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Buy a North Korean Woman for Less Than a Used Car

The global recession has affected China like every other country in the world. But despite a dip in the Chinese economy, at least one imported product remains affordable there: North Korean women. In China, a woman can be imported from North Korea for about $1500, less than the price of a decent used car. And the business of trafficking women from North Korea to China is booming.

Korea estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people from North Korea are currently living in China. Of those, about 80% are women. And of the women, almost 90% have been trafficked at some point or are currently victims of trafficking. For the most part, these women are trafficked into marriages. The one child policy in China has created a generation where men greatly outnumber women and Chinese wives are hard to come by. So Chinese men who want to get married are forced to look elsewhere. Some try to meet foreign women through legitimate means. But others just buy a wife from North Korea and have her shipped over, like an imported wine. Or rather, a piece of imported meat.

Sex trafficking is also going strong, serving the Chinese men who are looking to get laid rather than married. Sometimes, women are offered jobs in the Chinese tech industry. Those jobs turn out to be stripping for Internet webcasts and/or forced prostitution. North Korean women who are forced into prostitution face even more risks than those forced into marriages, because if caught, they face additional punishments back home.

Both the forced marriages and the sex trafficking are leading to a generation of Chinese-Korean children without a clear home. The children of trafficked women and their husbands or johns often end up not just homeless, but stateless as well. Usually, this happens when the Korean mother is caught in China without proper documentation and deported to North Korea, often to prison or a labor camp where she can’t bring the child. If the Chinese father doesn’t take responsibility for the child, then the kid ends up an orphan which no parent or country able and willing to take care of him or her.

The cross-border trafficking of women from North Korea to China has become an epidemic in the truest sense to the word. It’s spreading farther into both countries than the border region and infecting thousands of women. It’s even affecting a new generation of children, living without a family or a country to call home.

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Three human traffickers who fooled women into prostitution in Dubai are jailed

DUBAI // Three men who persuaded two maids to run away from their sponsor before selling them into the sex industry have been jailed for five years each.

The Bangladeshis were convicted of trafficking the two Indonesian women, a charge they denied in August.

One 33-year-old victim told Dubai Criminal Court that she and the other maid were encouraged to flee their sponsor’s home in Ras Al Khaimah after five months in the UAE.

They were taken by one of the men to a hotel in RAK, where they spent the night before heading to Dubai.

"They took me to a flat in Dubai where I was sold for Dh4,000 and told I have to work in prostitution," said the woman, who was locked up and assaulted when she refused.

She was forced to have sex with different men against her will, including one of the defendants, and escaped when she fell ill and was taken to a hospital.

"They gave me Dh500 for my treatment, which I used to hail a cab and head to a police station," she said.

The second victim, 42, said her compatriot made arrangements with the defendants to run away from their sponsor without knowing they would be sold into the sex industry.

"We were both locked up after we refused to prostitute ourselves, but two days later I managed to run away while the man who was keeping guard of the flat fell asleep," said the maid, who also went to the police.

The incident took place in June 2015 but the defendants were arrested in March last year.

A 35-year-old receptionist said he saw the men at the hotel in RAK where they booked four rooms.

"This was not the first time I saw one of the men. He had been a regular guest for over six years and every time he checks in, he comes with different women," said the Indian.

Prosecutors said the men confessed to trafficking during investigations but they denied the charges in court.

They will all be deported after serving their prison terms.

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I Woke Up From A Coma Locked-In My Own Body

Kate Allatt Motivational speaker, health educator and stroke activist

I woke up from my medically-induced coma and quickly felt like I was fully conscious. However, for two weeks, I was assessed as vegetative.

I was still good-fun-Kate and actually very much unconscious - a state where I was aware of my thoughts and everything around me - just completely unable to give any communication signal. I guess it was the closest feeling to waking up inside your own coffin. I wasn’t dead or bloody vegetative, I’d suffered a huge brainstem stroke and was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome to boot. Like 20-40% of those declared vegetative, I was misdiagnosed.

I didn’t understand how this could happen to me. I was a 39-year-old, 70-mile-a-week running mum, who was in training to scale Kilimanjaro, via the dangerous Western Breach, for my 40th birthday in five months’ time.

I over thought 24/7, seven days per week and felt horrific anxiety and fear. Fear that my husband may be encouraged to switch off my life support machine in the early days. I also suffered severe boredom, sleeplessness - because you slept out of boredom during the day - and experienced graphic hallucinations, that no one warned me or my family about. I was scared shitless of dying, then at other times, I wished I could physically pull the plug on my own life support machine.

I could feel hands massaging my lifeless body, but my brain was completely powerless to instruct my body to move. Quite often, I would hear frantic medical activity around me while my medical saviours tried to rescue and save yet another beloved family member in a bed nearby. I’ll never forget the relatives’ cries of sadness, pain and grief, in the immediate aftermath of death. I’d never seen a dead body before, so that also scared and upset me.

The thought of dying prematurely and leaving my young kids motherless, tormented me and the separation anxiety from my three young dependent kids - India (10), Harvey (8) and Woody (5) - was agonising and all encompassing. I longed to see them and be able to comfort them, though that wasn’t physically possible. When they did visit - two weeks after my stroke - they weren’t even allowed to lie next to me on my bed for health and safety reasons.

After eight months in hospital I discharged myself, in a wheelchair, doubly incontinent and with no real voice. I had to be at home with my children. Walking out of hospital was the furthest I had walked since my stroke.

Once at home I worked with a physiotherapist every single day. I wanted to be able to run again on the first anniversary of my stroke. Within six weeks I was completely out of my wheelchair and walking with crutches. Another six weeks later and on the day before my year anniversary I did this - my first stroke anniversary shuffle. And I didn’t stop there - fast forward 21 months and I ran a 10k race.

Going public with my story to help others has been my passion since my ‘bomb exploded’ seven years ago. I became the voice for less able people when I ran my global charity - Fighting Strokes - back in 2011. I still offer patient visits, advocacy and pioneer research to help what I consider to be the most vulnerable people in society. I consider myself a stroke activist. Ultimately, communication is a basic human right as I stressed a year ago in my TEDx talk. Every stroke is individual and different as is our response to it.

Success is just the tip of an iceberg. Failures, persistence, sacrifice, discipline, hard work and disappointment, have been my best friends in last seven years. Nowadays, I’m just trying to be the best version of me & adapt to my new ‘imperfect’ normal. I’m absolutely passionate about helping the less able, who are abandoned, invisible and left without a voice. I realise I’m the ultimate marmite kid - love me or hate me - but I’d rather try (and fail) in life, than not try at all.

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Testosterone linked to entrepreneurial ambition

THE desire to work for oneself is linked to higher testosterone levels, a research study at the Warwick Business School in the UK concluded.

Nicos Nicolaou, Professor and Head of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at Warwick Business School said that high levels of testosterone can give individuals the push they need to work for themselves.

“Using the most widely accepted methods available for measuring testosterone levels and analyzing three diverse samples, our findings indicate testosterone levels may constitute an important influence on the likelihood individuals will engage in self-employment,” Nicolaou explained in an email.

“The study also utilized a new research design involving opposite-sex and same-sex twins to contribute to the ongoing debate regarding the significance and validity of the relationship between testosterone and self-employment,” he added.

Nicolaou said the research was inspired by the ongoing debate over whether business behaviors are learned or can be at least partly attributed to biology.

“Our research shows it is indeed possible that at least a portion of certain business behaviors can at least in part be attributed to biological influences,” he said. “Our results represent an important first step into uncovering how key biological influences are related to self-employment and entrepreneurial activities.”

Three separate studies were conducted as part of the research. In the first, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) of 2011-2012 was analyzed, and found 2,146 observations that suggested a link between higher levels of testosterone and self-employment in males.

In the second study, Nicolaou examined the 2D:4D digit ratio—the ratio of the length of the index finger to the length of the ring finger, which is a common marker of prenatal testosterone exposure —to determine if there was a correlation to self-employment, surveying 449 males and 525 females.

The results indicated males with a lower 2D:4D ratio in their left hand, or higher prenatal testosterone exposure, have a significantly greater likelihood of self-employment. This was also found to be marginally significant for females.

The third study examined the twin testosterone transfer effect in a sample of opposite-sex and same-sex twins from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the US.

Nicolaou explained that previous studies have suggested that female fetuses gestated with a male twin are more likely than female fetuses gestated with a female twin to be “masculinized” in their development and to have greater testosterone levels. This is because testosterone may pass from one twin to the other through maternal circulation and by diffusion through fetal membranes.

Professor Nicolaou found that these females were more likely to be self-employed than females gestated with a female twin.

“The findings are relevant to both entrepreneurship and management audiences,” Nicolaou wrote in the research report, “Testosterone and Tendency to Engage in Self-employment,” which is to be published in an upcoming issue of Management Science.

“Higher levels of testosterone can not only enhance an individual’s willingness to take risks but also diminish the likelihood that they feel fear with regards to risky situations, when coupled together it is possible that individuals with higher levels of testosterone could be prone to engage in entrepreneurial activities and self-employment,” he explained.

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A New Way to Prevent Awareness Under Anesthesia

Slow brain waves reveal precisely when a patient loses awareness while under anesthesia, and could prevent the small percentage of cases in which patients are "awake" during surgery.

Being aware of what's happening during surgery and even feeling the pain seems like an unthinkable nightmare. Isn't that what anesthesia is for?

But it does happen in up to one percent of surgeries involving high-risk patients, according to research published in 2011, and affects between 20,000 and 40,000 patients annually in the U.S. alone. Now, scientists from the University of Oxford in the U.K. believe they've found a way to put an end to this disturbing statistic.

Using EEG brain monitoring and MRI imaging scans, the researchers discovered that people lost awareness when low-frequency electrical waves, also called “slow waves,” enveloped the brain. When the waves reached a plateau, sensory signals no longer reached the thalamocortical regions, which are the parts of the brain linked to conscious awareness.

“Awareness in anesthesia is a 'never event'—it isn't good enough for it to be rare,” Roisin Ní Mhuircheartaigh, one of the researchers, told Healthline. “Our goal is to allow anesthesiologists to look at a patient's brain activity and know with confidence that [he or she] is safely asleep.”

The researchers have applied for a patent on their findings and are looking into developing better monitoring equipment for patients under anesthesia. They are the second group of scientists this year to do so. Earlier this year, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University published their findings on slow waves and unconsciousness.

“They looked at EEG, too, but have focused on the relationship between slow waves and alpha activity,” Catherine Warnaby, another Oxford researcher, told Healthline. “A key difference is that we have looked at slow wave saturation and have the FMRI evidence to support that this state represents a state of perception loss.” Changing the Standards for Anesthesia

Warnaby stressed that anesthesia is very safe, but little is known about how it works in the brain. In patients with severe health problems, too much anesthesia can adversely affect their heart or lungs. Elderly patients may experience severe confusion after an operation if given too much anesthesia.

“We think that this has great potential to become an individualized marker for delivering anesthesia during surgery,” Warnaby said. “If we can prove further that this saturation relates to the point where people lose awareness of the outside world, it may change the way that anesthetics are delivered worldwide. Anesthesiologists would be able to give anesthetics to achieve this saturation level and know that they were giving each individual just the right amount of the drug.”

Learn About the Risks and Benefits of Anesthesia During Delivery »

The research could also help resolve other riddles of the brain, Warnaby added. "Our findings could have implications for all sorts of altered states and disorders of consciousness, such as locked-in syndrome or persistent vegetative state."

In both the Oxford and U.S. research, scientists experimented with the common anesthetic, propofol.

There are EEG monitors available to assess the depth of anesthesia, although there isn't much evidence that these methods are better than traditional monitoring at reducing awareness during surgery, Warnaby said.

The next step is to perform further experiments to recreate a surgical setting. Researchers will look at how other drugs used during surgery—such as painkillers—affect slow waves during anesthesia.

“Depending on the operation, anesthesiologists have to give drugs that block muscle function, 'paralyzing drugs,'” Mhuircheartaigh said. “If inadequate anesthetic drugs are given while the patient can't move to let us know they're awake, awareness can occur.”

Like Warnaby, Mhuircheartaigh stressed the rarity of these cases, especially in healthy people. “However, rare isn't good enough,” she told Healthline. “We hope that by looking at this key process in the brain we can be sure that the patient can't perceive any surgery.”

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