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Study finds declining smoking scenes in movies

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There’s a lot less smoking in the movies these days, a new report shows.

Tobacco use on the silver screen peaked in 2005 and has been on the decline since, according to research that looked at the most popular films from 1991 to 2009.

Last year more than half of the 145 top movies released didn’t show any smoking at all. That’s a record for the past two decades. For films aimed at children or teens, the percentage was even higher — 61 percent. However, 54 percent of the movies rated PG-13 did show tobacco use.

The report “shows that Hollywood is perfectly capable of making movies without as much smoking and people still come see them,” said the study’s lead author, Stan Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

The report was released Thursday in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication.

Glantz and others have been pressuring movie studios for years to cut out smoking in movies marketed to children and teens. Those efforts appear to be paying off, with studios adopting policies on smoking and putting anti-smoking messages on DVDs that depict smoking, he said.

The amount of smoking in PG-13-rated movies is of particular concern, though, because that’s where teens view it most, he said. The more on-screen smoking they see, the more likely they are to pick up the habit themselves, the study’s authors say.

“There’s a declining trend — which is good to see — but we haven’t made nearly enough progress,” said Ursula Bauer of the CDC.

After years of decline, the smoking rate for high school students has stalled at 1 in 5, which Bauer said could be partly due to the promotion of smoking in movies.

For their study, the researchers tracked tobacco use in the most popular films for nearly two decades. Included were the top 50 films for the years 1991-2001, and films ranked in the weekly top 10 from 2002-2009. They counted the number of times tobacco use was shown.

From a peak of nearly 4,000 in 2005, the number dropped steadily to 1,935 last year.

Since 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America has considered smoking as a factor in its rating system, noting when cigarette use has affected the rating. For example, the PG-13 rating for “Avatar” included “some smoking.”

“This ensures specific information is front and center for parents as they make decisions for their kids,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

Some critics, including Glantz, have pushed for an automatic R rating for films that depict smoking, to serve as an economic incentive to drop tobacco use from their movies to get a less restrictive rating.

The study was partly funded by the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization established as part of the settlement between states and the tobacco industry, and the California Tobacco Control Program. Neither group had a role in the research.

Source: AP

Communities in Amansie raise doubts about mining licenses

A number of mining communities in Amansie in the Ashanti Region have questioned the genuineness of concession rights and operating licenses being used by some small scale mining companies in the area.

According to the communities, all that those companies did was just to approach the district assemblies, post notices and after 21 days, considered them as having gone through the required processes for license.

Nana Afari Mintah Bowak, Santanhene of the Kokofu Traditional Area, who expressed the concerns of the people, said the assemblies were not the rightful authority to grant mining concessions.

Small-scale miners must therefore go by the proper procedures for acquisition of mineral rights.

Nana Bowak, who is an assembly-member, was contributing to discussions at a day’s workshop on Community Resistance to Slavery and Forced Labour in Mining Communities held at Obuasi.

Social Support Foundation (SSF), a non-governmental organization organised the workshop and in attendance were opinion leaders drawn from the Obuasi and Bekwai Municipalities, and the Amansie West, Amansie Central and Adansi North Districts.

Nana Bowak said they found it difficult to understand why the small scale miners continued to operate with no regard for the environment and safety regulations.

Louis Acheampong, Executive Director of SSF, briefed the participants on steps that had to be followed in the acquisition of mineral rights and said although the small scale miner would have to notify the assemblies of the intention to mine the process did not end there.

“There are 14 steps to be followed including small scale miners completing forms which are sent to the Minerals Commission in Accra together with environmental impact assessment form completed by the district small scale mining officer,” he said.

Mr Acheampong said if the Commission was satisfied with the area, the small scale miner again had to obtain an environmental permit and sign an agreement with the Mines Ministry.

He said it was necessary for the communities to be aware of these arrangements to help check the abuse, especially of the environment, by small scale miners.

Source: GNA

Furniture and interior decoration fair opens in Accra

A three day Furniture and Decoration Fair, to give local furniture producers a platform to showcase their products to the general public, has opened in Accra on Friday .

The Fair, which is being held at the National Theatre in Accra, will end on Sunday 23rd August, 2010.

The event, organized by Xodus Communications, in partnership with the Ministry of Information, is aimed at bringing together local furniture producers and decorators under one platform to exhibit their products.

The Deputy Minister of Information, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who opened the Fair, described it as an avenue for carpenters and decorators to exhibit their creative skills as well as erase certain stereotypes attached to the profession.

Mr Ablakwa, who described the trade as a professional calling, advised that in the production of the furniture, they should bring out the best of the Ghanaian culture and create a unique brand and identity for the country.

He assured that government will support the furniture sector and urged Ghanaians to patronize products that are made in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of Xodus Communications, Mr Richard Abbey Jnr, said the Fair was to give carpenters and decorators the opportunity to exhibit their products and give them ample business opportunities.

Exhibitors at the Fair included Simbins Furniture, Agorwu Furniture, Exotique Beads, Ceiling Professional Limited and Lifestyle Gallery.

Some of the items on display ranged from furniture, beads, aquariums, kitchen cabinets, and fountains.

Source: GNA

Ghana stocks close week on brighter note

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) All-Share Index, the main market indicator, went up by 22.15 points from 6,628.41 points to 6,650.56 points during Friday’s trading on the Accra bourse.

The Change Year to Date also rose to 19.35 compared to 18.95 recorded during the previous trading session.

Traded volume closed the session at 566,488 shares valued at GH¢592,668.21. Of the 15 equities that sold shares, Ghana Commercial Bank Limited (GCB) led the pack with 228,400 of its shares valued at GH¢422,540.00, followed by Cal Bank Limited (CAL), which had 206,400 of its shares valued at GH¢59,102.00 changing hands.

On the broader market, there were eight price changes, seven positives and a negative. Unilever Ghana Limited (UNIL) led the gainers with a share price increase of GH¢0.05 to close trading at GHc4.30. CAL share price went up by GH¢0.02 to close at GH¢0.29; Enterprise Insurance Company Limited (EIC) went up by GH¢0.02 to close at GH¢1.80 while AngloGold Ashanti Depository Shares also gained GH¢0.02 to close GH¢0.38.

Fan Milk Limited (FML) gained GH¢0.01 to close at GH¢8.51; Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC) went up by GH¢0.01 at GH¢0.17 and SG-SSB Limited (SG-SSB) also appreciated by GH¢0.01 to close trading at GH¢0.57.

Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL) lost GH¢0.01 to close trading at GH¢1.55.

Market Capitalisation closed the session at GH¢18,470.54 million from 17.48 million issued shares.

Source: GNA

Chorkor fumigated to commemorate World Mosquito Day

Free Africa From Mosquitoes (FAFM), a Non- Governmental Organization (NGO), on Friday fumigated Chorkor community in the Ablekuma South Constituency, in commemoration of this year’s World Mosquito Day.

The exercise served as a platform to sensitize residents of the Municipality on the need to adopt preventive measures against mosquito bites and malaria.

Three mosquito-attractive lamps worth GHc760 were presented to the Karikari Clinic and insecticide treated mosquito nets were also distributed to pregnant women and nursing mothers in the community.

Mr Paul Coonley Boateng, Chief Executive Officer of FAFM, said the prevention of mosquito bites is significant in the component of malaria control in African countries.

He said that could be achieved through personal protection measures such as the use of insecticide treated nets and the use anti-malarial drugs for vulnerable people such as pregnant women.

Mr Boateng said malaria was one of the deadly diseases in Africa, adding that 61 percent of children less than five years were hospitalized due to malaria, while 18 per cent of that age bracket also died yearly.

He added that malaria control could be ensured through community efforts, noting that reliance on government machinery and NGO efforts was not enough.

“We should lay great emphasis on educating the people about malaria and its control so that common people can effectively contribute to the control of this killer disease,” he stressed.

Mr Michele Turchi, Technical Director of FAFM, said poor people who do not have the financial means to purchase drugs and bed nets to protect themselves from mosquito bites, were usually exposed to malaria.

“Every year about one million people die from this disease, with most of the deaths occurring in Africa due to their restricted access to medical supplies and access to something as simple as a mosquito net,” he noted.

Mr Turchi said FAFM will embark on a nationwide education and sensitization programme to urge all stakeholders to collectively fight against mosquitoes and eradicate malaria.

He urged Chorkor residents to periodically treat stagnant waters and control weeds to avoid mosquito breeding.

Dr Samuel Boateng, Public Health Director of AMA, noted that 500 million people fall sick from malaria every year, adding that more than 1 million die from the disease which is preventable and curable.

He said the eradication of malaria was a collective responsibility and urged Ghanaians to join in eliminating mosquito borne diseases.

He also called on the media to raise awareness amongst communities at risk of contracting mosquito-borne disease.

Mr Derrick Adotey Myers, Assemblyman for Chorkor, advised the residents to avoid self medication and report to health facilities for the treatment of diseases.

He pledged the community’s support to reduce drastically the population of mosquitoes so that the number of malaria cases would be reduced drastically.

Source: GNA
Haruna Iddrisu inaugurates NITA Board

A nine-member Board of the National Information Technology Agency (NITA) has been inaugurated to support the Ministry of Communications and NITA to ensure the systematic deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.

It is to monitor NITA to facilitate the implementation of Ghana’s e-Government Platform and Strategy under the e-Ghana Project, which seeks to interconnect all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) to ensure efficiency in the delivery of governance.

It is also to provide strategic direction to empower NITA to pursue the management of the country’s ICT resources on a unified platform to eliminate the tendency of MDA’s and MMDA’s managing Information Technology (IT) resources independently and in an incompatible manner resulting in waste, redundancy and unnecessary duplication.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Communications, who inaugurated the Board in Accra on Friday, told members: “You therefore, have an immediate challenge to develop a robust and reliable e-application system because the success of Ghana’s ICT for development policy goals and initiatives depends largely on how best MDA’s can utilize shared services infrastructure and systems to perform common functions.”

Mr Iddrisu reminded the Board to monitor NITA to advise the Ministry of the Action Plan under the Electronic Transaction Act, which include the setting up of the domain name registry, Certifying Unit, development of e-Payment gateway and government web portal and the actualization of electronic signatures to give authenticity to electronic records.

He challenged the Board to guide NITA to streamline its activities to ensure effective delivery and facilitation of services to generate revenue and eventually wean itself of the consolidated budget.

Mr Iddrisu reinforced the government’s directive that no MDA should engage in any ICT related procurement and allied development without recourse to NITA, the Audit Service and Ministry of Communications to eliminate redundancy and duplication.

“We must harmonise IT usage to improve governance arrangements for the delivery of IT services in the country”, he said.

He also stressed the need for horizontal collaboration between NITA and agencies under the Ministry, such as the National Communications Authority, the Ghana Investment Fund for Telecommunications and the Ghana Post to ensure effective implementation of government’s ICT policies and strategies.

Dr Nii Naaku Quaynor, Chairman of the Board of NITA, who spoke on behalf of members, expressed appreciation to government for the unique opportunity to serve the country in building a new NITA.

Mr William Tevie, Acting Director General of NITA, said the Agency was working to deploy different kinds of projects in the ICT space for government to ensure efficiency in the delivery of services.

Mr Tevie mentioned Government Data Backbone to connect all 170 MMDA’s, e-Government applications and intra government communications, Enterprise Architecture and e-Ghana Interoperability Framework amongst others as some of the projects NITA had been developing.

Source: GNA

AMA’s decongestion exercise is on course – Alfred Vanderpuije

Mr. Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), on Friday announced with confidence the assembly’s success in removing most of the unauthorised structures cited on waterways in the metropolis.

He said despite the challenges that the assembly faces, it is poised to go ahead with its agenda of mitigating the consequences of floods and other disasters in the Accra Metropolitan area.

Mr. Vanderpuije was speaking at the opening of a-day’s workshop for stakeholders in the District Disaster Management Planning programme in Accra.

The seminar which attracted participants from National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the AMA, Police, Army and the Ghana National Fire Service   was aimed at helping the AMA draw up a five-year District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP) for its execution.

Besides, the participants are expected to make contributions towards the drafting of the DDMP for the AMA after which it would be evaluated and finalised into the action plan.

Mr. Vanderpuije also urged members of the AMA Disaster Management Task Force to be proactive with public information management so that when there is a disaster in a particular area, the people would know what to do.

He said one of the commonest disasters that are experienced in the Accra Metropolitan area is fire outbreaks and that the incidence of fire outbreaks was reducing considerably.

Mr. Mawuli Akoto, Lecturer at the School Public Health, University of Ghana and a Resource Person at the workshop, said the objective for setting up NADMO was to manage disaster and similar emergencies in the country.

He said the organisation also has the duty to spearhead efforts to ensure that regional and district assemblies prepare their own disaster management plans to cater for needs of the people during disaster.

He called on the district and metropolitan assemblies to enforce their building codes and ensure that unauthorised structures were not built on watercourses.

Professor Cyril Schandorf, a Resource Person, called for collaborative effort among the stakeholders in disaster management at the district level to ensure risk reduction.

He also stressed the need to plan for the pre-disaster phase before coming out with the actual DMP for implementation.

He said disasters were low probability but high consequences adding every effort must be made to ensure that disasters were managed properly.

Source: GNA
There’s a lot less smoking in the movies these days, a new report shows.

Tobacco use on the silver screen peaked in 2005 and has been on the decline since, according to research that looked at the most popular films from 1991 to 2009.

Last year more than half of the 145 top movies released didn’t show any smoking at all. That’s a record for the past two decades. For films aimed at children or teens, the percentage was even higher — 61 percent. However, 54 percent of the movies rated PG-13 did show tobacco use.

The report “shows that Hollywood is perfectly capable of making movies without as much smoking and people still come see them,” said the study’s lead author, Stan Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.

The report was released Thursday in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publication.

Glantz and others have been pressuring movie studios for years to cut out smoking in movies marketed to children and teens. Those efforts appear to be paying off, with studios adopting policies on smoking and putting anti-smoking messages on DVDs that depict smoking, he said.

The amount of smoking in PG-13-rated movies is of particular concern, though, because that’s where teens view it most, he said. The more on-screen smoking they see, the more likely they are to pick up the habit themselves, the study’s authors say.

“There’s a declining trend — which is good to see — but we haven’t made nearly enough progress,” said Ursula Bauer of the CDC.

After years of decline, the smoking rate for high school students has stalled at 1 in 5, which Bauer said could be partly due to the promotion of smoking in movies.

For their study, the researchers tracked tobacco use in the most popular films for nearly two decades. Included were the top 50 films for the years 1991-2001, and films ranked in the weekly top 10 from 2002-2009. They counted the number of times tobacco use was shown.

From a peak of nearly 4,000 in 2005, the number dropped steadily to 1,935 last year.

Since 2007, the Motion Picture Association of America has considered smoking as a factor in its rating system, noting when cigarette use has affected the rating. For example, the PG-13 rating for “Avatar” included “some smoking.”

“This ensures specific information is front and center for parents as they make decisions for their kids,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

Some critics, including Glantz, have pushed for an automatic R rating for films that depict smoking, to serve as an economic incentive to drop tobacco use from their movies to get a less restrictive rating.

The study was partly funded by the American Legacy Foundation, an anti-smoking organization established as part of the settlement between states and the tobacco industry, and the California Tobacco Control Program. Neither group had a role in the research.

Source: AP

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