Russian MOD confirms agreement on E. Ghouta safe zone signed, borders established

The agreements on functioning of Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone in Syria have been signed, the Russian Ministry of Defense said on Saturday.
The agreements, which were signed in Cairo, Egypt, define borders of the de-escalation zone and locations of control powers, according to the statement.
"These documents define the borders of the de-escalation zone, the deployment sites and powers of the de-escalation control forces, as well as the routes for delivering humanitarian aid and clear passage to the population," the ministry said.
The ministry noted that the first humanitarian convoy to the Eastern Ghouta de-escalation zone is expected in nearest time. It will be followed by the evacuation of wounded civilians for East Ghouta.
The documents have been signed in the development of the Astana agreements with the mediation of the Egyptian side, it added.

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Chemical cleaning agents linked to thyroid cancer

Workers exposed to chemicals like deodorizers, sanitizers, disinfectants and sterilizers on the job may be more likely than other people to develop thyroid cancer, a recent study suggests.

Occupational exposure to these chemicals, known as biocides, was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of thyroid cancer, the study found. For people whose jobs might have led to the most cumulative exposure to biocides over time, the odds of thyroid cancer was more than doubled.

The study also looked at pesticides, and didn’t find an increased risk of thyroid cancer linked to these agricultural chemicals.

“Limited studies have investigated occupational exposure to pesticides in relation to thyroid cancer and have reached inconsistent results,” said lead study author Dr. Yawei Zhang, an environmental health researcher at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

“Our study did not support an association between occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of thyroid cancer, but suggested that occupational exposure to other biocides might be associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer,” Zhang said by email.

Scientists aren’t certain what causes thyroid cancer, though the odds of these malignancies are higher with certain genetic disorders and with exposure to high amounts of radiation, especially during childhood.

Women are much more likely to get thyroid tumors than men, and this type of cancer is more common in white people than in other racial or ethnic groups.

For the current study, researchers compared data on 462 adults with thyroid cancer in 2010 and 2011 to 498 people who didn’t get these tumors but who were otherwise similar and around the same age.

Researchers asked study participants to report all jobs held for at least one year during their lifetimes and to provide detailed information on their job title, duties, company name, type of industry and dates of employment.

Then, researchers calculated potential exposure to biocides and pesticides based on a state database of occupational contact with specific chemicals and pollutants.

Pesticides included primarily agricultural chemicals like insecticides, herbicides and rodenticides. The jobs most often linked to these chemicals were farmer, rancher and other agricultural managers; postal worker; and supervisor of landscaping, lawn services and grounds keeping workers.

Biocides in the study were typically used in medicine or cleaning. Jobs most often tied to these chemicals included healthcare providers involved in diagnosing or treating patients; psychiatric and home health aides; and building cleaning workers.

Women with any occupational exposure to biocides were 48 percent more likely to develop thyroid cancer, while men had more than tripled odds, the study found.

Although the underlying mechanisms linking biocides to thyroid cancer are unclear, it’s possible that these chemicals alter thyroid hormones, researchers note. Triclosan, for example, a chemical widely used in cleaning products, has been shown to decrease levels of two thyroid hormones involved in growth and metabolism.

Another chemical, the wood preservative pentachlorophenol, has been show to lower thyroid hormone levels in rats, the authors also point out.

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove biocides or pesticides directly cause thyroid cancer.

Other limitations include the five-year age bands researchers used to compare people with thyroid tumors to similar healthy individuals. It’s also possible the state data on occupational chemical exposure might not always reflect the level of exposure to certain biocides or pesticides by individual people in the study.

But the findings suggest it makes sense for people to be cautious about biocide and pesticide exposure, researchers conclude.

“People should take caution when they apply pesticides or other biocides in work place or at home by wearing protective clothes or mask and washing hands afterwards,” Zhang said.

Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, online February 15, 2017.

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Trump tweet storm: ‘Only crime so far is leaks against us’

As the probe into his administration’s alleged ties to Russia continues, US President Donald Trump has said that although he has the power to grant pardons, so far, the only crimes which have been committed are the leaks against his government.
The president lashed out at the media in a series of tweets on Saturday.
Earlier, the Washington Post reported that Trump had asked his advisers about his powers to pardon himself as well as his aides and family members in the ongoing Russia investigation, according to White House sources, although one of them said this was more in the context of curiosity over the scope of the investigation’s powers rather than an attempt to avoid prosecution.

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Watch: Elderly man brutalized by a United employee. The shocking incident was caught on tape.

United Airlines passenger Ronald Tigner of Houston, Texas, filed a lawsuit against the airline after being violently shoved to the ground by a United employee in a 2015 incident.
The video of the incident surfaced on the internet on Tuesday and immediately went viral. According to Houston’s KPRC, the incident occurred at George Bush International Airport in July 2015 after 71-year-old Tigner approached a United employee at a check-in kiosk to acquire a new boarding pass.
The report alleged that United employee Alejandro Anastasia refused the man’s request for help, claiming that he was too busy.
“Can’t you see we’re busy?” Anastasia purportedly asked.
Tigner allegedly then told Anastasia to “wipe that smile off your face,” and in response, Anastasia swore at Tigner, pushing him to the ground.
After Tigner was shoved to the ground, it can be seen on the video that he remained on the ground, motionless, for several minutes. Another traveler approached shortly after and told airport employees to call 911.
Tigner’s attorney, William Hoke, told KPRC, “This is just one of the most inhumane things I’ve ever seen in my life.”
“No one even went to check his pulse,” Hoke added. “They literally left him there like a piece of garbage.”
After the incident, Anastasia was charged with the felony crime of injury to an elderly individual, and was ordered to pay a fine as well as attend anger management classes.
After the video went viral, the airline issued a public apology and revealed that they had fired the United employee.
United told KPRC via a statement that they condemned the employee’s behavior as “completely unacceptable.”
“We have seen the video from 2015 that shows completely unacceptable behavior by a United employee. This employee is no longer with our company. The conduct shown here does not reflect our values or our commitment to treat all of our customers with respect and dignity. We are taking a thorough look into what happened here and reaching out to our customer to profusely apologize for what occurred and to make this right.”
Tigner is seeking more than $1 million in damages, citing negligence on the airline’s part.
See the altercation in its entirety in the video below.


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