News 21/07/06 India/World

Kalam gets threatening e-mail
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 20
Security agencies have launched a probe to trace the origin of the an email sent to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It contained a threat to his life.
The email, received last evening on the President’s official website: presidentofindia.nic.in was sent from a leading web portal Yahoo, sources said.
Security officials immediately launched an operation to trace the origin of the email, they said.
The cyber cell in the Home Ministry was handed over the one-paragraph email and it was suspected that its sender could have used a fictitious name.
The web portal's India office in Mumbai was immediately contacted to help trace the sender of the mail and the place from where it was sent, the sources said.
In the wake of the blasts on Mumbai’s trains on July 11, newspapers and television channels have received a flurry of emails and phone calls from unidentified persons, who either claimed responsibility for the blasts or warned of more such strikes. A youth named Sumit Tamrakar had been arrested from Bhopal for sending an e-mail to a Hindi newspaper that claimed responsibility for the Mumbai blasts, in what considered to be the action of a prankster.


 



Crops on thousands of acres submerged
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service
Lambi (Muktsar), July 20
It’s been over a week since it rained heavily here, but thousands of acres of cotton and paddy crop is still submerged in Adhnia, Maniawala, Deonkhera, Kuttiawali and nearby villages as farmers lament government apathy in draining out water from their fields.
The Tribune team today visited these villages and saw some farmers draining out water from the fields, while others seemed to have resigned to their fate. Cotton and paddy spread over vast stretches of land were submerged in a downpour on the night of July 11.
Farmers of Adhnia are the worst-hit as about 2,000 acres of their crop has been inundated. The approach roads to their fields are flooded. “There is 4-5 feet of water in low-lying fields spreading over hundreds of acres, giving an impression of a lake,” said Harpinder Singh, who has lost his entire cotton crop.
“Absence of a ‘sem nullah’ close to our village has spelt devastation for us,” said Kewal Singh, another farmer. “I had taken five acres on contract at the rate of Rs 16,000 per acre and spent Rs 30,000 on sowing. This is what I’m left with now,” rued Gurpal Singh of Deonkhera.
Amandeep Singh of Kuttiawali village said about 300 acres of cotton crop was destroyed in rain. Gurvinder Singh, a farmer owning 20 acres in Deonkhera, has been draining out water on his own for the past five days. “I have succeeded in disposing of only 5 per cent of the water. Though I can’t save my crop, once the water is gone I can think of sowing wheat,” he said.
He said though the administration had given 24-hour power supply for four days to drain out water, it was inadequate keeping in view the amount of water that had accumulated.
While small farmers in these villages could not think of draining out water themselves, rich farmers were in a spot over the place to dispose it. “We have to request the farmers having fields in upper areas to let us drain the water into their land and they allow it to some extent,” said Tejinder Singh.
“While those draining out water in sun are falling sick, waterlogged fields are serving as breeding ground for mosquitoes thus posing a serious health hazard,” said Kuldeep Singh of Tappakhera.
He said a water channel from their fields to Sukhchain Minor could solve the problem. The farmers also alleged that de-silting of drains in the area had not taken place for the past few years. The Malout SDM, Mr Jaspal Singh, claimed that the water level in low-lying fields had reduced due to the administration’s efforts. He said revenue officials would submit a report to him on the status of villages where the fields were still badly flooded, following which measures would be taken to drain out water.
 
One-time road tax for MUVs
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service


One-time registration copy for commercial buses Officials in the RLA office said that on the demand of vehicle owners, the Chandigarh Administration was contemplating to prepare a one-time registration copy for the owners of vehicles being used for commercial purpose, including school buses. The entry of road tax and vehicle passing would be made in the RC instead of the existing practice of preparing a new RC document every year. The Chandigarh School Bus Operators Welfare Association has urged the Chandigarh Administration to issue one-time booklet of the RC.

Chandigarh, July 20
In a significant move, the Chandigarh Administration has decided to charge one-time road tax from the owners of vehicles with more than five-seat capacity for personal use.
This would save the vehicle-owners from the harassment of visiting the office of the Registration and Licensing Authority (RLA) every year to deposit the road tax and pay extra money for preparing the registration documents, said a senior official.
The orders would benefit the owners of several categories of vehicles, including Maruti van and a wide range of multi-utility vehicles and sports utility vehicles being sold in the market.
The decision would apply to the old vehicles already registered with the RLA, Chandigarh, new vehicles and the vehicles registered with other states. The decision, however, would not apply to the vehicles being put to commercial use.
Sources in the Administration said the amendment in the Motor Vehicle Act was pending for long and was sent for approval to the Union Ministry of Surface Transport. About two years ago, the transport authorities had clarified that the residents using vehicles with more than five-seat capacity for personal use need not get the vehicle passed each year for road -worthiness. The vehicles had to be passed by motor vehicle inspectors for road worthiness.
On the other hand, the passing of vehicles for commercial use would continue as usual, said the official. On the pattern of vehicles with up to five-seat capacity, the tax would be charged for a period of 15 years. This means that the tiring exercise of preparing a new registration document for paying of the road tax has been done away with. Now a one-time fee of Rs 200 would be charged for preparing the registration copy instead of the previous practice of charging Rs 200 for the document every year.
 
PAU reeling under financial crisisGPF of staff not deposited
Ludhiana, July 20
Punjab Agricultural University is reeling under a severe financial crunch and the authorities have approached the Punjab government for immediate grant to tide over the situation. The financial crisis is so acute that the authorities have not been able to deposit the general provident fund of the employees worth Rs 6 crores for the current year in their account.
 
Keeping Punjabi culture alive is the aim of Kapurthala’s sabhyachar forum
Dharmendra Joshi

Tribune News Service

One generally lives for oneself throughout one’s life in this materialistic world. However, there are some groups of individuals who unite to do something for the betterment of the society.

A Kapurthala-based Non Government Organisation (NGO) Punjabi Sabhyachar Forum is also one of them that has been working for the betterment of the society in one or the other way in the district for the last five years.
It is not only making the new generation aware of our rich culture but also it is working for the eradication of the social evils. Besides, it also honours those persons who do something for the betterment of the society. This is to encourage others to follow their path.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh himself praised the cultural item “trinjan” presented attractively by its members during the state-level function at Guru Nanak Stadium in Kapurthala to mark Independence Day in 2003.
The members of the forum trained students of various schools and colleges in Kapurthala in giddha and bhangra, said its chairman B.N. Gupta, adding that a special camp was organised to train children of policemen during the recent summer vacations.
Likewise, the forum organised the first Miss School Punjaban contest on August 6, 2005. While Miss Isha Kapoor won the contest, Miss Jaswinder Kaur and Miss Shaeen had to satisfy themselves with being the first and the second runners-up.
Apart from this, the forum tries to make the public aware about the social problems. The members of the forum, with the help of the students, carried out a rally some months ago in the city to make the public aware about the adverse effects of the alarmingly depleting water level in the region and to request them to stop misusing the precious water.
Besides, the forum specially organised a function in 2000 to honour two policemen, Head Constable Jhilmil Singh and Constable Tarsem Singh, who had not only done the praiseworthy task of taking 25 persons injured in an accident to the Civil Hospital from Fattudhinga village in time but also saved the lives of the seriously injured by donating their own blood.
Similarly, the Forum honoured in 2003, Constables Ashok Kumar and Harjinder Singh for showing exemplary honesty. The forum honoured in 2004 Constables Kulwinder Singh and Dilbagh Singh for showing bravery in catching a thief who had fled from the Civil Hospital after snatching the purse of a nurse on duty. In 2005, Head Constable Kuldeep Singh and Constable Tilak Raj were honoured.
 
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian police have arrested three men in connection with last week's Mumbai rail bombings that killed more than 180 people, officials said on Friday.
The three, all Muslims, were arrested on suspicion of helping plot the July 11 attacks on packed commuter trains and stations in India's financial hub, a senior police official said. "We believe these three have knowledge of the attacks. Some of their links with certain networks have come to light," the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.


He did not say when and where the arrests were made.
The men were produced before a city court and sent to police custody for 10 days at the request of the public prosecutor.
Hundreds of people, mostly minority Muslims, were rounded up for questioning by the Mumbai police in the wake of the blasts which ripped through first class carriages of commuter trains and stations during evening rush-hour.
While 11 were detained, the rest were set free. But it was unclear if the three arrests came from those originally detained. Officials were tight-lipped on details of those arrested or if they were linked to any of the groups earlier blamed by them for the attacks.
 
ISRAELI OFFENSIVE CONTINUES
21.7.2006. 19:25:04

RELATED STORIES
- Howard can't guarantee success
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Hours after threatening to launch a full scale ground operation, Israel has resumed air strikes on southern Lebanon while thousands of its troops are reported to be battling Hezbollah forces.

The Israeli military said it attacked more than 40 targets in Lebanon overnight, including five Hezbollah structures and eight vehicles suspected to being used by the militia to transfer weapons.

Artillery units pounded “missile launching sites” along the volatile border and access routes used by Hezbollah fighters to reach the sites, the army said.

Israeli warning

Earlier, Israel warned Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip that homes storing weapons were now a target.

"The life of all those who are holding military equipment and ammunition in their homes is in danger and they should leave the premises for their safety and that of their families," Israeli leaflets dropped on Gaza warned.

"The Israeli defence force will strike and destroy all sites and buildings housing ammunition and military materiel."

Southern Lebanon has borne the brunt of Israel's now 10-day offensive, launched on July 12th after the militia of Shiite fundamentalist group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers in a border raid.

Tens of thousands of people have fled the southern border area, a Hezbollah stronghold with no Lebanese army presence, as fears grow of a humanitarian crisis.

Israeli soldiers killed

Overnight four more Israeli soldiers were killed were killed in fighting in southern Lebanon.

In a separate incident, a soldier was killed when two helicopters collided over Israel near the Lebanese border late Thursday.

The accident left another three soldiers wounded, one critically.

The latest deaths bring to 18 the number of servicemen killed since the flare-up in cross-border violence on July 12th when Hezbollah snatched two soldiers in a deadly border raid.

Another 15 civilians have been killed in Hezbollah rocket attacks, bringing the total dead to 33.

Hezbollah said it had lost two fighters in the recent clashes, but some Israeli military sources suggest up to 40 gunmen have been killed in the ground and air assaults.

The Israeli Government believes its sustained aerial bombardment has destroyed up to 50 per cent of Hezbollah's weapons, but it hasn't stopped their rockets from raining down on Israel.

Palestinian deaths

At the same time, at least four Palestinians have been killed in Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip as Israeli forces pulled out of the Maghazi refugee camp.

Hospital officials told the Associated Press the Palestinians, including an official of the armed wing of Hamas, were killed in the explosion after dawn in an area close to the Israel border.

Three people were seriously wounded in the blast, hospital officials said, while residents claimed the house belonged to a family of Hamas activists.

After two days of battles destruction at the refugee camp is extensive.

Residents said people in the camp of 22,000 were trapped in their houses by embankments the Israelis built as tank emplacements.

The United Nations says more 100 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have now been killed.

The Reuters newsagency reports that at least half those killed were militants.



SOURCE: AFP / AP / Reuters
 
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(photo: U.S. Marine Corps)
Baghdad Defence Mideast Photos US»

Curfew extended as Baghdad violence mounts
Scotsman By Ahmed Rasheed BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi authorities extended a daytime curfew on Baghdad on Friday in an apparent effort to prevent violence after one of the bloodiest weeks this year. State television announced that a four-hour traffic ban in force every Friday of late to curb car bomb attacks on mosques during weekly prayers would be extended through most of the day. A gun and grenade attack on a market just outside Baghdad on Monday and a suicide car bombing to the south of the capital killed 120 people this week. U.S. data showed attacks on security forces in Baghdad has averaged 34 a day over several days, compared to an average of 24 in recent months. Baghdad morgue alone has taken in 1,000 bodies this month.
 
Washington diary: The Big Brother G8

By Matt Frei
BBC News, Washington




So now we know: the G8 summit in St Petersburg was really the Big Brother House.
Has Mr Blair been displaced as Mr Bush's favourite?

Thanks to the unscripted moments provided by an open microphone, http://article.wn.com/link/WNATed42e5d61e89c46ef33c767a456f1dd8?source=upge&template=worldnews/displayarticle.txtGeorge Bush showed himself to be relaxed verging on boorish, discussing world affairs while munching a bread roll and distilling diplomacy down to a four-letter word.
He should have been wearing a string vest.
Tony Blair hovered in the background like an abused wife, anxious to appease her domineering husband with a dish he simply didn't want to touch. Whatever happened to the man who was once hailed as the Athens to Washington's Rome and the brains to Bush's brawn? Tony Blair is in desperate need of a Love Actually moment, the film in which Hugh Grant, the foppish but feeble British prime minister, stands up to a bullying American president with vintage defiance.
 
Israel tightens grip on Lebanon

Israeli ground troops are pushing further into Lebanon

Israel is continuing its Lebanon military offensive, with war planes bombing more than 40 targets, mainly in southern parts of Beirut, on Friday.
Troops are also fighting Hezbollah inside southern Lebanon, and Israel has told people to leave the area, warning of a possible large-scale incursion.
The BBC's Jim Muir in Tyre says the shelling of outlying areas is constant.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has appeared on TV saying Israel has not dented its capabilities.
City overrun
Our correspondent in Tyre says that people living in southern Lebanon are facing grave peril, with villages cut off and roads severed.






The BBC's Roger Hearing in the regional capital Sidon says that about 28,000 internally displaced have crammed into the small sea port in recent days and that it is now becoming dangerously overcrowded.
The mayor Abdul Rahman Bizri has warned that supplies of food, medicines and water and accommodation are running out.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said the number of Lebanese killed in the 10 days of violence is now more than 330.
In an interview with CNN he said that more than 55 bridges had been destroyed, and that Israeli forces had also targeted ambulances and medical convoys.
"This attack is no longer against Hezbollah, it is an attack against the Lebanese and Lebanon," he said.

Images from Beirut as the scale of destruction begins to emerge

Mr Annan condemned Hezbollah for sparking the latest violence in the country, but also attacked Israel for what he called its "excessive use of force".
Bombed-out roads and bridges are hampering aid efforts and on Thursday the UN warned that the humanitarian crisis was worsening by the hour. About 500,000 people are believed to have been internally displaced by the conflict.
Thirty-four Israelis have been killed in the fighting, including 15 civilians killed by rockets fired by Hezbollah into Israel.
At least three rockets hit Israel's third largest city, Haifa, on Friday, the first in nearly 24-hours.
Massive call up
The BBC's Tim Franks in Israel says that on the ground Israeli forces are pushing further into Lebanon in an attempt apparently to flush out well-camouflaged Hezbollah positions.
HAVE YOUR SAY
It isn't easy watching the pictures from the bombarded areas in Lebanon



Yonatan, Israel






The Israeli army continues to describe these operations as "pin-point", involving fewer than a thousand troops.
However, Israeli Defence Minister Amir Peretz has warned that Israel is prepared to launch a full-scale ground operation if necessary, saying "we have no intention of conquering Lebanon but... we will do it without thinking twice."
And on Friday the Israeli military ordered several battalions - each comprising up 1,000 troops - of reservists to report for duty.
In other developments:
  • Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr says the country's army will go into battle if Israel invades Lebanon
  • A UN-run observation post on the border is struck by a shell or mortar during fighting between Israel and Hezbollah militants, but no-one is hurt
  • Israel drops leaflets warning any civilians remaining in southern Lebanon to leave immediately
  • French defence minister Michele Alliot-Marie says France will launch an evacuation mission to rescue about 400 French citizens trapped in southern Lebanon.
'Leadership intact'
The crisis was triggered by the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah militants on 12 July.
About 1,000 US citizens have arrived in Cyprus


In an interview with Arabic TV network al-Jazeera, Sheikh Nasrallah said his group would give up the Israeli soldiers only in a prisoner exchange.
"Even the whole universe would not be able to secure the release of the two Israeli soldiers unless there are indirect negotiations and an exchange of prisoners," he said.
Sheikh Nasrallah also said that the Israeli attacks had not dented Hezbollah's capabilities, saying: "Hezbollah has so far remained steadfast."
Israel says it has bombed a bunker used by Mr Nasrallah and has destroyed much of the militia's missile stocks.
He said the group had "managed to absorb the strike" and was preparing to take "the initiative" in the fight against Israel and "offer some surprises".
"All of Israel's claims to have hit half of our missile potential and arsenal are nothing but erroneous words," he said.
FOREIGNERS IN LEBANON
Sri Lanka: 80,000
Canada: 40,000
Philippines: 30,000
Australia: 25,000
US: 25,000
UK: 22,000 (inc. 10,000 with dual nationality)
France: 20,000
India: 12,000

Figures correct at start of conflict





Hezbollah leaders, he added, had "not been touched" by Israeli attacks.
The BBC's Middle East editor, Jeremy Bowen, says Sheikh Nasrallah's comments present another obstacle to a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the region.
Meanwhile, the evacuation of foreign nationals from Lebanon continues, with thousands more expected to arrive in Cyprus on Friday.
About 1,300 British nationals have arrived in Cyprus after being evacuated on a Royal Navy ship, HMS Bulwark. And about 1,000 US citizens have also disembarked there from the USS Nashville after being rescued by US marines on Thursday.
 
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(photo: UN)
Israel Lebanon Mideast Photos UN»
Prospects for Mideast ceasefire dim: Annan
Hindustan Times UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said the prospects for an imminent ceasefire in the Israeli-Lebanon crisis are dim, but called for hostilities to stop so humanitarian aid can reach half a million people trapped in Lebanon. Annan insisted a long-term solution to the root of Middle East problems must be found, saying most people "reject" a return to the status quo, because such a truce "could not be expected to last". In a speech before the UN Security Council Thursday, Annan called for Hezbollah guerrillas to turn over the two captive Israeli soldiers to the Lebanese government under the auspices of the International Red Cross.
 

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(photo: U.S. Navy)
Afghanistan Iraq Military Photos War»
Strapped for Money, Army Extends Cutbacks
The Guardian WASHINGTON (AP) - The Army, bearing most of the cost for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, said Thursday its money crunch has gotten so bad it is clamping down on spending for travel, civilian hiring and other expenses not essential to the war mission. A statement outlining the cutbacks did not say how much money the Army expects to save, but senior officials have said the cost of replacing worn equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan is rising at a quickening pace. Gen. Peter Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said last week that in 2004 it cost $4 billion to repair or replace war equipment, but now it has reached $12 billion to $13 billion. ``And in my view, we will continue to see this escalate,'' he said, adding that the Army is using up equipment at four times the rate for which it was designed.
 
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(photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
Asia Pacific Environment Japan Natural Disasters Photos»

20 dead or missing as rains lash Japan
Asahi News At least 10 people were dead Wednesday night and another 10 were missing after heavy rain lashed western and central Japan causing mudslides and flash floods. The deaths extended over four prefectures--Nagano, Fukui, Okayama and Shimane. In Nagano Prefecture, Okaya on the shores of Lake Suwako was hardest hit, with five people dead. While the lake came close to bursting its banks, it was flash floods and mudslides in the mountains behind nearby homes that caused the most damage. Takayuki Hayashi, 75, was killed after his house was carried about 50 meters by a flash flood 20-meters wide early Wednesday morning.
 
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Picture / Reuters
Schwarzenegger provides $240m stem-cell centre loan
1.00pm Friday July 21, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO - California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has moved to provide his state's voter approved stem-cell research institute with a loan of up to US$150 million (NZ$240m).
The governor's decision came after President George W. Bush vetoed a bill to expand federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.
The loan will come from California's general fund and will support grants for medical research involving stem cells, which many researchers believe can be used to develop treatments and cures for various diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.
"We anticipate a couple of months at most before the money would go out the door," said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for California's Department of Finance.
The money will help the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine fund initial research grants.
Voters backed the institute's creation in 2004 by passing a statewide debt measure giving it the power to sell up to US$3 billion in state general obligation bonds to finance stem-cell research.
The debt authority has faced a stiff challenge in state court. Earlier this year, a local judge backed the authority but that decision has been appealed, holding the institute back from issuing debt of up to US$300 million annually.
The state's loan would help augment the institute's bond anticipation note program so that it could sell up to US$200 million in notes until the court challenge is resolved.
"It allows us to get through the litigation," said Robert Klein, the institute's chairman.
The institute currently has approximately US$50 million in bond anticipation notes backed by philanthropists and private foundations. "We've closed on US$14 million," Klein said. "We have US$30 million more in the process of closing."
Klein said Schwarzenegger's office initiated the loan when it become clear on Wednesday that President Bush would veto the bill to expand federal funding for stem-cell research.
 
US 'worst' for online child abuse

More than 14,000 websites were reported to the IWF

CHILD ABUSE CONTENT
USA: 51.1%
Russia: 14/9%
Japan: 11.7%
Spain: 8.8%
Thailand: 3.6%
South Korea: 2.16%
UK: 0.2%
Other: 7.5%

(Source: IWF)



More than 50% of online images of child abuse reported to an internet watchdog can be traced to the US, a report says. Investigations by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found nearly 2,500 US sites containing illegal images.
 
Fine Indian Cuisine on Singapore Airlines




Friday, 21 July 2006, 3:52 pm
Press Release: Singapore Airlines Tantalise Your Taste Buds With Find Indian Cuisine on Singapore Airlines

Exquisite and delightful - fine Indian cuisine can now be enjoyed on Singapore Airlines flights between Singapore and cities in India.
From August 2006, First Class customers will be able to savour Shahi Thali, a unique Indian meal that features a dazzling spread of traditional Indian delicacies. Specially designed by internationally acclaimed chef Sanjeev Kapoor for Singapore Airlines, Shahi Thali showcases the best dishes in both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine.
A veritable feast in the sky, it comprises a starter, two types of chutneys (Indian relish), up to four entrees, rice, Indian rotis (bread) and a signature desert. Lassi (a yoghurt drink) and masala tea complete the authentic dining experience. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian versions of Shahi Thali are available.
“Shahi Thali is a unique meal service we have created to represent the diversity and depth of Indian cuisine. Each dish is prepared with the exact method and ingredients of the region from which it originates. With this smorgasbord, our customers can indulge in a flavourful gastronomic treat that embodies the best in Indian cooking,” said Mr Sak Hin Chin, General Manager New Zealand.
“In the design of Shahi Thali, we consulted many of our Indian frequent fliers through food-tasting sessions conducted in both Singapore and India. The feedback enabled our food and beverage team to fine-tune the meal to feature the authentic tastes as preferred by our customers,” added Mr Chin. A newly appointed member of Singapore Airlines’ International Culinary Panel, Chef Sanjeev is one of the most celebrated chefs in India. Best known in India as the author of several top-selling cookbooks as well as host of a hit TV cooking series Khana Khazana, he is also a restaurant consultant who has lent his franchise to several up-market, award-winning restaurants like the Grain of Salt and The Yellow Chilli chain in India and abroad.
Shahi Thali will be available on all Singapore Airlines flights between Singapore and New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore as well as Hyderabad.
 
1.5 million Americans a year affected by medication errors

By The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times




WASHINGTON — At least 1.5 million Americans are sickened, injured or killed each year by avoidable errors in prescribing, dispensing and taking medications, the influential Institute of Medicine concludes in a major report released Thursday.
Mistakes in giving drugs are so prevalent in hospitals that, on average, a patient will be subjected to a medication error each day he or she fills a hospital bed, the report says.
Following up on its 2000 report on medical errors of all kinds, the institute, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, undertook the most extensive study ever of medication errors at the request of Congress when it passed the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003.
The report found errors to be not only harmful and widespread, but costly as well. The extra medical cost of treating drug-related injuries occurring only in hospitals was estimated to be at least $3.5 billion a year.The errors the institute studied included doctors writing illegible prescriptions, nurses giving one patient medication intended for another, and a local pharmacist dispensing 100-milligram pills rather than the prescribed 50 milligrams
With more than 4 billion prescriptions written each year in the United States, even a very small error rate can translate into a large number of problems.
Among the drugs most commonly associated with errors in hospitals are insulin, morphine, potassium chloride and the anticoagulants heparin and warfarin, which have a high risk of patient injury when dispensed incorrectly.
The report cited a 2002 study from the United States Pharmacopeia that found that these five drugs accounted for 28 percent of all errors that resulted in extended hospitalizations. Insulin alone accounted for a third of that total.
The panel cited a variety of causes for the problems.
One is unexpected drug interactions. With more than 15,000 prescription drugs in use and 300,000 over-the-counter products, "it is virtually impossible for a human to track all the interactions anymore," said Dr. Wilson Pace of the University of Colorado.
 
Ian Wilmut says the cloning that began with Dolly the Sheep was a long-term project. (File photo) (AFP)

Cloning benefits still distant, Dolly's creator says

The British scientist who a decade ago created Dolly the Sheep, cautions that another half-century will be needed to reap the full benefits of the cloning breakthrough.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of the birth of Dolly, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, Ian Wilmut also says Britain has failed to exploit the landmark work, letting the United States and Japan take the lead on animal cloning.
"If you look back and consider any new development, whether it is IVF or anything which is introduced for the first time, it does take quite a long time to bring it through to its full maturity," the embryologist told BBC News.
"To the full maturity of this technology, I think we are talking 50 years."
Dolly triggered a storm of medical dreams, dread and ethical polemic that has never abated.
She unleashed huge investments in cloning research in the quest for cures for cancer, heart degeneration, Alzheimer's and other crippling diseases.
But critics say advances have been few and overblown claims have been many.
Professor Wilmut argued encouraging developments were happening in therapeutic research, including cows whose milk makes human antibodies.
"It was always going to be a long-term project," he said. "We shouldn't be too disappointed just yet."
After Prof Wilmut's breakthrough, other cloned species swiftly followed: horses, bulls, pigs, mice, rats, rabbits, cats and dogs and others.
But the miscarriage rate of transplanted eggs is extremely high, and of those embryos that make it to term, many have deformities or (as happened with Dolly) die prematurely, raising concerns about the practice.
Dolly was put down in February 2003 after developing a lung infection and arthritis.
The biggest interest in cloning is in medical research, such as engineering cows or sheep whose milk can produce precious proteins that are otherwise costly and time-consuming to make in a pharmaceutical plant.
Beyond the horizon is the lure of harnessing cloning to stem cells, the powerful cells that can differentiate into any kind of tissues.
That way, it is hoped, patients suffering from degenerative diseases could get a regenerative transplant of cells that is identical to their own genetic ID, thus circumventing rejection by the immune system.
Sue Mayer, a doctor who is a member of GeneWatch, a British watchdog that monitors biotechnology, says achievements since Dolly have fallen far short of what has been expected, and cloning research is sapping attention from practical areas such as disease prevention.
"We have gained a lot of knowledge about how cells differentiate and how organisms grow, but we haven't reached these expectations which have generated the hype and the promise about personalised treatment," she told BBC radio.
Simon Best, another doctor and chairman of the BioIndustry Association that ran the Roslin BioScience company set up after Dolly was born, disagreed.
He contended Dolly was a breakthrough that was just as significant as the discovery of the structure of DNA, the chemical code for life, in the 1950s.
"It has sparked an enormous wave of creativity in medicine, the benefits of which we will steadily see over the next 20 to 30 years," Dr Best said
 
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