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One of the most worst cases of environmental pollution in US history is taking place in Flint, Michigan — a suburb of Detroit that is majority African American. The citizens of this small city of 100,000 have been deliberately poisoned through their drinking water for more than a year. The worst exposure has been to lead, a known neurotoxin that, once in the body, cannot be removed. Lead harms everyone exposed to it, but it hits children especially hard. It causes permanent damage to the brain and other parts of the nervous system.
Two recent events — the victory of right-wing candidate Mauricio Macri in Argentina's presidential election in November and the win by Venezuela's right-wing Democratic Unity Roundtable in the December National Assembly elections — have radically altered South America's political map.
Poisoned water in Flint, Michigan, has exposed residents to toxic levels of lead and caused drastically elevated levels of the element in children, TeleSUR English said on January 19. Michigan authorities declared a state of emergency in Flint on January 5.
Photo: Counterfire. For the first time in 40 years, tens of thousands of junior doctors took to their picket lines on January 12 to oppose government plans to attack Britain's public National Health System (NHS). As part of its bigger plan to run the NHS into the ground, the Conservative government is trying to impose a new contract on all junior doctors working in England.
Facing possible austerity and a return to neoliberalism at the hands of a right-wing parliament, will the millions involved in Venezuela's Bolivarian revolution that has cut poverty and empowered the poor radicalise further and protect their 15 years of gains? Or will this be the blow that finally dampens their revolutionary joy and collective ambition?
In the aftermath of Venezuela's right-wing US-backed opposition securing its electoral win over President Nicolas Maduro's United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) in the December 6 National Assembly elections, the South American country is heading for two confrontations, each reinforcing the other — a political and an economic one. The future is very uncertain.
The Turnbull government recently decided to cut bulk-billing incentives to pathology services. This will result in pathology labs charging for basic tests including pap smears, MRIs, urine tests, blood tests, x-rays and ultrasounds. The cuts will force patients to pay at least $30 for a pap smear, urine or blood test and up to $173 for an MRI scan. These cuts are unfair to all, but will especially hurt women. Free and accessible pathology tests are key to ensuring early detection of cervical cancer, STIs (sexually transmitted diseases), UTIs (urinary tract infections) and pregnancy.
What was the central message of the December 20 Spanish general elections, which was “won” by the governing conservative People's Party (PP) of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy with only 28.72% of the vote, 3.6 million votes less than the last national poll in 2011? Why did the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) greet its worst ever result —22.01%, 1.4 million votes less than 2011 — with a sigh of relief?
The dam took just half-an-hour to entomb half the village of Bento Rodrigues in 18 metres of iron-ore tailings, reddish mud and water slurry. A “mountain tsunami” is how firefighters in Mariana, in Minas Gerais in south-eastern Brazil, described the bursting of mining company Samarco Santarem’s iron-ore tailings dam on November 5. Marcos de Eufrasio, a 38-year-old stonemason who was cutting rock on that sunny afternoon, said that, from nowhere, he heard a “mighty roar”.
The right wing's attacks on women's access to abortion once again turned deadly on November 27. Colorado Spring police arrested Robert Dear six hours after he entered a Planned Parenthood facility wielding an AK-47 rifle. By then, he had murdered three people and wounded nine.

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