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The Minamata Convention on Mercury celebrates its first anniversary

The Minamata Convention on Mercury celebrates its first anniversary

One year ago, on 16 August 2017, the Minamata Convention on Mercury – a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds – came into force.


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Italy bridge collapse: B.C. bridge among architect’s many designs

Italy bridge collapse: B.C. bridge among architect’s many designs

The architect of the bridge that collapsed in Genoa, Italy, has built several other spans around the world, including a relatively small bridge that connects two parts of the city of Castlegar, B.C., across a river.


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Regular exercise 'best for mental health'

Regular exercise 'best for mental health'

Regular physical activity lasting 45 minutes three to five times a week can reduce poor mental health - but doing more than that is not always beneficial, a large US study suggests.

A total of 1.2 million people reported their activity levels for a month and rated their mental wellbeing.

People who exercised had 1.5 fewer "bad days" a month than non-exercisers, the study found.

Team sports, cycling and aerobics had the greatest positive impact.

All types of activity were found to improve mental health no matter people's age or gender, including doing the housework and looking after the children.

The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, is the largest of its kind to date but it cannot confirm that physical activity is the cause of improved mental health.

Previous research into the effects of exercise on mental health have thrown up mixed results, and some studies suggest that lack of activity could lead to poor mental health as well as being a symptom of it.

Exercise is already known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Adults taking part in the study said they experienced on average 3.4 days of poor mental health each month. For those who were physically active, this reduced to only two days.

Among people who had been diagnosed previously with depression, exercise appeared to have a larger effect, resulting in seven days of poor mental health a month compared with nearly 11 days for those who did no exercise.

How often and for how long people were active was also important.

Being active for 30 to 60 minutes every second day came out as the optimal routine.

But there could be such a thing as doing too much exercise, the study concluded.

Dr Adam Chekroud, study author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University, said: "Previously, people have believed that the more exercise you do, the better your mental health, but our study suggests that this is not the case.

"Doing exercise more than 23 times a month, or exercising for longer than 90-minute sessions is associated with worse mental health."

He said the positive impact of team sports suggested that social sports activities could reduce isolation and be good for resilience, while also reducing depression.

Complicated link

The findings back up government guidelines recommending that people should do 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

But the study has some limitations. It is based on self-reporting, which is not always accurate, and there is no way of measuring physical activity.

Dr Dean Burnett, neuroscientist and honorary research associate, from the school of psychology at Cardiff University, said the link between exercise and mental health had been difficult to pin down but this large study "strongly suggests that there is a definite association between the two".

"However, the nature of the study means it's difficult to say more than that with any real certainty," he said.

Prof Stephen Lawrie, head of psychiatry at the University of Edinburgh, said it indicated that social and "mindful" exercise is particularly good for mental health - but not if it is overdone.

"I suspect we all know people who seem 'addicted' to exercise and if this starts to impact on other aspects of life - like foregoing social activities because one has to be up at the crack of dawn to run several miles - it might actually be bad for people," he added.


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Vigo festival collapse in Spain injures hundreds

Vigo festival collapse in Spain injures hundreds

More than 300 people have been injured, five seriously, after a section of wooden platform collapsed at an urban sports and music festival in Spain.

It had been packed with people watching a rap artist at the two-day O Marisquiño event in the north-west city of Vigo, in Galicia.

Police confirmed that there were no known fatalities.

Witnesses reported scenes of panic as people - many of them teenagers - tried to scramble to safety.

Some fell into the sea.

Personal effects such as mobile phones and handbags were left scattered on the ground.

Several emergency teams attended to the injured, and divers were sent into the sea to check that no-one was trapped beneath the structure.

The incident happened shortly before midnight on Sunday as a crowd was listening to the Majorcan rap artist Rels B.

According to eyewitnesses, the wooden platform gave way during the first song of the concert as Rels B, who had just started his performance, told the crowd to jump, local media report.

"The floor [of the platform] dropped like a lift. It was a matter of five seconds," Aitana Alonso told a local newspaper. "It broke and we all fell. People fell on me. I had trouble getting out. I was trying to get out and skidded, my foot got stuck, in the water. I got it out. A boy gave me his hand and I got out. I felt paralysed and [then] I left. There was a girl with blood on her head."

Earlier, the regional health minister, Jesus Vazquez Almuina, told local radio about the nature of the injuries people suffered.

"These are provisional figures, patients are still being evaluated... The vast majority are light injuries for bruises. There are five hospitalisations, mainly broken bones and some head injuries," he told local radio.

In a tweet (in Spanish), Rels B wished "strength" to the injured and advised anyone worried about friends or relatives to contact an emergency information point set up by festival organisers.

The mayor of the city, Abel Caballero, has said there will be an investigation into the causes of the incident.

It is not yet clear whether the platform collapsed because there were too many people on it, or because the structure itself was weak, or whether other factors were involved.

O Marisquiño is a free festival taking place outdoors in Vigo in August, attended by some 160,000 visitors.

It features various cultural activities, including concerts and gastronomy, and some 10 sports competitions - including skateboarding and mountain biking - over a three-day period.


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Trump doubles metals tariffs on Turkey, sending lira into freefall

Trump doubles metals tariffs on Turkey, sending lira into freefall

President Donald Trump abruptly announced Friday that he would double the rate of import tariffs on Turkish metals — forcing Turkey to ask citizens to buy its own crashing currency.

The Turkish economy was already mired in crisis amid worsening relations with Washington and worries over soaring inflation and unemployment.

 
 

Trump tweeted he had authorized a 20 percent duty on aluminum and 50 percent one on steel. "Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!" he noted.

The sudden announcement turned a run on the Turkish lira into a rout; it crashed more than 18 percent to a new record low against the dollar.

Donald J. Trump
 
@realDonaldTrump
 
 

I have just authorized a doubling of Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum with respect to Turkey as their currency, the Turkish Lira, slides rapidly downward against our very strong Dollar! Aluminum will now be 20% and Steel 50%. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!


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