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Flu epidemic spreads in Russia

Russian flu epidemic
© RIA Novosti
The flu and acute respiratory viral infection are spreading in Russia, with more than 60 regions having been affected by now.

A drastic increase in the number of sick people has prompted the closure of kindergartens and schools in the Komi Republic.

Che Guevara

Egypt: Protests swell at Cairo's Liberation Square

Tens of thousands pour into central Cairo seeking president Mubarak's ouster, despite a slew of government concessions.

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators have poured into Cairo's Tahrir (Liberation) Square as protests against Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, entered their 15th day despite a slew of concessions announced by the government.

Tens of thousands of protesters have also come out on the streets in Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city.

There were also reports of a protest outside the parliament building in the capital. A witness said at least a thousand people had gathered at the spot and more were coming in.

According to Hoda Abdel-Hamid, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the Egyptian capital, the crowd at Tahrir Square grew rapidly on Tuesday afternoon, with many first-timers joining protesters seeking Mubarak's immediate ouster.

The newcomers said they had been inspired in part by the release of Wael Ghonim, the Google executive, after what he said was two weeks of detention by state security authorities.

Question

UK: Mysterious red dots appear on houses in Barking

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© Unknown
Police have reassured residents in Barking after mysterious red dots appeared on houses across the Borough.

During the past few days, officers at Longbridge and Abbey Wards had been made aware of red dots and markings being made on the front doors and windows of local resident's homes.

This has caused some anxiety within the community as residents consider that they may have been targeted for crime.

A spokesperson for Barking & Dagenham Police moved quickly to quell rumours saying: "Police would like to assure residents that there is no similarity between the householders of the properties that have been marked. Rumours are currently spreading that all of the homes marked are occupied by the elderly or by Asian people. This is not the case. Hundreds of homes have been marked with residents being of all ages and cultures.

Bomb

Thousands evacuated from Paris Suburb for Disposal of WW II Bomb

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© News Wires
Around 6,000 people were evacuated from a Paris suburb Sunday as police disposed of a World War II bomb discovered in an old Renault car factory. The half-tonne bomb was dropped by allied forces when Paris was under Nazi control.

Police evacuated 6,000 people from a Paris suburb Sunday while they neutralised an unexploded bomb dropped by an allied plane in World War II.

Thousands of residents, some carrying suitcases and pets, flocked out of their homes and into the streets at dawn as police cleared the neighbourhood and dealt with the bomb found last week, an AFP reporter saw.

"It went well. There was no big bang, that's the main thing," said Paris police bomb-disposal chief Denis Lamotte.

Arrow Down

Sri Lanka: Once again on Dengue

In the wake of the countrywide celebrations of the anniversary of independence and the massive floods in the North, North Central and the East, another matter of grave concern has gone unnoticed. The impending local government elections would also likely to take public attention away from it.

We are referring to the resurgence of the dengue outbreak and the ever increasing death toll due to it. The more this danger is kept unknown from the public the more it would spread for it is a matter to be dealt with primarily by the public. Unlike other epidemics dengue needs public awareness and public participation to prevent it spreading. It is not a matter for health personnel alone.

The need of public awareness is greater since politicians and even officials trumpeted the decline of the epidemic few months ago when warm weather prevailed, as if it was a triumph of their labour.

The authorities have been grappling with dengue for several years and yet they have not been able to make a serious dent in the incidence of the disease. It would be interesting to find out whether the preventive measures were carried out in earnest or were abandoned with the end of the rainy season. As far as community participation was concerned there was none in the past few months. Even legal action against errant householders and public environment cleaning campaigns had dwindled.

Dengue eradication could be achieved only through long and arduous concerted campaigns with the participation of the public at all levels. The ultimate success of the campaign would be decided by the level of environmental cleanliness and the success in eradicating mosquito larvae breeding places.

Info

Stop Bullying People Who Are Different

Stop bullying
© unknown
Life is something we have just one chance to take part in, to leave our mark before we pass on.

It involves interacting with a diverse variety of people, from different cultures with different outlooks on life.

The fault with our world today is how limited the acceptance is of others in relation to the spreading outbreak of criticism and maltreatment of those who display their way of life differently than our own.

More specifically, the increase in teenage lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender suicides is now considered an epidemic due to the excessive teasing and harassment of them.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported that these teenagers are much more likely to take their own life as a result of mistreatment by their peers.

One might say these innocent teenagers are "bullied to death" verbally, physically and most of all through the online social network.

It is estimated there are between 35,000 and 40,000 suicides in the U.S. every year. Of those numbers, 20 percent of the deaths are of children from ages 12 to 18.

Magic Wand

11 faith-based predictions for 2011

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© Unknown
To open 2011, CNN's Belief Blog asked 10 religious leaders and experts - plus one secular humanist - to make a faith-based prediction about the year ahead.

Have a faithy prediction of your own? Share it in comments.

Here's what those in the know are predicting:

1. With the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" there will be a more concerted effort by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community for gay marriage, uniting conservative evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox Jews in a much more civil but principled resistance. Respectful debate will produce more precise and pluralistic solutions.
- Dr. Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, a Church Distributed, in Orlando, Florida

2. A new generation of Muslims will bust out of their culturally and politically isolated cocoons and passionately reclaim their voice and narratives; one that has been stolen, used, abused and hijacked by extremists, terrorists and fear-mongering propagandists. Watch out for a major cultural renaissance as a new generation of Muslim artists and storytellers grab the mic, enter the arena and speak their voice with a revived passion and purpose.
- Wajahat Ali, Muslim playwright and attorney

X

A House of Horrors: West Philadelphia abortion doctor killed 7 babies with scissors

A doctor whose abortion clinic was described as a filthy, foul-smelling "house of horrors" that was overlooked by regulators for years was charged Wednesday with murder, accused of delivering seven babies alive and then using scissors to kill them.


Dr. Kermit Gosnell was also charged with murder in the death of a woman who suffered an overdose of painkillers while awaiting an abortion.

In a nearly 300-page grand jury report filled with ghastly, stomach-turning detail, prosecutors said Pennsylvania regulators ignored complaints of barbaric conditions at Gosnell's clinic, which catered to poor, immigrant and minority women in the city's impoverished West Philadelphia section.

Prosecutors called the case a "complete regulatory collapse." "Pennsylvania is not a Third World country," the district attorney's office declared in the report. "There were several oversight agencies that stumbled upon and should have shut down Kermit Gosnell long ago."

Alarm Clock

Recognizing the Language of Tyranny

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© Ninja M.
Empires communicate in two languages. One language is expressed in imperatives. It is the language of command and force. This militarized language disdains human life and celebrates hypermasculinity. It demands. It makes no attempt to justify the flagrant theft of natural resources and wealth or the use of indiscriminate violence. When families are gunned down at a checkpoint in Iraq they are referred to as having been "lit up." So it goes. The other language of empire is softer. It employs the vocabulary of ideals and lofty goals and insists that the power of empire is noble and benevolent. The language of beneficence is used to speak to those outside the centers of death and pillage, those who have not yet been totally broken, those who still must be seduced to hand over power to predators. The road traveled to total disempowerment, however, ends at the same place. It is the language used to get there that is different.

This language of blind obedience and retribution is used by authority in our inner cities, from Detroit to Oakland, as well as our prison systems. It is a language Iraqis and Afghans know intimately. But to the members of our dwindling middle class - as well as those in the working class who have yet to confront our new political and economic configuration - the powerful use phrases like the consent of the governed and democracy that help lull us into complacency. The longer we believe in the fiction that we are included in the corporate power structure, the more easily corporations pillage the country without the threat of rebellion. Those who know the truth are crushed. Those who do not are lied to. Those who consume and perpetuate the lies - including the liberal institutions of the press, the church, education, culture, labor and the Democratic Party - abet our disempowerment. No system of total control, including corporate control, exhibits its extreme forms at the beginning. These forms expand as they fail to encounter resistance.

Cloud Lightning

US: Farmers Watch Harsh Winter Crush Their Livelihoods

winter forecast 2011 US
© accuWeather
Hartford, Conn. - For Northeastern farmers long used to coping with all sorts of cold-weather problems, this winter presents a new one: snow and ice that's bringing down outbuildings, requiring costly repairs, killing livestock and destroying supplies.

Farmers in Connecticut alone have lost at least 136 barns, greenhouses, sheds and other structures as snow measured in feet, not inches, accumulated while January passed without a thaw.

"We've had other challenges," said Joe Greenbacker, a partner at Brookfield Farm in Durham, where a fabric-covered "hoop house" caved in and killed a calf. "But this is the most snow I can remember on the ground and the biggest problem with roof issues I can remember."

Losses still are being totaled by the state Agriculture Department. Commissioner Steven Reviczky says no one can remember a more destructive winter.

The Northeast is suffering through one of its most brutal winters in years, with cities all along the seaboard reporting snow piling up at a record-setting pace. Connecticut has been especially hard-hit, with Hartford reporting 81 inches since Dec. 1, compared with an average of 46 inches, according to the National Weather Service.