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Turkey: Professor may be tried over scientific report

Istanbul - Research showing that mother's milk and babies' excrement contain traces of heavy metals, leading to increased risk of cancer, has put experts against officials in the northwestern province of Kocaeli. While both district and city mayors file a complaint against the professor leading the study, the professor claims that the officials are trying to prevent scientific research. 'People will protect the values of Dilovası, as the awareness has been created," professor says.
Image
© DHA photo
Professor Hamzaoğlu is accused of threatening to incite fear and panic among the population.

A complaint has been filed over a report published by an expert saying a high amount of heavy metals, including mercury and arsenic, were detected in mother's milk and babies' excrement in Turkey's northwestern Kocaeli province. The professor is accused of threatening to incite fear and panic among the population.

Mothers' milk and babies' excrement samples from residents in the Dilovası district were found to contain high amounts of mercury and arsenic, according to an eye-opening report released Jan. 8 by Onur Hamzaoğlu, head of the Public Health Department at Kocaeli University.

Both the Kocaeli mayor and the Dilovası mayor have filed a complaint against Hamzaoğlu and the court case files have been sent to the university's rector's office, daily Milliyet reported Friday.

Briefcase

Turtles wait in suitcase pending Turkish court decision

Image
© AA photo
The turtles have been kept in a suitcase filled with water for two weeks because a Turkish court has been unable to reach a decision about what to do with the driver who was allegedly trying to smuggle them.
Time is running out for more than 400 turtles being kept in a water-filled suitcase as a court deliberates about what to do with a bus driver caught allegedly trying to smuggle them across the border two weeks ago.

A.N.T., the driver of a bus caught allegedly trying to enter Bulgaria with 438 turtles, was stopped during border checks at the Kapıkule border on March 15. The man allegedly intended to sell the turtles in Bulgaria although Turkey prohibits the export of the creatures.

When the police detained the driver, the turtles were placed in a trusteeship situation and taken to the İzzet Arseven Forest in the northwestern province of Edirne. However, the turtles were then put into suitcases as there was no appropriate pool in the forest for them.

Nurhan Kalender, head of the Edirne Nature and Animal Protection Association, or EDHAYKO, said they had been taking care of the turtles. "We would buy an aquarium, but we were informed that they could poison themselves with their urine because there are so many of them," said Kalender.

If a court decision to convict A.N.T. of animal trafficking comes too late, the animals could die, Kalender said, noting that the turtles will be released into the driver's care if he is acquitted. "A solution should be implemented fast."

Ahmet Kemal Şenpolat, head of the Animal Rights Federation, or HAYTAP, said officials often put animals seized during border control operations into trusteeship, but most animals die in the process. "It would be more appropriate if they decide to put the animals up for adoption, at least until the end of the legal procedures."

Bad Guys

US: More than 20,000 People Turned Down by FEMA in Alabama

Birmingham - The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Friday it has provided grants to about 15 percent of the more than 72,000 people who sought assistance after tornadoes killed hundreds across Alabama last month, but twice as many were turned down for aid after an initial review.

The agency, which released the statistics in response to a request from The Associated Press, said many of the more than 20,000 applicants who received letters saying they were ineligible for assistance still could receive money or other aid after submitting additional information, like insurance documentation.

But Gov. Robert Bentley said he was worried that the letters FEMA is sending people are too full of government jargon and would discourage many people from pursuing assistance.

"The first line should not say, 'You have been turned down by FEMA.' That's my concern," Bentley said. He asked to personally review a rewritten version of the letters before more go out in the state.

People

Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage

Why aren't we more angry? Why isn't blood running, metaphorically at least, in the streets? Evidence of how the rich prosper while everyone else struggles with inflation, public spending cuts and static wages arrives almost daily. The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that last year incomes among the top 1% grew at the fastest rate in a decade. According to the Sunday Times Rich List, the top 1,000 are £60.2bn better off this year than in 2010, bringing their collective wealth close to the record pre-recession levels.

Now comes a report this week from the High Pay Commission, set up by the Labour pressure group Compass. It reveals that FTSE 100 chief executives are on average paid £4.2m annually, or 145 times the median wage - and on current trends will be paid £8m, or 214 times the median, by 2020. In the financial sector, even the CEO can seem modestly rewarded: this year, the top-paid banker at Barclays will get £14m, nearly four times the chief executive's earnings and 1,128 times more than the lowest-paid employee receives.

Magnify

US: Public Programs Keep Millions Out of Poverty, New Study Shows

public spending
© cbpp.org
With anti-poverty programs under serious attack in Washington, here's something to keep in mind: a major new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) finds that public programs keep one in six Americans out of poverty - primarily the elderly, disabled, and working poor - and that the poverty rate would double without these programs.

Without the cash and non-cash income provided by programs such as Social Security, SNAP (formerly food stamps), and the Earned Income Tax Credit:
* The share of Americans below the poverty line in 2004 ($19,307 for a family of four) would have more than doubled, from 13.5 percent to 29 percent. That is, 45 million more Americans would have been poor.
* The share of Americans in "deep poverty," with incomes below half the poverty line, would have more than tripled, to 21 percent.
* The share of Americans who are poor or near-poor, with incomes below one-and-a-half-times the poverty line, would have risen to about 40 percent.

Che Guevara

Scenes of Revolution in Spain


Dollar

France: Thousands Join Protest Ahead of G8 Summit

France G8 Protest
© AP Photo/VINCENT MICHEL
Anti G8 demonstrators parade in the streets of Le Havre, western France Saturday May 21, 2011.
Thousands of anti-globalization activists protested in the French city of Le Havre Saturday against a G8 summit of rich nations to be held in the north coastal region next week.

"G8 get lost, people first, not finance," declared the main banner of the gathering that organizers said drew 7,000 protesters, while local officials said the turnout was about 4,000 at the demonstration which ended without serious incident.

Attention

Chile: Valparaiso protesters in clashes with police

Chile demonstration
© AFP
Police dispersed demonstrators with a water cannon
Police in Valparaiso, in Chile, have clashed with demonstrators protesting against government policies.

A protest march was timed to coincide with President Sebastian Pinera's annual state of the nation address.

Demonstrators held up signs opposing the government's environmental, education and labour policies.

Red Flag

Chile: Santiago Protest Against Dam Plan Ends in Violence

Police chile dam protest
© AP Photo/Luis Hidalgo
Police detain another dam protester
Tens of thousands of people massed in the center of Chile's capital Friday night for new protests against the government's plan to dam two wild rivers in the country's southern Patagonia region.

Most demonstrators were peaceful, but bands of hooded protesters attacked police and smashed shop windows and damaged other property along a 10-block stretch of Santiago's main avenue.

Vader

The "Push for Peace": Israel approves nearly 300 new illegal settlements

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has approved the construction of 294 new illegal Jewish settler units in the occupied Palestinian land.

The settlements are to go up in the Beitar Ilit settlement in the occupied West Bank, AFP reported on Sunday.

The Israeli regime occupied the West Bank alongside the other Palestinian territory of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967 and later annexed both. The international community has refused to recognize neither the capture nor the annexation.