Kenyans mourn mass camel ‘poisoning’ – BBC News
Kenyans mourn mass camel ‘poisoning’ 9 January 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright Shanda Guyo Image caption Some of the camels that died had just calved and the community fears the newborns will now starve At least 94 camels have died in northern Kenya from suspected poisoning after drinking water in an abandoned well.
At least 26 others were in critical condition, Shanda Guyo, a veterinary officer in the Marsabit arid region, told the BBC.
The deaths were a huge loss for the animal owners, he added.
Camels are culturally revered and loved among the Gabra people who use them for transport, meat and milk.
The pastoralists have been mourning their losses with some openly overcome by emotion.
“Some of them [camels] had just calved, with owners [now] fearing that the calves could starve,” Mr Guyo said.
Cheap common drugs may help mental illness – BBC News
Cheap and widely used drugs for diabetes and heart health have potential for treating severe mental illness, a study hints.
It showed the number of times patients needed hospital treatment fell by up to a fifth when they took the drugs.
The researchers at University College London say their findings have “enormous potential”.
But they, and independent experts, say the results now need to be tested in clinical trials.
The starting point for the researchers was a list of currently prescribed medications that science predicts could also help patients with severe mental health disorders.
The team focused on:
anti-cholesterol drugs called statins – which may calm inflammation linked to mental health problems or help the body absorb anti-psychotic medications blood pressure drugs – which may alter the calcium signalling in the brain that has been linked to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia type 2 diabetes drug metformin – which may alter mood But rather than test them in trials, the scientists went looking for evidence in the real world.
They analysed life-long medical records of 142,691 people in Sweden who had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other severe mental illnesses.
They then compared the number of times each was admitted to a psychiatric hospital clinic when they were taking those medications and when they were not.
Dr Joseph Hayes, one of the researchers at UCL, said: “The paper suggests a 10-20% reduction in the number of episodes when on the medications rather than off.”
The results, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, also showed a reduction in self-harm.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” Dr Hayes said.
“It’s got enormous potential and I’m pleased with the way it has turned out.
“But this is really just a starting point.”
Depression: A revolution in treatment? Magic mushrooms can ‘reset’ depressed brain Body clock linked to mood disorders He wants the drugs to now be tested in large clinical trials, which should give a final answer.
In the meantime, Dr Hayes says people should not go out and try to get the drugs themselves.
But, he says, there are many patients who should be on these drugs for their physical health who are not getting them.
“The thing to do would be to see your GP about full physical health review,” Dr Hayes said.
“There’s a huge number of people that may benefit from a statin for their heart health and there’s a potential knock-on for their mental health, similarly with metformin.”
Dr James MacCabe, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, said: “These findings are very compelling.
“The findings strongly suggest a potential role for repurposing these drugs to improve mental health outcomes.”
But there is one nagging doubt, even from the researchers, around the way the study was designed.
A lot of studies compare one group of patients taking a drug with another group not taking it.
This one compared patients at different stages of their life when they were either on the drug or not.
The approach has many advantages but it could mean that when people are in a good place mentally and less likely to be admitted to hospital, they are also more likely to look after themselves and take other medications.
In other words, statins and other drugs could just be a red herring.
This is why Prof Naveed Sattar, from University of Glasgow, remains sceptical and says: “I would be strongly cautious with these findings and would only change my mind if effects are proven to be robust in a randomised trial.”
The research group took steps to counter this effect but agree clinical trials are the next step.
Follow James on Twitter.
Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill – BBC News
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Swiss Alps avalanche: Workers clear snow from inside the hotel Heavy snowfalls brought chaos to parts of Germany and Sweden on Friday, leaving roads blocked, trains halted and schools shut.
The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria and a nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree.
The front of a Swiss hotel was hit by an avalanche and a winter storm made roads impassable in Sweden and Norway.
Austrian rescuers had to battle through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder.
The 41-year-old Pole had lost his way after going off piste at the resort of Schlossalmbahn.
Image copyright Bergrettung Bad Hofgastein Image caption Rescuers said the Polish snowboarder was stuck on an icy rock covered in two metres of snow There was some respite in Austria on Friday, after three metres (10ft) of snow fell in some parts in previous days. Seven people have died in the past week and two hikers have been missing since Saturday.
“Such quantities of snow above 800m altitude only happen once every 30 to 100 years,” said Alexander Radlherr from Austria’s Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Heavy snow continues to hit parts of Europe The Austrian military sent helicopters to blow snow off treetops to reduce the risk of trees falling on roads and rails.
In Sweden wintry storms ravaged parts of the north. One area recorded winds of 49.7m per second (111mph) as Storm Jan ravaged Stekenjokk near the Norwegian border.
In northern Norway, a lorry driver described on Friday morning how he and other drivers had been stuck on a mountain road since 17:00 (16:00 GMT) on Thursday. Magnar Nicolaisen told public broadcaster NRK that he had slept in his cabin overnight while others had had to stay in their cars.
Image copyright EPA Image caption Some of the heaviest snow was in Bavaria where some villages were cut off Conditions on Friday were particularly treacherous in Bavaria, where the local broadcaster said snowfalls were paralysing public life.
Rail services were worst hit in the south and east of the state and roads were cut off by drifts and falling trees.
A boy of nine was killed near Munich when a tree collapsed under the weight of snow. It was 40 minutes before he was found and emergency services were unable to revive him.
Two sections of the big A8 autobahn were closed in the south-east, as drivers spent Thursday night at a standstill near Rosenheim. The Bavarian Red Cross and a government agency came to the aid of the drivers.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The armed forces were sent in when hundreds of people were cut off near Berchtesgaden Roads in the Berchtesgaden area close to the Austrian border were blocked and the army sent up to 200 soldiers to help hundreds of people caught up in the snow.
There was a let-up in the weather on Friday ahead of expected further snowfalls on Saturday night. However, some 90 flights were cancelled in Munich while some flights in Frankfurt were also hit.
In Switzerland, an avalanche hit a hotel restaurant, injuring three people. Local reports said the avalanche had been 300m in width when it came down the Schwägalp.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption Hotel guests were stunned when the avalanche crashed into the back of the restaurant Rescuers searched the area on Friday in case anyone near the Hotel Säntis had been caught up in the avalanche.
Cars were left buried in the snow and even a bus was left partly submerged.
One guest in the hotel restaurant said that initially he thought snow was falling from the roof.
“There there was a gigantic noise, and the back area of the restaurant was engulfed in masses of snow,” the guest told Tagblatt.
Some hotel guests were taken to safety on Thursday night and the remainder were moved on Friday, Swiss reports said.
Image copyright Reuters Image caption The outside of the hotel showed some of the damage caused by the avalanche
Single mums win universal credit challenge – BBC News
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The women say the “rigid” system has left them unable to make ends meet (illustrated by models) Four working single mothers have won a High Court challenge over the government’s universal credit scheme.
They argued a “fundamental problem” with the system meant their monthly payments varied “enormously”, leaving them out of pocket and struggling financially.
Lawyers for the women said the problem was likely to affect “tens of thousands of people” claiming the benefit.
A DWP spokesman said: “We are carefully considering the court’s judgement.”
It comes as Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd announced a raft of changes to the government’s flagship scheme .
She also confirmed she would delay asking Parliament to authorise the transfer of three million people on to universal credit until next year, after a pilot of the transfer from existing benefits has been completed.
Universal credit is a means-tested benefit, rolling six separate benefits into one payment.
It has proved controversial almost from its inception, with reports of IT issues, massive overspends, administrative problems and delays to the scheme’s rollout.
What is universal credit? Universal Credit: Will benefit changes affect you? On Friday, it was announced that Danielle Johnson, Claire Woods, Erin Barrett and Katie Stewart had succeeded in a judicial review action against the government over the method used to calculate payments.
It followed a hearing in November when the court was told the women were struggling financially, with some falling into debt or relying on food banks .
‘Untold hardship’ Tessa Gregory, a solicitor from law firm Leigh Day, who represented part-time dinner lady Danielle Johnson from Keighley, West Yorkshire, said her client was “a hard-working single mum” and “precisely the kind of person universal credit was supposed to help”.
But Ms Gregory said the “rigid income assessment system” had left her £500 out of pocket over the year and spiralling into debt.
Solicitor Carla Clarke, of the Child Poverty Action Group, which also brought the case on behalf of the mothers, said the universal credit system was “out of step with both actual reality and the law”, and had caused them “untold hardship, stress and misery”.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption What’s the problem with universal credit? When calculating universal credit, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) sets assessment periods for each person to look at how much they earn – from the 1st of the month to the end of the month, for example.
But lawyers for the mothers said a problem arises when claimants are paid by employers on a date which “clashes” with their assessment period.
For example, they pointed out that if a claimant is paid early because of a weekend or bank holiday, the system counts them as having been paid twice in one month and they receive a “vastly reduced” universal credit payment.
Analysis: ‘Important decision’ By Michael Buchanan, BBC social affairs correspondent
This is an important and potentially hugely expensive decision.
The barrister for the DWP told the High Court in November that if they lost the case it would cost them hundreds of millions of pounds to change the system.
Leaked documents that I saw in October showed officials discussing the problem but concluding that “there is nothing we can do to mitigate this issue”.
At the heart of the problem is a design fault with universal credit that cuts the entitlement of tens of thousands of claimants each month, sometimes by hundreds of pounds.
The court’s decision was published just minutes before Amber Rudd started her speech today, billed as a reset of the beleaguered benefit.
She didn’t mention this particular problem, but it highlights that Ms Rudd’s remarks can only be the starting point in dealing with Universal Credit’s ongoing problems.
Brexit: General election ‘answer to deadlock’ – Tokyo Daily News
Home / WORLD NEWS / Brexit: General election ‘answer to deadlock’ Brexit: General election ‘answer to deadlock’ 1 hour ago WORLD NEWS
Image copyright AFP A general election is the most democratic way of breaking the Brexit deadlock, Jeremy Corbyn is to argue.
The Labour leader will tell activists in Yorkshire that only a government with a “renewed mandate” will get public support for a withdrawal deal.
His party will oppose Theresa May’s deal next week, and push for a vote of no confidence if it is rejected by MPs.
The PM is considering trying to win over some Labour MPs to the deal by offering extra protection to workers.
Mrs May, who will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for talks at Downing Street on Thursday, is also continuing efforts to win over sceptical Conservative MPs ahead of Tuesday’s vote. Brexit: A really simple guide How voters want Brexit to be sorted out
However, Arlene Foster, leader of Northern Ireland’s DUP which has helped the government win votes since June 2017, has warned the PM her deal is “already dead”.
In a sign that the party has not been swayed by the government’s promise to give the Northern Ireland Assembly a veto over any new EU regulations introduced under the terms of the proposed backstop arrangement, she accused Mrs May of “wasting time”.
Image copyright HOC
The government has lost two Brexit votes in two days. The first defeat limits the government’s financial powers in the event of a no-deal departure. The second forces the PM to announce new plans within three days if her deal fails in the Commons.
No 10 is now considering accepting an amendment tabled by Leave-supporting Labour backbencher John Mann that would provide for additional safeguards on workers rights and environmental protections.
“It will be seen as an attempt to win over some Labour waverers,” said BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley. “The Labour leadership, however, is unlikely to be swayed.”
Senior Conservatives have continued to express opposition to the withdrawal agreement and declaration on future relations, negotiated by Mrs May in November.
On the first of five days of debate on the deal, former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell said: “I’ve been astonished that she would bring back to the Commons a deal she knows she has absolutely no chance whatsoever to get through, and also with apparently no plan B.” ‘When not if’
In a speech on Thursday, Mr Corbyn will say that Mrs May – who abandoned a vote on the deal last month – will forfeit the right to govern if she cannot get her Brexit deal through the Commons.
“A government that cannot get its business through the Commons is no government at all,” he will say.
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption Jeremy Corbyn calls on the PM to end the “costly charade and rule out no-deal”
“To break the deadlock, an election is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option. It would give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country.”
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson told ITV’s Peston it was “a question of when not if” the party tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, although he suggested the opposition would wait to hear what Mrs May said in response to any defeat before deciding what to do. Activists urge Corbyn to back EU referendum Brexit and the timetable for a ‘Plan B’
The DUP says it will support the government in any confidence vote if the Brexit deal is rejected, making a defeat less likely.
Critics of Mr Corbyn’s leadership say he is reluctant to go down this route because, if he fails, pressure will increase on him to endorse calls by many of his MPs – and what polls suggest is a majority of party members – for another referendum.
Former Conservative minister George Freeman accused Mr Corbyn of facing two ways at once, behaving like “a Brexiteer up north and a Remainer down south”. ‘Absolute betrayal’
Thursday’s Brexit debate will focus on agriculture and employment, with Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Business Secretary Greg Clark leading for the government.
Meanwhile, the Japanese prime minister is expected to use his visit to warn that a disorderly Brexit will be damaging for the 1,000 Japanese firms with operations in the UK, including Toyota and Honda.
Conservative and Labour MPs who voted this week to limit the government’s financial powers in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit have said Parliament is acting responsibly in trying to prevent this scenario. Many of them favour a closer, Norway-style relationship with Europe, or want to hold another referendum.
But Brexiteers have said the developments are meaningless as they do not oblige the government to do anything and the UK will still be leaving on 29 March.
Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, told ITV’s Peston on Wednesday it would be an “absolute betrayal” of the 17.4 million voters who backed Brexit, if the UK did not leave as planned. Quick guide: What is a no-deal Brexit?
A “no-deal” Brexit is where the UK would cut ties with the European Union overnight without a transition period.
Theresa May’s government, and many others, believe this would be hugely damaging and want a more gradual withdrawal. But if Parliament can’t agree on that, and nothing else takes its place, the UK will leave without a deal.
This would mean the UK would not have to obey EU rules. Instead, it would need to follow World Trade Organization terms on trade. Many businesses would see new taxes on imports, exports and services, which are likely to increase their operating costs. That means the prices of some goods in UK shops could go up.
The UK would also lose the trade agreements it had with other countries as a member of the EU, all of which would need to be renegotiated alongside the new agreement with the EU itself.
Manufacturers in the UK expect to face delays in components coming across the border.
The UK would be free to set its own immigration controls. However some UK professionals working in the EU and UK expats could face uncertainty until their status was clarified. The European Commission has said that even in a no-deal scenario, UK travellers won’t need a visa for short visits of up to 90 days.
The border between Northern Ireland and the Irish republic would become an external frontier for the EU with customs and immigration controls, though how and where any checks would be made is not clear.
Some Leave supporters think that leaving without a deal would be positive if the right preparations were made. They say criticism is scaremongering and any short term pain would be for long term gain.
But critics – including both Brexit supporters and opponents – say that leaving without a deal would be a disaster for the UK: driving up food prices, leading to shortages of goods and gridlock on some roads in the South East resulting from extra border checks.