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Friday, November 12, 2010

Haiti,Cholera,UN Appeal;Kosovo organ trafficking;Hezbollah"fighters";Turkey unwelcome,EU;Immigrants,Greece;Russia-NATO;Church or Churches?

With more than 700 deaths, the three-week old growing cholera epidemic in Haiti has led to an international appeal for $163 million by the United Nations, the Associated Press reports. More doctors, medicines and water-purification equipment are needed to stop the deadly bacteria spread through contaminated food and water via human waste, the U.N. says. Simple sanitation measures can stop its spread. Overall, 200,000 people need treatment for symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe dehydration, the global body said. "We absolutely need this money as soon as possible," said Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the U.N. humanitarian office, told the Associated Press. She told reporters in Geneva that the funds need to be provided quickly "otherwise all our efforts can be outrun by the epidemic." CBS News Radio reports that doctors are seeing dozens of patients on a daily basis at a makeshift hospital in Cite Soleil set up by the non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders. "We treated, since Friday until Monday, approximately 200 kids but no we don't have really the data because it's double every day," said nurse Virgine Gauder. So far, about 10,000 people have gotten sick from the disease. Ten deaths and 278 cases have occurred in the capital Port-au-Prince, reports the AP. The spreading epidemic, which experts predict will be worsened by flooding caused by Hurricane Tomas earlier this month, has piled another humanitarian emergency on the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation as it struggles to recover from the devastating earthquake that killed more than 250,000 people. About 1.3 million quake survivors are housed in tent and tarpaulin camps. "For sure here in Port-au-Prince (the danger of the disease's spread is in) the proximity of the population," Gauder said. "They are living in some slums, and there is really no space. The contamination really increases every day like this. And the concentration of the patients is in the slums, but today we saw already some patients outside the slums. So then we don't know where we are going, but it increases every day, every day." Authorities have said that a vaccination was being ruled out at the moment, both because existing oral vaccines for cholera were not effective in the midst of an epidemic and on grounds of logistics, cost and training requirements. There are also limited global supplies of the anti-cholera vaccine. Cholera can kill in hours, but if caught early can be easily treated through oral rehydration fluids. Presidential and legislative elections scheduled for November 28 in the Caribbean nation are set to go ahead.

A European Union prosecutor has named seven suspects in connection with an international organ trafficking network, BETA, EurActiv's partner in Serbia, reported today (12 November). According to press reports, at least one of them held a high position in Kosovo's health ministry. According to EULEX, the EU's law enforcement mission in Kosovo, an organised criminal group has been trafficking people into Kosovo for the purpose of using their organs for transplants to other people. The indictment was presented to the district court in Pristina, Karin Limdal, senior spokesperson for EULEX, confirmed to EurActiv. Asked if the uncovered case was related to alleged organ theft by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the Kosovo war, Limdal did not comment. She explained that judges are expected to confirm the indictment by the end of the month. This indictment would then be read out in court and subsequently become public. Limdal said she would provide no further details until this happens. However, some details have been quoted by the local press and taken up by news agencies. Reportedly, victims were recruited in other countries such as Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia and then transported and received at Pristina Airport through the false promise of payments for the removal of their kidneys. Reportedly among those indicted is Ilir Rrecaj, a former senior health ministry official. Apparently, all the indicted individuals are at large.

Hezbollah will not allow the arrests of any of its members if they are indicted by investigators into the 2005 killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the group’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said Thursday. Hezbollah and Western diplomats say that the United Nations-backed tribunal is expected to indict members of the group, possibly by the end of the year. “Whoever thinks that we will allow the arrest or the detention of any of our fighters is mistaken,” Mr. Nasrallah told supporters in the southern suburbs of Beirut. “Any hand that will touch any of them will be cut off.” Hezbollah has repeatedly denied any link to the killing and has called on Lebanon to repudiate the tribunal.

Readers echoed sentiments of the European Commission after the ruling body criticized Turkey over perceived shortfalls in the country's EU membership bid. Opinion: A guilty conscience is no basis for membership. EU criticizes Turkey in annual report on membership hopefuls. I could not imagine a worse situation. Turkey is unique! Its history, culture, religion are so far removed from the rest of the EU. It would lose its heart and soul. The "man in the street" Turk does not want EU membership. -- Sue, Australia. I believe Turkey should be allowed to join the European Union provided that it recognizes and supports a reunified Republic of Cyprus. Greeks and Turks on the island have wanted reconciliation for decades, but one which is based on relevant UN resolutions, EU norms, and human rights. In the past, proposals were perceived to facilitate outsiders, like Britain, Turkey, Greece or the United States. The onus is on Turkey, which is the applicant nation, and the only one in the world that doesn't recognize the legitimate rights of all Cypriots. -- Nick, Canada. Turkey should never be allowed to join the European Union. This country still denies its past atrocities against other people like the Armenian genocide, unlawfully occupies part of the former sovereign republic of Cyprus, calls itself secular but really profoundly Islamic (which heavily influences government), and persecutes non-Muslims. It is a fact that Christians in Turkey keep their religion secret and going to church for worship is a safety hazard! -- Irma, Philippines. Turkey should definitely not join the EU and not given special status either. The EU is not just an economic union and membership should not be based only on economics and strategic interests. The EU should and is based on values and morality which Turkey does not cherish. It is a country which has been occupying by force part of another member state Cyprus, since 1974. The part of Cyprus they occupied they cleansed of the Greek population and brought in settlers from Turkey. They systematically destroyed all Christian churches and looted most Christian archaeological sites in an attempt to change the demographics of the island. Freedom of religion within Turkey itself does not exist. Turkey seriously lags behind in areas like freedom of press, freedom of expression, women's rights and even trade unions. They suppress the Kurdish minority of the country and it is a 99 percent Muslim country because even in their recent history (Armenian genocide of 1915) they literally exterminated all other religions by killing millions of people. Worse is that they do not even want to admit this and apologize like a European country should do. On top of these they are a country with a population of more than 70 million which would change the balance of power within the EU itself and yes they are Muslim with a completely different culture while Europe is Christian. If Turkey is allowed in and then Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt ask to join the EU as well what will tell them? Is this a European Union or not? -- Sam, Great Britain. Turkey should not join the EU. The EU is a union based both on morality as well as interests. Morality should be as important as interests in politics and especially within a union if it is to function. Law, order and morality at the end of the day help everyone. Acting immorally in the short run seems to be beneficial but at the end hurts everyone. Order is better than chaos. Turkey has issues both internally and externally including the occupation of Cyprus. Turkey should first withdraw its military from Cyprus and then maybe considered to join the EU. -- Aliki, Great Britain. The people of Europe do not want Turkey in the union. The Americans want Turkey in the EU in order to keep their world domination. We should not change the demographics of our countries so that America and NATO keep their influence. Europe should start thinking of creating its own alliance and not depend on NATO so much which quite often forces the EU to go against our will and against our moral values. -- Ted, Great Britain. The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Greek police said Thursday they had discovered 143 illegal immigrants, mainly Afghans, crammed into a tanker lorry in the southern Peloponesse region and arrested six suspected smugglers. The arrests came on Wednesday night near Corinth as the lorry made its way to the port of Patras, which serves as a gateway to Italy. Police said most of the immigrants were Afghans while five of the six arrested for people-smuggling were Syrians. The other was Greek. "The six smugglers were part of a criminal group whose objective was to transport illegal immigrants in Greece to Italy or other European countries on lorries," said a police statement. The suspected smugglers charged the immigrants between 2,500 and 3,000 euros (3,400 to 4,100 dollars) each, the statement said. The arrests came a week after border guards from 26 nations joined an operation overseen by the European border agency Frontex in northeastern Greece to help curb a wave of illegal immigrants crossing over from Turkey. Over three-quarters of the more than 40,000 people intercepted while clandestinely entering the EU in the first half of 2010 came through Greece, mainly from Turkey, according to Frontex.

Russia is ready to cooperate with NATO on the question of missile defense and create a missile defense pool on condition that the security of all nations is taken into consideration, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. "This is a more or less hot topic. NATO has proposed cooperation to Russia on this topic. We have heard clarification about what forms this may proceed in. If we proceed on the basis of equal cooperation, starting with a joint analysis, joint assessment of risks, which exist in the sphere of missile proliferation , then such cooperation is completely feasible," Lavrov said. He said the Russian President was ready to establish additional proposals which he had already prepared, "on the subject of creating a missile pool of interested states with the participation of Russia, the USA and the European states." In Lisbon, President Medvedev will lay out our position on these questions. In the presence of a favorable atmosphere, and readiness for cooperation as equals, and mutual respect taking into account the interests of each other, such a project is possible, Lavrov said.

“I believe... in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” Many years ago, well over a decade and a half, I was wrestling with the fact of the many denominations that are found in our country, and now around the world. At that point, I (erroneously) tried to reason that God reached some through this group, others through that group, etc., etc. This thinking is pretty easy, for one justifies all kinds of things. I remember one congregational meeting years back, when one gentleman said, “Pastor, let’s just release these folks that don’t come so the other denominations can have a crack at them!” And how many times have we wrestled with the fact that friends and relatives are divided six ways from the middle in their own “churches?” What does one say? Of course, the easy way, and the way that I’ve heard often, is that it doesn’t really matter! Now this I hear from Orthodox, also! Part of it comes from those raised in the Faith and who have children who have departed the Faith for “other pastures.” It is a way of “dealing” with the pain. Just excuse it! And there are those who just push it all aside, suggesting that one “church” is as good as another. But these approaches raise serious questions. What of the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church” confessed each Sunday? And, if “it doesn’t matter,” why have many come to Orthodoxy at no small cost? The Truth is that there is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, the very Body of Christ, the pillar and ground of Truth, that has lived throughout the ages. There are not many truths, but One Truth, not many christs, but One Christ. And it does make a difference where you go, what you do, and whom you believe. We sing this marvelous hymn in the Divine Liturgy: “We have seen the true Light. We have received the Heavenly Spirit. We have found the true Faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, Who has saved us.” And we pray: “Those who depart from the Orthodox Faith, dazzled by destroying heresies, enlighten by the light of Thy holy wisdom, and unite them to Thy Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.” In the midst of all the “churches” out there stands The Church, the pillar and ground of Truth, the very Bride of Christ. Through all the ages, she guards the deposit of Truth, and in her and through her men and women and children are saved and strengthened as they look to Christ’s return. But in her, they experience now His presence, His love and forgiveness, heaven on earth. We must be wary of compromising this Faith as we wrestle in love with those whom we love. Only the Holy Spirit gives strength and wisdom to speak the Truth in all Love, as we pray for the salvation of friends and relatives – living in such a way as to say “Come and see! Come and see Jesus! Come and join us in receiving the True Light, the Heavenly Spirit! Come and rejoice in the True Faith, worshiping the undivided Trinity, Who has saved us!” Not many churches, dear friends. One! Ezekiel Wolf was received into the Orthodox Christian faith in February 2006, after serving as a Lutheran pastor for 33 years. He and his wife are members of SS. Constantine and Helen Church, Swansea, IL.