Thursday, October 29, 2015

2073. Division of Labor in Contemporary Hunter-Gatherer Societies

By Synda N. Bhanoo, The New York Times, October 26, 2015
A Jenu Kuruba tribal dance
The division of labor in hunter-gatherer communities is complex and sophisticated, and crucial to their economic success, researchers report.

A paper in the journal Philosophical Transactions B looks at two hunter-gatherer groups: the Tsimane game hunters of lowland Bolivia, and the Jenu Kuruba honey collectors of South India.

“In contrast to the simple cave man view of a hunter-gatherer, we found that it requires a tremendous amount of skill, knowledge and training,” said Paul Hooper, an anthropologist at Emory University and one of the study’s authors.

He and his colleagues found that there is a clear division of labor between Tsimane and Jenu Kuruba men and women.

Women tend to stay away from collecting honey and hunting, because neither is conducive to caring for young children — and because they aren’t given the opportunity to develop these skills, Dr. Hooper said.

“If a third of your life is tied up with taking care of young offspring, you don’t have that time that boys and young men have to go out and practice doing this stuff,” he said.
Individuals often have specializations in hunter-gatherer communities, the researchers also found.

When Jenu Kuruba men go in search of honey, Dr. Hooper said, “there’s one man who specializes in making smoke to subdue the bees, another that climbs the trees, and others that act as support staff to lower combs.”

The Tsimane men also organize themselves according to their specialties and modify their groups based on the size of the game they are hunting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

2072. 19,000: Birds for Sale in Jakarta’s Biggest Markets

By Rachel Nuwer, The New York Times, October 23, 2015
A salesmen and his birds in one of Jakarta's markets. Researchers warned that the trade in wild birds was driving some species to extinction. Photo: WEDA/European Pressphoto Agency

There is a saying in Java: “A man is considered to be a real man if he has a house, a wife, a horse, a dagger and a bird.”

Birds are the most popular pet in Indonesia, sought as living objets d’art, good luck charms or, in the case of rare species, status symbols.

This national fondness, however, is taking a toll. Last year, in a three-day survey of Jakarta’s three largest bird markets — one of which is Asia’s biggest, if not the world’s — investigators working with Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring group, found more than 19,000 birds representing more than 200 species.

“While we expected the numbers to be high, nearly 20,000 birds is very alarming,” said Chris Shepherd, Traffic’s regional director in Southeast Asia. “The diversity of the birds in the market, including threatened species, is also terrifying.”

Dr. Shepherd and his colleagues found two critically endangered species, the Bali myna and the black-winged myna, as well as a number of other species near extinction. Some number fewer than 100 living individuals, while others sold in the market are extinct in the wild.

Still others, they fear, may have already been driven to extinction by the trade. Some of the species that Dr. Shepherd saw for sale in the 1990s, including the Javan green magpie and the Nias hill myna, were missing in this latest survey. Field reports show that those species have also all but disappeared from the wild.

In a new report, the researchers call for the Indonesian government to enforce an existing law that bans the trade of any wild-caught birds — the vast majority for sale in Jakarta — and to act on national and international legislation protecting some individual species.

Such action has worked in the past. In the 1990s, live orangutans, leopards and pangolins were openly sold in Jakarta, but the government cracked down, and today they are sold only on the black market, in much smaller numbers.

Illegal and unsustainable trade in birds also exists in neighboring countries, including Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia.

“It’s frustrating that we’ve been watching this happen for so long, yet there’s still not a lot of support for stepping up efforts to do something about it,” Dr. Shepherd said. “For the vast majority of these species, it’s not too late, but that will require acting now.”

2071. Meat Is Linked to Higher Cancer Risk, W.H.O. Report Finds

By Anahad, O'Conner, The New York Times, October 26, 2015

An international panel of experts convened by the World Health Organization concluded Monday that eating processed meat like hot dogs, ham and bacon raises the risk of colon cancer and that consuming other red meats “probably” raises the risk as well. But the increase in risk is so slight that experts said most people should not be overly worried about it.

The panel did not offer specific guidelines on red meat consumption. But its conclusions add support to recommendations made by other scientific groups like the federal government’s dietary guidelines advisory committee, which has long discouraged the consumption of red and processed meat. And the report could also influence health agencies such as the European Food and Safety Commission.

Experts not involved in the report said that the findings should give people more reason to “moderate” their intake of processed meat. But they cautioned that any increased risk of cancer was relatively small.

Nonetheless, the panel’s conclusions evoked strong responses, with significant resistance from the meat industry and from some environmental groups calling for warning labels on meat.

The report placed processed meat into its Group 1 category, which means the panel found “sufficient evidence” that it could cause cancer. While other substances in this group include alcohol, asbestos and tobacco smoke, they do not all share the same level of hazard. The risk attributed to smoking, for example, is many orders of magnitude greater than the risk associated with eating red meat, said Dr. John Ioannidis, the chairman of disease prevention at Stanford University.

“I think it’s very important that we don’t terrorize people into thinking that they should not eat any red meat at all,” said Dr. Ioannidis, who was not involved in the new report. “There’s some risk involved, but it’s much less than smoking or alcohol. I think it would be an exaggeration to say based on this that no one should be eating red or processed meat.”

Smoking causes a roughly 20-fold increase in a person’s risk of developing lung and other types of cancer, and every year it results in about a million deaths worldwide. In comparison, a person’s risk of colorectal cancer rises by a factor of about 1.1 or 1.2 for every serving of processed meat consumed per day. This means that based on the report, diets high in processed meat could be expected to contribute to about 30,000 deaths per year across the globe, though the true number could also be far less, Dr. Ioannidis said.
“There is still a lot of uncertainty,” he added.

The committee that issued the new report, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, consists of 22 public health, cancer and other experts from 10 countries. The group, which reviewed 800 studies on cancer in humans, acts as an adviser to the World Health Organization, focusing on environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to the disease.

Since 1971, the group has evaluated more than 900 such factors as part of its “monographs” program, assigning each factor to one of five different classification groups based on the likelihood of it playing a role in cancer.

The factors evaluated by the group over the years include coffee, sunlight and night-shift work, and only one of these has ever been listed as “probably not” carcinogenic: a nylon manufacturing chemical found in drinking water supplies.

The panel defined processed meat as those “transformed through salting, curing, fermentation, smoking or other processes to enhance flavor or improve preservation.” It said there was sufficient evidence based on human research — mainly large observational studies — that processed meat could be added to its Category 1 classification, along with a broad range of substances such as mineral oils, estrogen, ionizing radiation and diesel engine exhaust.
But it also cautioned that the substances were not all associated with cancer to the same extent.

“This does NOT mean that they are all equally dangerous,” the panel said in a statement, adding its own emphasis. “The I.A.R.C. classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence about an agent being a cause of cancer, rather than assessing the level of risk.”

As for red meat — which it characterized as muscle meat such as beef, veal, pork, lamb and mutton, among others — the panel said it was “probably” carcinogenic based on “limited evidence.” It said the association was observed mainly for colorectal cancer, but that diets high in red meat were also linked to pancreatic and prostate cancer.

The risks arise from chemicals produced by processing the meats and from cooking. Cooking at high temperatures or with the meat in direct contact with a flame can produce certain types of carcinogens, but the report said there was not enough data to support conclusions about whether the way meat was cooked affected cancer risks or about whether it was better to eat it raw, which carries its own risks.

Susan Gapstur, the vice president of epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, noted that colorectal cancer was the third-most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and women in the United States, and she called the panel’s conclusions “an important step” in helping people make more healthful dietary choices. The Cancer Society’s most recent nutrition and physical activity guidelines emphasize choosing fish, poultry or beans as alternatives to processed and red meat, and for those who eat red meat, the guidelines urge them to choose lean cuts and smaller portion sizes.

But James Coughlin, a nutritional toxicologist and a consultant for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the panel’s conclusions were based on “weak associations” that did not support its overall conclusions. He pointed out that even the panel itself was divided on the issue: Of 22 members who voted on its conclusions, seven either disagreed or chose to abstain.

“That rarely ever happens,” he said. “The I.A.R.C. looks for consensus, and occasionally there’s one or two people who disagree. We’re calling this a majority opinion as opposed to a consensus or unanimous opinion.”

2070. In a 191 to 2 Vote, United Nations Condemns U.S. Embargo of Cuba

By Edith L. Lederer, The Associated Press, October 27, 2015

The United States on Tuesday voted against a U.N. resolution condemning its embargo on Cuba, even though President Barack Obama has called on Congress to lift the trade restrictions.

The vote was the first since the U.S. and Cuban leaders agreed to restore diplomatic ties last December, and the U.S. had considered taking the unprecedented step of abstaining.

The General Assembly voted 191-2 to condemn the commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba, the highest number of votes ever for the measure. Only Israel joined the United States in opposing the resolution, and when the vote lit up on the screen many diplomats jumped to their feet in a standing ovation.

General Assembly resolutions are nonbinding and unenforceable but the annual exercise — now in its 24th year — has given Cuba a global stage to demonstrate America's isolation on the embargo and its Cuba policy.

The Associated Press reported last month that the United States considered abstaining in hopes of pressuring Congress to end the embargo.

Instead, the U.S. decided to vote against the resolution as it has since 1992, telling AP last month and saying again Tuesday that the measure didn't reflect "the spirit of engagement" between Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro.

U.S. deputy ambassador Ronald Godard told the assembly before the vote that the Cuban government is "mistaken" if it thinks the measure will improve efforts to normalize relations.

He said it was "unfortunate" that Cuba decided to introduce a resolution whose text "falls short of reflecting the significant steps that have been taken and the spirit of engagement President Obama has championed.”

Nonetheless, he said the United States "will not be bound by a history of mistrust" and remains committed to working toward normalizing relations with Cuba, a process he said will require "years of persistence and dedication on both sides.”

Obama and Castro announced last Dec. 17 that they were restoring diplomatic ties, which were broken in 1961 after Fidel Castro took power and installed a communist government.

On July 20, diplomatic relations were restored and embassies of the two countries were reopened, but serious issues remain, especially the U.S. call for human rights on the Caribbean island and claims for expropriated property.

The resolution welcomes the re-establishment of diplomatic relations and recognizes "the expressed will" of Obama to work for the elimination of the embargo.

Cuba's Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez told a news conference he was "disappointed" with the U.S. vote and said it was not necessary to reply to Godard's explanation of the U.S. vote.

"First and foremost what needs to be modified is the reality of the implementation of the blockade, not the text of the resolution," he said.

Rodriguez said the United States must lift the embargo to fully normalize relations.
"The lifting of the blockade will be the essential element to give some meaning to the progress achieved over the past few months in the relations between both countries and shall set the pace towards normalization," he told the General Assembly.

He said it is "a unilateral act of the United States and should be lifted unilaterally, without asking anything in return.”

But many Republican lawmakers, and some Democrats, oppose lifting the embargo at this stage, and Rodriguez was critical not only of the U.S. Congress but of Obama's failure to take executive action to ease it.

The Cuban foreign minister said the embargo isolates the United States and goes against its national interest and as long as it remains in effect Cuba will continue to present its annual resolution to the General Assembly.

Despite the U.S. vote, Rodriguez said, "Cuba will continue to do its best to improve relations with the United States."

2069. Catholic Church Leaders Issue Appeal on Climate Change

By Isabetta Povoledo, The New York Times, October 26, 2015

VATICAN CITY — Roman Catholic cardinals, patriarchs and bishops from around the world on Monday appealed to climate-change negotiators to approve a “fair, legally binding and truly transformational climate agreement” when they meet at a widely anticipated United Nations conference in Paris next month.

Representatives of the church from five continents signed the appeal in Vatican City. They said it was inspired by Pope Francis sweeping encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si,” issued in June, which forcefully calls for action to stem environmental destruction and climate change.

The prelates’ appeal calls for a “major breakthrough in Paris” that puts “the common good ahead of national interests,” and advances a 10-point policy proposal “drawing on the concrete experience of people across the continents, and linking climate change to social injustice and the social exclusion of the poorest and most vulnerable of our citizens,” they wrote.

The proposal includes putting “an end to the fossil fuel era,” phasing out emissions by midcentury and providing “affordable, reliable and safe renewable energy access for all.” It also calls for the development of “new models of development and lifestyle.”

Governments must also set limits to global temperature increases, the appeal stated. Decisions made in Paris must be legally binding, the prelates said.

“It’s not a wish or a recommendation but something that is going to tie the hands of governments, we hope,” Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, India, said at a news conference Monday.

The church has a duty, he said, to bring “ethical considerations” to the forefront of the climate talks in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

The appeal, Cardinal Gracias said, was a “historic occasion” and the first time that Catholic leaders representing all regional and national bishops conferences had presented a joint appeal.

The reason for the petition was simple, he said: “We are experiencing very much the effects of climate change.”

Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, who is the president of the Federation of Episcopal Conferences of Oceania, said islands had been especially hard hit by climate-induced rising sea levels. “Our life,” in Oceania, “is at stake,” he said.

He called the Paris meeting a critical turning point. “Business as usual is neither viable nor respecting human dignity, cultures that have evolved over ten thousand years will be extinguished,” if Paris fails, he said.

Pope Francis has made care for the environment one of the platforms of his papacy, and the Vatican has organized international conferences to press the issue.

“It’s very important to have a variety of actors like the church who take a stance, because the changes that are required involve much more than decisions at the political and economic level,” said Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, a former vice president of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “They involve a cultural change everywhere around the planet. The church can be a very important player in that context.”

The church has also been attuned to the social injustice affected by climate change. “A common rule is that the poor are the most vulnerable while they are also the least responsible for the greenhouse-gas emissions,” Professor van Ypersele said, describing it as a “double injustice.”

But the rich, he said, should not believe that they can escape the impact of climate change. “We all share the same planet, the same boat,” he said. “If we sink to the bottom of the ocean, we all sink together.”

2068. Deadly Heat Is Forecast in Persian Gulf by 2100

By John Schwartz, The New York Times, October 26, 2015
The Hajj pilgrim  in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.  Over a thousand people died of dehydration this year.
By the end of this century, areas of the Persian Gulf could be hit by waves of heat and humidity so severe that simply being outside for several hours could threaten human life, according to a study published Monday. Because of humanity’s contribution to climate change, the authors wrote, some population centers in the Middle East “are likely to experience temperature levels that are intolerable to humans.”

The dangerously muggy summer conditions predicted for places near the warm waters of the gulf could overwhelm the ability of the human body to reduce its temperature through sweating and ventilation. That threatens anyone without air-conditioning, including the poor, but also those who work outdoors in professions like agriculture and construction.

The paper, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, was written by Jeremy S. Pal of the department of civil engineering and environmental science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and Elfatih A. B. Eltahir of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Previous studies had suggested that such conditions might be reached within 200 years. But the new research, which depends on climate models that focus on regional topography and conditions, foresees a shorter timeline.

The researchers resolve the old argument over whether the source of summer misery is the heat or the humidity by saying that it is both. They rely on a method of measuring atmospheric conditions known as wet-bulb temperature, which, while less well known and understood than the standard method of measuring temperatures, describes the extent to which evaporation and ventilation can reduce an object’s temperature. A wet-bulb thermometer has, literally, a wet bulb: It is wrapped in a moistened cloth.

If the wet-bulb temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), even a person drenched in sweat cannot cool off. Wet-bulb readings are not the same as the heat-index measurements used by the National Weather Service, Dr. Eltahir said. (This is the figure used by weather forecasters to say what a hot day “feels like” when the humidity is added.)

A wet-bulb measure of 95 degrees Fahrenheit, he estimated, would roughly translate to a heat-index reading of 165 degrees. Since even today’s heat waves cause premature deaths by the thousands, mainly affecting very young, elderly and infirm people, the more extreme conditions envisioned in the new paper “would probably be intolerable even for the fittest of humans, resulting in hyperthermia” after six hours of exposure.

Erich M. Fischer, a senior scientist at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at the science and technical university ETH Zurich who was not involved with the paper, explained the role of humidity.

“Anyone can experience the fact that humidity plays a crucial role in this in the sauna,” he said. “You can heat up a Finnish sauna up to 100 degrees Celsius since it is bone dry and the body efficiently cools down by excessive sweating even at ambient temperatures far higher than the body temperature. In a Turkish bath, on the other hand, with almost 100 percent relative humidity, you want to keep the temperatures well below 40 degrees Celsius since the body cannot get rid of the heat by sweating and starts to accumulate heat.”

As climate change causes temperatures to rise around the world, it should come as no surprise that the warm-water coasts in the Middle East could be the first to experience brutal combinations of heat and humidity. The conditions would not be constant, but spikes would become increasingly common.

A temperature that today would rank in the 95th percentile “becomes approximately a normal summer day” by the end of the century, the researchers said. Wet-bulb temperatures that even exceed the 95-degree threshold could be expected to occur once every 10 or 20 years, Dr. Eltahir said. “When they happen, they will be quite lethal,” he said.

The research raises the prospect of “severe consequences” for the hajj, the annual pilgrimage that draws roughly two million people to Mecca to pray outdoors from dawn to dusk. Should the hajj, which can occur at various times of the year, fall during summer’s height, “this necessary outdoor Muslim ritual is likely to become hazardous to human health,” the authors predicted.

In an interview via email, Dr. Fischer said that he found the research “robust and noteworthy,” though he said some uncertainties remain in the temperature measurements and the models. “Whether it exceeds or just gets close to the adaptability limit and for what period (which is probably quite relevant) may need further research,” he wrote.

Steven Sherwood, a researcher whose work in 2010 suggested that parts of the world could become uninhabitable within 200 years if fossil-fuel burning continued unabated, said he saw no reason to doubt the results of the new study. However, he added that “we really need to learn how to improve these models” to build confidence in the results.

Still, he said he was startled by the prediction that many cities on the Persian Gulf coast could be essentially uninhabitable by the end of the century for those without air-conditioning. “That is truly shocking,” he wrote in an email exchange, and added that he found it ironic, “given the region’s importance in providing fossil fuels.”

2067. Film Review: Cuban Documentary "Daughters of the Stars"

By Irina Echarry, Havana Times, October 26, 2015
Ingrid Leon’s Mujeres: el alma profunda, las hijas de las estrellas (“Daughters of the Stars”) premiered to a full house at Havana’s Chaplin Cinema on October 10.
The film is no different from the previous documentaries that have emerged from Proyecto Palomas, a production house that focuses on social issues. It uses testimonies offered by elderly women while a voice-over narration accompanies still images and renowned visual art pieces that complement and/or stress the central thread of the film. Enveloped by poetry, the stories told by these women begin to intertwine, creating an intimate atmosphere. The personal anecdotes describing past or present events are well received by the avid public that hunts down these documentaries produced by Proyecto Palomas.
The voice-over narration – which could be offered by any elderly woman – makes the piece somewhat repetitive, though it does afford us differing points of view to address the complex universe of elderly women in an aging country. It should be pointed out that, this time around, though some scenes do elicit strong emotions, there were hardly any concessions made to sentimentalism. On the contrary, the editing showed a good degree of moderation.
Suffering, loss and fear are treated without sentimentalism. The intent is clearly to make the audience think, not hit them over the head or cloud their thinking with tear-jerking images. That is the best aspect of the documentary, which deals with the grandmothers of a Cuba whose population is slowly aging. In a mere 15 years, 30 percent of the island’s inhabitants will be over 60 (a trend that describes the highest aging rate in all of Latin America). Thus, old age will no longer be able to be addressed as a strictly social issue – it will have to be considered at the political and economic levels when public subsidy and welfare policies are implemented.
Foto: Caridad
In the course of 35 minutes, the twelve women interviewed speak of their sorrows and their joys. As is often the case with films produced by Palomas, the subjects were carefully and fairly selected. We see a broad range of women: home keepers, workers, care professionals, a teacher, a poet, an actress and a writer – diverse in terms of race and sexual orientation.
Many of the stories take us back to unhappy childhoods, where pain, discrimination or rejection are the norm. Some of the women, however, look back on joyful childhoods. Though some completed higher studies, the majority did not. Some got married out of a sense of duty, others out of love. Each looks upon life’s challenges differently: from the point of view of loneliness, death, disappointment or love. All, however, demand a place for themselves in today’s world, for their hopes have not yet vanished and – as one of the interviewees puts it – “life is worth living, no matter what the circumstances.”
Summarizing the peak moments in each of the interviewee’s lives in such a short film is a difficult task, particularly when we are talking about a dozen women – which is why, when the documentary ends, one leaves with the feeling that something was missing. We come out of the movie theater feeling admiration and sympathy towards some, but we get the feeling we don’t know them too well. Their lives come to us in snippets and, when we try to put these together, we are left with fairly big empty spaces.
Foto: Caridad
Foto: Caridad
In my opinion, the wisdom and experiences these women have accumulated over the years become diluted in a sea of anecdotes. Focusing on life’s ups and downs and the mistreatment one has suffered is interesting when it is followed by a reflection on the lessons these have taught us. In this sense, I feel the documentary is a little unbalanced.
It would have been interesting to see more of the work carried out by the Great Mentor of the Las Acacias Female Lodge and how that work has helped in her day-to-day life, or about the job one of them had to quit to care for her sister full-time, when she was still active professionally. The film pays little attention to the creative work of the writers and says nothing of the obstacles the transsexual woman faced in her workplace.
A very positive aspect of the documentary, on the other hand, is that it stresses those accounts that underscore women’s right to independence, decorous treatment, a free sexuality, acquiring knowledge (no matter what their age) and having their will and decisions respected.
Foto: Caridad
Foto: Caridad
The demand made by the producers of the film is clearly felt: the government must urgently look for solutions to protect and support the elderly (elderly women, in this case), a sector of the population that is extremely vulnerable.
Much remains to be said about Cuba’s elderly women. Though the occasional photo presents us with humbler environments, poorer people who live on the street or make a living selling trinkets on street corners and parkers (sometimes fleeing from the police) are absent from the documentary.
The film also fails to address the real situation of most homes for the elderly, where many spend their final days, where even the most basic conditions are lacking. The documentary also stays clear of elderly people who have been abandoned, not only by their own families, but also by society, people who spend their last days suffering from an illness and depending on the kindness of strangers (in the best of scenarios) or hurt by people’s contempt.

Monday, October 26, 2015

2066. Forests Can Help Alleviate World Hunger

By Emily J. Gertz, Takepart, May 6, 2015

Growing more food for the globe’s rising population is the major driver of deforestation. But a new report, endorsed by dozens of forest scientists, has found that leaving those trees standing would do much more to curb hunger than would converting them to cropland or pastures.

More than 1 billion people worldwide already depend on forests for food and crucial nutrients, according to the report, which was published Wednesday by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations.

For communities in Machakos County in eastern Kenya, the report stated, forest tree fruits such as pawpaws, mangoes, and loquats are major sources of vitamin A, and guava is a source of vitamin C.

The wild animals, fish, and insects in forests are also important sources of protein, iron, and fats. In the Rio Negro area of Brazil’s Amazon, the report noted, communities obtained 70 percent of their protein from fish caught in flooded forests and rivers.
Healthy forests also help communities withstand changing climate conditions, civil unrest, and shifting food prices, according to the researchers.

Although tree crops such as rubber, palm oil, and coffee are worth tens of billions of dollars a year in international trade, the report warned that razing natural forests and replacing them with tree crop plantations does not help reduce hunger. Instead, tree crop plantations increase food insecurity by wiping out local sources of food and eradicating agricultural as well as natural biodiversity.

There is little evidence for the “land sparing” argument that such plantations save forests by producing their crops more efficiently, the report noted. But there is a great deal of evidence that “land sharing,” or managing the land for multiple uses and biodiversity, can increase the supply of forest foods and support animal species that are important to agriculture, such as the birds, bats, and bees that pollinate crops
But unless governments integrate forests into their national food policies and international agreements, these benefits are all but invisible.

The report made several recommendations for ways that political leaders could “reimagine forests and food security.” Governments need to restore degraded forests to healthy biodiversity to increase their forest food supplies. They can also “target” particular forest foods for “improved harvest and/or cultivation”—in essence, putting more effort into managing which foods grow in forests. Better education on nutrition, particularly for women and children, can also help communities improve how they gather and manage forest-based foods.

Economic policies and programs must also help communities develop income from forest-related foods and other products, the researchers said.

“We know that forests already play a key role in mitigating the effects of climate change,” Christoph Wildburger, the coordinator of IUFRO’s Global Forest Expert Panels initiative, said in a statement. “This report makes it very clear that they also play a key role in alleviating hunger and improving nutrition.”

2065. Washington Strengthens Economic Blockade of Cuba in 2015

By Prensa Latina, October 25, 2015

Havana Oct 25 (Prensa Latina) The US Government strengthened the economic, trade and financial blockade of Cuba in 2015, a policy that contributed to deteriorate the Caribbean island''s economy and worsened the shortage the population is going through.
The damage reach Cuban and foreign entities, as the US company Gen Tech Scientific, which refused to sale chromatographs of Agilent 5975C gas, used for research and diagnosis in the biochemistry, pharmaceutics, and medical areas, putting forward a prohibition of sales ordered by the US State Department.

This answer was given three days after the decision of reestablishing the relations between the United States and Cuba was announced on December 17, said a draft resolution entitled "Need to Put and End to the Economic, Trade and Financial blockade of Cuba Imposed by the United States of America," to be presented at the United Nations.

On March 12, 2015, the German bank Commerzbank agreed, with the Treasury and Justice departments, the Federal Reserve, the New York State Department of Financial Services, the Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, to pay a fine of millions of US dollars.

According the the US authorities, such measure was adopted,. Due to violations of the regulations against Iran, Sudan, Myanmar, and Cuba.

According to the report by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, between September, 2005 and December, 2007, Commerzbank processed 56 transactions related to Cuba, with a value of $2,283,456 USD.

On June 1, 2015, the US Sigma-Aldrich Corporation, one of the world leaders in chemical and biochemical products, refused to supply essential chemical products for the development of the Cuban chemical industry to the Cuban company Quimimpex.

Sigma-Aldrich put forward that it can not provide products, services or technical information, because Cuba was a country under sanctions, to which they can not export, reexport, sell or supply goods, technology or services directly or indirectly from the United States or by any people from that country, regardless of his/her location.

On June 2, 2015, US Columbiana Boiler Company, LLC, specializing in manufacturing pressurized containers, refused to supply to the Cuban company Quimimpex the necessary cylinders to bottle the chloride used to make water drinkable for the aqueduct system 

The entity said that it was not allowed to send products to Cuba.

On September 5, 2014, three months before the historic announcement on December 17, President Barack Obama renewed the sanctions against Cuba.

Such action, was taken under the 1917 Trading with the Enemy Act, on which the laws and regulations that compose the blockade of Cuba are based, citing foreign-policy interests.

The blockade continues to be an absurd policy and morally unsustainable and as the US president recognized, did not serve the purpose of crushing the Cuban people's decision of choosing their political system and controlling their future.