Britain, Argentina sparring again over the Falklands

By Eliza Mackintosh, Published: January 4

LONDON — More than 30 years after Argentina’s unsuccessful invasion of the Falkland Islands, a fresh war of words has broken out over the sovereignty of the British territory, a rocky archipelago about 8,000 miles from London but harboring outsize importance to both countries.

The latest bout of controversy erupted after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner issued a scathing letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron, which also ran as an open note to the British public Thursday in London’s Guardian newspaper. She demanded negotiations to hand over the islands, insisting that Britain was in violation of a 1960 U.N. resolution seeking to “end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

The letter sparked immediate indignation in Britain’s halls of power, with the notoriously zealous British tabloids joining the fray Friday. Rupert Murdoch’s Sun tabloid took out an advertisement in the Buenos Aires Herald, warning Argentines to keep their “hands off” the islands.

The latest exchanges underscore the extent to which the sparsely populated islands, which cost the lives of more than 900 people in the 1982 Falklands War, remain a hot-button issue on both sides of the Atlantic.

“The future of the Falkland Islands should be determined by the Falkland Islanders themselves,” Cameron said in a statement on British television. “Whenever they’ve been asked their opinion, they’ve said they want to maintain their current status with the United Kingdom. They’re holding a referendum this year, and I hope the president of Argentina will listen to that referendum and recognize it’s for the Falkland Islanders to choose their future.”

London’s efforts to preserve the Falklands, one of the last outposts of the British Empire, have long been viewed, at least in part, as an attempt to maintain a vestige of its glorious past. But over the past 18 months, the issue of ownership has also become a question of economic gain, with the discovery of potential vast stores of oil. Rockhopper Exploration, a British oil firm, thinks that it has found a cache of 450  million barrels, with the potential for more.

Equally central to Britain’s position is the fundamental belief that the Falkland Islanders should have the right to self-determination. Residents of the English-speaking islands have long stated a desire to remain British. In the face of mounting political pressures from Argentina, the residents of the Falkland Islands have scheduled a referendum for March in order to reaffirm their standing as a British overseas territory.

The evolving struggle over the islands has, over the past few months, resulted in another kind of war — an economic attack on the cruise ship industry. Tensions have risen as Argentina has begun prohibiting ships flying United Kingdom or Falkland Island flags from docking in Argentine ports.

These escalated measures have resulted in several cruise lines canceling trips to the Falklands altogether.Among them, Holland America’s Veendam, German liner AIDAcara, and Prestige Cruise Holdings’ Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises have scrapped visits, blaming pressure from Argentina. Eighty-one cruise ships and 60,000 passengers were scheduled to visit Stanley, the capital, this season, which lasts until April, but that number has already been drastically reduced.

In what might be considered a patriotic stand, major British cruise line P&O Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival U.K., has canceled all scheduled visits to Argentine ports in 2013. The news came after Britain summoned Argentina’s ambassador to London, Alicia Castro, to protest what the British government considers to be “increasingly aggressive actions against the people of the Falklands Islands.” Among these was an attack led by masked men who tore apart a shipping services company in Buenos Aires. The British government alleges that the assault was made in an effort to deter vessels from visiting the Falklands. After the incident on Nov. 19, the cruise company associated with the shipping agents decided to cancel a trip to the islands.

Attempts to squash the Falklands’ tourism industry have taken a toll on Stanley, where about a quarter of the working population is involved in cruise ship tourism.

Small-business owners Kevin and Hattie Kilmartin run Bluff Cove Lagoon Penguin Tours near Stanley.

“We had a war here 30 years ago; we’re not unused to the fact that Argentina has certain issues with us,” Kevin Kilmartin said. “But recently they’ve been cranking up the economic warfare.” 


The British celebrate with Obama

Karla Adam & Eliza Mackintosh

November 7, 2012 at 9:22 am

LONDON — The British  don’t need much of an excuse to saunter into their local pub, but the U.S. presidential election was a reason for many to settle in for the entire night.

At the airy Redhook bar in central London, a stone’s throw from the city’s centuries-old meat market, about 200 people, mostly British, packed in to watch around-the-clock coverage and sip on drinks assigned according to political allegiances (for Democrats, a New York sour cocktail; for Republicans, a glass of Chardonnay).

The British were overwhelmingly rooting for President Obama — one Mitt Romney supporter at the bar said he was “as rare as Bigfoot” — but praise for the president among many here was qualified.

“I’m satisfied, but intrigued by the outcome,” said Sam Meiklejohn, a 22-year-old Londoner who stayed up all night with two friends from law school to watch the results trickle in. “What will he now achieve?” he mused, adding that the president could no longer blame his predecessor for America’s economic woes.

While the British aren’t as enthralled with Obama as they were in 2008 when he received rock-star treatment during a week-long foreign tour through Europe, many said they preferred his policies to Romney’s, especially those on social issues.

“The things that fire up the Republican base are regarded as wrong or irrelevant” in Britain, said Peter Kellner, president of the British polling agency YouGov, citing issues such as abortion, gay rights and climate change.

The overwhelming number of the British who were pulling for Obama woke up — or went to sleep — with the news they wanted to hear.

“I’m over the moon and relieved,” said Christopher Benjamin, a 22-year-old law school student sipping champagne at an all-night election party in central London. “Obama can now enact his eight-year-plan, and I can now go to bed.”

In its editorial, the Guardian newspaper said the win, which “wasn’t big” and “wasn’t pretty,” was “good for Americans, good for America, and good for the world.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted “warm congratulations” to his “friend” and said he looked forward to working together. He also told reporters on a tour of the Middle East that one of the “first things” he wanted to talk to Obama about was how to solve the crisis in Syria.

But if an Obama victory was the preferred one in Britain, enthusiasm was tempered from that in 2008.

Michael Cox, professor of international relations at London School of Economics, said most British people were “relieved or happy, or quietly satisfied, but I don’t think there’s the sense of elation here from 2008 — Europe has moved on.”

Polls show that if the British could vote, the large majority would choose Obama over Romney, who did himself no favors when he questioned London’s ability to host a successful Olympic Games during his visit to Britain in July.

Derek Knight, a BBC producer, tweeted: “hey, Mitt, turns out our Olympics worked out fine. How was your election campaign?”

Eliza Mackintosh contributed to this report

Olympic Rings, minus one

Olympic street art in East London #wpolympics

Here is my Socialcam of the site:

Is it a Banksy?

After some research T.J. Ortenzi reported:

It looks like that bit of street art is not Banksy’s. It’s by a street artist named “Criminal Chalkist” per IsThisTheFuture.Co.Uk. They in turn link to Criminal Chalkist’s Facebook Page. And a Reddit commenter points out that this design is actually based on an image that first appeared in 2011.

John Lyons, Jr., M.D.: In good hands

By Eliza C. Mackintosh

Dr. John “Jack” Lyons kneels in the soil at the Willing Hands garden, weeding around rows of tangled snap peas. Black dirt lines his fingernails and the creases of his hands. He stands up to admire the progress of the just-tasseling corn. His tall, thin frame towers above the rows and rows of vegetables on the acre of land in East Thetford, Vt., used by Willing Hands, a nonprofit organization that distributes fresh produce to people in need throughout the Upper Valley.

As the former chief of general and vascular surgery at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital, as well as one-time director of its intensive care unit and surgical residency program, Lyons spent most of his life caring for patients, not plants, with impeccably scrubbed hands. Nowadays, he splits his time between teaching anatomy and surgery at DMS and serving as president of the board of directors of Willing Hands.

Standing amid a flock of Dartmouth medical student volunteers in the Willing Hands garden, Lyons chats and laughs, his hands alternating between gesturing with enthusiasm and extracting weeds. His passion for gardening dates back many years. On this same Thetford farm, in 1983, he established Sunny Fields Berry Farm, which at one time was among the largest raspberry patches in Vermont. Now, many of the rows of berries have given way to the Willing Hands garden, which lies behind the berry bushes on Lyons’s land.

Lyons’s interests and activities extend far beyond the Upper Valley, however. Long before the concept of global citizenship became fashionable, he became involved in numerous international organizations and endeavors, including starting a summer language program for DMS students in Antigua, Guatemala, in 1998. That same year, he was a founding member of the executive board of the Dartmouth International Health Group, an organization that fosters involvement by DMS students in the global health arena. Lyons was also a driving force nationally, from 1997 to 2002, behind an organization now known as the Global Health Education Consortium, a nonprofit composed of medical educators dedicated to increasing the health and human rights of underserved populations worldwide and to improving medical teaching and training.

In recognition of his many accomplishments serving patients, students, and the public, Lyons received the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from Dartmouth’s Thomas P. Almy Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. And not only was he the first recipient of the new award, but it was named in his honor and from now on will be called the John H. Lyons, M.D., Award. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which created the Gold Honor Society, considers humanism in medicine to encompass integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, empathy, and service—all qualities Lyons has long been known for. But the honoree himself was taken unawares by the award. “It really blew me away,” Lyons says. “I was totally surprised.”

His colleagues, however, were not the least bit surprised. Dr. Arnold Fabricant, an assistant professor of anatomy, was one of the faculty members who nominated Lyons for the award. Fabricant says that he has met few people like Lyons, as either a colleague or a friend, and that he considers him extremely deserving of the award. Fabricant calls Lyons the “quintessential” humanist, a “sort of a Renaissance type of individual.”

Lyons was captivated by medicine early on. He always knew he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a surgeon, and he has no regrets about that decision. “Medicine has been a wonderful profession for me,” he says, a “wonderful life, really.” Continue reading

An alarming result (and that’s a very good thing)

By Eliza C. Mackintosh

Amid the bustle of DHMC’s orthopaedic unit sits a monitor displaying each patient’s vital signs in neat, orderly rows. As a nurse zips by, she hovers for a moment, assesses the colored squares, then bustles off again. If a patient’s oxygen level or heart rate should plummet, she knows her beeper will sound and that within seconds she can be at the proper patient’s bedside.

“Many people, nationwide, have died because they weren’t monitored” continuously, says DHMC’s Kenneth Lee. “They could have been rescued.” Lee, a clinical manager in biomedical engineering, helped install and test the new monitoring system, Patient SafetyNet, on DHMC’s 36-bed orthopaedic unit.

Pagers: The system uses a network of pulse oximeters, which measure heart rate and blood oxygenation through a probe placed on a patient’s finger. The devices are linked to the central monitor and to nurses’ pagers.

In most hospitals, monitoring in surgical units involves “sampling of intermittent vital signs and clinical examinations,” plus closer surveillance of high-risk patients, wrote Drs. Andreas Taenzer and George Blike of DHMC in Anesthesiology. The paper detailed the orthopaedic unit’s experience with Patient Safety Net, which is made by a company called Masimo. Continue reading

National network aims to ease agonizing decisions about abuse

By Eliza C. Mackintosh

Dr. Kent Hymel is still haunted by a landmark 1999 study showing that abuse often goes undetected in children with head injuries. That’s why he’s devoted his career to finding ways to prevent such misdiagnoses. As the medical director for DHMC’s Child Advocacy and Protection Program (CAPP), Hymel has taken the first steps toward achieving that goal by establishing the Pediatric Brain Injury Research Network(PediBIRN). The aim of PediBIRN is to develop a tool called a clinical prediction rule, which doctors can use when trying to decide if a head injury was caused by abuse rather than an accident.

Stairs: Currently, physicians have nothing to rely on in determining if a child’s injuries were the result of falling down the stairs or something much worse. Five centers are now enrolling subjects in the PediBIRN study, and 17 more are in the process of getting institutional approval to participate, says Hymel (pronounced EE-mel).

Both under- and over-diagnosis of abuse have serious ramifications, so physicians are often hesitant to act. The risk of over-diagnosis, or wrongly labeling a family as abusive, can leave emotional scars that are deep and lasting. But underdiagnosis is even worse. In the 1999 study—led by Dr. Carole Jenny, a 1970 DMS alumna—physicians missed or misdiagnosed abusive head trauma in 31% of symptomatic children (54 of 173 subjects); 28% (15 of the 54) were reinjured after being returned to their abusive environments. These results made a permanent impression on Hymel, who collaborated with Jenny on the study. He says many pediatricians have admitted in anonymous surveys that there have been times they suspected abuse but didn’t report it. When asked why, they said diagnostic uncertainty was the number one reason and fear of courtroom testimony was number two. Continue reading