Again, Bahraini blogger arrested


Ghada Jamsheer

From Front Line Defenders:

2014/9/19

Bahrain – Human rights defender Ms Ghada Jamsheer detained for tweeting

Take action

On the evening of 14 September 2014, human rights defender Ms Ghada Jamsheer was arrested after the Public Prosecution ordered her detention for one week, during which she will be interrogated on allegations of defamation. She is currently detained at the Isa Town Detention Center for Women. No date has yet been scheduled for her trial.

Ghada Jamsheer is a human rights defender and the Head of the Women’s Petition Committee. She is an author, blogger, and an advocate for women’s rights and freedom of religion. Ghada Jamsheer attended the Fourth Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders in 2007.

On 9 September 2014 at 6:00 p.m., Ghada Jamsheer was summoned to appear before the Interior Ministry’s General Directorate of Anti-Corruption and Economic and Electronic Security on the following day. This summons came in connection with messages posted via her Twitter account criticising alleged corruption in the management of King Hamad Hospital in Bahrain. On 10 September 2014, the human rights defender was interrogated by the General Directorate for four hours on the basis of ten complaints filed against her for posting “insulting” tweets, after which she was released.

On 14 September 2014, Ghada Jamsheer was again detained for further questioning and she is to be held for one week. It is reported that the human rights defender has access to legal representation and her family has been able to visit her in detention.

Front Line Defenders is concerned at the ongoing pattern of intimidation and harassment by the Bahraini authorities against human rights defenders as well as the increasing prosecution of social media activists advocating for human rights in Bahrain.

Take action

The United States, a long-time ally of the al-Khalifa regime currently governing Bahrain, is in a unique position to pressure the country to change its policies. The United States must take concrete action to condemn the Bahraini regime for its ongoing human rights violations, such as the persecution of activists, and urge it to prioritize human rights and engage in a dialogue with the opposition. The United States has recently experienced some tension with its ally, with the expulsion of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Tom Malinowski and the denial of entry to U.S. Representative James McGovern, but it has not yet taken any real steps against the government of Bahrain. Continued inaction by the U.S. government leaves the regime under the impression that the world will stand by and allow for impunity regardless of its egregious violations of human rights: here.

‘Bear bile on the way out in China’


This video is called Asiatic Black Bears.

From Wildlife Extra:

Bear bile products soon to be a thing of the past?

News from Animals Asia appears to indicate that demand for bear bile products is on the decline in China. Their initiative, Healing Without Harm, has gained the support of over 1,900 Chinese pharmacies who have now joined the programme, pledging not to sell products that contain bear bile.

We reported in July earlier this year that China’s largest pharmaceutical company KaiBao Pharmaceutical had begun to research synthetic alternatives to bear bile, and this latest announcement marks another step toward reduced market demand for bear bile products.

Animals Asia founder and CEO Jill Robinson commented on the news: “We’re delighted that people are pushing to be a part of this campaign now. Healing Without Harm is a key part of our efforts to end bear bile farming and this initiative has seen an unprecedented rise in traditional medicine doctors and pharmacies supporting alternatives to the use and prescription of bile. It’s fundamentally important to reduce the market and the availability if more bears are going to be helped, and this is just what we are seeing here.”

In the past year alone the programme has increased the number of bear bile free shops and pharmacies from around 260 in August 2013, to an impressive 1,945 today.

Key new chain pharmacies signed up to Healing Without Harm, including; Hunan Yang Tan He Pharmacy Group, consisting of 870 stores; Hunan Qian Jin Pharmacy, consisting of 372 stores; and pharmaceutical manufacturers Hunan Fang Sheng Pharmaceuticals and Changsha Qing Er Kang Biological Technology. Changsha Maria Hospital also joined campaign.

“We thank all those people who are joining the campaign,” said Jill Robinson. “What was a trickle has become a flood. So many people in China recognise that bear bile farming has had its day.”

Although the news is positive, there is still clearly a lot of work to do before bear bile farms are a thing of the past. The charity report that there are still more than 10,000 bears kept on bile farm in small cages in China, suffering painful and invasive bile extractions which can cause infection for the bears. Although there are a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives to bile, there is still a substantial demand in Asia for bear bile products.

So far Animals Asia has rescued over 500 bears, which are currently being cared for in sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

World War I poets on stage


This theatre video from England is called Pat Barker‘s Regeneration adapted by Nicholas Wright.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Anthem for souls in conflict

Thursday 18th September 2014

Peter Frost recommends Regeneration, a dark vision of the psychological horrors endured by soldiers in WWI

Regeneration, Royal and Derngate Theatre, Northampton

4/5

Novelist Pat Barker won a Booker prize for The Ghost Road, the third book in her Regeneration trilogy set in the first world war.

Now Nicholas Wright has adapted the novels for the stage and the result is thought-provoking and disturbing.

Virtually all the action takes place in the Craiglockhart war hospital in Scotland — a sombre asylum for officers with shell-shock — in 1917.

Soldier-poet Siegfried Sassoon (Tim Delap) has been sent there ostensibly because he is insane but in reality the War Office has put him away to discredit his anti-war poems and pronouncements.

Army psychiatrist Doctor William Rivers, beautifully played by Stephen Boxer, has the job of curing the shell-shocked officers, suffering from what is now understood to be post-traumatic stress disorder — or at least getting them fit enough to return to the trenches.

His sessions with Sassoon force him to consider the morality of what he is doing in the name of medicine. Some of the treatments employed are little short of torture.

We witness Sassoon and Wilfred Owen (Garmon Rhys) tussling over one of the latter’s poems — Anthem for Doomed Youth — before both men decide to return to the front.

Sassoon, Rivers and Owen are all drawn from history but the one individual who provides a more realistic view of the madness of war is the fictional character of grammar school boy Billy Prior (Jack Monaghan) from the “lower orders.”

A compelling look at the futility of war, the play is a reminder too that even in the horror of an asylum the officer class still get a round of golf in or take dinner at the Conservative club.

Sassoon, wounded by friendly fire, would live until the 1960s while Owen died exactly one week before the war ended.

His mother received the fateful telegram just as the church bells in her village started ringing out to celebrate victory.

A bitter irony, entirely in keeping with this commendable production.

Runs until September 20, box office: royalandderngate.co.uk, then tours nationwide.

King Richard III of England, how he died


This 2013 video from England is called Richard III – The Violent Death of the King in the Car Park.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Richard III died in battle after losing helmet, new research shows

Detailed scans of bones show that he sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death, nine of them to the skull

Tuesday 16 September 2014 23.35 BST

Richard III died in the thick of battle after losing his helmet and coming under a hail of blows from vicious medieval weapons, new research has shown. Detailed scans of the king’s bones show that he sustained 11 wounds at or near the time of his death, nine of them to the skull.

The blows to the head were clearly inflicted in battle and suggest that he was not wearing his helmet.

There was another potentially fatal injury to the pelvis that may have been inflicted after death.

Professor Guy Rutty, from the University of Leicester, said: “The most likely injuries to have caused the king’s death are the two to the inferior aspect of the skull – a large sharp force trauma possibly from a sword or staff weapon, such as a halberd or bill, and a penetrating injury from the tip of an edged weapon.

“Richard’s head injuries are consistent with some near-contemporary accounts of the battle, which suggest that Richard abandoned his horse after it became stuck in a mire and was killed while fighting his enemies.”

Richard III, the last English monarch to die fighting, perished at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. It was the last significant battle of the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the Houses of Lancaster and York, and paved the way for the Tudor dynasty.

Scientists and historians have been studying the king’s remains since his skeleton was found under a car park in Leicester.

Evidence suggests he was not the hunchbacked, deformed monstrosity depicted by William Shakespeare.

Experts now know he had a bent spine with a “well balanced curve” that could easily have been concealed by clothing and would not have affected his prowess in battle. He probably did not walk with a limp.

The latest research, published in The Lancet medical journal’s online edition, involved whole body CT (computed tomography) X-ray scans and micro-CT imaging.

Marks left on the bones by weapons were also analysed.

The serious injury to the pelvis should have been prevented by Richard’s armour, according to the researchers. They speculate that it might have been inflicted after death, with the armour removed.

Co-author Professor Sarah Hainsworth, also from the University of Leicester, said: “Richard’s injuries represent a sustained attack or an attack by several assailants with weapons from the later medieval period.

“The wounds to the skull suggest that he was not wearing a helmet, and the absence of defensive wounds on his arms and hands indicate that he was otherwise still armoured at the time of his death.”

Commenting on the study, Dr Heather Bonney from the Natural History Museum in London said the research provided a “compelling account” of the way Richard III met his death.

She added: “Wherever his remains are again laid to rest, I am sure that Richard III will continue to divide opinion fiercely for centuries to come.”

See also here.

Goldfish’s life saved by brain surgery


This video is called Vet Operates On Goldfish George in Australia To Remove Life-Threatening Tumour.

From ABC in the USA:

George the goldfish undergoes life-saving surgery

Monday, September 15, 2014

MELBOURNE, Australia (KTRK) — A family spending hundreds of dollars for a surgery that will save a pet is not unusual.

What is, though, is when that pet is a goldfish. But that’s just what an Australian family did to remove a brain tumor from their 10-year-old fish named ‘George.’

The tumor had developed on the fish’s head over the past year.

“Fish was having trouble eating, getting around, getting bullied by the other fish,” said Dr. Tristan Rich.

“Didn’t join in as much in their afternoon party games and stuff, you know,” said George’s owner, Pip Joyce. “He never really said much to us.”

It was a delicate procedure that lasted an hour at the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, with blood loss a big concern.

“Controlling the blood loss is really important in such a small patient,” said Dr. Rich. “And then closing up did prove quite difficult because there wasn’t much skin to deal with.”

George’s owner was impressed.

“Just the way he was able to put the fish to sleep, I think,” said Pip. “And then stitching it up a little bit, minute little fishy stitches.”

George is now recovering at home with 20 of his closest friends. As for Pip, he talked about the surgery he chose for his pet.

“Yeah it’s a goldfish, all creatures great and small,” he said. “A goldfish is a pet, a family pet, just as important really. They bring a lot of pleasure these fish in this pond, they’re beautiful to sit and watch.”

The fish should now be able to enjoy another 20 years of life.