Monday, July 24, 2017


Winnipeg woman with brain cancer looks to U.S. to get Manitoba-developed surgery.

'I'm willing to fight,' says Anastasie Hacault, diagnosed with incurable brain cancer 5 years ago

By Bryce Hoye, CBC News Posted: Jul 19, 2017
Anastasie Hacault and Phil Kaehler are hoping to raise enough money to get Hacault brain surgery they believe will prolong her life.

Anastasie Hacault and Phil Kaehler are hoping to raise enough money to get Hacault brain surgery they believe will prolong her life. (Radio-Canada)

A laser-based brain surgery developed by Winnipeg researchers could help prolong Anastasie Hacault's life, but she says she'll have to spend thousands of dollars in the U.S. to get it.
"I'm willing to fight as long as it takes, I just need the tools," said 32-year-old Hacault. "I've been buying time."
She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 and given three-to-five years to live. It happened just as she was getting to know Phil Kaehler, who would become her husband in 2016.
"On our second date, she told me that she did have a brain tumour," said Kaehler, 32. "That was her telling me if I wanted to run away, I could. But I wasn't going to because she's an amazing woman ... she's been so strong."
Hacault has undergone surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy in recent years that have enabled her to keep working at her job in agricultural services and maintain a relatively normal life.
But this May, things started to take a turn for the worse. The tumour on the right side of her brain began to swell, causing her to lose mobility on the left side of her body.
"I lost the ability to really walk, I can't type anymore," she said.
NeuroBlate system

Image from Monteris Medical Inc. shows how the NeuroBlate laser system works in treating brain tumours. (Monteris Medical Inc.)
Hacault and Kaehler, who learned the procedure could cost about $150,000, are banking on a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of a procedure south of the border.
The online fundraiser, launched July 10, had raised nearly $63,000 as of Tuesday night. Apart from raising enough money, Hacault's condition must stablize before they can take a plane south.
'Perfect candidate'
The NeuroBlate laser-based method was created by Mark Torchia and Richard Tyc of the University of Manitoba. It allows surgeons to target tumours in hard-to-reach areas of the brain with precision.​
Kaehler said the nature of his wife's tumour makes her a "perfect candidate" for NeuroBlate, and that her doctors believe a traditional surgical method would almost certainly paralyze her.
The problem is it is no longer offered by any hospitals or clinics in Canada.
Manitoba brain laser inventors win Governor General's Innovation Award
New laser method could help neurosurgeons get at hard-to-reach tumours

Brain cancer laser surgery treatment a first in Canada

Neuroblate was used on 27 patients at the Vancouver General Hospital dating back to 2014, a spokesperson with Vancouver Coastal Health said in an emailed statement.
The couple spoke with B.C. neurosurgeon Dr. Brian Toyota at the end of June about receiving the surgery. Toyota has used NeuroBlate on patients in the past but said it's no longer available, Hacault said.

B.C. neurosurgeon Dr. Brian Toyota previously performed brain surgeries using NeuroBlate. Vancouver Coastal Health said he was unavailable for comment. (CBC)
"That's when he said it had actually gotten shut down a couple weeks before," Kaehler said. "It was heartbreaking for us."
Vancouver Coastal Health is currently exploring ways to keep using the laser treatment.
"It is our hope that the collection of more data in a clinical trial setting will provide a more definitive evaluation for the therapy and the benefits to patients," the spokesperson said, adding the health authority also needs to find a stable funding source.
'Pricey' procedure
Neil Berrington, a neurosurgeon with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and a U of M professor, said there are a couple reasons there isn't a NeuroBlate laser installed in any Winnipeg hospitals.
"There's relatively few patients who would have strong indications to have the procedure done, and secondly the device and the disposable is pricey," he said.
"So if you want to be responsible and practise cost-effective medicine, it's probably in your interest to have those patients treated elsewhere for the moment."
Berrington said Canadian patients tend to be referred to a clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, that is actively performing "a lot of these" surgeries.
"Our only other option is the U.S. and they have multiple sites there," Kaehler said, adding a spokesperson with Manitoba Health's out-of-province benefits program has asked for a referral letter from Hacault's doctors.
"We have to wait for the game plan here to take effect. Hopefully there's some coverage."
​Bring it home
His wife's cancer, known as an anaplastic astrocytoma tumour, doesn't have a cure but the couple is confident the procedure could prolong and improve Hacault's quality of life.
If nothing else, the couple hopes their battle to access the procedure could pave the way to help someone else down the road. Hacault said she doesn't want anyone else to go through the uncertainty she is currently experiencing.
"I would really like this to be the only case of this happening in Canada," she said. "We need to get a program started in Canada."

Bryce Hoye is a journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology. Before joining CBC Manitoba, he worked for organizations like the Canadian Wildlife Service monitoring birds in Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Alberta. Story idea?


Twitter: @brycehoye

With files from Radio-Canada and Janice Grant


Image result for donald trump sword dance


"It's catastrophic. We're continuing to always see and hear reports of civilian casualties. We have an unprecedented cholera crisis in the country. And the country is also on the brink of famine. And we have millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, trying to seek safety. So, the situation is absolutely abysmal here on the ground" -
Shabia Mantoo of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

"An absolute shame on humanity." That's how the international aid organization CARE is describing the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
"An absolute shame on humanity." That's how the international aid organization CARE is describing the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The number of cholera cases in Yemen has now topped 368,000, with 1,828 deaths. The World Health Organization estimates some 5,000 Yemenis are falling sick daily—and Oxfam projects the number of suspected cases of cholera could rise to more than 600,000, making the epidemic "the largest ever recorded in any country in a single year since records began." We speak to Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, in Yemen, as well as Kjetil Østnor, Oxfam's regional manager for the Middle East and Yemen.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: "An absolute shame on humanity." That's how the international aid organization CARE is describing the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen. The number of cholera cases in that country has now topped 368,000, with 1,828 deaths. The World Health Organization estimates some 5,000 Yemenis are falling sick each day, and Oxfam projects the number of suspected cases of cholera could rise to more than 600,000, making the epidemic, quote, "the largest ever recorded in any country in a single year since records began." Aid groups are warning the risk of disease spreading will increase with Yemen's monsoon season, as the ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign has devastated the country's health, water and sanitation systems. This is a spokesperson for the World Health Organization speaking on Friday.
FADÉLA CHAIB: Yemen's cholera outbreak is far from being controlled. The rainy season has just started and may increase the paths of transmission. Sustained efforts are required to stop the spread of this disease.
AMY GOODMAN: The cholera epidemic comes amidst a looming famine, with the United Nations warning 19 million of Yemen's 28 million people are in need of some form of aid. This is the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, speaking Wednesday.
STEPHEN O'BRIEN: Seven million people, including 2.3 million malnourished children, of whom 500,000 are severely malnourished, under the age of five, are on the cusp of famine, vulnerable to disease and ultimately at risk of a slow and painful death.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: On Wednesday, the United Nations demanded media access to report on the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, after the Saudi-led coalition blocked three foreign journalists from traveling on a U.N. aid flight to the capital Sana'a. This is U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq.
FARHAN HAQ: We do want not just to be able to bring in aid, which is, of course, a crucial aspect of the work we do, but we also want the world to know what's going on. And so, steps like this do not help, because, again, this has been a large man-made humanitarian problem. The world needs to know, and journalists need to have access. ... As our colleagues have said, this partially explains why Yemen, which is one of the world's largest humanitarian crises, is not getting enough attention in international media. The lack of coverage is hindering humanitarian workers' effort to draw the attention of the international community and donors to the man-made catastrophe that the country is experiencing.

AMY GOODMAN: For more, we go directly to Sana'a, Yemen, where we're joined by Shabia Mantoo. She is the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, in Yemen. Joining us from London is Kjetil Østnor, Oxfam's regional manager for Middle East and Yemen.
We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let's start in Yemen's capital. Let's start in Sana'a. Shabia Mantoo, what do you see there? How bad is the catastrophe right now?
SHABIA MANTOO: Well, that's exactly it: It's catastrophic. Yemen is now entering third year—its third year of conflict, and we just see that humanitarian needs are escalating every single day. And every single day, the situation on the ground gets worse. So we're continuing to always see and hear reports of civilian casualties. We have an unprecedented cholera crisis in the country. And the country is also on the brink of famine. And we have millions of people who have been displaced from their homes, trying to seek safety. So, the situation is absolutely abysmal here on the ground. And we, as humanitarians, are truly overwhelmed and trying to cope and respond as best we can.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And what's been the response of the Western nations as well as of the Arab countries of the region to this deepening catastrophe?
SHABIA MANTOO: Well, we've been saying that Yemen is a forgotten crisis, because, at present, it's the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, based on the amount of people in need. At present, there are about 20 million Yemenis who require humanitarian assistance in the country. So, it is the largest humanitarian crisis. But, across the world, it receives very little attention in comparison. So we have been calling for more support to urgently address the humanitarian needs in Yemen. And at the same time, we've been calling for more attention on the crisis, for more attention on the human suffering and the people that are really bearing the brunt of the conflict, which are civilians. So, at present, if we look at the appeal for Yemen, it's only—it's less than 35 percent funded. So we do require urgent support. We're already in July. A half-year is gone, and we have many more humanitarian needs arising.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about the effects of the U.S.-based—of the U.S.-backed Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen?
SHABIA MANTOO: Well, as a humanitarian organization, our interest is really in ensuring that there is peace in Yemen. As long as military action continues between the parties, we are going to see humanitarian needs arise. So we've been advocating for peace. We do need more support for the humanitarian response. But that alone is not going to cut it. We do need a peaceful political solution. So there needs to be an end to the war. That needs to be negotiated. The peace process needs to be supported. And that's what we're really advocating for.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But now, the U.N. has had to pull back on its plans for a cholera vaccination program because of the threats, of the dangers to medical workers in the region. Could you talk about that?
SHABIA MANTOO: Well, look, to be honest, I mean, those are decisions made by each of the parties responsible for leading that response. Now, with us at UNHCR, we're concerned primarily with displacement and also the issues relating to displaced persons. In terms of the health response, that's coordinated by humanitarian partners and national health authorities, but that's perhaps something that I wouldn't be best to speak to.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, let's bring Kjetil Østnor into the conversation, of Oxfam. Talk about the situation. You have projected the number of suspected cases of cholera could rise to more than 600,000, making the epidemic "the largest ever recorded in any country in a single year since records began"?
KJETIL ØSTNOR: Yeah, that's correct. The numbers—the latest number that I saw today was 390,000 cases just since the 27th of April. So, in less than three months, it's 390,000 suspected cholera cases. And, of course, we know that the rainy season is coming up. The rainy season in Yemen is basically July to September. So, with the rain, we suspect that the caseload will continue to rise for the next couple of months. We've seen some indication of maybe the deaths slowing down, and we're happy for that, but we think the worst might not be over. We don't know. At least we have to prepare for the worst in every possible way.
So we need a massive effort to respond to these cases. As you said earlier there, it's—for the last week, it's about—was about 5,000 new suspected cholera cases every day. So we need a massive aid effort to stop the cholera crisis in Yemen. And we also need a massive aid effort to respond to the wider crisis. Seven million people are on the brink of famine. Fifty million people have no access to clean drinking water or sufficient sanitation and hygiene facilities. And, of course, as the latest speaker said, we need a ceasefire to be able to travel and access the whole country safely. We need a ceasefire immediately in Yemen.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Last month, on Capitol Hill, the Senate voted 53 to 47 to approve the sale of $500 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia. A surprising number of senators voted against the deal. The vote came just weeks after Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia, his first foreign trip abroad as president. During the trip, he signed an arms deals totaling $110 billion. This is President Trump speaking in Saudi Arabia.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil. Many are already making significant contributions to regional security. Jordanian pilots are crucial partners against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Kjetil Østnor, what about this—these new deals, arms deals, between the United States and Saudi Arabia? You've been calling for a suspension of these sales by the U.K. and the United States to the Saudis.
KJETIL ØSTNOR: To be honest, we think it's shameful that both the U.K. government and the U.S. government is selling arms to the Saudi-led coalition, arms that are used in Yemen. So, there's—on several occasions, we have called for the suspension of arms sales. And so, we call on the international community, the U.S., the U.K. and other arms brokers, to become peace brokers instead of arms brokers. That's what is needed. We don't need more weaponry. Bombs will only fuel the conflict. U.S. and the U.K. government needs to bring the parties to the table to find a peaceful solution, not to sell more bombs.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you both for being with us, Kjetil Østnor, Oxfam's regional manager for Middle East and Yemen, speaking to us from London, and Shabia Mantoo, the spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, speaking to us from Sana'a, Yemen. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we'll be talking about Iran. Stay with us. 



Follow one man's journey to photograph the world's rarest species. RARE: Creatures of the Photo Ark premieres Tuesday, July 18, 2017 on PBS.


Drug addicts are maiming their own dogs to get their hands on opiate pills from vets in a shocking new trend, authorities have warned.

Dogs cut open by their drug taking owners for opiate drugs
Painkiller tramadol is being hunted down by sick pet owners who have discovered it can be prescribed to their four-legged friends for pain relief and arthritis.
The drug, prescribed to human cancer patients to dull their pain, is dramatically cheaper than he more widely abused opioid oxycodone.
Tramadol costs up to 20 times less than oxycodone, leaving experts suggesting it "may become the new opioid of choice for abusers."
And the addiction crisis in America is driving addicts to new lows.
In December, a woman named Heather Pereira of Hardin County, Kentucky, was arrested after twice using a disposable razor to slice open the leg of her 4-year-old retriever to get her hands on tramadol.
Childless Pereira, 23, was reported by the vet who became suspicious when she returned for pills three days after her initial visit - claiming her child had flushed the first bottle.

Dog owners have been arrested amid new investigation into US opiate problem

Chad Bailey, noticed on her third visit the dog's wounds were "not the sort of cuts you see in nature".
Mr Bailey told the New York Post: "What's scary is it took me two times to pick up on what was happening.
"It worries me about the instances we miss."
Pereira was convicted of trying to obtain controlled substances by fraud.
But officers in the US have now discovered what appeared to be isolated incidents - has escalated into a big problem.
American drugs addicts are taking hunt for opiates to new levels
Jim Arnold, chief of policy and liaison for the diversion control division at the Drug Enforcement Administration told the New York Post dogs are being injured for drugs.
He said: "They've gotten very sophisticated in how they obtain drugs and go about their activities.
"It's an area that allows drug seekers to fly under the radar.
"We know it's happening, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot more activity than we're aware of."
Last year, outside Portland, police seized 100,000 tramadol pills and rescued 17 dogs living in squalid conditions.
Four people who claimed to be breeding AKC-registered puppies were accused instead of running a opioid distribution ring.
Veterinarians in the US are beginning to cotton on to the alarming trend.
So-called "doggy doctor shopping" warnings are going out all over the nation as addicts search out gullible practitioners.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


roy cohn joseph mccarthy
Senator Joseph McCarthy and his chief counsel Roy Cohn whispering during the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954.  Photograph: Everett/Rex/Shutterstock

Donald Trump is a man who likes to think he has few equals. But once upon a time, he had a mentor: Roy Cohn, a notoriously harsh lawyer who rose to prominence in the mid-1950s alongside the communist-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy. His tactics would often land him in the papers, but Cohn was unafraid of being slimed by the press – he used it to his advantage. A devil-may-care-as-long-as-it-gets-a-headline attitude was Cohn's trademark in life. Trump, in our time, has made it his.
His careful manipulation of negative attention is something that Trump noticed immediately when the two met in 1973. Trump and his father had just been sued for allegedly discriminating against black people in Trump's built-and-managed houses in Brooklyn, and sought out Cohn's counsel. Among other things, Cohn advised that Trump should "tell them to go to hell". Cohn was hired, and one of his first acts as Trump's new lawyer was to file a $100m countersuit that was quickly dismissed by the court. But it made the papers.
 Donald Trump, Mayor Ed Koch and Roy Cohn attended a Trump Tower opening in October 1983.

 Donald Trump, Mayor Ed Koch and Roy Cohn attend a Trump Tower opening in October 1983. Photograph: Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images
This was the beginning of a long and close relationship. Trump relied on Cohn for most of the legal matters during a particularly tricky decade. Cohn drew up the pre-nuptial contract between Donald and Ivana when they married in 1977 – a famously stingy contract that only gave Ivana $20,000 a year. Cohn also filed a suit brought by the United States Football League in 1984 against the NFL, seeking to break up the monopoly held over American football. Trump owned a USFL team and was widely seen as the force behind the suit; the initial press conference about it was a tag-team show performed by Cohn and Trump.
"I don't kid myself about Roy. He was no Boy Scout. He once told me that he'd spent more than two-thirds of his adult life under indictment on one charge or another. That amazed me," Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal. The unabashed pursuit of power, quick resort to threats, a love of being in the tabloid spotlight – all of these are things Trump took from his mentor.
He once told me that he spent more than two-thirds of his adult life under indictment. That amazed me.

In fact, if you're familiar with Cohn's history at all, their friendship starts to seem an even greater influence on Trump than any other.
Today, Cohn might be most remembered as a character in a TV series: Al Pacino played him in HBO's version of Tony Kushner's Angels In America. In Kushner's vision we meet Cohn only when he is old and ailing, lying about being gay and having Aids. (Despite being known to have many gay lovers, and his diagnosis of Aids being an open secret in the months before his death, Cohn denied it to all but his closest intimates.) As played by Pacino, his bombast is already pathetic, self-deluding. "You want to be nice or you want to be effective?!" he shouts at an idealistic acolyte. "You want to make the law, or be subject to it? Choose!"
But it wasn't always that way for Cohn. There was a time when he was thought bright and powerful. As Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel, he was a kind of stage director of the major events of the red scare: the trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and the McCarthy hearings. Another man would have let himself be an invisible functionary in those proceedings, but not Cohn. He made himself visible. He wanted to be front and center, even when the press turned on McCarthy's tirade. He befriended gossip columnists and used the tabloids. Shamelessness was, in fact, Cohn's defining trait. And it was a shamelessness that Trump picked up and ran with.

Cohn was born in the Bronx in 1927. His father was appointed to the New York state courts by Franklin Roosevelt. His mother, Dora, adored him, and in one of the quirks of Cohn's life, he lived with her until she died. Cohn started his career as a federal prosecutor, but it was his performance in the trial of the Rosenbergs – who were tried and convicted of espionage in 1951 – where he made his real reputation.
According to David Greenglass, Cohn pressured him into testifying against his sister Ethel. In an interview with 60 Minutes in 2003, Greenglass admitted he'd lied on the stand. He testified his sister typed notes sent on to the Soviets, but in fact she hadn't. He also said that Cohn was the one who'd pushed him to incriminate Ethel. Greenglass's testimony led to his sister's execution.
The Rosenberg trial was really the moment where Cohn's cynicism first came out in public. He was willing to twist the facts to serve himself, even if it meant sending someone to the electric chair. Not long after the trial, he began working for McCarthy and the FBI director, J Edgar Hoover. Between the three of them, they managed to orchestrate one of the biggest stains on American history: the famed interrogations of suspected "reds" under the auspices of the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations. The committee made Cohn a household name. It also marked his first real adventures in the tabloids.
Along with his fellow committee member David Schine, he embarked on a kind of European tour, with the mission to root out communists abroad. Cohn and Schine proceeded to make giant fools of themselves in the press. The Guardian, among others, made merciless fun of the spectacle of two young Americans invading Radio Free Europe "like the Chauvelins of the French Revolutionary Committee of Public Safety" to look for communists among the staff. The Financial Times called them "scummy snoopers". Cohn and Schine also reportedly left hotel rooms trashed and had public fights.
After such a slew of negative attention, most men would have recoiled in shame, gone into hiding, spent less time trying to chat up tabloid columnists and getting themselves further into the spotlight. This was not Roy Cohn's way. He and Schine continued to appear at the McCarthy hearings, including the disastrous episode where McCarthy decided to investigate the US army and the press finally turned on him. Cohn eventually resigned, but he always defended the hearings, once writing an article for Esquire titled, "Believe Me, This Is the Truth About the Army-McCarthy Hearings, Honest". This piece was widely acknowledged to stretch the truth; letters of complaint poured in. One called the piece "a disgrace; it certainly does little honor for Esquire to publish it". But for Cohn, the article achieved its purpose: to keep arguing that he had behaved mostly honorably, as a man under siege.
These sorts of antics, in the age of reality television, no longer seem quite as shocking. In fact they even pale when put against Trump's own press adventures in the matter of his hair, his marriages, his pre-nuptial agreements and his bankruptcies. Trump has been fiercely mocked in the media since the 1980s. But Trump learned from someone to let all the mockery roll off his back, that the negative publicity was still publicity.



President Donald Trump said Saturday that he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election.