published a detailed article outlining how U.S. authorities were fearful that the Mexican government was restructuring its security relationship with the U.S. government so that it could more easily reach an unofficial truce with cartel leaders. Yet four days later, Coronel — a significant cartel figure — was arrested in a joint operation between the Mexicans and Americans.

Clearly, there is some confusion on the U.S. side about the approach the Pena Nieto government is taking, but conversations with both U.S. and Mexican officials reveal that these changes in Mexico‘s approach do not appear to be as drastic as some have feared. There will need to be adjustments on both sides of the border while organizational changes are underway in Mexico, but this does not mean that bilateral U.S.-Mexico cooperation will decline in the long term.

Opportunities and Challenges

Despite the violence that has wracked Mexico over the past decade, the Mexican economy is booming. Arguably, the economy would be doing even better if potential investors were not concerned about cartel violence and street crime — and if such criminal activity did not have such a significant impact on businesses operating in Mexico. 

Because of this, the Pena Nieto administration believes that it is critical to reduce the overall level of violence in the country. Essentially it wants to transform the cartel issue into a law enforcement problem, something handled by the Interior Ministry and the national police, rather than a national security problem handled by the Mexican military and the Center for Research and National Security (Mexico’s national-level intelligence agency). In many ways the Pena Nieto administration wants to follow the model of the government of Colombia, which has never been able to stop trafficking in its territory but was able to defeat the powerful Medellin and Cali cartels and relegate their successor organizations to a law enforcement problem.   

The Mexicans also believe that if they can attenuate cartel violence, they will be able to free up law enforcement forces to tackle common crime instead of focusing nearly all their resources on containing the cartel wars.   

Although the cartels have not yet been taken down to the point of being a law enforcement problem, the Pena Nieto administration wants to continue to signal this shift in approach by moving the focus of its efforts against the cartels to the Interior Ministry. Unlike former Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who was seen leading the charge against the cartels during his administration, Pena Nieto wants to maintain some distance from the struggle against the cartels (at least publicly). Pena Nieto seeks to portray the cartels as a secondary issue that does not demand his personal leadership and attention. He can then publicly focus his efforts on issues he deems critically important to Mexico’s future, like education reform, banking reform, energy reform and fostering the Mexican economy. This is the most significant difference between the Calderon and Pena Nieto administrations.

Of course it is one thing to say that the cartels have become a secondary issue, and it is quite another to make it happen. The Mexican government still faces some real challenges in reducing the threat posed by the cartels. However, it is becoming clear that the Pena Nieto administration seeks to implement a holistic approach in an attempt to address the problems at the root of the violence that in some ways is quite reminiscent of counterinsurgency policy. The Mexicans view these underlying economic, cultural and sociological problems as issues that cannot be solved with force alone.

Mexican officials in the current government say that the approach the Calderon administration took to fighting the cartels was wrong in that it sought to solve the problem of cartel violence by simply killing or arresting cartel figures. They claim that Calderon’s approach did nothing to treat the underlying causes of the violence and that the cartels were able to recruit gunmen faster than the government could kill or capture them. (In some ways this is parallel to the U.S. government’s approach in Yemen, where increases in missile strikes from unmanned aerial vehicles have increased, rather than reduced, the number of jihadists there.) In Mexico, when the cartels experienced trouble in recruiting enough gunmen, they were able to readily import them from Central America.    

However — and this is very significant — this holistic approach does not mean that the Pena Nieto administration wants to totally abandon kinetic operations against the cartels. An important pillar of any counterinsurgency campaign is providing security for the population. But rather than provoke random firefights with cartel gunmen by sending military patrols into cartel hot spots, the Pena Nieto team wants to be more targeted and intentional in its application of force. It seeks to take out the networks that hire and supply the gunmen, not just the gunmen themselves, and this will require all the tools in its counternarcotics portfolio — not only force, but also things like intelligence, financial action (to target cartel finances), public health, institution building and anti-corruption efforts. 

The theory is that by providing security, stability and economic opportunity the government can undercut the cartels’ ability to recruit youth who currently see little other options in life but to join the cartels. 

To truly succeed, especially in the most lawless areas, the Mexican government is going to have to begin to build institutions — and public trust in those institutions — from the ground up. The officials we have talked to hold Juarez up as an example they hope to follow in other locations, though they say they learned a lot of lessons in Juarez that will allow them to streamline their efforts elsewhere. Obviously, before they can begin building, they recognize that they will have to seize, consolidate and hold territory, and this is the role they envision for the newly created gendarmerie, or paramilitary police.

The gendarmerie is important to this rebuilding effort because the military is incapable of serving in an investigative law enforcement role. They are deployed to pursue active shooters and target members of the cartels, but much of the crime affecting Mexico’s citizens and companies falls outside the military’s purview. The military also has a tendency to be heavy-handed, and reports of human rights abuses are quite common. Transforming from a national security to a law enforcement approach requires the formation of an effective police force that is able to conduct community policing while pursuing car thieves, extortionists, kidnappers and street gangs in addition to cartel gunmen.

Certainly the U.S. government was very involved in the Calderon administration’s kinetic approach to the cartel problem, as shown by the very heavy collaboration between the two governments. The collaboration was so heavy, in fact, that some incoming Pena Nieto administration figures were shocked by how integrated the Americans had become. The U.S. officials who told Dana Priest they were uncomfortable with the new Mexican government’s approach to cartel violence were undoubtedly among those deeply involved in this process — perhaps so deeply involved that they could not recognize that in the big picture, their approach was failing to reduce the violence in Mexico. Indeed, from the Mexican perspective, the U.S. efforts have been focused on reducing the flow of narcotics into the United States regardless of the impact of those efforts on Mexico’s security environment.

However, as seen by the May 1 arrest of Coronel, which a Mexican official described as a classic joint operation involving the U.S Drug Enforcement Administration and Mexican Federal Police, the Mexican authorities do intend to continue to work very closely with their American counterparts. But that cooperation must occur within the new framework established for the anti-cartel efforts. That means that plans for cooperation must be presented through the Mexican Interior Ministry so that the efforts can be centrally coordinated. Much of the current peer-to-peer cooperation can continue, but within that structure.

Consolidation and Coordination

As in the United States, the law enforcement and intelligence agencies in Mexico have terrible problems with coordination and information sharing. The current administration is attempting to correct this by centralizing the anti-cartel efforts at the federal level and by creating coordination centers to oversee operations in the various regions. These regional centers will collect information at the state and regional level and send it up to the national center. However, one huge factor inhibiting information sharing in Mexico — and between the Americans and Mexicans — is the longstanding problem of corruption in the Mexican government. In the past, drug czars, senior police officials and very senior politicians have been accused of being on cartel payrolls. This makes trust critical, and lack of trust has caused some Mexican and most American agencies to restrict the sharing of intelligence to only select, trusted contacts. Centralizing coordination will interfere with this selective information flow in the short term, and it is going to take time for this new coordination effort to earn the trust of both Mexican and American agencies. There remains fear that consolidation will also centralize corruption and make it easier for the cartels to gather intelligence.

Another attempt at command control and coordination is in the Pena Nieto administration’s current efforts to implement police consolidation at the state level. While corruption has reached into all levels of the Mexican government, it is unquestionably the most pervasive at the municipal level, and in past government operations entire municipal police departments have been fired for corruption. The idea is that if all police were brought under a unified state command, called “Mando Unico” in Spanish, the police would be better screened, trained and paid and therefore the force would be more professional.

This concept of police consolidation at the state level is not a new idea; indeed, Calderon sought to do so under his administration, but it appears that Pena Nieto might have the political capital to make this happen, along with some other changes that Calderon wanted to implement but could not quite pull off. To date, Pena Nieto has had a great deal of success in garnering political support for his proposals, but the establishment of Mando Unico in each of Mexico’s 31 states may perhaps be the toughest political struggle he has faced yet. If realized, Mando Unico will be an important step — but only one step — in the long process of institution building for the police at the state level. 

Aside from the political struggles, the Mexican government still faces very real challenges on the streets as it attempts to quell violence, reassert control over lawless areas and gain the trust of the public. The holistic plan laid out by the Pena Nieto administration sounds good on paper, but it will still require a great deal of leadership by Pena Nieto and his team to bring Mexico through the challenges it faces. They will obviously need to cooperate with the United States to succeed, but it has become clear that this cooperation will need to be on Mexico’s terms and in accordance with the administration’s new, holistic approach. 

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Posted by on 05/16/2013 in Crime!, Mexican Drug Cartels


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Gonorrhea more deadly than AIDS found in Japan

Doctors are warning that a drug-resistant strain of gonorrhea could be more deadly than AIDS, and are urging members of US Congress to spend $54 million for the development of a drug that would fight it.

More deadly than AIDS

More deadly than AIDS

This might be a lot worse than AIDS in the short run because the bacteria is more aggressive and will affect more people quickly,” Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine, told CNBC.

The new strain of gonorrhea, H041, was first discovered in 2009 after a sex worker fell victim to the superbug in Japan. Medical officials reported that the medication-resilient ‘sex superbug’ was discovered in Hawaii in May 2011, and has since spread to California and Norway, the International Business Times reports.

Nearly 30 million people die from AIDS-related causes each year, and the H041 superbug could have similar consequences, according to Alan Christianson, a doctor of naturopathic medicine.

“Getting gonorrhea from this strain might put someone into septic shock and death in a matter of days,” Christianson said. “This is very dangerous.”

The gonorrhea strain has not yet claimed any lives, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have asked Congress for $54 million to find an antibiotic to treat the strain.

In a Capitol Hill briefing last week, health officials said an education and public awareness campaign is crucial in minimizing the effective of HO41. William Smith, executive director of the National Coalition for STD Directors, said that if the ‘sex superbug’ spreads, it could quickly kill many people before a treatment is discovered. And that risk becomes increasingly more likely if Congress does not provide the funds to find a cure, he said.

“It’s an emergency situation. As time moves on, it’s getting more hazardous,” he told members of Congress.

“We have to keep beating the drum on this,” he added. “The potential for disaster is great.”

In the United States, there are 20 million new STD infections each year, which results in about $16 billion in medical costs, the CDC reports. More than 800,000 of these cases gonorrhea infections, most of which occur in young people ages 15 to 24. Gonorrhea is sometimes difficult to detect, since it shows no symptoms in about half of all women. Those who fall ill to the deadly strain may not notice it until it’s too late.

“That’s what’s kind of scary about this,” Smith said.

Although health officials have widely reported that cases of H041 were discovered in California, Hawaii and Norway, the CDC has disputed those claims and told CNBC on Monday that the infection has not been confirmed anywhere outside of Japan. The CDC did, however, make an announcement in 2011 that it was noticing greater gonorrhea bacterial resistance to certain types of antibiotics in Hawaii and California. 

CDC officials said that the US and Norwegian cases were treated effectively with antibiotics not routinely recommended and that these cases were mistakenly identified as H041. But the agency continues to urge Congress for research funding, indicating that the risk of infection is high regardless of where the cases occurred.

Christianson is urging people to practice safe sex and get STD tests if they are in a new relationship, since a superbug infection could be around the corner.

“This is a disaster just waiting to happen,” he told CNBC. “It’s time to do something about it before it explodes. These superbugs, including the gonorrhea strain, are a health threat. We need to move now before it gets out of hand.”


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Posted by on 05/07/2013 in Health!, Living!


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Suicide the leading cause of death in USA

More Americans now die of suicide than from car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a disturbing statistic that some experts say points to the true depths of the US economic crisis.

From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among US citizens between the ages of 35 to 64 soared by about 30 per cent, to 17.6 deaths per 100,000 people, a jump from 13.7. In 2010, there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides. Although suicide has been traditionally viewed as a problem among the youth and elderly, the recent study, published in Friday’s issue of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows a marked rise in the number of suicides among middle-aged men and women. The suicide rate for men aged 35–64 years jumped 27.3 per cent, from 21.5 to 27.3 per 100,000, while the rate for women increased 31.5 per cent, from 6.2 to 8.1. Among the male population, the greatest increases were among those aged 50–54 years and 55–59 years, (49.4 per cent, from 20.6 to 30.7, and 47.8 per cent, from 20.3 to 30.0 respectively). Among females, suicide rates tended to increase with age. The largest percentage increase in suicide rate was observed among women aged 60–64 years (59.7 per cent, from 4.4 to 7.0).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Photo credit: Nrbelex)

Men were more likely to take their own lives than women. The suicide rate for middle-aged men was 27.3 deaths per 100,000, while for women it was 8.1 deaths per 100,000.

Suicide rates from 1999 to 2010 “increased significantly” across all four geographic areas and in 39 states. The state of Wyoming recorded the highest increase in suicides with a 78.8 per cent jump (31.1 per 100,000), while even the sunny state of Hawaii witnessed a 61.2 per cent increase (21.9 per 100,000).

As shocking as the newly released data on US suicide rates are, many believe the numbers are too low since many deaths are not treated as actual suicides.

“It’s vastly under-reported,” Julie Phillips, an associate professor of sociology at Rutgers University, told The New York Times. “We know we’re not counting all suicides.”

Baby Boomer crisis

CDC officials emphasized that the Baby Boomer generation is witnessing the highest increase in suicides (A Baby Boomer is a person who was born post-World War II, between the years 1946 and 1964, when the annual birthrate increased dramatically in the US). “It is the Baby Boomer group where we see the highest rates of suicide,” CDC deputy director, Dr. Ileana Arias, told the New York Times. “There may be something about that group, and how they think about life issues and their life choices that may make a difference.” The rise in suicides among this group may be connected with the recent downturn in the global economy and the challenges the Baby Boomer generation must now confront. “The increase does coincide with a decrease in financial standing for a lot of families over the same time period,” Arias said. In 2010, the first year of economic comeback following the 2009-2010 recession, 93 per cent of all pre-tax income gains went to the top 1 per cent of the American population, which in that year meant any household earning more than $358,000.

Is financial crisis spurring suicide?

Is the rash of suicides across a broad spectrum of the American population a direct result of the wealth hoarding by the top income earners in the United States? In a letter to The Lancet medical journal, scientists from Britain, Hong Kong and United States said an analysis of data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that while suicide rates increased slowly between 1999 and 2007, the rate of increase more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2010, Reuters reported. “There is a clear need to implement policies to promote mental health resilience during the ongoing recession,” said Aaron Reeves of Britain’s University of Cambridge, who headed the research and submitted it in a letter to The Lancet.

Reeves even suggested the Democrats and Republicans are partially to blame for not throwing a spotlight on the issue during the latest presidential campaign.

“In the run-up to the US presidential election, President Obama and Mitt Romney are debating how best to spur economic recovery, [but] missing from this discussion is consideration of how to protect Americans’ health during these hard times,” Reeves warned.

Meanwhile, preliminary research suggests that the risk for suicide will unlikely subside for future generations.

“The boomers had great expectations for what their life might look like, but I think perhaps it hasn’t panned out that way,” Phillips said.

“All these conditions the boomers are facing, future cohorts are going to be facing many of these conditions as well.” The study pointed to the increased usage of prescription painkillers, like oxycodone, which can be particularly deadly in large doses.

There was a significant jump in poisoning deaths, which include intentional overdoses of prescription medication. During the 10-year period, poisoning deaths were up 24 per cent over all, while death by suffocation, (including hangings) was up 81 per cent.

Robert Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which discusses the dangerous consequences of excessive corporate power in the United States.

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Posted by on 05/04/2013 in Living!


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