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2010 November 5 | Activist News
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The Road to World War 3

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Edward Snowden

Open Letter To Obama

July 26, 2013 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20500 Re: Civil Disobedience, Edward J. Snowden, and the Constitution Dear Mr. President: You are acutely aware More »

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U.S. Companies Pay Just One-Third Of The Legal Tax Rate: GAO Study

Huffington Post July 1, 2013 By Mark Gongloff Big, profitable U.S. companies paid an average federal tax rate of less than 13 percent in 2010, according to a new study — or More »

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The Bigger Story Behind the AP Spying Scandal

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Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

Army doctors see sharp rise in severe injuries from Afghanistan

Guardian
November 5, 2010
By Amelia Gentleman

The Ministry of Defence has nearly tripled the number of rehabilitation beds available for severely wounded soldiers from Afghanistan to accommodate a sharp rise in the number of soldiers who have lost one or more limbs in the conflict.

The military‘s Headley Court rehabilitation centre, near Epsom, Surrey, recently opened a second new 30-bed extension, expanding its total capacity to 96, up from 36 beds in 2007.

Staff numbers have also risen in line with the increase in severely injured soldiers who require long-term, specialist support, and the in-house prosthetics team has doubled in size over the past year in response to the surge in demand for new limbs.

More service personnel lost limbs in explosions in Afghanistan in the first nine months of this year than the total figure for 2009, according to MoD data released earlier this week. A total of 58 had undergone amputations as a result of injuries sustained in Afghanistan by the end of September, compared with 55 for 2009, according to Defence Analytical Services and Advice statistics. Military doctors are treating rising numbers of double and triple amputees.

The rise in critically injured casualties is partly the result of improved frontline medical care and enhanced evacuation arrangements, which has meant that there are many more “unexpected survivors” after explosions in Afghanistan. Until 2008, when staff at Headley Court began working with their first triple amputee, no one who had lost three limbs during fighting had lived.

Staff estimate that there are now about 15 personnel who have had triple amputations. The rehabilitation process for soldiers who have lost several limbs takes much longer, and treatment at Headley Court can stretch over several years, with patients spending a month in the centre, followed by a month at home.

Blesma (the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association) estimates that at least 48 people have lost two limbs in Afghanistan. “We have a painful number of these,” Headley Court’s commanding officer, Colonel Jerry Tuck, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, said. “If you put more people out in the field, you get more casualties.”

Staff at the centre are refining their methods for caring for soldiers with far more severe injuries than they have previously worked with, Tuck said. “The admission numbers are going up because the patients are more complex and they are coming back more frequently, that’s a definite.”

A surge in Afghanistan earlier this year put unprecedented pressure on medical services both at the intensive care unit at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham, and at Headley Court. New facilities have been opened in both centres in recent months. “We just opened a new ward over the road. It is not in the ideal place but it’s in the place where we could build fastest,” Tuck said.

Joe Townsend, 22, a marine whose legs were blown off when he stepped on an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Helmand province in 2008, is still receiving treatment at Headley Court.

Full Article Here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/05/injuries-afghanistan-lost-limbs

Afghan campaign destroys hundreds of houses: rights group

Reuters
November 4, 2010
By Ian Simpson

(Reuters) – Fighting between U.S.-led forces and the Taliban has destroyed or damaged hundreds of houses during a crucial campaign in Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, a human rights group said on Thursday.

The widespread property damage reported by the Afghan Rights Monitor (ARM) in Kandahar, the birthplace of the Afghan Taliban, comes despite a U.S. strategy designed to weaken support for the Taliban by limiting harm to civilians.

U.S.-led NATO forces have used aerial bombing to strike Taliban strongholds and to set off mines and homemade bombs sometimes hidden as booby traps in private homes, ARM said in a statement.

ARM Director Samadi Ajmal said the widespread damage underscored the need for reconstruction funds for residents once the fighting was over.

“Rebuilding is the most important part of this operation,” he told Reuters.

The damage has been concentrated in the districts of Arghandab, Panjwai, Zheray and Daman, home to about 300,000 of the province’s more than 1 million inhabitants, Ajmal said.

Civilian casualties have also jumped since the launch of the campaign in early September, Ajmal said, but gave no figures.

In a mid-year report, the United Nations said civilian casualties had spiked by 31 percent in the first six months of 2010 compared to the same period last year, with more than three-quarters of them blamed on insurgents.

The number attributed to foreign and Afghan forces fell sharply, due mainly to a tightening of the rules for aerial engagements, the U.N. report said.

The ARM statement was based on reports from more than a dozen sources in the area. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) is looking into the report, a spokeswoman said, but had no immediate comment.

Full Article Here – http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A324120101104

Forced psychiatric assessment of Ukraine trade union activist

Amnesty International
November 4, 2010

Amnesty International has urged the Ukraine authorities to stop the harassment of a trade union activist who remains in hiding after a court ordered him to undergo a forced psychiatric examination last week.

A court in Vinnytsya, south west Ukraine on 29 October granted the order for an examination after prosecutors argued that Andrei Bondarenko has an “excessive awareness of his own and others’ rights and his uncontrollable readiness to defend these rights in unrealistic ways.”

Andrei Bondarenko has no record of mental illness and has already undergone three psychiatric examinations to prove his sanity. The most recent examination took place in October.

The court ruling against Andrei Bondarenko comes in the wake of a number of recent cases in which activists have been assaulted and harassed in the last few months.

Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s expert on Ukraine, said:

“There is a very real concern that Andrei Bondarenko will be subjected to a forced psychiatric examination because of his legitimate trade union and human rights activities.
“Any examination should be conducted outside of the Vinnytsya region by an officially recognised psychiatrist to ensure impartiality. Andrei Bondarenko should not be subjected to any treatment until he has exhausted all legal channels.”

Andrei Bondarenko has campaigned for the rights of employees in Vinnytsya region since 2006. His work has often exposed the unlawful and irresponsible behaviour of local officials.

In August 2010 he founded an NGO called Movement for a Corruption Free Vinnytsya Region Prosecutor’s Office.

Andrei Bondarenko also appears to have angered the authorities with his work in defence of the rights of sugar factory workers. These seasonal workers are employed for only a few months a year after the sugar beet harvest and are frequently not paid.

Many of these factories are officially owned by shadow companies, although in fact the real owners are influential local people, many of them high up in the local administration.

Andrei Bondarenko started a campaign of taking the shadow companies to court to demand payment of wages. According to one prosecutor’s statement, he started 80 such cases in 2008 alone.

The trade unionist was not present at his trial on Friday and was represented by two civil defenders and a lawyer, who was ordered out of the court by a panel of judges.

The recent harassment of other activists points to a worsening climate for human rights in the Ukraine.

On 15 October, police in Vinnytsya searched the house and office of Dmytro Groysman, the chair of Vinnytsya Human Rights Group, which supports asylum-seekers and campaigns against torture.

Police questioned staff about their work, and confiscated over 300 items, including UNHCR files, computer discs, memory sticks and a laptop.

Full Article Here – http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news_details.asp?NewsID=19069