Sunday, 9 December 2012

Ghana incumbent President John Dramani Mahama declared Winner

Ghana incumbent President John Dramani Mahama won a new term with 50.7 percent of ballots cast in the West African state's election, the head of the Electoral Commission announced.

"Based on the results, I declare President John Dramani Mahama president elect," Kwadwo Afari-Gyan told a newsconference on Sunday in the capital Accra.

Ghana's main opposition party declared electoral fraud after election results showed the candidate of the governing National Democratic Congress was holding a slim lead.

The results came after the National Patriotic Party called on the electoral commission to delay the official announcement of the results, raising concerns about the conduct of the vote in a nation seen as a stable democracy in an unstable region.

Privately owned Joy News television said John Dramani Mahama, 54, had 50.03 per cent of the votes against Akufo-Addo's 48.05 per cent based on provisional results from 261 of 275 districts.
It said its findings were based on trends of pre-tallied votes in addition to an analysis of outstanding districts.

"It will be unfortunate for the EC [Election Commission] to go ahead to announce the elections," Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, the NPP chairman, announced in the capital Accra.

"We have significant problems and that need to be looked at ... These results cannot be forced down the throat of the people of Ghana."

He said the party had raised complaints to the electoral commission in a letter requesting an audit of results before their release.

But Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, an election commissioner, told Reuters news agency on Sunday he was not yet aware of the NPP complaint.

The vote, which started on Friday and stretched into Saturday amid technical problems, is seen as a test of whether Ghana can maintain 30 years of stability and progress in a region better known for coups, civil wars and corruption.

There were a total of eight presidential candidates. In the event that any of the candidates fail to receive at least 50 per cent of the votes, a run-off vote would be held on December 28.

Mahama was vice-president until July when he assumed the presidency after his predecessor John Atta Mills died due to an illness.

Courtesy: Al-Jazeera

Friday, 7 December 2012

Being left out puts youths with special needs at risk for depression

The challenges that come with battling a chronic medical condition or developmental disability are enough to get a young person down. But being left out, ignored or bullied by their peers is the main reason youths with special health care needs report symptoms of anxiety or depression, according to a study to be presented`123 April 29, at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

Being bullied has been shown to increase students' risk for academic and emotional problems. Little research has been done specifically on how being a victim of bullying affects youths with special needs.

In this study, researchers led by Margaret Ellis McKenna, MD, senior fellow in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Medical University of South Carolina, investigated the impact of bullying, ostracism and diagnosis of a chronic medical condition on the emotional well-being of youths with special health care needs.

Participants ages 8-17 years were recruited from a children's hospital during routine visits with their physicians. A total of 109 youths and their parents/guardians completed questionnaires that screen for symptoms of anxiety and depression. Youths also completed a screening tool that assessed whether they had been bullied or excluded by their peers.

The main categories of youths' diagnoses included attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (39 percent), cystic fibrosis (22 percent), type 1 or 2 diabetes (19 percent), sickle cell disease (11 percent), obesity (11 percent), learning disability (11 percent), autism spectrum disorder (9 percent) and short stature (6 percent). Several children had a combination of these diagnoses.

Results of the youths' answers on the questionnaires showed that being bullied and/or ostracized were the strongest predictors of increased symptoms of depression or anxiety. When looking at both parent and child reports, ostracism was the strongest indicator of these symptoms.

"What is notable about these findings is that despite all the many challenges these children face in relation to their chronic medical or developmental diagnosis, being bullied or excluded by their peers were the factors most likely to predict whether or not they reported symptoms of depression," Dr. McKenna said.

"Professionals need to be particularly alert in screening for the presence of being bullied or ostracized in this already vulnerable group of students," she added.

In addition, schools should have clear policies to prevent and address bullying and ostracism, Dr. McKenna suggested, as well as programs that promote a culture of inclusion and sense of belonging for all students.

Courtesy: Sciencedaily.com