Monthly Archives: September 2009

Fighter jets gave chase to plane with unresponsive pilot within minutes

Small plane crashed in farm field near Muncie, Indiana

NORAD says F-16s followed it when pilot didn’t react to calls

The plane, registered out of Michigan, departed Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 9:43 a.m. ET, according to flight records. The F-16s, from the Indiana Air National Guard, began escorting the plane about 10 a.m.

CNN | Sep 30, 2009

(CNN) — A small plane crashed outside Muncie, Indiana, as military F-16s trailed it Wednesday after its pilot failed to respond to radio calls, the North American Aerospace Defense Command said.

The plane crashed into a farm field in Randolph County, Indiana, officials said. There were no reports that anyone on the ground was hurt.

The pilot was the only one on board the single-propeller, four-seater plane. His fate was not immediately known.

The incident was not believed to be terrorism-related and may be a medical situation, officials said.

The F-16s, from the Indiana Air National Guard, began escorting the plane about 10 a.m. ET after the pilot was “unresponsive,” failing to respond to radio calls, NORAD said in a statement.

Randolph County is about 25 miles east of Muncie.

Footage taken by CNN affiliate WTHR over the crash site showed police and fire officials surrounding the charred wreckage, in what appeared to be tall rows of corn.

The plane, registered out of Michigan, departed Gerald Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 9:43 a.m. ET, according to flight records.

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Big Brother changed TV, says Dutch creator


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Named after the all-seeing Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel 1984, the programme enters its 11th series in the United States this year and its 12th in Britain. Ironically, De Mol says he is camera shy and insists he could never subject himself to the type of scrutiny popularised by the show.

The 54-year-old tycoon said the idea for the programme hit him one night in 1997, as he was unwinding with colleagues after a fruitless brainstorming session for a new programme for Catholic public radio.

tonight.co.za | Sep 30, 2009

Laren, Netherlands – John de Mol, the Dutch creator of the voyeuristic Big Brother reality show that turned 10 in September, never doubted his late-night flash of inspiration would change television forever.

“I told my team, even before the first episode was aired: there will come a time when people will talk about an era in television before Big Brother and one after ‘Big Brother’,” the billionaire media baron told AFP recently at his office in the affluent town of Laren in the western Netherlands.

“They looked at me like I was mad.”

The money-spinning series, now synonymous with the phenomenon of “reality television”, has seen tens of thousands of hours of footage filmed and broadcast in more than 60 countries including the United States, in Asia and across Europe, Africa and the Arab world.

Participants in Big Brother, currently on air in 36 countries, subject themselves to 24/7 camera scrutiny while locked up together in a house for about 100 days – even their ablutions are not private.

Among the show’s strongest drawing cards are the “shower hour” and occasional sexual interludes – all filmed as the “housemates” navigate a mine-field of social intrigue vying to outlast their competitors and take home a cash prize.

“There is a bit of a voyeur in each of us,” De Mol offers as part of the reason for the show’s success.

“When you walk in the street tonight and there is a lounge with the curtains open, you will look inside. Everyone has that. Call it voyeurism, I call it curiosity.”

The 54-year-old tycoon said the idea for the programme hit him one night in 1997, as he was unwinding with colleagues after a fruitless brainstorming session for a new programme for Catholic public radio.

He set up a working group codenamed Project X to flesh out the idea in the utmost secrecy. “I was afraid it would leak out,” he confessed.

It took a year to put together a workable show format and solve the technical and financial constraints – another year to find a willing broadcaster.

“It was very expensive, and few dared to do it,” said De Mol. “It was very controversial. There was a lot of negative publicity: people saying you can’t do this, you can’t lock people up for 100 days, you can’t put cameras in the toilet… all that nonsense.”

Despite widespread moral outrage, more than 10 000 people applied to take part in the first series broadcast in the Netherlands from September 16, 1999.

De Mol, a co-founder of entertainment company Endemol which has produced other hit reality programmes including Deal Or No Deal, Fear Factor and Extreme Makeover after Big Brother’s success, dismissed what he called “conservative” criticism of the concept.

“To participate in Big Brother, and to win, you need a form of social intelligence, a special way of interacting with people. Everyone can learn from that.

“I think you learn more about life from watching ‘Big Brother’ than from reading a book,” said De Mol, who has since left Endemol to start a new company, Talpa Media, producing reality programmes like Dating In The Dark.

Jaap Kooijman, media academic at the University of Amsterdam, sees Big Brother as “a turning point for reality TV” – early versions of which included such programmes as Candid Camera, in which hidden cameras filmed ordinary people reacting to unusual, scripted scenarios.

“One may have criticism of the ethical questions, of the so-called degradation of society’s values,” said Kooijman.

“But there are such diverse things on offer on TV that it would be difficult to argue that one genre alone is dragging down the standard.”

Highlights of Big Brother around the world have included a contestant giving birth, a race row and a housemate threatening another with a knife.

Does this go to far? “Yes and no,” said De Mol. “These things also happen in real life. And this is called reality television… a mirror of the world.”

Ironically, De Mol says he is camera shy and insists he could never subject himself to the type of scrutiny popularised by the show.

“I prefer not to be in the spotlight.”

According to Forbes magazine the programme helped make him the world’s 334th richest man in 2009 and puts his wealth at two billion dollars, though in good Dutch Calvinist fashion De Mol says he prefers not to talk about money.

Named after the all-seeing Big Brother in George Orwell’s novel 1984, the programme enters its 11th series in the United States this year and its 12th in Britain.

“Big Brother is synonymous with a genre of television that will never disappear,” said De Mol.

“If you ask me what I am proud of, that is it: I created the genre of reality television.” – AFP

Global governance needed to manage globalization claims Reserve Bank of India

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Rothschild sees a New World Order in global banking governance

Better global governance need of the hour, says Reserve Bank of India

BS | Sep 30, 2009

Mumbai – One of the lessons emerging from the global financial crisis was the need for a better system of governance to manage the challenges of globalisation, especially for countries like India and Sri Lanka where growth opportunities were unlimited, said KC Chakrabarty, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

“A global crisis of this magnitude does not help in creating and expanding opportunities for over 2 billion population in the world who live under abject poverty. That is an important reason why countries like India and Sri Lanka must demand a better global governance system to manage the challenges of globalisation,” Chakrabarty said in a seminar in Sri Lanka last week.

He said that a large part of the population in these countries contributed much below their potential because of the lack of opportunities, and if the policy environment could provide the right opportunities with appropriate incentives, growth prospects could improve significantly.

Highlighting the need for focusing on financial inclusion for making a fail-proof financial stability architecture in the post-crisis period, Chakrabarty said that the demographic advantage of the country might turn out to be a curse if opportunities were not created for everybody. “Finance has a key role in addressing this challenge, unlike its role we experienced in the advanced economies where a few could maximise individual returns, but easily socialise the costs of their actions,” he said.

For strengthening the financial stability architecture, Chakrabarty said that it was agreed in the G-20 meeting in London that more and better quality of capital was the best first line of defence against financial crisis.

The G-20 meet also emphasised the introduction of counter-cyclical buffers during good times to strengthen resilience during bad times, he said. He also said convergence towards a single set of high quality, global, independent accounting standards for financial instruments, loan-loss provisioning, off-balance sheet exposures and the impairment and valuation of financial assets were key for financial stability as discussed during the G-20 meeting.

The deputy governor admitted that decision on when to exit the expansionary monetary policy was becoming increasingly complex as the signs of economic recovery were still tentative while prices were rising.

Chakrabarty also reminded that though exit from expansionary policy remained a key challenge, the challenge has to be viewed in the context of the ultimate objective of a faster and durable recovery of economic growth. “The costs of delay in timely exit are being discussed now; but there are costs of delay in economic recovery as well. The policy choices are becoming increasingly complex for the RBI,” he said. The central bank, which projects 6 per cent GDP growth with an upward bias for the current financial year, feels that rising inflationary pressures could limit the scope for sustained growth supportive monetary policy stance.

“The medium-term objective is to revert to the high growth path of around 9 per cent. This growth trajectory also should be inclusive with low and stable inflation,” Chakrabarty said.

Another girl down with severe symptoms after cancer vaccine injection


“My daughter knew Natalie from seeing her around school and she’s petrified that whatever killed Natalie might have got to her too.”

Second girl from Natalie school in 999 drama after cervical jab

Daily Mail | Sep 30, 2009

Another schoolgirl at Blue Coat Church of England School needed an ambulance after having the cervical cancer jab, it emerged last night.

The 15-year-old pupil became cold, weak and dizzy less than an hour after the vaccine and only a short time after schoolmate Natalie Morton became fatally ill.

Her symptoms were so severe that paramedics did emergency blood tests and an ECG scan in a back room at the school, the girl’s mother said.

The teenager refused to go to hospital because of a phobia of ambulances so her mother collected her from school on Monday.

The girl remains ill with chronic chest and back aches and loss of appetite.

Her twin sister also had the vaccine on Monday but suffered only a sore arm and tiredness. Neither have any allergies.

Last night the mother criticised Blue Coat School for failing to contact her and check on her daughter’s condition.

NHS Direct advised that she monitor her daughter and wake her during the night to check her responsiveness.

The mother, who has five children including twins, told the Daily Mail: ‘She was and still is really quite ill. I don’t know what caused it but she went to school perfectly healthy and became sick soon after the vaccine.

‘Now she’s completely out of sorts.

Paramedics said she might have been low on blood sugar because she hadn’t eaten lunch. But that’s not true  –  she did have lunch on Monday.

‘It’s a very anxious time. My daughter knew Natalie from seeing her around school and she’s petrified that whatever killed Natalie might have got to her too.

‘I’m angry that the school sought emergency medical help but haven’t followed it up at all. What happened is tragic for Natalie but where is the help in place for the girls who suffered side effects?

‘The school could face further tragedy unless they look after the victims of what seem to be horrendous symptoms from this cervical cancer vaccine.’

Mothers banned from looking after each other’s children

Friends cannot gain a ‘reward’ by looking after a child for more than two hours outside the child’s home without agreeing to a number of checks including one from the Criminal Records Bureau.

Daily Mail | Sep 26, 2009

By Sarah Harris

Two working mothers have been banned from looking after each other’s toddlers because they are not registered childminders.

The close friends’ private arrangement had let them both return to part-time jobs at the same company.

However, a whistleblower reported them to the education watchdog Ofsted and it found their informal deal broke the law.

This was because little-known rules say friends cannot gain a ‘reward’ by looking after a child for more than two hours outside the child’s home without agreeing to a number of checks including one from the Criminal Records Bureau.

Although the mothers never paid each other, their job-sharing deal was judged to be a ‘reward’. Campaigners fear thousands of working families could be innocently breaking the rules by relying on close friends for informal childcare.

A Downing Street petition in protest at the treatment of the two mothers has already received 1,600 signatures.

Educational campaigner Dr Richard House labelled the case as ‘absolutely scandalous’.

He said: ‘There is no conceivable rationale behind it. It’s like making the assumption that all parents are paedophiles and they have to prove that they aren’t. As soon as we create a society like that then family life ceases. Parents have to have the confidence to make their own choices about their own children. This is absolutely extraordinary.’

The women, who have not been identified, had given birth at similar times. When their daughters passed their first birthday, they decided to return to work part-time at the same firm.

The colleagues agreed to look after each other’s children as part of the job share. They are said to be ‘very good friends’ and the girls were so close they had grown up ‘like sisters’.

However, it is understood that someone believed they were acting illegally as childminders and reported them to Ofsted.

The women have now put their girls into official childcare ‘meaning they can’t work as they wished due to the elevated costs’, friends say.

Ofsted regulations state that where a person cares for at least one child for ‘reward’ in their own house for more than two hours in any one day they must be registered with them as childminders.

Reward is interpreted as ‘the supply of services or goods’ or ‘reciprocal arrangements, not just money changing hands.

The rules particularly affect close friends because relatives, such as grandparents, do not have to register with Ofsted. Nor do nannies as they provide childcare in a parent’s house.

Some 1,654 people have signed the No10 petition, calling for a change of the meaning of ‘reward’ to ‘money and gifts’ in the Childcare Act to allow reciprocal deals.

A circular with the petition says: ‘Caring for a child for reward is classed as childminding and requires the carer to be registered with Ofsted. In this case, Ofsted say that the reward is free childcare when the mothers themselves go to work!’

It adds: ‘In an age when the Government want women to return to work, why is it made so difficult for people?’

An Ofsted spokesman confirmed it had been called in after a complaint.

Children’s Minister Vernon Coaker said: ‘The legislation is in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all children. But we need to be sure it does not penalise hard-working families. My department is discussing with Ofsted the interpretation of the word “reward”.’

New York State: Be Vaccinated Or Be Fired

Injury Board | Sep 29, 2009

by Jane Akre

Workers in New York State say they will fight a mandate that health care professionals be vaccinated against influenza, both seasonal and the swine flu, by November 30th.

In August, the New York Department of Health decided that vaccination was mandatory or doctors, nurses, or health care providers, or they would be fired. The requirement applies to all workers who “could potentially expose patients” to influenza.

A rally planned in Albany Tuesday, is underway by those who believe that the regulation violates their personal freedom and leaves them vulnerable to vaccine injury, reports Newsday.

Tara Accavallo, a registered nurse on Long Island, told Newsday. “If something happens to me, if I get seriously injured from this vaccine, who’s going to help me?”

Vaccine Maker Immunity

The 2006 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) allows the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary to invoke complete immunity for manufacturers of vaccines and drugs in a public health emergency. PREP Act removes the right to a trial by jury, unless the plaintiff can prove that there was willful misconduct that resulted in death or serious injury. DHHS Secretary must give permission to sue.

CBS News reporter Declan McCullagh asks “Under what circumstances can government officials order mandatory vaccination? And could the general public be ordered to roll up their sleeves for injections, even if there might be side effects beyond a sore arm or mild fever?”

In 1976, a federal swine-flu vaccination program resulted in several deaths and Guillain Barre Syndrome, a nerve-damaging disorder. It was halted two months after it began.

Several registered nurses say they already fight the flu by constantly washing their hands while on the job.

Union Disagrees

The union representing 9,000 health care workers, Public Employees Federation, disapproves of the mandatory vaccination program and provides Talking Points on its Web site. Among them – that the vaccine has not been fully tested and that emergency rule making did not allow for public comment.

At the same time it is telling members to comply.

There is no religious or philosophical exemption to the Department of Health regulation.

So far, New York State stands alone in the requirement that health care workers be vaccinated, but other states are considering a mandate. In a letter last week, Commissioner Richard Daines said the mandatory flu vaccine is in the best interest of patients and workers.

Wales withdraws cervical cancer vaccine as girl dies

Western Mail | Sep 30. 2009

by Madeleine Brindley

AN anti-cancer vaccine from a batch given to a 14-year-old girl who died soon afterwards was yesterday withdrawn from use in Wales, although it was “most unlikely” that the vaccine caused her death.

Dr Tony Jewell, Wales’ chief medical officer, has asked health professionals to quarantine all HPV vaccines from the batch given to Natalie Morton.

But he said the vaccination programme, which protects against cervical cancer, will continue in Wales, using a different batch of the vaccine.

Natalie died in hospital on Monday soon after she received the first of three Cervarix jabs at the Blue Coat Church of England School, Coventry. She apparently suffered a “rare, but extreme reaction” after being given the injection. Several other girls at the school were sent home suffering from dizziness and nausea.

Related

Jab girl ‘had underlying condition’
http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/national-news/2009/09/29/jab-girl-had-underlying-condition-92746-24813871/

Preliminary post-mortem results last night revealed Natalie had a serious underlying medical condition likely to have caused death.

Dr Caron Grainger, joint director of public health for NHS Coventry and Coventry City Council, said: “We are awaiting further test results which will take some time. However, indications are that it was most unlikely that the HPV vaccination was the cause of death.”

Natalie’s family said, in a statement: “We would like to extend our thanks to all those who have shown concern and sympathy following Natalie’s tragic death.

“We would ask for time and privacy to mourn a precious daughter, sister and grand-daughter.”

Charities last night urged parents not to panic amid fears that confidence in the vaccination programme – the first of its kind to protect against cancer – will be undermined by the tragedy.

In a letter to health professionals in Wales yesterday, Dr Jewell said: “You will have heard of the tragic news that a 14-year-old girl was taken ill at a school in Coventry shortly after receiving the HPV vaccine and later died.

“No link can be made between the death and the vaccine until all the facts are known and a post-mortem takes place.

“As a purely precautionary measure, it is important that all stocks of Cervarix vaccine from the batch are quarantined until the incident has been fully investigated. This needs to be done with immediate effect.”

He added: “The HPV vaccination programme will continue.”