FDA labels kratom an opioid. What is it?

United States (JR) – It seems that every few months a new drug makes headlines. First bath salts, a synthetic stimulant which can produce paranoia and hallucinations, then K2, a man-made substance that contains compounds resembling the active chemicals in marijuana, and now kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a botanical substance often sold as an herbal supplement. The plant was labeled an opioid by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2018. It made this determination based on a 3-D modeling study of its compounds. In an earlier public health advisory on the substance, issued in November 2017, the FDA cautioned…

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Saudi Arabian Women Granted Permission to Work as Investigators

Saudi Arabia (Sputnik) – The Saudi public prosecutor’s office has announced that it is hiring Saudi women as investigation officers. The application process will start on Sunday, February 11, and will continue until March 3, the al-Madina Arabic newspaper reported. Women will be hired as investigators for the first time, as the kingdom seeks to encourage female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era. “Vacancies are available in women’s positions on the staff of the public prosecution for the rank of lieutenant investigator,” the Saudi public prosecutor’s office announced in a statement relayed by the information ministry. The announcement is in line with Crown…

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Emmanuel Macron Was Supposed to Be the Anti-Trump. He’s Not.

France (FPIF) – The French darling of American liberals is slashing taxes for the rich and cracking down on immigrants. Coming just months after the election of Donald Trump in the United States, and as illiberal authoritarianism seemed to be creeping all over Europe, the election of French president Emmanuel Macron brought a sigh of relief to many across Western democracies. It was May 2017 when Macron, a pro-European centrist, decisively defeated the far-right, Euroskeptic Marine le Pen. Enthusiastic and patriotic messages such as “Vive la France” or “Vive l’Europe” poured…

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US Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Deportation of DACA Recipients

United States (Sputnik) – A US federal judge has ruled that US President Donald Trump’s administration cannot move forward with plans to deport thousands of young immigrants starting March 5, the date by which 800,000 DACA recipients have to exit the country following an executive order signed by Trump last fall. US District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis stated in a court order Tuesday in New York that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) could not be cancelled “pending a decision on the merits of these cases.” “Defendants thus must continue processing both initial…

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Golden Dawn Girls documentary gives new voice to women in Greece’s far-right elite

Greece (OpenDemocracy) – Why would women connected to leaders of the extreme nationalist party invite documentary cameras into their homes, around their dinner tables, and inside party headquarters? When I first heard about the documentary Golden Dawn Girls, I was more than a little sceptical. Why would three women of the Greek far-right party’s elite invite cameras into their homes, around their dinner tables and inside the party headquarters, for a feature-length film? What was their agenda? Norwegian documentary maker, Håvard Bustnes, presents the film as a quest to discover “what happened…

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Scientists Create Functioning Kidney Tissue

United Kingdom (Tasnim) – Scientists have successfully produced human kidney tissue within a living organism which is able to produce urine, a first for medical science. The study led by Professors Sue Kimber and Adrian Woolf from The University of Manchester, signifies a significant milestone in the development of treatment for kidney disease. The Medical Research Council and Kidney Research UK funded project is published in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Kidney glomeruli — constituent microscopic parts of the organ- were generated from human embryonic stem cells grown in plastic…

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Spanish Activist’s Trial in Morocco Is ‘a Way to Intimidate’ Human Rights Defenders

 Morocco (GV) – On January 31, Spanish human rights activist and researcher Helena Maleno is scheduled to appear in court for the second time in Morocco, accused of participating in a human trafficking network for her work helping migrants who find themselves adrift in the Mediterranean. Maleno is a member of the non-governmental organization Caminando Fronteras (Walking Through Borders), which supports groups of migrants mostly from Sub-Saharan Africa. The accusation against her is based on the calls she has made to Maritime Rescue, alerting them to the presence of dinghies at…

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Has Trump’s White House ‘resurrected’ Army of God anti-abortion extremists?

United States (OpenDemocracy) – Rising right-wing extremism in the United States appears to have breathed new life into militant Christian groups including the ‘Army of God’ (AOG) – a violent network which first rose to prominence in the early 1980s. Openly promoting the killing of abortion providers, it supports individuals jailed for the murders of healthcare workers, and it has been linked to a number of domestic terror attacks on targets across America. The organization’s de facto religious leader, Reverend Donald Spitz, spoke to 50.50 in a rare interview from his home in…

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Protect women’s rights, promote development in South Sudan

South Sudan (SSB) – Before I joined Makerere Law School in 2010, I used to view women like any other men. What comes to the minds of many men whenever they see women is sex. This objectification of women is the product of culture. Men are culturally oriented to look at women as sexual objects that are available for men to satisfy their lusts whenever they want. It is in relation to the above, majority of South Sudanese men and especially, men in cattle keeping communities do not see women as…

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Women’s votes: six amazing facts from around the world

World (Conversation) – On February 6, 1918, British women – (well, the wealthy ones over 30) – were given the right to vote. And since the 1960s, women have been voting in British national elections at basically the same rate as men. But how is the rest of the world doing? Here’s a snapshot. 1. Ecuador: transgender friendly (at voting booths) In Ecuador, men and women vote separately. The country was in the headlines last year when it decided to allow transgender people to choose the male or female line,…

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