|Posted by Milton Drepaul on March 7, 2013 at 5:40 PM||comments (0)|
Professor Ruben Karsters, Head of the Art Department at AlphaMax Academy, died on Tuesday. Karsters was 71 years old. He was teaching his students up to last Thursday. He took a turn for the worse on Monday and was rushed to the Intensive Unit of the Academic Hospital on Tuesday.
Karsters spent nine years teaching the talented students at AlphaMax. Among his many achievements at the school was getting one of his students selected in 2007 as the Africa-Caribbean Art Scholar to Parson’s School of Art & Design in New York. In the last two weeks another of his students was offered a partial scholarship to the internationally-famous Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD).
Professor Karsters spent six years studying Fine Art in Holland in the 1960s. Art connoisseurs both in Suriname and abroad regard Ruben Karsters as a sublime portraitist at the highest level.
The poet and writer, Ivan A. Khayiat, describes Karsters' approach in this way:
"Karsters has spent the better part of sixty years seeking to perceive objects in ever-deepening clarity – to the point of seeking out ever-deeply every subtle, hidden nuance of tone, colour, shade and shadow – ever-present in the world of objective reality. This is the devout passion of Ruben Karsters’ artistic consciousness."
The President of Suriname honored Karsters in 2010 by selecting the now famous “Portrait of Hope and Peace: The Four Ms” as his official state gift to the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in November 2010. The Directors of the AlphaMax had commissioned this painting in 2007 to inspire young leaders with the outstanding life work of four of the most transformative leaders of the 20th century.
Khayiat describes the Karsters’ masterpiece in his review, Indian Resonances in Suriname, thus:
[The painting is]... a nostalgic reflective study of four masters of politics by the master of art himself. The glowing liberated faces of Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela appear above the contemplative, serious – almost troubled - busts of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, the American freedom fighters, also men of colour. Indeed, gazing to his left, the beaming, joyous face of the Mahatma, the apostle of peace, clad in white – the son of India and father of the modern independence movement – appears to have inoculated and infected his dancing counterpart, Nelson Mandela: both freedom fighters ironically were dramatically pitted at differing periods against entrenched Dutch supremacy and interests in Southern Africa.
An MSNBC online poll in December 2010 voted Bouterse’s gift to Chavez as one of the top three ‘Most Appropriate Gifts” given by one head of state to another.
,As we learned that President Chavez had also passed away on Tuesday, we reflect that perhaps the divine forces want us to cement the link between President Bouterse, President Chavez, Ruben Karsters, and the ideals expressed in “A Portrait of Hope and Peace” which has been the focus of AlphaMax Academy's creative work since 2007.
Professor Karsters was subsequently further honored by the government of Suriname who specially commissioned other paintings presented to heads of state.
Ivan Khayiat , the poet, has been particularly inspired to write poems for each of these works. Non-coincidentally, Khayiat also chose a painting of Karsters' daughter as the cover for his award winning book of poetry “Msiba, My Love". The cover of a collection of AlphaMax Academy student writing, "Surviving the Ordeal” (2007) was also graced with a reproduction of a Karsters painting.
The President of Suriname Desi Bouterse has been an admirer of Karsters' work for several decades. Art connoisseurs know that Karsters executed two portraits of Desi Bouterse: One shows him as the young revolutionary leader of the 1980s, and the second, done in 2012, portrays the reflective, mature elder statesman, and international leader.
Ruben Karsters leaves behind his wife, Sabitrie and their three children, Cheranie, Vasilie, and Irina. He also has a son, Anthony, from a former marriage.
The AlphaMax community expresses its heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to Ruben Karsters for a life fully lived and devoted service he rendered in shaping the talents and ideals of youths.
From: Milton Drepaul [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 11:24 AM
To: Sean Taylor
|Posted by haimdatsawh on March 7, 2013 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
A TRUE ICON OF SURINAME HAS PASSED: Ruben Karsters, Remembering the Legend
Yesterday, the Alphamax Academy and the nation of Suriname lost one of its living artistic Legends – Professor Ruben Karsters. Born on 22nd May, 1941, he passed away at the Academic Hospital following a short illness. Although he was rushed to the hospital earlier, efforts to revive him in the intensive care unit failed.
Professor Karsters was Head of the Art Department at the AlphaMax Academy where be began giving classes to young talented art students in the Academy in 2004. In 2007, one of his young scholars was selected as the Africa-Caribbean Art Scholar, granting him a summer scholarship to Parson’s School of Art & Design in New York. Very recently, another student, whom the art master had trained for many years, was offered a partial scholarship to a highly reputable art and design university in Georgia, U.S.A..
Ruben Karsters was an autodidact who stunned experienced artists of his time with his unschooled yet deft command of Fine Art Skills. At the tender age of seven he was clearly a young master without letters or credentials. Thus, before he entered his teenage years he had began giving lessons to students twice his age. It was in this period that young Ruben caught the attention of the Dutch-born artist, Nola Hatterman, who saw the extraordinary gifts of this brilliant, gifted, rising, artistic genius.
Until his passing, when engaged in serious conversation about art, it was with a degree of mild chagrin that Professor Karsters spoke of Nola Hattermann. While acknowledging the role she played at that time in perceiving his gifts, for Karsters, she was nonetheless a somewhat disparaging figure who took credit from the work of other gifted artists of that time in Suriname.
In 1963 Karsters became one of the first Surinamers who travelled to the Netherlands to study “Fine Art.” This art connoisseur made a clear distinction between ‘art’, “Art”, and “Fine Art”.
After six years of studying in the Netherlands he returned home Professor of Fine Art in 1968. Recently, the visibly aging artist would often tell his close students that the rigorous study he undertook in Europe was also done by two contemporary still living artists, Erwin de Vries and Soeki Irodikromo, whom he respected.
Ruben Karsters was perhaps Suriname’s most celebrated and internationally recognized “Fine Artist” in the latter half of the 20th century. His techniques, methodology, extremely close, incisive study of any subject, combined with – his inimitable imaginative execution – was deeply reminiscent of the Flemish masters from the Renaissance. As art master, Professor Karsters had given art classes to scores of artists in Suriname, including Jules Brand-flu, Cliff San A Jong, and TMC’s Martin Slagtand – all of whom he fondly remembered as very gifted artists.
According to the Vice Chairman of the AlphaMax Board of Directors, Dr Eugene Merkus, “When you consider this man and his remarkable gifts, it is not an overstatement that Professor Karsters is irreplaceable. This holds true not just for our home-grown international school, the AlphaMax Academy, here in Paramaribo, but to our country, Suriname. Professor Karsters will be deeply missed in circles beyond the walls of this school and these shores where he lived.”
Ruben Karsters was the fine artist who executed in 2007 the now famous “Portrait of Hope & Peace: The Four Ms” which was made internationally famous when President Desire Bouterse presented the masterpiece-painting to the now-deceased President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in November 2010. This work of art was commissioned by the Directors of the AlphaMax to inspire aspiring young leaders and the coming generation with exemplars of personal self-transformation, sacrifice, and service.
In an MSNBC public opinion poll, Bouterse’s gift to Chavez was voted as one of the top three ‘Most Appropriate Gifts” given in 2010 by one head of state to another. The Karsters-Bouterse-Chavez gift was preferred above other state gifts from leaders of the first world, including Putin and Obama.
Ironically, Professor Karsters passed away on the self-same day as President Hugo Chavez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
After his highly successful Portrait of Hope & Peace , in 2011 and 2012, Professor Karsters also executed artworks which were presented internationally.One observer has stated that perhaps the year prior to his demise will be acknowledged as Karsters’ ‘annus mirabilis’.
Ruben Karsters has had the distinction of being perhaps the only fine artist in Suriname to have painted the current leader and President of the Republic, Desire Bouterse, twice: First, as the young revolutionary leader in the 1980s, and more recently, in 2012, the mature astute statesman playing his vital role on the international stage as the Father of his people.
Ruben Karsters is survived by his wife, Sabitrie Karsters-Sewpersad, and their three children, Cheranie, Vasilie, and Irina. He is also survived by his son, Anthony, from a previous marriage.
According to a Director of the AlphaMax which had commissioned the Karsters’Portrait of Hope and Peace , “The Rubens of Suriname is gone to the great beyond again!”
|Posted by haimdatsawh on January 21, 2013 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
Schlesinger mentions that Ted Sorensen, historian, aide and chief speechwriter advised Kennedy to make it one of the shortest inauguration sppeches. So brevity was one of the virtues of this stirring address. The speech was less than 1400 words.
"The inaugural was a special occasion, and there was a special tone in that speech," Sorensen later recalled.
So tone and language structure made that speech one against which all other inauguration speeches are measured.
One line in that address -"ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country"—has echoed across time for generations since 1961.It was a call for service. It has inspired many across the world to search for ways to change society for the better.
For my generation Kennedy represented a new direction in political thinking. He was the youngest elected president,the first Roman Catholic and when he spoke of "the torch [having] been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace…" I believed he was appealing to those who wanted a fresh start in the way world politics and diplomacy were conducted.
Kennedy's statement "we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe" makes us sad today when we reflect on the lengthy and terrible Vietnam War.
Many,like me, however focused on his vision of a new paradigm for peace.He proposed a "new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved."
One of the most memorable lines in the speech is "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate." It is an ideal that I believe leaders today should seek.
AlphaMax Academy in its DVD 'Great Thoughts, Great Minds, Great moments in Time'-A Portrait of Hope and Peace features excerpts from this inaugural address done by Gabrielle Goedhart. You can view it on You Tube-Portrait of Hope and Peace . The script of the DVD urges all to seek clarity about the highest goals we can set to achieve Peace.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on January 21, 2013 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
President Barack Obama 's inaugural on Monday is linked this year with the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King the assassinated civil rights leader. Also this year a movie on Abraham Lincoln is playing at movie theatres nationwide. Both of these leaders are being consciously linked to the inauguration ceremony.
When US President Obama is sworn into office for the second time, he will use the same Bible that President Abraham Lincoln used during his inauguration in 1861 .
A Bible owned by the civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr , will also be used at the inauguration.
In his speeches Obama has referred to King and this weekend's inaugural activities began with a national day of service in King's honor on Saturday. Obama and his family also helped spruce up an elementary school in southeast Washington. On each King holiday during his Presidency the Obama Family has done community service work.
When King's monument on the National wall was dedicated President Obama was the featured speaker. King will most likely be spoken about in his inaugural address.
The president has said King is one of two people he admires "more than anybody in American history." President Abraham Lincoln is the other.
Former chief of staff to President Barack Obama and now Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel , compared President Obama’s values and “ability to see a clear road where everybody just sees fog” to President Abraham Lincoln as depicted in the 2012 Steven Spielberg movie “Lincoln.”
He continued, “And I think that’s essential because, in the Oval Office, at the end of the day, all you have are your values, your judgment, and your ability to see a clear road where everybody just sees fog."
Barack Obama has demonstrated strong leadership qualities which are comparable with those of other great leaders throughout history. Obama has often been linked withs Abaraham Lincoln.eenth president.
One area of comparison is the two leader's speaking ability.Obama is an inspirational speaker.Obama has focused on creating a feeling of national unity while setting out the tough issues. Many say this is similar tothe way Lincoln approached his listeners.
Another area where people see similiarities is in the political situation.Like Lincoln, Obama is President in the middle of a crisis. Right now The US is struggling to deal with the most testing economic decisions of its history. The country is deeply divided on the way forward. The cuurent anger and hostilty over the proposed changes to the gun laws reflect this division. In Lincoln's time the nation was bitterly split over slavery and a war was about to take place. Both Presidents have encountered huge challenges. Lincoln’s were overcome. We await history's verdict on Obama's.
See AlphaMax Students present this and other excerpts from great speeches in Portrait of Hope and Peace : 'Great Thoughts, Great Minds, Great Moments in Time'.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on November 9, 2012 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
Suriname plans embassies in Germany and Equatorial Guinea
Back To Today's News
Suriname plans embassies in Germany and Equatorial Guinea
Published on October 12, 2012 Email To Friend Print Version
By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor
PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- Amidst deteriorating ties between Suriname and its former colonizers, the Netherlands, the Bouterse administration is seeking to expand its diplomatic outreach by establishing embassies in key areas of the globe. Two such embassies will be established in Berlin and in Equatorial Guinea next year, according to the foreign affairs minister of Suriname, Winston Lackin.
Suriname recently opened embassies in France and South Africa. Paris is seen as a natural and important partner for Suriname in Europe according to Lackin. French Guyana borders Suriname.
Lackin told the Suriname Times that preparatory work has started on the embassy in Berlin and that an ambassador will be posted there in 2013. And by the end of this year, a Surinamese embassy will be opened in Equatorial Guinea, West Africa. This will be Suriname’s second embassy in Africa.
Lackin disclosed that a technical team from Equatorial Guinea was in Suriname recently to work on getting the embassy up and running. Suriname wants stronger ties with the African continent, he said. There are also plans for additional diplomatic missions in neighbouring Brazil and Guyana. Argentina will also open a diplomatic mission Suriname.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on November 9, 2012 at 6:45 AM||comments (0)|
Presentation on slave ship book fills gaps, disrupts silence
AMSTERDAM–As he presented from his book “Het Slavenschip Leusden”, the Slave Ship Leusden that sank off Suriname’s coast in 1738, Dr. Leo Balai had his audience glued to his lips. Balai, who achieved his PhD with his research, brought the horrific reality for captured Africans to life in such a tangible manner that people could almost see the inhumanity happen. “It didn’t always leave me undone. I often had to remind myself that to be able to deal with the information I unveiled, I had to see it in light of the spirit of that day. The transatlantic slave trade was an industry aimed at making a profit. An organisation with intricate planning and execution that brought the European powers of those days together. Everybody played its part; Europeans who purchased captives in Africa and Africans who sold them and even travelled along as “Bombas” on the slave ships to work as intermediaries. The goods of this trade were not seen as people, but merely as merchandise. That’s why they were referred to as nappy cattle,” Balai said.
Balai’s presentation was held at the headquarters of the Foundation Ons (Our) Suriname, as part of a series of activities to commemorate 150 years abolition of slavery and to shine light on the slavery history of the Netherlands. Balai’s book is one of the few publications that focuses on the ships that enabled the transatlantic slave trade. The writer explained his motives: “Not much research has been done on slave ships, which were indispensable for the transport of African captives to the territories in the Americas. This is remarkable because the treatment of captives on the slave ships may give us a clearer picture of how this forced transport of people was organized.”
The researcher said that while the Leusden wasn’t the only subject of his research, his findings about the ship end the debate about whether during those days a large part of Holland’s economy centered on the slave trade. The prevailing views used to be that the Dutch did not build special slave ships and that with a few adjustments, ordinary merchant ships could be made suitable for the transport of slaves. Nevertheless, research into the Leusden has revealed that from the second decade of the eighteenth century (1718), the WIC signed special contracts for the building of slave ships. The ships were built according to specific measurements to be able to transport a specific cargo. “The Leusden was specially built as a slave ship and was used only for that purpose. All the necessary facilities were outfitted at the time of the construction of a ship meant for the transport of captives from Afirca,” Balai said.
One of the last slave ships of the Dutch West India Company (WIC) to embark on a slave-trading voyage, the Leusden made 10 slave-trading voyages with stops in Suriname and St. Eustatius. St, Eustatius served well as a trading post where many plantation owners from surrounding islands went to buy their slaves. “On one occasion the Governor of St. Eustatius bought at least 100 captives, which hints that he had a little side business, buying and selling slaves himself,” Balai said. During its 10 voyages the Leusden transported 6,564 captives, 1,639 of whom did not survive the passage. “Before sale, another 102 captives died in the slave warehouses, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,741, which represents 26.5% of the number of captives embarked in Africa, an inconceivable waste of human life,” Balai revealed.
On January 1st 1738, the year in which the WIC decided that it would no longer play an active role in the trade of African captives, the Leusden ran aground at the estuary of the Marowijne River, the border between Suriname and French Guiana. As it sank, the captain ordered his crew to seal the compartments of the slaves, which led to the deaths of 680 people. Some 16 captives who hadn’t been locked up survived; 14 were still sold in Paramaribo, and two –little boys- were sent on to the Netherlands as gifts to a company associate who had died by the time the boys reached. What happened to the boys afterward is not known.
“The WIC hardly paid any attention to this disaster and the many lives it claimed. The sinking of this ship and the fact that no attempts were made to save the captives’ lives make it clear that the captives transported were considered goods that could be lost due to calamities,” Balai said.
He saw room for further research into the transatlantic slave trade. “What happened to those little boys? Who were the Bombas exactly and what did they do in between voyages, like when they were stationed in the Netherlands? Is the wreckage of the ship accessible? I invite other researchers to pick that up; there’s a limit to what I can do myself,” he joked.
Dr. Guno Jones, Senior Researcher at the Free University of Amsterdam, characterized Balai’s presentation afterward as “a detailed overview and highly actual” that erupted quite some debate and filled a gap in history. “The story of these victims is not often mentioned, because history used to be written by the powerful. That’s silenced history, but silence can be disrupted. This is a must read,” Jones said. “
|Posted by haimdatsawh on November 9, 2012 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
Argentina Opens Embassy In Suriname
November 01, 2012 12:06 PM
Argentina Opens Embassy In Suriname
BUENOS AIRES, Nov 1 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- Argentina announced the opening of an embassy in Suriname to bolster the "ties of friendship and cooperation" between the two South American countries, the Argentinian government said Wednesday in a statement.
The opening of the embassy in Suriname's capital Paramaribo" reflects the mutual interest to strengthen the traditional ties of friendship and cooperation between the two peoples and will allow the expansion of the relationship between the two countries," said a decree signed by Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez and Foreign Minister Hector Timerman.
The move "will reaffirm Argentina's commitment to the system of regional integration," the government said, stressing the fact that "the Republic of Suriname is a full member of the Union of South American Countries, of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and of the Caribbean Community."
Argentina and Suriname established diplomatic relations in July 1977.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on November 9, 2012 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
Inequality: The Silly Tales Economists Like to Tell
Dean Baker is a US macroeconomist and co-founder of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research. Some economists don't get paid to know about the economy, but to justify the trickle-up of wealth. Economists are "not rewarded for studying the economy", says Baker, as evidenced by the fact that almost everyone in the profession failed to predict the $8 trillion housing bubble that brought the economy to its knees [REUTERS]CEPR; Books; RSS; Last Modified: 30 Oct 2012 07:36
There is no serious dispute that the United States has seen a massive increase in inequality over the last three decades. However there is a major dispute over the causes of this rise in inequality. The explanation most popular in elite and policy circles is that the rise in inequality was simply the natural working of the economy. Their story is that the explosion of information technology and globalisation have increased demand for highly-skilled workers while sharply reducing the demand for less-educated workers. While the first part of this story is at best questionable, the second part should invite ridicule and derision. It doesn't pass the laugh test. As far as the technology story, yes information technologies have displaced large amounts of less-skilled labour. So did the technologies that preceded them. There are hundreds of books and articles from the 1950s and 1960s that expressed grave concerns that automation would leave much of the workforce unemployed. Is there evidence that the displacement is taking place more rapidly today than in that era? If so, it is not showing up on our productivity data. More germane to the issue at hand, unlike the earlier wave of technology, computerisation offers the potential for displacing vast amounts of highly skilled labour. Legal research that might have previously required a highly skilled lawyer can now be done by an intelligent college grad and a good search engine. Medical diagnosis and the interpretation of test results that may have previously required a physician, and quite possibly a highly paid specialist, can now be done by technical specialists who may not even have a college education.
"Most economists are not paid for knowing about the economy. They are paid for telling stories that justify giving more money to rich people."
There is no reason to believe that current technologies are replacing comparatively more less-educated workers than highly educated workers. The fact that lawyers and doctors largely control how their professions are practiced almost certainly has much more to do with the demand for their services. If the technology explanation for inequality is weak, the globalisation part of the story is positively pernicious. The basic story is that globalisation has integrated a huge labour force of billions of workers in developing countries into the world economy. These workers are able to fill many of the jobs that used to provide middle class living standards to workers in the United States and will accept a fraction of the wage. This makes many formerly middle class jobs uncompetitive in the world economy given current wages and currency values. This part of the story is true. The part that our elite leave out is that there are tens of millions of bright and highly educated workers in the developing world who could fill most of the top paying jobs in the US economy: Doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. These workers are also willing to work for a small fraction of the wages of their US counterparts since they come from poor countries with much lower standards of living. The reason why the manufacturing workers, construction workers, and restaurant workers lose their jobs to low-paid workers from the developing world, and doctors and lawyers don't, is that doctors and lawyers use their political power to limit the extent to which they are exposed to competition from their low-paid counterparts in the developing world. Our trade policy has been explicitly designed to remove barriers that prevent General Electric and other companies from moving their manufacturing operations to Mexico, China or other developing countries. By contrast, many of the barriers that make it difficult for foreign professionals to work in the United States have actually been strengthened in the last two decades. If economics was an honest profession, economists would focus their efforts on documenting the waste associated with protectionist barriers for professionals. They devoted endless research studies to estimating the cost to consumers of tariffs on products like shoes and tires. It speaks to the incredible corruption of the economics profession that there are not hundreds of studies showing the loss to consumers from the barriers to trade in physicians' services. If trade could bring down the wages of physicians in the United States just to European levels, it would save consumers close to $100 billion a year. But economists are not rewarded for studying the economy. That is why almost everyone in the profession missed the $8 trillion housing bubble, the collapse of which stands to cost the country more than $7 trillion in lost output according to the Congressional Budget Office (that comes to around $60,000 per household). Few if any economists lost their 6-figure paychecks for this disastrous mistake. But most economists are not paid for knowing about the economy. They are paid for telling stories that justify giving more money to rich people. Hence we can look forward to many more people telling us that all the money going to the rich was just the natural workings of the economy. When it comes to all the government rules and regulations that shifted income upward, they just don't know what you're talking about.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on November 9, 2012 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
Suriname ethanol project gets off the ground in 2013
(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – After a successful pilot phase in Wageningen, oil company Staatsolie is designing its sugarcane plantation and mill. Plans are to start building an ethanol plant by mid-2013, and to have the first liters of fuel flowing by 2015. The company expects to spend at least US$ 250 million to be ready in 2015, Anand Jagessar and Dominique van Dijk of Staatsolie’s Business Development department tell de Ware Tijd. “If all goes according to plan, we will start suppling electricity to Nickerie in 2016, while sugar production will start in 2018,” the experts add.
Although President Desi Bouterse had expressed doubts about the plan when he took office, Staatsolie now has been given the green light to continue the project. The pilot project on 8 hectares shows that Wageningen is suitable for the large-scale growth of sugarcane, while any possible negative effects on the environment or the local community would be negligible. “At first, the mill will be built and 3,000 hectares planted. Each year, 3,000 hectares will be added to the sugarcane fields,” Jagessar says. A total of 9,000 hectares will be planted. “Ethanol will be produced in Wageningen, after which it will be transported to the refinery at Tout Lui Faut to be mixed with gasoline,” the expert explains. By that time, the current preparations for expansion of the oil purification plant should be finished.
Staatsolie estimates it can produce around 40,000 metric tons of sugar a year, a quarter of which will meet the local demand. The remainder will be intended for export. The waste resulting from pressing sugarcane will be used to generate electricity. Sufficient power will be produced to operate the plantation and mill. In addition, an extra 9 to 12 megawatts will be produced each day, enough for a few thousand houses in Nickerie. Other waste products will be used to fertilize the sugarcane fields, in order to limit the amount of waste. Molasses, another byproduct, can also be used to produce ethanol.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on October 8, 2012 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
The Deadly Threat of Silent Heart Attacks
By JUDITH GRAHAM
For more than six months, Harriett Cooke had been uncommonly tired, panting when she walked her sixth grade science class to the cafeteria and struggling to keep her eyes open when she drove home at night.
One day, during a class trip outside the school, she just couldn’t go on. “I sat there on the side, I put my head down on the table, and I knew I shouldn’t be feeling like this,” said Ms. Cooke, 67, who lives in Durham, N.C.
Making excuses, she left and stopped at her doctor’s office, where staff ordered an electrocardiogram (EKG). The test showed that Ms. Cooke had suffered a so-called “silent heart attack” at some indeterminate point, perhaps months earlier.
Few people know about this type of heart attack, characterized by a lack of recognizable symptoms. Yet silent heart attacks are even more common in older adults than heart attacks that immediately come to the attention of doctors and patients, according to a recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.
What’s more, they’re equally deadly.
The research underscores the importance of paying attention to lingering, hard-to-pin-down symptoms in older adults, experts say. Many elderly men and women tend to dismiss these; caregivers shouldn’t let that happen.
The JAMA report is based on data from 936 men and women ages 67 to 93 from Iceland who agreed to undergo EKGs and magnetic resonance imaging exams to detect whether heart attacks had occurred. EKGs assess the heart’s electrical activity, while M.R.I.’s look at its mechanical pumping activity.
So-called “recognized” heart attacks were identified when signs of heart damage were evident, and the patient’s medical record indicated that medical attention had been sought and a diagnosis rendered. “Silent” heart attacks were also signified by heart damage, but in those cases evidence from medical records was lacking.
When results were tallied, silent heart attacks were twice as common (22 percent) among older patients as recognized heart attacks (10 percent). Five years after tests were administered, death rates for patients with both recognized and silent heart attacks were 23 percent, almost double the 12 percent death rate for older adults who’d never experienced a myocardial infarction, the technical name for this medical event.
Recognized heart attacks may be more serious in the short run, but silent heart attacks are equally dangerous in the long run because they don’t receive medical attention, said Dr. Andrew E. Arai , the lead author and chief of the cardiovascular and pulmonary branch of division of intramural research at the U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Indeed, seniors who had the silent version were less likely to get treatments for coronary artery disease — aspirin, beta blockers, and cholesterol-lowering statins. Yet tests documented they had higher-than-average risk factors: elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, hardening of the arteries, and evidence of plaque buildup in blood vessels.
Results from Iceland may not be fully generalizable to the United States since more people smoke in Iceland, and there’s greater diversity in the population here. But a key takeaway message is that heart attacks aren’t always easy to detect, especially in older people.
“Not everyone has classic symptoms — chest pain, maybe radiating to the arm, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath,” Dr. Arai said.
“In reality, many patients, have much less clear cut symptoms,” he continued. “They may think it’s a bad case of indigestion or the flu, or this may even occur during their sleep and they won’t realize that anything happened.”
If you’re an older person and you’ve been feeling seriously unwell for a while, “go see your doctor, don’t blow it off,” Dr. Arai said.
That’s not an invitation for people to run out and demand M.R.I.’s of the heart if they’ve been feeling flulike for several weeks. Although M.R.I.’s identified more silent heart attacks than EKGs in the JAMA report, these tests are expensive, not widely available, and stress echocardiograms, nuclear stress tests, and computerized tomography (CT) coronary angiograms are good alternatives, saidDr. Michael Shen , section head of cardiac imaging at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida.
Tests should be based on the patient’s family history, personal history, symptoms like shortness of breath or tightness in the chest, and risk factors like cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes, Dr. Shen said.
In the JAMA study, 26 percent of patients with diabetes (266 altogether) had silent heart attacks, compared with 11 percent who had clinically recognized heart attacks.
“We don’t really understand what causes one person to have chest pain and another person not to have chest pain,” said Dr. LeRoy E. Rabbani , director of cardiac intensive care and the cardiac inpatient service at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York. But diabetics, who are prone to nerve damage known as neuropathy, “may have impaired sensation that extends to chest wall.”
To illustrate the point, Dr. Rabbani tells of an elderly patient who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery and had stents implanted in his arteries to prop them open. Each time his heart gave him trouble over a period of a dozen years, he had felt chest pain.
But one day, after developing diabetes in his 80s, this patient felt a little dizzy, noticed a nose bleed and fainted after arriving at his ear nose and throat doctor’s office. In the emergency room, tests showed that he had had a heart attack, with no symptoms this time, six hours before. “Even in a given individual, things can change,” Dr. Rabbani said.
There’s no opportunity to restore heart muscle damaged in a silent heart attack, but there is opportunity to intervene to prevent a second heart attack or heart failure.
“One has to look at (a silent heart attack) as a potential marker for coronary atherosclerosis and take a more detailed look to see if risk factors are being treated adequately,” said Dr. Christopher O’Connor , chief of cardiology at Duke University School of Medicine.
If damage is relatively mild, “there are a whole host of medications we can use to prevent the occurrence of a second event,” he said. If damage is more significant, bypass surgery, stents, and even devices like implantable defibrillators may be warranted.
Afterward, doctors monitor patients more frequently and “pay much more attention to ambiguous symptoms like prolonged fatigue, confusion or shortness of breath,” Dr. O’Connor continued. “Before, we thought these silent events were less important. Now, we realize they’re equally important as symptomatic heart attacks and deserving of careful follow-up.”
|Posted by haimdatsawh on September 29, 2012 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Big Data in Your Blood
By QUENTIN HARDY
“Stretchable electronics” will be able to measure heart rate, brain activity, body temperature and hydration levels.
Very soon, we will see inside ourselves like never before, with wearable, even internal , sensors that monitor even our most intimate biological processes. It is likely to happen even before we figure out the etiquette and laws around sharing this knowledge.
Already products like the Nike+ FuelBand and the Fitbit wireless monitor track our daily activity, taking note of our steps and calories burned. The idea is to help meet an exercise regimen, perhaps lose some weight. The real-world results are uneven . For sure, though, people are building up big individual databases about themselves over increasingly long periods of time. So are the companies that sell these products, which store that data.
That is barely the start. Later this year, a Boston-based company called MC10will offer the first of several “stretchable electronics” products that can be put on things like shirts and shoes, worn as temporary tattoos or installed in the body. These will be capable of measuring not just heart rate, the company says, but brain activity, body temperature and hydration levels. Another company, called Proteus , will begin a pilot program in Britain for a “Digital Health Feedback System” that combines both wearable technologies and microchips the size of a sand grain that ride a pill right through you. Powered by your stomach fluids, it emits a signal picked up by an external sensor, capturing vital data. Another firm, Sano Intelligence , is looking at micro needle sensors on skin patches as a way of deriving continuous information about the bloodstream.
Make no mistake about these companies’ ambitions. “Ultimately, we see ourselves as a part of the healthcare ecosystem,” Amar Kendale, MC10’s VP of market strategy and development, said in an e-mail. In this future, he wrote, “data will need to be shared seamlessly between customers, providers, and payers in order to reduce heathcare costs and simultaneously deliver the best possible care.” Proteus hopes to use anonymized data from its customers to understand health patterns over an entire population, presumably to revolutionize medicine.
Those are not just lofty goals; they make a lot of sense. If this kind of information exists for a lot of people, it is arguably folly to not look for larger trends and patterns. And not just in things like your electrolyte count, because overlays of age, educational level, geography and other demographic factors could yield valuable insights. The essence of the Big Data age is the diversity of data sets combined in novel ways.
What is missing is much of a sense of what this is worth, and what it may cost, and the terms under which we’ll turn our data into a product. Nike and Fitbit already log a lot of personal data, and it is not clear what, if anything, they plan to do with it.
Nike acknowledged an e-mail asking for details about its plans, but did not get back after that. The software license for Nike+ does say that “Nike+ Product Software may include software that collects information about how you use your Nike+ Product,” but has no further details about what this means. Fitbit did not respond to e-mails.
Proteus says its customers will own their data and may share it, but must also grant the company permission to use it for product development and the cultivation of its data sets. As Mr. Kendale stated, MC10 sees data sharing between people and companies as something of a necessity.
For those of you troubled by Facebook claiming the right to know whether you like cats when you sign up, this is probably a significantly bigger deal. Others may not care, or even see themselves as actors in a global project to understand ourselves as never before. What may be troubling to all, however, is the haphazard way these new behaviors will be captured and determined. There are likely to be different strategies depending on company, country of use and whether the product is looking as something regulated, like a drug, or open, like a heart rate.
Those legal and corporate distinctions, of course, were all developed in a world where we weren’t able to see so much of each other, or deduce one behavior by crunching the data from several other sources.
There are also movements to use this data in entirely new ways, for patient-generated medical research. Linda Avey, who co-founded the personal genetics company 23andMe is now working on a start-up called Curious , which should be live by the middle of next year. Her idea is to get people with difficult to pin down conditions like chronic fatigue, lupus or fibromyalgia to share information about themselves. This could include the biological data from devices, but also things like how well they slept, what they ate and when they got pain. Collectively, this could lead to evidence about how behavior and biology conjure these states.
“All of the devices that are coming on the market will shuffle their data into different environments,” she said. “They are starting to realize that they can’t just be the keeper for that.” She hopes the companies will allow for common sharing of the individual data, leading to a kind of open source branch of medicine. So far, she said, few if any have committed to that.
A version of this article appeared in print on 09/10/2012, on page B4 of the NewYork edition with the headline: A Digital View Of Your Health, Likely to Be Shared.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
Suriname not borrowing from China without thinking, Lackin says
(de Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO – Although China is an important partner in financing the government’s big plans, Suriname will not borrow from that country without thinking. “We are careful with loans,” Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin says, referring to the law on the state’s debts which imposes limits on how much the state can borrow locally and internationally.
Lackin confirmed to the press yesterday that China plays an ‘important role’ with regard to financing the government’s big plans in sectors including infrastructure, energy and mining. “We are also considering other methods that will not burden the economy so much,” he adds. Suriname is also counting on friendly nations including Brazil and India.
Financial experts and international organizations have repeatedly warned the government recently not to be careless with foreign loans. In spite of the current favourable economic times, Suriname should resist this temptation due to the global financial crisis. Chinese Ambassador in Suriname Yuan Nansheng says relations between his country and Suriname have been intensified in the past three years in the areas of the economy, politics and culture. China sees an interest in helping Suriname alleviate its housing shortage. Besides pre-financing 5,000 government houses, China has increased its financial donations to Suriname each year. “Late this year, 24 containers filled with agricultural machinery will come to Suriname as aid,” the Ambassador states as an example of how his country wants to assist Suriname in “actually becoming a food source.”
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
Caricom States Should Be Leery of Uncritical Acceptance of U.S. Drones
July 26, 2012 | Posted by Stan
Tagged With: Caricom, drones, drones in caribbean, obama, u.s. drones in caribbean, War on Drugs
The surprising news about the readiness of the Obama administration to introduce unmanned surveillance drones in the Caribbean in a new strategy to combat the notorious illegal drug trade has come like a virtual fait accompli.
Almost simultaneous with reports out of Washington on Sunday of planned operation of the “drones” project by the US Customs and Border Protection agency, Barbados’ Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, was enthusiastically embracing this latest development in the US war on drug trafficking.
Given the abomination of the drug culture that continues to create havoc with the lives and economies in too many Caricom states, it may be tempting to also uncritically endorse the initiative.
But such official responses ought to be delayed for some prior information-sharing on the modalities of operations of drones with assurances against misuse of intelligence and technology that could result in the loss of lives.
The announcement came after the US seemingly satisfied itself about the effectiveness of the surveillance drones for the Caribbean with secret trial exercises in The Bahamas.
When and where did consultations with regional governments occur? There was no mention about the drones project in the communiqué issued at the recent Caricom Summit in St Lucia.
Nor was there any allusion to it either by the Community’s Secretary General or current Chairman PM Kenny Anthony. There has been no references to it by the Community’s Prime Ministerial Committee on Crime and Security chaired by PM Kamla Persad-Bissesar.
And it has not yet been discussed for approval at the level of the Regional Security System, according to those who should know.
Representative institutions and organisations in the Caribbean will undoubtedly have an interest to learn whether Caricom governments have been briefed on it.
If so, have they satisfied themselves about its usefulness without compromising the region’s political sovereignty and territorial integrity?
The introduction of drones to intensify the US war against drug-trafficking, has now entered public consciousness in the Caribbean at a critical period.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
The modernization of Guyanese society must begin by transforming education
It should of great interest to track the future careers over the next 15, or 20 years of the 175 CSEC high-flyers (8 CSEC or more creditable passes), to see how many are resident in Guyana contributing to the development of Guyana, the country of their birth and which in some measure contributed to their academic successes. In fact, it may also be interesting to do the same for all those students who secured five or more creditable CSEC passes.
Over the past fifty years, the experience has been that the vast majority (90%) of our successful students have emigrated to other lands, and are making most valuable contributions to the development of their newly adopted homelands.
The accumulated consequence of this mass exodus of talent and brain/mind power has been that Guyanese social, economic and national development is, with few exceptions, left in the hands of workers who were not considered academic high-flyers, and who were not presented with sufficient appropriate, or adequate opportunities during their school careers to develop their God-given talents or potential. This is largely due to the academic emphasis of present school curricula to the exclusion of other aptitudes. Recent curricular studies have an academic emphasis which discriminates against male students, who relate more to curricula that offer hands-on or practical experiences. As a result of this extreme academic emphasis, many male students become disinterested, undisciplined, and either drop out or are pushed out. This phenomenon might also be a consequence of the feminization of the teaching profession.
The sad part of this situation is that the ‘not so successful,’ represent the vast majority of any age group, or age cohort. Even when some who are late developers have access to further education or higher education they seldom fail to seize the opportunity to emigrate. Apart from a depressing economic, political and social climate – the push factor – the opportunity to access a better quality of life, represents the pull factor.
Persons who go overseas to further their education at their own expense, should not be faulted for not returning. They can only recoup their investments in reasonable time by accepting employment overseas, since Guyana cannot offer them similar employment at a comparable rate.
Nevertheless, the big question is, can social and economic conditions be improved in Guyana, so that more students who elect to study overseas may view returning home to serve with favour? The short answer is, with the necessary political will, yes they can. But, even if we start now to do the right things, it may take at least twenty years before we begin to see the impact of our efforts.
It is customary to believe that educational change follows social change. However, there is a far more subtle feedback system at work, and this is particularly true of the relationship between school curricula and society. Japan, the USSR and Singapore are examples of countries that have used their education systems to leapfrog to modernization. While it may be reasonable to assume that the content of the curriculum tends to be moulded by external pressures, there is little doubt that it feeds back into society, influences that affect the rate of social and economic change. Doubtless, the most important agents of these influences are the individuals that the schools produce.
The modernization of the Guyanese society must begin by transforming education practice in Guyana so that it would provide for the needs of the next generation – not for the problems of yesteryear, but those of today and the remainder of the twenty-first century. The reforms will have to be comprehensive in scope covering all areas – organizational, structural, curricular, co-curricular, extra-curricular, certification, teacher education, physical plant, estate, and other areas of education practice. However, it will only be possible to discuss the modernization of core curricula here.
The most essential first step would be to arrive at a working consensus on the purposes of education in Guyana. For example, one purpose could be that educational outcomes should lead to the modernization of Guyana within a specified time – say by the year 2040. Next, we have to design curricula that have the potential to achieve this and the other purposes that have been articulated.
It is suggested that the critical step in curricular design is the modernization of the content by substituting science/applied science/ technology cores for the current traditional/ classical cores that had their origins as far back as the nineteenth century. Since the heart of science consists of asking questions about natural phenomena, and designing experiments or processes to find answers to these questions, every teacher can be coached to use the sciences to educate students.
In addition to the development of scientific literacy and its relevance to modernization – social, economic and national development – there are immense pedagogical and other benefits to be derived from science/applied science/technology based curricula. Curricular links can be established with other subjects/ disciplines or fields of study. For example, languages and mathematics can be taught across curricula. If the curricula at various levels are organized to form an ascending and expanding spiral or cone, permeating concepts or principles can be kept simple at the base (early childhood education level), and expanded and deepened as students ascend to the higher levels.
The need for content of wide applicability to enable students to continue learning outside of, and beyond the formal situation cannot be over emphasized. We can accomplish more with less. Ecological studies (under which nature trails may be classified) could form the organizing centre for wider environmental studies. The study of the environment not only develops practical sense and fosters scientific thought, but it is also an education in civics, and sociology. Learning activities in these areas should arouse the students’ interest in the community in which they live. We ought to bear in mind that there can be no national development without community development.
Editorial constraints do not permit further expansion of the above, but there is a very significant benefit that needs to be mentioned. In an era of mass education, and for a variety of reasons a significant percentage of the school intake comes unprepared for what is essentially a middle class experience, and they all have to jump the same academic hurdles at the same time.
Research has demonstrated that the age of eleven is no longer a watershed age as far as cognitive development is concerned. Because each individual is unique, levels of cognitive development differ considerably and as such, many students (late developers), are in need of a transitional period at this age when they are between the stages of concrete and formal/abstract operations. Further, a child may achieve the level of formal operations in one or more categories and remain at the level of concrete operations in other categories. There are a number of ways in which the concreteness of scientific and technological phenomena can assist pupils in this period of transition. For, example when mathematics is integrated with scientific and technological processes, it is reported that much of the antagonism towards the subject is lost. This particular finding should be of great significance to our Ministry of Education.
Clarence O Perry
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|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM||comments (0)|
Poppycock politics in Guyana
Analysis by Rickey Singh
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
A strange political development took place two days ago in Guyana, where strange political occurrences have become the norm.
The Georgetown-based Caricom Secretariat released to the media on Monday morning a statement that, following "the unfortunate incidents surrounding the protests at Linden on July 18, 2012, which led to the deaths of three citizens of Guyana, the secretariat has been engaged with the Government of Guyana on a continuous basis..."
Further, that at the request of the Guyana Government (of President Donald Ramotar), Caricom "has recommended three distinguished Community nationals to serve on a Commission of Inquiry which is expected to probe and report on matters related to the events of that day..."
The three chosen Caricom nationals, said the secretariat, are Justice Lensley Wolfe, a former chief justice of Jamaica and current chairman of its Police Public Complaints Authority; KD Knight, a senior counsel who held the portfolios of national security and justice, and foreign affairs and foreign trade in the previous PNP Administration; and Dana Seetahal, senior counsel and former independent senator of Trinidad and Tobago, and a columnist of the Trinidad Express.
So far, so good. Hours later, on that same day, a scheduled meeting of representatives of the Government, parliamentary opposition and the Region 10 Council (that includes the bauxite mining town of Linden) was aborted.
The declared intention was to have, on Monday, a formal signing of the terms of reference for ending the month-long "Linden crisis" and pave the way for the work of the Commission of Inquiry to begin. So what happened?
Competing for support
The real reason perhaps resides in the ongoing competitive politics between the two parliamentary Opposition parties — A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), that includes the dominant People's National Congress, and the Alliance for Change (AFC) — for political support in Linden, which has been viewed as a traditional stronghold of the PNC up to last November's general election.
There have been variations in public political posturing between APNU's leadership and the Region 10 Council chairman on the terms of resolving the crisis in Linden.
The three killings of protesters on July 18 have been linked to police shootings and subsequent waves of arson and other criminal activities that have resulted in millions of dollars in losses and with the town's future now seriously jeopardised.
Significantly absent from last Friday's final meeting before the signing event scheduled for Monday afternoon was any representative of APNU's minority opposition partner, AFC. That, however, was not a surprise, especially to those monitoring the behaviour of the AFC's leader, Khemraj Ramjattan, a lawyer and defector from the governing PPP.
He had earlier admitted to involvement in "mobilisation" of protests by Lindeners against the Government's proposed phased hike in electricity tariff for eventual equalisation with the rest of Guyanese consumers.
That was the core issue and was still being used to literally fan flames, even after the Government had put the proposed tariff hike on hold and agreed to a general review of expressed social and economic discontent in Linden, for which the terms of reference and personnel for a special technical committee had been agreed.
However, as recently as August 10, the AFC's Ramjattan had told the local media of his party's rejection of any inclusion in the terms of reference for the independent probe into the killings of the three demonstrators who "may have organised, mobilised or promoted the protest on July 18..."
The harsh reality is that it is difficult to separate the tragedy of three deaths and the injuries suffered by at least a dozen protesters from the related incidents of July 18.
According to the sophistry of the AFC's leader, "even if Ramjattan went up there (in Linden) and organised the thing (the 'thing' being the protest), what's wrong with that? It is the exercise of a constitutional right".
What is most disturbing for Guyana's future political stability and social/economic advancement is not that the lawyer/politician Ramjattan could be so insensitive to the problems affecting Lindeners. Rather, that his self-serving platitudes could have succeeded in influencing the APNU, and, by extension, the PNC, into backing away from Monday's expected signing of the terms of reference for the independent commission of inquiry.
Consequently, there was the amusing scenario on Monday of the Opposition welcoming the announcement of the three distinguished Caricom citizens chosen for the independent probe, while still failing to reach consensus with the Government on the Commission's terms of reference.
As one well-known lawyer reacted when we spoke yesterday about this surprising development, "You simply cannot discuss text without context". Fair enough.
But the trio of identified commissioners for the coming probe, which has been in the making for more than a fortnight, may perhaps need to reflect on the implications of the poppycock politics in Guyana for more than Lindeners.
Currently it is manifesting in ongoing bartering between two opposition parties that together control a majority of one seat in the 65-member Parliament. The bartering involves more than painful political somersaults and is quite costly in its social and economic consequences for more than the bauxite mining town of Linden, which has a population of some 40,000.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Suriname will not bow down to Holland – Wijdenbosch
(de Ware Tijd) AMSTERDAM – Suriname will never bow down to the Netherlands just to improve relations with that country. It is the Dutch who are damaging the relationship, so they must take action to make the relationship healthy again, former President Jules Wijdenbosch says in reply to questions from de Ware Tijd shortly after a press conference he held yesterday in Hotel Casa400 in Amsterdam.
He harshly criticized the attitude of the Netherlands towards Suriname, saying, “it is not the Netherlands which decides the legitimacy of Suriname’s rulers.” Wijdenbosch expressed his personal opinions. Lower House member Harry van Bommel (Socialist Party, SP) hopes both countries will deal with the relationship in a “mature way,” so it can be normalized. Wijdenbosch issued a warning to Dutch political parties which expressed the wish to isolate the country during the Lower House’s most recent Suriname-debate. The warning came in view of the upcoming Parliamentary elections on 12 September.
Although he did not mention parties by name during his press conference, Wijdenbosch tells dWT he was referring to the governing parties of CDA and VVD and their partner PVV, as well as PvdA. The former President calls the decision to refuse visa to the suspects of the 8 December murder trial “childish”. In his presentation, Wijdenbosch used many data to show that Suriname’s economy is doing well, adding that The Hague is not pleased with this success. He also criticized the Dutch government’s decision to keep documents secret for 60 years, as these contain information on Suriname in the 1980s and the role the Dutch might have played in developments then. It may be impossible to uncover the truth during the 8 December trial without these documents.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Guyana, Suriname moving to regularise backtrack route
Guyana and Suriname have agreed to work to tighten security and regularise the “backtrack” route used by many persons to travel between the two countries.
“We know that there are some security issues that has to be taken care of, that’s why we have decided that technical people from the security institutions from both our countries should meet as soon as possible to discuss the issue in order to see how the regulations can (be put in place),” said Winston Lackin, the Surinamese Minister of Foreign Affairs as he and his local counterpart, Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett met at the Grand Coastal Inn yesterday, to review the progress made following the February meeting of the Presidents of Guyana and Suriname. Related issues on the bilateral agenda were also expected to be discussed during the meet.
Rodrigues-Birkett added that backtracking has been discussed and representatives of the two countries will be meeting very soon to discuss what both sides would be putting in place. She said that it must be recognised that “it’s the reality,” while pointing out that not everyone who goes through the…..
|Posted by haimdatsawh on August 24, 2012 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
Jagdeo- Guyana's Putin
Written by Guest Columnist Wednesday, 08 August 2012 18:42
by Political Oracle
History is dominated with a plethora of acknowledgment and myriad examples of the concept "true power lies behind the throne". Most astute politicians will endeavour to try to achieve the skills to be a “king maker rather than a king". The term "secret president" is not so mundane in our daily political discourse, but the concept was in existence for very long time. However, it still manifest itself regularly in many political systems and nations Edith Wilson and Eleanor Roosevelt were the two ladies in recent times, that were famous for executing the duties of a "Secret President" and performed "power behind the throne".
These women were performing the duty for their husbands, who were both USApresidents during World War 1 and II. It is chronicled that they played the role very effectively. The Russian president, Vladmir Putin created a similar scenario and became famous for popularising his version of political puppetry, which universally became known as "Putinism". Vladmir Putin had the absolute power and the final political decisions in Russia during Dimtry Medvedev presidency. It was known in diplomatic circles in every international fora, that Putin is the "power behind the throne" many international experts started to ponder if Dilma. Rousseff of Brazil will be a obsequious president to Lula, as was Medvedev to Putin.
In Guyana, Bharrat Jagdeo, has emerged as a powerful "secret president" and an undisputed "power behind the throne" In August1999, Janet Jagan stepped down for health reasons and transferred the presidency to Jagdeo. As a Marxist leader of the PPP and the matriarch of the Guyanese nation, Mrs Jagan conceptualized a plan that would enable her to control the young Russian economist. But logics and reality have shown, Mrs Jagan failed in her endeavours. At a cursory look at Jagdeo in 1999,he appeared to display obvious docility. But characteristically, Jagdeo was always judicious in his political ventures and perspicacious in economics. He was also a sincere erudite and a sagacious person. It is noted that from the inception of his presidency, Jagdeo unearthed the dictatorial desires he harboured and revealed the power obsession which he suppressed. One of his initial acts was to read and analyse all the documents and literature on Forbes Burnham and he studied Burnham’s for nation building and political solution in party life. Jagdeo on numerous occasions imitated Burnham, both tactically and strategically. He is a "miniature kabaka"
Jagdeo ingeniously began to consolidate power with the party, the government and the wider society. He surrounded himself with loyalists and ‘yes men’ and the ‘new private sector’ which become the recipient of most of his financial favours. The so called old guard of the party almost became extinct At first his strategies and motives were inconspicuous, but when he won the 2001 election and received national endorsement at the polls, his attitude and antics evolved into a polemic and pugnacious nature. Jagdeo was " lord of the manor" at cabinet meetings. Mrs Jagan was too physical unwell and languorous to take control of the party and government. She once rose to the issue of the withdrawal of the government advertisements from Stabroek News, a matter that Jagdeo did not like and he was contentious in calling her a public citizen. It was an indication that Jagdeo was fearless of any one in the PPP or in the society at large. On one occasion he presumptuously insulted industrial icon Yesu Persaud at the launching of Guyana Times, a newspaper owned by his friend Bobby Ramroop. His behaviour was blatantly supercilious to any who he perceives as political threat. On the death of Mrs. Jagan, Jagdeo became very rancorous and openly disagreeable with his opponents.
On the other hand, he was affable and amiable to those who loved and supported him. On various occasions Jagdeo would be gregarious and he displayed a jocular personality. As time progresses, Jagdeo became indispensable to the PPP because he has a rare managerial skills, he can conceptualise and express himself efficiently and eloquently on fiscal and monetary issues. This enabled him to administer government contracts and state programs to his advantage and with impunity. Over 97 percent of the Guyanese population cannot comprehend Government accounting and national economics principles and procedures. This gave Jagdeo the opportunity to manipulate the economy to his advantage.
The PPP depends on him as their financial Czar and until now he meets with several implementers of major government projects and policies. In essence, two presidents occupy Office of the President on a weekly if not a daily basis.
|Posted by haimdatsawh on July 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
GlaxoSmithKline Fraud Case: Does Crime Pay?
As the pharmaceutical giant is fined a record sum of $3bn, we ask if the move will be a deterrent for others.
Inside Story Americas Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 10:01
"Most of the examples ... are of a drug that is approved for disease A and it is thought to be safe and effective for disease A but they're not selling enough. It's still on patent ... as long as it's on patent, as long as they can charge more, they will start pushing it for disease B and C and D for which there is no evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks so this is a strategy widely used by companies to increase their sales." - Dr Sidney Wolfe, co-founder and director of the Health Research Group
In the biggest health care fraud settlement in US history, a federal judge approved a fine totalling $3bn for criminal and civil violations by the British pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, last week.ge more, they will start pushing it for disease B and C and D for which there is no evidence that the benefits outweigh the risks so this is a strategy widely used by companies to i the s ... are of a drug that is approved for disease A and it is thought to be safe and effective for disease A but they're The company admitted illegally marketing the popular antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and also withholding the data on the health risks of its best-selling diabetes drug, Avandia. For seven years Glaxo failed to report data showing drug Avandia increased the risk of heart attack by as much as 40 per cent. And the company claimed Wellbutrin was beneficial for weight loss and treating sexual dysfunction. In the case of Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline promoted the drug for use by children and teenagers, despite the US Food and Drug Administration not approving it for patients under 18. In fact, a clinical trial had found that the drug made adolescents more likely to attempt suicide. Whistleblowers said that the company gave doctors lavish trips and spa treatments in order to persuade them to prescribe the drug for uses not approved of through testing - what are known as off-label prescriptions. Glaxo also hired a company to write a medical journal article downplaying the risks. The US deputy attorney general called the settlement historic, saying it sent a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law.
"They are doing the calculation ... and it comes out in their favour that you might as well take the risk here. The basic economics are fairly straight forward, we know that these drugs could be produced, with few exceptions, very cheaply .... There is an enormous incentive for them to lie, cheat, steal, whatever, try and push these drugs." - Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research
But there have been some other big drug companies that have been caught acting illegally. In January 2009, the American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly agreed to pay more than $1.4bn for illegally promoting the drug Zyprexa. Prior to Glaxo, the previous record-setting case involved Pfizer Inc., which in September 2009 paid $2.3bn for improperly marketing 13 different drugs, including Viagra. In April 2012, Johnson & Johnson and a subsidiary were ordered to pay more than $1.2bn for minimising or concealing dangers associated with the antipsychotic drug Risperdal. And in May, Abbott Laboratories settled for $1.6bn in regard to false marketing of the antiepileptic and mood-stabilising drug Depakote. So, with the profits over more than a decade of illegal selling far larger than the amount Glaxo agreed to pay, will pharmaceutical companies really be put off? And do drug companies put profits before patients in the US?
Inside Story Americas, with presenter Shihab Rattansi, discusses with guests: Dr Sidney Wolfe, the co-founder and director of the Health Research Group; Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research; and Wendell Potter, an author and corporate health analyst. Inside Story Americas also invited GlaxoSmithKline to take part in this discussion, but the company declined.
"Many observers, including myself believe that as long as it is just money that's involved, it's not a sufficient deterrent. The drugs that were involved in this settlement earned tens of billions of dollars over a long period of time. So the settlement was less than a single year's sales of just one of those drugs, Avandia, the drug that I was involved in exposing the risks of. And so it's just money, and it's just part of doing business. Many people, particularly on Capitol Hill, believe that it's time to begin holding these executives accountable for actual jail time when they commit this kind of criminal fraud." -- Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic who in 2007 published findings that showed the health risks of the drug Avandia
THE GLAXOSMITHKLINE FRAUD CASE:
• GlaxoSmithKline promoted antidepressants for unapproved uses
• Glaxo failed to disclose diabetes drug increased heart attack risk
• The company pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $3bn fines - the largest settlement ever by a drug company
• The fine includes $1bn criminal fine and $2bn for the civil settlement
• The $2bn civil settlement involved asthma drug Advair and claims that Glaxo overcharged the US government
• The criminal charges involved Paxil Wellbutrin and Avandia
• The antidepressant, Paxil, brought in $11.6bn in sales for Glaxo
• Sales of the diabetes drug, Avandia, brought in $10.4bn
• Sales of Wellbutrin, another antidepressant, brought in $5.9bn for Glaxo
• [total raked in: $27.9 billion against a fine of a mere $3 billion-dfo’s addition!]
|Posted by haimdatsawh on July 17, 2012 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
Whitening Cream: Fair Deal for India's Women?
Feminists in the world's largest democracy are angry about ads for a fairness cream for women's intimate parts.
Sudha G Tilak Last Modified: 10 Jul 2012 11:46 Some columnists believe the obsession with whitening products is symptomatic of racism [GALLO/GETTY]
Cosmetics for Indian women are assuming unhealthy tones. A recent Indian advertisement for Clean and Dry, a vaginal wash which promises women fairer private parts, has led to an outcry among many in the country. The television ad shows a woman unhappy in the company of her husband, as he seems more interested in the morning paper than her. After a liberal use of the vaginal wash, the woman appears in shorts and beckons the man who swings her in his arms, suggesting happiness. The tagline of the ad says: "Life for women will now be fresher, cleaner and more importantly fairer and more intimate."
Fairly insulting Blogs and tweets have decried the controversial advertisement, as have columnists and physicians. Rupa Subramanya, popular on Twitter, called the 25-second TV commercial, "the ultimate insult" to the Indian woman. Columnist Deepanjana Pal wrote, "While Fair and Lovely tapped in on our inherent racism with its early ad campaigns, the intent of products like whitening deodorants, moisturisers and 'hygiene products' seems more insidious now." Fair and Lovely is an Indian face cream that promises to make dark-skinned women more white. It has been a huge hit since its launch in the country in 1978. The product-makers said, "Indian women finally found hope in a tube," and claim to have discovered the "skin lightening action of niacinamide" that led to the development of their product. Since then, fairness creams and cosmetics have continued to rule the Indian market and many foreign national brands, including Revlon, Loreal and Garnier, have invaded the Indian cosmetic market with sun protection or skin whitening creams and lotions.Clean and Dry, priced at Rs 100 ($1.60), is considered to be more affordable than many of the foreign alternatives. Alyque Padamsee, the Clean and Dry ad director, has told sections of the Indian media that the reaction to the ad is overrated. Defending the ad, he is reported to have said, "It is hard to deny that fairness creams often get social commentators and activists all worked up. Lipstick is used to make your lips redder, fairness cream is used to make you fairer - so what's the problem?" The problem, say social commentators, is that it presents a distorted view of beauty based on skin tone to the predominantly dark-skinned Indian woman. Even today in modern metropolises, the demand for fair-skinned brides is prominent in matrimonial columns in newspapers and on websites. Vaseline, a comestics brand, tried to promote its fairness cream for men with a Facebook application designed to make their faces look more white. Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan has endorsed whitening products including Fair and Handsome cream, after shave and facial wash for men.
Health and fairness Doctors, for their part, warn fairness products can cause physical harm. "We need to know the proper effect of such products that seem useless playing on fancy notions of beauty in the minds of women," said Dr Sachin Dhawan, a well-known dermatologist and beauty consultant to many leading skin clinics in New Delhi and Gurgaon. Many skin whitening or bleaching products may contain lightening agents such as hydroquinone and alpha hydroxy. "On sensitive skin these have the potential to cause irritation and allergic reactions after prolonged use in the intimate areas by women," Dhawan said. Dr Joyeeta Basu from Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, said the long-term effects of whitening products are still unclear. "Studies have not been conducted over many years to study if these have harmful effects," she said, "so [they] cannot be condemned conclusively for any toxicity until proven."
Cosmetic boom Cautions aside, fairness creams are still selling well and the Indian cosmetics industry is booming. According to recent research from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the country's domestic cosmetics industry is poised to grow to Rs 200bn ($3.6bn) by 2014. The increased popularity of specialised products, including skin tone lotions and creams, and anti-ageing cosmetics has been attributed to the increase in the population of working women, growing disposable income among consumers and aggressive marketing and advertising. "The protests [against whitening products] are small in number because Indian woman in both urban and rural areas of have taken to cosmetics, cosmetic surgery and enhancement in a big way," said Dr Dhawan. While feminists and social commentators find an independent Indian woman's need for "fairness" unfair, the soaring sales of fairness products tell another tale. Ammu Rao, a natural healing therapist in Gurgaon, a city near the capital New Delhi, isn't averse to giving Clean and Dry a try. "If we need fairness for our faces, why not for down there?" she asks. Whoever said beauty is only skin deep probably didn't forsee the popularity of whitening creams in modern India. Source: Al Jazeera