A dream doesn't become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination and hard work.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

African toyboy takes wife, 88, to care home for respite - but council refuses to hand her back

Ousman Jatta, 45, married Beryl in the Gambia 13 years ago and moved to the UK with her when she became ill in 2006

Ousman Jatta, 45, from Bristol.Ousman Jatta, 45, married Beryl in the Gambia 13 years ago and moved to the UK with her when she became ill in 2006.

The devoted hubby dropped her off at a care home in February for respite while he took a well-deserved three-week break to his native Africa.

But when he went to pick her up he was told social services had intervened and ruled his dementia-suffering wife couldn't return home with him.

Devastated Ousman has threatened to go on a hunger strike if Bristol City Council don't hand back his wife who he says has pleaded to return home.

SWNSCollect photograph of Beryl, 88, with Ousman Jatta, 45, from Bristol.
Devoted: Ousman with beloved wife Beryl

The authority said it has now agreed an "appropriate care plan" and while Mrs Jutta is still not home, her husband said he is confident the council will relent.

The supermarket security worker said: "They have used their power against me to keep my wife in a nursing home against her and my wishes.

"I care for her better than anyone and I feel very sad.

"Every time I go to the Gambia I contact social services for respite, but they never told me they were going to keep my wife.

"To me Beryl is not old, she is a human being and no matter if she is old or young she is my wife.

SWNSOusman Jatta, 45, from Bristol.
Care: Ousman is Beryl's carer

"I would never neglect Beryl.

"I love Beryl. 

"I'm feeling bad to see her in a nursing home whilst I am ready to look after my own wife.

"As soon as I came to this country I'm looking after her and nothing has happened to her.

"I don't say that the nursing home is bad but to me the belief I have is that you take a person to a home if that person has no-one to look after her but as far as Beryl is concerned, I am ready to look after her until God finalises."

SWNSOusman Jatta, 45, from Bristol.
Decision: The 45-year-old was shocked by social services' decision

Retired shop worker Beryl moved to the Gambia more than 17 years ago and met Ousman when he helped translate for her in a local shop.

The pair became firm friends and dated for four years before they got married in 2002.

But they were forced to come back to the UK when she fell ill and doctors advised the mum-of-two would get better treatment at her home in Bristol.

Ousman became her primary carer along with local authority carers who visit during the day while he is at work.

He booked her in for respite care at Avon Lodge Care Centre in Bristol while he went on a break to the Gambia on February 5, telling him he would be back in three weeks.

But when he called on February 27 to say he would pick her up the next day, he was told he couldn't collect her and had to call social workers for more information.

SWNSCollect photograph of Bery Jatta from Bristol.
Marriage: Beryl and Ousman married in the Gambia 13 years ago

"I asked why and they said 'contact social services'," he said.

"It was a weekend so I called social services on Monday morning and the only thing they told me was they thought I was tired and this and that and that I had left her.

"I have said in the past that I am tired and that some time in the future I might need to leave her, but I have never abandoned Beryl.

"I have access to her when I go to the nursing home to see Beryl but as far as I'm concerned it's not the best place for her to be. 

"I promised to myself and to God I shall never let her down. 

"Beryl is my first priority. 

"I am used to Beryl - we are used to each other.

"When I finish work at 10 o'clock she will not go to bed and tells her carers she is waiting for her husband."

A legal expert who specialises in health and welfare said social workers don't have the power to keep someone against their will.

Fiona McGhie from Irwin Mitchell said: "They don't have that over-riding say.

"They can form a view and put forward a view of what they think might be in someone's best interested, which may or may not be the same as the family members.

"But ultimately there there's a dispute it needs to go to the Court of Protection, as nobody has got that tight to make a decision either way.

"It doesn't matter how well motivated these decisions or those views are, the rule is for the court to make that final decision."

A spokesman for Bristol City Council said: "We have been in regular contact with Mr Jatta over a period of time regarding his wife's care and are pleased to have agreed an appropriate care plan with him which puts the best interests of Mrs Jatta first."

Hindu Worshippers Killed 500,000 Animals At A Festival, And The Pictures Are Staggering; then the earthquake struck!

The two-day festival, called Gadhimai Mela Festival, takes place at the Gadhimai temple about 100 miles south of Kathmandu. 

The festival is held every five years, during which hundreds of thousands of animals are killed in the name of the Hindu goddess of power. Devotees believe the ritual will bring them good luck. 

In 2009, an estimated 350,000 animals were killed. Close to 500,000 animals were expected to be sacrificed this year, despite campaigns to ban the festival.

nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersSacrificed buffaloes lie on the ground of an enclosed compound during the sacrificial ceremony November 28, 2014.

Millions of Hindus from all over India and Nepal participate in the festival to honor the Goddess Gadhimai, a Hindu deity who devotees believe will grant them wishes if they sacrifice animals and birds.nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersDevotees gather during the ritual before the sacrificial ceremony, November 28, 2014.

The Sword-wielding Hindu devotees began slaughtering the animals on Friday, ignoring calls by animal rights activists to put an end to the world's largest animal sacrifice ritual.nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/Reuters

In past years, nearly 70% of the animals entering Nepal to be slaughtered came from India. That figure has dropped since India's Supreme Court banned the illegal entry of animals to Nepal, especially for the Gadhimai Mela. nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersA man sits in a tractor to load the sacrificed buffalos a day after the sacrificial ceremony, November 29, 2014. 

The festival is partially funded by the government of Nepal as the fair brings in tourists and money. Temple authorities also charge entry and parking fees.nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersA street vendor makes sweets along the street to sell them to devotees, November 29, 2014.

Animals are coralled into holding pens in a large field before having their throats slit or their heads chopped off.

nepal festivalReutersA sick buffalo calf lies in an enclosure on the eve of the sacrificial ceremony November 27, 2014.

"It is very festive here, everyone is excited," Mangal Chaudhary, the head priest at the slaughter site near a temple devoted to Gadhimai, told AlJazeera.nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersA family poses for a picture in front of the carcasses of sacrificed buffalos, November 29, 2014.

After the buffalo are killed, their heads are thrown into a freshly dug large pit in the field, and their hides are sold to the highest-bidding contractors.nepal festivalNavesh Chitrakar/ReutersA man removes the tongue from the head of a sacrificed buffalo the day after the sacrificial ceremony, November 29, 2014.

Activists have petitioned Nepal's president to end this "cruel tradition" that began about 260 years ago. Still, the animal sacrifice ritual draws over 2 million Hindus to the festival site and remains an important religious holiday.

nepal festival

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The world does not aid Africa – Africa aids the world


Foreign developed nations often wax lyrical about their generous donations of aid to Africa. But a coalition of UK and African researchers has released research findings that illustrate how the continent actually loses over six times the amount it receives in aid

Despite decades of fundraising and aid, the end of Africa's poverty is nowhere in sight. Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam

Despite decades of fundraising and aid, the end of Africa's poverty is nowhere in sight. Photo: Irina Fuhrmann/Oxfam

As we often watch wealthy countries heap on themselves and each other generous portions of praise for helping ‘needy’ countries and using their donations to accelerate development in impoverished regions so as to end poverty, another scenario is playing itself out. This scenario is rarely reported.

Africa, the receiver of $30 billion in annual monetary handouts, is not only making nothing from the aid it receives but it actually loses $192 billion to the rest of the world within the same time frame.

How, you ask?

Research published recently indicates that current practices within the continent tend to favour wealthy countries. These practices include tax dodging, the repatriation of multinational companies’ profits with their unjust trade policies, the costs incurred from climate change and the exodus of skilled workers.

Graphic: HealthPovertyAction.org

Graphic: HealthPovertyAction.org

This means, basically, that if you take into account the money coming in through aid, investment and remittances ($134 billion), Africa is left with a $58 billion annual loss. To put this into perspective, the money that Africa loses each year is over one and half times the amount of additional money needed to deliver affordable health care to everyone in the whole world!

As you can see, it is Africa that is aiding the rest of the world – not the other way round.

“All those countries who keep their aid promises should be proud of what they’ve done” – David Cameron, UK Prime Minister.

It's often the resource-rich countries that show the most bleeding of finance

Despite decades of public fundraising and aid, the end to Africa’s poverty is nowhere in sight. This “aid” is actually a smokescreen used to hide from public view the fact the it is the donors themselves who are perpetuating this cycle of indigence.

The report highlights that Africa is essentially not poor. A combination of inequitable policies, massive disparities in power and criminal activities perpetrated and sustained by wealthy elites both inside and outside the continent are keeping its people in poverty. The UK and other wealthy governments are at the heart of this theft.

For example, the continent haemorrhages $35.3 billion annually through the tax evasion and other dodgy financial flows enabled by tax havens. These tax havens are jurisdictionally linked to the G8 and the European Union and account for 70% of global tax haven investment. The UK has 11 tax havens under its jurisdiction!

Something is seriously wrong in this picture. It’s most often the resource-rich countries that show the most bleeding of finance. One would expect them to be displaying lower levels of poverty, but the opposite tends to be true. Out of one billion of the world’s poorest people, 33% live in resource rich countries. Which explains why 75% of the dozen countries at the bottom of the Human Development Index(HDI) are rich in natural resources.

It is time for the UK and other implicated governments to stop misrepresenting the real nature of the relationship between aid and poverty in Africa. Maybe then, that will put an end to endless rhetoric about what they are doing for Africa because, at the end of the day, it’s all about what Africa is doing for them! Politicians are only telling us half the story when it comes to the world’s financial relationship with Africa.

See the full Health Poverty Africa report here.

Health Poverty Africa have a petition addressed to the G20, demanding honest accounts of their relationship with Africa. Click here to sign.

Source: Think Africa Press





Flight Clearance Protocols Forced President Kenyatta Back

    Could failure to adhere to standard flight clearance protocols have been the reason behind President Uhuru Kenyatta’s aborted trip to the United States?

    Aviation experts familiar with international travel procedures have dismissed State House claims that the President was forced to make a u-turn due to fighting in Yemen.

    Instead, they blame the Air Force for failing to obtain in advance essential air space clearance.

    An advance team from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went to Los Angeles, US ahead of the President.

    Cabinet met on Wednesday instead of the norm, Thursdays, and preparations for his departure to arrival in the United States were done in advance.

    Sources told Citizen TV that the Air Force department of flight planning and logistics should have sought and obtained diplomatic clearance for the President’s flight path way before the expected date of the trip.

    The flight plan maps out countries to be crossed through and clearance is done through diplomatic links.


    Questions on route taken by plane

    And so, did someone sleep on the job and expose the Head of State to the embarrassment of having to abruptly turn back and eventually cancel his trip?

    The official position given from State House read; “following reports of increased military activity in Yemen, there was a challenge on the routing leading to a decision to turn back.”

    But that was a red herring. Harambee One, the Kenya Airforce Fokker 70 carrying the Head of State, is said not to have been cleared on Ethiopian airspace over clearance issues.

    However, there is the route taken that comes into question as well.  

    Long standing hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia mean that one cannot access Eritrea through Ethiopia, unless they would pass through airspace in between.

    The plane carrying the President was warned to turn back but that did not happen until another warning, sources say, came with a threat to bring the plane down if the captain did not comply.

    Friday morning, National Intelligence Service Director General Philip Kameru and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen Samuel Thuita were summoned to State House, and all indications point to a likelihood of serious disciplinary action being taken on individuals behind the apparent lapse and aborted trip.

    Kenya’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Catherine Mwangi was summoned to Nairobi as well, and how this saga plays out in the greater Ethiopia-Kenya diplomatic relations is to be watched in coming days.

    Meet the transgender would-be MP, her lesbian lover and HER transgender former husband

    Zoe O'Connell

    Groundbreaking: Liberal Party canidate Zoe O'Connell at home with her two partners Sarah Brown and Sylvia Knight 

    The Lib Dem threesome are more than just canvassing buddies and they’re aiming to make a bit of political history into the bargain

    Curtains are twitching in a small town where an unusual trio have become unlikely minor celebrities in the General Election.

    At first glance there’s nothing peculiar about the three women in bright yellow out on the campaign trail.

    But the Lib Dem threesome are more than just canvassing buddies and they’re aiming to make a bit of political history into the bargain.

    Parliamentary candidate Zoe O’Connell, 37, is bidding to be Britain’s first polyamorous MP – which means she lives in a three-way lesbian relationship with her two canvassers Sarah Brown, 41, and Sylvia Knight, 39.

    And if that seems to be as far fetched as a Tory manifesto, then consider this: Zoe and Sarah used to be MEN. And Sarah and Sylvia were once a straight married couple before her sex change.

    So it’s no wonder the trio – nicknamed “the leaflet delivery cult” by locals – have got tongues wagging in their constituency in the run-up to polling day.

    But that doesn’t bother Westminster hopeful Zoe. In fact the complex personal life and happiness of her and her lovers is at the forefront of her campaign.

    She says: “We’re content together and that is what matters to us. I’m running for office to change things. Twenty years ago this would never have happened.

    “I’m standing up because I don’t think anyone should be treated differently because of gender or sexuality or the way they choose to live their private lives. We live together.

    “We’re in a relationship and we’re not ashamed of that.”

    But they’ve all been on a long and difficult journey to reach their unorthodox domestic bliss.

    Zoe was a male IT worker and dad of three when she split from her wife in 2005.

    Nagging doubts about her sexuality that plagued her in childhood resurfaced – and as divorce proceedings gathered pace she suddenly realised she was a woman trapped in a man’s body.

    She says: “For some people it’s a gradual realisation, but for me it was a light bulb moment. I know the exact day I figured it out: October 13, 2005.”

    Computer network engineer Zoe had started talking to a transgender woman in an online chatroom.

    It set in motion a series of events that led to the creation of her very modern relationship.

    Zoe O'Connell
    Would-be MP: Zoe O'Connell is standing for the liberal Democrats in Maldon Essex 

    She says: “At the time I likened it to some kind of bomb going off in my head. You suddenly have a big burning issue that you have to deal with there and then.

    "I’d known since forever that something wasn’t right.

    “I wasn’t sitting around playing with Barbie dolls at the age of five, but there was something wrong. I just thought everyone thought in those ways, and it was perfectly normal.”

    In December 2005, Zoe – who had decided to transgender – met married fellow transsexual Sarah online.

    Zoe had posted a question about hair removal on a LiveJournal forum shortly after Sarah began her own transition with the blessing of her wife, Sylvia.

    Sarah says: “I asked if Zoe wanted to get together for a cup of tea. We met and became friends.

    “It took some time before we realised we had feelings for each other. Zoe was married at the time and going through a divorce.

    “She had had a couple of relationships with other people and we were only friends. But we were going through the same thing, speaking to the same people and comparing experiences.

    “We were giving each other mutual support. It was all very platonic for about a year and a half and we were each there when the other went through surgery.”

    Their shared experiences only helped to intensify the relationship, and by 2008 they both worried the budding romance could plunge Sarah’s relationship with Sylvia into jeopardy.

    The two had been forced to divorce after Sarah’s transition because the law then prevented marriage between two women.

    But they were still in love and living as a couple.

    Sarah, 41, says: “Infidelity wasn’t on the cards for me. But Zoe and I knew it was something that needed to be dealt with, because it was getting awkward.

    “So we sat down and basically thrashed out exactly where things were and what was happening.”

    Sarah was worried how Citizens Advice Bureau volunteer Sylvia, 39, would react.

    But she plucked up the courage to tell her about Zoe and was amazed when her former wife said she welcomed the idea of living together in a three-way relationship.

    After overcoming some initial teething problems, like the correct way to hang toilet paper, their relationship – described as a “triangle” of equal partners by Zoe – has gone from strength to strength.

    For the past seven years, the women who live in a three-bedroom home in Cambridge have shared everything, from support for the Liberal Democrats to a vast collection of old cameras, several pet snakes, and a love of climbing and sailing.

    Zoe O'Connell
    Close: Zoe O'Connell, transgender Lib Dem candidate, and her two friends, Sarah Brown and Sylvia Knight 

    The sleeping arrangements have changed over the years, but more for reasons of comfort than a dimming flame of passion.

    Sarah, a former microprocessor technician, says transparency and brutal honesty has underpinned the unusual relationship.

    “We tried sharing one room, but had to be honest in the end that three people in one bed doesn’t work very well.

    “The middle person doesn’t get a lot of sleep,” she says.

    “The situation currently is, I mostly sleep with Sylvia, and Zoe mostly sleeps by herself. That’s basically down to individual preference and comfort.”

    Zoe was bridesmaid when Sarah and Sylvia took their vows for a second time in a civil partnership six years ago.

    She says: “It just works. There’s more often someone there to be supportive.

    “If one person’s off doing something else then the other partner is still there, and you can just keep each other company. It’s given me strength since I underwent my transition.”

    Zoe says her relationship with her children – an 11-year-old boy and two girls, 13 and 14 – is “no different” to what it would be if she was still a divorced father.

    She spends weekends with the children near the old family home where she grew up in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, but instead of “Dad” they simply call her “Zoe”.

    Sarah Brown
    Campaigner: Sarah Brown 

    “The kids were three, four and five when we separated,” she says.

    “They were quite young, and it was a lot easier for them that way.

    “Over the course of about four to six months I was spending more and more time in ‘girl mode’, which seems like a very strange thing to say now.

    “They kind of gradually got used to it. There wasn’t much in the way of verbal explanation.

    “Since then I think they’ve just absorbed information via osmosis.

    “They hear the conversations happening around them every day and have picked it up, because it’s normal for them.”

    Even though they’ve been the victims of cruel playground jibes, Zoe has no regrets over her three-way relationship.

    She says: “It’s been difficult knowing that they’re on the receiving end of it all, but I don’t think children in the playground think that I’ve put them in this position.

    “They just see a way of getting at someone and they use that. They push that button. And the buttons are different for each child.”

    Zoe is more concerned that increased attention will be levelled at them on a national scale if she becomes an MP.

    Zoe O'Connell
    Campaigning: Liberal Party canidate Zoe O'Connell at home with her two partners Sarah Brown and Sylvia Knight 

    She says it is “inevitable” that she will become a flagbearer for gay and transgender issues if elected, and will fight to have them included in any equalities legislation that is passed during the next parliament.

    She says she and Sarah, who was a Lib Demcouncillor in Cambridge until last year, have been welcomed into the fold by politicians.

    But while Zoe likes to think the best of everybody, Sarah says she fears national politics will expose her partner to abuse from bigots online.

    “There are people who will go for you if you’re transgender and you stick your head above the parapet,” says Sarah. “They’re not very nice people.

    “The ones doing it have got form, and I’ve seen them doing it to other people. They know about Zoe, and I imagine she’s probably on their hit list.”

    But Zoe, who is contesting her family home constituency of Maldon, Essex, against sitting Tory MP John Whittingdale – certainly isn’t frightened of how people react to their relationship.

    She says: “There are all sorts of issues there, but I think nothing of giving Sarah or Sylvia a kiss goodbye outside work or after we meet for lunch. It’s not an issue.”

    Three other candidates are also vying to become the first transgender member of the Commons next month.