All posts by nedhamson

Activist, writer, researcher, addicted to sharing information and facts.

How Lebanese Women Can Save Their Lives

A Separate State of Mind | A Blog by Elie Fares

Almost a year ago, my October turned pink as my mother got news that she had breast cancer. After the initial shock of the matter subsides, you’re left with one of two options: you either think rationally and fight or succumb to your emotions and crumble. It was a tough year, that’s for sure. My mom wasted away because of the chemo. She lost her hair, vomited anything she’d eat. But she’s getting better now.

My mom, however, is not your typical breast cancer patient: she doesn’t have a family history that would cause anyone to be more vigilant. The other risk factors associated with breast cancer do not apply in her case. And yet, there she was getting a needle stuck in her central IV line. My mother fell through the statistical cracks of medicine, like so many other people out there.

October may be breast cancer awareness month but…

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Mysterious Sinkholes Threaten to Sink the Dead Sea | Green Prophet

Mysterious Sinkholes Threaten to Sink the Dead Sea | Green Prophet.

Watch your step, kibbutzniks and spa-mavens! Diminishing water levels in the Dead Sea are causing changes to surrounding groundwater flows.  Freshwater moves through the aquifer, dissolving subterranean salt deposits and creating underground voids, which cause surface collapse. Dramatic and unpredictable, sinkholes appear at the alarming rate of nearly one a day.

First observed around the Dead Sea in the 1980s, geologist Eli Raz estimates that today there are over 3,000 on the Israeli side alone.  “Sinkholes are caused by human irresponsibility,” he told Slate Magazine, “For more than 30 years, I’ve been trying to warn everyone—especially government officials—that if we don’t do something about the situation in the Dead Sea, the sinkholes will swallow us up.”

The Dead Sea (which is technically a lake fed by the Jordan River) spans more than 60 miles. Its shorelines include Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel.  Located 1,388 feet below sea level, it’s the lowest place on earth,and with no outlet for minerals deposited over millennia, its waters have become ten times saltier than the north Atlantic.

Shutdown Puts New Craft Beers on Hold

OMG! Shutdown will not last long now!

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB, is a little-known arm of the Treasury Department. The agency will continue to process taxes from existing permit holders, but applications for anything new are in limbo.

\”One could think of this shutdown as basically stopping business indefinitely for anyone who didn\’t have certain paperwork in place back in mid-August,\” said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, which represents more than 1,900 U.S. breweries.

via Shutdown Puts New Craft Beers on Hold.

U.S. held hostage again: Editorial cartoon |

Instead of taking the big hints he\’s been given and embracing the strategy proposed by Obama and reasonable members of his own party, Boehner instead responded defiantly. The speaker of the hostage takers stopped just short of declaring that he would raise the Confederate flag over the house, instead of a white one.

via U.S. held hostage again: Editorial cartoon |

Fish from west Africa being illegally shipped to South Korea, say activists | World news |

There is new evidence that large quantities of fish from west Africa are being \”stolen\” from communities heavily dependent on fishing, and loaded on to illegal vessels bound for South Korea.

Satellite technology suggests that a 470-ton fishing vessel is currently transporting illegally caught fish from Sierra Leone to Busan, South Korea\’s second-largest city, feeding high demand for seafood in Asia.

The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF), which uncovered the case, said it was part of the biggest trade in illegally caught fish in the world.

It detected the Korean-flagged vessel fishing close to Sierra Leone\’s Sherbro Island, where communities are heavily reliant on fishing for their food and income.

News of the vessel – believed to be transporting more than 4,000 boxes of illegally caught fish – comes amid growing concern about falling fish stocks in wst Africa, as more traditional fishing communities are pushed into poverty.

via Fish from west Africa being illegally shipped to South Korea, say activists | World news |

IMF cuts global economic growth forecasts – ECONOMY – FRANCE 24

“Failure to lift the debt ceiling would be a major event,” Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said at a news conference.

U.S. Treasury officials say the government would quickly run out of cash and could default on its obligations if Congress doesn’t approve an increase in the borrowing limit by Oct. 17. U.S. Treasury bonds are a key part of the international financial system and a default would have global repercussions. For that reason, many analysts expect the borrowing limit will probably be increased on time.

via IMF cuts global economic growth forecasts – ECONOMY – FRANCE 24.

Let’s Call The Shutdown What It Is: Secession By Another Means

Republicans have now lost three successive elections to control the Senate, and they\’ve lost the last two presidential elections. Nonetheless, they fought tooth and nail to kill President Obama\’s health care initiative. They lost that fight, but with the corporate wing of Democrats, they managed to bend it toward private interests.

So, we should be here on this: Obamacare, as it is known, is deeply flawed. Big subsidies to the health insurance industry, a bonanza for lobbyists, no public option and, as the New York Times reported this week, \”Millions of Poor Are Left Uncovered by Health Law\” — largely because states controlled by Republicans refused to expand Medicaid.


Despite what they say, Obamacare is only one of their targets. Before they will allow the government to reopen, they demand employers be enabled to deny birth control coverage to female employees; they demand Obama cave on the Keystone pipeline; they demand the watchdogs over corporate pollution be muzzled and the big bad regulators of Wall Street sent home. Their ransom list goes on and on. The debt ceiling is next. They would have the government default on its obligations and responsibilities.

When the president refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum. Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn down the place, sink the ship.

via Let’s Call The Shutdown What It Is: Secession By Another Means.

There’s a Major Foodborne Illness Outbreak and the Government’s Shut Down – Wired Science

In case it seems like this is not a big deal (just 300 illnesses, just some raw chicken): foodborne illness can have lifelong consequences that range from arthritis to kidney trouble to heart disease. And: The number of illnesses that can be identified in any foodborne outbreak are almost always an under-estimate.

In its statement, FSIS said:

Raw products from the facilities in question bear one of the establishment numbers inside a USDA mark of inspection or elsewhere on the package:




The products were mainly distributed to retail outlets in California, Oregon and Washington State.

It is the second time this year that the firm at the center of this alert, Foster Farms, has been linked to a nationwide Salmonella outbreak. In July, according to the CDC, 134 people in 13 states were made ill by chicken linked to two Foster Farms slaughterhouses.

via There’s a Major Foodborne Illness Outbreak and the Government’s Shut Down – Wired Science.

Over 80 Israeli soldiers enter Al-Aqsa compound | Maan News Agency

Occupiers feel they can do whatever they want to holy sites of others? – Dozens of Israeli troops and intelligence agents entered the al-Aqsa mosque compound on Tuesday through the Moroccan Gate, locals said.

Witnesses told Ma\’an that over 80 female Israeli soldiers entered the compound and listened to a short lecture before touring the compound in seven groups.

Over 30 Israeli intelligence officers and six rightist Israelis also toured the mosque compound, locals said.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that plain-clothes Israeli intelligence agents escorted by five uniformed officers deployed in the compound early Tuesday.

via Over 80 Israeli soldiers enter Al-Aqsa compound | Maan News Agency.