Saturday, October 13, 2007

Man’s Trouser Snake Kills Him

Chab Kear, a 36 year-old Cambodian man, was hanging out drinking when he saw a snake swimming in a river.

Intoxicated the man decided he would jump in and catch the snake in hopes of later selling it later. Chab proceeded to take of his trousers and jump in the river to catch the almost 2 meter Cobra.


Successful, he put the snake into his trousers and tied the legs around his waist.

As Chab continued to drink and be merry until the snake finally managed to get its fangs free and bite
He tied the animal inside his trousers and a scarf around his waist, but as he continued carousing the enraged snake managed to get its fangs free and bite Kear three times on the stomach.

Chab’s last words before dying were “don’t worry - it’s nothing a drink can’t fix”.

(Bangkok Post)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The making of ''Trespassing''

To watch a trailer, read reviews and find out where the film is showing

Watch Corbin Harney praying for the land and people
Vote for Trespassing on

C Indian Country Today
May 10, 2006.
All Rights Reserved

NEEDLES, Calif. - When filmmaker Carlos DeMenezes filmed the Colorado River Indian Tribes and Fort Mojave Tribe's successful fight to halt the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump, another reality was revealed: the cruel legacy of how American Indians were targeted by the nuclear industry.

The filmmaker's journey began when he left his native Brazil and came to Los Angeles to study film in 1982.

After gaining his degree and experience as a filmmaker, he searched for meaning in the industry: ''I did not want to only make money; I wanted to make something that means something.''

DeMenezes began researching the nuclear industry in books and film and soon found his way to Ward Valley, where American Indians and environmentalists joined together to fight the proposed nuclear waste dump.

Steve Lopez, Mojave; David Harper, of the Colorado River Indian Tribes; Western Shoshone spiritual leader Corbin Harney; and the Arizona chapter of the American Indian Movement are among those who risked arrest and continued ceremonies at Ward Valley to protect the Mojave Desert, tribal sacred places and home of the desert tortoise.

At the proposed nuclear dump site, Lopez spoke of Avi Kwa Me, also known as Newberry Mountain. ''We did not migrate over the Bering Strait. Our people came from right there.'' American Indians united with environmental groups and lobbied in
Washington against the storage of nuclear waste in unlined trenches that threatened the water supply of more than 1 million people along the Colorado River on the border of California and Arizona.

Ward Valley served a greater purpose for the filmmaker, revealing a reality far more than just the transportation of nuclear waste to ancestral Indian lands.

''We went to Ward Valley and realized that this was just the tip of the iceberg. It wasn't about transportation anymore. It was about all the consequences of the Cold War and its impacts on Indian people,'' DeMenezes told Indian Country Today.

''Trespassing'' shows Japanese and global peace advocates at the Nevada Test Site, including the Alliance for Atomic Veterans' military veterans of nuclear testing. Japanese radiation survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki speak of global healing and forgiveness. The film shows the Nevada Test Site and Yucca Mountain, aboriginal Western Shoshone land, and reveals in chilling detail the Cold War atomic bomb blasts and the ongoing Western Shoshone protests and arrests.

For those who knew Dorothy Purley, of Laguna Pueblo, N.M., the film holds a poignant legacy. Purley was a former uranium miner who became an outspoken activist against the uranium industry on Indian lands. She died of cancer during the making of the film.

Filmed at the Indigenous Environmental Network's gathering on Laguna Pueblo, Purley described how Laguna and Acoma Pueblo miners and their families at home were saturated with radioactive dust from the mines.

''When they used to blast, all that yellow stuff would come towards the village. You know, we Native Indians have the things like drying food out in the sun, and our meats and stuff. And yet, we breathed it and ate it. And, you know, we weren't aware of it,'' Purley said.

''I feel betrayed because we weren't really told. We weren't really made aware of what we were getting ourselves into. I think if the mine hadn't opened, I don't think any of our lives would have been in jeopardy at all.''

In the Four Corners area, Navajos tell how they worked in the uranium mines without protective clothing long after the nuclear industry knew of the high rate of lung cancer for miners.

Paul Belin, Navajo veteran and uranium miner from Red Valley, Ariz., said uranium dust was all over Navajos as they worked, in their clothing and in their food. Red Valley and nearby Cove have one of the highest mortality rates from cancer and lung diseases from uranium mines. ''We didn't even know that this was dangerous. They never told us,'' Belin said.

A U.S. Senate committee revealed that as early as 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission knew that uranium miners had a high rate of lung cancer but it did nothing. Then, a former public health official testified that the cancer rate for uranium miners is 400 percent higher than the national average, the film reveals.

''Trespassing'' points out that the United States is the only country that has used the atomic bomb on civilians, innocent women and children.

Stewart Udall, former Secretary of the Interior Deprtment, speaks in the film of the profound effect that the truth of the nuclear industry has had on him. He also speaks of the need for honesty.

''I think that's the way our country works best; and I think that the people are entitled to know, and that if there isn't openness, our country is betrayed. I think that's one of the great lessons that I learned out of this is, if secrecy is more important than honesty and openness, the country's going to suffer and people are going to suffer.''

In an interview, DeMenezes reflected on what Navajos and their neighbors to the north, the Dineh in Canada, have often pointed out: they were used as guinea pigs in the uranium mines during the Cold War.

''It was inhumane,'' DeMenezes told ICT.

He said that by outsourcing, contracting out the work of mining uranium, the U.S. government was able to insulate itself from much of the blame for what happened to Pueblos, Navajos and other Native miners during the Cold War. All were victims at a time when the majority of tribal members did not speak English. They were never told of the dangers.

DeMenezes said outsourcing is what the U.S. government is doing now in Iraq.

During the screening of the film at the Arizona International Film Festival, the arrest of Western Shoshone brought tears from the audience in Tucson.

When this was pointed out to DeMenezes after the screening, he said, ''I cry all the time.''

Please visit the Indian Country Today
website for more articles related to this topic.

Art students aim to save lives
By Jane Elliott
BBC News, health reporter

The Tongue Sucker device

The device is designed for lay people
The London bombings of 2005, which left 56 dead and 800 injured, shocked a group of graduates so much that they decided to invent a device to save lives.

The team of four - Philip Greer, Graeme Davies, Chris Huntley and Lisa Stroux - were all students at the Royal College of Art when they came up with the inspiration for the "Tongue Sucker" to aid breathing.

"All of us lived in London and thought that there might be something that could be done following the bombings," explained 26-year-old graduate Lisa.

"We talked to the paramedics involved, the doctors and the nurses and emergency services about it. They said that one of the problems of a disaster of this scale is getting trained people to the site - in London that can take up to 12 minutes or even longer.

First aid device

"Once you get there one of the first things you do is to open the airway or check that the unconscious patient is breathing, so this is why we wanted to design something that could be used by bystanders."

Now their design has been given an accolade and £68,000 by the Danish government.

The team are going to use the cash to develop a prototype and get it into hospitals for clinical trials.

Experts stressed that the device would need thorough testing before it could be put into use.

The idea was to make them as available to as many people as possible, first aid kits, taxis, trains the underground
Lisa Stroux

The Tongue Sucker is a small plastic chamber with a bulb-shaped air reservoir which allows untrained bystanders at the scene of an emergency to keep the airway of an unconscious person open.

You squeeze the bulb, place it over the tongue of the injured person and release.

Suction then draws the tongue off the back of the throat, creating a small but vital gap to allow the unconscious person to breathe.

Once in place, the first-aider is free to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), call for help or assist other casualties. In addition, the brightly coloured bulb signals to arriving paramedics which casualties have been treated.

Getting airways open

It is estimated that about 250,000 people in the UK become unconscious every year, and without their airway being cleared they can die or suffer severe brain damage.

Lisa is convinced their idea will help prevent deaths.

"We have proven the concept, that it works, but just with manikins and ourselves and other people available to us - all conscious," she said.

"The idea was to make them available to as many people as possible - first aid kits, taxis, trains, the Underground, etc."

The Danish government gives five "Index" awards each year to designs around the globe that it feels have done the most to improve lives.

The 11-strong jury were particularly impressed by the Tongue Sucker, which they praised for its simplicity, low cost and low-tech design.

Lisa Stroux
Designers have scooped top award

Dr James Kinross, of St. Mary's Hospital, London, who has seen the device and advised the students, said the Tongue Sucker was very effective and could be a vital tool in helping open an unconscious person's airways.

"If you are the first on the scene it could be very difficult to open the airways."

But Dr Meng Aw-Yong, medical adviser at St John Ambulance, said the device would need careful checking before being put into use.

"In an unconscious patient it is vital to check that their airway is open and this can be achieved, without any equipment, by the simple manoeuvre of lifting the chin and tilting the head back to raise the tongue off the back of the throat.

"We understand that some people are nervous about approaching casualties.

"Research shows that the fear is of performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and it is not presently clear how this device will help. In fact there are potential pitfalls with introducing devices into an unconscious person's mouth. We hope clinical evaluation will determine the Tongue Sucker's effectiveness.

"There is no substitute for knowing simple first aid procedures. Going on a first aid course can equip you with the knowledge and confidence to deal with many emergency situations."

Democracy in a Chinese classroom
By Weijun Chen
Director, Please Vote For Me

Wuhan city, China
The eight-year-old children go to school in Wuhan
Thousands of years of life under a feudal system in China have fostered a culture where official power and authority have seldom been checked.

Once one has the power, then one has everything, and so the whole nation would like to be government bureaucrats.

For example, 60% of China's college graduates choose government as their ideal career.

Chinese government officials are not civil servants in the Western sense, rather they are the people who possess real power.

Against this backdrop, I decided to film a class of eight-year-old schoolchildren in my home city of Wuhan as they went through the process of electing a class monitor.

It was the first time that the post had not been the gift of the teacher and it was the children's first taste of democracy. It turned out to be a cut-throat competition.

Wrong-footing rivals

The class monitor is charged with maintaining order in the classroom when the teacher is out of the room and is expected to report any rule breaking to the teacher.

Cheng Cheng

Cheng Cheng's ultimate ambition is to be president of China
The three candidates were all thoroughly determined to win this prized position of power, and they used a variety of tactics to try to achieve their ambition.

Little Cheng Cheng was astonishing, very conniving. In fact they were all quite strategic in their campaigns.

They had to undertake several tasks to impress their classmates, such as performing a musical "turn" in front of the class, making speeches and taking part in debates where they had to point out each other's faults.

Every step of the way they were forcefully supported and guided by their parents, who behaved almost like political advisers.

Cheng Cheng, whose ultimate ambition was to be president of China, wanted to be class monitor because, he said: "You can order people around."

He was coached by his parents in speechmaking, singing, and wrong-footing his rivals.

Lone parent

Luo Lei had already been a class monitor for two years.

When asked whether he wanted the help of his parents in securing his classmates' votes, he said: "No, I will rely on my own strength.

Xu Xiaofei
Xu Xiaofei's mother said being a lone parent was a disadvantage
"I don't want to control others. People should think for themselves."

But soon his parents were helping him with techniques and tricks he could use to make himself popular with the class.

Xu Xiaofei, the only girl candidate, was reluctant at first to try to sell herself to the class, but her mother trained her to make speeches and tried very hard to build up her confidence.

But, as a lone parent, she felt she was at a disadvantage:

"I told her I couldn't help very much. She doesn't have a normal family with a father and mother. I can't help her the way Luo Lei's parents help him."

It is also important to understand that China's Family Plan policy of "one couple, one child" has led to a situation where children find there is too much hope from parents and grandparents pressing on their weak shoulders.

Personally, I do not think we have prepared people properly in how to be parents with only one child. It is a big problem.

Democracy in action

Every child or "small sun" has his parents caring for him and influencing him. His family all expect him to be a success in society, even though he is so young.

There is no world of childhood in China.

Twelve thousand people in 15 countries were polled in August
58% thought terrorism could destroy democracy
62% thought voting in national elections was very important
57% thought the US political system better equipped than China's to tackle climate change
14% said they would be very unlikely to support the idea of a global parliament

Luo Lei's parents were able to help his campaign by taking the class for a trip on the modern monorail system - which is managed by his father's police department - and by giving him gifts to hand out after his final speech.

But the "small suns" also had some tricks of their own.

Cheng Cheng ensured that his classmates shouted down Xu Xiaofei before she had even started to speak, and she found it difficult to recover.

Luo Lei

Luo Lei was elected by classmates in a secret ballot
The next day he told her it had all been Luo Lei's doing, and then proceeded to boo Luo-Lei off the stage.

Later, in a debate in front of the class, he accused him of being a dictator who had beaten his classmates while he had been child monitor.

Luo Lei replied that even parents beat their children and added: "Do you think it's for no reason? It's because they did something wrong. If my method is wrong, I'll change it."

In the end, although the class agreed that Luo Lei had been very strict with them, they elected him in a secret ballot.

I believe the children's joy and sorrow throughout the election, their winning and losing, truly reflect the tough yet hopeful democratisation process in China.

Please Vote For Me is part of the BBC's Why Democracy? season and will be broadcast on Sunday 7 October at 2000 BST on BBC Four.