Global 360°: Memorable moments and insights from CNN’s 30 newsgathering bureaus around the world...
CNN Executive Producer
WOMB FOR IMPROVEMENT
As Al Gore was presenting his plan for making America a country that eliminates oil and coal in favor of 100 percent renewable energy – a small study we were tipped off to out of China this week points to the potential health benefits of such a plan. In the Chinese city of Tongliang a coal-fired power plant was shut down four years ago. Which presented an unusual opportunity to measure the health benefits of cleaner air for developing fetuses. Columbia University’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health moved in to test the air that pregnant Chinese women in Tongliang were breathing. What the researchers found was that children conceived after the coal plant was shut down were, overall, developing better, especially in terms of motor skills, compared to the children who were in the womb when their mothers were breathing the polluted air from the coal plant. You can read the study online...
The study’s lead author, Dr. Frederica Perera, who says she and her team received excellent cooperation from the Chinese, knows that just because China’s coal plants are dirtier than America’s doesn’t mean there’s safety in the womb here. Burning fossil fuels emits a toxic mix of particles present in every major American city. As Dr. Perera describes it, the polluted air is breathed in by the mother, crosses the placenta, and reaches the fetus and bonds with DNA in blood cells of the baby. That’s why Dr. Perrera and her team will be equipping pregnant women in New York with air monitors this summer and following up on their babies to try to assess the implications of air pollution on fetuses and young children here in the U.S. We'll be following her work.
THE KILLER & THE WIDOW
You may have seen the hero’s welcome that a killer named Samir Kuntar received in Lebanon yesterday. He had spent more than 20 years in an Israeli prison after being convicted of sneaking into Israel, kidnapping a young Israeli father and his four year old daughter, killing the father before bludgeoning the child to death. Israel freed Kuntar yesterday to get back the bodies of two of its soldiers who were kidnapped and killed two summers ago. Today, the wife of one of those soldiers, Karnit Goldwasser, gave a haunting, poetic, ode to her husband. I will reprint the words here. But to hear her say it for herself, by clicking on the video, is more powerful.
“You will be a full partner” she said, speaking to the husband who was taken from her. “Silent but involved. Hidden but moving. Hidden from the eyes of all, but seen by me at all times. You will continue to be my second inner voice. You will always be my husband. The eternally young man who accompanies me throughout my life.”
MANDELA’S PUNCH LINES
In some ways Nelson Mandela seems eternally young – even today on his 90th birthday. His gait is slow, but his voice is strong. And he continues to speak out regularly on the issues he cares about, including combating AIDS in Africa. CNN is planning extensive coverage of his life and birthday celebrations over the coming week. You’ll be able to watch some of it right here on the AC360° blog, including the friendship he developed with his jailer. But for now, just consider one of the amazing aspects of his character. 27 years in prison did not damage Nelson Mandela’s sense of humor. Listen to him at a birthday celebration from this week.
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