• Gaza Strip wounded are living reminders
    August 11,2014
     

    When an Israeli airstrike hit the Gaza home for the handicapped where she was staying, Sally Saqr was left shattered. Her pelvis, both legs and an arm were broken, her skull fractured, much of her body burned. In the hospital, doctors couldn’t put her limbs in casts because multiple other wounds had to heal first.

    But after a week, her mother had to take the 20 year old home because Gaza’s main Shifa Hospital needed the bed as more broken bodies flowed in every day from the bombardment.

    Saqr has been severely handicapped since birth because of complications during delivery. She can’t speak, her body never developed beyond the size of a child. She was able to walk — with difficulty — but after her wounds in the July 12 airstrike, she couldn’t walk at all, and had to be put in diapers because she couldn’t reach the bathroom.

    Her mother has been overwhelmed. Saqr is in excruciating pain and screams in her sleep.

    “My burden is heavy,” said her 36-year-old mother, Soumah Abu Shanab. “Now I must feed her, bathe her and change her diapers.” She spoke as three visiting nurses changed Saqr’s dressings. Saqr clutched a box of medicine. Just holding it distracts her from the pain.



    Turkey

    Palestinians evacuated for help

    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country has started to evacuate wounded people from Gaza to Turkey for treatment.

    Erdogan did not provide details, but the state-run Anadolu Agency said a Turkish air ambulance left for Israel late on Sunday to transport four people to Turkey for treatment in hospitals in the capital Ankara. The agency said a child was among the wounded.

    Erdogan made the announcement during a victory speech hours after he was elected president in Turkey’s first direct vote for the position.

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said this week that Turkey was working to establish an air corridor to bring the seriously wounded to Turkey.



    Washington

    Equal Rights supporters persevere

    Drafted by a suffragette in 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment has been stirring up controversy ever since. Many opponents considered it dead when a 10-year ratification push failed in 1982, yet its backers on Capitol Hill, in the Illinois statehouse and elsewhere are making clear this summer that the fight is far from over.

    In Washington, congresswomen Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., are prime sponsors of two pieces of legislation aimed at getting the amendment ratified. They recently organized a pro-ERA rally, evoking images of the 1970s, outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “Recent Supreme Court decisions have sent women’s rights back to the Stone Age,” said Speier, explaining the renewed interest in the ERA. The amendment would stipulate that equal rights cannot be denied or curtailed on the basis of gender.

    Participants in the July 24 rally directed much of their ire at the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling. In a 5-4 decision, with the majority comprised of five male justices, the court allowed some private businesses to opt out of the federal health care law’s requirement that contraception coverage be provided to workers at no extra charge.

    “They could not have made the Hobby Lobby ruling with an ERA,” Maloney said.



    Egypt

    Divisions still drawn in blood

    CAIRO — Around 6:30 a.m., police armored vehicles rumbled up to the barricades at the edges of the anti-government sit-in where thousands of Islamists had camped out for weeks in a Cairo square.

    First came tear gas. Then quickly, police started using machine guns. Every five minutes, student Mahmoud el-Iddrissi remembers, they swept the barricade with bullets. A friend next to him stood to throw a firecracker and immediately fell, shot in his neck and shoulder.

    The scene on Aug. 14, 2013, was the start of the biggest massacre in modern Egyptian history, as security forces crushed the sit-in by Islamist supporters of Mohammed Morsi, the elected president who had been removed by the military a month earlier. At least 624 people were killed during 12 hours of mayhem in Cairo’s Rabaah el-Adawiyah Square, though rights groups have said the toll may be several hundred higher.

    An Associated Press investigation into the day shows that commanders gave security forces virtually carte blanche to use deadly force. Authorities contend police only responded with live ammunition on anyone who fired on them — and eight policemen were killed by gunmen in the square during the assault.

    But broad orders given to the security forces, revealed to AP, emphasized crushing resistance. The orders to police were to “act according to the situation and by degrees of escalation,” two generals in the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of the police, told the AP. But also, security forces were told to expect protesters to have weapons and were free to swiftly move to eliminate them, they said.



    Maine

    Codfish numbers hit all-time low

    The level of codfish spawning in one of the most critical fisheries in the Northeast U.S. is at an all-time low, putting more pressure on a fishery already dealing with declining catch and dramatic quota cuts.

    National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the amount of cod spawning in the Gulf of Maine is estimated to be 3 to 4 percent of its target level. That number declined from 13 to 18 percent three years ago.

    Low levels of reproduction in the fishery are holding repopulation back, scientists say. They are investigating what might be driving down the numbers of cod but believe temperature change — which they have also linked to a declining Northern shrimp stock and northern migration of herring — may be one factor.

    The Gulf of Maine, along with Georges Bank, is one of two key areas where East Coast fishermen search for cod, a vital commercial fish in New England that appears in supermarkets and roadside fish-and-chip shops.

    An updated assessment of the Gulf of Maine cod shows the fish spawning at levels lower than seen in data stretching back to the 1930s, scientists say. Records of cod catches dating back to the 19th century indicate the population has never dipped this low before, said Russ Brown, deputy science and research director at the Northeast Fisheries Science Center.

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