Sunday, November 30, 2014

Bangladesh conference November 28

Bangladesh conference last Thursday.

Friday, November 28, 2014

One killer arrested

Photo from Nov 7, 2014 shows the parents of Saher Batool mourning while holding their late daughter's dress in Quetta.—AFP
Photo from Nov 7, 2014 shows the parents of Saher Batool mourning while holding their late daughter's dress in Quetta.—AFP
QUETTA: Police in Quetta claim to have arrested the killer of six-year-old Hazara girl Saher Batool, whose body was dumped after apparently being subjected to rape attempts.
“After one month, we have successfully apprehended the killer of Saher Batool,” Senior Superintendent of Police (Investigation), Asad Raza told a crowded press conference on Friday.
Police had found the child’s body on October 29 this year from Zarghoon Road area of Quetta, the capital of the restive southwestern province of Balochistan.
The victim, who was the daughter of a gardener working at an army facility, was found near a garbage dump close to her home.
The accused had strangulated the girl after a failed attempt at subjecting her to sexual assault, SSP Raza told reporters today.
There were marks of torture on Saher’s face and neck, he added.
During the press conference, police also produced the killer before the media while covering his face.
The girl’s murder had prompted the minority ethnic Hazara community, human rights organisations and political parties to hold protest demonstrations in order to mount pressure on the top officials to catch the killer.
There was no immediate reaction from Saher's family following the arrest.
“We will bring more facts before the public once the investigation is completed,” SSP Asad Raza said.

Tuesday's conference on the murders of Hazaras and other Shias in Pakistan

"Justice for Sahar" - attempted rape and murder of 6-year old Hazara girl Sahar Batool in Quetta, Balochistan, and hundreds of other Shia victims of extremist terrorists across Pakistan

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nov 26,2014 Previous Normal
Hb 109 100 130 - 180
WBC 3.02 3.1 4.5 - 10.0
Neutrophils 1.16 1.43 2.0 - 7.5
Plt 391 427 150 - 450

Friday, November 21, 2014

Traveller Movement Conference November 20.2014

Lord Avebury, Patron of the Traveller Movement, speaking at the Travellers Movement Annual Conference at 10.30 on November 20, 2014 at Resource for London, 356 Holloway Road, London N7 6PA

Andrew George, Chair of the All-Party Group on Gypsies and Travellers, said when the Government’s proposals on planning and Travellers were published in September that the Government couldn’t ‘redefine Travellers out of existence’. That’s exactly what they’re doing.
They want Travellers to prove that they are nomadic even though legal stopping places don’t exist.
Gypsies are to be redefined, losing their identity unless they currently travel. This means that people on tolerated or authorised sites will disappear from view.
Travellers have tried to establish permanent bases for themselves by purchasing land and applying for planning permission. Very few succeed, because they are vehemently opposed by local councillors and residents.
But now, appeals against refusal of permission in the Green Belt are being ‘recovered’, which means they are taken out of the hands  of inspectors and decided personally by the hostile Eric Pickles, who has been sitting on them for up to two years
Local authorities haven’t properly assessed the need for sites, let alone designated the land for them.  And now, land will only have to be found for people who can prove they’re currently travelling.
The Government also propose that where Travellers buy land and then apply for planning permission, that will count against them, knowing that in recent years doing it that way round and appealing is the only way of settling down.
What they’re  aiming to do by making nomadism impossible and then saying that Travellers have to be currently nomadic is to force them into bricks and mortar housing, as the communist regimes of Russia and eastern Europe did after the war.
The long-term objective is to eliminate caravan sites for Travellers altogether, a racist policy that doesn’t apply to mobile home parks for Gorgios.
The policy is also racist because Mr Pickles doesn’t treat appeals against refusal of planning permissions for Gorgio housing in the Green Belt in the same way as appeals against refusal of permission for Gypsy caravans.
In the two years to July 2013 89 Gypsy appeals were lodged for caravans in the Green Belt and 76 were recovered by Mr Pickles. Over the same period 6 ordinary house appeals were recovered out of 1,162.
Chris Johnson of the Community Law Partnership says   that planning permissions are often allowed for housing in the Green Belt or the Green Belt boundary is re-drawn to allow development to occur; and he quotes as one example the recent approval of 100 new houses at Bucknalls Lane, Watford.
Contrary to the assertion by Tories that the planning system is slanted in favour of Travellers, the exact opposite is the case, and even larger breaches are in the offing. The Government has approved plans for a 15,000 home new town at Ebbsfleet as the first of a new generation of ‘garden cities’ to solve the housing crisis, particularly in London and the Southeast.
Ebbsfleet is brownfield land but inevitably these new towns, or the alternative proposed by the award-winning urban designer David Rudlin which is to expand some 40 existing towns, would mean encroaching on open land and the Green Belt on a grand scale. Will Ebbsfleet Development Corporation find space for Traveller sites when it is established early next year, considering that Travellers have inhabited the area since time immemorial.
More generally if there is to be a new town strategy for the hundreds of thousands of dwellings required to solve the housing emergency, its unthinkable that it shouldn’t incorporate provisions for the tiny fraction of that number, of pitches needed to eliminate the shortfall in accommodation for Traveller sites.
Putting the obligation on the development corporations could have the advantage of being immune from the interference by Mr Pickles and the organised opposition that affects every planning application under the present regime.
The money could be provided via the Homes and Communities Agency, whose current programme for the three years 2012-15 will cover £62 million for around 600 new pitches. But that deals with only half the growth of the Traveller population.  
We need to know what the Government’s intentions are for the years 2015-18. If the HCA funding isn’t renewed, or if it is cut, that will be confirmation of the Government’s backdoor intention to deny Gypsies and Travellers their historic cultural identity.
The recovery of all appeals for Traveller developments in the Green Belt is to be tested in the courts in two weeks’ time, when they hear two judicial review applications against the Secretary of State. Unusually, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have requested and been given permission by the court to intervene in these cases. 
Whatever the court decides, the proposals represent a degree of central control which is incompatible with the Government’s professed belief in localism, the transfer of power wherever possible from Whitehall to local authorities.
Most if not all Travellers want a settled base so that they can access public services, particularly health and education. They are the most disadvantaged of any of our ethnic minorities.
Refusing to acknowledge that for the Travellers with a strong cultural tradition of living in small extended family groups on caravan sites, one of the reasons for their disadvantage is their precarious existence being hounded from pillar to post, the Government are perpetuating the problem.
When the coalition came into office they set up a ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers. The Ministers produced what they called a ‘progress report’ in April 2012, implying that it wasn’t the end of the story; but in the two and a half years since that date there have been no further meetings, and none are planned.
There has been no attempt to review the trivial commitments they made on accommodation, neither of which could have had the slightest effect on relieving the shortage. The exercise was entirely cosmetic, designed purely to fend off criticism by the European Union of the UK’s refusal to adopt a  National Roma Integration Strategy as approved unanimously by member states for reducing the disadvantage experienced by Roma, Gypsies and Travellers. This seems to be another EU policy which Mr Cameron thinks he can ignore
The Ministers acknowledged in 2012 that
“there are still around 3,000 caravans on unauthorised sites, either on sites developed without planning permission, or on encampments on land not owned by Travellers. Gypsies and Travellers living on unauthorised sites can face additional difficulties accessing health and education services and the precarious nature of their homes can further exacerbate inequalities and stifle life chances”
But now, the people on these unauthorised sites are not to be included in the definition of Travellers, so local authorities will be able to ignore them in their assessments of need for sites. There are no commitments to increase the supply of sites, and the connection between the dire shortage of culturally appropriate accommodation and the inequalities identified by ministers was not reflected anywhere in the document or in later statements.
The Ministerial Group should be reconvened and asked to assess the likely effects of the new definition on the 3,000 families, and whether they consider that local authorities should offer them bricks and mortar houses on a take it or leave it basis.
The Group should also be asked to consider the bizarre situation identified by the Equalities Statement that accompanies the Consultation, that a Traveller who settles down permanently for whatever reason including old age, ill health, disability or children’s educational needs ceases to be a Traveller. She and her family are still members of a recognised minority ethnic group for the purposes of the Equality Act.   
This will be a factor in the court cases the week after next.  Failure to exercise the DCLG’s power “in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage”, seems on the face of it to be a clear breach of the public sector duty prescribed by the Equality Act, as I believe the EHRC will argue.
The responses to the consultation on Mr Pickles’ scheme for Gypsies and Travellers which ends in three days time will need to be considered carefully, and when the final decisions emerge they will need to be debated in Parliament. It will be too late for the Government to introduce the primary legislation that would be required if as proposed, they decide to alter the definition of Gypsies. This means that at least there will be a reprieve, and we will have an opportunity of seeing whether the parties, and individual candidates, will go along with Mr Pickles’ illiberal ideas.

Friday November 20 Report to Orthopaedic Surgery from Cardiovascular Services:

He developed angina towards the end of 2013 precipitating an angiogram which was performed in April 2014, This showed patent grafts [including a patent LIMA graft to the LAD, patent RIMA to the marginal system, patent vein grafts to the diagonal and right coronary arteries].

Overall, this was a reassuring angiogram and means that no myocardial revascularisation was indicated.

From the point of view of elective orthopaedic surgery, [there is] significant co-morbidity and his operatve risk will be influenced by that. From the coronary point of view however he is very stable and already takes low dose beta-blockers. His condition is therefore optimal and nothing further can be done to reduce what will be a moderate peri-operative risk.

The question is whether to press for a right knee replacement, or should I put up with it for the 20 months I probably have left. The vascular surgeons will probably recommend against it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Product Development Partnerships

Developing Countries: Health Services


Asked by Lord Avebury
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to promote integrated healthcare structures and policy in the United Nations post-2015 development agenda.[HL2444]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD):The UK government supports the inclusion of integrated approaches to healthcare in a post 2015 agenda, as shown through the emphasis on Universal Health Coverage in the Report of the High-Level Panel, chaired by the Prime Minister, and its inclusion as a target in the proposal of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals.
Asked by Lord Avebury
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to promote innovative medical technologies and product development partnerships as part of the post-2015 development agenda.[HL2445]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the potential role of product development partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda. [HL2447]
Baroness Northover: The UK Government recognises the important role of new health technologies and product development partnerships (PDPs) in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and in the post-2015
10 Nov 2014 : Column WA3
agenda. The UK is the second largest government supporter of this research and will continue to promote it along with international partners.
Asked by Lord Avebury
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with international counterparts on including product development partnerships in the post-2015 development agenda.[HL2446]
Baroness Northover: Officials from my Department regularly discuss the importance of product development partnerships (PDPs) and the continued important role for technology development in the post-2015 development agenda. The UK currently chairs the international Product Development Funders’ Group, including both bilateral and multilateral agencies as well as private foundations. Officials also participate in the annual Product Development Forum arranged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Asked by Lord Avebury
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the outcomes arising from the Department for International Developments-sponsored product development partnerships.[HL2448]
Baroness Northover: Public private product development partnerships (PDPs) have been shown to expedite the development of new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests, achieving results faster than either the public or private sectors alone.

Prior to the creation of PDPs, only 20 drugs were developed for neglected diseases between 1975 and 2000. Since 2000, UK Government funded PDPs have developed 19 new products including drugs for malaria, TB, neglected tropical diseases (such as sleeping sickness and visceral leishmaniasis), one vaccine for diarrhoea (rotavirus) and six new diagnostic tests (5 for TB and the first ever rapid diagnostic test for sleeping sickness).

Saturday, November 08, 2014


Consultation October 29. Blood results (last reading 4 weeks before in brackets) Hb 100 g/L(105); WBC 3.1x109/L (3.1)); neutrophils 1.43x 109/L (1.30); platelets 424x109/L (347), MCV 110 fL. Hydroxycarbamide to remain at 5 times/week but might be reduced further at next consultation November 26 if Hb continues to fall. Problem then would be that platelets would rise above desirable level.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

In Dylan Thomas's sitting room

Lindsay sitting at Dylan Thomas's desk at 5 Cwmdonkin Drive, Swansea with a photograph of her mother with Dylan in Caswell Bay behind her, November 5