The cyber way to cure cancer

Non-invasive surgery using cutting-edge technology to cure tumours and cancer was tested on legendary South African cricketer, Clive Rice. His condition after one month was jaw dropping!

Robotic_CyberKnife_at_St._Marys_Of_MichiganUsually people with cancerous tumours take years to complete (or never complete) the emotional ride, but former South African all-round cricketer and Proteas captain Clive Rice (65) successfully completed his tumour treatment in one month.

After collapsing in his home late February this year, scans confirmed Rice had a brain tumour which was too deep for neurosurgeons to remove it with invasive surgery.

Within the next few day Rice was on his way to Bangalore, India to receive innovative robotic radiation treatment called ‘Cyberknife laser surgery’ at the Health Care Global Hospital. The machine, with the help of pioneering software, pinpoints the exact position of the tumour after which the linear accelerator sends out multiple high dosages of radiation beams targeted at the affected area.  The collective energy of the beams attack the cancerous tissue with minimal effect on healthy organs.

VIDEO: CyberKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Rice had three treatments, each an hour long. The doctors tied him to a table to keep him from moving and let the machine float around to do the rest.

With this new advanced technology doctors are also able to treat small effected areas accurately with the built-in X-ray cameras that monitor the patient’s breathing.

The procedure “offers hope to cancer patients with tumours which are otherwise inoperable due to their proximity to major blood vessels or sensitive organs,” said Rice’s radio oncologist, Dr Srivani Sridhar.

According to Sridhar, this safe and pain free method can be used to treat a range of tumours, cancers and benign diseases, including the liver, lungs and bones.

Sridhar recommends this method particularly for inoperable and recurring tumours, to reduce the treatment time significantly.

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BOUNCE BACK: 50-year-old Clive Rice in 2000. Photo: Laurence Griffiths

Rice was told by South African doctors that he was going to die, but through this treatment he received a new breath of live. He said he woke up every day feeling better and labelled the success of the treatment a ‘miracle’.

People around the world are excited and optimistic about beating cancer with this cutting-edge technology. There is no question that hospitals around the world should have at least one of these machines. The real question is, how much does this kind of treatment cost?

Published: The News Hub on 02 July 2015

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir hides behind the AU’s skirt

Wanted Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, charged with war crimes has been avoiding arrest for the last six year. He has received protection from various of his AU friends and this past week was no different.

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WANTED: 71-year-old Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. Photo: Provided

With war crime charges and a number of genocide counts against him, Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir fled from South Africa as its government turned a blind eye.

As the host of the 25th African Union Summit, South Africa made themselves ready to receive 54 state leaders last weekend. Amongst these leaders was al-Bashir, who evidently has had two warrants out for his arrest since 2009. The International Criminal Court (ICC) alleged that al-Bashir committed war crimes against Darfur, leaving 300 000 people dead and over 2.5 million displaced. As South Africa is a signatory of the ICC, the government was called upon to meet their obligations in arresting Sudan’s president with his entering the country. The African National Congress (ANC) manoeuvred a gazette in which the AU meeting attendees were granted immunity- more specifically al-Bashir. Al-Bashir was given the freedom by South African government to roam in the country with an alleged promise from President Jacob Zuma that he would not be arrested by South African police. The wanted president attended the summit on Sunday in Sandton, Johannesburg.

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AU DISOBEDIENCE: 25th AU summit host, South African president Jacob Zuma (left) sitting next to the Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir who has had two warrants out for his arrest since 2009. Photo: Provided

During the summit African states, including South Africa, accused the ICC of only targeting African political leaders, while disregarding the crimes committed by leaders of the Middle-East. The ANC called for a review of the ICC as it “is no longer useful for the purpose for which it was intended.” According to the African News Agency Zimbabwean president and AU chairman, Robert Mugabe said “[t]his is not the headquarters of the ICC; we don’t want it in this region at all,” after the Summit on Sunday night.

The ICC responded to the accusations, denying any discrimination arguing that most cases are brought to the ICC by African countries.

After not meeting their obligation to arrest al-Shabir, the human rights promoter, Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC), filed an urgent application at the Pretoria High Court against the government to overturn its immunity grant decision. Judge Hans Fabricuis issued an interim order to prevent the accused president from leaving the country. Fabricuis urged the South African government on Monday to use all its power to keep al-Bashir in the country until the SALC’s application was heard. Fabricuis said if he left the country, South Africa’s international reputation will be at stake.

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CAUGHT FLEEING: President al-Bashir’s plane as it took-off from Waterkloof Airforce Base on Monday afternoon. Photo: Alet Pretorius.

As the court was in session the charged president’s plane took off from Waterkloof Airforce Base outside Pretoria. Questions linger whether the South African government had a hand in al-Bashir’s escape as no one can land or depart from the base without the authorities’ permission. After Al-Bashir’s mysterious departure Judge President Dustan Mlambo ordered government to file an affidavit to explain how and when the Sudanese president left the country. Advocate for the state, William Mokhari said al-Bashir’s name was not on the passenger list and further conveyed that State Security Minister, Siyabonga Cwele, said “the circumstances of departure will be fully investigated.”

Since al-Bashir’s illegal departure from South Africa to Khartoum, Sudan on Monday a formal application of non-compliance was issued against South African government for failing to keep al-Bashir in the country with the intent to report the matter to the UN Security Council. Meanwhile South Africans take to social media to question the decisions of their leadership as South Africa’s written word is questioned internationally.

Published: The News Hub on 18 June 2015

Zuma’s shady pardoning of Nkandla scandal

South African president’s scandalous R215 million home built with tax-payers’ money, was written off by Minister of Police as necessary for the security of the president and his family.

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President Jacob Zuma’s R215 million Nkandla homestead in KwaZulu-Natal. Photo: Provided

A second report on South African president Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead was released last week by Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko, which created an outcry of disappointment and embarrassment from the public.

Nhleko’s controversial report argues that all the features of Nkandla serve “clear” and ‘important” security tenacities. Nhleko concluded in his 50-page report that Zuma has no obligation to pay back any money for non-security features, as there are none.

Nhleko and Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi even argued that more money should be spent to upgrade the president’s private rural homestead.

The first Nkandla report made by Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was released in March 2014, which found that Zuma made unnecessary upgrades to Nkandla, costing tax-payers R215 million.

Madonsela concluded that Zuma has to “pay a reasonable percentage of the cost of the measures as determined with the assistance of the National Treasury.”

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Minister of Polics, Nathi Nhleko trying to reason for his Nkandla report pardoning Zuma of paying back money.

Some non-security related features of Nkandla (a fire pool, amphitheatre, cattle kraal, chicken coup and a visitors’ centre) were described as unjustifiably benefitting the president and his family by Madonsela and it is these costs that should be repaid. The fire pool itself cost R3.9 million, but was justified as a security feature by Nhleko to help with fires.

After Madonsela’s report the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party used its dominance in parliament November 2014 to adopt a report which would clear Zuma of any misconduct.

The committee, which was made up of only ANC MPs shoved the blame of Nkandla on the architect, Minenhle Makhanya. The committee then took Makhanya to court to recover the costs.

Opposition parties have ignored the committee’s findings and called Nhleko’s report as “whitewash” and “insult” to South African citizens.

Madonsela argues that Nhleko’s report is full of “misstatements, inaccuracies, incomplete information, innuendos and false accusations.” She contests that the statement that no public money was used to fund Nkandla couldn’t be further from the truth.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu released a statement in which he conveyed his unhappiness about the report. The archbishop said public representatives have humiliated South Africans and Zuma laughed at those trying to hold him accountable for spending tax-payers’ money on Nkandla.

Various civil society organisations, opposition parties and the public protector are looking in to taking the case to court. It is evident that the Nkandla saga is far from over.

Published:  The News Hub 1 June 2015

DA’s choice: Maimane

South Africa’s biggest opposition party, Democratic Alliance (DA), gathered in Port Elizabeth today and elected a new party leader: Mmusi Maimane.

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The newly elected leader of the DA, Mmusi Maimane. Photo: Provided

Maimane is the first elected black leader of the opposition party and also the youngest (aged 34) to hold the title.

Since DA leader of eight years, Helen Zille, announced that she would not be running for re-election in mid-April, candidates have scrambled to lock in support from their peers.

The DA’s elective conference opened with Maimane as the clear favourite to succeed Zille, but experience and knowledge of politics was on the side of his strongest opponent, Wilmot James.

James only joined the DA leadership in 2008 with no previous connection to the party or its ancestors. However, he was involved in the Black Consciousness Movement and the United Democratic Front before apartheid ended.  Since his involvement with the DA James shadowed several ministers, represented the party as a Member of Parliament and until now was its Federal Chairperson.

Maimane has as little as four years of formal political experience. He became noticed after the DA backed him as their mayoral candidate for Johannesburg in the 2011 Municipal elections. Although he didn’t become mayor, the DA appointed him as their lead representative in the Johannesburg City Council. November 2011 Maimane became the DA’s National Spokesperson and with the 2014 elections became the party’s official leader in the National Assembly.

Both candidates have worked their way up the party ladder quite quickly in the short time that they have been active members. Both have impressive educational backgrounds and both have served in important positions.

The two bulls stepped confidently into a televised debate Monday night, which political analysts have called a competition between merit and popularity. The debate demanded the candidates to convey their positions on sensitive topics, such as gay rights, religion and the death penalty.

These analysts believed that James won the debate because his debating skills were more impressive as he produced well formulated answers.  Maimane, on the other hand, used his charm and charismatic skills to win the audience over.

After the debate it seemed as if James headed in the bad-mouthing direction by telling The Star newspaper that he was presenting an alternative to the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party and Maimane was presenting a version of the ANC.  Following James’ comment, Maimane’s campaign manager, Geordin Hill-Lewis, re-informed the media of James’ past connection with the ANC.

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Mmusi Maimane dancing with outgoing DA leader of eight years, Helen Zille. Photo: Provided

 

The heated battle came to a halt when DA leaders made their votes early this morning. When the afternoon swung by outgoing leader Zille announced Maimane as the new leader.

No matter the banter that lead-up to the election, the party has spoken. Maimane is an intelligent man and popular with the people. Although apartheid ended more than 20 years ago, the majority of South Africans are continuously afraid that a white leader would bring back the oppressive system. If the leading opposition party is to stand a chance at taking national office, it had to get a black leader- no offense to Zille’s skills. Now that the DA has Maimane as its leader, the Municipal elections next year will prove intensely interesting. Will Maimane handle it?

Published: The News Hub on 10 May 2015

Is this the South Africa Mandela fought for?

Over the last two weeks foreign nationals living in South Africa have been stoned in the streets and displaced from their homes. With five deaths and hundreds injured, foreigners are fearing for their lives as the violence continues. These events have been debatably called acts of xenophobia or ‘afrophobia’.

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 Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini, made a speech in Pongola, KwaZulu-Natal near the end of March in which he complained about crime and the dirty streets of South Africa. The speech was recorded and translated by eNCA. In the translation the king says that immigrants must “take their bags and go.”

Since then some South Africans have incited violence against foreigners with the king’s words in mind. Chanting “the king has spoken” as they run ramped through the streets stoning foreigners.

Some South Africans have blamed foreigners of taking their jobs and opportunities. Humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers named the high levels of poverty, unemployment and other socio-economic issue to be the cause of the xenophobic attack “but no matter what the grievances, violence is unacceptable.”

On Monday there was a massive mob of about 2 000 people who took to the streets of Durban and looted the shops of foreign nationals while physically assaulting them. In the hype of the event three South Africans were killed along with two foreigners. Among the killed was a 14-year-old boy who was shot during the looting and died in hospital.

Since then the violence has spread across the country but taken a more solid grip in the Gauteng province.

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Throughout this week xenophobic attacks took place in Johannesburg CBD, Primrose and hit Benoni the hardest on Thursday afternoon. Shops of foreigners have been set on fire, people have been stoned, threatened and forced out of their homes. An anti-xenophobia march in Durban, where thousands attended, ended in mayhem as the police started firing tear gas and water cannons at the crows.

President Jacob Zuma addressed the country on Wednesday condemning the act where people are attacked and killed. Zuma called the current violent events in the country unacceptable. “We cannot accept that when there are challenges we use violence, particularly to our brothers and sisters from the continent.” He also promised that his government will look into the complaint of illegal and undocumented migrants who take over businesses and perpetrate crime.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and Ahmed Kathrada Foundation welcomed the efforts by the Zuma government to put a stop to the conflict, but added: “For too long, South Africans in leadership positions have either ignored the crisis or stoked the fires of hatred.”

Authorities of African countries, such as Malawi and Zimbabwe, are appalled by the attacks and are making plans to get their people out of South Africa. Zimbabwean Environment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, took to Twitter saying that the xenophobic attack in South Africa were a shame on Africans and sad. Another Zimbabwean minister also took to social media saying that the attacks are worse than apartheid.

Mozambicans have responded to the xenophobic attacks in South Africa Friday night, by throwing South Africans with rocks and chasing them to the border. A South African truck driver, John Mashiloane, said that when he wanted to return to Mozambique on Saturday morning a mob of about 300 people were waiting just across the border and threw his truck with stones once again. This border post has been barricaded by Mozambicans since Friday night, not allowing anyone through the post.

Although one cannot pin-point one specific thing that has caused this violence in South Africa, it is clear that no matter what the cause, the reaction is making Mandela turn in his grave. The legendary freedom fighter’s work, success and views are being challenged by the South Africans participating in these attacks. If foreigners, especially African foreigners, are not accepted in South Africa, is it truly a Rainbow Nation?

Published: The News Hub on 20 April 2015