July 30, 2013

Born on the same day, married 75 years, they died a day apart

 Helen&Les Brown 75Years

Long-time Long Beach couple die a day apart

Their friends and family agree -- if two people ever were "made for each other," it was Helen and Les Brown.

Both were born on the same day, Dec. 31, 1918. Helen and Les were high school sweethearts who celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this year. It would be their last; Helen died on July 16, and Les died the next day, July 17.  They were 94.

"It was a real love match, wasn't it," their oldest son, Les Jr., said. "They were together every day for 75 years."  Daniel, the couple's youngest son, agreed.

"My mom often said she didn't want to see my father die, and he didn't want to live without her," Daniel said.
Like the Bible says, 'They were as one,' " Brobst said, adding that he will always remember how compatible his friends were as a couple.

Les, who had Parkinson's disease, and Helen, who had developed stomach cancer, will have a joint memorial service.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:48 AM | Permalink

Sacrificed Incan children found deep frozen 500 years later. They were drugged with beer and cocaine.

Drugged with beer and cocaine and left to freeze to death, 500-year-old mummies of sacrificed Inca children reveal their secrets

Her body is so perfectly  preserved that it is hard to believe this girl died more than 500 years ago. But what is even more remarkable is that scientists today have been able to learn the secrets of her death – by analyzing her hair.

The 13-year-old Incan girl was heavily dosed with alcohol and  coca leaves, which form the basis of cocaine, before being left to die of exposure high in the Andes as a sacrifice.

 13-Year-Old Incan Princess 500 Years Old

Known as the Ice Maiden, she is one of three children found in stone tombs on a mountain in Argentina.

The girl, the eldest of the three, was found cross-legged, with her head slumped forward and her hands resting in her lap.

She wore a feather headdress over her tightly braided hair and there were coca leaves between her teeth and balled up behind her cheek.

The children were discovered in 1999.  They are believed to have been sacrificed in a ceremony called capacocha, a ritual thought to have been used to instill fear and help control members of the rapidly expanding Inca empire.

Analysis  of the children’s hair, which still contains a chemical fingerprint of their diet, shows that all three were plied with drugs and alcohol to subdue them in the months before they died.  Amounts were particularly high in the 13-year-old girl, perhaps because she showed more resistance.

There is no evidence that the girl, known as the Llullaillaco Maiden  after the mountain in northwest Argentina, was brutally killed.  Instead, it is thought she died of exposure. Priests would have waited for her to fall unconscious before placing her in a burial chamber.

Dr Andrew Wilson, from the University of Bradford, said: ‘We think it likely that the Maiden was selected for sacrifice 12 months before her death, after which her treatment changed, corresponding to the sharp rise in coca consumption.

‘She was then probably involved in a series of rituals, involving consumption of coca and alcohol in the build up to her sacrifice.‘Both substances were controlled, were considered elite products.

‘The fact that in her final weeks the maiden shows consistently higher levels of coca and alcohol use compared to the younger children suggests there was a greater need to sedate her in the final weeks of life.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:42 AM | Permalink

Indian princesses finally win battle for $4 billion inheritance defeating scheming servants

Indian princesses finally win battle for £2.6BILLION inheritance after court accepts that their Maharajah father's will was forged

After he died, the maharajah's daughters received a pittance, despite fortune.    A disputed will left the estate in control of his former servants
Now the daughters, who are in their 80s, have finally won their birthright.

It has all the makings of a best-selling novel.

An Indian maharajah crowned as a toddler and rich beyond imagination falls into a deep depression in old age after losing his only son.
After his own death a few months later, his daughters, the princesses, don't get the palaces, gold and vast lands they claim as their birthright.
Instead, they are given a few dollars a month from palace officials they accuse of scheming to usurp the royal billions with a forged will. The fight rages for decades.  On Saturday, an Indian court brought this chapter to a close, ruling that the will of Maharajah Harinder Singh Brar of Faridkot was fabricated.

His daughters will now inherit the estimated £2.6billion estate, instead of a trust run by his former servants and palace officials.
in 1981, Brar's only son, Tikka Harmohinder Singh, was killed in a road accident and he tumbled into a deep depression. It was then, his three daughters' argued, that his trusted aides connived to deprive his family of their fortune.

They set up the Meharawal Khewaji Trust, naming all the maharajah's servants, officials and lawyers as trustees.  A short time after Brar's death in 1989, a will leaving all his wealth to the trust became public. The two younger princesses, Deepinder Kaur and Maheepinder Kaur, were given monthly salaries of $20 and $18 respectively.  Brar's wife, mother and oldest daughter - the presumed heir - were cut off without a penny.

The trust told the court that Amrit Kaur had been shunned by her father for marrying against his wishes.  Kaur told the court that her father had never made a will and that she had remained with him until his death.

In the two decades that it has taken for the court to give its ruling, much has changed. The value of the estates has increased manifold.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 AM | Permalink

Buried alive and discovered 95 years later

Finally laid to rest 95 years on, 21 German soldiers found perfectly preserved in trench where they were buried alive by Allied shell

A troop of 21 German soldiers found entombed in an perfectly preserved First World War shelter have been given a full military burial nearly a century after their deaths.  Not a single member of the men's families attended the moving service at a war cemetery in northern France.  The soldiers were buried alive in 1918 when a huge Allied shell exploded above the shelter causing it to cave in.

Last year, French archaeologists stumbled upon the mass grave at Carspach in Alsace, on the former Western Front, during excavation work for a road building project.  Many of the remains were found in the same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse, prompting experts to liken the scene to Pompeii.

 Tunnels Ww1Germans Buried Alive

As well as the bodies, poignant personal effects such as boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pipes, cigarette cases and pocket books were also found.  Even the skeleton of a goat was found, assumed to be a source of fresh milk for the soldiers.
Archaeologists believe the items were so well preserved because hardly any air, water or lights had penetrated the trench.

Now, 95 years later, the soldiers have been laid to rest in a poignant service at the nearby German war cemetery at Illfurth.  Around 150 people including German and French dignitaries, war veterans and serving soldiers attended the hour-long funeral.

Two prayers were read before a lone bugler played a haunting rendition of the German equivalent of the Last Post called 'Der gute Kamerad' - The Good Comrade.
Guests paid their respects by laying white roses at the foot of the graves.

Fritz Kirchmeier, spokesman for the German War Graves Commission, said: 'The service was very simple but dignified and moving.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:49 AM | Permalink

July 27, 2013

Snake Expert Dies From Snake Bite During Presentation to Calm the Public’s Fear of Snakes

Snake Expert Dies From Snake Bite During Presentation to Calm the Public’s Fear of Snakes

A German snake expert died after being bitten multiple times by a viper during a presentation aimed at helping people ease their fears of the scaly reptiles.

Dieter Zorn, a 53-year-old herpetologist, died Tuesday evening of a heart attack minutes after he was bitten by an Aspic viper, according to Germany’s English-language newspaper The Local. Zorn was in southern France performing his “Reptile Show,” which teaches people how to overcome their fears of snakes, when he was bitten several times.

His co-host, Uschi Kallus, told The Local that Zorn died from an "extremely rare allergic reaction" to the bite, even though emergency personnel administered a blood thinner. She said he wouldn't have wanted the snake to be blamed for his death and added that the incident was "exceptionally uncommon."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:05 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2013

Tibetan sky burial

Chopped up and fed to the vultures, a haunting glimpse into the closely-guarded tradition of the Tibetan sky burial

These remarkable photos give a glimpse into the closely-guarded tradition of Tibetan sky burials, where bodies are chopped up and fed to the vultures. 
Sky burials are a funerary practice in the Chinese provinces of Tibet, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia and in Mongolia.

The majority of Tibetans and many Mongolians adhere to Vajrayana Buddhism, which teaches the transmigration of spirits.  This means they do not see a need to preserve the body, as it is now an empty vessel, so they dispose of it through a sky burial.

 Lama+Vultures Lama and vultures

In the days leading up to the ceremony monks - known as lamas -  may chant mantra around the body and burn juniper incense.  The body is then chopped into pieces by either monks - known as lamas - or more commonly, by rogyapas (body-breakers).

Eyewitness accounts suggest the body-breakers do the grim task in high-spirits - according to Buddhist teaching, this makes it easier for the soul of the deceased to move on.  It is difficult to ascertain the exact process as Tibetans strongly object to visits by the merely curious, but it is thought the whole body is given to the vultures.

When only the bones are left, the pieces are broken up with mallets, ground with tsampa (barley flour with tea and yak butter, or milk), and given to the crows and hawks that have waited for the vultures to depart.
The function of the sky burial is simply to dispose of the remains in as generous a way as possible  - this donation of human flesh to the vultures is considered virtuous because it saves the lives of small animals that the vultures might otherwise capture for food.

 Skull Temple Lamas

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:22 PM | Permalink

“We have to remind them that we held the heart in our hands.”

In Nautilus  Why Autopsy Gandolfini? Death Is Certain; Its Cause Is Not

The sad fact is that despite medicine’s many modern wonders—the tests, the drugs, the scans that show fibers the size of a hair—the cause of death that American doctors provide for death certificates are dead wrong about a fifth of the time.

How do we know they’re wrong? Because of so-called autopsy studies. In an autopsy study, researchers perform or collect data from post-mortem dissections of large numbers of dead people; determine definitively why they died; and then compare those findings to the causes of death listed on those people’s medical or death records. These studies reliably find something rather shocking: about 15 to 30 percent of the time, the diagnoses at time of death are wrong—and 5 to 10 percent of the time, that diagnostic error probably helped kill the patient.

This is why Italy required Gandolfini’s autopsy: So the doctors and family would know with certainty why and how he died. As it happens, heart attacks and pulmonary embolisms—clots in a lung—present very similarly: Both cause chest pain, shortness of breath, panic, and can kill you within an hour. Doctors thus often think someone died of a heart attack when they actually died of a pulmonary embolism—so often, in fact, that most pulmonary embolisms are not diagnosed unless an autopsy is done. (We know this, of course, only because autopsy studies showed us it was so.

This isn’t just arbitrary hindsight information. The discovery of an embolism on the autopsy table can provide vital health-risk information for the rest of the family. A victim’s brother, for instance, might have a chest angiography done to look for fluid in his lungs, and if it’s there, start heparin therapy that could save his life.
Alas, we’re missing most such learning opportunities these days, because the routine autopsy has pretty much died. Fifty years ago, American hospitals autopsied almost half of all deaths. Every doctor had done them, learned from them, and took their presence for granted. It’s hard to overstate how much we learned from making autopsies routine back then. The list of ailments they discovered runs long, from sudden infant death syndrome to Alzheimer’s, Legionnaire’s disease to toxic-shock syndrome.

In the summer of 1999, for instance, four New York City residents died of a lung ailment that the treating doctors diagnosed as St. Louis encephalitis. The New York City medical examiner’s office, an ardent autopsy advocate, insisted on autopsying them anyway—and identified the first known U.S. victims of West Nile virus.
We now autopsy fewer than 1 in 50 deaths in the U.S, missing 49 out of 50 chances to learn something new. The rates have dropped for a number of reasons, but primarily because the government stopped requiring them for hospital accreditation in 1970.

This will almost certainly remain the case. Congress could change this quickly if it made Medicare payments or hospital accreditation depend on autopsy rates of, say, 25 percent. But no one seems to take interest in such regulation. Thus when doctors make diagnostic mistakes in a dying patient, we usually get no chance to learn from it. Instead, we bury it.

But what about the fancy scans? Can’t they tell?

Not really; not always; and sometimes not even with causes of death you’d think would show up easily in a good scan. Doctors take far too much confidence in scan results, feeling they see everything with certainty. They don’t. As a Florida coroner told me a few years ago, “We get this all the time. The doctors get our report and call and say, ‘But there can’t be a lacerated aorta. We did a whole set of scans.’

“We have to remind them that we held the heart in our hands.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:42 PM | Permalink

July 19, 2013

Death takes no holiday

Man dies after 999 operator refuses ambulance

A vulnerable man died from gallstones after his pleas for an ambulance were refused by a 999 call handler, who told him to take a warm bath instead.

Teenager with undiagnosed heart condition dies after having heart attack while playing Xbox

Jake Gallagher’s mother believes the excitement of playing Sonic The Hedgehog, his favourite game, triggered his collapse.
The 16-year-old - who had Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome - was revived by paramedics but declared brain dead after two days on life support.
Professor Sanjay Sharma, of St George’s Hospital in South West London, told the newspaper: “There is a definite risk in predisposed young people playing video games that causes surges of adrenalin in the blood.”

Tragic security snafu: Man dies at JFK after doors delay responders

A man died after suffering a heart attack at Kennedy Airport after two teams of first responders failed to reach him — because their electronic ID cards couldn’t open secure doors at the newly renovated Delta terminal.

Boy aged SIX 'upset at parents' divorce' hanged himself while his mother and stepfather were showering - and his 7-year-old sister finds the body.

The boy's death has been ruled a suicide by investigators.  He and his family, who are from Idaho, have not been identified.  His seven-year-old sister found him hanging in the kitchen while his mother and stepfather were showering.  School records revealed he had anger issues stemming from his parents' divorce two years earlier

Couple drown tragically on their honeymoon after being swept out to sea

Ruth Rowe and Bruce Loev, from Danbury, CT, got married on July 4 and set off on their honeymoon in Costa Rica.  On July 10 they drove to Playa Linda to go swimming in the sea.  But the powerful ocean currents were too strong and swept them away. Ruth, 46, was a fifth-grade math teacher  who grew up with Bruce, 51, and dated him when they were young. But the pair moved away from each other and raised their families in different parts of the country.  After both their marriages ended, they reconnected and took up where they left off 25 years later.

Head of Atlanta blindness charity killed by fire ant sting as she relaxed by her swimming pool after work

65-year-old grandmother had severe allergy to insect venom.  Invading species is number one cause of insect bites in the U.S

Beer drinking king dies in competition drinking festival in Spain   

"Then he just started to vomit without stopping and he never spoke again,"

‘Jeez, this chilli pie is hot’: Tragic last words of man who collapsed and died after pub’s first ever pie-eating competition.  Bruce Holland, 64, passed out at the Bushland Beach Tavern, Queensland, and died of a heart attack.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:41 AM | Permalink

July 17, 2013

Liverpool Care Pathway abolished after horrific stories of the sick being abused and sedated to death

Liverpool Care Pathway to be Abolished: Victory for Decency in End-of-life Care

When the Mail first highlighted readers’ harrowing stories about the suffering inflicted on patients and their families in the name of the Liverpool Care Pathway,  the medical establishment reacted with fierce hostility.  When we called for an inquiry into the NHS-approved guidelines on end-of-life care, we were contemptuously accused of scaremongering and interfering in matters we didn’t understand.  Complaints were lodged with the Press regulatory body, seeking disciplinary action against us.

Yesterday, the review set up by health officials in response to our campaign resoundingly vindicated our warnings about horrifyingly widespread abuses.  Crossbench peer Julia Neuberger and her panel were ‘shocked’ and ‘upset’ by ‘distressing’ examples of appalling care.

There were ‘frequent’ cases, they said, of relatives being shouted at by nurses for giving dying loved ones the water they craved. Others told them ‘heartbreaking’ stories of patients, denied liquids, desperately sucking at sponges used to moisten their mouths.

In some cases, patients were left for weeks to die on the LCP, with no observation or review. And far too often, relatives were not informed, let alone consulted, about decisions to withdraw treatment from those closest to them.

In the words of Care Minister Norman Lamb: ‘Hospital staff fell back on a “tick-box” system that saw people thoughtlessly denied food and water or left them sedated in their final hours. This is not civilized. It is a national disgrace.’

To his credit, he is acting immediately to end some of the worst abuses – scrapping financial incentives to put patients on the LCP and ordering that named senior doctors must take personal responsibility for any decision to withdraw treatment from those they judge to be dying

Melanie Phillips: Hope at last on the pathway to death - but the NHS still has a hole where its heart should be

The advice at the core of the LCP is, in fact, nothing other than basic good medical practice in care for the dying.  When someone really is dying, it may indeed be inappropriate, intrusive or even cruel to continue with treatment, feed them through tubes or inflict upon them similar pointless procedures.  They should instead be kept comfortable and free of pain, offered nourishment if they show they want it, or merely have their mouths moistened.  The inevitable process should be allowed to take its course — but only if it is indeed the irreversible closing down of all bodily functions which dying entails.

The Liverpool Care Pathway abuses occurred, however, largely because it was applied to patients who were not at the end of their lives, but who were starved or dehydrated to death.
Health care professionals either did not understand that someone who was extremely ill or mentally incapable was not actually dying — or, worse, they thought such a life was not worth extending and so terminated it.
But this problem has been exacerbated by a deeply troubling modern development. This is the progressive inability to distinguish between someone who really is dying and someone who it is thought should be dying because they are deemed to have such a poor quality of life
The Rubicon having thus been crossed, some health-care staff proceeded to withdraw food and hydration from numerous elderly or incapable patients on the grounds that their quality of life was inadequate.

Indeed, so poor did they judge this quality of life to be that they claimed such patients were dying. Which, of course, they were not — until these doctors and nurses made it so.
At the core of all this lies the crumbling of the notion that there is an absolute value to human life. This terrifying collapse of the most fundamental building block of a civilized society is the outcome of the widespread dumping of religious belief.  And it is the erosion of this innate respect for life which lies in turn behind the steady brutalization of care for the elderly and incapable in our hospitals.
And now another report to be published this week will apparently deliver the bleak, if all-too-predictable, revelation that shockingly inadequate standards of care in some 14 hospital trusts have caused the needless deaths of no fewer than 13,000 patients since 2005.

Harsh as this may sound, it is surely hard not to conclude that — whether through the LCP abuses or shocking standards of care — one way or another the NHS has turned into something akin to a national death service for those who are too vulnerable to resist.
We are simply facing nothing less than a moral breakdown: a fundamental collapse of decency, compassion and simple kindness.
These have been replaced in too many cases by hatchet-faced self-interest, an arrogant and unchecked abuse of professional power and a brutal utilitarianism which has substituted a tendentious judgment of usefulness for innate respect for human life.

That this has occurred in the NHS, Britain’s supposed temple of caring, does not merely explode that particular claim for the humbug that it is. It is also a judgment upon a narcissistic society which, in sentimentalizing the NHS in this way in order to admire its own compassion and altruism, has, in fact, developed a cruel and callous hole where its own heart should be.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:38 AM | Permalink

July 16, 2013

They didn't come to help; they came to loot dead bodies

Last week, a trail derailment near Paris killed six and injured many more.  What you probably not have heard is that a group of thugs were robbing the dead bodies and fought off police and firemen to do so.

From Galliawatch

While they were trying to rescue victims of the Paris-Limoges derailment, in which six persons lost their lives, the emergency teams had to face a volley of stones from a small group of thugs and scavengers, who had come to rob the dead and wounded of whatever they could carry. Nathalie Michel, of the Alliance police union describes the scene:

"At 17:30 , when the police arrived, they saw a group of young persons  approaching who seemed to be helping the victims. Very quickly, they realized that these individuals were there to strip the victims, notably the first corpses."

The police decided to chase them, but the thugs had no intention of getting caught. They shot back at the police with stones, and at the firemen on the scene. To get rid of them, the emergency personnel were forced to call in for reinforcements.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:56 AM | Permalink

July 15, 2013

Burying Suspected Vampires

Archaeologists unearth 'vampire graves' containing decapitated skeletons with skulls placed between their legs on Polish building site

Archaeologists have unearthed what they believe to be a vampire burial ground on a building site in Poland.  The team of historians discovered graves containing four skeletons with their heads removed and placed between their legs near the southern town of Gliwice.

Decapitating a suspected vampire was common practice in medieval times because it was thought to be the only way to ensure the dead stay dead. ….initial estimations suggest they died sometime around the 16th century.

It comes a year after archaeologists in Bulgaria claimed to have discovered two ‘vampire’ corpses in excavations near a monastery in the Black Sea town of Sozopol, both more than 800 years old and pierced through the chest with heavy iron rods.  Bulgaria’s national museum chief Bozidhar Dimitrov said as many as 100 such ‘vampire corpses’ have been found in the country in recent years.
The notion of blood-sucking vampires preying on the flesh of the living goes back thousands of years and was common in many ancient cultures, where tales of these reviled creatures of the dead abounded.

Archaeologists recently found 3,000 Czech graves, for example, where bodies had been weighed down with rocks to prevent the dead emerging from their tombs.
 Brick-In-Mouth-Skeleton   Head-Between Legs Skeleton
In medieval times, when the Church was all-powerful and the threat of eternal damnation encouraged superstition among a peasantry already blighted by the Black Death, the fear of vampires was omnipresent. In some cases, the dead were buried with a brick wedged in their mouths to stop them rising up to eat those who had perished from the plague.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:01 AM | Permalink

July 13, 2013

"Dying naturally is a vital part of life's journey, in many ways the most meaningful part"

Julie Davis reviews How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice by Austen Ivereigh and excerpts a part that explains  why the Church opposes euthanasia

In common with a long-standing tradition of western civilization, the Church believes that dying naturally is a vital part of life's journey, in many ways the most meaningful part. Dying can be described as a process of healing. Important things happen on that journey, and suffering and pain are often a part of it. As Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo … said: "Compassion isn't to say, 'Here's a pill.' It's to show people the ways we can assist you, up until the time the Lord calls you."

Dying, then, is a highly meaningful gradual process of renunciation and surrender. Although some die swifly and painlessly, very often the pattern of dying involves great suffering, because (and this is true of old age in general) it involves letting go of those thing which in our lives we believe make us worthwhile and lovable: our looks, intelligence, abilities, and capabilities. This is what the great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called "necessary suffering," the suffering endured by the ego, which protests at having to change and surrender. The idea that this kind of suffering is part of growth is not a uniquely "religious" view, although Christianity -- with the Cross and the Resurrection at its heart -- has perhaps a richer theological understanding than most secular outlooks.

 Death Suffering Light

Contrast that with the secular version of death, Deadlines in the NYTimes

The defining characteristic of the literature of protracted death is its fascination with the deterioration of the body, especially in the alien context of the hospital. No doubt, in part, because most of our writers are agnostic, if not atheist, the focus is on the difficult, lab-filled, needle-infused process of dying. As Hitchens puts it, ours is a time in which a person can “avail himself of a historically unprecedented level of care, while at the same time being exposed to a level of suffering that previous generations might not have been able to afford.” Our deathbeds aren’t spiritual; they’re chart-full.

The new atheists don't know what they are missing says George Weigel in Faith Lights Life about the new papal encyclical "written by four hands":

Lumen Fidei is an extended meditation on the truth that Walker Percy articulated decades ago: that life lived within the ambit of faith in the God of the Bible — the God of Israel and the God of the Church — is far richer, far more intriguing, and much more authentically human than any of the agnostic, atheistic, pantheistic, or solipsistic alternatives available in the early 21st century.
Faith, the encyclical teaches, is a divine gift; it is not something we achieve by our own efforts. Yet unlike the siren songs of the imperial autonomous Self, which lure us into the sandbox of self-absorption where the horizon of our apprehension rarely extends beyond the navel, the grateful reception of this supernatural virtue sets everything alight: “Those who believe, see,” Francis writes; “they see with a light that illumines their entire journey . . .”


In a remarkably gentle way that stands in sharp contrast to the bullying bluster of Richard Dawkins & Co., Lumen Fidei suggests that the world is suffering from a false story, and that the story is false because it is too narrow, too constrained, too self-centered, and, ultimately, too dark……Radical skepticism honed by an ironic sense of life constricts the horizon of human vision and aspiration. We can see only so far through lenses ground by cynicism; and if we view our life through them, our line of sight is sooner or later bent back toward the autonomous Self, in what becomes a wilderness of mirrors. Biblical faith, by contrast, opens up “vast horizons” that suggest a superabundance of life and meaning.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:19 PM | Permalink

July 11, 2013

Egyptian photographer filmed his own death through his lenses

Photographer captures his own death on camera: Journalist victim's horrifying recovered footage shows Egyptian soldier taking aim and shooting him dead

Shocking footage has captured the moment an Egyptian photographer filmed his own death through his lenses.
The grainy footage shows an Egyptian solider aiming and shooting at Ahmed Samir Assem, before the film goes black.
The 26-year-old photojournalist was shot dead on Monday as he took photos outside the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where some believe the ousted president Mohamed Morsi is being held.

He was one of at least 51 people killed when security forces opened fire on a large crowd that had camped outside.
Mr Assam, a freelance photographer was working for Egypt's Al-Horia Wa Al-Adala newspaper.
Ahmed Abu Zeid, the culture editor of Mr Assem’s newspaper told The Daily Telegraph.  'Around an hour later, I received news that Ahmed had been shot by a sniper in the forehead while filming or taking pictures on top of the buildings around the incident.

'Ahmed’s camera was the only one which filmed the entire incident from the first moment.

'He had started filming from the beginning of the prayers so he captured the very beginnings and in the video, you can see tens of victims. Ahmed’s camera will remain a piece of evidence in the violations that have been committed.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:59 PM | Permalink

A baby girl pronounced dead at birth 'came back to life' three hours later on the altar of a hospital chapel


Baby girl pronounced dead at birth 'comes back to life' three hours later after being left on hospital chapel’s altar

The body of Yasmin Gomes had been placed in a box and left in the chapel at the hospital in Londrina, south Brazil, by a nurse who 'couldn't face sending her to the morgue', according to reports.  But when the newborn's grieving grandmother arrived with a mortician to pick up her body for burial they were stunned when the baby suddenly kicked one of her legs, then opened her eyes.

The baby's grandmother Elza Silva told Brazil's Globo G1 website: 'At first I couldn't believe it, we couldn't accept that it could happen.
'Then we saw that she was breathing. We hugged each other and started to shout, 'she's alive, she's alive'. It was a miracle.'

Hospital records show Yasmin was born alive after a normal birth on Tuesday morning at the Lincoln Graca hospital, but stopped breathing immediately after birth.  Doctors unsuccessfully tried to revive the baby several times but she was finally declared dead at 11am, and a death certificate issued.

Yasmin's mother Jenifer da Silva Gomes, 22, told Brazils Tanosite website she was the first to be told that he daughter had died.  She recalled: 'My world crashed down right then. It was the most desperate moment when all my dreams were snatched away.'

Nurse Ana Claudia Oliveira, who accompanied the birth, said she asked for the baby's body to be laid in the hospital chapel, instead of the normal procedure of being sent to the refrigerated morgue.  She said: 'She's a little angel, a child. I just couldn't face the thought of her being sent down to the morgue.'  She added that she washed and dressed the dead baby and had no doubt that she was dead.  She said: 'I can assure you, the child was dead. Her pupils didn't respond to light. All her signs pointed to the complete absence of life.

'I saw it with my own eyes. She was blue all over, completely dead,' she said.
Yasmin's body remained in a box in the chapel until 2pm, when her grandmother arrived with the owner of a funeral parlour, family friend Rosilis Ferro, carrying the baby's coffin. But as soon as they went to pick her up, the newborn kicked a leg, according to Ms Ferro.  She said: 'It was an incredibly emotional moment. I began to shake and I couldn't speak, I was overwhelmed with happiness.

'I called a nurse who at first didn't believe it, she told us they were just spasms. But then the baby opened her eyes.'

Mum Jennifer said she was still being comforted by family members when a nurse burst into the room and shouted: 'Your daughter's alive'.
She remembered: 'At first I had no reaction, I didn't know what to think. Then I started to be sick. But after that I couldn't contain my happiness.'
The baby was rushed to an intensive care unit at the nearby Sagrada Familia children's hospital, where her condition is described as stable.
Doctor Aurelio Filipak, who battled to save Yasmin and signed her death certificate, said: 'People can make their own conclusions, but only those who were there know what really happened.

'In 20 years of medicine, I have never witnessed anything like this.'

He said a team of medics tried to resussitate the baby for nearly an hour. 'All the equipment, like the cardiac monitor and oximeter, all showed that she was not breathing and had no heart beat,' he added.

Today Yasmin's family said they plan to change her name to include Victoria - 'victory' in Portuguese - and said they believed her 'ressurection' was a miracle.  Jennifer said: 'There is no explaining miracles. They happen as God wants. If it was his will that our daughter had died, we would have accepted it, but he brought her back, so there must be a higher purpose in all this.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:52 PM | Permalink

Betrayed by her lawyer and accountant for $300 million and they didn't even go to her funeral

Reclusive heiress Huguette Clark was 'incoherent and barely able to hold the pen' when she signed new will excluding her family from $307m fortune

Late Manhattan heiress Huguette Clark was mumbling incoherently and was unable to even hold the pen when she signed her $300 million fortune away to her lawyer, doctor and employees, it emerged today.

The new will was signed in April 2005 in her hospital room at Beth Israel Medical Center where she spent the last 20 years of her life.

Under the watchful eye of her lawyer-beneficiary Wallace Bock, the will superseded the previous one, which gave $5 million to Clark's personal nurse and the rest of her estate to her relatives.  According to court documents, Bock and Huguette's accountant - sex offender Irving Kamsler - were so excited about the signing of the new will 'they went straight from the hospital to a bar to celebrate. Presumably the [will] went to the bar along with them'.

Disturbing details of the 2005 signing were outlined in papers filed in Manhattan Surrogate Court last week, according to the New York Post.
According to Bock's assistant Danita Rudisill, Clark 'mumbled something incoherent' and - with help holding the pen - signed the document 'very slowly, with some difficulty', the family’s court filing said.

Clark's relatives are opposing Bock's motion that the will was properly executed and she knew what she was doing when she signed it.

Lawyer Wallace Bock was also asked to be removed from Huguette Clark's estate  The lawyer is not the only person who was trying to cash in on her vast fortune in the final years of her life.

In the 20 years she spent living in Beth Israel Medical Center until she died in 2011 aged 104, members of staff were said to have researched her life and history and try to come up with ways to 'sweeten her up' and encourage her to donate money.


The dispute over Mrs Clark’s will marked a sad end to the life of solitude that she had lived for the last few decades of her life.

While she stayed at the hospital, her three fabulous homes sat empty: the $100million Bellosguardo estate, a $24million country house in Connecticut and a $100million co-op, the largest apartment on Fifth Avenue overlooking Central Park.

She inherited her wealth from her father, Montana Senator William Clark, and his copper mines but regarded her great wealth as 'a menace to happiness'.

When she died two weeks shy of her 105th birthday the only people present at her burial were funeral home employees.

No wonder the family is suing.  Everyone took advantage of this woman.  Especially shameful is the conduct of her attorney and accountant .

John Morken, the lawyer for Mrs Clark’s family, told the New York Times: ‘What this is about is not just a will contest, it’s about the accountability of professionals.'
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:33 PM | Permalink

Bride and Tomb

Bride and tomb: The 1,500-year-old murals discovered buried with Chinese warlord and his wife that have been impeccably preserved

Stunning murals estimated to be nearly 1,500-years-old have been discovered buried with a Chinese warlord and his wife.

The orate drawings were painted on the wall of a doomed tomb in Shuozhou City, about 200 miles (330 kilometres) southwest of Beijing.

Their original colours are largely preserved - the murals are in a remarkable condition given their age.

 Bride And Tomb

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 AM | Permalink

July 8, 2013

Death by urinating on a third rail

Man dies from electrocution while urinating on subway's third rail

A Brooklyn man was electrocuted to death after urinating on the third rail early Monday morning.

Matthew Zeno, 30, had earlier been to a few bars with a friend before making the fateful decision that ended his life just after 3am Monday morning.

What is clear is that Zeno relieving himself on the subway’s third rail killed him by electrocution, authorities said. His friend was also electrocuted trying to save him and is listed in stable condition at a local hospital.
Zeno was a fitness fanatic who competed in Rugged Maniac races.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:25 PM | Permalink

Last words of U.S. presidents

From Mental Floss.  The last words and final moments of 38 presidents  Some are eloquent quotes worthy of the holders of the highest office in the nation, and others… aren't.

"'Tis well."

"Thomas Jefferson survives." What Adams didn't know was that Jefferson had actually passed away several hours earlier.

"This is the last of Earth. I am content." JQA actually had a stroke on the floor of the House of Representatives and died in the Speaker's Room in the Capitol Building.

"I love you, Sarah. For all eternity, I love you." Sarah, as you might have already assumed, was his wife. Sarah lived for another 42 years.

"I regret nothing, but I am sorry to leave my friends."

"I want to go. God take me."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:01 PM | Permalink

July 6, 2013

Soccer referee fatally stabs player and is then stoned to death, beheaded and quartered

Seems to me, murders are getting ever more grotesque and beheadings more common.

Brazilian soccer referee beheaded by angry fans who put his head on a stake after he stabbed player

A soccer referee in Brazil was gruesomely quartered and beheaded after he fatally stabbed a player on the field during a match. The match took place June 30 at Pius XII stadium in Maranhao, northeastern Brazil.

 Referee Beheaded20 year-old soccer referee

According to Correio24horas, 30-year-old player Josenir dos Santos Abreu approached the 20-year-old referee, Octavio da Silva Catanhede Jordan, to argue a call.The two couldn't come to terms so Catanhede Jordan told the player to leave the field.
Santos Abreu refused and the argument turned heated when the referee allegedly pulled out a pocket knife and stabbed Santos Abreu multiple times. Josenir dos Santos Abreu died on the way to the ambulance after being supposedly stabbed by referee Catanhede Jordan

The player died en route to the hospital. Fans outraged by the stabbing - believed to be the player's friends and family - stormed the pitch and cornered Catanhede Jordan.

The mob showed no mercy as they quartered and decapitated the referee and then placed his head on a stake.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 PM | Permalink

July 5, 2013

Building Dad's Casket

Family Pulls Together to Build Dad's Casket

 Building Dad's Casket

The father of redditor gooddrunky died. Her brother, uncle and friends came together to build him a casket in 2 days. She writes in response to comments:

Thank you all for your kind words and wishes. I'm sharing this because my dad spent his life building a family, and I feel like this project was a true testimony to the success of his life's work. I'm so grateful for all of your support and positivity.

More photos here

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:44 AM | Permalink

Deaths over the Fourth

Death takes no holiday.

Tragedy as North Carolina judge dies in front of his wife and children trying to save drowning woman at beach

A North Carolina judge vacationing on the beach with his family died yesterday after he heroically leaped into the sea to save a woman experiencing difficulties.  Authorities said that 54-year-old Mitchell McLean perished trying to help a husband and wife struggling in the water.  The woman he was trying to save, 55-year-old Mary Ann Galway later died in hospital and her husband, Edward John Galway, 59 was treated before being released on Wednesday afternoon.

Boy Dies After Getting Run Over By A Float At 4th Of July Parade  A seven year old boy, riding on a float for a martial arts group that was filled with hay bales, fell off and the driver, unawares, drove over the child

After the boy fell off the float, his father and a nurse who was riding in a car behind the float rushed to his aid to perform CPR, CNN reports. The boy was pronounced dead at the hospital.

'Beloved' art counselor, 21, killed at summer camp by a falling tree

A 21-year-old summer camp art counselor was killed on Wednesday when a large oak tree fell on top of her while the children and other staff were eating breakfast near the campfire. The worker was identified as Annais Rittenberg by Camp Tawonga, a Jewish summer camp popular with families in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Four other adults were treated at hospitals after the tree fell, taking down power lines near the campfire area and dining hall. It did not damage any buildings.  No children were hurt at the incident near Yosemite National Park.

Family's heartbreak as female cyclist, 18, dies after she's hit by car on cross-country bike ride

Merritt Levitan, of Milton, Massachusetts, was one of six cyclists injured when they were struck by a car near McCroy, Arkansas.  She was riding from Charleston, South Carolina, to Santa Monica, as part of a six-week trip organized by summer camp company Overland.  She died of her injuries in hospital on Wednesday

Two year old boy dies after light planes collide in mid-air when pilots try to land at same time on remote airstrip

Police name three injured men, two from Oregan, one from Utah, after crash
Name of the two-year-old boy who was killed has not been released
Both planes were taking part in a flying event near Yellow Pine, Idaho
Collision happened as both airplanes approached a landing strip

Officials suspend search for missing jet skiers off Brooklyn

Neither missing jet skier has been identified except to say a male in his 40s and a female in her 20s.

‘Utter chaos’ as man crushed by antique firetruck at Independence Day parade

An antique firetruck crushed to death the rider of an antique John Deere tractor during the Fourth of July parade, police said.  Firetruck riders told police that a mechanical failure caused the truck to go out of control in front of a large crowd of parade-watchers and slam into the rear of the tractor as both turned onto a downhill stretch of Water Street.

“It rear-ended the tractor and the [tractor] driver was not expecting it,” Haskell added. “I saw the driver flying through the air. The tractor rolled onto him and [then] the truck” hit him….The anguished look on the face of the young blond-haired man who was driving the firetruck told Haskell that he knew he was going to hit the tractor — and was helpless to prevent it.

But one brave boy saved his father's life.

Boy, eight, escapes car that plunged into river, swims ashore and walks a MILE to call 911 and save his father

Car landed upside down in the middle of the Nashua  river.  Young Massachusetts boy is being hailed by local authorities as a hero

But child is in state custody pending an investigation into the crash.    Family members told CBS Boston that the father drinks massive amounts of energy drinks and doesn’t get much sleep between working a lot and being in the midst of a move.

‘He usually drinks a lot of Red Bull,’ said Rigoberto Guardado, whose daughter is married to Tito. ‘Sometimes he don’t even sleep.’
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink

July 4, 2013

The "one small mercy" is that Nelson Mandela is unaware of the unseemly behavior of his family

Vultures at his deathbed: Digging up children's bones. Grotesque greed, In the bitterest of ironies, the family of Nelson Mandela - a man of high ideals - are emerging as thoroughly unpleasant people

Wielding pick-axes and with a hearse parked ready behind them, a posse of court bailiffs smashed down the gates to the sprawling country estate owned by Nelson Mandela’s grandson yesterday.  They had come to dig up the remains of three of the ailing former South African president’s children and rebury them in their original resting place.

Two years ago, determined to cash in on his grandfather’s eventual death, Mandla Mandela had secretly exhumed the bodies of Mandela’s baby daughter and his two late sons from the family plot and had them removed to his own land, anticipating that the great man’s grave — together with a new Nelson Mandela heritage centre he had built — would make a lucrative tourist attraction.
Other family members were horrified at his money-grabbing plan, and took the matter to court. Yesterday, a judge ordered the bodies to be replaced in Mandela’s home village — and when his 38-year-old grandson and heir declined to comply with his orders, bailiffs and police moved in.
For even as he clings to life, virtually his entire clan — including his scheming ex-wife Winnie, three surviving daughters, 17 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren — are embroiled in an unedifying battle for his legacy.
In truth, they have seemed more concerned about who will gain control of his legacy than for his well-being. Bitterly split into factions, they are fighting not only for the power to run trust-funds holding his multi-million-pound fortune, but for the right to be considered his ideological heir — with such indecent haste that ordinary South Africans are sickened by their behaviour, while elders from Mandela’s tribe have voiced fears that his spirit won’t be able to rest until their differences are resolved.

For Mandela, who devoted his life to reconciling people’s differences, the one small mercy is that he can know little or nothing about the family struggle being played out around his intensive care ward bed.
Indeed, as I was told this week, his second wife, Graca Machel — one of the few who does not appear to be consumed by self-interest — had been going to extraordinary lengths to shield her 94-year-old husband from news bulletins about the unseemly wrangle, even before he was taken ill.
This poignant description of Mandela’s lonely last days comes from his trusted circle of friends, including old confidant and lawyer of more than half a century, George Bizos.
One can’t help but wonder whether Mandela’s amnesia is born of disillusionment; for even his wife’s careful monitoring of the news surely can’t shield him from the harsh truth about the multi-racial ‘Rainbow Nation’ he set out to create 20 years ago.  He must know that his successors have abjectly failed to live up to his high morals and motives.
And while South Africa is free of the iniquities of apartheid, he knows it has been traduced by grand-scale governmental corruption, soaring crime, mass unemployment and unremitting social depravation in the vast, putrid shanty-towns where millions subsist without sanitation or running water.
His fortune is often put at about £10 million, but according to George Bizos that is a gross underestimate.  Under Mandela’s instructions, it is invested in a string of trusts designed to benefit the causes he championed, and also to educate successive generations of his descendants and help family members in times of need.  Some have a very dubious definition of ‘need’, however, and even as his health has failed they continued their unseemly scramble to cash in on his fame.
Marketing experts already rank the ‘Mandela brand’ as second only to Coca-Cola in terms of global recognition, and say it has the potential to earn millions in perpetuity, like that of Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.  Since they are said to have set up 110 Nelson-themed companies, including daughter Makaziwe’s House Of Mandela wine label (with bottles at £27 and upwards), how his family must be rubbing their hands at the rich pickings in prospect.

Will any of them summon the wherewithal to rise above the rancour and carry his torch?  It seems unlikely, but for South Africa’s sake we must hope so, for the country is crying out for moral guidance — and the thought of Mandela’s legacy being besmirched by money-grabbers who would turn him into a posthumous tourist attraction is almost too much to bear.

Nelson Mandela is in 'vegetative state and warring family were advised to turn off life support EIGHT DAYS ago', explosive court papers reveal as children are reburied

'Rather than prolonging his suffering, the Mandela family is exploring this option as a very real probability.'

The remains of the 94-year-old's three deceased children were reburied at their original resting site following a court order to return them after Mandla moved the bodies.
It comes as the bitter feud between Mandela's family descended into soap opera farce today when his grandson and heir Mandla accused relatives of adultery and milking the fame of the revered anti-apartheid leader.

In a news conference broadcast live on TV that stunned South Africans, Mandla confirmed rumours that his young son, Zanethemba, was in fact the child of an illicit liaison between his brother Mbuso and Mandla's now ex-wife Anais Grimaud

Newspapers have plastered 'Mandela vs. Mandela' headlines across their front pages and editorials have bemoaned the cruel irony of bitter divisions inside the family of a man lauded the world over as the epitome of reconciliation between races.

Nelson Mandela's doctors deny he was in 'permanent vegetative state'

Doctors treating Nelson Mandela have been forced to deny a claim he is in a "permanent vegetative state" that was made in court papers by a lawyer representing close members of his family.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:14 PM | Permalink

July 3, 2013

Secrets of Ancient Graves

Scientists discover the oldest grave flowers from 14,000 years ago - when the dead were buried with mint and sage

Humans have been decorating graves with flowers for almost 14,000 years, say archeologists.

The first evidence the tradition of floral tributes has been dug up in Israel where sage, mint and other plants were used in ceremonial burials.
In modern times the tradition is used as a sign of respect or remembrance, but it is believed to have started thousands of years ago to disguise the stench of the rotting corpse.  It was also hoped the scent of the plants would stop animals being attracted to the grave to dig up the body.

 Sage Mint

The ancient Romans often laid out the ground of the tomb as a garden so the spirit could enjoy itself as it wandered.
The latest discovery was unearthed at the bottom of 13,700 to 11,700 year-old graves at a scenic prehistoric burial spot known as Raqefet Cave overlooking the Mediterranean coast.

First unlooted Wari royal tomb found in Peru

A team of Polish and Peruvian archaeologists have discovered a 1,200-year-old royal mausoleum from Peru’s Wari civilization which has never been looted.
The team found row after row of bodies wrapped in decaying traditional textiles made from llama wool and posed in a seated position. In three small adjacent chambers they discovered the human remains of three Wari queens buried with their valuables. When Giersz from the University of Warsaw saw the glint of gold in the tomb, he realized they would have to keep the discovery secret for the duration of the excavation or the place would be picked clean by human vultures.

 New-Untouched-Royal-Tomb-Peru-Gold 68843 600X450
Images of winged, supernatural beings adorn a pair of heavy gold-and-silver ear ornaments that a high-ranking Wari woman wore to her grave in the newly discovered mausoleum at El Castillo de Huarmey in Peru.  National Geographic: Peru's Rare, Unlooted Royal Tomb

Somehow they managed to keep the news from leaking for months as they unearthed more than a thousand artifacts. They found silver and gold jewelry, semi-precious stone beads, bronze ritual axes, silver bowls, knives, richly decorated ceramics, an alabaster drinking cup which is the only one of its kind ever found at an ancient Andean site, carved wooden artifacts that survived in exceptional condition and my personal favorite, gold weaving tools kept in a cane box. Royal women couldn’t be expected to weave cloth with just regular tools, now could they? No, they wove with gold tools.
The Wari civilization flourished in much of today’s Peru between 600 and 1100 A.D. Their territory covered almost the entire length of modern Peru and reached more than halfway inland. Their capital city Huari had a population of 40,000 at a time when Paris had a population of 25,000.

 New-Untouched-Royal-Tomb-Peru-Clay-Pot 68837 600X450-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:19 AM | Permalink

July 1, 2013

'Man, it makes you feel alive to be told you’re dying’

Wilko Johnson, the guitarist and co-founder of Dr Feelgood, in the grip of terminal cancer, has never felt worse. Or better

Wilko Johnson is dying. There is no escape, and he knows it.

“I asked how long it would be before the cancer really hit me and the doctors said six months or so,” he says. “My six months are up.”

The lump in his stomach is a sign of cancer of the pancreas. There is nothing the doctors can do to save him. He may get very sick any day now. He may not survive the summer.

But Wilko loves life. “Man, it makes you feel alive to be told that you’re going to die. How many years ago did I last feel like that? The ecstasy of youth, the joy of existence. I have felt like that again.

 Guitarist Wilko Johnson

”He’s a poet, a painter, an astronomer and an actor, but Wilko also happens to be one of the great British rock guitarists, acknowledged by his peers as among the most influential.

A founding member of the band Dr Feelgood, he is known for his machine-gun guitar sound and wild-eyed, manic intensity on stage.
“I can’t do any more shows in my own right, you know? But it’s OK to make an appearance at a festival, because if I’m not fit to play, the show will still go on,” he says.
Arms wide open and eyes burning, he told how his death sentence had given him a sudden, shocking appreciation of the joys of living.
“When I walked out of the hospital into the sunshine, suddenly I felt this elation. I just felt so alive. Everything was tingling. By the time I got home, I was almost euphoric.”
“Anybody who walked around like that for any great length of time would be gaga,” he says. “I am a miserable so-and-so, I have been all my life, but I felt so high. I thought it was a kind of shock reaction, but it went on for weeks. It was sometimes so good, I almost felt glad it was happening.”

Then it faded? “I’m not walking around with a blissed-out smile on my face. Gradually, you come to accept the situation and return to a normal consciousness. I have never plunged into despair about this. I’ve had a good life and made it to my old age pension, who wants to grasp for more?
“Everybody lives with the fear of their own mortality, but for me that question is answered. It’s not an issue to puzzle over any longer.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:17 PM | Permalink