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Census Projects Older American Population to Become More Diverse

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Special to the NNPA from the Louisiana Weekly –

(NNPA) - The U.S. Census Bureau reported today that the dependency ratio, or the number of people 65 and older to every 100 people of traditional working ages, is projected to climb rapidly from 22 in 2010 to 35 in 2030. This time period coincides with the time when baby boomers are moving into the 65 and older age category. After 2030, however, the ratio of the aging population to the working-age population (ages 20 to 64) will rise more slowly, to 37 in 2050. The higher this old-age dependency ratio, the greater the potential burden.

The projections are not based on 2010 Census results. Rather, they project 2000 Census counts forward using components of population change — births, deaths and net international migration.

The expected steep rise in the dependency ratio over the next two decades reflects the projected proportion of people 65 and older climbing from 13 percent to 19 percent of the total population over the period, with the percentage in the 20 to 64 age range falling from 60 percent to 55 percent.

“This rapid growth of the older population may present challenges in the next two decades,” said Victoria Velkoff, assistant chief for estimates and projections for the Census Bureau’s Population Division. “It’s also noteworthy that those 85 and older — who often require additional caregiving and support — would increase from about 14 percent of the older population today to 21 percent in 2050.”

The findings are contained in the report, “The Next Four Decades: The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050,” which presents information on how the age structure of the overall population and the composition of the older population in terms of age, sex, race and Hispanic origin are expected to change over the next four decades. The report provides an analysis of national population projections released in August 2008.

According to the report, minorities would comprise 42 percent of the 65 and older population in 2050, more than double the proportion they comprise today (20 percent). Likewise, among those 85 and older, 33 percent are projected to be minority in 2050, up from 15 percent in 2010. (In the report, the minority population refers to people who are other than non-Hispanic, single-race White).

Other highlights include:

The percentage of the 65 and older population that is Hispanic would rise from seven percent today to 20 percent in 2050. In absolute terms, it would increase more than sixfold — from 2.9 million to 17.5 million. At the same time, among those 85 and older, the Hispanic population would increase more than ninefold, from 305,000 to 2.9 million.

Among those 65 and older, 12 percent are expected to be single-race Black and nine percent Asian in 2050, up from nine percent and 3 percent, respectively, in 2010. In addition, 77 percent are projected to be white alone, down from about 87 percent in 2010.

The least populous race groups are projected to see large growth relative to their populations. The older multiracial population, for instance, would increase from 278,000 in 2010 to 1.3 million in 2050.

The multiracial population will continue to be the youngest population, as the 65 and older percentage would rise from 5.1 percent today to 7.8 percent in 2050.

With the projected more rapid increase in the life expectancy for men over the next several decades, women would comprise a smaller percentage of older people: 57 percent of those 65 and older today, 55 percent in 2050. Among those 85 and older, the drop would be even larger (from 67 percent to 61 percent).

This report is based on the projections released in August 2008. In December 2009, the Census Bureau released a set of four national projections supplementing the series released in August 2008, showing projections to 2050 by age, race, sex and Hispanic origin. These four scenarios assume either high, low, constant or zero international migration between 2000 and 2050. The August 2008 projections remain the preferred series for users.

This article was originally published in the May 24, 2010 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

Homophobic Backlash Sweeping Africa, More Jail Terms Seen

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Special to the NNPA from the GIN –

(GIN) – Harsh anti-gay legislation in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda, among others, has sentenced same-sex couples to long prison terms and pushed up the number of LGBT refugees seeking asylum abroad, according to local press accounts.

The increase in intolerance is blamed partly because gay men and lesbians are becoming more assertive about their rights, and partly because of intolerance fanned by evangelical churches in America, observed the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch group.

Last week, a Malawi court imposed a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labor on a gay couple for holding an engagement ceremony last December. The two were convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.

Chief Magistrate Nyakwawa Usiwa Usiwa’s Thursday judgment with a court seal stamp, said he was giving the “scaring sentence” to protect Malawi from homosexuals and uphold morals.

In Zimbabwe, police raided the offices of GALZ, a gay and HIV/AIDS awareness group, arresting two members of the organization for posting a letter from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Lewis Brown. The letter criticized the Zimbabwean president's opposition to homosexuality, their lawyer said on Monday.

Meanwhile, at a meeting of the Africa Progress Panel in Johannesburg, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo gave high marks to the Malawi ruling. His colleague, former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, called the decision “regressive.”

Also opposed to the Malawi ruling was pop star Madonna who asked her fans to sign on to her website in support of equal rights and “the freedom to love in Malawi”.

“I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi; and around the world to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all,” she wrote. .. "The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved.”

Secret Documents Reveal Isreal-South Africa Weapons Talks

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Special to the NNPA from the GIN –

(GIN) – During the final brutal years of Apartheid, top Israeli officials were preparing to sell deadly nuclear weapons technologies to the South African racist regime, a new book asserts. Such sales were forbidden by U.S. sanctions in force at that time.

According to the riveting book making waves worldwide, officials from the two countries met in 1975. South Africa's defense minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defense minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The "three sizes" are believed to refer to conventional, chemical and nuclear weapons.

Sasha Polakow-Suransky, the author of “The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa,” uncovered the 1975 meeting minutes while reviewing some 7,000 pages of newly-declassified material relating to the two allies.

"Israel tested its own weapons and helped South Africa build highly advanced nuclear weapons delivery systems, long-range missiles, throughout the ’80s, at a secret South African testing range where hundreds of Israelis were employed," he said in an on-air interview with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman.

“This lasted almost up until the transition to democracy in South Africa. As late as 1989, the two countries were still cooperating in this field.”

A spokeswoman for President Peres called the report baseless and said there were "never any negotiations" between the two countries. Former South African Foreign and Defense Minister P. W. 'Pik' Botha also rejected suggestions of a nuclear weapons pact.

The documents released in South Africa were declassified over Israeli objections, said Polakow-Suransky. "The South Africans didn't seem to care,” he said, adding: “they blacked out a few lines and handed it over to me. The ANC government is not so worried about protecting the dirty laundry of the apartheid regime's old allies."

FEMA Trailers: Environmental Time Bombs?

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By Jesse Muhammad, Special to the NNPA from the Final Call –

WASHINGTON (NNPA) - A congressional hearing took place on Capitol Hill to explore the “Public Sales of Hurricane Katrina/Rita FEMA Trailers: Are they Safe or Environmental Time Bombs?” featuring the testimony of award-winning filmmaker Gabe Chasnoff and pediatrician Dr. Corey Hebert.

In the wake of Katrina and Rita in 2005, Chasnoff and his production crew stumbled upon the largest FEMA trailer park based in Baker, Louisiana, which turned out to be a formaldehyde nightmare for hurricane survivors. This gave birth to his documentary, “Renaissance Village,” which was named after that particular trailer park.

"After speaking with some of the park's residents, I knew that their stories needed to be told, and I decided to shift the focus of our film from examining the post-Katrina health care situation in Louisiana to life inside a FEMA trailer park,” said Chasnoff, in his testimony late last month before the U.S. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

FEMA has sold 100,000 travel trailers used during hurricane recovery efforts despite the concerns of excessive formaldehyde levels. Herbert, a New Orleans resident, told the committee that he treated patients with symptoms caused by overexposure.

“These people had no prior allergic symptoms before living in travel trailers. It's a problem that's going to be happening over and over again. We have to stop this from being just a Gulf Coast problem to being a national problem,” Hebert said to the committee.

In defense of the agency, FEMA assistant administrator David Garrett told the committee that all trailer purchasers were asked to sign a waiver that they were aware of the dangers of formaldehyde.

Formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable, strong-smelling gas. It is an important industrial chemical used to manufacture building materials and to produce many household products. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the short term effects of high levels of formaldehyde includes burning sensations of the eyes, nose, and throat; coughing; wheezing; nausea; and skin irritation. Long-term effects of formaldehyde have been linked to nose, lung, and other types of upper respiratory cancer.

The trailer park Renaissance Village was established after both hurricanes ripped through the Gulf Coast. The film was produced over the course of eighteen months on the grounds work from January 2007 to June 2008 and “focuses on five residents desperately trying to reassemble their lives after losing nearly everything in the storms,” according to Chasnoff.

Baker, Louisiana is situated 90 miles North of New Orleans, which saw the greatest impact by floodwaters in 2005. FEMA reportedly spent nearly $2.5 billion to buy trailers, campers and mobile homes for temporary housing and later discovered that formaldehyde was used in the construction of each unit.

“The government knew about the formaldehyde and its danger and chose silence over helping residents, for fear of getting a black eye,” said Chasnoff.

New Orleans native Amy Washington is a witness to this after her family had to stay in a FEMA trailer temporarily after losing her home due to flood damages.

“This is good that Chasnoff and that doctor (Dr. Herbert) are exposing this because I am sure there is more to uncover. I noticed my children feeling ill more than before and I really didn't know the cause until I started hearing reports of formaldehyde by the news,” said Washington, who now resides in Houston.

Washington's family resided in a trailer before being able to get to Houston. “It was mentally depressing to stay in a trailer and then on top of that to have these reports circulating about formaldehyde—it made some of us go crazy. Just hearing the words ‘FEMA trailers' brings back nightmares for us,” she said.

“E-mails pertaining to the presence and dangers of formaldehyde in the trailers, revealed during the July 2007 government oversight committee hearing led by Congressman Henry Waxman of California, signified the deceptive posture taken by FEMA,” said Chasnoff.

He also pointed out that although FEMA established an emergency call number and disseminated 70,000 leaflets to occupants of the FEMA trailers in Renaissance Village, there was a lack of person-to-person contact made by the agency.

“I never witnessed any FEMA representative talking one-on-one, in detail, with any of the residents about the formaldehyde issue. I did see FEMA fliers taped to trailer doors that defined formaldehyde and the symptoms of exposure and advised residents on how to protect themselves. Residents received the majority of their information about the formaldehyde issue from local and national news television. This created even more panic and fear,” said Chasnoff.

In part of his documentary “Renaissance Village”, Chasnoff interviews resident Paul Thomas, who states in the film, “I have never heard of a FEMA representative come back here on this property and come to each individual and let us know that this is what is going to happen. It's always hearsay and 95 percent of the time, it never happens.”

Chasnoff concluded: “This distrust of the government was not so much a result of eighteen months of working with FEMA, but rather based on decades of racial and socioeconomic injustice experienced by those living in the park."

NYPD Recordings Confirm Racial Injustices

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By Cyril Josh Barker, Special to the NNPA from the Amsterdam News –

(NNPA) - An article published in The Village Voice concerning operations by the NYPD in Brooklyn has many outraged, but also confirms speculation regarding how police handle communities of color.

Earlier this month, the Voice obtained hours of tape recordings from NYPD Officer Adrian Schoolcraft of Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct. The officer secretly recorded his colleagues for hundreds of hours discussing things including street confrontations and roll calls and other conversations at the precinct.

The Voice has put some of the material, which was recorded between June and October 2009, on its website. The tapes were made without the knowledge or approval by the NYPD.

Key concerns are about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy. The tapes reveal superiors threatening street cops if quotas aren’t met. Officers can also be heard calling Bed-Stuy, where the 81st Precinct in located, a “heavy precinct.”

“You’re not working in Midtown Manhattan, where people are walking around smiling and being happy,” one lieutenant said on tape. “You’re working in Bed-Stuy, where everyone’s probably got a warrant.”

A sergeant talking to officers from the precinct said after a shooting, “We had a shooting on Chauncey, so do some community visits, the usual bull---t.”

The recordings also reveal several incidents in which people were arrested and jailed for no reason or injured during arrests.

“I think the article only demonstrates what we have known for years,” said Omowale Clay of the December 12th Movement. “The NYPD is, in fact, a criminal enterprise in our community whose interest is not protecting the people. It’s an occupation force whose mission is to use us to rise up statistics.”

Clay added that officers on all levels lie and that the tape should confirm the police’s actions in cases such as Rodney King and the late Amadou Diallo. The recordings also prove that police brutalize youth, he said.

“The biggest thing to come out of this is that they lie—from Mayor Bloomberg to Commissioner Ray Kelly to those on the ground, they lie,” he said.

Concern about police treatment is particularly questioned in regard to the Marcy Houses in Bed-Stuy, where Clay said officers routinely stop young Black men. Clay believes it’s an attempt to gentrify Bed-Stuy event more.

"Everyday in the Marcy Houses, police are picking up young Black men,” said Clay. “It’s a word on the street. They step to you like you are a criminal. We understand that Marcy Houses stands in the way of gentrification of Bed-Stuy, but we are going to resist.”

The NYPD has not commented on the Voice article or the recordings.

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