|Haiti mass graves receive unclaimed,
five minutes, a vehicle pulled up to the gates of
Port-au-Prince’s cemetery, delivering another corpse to a
mass grave dug by authorities trying to clear the broken
city’s streets of the dead.
“We have lost any dignity in death,” said Mezen Dieu Justi,
an old man barely able to contain his nausea and tears
before the grim spectacle.
The massive earthquake that
struck Haiti on Tuesday has produced a steady stream of
bodies, with estimates of the death toll well into the tens
Many families confronted with their final glimpse of a loved
one simply lost control.
“It’s my father, my dear father,” screamed one young woman,
who fainted at the sight of the mass grave filled with human
One woman, as though possessed, lowered herself into the
grave saying she felt more comfortable among the dead.
Bystanders eventually forced her back out again.
“We have lost our senses. Death has driven us insane,” said
one Haitian, whose relative’s body had been transported to
the grave for burial.
“For three days my sister was dead in her house. Finally
we brought her here. We have lost hope of giving her a
dignified burial, a coffin, the blessing of a priest,”
sobbed Florence, 40, a teacher.
Across Port-au-Prince, the dead litter the streets, stripped
of human dignity, decomposing and covered in flies.
The efforts of recently-arrived foreign aid workers seem
almost inconsequential by comparison with the scale of the
devastation wrought by the quake.
Obama speaks to Haitian president
Their work is both a race against time to save people who
may still be alive under the rubble strewn across the city
and also an effort to transport overwhelming numbers of
corpses to the nearest mass grave.
Morgue officials said they no longer have the means to move
the bodies, forcing aid workers to transport scores of
unidentified and dust-covered cadavers.
Families waited patiently as rescue teams dug through the
rubble, waiting to see if they could recognise a loved one.
“The truth is that we don’t know what will be done with
the dead,” said Joseph Tihaly, a Haitian volunteer
coordinating the delivery and identification of corpses
abandoned at the general hospital’s morgue.
The young student said numerous families had come seeking
their relatives, but the majority of the bodies remained
unclaimed and unidentified.
In one corner of the morgue, a Haitian man finished building
a makeshift wooden coffin to hold his brother’s body.
“I will try to take him to our village, to bury him
there,” he said.
“Realistically, we don’t know when these bodies will be
taken, and we don’t know by whom. It’s chaos and a breeding
ground for infection,” he said - (AFP)
|US to protest formally to China over
|The US State Department says it will make a formal
protest to China over alleged cyber-attacks on the internet
search giant, Google.
A spokesman said the US would demand an explanation in the
Google this week threatened to pull out of China because of
what it said were hacking attacks and censorship; Beijing
has tried to play down the threat.
Another US internet giant, Yahoo, is also reported to have
been targeted by hackers in China.
“We will be issuing a formal demarche to the Chinese
government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days,”
said state department spokesperson PJ Crowley.
“It will express our concern for this incident and request
information from China as to an explanation of how it
happened and what they plan to do about it.”
There are also reports that Yahoo, another US search engine,
had noticed it had been a target of Chinese hacking attacks,
prior to Google’s public acknowledgment of its own fears.
|India launches rockets to study
|(CNN) -- India is launching a series of rockets to study
the impact of Friday’s solar eclipse, a rare occurrence that
will briefly reduce the sun to a blazing ring.
The Indian Space Research Organisation has already sent up
three rockets, and at least five others are scheduled for
launch during the eclipse, its spokesman, S. Satish, told
Astronomers term the Friday phenomenon an annular eclipse,
when the moon covers the centre of the sun and not its
The Indian rockets will record changes the eclipse causes in
the lower and middle atmosphere as it races from Africa to
Asia, he said.
“The occurrence of (the) eclipse will result in a sudden
cut-off of solar radiation. This affects the atmospheric
structure and dynamics,” the space agency said in a news
release. “The uniqueness of this eclipse is that it occurs
during the noontime, when the incoming solar radiation is in
its maximum, (the) sun being at its zenith.”
|Survivor: Without vital port, ‘We’ll
starve to death, that’s all’
|(CNN) Raymond Thomas is a jolly man who laughs easily
and likes to say “Forget it” a lot.
He’d like to forget the devastation wrought at the
Port-au-Prince harbour where his fleet of trucks used to
pick up cargo.
Tuesday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake sent a quarter-mile pier
crumbling into the sea along with two of his trucks. The few
workers who went into the water swam to safety, Thomas said,
but the port remains shut down, and desperately needed aid
cannot be unloaded quickly.
“Now we’re just starving to death,” he said, worried that
the airport and smaller harbours cannot handle the necessary
volume of relief supplies.
“That was the whole country right there,” he added, pointing
at two toppled cranes on the remains of the pier that stand
out against the clear-blue sky.
Thomas owns Raymond and Sons Trucking, a fleet of 35 trucks
that haul cargo from the port. The company employed about 50
employees, all of them now out of work.
“I’m out,” Thomas said.
The port won’t be back for a while. Roads have been split
apart and buckled, fences have fallen over.
“Oh, forget it,” Thomas said. “Forget it. It might take a
year to rebuild it. Forget it.”
|Iran issues warning on opposition
Iranian authorities have warned
opposition supporters against using text and e-mail messages
to organise protest rallies.
The country’s police chief said these systems were monitored
and people misusing them would be prosecuted. Gen Ismail
Ahmadi Moghaddam also said opposition supporters should not
think internet proxies would protect them.
- (BBC news)
Presidential electoral campaign ends in
Ukraine’s presidential candidates made their final calls
for support on Friday at the end of a three-month campaign.
A total of 18 candidates are contesting Sunday’s election,
including incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko, Prime
Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Opposition leader Viktor
Ukraine’s electoral law forbids campaigning 24 hours before
election day, giving voters a quiet day to ponder their
Chinese police shut down country’s
first gay pageant
Chinese police shut down the country’s first gay
pageant tonight, just one hour before the event was due to
Participants hoped the contest would help challenge domestic
stereotypes about homosexuality, classified as a mental
illness until 2001, and show the rest of the world that gay
people could be accepted in China. But officers arrived at a
Beijing nightclub shortly before the Mr Gay China
competition started and told organisers it was not properly
licensed. They are understood to have told the venue’s
owners that it was “a sensitive issue”.
- (Wallstreet journal)
Cuba investigates psychiatric hospital
Cuban authorities are investigating the deaths of 26
patients at a psychiatric hospital linked to a spell of
unusually cold weather.
Human rights activists blamed the deaths on negligence and
the dilapidated state of the hospital.
The health ministry said natural causes such as old age,
respiratory problems and complications from chronic diseases
contributed to the deaths.
Cuba prides itself on its provision of free universal
The deaths occurred at the Psychiatric Hospital in the
capital, Havana, which houses some 2,500 patients.
- (BBC news)
Guinea interim leader Gen Konate
‘threatens to resign’
The interim leader of Guinea’s military government has
threatened to resign amid a row over whether the wounded
president should return to the country.
Gen Sekouba Konate has been in charge since the president,
Capt Moussa Dadis Camara, was shot six weeks ago.
Analysts say he is seen as the best hope for an end to the
political crisis and a return to civilian rule.
Gen Konate’s threat followed talks between the two men and
other senior Guinean military officials in Burkina Faso on
Thursday, after Capt Camara flew there from Morocco.
He had been receiving treatment in Morocco following an
assassination attempt by his former aide-de-camp on 3
- (BBC news)