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new internationalist
issue 210 - August 1990



Black holes
Scientists have confirmed that a hole in the ozone layer opened over the North Pole in the winter of 1989. While it is not as large as the better-known hole that occurs annually over the South Pole, they say that all the ingredients are there for a severe ozone depletion in the Arctic.

While significant ozone destruction occurs mainly in the polar holes, the phenomenon can reduce ozone at all latitudes because the amount destroyed at the poles is replenished from the rest of the atmosphere.

From Consumer Currents No 126



Chinese wheeze
China, with 300 million smokers, is now the world's largest producer and consumer of cigarettes. It was responsible for 29 per cent of total world cigarette consumption in 1988. If current consumption trends continue, an estimated two million Chinese will die each year from tobacco-related illness by the year 2025. Of all the children alive today in China under the age of 20, 50 million will eventually die from tobacco-caused diseases.

From Fighting the Global Tobacco War, Consumer Lifelines, IOCU



One world, one village
If our world were a village of 1,000 people, what would its ethnic and religious composition be? Well, in the village there would be:

564 Asians
210 Europeans
86 Africans
80 South Americans
60 North Americans

There would be:
300 Christians (183 'Catholics, 84 Protestants, 33 Orthodox)
175 Muslims
128 Hindus
55 Buddhists
47 Animists
210 without any religion or atheist.

Of these people:
60 persons would have half the income
500 would be hungry
600 would live in shanty towns
700 would be illiterate.

From Frères Sans Frontieres, quoted in World Development Forum, Vol. 8, No. 7



America's poor
A San Francisco travel agency has just provided a Third World in America tour in June. For $55O a head, participants toured the impoverished coal mining areas of Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee, taking in the hunger and squalor all without having to bother about a passport.

The tour has ruffled West Virginia commerce commissioner who commented: 'These folks could save a lot of money and get a great dose of Third World reality simply by walking through the barrio in Los Angeles'.

From South, No. 115



Scraps of meat, sinews and cartilage can now be placed in a blood plasma gel overnight and next day the mixture has glued together and looks like steak. The process, developed by the Dutch Institute of Meat Technology, is now being tested by' British companies who anticipate 50-per-cent profits from the process.

Although the British Minister for Agriculturc. Fisheries and Food, David Maclean, say's the resulting 'meat' should be labelled to identify' it, the UK may have to seek permission from the European Community before imposing any' new labelling regulations. Apparently all the ingredients can be found naturally - so labelling is tricky. The press have invented their own label 'super-glue meat'.

From Agscene, No. 99



Sunburn factor
Blistering sunburns during teenage years are an important risk factor for getting melanoma, a skin cancer whose rate is growing faster than any' other cancer - according to a study' by the New York University School of Medicine. This urged people at risk to understand how to recognise melanoma in its early' form when it is curable. The rise in melanomas is attributable to a depletion of the ozone layer in the earth's atmosphere. In 1935, one in 1,500 people could expect to get melanoma. Today it is one in 120. By the year 2000 the estimate is one in 90.

From Consumer Currents No. 126

I think by Martyn Turner

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