Thursday, March 31, 2011

Powerlifter Adds to Records

By Laura M. Levering 
Northwest Guardian
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash., March 29, 2011 - At age 54, Leamon Woodley, a civilian employee here, is in better physical condition than many soldiers half his age.
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Leamon Woodley lifts 635 pounds during a March 18, 2011, workout on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. U.S. Army photo by Ingrid Barrentine 
A trained powerlifter, Woodley holds more records than he can keep track of -- earlier this month, that number increased by two.
The retired Army master sergeant competed in the 2011 Washington State Powerlifting, Bench Press and Deadlift Championship in Tumwater, Wash., March 5 and 6. The 181-pound Woodley set two national records, including the squat at 640 pounds and total weight at 1,654 pounds. The total record was the combined weight of three separate events: squat, bench press and dead lift.
Woodley also was inducted into the Washington State Powerlifting Hall of Fame for his nearly two decades of participation and recognition in the sport.
Woodley's interest in powerlifting began while stationed in South Korea in 1991, when he became a certified master fitness trainer for the Army. He had just graduated from the course and attended his first powerlifting meet, where he saw a 130-pound woman dead lift 330 pounds.
"I was impressed -- very impressed," Woodley said. "That's what got me started."
He checked out several library books to help get him started. Soon after, Woodley relocated to what was then Fort Lewis, where he entered his first competition. He took fourth place, but if you'd asked him then about his prospects for breaking records for nearly two decades, the then-novice probably would have laughed.
"I said, 'Man, there's no way in the world I could ever break those [records],'" he said. "But through training over a period of time, I got better and started breaking records."
Training and social support are the keys to success and what got him to where he is today, Woodley said.
"If you train, you can be good at anything," he said. "Plus, you have to invest in your equipment and be around good friends -- people that are going to support you, cheer you on -- and just have a good time at it."
Woodley's wife and two children have been extremely supportive of his hobby, along with his longtime friend and sponsor, Tony Suffern, he said. The retired Navy chief befriended Woodley about 12 years ago after hearing about his powerlifting experiences.
Suffern was surprised to learn Woodley did not have a sponsor, so he offered to be his sponsor. He travels with Woodley, offering advice and encouragement, and critiques the powerlifter's every move.
"I'm kind of like a seeing-eye dog for him," Suffern said.
Having been a powerlifter in his younger days, Suffern said, he has the expertise Woodley needs, but is not above learning a thing or two himself. Woodley's work ethic and humility make him an inspiring athlete, he added.
"He's at the gym 5 o'clock every morning, and he works out before he even goes to work," Suffern said. "He has about 15 records at least, and if you didn't know him -- if you just see him lifting at the gym -- you'd have no idea he has that many records."
At this stage in his career, Woodley said, he appreciates the understanding extended to him by former military units, leaders and fellow soldiers who allowed him time to lift during unit physical training time to prepare for competitions.
"I had very supportive units throughout my military career, which made a big difference," he said.
Now, Woodley added, he makes time for training five days a week before work, and believes that if he can do it, anybody can. His attitude has gone beyond powerlifting and has changed his perspective on life, he said.
"When you get up for a competition, even though sometimes you might be in pain, I think sometimes it's a mental and physical matter that you can always overcome certain things -- obstacles in your life or whatever -- to make yourself rise to the occasion," he said.  

Joe Biden poses with Winter Sports participants

Click photo for screen-resolution imageVice President Joe Biden poses with participants in the 25th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colo., March 28, 2011.

DOD photo by Donna Miles
Click photo for screen-resolution imageVice President Joe Biden greets a participant at the opening ceremonies for the 25th National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colo., March 27, 2011.

VA photo by Robert Turtil

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blogger Describes 'Mom Shift'

By Elaine Sanchez 
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON L I'd like to welcome guest blogger Navy Lt. Tiffani Walker. In this blog, Walker writes about the "Mom shift" she works after a full day on active day, and expresses her gratitude for the service members who put their lives on the line to keep families like hers safe.
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Navy Lt. Tiffani Walker and her daughter rush to embrace. Courtesy photo
By Navy Lt. Tiffani Walker
Defense Media Activity
I work the "Mom shift" after I finish my day job as a Navy lieutenant on active duty.
It is that time of night when I have heard that other people watch their favorite show and catch up with their spouse. Some people may even read or even get to bed early. But I pull another shift at the factory where I make school lunches, wash bottles, sign homework and ensure the house is picked up enough to not cause injury or infection to my beautiful kids.
The Mom shift is that time of night when single and sometimes-single-due-to-orders moms like me take care of all of the things that need to be done just to make it to the next day.
I find that this time of night is the most reflective for me. I put the kids to bed and do menial tasks that don't take much brainpower to do. It opens up my mind for a million other things that I don't have time for throughout the day.
I make my lists of groceries, chores, to-do's and wishes. I think about how much I miss my handsome husband and wonder when the day will come that we live in the same house again -- not just for a visit, but for good. I wonder if I can clone myself so I can find time to take naps and work to get rid of the "baby weight."
And to be completely honest, I also internally whine about a number of things, such as why, when I am here alone with two kids, the sewage pipe had to back up in the basement and I had clean it up. And about why I have to go it alone as the plumber, mover, financial advisor, housekeeper and pediatrician ... Why? Why? Why?
And then I remember. My kids are safe in their beds, warm and happy and it wasn't entirely my doing. I didn't go it alone tonight or any other night. I had help from strangers -- people who don't know those two sleeping kids or me.
There are men and women around the world from our country and so many others who are flying, fighting, patrolling, diving, standing a watch, manning a rail and holding the line. It's a line in the sand drawn in dirt, the air and the ocean that keeps children like mine safe in their beds.
I am grateful for the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that stand afar while I tuck my sweet children in at night.
Thank you all from one grateful mom.
For more on Family Matters Blog, visit the site or check out Family Matters on Facebook and Twitter. (Issued on :March 28, 2011)        ------000000------

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Search and seizure teams from the Cameroon Navy

Visit, board, search and seizure teams from the Cameroon Navy approach the frigate USS Robert G. Bradley (FFG 49) during multinational training exercise Obangame Express 2011 as part of Africa Partnership Station (APS) West in the Gulf of Guinea March 21, 2011. APS is an international security cooperation initiative facilitated by commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa aimed at strengthening global maritime partnerships through training and collaborative activities in order to improve maritime safety and security in Africa. (DoD photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Darryl Wood, U.S. Navy/Released)

Embraces his wife and child before they board an aircraft

U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Michael Cassano, left, embraces his wife and child before they board an aircraft during an authorized voluntary departure of Department of Defense dependents and Navy civilians March 21, 2011, at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates consulted with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and authorized the voluntary departure from the island of Honshu, Japan, after a 9.0-magnitude earthquake and a tsunami struck Japan March 11, 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jonathan Kulp/Released)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Annual Convocation of 4 C M C colleges

Ludhiana: Annual Convocation of Christian Medical College, Christian Dental College, College of Nursing and College of Physiotherapy, Ludhiana was held on 28.03.2011 with traditional grandeur today in the College Campus, Shri Tikshan Sud, Hon’ble Minister Parliamentary Affairs, Medical Education & Research, Forest and  Labour, Govt. of  Punjab was the Chief Guest. He said, “At the outset, let me thank the Institute for inviting me here to participate in this memorable occasion and to distribute the Convocation credentials to merit holders. Your profession is prestigious, with ample scope for growth. You are part of the educated class that society looks up to, for guidance and awareness. On this convocation day, I wish all the young Doctors the very best in life and a wonderful future with achievements and I wish they should also treat the poor people.

It is always a pleasure to visit CMC & Hospital and I am delighted to be here with the younger generation of doctors and nurses today. Christian Medical College has a long tradition of pursuing excellence in teaching and research in science. He also appreciated the Christian Medical College & Hospital for its exceptional services in the field of Medical. Your profession is prestigious, with ample scope for growth. You are part of the educated class that society looks up to, for guidance and awareness. On this convocation day, I wish all the young Doctors the very best in life and a wonderful future with achievements.

Dr. Abraham G. Thomas, Director welcomed the gathering, Dr. S. M. Bhatti, Principal administered the Hippocratic Oath to the Graduates and Postgraduates. Fourty Six Medical Graduates were awarded the degrees. Students excelling in various academic activities were awarded Prizes and Medals by the Chief Guest. Alisha Sharma, Midhila BabyNina PhilipSebastian Marker, Geetika GeraDevki Verma Amrit Kaur, Samson Charan, Jenni Mariam George were the prominent prize winners. Jensi Achamma George won the gold medal for being the best intern while Chepsy C Philip was awarded Jaswant Kaur Memorial award for best Medical Resident. Faculty Award for the best outgoing Orthopaedics Resident went to Dr. Suhash Masilamani. Overview of faculty achievements was presented by Principal, Dr. S.M. Bhatti. 
64 B.Sc. Nursing graduates and 24 M.Sc. Nursing post-graduates awarded the degree. Damanpreet Kaur B.Sc. Nursing 1st year, Harpreet Kaur B.Sc. Nursing 2nd year, Gigi M. George B.Sc. Nursing 3rd year, Harpreet Kaur B.Sc. Nursing 4th year secured 1st position in the college.  Sarabjit Kaur secured first position in B.Sc. Nursing Aggregate. Poonam Sharma M.Sc.Nursing 1st year and Mamta M.Sc.Nursing 2nd year stood first in the University.  Preety Alagh ranked first in M.Sc. Nursing Aggregate. Special prizes were awarded to Sanchi Gureja for Best Community Health Nurse, Jaspreet Kaur H.S. for Best Bed Side nurse and Renny Grace Paul awarded Anna Vohra memorial award for the All Round Best Student Nurse. 
Dr. Abi M. Thomas, Principal, Christian Dental College presented the college report.  There were 40 BDS and 4 MDS graduates to receive their degrees.  8 students received gold medals.  In the report he highlighted the achievements of the faculty and students in the last year.  Ms. Navraj was topper in the final Professional BDS examination.    The overall percentage of students in BDS examination was 95%.  4 students got distinctions.  As part of the goal oriented education, all our students are committed to serve an area of need after their graduation.   At present 55 graduates of Christian Dental College are working in different parts of the country and one at Liberia, West Africa.  The dental students council actively supported the administration in coordinating different programmes.    The Principal highlighted that there were 12 scientific paper presentations, 11 poster presentation and 10 scientific publications in National and International journals.   The Association of Medical Alumni awarded Life Time Achievement award to Dr. Sybil SinghDr. V. K. Satija Award for best Clinical Teacher went to Dr. Shekhar Upadhyay while batch of 1976 Excellence in Teaching Award went to Mrs. Madhumita Mukerjee. Ajay Alex Varughese and Simi Samuel were awarded Alumni Prize for best alrounder. 
Dr.Kim MamMrs. Triza Jiwan, Principal, College Nursing proposed the vote of thanks.

Suicide-Prevention Program Recommendations

By Donna Miles 
American Forces Press Service
HAMPTON, Va.: A new study commissioned by the Defense Department affirms many of the suicide-prevention efforts being made within DOD and the military services and recommends ways to strengthen them.
In preparing "The War Within: Suicide Prevention in the U.S. Military," the Rand National Defense Research Institute examined data on military suicides, identified what scientific literature and leaders in the field consider the best prevention strategies and recommended ways to ensure existing programs reflect the state of the art, officials said.
"This is a very thorough effort," Dr. Mark Barnes, director of the resilience and prevention directorate at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, said of the report. "Rand interviewed each of the services and went outside the military to look at suicide-prevention practices and identified gaps for the way ahead [and] recommendations for the military suicide-prevention programs."
The study's findings track closely with those in the Defense Department's own DOD Suicide Task Force Report, Barnes told military health care professionals attending the first Armed Forces Public Health Conference held here this week.
"There is no disagreement. They are very complimentary in what they are recommending," he said. "So we have a nice resource here with quality information that our suicide-prevention folks can refer to as we move forward with the task force recommendations."
Navy Capt. Paul Hammer, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, called the Rand report an important tool in helping the Defense Department better confront an issue it takes "very seriously."
"The Rand study helps us to identify areas that need improvement so that we can continue to provide the most comprehensive health care for our service members –- from the inside out," he said.
The study, written for health policy officials and suicide-prevention program managers, recognized critical factors in a comprehensive prevention program. These include:
-- Raising awareness and promoting self-care;
-- Identifying people at high risk, including screening for mental health problems;
-- Eliminating actual or perceived barriers to quality behavioral health care;
-- Providing high-quality mental health treatment and specific interventions focused on suicide when needed;
-- Restricting access to firearms and other lethal means, with attention to how lethal medications are packaged and how door hinges and shower rods are constructed; and
-- Responding appropriately when suicides occur.
Evaluating the Defense Department's suicide prevention programs, the study cited the potential benefit of a new DOD-wide surveillance program being used to track suicides and suicide attempts. The DOD Suicide Event Report replaced each service's individual suicide-reporting system, Barnes explained, helping to ensure "apples to apples" comparisons as information is shared across the services.
"This is a data issue," he said. "We need good data. The data informs us in how to be effective with prevention and health promotion. So we are continually improving our data systems."
Rand also called for an evaluation of existing suicide prevention programs, along with a requirement that any new initiatives include an evaluation plan. Barnes acknowledged the challenge of assessing programs' effectiveness, but called closer collaboration and information sharing across the Defense Department and services a positive step toward sharing best practices and determining what works.
The Rand study recognizes most military suicide-prevention programs' focus on raising awareness, including telling people where to get help and helping them recognize peers in distress. However, it emphasizes the importance of also teaching military members how to recognize their own problems and refer themselves if needed to a behavioral health professional or chaplain.
"Raising awareness and promoting self-care is something we do and we can do better," Barnes said, noting the value of resilience campaigns. "The ideas is to give people skills," and know how to recognize signs of risk in themselves as well as others, and to know what to do.
The report also identified the importance of partnerships between agencies and organizations responsible for mental health and substance use and other known risk factors for suicide.
"We do fairly well in terms of partnerships," Barnes said. "One area we are looking at is, on an installation, how well do all the different partners work together in the suicide [prevention] mission? Because often times you have ... one person who is the suicide prevention person on an installation. They are not going to be able to check in on everybody. It is really the whole installation that needs to be on board to be effective with this."
The study also cited the need to ensure there's no gap in services provided during military members' transitions -- between military bases, between commands or between active and reserve status.
"Ensuring a continuity of services and care is really important," Barnes said. "One of the times of increased vulnerability is during transitions. ... And we need to be covering all the gaps like this proactively for our service members and their families."
The study called for formal guidance for commanders so they know how to respond to suicide and suicide attempts. It recognized the lack of any direct policy within the services and the risks of handling these situations improperly.
"It is really about our leadership," Barnes said. "We need to empower our leadership, because they set the example. They set the tone. So we have to give them the tools. We need to give them the information, the data, so they know what is going on, where we think is the right direction to go, and then get behind them." (Issued on :March 25, 2011)
Related Sites:
Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mullen Accepts Award on Behalf of Armed Forces

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2011 - Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Navy Adm. Mike Mullen accepted the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award from the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress last night on behalf of all members of the U.S. armed forces.
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Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Deborah, greet retired Sen. John W. Warner of Virginia at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress awards dinner in Washington, D.C., March 24, 2011. Mullen accepted the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for excellence on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces at the dinner. DOD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley 
"Tonight, there are thousands upon thousands of young men and women answering our nation's call in Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan and around the world," the chairman said. "Off the shores of Libya, where they are flying and fighting to protect innocent people from their own government, they are doing a magnificent job."
When the center selected Mullen for the award, the chairman agreed to accept it -– but only on behalf of the nation's uniformed men and women.
Former Virginia Sen. John Warner, past chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, presented the award. President Barack Obama extended his congratulations to Mullen and U.S. service members in a letter.
"Throughout his extraordinary military career, Admiral Mullen has set an example for men and women across all branches of government," the president's letter read. "His outstanding leadership of our armed forces will be studied for generations to come, and as he accepts this award on behalf of our service members, I hope he takes pride in his enormous contributions to strengthening our nation."
Mullen is a longstanding advocate of supporting U.S. troops and families during and after their service for the "needs they deserve," ranging from medical care to education and jobs.
"You, your families, and all of the veterans you represent have my unyielding support and my deepest gratitude for all that you have done in service to our nation," Mullen told veterans in the audience from the Disabled American Veterans and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Their actions and dedication to duty, Mullen told the veterans, "stand as stark testament to President Eisenhower's words that 'We cannot build peace on desire alone.' I will take that one step further and say that while desire alone won't build a better future for our nation or our world, you have."
The center chose Mullen for the Eisenhower Award because "he is a forward-thinking, servant leader and grand strategist who, by looking through a long-term lens, has provided unparalleled leadership in navigating our men and women of the armed forces successfully during America's longest war," said Jonathan P. Murphy, the center's communications director.
The chairman's vision for the future includes jobs for veterans. Mullen said veterans are ready and willing to continue serving their communities, and when communities help veterans transition to civilian life, he foresees a "win-win" relationship.
"[That partnership] makes a positive and lasting impact on our nation and the young men and women who have served, for decades to come," the admiral said.
Mullen challenged the Eisenhower Center's fellows to find new, creative ways to "reach out to the great resources resident in our veterans." Then, he challenged veterans to grab hold of the opportunities that are offered, "and bring your shipmates, battle buddies and wingmen along with you."
Mullen also encouraged older veterans to mentor the younger ones. "Mentorship knows no rank or age limit," he said.
Quoting Eisenhower, Mullen told the audience, "Our heart summons our strength, our wisdom must direct it."
With that thought, the admiral said, he hopes the leaders of today and the future see the wisdom in keeping faith with those "who have bravely served the nation, as many more do so around the world tonight."
"So when that time comes," Mullen added, "our nation will have the heart to summon the strength needed to serve our nation and world."
Navy Adm. Mike Mullen
Related Sites:
Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress 

Play Shares Emotions of Deployments, Reintegration

By Donna Miles 
American Forces Press Service
HAMPTON, Va., March 24, 2011 - The "F-bombs" fell fast and furiously yesterday at an otherwise perfectly proper gathering of military health care professionals here as they broke away from their lectures and academic exchanges to watch a documentary play about the challenges many of their patients struggle to overcome.
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Performers in the documentary play "ReEntry," which portrays the trials and triumphs of deployment and reintegration include, from left, Bobby Mereno, Sheila Tapia and Joseph Harrell, a former Marine Corps drill instructor. DoD photo by Donna Miles 
"ReEntry," co-written by K.J. Sanchez and Emily Ackerman, is based on actual interviews with Marines and their loved ones, and it explores their raw, realistic and often tender experiences related to repeated combat deployments and redeployments. The playwrights spent hundreds of hours interviewing Marines returning from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as their families, then used their exact words in the play.
Navy Capt. Paul S. Hammer, director of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, introduced the play at the first Armed Forces Public Health Conference. Before the actors took their places on the stage, he warned the audience not to be surprised by the play's "salty" and "irreverent" humor.
"This is dialogue from real people and real characters. It is not a composite," he said. "It's about the very real human reaction to the stressful experiences of war and how that impacts the ability to integrate, all told in their own words. It's the use of the arts in telling the story and helping understand the experience."
Two of the major characters in the play are based on Ackerman's brothers who served with the Marine Corps in Iraq. One suffered from post-traumatic stress and even contemplated suicide after returning home, but was saved when his family intervened. The other was wounded in a roadside-bomb attack that killed his best friend and blinded another Marine.
Sanchez initially hired Joseph Harrell, a former Marine Corps drill instructor, as a military consultant to bring realism to the play. She ultimately signed him on to play the part of the commanding officer – a role Harrell said helped him realize that he, too, had long-undiagnosed post-traumatic stress that wasn't related to combat.
"From researching the character I played, from reading books, meeting clinicians, talking to people, I found out a lot about myself," he said. "And through the process, I started to find healing. I started to find answers, and I mapped out my entire life as a result of this play."
Harrell said he saw "ReEntry" have that same healing effect on the family of a friend as it helped them finally understand changes in him after he returned home from combat.
"That's why I am attached to this play and why I will always be attached to it -- because I know what it can do for people," he said. "There is not a person on this planet that can tell me this does not have healing properties. So I am in it. I am in it all the way."
"ReEntry" explores the many aspects of military service – the sacrifice, the pride, the unity its members feel:
-- A wounded Marine sees his combat wounds as a failure -- "the gunfight I lost" – and shares the pain of being determined unfit for service. "It stings," he said. "No matter how much you are expecting it, it stings."
-- A sister tells of sending care packages to her deployed brother and trying not to worry about him. She admits to saving his phone messages on the voice recorder. "It might be the last time I hear his voice," she said.
-- A commander worries that he's become impervious to death and developed a "stone mask" that hides what's really inside.
-- A mother shares her need to telephone the family of the fallen Marine who died in her son's arms and the one who was wounded in the attack.
-- A gunnery sergeant's wife says, "I am not just married to a Marine. We are a Marine family." And although she maintains a poker face to the world, she admits to going into the bathroom to cry in private without being discovered.
-- A Marine tells a comrade he thinks he has post-traumatic stress and assures him it's OK to go "straight to see the wizard."
Sanchez emphasized during a panel discussion following yesterday's performance that she doesn't intend "ReEntry" to speak for everyone's experiences. But Hammer called the very real human experiences portrayed in the play a valuable tool to help military members deal with conflict they may feel, and for others to better understand them.
"'ReEntry' is an example of the creative use of performing arts to further our understanding of the challenges faced by, as well as the strength and camaraderie of, our combat warriors and their families," he told the gathering.
The show made its military debut in May at the Navy and Marine Corps Combat Operational Stress Control Conference in San Diego, and is making the rounds at military bases and Veterans Affairs hospitals. The troupe presented it in November at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., where it received a standing ovation, and in February at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., where it was mandatory viewing for all drill instructors.
In September, "ReEntry" will go to Camp Lejeune, N.C., and eight family-day performances are on the schedule for reserve units.
"ReEntry" also played at civilian theaters in Red Bank, N.J., and Baltimore. It is scheduled to run in October at a civilian theater in Bethesda, Md., also home of the National Naval Medical Center, to be redesignated as the Walter Reed National Medical Center.
"It resonates with them," Hammer said. "It's telling the story, and allowing audiences to interact with the story."
One Army civilian health care provider fought back tears as she thanked Sanchez following yesterday's presentation for giving her new insights into the men and women she cares for every day.
"You opened my eyes and let me get inside their bodies," she said. "Now I will have a better understanding and appreciation of how they feel."

Friday, March 25, 2011

Call for End to Harsh Detention of Wikileaks Soldier

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 12:33 AM

Amnesty International Reiterates its Call for End to Harsh Detention of Wikileaks Soldier 
Human rights organization sends letters to President Obama and Secretary Gates for measures to ensure Army private is not subjected to unreasonable conditions 

Washington, D.C. U.S. authorities must put an end to the harsh pre-trial detention conditions of Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of leaking information to Wikileaks, Amnesty International said today.  In letters to U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Amnesty International called for measures to ensure that the Army private is no longer held in 23-hour solitary confinement and subjected to other unreasonable restrictions.

"Bradley Manning is being held in unnecessarily harsh conditions that are inconsistent with his status as an untried prisoner," said Susan Lee, Americas program director at Amnesty International. "We urge the U
.S. authorities to review Bradley Manning's situation. Under international standards, prisoners who have not yet stood trial should be treated in accordance with their right to the presumption of innocence. His requests to have his custody assignment downgraded have been denied despite his reportedly presenting no problems to staff or inmates and having a clear disciplinary record while in custody."

Amnesty International first raised its concerns about the conditions of Bradley Manning's detention in a letter to the Secretary of Defense on January 19. The organization has not received a reply and Private Manning's conditions have not improved.

Bradley Manning, 23, was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq and charged with transferring classified data onto his personal computer and passing that data to an unauthorized third party. In March 2011 an additional 22 charges were laid against him, including "aiding the enemy".

Since July
, he has been confined for 23 hours a day to a small cell, with no personal possessions and with limited access to writing and reading materials.  All visits, including those with his family or lawyer, take place in a non-contact setting during which Amnesty International has been told he is shackled at the wrists and legs.

Bradley Manning continues to be subject to a Prevention of Injury (POI) classification which means he is deprived of sheets and a separate pillow and must be checked every five minutes during the day. He is also prevented from exercising in his cell and rarely receives any outdoor exercise, contrary to United Nations rules for the treatment of prisoners.

Prolonged isolation and confinement to a small cell, with lack of adequate exercise and other restrictions, can cause severe psychological impairment, including depression and anxiety.

Earlier this month, Bradley Manning was forced to remove all clothing and to sleep naked for several consecutive days.  This treatment followed shortly after he made a remark to a custody officer when he was told that he would remain under POI status (his remark was to the effect that, had he wanted to commit suicide, he could have done so using the elastic waistband of his undershorts). He has described being required to stand to attention naked and cold at his cell door each morning before his clothes were returned to him.

"Bradley Manning is the only prisoner currently at the Quantico Marine Corps Base known to have been confined to a cell under Maximum Custody/POI status for as long as eight months," said Lee "Our concerns regarding his treatment are further heightened by the fact that military psychiatrists have repeatedly recommended that Bradley Manning be removed from POI status."

# # #

Spiraling Syria Death Toll Reports are ‘Disturbing

Fri, Mar 25, 2011 at 12:27 AM

Spiraling Syria Death Toll Reports are ‘Disturbing,’ Says Amnesty International 
Washington, D.C.The Syrian government must ensure its security forces end attacks on protesters and others during ongoing unrest, Amnesty International said today amid reports of mass casualties in the town of Dera’a. 

“We are deeply disturbed by reports of multiple deaths in Dera’a, with security forces firing at protesters and people coming to the aid of the injured with apparent disregard for human life,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “The Syrian authorities’ response to dissent has been swift and brutal. They must ensure security forces immediately halt use of excessive force and allow peaceful protesters to assemble and demonstrate freely.”

In the last 24 hours, security forces have reportedly killed dozens of people in and around Dera’a, including when they shot at hundreds of youths on the northern edge of the town yesterday afternoon.

Earlier that day, an attack by government forces on a sit-in at the town’s ‘Omari mosque led to the deaths of at least seven people.
 (Issued on :Thursday, March 24, 2011)
# # #

Amnesty Condemns Eviction of Indigenous Farmers

Amnesty International Condemns Eviction of Indigenous 
Farmers by Guatemalan Authorities 

Washington, D.C.: Amnesty International calls on the Guatemalan authorities to halt the forced evictions of indigenous farming communities which have so far left 2,500 people homeless and resulted in the death of one man, Amnesty International said today.

According to reports security forces used tear gas during the evictions of 12 Q'eqchi' farming communities from disputed land in Valle del Polochic in the northeast of the country between March 15 and 18.

Antonio Beb Ac, a farm worker, was killed during the evictions and two people allegedly suffered from health complications caused by the tear gas. Another two communities numbering some 300 people are said to be at risk of forced evictions.

"The evictions in Valle del Polochic have so far been carried out without adequate consultation, adequate notice or the provision of adequate alternative housing and they must stop immediately," said Sebastian Elgueta, Guatemala researcher at Amnesty International. "Thousands of people have lost their homes and livelihoods. Without shelter, food or water they are vulnerable to further abuses and must be protected by the authorities. The 60 or so families that are still at risk of eviction must also be protected.  The authorities must also ensure that the investigation into the death of Antonio Beb Ac is impartial and thorough with the results made public and those responsible brought to justice."

A judge issued the eviction order for the 14 communities on February 7 2011. This followed a dispute over ownership of the land between a local company who claims ownership of the land and the Q'eqchi' people who say they have been living and working on the land for 30 years.

On March 14, members of the indigenous communities met the authorities to try and resolve the dispute. The next day the police and army started the forced evictions reportedly without any prior notice or warning, clearing the Miralvalle and Agua Caliente farms.

On March 16 the Quinich farm was razed to the ground. On March 17 and 18, nine more communities were evicted, including two reportedly carried out by mistake.

Sixty families (some 300 people) in the San Miguelito and Campanas communities- are still at risk of being forcibly evicted.

On March 17 the Office of the Presidency issued a communiqué stating that they will carry out all eviction orders with immediate effect, but failed to specify that they would do this in compliance with international law.

Amnesty International said it is concerned that forced evictions could take place, as they have in the past, without consulting with affected communities or providing them with adequate alternative housing.

"Human rights must be respected for all people. The Guatemalan authorities must ensure that the most vulnerable, indigenous communities as well as others who are marginalized, have their civil, economic, social, political and cultural rights protected," said Sebastian Elgueta.  "Unless the human rights of the marginalized are taken as a priority by the government, the application of the rule of law in Guatemala will continue to discriminate against Indigenous Peoples and be skewed in favour of large landowners." 

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.  (Issued on :Wednesday, March 23, 2011)

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

CMC’s founder, Dame Edith Brown remembered

Ludhiana, 24th March, 2011 :It was time of Pardah. Women used to prefer Burqa or Pardah. In that tough time.The Christian Medical College and Hospital was established in 1894 by a British Baptist missionary, Dr. Edith Brown, who saw the desperate need of medical and nursing care for. She wrote a new and glorious history of Ludhiana in the medical field. According to Wikipedia Dame Edith Mary Brown (24 March 1864 – 6 December 1956) was the founder of The Christian Medical College Ludhiana, the first medical training facility for woman in Asia.
Brown was born in Whitehaven on 24 March 1846.
She graduated from Girton CollegeCambridge, one of the first woman to be admitted to the Honours Degree Examination at the University of Cambridge in 1882. After graduating she studied medicine at Edinburgh and in Brussels, where she finally qualified as a doctor of medicine.
Brown sailed from London on 17 October 1891 on the S.S. Oceana as a second class passenger.
She was appointed to the medical mission at Ludhiana in Punjab, where she organized a Christian medical training center for Indian woman. The school was officially recognized by the government in 1915.
Her motto was: "My work is for a King"
She retired as principal of the College in 1942.
She died 6 December 1956 in SrinagarIndia
Additional information added by Church History Fan
The Annual Founder’s Day celebrations of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana were held on March 24, 2011. 
This day is celebrated in the loving memory of CMC’s founder, Dame Edith Brown, who realized the need for training the nurses and doctors to serve the community. Her initiative over 100 years ago now stands as one of the premier medical institutions in India. Nearly 50 alumni from the reunion batches visited their alma mater, some of them decades after having left the portals of Christian Medical College!

There was a Continuing Medical Education programme in which eminent speakers from the reunion batches of 1961 and 1980 delivered scientific talks. Visiting alumni, alumni from the city and nearby towns and CMC faculty and students attended the scientific session with great interest. After the CME, the Alumni shared their experiences since graduation and also narrated anecdotes about their time spent in CMC many years ago.

Dr. Abraham G. Thomas, Director, CMC & Hospital and  Dr. S. M. Bhatti, Principal, CMC welcomed the visiting alumni. Dr. Sybil Singh gave away the mementoes. The alumni also visited the hostels, college and hospital premises to relive old memories and to see the newer developments. The day culminated with a gala banquet hosted in the campus lawns along with a colorful cultural program. Report Compiled & presented by  Shalu Arora & Rector Kathuria

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Musical show The WiCKED by CMC team

Ludhiana: A broadway musical show The Wicked.  proved another grand succes on its very first day. it's stage show started on March 22 and will continue by March 24 Night. Every evening will record a new achievement fo Ludhiana and Punjab in the world of stage.  Play is based on a book by Gregory Maguire and brought by the art team of CMC hospital Ludhiana for raising a fund for the poor patients under the music and theatre workshop project under the patronage of Dr. Abraham G. Thomas This hospital was founded as a means of providing quality healthcare to the poor and needy... and under the patronage of our director, Dr Abraham G Thomas; we are setting up this musical to raise funds for our poor patients. The proceeds from this year’s musical will be used for treating patients in the Intensive Care Unit. We are inviting sponsors and donations for this worthy cause” said Dr Simi Samuel, a medical intern.
Since the past 2 months, about 150 students from Christian Medical College and Hospital are practising rigorously for a musical show “The Wicked”. And as in the previous years, the proceeds will go to the financial aid of poor patients.
The musical is exclusively directed by students and doctors from the college.  With Felix Manoharan as the acting director and Jerin Kuruvila as the music director, the production is managed by Dr Sajin G Joseph. There are about 32 students in the show’s cast and the rest are involved in its production, designing, sounds, finance and publicity.
The Wicked’ is based on a novel by Gregory Maguire and is a prequel to the popular book ‘The Wizard of Oz’. It is the story of the witches of Oz- Elphaba and Glinda and it conveys the message that good always wins over evil.
“With a demanding script, dazzling stage settings, enchanting melodies and special effects, this highly innovative production is a must see for all” said Dr Albert, an intern with Christian Medical College while talking about the play.It's first show was a grand success on Tuesday March 22 and the  show will be continued for three evenings at Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan; on 23rd and 24th March.also to inspire the love and charity. -Shalu Arora & Rector Kathuria

Medevac Initiatives Save Lives in Afghanistan

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
FORT DETRICK, Md., March 22, 2011 - New ambulances designed to negotiate Afghanistan's rough, narrow roads, kits that quickly convert standard combat vehicles for casualty evacuation and state-of-the-art field medical packages are improving battlefield medicine and saving lives, an official involved in developing and fielding the new equipment reported.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity helped to develop this mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain-vehicle ambulance specifically for Afghanistan's terrain, as well as a kit that converts any M-ATV for casualty evacuation. U.S. Army photo 
"What we are doing is getting better technology far forward to the wounded, and as a result, we are seeing a decrease in mortality," Jaime Lee, a product manager at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity's Medical Support Systems Division, told American Forces Press Service.
"We have improved getting care to the soldier in that far forward area, ... and getting it to him in that 'golden hour' –- that first hour after he has been wounded," he said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has pressed hard for the past two years to bring medical care in Afghanistan in line with what's available for U.S. troops in Iraq. This includes medevac capabilities that ensure wounded troops get advanced medical care within one hour of their injury -– a factor that medical experts agree makes a major difference in survival rates.
The Army Medical Materiel Development Activity has been hard at work supporting that initiative, with several new projects under way to support joint urgent requirements identified in the combat theater, Lee said.
One, developed in cooperation with the mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain-vehicle program office, is an M-ATV-like ambulance specifically designed to traverse Afghanistan's demanding terrain. The first 250 are scheduled to go into production this summer and are expected to be fielded this fall, Lee reported.
Unlike the MRAP ambulances in Afghanistan that were designed to operate in Iraq, the M-ATV-like versions are being built from the ground up for conditions in Afghanistan. They have improved suspension systems and offer more mobility and speed than the MRAP models.
Each of the new ambulances is designed to hold two litter patients and several ambulatory patients, Lee said. It's equipped with state-of-the-art field medical supplies organized according to injury, including breathing problems, bleeding, hypothermia and broken bones.
Unlike in the past, when medics always had to organize their own supplies, the components for the new ambulances arrive in the theater ready to use. "What we have done here is take a whole bunch of subject-matter experts and configure it to a standard format," Lee said. "Now, when the medic gets it, he pulls it straight out of the box, hangs it up and is ready to go. He knows exactly where everything is."
The medical kit bag hangs inside the ambulance, but because its components are attached using fabric fasteners, medics can easy pull them off when necessary to treat patients outside the vehicle, Lee said.
The M-ATV-like ambulance includes another first: an oxygen concentrator that creates medical-grade oxygen from ambient air. The benefit is two-fold, Lee explained. Gone are the bulky oxygen tanks that, if hit by a fragment, could turn into a projectile and kill passengers in the vehicle. The oxygen concentrator also eliminates the logistics burden of having to refill oxygen bottles in the combat theater.
But in cases where an ambulance isn't on the scene to evacuate a wounded warrior immediately, troops now are gaining a new "scoop and run" capability to get the casualties to advanced-level care more quickly.
The Army Medical Materiel Development Activity helped to develop a new casualty evacuation, or CASEVAC, kit that converts any M-ATV into an ad-hoc casualty evacuation platform within a matter of minutes. Each portable kit contains two spine boards with restraint systems and litter straps to transport wounded warriors to the vehicle. Troops can then use their personal first-aid kits to begin initial care while transporting the casualty transported to an evacuation point.
The goal, Lee said, is for every M-ATV in Afghanistan to be equipped with the new kits. About 300 were delivered last year, with another 1,800 expected to be delivered this summer. "This will have a significant impact on the force and will really help to evacuate casualties," Lee said.
In recognition of their work in developing these much-needed capabilities, Lee and the rest of the Army Medical Materiel Development Activity's Medical Support Systems team received the 2010 National Security and International Affairs Medal. The award recognizes federal employees for significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security and international affairs.
"In my opinion, the work that [the Medical Systems Support Division] does has been absolutely critical to our military's mission in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Army Col. Russell E. Coleman, commander of USAMMDA, who nominated them for the award. "The CASEVAC and medical evacuation capabilities that they have fielded have saved the lives of many of our deployed servicemembers, and it is an accomplishment worthy of recognition."
Related Sites:
U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity 

Click photo for screen-resolution imageA new casualty evacuation kit that tucks neatly inside a mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain-vehicle enables it to convert into an ad-hoc casualty evacuation platform within a matter of minutes. U.S. Army photo 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No-fly Zone in Place, But Danger Remains:Admiral

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 20, 2011 - While the attacks on Libya's integrated air and missile defense system have been successful, thousands of anti-aircraft artillery emplacements and portable missile launchers still pose threats to coalition air crews, the director of the Joint Staff said today.
Click photo for screen-resolution image
Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, director of the Joint Staff, updates reporters on Operation Odyssey Dawn at the Pentagon, March 20, 2011. DOD photo by Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison
On the second day of Operation Odyssey Dawn, Navy Vice Adm. William E. Gortney said the coalition cruise missile strikes against selected air defense systems and facilities were successful, and that coalition ships and submarines launched 124 Tomahawk missiles against these targets.
"We judge these strikes to have been very effective in degrading the regime's air defense capability, to include their ability to launch many of their SA-5s – their long range missiles – their SA-3s and SA-2s," Gortney said during a Pentagon news conference.
Moammar Gadhafi's regime has not launched aircraft, and the coalition has not detected any radar emissions from the air defense sites targeted, the admiral said.
"There has been a significant decrease in the use of all Libyan air surveillance radars," he added. "These seem to be limited to the areas around Tripoli and Sert."
Air Force B-2 bombers also attacked Libyan airfields, flattening the hardened shelters Libyan fighter-bombers use, Gortney said. Coalition tactical fighters also hit Gadhafi's ground forces on the outskirts of Benghazi, where 15 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, French and British aircraft participated in the action about 10 miles south of the opposition stronghold. "We judge these also to have been highly successful at halting the regime ground movement in this region," Gortney said.
Libya's fixed surface-to-air missile threat and early warning radars are gone. The threat that remains comes from mobile surface-to-air missiles -- SA-6 and SA-8 systems – as well as thousands of shoulder-fired SA-7 missile launchers, the admiral told reporters.
The coalition has not directly targeted anti-aircraft artillery, Gortney said, because many are near homes and there are thousands of these guns.
The coalition has grown and will continue to increase, Gortney said, noting that it includes the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, Qatar, Belgium, Norway and Denmark. More nations will directly participate in the coalition, he said, and other nations will provide overflight rights, basing and logistics. Gortney said those nations will make their announcements at their own times.
The United States leads the coalition effort now, but that will change, the admiral said.
"Our intent is to be a part of the coalition throughout, and transfer the command to a coalition command," he said. The United States would shift to more of a support function that would include aerial tankers; electronic warfare aircraft; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; and logistics.
Related Sites: 
Special Report: Operation Odyssey Dawn