Showing posts with label Britain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Britain. Show all posts

February 22, 2019

One Out of Five Gay Brits Trying to Change Sexual Orientation Ends Up Committing Suicide

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A fifth of gay, lesbian and bisexual British people who have tried to change their sexuality have attempted suicide, while others have been raped in an effort to make them straight, according to a study of “conversion therapy” in Britain.

Of 458 people who said they had experience of trying to become straight, 91 had attempted suicide and 22 had been forced to have sex with someone of the opposite gender, according to the survey, which had 4,613 total respondents.

It was conducted by the Ozanne Foundation, a charity, to gather evidence of the extent and impact of conversion therapy and released on Wednesday.

“There are young people’s lives who are very significantly at risk,” said Jayne Ozanne, a Christian who founded the charity to work with religious organizations on LGBT+ inclusion.

Ozanne suffered two nervous breakdowns when she failed to change and then suppress her own attraction to women, she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis, electric shocks and fasting, is based on the belief, common in conservative religious communities, that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.

Malta, Ecuador and just over a dozen U.S. states have outlawed it, according to the ILGA, a network of LGBT+ rights groups. Several nations are considering bans, including Britain, New Zealand and Australia.

The survey, which was put out online, raised issues of consent, with 76 people saying they had been forced to undergo conversion therapy.

Over half of survey respondents who had tried or been forced to try to change their sexuality were 18 or under when it first happened. 

They were also overwhelmingly religious. More than 90 percent attended a church as a child and two-fifths had been through “deliverance ministry,” which aims to cast out evil spirits.

The pressure to change their sexuality went hand-in-hand with psychological problems. Around 60 percent said they had suffered mental health issues as a result, three-fifths of whom were men.

“There is what I call an abusive mindset that says it’s always your fault,” said Ozanne, who tried “dozens” of types of conversion therapy in Britain, Germany, Argentina and the United States.

“It constantly leaves you in a negative place,” she said. “It makes you hate yourself for who you are.”

The survey’s respondents were whiter and more likely to be English and Christian than Britain’s general population. More than half were not straight.

Ozanne admitted that the survey had failed to reach British ethnic minorities and those from other religions. However, she said that the results should still be taken seriously, given the level of attempted suicides and other mental health issues.

Bisi Alimi, a gay activist who fled to Britain after being attacked in Nigeria, said that conversion therapy among British minorities often included forced marriage to someone of the opposite gender and being sent back to their family’s country.

Both Ozanne and Alimi supported banning conversion therapy. 
“If you criminalize it, it will go underground,” Alimi said. “We cannot stop the problem . . . but we can at least reduce the damage to people.”

SOURCE: Ozanne Foundation, online February 20, 2019.

December 19, 2018

Unlike The US With A Homophobic President Gay Britons Will Get Counted on Their Census


The 22 official surveys that estimate the number of lesbian, gay and bisexual Britons would disgrace the back of an envelope. According to one, 0.9% of Britons are not heterosexual. Another puts that figure at 5.5%. Guesstimates for the transgender population are fuzzy, too. The government “tentatively” reckons there are 200,000-500,000. So Lisa Power, who co-founded Stonewall, an lgbt charity, says she is delighted that statisticians plan to ask for the first time about sexual orientation and gender identity in the next census, in 2021. “If you don’t count, you don’t count.”

Policymakers will find the figures helpful. lgbt folk have more mental-health troubles than straight people, says Paul Twocock of Stonewall. Wonks armed with data ought to be able to meet this demand more accurately. The government struggles to budget for policies to promote minority rights, like those that allow gay marriage or ban employment discrimination. Census data would let councils see the extent to which such minorities were represented in their areas. Doctors’ surveys suggest an uneven spread among London boroughs, for example. One in ten residents in Lambeth—which includes Vauxhall, a gay hotspot—say they are not straight, compared with one in 70 in Havering.

The Economist

September 26, 2018

Britain's Outperforms and is Cheaper than US on HIV Drugs-- Why Is That?

Britain’s National Health Service far outperforms America’s health care system — for far less money — at keeping H.I.V. patients healthy.

By Tina Rosenberg
Ms. Rosenberg is a co-founder of the Solutions Journalism Network, which supports rigorous reporting about responses to social problems.  

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images  Last week, the High Court of England and Wales announced a momentous decision: It invalidated the pharmaceutical company Gilead’s patent on Truvada, opening the way to generic competition.

Truvada, a combination of two drugs, is one of the world’s most-used H.I.V. medicines. For treating H.I.V., it’s used along with a third drug. But many H.I.V.-negative people also take Truvada daily as a preventive. That’s called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP.
In the United States, Truvada is available only as a brand-name drug. It costs $20,000 a year.

Here’s how it will work in Britain’s National Health Service, according to Dr. Andrew Hill, a senior research fellow at Liverpool University who studies the cost of medicines. “The N.H.S. will say to a group of generic companies: ‘We need PrEP for 20,000 people. Give us your best price.’” The cost of making PrEP is $55 per year, Dr. Hill said. He believes that the generic will sell for between $100 and $200.

All over the world, more and more people are taking H.I.V. drugs. These medicines are very good at their job — keeping people healthy and noncontagious — so most patients will take them until they die of something that isn’t H.I.V. Patients are also starting earlier on antiretroviral therapy; the new recommendation is to start immediately upon diagnosis. And now with PrEP, a potentially enormous new group of patients has arisen: H.I.V.-negative people who are at risk for catching the virus. 

ion for the same amount or less money each year. England’s region of the health service spends about half a billion dollars per year on H.I.V. drugs. There are no increases for inflation, and lots of pressures for further cuts.

It’s lucky, then, that Truvada will have generic competition. It should allow the health service to greatly lower costs and offer PrEP to anyone who needs it.
The health service does an admirable job with H.I.V. Around the world, countries measure the percentage of people living with H.I.V. who have no virus detectable in their blood. In the United States, only 49 percent have achieved this. In Britain, the number is 78 percent.

While the National Health Service has a lot of problems, it has some huge advantages over the American system that allow it to provide high-quality H.I.V. care in a cost-efficient manner.

So it’s worth looking at what the British health service does right, because some of those strategies could work in America, even though the two systems are structured very differently.  

About the American health care system’s indifference to cost. There’s virtually no one in the system with the incentive, responsibility or power to lower the astronomical cost of H.I.V. drugs. Panels that establish guidelines recommend, and doctors tend to use, the newest drugs, even if they offer little benefit over existing ones. Patients are content because manufacturers help them with co-pays for expensive drugs. Generics are almost never used.

This year, the generic company Mylan introduced some lower-cost medicines. They are still not cheap; Mylan’s equivalent of Truvada costs $12,000 a year. Still, the creation of these new drugs has inspired a few experimental attempts to substitute them for equivalents that are even more expensive.

Even when brand-name drugs have no generic equivalents, the medicines in the British system cost a small fraction of what they cost in America. Most brand-name triple therapies cost about $6,500, said Dr. Laura Waters, an H.I.V. physician who is a member of the health service’s H.I.V. Clinical Reference Group, which sets policy. She said that a combination pill that includes some generics would cost between $2,600 and $4,000. Full generics usually cost 70 to 80 percent less than comparable brand names. One completely generic H.I.V. regimen costs $400 per year.

The National Health Service has long relied on generics to treat most diseases. But that wasn’t the case with H.I.V. Once effective drugs were developed, the field moved so fast that by the time a drug went off patent, it was no longer commonly prescribed.

But that’s not true anymore.
The first H.I.V. therapies, in 1995, were lifesaving — and toxic, with horrible side effects. Some of them required patients to take 20 pills a day.

Now patients around the world take one or two pills a day. All the regimens do well at controlling the virus. They all have some side effects for some people, but patients can switch to find a regimen they can tolerate well. What used to be a big leap forward with each new drug is now a tiny step — or an advance for only a subset of patients. So older drugs are still in use. Truvada is one example.

Three years ago, the National Health Service’s push for generics started to cover H.I.V. drugs. Dr. Waters estimated that at the time, fewer than 5 percent of H.I.V. patients were taking a generic. Now, she said, the number is more like 30 percent. 

September 15, 2018

88 Years Old Becomes Britain's Older Stalker After Falling For Younger Woman While Bonding Over the Bible

 A devout churchgoer aged 88 has become Britain's oldest stalker after he became infatuated with a younger woman he met through their shared interest in the Bible.
Widower Frank Chadwick had hoped for companionship with Sheila Thompson, 54, after the death of his wife just before their 50th wedding anniversary.
But after the pair had a cup of tea together, Chadwick - who is partially deaf - began hounding accountant Miss Thompson over a period of two years.
He asked if could volunteer at a community centre where she worked, but concerns were raised when he began following her to church on a Sunday.

When the pensioner was asked to leave the community centre after he admitted the only reason he went was to see Miss Thompson, he began hand-delivering cards, letters and gifts to her home in Salford, Greater Manchester.
He was eventually reported to police after being seen repeatedly lurking around her cul-de-sac - forcing Miss Thompson to hide behind the curtains to avoid him.
In a statement Miss Thompson said: "Due to his behaviour I am still keeping the blinds shut in my living room as he could still see me if I sat in my chair.
"When I approach my house, I check I have my keys ready and check he is not lurking in the area. I avoid answering the phone or door unless I know who it is. I have to consider what he may do before I do things myself."

Widower Frank Chadwick (pictured) had hoped for companionship with Sheila Thompson, 54, after the death of his wife just before their 50th wedding anniversary
Widower Frank Chadwick (pictured) had hoped for companionship with Sheila Thompson, 54, after the death of his wife just before their 50th wedding anniversary CREDIT: RICKY CHAMPAGNE/CAVENDISH PRESS
At Manchester Magistrates' Court, Chadwick of Westhoughton, Bolton, admitted a charge of stalking without fear, alarm or distress and was banned from contacting Miss Thompson for 18 months under the terms of a restraining order.
He was also conditionally discharged for 18 months.
The incidents began in 2016 after Chadwick met Miss Thompson after they bumped into other whilst they were out walking in the Salford area.
At the time he had a Bible in his hand after being asked to research a question posed by his vicar and she offered to help.
Prosecutor Lynn Rogers said: "The two met by complete chance. She was out walking in February 2016, when she saw him and they started to chat, and they had a cup of tea together and arranged to meet for lunch.
"She took him to a local centre where she works as a volunteer. He asked if he could also volunteer but was told it would not be appropriate.
"He followed her to her place of worship, and would send her hand-written letters, and hand-deliver them through her front door.
"At the centre, he was spoken to by staff and asked him if the reason he wanted to volunteer for them was because he wanted to be close to her and he said 'yes'. He was told not to attend the centre any more.
"He was reported in 2016 and March 2017, as she saw him walking down her cul-de-sac. He went up to her house and he knocked on the door and rang the bell to try to contact her. She remained in her house and the curtains were drawn in the front.
"She said he was seen by a neighbour and he was loitering around the area, and posted letters and a book through her door."
Chadwick later attended a police station on August 21, 2018 where he was arrested. In mitigation defence lawyer Mr Adam Whittaker said: "He had impeccable character and it is unfortunate we have to be in this situation today.
"He just didn't understand what has happened. He does have difficulties with hearing, and he communicates by letters.
"He lost his wife on Christmas Day a few years ago, just as they were approaching their 50th wedding anniversary and she was his life companion.
"His family have grown up and he finds great comfort in the church. On the first meeting with her he had his Bible, and he was working on a question from his minister.
"She approached him and spoke to him first. After they swapped numbers, she contacted him after that and they met for lunch. They went to each other's place of workship.
"He felt there was more to this friendship than there actually was. He wanted to see her.
"She told him to then not contact her for three months and he thought maybe that would salvage their friendship. He didn't know why or what he did wrong. He just sought after companionship.
"This has gone on for a period of around two years. He has a good character and entered an early guilty plea.
"He has no previous convictions. Probation do not need to be involved with a man of 88 years of age."
District judge Khalid Qureshi dismissed the need for punishment, and said: "There was no malice involved and there was no threat, it was just the persistence of the matter, and the letter is very well written - you pleaded guilty at the first instance.
"I will make this a conditional discharge for 18 months. In terms of the restraining order, you must not go to her address or contact her in anyway way whatsoever. The restraining order will be in place for 18 months."
In 2016 retired bookie Andrew Trimble, 81, of Garrowhill, Glasgow was placed under supervision for stalking May Fernie, 79. in the same year former sailor Colin Bagot-Hodgson, 78, of Blackburn, Lancs, was given a suspended sentence after harassing a 73-year old woman suffering from cancer with letters, cards, magazines and gifts.

July 5, 2018

The British Launching an Action Plan Against LGBT Discrimination

Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Britain since 2014, and earlier this year British Prime Minister Theresa May said she “deeply regrets” laws that have criminalized homosexuality.

“Nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love,” May told a meeting of British Commonwealth leaders.

While laws limiting rights among the LGBT community have been lifted in England, Scotland and Wales, many remain in place in parts of the Commonwealth and Northern Ireland.

On Tuesday, 10 Downing Street announced that the government had launched a 75-point action plan to better handle discrimination against LGBT people in Britain. The government has set aside almost $6 million to implement the plan.

One of the biggest takeaways: The government says it will ban “conversion therapy” — a practice the government called “abhorrent” and said can range from “pseudo-psychological treatments to, in extreme cases, surgical interventions and 'corrective' rape.”

The move comes after the British government conducted a recent online survey to better understand the experiences of the LGBT population.

The survey found that of 108,000 self-identified LGBT respondents, more than 70,000 have avoided holding hands with a same-sex partner in public because they fear how others will react. While the survey is not nationally representative, the number of respondents represented around one-tenth of the country's LGBT population.

May said she was “struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction.”

But Ruth Hunt, the chief executive of British LGBT-rights group Stonewall, said that while non-LGBT Britons may be surprised by the results of the survey, the LGBT community is not. “The simple act of holding hands is something all same-sex couples do with a high degree of caution,” she said in a response included with the release of the government's findings. “Attitudes have changed but there are still pockets of society where we’re far from safe.”

On conversion therapy, 2 percent of the survey's respondents said they had participated in some form of it, and 5 percent said they had been offered it.

Journalist Patrick Strudwick, now an editor at BuzzFeed, went undercover to report on gay conversion therapy nine years ago. On Tuesday, he wrote on Twitter that afterward, he “ended up having neurological episodes — spasms and uncontrollable contortions” in his face and body.

A 2017 Human Rights Watch report about gay conversion therapy in China said that "there is now a global consensus among professional medical bodies that conversion therapy with the intent to 'cure' homosexuality is ineffective, unethical, and potentially harmful."

But already on Tuesday a Christian organization in Northern Ireland called Core Issues Trust told a BBC program that it uses “standard psycho-therapeutic practice” to allow people to “safely explore their sexual attraction fluidity issues.”

Michael Davidson, who heads the group and insists it is not “conversion therapy,” said on Tuesday that "the government is discriminating openly against ex-gays.”

“You cannot force people to be gay just because they have the feelings,” he told the BBC.

This week is Pride Week in London, with a massive parade planned for Saturday. Last year, tens of thousands of people hit the streets to participate in the celebrations. And one police officer even proposed to his boyfriend during the parade

January 17, 2018

LGBTQ Asylum Seekers Find A Place to Call Home in Britain

The slender and feminine El Salvadorian had almost got used to incessant verbal abuse but having to share rooms with other male asylum seekers was what Sami feared for the most.

“I was scared to death,” said Sami, 20, who arrived in Britain in 2016 and was first housed in temporary accommodation in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool with other asylum seekers.

“It was hard to be sharing with another male whom I didn’t know and especially because I am a bit feminine. All that time it was at the back of my head, who is going to be coming into the room? You could be asleep and just get attacked.”

Intersex people are born with sex characteristics that do not fit typical notions of male or female bodies. Up to 1.7 percent of people are born with intersex traits, according to the United Nations.

Sami, who asked to use a pseudonym, is one of the more than 3,500 people who claimed asylum in Britain based on their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status between 2015 and 2017, according to the Home Office (interior ministry).

Sami faced threats and discrimination in El Salvador, a conservative Catholic country where gay sex is not illegal but lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTi) people endure harassment and violence.

They face rocketing levels of violence from criminal gangs and members of the security forces, rights group Amnesty International said last November.

In more than 70 countries being LGBTi is not safe, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), a federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights LGBTi people.

Even though Britain is more tolerant, LGBTi asylum seekers still face discrimination, threats and even violent attacks, said Sebastian Rocca, chief executive of Micro Rainbow International (MRI), a charity working to eliminate discrimination and poverty among LGBTi people.

“One of the problems that LGBTi asylum seekers and refugees face is that because of their sexuality they are extremely isolated and vulnerable,” Rocca said.

Lack of safe housing is a widespread problem as they are often placed in housing with people from their own countries, or with those who are anti-gay because of their religious and cultural backgrounds.

“The majority of LGTBi asylum seekers do face some violence or abuse, whether that’s physical, sexual or psychological abuse,” Rocca told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Such abuse reawakens previous traumas. MRI’s clients have reported experiencing the same fears they felt in their home countries, Rocca said.


MRI set up Britain’s first safe house for LGBT refugees and asylum seekers last October and has since opened a second one.

Apart from safe accommodation, residents are provided with psychological support, life-coaching and business training.

Sami moved in last autumn and, for the first time in years, feels safe and at home. 
“The fear and uncertainty living in these other places were killing me. Now I finally feel safe because I live with people who respect me,” Sami told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the cozy house on the outskirts of London.

 “I know I can wake up and just do my makeup and be able to fully express myself without having to be afraid that someone is going to attack me or that someone is going to be judging me.”
Malik, a gay man from Bangladesh, who came to Britain in 2011, agrees.
“Since I moved into the house, I‘m happy. I have found a family,” said Malik, 35, in whose home country gay sex is illegal and many people strongly disapprove.

Leading LGBT rights activists Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi Tonoy were hacked to death in Bangladesh in April 2016, amid a spate of violent attacks against secular bloggers, academics, gay rights activists and members of religious minorities.

Malik found out for himself how entrenched anti-gay attitudes are in his country when his mother disowned him and his brothers threatened to kill him.  
“Last time I talked to my mum, she told me ‘you just humiliate me, don’t come back’. And I can’t go back because my brothers are going to kill me,” Malik said, sitting on his bed in a bright, well-furnished room in the safe house.
Malik said he used to live with heterosexual people in Britain and even though he was never physically attacked, he suffered verbal abuse, especially from other Bangladeshis.
“They don’t attack just physically but mentally attack the whole time,” he said.


Home Office data shows an estimated 6 percent of asylum claims made in Britain between July 2015 and March 2017 were based on sexual orientation. Around a quarter of those applications were successful.

The nationalities with the highest number of asylum claims where sexual orientation was raised were Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Nigerian.

The Home Office said it “remains committed to improving the process for those claiming asylum on this basis” and that it ensures housing provide to LGBT asylum seekers is safe.

“Housing providers are contractually required to take account of any particular circumstances and vulnerability of those that they accommodate, including sexual orientation or gender identity,” a Home Office spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Campaigners say a lack of protection for LGBT asylum seekers is a widespread problem in Europe. In Germany, LGBT asylum seekers have complained about intimidating comments made during their asylum interviews. In Ireland, many face threats and from other asylum seekers in accommodation centers.

Rights groups blame the problem on a lack of basic training on LGBTQ rights for those making decisions about asylum claims and interpreters.

MRI, which supports eight asylum seekers and refugees with safe housing, says much more is needed and aims to provide safe housing for more than 150 LGBT asylum seekers by 2019.

“The need in this country is massive. There are hundreds of LGBT asylum seekers every year who need a safe place to be,” said Rocca.

Reporting by Astrid Zweynert @azweynert, Editing by Ros Russell.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit
*picture: by Keala on

December 26, 2017

Since US Packed and Went to Mar-a Lago-Britain Seems to be Picking Up Human Rights/LGBT /Russia

 People were proud of Johnson when he gave as good as he got in Moscow with his counter part

Gathered in the sumptuous, wood-panelled sitting room of the UK ambassador’s mansion in Moscow, overlooking the turrets of the Kremlin across the river, a group of human rights activists discussed their meeting with Boris Johnson.
The foreign secretary had invited them over to hear their stories of horrific abuses in Russia, promising to use his status to raise awareness and to do what he can to heap pressure on the Russian government.
The meeting on Friday, held behind closed doors, came toward the end of a whirlwind visit to Moscow – the first by a British foreign secretary in over five years – at a time when relations between the UK and Russia are at their worst since the Cold War.
"Mr Johnson was asking what could be done by him, by the UK side, to support Russian society," Galena Arapova, director of the Mass Media Defence Centre, told BuzzFeed News.
"It’s always a good question because when the relationship isn’t as friendly as it could be, and international partners have an active position and raise an issue, would that help or not? It might make the situation worse. Honestly, we don’t have an answer to this."
But the activists at least appeared to be glad he was trying to help. Johnson did not shy away from some hard truths on his whirlwind 24-hour visit, which was aimed at boosting cooperation between the UK and Russia on critical global issues such as North Korea’s nuclear threats and the Syrian civil war.
Whether his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov was in listening mode, however, is highly questionable. Lavrov is infamously obstinate and no-nonsense (he was once caught muttering"fucking morons" during a meeting with Saudi Arabian officials), and likes to be in control at all times, particularly on his own turf.
He did not appreciate Johnson correcting him at a joint press conference over suspected Russian interference in western elections – which led to an extraordinary public exchange – but privately, UK officials were thrilled that Johnson showed he would not be bullied and gave as good as he got. 
It was Johnson who insisted on making human rights a key part of the Moscow trip, asking his aides to schedule time with activists and a speech to university students outlining the economic benefits of freedom of expression.
"This is the worst human rights crisis we have seen in Russia’s contemporary history," Tania Lokshina from Human Rights Watch told us after the meeting.
Basic freedoms in Russia are being eroded: Gay men are being rounded up, tortured, and abducted in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya; journalists are being killed for writing about the abuses of the government; and Jehovah's Witnesses have been labelled an "extremist" organisation.
A spokesperson for the Russian LGBT Network, who declined to give their name, said 110 people had been evacuated from Chechnya as of Friday. "Violence towards LGBT people is still going on," they said.
"According to our evidence, the authorities that were involved in the LGBT purge are now threatening the families of the victims. I think the chance to speak about this with the foreign secretary is amazing; the more we raise this issue, the more we keep it in the spotlight, the more we pressure the Russian authorities to initiate an investigation."
Meanwhile, the Russian government has refused to acknowledge a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in June that the Kremlin is encouraging anti-gay prejudice by adopting a law that bans gay "propaganda".
The law bans giving children any information about homosexuality, ramping up prejudice against LGBT people in Russia that is already deep-rooted and widespread. Lavrov has dismissed criticism over Russia’s treatment of gay people, however, saying in June: "On LGBT, we do not prosecute for this or that orientation."
Johnson did raise the issue of LGBT rights with Lavrov in their talks on Friday, but as expected, the Russian minister batted it away. Aides said Johnson was determined to raise awareness in other ways.
In his speech to Plekhanov University, in a hall packed full of Russian students, he spoke about the "freedom to live your life as you choose".
"We [in Britain] have just about the most diverse, open, welcoming culture that you will find anywhere in the planet," Johnson said. "We celebrate people’s choices about how to live their lives, including who to love and whomsoever they please to marry, a law that now permits same-sex marriage."
And he pressed the importance of a free media: "If you have a society where journalists are shot because they investigate the business dealings of the rich and powerful, then you will find countries that are less economically successful, less equal, and less attractive as places to invest."
He didn’t mention Russia by name, but then he didn’t have to. Some 357 journalists have been killed in Russia in the last 20 years, according to Mass Media Defence Centre director Arapova. And from one newspaper, Novaya Gazette, six have been killed in the last decade. Yet very few perpetrators are brought to justice.
"This creates a climate of impunity and a lot more problems than justice for one particular person," Arapova said. "It creates an atmosphere where others who don’t like criticism think OK, this is an easy, cheap, and quiet method to silence someone, because it won’t be investigated.” 
Earlier in the day, Johnson laid a bunch of red roses on Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, where opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was assassinated in 2015 with four gunshots in the back. As deputy prime minister of Russia under Boris Yeltsin, Nemtsov was a key figure in pushing the country toward democracy and free markets, and a vehement critic of president Vladimir Putin.
His lawyer Vadim Prokhorov told Johnson that the real perpetrators had still not been brought to justice, and urged him to pile pressure on Putin to launch a proper investigation. It remains to be seen whether Johnson can actually affect change, but allies say he hopes his involvement will shine a far bigger spotlight on the abuses taking place on Europe’s doorstep.
"It’s really difficult to influence the Russian authorities," Arapova said. "These scandals concern all of us, but the population of Russia has two realities.
"One reality is seen by the people who are watching TV, who live in rural areas where there’s no position, and they see that everything is good, they see the federal propaganda state TV and they are quite happy with what’s going on in Russia because 'we are winning'.
"And the other group of people are getting information from the internet – and have a totally different understanding of what is going on in the country. They hear stories of human rights violations, they see it differently. Those realities don’t cross, it’s like we live in different countries.
"The tension in society is growing – but it’s not necessarily growing into something that will change the situation."
Emily Ashton
Emily Ashton

December 19, 2017

Reversing Gay Marriage in Bermuda Now Rests On Boris to Veto or Not

 British foreign secretary Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, is under pressure to veto Bermuda’s ban on same-sex marriage, a UK newspaper said yesterday.

The Mail on Sunday, a conservative tabloid that sells around 1.28 million copies in Britain, added that John Rankin, the Governor, had taken “advice on requesting Mr. Johnson’s authorization to veto the bill”.
The newspaper also said Mr. Rankin had to get approval from the foreign secretary before he could withhold consent on an Act passed by the island’s Parliament.

The news came less than a week after the Senate backed the Domestic Partnership Bill, which is designed to replace same-sex marriage with a watered-down legal relationship open to both gay and straight couples.

The Mail on Sunday said Mr. Johnson’s position was “fraught with difficulties” and that a veto would “spark uproar and accusations of neocolonialism” in Bermuda.
It added that if the Act is signed into law by Mr. Rankin, Bermuda would face a backlash from a boycott of its tourism industry.

A foreign office spokesman told Mail on Sunday: “The UK Government is a proud supporter of LGBT rights and continues to support same-sex marriage.
“While the UK Government is disappointed with the implications of this Bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda Government acting within the terms of the Bermuda Constitution and in accordance with international law.”

The article, published yesterday, also quoted Chris Bryant, a former Labour government Overseas Territories Minister, who called on Mr. Johnson to let Mr. Rankin veto the Act.
Mr. Bryant said: “A British citizen, regardless of what part of Britain they’re from, should have the same rights.

“If approved, the law would make Bermuda the first country in the world to cancel gay marriage after previously allowing it.”

Political heavyweights in the US have also hit out at the island’s removal of marriage rights.
Howard Dean, a former presidential candidate, a former Governor of Vermont and one-time chairman of the Democratic Committee, tweeted on Friday: “Progressive Labour Party in Bermuda just eliminated gay marriage. Americans who really are progressives should find another vacation spot.”

The tweet had nearly 1,500 retweets and more than 3,300 likes by yesterday afternoon.
Same-sex marriage became law in England and Wales in 2013 and in Scotland, which has a devolved Parliament and its own legal system, a few months later in 2014.

Same-sex marriage is not recognized in Northern Ireland after it was blocked by the hardline Democratic Unionist Party in the province’s Assembly.

Civil partnerships for gay couples had become law nine years earlier and applied across the UK.
“Government House yesterday declined to comment on the Mail on Sunday story and referred to its statement last week that “in considering this matter, the Governor will continue to act in accordance with his responsibilities under the Constitution.”

The Royal Gazette

September 6, 2017

Some British Dental Patients are Resorting to Pulling Their Own Teeth to get Care

 No, this baby didn't pull all of his/her teeth, I just like a baby without teeth and the actual pictures of the family that pulled their teeth grossed me out.

[This Report is from the BBC-By David Rhodes
BBC News]

A couple in need of dental care say they had to pull out their own teeth because no NHS dentist will treat them.
A BBC News analysis of 2,500 dental practices on the NHS Choices website found half were not accepting new adult NHS patients, while two-fifths were not accepting new child NHS patients.
The British Dental Association (BDA) said the figures reflected an "emerging crisis" in dental care in England.
NHS England said 95% of people seeking an appointment could get one.
The NHS carried out 39 million dental treatments in England last year, but Rebecca Brearey and Nick Oldroyd, who live in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, said no local NHS dentists would treat them.

'Literally begged'

"We've been trying for four years but no dentist will take us on. Every time I go, I get told there's a two-year waiting list for NHS patients," said Ms. Brearey.
"It's got so bad that after taking a combination of paracetamol and alcohol I ripped my half-rotten teeth out. 
"The state of my teeth has made me depressed and I've literally begged to be taken on by an NHS dentist, but every time I've been turned away."

A shot of Rebecca Brearey's teeth
Image captionRebecca Brearey says she has had to pull her own teeth out

Mr. Oldroyd said: "I was sat there for days in agony with a tooth which was doing my head in and stopping me from sleeping.
"I was drinking to just try and just numb the pain so one night I just pulled it out.
"The tops of my teeth are gone. I'm on benefits and trying to get a job, and when someone sees my teeth they just think I'm another waster. 
"I do believe if I could get some dental care I might be able to begin turning my life around."

Dental patient being treatedImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe number of dentists doing NHS work has increased by 20% over the past decade

Nazreen Akhtar, from Bradford, said it had taken her five years to find a dentist in the city who would accept both of her children, Shaban and Muhammad.
"My son Muhammad has been in a lot of pain, he's had adult teeth growing over the tops of his milk teeth," said Mrs. Akhtar.
"Me and my husband don't have a car so we can't travel to other cities to get care. 
"I do feel let down by the NHS as we should be able to see a local dentist."

Nazreen Akhtar and Shaban speaking to the BBC
Image captionNazreen Akhtar says her son Shaban has to wait years to be treated by an NHS dentist

BBC News has conducted a data analysis of more than 7,000 dental practices in England that are listed on the NHS Choices website.
Just over 2,500 of these practices had information about whether they were currently accepting new NHS patients. 
Of those practices displaying information about new NHS patients, 48% were not accepting new adult patients, while 40% were not accepting new child patients. 

The NHS Choices websiteImage copyrightNHS CHOICES
Image captionNHS Choices is the UK's biggest medical website with over a billion page visits a year

Who gets free dental care on the NHS?

Unlike receiving treatment from a GP or a hospital, most people have to pay a contribution towards their NHS dental care.
Dental charges for adults were introduced by the NHS in 1951.
The cost of a checkup varies. In England, it is £20.60, in Wales £13.50, in Northern Ireland prices starts at £6.74, while check-ups in Scotland are free.
Patients in England get free dental care if they are under 18, under 19 and in full-time education, or are pregnant or have given birth in the past 12 months. Those receiving certain types of benefits are also exempt.
The latest NHS England annual report shows patient charges generated £783m for the NHS in 2016-17.

The number of dentists doing NHS work has increased by 20% over the past decade, but dentists who no longer treat NHS patients say the system is chronically underfunded.
"The vast majority of dentists want to support the NHS, but we're not miracle workers and a bankrupt dentist is no good to anyone," said Dr. Tony Kilcoyne, who runs a private dental practice in Keighley, West Yorkshire.
"The vast majority of dentists are self-employed so the government doesn't pay our staff or our overheads like a hospital. 
"If the system is funded at about half the level that it needs to be, then we can't treat everyone."

Dr Tony Kilcoyne speaking to the BBC
Image captionTony Kilcoyne says growing numbers of dentists are choosing not to do NHS work because of a lack of funding

More than £3bn a year is spent each year on providing NHS dental care, according to Public Health England, representing about 3% of the total NHS budget in England.
"There is an emerging crisis with more and more dentists not accepting NHS patients," said Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of general dental practice at the BDA.
"The government has only commissioned enough dentistry to treat about half the adult population and this is an absolute disgrace."

ChartImage copyrightBBC NEWS
Image captionDental patients in the north of England are the most likely to be treated by the NHS

An NHS England spokesperson said: "The latest NHS patient survey found that 95% of people seeking a dental appointment was able to get one, and the overall number of dentists offering NHS care is 3,800 higher than a decade ago."
A Department of Health spokesperson said: "Improving oral health is a key priority for this government, and in the last two years more than 22.2 million adults were seen by a dentist. 
"We expect NHS England to ensure there are sufficient dental services to meet the needs of the local population."

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