Thursday, April 15, 2010

Police beating of university student John McKenna shocks the US

AU.News.AU 15/04/2010

Ckick here for VIDEO fotage: Sports fan bashed by cops

FOOTAGE of police brutalising an innocent sports fan in Maryland and rendering him unconscious has shocked America today.

In scenes captured by CCTV cameras, University of Maryland student John McKenna is seen skipping down the street celebrating after watching his university basketball team defeat Duke.

Within seconds he is approached by police on horseback who stand over him before other cops in riot gear swoop and begin beating him with batons, The Sun reports.

Police reports allege it was Mr McKenna who had first been assaulting the cops and their horses causing "minor injuries" as they responded to reports of trouble after the game.

But he never strikes out on the footage - and even tries to back away when confronted.

The FBI are now investigating the incident which left the 21-year-old needing eight staples to repair a gaping wound in his head.

He was also allegedly told by officers in Maryland not to make a fuss about his injuries because they would have to fill out more paper work.

Microsoft accused of 52c-an-hour 'slaves'

MICROSOFT said it had opened an investigation following a report of harsh working conditions at a factory in China that makes products for the US software giant.

The Pittsburgh-based National Labor Committee, in a report released Tuesday, denounced conditions at a KYE Systems factory in the city of Dongguan in Guangdong province.

The NLC, a private group with a stated mission to "help defend the human rights of workers in the global economy," said KYE recruits hundreds of "work study students" aged 16 and 17 years old who work 15-hour shifts, six and seven days a week.

It showed photos released over the past three years purporting to have been smuggled out of the factory, showing "exhausted teenaged workers, toiling and slumping asleep on their assembly line during break time".

It said that in 2007 and 2008, before the recession, "workers were at the factory 97 hours a week while working 80-and-a-half hours".

"In 2009, workers report being at the factory 83 hours a week, while working 68 hours," the NLC said.

It said workers were paid 65c an hour, "which falls to a take-home wage of 52c after deductions for factory food."

Aussie dies after Thailand street attack

AU.Yahoo.Com 15/04/2010
An Australian tourist who died after being attacked in Thailand will be buried there on Friday, farewelled by his pregnant Thai wife and Adelaide family.

Andrew Oake, 28, had been holidaying in Prasat, near Surin in northeastern Thailand, for two months with his wife, Som, who is six months pregnant.

About four weeks ago the pair were travelling between villages when they were set upon by two men on motorbikes.

Som ran for help while Mr Oake was slashed in the arms and head with a machete in what might have been a failed robbery.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thai Protesters Take to Streets to Express Wide-Ranging Grievances

VOA News 24/03/2010

Thailand is again gripped by political unrest. But unlike some previous demonstrations, which were mainly seen as part of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's struggle against those who deposed him, political analysts say the new rallies have become a forum for people who feel marginalized and want broad political change.

Tens of thousands of Thais poured into Bangkok over the past week demanding fresh elections.

The red-shirted protesters are usually associated with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.

But many do not care about Mr. Thaksin. They want elections because they think the government does not serve the poor.

PROTESTER: "If we have election, and I have the government be mine, be ours, it's good, better than now."

After court cases forced out an elected government in 2008, parliament selected Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, under rules set up by the military government that ousted Mr. Thaksin.

Pan, a maid, is one of the thousands of people who cheered as the demonstrators paraded in Bangkok. She wants a new election because she thinks Mr. Abhisit is insensitive to the needs of the poor.

'Tangible Progress' Reported in Control of TB in SE Asia

The World Health Organization has taken the occasion of World TB Day to document the progress and challenges in its fight against tuberculosis in its Southeast Asia region.
Picture: Tuberculosis patient Supachai Sengsum on his bed at Wat Prabat Nampu in Lopburi, Thailand (2009 File)

The United Nations health body warns it faces several challenges in its TB programs in the region. The World Health Organization says it main tasks are to sustain and expand services to countries struggling with poverty, rapid urbanization and large population displacements.

India accounts for 20 percent of all global tuberculosis cases. And while the overall death rate has been on the decline in the 11 countries in the WHO's Southeast Asia region, it is responsible for half a million deaths each year.

The region is composed of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Burma, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and East Timor.

WHO officials are particularly concerned by data showing more than a third of patients getting repeat treatments in Thailand have multi-drug resistant TB. India has the highest such number of cases globally. Multi-drug resistant TB is much harder to treat successfully.

Australian scientists in TB drug breakthrough

Bangkok Post 24/03/2010

Australian scientists said Wednesday they had discovered a drug which could cure tuberculosis at its non-infectious stage and could be the first major breakthrough on the disease in 50 years.

Bacteriologist Nick West said researchers at Sydney's Centenary Institute had developed a drug which could essentially combat the disease before it takes hold, potentially saving millions of lives around the world.

"We have investigated a protein that is essential for TB to survive and we have had some success in developing a drug that will inhibit this protein," said West.

"Our goal over the coming months is to find out the full extent of this drug's potential."

West said it would be the first time in history that dormant or asymptomatic, non-infectious TB would be able to be treated, potentially stemming a deadly tide of infection which claimed two million lives every year.

"Unfortunately, the antibiotics we use to fight TB aren't effective against latent TB and can only be used when the disease becomes active," he explained.

"This is a major problem as one out of 10 people who have latent TB will develop the active disease, becoming sick and contagious."

"If we can figure out a way to treat TB when it's in a latent stage, then we could save millions of lives throughout the world," West added.

If successful the drug would be the the first new treatment for TB since 1962, according to the institute which is affiliated with the University of Sydney.

One third of the world's population, or two billion people, are estimated to be infected with TB, with the disease growing fastest in South East Asia.

Lethal multidrug-resistant strains of the disease were becoming a serious threat to global health, infecting almost half a million people in 2008, of whom one-third died, the World Health Organisation warned last week.

Almost half the drug resistant cases were estimated to have occurred in India and China, the WHO said, with an extensively drug-resistant form, found in 58 countries, "virtually untreatable".

Heading for a stalemate that could last till Songkran

Bangkok Post 25/03/2010
Picture: PM Abhisit Vejjajiva reacts during yesterday’s meeting in Parliament, which the opposition Puea Thai Party boycotted.

With both the red shirt protesters and government proclaiming they are going in the right direction, an extended stalemate that could last close to the Songkran holidays is becoming a likely scenario.

PM Abhisit Vejjajiva reacts during yesterday’s meeting in Parliament, which the opposition Puea Thai Party boycotted. With the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) keeping the protest peaceful and orderly, and the government holding its stance of not dissolving the House or cracking down forcefully on the demonstrators, the confrontation simply has to carry on.

Although the "Three Buddies" leaders of the red shirts may have wanted to wrap up the protest within a week as they initially declared, they had no choice but to keep the show going because the real commander of the red shirt movement, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, is still holding on to his dream. Thaksin remains as committed as ever to his aspiration of returning to power, claiming back all his interests and toppling the amataya who, as he tells the protesters every day, are the real liability of the country. For Thaksin, the bureaucratic elite are holding back Thailand from opening up to new things because that could affect its superior position which allows it to be above everyone and "suck everything" from ordinary citizens to enrich itself and its network.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How to Survive a Heart Attack

When a heart attack occurs outside of a hospital, death is frequently the outcome, but a new study has shown that rapid intervention using two strategies can increase the chances for survival.

Emergency physician Arthur Kellermann, a senior principal researcher at the Rand Corporation, says the single most effective way to save a heart attack patient's life is for someone to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR.

"Bystander CPR is easy to learn, easy to remember and easy to perform. You can save lives with CPR by just pumping on the chest, you don't even have to do mouth-to-mouth breathing."

Electronic devices called Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, can also help save a heart attack victim's life.

"Automated External Defibrillators allow a citizen with little or no training to apply that counter shock to a patient and potentially restart their heart." Kellermann adds that the sooner the AED is used, the more likely the heart is to restart.

Lessons for successful emergency response

Although clinically AEDs have been shown to be effective, it was unclear whether having them publicly available in places like schools, workplaces and sports facilities would improve community survival rates following cardiac arrests.

Vitamin D May Protect Against Heart Attack

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that we get through exposure to sunlight and through diet. Without enough Vitamin D, we are at risk for rickets, osteoporosis and bone fractures.

Now, researchers have found that Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

J. Brent Muhlestein, a cardiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, looked at Vitamin D levels in 41,000 patients who visited the medical center for various health problems. He found that about two-thirds of them had low levels of Vitamin D.

"We found a significant association with future heart attacks and strokes and death in the patients who were low compared to ones who were not low in that blood test," says Muhlestein.

Over the next twelve months, one group took Vitamin D supplements to get up to normal levels. The other group did not. At the end of the year, Muhlestein tested both groups again.

Religious Leaders to Fight HIV Stigma

Spiritual leaders from around the world are meeting in The Netherlands to discuss their response to HIV/AIDS. Selah Hennessy spoke to African church leaders for VOA about how they can use their influence to fight the stigma surrounding the disease.

Reverend Patricia Sawo is a pastor at the Calvary Celebration Church in Kenya and the mother of 10 children.

Sawo found out she was HIV positive more than a decade ago. She says before then she had been misinformed about the disease.

"Before I was confronted with my own HIV status, I knew that HIV was a disease for the sinners, and that is how it was presented," she said.

When she learned she was HIV-positive she lost her position in the church. But she learned more about HIV/AIDS and has retaken charge of her church and says she aims to teach her congregation the facts.

"There were people already in the church who were actually having HIV and who were hopeless and did not have anywhere to turn to," she said. "So my coming back into the church with the good news in itself started an automatic support group within the church. That Sunday that I spoke in the Sunday service, in the evening there were eight people who came to confide in me and just to tell me that they were there and they were living with HIV and we needed to find more information," she explained.