The Associated Pressreported that mullahs in Afghanistan, which has one of the highest maternal death rates in the world, are promoting the use of birth control:
Quotes were used from the Quran to promote breast-feeding for two years, while local religious leaders, or mullahs, joined community and health leaders to explain the importance of spacing out births to give moms and babies the best chance at good health.
In total, 37 mullahs endorsed using contraceptives as a way to increase the time between births, some delivering the message during Friday prayers. The mullahs' major concerns centered on safety and infertility, the report said.
Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration called out food companies for misleading nutrition labeling. Seventeen companies received a letter on their health claims, including baby-food makers Gerber and Beech-Nut and fruit juice purveyor POM Wonderful. The FDA also targeted companies that claimed their foodstuffs had no trans fat even though these products were high in saturated fat. From the New York Times:
In Oklahoma, where the budget gap equals 15 percent of the state budget, Democratic lawmakers are blocking a budget agreement because it doesn't pay for a nutrition program for senior citizens. Republicans warn that the stalemate will result in state trooper and prison guard furloughs, but Democrats say Republicans can find another way to free up the cash.
A new study has found that, despite all the conservative hand-wringing over the decline in marriage, most couples who live together before marriage eventually get married. Two-thirds of marriages last 10 years, though that depends a lot on the couple:
The factors that determine whether a marriage lasts have stayed the same over the past decade. You're more likely to hit the 10-year mark if you marry someone much like you: similar in race, background and education; if you're over 26; if you are college educated, with at least a bachelor's degree; and if you have a child during the marriage.
A former champion of No Child Left Behind has written a book criticizing the policy as a failure, especially because it relies on standardized testing. Assistant Secretary of Education Diane Ravitch also says school choice is a bad idea:
"There should not be an education marketplace, there should not be competition," Ravitch says. "Schools operate fundamentally — or should operate — like families. The fundamental principle by which education proceeds is collaboration. Teachers are supposed to share what works; schools are supposed to get together and talk about what's [been successful] for them. They're not supposed to hide their trade secrets and have a survival of the fittest competition with the school down the block."