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Europe’s crisis of conscience

Europe’s crisis of conscience

first_imgIt took a searing image of a 3-year-old Syrian boy who had drowned and washed ashore on a Turkish beach to put a human face on what analysts and human rights activists have been calling a humanitarian crisis for years.The flood of refugees seeking asylum in Europe is not new. Over the last decade or so, millions driven from their homelands by ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Somalia, for example, have found respite in European nations, with varying success.But the myriad challenges posed by the massive wave of new migrants fleeing war-torn countries like Syria and Eritrea and seeking asylum in Turkey, Greece, Hungary, and Germany, among others, has prompted widespread disagreement and confusion among European nations over how best to manage the unfolding tragedy and how the nations’ actions will shape Europe’s future identity.Scholars discussed the historical antecedents and contemporary challenges this mass migration of refugees poses for the European Union during a panel held Wednesday as part of a two-day summit on the future of Europe hosted by the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.Already, there are 4 million documented Syrian refugees who have fled Syria in overcrowded boats or made the treacherous journey over land to escape the brutal civil war between the regime of Bashar Al-Assad and the jihadi terrorist group ISIS, as well as other splinter groups. About 2.1 million refugees are now in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, with around 1.9 million registered in Turkey.Although it’s believed that far more people are undocumented refugees, border security estimates that about 500,000 people, more than half of them under age 18, have been displaced since January. At least 2,500 people have died trying to reach the West.The photo of young Aylan Kurdi “was a wake-up call for everybody; it suddenly galvanized a sort of moral outrage which had been lurking for some time,” said Jacqueline Bhabha, FXB Center director of research, professor of the practice of health and human rights at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer at Harvard Law School.Despite the recent recognition by many EU leaders that something must be done, Europe is still “very divided” over how to effectively manage the crisis. Case in point, Bhabha said, is the broad disagreement over which nations are welcoming refugees and which should welcome them, and how many they’ll assist.Courtesy of Jacqueline Bhabha“The enormity in the disparity in responsibility and humanitarian engagement is, I think, really staggering,” Bhabha said.The idea that Europe needs protection or “fortifying against dangerous outsiders” has led to damaging policies aimed at refugees, including long and harsh detentions, children improperly housed with adults, and limited access to legal representation, she said.“These are policies which are completely at odds with the principles on which Europe was founded after World War II,” said Bhabha.Also, the chaotic and disjointed response to the refugees has offered political cover for those who seek to fuel rising anti-immigrant hostility in Europe.“Clearly, the ripple effects on the increased popularity of far-right parties in Europe are just going to be absolutely horrible,” said Michèle Lamont, director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies and professor of sociology at Harvard.“What is ongoing now in Europe is a collision of three different crises all at once, and to move forward you must deal with all three,” said Jytte Klausen, Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University.Brandeis professor Jytte Klausen (left) and Michèle Lamont, director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, speak inside the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerFirst, there is the immediate humanitarian crisis to grapple with — registering new arrivals, determining their precise status and needs. It’s a tough task made even more difficult by the sheer size of the influx and the reality that no one truly has a firm grasp on the precise numbers of refugees, where they’re coming from, or even why. Further, while the flow of humanitarian aid has been “extraordinary,” it’s still “insufficient” to deal with the volume of people arriving daily, said Klausen.Second, there’s a strategic crisis, in large part because there is no strategic doctrine to deal with global mass terrorism or other national security failures that cause this kind of global migration; no legal framework to capture, detain, or prosecute the 10,000-plus Westerners who are joining terrorist groups such as ISIS; and no process to coordinate a response within Europe so that nations aren’t duplicating efforts or letting aspects fall through the cracks, she said.“Meanwhile, everybody is sitting back and waiting for the United States” to take the lead, leaving a “vacuum” caused fueled by “a lack of imagination,” Klausen said, referring to the term first used by the 9/11 Commission report to explain the failures that led to that terrorist attack.“There was a complete failure to understand what the disruptions in the Middle East would mean in terms of the stability for Europe,” she said. “We cannot stabilize the Middle East if the entire Middle Eastern middle class moves to Europe. Who will be left? The extremists, the peasants, the poor people who can’t come out?“The effort to put up borders right now is displaying a terrific degree of myopia. All you do is push people into another country, and then that’s obviously in the long run not going to work out.” Klausen said.Lastly, because of the forces of globalization, the mass migration of refugees is a structural crisis many years in the making, she said. “I don’t think it can be prevented. There is only adaptation and adjustment.“Europe is faced with an urgent necessity to do exactly what most of the small countries in Europe do not wish to do — namely, to increase collaboration on the military front, to increase policing and domestic capabilities, [to create] an integrated police force [and] an integrated immigration and assessment of policy for the distribution of quotas,” Klausen said.Bhabha rejected the excuses proffered by some that sorting out the legitimate political refugees from the economic migrants and determining the nationality of stateless migrants is so monumentally difficult that relative inaction is justified.“These problems are solvable,” she said. “I do feel there’s a whole political-will issue here about the resources we allocate, about the creativity we invest in solving the problems.”The Migration Crisis September 2015 – As waves of refugees continue to flee war-torn countries for Europe, Jacqueline Bhabha, a professor at the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, discusses the crisis, which is testing the EU’s commitment to open borders and human rights. <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzwRg3LNEgY” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/hzwRg3LNEgY/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a>last_img read more

Fertility ‘predicted by mother’

Fertility ‘predicted by mother’

first_img Sharing is caring! Share 14 Views   no discussions Share Tweetcenter_img Fertility peaks between 18 and 31 years of age, say expertsWomen may be able to better gauge their own fertility based on the age their mother went through the menopause, a study has concluded.Women whose mothers had an early menopause had far fewer eggs in their ovaries than those whose mothers had a later menopause, a Danish team found.Women with fewer viable eggs have fewer chances to conceive. The study, of 527 women aged between 20 and 40, was reported in the journal Human Reproduction.Ovarian reserveResearchers looked at two accepted methods to assess how many eggs the women had – known as their “ovarian reserve” – levels of anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) and antral follicle count (AFC). Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. These are released from the ovary cyclically, usually one every month after puberty, until menopause. The AFC and AMH give readings doctors an idea of how many yet-to-be released eggs remain in the ovary.In the study of female healthcare workers, the researchers found both AMH and AFC declined faster in women whose mothers had an early menopause (before the age of 45) compared to women whose mothers had a late menopause (after the age of 55).Average AMH levels declined by 8.6%, 6.8% and 4.2% a year in the groups of women with mothers who had early, normal or late menopauses, respectively. A similar pattern was seen for AFC, with annual declines of 5.8%, 4.7% and 3.2% in the same groups, respectively.Start youngPast research suggests there is about 20 years between a woman’s fertility starting to decline and the onset of menopause. So a woman who enters the menopause at 45 may have experienced a decline in her fertility at the age of 25.Lead researcher Dr Janne Bentzen said: “Our findings support the idea that the ovarian reserve is influenced by hereditary factors. However, long-term follow-up studies are required.”Also, having fewer eggs does not necessarily mean that the woman will go on to have fewer babies. Dr Valentine Akande, a consultant gynaecologist and spokesman for the British Fertility Society, said the findings were helpful, but that women should not be overly concerned if their mother did have an early menopause. “There is a huge amount of variation among women. Some will have more eggs and some will have less.“Whilst it is assumed that lower egg number is associated with more challenges at getting pregnant this study did not look at that.“Currently there is no test that can accurately predict fertility. “The advice remains the same – the younger you start trying for a baby the more likely you are to be successful.”He said, in general, women are most fertile between the ages of 18 and 31. BBC News Share HealthLifestyle Fertility ‘predicted by mother’ by: – November 7, 2012last_img read more