Drug use rose after vote
Antidepressant use in England rose significantly compared with other prescription drugs in the wake of the 2016 vote to exit the EU, new research released yesterday found. Researchers at King’s College London looked at official monthly prescribing data for antidepressants for all 326 voting districts in England, comparing it with other classes of drugs in the run up to the June 23 referendum and the weeks that followed. They found that after the vote the volume of antidepressants prescribed increased 13.4 percent. “Job insecurity and worries about one’s future finances are associated with poorer health outcomes. Any event that triggers uncertainty and worries can have a negative effect,” said Sotiris Vandoros, senior lecturer in health economics at King’s College London and an adjunct professor at Harvard University.
Trump answers Mueller
President Donald Trump has turned over written answers to special counsel Robert Mueller’s questions about his knowledge of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, his lawyers said on Tuesday, avoiding at least for now a potentially risky sit-down with prosecutors. It is the first time he has directly cooperated with the long investigation. The step comes after months of negotiations over whether and when Trump might sit for an interview. The responses might help stave off a potential subpoena fight over Trump’s testimony if Mueller deems them satisfactory.
Judge blasts lawyers
Federal judge Jesse Furman on Tuesday issued a stinging rebuke to Department of Justice lawyers seeking yet again to delay his ruling over whether it is legal to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. “Enough is enough,” Furman said in New York City as he rejected what he said has become a weekly effort by the department’s lawyers to stop him from ruling on the merits of lawsuits accusing the Department of Commerce of improperly adding the question. “What makes the motion most puzzling, if not sanctionable, is that they sought and were denied virtually the same relief only weeks ago,” Furman said.
Ex-Michigan head charged
Former Michigan State University president Lou Anna Simon on Tuesday was charged with lying to police during an investigation of the handling of serial sexual abuser Larry Nassar, becoming the third current or former campus official other than Nassar to face criminal charges in the scandal. Simon is accused of making two false and misleading statements — that she was unaware of the nature of a sexual misconduct complaint that sparked the school’s probe of Nassar and that she only knew a sports medicine doctor, not Nassar himself, was under investigation at that time. If convicted of two felony and two misdemeanor counts of lying to a police officer, the 71-year-old Simon faces up to four years in prison.
Author shot after party
Former gang leader Nedim Yasar, who repented and wrote a book about his experiences, was shot on Monday night by a lone gunman in dark clothes and died in a Copenhagen hospital on Tuesday, police said. Joergen Ramskov, the chief editor of the Radio24syv radio station where Yasar had a talk show, says the 31-year-old was shot after he left a cocktail party for his book Roedder (“Roots”), which was released on Tuesday.
‘Comfort women’ entity shut
The government yesterday announced the formal shutdown of a controversial Japanese-funded foundation created to help former wartime sex slaves — a move that will further sour ties between the neighbors. It sparked a sharp reaction from Tokyo, which summoned the South Korean ambassador and urged Seoul to respect its “international promise.” The foundation was created as a result of a controversial 2015 bilateral deal, but the agreement angered some victims who described it as falling short of holding Japan responsible for wartime abuses.
Civilian focus needed in Sea
More focus should be put on building civilian facilities on islands in the South China Sea and less emphasis on the military to better sooth regional fears about Beijing’s intentions, an influential state-run paper said yesterday. In a commentary, Study Times said there was a “potential risk of war” for areas surrounding the country such as the South China Sea. “Without the strong deterrence power of our military in the South China Sea, the protecting regional peace and stability is merely idle theorizing and falls short of what we would wish,” it said, but added that there must be a greater role for non-military actors in the South China Sea. That means there should be more focus on building lighthouses, civilian airports, maritime search and rescue, scientific research and weather forecasting, it added.
Female lawmakers sought
Lawmakers on Tuesday debated a bill that would allocate one-third of all seats in parliament to women, with campaigners optimistic it would pass despite previous failures. Women hold 23 percent of seats in the lower and upper houses of parliament combined, says the Inter-Parliamentary Union — on a par with the global average, but lower than neighbors Rwanda, Ethiopia and Burundi. The 2010 constitution states that no more than two-thirds of any elected or appointed political bodies can be of the same gender, but does not set out a mechanism for attaining that goal. The new legislation would provide for special seats to be created if parliamentary elections fail to achieve the required numbers.
Whale ate 6kg of plastic
A sperm whale has been found dead with 115 plastic cups and 25 plastic bags in its stomach, raising concern among environmentalists and throwing the spotlight on the country’s rubbish problem. The items were part of nearly 6kg of plastic waste discovered in the 9.5m carcass when it washed ashore in Wakatobi National Park on Monday. Other debris included flip flops and ripped tarpaulins, Wakatobi tourism head La Ode Saleh Hanan told reporters yesterday.
EU zoos to deliver rhinos
Wildlife parks in three European countries on Tuesday announced that they are joining forces to send critically endangered eastern black rhinos back to their natural habitat in Rwanda, where the entire rhino population was wiped out during the genocide in the 1990s. Three female and two male rhinos from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic, Flamingo Land in Britain and Ree Park Safari in Denmark would first meet in the Czech park to get used to each other and get ready for their transport to the Akagera National Park in eastern Rwanda in May or June. It would be the biggest single transport of rhinos from Europe to Africa, officials said.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference