Saturday, July 07, 2007

Two Muslim bombers were rejected for hospital jobs in Australia -- but fine for Britain's good old NHS!

Two of the men arrested over the weekend terror attacks in Britain applied to work as doctors in Western Australian but were rejected - and at least one is related to the young Gold Coast doctor set to spend a week in secure custody.

As new links emerged in the car bomb investigation last night, a Brisbane magistrate gave police approval to detain Mohamed Haneef - arrested at Brisbane airport on Monday night on suspicion of being connected to a terrorist group - for another four days. Dr Haneef is the cousin of Sabeel Ahmed, 26, one of seven suspects detained in Britain, and may have been related to another suspect arrested when a Jeep Cherokee exploded at Glasgow airport.

The West Australian branch of the Australian Medical Association, which runs a recruitment agency in the state, last night revealed that Dr Ahmed and his brother Kafeel had applied for work but had been rejected. Dr Haneef and Sabeel Ahmed worked together in Britain. According to reports, Kafeel is also known as Khalid Ahmed, who suffered life-threatening burns when he drove the Jeep packed with petrol and gas canisters into the Glasgow terminal building.

London's The Daily Telegraph said Dr Haneef and the two Ahmed brothers were born and raised in Bangalore, India, and graduated with medical degrees from the Rajiv Gandhi University.

AMA state president Geoff Dobbs said the association had also rejected an application from Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Asif Ali, who worked with Dr Haneef and drove him to the airport before the suspect's laptop was found in his car. "We believed their qualifications and references did not meet the standards required in Western Australia," Professor Dobbs said, adding that one of the three had made repeated applications for work. The Medical Board of Western Australia last night refused to comment on the case, while its Queensland equivalent offered no fresh information.

Before leaving Britain last year, Dr Haneef left his mobile phone SIM card with Sabeel Ahmed. Reports suggest the prime suspect in the bombings, Jordanian-trained doctor Mohammed Asha, contacted Dr Haneef via email and text messages. Dr Haneef's family insist he is innocent.

The eight detained suspects are doctors or have medical links, and a British cleric claims to have been warned by an al-Qa'ida figure in Iraq in April that "those who cure you will kill you". Police found suicide notes left by the occupants of the Jeep, which allegedly indicated they intended to detonate the vehicle while still inside. Allegations emerged that Bilal Abdulla, a suspected passenger in the Jeep, was associated with a hardline Muslim group in 2004.

Police have been interviewing Dr Haneef's colleagues, some of whom trained in India and worked in Britain, amid fears of a "sleeper cell" in Australia. The case has renewed debate over overseas-trained doctors and prompted Queensland Senate candidate and One Nation founder Pauline Hanson to call for free medical degrees for Australians to bolster the system.


Google supports "SICKO"

They are apologizing because one of their employees criticized it!

In a world of 24/7 news cycles, a summer weekend can bring considerable -- and unanticipated -- excitement. Take for example the reaction we've just seen to an item on our new health advertising blog. Frankly, we were surprised by the pickup, but perhaps we shouldn't have been. We've been proponents of corporate blogging for some time, despite the significant communication challenges that obviously arise from having many voices from all parts of our company speak publicly through blog posts. In this case, the blog criticized Michael Moore's new film "Sicko" to suggest how health care companies might use our ad programs when they face controversy. Our internal review of the piece before publication failed to recognize that readers would -- properly, but incorrectly -- impute the criticisms as reflecting Google's official position. We blew it.

In fact, Google does share many of the concerns that Mr. Moore expresses about the cost and availability of health care in America. Indeed, we think these issues are sufficiently important that we invited our employees to attend his film (nearly 1,000 people did so). We believe that it will fall to many entities -- businesses, government, educational institutions, individuals -- to work together to solve the current system's shortcomings. This is one reason we're deploying our technology and our expertise with the hope of improving health system information for everyone who is or will become a patient. Over the last several months, we have been blogging about our thinking in this area. See: November 30, 2006, March 28, May 23, and June 23, 2007.

In the meantime, we have taken steps on our own to address the failures we see in our health care system. In our case, the menu of health care options that we offer our employees includes both direct services (for example, on-site medical and dental professionals in certain locations) as well as a range of preventive care programs. It's one of the ways we're attempting to demonstrate corporate responsibility on a major issue of our time.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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