Delta flight diversion doesn’t save conjoined twins

After writing the Winona post another flight diversion story came out. Winona’s seemed trivial in comparison, although I’m always interested to sift through vagueness of words like “sick,” and who gets what treatment.

The latest diversion story that I read at CBCnews.com has a sad ending. Yesterday, a Delta plane taking Liberian conjoined twins from Brussels to New York had to make an emergency landing at Halifax airport after the twins stopped breathing. The mother, sitting next to them, noticed the problem. A doctor on board provided help, but the twins died before the plane landed.

The one month-old twins were on their way to New York for treatment. Once in Halifax, the mother and twins were taken to a medical examiners office to find out what went wrong, and the other passengers who were sitting close by were interviewed. The plane continued to JFK once the mother and babies were off and the interviews were completed.

Being on an airplane with conjoined twins would be dramatic as it is. When I read the story, I imagined what it would be like to be on the plane rooting for their survival, but to no avail.

Now, several people have had a flight experience and a story to tell that most of us will never have in our lifetimes. So sad to think about that mother. [This photo from One Tree Hill Studios is of a plane landing at Halifax.]

Surging food prices force Liberians to eat spaghetti

If you had to choose one, would you go for rice or pasta?

The rapid increase in food prices world wide might not be affecting the West much, but in many countries around the globe, it means changing their life-long habits and switching to cheaper foods, BBC reports.

For example, Liberia, which imports 90% of its rice from Asia and the US, saw prices more than double in the last six months, making it out of reach for ordinary Liberians. So they turn to pasta.

Spaghetti shacks are apparently springing up everywhere in working-class Monrovia. Liberians like to prepare their spaghetti “the Liberian way”, with lots of African chili pepper and cut into pieces to make it easier to eat.

Don’t be surprised if the next Italian celebrity chef comes from Liberia.

Your kid misbehaving? Send him to Liberia

From the New York Times city front-page today comes a remarkable story of a Staten Island mother who sent her teenage son back to Liberia. He was starting to turn to drugs, gangs, and all those other things that inner-city teens find tempting them on the street corner. Her solution was to send him to live with her brother in war-torn Liberia.

I won’t ruin the story for you–it’s pretty long but worth the read. What I wanted to ponder was in what situations a mother would make this choice. There are roughly 4,000 other Liberians living in her neighborhood. Should the parents of misbehaving teens send them back to the homeland, trading a violence-riddled life in the ghettos for a violence-riddled life in another ghetto? Of course, the violence on these continents are of different sorts. But it’s clear in this instance that the mother truly loved her son, it must have been a difficult decision indeed. The article really made me think about the bond between mother and son, and the worlds of Liberia and Staten Island–how similar and starkly different they can be.

The World’s Most Dangerous Destinations for 2007

BurundiHere at Gadling, we usually profile places people WANT to go. However, sometimes it’s useful to mention places to avoid. Consequently, here’s an interesting (and not altogether surprising) list of the 2007’s 12 Most Dangerous Destinations:

  • Somalia
  • Iraq
  • Afghanistan
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Pakistan
  • Burundi
  • Sri Lanka
  • Haiti
  • Chad
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia

Of course, you probably don’t think of these places as vacation destinations, unless you’re a whacked-out Robert Young Pelton. However, employees of governments, oil and mining industries, and telecom industries are increasingly being dispatched to these locations. If you work for one of those groups, be certain to ask about insurance, hazard pay — and a bodyguard.

Interestingly, the piece argues that the world is NOT getting more dangerous right now. Rather, globalization and the attendant “shrinking” of the planet is largely responsible for making the world APPEAR more dangerous now than before. Whether or not you agree with that assertion, the article is interesting, and the gallery is frightening.

Fifteen Most Dangerous Trips?

There’s a really terrific book out there called Non-Zero by Robert Wright, that I urge you all to read. The book’s premise is that there is a design to nature, an evolving complexity in all things, including human society. Forget “Intelligent Design”, at least as far as there being a single supreme being overseeing all the change, that’s not what this is about. His point is that things evolve the way Darwin said they did, but that the evolution seems to have a direction, and that direction is towards something he calls a Non-Zero world, where things improve through cooperation rather than (or in addition to) competition. If you look at the world today, you’d have to agree that (Iraq and a few other places…re: below notwithstanding) things have overall become much more peaceful, more organized, more safe.

Why the mini-essay? Because I think it is relevant to a piece I just read over at MSNBC/Forbes that lists the to fifteen most dangerous places in the world. That is, with so many places on the globe basically safe for travel, with the world, as I suggest become increasingly safe (if not sterile in some places) there are still countries you’d really think twice or three times about before visiting. These are not really places you’d plan to take your next honeymoon, but if you thrive on danger, you might consider traveling to them. What are these places, you ask? Here’s the list:

Afghanistan
Burundi
Cote d’Ivoire
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Georgia
Haiti
Iraq
Liberia
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Russia (Chechnya)
Somalia
Sudan
Zimbabwe