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September 30, 2009

Homeopathy proponents jailed for allowing daughter to die

Homeopathy proponents jailed for allowing daughter to die

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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In Sydney, Australia, Thomas and Manju Sam were jailed after being convicted of manslaughter on Monday. The court found they had failed to take their ill daughter to medical appointments, and shunned the effective conventional medical treatments offered. Instead they chose homeopathic ‘alternative’ medical treatments which the medical profession generally considers to be pseudoscience. As a result, their then nine-month-old malnourished daughter Gloria died of the skin disorder eczema in 2002.

New South Wales, Australia
Image: Martyman.

In the evidence, the Crown prosecutor, Mr Tedeschi, said that the Sams ignored repeated advice to send Gloria to a skin specialist for her eczema. The severity of her condition made her skin so thin that it was constantly breaking and becoming infected. Creams provided by medical doctors were not used; they preferred to employ homeopathic drops as a method to treat her illness. By the time they finally sought treatment, “her skin was weeping, her body malnourished and her corneas melting”, and she died from the complications and massive infection caused by the effectively untreated eczema.

Cquote1.svg Gloria suffered helplessly and unnecessarily … from a condition that was treatable. Cquote2.svg

—Peter Johnson, Supreme Court Justice of New South Wales

In his ruling, Supreme Court Justice of New South Wales Peter Johnson stated that “Gloria suffered helplessly and unnecessarily … from a condition that was treatable.”

Thomas received a maximum sentence of eight years and is no longer allowed to practice homeopathy. Manju received a maximum sentence of five years and four months.

Homeopathy is a form of alternative medicine which uses substances that have gone through a process of serial dilution so extensive that in most cases, no molecules of the original are likely to remain. There is no convincing evidence that it has any effect greater than placebo. For it to work as homeopaths claim, basic well-tested scientific laws would have to be wrong.



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Fifty feared dead after boat capsizes in India

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Disasters and accidents,India,Transport — admin @ 5:00 am

Fifty feared dead after boat capsizes in India

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Fifty people are feared to have drowned after a boat capsized in the Bagmati, an Indian river, on Tuesday, according to the government.

Batmati river (March 2009)
Image: Ralf Lotys.

75 people, mainly women and children, were aboard the vessel when it flipped over during a storm. They had been returning from a fair that marked the end of the Durga Puja, an annual Hindu festival that celebrates the worship of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Cquote1.svg We have recovered 11 bodies so far and search is on for 40 other missing people. But their survival chances look very thin. Cquote2.svg

—District official

Fifteen people were able to swim to safety, but it is unlikely the other passengers of the boat were able to survive, according to a report.

An official from the district where the accident occurred said that “we have recovered 11 bodies so far and search is on for 40 other missing people. But their survival chances look very thin.”

A search operation was launched by the Indian National Disaster Response Force, but efforts were hampered by nightfall.



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Court revelation by John Travolta of son\’s disease sparks autism debate

Court revelation by John Travolta of son’s disease sparks autism debate

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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A recent revelation by American actor John Travolta in court testimony during an ongoing extortion case in The Bahamas that his late son Jett suffered from autism, has stirred debate and controversy over the disease. News media and critics have questioned whether Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston should have acknowledged Jett’s illness sooner. In response to comments made Tuesday about the recent events on the ABC television program The View, the National Autism Association issued a press release stating they “very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”.

John Travolta in 2008
Image: Michael Wolf.

Cquote1.svg My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Cquote2.svg

—John Travolta

Travolta’s testimony last week admitting that his son was autistic was the first time he had stated as much publicly; previously he and his wife had only said Jett had experienced Kawasaki syndrome. Travolta’s son Jett died in January 2009 at the age of 16 after experiencing a seizure. “My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Every five to ten days he suffered seizures which lasted 45 seconds to a minute,” said Travolta in his court testimony on September 22. A piece in iVillage noted Travolta had been pressured for years to speak out publicly about his son Jett’s autism. iVillage cited a 2007 piece in the New York Post, where a source commented “He could do so much good for autism awareness if he would just come forward.”

News media and critics have suggested that Travolta and his wife’s allegiance to Scientology was behind their rationale for not previously acknowledging that Jett was autistic. The Church of Scientology opposes psychiatry and does not recognize autism as an affliction. Church representative Tommy Davis had told MSNBC that “The Church of Scientology has no position on autism,” however a Scientology-founded organization the Citizens Commission On Human Rights stated to the United States Senate in 2008: “The Citizens Commission on Human Rights believes that there is no known medical treatment for autism except off-label drugs.”

Former Scientologists Tory Christman and Claire Headley were interviewed about the recent revelation by Travolta for The Daily Beast, and commented on its implications. Christman suffers from epilepsy, a condition which also causes seizures. She told The Daily Beast that the Church of Scientology pressured her to go off of her seizure medications, and instead take “vitamins and supplements”. After doing so, Christman experienced a grand mal seizure and knocked out two of her teeth in the bathroom. Headley, who has filed a lawsuit against Scientology for labor-law violations, told The Daily Beast that the only techniques that Scientology would have sanctioned to help Jett would have been internal procedures known as “assists and objective processing”. Church representative Tommy Davis responded to The Daily Beast: “This religion is utterly and completely about helping. It’s just insane to think that Scientology would be a factor in somebody not getting all the help they need.”

Cquote1.svg Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Cquote2.svg

—President of the National Autism Association

ABC News reported Tuesday that the president of the National Autism Association (NAA), Wendy Fournier, stated those that had experience with autism awareness had previously recognized signs from media video that Jett Travolta suffered from the disease. Fournier commented: “It didn’t really come as a surprise for people. But I’ve read some things that really bother me – basically that they should have come forward sooner. Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Just because you have a child with autism and you’re a celebrity, it does not automatically mandate you to be a spokesperson for the disorder.” Another official from the autism community, the national manager for Talk About Curing, Autism Rebecca Estepp, said to ABC News: “The Travoltas are suffering right now from a tragedy that could affect anyone. … We’ve heard of several children passing away with seizures lately.”

On Tuesday’s edition of the ABC television program The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg commented on the statements made by the representative of the National Autism Association to ABC News about Travolta’s admission of his son’s autism. “Since John Travolta has testified his son Jett was autistic in this blackmail case, the National Autism Association has come out saying they didn’t expect him to be a celebrity spokesperson for autism, but he should have come forward sooner,” said Goldberg.

The View co-hosts proceeded to discuss whether Travolta should have publicly revealed his son’s ailment earlier, and the impact of labels in society and the media. Sherri Shepherd commented on the negative impact of labeling individuals, and guest-host Gloria Estefan remarked: “I don’t like labels, period.” “I guess what is stunning to me is that anyone has the right to expect you to say anything about your family,” said Goldberg.

“Isn’t it partly that he’s a Scientologist and that there’s a reputation that Scientologists don’t believe in diseases of certain kinds?” asked co-host Joy Behar. Goldberg asserted that it was the individual’s decision whether or not to speak publicly about such an issue. Shepherd pointed out that celebrity actress Jenny McCarthy has spoken out publicly about autism, which her son suffers from, and noted that her voice has helped to focus public attention on the disease.

Behar questioned Travolta’s earlier statements that his son had Kawasaki disease: “The thing about Travolta though – he called it Kawasaki disease. Did he know that it was autism, and just said it was Kawasaki – was he making that up? I don’t know.” Goldberg said: “This is not the way to get people to come out and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to take a stand.’ It’s just, it’s none of your business until somebody wants to make it your business, but that’s just me.

Cquote1.svg As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children. Cquote2.svg

—Board chair, National Autism Association

After the program’s broadcast, the National Autism Association came out with a press release Tuesday, in response to statements made on The View. “The National Autism Association stated today that they very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”, said the press release. The NAA clarified that the statement made to ABC News by its president Wendy Fournier was the opposite position of that quoted by Goldberg, asserting that it was taken out of context. “I agree with Ms. Goldberg, the Travoltas, like any other family struggling with the illness of their child, are entitled to their privacy. I have read hurtful, judgmental comments from individuals as well as organizations, suggesting that that the Travolta family owed it to the autism community to use their celebrity to bring awareness to the disorder. I couldn’t disagree more,” said Fournier.

The organization’s board chair, Lori McIlwain, commented in the press release: “NAA is here to support families and fellow parents. This debate does not serve anyone. As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children.” According to the release, the organization was founded in 2003, and is one of the largest in the United States. The NAA’s mission includes educated families about autism and neurological disorders.

Cleveland, Ohio-based University Hospitals Case Medical Center child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Marcie Hall said that according to studies one fourth of autistic children may concurrently have seizure disorder. The director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, stated: “In neurologically-normal children with epilepsy, the risk of death is actually no different than for children without seizures.”



Related news

  • “Testimony by John Travolta that son was autistic raises Scientology questions” — Wikinews, September 24, 2009
  • “Wikinews Shorts: January 3, 2009” — Wikinews, January 3, 2009
  • “Marathon runner addresses Toronto, bringing attention to autism” — Wikinews, July 24, 2008
  • “Large study provides new insights in autism’s genetic code” — Wikinews, February 22, 2007

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At least 22 dead after typhoon hits Vietnam

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Disasters and accidents,Vietnam — admin @ 5:00 am

At least 22 dead after typhoon hits Vietnam

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

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Vietnamese officials have reported that at least 22 people were killed by Typhoon Ketsana, which brought torrential rainfalls and heavy flooding to the central areas of the country.

Typhoon Ketsana
Image: NASA.

“According to our official count as of Tuesday afternoon from the local authorities, the typhoon killed 22 people,” said an unnamed official from the country’s national flood and storm committee.

Cquote1.svg According to our official count as of Tuesday afternoon from the local authorities, the typhoon killed 22 people. Cquote2.svg

—Vietnam national flood and storm committee

170,000 people were evacuated ahead of the typhoon, which brought peak winds of 90 miles per hour (144 kilometres per hour). Typhoon Ketsana had earlier battered the Philippines, killing over two hundred people there.

Ketsana made landfall in the afternoon on Tuesday, 37 miles south of Danang, the National Weather Center reported.

Flights departing and arriving at the Hue and Danang airports were cancelled due to inclement weather, and fishing boats were ordered to return to shore.

Several of the casualties from the storm were due to falling trees and power lines. Truong Ngoc Nhi, the vice governor of the Quang Ngai province, south of Danang, said that “there’s a blackout across our entire province. Streets are strewn with fallen trees and utility poles. It looks like a battlefield.”

Provincial disaster official Nhuyen Minh Tuan said that “the rivers are rising and many homes are flooded, and several mountainous districts have been isolated by mudslides.”



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  • “Typhoon Ketsana leaves over 140 dead in the Philippines after heavy flooding” — Wikinews, September 28, 2009

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Court revelation by John Travolta of son’s disease sparks autism debate

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Related stories

Health
More information on Health at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

A recent revelation by American actor John Travolta in court testimony during an ongoing extortion case in The Bahamas that his late son Jett suffered from autism, has stirred debate and controversy over the disease. News media and critics have questioned whether Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston should have acknowledged Jett’s illness sooner. In response to comments made Tuesday about the recent events on the ABC television program The View, the National Autism Association issued a press release stating they “very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”.

John Travolta in 2008
Image: Michael Wolf.

Cquote1.png My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Cquote2.png

John Travolta

Travolta’s testimony last week admitting that his son was autistic was the first time he had stated as much publicly; previously he and his wife had only said Jett had experienced Kawasaki syndrome. Travolta’s son Jett died in January 2009 at the age of 16 after experiencing a seizure. “My son was autistic and suffered from seizure disorder. Every five to ten days he suffered seizures which lasted 45 seconds to a minute,” said Travolta in his court testimony on September 22. A piece in iVillage noted Travolta had been pressured for years to speak out publicly about his son Jett’s autism. iVillage cited a 2007 piece in the New York Post, where a source commented “He could do so much good for autism awareness if he would just come forward.”

News media and critics have suggested that Travolta and his wife’s allegiance to Scientology was behind their rationale for not previously acknowledging that Jett was autistic. The Church of Scientology opposes psychiatry and does not recognize autism as an affliction. Church representative Tommy Davis had told MSNBC that “The Church of Scientology has no position on autism,” however a Scientology-founded organization the Citizens Commission On Human Rights stated to the United States Senate in 2008: “The Citizens Commission on Human Rights believes that there is no known medical treatment for autism except off-label drugs.”

Former Scientologists Tory Christman and Claire Headley were interviewed about the recent revelation by Travolta for The Daily Beast, and commented on its implications. Christman suffers from epilepsy, a condition which also causes seizures. She told The Daily Beast that the Church of Scientology pressured her to go off of her seizure medications, and instead take “vitamins and supplements”. After doing so, Christman experienced a grand mal seizure and knocked out two of her teeth in the bathroom. Headley, who has filed a lawsuit against Scientology for labor-law violations, told The Daily Beast that the only techniques that Scientology would have sanctioned to help Jett would have been internal procedures known as “assists and objective processing”. Church representative Tommy Davis responded to The Daily Beast: “This religion is utterly and completely about helping. It’s just insane to think that Scientology would be a factor in somebody not getting all the help they need.”

Cquote1.svg Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Cquote2.svg

—President of the National Autism Association

ABC News reported Tuesday that the president of the National Autism Association (NAA), Wendy Fournier, stated those that had experience with autism awareness had previously recognized signs from media video that Jett Travolta suffered from the disease. Fournier commented: “It didn’t really come as a surprise for people. But I’ve read some things that really bother me – basically that they should have come forward sooner. Everybody handles autism in the best way that they can and for whatever personal reasons they had, they chose not to make it public. Just because you have a child with autism and you’re a celebrity, it does not automatically mandate you to be a spokesperson for the disorder.” Another official from the autism community, the national manager for Talk About Curing, Autism Rebecca Estepp, said to ABC News: “The Travoltas are suffering right now from a tragedy that could affect anyone. … We’ve heard of several children passing away with seizures lately.”

On Tuesday’s edition of the ABC television program The View, co-host Whoopi Goldberg commented on the statements made by the representative of the National Autism Association to ABC News about Travolta’s admission of his son’s autism. “Since John Travolta has testified his son Jett was autistic in this blackmail case, the National Autism Association has come out saying they didn’t expect him to be a celebrity spokesperson for autism, but he should have come forward sooner,” said Goldberg.

The View co-hosts proceeded to discuss whether Travolta should have publicly revealed his son’s ailment earlier, and the impact of labels in society and the media. Sherri Shepherd commented on the negative impact of labeling individuals, and guest-host Gloria Estefan remarked: “I don’t like labels, period.” “I guess what is stunning to me is that anyone has the right to expect you to say anything about your family,” said Goldberg.

“Isn’t it partly that he’s a Scientologist and that there’s a reputation that Scientologists don’t believe in diseases of certain kinds?” asked co-host Joy Behar. Goldberg asserted that it was the individual’s decision whether or not to speak publicly about such an issue. Shepherd pointed out that celebrity actress Jenny McCarthy has spoken out publicly about autism, which her son suffers from, and noted that her voice has helped to focus public attention on the disease.

Behar questioned Travolta’s earlier statements that his son had Kawasaki disease: “The thing about Travolta though – he called it Kawasaki disease. Did he know that it was autism, and just said it was Kawasaki – was he making that up? I don’t know.” Goldberg said: “This is not the way to get people to come out and say, ‘You know what, I’m going to take a stand.’ It’s just, it’s none of your business until somebody wants to make it your business, but that’s just me.

Cquote1.png As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children. Cquote2.png

—Board chair, National Autism Association

After the program’s broadcast, the National Autism Association came out with a press release Tuesday, in response to statements made on The View. “The National Autism Association stated today that they very much support the Travolta family and all families affected by autism”, said the press release. The NAA clarified that the statement made to ABC News by its president Wendy Fournier was the opposite position of that quoted by Goldberg, asserting that it was taken out of context. “I agree with Ms. Goldberg, the Travoltas, like any other family struggling with the illness of their child, are entitled to their privacy. I have read hurtful, judgmental comments from individuals as well as organizations, suggesting that that the Travolta family owed it to the autism community to use their celebrity to bring awareness to the disorder. I couldn’t disagree more,” said Fournier.

The organization’s board chair, Lori McIlwain, commented in the press release: “NAA is here to support families and fellow parents. This debate does not serve anyone. As a nation, we need to instead focus on helping those affected by autism, which now affects 1 in 100 children.” According to the release, the organization was founded in 2003, and is one of the largest in the United States. The NAA’s mission includes educated families about autism and neurological disorders.

Cleveland, Ohio-based University Hospitals Case Medical Center child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Marcie Hall said that according to studies one fourth of autistic children may concurrently have seizure disorder. The director of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Management Center at New York City‘s Montefiore Medical Center, Dr. Shlomo Shinnar, stated: “In neurologically-normal children with epilepsy, the risk of death is actually no different than for children without seizures.”



Related news

Sources

Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
Wikipedia
Learn more about Scientology and psychiatry and Autism on Wikipedia.


Bookmark-new.svg
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

30 civillians killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Local officials in southern Afghanistan say a roadside bomb blasted a passenger bus Tuesday, killing 30 civilians and wounding at least 39 others. The latest violence comes days after a UN report declared August the deadliest month of the year for civilians in Afghanistan.

Kandahar (February 2009)
Image: Ghamai.

The Afghan government blamed the Taliban for the latest attack outside the southern city of Kandahar. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the incident, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children, who were riding on the bus.

Afghan presidential spokesman Humayoon Hamedzada said that the authorities are investigating the matter. “We are deeply sorry for the loss of life, but our provincial authorities and the security agencies have received instructions to complete the investigations,” he said.

Lal Jan, one of the survivors from the explosion, described his experiences. “An explosion hit the bus. I don’t know what happened. When I came to, I got out of the bus and saw that the bus was totally wrecked,” he said.

Tuesday’s explosion occurred just west of the city on a highway, where a similar blast killed three civilians a day earlier.

Provincial police chief Sardar Mohammad Zazai claimed that “the enemies of Afghanistan are planting mines on the main highway and killing innocent women and children.” In a statement, the government said that “the mine was placed by enemies of the country.”

Cquote1.svg An explosion hit the bus […] When I came to, I got out of the bus and saw that the bus was totally wrecked. Cquote2.svg

—Lal Jan, survivor

Late last week, the United Nations issued a report that said it had recorded some 1,500 civilian casualties between January and August. August was this year’s deadliest month, as the Taliban sought to discourage people from voting in the presidential election. The report also said almost three times as many civilian deaths were attributed to anti-government elements than to pro-government forces.

The spokesman for international forces in Afghanistan, US Army Colonel Wayne Shanks, said that NATO troops are working with local populations to clear the roads of Taliban bombs.

“Every time [the Taliban kills] innocent civilians, they are hurting themselves,” Shanks said. “Just like if we make a mistake and we hurt innocent civilians, we are hurting ourselves. And we are trying to absolutely fix that.”

Meanwhile in Pakistan, authorities say another suspected US missile strike targeted militants in South Waziristan. Officials believe the insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal regions have ties to the Taliban and al-Qaeda and use the area as a base of operations for strikes in Afghanistan against foreign troops.



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