Archive | June 1, 2017

After Riyadh Summit, Sunni Unity Crumbles*

After Riyadh Summit, Sunni Unity Crumbles*

By Sharmine Narwani

The glowing orb stunt should have been a sign that all was not what it seems. Theatrics, in the world of politics, usually suggest an illusion needs to be spun for audiences somewhere.

A week after U.S. President Donald Trump’s eyesore of a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the pressing question now is “why?” What was the purpose of convening leaders and representatives of 55 Arab and Muslim nations to greet a U.S. head of state amidst so much pomp, ceremony and an excruciating amount of flashing cameras?

The Riyadh summit had several goals, most of which specifically served Saudi and American political interests.

The American leader’s potential gains were clear: he would score points at this impressive international showing of Muslim leaders who would help counter his anti-Muslim reputation at home. Trump would also be well-compensated in the form of the largest U.S. arms deal in history, a booty he could claim would boost his home economy. The negotiations would take place in the Middle East, at the heart of his fight against “radical Islamic terrorism.” Trump would also leave with a blank check for Palestinian-Israel “peace,” bestowed by a Saudi king who has no authority to negotiate anything on behalf of Palestinians. And finally, the U.S. president would piggyback the legitimacy of 55 Arab and Muslim states to craft a Middle East policy that targeted Iran, its allies and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) – even though no consensus whatsoever was reached at the summit.

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In their eyes, the Saudis scored even bigger. The cash-and-credibility-haemorrhaging Saudis are losing ground in their list of international fights – in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and against Iran. Here was an opportunity to convene leaders and representatives from 55 Arab and Muslim nations (only 33 heads of state showed up) to underscore Saudi Arabia’s position as the custodian of Sunni Islam. For the power-mad Saudis, nothing would showcase their primacy better than the presence of a U.S. president on his first official foreign trip. They forgot, however, that legitimacy is derived from one’s own populations, not from a Western head of state sword-dancing next to one’s king. After the summit, Riyadh would go on to unilaterally craft a declaration, unseen and unapproved by the VIP guests, that claimed to outline the gathering’s foreign policy priorities.

But most importantly, this summit would allow the Saudis – who are terrified at the potential repercussions coming their way from decades of funding global terrorism – to very publicly take cover under the Trump presidency. And the U.S. president, who knows very well that the Saudis are the epicentre of global terror, offered up America’s protection and complicity to secure his doggy bag of treasures.

This generous give-and-take between the Saudis and Americans took place on the day of the summit, amidst much back-slapping. Then, a few days later, the fallout began.

First, Saudi vs. Qatar

This past week, a flurry of media headlines alerted us to the first fissure between summit participants. News reports began emerging that Qatari leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani had deviated from the Saudi talking points by supporting engagement with Iran and defending resistance groups Hezbollah and Hamas.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE retaliated swiftly to this slight by blocking Qatari media outlets, recalling their ambassadors and launching a war of words against Doha.
Why the swift and punishing response toward a fellow member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)?

Qatar has long struggled to get out from under the shadow of its much larger Persian Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia and has spent the past dozen years building up media networks, like Al Jazeera, and investing in major Western corporate, think tank, educational and sports brands to project power well beyond its regional stature. The tiny sheikhdom’s biggest coup, however, was to secure the establishment of the U.S. military’s largest regional base on its territory, which allowed Doha to continue provoking its Saudi competitor with little risk of consequence.

Then in 2011, the Qataris put their full weight behind “Arab Spring” efforts to overthrow a slew of Arab governments. Most of the Qatari-backed incoming regimes and opposition activists, however, were Islamists, mainly of the MB variety, which is reviled by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Saudis were initially caught off-guard by the swift events sweeping the region, but quickly rallied to mount a region-wide counterrevolution to reverse the political gains of the Qatari- and Turkish-backed MB groups. Saudi operatives funneled manpower, money, and weapons to reestablish Riyadh’s influence. They revived their famed jihadi networks to flood Syria and other places with extremist militants that could tip the balance of power back in its direction.

It wasn’t just Qatar and the MB in Saudi sights – the regional uprisings, particularly in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain, threatened to shift the region in a direction that benefited Iran, Saudi Arabia’s biggest regional adversary.

In Riyadh ten days ago, the Saudis thought they had struck gold. After eight years of dealing with a somewhat unsympathetic Obama administration, here was Trump acquiescing to their every whim. The Saudi declaration issued at the end of the summit – as well as speeches delivered during the event – struck out at Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and Hamas, and promised American cooperation in isolating them. The Saudis were on a high, but they were also mostly alone.

A broad divergence of interests

Aside from the Saudi-Qatari spat, there are countless other differences among summit participants that will scuttle Riyadh’s ambitions.

The anti-MB UAE has stood firmly by Riyadh’s side in condemning Doha but diverges – even within its own borders – on assuming an aggressive position against Iran. Call it Dubai-versus-Abu Dhabi if you will. Dubai, with its large Iranian expat population and significant trade with the Islamic Republic, is less worried about its Persian neighbour. As a 2009 Wikileaks cable from the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi puts it: “While MbZ (Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Mohammad bin Zayed) is a hardliner on Iran, there are accommodationists within his own system, especially in Dubai, where the ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (Prime Minister of the UAE) takes a position that is much closer to Qatar’s.”

Other GCC states are even more loathe to confront Iran. Oman has repeatedly ignored Saudi demands to toughen its stance against Iran and remains a key Iranian diplomatic partner in the region. The two states participated in joint naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman as recently as April, and it was Muscat that hosted the initial secret U.S.-Iran meetings which kick-started the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal.

GCC member-state Kuwait also remains relatively neutral on Iranian matters. Up to 40% of Kuwaitis are Shiites, and the country has avoided much of the sectarian strife that afflicts Saudi Arabia and now Bahrain. It is to Kuwait that Qatar’s emir has now turned to negotiate peace with the Saudis and UAE in the aftermath of last week’s fallout. The Qataris, who have dealt opportunistically and not ideologically in their regional relations, share the world’s largest gas reserve with Iran, a further incentive to maintain a neutral stance on Tehran.

In fact, most of the Sunni states that attended the Riyadh summit are flat-out furious about the violent sectarianism and extremism that has emerged in the past few years. And many of them blame the Saudis for it.

Last August, an unprecedented conference of 200 leading Sunni clerics from around the world was held in Grozny to determine “who is a Sunni.” Excluded from the gathering were representatives of both the Wahhabi sect (Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s official religion) and the Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamic world is looking to tackle the deviance and sectarianism that has borne groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda – not indulge it, as would be the case if they embraced the Saudi ‘vision’ in Riyadh.

But in an effort to bulldoze through a “Sunni consensus” under the umbrella of “Saudi-American power,” the Saudis ignored every gorilla in that summit room. Not only do many of the meeting’s participants blame the Saudis for unleashing the jihadi genie, but most of them also wouldn’t for a minute look to Saudi ‘leadership’ if it weren’t for Saudi cash. Case in point, Sunni regional giants Turkey and Egypt. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t even show up to Riyadh, citing other engagements. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi did attend – he was one of three invited to press his palms upon the ‘glowing orb’ to inaugurate the Saudi counterterrorism-something-or-other.

But more than anything, Sisi was invited to Riyadh as an important set extra – to visually demonstrate that the great Arab state of Egypt was passing the mantle of leadership to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.

Where the Saudis viewed former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak as a stalwart ally, they see Sisi as nothing of the sort. Sisi may agree with Riyadh on the evils of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he has absolutely no tolerance for Saudi Arabia’s support of terrorist groups throughout the region and has been a right royal pain on the issue of Syria.

Egypt may hanker after the Saudi billions – which it has received in spades for its anti-MB efforts – but Egyptians have little affection for the Saudis and have sparred publicly and privately in recent years and months. Whereas Riyadh could once count on Egyptian troops to support its military incursions, today Cairo has rejected participation in the Saudi-led war against Yemen – alongside another staunch Saudi ally, Pakistan.

The Saudis recently hired Pakistan’s former army chief General Raheel Sharif to head up their 39-nation “Muslim NATO” construct to fight terrorism, but now rumours are rife that he will resign amidst a national uproar over his decision. Pakistanis, like other straight-thinking Muslims, are uncomfortable about the prospect of a military alliance that appears to have been conceived primarily to fight Iran – and Shiites.

Dead On Arrival

On the surface, the purpose of the Riyadh summit was to amass a coalition of like-minded Arab and Muslim partner-states, under a Saudi-American banner, to wage war against terror. In fact, this is a Saudi and American-led initiative created not to tackle terror, but to ‘reframe’ it to encompass political adversaries.

Look out for pundits and politicians spinning these new narratives that Iran, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood are equally as dangerous as ISIS and Al-Qaeda – never mind that the former have been around for decades without triggering the global security meltdown spawned by the latter.

In Riyadh, the Americans and Saudis made a great show of jointly announcing two additions to their “terrorism” list – one was a senior Hezbollah official, the other a senior member of ISIS.

This is not the war against terror that the heads of states gathered in Riyadh anticipated. This is a sectarian war, conceived by a sectarian state that has funded, armed and organized the very global terrorism it purports to fight. And every single U.S. administration since the events of 9/11 has acknowledged this direct Saudi role in terror.

In Riyadh, the show went on anyway. But there’s not a person in that room who didn’t understand the game. Forget the ‘Sunni consensus’ after Riyadh. Of the 55 nations represented at the summit, the Saudis will be lucky to retain five.

Source*

Related Topics:

Saudi Arabia Budget Deficit for 2017 about $53bn*

Most of the Terrorists in Aleppo were Turkish, Saudi (Israeli) Officers*

Egypt Says No to Saudi, Drafts Generals and Pilots to Fight alongside Syrian Army against ISIS*

Saudi Arabia Abandons Islamic Calendar as Part of Cost-Cutting Measures*

Saudi Arabia Facing Flack from both Sunni and Shia Leaders*

Saudi Forces Violated Regulations against Iraqi Hajj Pilgrims*

Saudi Arabia Uses Israeli Firm G4S to Make E-Bracelets for Hajj*

Qaradawi Responds to Violations of al-Sheikh and the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars with al-Azhar, Cairo*

Wahhabism, Saudis and the Divided Ummah*

Red Sea Deal: Are Israel and Saudi Arabia Forming a Joint Military*

Washington Planning a Syrian invasion by Turkey and Saudi Arabia to split Syria in half with Washington controlling the Oil Fields*

U.S, U.K., Israel, China, Saudia behind Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide*

Saudis’ Anti-Shiite Provocation has Clear Geopolitical Goals*

Eyewitness Discloses Saudi Embassy’s Role in Masterminding Recent Massacre in Nigeria*

Catastrophe in Saudi Arabia, Pillar of Washington’s Middle East Policy*

How Saudi Arabia is Sponsoring Religious Eugenics*

Saudi Arabia to allow Israel Airspace to Strike Iran*

Saudi Set to Implode*

The CIA, Saudia and Bin Laden Were Behind the Chechen Wars*

Saudi Prepares to Remove Prophet’s Tomb*

DEBKA Report: Saudi, Egypt and Israel Orchestrated Palestinian Holocaust*

Unholy Trinity United States-Israel- Saudi Arabia Sowing Discord amongst Muslims*

Takfirism a Saudi and CIA Creation*

A Livid Saudi Arabia Threatens Further Chaos in the Region*

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Aboriginal Leaders Reject Symbolic Recognition in the Australian Constitution, Instead Demand Their Land Back*

Aboriginal Leaders Reject Symbolic Recognition in the Australian Constitution, Instead Demand Their Land Back*

By David Love

May 27 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Australian Referendum, in which Australians voted to include Black people — known as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — in the national census and to allow the government to make laws for them. For the first time, Black Australians were counted as human beings. Only in 2008 did the government issue a formal apology for the injustices committed against Aborigines. Half a century later, there has been an effort by the Australian government to push for a new referendum, one to amend the constitution to officially recognize indigenous peoples. Rejecting a constitutional reform process perceived as being for the benefit of whites, Black leaders called instead for a treaty, a representative body and a truth and justice commission.

This past week, a constitutional convention was held in Uluru in the Northern Territory of central Australia, where a delegation of Black Aborigines met to discuss whether indigenous people should seek constitutional recognition in an effort to address racial discrimination. The victims of genocide, slavery and colonialism, and today facing hardship and not enjoying prosperity in the country in which they have lived for tens of thousands of years, they discussed how the constitution should be reformed to benefit them. There were about 250 in attendance at the three-day event, as Reuters reported.

A number of issues were on the table, including the formal recognition of Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution, as is represented by the government-supported Recognise campaign. Voices in the community expressed concern that such an option would represent tokenism and feel-good symbolism, window dressing that does not address the fundamentals of racial justice. Some critics of Recognise argued that they do not need recognition because they are well aware they were invaded and subjugated, their land taken away. Another point of view expressed by indigenous groups was that Recognise only served to sell out the interests of Black people who were not consulted or invited to the table.

Constitutional recognition does not address sovereignty and self-determination for Black people, specifically rights to the land. Australia is the only British Commonwealth nation that does not have a treaty with its indigenous people, although Australian states are leading the charge to begin forging treaties with Aboriginal communities, as Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported. Still another area of consideration is political power and new structures to enable Aboriginal people to have their voices heard in the government. Numbering 700,000 out of a national population of 23 million, Black Australians face the challenges that Black people face elsewhere, including the legacy of racial oppression, poverty, police abuse and mass incarceration, trauma and health challenges.

Amy McQuire, an Aboriginal journalist with 98.9FM in Brisbane, said many Aboriginal people believe the referendum process has been about white control and the majority of the country controlling the future of a historically disenfranchised 2% who are struggling to gain control over their future.

“The recent consultations lead by the Referendum Council were an attempt to try and salvage the process, which, for over the past five or six years, has been largely taken out of Aboriginal hands,” McQuire said before the conclusion of the Uluru conference.

“There has been a huge amount of cynicism around constitutional reform, largely because of the government-funded Recognise campaign, which called for people to support the process when we had no idea what question would be taken to referendum.”

McQuire called symbolic recognition of Black people a disaster, particularly if such a referendum fails.

“There’s a feeling that Australia will either pat themselves on the back and try and use a referendum to drown out the very real human rights abuses still occurring, or if it fails, that the political momentum for issues like treaty may be lost and it could set us back yet again.

“I still think the process hasn’t been transparent enough, and I don’t believe the nation is mature enough to deal with this. Australia still can’t grapple with its unfinished business — the continual theft of Aboriginal land.”

As National Indigenous Television (NITV) reported, the gathering of Aboriginal leaders decided that constitutional reform would no longer be a priority, but rather there would be a treaty commission and a truth and justice commission that would run in tandem. These representatives also recommended a body to advise parliament on matters involving Black people and

“to supervise a process of agreement making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.”

The group also called for constitutional reforms to empower their people and for the voice of First Nations to be enshrined in the Constitution.

In an official statement, the Uluru forum members proclaimed the sovereignty of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a spiritual concept that “has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.”

How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?

With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.

Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are alienATed from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youths languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.

These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.

The Uluru convention announced that, while they were counted in 1967, 50 years later in 2017, they seek to be heard:

“We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Indigenous Land Rights Could Halt Australia’s Largest Coal Mining Project*

DNA study Proves Indigenous Australians Date Back 50,000 yrs*

Over 100,000 British Orphans were Sent Overseas as child migrants*

Australia’s Aboriginal Artist’s Message Resonates in Palestine*

Australian Aboriginal Woman was Dragged Like a ‘Dead Kangaroo’ and Killed in Police Custody*

Erasing a People from History: Australian Pygmies*

Australia, Forced Vaccines, and Ethnic Cleansing*

Australia Discontinues Services to the People Whose Land It Took*

Australia Still Stealing Indigenous Children*

Australia: Deceit by Assimilation!

This shameless western power Legalised Colonial-era Child Torture – and its Citizens have had Enough*

The End to a Ghettoized Spiritual Home

What is Uluru?

The Stolen Generation

The Cognitive Differences between Males and Females*

The Cognitive Differences between Males and Females*

 

By Bruce Goldman

 

 

When Nirao Shah decided in 1998 to study sex-based differences in the brain using up-to-the-minute molecular tools, he didn’t have a ton of competition. But he did have a good reason.

“I wanted to find and explore neural circuits that regulate specific behaviours,” says Shah, then a newly minted Caltech PhD who was beginning a postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia. So, he zeroed in on sex-associated behavioral differences in mating, parenting and aggression.

“These behaviours are essential for survival and propagation,” says Shah, MD, PhD, now a Stanford professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of neurobiology.

“They’re innate rather than learned — at least in animals — so the circuitry involved ought to be developmentally hard-wired into the brain. These circuits should differ depending on which sex you’re looking at.”

His plan was to learn what he could about the activity of genes tied to behaviours that differ between the sexes, then use that knowledge to help identify the neuronal circuits — clusters of nerve cells in close communication with one another — underlying those behaviors.

At the time, this was not a universally popular idea. The neuroscience community had largely considered any observed sex-associated differences in cognition and behaviour in humans to be due to the effects of cultural influences. Animal researchers, for their part, seldom even bothered to use female rodents in their experiments, figuring that the cyclical variations in their reproductive hormones would introduce confounding variability into the search for fundamental neurological insights.

But over the past 15 years or so, there’s been a sea change as new technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work.

Not how well they work, mind you. Our differences don’t mean one sex or the other is better or smarter or more deserving. Some researchers have grappled with charges of “neuro­sexism”: falling prey to stereotypes or being too quick to interpret human sex differences as biological rather than cultural. They counter, however, that data from animal research, cross-​cultural surveys, natural experiments and brain-imaging studies demonstrate real, if not always earthshaking, brain differences, and that these differences may contribute to differences in behaviour and cognition.

Behaviour differences

In 1991, just a few years before Shah launched his sex-differences research, Diane Halpern, PhD, past president of the American Psychological Association, began writing the first edition of her acclaimed academic text, Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities. She found that the ​animal-​research literature had been steadily accreting reports of sex-associated neuroanatomical and behavioral differences, but those studies were mainly gathering dust in university libraries. Social psychologists and sociologists pooh-poohed the notion of any fundamental cognitive differences between male and female humans, notes Halpern, a professor emerita of psychology at Claremont McKenna College.

In her preface to the first edition, Halpern wrote:

 

“At the time, it seemed clear to me that any between-sex differences in thinking abilities were due to socialization practices, artifacts and mistakes in the research, and bias and prejudice. … After reviewing a pile of journal articles that stood several feet high and numerous books and book chapters that dwarfed the stack of journal articles … I changed my mind.”

Why? There was too much data pointing to the biological basis of sex-based cognitive differences to ignore, Halpern says. For one thing, the animal-research findings resonated with sex-based differences ascribed to people. These findings continue to accrue. In a study of 34 rhesus monkeys, for example, males strongly preferred toys with wheels over plush toys, whereas females found plush toys likable. It would be tough to argue that the monkeys’ parents bought them sex-typed toys or that simian society encourages its male offspring to play more with trucks. A much more recent study established that boys and girls 9 to 17 months old — an age when children show few if any signs of recognizing either their own or other children’s sex — nonetheless show marked differences in their preference for stereotypically male versus stereotypically female toys.

Halpern and others have cataloged plenty of human behavioral differences.

 

“These findings have all been replicated,” she says.

 

Women excel in several measures of verbal ability — pretty much all of them, except for verbal analogies. Women’s reading comprehension and writing ability consistently exceed that of men, on average. They out­perform men in tests of fine-motor coordination and perceptual speed. They’re more adept at retrieving information from long-term memory.

Men, on average, can more easily juggle items in working memory. They have superior visuospatial skills: They’re better at visualizing what happens when a complicated two- or three-dimensional shape is rotated in space, at correctly determining angles from the horizontal, at tracking moving objects and at aiming projectiles.

Navigation studies in both humans and rats show that females of both species tend to rely on landmarks, while males more typically rely on “dead reckoning”: calculating one’s position by estimating the direction and distance traveled rather than using landmarks.

New technologies have generated a growing pile of evidence that there are inherent differences in how men’s and women’s brains are wired and how they work.

Many of these cognitive differences appear quite early in life.

 

“You see sex differences in spatial-visualization ability in 2- and 3-month-old infants,” Halpern says.

Infant girls respond more readily to faces and begin talking earlier. Boys react earlier in infancy to experimentally induced perceptual discrepancies in their visual environment. In adulthood, women remain more oriented to faces, men to things.

All these measured differences are averages derived from pooling widely varying individual results. While statistically significant, the differences tend not to be gigantic. They are most noticeable at the extremes of a bell curve, rather than in the middle, where most people cluster. Some argue that we may safely ignore them.

But the long list of behavioural tendencies in which male-female ratios are unbalanced extends to cognitive and neuro­psychiatric disorders. Women are twice as likely as men to experience clinical depression in their lifetimes; likewise for post-traumatic stress disorder. Men are twice as likely to become alcoholic or drug-dependent, and 40% more likely to develop schizophrenia. Boys’ dyslexia rate is perhaps 10 times that of girls, and they’re four or five times as likely to get a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.

Could underlying biological differences — subtle though they may be for most of us — help explain these gaping between-​sex imbalances in the prevalence of mental disorders and account for the cognitive and behavioral differences observed between men and women?

How our brains differ

The neuroscience literature shows that the human brain is a sex-typed organ with distinct anatomical differences in neural structures and accompanying physiological differences in function, says UC-Irvine professor of neurobiology and behavior Larry Cahill, PhD. Cahill edited the 70-article January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience Research — the first-ever issue of any neuroscience journal devoted entirely to the influence of sex differences on nervous-system function.

Brain-imaging studies indicate that these differences extend well beyond the strictly reproductive domain, Cahill says. Adjusted for total brain size (men’s are bigger), a woman’s hippo­campus, critical to learning and memorization, is larger than a man’s and works differently. Conversely, a man’s amygdala, associated with the experiencing of emotions and the recollection of such experiences, is bigger than a woman’s. It, too, works differently, as Cahill’s research has demonstrated.

In 2000, Cahill scanned the brains of men and women viewing either highly aversive films or emotionally neutral ones. The aversive films were expected to trip off strong negative emotions and concomitant imprinting in the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure found in each brain hemisphere. Activity in the amygdala during the viewing experience, as expected, predicted subjects’ later ability to recall the viewed clips. But in women, this relationship was observed only in the left amygdala. In men, it was only in the right amygdala. Cahill and others have since confirmed these results.

Discoveries like this one should ring researchers’ alarm buzzers. Women, it’s known, retain stronger, more vivid memories of emotional events than men do. They recall emotional memories more quickly, and the ones they recall are richer and more intense. If, as is likely, the amygdala figures into depression or anxiety, any failure to separately analyze men’s and women’s brains to understand their different susceptibilities to either syndrome would be as self-defeating as not knowing left from right.

The two hemispheres of a woman’s brain talk to each other more than a man’s do. In a 2014 study, University of Pennsylvania researchers imaged the brains of 428 male and 521 female youths — an uncharacteristically huge sample — and found that the females’ brains consistently showed more strongly coordinated activity between hemispheres, while the males’ brain activity was more tightly coordinated within local brain regions. This finding, a confirmation of results in smaller studies published earlier, tracks closely with others’ observations that the corpus callosum-— the white-matter cable that crosses and connects the hemispheres — is bigger in women than in men and that women’s brains tend to be more bilaterally symmetrical than men’s.

Many of these cognitive differences appear quite early in life. ‘You see sex differences in spatial-visualization ability in 2- and 3-month-old infants.’

“To some appreciable degree, these brain differences have to translate to behavioural differences,” says Cahill. Numerous studies show that they do, sometimes with medically meaningful implications.

A 2017 study in JAMA Psychiatry imaged the brains of 98 individuals ages 8 to 22 with autism spectrum disorder and 98 control subjects. Both groups contained roughly equal numbers of male and female subjects. The study confirmed earlier research showing that the pattern of variation in the thickness of the brain’s cortex differed between males and females. But the great majority of female subjects with ASD, the researchers found, had cortical-thickness variation profiles similar to those of typical non-ASD males.

In other words, having a typical male brain structure, whether you’re a boy or a girl, is a substantial risk factor for ASD. By definition, more boys’ than girls’ brains have this profile, possibly helping explain ASD’s four- to fivefold preponderance among boys compared with girls.

Why our brains differ

But why are men’s and women’s brains different? One big reason is that, for much of their lifetimes, women and men have different fuel additives running through their tanks: the sex-steroid hormones. In female mammals, the primary additives are a few members of the set of molecules called estrogens, along with another molecule called progesterone; and in males, testosterone and a few look-alikes collectively deemed androgens. Importantly, males developing normally in utero get hit with a big mid-gestation surge of testosterone, permanently shaping not only their body parts and proportions but also their brains. (Genetic defects disrupting testosterone’s influence on a developing male human’s cells induce a shift to a feminine body plan, our “default” condition.)

In general, brain regions that differ in size between men and women (such as the amygdala and the hippocampus) tend to contain especially high concentrations of receptors for sex hormones.

Another key variable in the composition of men versus women stems from the sex chromosomes, which form one of the 23 pairs of human chromosomes in each cell. Generally, females have two X chromosomes in their pair, while males have one X and one Y chromosome. A gene on the Y chromosome is responsible for the cascade of developmental events that cause bodies and brains to take on male characteristics. Some other genes on the Y chromosome may be involved in brain physiology and cognition.

Scientists routinely acknowledge that the presence or absence of a single DNA base pair can make a medically important difference. What about an entire chromosome? While the genes hosted on the X chromosome and the Y chromosome (about 1,500 on the X, 27 on the Y) may once have had counterparts on the other, that’s now the case for only a few of them. Every cell in a man’s body (including his brain) has a slightly different set of functioning ​sex-​chromosome genes from those operating in a woman’s.

Sex-based differences in brain structure and physiology reflect the alchemy of these hormone/receptor interactions, their effects within the cells, and the intermediating influence of genetic variables — particularly the possession of an XX versus an XY genotype, says Cahill.

Zeroing in on neural circuits

Shah’s experiments in animals employ technologies enabling scientists to boost or suppress the activity of individual nerve cells — or even of single genes within those nerve cells — in a conscious, active animal’s brain. These experiments have pinpointed genes whose activity levels differ strongly at specific sites in male versus female mice’s brains.

What would happen, Shah’s team wondered, if you knocked out of commission one or another of these genes whose activity level differed between male and female brains? They tried it with one of their candidate genes, turning off one that was normally more active in females.

Doing this, they found, totally shredded mouse moms’ willingness to defend their nests from intruders and to retrieve pups who had wandered away — maternal mandates that normal female mice unfailingly observe — yet had no observable effect on their sexual behavior. Torpedoing a different gene radically reduced a female mouse’s mating mood, but males in which the gene has been trashed appear completely normal.

All this points to a picture of at least parts of the brain as consisting of modules. Each module consists of a neural or genetic pathway in charge of one piece of a complicated behavior, and responds to genetic and hormonal signals. These modules — or at least some of them — are masculinized or feminized, respectively, by the early testosterone rush or its absence. The mammalian brain features myriad modules of this sort, giving rise to complex combinations of behavioral traits.

Which is not to say every man’s or woman’s brain looks the same. Our multitudinous genetic variations interact with some of our genes’ differential responsiveness to estrogens versus androgens. This complicated pinball game affects goings-on in at least some of the brain’s neural circuits and in whatever little piece of behavior each of these neural circuits manages.

“We think gender-specific behaviour is a composite of all these modules, which, added up, give you your overall degree of maleness and femaleness,” says Shah.

Consider the genes Shah has isolated whose activity levels differ significantly in the brains of male and female mice.

 

“Almost all of these genes have human analogues,” he says.

 

“We still don’t completely understand their function in human social behaviour. But when we looked at publicly available databases to find out what we do know about them, we found a surprising number that in humans have been linked with autism, alcoholism and other conditions.”

Bigger imaging studies and imaginative animal research now in the works promise to reveal much more about humanity’s inherent — although by no means uniform, and often not substantial — sex-associated cognitive differences and vulnerability to diseases.

Trying to assign exact percentages to the relative contributions of “culture” versus “biology” to the behavior of free-living human individuals in a complex social environment is tough at best. Halpern offers a succinct assessment: “The role of culture is not zero. The role of biology is not zero.”

 

Source*

Related Topics:

The Concept ‘Gender Identity’ came from a Paedophile and Human Experimenter*

Middle-aged White Men Like Me Have no Right to Tell Women not to Wear the Burkini*

Real Men Want Real Women*

Women Are Foolish to Pretend They are Equal to Men*

White American Women Are Dying Prematurely*

Why the ‘women of ISIS’ Narrative is Dangerous*

African Women Traditions*

Mexican Study: Lower Mother Mortality and Violence against Women in Less ‘Liberal’ States*

Discovering ‘Magic Me’: The Ties that Bind Girls and Women

The Power of Love: Four Women

The Collective Intelligence of Women

Ordinary Women Doing the Impossible

No Wonder British Women Are Bored!

Women are Emotional and Men are Pragmatic!

The Brain Says Men and Women are Different When It Comes to Stress

Your brain does not process information, or…*

Cuba is Home to Some 2,000 People Aged over 100*

Cuba is Home to Some 2,000 People Aged over 100*

The reasons for Cuban longevity are directly related to a robust healthcare and social security systems that are free and accessible to all. | Photo: Reuters

 

“Studies show that most are not insane, disabled or entirely dependent,” said Dr. Fernandez.

Cuba, with a population of just over 11 million people, is home to 2,153 people who are over one hundred years old, with at least three of them between 113 and 115 years old, according to official data published by local press.

Juventude Rebelde reported that, geographically, the majority of Cuba’s centenarians are located in the eastern provinces of the country, with the capital of Havana having a sizable amount as well. A little over half of those over one hundred years old, 1,200 are women.

Dr. Alberto Fernandez, head of the Department of the Elderly, Social Welfare and Mental Health said that Cuba is among the countries with the highest aging rate among its population with more than 2.2 million people over 60 years of age, roughly 20 percent of the population.

Dr. Fernandez added that over 87 percent of Cubans live past 60 years of age and predicted that the number would reach more than 90% in the next decade.

The reasons for Cuban longevity, he explained, are directly related to a decline in the fertility and mortality rate, coupled with robust healthcare and social security systems that are free and accessible to all.

Cuba is “an example of a successful aging population,” he said, adding that “studies show that most are not insane, disabled or entirely dependent.”

In March, local media reported Maria Emilia Quesada Blanca, 116, as being the longest-living woman on the island and the fourth oldest worldwide although she doesn’t appear in international records.

Source*

Related Topics:

A Year of Achievement for Cuban Healthcare* 

Cuban Doctors Treat over 1,000 Peru Flood Victims in Two Days*

Cuban Medical Internationalism*

Cuba Has Officially Eradicated HIV Transmission to Babies*

Cuba Sends ‘Largest Medical Contingent to Liberia from any Country not Soldiers*

Cuba Delivers Vaccines against Meningitis to Syrian People*

Ohio Sues Big Pharma for Deliberately ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’*

Ohio Sues Big Pharma for Deliberately ‘Fueling Opioid Epidemic’*

Ohio joins a host of states in filing a lawsuit against five major pharmaceutical companies for knowingly fueling the opioid epidemic in the interest of raking in profits.

By Claire Bernish

Five goliath pharmaceutical companies have been served with a lawsuit from the State of Ohio for their role in the opioid epidemic, because, as state Attorney General Mike DeWine alleges, they “helped unleash a health care crisis that has had far-reaching financial, social, and deadly consequences in the State of Ohio.”

Ohio now joins a number of states in attempting to hold Big Pharma responsible for fueling the crisis of oft-ruinous addiction to legally prescribed opioid medications and their deemed illegal brethren, such as heroin.

Purdue Pharma, Endo Health Solutions, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and its subsidiary, Cephalon, Johnson & Johnson and subsidiary, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Allergan have all been named in the lawsuit.

“This lawsuit is about justice, it’s about fairness, it’s about what is right,” DeWine opined in an announcement from southern Ohio’s Ross County — an area crushed by the epidemic in fatalities from overdoses to legal painkillers and illegal heroin — as quoted by Southwestern Ohio NBC affiliate, WLWT.

“These drug companies knew that what they were saying was wrong and they did it anyway and they continue to do so.”

Figures for 2016, which have yet to be released, are expected to handily top the distressing 3,050 fatal overdoses Ohio experienced in 2015 — figures wholly unacceptable to DeWine, and cogent of the nation’s struggle to rein in rampant over-prescribing and other facets of the opioid scourge.

NPR reports the lawsuit “accuses the companies of engaging in a sustained marketing campaign to downplay the addiction risks of the prescription opioid drugs they sell and to exaggerate the benefits of their use for health problems such as chronic pain.”

“We believe the evidence will also show that these companies got thousands and thousands of Ohioans — our friends, our family members, our co-workers, our kids — addicted to opioid pain medications, which has all too often led to use of the cheaper alternatives of heroin and synthetic opioids,” the Ohio attorney general asserted in a press release excoriating the five pharmaceutical companies Wednesday.

“These drug manufacturers led prescribers to believe that opioids were not addictive, that addiction was an easy thing to overcome, or that addiction could actually be treated by taking even more opioids.

“They knew they were wrong, but they did it anyway — and they continue to do it.  Despite all evidence to the contrary about the addictive nature of these pain medications, they are doing precious little to take responsibility for their actions and to tell the public the truth.”

Explicitly, DeWine notes, the lawsuit contends the medications at the core of the epidemic include OxyContin, MS Contin, Dilaudid, Butrans, Hysingla, and Targiniq from Purdue; Endo’s Percocet, Percodan, Opana, and Zydone; Actiq and Fentora made by Teva and Cephalon; Johnson & Johnson and Janssen’s Duragesic and Nucynta; and Kadian, Norco, and several generic opioids manufactured by Allergan.

DeWine told NPR’s All Things Considered the companies purposely deceived physicians and medical practitioners on the perils of the opioid medications — purely to rake in profits — to the horrific detriment of thousands of families whose loved ones became addicted or lost their lives.

“We believe that the evidence will show that these pharmaceutical companies purposely misled doctors about the dangers connected with pain meds that they produced, and that they did so for the purpose of increasing sales,” he asserted. “And boy, did they increase sales.”

“My daughter’s been gone over a year and it still doesn’t seem real,” Ohio father Roger Winemiller, whose daughter and son died within nine months of each other — both from overdoses on heroin — told WLWT.

Echoing one of the most common paths to illegal heroin, Winemiller described the lost battle with addiction his daughter faced, recalling that, to treat anxiety, she “started using pills and tried stuff that the doctor prescribed but it just didn’t work, then went to pills on the street then graduated to heroin.”

Included in the state’s lawsuit is an injunction demanding the companies cease deceptive practices — inflation of benefit and deflation of risks — surrounding opioid prescriptions.

Rather than pegging doctors equally responsible the opioid plague, DeWine told NPR’s Robert Siegel the weight of blame lies with the mendacious practices consciously undertaken by the five Big Pharma giants and their subsidiaries.

“This was not something that the pharmaceutical companies just woke up some day and just started to do a little bit of it,” the attorney general explained.

“I mean, there was a concerted effort for an extended number of years to really pound this into the heads of doctors. And when you’re told something time and time and time again and there’s a lot of advertising that is being spent, yeah, it takes a while to turn that around.”

Naturally, Big Pharma pushed back against the lawsuit — a spokeswoman for Janssen castigated the premise as “legally and factually unfounded.”

“Janssen has acted appropriately, responsibly and in the best interests of patients regarding our opioid pain medications,” Jessica Castles Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer by email, “which are FDA-approved and carry FDA-mandated warnings about the known risks of the medications on every product label.”

Purdue, however, appeared to capitulate somewhat — agreeing the epidemic must be addressed.

“OxyContin accounts for less than 2% of the opioid analgesic prescription market nationally,” the company told the Plain Dealer, “but we are an industry leader in the development of abuse-deterrent technology, advocating for the use of prescription drug monitoring programs and supporting access to Naloxone — all important components for combating the opioid crisis.”

NPR noted the state estimates more than 200,000 Ohioans currently battle addiction to opioids.

DeWine elaborated further, telling the Plain Dealer 80 percent of heroin addicts first were prescribed legal opioid medications — and that, although this particular lawsuit aims to hold manufacturers accountable, he refused to rule out future litigation against distributors.

Opioids continue to be doled out with alarming regularity for both acute and chronic pain, while viable alternatives to both treat pain and reduce opioid dependency — such as cannabis and kratom — remain unattainable thanks to the Federal Government’s laughable war on drugs.

In the meantime, a growing number of states and localities — including Everett, Washington, and the states of West Virginia, Mississippi, and Kentucky — as well as the Cherokee Nation, have employed legal means to call Big Pharma to task for recklessly allowing the opioid crisis to fester unhindered.

“It’s not the whole cause, but it’s a big part of the cause,” Winemiller said of the targets of the lawsuit. “I mean, there’s many, many people that’s gone to pain clinics, had surgeries or whatever, and they take this medication and they get hooked on it, and then they get cut off and so they go the cheaper route and end up with the heroin.”

He added, “I’ve lost two [children]. It’s just like a bad dream that won’t quit.”

Source*

Related Topics:

Cherokee Nation Sues Drug Companies and Retailers for Illegal Prescribed Opioids in the Cherokee Nation*

Study Finds FDA Approved Drugs Dangerous*

Bayer Drug, Xarelto Faces 18,000 Lawsuits*

DEA Delays Ban on Kratom Amid Popular Protest Government Pushback*

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa)

No Force on Earth can Compete with NATO and U.S.’ Drug Trafficking Business in Afghanistan*

Big ‘Pharma Drug Caused Transgender’*

Another Alzheimer’s Drug a Huge Flop*

The CIA and the Drug Trade*

Ebola Didn’t Work so, U.S. Pushes AIDS-Causing Drugs on U.S. Black Population*

As Rothschilds Did to China, the CIA is Drug Running in the Philippines*

Common Drugs, Including Benadryl And Xanax, Cause Brain Atrophy And Increase The Risk Of Alzheimer and Dementia*

Lord Rothschild Discusses How His Family Created Israel!*

Lord Rothschild Discusses How His Family Created Israel!*

Related Topics:

A 1829 Newspaper Reports on the Rothschilds and Jerusalem*

Tony Blair Visits Caesarea, an Israeli Rothschild Estate* 

Rothschild Demands Western Nations Invade Syria*

The Heart of the Beast: The Sykes-Picot Agreement and Europe’s Colonial Partition of the Middle East*

When Palestine was 85% Arab, 15% Israeli and U.K. and U.S. Paid the Jews from the Caucasus to Live There*

3,000 Year Old Plan: The Real Nakba*

Campaign launched to get Britain to Apologise for the Balfour Declaration*

‘Wish you well against Jewish invaders’: Himmler’s Letter to Palestinian Arab Leader Discovered*

Rothschild Crime Syndicate in Israel *

Palestine to Sue U.K. for the Creation of ‘Israel’*

Rothschild Temple: The Conspiracy, the Call, the Plan to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque*

Russian Airstrikes Wipe out Three ISIS Convoys fleeing Raqqa, 80 Terrorists Killed*

Russian Airstrikes Wipe out Three ISIS Convoys fleeing Raqqa, 80 Terrorists Killed*

By Jim W. Dean

The Russians have raised the bar on the speed and numbers of sorties they can get out of their planes and crews

 

[Editor’s Note: There has been no professional appraisal in Western media as to the efficiency and effectiveness of the relatively small Russian air contingent it has in Syria. Remember that Putin had downsized it after the “safe zone” deal was announced, as a de-escalating gesture.

Typically this can only be done by have multiple crews for each plane. While one is flying back from a mission, new pilots can be standing by with a new sortie already selected for them to strike. The ground turnaround time is basically getting the plane refueled and rearmed.

Long buried in the news months ago is the Russians publicizing that virtually their entire fighter pilot list was could not be considered combat experience pilots. This has always been considered a force multiplier, but primarily so for air combat experience. But that said, drills are drills and live mission experience is the real deal where building confidence comes from, and things like air gunnery experience for the helicopter pilots.

ISIS may have felt that splitting up into three convoys would get two of them through, but they were wrong. Even two had gotten out they would have been bombed wherever they had staged themselves at. The Russians have had total surveillance over the battlefields for some time now, as has the U.S. coalition, which has also been getting some live fire experience.

Intimidation leaflets air dropped in the SE Syrian desert, that the SAA would be attacked if they advanced, presumably by U.S. air attack like before

 

And lastly, we have the report from the FSA jihadis that attacked the SAA troops in the SE Syrian desert that they attack failed due to six Russian planes bombing them in the middle of their attack. That is what you call a ready reaction force, because these U.S. militants tipped their hand with their night time grad missile attack.

The big part of the story is that U.S. planes did not intercept the Russian strike.  Was this due to a “de-confliction” agreement between the two for the SE Syrian theatre?  We will be watching closely how this develops, as one big mistake could spin the current war off its axis onto a totally new one, like widening the war … Jim W. Dean ]

U.S. militants began their attack with a big grad missile night attack and then TOWs at dawn expecting to roll up the modest SAA force

 

Russian warplanes have destroyed three ISIS convoys fleeing Raqqa, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed in a statement on Thursday. According to the MoD, the convoys were attempting to escape from Raqqah in the southern direction on Monday but this was prevented by the Russian Aerospace Forces.

As a result 80 ISIS terrorists were killed and 36 vehicles, 8 fuel trucks and 17 pick-ups equipped with mortars and machine guns were destroyed.

The Command of the Russian Air Force group in Syrian Arab Republic warned that any efforts of ISIS’ insurgents to leave Raqqa through the open corridor to Palmyra will be suppressed.

The first insurgents’ convoy which was heading from Raqqa to Palmyra Russian aviation eliminated on the 25th of May.

On the night of 29 30 May militants took another shot to advance to Palmyra. Three mechanized convoys full with insurgents in the darkness left Raqqa and headed to the South on several routes.

Our intelligence revealed this movement in due time. The Russian Aerospace Forces stroke detected targets,” the statement reads.

The Russian ministry added that the U.S.-led coalition and U.S.-backed forces are maintaining an open corridor for terrorists south of the city of Raqqa.

The city is cut off from the north. In the meantime, SDF stopped its advance and it resulted in leaving breaches in defense lines south off Raqqa. Using that, terrorists are freely crossing Euphrates and trying to redeploy their units to the Southern Syria.

The Command of the Russian Air Force group in Syrian Arab Republic will continue to take all necessary measured in order to prevent any ISIS’ forces to leave Raqqa and move to Homs and Hama provinces.

Source*

Related Topics:

America’s New Syrian Army*

Int’l Coalition’s Strike on Syrian Forces is Flagrant Violation of Syria’s Sovereignty*

U.S. Coalition Bombs Syrian Army in Sweida*

Putin Foils the Rothschild Zionists in Syria*

Wikileaks Shows How Google Helped Al-Qaeda in Syria*

Russian and Syrian Forces Arrest 1,000 ISIS Militants – Media Blackout*

Eyewitness: Foreign Terrorists from Neighbouring Countries Armed, Trained and Financed by the U.S, and Co. in Syria*

Rights Group Sues Trump Admin for Legal Explanation of Syria Missile Strike*

U.S. Dismissive of International Agreement Banning Aircraft Over Syrian Safe Zones*