This definitely was a tough weekend for us. It was a normal Sunday until about 1pm that afternoon. Hubby was watching his Sunday football and the girls and I were in my bedroom. When Alia decided it would be fun to roll on my bed….and like she usually does ignored my constant scolding of “Stop it you’re gonna get hurt!” Of coure nothing usually happens well at least nothing dramatic, that is until today. (more…)

We may associate slavery as an action that only ocurred in the past of this world. The phenomen has only increased and is rapidly growing. Modern day slavery has become an industry of huge profit for the black market. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industy that we commonly associate only with third world countries. The reality is that it’s occuring in our backyards; on American soil. The United States has become a high importer of sex slaves.

“America’s largest anti-slavery organization, Free the Slaves estimates that at least 10,000 people a year are smuggled or duped into this country by sex traffickers” (http://www.tradethemovie.com/get_involved.html).

 This is an issue that I have been following for about two years. One of the reasons that it has caught my attention is because  I’m a woman, and a mother. This is happening not only in my country but the world including Latin America where many of these transactions are held. The women and children who are stolen from their families, kidnapped, beaten, raped, drugged, moved around like cargo and shipped as merchandise, auctioned and sold for the purpose of sexual exploitation. When I learned about human trafficking it was an instinctive reaction to take some sort of action to help in stopping it. So when I heard about a petition two years ago I took part in signing it.

The  petition encouraged our government to pass a law prosecuting Americans for sexually soliciting minors overseas. I was one of the thousands who signed it and last year Congress passed the law, and it has been put into practice ever since. So with this introduction, I have tried to find ways to get the word out  on human trafficking and finding more information on it; however, we still have a long road ahead of us in ending sex slavery. It is estimated that 80% of humans trafficked are female and 50% are minors. The State Department has estimated that about 800,000 people are trafficked over international borders yearly, largely for sexual exploitation. It has unfortunately become a pandemic and more awareness and laws need to be made in protecting human rights. I came across a film that was released this passed weekend reflecting on the human trafficking issue.

Actor Kevin Cline, has made a movie titled “Trade”. This film focuses on the human trafficking industry and has captured the attention of many U.N. officials. Although the film isn’t a multi-million dollar film it captures the brutesque reality of sex slavery and the lives it has destroyed in the process. This is a film that shouldn’t go ignored. It’s a movie that affects us on a global scale and shows us the trade of human trafficking. The State Department has estimated that about 800,000 people are trafficked over international borders yearly, largely for sexual exploitation. Please learn more about human trafficking and what you can do to fight this human rights violation.

Human Rights Organizations Involved with Sex Trade:

Watch Full Screen Trailer of “Trade”

By JANE ZHANG
September 6, 2007; Page D2

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is evaluating whether consumers, like workers in popcorn plants, can develop lung disease from inhaling a chemical additive used for butter flavoring in microwave popcorn.

A Denver physician said in a letter to the agency in July that a patient who had eaten several bags of extra butter-flavored popcorn each day for several years had developed symptoms similar to those of some microwave popcorn-plant workers.

The letter “does not present evidence” that consumer exposure to vapors of the chemical diacetyl, generated by microwaving popcorn, causes lung disease, said FDA spokesman Michael Herndon. He said the agency is studying the situation, and “carefully considering the safety and regulatory issues it raises.”

ConAgra Foods Inc., the nation’s largest maker of microwave popcorn including the Orville Redenbacher’s and Act II brands, said it is eliminating “within a year” diacetyl from its microwave popcorn.

“While we are fully confident that microwave popcorn is safe for consumers to prepare and consume, we plan to eliminate the use of added diacetyl in products in order to eliminate even the perception of risks for consumers and to provide our employees who handle large quantities of diacetyl regularly with the safest possible work environment,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Childs.

The industry in 2004 sold more than three billion bags, with sales totaling more than $1 billion, ConAgra said.

In 2000, a physician reported to the Missouri health department that eight workers from a microwave popcorn factory developed lung disease. Studies conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that cumulative exposure to diacetyl vapor over time has the potential to cause serious lung damage and a condition known as bronchiolitis obliterans.

In April, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said workers at factories that make food flavorings as well as popcorn factories are at risk of contracting the hard-to-treat condition.

NIOSH has recommended that manufacturers substitute the chemical with less-dangerous ones, and that workers don masks and other protective gear. Links between the chemical and lung disease have been less clear in consumers, and the FDA has labeled the chemical “generally recognized as safe.” Last year, David Michaels, a professor at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, petitioned the FDA to drop the designation.

Source: Wall Street Journal

 Health Blog: Microwave Popcorn and Lung Disease
 

Write to Jane Zhang at Jane.Zhang@wsj.com

 By MARCUS KABEL, Associated Press Writer

Consumers, not just factory workers, may be in danger from fumes from buttery flavoring in microwave popcorn, according to a warning letter to federal regulators from a doctor at a leading lung research hospital. (more…)

My beloved children both my son and daughter returned back to New York yesterday. This has been a bittersweet summer to say the least. I learned many things about motherhood, patience, and tolerance. It’s definitely not easy being a mother of 4 on a fulltime basis. I have no idea how moms do it everyday, every second of their lives juggling responsibilities as a mother and wife. (more…)

STEVE LYTTLE

 slyttle@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte’s record-setting heat wave could add another chapter to the history book today, with forecasters expecting temperatures to vault over the 100-degree mark yet again.

And the previously forecast “relief” this weekend might not be such a break, after all.

High temperature records have been set four days this month already, and a fifth mark is possible this afternoon. Yet another record will be threatened Friday.

Forecasters are predicting a high of 101 degrees today in Charlotte, which is near the Aug. 16 record of 102 degrees, set in 1954. Friday’s forecast high is 97, which would equal the record of the day, set in 1911.

A daily record was set Wednesday, with Charlotte’s 99-degree high. That broke the mark of 97, set in 1923.

It’s the same old story for our region.

High pressure is dominating much of the South, pushing temperatures at or above the 100-degree mark. A cold front is forecast to push into the region Friday, and that could set off thunderstorms in the drought-stricken region.

But the cold front won’t do much to cool temperatures.

Forecasters originally thought high temperatures would be pushed back into the upper 80s from Saturday into next week, but they now say the 90s will continue to dominate. Highs could reach the middle 90s Saturday and will be in the lower 90s Sunday.

The only change in the forecast will be welcome — a 30 percent chance of afternoon thunderstorms Saturday, Sunday, Monday and next Wednesday.

  


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