Untainted by life’s experiences, Lucy Mathen, 57, is as fresh as a teenager out to change the world. A decade ago she founded Second Sight, a non-profit organisation that raises funds for cataract surgeries for the underprivileged. Not only did she find hope everyday, but also gave some to thousands,Untainted by life’s experiences, Lucy Mathen, 57, is as fresh as a teenager out to change the world. A decade ago she founded Second Sight, a non-profit organisation that raises funds for cataract surgeries for the underprivileged. Not only did she find hope everyday, but also gave some to thousands of people in vast parts of rural India- Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa, the worst affected cataract belt in the world.Ten years after its inception, Second Sight now has a database of 100 experienced eye surgeons from the UK and India, including herself. All of them volunteer to spend short periods of time in India, providing free surgery to the blind. True to her nature, adding a little spunk to her job was inevitable. Being a sports enthusiast, raising funds by running in the London Marathon was the obvious choice. “I hate the celebrity culture that dominates TV and the media, particularly when it impinges on humanitarian work. I believe it is deeply cynical to think that people will pay attention to social causes only through celebrities,” she says.But this was not what she started out to do. For Mathen, life came full circle with a dramatic twist of fate. A journalist for the first 15 years of her career, including a fairly long stint with the BBC, she went to Afghanistan in 1988 to shoot a documentary on women. It was there that she met a doctor and realised that he was risking his life to speak to them. “I suddenly felt like a bit of a fraud. That’s when I vowed that if I were ever in a war zone again, I would be a medic and not a reporter,” says Mathen. In 1989, she enrolled at the St. George’s Hospital Medical School, London. At 36, she was almost double the age of the average student in her class. But that did not deter her from becoming a doctor. “My mother is the greatest influence in my life. She has always taught me that one can achieve anything one wants to with a bit of determination.” And determined she was. Being a mother of a six-year-old, Leyla, and pregnant with her second child, Calum, Mathen finished her studies without a break thanks to her mother, who, like Mathen, never thought age should be a deterrent while choosing one’s path in life. “I think the toughest time for me was breast-feeding Calum during my term as a medical student. It was always a run for the only private room for doctors. But my fellow students would stand guard and firmly ask the doctors to stay out till I was done,” reminisces Mathen. While this was obviously not the easiest path to take, her husband, Mark Rees, an IT consultant, always motivated her to follow her heart. Studying medicine was just the beginning of a long journey. She went on to specialise in ophthalmology and her reason is simple. “The eye doctors I met seemed so much happier than the other specialists,” she says. But the going got tougher. While she was struggling to get surgical experience in her first ophthalmic job, she came to India to train in a surgical course. It was here that she encountered the magnitude of the problem. Even though she returned to England to work with the National Health Service, she knew she had to come back to contribute substantially towards eliminating cataract blindness.After four years, she returned and travelled extensively through the northern part of India. With 80 per cent of the country’s blind living in rural areas, she was shocked to see that most of the ophthalmologists were based in cities. “I found that there were many eye hospitals with the required equipment in place. What was missing were the surgeons.” After working in the rural areas of six northern states, she finally narrowed down her work to areas that were the most affected-rural Bihar and Orissa. On one of the busy days at the Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital, run by Mrityunjay Tiwari in Mastichak, Bihar, Second Sight’s main partner hospital in the region, she and Tiwari sat down and planned a target to eliminate blindness from certain parts of Bihar by October 14, 2010, which is also World Sight Day.Apart from being actively involved in eradicating cataract blindness, Mathen is also the catalyst behind the idea of the Akhand Jyoti Football Academy, a project that started as a whim but ended up doing a lot more than just teaching village girls how to play football. “A downside of getting older is that one’s peers seem to give up on team games. That is why I feel like I’m in heaven when I play football with the girls in Bihar,” says Mathen. In this area, where poverty drives the families to marry their daughters way before the legal age, this academy trains 60 girls (often malnourished) in lieu of a promise from their families to stave off their wedding age to nothing less than 21. The hospital also pays the tuition fee for their schooling apart from providing nutritious mid-day meals, English language and IT classes and an internship at the hospital.Women like Mathen, who carve out their own unique path in the world, lead by example and compel others to question their priorities. Passionate and driven, a vision like hers will help people look at the world in a new light.advertisementadvertisement
HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Terence Bay Bridge Traffic on the Terence Bay Bridge, on River Road near the intersection of the Terrence Bay Road, will be restricted to five tonnes. Lane widths have also been reduced. Materials to repair the bridge have been ordered and work is expected to begin by the end of the week. Repairs are expected to be complete by mid-June. All drivers should use extra caution in construction zones. -30-
New Delhi: Actor Sonakshi Sinha says her forthcoming project Khandaani Shafakhana will make people think why sex still remains a taboo in the society. Directed by Shilpi Dasgupta, Khandaani Shafakhana depicts the journey of a young girl who inherits her dead uncle’s sex clinic in Punjab. “On hearing the film’s one-line pitch – ‘story of a girl who inherits a sex clinic’ – I was like why would they even approach me for such a film,” Sinha said. “But when I heard the full story, I said I must do this film because it’s a very relevant and important subject that should be discussed,” she added. Does she feel the film will take away the taboo around sex? “I don’t know that, but it will definitely get people to start thinking. It’s a step in that direction.”
Mandalay (Myanmar): Dangmei Grace scored a brace as the Indian women football team defeated Indonesia 2-0 in the AFC Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match here on Wednesday. Grace (27th, 67th) scored once in each half as the team in blue took control of the proceedings right from the first whistle. Speaking later, head coach Maymol Rocky said: “We wanted to start our qualifying campaign on a winning note and we have done so. Indonesia proved to be tough opponents that committed bodies in defence but we found a way to gather three points. “It is important to keep the winning momentum alive… We are taking one match at a time and our focus shifts on our next opponents Nepal (on April 6)”, she added. Keeping their winning momentum alive after the success of their 5th consecutive SAFF title win, the Indian women heaped pressure on the opponents from the opening minute. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhSome crafty work down the wings by Sanju and Ratanbala Devi caused havoc on the opposition defence that was unable to read the play of the Indian women. Sanju’s cross in the 24th minute caused chaos in the Indonesian defence, with one defender almost turning it into an own goal before clearing the lines. Sandhiya’s run in the 26th minute, after she was found by Sanju, caught the Indonesian defenders napping. Her stinging shot from inside the box was saved by Indonesian custodian Riska Julianti but Dangmei Grace applied the finishing touches from close range to give India the lead in the next minute. The Indian defence made quick work of Indonesian counterattacks. Indian goalkeepr Linthoingambi Devi was not tested even once.
Rabat – The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has announced the launch of the “ISESCO Award for Best Cultural Projects of Capitals of Islamic Culture.”The award aims at enhancing the efforts geared towards boosting cultural activity in the celebrated capitals of Islamic culture and encouraging creativity and innovation in cultural projects, said ISESCO in a press release. These strides are in accord with the relevant resolution of the 10th Islamic Conference of the Culture Ministers, held in the Republic of Sudan in 2017.The ICESCO Award intends to encourage outstanding cultural works by creative individuals and institutions in different cultural fields, highlighting participatory management of cultural projects, and the pivotal importance of the cultural dimension in urban policies and plans. It also aims to prompt the incorporation of services in the culture and heritage sectors, for the socioeconomic development of Islamic culture capitals. Cultural projects nominated for the Award are required to have genuine and innovative conceptualization and implementation mechanisms;Be comprehensive and coherent with their components and their urban and socioeconomic development sectors;Engage civil society leaders including the youth, women, elected representatives and the private sector in their conceptualization and implementation;Employ ICTs in their implementation; publicize their knowledge as well as their urban, touristic, economic and environmental potentials;Draw inspiration from Islamic cultural values that promote coexistence, social peace, democracy, and principles of human rights and respect for pluralism.The competent party in the celebrated capital of Islamic culture shall be in charge of announcing this Award at the launch of the celebration, determine its nomination standards and requirements in light of the criteria set by ISESCO for the nominated cultural project, and compose a jury to select the best cultural project for the benefit of its own nation.
“Your sons and daughters risk their lives in some of the most troubled parts of the world to protect the vulnerable while advancing the cause of peace,” Mr. Ban told delegates. “Yet, as we have regrettably seen, the integrity of their mission can be called into question – indeed undermined – by flagrant cases of sexual exploitation and abuse.”The UN chief pointed to more than a dozen recent allegations of misconduct by peacekeepers that are under investigation in the Central African Republic, which he said is not a “new phenomenon.”“As you know, I have taken difficult but necessary decisions to demonstrate our resolve. Much more needs to be done to stamp out sexual exploitation and abuse in our missions,” he continued. “I cannot do it alone. This is also a core responsibility for Member States.”For this reason, Mr. Ban said he is asking countries that contribute troop and police personnel to join him in doing more to end this “unacceptable conduct,” through seven specific actions.“First, we must work to prevent misconduct even before personnel are on the ground,” he stated. “Pre-deployment education and human rights training must be enhanced. Troops and police must be made fully aware of what constitutes sexual exploitation and abuse, and the importance of upholding the zero-tolerance policy.”Mr. Ban said personnel must be properly and fully vetted so no individual with a past record of sexual exploitation and abuse can ever be allowed to serve the UN in any capacity. He also underlined the need for rapid and effective investigations, with the goal of concluding those that are UN-led within six months, and called on Member States to ensure the same. “As we all know, DNA samples are critical to the effectiveness of investigations of sexual exploitation and abuse. As such, the Secretariat will explore with Member States the feasibility of collecting DNA samples of all uniformed personnel,” he added.As a fourth action, the Secretary-General said he has committed to ensuring consistent measures for all categories of personnel, including the option to withhold payment. “That is why I have begun suspending payments to alleged perpetrators and individual experts on mission if there is credible evidence of sexual exploitation and abuse,” he noted. The need to boost assistance to victims was also highlighted, with Mr. Ban announcing that he will establish a trust fund to strengthen victim assistance programmes and support awareness-raising and community outreach. He will be asking Member States to agree that the funds withheld from individuals in connection with imposed sanctions be diverted to this trust fund.In addition, the UN chief stressed the need for stronger reporting. “As you know, I will include country-specific information in my future reports to the General Assembly concerning the number of credible allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse involving military and police personnel,” he said.“This will be in addition to the status updates on allegations, which I currently provide. My decision to name specific countries is not designed to create public embarrassment, but to demonstrate transparency and promote accountability. There is no shame for a Member State that takes decisive action against alleged perpetrators of sexual exploitation and abuse.”Mr. Ban added that with mobile phones, everyone can be a human rights monitor.He called on troop-contributing countries to work together “without excuses” to protect the good name of peacekeeping and uphold the trust placed in the UN by the people who need the Organization the most.Last week, the Secretary-General presented a report containing his agenda to strengthen UN peacekeeping, setting out three fundamental changes urgently required to adapt operations to new realities. These are to prioritise prevention and mediation to break the cycle of responding too late and too expensively; to change the way the UN plans and conducts peace operations to make them faster, more responsive and more accountable to countries and people in conflict; and to put in place a global-regional framework to manage today’s peace and security challenges. The report also outlined over a dozen new measures he is taking to rid the UN of sexual exploitation and abuse.
However, Roberts, whose new book is Churchill: Walking with Destiny, told an audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival: “It’s taken for granted in most of the books about him but he only mentioned his ‘black dog’ on one occasion, and the phrase at that time was used to explain the ill-tempered children.”Anthony Storr, the psychiatrist, popularised the theory of Churchill battling depression in a 1980 book entitled Churchill’s Black Dog, Kafka’s Mice and Other Phenomena of the Human Mind. Anthony Storr, the psychiatrist, popularised the theory of Churchill battling depression in a 1980 Credit:Bettmann/Getty Winston Churchill did not suffer from depression and his reference to the “black dog” has been misinterpreted for decades, according to a historian of the wartime leader.Andrew Roberts said the phrase “black dog” had a different meaning at the beginning of the 20th century and did not refer to mental health.“He could get down on occasion but I do not believe that he was a depressive,” Roberts said.Churchill wrote to his wife, Clementine, in 1911 mentioning a friend’s wife who had been treated by a doctor for apparent depressive episodes.–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“I think this man might be useful to me – if my black dog returns,” he said. He also wrote to her in 1916 of “terrible and reasonless depressions.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
SOME 220 REFUGEES, many of them Syrian, will resettle in Ireland in 2015 and 2016.The announcement was made at the High Level Meeting on resettlement for Syrian refugees in Geneva today.The UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has welcomed the decision.Sophie Magennis of the organisation’s Irish branch said that it is “further proof of the Irish government’s commitment to finding solutions for refugees around the world”.“At a time when global forced displacement exceeds 50 million, resettlement is increasingly the only durable solution for many people forced to flee because of war and conflict. This is especially the case in Syria, the greatest humanitarian tragedy of our time,” Magennis said.In 2013, 31 refugees from Syria were resettled in Ireland. A further 90 people are expected to arrive later this year.Ireland has committed over €28 million to the Syrian crisis to date, while our Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme has received over 300 applications.“We hope that with a flexible approach and supports to families, more Syrians may be given the opportunity to join family members in Ireland,” Magennis said.“We are appealing to the international community to continue providing long-term solutions for Syrian refugees who are most urgently in need.“UNHCR continues to urge all states to offer resettlement and other forms of admission for refugees from Syria towards the multiannual goal of 130,000 places by the end of 2016.”51.2 millionSome 2.8 million people have fled Syria since the conflict began in 2011. Based on current estimates, that figure will rise to 4.1 million by the end of 2014.Another 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced, meaning that half of Syria’s population has now been forced out of their homes.As a result, UNHCR anticipates that there will be increasing numbers of vulnerable Syrian refugees in need of resettlement, relocation, or other forms of humanitarian help in the coming years.At the end of 2013, 51.2 million people were forcibly displaced from their homes, 6 million more than in 2012. Of these, 16.7 people were refugees.Read: Nearly 11 million Syrians are in urgent need of humanitarian aidRead: Syrians in Ireland ask for 94 family members to be rescued from conflictRead: For the first time since WWII, more than 50 million people have been forced to leave their homes
The gecko is an unusual creature. It has no eyelids and instead licks the membrane over its eyes to keep them clean. Many species can lose their tails as a form of defense, or expel a foul stench to deter predators. But their most unusual and useful feature occurs on their feet.If you’ve ever encountered a gecko you may have noticed it climbing just about any surface effortlessly. It doesn’t matter how smooth a surface is, a gecko can climb it, even a vertical sheet of glass. The key to this climbing skill is the toe pads on their feet. They are covered in little hairy growths called setae, each of which has thousands of micron-thin structures covering them called spatulae.While other animals use suction, natural glue, or claws to climb, the gecko uses the spatulae to cling to a surface using molecular attraction (known as Van der Waals forces). Each spatulae has a weak attraction to the molecules of a surface. Put many thousands of them close together on a surface, as each gecko foot does, and you have a very strong attraction. For some gecko, that attraction is so strong it is thought they could carry the weight of a human without losing their grip.Obviously scientists want to take advantage of such an ability. Being able to grip any vertical surface and move along it without leaving a residue or requiring any power has many potential uses, e.g. window cleaning skyscrapers using a robot that can climb glass.Mimicking the gecko feet in man-made form has proved tough, but a research team at Simon Fraser University have recently made a significant breakthrough. They’ve managed to create a robot tank that scales vertical surfaces in the same way a gecko does using molecular attraction.The Tailless Timing Belt Climbing Platform robot is nowhere near as strong in terms of grip, and doesn’t display the same agility as a gecko either. But this is the first time scientists have managed to create an adhesive that mimics the gecko and leaves behind no residue and requires no suction. That adhesive is formed from the material polydimethylsiloxane and shaped into “mushroom cap-like shapes” measuring 17 micrometers wide and 10 micrometers tall.The adhesive is strong enough to support the robot’s body on both completely smooth and relatively rough vertical surfaces though, and can handle transferring from a flat surface to inside and outside corners as the video below demonstrates.The robot does requires a power supply to move, and has been designed in two sections allowing the back section to apply some pressure to the front as it moves so as to ensure a good contact with the surface.Combined with sensors to help figure out its environment and how well it is sticking to the wall, the robot can travel independently up vertical surfaces and around corners. As well as the window cleaning example, it could prove useful for investigating areas unsafe for humans, or where the ground is unsuitable for other types of robot.Hopefully the research team will continue to work on the adhesive and robot design allowing it to eventually carry a significant payload, or become much more agile. I’m also hoping they eventually put it on gloves and shoes so we can all start scaling walls just like Spiderman.Read more at Simon Fraser University, via Discovery News
Villareal has parted company with Javi Calleja after a poor start to the season that left the club just three points above the relegation zone in La Liga.Calleja led Villareal to a fifth-place finish and Europa League football last season, but the Yellow Submarines have struggled this term.The club has won just one league game since September while their Europa League qualification hangs by a thread.“Villarreal has decided to rescind Javi Callejas contract as first-team coach. The club would like to thank the coach for his work, dedication, and professionalism on the Yellows bench after taking charge early on last season, and wish him the best of luck in his sporting career.,” read an official statement on the club’s website.“As a professional footballer, Calleja played for the Villarreal first team in one of the most successful eras of the club, reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.Top 10 players who played for both Barcelona and Valencia Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to talk about the best players who represented both Barcelona and Valencia, prior to their La Liga encounter at Camp Nou this evening.“He also played for CD Onda when it was affiliated to Villarreal CF, as well as turning out for Real Madrid C, RSD Alcalá, Málaga CF and CA Osasuna.“The first-team training session, that was going to take place at 10:30am at the Villarreal CF Training Ground (Ciudad Deportiva), will still take place at the same location (time to be confirmed).“The club will announce the new Villarreal CF manager in the coming hours.”