Around the world: UNICEF reports that 55 children in Mozambique die each day

Unsafe water and poor sanitation is killing almost 55 children every day in Mozambique, a country plagued by one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Cholera – which thrives where filthy water stagnates – is endemic in parts of the country. Over the past nine months, 12,433 people were treated and 109 people died from the disease.

According to UNICEF, of every 1,000 children born in Mozambique, 246 die within their first five years, with 13 percent of these deaths directly attributable to a lack of access to clean water, proper sanitation and poor hygiene practices.

“This translates into 55 children under five years of age dying every day from diarrhea. Thousands more are at risk because of cholera, infections caused by dirty water, and inadequate sanitation conditions if conditions are not improved and work is not speeded up,” UNICEF warned.

A survey conducted in November 2002 showed that 25 percent of households surveyed were spending more than an hour every day to reach their water source. Efforts to obtain fresh water place enormous strains on family members, particularly women and children.

“These chores fall heavily on children, particularly girls, preventing them from attending school. Furthermore, many schools have no latrines. The lack of privacy spells a powerful deterrent for parents to keep their daughters out of school,” UNICEF said.

In rural areas, only 26 percent of the population can get clean water, while 29 percent have access to latrines. UNICEF has responded by providing the government’s public works department with funds and chlorine for emergency water treatment, and has implemented massive hygiene promotion campaigns.

U.S. Senate Passes Bill to Improve History and Civics Education

This just in from Congressional Quarterly.....

The Senate passed a bill today aimed to improve the teaching of American history and civics in school. The bill (S 504) authorizes $25 million in annual grants through fiscal year 2007 to support the establishment of academies for teachers and students of American history and civics. The grants would be awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Colleges, universities and nonprofit educational research centers would be eligible for the program.

Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.,, the bill's author and former secretary of the Department of Education, said "improving the instruction and appreciation of history was critical at a time when test scores show many students to be 'civics illiterate'." He added, "When our values are under attack, we need to understand what those values are."

This grant provides monies for higher education. What about American children in grades K-12?

I find it appalling that students of foreign countries know more about U.S. history than American students. It's a sad state when the U.S. influence reaches all over the globe, yet American citizens know little of anything outside their towns/cities/counties.

The state of education in this country is discouraging. And it seems that most legislation being proposed and passed neglects the system that requires the most attention and funds - primary education, grades K-12.

Shyness may be inherited

Did you hide your face into your mom's skirts while being introduced to strangers? Did adults describe you as being painfully shy?

Science never ceases to amaze me. Harvard researchers studied MRIs taken from a group of 22-year-olds who had been described as shy or outgoing based on their childhood behavior.

What's next? Brain sections that control the proclivity to spend money? The key to becoming a success in life? The gene for dancing or flexibility or speed?

And what happens to all of us who were born lacking these refinements?

How much faith do you place on science? And, given the opportunity, would you load your children with genetic enhancements?

When is it going to STOP raining?


Spend your next vacation in space

Commercial space flight has arrived. For the bargain price of $20 million you can be one of two space tourists vacationing in the international space station.

If I had the ca$h, I would seriously consider doing this. I would not hesitate to pay for or volunteer for space travel - to fly into the heavens.

Is anyone else up for it?

Forged Inscription

Since November archaelogists and antiquity experts have studied the James Ossuary to determine its authenticy. The director of Israel's Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, has determined that the inscription on an ancient stone box suggesting it once contained the bones of Jesus' brother, James, is a forgery.


Merchandising Mania
Am I the only person on the planet who's never read Harry Potter?
Under the knife

This news story is more then a little sad. I was horrified when I saw a promo for Extreme Makeover. Our preoccupation for the perfect nose, lips, body, is going too far.

Reported by the Drudge Report yesterday:

Students in wealthy Chinese city get facelifts for passing exams

MON Jun 16 2003 22:42:21 ET

Hong Kong (dpa) - Parents in the wealthy southern Chinese city of Guangzhou have been rewarding their children with cosmetic surgery when they pass their high school exams, a news report said Tuesday.

Girls are being given nose jobs and work around their eyes while boys have operations to cut out excess fat as a treat for winning places in university at the end of secondary school, according to the South China Morning Post.

The newspaper said cosmetic surgeries reported that 90 per cent of operations carried out last week were on high school graduates who passed university entrance exams last week.

Guangzhou, formerly Canton, is the capital of the wealthy Guangdong province neighbouring Hong Kong and is one of the richest cities in China.

Cosmetic surgery has boomed in popularity in the city in the past decade.

When is enough enough?