Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

July 15th, 2018

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force

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India: Maharashtra plastic ban comes into force

July 11th, 2018

Monday, June 25, 2018

On Saturday, the plastic ban in the Indian state of Maharashtra came into force. In an attempt to minimise pollution, the state government has introduced a ban on single-use plastics.

The leader of the Yuya Sena political party, Aaditya Thackeray, said on Twitter, “The ban on single use disposable plastic cups, plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic plates and cutlery, styrofoam cutlery and non woven bags”. He added, “these are global issues now and we have taken a step to combat it”.

Plastic pollution has led to the choking of drains, marine pollution and a risk of animals consuming plastics. This year, India’s motto for World Environment Day — June 5 — was “Beat Plastic Pollution”. People violating the plastic ban are to face a fine of 5,000 Indian Rupees (INR) for the first offence. For the second offence, the fine is INR 10,000 and the third time offence is INR 25,000 and a three-month prison term. Deputy municipal commissioner Nidhi Choudhary said, “To weed out corruption, we plan to give inspectors payment gadgets for electronic receipts of the fines”.

The Maharashtra government has given a 90-day period for manufacturers to dispose of existing polyethylene terephthalate (PET/PETE) plastic spoons and plates, while shopkeepers and citizens in general have six months to dispose of plastics. However, the ban does not prohibit plastic usage for wrapping medicines or milk cartons thicker than 50 microns.

The state government had announced the decision for the plastic ban on March 23. According to NDTV’s report, Maharashtra is the eighteenth Indian state to enforce a state-wide plastic ban. Aaditya Thackeray also said, “I congratulate the citizens for making this into a movement, even before the ban was enforceable, giving up single use disposable plastic.”

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Science academies urge teaching of evolution

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Science academies urge teaching of evolution

July 11th, 2018

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Interacademy Panel on International Issues (IAP), a global network of the world’s science academies, has released a statement urging parents and teachers to provide children with ‘the facts about the origin and evolution of life on Earth’. The statement is signed by 67 of the 92 member academies of the organisation, and notes that in some schools around the world, “testable theories” about evolution are being “concealed, denied or confused by theories not testable by science”.

The statement presents four “evidence-based facts” that no scientific evidence has ever contradicted. These include the Earth being approximately 4.5 billion years old, life on Earth being at least 2.5 billion years old, and commonalities in all living organisms indicating a common primordial origin based on the process of photosynthetic organisms.

The news follows developments, mainly in the United States, where there is a concerted effort to include the teaching of ‘intelligent design‘ (ID), a theory which claims that complex biological features indicate that the presence of an intelligent ‘designer’ in schools. Opponents of this movement argue that it doesn’t qualify as a scientific theory, and is simply a disguise for creationist beliefs. In the US, where the separation of church and state is mandated by constitutional law, efforts to include ID in school syllabi were quashed by the courts, as the teaching of religion in schools is against the Establishment clause of the constitution of the United States. Despite this, George Bush has in the past remarked that he believes intelligent design should be taught in schools. The President has not shown any sign of plans to personally intervene in the legal debate however.

In December 2005, following legal case between the parents and the school district of Dover (Pennsylvania, USA), the judge decided that intelligent design was a religious view, and that it was unlawful to teach it as an alternative to evolution within the classroom. The IAP statement suggests that the science academies believe that ID is still being taught within some schools, however.

A Gallup poll conducted in May concluded that 46 percent of Americans believe that God created man in his present form sometime in the past 10,000 years, with 13 percent believing mankind evolved with no divine intervention and 36 percent saying that mankind developed over millions of years from lesser life forms, but with God guiding the process.

The IAP statement acknowledges limitations in current understanding, but argues that the process of science allows it to be open-ended and subject to correction and expansion as new understanding emerges.

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Polar bears deliver environmental petition to Premier of British Columbia

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Polar bears deliver environmental petition to Premier of British Columbia

July 11th, 2018

Sunday, April 26, 2009

On Thursday in Canada, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC) and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee delivered petitions with over 10,000 signatorys to the Premier of British Columbia’s office. The petitions ask that the government cancel the Gateway Program‘s highway expansions components and invest more in transit instead.

The Gateway Program is a transportation infrastructure project that includes over 260 km of new highway lanes.

Over a dozen activists rallied outside the office in downtown Vancouver including two dressed as polar bears. The premier’s office initially declined to accept the invitations. After the activists attempted to enter the nearby convention centre where the premier was speaking, staff working with the Premier agreed to accept the petitions.

“Translink is currently exhausting its capital reserves just to keep existing service going,” said Karen Wristen, Executive Director of SPEC. “At this rate, they will be broke in two years. We simply can’t afford both freeway expansion and transit development: we have to solve the transit crisis first.”

“It will be virtually impossible to reach BC’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) if Gateway is allowed to proceed. Gateway is not just an irresponsible plan, it’s immoral,” said Ben West, the Wilderness Committee’s Healthy Communities Campaigner.

The government calculates that greenhouse gas emissions will increase by over 170,000 tonnes per year from the Gateway program.

Premier Gordon Campbell has not yet responded directly to the petition. In recent interviews he has defended the Gateway Program.

“I understand that some people will disagree with it,” Premier Campbell said of Gateway on April 6 to The Georgia Straight. “But it’s many, many things that are happening at once to make the region more livable, to reduce our impact and our greenhouse-gas impact, and to invest in public transit. And I think that when you take all those things together—as we move to California tailpipe emissions and those other initiatives—I think you will see actually a reduction in greenhouse gases.”

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Haze in South East Asia worsens

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Haze in South East Asia worsens

July 11th, 2018

Friday, October 6, 2006

The acrid haze situation in Southeast Asia is worsening. Visibility has been severely reduced in neighboring countries and some schools have been closed due to the health hazard posed. The annual smoke season is caused by illegal slash and burn clearance of land in Indonesia, particularly the island of Borneo.

The haze has spread over 2,250 miles (3,600 kilometers) into neighboring countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and even drifting to Guam in the western Pacific.

Aviation has been severely impaired in Indonesia, where in certain areas, visibility is only a mere 200 to 300 meters. Helicopter service in Malaysia’s Sarawak state, a key mode of transportation there, has been halted due to the poor visibility. A Mandala Airlines Boeing 737-200 carrying a 110 people had overshot the runway at Tarakan airport in Kalimantan province in Indonesia. The aircraft came partly to rest in a nearby swamp. Visibility at the time was around 400 meters, 600 meters short of Indonesian landing safety regulations.

Schools in Thailand, and Indonesia have also been forced to closed, and look likely to stay closed well into next week.

Air pollution indices around the region have also registered a spike in poor air quality. Sarawak state’s index came in at 106-188 with 100-200 being unhealthy. In Malay peninsula, the air pollution index in five states came in at 101-116. In Singapore, the Pollution Standards Index registered between 80-130 with 81-100 in the moderate range and 101-200 in the unhealthy range.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Wikinews journalist Timlee90 reports:

The air quality here in Singapore is so bad that I could feel the dust in my mouth as I was walking on the streets today. The air constantly smells of burning wood and visibility is never more than a kilometer. Singaporeans I know are concerned about the deteriorating situation.

Timothy Low, a Singaporean who’s just finished his national service says that he is concerned about the situation, “I can’t run to exercise. People with lung related problems have difficulty breathing; It causes tearing also.” The government here has advised citizens to reduce vigorous activity, especially those with existing heart or lung conditions.

The Indonesian government has been criticized by environmentalist groups such as Greenpeace, which claims that the allowed conversion of forests into cropland is the cause of the problem. The also call on the Indonesian government to “investigate and hold liable plantation companies responsible for slash and burn clearing”.

The Indonesian government has responded to the criticism that it is doing all that it can do. “We don’t know when we can put out the fires but we are working tirelessly and have spent billions of rupiah (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in our efforts,” Forestry Minister Malem Sambat Kaban said. “As for complaints from neighbouring countries, there’s nothing else we can do. We don’t cause the fires deliberately.”

In 1997-98, the haze cost the Southeast Asian region an estimated US$9.0 billion by disrupting air travel and other business activities

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Scented Candles A Fragrance Of Your Choice!}

July 11th, 2018

Scented candles a fragrance of your choice!

by

Ckint Jhonson

One of our most developed senses is represented by the smell. We have the innate ability to recognize a wide variety of flavors, scents or fragrances, some having a higher appeal than others. Based on these facts, producers have diversified their offers for scented candles, providing fragrances that are ready to dazzle just as the candle starts to burn. And where are you to find some of the most interesting soy candles if not online?

Without having any ingredients that could harm your well-being, natural soy candles are offered in the most diverse pleasing scents, with plenty of burning instructions on the side. For all the scented candles that your purchase the basic recommendations remain the same. Do not allow children or pets to come in contact with such products, keep the candle away from fabrics or objects that are likely to catch fire and most importantly do not leave the candle burning without careful supervision. All these things are essential for your own safety and its important that you know all of them as such, especially if you are likely to surround yourself with these scented candles

As for the multitude of scents presented for the soy candles, you will certainly be pleased with the offers presented online. Lets take the example of the blueberry cheesecake scented candles, bearing a strong but extremely pleasant fragrance. The combination between blueberry, vanilla and other subtle undertones make this particular candle a favorite of many people, particularly to those who are into cheesecake. Talking about strong fragrances, the cherry blossom pertains to the same category, offering a definitely unique choice. The white-cherry flower has an incredible scent, being mixed with woody tones, notes of green rosewood and even lily-rose. Its a killer combination!

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If you are passionate about scented candles, but prefer a fragrance that is not too obvious you can go for products based on citric ingredients. The perfume resulted is practically a combination of lemon, lime and tangerine, with just a splash of grapefruit added; there is something fresh, clean and yet sweet about these soy candles, many people preferring them for the fragrance they impart to a room. Just like that you have the cucumber melon combo, which may seem strange at first but its completely unique; the flavors of cucumbers, honeydew and cantaloupe come together to create the best scented candles you have ever seen, not to mention the most distinctive fragrance. Not to sweet, just the way you like it.

All the soy candles that have been posted online have something in common. They are handmade, hand-poured and bear the trademark signature of high-quality products. They might include scented candles that release a fragrance that is crisp and clean, based on marine notes and a combination between rosewood with musky tones. Just as well, they might bring back some of your greatest memories, encompassing a scent or a fragrance you completely forgot about it, reminding you perhaps of your childhood or good times spent as growing up. These candles might have an aroma based on floral ingredients, with fruity accents offered by oranges, all delicately emphasized by vanilla undertones.

The light category for soy candles includes products that have fragrances based on green tea, apples and other fruits. Green tea has been used for a long time now for candle making, representing one of the most used tones for scented candles. When combined with apple flavor, the result is spectacular, the scent offered being fresh and yet at the same time unbelievably light. The same feeling of freshness, associated this time with crispness is obtained from candles with a fruity/floral fragrance, with tones of lavender and musk, ready to enchant you in every possible way.

No matter if you are the type to prefer light, moderate or incredibly strong fragrances; you can certainly find what you were looking for online. The products are top of the line, including scents that range from delicious to inviting and vice-versa. Its all about how the scented candles make you feel, relaxed and sometimes even seductive!

Our website is the best place where you can find all the

scented candles

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soy candles

are of the highest possible quality, having exotic fragrances and light tones for your delicate side. Choose us and you will choose the finest scent for your candles!

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Category:Music

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Category:Music

July 11th, 2018

This is the category for music. See also the Music Portal.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 15 May 2018: Netta wins Eurovision Song Contest for Israel
  • 28 March 2018: K-pop band 100%’s lead singer Seo Minwoo dies
  • 9 February 2018: Poet, lyricist, and digital activist John Perry Barlow dies, aged 70
  • 18 January 2018: Irish rock band The Cranberries’ lead singer Dolores O’Riordan dies at 46
  • 13 December 2017: Apple, Inc. confirms acquisition of Shazam
  • 24 October 2017: Five United States ex-presidents raise relief funds at hurricane event
  • 5 October 2017: US rock artist Tom Petty dies at 66
  • 30 July 2017: British dancer and talent show winner Robert Anker dies in car accident aged 27
  • 25 July 2017: Linkin Park’s lead singer Chester Bennington dies at 41
  • 5 June 2017: Conductor Jeffrey Tate dies aged 74
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Galloway and Pasqua deny any wrongdoing on their part in the oil-for-food program

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Galloway and Pasqua deny any wrongdoing on their part in the oil-for-food program

July 10th, 2018

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Following accusations issued by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), British Member of Parliament George Galloway and Senator Charles Pasqua of France have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

George Galloway declared:

I’ve now had a chance to read the report which was compiled without this Senate committee asking me a single question about these absurd allegations. I repeat once more. I have never traded or benefited from any oil deals with Iraq.

One of the companies named, with ostensible links to me– Aredio Petroleum– I have never heard of until today and I have certainly had no dealings with. The other company, Middle East Advanced Semiconductors, was owned by Fawaz Zureikat, who was the chairman of the Mariam Appeal. It is well-known that Mr Zureikat traded with Iraq but he did not do so on my behalf. I have not received a penny piece or any oil voucher from Iraq, directly or indirectly.

You would have thought that natural justice would have demanded that these allegations would have– must have been!– put to me, but they haven’t been. Senator Joseph McCarthy would have been proud of this committee.

On May 17, Galloway appeared before the U.S. senatorial panel and vehemently denied any wrongdoing in a tone seldom used in a senatorial hearing. He accused the U.S. administration of creating a “smoke screen” to divert attention away from the situation in Iraq. He also declared, “The biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own government.”

Galloway denied receiving any money out of the scheme. Galloway demanded, “What counts is, where’s the money, senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars? The answer to that is nobody,” while glaring toward U.S. senator Norm Coleman (Republican from Minnesota), according to a New York Times report.

Galloway also accused the US senators, especially senator Coleman, of shoddy standards of justice. He claimed they have already ruled him guilty, and that they rely on dubious evidence and wrongful or coerced testimonies.

Galloway declared:

You have my name on lists provided to you… by the convicted bank robber and fraudster and con man Ahmed Chalabi, who many people, to their credit, in your country now realize played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.

In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison1, in Bagram Air Base [Afghanistan], in Guantanamo Bay — including, if I may say, British citizens being held in those places — I’m not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances.

1. Alluding to the acknowledged Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse.

Charles Pasqua also denies any personal wrongdoing in the case. Pasqua indicated that he was “serene” and that he hoped the investigations by the U.S. Senate would probe the matter to the bottom.

Pasqua judged the situation detrimental to relationships between the United States and France. For this reason, Pasqua declared that he had asked the president of the French Senate for the creation of an investigation commission, wishing that the French and U.S. senatorial commissions should collaborate.

Pasqua declared himself convinced that misconduct took place in the oil-for-food program, and that it was probable that some French people were involved. He then wished that they should be sought and prosecuted. “If one wants to find the origin of the financial streams, one can do so.” Pasqua mentioned the Swiss company Genmar, which the U.S. report claims to have served as Pasqua’s intermediary.

Pasqua denied information presented as facts in the report. For instance, he denied having met Tariq Aziz, former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq.

Pasqua pointed out that nothing in the senatorial evidence indicates that he had benefited from vouchers, only that one of his former advisers, Bernard Guillet, had received oil allocations in his name. From December 2000 onwards, allocations meant for Pasqua ceased and were replaced by allocations to Bernard Guillet.

Guillet was arrested by French authorities in April in connection with abuses under the oil-for-food program. Mr Guillet has been put under formal investigation for allegedly participating in a system of occult kickbacks and fees between 1996 and 2001 involving major French companies, including Total. He is suspected of having received amounts of money without good explanation from an intermediary specialized in the resale of Iraqi oil.

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2012 Olympics clash with Ramadan

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2012 Olympics clash with Ramadan

July 10th, 2018

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Muslim groups from across the world are criticising the organisers of the 2012 Olympics in London after it was revealed that the games will take place over Ramadan. The most holy month in the Muslim calendar, which will take place from the 21 July to 20 August in 2012, involves fasting during daylight hours and will affect an estimated 3,000 athletes.

Joanna Manning Cooper, spokesman for the games said: “We did know about it when we submitted our bid and we have always believed that we could find ways to accommodate it.”Nevertheless, this will come as a huge embarrassment for the organisers who have tried to ensure the event involve all of Britain’s ethnic communities.A quarter of the athletes who took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics were from predominantly Muslim countries and the fast will put any athletes involved at a clear disadvantage.

The chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, Massoud Shadjared said: “This is going to disadvantage the athletes and alienate the Asian communities by saying they don’t matter. It’s not only going to affect the participants, it’s going to affect all the people who want to watch the games.”

The president of the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, Togay Bayalti, said: “This will be difficult for Muslim athletes. They don’t have to observe Ramadan if they are doing sport and travelling but they will have to decide whether it is important to them. “It would be nice for the friendship of the Games if they had chosen a different date.”

The games will run from the 27 July to 12 August to coincide with the British Summer holidays. The summer holidays are a six week period running from mid July to early September. During this time, public transportation is generally less crowded and it will be easier to find the 70,000 volunteers needed to keep the games running. The International Olympics Committee has specified that the games must take place between July 15 to August 31. Giselle Davies, IOC spokesperson said, “We give a window to the five bid cities. The host city selects the dates within that window.”

The organisers are working with the Muslim Council of Great Britain to find ways around the problem.

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2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

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2006 “Stolenwealth” Games to confront Commonwealth Games in Melbourne

July 9th, 2018

Friday, March 3, 2006

The possibility of large-scale protests in the face of the 3,000 journalists covering the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, has event organisers and the Government worried.

The group “Black GST” – which represents Indigenous Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty – are planning demonstrations at prominent Games events unless the Government agrees to a range of demands including an end to Aboriginal genocide, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the signing of a treaty.

The Black GST say they hope the focus of the world’s media will draw attention to the plight of indigenous Australians during the Games. Organisers say supporters are converging from across Australia and from overseas. Organisers say up to 20,000 people may take part in talks, rallies, colourful protests and many cultural festivities designed to pressure the Federal Government on Indigeneous rights issues. They want the Government to provide a temporary campsite for the supporters, saying “organised chaos was better than disorganised chaos.”

The 2006 Stolenwealth Games convergence, described by organisers as the “cultural festival of the 2006 Commonwealth Games,” was virtually opened on March 2nd with the launch of the official “Stolenwealth Games” website. Scoop Independent News and Perth Indymedia reported that the launch was held at Federation Square in Melbourne. The site contents were projected via wireless laptop by the Stolenwealth Games General Manager, and a tour of the website was given on the big screen. He said “overwhelming amusement was the response from the audience.” The group say permanent access points to the website are being set up at public internet facilities across Victoria during the coming weeks.

“Interest in the Stolenwealth Games is building all over the world and this fresh, exciting and contemporary site will draw in people from Stolenwealth Nations around the globe to find out about the latest news and events,” said a Stolenwealth Games spokesperson. “We have been getting many requests from around the world wanting to know about the Stolenwealth Games. We have provided many ways that individuals and organisations can support the campaign by spreading the word.”

The Victorian Traditional Owner Land Justice Group (VTOLJG) which represents the first nation groups of Victoria, has announced its support to boycott the 2006 Commonwealth Games until the Government “recognises Traditional Owner rights.” The group asserts that culture has been misappropriated in preparation for the Games.

Organisers of the campaign say they welcome the formal support from the Traditional Owners. “While some seek to divide and discredit Indigenous Australia, this support is further evidence that the Aboriginal people are united in opposition to the ongoing criminal genocide that is being perpetrated against the Aboriginal people” said Black GST supporter and Aboriginal Elder, Robbie Thorpe.

“We now have endorsement from the VTOLJG and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy for the aims and objectives of the Campaign and we are looking forward to hosting all indigenous and non-indigenous supporters from across Australia in March,” he said. The Black GST group have said “the convergence will be held as a peaceful, family-focussed demonstration against genocide, and for the restoration of sovereignty and the negotiations towards a Treaty.”

But the campaign has received flak in mainstream media, such as Melbourne’s Herald Sun, who wrote: “the proposal to allow BlackGST to set up an Aboriginal tent embassy at a site well away from the Commonwealth Games will be interpreted by some as the State Government caving in to a radical protest group. A major concern for the Government… is to protect the event from disruption… no chances should be taken…”

The Black GST has been planning the convergence for months, calling for Aboriginal people and their supporters to converge on Melbourne. The Melbourne-based Indigenous rights group have called on thousands of people concerned about the plight of indigenous Australians to converge on Melbourne during the Games, which they have dubbed “the Stolenwealth Games”. But the choice of Kings Domain has made conflict almost inevitable, as the area is one of the areas gazetted by the State Government as a “Games management zone”.

Under the Commonwealth Games Arrangements Act, any area gazetted as a management zone is subject to a range of specific laws – including bans on protesting, creating a disturbance and other activities. The protest bans will be in effect at different times and places, and offenders can be arrested. A spokeswoman for the Black GST, which advocates peaceful protest, said the site had been chosen because it was close to where the Queen will stay on March 15. “We figured that she is only in Melbourne for 27 hours or something like that so we thought we would make it easy for her to come next door and see us,” she said. “We are a very open, welcoming group, so she will be welcome to come and join us.”

Kings Domain is the burial site for 38 indigenous forefathers of Victoria. Black GST elder, Targan, said trade union groups have offered to install infrastructure at the site. The group initially worked with the State Government to find a suitable camp site, but the relationship broke down when the Government failed to meet a deadline imposed by the protesters. “While we are disappointed the ministers were not able to meet deadline on our request, we thank them for their constructive approach towards negotiations and the open-door policy exercised,” said Targan.

A spokesman for Games Minister Justin Madden said the Government was still investigating other sites. Victoria Police Games security commander Brendan Bannan said he was not convinced the Black GST represented the views of most indigenous people. “We are dealing with the Aboriginal community and they don’t seem to support it at all … the wider Aboriginal community don’t support disruption to the Games at all,” he said.

The Government was told that Black GST supporters would camp in Fitzroy Gardens and other city parks should it fail to nominate a site. A spokesman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavan Jennings said the Government was taking the issue seriously, but had not been able to finalise a campsite before the deadline.

Under special Games laws, people protesting or causing a disturbance in “Games management zones” can be arrested and fined. While prominent public spaces such as Federation Square, Birrarung Marr, Albert Park and the Alexandra Gardens fall under the legislation, such tough anti-protest laws cannot be enforced in the nearby Fitzroy Gardens.

Games chairman Ron Walker has urged the group to choose another date for its protest march through the city, which is currently planned to coincide with the opening ceremony on March 15. The group believes that an opportunity to gain attention for indigenous issues was lost at the Sydney Olympics and has vowed to make a highly visible presence at the Games.

The Black GST said the Australian Aboriginal Tent Embassy’s sacred flame, burning over many years at the Canberra site will be carried to Melbourne before the Games, and its arrival would mark the opening of the protest camp from where a march will proceed to the MCG before the Opening Ceremony.

Black GST claims supporters from all over Australia, including three busloads from the West Australian Land Council, will gather in Melbourne during the Games for peaceful protests.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Gavin Jennings had offered Victoria Park to the protesters. Victoria Park, former home of Collingwood Football Club, where one of the strongest statements of Aboriginal pride, when St Kilda star Nicky Winmar in 1993 raised his jumper and pointed to his bare chest after racial taunts from the Collingwood crowd.

Black GST, which has labelled the Games the Stolenwealth Games, said the State Government had failed to find a suitable venue. Black GST may encourage protesters to camp in prominent parks such as Fitzroy Gardens and Treasury Gardens. Graffiti supporting the action has also appeared in central Melbourne.

Melbourne City councillor Fraser Brindley has offered his home to the Black GST organisers. “I offered my home up to people who are organising visitors to come to the Games,” he said. Cr Brindley will be overseas when the Commonwealth Games are held and has offered the free accommodation at his flat at Parkville. He said he agreed with the protesters’ view that treaties needed to be signed with indigenous Australians. “I’m offering it up to the indigenous people who are coming to remind Her Majesty that her Empire took this land from them,” said Cr Brindlley. Nationals leader Peter Ryan said: “This extremist group has no part in the Australian community.” Melbourne councillor Peter Clarke said the actions were embarrassing and that he would try to discourage him. “It’s not in the spirit of the Games,” he said.

Aboriginal elder, Targan, said the possibility of securing Victoria Park was delightfully ironic. “There’s a lot of irony going on,” Targan, 53, a PhD student at Melbourne University, said. “GST stands for Genocide, Sovereignty and Treaty. We want the genocide of our people to stop; we want some sovereignty over traditional land, certainly how it is used, and we want a treaty with the government,” Targan said.

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