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IRIN Africa | MADAGASCAR: Sex for survival | Madagascar | Children | Economy | Gender Issues | HIV/AIDS (PlusNews) | Urban Risk

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IRIN Africa | MADAGASCAR: Sex for survival | Madagascar | Children | Economy | Gender Issues | HIV/AIDS (PlusNews) | Urban Risk.

ANTANANARIVO, 28 August 2012 (IRIN) – About one in seven residents of Madagascar’s main port city of Toamasina are sex workers.

In less than 20 years, the number of registered sex workers in the city of about 200,000 residents has climbed from 17,000 in 1993 to 29,000 in 2012. The increase has been driven by rising poverty levels as well as the city’s proximity to the recently opened Ambatovy nickel mine.

Construction of the mine, coupled with recent improvements to the port, saw an influx of thousands of foreign workers. The billion-dollar investments also resulted in an escalation in living costs and the collapse of traditional commercial activities like the collection and sale of cloves and coffee, pushing more young women into sex work.

“Girls come from the countryside to work as maids. Then, when they have a problem with their employer, other girls from their region introduce them to prostitution,” Germaine Razafindravao, the president of the local sex worker collective FIVEMITO (‘Fikambanaina Vehivavy Miavotena Toamasina’ or Women’s Future), told IRIN…

Cannabis found to lower IQ of young

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Cannabis found to lower IQ of young.

Cannabis can lower the IQ of young teenagers and may cause permanent mental impairment, research has shown.

The most persistent users suffer an average eight-point decline in IQ between adolescence and adulthood, according to the study of more than 1,000 participants.

Scientists believe smoking cannabis from the age of puberty may disrupt developing and vulnerable brain circuits…

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P U L S E

Leading social commentators Danny Dorling and Kate Pickett discuss the persistence of injustice and the unacknowledged beliefs that propagate it.

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Girl held under Islam blasphemy law

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Girl held under Islam blasphemy law.

ISLAMABAD – A Pakistani Christian girl detained on accusations of defaming Islam was too frightened to speak in a prison where she is being held in solitary confinement for her safety, an activist who said he had visited her said yesterday.

Religious and secular groups worldwide have protested over the arrest last week of Rimsha Masih, accused by Muslim neighbours of burning Islamic religious texts.

There have been conflicting reports on Masih’s age and her mental state. Some media have said she is 11 and has Down syndrome. Her lawyer, Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, said her family had informed him she was 14 years of age and mentally ill…

First steps to a rewarding future via @independent_ie

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First steps to a rewarding future via @independent_ie.

More students than ever before — mostly successful Leaving Certificate candidates, but also thousands of others who have entered the system in a variety of ways — have received offers of places in third-level education from the Central Applications Office this year.

 

Unquestionably this is very good news, an indication of our country’s social health and economic hope. It is also good news that according bonus points for mathematics has helped to generate a record number of applications — and that there are sufficient places for all those who have qualified. …

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