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Kenyan scientists reveal possible link between hot food, esophageal cancer

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

Preliminary findings by scientists suggest that people who like their food and beverages to be warmer than 60 degrees celsius are at a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

In Kenya, hot food is widely believed to be healthier, while cold food is viewed as dull and unsatisfying.

“Most people prefer hot or warm food because this is the cold season. If you eat cold food, it will affect you. But if you eat hot food, you will feel warm and energetic,” said Nairobi resident Regan Dennis.

For years, researchers have sought to establish the effects of very hot food on the esophagus, the tube through which food travels to the stomach. A study published in the journal “cancer epidemiology” identified thermal injury from hot food and beverages as a possible cause of esophageal cancer.

“It’s an irritant, the heat. You are causing ulceration of the lining. The lining of the esophagus and the throat. And once you cause this constant damage to the lining, it leads to mutation and finally leads to cancer. So, it’s carcinogenic to cause constant irritation of the mucus lining,” said ENT Surgeon John Muiru.

Researchers found that tea drinkers who like their tea to be warmer than 60 degrees celsius and drank more than two large cups daily have a 90 percent higher risk of developing esophageal cancer.

This is bad news for tea-drinkers in Kenya’s western region, who are among those taking the hottest tea in the world. Their beverage is usually 72.1 degrees celsius.

“The ideal temperature is the body temperature, which is about 37 degrees centigrade. Anything above that will be damaging the cells. The cells are designed to survive within the body temperature,” Muiru said.

Esophageal cancer accounts for 11 percent of new cancer cases in Kenya. The latest discovery has had a jarring effect on tea-lovers. But the studies are not conclusive and researchers suggest that the evidence should be evaluated further.

As scientists seek a conclusive answer, tea-lovers begin to grapple with the idea that hotter might not be better after all.

“Food shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. It should be warm,” Saidi Gitau, a Nairobi resident said. (REUTERS)

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Death toll in Nepal floods rises to 55, thousands displaced

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

The death toll in Nepal from flash floods and landslides rose to 55 on Sunday (July 14), with dozens missing and injured, the government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in mostly mountainous Nepal since Thursday (July 11), submerging large areas of land, inundating homes, and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

A Home Ministry statement said 55 people had been confirmed dead and 33 injured, with 30 still missing.

India’s north eastern state of Assam has also been hard hit by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced, with 200 villages flooded.

Officials said in some areas rains had eased but rivers in the eastern part of the country were still above flood level.

The Kosi River, which flows into the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was among those that had risen above the flood level.

The Kosi has been a serious concern for both India and Nepal since it broke its banks in 2008 and changed course, submerging large areas of land and affecting more than 2 million people in India’s Bihar state. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

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Iran ready to talk to U.S. if sanctions lifted

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at televised address | Courtesy: Reuters footage

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday (July 14).

“When a big power that is a bully, well then we have to stand up to it. It must stop being a bully. We have always believed in talks. Always, right this hour, right this moment, if they stop the oppression, if they stop the belligerence, if they lift sanctions, return to the table, return to to logic; we are ready,” said Rouhani.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018.

Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vin Shahrestani)

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Nine killed in plane crash during skydiving trip in Sweden

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Mobile phone footage of plane crashing near river | Courtesy: Reuters footage

Nine Swedes were killed on Sunday (July 14) when their plane crashed during a skydiving trip near Umea, a small university city in northern Sweden.

The small plane designed to carry parachutists crashed on an island on the Ume river shortly after take-off, police spokesman Peder Jonsson said.

Those on board were on a skydiving trip.

The police said that all the victims were Swedish, with one person holding dual citizenship. The names of the victims have not been disclosed.

Authorities said the cause of the accident was not yet known.

The region’s main University Hospital of Umea confirmed there were no survivors and relatives of the deceased had been notified. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

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