Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buddha's Lost Children is a feature-length documentary film about a Thai Buddhist monk who armed only with his faith and skills and master boxer skills wages an inspirational battle to help orphaned children, fight drug abuse, and preserve a vanishing way of life.
In the borderlands of Thailand's Golden Triangle, a rugged region known for its drug smuggling and impoverished hill tribes, one man devotes himself to the welfare of the region's children.
  • A former Thai boxer, turned Buddhist monk, Phra Khru Bah Neua Chai Kositto travels widely on horseback, fearlessly dispensing prayers and tough-love. With his Golden Horse Temple he's built an orphanage, school and clinic - a haven for the children of the region, who see him as a shaman, father figure and coach.
Source: Agency
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Sunday, July 31, 2011

VIENNA, SWITZERLAND - Released late on Friday, the report said there had been two major heroin seizures during the first quarter of 2011, each of more than 100 kg (220 pounds), reported by Kenya and Tanzania.
The emergence of Africa as a heroin trafficking hub is almost certainly due to ongoing corruption, widespread poverty and limited law enforcement capacity as well as increased pressure on traditional drug trafficking routes.
This provided an incentive to reopen the African route to Europe that had been very active in the 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Traffickers are exploiting poorly-staffed seaports and airports across East Africa and the lower cost and ease of transporting drugs through the continent makes the extra distance worthwhile
  • The increasing amounts of heroin reaching Africa appear to be fueling drug use, with authorities reporting more cases. However, drug abuse estimates are likely to be unrealistically low due to a lack of comprehensive data.
  • Drug traffickers faced with restrictions to transit routes through Asia and the Middle East are turning to eastern Africa, driving up instability and increasing substance abuse, a United Nations report said.
  • The UN's Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said Africa's emergence as an important heroin transport route in 2009 was of serious concern in a region ill-equipped to fight trafficking or care for people addicted to drugs.
Drug seizures and the arrest of traffickers indicated that African drug traffickers’ particularly West African networks are increasingly transporting Afghan heroin from Pakistan into East Africa for onward shipment to Europe and elsewhere.
Afghanistan is the world's biggest producer of opium, the base ingredient of heroin, and over 40 per cent of this flowed into Pakistan in 2009 before being transported worldwide as part of the $68 billion (Dh249.7 billion) global opiate market.
Source: Agency
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

SYDNEY, Australia - – The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are investigating their first case of alleged organ trafficking in the country as donor shortages fuel the illegal trade in body parts on Thursday.
An elderly Sydney woman with kidney problems is allegedly suspected to have trafficked a younger woman from the Philippines with the intention of harvesting an organ, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday.
  • The deal, which was allegedly made without the younger woman’s full consent, was discovered during interviews at a Sydney hospital before the procedure, the newspaper reported.
  • A police spokesman told the newspaper that this is the first organ trafficking case investigated by the Australian Federal Police,”
  • Police searched a residential premises in New South Wales in relation to suspected organ trafficking on March 24 and no arrests were made on that day, the newspaper said.
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Human Trafficking Team. Transplant doctors have raised concerns over the effectiveness of a $150 million plan to boost organ donations. Figures released by the organ donor register show transplants have fallen in some states and territories despite the plan.
Kidney Health Australia director Dr Tim Matthew says such a case is unlikely to go undetected.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Hundreds of thousands of men have been raped by other men. Some of them have been gang-raped repeatedly and over a period of many years. It is a sex crime that is so common the numbers almost equal that of female victims during times of war.
It is a double taboo with hidden victims. And it is a secret so well kept that even the UN has been accused of overlooking it.
  • So, why have the silent victims of this crime been ignored for so long? And what legal resources and support should they be given?
  • Inside Story discusses with guests: Louise Aubin, the deputy director of international protection at the UNHCR; Chris Dolan, the director of the Refugee Law Project; and Will Storr, contributing writer for the Guardian and the author of The Rape of Men.
Source: Al Jazeera
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rescue workers remove a body from a collapsed house after a landslide caused by heavy rainfall in Seoul on Wednesday. Wild weather has battered the peninsula since late Tuesday, causing widespread flooding and transport delays.
SEOUL, S. Korea - Fast-moving mud-waters filled the streets in Seoul on Wednesday, sending residents scrambling to the roofs of their partially submerged cars. Water filled some subway stations and spewed from sewers. TV images showed people in one flooded subway station using shovels, brooms and a wooden board in an effort to keep more rain from coming in. Yonhap reported Internet and wireless connections failed in southern Seoul due to power failures.
  • Walls of mud barreling down a hill buried 10 college students sleeping in a resort cabin and flash floods submerged the streets and subway stations in Seoul, killing at least 36 people Wednesday in South Korea's heaviest rains this year.
  • The students were engulfed by a landslide in Chuncheon, about 110 kilometres northeast of Seoul, said fire marshal Byun In-soo. A married couple and a convenience store owner also died.
  • Witnesses interviewed on television said the landslide sounded like a massive explosion or a freight train. They described people screaming as buildings were carried away by rivers of mud.
  • About 670 firefighters, soldiers, police and others rushed to rescue those trapped and extract the dead from the mud and wreckage in Chuncheon, where 24 others were injured and several buildings destroyed.
  • Yonhap news agency reported the 10 students attended Inha University in Incheon, but did not confirm they all were South Korean. The group was volunteering at a local elementary school.
  • In southern Seoul, 16 people died when mud crashed through homes at the foot of a mountain. The National Emergency Management Agency reported seven deaths due to flooding in a stream just south of the capital and said the toll was expected to rise as dozens of people were missing.
  • The heavy rain since Tuesday left about 620 people homeless and flooded 720 houses and about 100 vehicles throughout South Korea, the emergency management agency said.
  • About 440 millimetres of rain fell on Seoul and more than 340 millimetres on Chuncheon in the last two days, about 15 times more than the average two-day rainfall at this time of year, according to the state-run Korea Meteorological Administration.
  • Weather officials said another 254 millimetres could fall in northern South Korea, including Seoul, through Friday.
Seoul, a bustling capital of 10 million, shut down portions of two major highways stretching along each side of the main Han River because of high water, said disaster official Kim Ji-hwan.
A dam located just east of Seoul was discharging 16,400 tons of water per second, said Cha Jun-ho from the Han River Flood Control Office. The dam already discharged about 1,000 tons per second days before the recent downpours.
Source: Agency
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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RABAT, Morocco — A C-130 military transport plane crashed into a Moroccan mountain Tuesday in bad weather, killing 78 people, the state news agency said. It said there were three survivors.
The crash in a southern region close to the disputed Western Sahara was this country's deadliest in years. The crash in a southern region close to the disputed Western Sahara was this country's deadliest in years.

The MAP news agency said all three survivors were seriously injured. It said the plane was carrying 60 members of the military, 12 civilians and nine crew members.
  • MAP said the plane crashed was due to bad weather conditions at around 9 a.m. local time (0800 GMT) 10 kilometers northeast of Guelmim in southern Morocco, as it prepared to land at the Guelmim military air base.
Information Minister Khaled Naciri told The Associated Press, the plane was en route from Dakhla, in the disputed Western Sahara, to Kinitra in northern Morocco, and making a stop in Guelmim.
Guelmim is more than 600 kilometers southwest of the capital Rabat, just north of the Western Sahara and a few dozen kilometers from the Atlantic Coast.
Source: Agency
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MOGADISHU, Somalia - An estimated 3.7 million people in Somalia around a third of the population are on the brink of starvation and millions more in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have been struck by the worst drought in the region in 60 years. The UN has urged "massive" action for the drought-stricken Horn of Africa region, but charities slammed low aid pledges ahead of talks with donor countries in Nairobi this week.
  • Josette Sheeran, executive director of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), told a conference in Rome that a combination of natural disaster and regional conflict was affecting more than 12 million people. A camp in Dadaab in Kenya that was built for 90,000 people now housed 400,000.
  • Mothers are having to abandon their children who are too weak to make it or who have died along the roads of death. Women and children were among the most at risk in the crisis,
  • The "children's famine" given the number of children at risk of death or permanent stunting of their brains and bodies due to hunger. The children's famine, because the ones who are the weakest are the children and those are the ones we're seeing are the least likely to make it. Women making the horrible choice of leaving behind their weaker children to save the stronger ones or having children die in their arms."
Ministers and senior officials met at the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome on Monday to discuss how to mobilise aid following the worst drought in decades in a region stretching from Somalia to Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.
"The catastrophic situation demands massive and urgent international aid," said Jacques Diouf, head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which hosted Monday's emergency meeting.
  • It is imperative to stop the famine, declared by the UN this month in two insurgent-held areas of southern Somalia, he said.
  • The WFP announced at the talks that it would begin an airlift of food aid into the Somali capital Mogadishu later today, as well as to eastern Ethiopia and northern Kenya on the border with Somalia.
  • The WFP will feed 2.5 million malnourished children and is trying to raise money for more. It said it needed an extra US$360 million in urgent funds. Oxfam said that overall another US$1 billion was needed to handle the situation.
  • The World Bank said in a statement it was providing more than $US500 million to assist drought victims, in addition to $US12 million in immediate aid to help those worst hit.
Governments worldwide and the UN have been criticised for their slow response to the severe drought, but they face severe problems getting aid to a region in the grip of a raging conflict across much of southern Somalia.
The UN has declared a famine in two regions of Somalia and warned it could spread further afield.
Source: Agency
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TOWN, S.AFRICA - A 50-year-old South African man thought to be dead woke up in a chilly morgue on Sunday and shouted to be let out, scaring off two attendants who thought he was a ghost. This caused two mortuary attendants on duty to flee the building in the small town of Libode in the rural Eastern Cape as they thought it was a ghost.
  • According to health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo, his family thought he had died.
  • "The family called a private undertaker who took what they thought was a dead body to the morgue, but the man woke up inside the morgue on Sunday at 5pm and screamed, demanding to be taken out of the cold place."
After calling for help and returning to find the man alive, an ambulance was sent to fetch the man who had "been exposed to extreme cold for nearly 24 hours" said Kupelo.
Kupelo said the public should not assume that a sick person had died and contact a mortuary.
"Doctors, emergency workers and the police are the only people who have a right to examine the patients and determine if they are dead or not."
Source: Agency
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Monday, July 25, 2011

The donation of kidneys is banned in Philippines. Foreigners bought the organs from poor filipinos who sold their organs to feed their families. It was just like a well organized black market with many people in the chain who filled their pockets.
MANILA, Philippines – Representative Rene Relampagos of the first congressional district of Bohol said more than 3,000 young Filipinos have already sold their internal organs to foreigners through middlemen. foreigners and local middlemen were taking advantage of impoverished Filipinos by buying their organs.
In some countries, organ donation is common on moral and ethical grounds. However, in the Philippines, it is largely a matter dictated by the need for cash.
  • "Many foreigners come to the Philippines to take advantage of the hapless Filipino who will do just about anything to make a few bucks," he said.
Relampagos said middlemen get a significant part of the price paid by the patient, while the donor was paid a relatively smaller sum.
A measure has been filed before the Philippine legislature which seeks to stop the trade on human organs by local middlemen and foreigners.
Source: Agency
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Illustrated picture of a dog attacking human
OTTAWA, Canada - In the dog days of summer, Canada Post workers across the country are reporting a higher-than-usual spike in attacks by canines, with 41 incidents recorded in the first three weeks of July. The problem, according to some Ontario letter carriers, is that owners tend to unleash their pets and let them roam their yards as the weather heats up outdoors.
To ensure the safety of its employees, the country's primary postal carrier is reminding dog owners to restrain their pets regardless of the animals' size and keep them a fair distance from mail slots, mail boxes, and areas where delivery people may be approaching from the street.
  • Even smaller dogs are capable of inflicting serious injuries to people they feel may be trespassing on their owners' property, said Anick Losier, a spokesperson for Canada Post.
  • Although dog bites are much more common during the summertime, the 41 reports so far in July is higher than usual. On average, about 500 attacks are recorded annually across the country.
  • Mark Roper, who has been delivering the mail in Ottawa for 21 years, still feels edgy about dogs on his route ever since he was viciously mauled by a pitbull in March 2010.
  • "It just charged me, without making a sound. Jumped on to my arm and grabbed my forearm. I was kicking at him, screaming at him, punching at the dog," Roper recounted. "When he finally released, he ran back towards his house, but then I saw him run, turn around again, and charge at me a second time."
  • Roper was taken to the hospital to get wounds on his forearm treated with surgical glue, and still bears the scars.
  • In the Ottawa area alone last year, there were 21 dog attacks reported, most of which were serious enough to require medical attention. There was another serious incident in Belleville, Ontario, this year, with a postal worker losing a thumb after encountering a dog that didn't recognize her.
As for those pet owners who ignore safety precautions regarding pet restraints, they may just end up having to wait a little longer for their mail. Losier said delivery service can be suspended from certain addresses if a letter carrier deems the property unsafe. Residents would then have to pick up their mail from the nearest post office.
Source: CBC
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

WASHINGTON, U.S.A. - A record-breaking heatwave has hit the US with temperatures approaching 40°C, leaving up to 24 dead. Around half of the population, some 150 million, have been put on alert over the "dangerous" heat, which has been so intense it has melted roads.
Fifty-five major cities have experienced record temperatures, combining with humidity to create an unbearable steam room effect. Forecasters warn it is set to feel as hot as 46°C over the weekend.
  • At Dulles Airport in Washington DC, the combined heat and humidity index, or "feels like" temperature, was expected to hit 49°C. And in New York, even overnight temperatures have been as high as 29°C.
  • The heat dome currently sitting over two dozen states in the eastern and central US has been in place for most of the week and is not expected to move until tomorrow at the earliest. Residents and tourists have been advised not to go outside during the hottest part of the day and to drink water regularly.
Just one hour outside in the heat could result in a loss of more than 1lb of fluid through sweat, doctors have warned. Hospitals are struggling to cope, with reports of patients stacked up in corridors. Up to 20 per cent of the surge is said to be due to a rise in heat-related cases.
Among the dead have been a three-year-old boy in Oklahoma. In neighboring Missouri 13 were killed by the heat and three elderly people were found dead in separate homes in Kansas.
Source: Agency
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Sunday, July 24, 2011

In conjunction with the memorable attack by a suspected right-wing Christian gunman in police uniform killed at least 84 people on a youth summer camp of Norway's ruling Labour party, hours after a bomb killed seven in Oslo , the following is a snapshot timeline of some of the worst shooting incidents carried out by one or two gunmen around the world in the last 20 years;

  1. April 1982 - SOUTH KOREA: Police officer Woo Bum Kong went on a drunken rampage in Sang-Namdo with rifles and hand grenades, killing 57 people and wounding 38 before blowing himself up.
  2. Aug. 19, 1987 – BRITAIN: Michael Ryan, a 27-year-old gun fanatic rampaged through the English town of Hungerford, killing 16 people and wounding 11 before shooting himself.
  3. July 1989 - FRANCE: A French farmer shot and killed 14 people including members of his family in the village of Luxiol, near the Swiss border. He was wounded and captured by police.
  4. Dec. 1989 - CANADA: A 25-year-old war movie fan with a grudge against women shot dead 14 young women at the University of Montreal, then killed himself.
  5. Nov. 1990 - NEW ZEALAND: A gun-mad loner killed 11 men, women and children in a 24-hour rampage in the tiny New Zealand seaside village of Aramoana. He was killed by police.
  6. Sept. 1995 - FRANCE: A 16-year-old youth ran amok with a rifle in the town of Cuers, killing 16 people and then himself after an argument with his parents.
  7. March 13, 1996 - BRITAIN: Gunman Thomas Hamilton burst into a primary school in the Scottish town of Dunblane and shot dead 16 children and their teacher before killing himself.
  8. April 1999 - USA: Two heavily-armed teenagers went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, Denver, shooting 13 students and staff before taking their own lives.
  9. July 1999 - USA: A gunman killed nine people at two brokerages in Atlanta, after apparently killing his wife and two children. He committed suicide five hours later.
  10. June 2001 - NEPAL: Eight members of the Nepalese Royal family were killed in a palace massacre by Crown Prince Dipendra who later turned a gun on himself and died few days later. His youngest brother also died later raising the death toll to 10.
  11. April 26, 2002 - GERMANY: In Erfurt, eastern Germany, 19-year-old Robert Steinhauser opened fire after saying he was not going to take a maths test. He killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two pupils and a policeman at the Gutenberg Gymnasium, before killing himself.
  12. Oct. 2002 - USA: John Muhammad and Lee Malvo killed 10 people in sniper-style shooting deaths that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area.
  13. April 16, 2007 - USA: Virginia Tech, a university in Blacksburg, Virginia, became the site of the deadliest rampage in U.S. history when a gunman killed 32 people and himself.
  14. Nov. 7, 2007 - FINLAND: Pekka-Eric Auvinen killed six fellow students, the school nurse and the principal and himself with a handgun at the Jokela High School near Helsinki.
  15. Sept. 23, 2008 - FINLAND: Student Matti Saari opened fire in a vocational school in Kauhajoki in northwest Finland, killing nine other students and one male staff member before killing himself.
  16. March 11, 2009 - GERMANY: A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black combat gear killed nine students and three teachers at a school near Stuttgart. He also killed one other person at a nearby clinic. He was later killed in a shoot-out with police. Two additional passers-by were killed and two policemen seriously injured, bringing the death toll to 16 including the gunman.
Source: Agency
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