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Paulo Coelho: ‘Take pride in your scars.’ Photograph: David Brabyn/Corbis
Paulo Coelho on Jesus, Twitter and the difference between defeat and failure
One of the world’s most popular writers, Coelho has survived being sent to an asylum by his parents and tortured by Brazil’s ruling militia



Stuart Jeffries

The Guardian, Sunday 17 March 2013 19.30 GMT
In pride of place in the living room of Paulo Coelho's apartment in Geneva is a fan's portrait of the author. A pointillist work, the huge image consists of the colour-coded coffee capsules George Clooney endorses. The background is composed of ristretto capsules (black), while Coelho's eyes seem to have been picked out in decaffeinato intenso (claret). Perhaps sadly, the artist has not used the new linizio lungo (apricot) capsule to perk up the colour scheme.

This is not the strangest gift he has received,Coelho says. “I’m in my apartment in Rio in 2000 and the doorbell rings and there’s a beautiful woman, very tall, very sexy, green eyes. She was carrying a small tree. I said: ‘What is this?’ She said: ‘Don’t speak Portuguese.’ She said: ‘I came from Slovenia because I want to plant this tree here and I want to have a son with you.’” Long story short – Coelho put her on a flight home and saw her only once more, with a boyfriend in Slovenia. And the tree? That’s not important now, he laughs.
For the next hour and a half he laughs a lot. A genial funster has today replaced the solemn preacher-novelist damned by one critic forwriting “something David Hasselhoff might spout after a particularly taxing Baywatch rescue”.
This incarnation may not be what has made the 65-year-old Brazilian an international bestselling author with 9.8 million Facebook fans, 6.3 million Twitter followers, and a fanbase embracing readers in the Islamic republic of Iran and the socialist republic of Cuba. Personally speaking, Coelho in the flesh is more appealing than Coelho the writer.
"Do you want to see my bow?" he asks at one point. Coelho is a keen archer. He has seen The Hunger Games and can confirm that Jennifer Lawrence’s archery technique is authentic. “The only thing that relaxes me is archery. That’s why I have to have apartments with gardens.”
His other favourite activity is walking around Geneva. “I walk every day and I look at the mountains and the fields and the small city and I say: ‘Oh my God, what a blessing.’ Then you realise it’s important to put it in a context beyond this woman, this man, this city, this country, this universe. It goes beyond everything. It goes to the core of our reason for being here.” What if there is no reason for being here and – there’s no easy way to put this – nice walks around Geneva are as good as it gets? “It’s still a blessing.” Good comeback.
Back to the coffee portrait. For Coelho, it demonstrates one of the cardinal virtues he extols in his new book, Manuscript Found in Accra – elegance. Why is elegance important? “I don’t know what I wrote in the book, but elegance goes to the basics.” He points to his portrait. “This is very elegant because if you take an isolated Nespresso capsule, it would mean nothing but with three or four you can create anything. So for me elegance is this.” Nespresso PR people who are liking the way this piece is going so far may want to excise the next sentence from their press pack: “I don’t drink Nespresso by the way.”
Coelho’s colour scheme is as minimalist as his portrait. Today he looks like a Brazilian Sweet Gene Vincent: white face, black coat, white beard, black trousers, white shirt over black T-shirt, white wisps of hair, trailing behind him as he struts through the apartment in Cuban heels sipping black coffee. He has a butterfly tattoo on his left wrist.
The other virtues set out in his new book are boldness, love and friendship. A pedant might note that elsewhere in his writings, Coelho has argued that friendship is a form of love so should not be considered a distinct virtue. Also courage rather than boldness is the virtue you need if you are to realise the the message, expressed in his 1988 novel, The Alchemist, that wherever your heart is you will find treasure. But nobody, least of all Coelho, would suggest the oeuvre of the writer, who has sold 145m books worldwide and been translated into 74 languages, is devoid of contradictions. “If I have to summarise this book in one sentence, which would be very difficult,” he says, “it is this: accept your contradictions. Learn how to live with them. Because they aren’t curses – they are blessings.”
The Jesus of the gospels was, Coelho argues, similarly contradictory. “Jesus lived a life that was full of joy and contradictions and fights, you know?” says Coelho, his brown eyes sparkling. “If they were to paint a picture of Jesus without contradictions, the gospels would be fake, but the contradictions are a sign of authenticity. So Jesus says: ‘Turn the other face,’ and then he can get a whip and go woosh! The same man who says: ‘Respect your father and mother’ says: ‘Who is my mother?’ So this is what I love – he is a man for all seasons.”
Like Jesus, he’s not expressing a coherent doctrine that can be applied to life like a blueprint? “You can’t have a blueprint for life. This is the problem if you’re religious today. I am Catholic myself, I go to the mass. But I see you can have faith and be a coward. Sometimes people renounce living in the name of a faith which is a killer faith. I like this expression – killer faith.”
Coelho proposes a faith based on joy. “The more in harmony with yourself you are, the more joyful you are, and the more faithful you are. Faith is not to disconnect you from reality, it connects you to reality.”
In this view, he thinks he has Jesus on his side. “They [those who model their sacrifice on Christ’s] remember three days in the life of Jesus when he was crucified. They forget that Jesus was politically incorrect from beginning to end. He was a bon vivant – travelling, drinking, socialising all his life. His first miracle was not to heal a poor blind person. It was changing water into wine and not wine into water.”
Paulo Coelho insists he has led a joyful, fulfilling life. It could easily have been otherwise. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he longed from a young age to become a writer, an ambition his parents frowned upon so much that they sent him, aged 17, to an asylum. “My parents thought I was psychotic. Like now, I read a lot and I didn’t socialise. They wanted to help me.”
He was eventually released in 1967 and enrolled in law school – one of several attempts to become, as he puts it disdainfully, “normal”. Later he dropped out, became a hippy and made a fortune writing lyrics for Raul Seixas, the Brazilian rock star. Brazil’s ruling militia took exception to his lyrics (some of which were influenced by the satanist Aleister Crowley). As a result, he was repeatedly arrested for subversion and eventually tortured with electric shocks to his genitals. These experiences, incidentally, account for his scorn for the idea that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was photographed with Coelho’s books on his shelves, might have learned anything from the Brazilian’s thought: “I think he had never read my books. It was PR. I wonder if he knew the story of the author he would have been proud of having this book on his shelves. I was part of these dreadful years in South America.”
Why, given his history, didn’t he choose the path of renunciation? “But I did! After the asylum and torture, I said: ‘I am tired. Enough. Let me behave like a normal person. Let me be the person who my parents wanted me to be – or society or whatever.’ So back in 1975 I married someone in church, got a job. I was normal for seven years. I could not stand to be normal. Then I divorced and married another person who is now my wife [the artist Christina Oiticica] and I said: ‘Let’s travel and try to find the meaning of life.’ I had money because I had been a very successful songwriter, so I had five apartments in Brazil. I sold everything and I started travelling.”
His epiphany came in 1986 when he walked the 500-mile road to the Galician pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela. He described his spiritual awakening there in one of his earliest novels,The Pilgrimage. “Then I said: ‘It’s now or never.’ I stopped everything and said: ‘Now I am going to fulfil my dream. I may be defeated but I will not fail.’”
This distinction between defeats and failure is central to Coelho’s new book. The former are incidental, chastening wounds risked by those who listen to their heart, the latter a lifelong abnegation of the responsibility to follow your dream. Or as the narrator of Manuscript Found in Accra puts it: “Take pride in your scars. Scars are medals branded on the flesh and your enemies will be frightened by them because they are proof of your long experience of battle.” That advice is borne of his life experiences? “Absolutely. I am proud of my scars and they taught me to live better and not to be afraid of living.”
He looks at me sharply: “They taught me also to be a cold-blooded killer.” Beg your pardon? “When I see people trying to manipulate me, I kill. No regrets, no hatred, just an act of – ” He makes a throat-cutting gesture. He’s not the fluffy bunny his writings might indicate him to be? “Ha! No! I can be very tough. If people think you’re naive, they discover in the next second that they don’t have heads. So love your enemy, but keep your blacklist updated.”
Coelho clearly thinks highly of his readers and online fans. Indeed, Manuscript Found in Accra could be considered the ultimate tribute to them – the collaboration of sage and his online disciples. Share your fears, Coelho tweeted his followers, that I might offer hope and comfort. The resultant book consists of Coelho’s meditations on such themes as courage, solitude, loyalty, anxiety, loss, sex and victimhood suggested by followers. Manuscript Found in Accra might function as an aphoristic grab bag of his principal thoughts. The treacly narratives of such novels as The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes have been excised but the cliches remain. He actually does write stuff like this: “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” and “Don’t give up. Remember it’s always the last key on the ring that opens the door.” Those of you who may so far have resisted the endorsements of Madonna, Julia Roberts or Bill Clinton may now be tempted to read him if only to test the proposition that Paulo Coelho exists to make Alain de Botton look deep.

Paulo Coelho: ‘Take pride in your scars.’ Photograph: David Brabyn/Corbis

Paulo Coelho on Jesus, Twitter and the difference between defeat and failure

One of the world’s most popular writers, Coelho has survived being sent to an asylum by his parents and tortured by Brazil’s ruling militia

  • In pride of place in the living room of Paulo Coelho's apartment in Geneva is a fan's portrait of the author. A pointillist work, the huge image consists of the colour-coded coffee capsules George Clooney endorses. The background is composed of ristretto capsules (black), while Coelho's eyes seem to have been picked out in decaffeinato intenso (claret). Perhaps sadly, the artist has not used the new linizio lungo (apricot) capsule to perk up the colour scheme.
  • This is not the strangest gift he has received,Coelho says. “I’m in my apartment in Rio in 2000 and the doorbell rings and there’s a beautiful woman, very tall, very sexy, green eyes. She was carrying a small tree. I said: ‘What is this?’ She said: ‘Don’t speak Portuguese.’ She said: ‘I came from Slovenia because I want to plant this tree here and I want to have a son with you.’” Long story short – Coelho put her on a flight home and saw her only once more, with a boyfriend in Slovenia. And the tree? That’s not important now, he laughs.

    For the next hour and a half he laughs a lot. A genial funster has today replaced the solemn preacher-novelist damned by one critic forwriting “something David Hasselhoff might spout after a particularly taxing Baywatch rescue”.

    This incarnation may not be what has made the 65-year-old Brazilian an international bestselling author with 9.8 million Facebook fans, 6.3 million Twitter followers, and a fanbase embracing readers in the Islamic republic of Iran and the socialist republic of Cuba. Personally speaking, Coelho in the flesh is more appealing than Coelho the writer.

    "Do you want to see my bow?" he asks at one point. Coelho is a keen archer. He has seen The Hunger Games and can confirm that Jennifer Lawrence’s archery technique is authentic. “The only thing that relaxes me is archery. That’s why I have to have apartments with gardens.”

    His other favourite activity is walking around Geneva. “I walk every day and I look at the mountains and the fields and the small city and I say: ‘Oh my God, what a blessing.’ Then you realise it’s important to put it in a context beyond this woman, this man, this city, this country, this universe. It goes beyond everything. It goes to the core of our reason for being here.” What if there is no reason for being here and – there’s no easy way to put this – nice walks around Geneva are as good as it gets? “It’s still a blessing.” Good comeback.

    Back to the coffee portrait. For Coelho, it demonstrates one of the cardinal virtues he extols in his new book, Manuscript Found in Accra – elegance. Why is elegance important? “I don’t know what I wrote in the book, but elegance goes to the basics.” He points to his portrait. “This is very elegant because if you take an isolated Nespresso capsule, it would mean nothing but with three or four you can create anything. So for me elegance is this.” Nespresso PR people who are liking the way this piece is going so far may want to excise the next sentence from their press pack: “I don’t drink Nespresso by the way.”

    Coelho’s colour scheme is as minimalist as his portrait. Today he looks like a Brazilian Sweet Gene Vincent: white face, black coat, white beard, black trousers, white shirt over black T-shirt, white wisps of hair, trailing behind him as he struts through the apartment in Cuban heels sipping black coffee. He has a butterfly tattoo on his left wrist.

    The other virtues set out in his new book are boldness, love and friendship. A pedant might note that elsewhere in his writings, Coelho has argued that friendship is a form of love so should not be considered a distinct virtue. Also courage rather than boldness is the virtue you need if you are to realise the the message, expressed in his 1988 novel, The Alchemist, that wherever your heart is you will find treasure. But nobody, least of all Coelho, would suggest the oeuvre of the writer, who has sold 145m books worldwide and been translated into 74 languages, is devoid of contradictions. “If I have to summarise this book in one sentence, which would be very difficult,” he says, “it is this: accept your contradictions. Learn how to live with them. Because they aren’t curses – they are blessings.”

    The Jesus of the gospels was, Coelho argues, similarly contradictory. “Jesus lived a life that was full of joy and contradictions and fights, you know?” says Coelho, his brown eyes sparkling. “If they were to paint a picture of Jesus without contradictions, the gospels would be fake, but the contradictions are a sign of authenticity. So Jesus says: ‘Turn the other face,’ and then he can get a whip and go woosh! The same man who says: ‘Respect your father and mother’ says: ‘Who is my mother?’ So this is what I love – he is a man for all seasons.”

    Like Jesus, he’s not expressing a coherent doctrine that can be applied to life like a blueprint? “You can’t have a blueprint for life. This is the problem if you’re religious today. I am Catholic myself, I go to the mass. But I see you can have faith and be a coward. Sometimes people renounce living in the name of a faith which is a killer faith. I like this expression – killer faith.”

    Coelho proposes a faith based on joy. “The more in harmony with yourself you are, the more joyful you are, and the more faithful you are. Faith is not to disconnect you from reality, it connects you to reality.”

    In this view, he thinks he has Jesus on his side. “They [those who model their sacrifice on Christ’s] remember three days in the life of Jesus when he was crucified. They forget that Jesus was politically incorrect from beginning to end. He was a bon vivant – travelling, drinking, socialising all his life. His first miracle was not to heal a poor blind person. It was changing water into wine and not wine into water.”

    Paulo Coelho insists he has led a joyful, fulfilling life. It could easily have been otherwise. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, he longed from a young age to become a writer, an ambition his parents frowned upon so much that they sent him, aged 17, to an asylum. “My parents thought I was psychotic. Like now, I read a lot and I didn’t socialise. They wanted to help me.”

    He was eventually released in 1967 and enrolled in law school – one of several attempts to become, as he puts it disdainfully, “normal”. Later he dropped out, became a hippy and made a fortune writing lyrics for Raul Seixas, the Brazilian rock star. Brazil’s ruling militia took exception to his lyrics (some of which were influenced by the satanist Aleister Crowley). As a result, he was repeatedly arrested for subversion and eventually tortured with electric shocks to his genitals. These experiences, incidentally, account for his scorn for the idea that Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was photographed with Coelho’s books on his shelves, might have learned anything from the Brazilian’s thought: “I think he had never read my books. It was PR. I wonder if he knew the story of the author he would have been proud of having this book on his shelves. I was part of these dreadful years in South America.”

    Why, given his history, didn’t he choose the path of renunciation? “But I did! After the asylum and torture, I said: ‘I am tired. Enough. Let me behave like a normal person. Let me be the person who my parents wanted me to be – or society or whatever.’ So back in 1975 I married someone in church, got a job. I was normal for seven years. I could not stand to be normal. Then I divorced and married another person who is now my wife [the artist Christina Oiticica] and I said: ‘Let’s travel and try to find the meaning of life.’ I had money because I had been a very successful songwriter, so I had five apartments in Brazil. I sold everything and I started travelling.”

    His epiphany came in 1986 when he walked the 500-mile road to the Galician pilgrimage site Santiago de Compostela. He described his spiritual awakening there in one of his earliest novels,The Pilgrimage. “Then I said: ‘It’s now or never.’ I stopped everything and said: ‘Now I am going to fulfil my dream. I may be defeated but I will not fail.’”

    This distinction between defeats and failure is central to Coelho’s new book. The former are incidental, chastening wounds risked by those who listen to their heart, the latter a lifelong abnegation of the responsibility to follow your dream. Or as the narrator of Manuscript Found in Accra puts it: “Take pride in your scars. Scars are medals branded on the flesh and your enemies will be frightened by them because they are proof of your long experience of battle.” That advice is borne of his life experiences? “Absolutely. I am proud of my scars and they taught me to live better and not to be afraid of living.”

    He looks at me sharply: “They taught me also to be a cold-blooded killer.” Beg your pardon? “When I see people trying to manipulate me, I kill. No regrets, no hatred, just an act of – ” He makes a throat-cutting gesture. He’s not the fluffy bunny his writings might indicate him to be? “Ha! No! I can be very tough. If people think you’re naive, they discover in the next second that they don’t have heads. So love your enemy, but keep your blacklist updated.”

    Coelho clearly thinks highly of his readers and online fans. Indeed, Manuscript Found in Accra could be considered the ultimate tribute to them – the collaboration of sage and his online disciples. Share your fears, Coelho tweeted his followers, that I might offer hope and comfort. The resultant book consists of Coelho’s meditations on such themes as courage, solitude, loyalty, anxiety, loss, sex and victimhood suggested by followers. Manuscript Found in Accra might function as an aphoristic grab bag of his principal thoughts. The treacly narratives of such novels as The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes have been excised but the cliches remain. He actually does write stuff like this: “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” and “Don’t give up. Remember it’s always the last key on the ring that opens the door.” Those of you who may so far have resisted the endorsements of Madonna, Julia Roberts or Bill Clinton may now be tempted to read him if only to test the proposition that Paulo Coelho exists to make Alain de Botton look deep.

— 1 year ago
#paul coelho  #literature 
Design flaw in ‘Lightning II’ F-35B jet raises fears of lightning-induced explosions

Reuters / Handout



It’s the world’s most expensive combat aircraft, but don’t expect it to fly in bad weather: The $237-million F-35B has been banned from traveling within 25 miles of a thunderstorm, amid fears that lightning could cause its fuel tank to explode.
The aircraft, which is ironically known as ‘Lightning II,’ is not permitted to fly in thunderstorms until an oxygen gauge in the fuel tank is redesigned.
The findings were disclosed in the Pentagon’s 2012 Annual Operational Test and Evaluation report, which examined 327 defense programs slated for full production.
The announcement is a major setback for the combat plane, which is set for use in the US Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The planes are also scheduled to fly with Britain’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by 2018.
Other fears besides a lightning-induced explosion have left engineers worried. A design fault in the fuel tank prevents the jet from rapidly descending to low altitudes. The Pentagon report described both flaws as “unacceptable for combat or combat training.”
The F-35B’s problems don’t stop there: Attempts to increase the aircraft’s fuel efficiency by reducing its weight have made it more vulnerable to enemy attack – even more so than the aircraft it’s designed to replace, the Telegraph reported.
Examinations by the US Air Force and manufacturer Lockheed Martin also discovered possible widespread cracking on the right wing and right engine of the F-35A, and on an area of the F-35B. “All of these discoveries will require mitigation plans and may include redesigning parts and additional weight,” the report said.
The aircraft’s supposedly state-of-the-art visor had its own issues last June. The visor is designed to provide pilots with up-to-the-second information about the jet’s every move, but actually provided incorrect data.
Critics have dubbed the F-35B a disaster since its inception in the 1990s, when it became the most expensive equipment project ever undertaken by the Pentagon. The total cost of buying, operating and maintaining the planes over the next 30 years is estimated at around $1.5 trillion.  
That high price tag has given several countries cold feet about the jet. Last week, Canada pulled out of a deal to buy 65 F-35s over fears that the aircraft could be too expensive to run. Italy reduced its purchase to 90 F-35s from an initial 131, and even the US has delayed some of its purchases.
But despite the flaws in the F-35B’s fuel tank, the aircraft’s makers remain optimistic.
"The F-35 is a stealth aircraft and by definition it is less vulnerable than any fourth-generation fighter flying today. We don’t consider this a major issue,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told the Telegraph.

Design flaw in ‘Lightning II’ F-35B jet raises fears of lightning-induced explosions

Reuters / Handout

It’s the world’s most expensive combat aircraft, but don’t expect it to fly in bad weather: The $237-million F-35B has been banned from traveling within 25 miles of a thunderstorm, amid fears that lightning could cause its fuel tank to explode.

The aircraft, which is ironically known as ‘Lightning II,’ is not permitted to fly in thunderstorms until an oxygen gauge in the fuel tank is redesigned.

The findings were disclosed in the Pentagon’s 2012 Annual Operational Test and Evaluation report, which examined 327 defense programs slated for full production.

The announcement is a major setback for the combat plane, which is set for use in the US Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. The planes are also scheduled to fly with Britain’s Royal Navy and Royal Air Force by 2018.

Other fears besides a lightning-induced explosion have left engineers worried. A design fault in the fuel tank prevents the jet from rapidly descending to low altitudes. The Pentagon report described both flaws as “unacceptable for combat or combat training.”

The F-35B’s problems don’t stop there: Attempts to increase the aircraft’s fuel efficiency by reducing its weight have made it more vulnerable to enemy attack – even more so than the aircraft it’s designed to replace, the Telegraph reported.

Examinations by the US Air Force and manufacturer Lockheed Martin also discovered possible widespread cracking on the right wing and right engine of the F-35A, and on an area of the F-35B. “All of these discoveries will require mitigation plans and may include redesigning parts and additional weight,” the report said.

The aircraft’s supposedly state-of-the-art visor had its own issues last June. The visor is designed to provide pilots with up-to-the-second information about the jet’s every move, but actually provided incorrect data.

Critics have dubbed the F-35B a disaster since its inception in the 1990s, when it became the most expensive equipment project ever undertaken by the Pentagon. The total cost of buying, operating and maintaining the planes over the next 30 years is estimated at around $1.5 trillion.  

That high price tag has given several countries cold feet about the jet. Last week, Canada pulled out of a deal to buy 65 F-35s over fears that the aircraft could be too expensive to run. Italy reduced its purchase to 90 F-35s from an initial 131, and even the US has delayed some of its purchases.

But despite the flaws in the F-35B’s fuel tank, the aircraft’s makers remain optimistic.

"The F-35 is a stealth aircraft and by definition it is less vulnerable than any fourth-generation fighter flying today. We don’t consider this a major issue,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson told the Telegraph.

— 1 year ago with 6 notes
#technology  #military  #air force  #f35 
Horse head sculpture, carved in ivory, dating from the late Ice Age – approximately 13,000 years ago.Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Guardian

Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures
From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview here

Horse head sculpture, carved in ivory, dating from the late Ice Age – approximately 13,000 years ago.Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Guardian


Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures

From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview here

— 1 year ago with 5 notes
#art  #ancient art  #sculpture  #horses 
A 23,000-year-old abstract figure from Lespugue, France. Picasso was fascinated by it and it influenced his 30s sculptural works Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Guardian
Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures
From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview here

A 23,000-year-old abstract figure from Lespugue, France. Picasso was fascinated by it and it influenced his 30s sculptural works Photograph: Graeme Robertson/Guardian

Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures

From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview here

— 1 year ago with 38 notes
#art  #ancient art  #picasso  #abstract art 
The oldest known portrait will go on public display for the first time at the exhibition. It is the head of a woman, carved in ivory some 26,000 years ago. It was discovered in the 20s in Dolní Věstonice, a valley in present-day Moravia that was teeming with mammoth and reindeer in the last ice age
Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures
From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview hereRead more: Ice age art at the British Museum was crafted by ‘professional’ artists

The oldest known portrait will go on public display for the first time at the exhibition. It is the head of a woman, carved in ivory some 26,000 years ago. It was discovered in the 20s in Dolní Věstonice, a valley in present-day Moravia that was teeming with mammoth and reindeer in the last ice age

Ice age art: cavemen get crafty at the British Museum – in pictures

From antler batons to mammoth pendants, a new exhibition in London boasts a mind-blowing display of the world’s oldest known sculptures, drawings and portraits, crafted by the hands of Homo sapiens as long as 40,000 years ago. Ice Age Art: The Arrival of the Modern Mind runs from 7 February until 26 May 2013 – but you can take a sneak preview here

Read more: Ice age art at the British Museum was crafted by ‘professional’ artists

— 1 year ago with 10 notes
#art  #portrait  #head of a woman  #ancient art  #anthropology 
The oil painting by 17th century artist Charles Le Brun, on display at Christie’s in New York Photo: AFP/GETTY. The painting depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was implicated in the death of Achilles. Christie’s have decided to name it The Sacrifice of Polyxena.

Ritz renovation turns up 17th century French masterpiece
Renovation work at the Ritz Paris has led to the discovery of what is believed to be a 17th century French art masterpiece that hung in Coco Chanel’s suite for decades without anyone noticing it.

By Henry Samuel, Paris

3:40PM GMT 24 Jan 2013

There is no explanation in the archives as to how the giant tableau by Charles Le Brun ended up in the legendary hotel, currently undergoing a 200 million-euro “total refurbishment” lasting two years.


The man who first spotted the painting was Olivier Lefeuvre, a Christie’sFrance specialist in the period, who came across it in July, a month before the Ritz closed its doors.


“I thought it was a Le Brun straight away,” he said. “It was very well preserved. It was really quite moving.”


Stunned at his discovery, Mr Lefeuvre showed it to Christie’s art adviser Joseph Friedman.


“When I saw this painting in the suite, I had to take a step back. It had a very powerful impact,” Mr Friedman said.
“The use of colour and the movement are remarkable. The influence of (Baroque master Nicolas) Poussin is obvious.”
“A colleague then found the initials CLBF, which stand for Charles Le Brun Fecit (Le Brun did this) and a date, 1647.”
The oil painting has been identified by experts as an early work by Le Brun (1619-1690) finished prior to his becoming the official painter at the court of Louis XIV. Experts say Le Brun was clearly influenced by the artists Raphael and Poussin during a trip to Rome in that period.
The painting by Charles Le Brun will go on display in New York next week and be auctioned in Paris in April. It is to be sold by Christie’s auctioneers and could raise up to 500,000 euros (£423,000) for the foundation established by owner Mohamed Al Fayed in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Diana, Princess of Wales. The pair dined at the Ritz before their fatal car crash in 1997.
Mr Friedman said Mr Al Fayed had decided to sell the work as it deserved to be in a museum for all to see.
The edifice housing the Ritz on the chic Place Vendome dates from 1705 and was initially a family home for French nobles. It became a hotel after it was bought by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz in 1898.
Coco Chanel lived for 37 years in the suite that still bears her name, bringing her own furniture and having a lift installed so she could pop out the back to her couturier house.
Although Christie’s have found no record of the painting, “no one is in any doubt that it is a genuine Le Brun,” according to Mr Friedman.
The painting depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was implicated in the death of Achilles. Christie’s have decided to name it The Sacrifice of Polyxena.
The painting is to go on display in New York next week and will be auctioned in Paris in April.

The oil painting by 17th century artist Charles Le Brun, on display at Christie’s in New York Photo: AFP/GETTY. The painting depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was implicated in the death of Achilles. Christie’s have decided to name it The Sacrifice of Polyxena.

Ritz renovation turns up 17th century French masterpiece

Renovation work at the Ritz Paris has led to the discovery of what is believed to be a 17th century French art masterpiece that hung in Coco Chanel’s suite for decades without anyone noticing it.

3:40PM GMT 24 Jan 2013

There is no explanation in the archives as to how the giant tableau by Charles Le Brun ended up in the legendary hotel, currently undergoing a 200 million-euro “total refurbishment” lasting two years.

The man who first spotted the painting was Olivier Lefeuvre, a Christie’sFrance specialist in the period, who came across it in July, a month before the Ritz closed its doors.

“I thought it was a Le Brun straight away,” he said. “It was very well preserved. It was really quite moving.”

Stunned at his discovery, Mr Lefeuvre showed it to Christie’s art adviser Joseph Friedman.

“When I saw this painting in the suite, I had to take a step back. It had a very powerful impact,” Mr Friedman said.

“The use of colour and the movement are remarkable. The influence of (Baroque master Nicolas) Poussin is obvious.”

“A colleague then found the initials CLBF, which stand for Charles Le Brun Fecit (Le Brun did this) and a date, 1647.”

The oil painting has been identified by experts as an early work by Le Brun (1619-1690) finished prior to his becoming the official painter at the court of Louis XIV. Experts say Le Brun was clearly influenced by the artists Raphael and Poussin during a trip to Rome in that period.

The painting by Charles Le Brun will go on display in New York next week and be auctioned in Paris in April. It is to be sold by Christie’s auctioneers and could raise up to 500,000 euros (£423,000) for the foundation established by owner Mohamed Al Fayed in memory of his son Dodi, the late boyfriend of Diana, Princess of Wales. The pair dined at the Ritz before their fatal car crash in 1997.

Mr Friedman said Mr Al Fayed had decided to sell the work as it deserved to be in a museum for all to see.

The edifice housing the Ritz on the chic Place Vendome dates from 1705 and was initially a family home for French nobles. It became a hotel after it was bought by Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz in 1898.

Coco Chanel lived for 37 years in the suite that still bears her name, bringing her own furniture and having a lift installed so she could pop out the back to her couturier house.

Although Christie’s have found no record of the painting, “no one is in any doubt that it is a genuine Le Brun,” according to Mr Friedman.

The painting depicts the killing of Trojan princess Polyxena after she was implicated in the death of Achilles. Christie’s have decided to name it The Sacrifice of Polyxena.

The painting is to go on display in New York next week and will be auctioned in Paris in April.

— 1 year ago
#art  #painting  #charles le brun  #history  #mithology  #greeks 

1) The Sacrifice of Polyxena. Greek mythology, Polyxena was the youngest daughter of King Priam of Troy. Achilles told her of his vulnerability – his heel – and was then killed by her brothers. His ghost demanded her sacrifice in order for the wind, needed to set sail back to Hellas, to be appeased. The subject is rare suggesting a specific commission for Le Brun, although the patron has yet to be identified.; 2) The Le Brun painting in the Coco Chanel Suite at the Hotel Ritz, Paris..


Unknown French Masterpiece Discovered in Hotel Ritz, Paris

PARIS, France — 23 January 2013

A previously unrecorded painting by Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), official painter to the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV, has been discovered hanging in the Coco Chanel Suite at the Hôtel Ritz in Paris by the London-based fine art consultant Joseph Friedman.  Formerly Curator of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s residence in Paris, Friedman was advising the hotel on its current €200 million renovation project when he came across the work.  The painting, thought to depict The Sacrifice of Polyxena, will be auctioned by Christie’s in Paris on 15 April 2013 and has a pre-sale estimate of €300,000-500,000.

Friedman said: “I literally took a step backwards when I saw the painting.  It was clearly the work of a major 17th-century French master.”  With his assistant, Wanda Tymowska, he set about examining the painting and Tymowska discovered an inscription ‘C.L.B.F.’, which they realised could stand for ‘Charles Le Brun Fecit’, with a date 1647, potentially making this one of the very earliest masterpieces by the artist.  A search of the literature on Le Brun revealed no mention of this painting, but this only increased Friedman’s excitement since it meant that he painting could not be a copy or re-working of some well-known composition but in all probability an original, which despite being in the hotel for decades, had somehow gone unnoticed.

The painting was then shown to Christie’s in Paris as well as the acknowledged experts on Le Brun in the French museum world.  All were amazed, pronouncing it to be a major, fully autograph work by Le Brun, a highly important new discovery and addition to his oeuvre and to the study of 17th-century French art in general.

The owner of the Hôtel Ritz feels that a painting of such extraordinary importance and value should not remain there when it re-opens in two years’ time and has therefore consigned it to auction with Christie’s. 

Charles Le Brun (1619-1690), official painter to Louis XIV (the Sun King), was a leading French painter and designer in France in the 17th century.  He created a series of masterpieces of history and religious painting for such prominent political figures as Chancellor Pierre Séguier, Cardinal Richelieu, and Nicolas Fouquet.  Created Premier Peintre du Roi (First Painter to His Majesty) in 1662 with a pension of 12,000 livres, the following year he became director of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture.  His greatest work was at the royal palace of Versailles for the king who declared him “the greatest French artist of all time”.  Le Brun was involved from an early stage in the transformation of the palace, overseeing all aspects of the decoration from the sculptures in the park to two great suites of rooms for Louis XIV and his queen, Maria Theresa of Spain. 

Joseph Friedman is an independent fine art agent and consultant who advises on all aspects of the sale and acquisition of works of art, fine furniture and other cultural assets.  He was previously a Senior Director of Sotheby’s, Curator of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s house in Paris, adviser to the Foreign Office on the restoration of the British Embassy in Paris and consultant on the restoration of Spencer House for Lord Rothschild and Castle Coole for the National Trust.  Joseph Friedman Ltd operates across all major collecting areas and in all key areas of the market, and has handled a wide range of projects on behalf of private, corporate, and institutional clients both in the UK and abroad, including private treaty sales to the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Ireland, the British Library, and Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

Joseph Friedman is a founding partner of Historic Buildings Consultants, and has lectured and published widely.  His books include Spencer House. Chronicle of a Great London Mansion (Zwemmer, 1993); Inside London: Discovering London’s Period Interiors (Phaidon, 1988), and its sequels Inside Paris (1989), Inside New York (1992), and Inside Rome (1993); The Private World of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor [with Hugo Vickers] (1995); and the forthcoming Treasure Houses of London. Five Hundred Years of Private Artistic Patronage and Collecting (Yale University Press).  www.josephfriedmanltd.com

— 1 year ago
#art  #painting  #history  #charles le brun  #painter  #coco chanel 
Picture released by South Korea’s defense ministry shows South Korean officers checking the debris from a long-range rocket recently launched by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). After analyzing debris from the first stage of a long-range rocket recently launched by the DPRK, South Korea on December 23, 2012 claimed that the rocket launch was intended to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technology, according to the defense ministry in Seoul. Photo: Xinhua

DPRK threatens ‘all-out action’ against US
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday vowed to conduct more rocket launches and a higher-level nuclear test targeting its “sworn enemy” — the United States.

In a statement carried by the KCNA news agency, the National Defense Commission criticized the resolution adopted Tuesday by the UN Security Council to condemn the country’s recent satellite launch.

"We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets will be launched and a nuclear test of higher level will be carried out in the upcoming new phase of the anti-US struggle, targeting against the US, the sworn enemy of the Korean people," the statement said.

The commission also declared that “there will no longer exist the six-party talks and the Sept. 19 joint statement,” as “the UN Security Council has been reduced into an organization bereft of impartiality and balance.”

"We will launch an all-out action to foil the hostile policy toward the DPRK being pursued by the US and those dishonest forces following the US, and safeguard the sovereignty of the country and the nation," it said.

"No dialogue on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be possible in the future even though there may be dialogues and negotiations on ensuring peace and security in the region including the Korean Peninsula."

The 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Resolution 2087 which requires the DPRK to comply with all relevant resolutions approved by the Security Council and not to use ballistic missile technology for any launch.

It also reiterated to seek a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the issues concerned and advocated the renewal of the six-party talks over the denuclearization issue on the Korean Peninsula.

On December 12 last year, the KCNA confirmed that the DPRK launched and orbited the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite. After the launch, the DPRK has defended its right to launch satellites for peaceful and scientific purposes. 

Picture released by South Korea’s defense ministry shows South Korean officers checking the debris from a long-range rocket recently launched by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). After analyzing debris from the first stage of a long-range rocket recently launched by the DPRK, South Korea on December 23, 2012 claimed that the rocket launch was intended to develop intercontinental ballistic missile technology, according to the defense ministry in Seoul. Photo: Xinhua

DPRK threatens ‘all-out action’ against US

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday vowed to conduct more rocket launches and a higher-level nuclear test targeting its “sworn enemy” — the United States.

In a statement carried by the KCNA news agency, the National Defense Commission criticized the resolution adopted Tuesday by the UN Security Council to condemn the country’s recent satellite launch.

"We do not hide that a variety of satellites and long-range rockets will be launched and a nuclear test of higher level will be carried out in the upcoming new phase of the anti-US struggle, targeting against the US, the sworn enemy of the Korean people," the statement said.

The commission also declared that “there will no longer exist the six-party talks and the Sept. 19 joint statement,” as “the UN Security Council has been reduced into an organization bereft of impartiality and balance.”

"We will launch an all-out action to foil the hostile policy toward the DPRK being pursued by the US and those dishonest forces following the US, and safeguard the sovereignty of the country and the nation," it said.

"No dialogue on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will be possible in the future even though there may be dialogues and negotiations on ensuring peace and security in the region including the Korean Peninsula."

The 15-member UN Security Council on Tuesday unanimously approved Resolution 2087 which requires the DPRK to comply with all relevant resolutions approved by the Security Council and not to use ballistic missile technology for any launch.

It also reiterated to seek a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the issues concerned and advocated the renewal of the six-party talks over the denuclearization issue on the Korean Peninsula.

On December 12 last year, the KCNA confirmed that the DPRK launched and orbited the second version of the Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite. After the launch, the DPRK has defended its right to launch satellites for peaceful and scientific purposes. 

— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#military  #foreign policy  #space  #north korea  #US 
Explosion mechanics expert Zheng Zhemin and radar engineer Wang Xiaomo won China’s top science award on Friday, marking the first time both winners specialized in the field of military science and technology.
Top prize for pioneers in military technology
Global Times | 2013-1-19 0:43:00 By Liang Chen
Explosion mechanics expert Zheng Zhemin and radar engineer Wang Xiaomo won China’s top science award on Friday, marking the first time both winners specialized in the field of military science and technology.Military experts noted this year’s recipients of the National Supreme Scientific and Technological Award reflect progress China has made in national defense."We also want to fulfill a leading role (in military science and technology) in the international community, which means being ranked alongside other advanced countries," Wang told China Central Television (CCTV) on Friday.Wang, a 74-year-old member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), has devoted himself to the research and design of radar technology for the past 30 years. He is affectionately regarded as the “father” of airborne warning and control systems in China."China has made and designed the world’s most advanced early warning aircraft systems," Wang said.The National Supreme Science and Technology Award, China’s most prestigious science honor, is awarded to prominent scientists who have made remarkable contributions to scientific and technological innovation, according to a statement on www.gov.cn on Friday.Zheng, 88, a member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the CAE, was lauded for his scientific research in solid mechanics, elastic mechanics, explosion processing and underground nuclear explosions.Zheng is also a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences."Military technology has always been at the forefront of scientific and technological development. We expect to see more state-of-the-art talents appearing from the military science and technology field," Li Daguang, a senior military expert at the PLA University of National Defense, told the Global Times on Friday.It is also foreseeable that more breakthroughs in military science will be put into civil use, Li noted.The top prize is also awarded to scientists whose pioneering work has led to significant economic returns or promoted social progress."To present two military equipment experts with the country’s top science award shows China is strengthening its comprehensive national power and defense forces. It also shows the nation’s efforts in the area of national defense construction," Teng Jianqun, director of the Arms Control Research Center at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.Wang and Zheng’s accolade has served as a “huge inspiration” for prominent experts and fellow scientists working on national defense projects, Teng added."I was delighted. Hopefully I can learn from the winners and contribute to the development of national defense after I graduate," Tang Jiang, a PhD candidate from the Yantai-based Naval Aeronautical Engineering Academy, told the Global Times.The top award, established in 2000, is awarded annually to two scientists at most. A total of 20 scientists, their average age of over 80, have won the prize that includes 5 million yuan (about $600,000) each.Mathematician Wu Wenjun and hybrid-rice expert Yuan Longping were the first to win the award in 2000. Environmental scientist Liu Dongsheng and chief designer of China’s manned space flight project Wang Yongzhi won the award in 2003.No winner was announced for the award in 2004.Winners are decided after vigorous evaluation process. "After getting recommendations from the provincial-level governments, departments under the administration of the State Council or winners of the award, the nominees are scrutinized by a review board composed of 25 top-notch experts from the National Science and Technology Committee," Chen Zhimin, vice director of the National Office of Science and Technology Awards, told CCTV.Xinhua contributed to this story

Explosion mechanics expert Zheng Zhemin and radar engineer Wang Xiaomo won China’s top science award on Friday, marking the first time both winners specialized in the field of military science and technology.

Top prize for pioneers in military technology

Global Times | 2013-1-19 0:43:00 
By Liang Chen

Explosion mechanics expert Zheng Zhemin and radar engineer Wang Xiaomo won China’s top science award on Friday, marking the first time both winners specialized in the field of military science and technology.

Military experts noted this year’s recipients of the National Supreme Scientific and Technological Award reflect progress China has made in national defense.

"We also want to fulfill a leading role (in military science and technology) in the international community, which means being ranked alongside other advanced countries," Wang told China Central Television (CCTV) on Friday.

Wang, a 74-year-old member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE), has devoted himself to the research and design of radar technology for the past 30 years. 

He is affectionately regarded as the “father” of airborne warning and control systems in China.

"China has made and designed the world’s most advanced early warning aircraft systems," Wang said.

The National Supreme Science and Technology Award, China’s most prestigious science honor, is awarded to prominent scientists who have made remarkable contributions to scientific and technological innovation, according to a statement on www.gov.cn on Friday.

Zheng, 88, a member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the CAE, was lauded for his scientific research in solid mechanics, elastic mechanics, explosion processing and underground nuclear explosions.

Zheng is also a foreign associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.

"Military technology has always been at the forefront of scientific and technological development. We expect to see more state-of-the-art talents appearing from the military science and technology field," Li Daguang, a senior military expert at the PLA University of National Defense, told the Global Times on Friday.

It is also foreseeable that more breakthroughs in military science will be put into civil use, Li noted.

The top prize is also awarded to scientists whose pioneering work has led to significant economic returns or promoted social progress.

"To present two military equipment experts with the country’s top science award shows China is strengthening its comprehensive national power and defense forces. It also shows the nation’s efforts in the area of national defense construction," Teng Jianqun, director of the Arms Control Research Center at the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times.

Wang and Zheng’s accolade has served as a “huge inspiration” for prominent experts and fellow scientists working on national defense projects, Teng added.

"I was delighted. Hopefully I can learn from the winners and contribute to the development of national defense after I graduate," Tang Jiang, a PhD candidate from the Yantai-based Naval Aeronautical Engineering Academy, told the Global Times.

The top award, established in 2000, is awarded annually to two scientists at most. 

A total of 20 scientists, their average age of over 80, have won the prize that includes 5 million yuan (about $600,000) each.

Mathematician Wu Wenjun and hybrid-rice expert Yuan Longping were the first to win the award in 2000. 

Environmental scientist Liu Dongsheng and chief designer of China’s manned space flight project Wang Yongzhi won the award in 2003.

No winner was announced for the award in 2004.

Winners are decided after vigorous evaluation process. 

"After getting recommendations from the provincial-level governments, departments under the administration of the State Council or winners of the award, the nominees are scrutinized by a review board composed of 25 top-notch experts from the National Science and Technology Committee," Chen Zhimin, vice director of the National Office of Science and Technology Awards, told CCTV.

Xinhua contributed to this story

— 1 year ago with 1 note
#science  #technology  #military  #china  #military science 
A flight delegation of China’s naval air force conducts a long-range raid exercise, and they shoot down the simulated “enemy aircraft” during the exercise. The exercise marked a new breakthrough in their precision raid and actual combat capability.
China’s naval air force in raid exercise (4)

A flight delegation of China’s naval air force conducts a long-range raid exercise, and they shoot down the simulated “enemy aircraft” during the exercise. The exercise marked a new breakthrough in their precision raid and actual combat capability.

China’s naval air force in raid exercise (4)

— 1 year ago with 4 notes
#military  #air force  #navy  #china  #asia 
A flight delegation of China’s naval air force conducts a long-range raid exercise, and they shoot down the simulated “enemy aircraft” during the exercise. The exercise marked a new breakthrough in their precision raid and actual combat capability.
China’s naval air force in raid exercise

A flight delegation of China’s naval air force conducts a long-range raid exercise, and they shoot down the simulated “enemy aircraft” during the exercise. The exercise marked a new breakthrough in their precision raid and actual combat capability.

China’s naval air force in raid exercise

— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#military  #air force  #navy  #asia 
Mali location map
‘Mali a potential long-term, Afghanistan-like conflict for France’
Published: 17 January, 2013, 19:53Edited: 18 January, 2013, 05:37
Al-Qaeda plans to use North Africa as a stepping stone to Europe and France may witness an Afghanistan-like backlash with the US entering another war, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.
A lot of the terrorists the French are battling in Mali were well-trained by the US and know how US special forces operate, and can use that knowledge against American troops, Maloof said.
The US will likely assist with troops transportation to the region, which could eventually lead to a coup in the country. The situation may soon become a potential Afghanistan for France, Maloof warned.
RT: Militants have killed two foreigners and are holding foreign hostages at a gas field in Algeria. This is an apparent retaliation for the French offensive in Mali. Is this what Paris has been warned against?
Michael Maloof: Paris was fully aware, and I think the US is aware too. This demonstrates how Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb basically is coordinating their activities. This is a part of the overall Al-Qaeda plan to basically take that northern part of Africa as a stepping stone into Europe itself – and there have been threats in Paris already by Malians.
What is really tragic is the fact that the US trained a lot of these now-terrorists, who basically defected from the government and know many of our activities, and know how we operate from a special forces standpoint and can use them against us.
RT: Why did that training initiative go so badly wrong there?
MM: The training went great at the time when it happened. What happened is that they defected. The man who led the coup, [Capt. Amadou Sanogo], was a military man who was actually trained by the US forces. He has insight, and I think General [Carter F.] Ham, one of our top commanders [in Africa], basically declared that this is a disaster that we’re confronting this problem right now.
These troops are very well-trained. They were involved not only in Libya, but also in Mali. They basically turned: They were Tuaregs [nomadic tribes], now they’ve joined forces with AQIM, which is Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
RT: Before asking more about the rebels and their makeup, because it is so easy to call them Al-Qaeda, what about the fact that the US, should it not be obliged now to help France more, as people say it is the US fault? Or is Washington distancing itself from what is going on in Mali?
MM: Not at all. They are involved and providing intelligence and probably will be committing transport to bring in African Union’s troops from African countries. But this could be a double-edged sword, given the uncertainty and volatility within in Mali itself. Many of the foreign troops coming could actually stage their own coups and take over the country. So this is a very dicey situation. It also represents a potential long-term Afghanistan-like effect for France itself, and inadvertently it could suck the United States back yet into another war.
RT: So these groups are actually homegrown in Mali? Or has there has been an element of importation of Islamism coming from other countries?
MM: Both internal and external. They have foreign fighters who have been part of AQIM for some time and as I said earlier this is a part of the grand Al-Qaeda central strategy out of Pakistan these days. I think it’s laying a foundation to lay more attacks into Europe, ultimately. The EU is very concerned about it, I may add.
RT: What’s happening in Mali is provoking possible attacks from elsewhere. The French seem to want to stamp out Islamism and stop Islamists from taking not just the north of Mali, but also the rest of the country. Just bombing them and using a military exercise against them – does that really get rid of the ideology and the actual threat?
MM: No I don’t think so, because after doing something similar for 10 years in Afghanistan we’re ready to pull out and Taliban is ready to move back in. There’s just a question of how effective this approach is going to be. I think that is something the French have to weigh for themselves. This could bring other countries back into a long-drawn conflict. Already Germany is beginning to show some resistance to this and is concerned about the amount of help that they give simply because they see protracted effort such as the experience in Afghanistan. 
RT: That is exactly what the rebels are saying. That France is falling into a trap and could be experiencing another Iraq, Afghanistan or another Libya. So you think they may be right here: France is taking on a challenge that it may not be able to cope with along with other countries?
MM: It is almost like a strategy on the part of the rebels to draw them in. I have to add that Russia has a lot to be concerned because it has investments in this region to protect. They of course agreed to the UN Security council resolution to provide assistance to the French. It’s a dicey situation and larger than Mali, per se. It could affect the entire North Africa and enter Europe. I think it is a concern from geostrategic and political standpoint. 
RT:So this conflict is going a lot longer, France is ambitious and positive this is going to be over very quickly. What about François Hollande? We start seeing troops with their first combat battles on the ground, 2,500 troops could be engaged on the ground there. If casualties start coming back and retaliate on French soil, what does that do for Hollande in the political situation there?
MM: I think it puts him ill-at-ease politically. Even though he put a strong stand that he’s going to fight them, to resist them, he has been just a recently elected president so he has ways to go. So, he will quickly see if Malian rebels would be able to do something in France, that could make citizens very concerned or they may just say ‘get out’ altogetherto avoid the conflict. He is in a very precarious situation now.

Mali location map

‘Mali a potential long-term, Afghanistan-like conflict for France’

Published: 17 January, 2013, 19:53
Edited: 18 January, 2013, 05:37

Al-Qaeda plans to use North Africa as a stepping stone to Europe and France may witness an Afghanistan-like backlash with the US entering another war, former Pentagon official Michael Maloof told RT.

A lot of the terrorists the French are battling in Mali were well-trained by the US and know how US special forces operate, and can use that knowledge against American troops, Maloof said.

The US will likely assist with troops transportation to the region, which could eventually lead to a coup in the country. The situation may soon become a potential Afghanistan for France, Maloof warned.

RT: Militants have killed two foreigners and are holding foreign hostages at a gas field in Algeria. This is an apparent retaliation for the French offensive in Mali. Is this what Paris has been warned against?

Michael Maloof: Paris was fully aware, and I think the US is aware too. This demonstrates how Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb basically is coordinating their activities. This is a part of the overall Al-Qaeda plan to basically take that northern part of Africa as a stepping stone into Europe itself – and there have been threats in Paris already by Malians.

What is really tragic is the fact that the US trained a lot of these now-terrorists, who basically defected from the government and know many of our activities, and know how we operate from a special forces standpoint and can use them against us.

RT: Why did that training initiative go so badly wrong there?

MM: The training went great at the time when it happened. What happened is that they defected. The man who led the coup, [Capt. Amadou Sanogo], was a military man who was actually trained by the US forces. He has insight, and I think General [Carter F.] Ham, one of our top commanders [in Africa], basically declared that this is a disaster that we’re confronting this problem right now.

These troops are very well-trained. They were involved not only in Libya, but also in Mali. They basically turned: They were Tuaregs [nomadic tribes], now they’ve joined forces with AQIM, which is Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

RT: Before asking more about the rebels and their makeup, because it is so easy to call them Al-Qaeda, what about the fact that the US, should it not be obliged now to help France more, as people say it is the US fault? Or is Washington distancing itself from what is going on in Mali?

MM: Not at all. They are involved and providing intelligence and probably will be committing transport to bring in African Union’s troops from African countries. But this could be a double-edged sword, given the uncertainty and volatility within in Mali itself. Many of the foreign troops coming could actually stage their own coups and take over the country. So this is a very dicey situation. It also represents a potential long-term Afghanistan-like effect for France itself, and inadvertently it could suck the United States back yet into another war.

RT: So these groups are actually homegrown in Mali? Or has there has been an element of importation of Islamism coming from other countries?

MM: Both internal and external. They have foreign fighters who have been part of AQIM for some time and as I said earlier this is a part of the grand Al-Qaeda central strategy out of Pakistan these days. I think it’s laying a foundation to lay more attacks into Europe, ultimately. The EU is very concerned about it, I may add.

RT: What’s happening in Mali is provoking possible attacks from elsewhere. The French seem to want to stamp out Islamism and stop Islamists from taking not just the north of Mali, but also the rest of the country. Just bombing them and using a military exercise against them – does that really get rid of the ideology and the actual threat?

MM: No I don’t think so, because after doing something similar for 10 years in Afghanistan we’re ready to pull out and Taliban is ready to move back in. There’s just a question of how effective this approach is going to be. I think that is something the French have to weigh for themselves. This could bring other countries back into a long-drawn conflict. Already Germany is beginning to show some resistance to this and is concerned about the amount of help that they give simply because they see protracted effort such as the experience in Afghanistan. 

RT: That is exactly what the rebels are saying. That France is falling into a trap and could be experiencing another Iraq, Afghanistan or another Libya. So you think they may be right here: France is taking on a challenge that it may not be able to cope with along with other countries?

MM: It is almost like a strategy on the part of the rebels to draw them in. I have to add that Russia has a lot to be concerned because it has investments in this region to protect. They of course agreed to the UN Security council resolution to provide assistance to the French. It’s a dicey situation and larger than Mali, per se. It could affect the entire North Africa and enter Europe. I think it is a concern from geostrategic and political standpoint. 

RT:So this conflict is going a lot longer, France is ambitious and positive this is going to be over very quickly. What about François Hollande? We start seeing troops with their first combat battles on the ground, 2,500 troops could be engaged on the ground there. If casualties start coming back and retaliate on French soil, what does that do for Hollande in the political situation there?

MM: I think it puts him ill-at-ease politically. Even though he put a strong stand that he’s going to fight them, to resist them, he has been just a recently elected president so he has ways to go. So, he will quickly see if Malian rebels would be able to do something in France, that could make citizens very concerned or they may just say ‘get out’ altogetherto avoid the conflict. He is in a very precarious situation now.

— 1 year ago with 6 notes
#war  #france  #africa  #mali  #europe 

1) Nigerian soldiers arrive at the airport in Bamako on January 17, 2013. (AFP Photo/Issouf Sanogo), 2) A French Army Land Rover and pallets of rations are seen on a Royal Air Force C17 cargo aircraft as it prepares to leave for Bamako in Mali from Abidjan in the Ivory Coast, January 16, 2013. (Reuters/Andrew Winning); 3) Togolese soldiers arrive at the airport on January 17, 2013, in Bamako. (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)


US will provide France airlift help, ‘training’ for Mali operation - reports

Published: 18 January, 2013, 02:07

Washington has agreed to provide France with airlifts to help move troops and equipment in the country’s operation in Mali, an official told Reuters. Meanwhile, a group of US military trainers are expected to arrive in the region by the weekend.

The decision to boost Washington’s contribution to the French-led military operation against Islamist rebels in Mali comes after a formal review of the French request by the Obama administration.

In addition to reports that Washington will help French and Malian forces by way of airlift support for getting troops and equipment to the battlefield, CBS News correspondent Margaret Brennan reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that US military trainers “will be on the ground by this weekend.”

Earlier, the US Defense Secretary claimed that the United States would only aid the combat mission with logistical support and intelligence-gathering assistance – and that no American troops will be put on the ground.

The trainers are not expected to land in Mali itself, and will most likely train troops in neighboring African countries included in the UN-authorized ECOWAS intervention force.

The West African bloc has already sent reinforcements to help Malian and French troops battling the rebels. A contingent of 100 Togolese soldiers was the first to arrive, followed by several hundred Nigerian troops reinforced by war planes.

Germany sent two military Transall transport airplanes from the 63rd Luftwaffe squadron to join the mission in Mali. German crews are expected to set up an aerial transport hub in nearby Senegal, and help with logistics for both African and French troops.

France at the moment has 1,400 troops of the ground in Mali, with 1,100 more – including French Foreign Legionnaires – expected to be deployed over the next few days.

The French intervention in Mali “is going to be a long, drawn out war,” UK-based political analyst Dan Glazebrook told RT.

“This is a ground invasion of Africa, and they’re hoping – France, Britain and the US – are hoping to establish a permanent military presence; an occupation of Africa. And this is one way they’re going to be able to do it,” he explained.

Glazebrook said the hostage crisis at an Algerian gas plant which was sparked by France’s intervention in Mali is an intended consequence of France’s ground invasion. 

“Spillover is part of the program…the aim of the strategy of intervention in Mali. What happened since the execution of Gaddafi and the destruction of Libya is that the West armed, funded and equipped these death squads effectively in Libya. The flow of weapons and fighters spread then across the region, which was again, playing into the program of the West to destabilize the region, and they ended up in Northern Mali,” Glazebrook argues.

Glazebrook says Algeria was intended to be the next domino to fall, but when the insurgency began spreading to southern Mali, France kicked off its campaign “to bomb the rebels back into Algeria.”


— 1 year ago with 3 notes
#war  #foreign policy  #africa  #mali  #military  #u.s.  #france 
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Lance: I Doped

Lance Armstrong admits to Oprah that he doped
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lance Armstrong has finally come clean.
Armstrong confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday, just a couple of hours after a wrenching apology to staff at the Livestrong charity he founded and has now been forced to surrender.
The day ended with 2 1/2 hours of questions from Winfrey at a downtown Austin hotel, where she said the world’s most famous cyclist was “forthcoming” as she asked him in detail about doping allegations that followed him throughout his seven Tour de France victories.
Speaking on “CBS This Morning,” Winfrey said Tuesday she had not planned to address Armstrong’s confession before the interview aired on her OWN network but, “by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it.”
"So I’m sitting here now because it’s already been confirmed," she added.
The session was to be broadcast on Thursday but Winfrey said it will now run in two parts over two nights because there is so much material.
Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite but said he seemed ready for the interview. “I would say that he met the moment,” she said.
"I don’t think `emotional’ begins to describe the intensity or the difficulty he experienced in talking about some of these things."
The confession was a stunning reversal for a proud athlete and celebrity who sought lavish praise in the court of public opinion and used courtrooms to punish his critics.
For more than a decade, Armstrong dared anybody who challenged his version of events to prove it. Finally, he told the tale himself after promising over the weekend to answer Winfrey’s questions “directly, honestly and candidly.”
The cyclist was stripped of his Tour titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.
The International Cycling Union, or UCI, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of the reports that Armstrong had confessed to Winfrey. The governing body for the sport urged Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims it covered up suspicious samples from the cyclist, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.
Armstrong started Monday with a visit to the headquarters of Livestrong, the charity he founded in 1997 and turned into a global force on the strength of his athletic dominance and personal story of surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.
About 100 Livestrong staff members gathered in a conference room as Armstrong told them “I’m sorry.” He choked up during a 20-minute talk, expressing regret for the long-running controversy tied to performance-enhancers had caused, but stopped short of admitting he used them.
Before he was done, several members were in tears when he urged them to continue the charity’s mission, helping cancer patients and their families.
"Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane described his speech.
Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping into a room set up at a downtown Austin hotel for the interview with Winfrey. The group included close friends and lawyers. They exchanged handshakes and smiles, but declined comment.
Winfrey has promoted her interview, one of the biggest for OWN since she launched the network in 2011, as a “no-holds barred” session, and after the voluminous USADA report - which included testimony from 11 former teammates - she said she went into the session with 112 questions ready to go. Not all of them were asked, she said, but many were.
USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, a longtime critic of Armstrong’s, called the drug regimen practiced while Armstrong led the U.S. Postal Service team “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” USADA did not respond to requests for comment about Armstrong’s confession.
For years, Armstrong went after his critics ruthlessly during his reign as cycling champion. He scolded some in public and didn’t hesitate to punish outspoken riders during the race itself. He waged legal battles against still others in court.
At least one of his opponents, the London-based Sunday Times, has already filed a lawsuit to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.
In Australia, the government of South Australia state said Tuesday it will seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"We’d be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.
Betsy Andreu, the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. She called news of Armstrong’s confession “very emotional and very sad,” and choked up when asked to comment.
"He used to be one of my husband’s best friends and because he wouldn’t go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side," she said. "Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He’s got to be completely honest."
Betsy Andreu testified in SCA’s arbitration case challenging the bonus in 2005, saying Armstrong admitted in an Indiana hospital room in 1996 that he had taken many performance-enhancing drugs, a claim Armstrong vehemently denied.
"It would be nice if he would come out and say the hospital room happened," Andreu said. "That’s where it all started."
Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. An attorney familiar with Armstrong’s legal problems told the AP that the Justice Department is highly likely to join the lawsuit. The False Claims Act lawsuit could result in Armstrong paying a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government. The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, though the department could seek an extension if necessary.
According to the attorney, who works outside the government, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government based on his years of denying use of performance-enhancing drugs. The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.
The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong’s sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.
Armstrong is said to be worth around $100 million. But most sponsors dropped him after USADA’s scathing report - at the cost of tens of millions of dollars - and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong.
After the USADA findings, he was also barred from competing in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

Lance: I Doped


Lance Armstrong admits to Oprah that he doped

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lance Armstrong has finally come clean.

Armstrong confessed to doping during an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday, just a couple of hours after a wrenching apology to staff at the Livestrong charity he founded and has now been forced to surrender.

The day ended with 2 1/2 hours of questions from Winfrey at a downtown Austin hotel, where she said the world’s most famous cyclist was “forthcoming” as she asked him in detail about doping allegations that followed him throughout his seven Tour de France victories.

Speaking on “CBS This Morning,” Winfrey said Tuesday she had not planned to address Armstrong’s confession before the interview aired on her OWN network but, “by the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it.”

"So I’m sitting here now because it’s already been confirmed," she added.

The session was to be broadcast on Thursday but Winfrey said it will now run in two parts over two nights because there is so much material.

Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite but said he seemed ready for the interview. “I would say that he met the moment,” she said.

"I don’t think `emotional’ begins to describe the intensity or the difficulty he experienced in talking about some of these things."

The confession was a stunning reversal for a proud athlete and celebrity who sought lavish praise in the court of public opinion and used courtrooms to punish his critics.

For more than a decade, Armstrong dared anybody who challenged his version of events to prove it. Finally, he told the tale himself after promising over the weekend to answer Winfrey’s questions “directly, honestly and candidly.”

The cyclist was stripped of his Tour titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave Livestrong last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.

The International Cycling Union, or UCI, issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of the reports that Armstrong had confessed to Winfrey. The governing body for the sport urged Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims it covered up suspicious samples from the cyclist, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.

Armstrong started Monday with a visit to the headquarters of Livestrong, the charity he founded in 1997 and turned into a global force on the strength of his athletic dominance and personal story of surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.

About 100 Livestrong staff members gathered in a conference room as Armstrong told them “I’m sorry.” He choked up during a 20-minute talk, expressing regret for the long-running controversy tied to performance-enhancers had caused, but stopped short of admitting he used them.

Before he was done, several members were in tears when he urged them to continue the charity’s mission, helping cancer patients and their families.

"Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane described his speech.

Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping into a room set up at a downtown Austin hotel for the interview with Winfrey. The group included close friends and lawyers. They exchanged handshakes and smiles, but declined comment.

Winfrey has promoted her interview, one of the biggest for OWN since she launched the network in 2011, as a “no-holds barred” session, and after the voluminous USADA report - which included testimony from 11 former teammates - she said she went into the session with 112 questions ready to go. Not all of them were asked, she said, but many were.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, a longtime critic of Armstrong’s, called the drug regimen practiced while Armstrong led the U.S. Postal Service team “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen.” USADA did not respond to requests for comment about Armstrong’s confession.

For years, Armstrong went after his critics ruthlessly during his reign as cycling champion. He scolded some in public and didn’t hesitate to punish outspoken riders during the race itself. He waged legal battles against still others in court.

At least one of his opponents, the London-based Sunday Times, has already filed a lawsuit to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.

In Australia, the government of South Australia state said Tuesday it will seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"We’d be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Betsy Andreu, the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. She called news of Armstrong’s confession “very emotional and very sad,” and choked up when asked to comment.

"He used to be one of my husband’s best friends and because he wouldn’t go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side," she said. "Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He’s got to be completely honest."

Betsy Andreu testified in SCA’s arbitration case challenging the bonus in 2005, saying Armstrong admitted in an Indiana hospital room in 1996 that he had taken many performance-enhancing drugs, a claim Armstrong vehemently denied.

"It would be nice if he would come out and say the hospital room happened," Andreu said. "That’s where it all started."

Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. An attorney familiar with Armstrong’s legal problems told the AP that the Justice Department is highly likely to join the lawsuit. The False Claims Act lawsuit could result in Armstrong paying a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government. The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, though the department could seek an extension if necessary.

According to the attorney, who works outside the government, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government based on his years of denying use of performance-enhancing drugs. The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.

The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong’s sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.

Armstrong is said to be worth around $100 million. But most sponsors dropped him after USADA’s scathing report - at the cost of tens of millions of dollars - and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong.

After the USADA findings, he was also barred from competing in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. World Anti-Doping Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




— 1 year ago with 1 note
#sports  #lance armstrong  #oprah  #armstrong  #drugs 
AFP Photo / Senasa
Deadliest flu in a decade: Lethal influenza outbreak ravages US
The US is experiencing its deadliest flu outbreak in a decade, prompting the city of Boston to declare a public health emergency after the virus killed more than a dozen people and left hundreds struggling to fight off the illness.
From Florida to Maine, emergency rooms across the nation are flooded with patients experiencing symptoms of the flu. Last January, Boston had seen only 70 cases of influenza. This year, the numbers have reached 700, with at least 18 dead in Massachusetts – and the number of cases is still on the rise.
“In the last two weeks alone we’ve doubled our number,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, tells CBS News. “So, if we continue at this rate to see new cases, we’ll have an explosion of flu in the city of Boston. We really need to get ahead of it at this point in time.”
Most states haven’t seen an outbreak this bad since the swine flu plagued the US in 2009. But in some regions, the most recent influenza outbreak has already surpassed the H1N1 outbreak by creating a high number of sick and dying patients.
Nationwide, the number of flu cases has more than doubled in the past month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared 44 states are experiencing a widespread influenza. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, with the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania seeing as many as 100 new patients a day that have flu-like symptoms.
Even south Florida has seen an unusually large number of cases, and the illness most recently killed a 6-year-old girl in Texas.
This year’s severe flu season has created a shortage of Tamiflu, which is used to treat symptoms of influenza. Roche Holding AG, the company that produces the drug, told wholesalers that there would be a delay in Tamiflu shipments. Across the nation, pharmacies have the liquid version of Tamiflu on backorder, prompting compounding pharmacies to start making their own versions of the drug.
But even the vaccines used to prevent further outbreaks are in low supply. Sanofi SA, which is the main flu vaccine provider in the US, announced Thursday that four out of six of its formulations of seasonal flu vaccines were sold out.
“We use Cardinal Health as our drug wholesaler and we have a secondary. Both of those are running low,” Andy Komuves, a pharmacist at the Dougherty’s Pharmacy in north Dallas, says to Fox News. “Supplies are spotty. Some of that is because there is a huge demand right now and of course when these types of things happen you always get a little bit of hoarding going on too.”
US lawmakers are encouraging the American public to stay home if they experience flu-like symptoms and to get the vaccine if they haven’t already. With the vaccine now in short supply, though, it will become increasingly difficult to take preventative measures against the deadly illness. With flu season lasting until March or early April, the death toll is likely to continue rising. To combat the epidemic, the city of Boston is providing free flu shots this weekend.
“You have to think about an anti-viral, especially if you’re elderly, a young child, a pregnant woman,” said ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Besser. “They’re the people that are going to die from this. Tens of thousands of people die in a bad flu season. We’re not taking it serious enough.”

AFP Photo / Senasa

Deadliest flu in a decade: Lethal influenza outbreak ravages US

The US is experiencing its deadliest flu outbreak in a decade, prompting the city of Boston to declare a public health emergency after the virus killed more than a dozen people and left hundreds struggling to fight off the illness.

From Florida to Maine, emergency rooms across the nation are flooded with patients experiencing symptoms of the flu. Last January, Boston had seen only 70 cases of influenza. This year, the numbers have reached 700, with at least 18 dead in Massachusetts – and the number of cases is still on the rise.

“In the last two weeks alone we’ve doubled our number,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, tells CBS News. “So, if we continue at this rate to see new cases, we’ll have an explosion of flu in the city of Boston. We really need to get ahead of it at this point in time.”

Most states haven’t seen an outbreak this bad since the swine flu plagued the US in 2009. But in some regions, the most recent influenza outbreak has already surpassed the H1N1 outbreak by creating a high number of sick and dying patients.

Nationwide, the number of flu cases has more than doubled in the past month, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared 44 states are experiencing a widespread influenza. Hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, with the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Pennsylvania seeing as many as 100 new patients a day that have flu-like symptoms.

Even south Florida has seen an unusually large number of cases, and the illness most recently killed a 6-year-old girl in Texas.

This year’s severe flu season has created a shortage of Tamiflu, which is used to treat symptoms of influenza. Roche Holding AG, the company that produces the drug, told wholesalers that there would be a delay in Tamiflu shipments. Across the nation, pharmacies have the liquid version of Tamiflu on backorder, prompting compounding pharmacies to start making their own versions of the drug.

But even the vaccines used to prevent further outbreaks are in low supply. Sanofi SA, which is the main flu vaccine provider in the US, announced Thursday that four out of six of its formulations of seasonal flu vaccines were sold out.

“We use Cardinal Health as our drug wholesaler and we have a secondary. Both of those are running low,” Andy Komuves, a pharmacist at the Dougherty’s Pharmacy in north Dallas, says to Fox News. “Supplies are spotty. Some of that is because there is a huge demand right now and of course when these types of things happen you always get a little bit of hoarding going on too.”

US lawmakers are encouraging the American public to stay home if they experience flu-like symptoms and to get the vaccine if they haven’t already. With the vaccine now in short supply, though, it will become increasingly difficult to take preventative measures against the deadly illness. With flu season lasting until March or early April, the death toll is likely to continue rising. To combat the epidemic, the city of Boston is providing free flu shots this weekend.

“You have to think about an anti-viral, especially if you’re elderly, a young child, a pregnant woman,” said ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Besser. “They’re the people that are going to die from this. Tens of thousands of people die in a bad flu season. We’re not taking it serious enough.”

— 1 year ago
#u.s.  #health  #public health  #flu