Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shark Attack Must Stop pleads Jim Toomey

Caribbean reef shark and diver in Bahamian Waters. (PRNewsFoto/Pew Environment Group, Stuart Cove Dive Bahamas)

29 Mar 2011 14:39 Africa/Lagos

Shark Cartoonist Jim Toomey Joins Effort to Protect Sharks in The Bahamas

PR Newswire

NASSAU, Bahamas, March 29, 2011

NASSAU, Bahamas, March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey, whose Sherman's Lagoon comic strip appears in more than 250 newspapers in over 30 countries, will be in The Bahamas this week to push for increased shark protections. The artist will speak at several public forums and will visit with schoolchildren in Long Island and Nassau.


"The Bahamas has something wonderful in its waters, something very few countries have," said Toomey. "Because the government banned longline fishing, the shark populations off the Bahamian coast are still relatively healthy and the marine ecosystem is more intact here than almost any other place in the world."

Toomey's cartoon features a great white shark that lives off of a fictional island in the Palauan archipelago. In the real world, the Pacific island nation of Palau established a sanctuary for these animals in 2009.

More than 40 different kinds of sharks can be found in Bahamian waters, including the whale shark, the great hammerhead and even great whites. Toomey is joining efforts spearheaded by the Pew Environment Group and The Bahamas National Trust to establish specific protections for the species; none currently exist.

"Under Jim Toomey's direction, Sherman and his friends confront all of the damage and indignities that we heap upon the underwater environment," said Eric Carey, executive director of The Bahamas National Trust. "Beyond the cartoon page, we need better marine protections so that the sharks can continue to keep our oceans healthy. That should start no other place but here in The Bahamas."

"The waters of The Bahamas were once known for buried treasure and pirate ships," said Jill Hepp, manager of Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environment Group. "But living treasure can now be found swimming freely in the ocean. Over the past 20 years, shark diving has generated US$800 million for the Bahamian economy. In protecting these animals, we protect the health of our oceans and our economies."

Worldwide, up to 73 million sharks are killed every year, primarily for their fins, which are valued for their use in shark-fin soup, an Asian delicacy. As a result, 30 percent of the world's species are threatened or near-threatened with extinction. For an additional 47 percent, scientists lack sufficient data to properly assess their population status.

The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands and promote clean energy. .

The Bahamas National Trust was established by an Act of Parliament in 1959 and is mandated with the conservation of natural and historic resources of The Bahamas. It is the only known non-governmental organization in the world with the mandate to manage a country's entire national park system.

Pew Environment Group: Dan Klotz, +1 202.887.8855 /
The Bahamas National Trust: Lynn Gape, +1 242-393-1317 /

SOURCE Pew Environment Group

Web Site:


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

UN Condemns Continuing Use of Force in Western Libya

Under attack: Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi explode after a coalition air strike

24 Mar 2011 14:48 Africa/Lagos

UN Secretary-General Condemns Continuing Use of Force in Western Libya

NEW YORK, March 24, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

The Secretary-General condemns the continued use of force in the western part of Libya, including Zintan and Misrata. Once again, he reiterates his call for an immediate end to violence by all parties, in accordance with Security Council resolutions 1970 (2011) and 1973 (2011), and for the responsibility to protect civilians. All those who violate international humanitarian and human rights law will be held fully accountable.


Releases displayed in Africa/Lagos time 24 Mar 2011

14:48 UN Secretary-General Condemns Continuing Use of Force in Western Libya

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Coming Soon: 30 Day Rule, a fantastic romantic comedy

Ambitious young African American director Rahiem Shabazz is excited about his his first romantic feature the 30 Day Rule. The romantic comedy tests the premise that 'a man's lies come with an expiration date of thirty-days'.

Rahiem has directed special music videos in the US and worked on projects involving Russell Simmons, the co-founder, with Rick Rubin of successful hip-hop label Def Jam, and Wanya Morris of Boyz II Men.

He was an Executive Producer of the award winning SAG-accredited short film "The Sun Will Rise" and film consultant and casting director on "The Kissing Bandit", a full-feature film currently touring the film festival circuit. He worked as a production assistant for Tyler Perry’s "Why Did I Get Married", "Why Did I Get Married Too" and "For Colored Girls".

Rahiem Shabazz and Writer Christal Jordan

Rahiem has won 5 awards so far, including the 2007 Atlanta Hip-Hop Film Festival for his Short Film and the YGEA Award in 2010 for Video Director of The Year and he has been a notable speaker at several film festivals and received international coverage on BET, MTV and Starz In Black.

“Every hurdle I've surpassed has been leading up to this film. Over the years I've taken compliments and accolades on my writing style coupled with my cinematic vision to heart and I believe that I have a voice that needs to be heard in film, “said Rahiem Shabazz on his upcoming film 30 Day Rule.

Rahiem's company Rasha Media Group Inc specializes in filmmaking, screenwriting talent relations and strategic marketing.

View the exclusive Photo Shoot Directed by Rahiem Shabazz.

The Synopsis of 30-Day Rule

How long can a player truly get away with a lie?

30-day rule is a romantic comedy with a message that nothing in life comes without a cost. Rome, a good-looking smooth-talking brother in his mid-twenties feels he is on top of the world. He believes he can talk any woman he meets into doing what he wants them to do. He lies, schemes and cheats all in the name of scoring and feels no guilt about his actions. Best friend Trent advises Rome that there is a 30 day expiration date on the lies he tells woman and that no good will come of his evil ways and eventually he will meet his match. Enter Katina, the beautiful vixen Rome is captivated by simply because of her beauty. Unbeknownst to Rome, Katina is the female version of himself, however her feline ways give her the unfair advantage as he under estimates her agenda because of her beauty.

Sit back and enjoy the ride as both Rome and Katina learn some very important lessons that have comedic consequences and repercussions for both sides.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima

Friday, March 25, 2011

Menthol Smokers less likely to quit than regular smokers

In a study led by Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H., African American smokers showed greater brain responses to smoking cues, such as images of individuals smoking, than did Caucasian smokers.
Click here for the full report of the study.

The following is the latest survey on African American smokers.

24 Mar 2011 16:42 Africa/Lagos

New Survey Finds Menthol Smokers Feel "Twice-Addicted"
Ban on Menthols Seen as an Opportunity to Quit, Particularly among African Americans

PR Newswire

PARSIPPANY, N.J., March 24, 2011

PARSIPPANY, N.J., March 24, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey conducted this month, sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare, uncovers the perceptions and habits of menthol cigarette smokers, particularly among African Americans, who disproportionately smoke menthols over any other group.(1) The survey shows that menthol smokers feel "twice-addicted" – both to the menthol and to the tobacco – and most are attracted by the taste and feel of menthol cigarettes.(1) Almost three-quarters (74 percent) of menthol smokers believe that menthol makes it easier for them to inhale, when almost 40 percent say that menthol flavoring is the only reason they smoke.(1)

Additionally, if the FDA were to ban menthol cigarettes, four out of five menthol smokers (82 percent) say they are likely to try quitting.(1)

"Almost all menthol smokers in the survey reported they want to quit, but were less likely to have tried quitting than regular smokers. They are also less likely to have tried using treatment," said Cedric Bright*, M.D., president-elect of the National Medical Association and associate professor of medicine in the Departments of Medicine and Community and Family Medicine at Duke University Medical Center. "With the high interest in quitting among these smokers, more needs to be done to educate smokers about accessible resources, such as counseling and nicotine replacement therapy, which are proven methods for improving success rates."

According to data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 82 percent of African-Americans choose menthol cigarettes, versus just one-quarter of adult smokers of other races.(2) The survey shows, one-quarter of African-American menthol respondents have not tried treatment such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) because they don't know enough about it, or they think they can quit cold turkey, or without treatment.(1) In reality, smokers who try to quit cold turkey result in less than a five percent chance at success.(3) Using counseling, along with treatment such as NRT, can double a smoker's chances of successfully quitting.(4)

Other research shows menthol smokers smoke fewer cigarettes per day than those who smoke regular cigarettes.(5) However, they may be inhaling as much if not greater nicotine levels creating a stronger addiction.(6) Still, it's not the number of cigarettes smoked per day that determines what level of treatment a smoker should choose.(6) Menthol smokers who plan to quit should be aware of their smoking behaviors when choosing the right NRT dosage – such as when they smoke their first cigarette of the day.(6)

A new analysis, presented last month at the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, demonstrated that smokers choosing an NRT product should select their dose according to their time to first cigarette (TTFC) compared to the number of cigarettes they smoke per day.(6) The study showed higher quit rates for those smokers who used the TTFC method to determine the strength of medication needed, showing that it is essential to choose the right dosage based on a smoker's level of addiction to quit successfully.(6)

NRT products have helped millions of people around the world quit smoking and, as a result, have significantly reduced their exposure to the risks of cancer and other smoking-related diseases.(7) They are recommended as first-line treatments for smoking addiction in the U.S. and can reliably increase long-term smoking abstinence rates.(4) Smokers interested in quitting can access free tools and resources at

About NRT

Nicotine replacement therapy, such as Nicorette® gum and lozenge, and NicoDerm®CQ® patch, offers a step-down therapy weaning a smoker off of nicotine gradually.(4) It is a first-line treatment for smoking cessation, and can double a smoker's chances of quitting over cold turkey.(4) NRT has safely and effectively helped millions of people around the world quit smoking over the past 20 years, and, as a result, have significantly reduced their exposure to the risks of cancer and other smoking-related diseases.(7)

About the Survey

An online survey was conducted among 616 adult smokers in the U.S., including 308 menthol cigarette smokers and 308 regular (non-menthol) cigarette smokers. The sample included 252 African American smokers (a deliberate oversample), including 152 menthol smokers, and 100 regular smokers. For analysis, sample data were statistically weighted by race, gender, income, and menthol versus non-menthol smoking to accurately reflect the current population of adult smokers on each of these dimensions. Weighting was based on data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by United States Department of Health and Human Services. Data were collected between March 2 and March 10, 2011. Survey design, data collection, and analysis were done by Versta Research and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare.(1)

About GlaxoSmithKline ® Consumer Healthcare

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare is one of the world's largest over-the-counter consumer healthcare products companies. Its more than 30 well-known brands include the leading smoking cessation products, Nicorette®, NicoDerm®CQ®, and Commit®, as well as many products such as alli®, Aquafresh®, Sensodyne®, and TUMS® -- which are trademarks owned by and/or licensed to GlaxoSmithKline Group of Companies.

About GlaxoSmithKline ®

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world's leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For company information visit:

*Dr. Bright is a paid spokesperson for GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare but his opinions regarding smoking cessation are his own.

(1) Survey of 616 smokers. Versta Research. March 2011.

(2) United States Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Office of Applied Studies. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2009 [Computer file]. ICPSR29621-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2010-11-16. doi:10.3886/ICPSR29621

(3) American Cancer Society "Cigarette Smoking" Available at

(4) Fiore MC, Jaen CR, Baker TB, et al. Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update. Clinical Practice Guideline. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Public Health Service. May 2008.

(5) Foulds J, Hooper MW, Pletcher MJ, Okuyemi KS. Do smokers of menthol cigarettes find it harder to quit smoking? Nicotine Tob Res. 2010 Dec;12 Suppl 2:S102-9.

(6) Shiffman, et. al. Assigning dose of nicotine gum by time to first cigarette, rather than cigarette consumption. SRNT 2011 presentation.

(7) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Use of FDA-approved pharmacologic treatments for tobacco dependence.


Deborah Bolding

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare


Teresa Murtaugh



SOURCE GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Farewell Elizabeth Taylor, Queen of Hollywood

Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

Legendary film actress Elizabeth Taylor has passed away. The Hollywood icon, who was 79, died of congestive heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital, where she had been hospitalized for the last six weeks. The actress, who starred in more than 50 movies and won 3 academy awards, was known for her beauty, glamour, and stormy personal life. She is survived by her 4 children, 10 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Omar al-Bashir remains a fugitive from justice


Ann Brown,, 301-633-4193

On Second Anniversary Of International Criminal Court Indictment Of Sudan’s Al-Bashir, GI-NET/SDC Calls For More Robust Pursuit Of Justice

President Omar al-Bashir

(Washington, DC) – Two years ago today, the International Criminal Court issued charges against Sudan’s president Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity related to his actions in Darfur. In July 2010, the court added charges of genocide against Bashir. On this anniversary, Mark Hanis, President of Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition, issued the following statement:

“Omar al-Bashir remains a fugitive from justice, not only defying the ICC arrest warrant but still perpetrating attacks against innocent civilians in Darfur. The many victims of Bashir’s heinous crimes deserve to see him held accountable and brought to justice.

“By allowing Bashir to go unpunished, the world is sending a message to other would-be perpetrators that crimes against humanity can be committed with impunity. We urge the United States as part of the UN Security Council which referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC, and all world leaders to provide necessary support to the ICC to fulfill its responsibility to hold Bashir and other perpetrators responsible for their actions.”


The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network merged on November 1, 2010 to create a more powerful voice dedicated to preventing and stopping large-scale, deliberate atrocities against civilians. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities such as Congo and Burma. The merger creates the world’s largest anti-genocide organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists globally, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors with over $700 billion in assets under management.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Americans Give President Obama Negative Job Rating

President Barack Obama

28 Feb 2011 15:53 Africa/Lagos

Almost Six in Ten Americans Give President Obama Negative Job Rating

Almost nine in ten give Congress negative ratings

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011

NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking ahead, President Obama most likely sees many battles forthcoming. There's the current budget showdown which has the potential to lead to a government shutdown. There is the labor issue and all eyes are watching to see how the White House responds to what is happening in Wisconsin. And then there is his own electoral battle, albeit 20 months from now, but still on the horizon.


Going into these battles, almost three in five Americans (58%) have a negative opinion of the job the President is doing while 42% have a positive opinion of it. This is slightly down from last month when 44% of U.S. adults gave the job the President was doing positive marks and 56% gave it negative ratings.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 3,171 adults surveyed online between February 14 and 21, 2011 by Harris Interactive.

Partisanship definitely exists in looking at President Obama's job approval ratings. Nine in ten Republicans (90%) give the President poor ratings while almost three-quarters (73%) of Democrats give him positive marks and Independents are more negative than positive with 60% giving the President negative marks and 40% positive. What is interesting is the depth of support among Republicans and Democrats. Almost six in ten Republicans (57%) give President Obama a rating of poor, the worst on the scale. Among Democrats, just one in five (22%) give the President a rating of excellent, while half (50%) say he is doing a pretty good job.

There is also a large regional divide. Just three in ten Southerners (31%) give President Obama positive ratings as do 42% of Midwesterners. Westerners are very split as 49% give the President positive ratings while 51% give him negative marks. The President's strongest ratings come from the East where over half (54%) give him positive ratings on the job he is doing.

It is almost two months into the new Congress and yet they are not faring much better than the previous Congress did in terms of their ratings. Over four in five Americans (86%) rate the overall job Congress is doing negatively while just 14% give Congress positive ratings. Last month, 84% of U.S. adults gave them negative marks while 16% positive ratings.

It's not just Congress and the President who are mired in negative ratings, the direction of the country is as well. Almost two-thirds of Americans (64%) say things in the country are going off on the wrong track, almost the same as last month (63%). Over one-third of U.S. adults (36%) say things are going in the right direction; 37% said this last month.

So What?

Americans may be hearing that things are getting better and they can see the stock market has had a nice run, but this hasn't translated into better job ratings for President Obama or for Congress. And, if turmoil in the Middle East continues and impacts gas prices for the summer driving season, expect these numbers to move down, not up. That's something the White House definitely does not want to see one year before the presidential election.

Click here for more details

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