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The headlines of our week at F&O:
Heart disease and stroke remain major killers; cancer catches up. By Ivy Shiue
Humans are now entering something called the third epidemiological transition, a period characterised by a delay in the age at which we develop chronic diseases. Looking at world incidence studies (the number of new cases each year), this is most apparent in developed countries, while developing countries, such as China, have been catching up.
International law fails to protect journalists from savagery. By Carmen Draghici
Statistics suggest that many states are unwilling or unable to deter crimes against journalists by ensuring that the perpetrators are held to account. The culture of impunity not only infringes the victims’ right to life, personal security and free speech, but also has a chilling effect on the media in general, as well as affecting the public’s right to information.
Does deep Atlantic heating account for global warming hiatus? By Richard Allan
There seem to have been a dozen or so explanations for why the Earth’s surface has warmed at a slower rate over the past 15 years compared to earlier decades. This is perhaps not so surprising given the complexity of the climate system – the world’s best detectives will inevitably struggle to disentangle the factors which influence every lump and bump in the surface temperature record. However, recent research implicates natural changes in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as the prime culprits.
Biodefence Drives Ebola Drug Development. By Christopher Degeling
Ebola virus disease typically only occurs in rural and remote areas among resource-poor populations. Until the large, recent outbreak in West Africa, cases of the illness were a rarity. So the fact that we even have experimental drugs for the disease tells a story about how responses to global health crises are shaped by the social and political interests of the developed world.
Washington and Tehran find common cause against Islamic State, by Jonathan Manthorpe
It’s always a bit of a shock when the stern clerics that run Iran display an impish sense of humour. So when Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was quoted today as offering to help the West’s campaign against the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq in return for the lifting of crippling sanctions against Tehran, the natural inclination was to chuckle at his gall and turn the page.
From Marathon Dancing to Pop Stardom: Frankie Laine, by Brian Brennan
In his heyday, singer Frankie Laine was all over the radio, on records and in jukeboxes, and on the soundtracks of movies and television shows. But when he did an interview with me at age 63 in 1976, he wanted to talk first about his little-known Depression-era career as a marathon dancer. His name then was Francesco LoVecchio and he participated in these endurance contests, he said, both for the opportunity to win prizes and for the chance to make some money singing when the dancers were taking their breaks.
Doctor Who: Supernatural, Religious — and a teaching tool? By Andrew Crome
Promoting understanding of the interaction between religion and popular culture allows us to see that religion isn’t a hermetically sealed set of ideas untouched by the contemporary world… it is a dynamic and shifting force. Like Doctor Who, religion evolves, changes and regenerates in different cultural situations – and studying it is a real “adventure in time and space.
On the Frontlines blog:
Patrick Stewart leads the Ice Bucket Challenge
Recommended reading elsewhere:
ProPublica has done a round-up of some stellar journalism about how California’s drought — possibly the driest in half a millennium — is affecting agriculture, business and living conditions in America’s most populous state..