Home' InDaily : January 15th 2010 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
9The Independent Weekly
January 15 - 21, 2010
Including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Independent and AAP
LONDON: England s
icy temperatures have
killed thousands of velvet
swimming crabs which
have been left littering the
shoreline, experts say.
Melting snow has
exposed the creatures
either dead or dying on the
beaches in the Thanet area
of Kent, preventing many
beach users from seeing the
sand in places.
It is the second year
running that thousands of
velvet swimming crabs have
been washed up in the area.
Last year the Environment
Agency launched an
inquiry amid concerns that
a mystery virus could be to
blame. But a spokesman for
Thanet Coast Project said
it looked likely the deaths
were linked to the cold
weather. A variety of other
marine life has also been hit,
including common whelks,
sponges and anemones.
"This shows just how
much severe weather can
disrupt marine life, as well
as our own lives," said Tony
Child, Thanet Coast project
manager. "Usually the
temperature of the marine
environment is much
more stable than our air
DELHI: As millions of Hindus
prepare to descend on the holy city
of Haridwar, authorities have
urged people to avoid dirtying the
Ganges -- India s most sacred river,
yet one of its most heavily
About 2.5 million people were
expected to take a ritual bath in the
river yesterday, when the three-
month Kumbh Mela festival began
in the northern city. Many more --
perhaps as many as 60 million -- will
follow in the weeks ahead.
Yet for all its importance to the
Hindu faith, those overseeing the
festival -- held in four different
locations over a period of 12 years
-- are aware of the very damaging
effect so many people could have on
the river that is considered a living
This week, the government of
Uttarakhand state took out full-
page advertisements in national
news papers listing a code of
conduct for pilgrims.
Chief among the rules is not
to use detergents or soaps when
bathing in the river, and not to bring
polythene and plastic.
"Observe the sanctity of the holy
sites," it adds.
Along with several other sacred
rivers, the state of the Ganges is one
of India s greatest environmental
A combination of billions of
litres of raw sewage being pumped
into the river, along with the waste
from industry, have transformed
the 2500km waterway into one of
the world s most heavily polluted.
Just last month, the World Bank
announced it was to give India
$1 billion to help it clean up the
river, which provides a lifeline to at
least 400 million people who either
live beside it or depend on it to
irrigate their crops.
"There is an increasing pressure
from population at these festivals,"
said Lalit Pande, director of the
"But most of the problems with
the pollution come from sewage
that is discharged."
PORT-AU-PRINCE: The poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere,
Haiti is ill-equipped to respond to
the huge earthquake that has left
many thousands feared dead.
The 7.0 quake that destroyed
the presidential palace, schools,
hospitals and hillside shanties also
crippled the Government and the
UN security and assistance mission
that had kept order.
Haitian Red Cross spokesman
Pericles Jean-Baptiste said his
organisation was overwhelmed.
"There are too many people who
need help ... We lack equipment, we
lack body bags," he said.
The quake s epicentre was only
16km from Port-au-Prince. About
4 million people live in the city and
surrounding area, and many slept
outside on the ground, away from
weakened walls, as aftershocks
as powerful as 5.9 rattled the city
throughout the night after the
An Argentine-staffed hospital was
yesterday the only one operating
in Haiti s devastated capital of two
million. It was struggling to cope
with huge numbers of injured, its
director told Argentine television.
"We are having to make do with
just the hospital to meet the needs
of the (peacekeeping) mission
and the entire population of Haiti
(which tops nine million people),"
director Daniel Desimone said.
"We cannot cope with this many
dead and injured. There are a lot of
dead people in the streets, a lot of
Reports on casualties and
damage were slow to emerge due to
"The situation is chaotic," said
Medecins Sans Frontieres Stefano
Zannini. "I visited five medical
centres, including a major hospital,
and most of them were not function-
ing. Many are damaged and I saw a
distressing number of dead bodies.
"Some parts of the city are
without electricity and people have
gathered outside, lighting fires in
the street and trying to help and
comfort each other."
Medical aid group Doctors
Without Borders said its three
hospitals in Haiti were unusable
and it was treating the injured at
"The reality of what we are
seeing is severe traumas, head
wounds, crushed limbs, severe
problems that cannot be dealt with
with the level of medical care we
currently have available with no
infrastructure really to support
it," said Paul McPhun, operations
manager for the group s Canadian
In New York, UN Secretary-
General Ban Ki-moon said those
unaccounted for at the collapsed UN
mission headquarters included the
chief of the mission, Hedi Annabi.
He said 100 to 150 people were in the
building when the quake struck.
Some 9000 UN police and troops
are stationed in Haiti to maintain
order, and many countries are
trying to determine the welfare
of their personnel. Brazil s army
said at least 11 Brazilian members
of the UN peacekeeping mission
were killed and many soldiers were
"I am appealing to the world,
especially the United States, to do
what they did for us back in 2008
when four hurricanes hit Haiti,"
Raymond Alcide Joseph, Haiti s
ambassador to Washington, said.
The earthquake is another blow
to a nation that has seen more
than its share of misery. Endemic
instability, murderous dictators,
more than 30 coups and a seemingly
endless series of hurricanes
and other natural disasters have
claimed countless souls over
Haiti s tumultuous 206-year history,
leaving it the Americas poorest
country and utterly dependent on
Two years ago, President Rene
Preval implored the world to
commit to long-term solutions for
his nation, saying a "paradigm of
charity" would not end cycles of
poverty and disaster.
"Once this first wave of humani-
tarian compassion is exhausted, we
will be left as always, truly alone,
to face new catastrophes and see
restarted, as if in a ritual, the same
exercises of mobilisation," Preval
The same could be said today.
Heartbreak in Haiti
Crabs become a casualty of the cold
Don t dirty
Haitians help a man injured in the quake.
Photo: Matthew Marek
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