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Archive | June, 2011

No Relief for Iraqi Doctors

As thousands of doctors leave Iraq, those who remain to heal the sick say they need more security and less corruption.

Iraq's Ministry of Health has earned itself a reputation for engaging in massive spending in certain areas, while basic medical supplies and medicines are left unfunded and lacking (GALLO/GETTY)

“The hospital is crowded, the medical staff are overloaded, and we are deficient of medical staff because doctors continue to leave Iraq,” Dr Yehiyah Karim, a general surgeon at Baghdad Medical City, told Al Jazeera, “There is still the targeting of doctors.”

Dr Karim said that many Iraqi doctors are continuing to flee the country because kidnappings and assassinations are ongoing problems. Since the US invasion in 2003, doctors and other professionals in Iraq have been targets of these crimes in staggering numbers.

According to the Brookings Institute, prior to the US-led invasion in 2003, Iraq had 34,000 registered physicians. It is estimated 20,000 of those have left the country, and between 2007 and April 2009 only 1,525 had returned.

“Many doctors are still leaving the country because we are in danger,” Dr Karim, whose hospital is the largest medical center in the country, added. “Last week we had three doctors kidnapped in Kirkuk. Following this, doctors there didn’t go to work for two days. We always feel insecure about our safety.”

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Gaza Flotilla Ship ‘Sabotaged by Divers’

Activists say Swedish ship due to join attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza has been damaged in Greek port.

Ten ships bound for Gaza are expected to set sail from Greece in the coming days (Photo: Ship to Gaza Sweden)

A Swedish ship due to join an upcoming Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been sabotaged in the Greek port of Piraeus, organisers say.

In a statement, they said “hostile divers had destroyed the propeller house and cut the propeller shaft” of the vessel Juliano on Monday.

The ship is part of the 10-vessel Freedom Flotilla II that is expected to set sail from Greece and elsewhere for the Gaza Strip in the coming days in a bid to break Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory.

About 350 pro-Palestinian activists from 22 countries are likely to participate.

Israel insists the latest flotilla is a “dangerous provocation” and has vowed to intercept it.

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Climate Change: It’s Bad and Getting Worse

Severe weather events are wracking the planet, and experts warn of even greater consequences to come.

Flooding in China is currently affecting approximately five million people (GALLO/GETTY)

The rate of ice loss in two of Greenland’s largest glaciers has increased so much in the last 10 years that the amount of melted water would be enough to completely fill Lake Erie, one of the five Great Lakes in North America.

West Texas is currently undergoing its worst drought since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, leaving wheat and cotton crops in the state in an extremely dire situation due to lack of soil moisture, as wildfires continue to burn.

Central China recently experienced its worst drought in more than 50 years. Regional authorities have declared more than 1,300 lakes “dead”, meaning they are out of use for both irrigation and drinking water supply.

Floods have struck Eastern and Southern China, killing at least 52 and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands, followed by severe flooding that again hit Eastern China, displacing or otherwise affecting five million people.

Meanwhile in Europe, crops in the northwest are suffering the driest weather in decades.

Scientific research confirms that, so far, humankind has raised the Earth’s temperature, and the aforementioned events are a sign of what is to come.

“If you had a satellite view of the planet in the summer, there is about 40 per cent less ice in the Arctic than when Apollo 8 [in 1968] first sent back those photos [of Earth],” Bill McKibben, world renowned environmentalist and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences told Al Jazeera, “Oceans are 30 per cent more acidic than they were 40 years ago. The atmosphere is four per cent more wet than 40 years ago because warm air holds more water than cold air. That means more deluge and downpour in wet areas and more dryness in dry areas. So we’re seeing more destructive mega floods and storms, increasing thunderstorms, and increasing lightning strikes.”
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Fukushima: It’s Much Worse Than You Think

Scientific experts believe Japan’s nuclear disaster to be far worse than governments are revealing to the public.

Many Japanese citizens are now permanently displaced from their homes due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster (GALLO/GETTY)

“Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind,” Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.

Japan’s 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.

Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.

“Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed,” he said, “You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively.”

Read the rest of the story on Al Jazeera English

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