Living

Breast milk banks, a female leader for Brazil, and alcohol is worse than heroin

Would you donate to a breast milk bank? It's a question you may one day have to ponder, as some Canadian doctors are pushing for the storage of human breast milk in theoretical milk banks. They say stored milk can be used to save the lives of premature babies, born before their mothers can produce a sufficient amount. Seven percent of the 250,000 babies born each year in Canada are premature, and breast milk offers many important health and development benefits to newborns.

 

Would you donate to a breast milk bank? It’s a question you may one day have to ponder, as some Canadian doctors are pushing for the storage of human breast milk in theoretical milk banks. They say stored milk can be used to save the lives of premature babies, born before their mothers can produce a sufficient amount. Seven percent of the 250,000 babies born each year in Canada are premature, and breast milk offers many important health and development benefits to newborns.

Brazil has chosen its new leader, and for the first time ever, it’s a woman. In a national election held Sunday, former guerrilla leader Dilma Rousseff won Brazil’s presidential election. Rousseff was hand selected by hugely popular outgoing president Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva to be his successor and continue the economic policies that have pulled some 20 million Brazilians out of poverty. In her victory speech Rousseff encouraged “fathers and mothers to lock their daughters in the eyes and say, ‘Yes, a woman can.'”  

Canadian-born Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr has been handed a stiff but largely symbolic 40 year sentence. Last week Khadr pleaded guilty for several crimes including the murder of an American soldier in Afghanistan. Though he’s officially sentenced to serve 40 years in prison, a plea deal made with the Pentagon means Khadr will likely serve eight more years at most, and can apply for transfer to a Canadian prison within a year. The Harper government continues to deny any intention of repatriating Khadr, despite the release of intergovernmental memos that explicitly state the Canadian Government will “favourably consider” Khadr’s eventual return to Canada. 

A new study has revealed that while doing heroin isn’t great for your health, consuming alcohol may actually have a far greater negative impact on society as a whole. The British report ranks 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm, both to the users themselves and to the community as a whole. Alcohol ranked number one as the drug most likely to bring harm to others, followed by heroin, crack, tobacco and cocaine. The study found that tobacco and cocaine cause equal overall harm, and that the drugs most harmful to users are heroin, crack and methylamphetamine. Fun fact: magic mushrooms apparently do almost no harm at all.  

Our American neighbours are heading to the polls today for midterm elections today, and it looks like the Republican party is set to make major gains. Still reeling from the fallout from the 2008 economic downturn, the U.S. has been slowly limping towards a full recovery, and many former Obama supporters are blaming his administration for their continuing woes. Republicans need 39 House seats and 10 Senate seats to regain control of those chambers. Whether they win them remains to be seen, but recent polls make one thing abundantly clear: Americans are not happy. Eighty-four percent say they are dissatisfied with the U.S. economy, and 60 percent believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.