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Showing posts from June, 2019

The best type of exercise for your brain, according to a psychiatrist

Exercise is the number one weapon to prevent against brain erosion. Image: REUTERS/Susana Vera Dr. John Ratey has studied the braihan As a psychiatrist, he has always been interested in how we can make our brains function better. And while he appreciates the magic of modern medicine, he has found that lifestyle factors have the most profound effects on the brain. In particular, he has found that exercise is the number one thing we can do for brain health. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Ratey last week at his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to learn more about the effects of exercise on the brain, and what we can all do in our own lives to reap the benefits. Dr. Ratey grew up as a competitive junior tennis player in Pennsylvania and competed in the US Nationals, so he was exposed to the power of sports and exercise from an early age. And he was always fascinated by the brain, earning his first job out of college at Harvard’s Massachusetts Mental Health Center (MMHC). Bu…

3 ways countries can boost social inclusion and economic growth

Time to rethink the link between growth and raising living standards? Image: REUTERS/Michaela 
Traditionally, boosting growth has been seen as the best way to create job opportunities and raise living standards. But governments should now look at this the other way around: by better equipping their citizens to navigate the world of work, countries can most effectively boost their economic growth and development.
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Israel is joining forces with Arab states to save coral from climate change destruction

Political differences are being put aside for the sake of the Red Sea's coral reefs. Scientists from Israel and neighbouring Arab countries are joining forces to save Red Sea coral reefs from the threat of climate change. The alliance is the brainchild of Moaz Fine, an Israeli professor at Tel Aviv’s Bar-Ilan University, who invited marine experts from the countries that border the Red Sea to collaborate at a new research centre. The team will comprise representatives from Israel, Eritrea, Jordan and Egypt, with scientists from Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and Djibouti, which do not recognise Israel. The countries have put aside political differences in the interests of protecting the natural world they share.

Coping with stress
Scientists, ecologists and oceanographers will come together at the new research centre, based in Bern, Switzerland, to study the impact of bleaching on the Red Sea reefs.

Bleaching occurs when coral reacts to changes in sea temperature, light conditions or …

These cities have the worst traffic congestion in the world

The top 15 cities which suffer from the most congestion have been revealed. Image: REUTERS/John Kolesidis (GREECE - Tags: EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS TRANSPORT) Tom has released itshich highlights congestion levels in 403 cities in 56 countries. Traffic congestion has continued to increase over the past decade with almost 75 percent of cities in the index reporting increased or stable levels of congestion between 2017 and 2018. Mumbai recorded the highest congestion levels of any city last year and commuters there can expect to spend an average of 65 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic.The Colombian capital of Bogota comes second with 63 percent congestion while Lima comes third with 58 percent. India comes in again in fourth place with drivers in New Delhi needing 58 percent more travel timaffic jams and drivers underway in the Russian time can expect an extra 57 percent of travel time stuck in gridlock. they are still far less than the cities in this infographic at 41 percent. https:/…

We need to deep clean the oceans. Here's how to pay for it

We are running out of time to save the blue economy. Could a new approach to finance be the answer? Image: REUTERS/Bazuki Muhamma The world’s oceans are running out of breath. In the past 50 years, we have lost nearly half our coral reefs and mangrove forests and the size of marine populations has halved. A third of global fish stocks are already depleted. If these trends continue, it is estimated that there will be no stocks left for commercial fishing by 2048 in the Asia-Pacific region alone. By 2050, the oceans might contain more plastic than fish by weight and 90% of coral reefs may be lost. The “blue economy”, which includes livelihoods and other economic benefits derived from oceans, is estimated at between $3 trillion to $6 trillion per year globally. The oceans contribute significantly to the gross domestic product of many developing countries - as much as 13% in Indonesia and 19% in Viet Nam. Thirty-four million people in the Asia Pacific region are engaged in commercial fis…

Women in Switzerland have gone on strike - this is why

People protest on a bridge during a day-long and nationwide women's strike aimed at highlighting the country's poor record on defending the rights of women It's one of the wealthiest and democratic countries in the world, but as recently as 1991, some women in Switzerland were still denied the right to vote. As women marched for their rights, the Federal Supreme Court forced the one remaining canton where only men could vote to change its ways. But, a generation on, Swiss women were back on the streets on June 14 in a nationwide women's strike to protest at a lack of progress on gender equality and fair pay. As well as demanding equal pay for equal work, they are calling for the recognition of ‘women’s work’ and policies to end violence and discrimination against women.

Switzerland is a major financial centre and home to several multinational corporations. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in Europe, with maternal employmentparticularly high. But despite thi…

Costa Rica has doubled its tropical rainforests in just a few decades. Here’s how

Years of unchecked logging laid waste to two-thirds of Costa Rica’s tree canopy, leaving its tropical rainforests facing an uncertain future. But the trees have returned and the resurrected forests support a thriving eco-tourism industry. 

Towards the middle of the 20th century, indigenous woodland – predominantly tropical rainforest – covered all but a quarter of the country. But then the loggers arrived. The forests were cleared as crews of lumberjacks freely converted Costa Rica’s natural resources into profits. 

By the early 1980s, the destruction of two-thirds of the forests had ravaged the habitats of indigenous creatures such as the golden toad and poison dart frog. Show Following decades of decline, an unusual thing happened. The rate of deforestation slowed and eventually dropped to zero, and over time the trees began to return. 

Branching out
What caused this dramatic reversal of fortune? The simple answer is that Costa Rica began to realize the potential of its rich ecosystems …

5 steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean

save our ocean Can you imagine what 93 basketballs weigh? Or what the equivalent amount of plastic looks like? That was the average amount produced per person in 2016, according to a report from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It’s packed full of eye-watering statistics and predictions – including that if business continues as usual, by 2030 the amount of plastic pollution on the planet will double, with oceans the most visibly affected. So what can we learn and how can we turn that into an opportunity? Taming the beast While we all know plastic pollution is ballooning, most of us are less well versed on what can be done to tame it. That’s where the WWF’s new report, Solving Plastic Pollution Through Accountability, is helpful, offering five key areas where real efforts could reap results. The report chimes with the World Economic Forum’s work on the New Plastics Economy, which advocates shifting from a take-make-dispose model to a circular economy in which nothing that’s made becomes …