Zimbabwe: Dead people are better off

Johannesburg – “Dead people are better off. They don’t need water or sadza (maize porridge). They’re just lying there nicely in their graves.”

Sitting on the stone floor of her bare home in Harare, a Zimbabwean woman poignantly expresses the desperation of millions of Zimbabweans stalked by starvation and disease.

Dinner for this woman, whose name is not given in the 15-minute film on Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis screened by Solidarity Peace Trust non-governmental organisation in Johannesburg on Tuesday, is a sachet of juice.

In another scene, a mother holds aloft a wailing baby, its eyes swollen shut, the skin peeling off its stubby legs. The baby is severely malnourished.

The images in the film entitled Death of a Nation, which record the slow strangulation of a population by a government hell-bent on retaining power, were taken between September and November this year.

They show a failed state where women in rural areas pick through withered trees for berries to keep their families alive because they can no longer afford a bag of maize meal.

And families telling of how they spent the day holding up a drip in an overcrowded clinic for a relative infected with cholera only to watch them die for lack of medication.

Over half Zimbabwe’s population of 12 million cannot adequately feed itself, stratospheric inflation means a tub of margarine costs US$9.65 and hundreds are dying of cholera, an easily preventable disease.

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France recalls contaminated soymeal delivered to some 127 organic farms

France discovers 300 tonnes of contaminated Chinese soymeal


Deliveries from China have been subjected to rigorous tests since the EU issued an alert last October recommending countries tighten controls on produce from China. (AFP)

RENNES – ALMOST 300 tonnes of soymeal from China, used to feed organic poultry in western France, were taken off the market on Friday after testing positive for a toxic chemical, an import company said.

The soymeal contained melanine – the chemical at the heart of a scandal in China over contaminated milk – 50 times over the recommended limit.

‘One of the three imported batches, was carrying 116mg/kg of melamine, while the average should be 2,5 grammes. All foodstuffs made from the same materials were taken off the market at the beginning of November,’ Mr Christophe Carousse from the French farm cooperative told AFP.

Other untested batches where delivered to some 127 organic farms in the Loire region in western France.

‘Tests on meat, pork and egg-laying chickens show there is no danger to public health. Unlike dioxin, melamine does not build up in the body. There is no way of catching it through the food chain,’ veterinary expert Frederic Andre told AFP. (Hmmh.)

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Wrong oil blamed for pork scare

Supermarket staff clear shelves of pork Butchers and supermarkets were told to remove NI pork products

A contaminated pig meat scare which prompted the recall of Irish pork products is being blamed on unlicensed oil used at an animal feed factory.

The type of oil used in a burner to recycle food products into animal feed was “inappropriate”, said a senior Irish Agriculture Department inspector.

Meanwhile, the UK Food Standards Agency said it believed no pigs in Northern Ireland had consumed the tainted feed.

But it said pork labelled ROI or NI should still be thrown out or returned.

The agency said retailers and caterers should “temporarily remove products manufactured in Northern Ireland from sale until they can satisfy themselves that these products don’t contain pork sourced from the Republic of Ireland after 1 September”.

“Pork products will reappear on sale once retailers and caterers have carried out appropriate checks,” it added.

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It’s official: Men really are the weaker sex

Evolution is being distorted by pollution, which damages genitals and the ability to father offspring, says new study. Geoffrey Lean reports

The male gender is in danger, with incalculable consequences for both humans and wildlife, startling scientific research from around the world reveals.

The research – to be detailed tomorrow in the most comprehensive report yet published – shows that a host of common chemicals is feminising males of every class of vertebrate animals, from fish to mammals, including people.

Backed by some of the world’s leading scientists, who say that it “waves a red flag” for humanity and shows that evolution itself is being disrupted, the report comes out at a particularly sensitive time for ministers. On Wednesday, Britain will lead opposition to proposed new European controls on pesticides, many of which have been found to have “gender-bending” effects.

It also follows hard on the heels of new American research which shows that baby boys born to women exposed to widespread chemicals in pregnancy are born with smaller penises and feminised genitals.

“This research shows that the basic male tool kit is under threat,” says Gwynne Lyons, a former government adviser on the health effects of chemicals, who wrote the report.

Wildlife and people have been exposed to more than 100,000 new chemicals in recent years, and the European Commission has admitted that 99 per cent of them are not adequately regulated. There is not even proper safety information on 85 per cent of them.

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A Killer Without Borders


An Armenian doctor showing chest x-rays used to track a patient’s tuberculosis that has been resistant to drug therapy. Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times

Garik Hakobyan, 34, an artist, carries an ailment, XDR-TB, an incurable form of tuberculosis.

As if you didn’t have enough to worry about … consider the deadly, infectious and highly portable disease sitting in the lungs of a charming young man here, Garik Hakobyan. In effect, he’s a time bomb.

Mr. Hakobyan, 34, an artist, carries an ailment that stars in the nightmares of public health experts – XDR-TB, the scariest form of tuberculosis. It doesn’t respond to conventional treatments and is often incurable.

XDR-TB could spread to your neighborhood because it isn’t being aggressively addressed now, before it rages out of control. It’s being nurtured by global complacency.

When doctors here in Armenia said they would introduce me to XDR patients, I figured we would all be swathed in protective clothing and chat in muffled voices in a secure ward of a hospital. Instead, they simply led me outside to a public park, where Mr. Hakobyan sat on a bench with me.

“It’s pretty safe outside, because his coughs are dispersed,” one doctor explained, “but you wouldn’t want to be in a room or vehicle with him.” Then I asked Mr. Hakobyan how he had gotten to the park.

“A public bus,” he said.

He saw my look and added: “I have to take buses. I don’t have my own Lincoln Continental.” To his great credit, Mr. Hakobyan is trying to minimize his contact with others and doesn’t date, but he inevitably ends up mixing with people.

Afterward, I asked one of his doctors if Mr. Hakobyan could have spread his lethal infection to other bus passengers. “Yes,” she said thoughtfully. “There was one study that found that a single TB patient can infect 14 other people in the course of a single bus ride.”

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The silent tsunami

Hunger now afflicts almost a billion people in 60 countries … and kills 25,000 a day. A special report by Rob Edwards to explain the background to our Christmas appeal

A SILENT tsunami of hunger is engulfing the world, afflicting nearly a billion people in 60 countries and killing 25,000 men, women and children every day. The global food crisis, triggered by high prices, shortages and bad weather, is deepening as the world’s economy moves into recession. Millions more people are now facing poverty, starvation, disease and death.

The World Bank is predicting that 967 million people will now go hungry in 2008, 44 million more than in 2007. That means that almost one in every six people on the planet is not getting enough food to stay healthy.

Children’s growth is being stunted, immune systems are being destroyed and fatal diseases like diarrhoea, measles and malaria are spreading.

“This is a tragic loss of human and economic potential”, says a report from the World Bank.

Irreparable damage is being done to the health, life and prospects of hundreds of millions of people, it warns. “This is not only a crisis now, but a time bomb for the future.”

The World Bank also estimates that 2008 has pushed 100 million more people into serious poverty, making it more difficult for them to afford life’s essentials. Some 2.3 billion people worldwide have to manage on less than the equivalent of £1.35 a day.

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Dr. Bruce Lipton Ph.D. – Changing Our Cells by Thought


Source: YouTube

The Biology of Belief is a groundbreaking work in the field of New Biology.

Author Dr. Bruce Lipton is a former medical school professor and research scientist.

His experiments, and that of other leading edge scientists, have examined in great detail the processes by which cells receive information. The implications of this research radically change our understanding of life.

It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology; that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our positive and negative thoughts.

Dr. Lipton’s profoundly hopeful synthesis of the latest and best research in cell biology and quantum physics is being hailed as a major breakthrough showing that our bodies can be changed as we retrain our thinking.


The Biology of Belief: Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter, & Miracles
by Bruce H. Lipton (Hardcover – Sep 15, 2008)

Zimbabwe: Civilisation in reverse

Zimbabwe’s tragedy defies the world to look away

The townships of suburban Harare once boasted water and sewage systems that were the envy of Africa. They are now as broken as Zimbabwe itself. Raw sewage spills from manhole covers and is pumped into the city’s main reservoir. Thousands depend on the generosity of “water samaritans” lucky enough to have their own boreholes. Where even the poorest had taps and toilets of their own, people are queueing up at hand pumps, one engineer laments. “Civilisation has gone in reverse.”

People are also dying. A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 500 people could infect 60,000 by March, according to Oxfam. The outbreak is spreading four times faster than usual for want of transport to take victims to hospital, and basic medicines for those who get there. To contain the epidemic the Health Minister has advised Zimbabweans to stop shaking hands, but it has already spread to South Africa.

In Zimbabwe’s rural hinterland five million people will soon need food aid that the World Food Programme cannot afford to distribute. The Government is powerless to count the number dying of hunger, much less hand out food itself. But aid workers have seen children foraging in rubbish dumps alongside wild animals, and in Matabeleland one story encapsulates the despair of a nation – the story of a woman who, unable to feed her children, fed them and herself a fruit that she knew was poisonous. They were buried together.

Such are the tragedies that lend meaning to Zimbabwe’s statistics; to its 90 per cent unemployment, its 230 million per cent inflation and its average life expectancy of barely 40 years. In 1990, Zimbabweans could expect to live to 63.

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Miracle teabag – containing stem cells – helps stroke victim to speak again

A stroke victim has regained the power of speech after doctors placed a device resembling a teabag filled with stem cells in his brain.


Genetically modified stem cells fitted into a kind of ‘tea bag’ are implanted to the patient’s brain where they are supposed to have an anti-inflammatory effect Photo: EPA

Walter Bast, 49, also regained the use of his right arm after the revolutionary treatment, which prevents brain cells from dying.

If further trials of the treatment are successful, it could be on the market in as little as five years, providing fresh hope for the 45,000 Britons each year who suffer a haemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel in the brain bursts.

Currently, the only option is surgery, which has a variable success rate. Half of surgery patients will die within a month and just one in 20 patients will recover to the extent of Mr Bast.

The pioneering treatment, called CellBeads, involves cutting away part of the skull to tie off leaking blood vessels and remove blood from the brain.

Surgeons then insert the 2cm by 2cm ‘teabag’ filled with capsules stuffed with around a million stem cells.

The stem cells, taken from bone marrow, have been genetically engineered to make a drug known as CM1 that protects brain cells from dying. This lets the cells rejuvenate and repair the damage done by the stroke.

After around two weeks, doctors at the International Neuroscience-Institute in Hanover, Germany, removed the ‘teabag’, resulting in Mr Bast regaining his speech and the use of his right arm.

Speaking a week after the operation, the first of its kind in the world, Mr Bast, a mechanic, said: “I feel a lucky guy.”

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Mob runs riot as Zimbabwe runs out of water

Children go to fetch water in Harare
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority turned off the pumps in the capital after it ran out of chemicals needed to to purify supplies (Desmond Kwande/AFP/Getty Images)

Water supplies to residents in Harare were cut by the authorities yesterday as Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic tightened its grip and the city witnessed its worst unrest for a decade.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority turned off the pumps in the capital after it ran out of purifying chemicals. With cholera cases soaring above 11,000 across the country, and an anthrax outbreak ravaging the the countryside, David Parirenyatwa, the Health Minister, urged Zimbabweans to stop shaking hands to avoid spreading disease.

Companies and government offices, especially those in high-rise buildings, were sending workers home by midday as lavatories became blocked. “My office stinks and the toilet is a disgusting site,” said Mary Sakupwene, a secretary. “I won’t go back until the water’s on again.”

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