Civil society: It’s time to rebuild South Africa – spotlight.africa

All aspects of South African life will be impacted by the change in leadership, but to ensure the change is positive, civil society has reminded us that Jacob Zuma was not the only problem that needed fixing. We need more than just a new president.  

The Jesuit Institute South Africa has said South Africans will feel a great sense of relief with the news of Jacob Zuma’s resignation, Section27 said it felt as if the country had awoken from a nine-year nightmare, and the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office has said it hoped for a new and more honourable era in South African politics. There are very few who have not welcomed the news, but civil society in the country has been quick to point out that the change in president is just the first step. Sweeping change in our politics and leadership culture at all levels of society is essential if we are to avoid repeating the hallmarks of Zuma’s presidency.

Source: Spotlight.africa

This Tory Housing Minister Was In A Private Facebook Group That Wants To Sell Off All Council Housing

The Conservatives’ new housing minister, Dominic Raab, belonged to a private Facebook group that argues for council housing to be sold off at market value, healthcare to be privatised, and the return of workhouses for the poor.

Raab was, until Thursday morning, one of 14 members of a closed group called the “British Ultra Liberal Youth — The Ultras”, which was set up about seven years ago. He withdrew from the group after being approached for comment.

Raab told BuzzFeed News: “I wasn’t aware of this group, let alone that I had inadvertently and mistakenly been linked on Facebook. I have corrected it, and needless to say I do not support its aims.”

Source: Buzzfeed

Life With No Stomach.

Two years ago this week, I was laid low in the Royal Free Hospital (Hampstead), recovering from surgery that removed all my stomach and spleen, together with a massive sarcoma tumour, a stomach “GIST”. I have described before the diagnosis and process leading up to the surgery, and the surgery and stay in hospital. It’s time now to tell of life without a stomach.

The short answer is life is good – almost back to “normal”, before surgery, and certainly easier than I had been led to expect. Prior to surgery, I had been warned by colleagues in the GISTUK Support group, and by on-line information, that after a complete gastrectomy I should expect an extended, gradual adjustment to eating with no stomach, progressing slowly from a liquid diet, through semi-solids to solid foods. I was also advised by two different nutritionists, to avoid drinking with meals, and to avoid at all times, “fizzy” drinks of any kind – such as beer, colas and mixers for spirits. I was also warned that I would need to adjust my daily diet from three meals a day, to six – just half a meal at a time. I was also warned of a most unpleasant “dumping” syndrome, that might make life really unpleasant at times.

In fact, it’s been much easier than that. Even while still in the hospital, I went directly onto “soft” solids, after a week of nil by mouth regime (not even water). Instead of six meals a day, I have four – breakfast and supper are in any case small meals. For lunch, I serve a standard meal but eat only half, and put aside the rest for later, in mid-afternoon. Initially I avoided and drinking at all with my main lunchtime meal, but now find I can happily get away with a whisky and soda before the meal – taken slowly, and nursed through the meal instead of water. I have never experienced any hint of dumping.

I have experienced only minor impacts on my diet. I started out anxious to avoid things like toast, with its hard crusts, and replaced it for my standard breakfast with yoghurt or cereals. However, I soon found that I had developed not quite an allergy, but certainly an aversion, to dairy products. I have since got around this problem by using lactose free milk, which is standard milk wiht the lactose filtered out, and is freely available in major supermarkets, (and has the fringe benefit of a much longer shelf-life).

Conscious of the need to limit drinking and avoid fizzy drinks altogether, I initially avoided all drinks with meals, and later replaced my previously accustomed g&t before lunch with a small whisky and water (to avoid the fizz in the tonic). Later, I replaced the water with soda, and now get away comfortably with a standard scotch and soda.

The only remaining difficulty with diet, is when eating out. If it is feasible to ask for a doggy bag I do so – putting this in the same position of my regular habit of dividing my main lunch meal in two. Where this is not feasible, I may order just a starter (sometimes two starters, instead of a starter plus main), or  simply order a standard meal, and send back what I cannot eat. (Some people recommend ordering from the children’s menu, but I have not yet found this realistic). When selecting from a buffet, for example on conferences, it’s easy – I just limit what I take – and put aside some fruit, for later.

So eating and drinking, which is widely discussed as the major adjustments to life without a stomach, have not been the difficulty that I anticipated.

A bigger problem for me, has been that of fatigue and loss of energy. I understand that this is due to a reduced ability to produce vitiman B12. To compensate, I was advised to have a B12 injection every three month. This certainly helps – I am very conscious, before the due date, of a clear decline in energy, and a revival quite quickly after I’ve had it. To complement the value of the injection, I now also take regular B vitamin supplements, in the form of energy drinks. Even so, I am conscious that I am much lower in energy, and tire more easily, than before surgery. (This loss of energy is mental, as well as physical).

I continue to take the targeted cancer drug imatinib, which I was put onto initially to shrink the tumour. Now, I stay on it as a precaution to prevent regrowth. The standard regime is to stay on the drug for either three or five years, and there is a notable academic debate among the specialists, on which is more appropriate. When I saw my oncologist last week (Dr Seddon at UCLH a noted expert in the field), I noted that it is now two years since surgery, and asked how much longer I would stay on the drug. I was expecting the answer either one year more, or three – but was shaken to be told that it was more likely to be indefinitely. The reason for this is that the sheer size of the tumour, which in itself classifies it as “high risk” of recurrence, also meant that it had been squashed up against several  other organs. Thus, she said, it was entirely likely that although the actual surgery was clean and entirely successful, there could be specks of cancerous cells left behind on those organs.  I need to stay on imatinib to discourage the growth of metastatic tumours.

The problem with that, is that imatinib and other targeted cancer drugs are not effective indefinitely. Sooner or later, there comes a point when they simply stop working. When that time comes, as it will, there will be a move to the standard second-line drug, sunatinib, which is stronger – and has correspondingly more difficult side-effects. That too, will in time lose it’s effectiveness, and will be replaced by a still stronger drug, with still stronger side-effects. After that? There could be a fall-back on clinical trials of new drugs, or less conventional palliative surgery techniques – or whole new therapies, not yet developed.

Long term, the prospects are thus not exactly cheery. However, it is not the long term that matters. For now, what is important is that in spite of everything, life without a stomach continues pretty much as normal, with only minor adjustments. It’s also important to note that new drugs and other therapies are constantly being tested, or even coming on stream.

To quote Dave Gorman, even without a stomach, life is good-ish.

 

 

 

A court ruling could be about to legalise gay sex in eight Caribbean countries · PinkNews

Gay sex could be about to be legalised in eight Caribbean countries.

The potentially momentous ruling would come about through Trinidad-born LGBT rights activist Jason Jones, who is taking his country to court in an effort to decriminalise homosexuality.

If the campaign – which PinkNews supports – is successful, it would also make gay sex legal in Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.

Source: PinkNews

EU court bars sexual orientation tests for asylum-seekers | News | DW | 25.01.2018

The European Court of Justice has ruled that sexual orientation tests can’t be used to rule on asylum applications. Hungarian officials sought to examine a Nigerian man’s application on the grounds that he is gay.

Hungarian immigration officials were wrong to make a Nigerian asylum applicant undergo psychological tests to determine whether or not he was gay, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on Thursday.

The ruling effectively bans the testing of sexual orientation to determine the right to asylum, declaring it to be “disproportionate” and an invasion of “the most intimate aspects” of life.

Source: Deutsche Welle

Kenyan  Court Bid to Decriminalise Homosexuality

Experts to testify in gay case – Daily Nation

 M

A group seeking to quash provisions of the law that make it illegal for consensual same sex will call expert witnesses to support its case.

Appearing before a three-judge bench on Thursday, Senior Counsel Paul Muite said the group would call a psychiatrist to explain sexual orientation and why the State should not regulate intimate matters.

Mr Muite said the experts would table reports to demonstrate biological and social conditions that lead to a person’s sexual orientation.

Mr Eric Gitari moved to court to decriminalise sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code. He said the parts were discriminatory and contravened provisions of the Constitution such as right to equality, freedom from discrimination, human dignity, freedom and security of the person and right to privacy.

More:  Daily Nation

However You Identify We Must All Be Trans Allies

I hope you don’t mind me taking the time to introduce myself. My name is Ruth Hunt. I’m the CEO of Stonewall. I’m a Catholic. I love to ride my bike. I’m a godmother to three wonderful little children. I enjoy watching Doctor Who. I’m butch and I’m a lesbian.

Nice to meet you.

Like all people, there are many different things that make me who I am. One of them is my sexual orientation, another is that I have short hair, and another is that I sometimes wear suits and ties.

Some might say, I look like a boy. Others would call me a dyke. In fact, people have been saying both of these things to me since I was 13-years-old..

Source: Huffington Post UK

Ekklesia | Rich House, Poor House and rising wealth inequality

Wealth inequality in the UK has been rising for the last 10 years and is set to continue growing over the next decade, with young people particularly hard hit, according to a new report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR). New YouGov polling for the report shows that the public are deeply pessimistic about the future, and believe the government should do more to counter wealth inequality.

The report, commissioned by Channel 5 to mark the launch of the second series of Rich House, Poor House, finds that the wealthiest 10 per cent of households have five times the wealth of the bottom 50 per cent. Half of households in Britain now have just an average of just £3,200 in net property, pension and financial wealth, while the top 10 per cent hold an average of £1.32 million. The report shows that every generation since the post-war ‘baby boomers’ has accumulated less wealth than the generation before them had at the same age, with people born in the 1980s having just a third of the property wealth at age 28 of those born in the 1970s.

More: Ekklesia 

Federal Judge Blocks White House Policy Barring Transgender Troops – The New York Times

A United States district court judge has blocked a White House policy barring military service by transgender troops.

In July, President Trump announced on Twitter that “the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” A presidential memorandum said the military could discharge transgender service members by March 2018.

But in the case brought by a transgender service member, the judge issued an injunction Monday, saying “The effect of the Court’s Order is to revert to the status quo.”

Source:  The New York Times

Adoption event to encourage LGBT parents

CCS Adoption is running a drop-in adoption event to inspire potential future LGBT adopters.

The event is. organised by the Oftsed ‘outstanding’ rated CCS Adoption. It will give potential parents the chance to find out more, meet the local LGBT adoption network, and the children who need adoptive families.

In England, 1 in 10 of all adoptions are by LGBT couples. Last year, 2 in 10 of new adopters approved by CCS were LGBT couples. Working with parents across Bristol, South Gloucestershire, and North Somerset, CCS Adoption provide support throughout the adoption process and lifelong support after.

Source: Adoption event to encourage LGBT parents