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Somali Women Face Rape, Sexual Assault as They Flee Famine

somali women, famine
© Reuters

Internally displaced Somali women wait for food at a camp in the capital Mogadishu, July 20, 2011.

Most vulnerable women are on the outskirts of the camps

Women fleeing conflict and famine in Somalia are facing another threat to their lives, sexual assault. As they make the long journey from what was once their home to the world's largest refugee complex at Dadaab, Kenya, women have to contend with being attacked and raped by armed militants and bandits, often times repeatedly.

The violence does not stop once the women reach the camps. With the large influx of refugees, many women build shelters farther away from the center of the camps, making them more vulnerable to attacks.

However, the UN high commissioner for refugees, UNHCR says they have been working to increase security at the camps.

Question

Lying on Train Tracks More Effective Than Government Healthcare, Say Indonesians

Railway Track Cures?_6
© Minyanville
"I'll keep doing this until I'm completely cured," Indonesian diabetes patient Sri Mulyati told the Associated Press as she lay down across the tracks in Rawa Buaya, "twitching visibly as an oncoming passenger train sen[t] an extra rush of current racing through her body."

"She leaps from tracks as it approaches and then, after the last carriage rattles slowly by, climbs back into position," the article, titled "Desperate, Sick Indonesians Use Railroad 'Therapy'" continues.

Marius Widjajarta, chairman of the Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation, says "chronic funding shortages and chaotic decentralization efforts since the 1998 ouster of longtime dictator Suharto have left many disillusioned with the state-sponsored health system." Beyond the disillusionment, many Indonesians cannot afford the medications necessary to control their maladies. And some, like Sri Mulyati, insist stretching out across a railbed is a more effective cure than anything a doctor could prescribe.

Railway Track Cures?_1
© Minyanville
According to the AP, track therapy became popular among Indonesians after "a rumor about an ethnic Chinese man who was partially paralyzed by a stroke going to the tracks to kill himself, but instead finding himself cured" started making the rounds.

Sherlock

Russia dismisses key elements of Poland's Kaczynski crash report

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© RIA Novosti. Ilya Pitalev
The site of crash that killed the Polish President at Smolensk
Russian investigators have rejected some of the key findings of a Polish report into the crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski in April 2010.

A Tu-154 plane carrying Kaczynski, his wife and a host of top officials crashed in heavy fog as it attempted to land at an airfield near the western Russian city of Smolensk. The delegation was flying to Smolensk to mark the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn massacre of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police. All 96 people on board the plane died.

Both Poland and Russia have carried out investigations into the crash, and the probe has seen a rise in the tensions that briefly subsided in the aftermath of the tragedy. Poland released its final report on the crash last Friday.

X

Crete pelican falls into coma after being forced to drink alcohol

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© RIA Novosti. Alexei Bogdanovskiy
Pelican
A pelican on the island of Crete fell into a coma on Tuesday after large amounts of alcohol was poured down its throat, local television said.

Anastasia Bobolaki, the chair of the Chania Animal Welfare association on Crete, said the bird had been found unconscious somewhere near the resort town of Georgioupolis in the southwest of the island.

Passport

Russian PM Says Unification With Belarus Possible and Desirable

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he would support the unification of Russia and Belarus and would also be open to South Ossetia joining the common state.

He told a youth camp on Russia's Seliger Lake that the unification is possible and wholly dependent on the will of the Belarusian people. He made a similar response when asked about South Ossetia's accession to Russia.

Neither Belarus nor South Ossetia had an immediate response to Mr. Putin's statements.

South Ossetia is one of two regions of Georgia that have proclaimed independence from Tbilisi. When Georgia made a military move to assert control over South Ossetia, Russia sent troops to support the region's separatist leaders.

X

Up to six more Somalia regions may face famine: UN

Image
© Reuters/Omar Faruk
An internally displaced woman sits with her malnourished children at Badbado refugee camp in the south of capital Mogadishu, August 1, 2011.
The famine in the Horn of Africa is spreading and may soon engulf as many as six more regions of the lawless nation of Somalia, the U.N. humanitarian aid chief said on Monday.

Some "12.4 million people in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti are in dire need of help and the situation is getting worse," U.N. under-secretary-general and emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos told reporters.

The United Nations declared a famine in two regions of southern Somalia -- where 3.7 million people are going hungry -- on July 20. There is always a steady trickle of Somalis coming into northern Kenya, mostly fleeing violence, but in recent months they have also been looking for food.

"Today we are warning that unless we see a massive increase in the response, the famine will spread to five or six more regions," she said.

"Tens of thousands of Somalis have already died and hundreds of thousands face starvation with consequences for the entire region."

Amos said the African Union would hold a funding conference with the assistance of the United Nations soon to help raise money for the drought-stricken region.

Blackbox

US: Preparing for coming chaos? Super blood donors could be tapped in a 'disaster'

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© Unknown
FDA considers shrinking emergency intervals to as little as 48 hours for some

Next time a national disaster strikes, whether it's an earthquake or a pandemic, dedicated blood donors could be tapped - quite literally - to give again within as little as two days, under a plan being considered by federal health officials.

The Food and Drug Administration is asking advice from blood experts this week about whether it's a good idea to dramatically shrink the intervals between blood donations in the event of emergencies.

Under proposals being considered by the Blood Products Advisory Committee, donors would be allowed to reduce the interval from the normal eight weeks down to four weeks without a doctor's approval, and down to as little as 48 hours with a medical release.

"If things got really bad, we would like the ability ... to draw more fully qualified donors more quickly," explained Dr. Louis Katz, executive vice president of medical affairs for the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, who supports the idea.

Sherlock

US: Painting Solves Mystery of World War II's Pilot's Disappearance

Lt. John Ramsay was an intelligence officer with a love of painting during World War II. He was sketching a Corsair plane about to take off from the Solomon Islands when Herman Spoede climbed into the cockpit.

"I'll give this to you when you come back," Ramsay told Spoede, whose name he didn't know.

The young pilot never returned.

Nearly 70 years later, thanks to the curiosity of two generations of Ramsays and the web site of a military researcher, Herman Spoede's family finally received the painting the artist had promised.


Heart - Black

UK: Psychopath who bit toddler 'to teach her right from wrong' and fractured her skull in horrific beating is jailed

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Vicious: Dean Cochrane, 24, was jailed for beating and biting a young girl

A man has been jailed indefinitely after he severely beat a toddler leaving the child with two skull fractures, 68 bruises and swelling of the scalp.

Dean Cochrane, 24, refused to accept he had attacked the girl throughout his trial and instead blamed her family.

Cochrane shouted 'nice one' to the judge as his sentence was handed down yesterday at Teesside Crown Court, Middlesbrough.

Wolf

UK: Policeman found with 'disgusting' child porn in sting operation walks free from court

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Antony Vodden: The police sergeant was found guilty of child porn offence but was spared jail

A policeman caught with a child porn stash after bragging about it online has been spared jail.

The Metropolitan Police sergeant was trapped in an online sting by an Australian officer, but walked free from court yesterday.

Antony Vodden, 46, kept 110 vile images on his home PC, including 12 at the second highest level of severity.