Europe against GMO crops! Please, sign the Avaaz petition!
I already did. It's us who decide, not Monsanto!!!


Storm out of my veins into the silence
Painful cries of my enraged heart
An ulcer spills and lashes out in triumph
And lonely tears of helplessness arrive

I love you, but you're not listening to me
I told you already the truth and claimed my allegiance .
Our pain is mutual, our spirits are bound to be free
You're the one that paints them with your guilt and resilience.

My anger is raging, my fury is blind
It infects all my love with anguish and sound
I don't want to hurt you, you're making me to cry
I'm yelling for compassion, but you yell in denial.

And why should we fight?
Why our pain shouldn't unite us but separate us
You're my twin soul, why?
I'm hurt and I'm crying and you're not allowing me to help you .

(this is the bulgarian version. sorry about the inconvenience to read my pain but well, i'm very very affected)
Колко болка трябва да изплача, за да ти докажа,
колко сълзи трябва да изчезнат без да са дошли?
Защо реши, че аз съм тази, която иска да те наранява
Нима не знаеш, че не искам и никога не бих.

Защо вместо да ме утешаваш, ти ме обвиняваш?
Къде е обичта, с която ти си ме създала
Защо виждаш в мен тази, която те предава
Нима не знаеш, че не искам и никога не бих.

Омръзна ми обичта си да доказвам.
Тя не е стока, която да предлагам за оценка
Ти си тази, която мен напада и наказва
Без да вижда колко тежко ме ранява.

Гневът ми е чудовищен и силен
Не искам и не бих, ала не мога да престана
Ти ме нараняваш, ти ме обвиняваш във измяна
А нима не знаеш, нима не виждаш колко страдам.

И думите са силни и думите са тежки
Като камшик плющят оставайки кървави следи
Всяка следваща е все по-твърда и гореща
И като въглени прогарят обич и мечти.

И пак съм аз тази, която безпаметно прощава
Пак съм аз тази, която да изстрада и да спре
И пак си ти, тази която се сърди и не отговаря
А болката се носи, и гние и с нокти ме дере.

Age- a virtue or a doom?

Many people say we must consider age as an opportunity to acquire wisdom and find time to explore the moral of our life. Maybe for some. But for those that never got any moral out of it, it's worst than painful it's horrible. And for those around them, it's very painful experience.

Of course, I'm speaking out of experience. Not as aged person though. But as someone who has to pay for somebody else's ignorance and lack of will.

Person has many layers-not just heart, mind and soul, but also, different kind of personality for every occasion. I manage to see and deal with things most people would find gruesome and not let them affect my whole personality (not because I'm so cool, but life teaches everything) but still, I can't deny them from touching me. On the outside, on the surface, I'm ok, not fine, but ok. On the inside I can ignore them and find my peace, but somewhere, just somewhere in there, there is someone who cries every time I have to deal with the issue. That someone can't believe a situation can get so ugly, that people, families, neighbors can be affected by ONE person that never cared about others. A person that I used to love and even now, I feel sorry for.
I can be more specific, of course. It's my grandmother who is immobile, now has bedsores and still has no slightest spark of compassion or will to get better for her and others sake. She's like wild animal. Screaming, yelling, full of hatred towards everybody who trying to help her cause her pain. But behind her small eyes, you can see there is a person inside, a person that never changed. A person that you know and that is the reason why you can't simply stop caring. She yell you're a monster, because you're trying to heal her wounds and after a minute or two, she's very concerned did you have your lunch. How to deal with her? I don't know.

I know it's an issue people like to question, argue or even judge but I don't care. I have the confidence we're doing the best for her, to help her, to make her comfortable. It's not what we do or don't do the problem. The problem is that all her life she used her illness to abuse people and now, that's getting stronger and uglier. And it's damaging her children, their children and even people who have nothing to do with that. And what can we do? Nothing. Because every choice is painted with pain and guilt. Whatever we try to do, it will always mark us and haunt us. And why? Why should we suffer all this absurdity when we, I never did something to earn this googlish luck. When she very well knew she had diabetes and answered all our pleas to get insulin with anger and tears and whatever. Did we make her live like that? No. She did. Then why we must suffer?
Is this an example, a threat by the Universe what could happen with us if we take that road? Well, some of us (not me for the moment) already did (yeah, she were great role-model for her daughters). And if that doesn't serve them, why it should happen at all.
I know "why" is a stupid question in such situations, but as for the "how", I'm completely wasted. What worries me is that people get really damaged in the process and there's no way of stopping this.
It's unbelievable how much damage one person can make. A person, who never found the love and the light to comfort her and to show her there is other way to people, that people do things not only out of pain, but also out of love.

So, does age really make us wiser or just making us more convinced we're right and others are wrong? Is it helping us find ourselves or helping us forget it completely. I know it depends. But what I'm confronting is hell in higher order. Not the horrible, hot and tearing apart hell. No. It's the hell that we choose to be, because of someone else. Because of our love. Should love equals hell? I doubt. But as far as my experience goes, it happened way too many times for a statistics to fit it.
I guess that's why monks choose to flee. But I can't flee. Not yet.

P.S. My grandma, who inspired me to write this, passed away somewhat surprisingly 2 weeks ago. I'm posting this, though, I'm not sure should I. I wrote something over her death few days ago, but I'll have to translate it probably. All I can say is that I loved her a lot and that I'm grateful for all the love and experiences that she gave me. Every single one made me a better person, so thank you, babo! I love you! I hope your soul finds the peace it needs.

Unpunished sexual assaults

After Quatar's women evolution, this article looks ridiculous. But it's true. American women have been gang-raped and then showed the finger, due to lack of laws concerning work in other countries. Am I wrong or this does sound absurd??? I bet if they file the case in Iraqi case and get the US government to convince them the perpetrators are guilty, they will be executed on sight. On the moment. Because the problem in arab countries is usually to prove the woman is not guilty for her own rape. After you fixed that, the punishment will be quick and severe.

Edit: Extending my point. The problem obviously is that US troops and employees in other countries doesn't obey the laws in those countries but act according to different laws, specified according to the situation. And as the source claims, people have to sign a company arbitrage statement, which prevents them from taking such cases in US court. This may have some reason in administrative infractions, but is absolutely WRONG in criminal offenses such as the two mentioned cases. A company cannot and MUST not act as a court for criminal offenses since it has no such authority or at least shouldn't have. A criminal offense, since it breaks a major personal right/excuse me for prioritizing human rights, but for me the human body and human life is absolute human right, ok, as well as personal property in the strict sense of something legally belonging to you/ should be a responsibility of every country, every person and every law. In the case, since there is an agreement that those workers won't obey Iraqi law, they should obey at least US law. Or any other law they agree. But the situation in which they obey only company regulations according to which gang-rape or any other rape is ok is obviously wrong. Could it be legal that a company is above the law anywhere on the planet? I think not. I don't see why in Iraq this should be different. And honestly, if I know a company is above the law anywhere on the world, unless I own it, I will NEVER go working for it.

Limbo for U.S. Women Reporting Iraq Assaults

Jamie Leigh Jones, left, a former employee for the military contractor KBR, told Congress that she had been gang-raped by co-workers in Iraq in 2005. Mary Beth Kineston, also a former KBR worker, said she was sexually assaulted by one driver, groped by another worker and fired after complaining.

WASHINGTON — Mary Beth Kineston, an Ohio resident who went to Iraq to drive trucks, thought she had endured the worst when her supply convoy was ambushed in April 2004. After car bombs exploded and insurgents began firing on the road between Baghdad and Balad, she and other military contractors were saved only when Army Black Hawk helicopters arrived.

But not long after the ambush, Ms. Kineston said, she was sexually assaulted by another driver, who remained on the job, at least temporarily, even after she reported the episode to KBR, the military contractor that employed the drivers. Later, she said she was groped by a second KBR worker. After complaining to the company about the threats and harassments endured by female employees in Iraq, she was fired.

“I felt safer on the convoys with the Army than I ever did working for KBR,” said Ms. Kineston, who won a modest arbitration award against KBR. “At least if you got in trouble on a convoy, you could radio the Army and they would come and help you out. But when I complained to KBR, they didn’t do anything. I still have nightmares. They changed my life forever, and they got away with it.”

Ms. Kineston is among a number of American women who have reported that they were sexually assaulted by co-workers while working as contractors in Iraq but now find themselves in legal limbo, unable to seek justice or even significant compensation.

Many of the same legal and logistical obstacles that have impeded other types of investigations involving contractors in Iraq, like shootings involving security guards for Blackwater Worldwide, have made it difficult for the United States government to pursue charges related to sexual offenses. The military justice system does not apply to them, and the reach of other American laws on contractors working in foreign war zones remains unclear five years after the United States invasion of Iraq.

KBR and other companies, meanwhile, have required Iraq-bound employees to agree to take personnel disputes to private arbitration rather than sue the companies in American courts. The companies have repeatedly challenged arbitration claims of sexual assault or harassment brought by women who served in Iraq, raising fears among some women about going public with their claims.

The issue gained national attention when Jamie Leigh Jones, a 23-year-old former employee of KBR, testified at a Congressional hearing in December that she had been gang-raped by co-workers in Iraq in 2005. She appeared again on Tuesday and talked in detail about the episode, urging lawmakers to make it easier for crime victims to sue employers.

“Victims of crime perpetrated by employees of taxpayer-funded government contracts in Iraq deserve the same standard of treatment and protection governed by the same laws whether they are working in the U.S. or abroad,” she said.

Since she spoke out publicly in December, other women have begun to step forward.

Ms. Jones and her lawyers said 38 women who worked as contractors in Iraq, Kuwait and other countries had contacted her since she testified to discuss their own experiences. Now, Congressional leaders are seeking answers from the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies to try to determine the scope of the threats facing women who are contractors.

Comprehensive statistics on sexual assaults in Iraq are unavailable because no one in the government or the contracting industry is tracking them. Court documents, interviews with those who were victims, their lawyers and other professionals, along with the limited data made available by the Bush administration, suggest a troubling trend.

A shooting in Baghdad last September involving Blackwater guards that left 17 Iraqis dead highlighted the lack of clarity in the laws governing contractors. In cases involving sexual assault, for example, soldiers and other military personnel can be prosecuted under the military justice system, but that system does not apply to contractors.

Instead, a little-used law, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, seems to be the closest statute that could apply to contractors charged with rape, but its legal reach has been under wide debate since the Blackwater shootings. source

Quatar's Educational City

After Saudi Arabia's dreams for science and engineering, here's what Quatar is doing on the issue. Although I hate the long black dress, I admit this article almost made me cry! Because if you check the pictures in the source, you'll see all kind of students-male, female, dressed in so many styles, and all working together. They hold discussions on faith, on different religions, on different politics systems and on different life-styles. And this is so dear to me. To see a region of the world, once isolated and prone to extremities and depression of women, to have mixed classes where people can learn everything and mostly, to see the world and decide where they want to be in it. And even those girls in black, they are beautiful. And I hope one day, they will stop wearing black and let their beauty enlighten the world.

In Oil-Rich Mideast, Shades of the Ivy League

Published: February 11, 2008

American Universities Go GlobalDOHA, Qatar — On a hot October evening, hundreds of families flocked to the sumptuous Ritz Carlton here in this Persian Gulf capital for an unusual college fair, the Education City roadshow.

Qataris, Bangladeshis, Syrians, Indians, Egyptians — in saris, in suits, in dishdashis, in jeans — came to hear what it takes to win admission to one of the five American universities that offer degrees at Education City, a 2,500-acre campus on the outskirts of Doha where oil and gas money pays for everything from adventurous architecture to professors’ salaries.

Education City, the largest enclave of American universities overseas, has fast become the elite of Qatari education, a sort of local Ivy League. But the five American schools have started small, with only about 300 slots among them for next year’s entering classes. So there is a slight buzz of anxiety at the fair, which starts with a nonalcoholic cocktail hour, with fruit juices passed on silver trays as families circulate among the booths.

Cornell’s medical school, which combines pre-med training and professional training over six years, will graduate the first Qatar-trained physicians this spring. Virginia Commonwealth University brought its art and design program to Qatari women 10 years ago and began admitting men this year. Carnegie Mellon offers computer and business programs.
Texas A&M, the largest of the Education City schools, teaches engineering, with petroleum engineering its largest program. Georgetown’s foreign service school is the latest arrival. Soon, Northwestern University’s journalism program will come, too.

When the crowd files into the ballroom to hear about the admission process — first in English, with Arabic translation available through headphones, then later in Arabic — what it hears is much the same as at an information session for a selective American college.

“We want to see students who are passionate and dedicated,” Valerie Jeremijenko, Virginia Commonwealth’s dean of student affairs, tells the crowd. “It’s competitive, but don’t let that discourage you.”

She sounds all the familiar themes: Work hard this year, so you can get great recommendations. Participate in extracurricular activities. Do not obsess about SAT scores, because we look at the whole person.

Education City is so firmly ensconced as the gold standard here that many students apply to several of its schools, knowing that their career will be determined by where they are accepted.

When Dana Hadan was a student at Doha’s leading girls’ science high school, she wanted to be a doctor and applied to Cornell’s medical school. But Cornell rejected her, and her parents did not want her to go to a medical school overseas. So Ms. Hadan enrolled instead in the business program at Carnegie Mellon.

Now, as a third-year student, she is happily learning macroeconomics and marketing. “I was never interested in business, but now I’m passionate about it,” said Ms. Hadan, a lively 20-year-old.

She never considered the locally run Qatar University: “I knew I wanted Education City,” she said.

Admission standards, degree requirements and curriculum — complete, in most cases, with an introductory two years of broad liberal arts — at the Education City schools are the same as at the American home campuses. So is the philosophy of teaching.

“There are lots of programs in different countries that are ‘kind of like,’ ‘in partnership with,’ or ‘inspired by’ American education,” said Charles E. Thorpe, the dean of Carnegie Mellon in Qatar. “But this is American education. And for many of our students, that’s a very big change. Almost all of them went to single-sex secondary schools. As recently as six years ago, the elementary reader in Qatar was the Koran, so students learned beautiful classical Arabic, but they had no experience with questions like ‘What do you think the author meant by that?’ or ‘Do you agree or disagree?’ ”

Education City is in many ways a study in contradictions, an island of American-style open debate in what remains an Islamic monarchy, albeit a liberal one by regional standards. Education City graduates will be a broadly educated elite, who have had extended contact with American professors and American ways of thinking, and, in some cases, spent time at their school’s home campus back in the United States.

Education City represents broad opportunities for women, in a nation where many families do not allow their daughters to travel overseas for higher education or to mix casually with men. Cornell stresses, proudly, that it was Qatar’s first coeducational institution of higher learning.

The female students are very much aware of their new opportunities and the support they have received from Sheika Mozah Bint Nasser al-Missned, the emir’s second wife and a strong advocate of women’s education. She is chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation, which runs Education City.

“I don’t want my father’s money or my husband’s money,” said Maryam al-Ibrahim, a 21-year-old second-year student at Virginia Commonwealth. “I want to work for a private company and be myself, and I would like to become someone important here.”

One can't help but wonder what's happening with pharmacy these days! Another drug fails and it's not even produced in China?! Btw, check the bottom to find out what heparin is made of. Swine intestines!

Problems in Blood Drug Lead to Halt by Factory

A major maker of heparin, a blood thinner used widely in surgery and dialysis, has stopped making it after hundreds of patients reported severe allergic reactions to the drug, which is made from pig intestines.

At least four people died.

Shortages of the drug are all but certain, federal regulators said. Although alternatives exist, doctors warned of serious consequences if heparin became truly scarce.

Public health officials first noticed a problem late last year in four children undergoing dialysis at a hospital in Missouri. Within minutes of being injected with heparin, the children experienced serious allergic reactions.

As officials investigated, they found a total of 350 reports of patients’ experiencing problems after being injected with large doses of heparin made by Baxter Healthcare. Baxter supplies about half the nation’s heparin. Most of the cases were reported in late December or January; 40 percent were deemed serious.

The reactions included difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, excessive sweating and rapidly falling blood pressure that in some cases led to life-threatening shock.

A spokeswoman for Baxter, Erin M. Gardiner, said the company had not changed its heparin manufacturing for several years. The company initially recalled nine lots of the drug, but problems continued.

Baxter suspended manufacturing multidose vials that have been associated with most of the problems. Baxter continues to make single-dose vials.

Dr. John Jenkins, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s office of new drugs, said the agency decided to allow the company to continue distributing the multidose vials that it had made because a full recall “would result in an immediate and severe shortage of this medically necessary drug.”

Doctors said they would face difficult choices if heparin supplies ran low.

“It’s an essential part of dialysis treatment,” said Dr. Jay Wish, professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve.

Heparin is used in dialysis to prevent clotting while blood circulates in a dialysis machine. Without heparin, many more patients would be likely to experience significant blood loss during dialysis, Dr. Wish said, worsening their chronic anemia.

Heparin is also used to prevent clotting in catheters, which 25 percent of dialysis patients have to use for treatment. The drug is commonly used in heart-bypass surgery and for the bedridden.

Other drugs thin blood, but their effects are rarely as rapid or as easily reversed. Heparin has been manufactured since 1930.

Heparin is made from pig intestines that must pass through multiple purification steps to extract microbes and problem proteins, Dr. Jenkins said. The drug agency is inspecting whether something amiss occurred in the purification process. Even a factor as mundane as the rubber stoppers on the vials has to be considered a possible source of the problem, Dr. Jenkins said. source

The answer 2 weeks later again in NY Times:

China Didn’t Check Drug Supplier, Files Show

Published: February 16, 2008

A Chinese factory that supplies much of the active ingredient for a brand of a blood thinner that has been linked to four deaths in the United States is not certified by China’s drug regulators to make pharmaceutical products, according to records and interviews.

Because the plant, Changzhou SPL, has no drug certification, China’s drug agency did not inspect it. The United States Food and Drug Administration said this week that it had not inspected the plant either — a violation of its own policy — before allowing the company to become a major supplier of the blood thinner, heparin, to Baxter International in the United States.

Baxter announced Monday that it was suspending sales of its multidose vials of heparin after 4 patients died and 350 suffered complications. Why the heparin caused these problems — and whether the active ingredient in the drug, derived from pig intestines, was responsible — has not been determined.

The plant in Changzhou, west of Shanghai, appears to fall into the type of regulatory void that American and Chinese health officials are trying to close — in which chemical companies export pharmaceutical ingredients without a Chinese drug license.

China provides a growing proportion of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in drugs sold in the United States. And Chinese drug regulators have said that all producers of those ingredients are required to obtain certification by the State Food and Drug Administration. However, some of the active ingredients that China exports are made by chemical companies, which do not fall under the Chinese drug agency’s jurisdiction.

In December, American and Chinese regulators signed an agreement under which China promised to begin registering at least some of the thousands of chemical companies that sell drug ingredients. Some of these companies are the source of counterfeit or diluted drugs, including those used to treat malaria. source

My comment: Funny how opinions may evolve with time. Just compare the two articles.

The swan song of death penalty

A good news for all the death-penalty haters like myself. And for those that don't like to torture people even when they are criminals. I just don't like the sound of "It may also explore entirely different methods of execution." It does sound creepy!

Electrocution Is Banned in Last State to Rely on It

The electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled Friday. The decision effectively suspended executions there, as Nebraska is the only state that still relies solely on electrocution, which was once the dominant form of execution in the United States.

“The evidence here shows that electrocution inflicts intense pain and agonizing suffering,” Justice William M. Connolly wrote for the majority in a 6-to-1 decision.

The state’s attorney general, Jon Bruning, said he would “move to the legislative process to get a new method of execution.”

Working on a clean slate, Nebraska may opt for a form of lethal injection that does not rely on the combination of three chemicals that is the subject of a pending challenge in the United States Supreme Court. It may also explore entirely different methods of execution.

Seven states allow at least some inmates to choose electrocution instead of lethal injection. Two others, Illinois and Oklahoma, have designated electrocution as the fallback method should lethal injection be ruled unconstitutional. source

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