Autism Rates Have Stabilized in U.S. Children

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME NEWS)

 

Getty Images

By AMANDA MACMILLAN

January 2, 2018
TIME Health
For more, visit TIME Health.

Rates of autism spectrum disorder among children in the U.S. remained stable from 2014 to 2016, according to new research—a change from previous studies that found steady increases over the past two decades.

The new research letter, published in JAMA, looked at survey responses from a nationally representative sample of more than 30,000 children, ages 3 to 17, and their families. From 2014 to 2016, adults in each household were asked if a doctor had ever told them that their child had autism, Asperger’s disorder, pervasive developmental disorder or autism spectrum disorder. Data from the study was then adjusted to account for differences in people’s age, gender and ethnicity.

The researchers found that in 2014, 2.24% of participating children were reported to have an autism spectrum disorder. That number rose only slightly in 2015 and 2016, to 2.41% and 2.58%, respectively—an increase that was not statistically significant.

Autism rates did vary by sub-group. Over the three-year period, 3.54% of boys were reported to have an autism spectrum disorder, compared to 1.22% of girls. Prevalence was 1.78% in Hispanic children, 2.36% in black children and 2.71% in white children.

The overall estimate for autism prevalence among children in the analysis—2.4%—is higher than another recent estimate, from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, of 1.46%. The discrepancy may be explained by differences in study design, the authors note in their report. For example, the new study asked parents if their child has received a diagnosis, while the previous study looked at education and health-care evaluations.

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The current study did not gather information about possible causes for autism and how those factors may (or may not) have changed over time. And, although the survey the researchers used has been going on since the 1960s, the question about autism was changed in 2014—so it cannot be used to estimate change in autism prevalence rates during earlier years.

Several large studies have suggested that autism rates have risen steadily in the last 20 years, but this new report suggests that rates may be leveling off. The ADDM Network’s estimated rates also plateaued between 2010 and 2012 (after increasing roughly 123% between 2002 and 2010), but then jumped 30% from 2012 to 2014.

Changes in diagnostic criteria, an increase in public awareness and more children being referred to physicians have all been suggested as possible causes for the previously documented rise in autism rates, the authors wrote in their report. So have potential changes in genetic and environmental risk factors. “Continued monitoring of the prevalence and investigation of changes in risk factors are warranted,” they concluded.

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(Spiritual Poem) Kodak Moment Of The Soul

KODAK MOMENT OF THE SOUL

 

Snap shot of our Souls taken this moment in our time

Picture taken, was it by the Angel of Death, or of life

People scan our chips so they say that they know us

Smiling eyes hiding in the shadows blade firmly in hand

Having a phony acidic smile pasted on their soulless grin

 

 

We have all chosen to be breathing in this time and space

Our future is now, last breath taken is now historically placed

Tomorrow is grace filled if inside ourselves we choose it to be

Take your mirror, look close, it shows our Souls hiding place

 

 

Ever been ashamed to your bones for things you’ve done

This point in time, this is the only guarantee that we have

Tomorrow, will we have respect or shame for our today

Will this snap shot of today define or end our tomorrows

X-ray of our Soul, will it be posted with a Halo of a Flame

South Korea’s President Says the Agreement With Japan on Historic Sex Slavery Has ‘Serious Flaws’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

 

By KIM TONG-HYUNG / AP

10:58 PM EST

(SEOUL, South Korea) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday the country’s 2015 agreement with Japan to settle a decades-long impasse over Korean women forced into wartime sexual slavery was seriously flawed.

Moon’s statement in which he vows unspecified follow-up measures to meet the victims’ demands potentially throws the future of the deal in doubt, two years after both countries declared it as “final and irreversible.”

The statement came a day after a state-appointed panel concluded that Seoul’s previous conservative government failed to properly communicate with the victims before reaching the deal.

The panel also said parts of the deal were not made public, including Japanese demands that the South Korean government avoid using the term “sexual slavery” and provide a specific plan to remove a bronze statue representing sex slaves in front of its Seoul embassy. South Korea in response said it would formerly refer to the victims as “victims of Japanese military comfort stations” but didn’t make a clear promise to remove the statue, according to the panel.

“It has been confirmed that the 2015 comfort women negotiation between South Korea had serious flaws, both in process and content,” Moon said in a statement read out by his spokesman.

“Despite the burden of the past agreement being a formal promise between governments that was ratified by the leaders of both countries, I, as president and with the Korean people, once again firmly state that this agreement does not resolve the issue over comfort women.”

Under the deal, Japan agreed to provide cash payment for the dwindling number of surviving victims, while South Korea said it will try to resolve Japanese grievance over the statue in front of the embassy.

The deal came under heavy criticism in South Korea where many thought the government settled for far too less. Japan has been angry that South Korea hasn’t taken specific steps to remove the statue and similar monuments in other places in the country, insisting there has been a clear understanding to do so.

The Foreign Ministry said government officials will hold extensive discussions with victims and experts before deciding whether to pursue changes to the deal. Japanese officials have said a renegotiation is unacceptable.

Some experts see it as unlikely that Moon’s government will spark a full-blown diplomatic row with Japan by scrapping the deal when the allies face pressing needs to form a strong united front against North Korea’s growing nuclear threat.

Historians say tens of thousands of women from around Asia, many of them Korean, were sent to front-line military brothels to provide sex to Japanese soldiers during World War II.

 

Ukraine And Russian ‘Rebels’ Conduct Large Prisoner Swap

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

 

(HORLIVKA, Ukraine) — Ukrainian authorities and Russian-backed separatist rebels on Wednesday conducted the biggest exchange of prisoners since the start of an armed conflict in the country’s east and a sign of progress in the implementation of a 2015 peace deal.

Rebels from the self-proclaimed separatist republics in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions handed over 74 captives, while Ukraine‘s government delivered 233. Some had been held for more than a year.

Larisa Sargan, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office, said on Facebook that one of the 74 prisoners released by the separatists indicated she would stay in Donetsk.

Carrying their belonging, the prisoners were turned exchanged in the town of Horlivka and the village of Zaitseve, in an area dividing the separatist regions and Ukraine. One held a cat.

“I’m out of hell. I have survived,” said Yevhen Chudentsov, who served with one of Ukraine’s volunteer battalions in the east and was taken prisoner in February 2015.

Chudentsov said he faced threats and beatings while in rebel custody, and his front teeth were knocked out. He was initially sentenced to capital punishment, which was later changed to 30 years in prison. He said after his release in Horlivka that he would join the Ukrainian military again.

The exchange was supervised by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a trans-Atlantic security and rights group that has deployed monitors to eastern Ukraine.

The OSCE welcomed the swap and urged the two sides to build on the momentum from it.

“Allowing such a significant number of people, who have been held on both sides, to return home before the New Year and Orthodox Christmas is a very welcome development,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl, the OSCE chairman. “Today’s exchange is not only a humanitarian act but also a helpful step in confidence-building.”

Ukraine was supposed to release 306 people, but dozens chose to stay in Ukraine or had been freed earlier, said Viktor Medvedchuk, who monitored the exchange on the Ukrainian side.

Many of the captives were not combatants. Some were activists and bloggers who were charged with spying or treason.

Anatoly Slobodyanik, one of the prisoners traded by Ukraine, said he didn’t want to go to the rebel side and would return to his home town of Odessa.

“I’m not guilty of anything and I don’t want to go to the other side,” he said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko praised the Ukrainian prisoners held by the rebels for their endurance.

“I’m grateful to all those who remained loyal to Ukraine in those unbearable conditions,” Poroshenko said while greeting the free captives. “They have shown their adherence to the principles of freedom and independence.”

The Ukrainian leader also hailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron for helping organize the exchange.

Merkel and Macron welcomed the swap, saying in a joint statement that they “encourage the parties to the conflict also to enable the exchange of the remaining prisoners, grant the International Committee of the Red Cross full access and support the ICRC’s search for missing people.”

The simmering conflict between the separatists and government troops in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 10,000 people since 2014.

The 2015 deal brokered by France and Germany and signed in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, envisioned a prisoner exchange, but the two sides argued continuously over lists of captives and only a few dozen had been traded prior to Wednesday. Separatist leaders and a Ukrainian government representative finally agreed to the exchange last week, with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church acting as mediator.

Merkel and Macron emphasized that the exchange and a recommitment to a comprehensive cease-fire “should also serve to build up confidence between the parties to the conflict, also with a view to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.”

Elderly Couple Caught With $336,000 Worth of Marijuana That Was ‘For Christmas Presents’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME)

 

Processed marijuana is pictured in Ferndale, Calif., on October 22, 2016.
Processed marijuana is pictured in Ferndale, Calif., on October 22, 2016.
Katy Steinmetz for TIME

By ARIC JENKINS

2:16 PM EST

An elderly couple pulled over in Nebraska with 60 pounds of marijuana had a holiday explanation for police officers.

“They said the marijuana was for Christmas presents,” Lt. Paul Vrbka of York County Sheriff’s Department told the York News-Times. He estimated the value of the weed was approximately $336,000.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, were pulled over Tuesday when deputies noticed the vehicle was driving over the center line of the road and Patrick failed to signal, the News-Times reported.

Vrbka told the paper the officers could immediately smell marijuana when they approached the car. They conducted a probable-cause search with the assistance of a canine unit and discovered the marijuana in boxes under the pickup truck’s topper.

The Jirons said they were from northern California and were headed to Vermont. They were both taken into custody.

On Thursday, the News-Times reported that Patrick was jailed on charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver without a drug tax stamp. (Nebraska law requires marijuana dealers to purchase a stamp from its Department of Revenue to prove that the state’s drug tax has been paid.)

Patrick has since posted 10% of a $100,000 bond and has been released, according to the paper. His wife, Barbara, was only cited in the case “due to some medical issues,” Vrbka said.

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3 Astronauts Take Off For International Space Station

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

 

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, bottom, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, above, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan, on Dec. 17, 2017
Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, bottom, U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, above, and Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket in Kazakhstan, on Dec. 17, 2017
Shamil Zhumatov—AP

By ASSOCIATED PRESS

December 17, 2017

(BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan) — A capsule carrying three astronauts from Russia, Japan and the United States has blasted off for a two-day trip to the International Space Station.

The Soyuz capsule with Anton Shkaplerov, Norishige Kanai and Scott Tingle launched at 1:23 p.m. (0723 GMT; 2:23 a.m. EST) Sunday from Russia’s manned space-launch complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It entered orbit nine minutes later.

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It is the first space flight for Tingle and Kanai; Shkaplerov is on his third mission to the ISS.

The capsule is to dock on Tuesday with the orbiting space laboratory. The three will join Russia’s Alexander Misurkin and Joe Acaba and Mark Vandde Hei of NASA, who have been aboard since September.

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(History Poem) American History Of My Time

AMERICAN HISTORY OF MY TIME

 

In the depths of 1950’s poverty, Appalachia

Coal dust in your lungs, eyes, nose and hair

Sawdust blankets your morning  work ride

Odd gratitude for working till the day we die

So sad that so many have left us so young

Pathway to Heaven washed in my mothers tears

 

1960’s the enlightenment to some of the Nation’s ills

Poverty and racism is a disease to any and all people on Earth

Three Leaders killed by the hate behind the trigger of a gun

Another Asian War raging on, that we should have never begun

Mr. Johnson and Nixon were all those lives necessary to end

Answer to the families, why was it our policies were not to win

 

The 1970’s to say the least was an odd time in our land

One war ended, but another one was Nixon was set to begin

Surgeon General’s advise was worthless against Nixon’s rage

With the stroke of his pen this War Criminal must have grinned

Nixon’s signature making Class I criminals of freedom loving millions

Peace loving, anti-war, pot heads, Nixon got even for ending Vietnam

 

80’s began with our civilians still illegally imprisoned in Iran

Coward ambushed the President, one didn’t get to walk again

For eight years we had a President who gave us some pride again

From disco to head-banging, to country starting to spur life again

25 Married a second time to a woman who hated the air I breathed

Life through a windshield, it would be till I broke down or died

 

The 1990’s were rough anyway I sliced these years of my life

Heartaches and heart attacks, so many times, VA full of crime

For eight years we had Mr. Bill, had the coolest hair on the Hill

One war in the dust, to save an old friend with oil and our blood

Throw a bomb or two at the bad boy of Baghdad and boys two

When George W. got the job, the three will get to meet their end

 

2000 the new millennium, the computer disaster that wasn’t

The computers people worship, could they create the zero

Married the whole decade, no idea what she sees in me

Sometimes when you pass the time in life you were given

As one’s health fades, and your eyes dim, the Soul still sees

Education and Degrees at this stage in life, quite a surprise

 

When I leave to meet our maker, please shed no tears for me

I thank the Lord each day for the ways I have been blessed

When our body degrades our Soul’s eyes are sometimes grateful

At my funeral please sing Amazing Grace and Peace In The Valley

Please sing our favorite George Straight song, Cross My Heart

As they put me in the ground, sing ‘The Dance’, don’t cry for me

We are all standing in the walkway to Heaven when this life ends

 

TRUMP: LIAR OF THE CENTURY? IS TRUMP THE BIGGEST FRAUD EVER?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE DAILY NEWS)

 

STASI: It’s Time for President Trump to stop lying

Fake Time Magazine cover that Donald Trump hung up. It was meant to look like it was published in 2009.

Fake Time Magazine cover that Donald Trump hung up. It was meant to look like it was published in 2009.

Time called, they want their cover back.Donald Trump, who is as incapable of telling the truth as he is of running a country, has apparently made up yet another lie about Time magazine in what is now a running series of yuuuge Time-sensitive lies.

On Friday the unhinged President of the United States took time out from various Twitter wars with various people to start one with Time magazine, bizarrely posting that he “took a pass” at being named Time’s “Man (Person) of the Year.”

Either Trump’s just really as dumb as we always feared, or he’s out to break a record for lying — in 280 characters or less.

First off, the editors of Time couldn’t have called him to offer him “Man (Person) of the Year” because they have called the annual honor “Person of the Year” for 18 years.

Worse, Time refuted the whole idiotic presidential tweet, saying, “The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year.”

OK now, not to panic anybody, but this guy’s obsession with Time magazine is bordering on dangerous. It’s so severe it propels the leader of the free world to tell increasingly outrageous lies about it and him; lies that are as obviously false as his hairline.

Trump holds a copy of TIME magazine as he greets supporters during a campaign appearance at the John Wayne Museum in Winterset, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.

Trump holds a copy of TIME magazine as he greets supporters during a campaign appearance at the John Wayne Museum in Winterset, Iowa, Jan. 19, 2016.

(TANNEN MAURY/EPA)

It all began in 2009, when Donald hung up — in several of his residences and public spaces — a giant blowup of his “first” Time cover. Dated March 1, 2009, the cover features his photo and exclamation point-laden coverlines like: “Trump is Hitting On All Fronts: Even TV!” And worse, “Donald Trump ‘The Apprentice’ is a television Smash!”

Only problem? It’s a giant fake — it looks even faker than the fake Time covers you get at photo booths at Bar Mitzvahs.

Trump’s false cover is so bad it’s even dated March 1, 2009, which was a Sunday. Time only publishes on Fridays.

This is as seriously dim as buying a genuine $25 14-karat gold Rolex watch on the street.

So you’d think after being shamed by the giant faux pas cover, he’d stop already. But no.

Unable to control himself, on Friday he fake-news-tweeted that he just turned down Time. “Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year,’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot. I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!”

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE / MANDATORY CREDIT: " AFP PHOTO / TIME , Inc. / Nadav Kander / NO MARKETING / NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS / DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

TIME chose then U.S. President-elect Trump as Person of the Year.

(NADAV KANDER/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

Trump is no more capable of turning down a cover shoot than he is of turning down a fresh bucket of KFC. In fact, as they say, the most dangerous place on the planet is standing between Trump and a camera.

Meantime, Trump actually WAS Time’s Person of the Year last year. But hey, in other years so were Stalin, Hitler and Putin.

Oh, and as for the Time “Man (Person)” thing? That’s because Donald has said that it only should be “Man of the Year” — even if it’s a woman.

How about Mane of the Year?

That’s one he’d always win.

How the World Is Marking the 500th Birthday of Protestantism

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

How the World Is Marking the 500th Birthday of Protestantism

Oct 27, 2017

Five hundred years ago, an unknown monk named Martin Luther marched up to the church in Wittenberg, a small town in what is now Germany, and nailed a list of criticisms of the Catholic church to its door.

The date was Oct. 31, 1517, and Luther had just lit the fuse of what would become the Protestant Reformation. His list of criticisms, known as the 95 theses, would reverberate across world history. The Church would split, wars would be fought and people would be burned at the stake. It was the birth of Protestant Christianity.

Religiously speaking, the Reformation led to the translation of the Bible into languages other than Latin, allowing many people to engage with scripture for the first time. It also brought an end to the controversial sale of “indulgences” — payments the Church said reduced punishment for sins after death, which Luther regarded as corrupt.

More generally, the Reformation contributed to the expansion of literacy, with people no longer needing to rely on priests to read and interpret the Bible. Luther promoted universal education for girls and boys at a time when education was reserved for the wealthy, and believed in the connection between literacy and empowerment, both spiritually and socially.

Luther’s act is taught as one of the cornerstones of world history, even though most historians now agree that it was a relatively unremarkable event which was canonized at a later date for political ends. Nevertheless, it remains a lasting symbol of resistance 500 years later.

So how is an anniversary of that magnitude being celebrated?

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The hub of anniversary celebrations will be Luther’s homeland, Germany, where “Reformation Day” has long been celebrated as a holiday in certain states. This year, it’s set to be a full-blown national holiday. Chancellor Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, has encouraged German churches to promote a narrative of unity over division in their celebrations.

That’s a line that the Catholic Church and some of the biggest protestant denominations are also keen to stress. On last year’s 499th anniversary, Pope Francis joined leaders of the Lutheran World Federation in Sweden (where Lutheranism is the dominant religion) to hold a joint commemorative service. In his address, Francis said: “We have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another.”

Not long after Francis’ address, the Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury in England expressed remorse for the violence committed there in the name of the Reformation. Hundreds of churches and monasteries were demolished in the 1500s, and many people gruesomely killed, during England’s pained transition from Catholicism to Protestantism.

After 500 years of division, there seems to be a consensus from the top that this anniversary will be one of reconciliation.

But official church celebrations aren’t the only ways in which the milestone is being marked.

In popular celebrations Germany also leads the way, and for proof you need look only as far as its toy economy. In 2015, a commemorative Martin Luther figurine from Playmobil became the German company’s fastest-selling product ever. It took just 72 hours for the initial run of 34,000 to sell out, leading the company to rush another batch into production. A spokesperson labeled the demand a “big mystery.”

Martin Luther is now the best selling @playmobil of all time – with 750,000+ sold! 

RT for the chance to win your own! (GK)

Americans are also doing their bit. A musical entitled Luther: The Rock Operapremiered in Wittenberg earlier this year. The North Dakota pastor responsible for the two-and-a-half hour production describes it as “Hamilton meets Jesus Christ Superstar meets Monty Python.” Performances in Berlin and Wittenberg will mark the anniversary.

And, as the anniversary falls each year on the same day as Halloween, around the world people are taking inspiration from Luther for their costumes. On Reddit’s Christianity subreddit, a post asked whether it would be sinful to dress up as Martin Luther for Halloween. On Twitter, others had no qualms about their plans to do the same, whilst on Amazon, a search for “Martin Luther Costume” turns out enough results to dress a small congregation.

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the reformation, I say we all dress up as Martin Luther for Halloween and nail stuff to people’s doors.

Back in Germany, the broadcaster ZDF is airing a two-part serial entitled “Reformation” commissioned especially for the anniversary, starring Maximilian Brückner as Martin Luther. It is also airing in the U.K. on the BBC, and both channels have also commissioned special documentaries to mark the occasion.

The town of Wittenberg itself is understandably excited; in fact it’s already in the tenth year of a “Luther decade” it proclaimed in 2008. On the anniversary, a “Reformation festival” will see “jugglers, musicians, hosts, craftsmen and people from the Middle Ages” gather in the town center, before the church opens for a commemorative concert in the evening.

For some people, this anniversary may be the first they’ve heard of Luther and the Reformation. But the wide range of celebrations, exhibits, documentaries and even commemorative toys mean that it’ll be hard to escape its legacy, 500 years on.

Meet The Big Inflatable RAT Trump Head In New York City

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

Meet the Man Behind the Big Inflatable Trump Rat Mocking Him in New York

11:07 AM ET

Donald Trump might not make it onto Mount Rushmore, but he’s popped up in unflattering balloon form again.

This time, it’s in his hometown in the style of the inflatable rats that union workers use to strike against construction sites employing non-union labor. This new 15-foot, unmissable Trump inflatable piece appeared at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, down the street from Trump Tower, hours before the President was scheduled to arrive on Monday.

The orange-faced, rat-human hybrid has extra voluminous ears, pursed lips, buck teeth, that unmistakable red tie, a long tail, and an extra dig: Confederate flag cufflinks. Unsurprisingly, the spectacle drew crowds and tourists for selfies.

It’s all the brainchild of New York City-based BravinLee art gallery owners John Lee and his wife Karin Bravin, who view Trump as “unprepared” to lead. Inspiration came when Lee saw a grotequse looking rat on Jackson Avenue in Queens right after the election. “I was just always impressed with how grotesque the rat was as public art,” he told TIME.

It’s the first overtly political statement the owners of the mom and pop art gallery have launched. “All I could do is to ridicule,” Lee said. “Ridicule is a very important tool in taking on the powerful.”

Lee said the rat will be up for “as long as Trump is in the White House,” and its next stop is Washington, D.C.

Trump returned home to Trump Tower on Monday for the first time since his inauguration, and was met by protesters and a much smaller throng of supporters.