Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort

Consumption of ultra-processed foods and cancer risk: results from NutriNet-Santé prospective cohort

BMJ 2018360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k322 (Published 14 February 2018)Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k322

 
 
  1. Thibault Fiolet, epidemiology and biostatistics master intern1,
  2. Bernard Srour, pharmacist, PhD candidate in epidemiology1,
  3. Laury Sellem, nutrition and public health master intern1,
  4. Emmanuelle Kesse-Guyot, senior researcher in nutritional epidemiology1,
  5. Benjamin Allès, junior researcher in nutritional epidemiology1,
  6. Caroline Méjean, senior researcher in nutritional epidemiology2,
  7. Mélanie Deschasaux, post-doctoral researcher in nutritional epidemiology1,
  8. Philippine Fassier, post-doctoral researcher in nutritional epidemiology1,
  9. Paule Latino-Martel, nutrition and public health master intern1,
  10. Marie Beslay, senior researcher in nutritional epidemiology1,
  11. Serge Hercberg, professor of nutrition and public health, head of the EREN team4,
  12. Céline Lavalette, epidemiology and biostatistics master intern1,
  13. Carlos A Monteiro, professor of nutrition and public health3,
  14. Chantal Julia, senior researcher in nutritional epidemiology4,
  15. Mathilde Touvier, senior researcher in nutritional epidemiology, head of the nutrition and cancer group at EREN1

Author affiliations

  1. Correspondence to: B Srour b.srour@eren.smbh.univ-paris13.fr
  • Accepted 10 January 2018

Abstract

Objective To assess the prospective associations between consumption of ultra-processed food and risk of cancer.

Design Population based cohort study.

Setting and participants 104 980 participants aged at least 18 years (median age 42.8 years) from the French NutriNet-Santé cohort (2009-17). Dietary intakes were collected using repeated 24 hour dietary records, designed to register participants’ usual consumption for 3300 different food items. These were categorised according to their degree of processing by the NOVA classification.

Main outcome measures Associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer assessed by multivariable Cox proportional hazard models adjusted for known risk factors.

Results Ultra-processed food intake was associated with higher overall cancer risk (n=2228 cases; hazard ratio for a 10% increment in the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.18); P for trend<0.001) and breast cancer risk (n=739 cases; hazard ratio 1.11 (1.02 to 1.22); P for trend=0.02). These results remained statistically significant after adjustment for several markers of the nutritional quality of the diet (lipid, sodium, and carbohydrate intakes and/or a Western pattern derived by principal component analysis).

Conclusions In this large prospective study, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of greater than 10% in risks of overall and breast cancer. Further studies are needed to better understand the relative effect of the various dimensions of processing (nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants) in these associations.

Study registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03335644.

Introduction

Cancer represents a major worldwide burden, with 14.1 million new cases diagnosed in 2012.1 According to the World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research, about a third of the most common neoplasms could be avoided by changing lifestyle and dietary habits in developed countries.2 Therefore, reaching a balanced and diversified diet (along with avoidance of tobacco use and reduction in alcohol intake) should be considered one of the most important modifiable risk factors in the primary prevention of cancer.3

At the same time, during the past decades, diets in many countries have shifted towards a dramatic increase in consumption of ultra-processed foods.45678 After undergoing multiple physical, biological, and/or chemical processes, these food products are conceived to be microbiologically safe, convenient, highly palatable, and affordable.910 Several surveys (in Europe, the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Brazil) assessing individual food intake, household food expenses, or supermarket sales have suggested that ultra-processed food products contribute to between 25% and 50% of total daily energy intake.101112131415161718

This dietary trend may be concerning and deserves investigation. Several characteristics of ultra-processed foods may be involved in causing disease, particularly cancer. Firstly, ultra-processed foods often have a higher content of total fat, saturated fat, and added sugar and salt, along with a lower fibre and vitamin density.101112131415161719Beyond nutritional composition, neoformed contaminants, some of which have carcinogenic properties (such as acrylamide, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), are present in heat treated processed food products as a result of the Maillard reaction.20 Secondly, the packaging of ultra-processed foods may contain some materials in contact with food for which carcinogenic and endocrine disruptor properties have been postulated, such as bisphenol A.21 Finally, ultra-processed foods contain authorised,22 but controversial, food additives such as sodium nitrite in processed meat or titanium dioxide (TiO2, white food pigment), for which carcinogenicity has been suggested in animal or cellular models.2324

Studying potential effects on health of ultra-processed foods is a very recent field of research, facilitated by the development of the NOVA classification of products according to their degree of food processing.9 Nevertheless, epidemiological evidence linking intake of ultra-processed food to risk of disease is still very scarce and mostly based on cross sectional and ecological studies.252627 The few studies performed observed that ultra-processed food intake was associated with a higher incidence of dyslipidaemia in Brazilian children and higher risks of overweight, obesity, and hypertension in a prospective cohort of Spanish university students.282930

To our knowledge, this prospective study was the first to evaluate the association between the consumption of ultra-processed food products and the incidence of cancer, based on a large cohort study with detailed and up to date assessment of dietary intake.

Methods

Study population

The NutriNet-Santé study is an ongoing web based cohort launched in 2009 in France with the objective of studying the associations between nutrition and health, as well as the determinants of dietary behaviours and nutritional status. This cohort has been previously described in detail.31 Briefly, participants aged over 18 years with access to the internet have been continuously recruited from among the general population since May 2009 by means of vast multimedia campaigns. All questionnaires are completed online using a dedicated website (www.etude-nutrinet-sante.fr). Participants are followed using an online platform connected to their email address. They can change their email address, phone number, or postal address at any time on the NutriNet-Santé website. Newsletters and alerts about new questionnaires are sent by email. In case of an “undelivered email” problem, participants are contacted by telephone and then by regular mail. The NutriNet-Santé study is conducted according to the Declaration of Helsinki guidelines, and electronic informed consent is obtained from each participant.

Data collection

At inclusion, participants completed a set of five questionnaires related to sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics (for example, date of birth, sex, occupation, educational level, smoking status, number of children),32 anthropometry (height, weight), dietary intakes (see below),3334 physical activity (validated seven day International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)),35 and health status (personal and family history of diseases, drug use including use of hormonal treatment for menopause and oral contraceptives, and menopausal status).

Participants were invited to complete a series of three non-consecutive, validated, web based 24 hour dietary records every six months (to vary the season of completion), randomly assigned over a two week period (two weekdays and one weekend day).363738 To be included in the nutrition component of the NutriNet-Santé cohort, only two dietary records were mandatory. We did not exclude participants if they did not complete all optional questionnaires. We averaged mean dietary intakes from all the 24 hour dietary records available during the first two years of each participant’s follow-up and considered these as baseline usual dietary intakes in this prospective analysis. The NutriNet-Santé web based, self administered 24 hour dietary records have been tested and validated against an interview by a trained dietitian and against blood and urinary biomarkers.3637 Participants used the dedicated web interface to declare all food and drinks consumed during a 24 hour period for each of the three main meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and any other eating occasion. Portion sizes were estimated using previously validated photographs or usual containers.39 We identified dietary under-reporting on the basis of the method proposed by Black, using the basal metabolic rate and Goldberg cut-off, and excluded under-reporters of energy intake.40 We calculated mean daily alcohol, micronutrient and macronutrient, and energy intake by using the NutriNet-Santé food composition database, which contains more than 3300 different items.41 We estimated amounts consumed from composite dishes by using French recipes validated by nutrition professionals. Sodium intake was assessed via a specific module included in the 24 hour records, taking into account native sodium in foods, salt added during the cooking, and salt added on the plate. It has been validated against sodium urinary excretion biomarkers.37

Degree of food processing

We categorised all food and drink items of the NutriNet-Santé composition table into one of the four food groups in NOVA, a food classification system based on the extent and purpose of industrial food processing.94243 This study primarily focused on the “ultra-processed foods” NOVA group. This group includes mass produced packaged breads and buns; sweet or savoury packaged snacks; industrialised confectionery and desserts; sodas and sweetened drinks; meat balls, poultry and fish nuggets, and other reconstituted meat products transformed with addition of preservatives other than salt (for example, nitrites); instant noodles and soups; frozen or shelf stable ready meals; and other food products made mostly or entirely from sugar, oils and fats, and other substances not commonly used in culinary preparations such as hydrogenated oils, modified starches, and protein isolates. Industrial processes notably include hydrogenation, hydrolysis, extruding, moulding, reshaping, and pre-processing by frying. Flavouring agents, colours, emulsifiers, humectants, non-sugar sweeteners, and other cosmetic additives are often added to these products to imitate sensorial properties of unprocessed or minimally processed foods and their culinary preparations or to disguise undesirable qualities of the final product.

The ultra-processed food group is defined by opposition to the other NOVA groups: “unprocessed or minimally processed foods” (fresh, dried, ground, chilled, frozen, pasteurised, or fermented staple foods such as fruits, vegetables, pulses, rice, pasta, eggs, meat, fish, or milk), “processed culinary ingredients” (salt, vegetable oils, butter, sugar, and other substances extracted from foods and used in kitchens to transform unprocessed or minimally processed foods into culinary preparations), and “processed foods” (canned vegetables with added salt, sugar coated dried fruits, meat products preserved only by salting, cheeses, freshly made unpackaged breads, and other products manufactured with the addition of salt, sugar, or other substances of the “processed culinary ingredients” group). As previously described,44 we identified homemade and artisanal food preparations, decomposed them using standardised recipes, and applied the NOVA classification to their ingredients. Precision and examples are shown in appendix 1.

Case ascertainment

Participants self declared health events through the yearly health status questionnaire, through a specific check-up questionnaire for health events (every three months), or at any time through a specific interface on the study website. For each incident cancer declared, a physician from the study team contacted participants and asked them to provide any relevant medical records. If necessary, the study physicians contacted the patient’s physician and/or hospitals to collect additional information. Afterwards, an expert committee of physicians reviewed all medical data. Our research team was the first in France to obtain the authorisation by decree in the Council of State (No 2013-175) to link data from our cohorts to medico-administrative databases of the national health insurance system (SNIIRAM databases). We therefore completed declared health events with the information from these databases, thereby limiting any potential bias due to participants with cancer who may not report their disease to the study investigators. Lastly, we used an additional linkage to the French national cause specific mortality registry (CépiDC) to detect deaths and potentially missed cases of cancer for deceased participants. We classified cancer cases by using the international classification of diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10). In this study, we considered all first primary cancers diagnosed between the inclusion date and 1 January 2017 to be cases, except for basal cell skin carcinoma, which we did not consider as cancer.

We obtained medical records for more than 90% of cancer cases. Because of the high validity of self reports (95% of self reported cancers for which a medical record was obtained were confirmed by our physicians), we included as cases all participants who self reported incident cancers, unless they were identified as non-case participants by a pathology report, in which case we classified them as non-cases.

Statistical analysis

Up to 1 January 2017, we included 104 980 participants without cancer at baseline who provided at least two valid 24 hour dietary records during their two first years of follow-up. The flowchart is in appendix 2. For each participant, we calculated the proportion (percentage g/day) of ultra-processed foods in the total diet. We determined the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet by calculating a weight ratio rather than an energy ratio to take into account processed foods that do not provide any energy (in particular artificially sweetened drinks) and non-nutritional factors related to food processing (for example, neoformed contaminants, food additives, and alterations to the structure of raw foods). For all covariates except physical activity, less than 5% of values were missing and were imputed to the modal value (for categorical variables) or to the median (for continuous variables). Corresponding values are provided in the footnote to table 1. The proportion of missing values was higher for physical activity (14%), as the answers to all IPAQ questions were needed to calculate the score. To avoid massive imputation for a non-negligible number of participants or exclusion of those with missing data and risk of selection bias, we included a missing class into the models for this variable. We examined differences in participants’ baseline characteristics between sex specific quarters of the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet by using analysis of variance or χ2 tests wherever appropriate. We used Cox proportional hazards models with age as the primary timescale to evaluate the association between the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet (coded as a continuous variable or as sex specific quarters) and incidence of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. In these models, cancers at other locations than the one studied were censored at the date of diagnosis (that is, we considered them to be non-cases for the cancer of interest and they contributed person years until the date of diagnosis of their cancer). We estimated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals with the lowest quarter as the reference category. We generated log-log (survival) versus log-time plots to confirm risk proportionality assumptions. We tested for linear trend by using the ordinal score on sex specific quarters of ultra-processed food. Participants contributed person time until the date of diagnosis of cancer, the date of last completed questionnaire, the date of death, or 1 January 2017, whichever occurred first. Breast cancer analyses were additionally stratified by menopausal status. For these, women contributed person time to the “premenopause model” until their age at menopause and to the “postmenopause model” from their age at menopause. We determined age at menopause by using the yearly health status questionnaires completed during follow-up.

Table 1 

Baseline characteristics of study population according to sex specific quarters of ultra-processed food consumption (n=104 980), NutriNet-Santé cohort, France, 2009-17*. Values are numbers (percentages) unless stated otherwise

 
 

Models were adjusted for age (timescale), sex, body mass index (kg/m2, continuous), height (cm, continuous), physical activity (high, moderate, low, calculated according to IPAQ recommendations35), smoking status (never or former smokers, current smokers), number of 24 hour dietary records (continuous), alcohol intake (g/d, continuous), energy intake (without alcohol, kcal/d, continuous), family history of cancer (yes/no), and educational level (less than high school degree, less than two years after high school degree, two or more years after high school degree). For breast cancer analyses, we made additional adjustments for the number of biological children (continuous), menopausal status at baseline (menopausal/perimenopausal/non-menopausal), hormonal treatment for menopause at baseline (for postmenopausal analyses, yes/no), and oral contraception use at baseline (for premenopausal analyses, yes/no) (model 1=main model). To test for the potential influence of the nutritional quality of the diet in the relation between intake of ultra-processed food and risk of cancer, this model was additionally adjusted for lipid, sodium, and carbohydrate intakes (model 2), for a Western dietary pattern derived from principal component analysis (model 3) (details in appendix 3), or for all these nutritional factors together (model 4). In addition, we did mediation analyses according to the method proposed by Lange et al to evaluate the direct and indirect effect of the relation between the exposure and the outcome through the following nutritional mediators: intakes of sodium, total lipids, saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, carbohydrates, and a Western-type dietary pattern.45 The methods are described in appendix 4.

We did sensitivity analyses based on model 1 by excluding cases of cancer diagnosed during the first two years of each participant’s follow-up to avoid reverse causality bias, testing sex specific fifths of the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet instead of sex specific quarters, and testing further adjustments for prevalent depression at baseline (yes/no), dietary supplement use at baseline (yes/no), healthy dietary pattern (continuous, details in appendix 3), number of cigarettes smoked in pack years (continuous), overall fruit and vegetable consumption (continuous), and season of inclusion in the cohort (spring/summer/autumn/winter). We also investigated the association between ultra-processed food and overall cancer risk separately in different strata of the population: men, women, younger adults (under 40 years), older adults (40 years or over), smokers, non-smokers, participants with a high level of physical activity, and those with a low to moderate level of physical activity. We also tested models after restriction of the study population to the participants with at least six 24 hour dietary records during the first two years of follow-up. Similarly, we tested models including all participants with at least one 24 hour dietary record during the first two years of follow-up. We also tested associations between the quantity (g/d) of each ultra-processed food group and risk of cancer.

Secondary analyses tested the associations between the proportion in the diet of each of the three other NOVA categories of food processing (continuous) and risk of cancer, using multivariate Cox models adjusted for model 1 covariates. All tests were two sided, with P<0.05 considered to be statistically significant. We used SAS version 9.4 for the analyses.

Patient involvement

The research question developed in this article corresponds to a strong concern of the participants involved in the NutriNet-Santé cohort and of the public in general. The results of this study will be disseminated to the NutriNet-Santé participants through the cohort website, public seminars, and a press release.

Results

A total of 104 980 participants (22 821 (21.7%) men and 82 159 (78.3%) women) were included in the study. The mean age of participants was 42.8 (SD 14.8, range 18.0-72.8) years. The mean number of dietary records per participant over their first two years of follow-up was 5.4 (SD 2.9); the minimum was 2, but it represented only 7.2% (7558/104 980) of the participants. After the launching of the study by the end of May 2009, half of the records were filled between June and November and the other half between December and May. Table 1 shows the main baseline characteristics of participants according to quarters of the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet. Compared with the lowest quarter, participants in the highest quarter of ultra-processed food intake tended to be younger, current smokers, and less educated, with less family history of cancer and a lower physical activity level. Furthermore, they had higher intakes of energy, lipids, carbohydrates, and sodium, along with lower alcohol intake. Although there was a higher proportion of women than men in this cohort, the contribution of ultra-processed foods to the overall diet was very similar between men and women (18.74% for men and 18.71% for women; P=0.7). The distribution of the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet in the study population is shown in appendix 5. Main food groups contributing to ultra-processed food intake were sugary products (26%) and drinks (20%), followed by starchy foods and breakfast cereals (16%) and ultra-processed fruits and vegetables (15%) (fig 1).

Fig 1

Relative contribution of each food group to ultra-processed food consumption in diet

 
 

During follow-up (426 362 person years, median follow-up time five years), 2228 first incident cases of cancer were diagnosed and validated, among which were 739 breast cancers (264 premenopausal, 475 postmenopausal), 281 prostate cancers, and 153 colorectal cancers. Among these 2228 cases, 108 (4.8%) were identified during mortality follow-up with the national CépiDC database. The dropout rate in the NutriNet-Santé cohort was 6.7%. Table 2shows associations between the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet and risks of overall, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Figure 2 shows the corresponding cumulative incidence curves. In model 1, ultra-processed food intake was associated with increased risks of overall cancer (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.12 (95% confidence interval 1.06 to 1.18), P<0.001) and breast cancer (1.11 (1.02 to 1.22), P=0.02). The latter association was more specifically observed for postmenopausal breast cancer (P=0.04) but not for premenopausal breast cancer (P=0.2). The association with overall cancer risk was statistically significant in all strata of the population investigated, after adjustment for model 1 covariates: in men (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.12 (1.02 to 1.24), P=0.02, 663 cases and 22 158 non-cases), in women (1.13 (1.06 to 1.20), P<0.001, 1565 cases and 80 594 non-cases), in younger adults (<40 years old 1.21 (1.09 to 1.35), P<0.001, 287 cases and 48 627 non-cases), in older adults (≥40 years old, 1.09 (1.03 to 1.16), P=0.03, 1941 cases and 54 485 non-cases), in smokers (including adjustment for pack years of cigarettes smoked 1.18 (1.04 to 1.33), P=0.01, 255 cases and 15 355 non-cases), in non-smokers (1.11 (1.05 to 1.17), P<0.001, 1943 cases and 85 219 non-cases), in participants with low to moderate levels of physical activity (1.07 (1.00 to 1.15), P=0.04, 1216 cases and 59 546 non-cases), and in those with a high level of physical activity (1.19 (1.09 to 1.30), P<0.001, 744 cases and 28 859 non-cases).

Table 2 

Associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of overall, prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer, from multivariable Cox proportional hazard models*, NutriNet-Santé cohort, France, 2009-17 (n=104 980)

 
 

“>Fig 2

Fig 2

Cumulative cancer incidence (overall cancer risk) according to quarters of proportion of ultra-processed food in diet

 
 

More specifically, ultra-processed fats and sauces (P=0.002) and sugary products (P=0.03) and drinks (P=0.005) were associated with an increased risk of overall cancer, and ultra-processed sugary products were associated with risk of breast cancer (P=0.006) (appendix 6).

Further adjustment for several indicators of the nutritional quality of the diet (lipid, sodium, and salt intakes—model 2; Western pattern—model 3; or both—model 4) did not modify these findings. The Pearson correlation coefficient between the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet and the Western dietary pattern was low (0.06). Consistently, analyses performed according to the method proposed by Lange et al to assess a potential mediation of the relation between ultra-processed food and risk of cancer by these nutritional factors showed no statistically significant mediation effect of any of the factors tested.45 The mediated effects ranged between 0% and 2%, with all P>0.05 (appendix 4).

No association was statistically significant for prostate and colorectal cancers. However, we observed a borderline non-significant trend of increased risk of colorectal cancer associated with ultra-processed food intake (hazard ratio for quarter 4 versus quarter 1: 1.23 (1.08 to 1.40), P for trend=0.07) in model 4.

Sensitivity analyses (adjusted for model 1 covariates, data not tabulated) excluding cancer cases diagnosed during the first two years of follow-up provided similar results (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.10 (1.03 to 1.17), P=0.005 for overall cancer risk, 1367 cases and 102 502 non-cases included; 1.15 (1.03 to 1.29), P=0.02 for breast cancer risk, 441 cases and 80 940 non-cases included). Similarly, results were unchanged when we excluded non-validated cancer cancers (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.11 (1.05 to 1.17), P<0.001 for overall cancer risk, 1967 cases and 102 752 non-cases included; 1.12 (1.02 to 1.23), P=0.02 for breast cancer risk, 677 cases and 81 274 non-cases included).

We obtained similar results when we included only participants with at least six 24 hour records (overall cancer risk: hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.13 (1.06 to 1.21), P<0.001, 1494 cases and 47 920 non-cases included) and when we re-included participants with only one 24 hour record (overall cancer risk: 1.11 (1.06 to 1.16), P<0.001, 2383 cases and 122 196 non-cases included).

Findings were also similar when we coded the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet as sex specific fifths instead of quarters (overall cancer risk: hazard ratio for highest versus lowest fifth 1.25 (1.08 to 1.47), P for trend<0.001; breast cancer risk: 1.25 (0.96 to 1.63), P for trend=0.03).

Further adjustment for the following variables, in addition to model 1 covariates, did not modify the results: dietary supplement use at baseline (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.12 (1.06 to 1.17), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.11 (1.02 to 1.22), P=0.02 for breast cancer), prevalent depression at baseline (1.11 (1.06 to 1.17), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.11 (1.01 to 1.22), P=0.02 for breast cancer), healthy dietary pattern (1.11 (1.05 to 1.17), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.10 (1.00 to 1.21), P=0.04 for breast cancer), overall fruit and vegetable consumption in g/d (1.10 (1.04 to 1.16), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.11 (1.01 to 1.22), P=0.03 for breast cancer), number of smoked cigarettes in pack years (1.13 (1.07 to 1.19), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.13 (1.03 to 1.24), P=0.009 for breast cancer), and season of inclusion in the cohort (1.12 (1.06 to 1.18), P<0.001 for overall cancer; 1.12 (1.02 to 1.22), P=0.02 for breast cancer).

We also tested other methods for handling missing data, such as multiple imputation and complete case analysis (that is, exclusion of participants with missing data for at least one covariate).46 The results were very similar for the multiple imputation analysis (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet 1.11 (1.06 to 1.17), P<0.001, 2228 cases and 10 2752 non-cases for overall cancer; 1.11 (1.01 to 1.21), P=0.02, 739 cases and 81 420 non-cases for breast cancer) and for the complete case analysis (1.11 (1.05 to 1.18), P<0.001, 1813 cases and 82 824 non-cases for overall cancer; 1.14 (1.03 to 1.26), P=0.01, 579 cases and 64 642 non-cases for breast cancer).

As a secondary analysis, we also tested associations between the proportions of the three other NOVA degrees of food processing and risk of cancer. We found no significant associations between the proportions of “processed culinary ingredients” or “processed foods” with risk of cancer at any location (all P>0.05). However, and consistent with our findings, the consumption of “minimally/unprocessed foods” was associated with lower risks of overall and breast cancers (hazard ratio for a 10 point increment in the proportion of unprocessed foods in the diet 0.91 (0.87 to 0.95), P<0.001, 2228 cases and 102 752 non-cases for overall cancer; 0.42 (0.19 to 0.91), P=0.03, 739 cases and 81 420 non-cases for breast cancer), in multivariable analyses adjusted for model 1 covariates.

Discussion

In this large prospective cohort, a 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with significant increases of 12% in the risk of overall cancer and 11% in the risk of breast cancer. A few studies have previously suggested that ultra-processed foods contribute to increasing the risk of cardiometabolic disorders—such as obesity,29 hypertension,30 and dyslipidaemia28—but no previous prospective epidemiological study has evaluated the association between food processing and risk cancer.

Interpretation and comparison with other studies

No estimate is available of the proportion of ultra-processed food in the diet at the national level in France. However, in the nationally representative INCA3 study conducted by the French Food safety Agency in 2016,4“transformed” foods included sweet pastries, biscuits, dairy desserts, ice cream, fruit purée and fruit in syrup, fruit and vegetable juices, soups and broths, sandwiches, pizzas, and salted pastries, as well as mixed dishes composed of egg, meat, fish, vegetable, and/or starchy foods (cereals, legumes, or potatoes). More than half of the “transformed” foods consumed outside catering establishments by adults aged 18-79 were manufactured industrially, about a third were homemade, and the rest was handcrafted (for example, by caterers). These figures illustrate the important share of processed, and especially industrially processed, foods in the diet of French adults.

Several hypotheses could be put forward to explain our findings. The first one relates to the generally poorer nutritional quality of diets rich in ultra-processed foods. Diets that include a higher proportion of processed food products tended to be richer in energy, sodium, fat, and sugar and poorer in fibres and various micronutrients in several studies conducted in various countries.101112131415161719 Ultra-processed foods have also been associated with a higher glycaemic response and a lower satiety effect.47 Although not the unique determinant, excessive energy, fat, and sugar intakes contribute to weight gain and risk of obesity, with obesity recognised as a major risk factor for post-menopausal breast, stomach, liver, colorectal, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, endometrium, ovary, liver, and (advanced) prostate cancers and haematological malignancies.29 For instance, body fatness in post-menopausal women is estimated to contribute 17% of the breast cancer burden.2 Furthermore, most ultra-processed foods, such as dehydrated soups, processed meats, biscuits, and sauces, have a high salt content. Foods preserved with salt are associated with an increased risk of gastric cancer.29 Conversely, dietary fibre intake decreases the risk of colorectal cancer, with a convincing level of evidence,329 and may also reduce the risk of breast cancer.3 However, the associations between ultra-processed food intake and risk of cancer observed in this study were statistically significant despite adjustment for body mass index and remained significant after further adjustment for a Western-type dietary pattern and/or the energy, fat, sugar, and salt content of the diet. Mediation analyses did not support a strong effect of the “nutritional quality” component in this association, suggesting that other bioactive compounds contained in ultra-processed food may contribute to explain the observed associations.

A second hypothesis concerns the wide range of additives contained in ultra-processed foods. Although maximum authorised levels normally protect the consumers against adverse effects of each individual substance in a given food product,48 the effect on health of the cumulative intake across all ingested foods and potential cocktail/interaction effects remain largely unknown. More than 250 different additives are authorised for addition to food products in Europe and the US.2249 For some of them, experimental studies in animal or cellular models have suggested carcinogenic properties that deserve further investigation in humans.232450515253 One example is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a common food additive that contains nanoscale particles and that is used as a whitening agent or in packaging in contact with food or drinks to provide a better texture and antimicrobial properties. Experimental studies, mainly conducted in rodent models, suggest that this additive could initiate or promote the development of pre-neoplastic lesions in the colon, as well as chronic intestinal inflammation. The World Health Organization and the International Agency for Research on Cancer evaluated TiO2 as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (group 2B).24 The effects of intense artificial sweeteners such as aspartame on human metabolism and on the composition and functioning of gut microbiota are also controversial.53 Although previous experimental studies in animals confirmed the safety of aspartame, their relevance to human health outcomes has been questioned, particularly regarding potential long term carcinogenicity.51 Another concern is the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines in meats containing sodium nitrite when meat is charred or overcooked. These N-nitroso compounds may be involved in causing colorectal cancer.2352

Thirdly, food processing and particularly heat treatments produce neoformed contaminants (for example, acrylamide) in ultra-processed products such as fried potatoes, biscuits, bread, or coffee. A recent meta-analysis found a modest association between dietary acrylamide and risk of both kidney and endometrial cancer in non-smokers.54 In addition, the European Food Safety Agency judged that evidence from animal studies was sufficient to classify acrylamide as genotoxic.20

Lastly, bisphenol A is another contaminant suspected of migrating from plastic packaging of ultra-processed foods. Its endocrine disruptor properties led the European Chemicals Agency to judge it as “a substance of very high concern.”55 Increasing evidence suggests involvement in the development of several non-communicable diseases, including cancer linked to endocrinal disruptors.21

Strengths and limitations of study

Strengths of this study pertain to its prospective design and large sample size, along with a detailed and up to date assessment of dietary intake. Repeated 24 hour dietary records (including 3300 different food items) are more accurate than either food frequency questionnaires with aggregated food groups or household purchasing data. However, some limitations should be acknowledged. Firstly, as is generally the case in volunteer based cohorts, participants in the NutriNet-Santé cohort were more often women, with health conscious behaviours and higher socio-professional and educational levels than the general French population.56 This might limit the generalisability of the findings and may have resulted in a lower incidence of cancer compared with national estimates (age and sex standardised incidence rate per 100 000 people per year: 786 cases in our cohort versus 972 cases in France57) and an overall lower exposure to ultra-processed foods, with less contrast between extreme categories. These points would tend to lead to underestimation of the strength of the associations. However, the possibility that selection bias may have led to an overestimation of some associations cannot be totally excluded. Secondly, some misclassification in the NOVA “ultra-processed food” category cannot be ruled out. Thirdly, despite a multi-source strategy for case ascertainment (combining validation of health events declared by participants, medico-administrative databases from the health insurance, and national death registry), exhaustive detection of cancer cases cannot be guaranteed. Furthermore, statistical power was limited for some cancer locations (such as colorectal cancer), which may have impaired our ability to detect hypothesised associations. Next, the length of follow-up was relatively limited, as the cohort was launched in 2009. It allowed us to study mostly mid-term associations between consumption of ultra-processed food and risk of cancer. As is usually the case in nutritional epidemiology, we made the assumption that the measured exposure at baseline (especially as we averaged a two year period of exposure) actually reflects more generally the usual eating habits of the individual during adulthood, including several years before his or her entry into the cohort. However, as some carcinogenic processes may take several decades, it will be important in the future to reassess the associations between ultra-processed food and cancer risk in the cohort, to investigate longer term effects. This will be one of the perspectives of our work for the upcoming five to 10 years. Lastly, although we included a large range of confounding factors in the analyses, the hypothesis of residual confounding resulting from unmeasured behavioural factors and/or imprecision in the measure of included covariates cannot be entirely excluded owing to the observational design of this study. For instance, oral contraception was a binary variable in breast cancer models, as the precise doses, type, and duration of contraceptive use across reproductive life were not available. Randomised controlled trials have long been considered the only gold standard for elimination of confounding bias, but they do not capture consumption as it is in daily life. Moreover, a trial to investigate exposure for which a deleterious effect is suspected would not be ethically feasible. Our large observational cohort was therefore particularly adapted to provide insights in this field.

Conclusions and policy implications

To our knowledge, this study was the first to investigate and highlight an increase in the risk of overall—and more specifically breast—cancer associated with ultra-processed food intake. These results should be confirmed by other large scale, population based observational studies in different populations and settings. Further studies are also needed to better understand the relative effect of nutritional composition, food additives, contact materials, and neoformed contaminants in this relation. Rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer and other non-communicable diseases. Thus, policy actions targeting product reformulation, taxation, and marketing restrictions on ultra-processed products and promotion of fresh or minimally processed foods may contribute to primary cancer prevention.69 Several countries have already introduced this aspect in their official nutritional recommendations in the name of the precautionary principle.5859

What is already known on this topic

  • Ultra-processed foods are often characterised by lower nutritional quality and the presence of additives, substances from packaging in contact with food, and compounds formed during production, processing, and storage

  • A few studies have observed ultra-processed food intake to be associated with a higher incidence of dyslipidaemia in Brazilian children and higher risks of overweight, obesity, and hypertension in Spanish university students

  • Although epidemiological data relating to cancer risk are lacking, mechanistic studies suggest potential carcinogenic effects of several components commonly found in ultra-processed foods

What this study adds

  • This study assessed the associations between ultra-processed food consumption and risk of cancer in a large prospective cohort

  • A 10% increase in the proportion of ultra-processed foods in the diet was associated with a significant increase of more than 10% in the risks of overall and breast cancer

  • If confirmed in other populations and settings, these results suggest that the rapidly increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods may drive an increasing burden of cancer in the next decades

Acknowledgments

We sincerely thank all the volunteers of the NutriNet-Santé cohort. We also thank Véronique Gourlet, Lucien Martinez, Nathalie Arnault, Stephen Besseau, Laurent Bourhis, Yasmina Chelghoum, Than Duong Van, Younes Esseddik, Paul Flanzy, Julien Allègre, Mac Rakotondrazafy, Régis Gatibelza, Fabien Szabo, Roland Andrianasolo, Fatoumata Diallo, Ludivine Ursule, Cédric Agaesse, Claudia Chahine, Anne-Elise Dussoulier, and Marion Genest for their technical contribution to the NutriNet-Santé study.

Footnotes

  • Contributors: TF and BS contributed equally and are co-first authors. TF, BS, CJ, EKG, CAM, BA, and MT designed the research. SH, MT, CJ, and EKG conducted the research. TF did the statistical analysis, supervised by MT and BS. TF and MT wrote the paper. BS did sensitivity analyses and was in charge of the revision of the paper. All authors contributed to the data interpretation, revised each draft for important intellectual content, and read and approved the final manuscript. MT is the guarantor.

  • Funding: The NutriNet-Santé study was supported by the following public institutions: Ministère de la Santé, Institut de Veille Sanitaire (InVS), Institut National de la Prévention et de l’Education pour la Santé (INPES), Région Ile-de-France (CORDDIM), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM), and Université Paris 13. MD and PF were funded by a PhD grant from the Cancéropôle Ile de France/Région Ile de France (public funding). BS was funded by the French National Cancer Institute (grant number INCa_8085). Researchers were independent from funders. Funders had no role in the study design; the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; the writing of the report; or the decision to submit the article for publication.

  • Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: no support from any organisation for the submitted work other than that described above; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

  • Ethical approval: The NutriNet-Santé study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the French Institute for Health and Medical Research (IRB Inserm No 0000388FWA00005831) and the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL No 908450/No 909216). Electronic informed consent was obtained from each participant.

  • Transparency statement: MT (the guarantor) affirms that the manuscript is an honest, accurate, and transparent account of the study being reported; that no important aspects of the study have been omitted; and that any discrepancies from the study as planned (and, if relevant, registered) have been explained.

  • Data sharing: No additional data available.

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

References

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Why Modi and his bhakts despise Nehru

February 14, 2018 10:55 IST

 

‘It is perhaps a sense of intellectual inadequacy, of an ingrained inferiority complex born of the years when the BJP languished in the margins of Indian politics and society that, when faced with the soaring ideas about Indian pluralism, the Hindutva camp turns its face so resolutely against Nehru,’ says Amulya Ganguli.
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

On par with the saffron brotherhood’s animus towards Muslims is its dislike of Jawaharlal Nehru.

As much was clear from, first, the curious omission of India’s first prime minister in Ram Nath Kovind’s first speech as President  when he lauded, among others, Deen Dayal Upadhyay of whom few Indians outside the Sangh Parivar are aware.

 

The second indication of the Parivar’s antipathy toward Nehru was in Prime Minister Narendra D Modi’s recent nearly two-hour-long speech in Parliament in which he refused to endorse the widely held view of Nehru’s seminal role in the establishment of democracy in post-1947 India.

According to Modi, the so-called architect of modern India cannot be credited with planting the roots of democracy in the country since the Indian polity was known for its democratic credentials since the time of Lord Buddha.

 

The reason why Nehru is being excoriated by those engaged in rewriting Indian history is probably partly psychological (of which more later) and partly political because he is the head of the dynasty which has ruled the country for several decades — from 1947 to 1964 when Nehru was the PM, from 1966 to 1977 when his daughter, Indira, was the PM, and again from 1980 to 1989 when, first, Indira, and then her son, Rajiv, were prime ministers.

Since the dynasty and the Congress were the primary targets of Modi’s speech, it was obvious that he regarded them as the main stumbling blocks before the BJP’s avowed goal of ushering in a Congress-mukt Bharat.

And what can be a better way to denigrate the dynasty (and, therefore, the party) than to castigate its foremost luminary?

However, it isn’t only now that the saffronites are trying to turn Nehru into an unperson — the celebrated Orwellian word for those whom the Communists sought to airbrush out of history.

The disparagement of Nehru by the Hindutva brigade began when it claimed that Nehru’s grandfather and Motilal’s father Gangadhar was a Muslim named Ghiasuddin Ghazi who changed his name to Ganga Dhar ‘to escape British clutches’ after the 1857 uprising.

The charge about the dynasty’s putative Muslim roots in blogs which circulate in cyberspace inhabited by saffronities is in keeping with the Parivar’s antagonism towards Muslims (and Christian), dating back to the two Hindutva heroes — Vinayak D Savarkar, who called them aliens, and Madhav S Golwalkar who categorised them as internal enemies Nos 1 and 2.

But that is not the only explanation why Nehru is being either ignored or attacked.

There is also a psychological factor.

It is that Nehru is the exact opposite of what the average RSS/BJP type represents by being an erudite, urbane, cosmopolitan patrician and, above all, a believer in India’s multicultural entity.

As he ruefully said at the time of the Partition riots, ‘the history of India has been one of assimilation and synthesis of the various elements that have come in… it is perhaps because we tried to go against the trend of the country’s history that we are faced with this (the communal carnage).’

Tagore, too, spoke of how the Scythians, Huns, Pathans and Mughals have merged into one among the multitudes on the shores of India’s oceans.

According to Salman Rushdie, India’s ‘selfhood is so capacious, so elastic that it manages to accommodate one billion kinds of difference… it works because the individual sees his own nature writ large in the nature of the State.’

To the RSS/BJP, this togetherness is anathema. It is a travesty of their concept of Bharat Mata, who is their deity of a land of, by and for Hindus.

Their view of Indian society, therefore, is one of unending conflict between the Hindus and Muslims from medieval times to the present when, as BJP MP Vinay Katiyar, said recently, the Muslims have no right to live in India as they have already carved out of the subcontinent two countries for themselves — Pakistan and Bangladesh.

There is no way, therefore, for the present rulers in Delhi to accept Nehru who was the main proponent of India’s composite culture, which, as he believes, has evolved over the centuries when the Hindus and Muslims lived cheek by jowl in the country along with the followers of other religions — Sikhs, Jains, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, et al.

It is perhaps a sense of intellectual inadequacy, of an ingrained inferiority complex born of the years when the BJP languished in the margins of Indian politics and society that, when faced with the soaring ideas about Indian pluralism, the Hindutva camp turns its face so resolutely against Nehru, ignoring the description of one of their own stalwarts, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, of the present ‘unperson’ as Bharat Mata’s ‘favourite prince’.

Amulya Ganguli is a writer on current affairs.

NIH study links cell phone radiation to cancer in male rats

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This is the ultimate Super Bowl smart home setup

New studies from the National Institutes of Health — specifically the National Toxicology Program — find that cell phone radiation is potentially linked with certain forms of cancer, but they’re far from conclusive. The results are complex and the studies have yet to be peer-reviewed, but some of the findings are clearly important enough to warrant public discussion.

An early, partial version of this study teasing these effects appeared in 2016 (in fact, I wrote about it), but these are the full (draft) reports complete with data.

Both papers note that “studies published to date have not demonstrated consistently increased incidences of tumors at any site associate with exposure to cell phone RFR [radio frequency radiation] in rats or mice.” But the researchers felt that “based on the designs of the existing studies, it is difficult to definitively conclude that these negative results clearly indicate that cell phone RFR is not carcinogenic.”

In other words, no one has taken it far enough, or simulated the radio-immersion environment in which we now live, enough to draw conclusions on the cancer front. So this study takes things up a notch, with longer and stronger exposures.

The studies exposed mice and rats to both 900 MHz and 1900 Mhz wavelength radio waves (each frequency being its own experiment) for about 9 hours per day, at various strengths ranging from 1 to 10 watts per kilogram. For comparison, the general limit the FCC imposes for exposure is 0.08 W/kg; the absolute maximum allowed, for the extremities of people with occupational exposures, is 20 W/kg for no longer than 6 minutes. So they were really blasting these mice.

“The levels and duration of exposure to RFR were much greater than what people experience with even the highest level of cell phone use, and exposed the rodents’ whole bodies. So, these findings should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage,” explained NTP senior scientist John Bucher in a news release accompanying the papers. “We note, however, that the tumors we saw in these studies are similar to tumors previously reported in some studies of frequent cell phone users.”

The rodents were examined for various health effects after various durations, from 28 days to 2 years.

Before I state the conclusions, a note on terminology. “Equivocal evidence” is just above “no evidence” on the official scale, meaning “showing a marginal increase of neoplasms that may be test agent related.” In other words, something statistically significant but ultimately still somewhat mysterious. “Some evidence” is above that, meaning a more measurable response, followed by the also self-explanatory “clear evidence.”

At 900 MHz:

 

Some evidence linking RFR with malignant schwannoma in the hearts of male rats, no evidence for same in female rats. Equivocal evidence linking exposure to malignant brain glioma in females. Other tumors of various types in both sexes “may have been related to cell phone RFR exposure,” meaning the link is unclear or numbers aren’t conclusive. Less serious “nonneoplastic lesions” were more frequent in exposed males and females.

At 1900 MHz:

Equivocal evidence of carcinogenicity in lung, liver and other organ tissues in both male and female mice.

Although I would hesitate to draw any major conclusions from these studies, it seems demonstrated that there is some link here, though the level of radiation was orders of magnitude beyond what a person would ever experience in day to day life. As the researchers point out, however, relatively short-term studies like this one do little to illuminate the potential for harm in long-term exposure, such as babies who have never notbeen bathed in RF radiation.

An interesting side note is that the radiation-exposed rodents of both types lived significantly longer than their control peers: 28 percent of the original control group survived the full 2 years, while about twice that amount (48-68 percent) survived in the exposed group.

Two explanations are proffered for this strange result: either the radiation somehow suppressed the “chronic progressive nephropathy” that these mice tend to suffer from as they age, or possibly reduced feed intake related to the radiation might have done it. Either way, no one is suggesting that the radiation is somehow salutary to the rodents’ constitutions.

The reports and data run to hundreds of pages, so this is only a quick look by a non-expert. You can look over the full reports and supplemental materials here, but as this is a major study you can also expect replication, analysis and criticism from all quarters soon, including a scheduled external expert review organized by the NTP in March.

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Israel Honors Jewish Terrorists Who Attacked America

 

Israel Honors Jewish Terrorists Who Attacked America

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Far left: Golda Meir meeting with the man who planned the Lavon Affair: Pinhas Lavon. Next, the photo that appeared in Haaretz with the caption “President Katzav presented three surviving members of the ‘Lavon affair’ with certificates of appreciation at a Jerusalem ceremony Wednesday.”

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Israel honors Jewish terrorists who attacked America
– Israeli President calls them “heroes”

By David Duke

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How does America deal with a country that commits terrorism against us and then honors the terrorists?

Answer: We give it billions of dollars every year as well as our most advanced military technology.

The Israeli President, Moshe Katzav, in recent formal ceremonies honored the Israeli agents who made terrorist attacks against American sites in Egypt hoping to provoke an American war with Egypt.

In ceremonies reported by the major Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, Israeli President Moshe Katsav stated the following at a ceremony honoring the Jewish terrorists who attacked American facilities:

“Although it is still a sensitive situation, we decided now to express our respect for these heroes,” President Moshe Katzav said after presenting the three surviving members of the bomber ring with certificates of appreciation at a Jerusalem ceremony.

In the Lavon Affair, named for the Israeli Defense Minister at the time, Pinhas Lavon, the Israeli government launched a false flag, terrorist operation against American sites in Egypt hoping to provoke American bombing, retaliation and war against that nation. The Israeli terrorists targeted American sites such as American Cinemas and American libraries around Cairo. Only the premature detonation of one of the Jewish terrorist’s bombs led to the exposure and halt of the plot before the extensive loss of life and property.

If this terrorist operation would have been successful, not only would it have cost many American lives, it would have launched an American war against an innocent nation which in turn would have caused the death of many thousands of innocent American and Egyptian lives as well as untold billions of dollars.

Israel’s terrorist plot against the United States in the Lavon Affair was one greatest acts of treachery that any nation has ever committed against an ongoing ally. There have certainly been many times in history where a nation attacked a supposed ally, but I know of no cases where an “ally” attacked another and then the attacked nation remained an ally and continued to support the attacking nation financially and militarily! For that to occur there has to be an incredible level of subversion in the attacked nation. And shockingly, this was only the first Israeli act of treachery against the nation that stood by Israel more than any other: America. There have repeated acts of Israeli terrorism and treachery against the United States of America.

In 1967, Israel attacked the USS Liberty with both fighter jets and torpedo boats in a surprise terrorist attack that killed 34 Americans and wounded 173. Both the U.S. Secretary of State at the time, Dean Rusk, and the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Thomas Moorer, both have stated that it was a pre-meditated attack against the United States. (see “Attack on the Liberty” at http://www.davidduke.com)

In the Jonathan Pollard case, an Israeli spy devastated America’s Eastern European Intelligence Network, and Israel honors Pollard today as a hero and lobbies for his release from American prison. (see “The Pollard Case” at http://www.davidduke.com)

And very recently, important figures in the Israeli lobby AIPAC, arguably the most powerful lobby in Washington, D.C., are under investigation by the FBI for spying against the United States. The fact that the President of the United States and most of the members of Congress have close ties to this lobby for a foreign nation, a lobby which is now in the middle of spy scandal should obviously be a huge story in America’s press, but it is suppressed in the Jewish dominated American media.

Israel knew that the U.S. Government would certainly respond to terrorist attacks against it (supposedly by Egypt) — with bombing and war against that nation. Terrorist acts of war were committed against America and traditionally nations respond to such in kind.

But, once America discovered that it was Israel who committed such terrorist acts of war, why was there no military retaliation against the offending nation?

In fact, American money and even military equipment continued to Israel unabated. Such shows the high level of Israeli subversion and dare I say it, treason, in the United States Government. It also clearly reveals the Jewish supremacy in the press that has whitewashed and kept this treachery from the knowledge of 99 percent of American people. In fact, 99 percent of Americans will never hear of the Lavon Affair nor will they know anything about the recent Israeli government official ceremony that honored the Israelis who committed these terrorist acts against America.

For years Israel denied knowledge of the event, just as Israel denied the murderous attack on the USS Liberty, denied their involvement with the damaging spying of Jonathan Pollard, and denied the overwhelming evidence that indicates Israeli prior-knowledge of the 911 attack. (See my article, “How Israel Caused the 911 Attacks” at http://www.davidduke.com) The Israeli defense minister, Pinhas Lavon had to resign after the bungled terrorist attacks in Egypt, and the excuse was given that it was a “rogue operation.” Yet, obviously, launching terrorist attacks against United States installations in Egypt that included American cinemas and libraries, would have certainly had to have been approved by the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, Golda Meir.

But now, the Israel government is having formal, public ceremonies honoring the Jewish terrorists that attacked American facilities! Now that’s enormous Chutzpah when one considers Israel
is receiving billions of American tax dollars every year, the lion’s share of America’s entire foreign aid budget, and the fact that America is the only major nation that defends Israeli crimes against the Palestinians in the U.N. Yet, it shows just how firmly Israel has the government and media of America in its grip that they can get away with honoring terrorists who have attacked America!

How can America still support a nation that formally honors those Jews who clearly committed terrorism against the United States?

Any President, Congressman or Senator that who supports sending Israel American tax dollars after the clear record of unrepentant Israeli terrorism and treachery against the United States, is equivalent to any American who sent money to the Japan after the attack at Pearl Harbor!

It is important to note that no Arab or Muslim government, including that of Saddam Hussein, has ever launched a terrorist attack against America. No Arab or Muslim government has ever had even a single, highly placed spy do damage to the United States. No Arab or Muslim nation has corrupted our political process with massive bribery, threats and coercion of thousands of U.S. politicians.

In truth, the Iraq War is just another form of a false flag operation like the Lavon Affair.

It was spawned by Israeli loyalists in the United States, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and coterie of Jewish supremacists (including the man in charge of the evidence of Iraqi misdeeds in the CIA , Stuart Cohen, who was behind much of the false intelligence) that led America into a war against Iraq, a nation that had never harmed and posed absolutely no threat at all to America.

This treasonous war was never a war for America, but only a war for Israel. It has so far led to the death of almost 1600 Americans, grievous injuries of up to 20,000 of our men and women, expenditures of a national treasure of over 300 billion dollars, damage to American business around the world, trillions of dollars in higher costs for oil and gas, and has only increased hatred against America and increased support for Al Qaeda and other anti-American terrorists.

And again, for what is all this the blood and treasure lost?

For Israel, that’s what, a nation that honors terrorists who bombed American facilities!

My God in Heaven, when will real Americans wake up to this treachery and treason!

Here are some excerpts from the article in Haaretz and the article on the terrrorist attack in Wikpedia

Israel honors Egyptian spies 50 years after fiasco Wed., March 30, 2005 Adar 2 19, 5765

By Reuters

After half a century of reticence and recrimination, Israel on Wednesday honored nine Egyptian Jews recruited as agents-provocateur in what became one of the worst intelligence bungles in the country’s history. Israel was at war with Egypt when it hatched a plan in 1954 to ruin its rapprochement with the United States and Britain by firebombing sites frequented by foreigners in Cairo and Alexandria.

But Israeli hoped the attacks, which caused no casualties, would be blamed on local insurgents collapsed when the young Zionist bombers were caught and confessed at public trials. Two were hanged. The rest served jail terms and emigrated to Israel.

Embarrassed before the West, the fledgling Jewish state long denied involvement. It kept mum even after its 1979 peace deal with Egypt, fearing memories of the debacle could sour ties.

“Although it is still a sensitive situation, we decided now to express our respect for these heroes,” President Moshe Katzav said after presenting the three surviving members of the bomber ring with certificates of appreciation at a Jerusalem ceremony.

What went wrong in the “Lavon Affair” — after Pinhas Lavon, Israel’s defense minister when the plot came to light — remains a matter of debate in a country more used to tales of espionage coups…

The situation recurred in 1985, when U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment in the United States for passing military secrets to Israel’s scientific liaison office…

“As with Pollard, this (Lavon Affair) was a rogue operation,” said David Kimche, a former Mossad deputy chief. “We knew never to go down that road again…

Meanwhile, the agents locked up in Egypt were ignored, excluded from several prisoner exchanges with Israel after the wars of 1956 and 1967. Now that they have been officially recognised in Israel, the former agents are campaigning for a full account of their operation to be included in the high-school syllabus.

“This is a great day for all of us, those who were hanged and those who died,” said Marcelle Ninio, the only female member of the cell. “We are happy we’ve got our honour back.

And here is the Wikipedia article on this terroristic attack:

Lavon Affair
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from Lavon affair)

The aim of the 1954 Israeli Mossad project, codenamed Operation Suzannah was to bomb United States installations in Egypt, such as the United States Information Service offices, and blame Arabs, hoping it would harm Egyptian-American ties. It became known as the Lavon Affair or the Unfortunate Affair (Hebrew: העסק הביש pronounce: haesek habish), after the Israeli defense minister Pinchas Lavon who was forced to resign because of the incident.

Israeli Mossad agents from “Unit 131″ 1 planted bombs in several buildings, including a United States diplomatic facility, and intentionally left behind evidence implicating Arabs as the culprits. The conspiracy was intended to disrupt U.S. relations with Egypt but one of the bombs detonated prematurely and the Egyptian police swiftly found one of the terrorists. This arrest quickly led to the capture of eleven of the thirteen members of the spy ring. Some of the spies were Israeli, while others were Egyptian Jews recruited by Mossad. Two of the conspirators were sentenced to death and executed. Six others were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.

Lavon claimed that he had no knowledge of the conspiracy and he attempted to scapegoat and fire his deputy, Shimon Peres. The Prime Minister of Israel, Moshe Sharett, appointed a board of inquiry consisting of Israeli Supreme Court Justice Isaac Olshan and the first chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Ya’akov Dori. The board failed to uncover who had ordered the conspiracy yet Lavon resigned in disgrace from his position as minister of defense and David Ben-Gurion resumed the post under Sharett. Lavon became head of the Histadrut.

Six years later, a district court found the intelligence operations chief guilty of perjury and forgery during testimony presented to the Olshan-Dori board of inquiry. Lavon demanded that Ben-Gurion clear his name but Ben-Gurion refused. The controversy broke out into open Knesset debates, fatally wounding the ruling Mapai Party. Eventually the Mapai Central Committee voted to expel Lavon from his position in the Histadrut.

The legacy of the Lavon Affair was especially unpleasant for Egyptian Jews and for Jews living in other Arab countries. They faced suspicion as a potential Fifth column and even persecution (including having their banks accounts frozen). While the Lavon affair may have acted as one catalyst for emigration to Israel, it could add little to the overall persecution of Jews which started roughly at 1948, and which reached a peak in the wake of the 1956 Suez War, when the Egyptian government expelled almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscated their property, and sent approximately 1,000 more Jews to prisons and detention camps. The Lavon Affair also generated deep suspicion of Israeli intelligence practices and encouraged speculation and conspiracy theories that terrorist attacks against Arab and American targets could be the result of Israeli false flag intelligence operations or agent provocateurs working on behalf of Israeli
intelligence, a belief that is still popular (especially in Arab countries).

Nike’s New Hijab for Muslim Athletes Is Now Available Worldwide

GIRLS & WOMEN

Nike’s New Hijab for Muslim Athletes Is Now Available Worldwide

The Nike symbol is known all over the world — on sneakers and on t-shirts with the words “Just Do It” emblazoned below. And more recently, in a sign of inclusivity, Nike’s swoosh has appears on hijabs in some areas, for athletes who want to cover their heads without sacrificing their competitive edge.

As of today, the Nike Pro Hijab is now available for athletes worldwide.

According to the company, Nike designers have been working with female athletes around the globe in recent years to prototype different hijab designs that could allow elite competitors to see, hear, sweat, and move freely without any interference, the company said today.

They worked with weightlifter Amna Al Haddad and figure skater Zahra Lari, both from the United Arab Emirates, to put the garment to the test in their respective sports, as well as Manal Rostom, a Nike Run Club Coach in Dubai, and Zeina Nassar, a German boxer.

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And the results were clear:  the world’s top Muslim athletes wanted hijabs made from lighter, softer material that would allow them to breathe, stretch, and win. In response the company produced a pull-on sport hijab made of stretchy mesh, with holes for ventilation, and elastic binding so it fits snugly on an athlete’s head, according to Nike.

nike hijab boxing.png

American Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was the first American athlete to wear a hijab in the Olympics, said that prior to using the Nike hijab she was wearing a child’s hijab made of thick material that, when it got wet from sweat, would become heavy and stiff and prevent her from hearing the referee. She lost multiple points for false starts because she couldn’t hear the officials’ calls, she told Nike.

Read More: Nike Just Launched a Sportswear Line for Women Who Wear Hijabs

“It really sunk in how much my previous hijab was hindering my performance when I tried the Nike Pro Hijab,” she said. “Suddenly, I could hear, I wasn’t as hot and it felt like my body was able to cool itself down better and faster.”

Muhammad, who is a Nike-sponsored athlete, said the new hijab will also “help advance the conversation around hijabs and Muslim women in sports and further make sports an inclusive space.”

Global Citizen campaigns against discrimination by religion, gender, or any other quality, and stands for freedom and justice for all. Join us in taking action here.

The hijab is for sale today in two colors around the world, with new colors coming in January.

It is dangerous in Uttar Pradesh to even look Muslim

Opinion: It’s becoming increasingly dangerous in Uttar Pradesh to even look Muslim

It’s as if Hindutva forces want to create a public sphere that, if not literally devoid of Muslims, is certainly devoid of Muslimness.

On Wednesday, a Muslim cleric and his two relative were assaulted and stabbed on a train in western Uttar Pradesh. This was a hate crime – the victims were picked out for their religion. Mohammad Israr, one of the victims who had received stab wounds from an ice pick on his back, head and hands said that their Muslim appearance – with namaaz caps and scarves – had irked the attackers. While the men were being assaulted, the attackers said repeatedly, “You wear caps? We will teach you to wear caps.”

This is not the only incident of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh becoming the focus because of their clothing. On November 21, a Muslim woman was instructed to remove her burqa by the police in a rally by Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath. A couple of days after this, the Bharatiya Janata Party made a formal demand to the Election Commission of India, asking for special verification of voters in burqas. “Women sporting the veil should be verified if needed,” the BJP said. “For this women security personnel or women election officers should be deployed at booths.”

From these incidents, it would almost seem that there is an attempt to erase from public view the typical dress of North Indian Muslims – kurta-pyjama and caps for men, burquas for women. It’s as if Hindutva forces want to create a public sphere that, if not literally devoid of Muslims, is certainly devoid of Muslimness.

Hindutva rising

The issue of looking Muslim is not a new one or, for that matter, only confined to Uttar Pradesh. In 2015, for example, a Muslim man’s beard was pulled even as he was assaulted and robbed on a train in western Uttar Pradesh. Like the namaaz cap and kurta, the beard is also a prominent symbol of Muslimness.

In 2014, a Muslim man Mohsin Shaikh was lynched in Pune by around 25 members of a group called the Hindu Rashtra Sena. The members of the Hindu Rashtra Sena were angry about morphed images they had seen circulating on social media. When they stepped out, they spotted Shaikh, who had a beard and was wearing a green Pathan suit, slotting him as Muslim.

In June this year, a 15-year old boy named Junaid was singled out as Muslim for the cap he was wearing and stabbed to death in a train in Haryana. In Junaid’s village, in Faridabad, a district in Haryana that borders Uttar Pradesh, men are trying to look “less Muslim”, droppingobvious articles of clothing such as namaaz caps or shaving off their beard. The Telegraph found that symbols of Muslimness are now found less visible on the train route on which Junaid was murdered. Muslims think it too risky to wear their namaaz caps while commuting.

Airbrushing reality

In his 2004 essay “On representing the Musalman”, historian Shahid Amin deftly critiques the Nehruvian “Unity in diversity” dictum that represented Muslims – and other minorities – using blunt stereotypes. In government “unity in diversity” posters, Muslims are represented by a man wearing a fez cap.

Thirteen years after this essay, things have moved from bad to worse. Earlier, Muslims were stereotyped, yet – small mercies – they were still part of government propaganda. Yet, now, with Hindutva rising, there is pressure for Muslims to remove markers that are visually distinct.

This trend is particularly acute in Uttar Pradesh. Looking Muslim has resulted in a range of penalties, ranging from chastisement by the police to outright assault. This behaviour is backed up by the administration, led by a chief minister who is not only accused of communal rioting but has gone on record claiming that secularism – a constitutional principle – is a lie.

Two Nation theory

This airbrushing of Muslims from the public sphere is not unexpected. Vinayak Savarkar, the man who coined the word “Hindutva” was a firm believer in the Two-Nation Theory and postulated that in India, Muslims must subordinate themselves to Hindus.

The expectation that Muslims should be made politically irrelevant in India finds deep resonance with the BJP charge of “vote banks”, the notion that minority communities are pandered to by politians for electoral gain. But the fact of Indians voting as groups is a banal reality: voting along caste, geographical or gender lines is a common way for groups to pressure leaders to act. Patels in Gujarat might vote for reservations or a village for a new tubewell. None of this attracts censure – till the group in question happens to be members of minority communities.

Vote banks

As a result, the BJP rarely courts Muslims, preferring to rely solely on Hindu votes. In the March landslide in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, for example, the BJP stitched together a remarkable multi-caste Hindu alliance, winning 40% of the vote.

Even when the BJP desires Muslim votes, its methods don’t rely on the quid pro quo that characterises India’s transactional democracy. For example, in one recent case, civic polls in Uttar Pradesh saw a BJP leader threaten Muslims to vote for the BJP. Even while asking for their votes, the BJP does not see Muslims as legitimate players in the political space. While other voters could ask for, say, roads or water works, in return for their ballots, Muslims in Uttar Pradesh are not worthy of even such a transaction.

So successful has the BJP’s pitch been on this score than even some Muslim leaders now agree that it would be better if Muslims strategically excused themselves from the political space given that it would “polarise society”.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

THE TROUBLE WITH INTEL’S MANAGEMENT ENGINE

Something is rotten in the state of Intel. Over the last decade or so, Intel has dedicated enormous efforts to the security of their microcontrollers. For Intel, this is the only logical thing to do; you really, really want to know if the firmware running on a device is the firmware you want to run on a device. Anything else, and the device is wide open to balaclava-wearing hackers.

Intel’s first efforts toward cryptographically signed firmware began in the early 2000s with embedded security subsystems using Trusted Platform Modules (TPM). These small crypto chips, along with the BIOS, form the root of trust for modern computers. If the TPM is secure, the rest of the computer can be secure, or so the theory goes.

The TPM model has been shown to be vulnerable to attack, though. Intel’s solution was to add another layer of security: the (Intel) Management Engine (ME). Extremely little is known about the ME, except for some of its capabilities. The ME has complete access to all of a computer’s memory, its network connections, and every peripheral connected to a computer. It runs when the computer is hibernating, and can intercept TCP/IP traffic. Own the ME and you own the computer.

There are no known vulnerabilities in the ME to exploit right now: we’re all locked out of the ME. But that is security through obscurity. Once the ME falls, everything with an Intel chip will fall. It is, by far, the scariest security threat today, and it’s one that’s made even worse by our own ignorance of how the ME works.

 

The Beginning of Intel’s Management Engine

In her talk at last month’s CCC, [Joanna Rutkowska] talked about the chain of trust found in the modern x86 computer. Trust is a necessary evil for security, and [Joanna] contrasts it with the normal meaning of the word, for which she uses “trustworthy”. If you can see the source code for your application, you can verify that it’s trustworthy. But since the application runs on top of the operating system, you have to trust the OS. Even if the OS is verified and trustworthy, it still has to trust the BIOS and firmware. As you keep digging down like this, verifying each layer, you eventually get to some part of the system that you can’t verify and just have to trust, and this root of trust is the role that the ME is trying to play.

 

trustedstick
[Joanna Rutkowska]’s plan for a ‘trusted stick’, offloading the root of trust to a small USB device

This root of trust on the modern computer is, quite simply, untrustworthy. Instead of a proper BIOS that can trace its origins to the first x86 computers, computers today have UEFI and Secure Boot, a measure designed to only allow signed software to run on the device. Secure Boot can be disabled from the manufacturer, and security isn’t secure if it’s optional, and even less so if there are exploits for specific implementations of UEFI.

 

[Joanna]’s plan for truly trustworthy computing is a simple USB thumb drive. Instead of holding data, this thumb drive contains security keys. The idea behind this ‘trusted stick’ is that the root of trust can be built from this stick, and these keys are something that you own and control and can presumably keep secret. Everything else above that is verifiable, and thus doesn’t need to be trusted. It’s an interesting idea, but right now it’s just an idea. And it stands in contrast to the current situation where Intel somehow bakes the trust into the chip for you.

What the Management Engine Is

The best description of what the Management Engine is and does doesn’t come from Intel. Instead, we rely on [Igor Skochinsky] and a talk he gave at REcon 2014. This is currently the best information we have about the ME.

The Intel ME has a few specific functions, and although most of these could be seen as the best tool you could give the IT guy in charge of deploying thousands of workstations in a corporate environment, there are some tools that would be very interesting avenues for an exploit. These functions include Active Managment Technology, with the ability for remote administration, provisioning, and repair, as well as functioning as a KVM. The System Defense function is the lowest-level firewall available on an Intel machine. IDE Redirection and Serial-Over-LAN allows a computer to boot over a remote drive or fix an infected OS, and the Identity Protection has an embedded one-time password for two-factor authentication. There are also functions for an ‘anti-theft’ function that disables a PC if it fails to check in to a server at some predetermined interval or if a ‘poison pill’ was delivered through the network. This anti-theft function can kill a computer, or notify the disk encryption to erase a drive’s encryption keys.

These are all extremely powerful features that would be very interesting to anyone who wants or needs to completely own a computer, and their sheer breadth makes the attack surface fairly large. Finding an exploit for the Intel ME will be difficult, though. While most of the firmware for the ME also resides in the Flash chip used by the BIOS, the firmware isn’t readily readable; some common functions are in an on-chip ROM and cannot be found by simply dumping the data from the Flash chip.

This means that if you’re trying to figure out the ME, a lot of the code is seemingly missing. Adding to the problem, a lot of the code itself is compressed with either LZMA or Huffman encoding. There are multiple versions of the Intel ME, as well, all using completely different instruction sets: ARC, ARCompact, and SPARC V8. In short, it’s a reverse-engineer’s worst nightmare.

The Future of ME

This guy wants information on the Intel ME. Also, hackaday has an istockphoto account.
This guy wants information on the Intel ME. Also, Hackaday has an istockphoto account.

With a trusted processor connected directly to the memory, network, and BIOS of a computer, the ME could be like a rootkit on steroids in the wrong hands. Thus, an exploit for the ME is what all the balaclava-wearing hackers want, but so far it seems that they’ve all come up empty.

The best efforts that we know of again come from [Igor Skochinsky]. After finding a few confidential Intel documents a company left on an FTP server, he was able to take a look at some of the code for the ME that isn’t in the on-chip ROM and isn’t compressed by an unknown algorithm. It uses the JEFF file format, a standard from the defunct J Consortium that is basically un-Googlable. (You can blame Jeff for that.) To break the Management Engine, though, this code will have to be reverse engineered, and figuring out the custom compression scheme that’s used in the firmware remains an unsolved problem.

But unsolved doesn’t mean that people aren’t working on it. There are efforts to break the ME’s Huffman algorithm. Of course, deciphering the code we have would lead to another road block: there is still the code on the inaccessible on-chip ROM. Nothing short of industrial espionage or decapping the chip and looking at the silicon will allow anyone to read the ROM code. While researchers do have some idea what this code does by inferring the functions, there is no way to read and audit it. So the ME remains a black box for now.

There are many researchers trying to unlock the secrets of Intel’s Management Engine, and for good reason: it’s a microcontroller that has direct access to everything in a computer. Every computer with an Intel chip made in the last few years has one, and if you’re looking for the perfect vector for an attack, you won’t find anything better than the ME. It is the scariest thing in your computer, and this fear is compounded by our ignorance: no one knows what the ME can actually do. And without being able to audit the code running on the ME, no one knows exactly what will happen when it is broken open.

The first person to find an exploit for Intel’s Management Engine will become one of the greatest security researchers of the decade. Until that happens, we’re all left in the dark, wondering what that exploit will be.

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5 STEPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE

5 STEPS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE FOR PERFORMANCE

 

Google has stated that its goal is to provide users with a great user experience and fast loading websites make that happen through increased user satisfaction. And with all the hard work you put into creating a stellar design for your website, it would be a shame if visitors bounced off before it even fully loaded.

The goal is to have your site load in less than two seconds.

While that may seem next to impossible for all of you with sites that load in fifteen to twenty seconds (and that on a good day, too), there are a few different things you can do to effectively decrease page loading times. With this in mind, in this post, we’ll walk you through a five-step process to help you optimize your WordPress website for performance.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE FOR PERFORMANCE?

Back in 2010, Google announced that it takes site speed into account in its ranking algorithms. On top of this, slower loading websites have higher bounce rates and lower conversion rates. Improving your site’s page loading times can help you retain visitors.

In addition to this, web crawlers will index a fast-loading website with optimized images faster than a slower website that has tons of large image files. Improving your site’s crawl speed can potentially increase its visibility in search engine results.

It’s pretty easy to see that speed has a huge impact on the user experience your site delivers. The good news is that there’s a host of tools out there that you can use to measure and analyze your site’s performance and take necessary steps to speed it up.

HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR WORDPRESS WEBSITE FOR PERFORMANCE (IN 5 EASY STEPS)

In this section, we’ll step through some of the different ways you can optimize your site for performance and recommend some useful tools and plugins along the way. As always, you should take a complete backup of your WordPress website before you begin.

STEP 1: ANALYZE YOUR SITE’S SPEED

Analyzing your site’s current page load times is the first step on the path to performance optimization. There a number of free tools out there that can help you measure your site’s load times and see how it holds up under multiple user loads.

To get started, head over to Pingdom (or GTmetrix) to begin analyzing your site’s speed. Enter your site’s URL in the URL field and select a testing location from the drop-down menu. Once you’ve done that, click the Start Test button to begin the page speed test.

Once the test is complete, you’ll be able to see the test results’ summary by scrolling down the page. It should look something like this:

We recommend Pingdom to test page speeds because, on top of giving you a brief summary of your site’s important speed metrics, it also gives you invaluable performance insights along with suggestions on how to improve your site’s overall performance.

STEP 2: USE A REPUTABLE CACHING SOLUTION

As a website owner you must have noticed that some of the largest files hosted on your website rarely ever change. These could be CSS files or high-resolution images that you use on your landing page. Caching is one way to speed up your site dramatically.

From a technical standpoint, once you enable a caching solution on your website, it’ll automatically store some of your site’s files (the largest ones that hardly ever change) on the visitor’s browser. So, when the visitor accesses your site again, the files that were cached will be loaded from their browser thus reducing the page load times.

The WordPress Plugin Directory has a handful of free, reputable caching solutions for you to choose from such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache. However, if you’re looking for a premium offering then you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better caching solution than WP Rocket.

STEP 3: OPTIMIZE AND COMPRESS YOUR IMAGES

Images are everywhere. They’re great for adding value to your written content and help draw in the reader’s attention not to mention dozens of other benefits. The only downside to using images is that they take up a lot of space on your server and slow down page load times.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to optimize and compress image files before uploading them to the WordPress Media Library. If you have an image intensive site (for instance, a photography portfolio) then it’s best to install a plugin solution (such as Imagify Image Optimizer) that’ll automatically optimize and compress your images when you upload them. And for those of you who publish images occasionally and would rather not install a plugin, you can opt for the Imagify online application instead.

STEP 4: ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION

When a visitor enters your site’s URL in their browser’s address bar, a request is made to transfer data between your site’s server and the visitor’s browser. gZIP compression enables you to decrease the size of that data by up to 70% of its original size. And when the packet of data reaches the visitor, their browser will decompress the page and display it.

An easy way to enable gZIP compression on your WordPress website is through the Optionspage. Here’s how:

Login to your WordPress website’s admin panel and navigate to http://www.yoursite.com/wp-admin/options.php. From the All Settings screen, scroll down till you see the can_compress_scripts field.

Change the value from 0 to 1 in order to enable gZIP compression on your site. Remember to hit the Save Changes button at the bottom of the screen when you’re done.

Alternatively, you can also enable gZIP compression by adding the following lines of code to your site’s .htaccess file:

## CODE TO ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript
AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript
## CODE TO ENABLE GZIP COMPRESSION ##

STEP 5: MEASURE THE IMPACT PLUGINS HAVE

As a WordPress website owner, you probably have a few plugins installed on your site. But if those plugins don’t comply with the coding standards then they could cause security issues or be slowing down your site.

It’s important to measure and analyze your active plugins to make sure they aren’t running any processes that cause high CPU usage. The P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler) by GoDaddy.com shows you how much impact each individual plugin has on your site’s page load times.

Once you’ve installed and activated the plugin, navigate to Tools > P3 Plugin Profiler from your site’s admin panel and click the Start Scan button. After it’s done scanning, it’ll give you a concise breakdown of the results like this:

If any active plugins on your site are causing bottlenecks then you’ll need to find alternative solutions for them or contact their developers and report your issue.

CONCLUSION

Site speed is a huge ranking signal in Google’s search algorithm and if you want your site to show up near the top of its search results, you’re going to have to optimize it for performance. As an added bonus, you’ll also be delivering a great user experience.

A professional writer, digital, and brand designer, Rafay’s work is published across a number of high-authority sites and magazines. He has provided services to numerous brands across the globe and is the go-to solution provider to many reputable private and government organizations. He is also the co-founder of BloggInc. When he isn’t overloaded with work, you can find him tending the farm with his wife, furniture hunting, and being awesome at in-door badminton. More articles by Rafay Ansari

Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy

Israeli rabbis have approved the practice of polygamy to counter what they believe is a demographic threat posed by Arab populations living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

An expose by Channel 10, an Israeli broadcasting channel, revealed the practice was approved by the rabbinate that has actively encouraged and facilitated polygamy, claiming the practice will give Jews an edge in the demographic race against Arabs in Israel.

One rabbi who has been married for 26 years is filmed by an undercover reporter persuading a single woman to become his second wife.

“If your parents ask you why you don’t marry like everyone else,” he told her, “tell them that it is a mitzvah [religious commandment] and I want to do a mitzvah.”

The rabbi showed the reporter a letter signed by Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar permitting him to marry a second wife.

Read: Israeli rabbis launch war on Christmas tree

Reporting on the story, The Times of Israel commented that “although Jewish law forbids a woman to marry more than one husband, a practice known as polyandry, it does permit a man to marry more than one wife.”

“There are several instances of polygamy in the Bible, including two of the three patriarchs (Abraham and Jacob) and many of the kings. Jewish law gives guidelines as to the circumstances under which polygamy is permitted,” The Times of Israel explained.

The Israeli newspaper also claimed that there are cases outside of Israel, primarily within Sephardic communities, where a husband who refuses to divorce his wife is granted permission to remarry by a rabbi. This leaves the first wife as an aguna, or chained woman, who is forbidden by Jewish law from remarrying.

A spokesperson for a pro-Jewish demographic domination group, The Complete Jewish Home, told Channel 10: “We are dealing with men and women who are responsible, and this is a solution to the problem of having more single women than men seeking marriage. It also ensures the Jewish demographic majority in the country, and guarantees the right of religious women to become mothers.”

Though polygamy has been illegal in Israel since 1977, authorities largely turn a blind eye to the practice.

Read: ‘Return to the Mount’ activists seek destruction of Al-Aqsa

 


 
 

Hate and hospitality, here and in the Muslim world

Hate and hospitality, here and in the Muslim world By Special to The Enterprise From page B4 | July 05, 2017 By Robb Davis Three vignettes: One: A dying village on the edge of the Sahara. We arrive late in the day to assess the nutritional status of children. The village well is drying up. They will have to leave soon. They offer us tea. The village is devoid of animals … except for one chicken. They ask “Do you eat chicken?” We say “No … please. We do not eat chicken.” They slaughter the bird — the last. We eat with our heads hung low: honored guests feeling the burden of that honor. Two: A street outside the airport in Islamabad. My U.N. flight diverted from Peshawar on my way out of Mazar Esharif; I’m ill from the effects of the harsh winter on the steppes leading to Uzbekistan. I am lost, with no idea how to get “home.” He approaches and offers help. He takes my hand, hails a taxi, ushers me in, rides with me chatting about the city. Miles across town — a place I could not have found — he places me on a bus. Pays the taxi and the bus fare, and tells the bus driver where to drop me in Peshawar. We hug in parting and never meet again. Three: A Masjid in Davis. Children play outside in the Ramadan night. A car approaches, and tosses sheets of a torn-up Quran at their feet. His/her face is not known. The car is not identified. The children rush to tell their parents and they shake their heads in sad wonder at the purpose of such an act. Two points: One: I learned of hospitality in places deep within the “Muslim world.” I could multiply these vignettes by dozens and they would only scratch the surface of how my life was altered as I learned that hospitality is not merely a cup of tea or a meal shared, but rather the opening of one’s heart to the stranger. I can never be the same for having experienced that kind of hospitality. My only hope is that I can offer the same. Two: A hate incident is the opposite of hospitality. It is the closing of a heart. It is saying: “You are not welcome here. Your kind has no place here.” When it occurs, we see those at whom it is directed made to feel unwelcome. We see them doubt their place among us. We see them shrink back into the shadows. One vignette: We sit behind the masjid after prayers as Ramadan comes to an end. We share a simple meal. We come together to challenge the hate by acts of mutual hospitality. I say “You are welcome here” (such a small gesture). They serve me food. We are human together. My interlocutors are from Kazakhstan, the Kurdish region of Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Niger, Mali, Lebanon, Pakistan and the United States. There is no rush. There are many smiles. And as the cool evening flows through us I wonder whether we can all agree to counter the hate via the day-to-day opening of our hearts; with the quotidian sharing of ourselves; with the dispensing of the kind of hospitality I was blessed to receive over all those years in all those places. — Robb Davis is mayor of Davis. He worked in the field of public health for more than 25 years, addressing issues such as food security, child nutrition and maternal and child health around the world.

London attack: Muslim raises $37,000 for victims

London attack: Muslim raises over $30,000 for victims

After witnessing the car-and-knife attack from his office window, Muddassar Ahmed launched a crowdfunding campaign.

 
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A crowdfunding campaign by a British Muslim who witnessed an attack in London that killed four people has almost reached a target of $37,000, which will be donated to the victims’ families.

By the time of publishing, more than 1,000 people had donated $33,500 towards the fund.

On Wednesday, Muddassar Ahmed was barricaded in a nearby office building in Westminster at the time of the car-and-knife attack, which also wounded dozens.

“I was there and I was shocked,” he told Al Jazeera. “Because I saw what happened, I felt that had to do something for the victims … I wanted to raise money quickly so I launched the campaign late that night.”

“It was primarily to help families of the victims … it was something that could be done to offer support and empathise with the families.”

Ahmed then called his friends to help with fundraising.

Two British Muslim MPs – Naz Shah and Yasmin Qureshi – have since voiced their support for the Muslims United for London initiative.

‘Being proactive is part of the solution’

On the crowdfunding page, Ahmed wrote that he was shocked to witness “the injuries and loss of life outside my window”.

“I reflected on what it means to be a born-and-bred Londoner and found myself proud of how security and medical services responded,” he said.

The suspect behind the attack, who was killed after he stabbed a policeman to death, was named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood. Reports said he was a Muslim convert.

Some 40 people were injured in the attack, 29 of whom were being treated in hospital, according to police. Seven were still in critical condition.

“Rather than just condemning the attacks, being proactive and actually doing something is part of the solution,” said Ahmed.

While acknowledging that the campaign might help to show Muslims in a positive light, that was not his “primary goal”.

READ MORE: Seeking solace in wake of the Westminster attack

Some of Britain’s Muslim community leaders remain concerned about a possible backlash in the aftermath of the attack.

Following similar violence across Europe in recent years, Muslims have suffered collective punishment as some equate Islam with “terrorism”.

In London, police have advised several mosques to increase security.

“We’re in a very difficult position, the Muslim community,” Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park mosque, told Al Jazeera.

“We hope that there’s no reaction from some far-right extremists who may use this incident to spread fear and hate and racism among our society.”

READ MORE: On Facebook Live, emojis and distortion

Meanwhile, religious leaders from different faiths have gathered near the site of the attack to call for unity.

“To Christians, to Anglicans, who sense a great emotion of anger, that is appropriate when the innocent are killed,” said Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury. “It is not appropriate to be angry at a whole category of people, but simply at one person.”

Woman in hijab abused on social media

Following Wednesday’s attack, a photograph picturing a Muslim woman walking at the scene went viral, with many questioning her willingness to aid the wounded.

Thousands of people on Twitter shared the image, which drew a barrage of racistmessages.

The Muslim woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, later released a statement through Tell MAMA, a UK-based organisation that keeps track of Islamophobic attacks.

“My thoughts at that moment were one of sadness, fear, and concern,” the woman said. “What the image does not show is that I had talked to other witnesses to try and find out what was happening, to see if I could be of any help, even though enough people were at the scene tending to the victims.”

She added that she was “devastated” by the attack, and at the shock of finding her picture plastered all over social media “by those who could not look beyond my attire, who draw conclusions based on hate and xenophobia”.

Additional reporting by Zineb Abdessadok, Neave Barker, Barnaby Phillips.

 

Source: Al Jazeera News

Westminster Attack United Kingdom Europe

Cheap plastic film cools whatever it touches up to 10°C

 

Large-scale film cools objects on which it sits.

Y. Zhai et al., Science 355, 6325 (9 February 2017)

Cheap plastic film cools whatever it touches up to 10°C

If heat is not your thing, rejoice: A thin plastic sheet may soon provide some relief from the intense summer sun. The film, made from transparent plastic embedded with tiny glass spheres, absorbs almost no visible light, yet pulls in heat from any surface it touches. Already, the new material, when combined with a mirrorlike silver film, has been shown to cool whatever it sits on by as much as 10°C. And because it can be made cheaply at high volumes, it could be used to passively cool buildings and electronics such as solar cells, which work more efficiently at lower temperatures.

During the day most materials—concrete, asphalt, metals, and even people—absorb visible and near-infrared (IR) light from the sun. That added energy excites molecules, which warm up and, over time, emit the energy back out as photons with longer wavelengths, typically in the midrange of the infrared spectrum. That helps the materials cool back down, particularly at night when they are no longer absorbing visible light but are still radiating IR photons.

In recent years, researchers have tried to goose this “passive cooling” effect by making materials that absorb as little visible light as possible yet continue to emit mid-IR light. In 2014, for example, researchers led by Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineer at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, created a sandwichlike film of silicon dioxide (glass) and hafnium dioxide that reflected almost all the light that hit it while strongly emitting mid-IR light, a combination that allowed it to cool surfaces by as much as 5°C. Still, Fan and his colleagues had to use clean room technology to make their films, a costly process that doesn’t work well on a large scale.

Glass spheres in a plastic film strongly emit infrared light, cooling objects below.

Y. Zhai et al., Science 355, 6325 (9 February 2017)

When Xiaobo Yin, a materials scientist at the University of Colorado in Boulder, saw Fan’s paper, he noticed the material worked in part by encouraging infrared photons to bounce back and forth between the layers of the film in a manner that made it a stronger IR emitter. Yin wondered whether there was a simpler way to do this. From previous work, Yin knew that spherical objects can act like tiny resonance chambers—much as the sound box of a guitar encourages sound waves of a particular frequency to bounce back and forth inside. He and his colleagues calculated that glass beads about 8 micrometers in diameter—little bigger than a red blood cell—would make powerful IR resonators and thus strong IR emitters.

 

So they bought a batch of glass powder from a commercial supplier and mixed it with the starting material for a transparent plastic called polymethylpentene. They then formed their material into 300-millimeter-wide sheets and backed them with a thin mirrorlike coating of silver. When laid across objects in the midday sun, the bottom layer of silver reflected almost all the visible light that hit it: The film absorbed only about 4% of incoming photons. At the same time, the film sucked heat out of whatever surface it was sitting on and radiated that energy at a mid-IR frequency of 10 micrometers. Because few air molecules absorb IR at that frequency, the radiation drifts into empty space without warming the air or the surrounding materials, causing the objects below to cool by as much as 10°C. Just as important, Yin notes that the new film can be made in a roll-to-roll setup for a cost of only $0.25 to $0.50 per square meter.

“This is very nice work demonstrating a pathway toward large-scale applications of the concept of radiative cooling,” says Fan, who did not work on the current project. Yin says that he and his colleagues are already working on one such application, chilling water that could then be used to cool buildings and other large structures. That could be particularly useful in electricity-generating power plants, where cooling water even a few degrees can increase energy production efficiency by a percentage point or two, a “big gain,” Yin says. And without the silver backing, he adds, the plastic film could also increase the power generation from solar cells, which operate more efficiently at lower temperatures.