The Daily Star (Lebanon)

U.K. offers prescripti­on for loneliness – with no drugs


LONDON: Doctors in England will be able to write prescripti­ons for cooking classes and walking groups by 2023 as part of the government’s effort to combat loneliness. Prime Minister Theresa May Monday described loneliness as “one of the greatest public health challenges of our time,” saying it is linked with a range of illnesses, including heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The government says around 200,000 older people across the country haven’t had a conversati­on with a friend or relative in more than a month. The government’s strategy calls for “social prescribin­g,” which will allow doctors to recommend group activities such as cooking classes, walking groups and art clubs, instead of drugs. About 1.8 million pounds ($2.4 million) has been earmarked for the initiative. –

Climate change means high prices for beer lovers

WASHINGTON: Global warming will brew trouble for beer lovers in coming decades as it shrinks yields of barley, the top grain used to make the world’s most popular alcoholic drink, a study published Monday said. Extreme weather events featuring both heat waves and droughts will occur as often as every two or three years in the second half of the century if temperatur­es rise at current rates, the study said. Average global barley yields during extreme events are expected to drop between 3 and 17 percent, depending on the conditions, said the study, published in the journal Nature Plants. Less barley will mean beer shortages and price spikes. Under the hottest scenario, China will suffer the most shortages this century, followed by the U.S., Germany, and Russia, it said. Prices will spike the most in Ireland, Italy, Canada and Poland. –

Indian MP sues woman alleging sexual harassment

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Indian government Minister M.J. Akbar filed a defamation suit against one of at least 10 women accusing him of sexual harassment Monday, calling her allegation­s false and malicious. The lawsuit names journalist Priya Ramani as the sole accused and says she “intentiona­lly put forward malicious, fabricated and salacious” allegation­s to harm his reputation. The lawsuit comes amid widespread calls on social media for Akbar’s resignatio­n from his post as the minister of state for external affairs. Akbar, 67, a veteran editor who founded several publicatio­ns, has been accused of a range of inappropri­ate behavior by female journalist­s who previously worked as his subordinat­es. In a one-page statement Sunday, Akbar described allegation­s against him as “wild and baseless” and questioned if they were politicall­y motivated. –

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