Britain’s austerity plan leaves many bracing for painful changes
Prime Minister David Cameron plans to slash $128 billion in spending over four years, upending a culture of governmental responsibility in a nation that provides everything from free healthcare to aid for mothers.
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Wimbledon, England – Britain is about to undergo an extreme makeover. And Festus Grant is worried.
The 71-year-old was crippled by a stroke early this year, and he doesn’t know how he would have coped without the “angel of mercy” who knocked on his door a few days after he came home to his modest flat after three months in the hospital.
The care worker from the Stroke Assn. helped him piece his life back together. She arranged follow-up trips to the doctor and signed him up for a shuttle service that takes him shopping once a week.
Passive smoking kills 600,000 a year, including 165,000 children, says WHO
Estimates from the first analysis of the true global picture say biggest impact is on young in the developing world
Sarah Boseley, health editor The Guardian, Friday 26 November 2010
More than 600,000 people, including 165,000 children, die every year from passive smoking, a report from World Health Organisation experts says today.
The estimates from the first analysis of the true global toll are based on the best available data across 192 countries and the known effects of exposure.
The biggest impact on children is in the developing world. “Two-thirds of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia,” the authors write in the medical journal The Lancet. “Children’s exposure to second-hand smoke most likely happens at home.
G.O.P. and Tea Party Gains Are Mixed Blessing for Israel
By MARK LANDLER and JENNIFER STEINHAUER
Published: November 25, 2010
WASHINGTON – When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel came to the United States recently for another round of tense talks with the Obama administration, he got a decidedly warmer welcome from one of the rising Republican stars on Capitol Hill, Representative Eric Cantor, the incoming majority leader of the House.
But while Mr. Cantor and other newly empowered Republicans are eager to promote themselves as Israel’s staunchest defenders in Washington, the reconfigured American political landscape is a more complex and unpredictable backdrop for Middle East peacemaking.
Surviving Cameramen Recall Nuclear Test Shoots
Mushroom Clouds and Everpresent Danger
By Philip Bethge
The atomic missile with the explosive power of 1.5 kilotons of TNT detonated precisely above the heads of the five United States Air Force scientists. At first the men felt only the heat from the explosion. But then the blast wave forced them to their knees.
George Yoshitake’s camera was clicking the entire time.
At 7 a.m. on July 19, 1957, the cameraman was standing with a small group of nuclear scientists on the Yucca Flat test site in the state of Nevada. A fighter jet had fired the missile at an altitude of five kilometers (3.1 miles), which was considered a safe distance from the ground.
EU bans bisphenol-A chemical from babies’ bottles
The European Commission has announced a ban on the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles.
The BBC 26 November 2010
The commission cited fears that the compound could affect development and immune response in young children.
The EU ban will come into effect during 2011.
There has been concern over the use of BPA for some time, with six US manufacturers removing it in 2009 from bottles they sold in the US, although not other markets.
Britons ‘regularly’ fight for the Taliban
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad and Jon Boone November 26, 2010
British-based men of Afghan origin spend months in Afghanistan fighting NATO forces before returning to Britain. They also send money earned there to the Taliban.
A Taliban fighter in Dhani-Ghorri in northern Afghanistan said he lived most of the time in east London but went to Afghanistan for three months a year for combat. ”I work as a minicab driver,” said the man, who is a mid-level Taliban commander.
”I make good money there [in Britain], but these people are my friends and my family and it’s my duty to come to fight the jihad with them.
Where tombs of the dead are homes of the living
The Irish Times – Friday, November 26, 2010
The poor of Egypt’s capital city see no point voting in elections on Sunday, writes MICHAEL JANSEN in Cairo
THE City of the Dead is dead in the morning. Imam al-Lesi Street is lined with dusty a row of one-storey houses that are both tombs and homes.
Marble plaques give the names and dates of the deceased who inhabit these rooms; the living are squatters who do not identify themselves.
The doors of some buildings are open while others are bricked up or shut and padlocked. The street is hard, unpaved grit. An empty bus careens by. A woman in a blue caftan appears at the door of a house flanked by two stunted trees, the first person to appear.
Iran gangs move into meth market: UN
Dylan Welch NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT
November 26, 2010
IRANIAN drug gangs are turning Asia into a drug-trafficking dystopia, with a new United Nations report showing a threefold increase in methamphetamine seizures in the region last year.
More than 94 million methamphetamine pills were seized by police across the region in 2009, compared with about 32 million in 2008, says a report released yesterday by the regional office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
The report also suggests that Burma, in particular the eastern Shan State, has become the largest single source of methamphetamine in east and south-east Asia.
Yeongpyong Islanders: ‘Once our home town was paradise. Now it’s hell’
Donald Kirk meets the refugees fleeing from the island devastated by North Korea
Friday, 26 November 2010
Refugees pouring off the last ferries from hapless Yeongpyong Island described scenes of fiery destruction and vowed tearfully never to return.
“I’m very sorry to leave my hometown,” said housewife Choi In-young. “Once it was paradise, now it’s hell.
Ms Choi, greeted by her son at this nearby port city on South Korea’s west coast, said she was inside her home when North Korean shells roared into nearby homes on Tuesday afternoon, setting them ablaze.
International Jihadists Use Karachi as Hub
Pakistan’s Labyrinth of Terror
By Susanne Koelbl in Karachi, Pakistan
The circle had to be closed with blood, in order to wipe out the disgrace of the previous day. That’s the way of life here — the way of life in Karachi.
The six men were heavily armed, and yet they still managed to get through all the checkpoints and reach Club Road in the red zone, a highly secured district in the heart of the city. The head of the provincial government has his official residence here, not far from the American consulate, two luxury hotels and the police headquarters, where the office of the young inspector Omar Shahid is located. As the head of the anti-extremism unit, Shahid was at the top of the attackers’ hit list.
Tsvangirai in court over Mugabe’s provincial governors
The Irish Times – Friday, November 26, 2010
BILL CORCORAN in Cape Town
THE ZIMBABWEAN prime minister has turned to the courts to try and get his coalition partner, President Robert Mugabe, to adhere to the terms of the country’s faltering powersharing deal, it was reported yesterday.
According to Zimbabwe’s independent daily newspaper News Day , Morgan Tsvangirai is seeking an annulment of Mr Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of 10 provincial governors last month because he intentionally violated the country’s constitution.
Carter Centre urges Sudan rivals to end war of words
The non-governmental organisation founded by former United States president Jimmy Carter urged the National Congress Party, which leads the Khartoum government, and the former rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement that runs the south to tone down their rhetoric in the run-up to the January 9 vote.
“In the last few days, the NCP and SPLM have traded accusations of intimidation and manipulation of the registration process in northern Sudan,” the Carter Centre said in a statement dated Wednesday, November 24.
“These accusations and accompanying abusive language are creating a climate of fear and distrust,” it said.
Kate Allen: Nicaragua’s hidden scandal
Friday, 26 November 2010
Connie was just nine years old when her father first raped her. The abuse continued until she was 14. She told Amnesty International that her father would regularly hit her so much that she was unable to go to school the next day. Why? Chillingly because he wanted her to stay at home so “he could abuse her as much as he wanted”.
Throughout those five years Connie felt powerless to say anything, or to speak up.
The abuse came to an end when, at 14, Connie became pregnant. At that point the police got involved and visited the house. Shortly after the police left (without taking action), Connie’s father tried to commit suicide and died in hospital shortly afterwards.