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Polish ruling party forming minority govt, rejects partners | Govt-and-politics



Polish ruling party forming minority govt, rejects partners

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki speaks during a news conference following joint meetings of the government of the Lithuania and the government of the Poland at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnius, Lithuania, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020.

An official with Poland’s conservative governing party said Friday that the the country’s right-wing coalition government has collapsed.

Marek Suski said the Law and Justice party will continue to run Poland as a minority government, without the junior partners that were part of the right-wing coalition.

“Our former coalition partners should be packing up their desks,” Suski said

Law and Justice has been governing with the support of two small parties, one led by the justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro.

The announcement Friday morning came after Ziobro and his party members refused to vote for an animal welfare bill which powerful Law and Justice leader Jarosław Kaczyński proposed.

Kaczyński, 71, is a lawmaker in parliament and has no official government role, but he is widely understood to be Poland’s dominating political force, deciding government policies and appointments.

The lower house of parliament, or Sejm, approved provisions of the proposed bill that include the prohibition of breeding fur animals and limitations on ritual slaughter.

Law and Justice managed to get the bill passed with the support of opposition lawmakers.

Suski confirmed that Kaczyński told members of Law and Justice’s junior partners in a closed-door meeting before the vote that “the tail cannot wag the dog.”

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Political expert to address Cambria Chamber remote conference | Coronavirus




Just ahead of the presidential election, professor and nationally renowned pollster G. Terry Madonna is set to hold a Zoom presentation Monday that is open to the public.

Madonna’s presentation was organized by the Cambria Regional Chamber.

Madonna is director for Franklin & Marshall University’s Center for Politics and Public Affairs. He is also founder of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll.

Participants in the 2 p.m. Monday Zoom presentation will have the opportunity to ask questions, Madonna said.

“I’m going to give an update on the presidential election – where it stands, what are challenges both candidates face, and latest polling numbers in battle ground states, including Pennsylvania,” he said.

He said he’ll also discuss President Donald Trump’s presidency.

“Elections are always about the incumbent,” he said. “The race has tightened in the last week.”

The Real Clear Politics average poll shows Joe Biden leading Trump by a about eight points nationally.

“We’ll also take a look at how the election will have an impact on the American economy and world affairs,” Madonna said.

The price to attend the Zoom meeting is $20 or $60 for a group of four people or more. For Chamber members, the rate is $15 or $50 for a group of four people or more.

The Oct. 26 presentation is scheduled a week out from the Nov. 3 election election.

Cambria Regional Chamber President Amy Bradley said she is excited to have Madonna present his insight on the election and voter behavior.

“There are a lot of different scenarios that could play out from the election of the president and the U.S. House and Senate,” Bradley said. “From a business perspective, we thought it would be great to have him talk about different scenarios and what they mean for business. He’s an excellent presenter.”

Registration for the event can be completed online. To reach the Chamber by phone, call (814) 536-5107.

Russ O’Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.


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Elections, politics can raise blood pressure. Here’s what you can do to protect your health. – News –




A study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found the 2016 U.S. presidential election was associated with an increase in heart attacks and stroke. Doctors say Meditation, exercise and sleep help maintain health in stressful times.

The rising political heat of the election season may cause people’s blood to boil in a figurative sense — but could it literally be dangerous to people’s health?

Physicians and scientists say the answer increasingly appears to be “yes,” especially for hypertension patients.

A study published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found the 2106 U.S. presidential election was associated with an increase in heart attacks and stroke.

Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Kaiser Permanente analyzed data from a large swath of patients in Southern California to reach their conclusions.

For Dr. Naomi Fisher, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the evidence is anecdotal, but striking.

The director of the hospital’s Hypertension Service and Hypertension Specialty Clinic, Fisher has hypertension patients keep a diary of activities along with a chart of their blood pressure as recorded on home monitors.

“I have noticed on several occasions a correlation between a rise in blood pressure and the patient saying they were watching a campaign speech, they were watching a debate,” Fisher said.

“The election news can make them emotionally upset, angry or even enraged,” she said.

That’s bad news for people whose blood pressure is considered more reactive to stressful events.

Epinephrine and cortisol are released from adrenal glands and can cause a spike in blood pressure, Fisher said. If sustained, elevated blood pressure poses a risk for heart attack and stroke.

“The campaign season has been going on for months,” she said. And the coronavirus pandemic — another major stressor — “may be going on for years.”

Meditation, guided breathing and yoga

The good news is that people can take steps in addition to medication to bring their blood pressure down.

With practices such as yoga, meditation, guided breathing and tai chi, “you can train yourself to dampen those physiologic responses,” Fisher said.

Informational packet for patients in hypertension sessions at Community Health Center of Cape Cod:

– Tips on stress management

– Hypertension information for patients

– Eating well: Shopping list for healthy eating

– Eating well: A well-balanced plate

– Eating well: Seasonal blends | Recipe for quick beet slaw

“It is something we can train our bodies to do. Sit and dedicate 10 to 15 minutes a day on a regular basis,” she said. “It works.”

Laura E. Kanter, a psychologist at the Community Health Center of Cape Cod in Mashpee, recommends apps such as Calm, Insight Tamer, Pranayama and Headspace when meeting with hypertension patients as part of a multidisciplinary team that also includes a doctor, nurse and nutritionist.

“No matter who you are voting for, this is a very stressful time,” Kanter said. The uncertainty “of not knowing what’s to come, whether it’s the virus, the election, the protests (or) climate change” increases anxiety and stress, she said.

Kanter asks patients what has worked for them in the past and recommends they take care of themselves with proper nutrition and exercise in addition to meditation.

The 2016 election

Jane McElroy Ph.D., and Dr. Shamita Misra at the University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine suspected from a small pilot study of eight patients in 2009 that deep breathing exercises had the ability to reduce blood pressure quite a bit — 11 points for systolic pressure and eight points for diastolic pressure.

But they did not anticipate the impact of the 2016 presidential election when they designed a larger randomized controlled trial with more than 80 participants four years ago.

Hypertension patients selected for the intervention did six weeks of deep breathing exercises in three separate waves — the first in October of 2016, the second in November of 2016 and the last in February of 2017.

The 15-minute exercises included rapid exhalation, alternate nostril breathing, humming, chanting and something called bellow breathing.

The researchers were surprised when the intervention resulted in no improvement in the blood pressure of October participants.

The November participants showed a blood pressure decrease of six points but it wasn’t until the February participants had come through that the trial results reflected the pilot study decline in blood pressure of 11 points, McElroy and Misra said during an interview over Zoom last week.

They said the results led them to wonder if the election played a role in their results.

The first wave of participants — the ones who had no change in blood pressure despite the deep breathing exercises — “were right in the middle of everything,” McElroy said.

But the last wave of participants, who showed the most improvement, were clear of the campaigns, election and inauguration.

“There seemed to have been a lot of opinions during the election, a lot of very heartfelt opinions,” McElroy said

She wonders if the deep breathing exercises had some protective effect on the first-wave participants — while their blood pressure didn’t go down, it didn’t rise either.

In that sense the University of Missouri participants fared better than individuals in the Harvard and Kaiser review of patients in a large Southern California health system following the 2016 election.

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s website, the hospitalization rate for acute cardiovascular disease events was 1.62 times higher two days after the election compared to the same two days in the week prior to the election.

“The results were similar across sex, age, and race and ethnicity groups, and the findings suggest that sociopolitical stress may trigger CVD events,” the public health school said.

Be kind to yourself

Fisher, who sends out letters with information about deep breathing and meditation to her patients, said she urges hypertension patients to be kind and attentive to themselves during these stressful times.

Exercise 30 minutes a day — try dancing — walk a dog, limit alcohol consumption and get enough sleep, Fisher said.

Whether it be yoga, tai chi, guided breathing or meditation it’s important to dedicate time each day to mindfulness, she said.

“I urge (patients) to keep experimenting until they find one (technique) that helps them relax,” Fisher said.

“Elections will happen every four years,” Misra said. “The most important thing is to take care of your health.”

Helpful links from McElroy: Breathing instructions video:

Breathing exercises video:

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Voting rights restoration creates 2,550 new voters in Iowa | Govt. & Politics




DES MOINES — The voting rights of roughly 35,000 felons in Iowa who had completed their sentences were restored this summer by an executive order. But as of August, only 2,550 — roughly 7% of those newly eligible — had registered to vote for this fall’s election, according to Iowa Secretary of State data.

For advocates who had been pressing for the automatic restoration of voting rights for Iowa felons who complete their sentences, that number represents a good start but also shows how much work remains.

“On the one hand, it’s great that over 2,500 people have become eligible to vote and have exercised that right by registering,” said Mark Stringer, executive director of the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

However, Stringer said that number is also “disappointingly low.”

“We will continue to try to elevate this opportunity for folks,” Stringer said.

Chawn Yilmaz, a Cedar Rapids woman, said she is one of the 2,550 Iowans who registered to vote after having those rights restored by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ executive order, which automatically restored the voting rights of any felon in Iowa who had completed his or her sentence. Before the order, those individuals were required to petition the governor directly to have their voting rights restored. Iowa was the last state in the nation with that requirement.

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