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Thu, 28 Sep 2023
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UK: Hospitals 'are closing beds and axing jobs to balance the books'

Queen Alexandra Hospital

The Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth staff face being axed
Hospitals built under the Private Finance Initiative are closing beds and cutting jobs to balance their books, a campaign group claimed yesterday.

Health Emergency said it had also discovered "asset stripping" sales of land and property by NHS Trusts to help them meet the Government's public spending cuts.

Land is being sold by PFI-built hospitals in London and a growing number of nursing and other jobs are being axed.


UK Uncut arrests threaten future protests, lawyer warns

Matt Foot, solicitor at Birnberg Pierce, says the detention of 145 activists will 'threaten the right to peacefully protest'
Police and UK uncut activists
© Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images
UK Uncut activists took part in the Fortnum & Mason occupation during recent London protests.

A lawyer at a leading civil liberties firm has expressed fears for the future of direct action protest after the mass arrest of UK Uncut activists during last Saturday's anti-cuts demonstrations in London.

Matt Foot, a criminal defence solicitor at Birnberg Pierce, said the detention of 145 activists during an occupation of luxury food store Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly was "unprecedented". He has questioned the police's motivation.

After being arrested for aggravated trespass and criminal damage, scores of Uncut campaigners were dispersed to police stations around London as far apart as Harrow, Ilford and Romford and were held for up to 24 hours. The next day, the accusation of criminal damage was dropped but 138 activists were bailed on the charge of aggravated trespass.


Air France wreckage found from 2009 crash

© The Associated Press / Eraldo Peres
Workers in Recife, Brazil, unload debris from the crashed Air France flight AF447 in June 2009. Airbus, which made the jet, is facing manslaughter charges in France in connection with the crash.
French investigators say they've found wreckage from an Air France jet that crashed off Brazil's coast almost two years ago with 228 people onboard.

This marks a fourth attempt at locating the flight and data recorders. As of late Sunday, French officials would only reveal that the wreckage had been found in the past 24 hours.

Flight 447 had been flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it went down on June 1, 2009, in a thunderstorm. Parts of the plane have been recovered but not the wreckage containing the flight data recorder - or black box - with important technical and voice information.

Locating the main body of the plane has proven difficult because it crashed into deep waters, beyond the range of radar and sonar. To conduct the actual search, planes and ships rely on sonar signals from the black box.

The findings are crucial because a French judge recently handed down a decision allowing preliminary manslaughter charges against Airbus, which manufactured the plane. Airbus is the world's largest airplane producer.

The $12.5-million US search is jointly financed by the airline and by Airbus, which produced the plane. Airbus says the true cause of the crash will never be known until the flight and data recorders are found.

Comment: Airbus 330s don't fall out of the sky during thunderstorms. Sott.net strongly suspects that the reason this incident and its multiple subsequent investigations are shrouded in secrecy and vagueness is because it was downed by an overhead cometary airburst:

What are they hiding? Flight 447 and Tunguska Type Events

Bad Guys

Ivory Coast: French take control of Abidjan airport

© Rex
Fighting in Abidjan appeared to be reaching a bloody climax. Gun battles have left most of the city's five million residents too terrified to leave their homes
French troops have taken control of Abidjan airport as forces loyal to the country's rival presidents fight for control of Ivory Coast's main city, the French military said Sunday.

France has also boosted its Licorne (Unicorn) mission in the cocoa-rich nation by 300 to around 1,400 troops, where part of their mission is to protect foreigners from attacks and looting amid rising insecurity.

"Licorne, in coordination with UNOCI (United Nations Operation in Cote d'Ivoire), has taken control of Felix Houphouet-Boigny airport," chief of staff spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard told AFP.

"UNOCI and Licorne troops are ensuring security and air traffic control at the airport," Burkhard said.

This allows "civil and military aircraft to land at the airport so that foreigners wishing to leave Ivory Coast can do so," he said, adding that no decision had yet been taken to evacuate foreigners.

More than 1,650 foreigners, about half of them French, have taken shelter at a Licorne camp in Abidjan.

Eye 1

NISA: Stemming leak will take months


Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said a full-scale recovery of cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is needed to stem the leakage of radioactive substances, but that work will take several months.

A senior official of the agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, made the comments at a news conference on Sunday.

Highly radioactive water was found inside turbine buildings and also in tunnels under the plant. The radioactive water is flowing directly into the sea.


Japan: More than 12,000 confirmed dead in quake

More than 12,000 people have been confirmed dead in the March 11th earthquake and tsunami that hit northeastern Japan.

Miyagi Prefecture has reported the highest number of deaths, 7,374. Neighboring Iwate Prefecture has reported 3,540, followed by Fukushima Prefecture, which has 1,113 confirmed dead.

Deaths have been reported in a wide area from the northernmost main island of Hokkaido to Kanagawa Prefecture in the Kanto region. Seven died in Tokyo.


Mounting alarm over US use of depleted uranium arms in Libya

The countries involved in air strikes on Colonel Gaddafi's forces in Libya are coming under pressure to ban the use of toxic depleted uranium (DU) weapons because of the dangers they could pose to civilians.

The US has refused to rule out the use of DU shells in Libya, though it claims not to have fired any so far.

"I don't want to speculate on what may or may not be used in the future," the US air force spokeswoman, Paula Kurtz, said yesterday.

The US admitted using A-10 tankbuster aircraft designed to destroy armoured cars and tanks, and which are capable of firing 3,900 armour-piercing DU-tipped shells per minute.


Japan: Engineers watch, wait to see if mix of polymers, newspaper and sawdust will stop nuke leak

© The Associated Press / Vincent Yu
Survivors stand on a hill overlooking the area destroyed by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Kesennuma in Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, April 3, 2011.
Engineers pinned their hopes on chemicals, sawdust and shredded newspaper to stop highly radioactive water pouring into the ocean from Japan's tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant Sunday as officials said it will take several months to bring the crisis under control, the first time they have provided a timetable.

Concrete already failed to stop the tainted water spewing from a crack in a maintenance pit, and the new mixture did not appear to be working either, but engineers said they were not abandoning it.

The Fukushima Da-ichi plant has been leaking radioactivity since the March 11 tsunami carved a path of destruction along Japan's northeastern coast, killing as many as 25,000 people and knocking out key cooling systems that kept it from overheating. People living within 12 miles (20 kilometres) of the plant have been forced to abandon their homes.

The government said Sunday it will be several months before the radiation stops and permanent cooling systems are restored. Even after that happens, there will be years of work ahead to clean up the area around the complex and figure out what to do with it.

"It would take a few months until we finally get things under control and have a better idea about the future," said Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency spokesman Hidehiko Nishiyama. "We'll face a crucial turning point within the next few months, but that is not the end."

His agency said the timetable is based on the first step, pumping radioactive water into tanks, being completed quickly and the second, restoring cooling systems, being done within a matter of weeks or months.

Heart - Black

US: 3-year-old boy falls to his death from roller coaster in Chicago suburb

A 3-year-old boy died Saturday after falling out of a roller coaster at a suburban Chicago amusement park, police said.

The boy was sitting near the front of the Python Pit roller coaster at the Go Bananas amusement park when he got underneath the ride's safety bar, Norridge Police Chief James Jobe said. He suffered head injuries in what Jobe described as "a tragic accident."

The boy was on the ride with his twin brother when he fell out of the coaster while it was moving, Jobe said. The Cook County medical examiner's office said the boy died at the park. Police said a state inspector was at the scene.


Germany: Shooting set to end top female boxer's career

© Agence France-Presse
German lightweight WIBF and WIBA boxing world champion Rola El-Halabi poses at a motor sport event in the southern German city of Ulm. The top boxer, who is recovering in hospital after being gunned down by her step-father before a world title fight, may never return to the ring, her promoter has said
Top female boxer Rola El-Halabi, who is recovering in hospital after being gunned down by her step-father before a world title fight, may never return to the ring, her promoter said on Sunday.

El-Halabi, 26, was shot her in the hands, feet and knees in her dressing room as she prepared to fight for the WIBF world lightweight title in Karlshorst, Berlin, on Friday night.

Two security guards were also shot during the attack, but are recovering in hospital having also undergone surgery.

"Her operation went smoothly, but the shots were intended to end her career and it seems almost certain that that will happen," her promoter Malte Mueller-Michaelis told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

El-Halabi's 44-year-old attacker was overpowered by police at the boxing hall and arrested shortly after the shooting, while nearly 600 spectators were quickly evacuated.

"I was with my coach and manager in the changing room when Dad rushed into the room, threatening us with a gun and shouted 'All out!," El-Halabi told Sunday's edition of German daily Bild.