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WHO approves Corticosteroids for treatment of severe cases

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has issued guidance for clinicians and healthcare decision-makers on the use of Corticosteroids for patients with severe COVID-19.

In a statement on Wednesday, Corticosteroids are listed in the WHO model list of essential medicines, readily available globally at a low cost.

It said: “We recommend systemic Corticosteroids for the treatment of patients with severe and critical COVID-19. We suggest not to use corticosteroids in the treatment of patients with non-severe COVID-19 as the treatment.”

The guidance, according to the statement, was developed in collaboration with the non-profit body, Magic Evidence Ecosystem Foundation (MAGIC), which provided methodologic support to develop and disseminate living guidance for COVID-19 drug treatments.

According to WHO, work on the guidance began on June 22, when a preliminary report on the impact of the Corticosteroids recovery trial was published.

To supplement the results, WHO partnered with investigators of seven trials on Corticosteroids to conduct a meta-analysis of these trials, in order to rapidly provide additional evidence to build on recovery data and inform guidance development.

The guidance was thus informed by combining data from these randomized trials of systemic Corticosteroids for COVID-19.

WHO provides guidance that works across all contexts for all countries and health care systems.

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Kobe Bryant’s wife sues L.A County Sheriff over leaked photos at helicopter crash site

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Wife of the late basket legend, Kobe Bryant, Vanessa, has sued the L.A. County Sheriff and his department, claiming they caused her severe emotional distress when deputies allegedly took personal cellphone photos of the bodies of her husband and daughter, Gigi, at the scene of the helicopter crash that took their lives.

According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, “no fewer than eight sheriff’s deputies at the crash site, pulled out their personal cell phones and took photos of the dead children, parents and coaches. The deputies took these photos for their own personal gratification.

“The lawsuit goes onto allege the photos were the subject of conversation within the sheriff’s department with deputies showing their colleagues the pictures that had no investigative purpose.”

The lawsuit further noted how the photos were exposed when a deputy was at a bar and showed the photos to a woman he was trying to impress. The bartender overheard the conversation, blew the whistle and called the sheriff’s department.

Vanessa stated in the suit that it was at that moment Sheriff Villanueva tried to cover it all up by going to the Sheriff’s substation that responded to the crash to tell the deputies that if they deleted the photos they would not face disciplinary action.

The suit also claims the purpose of his talk was for the destruction of the evidence. The lawsuit claims Villanueva did not tell the families about the photos and they only learned of it in the media when the story broke that deputies took the photos.

The lawsuit claims that the Sheriff never gave the family straight answers and now Vanessa is in constant fear the photos will be leaked, “Ms. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, including punitive damages. So far, there has been no word back from the Sheriff’s Department.

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China jails tycoon Ren Zhiqiang for corruption

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China on Tuesday sentenced real estate tycoon, Ren Zhiqiang, a critic of President Xi Jinping, to 18 years in prison for corruption.

The Beijing Second Intermediate People’s Court found Ren guilty of “corruption, bribery, embezzlement of public funds and abuse of power by personnel of a state-owned firm.”

Ren, 69, a former Communist Party member and chairman of Huayuan Properties, had been friends with party elite, including Vice President Wang Qishan, China’s second-most powerful leader.

He was a former employer of Liu He, now Beijing’s top negotiator in the trade war with the U.S.

Ren was expelled from the party in July after being accused of “colluding with his children to accumulate wealth without restraint.”

Ren, his son and assistant disappeared earlier in the year, after he wrote an essay critical of Beijing’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

Although his essay didn’t name Xi directly, it talked about a power-hungry “clown” “determined to play emperor.”

He had previously criticized the party in social media posts.

His punishment suggests that the space for criticism of China’s top leadership has all but closed, as Beijing recently clamped down on academics critical of the party.

The court said Ren confessed to his crimes and accepted the sentence.

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Mali’s ex-defense minister Ba N’Daou named transition president

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Mali’s former defence minister Ba N’Daou has been announced as president of a new transition government, the leader of the Sahel state’s ruling military junta said on national television Monday.

According to a roadmap backed by the junta, the new president is meant to lead the country for several months before staging elections and returning Mali to civilian rule.

The African Union had called on the military junta in Mali to quickly appoint civilian leaders to manage an 18-month transition towards elections after last month’s coup.

The AU’s 15-member security body late Thursday echoed the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which imposed sanctions on landlocked Mali after the coup toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Junta leader Colonel Assimi Goita met with West African leaders this week in Ghana but failed to resolve a critical sticking point — whether soldiers or civilians will lead the transition.

ECOWAS called for a civilian-led transition government to be installed “in days” and said the bloc would lift its sanctions — which include closed borders and a ban on trade and financial flows — once the change has been made.

Smail Chergui, the AU’s peace and security commissioner, said on Twitter Thursday night that he was calling “for a return to constitutional order and early civilian-led transition in Mali”.

A separate Twitter post from the official AU Peace and Security Department account said it backed ECOWAS’ call for an 18-month civilian transition.

It also “welcomed” the putschists’ decision to release Keita — who was detained for more than a week — but said they should also free prime minister Boubou Cisse and “other dignitaries”.

The AU announced the day after the coup that it was suspending Mali “until restoration of constitutional order”, and it is unclear what additional leverage it has.

But a spokesman for the junta, Colonel Ismael Wague, said after this week’s talks in Ghana that Mali could face a “total embargo” from ECOWAS if it does not quickly appoint civilian leaders.

The sanctions could bite in the poor country already facing a severe economic downturn as well as a simmering jihadist insurgency and chronic inter-ethnic violence.

Wague nevertheless made clear the junta would prefer the transition be run by the military, and claimed that was also the preference of the majority of Malians.

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