Study: Pollution is the World's No. 1 Killer
Pollution is the world's No. 1 killer, a new study says, causing more premature deaths than war, terrorism, natural disasters, cigarettes and disease.
A new study in the medical journal Lancet said pollution -- both outdoor and indoor -- killed about 9 million people in 2015, or one out of every six deaths.
"Pollution threatens fundamental human rights, such as the right to life, health, well-being, safe work as well as protections of children and the most vulnerable," co-author Karti Sandilya said.
The study said the overwhelming majority of pollution-related deaths come in developing countries where the authors say leaders are more concerned about building their economies and infrastructure than environmental regulations.
Bangladesh, China, Haiti, India, Pakistan, North Korea and South Sudan are some of the most affected countries.
But one of the study's authors, Richard Fuller, said pollution is tied to slow economic development in wealthy and poor nations.
"There is this myth that finance ministers still live by, that you have to let industry pollute or else you won’t develop. What people don't realize ... people who are sick or dead cannot contribute to the economy. They need to be looked after," Fuller said.
The study said the figure of 9 million premature deaths a year is a conservative estimate and that the actual number is likely to be much higher.
A separate World Bank study has said slashing pollution must be a priority, saying solving this problem would lead to solutions to other crises, including global warming and malnutrition.
Trump Celebrates Diwali, Hindu Festival of Lights
U.S. President Donald Trump has celebrated the Hindu holiday of Diwali, known as the festival of lights, in a lamp-lighting ceremony in the Oval Office.
Indian-American members of the Trump administration, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, gathered with the president Tuesday to hear him read an official statement and observe as he lit the ceremonial oil lamp.
In his statement, Trump said, "We especially remember the people of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world's largest democracy."
Speaking to Indian-Americans in the room and elsewhere, Trump said, "You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education."
He continued, "America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve bravely in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land."
In celebrating the holiday, Trump said, "We reaffirm that Indian-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American family.
Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted a Diwali greeting, saying, "May we all strive for peace, prosperity, and the triumph of light over darkness."
Celebration of Diwali was started in the White House by President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama was the first president to light the diya at the White House celebration.
Diwali is held late in the year as a celebration of light over darkness and good over evil. Families and friends come together to celebrate with lamp-lighting, feasting, and holiday shopping. In some parts of India, it is considered the start of a new Hindu year.