Archive | September, 2007

Lifestyle Change Can Prevent Cancer

30 Sep

Lifestyle Change Can Prevent Cancer

By J. P. Anderson

Changes in women’s lifestyles could prevent one in ten cases of breast cancer by 2024, according to research.

Exercising more, keeping a healthy bodyweight, and reducing the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), could cut cases by more than 5,700 each year, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist Professor Max Parkin has predicted.

His research, due to be presented to the National Cancer Research Institute’s conference in Birmingham on Monday – the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month – suggested that without these lifestyle changes, the numbers of women diagnosed with breast cancer annually could rise from the current figure of 44,000 to 58,000 by 2024.

Professor Parkin predicted that around 2,100 cases could be prevented each year if the number of women taking HRT, identified as a leading lifestyle risk factor for breast cancer, continued to fall.

Another 1,800 cases a year could be prevented if obesity rates dropped, and a further 1,400 cases if women increased their level of physical activity, he said.

Professor Parkin added that it was important to recognise that an individual’s genetic makeup, as well as lifestyle and environmental factors, contributed to their risk of developing the cancer.

Sara Hiom, Cancer Research UK’s director of health information, said: "These calculations show us how lifestyle changes can reduce their risk of breast cancer.

"But every woman will make choices about their health based on their individual circumstances."


Burma: UN Envoy Meets Leaders

30 Sep

UN Envoy Meets Burmese Leaders

By J. P. Anderson

The United Nation’s Special Envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, has met the pro-democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi at her home in the country’s largest city, Rangoon.

The meeting is said to have taken place in the country’s largest city, Rangoon, where the ruling military government have been violently suppressing anti-government protests.

Mr Gambari is in Burma in an attempt to negotiate an end to the military regime’s violent crackdown on mass pro-democracy protests.

Earlier, Mr Gambari also met military leaders, although no details have been released.

Mr Gambari has yet to meet the country’s senior general, Than Shwe or his deputy.

The number of protestors on the streets of Rangoon today is significantly smaller than in previous days, with many monks arrested, or confined to their monasteries.

Burma’s closest ally, China, has made its strongest call yet for the military regime to end its violent crackdown on the protestors.

It comes after the EU urged China to lean harder on the ruling military.

Speaking at the UN, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said his government was hoping all sides would show restraint.

(Internet and Mobile Phone Communications Cut: Radio Hams Please Copy).


British campaigners pushing for political change in Burma accused the country’s

oppressive regime of a "token" gesture in allowing a meeting between a United Nations envoy and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ibrahim Gambari held talks lasting around 90 minutes with the figurehead of the pro-democracy movement, who has been held under house arrest for the past 12 years.

It sparked hopes that Mr Gambari, who also wants to meet with the junta’s top generals, might be able to secure a breakthrough in the crisis.

But Mark Farmoner, acting director of the Burma Campaign UK, said he was not optimistic that the regime, which has brutally clamped down on street protest, was about to change its tune.

He said: "We are not at all optimistic. He (Mr Gambari) has twice visited Aung San Suu Kyi and since his first visit the human rights abuses have got worse. It is a token gesture from the regime to allow them to meet. If they were genuine about reform then its troops would stop arresting and shooting people."

Earlier, hundreds of people took to Britain’s streets in support of the Burmese people.

Around 3,000 demonstrators marched past Downing Street in central London and called for the international community to step up pressure on the brutal dictators. There were also gatherings in cities such as Newcastle and Brighton, arranged through discussion groups on the internet.

In London, the march was led from Trafalgar Square by a Buddhist monk while various members of the UK’s Burmese community, many of whom have fled persecution, carried banners, flags and large portraits of Suu Kyi.

John Jackson, a founding member of the Burma Campaign UK, who has been to the country to interview Suu Kyi three times, said he was very hopeful that continuing international pressure would make its mark.

"In Burma, the organisation, discipline and strength of the demonstrations have been the most remarkable thing. That is what makes me think that this time it is not a movement that will simply just be put down by troops on the streets," Mr Jackson said.

New Atlantic Naval Unit To Intercept Drugs

30 Sep

New Atlantic Naval Rapid Response

To Intercept Drug Smugglers

By J. P. Anderson

Ireland and six other countries are today launching a new initiative to intercept drug smuggling across the Atlantic into Europe.

A special centre is being opened in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, to co-ordinate rapid response naval operations against drug traffickers.

The Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre is jointly run by Ireland, the UK, Portugal, Spain, France, Holland and Italy.

Its officers have already run 22 operations since April, leading to 10 seizures totalling more than 10 tonnes.

Burma: Protest Held Across Europe

29 Sep

Burma: Solidarity Protests

Held Across Europe

By J. P. Anderson


More than 200 people attended a protest on O’Connell Street in Dublin today to show solidarity with the Burmese people.

The protest, organised by Burma Action Ireland, is being held in support of the Burmese people.

Burma Action Ireland, who organised the protest, says they hope to maintain international pressure on Burma’s military to end its violent regime.

Similar protests are also taking place across Europe.

The Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern is to raise the Burma issue this week when he addresses the UN General Assembly.

Security forces in Burma are reported to have used batons to suppress pro-democracy protesters.

Several hundred people have taken to the streets of the main city, Ragoon.

UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari flew into Burma today to try to persuade the government to use negotiations instead of guns to end mass protests.

Troops and riot police manned barricades in the area from which the pro-democracy protests have reverberated around the world.

Police fired warning shots to disperse 100 protesting youths.

Small groups gathered today taunting the troops before scattering down alleys when they started to charge.

In one incident, police fired warning shots to disperse 100 youths shouting slogans and waving bright red ‘fighting peacock’ flags.

The government says it is acting with restraint.

But that has meant firing at crowds, raiding Yangon monasteries thought to be at the vanguard of the protests, detaining hundreds of monks and sealing off two pagodas marking the start and end points of the mass protests.

Senior Buddhist monks have reported six of their number killed since last Wednesday, and state-run media said 10 people had been killed since the crackdown began.

Among the dead was a Japanese journalist, apparently killed at the hands of a soldier firing at point-blank range.

But British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said yesterday he believed believe the loss of life is far greater than is being reported.

The British Ambassador in Ragoon, Mark Canning, said he has witnessed several beatings.

China, the Burmese government’s main ally, publicly called for restraint for the first time last Thursday. But at the UN, China has ruled out supporting sanctions or a condemnation of the use of force.

The US has banned dozens of members of Burma’s military government from obtaining travel visas because of the ongoing violence.

A State Department spokesman said more Burmese officials will be added to the list if they are judged to be responsible for human rights abuses.

News of the ongoing protests and the regime’s response has slowed as the government appeared to cut off internet and mobile phone communications.

Burma: Civilians Mass To Protect Monks

29 Sep

Burma Breaking News:

Civilians Mass to Protect Monks

By J. P. Anderson

(News is breaking that civilians in Burma are moving in their thousands to protect the monks to prevent their arrest or murder by Burma’s army)

YANGON (Reuters) – A U.N. envoy flew to Myanmar on Saturday to persuade its ruling generals to use talks instead of guns to end mass protests, but the U.S. expressed concern that Ibrahim Gambari had been moved away from troubled Yangon.

As Gambari arrived in the former capital Yangon, troops and riot police manned barricades in the area from which the pro-democracy protests have reverberated around the world. Police fired warning shots to disperse 100 protesting youths.

The U.N. representative, a former Nigerian foreign minister, made no comment on arrival as he went straight on to a flight to the generals’ new capital, Naypyidaw, 240 miles (385 km) to the north.

"We have concerns that Mr. Gambari was swiftly moved from Rangoon (Yangon) to the new capital in the interior, far from population centres," White House National Security Council Spokesman Gordon Johndroe said in a statement.

He urged the junta, which has ruled Myanmar for 45 years, to allow Gambari wide access to people, including religious leaders and detained pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

"He’s the best hope we have. He is trusted on both sides," Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo said of Gambari. "If he fails, then the situation can become quite dreadful."

Before heading to Yangon, Gambari said in Singapore he was going "to deliver a message from the secretary-general to the leadership, a message that is very much by the Security Council".

"I look forward to a very fruitful visit so that I can report progress on all fronts," Channel News Asia quoted him as saying.

Asked if he expected to meet Suu Kyi, Gambari said: "I expect to meet all the people that I need to meet."

So far, the junta appears to have ignored international clamour for a peaceful end to their crackdown on a mass uprising led by monks, the moral core of the Buddhist nation, which grew from small protests against shock fuel price rises in August.

Small groups gathered on Saturday to taunt and curse troops before scattering down alleys when they started to charge.

In one incident, police fired warning shots to disperse 100 youths shouting slogans and waving bright red "fighting peacock" flags, the emblem of student unions that led a 1988 uprising crushed when the army killed an estimated 3,000 people.

The junta says it is acting with restraint.

In practice, that has meant firing at crowds, raiding a dozen Yangon monasteries thought to be at the vanguard of the protests, detaining hundreds of monks and sealing off two pagodas marking the start and end points of the mass protests.

So far, it appears to be working.


"Peace and stability has been restored," state-run newspapers declared on Saturday. Security forces had handled the protests "with care, using the least possible force", they said.

Monks were scarcely seen on Friday or Saturday in crowds facing off against security forces around the barricades in a city terrified of a repeat of 1988.

Their monasteries surrounded by soldiers, few monks went out on the daily alms collection on which they depend for food, residents said. Many young monks had evaded arrest by casting off their maroon robes and pretending to be laymen.

The scene was similar in the second city of Mandalay, home to many of Myanmar’s more than 400,000 monks, where troops surrounded major monasteries, a Chinese official said.

"Basically the situation is quiet. Armed police are stationed along major streets and at intersections," he said.

In the north-western coastal town of Sittwe, one resident said many younger monks had been forced to go back to their home towns. The only security officials on the streets were police, he said.

"Now in Sittwe very quiet. No more demonstrations, everything disperses," he said. "No more fighting here."

Monks have reported six monks killed since the army started cracking down on Wednesday to end mass protests by columns of monks flanked by supporters who filled five city blocks.

State-run media said 10 people had been killed since the crackdown began and prompted international outrage. Among the dead was a Japanese journalist, apparently killed at the hands of a soldier firing at point-blank range.

"I am afraid we believe the loss of life is far greater than is being reported," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Friday after talking to U.S. President George W. Bush.

Bush and Brown discussed the need to maintain international pressure on Myanmar’s rulers and the White House condemned the present crackdown as "barbaric".

Bush authorised new U.S. sanctions against the junta, which has been operating under similar restrictions for years and turns a deaf ear to any criticism of how it handles dissidents.

(Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle in Washington)

Communities Combatting Drugs Together

29 Sep

Communities Must Stand In The Way Of Drugs

By J. P. Anderson


A card from ‘Ringsend Action Project’ informs us that the very upmarket Dublin. 4. Address is “not always top of the class” – because in Ringsend and Irishtown: “38% of young people leave school before 15 years of age (13% nationally).”A third of children live in lone parent families (18% nationally). The local ‘unemployment rate’ is 12% (8% nationally), and “39% of residents are ‘Local Authority Tenants’ (10% nationally) – (according to the national census 2002).

Newly elected local Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews says that he is deeply aware that drug abuse is an issue of great concern both within his local constituency and throughout the country, and as a father of two young children, he shares the concerns of parents regarding Ireland’s serious and growing drugs epidemic.

Chris says that “substantial progress is being made on the implementation of all aspects of the National Drugs Strategy, with over 470 facilities and service projects being delivered through the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, including 188 youth and outreach workers and 22 sports development officers, all to divert young people away from drug misuse. This funding supports sports facilities, youth cafes and recreational activities for young people.

Rehabilitation for drug miss-users will become a more central part of this Government’s focus. The ’Emerging Needs Fund’ was devised to provide a community level response to evolving needs in regard to drug misuse in ‘Local Dugs Task Force’ areas. 67 community based projects are now being funded. Over the next 2 to 3 years – the range and availability of treatment options will be further increased, with the opening of two cocaine specific treatment centres. ‘Needle Exchange’ and related harm reduction services will be further expanded.

These two initiatives reflect this Government’s commitment to tackling the problem and the increased funding provided in this years ‘Revised Estimates’ recognizes that while great strides have been taken forward, a lot more remains to be achieved“.

Chris has published and circulated an information leaflet about drugs ‘Combatting Drugs Together’ in his Dublin South East constituency.


Cork Heroin Seizure Man Charged

29 Sep

Man Charged In Cork Heroin Seizure

By J. P. Anderson

A 26-year-old man has appeared in court charged in connection with the seizure of €200,000 worth of heroin in Cork.

Brian Wall with an address at Beechtrees Avenue, Shanakiel appeared before a special sitting of Cork District Court tonight following the discovery the drug in a car in the city.

He faced three charges, including possession of heroin and possession of the drug for sale or supply, and is due to appear in court again next month.

It was the biggest seizure of heroin by gardaí in Cork city.

Separately, detectives in Cobh are also questioning three men following the seizure of around €50,000 worth of ecstasy tablets and cannabis. The drugs were found following a search of a house in the area.

And a man in his 60s was arrested on the north side of Cork City yesterday, following the seizure of a further €40,000 worth of cannabis.