President of Chile to introduce same-sex marriage bill in August · PinkNews

Chile could soon become the latest country to introduce same-sex marriage as the country’s president Michelle Bachelet, plans to introduce a bill to legalise it.According to LGBT organisation The Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, the measure will be introduced by Bachelet on 28 August.A lawsuit was filed by the organisation back in 2012 along with the Inter-Amerian Commission on Human Rights on behalf of three same-sex couples.It is unclear whether the bill to introduce same-sex marriage will also include adoption rights.

Source: PinkNews

GIST and Imatinib in the News

This article from The Times describes the remarkable drug that I’ve been taking for my (very rare) form of cancer – GIST, or Gastro Intestinal Stromal Tumour.

Fortunately for me, I’m in the sub-group with the KIT gene that the article says does particularly well on imatinib. My experience was that I was originally diagnosed almost three years ago with a massive tumour (26cm x 19cm) wrapped around my stomach. That was considered too big for surgery, and this particular form of tumour does not respond to either radiation or conventional chemotherapy, so I was put onto imatinib to reduce its size.

All I did was take one tablet daily with my breakfast. Some patients experience a range of nasty side -effects, but I was lucky: side-effects were minimal, with very little impact on my daily life. Regular 3-monthly scans immediately showed that the drug was having the desired effect, with definite shrinkage. However, there came a point where shrinkage ceased, with the tumour down to 19cm x 15cm: still big, but much more manageable. At that point, surgery was scheduled for February last year (2016).

Following surgery, I continue to take the drug, now to guard against regrowth. Every six months, I have a CT scan to check that indeed there is none. The last, in April, still showed all clear. The next scan will be in October – when I hope, that will still be the message.

Drug turns cancer from deadly disease to manageable illness

Cancer could become a manageable chronic disease like HIV for many patients, according to scientists running a drug trial.

Researchers found that a drug for advanced cancers of the gut and stomach kept a large minority of patients alive and mostly symptom-free for at least ten years after the start of the trial.

Experts said the “remarkable” discovery was a foretaste of a future in which people diagnosed with aggressive tumours that would once have been a death sentence may be able to resume their old lives for many years.

Since the turn of the millennium doctors have widely adopted a new class of chemotherapy known as targeted drugs, which attack a particular gene or protein that is known to be essential for the cancer’s development.

However, these medicines tend to be costly and usually extend the lives of patients by only a matter of months as the tumours mutate to resist their effects.

Full report: The Times & The Sunday Times

Related posts:

One year on from GIST surgery: (1) Diagnosis and early treatment

One year on from GIST surgery: (2) Surgery

Why South Africa’s communists need to cut the ANC umbilical cord. Or perish

The South African Communist Party (SACP) resolved at its recent 14th Congress to contest future elections in the country independent of the African National Congress (ANC), its dominant alliance partner.

If implemented, the resolution would fundamentally change the governing tripartite alliance that’s been in place for more than 60 years. It was formed during the struggle for liberation and has governed South Africa since 1994. The other member of the alliance is the Congress of South African Trade Unions

Source: The Conversation

Kids Can Know They’re Transgender at 2, Univ. of Calif. Mental Health Director Claims

In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), University of California, San Francisco Director of Mental Health Diane Ehrensaft, claimed that a two year-old child should be able to determine whether or not he or she is transgender.

“We expect a two year-old to know ‘I am boy. I am girl.’ So why can’t that also apply to transgender children?” said Dr. Ehrensaft in response to a question regarding when children should be allowed to begin transitioning into the other gender.

Full report: CNS News

Zuma’s ghosts return to haunt him | Opinion | M&G

President Jacob Zuma’s political survival, increasingly threatened by dissension in his own party — as demonstrated by an unprecedented splintering of the ANC caucus during the vote of no confidence in Parliament this week — will be further tested in the coming months as court cases questioning his fitness to hold office pile up.

How the courts will rule in three separate cases involving the embattled Zuma will go some way towards establishing whether he will see out his second term in office or be impeached — with the possibility of a prison term also looming over his head.

Source: Zuma’s ghosts return to haunt him | Opinion | M&G

Analysis: Even as he wins his 8th no confidence vote, Zuma appears weak | Daily Maverick

On Tuesday afternoon President Jacob Zuma survived his 8th vote of no confidence in Parliament. Despite the massed forces of the opposition to his rule, both outside and inside the ANC, he is still the President of the Republic of South Africa. On the face of it, he has reason to swagger. There was a secret ballot, and he survived. But beneath that, the story is much more complicated. The group of ANC MPs, who owe their political allegiance, their salaries and their careers to the African National Congress,


Read more: Daily Maverick

Bishop calls homosexuality ‘gift from God,’ seeks to end ‘prejudices that kill’

A Brazilian bishop said on July 30 that homosexuality is a “gift from God.” After the reactions generated by his homily, Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos, appointed by Pope Francis in 2014, sent out a statement saying that he wanted to “save lives,” after learning about the high statistics of suicide among transgender people.


A Brazilian bishop said July 30 that homosexuality is a “gift from God.” Seeing the reaction his homily generated, Bishop Antônio Carlos Cruz Santos of Caicó then released a statement saying that his only scope was to “save lives,” after learning about the high statistics of suicide among the LGBT community.

“If it is not a choice, if it is not a disease, in the perspective of faith it can only be a gift,” the bishop of Caicó in the Rio Grande do Norte state said during his homily at a Mass closing feast of Santana de Caicó, always marked on the Sunday following the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne.

“The gospel par excellence is the gospel of inclusion,” said the bishop. “The gospel is a narrow door, yes, it is a demanding love, but it is a door that is always open.

Read more: Crux

Editorial: Time for dialogue on sexual ethics | National Catholic Reporter

There is good precedent for development of the church’s sexual ethics, particularly in the last 50 years. For centuries, Catholic doctrine insisted that procreation was the sole justification for sexual acts and that sexuality was fundamentally disordered. These teachings were questioned and modified in the mid-20th century in the documents of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”). Today, the church recognizes that sex between a man and a woman within the bond of sacramental marriage can be a source of joy and pleasure in both body and spirit.

The institutional church’s vocal objections to same-sex marriage often mask the fact that church teaching is fundamentally opposed to sexual acts that a majority of human beings participate in. The church condemns any sex acts — including those engaged in by married couples — that do not respect the procreative norm. Therefore, in reality, few Catholics ever live up to the church’s moral norms governing sexual activity.

Read more: Editorial:  National Catholic Reporter

From state capture to party fracture | News | Politics | M&G

How long can President Jacob Zuma survive, especially as the results of Tuesday’s vote of no confidence against the president in parliament confirmed only a narrow victory for those supporting his presidency?

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema believes not for much long. Malema said Tuesday’s outcome marked the beginning of the ANC’s destruction where, for the first time, the party’s MPs had defied its official line.

“They are done, they are finished. Anyone who doubted that the ANC is divided, anyone who doubted that the ANC has got people who are seriously not happy with what is happening in the movement, now you’ve got material evidence of such,” Malema said.

Read more: M&G

Motion of No Confidence: The ANC wins the battle but what about the electoral war of 2019? | Daily Maverick

The ANC on Tuesday evening celebrated the defeat of the constitutional motion of no confidence in President Jacob Zuma despite the narrowing margin of 198 against, 177 for, and nine abstentions, in a secret ballot. But in clinching this victory in the political battles, both inside and outside the governing party, has the ANC lost the war as the 2019 election looms? By MARIANNE MERTEN.

What deals were made behind the scenes will only become clearer in the coming days and months, but with a secret ballot there’s always plausible deniability, an important ingredient in the politics of this time. ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu indicated it was not important right now who may have voted for the motion or abstained from the ANC ranks. “That’s not our main focus right now. The focus is: the motion was defeated,” he told reporters after the vote outcome announcement.

But already on the night emerged a train of thinking that may have persuaded those with misgivings to throw their lot behind Zuma. According to at least two ANC insiders the thinking goes something like this: the no confidence motion was too close to the December ANC national elective conference where new leaders are set to be elected. Once that’s done, this new unencumbered leadership will criss-cross the country, interacting with communities to persuade them, again, to back the governing party in the 2019 election.

Read more: Daily Maverick