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1.Project Seeks to Cut Deaths, Build Market for Clean Cookstoves Smoke rises as an Indian woman cooks a mid-day meal on a traditional oven in Calcutta in 2007 This is the VOA Special English Development Report. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced a plan to get cleaner-burning cooking stoves into developing countries. The plan aims to reduce deaths caused by smoke from the traditional use of solid fuels and open fires. Almost half the world's people breathe smoke from coal and biomass fuels like wood, dung and crop waste. The smoke can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, low birth weight and other problems. It also increases the risk of pneumonia, a leading cause of death in young children. Women and children are most at risk because they spend the most time in the kitchen. Also, in areas of conflict, the search for fuel puts women at increased risk of violence. The goal of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves is one hundred million homes using safer cookstoves and fuels by twenty twenty. Secretary Clinton said last week in New York that clean stoves could make as big a difference in the world as bed nets or vaccines. HILLARY CLINTON: "The World Health Organization considers smoke from dirty stoves to be one of the five most serious health risks that face people in poor, developing countries. Nearly two million people die from its effects each year, more than twice the number from malaria. And because the smoke contains greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, as well as black carbon, it contributes to climate change." Founding partners in the alliance include governments and United Nations agencies, nonprofit groups and the energy company Shell. The alliance hopes to raise at least two hundred fifty million dollars within ten years. The United States has promised to donate more than fifty million dollars over the next five years. The aim is to create a strong global market for clean cookstoves. The alliance will identify target markets and work to get women involved in business operations. It will also develop indoor air-quality guidelines, test clean stoves and fuels and develop "research roadmaps." The United States Environmental Protection Agency has donated six million dollars towards the effort. EPA istrator Lisa Jackson says the problem of cookstove pollution is really an issue of poverty. LISA JACKSON: "This is in many ways the ultimate environmental justice issue. We can't fix everything in their lives immediately but today we're starting a process to help them meet the most basic human need -- cooking a meal in a way that won't cause them harm." And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. You can read and listen to our programs -- and learn more about projects in the developing world -- at 51voa.com. I'm Steve Ember. 2.Hand Washing Is Up in Public Restrooms in US A child learns hand washing at an elementary school in Beaverton, Oregon This is the VOA Special English Health Report. Every few years, two groups do a study of how many Americans wash their hands after using the toilet. These groups are the American Society for Microbiology and the American Cleaning Institute, formerly the Soap and Detergent Association.

There was good news in the latest study. Researchers found that eighty-five percent of adults washed their hands in public restrooms last month. That was the most yet since the studies began in nineteen ninety-six. Researchers visited restrooms at a baseball park in Atlanta and a science museum and aquarium in Chicago. They also visited two train stations in New York City and a large farmers market in San Francisco. In all, they observed about six thousand adults. The researchers found that seventy-seven percent of men and ninety-three percent of women washed their hands. That was up from sixty-six percent of men and eighty-eight percent of women in the last study three years ago. The lowest rate of hand washing among men was at Turner Field, home of the Atlanta Braves baseball team. Only sixty-five percent of men washed their hands, compared to all but two percent of women. Chicago and San Francisco had the most hand washers -- eighty-nine percent of adults. Atlanta followed at eighty-two percent. New York had the lowest rate, at seventy-nine percent of the adults observed at Grand Central Station and Penn Station. The findings of the observational study conflicted with the findings of a separate telephone survey of about one thousand people. Ninety-six percent of them said they always wash their hands after using public restrooms. Almost nine out of ten also said they always wash after using the bathroom at home. Hand washing can help prevent the spread of many different infections. To clean your hands well, wet them first and rub in soap for at least twenty seconds, including between the fingers and under the nails. Then rinse under running water. In a public restroom, if you dry your hands with a paper towel, you should also use the towel to shut off the water and open the door. Hand washing is also important when preparing food and after changing a baby's diaper. You should also wash if you cough or sneeze into your hands. If you use an alcohol-based product instead of soap and water, make sure it contains at least sixty percent alcohol. Bringing Attention to Differences in Suicide Around the World Brigadier General Stephen Townsend speaks to soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky about suicide prevention last year This is the VOA Special English Health Report. This Friday is World Suicide Prevention Day. This year's observance is meant to bring attention to the differences among suicidal individuals and their situations around the world. But the organizers also say that all over the world, people have something in common. They need to feel connected to others for good mental health. The organizers include the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization says that every year about one million people kill themselves. It says suicide is one of the top three causes of death among people between the ages of fifteen and forty-four. Among people age ten to twenty-four, suicide is the second leading cause of death, after road accidents.

Lanny Berman is president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. He points out that suicide rates differ from country to country, as do common ways that people kill themselves. As a result, he says, prevention efforts must fit with local needs. LANNY BERMAN: "The focus is on the primary methods of suicide in developing countries which have been pesticides, pesticide poisoning and overdose. And there have been some significant efforts to develop prevention programs to reduce the use of pesticides, the availability and accessibility of pesticide." Mr. Berman says findings from agricultural areas of Sri Lanka, India and China show promise. They show that programs are helping to limit access to these poisons. LANNY BERMAN: "In China, particularly rural or farm women die by suicide by overdose of pesticide. And by creating lock boxes and making it more difficult to have easy accessibility to pesticides, we've been able to show that we can reduce the use of pesticides and thereby the rate of suicide." There are often clear warning signs before a suicide attempt. Lanny Berman says individuals usually talk about the idea before they try it. LANNY BERMAN: "When somebody communicates that they are thinking about suicide, threatening suicide, writing about it, in some way communicating that they have suicide on their brain, that indication should be taken seriously." Another warning sign, he says, is a sudden increase in the use of drugs or alcohol. Warning signs also include expressions of hopelessness or a sense of feeling trapped. Mr. Berman says the risk of suicide can be more difficult to identify in children. They generally communicate more with other children than with adults. But the other children often do not understand the messages. As a result, he says, when children speak of suicide, other children rarely report it. And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. You can post comments and find transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our programs at 51voa.com. I'm Steve Ember. 4.For Lots of People, Getting Older Means Getting Happier Rush Spedden stands in front of a group of the Wild Old Bunch at a ski resort in Alta, Utah, in this file photo This is the VOA Special English Health Report. Old age may not sound exciting. But recent findings offer good news for older people and for people worr about getting older. Researchers found that people become happier and experience less worry after they reach the age of fifty. In fact, they say by the age of eighty-five, people are happier with their life than they were when they were eighteen years old. The findings came from a survey of more than three hundred forty thousand adults in the United States. The Gallup Organization questioned them by telephone in two thousand eight. At that time, the people were between the ages of eighteen and eighty-five. The researchers asked questions about emotions like happiness, sadness and worry. They also asked about mental or emotional stress. Arthur Stone in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stony Brook University in New York led the study. His team found that levels of stress were highest among adults between the ages of twenty-two and twenty-five. The findings showed that stress levels dropped sharply after people reached their fifties.

Happiness was highest among the youngest adults and those in their early seventies。 The people least likely to report feeling negative emotions were those in their seventies and eighties。 The study also showed that men and women have similar emotional patterns as they grow older。 However, women at all ages reported more sadness, stress and worry than men。 The findings appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences。 Researchers say they do not know why happiness increases as people get older。 One theory is that, as people grow older, they grow more thankful for what they have and have better control of their emotions。 They also spend less time thinking about bad experiences。 Professor Stone says the emotional patterns could be linked to changes in how people see the world, or maybe even changes in brain chemistry。 The researchers also considered possible influences like having young children, being unemployed or being single。 But they found that influences like these did not affect the levels of happiness and well-being related to age。 And that's the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Brianna Blake。 Tell us what you think about the relationship between happiness and age。 You can post comments on our website, 51voa。com, or on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English。 I'm Barbara Klein。 5。How Failure Can Lead to Long-Lasting Knowledge Retired Navy Admiral Harold Gehman served as chairman of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which sought lessons from the 2003 shuttle disaster This is the VOA Special English Education Report。 No one likes to make mistakes。 But a new study says organizations learn more from their failures than their successes, and keep that knowledge longer。 One of the researchers was Vinit Desai, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School。 He worked with Peter Madsen from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University in Utah。 They did not find much long-term "organizational learning" from success。 It is possible, they say。 But Professor Desai says they found that knowledge gained from failure lasts for years。 He says organizations should treat failures as a learning opportunity and not try to ignore them。 The study looked at companies and organizations that launch satellites and other space vehicles。 Professor Desai compared two shuttle flights。 In two thousand two, a piece of insulating material broke off during launch and damaged a rocket on the Atlantis。 Still, the flight was considered a success。 Then, in early two thousand three, a piece of insulation struck the Columbia during launch。 This time, the shuttle broke apart on re-entry and the seven crew members d。 NASA officials suspended all flights and an investigation led to suggested changes。 Professor Desai says the search for solutions after a failure can make leaders more open-minded。 He points to airlines as an example of an industry that has learned from failures in the past。 He advises organizations to look for useful information in small failures and failures they avoided。 He also urges leaders to encourage the open sharing of information。 The study appeared in the Academy of Management Journal。 The mistakes we learn from do not have to be our own。 We recently asked people on our Facebook page to tell us a time they had done something really silly。

Fabricio Cimino wrote: Not long ago I wanted to watch TV, but it wouldn't turn on, so I did everything I could to start it. Thirty minutes later my mum shows up and, passing by, says to me "Did you try plugging it?" I was like "I'm just dusting, Mum!" so she wouldn't notice how dumb I am sometimes! Bruno Kanieski da Silva told about a time he looked everywhere for his key. It was in his pocket. He wrote: I always promise I will never do it again, but after a few weeks ... where is my wallet? For sure it will be in a very logical place. You can find more comments like these on Facebook at VOA Learning English. And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Avi Arditti. I'm Steve Ember.

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