Archive for 31 octubre 2011

Nuevos datos historicos sobre La Batalla de Moscu.

31 octubre, 2011

– ¿Cómo se podría explicar la desproporción en las bajas durante la batalla de Moscú: 1.806.123 muertos en el bando soviético contra 581.900, en el bando alemán?

RIA NovostiLa Segunda Guerra MundialLa batalla que frustró los planes de Hitler en la URSS

17:45 31/10/2011 ¿Qué habría sido de la URSS si los nazis hubieran ocupado Moscú en otoño de 1941? ¿Fue el general Vlásov salvador de la capital rusa? ¿Sostuvo Stalin negociaciones separadas de paz con los alemanes?>>

EE.UU. castiga a la UNESCO tras admitir a los palestinos.

31 octubre, 2011

Redacción

BBC Mundo

Fue una victoria de la comunidad internacional en la cual Estados Unidos quedo aislado.

 

Última actualización: Martes, 1 de noviembre de 2011

Estados Unidos castigó a la Organización de Naciones Unidas para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura (UNESCO) al retirarle sus contribuciones financieras después de la aceptación en el organismo de los palestinos como miembros de pleno derecho.

La portavoz del Departamento de Estado de EE.UU. Victoria Nuland informó que la próxima entrega de US$60 millones de su país a la organización, que estaba programada para noviembre, no se hará efectiva.

El gobierno estadounidense tomó esta decisión en función a una ley aprobada en 1990 que prohíbe financiar a cualquier organismo de Naciones Unidas que admita a Palestina como miembro de derecho pleno antes de que alcancen un acuerdo de paz con Israel.

Pese a que Nuland definió la decisión de la UNESCO de admitir a Palestina como “lamentable” y “prematura”, la portavoz del Departamento de Estado afirmó que su país quiere seguir siendo un miembro activo de ese organismo.

Sin embargo, la reducción en su financiación supondrá un duro golpe para la organización, ya que cerca de una quinta parte de su presupuesto anual provenía hasta ahora de los fondos estadounidenses.

El periodista de la BBC en Washington Paul Adams explicó que EE.UU. “está en un aprieto”, ya que el país sigue considerando a la UNESCO como una importante agencia de la ONU, si bien está influido por la ley aprobada en 1990 por un Congreso que tenía una mayoría proisraelí.

Adhesión por mayoría

107 países votaron a favor de la adhesión palestina a la UNESCO.

Esta decisión se produjo horas después de que la mayoría de los países miembros votasen a favor de la incorporación de la Autoridad Nacional Palestina, que consiguió así un éxito diplomático al vencer las presiones en su contra de Estados Unidos e Israel.

De los 173 países que votaron, 107 lo hicieron a favor, 14 se opusieron y 52 se abstuvieron.

“Este voto eliminará una pequeña parte de la injusticia de la que es víctima el pueblo palestino”, dijo al pleno de la UNESCO en París el ministro de Relaciones Exteriores de la Autoridad Nacional Palestina (ANP), Riyad al Malki.

Los líderes palestinos hablan ya de un día histórico. Ven la entrada en la UNESCO como parte de una más amplia estrategia de presión para conseguir el reconocimiento internacional a su aspiración de constituirse en Estado, y poner presión sobre Israel.

La UNESCO es la primera agencia de Naciones Unidas en la que los palestinos buscaron entrar desde que solicitaron al Consejo de Seguridad su reconocimiento como Estado, el pasado mes de septiembre.

En ese sentido, la votación crucial está prevista para noviembre, cuando el Consejo de Seguridad se pronunciará sobre la solicitud de las autoridades palestinas de ser reconocidos como Estado.

Presión diplomática

Washington ya ha adelantado que ejercerá su derecho de veto. Pero en la UNESCO no tiene tal prerrogativa y no pudo impedir la entrada de los palestinos. Sin embargo, no fue algo ante lo que se quedaron de brazos cruzados.

“Como un asesor de la ANP comentó, fue un fracaso del poderío estadounidense y los palestinos consiguieron lo que querían”

Jon Donnison, BBC Jerusalén

Según Jon Donnison, de la BBC en Jerusualén, Washington puso en marcha una ofensiva diplomática para tratar de evitar la entrada de los palestinos en el organismo.

“Hicieron presión para que los palestinos perdieran la votación. Pero como un asesor de la ANP comentó, fue un fracaso del poderío estadounidense y los palestinos consiguieron lo que querían”, señaló Donnison.

Tras conocerse el resultado de la votación el embajador de EE.UU. ante el organismo, David T. Killion insistió en la idea de que su país “ha sido claro en la necesidad de una solución de dos Estados”.

“Pero el único camino es a través de negociaciones, no hay atajos. Iniciativas como las de hoy son contraproducentes”, dijo Killion.

No pareció pensar eso el plenario de la UNESCO, que recibió con un aplauso generalizado el resultado de la votación.

Desde la oficina de la BBC en París, David Chazan comenta que los palestinos está celebrando el resultado como una victoria moral y un paso adelante hacia la condición de Estado.

Y es que en la primera agencia que hacen un intento para adquirir la condición de miembro pleno fueron recibidos con un resultado favorable.

El apoyo de los árabes fue decisivo a la hora de conseguir pasar los dos tercios que necesitaban, pese a las gestiones de Washington por evitarlo.

En una sesión muy intensa, los países del BRICS (Brasil, Rusia, India, China y Sudáfrica) votaron a favor. También España.

Mientras entre los que se opusieron estuvieron EE.UU., Canadá y Alemania, entre otros. El Reino Unido se contó entre las abstenciones, junto a Colombia y México.

Al ser parte de la UNESCO, ahora los palestinos podrán hacer que sus monumentos sean candidatos a formar parte del “Patrimonio de la Humanidad”.

Rechazo israelí

Por su parte, Israel reaccionó advirtiendo que la decisión de la UNESCO pone en peligro la paz en la región.

“Este voto eliminará una pequeña parte de la injusticia de la que es víctima el pueblo palestino”

Riyad al Malki, canciller de la ANP

“Israel lamenta la decisión de la Asamblea General de la UNESCO aceptando la membresía palestina en la organización”, señala un comunicado del ministro de Exteriores, Avigdor Lieberman.

“Esta es una maniobra unilateral palestina que no llevará cambios al terreno más que mayores obstáculos para un acuerdo de paz”, agrega el comunicado.

“Esta decisión no convertirá a la ANP en un estado real y pone problemas en el camino de retomar las negociaciones”.

Poco antes de que se produjera la votación, Lieberman había advertido que su país consideraría “cortar todos los contactos con la ANP” si eran aceptados en la UNESCO.

Pero según Donnison, eso “parece complicado de llevar a cabo por parte de Israel”.

“Se ha hablado en recientes semanas hasta de disolver la ANP por no haber conseguido avanzar en el proceso de negociación de la paz con Israel. Si eso pasara, el pueblo palestino en Cisjordania y Jerusalén oriental pasarían a ser responsabilidad de Israel, y no estoy seguro de que eso es algo que Tel Aviv quiera”.

“Serias consecuencias”

Una de las claves está en que, como señala Donnison, los palestinos “no creen que las conversaciones de paz estén llevando a ningún lado”.

“Sienten que no tienen nada que perder. No han conseguido nada en dos décadas de negociaciones. Y sólo ven un camino para presionar a Israel, si las negociaciones llegan a retomarse”.

“Esto tendría serias consecuencias, habría que cortar programas y todo el presupuesto tendría que ser rebalanceado”

Irina Bokova, UNESCO

Antes de conocerse la decisión de EE.UU. de retirar la financiación a la UNESCO, la directora general del organismo, Irina Bokova, expresó su preocupación al respecto y afirmó que de producirse tendría “serias consecuencias”.

“Habría que cortar programas y todo el presupuesto tendría que ser rebalanceado”, dijo Bokova al plenario tras la votación.

El secretario general de la ONU, Ban Ki-moon, dijo que es necesario “trabajar para encontrar soluciones prácticas de cara a garantizar las fuentes de financiación de la UNESCO”.

No sería la primera vez que EE.UU. boicotea la Unesco. Ya lo hizo entre 1984 y 2003 por lo que el Departamento de Estado llamó “creciente disparidad entre la política exterior de EE.UU. y los objetivos de la UNESCO”.

Sin embargo, el presidente Barack Obama considera el organismo de interés estratégico para su país y lo ve como una herramienta útil de política multilateral de difundir ciertos valores occidentales.

Siete revistas publican unas normas para comunicar mejor los descubrimientos.

28 octubre, 2011

"Sarasota Memorial Hospital" in Sarasota County, Florida is the nucleus of a medical research community.

  • Long life’s secrets may lie in DNA

    “Sarasota Heradl Tribune”(Front Page)RESEARCH: Centenarians will have their genomes sequenced for answers

     

    By MALCOLM RITTER Associated Press

     

    Published: Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
    Last Modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 10:54 p.m.

    NEW YORK – George Eberhardt turned 107 last month, and scientists would love to know how he and other older folks like him made it that far. So he is going to hand over some of his DNA.

    He is one of 100 centenarians taking part in a project announced Wednesday that will examine some of the oldest citizens with one of the newest scientific tools: whole-genome sequencing, the deciphering of a person’s complete collection of DNA.

    Scientists think DNA from very old healthy people could offer clues to how they lived so long. And that could one day lead to medicines to help the rest of us stay disease-free longer.

    By the time you reach, say, 105, “it’s very hard to get there without some genetic advantages,” says Dr. Thomas Perls, a geriatrics expert at Boston University.

    Perls is helping find centenarians for the Archon Genomics X Prize competition. The X Prize Foundation, best known for a spaceflight competition, is offering $10 million in prize money to researchers who decipher the complete DNA code from 100 people older than 100. The contest will be judged on accuracy, completeness and the speed and cost of sequencing.

    The contest is a relaunch of an older competition with a new focus on centenarians, and it’s the second sequencing project involving the elderly to be announced this month.

    Genome pioneer J. Craig Venter says the centenarian project is just a first step in revealing the genetic secrets of a long and healthy life.

    “We need 10,000 genomes, not 100, to start to understand the link between genetics, disease and wellness,” said Venter, who is co-chairing the X Prize contest.

    The 107-year-old Eberhardt of Chester, N.J., played and taught tennis until he was 94. He said he is participating in the X Prize project because he is interested in science and technology. It’s not clear his genes will reveal much. Nobody else in his extended family reached 100, and he thinks only a couple reached 90, he said in a telephone interview.

    So why does he think he lived so long? He credits 70 years of marriage to his wife, Marie. She in turn cites his “intense interest in so many things” over a lifetime, from building radios as a child to pursuing a career in electronics research.

    But scientists believe there is more to it, and they want to use genome sequencing to investigate. Dr. Richard Cawthon of the University of Utah, who is seeking longevity genes by other means, says it may turn up genetic features that protect against multiple diseases or that slow the process of aging in general.

    Protective features of a centenarian’s DNA can even overcome less-than-ideal lifestyles, says Dr. Nir Barzilai of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His own study of how centenarians live found that “as a group, they haven’t done the right things.”

    Many in the group he studied were obese or overweight. Many were smokers, and few exercised or followed a vegetarian diet. His oldest participant, who died this month just short of her 110th birthday, smoked for 95 years.

    “She had genes that protected her against the environment,” Barzilai said. One of her sisters died at 102, and one of her brothers is 105 and still manages a hedge fund.

    Earlier this month, Scripps Health of San Diego announced a different genome project involving the elderly. The Scripps Wellderly Study will receive the complete genomes of 1,000 people age 80 and older from a sequencing company.

    A complete genome reveals not only genes but also other DNA that’s responsible for regulating genes. It’s “the full monty,” showing DNA elements that are key for illness and health, says Dr. Eric Topol, who heads the Wellderly Study.

    Participants in that study have an average age of 87 and range up to 108, and they’ve never had diabetes, heart disease or cancer, or any neurological disease.

    “Why are these people Teflon-coated?” Topol asked. “Why don’t they get disease?” The ability to turn out lots of complete genomes is “the new-new thing” in trying to find out, he said.

    “There’s been too much emphasis on disorders per se and not enough on the people who are exceptionally healthy,” to learn from their genomes, Topol said. “Now we have the powerful tools to do that.”

     

  • Muchos análisis sobre factores de riesgo generan falsas expectativas
  • Siete revistas publican unas normas para comunicar mejor los descubrimientos

María Sánchez-Monge| Madrid, “El Mundo.es”, Biociencia.

Solo se confirma el 0,2% de las asociaciones entre un gen y una enfermedad. | Mitxi

Actualizado miércoles 26/10/2011 05:03 horas

“Cuesta un poco reconocer que las cosas no siempre se hacen con todo el rigor necesario“. Miquel Porta, coordinador del grupo de investigación en epidemiología clínica y molecular del cáncer del Instituto de Investigación Hospital del Mar (IMIM) de Barcelona, admite que muchos estudios contienen deficiencias importantes que restan validez a los hallazgos. “Pero, por otra parte, los investigadores siempre hemos contado con directrices y la comunicación científica dispone de mecanismos para regularse”, añade. Porta forma parte de un grupo internacional de científicos que ha elaborado unas normas para comunicar los estudios de factores de riesgo genético y molecular de forma más precisa y ética.

Las nuevas pautas, publicadas simultáneamente en siete revistas científicas, instan a contar con más detalle cómo se llevan a cabo los ensayos sobre los factores de riesgo que ayudan, entre otras cosas, a predecir el riesgo de sufrir una determinada enfermedad, o bien a diagnosticarla. Por ejemplo, la mutación de un gen o la presencia de cantidades elevadas de una proteína en sangre. Se trata de los denominados biomarcadores, cuyo uso se ha extendido rápidamente en los últimos tiempos y que han propiciado grandes avances, pero no han estado exentos de polémica.

“Efectivamente, se han generado falsas expectativas porque tendemos a exagerar las implicaciones de nuestros hallazgos“, asevera Porta. La revista ‘The Journal of the American Medical Association’ (‘JAMA’) publicó este verano un artículo que constató que buena parte de los estudios con resultados muy positivos han sido posteriormente rebatidos por trabajos más amplios o revisiones sistemáticas. Es lo que sucedió con la vinculación entre la proteína C reactiva en sangre y las enfermedades cardiovasculares, así como con el gen BRCA1 y el riesgo de cáncer de colon.

Los investigadores publican preferentemente los estudios con resultados positivos, guardando en el cajón los que no les han llevado a las conclusiones deseadas. Pero es que los propios directores de revistas científicas desechan los ensayos cuyos descubrimientos no son ‘redondos’.

Porta cita como ejemplo de lo que no se debe hacer las investigaciones realizadas hace algunos años que observaron una asociación entre un alto nivel de pesticidas en el cuerpo y un mayor riesgo de cáncer de mama. “Esos resultados iniciales no se confirmaron, pero tampoco es que se hayan descartado”, comenta. “Los trabajos que se realizaron posteriormente no se hicieron bien y, finalmente, se abandonó esa línea de investigación”, resume.

En el ámbito de la genética, el panorama es, según el epidemiólogo barcelonés, “desolador”, ya que “sólo se confirma el 0,2% de los hallazgos que relacionan un gen con una enfermedad”. Ante esta situación, las nuevas directrices se perfilan como un paso obligado. Lógicamente, no se puede forzar a ningún científico a que las cumpla, pero las revistas que las suscriben (‘PLoS Medicine, ‘European Journal of Clinical Investigation’, ‘European Journal of Epidemiology, ‘Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, ‘Journal of Clinical Epidemiology’, ‘Preventive Medicine y ‘Mutagenesis’) se han comprometido a publicar sólo aquellos estudios que se ajusten a ellas.

Por otro lado, la experiencia muestra que las anteriores directrices, referidas a otros aspectos de la investigación, han servido como revulsivo para reducir las malas prácticas. Bajo el nombre de STROBE-ME (acrónimo en inglés de Fortaleciendo la Conmunicación de los Estudios Observacionales en Epidemiología-Epidemiología Molecular), se recoge el conjunto de recomendaciones que ayudarán a los investigadores a contar de forma más completa y precisa los resultados de sus trabajos, de tal manera que la comunidad científica pueda evaluar sus puntos fuertes y débiles e interpretar claramente los resultados. Los promotores de STROBE-ME harán un seguimiento para comprobar el grado de cumplimiento de la iniciativa.

Autores cubanos en revistas extranjerashttp://www.infomed.sld.cu/
27-10-2011

Unexpanded and Intermediate CAG Polymorphisms at SCA2 Locus (ATXN2) in the Cuban population: Evidences About the Origin of Expanded SCA2 Alleles
Laffita-Mesa J M, Velázquez-Pérez LC, Santos Falcón N. et al. Eur J Hum Gen. doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.154.
european-journal-of-geneticsMutaciones genéticas en el gen de la ataxina-2 es la causa de la ataxia espinocerebelosa tipo 2 (SCA2). Esta mutación consiste en repeticiones anormales del triplete CAG (Citosina-Adenina-Guanina) en el gen SCA2/ATXN2 en el cromosoma 12. Cuando la longitud de estos tripletes sobrepasa ciertos umbrales causan neurodegeneración del sistema nervioso.

A la derecha de Alfa Centauro.

23 octubre, 2011

Cristina Fernandez, Presidenta de Argentina.

23 octubre, 2011

Libyan City of Sirte Destroyed by NATO and “Rebels”.

23 octubre, 2011

Lybia today.

Sirte destroyed by NTC-NATO offensive in Libya

By Chris Marsden; 18 October 2011 – WSWS
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/oct2011/liby-o18.shtml

The Libyan town of Sirte has been all but destroyed and its inhabitants turned into homeless refugees. This situation has gone largely unreported, but those press reports that have emerged paint a picture of a city being reduced to ruins by attacks of the National Transitional Council (NTC) “rebels” and NATO bombing raids against which it has no defense.

“After weeks of intense fighting, Moammar Gaddafi’s home town appeared Saturday to have been largely destroyed, with most of its population fled and holes the size of manhole covers blown in apartment buildings and the ousted leader’s showcase convention center,” writes the Washington Post of Muammar Gaddafi’s coastal hometown of around 100,000 residents.

Once considered to be a showpiece of urban development in Libya, Sirte has been the target of NATO bombing and NTC attacks since shortly after the fall of Tripoli in late August. In the last ten days, it has been the object of an intensified offensive. The Post states that “the damage wreaked in Sirte raises the question of whether its residents will go quietly into the post-Gaddafi future — or retain a smoldering anger that could fuel an insurgency.”

The Telegraph in Britain, which backs Gaddafi’s ouster, nevertheless comments that Sirte, which once had “a brilliant panoply of university and hospitals, with a glittering seafront and a marble-lined conference centre to host leaders from around the world,” is now “a squalid ruin.”

“Rebel fighters gazing at the devastation concede it is difficult to see how much of it could ever be repaired and made habitable again,” it notes. “The shattered remains of housing blocks and the wreckage of once comfortable homes…are more reminiscent of the grimmest scenes from Grozny, towards the end of Russia’s bloody Chechen war, than of anything seen in Libya so far. And the area around the grid of streets where anything between 200 and 500 loyalists are still holding out have become a killing ground, with loyalists, civilians and forces of the new Libyan government dying by the day.”

Former residents who have returned “found almost every house and building either damaged by a rocket or mortar, burned out or riddled with bullets. Water floods the streets and the city’s infrastructure is in tatters,” writes Reuters.

These events shatter the pretenses on which the NATO war against Libya was launched — i.e. claims that the possibility that Gaddafi might carry out mass reprisals against protesters justified a NATO intervention to disarm him. Far from planning reprisals against defenseless protesters, the Libyan army soon faced a war in which they were outclassed by NATO forces intervening to support the “rebels.” Reports from Sirte now suggest that the NTC forces are now carrying out collective punishment in the city.

Reuters comments: “the ferociousness of the bombardment of Sirte and the burning of homes that belong to Gaddafi family members and supporters has raised suspicions that some fighters loyal to the NTC are looking for reprisals.” It cited residents returning to Sirte and accusing NTC fighters “of demolishing and looting homes, shops and public buildings.”

“They envy and hate us because Muammar is from here. But we are just civilians. The revolutionaries are coming here for revenge and destruction,” said a Sirte resident.

Another resident, Abu Anas, states: “What’s happening in Sirte is revenge, not liberation. When someone comes and takes your personal car and destroys your home, this is not liberation.”

NTC forces “clearly feel no need for restraint in bombarding the Gaddafi loyalists. That’s especially true of the many fighters from Misrata, a city to the west scarred by a bloody siege by Gaddafi’s troops in the spring,” the Post comments.

Numerous reports indicate that the NTC forces are looting the town. “Orders from the National Transitional Council to outlaw looting have done nothing to deter the rebel stragglers gutting abandoned buildings,” the Telegraph states.

Reuters reporters saw NTC fighters “roaming the streets of Sirte with chairs, [tires] and computers on the backs of their pickup trucks. Brand new BMW and Toyota cars were seen being driven away by the fighters and being towed outside of the city.”

Associated Press reporters “also saw trucks carrying equipment from Sirte’s airport, including red-carpeted mobile staircases, baggage carts, airplane towing vehicles and security screening equipment, all apparently meant for Misrata’s badly damaged airport. Smaller pickups were loaded with rugs, freezers, refrigerators, furniture and other household goods, apparently taken by civilians and fighters to be used in their homes or resold.”

Tens of thousands of residents have fled the city. However, Gabriele Rossi, the emergency coordinator in Sirte for the Doctors without Borders charity organization, told the Washington Post that doctors fear thousands of civilians may be trapped in the areas of the city still being contested: “We are extremely concerned for those people that are inside [Sirte] and cannot get access to health care.”

A doctor for Doctors without Borders in Sirte has estimated that 10,000 people remain trapped in the city, including women and children, some sick or injured.

According to CNN, Doctors without Borders personnel working at the Ibn Sina hospital are still dealing with 50 patients yet to be evacuated. They are “mostly people who have suffered violent trauma, severe burns and fractures, according to MSF. Almost all patients need daily dressing and immediate medical care. There are also some pregnant women in the hospital.

“There is no water supply in the hospital and one of four operating theatres has been shelled,” the charity said. “The medical staff has been working around the clock and are showing signs of exhaustion and post-traumatic stress disorder.”

The total number of dead and injured in the onslaught cannot be determined. Information is scanter still regarding Bani Walid, also under NTC/NATO siege for weeks, which the NTC now claims to have captured.

The destruction of Sirte is a fitting testament to the true character of NATO’s “humanitarian intervention” into Libya. Begun with claims that military bombardment would save Benghazi, the illegal war of aggression has instead laid waste to large swaths of the country.

As for reconstruction, there are already indications that the imperialist powers intend to use the funds they have earmarked for Libya for further fighting, not rebuilding the devastated country.

Reuters reported this week that the emergency “relief fund” set up in a Qatari account to circumvent sanctions — now worth over half a billion US dollars — will no longer be available “for providing emergency cash” and will be used “to invest in long-term projects… Thousands of Libyans fleeing fighting in the besieged cities of Sirte and Bani Walid are straining the resources of struggling nearby towns, but the emergency relief fund set up by foreign donors says it is no longer its job to help.”

In reality, only $130 million of the $500 million Temporary Financing Mechanism has been released and this has covered fuel, hospital bills and salaries.

Local authorities “say they have only received a fraction of the money they need to cope with the flood of families escaping the fighting” in Sirte and Bani Walid. “In Tripoli, officials said the capital’s resources were also being tested by the arrival of thousands of internally displaced people and more money was needed to provide services in the capital.”

A local official said Tripoli has only actually received a paltry 15 million dinars, or $12.2 million.

“Most of Libya’s estimated $170 billion in frozen assets are still out of reach, and despite pledges by global powers to make money available, just one third of a promised $15 billion has been unfrozen,” the report concludes.

Yesterday UK Foreign Secretary William Hague was in Tripoli to reopen Britain’s embassy, which was looted and torched in May in angry response to NATO’s air strikes. He marked this “watershed” moment with a promise of a paltry £20 million pounds ($32 million) for Libya’s stabilization fund, another £20 million to support “political and economic reform,” and health care in the UK for at most 50 Libyans injured in the war.

Cuban oil open to the Bussines.

23 octubre, 2011

Talking about money and jobs.

How Cuba’s Oil Find Could Change the US Embargo,By Tim PadgettThursday, Oct. 23, 2008
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1853252,00.html#ixzz1bea3Rbxs
For decades, the only promise most Cubans saw in the ocean north of their island was the current that carries homemade rafts to Florida. That all changed a few years ago when geologistsestimated that between 5 billion bbl. and 10 billion bbl. of oil lie beneath the waters off Cuba’s northwest coast. Suddenly it seemed as though the hemisphere’s sole communist nation might finally end its desperate dependence on oil-rich allies like the former Soviet Union and Venezuela — and perhaps even escape its impoverished economic time warp altogether.

Washington’s own Cuba time warp got a jolt as well. The oil discovery has renewed debate over whether a crude-thirsty U.S. should loosen its 46-year-old trade embargo against Cuba and let yanqui firms join the drilling, which is taking place fewer than 100 miles off U.S. shores. Despite the Bush Administration’s hard line on Cuba, Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation to exempt Big Oil from the embargo. That clamor is sure to rise — especially if Barack Obama, who is more open to dialogue with Havana, becomes the next President — now that Cuba’s state oil company, Cubapetroleo, or Cupet, has announced a stunning new estimate of more than 20 billion bbl. bubbling off its shores. “This is not a game,” Cupet’s exploration manager, Rafael Tenreyro, assured reporters in Havana last week.

If true, those potential reserves could make Cuba a major petro player in the hemisphere. (The U.S. has reserves of 29 billion bbl.) And it could render the embargo an even more ineffective means of dislodging the aging Castro brothers, Fidel and current President Raúl. “If it really is 20 billion, then it’s a game changer,” says Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado, a Cuba oil analyst at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. “It provides a lot more justification for changing elements of the embargo, just as we did when we allowed agricultural and medical sales to Cuba” a decade ago.

But is the Cuban calculation really on the level? Skeptics ask if the 20-billion-bbl. estimate is just a ploy to rekindle investor interest, at a time when falling oil prices could make the maritime find less attractive to the potential international partners Cuba needs to extract the oil. The effort is all the more urgent, they add, because reduced oil revenues could also make friends like left-wing Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez less able to aid Cuba with cut-rate crude shipments and capital to improve the island’s aged refineries. “The Cuba numbers from my point of view are not valid,” says Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow at the University of Miami and an expert on Cuba’s oil business. “I think they’re feeling a lot of pressure right now to accelerate the development of their own oil resources.” Benjamin-Alvarado gives Cuba’s geologists more benefit of the doubt; but he calls the 20-billion-bbl. estimate “off the charts.” “I trust them as oil people, and their seismic readings might be right,” he says, “but until we see secondary, outside analysis, this is going to be suspect.”

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a government agency, made the initial estimate of 5 billion bbl.to 10 billion bbl. for Cuba’s northwest offshore sector (known as the Exclusive Economic Zone, or EEZ) in 2004. Tenreyro says Cupet’s analysis is based on what he calls a more accurate comparison of similar maritime oil fields like those off Mexico’s Gulf Coast. “We’re talking about that magnitude,” he argued last week. “We have more data” than the USGS. But Cupet, an arm of Cuba’s ultra-secret communist government, hasn’t offered much more evidence than that. Chris Schenk, who as USGS coordinator in the Caribbean led the 2004 survey, agrees that Cuban geologists “are very good.” But he adds, “We would like to see more data.” Still, Schenk notes, because of the embargo and Havana’s insular information policies, “we can’t converse with the Cubans.”

The Spanish energy company Repsol-YPF has entered into a production-sharing agreement with Cupet and is scheduled to start drilling the first real well in the EEZ next year. Other international firms, including Norway’s StatoilHidro and India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp., are part of the Repsol-led consortium. Venezuela’s state-run Petroleos de Venezuela is considered a lesser player because it has little deep-water drilling experience. (China is also interested but so far only involved in onshore drilling in Cuba.) Cuba is now in important negotiations with Brazil’s Petrobras, which just made its own multibillion-barrel oil find off its coast near Rio de Janeiro and could, analysts say, be the major offshore drilling partner for Cuba if it jumps in.

Still, the concessions so far represent less than a quarter of the 59 drilling blocks that Cuba hopes to exploit in the 43,000-sq.-mi. (112,000 sq km) EEZ. Analysts say one reason is the daunting infrastructural difficulties facing any company that drills in Cuba: firms have to bring much more of their own capital, equipment, technology and on-the-ground know-how than usual. This year’s severe hurricane damage in Cuba has made the situation worse. Canada’s Sherritt, in fact, recently dropped out of its four-block contract. “Who else is going to be willing to actually come in and take the risk in Cuba?” says Benjamin-Alvarado. “In terms of proximity and technology, the only people really able to do it to the extent the Cubans need are the Americans.”

Cuba now produces about 60,000 barrels of oil per day (BPD) and consumes more than 150,000 BPD. (It also produces natural gas.) Venezuela makes up the difference by shipping almost 100,000 BPD to Cuba. The University of Miami’s Pinon says the more serious issue is refining capacity: even if Cuba has only the low estimate of 5 billion bbl. — which could yield more than 300,000 BPD — it needs Venezuela’s investment to upgrade refineries like the Soviet-built plant at Cienfuegos. But plummeting crude prices mean that Chávez may have a lot less wealth to spread around for his petro-diplomacy projects. “Like the collapse of the Soviet Union,” says Pinon, “this kind of thing has always been Cuba’s Achilles’ heel.”

If Cuba really does have 20 billion bbl. to drill, however, it could more easily find other interested refinery investors, like Brazil. The question is whether the U.S. will want to step off the sidelines and get a piece of the action too. Kirby Jones, head of the U.S.-Cuba Trade Association and an embargo opponent, says Tenreyro’s staff has been credible in the past, and he believes the new estimate is probably accurate. “So for the U.S., this becomes an 800-lb. guerrilla knocking on everybody’s door,” says Jones. “With that much oil, there would be the feeling that there’s a real [U.S.] price to be paid for [maintaining] the embargo. It changes Cuba’s economic situation drastically and makes the U.S. less relevant.”

Perhaps, but in the short run it’s more likely to make the U.S. more determined to do its own offshore drilling. Vice President Dick Cheney and other Bush Administration officials point to Cuba’s petro fortunes as justification for opening more of America’s coastline to oil production. Recent polls in U.S. coastal states like Florida support that idea, despite environmentalist complaints that both U.S. and Cuban offshore rigs will foul the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, embargo proponents on Capitol Hill have sponsored bills that would, among other sanctions, deny visas to the executives of foreign oil companies that drill oil in Cuba. Their reasoning: the more oil wealth Havana gains, the less incentive it has to pursue democratic reform.

That last part may well be true. But at the end of the day, U.S.-Cuba relations continue to exist in a Cold War time warp. As a result, in both Washington and Havana, 20 billion bbl. of oil might not be such a game changer after all.

— With reporting by Dolly Mascarenas / Mexico City

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1853252,00.html#ixzz1bea3Rbxs

“The Heroes of Fukushima” won Prince of Asturias 2011.

23 octubre, 2011

“Our society, in which the inestimable dignity of life, of each life, is too often questioned, needs you: you make a decisive contribution to building the civilization of love.”,Benedict XVI.

H.R.H.thePrince of Asturias

Speechatthe2011AwardsPresentationCeremony

Yesterday we learned that those who have tormented Spanish society with their terrorist violence have accepted their defeat. This is definitely good news. It is, above all, a great victory for the Rule of Law. A victory for the will and determination of democratic institutions, for the effective, selfless sacrifice and efforts of our Law Enforcement Forces; in short, for our society as a whole. At this time in which freedom and reason vanquish barbarity, I wish to cast my gaze back – I would like us all to cast our gazes back – with tremendous feeling and respect towards the victims, towards their pain and to pay an emotion-laden tribute to their memory and their dignity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This evening we have gathered here in gratitude to honour our Laureates. Their presence here among us in Oviedo has allowed us to underline even more their merits and the valuable lessons of their lives, dedicated to work, committed to art, to science, to sport, to solidarity. We do so with admiration and great satisfaction as our Foundation helps to keep alive, in these difficult times, the values and goals for which it was set up more than thirty years ago.
This ceremony is a compendium of all of these values: of our will to honour exemplary behaviour, to offer society a looking glass in which to see itself and positive models to emulate, and also to share with everyone, in essence, a message of hope.
We are grateful for the support and generosity of so many people who have made our work possible: the members of the different Juries, the Trustees and Patrons of the Foundation, the national and international media and the distinguished guests and visitors who both honour us and regale us today with their presence.
The Princess and I are particularly grateful to those in this beloved Asturias who always welcome us with such affection and receive the Laureates with admiration and heart-felt joy.
We also remember today with sadness Juan Luis Iglesias Prada, the former Secretary General of the Foundation, who passed away last March. We will greatly miss his enthusiasm and the excitement and love with which he worked for the benefit of our institution, to which he positively contributed through his bonhomie and his intelligence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
We turn now to the Laureates to reflect, albeit briefly, on their invaluable work and to extol their merits.

1.-  The Neapolitan maestro Riccardo Muti, Laureate for the Arts, is one of the greatest orchestra conductors. He has conducted the most important ensembles with exquisite sensitivity on the most prestigious stages in the world. He is, moreover, a humanist with a deep commitment to research, devoted especially to recovering major historical works that he rescues from oblivion to make them a part of current repertoires. Maestro Muti ceaselessly vindicates the need to support and boost the teaching of music, as essential for education to be truly comprehensive. His immense talent also rests on a transcendent conception of music, on the idea that conducting sets off a process that commences with the composer to then reach the baton of the conductor, who is able to extract the feelings of each singer and musician so as to finally convey them to the audience. On this difficult, on-going path of learning, Muti humbly acknowledges that he will never get to his destination, because, as he says, beyond the notes “abides the infinite”.

His experience and renown do not stop him from gratefully evoking those who were his teachers, while he devotes himself to his daily work of delving ever deeper into music’s power and secrets. This is what transcends from the beauty and communicative capacity of his performance as an artist and what generates so much admiration and praise worldwide.

2.- The Award for Social Sciences has been conferred on the American psychologist Howard Gardner, who has worked and carried out research above all in the field of Education Sciences. He is the author of the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and his studies in this field, on the way these intelligences develop have led to numerous innovations being introduced into the education system, with the principal goal of achieving –  as he has stated recalling Plato – that “people want to do what they ought to do”. This formulation, though straightforward in appearance, often clashes with teaching methods which, by simplifying and putting limits on their goals, have given priority to only some forms of intelligence to the detriment of others. The fullest development of our capabilities facilitates what, for Gardner, is good work: work that is of a high quality and is aimed at improving the lives of others; that is to say, work that is excellent, committed and ethical.

For over ten years now, through the Goodwork Project fostered by the University of Harvard, Howard Gardner has proposed to identify individuals and organisations that are an example of excellent work. He also seeks a way to make their presence felt more often in our society. This he does in collaboration with an international team of researchers who turn into reality his determination to improve the education, and hence the future, of human beings.

3.- This optimum way of working also stands out especially in the work carried out for over 350 years by The Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific community, which has received our Award for Communication and Humanities. Its admirable mission consists in pushing back the frontiers of knowledge through the development and use of science to the benefit of humanity. These are great aims that require a truly solid organisation, such as that of The Royal Society, made up of individuals who love their work and passionately defend the supreme benefit of knowledge in addition to the importance of its generalisation.

On this evening devoted to culture and values, the centuries-old background of The Royal Society serves to both highlight and defend the social priority of education and instruction; the need to spread knowledge and to put our principles into play for the benefit of us all; the conviction that this is the surest way to finally overcome injustice, violence and fanaticism, as well as the suffering and pain they produce in so many human beings.

4.- From this point of view, the question raised by Bill Drayton, on whom our Award for International Cooperation has been bestowed, is even more pertinent. “What is the most powerful force in the world?” And Drayton responds: A good idea, every time”. Over the thirty years in which his Ashoka Foundation has identified and backed some 3,000 social entrepreneurs worldwide, Bill Drayton has undoubtedly been able to corroborate over and over again that this is more than just a statement. It is a fact and a truly beneficial one at that.

The work initiated by Drayton – which Ashoka has developed over time – focuses on and highlights fundamental characteristics of social entrepreneurship; features such as creativity, fortitude and, above all, trust. Bill Drayton also strives so that our actions have positive repercussions for society and our work takes on increasingly higher levels of social responsibility. In short, he works with the aim of changing and improving the world.

Social entrepreneurs discover and put into practice feasible solutions to social problems, seeing opportunities where others only perceive threats. As way of working becomes even more necessary in times of crisis, this recognition here today of Bill Drayton’s work becomes especially significant. One can look to the future fearfully or confidently and only those who truly believe in human beings – as is the case of social entrepreneurs – are in a situation to face the future with hope.  This is the value of the Ashoka Foundation and social entrepreneurs. This is the significant and intelligent path trodden by Bill Drayton, whom we distinguish here today.

5.-  The neurobiologists Joseph Altman, Arturo Alvarez-Buylla and Giacomo Rizzolatti have received the Award for Technical and Scientific Research. Thanks to their contributions, we know more about the human brain and can better understand this fundamental organ for exercising the capabilities that make our species so unique. We are obliged once more to recall here our countryman Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the founder of Neurobiology, who, at the beginning of the last century, already intuited that the dogma of non-regeneration of the pathways of the central nervous system would be experimentally refuted.

It was precisely Joseph Altman who reported processes of neurogenesis in the mammalian brain in the 1960s, thereby formulating the innovative idea that brain neurons can be regenerated. Cerebral plasticity thus became a fact with a well founded anatomical basis.

 Arturo Alvarez-Buylla, a Mexican citizen of Spanish stock and deeply proud of his Asturian roots, took up Altman’s thesis to identify germinal regions in the brain, where new neurons as well as what are known as glial cells continually develop throughout life thanks to the stem cells present there. He has also delved into the processes of migration of these new neurons leading to their permanent insertion in different regions of the brain, which may contribute to tackling the problems associated with tumours in this organ.

Finally, Giacomo Rizzolatti discovered the existence of what are known as mirror neurons, which are activated not only when carrying out an action, but also when observing how a peer does so. A discovery that allows us, as the social creatures that we are, to understand the actions, intentions and emotions of others, not only through conceptual reasoning, but also via direct simulation. “Feeling”, says Rizzolatti, “not thinking”.

All these findings and all this research have both profoundly and definitively changed our way of understanding the brain. It is fascinating to ascertain the basis of this cerebral plasticity, thanks to which we are able to learn, empathise, create and communicate with one another. The work of our Laureates also opens up new pathways for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, as well as for explaining – and possibly soon treating – disorders such as autism.

6.-  Feeling is what we do, above all, when we read the poems and listen to the music of Leonard Cohen, who has received the Award for Letters. We feel all the power of a body of work produced with constancy, talent and sincerity. Reading and listening to Cohen is, effectively, to feel the force of someone who writes and sings directly to the heart; to feel the sincere assertion that it was poets such as Lorca and Machado that shed light on his deepest doubts and certainties; it is also to feel the commitment of someone who, without forsaking his beloved Canada, his roots or his forebears, explores human nature, seeking out answers, solutions, a sort of reconciliation that brings our hearts closer together, aiming to make poetry and music an eternal meeting place for fraternal understanding.

Cohen tells us “It is not to tell you anything / But to live forever / That I write this”. So lives Leonard Cohen… with irony and an acute sense of humour, with flashes of light and outstanding imagination, unable to staunch the abundance and richness of his ideas, words, notes and songs. Several generations have read and listened, as we have, to his creations with admiration and respect, creations that already form part of our musical history and our collective memory. We recognise his great body of work and thank him for his coherence, for not having renounced what has made him an admired and admirable artist, a friend with whom to tread the paths of life and of the irresistible force of love.

7.-  The great athlete Haile Gebrselassie, who has received the Award for Sports, is an idol for millions of people around the world and dearly loved, especially in his home country, Ethiopia. Strength of will and the spirit of sacrifice are the norm in him. The norm to attain success as a sportsman and to demonstrate that the most difficult of challenges can be overcome with tenacious persistence and a great heart.

His feats have thrilled us throughout his career. We imagine him when he was a mere child running barefoot 20 kilometres a day to and from school, his schoolbooks held firmly under his left elbow – which determined his style of running – and his heart filled with all the enthusiasm in the world, until he became one of the best long distance runners of all time.

As we have recalled on this very stage on previous occasions, sporting success is even greater when, as he does, individuals make the effort to pass on their most ambitious dreams by helping others, above all the underprivileged.
 
Gebrselassie is very sensitive to the deficiencies and difficulties his countrymen suffer each day and so has been the driving force behind The Great Ethiopian Run initiative, the aim of which is to promote the mass participation of Ethiopians in athletics events. He has also built schools for young children and is a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations Development Programme.

I am therefore sure that Haile Gebrselassie would like to draw the attention of us all to the fact that in his country, Ethiopia, and in Kenya and Djibouti, hundreds of thousands of Somalian refugees are desperately seeking aid. They are starving to death. As I speak these words here, on this evening of culture, of concord, they sound even more dramatic.

We cannot return home without reflecting on this unjust, cruel tragedy. We cannot remain unmoved by and indifferent to so much suffering. The people who are starving to death in Somalia and in the surrounding countries do not merit this fate. We must all assume responsibility and help put an end to this humanitarian crisis, as do so many aid workers and volunteers through their generous work at great personal risk, including the two Spanish aid workers who, we hope, will soon return safe and sound.

8.-  The Award for Concord has been bestowed on the people who have, since last March, been working round the clock at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in order to contain the radiation leakages and who have so rightfully earned the title of “Heroes of Fukushima”. As the Jury has stated, through this award, our Foundation also wishes to highlight “the serene, self-sacrificing response of Japanese society as a whole” following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that razed the country’s north-eastern coast.

The Heroes of Fukushima, through their bravery and generosity, represent all the selflessness stirring us to do good, to renounce everything, even one’s own life, for the sake of others, a spirit we would like to see multiplied wherever necessary to bring an end to pain and injustice. Overcoming the loss of their loved ones and their property, the suffering caused by a desperately dramatic situation, they immediately confronted the threat to the damaged power plant with magnanimity, a sense of duty and a civic conscience.

This evening, we once more express our support and affection for the people of Japan, whose huge losses in terms of both human lives and physical damage and whose exemplary behaviour in the face of adversity have moved us all. Spain feels one with Japan in its suffering and sympathises with its populace, who have shown how to cope with this disaster with temperance, discipline and serenity. We are touched by the behaviour of the “Heroes of Fukushima”. We are thrilled by their courage and astounded by their fortitude. For all these reasons, we pay tribute today to their immense spirit of sacrifice and the example they have given the world.

– Ladies and Gentlemen, dear Laureates,
This year we commemorate the bicentennial of the death of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, a key figure in the Spanish Enlightenment. His life’s work is a tribute to the noblest of patriotic sentiments and the struggle against the evils and ignorance blighting his age. He was led always by the guiding lights of knowledge, morals and ethics. On his appointment as Minister for Justice and Mercy, he wrote: “I shall do good; I shall avoid all the evil I am able to”. Those words define this great Spaniard who contributed so much to the progress of Asturias and whose ideas are a yardstick for us all, all the more so in these difficult times, so similar to those he himself endured.

We are certainly not living in an easy time, but it is our time, the time we have been given to live. We are today living through a crisis, already a long crisis, that affects us all deeply and has serious consequences of all kinds, with dimensions and a complexity that are putting our lifestyles and our abilities to the test. If we wish to resolve the challenges it poses, we must act decisively and bravely.

We know the path to achieve this goal. And on that path we all have a civic undertaking. No great nation can ward off the crisis with pessimism. No great nation can emerge from it without the participation of all concerned. Let us all shoulder our responsibilities and promote a collective spirit of hope and enthusiasm and the drive to overcome odds founded on the solid bases we already have. For there have been many successes over the last few decades and many are the achievements we have attained together, not without sacrifice or abnegation, and we are entitled to feel justly proud of them. In short, we have good reason to boost our self-esteem and hopes, to know that we can once more overcome the difficulties and challenges facing us.

We Spaniards must be aware that we are engaged in a common enterprise and that today, more than ever before, we have to stand united around our great national goals and, most especially, to tackle that great challenge of getting people back into employment. Recovering it at all levels and, above all, for our youngest workers, who are quite rightly asking society, as they are entitled to do, to fling wide the doors of hope.

Let us also elevate our gaze and contemplate the outside world. If Europe was the solution to Spain’s long-standing problems at the start of the last century, it is essential at present –and for the future envisaged in our ambition– to advance steadfastly and with solidarity in the construction of Europe, which today faces one of the most decisive crossroads in its history.

This difficult time we live in also demands that we avoid confrontation and sterile division; that we respect the sensitivities and opinions that diverge from our own so that we can later integrate them for the benefit of the general good. With a sense of responsibility, let us seek out the shared criteria regarding what is essential. Rigorous debate is not confrontation, but construction; putting forward a solution is not synonymous with systematically rejecting those of others; and reaching agreements always propitiates generosity, commitment and trust. The vigour of our democracy is far from alien to each every one of us, to our willingness to participate in public life, to our dedication at work, to the firm and lasting cohesion provided to our society by moral principles.

This is also a time in which to extol our solidarity. Since the crisis began, families, social institutions (many of them honoured by our Awards), and thousands of citizens are setting an example of self-sacrifice for those in greatest need. For that reason, they deserve the sincerest gratitude of society and they allow us to feel that happy glow that comes, in the beautiful words of the poet, from so many hearts that beat not in vain, for they are moved by the ills of others.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Jovellanos said that “virtue and valour must be counted among the elements contributing to social prosperity, without which all wealth is wanting, all power is weak. Without virtue or good habits”; he claimed, “no State can prosper or survive. Without these cornerstones, the most colossal power will tumble to the ground, the most brilliant glory will be dispelled like smoke”.

Today we have seen here in the Campoamor Theatre how effort, humility, sacrifice and the quest for excellence have imbued the lives of our Laureates. From them we have learned to keep our minds open to the world. With them we have felt the transforming power of ideas. They have touched us with their passion for creating, their drive to innovate. These are values and ideals that we must never renounce and hold always as our inspiration.

The memory of our countryman Jovellanos and the example of our Laureates illuminate this solemn act. So distant in time but so close in a single spirit: a spirit of bravery, of achievement and modernisation. Together, them and us, united in this ceremony, now a symbol of universal culture that Spain offers to the world from Asturias with great pride.

Thank you very much.

Ayer conocimos que quienes han martirizado durante tantos años a la sociedad española con su violencia terrorista asumen su derrota. Es, desde luego, una buena noticia. Es, sobre todo, una gran victoria de nuestro Estado de Derecho. Una victoria de la voluntad y determinación de las instituciones democráticas; del sacrificio y el trabajo abnegado, eficaz, de las Fuerzas y Cuerpos de Seguridad; en definitiva, del conjunto de nuestra sociedad. En esta hora en la que la libertad y la razón se abren camino sobre la barbarie, quiero volver la mirada, querría que todos unidos volviésemos la mirada, con inmenso cariño y respeto hacia las víctimas, hacia su dolor y rendir el homenaje más emocionado a su memoria, a su dignidad.

Señoras y Señores,

Nos reunimos en esta tarde de gratitud para honrar a nuestros galardonados. Su presencia entre nosotros –aquí en Oviedo- nos permite reconocer con más fuerza sus méritos y la trayectoria valiosa de sus vidas, entregadas al trabajo, comprometidas con el arte, con la ciencia, con el deporte, con la solidaridad. Lo hacemos con admiración y muy satisfechos, pues nuestra Fundación mantiene vivos, en estos tiempos difíciles, los valores y los objetivos para los que nació hace ya más de treinta años.

Esta ceremonia es compendio de todo ello: de nuestra voluntad de distinguir la ejemplaridad, de presentar a la sociedad modelos positivos en los que reconocerse y a los que emular, y de compartir con todos, en definitiva, un mensaje de esperanza.

Agradecemos el apoyo y la generosidad de tantas personas que hacen posible nuestra actividad: los miembros de los distintos Jurados, los Patronos y Protectores de la Fundación, los medios de comunicación nacionales e internacionales y las personalidades que también nos honran y alegran hoy con su presencia.

La Princesa y yo damos muy especialmente las gracias a quienes en esta querida Asturias nos acogen siempre con tanto cariño y reciben a los galardonados con admiración y una entrañable alegría.

Recordamos hoy con tristeza a Juan Luis Iglesias Prada, quien fue Secretario General de la Fundación, fallecido el pasado mes de marzo. Echaremos mucho de menos su entusiasmo y la ilusión y el cariño con los que trabajó en beneficio de nuestra institución, a la que supo engrandecer y a la que aportó su bonhomía y su inteligencia.

Señoras y señores:

Volvemos la mirada ahora a los premiados para reflexionar, siquiera brevemente, sobre su valioso trabajo y para ensalzar sus méritos.

1.- El maestro napolitano Riccardo Muti, Premio de las Artes, es uno de los más grandes directores de orquesta. Ha dirigido, con su exquisita sensibilidad, en los escenarios más prestigiosos del mundo y a las formaciones más relevantes. Es, además, un humanista con profunda vocación investigadora, dedicada especialmente a la recuperación de grandes obras históricas que rescata del olvido e incorpora al repertorio de nuestros días. El maestro Muti reivindica sin tregua la necesidad de apoyar e intensificar la enseñanza musical, imprescindible en una educación completa. Su talento descansa en una concepción trascendente de la música, en la idea de que al dirigir se inicia un proceso que comienza en el compositor y llega a la batuta del director, quien consigue extraer los sentimientos de cada uno de los cantantes e instrumentistas para entregarlos, finalmente, al público. En este camino de continuo aprendizaje, Muti reconoce con humildad que jamás llegará a la otra orilla, porque detrás de las notas -dice- “habita el infinito”.

La experiencia y el renombre que posee no le impiden evocar con gratitud a quienes fueron sus maestros, mientras se entrega a su tarea diaria de profundizar en la fuerza y el secreto de la música. Es lo que trasciende en la belleza y en la capacidad comunicadora de su ejecución artística, y lo que genera tanta admiración y elogio internacionales.

2.- El Premio de Ciencias Sociales ha sido concedido al psicólogo estadounidense Howard Gardner, que ha trabajado e investigado sobre todo en el ámbito de las ciencias de la Educación. Es autor de la Teoría de las inteligencias múltiples; y sus estudios sobre ellas, sobre la forma de desarrollarlas, lo han llevado a introducir múltiples innovaciones en el sistema educativo, con el propósito principal de lograr –como ha afirmado recordando a Platón- que “las personas quieran hacer lo que deben hacer”. Esta formulación, en apariencia sencilla, choca a menudo, con métodos de enseñanza que han primado sólo algunas formas de inteligencia en detrimento de otras. El desarrollo más completo de nuestras capacidades facilita lo que para Gardner es un buen trabajo: aquél que es de alta calidad y va dirigido a mejorar la vida de los demás, es decir, un trabajo excelente, comprometido y ético.

Desde hace más de diez años, Howard Gardner se ha propuesto, a través del Proyecto Goodwork, impulsado desde la Universidad de Harvard, identificar a personas e instituciones que son ejemplo de ese trabajo excelente. También busca la manera de hacer más frecuente su presencia en nuestra sociedad. Todo ello con un equipo internacional de investigadores, que hacen realidad su empeño en mejorar la formación de los seres humanos y, por tanto, su futuro.

3.- Esta forma de trabajar también brilla de manera especial en la tarea desarrollada desde hace más de 350 años por The Royal Society, la comunidad científica más antigua del mundo, que ha recibido nuestro Premio de Comunicación y Humanidades. Su misión admirable consiste en extender las fronteras del conocimiento a través del desarrollo y el uso de la ciencia en beneficio de la humanidad. Son grandes fines que precisan de una organización muy sólida, como la que posee la Royal Society; formada por personas que aman su tarea y defienden con pasión el beneficio supremo del conocimiento y la importancia de su generalización.

En esta tarde de cultura y valores, la trayectoria centenaria de la Royal Society nos ayuda a resaltar y defender la prioridad social de la educación y de la instrucción; la necesidad de extender el conocimiento y de poner en juego nuestros principios en beneficio de todos; la convicción de que ése es el modo más seguro para vencer la injusticia, la violencia y el fanatismo, así como el sufrimiento y el dolor que producen en tantos seres humanos.

4.- Desde este punto de vista, la pregunta que se hace Bill Drayton, nuestro galardonado con el Premio de Cooperación Internacional, es aún más oportuna: “¿Cuál es la fuerza más poderosa del mundo?” Y Drayton responde: “Siempre una buena idea”. Sin duda que a lo largo de los treinta años en los que su Fundación Ashoka ha identificado y apoyado a cerca de 3.000 emprendedores sociales alrededor del mundo, Bill Drayton ha podido comprobar una y otra vez que esto es más que una afirmación: es una realidad y muy beneficiosa.

La labor iniciada por Drayton –y que Ashoka ha desarrollado en el tiempo- se centra y pone de relieve características fundamentales de la emprendeduría social; tales como la inspiración, la creatividad, la fortaleza y, por encima de las demás, la confianza. Bill Drayton trabaja también para que nuestras acciones repercutan positivamente en la sociedad y nuestro trabajo asuma cada vez cotas más elevadas de responsabilidad social. Trabaja, en definitiva, con el objetivo de cambiar y mejorar el mundo.

Los emprendedores sociales descubren y ponen en práctica soluciones viables a problemas sociales, viendo oportunidades donde otros tan solo perciben amenazas. Y puesto que esta forma de trabajar se hace aún más necesaria en tiempos de crisis, el premio con el que hoy reconocemos la tarea de Bill Drayton adquiere un significado especial. El futuro se puede esperar con temor o con confianza y sólo quienes creen en el ser humano, como sucede con los emprendedores sociales, están en condiciones de afrontar con esperanza el futuro. Este es el valor de la Fundación Ashoka y de los emprendedores sociales. Esta es la relevante e inteligente trayectoria de Bill Drayton, que hoy distinguimos.

5.- Los neurobiólogos Joseph Altman, Arturo Álvarez-Buylla y Giacomo Rizzolatti han recibido el Premio de Investigación Científica y Técnica. Gracias a sus aportaciones sabemos más y entendemos mejor el cerebro humano, el órgano fundamental para ejercer las capacidades que hacen tan singular a nuestra especie. Obligado es recordar aquí de nuevo a nuestro Santiago Ramón y Cajal, fundador de la Neurobiología, que a comienzos del pasado siglo ya intuyó que sería refutado el dogma de la no-regeneración de las vías nerviosas centrales.

Precisamente Joseph Altman describió procesos de neurogénesis en el cerebro de mamíferos desde los pasados años sesenta, formulando así la innovadora idea de que las neuronas cerebrales pueden regenerarse. La plasticidad cerebral se convertía de esta forma en un hecho con base anatómica bien fundamentada.

Arturo Álvarez-Buylla, mexicano de estirpe española y orgulloso de sus raíces asturianas, retomó la tesis de Altman e identificó regiones germinales del cerebro, en donde se originan continuamente nuevas neuronas, así como las llamadas células de glía, a lo largo de toda la vida y gracias a las células troncales allí presentes. También ha profundizado en los procesos de migración de esas nuevas neuronas para su inserción permanente en regiones cerebrales, lo que puede contribuir a abordar los problemas asociados a los tumores de este órgano.

Por último, Giacomo Rizzolatti descubrió la existencia de las llamadas neuronas espejo, que se activan no sólo al realizar una acción, sino al observar cómo un congénere la realiza. Un descubrimiento que nos permite, como criaturas sociales que somos, entender las acciones, intenciones y emociones de los demás, no sólo con el razonamiento conceptual, sino también con la simulación directa. “Sintiendo”, afirma Rizzolatti, “no pensando”.

Todos estos hallazgos e investigaciones han cambiado de manera profunda y definitiva nuestra forma de entender el cerebro. Es fascinante saber en qué se fundamenta esa plasticidad cerebral, gracias a la cual podemos aprender, sentir empatía, crear y comunicarnos. El trabajo de nuestros premiados abre, además, nuevos caminos para el tratamiento de enfermedades neurodegenerativas como el Alzheimer y el Parkinson, así como para explicar, y tal vez pronto tratar, trastornos como el autismo.

6.- Sentir es lo que hacemos, sobre todo, al leer los poemas y al escuchar la música de Leonard Cohen, que ha recibido el Premio de las Letras. Sentimos la fortaleza de una obra hecha con constancia, talento y sinceridad. Leer y escuchar a Cohen es, en efecto, sentir la fuerza de quien escribe y canta directamente para los corazones; sentir la sincera afirmación de que son poetas como Lorca o Machado los que han iluminado sus dudas y sus certezas más profundas; sentir también el compromiso de quien, sin olvidar su querida tierra canadiense, ni a sus raíces ni antepasados, se adentra en la naturaleza humana, buscando respuestas, soluciones, una reconciliación que aproxime nuestros corazones, tratando de conseguir que la poesía y la música se conviertan para siempre en un lugar de encuentro y de entendimiento fraternal.

“No es por deciros nada/ sino para vivir eternamente/ por lo que escribo esto”, nos dice Cohen. Así, con irónico y agudo sentido del humor, con destellos de luz y de imaginación portentosa, sin poder remediar la abundancia y la riqueza de ideas, de palabras, de notas, de cantos, así vive Leonard Cohen. Varias generaciones leemos y escuchamos sus creaciones con admiración y respeto, tarareando sus canciones, que forman parte ya de la historia de la música y de nuestra memoria colectiva. Reconocemos su gran obra y le damos las gracias por su coherencia, por su belleza; por no haber renunciado nunca a todo aquello que lo ha convertido en un artista admirado y admirable, un amigo con el que recorrer los senderos de la vida y de la fuerza imparable del amor.

7.- El gran atleta Haile Gebrselassie, que ha recibido el Premio de los Deportes, es un ídolo para millones de personas en todo el mundo y muy querido, especialmente en su país natal, Etiopía. En él, la fuerza de voluntad y el espíritu de sacrificio son la norma. Norma para alcanzar el éxito deportivo y para demostrar que se pueden superar los retos más difíciles cuando se persiguen con tenacidad y grandeza de ánimo.

A lo largo de su trayectoria a todos nos han emocionado sus triunfos. Nos lo imaginamos cuando era apenas un niño y corría a diario 20 km para ir y volver de la escuela, con los pies descalzos, los libros de texto bien sujetos con el brazo izquierdo –lo que determinó su estilo al correr- y toda la ilusión del mundo en su corazón, hasta llegar a convertirse en uno de los mejores corredores de larga distancia de todos los tiempos.

Como hemos recordado en este mismo escenario en anteriores ocasiones, es mayor el éxito deportivo de quienes como él se engrandecen al esforzarse al conseguir contagiar sus sueños más ambiciosos ayudando a los demás, sobre todo a los más desfavorecidos.

Gebrselassie es muy sensible a las carencias y dificultades que sufren a diario sus compatriotas y por ello ha impulsado la iniciativa The Great Ethiopian Run, cuyo objetivo es promover la participación masiva de los etíopes en competiciones atléticas. Además, ha construido escuelas para los más pequeños y es embajador de Naciones Unidas para los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio y del PNUD.

Por ello, estoy seguro de que a Halie Gebrselassie le gustaría hacernos a todos una llamada de atención. En su país, Etiopía, y en Kenia y Yibuti, centenares de miles de refugiados somalíes buscan desesperadamente ayuda. Se mueren de hambre. Y estas palabras pronunciadas aquí, en esta tarde de cultura y de concordia, resultan aún más dramáticas.

No podemos irnos una vez más a nuestras casas sin reflexionar sobre esta tragedia, injusta y cruel. No podemos permanecer impasibles e indiferentes ante tanto sufrimiento. Las personas que mueren de hambre en Somalia y en los países limítrofes no se merecen este destino. Y todos nosotros, debemos responsabilizarnos y ayudar a que acabe esta crisis humanitaria. Así lo hacen tantos cooperantes y voluntarios con esfuerzo generoso y gran riesgo, entre los que se encuentran dos españolas cuyo regreso a casa deseamos todos.

8.- El Premio de la Concordia ha sido concedido a las personas que desde el pasado mes de marzo trabajan de sol a sol en la central nuclear de Fukushima en Japón para controlar las fugas radiactivas y que, tan justamente, han sido llamados “héroes de Fukushima”. Como ha afirmado el Jurado, con este premio nuestra Fundación quiere asimismo poner de relieve “la respuesta serena y abnegada del conjunto de la sociedad japonesa” tras el terremoto y el posterior tsunami que asoló la costa noreste del país.

Los héroes de Fukushima representan, con su actitud valiente y entregada, toda la grandeza de espíritu que nos mueve a hacer el bien, a renunciar a todo por los demás –incluso a la propia vida-, y que desearíamos ver multiplicada allí donde fuera precisa para terminar con el dolor y la injusticia. Sobreponiéndose a la pérdida de familiares y de sus bienes, al sufrimiento producido por una situación desesperada y dramática, hicieron frente de inmediato a la amenaza de la central nuclear siniestrada con generosidad, sentido del deber y conciencia cívica.

Esta tarde, una vez más, damos nuestro apoyo y cariño al pueblo de Japón, cuyas enormes pérdidas –humanas y materiales- y comportamiento ejemplar ante la adversidad nos han conmovido a todos. España se siente unida con su dolor y solidaria con su pueblo, que ha sabido enfrentarse a esta desgracia con templanza, disciplina y serenidad. Nos conmueve el comportamiento de los “héroes de Fukushima”. Nos emociona su coraje y nos admira su fortaleza. Y por ello, rendimos hoy tributo a su inmenso espíritu de sacrificio y al ejemplo que han dado al mundo.

.- Señoras y Señores, queridos Premiados,

Este año conmemoramos el bicentenario del fallecimiento de Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, figura clave de la Ilustración. Su obra es un testimonio del patriotismo más noble y de la lucha contra los males y las ignorancias de su época. Le guiaron siempre las luces del conocimiento, de la moral y de la ética. Cuando fue nombrado ministro de Gracia y Justicia escribió: “Haré el bien; evitaré el mal que pueda”. Esas palabras define a este gran español que tanto contribuyó al progreso de Asturias y cuyas ideas son un referente para todos, más aún en estos tiempos difíciles, como los que él mismo vivió.

Ciertamente, no es fácil este tiempo, pero es el nuestro, el que nos ha tocado vivir. Vivimos hoy una crisis –ya larga- que nos afecta de pleno, con graves consecuencias en todos los órdenes, y cuyas dimensiones y complejidad están poniendo a prueba nuestros modos de vida y nuestras capacidades. Si queremos resolver los desafíos que nos plantea, debemos actuar con decisión y valentía.

Conocemos el camino para conseguirlo. Y en ese camino todos tenemos un compromiso cívico. Ninguna gran nación puede abordar la crisis desde el pesimismo. Ninguna gran nación puede salir de ella sin el concurso de todos. Cumplamos cada uno con nuestras responsabilidades y promovamos un espíritu colectivo de superación, ilusión y esperanza que descanse en las bases sólidas que ya tenemos. Porque a lo largo de estas ultimas décadas han sido muchos los éxitos y los logros que hemos alcanzado juntos, no sin sacrificios ni renuncias, y de ellos nos debemos sentir legítimamente orgullosos. Tenemos, en fin, buenas razones para sentir autoestima y esperanza, para saber que podemos nuevamente superar las dificultades y los desafíos que tenemos por delante.

Los españoles debemos ser conscientes de que estamos en una empresa común en la que hoy, más que nunca, tenemos que estar unidos en torno a nuestros grandes objetivos nacionales y, muy especialmente, para afrontar ese gran reto que es recuperar el empleo. Recuperarlo a todos los niveles y, sobre todo, para los más jóvenes, que quieren, que tienen derecho, a que la sociedad les abra las puertas de la esperanza.

Levantemos también la vista y miremos hacia el exterior. Si a comienzos del siglo pasado Europa era la solución a los problemas históricos de España, en estos momentos –y para el futuro que ambicionamos- es imprescindible avanzar resuelta y solidariamente en la construcción europea, que se encuentra hoy en una de las encrucijadas más decisivas de su historia.

El difícil tiempo que vivimos exige también que evitemos las confrontaciones y las divisiones estériles; que respetemos y seamos capaces de integrar después, en beneficio del interés general, las sensibilidades y las opiniones divergentes. Busquemos, con sentido de la responsabilidad, criterios comunes en lo esencial. Debatir rigurosamente no es enfrentar, sino construir; aportar soluciones no es sinónimo de repudiar por sistema las ajenas; y llegar a acuerdos siempre propicia la generosidad, el compromiso y la confianza. El vigor de nuestra democracia no es en absoluto ajeno a cada uno de nosotros, a nuestra voluntad participativa en lo público, a nuestra entrega en el trabajo, a que los principios morales cohesionen de forma firme y duradera nuestra sociedad.

Es ésta también una hora para engrandecer nuestra solidaridad. Desde que comenzó la crisis, las familias, las instituciones sociales -muchas de ellas galardonadas con nuestros Premios-, y miles de ciudadanos están dando un ejemplo de sacrificio por quienes más lo necesitan. Merecen por ello el agradecimiento más sincero de la sociedad y nos permiten sentir la íntima alegría, dicho con las hermosas palabras del poeta, de que muchos corazones no laten en vano, pues no son indiferentes a la desgracia ajena.

Señoras y Señores,

Decía Jovellanos que “la virtud y el valor deben contarse entre los elementos de la prosperidad social y sin ella, toda riqueza es escasa, todo poder es débil. Sin virtud ni costumbres –afirmaba-, ningún Estado puede prosperar, ninguno subsistir. Sin ellas el poder más colosal se vendrá a tierra, la gloria más brillante se disipará como el humo”.

Hoy hemos sido testigos en este Teatro Campoamor de cómo el esfuerzo, la humildad, el sacrificio y la búsqueda de la excelencia han dado sentido a las vidas de nuestros premiados. De ellos hemos aprendido a tener una mentalidad abierta al mundo. Con ellos hemos sentido la fuerza transformadora de las ideas. Nos han contagiado la pasión por crear, la ilusión por innovar. Son valores e ideales a los que nunca debemos renunciar y que siempre nos deben inspirar.

El recuerdo de nuestro Jovellanos y la ejemplaridad de nuestros Premiados iluminan este solemne acto. Tan distantes en el tiempo pero tan cercanos en un mismo espíritu: un espíritu de valentía, de superación y de modernización. Todos, ellos y nosotros, unidos en esta ceremonia, símbolo ya de la cultura universal, que, desde Asturias y con gran orgullo, España ofrece al mundo.

Muchas gracias.

To join actors Geraldine Chaplin and Danny Glover in Dominican Republic next november.

23 octubre, 2011


Dominican Ministry of Tourism in California and the Dominican Republic Global Film Festival (DRGFF)http://www.drglobalfilmfestival.org/drgff2010/www/default_en.asp Proclaim Dominican Republic (DR) is quickly becoming HOLLYWOOD of the Caribbean

Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) October 11, 2011 Officials of the Dominican Ministry of tourism in California and the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic (DR), along with the DR Global Film Festival (DRGFF), are joining forces to bring together the travel and entertainment industries of Los Angeles to announce and celebrate the launching of the campaign “CLOSER THAN YOU THINK” on October 12, 2011 at L.A.LIVE.

Isabella Wall, California Representative of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, said: “We’ve put together a DOMINICAN SCENE with a non-traditional presentation of the destination that features arts and culture of our Caribbean nation, along with a first-time West Coast screening of the “CLOSER THAN YOU THINK” commercials and an exclusive screening of “DEL FONDO DE LA NOCHE” (FROM DEEP IN THE NIGHT) an award-winning feature film produced by Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE). The film relates the story of the Mirabal sisters, the Dominican heroines who were the victims of Dictator Trujillo for their political views and their fight against domestic violence. Their disappearance is said to have sparked the plot for his assassination on May 30th, 1961.”

Omar de la Cruz, Director of the DRGFF, said: “Our country has come a long way since those days. It’s a vibrant nation rich in history and beautiful warm people, that offers vast production possibilities to films like “THE GODFATHER II,” “PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL” and “THE GOOD SHEPARD,” among many others. We’d like to extend an invitation to the HOLLYWOOD community to join actors Geraldine Chaplin and Danny Glover in the 5th Edition of the DR Global Film Festival, November 15 to 20. There will be 50 feature films and documentaries showing and over 30 professional panels throughout the six days of the Festival. The proceeds from ticket sales will benefit homeless shelters in the northern city of Santiago. It is the most important film event in the Caribbean.”

Celeste Jimenez, Consul General of the Dominican Republic, added: “The Dominican Consulate is proud to be fostering a stronger relationship between the Dominican Republic and the Hollywood entertainment industry. It is especially gratifying to be involved in this effort following the recent announcement made by Dominican Film Commissioner, Ellis Pérez that “THE NATURAL CHILD” is the first film from DR to be accepted for 2012 Oscar consideration. This is truly a positive sign of things to come for the DR cinematography industry and Hollywood.”

ABOUT THE DR GLOBAL FILM FESTIVAL:

“Global Issues, Personal Stories,” is the festival’s mission. DRGFF will present a selection of the best international, dramatic and documentary films to enrich the country’s film culture and to bring the seventh art into all sectors of Dominican society. The festival contributes to raising awareness and understanding of global issues through stories about events and people that have left a mark on our lives. It uses film as a way to promote and encourage discussion about social issues, politics and economics. The DRGFF offers discussions on relevant world issues and topics ranging from the environment, the world’s oceans, worldwide nuclear non-proliferation movement, art as a transformer of life, the consequences of slavery in the Americas and the integration of individuals with handicaps to society.

ABOUT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:

Dominican Republic’s first tourist, Christopher Columbus landed in Hispaniola October 12th in 1492. Called “cultural cradle of the Americas”, the DR is a diverse destination offering both Dominican and European flavors to more than one million U.S. visitors each year. Named a #1 Golf Destination, best value destination and a top location for weddings and romance, the DR HAS IT ALL and it’s CLOSER THAN YOU THINK from Los Angeles, with 56 weekly flights from LAX to Miami and under 2 hours from Florida. It’s a favorite paradise for celebrities, couples and families alike.

“CLOSER THAN YOU THINK” October 12th from 7 to 11pm – REGAL THEATERS at L.A.LIVE is by invitation only.

MEDIA CONTACT & EVENT PRESS CREDENTIALS:

John Russel RUSSEL Public Relations 818.561.5072 JRussel(at)Russelprla(dot)com

For more information:

http://www.godominicanrepublic.com
http://www.drglobalfilmfestival.org

###

John Russel

(818) 561-5072
Email Information

Cardiologists object to another hospital’s cardiac plans in Sarasota, Florida.

23 octubre, 2011

"Sarasota Memorial Hospital"

If you live in Sarasota, Florida or you are a visitor or a foreign tourist like canadians snowbird every years, you are very protected under “Sarasota Memorial Hospital” umbrella in the emergency room in every kind of circunstances or diseases. I live here since 2000 with my wife very protected by this hospital and phisicians associated. Gualterio Nunez Estrada, Sarasota, Florida, 34232.

“Sarasota Herald Tribune” (front page)

By Barbara Peters Smith

Published: Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 21, 2011 at 3:53 p.m.

“They said they do not want to attempt the complex procedure at the small, 147-bed (“Doctor Hospitalhttp://doctorsofsarasota.com/) hospital, which does not have a surgical unit to handle complications.”

SARASOTA COUNTY – Two Sarasota interventional cardiologists who perform stent procedures in heart patients to unblock arteries say they are opposed to a plan by Doctors Hospital of Sarasota to add a cardiac stent program there.

The specialists would not allow their names to be used, citing the political nature of the controversy. They said they do not want to attempt the complex procedure at the small, 147-bed hospital, which does not have a surgical unit to handle complications.

They have been meeting privately with colleagues to discuss what they see as a threat to patient safety.

Aside from objections to the lack of surgical backup, the doctors said, they worry about the prospect of working with less experienced teams who only handle a small volume of cases. And they said the new program is not needed, even for heart emergencies, when the 806-bed Sarasota Memorial Hospitalhttp://www.smh.com/ has a cardiac catheterization lab nine minutes away from Doctors.

Responding to written questions, Doctors Hospital emailed a statement Friday saying the program will start this year. “For patients experiencing a heart attack, this means we will be prepared to open the blocked artery … within 90 minutes of the patient’s arrival at the hospital,” spokeswoman Melissa Morgan wrote. “In other cases, our credentialed interventional cardiologists can diagnose the blockage and unblock the artery before a heart attack occurs.”

The hospital did not say whether any cardiologists had committed to the program, or what the transfer plan is for stent patients needing emergency surgery.

(More in….http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20111023/ARTICLE/310239999)


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