Listen to Our Shows on Mixcloud

We broad­cast music, news and dis­cus­sion from 10am to 10pm and repeat overnight, 7 days a week. We also Mix­cloud our shows so that you can listen whenever and wherever suits you.

We cover a wide range of top­ics by all ages for all ages:

  • Eco issues, human rights and in-depth news (both local and global)
  • Sci­ence, his­tory, arts and poetry
  • Stor­ies, week­end live per­form­ances by Brighton musicians.

For more inform­a­tion, please see the About Us page.

There’s plenty going on in Brighton and Hove…

 

Thank you to Sus­sex Life and Green­CycleSus­sex for this information.

 

20–23, 24 Decem­ber — 40th Anniversary Santa Specials

Kent and East Sus­sex Railway

Fam­il­ies will meet Santa Claus onboard the fest­ively dec­or­ated trains dur­ing the return jour­ney to Northiam Sta­tion. Chil­dren should also look out for the 
elves, whose sacks are full of lovely presents.

For more inform­a­tion and book­ings tel: 01580 765155 or visit www.kesr.org.uk

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21–22 Decem­ber — Robin’s Winter Adventure

A young boy’s incred­ible jour­ney with a feathered friend. But will facing his fears turn out to be the greatest adven­ture of all? An uplift­ing tale of change, bravery and friend­ship told with pup­petry, poetry, music and magical design. Tick­ets: £7.50. Fam­ily: £26.

The Hawth, Craw­ley: 01293 553636

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23 Decem­ber — Sil­ver Strings — its never too late to learn!

8:30AM — 10:30AM at the Brighthelm Centre. Silver Strings is a music ses­sion for older people who’ve always wanted to play a stringed instru­ment. At Sil­ver Strings, we warm up gently and play in pairs as part of a lar­ger group to make music together. Every­one over 50 is wel­come, regard­less of pre­vi­ous exper­i­ence — no music read­ing is neces­sary, and every­one can choose the mater­ial we play. Learn­ing an instru­ment in a group keeps our minds act­ive and our fin­gers supple — and it’s a lot of fun! Par­ti­cipants say: I get such a sense of achieve­ment (SW), My hands are now more agile (DP), Every week is a high­light! (RW). We even provide the instru­ments: choose violin, viola or cello — or try all three! The ses­sions are run by Open Strings Music and facil­it­ated by Goldsmiths-trained music leader and pro­fes­sional cel­list Isa­bel Emer­son. Where: The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD When: weekly Tues­days, 9:30–11:30am Cost: first ses­sion free — come and try us out! £11/wk (pay­able monthly) there­after, inclus­ive of instru­ment use.

Con­tact: email Isa­bel: isabel@openstrings.co.uk

For more details see http://www.openstrings.co.uk.

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23–31 Decem­ber — Jack and the Beanstalk

This clas­sic fairytale gets the Lyngo treat­ment, so expect lots of sur­prises, a grip­ping story and beau­ti­ful images as Jack sells his cow for five magic beans and finds him­self in the land above the clouds. It’s a show for the over threes (and their giants) with some­thing for every­one – enorm­ous shoes, tiny houses, showers of sil­ver and gold and a big, leafy explo­sion. Tick­ets £10.

The Cap­itol, Hor­sham: 01403 750220

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27–28 Decem­ber — A Christ­mas Carol

Bal­let Theatre UK

2.30pm and 7.30pm. Come on a magical jour­ney down the dark and twist­ing streets of Dick­ensian Lon­don. Along the way there will be joy, laughter and a little heart­break in this enchant­ing blend of tra­di­tional bal­let and cap­tiv­at­ing theatre.

Bal­let Theatre UK’s retell­ing of the clas­sic novel brings a caval­cade of col­our­ful char­ac­ters vividly to life, from Ebenezer Scrooge, the miser immune to fest­ive cheer, to the three ghosts who help him under­stand the true mean­ing of Christ­mas. Tick­ets: £10-£18.50 (under 16s half price). Recom­men­ded for ages eight years and up.

The Dome, Brighton: 01273 709709

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7 Janu­ary — Art for All

1:15AM — 3:15AM at south portslade com­munity centre. my art class is for any­one who would like to try out painting,drawing, ink and wash etc. even if you haven’t done any art since school come along and try. begin­ner or exper­i­enced you are wel­come pay as you go £6.00 a ses­sion. come and give it a try.

Con­tact details:
carol nic­ol­aou
01273 232142
carolnicolaou@yahoo.co.uk

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9 Janu­ary — Brighton Sew­ing Bee Monthly SEWICAL

7pm-9pm. 1st sew­cial of the year YAY! New year.. new venue.. same fant­astic event. 2 hours of sew­ing fun, cake and tea for just £5… what a way to cel­eb­rate the start of 2015. Look­ing for­ward to see­ing every­one! New­comers wel­come to our fab­ulous com­munity group. We have Julia Hincks as our spe­cial guest.. YAY! See you all there.. spread the word! Lots of love. Stacie xx

Con­tact Stacie
07982426481
brightonsewingbee@hotmail.co.uk

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Ebola: we can stop it‏

I’m Dr Louisa Bax­ter and I’ve just come back from Sierra Leone where the Ebola epi­demic is fast spiralling out of con­trol.The virus is killing up to 70% of those who catch it and the num­bers of people infec­ted is doub­ling every 20 days.Chil­dren and fam­il­ies there, and across West Africa, des­per­ately need the inter­na­tional com­munity to do more to defeat Ebola. And they need them to do it fast.

Will you join me in call­ing on world lead­ers to act?

Next month, lead­ers of the 20 most power­ful and richest coun­tries meet at the G20 Sum­mit in Australia.

It’s crit­ical they agree to make enough money, equip­ment and people avail­able to stop this killer virus.

Your voice will be join­ing with thou­sands of oth­ers across the globe as people from Sydney to San Fran­cisco, unite to demand action.

This is the largest Ebola out­break we’ve ever seen and there is only a mat­ter of weeks to con­tain it.

Please sign our peti­tion to the G20 lead­ers today.

We must stop Ebola. With your help we can.

My jour­ney back to Ebola ground zero

By Peter Piot Nearly 40 years after he was first dis­patched to invest­ig­ate a mys­ter­i­ous new virus, Peter Piot returns to a vil­lage – and a people – changed for ever by the advent of Ebola

Microbiologist and physician Peter Piot in Matonge, Kinshasa in February, at a clinic for sex workers that he co-founded©Michael Chris­topher Brown­Mi­cro­bi­o­lo­gist and phys­i­cian Peter Piot in Matonge, Kin­shasa in Feb­ru­ary, at a clinic for sex work­ers that he co-founded

Get on that plane now! You know, they are crazy here!” shouts the man­ager of Kin Avia, a rare charter air­line in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo with a decent safety track record. It is nearly 10am and for the past few hours we have been try­ing to get through all the form­al­it­ies required to travel from the dilap­id­ated domestic air­port of Ndolo in the heart of Kin­shasa to Bumba – in other words, to get through immig­ra­tion for a domestic flight. Bumba is the nearest air­port in north­west­ern Congo to our final des­tin­a­tion, Yam­buku, a vil­lage in Equateur province about 1,000km from the cap­ital. I am spend­ing two weeks in the coun­try to cel­eb­rate my 65th birth­day and to thank the people who played such an import­ant role in two defin­ing exper­i­ences of my life: invest­ig­at­ing the first known out­break of Ebola haem­or­rhagic fever in 1976 and uncov­er­ing a sig­ni­fic­ant het­ero­sexual epi­demic of HIV/Aids in 1983. I am here with an Amer­ican film crew mak­ing a doc­u­ment­ary on epi­dem­ics, along with my wife Heidi, an anthro­po­lo­gist, and my friends Jean-Jacques Muyembe, dir­ector of the DRC’s National Insti­tute for Bio­med­ical Research, Eugene Nzila, a pion­eer of Pro­jet Sida (Africa’s first big Aids research pro­ject, foun­ded in 1984) and Annie Rimoin, an epi­demi­olo­gist from UCLA.

When I was 27 and still in train­ing, I had one of the greatest oppor­tun­it­ies an aspir­ing micro­bi­o­lo­gist could dream of: the chance to dis­cover a new virus, invest­ig­ate its mode of trans­mis­sion and stop the out­break. It all star­ted when my labor­at­ory at the Insti­tute of Trop­ical Medi­cine in Ant­werp received a ther­mos from what was then called Zaïre. It con­tained the blood of a Flem­ish nun who had died of what was thought to be yel­low fever. From that sample, how­ever, our lab isol­ated a new virus, con­firmed by the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol in Atlanta and sub­sequently called Ebola, after a river about 100km north of Yam­buku, the centre of the epi­demic. It turned out to be one of the most deadly vir­uses known. In early Septem­ber 1976, Mabalo Lokela, the head­mas­ter of the local school, had died with a high fever, intract­able diarrhoea and bleed­ing. His death sent a shock­wave through the small mis­sion com­munity. Soon the hos­pital was full of patients with a sim­ilar ill­ness and nearly all died within a week.

This was the begin­ning of the first known out­break of Ebola, a virus that is believed to cir­cu­late in bats, which acci­dent­ally infects people through con­tact with blood or infec­ted droplets. There are four known sub­types affect­ing humans, includ­ing the “Zaïre” type, the most deadly strain, with more than 90 per cent mor­tal­ity. Trans­mis­sion between people is through con­tam­in­ated injec­tions, con­tact with blood and body flu­ids, sex, and it prob­ably passes from mother to child. Approx­im­ately one week after infec­tion, patients develop severe fever, diarrhoea and vomit­ing. They then start bleed­ing and are affected by “dis­sem­in­ated intravas­cu­lar coagu­la­tion”, whereby small blood clots develop in the body’s blood ves­sels, ulti­mately res­ult­ing in gen­er­al­ised organ fail­ure, shock and death one week after the onset of symp­toms. Close to 90 per cent of the 318 people dia­gnosed with the dis­ease would even­tu­ally die dur­ing the Yam­buku out­break. So would more than half of the hos­pital staff and 39 people from among the 60 fam­il­ies liv­ing at the mis­sion. The entire region was dev­ast­ated, with some vil­lages los­ing one in every 11 inhab­it­ants to Ebola.

Piot (second from left) on October 20 1976, the day of his arrival in Yambuku, together with fellow scientists and local health workersPiot (second from left) on Octo­ber 20 1976, the day of his arrival in Yam­buku, together with fel­low sci­ent­ists and local health workers

Get­ting on a mil­it­ary C130 to Bumba in 1976 for the three-hour flight over the world’s second-largest equat­orial forest was less com­plic­ated than catch­ing a pas­sen­ger flight in 2014, even though back then we had to load a Land Rover, med­ical equip­ment and bar­rels of fuel on to the cargo plane. We were a Zairean, an Amer­ican, a French­man and two Bel­gians in a plane – like one of those jokes. But the pilots were in a foul mood. They resen­ted hav­ing to fly to the epi­demic zone. Hadn’t fel­low pilots told them that birds were fall­ing from the sky over the forest around Yam­buku and that dead bod­ies were lin­ing the roads? When we landed, the plane came abruptly to a halt but the pilots never came out of the cabin. They didn’t even stop the engines. They wanted to take off again as soon as pos­sible and avoid any con­tact with loc­als. When I walked through the open load­ing dock at the back of the plane, I saw hun­dreds of people, star­ing at us in silence, fol­lowed by shouts of “Oyé! Oyé!” when we drove out the Land Rover. Ours was the first air­craft to break the quar­ant­ine that the whole region had been put under because of the epi­demic and expect­a­tions were high that we would stop the dis­ease, and bring food and medi­cines. As soon as the plane was unloaded, the pilots shouted “Bonne chance!” and off they went.…

Bumba, the nearest town to Yambuku©Heidi Lar­son­Bumba, the nearest town to Yambuku

This time there is a slight sense of déjà vu when we finally land on the red-earth air­strip of Bumba. The Con­golese pilot recog­nises me from his time in the Zairian air force in the 1970s. “Has Ebola star­ted again?” he asks anxiously. Only a few people are at the air­strip, apart from the unavoid­able immig­ra­tion and secur­ity officers. One man is wait­ing for us just as he was in 1976: Father Car­los Rom­mel, the Flem­ish Cath­olic par­ish priest of Notre Dame, who has been work­ing in the Congo for 51 years, mostly in Bumba. He had arranged all our logist­ics to per­fec­tion, just as he unflap­pably man­ages a hos­pital, a par­ish and four schools in a coun­try where noth­ing can be taken for gran­ted. Our con­voy of jeeps makes its way to the Bumba mis­sion, where we will stay for the next few days, just as we did nearly four dec­ades ago. Not much has changed – there is not a single paved road in this town of about 150,000 people and very few houses are made of brick or cement. This used to be a major port on the Congo River but years of war, loot­ing and cor­rup­tion have taken their toll. River boats are gradu­ally return­ing – the 1,000km jour­ney to Kin­shasa can take up to six weeks in the dry sea­son – always over­loaded with people, cars and goods. Des­pite being loc­ated on the mighty Congo, there is no run­ning water in Bumba. Girls and women fetch water from the river, except in the neigh­bour­hoods where Father Car­los has drilled wells. He seems to be the only real investor in infra­struc­ture and social ser­vices in the city, some­times using his own money. There is no elec­tri­city, besides what is pro­duced by a lonely and noisy gen­er­ator. The first thing I see when vis­it­ing the pub­lic hos­pital is a large black truck near the entrance with “Morgue” painted across it. Not encour­aging. Cattle graze between the pavil­ions. The hos­pital is largely empty as patients have to pay for everything and there are hardly any medi­cines, includ­ing anti‑HIV drugs and tests. For years, the state has not provided any support.

An aerial photograph of a typical settlement in the Yambuku area, taken on Piot’s first visit to the region©Peter PiotAn aer­ial pho­to­graph of a typ­ical set­tle­ment in the Yam­buku area, taken on Piot’s first visit to the region

Together with Muyembe and Rimoin, two of the world’s lead­ing experts on mon­keypox, I see a nine-year-old girl who has con­trac­ted the dis­ease from her brother. DRC has the world’s largest num­ber of cases of this dis­ease, which resembles the now erad­ic­ated small­pox, and is acquired from con­tact with vari­ous wild anim­als, not just mon­keys. It is another illus­tra­tion of how animal vir­uses can cause infec­tions and even epi­dem­ics in humans (both HIV and influ­enza come from anim­als). In con­trast to the pub­lic hos­pital, the mission-run Notre Dame hos­pital is clean and full of patients but even here there is a short­age of medi­cines. Muyembe and I have lengthy con­ver­sa­tions about the causes of this total neg­lect of people’s health and what we can do about it as aca­dem­ics. He repeatedly reminds us all of the motto of the Uni­ver­sity of Kin­shasa, where he had been dean of medi­cine, and which was also the slo­gan of the Cath­olic high school of Bumba: “No sci­ence without con­science”.… Look­ing across the court­yard from our bed­room at the mis­sion evokes one of the most dra­matic moments of my stay in 1976. Early one after­noon, an Allou­ette heli­copter (a gift from French pres­id­ent Valéry Gis­card d’Estaing to Zaïre’s pres­id­ent, Mobutu Sese Seko) arrived in Yam­buku to take me to meet some high-ranking US offi­cials in Bumba. As it was get­ting very dark, and I resen­ted that these men did not want to come to where the action was, I decided not to fly. It saved my life – the heli­copter crashed in the forest 15 minutes later and all three pas­sen­gers died, includ­ing a worker from the mis­sion who had taken my place in order to visit his fam­ily in Bumba. I always felt that poor man died for me.

Piot in Yambuku with nurse Sukato Mandzomba, who survived the initial Ebola outbreak©Heidi Lar­son­Piot in Yam­buku with nurse Sukato Mand­zomba, who sur­vived the ini­tial Ebola outbreak

Three days later I had to recover the bloated corpses after a hunter found them, two hours’ walk from the nearest vil­lage through almost impen­et­rable forest. As there were no coffins, I had to make them myself at the mis­sion work­shop back in Bumba, which was the only place that had wooden planks. For years I could not talk about it and even now see­ing a pile of planks at that work­shop is extremely emo­tional. Bumba, this morn­ing, offers many dis­trac­tions as well as memor­ies but I am impa­tient to see Yam­buku. Road R337 is a red soil track through the green foliage of the dense equat­orial forest. It is dry sea­son and dur­ing a four-and-a-half-hour drive of more than 100km, we see two trucks full of goods and people, four motor­cycles and many more people on or push­ing bicycles, loaded with rice, pea­nuts, dried fish and bush meat, manioc, palm oil and bana­nas. As we wend our way down the bumpy road from Bumba to Yam­buku, I’m firmly hold­ing on to a handle so as not to be ejec­ted from the front seat and my head is spin­ning with memor­ies of my first visit. The forest is a bit fur­ther away from the vil­lages now, with trees hav­ing been cut down for fuel over the years, and there are far more chil­dren than I remem­ber. There are also some new cement build­ings in sev­eral of the vil­lages we pass – often only one among the mud huts and King­dom Halls of Jehovah’s Wit­nesses. There used to be palm oil plant­a­tions here, owned by Uni­lever, but these have been aban­doned along with the paddy fields because of the wars and a deteri­or­a­tion in infra­struc­ture and trans­port. With them went the last jobs, and many people are now liv­ing in a state of aut­archy – flee­ing into the forest for weeks at a time when vari­ous armed groups have invaded the area.

Piot is reunited with Father Carlos Rommel, who has worked in the Congo for 51 years©Heidi Lar­son­Piot is reunited with Father Car­los Rom­mel, who has worked in the Congo for 51 years

As we get closer to Yam­buku the driver points to an over­grown area which was part of a vil­lage whose inhab­it­ants had fled dur­ing the Ebola epi­demic and never returned. Sud­denly, the forest opens up and the road meanders through neg­lected cof­fee plants and bam­boo before we finally see Yam­buku. We are wel­comed by sec­tor chief Chris­tophe Nzan­golo, two doc­tors and four Con­golese nuns, who have been wait­ing for us since noon on the ter­race of the mis­sion. Warm beer is served, form­al­it­ies are exchanged and we are dir­ec­ted to our rooms. They are in dire con­di­tion, as is the rest of the build­ing. The Cath­olic mis­sion in Yam­buku was foun­ded by the Order of Sch­eut in the 1930s with the sup­port of a colo­nial cot­ton com­pany in the then Bel­gian Congo. It was later joined by Sis­ters of the Sac­red Heart of Mary. For many years, the vil­lage was a flour­ish­ing centre for edu­ca­tion, health­care and agri­cul­ture, and in some ways was a picture-postcard loc­a­tion. But the 1976 Ebola epi­demic, com­bined with a sharp eco­nomic down­turn and serial wars, has led to a decline on all fronts. The mis­sion was looted first by Mobutu’s sol­diers and most recently by Bemba rebels, who were fight­ing the cur­rent gov­ern­ment of Joseph Kab­ila and stole the ambu­lance and side­band radio, the vil­la­gers’ only means of com­mu­nic­a­tion with the out­side world. (It took me a while to real­ise that the numer­ous small holes in the pil­lars of the convent’s ter­race were actu­ally bul­let holes.) Since the depar­ture of the Flem­ish nuns about 10 years ago, leav­ing some Con­golese sis­ters, there has been no money avail­able to replace or to main­tain the vast con­vent build­ings. The aus­tere guest house where we stayed was slowly implod­ing, chil­dren at the primary school were sit­ting and writ­ing on the dirt floor, and the hos­pital was without drugs and had only a few mat­tresses. The power­ful elec­tri­city gen­er­ator we had left behind in 1976 was intact but lacked some essen­tial parts, which together cost only a few hun­dred pounds. But the money was not there and, in any case, the sis­ters had no idea how to order the miss­ing parts.

The school room where Piot and his colleagues slept in 1976©Heidi Lar­sonThe school room where Piot and his col­leagues slept in 1976

The jungle had invaded the once flour­ish­ing cof­fee plant­a­tions, which used to employ a sig­ni­fic­ant part of the pop­u­la­tion. People now sur­vive on what the fer­tile land, veget­a­tion and wild­life can offer. In con­trast to Kin­shasa, there is no obesity in Yam­buku and, accord­ing to the local doc­tors and as far as we can see, not much ser­i­ous mal­nu­tri­tion either, in spite of a mono­ton­ous diet based on manioc, fried plantain and bana­nas, with occa­sional fish or bush meat. Des­pite all the dif­fi­culties and lack of reg­u­lar work, how­ever, it is inter­est­ing to note how impec­cably dressed the chil­dren and adults are. When we go for an early morn­ing walk to enjoy some cool air before the steam­ing heat envel­opes the vil­lage, we can see women sweep­ing the court­yards in front of their thatched-roofed mud huts, going to col­lect water and wash­ing their chil­dren. These are among the world’s bot­tom bil­lion, strug­gling to sur­vive with what nature has to offer. They have just enough, but no spare capa­city for an emer­gency.… When we arrived in Yam­buku on Octo­ber 20 1976, we went straight to the guest house, which sat between the nuns’ and fath­ers’ con­vents. Three European sis­ters and a priest were stand­ing out­side, with a cord between them and us. They had read that in case of an epi­demic it was neces­sary to estab­lish a cor­don sanitaire, which they had inter­preted lit­er­ally. A mes­sage hung from a tree, say­ing in the Lin­gala lan­guage that people should stay away as any­body com­ing any closer would die, and to leave mes­sages on a piece of paper. When the sis­ters shouted in French, “Don’t come any nearer! Stay out­side the bar­rier or you will die!” I imme­di­ately under­stood from their accent that they were from near my part of Flanders. I jumped over the bar­rier, say­ing in Dutch, “We are here to help you and to stop the epi­demic. You’ll be all right.” They broke down, hold­ing each other and cling­ing to my arms, cry­ing. We could see the ter­ror in their faces as they were con­vinced they too would soon die, just like four of their col­leagues and a priest who had all suc­cumbed to the Ebola virus in the course of a few weeks. Once we had all settled down, the sis­ters pre­pared a solid din­ner of Flem­ish beef stew and star­ted to tell the story of the epi­demic. They explained in great detail how their col­leagues had died, who the first vic­tims were at the mis­sion and then in other vil­lages, and that noth­ing seemed to work as treat­ment. One sis­ter had kept care­ful notes on each patient. They decided that we should sleep on the floor in the school classroom as we did not know whether the bed­rooms in the con­vent were con­tam­in­ated. But I didn’t sleep much that first night in Yam­buku, with a thou­sand ques­tions going through my head and the sounds of the rain­forest outside.

Bikes left as pledges in Yambuku’s pharmacy©Heidi Lar­son­Bikes left as pledges in Yambuku’s pharmacy

It quickly became clear that some­thing was wrong at the hos­pital. Epi­demi­olo­gical detect­ive work by our team con­firmed the sus­pi­cions: people were being infec­ted at the hos­pital through injec­tions made using con­tam­in­ated needles and syr­inges (only five syr­inges and needles were issued to the nurses each morn­ing), and hos­pital staff and attendees at funer­als were fall­ing vic­tim through expos­ure to body flu­ids infec­ted with the virus. In addi­tion there seemed to be trans­mis­sion from moth­ers to babies. Clos­ing the hos­pital (which, in any case, had been aban­doned by frightened patients) was the decis­ive action that stopped the Ebola epi­demic, and the last vic­tim died on Novem­ber 5. In simple terms, poor med­ical prac­tice had killed hun­dreds of people. The mis­sion­ar­ies were undoubtedly doing highly valu­able work in edu­ca­tion and com­munity devel­op­ment but man­aging a hos­pital (without a phys­i­cian, since they could not find one who would work in such a remote place) was bey­ond their expert­ise. On Decem­ber 16 1976, the quar­ant­ine was offi­cially lif­ted after four long months. The mil­it­ary trans­port plane that came to pick us up with our pre­cious samples, lab equip­ment and Land Rover was the first con­tact with the out­side world since we had arrived three months earlier. It was nearly stormed by people who wanted to leave the area.

The village graveyard©Heidi Lar­sonThe vil­lage graveyard

I had a heated argu­ment with the pilots, who were filling the plane with rat­tan fur­niture that belonged to Gen­eral Bumba, their big boss, and allow­ing other people who had bribed them on to the plane. There was hardly any space left for us and our goods. Noth­ing could be taken for gran­ted in Zaïre! I argued and swore and joked, and in the end we all got on the air­craft. I sud­denly real­ised I had become assert­ive. That was not the end of the story. The Buf­falo plane was over­loaded, as well as badly loaded, and the pilots took off straight into a for­mid­able trop­ical storm. We touched the top of some trees and before reach­ing cruis­ing alti­tude the plane dived for what felt like a few hun­dred metres. There were no seat belts and we were hit by heavy fly­ing boxes. Even­tu­ally we made it safely to Kin­shasa but my legs were trem­bling when we got out of the plane. For me, fly­ing had been more dan­ger­ous than caring for patients or hand­ling virus samples.… Dec­ades later, it is a great joy to see Sukato Mand­zomba slowly walk­ing towards me. “How are you?” he asks simply. “How is the fam­ily? My wife and I are so happy you came back.” He is smil­ing shyly and as if we had seen each other just a few days ago. Sukato is one of the few sur­viv­ors from the 1976 Ebola epi­demic. As a 24-year-old nurse, he was infec­ted while caring for dying patients with haem­or­rhagic fever but never developed the severe, fatal form of the infec­tion which causes massive bleed­ing and shock. Sukato was among the first people we saw on our arrival in Yam­buku in 1976, and after he had recovered from his ill­ness he volun­teered to look after patients and helped us with our clin­ical and epi­demi­olo­gical work.

Piot with Sukato Mandzomba in the latter’s makeshift laboratory in Yambuku©Heidi Lar­son­Piot with Sukato Mand­zomba in the latter’s make­shift labor­at­ory in Yambuku

He now runs the rudi­ment­ary hos­pital labor­at­ory, with a micro­scope and a hand cent­ri­fuge as his only equip­ment. Typ­ic­ally for Sukato, the labor­at­ory log­book has impec­cable records, and he shows me the char­ac­ter­istic bacilli in the spu­tum smears of numer­ous tuber­cu­losis patients. The hos­pital looks the same as I remem­ber it but with far fewer patients, even if there is now a com­pet­ent doc­tor. The main reas­ons for people stay­ing away are the lack of afford­able drugs (the gov­ern­ment has not sent any for more than two years) and extreme poverty pre­vents them from pay­ing the vari­ous fees that are charged in the absence of any health insur­ance scheme. Medi­cines are bought at the weekly mar­ket in nearby Yan­dongi and then sold at a profit to sub­sid­ise the hos­pital. In the tiny hos­pital phar­macy we see six bicycles, palm oil and a few bags of rice, left as secur­ity by patients who could not pay for their drugs. The Yam­buku “health zone” cov­ers 14,000 sq km and 260,000 inhab­it­ants but has no ambu­lance, no means of com­mu­nic­a­tion, hardly any medi­cines and just one fridge for vac­cines. The two doc­tors and the nurses are try­ing to find solu­tions without any sup­port from their gov­ern­ment or the inter­na­tional com­munity. Many would have given up but they are beacons of pro­fes­sional com­mit­ment and dig­nity amid abject poverty, the state hav­ing abdic­ated all responsibility.

Piot with Mandzomba on a return visit in 1986Piot with Mand­zomba on a return visit in 1986

Since that first visit, there have been more than 20 out­breaks of human Ebola haem­or­rhagic fever, all in Africa, except for a few laboratory-acquired cases. This year, and for the first time, Ebola virus caused a multi-country epi­demic in west Africa that ori­gin­ated in Guinea-Conakry. Humans are an acci­dental host, as a virus that kills its host in a couple of weeks could not sur­vive in nature. It is not clear how the virus reached this part of the con­tin­ent though its gen­ome has been found in a fruit-eating bat in Gabon. In gen­eral, Ebola is a dis­ease of close con­tact with wild­life, of poverty and par­tic­u­larly of dys­func­tional hos­pit­als, which can become deadly centres of viral spread through unsafe injec­tions and lack of basic hygiene. Health­care work­ers are usu­ally the first and most affected pop­u­la­tion. In prin­ciple it is very easy to con­tain an Ebola out­break: with gloves, hand-washing, safe injec­tion prac­tices, isol­a­tion of patients, safe and rapid dis­card­ing of the corpses of those killed by Ebola, and tra­cing of con­tacts and sub­sequent obser­va­tion for a few weeks. In real­ity, the health infra­struc­ture where Ebola strikes is usu­ally very poor and panic often leads to dis­sem­in­a­tion of the infec­tion, with people flee­ing affected areas, as is the case now in west Africa. As long as health ser­vices are inad­equate, there will be occa­sional out­breaks of Ebola in parts of Africa where the virus is hid­ing in some animal. In the­ory, there is no need to send in numer­ous out­side experts as con­trol meas­ures are very simple and inex­pens­ive and can be imple­men­ted by local pro­fes­sion­als and volun­teers. How­ever, the real­ity is that because of their high mor­tal­ity rate and con­ta­gious char­ac­ter, as well as today’s mobil­ity of people across bor­ders, out­breaks due to Ebola and other dan­ger­ous vir­uses must always be con­sidered as a global threat, amply jus­ti­fy­ing inter­na­tional sup­port and research. The cost of pub­lic panic and soci­etal dis­rup­tion can be enorm­ous, with health­care work­ers dis­pro­por­tion­ately affected – going far bey­ond the actual impact in terms of deaths due to Ebola.… My last visit to Yam­buku had been in 1986, 10 years after the first Ebola epi­demic. Along with col­leagues from the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol, we tested the blood samples we had col­lec­ted in 1976 for HIV anti­bod­ies and found that 0.8 per cent were infec­ted – five years before the first reports on Aids were pub­lished in the US. I had gone back to find out what had happened to the indi­vidu­als who were HIV pos­it­ive and also to explore whether that other virus in my life had spread fur­ther in the region. We found that three had died but also that two men and women had been liv­ing with HIV for at least a dec­ade and appeared fairly healthy. The level of HIV infec­tion in the pop­u­la­tion at large was still 0.8 per cent though it was as high as 11 per cent among pros­ti­tutes in the region. Around the same time, HIV pre­val­ence among adults in Kin­shasa was as high as 6 per cent (today HIV pre­val­ence in the cap­ital has declined to 3 per cent).

The four nuns killed in the initial oubreakThe four nuns killed in the ini­tial oubreak

Our research showed not only that people can live for at least 10 years with HIV but also that the virus had exis­ted at low levels for many years in cent­ral Africa. Together with later genetic stud­ies of HIV isol­ates from all over the world, and the dis­cov­ery that chim­pan­zees can be infec­ted with a virus very closely related to the human immun­ode­fi­ciency virus, these find­ings helped elu­cid­ate the ori­gins of HIV.… On our last day in Yam­buku, the film crew wants to inter­view me on the front porch of the con­vent. It is now bar­ri­caded for secur­ity reas­ons but when I was here dur­ing the out­break, this was my favour­ite place to work and reflect while I watched people strolling by. It is with mixed feel­ings that I have to leave this beau­ti­ful place and people. A dream I wrote about in my mem­oir has come true: I have come back to Yam­buku, to “Ebola ground zero”, a place and exper­i­ence which changed my life. But I am left with many unanswered ques­tions: how do people live, sur­vive and die here? And what are their aspir­a­tions for their chil­dren? It is upset­ting to see the deteri­or­a­tion in liv­ing con­di­tions and infra­struc­ture, redu­cing people to their most basic con­di­tion humaine.

The Ebola virus photographed in 1976The Ebola virus pho­to­graphed in 1976

As I sit next to Father Car­los on the return trip to Bumba, I ask what drives him. He says his real reli­gion is fight­ing poverty and injustice. Then sud­denly he turns to me and says: “You chal­lenged me in 1976: why did I not do more for the daily life of the people of Bumba, besides all the reli­gious activ­it­ies? That is when I decided to start a hos­pital. You really turned around my life.” It is stun­ning that I had had any influ­ence on a priest but it is also a pro­foundly happy moment. Two days later, back in Kin­shasa, we take our first real shower in a week before going to a con­cert by super­star Papa Wemba, together with more than 20 former col­leagues with whom I had worked on Aids in the 1980s and 1990s in Pro­jet Sida. As always, I find the rumba and soukous lib­er­at­ing. The vital­ity expressed in Con­golese music reflects the cre­ativ­ity and love for life of the Con­golese people. They deserve bet­ter than their daily struggle for sur­vival. New vir­uses will unavoid­ably con­tinue to emerge, par­tic­u­larly where people and anim­als live in prox­im­ity but war, greed and cor­rupt gov­ernance are man-made dis­asters, and they can be pre­ven­ted. Peter Piot is a micro­bi­o­lo­gist and phys­i­cian, and dir­ector of the Lon­don School of Hygiene & Trop­ical Medi­cine. His book, ‘No Time to Lose: A Life in Pur­suit of Deadly Vir­uses’, is pub­lished by Norton. To com­ment on this art­icle please post below, or email magazineletters@ft.com

 

Health and support services over Christmas and the New Year

Health­watch Brighton and Hove and Brighton and Hove Clin­ical Com­mis­sion­ing Group have pro­duced some inform­a­tion about where to go  if you don’t feel well dur­ing a fest­ive time.

They could be accessed by clicking:

Health­watch guide to Health and sup­port ser­vices over Christ­mas and the New Yearhttp://bit.ly/13Dm0Y2

Brighton and Hove Clin­ical Com­mis­sion­ing Group a guide to Urgent care ser­vices open dur­ing Christ­mas 2014/15:http://bit.ly/1uWDkNa

Could you help us to dis­trib­ute this inform­a­tion as widely as pos­sible (includ­ing all your friends and fam­il­ies), so every­one in need can eas­ily access help dur­ing the fest­ive time.

We also would like to encour­age people to choose the best ser­vice for their needs, and so help to keep A&E formed­ical emergencies!

 

You can do so also by shar­ing pos­ted by us inform­a­tion Twit­ter and Facebook:

 

Health­watch Twit­ter: Health­watchBH

Health­watch Face­book: https://www.facebook.com/healthwatchbrightonandhove?ref=hl

Brighton and Hove Clin­ical Com­mis­sion­ing Group Twit­ter:NHS­Brighton­Hove

 

Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year from Under the Bridge Music

Here is a small group of our 4pm Monday class enjoy­ing Christ­mas music.

Hope you all have a won­der­ful rest over Christ­mas. Our baby tod­dler classes will con­tinue 11am and 2pm Dec 22nd, 23rd and 24th (older tod­dlers at 1pm Mon 22nd and 4-7yrs at 4pm on Mon 22nd) We reopen on Janu­ary 5th with nor­mal sched­ule — first class being baby/toddler music at 11am.

More info @ brightonmusicforkids.org

 

 

 

Keith Taylor MEP , Author of ‘Polluted Playgrounds’, Welcomes Environmental Audit Committee Report

Keith Taylor MEP , Author of ‘Pol­luted Play­grounds’, Wel­comes Envir­on­mental Audit Com­mit­tee Report

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East Eng­land has wel­comed a report released today by the Envir­on­mental Audit Com­mit­tee which calls on the Gov­ern­ment to take action on air pol­lu­tion. Included in the recom­mend­a­tions were meas­ures to pro­tect chil­dren in schools.

Earlier this year Keith launched his own report titled “Pol­luted Play­grounds” which found that thou­sands of chil­dren across South East Eng­land go to school in close prox­im­ity to major roads.

His report showed that approx­im­ately 27,920 chil­dren of primary school age in South East Eng­land are attend­ing schools within a 150m radius of heavy traffic points and that many thou­sands more go to school within 450m of the region’s busiest roads.

Air pol­lu­tion is a ser­i­ous health threat in the UK and is second only to smoking as the biggest killer.

Keith Taylor Green MEP for South East Eng­land said:

“Con­tinu­ing to allow unchecked air pol­lu­tion means sen­ten­cing chil­dren to poor res­pir­at­ory health and earlier death. I’m glad the envir­on­mental audit com­mit­tee are urging the Gov­ern­ment to increase their efforts to pro­tect chil­dren in pol­luted play­grounds as up until now they have com­pletely failed to act.

“Air pol­lu­tion is second only to smoking as a killer. The gov­ern­ment must stop pre­tend­ing the prob­lem doesn’t exist and make air pol­lu­tion an imme­di­ate pri­or­ity with adequate fund­ing to make a real impact”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

 

For more inform­a­tion or to request an inter­view please contact:

· Joe Ryle (Press Officer for Keith Taylor MEP) – keithpress@greenmeps.org.uk, 07940500633

 

Joe Ryle
Media OfficerOffice of Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East Eng­land
CAN Mezzan­ine
49–51 East Road
Lon­don
N1 6AH
UKOf­fice: 0207 250 8418
Mobile: 07940 500633Email: keithpress@greenmeps.org.uk
www.keithtaylormep.org.uk
Twit­ter: @GreenKeithMEP

If you would like to receive Keith’s bimonthly e-newsletter please e-mail keithtaylor@greenmeps.org.uk put­ting INFO as the sub­ject header
 

Sussex Against TTIP group celebrate one million petition milestone against trade deal

Cam­paign­ers in Sus­sex are cel­eb­rat­ing hav­ing reached an import­ant mile­stone in efforts to halt an inter­na­tional trade agree­ment. Groups from across East and West Sus­sex have helped sign-up one mil­lion names to a European-wide peti­tion aim­ing to stop the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship – TTIP. TTIP is a com­pre­hens­ive free trade agree­ment cur­rently being nego­ti­ated between the United States and Europe.

No other sim­ilar European peti­tion has gained sup­port so quickly as this one”, said Val Knight an organ­iser of 38 Degrees sup­port­ers in Brighton. “This high­lights the depth of con­cern about a deal that clearly puts the interests of big busi­ness before people and the planet. TTIP is a major threat to our demo­cracy as it could allow cor­por­a­tions to over-rule gov­ern­ment policies by suing them if reg­u­la­tions inter­fere with exist­ing or future profits.

This is why we need to stop TTIP and thou­sands of people in Sus­sex have already signed up to help to do that. One mil­lion sig­nat­or­ies is great but it’s far from the end, we need many more to high­light the oppos­i­tion to this deal.”

One mil­lion sig­na­tures for a European Cit­izens Ini­ti­at­ive (ECI) peti­tion nor­mally allows for a hear­ing at the European Par­lia­ment provid­ing a valu­able chance to raise con­cerns and aware­ness. How­ever, the European Com­mis­sion have so far refused to register an ECI peti­tion against TTIP. This has promp­ted oppon­ents to pro­ceed with a ‘self-organised’ ver­sion of the peti­tion and to chal­lenge the Commission’s decision in the European Court of Justice. The Stop TTIP coali­tion is sup­por­ted by more than 320 civil soci­ety organ­isa­tions, trade uni­ons and con­sumer watch­dogs from 24 EU Mem­ber States.

Cam­paign­ers against the trade agree­ment still under nego­ti­ation, say that Sus­sex is likely to be impacted in many ways, some spe­cific to our region. Susanne Schuster of Brighton & Hove World Devel­op­ment Move­ment says, “Sussex’s poten­tial for frack­ing is already well known. Large scale dereg­u­la­tion expec­ted under TTIP could allow Amer­ican com­pan­ies to chal­lenge frack­ing bans in Europe and strengthen their abil­ity to instig­ate drilling loc­ally. East and West Sus­sex County Council’s com­mit­ments to sus­tain­able pro­cure­ment and devel­op­ment could be under­mined and pub­lic ser­vices are likely to see fur­ther privat­isa­tion of health and edu­ca­tion services.

Madeleine Dick­ens of Sus­sex Defend the NHS says: “US-based health and insur­ance cor­por­a­tions have been mak­ing private inroads into NHS ser­vices for some time. They have also been grabbing more of a media foothold, to build their busi­ness in the UK. If TTIP were to be rat­i­fied there would be a deluge of such pri­vat­eer­ing cor­por­ate interests from Europe as well as the US intent on buy­ing up the NHS and other pub­lic ser­vices. Whatever the com­plex­ion of the gov­ern­ment in power from next May there would be little or noth­ing they could do to stop it. The night­mare pro­spect of a US-style health and insur­ance sys­tem would become a reality.”

 

Fur­ther Information:

Con­tact: Mat­thew Cham­bers of Lewes STOP TTIP; Email: mfbchambers@yahoo.co.uk; Mobile: 07905 949457

Notes:

1) TTIP is the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship. It is a pro­posed free trade agree­ment between the United States of Amer­ica and Europe. If TTIP comes into being it would rep­res­ent the birth of poten­tially the largest free trade area in his­tory cov­er­ing nearly half of the world’s GDP.

2) Cel­eb­ra­tion events — Mem­bers of groups across Sus­sex will hold dif­fer­ent cel­eb­ra­tion events to mark the 1m mile­stone. Loc­a­tions for the gath­er­ings will include Brighton and Lewes. Dates and times can be con­firmed on request.

3) European Cit­izens Ini­ti­at­ive Peti­tion — On 10 Novem­ber 2014, the Stop TTIP coali­tion has filed a law­suit against the European Com­mis­sion at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Lux­em­bourg. The law­suit relates to a decision that was made by the Com­mis­sion to block a ‘European Citizen’s Ini­ti­at­ive’ (ECI) on the con­tro­ver­sial EU-USA trade deal known as TTIP and a sim­ilar deal with Canada (CETA). The Ini­ti­at­ive, if suc­cess­ful would have forced the Com­mis­sion to review its policy on the deals and to hold a hear­ing in the European parliament.

Stop TTIP applied for regis­tra­tion of the European Cit­izens’ Ini­ti­at­ive on 15 July. On 11 Septem­ber, the Com­mis­sion rejec­ted this applic­a­tion, using two main argu­ments: Firstly, the Com­mis­sion claims that the nego­ti­at­ing man­dates on TTIP and CETA are not legal acts but internal pre­par­at­ory acts between EU insti­tu­tions and there­fore not con­test­able via an ECI. Secondly, the Com­mis­sion claims that it can­not make neg­at­ive rat­i­fic­a­tion pro­pos­als and there­fore can­not com­ply with the ECI demand not to con­clude the CETA and TTIP nego­ti­ations. (Taken from www.stop-ttip.org)

4) Sus­sex Against TTIP – is a loose group­ing of mem­bers of vari­ous organ­isa­tions from across East and West Sus­sex cam­paign­ing against TTIP. It includes rep­res­ent­a­tion of the fol­low­ing: World Devel­op­ment Move­ment, 38 Degrees, War on Want, Sus­sex Defend the NHS and vari­ous local uni­ons and polit­ical parties.

5) Pho­tos — Free pho­tos from Stop TTIP protests can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eci_ttip/ Addi­tional pho­tos of protests held so far in Sus­sex are attached with this news release and are avail­able on request.

 

Theresa May announces a new counter-terrorism bill: ‘A further affront to our Digital Rights’

Theresa May just announced a new counter-terrorism bill. 
Expand­ing the reach of the Data Reten­tion and Invest­ig­at­ory Powers Act (DRIP) that was rushed through earlier this year, the pro­posed ‘Counter-Terrorism and Secur­ity Bill’ is a fur­ther affront to our digital rights. It will:
  • Expand the amount of inform­a­tion that com­pan­ies are forced to keep about you, espe­cially tar­get­ing mobile companies.
  • Con­tinue a dan­ger­ous pat­tern of pla­cing inno­cent cit­izens under sur­veil­lance, viol­at­ing the right to privacy.
  • Require pub­lic insti­tu­tions, includ­ing NHS trusts and nurs­ery schools, to keep tabs on people they think may be extrem­ists, open­ing the door to politi­cised work­place sur­veil­lance of emails and web use.
  • Include other human rights threats: meas­ures such as tem­por­ary exclu­sion from the UK are also included, which Liberty and other groups will be fighting.

You can read our ini­tial response to the Bill here: https://www.openrightsgroup.org/press/releases/open-rights-group-response-to-the-counter-terrorism-and-security-bill

If this wasn’t wor­ry­ing enough, it could be law within a mat­ter of weeks. It was intro­duced yes­ter­day and will be debated in a fast-track pro­ced­ure. Once again the Gov­ern­ment are in pre­vent­ing real debate and scru­tiny in the name of national secur­ity. The Bill was pub­lished the day after the Intel­li­gence and Secur­ity Com­mit­tee report into the murder of Lee Rigby. The tim­ing of this has been cri­ti­cised by ISC mem­bers them­selves who have accused the gov­ern­ment of spin.
ORG will stand against this: Please join us today.
https://www.openrightsgroup.org/join

We have been voicing our con­cerns that Inter­net com­pan­ies are becom­ing another arm of the sur­veil­lance state. You can find us on BuzzfeedChan­nel 4BBCThe Guard­ianWiredThe Tele­graphThe Inde­pend­ent and more.
When this Bill is debated in Par­lia­ment we will come back to you and ask you to con­tact your MP to vote against these new abuses which cement mass sur­veil­lance, but right now we need more sup­port to reach new audiences.This is our chance to make our voice for digital rights heard. There’s a gen­eral elec­tion in six months. Theresa May is cam­paign­ing on a plat­form of rolling back human rights and per­sonal pri­vacy. Together we can make our politi­cians under­stand why digital rights matter.
But we need your help.
Mem­bers of Open Rights Group make cam­paign­ing for inter­net pri­vacy pos­sible. Every new mem­ber means we have more funds to plan big­ger and bet­ter actions.
Please help us fight this Bill and join us today.
https://www.openrightsgroup.org/join
 

Radio Free Brighton: Davy Jones’ Politics Show: Interviewing Davy Jones

Who is Davy Jones? Davy Jones, Green Party Par­lia­ment­ary Can­did­ate for Brighton Kemp­town, and reg­u­lar host of the Polit­ics Show, answers ques­tions posed by Jackie Chase of Radio Free Brighton and other volun­teers from the radio sta­tion                   . LISTEN HERE

Pre­vi­ous Shows:

Salt­dean Coun­tryside Alli­ance  LISTEN HERE

This week Davy Jones talks to Lisa For­rest from the Salt­dean Coun­tryside Alli­ance. A Plan­ning applic­a­tion has been received by Brighton and Hove City Coun­cil for 36 houses on the edge of the downs in Rot­ting­dean, at the north­ern end of West­me­ston Avenue, to the rear of Bish­op­stone Drive and Falmer Avenue, Salt­dean and can be clearly seen from Dean Court Road. To find out more and raise objec­tions go to
http://saltdeancountrysidealliance.or…

City of Sanc­tu­ary                 LISTEN HERE

This week Davy Jones meets Jenny Lans­dell from City of Sanctuary.City of Sanc­tu­ary is a national net­work, a move­ment of local groups made up by busi­nesses, com­munity organ­isa­tions and indi­vidu­als, all with one thing in com­mon; their belief that sanc­tu­ary seekers should be wel­comed, and that their con­tri­bu­tion to soci­ety should be cel­eb­rated.
City of Sanc­tu­ary Brighton http://www.cityofsanctuary.org/bright…

Dis­cus­sion of the Drugs Issue     LISTEN HERE

This week Davy and Steve Peake dis­cuss the issue of drugs and effect­ive ways to approach the sub­ject through our com­munity and gov­ern­ment policy and altern­at­ive approaches being taken in other countries

 

 

Brighton & Hove City Council win prestigious conservation award

City Coun­cil win pres­ti­gi­ous con­ser­va­tion award

Work to cre­ate 15 new but­ter­fly havens in Brighton & Hove has been recog­nised with a national award.

Brighton & Hove City Coun­cil has won the pres­ti­gi­ous ‘Pro­mo­tion of Lepid­op­tera Con­ser­va­tion Award’.  The award recog­nises an out­stand­ing, unpre­ced­en­ted or major con­tri­bu­tion to the con­ser­va­tion of but­ter­flies and moths.  The award was presen­ted by Peter Tit­ley, Trustee of the Marsh Chris­tian Trust, the char­ity that sup­ports organ­isa­tions across the fields of con­ser­va­tion and edu­ca­tion, at the recent Annual Gen­eral Meet­ing of But­ter­fly Conservation.

Over the past seven years, council staff and con­ser­va­tion­ists have been work­ing to cre­ate new But­ter­fly Havens, across the city from East Brighton Park and Carden Avenue to Hove Lagoon, Green­leas and Mile Oak recre­ation ground.

”These havens have effect­ively brought the delights of the chalk downs within the reach of city dwellers,” said Dr Dan Dana­har, Hab­itat Res­tor­a­tion Officer for But­ter­fly Conservation’s Sus­sex Branch. ”They have allowed pre­cious down­land wild­life to flour­ish on poor qual­ity grass­land sites. Careful graz­ing in a plan designed to bene­fit wild­life has fur­ther enhancedthis green net­work of biod­iversity hubs and corridors.”

The city’s first But­ter­fly Haven was cre­ated at Dorothy Stringer School in 2007. Work involved land­scap­ing a chalk slope, sow­ing a care­fully selec­ted wild­flower seed mix and plant­ing 5,500 loc­ally sourced wild­flower plugs. Since then, 27 dif­fer­ent but­ter­flies have been seen on this site, a stag­ger­ing three quar­ters of all the dif­fer­ent spe­cies found in the city!

Inspired by this suc­cess Brighton & Hove City Coun­cil sub­mit­ted an applic­a­tion in con­junc­tion with the South Downs National Park in 2012 to become part of a Nature Improve­ment Area.  The applic­a­tion was suc­cess­ful and the Coun­cil secured £91,000 fund­ing for its part of the “South Downs Way Ahead” project.

John Gap­per, who works at the council’s Stan­mer Nurs­ery, worked with staff at the Royal Botanic Gar­dens Kew, who provided advice on how to col­lect single spe­cies of seeds.  These were planted and grown into small plant plugs by volun­teers. Dur­ing the winter, coun­cil rangers worked with more volun­teers to plant 200,000 wild­flower plugs.

This work has already benefited many but­ter­fly spe­cies, includ­ing the Dingy & Grizzled Skip­pers, Small and Chalkhill Blues and, in one case, bring­ing a colony of the spec­tac­u­larly beau­ti­ful Adonis Blue dir­ectly into the city centre.

Coun­cil­lor Pete West, Chair of the council’s Envir­on­ment, Sus­tain­ab­il­ity and Trans­port Com­mit­tee said: “I’m extremely proud that we have been able to cre­ate these mag­ni­fi­cent havens which are already attract­ing many but­ter­fly spe­cies back to the city.

All credit must go to John and Mark Gap­per and their hard­work­ing team of volun­teers whose know­ledge, inspir­a­tion and expert­ise has made this pro­ject such a huge success.”

 

In 2014, Brighton & Lewes Downs Bio­sphere was inter­na­tion­ally recog­nised by UNESCO as a new World Bio­sphere area. This was the first com­pletely new Bio­sphere site in the UK estab­lished for almost forty years.

Pic­ture shows (left to right) Peter Tit­ley of Marsh Chris­tian Trust, John Gap­per and his son Mark Gap­per of Brighton & Hove City Coun­cil, Dr Dan Dana­har of the Sus­sex Branch of But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion at the award presentation.

 

CONTACTS

For fur­ther inform­a­tion contact:

 

Dr Dan Danahar

 

E-mail: Dan@BigNature.co.uk

Tele­phone: 0779 111 3918 / 01273 621042

 

But­ter­fly Con­ser­va­tion is the UK char­ity ded­ic­ated to halt­ing the rapid decline of but­ter­flies and moths and pro­tect­ing our envir­on­ment. We run con­ser­va­tion pro­grammes for more than 100 threatened spe­cies and man­age over 30 nature reserves. www.butterfly-conservation.org

 

 

Claire Cooper

Press officer

01273 291087

 

BUAV criticises University of Sussex for deliberately hiding details of their animal experiments

 

 

Every Uni­ver­sity car­ry­ing out animal exper­i­ments in the UK is leg­ally obliged to provide the Home Office with fig­ures each year of the num­bers of anim­als they have used in their laboratories.

How­ever, the Uni­ver­sity of Sus­sex has today been cri­ti­cised heav­ily by the BUAV for being delib­er­ately obstruct­ive and pre­vent­ing this inform­a­tion being in the pub­lic domain.

Under the Free­dom of Inform­a­tion Act (FOIA) the BUAV has reques­ted the Uni­ver­sity provide details of the num­bers of anim­als used in 2013, the spe­cies and for what purpose.

Although the insti­tu­tion is obliged to provide this inform­a­tion, and has con­firmed it does indeed pos­sess it, it is refus­ing to do so. The Uni­ver­sity has claimed the reason for refus­ing the inform­a­tion is that, under Sec­tion 38 of the FOIA, it has con­cerns over the health and safety of the staff and stu­dents on its campus.

The BUAV has respon­ded that Sec­tion 38 FOIA can­not con­ceiv­ably apply to the inform­a­tion reques­ted. The sec­tion provides that inform­a­tion is exempt if its dis­clos­ure under the Act would, or would be likely to, endanger the phys­ical or men­tal health of any indi­vidual, or endanger the safety of any indi­vidual. There has to be a caus­at­ive link between release of the inform­a­tion in ques­tion and the cre­ation of, or increase to, a risk to safety. None is pos­sible here.

The dis­clos­ure of the num­ber, type of spe­cies and pur­pose of research could not pos­sibly endanger the safety of the university’s staff and/or stu­dents. By dis­clos­ing this basic inform­a­tion, appro­pri­ately anonymised, there is simply no risk which can jus­tify university’s reli­ance on sec­tion 38.

 

Michelle Thew, CEO of the BUAV said: “There is wide­spread con­cern over the use of anim­als in research but an informed debate can­not take place under a veil of secrecy. The research industry has made claims of late over its com­mit­ment to trans­par­ency and open­ness and yet we have encountered closed doors at Sus­sex Uni­ver­sity under a clause which simply does not stand up. The pub­lic has a right to know what anim­als are being used in research and why.”

 

Out of the 73 other uni­ver­sit­ies approached by the BUAV under the FOIA, only the Uni­ver­sity of Sus­sex has refused under Sec­tion 38 stat­ing health and safety concerns.

For fur­ther inform­a­tion, please con­tact Sarah Dickin­son on 020 7619 6978 / 07850 510 955 or emailsarah.dickinson@buav.org

NOTES

(1)    In Septem­ber 2014, a Gov­ern­ment announce­ment showed a con­tinu­ing decline in sup­port for animal exper­i­ments shown by two polls con­duc­ted by IPSOS-MORI for the Depart­ment of Busi­ness, Innov­a­tion and Skills[1]. High­lights:

·         The most com­mon descrip­tion of animal research organ­isa­tions is “secret­ive”, at 44%, whereas only 22% think of them as “well-regulated”

·         Only 8% of respond­ents sup­port con­tinu­ing to allow animal test­ing for clean­ing products

·         Research on cats for pos­sible bene­fit to humans is endorsed by only 15%, with only 14% sup­port­ing the use of dogs.

·         There has been a 7-point drop in sup­port since 2010 for animal exper­i­ment­a­tion gen­er­ally, and this is now a minor­ity view, at 47%.

www.buav.org

For over 100 years the BUAV has been cam­paign­ing to cre­ate a world where nobody wants or believes we need to exper­i­ment on animals.

The BUAV is widely respec­ted as an author­ity on animal test­ing issues and is fre­quently called upon by gov­ern­ments, media, cor­por­a­tions and offi­cial bod­ies for its advice or expert opinion.

We work to build rela­tion­ships with MPs, MEPs, busi­ness lead­ers and other decision-makers. We also ana­lyse legis­la­tion and sit on decision-making pan­els around the globe to act as the voice for anim­als in laboratories.

Our ded­ic­ated London-based team coordin­ates an inter­na­tional net­work of sci­ent­ists, law­yers, cam­paign­ers, invest­ig­at­ors, research­ers, polit­ical lob­by­ists and sup­port­ers. www.thebuav.org

Sarah Dickin­sonMedia and Celebrity Liaison Officer
Brit­ish Union for the Abol­i­tion of Vivi­sec­tion (BUAV)
16a Crane Grove
Lon­don N7 8NN
Dir­ect: +44 (0) 20 7619 6978
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7700 4888
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7700 0252www.buav.org
 The BUAV Vis­ion is: To cre­ate a world where nobody wants or believes we need to exper­i­ment on anim­als.Half the battle to bring an end to animal suf­fer­ing is fun­ded by gifts in our sup­port­ers’ wills.
If the time is right for you to put a good cause in your will please remem­ber ours.
 

The Quaker Open House for Palestine and Israel Presents: Two Sided-Story

In this film Emmy award dir­ector, Tor Ben Mayor fol­lows a group of 27 Palestinian and Israelis who meet under the frame of a unique pro­ject called “‘His­tory through the Human Eye” led by Par­ents Circle — Fam­il­ies Forum — bereaved Palestinian and Israelis for Peace and Recon­cili­ation. The project’s goal is to acknow­ledge the nar­rat­ive of the other through encoun­ters between bereaved fam­il­ies, both Palestinian and Israeli in their homes and neighbourhoods.

Will their dif­fer­ences remain irre­con­cil­able, or will they, can they, begin to accept the real­ity that their col­leagues express?

The event is at Friends Meet­ing House, Ship Street, Brighton on Thursday, Decem­ber 4 at 7.30 p.m.

The Quaker Open House for Palestine and Israel

The Open House pro­ject has been launched by local Quakers to find prac­tical ways of respect­ing the com­mon human­ity in all people, whatever their reli­gious or non-religious back­grounds. We wish to offer a place of encounter for those of good will in our com­munity who see no worth­while future in the polit­ics of viol­ence and retaliation.

This is the first of what we hope will be a series of thought-provoking events on Israel and Palestine. Entrance is free. There will be a col­lec­tion at the end.

For fur­ther information,

zvi@gotadsl.co.uk (Har­vey Gill­man) (away Novem­ber 23 – Decem­ber 1st)

patriciacockrell@talktalk.net (Patri­cia Cockrell)

 

Justice for Bhopal 30 Years on: Petition and Events

On Decem­ber 3, 1984, nearly 30 years ago, Rampyari Bai’s daughter-in-law was seven months pregnant.

Neither her grand­child nor her daughter-in-law would sur­vive the labor.

That night, a toxic gas wrought with deadly chem­ic­als leaked from a Union Carbide pesti­cide plant in Bho­pal, India. It was one of the world’s most dev­ast­at­ing indus­trial disasters.

Demand that Dow Chem­ical ensures that their sub­si­di­ary, Union Carbide, responds to out­stand­ing crim­inal charges linked to the leak.

Rampyari Bai’s daughter-in-law went into sud­den labor. She and her baby died in the hos­pital soon after­wards. Between 7,000 and 10,000 people died within three days of the leak.

Though it’s been almost 30 years, this remains a press­ing issue. To date, more than 20,000 people are estim­ated to have died as a res­ult of the leak; hun­dreds of thou­sands suf­fer from ongo­ing health prob­lems. Rampyari her­self has struggled with cancer.

Demand justice for sur­viv­ors of this disaster.

Sur­viv­ors of the gas leak have never received adequate com­pens­a­tion to cover the full extent of their injuries.

Many have been driven deeper into poverty, yet the com­pan­ies involved have never been held fully account­able. Together, we can work to change this.

Tell Dow Chem­ical to ensure that Union Carbide respect India’s justice sys­tem and com­ply with crim­inal sum­mons to appear in court.

Let’s force an end to the suf­fer­ing and seek justice in Bhopal.

30 years is too long.

UPCOMING EVENTS

13 Novem­ber 2014

Book Launch at Pho­to­fu­sion, Brix­ton, 18:30 – 20:30, with an artists talk at 19:30.

See: http://www.photofusion.org/book-launch-bhopal-facing-30/

17 Novem­ber 2014

Exhib­i­tion Launch at Amnesty Inter­na­tional UK, New Inn Yard, Shored­itch, 18:30 – 21:00, with a short talk at 19:30 (Fur­ther inform­a­tion com­ing soon)

19 Novem­ber 2014

Talk at Hous­mans Book­shop, Kings Cross, joined by Colin Too­good, Cam­paigns Man­ager of the Bho­pal Med­ical Appeal, 19:00. See: http://www.housmans.com/events.php

21 Novem­ber 2014

Pub­lic exhib­i­tion opens at City Hall, 21 – 28 November, located on the Second Floor Cham­ber Lobby.(Further inform­a­tion com­ing soon)

28 Novem­ber 2014

Talk at Tet­ley Gal­lery, Leeds, as part of the Post Colo­nial Dis­aster Conference. See:http://postcolonialdisaster.com/conference/

 

Radio Free Brighton: Davy Jones Kemptown Startup Campaign 6.11.2014

LISTEN HERE

A record­ing of Dave Jones Brighton, Kemp­town Elec­tion Cam­paign, held at The Sidewinder Pub on 6th Novem­ber 2014.

 

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