Archive for March 22nd, 2011

March 22, 2011

New face for disfigured US man

BBC News: A team of more than 30 doctors in the USA has given a 25-year-old man a total face transplant.

The man, Dallas Wiens, had received extensive disfigurement following an accident when his entire facial features had melted when his head touched a high voltage electrical wire. Dallas is said to be recovering well and the surgeons are saying that the procedure has been successful.

His nose, lips, skin and muscles and all the nerves providing sensation have been installed. However, sadly, his eyesight was not able to be restored.  A similar operation was performed in Spain last week and in 2005, the world’s first such operation (although a partial face replacement) was done in France on a woman who had been savaged by a dog.

[Health and Medicine Contributor]

March 22, 2011

Israel hits Gaza hard with air strikes – president jailed for rape

Huffington Post: Following mortar attacks from Gaza over the weekend which had injured two people in Israel, on Monday, the country’s military launched an intensive air strike into Gaza. Around 19 people were reported wounded and the strikes caused damage to buildings.

HuffPost AOL.News: Israel’s former President, Moshe Katsav, received a seven year jail sentence on Tuesday for rape. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges that he had raped his aide twice when he was a cabinet minister in the late 90’s and had  molested or sexually harassed up to two other women colleagues in his 2000-2007 presidential term of offfice.

The judges convicting him in December last year said that his testimony has been ‘riddled with lies’. “When a woman says no, she means no,” the panel had said when it judged the Katsav.

[Middle East Contributor]

March 22, 2011

US says ‘We’re sorry’ to Afgans for civilian deaths

BBC News: Over 4000 media items including photos and videos were obtained by the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, which show soldiers in the US Army in graphic and ‘repugnant’ actions upon Afghan civilians. The US military has since apologized and says that the actions were those of a ‘rogue’ unit in 2010 and investigations are under way.

The photos were recently published by Germany‘s Der Spiegel magazine and are said to be some of the many that were taken by US Army investigators. They depict US soldiers grinning over the bodies of Afghan civilians they appear to have killed.  Other photos show soldiers kneeling over a body and holding the face of the dead man to the camera by using his hair and turning his head.

In 2010,  around 3000 civilians were killed in the conflict. The UN says that the Taliban were responsible for around 75% of the deaths and coalition forces the remaining 30%.

[Middle East Contributor]

March 22, 2011

India goes the way of ‘Gitmo’ with 20,000 detained without charge

BBC News: India, it seems, has gone the way of ‘Gitmo‘ as under its tough Indian Public Safety Act (PSA), the country’s law enforcement agencies are able to detain anyone for up to two years without charges.

So far, around 20,000 people are in Indian detention centres in Kashmir without a trial in sight. This has been going on since 1989 when the region’s violent insurgency had started. Essentially, the law is used to enable long-term detention of people against whom no good evidence can be presented for a trial. 

BBC News reports that Bikramjeet Batra, Amnesty’s campaigner for Asia Pacific programme in India, said:“The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way… ..hundreds of people are being held each year on spurious grounds, with many exposed to higher risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment” .

It is reported that the detainees are from a wide range of individuals, including: political leaders, suspected insurgents, activists, lawyers, journalists, protestors and some of them are children. When apprehended, they are usually harshly treated and some are tortured. They do not have access to any legal representation.

Amnesty International has called for the law to be cancelled and has been critical of the country’s judiciary for its ‘blind-eyeing’ of the detainees’ human rights. In the meantime, world leaders have been silent on the matter.

[Human Rights Contributor]

March 22, 2011

Earthquakes in Afganistan and Dominican Republic

Afganistan Yesterday at around 9.49AM UTC an earthquake measuring 5.8 in size struck the Badakhsan Province of Afganistan which has a population of 0.6 million. No casualties have been reported.

Dominican Republic

CNN: At around 12.35 AM on Saturday, the Dominican Republic was stirred by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake on early Saturday according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It said. Around 95 miles southeast of the country’s capital, Santo Domingo, was affected. No significant damage has been reported and there were no casualities.

[Natural Disasters Contributor]