mardi 23 août 2011

Martelly marks 100 days in Haiti with little progress

Still without a government, pop star-turned President Michel Martelly is having a hard time meeting expectations in his first months in office.
By Jacqueline Charles


Tucked inside Guerda Anier’s purse is the creased invitation to President Michel Martelly’s inauguration. In the 100 days since, the tent city resident has spent much of her time sitting across from the collapsed National Palace waiting for Martelly to deliver on campaign pledges.

But the former musician who sold himself as a no-nonsense decisive leader has been unable to make good on most of his promises. He has not gotten his choice of prime minister approved in parliament and increasing tensions between Martelly and lawmakers have even his most ardent supporters wondering if any of the major policies he proposes will become law.

“I understand there is no government, but President Martelly stood right there,’’ said Anier, 43, pointing to a spot in front the Champ de Mars public plaza-turned-tent city near the palace, “and said ‘I have 30,000 houses but your president won’t give me the land to build them.’ Well, now he’s president. So where are the 30,000 houses? We’re still waiting.’’


Anier sold perfume and jewelry before the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake forced her to seek shelter on the downtown public square. She also is the kind of person Martelly promised to serve when he campaigned for Haiti’s toughest job. The cheap rum, cigarettes and plastic water bags she sells barely cover school fees and uniforms for her four girls. And while the pieces of worn aluminum offer cover from the sun, they don’t protect from the rain.

“I am trying to give them hope,’’ she said of her children, including a 13-year-old boy orphaned after the quake. “But how am I supposed to give them hope when I don’t have any? Today, there is more discouragement than hope.’’

Martelly’s first months have been spent inaugurating a housing loan program and schools. He launched a fund to support his free education initiative and last week announced a housing plan to relocate more than 5,000 families from six camps. He appointed advisers to the panel charged with Haiti’s post-quake recovery, and has called for its renewal by parliament. He has also promoted reconstruction, tourism, governance and technology weeks.

But foreign diplomats say Haiti needs a government to turn the rhetoric into reality.

Free education and housing for the 600,000-plus in camps are just some of the promises Martelly, 50, made while campaigning. He assumed the Haitian presidency as global economic uncertainties threatened to reduce donor support and the legacy of the quake — increased poverty, decades of inept governance and slow reconstruction — led to budding frustrations at home.


“We need a government in a hurry,’’ said former President Bill Clinton, who co-chairs the panel charged with rebuilding the country. “The negative things that might have otherwise happened, have been so far severely limited because of the aggressive public posture that the president and his team have taken about getting more investments here...and doing things that look like little things, like these cleaning crews in the streets.’’

Still, infighting in Martelly’s camp, coupled with his antagonistic attitude toward parliament and penchant for foreign travel — he’s taken seven trips abroad amid the crisis — is creating uncertainty and concern. Also worrisome to lawmakers and foreign diplomats is the lack of transparency and policy over an education initiative he launched that tax phone calls and money from abroad.

Martelly’s inexperience team of mostly childhood friends and advisors billed the first three months of his term as an opportunity to bring tangible changes to the lives of Haiti’s 10 million citizens.

But months after his historic May 14 swearing in, Haiti remains in limbo.

Constitutional changes are on hold; millions in international aid remain blocked by frustrated donors; investments and consumption are down, and inflation, which was at 6 percent when Martelly took power, is now at 9.3 percent. Even the budget for the Oct. 1 fiscal year is delayed. The delay constitutionally could force Martelly to use the previous government’s budget, further hampering him from making good on his promises.


“The president says Haiti is open for business, but nobody will come to Haiti if you don’t have a prime minister and functioning government,’’ said Kesner Pharel, a Haitian economist and political observer, who blames Martelly and parliament for the stalemate. “The inability of these people to get a prime minister is having a high cost in the economy.’’

Martelly declined through a spokesman to be interviewed for this report.

Lawmakers loyal to former President René Préval have twice rejected Martelly’s pick for prime minister, triggering renewed polarization and speculation that both sides are using the confirmation process to their own political benefit.

Critics say by refusing to negotiate, Martelly is either trying to dismiss parliament or blame it for being unable to meet his promises, including free schooling to 500,000 students in September. Others say all sides are waiting each other out until the end of the year when one third of the 30-member Senate will be up for grabs, allowing Martelly a chance to build his own majority by adding to current support.

“One has to wonder, in view of Haiti’s current impasse, just how much patience will Haiti’s downtrodden masses have before [a social] explosion will occur,’’ said Robert Maguire, a Haiti expert and professor at the George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs. “Haiti’s political elites seem to be fiddling while Haiti burns.’

Last week, the private sector, Martelly and a majority of lawmakers each circulated their versions of a governance pact. At the same time, Martelly and his cousin, caretaker Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, floated the idea of temporarily reinstating Bellerive’s governing powers to get the country moving. The U.S. and United Nations all oppose any interim government solution, insisting that Haiti needs a permanent government.

“The only person who can get the ball going is the president because he is the only one who can choose, but he cannot choose by himself,’’ said Sen. Steven Benoit, who has unsuccessfully tried to advise Martelly, a friend. “If he doesn’t deal …we can be all the way in December without a prime minister.’’


During a recent two-day visit, Clinton announced that the recovery panel was providing $30 million to help Haiti revitalize 16 quake-ravaged neighborhoods, emptying six camps where 5,239 families live. The $78 million project, while will help 5 percent of the people living in tents, will take 30 months to complete.

“We have a vision and we are starting,’’ said Patrick Rouzier, who is in charge of Martelly-led housing initiative. Rouzier said he was unaware of the president’s promise of free houses, but calls the current initiative a “huge accomplishment,’’ especially since it’s happening without a functioning government.

It’s the day after the housing announcement and Anier and her neighbors are convinced they will soon find relief. They do not know it but the downtown square is not among the six camps.

Lately, there have been protests around the Champ de Mars, and some politicians are complaining about “growing insecurity’’ in the tent city. Rumors have circulate that bulldozers will soon appear because the mayor recently announced plans to rebuild the capital and relocate camp dwellers to a barren mountain to the north.

The solidarity that erupted in the days after the quake has turned to discord and impatience. Few are outraged over a spate of recent evictions, and there is a sweeping sense that most camp residents aren’t homeless quake victims but individuals waiting for a handout.

On any given day, passing motorists in their oversized SUVs hurl insults at Anier, asking if she is not tired of living like an animal.

“They’ve put all of us in the same boat,’’ Anier said. “All I dream about is getting out of here. Do they really think we like fighting the rats, the rain?’’

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samedi 6 août 2011

What would be the implications of the use of the world's biggest human brain map in the cure of diseases?

This scientific breakthrough in the study of the human brain is important in the prevention and cure of diseases because of the high percentage of genes found in the human brain. It is then assumed that any deficient organ of the body would  refer the study of its deficiency to the analysis of the genes of the brain . This may facilitate other studies of the cure of diseases by growing new cells in the deficient organ and not using medication.  A genetic analysis can also help the prevention of disease. Can some incurable diseases like Alzheimer, cancers, etc  be definitely treated.?. If such high percentage of genes is found in the human brain the latter is then the orchestra chief of all the parts of the human body. Another assumption would be that if the brain is healthy the rest of the body would be so. If this assumption is true and if the brain is the home of the mind the psychosomatic nature of illnesses or diseases is corroborated. Mindfully speaking a positive outlook of life influences one's overall health including that of the body.

Yves Simon, Educator

World's biggest human brain map unveiled

Hayley Crawford, reporter
Pink-Stain-Brain.jpg (Images: Allen Institute for Brain Science)
The world's biggest computerised map of the brain was released yesterday by scientists at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, in Seattle, Washington, after more than four years of cutting-edge research.
The Human Brain Atlas is an interactive research tool that will help scientists to understand how the brain works and aid new discoveries in disease and treatments.
The information used to build it comes from the analysis of two human brains, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and a variation of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging.
Allan Jones, the CEO of the institute, told Wired how the brains were also chopped up into small pieces, and RNA extracted from the tissue. They used this RNA to obtain a read-out of the 25,000 genes in the human genome.
All this information was put together to create a detailed map of the brain. One thousand anatomical sites in the brain can be searched, supported by more than 100 million data points that indicate the gene expression and biochemistry of each site.
For example, a researcher could quickly create a 3D snapshot (see image below) of all the locations in the brain where Prozac's biochemical targets are expressed.
Prozac-target.jpg   The researchers found a striking 94 per cent similarity in the biochemistry between the two brains, and     discovered that at least 82 per cent of all human genes are expressed in the brain.
Allan says this isn't too surprising: When you think about the complexity of the functions of the brain, and the variety of different cell types found within the brain, it's not quite as surprising to see how much of the genome is used to serve the brain
Both brains used in the $55 million project were male, which prompted The Wall Street Journal to ask why a woman's brain had not been included. Allan told Bloomberg that eligible brain donors usually die from accidental causes or cardiac arrest, both of which disproportionately affect men. However, he says the project is currently processing a female brain, and that ultimately, the facility will run at least 10 brains through the process.
LateralView_2001[1].jpgOther researchers are also attempting to map neural connections in a mouse brain, something MRI cannot do. They will turn slices of brain into digital images by an automated electron microscope. A computer will read those images, trace the outlines of nerve cells, and stack the pictures into a 3D reconstruction. Maps like these have limitless potential in drug discovery and human genetics and will no doubt be an essential step forward in the fight against disease.

jeudi 4 août 2011

What is high blood pressure? What is artery coronary disease?

High blood pressure (hypertension)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition in which the force of blood against artery walls is too strong. Over time, high blood pressure can damage the arteries, heart, and kidneys and can lead to heart disease and stroke.
High blood pressure can be treated effectively with lifestyle changes and medications that can reduce the risk of complications.
Blood pressure readings consist of an upper number and a lower number (such as 120 over 90 or 120/90). The upper number is systolic blood pressure; the lower number is diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure readings are measured in units called millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal blood pressure is 119 mm Hg systolic over 79 mm Hg diastolic or below.
A person has high blood pressure (hypertension) when either or both of the following are present:
  • The top number (systolic) is 140 mm Hg or higher.
  • The bottom number (diastolic) is 90 mm Hg or higher.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert A. Kloner, MD, PhD - Cardiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition
Last Revised April 10, 2009
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
Last Updated: April 10, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Coronary Artery Disease

Coronary artery disease is caused by the buildup of plaque on the inside of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Plaque is made up of excess cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that float in blood and, over time, build up on the inside walls of the coronary arteries and other arteries.
This process of plaque buildup is called hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis. The plaque deposits decrease the space through which blood can flow. Poor blood flow can "starve" the heart muscle and lead to chest pain. A heart attack results when blood flow is completely blocked, usually by a blood clot forming over a plaque that has broken open (ruptured).
Coronary artery disease is treated with lifestyle changes, such as increasing exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet, and stopping smoking. Coronary artery disease also is treated with medicines to help reduce high cholesterol, control high blood pressure, and manage other risk factors.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
Last Revised May 1, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
Last Updated: May 01, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

mercredi 3 août 2011

16 senateurs ont vote contre le choix de Bernard Gousse

P-au-P, 02 août 2011 [AlterPresse] 

 Le groupe des 16 sénateurs (sur 30, le total au grand corps en Haïti), qui avaient annoncé leur décision “politique” de rejeter le deuxième choix du président Michel Joseph Martelly, a voté contre la désignation de Bernard Honorat Gousse comme futur premier ministre d’Haïti, tard dans la soirée du mardi 02 août 2011, a observé l’agence en ligne AlterPresse.
Le vote a eu lieu au terme de plus de 7 heures de débats, parfois houleux, entre sénateurs qui voulaient juger de la recevabilité ou non du rapport de la commission spéciale, ayant étudié les pièces soumises par le deuxième candidat de Martelly (après Daniel Gérard Rouzier) pour devenir chef de gouvernement du nouveau président, et collègues sénateurs qui s’étaient déjà positionnés contre Gousse.
C’est presque dans une atmosphère de cafouillage que la séance du vote a été rapidement levée (vers 10:00 pm locales, c’est-à-dire 3:00 gmt le mercredi 3 août 2011) par le président du grand corps, le sénateur Jean Rodolph Joazil (Nord-Est), sans aucun mot sur la suite qui allait être prise à la décision du 2 août 2011 au sénat de la république.
Il n’y a eu ni votes favorables, ni votes d’abstention.
Le sénateur Joazil a consulté l’assemblée des sénateurs, non pas sur le rapport de la commission spéciale quant au dossier de pièces du premier ministre désigné Bernard Honorat Gousse, mais sur leur approbation ou non du choix effectué par Martelly.
Seulement les 16 sénateurs, membres du groupe parlementaire pour le renouveau (Gpr, rassemblant les élus de la plateforme “Inite” et alliés), dont le vote défavorable contre Gousse [ancien ministre de la justice et de la sécurité publique sous le gouvernement provisoire, de 2004 à 2006] était acquis, ont levé la main pour signifier leur position préalablement arrêtée.
Vote “technique” ou “politique” ?
Pendant plusieurs heures, les sénateurs, qui ne font pas partie du Gpr, ont tenté d’analyser, sur la forme, le rapport de la commission spéciale de 9 membres, lequel a souligné la conformité des pièces du postulant-premier ministre dans 5 cas, excepté en ce qui concerne son certificat de décharge.
Tout en déclarant “controversée” la décharge donnée à Gousse par l’ancien président provisoire Boniface Alexandre sur la base d’un décret daté de 1983 (contraire aux prescrits de la Constitution de 1987, confiant cette responsabilité à une commission bicamérale du parlement), la commission ad hoc évoque une présomption “de bonne gestion” de Gousse en référence au rapport favorable de la cour supérieure des comptes et du contentieux administratif (Cscca).
Les débats du 2 août 2011 au sénat de la république ont été dirigés sur le caractère “technique” du vote à imprimer autour du choix, fait par un président, d’une personnalité appelée à assumer la charge de chef (ou cheffe) de gouvernement.
Le vote politique, s’il devait y avoir lieu, doit se dérouler au moment de la ratification de la déclaration de la politique générale du 1er ministre désigné, ont argué les sénateurs en désaccord avec le groupe des 16 (Gpr et alliés).
Parallèlement, les sénateurs en désaccord avec le groupe des 16, à l’exemple des sénateurs Andris Riché (Grande Anse / Sud-Ouest), Youri Latortue (Artibonite / Nord) et François Annick Joseph (Artibonite / Nord), ont beaucoup insisté sur l’absence de “recommandations” produites par la commission spéciale, contrairement aux règlements internes du sénat.
Invité à trancher sur ce manquement, au terme des règlements intérieurs, le sénateur Joazil (qui, en tant que président, n’a pas voté, malgré son appartenance au Gpr) s’est plutôt prononcé pour la continuation de la séance, au lieu de renvoyer le rapport à la commission spéciale pour y ajouter les recommandations.
“Je ne dis pas que le rapport soit incomplet, mais il manque les recommandations”, a précisé Latortue.
Au lieu de 22 (au ministère de l’intérieur et des collectivités territoriales / Mict), il y a eu environ 60 anciens parlementaires à bénéficier de postes de “consultants” dans plusieurs ministères (comme celui de l’éducation nationale et de la formation professionnelle / Menfp), dont les salaires mensuels (par consultant) de 100 mille gourdes (US $ 1.00 = 41.00 ; 1 euro = 61.00 gourdes) ont servi à financer la campagne électorale de ces différentes personnalités aux dernières compétitions électorales, a dénoncé Youri Latortue.
Des sénateurs du groupe des 16, comme le chef de file Joseph Lambert (Sud-Est) et Moïse Jean-Charles (Nord), ont fait peu de cas des différentes mises en garde de leurs collègues (minoritaires à l’assemblée) quant aux conséquences de ce deuxième rejet (du choix de Martelly) sur : leur éventuelle réélection auprès de leurs mandants, les nombreux défis (sécurité publique, épidémie de choléra, questions environnementales, etc.) qui attendent la prochaine équipe gouvernementale, l’imminence du passage du cyclone “Emily” (prévu pour le mercredi 3 août 2011 sur Haïti).
A leur avis, les débats, entamés par leurs collègues, qui ont avancé de multiples arguments (les uns plus subtils que les autres), n’ont aucune chance d’aboutir, ni de les porter à démordre de leur position initiale, leur conviction étant assurée sur Bernard Gousse.
Voilà pourquoi, les 16 sénateurs (Gpr et alliés) ont demandé au président Martelly de désigner une autre personnalité à la place de Bernard Honorat Gousse, dans le but de faire gagner du temps au pays dans la nomination du prochain gouvernement, ont-ils rappelé.
Et Martelly et Gousse savaient pertinemment que l’ancien ministre de la justice et de la sécurité publique ne pouvait point obtenir les faveurs des 16 sénateurs, a révélé le sénateur Jean-Charles évoquant une réunion secrète entre les différents protagonistes et mentionnant une volonté de désistement de Gousse à briguer le poste de chef de gouvernement.
Sans surprise, Martelly, qui avait indiqué disposer des faveurs de 18 sénateurs, devra désigner une troisième personnalité comme candidate au poste de chef / cheffe de gouvernement.
Après avoir prêté serment, le samedi 14 mai 2011, comme nouveau chef d’État d’Haïti, Michel Joseph Martelly atteindra-t-il les 90 ou 100 premiers jours (14 ou 24 août 2011) sans avoir pu négocier véritablement avec les forces politiques au parlement afin de former un nouveau gouvernement avant la fin de l’exercice fiscal 2010-2011 et la rentrée des classes de septembre 2011 ? [rc apr 02/08/2011 22:15]

Ronald Colbert [AlterPresse - Haiti]