January 27, 2005

Today is the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet soldiers. It was originally set up in 1940 as a labour camp for Polish prisoners. By 1944, people were being killed at the camp at a rate of 6,000 a day. Between 1.2-1.5 million people died at the camps, of whom about 1 million were Jewish. (Wikipedia entry)

80% of U.S. doctors and half of nurses surveyed said they had seen colleagues make mistakes, but only 10% ever spoke up. A 1999 study by the nonpartisan Institute of Medicine found that up to 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors in hospitals. Last July, Lakewood, Colorado-based HealthGrades Inc. said the true number was closer to 195,000 people a year.

Astronauts took a 5-1/2 hour spacewalk 225 miles above Earth to hook up a robotic arm yesterday and found some gunk on the spacecraft's vents that might explain the frequent breakdowns in its air-supply equipment. The $10 million arm is a 20-inch device featuring 2 joints, 2 cameras and a fingerlike pin at the end. The astronauts are 3-1/2 months into their 6 month stay.

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