August 10, 2011: "This Ain't Livin', This Ain't Livin'..." PDF Print E-mail

Parents facing tough decision to move children out of Fukushima amid radiation fears

Press here for link

Parents of children in Fukushima Prefecture, where the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant continues, are using the school summer holidays as a chance to move their children to other schools amid radiation fears.

A survey by the Fukushima Prefectural Board of Education found that more than 1,000 students at public elementary and junior high schools in Fukushima Prefecture were due to transfer to schools outside the prefecture during the summer vacation. In some cases this has resulted in families being split up.

One 36-year-old woman living in the Oyama district of Fukushima, where relatively high levels of radiation have been detected, moved with her 9-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter to Kyoto Prefecture in late July, after the first term ended at the elementary school her son was attending. She heard that she would be able to live in housing for government workers rent free for a year, and receive support to buy household appliances and other necessary items. Though she didn't have any connection with the area, she decided to make it her new home. Her husband, who is a high school teacher, has remained in Fukushima.

The area where the family lived in Fukushima is about 60 kilometers from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear complex, which was crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and they never thought that radiation would be a threat. But after witnessing the hydrogen explosion at the plant they became uneasy and attended a meeting organized by a citizens group at the end of April. They learned that the elementary school their son was attending had recorded higher radiation levels than other areas. The radiation survey was conducted by the prefecture, but they had been given no opportunities to find out the results before then. They recalled that their baby daughter had put fallen leaves in her mouth and were left in shock.

The family later borrowed a dosimeter and measured the radiation levels in their home, which ranged between 0.4 and 0.7 microsieverts per hour. The figures are more than 10 times the normal level measured outside their home. They found that the radiation levels were high on the second floor of their home, and after that, had their children sleep on the first floor. They dug up the topsoil and flowers in their garden and put them in sandbags. All that remained of the once-green garden was rust-colored dirt.

From around the end of May, roads started becoming crowded with cars as parents drove their children to school. On rainy days -- when more radioactive particles could fall to the ground -- they kept their son at home as a precaution. He asked them, "When can I go outside and play?" but they had no answer for him.

If the parents followed the advice of authorities and their son's school not to fan anxiety and to act calmly, and sent him to school wearing long sleeves and a mask, then the radiation might not have any effect. But they felt that doing things like playing outside in the sun and picking flowers were an important part of their children's development.

"I don't mind thinking, 'We went too far then.' Nothing can replace the health of our children," the 36-year-old mother says.

Since leaving the family home, on which 33 years of mortgage payments remain, the 36-year-old has worried about life apart from her husband. But at the same time, the mother of one of her son's classmates who has remained in Fukushima told her, "I'm thinking of evacuating too. Let's stay in touch."

Another parent, 49-year-old Naoko Hayano, who lives in Koriyama, about 60 kilometers west of the nuclear power plant, plans to move with her junior high school daughter to Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward at the end of the Obon holiday period to live in a home provided under an employment promotion program. She was worried about the health of her daughter, who may one day give birth to a child herself. However, her son, who is in his second year of junior high school, will remain in Koriyama with her husband.

"He wants to place importance on his current friendships and club activities," Hayano explained. Yet she confesses she is worried about not being with her son as he goes through puberty.

Hayano will leave her current job in mid-August.

"I'm resigned to the fact that I won't find another job with the same conditions, so I plan to find a part-time job in Tokyo," she says. For her, concerns about a life of evacuation remain.

(Mainichi Japan) August 9, 2011


Continued prayers and positive thoughts to the people of tragedy-stricken Japan. …

… As well as to London and all Great Britain. .. We are speechless at the extending amount of violence (and pollution as a result) breaking out therein and endangering innocent civilians and passers-by. Whenever have manifested anger and hatred been productive or resourceful, or the answer to all our problems…? .

Let’s not forget Norway and the victims of the terrible terrorist attacks at a youth camp in Oslo, July 22.. . Please, hold hands virtually with people the world over in support of this renowned peaceful, quiet country. Press here for link

Kind regards,

The Silenced Truth Team


August 9, 2011: It's Gonna Take Somebody's Help... PDF Print E-mail


~ Courtesy of Deborah Earle:

CNN Headline News featured a story today (on Sunday) on a couple in Georgia (USA) who take care of 6 disabled children. Through the years, they struggled, and a talk show host gave them a trip to Disney World with all expenses paid after the husband lost his job. Things were going alright for them until Mrs. Stark died suddenly of a stroke this past July 21. Mr. Stark now has to be a full-time caretaker to the children in addition to dealing with his own grief, and he is unable to hold down a job outside the home. But he is a man of very strong faith.

Those wishing to help this family may contact

HLN also did a story about a young girl named Rachel, who wanted people to give to charity on her 9th birthday in lieu of giving her presents. Last month, she was killed in a multi-vehicle pile-up on a highway. But people have responded admirably to the site set up in her honor, Rachel's 9th Birthday Wish. ( In either case, I'm sure we all know who would be lending a hand, were he still with us. May those reading this give what they are able to give, and simply spread the word to others if they can't.

Thank you.”


Kind regards,

TST Team


August 4, 2011: Worst In 60 Years: Protracted Drought Hits Horn of Africa ... PDF Print E-mail 2011-08-04

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- According to the World Food Program, the southern and central areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia have been the hardest hit, with a total of 12.4 million people affected. […]

The Horn of Africa is experiencing one of its worst droughts in 60 years.

In Somalia, the UN declared three new regions as famine zones on Wednesday, increasing the number of such zones to five where the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality are taking place.

UN data also shows that across Somalia, nearly half of the country's population of 7.5 million are severely affected by the crisis. Among them, 3.2 million are in need of immediate, life-saving assistance.

In one refugee camp bordering Somalia and Ethiopia, hundreds of Somalis are waiting for help from the World Food Program. But the food rations are never enough for them to get by.

Somali Refugee, Nura Ale, said, "The food ration they are giving us for a month barely lasts more than two weeks long with my nine children. I'll have to find other means to sustain the family for the remaining period."

Facing the record drought, the UN and other international organizations are carrying out full-swing relief operations.

The International Red Cross has set up field hospitals at the border of Kenya and Ethiopia, providing medical assistance to children suffering from malnutrition.

John Kiogor, doctor of Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, said, "What we do here, basically, is admit them and stabilize them and we hope, and I would say these are the lucky ones, because there are many who have not been picked from their community and there are a few maybe who have even died before they arrived. Bear in mind that there are new arrivals especially who are coming from Somalia."

According to the World Food Program, for the newly arrived children under five, the malnutrition rate has reached 50 percent. This is a significantly higher level than what is usually deemed an emergency.



The drought that you may or may not have heard of in the Horn of Africa – it's difficult parsing all the droughts that spread in one of the driest regions out there – is proving to be an enduring, worsening crisis for millions of starving Africans.

Some are calling it the worst drought that eastern African has suffered through in 60 years. Livestock are dropping dead, food prices are through the roof and more than 11 million people (a number that is growing) are in need of food assistance in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The arid conditions are feeding famines in Somalia, where the United Nations says malnutrition rates have approached 50 percent in some areas, the highest rates in the world.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the past few months. East Africa right now is the world's "worst humanitarian disaster," according to the chief of the United Nations' Refugee Agency. Here's a taste of what's happening:

- 10,7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance;

- 25% of Somalia’s 7,5 million people are displaced;

- Food insecure populations: Ethiopia - 4,56 million; Somalia – 2,85 million; Kenya – 2,4 million.

But maps only say so much. To get a grasp on the human toll of the disaster, try reading this AP account of children left for dead along the roadways. There are also illustrative posts from Mercy Corps about starving cows at the markets and people wandering the desert for weeks looking for food and water.

If you're inclined to shed a few bucks for humanitarian aid, head on over to Oxfam or to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' donation page.

Politics and warfare play a big part in the famine, but as this is a weather blog, here's what is happening in the climate to account for the parched earth.

Seasonal rains began late this year, wrecking crop production. That's partially because of the existence of a strong La Niña in 2010 and 2011. It was one of the fiercest La Niiñas in the past 50 years; in December, NASA oceanographer and climatologist Bill Patzert said the "powerful little lady” was making itself felt across the earth, with droughts in Argentina and floods in Australia and Asia. The climate pattern also spun up the speed of winds over the Indian Ocean, steering moisture away from eastern Africa. Thus the drought in the Horn, and fecund vegetation in Indonesia and Australia.

Then there's the possibility that climate change is playing a malicious role in Africa. Says ABC7 senior meteorologist Bob Ryan, “Ethiopia goes through extended droughts on a regular basis. But there’s mounting evidence that there is a higher probability of extremes in drought and precipitation in a changing climate.”

The behavior of today's climate is fulfilling predictions made by early weather models built as far back as 20 years ago, says Ryan, with greater temperature increases at the poles and rapidly melting sea ice. "Whether you believe the human factor is significant or insignificant, there certainly are more and more indications that the climate is changing," he says. "And in some regions, the climate is undergoing rather rapid changes in terms of long-term atmosphere, weather and ocean environments.”

Could eastern Africa be one of those regions in a downward climate spiral? We don't know yet, but take a peek at this Terra satellite shot of the Horn yesterday. Soil as dry as a bone and vast stretches with nary a cloud in the sky.

Read More: Africa, Drought

Short URL:

-- dedicated to you, Mother Africa…


In light of this most severe famine alarm in Africa, each one of you are encouraged to play the very simple academic games on, for each correct answer you give, Free Rice will donate 10 grains of rice through the World Food Programme. You may as well click on the charity sites at (i.e, or Thank you. …


We encourage you to also visit this facebook community devoted to Joshua and Robin Berry Children’s Trust and LIKE the page:!/BerryChildren?sk=info 1 dollar for every new LIKE the community receives will be donated to the Fund for the rehabilitation and growth of the Berry children. Thank you. ..

Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, Berry are two brothers who survived a tragic car wreck in west Texas this July 2. Their parents, Robin and Joshua, died in this terrible accident. They were driving back home through Fort Stockton, Texas from their July 4 family holiday.. They would be buried at Beth Yeshurun cemetery. Nearly 2,000 people attended the double funeral service at the synagogue. Peter and Aaron are convalescing and being treated for spinal injuries in Houston, whereas their sister, Willa, 6 was treated at Covenant Hospital in Lubbock for a broken arm and ankle.

… Thoughts and prayers on behalf of The Silenced Truth to all deceased and surviving victims in this tragic world. …


August 7, 2011: Well, Lord, Have Mercy....... PDF Print E-mail



Doctors Turn Baby Girls Into Boys (in West India)

Amrita U Kadam, Hindustan Times

Indore, June 26, 2011

Girls are being 'converted' into boys in Indore - by the hundreds every year - at ages where they cannot give their consent for this life-changing operation. This shocking, unprecedented trend, catering to the fetish for a son, is unfolding at conservative Indore's well-known clinics and hospitals on children who are 1-5 years old. The process being used to 'produce' a male child from a female is known as genitoplasty. Each surgery costs Rs 1.5 lakh.

Moreover, these children are pumped with hormonal treatment as part of the sex change procedure that may be irreversible.

The low cost of surgery and the relatively easy and unobtrusive way of getting it done in this city attracts parents from Delhi and Mumbai to get their child surgically 'corrected'.  About 7-8% cases come from the metros, say doctors.

While genitoplasty is relatively common - it is used to correct genital abnormality in fully-grown patients - the procedure is allegedly being misused rampantly to promise parents a male child even though they have a female child.

The parents press for these surgeries despite being told by doctors that the 'converted' male would be infertile.

While genitoplasty experts of Indore say each of them have turned 200 to 300 girls into 'boys' so far, only one could cite an instance when a 14-year-old was converted into a girl.

In that case, ironically, medical complications strictly forbade converting the child to a boy. The doctors accept that parents willingly convert girls to boys, but opt out of the opposite procedure.

If that's not bad enough, Indian law, which has encountered nothing like this so far, allows these surgeries by its silence and grey areas.

About seven paediatric surgeons from Indore - who are associated with top private and government hospitals - perform these surgeries.

They say these operations are done on children whose internal organs do not match their external genitalia - most commonly, girls born with some internal male organs.

They claim a strict procedure is followed to determine the sex of the newborn, after which the external appearance of the child is changed to match the sex.

There is no system to monitor that claim and is completely open to abuse.

"When the child grows up, he or she would be confused about the gender he or she belongs to. This surgery can stop the child from having sex-determination disorder and psychological problems," said Dr. Milind Joshi, a paediatric surgeon who performs the procedure at a city hospital.

A parent whose child underwent such a surgery at the age of two said on the condition of anonymity, "I think my child would not be confused over his gender when he grows up and can live a normal life as he would not have any memories of the surgery."

Another Indore paediatric surgeon performing this procedure, Dr Brijesh Lahoti, said, "In India, there is no problem in performing these surgeries, as only the consent from parents and an affidavit is required. These are reconstruction surgeries where sex of the child is determined based on its internal organs and not just on the basis of external genitalia."

With no proper laws to protect rights of the child that young, the practice might have a larger social ramification, say medico-legal experts.

"The surgery can have profound, long-term psychological effects on an individual, who might not accept the gender assigned by parents and doctors before age of consent," said Suchitra Inamdar, a counsellor from Mumbai.

Calling it a highly sensitive issue, Dr. Joshi said people should be sensitised about these surgeries. Asked about consent of the child, he said, "In India, consent is sought from parents till the child is 14."

This raises a lot of questions about rights of these children, who might grow up to believe that they wanted to be the way they were born and not corrected surgically.

There have been cases abroad in which such people - who had undergone the procedures at the ages when their consent could not be sought - have grown up and sued the doctors.

"In India, it is a completely virgin area," said medico-legal expert from Mumbai Shirish Deshpande, who is also chairman of the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

"The government needs to regulate these operations. They can't be called illegal right now (TST note: ??...), but if ignored, they can create a major imbalance in the sex ratio and have serious social implications."

The Indian Medical Association has a similar view.

"The Medical Council of India and the health ministry should look into the matter. There has to be some guideline or law on how a child who is barely old enough to talk can undergo a life-changing surgery at the parents' will," said IMA secretary, Indore branch, Dr Anil Bhadoria.


TST Team


August 2, 2011: "It’s True We’ll Make A Better Day Just You and Me" PDF Print E-mail


Hello, dear ones,

Remember the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood addressed to Scholastic we brought to your attention in early May? Trusted children's publisher, Scholastic, was abusing its privileged position in schools by commercializing children’s classrooms – distributing their corporate PR materials into them. ..

However, thanks to all of you who contributed your kind signature, thus collective voice, for this campaign’s petition, “schools will be less inundated with commercialism this fall. In response to CCFC’s three-month campaign, Scholastic has agreed to cut way back its production and distribution of corporate-sponsored teaching materials. Late last week, Scholastic contacted us (the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood) to let us know that it was reducing its InSchool Marketing division - which produces teaching materials sponsored by corporations, nonprofits, and government agencies - by approximately 40%. And the overwhelming majority of cuts are coming from its corporate-sponsored materials. You can read more about it in today’s New York Times. For years, Scholastic has produced teaching materials for corporate clients like Shell, Disney, and Nestle. In May, after a campaign led by CCFC, Rethinking Schools, and environmental groups, Scholastic pulled biased materials paid for by the coal industry. It was an important decision, but it didn’t go far enough. That’s why we asked you for help convincing Scholastic to stop distributing all corporate - and industry-sponsored teaching materials in schools.”

Here is what has been accomplished so far:

· Nearly sixty thousand of you signed petitions at CCFC’s and’s websites telling Scholastic to stop promoting corporate interests in classrooms.

· You held a rally at Scholastic’s Facebook page.

· Last week, while Scholastic was holding important meetings to decide the future of the program, you flooded its offices with phone calls.

· Meanwhile, prominent educators and environmental groups signed onto our public letters, demanding that Scholastic stop promoting its corporate clients by producing and distributing PR disguised as teaching materials.

We would prefer, of course, that Scholastic end all corporate sponsorships. But this is a huge step.  Starting this fall, children will be exposed to significantly less corporate marketing in their classrooms. Already, Scholastic has agreed to end its partnership with SunnyD to promote sugar-laden beverages in elementary schools, and materials produced for corporations like DreamWorks, Disney, Shell, and Playmobile have been removed from Scholastic’s website for teachers. And Scholastic’s capitulation sends an important message to other companies working to subvert learning through the commercialization of teaching materials. We are grateful that Scholastic has been so responsive to our concerns. If you’d like to thank Scholastic for its decision, you can do so by clicking here, by leaving a message at Scholastic’s Facebook page or by tweeting @Scholastic.” With big thanks to all from CCFS’s Susan, Josh and Shara for this feat, and from us,  for the heads-up.


Another positive notification dating from mid July ( announces that Save The Children Italy has relented to fan pressure to accept donations on behalf of Michael Jackson admirers. “Donate In Michael Jackson's Name: Save The Children Campaign” was a very successful petition addressing the issue (and biased injustice) of Jackson’s fans previously being no longer allowed to donate to this children organization, their contributions being rejected.. Even though one of its donation categories specifies that Save The Children Italy welcome “memorial” givings in “honour of a special person”. A meeting in this respect was arranged with Save The Children representatives, the organization admitting to have misjudged Jackson without taking truth into consideration. They also apologized. … Another mission accomplished and, again, “there’s nothing that can’t be done if we raise our voice as one.”

Kind regards,

The Silenced Truth Team


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