An employee of Schipol Airport stands inside a body scanning machine during a demonstration at a press briefing in the airport
Their beams can penetrate the thickest clothing, and with a price tag of up to GBP 1,00,000 a go they are not cheap. But, security experts warn that full-body scanners can only ever be one of many weapons in the aviation industry’s ever-evolving battle against terrorists.
Such machines have been tested at Heathrow and Manchester airports but never routinely used in the U.K. Now, on the say-so of Gordon Brown, airports operator BAA says it will install the devices as quickly as it can.
Scanners come in two types
Full-body scanners have been around since the early 1990s. They met resistance from both passengers and officials concerned at the potential indignities involved in a technology which effectively lets staff scrutinise people’s naked form. The scanners come in two types. One method, backscatter x-ray, creates a two-dimensional image, meaning passengers must be scanned from more than one angle. Millimetre wave machines generate a 3D image, but the quality is less sharp.
The scanner manufacturers claim they would detect materials of the sort Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly took on to his Northwest Airlines flight, but experts caution that it would depend on a series of factors, not least the vigilance of the scanner operator.
“It’s one of the big difficulties with airport security,” said Kieran Daly, editor of Flight International magazine. “You’re asking people to do a job which is not only very important and carries a very high risk if there is a failure, but is also exceptionally tedious.” Still more significant is that it would be impossible to scan every passenger on a flight without creating major delays. Both sorts of full-body scanners process between two and three people per minute, little faster than a conventional frisk. “I don’t see how there can ever be universal full body scanning. Apart from the price, it would add enormously to delays,” said Norman Shanks, a former head of security for BAA who now runs his own consultancy.
Far better, he said, would be an integrated system of passenger monitoring and profiling allowing those deemed a potential risk — plus a random number of others — to receive a scan, as well as a cabin-bag check and perhaps a frisk: “What I would like to see happening is an informed security system in which people are under observation from the moment they enter the airport by people trained in behavioural observation. Full body scanning is a tool. It’s not the answer to every security question.” Philip Baum, another aviation security expert, said that while he believed full-body scanners “should have been deployed many, many years ago”, there was a danger of knee-jerk reaction.
Even universal full-body scanning would not eliminate the risk of passengers smuggling a working bomb in sections within their bodies — which tests last year showed was feasible. More powerful machines exist which can scan internally, but the increased radiation involved would most likely cause passenger concerns, he said.
“There is no one answer. The first step of the process should always be the proper use of the human brain: people making an intelligent decision as to which security lane a passenger goes down.”
In the first global overview of preterm births published, this month’s Bulletin of World Health Organisation finds that out of approximately 13 million premature babies born every year worldwide, almost 11 million are born in Africa and Asia.
In 2005, WHO estimated that 12.9 million births, or 9.6 per cent of all births worldwide, were preterm.
Approximately 11 million (85 per cent) of these preterm births were concentrated in Africa and Asia, while about 0.5 million occurred in each of Europe and North America (excluding Mexico) and 0.9 million in Latin America and the Caribbean.
An average of 10 per cent of births worldwide occurs before 37 weeks gestation, although this rate ranges between 3.8 per cent for countries in central Asia and 17.5 per cent in southern Africa.
“Preterm birth is an important perinatal health problem across the globe. Developing countries, especially those in Africa and southern Asia, incur the highest burden in terms of absolute numbers, although a high rate is also observed in North America,” write the nine authors of the paper.
“A better understanding of the causes of preterm birth and improved estimates of the incidence of preterm birth at the country level are needed to improve access to effective obstetric and neonatal care,” they adds.
The article also finds a rise in preterm births, over the past 20 years, in parts of Europe and the United States.
Surveys done from the nineties to 2007 show that the highest rates of preterm birth were in Africa and North America (11.9 per cent and 10.6 per cent of all births, respectively), and the lowest were in Europe (6.2 per cent).
Noting that very high rates of preterm birth are observed in North America, the study underlined that the burden in terms of absolute numbers disproportionately affects developing countries, especially those in Africa and South Asia.
“Unfortunately, there are currently no effective diagnostic measures for preterm labour resulting in preterm birth, and no effective early interventions for prevention,” according to the report.
“The use of modern technology allows survival of many preterm neonates in developed countries, but such care is not widely available in developing countries“.
The study recommends the development to improve “access to effective care in developing countries must remain a top research and operational priority”.
The Thailand Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with U.S. Army used common strains of HIV in Thailand and tested a two-vaccine combination in a “prime-boost” approach, where the first injection primes the immune system to attack HIV and the second strengthens the response.
The vaccines used during the trials were ALVAC, from Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis and AIDSVAX, developed by VaxGen Inc.
During the study, the researchers used the combination vaccine in HIV-negative Thai men and women ages 18 to 30 at average risk of becoming infected.
Half of them received four “priming” doses of ALVAC and two “boost” doses of AIDSVAX over six months.
They found that infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots, which was a 31 per cent lower risk of infection.
“It is the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine,” the Telegraph quoted Colonel Jerome Kim, who helped lead the study for the U S Army, as saying.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the development was “not the end of the road”, however, he was indeed surprised and very pleased by the outcome.
“It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result” and developing a more effective Aids vaccine. This is something that we can do,” he added.
The scientists also said it is not clear whether the vaccine would work against other strains in the United States, Africa or elsewhere. (ANI)
Apia (Samoa), Oct 5 : Samoa health officials said people who have been affected by the infectious diseases after the devastating tsunami in the South Pacific island are not coming forward for treatment.
Palanitina Toelupe, head of Samoa’s health ministry, said people affected by infectious diseases in the wake of tsunami were not coming forward for treatment.
She was worried about the future of 10,000 people rendered homeless and falling sick with typhoid, dengue, diarrhoea and gastroenteritis.
workers said they were facing tough time in providing even water to the affected people, who fled to the hills and were living in the makeshift shelters there.
While globally this figure stands at two million dying within a day of their birth, the shocking and tragic fact is that the reason for these deaths are diseases and infections that are easily treatable, and therefore the deaths are preventable.
Launching their ‘Everyone’ campaign Monday which seeks commitment from individuals to save the lives of millions of children under the age of five, Thomas Chandy, CEO of Save the Children said: “Every child deserves a chance to survive. And every one of us has a moral responsibility to act (to ensure that).”
Despite rapid economic growth, India accounts for one-fifth of newborn deaths in the world. Though the country has made significant progress in reducing child mortality, the newborn mortality rate at 39 per 1,000 live births and child mortality rate at 72 per 1,000 live births are shocking, said the study by Save the Children.
With the launching of Save the Children’s ‘Everyone’ campaign in 40 countries including India, Chandy said that often people have a misconception that the cost of saving the lives of millions of children is too high.
“If people understood how affordable and feasible it is to prevent children dying, they would be shocked. There is no real pressure on the government to act largely because of public perceptions that it is too costly to change the reality,” Chandy said.
According to the survey conducted in 14 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Britain, the US, India and Pakistan, 48 percent of the respondents thought that it would cost the world an additional 400 billion dollars annually to save the lives of children.
The reality however is that an additional 40 billion dollars – less than half the amount spent on bottled water – is needed globally to save the innocent lives, Chandy said.
Among the other findings of the report is that 13 of the 14 country respondents felt that poverty was the biggest threat to children’s lives. China, which was the exception, said that climate change was the biggest threat.
In a heartening finding, 57 percent of the respondents in India said that they would readily give up the cost of a meal for the sake of a child they had never met.
“However two million children under the age of five die each year in India, the highest anywhere in the world and one third of the world’s malnourished children live here. These have to change,” the report stressed.
In their bid to control the fast spreading swine flu epidemic, authorities in China have so far administered H1N1 vaccine shots to more than 39,000 people, an epidemic control expert said Wednesday.
Liang Xiaofeng, director of the immunization centre under the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said as of Tuesday only 14 people developed side effects after taking the vaccine shots.
“We are still investigating the reasons” why there were adverse reactions, Liang said.
He however admitted that there were still doubts about the safety of vaccination for “sensitive groups” such as pregnant and breastfeeding women.
So far, no deaths from H1N1 or swine flu have been reported on the Chinese mainland, but Taiwan has reported 17 deaths of whom two were pregnant women.
On Monday, more than 10,000 students and performers in Beijing who are to take part in the National Day parade Oct 1 received vaccinations, with no adverse reactions, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Health said Tuesday.
China issued a warrant for mass inoculation with H1N1 flu vaccine Sep 8 after it approved a vaccine produced by domestic pharmaceutical company Sinovac.
There have been more than 13,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu reported in China; of them 66.4 percent have recovered already.
Five swine flu deaths, including three in Karnataka, were reported Tuesday, taking India’s total toll due to the contagious influenza A (H1N1) virus to 262, health authorities said here.
Also, 324 new swine flu cases were reported in the country, taking the total number of people affected so far to 8,477.
According to health ministry officials, the three deaths in Karnataka were reported between Sep 18-19. “The laboratory confirmation (received Tuesday) showed that all the deaths were due to swine flu,” an official said here.
With this, Karnataka’s toll has reached 82.
Delhi recorded one death Tuesday.
A 20-year-old woman, who was admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, succumbed to the virus,state nodal officer Anjan Prakash told IANS. With this death, the toll in the Indian capital has gone up to nine.
Maharashtra, which tops the list of swine flu deaths and cases in the country, also reported one death, taking its total number of deaths to 107.
The officials said one death was reported from Gujarat, but it was yet to be confirmed if the patient died due to the virus.
In Ghaziabad, neighbouring the national capital, a public school had to close down its primary section after two students were reported to be affected with the flu.
“Two students were reported to be infected with the virus. Both are now fine and responding well to the treatment in Delhi hospitals. As a precautionary measure, we have closed down the primary section till Sep 28,” said school principal Meeta Rai of Delhi Public School at Indirapuram.
As per school officials, there are around 3,000 students in the primary wing of the school.
As Karnataka is seeing a surge in swine flu deaths, authorities are now planning clinical audits.
“The purpose behind the clinical audit is to find the actual causes behind the death of 80 people due to H1N1 influenza in the state,” Usha Vasunkar, director of Karnataka’s Health and Family Services, told IANS.
“We’ve taken a decision to have a clinical audit on Monday. During our earlier survey, we found that 40 percent of the swine flu victims had co-morbid factors (pre-existing illness) and many died due to late admission. However, the audit will give a clear picture of the actual cause for deaths,” she added.
The profile of each victim, which includes name, age, sex, symptoms and cause of death, will be studied by a panel of experts during the clinical audit.
Of Tuesday’s 324 new cases, the national capital recorded as many as 108 cases.
According to Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia, 2,065 people have so far been admitted and treated in Delhi government hospitals. “More than 90 percent of these patients have been successfully treated and discharged,” she said.
As many as 1,018 children have been treated for influenza A (H1N1).
The Delhi government, meanwhile, also announced that Tamiflu, the anti-influenza medicine, will be sold at authorised retail chemists. The central government had last week allowed “restricted sale” of Tamiflu through over 500 chemists.
The decision to alow Tamiflu sales was taken during a meeting held by Walia after the state government received notification from the central government.
“The government has implemented the notification of the Indian government to allow sale of Tamiflu at the authorized outlets of authorized Schedule ‘X’ chemists in the capital to facilitate the patients of swine flu as well as to curb the swine flu epidemic,” Walia said.
Swine flu cases were also detected in Maharashtra (67), Tamil Nadu (43), Andhra Pradesh (28), Karnataka (20), Gujarat (2) and Haryana (1).
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New Delhi, Sep 18 (IANS) At least 98 people, including 65 children, tested positive for swine flu Friday in the national capital, taking the total number of influenza A(H1N1) cases to 1,687, health authorities said here.
Six people have died due to the influenza A(H1N1) virus in the capital so far.
“Till date, 1,687 cases have been admitted and treated in designated government hospitals. Of these, more than 90 percent patients have been successfully treated and discharged,” Delhi Health Minister Kiran Walia said.
She said 777 of the total cases were children.
But Walia assured that the situation is under control.
“The government is doing its best to provide treatment to H1N1 patients in government hospitals,” she said.
At least 220 people have died in India since the first mortality was reported Aug 3. Over 7,000 people have been affected with the virus so far in the country.
HYDERABAD: The swine flu death toll touched 20 with a 42-year-old housewife succumbing to the virus at AP General & Chest Hospital here on
Saturday. Reports of one more victim, who died on September 16, confirmed that he died due to swine flu at Osmania General Hospital (OGH).
On Saturday, G Lakshmi, a resident of Malkajgiri, who was admitted to Chest Hospital on September 16 afternoon after being referred by a corporate hospital died at 8.55 am. “She was obese and a hypertension patient. Since the time she was admitted, she was incubated but died after three days of admission due to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and bilateral pneumonia at 8.55 am,” H1N1 influenza nodal centre coordinator Dr K Subhakar said. Lakshmi did not have any travel history.
The district health authorities have put the family members of the deceased under profilaxis treatment. One more patient is critical at Chest Hospital, which has 14 swine flu patients undergoing treatment presently, the doctors informed.
While the death of 40-year-old Satyanarayana from Shamshabad at OGH was confirmed as a swine flu death by the hospital authorities. Satyanarayana was brought to the hospital in a critical state and had died within two hours of admission, the hospital authorities said.
According to the District Medical & Health Officer (DMHO), as many as 51 people have been admitted in the swine flu designated hospitals across the city. On Saturday, 16 samples were sent for testing and 780 persons were screened at the screening centres.
HYDERABAD: A class IX student, A Swapna, committed suicide on Saturday evening by hanging herself at her residence in Fathullaguda near L B Nagar
after learning that her lover got engaged.
According to L B Nagar inspector of police K Dronacharyulu, the girl fell in love with Suresh, an electrician of the same locality. The girl’s father A Rajaiah is a South Central Railway (SCR) employee.
The boy’s parents told him that as the girl was a minor they would perform the marriage after she became a major. Meanwhile, the parents arranged betrothal of their son with another girl last week, the inspector said.
The electrician told Swapna about the engagement two days ago. The heartbroken girl decided to commit suicide, police said.
When her mother went to bathe, the girl committed suicide by hanging herself with a chunni (stole), the police officer said.
A case was registered under section 306 (Abeting the commission of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) agaist the electrician, the inspector added.
People wielding power at workplace are more likely to suffer from psychological and physical problems.
A University of Toronto study, which used data from a survey of 1,800 American workers in different occupations and sectors, revealed previously undocumented evidence about the ups and downsides of power at workplaces.
People with job authority are defined as those who direct or manage the work of others, have control over others, pay, and can hire or fire others.
Sociology professor Scott Schieman and doctoral student Sarah Reid of the Toronto University said people who wield authority have certain benefits but there are negatives too. “In most cases, the health costs negate the benefits.”
“Power at work does have drawbacks, and the negative impact on personal health – both emotional and physical – is one of them,” says Schieman, lead author of the study.
People with work authority report significantly higher levels of interpersonal conflict with others, says Schieman. These findings appeared online in Social Science and Medicine.
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