Chinese Hospitals Are Battlegrounds of Discontent
New York Times
SHENYANG, China – Forget the calls by many Chinese patients for more honest, better-qualified doctors. What this city’s 27 public hospitals really needed, officials decided last month, was police officers.And not just at the entrance, but as deputy administrators. The goal: to keep disgruntled patients and their relatives from attacking the doctors.
The decision was quickly reversed after Chinese health experts assailed it, arguing that the police were public servants, not doctors’ personal bodyguards.
Program joins Palestinians and Israelis as interns in the Distric
By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 12, 2010
A sweltering June day at Reagan National Airport. Mariam Ashour walks to the parking lot, “freaking out in my mind,” looking for someone she has never met. Noam Rabinovich sits in a car, trying to identify Ashour, with whom she has exchanged only a few messages on Facebook.
As they approach each other, something strange happens, something neither can fully explain.
“I don’t want to over-dramatize the moment, but time stopped for a second,” Ashour said later. “To me it was, like, ‘Wow.’ I was very happy.”
Debts Rise, and Go Unpaid, as Bust Erodes Home Equity
By DAVID STREITFELD
Published: August 11, 2010
PHOENIX – During the great housing boom, homeowners nationwide borrowed a trillion dollars from banks, using the soaring value of their houses as security. Now the money has been spent and struggling borrowers are unable or unwilling to pay it back.
The delinquency rate on home equity loans is higher than all other types of consumer loans, including auto loans, boat loans, personal loans and even bank cards like Visa and MasterCard, according to the American Bankers Association.
Lenders say they are trying to recover some of that money but their success has been limited, in part because so many borrowers threaten bankruptcy and because the value of the homes, the collateral backing the loans, has often disappeared.
Blagojevich jurors suggest they may be deadlocked
By MICHAEL TARM
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 11, 2010; 9:32 PM
CHICAGO — After more than a week of silence, jurors in the corruption trial of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich threw the courtroom into confusion Wednesday when they sent a note to the judge suggesting they may be deadlocked on at least some counts.
In their 11th day of deliberations, the jurors told Judge James B. Zagel that they had made “a reasonable attempt” to reach a unanimous decision, but asked for guidance if they can’t reach a unanimous decision on any given count.
Russians fear worst as fires reach Chernobyl fallout zone
Scepticism as officials try to play down threat of radioactive residue in smog
By Miriam Elder Thursday, 12 August 2010
Radiation levels near Chernobyl could rise and pose long-term health dangers as deadly forest fires spread to land contaminated by the world’s largest nuclear-reactor disaster, Russian environmentalists said yesterday.
Activists said that the effect of the flames, fanned by the hottest weather in the region in 1,000 years, is bound to be serious. “This is radiation that will be dangerous for the local population living near the fires and firefighters managing the fires,” said Vladimir Chuprov, head of Greenpeace Russia’s energy unit.
Vatican rejects resignations of Irish bishops over child sex abuse scandal
The Vatican has rejected the resignations of two Catholic bishops in Ireland who offered to quit in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal, the Archbishop of Dublin said.
Published: 12:34AM BST 12 Aug 2010
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said in a letter to priests in his archdiocese that Auxiliary Bishops Eamonn Walsh and Raymond Field will remain in their jobs but will be given “revised responsibilities”.
The bishops presented their resignations to Pope Benedict XVI in December following a judge’s damning report on the Dublin archdiocese that found the Catholic Church concealed the abuse of children by priests for three decades.
In the letter he said: “Following the presentation of their resignations to Pope Benedict, it has been decided that Bishop Eamonn Walsh and Bishop Raymond Field will remain as auxiliary bishops.”
The archbishop said they were “to be assigned revised responsibilities within the diocese.”
Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani ‘confesses’ to murder on Iran state TV
Lawyer says Ashtiani was tortured before interview recorded in Tabiz prison, and fears execution imminent
Saeed Kamali Dehghan
The Guardian, Thursday 12 August 2010
The Iranian woman whose sentence to death by stoning sparked an international outcry is feared to be facing imminent execution, after she was put on a state-run TV programme last night where she confessed to adultery and involvement in a murder.
Speaking shakily in her native Azeri language, which could be heard through a voiceover, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani told an interviewer that she was an accomplice to the murder of her husband and that she had an extramarital relationship with her husband’s cousin. Her lawyer told the Guardian last night that his client, a 43-year-old mother of two, was tortured for two days before the interview was recorded in Tabriz prison, where she has been held for the past four years.
US ‘on target’ to withdraw troops from Iraq despite military misgivings
The US has insisted it is on target to end combat operations in Iraq despite warnings from the country’s top army officer that native troops will not be ready to take control for another decade.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent and Ben Leach
Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, said President Obama was satisfied with the progress Iraqi troops had made.
“We’re on target by the end of the month to end our combat mission. Already we have removed over 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office,” he said.
His comments come after Lt Gen Babakir Zebari, Iraq’s top army officer, said that his country’s troops will not be fully trained until 2020 and that they would not be able to cope without the support of the Americans.
Thousands of combat troops will leave Iraq at the end of the month under President Barack Obama’s exit strategy. It will leave a small force of 50,000 troops in a support and training role but they will leave by the end of 2011.
Sri Lanka’s civil war inquiry is ‘eyewash’, say Tamils
By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent Thursday, 12 August 2010
Sri Lanka’s investigation into the war against the Tamil Tigers – a conflict that left thousands of civilians dead – has begun amid a barrage of allegations that justice will not be done.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa announced the commission earlier this year, its purpose was ostensibly to find out why a 2002 ceasefire brokered by Norway, and signed by the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), broke down. Its chairman, C R de Silva, said in his opening remarks yesterday that the time had come to “consolidate the military victory by addressing the root causes of the conflict and establish national integrity and reconciliation”.
Pakistan floods cause ‘huge losses’ to crops
Pakistan’s floods have caused “huge losses” crop losses, the country’s food minister has told the BBC.
The BBC 12 August 2010
Nazar Muhammad Gondal said significant amounts of the grain, sugarcane and rice harvests had been washed away.
Meanwhile a senior religious scholar has said that flood victims living in difficult conditions should not have to fast Over the Muslim Ramadan period.
And Pakistan’s UK envoy has denied that money given for flood defences has been lost through corruption.
High Commissioner to London Wajid Hasan dismissed the allegation by pressure group Transparency International, and insisted his government was doing all it could to help people in need.
Uganda LRA rebels ‘forcing civilians to join them’
The Lord’s Resistance Army, a rebel group operating across a large stretch of central Africa, has been accused of a campaign of enforced recruitment.
By Martin Plaut
Africa editor, BBC News
Human Rights Watch says the group has brutally abducted at least 697 adults and children over the past 18 months.
Civilians were said to have been taken in remote regions of the Central African Republic and the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, has its origins in northern Uganda.
Today its fighters are spread across northern DRC, southern Sudan and the east of the CAR.
Some of those abducted managed to escape, bringing with them tales of children forced to kill other children and trained to treat other human beings as animals.
Kigali grenade attack follow Kagame’s Rwanda election win
Two days after President Paul Kagame won a smooth Rwanda election, a grenade attack rocked the capital, Kigali. Such incidents demonstrate the need for Mr. Kagame’s authoritarian style, say his supporters.
By Scott Baldauf, Staff writer / August 11, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa
With few strong opponents running against him, there was never much doubt that Rwanda President Paul Kagame would be reelected for an additional seven-year term. Today, electoral commissioners announced that Mr. Kagame had won the Aug. 9 election with a staggering 93 percent of the vote.
Kagame’s authoritarian style – his government has banned two newspapers and arrested journalists and opposition leaders in the run-up to the election – may rub Western governments and human rights activists the wrong way. But it’s a style that many Rwandans often justify, pointing to what they see as the constant threat of instability, such as today’s grenade attack in the capital, Kigali. More than a dozen people were wounded in the blast, according to initial reports. It’s the fourth grenade attack in the capital this year.