Gas (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Various legal issues arise concerning the use and distribution of gas.
A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION does not have the duty to supply gas to its population. In the event that a city assumes the performance of such function, it is acting merely as a business corporation.
The charter of a gas company is a franchise granted by the state. The manufacture of distribution of gas for light, fuel, or power is a business of a public character, and, therefore, a gas company is ordinarily considered to be a public or quasi-public corporation or a business affected with a public interest. A state may regulate gas companies for the protection of the public and may delegate its regulatory powers to municipal corporations in which gas companies operate. In a number of states, gas companies are subject to a public service commission or other such agency. The jurisdiction of the commission ordinarily includes the power to establish rates and to set forth rules and regulations affecting the service, operation, management, and conduct of the business.
Upon obtaining a franchise to supply gas to a particular geographic area, a gas company is bound to fulfill its obligation; it cannot withdraw its service from an area merely...
(The entire section is 813 words.)
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Gas (Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine)
Gas, or flatus, is produced when naturally occurring bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract begin to break down, or digest, food. When an excess of air builds up in the tract from swallowing air or a disorder that prevents digestion, it is released as gas. Gastrointestinal gases include methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen.
Gas production is an essential, normal function of the gastrointesinal tract, and most healthy individuals pass up to 1,200 cc (over 40 oz) of gas each day. However, when gas causes excessive pain and cramping (colic) then evaluation and treatment are appropriate.
Causes & symptoms
Gastrointestinal gas production can be increased by certain foods, illnesses, and some medications. Common causes of excessive gas include:
- Gas-producing foods. Onions, beans, the cabbage family, and other fibrous foods can cause excessive gas or intestinal spasms in some individuals.
- Gastrointestinal diseases and disorders. Increased flatulence is a defining symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, lactose intolerance, malabsorption problems, dysbiosis (digestive problems), and other gastrointestinal disorders.
- Air swallowing. Swallowing too much air...
(The entire section is 758 words.)
Gas (Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity)
Since ancient times, use of poison has been considered treacherous and, therefore, incompatible with honorable conduct in war. Yet, the history of mankind is blemished with numerous examples of combatants and civilians falling victim to various kinds of poisonous gases, which not only kill, but burn or paralyze the human body; singe lungs; cause blindness, malformations, cancer, and neuropsychiatric damage; or produce permanent genetic mutations, persistently affecting the health of the survivors' succeeding generations.
Use of Gas as a Method of Warfare
The history of the use of gas in the theater of war goes back to the fourth century BCE, when the belligerents in the Peloponnesian War created toxic fumes by igniting pitch and sulfur. However, it was not until the first large-scale use of poison gas by the German army in World War I (1914918) that the horrors of gassing were utterly unveiled. The gas attack was launched in April 1915 on the battlefields near Ypres, Belgium, and claimed as many as 5,000 lives and 10,000 casualties. By the end of the war, toxic chemicals, such as chlorine, mustard, and phosgene gases, had wounded more than one million soldiers and civilians and had resulted in nearly 100,000 ghastly deaths.
Use of Gas as a Means of Extermination
At the dawn of World War II (1939945), gassing ceased to serve only as a method of warfare. Instead, it developed into the means of extermination in the hands of the German Reich.
The Nazis began utilizing gas in September 1939, initially for the purposes of medical experiments, and later for a calculated slaughter of incurable and mentally ill patients, euphemistically referred to as euthanasia ("good death") program. The method of gassing then in use was the canalization of the exhaust of internal-combustion engines into rooms disguised as showers.
In August 1941 the killing of the sick with carbon monoxide gas was brought to an end. This did not, however, end the Reich's gassing scheme. In contrast, this was precisely the time when the Nazis began to use gas in the pursuit of Adolf Hitler's gruesome plan to exterminate Jews. In its initial stages, the gassing was performed by mobile killing units (Einsatzgruppen), which operated hermetically sealed trucks with engine exhaust channeled into the interior compartments. Although the gas vans took a heavy toll (nearly 700,000 victims), they were eventually deemed inefficient for the success of Hitler's Final Solution to what he termed the "Jewish problem." Consequently, in 1942 the Nazis replaced the mobile killing units and their vans with permanent gas chambers, each capable of holding hundreds of people at a time.
The chambers still employed engine exhaust as the killing gas, at first. Due to the frequent mechanical breakdowns of engines, however, in 1943 Commandant Rudolf Hess of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp ordered the replacement of carbon monoxide gas with hydrogen cyanide crystals (Zyklon B), which turn into lethal gas immediately upon contact with oxygen. The first experiment with Zyklon B, typically used as
Use of Gas after World War II
Apart from the use of gas by Egypt against Yemen in the 1960s, the world was free of extensive gassing operations until 1983, when the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein launched a chemical campaign in the war against Iran (1980988). According to estimates, gases were deployed 195 times, killing or wounding 50,000 Iranians. In April 1987 Hussein turned the poison against his hated internal opponents, the Iraqi Kurds, as well. He launched at least forty gas assaults against the Kurdish population, the most dreadful of which occurred in 1988, between March 16 and March 19, in the town of Halabja. There, mustard gas and the nerve gases sarin and tabun killed 5,000 civilians.
Prohibition of Gas by International Law
The prohibition of poison is one of the oldest rules of the law of the armed conflict. Correspondingly, the use of poison gas, which causes unnecessary suffering and superfluous injury to combatants, ands a weapon of mass destructionndiscriminately affects civilian populations, stands in blatant violation of the most vital rules of international customary law applicable to the conduct of armed hostilities: the principles of distinction, military necessity, humanity, and dictates of public conscience.
Gassing has been prohibited since the nineteenth century by more than just customary law. Written agreements, the first being the 1874 Brussels Convention on the Law and Customs of War, and the 1899 Hague Declaration, ban the use of projectiles filled with gases. The landmark twentieth-century treaties include the 1907 Hague Convention IV Respecting the Law and Customs of War on Land (which reaffirmed the ban on poison); the 1925 Geneva Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare (which constituted a desired response to the atrocities of World War I, but did not provide for any compliance mechanisms); the 1972 Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, and Stockpiling of Bacteriological and Toxin Weapons; and, most important, the 1993 Convention on the Prohibition of Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.
Bringing Those Responsible to Justice
Under contemporary international criminal law, reflected in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the employment of asphyxiating, poisonous, or other gases during armed conflicts is deemed a war crime. The utilization of gases as a method of murder or extermination can be qualified as either a crime against humanity or a crime of genocide.
The first international judgment on the gassing of civilians was issued in the aftermath of World War II by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which convicted a number of major German war criminals for war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed, inter alia, through the use of gas. In the subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings, between 1946 and 1949, similar convictions were imposed upon the physicians who participated in the Nazi euthanasia program or mustard gas experiments (the Doctors Trial), and against SS administrators involved in the construction of gas chambers (In Re Pohl and Others). Finally, in a momentous trial known as the Zyklon B case, two German industrialistsruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher of the Tesch and Stabenow companyere sentenced to death for supplying Zyklon B to the concentration camps. Significantly, the court rejected the defendants' contention that they lacked awareness that the toxic pellets were used for extermination, rather than for decontamination. In contrast, an analogous argument was accepted in the trial of executives from the I. G. Farben company, whose subsidiary firmegeschas shipping Zyklon B to death camps along with Tesch and Stabenow. One of the most recent prosecutions occurred in 1963, when the national court of the Federal Republic of Germany convicted Robert Mulka, an adjutant to Hess and a supplier of Zyklon B to the Auschwitz gas chambers.
SEE ALSO Auschwitz; Einsatzgruppen; Ethiopia; Iraq; Kurds; War Crimes
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