Monday, July 27, 2009

ZIMBABWE: Male circumcision rollout a long way off

HARARE, (PlusNews) - Providing male circumcision as an HIV prevention measure in Zimbabwe's state hospitals is off to a very slow start, and experts cite the country's crippled health sector as the main reason for the delay. Although about 140 circumcisions were successfully performed at four hospitals as part of a training exercise, health officials told IRIN/PlusNews the government was not yet ready to roll out the programme. The money is there: Zimbabwe has received funding from donors for the male circumcision programme, which is being administered by Population Services International (PSI), a social marketing NGO. But the health workers are not ready. Government intended implementing the initiative by August this year but has had to train more health personnel. "We don't want any hiccups when we open the doors to the public; that is why we are proceeding with caution," Dr Owen Mugurungi, National Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS coordinator in the ministry of health and child welfare, told IRIN/PlusNews. "We want to make sure that when we make the announcement that rollout has begun, people can come and get quality service, and that nothing will go wrong. We want to make sure that we have adequate staff, and that they are also knowledgeable about how to conduct the operation safely."The government, working with AIDS service organizations, has embarked on an awareness campaign to educate people about the benefits of the procedure. "We want men to understand that male circumcision is part of the prevention package, and that this procedure works with other aspects in our prevention campaigns, otherwise we will have a huge disaster on our hands if this is not carefully understood," Mugurungi said.
We don't want any hiccups when we open the doors to the public; that is why we are proceeding with caution Is the public health sector ready?Health minister Henry Madzorera said it would be some time before male circumcision was offered at all hospitals and clinics. "We want to do this in the same manner that was done with national antiretroviral therapy programme. It started at four hospitals in Harare [the capital] and Bulawayo [the second city] and then the programme was decentralized to smaller hospitals throughout the provinces."Zimbabwe's public health facilities were starved of resources, drugs and equipment for years, but a health worker strike that began in November 2008 shut down health services completely for several months. The loss of qualified nurses and doctors would make it even more difficult to deliver the service. "I am sure the ministry is aware of the scale of collapse in the public health sector ... there is just no staff to do this kind of thing," said Itai Rusike, director of the Community Working Group of Health (CWGH), a local NGO operating in 25 districts. Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world - 15.6 percent, or at least 1.7 million people living with HIV, according to UNAIDS - and could not afford to delay introducing the new prevention method. Rusike called on government to use communities already practising male circumcision to drive the process, so as to alleviate pressure on public hospitals. An estimated 10 percent of Zimbabwean men are circumcised for religious and traditional reasons. "There are communities already doing male circumcision, such as the Muslims, and this could be a good entry point. The ministry can offer technical support and monitor to see that the exercise is done under the most hygiene standards," Rusike suggested. According to the only study on the acceptability of male circumcision, undertaken in Harare in 2000 by UNAIDS, at least 45 percent of respondents expressed a wish to be circumcised if the practice was "affordable, safe and was confirmed to reduce the risk of contracting HIV or sexually transmitted infections". st/kn/he
Theme(s): (PLUSNEWS) Care/Treatment - PlusNews, (PLUSNEWS) Gender Issues, (PLUSNEWS) HIV/AIDS (PlusNews), (PLUSNEWS) Prevention - PlusNews [ENDS]

What follows is the original article I wrote when the news story first broke regarding the existence of a system to tap into any phone in America built into the surveillance system used by law enforcement authorities. Several cases were cited where investigations ranging from drug running and money laundering to the events of 9/11 had been compromised by leaks from the company that operated the phone taps as well as phone data from an associated company that handles billing services for almost every phone in America.
The focus of the article was a single question. Could Israel be blackmailing the entire US Government and media.
The answer is now obvious. Fox News, the so-called "We report, you decide" all news network, has removed the four part story from their website. No explanation is given except for the single Orwellian sentence at the end of one of the links, "This story no longer exists". (It can still be read HERE)
Israel, purportedly our friend, has been spying on us all. And we're not talking about individual spooks like Jonathan Pollard, or small-time networks such as the 140 Israelis arrested by the FBI prior to 9/11, or the 60 arrested since (including 5 arrested who were cheering and celebrating as the World Trade Towers collapsed).
It turns out that Israel has had a potential wiretap on every phone in America for years, along with the ability to monitor and record who any person is calling, anywhere in America; information of great value even if one does not listen to the calls themselves. Amdocs, Inc. the company which sub contracts billing and directory services for phone companies around the world, including 90 percent of American phone companies, is owned by Israeli interests. Yet another company, Comverse Infosys, is suspected of having built a "back door" into the equipment permanently installed into the phone system that allows instant eavesdropping by law enforcement agencies on any phone in America. This includes yours.
Concerns about allowing an Israeli company such intimate access to the infrastructure go back many years. As reported by Fox News, the Israeli company Amdocs was implicated in the leaking of police phone data that resulted in the collapse of on investigation into a massive drug and credit card fraud operation with Israeli connections.
In a telling repeat of the Los Angeles drug case, investigators looking into the attacks on the World Trade Towers are again reporting that confidential telephone information is again being leaked in a manner that is interfering with the investigations. Again, Amdocs was implicated.
Not content with the phones of ordinary citizens in the United States, evidence has surfaced that Israel compromised the telephone systems at the highest levels of the US Government.
Now, I want you all to stop and think for a minute of the full ramifications of this. Israeli interests have the ability to listen in on ANY phone in America connected to any of the systems used by Amdocs or Comverse Infosys. They have had this ability for several years. They can listen in and track the phone calls made by anyone's phone, whether police officer, elected official, media talking head, editor, policy setter, news mogul, even the President of the United States. The Ken Starr report on Whitewater describes how Bill Clinton warned Monica Lewinsky that a foreign government was tapping their phone calls.
Few indeed are the people in America who do not have something to hide. That insider trade, the brief but torrid affair, the stolen votes, the deliberate smear, the role one played in an assassination, the acceptance of money from drug runners to look the other way. Be honest. Is there a skeleton in your closet you hope will stay there? Something nobody knows about? Well, if that skeleton involved a phone call, someone may know about it. Amdocs and Comverse Infosys. And their Israeli owners.
Just think about it for a moment. Everyone's private phone traffic, right up to the President, potentially visible to Israeli interests. And you cannot find the phone taps or bugs because they are built right into the phone system!
Suddenly, a lot of events which have puzzled observers start to make sense.
Like the way the US vetoed the UN resolution calling for peace in Palestine, despite being the only 1 out of 15 voting nations to have voted against the measure. The USA gained nothing by this veto. But Israel did.
Over the last few weeks, the people of the United States have seen a great deal of evidence pointing the finger of blame for 9/11 at Osama bin Laden and Arabs in general, evidence which is circumstantial, often self-contradictory, and in some cases faked. Yet as was reported in the news, evidence also exists linking many of the arrested Israeli spies (some of whom worked for the Israeli telecom companies above) with the events of 9/11. Yet this evidence is NOT being broadcast endlessly on the news. In fact, this evidence is CLASSIFIED. Someone has "persuaded" the US Government and the media that the American people are ONLY supposed to see the evidence that points a certain direction, and must never see any evidence that points someplace else. Likewise, the media has been "persuaded" not to report evidence that Israel knew of the 9/11 attacks ahead of time. The foreign press has outright accused the Mossad of taking part in the 9/11 attacks but the American media have been "persuaded" not to cover these accusations.
It was well known that there was an Israeli spy inside the Clinton White House. But Clinton ordered the FBI to cease searching for the mole, code-named "Mega". It is now known that "Mega" was not just Mossad spy but top Mossad agent in America. The cancellation of the hunt for "Mega" occurred at the same time Clinton warned Monica Lewinsky that their phone conversations were being recorded. This strongly suggests that Clinton was "persuaded" to call off the FBI's hunt for "Mega" with the threat of a recorded phone sex session being made public.
Because of the purported links between Muslims and the attacks on the World Trade Towers, the US Government has been shutting down all Muslin linked charities in the USA. But the Chairman of the Jewish Defense League, a group with a violent history, was arrested recently in a plot to bomb a US congressman. But the US Government has been "persuaded" not to take actions against Jewish charities, while the media has been "persuaded" to allow the story of hard evidence of JDL terrorism to fade away as quickly as possible.

The Mexican government was persuaded to release the two men without trial. Meanwhile, the American media has been "persuaded" not to report on the Mexican arrests.
Israel receives a hugely disproportionate share of foreign aid from the United States, about $5 billion a year. A large segment of the US population questions the sending so much money to such a small population while so many people remain homeless on our own streets. But somehow, Congress is "persuaded" to keep sending more cash each and every year.
Sharon faces war crimes trial. The American media is "persuaded" not to make a big deal of the story.
Israel is in violation of the Geneva Accords. The American media is "persuaded" not to make a big deal of this story.
The United Nations accuses Israel of using torture on children. The American media is "persuaded" not to make a big deal of this story, either.
How is such persuasion possible?
The revelation of an Israeli-linked system for monitoring and potentially listening in to the phone calls of every single person in the nation at will opens up the possibility that a massive blackmail operation, unprecedented in scale, is the real force shaping media bias and United States policy.
The reality is that this nation's politicians and media leaders all have secrets to hide. Mistresses, drug habits, links to that airfield in Mena, Arkansas, BCCI cash sitting in that bank in Barbados, loot from ADFA in the Cayman's; in a corrupted society only the corrupt can reach the heights of power, and they all have secrets to hide. They are all vulnerable to blackmail. And being the kind of people who were willing to, and usually did, anything to get power, they are also the people willing to do anything to keep it. Look the other way when the drugs come in, spike an embarrassing news story or plant a fake one that embarrasses your enemy, alter the books, destroy a report, falsify data, destroy evidence, maybe even allow the military might of the United States and the blood of her children to be tricked into fighting someone else's war.
History has shown that if a crime is possible, it is also inevitable. The cold hard reality is that Amdocs and Comverse Infosys are the most powerful tools a blackmailer could ever hope for, opening up the private lives of everyone in the nation, including the secrets of targets able to control the media and US policy.
Dare we ignore this potential threat?
Or will the media be "persuaded" that all this fuss about Israeli-owned companies with wires into the phone system is just a lot of nonsense?
There is one more aspect to this issue that needs to be looked at. If indeed Israel is blackmailing our officials and media icons, it is because those who are being blackmailed ARE blackmailable. If we elect a government of criminals, we elect a government subject to blackmail. Finally, given the fact that blackmail may be assumed to be as widespread as the collection system itself is, those who persist in trying to defend Israel may no longer be assumed to be operating from the purest of motives. After all, who will defend a blackmailer more staunchly than those who are the blackmailer's victims?
If this doesn't prove that the US Governmentis controlled by Israel, nothing will...

Top 4 Article Directories to Submit Your Content To

Back in 2007 I wrote a post about article submission being a poor SEO tactic. Since then the article has had about 5,000 visitors that mainly came from Google and it’s still getting good traffic now. Because it has been so popular I just gave it a bit of an update and added information about how to submit to article directories and which ones to use.
Over the years I have been screwed over in various ways by a few directories such as Article Alley, Articles Base and Isnare, the 1st two added nofollow to my author signature links and Isnare took a payment from me for a featured submission and then never published it or got back to me when I emailed.
Anyway, fortunately there are a handful of decent general article directories that you can rely on, here are my top 4:
1/ Ezine Articles is the best article directory on the web, it has good standards, a PageRank 6/10 and currently, according to Alexa it’s the 185th most popular site on the web. The site is very easy to use, just click onto submit articles and follow instructions to get started.
2/ My 2nd favourite article directory is Buzzle, I have been an author there for over a year now, my articles are usually published within 24 hours and indexed by Google in no time. The site has a PageRank score of 5/10 and it’s Alexa rank is in the top 2,000. You have to apply to get accepted as an author at Buzzle and it can take a few weeks, but IMO it’s worth the wait.
3/ Another great article site is Go Articles, it’s ran by the Jayde Online Network, it has a Google PageRank of 6/10 and its Alexa score is inside the top 3,500. Submitting is a piece of cake, click on submit articles and then fill in the register as a new member form to get started. Articles are published fast, usually in less then a week.
4/ Article Dashboard is a mother of an article directory with, according to siteexplorer nearly 4,000,000 links that have come from other article directories using their script. The site has a Google PageRank score of 4/10 and its Alexa traffic rank is about 5,000. Click on the sign up link in the top right hand corner, follow instructions and start submitting your content.
Make sure you read our article submission blog post before you start using these sites, if done correctly and in moderation article submission can be a good small part of your link building and SEO strategy.
FYI: I think the UK needs a really good article directory so I have just registered and I plan to launch that in the next month or so.
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Industry divided on federal menu-labeling bill

By Paul Frumkin
WASHINGTON Twenty-one foodservice chains sent a letter to members of Congress on Friday urging lawmakers to broaden the scope of federal menu-labeling legislation to require more restaurant locations to post nutrition data.
In a letter sent last week to Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and Joe Barton, R-Texas, a group of quick-service and full-service operators said they backed a federal proposal to require nutrition labeling in restaurants, but urged lawmakers to expand the reach of the proposed law.
Late last month restaurant industry officials had expressed widespread support for a bipartisan agreement combining elements of two existing Senate menu-labeling bills that would require chains with 20 units or more to post calorie information on menu boards, menus or drive-thru signage.
The measure — a combination of the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act and the Menu Education and Labeling Act — drew praise from the National Restaurant Association and the National Council of Chain Restaurants as well as such major chains as Burger King, Darden Restaurants and Brinker International.
But another group of foodservice operators including Texas Roadhouse, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Which Wich?, Domino’s Pizza, Del Taco, El Pollo Loco, Jack in the Box and Yum! now are insisting the measure doesn’t go far enough, revealing the fact that the entire industry does not support the bill in its present form.
“It’s a very good start and we think a bill needs to be passed requiring menu labeling with federal pre-emption,” said Jonathan Blum, senior vice president of public affairs for Yum! Brands Inc., one of the participating foodservice operators. “However, as a matter of good public policy the language should be modified to cover more customers in restaurants, supermarkets and convenience stores.”
In its letter, the group writes: “While we support many of the key substantive provisions included in [the measure], we believe it is a mistake to limit its application only to large chains. This limitation, which effectively exempts more than 75 percent of the restaurants in the [United States], is an important flaw that we believe must be addressed.”
In 2008 Yum announced that it had decided voluntarily to post per-serving calorie counts on the menu boards of all its company-owned U.S. outlets by Jan. 1, 2011.
In an earlier interview with Nation’s Restaurant News discussing California’s statewide menu-labeling law, Blum also had called the exemption of foodservice brands that have fewer than 20 outlets “patently unfair. What we’re looking for is a uniform standard…”
“Exempting the vast majority of businesses from this requirement is not warranted by the limited burden involved in providing this information and undermines the key consumer benefit that is the central purpose of the legislation,” the letter says.
The participating chains recommend that policymakers set “a reasonable minimum financial standard for inclusion, such as $1 million in annual sales, and/or by applying the requirements to all chains with three or more locations.”
“The existing language exempts three times more restaurants than it includes,” Blum said, adding that it isn’t necessary for all 945,000 foodservice operations in the United States to provide nutritional information, but the current proposed number is “inadequate.”
Travis Doster, a spokesman for Texas Roadhouse in Louisville, Ky., said he doesn’t think the proposal goes far enough either. “I think there might be a backlash,” he said. “The public thinks they’re getting a nationwide menu-labeling law, and they’re not going to see it in most of their restaurants.
“You don’t require just the biggest cars to have seatbelts; you require all cars,” he added.
Doster also said that while the letter has been signed by about 20 chains, the participating operators had conversations “with many other chains that agree with us but for whatever reason chose not be listed here. The picture [of the industry] is not as unified as has been presented.”
However, Beth Johnson, executive vice president of public affairs for the NRA, maintained that the foodservice industry "is in fact unified about the most critical provision in the nutrition information legislation: the need for federal preemption. Having one national, uniform standard is essential, and there is widespread industry agreement that we need a federal legislative approach to create that standard.
"We believe that we are supporting the approach that has the most realistic chance of passage and the best success in preventing a patchwork of harmful regulation and legislation across the country," she said.
Contact Paul Frumkin at

مواجهة قضائية بين مصر والمليونير اللبناني وجيه سياج امام المحاكم

تدور امام المحاكم الفرنسية والبريطانية معركة قضائية بين الحكومة المصرية والمليونير اللبناني وجيه سياج بعد نجاح المليونير اللبناني بتجميد ارصدة الحكومة المصرية في البنوك الفرنسية والبريطانية بدعوى ان له بذمتها ملايين الدولارات وقد حددت محكمة القضاء المستعجل الفرنسية يوم الاثنين المقبل موعدًا لنظر طلب مصر رفع الحجز على أموال حكومية فى بنك مصر بباريس، على خلفية تنفيذ وجيه سياج لحكم مركز التحكيم التابع للبنك الدولى «أكسيد»، القاضى بدفع مصر تعويضًا قدره ٧٤ مليون دولار، بالإضافة إلى الفوائد ومصاريف التحكيم
كما قررت محكمة القضاء المستعجل البريطانية تأجيل دعوى مماثلة لرفع الحجز على أموال حكومية بالبنك الأهلى فى لندن بعد لجوء سياج أيضًا إلى تنفيذ صيغة الحكم النهائية فى الأراضى البريطانية، وهى الصيغة التى تمنحه حقًا فى الحجز على أى أموال مصرية فى الدول الموقعة على الاتفاقيات الدولية التى تقضى بتسوية المنازعات الاستثمارية أمام البنك الدولى
كان المليونير اللبناني وجيه سياج قد حجز على هذه الأموال بعد مرور ٣٠ يومًا على حكم مركز تسوية المنازعات التابع للبنك الدولى «أكسيد»، حسب قواعد التحكيم، وامتناع مصر عن التنفيذ ولجوئها إلى الطعن. ونسبت جريدة المصري اليوم للمليونير اللبناني قوله : «أستغرب موقف الدكتور أحمد كمال أبوالمجد فى القضية، فقد دارت أحاديث بينى وبينه فى بداية القضية، وأبديت تعجبى من قبوله القضية رغم أنه كان محاميًا لخالد فودة صاحب مشروع (نايل فالى) المجاور لأرضى، والذى سحبت منه الحكومة أرضه وحصل على أحكام مماثلة من القضاء الإدارى لاستعادة المشروع ولكنها لم تنفذ كما حدث معى بالضبط».وأضاف: «وكان رد أبوالمجد أن قضية فودة تختلف عن قضيتى، لأننى كما قال تعاونت مع إسرائيليين، رغم أننى فسخت عقدى مع شركة التسويق الإسرائيلية، وفودة خسر كل شىء مثلى، ولم يستطع تنفيذ الأحكام لأنه لم يلجأ للتحكيم، وكانت مساحة أرضه ٥٦٠ ألف متر مربع».وتابع: ولكننى أحترم الدكتور أبوالمجد وقد بذل جهدًا كبيرًا فى القضية، وهنأته على أدائه، فلولاه لما تقلص مبلغ التعويض إلى ٧٤ مليون دولار فقط، لأننا طلبنا وقتها ٥٠٠ مليون دولار تعويضًا عن المشروع والأضرار التى لحقت بنا

حتى البواب اغتصبها.. أوروبية تكتشف في دبي أنها "مبيوعة" لبيت دعارة

الكاتب محمد عسيري (سبق)
كشفت السلطات الأمنية في دبي أنها تمكنت من القبض على عصابة أوروبية تزاول الاتجار بالبشر عبر إرغام نساء على ممارسة الدعارة.
وأوضحت تقارير إعلامية ان السلطات استطاعت الوصول للعصابة إثر تلقي مركز للشرطة بلاغا من امرأة أوروبية بأنها أرغمت على ممارسة الرذيلة.
وبالاستفسار والتحقيق مع المرأة أفادت أنها تعرّفت في موطنها على امرأة أوروبية ووعدتها بتوفير فرصة عمل بأحد المطاعم بدبي براتب مغر ومميِّزات فائقة، وقامت بمباشرة إجراءات سفرها.
وأكدت أنه في مطار دبي استقبلتها امرأة أوروبية أخرى، وأسكنتها في إحدى الشقق السكنية ليوم واحد، لتأخذها في اليوم التالي إلى شقة أخرى فيها مجموعة من النسوة من جنسيتها ليتبين لها فيما بعد أنّ استقدامها كان بهدف الزجّ بها في مجال الرذيلة، وأنها بيعت إلى امرأتين من جنسية أوروبية.
وبرفضها العمل في هذه المهنة اعتدي عليها بالضرب وهددت بأن عليها لاسترداد حريتها سداد "قيمتها المدفوعة وأرباحها"، وأجبرت على ممارسة الرذيلة مع رجال دون تمييز، كما قام حارس البناية، وهو من جنسية آسيوية، بهتك عرضها بالإكراه. وحين سنحت لها الفرصة بالفرار لجأت إلى رجال مكافحة الاتجار بالبشر في دبي وقدمت شكواها.
وأعلنت السلطات الأمنية بدبي أنها على أثر الشكوى تمكنت من الوصول إلى الشقة التي تستخدم وكرا للعصابة، وبعد اتخاذ الإجراءات القانونية اللازمة تمت مداهمة الشقة، وألقي القبض على امرأتين اعترفتا بأنهما تديران الوكر وتمارسان الرذيلة لحساب امرأة أوروبية تقوم بإحضار الفتيات من بلدان شتى، وبناء عليه أحيلتا للنيابة العامة.
من جانبها أكدت شرطة دبي أنها تبذل أقصى جهودها "لاجتثاث ظاهرة الاتجار بالبشر الوافدة على مجتمعنا، التي يراد بها تلويث سجلنا الناصع في مجال حماية حقوق الإنسان".