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Pornography is not ‘public health crisis’: Study

Pornography use has increased steadily over time rather than spiking or reaching a tipping point; it does not ‘directly or imminently’ lead to death, disease, property destruction, or population displacement; and it does not overwhelm local health systems.

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Porn watchin man

New York, Jan 10 : Existing evidence suggests pornography may negatively affect some individuals, but it does not qualify as a public health crisis, and calling it one could cause harm, say researchers.

Published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers from the Boston University have written an editorial arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

“The movement to declare pornography a public health crisis is rooted in an ideology that is antithetical to many core values of public health promotion and is a political stunt, not reflective of best available evidence,” said Kimberly M. Nelson and Emily F. Rothman from Boston University in the US.

While 17 US states have introduced nonbinding resolutions declaring pornography a public health crisis, the authors said that pornography does not fulfill the public health field’s definition of one.

Pornography use has increased steadily over time rather than spiking or reaching a tipping point; it does not ‘directly or imminently’ lead to death, disease, property destruction, or population displacement; and it does not overwhelm local health systems.

Instead, the existing evidence suggests that there may be negative health consequences for some people who use pornography, no substantial consequences for the majority, and even positive effects for some (for example, through safer sexual behaviour such as solo masturbation).

Motivating people to use less extreme pornography, and less frequently, are reasonable harm reduction goals instead of trying to end all use. Increasing pornography literacy would also be useful, according the experts.

“Mischaracterisation can lead to unwarranted policy or funding shifts, rather than saving the power to mobilise the public health workforce for real crises,” the researchers said.

“Moreover, pathologising any form of sexual behaviour, including pornography use, has the potential to restrict sexual freedom and to stigmatise, which is antithetical to public health,” they added.

Analysis

Dissatisfaction with democracy at record high: Report

The research team found that shifts in democratic satisfaction often responded to “objective circumstances and events” such as economic shocks or corruption scandals.

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Democracy

London, Jan 29: The year 2019 represents the highest level of democratic discontent on record, according to a new study by University of Cambridge researchers on Wednesday.

Across the planet, from Europe to Africa, as well as Asia, Australasia, both Americas and the Middle East, the share of individuals who say they are “dissatisfied” with democracy has jumped significantly since the mid-1990s – from 47.9 per cent to 57.5 per cent, according to the report.

Dissatisfaction with democratic politics among citizens of developed countries has increased from a third to half of all individuals over the last quarter of a century, it added.

For the study, the research team from the university’s new Centre for the Future of Democracy used a unique dataset of more than four million people. It combines over 25 international survey projects covering 154 countries between 1995 and 2020.

“Across the globe, democracy is in a state of malaise,” said the report’s lead author Roberto Foa, from Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS).

“We find that dissatisfaction with democracy has risen over time, and is reaching an all-time global high, in particular in developed countries,” Foa added.

The research revealed that the downward trend in satisfaction with democracy has been especially sharp since 2005, which marks the beginning of what some have called a “global democratic recession”.

Just 38.7 per cent of citizens were dissatisfied in that year, but this has since risen by almost one-fifth of the population to 57.5 per cent.

Many large democracies are now at their highest-ever recorded level for democratic dissatisfaction. These include the UK, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, as well as the US – where dissatisfaction has increased by a third since the 1990s.

Other countries that remain close to their all-time dissatisfaction highs include Japan, Spain and Greece.

However, researchers uncovered what they call an “island of contentment” in the heart of Europe: Denmark, Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands are among nations where satisfaction with democracy is reaching all-time highs.

“We found a select group of nations, containing just two per cent of the world’s democratic citizenry, in which less than a quarter of the public express discontent with their political system,” said Foa.

Other regional “bright spots”, where levels of civic contentment are significantly higher, include Southeast Asia, and to a lesser extent the democracies in South Asia and Northeast Asia.

“For now, much of Asia has avoided the crisis of democratic faith affecting other parts of the world,” said Foa.

The research team found that shifts in democratic satisfaction often responded to “objective circumstances and events” such as economic shocks or corruption scandals.

“The 2015 refugee crisis and the 2008 financial crisis had an immediately observable effect upon average levels of civic dissatisfaction,” said Foa.

Following the onset of the global financial crisis in October 2008, for example, global dissatisfaction with the functioning of democracy jumped by around 6.5 percentage points – an increase that “appears to have been durable”, said the researchers.

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Analysis

31% Goa IT workers battle hypertension, 40% overweight: Study

“Thirty seven (31.4 per cent) had hypertension, 50 (42.4 per cent) suffered from pre-hypertension… 13 (11.2 per cent) had diabetes mellitus and three (2.5 per cent) blood sugar in pre-diabetic range,” the study noted.

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Panaji, Jan 20 : Nearly 31 per cent of the IT sector workforce in Goa suffers from hypertension whereas more than 40 per cent are either overweight or obese, a cross-sectional study of IT professionals working in the coastal state has revealed.

“A majority of the 118 surveyed employees — 63 (53.4 per cent) — had normal range body mass index, seven (5.9 per cent ) were underweight, 40 (33.9 per cent) overweight, six (5.1 per cent) class I obesity and two (1.7 per cent ) class II obesity,” the study by Preksha P Vernekar, Kalyani and Jagadish A Cacodcar said.

“Thirty seven (31.4 per cent) had hypertension, 50 (42.4 per cent) suffered from pre-hypertension… 13 (11.2 per cent) had diabetes mellitus and three (2.5 per cent) blood sugar in pre-diabetic range,” the study noted.

“A significant prevalence of lifestyle diseases is noticed among the participants in the study. Lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidaemia and overweight/obesity are major risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease,” as per the study published in the Epidemiology International journal.

Considerable pre-hypertension cases raised concern over possible cardiovascular morbidities along with complications in due course of time, the research paper’s authors pointed out.

The study data was collected from health records of 118 IT professionals working in four top Information Technology firms in Goa, whose government is pitching the coastal state as a destination for IT start-ups.

The study authors, all medical professionals working at the state’s top government-run medical facility, also underlined the need for periodic health checkups to ensure timely detection and early management of health problems.

“The companies should have mandatory periodic health check-ups of their employees, preferably at their health centres, to gain better insight into their general health status.

“Pre-placement examination of employees is must to know their working capacity so as to ensure ergonomics as well as to procure first-hand knowledge on health problems workers may be suffering from before employment,” the study recommended.

The study suggested the introduction of stress-busting modules in the IT work space to ensure better physical and mental health of staff, which ensured better performance by the workforce.

“Health education on diet, physical activity and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can be imparted to employees. These steps will finally improve their performance and in turn lead to decreased incidence of morbidities, absenteeism due to sickness and job stress, thereby leading to optimum work output,” the study said.

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Analysis

Housing sales fell 30% in October-December: Report

For the period, April-December 2019-20, sales at 2,28,220 units fell by 13 per cent, compared to 2,63,294 units last year.

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Real Estate Sector

New Delhi, Jan 14 : Sales in the residential real estate segment declined 30 per cent during the October-December quarter on a year-on-year basis across nine major cities in the country, a PropTiger report said on Tuesday.

A total of 64,034 homes were sold across nine key markets during the third quarter of the financial year 2019-20.

“Housing sales in India’s nine key property markets fell 30 per cent annually during the October-December quarter despite the government launching several measures in the recent past to revive buyer sentiment. As against 91,464 units sold during the quarter last year, only 64,034 homes were sold across the nine markets in Q3 this year,” it said.

Mumbai contributed nearly 40 per cent to the overall sales numbers during the period under review, as per the report.

“What points towards a nation-wide phenomenon, sales declined across all these markets, with Bengaluru, popularly known as India’s Silicon Valley, registering a 50 per cent fall in sales numbers.”

For the period, April-December 2019-20, sales at 2,28,220 units fell by 13 per cent, compared to 2,63,294 units last year.

New project launches in India’s nine key residential markets continued to decline, falling 44 per cent year-on-year to 41,133 units during the October-Decmber quarter, primarily on liquidity concerns, the report said.

“Only 41,133 units were launched in Q3 FY20, as against 73,226 units in the corresponding period last fiscal, the report shows. New launches fell across markets, with Kolkata and Gurugram seeing the biggest fall, at 79 and 74 per cent, respectively,” it said.

Nearly 40 per cent of new launches were concentrated in India’s financial capital Mumbai. Affordable housing continued to dominate launches, with 52 per cent units launched in this segment across the major cities.

Compared to the first nine months (April-December) of the previous financial year, launches declined by 32 per cent during the same period in the current fiscal. While 2,15,596 units were launched between April and December in the previous year, 1,45,852 units were launched during the same period this year, it added.

The cities covered under the survey were Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai (including Navi Mumbai and Thane), Pune and Noida, including Greater Noida and the Yamuna Expressway.

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