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Robin Williams Death: The Difference Between Depression & Normal Sadness

Posted in News with tags on August 12, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post  3597

Robin Williams Death: The Difference Between Depression & Normal Sadness

Robin Williams, in 2013 in Los Angeles.
Credit: Featureflash/  

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Robin Williams was found dead this afternoon at his home near Tiburon, California, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. The actor and comedian was 63.

Emergency personnel found Williams unconscious and not breathing at 12:00 p.m., local time; he was pronounced dead at 12:02 p.m., according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Office. Authorities are investigating the circumstances of death.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” the news release said.

A representative for Williams told Entertainment Weekly, “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. In 2012, an estimated 16 million U.S. adults had at least one major depressive episode, or bout of depressive symptoms, in the past year.

But despite how common the illness is, many people do not understand exactly what it means to have depression, and often think of it as being the same as sadness. [5 Myths About Suicide, Debunked]

“Depression is one of the most tragically misunderstood words in the English language,” writes Stephen Ilardi, an associate professor of clinical psychology at the University of Kansas, in a blog post on the Psychology Today website. “When people refer to depression in everyday conversation, they usually have something far less serious in mind,” than what the disorder actually entails. “In fact, the term typically serves as a synonym for mere sadness.”

Here are some facts about depression:

  • Although major depression can strike people of any age, the median age at onset is 32.5, according to Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
  • Depression is more common in women than in men, according to Washington University.
  • Men with depression are more likely than depressed women to abuse alcohol and other substances, according to Jill Goldstein, director of research at the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Depressed men may also try to mask their sadness by turning to other outlets, such as watching TV, playing sports and working excessively, or engaging in risky behaviors, Goldsetein told Live Science in an interview earlier this year.
  • Men’s symptoms of depression may be harder for other people to recognize, and the illness is missed more frequently in men, Goldstein said.
  • Men with depression are more likely than women with the condition to commit suicide, Goldstein said. Men with depression may go longer without being diagnosed or treated, and so men may develop a more devastating mental health problem.
  • Symptoms of depression extend far beyond feeling sad, and may include: loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities, irritability, agitation or restlessness, lower sex drive, decreased concentration, insomnia or excessive sleeping and chronic fatigue and lethargy, according to Mayo Clinic.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cari Nierenberg contributed reporting to this article.

Follow LiveScience @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.


2 Hurricanes Threaten US This Week

Posted in News with tags on August 6, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3580         Donate Button 1

2 Hurricanes Threaten US This Week

Indian Woman Beaten to Death for ‘Witchcraft’

Posted in News with tags on August 2, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

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Indian Woman Beaten to Death for ‘Witchcraft’


Horrifyingly Powerful Mudslide In Japan Tears Down Trees In An Instant

Posted in News with tags on July 12, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3470   Donate Button 1    George Dvorsky

Horrifyingly Powerful Mudslide In Japan Tears Down Trees In An InstantHorrifyingly Powerful Mudslide In Japan Tears Down Trees In An Instant

Typhoon Neoguri slammed through Japan yesterday bringing widespread flooding. A closed circuit camera captured this jaw-dropping footage of a debris flow that levelled trees as if they were matchsticks.

The storm has left several people dead and a ton of damage in its wake. More than 500 houses in several prefectures were flooded due to the typhoon and heavy rain. Some 490,000 households have been urged to seek shelter.

Horrifyingly Powerful Mudslide In Japan Tears Down Trees In An Instant

(Japan Times)

More about this unfolding event here and here.

Heartbreaking Photos of Children Who Are Risking Everything to Reach the United States

Posted in News with tags on June 16, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3375

Heartbreaking Photos of Children Who Are Risking Everything to Reach the United States

Michelle Frankfurter tells the stories of these young migrants and also those of the thousands who jump aboard “the death train”
June 11, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

michelle frank a seasoned professional with exceptional operational …

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Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A Honduran boy, at a shelter in Tapachula, a border town in Chiapas. Children are often running away from abusive home situations when they come to Mexico, but once there they are often trafficked or enslaved. He worked as a sex worker. At the shelter, kids can attend school and have a safe place to sleep at night (Michelle Frankfurter)                                                                                                                                  

Why would a 53-year-old award-winning photojournalist with a successful wedding photography business leave the comfort of home and take risks that would endanger her life and well-being? A humanitarian crisis that has led to 47,000 unaccompanied children to be apprehended by U.S. border security in just the past eight months. Michelle Frankfurter has turned her concern and her camera to document the dangerous journey many young, aspiring immigrants from throughout Mexico and Central America take to better their lives and escape the extreme poverty of their home countries.


                                                                                                  A sleeping kid in the canal zone that straddles the border of Tijuana and San Diego. This area is called El Bordo (the Edge), the name aptly represents where the people are in their lives. (Michelle Frankfurter) 



For eight years, Frankfurter has accompanied youths on freight trains, commonly referred to as the “death train” or la bestia because so many travelers do not survive the trip. Originating in the southern Mexico town of Arriaga, the migrants, many of whom have illegally entered Mexico from countries further south such as Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala, take various freight routes that lead to the border towns of Cuidad Juarez, Tijuana, Laredo, Piedras Negras and Nogales. Those who board in Arriaga, can simply clamor aboard up ladders while the train is in the station and sit on top of the train. This is where Frankfurter would begin her trips. Further along the way the train must be boarded while in motion. Many people slip, lose their grasp and fall under the train. Others fall asleep while underway and fall off the train. Sometimes criminal organizations like the Zetas try to extort money from the migrants at various points along the trip and push them off the train if they don’t pay.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         A Salvadoran migrant feeds her infant son at the Casa de la Misericordia migrant shelter in the Arriaga in July, 2010. (Michelle Frankfurter)


Frankfurter, who once described this project as part of her “amazing midlife crisis”, has created a collection of startlingly beautiful and empathetic images of families and children, some as young as 9 years old, traveling alone. She sees her subjects as brave, resilient and inspiring and is producing a book of these images called Destino, which can be translated as either “destination” or “destiny.”


Inspired by the epic tales of Cormac McCarthy and other authors, Frankfurter has been photographing in Mexico for years. In 2009, her interest was piqued by Sonia Nasario’s Enrique’s Journey, the story of the Central American wave of immigrants from the view of one child.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This 17-year-old Honduran boy, photographed in Tenosique, is an example of the phenomenon known as the surge; he was traveling alone, had no money and knew no one in the United States. He said his cousin showed up drunk and hacked off his arm because his sister had killed the cousin’s dog. (Michelle Frankfurter)



“The economy was still limping along and I didn’t have much work booked,” says Frankfurter. “I found myself having the time, a vegetable bin filled with film, some frequent flyer mileage, and my camera ready. Beginning this project, I felt like I was falling in love. It was the right time, right place and right reason. I felt I was meant to tell this story.”


I spoke with Frankfurter in-depth about her experiences on the train.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Guatemalans sleeping near the track in Lecheria, an industrial zone, in Mexico City in July, 2010. A migrant shelter used to stand here, but it was was closed when neighbors threatened violence. (Michelle Frankfurter)



On the books she had been reading:


“I was infatuated with these scrappy underdog protagonists. I grew up reading epic adventure tales and the migrants I met fit this role; they were anti-heroes, rough around the edges but brave and heroic.”


On why she took on the task:


“It was a job for perhaps someone half my age. But I also felt that everything I had done prior to this prepared me for this project. I feel a connection to the Latin American people. I had spent time as a reporter in Nicaragua working for Reuters when I was in my 20s. In a way I became another character in the adventure story, and I added some moments of levity to the journey just by the improbability of being with them. Somehow I made them laugh; I alleviated some difficult situations, we shared a culturally fluid moment. I was very familiar with the culture, the music, the food the language, and so in a way, I fit right in, and in a way I stood out as quite different.”                                                                                                                        This is a group of Central American migrants on the first leg of the journey, starting in Arriaga, Mexico, about 160 miles from the Guatemalan border in July, 2010. (Michelle Frankfurter)



On the challenges these migrants face:


“The worse thing I experienced myself was riding in the rain for 13 hours. Everyone was afraid that the train would derail, the tracks are old and not in good condition and derailment is common. Last year, there was a derailment in Tabasco that killed eight or nine people”


“I felt I had a responsibility to collect their stories, be a witness to their lives and experiences. Overwhelmingly I got the sense that, even in their own countries they were insignificant, overlooked, not valued. When in Mexico, it’s even worse for the Central American immigrants, they are hounded and despised. They are sometimes kidnapped, raped, tortured or extorted. Local people demonstrate to close the shelters for the migrants and the hours they can stay in the shelters are often limited to 24 hours, rain or shine. When and if they to make it to the United States, it’s no bed of roses for them here either.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Francisco is a Salvadoran traveling with his sister. He told everyone that the woman was his wife because he felt that afforded more protection for her. (Michelle Frankfurter)

On re-connecting with some of her subjects:


“I recently connected on Facebook with a family and found out that they settled in Renosa (Mexico), they gave up on getting to the U.S., at least for now.”


“I met one person in a shelter in a central Mexico; later he had lost everything along the way except for my business card. He showed up on my front lawn in Maryland one day. He had no family in the U.S., it was when the recession was at it’s deepest and there was no work. I helped him and he helped me. I taped his stories for the record, and I found him a place to stay.He shared some of the horrors of his experience. Once he and a group of migrants in a boxcar almost asphyxiated when a fire they made for warmth got out of control and consumed the oxygen in the car. Other times the migrants could barely walk they were so stiff from a long and dangerous exposure to cold.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Migrants ride between boxcars on a northbound cargo train through the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca in February, 2011. Traveling in small groups is considered safer and attracts less attention from police or criminal gangs. (Michelle Frankfurter)



On how she stayed safe during her journeys:


“I stayed in shelters along the train line and when I had a good group, I asked to go along. In the shelters people live dormitory style, it’s a bit like college, sharing stories and thoughts about life, the future.  We are social animals, people like to listen and share life stories.  We’d sit on Blanca’s bed and share “la cosas de la vida.” When I traveled with a group, we were a bonded group. People form coalitions based on mutual needs. And friendships are formed quickly because the circumstances are so intense. My decision to travel alone, not to take a fixer or travel with anyone but the migrants was a good one. People opened up to me more, related to me more, we were doing this thing together. They realized I was interested in their lives, I cared and I identified with them. They were happy to have me along, I was welcome.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   A Guatemalan woman holds her 6-month-old baby; she also has 2 other boys and is fleeing an abusive marriage. Her sister lives in California and she hopes for her sister’s help in getting across the border. Taken in Arriaga, January, 2014. (Michelle Frankfurter)



On how to solve the crisis:


“The United States can’t fix all these things, the responsibility for fixing lies with the countries [such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] themselves, but we can help. And we should because indirectly we do bear responsibility. Our society uses and is interested in cheap labor, and cheap products, this is our relationship with these countries for years, so in a way we are conflicted about changing that system. Global corporations take advantage of the fact that there is little or no regulation, lots of cheap labor and no protections for workers on top of that. Then if circumstances change, on a whim companies will move and destabilize an entire area. Then people have no option but to migrate, with factories closed there are no other options. Add to the mix, criminal organizations selling drugs, guns, trafficking humans and wildlife, and you can understand why people need to leave.”

                                                                                               A view of the Tijuana – San Diego border fence as seen from the Mexican side of the border in August, 2010. (Michelle Frankfurter)

This mural is painted on the wall of the La 72 Refugio Para Personas Migrantes migrant shelter in the border town of Tenosique in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco. It illustrates the cargo train route crisscrossing Mexico. The map includes a legend indicating locations of migrant shelter, sites of extortion, regions where kidnappings and assaults occur, U.S. border fence, and a demographic breakdown of the various cartels and the regions they control. (Michelle Frankfurter)

Sailors held by Somali pirates escape after 4 years

Posted in News with tags on June 10, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3347

Sailors held by Somali pirates escape after 4 years



Nairobi (AFP) – Eleven sailors mostly from Asia held hostage for almost four years by Somali pirates escaped their captors and are safe in Kenya, mediators who helped secure their freedom said Saturday.

The sailors, who had been held in dire conditions and suffered beatings and torture, included seven men from Bangladesh, one Indian, one Iranian, and two from Sri Lanka.

John Steed, a former British army colonel who has spent years helping negotiate their release, said the men had “sneaked out a window” to escape their captors.

“It is great news that they are at least free… given what they have been through, they are all in good health,” Steed told AFP after arriving safely in Kenya with the men on a special flight from Somalia.

After escaping through a window from their pirate prison, the men were rescued by security forces from the northern Somali Galmadug region, Steed added.

Their boat, the Malaysian-flagged container ship MV Albedo was captured in November 2010 but sank in rough seas last July.

During their captivity, one Indian colleague was shot by the pirates in an argument, and four others from Sri Lanka drowned.

Seven other Pakistani crew members were released in 2012 after a businessman paid their ransom, but those remaining could not afford the hefty demands of the pirates.

“The crew members and their families have suffered unimaginable distress,” United Nations special envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay said in a statement.

“The crew underwent the trauma of piracy, their ship sinking, and then being held ashore in very difficult conditions.”

- 38 hostages remain -

The United Nations said they had been handed over to its care, and “will be repatriated to their home countries over the coming days.”

The sailors, like 38 others from different boats who remain captive, were abandoned by their ship’s owner whose willingness to pay to free them sank along with their boat.

“While we have seen a significant reduction in piracy off the coast of Somalia in recent years, I remain deeply concerned that 38 other crew members are still being held hostage,” Kay added.

Pirate attacks off Somalia have been slashed in recent years, with international fleets patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, as well as armed guards being posted aboard many vessels.

At their peak in January 2011, Somali pirates held 736 hostages and 32 boats, some onshore and others on their vessels.

“I call on those who continue to detain these crew members to release them without further delay so they can rejoin their families and loved ones,” Kay said.

On Thursday, three Kenyan aid workers held hostage by pirates in northern Somalia for close to two years were also freed unharmed.

The two men and a woman had been travelling in a convoy guarded by armed police, were seized by gunmen in ambush in the Galkayo area of the northern autonomous Puntland region of Somalia in July 2012.

All three Kenyans were flown back to Nairobi Saturday along with the sailors, and were welcomed at the airport by emotional families who embraced the aid workers, several in tears, Steed said.

Foreign special forces have launched raids to rescue their nationals, including one in 2012 by US elite commandos who swooped in by helicopter to free two aid workers held for three months.

Those left behind come largely from nations without the capabilities or desire to send in troops to rescue impoverished fishermen.

Boy tied to bus stop highlights struggle for disabled Indians

Posted in News with tags on May 26, 2014 by 2eyeswatching

Post 3303

Boy tied to bus stop highlights struggle for disabled Indians



Mumbai (AFP) – The nine-year-old boy dressed in blue lay listlessly on the pavement in the scorching Mumbai summer afternoon, his ankle tethered with rope to a bus stop, unheeded by pedestrians strolling past.


Lakhan Kale cannot hear or speak and suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, so his grandmother and carer tied him up to keep him safe while she went to work, selling toys and flower garlands on the city’s roadsides.


“What else can I do? He can’t talk, so how will he tell anyone if he gets lost?” said homeless Sakhubai Kale, 66, who raised Lakhan on the street by the bus stop shaded by the hanging roots of a banyan tree.


Lakhan’s father died several years ago and his mother walked out on the family, his grandmother told AFP.


A photograph of him tied up appeared in a local newspaper this week, sparking concerns among charities and the police, and he has since been taken into care at a government-run institution.

But activists say his plight on the streets comes as little surprise in India, where those with disabilities face daily stigma and discrimination and a lack of facilities to assist them.


Kale said Lakhan “tends to wander off” and that there was no one else to stop him walking into traffic while she and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Rekha, were out making a living.


At night she would tie him to her own leg as they slept on the pavement so she would know if he tried to walk away.

“I am a single old woman. Nobody paid attention to me until the newspaper report,” she said.

“He was in a special school, but they sent him back.”

Social worker Meena Mutha has since managed to place Lakhan in a state-run south Mumbai home, which takes in a range of needy children from the disabled to the destitute.

“Residental homes are very, very few. There’s a major need for the government to do something, a social responsibility to provide residential centres for children like Lakhan,” said Mutha, a trustee at the Manav Foundation helping people with mental illness.

She said government-run centres that put together children with different needs did not always have the range of facilities required.


“They don’t have the infrastructure, the staff,” said Mutha. Conversely, non-government organisations “have expertise, but not the space,” she said, highlighting the squeeze on land in the densely-packed city.

Across India, the 40 to 60 million people with disabilities often face similar struggles to get the help they need, activists say.

“There’s no collective responsibility. You have a disabled child, you look after it,” said Varsha Hooja, chief executive at ADAPT, another charity working with disabled young adults and children.

- No state support -

Hooja said she had seen other cases of parents locking up children with disabilities while they go to work.

“The state gives no support,” she said.

A long-awaited bill was introduced into the Indian parliament in February aiming to give disabled people equal rights — including access to education, employment and legal redress against discrimination — but it has yet to be passed.

Lawyer Rajive Raturi was on the committee that began drafting the bill five years ago, and said the Congress party-led government which has just lost power had pushed through a “complete dilution” of the original, especially on sections regarding women and children with disabilities.

Raturi, who handles disability cases at the Human Rights Law Network, said he hoped the new parliament elected this month, dominated by incoming prime minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, would “listen to the stakeholders and then make a decision”.

“We can’t change attitudes with an act but if the bill has the right provisions, people will think twice,” he said.

Back by the Mumbai bus stop, Kale squatted on the pavement drinking chai and eating bread on the morning after bidding a tearful goodbye to her grandson.

She was hopeful she would get to see him regularly once she acquired an official identity card that would allow her to visit the centre.

“I am very happy,” she said. “What else would I want other than for him to be looked after?”



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