Tag Archives: women

8 March: International Women’s Day

hapi womens day 7

Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is marked on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements. Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In some regions, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.

From Wikipedia


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To Pap or Not to Pap(smear)?

Dr. Maurie Markman from Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia briefly discusses recent recommendations from several medical groups regarding cervical cancer screening.

“I think it is fair to say that these recommendations are quite reasonable based on existing data and extensive epidemiologic information generated over a number of decades.”

“I believe it is also fair to state that these are general guidelines. One would hope that insurers and other third-party payers will not see these guidelines and recommendations as a cause to restrict the practice of medicine and discussions between individual patients and their doctors. For example, the recommendation that screenings start at the age of 20 and not before, although quite reasonable on a population basis, may not be in the best interest of a young woman.

Similarly, the recommendation that screening stop at the age of 65 for a woman who has had multiple negative Papanicolaou test (PAP) results over time is quite reasonable, but one would hope that that does not translate into a general statement that no women will have PAP smears paid for after the age of 65 simply in an effort to control costs.”

“Clearly, cost remains a major issue in American healthcare today. These guidelines should be focused on the professional medical community and should be considered in their discussions with their patient population. Hopefully, they will not be taken to be an absolute set of rules so that if they are not followed exactly, payment will not be given for care. This is a topic for discussion, which will continue into the future”



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Catholic pilgrims pour into Madrid for youth festival 2011

Catholic pilgrims from across the world descended on Madrid Monday for a youth festival expected to draw more than a million faithful, with the highlight an open-air Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

The World Youth Day festival, which runs from Tuesday to Sunday, has been criticized, however, for the costs involved in welcoming the head of the Roman Catholic Church as Spain struggles with an economic crisis.

But WYD officials say most of the costs would be covered by the pilgrims themselves – arriving from 193 countries – and the event would be a massive tourist boost for the city of Madrid.

A huge stage has been erected at the central Plaza de Cibeles, one of Madrid’s most emblematic sites.

The square will host three of the four main events during WYD: the opening Mass on Tuesday, the papalwelcome two days later and the Stations of the Cross ceremony on Friday.

On Saturday, hundreds of thousands will be entertained by pop groups at the Cuatro Vientos air base southwest of the capital, where the pope holds a “Prayer Vigil” in the evening.

The young pilgrims will spend the night under the stars at the air base with duvets and rugs on a vast esplanade the size of 48 football fields.

The 84-year-old pontiff celebrates Mass there on Sunday morning at a white altar almost 200 meters (660 feet) long in front of a wave-shaped stage and under a giant parasol “tree,” made of interwoven golden rods that will protect him from Madrid’s brutal August heat.

Madrid’s airport was bustling Monday with tens of thousands of excited young pilgrims carrying large backpacks, studying maps to find out how to get to the churches or schools where they will be staying, or waiting for buses.

Many were chaperoned by priests or nuns, and snapping photos of each other.

Veronica Jackson, from Ireland, said this is her fifth visit to the World Youth Day celebrations, launched bypope John Paul II in 1986 as a way to revitalize the faith among young Catholics.

“There’s a problem in Ireland about young people going to church and it’s good for them to come here because they experience a young Church,” she said.

A steady stream of young pilgrims poured into Our Lady of Remembrance Jesuit school in northern Madrid, which will house 3,000 people from 50 nations in its classrooms and gyms during the event.

“This is a chance to meet people from all over the world who have the same faith and meet the leader of the Church. You don’t get to do that every day,” said Grace Allen, a 21-year-old nursing student from San Francisco as she stood by the sleeping bag she had unfolded on the floor of the school’s gym.

Women will sleep on the ground floor of the school and men on the second floor.

“Wherever there is a space on the floor, there will be people sleeping,” said Alvaro Paternina, 21, a Madrid dentistry student who was volunteering to help get the pilgrims settled in at the school.

Benedict last visited Spain in November 2010 for a trip in which he railed against social reforms introduced by Spain’s Socialist government such as same-sex marriage, easier access to abortion and fast-track divorce.

One government minister, Ramon Jauregui, has already warned that he did not consider it “appropriate” for the pope to criticize Spanish society again when he comes this week.

Some 150 groups that oppose the pope’s visit plan to protest Wednesday on the eve of his arrival. They include groups representing gays and lesbians, feminists as well as leftist political parties.

The country’s 15-M “indignant” movement – launched on May 15 against the management of the economic crisis, soaring unemployment and political corruption – is also mulling a series of protests.

By Daniel Silva
Agence France-Presse


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