Terrifying: Why Are People in Kazakhstan Falling Asleep for Days?
Hundreds of residents of Kalachi, a small town near a former Soviet Union uranium mine in Kazakhstan, have been suffering from a mysterious sleeping sickness that causes them to fall asleep for two to six days and wake up with significant memory loss.
While the eerie sickness was first reported in 2010, cases have been emerging in droves since March 2013. Other symptoms include feeling dizzy, being unable to stand up and extreme fatigue. The Russian Times reports that eight children fell asleep within an hour during the first week of school, and several months later, 60 people were hit with the disease on the same day.
Mashable’s Elif Koc reports:
In an interview with the Siberian Times, Sergei Lukashenko, director of Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Centre’s Radiation Safety and Ecology Institute, said he is “positive this is not radon,” a colorless and odorless radioactive gas, but carbon monoxide could be to blame.
“We have some suspicions as the village has a peculiar location and weather patters frequently force chimney smoke to go down instead of up,” he continued. Carbon monoxide poisoning often results in a headache, vomiting and dizziness, but that wouldn’t account for the bizarre sleeping element.
Olga Samusenko, 21, a resident of the village, is looking to relocate her husband and two young children.
“We were at the parade of schoolchildren on September 1,” she continued. “My children are small, so we just went to look at the celebration. After that [two-year-old] Stanislav played outside in the yard, then he came home at about 4 p.m. and just fell down on his face. He couldn’t sit, he couldn’t stand. I tried to put him on his feet, but he was falling. His eyes were looking in different directions, as if he was drunk. It was so scary.”
“We need to escape now, there is no future for us here,” she said to the Siberian Times. ”Everyone is leaving. Many people have sent their children to relatives in other cities and villages. It is so scary. No one can explain us anything. We still do not know what’s going on. My children have not been outside since September. I am afraid to let them out.”
Draft bill facilitating ‘localisation’ of YouTube content underway
During Question Hour, Rehman stated that a draft bill is with the NA Standing Committee on IT, and once the bill is passed by Parliament, the government will contact Google to give Pakistan rights to locally manage it in order to filter out blasphemous material and avoid potential resentment against the video streaming service in the future.
She said YouTube is still banned in some Muslim countries ─ but in those countries where it is operating, content is localised and subject to legislation.
The minister pointed out that websites operating under American law do not fall in the ambit of Pakistani laws, “Therefore, it is necessary to bring them under Pakistani law to avoid posting on them objectionable material,” she said.
Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary Cabinet Division Raja Javed Akhlas informed the House that the government is proceeding for legislation in the light of the previous Supreme Court verdict.
“These websites had hurt emotions of Muslims across the world and in Pakistan also. Therefore, proper legislation in the light of court decision was required before opening them,” he said, in response to queries by MNAs Shazia Marri and Shams-un-Nisa.
He rejected the commonly-held perception that the government was opposed to unblocking YouTube, and said the website will be made available after adequate protective legislation had been passed.
The main concern of the government is that hurting the sentiments of Muslims may be the aim of an international agenda or ‘some NGOs’.
He said as there is no technical method of controlling objectionable material on YouTube, it had to be blocked completely in compliance with court orders. Google had, however, removed the offensive full-length movie “Innocence of Muslims” after a US court order but other objectionable content is still present on the website.
In this situation, the Parliamentary Secretary said, an Intermediary Liability protection had to be added into existing legislation as had been done in other countries.
Amendments to the Prevention of Electronic Crime Bill 2014 may facilitate the localisation of YouTube. “Once localized, they will respond to court orders from Pakistan,” he said.
One of the concerns of the government is that blocking YouTube has blocked access to free educational content available on the website.
State Minister for Education Baleeghur Rehman had earlier this week acknowledged that a large repository of educational materials available on the popular video-sharing website have been inaccessible in Pakistan since September 2012, adding that the government was serious in trying to restore access to the website.
YouTube was initially blocked in Pakistan on September 18, 2012, after violent protests broke out all over the country in reaction to a blasphemous film uploaded on the website’s servers that outraged Muslims all across the world.
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