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Qatar: The Richest Fattest Nation on Earth

Thank you, reader John, for passing along this fascinating article from The Atlantic:

Qatar is a tiny country with a big problem.

This Connecticut-sized nation, sticking out like a loose tooth in the Persian Gulf, is one of the most obese nations in the world, with residents fatter, on average, than even those of the United States, which often takes the cake in such competitions.

According to recent studies, roughly half of adults and a third of children in Qatar are obese, and almost 17 percent of the native population suffers from diabetes. By comparison, about a third of Americans are obese, and eight percent are diabetic. Qatar also has very high rates of birth defects and genetic disorders — problems that, along with the prevalence of obesity (PDF) and diabetes, have worsened in recent decades, according to local and international health experts.

So what’s going wrong in little Qatar?

Qatar also has very high rates of birth defects and genetic disorders — problems that have worsened in recent decades.
To misappropriate a well-worn phrase: It’s the economy, stupid. In September, Qatar officially became the richest nation in the world, as measured by per capita gross domestic product. It also recently became the world’s biggest exporter of natural gas, and earned the title of fastest growing economy in the world. By international development standards, all this growth has happened virtually overnight, making Qataris’ lifestyles much more unhealthy, and at the same time leading many to hang on resolutely to what’s left of their fleeting tribal traditions — practices that include inter-marriage between close family members and cousins.

“They’re concentrating the gene pool, and at the same time, they’re facing rapid affluence,” said Sharoud Al-Jundi Matthis, the program manager at the Qatar Diabetes Association, a government funded health center in Doha, the capital. As a result of these factors, Qataris are becoming obese, passing on genetic disorders at an alarming rate, and getting diabetes much more often than others around the world. They’re also getting diabetes a decade younger than the average age of onset, which is pushing up rates of related illnesses and complications, like hypertension, blindness, partial paralysis, heart disease, and loss of productivity. “It’s a very, very serious problem facing the future of Qatar,” Matthis said.

It’s a fascinating read, not too long, little more than double what you have already read. You can read the entire article by clicking HERE: The Atlantic

Thank you, John, for the recomendation.

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Financial Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar, Social Issues, Statistics, Women's Issues, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

Possible Protest Gathering at the U.S. Embassy on November 20, 2011

Kuwait City, Kuwait
November 20, 2011

Subject: Possible Protest Gathering at the U.S. Embassy on November 20,

Please circulate the following message without additions or omissions
immediately to all U.S. Citizens within your area of responsibility.

There are unconfirmed reports of a possible silent protest gathering in front of
the U.S. Embassy on Sunday, November 20 at 19:00. The gathering may take place
near the main Embassy gate. An increased police and security presence around
the Embassy compound is expected.

Spontaneous and planned demonstrations take place in Kuwait from time to time in
response to world events or local developments. At times, even demonstrations
intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into
violence. Please avoid the areas of demonstrations and exercise caution if
within the vicinity of any large gatherings. Please stay current with media
coverage of local events, be aware of your surroundings, and practice personal
security awareness at all times.

U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad should enroll in the Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program (STEP) at the following website:

U.S. citizens without internet access may enroll directly at the U.S. Embassy or
Consulate at their destination. By enrolling, U.S. citizens make it easier for
the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

Updated information on travel and security may be obtained from the Department
of State by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or,
for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at
1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). For further
information, please consult the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet website at where the Worldwide Caution and Country Specific
Information can be found. In addition, the Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to
review “A Safe Trip Abroad,” which includes valuable security information for
those traveling or living in foreign countries. You can also follow the Bureau
of Consular Affairs on Twitter and on Facebook.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Al-Masjid Al-Aqsa Street, Block 6, Plot 14,
Bayan, Kuwait. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of emergency assistance in
Kuwait, you may reach the U.S. Embassy by calling +965-2259-1001 and requesting
the duty officer.

U.S. citizens in Kuwait who would like to receive future Emergency and
Informational Messages from the Embassy directly by e-mail may sign up for this
service by sending an e-mail to the following address:

This message may be accessed on the Embassy website,
Please note that the Consular Section is closed for U.S. and most local
holidays. The current holiday schedule for 2011 is posted on

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Kuwait | Leave a comment

Who Gets Into Heaven?

Today at Christ Church in Pensacola, when Father Neal Goldsborough gave the sermon, I had a very un-churchlike urge to get up and dance for joy. He was preaching on Matthew 25: 31 – 46, where Christ the King sits in majesty and judges who will have the kingdom of heaven, and who will burn in the lake of fire.

Here was today’s reading:

Matthew 25:31-46
New International Version (NIV)
The Sheep and the Goats

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

When he started out, I was a little nervous, because I was afraid he was going to talk about the fat sheep and the thin sheep, but that was the reading from Ezekiel:

(Ezekiel 34:11-16
New International Version (NIV)
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.

Since I might be mistaken for one of the fatter sheep, you can understand why I was a little nervous. Also, I had a huge “AHA!” moment living in Jordan, as the shepherd and his sheep and goats passed by my house daily. The sheep were incredibly stupid, but they trusted their shepherd, and the shepherd took good care of them. While they were excavating channels to put in underground pipes in our area, I watched the shepherd carry each sheep across the little wooden walk way, because they were too afraid to do it on their own. The goats would do it, but I still wouldn’t want to be a goat. I don’t really want to be a sheep either.

And I digress.

Here’s what Father Neal said about our gospel reading. He said Jesus doesn’t say you have to have invited him into your heart. He said that if you feed the hungry, give some water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the needy, look after the sick and visit those in prison, ypu’re in. You’re righteous.

It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for, something scriptural to support what my heart knows – that there are those who are not Christians who are going to be in the kingdom of heaven, too. It’s not a matter of saying these words or those words, or believing exactly as “they” tell us we must believe, it is a matter of serving the king by tending to and serving his sheep. He LOVES the least of these. It gives me hope; even I might have a chance of inclusion.

November 20, 2011 Posted by | Character, Charity, Civility, Leadership, Spiritual, Values | , | 1 Comment