Tag Archives: health

On the Table, 8/8

The US economy is in shambles, people are starving in Somalia, the European economy is diving as well…but here’s a little slice of the bright side of life.

These are some recent articles from Good Magazine – an online and print medium devoted to social change, and the NY Times:

“Summer is the season for awareness-raising road trips. The latest one we’re excited about is the Food and Freedom Rides, which is spreading the word about our broken food system in communities across the South and Midwest. Kicking off in Birmingham, Alabama with meetings with civil rights leaders today and yesterday, the movement pays tribute to the 50th anniversaryof the anti-segregation Freedom Rides that roiled the South and galvanized the civil rights movement…Along the way, the 12 traveling activists hope to “expose injustice in the food system, and reveal real solutions in both urban and rural communities” by putting a spotlight on local food activism [Read on]….”

Read more:

  • Check out their itinerary here.
  • Learn more about the Freedom Riders by watching this PBS documentary.

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August 6th marked the beginning of Ramadan for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims. “Alas, many Americans are still completely ignorant to Islam’s holiest month of observance. For the next four weeks, Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are out to change that.

Ali and Tariq are the two young Muslims behind the project 30 Mosques in 30 Days. Since August 1, when Ramadan started this year, the duo have been traveling to a new state each day and meeting with a new Muslim community. They then document their experiences with multimedia presentations on their blog. The goal is to hit 30 states and 30 mosques in 30 days, thereby introducing the world to the wide breadth of wonderful people composing Islam, a religion and culture still considered by many to be foreign and scary….” [Read on]

Read more:

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A protest in Santiago, Chile, last month. Students have held rallies of up to 100,000 people and taken control of dozens of schools around the country

“…If the Arab Spring has lost its bloom halfway across the world, people here are living what some have come to call a Chilean Winter. Segments of society that had been seen as politically apathetic only a few years ago, particularly the youth, have taken an unusually confrontational stance toward the government and business elite, demanding wholesale changes in education, transportation and energy policy, sometimes violently.

…The education protests have become ever more creative. There are at least two or three people jogging at all times around La Moneda, the presidential palace, trying to complete 1,800 laps to symbolize the $1.8 billion a year that protesters are demanding for Chile’s public education system. They carry flags that say “Free Education Now.”  Others have held a mass kiss-in, dressed like superheroes, danced as zombies to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and even staged fake group suicides where they fall in a heap of bodies….” [Read on]

Read more:

  • Check out more photos of the protests here.
  • Learn about the leader of the university student group, Camila Vallejo Dowling.  Her blog (in Spanish) is here.  The translated version is here.
  • Learn more about their list of demands here.  The Wiki site is actually pretty informative as well.

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China’s Exploding Watermelons

Info from Oiwan Lam at GlobalVoices.org – an international blog for human justice issues.

A few months ago, local state media exposed that farmers in China’s Jiangsu province were affected by the problem of “exploding watermelons” due to the overuse of chemicals. On 5 July, 2011, the Ministry of Agriculture asserted [1] [zh] that the chemical growth enhancer for watermelon is safe as the toxic residue level is low.

The Ministry also stated that if growth chemicals banned in China, the whole agricultural industry sector would be affected.

According to Hutong news summary [2] [zh], the watermelons were exploding in the fields like balloons. The growth enhancer involved in the incident is Forchlorfenuron [3], which is also legal in the United States. As the growth enhancer drains fruit of its flavor, farmers have also been applying chemical sweeteners and dyes to the watermelons.

Don't blame the watermelons, according to the Ministry of Agriculture

Plastic watermelon

The latest scandal is the discovery of plastic material inside a watermelon in Jinan city. Here is a television news segment showing what a plastic watermelon looks like.

Read the rest of the story or comments from other international bloggers here.


Article printed from Global Voices: http://globalvoicesonline.org

URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/07/08/china-exploding-watermelon-is-safe/

URLs in this post:

[1] asserted: http://www.caijing.com.cn/2011-07-06/110766306.html

[2] Image: http://www.hudong.com/wiki/%E7%88%86%E7%82%B8%E8%A5%BF%E7%93%9C

[3] Forchlorfenuron: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forchlorfenuron

[4] Image: http://weibo.com/1642088277/l4EWC7XGN#a_comment

[5] http://t.cn/apCbAA: http://t.cn/apCbAA

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No Veggies, No Happy Meal Toy

Information from Time Magazine and Reuters.

While the rest of San Francisco was preoccupied with the just-ended election campaign, the city’s Board of Supervisors agreed more quietly on a measure intended to help curb childhood obesity: banning the toy giveaways that are so often a part of fast food fare like Happy Meals.

Under the legislation, a packaged fast food meal aimed at children would have to meet guidelines for sodium, fat and calorie content — and contain at least half a cup of fruit or three-quarters of a cup of vegetables. Only if it does that, could it — like its intended consumers — qualify for a toy.  The criteria are very specific: Anything over 600 calories total would be disqualified, as would a meal with more than 640 mg of sodium or more than 35% of its calories from fat (with the exception of egg, nut or low-fat cheese sources).

“We’re part of a movement that is moving forward an agenda of food justice,” the bill’s main sponsor, Supervisor Eric Mar told the Los Angeles Times. “From San Francisco to New York City, the epidemic of childhood obesity in this country is making our kids sick, particularly kids from low-income neighborhoods, at an alarming rate. It’s a survival issue and a day-to-day issue.”

Not everyone is a fan of the idea. Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed to veto the measure on economic grounds, but the 8-to-3 vote in favor makes it veto-proof.  McDonald’s franchise owners worry that families will simply drive outside of city limits to get their Happy Meal fix, rather than opt for the healthier option closer to home.

“We are extremely disappointed with today’s decision. It’s not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement.”Getting a toy with a kid’s meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald’s,” Proud said.

Fifteen percent of American children are overweight or obese — which puts them at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some states, the childhood obesity rate is over 30 percent.The Center for Science in the Public Interest this summer threatened to sue McDonald’s if it did not stop using Happy Meal toys to lure children into its restaurants. A lawyer for that group said it is on track to file the lawsuit in the next several weeks.

McDonald’s debuted the Happy Meal in the United States in 1979 with toys like the “McDoodler” stencil and the “McWrist” wallet. Modern offerings have included themed items from popular films like “Shrek” or sought-after toys like Transformers, Legos or miniature Ty Beanie Babies.

In 2006, the latest year for which data is available, fast-food companies led by McDonald’s spent more than $520 million on advertising and toys to promote meals for children, according to a U.S. Federal Trade Commission report.

When the efforts of other food and beverage companies were included, promotional spending aimed at children topped $1.6 billion.

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