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May 2, 2012

Poison control centers educate public on hand sanitizer consumption

Poison control centers educate public on hand sanitizer consumption

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Cquote1.svg Teens may ingest hand sanitizer recreationally, and one or two swallows could get a child visibly drunk. Cquote2.svg

—Cyrus Rangan

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Poison control centers across the US are monitoring a recent increase in the trend of teenagers getting drunk by consuming hand sanitizer. In an effort to educate the public about the trend’s detrimental effects, these centers will be publicizing preventative methods, according to James Mowry, director of Indiana Poison Center.

“We are going to keep a close watch on this trend,” said Mowry. “We will be posting information on our Facebook page so our public will be aware of what could happen.”

Sixteen cases have been reported in California since March 1, according to the California Poison Control System. This amount raises California’s total to 60 cases reported since 2010.

Since the system “only receives the reported cases,” said Stuart E. Heard, executive director at CPCS, “… we suspect there are much more that go unreported.”

Ingesting the product can cause severe internal damage. The US Food and Drug Administration considers hand sanitizer a drug because the active ingredient in the product is alcohol. Low numbers of reported cases will not stop poison control centers from educating the public on the trend’s harmful effects, according to Mowry.

Hand sanitizer contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol.

Hand sanitizer contains 62 percent ethyl alcohol and, when ingested, produces the same effects of consuming a 120-proof alcoholic beverage or 50 percent more alcohol than hard liquor, according to Mowry. These effects range from dizziness to slurred speech. Ingesting the product can also lead to severe internal damage including alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning symptoms include confusion, vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, low body temperature, and unconsciousness, according to a report from the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

“Teens may ingest hand sanitizer recreationally, and one or two swallows could get a child visibly drunk. The larger the bottle, the greater the potential for poisoning,” said Cyrus Rangan, a medical toxicology consultant at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and an assistant medical director at CPCS.

Hand Sanitizer Ingredients

Teenagers learn how to extract the alcohol from the product through various sources, like YouTube tutorials. A common method of distilling hand sanitizer involves using salt to isolate the alcohol. Other teens boil the product to separate the ethanol.

“Methods to distill it can be found through friends and the Internet, but straight ingestion of the product without distillation is also common,” said Rangan. Another concern with this trend is the product’s availability. “Hand sanitizer is readily available,“ said Heard. “Teens can buy it anywhere.”

Officials suggest parents keep hand sanitizer out of children’s sight and reach. Also, purchasing hand sanitizer in foam form instead of gel makes drinking the substance less appealing. However, education is critical. “The main preventative focus should be education,” said Heard. “Teens need to thoroughly understand the effects of consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time.”



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Hundreds feared dead after Indian ferry boat capsizes

Hundreds feared dead after Indian ferry boat capsizes

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Two small fishing boats framed by hills on both sides of the Saraighat Bridge across the river Brahmaputra.

A double-decker ferry capsized late Monday in the Brahmaputra River near Guwahati, India. The ferry was over capacity when a storm caused it to overturn and break in half. The ferry passengers were mostly women and children. Officials estimate there are at least 200 casualties. Inclement weather hindered rescue attempts and as of Tuesday, 103 bodies have been recovered. No life jackets or lifeboats were aboard the ferry at the time of the event.

According to officials, many of the bodies may have floated 25 miles down river to Bangladesh, due to strong currents. The river is a vital source of irrigation and transportation to the people along its coast. It is approximately 1,800 miles long, making rescue efforts difficult to pursue quickly. Rescuers are working around the clock in efforts to locate any remaining survivors.

About 150 passengers swam to a nearby shore. The remaining passengers are missing and are feared dead. Reports indicate this is one of the worst ferry accidents ever recorded in India. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh issued a statement expressing his remorse over the death of the passengers and announcing that he would compensate the next of kin of all casualties Rs 200,000, or about $4,000 US dollars.



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April 11, 2012

Former teacher makes FBI\’s top 10 most wanted list

Former teacher makes FBI’s top 10 most wanted list

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eric Justin Toth added to FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted List
Image: FBI.

Ex-Washington, D.C. third grade teacher Eric Justin Toth, who worked at the National Cathedral’s Beauvoir school, was officially added to the top of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List yesterday, replacing Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US Navy Seals last May. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) began investigating Toth in 2008 when a school camera allegedly used by Toth contained child pornography.

The FBI also believes Toth was responsible for installing a camera in the student’s bathroom near Toth’s classroom.

When Toth became aware of the investigation he became a fugitive. Toth, who also goes by the name David Bussone, has warrants for his arrest in Maryland and the District of Columbia.

The FBI is currently offering a reward for up to $100,000 leading to Toth’s arrest.

Toth is the 495th person to be placed on the Ten Most Wanted List.


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April 9, 2012

France fears serial killer responsible for recent murders

France fears serial killer responsible for recent murders

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Monday, April 9, 2012

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File photo of a handgun of the same caliber as indicated in these incidents, 7.65mm.
Image: Daderot.

French authorities suspect a serial killer may be responsible for a recent string of shooting deaths. At present, four people have been murdered in the Paris suburb of Essonne in the past six months. Although a suspect was apprehended in November after the first shooting, three more incidents have occurred while the suspect remains in custody.

The fourth victim, a 47-year-old woman, was shot in the head Thursday. The other three shooting occurred on November 27, February 22, and March 17.

CNN affiliate BFM-TV reported that in relation to Thursday’s killing, authorities are on the lookout for a blue-and-white Suzuki motorbike.

On Friday, Prosecutor Marie-Suzanne Le Queau told reporters that ballistic tests indicate all four incidents involved the same 7.65mm handgun. She also said there were 100 investigators on the case.

Last month in France, Frenchman Mohamed Merah committed seven murders. Merah, claiming inspiration from al-Qaeda, killed three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi in training, and three off-duty paratroopers before he was killed in a shootout with authorities.



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March 31, 2012

News briefs: March 31, 2012

News briefs: March 31, 2012 – Wikinews, the free news source

News briefs: March 31, 2012

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Wikinews Audio Briefs
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Saturday, March 31, 2012
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Promo

(Music)

Today on Wikinews: We briefly recap some of the stories appearing on Wikinews this week and from around the world.

Today is Saturday, March 31, 2012. I am Chad Tew and this is Wikinews.

Briefs

Wikinews Shorts: March 26, 2012#New leader of Hong Kong chosen while protestors seek ‘true democracy’ (0:28)

Hong Kong elected a new chief executive this week. Leung Chun-ying (Pronounced:L-er-ng Choon Ying) was choosen as the new leader in a controversial election. Pro-democracy demonstrators rallied before the meeting of the election committee and also attempted to storm the voting center. An organizer of the demonstrations criticized Hong Kong as not being a “true democracy.” And pepper spray was used on the demonstrators when the results were announced.

Pope Benedict visits Cuba urging openness, religious freedom (1:00)

Pope Benedict the Sixteenth visited Cuba this week and urged religious freedom and political change. In response, a leader from the council of ministers said no political reform was necessary. The Pope celebrated Mass in Havana, visited several Cuban cities, and met with former President Fidel Castro.

Wikinews Shorts: March 26, 2012#Central Chile rocked by second earthquake in 24-hours (1:25)

Two earthquakes shook Chile within a twenty-four hour period. A magnitude seven point one earthquake struck Maule (Pronounced Mah-oo-lay), Chile last Sunday. It followed an earlier quake on Saturday.

Web startup Sqoot loses sponsorship after failed advert deemed sexist by social media (1:40)

Web startup Sqoot became embroiled in a P-R crisis. In its advertisement for a Boston hackathon, Sqoot promised women as one of its perks and focused on women who would be serving the attendees beer. Thousands of tweets complaining of sexism were directed at Sqoot on Twitter. The company lost four sponsors within a twenty-four hour period, and it later apologized for what it intended as an invitation for a QUOTE good party UNQUOTE. An article in Techli said the mishap was “the worst startup P-R crisis in recent history.”

Sandra Fluke named candidate for Time’s 100 most influential people / Sandra Fluke, Chelsea Clinton, Christine Quinn on women in politics (2:26)

Sandra Fluke made Time magazine’s list of candidates for the one hundred most influential people in the world. The public can vote for candidates until April sixth. Fluke also appeared with Chelsea Clinton this week in New York at a forum about women in politics. There Clinton told the audience the United States was tied with Turkmenistan for seventy eighth place in the percentage of women participating in national politics. The panelists urged women to run for political office.

UK student jailed for ‘racist’ Twitter posts about footballer Fabrice Muamba (3:02)

U-K student Liam Stacey was sent to prison for making racist comments about Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba on Twitter. Stacey’s tweets came after Muamba had collapsed on the pitch. The twenty-one year old first claimed his Twitter account had been hacked, then later admitted inciting racial hatred. Stacey wept as he was handcuffed and led away.

Softball Australia, federal government reaffirm support for indigenous softball / Australian field archers vie for spot at World Championships (3:30)

Australian Labor MP Andrew Leigh reaffirmed support for indigenous softball. He made the speech before two games between the Aussie Spirit and the Japanese women’s national team. Softball is the most popular sport among indigenous women and aboriginal partipication occurs at all levels of the game.

We have more on Austrialian sports at Wikinews, including more about this week’s qualifications by Australian archers for the World Archery Field Championships in August.

Wikinews Shorts: March 26, 2012#Tiger Woods secures first PGA Tour win in 30 months (4:07)

Tiger Woods won his first P-G-A Tour in thirty months. It was his seventh victory in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Some are calling this a comeback for the pro golfer.

Former world darts champion Jocky Wilson dies at age 62 (4:20)

Former world darts champion Jocky Wilson died two days after his sixty-second birthday from a lung ailment. The Scottish darts player won his title in nineteen eighty-two and again seven years later. At the U-K Open Qualifier, around two hundred current competitors held their applause for him for a minute’s time.

US lottery jackpot tops $500 million, sets world record (4:48)

And the United States lottery Mega Millions set a world record when the jackpot surpassed a half a billion dollars after no winner was announced earlier in the week. To win, all five numbers, as well as the Mega Ball number, must match. There had been eighteen drawings without a winner since the last jackpot in January. Winners were selected Friday but none of them have been identified at this time.

Outro (5:30)

And those are the headlines for this week.

(MUSIC)

This has been the Audio Wikinews brief. To receive the latest news, please visit wikinews.org, presenting up-to-date, relevant, newsworthy and entertaining content without bias.

Wikinews is a free service and it is funded by your generous donations. Click on the donate link on our homepage to learn how you can contribute.

This recording has been released under the Creative Commons 2.5 License.

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February 28, 2012

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

U.S. Army identifies remains of last U.S. soldier unaccounted for in Iraq

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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The remains of United States Staff Sergeant Ahmed K. Altaie of Ann Arbor, Michigan, were identified on Saturday. Although Army officials provided no details surrounding his death, the military’s mortuary in Dover, Delaware positively identified Altaie’s remains. Altaie was the last missing United States service member unaccounted for in Iraq.

Altaie was born in Iraq and moved to the United States during his teenage years. He served as a translator for the U.S. Army when he was abuducted on October 23, 2006, having joined the Army Reserve two years before.

Altaie took a motorcycle trip from Baghdad’s Green Zone to visit his Iraqi wife when three abductor’s pulled up, handcuffed the 41 year old, and left with him. Iraqi officials offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to Altaie.

In February 2007, a ten-second video posted on a militant Shiite website appeared to be of Altaie.

Hathal Altaie, the man’s brother, told McClatchy, “We’ve been waiting for five years, suffering, not knowing if he’s alive or dead. This was not the news we wanted, of course, but it’s better than staying like that, without ever knowing what happened to him.”


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February 2, 2012

Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen Foundation stops funding to Planned Parenthood

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

US Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III completes crosses the finish line of the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has stopped funding breast cancer screening and educational programming on breast health run by fellow US-charity Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. The Komen institute cites an ongoing investigation, while Planned Parenthood blame political pressures.

Planned Parenthood received nearly $700,000 from the Komen Foundation last year alone. In the last five years, the funding from the foundation has granted 170,000 women breast exams.

Leslie Aun, a spokesperson for the Komen Foundation, said the organization adopted a new rule that does not allow grants or funding to be awarded to organizations that are under legal investigation. Komen’s policy disqualified Planned Parenthood due to a pending investigation on how Planned Parenthood spends and reports its money that is being conducted by Representative Cliff Stearns. Stearns is investigating whether taxes are used to fund abortions through Planned Parenthood in his role as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, which is under the umbrella of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“While it is regrettable when changes in priorities and policies affect any of our grantees, such as a longstanding partner like Planned Parenthood, we must continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the women we serve and most fully advance our mission,” Aun said.

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, said, “While this is deeply disturbing and disappointing, we want to assure women who rely on Planned Parenthood for breast care that we’re still here for them, and we always will be. The new fund we’re launching to support these services will ensure that the Komen Foundation’s decision doesn’t jeopardize women’s health.”


 
This story has updates
 
See Susan G. Komen Foundation reneges on Planned Parenthood funding cuts, February 4, 2012
 

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January 13, 2012

Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world

Observing the 2012 Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the US, and wider world

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Friday, January 13, 2012

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This week US citizens observed National Human Trafficking Awareness Day through acts of education, legislation, and enforcement; whilst, around the world, other people highlighted or tackled this global problem in their own countries.

According to an annual report on human trafficking released by the US State Department in June last year, 27 million men, women and children are exploited through human trafficking. Worldwide, at least two million children are estimated to be trafficked victims of the sex trade; and, in military conflicts, it is not uncommon for children to be forced to bear arms. In releasing the report last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton highlighted the importance of international cooperation in addressing trafficking, and cultural issues associated with it.

Brown, orange and red are source countries, while light blue and dark blue countries are destinations for victims of human trafficking.
Image: KVDP.

Under the United Nations’ Palermo Protocols, human trafficking encompasses cases where victims are born into slavery, forcibly transported for exploitation, consented to work with a trafficker, and/or were forced to participate in criminal activities. The Protocols also recognize the unique status and rights of children.

US-based action

Reports from across the United States show a number of communities taking local action to solve, or otherwise highlight, this global problem.

In Southern California, Sister Caritas Foster is an advocate for the area’s victims of human trafficking. Commenting on the area’s involvement, she stated: “We in the San Francisco Bay Area are one of the largest receiving areas with our borders and coasts”. For over four years, Foster has worked on educating the public on human trafficking, speaking to civic and religious groups and describing the power traffickers hold over their victims through vivid accounts of situations trafficked individuals find themselves in. Many have no idea where they are located, suffer under the constant threat of deportation, and most often lack the language abilities to seek help.

Los Angeles politician Don Knabe said human trafficking was not a distant problem but one that hits close to home. As the county supervisor overseeing the fourth district in Los Angeles County, Knabe cited figures from the Probation Department showing 84 percent of arrests of children on prostitution charges in 2010 were in his district; he believes the overall problem for the county is much larger, and wants the Probation Department to establish a special unit dedicated to sexually exploited minors.

Northward in Seattle, Washington, members of the King County Sheriff’s department realized that law enforcement had to deal supportively with the symptoms of human trafficking — rather than putting victims in jail. This gave birth to the “Genesis Project” where sheriff’s deputies offer potential victims of trafficking a comfortable safe haven with amenities for 24 hours, and put them in touch with social services for counselling, job training, and education advice.

Politicians from several states have sought to address the connection between tourism and human trafficking; Indiana’s state Senate unanimously passed a human trafficking bill on Tuesday morning. Current legislation only considered forced marriage and prostitution as human trafficking; loopholes in the existing laws allowed some forms of human trafficking to escape prosecution. Lawmakers in the state hope to toughen their human trafficking laws, and have new legislation on the statute books in time for the Super Bowl, due to be held in Indianapolis on February 5. The just-passed bill now goes to the House for approval.

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Also on Tuesday, lawmakers from Hawaii held a special hearing on human trafficking. Kathryn Xian, of Pacific Alliance to Stop Slavery, says traffickers capitalize on the state’s tourist-based economy. She introduced a package of seven bills she says will help prevent human trafficking in the state.

At a national level, the US government continues to work abroad on the issue of trafficking; Luis CdeBaca, a special ambassador for human trafficking, is working with Myanmar, commonly known as Burma, as the country seeks to improve diplomatic relations with the United States. Myanmar was identified by the US State Department as having one of the worst records of forced labor, and as a country that lacks necessary laws to curb human trafficking.

Trafficking, the global picture

File image of a Nepali mother who travelled to Mumbai, India, hoping to rescue her teenage daughter from an Indian brothel.
Image: Kay Chernush, US State Dept..

Although National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is a US-based effort to recognise, and highlight, this issue — as a topic of global concern being highlighted through the United Nations, others around the world continue efforts to increase public awareness and tackle trafficking.

Forty-six women from the international group Operation Mobilization sought to raise awareness by climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. The summit is called “Uhuru Peak”, with Uhuru meaning “freedom” in Swahili. Each of the non-professional climbers raised US$10,000 to help those affected by human trafficking.

In the Middle East, several countries are reported to have problems with human traffickers recruiting unemployed gay Kenyan men to become sex slaves. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supposedly the more-common destination countries into which Kenyans are lured with offers of high-paying jobs. However, in the United Arab Emirates — where no law prohibits trafficking, but homosexuality is illegal — the problem is compounded.

Enforcement of existing laws, and acting against trafficking, are seen as key steps in reducing the activity. Showing that no country is unaffected, Northern Ireland police are currently investigating five sex trafficking cases; and, on Monday, Filipino police rescued fifteen women following a tip-off regarding women recruited, and being held, prior to being sent to work abroad.

In the Northern Ireland situation, Detective Superintendent Philip Marshall stated that fifteen men are to be contacted, suspected of having paid for sex with trafficked women. Identifying victims within the UK, or victims seeking help, is becoming more challenging with the sex industry having switched to using hotel rooms as-opposed to street corners. Many victims of trafficking are found to be unaware of where within the country they are.

In the Philippines situation, Zamboanga City police are still seeking the recruiter of the fifteen women rescued in Rio Hondo.

A range of complexities are involved in the sentencing of both those convicted of human trafficking, and their victims. In one Canadian case, 43-year-old Hungarian Lajos Domotor pled guilty to trafficking men and women into forced labor. Following being charged with conspiracy to commit human trafficking, he developed terminal stomach cancer and has been given a 10 to 15 percent chance of living five years.

In the UK, officials are seeking to detect exploitation prior to sentencing — as a counter to the high number of foreign women in jails, frequently having been victims of trafficking. One in seven women prisoners across England and Wales are foreign, with the primary offenses being drug or immigration-related. A report into the issue recommends sentencing decisions should consider the role of women, and of coercion, in such cases.

Artists also have a special role to play in the education and awareness of the public. The first opera about sex trafficking will premiere in Liverpool, England, on March 7. Anya17 was composed by Adam Gorb with a libretto written by Ben Kaye. Performers will come from Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic contemporary music ensemble 10/10. Funding for the production was provided in part by the United Nations.

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