Friday, 3 October 2014

Three Israeli soldiers who fought in Gaza committed suicide in past month

Three soldiers who fought in this summer’s war in the Gaza Strip have committed suicide over the last month.

In addition, a reservist called up for service in the north during the war to replace regular troops who were sent to Gaza committed suicide during his reserve duty, shortly after arriving at his base about two months ago.

The NRG website first reported on the suicides of the three soldiers, all from the Givati Brigade, on Monday.

Any time a soldier dies under circumstances other than battle, the Military Police opens an investigation. Only at the end of this investigation is the soldier officially defined as having committed suicide – or, in official Israel Defense Forces terminology, as a suspected suicide. In all three of these cases from Givati, the soldiers were found with their guns beside them. One was found just this past weekend.

One of the three Givati suicides was David Gordon, a lone soldier who had immigrated to Israel without his family. He had been missing for two days when his body was found in a ditch. He was wearing his uniform and his gun was beside him.

A month ago, Haaretz reported that during the fighting in Gaza, the army’s mental health corps had treated more than 100 soldiers. This number rose after the war’s end, and the IDF Medical Corps urged all soldiers who needed psychological help to contact it. The army is also considering seeking help from civilian doctors who treat reservists via the health maintenance organizations, and plans to send text messages to everyone who participated in the war in an attempt to make contact with soldiers who have developed shell shock or other psychological reactions to the fighting.

Also, the Medical Corps has held conversations with entire platoons and companies that fought in the war, especially those that went through difficult experiences such as that of the Golani Brigade during the heavy fighting in Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood.

In 2013, according to IDF statistics, seven soldiers committed suicide – six who were doing their compulsory service and one major in the standing army. At the time, a senior officer in IDF directorate said there was no evidence of any causal connection between the suicides and the soldiers’ military service.

The army also said this was the lowest number of annual suicides it had ever recorded. It attributed the drop to the fact that it had restricted soldiers’ access to their guns and taken various other steps aimed at preventing suicides.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Egypt Prosecutor Orders New Mass Trials of 919

(CAIRO) — Egypt’s state news agency says the country’s chief prosecutor has ordered two new mass trials for 919 suspected Islamists on charges that include murder.

The new trials will be held in Minya province, south of Cairo, where a judge this week sentenced 529 defendants to death on charges of killing a police officer during an attack on a police station last summer. The verdict sparked international criticism.

In one of the new trials announced Wednesday, 715 defendants, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader Mohammed Badie, are charged with killing six people and attempted murder of 51 others during attacks on state institutions on Aug. 14.

In the second trial, 204 defendants, also including Badie, face charges of inciting violence.

A court will set a date for the trials.

Judge: State Execution Law Unconstitutional

(OKLAHOMA CITY) — An Oklahoma judge has ruled that the state’s execution law is unconstitutional because it doesn’t allow inmates access to the court system.

Under Oklahoma law, no one may disclose the source of drugs used in executions — even if an inmate sues and wants the information as part of the discovery process. Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish said Monday that provision violates due process rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

Inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner sued the state last month. They want to know whether the drugs to be used at their executions next month are pure and that they wouldn’t suffer before dying.

Lockett is scheduled to die April 22. Warner’s execution is April 29.

A separate court is considering stay requests from the men.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Study: E-Cigarettes Do Not Help People Quit Smoking

Public health experts continue to debate whether e-cigarettes are a better option than smoking tobacco, or just an alternative way for smokers to inhale nicotine

A new, but relatively small, study suggests that e-cigarettes do not help smokers quit or reduce their use of conventional cigarettes.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine looked

Will Sanctions Work Against Russia?


You’d think that the U.S. and Europe could apply some pretty heavy economic pressure on Russia. After all, the European Union is Russia’s largest trading partner and source of foreign investment, and right now, the country can ill afford any threat to that economic lifeline. The Russian economy, a member of the once high-flying BRICs, clocked meager 1.3% growth in 2013