Famine Looms Over Somalia as Half of the Population Faces Food Insecurity
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Somalia Drought: At Least 110 People Dead From Starvation In 48 Hours

Severe water shortage puts millions at risk. 

An ongoing drought in Somalia claimed dozens of lives over the span of just two days. At least 110 people died from starvation and "water-related diarrhea" in the Bay and Bakool regions, according to Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

“About 110 people have died in the past 48 hours due to drought and severe water-related diarrhea in southern Somalia, especially in the Bay and Bakool areas,” Khaire revealed Saturday (March 4). “Somalis, wherever they are, must rescue their needy brothers, who will starve if they are not helped,” he added. “The government’s priority task will be to help those affected by the drought.”

The severe water shortage has put millions at risk of starvation, including more than 300,000 children. In addition, as much as 60 percent of the country’s livestock has been wiped out by the drought.

“There is no medicine and the disease has now become an epidemic,” said a local authority in the Awdiinle village, where approximately 69 people (mostly children and the elderly) died.

The death toll announcement is the first since newly-elected Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo declared the drought a national disaster Tuesday (Feb. 28).

“Those of us gathered here today can neither make the rain come nor provide adequate water to keep livestock alive," Farmaajo said during a meeting attended by federal government cabinet members, alongside officials from the United Nations, the African Union, and more. "But we can respond more effectively and we must do so now simply because the Somali nation is threatened with famine.”

The East African country, which has been ravaged by famine and deadly droughts before, is turning to the international community for help. “We need to act decisively,” noted Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mohamed Omar Arteh. “We need to act massively, and we need to act now if we are to prevent a repeat of the awful scenes of 2011 and 2012 when more than a quarter of a million people died.”

According to the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, the number of Somalis in need of assistance spiked from an estimated 5 million in September 2016 to over 6.2 million today.

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Taraji P. Henson Says She Developed Anxiety After Trayvon Martin Shooting

Taraji P. Henson opens up about anxiety, mental health, menopause, and the myth that black women have to be strong at all times, in a new cover story for Self Magazine.

In one portion of the interview, Henson explains how Trayvon Martin’s death served as a turning point in her mental health journey. “All my life I've been bubbly and the life of the party,” said the Empire star. “Things started to shift for me when Trayvon Martin —when that happened.”

Martin, 17, was gunned down in 2012 on his way home from the store. His killer, George Zimmerman, was later acquitted of second degree murder. Adding insult to injury, Zimmerman recently filed a $100 million lawsuit against Martin’s family.

Henson’s son, Marcell Johnson, is close in age to Martin. “That's when I noticed anxiety started kicking in,” she says explaining a fear that many black people face daily.

“They're not going to [recognize] Taraji's son out here on these streets,” added Henson. “It's me that is the star. He's not.”

Henson fears are shared by her 95-year-old grandmother. “She worries about her children, her children's children, and her great-grandbabies because she knows that at any given moment you can be picked on or killed for the color of your skin.”

Later in the interview, Henson talks about depression and explains how generational trauma carried over from slavery, everyday racism and the current political climate, can be overwhelming for black people. “[It’s] 2019, going on 2020, with even more microaggressions against us every day that we got to see on the news…and we're supposed to be okay. It's a lot.”

Henson, who launched The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation last year, has been an advocate for erasing the stigma around mental health in the black community.

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Central Park Five Exoneree Raymond Santana Gets Engaged To Deelishis

Central Park Five Exoneree Raymond Santana is wrapping up whirlwind year with an engagement. Santana popped the question to former Flavor of Love star Deelishis, on Thursday (Dec. 5).

“Yea [it's] official..ya can really hate me now!! @iamsodeelishis is officially off the market… [she’s] all mines…#GODgavemethegoahead..,” Santana captioned a video of the surprise engagement during a lunch date in Atlanta.

 

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Yea its official..ya can really hate me now!! @iamsodeelishis is officially off the market... shes all mines...#GODgavemethegoahead..

A post shared by Raymond Santana (@santanaraymond) on Dec 5, 2019 at 1:01pm PST

The couple met over the summer at a birthday party for Kandi Burruss’ husband, Todd Tucker, Santana revealed in an interview with TMZ Live on Friday (Dec. 6).

“I had so many blessings this year, this was like the icing on the cake,” he said.

Santana, who was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned  in the Central park jogger case along with Korey Wise, Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, and Yusef Salaam, also spoke on former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s run for president, and whether or not he would accept and apology from the billionaire for avoiding settling their multi-million dollar lawsuit against the city of New York.

The exonerees sued the city for racial discrimination, malicious prosecution and emotional distress in 2003. The suit was eventually settled for $40 million in 2014, after Mayor Bill DeBlasio took office. An additional lawsuit against the state of New York was settled for $3.9 in 2016.

Hear Santana’s thoughts on Bloomberg, and more on his engagement, in the video below.

 

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Permanent Hair Dyes And Straighteners Linked To Breast Cancer, Black Women At Higher Risk

According to a new study conducted by scientist from the National Institute of Health, the use of permanent hair dye and straighteners could be linked to breast cancer in women, and black women who use those products are more at risk of developing the disease.

The study, published in the International Journal of Cancer on Wednesday (Dec. 4), used data from more than 46,000 women.

"Researchers have been studying the possible link between hair dye and cancer for a long time, but results have been inconsistent," said corresponding author Alexandra White, Ph.D., head of the NIEHS Environment and Cancer Epidemiology Group. "In our study, we see a higher breast cancer risk associated with hair dye use, and the effect is stronger in African American women, particularly those who are frequent users. "

Women who regularly used permanent dyes in the year before enrolling in the study were “9% more likely to develop breast cancer” than those who did not use hair dyes, researches found.

The study also concluded, that black women participants who used permeant hair dyes every five to eight weeks, were 60% more likely to develop breast cancer, compared to an 8% risk for white women. On another note, temporary and semi-permanent hair dyes resulted in little to no increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Researches found that women who use chemical hair straighteners every five to eight weeks were around 30% more likely to develop breast cancer. While no change was found between black and white women in the risk level, the use of hair straighteners were more popular among the black women.

Despite the findings, Dale Sandler, Ph.D., chief of the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, who co-authored the study, pointed out that various factors can contribute to breast cancer.

"We are exposed to many things that could potentially contribute to breast cancer, and it is unlikely that any single factor explains a woman’s risk,” said Sandler. “While it is too early to make a firm recommendation, avoiding these chemicals might be one more thing women can do to reduce their risk of breast cancer."

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