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Afro-Brazilian.com Launches to Bridge Gap Between Afro-Brazilians, African Americans

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Lagrant Communications announced the launch of the first website dedicated to educating African Americans on Afro- Brazilian culture. The website is part of the agency’s commitment to enriching the understanding of the diversity of the Latino and African American culture.

Afro-Brazilian.com will celebrate Afro-Brazilian culture through the development of original content by highlighting the history, culture and historical struggles of Afro-Brazilians. The website will also feature facts on Afro-Brazilians; Brazilian events taking place in the US and Brazil; updates on Brazilian politics; and the upcoming World Cup and the Olympic Games. Afro- Brazilian.com will also feature articles from noted Brazilian and African American reporters across the US.

Brazil has made international headlines over the past several months with the election of its first woman president and the announcement of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.

Although Brazil has been a major tourist destination for decades, many do not know much about the country, the people nor its culture. According to MercoPress, an independent online news agency, Afro- Brazilians represent the largest ethnic group in Brazil, making up more than 49 percent of the population. Afro-Brazilians have a cultural influence on Brazil that spans from cuisine, literature, sports, and art, among others.

Some of the little known facts on Afro-Brazilians include:

• 49.6 percent of Brazilians are black, mulatto or pardo

• In Brazil, people of African descent are categorized through several groups, mainly pardo, black and mulatto

• Afro Brazilian ancestry belongs to two major groups— West African and Bantu; West African include the Yoruba, Ewe, Fanti-Ashanti, Ga-Adangbe, Igbo, Fon and Mandinka tribes; The Bantu tribe was brought mainly from Angola, Congo, Zimbabwe and Mozambique

• Slavery in Brazil was officially abolished on May 13, 1888

• As of 2007, the largest Afro-Brazilian metropolitan area is Salvador, Bahia, with more than 1.8 million (53.8%) pardos and 990,375 blacks (28.5%) [Total: 82.3% or 2.859 million people]; The state of Bahia also has the largest percentage of pardos (62.9%) and blacks (15.7%)

• Although Afro- Brazilians are mainly Catholics, many also practice Candomblé and Umbanda

• Capoeira, one of the most iconic symbols of Brazilian culture, was developed by African slaves from Angola and Mozambique

• Many influential Brazilian authors are of African Brazilian descent, including Machado de Assis, Lima Barreto and João da Cruz e Sousa

• African culture has been instrumental in the development of Brazilian cuisine. Feijoada, Brazil’s staple dish, was developed by African slaves

• Blacks and pardos have a low representation on Brazilian television. In 1996 Taís Araujo was the first and only black actress to be featured as a protagonist in a telenovela

• The International Federation of Football History & Statistics Player of the Century lists 15 Afro-Brazilian players among their 20 best Brazilian players list

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rodrigo Pederneiras, the principal choreographer to the world-renowned Brazilian dance troupe Grupo Corpo, said, “The influence of African culture is tremendous in everything in Brazil, in all parts. In the music, in paintings, in the religion like candomblé, in the food, in the dance rhythms.”

“Although Afro-Brazilians have a significant and influential presence in Brazil, they are grossly underrepresented by the media,” said Paulo P. Lima, editor- at-large of Afro- Brazilian.com. “The website was created to raise awareness of the unique and rich Afro-Brazilian culture and the historical parallels it shares with the African American community. “

Afro-Brazilian.com will debut with three original articles spotlighting culture, religion and cuisine.

The articles, written by Lima, introduce some of the most colorful, insightful and tasty aspects of Afro-Brazilian culture. The articles also establish a foundation for a deeper analysis on the complicated history and future of Afro-Brazilians.

Afro-Brazilian.com will also provide partnership opportunities for companies interested in reaching the Brazilian market.

The website will provide a series of advertising opportunities that include web banners, editorial features, background sponsorships and contests, among others.

“Our goal is to educate and encourage African Americans to establish a brotherhood and explore the rich African influences in Brazil. Many do not know that Brazil has the largest population of African descendants outside of Africa,” said Kim L. Hunter, president/CEO of Lagrant Communications.

“Brazil will remain in the international spotlight for many years to come, so understanding the Brazilian people, specifically Afro-Brazilians, is crucial to any American planning to travel and explore business opportunities in Brazil.”

For more information on the culture and history of Afro- Brazilians and their impact on Brazil, visit www.Afro- Brazilian.com.

Colorectal Cancer Awareness: What You Should Know about Screening

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Special to the NNPA from The National Cancer Institute –

It may be one of your parents. It may be a co-worker, or someone from your church. It could be a neighbor, a girlfriend from your book club, or the favorite uncle or aunt who always organizes the summer family reunion. It could even be you who will face colorectal cancer one day. It can be unsettling to think about it, but know that you can turn to the National Cancer Institute for information if you are faced with this situation.

Also, there is something you can do to help prevent colorectal cancer in your life and in the lives of those you associate with and love: get regularly screened for colorectal cancer. Read on to learn more information about colorectal cancer and colorectal cancer screening so you will be fully informed.

Although deaths from colorectal cancer have declined in recent decades, colorectal cancer remains the third most frequently diagnosed cancer in both men and women, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, in the United States. And, rates of colorectal cancer diagnosis and death are higher for African Americans than for all other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

Because colorectal cancer can take many years to develop, early detection and treatment of the disease greatly improve the chances of a cure. Screening also enables doctors to detect and remove abnormal colorectal growths, or polyps, before they even become cancer. According to most current guidelines, people at average risk for this disease should be screened regularly starting at age 50. If any family members have had colorectal cancer, you should talk to your doctor about when and how often you should be screened, because you are at a higher risk.

Unfortunately, almost half of people aged 50 to 75 are not being screened regularly for colorectal cancer. And, despite some gains, African Americans are still less likely to be screened than Whites. If cost is keeping you from making that appointment, remember that most insurance plans help pay for colorectal cancer screening tests for people aged 50 or older. Many plans also help pay for screening tests for people younger than 50 who are at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Check with your health insurance plan to determine your colorectal cancer screening benefits. If you do not have insurance, call 1-800-4-CANCER to learn about free or low-cost screening options in your community. Your local health department may also have information. Under the health insurance reforms signed into law earlier this year all new private plans will provide basic preventive services such as colon cancer screening at no cost.

If fear or a lack of understanding is keeping you from making that colorectal screening appointment, start by learning more about the different screening options available to you. On www.cancer.gov (search term: Colorectal Screening), you can read about screening options and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. Typical screening options are colonoscopy every 10 years, yearly fecal occult blood testing (FOBT), and flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years along with FOBT every two to three years, but new and potentially more comfortable screening techniques are being developed. You can also ask your doctor the following questions about screening:

· Which screening tests do you recommend for me and why?
· How much do the tests cost?
· Will my health insurance plan help pay for screening tests?
· Are the tests painful?
· How soon after the tests will I learn the results?

For more information about colorectal cancer, contact the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) Cancer Information Service (CIS) toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. Trained information specialists are available to answer your questions in English or Spanish. You can also contact NCI’s CIS on the internet, via LiveHelp Online Chat (Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. EST) or via email at www.cancer.gov/contact. Learn about all you can do to lower your risk of colorectal cancer and take control of your health.

NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers.

We Are What We Eat: Healthy Eating for Healthy Children

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By Dena Herman, PhD, MPH, RD –

The percentage of overweight children in the United States has reached epidemic numbers. In fact, one third of our nation’s kids are carrying too much weight as a result of a poor diet high in unhealthy fats and simple sugars and a sedentary lifestyle.

Besides these much talked-about causes, experts believe there could be other, less obvious factors that influence the development of, obesity, but also diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Although more research is being done to gain a better understanding about these diseases, improving our children’s diet and helping them increase their physical activity will significantly reduce their chances of becoming obese and, if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is already high, will help them reach a healthy weight.

One of the best ways to improve our childrens’ diet is by following the Mediterranean diet, which consists in consuming healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts, lean meat, fish, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Although these guidelines are widely known, most parents find it difficult to convince kids to consume these products because they are not as popular among their peers and parents do not always have the tools to prepare fresh foods tastefully.

Nonetheless, there are plenty of ways to use these nutritious options to create delicious, quick meals and snacks that the little ones will enjoy. The following are a few tips to get you started:

- Encourage kids to eat fresh fruit instead of drinking fruit juice for a better source of fiber, which is often lacking in their diets. Have cubes of melon, grapes and other fruit choices easily available when kids come home from school and are hungry for a snack. In the summer, place fruit cubes in the freezer for a refreshing afterschool snack or blend up some fruit and freeze it as popsicles! You can also try giving kids “crudités,” which are cut-up vegetables consumed raw. Not only does the name sound cool but, when served with a creamy bean dip made from cannellini beans, these veggies will have them asking for more. Good options include grape tomatoes, baby carrots and sugar snap peas.

- Get the kids involved in what they eat and make your own trail mix. Ask kids to choose a few of their favorite nuts, seeds and dried fruits on the next grocery shopping trip. Home-made trail mixes are great for lunches and snacks, and packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent for healthy brain function and getting homework done quicker.

- Fish is brain food - that is why they travel in schools. Try to include fish as part of a healthy family dinner at least twice a week. Fish such as mahi-mahi, cod or halibut make great choices. Experiment with flavorful Mediterranean marinades using herbs like oregano, basil and garlic as well as fresh lemon or orange juice. You can also slice and bread the fish into sticks and bake it in the oven - instead of frying it - for a healthy, kid-friendly dish.

- Sandwiches are easy school meals but they can get tiresome. Rev up the flavor and interest by spreading homemade pesto or tapenade instead of mayonnaise on crusty, whole-wheat, toasted bread. Finely slice, marinate and grill chicken or turkey breasts for a tasty alternative to deli meats.

- Who needs cupcakes for school birthdays? Surprise the kids by making delicious fruit skewers with a variety of fruits – and yes, you can dip the strawberries in dark chocolate for a phytonutrient punch they won't forget. If your kids can’t pass without the cupcakes or other sweet treats, look for healthier, less processed options or dig for a lower-fat, lower-sugar recipe alternative and bake a limited amount.

- Work with your children’s tastes but try to expand their palates. If your kids’ favorite foods are pizza and pasta, try creating healthier versions of their favorite meals by making substitutions and adding vegetables or fruits. For example, substitute pepperoni in pizzas for barbecue chicken and add fresh tomatoes and garlic. Peas and pearl onions add taste and dimension to plain pasta but don’t forget to add the parmesan cheese.

Eating meals as a family offers the opportunity for children to learn and experience new foods as well as eating memories they will never forget.

Community Briefs

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The Salute to Veterans Parade will be held on Saturday, April 16, 2011, 10:00 am - 12:00 noon to honors Veterans of all ages and eras. This is a FREE, fun, family event! The Parade Route is from Riverside Community College at Magnolia and Ramona to Market, right on 10th St, right on Main St. ending at the Historic Riverside County Courthouse on Main at 13th Street. Pancake Breakfast at 7:30 am RCC Parking Lot at Ramona and Olivewood.

Join the Parade! Visit our web site for photos, parade route, application form, spectator parking and other information at asalutetoveterans.com or call (951) 687-1175.


The damage to nuclear reactors in Japan has led to concerns about radiation exposure in San Bernardino County. Japan's nuclear emergency presents no current danger to California residents, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The California Department of Public Health is monitoring the situation closely with state and federal partners, including the NRC, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Energy, FEMA Region IX, and the California Emergency Management Agency.

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health does not recommend taking potassium iodide tablets (also called KI) as a precaution, since state and federal experts do not anticipate a risk of radiation exposure to local residents at this time. Potassium iodide tablets can present a danger to people with allergies to iodine, shellfish or who have thyroid problems. Potassium iodide tablets should not be taken until/unless directed by authorities, or advised by a medical professional.

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health continues to closely monitor the situation, and will alert clinicians if recommendations change.

For more information, call the California Department of Public Health hotline at 916-341-3947.

New Target For Hiv/Aids - Women And Adults Ages 47-65

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections continue at high levels, with an estimated 56,300 Americans becoming infected each year.

Additionally, more than 18,000 people with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) still die each year in the United States.

While major strides have been made in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, the disease continues its devastating effects on all sectors of American society. The impact however, has become increasingly more serious among women and adults between the ages of 47- 65.

The CDC reports that in 2007 more than a quarter of HIV diagnoses in the United States were among women and girls aged 13 years and older. Women are more likely to be infected through sex with a male partner. Minority women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV infection. The rate of new HIV infections for African American women is nearly 20 times the rate for white women. The rate of new HIV infection among Hispanic women is nearly four times that of white women. In San Bernardino County, African American and Hispanic women together accounted for 83% of HIV diagnoses among women in 2009 and 14% of all HIV diagnoses.

Many factors contribute to the increasing rates of HIV infection in adults aged 47-65. One contributing factor is that older adults have often been overlooked by targeted education and prevention messages.

Sexually active adults between 47-65 years of age may use condoms less often due to a lower concern of pregnancy, thereby increasing their risk for HIV. The use of sexual enhancement medications among this age group also contributes to the increased risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections, including HIV. Further, the lack of communication between adults and their doctors regarding sexual practices contributes to a perceived low HIV risk among this group and a lack of testing. In 2008 adults 50 years of age and older represented 17 percent of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States, Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer, San Bernardino County Department of Public Health attributes this to “the simple reason that older people don’t get tested for HIV on a regular basis.”

Although HIV is a manageable disease, education and prevention continue to be the ultimate goal in stopping the spread of infection among all groups, especially women and adults ages 47-64. It is important to be aware of specific challenges faced by women and adults ages 47-64 and to ensure that they are informed and know how to protect themselves from infection. Dr. Ohikhuare states that, “Testing is key in HIV prevention and I encourage everyone to make HIV testing part of their routine medical care.”

For more information about HIV/AIDS and testing, call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health AIDS Program at (800) 255- 6560, or visit the website at www.KnowSBC.com.

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BVN National News Wire