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Earth’s degradation threatens major health gains: study

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The unprecedented degradation of Earth’s natural resources coupled with climate change could reverse major gains in human health over the last 150 years, according to a sweeping scientific review published Thursday.

“We have been mortgaging the health of future generations to realise economic and development gains in the present,” said the report, written by 15 leading academics and published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.

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“By unsustainably exploiting nature’s resources, human civilisation has flourished but now risks substantial health effects from the degradation of nature’s life support systems in the future.”

Climate change, ocean acidification, depleted water sources, polluted land, over-fishing, biodiversity loss all unintended by-products of humanity’s drive to develop and prosper  “pose serious challenges to the global health gains of the past several decades”, especially in poorer nations, the 60-page report concludes.

The likely impacts on global health of climate change, ranging from expanded disease vectors to malnourishment, have been examined by the UN’s panel of top climate scientists. But the new report, entitled Safeguarding Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch, takes an even broader view.

The “Anthropocene” is the name given by many scientists to the period ?- starting with mass industrialisation -? in which human activity has arguably reshaped Earth?s bio-chemical make-up.

“This is the first time that the global health community has come out in a concerted way to report that we are in real danger of undermining the core ecological systems that support human health,” said Samuel Myers, a scientist at Harvard University and one the authors.

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– Danger of bee decline –

A companion study on the worldwide decline of bees and other pollinators, led by Myers and also published in The Lancet, illustrates one way this might happen.

 

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Donald Trump’s Secretary of State apparently thinks Spanish is spoken in Lebanon

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The president of United States is often criticized for getting his facts wrong, especially when it comes to understanding the world.

Trump made up the country of "Nambia" while not knowing that Bhutan and Nepal (which he pronounced "nipple") are real countries. He said the country of Belgium "is a beautiful city" and once told the prime minister of India that the country does not share a border with China (their shared border is 2,500 miles).

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Jason Crow lays out the human cost of Trump’s Ukraine scheme — citing his military experience

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On the second day of the impeachment trial, Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), a veteran and one of the House impeachment managers, clearly laid out the risk that President Donald Trump's Ukraine scheme posed to human life — and drew from his own experience in the military.

"I know something about counter-battery radar," said Crow. "In 2005 I was an Army Ranger serving in a special operations task force in Afghanistan. We were at a remote operating base along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. And frequently, the insurgents that we were fighting would launch rockets and missiles onto our small base. But luckily we were provided with counter-battery radar. The 20, 30, 40 seconds before those rockets and mortars rained down on us, an alarm would sound, and we would run out from our tents and jump into our concrete bunkers and wait for the attack to end. This is not a theoretical exercise, and the Ukrainians know it."

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‘Sealed off’: China isolates city of virus outbreak

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The Chinese city at the heart of a deadly virus outbreak is under effective quarantine, with outward flights and trains suspended, subways halted and large public events cancelled as doctors in full-body protective suits treat patients.

The coronavirus has spread across China and beyond, with 17 people killed and more than 500 infected in an outbreak that started in Wuhan -- a central city of 11 million people described by state media as "the main battlefield" against the disease.

Most cases are in Wuhan, a major transport hub with a seafood market that has been identified as the epicentre of the epidemic. A few cases involving people who visited Wuhan have been found elsewhere in the United States and some Asian countries.

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