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Glasgow cannabis enthusiasts celebrate ‘green’ on city green

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Coinciding with Easter Sunday, Glasgow Cannabis Social Club’s annual 420 event was held on Glasgow Green, under sunny blue skies, and overlooking the river Clyde. Despite the city’s council attempting to revoke permission for the gathering at the last minute, police were happy for it to go-ahead with approximately a dozen officers attending in high-visibility vests.

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The Daily Record reported five arrests were made for minor offences, likely smoking and possession of small quantities of cannabis. Taking a less-sensational — and more accurate — line of reporting, the Monday edition of Glasgow’s Evening News stated five were referred to the Procurator Fiscal who is responsible for deciding if charges should be brought.

Official figures provided by the police were that 150 attended. With people coming and going, Wikinews reporters estimated upwards of 200 attended, compared to nearly 700 who had signed up for the event on Facebook. Hemp goods were advertised and on sale at the event, and some attendees were seen drinking cannabis-themed energy drinks.

“I was searched and charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act (which is a lot of bollocks)” one attendee noted online, adding “not fair to happen on a brilliant day like it was, other than that I had a great day!” A second said they were openly smoking and ignored by police, who “were only really focusing on people who looked particularly young”.

Cannabis seeds were openly and legally sold at the event and a hydroponics supplier brought a motortrike towing an advertising trailer. Actually growing cannabis is, however, illegal in the UK.

With the event openly advocating the legalisation of cannabis, speakers put their arguments for this to a receptive crowd. Retired police officer James Duffy, of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, spoke of the failed United States alcohol prohibition policy; stressing such policies needlessly bring people into contact with criminal elements. Highlighting other countries where legalisation has been implemented, he pointed out such led to lower crime, and lower drug use overall.

One speaker, who produced a bottle of cannabis oil he had received through the post, asserted this cured his prostate cancer. Others highlighted the current use of Sativex by the National Health Service, with a cost in-excess of £150 for a single bottle of GW Pharmaceuticals patented spray — as-compared to the oil shown to the crowd, with a manufacturing cost of approximately £10.

Similar ‘420’ pro-cannabis events were held globally.

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“Avast ye scurvy file sharers!”: Interview with Swedish Pirate Party leader Rickard Falkvinge

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MP3s for the people? The Pirate Party, a new Swedish political party first publicized in January, wants to legalize sharing music, movies, and other copyrighted content using the Internet. What may seem like a doomed effort by a small group of idealists is attracting significant media attention, in part due to a recent police raid on The Pirate Bay, an extremely popular BitTorrent tracker (see Wikinews coverage).

The Pirate Bay allows people to download content listed in its database using the BitTorrent protocol (including the latest Hollywood movies or computer games) and has gained something of an international cult status, in part for its public and irreverent responses to legal threats received from copyright lawyers of major corporations. The site was reopened days after the raid on Dutch servers (but is now back in Sweden again). Rickard Falkvinge, leader of the Pirate Party, argues that regardless of the legal outcome in the case, the web site demonstrates that copyright law in its current form is not sustainable.

Adopting the moniker of the maligned “Internet pirates”, the party argues for drastically limiting the scope and enforcement of copyright law, abolishing patent law, and protecting privacy in what it sees as a “control and surveillance society”. The party is hoping to garner enough votes in the September election to become a small but important faction in the next Swedish parliament. Rickard Falkvinge found some time in between interviews and party work to answer our questions.

There are rumours that the Swedish government was indirectly acting on behalf of the U.S. MPAA in shutting down the site. Do you feel that your government is beholden to U.S. interests?

Oh, the MPAA said so themselves in a press release, it’s more than a rumor. Check their press release “Swedish authorities sink Pirate Bay”. [Ed.: see below]

And yes, this particular fact has caused something of an uproar in Sweden. It’s widely believed that Swedish authorities were more or less ordered by a foreign power to act forcefully against an entity that was in, at worst, a legal gray area according to Swedish law.

The raid must have boosted your recognition. How many members do you currently have, and how successful has your fundraising effort been so far?

Our member count is at 6540, no, 6541, no wait, 6543… well, you get the picture. Our members register themselves on our website after paying the membership fee electronically, which helps reduce our admin load considerably.

Fundraising brought in 108,000 SEK [Ed.: approx. 14,700 USD or 11,600 EUR], enough to buy 3 million ballots, which is some kind of at-least-we’re-not-starving minimum. We’re not full, but we’re not starving, either. Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, we have received another 50K in donations. My sincere thanks to everybody who wants to help out; we are now looking into getting more ballots to make sure we don’t run out on election day. (10 million ballots was our initial full-score aim.)

Do you think you will be able to cover future expenses such as radio and television ads?

Following the raid on the Pirate Bay, and our tripling of the member roster, we don’t need advertising. We’ve been mentioned almost every news hour across all channels on national television in the last week.

Also, the established parties have now started to turn, following our success. Parties representing almost half of the elected parliament are now describing today’s copyright situation as not working. They still don’t understand why, though, they are just echoing what we say without understanding what the words mean. We’ll get around to teaching them — them and the voters alike.

This might be hard for people not following the Swedish media to grasp, but we have made a big splash. Today, our Minister of Justice was quoted as saying that he’s open to changes to copyright laws that would make file-sharing legal, with the headline “Bodström (his name) flip-flops about file sharing.” Immediately underneath were the Pirate Party’s comments to his suggestions. Let’s take that again: when a minister makes a statement about file sharing, media calls us for comments, and publishes them next to that statement. That’s how big we have become since the raid on the Pirate Bay.

The Minister of Justice later denied having made that statement to the press that reported it.

We will never be able to pay for television ads, the way I see it. Unless a very wealthy donor comes on stage. (If any such person is reading this, we have planned how to spend up to $375,000 in a cost-efficient way up until the elections, on the chance that donations appear. That spending does still not include any TV ads.)

Are you aware of similar initiatives in other countries?

Some are trying, but none have achieved the necessary momentum and critical mass that we have. We expect that momentum to happen once we get into Swedish Parliament and show that it can be done.

[Ed.: A United States variant of the party was recently launched. See also: Intellectual property activism category on Wikipedia]

The name “Pirate Party” seems to identify the party with what is currently defined as a crime: piracy of software, movies, music, and so on. Will a name like “Pirate Party” not antagonize voters, given that the label is so negatively used? How about potential allies abroad who argue for a more balanced copyright regime, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation or Creative Commons?

Oh, it is a crime. That’s the heart of the problem! The very problem is that something that 20% of the voters are doing is illegal by punishment of jail time. That’s what we want to change. Where the established parties are saying that the voters are broken, we are saying it’s the law that is broken.

Besides, it’s a way of reclaiming a word. The media conglomerates have been pointing at us and calling us pirates, trying to make us somehow feel shame. It doesn’t work. We wear clothes saying “PIRATE” in bright colors out on the streets. Yes, we are pirates, and we’re proud of it, too.

Also, the term is not that negative at all in Sweden, much thanks to the awesome footwork of the Pirate Bureau (Piratbyrån), who have been working since 2003 to educate the public.

If you are elected, and have the opportunity to become part of the next government of Sweden, do you intend to focus only on the issues in your platform (IP law and privacy)?

Our current plan is to support the government from the parliament, but not be part of it. If we’re part of it, that means we get a vested interest to not overthrow it, which puts us in a weaker position if they start going against our interests.

Overall, our strategy is to achieve the balance of power, where both the left and right blocks need our votes to achieve a majority, and then support the issues of whichever government that agrees to drive our issues the strongest. Basically, we sell our votes on other issues to the highest bidder in exchange for them driving ours.

Have you already made any contacts in Swedish politics?

Contacts… I’m not sure what you mean. Several of us have been shaking hands with some of the established politicians, particularly in the youth leagues, if that’s what you mean.

I was thinking along the lines of exploring possible modes of cooperation with established political parties — are you already taken seriously?

We are taken seriously by most of the youth leagues and by at least one of the represented parties. In particular, which is what counts, we are now taken seriously by national media. However, we can’t tie contacts that explore modes of cooperation quite yet — since our strategy depends on holding the balance of power, we need to not express a preference for whom we’d like to cooperate with, or we’d put ourselves in a weaker bargaining position.

What is your position on moral rights, as recognized by European Union copyright laws: the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. Do you think these rights should be preserved?

We safeguard the right to attribution very strongly. After all, what we are fighting for is the intent of copyright as it is described in the US constitution: the promotion of culture. Many artists are using recognition as their primary driving force to create culture.

Publishing anonymously or pseudonymously happens every day on the Internet, so no big deal there either.

The right to integrity, however, is an interesting issue. We state that we are for free sampling, meaning you can take a sound that I made for my tune and use it in your own tunes, or for that matter, a whole phrase. That’s partially in line with today’s copyright law on derivative works; as long as you add your own creative touch to a work, you get your own protection for the derivation. We want to strengthen that right.

You might want to consider the alternative. In the 50s and 60s, a lot of rock and roll bands started doing covers of old classical music. This would almost certainly have been considered to violate the integrity of the original artist — and was considered to do so by many — but in the eyes of many others, it was instead great new culture of a previously unseen form and shape.

So I don’t have a definite answer on the integrity issue. While I am leaning towards the promotion of new culture taking precedence over a limitation right, there may be unconsidered cases.

Do you feel that trademark law is adequate as it is?

Yes. We have not seen any hidden costs to trademarks that outweigh the benefits of reducing transaction costs on a market where seller and buyer are not personally acquainted.

How do you intend to deal with EU treaties which define certain legal frameworks for the protection of intellectual works?

What can they do? Fine us? Send us an angry letter?

Come on, countries need to think more like corporations. If the fine is less than the cost to society, which it is in this case, then the right thing to do is to accept the fine with a polite “thank you”.

Actually, national media just called me about this very question; the Department of Justice has stated that we can’t allow file sharing, as it would break international treaties. My response was that it is more important to not have 1.2 million Swedes criminalized, than it is to avoid paying a penalty fee.

Do you think that weaker intellectual property laws would lessen the amount of products released in Sweden by foreign companies, such as Hollywood studios?

As long as they believe that they will have a revenue here that exceeds the cost of operations, they will keep coming here. Anything else would be wrong from a corporate standpoint.

Besides, you need to remember what we are doing is to change the map according to what reality looks like. We do not want to change people’s behavior. We want to change the law so it reflects what the world actually looks like.

So, as they apparently make a profit today, I expect that to continue.

Do you feel that the music industry in its current form will still be needed in a world where non-commercial copying is permitted?

It’s not so much if they are needed where non-commercial copying is permitted, rather if they are needed when they’re not necessary any more to be the middle man between consumer and artist.

The music industry will lose its current chokepoint, because they don’t add any value to the end product any longer. They will probably survive as a service bureau for artists, but they will not be able to control distribution.

It’s actually quite simple: if they get their act together and provide a service that people want to buy, they will remain. If not, they will vanish. Today, they have legislated that people must buy their service regardless of whether it adds value or not, and that’s not gonna hold in the long term.

Why fight against intellectual property laws, instead of focusing your energy on creating freely licensed content, such as Creative Commons films or open source software?

I want to raise the issue a level, to show that it’s not about payment models or what level of control the copyright holder chooses to exert over his or her work.

Let me put it this way: we have achieved the technical possibility of sending copyrighted works in digital, private communications. I can send a piece of music in e-mail to you, I can drop a video clip in a chat room. That technology is not going away, leaving us with two choices.

So — if copyright is to be enforced — if you are to tax, prohibit, fee, fine, or otherwise hinder the transmission of copyrighted works in private communications, the only way to achieve that is to have all private communications constantly monitored. It’s really that large.

Also, this is partly nothing new. We’ve been able to do this since the advent of the Xerox copier — you could photocopy a poem or a painting and put it in a letter in the mail. Again, the only way to discover or stop that would have been for the authorities to open all letters and check their content.

So we’re at a crossroads here. Either we, as a society, decide that copyright is the greater value to society, and take active steps to give up private communications as a concept. Either that, or we decide that the ability to communicate in private, without constant monitoring by authorities, has the greater value — in which case copyright will have to give way.

My choice is clear.

The Pirate Bay was shut down and re-opened days later on a Dutch server. According to a Swedish newspaper report, traffic has doubled since then. How long do you think the cat and mouse game will continue?

Until one of two things happen: The authorities realize they can’t enforce laws that require monitoring all private communications, especially given the large international level of grassroots support, or [they] actually start monitoring all private communications.

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Benefits Of Decorative Concrete

Benefits of Decorative Concrete by Benedict YossarianCan the concrete have an aesthetic value? Well, that seemed to be a weird thought even a few years back. But now, with the decorative concrete, it has become a very possible idea. Basically, this is a thin coat of concrete on the unattractive concrete surfaces to lend it an impressive look. There are different types of the concrete layers to suit the different surfaces. However, the decorative concrete flooring is the most popular among them. The process requires some specific products, tools and system. Initially, the surface is primed with one type of polymer that resembles milk in its looks. The polymer is poured in a bucket and color as well as concrete are added to it one after another and mixed thoroughly with a pancake batter. Eventually, the mixture is spread on the surface evenly. With the decorative concrete, you can create different types of textures. You can create the natural stone look or the beautiful brick look. However, for that, you need an expert professional who will be able to produce the textures realistically and with precision. There are some companies whose products can be applied any type of solid surface. However, the surface has to be undamaged. One great advantage with this decorative concrete is that the expense here is less than the natural stones. So, it is economic as well as stylistic. Again, it requires less labor and it can be colored according to the overall look of the house.When you use the Flex-C-Ment overlay, you don’t need any specific preparation before the work begins. This is very much different from the typical concrete. It has a thickness of only 1 cm and it can copy the textures of different natural stones. This is a special kind of imprinted concrete that clings on to the sub-surface very strongly. If the natural stones are one of the many things that you want to have in your house, this concrete overlay can be the right option. They not only resemble the texture of the natural stone, but can also be very similar to the tiles and bricks. So, with them, you can always have the chance to increase the value of your house. Since they can hold on to the surface very strongly, the decorative concrete can be applied to the vertical surfaces as well. Naturally, the walls can be coated with this beautiful piece of artwork. Even if you have the most difficult surface, you can design it with the imprinted concrete. The decorative concrete is not only affordable and stylistic; it is very durable as well. They are not only applicable to the floor. They are also very effective to decorate the other areas of the house such as the pool decks, the porches, driveways, patios and so on. With it, you will always have a better chance to decorate the house in just the way you want. Maintenance is easy and the flexibility of the product has made it even more useful. If you are thinking of the perfect decorative concrete supply, Dekorbeton is the ideal choice. They have a world class standard and a very satisfactory customer care. About the Author:The author of this article knows all about the decorative concrete. He has helped many people out there to find the best decorative concrete flooring available in the market today. He has also written many other articles related to decorative concrete supply which are like handy guides for the people to choose these objects.Article Source: eArticlesOnline.com

“Woofstock” dog festival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

North America’s largest outdoor dog festival came back to Toronto last weekend for its fifth year. It ran from the 9th of June to the 10th of June at Toronto’s historical St. Lawrence Market. A Wikinews reporter was there on Sunday to report on some of the events that happened on the last day.

The “Woofstock” dog festival attracted as many as 140,000 people with their dogs. The festival had tons of accessories, sold under tents, to buy for dogs; food, toys, designer clothes, and more. About 400 vendors and exhibitors were there to promote their products, which also gave private dog companies or groups a chance to show their new products. The local SPCA and some animal rescues were under tents answering questions from visitors. While walking, all visitors could see the CN Tower and other very tall buildings.

One of the local TV stations, Citytv, was there. They hosted a live event at the show which was broadcast on TV. People came up on the stage and asked questions regarding their dogs and the host and co-host answered them.

A man, who called himself the “Chalk Master”, drew two pictures on pavement with chalk. He did it for free but donations were welcome. One was a picture of a girl’s head beside a dog’s head, and another with a wolf.

“Hello Humans. I’ve been invited here to provide your eyeball(s), with some pretty colours. I don’t get paid as I work this weekend strictly for tips… so, if you like what you see please make a DONATION. If you don’t like it simply reach into the pocket of the person next to you and give me their money. CHALK MASTER.”

A contest called “Canada’s top dog” had its own tent with a professional photographer taking pictures of dogs behind a white screen; the winning photo is to be published on the cover of “Puppy and dog basics” magazine.

Large “Gourmet” dog bones were also served from a cart and table.

Next year’s festival is expected to be bigger and better with even more attractions.

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Experiment on frozen sperm raises hopes of “restoring” extinct mammals

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

According to Japanese and American scientists, healthy offspring have resulted from the injection of sperm into female mice from male mice that have been in a deep freeze for 15 years. The mice, as a whole, were kept frozen in temperatures of -20 degrees celsius.

Scientists at the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research Bioresource Center which is located in Tsukuba, Japan, say that cryogenic techniques were not used and that the mice were kept in a freezer.

Scientists also say that the sperm was not alive when it was thawed out. At least one out of every five females that were injected with the sperm, gave birth to healthy offspring which are also fertile.

“Obviously, those frozen [sperm] were all dead in the conventional sense. Motionless sperm had no chance whatsoever of fertilising in vivo or in vitro. Nevertheless, some of these, if not all, were … genomically intact, because they were able to produce apparently normal offspring,” said the researchers.

The idea behind the experiment is that scientists say that the results now make it possible to bring back prehistoric animals or extinct animals such as the woolly mammoth, but because any fully intact body found would have been frozen for over 10,000 years and would likely be too damaged organisms and bacterias. Endangered species such as elephants could also be reproduced, but scientists also say that the chances of an experiment like that of being successful are still “slim.”

“Restoration of extinct species could be possible if male individuals are found in permafrost. If sperm of extinct mammalian species, for example the woolly mammoth, can be retrieved from animal bodies that were kept frozen for millions of years in permanent frost, live animals might be restored by injecting them into oocytes [eggs] from females of closely related species,” said Dr. Narumi Ogonuki, head of the team who made the discovery.

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Migrant workers in Dominos Pizza ‘slavery’

Friday, August 10, 2007

Eight Hungarian migrant workers sacked from a Domino’s Pizza franchise in Derby, England are said to have taken home virtually no pay for months because of illegal deductions.

The claim is refuted by the company who said in a statement “We have begun a thorough investigation during which we have scrutinised the franchisee’s employment practices. This took place with his full co-operation. The franchisee concerned is confident that he possesses the evidence required to refute these allegations. To the extent that we have been informed of all allegations and have reviewed all available evidence, we also believe this to be the case.”

The sacked workers are being supported in their claim by the workers union Unite. The union say the “there appeared to be a deliberate strategy of keeping the workers in debt to the company through a series of crippling deductions. The deductions included payments to cover the contract purchase of a car from their employer, insurance for the vehicle provided through their employer, and exorbitant rent for substandard accommodation, again provided through their employer. In addition, some workers had to pay fees of up to £180 for an “introduction” to the company. One worker earned just £5 in four months because of the constant and hefty deductions out of his wage packet. When the workers protested they were sacked.”

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How To Effectively Managing Your Time When Marketing Online

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By David Bain

Internet marketing like any other business needs your attention, focus and more importantly time. If you don’t succeed in managing your time effectively, your overall business will suffer. Managing time effectively is not as hard as you might think, in fact, all you need is to have certain things in the right place and to be disciplined. In the following article we shall be looking into three time management tips that will help you work on your Internet marketing business much better, and with more responsibility.

1) Listing out your tasks will help you manage your time. What you should really do is write down a list of your priorities. If you are aware of the things that have to be completed first, you can do them and then complete the other things that aren’t as pressing. This is almost the same thing as climbing down a ladder, where you handle a necessary task as you go down each step of the ladder. In addition, when you get the most important task completed, you don’t have the stress of having to push out the most important task.

For example, if you have ten emails in your inbox, which one should you respond to first? The most important one, right? The email that is considered the most important one, correct? So understanding what things are the most important is very crucial for all things in your internet marketing business.

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2) Second, remember that you also need to take breaks when you work. If you overwork yourself, you will be so stressed that it will end up working against you. You have to schedule your breaks in such a way that you not only get your work done on time, but also get enough time to relax and let go of any tension. You can end up with mental and physical stress if you sit in front of your computer for too long and that can lead to your work performance suffering in the long term. A good balance between breaks and work is essential to good time managing. So, for example, on cycle that might work for you is 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of rest.

3) There is so much to learn in IM, and when you cultivate a greater sense of curiosity, then you will see things happen. When you dedicate yourself to absorbing as much knowledge as possible, then your time managing skills will get better along the way. You are sure to pick-up new knowledge and skills in all areas including managing your time. When you actively search with an open mind to become more productive, then your mind will naturally learn to spot new opportunities. There is enough to keep you busy for several lifetimes, so that is something good to look forward to.

Finally, this article explains how time management is a key component of helping you to build your online business and become successful. When you are disorderly and do not make plans, it will take you longer to succeed on the internet. Start utilizing these tips that we have discussed and focus on making your online business successful.

This will not only help you get more conversions, but it will also aid you in establishing a long term reputation online. So improve your time management skills and get the most from internet marketing.

About the Author: Internet marketing expert

David Bain

is author of the “13 Pillars of Internet Marketing”

Online Marketing eBook

and founder of the “26-Week

website marketing plan

“.

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=726600&ca=Marketing

Prices at the pump spike overnight in U.S.

Friday, August 12, 2005

All this week, prices at the pump have been reaching record levels across the United States. Since yesterday, the price for a gallon of gasoline increased by as much as fifteen cents in some places. Large cities in California, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, have reported gas prices that top $3.00 a gallon for regular grade, twenty cents higher than the state’s average of $2.80. Chicago is reporting gas prices beyond $2.80. These price hikes are a direct reflection of the record price of crude oil at $67 per barrel and the fact that 12 U.S. refineries have reported issues that have affected output.

These price increases are concerning some who worry that those with considerable financial hardships will endure more of a burden. A poll was conducted for The Associated Press and America Online News about whether or not these gas prices will cause problems with people’s personal finances and the poll found that 64 percent say gas prices will cause money problems for them in the next six months, while 35 percent did not think so.

According to a AAA Texas motor club spokesman, additional price increases will more than likely continue into the weekend.

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Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.

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