female genital mutilation, becomes illegal in the United States, according to measures included in a congressional spending bill last fall. Anyone who performs or arranges for FGM on girls under the age of 18 will be fined, or face up to five years in prison, or both. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 150,000 women and girls in the United States have had FGM performed on them or are at risk. Another of the bill's provisions, which takes effect next September, requires U.S. representatives to international financial institutions to oppose most loans to countries where FGM is common unless those countries have instituted educational programs aimed at eradicating the practice.
[For daily information on the skies, visit the Skywatcher's Diary of Michigan State University's Abrams Planetarium.]
It appears to, according to a study conducted at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. Researchers compared the effects of chicken soup and other liquids on "nasal mucus velocity" and found, for reasons they could not determine, that chicken soup increases the flow of mucus, thereby shortening the time that germs are in the body. Another researcher has theorized that this effect is partly due to the amino acid cysteine, which is found in chicken skin and feathers and which he postulates is released from the skin when chicken soup is heated. Cysteine is chemically very similar to the drug acetylcysteine, a mucus-loosening agent commonly prescribed for patients with bronchitis and other respiratory disorders. It is also an antioxidant, and may have a protective effect on the delicate tissues of the lungs.
Illustrations by Ellen Mueller
The Atlantic Monthly; March 1997; The March Almanac; Volume 279, No.3; page 14.