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State College, Pennsylvania: Gang rape videos on sale in India as sex crimes against women soar

Stanley C. Hoyle 1825 Collins Street State College, PA 16803

Shops in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh provide their customers not only with basic goods, but also with graphic gang rape videos. The state’s recent increase in sexual assaults has outraged the public and may drive the chief minister to resign.

Short clips, lasting from 30 seconds to five minutes, are downloaded directly to a customer’s cell phone as soon as the content has been paid for, The Times of India reported. The prices depend on how “exclusive” a clip is and vary from 50 to 150 rupees per clip ($0.75-$2). The trade turnover is quite significant with hundreds, or even thousands, of videos being sold every day.

“We are aware. We are taking necessary action. But it is difficult, as the sales are happening below the counter,” Ajay Sharma, a deputy inspector general of police in the city of Agra in Uttar Pradesh, said, according to Reuters.

As sales are under-the-table, dealers are reluctant to offer footage to new customers unless they have a reference from a trusted client.

“Porn is passe. These real life crimes are the rage,” a shop owner in Agra said, according to The Times of India.

“Dealers will download videos directly into your smart phone or put them in your pen drive,” he added.

The materials are sometimes taken from Twitter, Tumbler or Facebook, The Times of India said. In other cases, sex offenders shoot videos of rapes or assaults and put them online or use them as a tool to blackmail the victims.

Recently a number of horrifying gang rapes have been reported in Uttar Pradesh.

At the end of July a gang ambushed a car with a mother and a 14-year-old daughter on the Delhi-Kanpur National Highway. The women were raped for three hours while being held at gunpoint. Fifteen suspects were detained after police launched an investigation.

“The family was returning from Noida. A few miscreants tried to rob the family and then did certain indecent things. We are investigating the case further,” a policeman said, according to Channel NewsAsia.

On Tuesday a teacher was gangraped in a field in broad daylight not far from linking Delhi-Lucknow National Highway 24, Indian Express reported.

Local Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has been in hot water ever since reports of this kind of attacks intensified with the LawlessUP hashtag and calls for his resignation trending on Twitter.

There were 337,922 reports of violent acts against women, including rape, molestation and abduction in 2014 which is nine percent more than in 2013, according to Reuters.

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Manhattan, New York: Anesthesia Awareness—What If I Am Awake During Surgery?

Andrew S. Griffin 1964 Turkey Pen Road Manhattan, NY 10016

Anesthesia Awareness - Awake Under Anesthesia

Fear of being awake under anesthesia, called anesthesia awareness or intraoperative awareness, causes a lot of anxiety for patients facing surgery.

Having anesthesia is scary for most people. As an anesthesiologist, I usually meet patients right before their surgeries. People facing surgery have many apprehensions and fears. More and more are concerned about anesthesia awareness.

I repeatedly hear that patients are often more apprehensive about the anesthesia than the surgery itself. And of all the fears that people have about the anesthetic side effects and anesthetic complications, the one I hear most often is, "I'm afraid of waking up during the surgery."

Anesthesia awareness has received a great deal of attention in the press over the last few years and even a full-length movie, called "Awake," capitalized on this fearful concept (I have reluctantly included the trailer here). But what is it really? Why and to whom does it occur? Keep reading to find out why it most likely won't happen to you.

"Awake" - Sensationalizing Anesthesia Awareness

What Is Anesthesia Awareness?

Anesthesia awareness, also called intraoperative awareness refers to a specific situation where a person is under general anesthesia for surgery and regains consciousness during the surgical procedure.

The definition of general anesthesia includes induction and maintenance of loss of consciousness. This means that you should not be able to wake up until the surgery is over. You do not respond to voice or painful stimuli.

For various reasons, some people do regain consciousness when they are under general anesthesia. For most people, this involves a very brief, hazy memory. Some people are aware of what is being said, but cannot move or indicate that they are awake. Still, there is usually no sensation of pain or awareness of the operation. The very rare, unfortunate few are awake, cannot move and do feel the surgery being done.

What Is NOT True Anesthesia Awareness?

There are many situations that are confused with anesthesia awareness.

Sedation anesthesia. I often have patients tell me they had anesthesia awareness during their colonoscopy or other procedure. These procedures are commonly done under intravenous sedation anesthesia. While the intravenous sedation drugs do cause sleepiness and often amnesia- you don't remember the procedure, they do not cause unconsciousness. It is not at all abnormal to be awake and remember these procedures. With the sedation, pain medications are either injected at the surgical site or given in the IV or both. You should still not be uncomfortable, even if you are awake, during surgeries or procedures under sedation.

Sedation plus spinal or epidural. Neither sedation or spinal/epidural anesthesia makes you unconscious during your operation. If you have spinal or epidural anesthesia to block the pain of surgery, you are usually also given sedation. The same is true for local anesthesia as well. In this case, it is not unusual or abnormal to have memories of being in the operating room. This is not anesthetic awareness.

Dreaming. Some people actually dream during their anesthetic, or more likely, when transitioning from unconsciousness back to wakefulness at the end of surgery. These dreams are often interpreted as actual wakefulness, but are not.

Waking at the end of surgery, but not able to move. When you return to consciousness, sometimes your brain is more awake than your body. You are waking up, but cannot move for a couple minutes. You can hear the anesthesiologist talking to you or feel the nurses putting bandages on your incisions, but cannot yet respond. The anesthesia wears off at different rates for different people. If your surgery is over, but you are still in the operating room and have memories of this, it is a normal variant of the emergence phase from anesthesia. Most people are conscious when they leave the operating room, post anesthesia, and many are talking and asking questions, but may not remember it later. If you do remember this phase, it's ok. The same is true for the beginning of your anesthetic, the anesthesia induction. Vague, hazy memories of being in the operating room are confusing and can be mistaken for being awake during the anesthetic.

Risk Factors for Intraoperative Awareness

Certain risk factors make anesthesia awareness more likely.

Type of surgery and type of anesthesia. Certain types of surgery are associated with higher incidences of anesthesia awareness. Surgeries where using lower concentrations and amounts of anesthetics is necessary to protect patients lead to more intraoperative awareness. Emergency cesarean sections, trauma surgeries, and open heart surgeries are the most likely cases to be associated with anesthesia awareness. Anesthesia challenges the body's physiology. Heart rates vary and blood pressures drop. When they cannot be adequately managed by giving more medication, the anesthetic must be "lightened" in order to NOT endanger the patients' lives.

There are certain brain and spinal cord surgeries that require that no anesthesia gas be used in order to not interfere with the nerve monitoring being used to prevent paralysis. The anesthetic called TIVA (total intra-venous anesthesia) also predisposes to higher rates of anesthesia awareness.

Type of patient. Patients who use illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine may be more likely to have intraoperative awareness. Not only do these drugs cause dangerous fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure, they make the metabolism of anesthetic drugs much more unpredictable.

Some prescription medications. Certain prescription medications may also increase the risk. Anesthetics are adjusted throughout the surgery based on surgical stimulation level, type of anesthesia and the heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure of the patient. Patients who take medications that block the normal increases in heart rate or blood pressure may have their signs of light anesthesia masked by the medication.

Statistics on Awareness Under Anesthesia

The American Society of Anesthesiologists estimates that some degree of anesthesia awareness occurs in about 1 in 1000 general anesthetics. It is believed that the majority of these cases are during the induction (beginning) of the anesthetic when the drugs haven't fully taken effect. Likewise, a great many cases are at the end of surgery, during anesthetic emergence, when the anesthetic is wearing off but isn't completely gone. These are not intraoperative awareness as the surgery is not occurring. Because the memories are fuzzy and confusing, patients often don't know that this wasn't during the surgery itself.

There are no exact statistics on true intraoperative awareness cases that occur during the surgery and cause distress and lasting trauma to the patient. It is, however, an area of active study and research.

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Again, talk to your doctors and ask questions if you are remotely concerned that this has happened to you.

Prevention: What You Can Do to Prevent Intraoperative Awareness.

Talk to your anesthesia doctor and provide accurate information. This is your best defense against intraoperative awareness.

So, be honest with your doctor about:

Your fears. Usually, this will help calm you. While no absolute guarantees can ever be made, your doctor can help pinpoint whether or not you have higher risk than average for this complication and let you know how he or she will address the risk. Alcohol consumption. Chronic, excessive alcohol intake results in a higher need for anesthetic medications. Illegal drugs use. Your anesthesiologist needs to know this to figure out which and how much anesthesia it will take to get you to sleep and keep you there. They are not there to judge you, but cannot keep you safe if they don't have all relevant information. All of your prescriptions and supplements. Different medications affect the metabolism of anesthesia differently. And just because supplements are "natural" or "alternative" doesn't mean they don't have side-effects or don't interfere with anesthetic medicines. How the Anesthesiologist Monitors During Surgery

The anesthesiologist, using intraoperative monitoring, will be watching your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate (if a ventilator doesn't need to be used). Increases in these seen on the intraop monitors indicates that the anesthesia is too "light." These parameters generally increase before any awareness occurs. The anesthesiologist is constantly adjusting the delivery of the anesthesia gas and giving other medication in the IV to keep the anesthesia level where it needs to be. The anesthesia is increased to ensure adequate depth of anesthesia if it's too light. Likewise, even though you are unconscious, your body will reflexively move to stimulation if the anesthetic depth needs to be increased. This also occurs before awareness.

The various brain monitors on the market have not been shown to reduce anesthesia awareness, despite what the makers of these expensive devices say. They do provide other useful information and may or may not be used if your hospital has them, at the discretion of the anesthesiologist.

BIS Monitor

A study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine" (August 18, 2011) has actually shown that relying on a BIS (brain) monitor can actually increase the incidence of intraoperative awareness vs. using measurement of the anesthetic concentration (the usual technique). This sounds counter-intuitive, but to me is not surprising. Here's why...

The BIS monitor (which I use for other information) gives a number that is indicates the level of consciousness. Other indicators include heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate/pattern changes (if the patient is breathing on their own). In my experience (disclaimer-based on only my experience, not scientific study), the changes in vital signs happen first. Heart rate goes up before you see a change in the BIS number. That means that providers who rely only on the BIS number and ignore the changes in vital signs may be missing the chance to prevent awareness. The awareness may have already happened before the change in BIS number is seen. There is a lag between the event and the change in BIS.

Personally, I try to use all the data available to me and not rely on the BIS monitor for prevention of awareness. Vital signs to me are more reliable, happen earlier (before awareness can occur in most cases) and should not be ignored to focus on the BIS monitor. The BIS does provide other useful info, but is not as reliable as the manufacturer may claim to prevent awareness.

Treatment for Anesthesia Awareness

If you have had a case of genuine intraoperative awareness, let your doctor, surgeon, or anesthesiologist know right away. Many people do well with just an explanation of why it might have happened. Others suffer short-term or even long-term post-traumatic stress disorder. In those cases, an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist and possible medications may be needed, usually on a short-term basis.

If you aren't sure if you had true anesthesia awareness, speak to your surgeon or contact the anesthesiologist. Most people who aren't sure have had one of the other experiences -- like sedation, dreaming, or waking at the end and being confused about the time -- and feel much better after having their questions answered.

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Boca Raton, Florida: Saudi Police Crack Ethiopian Prostitution Ring, Distilleries

Jeremy P. Almonte 4230 Sycamore Fork Road Boca Raton, FL 33486

Saudi police busted an Ethiopian prostitution ring and two distilleries in Riyadh, a newspaper reported Friday.

The prostitution ring was headed by an Ethiopian "infected with AIDS" and two of his brothers who employed several female compatriots in a brothel which also housed a distillery for the illegal brewing of alcohol, Al-Riyadh said.

The Ethiopian had previously been expelled from Saudi Arabia for pimping but managed to return on false papers, the paper said.

The police bust a second distillery run by four Indians with no residency papers and seized pornographic films on the premises, it said.

Authorities arrested last December 29 African prostitutes, some of them with AIDS, who entered the oil-rich Gulf state under the guise of pilgrims to Mecca - RIYADH (AFP)

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Auburn, Alabama: Michigan 'genital mutilation' case will test our country’s political correctness

Bradley M. Owen 378 Turkey Pen Lane Auburn, AL 36830

Charges of Islamophobia should not be used as an excuse to allow continued violation of little girls.

In February, federal investigators uncovered a Michigan-based network of doctors and others who practice female genital mutilation (FGM) on girls as young as six at medical clinics in the state. FGM is the cutting of a girl’s genitalia with the aim to “purify” her and repress her sexuality. All defendants in the case are members of the Dawoodi Bohra, a religious Muslim group. One of the girls who underwent the procedure was reportedly told that she was going on a “special girls' trip” to “get the germs out.”

While the victim in this case may find justice in the courtroom, their lives and bodies have been irrevocably changed. Survivors of FGM whom I spoke to for my documentary film Honor Diaries tell of the physical and emotional pain that remains long after the abuse. Sexual intercourse and childbirth become horribly painful and traumatic experiences. Women may have chronic urinary tract infections and are often plagued with depression and other invisible scars.

The World Health Organization estimates at least 200 million women today live with the consequences of FGM. In the United States, 507,000 women are at risk or have undergone the procedure. In the U.S., there is a federal statute against the practice and it is criminalized in several states. However, these laws have not prevented families from mutilating their girls or traveling overseas to undergo the process. All that might change.

The arrest and prosecution of the Michigan perpetrators is a groundbreaking moment for women’s rights activists in the United States and globally. I applaud the federal investigators and prosecutors who took a stand against gender-based violence. It is the first national prosecution of an FGM case and many important questions will be raised during the course of the investigation and trial.

Already, defendants attempted (and failed) to receive bond by using their religious freedom as a defense. Defendants asserted the practice should not be classified as FGM, but rather as a religious practice. U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Stafford denied bond stating that religion would not be used “as a shield” in the case. However, it is likely that as the case continues, religious freedom will be argued again.

I am concerned for the maelstrom which may ensue when the case goes to trial. At that moment, will women’s rights be asserted or will they be diluted in favor of political correctness? In the past, I’ve witnessed the disintegration of women’s rights in favor of political correctness: my film Honor Diaries was censored (in Michigan, actually) when certain groups deemed it “Islamophobic” for bringing up FGM, forced marriage and honor killings. Instead of focusing on the inherent misogyny of these practices, my film was vilified for having difficult conversations about cultural and religious practices.

The first federal FGM case will raise challenging questions. There is a simple metric we can use to evaluate competing claims: culture is no excuse for abuse. No religion or culture should be the impetus for hurting, mutilating or abusing anyone, and our children should be protected. For too long, FGM has been practiced under the radar in the United States. The arrest and prosecution of these individuals is a step in the right direction, but the true test will come at trial: will we allow our political correctness to coax us into complacency? Or will we use this moment to assert our loftiest convictions: that all people are equal and should be treated as such, regardless of their religion and culture? My hope for all women and girls is that we will stand for equality.

Paula Kweskin is an attorney specializing in human rights law. She is the producer of Honor Diaries and the founder/director of the Censored Women’s Film Festival, a response to the censorship she and other filmmakers have received for highlighting women’s rights.

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Baltimore, Maryland: Women orgasm just by SMELLING one particular vegetable shocking new study finds

Charles D. Haugen 3577 Hickory Heights Drive Baltimore, MD 21202

A mushroom of the dictyophora family, and synonymous with Hawaii, has been found to help women orgasm.

Known as phallus indusiatus, the mushroom cunningly resembles a man’s phallus and is dressed up in a fishnet like covering.

A study, published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms in 2001, revealed the smell from the mushroom triggered spontaneous orgasms.

The research was conducted by John Holliday of Next Laboratories in Kula, Hawaii and Noah Soule of Aloha Medicinals.

The duo tested the mushroom’s aphrodisiac effect in an experiment involving 16 women and 20 men.

The volunteers were asked to smell the mushroom, which is said to have a ‘fetid odour’.

Six women had orgasms, while the other 10, who received smaller doses, experienced an increased heart rate.

The study explained: “There are significant sexual arousal characteristics present in the fetid odour of this unique mushroom.

“These results suggest that the hormone like compounds present in the volatile portion of the spore mass may have some similarity to human neurotransmitters during sexual encounters.”

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Phallus indusiatus is also found in southern Asia, Africa and Australia, where it grows in woodlands and gardens in rich soil and well-rotted woody material.

Many people equate good sex with the type of orgasm they, and their partner, have.

But putting orgasms on such a high pedestal is one of the reasons why some women struggle to achieve one.

Speaking to Glamour, Leah S. Millheiser, M.D., Director of the Female Sexual Medicine programme at Stanford University Medical Centre, said: “The vast majority of young, healthy women (no medical disorders, not related to a medication, they’re either single or in a healthy relationship) who come into see me about never having an orgasm, it’s because of something mental.

“Often times these women are aware that they are stopping themselves from reaching orgasm.”

But there are also underlying health issues Dr Millheiser suggests ruling out.

Blood flow and muscle contraction determine the intensity of a woman’s orgasm.

But a peripheral vascular disease - a condition which reduces blood floret the limb - could be causing weak or nonexistent orgasms.

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