October 23, 2019

Commonwealth tells Lanka to consider consequences

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma has urged the Sri Lankan Government to pause for further careful consideration following the passage by the country’s Parliament of the impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka.“The impeachment of a Chief Justice is a very serious matter. In this particular case, it has called into question aspects of the Constitution of Sri Lanka,” he said in a statement. Sharma says he has been in touch with the Sri Lankan Government at the highest levels to offer Commonwealth assistance to find a way forward.“I recognise that this is a matter for Sri Lanka, but am also conscious of our shared Commonwealth values and principles, to which Sri Lanka and all member governments have subscribed,” the Secretary-General said. “I strongly urge that time be taken to reflect and consider fully the constitutional and other ramifications of the differing positions taken by the Judiciary and Legislature before any decision is taken by the Executive on the impeachment of the Chief Justice. Meanwhile the United Kingdom called on the government to respect democratic principles and safeguard the Chief Justice and Legal Profession.Commenting on the Sri Lankan Parliament’s vote to impeach the Chief Justice, a Foreign Office spokesperson said:“The British Government is deeply concerned by the impeachment proceedings against Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. We share the concerns already expressed by many people in Sri Lanka over both the process and related reports of the intimidation of members of the Sri Lankan Bar Association. The motion to impeach the Chief Justice runs contrary to the clear rulings of Sri Lanka’s highest courts and the proceedings appear to contravene basic principles of fairness, due process and respect for the independence of the judiciary and the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles. He said that the Commonwealth, collectively, is profoundly concerned about this situation. “Together with our international partners, we call on the Sri Lankan Government to respect democratic principles and the right to peaceful protest and to ensure the continued safety of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake.” read more

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Failing to take multivitamins during pregnancy could set child back a year

first_imgMultivitamins seem to improve brain development leading to some children being a year ahead Credit:Alamy  Dr Anuraj Shankar, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, added: “With the new emphasis in public health going beyond saving lives toward fostering thriving children, these findings indicate the need to restructure front line health and development work to focus on family welfare and support for nurturing and stimulation, and helping future parents stay in school.”Last year the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, said there was “good evidence” for the use of folic acid to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida, and some evidence, although less certain, for the use of vitamin D, which is important for bone and tooth formation and the ability to absorb calcium. But it said other supplements were not necessary.The research was published in the journal The Lancet Global Health. This work has global implications as countries are currently planning how to achieve targets for improved childhood developmentDr Husni Muadz Many experts argue about whether multivitamins are necessary during pregnancy Credit:Getty  Multivitamins seem to improve brain development leading to some children being a year ahead  “Previous studies had hinted at the importance of social determinants, but it was the extent of our detailed cognitive assessments and the number of children tested, together with data from the pregnancy onward, that enabled us to clearly quantify the effects, and the results were surprising,” said lead author Dr. Elizabeth Prado, University of California, Davis. Women can also achieve many of the necessary vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet  Procedural memory is important for a child’s academic performance and daily life, and is tied to activities such as driving, typing, reading, arithmetic, reading, speaking and understanding language, and learning sequences, rules, and categories.   Many experts argue about whether multivitamins are necessary during pregnancy  The study was carried out on almost 3,000 children in Indonesia aged between nine and 12, whose mothers had participated in an earlier study into the effects of supplements in pregnancy.The multivitamins used contained iron, folic acid, retinol, vitamin d, vitamin e, ascorbic acid, vitamin b, niacin, zinc, copper selenium and iodine.The children of mothers who took the supplements had better procedural memory equivalent to an additional half year of schooling. For mothers who had been anemic, a common problem in pregnancy, the effect was equivalent to one extra year of schooling. The results were surprisingDr. Elizabeth Prado Failing to take multivitamins during pregnancy could set a child back by a year by the time they reach secondary school, a new study suggests.The issue of taking supplements is controversial for pregnant women, with research last year suggesting that it was a waste of money to take anything except folic acid and vitamin d.But a new study by an international team including Harvard University, the University of California and the University of Lancaster, found that multivitamins can add the equivalent of up to a full year of schooling to a child’s cognitive abilities between the ages of nine and 12.The finding, which was carried out in women in Indonesia, is likely to be most relevant for women who do not get sufficient vitamins and minerals from their diets.  “This work has global implications as countries are currently planning how to achieve targets for improved childhood development.” Biological factors such as low infant birth weight, premature birth, poor infant physical growth, poor nutrition, were found to have less of an impact on mental ability compared to home environment, maternal depression, parental education and socio-economic status.”No one on the team had anticipated the extent to which social and environmental factors would exceed biological factors as the determinants of cognitive function, two to three-fold, by some measurements,” said Dr Husni Muadz, University of Mataram, Indonesia. Women can also achieve many of the necessary vitamins and minerals through a healthy diet  The study also found that early life nurturing, happier mothers and educated parents all led to cleverer children. A nurturing environment was found to be more even more important than biological factors, such as good nutrition, for general intellectual ability, academic achievement and fine motor dexterity. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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