Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish President and top officials die in Plane Crash

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — He died en route to the most sensitive mission possible — a visit to the place that has driven a wedge between Poles and Russians for three generations.

The death of Lech Kaczynski, Poland’s president and dozens of his high-level countrymen in a plane crash, and the purpose behind the journey, laid bare the deep divisions that remain between two nations still struggling to be more than uneasy neighbors who watch each other with skepticism and suspicion.

Saturday’s planned visit to the Katyn forest was somber in purpose but underscored his suspicious eye of the massive neighbor and former taskmaster to the east. The memorial service was to mark the 70th anniversary of the killing of thousands of Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret security during World War II.

Katyn. The site of the massacre of Polish military officers, priests, shopkeepers. Men shot in the back of the head by Josef Stalin’s NKVD, the precursor of the KGB.

“It is an accursed place,” former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski told TVN24 after the crash.

Janusz Bugajski of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said that Saturday’s crash has put Katyn at the center of Polish-Russian relations.

“It brought to the forefront again an event that Moscow would like to forget or, if not to forget, to sideline,” he said, noting that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin took a significant step by attending the Katyn commemorations last Wednesday with Polish counterpart Donald Tusk.

The ancient city of Smolensk has long played a significant and somewhat symbolic role in Russian-Polish relations.

Russian and Polish rulers fiercely fought over it for centuries, as well as over other contested territories in today’s Ukraine and Belarus, and the Russian takeover of the city in the mid-17th century preceded Moscow’s takeover of eastern Polish lands.

Earlier this week, Poles took deep satisfaction in Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s presence at the memorial for the 22,000 killed there.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sadly, Mariana Bridi da Costa has passed away

20 year old Mariana Bridi da Costa was a model with a promising future, until she got an infection. Mariana was misdiagnosed with kidney stones, and she fell very ill on December 30, 2008. An attempt was made to save her life by amputating her hands and feet after she developed septicaemia. Sadly, Mariana had further complications, and her health continued to deteriorate.

The strange thing about this story is that late last year a friend of mine was holidaying in Greece when she was struck with a sudden illness, and she died from speicaemia. My friend was over 60, and Mariana was just 20.

This story has a little bit of "duh" information - or I told you so

According to this report the number of abortions performed on teenage girls who have had at least one termination of pregnancy has risen by something like 70% "fuelling fears that terminations are being carried out for lifestyle reasons"

In 2007 5,897 teenage girls had their 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th termination, which is an increase from the 2,934 girls who had repeat terminations in 1991.

As far as I am concerned, it is 5,887 abortions too many, and this itself is due to the belief that terminations themselves are harmless.

What would be a better statistic right now is how many of these same young women who have been so foolish as to find themselves pregnant in the first place (discounting rape victims) have in fact being able to have a live birth or have children years after they had an abortion.

There are other issues at stake here. Issues such as the increased consumption of alcohol by teenage girls. I think that this is a separate and a side issue with regard to unexpected pregnancy because the girls have behave in an uninhibitative manner. In other words there is more than one issue that needs to be tackled.

There is a good example within the article of a young woman by the name of Lucy Lanelly. She has had 4 abortions under the age of 19. What is really bad about this report though, is that her mother and grandmother arranged for the terminations to take place. Another really bad thing is the age when she first became pregnant. A girl of 12 is too young to be engaged in intimate relations. Lucy blames the lack of sex education. I would say that sex education has in fact been playing a role - but not the reason given (in other words, the type of education given seems to be leading to widespread experimentation). Other possible reasons for this result could be the lack of moral direction in Lucy's life.

The increase in 2nd and third time abortions is most likely due to several factors and among them are:

  • "the inevitable fruit of a society that makes an idol of sexual pleasure" (Norman Wells)
  • "abortion has become more acceptable, easer to access for all age groups, better funded by the NHS" (Ann Fruedi)
Obviously the funding of abortion clinics has an impact on society, since people allow the breakdown of moral practices. One thing leads to another, and abortion clinics only serve to condone sexual immorality at higher and higher rates such that young girls are no longer innocent.

The test increases miscarriage risks but it helps cheating women

Abortion fears over cheating women who use paternity tests to identify their baby's father | Mail Online

In some ways I think that the development of this test is totally scandalous. It has been introduced as yet another reason for abortion. Since abortion has been liberalized it seems that women are no longer capable of thinking about the consequences of their actions prior to going ahead and cheating on their spouses or lovers.

In my view abortion on demand has always been a slippery slope, and from this same angle I see the pill in the same light. These are things that see women degrade themselves by indulging in illicit activity. They seem unable to bear the consequences of their own bad behaviour so they make the decision to abort the innocent life that has been created.

What is really wrong about the whole situation is the introduction of these paternity tests because they also increase the risk of miscarriage - especially when taking amniotic fluid.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Black Box confirms bird strike

The flight data recorder has been examined and has confirmed the story of the pilots that a bird-strike caused the double engine failure which led to the crash landing on the Hudson River.

photo courtesy BBC NEWS

You can read the story here.

photo courtesy BBC News

New York hails pilot who landed jetliner in Hudson River

The Hudson River New York has been the scene of a dramatic landing for a stricken aircraft. The pilot, Chesley B. Sullenberg III, an ex-USAF fighter pilot and a professional pilot for 40 years, made what has been described as a text-book landing, thus saving the life of all 155 on board the A320 Airbus.

The plane had just taken off from La Guardia airport, when it crossed the path of a flock of geese. There was a thud and both engines lost power. The geese also hit the windshield of the aircraft. The captain of the plane took the controls from the co-pilot so that the co-pilot could concentrate on trying to restart the engines. Sullenberg notified the control tower that there had been an incident and that both engines had lost power. They briefly discussed action to be taken for a landing. Sullenberger ruled out returning to La Guardia and then ruled out Teterborough airfield in New Jersey. There was a high risk of a greater tragedy by attempting either landing. The only avenue left was to attempt the landing on the water.

Sullenberg knew that he had to get this landing right, and he narrowly missed a bridge as he approached a point an area of the river that would mean the best chance of a rescue. He managed to do everything necessary to execute the perfect landing on water such that the airplane did not break up on landing. The passengers were ordered to brace for a hard landing, and they did. The cabin-crew gave quick instructions before sitting and bracing for the landing on the water. Unfortunately one member of the crew has been injured. As soon as the plane landed the cabin crew and passengers went into action. Women and children were the first to exit, followed by the other passengers, and finally the captain of the aircraft. He paced the length of the aircraft twice before leaving, making sure that no one was left on board the sinking plane.

The crash is now the subject of an investigation. The investigation will include what went wrong – why did the engines lose power? In other words verifying that there was a double bird-strike. It will also investigate what went right during the flight and subsequent landing and rescue of the passengers.

There are lessons to be learned from every aircraft accident. This one is different because a tragedy was prevented. No doubt pilots will now practise in their flight simulators the steps taken by Sullenberg to safely land his bird on the water. In the past few days comparisons have been made between this landing and that of the plane that crashed off Ethiopia. The footage of the Ethiopian crash shows that the plane had banked before it hit the water – in other words it was not absolutely straight. However, in that incident the cabin crew were most likely fighting with the hijackers who were on board, and therefore the pilot did not have the ability to be able to straighten the plane prior to the crash into the sea. It is in fact not a very good comparison because of the extraordinary circumstances.

It is a miracle that no one died as a result of this incident and calling it a miracle does not in any way discount the actions of the aircrew as well as that of the passengers, and the rescue workers. What we saw was a well coordinated effort that saved 155 lives. The man who made that happen is Chesley B. Sullenberg.

Dramatic video of crash landing in the Hudson River NY

BBC NEWS | Special Reports | A pilot's eye view of NY crash flight

It is worth checking out this dramatic footage of the landing of the Airbus A320 in the Hudson river. The passengers are seen scrambling out of the emergency exits within seconds of the landing on the river.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Two Deaths in the Family

This is a difficult subject not from the point of view of the sadness because of the loss of family members but a result of the timing of the death of each family member, right down to the timing of the funerals. This time around it is hard to be serious!!

My dearly loved uncle Bill, - Robert William Buckley - passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning at the age of 87 or perhaps 88. He was my mother's oldest brother and a bulwark to our family in more ways than one. When I was growing up I loved my uncle Bill so much and there are so many funny stories about the way he used to kid around with us... yes lots and lots of stories to tell about my favourite uncle.

My cousin, Peter Allan MacGregor Henderson, was the oldest son of my late father's brother, and he died at around 7.00 am on Sunday morning, April 6, 2008. In the early days our families were close but there was a rift after Peter's sister, Dorn, was kidnapped, raped and murdered before she reached her 21st birthday. My remaining cousin on that side of the family, Neroli had been like a little sister to me. It is for her sake that I will be attending his funeral.

It is hard to imagine a situation where there are members on two sides of the family have passed away within hours of each other on the same day. In the past, when my father died, my mother's cousin Stella passed away 2 days later, but not on the same day.

The funeral arrangements now in place and both funerals are on the same day. I want to attend both funerals and I live interstate so timing is critical as far as I am concerned. So here comes the funny part of the coincidence. My uncle's funeral will come first. It will begin at 10.00 am at St. Michael's Ashburton in Melbourne Victoria. Like the other 3 who are being buried this week, my uncle had been an active member of that parish and probably a founding member of the parish as well. Yes, four of them in one week!!!! After the Mass we will proceed to the Springvale cemetary for the burial. My cousin's funeral is at 1.15 pm in a chapel at the Springvale cemetery. The irony of this situation and funeral arrangements has not escaped past me. Yes, I can laugh about the way it has panned out.

My uncle Bill had always been "there" when we needed a helping hand. When I lived not very far away and my oldest son had come down with a fever, and I was without a car, it was my uncle Bill and aunt who came to give me much needed assistance. They took me to Box Hill hospital where I remained until the fever had subsided. This is only one story, one very precious memory of my uncle.

The years had not been so kind to uncle Bill, especially after his brain injury when he fell out of a tree. The last time that I saw him he was showing the signs of old age in more ways than one. My cousin Dorothy had been looking after her parents and it must have been hard for her and Keith to make the decision to move uncle Bill into a nursing home. It was a brain aneurysm and internal bleeding that took a toll and so my uncle has passed peacefully.

My cousin Peter was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and he only told his younger sister in late March that he was going to die. My sister had given me the news and I was expecting his death and expecting to attend his funeral, but I was unprepared for hearing that he had passed away on Sunday. My cousin had moved back to his old home after his father had died so that he could care for his ailing mother. This is of course an act of charity that many do not carry out in their lives, and for this act alone I need to honour the memory of Peter Henderson. He suffered prior to death, but his death was also peaceful. Prayers that he have a happy and peaceful death were answered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

French cold cases about to be solved?

BBC NEWS | Europe | France holds man over 18 murders

The French police have arrested and are holding for questioning a 68 year old man in relation to 18 unsolved murders, of mostly homosexual men between 1980 and 2002. The suspect, Nicolas Panard is alleged to have killed 11 people in the Alsace region, four others in neighbouring Franche-Comte and three near Paris. His alleged accomplice Slim Fezzani is currently serving a 20 year prison sentence for a separate murder.

The pair are being held for questioning in the Franche-Comte town of Montbeliard, where the deputy state prosecutor has told the AFP newsagency that the two men denied the allegations and that there is "no formal proof" linking them to the crimes.

According to a local L'Alsace newspaper, the arrests were the result of a 2 year investigation by a police officer based in Montbeliard who had originally only been investigating a murder in 1991 in Sochaux. By using the police crime database, the officer found mentions of Mr. Panard's name in the case files of several unsolved murders. The officer also discovered several common features in the murders, including the following:

  • the victims had been killed by blows to the head;
  • the victims had multiple knife wounds;
  • the victims were found partly naked but with their faces covered.
Mr. Panard has a criminal record for burglary, and is said to have frequented the homosexual scene where he worked as a female impersonator.

During the 1980s there was a spate of unsolved murders of homosexuals across the border from Mulhouse in the French-speaking part of Switzerland.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UK gives superbug alert outside of the hospital environment

The BBC reports that experts are warning that bugs such as MRSA have been spreading in the wider community environment. They want doctors to be alert to the most dangerous form of MRSA that can attack the lungs and may strike young people in particular.


Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) strains of community-acquired MRSA can cause a condition called necrotizing pneumonia, which destroys lung tissue.

This only affects a minority of those infected, but can be deadly.

"These new strains of bacteria appear to be able to stick to damaged skin and airways better than the hospital MRSA strains, and they can also multiply at a faster rate," says Dr Marina Morgan, of the Royal Devon and Exeter Foundation NHS Trust.

So far these strains are mainly spreading in the US, where 12% of all MRSA cases are community-acquired, but the UK has seen an increasing number of cases.

It is unclear why children seem to be at particular risk, but the speculation is that older people in the community have fewer cuts and abrasions - a key transmission route - and have less contact with other people.


Nursing home threat

Meanwhile, Irish researchers are examining a new breed of bacteria which carry enzymes called extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs), which are capable of destroying a many common antibiotics.

They include a strain of E. Coli, which is spreading into nursing homes and communities across Europe.

This was held responsible for a severe outbreak of cystitis, a bladder infection, in the UK between 2003 and 2004.

"Although cystitis is not life threatening, it is the most common form of urinary tract infection, and the economic consequences of failing to treat an outbreak quickly and properly are considerable," said Dr Dearbhaile Morris, of the National University of Ireland.

"In severe infections, patients may suffer serious complications if the first antibiotic given to them does not work."

Mark Enright, professor of molecular epidemiology at Imperial College, said he was "not surprised" by the findings.

"The emergence and spread of ESBL E. Coli does give physicians problems in providing proper initial care for some patients especially those with urinary tract infections."

He added: "The control of infections in many nursing homes is inferior to hospitals despite the medication and specialist care required by some residents."


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

4 infants died - the police case against the mother collapses because of inadmissible evidence

Has Justice been served for this mother, who had 4 children and lost all of them for an unknown reason?


CAROL Matthey entered the Supreme Court yesterday charged with murdering her four small children, one by one, over five years.

Police said she deliberately suffocated them, partly in order to sustain her troubled relationship with her husband, Stephen Matthey, the children's father.

But yesterday, the criminal case against Mrs Matthey, who has always denied she harmed her children, collapsed.

Fifteen minutes after she arrived, Mrs Matthey left the court free, cheerfully accepting congratulations. In an extraordinary end to one of the most dramatic cases in Victorian legal history, prosecutors dropped the charges because much of the evidence gathered against her was ruled inadmissible.

A case that involved a three-year police investigation, thousands of pages of statements and 160 witnesses — and a case that dominated four years of Carol Matthey's life — was suddenly over before it reached trial.

After she left the court, Mrs Matthey walked along William Street smiling, declining to answer reporters' questions until this one: "Are you not guilty, Carol?"

"No," she said firmly.

The reporter pointed out the double negative and asked for clarification. Did she mean she was innocent? "Yes," she said, chuckling, amused at the misunderstanding. Then she walked off the public stage and into the rest of her life.

The Supreme Court case against Mrs Matthey ended as a result of pre-trial hearings before Justice John Coldrey. In a complex 94-page judgement on October 12, he found most of the proposed evidence inadmissible under the law.

In legal terms, this is not an acquittal. A defendant against whom charges are withdrawn is not protected by double jeopardy and, theoretically, faces the prospect of another trial if new evidence emerges.

Mrs Matthey, 27, of Geelong, lost four children between 1998 and 2003. Jacob was seven months old, Chloe nine weeks old, Joshua three months and Shania three years and four months. At her committal hearing in March 2006, Mrs Matthey's defence argued there was no physical evidence of harm done to any of the children. Her lawyers said it was possible the children shared an as-yet-undiscovered gene that caused a medical condition, such as a fatal cardiac arrhythmia, that led to their deaths.

Police yesterday declined to comment. The acting director of public prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke, QC, said the case was irreparably damaged when the judge deemed inadmissible much of the medical evidence.

Initially, Jacob and Chloe Matthey were found to have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and Joshua of klebsiella septicaemia. A police investigation began after the death of Shania, who was too old to have died of SIDS, and for whom no cause of death could be found. At the committal hearing, experts acknowledged SIDS was a "diagnosis of exclusion" — the cause of death used for babies when no other cause can be found. They said there were often no forensic clues that would differentiate natural SIDS from deliberate suffocation.

This left much of the expert medical evidence at the committal heated and contradictory. Four local forensic pathologists strongly argued the autopsies revealed no scientific evidence of harm to any of the children.

But a pediatrician from South Australia who specialized in SIDS, Dr Susan Beal, and a forensic pediatric pathologist from the US, Dr Janice Ophoven, were equally vehement homicide was the most likely explanation.

They argued that "scientific" evidence included the lack of risk factors for SIDS in some of the children; the rarity of four such deaths in one family; the troubled marriage; and the fact that the children had experienced "ALTEs" — apparent life-threatening episodes in which they stopped breathing or were found unconscious.

Dr Beal said: "ALTEs are not a predictor for SIDS; they're a predictor for (homicide)."

Justice Coldrey ruled out most of the evidence of these two witnesses.

The conflict between the experts meant the Crown case relied on other evidence, such as Mrs Matthey's relationship with her husband and children.

Justice Coldrey said the Crown had submitted that, particularly at times of ALTEs or deaths among the children, the marriage was under severe strain.

"Moreover, it is asserted that the relationship of Mrs Matthey to her children, evinced by unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, mediocre parenting and indifference to their deaths, would enable a jury to infer they were the unfortunate pawns in this strategy to bolster her marital situation," he wrote.

Justice Coldrey found there was no discernible link between the timing of marital crises and the ALTEs or the deaths: "There is no foundation for the contention that the killings were designed to win back Stephen Matthey's love and affection."

While there was evidence of poor mothering, the judge wrote, other reports painted a picture of a woman "who was a concerned, caring and loving mother during the children's lives, and a distressed and grieving one when they died".

Mrs Matthey's lawyer, Paul Lacava, SC, said there were no winners in the case. "Mrs Matthey and her husband have lost their children and their sadness is profound and ongoing.


I find it very strange that it used to be accepted if one baby died from SIDS then there was a chance that further babies could die from SIDS, yet these two women "experts" on a mission claim that it is impossible and that the deaths must be homicide. If this mother did in fact kill her children, then both of these "experts" have done a lot of harm to the prosecution case. The local pathologists, who had more than likely examined the bodies of the babies indicated that there was no scientific evidence of harm being done to the children. Why then should the Prosecution be allowed to build a case based upon the evidence of "experts" who had not performed any forensic pathology on the children. The Judge did the right thing striking down the charges. Carol Matthey does not walk away from the court as a totally free woman, because she could be charged again, but at least justice is seen to be done when a case that is not based upon fact, but upon "experts with a mission" has been struck down because of the lack of real evidence that would lead to a conviction.