Sunday, November 19, 2006

Deputy to the Iraq Health Minister, Ammar al-Saffar, who lives with his sister in Baghdad’s Sunni neighbourhood of Adhamiya, was kidnapped today.

It is reported that six uniformed men and others wearing suits, arrived at Mr Saffer’s home in police cars and pickup trucks and took him off.

As one of the deputies to the Health Minister, Mr Saffer called earlier this year for as much as $8 Billion to restore Iraq’s health services.

On August 9, 2006, Mr Saffar discussed the health situation in Iraq with the BBC. He said that the insurgents were killing doctors and trying to create a brain drain. 100 doctors had been killed “because they were trying to help people and because they were Shia”. He said that there are about 18,000 doctors in Iraq but many have left, while others practice at home rather than at hospitals where they could be better protected. Under Saddam they were not permitted to leave, now there is no restriction. But now there are cash incentives: under Saddam they earned $2-3 a month, now they can earn up to $500 a month. On security, he said that the people blamed the US for the violence because, although they were responsible for security, they left the borders poorly guarded.

Mr Saffer survived an assassination attempt in June, 2004 when he was fired upon as he left his home. He was uninjured.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

 Correction — Nov 1, 2013 The article below claims each passenger paid 4000 to 8000 USD. Each paid 30,000 Rupees, equivilent at the time to about US$375. 

The bodies of 46 Afghan illegal immigrants who suffocated to death in a container truck Saturday near Quetta, Pakistan, returned home Tuesday.

The Edhi Foundation placed the victim’s bodies into coffins to transport them back to Chaman. Funeral prayers were said before victims left Quetta hospital. “We are taking these dead bodies to Spin Boldak and later these will be flown to Kabul by helicopter. We are thankful to Pakistan government for every help,” said Afghan consul general Daud Mohsini.

Afghan officials received the bodies from The Edhi ambulances and Pakistan police escorts at the Pak-Afghan border Bab-e-Dosti (Friendship Gate). Security was high and traffic was backed up at the border crossing. The bodies were taken to Kandahar then to Kabul before they were laid to rest in their home towns.

Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan dispatched aircraft to Pakistan to bring home the 46 victims. Poor weather grounded the planes, and the bodies were driven back across the border.

Pakistan police found a locked truck packed with approximately 111 Afghan illegal immigrants around 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Quetta on Saturday. The driver had fled the scene where 62 people were initially pronounced dead. Police said that from the strong smell emanating from the truck, the victims may have died days before they were discovered.

45 other people were found unconscious and taken directly to the hospital. At hospital two more migrants died. “The death toll is 46,” said Ghulam Dastagir, a police official.

Wazir Khan Nasir, a senior police official said, “We have been able to talk to some of the people, who were trapped in the container. They were all Afghans in the container and the container was going to Iran, When the condition of people inside the container deteriorated, the driver fled, leaving the container.”

Survivors have reported that a human smuggling racket locked 64 Kabul residents and 37 Spin Boldak residents in the truck container Friday afternoon. The truck’s air conditioning unit stopped working causing the locked passengers to cry out for help which was unheeded by the truck’s driver, and they fell unconscious. However, the loud ruckus caused by the trapped people inside did alert police and local residents to their plight.

The trip had cost each illegal immigrant US$4,000 to 8,000 for the trip. Gul Zameen, a survivor said, “We are all poor and wanted to find jobs in Quetta and Iran.”

The survivors have been charged under the Foreigners Act and some have been detained. Karzai has ordered an investigation and “demanded people avoid dangerous illegal migration and not be deceived by smugglers.” “We’ll go to Pakistan and talk to the survivors to find out what had exactly happened. The culprits will be brought to justice,” said Moheeddin Baluch head of the investigating delegation.

Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) is also investigating. Five suspects believed to be involved in running the human smuggling racket have been arrested.

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Lap Band Surgery vs. Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Which is Better?


JoAnne Narayan

A lap band or adjustable gastric band surgery is an extended mechanism put around the top of the stomach. It helps to battle obesity by decreasing the amount of food that can fit into your stomach, thereby decreasing the amount of food consumed and ultimately help promote weight loss in the long-run.

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It is weight loss surgery for those with a Body Mass Index(BMI) of 40 or larger. In some cases people with a BMI between 35 to 40 and also affected by diabetes, osteoarthritis and/or high blood pressure can be eligible for lap band surgery. In February 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration extended an official sanction for the adjustable gastric band for those with a BMI between 30 to 40 and one disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. The lap band surgery is only used when other methods of weight loss have been tried and failed. The lap band is put on the top part of the stomach and makes a small pocket for food to be digested. Weight loss happens because of the intake of less food, smaller appetite, and more digestion time. From the small stomach pocket the brain gets a message that the stomach is full. As weight loss proceeds, the lap band will need adjustments. Gastric banding is the smallest invasive surgery in the weight loss surgery field. Gastric sleeve surgery or vertical sleeve gastrectomy is a newer kind of weight loss surgery. In the operation, the surgeon takes out 85 percent of the stomach. It then turns into a sleeve or tube shape. This procedure and lap band are made laparoscopically, which basically means a small cut instead of a big cut. A viewing tube and camera are put into the cuts so that the stomach can be taken out. The vertical sleeve gastrectomy is succeeded by gastric bypass surgery. The bypass surgery becomes less perilous than if it had been done first. Eligibility for a gastric sleeve operation includes a BMI of more than 40. It is equal to being 100 pounds overweight for a man and 80 pounds overweight for a woman. Those who have a BMI between 35 to 39 can have weight surgery if they also diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. A BMI of 30 or more for adults is called obese. Gastric sleeve surgery is not reversible. General anesthesia is used. With both surgeries, people have to learn to eat solid food all over. They start out with liquids, then semi-solids, and finally solids. There are lifestyle changes to be made, a special diet plan that is lifelong, and exercise.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005A team of Australian surgeons yesterday reattached both hands and one foot to 10-year-old Perth boy, Terry Vo, after a brick wall which collapsed during a game of basketball fell on him, severing the limbs. The wall gave way while Terry performed a slam-dunk, during a game at a friend’s birthday party.

The boy was today awake and smiling, still in some pain but in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery, according to plastic surgeon, Mr Robert Love.

“What we have is parts that are very much alive so the reattached limbs are certainly pink, well perfused and are indeed moving,” Mr Love told reporters today.

“The fact that he is moving his fingers, and of course when he wakes up he will move both fingers and toes, is not a surprise,” Mr Love had said yesterday.

“The question is more the sensory return that he will get in the hand itself and the fine movements he will have in the fingers and the toes, and that will come with time, hopefully. We will assess that over the next 18 months to two years.

“I’m sure that he’ll enjoy a game of basketball in the future.”

The weight and force of the collapse, and the sharp brick edges, resulted in the three limbs being cut through about 7cm above the wrists and ankle.

Terry’s father Tan said of his only child, the injuries were terrible, “I was scared to look at him, a horrible thing.”

The hands and foot were placed in an ice-filled Esky and rushed to hospital with the boy, where three teams of medical experts were assembled, and he was given a blood transfusion after experiencing massive blood loss. Eight hours of complex micro-surgery on Saturday night were followed by a further two hours of skin grafts yesterday.

“What he will lose because it was such a large zone of traumatised skin and muscle and so on, he will lose some of the skin so he’ll certainly require lots of further surgery regardless of whether the skin survives,” said Mr Love said today.

The boy was kept unconscious under anaesthetic between the two procedures. In an interview yesterday, Mr Love explained why:

“He could have actually been woken up the next day. Because we were intending to take him back to theatre for a second look, to look at the traumatised skin flaps, to close more of his wounds and to do split skin grafting, it was felt the best thing to do would be to keep him stable and to keep him anaesthetised.”

Professor Wayne Morrison, director of the respected Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery and head of plastic and hand surgery at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, said he believed the operation to be a world first.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

War protestor Cindy Sheehan, the mother of fallen soldier Casey Sheehan who was killed in Iraq 3 years ago, wrote on what has been published by the Daily Kos as a personal web journal on Monday morning, a day in observance of Memorial Day in the United States, that “This is my resignation letter as the ‘face’ of the American anti-war movement.”

Her son Casey would have been 28 years old Tuesday. In what she writes are meditations upon developments in Sheehan’s life after she began a war protest that led her and a following of people to Camp Casey, beside the Texas ranch of President Bush in August 2005, included the notion that, “The most devastating conclusion that I reached this morning, however, was that Casey did indeed die for nothing. His precious lifeblood drained out in a country far away from his family who loves him, killed by his own country which is beholden to and run by a war machine that even controls what we think.”

I have come to some heartbreaking conclusions this Memorial Day Morning. These are not spur of the moment reflections, but things I have been meditating on for about a year now. The conclusions that I have slowly and very reluctantly come to are very heartbreaking to me.

In the text of Sheehan’s diary she is unable to reconcile herself with the Democratic Party that on Thursday, May 24, succumbed to the Bush administration on language for a troop funding bill that at one time tied funding to a time limit for U.S. involvement in Iraq. The presidential veto of that legislation to set a deadline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq resulted in the U.S. Congress caving to executive branch over the issue of war funding, and may have been the final straw for Sheehan.

“I am deemed a radical because I believe that partisan politics should be left to the wayside when hundreds of thousands of people are dying for a war based on lies that is supported by Democrats and Republican alike,” wrote Sheehan.

Sheehan said that she has spent every bit of money that she has received as compensation for the loss of her son from the U.S. government, and as a person who garnished speaking fees from the national attention on her campaign against the Iraq war, on trying to bring peace.

“I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost,” wrote Sheehan.

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By Adriana Noton

If you are looking for an apartment to rent, you may want to look a little further and buy a home of your own. If you have a look on the internet or sea a Real Estate Agent, do not forget to ask them what different condos for sale.

As with any type housing there is a wide range of these units for sale. From the lower end starter homes, to the extravagantly luxuries condos. Like the ones you see on MTV Cribs and other life style programs.

The concept behind this form of housing is one that is used all over the world. It is sectional ownership of the building. In other words you own your unit or condo in the building. The hallways and driveways and so on are common property and no one owns these areas.

The building and all the common areas are managed by a community made up of owners, with the owners best interest at heart. They manage the building and its financial affairs as well as the behavioral affairs in the building, as much as humanly possible.

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Generally speaking there are 4 types of sectional title apartments. Free standing, these condos are for all intends and purposes it is a house, it is on a piece of land and does not touch another condo. The free standing Condo is built on smaller land and for this reason is generally cheaper then the same size home.

A duplex style home is very similar to the freestanding, though one wall is shared, more often then not the wall is a garage wall, you still have a garden and your privacy. This is a good alternative for a family that is looking for their own home but can not afford the price of a traditional house.

Townhouse style has 1 or 2 shared walls and the common area is shared, which in turns means of the common area is shared between the owners. This does make the HOA higher but makes the over all cost of living lower.

Condos that are the most common however are those in middle to high-rise buildings, where 2 or more walls are shared. The HOAs are high because of the maintenance and upkeep being shared between all the owners based on the size of their apartment.

The reality is in the world we live in it is difficult to buy a freestanding home, especially for younger families, just starting out. More people end up renting because the are not aware of all the options available to them. If you are looking at renting an apartment, why not first ask your realtor or have a look on line at the various condos for sale so that you can own your own home.

A fixed asset of this sort can not only boost your life style but it is an investment, one that you can be so proud of. When renting an apartment you can not really make it your own, you have to stick to the land lords paint and decor decisions, with owning you can put up your favorite family photos or paintings. Go ahead and browse and see what you can do for yourself and your family.

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday approved US$7.4 billion to pay for the medical bills of workers sickened or injured by the September 11, 2001 attacks (9/11 attacks) on the World Trade Center in New York City, New York. The bill was passed by a vote of 268–160. Thirteen Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting the bill, while three Democrats opposed the measure. Similar legislation is pending in the US Senate.

“Let’s not have any more people die because of the attacks of 9/11,” said Representative Anthony Weiner, a Democrat from New York.

The bill, which will provide free health care to 9/11 workers, will be paid for by ending tax breaks for foreign corporations, was fiercely debated on the House floor, with Democratic backers of the bill proclaiming that they stood for 9/11 heroes and victims. Republicans against the bill argued that it was an entitlement program for New Yorkers and that it was another example of bloated government. “There is no excuse for this kind of legislation,” argued Texan Republican representative Lamar Smith.

The Republicans offered an alternative that would reduce funding for 9/11 workers and pay for the remainder by cutting parts of a major health care bill passed earlier this year. This measure failed 185–244.

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Monday, August 31, 2009

A study performed at Edinburgh University, Scotland has shown that aspirin may do more harm to your health than good.

The research at the university in Scotland was to assess the effects of taking aspirin on a daily basis where no prior or existing medical conditions would merit its prescription. The researchers monitored 3,350 patients aged between 50–75, who were thought to be at risk of heart disease, but did not show any significant symptoms at the start of the study. Over an eight-year time period, 181 of those people taking aspirin had heart attacks or strokes.

More than 3,000 men aged 50–75 were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of aspirin or a placebo pill and were watched over the eight year time period. There were 34 major bleeds in people taking aspirin, or 2%, in comparison to 1.2% of those who took the placebo. The Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) have found that the routine use of aspirin does not prevent vascular disease or conditions and the use of it “could not be supported.”

Peter Weissberg, a professor at the British Heart Foundation, the company which was partly responsible in funding for the trials said, “we know that patients with symptoms of artery disease, such as angina, heart attack or stroke, can reduce their risk of further problems by taking a small dose of aspirin each day. The findings of this study agree with our current advice that people who do not have symptomatic or diagnosed artery or heart disease should not take aspirin, because the risks of bleeding may outweigh the benefits. Because it’s been around for a long time, people think, ‘It must be safe and it can’t do any harm’. They are taking it ‘just in case’ but it’s much more dangerous than some other drugs that people get concerned about, like statins.”

Professor Gerry Fowkes presented the research from the University of Edinburgh at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona, Spain, which was attended by more than 30,000 heart specialists.

“Our research suggests that aspirin should not be prescribed to the general population, although it does have benefits for people with established heart disease or other conditions,” stated Fowkes.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

British conductor Sir Edward Downes and his wife Joan took their lives at a Swiss assisted suicide clinic on Friday, July 10, 2009, according to a statement from their family. Lady Downes, 74, was afflicted with terminal cancer, and Sir Edward, 85, was nearly blind with increasing hearing difficulties. These disabilities had forced him to give up conducting. Having no religious beliefs, the couple decided against holding a funeral.

The statement read, “After 54 happy years together, they decided to end their own lives rather than continue to struggle with serious health problems. They died peacefully, and under circumstances of their own choosing, with the help of the Swiss organisation, Dignitas, in Zurich.”

Many who knew the couple as friends said that Sir Edward was not terminally ill, but wanted to die with his wife, who he had been with for more than 50 years.

Sir Edward Downes’s children, in an interview with The London Evening Standard, said they escorted their parents to Zurich, and on that Friday, they watched in tears as their parents consumed “a small quantity of clear liquid,” and then proceeded to lie down together, holding hands.

“Within a couple of minutes they were asleep, and died within 10 minutes,” said their 41 year old son, Caractacus Downes.

Sir Edward was well respected in the operatic and orchestral worlds and was particularly noted for his performances of British and Russian music and of Verdi, conducting 25 of the composer’s 28 operas. He had a long association with the Royal Opera House, where he conducted for more than 50 seasons in succession. This did not stop him from refusing to conduct a series of performances of Verdi’s Nabucco there as he was “out of sympathy” with the adventurous production. His approach to conducting was similarly conservative. He wrote “The duty of a conductor should be to present… a faithful and accurate account of the composer’s music as he wrote it, disregarding any subsequent ‘interpretations’, ‘meanings’, or political agendas that may have been attached to it by others.”

It was on Friday, 28 September, 1973, that Sir Edward conducted the opening public performance at the Sydney Opera House, a staging of Prokofiev’s War and Peace by Opera Australia, of which he was musical director. Downes also served as chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Orchestra and principal conductor of the BBC Philharmonic.

The family reported that Lady Downes “started her career as a ballet dancer and subsequently worked as a choreographer and TV producer, before dedicating the last years of her life to working as our father’s personal assistant.”

The Metropolitan Police have announced that Greenwich CID are investigating the circumstances of the couple’s deaths. Assisting a suicide is illegal in the United Kingdom.

Over 100 people who wished to die have made the journey from Britain to Switzerland to take advantage of the clinical services that Dignitas offers. British police have investigated many of the resulting deaths, but no family member has yet been prosecuted for helping relatives negotiate with Dignitas and travel to Switzerland. Debbie Purdy, a woman with multiple sclerosis, attempted last year to obtain a ruling from the English High Court that family members would not be prosecuted for helping someone use the service, and in particular that her husband would not be charged should she decide to use Dignitas in future. The court refused as it believed that such clarification is the responsibility of parliament and not the judiciary.

Last week the House of Lords rejected a proposal by former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer to allow people to help someone with a terminal illness travel to a country where assisted suicide is legal.

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Submitted by: Kylelk Morgan

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