[This article originally appeared in the May-June 2002 issue of the Children's Advocate, published by Action Alliance for Children].
A few years ago, Pam Johann was a first-time mother with a beautiful baby boyówho cried for hours at a time. She was frightened, frustrated, at her witsí end. One day she decided to let Peter cry while she did some housework. She switched on the vacuum cleaner and to her amazement, Peter soon stopped his wailing. He was comforted by the constant, steady noise.
Itís such a helpless feeling when youíve tried everythingórocking, singing, walkingóbut the baby just keeps crying! You feel frustrated and powerless, guilty and inept.
Thatís a dangerous momentóa moment when some desperate parents step over the line and hurt their babies (see Never shake the baby) Thatís why itís so important for parents to prepare themselves with information on things they can do and places they can turn for help. Baby experts offer these pointers:
Crying becomes particularly problematic during the six-week to four-month age bracket," says child-abuse expert Robert Reece. This age period "coincides with the peak incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome." Experts say that endless crying is often what pushes adults to shake babies.
Why is it dangerous to shake babies? Only severe shaking causes injuriesóbut those injuries can be serious or even fatal. Thatís because the babyís brain and blood vessels are very fragile. Theyíre also more likely to be injured because the babyís head is so large compared to the rest of the body, and the neck muscles are weak. Shaking can cause eye injuries or brain damage, sometimes even death.
What They Can Mean
What They Don't Mean
Iím angry at you.
I want to get back at you.
I want to disrupt your life.
I feel abandoned.
I need a cuddle or a pat.
Iíd rather be someone elseís baby!
Excerpted from Secrets of the Baby Whisperer: How to Calm, Connect, and Communicate with Your Baby by Tracy Hogg.
***BE A POWERFUL ADVOCATE TODAY BY PASSING THIS AROUND***† (Patrick Nsionu).
Believe me, many people do not know this including the educated professionals, or, they knew and forget all about it when those babiesí cries drive them nuts. Remember the recent case of† someone who threw a crying baby out† of their storied-building apartment?†
So keep this powerful research hints handy as an advocate for childrenís well-being. I consider it one of the greatest helps, nay a case-in-point for early† intervention and violence prevention. Thanks, Patrick.
New Fastest Computer Tops List
April 22 ó A Japanese laboratory has built the world's fastest computer, one with the computing power of the 20 fastest U.S. computers combined, The New York Times reported on Saturday (May 11, 2002).
The computer is nearly five times faster than the previous leader, a machine built by International Business Machines Corp., according to Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains an authoritative list of the world's fastest computers, the Times said.
The Japanese government spent $350 million to $400 million to develop the supercomputer over the past five years, Akira Sekino, president and chief executive of HNSX Supercomputers, a unit of NEC Corp. of Littleton, Colo., told the newspaper.
GUARDIAN† -† Tuesday, April 30, 2002.
NITDA designs Nigerian keyboard for launch next week
From Segun Ayeoyenikan (Abuja)
NIGERIA'S attempt to leapfrog the info-tech divide may have started yielding its first major result as the national Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Abuja has concluded plans to launch next week, computer keyboards designed in three major Nigeria languages, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
NITDA director general, Prof. Gabriel O. Ajayi, who disclosed this at the weekend also, hinted that President Olusegun Obasanjo is expected to launch the product in addition to a formal commissioning of the agency's complex in Abuja.
As a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, the NITDA began operation in March 2001 with a mission among other things to regulate and monitor activities in the info-tech sector of the country and also as a key player.
Beside the keyboard, Ajayi also hinted that the agency has developed an IT device called e-governance "which the agency hoped will enable Nigerians contribute to governance more effectively from wherever they are located within and outside the country.
"Our intention is the change the concept of citizenship, the perception of governance and the responsibilities expected of every individuals in achieving good governance," he said.
The objective of using letters/alphabet of the three languages the agency believed is to domesticate the use of computer and other info-tech materials so that Nigerians can be encouraged to poise for creativity henceforth within the info-tech sector.
And ahead of the ceremony the honorary presidential, Advisory Committee on Science and Technology headed by the current National President, African Academy of Science (AAS), Prof. Mohammed Hassan, visited the agency's office.
Among other things discussed was the need to tap "all available skills and endowments embedded in info-tech to revamp the Nigeria economy."
Ajayi said: "the hope for Nigeria is information technology as the whole world has left the stage of relying on natural resources for development even much more now that the natural resources are no longer sufficient."
He cited countries such as Malaysia, India, and Singapore among other Asia countries, which had recently left the stage of economic doldrums with no less magic than the acceptance and deployment of info-tech skills.
Alongside training services currently offered to corporate bodies and individuals by NITDA, the agency has just signed a working agreement with an American info-tech giant, CISCO International, to raise IT professionals across the 36 states of the federation with the establishment of CISCO Academies in each capital.
Before the end of this year and next, NITDA also has included in its action plans the establishment of cybercafe in major towns and sub-urban settlements in Nigeria.
"The success of this however is dependent on the approved budget for the agency in the year 2002 budget", Ajayi said.
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (April 25) - Three astronauts, including South African space tourist Mark Shuttleworth, blasted off from Russia's Baikonur base in Kazakhstan on Thursday for an eight-day visit to the International Space Station.
Shuttleworth, 28, is the second amateur cosmonaut to pay his way into space after U.S. businessman Dennis Tito visited the International Space Station (ISS) a year ago.
The first African citizen ever to go into space, Shuttleworth was cheered on at home by South Africans led by former president Nelson Mandela who toasted the world's first ''Afronaut.''
Crammed into the Soyuz rocket cockpit by his side were Russian space veteran Yuri Gidzenko, captain of the mission, and Italian pilot Roberto Vittori.
The crew, whose Soyuz-TM34 craft blasted off at 2:26AM EDT, are to spend eight days on the ISS before landing back on the Kazakhstan steppe on May 5. They are due to dock with the space station within two days.
''They are feeling great, full of energy,'' the head of the International Commission for Soyuz Launches, Valery Alaverdov said on Wednesday before Thursday's successful launch.
After a day of medical tests and technical preparations on Wednesday, the cosmonauts watched the classic 1970s Soviet blockbuster ''The Scorching Sun of the Desert'' in a decades-old tradition faithfully followed by every crew leaving Baikonur.
Last-minute work continued on the 160-foot 300-ton Soyuz booster rocket at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which Russia rents from Kazakhstan, while the cosmonauts slept.
The launch took place from Launch Pad One -- the same site from which the Soviet Union's Yuri Gagarin, blasted off on his pioneering space flight in April 1961.
SECOND SPACE AMATEUR
Shuttleworth will be the second amateur space buff to buy a reported $20 million ticket to the ISS. But his eight-month training stint at Star City outside Moscow suffered little of the U.S.-Russian controversy that tinted Tito's flight.
NASA feared that Tito, who was first scheduled to visit the now-defunct Mir station, might endanger himself and the ISS.
Russia's Rosaviakosmos space agency accused NASA of stalling preparations because it objected to cash-paying amateurs visiting the $95 billion space outpost.
But the injections of funds by both Tito and Shuttleworth are vital to Russia's cash-starved space program. The price tag on a single tourist seat amounts to a huge slice of the meager budget, and almost covers the cost of a Soyuz launch.
And Shuttleworth, who has a range of scientific experiments to carry out on board, including HIV/AIDS and genetics tests, is considered by many on both the Russian and the U.S. side of the ISS to be ''an amateur, passive passenger only in name.''
Initially criticized at home for spending a fortune on a personal lark, Shuttleworth has won over most South Africans and a skeptical press with his First African in Space project, despite the fact that he now lives in London.
Italian Vittori, 37, a European Space Agency astronaut who will fly as the crew's flight engineer, will also be on his maiden flight.
Gidzenko, 40, who captains the flight, was one of the three-strong crew that blazed the ISS trail in October 2000. He has logged almost a year's worth of days in space, and over three hours of space walks.†
Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited.† All rights reserved.† Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.† Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.† All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
GUARDIAN† -† Tuesday, April 30, 2002.
U.S. plans $4m military aid for Nigeria
From Laolu Akande (New York) and Madu Onuorah (Abuja)
PRESIDENT George W. Bush of the United States is preparing an "emergency military" aid package to the tune of $4 million for Nigeria, The Guardian has learnt. Military sources, however, say the offer is unsolicited.
President Bush, in an April 18 memorandum to his Secretary of State Colin Powel, said an "unforeseen emergency" currently exists in Nigeria which therefore necessitated the package.
There was no specific explanation on what the emergency situation could be and no U.S. public officer was as yet willing to expatiate. But the American President is expected by law to explain the circumstances to his country's Congress, which seems to be the only way such emergencies could be known.
It is also not certain whether such information would be made public even after the U.S. President had explained the circumstances to the Congress.
However, sources say the "unforeseen emergency" may not be unconnected with the forthcoming general elections, and the recent explosions that rocked the military cantonment in Lagos.
A White House press statement which confirmed the package is titled: "Determination to Authorise the Furnishing of Emergency Military Assistance to the Government of Nigeria."
It reads: "Pursuant to the authority vested in me by section 506(a)(1) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, 22 U.S.C. 2318(a)(1) (the "Act"), I hereby determine that:
Commenting, Chicago-based businessman and APP chieftain, Chief Harry Akande told The Guardian that he would advocate that the United States government, "also enter into not only a military pact with Nigeria, but also a health pact, an agriculture pact, an education pact... pacts like that, because these are areas where the average Nigerian can really benefit from largesse of such assistance."
But an activist and lecturer at Howard University, Washington, DC Professor Mobolaji Aluko queried: "How come everybody but ordinary Nigerians knows about this unforeseen military emergency in Nigeria?
He added: "Or, if you and I do not know, do our National Assembly members know? Inquiring minds want to know. At least, Dubya - that is the nickname of the U.S President - is reporting to his own Congress."
But a top military source claimed he was not aware of any such aid.
He said: "I believe if such aid is coming to any of the services, we ought to be aware of it. As of now I am not aware of it. I do not have details of anything pertaining to that. Is it part of the MPRI (Military Professional Resources Incorporated)? Is it for the modernisation of the bomb disposal units or for training slots for Nigerian officers in the United States? Nobody knows for now."
He added: "I believe when it is presented formally, we will get all the details you need. Do we need such an aid? I bet we do. We can do with even more of such. If they are giving us the money, I think it is good news for us. We can do with any extra cash to really professionalise our military, reactivate our platforms and retrain our military on modern military-civil relations."