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Snow hits the East Coast

My 400th post. That is incredibly scary. How have I ever found the time to write all this junk?

Anyway, here are some pictures from Ian Britton’s blog of this place I call my second home (Stockton) in the snow, as it was last Sunday. When I was trying to drive here. Which consequently took much, much longer than usual. Lucky me.

Well, it was something a little bit different for the big 400.

This post was filed under: Miscellaneous.

Crafty

Richard Ingrams:

I pointed out last week how Mr Blair had been publicly humiliated when he appeared on Channel 5 to answer questions from members of the public. One young man asked him how, in view of all the disastrous consequences of the Iraqi invasion, including thousands of deaths, he was able to sleep at night.

My colleague Andrew Rawnsley, however, saw it in a different light. Was it not possible, he asked, that Blair’s humiliation was something that had been deliberately encouraged by Alastair Campbell and his fellow spin doctors? The idea would be that the public, when seeing the Prime Minister under fire from all quarters, would feel sympathy welling up and thus be more likely to vote Labour come the general election than they were before.

An interesting theory, but I doubt this is the case. People want a strong leader who can stand the heat, not someone who looks, as Kirsty pointed out, like he’s being tortured. Still, I’m no political strategist, and who can say what Campbell and Co are up too?

This post was filed under: Election 2005.

Family’s hell at bird flu deathbed

Nguyen Thi Ngoan grasps the surgical mask closer to her mouth, stifling a sob. In a nearby hospital bed, behind a door marked ‘quarantine’, her younger brother lies prostrate, his feet curled up in agony as he struggles for breath. The only thing keeping him alive is the hose leading from his mouth to a ventilator.

‘The doctors told us he had bird flu on Friday,’ Thi said yesterday. ‘We are really scared because we know it is a very serious disease. He has pains in his chest and his back. Every now and then he asks me to give him a massage. We are praying he will recover.’

Unfortunately, doctors in Hanoi’s tropical diseases institute do not expect Sy Tuan, 21 – the eighteenth person to be infected with the deadly bird flu virus in Vietnam this year – to live through the weekend.

That is not the worst of it, however. In the bed beside him, observing his death throes, lies his 14-year-old sister, Nhung. The day after he was transferred to Hanoi from a hospital near their home in Thaih Binh province, 100 miles south-east of the capital, she succumbed to a high fever and has joined him in quarantine.

Now imagine this millions of times over. Only the hospital services won’t be able to cope, so people will be dying at home, struggling in agony for their last breaths without the aid of a ventilator.

It’s a horrific image, but if (when?) the next bird ‘flu pandemic hits, it could well become reality. And it’s looking increasingly likely that it may happen sooner rather than later.

This post was filed under: News and Comment.




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