Crystal joins Cross and Crescent
Courtesy of the BBC Online
Israel could use the new symbol to operate as an ICRC member
A diamond-shaped red crystal on a white background is to join the Red Cross and the Red Crescent as an emblem for ambulances and relief workers.
Geneva Convention member states voted by a two-thirds majority for the symbol, ending a decades-old disagreement and opens the way for Israel to join.
Israel had been denied entry because its Red Shield was not approved.
Relief workers and ambulances bearing the Red Cross or Red Crescent symbols are protected under international law.
A spokesman for the Swiss government told reporters it was unfortunate that the crystal had not been adopted by consensus.
The Red Shield of David - or Magen David Adom - was not recognised by the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and Arab states had blocked attempts to find an alternative symbol.
The new "crystal" - a hollow red diamond on a white background - is regarded as being free from religious, national or cultural connotations.
Israel has said it is ready to use it for missions outside the country's borders - as set down by the Geneva Conventions.
The vote in Geneva was delayed by wrangling between Syria and Israel over access for Syrian medical staff to the Golan Heights.
Syria said it was prepared to approve the crystal but wanted Israel to allow the Syrian Red Crescent access to the plateau, which Israel seized in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War.
Syrian Minister of State Bashar al-Shaar told reporters that Syrians in the Heights "suffered terribly through lack of medical services".
Israel's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Itzhak Levanon, ruled out letting Syria have access because there were no diplomatic relations with Damascus.
October 24, 2005 410-624-2081, 443-829-7321
RED CROSS MOBILIZES LOCAL VOLUNTEERS
The American Red Cross of Central Maryland has put at least 200 local volunteers on standby as Hurricane Wilma rolls over the southern part of Florida. Most of the volunteers are newly trained by the Red Cross during the weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and prompted an outpouring of compassion here.
More than 360 local volunteers have been deployed to the Gulf Region since late August and hundreds more will be trained within the coming months to continue the relief operation.
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Red Cross On the Scene of Three Alarm Fire in Baltimore -- Seven families have been displaced after a 3-alarm fire swept through their row homes late last night. Staff and volunteers from the Central Maryland Red Cross brought immediate disaster relief supplies to all who were impacted, including blankets, food and water, and other vital necessities. The Red Cross then found accommodations for all the affected families left temporarily homeless due to the fire. Nursing and mental health are also providing assistance.
After a flood, cleanup begins
Residents mop up and officials in northeastern Maryland call for federal assistance in the wake of Monday's freakish storm.
By Ariel Sabar and Gus G. Sentementes
When Patricia Brooks, 40, arrived at her Havre de Grace hair salon yesterday morning, she found a coating of mud, water-logged hairstyle books, ruined dye, soppy hair extensions and marks that suggested the floodwaters had covered the seats of her dryer chairs.
In Port Deposit, where about 20 homes were flooded, one couple played a game of Dude, where's my house?
"Hey, this is part of our deck," said Judith Fisher as she pointed to two boards that had come to rest against a bridge over Rock Run.
"There's more down there," said Michael Fisher as he spied some lumber downstream.
In North East, the storm struck during the busiest season, when boaters head to marinas and tourists to Elk Neck State Park and the row of quaint shops on Main Street.
Terry Dunn cast an eye around the dream antique store she had opened a few months before. Ceiling tiles had tumbled down, mud streaked an Oriental rug, and, to judge by the smell, mildew was afoot.
The few people with any hope of a profit were a three-man sales force from an out-of-town company. Fred Weidner wore a green shirt emblazoned "Sunbelt Rentals" and handed out glossy brochures.
"If you see anyone looking for dehumidifiers, carpet fans, water extraction units, wet-dry vacs -- you name it, we've got it," he said.
A red "condemned" sign hung on the doorpost at 511 Main St., where water swept away part of the foundation and turned the driveway into a jumbled jigsaw puzzle. Robin Kaznaier, 36, a single mother of three who lived there, spent yesterday salvaging belongings, the floor creaking beneath her feet.
If people found any consolation, it was that that the flood had not killed or seriously injured anyone.
Pat Moore of Havre De Grace spent Monday night in a hotel after a swollen creek washed away her front lawn, tipped over a basement wall and swept across her first floor.
"When I first saw the house I was like, 'Oh, my God,'" she said, in ront of the muddy remains of her lawn. "But we are all healthy, no one was hurt and a building is replaceable."
In North East, Carol England had worried that her cat, Moocher, would fail to find high ground as floodwaters rose ankle deep in her nautical-themed gift shop. But Moocher was fine. England followed muddy paw prints to the main display window, where Moocher had found shelter beneath a model of the Chesapeake Light, which marks the mouth of the bay.
Sun staff writers Lynn Anderson, Andrew A. Green, Jennifer McMenamin, Scott Waldman, Joe Nawrozki, Seth Rosen and Ted Shelsby contributed to
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· Because the Red Cross is on the scene as the tragedy unfolds and providing assistance before the full extent of the catastrophe has been tallied, we need cash donations so that we can respond to each situation and each need accordingly.
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· The Red Cross responds to a disaster every eight minutes. In central Maryland, the Red Cross responds to two to three disasters daily.
· Most disasters don’t make the news, but are equally devastating to someone who loses everything.
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· Donate online at https://redcross-cmd.org/Chapter/donateform.html or send your contribution to P. O. Box Disaster Relief, Baltimore, MD 21263-0550.
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