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Thu, 28 Sep 2023
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Criminal Negligence or An Ongoing Experiment? North Carolina, US: Army Investigates Mysterious Baby Deaths at Fort Bragg

Are new construction and cheap materials to blame for a dozen Army base deaths?
With the death of a four-month-old last month at Fort Bragg, the number of baby deaths at the Army base in just four years reached 12. The baby boy wasn't suffering from any illnesses and was fine one minute on the morning of Feb. 24. The next minute, though, he was no longer breathing.

According to the The News & Observer, the Army has been investigating mysterious baby deaths going back to 2007, when Jaden Willis, a healthy two-month-old, died suddenly. His mother Pearline Sculley, still doesn't know why her baby died, though his death certificate lists Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as the cause.

But after two other babies died in the same home, Sculley just isn't buying it.

Investigators have reviewed medical records and autopsy reports of the now dozen deaths at Fort Bragg. They have also performed countless environmental tests in the homes of some of the families whose children died. No common cause has been found.


Syrian Cabinet Resigns Amid Unrest

crowds in Syria
© AP Photo/Muzaffar Salman
Damascus - Syria's Cabinet resigned Tuesday to help quell a wave of popular fury that erupted more than a week ago, threatening President Bashar Assad's 11-year rule in one of the most authoritarian nations in the Middle East.

Assad, whose family has controlled Syria for four decades, is trying to calm the growing dissent with a string of overtures. He is expected to address the nation in the next 24 hours to lift emergency laws in place since 1963 and moving to annul other harsh restrictions on civil liberties and political freedoms.

Mass protests exploded nationwide on Friday, touched off by the arrest of several teenagers who scrawled anti-government graffiti on a wall in the southern city of Daraa. Security forces launched a swift crackdown, opening fire in at least six locations around the country - including the capital, Damascus, and the country's main port of Latakia.

More than 60 people have died since March 18 as security forces cracked down on protesters, Human Rights Watch said.

State TV said Tuesday Assad accepted the resignation of the 32-member Cabinet headed by Naji al-Otari, who has been in place since September 2003. The Cabinet will continue running the country's affairs until the formation of a new government.

The resignations will not affect Assad, who holds the lion's share of power in the authoritarian regime.


Japan on 'Maximum Alert' Over Nuclear Plant

searchers in hazmat
© Reuters
Japan said Tuesday the government is on "maximum alert" over a crippled nuclear plant where highly radioactive water has halted repair work and plutonium has been found in the soil.

The earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan's northeast coast and left over 28,000 dead or missing also knocked out reactor cooling systems at the Fukushima plant, which has leaked radiation into the air and sea.

Prime Minister Naoto Kan conceded that the situation at the coastal atomic power station remained "unpredictable" and pledged that his government would "tackle the problem while in a state of maximum alert".

Emergency crews braving the radiation threat have used fire engines and pumps to pour thousands of tons of water onto reactors where fuel rods are assumed to have partially melted, and also topped up pools for spent fuel rods.


French vegans in dock over baby's death

Two vegans who fed their 11-month-old daughter only mother's milk went on trial in northern France on Tuesday charged with neglect after their baby died suffering from vitamin deficiency.

Sergine and Joel Le Moaligou, whose vegan diet forbids consuming any animal product including eggs and cow's milk, called the emergency services in March 2008 after becoming worried about their baby Louise's listlessness.

When the ambulance arrived at their home in Saint-Maulvis, a small village 150 kilometres (90 miles) north of Paris, the baby was already dead.

The ambulance workers called the police because the child was pale and thin, weighing 5.7 kilos (12.5 pounds) compared to an average eight kilos for her age.

Comment: For more information concerning vegetarianism and veganism, see this Sott link:

The Naive Vegetarian


Over 3,700 Burmese Fishermen Still Missing, Presumed Dead

© Unknown
Of the 7,000 fishermen that were swept into the Andaman Sea during a tropical storm on March 14-16, a total of 3,374 have now been rescued, according to a source close to the Myanmar Marine Fishing Association (MMFA).

The remaining 3,700 are still missing. Nearly two weeks since 400 fishing vessels were overturned or destroyed in 70mph winds, little hope remains of anyone else surviving.

"There are currently about 400 fishing vessels at sea trying to rescue survivors of the storm," said the source. "So far, more than 3,700 fishermen have been rescued and brought to Rangoon."

Burma's state media reported on March 22 that naval ships, large fishing vessels and local fishing boats had jointly rescued 3,374 fishermen. While 3,152 have already gone home, 222 fishermen remain under government care, the report said, adding that the rescued fishermen had been provided medicine, clothes and food.


Canada: Radiation from Japan 'not harmful': British Columbia scientist

Jet stream carries iodine-131 across Pacific to Lower Mainland

A research team at Simon Fraser University has detected an increase in a radioactive isotope they say reached British Columbia from the damaged nuclear station in Japan.

SFU nuclear scientist Kris Starosta said he's confident the beleaguered Fukushima Daiichi station, which was struck by a devastating tsunami following a magnitude 9.0 earthquake on March 11, is responsible for the increase in iodine-131 in rain and seawater samples detected in their studies.

"The only possible source of iodine-131 in the atmosphere is a release from a nuclear fission," Starosta said. "Iodine-131 has a half life of eight days. Thus we conclude the only possible release which could happen is from the Fukushima incident."

However, he said, there is no immediate danger to the public.

"As of now, the levels we're seeing are not harmful to humans. We're basing this on Japanese studies following the Chernobyl incident in 1986 where levels of iodine-131 were four times higher than what we've detected in our rainwater so far," Starosta said.


Yemen Munitions Factory Explosion Leaves Over 120 Dead

Explosions and ensuing fire follow reported raid on factory by locals as President Saleh makes U-turn on exit deal

people carry victim remains
© Reuters
People carry the remains of a victim killed in an explosion at a munitions factory in southern Yemen.
At least 121 people have died after a series of explosions at a munitions factory in southern Yemen, as President Ali Abdullah Saleh was losing his grip on parts of the country amid an anti-regime revolt.

Witnesses said the blasts occurred on Monday after locals from the town of Jaar in Abyan province broke into the factory that was stockpiled with kegs of gunpowder. An ensuing fire spread to nearby houses, killing and injuring dozens of people.

"So far we've counted 121 separate bodies but the death toll could be double that, so many of the corpses have been lost in the inferno," said Marfiz Al-Sharbi, a Syrian doctor working in a nearby private hospital. "There are tens of corpses buried in the factory too."

On Sunday, the army was said to have deserted the town after a weekend of deadly clashes with gunmen the government claimed were al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap).

"We hold al-Qaida responsible for this tragic incident that killed innocent citizens who fell victim to the trap of those terrorist elements," a government source told the state news agency Saba.

Bizarro Earth

Nuclear Ginza: A look inside Japan's nuclear industry

After watching this short documentary, you'll understand why Japan has been so reluctant about telling anything resembling the truth regarding the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Rather than train workers properly and provide safe systems, they instead hire homeless people to perform the yearly maintenance work inside the reactor cores, paying hush money when they grow sick and die. When you hire the homeless and the illiterate, most of them simply don't have the wherewithal to sue when they grow weak and sick, a very convenient cost/benefit ratio for many, but tragic for some. And now everyone must pay for it.


When Does a Nuclear Disaster End? Never.

Those who think Japan's Fukushima disaster is today's headlines and tomorrow's history need to take a good look at the Chernobyl disaster, which to this day is a continuing threat to the people of Ukraine. It will be hundreds of years before the area around the destroyed reactor is inhabitable again and there are disputes over whether or not Chernobyl's nuclear fuel still poses a threat of causing another explosion. There is also a teetering reactor core cover and the deteriorating sarcophagus itself that may collapse and send plumes of radioactive dust in all directions.

The New York Times article "Lessons from Chernobyl for Japan," reflects on the Chernobyl disaster and how its legacy still looms over us today as a very real threat. Those who believe in a quick fix for the Fukushima disaster would be wise to remember Chernobyl's legacy. More importantly, with tens of millions of lives at stake, nation actors that have the ability to assist in mitigating this disaster now, but choose instead to squander their manpower and resources elsewhere (like in Libya), must remember that their actions today will be remembered and judged for centuries to come.

© unknown
The deteriorating "sarcophagus" containment building at Chernobyl.
Below is a sobering look at the Chernobyl disaster and the many men who fought and died trying to contain it. There is also the little known tale of the scientists who over the years have risked their lives to assess and direct the management of the threat Chernobyl's destroyed reactor continuously poses. We must look to history and take the catastrophic effects of Chernobyl's disaster to heart. Downplaying the threat in Fukushima, Japan today needlessly puts millions of people at risk who might otherwise begin making preparations to leave the area on a long-term basis. Knowledge is power, ignorance can literally be death.


Germany: Nazi family history put to good use by Inge Franken

© unknown
Inge Franken is a sprightly 70-year-old who lives in an apartment on two floors in Berlin. She has a task, a mission. She tours schools educating children about her - and their - country's dark history.

© unknown
Inge uses this picture of two boys in her lessons on moral choice
She shows the class a photograph of two young boys - they can barely be 10 - who pose in Nazi regalia, and she seeks reaction. One has his chest puffed out in pride, the other seems reluctant and shame-faced. It is for today's children to decide which they would rather be.

If the school visit goes well, she says, a child will say that he or she is going home to ask the parents and grandparents what happened in the war in their family. It makes Inge feel that she has set people thinking and asking.

She was spurred to this mission by her own past, a past hidden in a suitcase - and her mother's mind.

She was only two when her father died in the Siege of Leningrad, so she never knew him, or knew him only through the letters that her mother would read to her on Sundays.

"She said, 'Come, sit down. I will read some parts of father's letter. You should know him because he is not here and you can't see what a wonderful man he was'."