Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘Safety’ Category

Ebola vs People

Ricken Patel –

10:58 PM (14 hours ago)

 
Ebola could threaten us all, and the most urgent need to stop it is for volunteers.

If just 120 doctors among us volunteer, it will *double* the number of doctors in Sierra Leone. Other volunteers – in health, sanitation, logistics – can help too. This is a call to serve humanity in the deepest possible way, to accept serious risk for our fellow human beings.

Click to learn more, and show our gratitude to those making this powerful choice:

TAKE ACTION NOW

Three weeks ago, hundreds of thousands of us went offline to fight climate change. This week, we’re going offline to help stop Ebola.

The Ebola virus is spiraling out of control. Cases in West Africa are doubling every 2-3 weeks and the latest estimate says that up to 1.4 million people could be infected by mid-January.

Talking about exponential growth is frightening

At that scale, this monster threatens the entire world.

I just read that the UN has only $100,000 in its fund for the Ebola outbreak

Mind you that AIDS harvest over 1.5 million each year (as much as Malaria and Dysentery combined).

Though, malaria is the number one disease followed by dysentery that put heavy burden on the States in Africa and Equatorial countries.

Ricken Patel – Avaaz posted this Oct 18, 2014

Previous Ebola outbreaks have been repeatedly contained at small numbers. But the scale of this epidemic has swamped the region’s weak health systems.

Liberia has less than 1 doctor for every 100,000 people. Governments are providing funds, but there just aren’t enough medical staff to stem the epidemic.

That’s where we come in.

39 million people are receiving this email. Our polling shows that 6% of us are health workers – doctors or nurses – that’s nearly 2 million of us.

If just 120 doctors among us volunteer, it will *double* the number of doctors in Sierra Leone.

Other volunteers can help too — lab technicians, logisticians, water and sanitation workers, and transport workers. Volunteering means more than time. It means risk.

Health professionals have already died fighting Ebola. But if there’s any group of people that would consider taking this risk for their fellow human beings, it’s our community. I and others on the Avaaz team are ready to take that risk with you, traveling to the front lines of this crisis.

Great things come from listening to the deepest voices within us.

If you’re a health professional, or have other skills that can help, I ask you to take a moment, listen to the part of you that you most trust, and follow it.

Click below to volunteer, see messages from volunteers about why they’ve made this choice, and leave your own message of appreciation and encouragement for them:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ebola_volunteers_thank_you_3/?bFAfecb&v=47569

Raising your hand to volunteer is the first step. You’ll need to get, and provide, a lot of information to ensure you’re well matched to an available position. You will likely need to discuss this decision with your loved ones, and you can withdraw from the process later if you choose to. For this effort, Avaaz is working with Partners In Health, Save the Children, and International Medical Corps, three of the leading organisations fighting this deadly disease. We are also consulting with the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and the World Health Organization.

While there is substantial risk, there are also clear ways to contain that risk. 

Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, so with extreme care, the risk of contracting it can be minimized.

So far, 94 health care workers have died of Ebola in Liberia, but almost all of them have been national health workers, who sadly are far less well equipped than international volunteers. 

With treatment, the chances of surviving the virus are better than 50%.

Many of us, from police to activists to soldiers, have jobs that involve risking our lives for our country. It’s the most powerful statement we can make about what’s worth living for. Taking this risk to fight Ebola, makes a statement that our fellow human beings, wherever they are, are worth living for:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/ebola_volunteers_thank_you_3/?bFAfecb&v=47569

If Ebola spirals further out of control, it could soon threaten us all. The fact that a weak health care system in a small country can let this monster grow to a size that threatens the world is a powerful statement of just how interdependent we are. But this interdependence is far more than just interests.

We are connected, all of us, in a community of human beings.

All the lies that have divided us – about nation and religion and sexuality – are being torn down, and we are realizing that we really are one people, one tribe. 

That a young mother and her daughter in Liberia fear the same things and love the same things as a young mother and her daughter in Brazil, or the Netherlands. And in this unfolding understanding, a new world is being born. Out of the darkest places come our brightest lights. Out of the depths of the Ebola nightmare, let’s bring the hope of a new world of one people, willing to give, and sacrifice, for each other.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, John, Alice, Danny, and the whole Avaaz team.

More information:

Up to 1.4m people could be infected with Ebola by January, CDC warns (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/sep/23/ebola-cdc-millions-infected-quarantine-africa-epidemi…

Known Cases and Outbreaks of Ebola Virus Disease, in Chronological Order (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/history/chronology.html

Ebola ‘devouring everything in its path’ (Al Jazeera)
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2014/09/ebola-devouring-everything-path-201499161646914388.html

Ebola death rates 70% – WHO study (BBC)
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29327741

Unprecedented number of medical staff infected with Ebola (WHO)
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/ebola/25-august-2014/en/

 

You may sell your soul for money: As long as you are not a retard

 

And you ask me why I say Arabs are retards…
BTW those are the same people the rest of the world sold their soul to for money…

That includes Americans, Europeans, and Lebanese…

A snippet of an article about Dubai from the Independent:</p><br />
<p>There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other. There are the expats, there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here. They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look. It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?<br /><br />
Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away. Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.<br /><br />
Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means "City of Gold". In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.<br /><br />
Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. "To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell," he says. Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal's village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects. It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well. All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they'd pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.<br /><br />
As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised. If you don't like it, the company told him, go home. "But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket," he said. "Well, then you'd better get to work," they replied.<br /><br />
Sahinal was in a panic. His family back home – his son, daughter, wife and parents – were waiting for money, excited that their boy had finally made it. But he was going to have to work for more than two years just to pay for the cost of getting here – and all to earn less than he did in Bangladesh.<br /><br />
He shows me his room. It is a tiny, poky, concrete cell with triple-decker bunk-beds, where he lives with 11 other men. All his belongings are piled onto his bunk: three shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a cellphone. The room stinks, because the lavatories in the corner of the camp – holes in the ground – are backed up with excrement and clouds of black flies. There is no air conditioning or fans, so the heat is "unbearable. You cannot sleep. All you do is sweat and scratch all night." At the height of summer, people sleep on the floor, on the roof, anywhere where they can pray for a moment of breeze.<br /><br />
The water delivered to the camp in huge white containers isn't properly desalinated: it tastes of salt. "It makes us sick, but we have nothing else to drink," he says.<br /><br />
The work is "the worst in the world," he says. "You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable ... This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can't pee, not for days or weeks. It's like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren't allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon. You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die. If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer."<br /><br />
He is currently working on the 67th floor of a shiny new tower, where he builds upwards, into the sky, into the heat. He doesn't know its name. In his four years here, he has never seen the Dubai of tourist-fame, except as he constructs it floor-by-floor.<br /><br />
Is he angry? He is quiet for a long time. "Here, nobody shows their anger. You can't. You get put in jail for a long time, then deported." Last year, some workers went on strike after they were not given their wages for four months. The Dubai police surrounded their camps with razor-wire and water-cannons and blasted them out and back to work.<br /><br />
The "ringleaders" were imprisoned. I try a different question: does Sohinal regret coming? All the men look down, awkwardly. "How can we think about that? We are trapped. If we start to think about regrets..." He lets the sentence trail off. Eventually, another worker breaks the silence by adding: "I miss my country, my family and my land. We can grow food in Bangladesh. Here, nothing grows. Just oil and buildings."<br /><br />
Since the recession hit, they say, the electricity has been cut off in dozens of the camps, and the men have not been paid for months. Their companies have disappeared with their passports and their pay. "We have been robbed of everything. Even if somehow we get back to Bangladesh, the loan sharks will demand we repay our loans immediately, and when we can't, we'll be sent to prison."<br /><br />
This is all supposed to be illegal. Employers are meant to pay on time, never take your passport, give you breaks in the heat – but I met nobody who said it happens. Not one. These men are conned into coming and trapped into staying, with the complicity of the Dubai authorities.<br /><br />
Sahinal could well die out here. A British man who used to work on construction projects told me: "There's a huge number of suicides in the camps and on the construction sites, but they're not reported. They're described as 'accidents'." Even then, their families aren't free: they simply inherit the debts. A Human Rights Watch study found there is a "cover-up of the true extent" of deaths from heat exhaustion, overwork and suicide, but the Indian consulate registered 971 deaths of their nationals in 2005 alone. After this figure was leaked, the consulates were told to stop counting.<br /><br />
At night, in the dusk, I sit in the camp with Sohinal and his friends as they scrape together what they have left to buy a cheap bottle of spirits. They down it in one ferocious gulp. "It helps you to feel numb", Sohinal says through a stinging throat. In the distance, the glistening Dubai skyline he built stands, oblivious.

A snippet of an article about Dubai from the Independent:

There are three different Dubais, all swirling around each other.

There are the expats, there are the Emiratis, headed by Sheikh Mohammed; and then there is the foreign underclass who built the city, and are trapped here.

They are hidden in plain view. You see them everywhere, in dirt-caked blue uniforms, being shouted at by their superiors, like a chain gang – but you are trained not to look.

It is like a mantra: the Sheikh built the city. The Sheikh built the city. Workers? What workers?

Every evening, the hundreds of thousands of young men who build Dubai are bussed from their sites to a vast concrete wasteland an hour out of town, where they are quarantined away.

Until a few years ago they were shuttled back and forth on cattle trucks, but the expats complained this was unsightly, so now they are shunted on small metal buses that function like greenhouses in the desert heat. They sweat like sponges being slowly wrung out.

Sonapur is a rubble-strewn patchwork of miles and miles of identical concrete buildings. Some 300,000 men live piled up here, in a place whose name in Hindi means “City of Gold“.

In the first camp I stop at – riven with the smell of sewage and sweat – the men huddle around, eager to tell someone, anyone, what is happening to them.

Sahinal Monir, a slim 24-year-old from the deltas of Bangladesh. “To get you here, they tell you Dubai is heaven. Then you get here and realise it is hell,” he says.

Four years ago, an employment agent arrived in Sahinal’s village in Southern Bangladesh. He told the men of the village that there was a place where they could earn 40,000 takka a month (£400) just for working nine-to-five on construction projects.

It was a place where they would be given great accommodation, great food, and treated well.

All they had to do was pay an up-front fee of 220,000 takka (£2,300) for the work visa – a fee they’d pay off in the first six months, easy. So Sahinal sold his family land, and took out a loan from the local lender, to head to this paradise.

As soon as he arrived at Dubai airport, his passport was taken from him by his construction company. He has not seen it since. He was told brusquely that from now on he would be working 14-hour days in the desert heat – where western tourists are advised not to stay outside for even five minutes in summer, when it hits 55 degrees – for 500 dirhams a month (£90), less than a quarter of the wage he was promised.

If you don’t like it, the company told him, go home. “But how can I go home? You have my passport, and I have no money for the ticket,” he said. “Well, then you’d better get to work,” they replied.

Sahinal was in a panic. His family back home – his son, daughter, wife and parents – were waiting for money, excited that their boy had finally made it. But he was going to have to work for more than two years just to pay for the cost of getting here – and all to earn less than he did in Bangladesh.

He shows me his room. It is a tiny, poky, concrete cell with triple-decker bunk-beds, where he lives with 11 other men. All his belongings are piled onto his bunk: three shirts, a spare pair of trousers, and a cellphone. The room stinks, because the lavatories in the corner of the camp – holes in the ground – are backed up with excrement and clouds of black flies. There is no air conditioning or fans, so the heat is “unbearable. You cannot sleep.

All you do is sweat and scratch all night.” At the height of summer, people sleep on the floor, on the roof, anywhere where they can pray for a moment of breeze.

The water delivered to the camp in huge white containers isn’t properly desalinated: it tastes of salt. “It makes us sick, but we have nothing else to drink,” he says.

The work is “the worst in the world,” he says. “You have to carry 50kg bricks and blocks of cement in the worst heat imaginable … This heat – it is like nothing else. You sweat so much you can’t pee, not for days or weeks. It’s like all the liquid comes out through your skin and you stink. You become dizzy and sick but you aren’t allowed to stop, except for an hour in the afternoon.

You know if you drop anything or slip, you could die.

If you take time off sick, your wages are docked, and you are trapped here even longer.”
He is currently working on the 67th floor of a shiny new tower, where he builds upwards, into the sky, into the heat. He doesn’t know its name.

In his four years here, he has never seen the Dubai of tourist-fame, except as he constructs it floor-by-floor.
Is he angry? He is quiet for a long time. “Here, nobody shows their anger. You can’t. You get put in jail for a long time, then deported.”

Last year, some workers went on strike after they were not given their wages for four months. The Dubai police surrounded their camps with razor-wire and water-cannons and blasted them out and back to work.
The “ringleaders” were imprisoned.

I try a different question: does Sohinal regret coming? All the men look down, awkwardly. “How can we think about that? We are trapped. If we start to think about regrets…” He lets the sentence trail off. Eventually, another worker breaks the silence by adding: “I miss my country, my family and my land. We can grow food in Bangladesh. Here, nothing grows. Just oil and buildings.”

Since the recession hit, they say, the electricity has been cut off in dozens of the camps, and the men have not been paid for months. Their companies have disappeared with their passports and their pay. “We have been robbed of everything. Even if somehow we get back to Bangladesh, the loan sharks will demand we repay our loans immediately, and when we can’t, we’ll be sent to prison.”

This is all supposed to be illegal.

Employers are meant to pay on time, never take your passport, give you breaks in the heat – but I met nobody who said it happens. Not one. These men are conned into coming and trapped into staying, with the complicity of the Dubai authorities.
Sahinal could well die out here.

A British man who used to work on construction projects told me: “There’s a huge number of suicides in the camps and on the construction sites, but they’re not reported. They’re described as ‘accidents’.”

Even then, their families aren’t free: they simply inherit the debts.

A Human Rights Watch study found there is a “cover-up of the true extent” of deaths from heat exhaustion, overwork and suicide, but the Indian consulate registered 971 deaths of their nationals in 2005 alone.

After this figure was leaked, the consulates were told to stop counting.
At night, in the dusk, I sit in the camp with Sohinal and his friends as they scrape together what they have left to buy a cheap bottle of spirits. They down it in one ferocious gulp.

“It helps you to feel numb”, Sohinal says through a stinging throat. In the distance, the glistening Dubai skyline he built stands, oblivious.

 

HUGE EARTHQUAKE HITS LEBANON? 9 THINGS NOT TO DO!

Why has God spared Lebanon from recurrent natural disasters?

God probably guessed our Socio Political life will be disastrous by itself and wont need any support from mother nature…

But this hasn’t been true throughout history. Our ancestors suffered from numerous huge earth quakes such as the one in July 551 killing more than 30,000 people and causing a huge tsunami which swiped the Lebanese shores.

earthquake lines in lebanon

The Lebanese have zero knowledge when it comes to disaster preparedness, except for packing our Ray Bans, High Heels and enough Sushi reserve.

So we turned to Ramzi Saliba, expert on Earthquake Preparedness for a major eye opener! Below was his response:

Because 10 is too mainstream, here are the top 9 things NOT to do during or after an earthquake:

1- First, do NOT take a selfie: 

image

When an earthquake jolts the ground below your feet and sends your adrenaline levels shooting up your spine, you have merely seconds to either take cover or run for your life.

With our obsession to document every teeny tiny non-event of our existence and share it on social media #duckface, posing for a selfie while cracks appear on the wall you chose as background behind you might not be the smartest of ideas #myhouseiscrumbling #cool #imdead

2- Do NOT take cover on balconies: 

image

While the sight of buildings swaying back and forth might make for a nice YouTube video that is likely to attract a decent number of viewers and increase your odds at limited and short-lived internet fame, the rush of adrenaline you are experiencing actually stems from the fact that the porch serving as your sanctuary and observatory has tumbled, and your figure is about to meet the asphalt introducing you to Lady Gravity and enabling you to finally grasp the difference between mass and weight. FYI, it’s P=mg.

3- Do NOT pack your bags: 

image

This should not come as a shocker, but you’re late. Like really late.

As late as the turtle was before that idiot of a rabbit went all hippies and lost the race. Unless you have a survival kit ready and waiting to be grabbed and save your life, you better run Forrest.

Whatever important items you want to salvage, you should have thought about it earlier. Now is not the time to fetch your costume to recreate your own version of the Harlem Shake.

4- Do NOT use matches or a lighter: 

image

If, after the earthquake, the electricity is crippled which is more than a safe bet and you’re swimming in a pool of dark and dust, don’t light up any matches, not even a spark, as those CGI flames you saw on Pompeii (or maybe you didn’t see, it wasn’t a good movie anyways) might turn into a scorching reality, pun intended.

The sound of a hiss might give you a clue that gas is leaking and it is high time you abandon ship. (At least Lebanon has no public gas pipes serving the homes)

5- Do NOT use elevators: 

image

Because if you do, it could end up like number 2, only you’ll be  learning physics while stuck in a cage with no view. Use the stairs to evacuate, the exercise will work in synergy with the effects of the shock you’re experiencing and help you shed those few extra pounds you’ve been meaning to lose before swimsuit season, or holidays’ season, or your wedding.

6- Do NOT return indoors unless it’s safe: 

image

Remember that ship you just abandoned? Don’t jump back on it because you want to salvage your PS4, Wii, or X-Box One.

Aftershocks can occur after the initial jolt and cause further destruction to damaged buildings. Wait until you’re cleared to do so. However, there is hope as not every tremor is bound to bring the house down, and I don’t mean it the way David Guetta brings the house down on Beirut waterfront every summer so much he should be given the citizenship already.

7- Do NOT run towards the water: 

image

If you haven’t heard of tsunamis after Indonesia and Japan, you must have been reading A Song of Ice and Fire and watching Game of Thrones for years on end without so much as the benefit of a toilet break.

While not every earthquake generates a tsunami, seek shelter on higher ground and should any waves reach the shore, wait at least 2 hours after the last wave has hit, if any, before going back. No, you cannot swim in a tsunami, please refer to number 8.

8- Do NOT dust off your surfing board: 

image

If you think tsunami waves are an “awesome”  bad-ass version of those creating every surfer’s dream on Hawaii’s Oahu Beach, I got news for you: You know nothing Jon Snow.

Tsunamis are more like a wall of water that pushes forward and forward picking up and obliterating whatever’s laying in its path. The only thing you can surf is some footage over the web, preferably now while you still can.

9- Last but not least, do NOT remain bare-foot:

image

We don’t want all the rubble and glass aiming to maim whatever lower limbs they can find to be at the receiving end of every bit of profanity the panicked hordes of residents have to offer.

So just in case you were cursing those long hours your significant other dragged you to the mall where she went on a shopping frenzy, those shoes she bought you might make the difference between septicemia and just a very bad day. Ladies, good on you, but try to keep the hiking shoes nearby instead of those posh high heels.

Kindly note this list is NOT exhaustive, other honorable mentions include NOT tampering with electricity, NOT sheltering near windows, the clichéd but life-saving NOT panicking, and NOT getting complacent thinking that Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham will roll in with their team of Expendables for the rescue. NOT gonna happen.

Selfie car crash death into a recycling truck

Selfie crash death: Woman dies in head-on collision seconds after uploading pictures of herself and ‘HAPPY’ status to Facebook

1 / 1
Courtney Sanford, 32, posted selfies and status updates to Facebook moments before a fatal collision on a US highway
Facebook

Police said Courtney Sanford’s friends came forward after they realised her status updates coincided with the time of the crash

A woman has died in a head-on collision on a US highway just seconds after she posted selfies and updated her status on Facebook, police have said.

At 8.33am on Thursday a post appeared on 32-year-old Courtney Sanford’s Facebook timeline which read: “The happy song makes me so HAPPY.” At 8.34am police were called to reports of a crash.

Officers said Ms Sanford was alone in her car when it crossed the central reservation, crashed into a recycling truck and burst into flames, forcing the other vehicle off the road.

She was on her way to work along Interstate 85 in North Carolina at the time, and police said they found no evidence that drink, drugs or speed were factors in the collision.

The link to Facebook only emerged this weekend after friends of Ms Sanford came forward to tell police that a number of her posts online appeared to come from a similar time to the incident itself.

High Point Police Department spokesperson Lt Chris Weisner told the WGHP TV station that the crash was a real-life public service advert “showing what happens when you text and drive”.

Ms Sanford's car drifted across the central reservation and crashed head-on into a truck, forcing both off the road, before catching on fire (WGHP)  

Ms Sanford’s car drifted across the central reservation and crashed head-on into a truck, forcing both off the road, before catching on fire (WGHP) Lt Weisner said that as well as the status update seconds before the crash, evidence from Ms Sanford’s social media profiles showed she had also been taking pictures of herself while on the highway.

“In a matter of seconds, a life was over just so she could notify some friends that she was happy. It’s really not worth it,” he said.

“As sad as it is, it is also a grim reminder for everyone… you just have to pay attention while you are in the car.”

Police said that the truck was being driven by 73-year-old John Wallace Thompson, who walked away unharmed.

 

All European newborn Babies will be Microchipped starting May 2014

 posted on January 22, 2014

On May 2014, newborn children, throughout Europe,will be compelled to take in a subcutaneous RFID chip.

Public clinics in the European Union are to be alerted.

The chip will contain the report sheet on the newborn.

This chip will be doted with an impressive GPS sensor that will task with a micro- disposable battery every 2 years in state clinics. GPS chip grants an edge of error of 5 meters.

The GPS will be linked straight to a satellite, which will guide the networks.

As forecasted, this chip will be essential for all kids born after May 2014 , but with a present confirmation date until December 2016.

Note 1: Apparently, babies in Europe are becoming an endangered species given the low demographics trends

Note 2: I have a few worries:

1. Endangered species have been tagged for quite some time to study their whereabouts and how they are faring. You are under the impression that microchipping at this early years is safe and has no collateral damages as the babies grow up. I beg to differ.

2. Before this method is applied systematically, all the thousands of babies undergoing the “micro-chipping” will be analyzed as cobays.

RELATED:

Former DARPA director Wants You to Swallow ID Microchips

All Americans Microchipped by 2017 (Video)

Resilient stubborn fatalism in rebel held enclaves? Or inability to leave?

Syrians in rebel-held areas have borne near-daily attacks, enduring President Bashar Assad’s military might with a resilience bordering on stubborn fatalism.

The family members stood shivering on a balcony in Aleppo’s Anadan suburb as midnight approached, their sleep interrupted by the nightly duty of a government helicopter pilot somewhere above them.

They followed the sound of the helicopter’s whirring blades as well as scratchy updates coming over a walkie-talkie from rebels spread throughout the area.

News came in that the helicopter had dropped two barrel bombs — oil drums filled with TNT that can level buildings — on nearby towns.

In Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, a kebab vendor works in the midst of a destroyed building. As Syria’s war rages on, Aleppo is a city under gradual demolition, with a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive . More photos

They knew that the helicopters can carry up to four of the bombs. They waited for the last two.

Below them, lights came on in basement bunkers as others sought a small measure of protection.

Khansa Laila walked out onto the balcony cloaked in several layers but still shaking in the nighttime chill.

“I woke up from the sound of the alarm, so I’m still cold,” she said referring to the warning system the town’s residents installed. “Also, fear makes you cold.”

Against a starry sky, a series of red streaks from a 14.5-millimeter machine gun shot upward. But the streaks rose and fell without striking their target, their reach far less than the height of the aircraft.

Eventually the sound of the helicopter grew faint and was replaced by that of a warplane.

“We don’t take the warplanes seriously anymore,” Laila said. “They launch rockets that are precise, but helicopters drop barrel bombs that can destroy dozens of homes with one barrel.”

The family went to sleep that night to the sound of machine-gun fire and the occasional rocket.

For more than 3 months, Aleppo’s opposition-held neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs have been terrorized nearly daily by barrel bombs unleashed from helicopters. The bombs, TNT-filled oil drums that can level buildings, have killed more than 2,000 people, activists estimate.  More photos

Three years into Syria’s conflict, the cacophony of war has become a familiar companion to daily life here in the country’s largest city, the sad soundtrack to its gradual demolition and a shrinking civilian population struggling to survive.

Those still in the city have adjusted to enduring the brunt of President Bashar Assad‘s military might with a resilience that borders on stubborn fatalism.

In a shoe store, a woman tries on a pair of wedge heels and deems them not comfortable enough “to flee” in. A 1-year-old with curly hair and big brown eyes speaks mostly in mumbles, but one word she knows clearly: tabit — it fell.

“A barrel falls and 10 minutes later people return to what they were doing,” said Muhammad, a young man working at a makeshift gas station: 12 oil drums resting on their sides serving six varieties of gasoline.

Hours earlier, a barrel bomb had struck the Sakhour roundabout, hitting three vehicles and killing eight people. With the blood fresh on the pavement, motorists stopped and peered at the carnage.

The next day people walked by without a glance; the destroyed vehicles had become one more addition to the city’s apocalyptic backdrop.

“Every day we see the names of the dead scrolling across the TV screen; they’ve just become numbers,” one man said. “When I was a kid and someone died we mourned for 40 days, the TV could not be turned on. Now someone dies on one side and you turn around and watch a soap opera.”

Since the government’s barrel bomb offensive began in late December, the city and suburbs have traded off bearing the burden of the attacks.

On a recent day in an Aleppo vegetable market, a warplane’s low rumble halted all transactions and conversation.

Unripe almonds and lettuce were momentarily forgotten as everyone turned their faces upward to track the plane by its sound. Drivers slowed down and stuck their heads out the window to look up.

Not until the rumble had faded, leaving only a billowy white trail across the sky, did the people return their attention to the mundane particulars of life. The plane was now the concern of another Aleppo neighborhood.

As he drove away from the market, Saleh Laila said, “If it had been a helicopter, they would watch it till it dropped the barrel, then pandemonium would break out and cars would start driving into each other and people would run, trying to get away.”

A couple of charred and stripped vehicles mark the entrance of rebel-held Aleppo, a fitting welcome to a city that in some parts is a barren urban landscape.

The helicopter attacks day and night, coupled with poundings by warplanes and artillery as well as regular clashes between government and rebel forces, have transformed the once-vibrant commercial hub into one with entire neighborhoods deserted.

More than two-thirds of the city’s population is estimated to have fled north either to Turkey or, for those not allowed passage into the country, along its border in ramshackle refugee tents. Certain suburbs have also seen a large exodus.

A makeshift gas station provides different varieties of fuel.  More photos

As one Aleppo resident said of the city, “There are fighters, activists and shop owners. No one else is left.

Some neighborhoods of Aleppo have only one or two families left.

At the roundabout in one such neighborhood, Muhammad Khair and his father sat in the grassy center and watched as their two dozen goats grazed. They heard rumors that a sniper was shooting people at the field where the goats customarily graze, so when the animals began bleating from hunger they came here.

Two months earlier in this district of dense, unregulated housing, the goats wouldn’t have been able to safely cross the road to get to the grass. Now, Khair said, in the span of 15 minutes, two cars had passed by.

At the scene of twin barrel bombings at a busy market, bodies, or what was left of them, were laid out along a sidewalk, covered with whatever was on hand: a green curtain, a plastic tarp and a banner for Dar al Shifa hospital, which had closed after repeated attacks.

A man, his shirt bloodied and neck bandaged, smoked a cigarette as those around him congratulated him on sustaining only a minor injury: “Thank God for your safety.”

“Don’t gather, don’t gather!” yelled one rebel with a Kalashnikov rifle, warning people that a crowd could invite another attack.

“A plane is coming, a plane is coming!” another rebel shouted while standing atop a traffic barrier, trying a more direct tactic to get the crowd to scatter. People ran away and then a few minutes later drifted back.

When local citizen journalists arrived and began filming, residents breathlessly screamed through a familiar script, praising God and cursing Assad.

Hours later, the broken glass and concrete had been swept and the blood washed away.

Children gathered around an ice cream stand, standing on tip-toes to peer at the available flavors, and men bought produce from a fruit vendor, the color of the oranges bright against the gray of fallen concrete.

Note: The Syrian army and its supporting militias of patriots have reconquered areas containing 16 million of citizens. All the main strategic roads for supplies and linking the main cities have been liberated.

The US trained “rebels” in Jordan are trying to re-enter Jordan, but they are stopped by the Jordanian forces because they don’t want to do with any of these extremist terrorists.

http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-c1-syria-aleppo-mood-20140411-dto,0,3916136.htmlstory#ixzz2ygh6CeeQ

 

No face, No name female victims of car accidents in Saudi Arabia. 

Are Solo Shows any fun?  And Artist Manal Al DOWAYAN

Saudi artist Manal Al Dowayan’s latest exhibition, “Crash”, which opened the first day of Art Week this year, goes against the grain of what we expect to see at a DIFC opening during Art Dubai. But this is precisely Manal Al Dowayan. 

 posted this April 14, 2014

MANAL AL DOWAYAN AND HER RECENT SOLO SHOW “CRASH”

Manal Al Dowayan And Her Recent Solo Show “Crash”
Manal Al Dowayan is a strong character and has a distinct voice. She is a fierce fighter for the ongoing struggle by women for equality and uses her art as a form of protest against Saudi Arabia’s strict religiously-inspired traditions.
In addition to challenging the status quo, “Crash” goes a step further and challenges the basic definition of what art is by presenting the research process as the work itself.

“And my voice must be hushed so as not to offend. So what will remain of me?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 3

Al-Dowayan grew up in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia on an Aramco compound.

The compound was a removed and Westernized environment and once she left its confines she was faced with the truth about women within Saudi society.

The women she saw were controlled, passive, and expected to behave within the confines of their marital chores and duties. Through her art, she delves deep behind the veil which wraps itself around these women and suggests an alternative.

“My name is being erased because of the shame of pronouncing it publicly”

In her most popular series I Am, Al-Dowayan is influenced by the feminist photography of Cindy Sherman and Shirin Neshat where she explores the roles of women in Saudi society, from journalists and doctors to United Nations officers and petroleum engineers.

Al-Dowayan also uses participatory projects such as Esmi (My Name), where she presents a collection of giant rosaries with women’s names written on each bead, inscribed by Saudi women who chose to take part in the artwork, as a platform to involve women in her community to take part in her art and its vision.

“I care about transmitting the message contained in my work as much as I care about the aesthetic,” she says.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 2

Al-Dowayan’s latest research-based artwork exhibition, Crash, brings to light the disturbing number of car accidents in Saudi Arabia in which female teachers are injured or killed.

For these women, the combination of low pay, a ban on driving, and unsafe roads and drivers, has created a highly dangerous and unstable situation.The accidents are regularly reported in Saudi newspapers, but because of Saudi tradition the names of the women are never revealed. Their faces are never seen and their names are not mentioned.

“These women are poorly paid, banned from driving and assigned to teach in remote areas far away from their homes. This forces them to pool funds and travel in groups. But the long distances, unsafe roads and the bad drivers they have to rely on become the cause of many accidents. In the newspaper reports of these accidents, there is no trace of the identity of the victims.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 9

People cannot mourn for victims who have no face or name, so this repeated reportage of anonymous crash victims just makes them numb towards the situation. I want to change the way society reacts to this grave situation by presenting the human stories behind the crashes,” Al Dowayan says.

The artworks on display present information on the crashes through newspaper clippings, along with Al-Dowayan’s own notes which give details of the crash. She also displays tweets from the women prior to the accident.

In one area of the exhibition, a series of framed road maps are presented with three data points marked by three simple pins. The locations marked on the maps were the teacher’s homes, the schools to which they were assigned, and the crash sites. These maps bring to light the long distances the women had to travel and the risks they were forced to take.

The irony here is how the Saudi government commissioned expert engineers to create these maps which were then used by Manal to plot this archaic cultural atrocity.

The artist asks, “How do you mourn if the suffering have no face or name?”

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 4

In Crash, Al-Dowayan challenges us to be conscious of the images shown to us in the media by purposely presenting the information stripped of aesthetics and displayed matter-of-factly. Al-Dowayan then makes the emotional impact of these tragedies percievable by displaying tweets sent by the women before the accidents, along with a very touching video with narrations in first person of the stories of the victims.

The videos show the victims as young women with hopes and aspirations, casually sharing their problems and joys, and describing the simple mundane events of their day up to the moment of the crashes which abruptly took their lives.

corinnemartin_manaldowayan 5

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U.S. Nuclear Agency: Safety Record How close are you from an earthquake prone region? How close is the nearest nuclear power plant? Do we all need to say a prayer?

A magnitude-6.9 earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night, March 9, 2014, the U.S. Geological Service reported.

The epicenter was 48 miles west-northwest of Ferndale and 50 miles west of Eureka at a depth of 4.3 miles, the USGS said.

The quake, which occurred at 10:18 p.m. PT (1:18 a.m ET), was initially reported as magnitude 6.1, but seismologists revised it upward to 6.9. It was followed by about a half-dozen aftershocks, including one of magnitude 4.6.

In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News. BILL DEDMAN posted this March 11, 2014

U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted

The emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here.

At the end of that long first weekend of the crisis 3 years ago, NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner thanked his staff for sticking to the talking points that the team had been distributing to senior officials and the public.

“While we know more than these say,” Brenner wrote, “we’re sticking to this story for now.”

There are numerous examples in the emails of apparent misdirection or concealment in the initial weeks after the Japanese plant was devastated by a 9.0 earthquake and 50-foot tsunami that knocked out power and cooling systems at the six-reactor plant, eventually causing releases of radioactive material:

  • Trying to distance the U.S. agency from the Japanese crisis, an NRC manager told staff to hide from reporters the presence of Japanese engineers in the NRC’s operations center in Maryland.
  • If asked whether the Diablo Canyon Power Plant on the California coast could withstand the same size tsunami that had hit Japan, spokespeople were told not to reveal that NRC scientists were still studying that question. As for whether Diablo could survive an earthquake of the same magnitude, “We’re not so sure about, but again we are not talking about that,” said one email.
  • When skeptical news articles appeared, the NRC dissuaded news organizations from using the NRC’s own data on earthquake risks at U.S. nuclear plants, including the Indian Point Energy Center near New York City.
  • And when asked to help reporters explain what would happen during the worst-case scenario — a nuclear meltdown — the agency declined to address the questions.

As the third anniversary of Fukushima on Tuesday approaches, the emails pull back the curtain on the agency’s efforts to protect the industry it is supposed to regulate.

The NRC officials didn’t lie, but they didn’t always tell the whole truth either. When someone asked about a topic that might reflect negatively on the industry, they changed the subject.

NBC News requested in late March 2011 all of the emails sent and received by certain NRC staffers during the first week of the crisis.

Other news organizations and watchdogs filed similar requests. The NRC has now been posting thousands of emails in its public reading room over the past two years.

See details of the 62 U.S. nuclear power plants, along with their age and safety records.NBC NEWS

See details of the 62 U.S. nuclear power plants, along with their age and safety records.

The NRC declined to discuss specific emails or communications.

But Brenner provided an emailed statement: “The NRC Office of Public Affairs strives to be as open and transparent as possible, providing the public accurate information in the proper context. We take our communication mission seriously. We did then and we do now. The frustration displayed in the chosen e-mails reflects more on the extreme stress our team was under at the time to assure accuracy in a context in which information from Japan was scarce to nonexistent. These e-mails fall well short of an accurate picture of our communications with the American public immediately after the event and during the past three years.”

Dating back to the Three Mile Island nuclear crisis in 1979, many nuclear watchdogs and critics have said that the NRC acts first to protect the industry, and its own reputation. One critic said these emails solidify that perception.

“The NRC knew a lot more about what was going on than it wanted to tell the American people,” said Edwin Lyman, senior scientist at the nuclear watchdog group Union of Concerned Scientists and co-author of the new book “Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster,” which relied on some of the same emails.

“They immediately put out information that implied that U.S. reactors were in a better position to withstand Fukushima type events than Fukushima reactors were, but it was clear that the what the NRC knew internally was not nearly as positive.”

‘We all need to say a prayer’

From the earliest hours of the crisis, the emails among NRC staff show deep concern about the developing crisis in Japan, particularly among the technical experts.

The first word that the powerful earthquake and tsunami waves had devastated the Fukushima plant came early morning (Eastern time) on March 11, 2011.

Throughout the day, staff at NRC headquarters in Rockville, Md., struggled to learn what was going on in Japan. The chief of the NRC Component Integrity Branch, senior engineer David Rudland, was asked by a colleague if he had any new information. [The emails excerpted in this article are shown in full in a PDF file.]

From: Brenner, Eliot Date: Friday, March 11, 2011, 1:54:57 PM While one reporter knows or has guessed that there are Japanese here in our Ops center in communication with their home authorities, we will NOT make the[m] available and we will NOT volunteer their presence. If anyone knows they (Japanese scientists) are here and wants to talk with them, they will have to make the request through the embassy to have it relayed to these folks.

The memo also instructed staff to evade any questions about efforts by the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR) to model the effects of similar earthquakes and tsunamis on California plants:

“NRR is getting tasked with making an overlay of the Japanese conditions … to see how west coast plants stack up against it,” it said. “We think preliminary Diablo would have had no trouble with a wave that size. [For an earthquake of about] 8.9 we’re not so sure about, but again we are not talking about that.”

Find the distance from any location in the United States to the nearest nuclear power plants using this map from Esri.NBC NEWS

Find the distance from any U.S. location to the nearest nuclear power plants with this map from Esri.

In congressional testimony and interviews in that first week, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was quick to say that the NRC could learn lessons from Fukushima.

“We’re going to take a good solid look at everything that comes out of Japan, and if we need to make modifications to our facilities in this country, then we’ll do that,” he told NBC News on March 16.

Gregory did not disclose that the NRC technical staff had already been reassessing, before Fukushima, increased risks from earthquakes, tsunamis, dam failures and power blackouts.

Jaczko did push for release of a report on Fukushima and its lessons just 90 days after Fukushima. Some of those recommendations have been implemented. Jaczko, who resigned in 2012, declined a request last week to be interviewed.

‘Non-public information’

The talking points written during the emergency for NRC commissioners and other officials were divided into two sections: “public answer” and “additional technical, non-public information.” Often the two parts didn’t quite match.

One topic the NRC avoided in the talking points, even when responding to a direct question: meltdown.

“Q. What happens when/if a plant ‘melts down’?

“Public Answer: In short, nuclear power plants in the United States are designed to be safe. To prevent the release of radioactive material, there are multiple barriers between the radioactive material and the environment, including the fuel cladding, the heavy steel reactor vessel itself and the containment building, usually a heavily reinforced structure of concrete and steel several feet thick.

“Additional, non-technical, non-public information: The melted core may melt through the bottom of the vessel and flow onto the concrete containment floor. The core may melt through the containment liner and release radioactive material to the environment.”

The Japanese public television network, NHK, asked if the NRC could provide a graphic depicting what happens during a meltdown of a nuclear reactor.

From: McIntyre, David Date: Friday, March 18, 2011, 9:02 AM NRC would not have such a graphic. I suspect any number of anti-nuclear power organizations might.

When reporters asked if the Japanese emergency could affect licensing of new reactors in the U.S., the public answer was “It is not appropriate to hypothesize on such a future scenario at this point.”

The non-public information was more direct: This event could potentially call into question the NRC’s seismic requirements, which could require the staff to re-evaluate the staff’s approval of the AP1000 and ESBWR (the newest reactor designs from Westinghouse and General Electric) design and certifications.”

On the subject of tsunamis, the public assurances omitted the “non-public ” nuances that might have given the public reasons to doubt nuclear power safety:

  • Design standards varied significantly from plant to plant in the U.S.
  • The experience in Japan had taught the NRC that it needed to study the dangerous effects of “drawdown,” the powerful receding of ocean water near the shore that can precede a tsunami’s arrival.
  • And although the U.S. was developing new tsunami standards, those wouldn’t be in draft form for another year.

‘It was a hydrogen explosion’

The NRC spokespeople sometimes had trouble following the public debate, because for days their computers were blocked by security rules from accessing Twitter and YouTube. And they often had incomplete information about events in Japan.

From: McIntyre, David Date: Saturday, March 12, 2011, 10:02 PM Just saw an incoherent discussion on cnn by Bill Nye the science guy who apparently knows zilcho about reactors and an idiot weatherman who said Hydrogen explosion? Pfft. I’m not buying it.

His boss sent back the following reply, correcting the staffer and explaining plans to ask the Obama administration to help blunt critical news coverage.

From: Brenner, Eliot Date: Saturday, March 12, 2011, 10:07 PM 1: There is a good chance it was a hydrogen explosion that took the roof off that building, though we are not saying that publicly. 2: I have just reached out to CNN and asked them to call (former NRC Chairman Nils) Diaz, and reached out to push the white house yet again to start talking on background or getting out in front of some of this crap.

On March 20, when Energy Secretary Steven Chu hesitated on CNN when asked if U.S. plants could withstand a 9.0 earthquake?

McIntyre, one of the agency’s spokesmen, suggested to his bosses what Chu should have said:

From: McIntyre, David Date: Sunday, March 20, 2011, 10:01:00 AM He should just say “Yes, it can.” Worry about being wrong when it doesn’t. Sorry if I sound cynical.

The public affairs staff showed disdain in the emails for nuclear watchdog groups, including the Union of Concerned Scientists.

After the UCS raised concerns about diesel backup power and batteries being inadequate, as at Fukushima, spokesman McIntyre dismissed it as “bleating” from nuclear power foes.

When Steven Dolley, former research director of the NCI and a reporter for McGraw Hill Financial’s newsletter Inside NRC, asked McIntyre for a nuclear containment expert to speak to a reporter, the spokesman asked if the reporter had contacted the industry’s lobbying group, the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Dolley asked, “So, should I say NRC is deferring inquiries to NEI?” suggesting that the NRC was deferring to the industry it is supposed to regulate.

McIntyre shared this exchange with his bosses, adding the comment, “F—ing a-hole.”

There is NO SUCH NRC REPORT!

The NRC’s Public Affairs staff attempted to discredit news reports that raised questions about nuclear plants, even when they were based on NRC data.

A story by this reporter for msnbc.com (now NBCNews.com) reported that the NRC had published a study 6 months earlier with new estimates of the risk that an earthquake could cause damage to the core of U.S. nuclear power plants. The plants were listed in alphabetical order, along with the NRC’s risk estimates.

The msnbc.com story, published on March 16, ranked the U.S. nuclear plants by those NRC estimates.

Surprisingly, the highest risk was not on the Pacific Coast, where plants are designed and built with severe earthquakes in mind, but in the Central and Eastern states, where scientists have raised their estimate of the earthquake risk since the plants were designed and built. The story said that the NRC still described the plants as safe, but also said the margin of error had shrunk.

We had checked our understanding of the report with NRC earthquake experts, but NRC spokesman Scott Burnell responded to the story by asking the same staff to find fault with it.

From: Burnell, Scott Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 6:22 AM I know you’re going to have a cow over this – somewhat inevitable when a reporter new to the subject tries to summarize things. Apart from “you’re totally off-base,” what specific technical corrections can we ask for?? OPA (Office of Public Affairs) – this is likely to spark a lot of follow-up. The immediate response would be “that’s a very incomplete look at the overall research and we continue to believe U.S. reactors are capable of withstanding the strongest earthquake their sites could experience.” I’ll share whatever we get from the experts.

Senior officials at the industry’s lobbying arm, the Nuclear Energy Institute, sent emails asking the NRC for help rebutting the story. Burnell urgently asked again for errors in the article.

From: Burnell, Scott Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 11:11 AM Folks, the expected calls are coming in — We need a better response ASAP!

But the NRC experts found nothing to correct.

From: Beasley, Benjamin Date: Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 12:31 PM I have received no concerns or corrections regarding the MSNBC article.

Nevertheless, the Public Affairs staff waved other news organizations off the story, particularly after New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reacted to his state’s Indian Point nuclear power plant having the worst risk in the NRC data.

From: McIntyre, David Date: Thursday, March 17, 2011, 2:20 PM I just filed this request for correction with The Huffington Post, which has a report of Cuomo wanting to shut IP based on the MSNBC report: There is NO SUCH NRC REPORT! The NRC does not rank nuclear power plants according to their vulnerability to earthquakes. This “ranking” was developed by an MSNBC reporter using partial information and an even more partial understanding of how we evaluate plants for seismic risk. Each plant is evaluated individually according to the geology of its site, not by a “one-size-fits-all” model – therefore such rankings or comparisons are highly misleading. Please correct this report.

His colleague in Atlanta, spokesman Joey Ledford, replied, “Great talking point, Dave. I wish I had it during my 10 or so calls today trying to debunk this thing.”

The New York Times, which was reporting a story about Indian Point, was dissuaded from using the NRC’s risk estimates. We asked the New York Times reporter, Peter Applebome, why he ignored the NRC data. He replied in an email, “Burnell said it wasn’t accurate and included rankings the NRC never made. I have no idea if that’s correct, but I was writing a column on deadline and figured I did not have the ability to figure out who was right in the time I had.”

In his piece, Applebome quoted the NRC downplaying the risk: “Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission say the site is safe and that its earthquake threat is on the lower end nationally and in the Northeast.” The NRC’s recent study with a different picture was ignored.

The NRC followed up with a blog post from Brenner, the public affairs chief, cautioning the public, “Don’t Believe Everything You Read.” Brenner called the msnbc.com report “highly misleading.”

He didn’t mention that its figures came from the NRC.

Emails excerpted in this report can be read in full here in a PDF file.

A cache of many emails is included in larger PDF files No. 1234, and 5. More are available in the NRC’s online public reading room.

Maps:

Age and safety record of U.S. nuclear power plants

How close are you to a nuclear power plant?

 

Why antibiotics are over-prescribed?

“Some of the big guns in terms of antibiotics may be overused. We need to reserve those for the most severe infections.” DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR

Circa news posted this MARCH 5, 2014

CDC says doctors still over-prescribing antibiotics

A CDC report shows that the prescription of antibiotics for the same condition varies greatly, with some doctors prescribing 3 times more antibiotics than their peers.

The CDC released a report on March 4 that says that if doctors and hospitals reduce antibiotics prescriptions by 30%, it could lead to a 26% reduction of infections of Clostridium difficlile (C.diff,) a potentially fatal bacterial infection. The report was based on records from hundreds of hospitals.

2 On March 4, the CDC submitted its 2015 budget request which includes $30 million for 5 new labs that would be used to assist doctors in diagnosing drug-resistant infections.

Anxiety over drug-resistant bacteria has been around as long as antibiotics.

Scientists learned early on that antibiotics would knock out most of the cells of an infection, but some strains would survive and multiply.

4 Modern medicine has exacerbated the problem with cancer treatments that weaken the immune system, and with the use of catheters, which make it easier for infections to enter the bloodstream.
5 Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer for the UK, told the UK’s parliament in Jan. 2013 that surgeries now considered simple could soon become life-threatening due to the danger of infection. Bacteria are becoming resistant to many of the antibiotics now available.
6 A survey published on July 4, 2013 showed 80,000 people were currently fighting drug-resistant superbugs in European hospitals, according to the European Centre for Diseases Prevention and Control, the EU’s disease monitoring agency. Some 3.2 million people are infected annually in Europe.
7 Drug-resistant bacteria kills 23,000 people a year in the U.S., roughly the same as those killed by the flu, according to a separate report released Sept. 16, 2013 by the CDC. The report is the government’s first estimate of the death toll of drug-resistant bacterial infections.
8 During a Dec. 12, 2013 House hearing at the Oversight subcommittee on Energy Policy, Healthcare and Entitlements, FDA Drug Evaluation Director Janet Woodcock said the agency wants Congress to pass legislation establishing an FDA program to develop drugs targeting drug resistant bacteria.

RELATED STORYLINE ON CIRCA

Similar Circa Storylines

US Army troops initially suffer from mental illnesses: 25% Even before enlisting…

A series of papers published in a major medical journal shed light on the prevalence of mental health issues in the U.S. Army.

Nearly 25% of U.S. Army soldiers had a common mental illness, including ADHD and depression, and nearly half were diagnosed before enlisting.

The findings stem from three papers published March 3 in JAMA Psychiatry based on interviews with 5,428 soldiers at Army installations across the country.

Circa News posted this MARCH 4, 2014

Studies find many US Army troops have mental illness

2  The most common condition identified by the researchers was intermittent explosive disorder, characterized by bouts of rage. More than 8% of soldiers joined the Army with the disorder — six times the rate among the civilian population. Other mental illnesses also outpaced the general population.
3 “The kind of people who join the Army are not typical people. They have a lot more acting-out kind of mental disorders. They get into fights more. They’re more aggressive.” RONALD KESSLER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY SOCIOLOGIST AND STUDY AUTHOR

The research is part of a project launched in 2009 by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Army in response to a surge in suicides.

4. Researchers found 2.4% of soldiers had attempted suicide, 5.3% had made plans to take their own life and about 14% had considered killing themselves.
Other studies have shown a rise in suicide rates for both active-duty troops and military veterans in recent years.
5. “The people at highest risk of making an attempt struggled with depression and anxiety, or post-traumatic stress, in combination with impulsiveness and aggression… The former gets people thinking about suicide, and the latter gets them to act on those thoughts.” MATTHEW NOCK, HARVARD UNIVERSITY PSYCHOLOGIST AND STUDY AUTHOR

The rates of several psychiatric disorders climbed well beyond civilian rates during soldiers’ military service. Researchers said the Army should enhance its screening of recruits in order to provide treatment for those with a history of mental illness.

RELATED STORYLINES ON CIRCA


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