April 15, 2009

Home Births as safe as Hospital Study Suggest

A Dutch study has found that home births of low-risk pregnancies are as safe as those delivered in a hospital, the BBC reports.

The study, which covered 530,000 women, showed that pregnancies classified as low-risk are just as safe delivered in a home with a mid-wife as those performed in a hospital, when proper support is it place, the Times Online reports.

Dutch researchers began the study when the Netherlands was showed to have one of the highest death rates of newborns.

Some thought that home births may have been a factor, because nearly one third of all women choose to deliver at home.

The study did not compare home births to births delivered in a hospital with a doctor , which will be studied later.

"We found that for low-risk mothers at the start of their labour it is just as safe to deliver at home with a midwife as it is in hospital with a midwife," said Professor Simone Buitendijk of the TNO Institute for Applied Scientific Research.

The study supports plans in the United Kingdom to increase women's choice of birth place.

However for the more home births to occur the United Kingdoms National Health Service has to go through a seismic shift said Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives.

"The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births, because we are still in a culture where the vast majority of births are in hospital," Silverton said.

April 10, 2009

Algerian Leader Re-Elected with Strong Lead

The Algerian president was re-elected Thursday to his third term in office wit.h almost all of the countries votes, BBC reports.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika received nearly 91 percent of the vote beating out five other candidates, Al Jazeera reports.

His nearest rival, Louisa Hannoune, a Trotskyist candidate, only won 4 per cent of the votes.

Little opposition was expected for Bouteflika who lead in the polls Wednesday. His campaign was well funded and he faced relatively unknown candidates.

Interior Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni said that 74 percent of the countries voter turned out for the election.

These results are contested by opposition parties in the country who criticize the election as a fraud.

The Front of Socialist Forces, an opposition party, have accused authorities of inflating turnout figures.

"There was a real tsunami of massive fraud which reached an industrial scale," the party said in a statement.

Zerhouni denies any allegations of manipulation or fraud.

He told the press that anyone with evidence of fraud was free to come forward.

April 3, 2009

Google Street View Car Mobbed in UK

A group of villagers in southern England chase the Google Street View car out of their community Friday, AFP reports.

Members of the upper-class community of Broughton feared that having their houses appear on Google would tempt thieves and called police shortly after seeing the vehicle, CNN reports.

Paul Jacops alerted neighbors and police after seeing the vehicle from his house.

"My immediate reaction was anger: How dare anyone take a photograph of my home without my consent?" Jacobs told CNN. "I ran outside to flag the car down and told the driver he was not only invading our privacy but also facilitating crime."

Police arrived to find a dispute between neighborhood residents and the Google contractor.

"They felt his presence was an intrusion of their privacy. When police arrived at the scene, the car had moved on," explained a spokeswoman for Thames Valley Police.

Google Street View is Google's effort to give 360-degree views of streets on three continents.

Google is confident that its Street View project is entirely legal.

A Google spokesman told UK Press Association that all the images in Google Street View abided by UK law.

"Embarking on new projects, we sometimes encounter unexpected challenges, and Street View has been no exception," the spokesman said.

March 25, 2009

Woman gives birth on airplane, Leaves baby in garbage

The wave of a baby's wrist averted tragedy.

New Zealand police announced Wednesday that a 29-year-old woman with assault and abandonment for leaving a newborn baby in an airplane wastebasket, CNN reports.

The woman boarded the plane in Apia, Samoa. She then gave birth to baby Grace and left her in the garbage unbeknownst to anyone on the plane. Airport employees stopped the woman as she was leaving the airport in Aukland, New Zealand when they noticed he blood stained clothes.

A cleaning woman noticed the baby when her hand appeared above the baskets rim.

The child and mother were reunited in hospital, but the child is in the care of social welfare workers, the BBC reports.

Immigration officials and Pacific Blue are investigating how the woman boarded the plane. Woman more than 36 weeks pregnant require medical clearance.

Cultural stigma surrounding childbirth outside of wedlock may have led the mother to abandon the child Su'a William Sio, a Kiwi lawmaker of Samoan descent, said

"This is mostly derived firstly by fear," he told the New Zealand Herald newspaper. "Fear that they've done something wrong and fear of shame of the 'unmarried' mother bringing to the family."

The woman could face up to seven years in prison and up to NZ$100,000.

March 11, 2009

Gunman Kills 15 in School Shooting

A German teen killed 15 people in a shooting spree Wednesday that ended in him taking his own life, AP reports.

Tim Kretschmer, 17, entered a school in Winnenden, where he was a former student, and began firing upon students and teachers killing 12, CNN reports. Three more were killed Kretschmer fled the scene.

No motive is currently known, but most of the victims were female. Eight female students, one male student and three female teachers were killed during the rampage, said Baden Wuerttemburg state interior minister Heribert Rech.

"They were completely taken by surprise. Some of the victims still had their pens in their hands," Rech said.

The shootings began at 9:45 a.m. and lasted for two minutes. Police arrived on the scene almost immediately.

"This speedy intervention means they prevented further escalation of events," Rech said.

The gun Kretschmer used was his father's who was part of a local gun club.

Kretschmer shot several students in the head in first floor classrooms including some teachers. When police arrived he fled the scene shoot one male student as he left.

He shot one medical facility worker as he fled on foot into town where he hijacked a car and driver. He left the car and driver and fled to a car dealership where he took two more men's lives along with his own.

At least 15 other people were injured in Winnenden and nearby Wendlingen including two police officers and 6 students, police spokeswoman Renate Roesch said.

March 8, 2009

U.S. to Help Mexico Limit Violence

President Obama met with Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen. Saturday to discuss increasing violence in Mexico, military officials told CNN.

Officials said Obama was interested in speaking with Mullen's after his visit to Mexico City to hear Mullen's opinions on how the U.S., could help Mexico limit violence, reports the Voice of America.

The U.S., military may help Mexican military and police by providing surveillance, intelligence, and training personnel in hopes to limit the possibility of violence crossing the border.

Mexican drug cartels have been locked in violence over drug-trafficking routes into the U.S., which has already lead to the death of over 1000 people including one U.S., citizen found dead late February.

February 25, 2009

Three Quit After Prisoners Escape From Jail Via Helicopter

The directer and two employees of a maximum-security prison in Greece resigned Monday after two of the prison's inmates escaped by helicopter, reports CNN.

The Greek minister of justice, Nicholas Dendias, said he had asked for the resignations of the director, security secretary and head of inspection and control at Korydallos Prison, in an Athens suburb.

"Those involved in this escape will be brought to justice and punished," Dendias said.

The Justice Ministry told the AP that two men hijacked a commercial helicopter Sunday, and flew it in low over the prison to avoid radar. When they reached prison a rope ladder was lowered that the two prisoners,Vassilis Paleokostas, 42, and Alket Riza, 34 climbed up.

Witnesses reported that guards at the prison shot at the helicopter as it left the scene, reports CNN. The helicopter was found north of Athens with bullet holes in the gas tank Sunday.

This was the second time in three years that Paleokostas had escaped from prison by helicopter. Paleokostas who is convicted of kidnapping a Greek businessman, and 16 bank robberies escaped in June 2006 and was recaptured several months later.

The resignations of Leonidas Karampekiou, the prison director; Foti Vlachou, the security secretary there, and Apostolos Economou, the head of inspection and control at the prison was announced by the justice minister Monday.

February 20, 2009

Hamas denies Giving U.S. Senator Letter for the President

Hamas denied Friday that it gave a U.S. Senator a letter for President Barack Obama, Reuters reports.

Hamas denies any involvement in the letter Senator John Kerry received Thursday during his trip to the Gaza Strip.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Hamas, denies any such letter being given to Kerry.

"Hamas denies any such thing had happened. No letter was given to John Kerry," said Barhoum. "At the same time we stress that we are open to hold dialogue with any country and our only enemy is the Zionist occupation."

Kerry, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was touring the region and meeting with officials from the United Nations Relief and Works

Kerry received the letter along with a bundle of other materials following the meeting with the UNRWA, which he turned into the consul general in Jerusalem. State Department officialsconsulate alleges the letter is in fact from Hamas, regardless of any denials

The U.S considers Hamas a terrorist organization and maintains no contact with Hamas. According to CNN talks with Hamas have not been ruled out by President Obama as long as the organization Hamas swears off violence and abides by agreements made with previous Palestinian governments.

February 15, 2009

U.S. and Russian Satellites Collide Over Siberia

A Russian and a U.S. satellite collided over Siberia Tuesday, reports the BBC.

Iridium, a U.S. communications satellite and Kosmos-2251, an inactive Russian Satellite collided Tuesday roughly 500 mile above Siberia. The crash poses a threat to other unmanned satellites and is thought to be the worst incident of this sort ever.

The U.S. Department of Defense's Space Surveillance Network tracks the 6,000 man-made satellites and debris in orbit around the space, reports AP. They are tracking the debris to ensure the the safety of nearby satellites, specifically the Hubble Telescope and the International Space Station.

A NASA memo listed the risk to the ISS as elevated, but low and within acceptable limits.

A spokeswoman from Iridium said their satellite was where it was supposed to be. Iridium has the ability to move their satellites, but has never received a report accurate enough for the company to do so.

Russia has not commented on the status of their satellite.

February 13, 2009

Train Derailment Leaves 15 Dead, Others Injured

At least 15 people were killed and 150 injured when a train derailed Friday in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, reports the AFP.

Railway officials said the 12 cars came off the tracks 60 miles outside of Jujpar, near the state capital.

Officials from the East Coast Railway company said others may be still be trapped inside the train and they are worried that more fatalities may occur.

"At least 15 deaths are confirmed," said JP Mishra, a senior spokesperson for East Coast Railway. "We do not know what caused the accident as yet."

Witnesses at the scene said the train was traveling at high speeds, reports the BBC/

Rescue workers from the East Coast Railway company along with hundreds of local volunteers worked to aid survivors and clear away wreckage

This accident comes on the same day that Minister Lalu Yadav took credit for saving the state-run railways from bankruptcy.

300 railway accidents occur in India every year.

February 8, 2009

Venezuelans Protest Infinite Re-election

Tens of thousand of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas Saturday to protest a constitutional amendment that would allow President Hugo Chavez and other officials indefinite re-election, the BBC reports.

The amendment, proposed by Chavez, would allow him to finish the work he has began in the country socialist revolutions, supporters said.

The amendment will be put to a referendum Feb. 15. Polls show that support for the bill is leading by a slight margin.

The protest was lead by opposition political parties and anti-government students, Reuters reports.

BBC's Will Grant said the protests show there is strong opposition to the amendment proposed by Chavez.

A similar amendment failed to pass the referendum in 2007.

If this referendum fails to pass Chavez will leave office in 2012.

January 28, 2009

Pope Launches YouTube Channel, Has Rough Start

The Vatican launched a pope-endorsed You Tube channel last Friday, reports the BBC. This channel will include media currently broadcast upon Vatican television and radio. The channel, in addition to the Vatican website, extends the Vatican's missionary work onto the Internet.

The Vatican, which has not maintained a unified opinion about the Internet in the past, plans to use the channel to reach a broad audience. They want to reach both Catholics and general You Tube users. The channel was launched on the Church's World Day of Communications.

The Vatican has limited the ways users can communicate through their channel. Users can not leave comments on the videos. They are also prohibited from rating or embedding the videos on other websites.

This is to “secure the Pope's presence on the web", said the Vatican's Osservatore Romano newspaper.

This channel is already be losing viewers. The English version of the channel which started with 90,411 unique views in is already down to 31,558 as of Monday, said the London Times The reason for this decrease in view is unclear.