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Passive smoking kills 1.2 million people every year-WHO

A new report by the international public health agency World Health Organization (WHO), Tobacco Control To Improve Child Health And Development, says second-hand smoke, which is formed from the burning of cigarettes and other tobacco products and exhaled by the smoker, kills around 1.2 million people every year; 65 000 of these premature and preventable deaths are in children under 15 years.

It has been stated that tobacco use is also a key driver of early-life inequality. A study conducted found that smoking during pregnancy is responsible for about one third of the additional stillbirths and infant deaths among the most deprived households, especially in Scotland.

Maternal exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy also increases the risk of a baby being stillborn, says WHO. A stillbirth is the birth of a baby who has died any time from 20 weeks into the pregnancy through to the due date of birth. There are a number of ways tobacco use impacts child health and development, the report says. It indicted that tobacco smoke includes carcinogenic and other harmful substances, such as formaldehyde, benzene and lead.

These substances, WHO noted, have been linked to multiple conditions and are especially harmful for unborn and young children. Young children are particularly vulnerable as they have higher breath rates, and their lungs and bodies are still undergoing development. Although exposure to tobacco in early life is predominantly due to second-hand smoke, some children also actively use tobacco from a young age, with grave consequences for their health and development.

Unlike adults, children are unable to regulate their own level of exposure to tobacco smoke, particularly before birth and in early life. WHO stressed in its report that tobacco related threats to nurturing care are often overlooked. Adult tobacco consumption has a significant cost to families, contributing to hunger and food insecurity for both children and adults in highly industrialized as well as lower-income countries. It also contributes to the grief and life-long consequences of losing a parent to smoking.

Parental tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure during pregnancy are linked to adverse fetal development and perinatal outcomes and higher infant mortality. Exposure of unborn children to maternal smoking or second-hand smoke is linked to birth defects, stillbirths, preterm births and infant deaths.

WHO said maternal smoking during pregnancy is linked to a doubling of the risk of sudden infant death and birth defects, while exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy is linked to a 23% increased risk of stillbirth and 13% increased risk of congenital malformation.

The health agency stressed that exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy is particularly relevant to many low- and middle-income countries, where few women smoke, but many men do. Even use of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirths, preterm birth or having a low-birth-weight baby.

At least some of these effects, such as on fetal brain development, seem to be linked to nicotine. The negative impact of early-life tobacco smoke exposure also extends to developmental issues and long-term outcomes. Paternal smoking before and during pregnancy has a negative impact on the childs health, causing heightened risk of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and is associated with higher rates of other cancers.

Emerging evidence suggests that smoking during pregnancy can have an impact across generations; for example, grandchildren of women who smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of asthma. Meanwhile, comprehensive smoke-free policies are essential for young children to receive nurturing care, and make the best possible start in life.

Evidence from across the globe shows that legislation to make public places smoke-free is associated with important reductions in preterm birth, asthma hospitalizations and hospital visits for severe respiratory tract infections. These benefits are greater when smoke-free policies are comprehensive and adequately enforced, meaning that smoking is prohibited in all areas of indoor public places without exceptions as opposed to partial policies where exceptions are allowed, such as a smoking room in a restaurant

WHO urges countries to enforce smoke-free laws as they have a positive impact on population health, including substantial improvements in child health. Despite robust evidence, only 62 countries, which are home to 22% of the global population, had implemented comprehensive smoke-free legislation by 2019.

The group further emphasized that countries raise prices of tobacco products through taxation. This measure drastically reduces the prevalence of smoking, it says. However, only 14% of the global population lives in countries with tobacco taxes at the levels recommended by WHO.

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China’s GDP expands 3% in 2022 despite various pressures

2nd February 2023
China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) expanded by 3% year-on-year to 121.02 trillion yuan ($17.93 trillion) in 2022 despite being mired in various growth pressures, according to data from the National Bureau Statistics.

The annual growth rate beat a median economist forecast of 2.8% as polled by Reuters. The country’s fourth-quarter GDP growth of 2.9% also surpassed expectations for a 1.8% increase.

In 2022, the Chinese economy encountered more difficulties and challenges than was expected amid a complex domestic and international situation. However, NBS said economic growth stabilized after various measures were taken to shore up growth.

Industrial output rose 3.6% in 2022 over the previous year, while retail sales slightly shrank by 0.2% data show that fixed-asset investment increased 5.1% over 2021, with a 9.1% hike in manufacturing investment but a 10% fall in property investment.

China created 12.06 million new jobs in urban regions throughout the year, surpassing its annual target of 11 million, and officials have stressed the importance of continuing an employment-first policy in 2023.

Meanwhile, China tourism market is a step closer to robust recovery. Tourism operators are in high spirits because the market saw a good chance of a robust recovery during the Spring Festival holiday amid relaxed COVID-19 travel policies.

On January 27, the last day of the seven-day break, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism published an encouraging performance report of the tourism market. It said that domestic destinations and attractions received 308 million visits, up 23.1% year-on-year. The number is roughly 88.6% of that in 2019, they year before the pandemic hit.

According to the report, tourism-related revenue generated during the seven-day period was about 375.8 billion yuan ($55.41 billion), a year-on-year rise of 30%. The revenue was about 73% of that in 2019, the Ministry said.

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Jewellery manufacturing plant to create over 100 jobs

30th January 2023

The state of the art jewellery manufacturing plant that has been set up by international diamond and cutting company, KGK Diamonds Botswana will create over 100 jobs, of which 89 percent will be localized.

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Investors inject capital into Tsodilo Resources Company

25th January 2023

Local diamond and metal exploration company Tsodilo Resources Limited has negotiated a non-brokered private placement of 2,200, 914 units of the company at a price per unit of 0.20 US Dollars, which will provide gross proceeds to the company in the amount of C$440, 188. 20.

According to a statement from the group, proceeds from the private placement will be used for the betterment of the Xaudum iron formation project in Botswana and general corporate purposes.

The statement says every unit of the company will consist of a common share in the capital of the company and one Common Share purchase warrant of the company.

Each warrant will enable a holder to make a single purchase for the period of 24 months at an amount of $0.20. As per regularity requirements, the group indicates that the common shares and warrants will be subject to a four month plus a day hold period from date of closure.

Tsodilo is exempt from the formal valuation and minority shareholder approval requirements. This is for the reason that the fair market value of the private placement, insofar as it involves the director, is not more than 25% of the company’s market capitalization.

Tsodilo Resources Limited is an international diamond and metals exploration company engaged in the search for economic diamond and metal deposits at its Bosoto Limited and Gcwihaba Resources projects in Botswana.  The company has a 100% stake in Bosoto which holds the BK16 kimberlite project in the Orapa Kimberlite Field (OKF) in Botswana.

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