It came in a torrent last week on our streaming platforms, our screens, and social media: A PM ousted, a former PM assassinated, a presidential palace overrun by the people
SUMMIT COUNTY COLORADO — Last week, all these political events were parallax:
“The apparent displacement,” Miriam Webster states, “or the difference in apparent direction of an object as seen from two different points not on a straight line with the object.”
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, resigned under enormous pressure as dozens of his senior team, including the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Health Minister, resigned their posts. They could not take it any more.
They and a clear majority of their Conservative Party caucus could not abide by the lies and the prevarications, the twisting of words and denial of responsibility, hypocrisy on issues and personal conduct, the selfishness of the man at the pinnacle who could never reform himself, and therefore could never regain the confidence of the electorate.
Two impossible-to-lose by-election seats were lost last month, and the chairman of the party resigned too. The PM was not taking responsibility, but the chairman did. Johnson narrowly survived a vote of confidence in his party room just five weeks ago – but not by a sufficient margin to keep his job, exactly as we saw with Theresa May and Margaret Thatcher in their time in power.
In Washington, the political class had a parallax view.
A president lied and continues to lie about the 2020 election; is at the centre of an historic insurrection against the Capitol in an effort to overturn the election. And yet the Republican Party does not turn on Donald Trump.
The Republican leaders in the House swear allegiance to him as they prepare to take control of their chamber next year. Most Senate Republicans support Trump’s policies, from guns to abortion. The Republicans see the hearings of the January 6 Select Committee on the insurrection, and hear the testimony that Trump wanted to join the mob that attacked the Capitol, that Trump was indifferent to whether the mob would hang Vice President Mike Pence, that Trump acts like a child and bully at mealtime in the White House dining room.
But when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and former Attorney General Bill Barr are asked, after all the terrifying tumult of January 2021, after they speak the truth of what Trump did and that they opposed it, if he is the nominee in 2024, will they vote for him? Yes, they say, they will.
Parallax: A PM is forced out by his party. A disgraced former president, who would never accept being deposed by his party, is lionised by his party as he prepares to run for office again
Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated by a gunman in the city of Nara. Shock is an understatement. Japan effectively bans guns. There are only a handful of gun deaths each year. The killing of Abe rocked the country. But as American journalists reported on this, the jarring chasm between Japan and the United States is an open wound. As Judy Woodruff for the PBS NewsHour observed:
“With the assassination today of the former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a country where there’s so few, I mean, almost vanishingly few instances of gun violence, and then the contrast to our country, where I looked it up again, over 300 mass shootings already this year in the United States, and then punctuated by the July 4 massacre of seven people and many more wounded in the Chicago suburb, we’re — it reminds us where we are as a country, doesn’t it?
Yes, a country with 400 million guns and a population of 330 million people. A country that could never consider a gun buyback program as occurred in Australia after the Port Arthur massacre. A country where 60% of Americans want to ban assault weapons. A country where none of this will occur – because the political system, on this issue and on abortion rights, does not permit the will of the people to be expressed, and the political system’s leaders are too weak to fix the system.
Parallax: Shock and renewed unity in Japan; shock and resignation in America to the knowledge that more massacres will occur, and soon.
In Sri Lanka, the good people of that country have had enough of the corruption from the top, of the collapse of the economy, of the desperate daily search for food and fuel, of the hopelessness that has crushed the country’s spirit, of the bankruptcy of the political class and its leaders. Over the weekend, the presidential palace was overrun, and the prime minister and president could not restore order. The president pledges to resign, but we will see. Ultimately, the crowds will retire from the palace, with democracy and anti-corruption the goals. But rebuilding Sri Lanka will be an almost-unbearable burden.
Where did we last see images like this on our screens? On January 6 last year, when a mob of people overran the Capitol. If the president had had his way that day, he would not have ended his term in office, but stayed permanently in office.
Parallax: In Colombo, a cry of rage to restore Sri Lanka. In Washington, a cry of rage to destroy America.
Stay tuned. More parallax is coming soon to a screen near you.
Leading athletes and medical experts push for medicinal cannabis in sport
Leading lawmakers, medical experts and athletes are pushing for therapeutic use of medicinal cannabis for chronic pain and injury
Basketball star Brittney Griner is one of the leading players of her generation. She jumped into the spotlight for serving a sentence for possession of cannabis oil in Russia.
It begs the question whether medicinal cannabis and athletes are a good mix. Well, many lawmakers, health experts and athletes around the world want to break down the stigmas associated with its use.
Many want to use Griner’s ordeal as motivation to change cannabis laws and therapeutic use exemptions in sports.
Mark Brayshaw, Managing Director of Levin Health has spoken closely with Dr. Peter Brukner who is a world-renowned Australian sports medicine clinician and researcher.
Brukner believes athletes should be able to compete in their field with medicinal cannabis because it doesn’t enhance their performance.
Brayshaw believes there are higher risks for athletes becoming addicted to anti-inflammatory and opioids. As opposed to any risks associated with taking medicinal cannabis.
He explains it enables athletes to function in a healthy way, pain free.
Overall, there is hope Griner’s case will break down stigma surrounding natural medicines and athletes.
In Australia, there are tens of thousands of new applications for medicinal cannabis every month.
There are also growing calls for countries to adopt therapeutic use exemptions in sport, including in the Australian Football League.
Why is China’s changing its strategy to handling the pandemic?
Changes to China’s COVID policies are coming thick and fast, much faster than many people anticipated given how strict the country has been in the last few years, the latest big announcement is around an app that people had to install on their phone
Then it tracked them when they travelled across the country, alerting them if they’ve been to a high risk COVID area, the government says that that app is now deactivated and people no longer have to have it installed on their phones.
It’s yet another indication of the change in China’s strategy to handling the pandemic.
We’ve seen changes related to quarantine, and also testing as well. And a real change in narrative from the authorities when talking about the virus and how dangerous it is. Now officially case numbers are dropping.
But that is largely due to the fact that much less testing is taking place, and we are seeing signs that in reality cases are surging.
There’s queues of people outside of pharmacies, queuing to get medication for colds and for fevers, and also self testing kits as well.
On social media, many people in China now saying that they have caught COVID For the first time, or that they know a number of people who have COVID When previously they didn’t know anyone at all.
So it’s clear that cases are rising, and this is coming just the month before the Chinese New Year holidays, which will take place at the end of January, traditionally a time when millions of people will travel across the country.
We would expect that to happen this year, as travel within China is now much easier.
So we would expect COVID cases to spread across the country talking to travel and is yet no sign of when the borders will open internationally.
Still very, very hard to get into China and very strict. When people do enter and the procedures they have to follow.
Maybe the government will wait and see how the first phase of reopening goes domestically, before thinking internationally?
Children are our future, but cancer is impacting far too many of them
Children are our future and that’s why investing in childhood cancer is critical to improving treatments and research
Cancer does not discriminate. It is a major cause of death in children worldwide. While there has been tremendous progress in fighting childhood cancer, significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.
Lance Kawaguchi, who heads Cure Brain Cancer Foundation is passionate about raising awareness and funds to beat childhood cancer.
Why invest in Childhood Cancer?
Childhood cancer is a major cause of death in children worldwide, impacting children aged 0-14.
The most common cancers diagnosed in children is leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), brain and nervous system cancers.
Significant investment is required to improve access to treatments and diversify research.
Often, certain types of cancers remain underfunded and under-researched. However, just because they’re less common, shouldn’t mean they’re less important.
Brain Stem brain tumours like DIPG, primarily affects children, with most diagnoses occurring between 5 and 7 years of age.
It makes up approximately 10-15% of all brain tumours in children. Unfortunately, fewer than 10% of children survive.
Simon Gray lost his son Tom when he was seven years old, and is on a mission to prevent other parents from going through the same grief.
Need For More Specific Paediatric Cancer Treatments
There is a need to develop cancer treatments specifically for children and invest more in enabling this to happen effectively.
A relative lack of cancer research in children limits how to treat them. As a result, some children with cancer are dealt adult treatments, which are often ineffective.
Childhood cancer treatments very rarely reach FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) or EMA (European Medicines Agency) approval.
Therefore, it’s critical that more money is invested into treatment and research for childhood cancer.
Katie Banovich’s 6-year-old son Greyson is a cancer survivor. Greyson has emerged as an inspiration to all those who hear his story. His courage and resilience are a testament that no one should ever give up hope when confronted with adversity.
Katie believes it is through our collective efforts that we will continue to make strides in the fight against childhood cancers.
Any family can be impacted by childhood cancer, it does not discriminate. For some they have a positive outcome, but for many they are forced to live out a nightmare.
It’s crucial that we make the fight against childhood cancer a global fight.
Centres of Excellence fighting childhood cancer
1. Australia – Children’s Cancer Institute
The Children’s Cancer Institute (CCI) in Australia is celebrating thirty years of working with like-minded individuals and organisations to fund innovative research projects, world-class clinical care, and quality family support programs. To date, the foundation has raised over A$60.5 million. This capital was spent on a range of programs that align with the CCIs goals of improving the lives of children affected by cancer.
2. Qatar – Sidra Medicine
Sidra Medicine, located in the innovative Education City in Qatar is a benchmark for family healthcare in the Middle East. This 400-bed medical centre caters solely to women and children, offering state-of-the-art health care in a collaborative, research-driven environment. Sidra Medicine aims to establish itself as a global leader in the research of cancer and precision medicine. In September 2022, the institute published a study highlighting the successful use of precision medicine to guide the treatment of some paediatric cancers.
3. US – National Pediatric Cancer Foundation
Childhood cancer is the leading cause of death resulting from illness in children aged four to fourteen in the United States. Sadly, only 4% of the billions of dollars spent on cancer research annually go to funding research for paediatric cancers. The National Pediatric Cancer Foundation (NPCF) formed an innovative collaboration called the Sunshine Project. The primary goal of this project is to fast-track a more targeted and less toxic cure for paediatric cancer by bringing together the nation’s foremost researchers and medical professionals. Since 2005, the Sunshine Project has funded several clinical trials and translational studies in excess of US$ 33 million.
4. The European Society for Paediatric Oncology
The European Society for Paediatric Oncology (SIOPE) was established to ensure optimal care and outcomes for children and adolescents with cancer in Europe. The society is active across many areas including research, care, training and education, and EU advocacy. They are driven to facilitate collaborative research across the European continent as well as the promotion of novel treatment modalities in use in clinical trials. Seated in Brussels, SIOPE is ideally situated to promote and advocate better policies for children with cancer to EU policy makers.
Report contributed by Holly Stearnes, Lance Kawaguchi and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.
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