Lonely? You May Be More Likely to Get Sick

Loneliness may be a health risk and can even increase a person’s risk of premature death, studies have shown, but the reason for the link hasn’t been clear. Now, researchers have found one way that loneliness may affect a person’s health: It may trigger cellular changes that might lower a person’s ability to fight viral infections.

In a study of 141 older adults, researchers looked at the relationship between loneliness and patterns of gene expression in white blood cells, which are involved in protecting the body against viruses and bacteria. Among the people in the study, 36 were classified as chronically lonely.

The researchers found that, in the chronically lonely people, the cells showed signs of an increased expression of the genes involved in inflammation and fighting potential bacterial infections, compared with the cells of people who were not chronically lonely. But the cells also had a lower level of expression of the genes involved in fighting viral infections.
This pattern of gene expression “is changing the body to be more likely to show an inflammatory response,” said study author John Cacioppo, a psychologist at the University of Chicago. Although this response “puts the organism in a state of preparation for bacterial infection,” he said. This, however, appears to occur at the cost of the ability to fight potential viral infections.

In other words, in lonely people, there is a shift “away from protecting against viruses, and more towards protection against bacteria,” Cacioppo told Live Science.[9 DIY Ways to Improve Your Mental Health]

Moreover, the findings suggested that loneliness and the pro-inflammatory pattern of gene expression go hand in hand, and can propagate each other over time: The people who were chronically lonely at the beginning of the study were likely to still have this pro-inflammatory pattern of gene expression a year later, and those with this pattern of gene expression at the beginning of the study were also still lonely a year later, the researchers found.

These results could not be explained by other factors such as depression, stress level or degree of social support, they said.

In another experiment in the study, the researchers found the same pro-inflammatory shift in the pattern of genetic expression among lonely macaque monkeys. They also found that the shift seemed to be related to an increased output of immature cells called monocytes from the immune system. These cells have high levels of expression of inflammatory proteins, and low levels of gene expression of antiviral proteins.

In the monkeys, the scientists found that these pro-inflammatory changes in gene expression had real consequences for the monkeys’ health. When they infected the monkeys with simian immunodeficiency virus, the monkey version of HIV, the virus grew faster in the blood and brains of the monkeys that were lonely than in the monkeys that were not lonely, the researchers found.

Lonely monkeys “showed a more advanced disease than the nonlonely [monkeys],” Cacioppo said.

The researchers said they are planning to continue studying how loneliness may lead to poor health outcomes and how these effects could be prevented in older people.

DNA Evidence Proves That The First People In China Were Black

China is apparently finding out now what Black historians have been reporting for many years, the first inhabitants of China were in fact black.

H. Imbert, a French anthropologist said in his book, “Les Negritos de la Chine”,”The Negroid races peopled at some time all the South of India, Indo-China and China. The South of Indo-China actually has now pure Negritos as the Semangs and mixed as the Malays and the Sakais.”

Another author and professor, Chang Hsing-Lang, revealed similar information in writing “The Importation of Negro Slaves to China under the Tang Dynasty”, “Even the sacred Manchu dynasty shows this Negro strain. The lower part of the face of the Emperor Pu-yi of Manchukuo, direct descendant of the Manchu rulers of China, is most distinctly Negroid.”

These professors through their research and studies have reason to believe that a Negro Empire actually existed at the dawn of the country’s history citing evidence of substantial populations of Blacks in early China, including finding reports of a major kingdom ruled by Blacks being frequently mentioned in historical Chinese history documents. And, Chinese chroniclers report that a Negro Empire existed in the South of China at the dawn of that country’s history

The notion that blacks were the original inhabitants of China has been thwarted by white scientists and even some blacks as the result of a sweeping message of white superiority and inferiority of black Africans and their descendants spreading worldwide.
In 2005, DNA testing proved that the first inhabitants of China were black Africans. The study was conducted by a Chinese DNA specialist named Jin Li and a team of Chinese and other scientists. Li admits that he wasn’t trying to prove this fact, instead he initially wanted to prove that the Chinese evolved from hοmo erectus independently of all humans. After collecting more than 12000 DNA samples from 165 different ethnic groups, Li and his team found that early humans belonged to different species but modern humans had descended from the East African species.

One scientist on the team, Li Hui, said that 100,000 years ago humans began migrating through South and Southeast Asia into China from Africa. Their testing showed that 65 branches of Chinese all carry similar DNA mutations as the people of Southeast Asia.

Another scientist on the team, Jin Li had this to say about their findings, “we did not see even one single individual that could be considered as a descendant of the hοmo erectus in China, rather, everybody was a descendant of our ancestors from Africa.”

When asked how he felt about these findings, he responded, “after I saw the evidence generated in my laboratory. I think we should all be happy with that. Because after all, modern humans from different parts of the world are not so different from each other and we are very close relatives.”

The team of scientists participating in the 5 year study of geographic and genealogical routes tracing the spread of settlements of ancient and modern humans were from China, Russia, India, Brazil and other nations.

Richard Leaky, a well-known, Kenyan-born Paleoanthropologist who has dedicated his life to studying fossils and the past believes that we must study the past if we are to have a future. He had this to say, “If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it’s solid, that we are all African, that color is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive, then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges.”

Wow, so it appears that Africa truly is the cradle of all civilization after all.

Paris attacks mastermind ‘killed’ in police siege as he plotted airport atrocity

A deadly plot to attack an international airport has been foiled in raids by police hunting the Paris terror masterminds.

The Islamic State plotters were “ready to act” again with devastating strikes on the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport and a popular shopping centre, authorities said.

Security forces found “a total war arsenal including Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosive belts” as they swooped on two neighbouring flats in the Saint-Denis area in the north of the French capital, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who orchestrated last week’s carnage in the city, was killed in the raid, according to US intelligence sources.

And the female suicide bomber who blew herself up was well-known to French security forces.

Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to be Abaaoud’s cousin and had “offered her services to commit terrorist attacks in France”.
She had been under “triple surveillance” from French intelligence, judges and the police for drugs running and terror probes.

READ MORE: Paris Charles de Gaulle airport searched by police for ‘links to radicalisation’ following terror attacks

Seconds before her death she confronted police from the top floor apartment.
Officers were heard shouting: “Where’s your boyfriend?”

She screamed: “He’s not my boyfriend!”
Police once again shouted: “Where is he?”

She then screamed “help me help me” before detonating her device.

A police dog died and seven people were arrested when officers stormed two flats near the Stade de France, a target of last week’s massacre believed to have been orchestrated by Abaaoud.

Officers fired 5,000 bullets during the raid in Paris, US intelligence sources have claimed.
The French authorities were unable to confirm Abaaoud’s death until DNA results were in.
But they did say neither Abaaoud or his fellow terrorist Salah Abdeslam were among those arrested.

The fierce gun battle left two dead, seven arrested and five police officers were injured.

During the siege a brave decorated French police dog called Diesel was killed.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said it was “extremely difficult” as the armoured door did not come down straight away, allowing the terrorists to get fire back.

Bur he revealed the terror cell was “ready to act” again and that France had “neutralised” it.

He said: “A new team of terrorists was neutralised and all indications are that given their arms, their organisational structure and their determination, the commando of jihadis could have struck.”

The siege began at 4.25am after police intercepted text messages and emails which indicated Abaaoud was in the apartment Saint Denis.

Locals told how they thought they “would certainly die” as the terrorists turned their neighbourhood into a “war zone”.

Rachid Boucerrou, 65, leapt from his bed when the firefight began.
The siege began at 4.25am after police intercepted text messages and emails which indicated Abaaoud was in the apartment Saint Denis.

Locals told how they thought they “would certainly die” as the terrorists turned their neighbourhood into a “war zone”.

He said: “The noise was incredible, I leapt out of bed and immediately went to the window.

“I could hear loud explosions and gunfire, it was rapid and prolonged.

“Then there were some huge bangs, it sounded like bombs being detonated, I thought we are in a war zone.

“I was in the house with my wife and son, I told them to get back from the window.

“We were scared there would be a gunman on the loose.

“The entire city has been on edge since last week’s attacks, the suicide bombers blew themselves up less than two kilometres from here and we thought it was all happening again.”

Another neighbour Karim Hassi, 33, said: “I thought the world was ending and we would certainly die, the sounds were deafening.

“Police were shouting to us to get away from the roads and off the streets.

“My family were absolutely terrified, everyone here is living like this in fear.”

Lotfi, a 50-year-old who was in the area, said: “I heard police officers talking to a woman with long blonde hair.

“I think she was the kamikaze. They told her not to lower her arms, to keep her hands up in the air, and then there was a massive explosion.

“I think that’s when she detonated her bomb. It really was a very loud explosion.
“Lots of windows on the street were shattered, and then the firefight started and it was going on nonstop.”

Jawad Ben Dowt, 30, admitted in an interview near the under siege apartment on Rue de Corbillon he handed it over to two men “who came from Belgium” two days ago.

He said: “A friend of mine asked me to host two of his buddies for a few days.
“I said there was no mattress, they told me ‘it’s okay’, they just wanted water and to pray. My friend said they were from Belgium.

“I was asked to a favour and I said yes. I was not aware that it was terrorists’ – moments later police grabbed him and put him in handcuffs.”

French police said as well as the attack on Charles de Gaulle airport the terror cell was targeting the Quatre Temps shopping centre in the city’s business district, Le Défense.
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Paris attacks mastermind ‘killed’ in police siege as he plotted airport atrocity
21:18, 18 NOV 2015 UPDATED 21:19, 18 NOV 2015
Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to be Abdelhamid Abaaoud’s cousin and had “offered her services to commit terrorist attacks in France”



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AFPFirefighters and policemen are gathered in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city centerTerror raids: Firefighters and policemen are gathered in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis
A deadly plot to attack an international airport has been foiled in raids by police hunting the Paris terror masterminds.

The Islamic State plotters were “ready to act” again with devastating strikes on the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport and a popular shopping centre, authorities said.

Security forces found “a total war arsenal including Kalashnikov assault rifles and explosive belts” as they swooped on two neighbouring flats in the Saint-Denis area in the north of the French capital, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who orchestrated last week’s carnage in the city, was killed in the raid, according to US intelligence sources.

DAILY RECORDSaint-Denis police raids after Paris terrorist attacksArrests: Saint-Denis police raids after Paris terrorist attacks
And the female suicide bomber who blew herself up was well-known to French security forces.

Hasna Aitboulahcen is believed to be Abaaoud’s cousin and had “offered her services to commit terrorist attacks in France”.

Universal News And SportLocal TV images as french police take one into custody during a raid in Saint-Denis – A woman has blown herself up and a suspect was shot dead during a police raid on a flat in a Paris suburb, while seven arrests were madeRaids: 110 officers took part in the operation
She had been under “triple surveillance” from French intelligence, judges and the police for drugs running and terror probes.

READ MORE: Paris Charles de Gaulle airport searched by police for ‘links to radicalisation’ following terror attacks

Seconds before her death she confronted police from the top floor apartment.

Daily MirrorFrench police arresting a man during the raids in the St Denis area of ParisCaught: French police arresting a man during the raids in the St Denis area of Paris
Officers were heard shouting: “Where’s your boyfriend?”

She screamed: “He’s not my boyfriend!”

READ MORE: Blonde suicide bomber shouted ‘help me’ to cops before explosion

Police once again shouted: “Where is he?”

She then screamed “help me help me” before detonating her device.

RexPolice officers detain a man on the ground inside a shopping mall in Saint-DenisPolice operation: Police officers detain a man on the ground inside a shopping mall in Saint-Denis
A police dog died and seven people were arrested when officers stormed two flats near the Stade de France, a target of last week’s massacre believed to have been orchestrated by Abaaoud.

Officers fired 5,000 bullets during the raid in Paris, US intelligence sources have claimed.

READ MORE: Police dog Diesel killed by terrorists in Saint-Denis siege after brave act

The French authorities were unable to confirm Abaaoud’s death until DNA results were in.

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But they did say neither Abaaoud or his fellow terrorist Salah Abdeslam were among those arrested.

The fierce gun battle left two dead, seven arrested and five police officers were injured.

During the siege a brave decorated French police dog called Diesel was killed.

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Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said it was “extremely difficult” as the armoured door did not come down straight away, allowing the terrorists to get fire back.

Bur he revealed the terror cell was “ready to act” again and that France had “neutralised” it.

He said: “A new team of terrorists was neutralised and all indications are that given their arms, their organisational structure and their determination, the commando of jihadis could have struck.”

DAILY RECORDSaint-Denis police raids after Paris terrorist attacksDawn attack: Saint-Denis police raids after Paris terrorist attacks
The siege began at 4.25am after police intercepted text messages and emails which indicated Abaaoud was in the apartment Saint Denis.

Locals told how they thought they “would certainly die” as the terrorists turned their neighbourhood into a “war zone”.

Rachid Boucerrou, 65, leapt from his bed when the firefight began.

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Direct Link:
Embed Code:
He said: “The noise was incredible, I leapt out of bed and immediately went to the window.

“I could hear loud explosions and gunfire, it was rapid and prolonged.

“Then there were some huge bangs, it sounded like bombs being detonated, I thought we are in a war zone.

GettyA forensic of the French police searches for evidences in the appartment raided by French Police special forces earlier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-DenisFighting back: A forensic of the French police searches for evidence in the apartment raided by French Police
“I was in the house with my wife and son, I told them to get back from the window.

“We were scared there would be a gunman on the loose.

“The entire city has been on edge since last week’s attacks, the suicide bombers blew themselves up less than two kilometres from here and we thought it was all happening again.”

Mohamed K, the suspected bomb maker in the Paris attacksWanted: Mohamed K, the suspected bomb maker in the Paris attacks
Another neighbour Karim Hassi, 33, said: “I thought the world was ending and we would certainly die, the sounds were deafening.

“Police were shouting to us to get away from the roads and off the streets.

“My family were absolutely terrified, everyone here is living like this in fear.”

GettyForensics of the French police search for evidences outside a building in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on November 18, 2015Hunt: French police search for evidence
Lotfi, a 50-year-old who was in the area, said: “I heard police officers talking to a woman with long blonde hair.

“I think she was the kamikaze. They told her not to lower her arms, to keep her hands up in the air, and then there was a massive explosion.

“I think that’s when she detonated her bomb. It really was a very loud explosion.

“Lots of windows on the street were shattered, and then the firefight started and it was going on nonstop.”

Jawad Ben Dowt, 30, admitted in an interview near the under siege apartment on Rue de Corbillon he handed it over to two men “who came from Belgium” two days ago.

He said: “A friend of mine asked me to host two of his buddies for a few days.

AFPMembers of the Raid, a special intervention unit of the French police patrol in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis city centerLying in wait: Members of the Raid, a special intervention unit of the French police patrol in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis
“I said there was no mattress, they told me ‘it’s okay’, they just wanted water and to pray. My friend said they were from Belgium.

“I was asked to a favour and I said yes. I was not aware that it was terrorists’ – moments later police grabbed him and put him in handcuffs.”

French police said as well as the attack on Charles de Gaulle airport the terror cell was targeting the Quatre Temps shopping centre in the city’s business district, Le Défense.

GettyForensic of the French police search for evidences outside the appartment raided by French Police special forces earlier in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-DenisBloody: 110 officers took part in the raids
A further 118 raids took place across France, bringing the total since last week’s attack to 414.

An extra 25 people were arrested on suspicion of terror offences.

And anti-terror units in Belgium are on high alert after a manhunt was launched for the master bombmaker who devised suicide vests for the ISIS death squads who carried out the Paris massacre.
The explosives experts, named by security services as Caribbean-born Mohamed K, was at the centre of a frantic manhunt after being identified as one of the terror group’s most highly skilled operatives.

His picture was circulated to local police after French intelligence issued an a major alert to Belgium counter-terror services that the suspect, who lived in northern France, had crossed the border
Mohamed is described as extremely dangerous due to his intricate knowledge of explosives and detonation devices – honed during trips to ISIS training camps in Syria.

He was born in the French Antilles before his family moved to the town of Roubaix when he was young.

He is understood to have been in contact with terror fugitive Salah Abdeslam, dubbed Public Enemy Number One, before and after the atrocities on Friday night.

Investigators in Brussels warned: “He could now be in Belgium and must be recovered faster than Abdeslam.”

It is understood he may have supplied the suicide vest detonated in the bloody five-hour siege in Paris.

A Jewish teacher was stabbed by three people claiming to be ISIS militants in the southern French city of Marseilles. Prosecutors in the city said the teacher’s life was not in danger.

Jamelia backlash after claiming Britain is Islamophobic in bust up with Nigel Farage

Jamelia clashed with Nigel Farage on Loose Women during a discussion over his recent comments on the failure of immigration .

The presenter claimed that the Ukip leader had singled out the British Muslim community in the wake of the Paris terror attacks .

But some viewers were quick to call the Strictly star “uneducated” and “stupid” for her comments.

Jamelia said to the politician: “You are singling out Muslim communities, don’t you believe that we already have a huge state of Islamophobia here already.
“Do you not feel that you are inflaming the situation by singling out a particular section of British society?

Mr Farage had said that the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, had made “one of the biggest policy errors we’ve seen in modern times” after welcoming refugees into Europe.

He claimed he wasn’t saying British Muslims were the problem but a “small strain of Islam” who identified with extremists.
But Jamelia countered: “And the Muslims don’t identify with them.”

The singer later added: “Why are terrorists allowed to become the public face of Islam? That is what is wrong.”

Mr Farage replied, “None of us want that”, but was spoken over by Jamelia who said: “That is what is going on.”

@loosewomen Honestly has anyone ever told @jamelia that she only talks nonsense. Completely pointless. Think before you speak please.

— Eva-Marie Marson (@EvaMarevaDiva) November 18, 2015
Some Loose Women viewers believed that Jamelia had missed the point of the discussion: “Honestly has anyone ever told jamelia that she only talks nonsense. Completely pointless. Think before you speak please.”

“Oh shut up Jamelia, you uneducated idiot and let the others have a debate. #loosewomen,” added another Twitter user.
One said: “@loosewomen jamelia getting it embarrassingly wrong again!”

And one upset viewer said: “Can’t believe jamelia thinks that we are all Muslim haters etc @loosewomen i love people of all nations n faiths and she should apologise. (sic)”

Some other viewers complimented the singer for speaking on behalf of other faiths, but others slammed her for her generalisation Britain was Islamophobic.

Cameron: Not Sure ‘Jihadi John’ is lifeless after US drone strike

Featured Image -- 11053A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John,” according to American officials. Whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages was not known, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Friday.

Mohammed Emwazi was the target of an airstrike in Raqqa, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. Officials were assessing the results of the strike, he said.

A U.S. official told The Associated Press that a drone had targeted a vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Cameron said officials are not yet certain whether a U.S. drone strike killed Emwazi. He said the strike had been a joint effort and that British intelligence agencies were working around the clock to find the British-accented militant, whom Cameron called the militant group’s “lead executioner.”

Cameron also said the U.S. strike had been “an act of self-defense” and the right thing to do. He said targeting Emwazi was “a strike at the heart” of the Islamic State group.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, appearing at a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, on Friday said, “We are still assessing the results of this strike.” He told reporters extremists “need to know this: Your days are numbered, and you will be defeated.”

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that U.S. coalition warplanes struck an IS vehicle as it left the governor’s office in the city of Raqqa, killing four IS foreign fighters, including a British commander. The Observatory said the bodies were charred, and Observatory chief Rami Abdurrahman said the commander killed in the attack was most likely Jihadi John but that he does not have 100 percent confirmation.

Emwazi, believed to be in his mid-20s, has been described by a former hostage as a bloodthirsty psychopath who enjoyed threatening Western hostages. Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who had been held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said Emwazi would explain precisely how the militants would carry out a beheading.

Those being held by three British-sounding captors nicknamed them “the Beatles” with “Jihadi John” a reference to Beatles member John Lennon, Espinosa said in recalling his months as one of more than 20 hostages.

Cameron said Britain has been “working, with the United States, literally around the clock to track him down.”

“This was a combined effort,” he said. “And the contribution of both our countries was essential.”

Cameron said that “it will demonstrate to those who would do Britain, our people and our allies harm: We have a long reach, we have unwavering determination and we never forget about our citizens.”

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem Friday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “If these reports are correct and several of those people from ISIS were killed today, I mean these people who were brutalizing, terrorizing, murdering people, of course it is really important that we take the fight to them and make them realize that they are going to be contested heavily.”

“It’s no great secret; I think it is essential for Britain to play its part in the fight against this hideous extremism that is brutalizing the lives of so many people,” Blair said. “It is important we play our full part alongside America and other allies and so if the UK government wanted to commit Britain to this fight in Syria, where after all ISIS are really headquartered, of course I will be fully supportive of that.”

Among those beheaded by Islamic State militants in videos posted online since August 2014 were U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

A friend of Henning has said she is still “skeptical” following news that “Jihadi John” may have been killed.

Louise Woodward-Styles, who organized a candlelit vigil for the taxi driver after he was captured by the terrorists, said that, even if Emwazi had been killed, the family of the 47-year-old would not get closure following his brutal murder.

She said: “I don’t think there will be closure, particularly for Alan’s family and close friends.

“His body wasn’t returned home and from that aspect it was something they had to deal with privately. For them to say that Jihadi John has been killed doesn’t mean anything. It is something that the Government can say they have done successfully,” she said.

She added that she would have preferred Emwazi to have been brought back to the UK to face justice.

In the videos, a tall masked figure clad in black and speaking in a British accent typically began one of the gruesome videos with a political rant and a kneeling hostage before him, then ended it holding an oversize knife in his hand with the headless victim lying before him in the sand.

Emwazi was identified as “Jihadi John” last February, although a lawyer who once represented Emwazi’s father told reporters that there was no evidence supporting the accusation. Experts and others later confirmed the identification.

Emwazi was born in Kuwait and spent part of his childhood in the poor Taima area of Jahra before moving to Britain while still a boy, according to news reports quoting Syrian activists who knew the family. He attended state schools in London, then studied computer science at the University of Westminster before leaving for Syria in 2013. The woman who had been the principal at London’s Quintin Kynaston Academy told the earlier this year that Emwazi had been quiet and “reasonably hard-working.”

Officials said Britain’s intelligence community had Emwazi on its list of potential terror suspects for years but was unable to prevent him from traveling to Syria. He had been known to the nation’s intelligence services since at least 2009, when he was connected with investigations into terrorism in Somalia.

The beheading of Foley, 40, of Rochester, New Hampshire, was deemed by IS to be its response to U.S. airstrikes. The release of the video, on Aug. 19, 2014, horrified and outraged the civilized world but was followed the next month by videos showing the beheadings of Sotloff and Haines and, in October, of Henning.

Escaping the Darkness

Quitting drinking lifted me out of Crapsville. When I drank, I would often ponder why other people’s lives seemed to be so much more productive and together than my own messy, unsatisfying and occasionally frightening existence. I am writing about this today because I noted earlier just how content I am these days, and how […]


Leaked letters show Cameron accidentally complaining about his own policies.

So it turns out from leaked letters to the leader of his own Tory council in Oxfordshire that David Cameron has no actual idea what the effects of his own policies are.

In the letters to Ian Hudspeth, Tory leader of Oxfordshire County Council which covers Cameron’s own constituency, he complains of cuts to frontline services such as elderly day centres, museums, and libraries.

Cameron remains seemingly unaware that such frontline services must be cut since all the possible ‘back office’ savings have already been made. He is also blissfully unaware of the real figures involved, carelessly misquoting figures like …. well, like a politician.

Actual cuts to local funding of £626m become £204m according to Cameron. A drop in funding of £72m or 37 per cent is a “slight fall” to the PM (which, in fairness, it probably is in his world). And his helpful suggestion of raising more money by selling off excess council property is “neither legal, nor sustainable”, Hudspeth patiently explains (presumably while repeatedly punching himself in the head with his non-writing hand).
Should we really be surprised that a top-ranking Tory politician like David Cameron – a millionaire born into wealth and schooled at Eton – would be unaware of the sharp end of his programme of cuts?

I think not. But it does raise further concerns as to what other policy implications he’s unaware of. What will be next? The leader of Oxfordshire County council writing to Cameron: “Thank you for your concerns about local government cuts but I regret to inform you that your constituency is no longer in Oxfordshire due to electoral boundary changes which your government implemented”?

Or perhaps we could imagine him writing to complain about the number of homeless people hanging around Chipping Norton recently (unlikely, but bear with me). “This may have come from the £12bn worth of welfare cuts which you sanctioned and which have seen homelessness soar by 40 per cent, Mr Cameron,” Mr Hudspeth would have to reply.

We might imagine our wonderful leader writing to the long-suffering Mr Hudspeth to complain: “There have been a number of worrying rumbling noises under my property recently and last night Samantha singed her eyebrows when the water she was using to brush her teeth unexpectedly burst into flame.”

Mr Hudspeth: “I’m afraid this could be due to the fracking operation currently taking place underneath your house, sir. The government gave it the green light several weeks ago. You might also want to look out for the nuclear reactor due to be installed just down the road. Oh, and just to let you know, the men will be coming round to remove your solar panels tomorrow – the company went bust after you removed all subsidies to renewable energy.”
Perhaps we could go even further and imagine the PM’s own house being broken into by a bunch of drugged-up, out-of-work youths without prospects from an inner city constituency, which, being under-privileged, faces far worse cuts than his own. Perhaps we could imagine Mr Cameron calling the police and demanding they send someone round, only to be told to hang up and dial 101, because police cuts mean there aren’t enough officers to deal with non-major crimes like breaking and entering.

He might even get suspicious that all these complaints of his are being leaked to the press. “Were you aware, Mr Cameron, of something called the Snoopers’ Charter?”

But enough fantasising. None of these thinks are likely to actually happen. Being a rich white man from a well-off area with a job and his full health, Mr Cameron won’t ever really feel the full effects of his own policies. Fortunately for him, he’ll probably never have to.

Tory MP accuses David Cameron of breaking election promise not to cut child tax credits

A Conservative MP has accused David Cameron of breaking his election promise not to cut child tax credits and has boycotted a Government visit to his constituency over the “completely unacceptable” measures.

Stephen McPartland said it was “inappropriate” for David Gauke, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, to come to his Stevenage constituency to promote tax breaks for Research and Development while refusing to talk about cuts to child tax credits.
He pointed to new analysis by the House of Commons Library showing that families who will lose all of their working tax credits will subsequently start losing child tax credits.

The research shows that a lone parent with two children working 35 hours a week on earnings of £20,000 a year would lose all of their working tax credits and would see their child tax credit halved.

This would break David Cameron’s explicit promise at the general election not to cut child tax credits, Mr McPartland said.
“This is completely unacceptable and destroys the Government’s final defence that planned cuts do not apply to Child Tax Credits,” he added in a damning attack on his own party’s flagship policy.

Mr McPartland has been the most consistent Tory critics of Mr Osborne’s tax credit cuts and is demanding the Chancellor introduce measures to mitigate the blow to recipients when they come into effect next April.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has estimated that 3.2m families will lose an average of more than £1,300 a year from the cuts.

Mr Osborne also came under fire today from the man who introduced tax credits: Gordon Brown.

The former Prime Minister said the cuts would “diminish incentives to work” and predicted they will create the highest levels of child poverty in nearly 50 years.
He branded the changes “anti-work, anti-children, anti-family, anti-women and anti-British” and went further than many critics of the plans, telling Mr Osborne to ditch the cuts altogether rather than trying to water down the proposals.

“By cutting work incentives and hitting children hardest they shame the name of Britain – betraying the very British values that encourage fair play, hard work, taking responsibility and compassion to children.

“Even a phased in or watered down version of tax credit cuts will condemn Britain to higher levels of child poverty than at any time in fifty years and what is ‘government induced poverty’ will leave us a more divided, more polarised, harsher, ‘two nations’ Britain, inequality set to rise faster than anywhere in the world.”

Tax Credits: Tory Minster Tracey Crouch Apologises After Saying Families On Breadline Have To ‘Go Without’ Sky TV

A Conservative minister has been forced to apologise after saying hard-up families have to “go without” satellite television subscriptions as she defended George Osborne’s cuts to tax credits.

Tracey Crouch, the sports minister, told The Spectator of the need to “try to help people to support themselves” and individual cases of hardship where people “haven’t realised some of the savings that they need to make themselves”. The MP for Chatham and Aylesford and her sister were brought up by her social worker mother after their parents divorced when she was eight.

Labour immediately condemned the remarks as “out of touch” and “insulting”.
They follow former Tory Chancellor Ken Clarke in the Guardian labelling the top-up benefit for low-paid workers a “taxpayers bung on top of their pay”.

The Chancellor has come under fire repeatedly this week over the policy he has pledged to reform, and will give details at the autumn statement in a fortnight.

Tax credits architect Gordon Brown, the Tory-dominated work and pensions select committee and Conservative MP Stephen McPartland have all criticised the policy this week.

Speaking to The Spectator magazine, Ms Crouch, said: “I think it’s about communication. We will be discussing this, and I’m sure that (the Department for Work and Pensions) are looking at all of these issues, in great detail.

“But I think at the end of the day one of the kindest things that we can do is try to help people to support themselves and work around their finances: some of my most heartbreaking cases are those that come to me saying that they are struggling and then you go through with them their expenditure and income – I’m not generalising at all, I’m talking about some very individual cases – and actually they just haven’t realised some of the savings that they need to make themselves, you know it can be… things like paid subscriptions to TVs and you just sit there and you think you have to sometimes go without if you are going to have people make ends meet.”
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Clarke described tax credits as a “stupid name”. “It is just a taxpayers bung on top of their pay,” he said.

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Treasury Minister, said: “Another day and yet more evidence of out of touch Tory MPs insulting working people in low pay in what has been a further torturous week for George Osborne on tax credits.

“It is just offensive to describe the money millions of hard working people rely on just to get to the end of each month in the same language used to describe corruption in football.

“And it’s outrageous for a serving minister to claim that working families simply need to ‘go without’ in order to make ends meet. Losing £1,300 a year isn’t about cutting back on luxuries, it’s about families being able to pay the bills.

“What a bung really looks like is a Tory party funded by rich bankers and hedge funds giving tax breaks to a few millionaires while cutting tax credits to over three million working families by £1,300 a year.”

But Ms Crouch said later: “I apologise for causing any offence. I’m sorry for giving the impression of a lack of understanding of the financial pressures many families face – nothing could be further from the truth.”
Tax credits are welfare payments to families raising children and working people on low incomes.
More than three million families would lose an average of £1,300 a year from April under the previously announced plans.
The cuts will deliver £4.4bn of the Chancellor’s planned welfare cuts by reducing the earnings level at which tax credits start to be withdrawn from £6,420 to £3,850.
The Government says eight out of 10 would be “better off” overall from a package which also includes increases in the minimum wage for over-25s, rises in the income tax threshold and extended free childcare.

‘Jamaicans And Nigerians Can No Longer Be Deported from UK’ All Commonwealth Nations 2015

Commonwealth Nations adopt our Human Rights Mandate against Deportation’-Professor Alexia Thomas, Chairman, The Commonwealth Liberation Party, UK

* Why Nigeria Embassy warns British Govt to stop Xenophobic Migration & Deportation of Nigerians in London
*Vows: ‘You can’t deport 29,000 Nigerians’

*Nigeria implement International Bill of Patriot Mandate initiative to stop deportation
*Nigeria’s VP, Osinbajo applauds Prof. Alexia Thomas on political mythology on Equality Bill & Enforcement Rule

*Nigerian community in UK celebrates victory over Hate & Deportation-threat

*“We’re elated Nigeria, African nations adopting Commonwealth Government

Compliance module”-Chairman, The Commonwealth Liberation Party, UK

*FACT: ‘Detention and Deportation of Commonwealth Citizens from the UK breaches Article 9, 13 & 15 of UDHR 1948’

*QUOTE: ‘I am going to die a death of peace because in my living, the healing has started. And in my death, the healing will continue’-Her Knowledgeable Professor Alexia Thomas

FOR the very first time since Nigeria attained her independence in 1960, the Nigerian Government has come out in clear terms to express its displeasure to the xenophobic agenda designed by the British authorities at purging non-natives out of United Kingdom just after their last British election.

In this revealing encounter, Her Knowledgeable Professor Alexia Thomas, a British fiery civil right activist who doubles as President Independent Diplomat Commission, IDC and Chairman, The Commonwealth Liberation Party, TCLP, explained reasons why Nigeria adopted her human right bill, how other Commonwealth nations are doing same and why Britain has no right to deport 29,000 Nigerians in its latest hate-crime against non-natives.

Q: Kindly take us through this latest diplomatic victory that emboldens Nigeria to tell the British Government it has no right to deport 29,000 Nigerians?

To start with, we earlier launched the International Bill of Patriot Mandate here in United Kingdom, UK, where 51 countries that are members of Commonwealth were officially informed, confirmed that they would not, they should not and must not act and cannot participate in the deportation agenda exhibited by the UK Immigration under any guise. And we gave them mandate ultimatum that they should refuse to issue deportation certificates to UK Immigration, they should disengage from hate-crime, deeds and laws, they should refuse to accept deported migrants from the UK.

We gave them an ultimatum to September 28, 2015 for compliance. We told them that if they delay in adhering to the tenets of the legislative mandate and equality deeds, they will be tagged as ‘traitors’ to their citizens.

At the Commonwealth nations of government, we informed them never to be involved in issuing deportation certificates to any member of Commonwealth, but if they fail, then they will be involved in criminal offense. If they fail to disengage from coercion of hate-crime in the diaspora, they should be ready to face the squad of their citizens’ uprising. So, the 5-pages mandate (document) was sent to Nigeria High Commissioner in UK.

Since it is called Commonwealth Government Compliance with the International Bill of Patriot Mandate, IBOPM, they finally had to comply, and we are very proud of them. For the very first time, this morning, I call them (President Mohammadu Buhari’s team) men, they are speaking the language they ought to have spoken some 52 years ago.

They said in their comments: ‘all Nigerians will be protected wherever they are’. They also said that they have been involved with the UK government in terms of trade where lots of profit is to be made. If both governments and parties are involved in trade, then it will be a total abuse of process for the citizens of the country in which UK government is benefiting lots of profits from to be hated, deported or made to pass through Visa procedure.

I am aware that between now and the next 3 weeks, they are still having their ‘cobra meetings’, still sitting on how they are going to work out the mandate. I am presently working on a bond titled ‘Government Anti-deportation Immunity Bond’, which is going to be a piece of mandate that will assist them is putting an end to deportation of Nigerian citizens anywhere in UK.

12 Unexpected Benefits of Drinking Hot Water! [MUST READ]

I think that most of us know by now that water is essential to our survival. We’ve probably also all heard doctors say that drinking roughly eight glasses a day is ideal. However, what most people don’t know is that warm water and hot water have some exclusive benefits of their own that you just can’t get when you drink water cold. Here are 12 benefits of drinking hot water:

1. Weight Loss

Hot water is great for maintaining a healthy metabolism, which is what you want if you’re trying to shed a few kilos. The best way to do this is to kick start your metabolism early in the morning with a glass of hot water and lemon. As an added bonus, hot water will help to break down the adipose tissue (aka body fat) in your body.
2. Assists with Nasal and Throat Congestion

Drinking hot water is an excellent natural remedy for colds, coughs and a sore throat. It dissolves phlegm and also helps to remove it from your respiratory tract. As such, it can provide relief from a sore throat. It also helps in clearing nasal congestion.

3. Menstrual Cramps

Hot water can also aid in diminishing menstrual cramps. The heat of the water has a calming and soothing effect on the abdominal muscles, which eventually can help to cure cramps and spasms.

4. Body Detoxification

Hot water is fantastic for helping your body to detox. When you drink hot water, your body temperature begins to rise, which results in sweat. You want this to happen because it helps to release toxins from your body and cleanse it properly. For optimal results, add a squeeze of lemon before drinking.

5. Prevents Premature Aging

There’s a reason you should want to clear your body of toxins: they make you age faster. Also, drinking hot water helps to repair the skin cells that increase the elasticity of your skin and are affected by harmful free radicals. Subsequently, your damaged skin becomes smoother.

6. Prevents Acne and Pimples
The benefits for your skin just keep on coming. Hot water deep cleanses your body and eliminates the root causes of acne-related infections.
7. Hair Health and Vitality

Drinking hot water is also good for obtaining soft, shiny hair. It energizes the nerve endings in your hair roots and makes them active. This is beneficial for getting back the natural vitality of your hair and keeping it healthy.

8. Promotes Hair Growth

Activating the roots of your hair has another added benefit—growth! The hot water promotes the regular activity of the roots and subsequently accelerates the growth of your hair.

9. Prevents Dandruff

Hot water keeps your scalp hydrated and helps fight against dry scalp or dandruff.

10. Enhances Blood Circulation and Promotes A Healthy Nervous System

Another important benefit of drinking hot water is that it enhances your blood circulation, which is important for proper muscle and nerve activity. In addition, it keeps your nervous system healthy by breaking down the fat deposits around it.

11. Digestion

Hot water is particularly beneficial for digestion. Studies have shown that drinking cold water during or after a meal can harden the oil present in the consumed foods. This can create a fat deposit on the inner wall of your intestine, which can eventually result in intestinal cancer. However, if you replace the glass of cold water with hot, you can avoid this problem. In addition, hot water is beneficial to digestion, which is what you want after a meal.

12. Bowel Movements

Speaking of digestion, hot water can help to keep you regular, as well as make your bowel movements healthy and pain free. Dehydration can result in chronic problems with constipation. As the stool gets accumulated inside your intestine, the movement of the bowel becomes slower. It is always recommended that you consume a glassful of hot or warm water every morning when your stomach is empty. It decomposes any remnant foodstuffs and makes the movement of the particles smooth and less painful through the intestine.

A Vision Of Peace As Muslims, Jews ‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’

Hummus is a signature dish of Middle Eastern cuisine — a delicious spread made from mashed chickpeas, tahini, olive oil and seasonings.

On Thursday, hummus will become a symbol of peace as 15 Muslim and Jewish activists break bread together and participate in an all-day bus tour of Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia with a message of reconciliation. Bearing trays of homemade hummus and pita bread, the activists hope to spread the message that Muslims and Jews refuse to be enemies.

The activists will share hummus and pita with people they meet during the day and invite members of the public to sign a “Stand Up for the Other Pledge” created by Dr. Ali Chaudry, President of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

The pledge states: “While interacting with members of my own faith or ethnic community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the other and challenge bigotry in any form.”

The second annual Spread Hummus Not Hate bus tour is a joint venture of the New York-based nonprofit, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum. It’s part of a monthlong “Season of Twinning” initiated by FFEU to promote Muslim-Jewish events in communities around the world.

The campaign began in 2014 in response to a series of anti-Muslim ads that appeared months before on city buses in D.C. and New York City. The offensive ads were bought by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, a group led by Pamela Geller, and were ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in August 2015.

For Walter Ruby, FFEU’s Muslim-Jewish program director, this year’s follow up campaign is a powerful symbol of peace amidst heightened tension between Muslims and Jews in the Middle East and around the world.

“The elephant in the room is the Israel-Palestine conflict,” Ruby told The Huffington Post. “We pray together for an early and just end to the conflict. Beyond that we can agree to disagree on certain things, but we’re not going to let that prevent us from building ties … of friendship and trust.”

The activists, who are all grassroots volunteers from the greater Washington area, will visit University of Maryland, Georgetown University, George Mason University, as well as public parks, mosques and synagogues, sharing hummus and pita with everyone they meet along the way.

“By spreading hummus on pita and enjoying it together, we are spreading love, empathy, and reconciliation to replace hatred, fear and anger,” said Dr. Sahar Khamis, Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Maryland, in a press release.

Jamaican female dead at street dance, Fell off speaker box

Street dance in the Dancehall is becoming a bit too life threatening for the patrons who find enjoyment in these events. An unknown Jamaican female recently lost much more than her dignity, she also lost her life.

Reports are that a female was at a local dance performing a few acrobatic dance moves on top of the speaker boxes, when she lost her balance and fell off, landing on her neck. She died on spot.
“Everyone was shocked when she fell on her head,” the source told us. “A few guys went and lift her up and that’s when they noticed her head fell all the way back. They should stop these crazy things they call dancing because people are getting hurt.” a source on the scene shared.

New Research Around Mysterious Light Patches In Space Suggests Alternate Universe Could Exist

Scientists believe a glow in space could be signs of another, alternate universe existing close to ours.

The mystery light, spotted by researchers studying images from the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope suggests that our universe could be bumping into a neighbouring one.

Modern theories about how the universe began suggest that our universe is just one among many that emerged from the Big Bang.
According to new research, the bright spots could be the remnants of light originating from hydrogen gas that was given off from the Big Bang.

These conclusions are based on research from Ranga-Ram Chary of the Planck’s US data centre in California. New Scientist first reported on his analysis, and stated that the “eerie glow” he had observed “could be due to matter from a neighbouring universe leaking into ours.”

In order to arrive at this exciting conclusion, Chary and team compared the light leftover from the early universe — seen in the map of the cosmic microwave background — with an image of the sky taken by the European Space Agency’s Planck telescope.

The difference between the two revealed a mysterious spot of light.
“I would say most versions of inflation in fact lead to eternal inflation, producing a number of pocket universes,” Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told the New Scientist.

However, experts caution against getting too excited as previous mysterious patches of light have been explained by space dust.

“I suspect that it would be worth looking into alternative possibilities,” theoretical astrophysicist David Spergel told the New Scientist.

“The dust properties are more complicated than we have been assuming, and I think that this is a more plausible explanation.”

What Would Happen If Russia Cut The Transatlantic Data Cables?

Recent reports have suggested that deep beneath the ocean, something ominous is taking place. According to sources inside the US intelligence community there is an increased fear that Russia could have the power to take down the world’s internet.
Virtually all of the world’s information moves deep under the sea. Well over 95 percent of everything moving on the global Internet passes through 200 or so highly active cables, some as deep under water as Mount Everest is tall. On a normal day, that information is safe and sound, humming along the protected fiber optic strands upon which moves the information that is the backbone of the world’s economy.

But recent reports by a variety of sources indicate renewed interest by Russian submarine forces in surveillance of those cables, including detailed monitoring and targeting of the system. The tactical reasons for doing so are plain: in the case of heightened tensions, access to the underwater cable system represents a rich trove of intelligence, a potential major disruption to an enemy’s economy and a symbolic chest thump for the Russian Navy.

Placing the submarine activity in the larger context of Russian geopolitical strategy, it is possible to see the broader rationale for these moves at this moment. First, such actions play well to a domestic Russian audience that wants to see Russia as the global counter-weight to the U.S. Russian President Vladimir Putin above all else craves respect, and his actions — from invading Georgia to annexing Crimea to muscling into Syria on the side of the reprehensible Assad regime to active surveillance — enhance his international importance and profile.

The movement of information is the lifeblood of the global economic system: it needs to be more secure from accident and attack.
Second, these types of high tech, delicate and complex undersea maneuvers constitute important training and preparation for the Russian Navy. The ability to tap these cables for intelligence as well as attack them with precision is a skill-based activity that requires detailed knowledge and real precision work at depth according to many reports. Practice is vital.

Additionally, the underwater maneuvers are a signal to the U.S. and its allies, much like the other recent aggressive international moves coming from Moscow. Russia is reaching for many other Cold War tools as well, including aggressive long-range bomber patrols above NATO nations (particularly the Baltic states) and building up significant military capability in the Arctic.

Are we headed back to another Cold War? Probably not, despite the ominous range of activities. We should remember that we still cooperate with Russian on a wide range of activities: counter-piracy patrols off the Horn of Africa, counter-terrorism information sharing, counter-narcotic activity in Central Asia, support to Afghanistan and constructing the controversial but widely accepted counter-proliferation agreement with Iran. Unlike the Cold War, there are zones of U.S.-Russia cooperation today.

We should convene an international conversation about protecting the underwater fiber optic grid system, much as we do for air and sea lanes of communication.
The Cold War dwarfed in size and scope anything we see today. The war saw millions of soldiers facing each other across the Fulda Gap in central Europe; two immense battle fleets grappling with each other across the oceans of the world; and two massive nuclear arsenals on a hair-trigger alert, ready to launch within minutes. We are not remotely at that point today.

So what we should do in response to Russian behavior around the world, including reports of underwater cable surveillance? We must avoid stumbling backwards into a new Cold War. This means maintaining open lines of communication, searching for zones of cooperation where we can find them (from the Arctic to Arms Control) and taking a deep breath when we see provocations before we respond militarily. We should convene an international conversation (to include Russia of course) about protecting the underwater fiber optic grid system, much as we do for air and sea lanes of communication.

But we must also stand firmly behind established principles of international law: nations should not simply annex the territory of their neighbors, as was done in Ukraine; nor should they support brutal, lawless, illegal regimes like that of Assad in Syria. We should rally as much international support as we can muster to criticize such behavior, and when it is particularly egregious — as in Ukraine — impose sanctions.

Our naval forces need to be ready to defend our submarine cables, exactly as we defend our electrical grid, industrial base and transportation networks.
Another important component is operational. Our naval forces need to be ready to defend our submarine cables, exactly as we defend our electrical grid, industrial base and transportation networks. That means a robust, highly technical and capable undersea Navy. The U.S. leads the world in operations underwater, and we absolutely must maintain that edge.

In this context, exercises and operations with key allies and friends to protect this shared and vital undersea infrastructure is a good signal to send to the Russians as well. NATO allies, Japan, Australia and many other friends have significant undersea capabilities: by practicing and operating together, we help create a stable and protected global communication grid.

Finally, we need to build more resiliency and redundancy into the underwater cable network. It is far too vulnerable to sabotage, especially at the terminals where the cables are in relatively shallow water. We need more “dark cables” that are not operational but kept in reserve. The movement of information is the lifeblood of the global economic system: it needs to be more secure from accident and attack.

We need more ‘dark cables’ that are not operational but kept in reserve.
Russia’s robust Cold War-like moves should be concerning, but we should remember what a weak hand of cards Russia actually holds: a declining population, high rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, few real allies and an economy that is a one-trick pony. As Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said with a bit of hyperbole, Russia is “a large gas station masquerading as a country.”

Despite these fundamental weaknesses, under Putin, the Russians will reach for Cold War tools in an effort to prove their global relevance. It will not broadly succeed as a strategy, and we should not overreact. Instead, let’s take sensible steps to maintain a dialog, cooperate where we can, confront where we must and protect our vital infrastructure and interests around the world — including in the deepest parts of the sea.

‘I have been to death’s door and back’

I would like to thank the ‘CBS Stitch EmbroidIT’ company for being the first to share my story on social media and playing a part in assisting individuals living with lupus. They informed me that, currently, my story has reached over 100,000 people via their post, and for that I am grateful.

Sharing my story is not an easy task as it takes much courage and even more selflessness to do it. However, there are people out there who need me as much as I need them, and I am confident that together we can overcome this disease.

My name is Danielle Samantha Hall and I am 25 years old. I was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus at age 21. However, I was hospitalised on my 18th birthday for bacterial meningitis. Life for me before was pretty normal. I was just going through the motions of a teenager. I attended St Andrew Preparatory School where I did very well in my academics and also in service clubs. I served as the president for the Builders Club and also held leadership roles in other clubs and societies. I graduated from St Andrew Preparatory and started Excelsior High School in 2001, where I continued to do well in academics and participated in several extra-curricular activities (Peer Counselling, Inter-School Christian Fellowship, Environmental Club, Girl Guides, Tourism Action Club, and Key Club). I served as a junior prefect from grade nine then went on to become a senior prefect in grade 11. I left high school with eight CXC subjects with distinctions in English language and French. Throughout my life, I had always found it necessary to be an active participant in school activities and also maintaining a good average.

A part of my childhood and teenage years had been impacted greatly because my mother had been seriously ill throughout my school years and had to be hospitalised on several occasions. I am the only child for my mother, and this resulted in me having to stay with several people, including teachers, while my mom was in hospital.

I left Quality Academics in June 2007 and went on to work at the Office of the Cabinet in September of that year. This was my first and only permanent job after performing exceptionally well as a holiday worker. In February 2008, the office transitioned and joined the Ministry of Finance and Planning, where I am currently employed. In April of that year, on the weekend before my birthday, I started experiencing several symptoms which resulted in a seizure that eventually led to my hospitalisation.

Before lupus, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, pyelonephritis and rheumatoid arthritis. My situation only worsened as the years went by, and, to date, I am being treated for a number of autoimmune-related diseases.

Hearing of my diagnosis didn’t come as a shocker to me, given that I was diagnosed with other diseases two years before. However, I was still reluctant in sharing that bit of information with my friends and family. My parents, on the other hand, had a bittersweet reaction because after three years of being back and forth, they finally got a concrete answer. It was also very depressing because they knew the effects of lupus and life for me would never be the same. My support system comprises of my parents — Mr Desmond Hall and Miss Rosalind ‘Pat’ Maragh — my extended family (inclusive of my neighbourhood), my friends, church family, work family, school family, and of course my Lupus Sisterhood.

Since my diagnosis, I have been enrolled as a part-time student at the University of the West Indies, pursuing a BSc in sociology and a minor in human resource development. I have been absent in several semesters, and due to this I am yet to complete my studies; but, I press on nonetheless. I am now in my final year. I was granted seven months of study leave to complete my studies.

I take great pleasure in assisting students studying English language, Spanish and French. I am a certified make-up artist and also an event planner. I participate in motivational talks where necessary, and avail myself to opportunities that arise whether in my job, school or church. I also serve as the treasurer for my church’s youth fellowship committee and volunteer my service to just about anyone or capacity needed. For me, I don’t have titles of achievements but I have lived a life that I never knew I could and by the grace of God I will continue.

Life is very challenging and I’m faced with a lot daily, but I have learned to cope with being in pain and discomfort every single day. I have more than 25 symptoms that sometimes act up at the same time. I live a much unexpected life and at any point, as I have experienced many times, anything can happen to me. I have been to ‘death’s door’ and back.

August of this year marked my 10th hospitalisation, where I was being tested for a heart condition. Through it all, I have become a very strong individual who is greatly admired by those around me and it has really strengthened my journey. I have used my story many times to encourage individuals that life is just for living and we are to make each day count as anything can change in the blink of an eye. Throughout the years I have never really feared anything from living with these illnesses — not even death. I consider being baptised as one of my major achievements in life, which was my 23rd birthday present to myself, as I found a deep love for God and committed my life to Him. I am a child of God and I believe in healing and I believe that if I am not to be healed, the Lord would have it that way. Sometimes our healing comes through dying.

My greatest strengths from lupus is being able to encourage the lives of others and even using the many transitions of my body to inspire others. I often say I will write a book entitled From Injury to Inspiration. It is really hard to sum up, on paper, the extent of everything I’ve been through, but all in all, lupus may have a great impact on my mind, bodily changes and even my personality, but I have accepted it and I use it to build me as an individual.

The on-air ‘groping’ that got Mexico talking

A viral video of alleged groping on Mexican TV didn’t just spark a national debate about sexism – now, a prominent senator has told the BBC she wants a government investigation.
The scene played out between a male presenter and his female co-host. First, he tried to lift up her skirt. Then his advances escalated over the course of several minutes of airtime. She fended him off with a smile while trying to read comments from viewers, but he continued trying to touch her, dropping sexually charged comments before eventually groping her breast. She stormed off of the set, shouting “I can’t work like this!” and her co-presenter turned to the camera, telling the audience: “Excuse me, but my colleague is a bit hormonal.”
The incident on music programme A Toda Maquina (“Full Steam Ahead”) was aired on Mexican TV and kicked off a nationwide debate about how sexual harassment is tolerated in the workplace.
The network Televisa, the largest media company in Latin America, initially issued a statement saying that the groping was a stunt by the presenters, intended to produce a viral video. The company said it was unaware of the stunt in advance – and sacked both of the hosts. This version of events initially seemed to be backed up by the presenters, Tania Reza and Enrique Tovar, who appeared together in a YouTube video confirming that version of the story.
But then female presenter Tania Reza took to Facebook to say she was pressured to stand up the network’s version of events, and Tovar actually did grope her inappropriately – a charge that is now being examined by Mexico’s National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Discrimination.

At that point the online chatter went into overdrive, with tens of thousands of Mexicans discussing the case on Facebook and Twitter. “You are not alone, you should not allow them to fire you, never mind the harassment. If you need support, you can count on me,” wrote prominent politician Martha Tagle on Tania’s Facebook wall. “If what happened to Tania Reza was real and Televisa made her say that everything was staged, the bullying is two-fold,” wrote a Twitter user. Another user commented: “I don’t know what is worse, someone harassing like Enrique Tovar or Tania Reza taking the blame and saying that everything was a stunt.”
Prominent politicians also rushed to condemn Tovar and Televisa. “Tania Reza is the victim of both sexual and workplace harassment by being forced to supposedly exonerate Televisa of harassment,” Senator Angelica de la Pena, President of the Human Rights Commission at the Mexican Senate, wrote on Facebook.
The senator later told BBC Trending radio: “The broadcaster refuses to recognize that there is bullying and sexual harassment amongst its employees. This case is a microcosm of the violence that women have to deal with in Mexico.” She has requested that the government now launch a formal investigation.
Chumel Torres, a Mexican social media megastar sometimes compared with Jon Stewart, says the incident resonated with Mexicans because the pictures depicted things that are common in everyday life in the country.
“It is just something that happens almost daily in offices and homes,” added Torres. “I think that it is one of the main reasons everybody is outraged, because we have seen this before.”
Torres says the incident was clearly spontaneous: “You just need to watch it to know that’s not true.” In footage of the incident online, Reza looks visibly uncomfortable and awkwardly takes her microphone off before leaving the studio.
Katia D’Artigues, a noted online feminist and journalist in Mexico, believes it’s a good thing that incident has gone viral. “It’s created an online discussion about whether Tania was looking for it because ‘she’s very sexy’. That is unacceptable. A woman in Mexico, or in any part of the world, should be able to dress and to show whatever she wants. She deserves equal respect.”
After the public outcry came one more twist in the story. Televisa issued a second statement saying that both Reza and Tovar will be given their jobs back – and will be both be given training in sexual harassment and related issues.

Stunned woman on Tube told to prove pregnancy in seat row

A pregnant woman has spoken of her shock after she was asked to prove she is expecting a baby in a row over a seat on the Tube.
Mother-of-one Raayan Zafar was wearing a ‘Baby on Board’ badge when the argument happened on a Victoria line Tube in Stockwell, south London, on October 28.
The 32-year-old told the Evening Standard she had asked a man to give up his priority seat so she could sit down when another woman tried to take it.
Another man, believed to be in his 40s, then confronted her, asking: “Why are you taking the seat?”
She told the newspaper: “I got the Victoria line from Stockwell and requested the priority seat
“The man sitting there was a gentleman and gave me his seat, but then a lady who was already standing in front of him tried to take the seat, so I made her notice me by saying ‘excuse me’.
“That lady realised I was going for the seat, but the person sitting beside it started arguing with me, saying the lady wanted to sit there.”

She added: “I showed him my ‘Baby on Board’ badge and he then rudely asked me: ‘Where is the baby?’
“I was shocked – is that the way to speak to a pregnant lady? Do I have to carry my maternity notes with me all the time?”
Ms Zafar, who is not yet showing but on medication for her morning sickness, said she was “embarrassed” by the situation.

The ‘Baby on Board’ badge scheme was launched by Transport for London (TfL) in 2005 to give pregnant women more visibility when travelling on the Tube.
“If you’re a mum-to-be, we understand asking for a seat on the Tube can sometimes be difficult. But if you have a ‘Baby on Board’ badge, passengers are more likely to see that you may need a seat,” the TfL website explains.
“The badges aim to combat any awkwardness that may be felt when asking someone to give up their seat. It also lets passengers in priority seats know when they should give them up.”

Men’s Brains Wired to Choose Sex Over Food

downloadBritish scientists have discovered two neurons in men’s brains which make them prioritise seeking out sex above all else – including food.
Dr Arantza Barrios, senior author of the study from University College London said, “Areas of the brain involved in learning display sex differences in many animals, including humans, but how these differences directly affect behavior is not clear”.

The findings of the new study might be helpful to answer these questions as they demonstrate a direct association between differing male and female behaviours and brain development and structure. “These changes make male brains work differently, allowing males to remember previous sexual encounters and prioritize sex in future situations”. The male worm has a unique neuron, not found in the hermaphrodite worm, which overrides its desire to eat if it can instead mate. They are glial cells that support cells of neurons.

“We can now exploit this system to understand how fully differentiated glia can re-enter the cell cycle and generate neurons”. This could have important therapeutic implications in the future. The cells, dubbed “mystery cells of the male”, have such a powerful pull that the males will prioritise sex above food. While the study was on worms, the British researchers said it provides insight into the differing behaviour of the sexes of other animals, including humans.

The worms were tested by being placed near food and another, sexually available, worm – a higher percentage of male worms slithered over to the would-be sex partner than the food.

The hermaphrodite worm produces its own sperm and does not need a male to reproduce. Male worms who had their MCMS removed also displayed a dislike for the salt, even when it was associated with sex.

Scientists conditioned the worms so that when salt was present they realised that they would be starved.

However, worms starved in the presence of mates as well as salt sought higher concentrations of salt in a new environment. However, when the worms were trained to associate saltiness with starvation and sex, the males headed towards the mineral, while the hermaphrodites continued to avoid the substance.

Capital Shame! 5-year-old and 2-year-old raped, what next, New Delhi monsters? Kejriwal says hand over control of Delhi Police right now

New Delhi: A toddler and a five-year-old girl were gang-raped here in separate incidents, leading to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who visited the victims in hospital on Saturday, questioning the measures taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to protect women in the capital and demanding control over Delhi Police.
The two-and-a-half-year-old, who was raped by two men in west Delhi’s Nangloi area, continued to be in a critical condition on Saturday while the five-year-old was raped by three men in east Delhi’s Anand Vihar.
Questioning steps taken by Modi and Jung, who are responsible for law and order in the capital, to protect children, Kejriwal later tweeted: “Repeated rape of minors is shameful and worrying. Delhi Police has completely failed to provide safety. What are PM and his LG doing?”
Delhi-Police_ReutersAccording to a police officer in Nangloi, the two-and-a-half-year-old was kidnapped from outside her home, where she was after a power cut, by two men and brutally raped. She was found bleeding at a nearby park early on Saturday.
The victim was rushed to Sanjay Gandhi Hospital where she is undergoing treatment for her injuries.
Viewers at a Ramlila performance going on nearby told police they saw the two men on a motorcycle abduct the minor.
Police have launched a manhunt for the accused, who are yet to be identified.
In the other case, police in east Delhi have arrested three men allegedly involved in the gang rape of the five-year-old and booked them under various charges dealing with gang rape, kidnapping and provisions of POCSO Act.
The three, identified as Prakash, Revati and Sitaram, were presented on Saturday before a local court, which sent them to 14 days judicial custody.
According to the police, the five-year-old was alone at her house when one of the accused who is a neighbour took her away, and raped her with his two friends.
The girl, who was found bleeding, was admitted to Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital where she is undergoing treatment.
After visiting the victims with Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain, Kejriwal said the PM and Jung should hold a meeting over the issue.
“If the PM wants to have Delhi Police under his control, he has to be answerable. I request the PM to take some time out and meet the LG and find out ways to deal with crime against women and children in Delhi.”
“PM sir, give control of Delhi Police to Delhi government for one year. If situation does not improve, take it back,” he later tweeted.
Targeting Modi and Jung for failing to provide adequate safety and security in the city, he said police was not under democratic control.
Answering a question about cooperating with the LG, Kejriwal told reporters: “We want to cooperate. Please ask LG whether he is willing to cooperate or not.”
“LG and police have only one agenda. That is interfering with our (Delhi government) works. Instead of arresting our MLAs and interfering in the elected government’s works, they should pay more attention to the security of women and children in Delhi,” he added.
Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit said it was “wrong to blame the prime minister” who is not concerned with the administration of Delhi, but suggested policing in the city should be split into security and general law and order and the city government should be put in charge of the latter.
“It is wrong to blame the prime minister. Police must be divided, one to look after VVIPs and diplomats, and other for law and order,” Dikshit, who served three consecutive terms, told the media.
Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal strongly condemned the incident and visited the Sanjay Gandhi hospital and GTB hospital to meet the victims.
“Recurrence of such incidents is extremely saddening. All the agencies concerned should sit together and ponder over a solution to such incidents,” Maliwal told IANS.
Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal reacted strongly to reports of two alleged incidents of gangrape in the capital, saying that such incidents were ‘shameful.’

Does FBI memo prove aliens DID crash near Roswell and THREE UFOs and were covered up?

UFO researchers in Japan stumbled across an FBI memo that some believe could prove the infamous Roswell flying saucer incident DID happen – and involved THREE flying saucers instead of just the suspected one.

An FBI memo that has come under scrutiny following freedom of information requests even suggests each “saucer” contained three bodies of three-foot tall aliens in the legendary “alien” incident.

The Roswell incident, in July 1947, went down in UFO folklore after the US Air Force announced it had found the remains of what was suspected of being a crashed flying saucer in the New Mexico desert near the town.
The next day it retracted the statement amid claims it was later identified as a weather balloon.

UFO chasers have forever since believed it was a major cover-up and that the US military actually discovered the craft and the bodies of alien pilots.

The FBI memo now in the spotlight, dated from 1950 – three years after the Roswell incident – said each of three “saucers” contained three bodies of three-foot tall humanoid occupants, making nine aliens in total.

Museum workers stumbled across the document as as they were preparing to open the Hakui Centre for UFO Research in the coastal city of Hakui, 310 miles west of Tokyo, Japan, back in 1994.

But it has only come to light again after subsequent documents released under the US Freedom of Information Act suggested the FBI was so concerned about the museum opening, it opened up its own file on the proposals.

The original 1950 memo suggested the US military found three metallic, saucer-shaped objects, complete with occupants, near New Mexico, in the USA.

The memo revealed US radar equipment in the area was believed to “have interfered with the saucers and brought them down”, according to the Journal Telegraph.

It said: “An investigator for the Air Forces states that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico.

“They were described as being circular in shape with raised centres, approximately 50 feet in diameter.

“Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three-feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture.”

The memo was sent by Federal special agent Guy Hottel, who was in charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, on March 22, 1950, to then FBI Director J Edgar Hoover

The single-page memo begins with the name of the person who furnished the information about the flying saucers blackened out.

It said: “According to Mr (blackened out) informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers.

“No further evaluation was attempted by SA [blackened out] concerning the above.”

The document was among 10,000 reports museum staff has obtained and were preparing to allowed UFO researchers access to via the planned Hakui Centre.

But subsequent FBI papers dated from 1994 and now released under freedom of information requests, show the agency was apparently so concerned about what else may be contained within the files, it began monitoring the planned opening of the museum in 1994.

This further revelation has sent modern-day conspiracy theorists into overdrive, who now believe there has been a major US government cover up over contact with aliens over several years.

The FBI raised its concerns about the Hakui project in one memo dated January 7 1994, soon before the centre opened, saying the “main attraction” would be the library with the 10,000 documents available to read.

The bullet point memo states that the museum official, Toru Wada, said, “In the future, we hope the center will become a focus of international attention in terms of collecting and disseminating information on UFOS.”

Mr Wada was quoted as saying: “The city has painstakingly acquired the documents over a 10-year period from such sources as the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).”

Also discussed in the memo is Josen Takano, then 38, a municipal employee and UFO enthusiast and investigator who had collected US information on UFOs.

The FBI memo added: “Takano said efforts are under way to gather even more information through a network of enthusiasts in 12 other countries.”

Topsecretwriters.com, which writes about conspiracies and cover ups, said: “The memo served to validate the fact that the US government was highly interested in any type of UFO related activity prior to the creation of Project Blue Book.

“The 1994 memo further validates suspicions that the monitoring of civilian interest and investigations of UFOs was still being carried out.”

It is not clear if the FBI had any influence over what eventually opened at Hakui, but according to topsecretwriters.com, it does not appear to be as devoted to UFO study as the facility previously being worked on.

The centre which opened is called Cosmo Isle Hakui and in a UFO-shaped building said to house a UFO and NASA Space Research Museum.

But it doesn’t appear to house the in depth research documents it set out to host.

Writing for topsecretwriters.com, Sally Painter added: “While there are a couple of booth exhibits (on aliens and UFOs), the bulk of the museum appears to be dedicated to past and present space missions and explorations.

Russia ‘FURIOUS’ after RAF pilots cleared to shoot down Moscow warplanes

VLADIMIR Putin’s military officials are reportedly furious with Britain after RAF pilots were authorised to shoot down Moscow warplanes.

Outraged Russian officials asked UK ministers “to provide an official explanation” of reports that RAF Tornados operating over Iraq have been fitted with heat-seeking missiles designed for arial combat.

The Russian ambassador in London, Alexander Yakovenko, said he had “urgently requested explanations” of the reports from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
He said: “These reports are worrying, as they refer to senior cabinet members. We have urgently requested explanations from the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

“The very premise of a potential conflict of UK and Russian combat aircraft over Iraq is incomprehensible.”

It emerged last night that RAF fighter pilots have been granted permission to shoot down Russian jets if they come under attack while completing missions over Iraq.

Pilots were given the shocking order as UK ministers wanted Russia is making the situation in the Middle East “much more dangerous”.

RAF jets will be armed with advanced short range air-to-air missiles and British and Nato pilots have been told to fight for their lives if they are fired upon by Vladimir Putin’s air force.

Senior defence sources said it is likely British fighter jets will become embroiled in a deadly air battle with Russian aircraft sooner rather than later.

A source said: “We need to protect our pilots but at the same time we’re taking a step closer to war. It will only take one plane to be shot down in an air-to-air battle and the whole landscape will change.”

RAF pilots have reportedly been told to avoid contact with Russian jets but have been warned to be prepared to fight back if fired upon.
A source said: “We need to protect our pilots but at the same time we’re taking a step closer to war. It will only take one plane to be shot down in an air-to-air battle and the whole landscape will change.”

RAF pilots have reportedly been told to avoid contact with Russian jets but have been warned to be prepared to fight back if fired upon.
A second source said: “No one knows what the Russians will do next. We don’t know how they will respond if they come into contact with a Western jet.

“When planes are flying at supersonic speeds the airspace gets crowded very quickly. There could be a collision or a Russian pilot might be mistakenly shot down.”

Tensions between Russia and Western forces have increased since Putin announced an assault on rebels who have been trying to overthrow Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

The US, Britain, France and others have accused Moscow of launching airstrikes against non-ISIS targets in Syria.

Allied forces also condemned an incursion by Russian warplanes into Turkish airspace.

US ambassador warns crime could cripple investments

US Ambassador to Jamaica Luis G Moreno has warned that criminal activities including lottery scamming, will negatively impact local and foreign investments in the island.

“We have to be realistic; we have to know that without a safe, stable and secure environment, we are going to have trouble getting even more investments, so we have to not ignore security,” Moreno told the gathering at the opening of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Expo 2015 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in Rose Hall, St James on Friday night.

“Crime, especially violent crime is a deterrent to both local and foreign investments and for this reason, the US/ Jamaica partnership in law enforcement is vitally important to sustain growth and prosperity in Montego Bay and across Jamaica.”

To make successful headway with investment programmes and to expand the economy, he stressed, criminal activities must be rejected.

“We should not forget that this kind of activity produces violence and we are seeing, unfortunately sadly, some of that,” he emphasised, adding that “we should not forget that any kind of crime…not only is it just plain wrong, it’s a huge financial burden on the Jamaican economy.”

Arguing that lottery scamming is something that is doing tremendous damage to both Jamaica and the US, he said, “we have to start with our children”.

“Being a lottery scammer is not cool, it’s not Robin Hood, it’s not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The people who are being victimised by lottery scamming here in Jamaica and the US, are the most vulnerable of our society; they are older people, they are people living on pensions, they are sick people, people who are suffering from diminished capacity, and they are talking advantaged of by these people. And this is not right, so we have to teach our people that it is not right,” the US Ambassador urged.

Syria air strikes leave Russia at risk of revenge attacks

President Vladimir Putin has taken a risk by launching air strikes against Islamists in Syria because they could incite militants to seek revenge by attacking targets inside Russia.

The Kremlin has largely contained Islamist violence in Russia by cracking down hard but the bombardment of Syria could prompt global jihadists to put Russia on the list of targets they encourage their followers to attack.

Russia has suffered attacks by Islamist militants before, including suicide bombings in Moscow five years ago which killed dozens of people, and more now might turn public opinion against the military intervention in Syria.
Russia’s main breeding ground for Islamist radicals is in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus region, including the republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, where Islamist insurgencies have been simmering for years.

In Ingushetia, local leaders have been urging young people to ignore calls to avenge the Russian bombing raids on Syria, which Moscow says has targeted Islamic State, as well as other Islamist groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“In these conditions we can assume that the leaders of al Qaeda and other international terrorist organisations will try to take retaliatory measures,” said Alexander Kumanyayev, head of the federal security service’s directorate in Ingushetia.

Such leaders would seek “to unleash a new round of terrorist war on the territory of our country. And this is a real threat, we cannot afford to underestimate it,” he told a meeting of local security officials on the impact of the Syria operation.


With its at times violent suppression of Islamist-backed separatist rebellions in the North Caucasus, Russia has for years been among countries considered by global jihadists as a target for attacks though the primary focus for Islamist militants has been the United States and its allies since U.S. forces went into Iraq and Afghanistan.

By entering the Syria conflict, Russia could now join the front rank of Islamist targets, with the financing, recruiting, and ideological power of global jihadist networks potentially channelled into organising attacks on Russia.

The Russians “are no longer an indirect party to the conflict, they have a huge target on their backs,” Steven A. Cook, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a U.S. think tank, wrote in a commentary.

Russia’s main weak point is the North Caucasus, where underground insurgent networks are armed with light weapons and are sheltered by local residents. They already stage intermittent ambushes on security forces, some of them fatal.

Last month, Islamic State circulated a statement on social media saying the group’s affiliates in Dagestan had attacked a military housing compound and killed several soldiers.

The attack did not happen as the statement described, local officials said, but the episode showed that people operating under the banner of Islamic State were now in Russia.

Those groups could now step up their activities as part of a backlash over Russia’s intervention in Syria.

If they are seeking a high-profile act of violence to force the Russian public and the Kremlin to take notice, they would be likely to try to attack a civilian target in or near Russia’s big population centres.

These have happened before.

In 2002, armed Chechens stormed a Moscow theatre and held the audience hostage. Over 100 people were killed, most of them in the security operation to end the siege.

On Aug. 24, 2004, two Russian passenger planes on internal flights were blown up in coordinated attacks, killing 90 people.

On March 29, 2010, suicide bombers set off twin explosions explosives on the metro system in central Moscow, killing 40 people. And on Jan 24, 2011, more than 30 people were killed in a suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

Security has been beefed up since then and there have been no successful attacks on civilian targets on such a scale. Metal detectors have been set up at metro station entrances and anyone entering airport buildings in Moscow has their bags scanned.

There is disagreement among Russia’s Islamists about whether they should target civilians, and in any case their capacity to stage attacks has waned in the past few years, said Simon Saradzhyan, a fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center.

“One sign of how constrained the capabilities of these groups are is that their threats to stage attacks during the Sochi Olympic Games essentially failed to materialise,” said Saradzhyan, an expert on post-Soviet states.

He said North Caucasus-based Islamist groups “can probably manage one or two spectacular attacks in the cities of ‘mainland’ Russia,” but that staging a whole series is probably beyond their capability.


Forces loyal to the Kremlin have been sending signals that they will stamp out planned revenge attacks before they happen.

Valentina Matviyenko, a Putin ally and speaker of the upper house of parliament, said Russia’s security forces would be ready to snuff out such attacks.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya, said on Thursday his security forces had killed three insurgents who, he said, had undergone training in Islamic State camps in Syria.

“This is what will happen to anyone who even thinks about trying to take action against our republic or against the whole of Russia,” Kadyrov said.

Russian officials say Syria is a training ground for Islamist insurgents, including several thousand with Russian passports who will return home and spread their violent ideology inside the North Caucasus, the officials say.

According to a person in Chechyna who works with state-approved Muslim clerics, an order has gone out from the local government to preach in mosques about the pitfalls of joining Islamic State.

“We know they have powerful methods of influencing young peoples’ consciousness,” said the person, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Many young Chechens still slip through the net.

“Our lads, and lately our girls too, have started going to join the war in Syria, saying it’s like a holy war”, said a Chechnya resident who gave her first name as Larissa.

“Unfortunately, the young people go there without telling their parents and not everyone is able to bring them back. Some are brought back en route, some are found in Turkey, and some come back as corpses,” she said.

Astronauts just shot one of their first videos in ultra-high definition, and it’s mesmerizing

What do you do when NASA asks you to push the boundaries of human spaceflight by spending more time on board the International Space Station than anyone before you — 365 consecutive days to be exact?

You make green, exploding space balls:

Astronauts have played around with floating spheres of water and effervescent tablets on the ISS numerous times, but this video starring astronaut Scott Kelly and his ball of changing colors is exceptional. That’s because it is one of the first space videos that NASA has shot in 4K ultra-high definition (UHD).
Next to the 8K UHD, 4K UHD is the highest-resolution viewing experience you can get — it’s four times the definition that your standard 1080p HD television can offer.

And right now, NASA is testing and evaluating these cameras to learn how they can be used to improve scientific experiments and analysis in space. And it seems that astronaut Kelly — who has five more months left in his one-year stay on the ISS — doesn’t mind giving a helping hand:

“The higher resolution images and higher frame rate videos can reveal more information when used on science investigations, giving researchers a valuable new tool aboard the space station,” NASA explained in a description of the video astronaut Scott Kelly recently took on board the ISS.
Astronaut Kelly’s video isn’t just beautiful; it highlights different colors, textures, and movements that demonstrate the high-resolution camera’s awesome capabilities.

You can see individual pockets of water explode off the surface after the effervescent tablet has dissolved.

That’s because as the tablet dissolves, it generates bubbles of carbon-dioxide gas inside the water that would normally rise to the surface of a glass on Earth — but in space they move to the outer edges of the sphere, expanding in size until the bubbles pop and fling bits of water everywhere.
Check out the full video on YouTube or below — and make sure to change the video’s quality settings to “2160p 4K”

Kim Jong-un threatens war with “US imperialists” as North Korea celebrates 70th anniversary of ruling party

Kim Jong-Un boasted on Saturday that his country could fight any war provoked by US “imperialists”, as he presided over a vast military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party.
Thousands of troops marched through the capital, Pyongyang, followed by columns of tanks and ballistic missiles in one of the largest ceremonial displays of military strength in North Korea’s history.
Dressed in his customary dark Mao suit, Kim struck a more belligerent note than in previous public addresses, telling the assembled masses that North Korea could fight any war begun by the US.

Buildings surrounding the square, which is named after Kim’s grandfather, the founding leader of North Korea, were festooned with red hammer-and-sickle party flags and the national colours of blue, white and red.
“Our party dauntlessly declares that our revolutionary armed forces are capable of fighting any kind of war provoked by the US and we are ready to protect our people and the blue sky of our motherland,” he said, speaking Pyongyang’s Kim Il-Sung square.
His words were met with rapturous applause from tens of thousands of flag-waving spectators, while above the square, a large banner slung from a gas-filled balloon read: “Long live the invincible Workers’ Party of Korea.”

Nuclear-armed North Korea often threatens to destroy the US and South Korea, whom it technically remains at war with after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a treaty.
As night fell after the parade – a tribute to the ruling party that three generations of the Kim dynasty have ruled over – Pyongyang’s skyline was lit up with a fireworks display over the banks of the Taedong River.
On the ground, crowds held up coloured squares in synchronised fashion to create huge images of Worker Party flags and spell out the name of Kim Jong-Un.
The scale of the event was already apparent from satellite images taken four days before which showed a sprawling training ground in Pyongyang featuring some 800 tents, 700 trucks and 200 armoured vehicles.
When announcing plans for the “grand-style” parade back in February, the ruling party’s top decision-making body had stressed the importance of displaying “cutting-edge” weaponry suitable for modern warfare.

An exhaustively researched report published this week by the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that North Korea had between 10 and 16 nuclear weapons as of the end of 2014.
The report argued it was likely the country could already build a warhead to fit atop a Nodong missile – with a range of less than 800 miles (1,300 kilometres) – but added that the reliability of such a weapon was open to question.
Months of planning and preparation have gone into Saturday’s celebrations, involving a mass mobilisation of state personnel and resources to ensure its success.
The capital was given a comprehensive makeover – its streets lined and decorated with giant posters, red banners and national flags, many of them displaying the numerals “10-10” in reference to the ruling party’s official October 10 birthday.

However, China was the only foreign nation to send a dignitary of any significance to the event, despatching Liu Yunshan, a party politburo standing committee member. He stood clapping to Kim Jong-un’s left, with senior North Korean officials on the right.
Kim Jong-un met with Liu met for talks on Friday, during which the Chinese official delivered a letter from President Xi Jinping, and voiced Beijing’s willingness to work with Pyongyang on resuming multi-party talks on its nuclear programme.
China remains North Korea’s most important diplomatic ally and economic partner, although Beijing has grown increasingly impatient with Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions.
Choreographed events do not always go entirely according to plan in North Korea, despite the extensive planning. Recently, Kim Jong-un’s sister was sacked from overseeing the North Korean leader’s personal protection after a series of mishaps, including an incident in which he was nearly hit in the face with a guitar.
Kim Yo-jong, 26, was elevated to a number of key positions in the regime last year, including serving as a key political adviser to her older brother. Described in state media as “a core worker of the Workers’ Party Central Committee”, one of her tasks has been to promote Mr Kim’s image at the same time as ensuring his safety.
South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper has reported that Ms Kim was replaced after a number of incidents involving the nation’s supreme leader, including Mr Kim being mobbed by over-zealous citizens at a youth festival

Somali refugee pleads for abortion in Australia after being raped in Nauru migrant detention centre

The 23-year-old woman is 14 weeks pregnant and hasn’t left her room since the rape. Abortions are not permitted for cases of rape on Nauru

Source: Somali refugee pleads for abortion in Australia after being raped in Nauru migrant detention centre

Putin’s campaign to derail the west over Syria is working


The firing of cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea is the latest testimony to Putin’s grasp over Nato, but domestic appetite for war will soon dwindle
If Vladimir Putin’s game plan has been repeatedly to surprise the west and keep it off balance, it is working.

Just like their leaders at the UN general assembly last week, Nato’s defence ministers gathering in Brussels on Thursday have found themselves scrambling to come up with a response to the latest Russian move – in this case, the firing of cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea in yet another escalation of the war in Syria.

The scale of Putin’s intervention in Syria has certainly caught western capitals unawares. What appears to be unfolding goes beyond stabilising Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It looks like an effort, in coordination with Syrian and Iranian-backed ground troops, to inflict a lasting military defeat on the rebel coalition which had succeeded in carving out a growing patch of territory in the north-east.

Although conducted under the banner of a campaign against Islamic State, the evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of Russian targets have been non-Isis groups, some of them supported by the US, others by Turkey and the Gulf states.

Nato finds itself a bystander in all this. American support for the rebels is tentative and militarily insignificant. As the Nato meeting began, secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance was ready to send troops to protect its southern flank in Turkey. But the rhetoric papers over deeper contradictions inside Nato. In recent months, Turkey’s allies, the US and Germany, actually withdrew Patriot anti-aircraft batteries, in part in protest at the Turkish government’s targeting of Kurdish armed groups inside Syria, seen by the west as a bulwark against Damascus and Isis.

In another sign that Nato is reacting to uncertainty created by Putin, the UK defence secretary, Michael Fallon, announced that 100 British soldiers would be deployed in the Baltic states. It is a relatively low-cost way to maintain close ally status with Washington, like the offer of British peacekeepers made at the UN last week, and will see the British company going to the Baltic take part in a US-German military training initiative. But, following the Russian annexation of Crimea and covert intervention in eastern Ukraine, it shows Nato has acted to reassure the Baltic states that they are not second-class members and that the alliance will stand up for them.


For the Kremlin, keeping Nato guessing may be an end in itself. Springing surprises puts Putin at the centre of the world stage, the dramatic actor to whom the world is forced to react. This has a narcotic affect on Russian domestic opinion, helped by lots of video footage and graphics of missiles blasting off from ships and travelling hundreds of miles to pinpoint supposedly terrorist targets. In a new poll, 72% of Russian respondents declare themselves in favour of the Syrian adventure.

Wars fought for domestic consumption are, however, inherently unstable. They require constant novelty and reports of new triumphs, which are hard to pull off in the real world. Having rallied supporters in eastern Ukraine to the Novorossiya flag, Putin has put the insurgency on hold amid a rising death toll among Russian soldiers who were not officially supposed to be there. The Ukrainian campaign only solidified Nato and gave it a new sense of purpose.

The war in Syria also threatens to backfire, for all the reasons that the US has sought to stay out. To the Sunni world, Russia looks like it has taken sides, uniting all the disparate rebel groups in a shared hatred of its “occupation”, and inspiring jihadis the world over to turn their eyes towards Moscow. Backing Assad to the bitter end is a strategy that is likely to suck Russia deeper into a war it cannot afford with an economy shrinking 4% a year.

Standing by and watching Russia self-harm also carries costs for the west . The bombardment of rebel-held areas around Idlib and Aleppo will boost the outflow of refugees, and put off the prospect of local ceasefires gradually dampening down the wider conflict. The chance of a collision or shootdown between Russian, Turkish, US or other Nato war planes continues to mount, as does the risk of an escalating proxy war. Putin’s mastery of surprise has put him in the driving seat, but there is little sign so far he knows where he’s going.

Angela Merkel: ‘It’s our damned duty to help refugees’

Chancellor Angela Merkel has made an extraordinary appearance on prime time German television to deliver a spirited defence of her open door migrant policy, insisting that it was her “damned duty” to help refugees and that stopping the intake was an illusion.

Ms Merkel chose to answer growing criticism of policies which have allowed an estimated 300,000 refugees to enter Germany over the past month, by appearing as the sole guest on a political chat show chaired by Germany’s ARD television channel journalist Anne Will.
The Chancellor said that as head of a Christian party she refused to take part in a “competition” to discover “those who are the most unfriendly to refugees, will stop them coming in”. She added: “ We cannot close our borders, we have got a 3,000 kilometre long frontier. We would have to build a fence. There is no such thing as a stop to the intake.”

Ms Merkel described the predominantly Syrian and Afghan refugees arriving in Germany as “people who are running for their lives.” She added: “I am proud that we are giving a friendly welcome to refugees,” and insisted that taking them was her “damned duty.”

Her unusually candid remarks met with a deluge of approval online. Even Germany’s normally critical Der Spiegel magazine online site described Ms Merkel’s televised response to the crisis as one of the “most honest” of her political career.
The Chancellor’s TV appearance was her latest bid to show that she had regained control of a refugee crisis which many in Germany claim has run out of control. Unconfirmed government reports have suggested that the country will take in a total of 1.5 million refugees this year – nearly double the original estimate.

On Tuesday, Ms Merkel announced that she was effectively taking personal control of the influx by setting up a refugee crisis unit in her Chancellery which would co-ordinate her government’s efforts to contain the situation.

Recent opinion polls suggest that public enthusiasm for Ms Merkel’s stance is waning and that 59 per cent of Germans now think that it was wrong to open the doors to refugees. A majority now want the influx stopped.
Bavaria, the southern German state which has borne the brunt of the refugee intake has complained repeatedly that it is being overwhelmed by refugees. The state’s conservative government threatened yesterday to send back migrants crossing into Bavaria from Austria even if this meant breaking the law.

There has also been a surge in far right protests against the influx. On Wednesday some 8,000 people attended the third anti-migrant rally in as many weeks in the eastern city of Erfurt. The protest was organised by the xenophobic Alternative for Germany party. Polls suggest the AfD currently commands around 7 percent of the vote.

Here is a Better Help to Jamaican’s than the British PM offer.

GRAND CAYMAN — Repeat Jamaican visitors to the Cayman Islands will be given special treatment under the immigration law, with the option to obtain a 10-year visitor’s visa.

Currently, all other nationalities which require a visa prior to visit the Cayman Islands can obtain only single-entry permission, or permission to enter multiple times within a one-year, three-year or five-year fixed period.

A Cabinet directive was issued recently to Cayman’s chief immigration officer to add the 10-year visitor visa for Jamaicans only.

“Recognising the unique relationship between Jamaica and Cayman … [this] is an initiative aimed at strengthening our ability to adequately facilitate legitimate visitor travel for qualified Jamaican nationals without jeopardising operations or processes relative to border control,” Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush said.

The change in visitor visa rules does not affect the 30-day limit in place for most visitors who do not own property in Cayman. It will also not affect requirements for any non-Caymanians, Jamaican or otherwise, to obtain work permits before they can be gainfully employed in the islands.

Historical and cultural ties between Cayman and Jamaica date back centuries to when the Cayman Islands were part of the British colony of Jamaica. Though Jamaica gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, Cayman eventually opted to remain under the British flag. Jamaican workers have long been the most populous foreign nationality in the Cayman Islands, and many Caymanian families can trace their heritage to Jamaica.

Under the previous United Democratic Party Government, requirements for Jamaican nationals to acquire visas were softened to exclude travelers younger than 15 and older than 70.

In recent years, the number of Jamaican work permit holders had declined steadily from a high point of about 12,000 in 2007. However, in 2015 the islands seemed to buck that trend as the local economy began growing again. This year marks the first time since 2009 that the number of Jamaican work permit holders in the Cayman Islands has exceeded 9,000 at any given time.

The numbers may represent a natural progression due to an overall increase in work permit holders in Cayman within the past year. According to Immigration department records, there are now around 22,000 non-Caymanians on work permits here.

However, honorary Jamaican consul Dr Joe Marzouca believes there is more to it.

“[Cayman has] been using a lot of people from further lands,” Dr Marzouca said. “It’s always easier to hire people that are closer.”


JAMAICA Observer online readers have weighed in on Tuesday’s incident in Parliament which saw members of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party staging a walkout during a heated discussion over the now controversial United Kingdom prison deal. Here are some edited comments:


Perfect fodder for election posturing!

Neutral Justice

Rational thinking has evaded Bunting; he has been goaded politically by the Opposition and therefore lost all his (believed positivity) presentation. Ladies and gentlemen, we now see his ego comes before common sense. The question is: what does the Jamaican people save, this is a lose-lose prison-gate for the people of Jamaica, and sure enough, a stupid contemplation by Bunting that will have a telling effect on the upcoming election? Prison is a deterrent, however, the conditions are bad, but why compound it by having more dangerous felons mixed with our bonehead murderers? Then the cost, the maintenance, and dumping of England’s responsibility, without the cash. We think the British PM has been insulting and insensitive to a struggling country going down daily with crime as an albatross, suffocating any meaningful gains Jamaica may have. It’s a rotten deal, renegotiate and come again. Have sense, Peter, it’s wrong for Jamaica.


@Neutral Justice: So what is the rationale? Allow the Brits to deport the prisoners leaving us to foot their rehab bill, while allowing our dilapidated prison infrastructure to continue to operate well below UN and international standards? We have foolish pride when it comes to accepting Jamaican criminals from other countries, but none with regards to how we treat our home-grown miscreants.

Maria Monk

@Neutral Justice: Commonsense is sense not common and it would be a “travesty of justice” to accuse Mr Bunting of having common sense. The minister is clearly a “square peg in a round hole”.


@Neutral Justice: Did it ever occur to you that it is not everybody who is in prison is a violent person?

PhilT McNasty

Send them outside like the two primary schoolboys that they are! Let them duke it out in the schoolyard! BTW, won’t the appointment of this special select committee all be “yes men” to the people who appoint them? In that case, we should have a national referendum on this huge issue.


@PhilT McNasty: Of course you need to have a special committee. Do you think that the entire £25 million would be used for prison? Friends and families, sorry, I mean consultants need to eat a food too.

Maria Monk

@PhilT McNasty: We have quite a few issues that need a referendum… we could have one ‘massive referendum’. The dinosaurs are afraid of this because it would see the back of some of them. LOL!

ragga guru

We need a prison, however we cannot allow this government to just go ahead and willfully make a commitment to another government without ensuring that all other arguments are taken into consideration. As for Bunting, what was obvious in the session was that he was stumped by Holness’ claims and had no counterargument and proceeded to get personal… lame, Mr Bunting, very lame…to the man with the failed portfolio.


@ragga guru: You are talking foolishness. Andrew’s arrogance is taking him nowhere, he obviously does not have the facts correct but want to assert himself as though he is an authority on the matter. That was the same problem that caused the court to rule against him as it related to him demanding that his senators sign letters in violation of the Jamaican Constitution.


@ragga guru: This is the reason why transparency is important when governments are making important decisions that affect the country as a whole.


Yes, this is what Jamaica needs, right? SMDH. Carry on PNP, mash up the country.

Patrick Greenwood

Gotta love it when our “leaders” act like spoiled six-year-olds. Boo hoo, Andrew; did the man upset you?


@ Patrick Greenwood: Read the article again, maybe you will see that Andrew was asking questions in the interest of all Jamaicans. Bunting got personal and would not provide the MOU for the country to see. For once, forget about JLP or PNP, and focus on Jamaica.

Maria Monk

@ Patrick Greenwood: I believe Jamaica is even more upset than Mr Holness. How can you debate a MOU for which the contents are not known… booboo? What is there to debate booboo?


I think the PNP takes us for idiots. To suggest that the legislative framework must be in place before the agreement can be signed is nonsense. I take you to the IMF agreement, where as part of this agreement certain legislative work, ie, new laws must be drafted at specific points in the agreement.

Did we wait to have those laws enacted before the agreement was signed? Peter, don’t get me started.

The UK government has been very clear and forthright to its citizens so far, they have said exactly how much will be saved by this deal. Contrast that with what we get from local politicians. Gosh, I am so angry with these people! Please call the elections!


Bunting should be sidelined and REMOVED from GORDON HOUSE. He is rude and uncouth.


@ fatherforesight; And leave Andrew?


@Fatherforesight: Mr Bunting did everything right today in the House of Parliament. Mr Holness should not be talking that way to the minister. There is protocol to be followed, so to me Holness was acting like a bully, and when he did not have his way, he walked out of Parliament.


@Purelifenilla: But, the ‘tom’ never walked out when his imperial master disrespected parliament!

Christopher joseph

Mr Bunting is an arrogant egotistical person who, without doubt, is the worst minister of national security the country has ever had. He should be dismissed and then he could go back into his private sector business. Answer the question for the people of Jamaica who, if you did not know or realise, you work for.

Jamaican Thoughts

The thing is there are too many “unknowns” about this deal. Where is the next 40% going to come from? How will the prisoners be identified? Jamaican born? Of Jamaican parents? Or all Jamaicans in UK prisons? Will it be a dumping ground a ‘send every Jamaican in jail in the UK come’ type of thing?


@Jamaican Thoughts: Correction: Not 40 per cent but 60 per cent. The £25 million is $40 per cent of the cost of building the prison. Jamaica will have to find the other 60 per cent.

CArlton Reynolds

Children at play! How does Holness know the arrangement is not in the best interest of Jamaica if he does not yet know the terms? Wouldn’t it have been better to hear what the minister had to say and responded, rather than walking out?

Devonte Osie

@CArlton Reynolds: You are absolutely right.

Maria Monk

@CArlton Reynolds: The minister has a responsibility to inform the public of the contents of the MOU. Based on the report he has refused to make known the contents of the MOU. Is this another “secret MOU”?. We all know what secret MOUs have cost us in the past.

Freed, but still in prison

THE nightmare of being lost in the legal system for close to 20 years is now over for 72-year-old Vernal Walford, but he’s yet to be released because he has nowhere to live.

Hugh Faulkner — executive director of the Legal Aid Council which was instrumental in securing Walford’s freedom — has been trying without success to secure a place for him to stay. Walford has been at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre since 1997.

“We contacted the St Ann Poor Relief Department [and] the Drop-In Centre on Windward Road in Kingston. We contacted Missionaries Of the Poor on Hanover Street in Kingston, the Poor Relief Office also on Hanover Street. We also contacted the service division of the Department of Correctional Services. We made contact with family members of Mr Walford in Nine Mile, St Ann. We still have not been able to locate anyone who is willing to accept him,” Faulkner told the Jamaica Observer.

“We are pleading with family members or any social security facility to assist in finding residence for Mr Walford. They can contact the Legal Aid Council,” Faulkner added.

Walford was arrested for allegedly injuring a nurse at Bellevue Hospital in Kingston. He was eventually declared unfit to plead and his case subsequently fell from the court list.

The Legal Aid Council came to Walford’s assistance on a directive from Justice Minister Mark Golding that the council should aid people with mental issues who have been lost in the system.

In May, the council filed an application in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court to have Walford’s matter relisted. However, the court later dismissed the case against Walford.

Now, the council has asked the court to delay Walford’s release until a place is secured for him to stay.

The court is to be updated on the efforts today.

Faulkner said the Government needs to establish facilities across the island to house people who are in a similar position to Walford’s.

Doctors told me I was cancer free, then said it had spread moments later

A woman was told she had beaten cancer only to learn minutes later that doctors had made a mistake and the incurable disease had spread.
Louise Sherry had undergone surgery after finding a lump in her breast in January – which she was told afterwards had been a success.
But when Miss Sherry questioned her consultant about the results of her bone scan, he said: “What bone scan?”
The devastating results of the scan revealed the cancer had spread to her bones and liver – and was now incurable.
• Taller people at greater risk of cancer
Miss Sherry, 43, said: “In one fell swoop came this slap in the face.
“There was just this massive relief when he was saying the operation had been a total success.
“Right at the end, I asked him about the bone scan and he said, ‘What bone scan?’
“He went into the system and the scan showed the cancer had spread to my bones and my liver and it couldn’t be cured.”

Senior quality engineer Miss Sherry became ill just before Christmas, but thought it was flu.
In January, she discovered a lump in her breast and went to Castle Hill Hospital in Hull, East Yorks, for a lumpectomy and a second operation to remove lymph nodes.
However, a bone and CT scan revealed the terrible news that the cancer had spread and was incurable.
Despite the devastating mistake Miss Sherry, of Hull, East Yorks, said she was refusing to be angry.
She added: “What’s the point? The consultant was absolutely devastated and couldn’t apologise enough.
Miss Sherry, who lives with her partner of 19 years, Carl Hewitt, has just completed her fourth round of chemotherapy, and the latest scan shows the cancer is shrinking, giving the couple the chance of having longer together.
“That was such a nice consultation after eight months of nothing but devastating blows and bad news.
“Maybe this isn’t curable, but I could live for 50 years with cancer and I’m going to be the one to do it.
“I’m not letting it affect my relationship with my partner, my family and my friends.
“Yes, I’ve got this really serious illness, but it’s not going to stop me being the positive person I am.”
• I thought I was free of breast cancer. But 10 years on, it’s back
Mr Hewitt, 43, said: “Louise is just so brave and is refusing to give up. She’s an amazing woman.”
Chris Long, chief executive of Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am sorry to hear of Ms Sherry’s news and I would encourage her to contact us directly should she wish to discuss the matter further.”
After she was told the cancer had spread, the couple were helped by nurses from Macmillan Cancer Support as they absorbed the shock of what they had just been told.
Miss Sherry said: “Macmillan has been such a support all the way through and I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Russia in Syria: What will happen next?

The strategic chessboard of the Middle East has been rattled severely this week with the sudden entry of advanced Russian warplanes into the already complex battlefields of Syria.
For Washington and its allies, including what little is left of the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition”, this is deeply unwelcome, especially if the targets do turn out to include US-backed rebels. They see it as prolonging an unwinnable war and delaying the departure of a Syrian president who is now unacceptable to a large part of his population.
But for Syria’s Assad regime and its Iranian allies, the arrival of Russian firepower is quite the opposite – it is a lifeline that could shore up the exhausted Syrian army, regain territory lost this year and crush all the rebel opposition except the hardcore jihadists of so-called Islamic State (IS) and the Nusra Front.
So what are the likely consequences?
Two different campaigns
The most immediate concern for Washington is that its air force collides, catastrophically, with Russia’s in the skies over Syria.
Avoiding this is called “deconfliction” and it is supposed to be a carefully planned and co-ordinated process.
The US says it was given just one hour’s notice on Wednesday to “clear the skies” before Russia’s warplanes went in on their first bombing run, hitting Syrian rebel positions in the west of the country. Russia says it targeted IS, while US Senator John McCain says CIA-backed rebels were hit.

The US runs its air operations out of Al-Udaid Airbase in Qatar, allocating and prioritising IS targets across Syria and Iraq and sharing them out amongst the multinational coalition that includes several Arab countries.
But this week a new command centre has been announced, in Baghdad, where operations will be planned by Russia, Iran, Syria and Iraq.
This is the pro-Assad axis that wants to see Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad remain in power. IS will undoubtedly feature on their target list but those four countries also consider all rebel groups opposed to Assad as the enemy.
This view does not fit in with that of the US-led coalition and will complicate and undermine the international effort to defeat IS.
Once the new Baghdad command centre is up and running there could then be two different command centres in the Middle East, operating two different campaigns against two different sets of enemies.
Recruiting tool
Despite the additional firepower of the newly arrived Russian air force, this development is very likely to be welcomed by the leadership of IS.
In order to maintain its global charisma it needs to constantly innovate, taking new territory, taking on new enemies or inventing new and ever more horrific ways of killing its captives.

The entry of Russia into the Syrian conflict, albeit in the air not on the ground, will be a perfect recruiting sergeant for IS.
The propaganda videos are doubtless already being prepared. The Russians are, after all, the same historic enemy fought by the Mujahideen in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s and eventually defeated (with US, Saudi and Pakistani help).
The prospect of Russian pilots attacking Muslim fighters on the ground will be embarrassing to Arab governments who will not want their air forces to be seen as on the same side.
The result is likely to be more recruits joining the extremists of IS and Al-Nusra, both from within Syria and from outside the region.
Eliminating groups
Sandwiched between the two big fighting forces of Assad’s army and IS are a whole host of minor rebel groups with obscure names, like Tajammu al-Izza, who say they were hit by Russian air strikes on Wednesday.
Some of these groups are perceived by the West as being “moderate” but most have been steadily weakened and plagued by defections, defeats and capture.
With the reported arrival in Syria of hundreds of Iranian troops, the build-up there of Russian forces and a newly active Russian stance, the indications are that Assad and his allies are going after crushing the minor rebel groups, leaving only the extremists of IS and al-Nusra.
They will then be able to say: “Look, you may not like him but Assad is the only alternative to the medieval head-choppers of IS”.
Arms boost
Saudi Arabia and possibly Turkey are not going to take this development lying down.
Along with some other countries in the region they have long insisted that the only lasting solution to the Syrian crisis is for President Assad to go.

Since the Russians and Iranians are protecting him, both diplomatically and militarily, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been quietly funding and arming various rebel Islamist groups inside Syria, prompting some to accuse them of supporting IS or al-Qaeda or both.
Back in 2013 the Saudis were all prepared to join in US attacks on Assad’s forces as punishment for the mass poison gas attack on Syrian civilians.
When that did not materialise they stepped up their own support for Syria’s Islamist rebel groups. Now that level of support is likely to be increased again, to match the newly bolstered might of Assad’s forces.
Peace postponed
The net result of all this is likely to be a further prolonging of the stalemate in Syria.
As long as one side thinks it can win, or at least not lose, then it will be reluctant to come to the negotiating table and make substantial concessions.
There have been many times since 2011 when “Middle East experts” opined that President Assad was doomed and would not last the year. He has defied them all.
Now, with the injection of this Russian tonic, he will be more tempted than ever to tough it out. And so the fighting will continue, until eventually it boils down to Assad and his allies v IS and al-Qaeda, with Washington increasingly unable to influence the outcome.
Unless something changes dramatically, peace in Syria is not even on the horizon.



Following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement that Britain will spend £25 million to build a prison in Jamaica, some of Jamaica’s entertainers have rejected the idea, claiming that the money should be invested in education and development infrastructures.

According to recording artiste Savage, formerly of Mavado’s Gully Side camp, Jamaica needs help, but not by building prisons.

“The people are seeking better. Therefore, what you should be doing is build training centres and other institutions of learning. Most of the youth committing crimes in the UK are not educated and decided to go about things the wrong way. Trust me, educating them will be a better decision than to build prison,” said the deejay, who is currently promoting singles Cullu Cullu and Score.

Controversial deejay Gage also rejected Britain’s offer, as he says Jamaica cannot afford such an undertaking.

“We are already in debt. The £25 million will only benefit the contractor who build it and who get to scam around it, but nobody else in Jamaica will benefit, it’s just a prison,” Gage said.

Dancehall artiste Tiana, on the other hand, tried to be objective addressing both angles.

“We are a third world country so we can’t possibly afford to feed these criminals when they get here. But the positive thing might be because they will be in their own country, and that new prison will perhaps have better conditions than the ones we already have. But England is a first world country so they are the ones who should be housing and feeding the criminals,” she said.

Popular intro-man-turned-deejay Big Wayne believes the Jamaican government should reject England’s offer.

“I think the government should mek dem know sey dem cyah manage that right now, go somewhere else and build that. To me, that decision a guh create havoc unless when dem (criminals) done serve dem time unno a guh tek dem back a England,” Big Wayne said, also highlighting that he is promoting a new song with Justus Arison called Petrol.

Negative implications

Patrick Gaynor of the duo Twin of Twins believes the decision should be assessed by the government because of possible negative implications.

“This cannot be accommodated when we have so many issues of our own with crime, indiscipline and by extension disorganisation,” he said.

“Let’s say a man is born in Jamaica, but leaves immediately to the UK, commits a crime at age 40, and gets deported to Jamaica. Where does he go after he serves his time?” he questioned.

The deejay also believes the Jamaican economy is unfit to handle such a decision and suggests that rehabilitated persons should be allowed to return to England.


“There should be a guarantee that after rehabilitation they be allowed to be reintegrated into British society, or foot the expense of properly relocating them here in a foreign land that they’re not accustomed to live in,” Gaynor said.

“In order to accommodate their desire of building a prison on our soil, our government should demand an additional set of millions upfront and then more quarterly or annually to invest in the reestablishment of our lost infrastructures like the police force, factories, agriculture, cement company and airports. The resurgence of these vital infrastructures would stabilise the economy if managed effectively.”

During Cameron’s speech, he also ruled out making reparations for Britain’s role in the historic slave trade and urged Caribbean countries to “move on”

UK must prepare for WAR with Russia: Army calls for fleet of battle tanks to take on Putin

BRITAIN must invest in its fleet of main battle tanks to meet an increasing threat of ground war with Russia, senior Army officers have warned.

It comes as tensions between Nato countries and Moscow continued to mount, with Russia threatening “nuclear counter measures” over a plan to bolster nuclear facilities in Germany.

David Cameron is currently trying to find a “compromise deal” with Russian president Vladimir Putin over tackling the IS terror group in Syria.

But Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, an increase in Nato air-space incursions by Russian bombers, and the development of a new Russian “super tank” has led senior commanders to admit that the prospects of a conventional ground war In Eastern Europe can no longer be ignored.

The British Army has 227 Challenger 2 main battle tanks but, while they are still respected, they are in urgent need of upgrade.

Last year the British Army took part in live-fire Nato exercise in Poland with more than 100 armoured vehicles. Operation Black Eagle “highlighted the British Army’s ability to deploy an armoured battlegroup at short notice anywhere in the world in support of the nation’s allies.”

However the Sunday Express has learned that, unlike its Nato allies, Britain not able to deploy a full squadron of 14 tanks plus two in reserve within the regulation 30 -days time limit.

Some, according to serving members of the Kings Royal Hussars armoured regiment, took more than three months to make ready because they had been mothballed, or cannibalised for parts.

Speaking recently General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Army, confirmed that the future of the Challenger 2 was being considered at the highest levels.

“We have got issues with the tanks we’ve got and if we don’t do something about it we will have issues – what we will do is in discussion, “ he said.

Senior Army sources confirmed last night that the development of the new Russian T-14 main battle tank, unveiled at the Moscow Victory Day Parade in Moscow in May, had “focussed minds” on the issue.

Boasting exceptionally think armour and an “unmanned turret”, the T-14 is the first of a new generation of power tanks for the Russia Army, which hopes to have 2,300 of them by 2020.

Last week Russia announced that it would be forced to take counter measures to “restore the balance of power” in Europe if the United States carried out upgrade its nuclear presence in Germany by placing 20 B61-12 nuclear bombs at the Büchel Air Base later this year.

Speaking last night Maj Gen Patrick Cordingly who, as commander of the “Desert Rats” 7th Armoured Brigade, led US and British forces to victory over Iraq forces in 1991, said:

“There are 100 nations in the world who have battle tanks – they have them for a reason and for us not to invest in our main battle tank now would go against logic.

“Even in Afghanistan, it would have been usefully to have our own battle tanks. We were forced to rely on the Danish army.

“A tank is more than a weapon system – it also makes a statement. And when you’re trying to reign in another country, it helps to be able to make a statement in this way. “
The 2010 Strategic and Security Defence Review saw most British battle tanks put into storage as planners focussed on “asymmetrical” warfare of the type fought in Afghanistan.

So convinced were military planners of this that BAe was allowed to sell off its tank-manufacturing base in Newcastle in 2012, though BAe retained a rump of 60 specialists at tis facility in Tidworth.

Britain’s armoured base in Germany was also earmarked for closure by 2019, though recently there have been moves to reverse this decision.

Events since then, including the Russian invasion of Crimea have shown Britain and the rest of Nato “must be prepared to revisit Cold War scenarios, and this includes conventional, symmetric warfare in Eastern Europe,” said a source last night.

However, the Challenger 2 will have to jostle for priority against £9bn worth of other armoured vehicles – many intended for conditions like Afghanistan.
They include the troubled Scout and Warrior programmes.

The Scout Reconnaissance Specialist vehicle has already eaten up £4bn.

“The Scout is now so heavy because of protective armour and anti-IED capability that is can’t cross bridges or be airlifted – not brilliant for a reconnaissance vehicle’” said one industry insider last night.

Last night Nick, de Larrinaga IHS Jane’s think tank said: The Ukraine crisis has certainly prompted a rethink. The chance of a symmetric conflict happening has risen, and our ability to deal with it is less than it was during the Cold War.

It needs to be taken a bit more seriously.

“If you look at all the mine resistant, ambush protected vehicles bought for Afghanistan are very little use doing anything cross-country.

“The one area that hasn’t been heavily invested in is the Challenger 2 fleet. Either a life extension programme or a replacement programme would seem sensible.”

Reject UK’s £25-m prison deal, Young Jamaica tells Gov’t

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The youth arm of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is urging the Jamaican Parliament to flatly and unanimously reject the terms of the Memorandum (MOU) of Understanding signed between Jamaica’s Security Ministry and the government of the United Kingdom.

According to Young Jamaica, the MOU, which would see the construction of a maximum security prison to house Jamaicans convicted in the UK, does not serve or enhance Jamaica’s strategic development goals and represents “selling the Jamaican people a 6 for a 9.”

“We have taken note of Prime Minister Cameron’s insistence that British taxpayers should not be required to bear the costs of housing foreign criminals. However, we believe it is important for him to explain who exactly qualifies as a foreign criminal. We do not, for instance, accept that a Jamaican who has lived in the UK from a young age, and who has been formed by that society, who commits crimes there should be sent back to Jamaica to serve his/her sentence, whether in part or as a whole,” the organisation said in a release today.

“This is especially true when one considers Jamaica’s well entrenched problem of criminality. This agreement would only compound our domestic crime situation and for the government to try to talk up the so called benefits of this arrangement is to try to pull wool over our eyes, we are being offered a 6 for a 9, plain and simple.”

The JLP youth arm says the cost to operate the prison will be a setback for the people of Jamaica. It says Jamaica does not have the financial resources to operate a new prison at this time as it would mean more taxes on the backs of the Jamaican people.

Young Jamaica says taken in the context of the current social and economic climate facing the country, the agreement is ill advised and borders on being offensive.

“What our members are also questioning is whether the announced 25 million pounds will cover the full costs of constructing this prison and whether the UK is committing to its upkeep.

We have little confidence that that is the case, and as the British PM would protect his taxpayers from foreign born criminals, we believe our Parliament should protect our taxpayers from foreign bred and potentially dangerous criminals. It is unconscionable to suggest that an individual simply being born here means our taxpayers are obligated to stand these costs” says the organization’s President Howard Chamberlain

“This agreement sends the wrong signal and flies in the face of the continued calls for reparations.”The organization notes that Jamaica’s strategic priorities at this time must be geared towards generating economic growth, building schools and creating employment for the thousands currently suffering in this economy.

“We welcome our party leader’s firm declaration to Mr. Cameron that building schools contribute much more to growth than building prisons. That ought to be the priority of this government,” Chamberlain added.

An Insult to the Jamaican People by the British PM

Featured Image -- 11053I for one is very applaud by the Insults of the Jamaican people by David Cameron the British Prime Minister who recently visit the Island and the only concession that he could make to the Jamaicans is to spend £25 Millions Pound on building Prison.
My question to Mr Cameron is what about Trading with their old footstool so that they can have a better life, what about offer to build more school for the young deprived.
Is Cameron a prawn where the shit stuck in it’s head, less he forget most of Jamaica problems was caused by the British Colonial rule of which that Island is still suffering from both mentally and physically.
Has he forgotten that after the last World War it was the people from that said country who was taken to rebuilt his country that he believes that he was the only one that was born to Govern.
Is it that Cameron sees every Jamaican as a criminal why his only offer is prison, what about those who were born in Britten, are they going to be sent to Jamaica too,think again Cameron the people won’t be taking this likely, it’s time you hands up and help the people your forefather has left in poverty.

Building schools better than prisons, Holness tells Cameron

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition Leader Andrew Holness told a joint sitting of the Houses of Parliament this morning that he would rather have the building of schools than prisons, in response to the UK’s announcement to build a penal institution here for Jamaicans imprisoned in Britain to complete their sentences.

Holness made the statement after welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron on his first official visit to the island.

Noting the improvements that the UK has made in education, particularly in skills and apprenticeship, Holness noted that a similar approach should be adopted in Jamaica.

“The key lesson here is educating our people particularly in skills is the best way to spur human development to support a growth agenda and to keep the poor and dispossessed out of prison” he said.

“As it turns out, building schools contribute much more to the growth agenda than building prisons,” he added.

Cameron has promised a roughly £300 million aid package to upgrade infrastructure across the Caribbean and reinvigorate Britain’s relationship with the region.

Of that sum, £25 million will go towards funding the construction of a prison here, where the Jamaicans incarcerated in England will complete sentences.

The Opposition leader also outlined several areas where Jamaica and the United Kingdom had improved ties and welcomed the “genuine interest of Prime Minister Cameron in advancing the relationship between our two countries on trade and investment and security”.

Police appeal for witnesses after Horsham woman raped in Brighton

Police in Brighton are trying to find two couples who may have valuable information about the rapes of two women in flats in the city.

In the early hours of Sunday September 13 a young woman from Horsham woke up in a disorientated state, in an unknown flat close to Brighton railway station. She had been out in Brighton the night before. She was extremely distressed, left the flat and stopped a man and a woman at about 5.30am to ask for directions to the station.
Police say she had last been seen in Coalition Club on the Lower Esplanade shortly after midnight in the company of a man described as black, in his 20’, approximately 6ft, and of muscular build with very short hair.

Shortly after 6am on Thursday September 17 police were called to Brighton railway station to a report of a woman who had been visiting the city and had been out with family the night before. However they had beome separated during the evening and she woke up in a distressed and disorientated state in an unknown flat a short distance from the railway station.

She approached a man and a woman in Guildford Street who walked with her to the railway station nearby where she was helped by staff who called the police.

She had last been seen in Kings Road, Brighton, at about 4am in the company of a man described as black, in his 20’s, of skinny build, about 5’.8” with short facial hair and braided hair tied back in a pony tail.

DS Cheryl Lewendon said; “We are eager to identify those two couples who stopped and helped the two women. We are also appealing for anyone else with any information to make contact with us via 101@sussex.pnn.police.ukor call 101, quoting serial 309 of 13/09, or 148 of 17/09. You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

“There are clear similarities between the two incidents, but there are also differences. Whilst we are keeping an open mind as the investigations continue, we are not connecting the two at this stage.”

Ali Al-Nimr’s Crucifixion Sentence in Saudi Arabia Sparks Outcry

A young man facing beheading and crucifixion in Saudi Arabia was tortured and sentenced for political reasons, according to rights groups and a source close to his family calling for a halt to his execution.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in 2012 when he was 17 years old for participating in a protest. He was later sentenced to death for joining a criminal group and attacking police forces in proceedings which a United Nations body said “fell short of international standards.”

The conviction was upheld this week by Saudi Arabia’s highest court, and the execution could take place at any time. Al-Nimr’s family has appealed for Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz to issue a pardon during the current Muslim holiday period of Eid.

“We hope that the king will not sign [the execution order],” al-Nimr’s father Mohammed told Agence France Presse, warning that his son’s grisly execution could also provoke a violent reaction in the minority Shiite community.

“We don’t need that, we don’t need even one drop of blood,” he said.

The crucifixion sentence means that al-Nimr will most likely be beheaded first and his body later displayed on a cross in a public location, according to campaigners.

The fear that al-Nimr could be executed at any time has taken a steep toll on his father and other relatives, a source close to the family told NBC News.

They are “acting like they are okay, but I know the family and they are not,” the source said, adding that Ali was defiantly “dreaming about the future” and was still hoping to study psychology one day.

A group of United Nations experts on torture and capital punishment urged Saudi Arabia to halt the execution, saying that al-Nimr was a child at the time of his offense and that the proceedings against him were flawed.

“Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” they said in a statement, citing Saudi Arabia’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Human-rights charities Reprieve and Amnesty International claim that Ali was tortured and forced to sign a confession after being arrested.

IMAGE: Al Mohammed al-Nimr jumping
Saudi Arabian man, Al Mohammed al-Nimr, has been sentenced to crucifixion. Reprieve
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve’s death penalty team, called Ali’s fate “an outrage” and said it was “deeply troubling” that the United States and other allies of Saudi Arabia were “staying silent” over the case.

“The international community must stand firm against this utterly unjustified sentence,” she said in a statement.

Repeated approaches by NBC News to the Saudi authorities for comment have not received a response.

Ali was convicted in 2014 on range of charges including being part of a terrorist organization, carrying weapons and targeting security patrols with Molotov cocktails, the charity said. Additional charges included encouraging others to protest using his BlackBerry and explaining to others how to give first aid, they added.

Reprieve said Ali raised the torture claims at trial but that no investigation took place and the court used the confession to sentence him. Ali’s final appeal was held in secret, according to Reprieve.

Ali’s lawyer, Dr. Saqeb Mohamed tweeted on Tuesday that the defense team had not been able to visit his client or object to the sentence, adding that he was “surprised” the court had ratified the conviction.

He also called for Saudi authorities to investigate the case.
In the wake of the March 2011 Arab Spring, thousands took to the streets to protest decades of discrimination and religious and political repression by the country’s Sunni dynasty, House of Saud, which has controlled the Arabian Peninsula since the 1930s. The uprising was met with a violent crackdown from the government.

The source close to the family admitted that al-Nimr had attended demonstrations and anti-government protests in his hometown of Qatif — but that the young man was not political.

The source suggested that political “revenge” was behind the charges laid against the young man — who is the nephew of Shia cleric and activist Sheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, also separately facing execution.

Al-Nimr’s cleric uncle was sentenced to death in a separate trial on terrorism charges and for “waging war on God” because of his speech during anti-government protests in Qatif, according to Amnesty International.

Amnesty called Sheikh al-Nimr’s trial “deeply flawed” and said it was “part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shia Muslim community.”

There have been 134 executions in Saudi Arabia this year, compared with 90 last year, they said.

The younger al-Nimr had no ambitions to follow his uncle’s footsteps, the source close to the family said — describing a normal teen, who liked motorcycles, movies and photography.

Now the family hopes his life will be spared so they could spend more time with him.

“We are praying to God,” they said. “It is all we can do. We are hopeful.”

US says 5.6m fingerprints stolen in breach

The massive breaches of US government records resulted in the theft of some 5.6 million sets of fingerprints, officials said Wednesday, raising their estimate from 1.1 million.

Officials said the latest analysis of the two breaches – widely attributed to hackers based in China – did not change the number of people affected, which remained at 21.5 million.

A statement by the Office of Personnel Management said the new estimates come from a more detailed analysis of the breach by investigators.

The statement said that “the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited” but that “this probability could change as technology evolves.”

The new estimates come as Chinese President Xi Jinping opened a US visit pledging to defend cybersecurity and not tolerate hacking or cyber theft.

US officials have not publicly accused China of being behind the massive hack, but many private analysts say the incident is likely part of Chinese espionage efforts.

Don’t embarrass us again!

While I would be happier if the primary reason for the British prime minister’s visit to Jamaica was something other than the repatriation of prisoners to Jamaica, I have a feeling that our good reputation of hosting foreign visitors is about to be tarnished by one particularly persistent set of people.

The last time a senior British government official (actually, the deputy prime minister) came to Jamaica, he was royally snubbed by a senior high ranking government official. The reason for insulting the British deputy prime minister then was because the British were refusing to consider the issue of reparations as anything worthy of their time.

Why do I get the feeling that those who continue to push for this reparations nonsense are busy cooking up another smelly reception for the British prime minister?

Let’s be clear, the British have no moral, legal or historical reason to pay reparations. Slavery was not a crime or even a social contradiction at the time of its height. So, as long as the majority of people living then saw nothing wrong with slavery, there is no credible reason why the British should pay anything now. However, these reparations pushers are very persistent!

I would not be surprised if it turns out that our reparations gang will use those members of Parliament that it has to disrupt the planned speech that the British prime minister is slated to give in the Houses of Parliament. In the name of good sense and the good reputation that we have, I urge those planning anything disruptive to abandon such plans. Please, don’t give the world something to laugh at us for!

I know the when that British deputy prime minister left our country some years ago after being insulted by this crazy reparations demand, he must be wondering why is it that a so-called proud people would want to guilt the British into giving them more handouts. I am begging those who continue to advance the joke of reparations not to give the British prime minister more reasons to go home thinking the same thing.

I am tired of being embarrassed in the name of this silly reparations business!

Turtle eaten to boost sex drive

Some Jamaicans were outraged at the vicious butchering of a sea turtle in Alligator Pond, Manchester, that was caught on camera recently.

However, THE STAR has learned that these turtles are commonly harvested and eaten by men hoping to boost their sex drive.

THE STAR spoke with a long time fisherman, Jason Smith, who claimed that eating turtles improves his sexual prowess.

“Me eat it [turtles] of course! It build up you sex drive and give you the gum and glamity. It make you feel like superman. It good fi you body because a di strongest meat pan di face of the Earth!,” he said.

Reptilian meat

Smith admitted that his friends also consume the reptilian meat and have reported a similar improvement in their sexual performance.

THE STAR understands that men who wish to partake in the forbidden ‘delicacy’ shell out big bucks for it.

“Mi just buy a piece of it, me nuh buy the whole thing. We do it just like when dem kill goat and everybody buy a little piece. One pound costs $500 and $1,000 fi one plate if me prepare it,” Smith said.

As it relates to how the turtles are prepared for consumption, Smith said it is cooked similar to other meats.

“Dem cook it up like chicken, beef or pork and you can curry it up or cook it with beans. You can cook it any way you like it,” Smith said, while adding that turtle meat tastes similar to other meats.

Illegal activity

Smith admitted that he is aware of this illegal activity so the transactions and consumption are conducted covertly and infrequently.

Andrea Donaldson, manager of the Ecosystems Management Branch at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), said turtle meat and eggs have long been considered to be aphrodisiacs.

She added that there has been no scientific proof to support the claim, but theorised where the myth might have come from.

“It might be because people look at the longevity of turtles because they live for very long, up to 30 years,” Donaldson said.

According to NEPA, turtles are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act and it is illegal to possess or consume turtles or their eggs. If convicted of such acts, the culprit can be fined up to J$100,000 or spend a year in prison.

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