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Gastric bypass surgery performed by remote control

Sunday, August 21, 2005

A robotic system at Stanford Medical Center was used to perform a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery successfully with a theoretically similar rate of complications to that seen in standard operations. However, as there were only 10 people in the experimental group (and another 10 in the control group), this is not a statistically significant sample.

If this surgical procedure is as successful in large-scale studies, it may lead the way for the use of robotic surgery in even more delicate procedures, such as heart surgery. Note that this is not a fully automated system, as a human doctor controls the operation via remote control. Laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery is a treatment for obesity.

There were concerns that doctors, in the future, might only be trained in the remote control procedure. Ronald G. Latimer, M.D., of Santa Barbara, CA, warned “The fact that surgeons may have to open the patient or might actually need to revert to standard laparoscopic techniques demands that this basic training be a requirement before a robot is purchased. Robots do malfunction, so a backup system is imperative. We should not be seduced to buy this instrument to train surgeons if they are not able to do the primary operations themselves.”

There are precedents for just such a problem occurring. A previous “new technology”, the electrocardiogram (ECG), has lead to a lack of basic education on the older technology, the stethoscope. As a result, many heart conditions now go undiagnosed, especially in children and others who rarely undergo an ECG procedure.

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Women reveal accounts of forced abortion in Scientology

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Scientology is facing renewed criticism, due to an extensive exposé in the Florida newspaper the St. Petersburg Times which contains revealing accounts of women involved in the organization who say they were forced to have abortions. Multiple different female members of the Scientology group called the Sea Org said they were pressured to have abortions, and were threatened with separation from their families, hard labor, interrogations, and shunning, if they did not comply.

Women that came forward to the St. Petersburg Times said that those who did not wish to undergo an abortion were shunned by others within the Sea Org group, and were labeled as “out ethics” and “degraded beings”. The Sea Org consists of 6,000 members of Scientology, who sign billion-year contracts to work for the organization for multiple lifetimes. Joining the Sea Org is considered a high calling within Scientology.

L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, stated his appreciation for families within the Sea Org. Scientology’s subsequent leader, David Miscavige, issued an order that children were to be banned in the Sea Org. The mandate by Miscavige asserted that children hampered the productivity of the Scientology order.

There is no church policy to convince anyone to have an abortion, and the church has never engaged in such activity.

Scientology representative, Tommy Davis denied all of the assertions made by the women. “There is no church policy to convince anyone to have an abortion, and the church has never engaged in such activity. The decision to have a child or terminate a pregnancy is a personal decision made by a couple. That applies to all Scientologists. If any current or former Sea Org member ever ‘pressured’ someone to have an abortion, they did so independently, and that action was not approved, endorsed or advocated by the church,” stated Davis to the St. Petersburg Times.

Another woman is suing the Scientology organization in United States federal court, and stated she was threatened with severe repercussions if she did not have an abortion. Claire Headley, 35, a member of the Sea Org when she was in Scientology, told the St. Petersburg Times, “The policy was if a staff member became pregnant, that they were to have an abortion.”

In 1991, Headley became a member of the Sea Org at age sixteen, and began work with the division of the organization in Los Angeles, California. She married at age seventeen, while a member of the organization. Headley said that officials within Scientology leadership pressured her to have two abortions: one at age nineteen, and another at age 21. Headley believed she had “no choice”, as she had witnessed other women that refused to have abortions instructed to perform manual labor, with one pregnant woman ordered to dig ditches. Headley said that during pressure to have her second abortion she was forbidden to phone her husband to discuss the decision. She spent a total of thirteen years in the Sea Org.

The policy was if a staff member became pregnant, that they were to have an abortion.

Laura Dieckman, 31, said that she was enthusiastic about beginning a family when she became pregnant within Scientology at age seventeen, but was instructed to have an abortion. In a federal lawsuit against Scientology, Dieckman stated she joined with the Sea Org at the age of twelve, and at age sixteen she married another member of the group, Jesse DeCrescenzo. She said she was pressured to have an abortion in 1996.

Dieckman said to the St. Petersburg Times: “I was pounded for two days by the top person in my organization … about how the baby wasn’t a baby yet, it was just tissue and it wouldn’t matter if I aborted the baby.” Dieckman left Scientology in 2004. In a video posted to the website of the St. Petersburg Times, Dieckman emotionally recounted how she had immediately regretted going through with the procedure, “They will do an ultrasound before the procedure so you see the heartbeat. … I’m lying there … and I was like, ‘No.’ But it’s too late. I’d already done it.”

Natalie Hagemo said that 20 years ago at age nineteen, she was pressured by Scientology officials to have an abortion, but she resisted. Hagemo gave birth to Shelby on August 20, 1990. Hagemo’s daughter was recruited into the Sea Org at age 14. Shelby contacted her mother a week later wanting to leave the Sea Org; Hagemo had a difficult time getting Shelby out of the group. It was not until this year that Hagemo told her daughter about experiencing pressure from Scientology officials to have an abortion.

The St. Petersburg Times received sworn depositions from additional women including Sunny Pereira, who said they were intimidated into having abortions they did not wish to undergo. “They put you in this position where you’re weighing the lives of all these people you’re supposed to be saving against this one little tiny speck of nuisance that’s growing inside of you,” said Pereira. Spokesman Tommy Davis stated the women were accusing Scientology of forced abortions because of choices they now “appear to regret”.

In Nevada, Republican party candidate for the United States Senate, Sharron Angle, was the focus of criticism for her support of a Scientology-associated program. Angle’s opponent, incumbent Senator and Senate Majority Leader Democrat Harry Reid, took out a 30-second negative political ad critical of Angle for supporting “a Scientology plan to give massages to prisoners”. The prison program Angle had supported was based on techniques developed by Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard. Angle had previously been the subject of a similar ad in the Republican primary, generated by the campaign of her opponent Sue Lowden. Sharron Angle is pro-life, and The New York Times columnist Ramesh Ponnuru noted her position against abortion helped her win the Republican primary. “Angle would not have been able to unite populist conservatives and beat the party establishment’s candidate had she been pro-choice,” noted Ponnuru.

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Updating a house can be as simple as replacing the flooring. The trend used to be wall-to-wall carpeting but, currently, that trend seems to be shifting to wood, wood laminate, or tile floors. Many still love the look and feel of carpeting, so it is still quite popular but, in many cases, it is being replaced with other options. Factors that can affect a decision of the type of flooring to install can include the number of pets and kids in the house, how easy it is to clean the flooring, and the overall design of the finished room.

When a house is shared by adults, kids, and pets, messes can and will happen. In this case, it may be prudent to install flooring that is easy to clean. This may be wood flooring, wood laminate, or tile. Wood and wood laminate flooring provide elegance along with durability. There are different varieties of wood, each of which can provide a specific look and feel for the space. For example, the color of the wood can vary as well as the pattern. Wood can also be finished, versus unfinished. Another consideration is solid wood versus engineered wood. Each provides a great floor covering, but one may work best for the space over another.

Tile is also an option that not only stands up well to kids and pets, but it also is very easy to clean. Tile and stone floors come in several different shapes, sizes, patterns, and color. Tile is typically placed in the kitchen and bathroom areas but has gained popularity as being placed throughout the entire house. It is best to meet with a company that provides Complete Flooring Service to discuss the options.

If the carpet is the best option for the space, companies offering Complete Flooring Service can provide many different styles, colors, and fiber options that can work for the room. Most carpets can be treated with substances that can help with soil and stain resistance, making carpet a viable option even if there are kids and pets in the house.

Websites such as Aestheticflooring.com can provide options on the different types of carpeting available. Facebook is another resource to use when deciding which flooring to go with. Essentially, when updating the flooring in a house, there are many options to choose from, each of which is sure to bring beauty to the home.

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Wikinews Shorts: December 9, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Tuesday, December 9, 2008.

 Contribute to Wikinews by expanding these briefs or add a new one.

The United States media group Tribune Company has filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday as it struggled to sort out its US$13 billion debt. It is the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, responsible for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

The firm has been hit hard by the industry-wide slump in newspaper advert revenues this year. Sam Zell, the billionaire who owns Tribune, took out large loans in order to buy the firm back in June of 2007.

The United States Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection law states that a company can continue trading whilst it sorts out its finances.

Sources

  • “US publisher in bankruptcy move” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008
  • “Tribune files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy” — MarketWatch.com, December 8, 2008

 This story has updates See Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term 

The Quebec general election is underway in the Canadian province of Quebec. Premier Jean Charest called the elections, saying he needed a majority to guide Quebec through a period of economic difficulties caused by the worldwide financial crisis.

Polls indicate that the Charest may obtain a majority, with support for his Quebec Liberal Party increasing to 45%, while support for the Parti Québécois remains at around 30%.

The polls will close at 01:00 GMT (20:00 local time), and the results will probably come in soon after that.

Sources

  • “Quebec voters head to the polls” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008
  • “Quebec votes in provincial elections” — Agence France-Presse, December 8, 2008

The United States government is reportedly close to an agreement for a US$15 billion bailout plan for the country’s three largest auto firms.

According to a draft obtained by the Associated Press, the deal would give loans to Detroit‘s struggling Big Three automobile manufacturersFord, General Motors, and Chrysler — but under the condition that the auto industry restructures itself to survive. Another condition is that the incumbent US President, George W. Bush, would appoint an overseer to supervise the effort.

Analysts suggest that the agreement could be signed into law by the end of this week.

Sources

  • “White House cool to plan for auto bailout” — MSNBC, December 8, 2008
  • “US car bail-out nears agreement” — BBC News Online, December 8, 2008

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Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review released

Friday, February 3, 2006

The Pentagon released its findings from its Quadrennial Defense Review today. This review focuses mainly on defining and identifying weak points in United States defenses, and prescriptions for improvements in those areas.

This review, known as the Quadrennial Defense Review because Congress requires it every four years, does not alter the Pentagon’s approach in Iraq. It also leaves intact the Defense Department’s broader strategy for keeping the U.S. military big enough to fight other major conflicts.

The plan proposes a 4.8% boost to the Department of Defense budget, eliminates no major weapons programs and includes an 8 percent overall increase for weapons (to US$84 billion) for the budget year starting Sept. 30. This review excludes the Energy Department’s nuclear weapons programs.

Overall, there was an emphasis on finding ways to adopt a more indirect approach to the war on terror; a shifted emphasis from performing tasks to enabling other countries to perform. Some of the specific proposals include:

  • Expansion of special operations forces by 15%; the Army’s Green Berets and the Navy SEAL commandos, for example, who are trained in specialized warfare skills that are often utilized covertly in cooperation with the armed forces of small countries.
Relevant to this expansion, the Marines are establishing a special operations force for the first time, with an initial goal of preparing 2,600 Marines.
  • An increase by 3,700 (or about one-third) of psychological warfare and civil affairs units. These are in heavy demand in Iraq and Afghanistan because of their role working with local civilian authorities to build trust and influence perceptions of U.S. forces.
  • Building new partnerships in the “War on Terror” by increasing time spent training other armies, navies and air forces, particularly in places, where U.S. troops have not traditionally operated. This in turn, will call for an increased mastery of other languages and better knowledge of foreign cultures.
  • More officers serving stints in foreign militaries to better develop long-term relationships and regional expertise.
  • The creation by the Navy, of a force of small boats that can be utilized in inland waterways abroad to help countries build their own maritime forces to combat terrorists.

Other highlights include:

  • A proposed 10 percent reduction in the fleet of Minuteman III land-based nuclear missiles, from 500 to 450 missiles. Also, the conversion of some nuclear missiles on Trident submarines to non-nuclear missiles within two years. The Pentagon did not specifically state how many are to be converted.
  • A five-year, $1.5 billion program to develop medical countermeasures for bioterrorism threats.
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There are many conditions that impact patients’ feet and ankles, leaving them with pain, discomfort, and potentially severe mobility issues. Many of these conditions can be treated medically, but some really require the help of foot surgeons in Racine WI for resolution. Read on to find out about a few conditions commonly treated with foot surgery below.

Hallux Rigidus

Also known simply as a stiff big toe, Hallux Rigidus causes pain and stiffness that can make it difficult to walk. This condition originates from trauma due to degenerative forms of arthritis and is often exacerbated by damp, cold weather. While wearing the right shoes and applying natural lubricants or steroid injections may temporarily ease the discomfort associated with this condition, surgery is often required to restore mobility in serious cases.

Hallux Valgus

More often referred to as a bunion, this condition is one of the most common foot deformities. It manifests as a bony bump between the big toe and the foot and often causes the big toe to bend inward. Bunions can be extremely painful, so those suffering from serious deformities often choose to have surgery to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Hammertoe Disorders

Hammertoe refers to a disorder in which a patient’s toes bend at abnormal angles, causing pain and other problems. This condition is caused by a muscle and tendon imbalance, which is often the result of leaving bunions untreated for prolonged periods of time. Surgical treatment involves the fusing of the patient’s deformed joints using small implants or surgical pins, which can later be removed to restore normal function.

Plantar Fasciitis

Also known as jogger’s heel, this condition is caused by torn or inflamed heel ligaments, which may require the help of Foot Surgeons in Racine WI for permanent correction. Symptoms of Plantar Fasciitis include stabbing pain in the heel that usually manifests itself in the early morning and vanishes later in the day. Runners, people who are severely overweight, and those who wear shoes with hard heels are all at greater risk of developing this disorder.

Learn More Today

Want to find out if foot surgery may be a good long-term option for treating these or other foot disorders? Visit Greatlakesfootankle.com online for more information or call to schedule an appointment today to get started.

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Israel undergoes major emergency drill

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Israel has tested its readiness for a state of war and emergency by testing its emergency services and shelters on a national scale.

The drill is to be analyzed in order to determine the elements which need to be corrected and fixed, and Israel’s emergency readiness is to be assessed.

Israeli school children were told to hide under their school tables as part of the drill, which officials claimed to be the biggest drill ever in Israeli history.

Syria has claimed, in return, that the drill is intended as a battle readiness exercise and claims that Israel is preparing for war.

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28

Investigation into Polish air crash reveals passengers in cockpit

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Investigation into Polish air crash reveals passengers in cockpit
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The investigation into the plane crash that killed Polish President Lech Kaczy?ski has revealed that passengers were in the cockpit of the crashed plane.According to the head of the technical commission involved with investigating the crash, Alexei Morozov, the crew of the aircraft had been warned of limited visibility, although it has not been determined whether or not the crew’s decision to land had been influenced by the passengers on board. The cause of the crash has not been identified, although the possibility of an explosion or terrorist attack on board the aircraft has been ruled out.

Morozov also said that the crew on board the plane had not been properly trained for the flight, and had been assembled only a few days before the flight. He said that the crew “did not undergo regular simulated training, including the practice of co-ordination and emergency situations during flights.”

The overall leader of the investigation, Tatyana Anodina, confirmed that unauthorized people had been in the cockpit near the end of the flight, saying that “in the cockpit there were individuals who were not members of the crew.” One person had been identified, although their name has not been released. Anodina said that “[t]he voice of one of them has been identified exactly, the voice of the other, or the others, will require additional information from the Polish side.”

The investigation also found that the aircraft involved had been in normal operating condition; Anodina said that “[t]he engines were working up till the moment the plane collided with the ground.”

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July

28

GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata
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Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”File:Sinsheim quer.jpg

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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July

27

Common Mistakes Made When Hiring A Roofing Contractor

By Rich Casey

If you are in the market for a new roof, our experience can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes people make, especially those who are not experienced in purchasing roofs.

The first problem possible is practically a universal one when it comes to purchasing anything. Don’t look for the cheapest price. The general rule of thumb applies that ‘you get what you pay for’. The workmanship of a particular roofing contractor can vary widely and often the variance is applied toward the price you pay. One possible variance is the existence of workman’s compensation and liability insurance for the contractor. These are necessary and expensive items. A contractor without them will be able to propose a price well below those who do but could obviously end up costing you a whole lot more in the long run. Don’t let a contractors shortcut they take to become cheaper cost you money.

Don’t insist on hiring a company that can start right away. Any business that is so quick to respond and can start the next day almost clearly does not have enough business. A roof is a long term investment so you need to hire someone who will be around to stand behind it. Check everything you can to determine how long the companies you deal with have been in business and the strength of their financial position. Check their safety record as that is a good determinate of financial stability.

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Do not use contractors without an office staff. Make sure there are back end employees carrying out the day to day business of the company. Single man contractors working out of their home are just fine when you are doing odd or small jobs, but, again, the long term nature of a roof necessitates a larger, more stable company.

Do not purchase a roof before you are ready simply because the salesman is giving you a time sensitive price to ‘keep the crews working’ or ‘get started before winter’. Even with fluctuations in material, any reputable company will be able to hold pricing for at least thirty days to give you a fair amount of time to make an informed decision.

The warranty is an important part of every roofing project and the longer it is, the better. However, many people make the mistake of making it the only consideration when making the decision. For instance, regular maintenance is a normal part of all warranties. If a longer warranty requires twice as much annual maintenance as a shorter one, it may not be cost effective in the long run. Also, some companies require the owner of a new roof to use that specific company for regular maintenance at a higher price than normal.

The worst mistake anyone can make is having a friend do the work. Roofing is a very complicated endeavor and the consequences of failure are drastic. At best, the roof leaks and you have to pay for repairs or replacement. At worst, one the myriad of possible safety problems comes up and you have to pay liability damages.

About the Author: Rich Casey has been the owner and operator of a Florida Roofing Contractor for over 20 years. Visit the website to learn more about Florida Roof Contractor.

Source: isnare.com

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