FRIDAY, 15 JANUARY 2016
Since 2006 there has been a low-level civil war raging in Mexico between its government (armed forces and police) and the various criminal cartels involved in smuggling drugs to the USA. According to Wiki anywhere between 60,000 and 120,000 people have died in the violence. And now, according to LatinPost, a report from the American journal Health Affairs has claimed that the war on the Mexican drug cartels has reversed the growth in life expectancy for Mexican men. After decades of increasing life expectancy (to around 72 years in 2014), the statistical life expectancy of the country's male citizens has dropped by several months.
And it's not just male life expectancy that has been affected. According to the study's authors:
"The unprecedented rise in homicides after 2005 led to a reversal in life expectancy increases among males and a slowdown among females in most states.”In those Mexican states most heavily affected by drug violence (Chihuahua, Sunaloa, Durango, Guerrero and Nayarit) it it not surprising that the drop in male life expectancy has been the most severe – declining by about a hyear on average between 2005 and 2010. In Chihuahua, the life expectancy fell the most – on average by three years! This reflects the rising murder rates throughout the country, more than doubling to 22 per 100,000 inhabitants in the five years to 2010.
As Hiram Beltran-Sanchez, of the University of California, one of the authors noted, “it was a surprise that homicide rates had such a large effect at the national level”. The drop in the county-wide life expectancy for Mexican males shows just how widespread the violence is. I had heard a little about the Mexican war on the cartels but I had no idea it was so large! Let us hope that this ongoing conflict is brought to a speedy end and the violence can cease.
Today’s articles range over pronoun wars, drug wars and Star Wars, the birth dearth in Europe and the ISIS-style suicide bombing in Jakarta. The most important in terms of urgency and human welfare is Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which is observed on Sunday.
The flow continues unabated -- more than 18,000 refugees have entered the European Union so far this year, compared to 5,550 in the whole of January last year. The scale has begun to frighten people and bad behaviour among some young male migrants has become an excuse to ramp up opposition to immigration in some places.
But the Pope is challenging us to be merciful, as God is merciful to us. And who among us, seeing the devastation of Syria nightly on television, could honestly tell people they ought to stay there? The revelation this week that a whole town has been kept hostage and people are literally starving to death underlines this in a shocking way. As long as political leaders are incapable of negotiating peace, we should receive the victims of war.
|Pronouns and the march of gender diversity|
Carolyn Moynihan | CONJUGALITY | 15 January 2016
'My pronouns' can become a weapon against 'heteronormativity'.
|Pope tackles thorny issue of migration|
Austen Ivereigh | ABOVE | 15 January 2016
Letter for World Day of Migrants and Refugees develops framework for humane policies.
|Is Europe dying?|
Michael Cook | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 15 January 2016
More people in Europe are dying than are being born.
|Star Wars: The Force Awakens|
Gavin Rice | FEATURES | 15 January 2016
J.J. Abrams renews the Star Wars mythos.
|The cost of Mexico’s war on drugs|
Marcus Roberts | DEMOGRAPHY IS DESTINY | 15 January 2016
Its effects can now be seen in the demographic figures
|Why did terror hit Jakarta’s streets?|
Noor Huda Ismail | FEATURES | 15 January 2016
And what happens next?
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