tsunami-hit pregnant women
queue of pregnant women seated out-side
the room indicates that this must be room number 40. As
they wait patiently for the nurse to read their numbers
for animals in the tsunami-ravaged areas...
& Jen's Final farewell
up the pieces of their lives
tarantulas, fusion food and weddings...
drink improves thinking in older women
tube baby gets blood check
folklore 'saved islanders'
tsunami-hit pregnant women
queue of pregnant women seated out-side the room indicates that this
must be room number 40. As they
wait patiently for the nurse to read their numbers they look happy
too. This is a great difference from the miserable looks that they
had on their faces. Today, these pregnant women affected by the
tsunami can walk in here and get all the help they require.
"They do not even need their clinic cards," said a helper.
visit this hospital every month for a check up and every time we
come here we see many new patients in this queue. The staff looks
after us very well and the doctor is very kind," a young lady
we enter room number 40, we are welcomed by an outstretched hand and
smiling face. This is Dr. M. L. Najimudeen who has been a senior
consultant at the Ragama Teaching Hospital for many years.
response to the article in The Sunday Leader last week titled
"Pregnancy In Refugee Camps" Dr. Najimudeen along with the
director and staff members of the Ragama Teaching Hospital have
decided to accommodate pregnant women affected by the tsunami in any
part of the country and who are residing in welfare camps anywhere
at the Teaching Hospital till the time of delivery.
hospital staff and I were very much disturbed when we heard about
the hardships faced by these women. Especially the women who are in
the first few months of their pregnancy. This is a time when they
have to be extremely careful. During this time of crisis, it is only
natural that we get together and help these women who have lost
everything in the tsunami," said Dr. Najimudeen.
to offer a bed for each patient and nutritious meals, Dr. Najimudeen
said that the hospital would ensure that the patient receives the
best treatment as they were already traumatised due to the disaster.
"A pregnant woman under stress can bring harm to the growth of
the baby. Therefore these women require sufficient care," he
hospital currently accommodates many unmarried pregnant women who
have been deserted by their partners and families. These women have
no place to go to for shelter and care.
currently have a young woman who has been deserted by her fianc and
chased away by her parents because she got pregnant. She delivered a
month ago and she still remains in the hospital because she has no
place to go to. The staff provides her with the best quality care
and we will do everything to ensure the safety of the mother and
baby," Dr. Najimudeen said adding that any pregnant woman
affected by the tsunami will be accommodated in this hospital.
this way the family members of these women will be relieved of the
tension of looking after these women," he said.
Ragama Teaching Hospital is a university teaching hospital and
consists of senior consultants, highly qualified doctors, nursing
staff and medical students to look after the patients. According to
Dr. Najimudeen, the hospital currently has a record of delivering
1000 babies per month.
for animals in the tsunami-ravaged areas...
tsunami has come and gone
taking with it thousands of human lives. However, for those of us
who remain, life has to go on. Aid poured in for human beings
affected by the tsunami, but it seems like no one thought about the
animals. Some household pets and strays in the badly affected areas
were neglected and forgotten.
general fear among the public at the time was the spread of
infectious diseases among refugees housed in temporary camps - but
the threat of an outbreak of rabies among roaming strays was the
last thing on the minds of the traumatised people.
for international organisations such as Humane Society
International, International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) Noah's
Wish and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA),
this natural disaster was not a new phenomenon for they constantly
deal with animals affected by natural disasters. For many years
these organisations have continued to work towards the welfare of
animals in countries affected by natural disasters such as floods,
earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis.
to a request made by Animal Welfare Volunteer, Robert Blumberg in
Sri Lanka, Humane Society International was the first international
organisation to arrive in the country.
to The Sunday Leader, Director, Noah's Wish, Terri Crisp said that
the moment she heard about the tsunami she sent e-mails and faxes to
all the affected countries. "I got a quick response from
Blumberg in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka was the first to respond to my
e-mail," says Crisp who then made arrangements to come to Sri
to Crisp, this is her 66th major disaster animal welfare programme.
"I have responded to fires, earthquakes, floods and hurricanes
in North America but never to a tsunami. This is my first animal
welfare programme in Sri Lanka as well as outside North
America," Crisp said.
with her team of four co-ordinators (three Americans and one
Canadian) has travelled to Kalutara, Beruwela, Hikkaduwa, Galle,
Weligama, Matara and Payagala where they have conducted free
sterilisation programmes for dogs. Noah's Wish and the WSPA has
initiated the rabies vaccine programme while Crisp has treated dogs
for mange and worms.
handed out dog and cat food. When we went around announcing our free
anti-rabies and sterilisation programmes there were adults, children
and people of all ages who came on bicycles and motorcycles with
their animals. Others were running down the road afraid that they
would miss us. These people have lost so much due to the tsunami.
But it was some experience to see the interest of these people
towards their animals," explained Crisp.
Humane Society International will commence their sterilisation
programmes on January 25. Sterilisation programmes on a large scale
are being conducted in Muttur, Ampara, Arugam Bay and Trincomalee,
while plans are underway to visit Batticaloa, Kalmunai and other
5000 dogs have been vaccinated by Noah's Wish and red collars were
put on all rabies vaccinated dogs. According to Crisp, the Public
Health Inspectors (PHIs) were very helpful in giving the rabies
vaccines. Crisp has 26 cats, five dogs, five ducks, five chickens,
three cows, three parrots, two turtles, one turkey and ornamental
fish. "My husband and three daughters are animal lovers,"
says Crisp who hopes to come back to Sri Lanka soon.
Humane Society International, Shery Grant while pledging financial
support, was in the country a few weeks ago to assess the impact of
the tsunami on animals especially livestock throughout the region.
Blumberg together with animal volunteers Anusha David and Suzanne
Tampoe, Sathva Mithra's Sargarica Rajakarunanayake, Animal Welfare
and Protection Association's (AWPA) Hemantha Jayatilleke and Pet V
Care's Dr. Palitha Yapa met Health Minister, Nimal Siripala De Silva
Minister who is an animal lover himself has seven dogs. The Minister
said he would co-operate and extend his fullest support to foreign
and local animal welfare groups interested in conducting
sterilisation programmes and the eradication of rabies,"
to the Minister, rabies must be eradicated, people must be educated
as to how to treat animals humanely and avoid dog bites. "Islandwide
sterilisation programmes are a must and should be commenced
immediately," says the Minister.
though the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) continues to catch stray
dogs and destroy them, the Minister was of the view that stray dogs
should not be killed but be sterilised instead. The Minister during
his discussion with the foreign animal welfare groups is reported to
have said he needs assistance in obtaining the expensive rabies
serum for human vaccinations as this is currently imposing an
enormous strain on his Ministry's resources.
Minister has said that if he could assure the people of Sri Lanka
that this expensive rabies vaccination was freely available there
would be no pressure from the authorities for the killing of
innocent stray dogs in the country.
& Jen's Final farewell
their arms around
each other, kissing tenderly, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston looked
like any other madly-in-love couple holidaying on the idyllic
Caribbean isle of Anguilla.
did onlookers know the warm embrace was actually a good-bye kiss
signifying the end of the glamourous couple's four-and-a-half-year
shared stories and laughed all the way along the beach like a couple
of lovesick teenagers," reports one fellow holidaymaker.
"They looked deeply in love like they were on a honeymoon, not
like they were planning a divorce."
close to the couple have revealed their recent trip to the island
was a last ditch attempt to save their crumbling union.
to hold onto her husband, Jennifer yet again made a hollow pledge to
41-year-old Brad that she did start a family with him. An ecstatic
Brad threw his arms around his wife as they strolled along the
water's edge, showering her with affection.
soon after they returned to their villa, the actress broke down,
unable to maintain the charade she had been playing for years. She
finally admitted to Brad and herself that her career came first and
that at 35 she felt she was too young to be a stay-at-home mother.
The romantic reconciliation trip had in fact proved to be the death
knell of their marriage.
the relationship all but over, the couple initially invited close
friends Courteney Cox and David Arquette around to dinner just
before Christmas. Over dinner they confided they were going to
separate. However, a shocked Courteney begged the pair to
reconsider, suggesting they all go on holiday to Anguilla together.
The well-intentioned actress convinced them that a little fun and
time away from LA may help them see things in a different, more
the holiday was strained from the start. Staying in adjoining US$
3000-a-night villas, Jennifer happily played with Courteney's
seven-month-old daughter Coco, which only broke Brad's heart more.
Storming off, he decided to go snorkeling by himself and when he
returned the bitter rows they'd been having resumed.
was obvious the situation was beyond the point of return when one
day later Brad decided to fly back to the US for 24 hours. Carousing
alone, he drowned his sorrows as he watched his football team
Oklahoma play in Miami on January 4. Brad's behaviour made it clear
that he wanted it to be over, says a source close to Jennifer.
"She knew it was coming."
his return to the island, the pair spent the rest of the trip
figuring out how they would announce news of the split. "Once
they made the decision it was like a weight had been lifted from
their shoulder," says a source.
the anger was gone and what was left was an immense love and respect
for each other and a sadness that they could not get it to work.
could not stop kissing and hugging each other, but it was out of
sadness rather than happiness. The decision it was over came pretty
couple tried to put on a brave face, but struggled for the rest of
the trip. When the foursome dined at club RumZa onlookers noted that
Courteney and David were "very affectionate" while Brad
and Jen were not.
never saw them touch during the entire meal," says an observer.
But still keeping up the fa‡ade, the pair dutifully posed for
cameras when approached by photographers outside.
had big smiles. it was the opposite of the couple I had seen
inside," the observer says.
was not the first time Courteney and David had tried to help their
troubled pals. Two years ago the foursome spent the festive season
in Cabin San Luca, Mexico, where Brad begged Courteney to talk some
"baby sense" into his wife.
last year the fights about starting a family only got worse, and
they were not helped by rumours about flirtations Brad had allegedly
been having with actresses including Catherien Zeta-Jones, Britney
Spears and, most significantly, Angelina Jolie. Jennifer began
arriving at awards shows alone and their schedules made conceiving
the time they got back from their Anguilla trip, Brad's publicist
had already announced their split. Although Jen was wearing her
wedding ring again, everyone knew it was probably the last time they
did see it.
is still so much love between them," reveals one insider.
"But neither of them had the energy to fight to save their
marriage any more."
Angelina to blame?
are many stories circulating
about why Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt called it quits, and all
have a common theme - Angelina Jolie. The latest reports, which the
stars have denied, claim it was a phone call between Brad and
Angelina that Jen overheard on another extension which sealed their
marriage's fate. Hearing the intimate call allegedly forced Jen to
confront Brad and get him to admit that there was no use continuing
knows Angelina got under his skin, and it bothered her," a pal
says, adding that when Brad became enamored with his co-star's lust
for life, "He changed. And Jennifer knew it."
and Brad met last February when they began filming Mr. And Mrs.
Smith, in which they play a married couple.
the stars initially clashed tension soon turned to friendship, with
eyewitness report and photos emerging of the two holding hands on
who has never hidden his love of children, admired his co-star's
devotion to her adopted Cambodian son Maddox, and soon formed a
close bond with the three-year-old.
spent hours in Angelina's trailer and some speculate that Maddox was
as much of an attraction as his sexy mum. Whatever the case, tongues
were soon, wagging about the two stars' cosy behaviour.
Brad and Angelina's relationship reached a head over the summer (of
2004), they were so close they were acting as if it were the real
thing," a source from the set confines.
speak on the phone all the time, always in hushed tones. There was
no hiding their affection for each other.
also has the balls to call if she likes someone. She has this do not
give-a-damn attitude it's not hard to fall for her."
on the set say the relationship was never more evident than when
down-to-earth Angelina threw a barbecue for 20 of the film crew.
was loads of food, but Brad and Angelina were so into each other
they did not eat," one of the guests recalled.
sat together, apart from the everyone else. They were very close and
held hands. At one point he came up to Angelina in the kitchen,
whispered in her ear and kissed her on the cheek."
long after that day, Brad came down with the flu. The next week,
Angelina also had the bug.
Brad heard his co-star was ill, he sent her flowers and a card that
said, "To the missus. Oops!" intimating he had passed on
the germ through his closeness to the actress.
only got steamier when it came to the couple's love scenes. A studio
source claims the wardrobe department gave Angelina flesh-coloured
panties to protect "her modesty" during a heated sex
scene. But she passed on the offer.
said she would not need them," the sources said. "She and
Brad were both totally nude in their sex scenes, which is certainly
did not make a secret of her feelings. At one point she said, 'I
wish he was not married.'
really hotted up when the couple indulged in a saucy game of truth
or dare with crew members late one night. Witnesses claimed they did
not know where to look when Brad quizzed Angelina about her
fetishes, and then she asked the handsome Troy star what his dream
threesome would be."
of the rumours, both parties have denied they have had an affair.
During a recent interview, Angelina announced, "I would not
sleep with a married man. I have enough lovers. I do not need
did, however, emphasis that being intimate with the star was hardly
and I play husband and wife to there is some kissing and all I will
say is, he is a great kisser," she said in another interview.
"He certainly knows what he is doing."
April 29, a source in London's News Of The World claimed the pair
were missing each other so much that Angelina planned to visit Brad
in Italy, where he was filming Ocean's 12. The plan was abandoned,
however, when Jen decided to join her husband.
May, Jen once again grew concerned when she learn Brad would be
staying at the same hotel as Angelina went the two were in Cannes to
dreading the thought of her husband being close to the sultry
actress, Jen flew to his side and was all smiles on the red carpet
at the Troy premiere while Angelina was photographed looking sullen
as she explored the city with Maddox.
on September 13 and 14, Brad and Angelina were united once again to
reshoot scenes for Mr. And Mrs. Smith. They stayed in adjoining
rooms 612 and 615 of the Ramada Inn southern California. The hotel
has confirmed that staff were given orders to bar anyone else
entering the floor.
who has remained single since her split from husband Billy Bob
Thornton in 2002, has often alluded to the fact that she enjoys the
company of several lovers, often friends.
went for about two years with no man around me and then decided to
get closer to men who were already very close friends," she
says, in a comment bound to make any wife nervous.
sources insist "they did not sleep with each other," there
is no doubt Brad saw qualities in the raunchy actress he'd have
loved his wife to share.
has made it clear she would like "an army" of kids and
plans to adopt needy children from all areas of the globe.
by his co-star, Brad made two trips to Africa last year and
allegedly begged Jen to consider adopting a baby left orphaned by
that country's AIDS epidemic. However, once again, Jen was too
involved in her career to fly to Africa and explore the adoption
says Brad admires Angelina's devotion to humanity and motherhood.
She is a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations High Commission
for Refugees and has been tireless in her humanitarian efforts.
Jen continued to take back-to-back movie roles that would ensure she
spent even more time away from her hubby, Angelina makes it clear at
every opportunity that making movies is a very low priority in her
recently asked about how her family commitments affect her movie
choices, she answered, "It's got to be special enough to take
me away from my family. I loved shooting Mr. And Mrs. Smith, but
five months not being able to do the other things I love to do?
could not to the United Nations stuff, and I also couldn't be in a
new environment with Maddox or learn about a new culture - I live
for that stuff. I do not live
for making a movie."
up the pieces of their lives
we want is to go to school"
children were living by the coast on
December 26, 2004, but today they
are refugees living in a temple. Their lives have turned upside down
and they are left with shattered dreams. It is sad that they seem to
be unaware of the fearful state that their future seems to be in.
only are these children deprived of their education: but they seem
to have lost their homes for good and for some it is even worse,
they have even lost their kith and kin. Few of them have any
possessions and they wait for someone to dole out something for
Subodharamaya temple in Dehiwala is giving shelter to these innocent
children and their helpless parents. They seem content, as they do
not have to worry about clothing. It was lunchtime when we visited
and they were having their meals in earnest.
if they have lost their mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers they
answered with relief on their faces "No, we have not." The
relief on their faces seem to say 'we are a bit fortunate than
that.' But there seems to be something more that is hidden in their
little minds - their eyes speak volumes of worry and anxiety.
Something definitely seems to be worrying them all the time.
approached The Sunday Leader these tsunami-hit little offspring to
share their thoughts on this gigantic tragedy - the very sight of us
made them happy and their faces filled with joy as they thought we
are the harbingers of that much awaited hope - going back to school.
than a handful came to ask us whether we will be able to send them
back to school. They came running to us and started to inquire.
can we go to school again?" they asked us. "We love to go
to school, but we have lost our school books, shoes and
uniforms," they lamented, some of them with tears in their
them was young Nirodha, a student of Wijaya Vidyalaya, Dehiwala. A
student of year 10, little Nirodha's hopes were lost when she had to
stop her education halfway. Nirodha was preparing to sit for the GCE
Ordinary Level (O/L) examination next year.
books, no uniforms
from school I used to go for extra classes as well. But now I do not
have any notes that I have written in those classes. True we will
get our text books back, but who will help us get all the important
notes we wrote down during those classes," she asked. "We
have worked hard and suffered to study during the last 10 years and
now look what has happened to us," she cried.
Kasun joined in. Recalling the incident, Kasun said: "We were
playing when we suddenly saw a huge wave coming towards the shore.
We ran towards the sea to see what it was, but then our parents
shouted asking us to run away. Then all of us ran in different
directions - we saw our houses getting washed away," he said
toys, books, school uniforms, shoes everything got washed away, now
how are we to go back to school? We do not know what has happened to
our school friends, we are impatient to go and find out whether they
are safe," said some of the young ones.
the midst of all this however comes a murmur. It is an anxious
you know what is happening to our school sports-meet Niranjan,"
a small boy whispers to his acquaintance. "Do not worry, we can
participate this time as well," the others comfort him.
where are the uniforms," panics the little boy."But we
were informed that we can come to school in coloured clothing,"
comforts his friend and the conversation thus goes on.
they have lost all their wealth the last thing that they have lost
is the hope of getting back to that much enjoyed school life. They
have the courage and hope, but regrettably they are not aware of the
reality - only their parents know that they will be shifted to some
other place and then again to another.
are worried where we will be shifted to. How can our children go to
school if they take us far? We are more worried about our girls. We
can live with our young girls even without food if only we can get a
decent place to live in," confided a worried mother.
tarantulas, fusion food and weddings...
week, I came down with
fever after many moons. I did not want to believe it until my
daughter told me I was warm. Dosed myself with self-prescribed
drugs, but had to drag myself up next day, because people who were
supposed to be there had gone home, people who actually had to go
home were still there, the kids would have to have an enforced
holiday (not that they would have minded that much!) etc. Utter
to my horror that I had a large red patch on my leg, an unidentified
flying object had bitten me! What if it was a scorpion or a
tarantula? Kids fell over laughing when I voiced my fears and said I
would have been long gone!
people just do not have any sympathy. One of my friends later
searched diligently for fang or bite marks, eekk!!!
in your sleep unseen dangers lurk. Shall cover myself from top to
toe for a while, however hot it might seem. Maybe new breeds of
insects were blown here with the tsunami?
at least I can make people laugh. Not such a bad habit, is it? All
the foreigners here involved in the aid effort, comment in spite of
all the tragedy, how we still laugh and smile. I think it is very
good for one's mental and spiritual health. Also, I think it is a
great thing to be able to laugh at oneself together along with the
others. Not that it is very pleasant to be ridiculed all the time,
but teasing by people who know you too well is nice, because it
shows they know your strengths and weaknesses.
week I had to make what was called fusion food, (East and West
together). Actually it was more spice, herbs and zingy tang to the
basic Western food. It tasted jolly good, if I might say so myself.
Actually, I do this kind of cooking quite often as the head of the
household (a.k.a Hitler, seeing as how sometimes he forgets he is no
longer in the forces, still barks orders at us) has an aversion to
Western food, loathes pasta, white sauce, etc and wants curry in the
morning, curry in the evening, curry at suppertime ( a song my mum
used to hum just came into my mind and I could not resist using it, only it was sugar they had all the time).
you spice things up a bit, anyway it tastes better to us Lankans.
Can not be too good for your insides, though. Ah, but the thrills of
actual life too, if there is fusion of cultures and races, what a
peaceful and better world for us, I think our lives would be ever so
much enriched. If Murali and Shane Warne can work together, I think
anything is possible! Some good has to emerge from all the bad
stuff. Even at this stage, why cannot we forget petty differences
and unite, we all would benefit from it? At least future generations
would have hope for a better tomorrow.
nicest thing is that my friends overseas who were coming here for
our class gettogether keep telling me how much they are looking
forward to meeting up. They are all organising various methods of
aid to be sent here, and instead of bringing gifts for everybody,
they are going to donate the money towards some worthy project. I
know they all deeply care for our country and its people, however
well established they are in their adopted countries.
friend who is presently here on a holiday is taking her sons on a
train journey up country, just so they can see how beautiful our
country really is, as well as trying to share with them the unique
experience their parents had every holiday season of this slow train
journey with many interesting incidents. They all have such lovely
memories of our country, let us hope that many more beautiful and
meaningful experiences are in store for us.
now I have got to go and discuss the 'very important' hot topic in
the household, the upcoming wedding, where my two beautiful girls
are going to be bridesmaids. Manicures, pedicures, facials and such
frivolous but rather nice and takes your mind away from gloom to
hope! A new life for two young people. At the moment the pretty
maids are practicing walking in their new silver, high heeled shoes,
much to the amazement of the hired help! As the saying goes, 'no
gain without pain.'
hard it might seem, we have to get back to our normal lives. Most
kids are back at school and that will give them a sense of security
and maybe a semblance of normalcy.
us hope that the schools that were affected will find alternate
accommodation soon. Overseas aid workers are helping to speed up the
process of clearing the rubble and flattening land so new structures
can be put up.
so I go, to attend to various household chores, and may this week be
even better than the last.
Honky Tonk Woman
drink improves thinking in older women
who enjoy a drink of beer
or wine daily have sharper minds into old age than women who
abstain, U.S. researchers reported recently.
report, based on a study of nearly 12,500 nurses, adds to the
apparent benefits of light to moderate drinking, which can also
prevent heart disease and stroke.
study suggests that moderate consumption might provide older women
some cognitive benefits," said Dr. Francine Grodstein of
Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston,
who worked on the study.
in the New England Journal Of Medicine Grodstein and colleagues said
they found that drinkers aged 70 to 81 were 20% less likely to
experience a decline in their thinking skills over a two-year period
than women who did not drink at all.
average, the women who quaffed a beer or a glass of wine each day
tended to have the mental agility of someone a year and a half
younger than abstainers.
more than one glass of beer or wine didn't produce a greater
benefit, the researchers said. However, few of the nurses in the
study were heavy drinkers.
it didn't seem to matter whether the women drank wine or beer,
according to the team, led by Dr. Meir Stampfer, also of Brigham and
alcohol consumption - about a 12-ounce (0.35 liters) beer or a
six-ounce (0.18 liters) glass of wine - is already known to reduce
the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Stampfer team speculated that the same effects that ward off
cardiovascular conditions may also keep the blood vessels in the
brain healthier, preventing small strokes that might impair thinking
researchers used the ongoing Nurses' Health Study, in which the
women filled out questionnaires about drinking habits and took a
telephone survey designed to assess thinking skills. Whether alcohol
produces long-term benefits is not known.
an editorial in the journal, Dr. Denis Evans and Dr. Julia Bienias
of the Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago, cautioned that the
findings are not conclusive.
may simply be, they said, "that older persons who are in good
cognitive and physical health may be more likely than less healthy
peers to indulge in low-to-moderate alcohol consumption as part of
their social activities."
tube baby gets blood check
screening has been used
to ensure a test tube baby's blood was compatible with that of its
mother. The test, by Australian doctors, enabled a couple to have a
healthy child who might otherwise have died.
technique, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, is already used to
screen embryos for potentially fatal inherited diseases such as
cystic fibrosis. Its use to check the baby for rhesus disease is
described in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
disease is caused by the mother's immune system reacting against her
baby's blood. About 17% of pregnant women are at risk of having a
rhesus baby. The problem can arise when the mother's blood type is
rhesus negative and the father's is rhesus positive.
the baby is also rhesus positive and its blood mixes with its
mother's - mainly during labour - antibodies are produced to destroy
the child's red blood cells. It can lead to severe anaemia in the
foetus, and stillbirth or death of the baby shortly after birth.
Many of these cases can be prevented simply by giving rhesus
negative women an injection to stop any antibodies being produced.
It is also possible to treat any affected baby while still in the
womb by giving a blood transfusion. But there is still a significant
death rate associated with the condition.
couple who have had a significantly affected pregnancy are faced
with the dilemma of whether or not to attempt further
pregnancies," said Dr. Sean Seeho of the University of Sydney.
"And the tendency for rhesus disease to worsen with each
subsequent rhesus-incompatible pregnancy plays a major part in the
a situation faced the couple involved in the test tube baby's case.
The screening was carried out in 2003. Dr. Seeho's team used
pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to select a rhesus negative
embryo from among a number of embryos produced after the mother
underwent IVF treatment. They say this is the first reported case of
an unaffected pregnancy using PGD to prevent rhesus disease.
Seeho believes PGD is an option for couples who have had a previous
severely affected pregnancy and the man's blood type, although
classified as rhesus positive, is actually a mix of rhesus positive
and negative. But he warned that financial and technical barriers
Charles Rodeck of University College London suggested PGD would be
appropriate for very few couples. Of the 600,000 or more births in
England and Wales each year, about 62,000 are rhesus positive babies
born to a rhesus negative mother. In up to 98% of cases the mother
and baby can be successfully treated to avoid any complications.
folklore 'saved islanders'
knowledge handed down from generation to generation
helped to save ancient tribes on India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands
from the worst of the tsunami, anthropologists say.
other isolated communities who moved to the islands from South East
Asia centuries ago fared far worse than the indigenous peoples,
evidence suggests. The aboriginal tribes - some of the oldest and
most isolated in the world - have oral traditions apparently
developed from previous earthquakes that may have allowed them to
escape to higher ground before the massive tsunami struck the island
chain off Indonesia. The Onge tribe, for example, have lived on
Little Andaman for between 30,000 and 50,000 years and, though they
are on the verge of extinction, almost all of the 100 or so people
left seem to have survived the December 26 quake and the devastating
waves which followed. Their folklore talks of "huge shaking of
ground followed by high wall of water," according to Manish
Chandi, an environmental protection worker who has studied the
tribes and spoke to some Onges after the disaster.
the earthquakes struck, the Onges moved to higher ground deep inside
their forest and escaped the fury of the waves that entered the
settlements, he told the BBC News website after talking to some of
the inhabitants who knew some Hindi as well as their own ancient
said another aboriginal people - the Jarawa on South and Middle
Andaman - also fled to higher ground before the waves.
is clear evidence that the aboriginals know about tsunamis and they
know how to deal with them," he said.
Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology (Sane), Samir Acharya said
the aboriginals have a collective memory of earthquakes and tsunamis
so they knew to move to higher ground.
of The Land Of The Naked People, Madhusree Mukherjee supported the
theory, saying: "The aboriginals have an island survival
strategy that they have developed through the knowledge of the
and government officials compared notes on the tribes' behaviour
after the huge undersea earthquake. Executive Secretary, Andaman-Nicobar
Tribal Welfare Department, K. C. Ghoshal spoke to some of the Great
Andamanese people taken to a rest house near the islands' capital,
said the survivors spoke of feeling the earth shake and bringing
their thatched huts crashing down, prompting an exodus to higher
can now say we have contacted or carefully assessed the plight of
the aboriginals and we can say almost of them are safe," he
said, adding that officials hoped to return those taken to temporary
shelters in the immediate aftermath.
have been much harassed by the media and we plan to send them back
to their areas without much delay," Ghoshal said.
who travelled to the affected areas as part of a team assessing the
tsunami's environmental impact, said his research showed the Onges
living at Dugong Creek and South Bay on Little Andaman Island were
also almost wholly safe. He added that the Jarawa tribe along the
west coast of South and Middle Andaman Islands was also largely
safe. Further afield, the Sentinelese people appear not to have been
affected, Ghoshal said.
continued to remain isolated and even shot arrows at a naval
helicopter on patrol which had descended on the North Sentinel
island to check," he said.
are some concerns for the Shompens, the last of the islands' five
groups that are considered native, though some say they may have
originated in Africa.
Shompens live inland and deep in the forest, and the government's
tribal welfare department is not sure how many, if any, casualties
helicopter that hovered over their habitat seems to have scared them
and they have fled into very dense jungles. So it will be a while
before a clear assessment will emerge," Ghoshal said.
research on the more southern Nicobar part of the archipelago
suggests that tribes who were not indigenous to the islands fared
far less well. Threats still remain for survivors - mostly from the
of Nicobarese, who some say migrated from South East Asia 500 or 600
years ago, are dead or missing. Many of their islands suffered more
in the huge waves - in some cases being washed off the horizon
entirely. And even those who survived face more dangers along with
their aboriginal fellow island dwellers - partly because of the
renewed interest in them from outside.
Health Expert, Tilak Bera, an Indian navy doctor with close
knowledge of the aboriginals, said: "I am sure they have tided
themselves over the tsunami with their collective knowledge but I am
apprehensive about diseases that may afflict them because of the
exposure to outsider society and unfamiliar food they had to eat
Subir Bhaumik, BBC News