World Links 7/17

July 17, 2008

Bad Beef Peddled By Supermarkets

It’s not just us, folks.

In ten randomly chosen supermarkets, nine out of ten packages of ground beef were found to have high levels of bacteria, including traces of E.coli from faeces. Five out of ten had bacteria levels more than 40 times higher than allowed by the health authorities.

Politiken also found that many places have continued selling meat purchased from a slaughterhouse in Germany that has been reported seven times in the past 18 months for sending products to Denmark deemed dangerous by health authorities.

Experts Expect More Glacial Waves

The phenomenon, known as jokulhlaup, occurs when lakes formed by glacial melt water burst through the ice.

Sebastian H Mernild of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, studied a similar phenomenon that took place in the Kangerlussuaq area last August. No one was killed, but the event resulted in a large lake being completely drained in 12 hours, spreading large chunks of ice on roads.

Mernild said jokulhlaup occur without warning and typically take place in parts of glaciers were melt water has gathered on top of glaciers, or where glacial lakes have formed. If the floods occur near populated areas, they can shatter bridges, roads and buildings. They can also have a dramatic effect on the terrain and wildlife in unpopulated areas.

Rape threats, beatings, and racist chants: 15 Italians jailed for abuse of G8 protesters

Fifteen Italian police officers and doctors were last night sentenced to jail terms of up to five years after being found guilty of abusing protesters detained during riots at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa.

The court heard former detainees including Britons testify that they were insulted, beaten and sprayed with asphyxiating gas. Some were threatened with rape.

Detainees were made to join in chants in praise of Italy’s late fascist dictator, Benito Mussolini. Another chant, lauding Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, ended: “Death to the Jews.”

Mugabe launches cheap food “hampers”

You know that special place in Hell that I keep referring to? It might get a little crowded, so there might need to be another one. Oh wait a minute, a crowded place in Hell…that would be hell now wouldn’t it? How do these people (such as Mugabe) sleep? Nearly 1/3 of the population in Zimbabwe is “chronically malnourished”.

President Robert Mugabe launched new “cheap food hampers” Wednesday while maintaining a total ban on famine relief by aid agencies in a year in which the country is expected to undergo its worst famine since independence in 1980.

Economists say that Zimbabwe’s economy is heading for a crash, as inflation soars to new heights. Gono said Wednesday inflation was now at 2,2-million percent, although analysts estimate it at ten times that – and the Zimbabwe dollar is plunging to new lows.

A single US dollar bill was trading Wednesday at 70-billion Zimbabwe dollars, down (from the Zimbabwe perspective), from 45-billion late last week.

Mugabe, 84, blames “illegal Western sanctions” for the country’s hardships, although critics point out that he, his family and cronies are the only ones targeted by sanctions banning them from travelling to most Western countries and from holding assets there.

Despite the state offer of cheap food, hundreds of NGOs remain banned by the regime from distributing food to the millions of Zimbabweans thought to require relief aid.

AIDS: Is it in our genes?

This was easier to find in foreign press, so that’s where the link is going to.

A gene variant that emerged thousands of years ago to protect Africans from malaria may raise their vulnerability to HIV infection but help them live longer once infected, researchers said on Wednesday.

In Africa, the gene variant may account for 11 percent of HIV infections, the researchers said.

Sexual behavior and other social factors cannot completely explain why more than two-thirds of the world’s 33-million people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers said. So genes may be playing a pivotal role.

The gene in question controls a protein on the surface of red blood cells.

But even as it elevates a person’s susceptibility to HIV infection, having this version of the gene seems to slow the progression of Aids. Those with the variant who have been infected with HIV live roughly two years longer than people who do not have it, the researchers said.


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