ASIA/SYRIA – Battle for Maalula, under sniper fire – Fides News Agency

Damascus (Agenzia Fides) – Soldiers of the regular army have entered Maalula, the Christian village which was attacked and seized by Islamist groups in recent days. According to local sources contacted by Fides Agency, local Christian youth fighting alongside the soldiers are under fire from snipers stationed in homes. Retaking the village seems to be very difficult because of the way it is built, where houses are perched on steep slopes. As reported to Fides, so far 3 young Greek Catholic Christians have been killed and six men have been abducted and taken somewhere near the city of Yabrud, on the slopes of the Qalamoun mountains.

Religious community members, men and women, who are still present in the village, are safe and sound. The Greek Orthodox nuns in the convent of Santa Tecla were “under siege” and were in fear for several days, while armed groups threatened to invade the convent and crosses have been removed and many civilian homes have been sacked. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 12/09/2013)

via ASIA/SYRIA – Battle for Maalula, under sniper fire – Fides News Agency.

Self-delusion in infinite supply over pseudo-freedom issues – Wisconsin’s Most Famous Raw-Milk Advocate Opposes Bill Requiring Licensing | Food Safety News

While those requirements were too much for Hershberger, many raw-milk advocates showed up to support SB 236. Vincent Hunt, a 62-year old farmer who has consumed raw milk all his life, was among those wearing white ice-cream vendor hats with the word “Freedom” on them.

“Just trust the people,” Hunt told committee members. “I believe the opponents of this bill have only one thing to offer and it is fear.”

Numerous proponents said raw milk can cure all sorts of health problems, including allergies and diabetes.

Not buying any of it were spokesmen for the Wisconsin Safe Milk Coalition, which represents both the state’s $26.5-billion pasteurized dairy industry, and numerous public and private health organizations.

Two dairy farmers representing the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, a coalition member, said they will not even give raw milk to their calves because of its potential for spreading disease. They instead pasteurize the milk beforehand.

“Pasteurization exists for a reason,” said Chris Pollack, who runs a 150-cow diary farm and was one of the Farm Bureau representatives.

via Wisconsin’s Most Famous Raw-Milk Advocate Opposes Bill Requiring Licensing | Food Safety News.

( Earlier this week there was a story about a mom who donated a kidney to her infant daughter whose kidneys failed as a result of disease from raw milk that was given to her daughter) Playing Russian Roulette for 40 years without shooting yourself is not a good argument for risking the health of people so foolishly.

Netherlands apologizes formally to Indonesia for colonial killings | News | DW.DE | 12.09.2013

The Dutch ambassador to Indonesia, Tjeerd de Zwaan, made the apology for the massacres during a ceremony at the Dutch Embassy in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

“On behalf of the Dutch government, I apologize for these excesses,” he said, adding: “The Dutch government hopes that this apology will help close a difficult chapter for those whose lives were impacted so directly by the violent excesses that took place between 1945 and 1949.”

The Dutch government had previously apologized and paid some compensation to relatives of those killed in particular cases, but it has never before offered a general apology for all summary executions.

via Netherlands apologizes formally to Indonesia for colonial killings | News | DW.DE | 12.09.2013.

Avian Flu Diary: Florida: Dengue Forces Suspension Of Blood Donations In Two Counties

Globalization and air transport strike again – too easy for someone infected to be on other side of globe in less than 24 hours and get bitten by a local mosquito that then becomes infected from the human and infects the next mammal it feasts upon and so it goes…

As a proactive and precautionary measure, OneBlood is temporarily suspending blood collection operations in Martin and St. Lucie counties in Southeast Florida until further notice.  The decision comes after more than a dozen cases of Dengue Fever have been reported by the Florida Department of Health in these two counties over the past several weeks.

“Safety of the blood supply is our number one priority,” said Dr. Rita Reik, Chief Medical Officer for OneBlood.  “We will resume blood collections in Martin and St. Lucie counties once it is determined the threat of Dengue Fever has been minimized,” Reik said.

via Avian Flu Diary: Florida: Dengue Forces Suspension Of Blood Donations In Two Counties.

Copper found to destroy norovirus | Vaccine News Daily

The scientists conducted a study designed to simulate fingertip-touch contamination of surfaces. In this study, the scientists discovered that copper and its alloys were able to quickly destroy the norovirus.

via Copper found to destroy norovirus | Vaccine News Daily.

Will this give a boost to copper bracelets as cure-alls again?

GOP’s unhealthy obsession with Obamacare – latimes.com

Try as they might, House Republican leaders are having trouble stopping their colleagues from shooting themselves in the foot — again.

Having failed to approve any of the 12 annual appropriations bills that fund federal agencies, Congress has to pass a stopgap spending bill by Sept. 30 to keep much of the federal government from shutting down. But rank-and-file Republicans in the House are resisting their leadership’s proposed stopgap because it wouldn’t necessarily block funding for the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.

Opponents of the Affordable Care Act don’t have the votes to repeal it in the Senate, and even if they did, they couldn’t override a certain veto by President Obama. Nevertheless, a large faction in the House wants to hold funding for the rest of the government hostage until Democrats agree to stop implementing Obamacare.

via GOP’s unhealthy obsession with Obamacare – latimes.com.