It will be the first time since 2007 that Japan will be in the elite eight-team World Group.
(pretty cute, huh?)
Across the Arab world today an average of 45 percent of married couples are related, according to Dr. Nadia Sakati, a pediatrician and senior consultant for the genetics research center at King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh.
In some parts of Saudi Arabia, particularly in the south, where Mrs. Hefthi was raised, the rate of marriage among blood relatives ranges from 55 to 70 percent, among the highest rates in the world, according to the Saudi government.
Widespread inbreeding in Saudi Arabia has produced several genetic disorders, Saudi public health officials said, including the blood diseases of thalassemia, a potentially fatal hemoglobin deficiency, and sickle cell anemia. Spinal muscular atrophy and diabetes are also common, especially in the regions with the longest traditions of marriage between relatives. Dr. Sakati said she had also found links between inbreeding and deafness and muteness.
Saudi health authorities, well aware of the enormous social and economic costs of marriage between family members, have quietly debated what to do for decades, since before Mrs. Hefthi was married 23 years ago. Now, for the first time, the government, after starting a nationwide educational campaign to inform related couples who intend to marry of the risk of genetic disease, is planning to require mandatory blood tests before marriage and premarital counseling.
Health officials and genetic researchers here say there is no way to stop inbreeding in this deeply conservative Muslim society, where marrying within the family is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years.
Today, when most unions are still arranged by parents, marrying into wealth and influence often means marrying a relative. Social lives are so restricted that it is virtually impossible for men and women to meet one another outside the umbrella of an extended family. Courtships without parental supervision are rare.
Among more educated Saudis, marrying relatives has become less common and younger generations have begun to pull away from the practice. But for the vast majority, the tradition is still deeply embedded in Saudi culture.
Statistics on the prevalence of genetically based diseases and the extent to which they are a direct result of marriage between close relatives — second cousins or closer — are scarce or unreliable because many Saudi parents raise their disabled children in obscurity, ashamed to seek services.
That has begun to change as more programs intended to educate disabled children open in Saudi Arabia, where there were almost none until a decade ago. Genetic research is emerging here and several projects have recently begun in an effort to document the connection between inbreeding and disease and to quantify the prevalence of the diseases.
In the case of spinal muscular atrophy, if both parents are carriers of the gene, the couple has a 25 percent chance of having a child with the disease — or one in four children. The percentage regrettably turned out to be much higher for Mrs. Hefthi and her husband, with four out of their seven children afflicted.
Image courtesy of Peoplescube.com
Copyright 2012 The Fine Report
Copyright 2012 The Fine Report
Copyright 2012 The Fine Report
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TheFineReport.com has been live since Sunday night (April 24, 2012), and has received 45,000 visits so far, from all over the world, and even one from Venus (we were told the weather is not good).
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The scene: Obama advisor David Axelrod spoke with Obama at 2PM, the end of Obama’s work day. This conversation would have taken place earlier in the day, but Axelrod arrived at 10:30AM, a half hour before Obama normally comes down from the White House living quarters.
Axelrod: Barack, I’m going on TV tomorrow and claim you’re apoplectic about the GSA scandal. I’ll just say the usual, you know, we’re saving money by spending money, blah, blah, blah.
Axelrod: Do you have any questions?
Axelrod: You sure?
Axelrod: C’mon – think.
(Obama thinks. Then…)
Obama: What’s ‘apolo…’ mean?
Axelrod: Apoplectic. It means you’re very upset. Like, crazy upset.
Obama: I’m not upset at all.
Axelrod: I’m going to claim you are. Highly upset.
Obama: About what?
Axelrod: About the whole GSA scandal.
Obama: What scandal? Another scandal?
Axelrod: You know, the thing about them going to Vegas.
Obama: But I told Americans not to go to Vegas.
Axelrod: This is different. They went to Vegas for government work, but got a little too frisky. ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?’ Not this time.
Obama: What do you mean, ‘what happens in Vegas?’
Axelrod: It’s an expression – a marketing idea.
Obama: I don’t understand.
Axelrod: — So people come to Vegas and get crazy and spend money on debauchery.
Axelrod: I see a question building.
Obama: What’s debauchery?
Axelrod: It means to get crazy with sex.
Obama: Why, what’d they do?
Axelrod: They partied and got laid, but on the government dime. Worse, they got caught.
Obama: Who knows about this?
Axelrod: Everybody. It’s a big scandal. Issa’s even talking about it. That’s why I gotta go on TV.
Obama: Damn. Does this mean I can’t play golf today?
Axelrod: I’d lay off for the week. Wait till the GSA thing blows over a bit.
Obama: What’s the GSA?
Axelrod: It’s the focus of the scandal – the General Services Administration!
Obama: Oh them. Yeah, I can see where I’d be apop… apop….
Obama: …What’s the General Services Administration do?
Axelrod: It’s an agency that buys everything for the government. And also manages a few things here and there.
Obama: So just to be sure, in case anybody asks me: I’m apopo…
Axelrod: — Apoplectic.
Obama: — I’m apopoplectric because…
Axelrod: — Because they partied in Vegas on government money.
Axelrod: The GSA!
Obama: So I’m mad the GSA partied in Vegas.
Obama: Why do you keep using that word!
Axelrod: It makes you sound more intelligent and more thoughtful about things.
Obama: Just make sure it’s written big on the teleprompter. I don’t want to go through another ‘corpseman’ thing.
Axelrod: What the hell’s a ‘corpseman?’
Obama: I don’t know! I thought it meant a guy in the military.
Axelrod: No, that’s a ‘corpsman.’
Obama: So there’ no ‘p’?
Axelrod: No, there’s a ‘p.’ But it’s silent.
Obama: Do me a favor: on the teleprompter, don’t use letters that are silent, okay? Just leave them out.
Axelrod: There are no silent letters in apoplectic, you don’t have to worry.
Obama: Are there any silent letters in ‘golf?’
Axelrod: No. Why?
Obama: (shrugs) Never know when it might come up.
(Axelrod heads for the door)
Axelrod: Okay. Tomorrow first thing, I’ll tell what’s going on with the Secret Service.
Obama: Not before eleven.
Axelrod: I wouldn’t think of it.
(Long pause. Axelrod stops, looks back at Obama)
Obama: Is something going on with the Secret Service?
Axelrod: (As he walks out the door) Tomorrow, 11AM… What I wouldn’t give right now to be the head writer on Saturday Night Live.
1- will relieve the $5,000,000.000,000.00 budget debt created by Obama by a possible .0094%;
2- despite encouraging class warfare and targeting the nation’s most successful investors, it will somehow manage to encourage them to invest further in the U.S. instead of foreign markets;
3- will cure cancer;
4- stop global warming; and
5- temporarily relieve itching associated with minor cuts, prickly heat, rashes and insect bites.
“Which brings us to the moral codes of Mormonism that Mr. Romney claims to live by,” Bashir said. “In Section 63, in verse 17 of the Doctrine and Covenants of the Mormon Church we find this: ‘All liars, and whosoever loveth and and maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.’ And from the Book of Mormon to Nephi, Chapter 2, Verse 34 we find this: ‘Woe unto the liar, for he shall be thrust down to hell.’” And based on Bashir’s interpretation, he said Romney can either win the White House and be condemned to “eternal damnation,” or just tell the truth.