Archive for September 13th, 2009

US rejects film on Darwin

| 13/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(Telegraph): A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer. Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin’s "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie. The film has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia. However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where only 39% believe in the theory of evolution.

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Britain ‘may be forced to bail out tax havens’

| 13/09/2009 | 19 Comments

(The Guardian): Britain could be forced to bail out one or more of its offshore tax havens at huge cost, according to early drafts of a Treasury report, because the economic crisis has wrecked their finances. Offshore expert Michael Foot will next month set out a number of options to government ministers in the report as anxiety grows within Whitehall over the health of Britain’s overseas territories and crown dependencies. Senior insiders say early drafts of Foot’s report suggest that the government may need to make provisions for the financial failure of British tax havens. Experts suggest the failure of a major tax haven could potentially cost the UK tens, if not hundreds, of millions of pounds.

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Bar robbed at gun point

| 13/09/2009 | 118 Comments

(CNS): Police have confirmed that George Town detectives are now investigating a possible armed robbery outside bar of the Brick House on Saturday around midnight. According to witneses a masked man armed with what looked like a gun demanded cash and escaped with the contents of the till as the bar was closing. Police conducted a search of the area and as yet no arrests have been made. The Brick House, in Grand Harbour, is owned by Harry Lalli, who is also one of the owners of the Next Level nightclub, the scene of Carlo Webster’s murder on Wednesday night.

Police said on Sunday afternoon that the 911 Emergency Communication Centre received a call from a member of the public reporting that a masked man, carrying what appeared to be a firearm, approached the bar and demanded cash. Detective Constable Gustavo Rodriquez who is investigating the incident said: “We would like to hear from anyone who was in the bar who saw what happened or anyone who was in the area who saw a vehicle leaving at high speed.”

Police have been told that the offender approached the bar from the car park adjacent to Books by the Bay. He demanded cash and was given an undisclosed sum from the cash register. He left on foot heading towards the Dog House. The offender is described as dark skinned between 5ft 5ins to 5ft 6ins with short curly black hair, wearing a black shirt and blue jean pants with black stockings over his head.

“We believe the offender ran past Dog House to the car park and made off in a vehicle, possibly an SUV. We would like to hear from anyone that was in the area who may have seen something that could help our enquiries,” said DC Rodriguez.

Anyone with information about this crime should contact DC Rodriguez 526-0767. People can also call Crime Stoppers on 800-8477 (TIPS). All persons calling Crime Stoppers remain anonymous, and are eligible for a reward of up to $1000, should their information lead to an arrest or recovery of property/drugs. 

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Systems shutdown as hospital attacked by virus

| 13/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(CNS): The Health Services Authority’s Information Systems were attacked by what officials described as  a malicious computer virus last week, which reportedly prompted an emergency shutdown of all major systems to isolate and eradicate the virus, known as ‘Conficter’. The hospital admitted on Friday afternoon to the attack which disrupted services throughout Thursday. In a statement, HSA Chief Executive Officer Lizzette Yearwood said that in the face of the attack the hospital activated its emergency procedures to ensure patient care was not impacted.

“Some of our patients did experience unusually longer waiting times initially, and for that we sincerely apologize; however we deployed additional personnel and technical resources to all clinical areas to minimize any downtime and ensure that our patients are given priority. All patient areas are now fully functional,” she added.

Yearwood explained that some non-essential areas of the hospital were taken offline while technical staff worked diligently to scan, isolate and restore the integrity of the more than 300 PCs on the hospital network before reconnection to the main network. She indicated that when the virus was first discovered on Thursday, the IT team did not think it was so widespread.

“Our initial assessment indicated that the virus was contained in specified areas. However, as more employees returned to office and logged on, we discovered that the virus was more widespread and therefore took the prudent decision to shut down the entire system and undertake a more comprehensive effort to secure and restore our network,” the CEO said.

The new HSA Chief Information Officer Dale Sanders who had started only the week before on 7 September, said that the issue highlighted the need for additional IT security measures at the HSA.

“We have learned invaluable lessons from the experience and those will be put in place to improve the integrity and functionality of the IT systems as part of a new information systems strategic plan going forward,” the new IT boss said denying that patient electronic records were at risk.

 “These are secured in a much deeper way and on other networks with additional layers of security and more powerful tools to thwart intrusion and virus attacks because of the implications and confidentiality of these records,” he claimed.

Given the situation it was no surprise that Yearwood was grateful Sanders was around.

“We are glad to have Mr. Sanders onboard. He will lead the HSA’s efforts to restore our computer network and ensure that the HSA maintains a reliable and robust clinical and management information system capable of meeting the demands and challenges of a modern healthcare organization,” she stated.

Prior to joining the HSA, Sanders was Vice President and Chief Information Officer of the Chicago-based Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation at Northwestern University which is affiliated with the 897-bed Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  HSA officials said he also worked with Intermountain Health Care (IHC) where he was the Regional Director of Information Systems and Medical Informatics for four hospitals and numerous ambulatory clinics in the Salt Lake City area. 

“I am excited at the opportunity to bring my experience to this vibrant organization and I looked forward to working with a superb team of professionals to help make the Health Services a world class organization,” he said.

According to the HSA press office while at IHC, he was also the Chief Architect of the IHC Enterprise Data Warehouse, recipient of five prestigious industry awards in the United States for contributions to healthcare quality and cost reduction. His background includes 8 years as an Information Systems Consultant and Vice President of Information Technology International.

His customers included Intel, Motorola, IBM, the US Army and Air Force, the National Security Agency, and many others. From 1983 through 1989, he was a Captain in the US Air Force where he specialized in the design and operation of battle management and decision support systems associated with strategic nuclear warfare. He was named "Information Systems Officer of the Year" in 1986. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry and Biology, and a Certificate of Information Systems Engineering from the US Air Force.


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Scientist who ‘saved 245m lives’ dies aged 95

| 13/09/2009 | 1 Comment

(Times Online): India paid tribute today to Norman Borlaug, the late American agricultural scientist who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for developing high-yield crops that helped to prevent millions of people from dying of famine across the developing world. Borlaug, known as the father of the “green revolution” that transformed agriculture in India and many other poor countries in the 1960s, died last night from cancer complications in Dallas, Texas, at the age of 95. Sharad Pawar, the Indian Minister of Agriculture, said that India and many other nations owed a debt of gratitude to "this outstanding personality” for helping to forge world peace and saving the lives of 245 million people worldwide.

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Child bride dies giving birth

| 13/09/2009 | 2 Comments

(Ennahar Online): A Yemeni girl of 12, forcibly married, died when she gave birth to her baby, said Sunday an organization of Human Rights in Sana’a. According to the Yemeni Organization for the Protection of Children (Siyaj), Fawzia Abdullah Youssef died Friday of a hemorrhage in the Saudi hospital of Hajja (north of Sana’a). The NGO said in a statement that the girl became pregnant at the age of 12, and the child was stillborn. Last year, the case of a Yemeni girl of 8, Nojoud Mohammad Ali (left), who had obtained a divorce, had highlighted the situation of thousands of women and children forced into marriage.

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