Global chemical weapons watchdog wins 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

Image

 

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for working to eliminate the scourge that has haunted generations from World War I to the battlefields of Syria.

The OPCW was formed in 1997 to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention, the first international treaty to outlaw an entire class of weapons. Based in The Hague, Netherlands, it has largely worked out of the limelight until this year, when the United Nations called on its expertise to help investigate alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

“The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in Oslo. “Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.”

Friday’s award comes just days before Syria officially joins as the group’s 190th member state. OPCW inspectors are already on a highly risky U.N.-backed disarmament mission based in Damascus to verify and destroy Syrian President Bashar Assad’s arsenal of poison gas and nerve agents amid a raging civil war.

The OPCW’s director-general, Ahmet Uzumcu (AKH’-meht ooh-ZOOM’-joo), said the award was a recognition of the group’s work for global peace in the past 16 years.

“But (it’s) also an acknowledgement of our staff’s efforts, who are now deployed in Syria, who have been, in fact, making a very brave effort there to fulfill their mandate,” he told the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

He said 27 OPCW experts were visiting chemical weapons storage and production sites in Syria. “And they are making an inventory of them. They are sealing them with a view to in fact eventually begin the destruction of those stockpiles,” Uzumcu said.

There was no immediate report on what the organization would do with the $1.2 million prize.

 

Source – Fox News

A nurse who is healing patients and himself

Image

 

David Fuentes is one of a growing number of men entering the nursing profession. He has always enjoyed taking care of others, whether it’s patients or his siblings during a tough childhood.

He was riding in his aunt’s sedan, a kid in elementary school, watching senior citizens walk in and out of the Lynwood retirement home where his mother worked. Then she emerged in scrubs.

That’s it.

 

David Fuentes holds on tightly to that simple memory: his mother at work. It’s easier than recalling many other parts of his childhood — “a blur,” as he calls it.

Like the time when he was little and his father, drunk, socked his mother. She remembers the blood gushing from her face and her child standing in the bathroom saying, “Mom, Mom.”

Or the times when he was older and his mother had fallen into addiction. He would stay awake fearful of what might come when she went out looking for a fix.

Or the times he took care of his siblings when no one else would.

“Just like the basic things. That’s all I really remember,” Fuentes says, “kind of helping to make sure they got fed, and just keeping them company, making sure they were OK.”

His face tightens slightly with some questions about the past. But he knows he doesn’t need to remember everything.

He has his one simple memory. His mother, a nurse.

She always dreamed of becoming a registered nurse, but life got in the way.

“There’s a huge family dynamic,” says Fuentes, 26. “I wanted to fulfill for my mom what she envisioned for herself, but could never do.”

This summer, he graduated from nursing school at UCLA and landed a job in the intensive-care unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.

Beyond being a trailblazer in his family, Fuentes is among a group of men redefining the nursing industry. Although the profession is still dominated by women, the number of men is on the rise.

 

Source – LA Times

 

Obama to nominate Janet Yellen to lead Federal Reserve

Image

President Obama will nominate Janet L. Yellen to be the next head of the Federal Reserve, the White House said Tuesday. The historic appointment, if confirmed, would make the former UC Berkeley economist the first woman to lead the world’s most powerful central bank.

Yellen, the Fed’s vice chair, would replace Ben S. Bernanke, whose second four-year term as chairman expires Jan. 31. She would take over at a crucial time — the central bank is gearing up to reduce its unprecedented support for the economy without damaging the fragile recovery.

Obama will announce the nomination at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, joined by Yellen and Bernanke.

The Fed’s leadership and policy signals are being closely watched around the globe, especially in developing economies where many fear a too-rapid or poorly communicated pullback of stimulus would have severe consequences for global financial markets and the flow of capital.