domingo, 24 de janeiro de 2010
The city is powerfully alive, but suffering is everywhere and most have no hope that anything will change anytime soon
The international pharmacy group, , plans to open Boots branded pharmacies on Swedish high streets in a joint venture with the Swedish company Farmacevtföretagarna, a cooperative company owned by the association.
"Alliance Boots is the best possible partner for Farmacevtföretagarna and for our entrepreneurs. Boots is a leading brand in the pharmacy business with a wide range of products and high professional standards," said , chairman of Farmacevtföretagarna, in a statement.
The government has argued that ending the state-owned monopoly will lower prices, improve and increase the number of pharmacies and availability of medicines to the public. has a below average number of pharmacies per head of population compared to many other countries.
Opponents of the privatization have criticized the de-regulation of the sector, claiming that most of the new pharmacies are owned by venture capital companies based in the tax haven of Jersey.
The Local | Sweden
MORE than 350 jobs will be axed at an engineering plant which produces parts for the car industry.
Shocked employees at ThyssenKrupp Tallent in Bourn heard the company’s UK managing director Brian Francis break the news yesterday that production will end there by September.
The 313 full-time employees and around 50 temporary staff will lose their jobs when production switches to other UK plants throughout the rest of the year.
One employee, who asked not to be named, said the mood yesterday was sombre.
He said: “We had a meeting and were told the board of directors had decided to close the plant.
“People feel very let down. We have worked our socks off. We have not done anything wrong. We are their top-performing plant in Europe.
“They said there will not be any redundancies for three months, then there will be a controlled shutdown.
“I’m a family man and this is going to hit me hard. I have to find another job and it’s going to be difficult. I have given 100 per cent to that company and I did my job with a lot of pride”.
Another worker told the News: “I’m in my mid-50s. What job am I going to get at my age?
“We were one of the most efficient teams in the whole group. We all hope for a change of heart but I don’t think that is going to happen”.
The company makes chassis structural and suspension products, modules and systems for the automotive industry. Its clients include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Sue Boulton, group HR manager, said: “It is with great regret the workforce of ThyssenKrupp Tallent’s Bourn plant were briefed on the decision to close the site and relocate production to alternative UK sites.
“ThyssenKrupp Tallent has six production plants in the UK. Despite the recent improvements in volume in the automotive industry, it is still faced with significant over-capacity across its plants and has concluded that the right strategic option to improve the long-term viability of the group is to close the Bourn plant.
“Employees were informed of the potential closure in September.
“Constructive consultations with union representatives have been taking place since then, including consideration of provision of alternative work”.
She said there would be opportunities for staff to transfer to some other UK sites.
They are in Cannock, Staffordshire; Newton Aycliffe, Durham; Llanelli, south Wales; Fareham, Hampshire; and a small unit in the Nissan plant at Washington, Tyne and Wear.
Staff levels in Bourn had already fallen from about 375 full-time and 100 temporary staff about 18 months ago.
The news comes in the same week Cambridgeshire County Council announced its intention to axe about 300 jobs in a bid to cope with a looming cash crisis.
LONDON: Britain has raised its terror threat assessment from substantial to severe, suggesting an attack was "highly likely", ahead of international meetings on Yemen and Afghanistan in London next week. Home Secretary Alan Johnson announced the change on Friday, four weeks after the attempted bombing of an airliner heading from Amsterdam to the US city of Detroit.
Johnson said the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, the assessment unit within the MI5 domestic intelligence agency, had taken the decision to up the threat level. "This means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but I should stress that there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent," he said.
Johnson refused to say whether the amended assessment - now four on a scale of five - was linked to the attempted attack on the Northwest Airlines flight on Dec 25. "We never say what the intelligence is," he said, adding: "It shouldn't be thought to be linked to Detroit or anywhere else for that matter." But a US official, who requested anonymity, said "that's the implication".
The US Department of Homeland Security said the announcement brought Britain in line with US security measures introduced over the last few weeks. The 23-year-old Nigerian man charged with trying to blow up the Detroit-bound plane with explosives hidden in his underwear was believed to have trained in Yemen after studying in London. Al-Qaeda claims it sent him on the mission. Johnson said the higher threat level meant Britain put "more resources in, we heighten the state of vigilance". He stressed Britain
continued to face a "real and serious threat" and urged the public to remain vigilant. The threat level was last at "severe" in July last year when it was downgraded to "substantial", suggesting an attack remained a "strong possibility".
Alex Carlile, the British government's independent reviewer of anti-terror legislation, said the move was aimed at making the public more aware, but was not designed to scare people. He said: "The government has quite rightly decided that if you don't tell the public to be vigilant, they're not going to be vigilant. "The message from the current change of assessment is not that we should be more afraid, but that we should be a little bit more vigilant than we have been.
Mike Granatt, a former security official in the British government, told BBC radio: "The main reason for alert states is to warn people who have a specific task that they ought to do something differently, they ought to be taking more steps or they ought to move to a different phase of the security plan.
India has increased security at its airports and warned domestic airlines about a possible hijack attempt after a tip-off from Western intelligence services, but there was no suggestion of any link to Britain's move. Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday reiterated the threats Britain faced as he announced the suspension of direct flights from Yemen until new security measures were in place.
Brown said the Afghanistan-Pakistan border remained the "crucible of terrorism", but the failed Detroit attack highlighted the threat from Yemen-based militants. A meeting in Britain on Wednesday was aimed at strengthening international support for Yemen in its efforts to combat Al-Qaeda. The day after, President Hamid Karzai would attend a high-level conference in London on the way forward in violence-scarred Afghanistan. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would also take part.
Britain has been targeted by a number of attempted bombings in recent years, following the attacks of July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 others on the London transport system. Since the threat levels have been made public, they have twice briefly been raised to the top "critical" level, meaning an attack was expected imminently. The first time was in August 2006, after a plot to down transatlantic airliners was uncovered, and the second in June 2007, after car bombs failed to
detonate in London and a burning Jeep was driven into Glasgow airport in an attempted attack.
Britain's decision to raise its terror threat alert came as India put airline passengers through extra security screenings and sky marshals were placed on flights. India put its airports on high alert amid reports that Al-Qaeda-linked militants planned to hijack a plane. - AFP
An oil spill in the far North will do more damage to the environment than a spill further south. The reason is that the eco-systems in the North are more vulnerable, a new scientific report shows.
The report is made by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) for the Directorate for Nature Management (DN), and is part of the background material to be used when the Government will be discussing the administration plan for the waters around Lofoten and in the Barents Sea.
The Lofoten-Barents waters contain some of the world's largest fish stocks, rare coral reefs and other marine life, as well as some of the largest collections of sea birds.
The new report confirms much of what has been previous information.
- Today's knowledge tells us that it would not be advisable to open up for oil drilling off the coast of Lofoten and Vesterålen, says Lars Haltbrekken, leader of Friends of the Earth Norway (Norges Naturvernforbund).
The Norway Post
Despite military efforts, troops still shy from seeking mental care
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Monday, January 25, 2010
WASHINGTON — The Army staff sergeant knew something was seriously wrong when he still couldn’t sleep weeks after returning from Afghanistan. But he never considered going to Army psychiatrists.
"There’s still too much of a stigma in the military with seeing a therapist," said the solider, who asked to remain anonymous. "People are going to call you psycho. Even if people just see you going into the mental health offices, they’re going to think you’re crazy".
The sergeant did get help, but through the non-profit counseling organization Give an Hour. He’s been seeing a psychiatrist for nearly two years now, after duty hours and without his colleagues’ knowledge.
Military officials have redoubled efforts over the last year to encourage troops like that solider to seek therapy for a range of post-combat mental health issues, before they grow into destructive habits or criminal behavior. But most of those efforts have focused on ways to pull troops into military counseling programs, and outside groups say those official programs still lack the compassionate, trustworthy approach needed to appeal to those suffering from psychological trauma.
"Whether it’s real or perceived, there’s still the idea that seeking help is going to hurt your career," said Barbara Van Dahlen, founder of Give an Hour. "Families, too. If the military knows that you’re having problems, or if someone in the family is struggling, that’s not something troops want their superiors or peers to know".
Pentagon leaders, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, are making efforts to eliminate the stigma of receiving treatment for the "invisible wounds of war," outside groups acknowledge.
Resiliency training, public service announcements and battle-buddy briefings on signs of suicidal thoughts have become standard throughout the ranks. Defense officials have changed security clearance applications to minimize questions about mental health services. Top officials, including Army Gen. Carter Ham, have publicly shared their own experiences with combat stress.
But last week, at a joint Defense Department and Veterans Affairs conference on military suicides, Mullen told service experts that "we’re not breaking through quickly enough" and that the services need "a much broader network of anonymous help that is effective".
That anonymity can’t be found within the military system, according to Carter Andrews, chairman of the mental health counseling nonprofit Not Alone. Troops he hears from would rather vent online anonymously than schedule sessions with their military counselors, even if they promise confidentiality.
"Their commanders are the people who put them in this position, in the troops’ eyes," he said. "Military leaders talk about getting rid of the stigma of those who need to get help, but when bad things happen, those troops lose that ability to trust. They don’t want to talk to the Defense Department or Veterans Affairs".
Andrews said the typical path for servicemembers and their families seeking his group’s services starts with anonymous posts on their message boards, followed by counselors reaching out with general advice and encouragement.
Eventually, as trust is built up, the mental health experts persuade posters to come into online chat sessions, then face-to-face group therapy. Sometimes they even find their way into formal counseling within the military or Veterans Affairs.
"Forget confidentiality, these guys need anonymity when they start off," he said. "Eventually we want them to feel comfortable enough to end up in a more structured DOD or VA program, but most can’t start off there".
Still, the military’s latest effort to draw in servicemembers suffering quietly from lingering mental health issues involves face-to-face counseling for all troops returning from overseas combat zones. Congress mandated the change late last year, and Pentagon officials are working to implement the sessions.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America was one of the veterans groups lobbying for that counseling, but group legislative associate Tom Tarantino acknowledges its success will depend on the details of the program.
"It’s all well and good for the senior leadership to speak about eliminating stigmas, but if that idea isn’t getting down to the E-5 then it’s not working," he said. "They’ve made great strides in the last four, five years, but they’re still playing catch-up".
For example, soldiers seeking psychological counseling with Army specialists are still required to sign confidentiality waivers during their appointments, acknowledging that some information may be discussed outside of sessions.
Army officials say that only pertains to things like reports of child abuse or threats of suicide, ordinary legal requirements which non-military counselors must also abide by.
But the standard Army waiver notes that "health records are the property of the U.S. government" and "your chain of command may have limited access to information in your medical file".
Van Dahlen said the waivers, while practical, don’t take into account the fear in the minds of individuals seeking counseling within the organization that employs them.
"In a civilian setting it’s something we’d take care of sometimes formally, sometimes informally, but in a way that helps build a relationship," she said. "A soldier could read that and say ‘This may protect me, but it’s also going to screw me’".
Moreover, "if there’s a perceived sense of betrayal it’s hard to form a therapeutic relationship with the VA or DOD," according to Charles Marmer, head of the Department of Psychiatry at New York University’s medical center and former director of the PTSD research program for the VA.
Army officials have not decided whether the forms will be used for the new post-deployment counseling sessions. But regardless of whether higher-ups have access to the counseling records, many troops will still be scared away from any on-post help.
"I was always less concerned that my chain of command would find out than I was about my fellow soldiers finding out," said Brian McGough, a former soldier who was injured in a roadside bomb attack in Iraq in 2003.
"I was sitting in Walter Reed — everyone there was getting treatment for PTSD — but I still resisted going and speaking to someone about it".
McGough, now the legislative director for VoteVets.org, said military efforts to reduce the stigma of seeking help have made only small steps in recent years. The sergeant getting counseling through Give an Hour said even if his commanders didn’t pass judgment on his psychiatric visits, he thinks his peers would.
"This way, it’s on my terms," he said. "I didn’t really want anyone else discussing my business. But I knew I needed to talk to someone".
Reporter Megan McCloskey contributed to this report
Stars and Stripes
One of the four Bulgarians injured during a Taliban rocket attack on the NATO base near Afganistan’s Kandahar Sunday night is in a coma.
This has been reported by the Trud Daily citing unofficial sources. The attack occurred at about 10 pm Eastern European Time Sunday.
A total of four Bulgarian rangers were injured, three of them suffered severe injuries. Th attacked happened as Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Nikolay Mladenov is on an official Afghanistan visit, and was visiting the 270-strong Bulgarian detachment stationed at Kandahar as part of the ISAF.
Mladenov is unhurt and it is still unclear whether the attack had anything to do with targeting him.
The rocket hit a building located some 200 m away from the sleeping quarters where Bulgarian’s Defense Minister was accommodated. It is still unclear how the Bulgarian rangers appeared to be on the spot and got injured as the Bulgarian quarters are some 500 m away from the site of explosion.
The three severely injured Bulgarians are in the American field hospital in Kandahar.
According to the Trud Daily, which cites an “excellently informed source”, there was a warning about the attack at around 10 pm Bulgarian time, there was a siren going off in the NATO base, and then the explosion from the rocket hit.
The 270 Bulgarian troops at Kandahar are part of the 500-strong Bulgarian contingent in Afghanistan. The Kandahar base is the major air force base in Southern Afghanistan, it has about 5 000 foreign troops, and its exterior is guarded by British detachments.
The air base is surrounded by mountains, and the Taliban insurgents often launch rocket attacks from there.