WINDY CITY BITCOINS: Crypto-currency futures soar on first ever exchange listing

Chicago – VIJAY SHAH via Daily Sabah

In a parallel with the surging value of crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin recently as well as public interest in the subject, the first ever listing of Bitcoin futures on a physical currency exchange saw a rapid rise in value, Turkey’s English language newspaper The Daily Sabah reported via wire agencies recently.

Yesterday saw the introduction of futures valued in Bitcoin put up on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), set for expiry in January 2018. Its initial value was set at 5 pm local time at USD $15,000 (GBP £11215.50). By 1:30 am the value of the futures had risen comfortably to $18,590 (GBP £13901), according to figures quoted in the Daily Sabah from trading firm CBOE Global Markets.

 

Bitcoin has enjoyed a bumper 2017, with ceiling-shattering rises in value. While starting off the year on a record low of USD $1,000 (GBP £748) per coin, the value rocketed to $16,858 (£12612) on online trading exchange Coindesk. The currency is currently around the $16,612 mark.

Bitcoin futures are a type of speculative financial instrument that allows investors to bet on whether the currency’s price in physical money will rise or fall.

According to Bob Fitzsimmons, a futures manager at Wedbush Securities, the initial offering of the CBOE Bitcoin futures was quiet and steady before interest, much like the currency itself, began to accelerate. Eventually a thousand trades were made in the first two hours after opening. Chicago may well soon become a hub for Bitcoin futures trading, as CBOE’s rival, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, also plans its own crypto-currency listing later this week, The Daily Sabah mentions.

The growing publicity of Bitcoin and other crypto-currencies such as Litecoin and Ethereum is enticing traders looking for something a little different, while still productive, despite many in the world of economics avoiding virtual currencies due to their lack of central authority, their fluidity in transactional spaces and their volatility in real-world prices.

“It gives it legitimacy. It recognizes that it’s an asset you can trade,” said Nick Colas, of Data Trek research.

The CBOE listing was given the go-ahead by the United States Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on the first day of this month. The CTFC did however warn would-be traders of Bitcoin’s ‘potentially high level of volatility and risk in trading these contracts (BTC futures)’. Others have expressed concerns that listing the futures on physical exchanges could see investors fall victim to the effects of ‘short sellers’, who bet on downward moves in assets.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

Bitcoin Sportsbook, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/SportsbookBTC

“Bitcoin futures soar in first hours of its debut on major exchange” – Daily Sabah Finance/Turkuvaz Haberleşme ve Yayincilik Anoni̇m Şi̇rketi̇ (10 December 2017) https://www.dailysabah.com/finance/2017/12/11/bitcoin-futures-soar-in-first-hours-of-its-debut-on-major-exchange

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Bitcoin, Stock Exchange, Profit – Free Image on Pixabay – 2643188” – geralt, Pixabay (11 September 2017) https://pixabay.com/en/bitcoin-stock-exchange-profit-share-2643188/

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NORTHERN IRELAND AFTER BREXIT: Residents to be able to keep EU membership

Belfast – VIJAY SHAH via JON STONE and Independent

As both the Brexit talks in Brussels and the situation over the status of the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic dominates political news in the U.K., the negotiation teams of the two sides have made a concession for residents of Northern Ireland, whereby they can still be EU citizens after Brexit is finalised in two years’ time, the Independent reported recently.

 

UK citizens born in the province will be able to continue their EU membership thanks to a deal struck by British prime minister Theresa May on Friday morning. The deal is a further continuation of an older agreement between the UK and EU whereby Northern Irish residents can apply for a Irish Republic passport. Even after the UK’s withdrawal, this agreement will be allowed to continue, meaning a Northern Ireland-born person can adopt Irish citizenship and therefore take advantage of border-free travel with the EU, as the southern part of Ireland is remaining within the union.

“Both Parties acknowledge that the 1998 Agreement recognises the birth right of all the people of Northern Ireland to choose to be Irish or British or both and be accepted as such,” the joint text agreed by the two sides stated in quotes published by the Independent.

“The people of Northern Ireland who are Irish citizens will continue to enjoy rights as EU citizens, including where they reside in Northern Ireland.”

The EU Commission have also suggested that Irish citizens from both sides of the border resident in the province should also be able to continue enjoying their rights as EU citizens post-Brexit. The deal is part of a breakthrough in recent talks, which hit a stumbling block over the question of the Irish border. The UK and EU will now move on to discussing future trade agreements.

SOURCES:

Cindy Chak.

I LOVE MY ‘FOREIGN’ SPOUSE: defend the rights of cross-border couples., Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/139807999382936/

“Brexit: Northern Irish will be able to remain EU citizens under deal” – Jon Stone, Independent (8 December 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-northern-ireland-keep-eu-citizenship-irish-border-a8099176.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Tuesday: my Irish passport arrived” – Sarah-Rose, Flickr (20 March 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/oh_darling/6999195061

CHEMICAL ‘COWARDS’ – Pair of robbers who attacked women with ammonia jailed

London – VIJAY SHAH via ALEX SHAW and Newham Recorder

Two vicious criminals who laughed as they launched attacks on people have been sentenced by a judge who described their attacks as ‘horrifying, cruel and barbaric’ have been sentenced, the Newham Recorder reports.

Joshua Jordan and Sadik Kamara launched attacks on women using ammonia liquid, which thy sprayed on their victims in order to rob them. After spraying the ‘high strength corrosive liquid’ in the violent robberies on two victims, they were reported as leaving the scenes laughing by witnesses. Kamara, aged 24, of Booth Road, Silvertown, and his accomplice Jordan, 20 years and living in Ruscoe Road, Canning Town, both in south Newham, were jailed for 14 years each by a judge at the Old Bailey court in London.

 

The trial, the culmination of proceedings that took place in early October, was presided over by Judge Dodd QC, who described the men’s attacks as “horrifying, cruel and barbaric” and said that the duo posed a significant risk to the public of further harm. It took the jury less than an hour to convict Jordan and Kamara.

The robbers would travel from their homes in Newham to the neighbouring borough of Hackney, where they were casing a convenience store in Mare Street, Central Hackney. Then on March 10, they launched their attack, targeting the 50-year-old storekeeper, who was working the tills alone at the time. Four men, believed to include Jordan and Kamara, entered the store. Without warning, the masked intruders walked straight to the storekeeper, with Kamara squirted the ammonia directly into her face. He did not make any demands for cash or even give the victim any warning.

Despite being sprayed from close range, CCTV footage from inside the store showed the storekeeper gallantly trying to fight off and kick out the gang, who are seen milling around the front of the shop. The scuffle sends store displays crashing to the floor as the woman tries to protect the shop from being plundered.

After fleeing the supermarket in a getaway car, the gang chanced upon their next victim, also a woman in her fifties, in Hackney’s Hassett Road. Two robbers got out of the car and bundled the woman to the ground, where they repeatedly sprayed the liquid into her face and stole her handbag. Police found discarded bottles of the substance at both crime scenes, the labels clearly stating that the ammonia could cause severe skin burns and blindness.

Both the shopkeeper and pedestrian who were assaulted were rushed to hospital with burns, one of which sustained chemical burns to her mouth also. While neither suffered permanent harm, the storekeeper was traumatised to the point she has now given up working at the shop.

CCTV cameras caught the gang, including Kamara and Jordan, who were subsequently arrested at their homes after police raids in May this year. Medical paperwork was found in Kamara’s home suggesting he had sought treatment, possibly for chemical burns, a day after the robberies. At the hospital, Kamara lied to doctors, claiming he had squirted ammonia in his eye while cleaning. He had since recovered from the burns.

The two robbers, who were described by investigators as little more than ‘cowards’, were convicted of two counts of applying a corrosive fluid with intent to burn, maim, disfigure or disable or to do some grievous bodily harm; one count of robbery; and one count of attempted robbery. Kamara was also told to make restitution of £2,000 (USD $2,678) to the victims.

Investigation lead Det Con Ben Kahane called the pair’s actions “cowardly in the extreme”.

“Five physically strong males preying on lone slightly built women to attack and rob,” he said, adding: “I hope they use the 14 years’ imprisonment that they have received to reflect on this.”

The report does not mention the fate of the other members of Kamara’s and Jordan’s gang. Acid attacks and assaults with corrosive chemicals such as ammonia and bleach are the rise in London, with many such attacks carried out for the purposes of robbing the victim.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“Jailed: “Cowardly” Newham robbers who burnt women’s faces with ammonia” – Alex Shaw, Newham Recorder/Archant (8 December 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/crime-court/jailed-cowardly-newham-robbers-who-burnt-women-s-faces-with-ammonia-1-5314590

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Liquid ammonia bottle.jpg” – Nadina Wiórkiewicz, Fotoedukacja/Wikimedia Commons (23 January 2011) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Liquid_ammonia_bottle.jpg

 

 

COPS WITH CAMS: Philippines police to trial body cameras next year

Silang – VIJAY SHAH via MARLLY ROME BONDOC and GMA News

Mirroring the introduction of body cameras for police forces in the countries of Europe and North America, the national police of the Philippines have announced that they will be considering fitting body cameras to their officers in the new year, according to a report by GMA News Online today.

The small cameras, usually attached to the police officer’s helmet, hat or upper body, help ensure the officer’s safety when apprehending criminals or carrying out raids, but also serve as valuable video evidence for court cases. This year, police in the United Kingdom have also adopted the cameras, particularly in road patrols and traffic law enforcement duties.

 

The director general of the Philippines National Police (PNP), Ronald Dela Rosa, welcomed the plan to fit his officers with camera devices, an initiative suggested by some local governments in the archipelago. However the final decision on procuring the cameras rests with the national government, who will assess whether the program can be funded from the country’s budget. If all goes well, the first cameras will be distributed to police forces next year, GMA News reports.

Dela Rosa, in a doorstop  interview conducted while visiting the PNP Academy in Silang, Cavite province yesterday, said that the initiative is currently passing through the Philippines Congress (parliament) where a bill on it is being debated. He also said the cameras will be useful in anti-narcotics operations and praised the idea as a ‘welcome development’. The Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, has made fighting the endemic drugs problem in the Philippines a major plank of his presidency, although critics at home and abroad have condemned Duterte for ordering the wholesale killing of both dealers and addicts, often by police and paramilitaries in his attempts to rid the archipelago of drugs. Thousands of people have already lost their lives in extrajudicial encounters.

Police in the city of Pasig, on the outskirts of capital Manila, have already started wearing cameras since last week, with Eastern Police District director Chief Superintendent Romulo Sapitula  announcing that the cameras would help prevent police officers there from accusations of improper behaviour when carrying out their duties. A total of 48 devices were procured, with each police unit receiving three.

The country’s Congress is considering making it legally compulsory for police to wear body cameras and a portion of the budget has been set aside to obtain more than 37,000 devices for distribution nationally.

SOURCES:

HEM Newsbreakers, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-newsbreakers

GMA News, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/gmanews

“PNP may start procuring body cameras next year — Dela Rosa” – Marlly Rome Bondoc, GMA News Online/GMA News (3 December 2017) http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/635246/pnp-may-start-procuring-body-cameras-next-year-dela-rosa/story/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free photo: Bodyworn, Body Camera – Free Image on Pixabay – 794106” – Utility_Inc, Pixabay (3 April 2015) https://pixabay.com/en/bodyworn-body-camera-794106/

HIS EXCELLENCY PIKACHU: Japan foreign minister appoints children’s characters as ambassadors

Osaka – VIJAY SHAH via RAMIN NASIBOV, VICTORIA HO and Mashable

In a very ordinary development from Japan this past week, the country’s foreign minister Taro Kano appointed popular children’s characters Pikachu, from the cult series Pokémon alongside Hello Kitty as official ambassadors for the city of Osaka, Mashable online magazine reported yesterday.

In honour of their role in publicising Japan around the world, the foreign minister, who is a representative of the Liberal Democratic Party, announced in an English message on the 29th November, that Pikachu and Hello Kitty would represent Osaka in its bid to host the World Expo 2025. Accompanying the tweet were two photos of Kono handing official dossiers of appointment to two individuals dressed in the children’s cartoon character costumes.

 

Hello Kitty, designed by Yuko Shimizu for Sanrio, has been adored by countless girls and boys since 1974, while Pikachu, the lead character of the animated Pokémon series and friend of human youngster Ash Ketchum, who always chooses him to battle other Pokemon, will be considerably pleased at being chosen for this prestigious appointment by the government of Japan. Pikachu first appeared on a video game in 1996 and the TV cartoon became a defining memory of the late 1990s and early 2000s

The appointments come as Osaka vies for the chance to host the 2025 Expo alongside three other nominated cities, Paris, France; Yekaterinburg, Russia; and Baku, Azerbaijan. If Osaka does win the bid, it will be next in line after Dubai hosts the 2020 event. The winner will be announced in November 2018.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

RΛMIN NΛSIBOV, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/RaminNasibov

“Pikachu gets his highest honor yet, becomes Japan city ambassador” – Victoria Ho, Mashable UK/Mashable, Inc. (1 December 2017) http://mashable.com/2017/12/01/pikachu-ambassador-osaka/#0YiaW17MCkqa

KONO Taro, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/konotaromp

 

 

DRUG DEALERS IN UNIFORMS: Mauritius policeman arrested with stash of pills

Moka – VIJAY SHAH via Mo Ti News

A policeman on the island of Mauritius has been arrested after he was found in possession of a drug described by media as the ‘new Valium’, local news site Mo Ti News reports.

Avinash Buleeram, a constable aged 29 attached to a police station in Moka, in the island’s centre, was found carrying ninety pills of a drug called Pregabalin. The highly potent drug is normally used to treat epilepsy, fibromyalgia, nerve pain and anxiety, but has also raised concerns due to its increasing use as a recreational drug, especially among prisoners, and has the effects of calming and ‘taking the edge off of things’. Pregabalin can be lethal in high doses.

 

Buleeram was arrested this past Thursday by the Flacq district’s drug squad while at a bus station in the small town of Sebastopol in Mauritius’ east, close to the border of Flacq and Moka districts. The drugs were allegedly found in a grey Toyota car he was driving with a friend. Both men were promptly arrested and appeared at a court in Flacq on Friday.

The constable, who has six years’ service with the Mauritian police, is now being detained at Beau Bassin central jail, after fellow police officers protested against Buleeram being set free on bail. He could face a drug trafficking charge. Buleeram’s passenger was also found in possession of a cannabis cigarette, but was successful in getting bail.

Officers arrested the two man based on surveillance, catching them unawares at the Sebastopol bus station. A search of the vehicle revealed cigarettes blended with cannabis and a box of Pregabalin tablets at 150 mg strength. Police carried out further searches, turning up another 34 Pregabalin pills along with 27 tablets of another version of the drug,  marketed as Cabalin.

Buleeram was found not to have a medical prescription for the pills seized from him, and his friend denied all knowledge of the constable’s possession. It was not reported for what reason Buleeram had the drugs.

SOURCES:

Salim Kurreemun.

Radio Plus CONSEIL POLITIQUE . , Mauritius/Ile-Maurice, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/groups/radioplusilemaurice/

“Possession de 90 comprimés de Pregabalin: Le policier reste en détention” – Mo Ti News (25 November 2017) http://motinews.info/news/possession-de-90-comprimes-de-pregabalin-le-policier-reste-en-detention

“Pregabalin: Doctors call for ‘new Valium’ to be restricted amid sharp rise in abuse” – Katie Forster, The Independent (30 June 2017) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/pregabalin-new-valium-doctors-call-restricted-sharp-rise-abuse-misuse-prisons-addiction-bma-yasir-a7817601.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“File:Lyrica 150mg box in Finland 20110618.jpg” – Acdx, Wikipedia (18 June 2011) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyrica_150mg_box_in_Finland_20110618.jpg

EXCEL CAREERS FAIR: Arrives at Newham’s ExCel centre

London – VIJAY SHAH via TOM HORTON and Newham Recorder

The UK’s largest careers fair has made its way to the ExCel centre in Newham, east London this weekend, attracting around 30,000 visitors to the Custom House area in search of new and exciting employment opportunities, local newspaper the Newham Recorder reported on Thursday.

 

Skills London 2017 is geared towards young people between the ages of 15 and 24, and is hosted by London First and Prospects, and is supported by the office of the Mayor of London and the National Careers Service. The event will feature a selection of interactive activities and inspirational careers options for youngsters looking for their future career choice or to enter a new line of work.

The event is open to students, teachers, career advisors and jobseekers, with an astonishing 40,000 jobs on offer from 200 exhibitors from the fields of education, leading employers, training courses and job experts. Companies such as Google, Heathrow Airport and the supermarket chain Tesco and others will be on hand to offer careers advice and guidance.

Skills London is now in its tenth year and has been lauded for its high levels of interactivity and engagement with its target audience in a fun and inspiring atmosphere. Speaking to the Recorder on the fair, Jasmine Whitbread, the chief executive of London First, said: “London’s leading employers are stepping up to help young people make the most of their potential.”

The staging of the event in one of London’s lowest ranking areas for youth employment is also a sign of the recovery of the British economy after the 2008 financial crash which saw young people bear the brunt of job losses and a decline in opportunities.

Skills London 2017 takes place over 24-25 November from 9.30am to 4.00pm. Entry is free.

SOURCES:

Newham Recorder, Facebook, Facebook Inc. https://www.facebook.com/Newham.Recorder/

“UK’s largest careers fair expected to bring 30,000 to the ExCel over the next two days” – Tom Horton, Newham Recorder/Archant (23 November 2017) http://www.newhamrecorder.co.uk/news/uk-s-largest-careers-fair-expected-to-bring-30-000-to-the-excel-over-the-next-two-days-1-5293496

“Skills London 2017 – ExCeL London 24 & 25 November 2017” – skills London 2017/Skills London http://www.skillslondon.co.uk/Home.aspx

“About”- skills London 2017/Skills London http://www.skillslondon.co.uk/About.aspx

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Youth on the Move – Skills London” – DG EMPL, Flickr (22 November 2014) https://www.flickr.com/photos/socialeurope/15861149125

 

BUSINESS BOOK AWARDS: Authors in business invited to contribute to inaugural event

London – VIJAY SHAH via journalism.co.uk

Authors of books geared towards business are being invited to submit their work to the first ever Business Book Awards in the United Kingdom, journalism.co.uk reports.

The awards, which take place for the first time at London’s Grange City Hotel on the 16th of March, 2018, were founded by long established mentor and publisher for hundred of UK entrepreneurs, Lucy McCarraher. She will be working with event organisers ThinkFest on the event. McCarraher is also a prolific author, with eleven books under her name, and is also the co-founder and managing editor of publishing firm Rethink Press. She has seen stints as a writing coach, journalist and a public speaker in a varied and exciting career that has taken her from the UK to Singapore and Australia.

 

The Business Book Awards aim to celebrate business book authors and the expertise, life experiences and knowledge they help bring to a wider audience, as well as increase public awareness and appreciation of the work business writers do, in a world of niche publishing that is largely ignored by the mainstream reading economy. The role of business authors has been slowly thrust into the limelight thanks to the popularity of business-oriented TV programmes like The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, as well as the UK’s government’s encouragement of entrepreneurship and small/medium enterprises as a whole.

Many major ‘celebrities’ in the business book publishing world have pledged their support, including one of the UK’s most successful business authors, Shaa Wasmund MBE, and co-founder of Dent Global, Daniel Priestley, author of four bestselling business books. Other key attendees expected are Heather Townsend, author of The Financial Times Guide to Business Networking, and Bridget Shine, the Chief Executive of the Independent Publishers Guild (IPG).

A panel of top judges has also been selected, including head judge Alison Jones,  founder of Practical Inspiration Publishing, a partnership publishing company. She is also the host of The Extraordinary Business Book Club, a podcast and community for writers and readers of extraordinary business books, and author of This Book Means Business. She worked for twenty-five years with leading book companies such as Chambers, Oxford University Press and Macmillan and was director of innovation strategy at Palgrave Macmillan. Joining Jones at the judge’s table will be John Williams – founder of The Ideas Lab and accomplished business author, and Sian Prime – coach and facilitator in innovation and creative entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths, University of London.

Founder Lucy McCarraher told journalism.co.uk: “Every business author should enter for these awards. The high profile ambassadors, the well qualified judges and the integrity of the judging process means the Business Book Awards carry high kudos in the business world and further afield. Short-listed and winning authors will be able to take advantage of the publicity and promotion.

‘The Business Book Awards welcomes every good book and every method of publication. I want to recognise business book publishing and authorship in all its forms, and bring the best authors to public recognition. This is a truly egalitarian initiative, we welcome those who self-publish and have a broad outlook.”

The awards are open to authors with work published in 2017, and the deadline for submissions is 31st December 2017. The shortlist of nominees will be announced on 17th January, with one business author being selected for Business Book of the Year 2018, the highest honour to be bestowed at the ceremony.

Authors or publishers wishing to enter the awards can do so through the website: https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk/enter/.

SOURCES:

“Call for business authors to enter the Inaugural Business Book Awards” – Famous Publicity Ltd, journalism.co.uk/Mousetrap Media Ltd (16 November 2017) https://www.journalism.co.uk/press-releases/call-for-business-authors-to-enter-the-inaugural-business-book-awards-/s66/a713322/

“Business Book Awards – Celebrating the Best in Business Books” – The Business Book Awards/Lucy McGarraher/ThinkFest https://www.businessbookawards.co.uk/

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free stock photo of books, business, coffee” – Pixabay via Pexels (8 March 2015) https://www.pexels.com/photo/books-business-coffee-computer-259162/

SULLEE J: Pay Homage ft. Fudge

 

Accomplished Baltimore rap artist Sullee Justice (Sullee J) returns with a brand new single off his fresh new EP album “Spear”, released this past Wednesday. The single, “Pay Homage” is a special collaboration with local talent Fudge, with production by Valentine Beats.

Pay Homage focuses on the passion that fuels an artist as they head for their big break and struggles they face as they try to climb to the top of their game. One hundred percent animated and with backing vocals from both Sullee and Fudge, you hear the struggle told as a story while navigating life, police corruption, Islamophobia, crime and other issues of now. Even the Donald makes an appearance sitting in the Oval Room, voting people off like he was an America’s Got Talent judge.

The video highlights the hypocrisy in the American mainstream media, particularly against the Muslim community and how certain circumstances are staged in order to encourage hatred against a minority.

Pay Homage’s amazing new video can be viewed on the official GlobalFaction YouTube channel and you can also listen free of charge and download it to your Spotify album here.

officialsulleej.com

#TeamJustice

 

 

SOURCE/CREDITS:

Team Justice, GlobalFaction

WHO – Issues statement demanding unlimited aid access to Syrian crisis victims

Cairo – VIJAY SHAH

The Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO), a subdivision of the World Health Organization has released a statement calling for unimpeded and immediate access to civilians affected by the ongoing civil war in Syria, HEM News Agency exclusively reports.

The statement, prepared in Cairo, Egypt and released today, expressed concerns for trapped victims of the war currently stranded in the eastern Ghouta district just outside the Syrian capital of Damascus, where there has been intense fighting between the army of Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad and various rebel groups. 

 

EMRO believes that up to 400,000 people are trapped in two locales in the Ghouta district, Kafr Batna and Saqba, which are currently under siege. The stalemate has made it very difficult for the WHO and aid agencies such as the Syrian Red Crescent to access the area to treat survivors and airlift the critically injured to hospitals in safer parts of Damascus and the city of Idlib. The trapped are experiencing dangerous levels of malnutrition, health and security levels, and supplies of food and medicine are fast running out. Diseases associated with poor health and overcrowding, including brucellosis, hepatitis A and tuberculosis have become highly prevalent. One resident is said to have died from kidney failure after drinking filthy water out of desperation.

The office also warns that many of the children in Ghouta are severely malnourished with nearly thirty needing rapid emergency airlifts but unable to leave due to the Syrian government allegedly refusing complete access to aid workers. Heavy bombardment of many parts of Syria’s capital and streams of refugees fleeing Damascus and indeed the country, altogether, have made bringing in help for those left behind dangerous and logistically difficult for aid workers trying to help the wounded and sick.

WHO officials have managed to penetrate only parts of the area of rural Damascus under siege, and successfully delivered around five tonnes of health supplies, enough for 35,000 medical procedures. The Red Crescent also brought in food and health supplies in the aid dropoff, which occurred on the 30th of October.

WHO representative in Syria Elizabeth Hoff said in the statement concerning the crisis in Ghouta district: “The situation is heartbreaking’

“For months, the people of eastern Ghouta have been subjected to sustained deprivation, restrictions on humanitarian access and serious human rights violations. We have now reached a critical point, where the lives of hundreds of people, including many children, are at stake. If they do not immediately get the medical care they urgently need, they will most likely die.”

The WHO is demanding complete and unimpeded access to Ghouta, and calls on all parties in the conflict to cease attacks on innocent civilians, enable the evacuation of wounded civilians, especially the young, and give safe passage to medical teams and supplies.

SOURCES:

HEM Businesses, HEM News Agency, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/halfeatenmind/lists/hem-businesses

OCHA Syria, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/OCHA_Syria

WHO, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/WHO

“WHO calls for immediate and unimpeded access to save lives in eastern Ghouta, Syrian Arab Republic” – World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (12 November 2017) http://www.emro.who.int/syr/syria-news/who-calls-for-immediate-and-unimpeded-access-to-save-lives-in-eastern-ghouta-syrian-arab-republic.html

IMAGE CREDIT:

“Free Syrian Army rebel trying to save his friend’s life.” – Freedom House, Flickr (23 November 2012) https://www.flickr.com/photos/syriafreedom/8212025254