South Africa hit by deadly Easter church collapse

KZN EMS/ Arrive Alive Image caption Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant was planning to attend the Good Friday service at the church
At least 13 people have died and many were injured when a wall collapsed in South Africa at the start of an Easter service at a Pentecostal church.

BBC NEWS

Emergency services said that 29 people were rushed to hospital after the collapse in the coastal province of KwaZulu-Natal.

Local officials have blamed the tragedy on heavy rainfall in the area around eMpangeni on Thursday night.

Local reports said some people had been sleeping when the brick wall fell.

The wall at the front of the Pentecostal Holiness Church collapsed at the start of what had been planned as a weekend-long service to commemorate the Christian festival of Easter.

On Friday, a special prayer service was held in a large tent in front of the church, reports the eNCA TV station.

read more

Illegal Abortions Exact a High Toll Among African Women

Residents of Lebeko, a rural village in Lesotho prepare for the funeral of Nontsikelo Njuza. The 21-year-old died from complications of an illegal abortion. (Photo courtesy of the Njuza family)
Nomathemba Njuza will never forget the traumatic loss she suffered on Aug. 23 last year. Two young women showed up at her family home in rural Lesotho with their schoolmate, Njuza’s 21-year-old daughter Nontsikelo, who was in severe pain. Nontsikelo’s friends said their teacher had asked them to bring her back from school.

Mamofuta Kale | truthdig

Njuza called neighbors for help because Nontsikelo was suffering from piercing cramps and heavy bleeding. “I hired a van to take her to a clinic, and by the time we arrived, she was lying in a pool of blood,” Njuza says. Nontsikelo’s condition was so severe she had to be transferred to a hospital 30 miles away. She died during the trip there.

Njuza knows exactly what killed her daughter. On the way to the clinic, Nontsikelo said she had taken an abortion pill from a man she found on Facebook.

Nontsikelo was the victim of an unsafe abortion—one performed by an unskilled practitioner or in a substandard medical environment. Her story is a common one in Africa, where more than 4 million unsafe abortions are performed each year. One out of every 150 African women who have an unsafe abortion dies from complications, and countless others come away scarred physically or emotionally.

read more

Africa Is About To Fall Off An HIV Cliff

U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu, Kenya, April 25, 2010 By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa CC-BY-2.0
U.S. Army medical researchers take part in World Malaria Day 2010, Kisumu, Kenya, April 25, 2010. By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa
CC-BY-2.0
Current HIV statistics for Sub-Saharan Africa are grim. The region, which makes up the bulk of the African continent, saw 1.5 million new infections in 2013. It also saw 1.1 million HIV deaths. Swaziland, an especially hard-hit nation, has a staggering HIV prevalence, with nearly a third of residents infected with the virus. Only about 40 percent of those infected across the entire Sub-Saharan expanse are receiving treatment. And the situation is only poised to get worse.

By Michael Byrne|MOTHERBOARD

Researchers from Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health have calculated the ongoing costs of controlling HIV in nine Sub-Saharan nations, from 2015 to 2050, and found that to maintain current (inadequate) management and treatment programs will require $98 billion in funding. That shoots to $261 billion if HIV efforts are increased. This is money the region doesn’t have, setting its residents up for a very dire future if dedicated funding sources aren’t found soon.

The Harvard group’s work is published in the current BMJ Open in a study led by Rifat Atun, a professor of global health systems at Harvard.

read more

Asteroid Impacts 3.3 Billion Years Ago Caused Earth’s Oceans To Boil

Image Credit: NASA/Don Davis
Image Credit: NASA/Don Davis
Don’t complain too much when temperatures rise this summer, because it used to be worse. A lot worse.


By Ed Mazza|The Huffington Post

Some 3.3 billion years ago, monster asteroids — in some cases bigger than Rhode Island — repeatedly slammed into the Earth with impacts so violent that air temperatures soared to 932 degrees Fahrenheit for weeks at a time, according to a new study published in the journal Geology.

Temperatures rose to such extreme levels that the oceans literally boiled, causing sea levels to drop by about 330 feet.

Yet somehow, early life managed to survive.

These impacts would have a profound influence on any life trying to evolve into more complex, low-temperature organisms,” geologist Donald Lowe of Stanford University, who led the research, told Science News. “They’d keep getting whacked by these giant impactors and driven to extinction or near extinction.”

Lowe and study co-author Gary Byerly of Louisiana State University made the discovery while examining the Barberton Greenstone belt in South Africa, where ancient rock is exposed.

read more

New ‚Treasure Map‘ Shows Where Earth’s Oldest Water Is Hidden Underground

Energy-rich waters discharge kilometers below the surface in South African gold mine. | G. BORGONIE, 2014
Scientists have long known that pockets of ancient water exist deep beneath Earth’s surface. But first-of-its-kind new research that shows where the water is located–and just how old it really is–has raised some eyebrows.


By Jacqueline Howard|The Huffington Post

„A global picture of just how extensive these deep waters could be has not been done before,“ Dr. Barbara Sherwood Lollar, a professor of earth sciences at the University of Toronto in Canada and the lead author of a paper describing the research, told The Huffington Post in an email. „The paper provides a scientific treasure map of places to go to further investigate the ancient waters and possible subsurface biomes.“

The researchers collected data on ancient subterranean water from 19 mining sites around the world, and mapped out the locations of where these waters flow out of rocks, deep within Earth’s crust below Canada, South Africa, and Scandinavia.

„The waters we sampled range from 1 kilometer below surface to greater than 3 kilometers,“ Sherwood Lollar said in the email. „The combination of so deep and so old is what is unexpected.“

After all, some of the ancient waters are the oldest yet found, dating back to more than one billion years, she said.

read more

Richard Dawkins launches on-line rant about his dogs being terrified by fireworks

Image: dailymail.co.uk
He is no stranger to controversy and has made headlines for his views on rape, paedophilia and aborting babies with Down’s syndrome.
Yesterday Professor Richard Dawkins turned his attention to the subject of people who set fireworks off all year round and the distress they cause animals.

By Laura CoxDaily Mail

The 73-year-old biologist unleashed a furious rant on-line after he claimed his beloved dogs were left terrorised by the loud bangs.

Taking to social network site Twitter, Prof Dawkins told his one million followers the explosions are no longer reserved for specific celebrations: ‘It isn’t Guy Fawkes Day. It isn’t New Year. It isn’t even a weekend. Why are there fireworks, terrifying the dogs and other non-human animals?’

Prof Dawkins, who taught at Oxford University until his retirement in 2008, added in a second Tweet: ‘Selfishly, I like fireworks. But I suspect that my dogs’ terror is typical of thousands of animals, tame and wild. Don’t you care about them?’

Prof Dawkins, an outspoken atheist, made his comments on Monday night, several days after Diwali, known as the festival of light and celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs, which saw scores of fireworks let off last week.

read more

Tutu: Israel’s humiliation of Palestinians ‚familiar to black South Africans‘

image: Haaretz
As annual Israel Apartheid Week opens in South Africa, the former archbishop compares Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid and reiterates endorsement of BDS.

By HAARETZ

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said Sunday that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians reminds him of South African apartheid, and reiterated his support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

„I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces,“ he said in a statement. „Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.“

read more

Westboro Baptist Church: „THANK GOD for Nelson Mandela being dropped into hell!“

“THANK GOD for Nelson Mandela being dropped into hell!“ Westboro Baptist Church booking flight to South Africa (not banned) to picket funeral!

Addicting Info

That’s right, the insane attention seekers are claiming that they’ll be picketing the funeral of beloved former South African president Nelson Mandela. In reality, no one should give these ignorant heathens the benefit of written article, but in this case, a definite exception can be made. This is because, if the “church” does venture on this trip, there’s a good shot that we may soon witness the death of Westboro Baptist Church.
Westboro Baptist Church could meet an ill fate in South Africa, if they picket Nelson Mandela’s funeral.

I’m not saying that I want the members of Westboro Baptist Church to meet an ill fate in South Africa, I’m just saying it could happen. The simple fact is that the hate group is saying that they’ll venture into a country whose murder rate is the 15th highest in the entire world. And that once there, they intend to celebrate — away from the protection of American police — the death of the most beloved man in that country.

read more

Max Blumenthal: Imploding the Myth of Israel

Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa.

By Chris Hedges truthdig

Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.

And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. They wring their hands over the tragic necessity of airstrikes on Gaza or Lebanon or the demolition of Palestinian homes. They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them. This reality implodes the myth of the Jewish state. It exposes the cynicism of a state whose real goal is, and always has been, the transfer, forced immigration or utter subjugation and impoverishment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories. Reality shatters the fiction of a peace process. Reality lays bear the fact that Israel routinely has used deadly force against unarmed civilians, including children, to steal half the land on the West Bank and crowd forcibly displaced Palestinians into squalid, militarized ghettos while turning their land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Reality exposes the new racial laws adopted by Israel as those once advocated by the fanatic racist Meir Kahane. Reality unveils the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, the largest detention center in the world. Reality mocks the lie of open, democratic debate, including in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where racist diatribes and physical threats, often enshrined into law, are used to silence and criminalize the few who attempt to promote a civil society. Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel, however, desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.

Weiterlesen „Max Blumenthal: Imploding the Myth of Israel“