Junk Food Navajo Uncategorized

Navajo Nation Starts Tax on Junk Food

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Navajo-collage-676x450The Navajo Nation has become the first area in the country to approve a tax on junk food, pairing it with the elimination of sales tax on fruits and vegetables to try to compel people to eat healthier.

The Nation comprises an area of over 27,000 square miles, across the states of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico.

Bags of chips and Hot Cheetos, among other items such as sweetened beverages and fried foods labeled as junk food, will cost 2 percent more under the tax. Meanwhile, the 5 percent sales tax won’t apply to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The tax was approved by the Nation to try to combat a health crisis—an estimated 100,000 of the tribe’s 300,000 members either have Type-2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

“The trend of obesity and diabetes is soaring very quickly, so we need to put some kind of stopgap measure on that,” Gloria Ann Begay, a founding member of the Dine Community Advocacy Alliance, which approved the act, told the Indian Media Network. An alliance survey found that up to 80 percent of the food stocked by grocery stores on the reservation qualifies as junk food, prompting more than half of Navajo residents to travel off the reservation to purchase groceries. Also, only 10 grocery stores serve the area, which is approximately the size of the state of West Virginia, leading the U.S.Department of Agriculture to term the area a “food desert.”

“Most residents are driving upward of two hours or more to get to a grocery store,” said Michael Roberts, president of First Nations Development Institute, an organization that works with the alliance.

While some measures across the United States have taxed soda in stores or vending machines, none have as of yet gone so far as this new act to tax both sugary foods and drinks. The act runs through 2020, but could be extended.

The situation in the nation has been compounded by the fact that about half of the tribe is unemployed, which prompts some to rely on junk food. About 42 percent of the residents live below the federal poverty line.

The tribe estimates the tax will generate $2 million to $3 million a year, which they plan on spending on farm initiatives.

Current Events Ukraine Uncategorized

Ukrainian lawmakers set to remove PM

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7fb2dd5b-6cef-4281-ba24-5322b6de58afUkrainian lawmakers are set to remove the embattled country’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk over corruption charges.

The legislators will remove Yatsenyuk from his post through voting next week after a temporary investigative anti-corruption commission is established, Sergei Kaplin, the representative of the largest faction in the Ukrainian parliament, Petro Poroshenko Bloc, said on Friday.

Kaplin further added that signatures are being gathered for the establishment of the commission in the parliament.

The commission will investigate the statements made by the former chairman of the Ukrainian State Financial Inspection, Nikolai Gordienko, who accused Yatsenyuk of corruption.

Yatsenyuk dismissed Gordienko in early March and ordered his activities to be investigated.

The premier also accused Gordienko of failing to successfully control state property and state finances.

Gordienko, however, accused the premier of covering up corruption schemes, saying his cabinet blocked the investigation into the corruption schemes from the time of the former government, an allegation denied by Yatsenyuk’s cabinet.

According to Gordienko, Ukraine’s Ukrtelecom Telecom Company was privatized in violation of the law and caused “billions” in damage.

This comes as Ukraine has been witnessing a months-long deadly conflict in its eastern parts.

The two mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have been hit by deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations in April last year to crush pro-Russia protests there.

In May 2014, the situation in the two flashpoint regions started to worsen as residents overwhelmingly voted for independence from Ukraine in referendums.

During peace talks in the Belarusian capital city of Minsk on February 11-12, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine agreed on the withdrawal of heavy weapons from Ukraine’s frontlines and a ceasefire, which officially went into effect on February 15. The warring sides, however, have continued to engage in sporadic clashes.

More than 6,000 people have died in the conflict, the UN says. Around 1.5 million people have also been forced from their homes over the past months of the turmoil.

NY Times

Big Pharma Civil Rights Current Events Uncategorized

Big Pharma Kills More People

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imagesA new study has shown that Big Pharma drugs cause more overdoses and more deaths than all of the illegal drugs on the market combined. According to the government’s own statistics, listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, deaths relating to pharmaceutical drugs rose to roughly 23,000 last year, which accounts for over half of the total overdose deaths in the country for that time period.

Additionally, a recent study conducted by researchers with the University of Virginia, University of Arkansas, the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, and the American Institutes for Research reconfirmed the known dangers of pharmaceutical drug abuse.

The study concluded that, “Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse. Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription abuse. Male teens with a high need to be popular andteens in general appear to be at exceptional risk. Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs.”

Sadly, the authors of the study described any average teenager, however, it does give us some insight into the root causes of teenage drug abuse.

As the study noted, teens are being pushed towards drug use by the high-stress environment that is created by modern culture and government schools. Many times, these students are even prescribed a wide variety of these medications to help them cope with the stresses of teenage life, which means that doctors are essentially putting their stamp of approval on daily teenage use of amphetamines like Adderall or tranquilizers like Xanax.

A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlighted this phenomena, pointing out that “Prescription drugs are seen as blessed by a trusted institution, the FDA, while increasingly aggressive advertising by drug companies simultaneously floods parents and children with messages that these substances are safe, popular, and beneficial.”