Get Adobe Flash player

Daily Archives: October 10, 2008

Three milk program girls diagnosed with kidney stones

Image    Three girls aged between four and seven who had participated in the education department’s milk program were confirmed by the Health Bureau (SSM) yesterday as suffering from “small kidney stones”.

According to a press statement from the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) and the SSM, the girls were diagnosed as having “small kidney stones” after receiving urine tests and ultrasound inspections. The authorities said they did not rule out the possibility that the kidney problems were related to melamine, adding the girls had joined the milk program last year. The girls are now receiving treatment at Conde de São Januário Central Hospital and SSM said the cross-departmental work group would investigate on their families’ eating habits. Paediatric and renal specialists who participated in the consultation said that nonsurgery treatment could be adopted as the kidney stones were “relatively small sizes”. Meanwhile, specialists and health authorities officials from Hong Kong and Macau had visited Hebei Province with an aim to study treatment of children’s kidney stones. The SSM said health specialists pointed out that Macau had the capability of giving treatment to children with kidney stones as well as operations. According to statistics of the DSEJ, 557 students
had their urine tested between October 8 and October 9 and of this, six needed further examinations. Also, the SSM statistics during the same period showed that 208 people visited health centres for tests and six of them had to be transferred to hospital for the second stage checks. The SSM Disease Prevention and Control Centre received inquiry calls from 13 residents over the same two days who asked about the students’ health survey arrangements and issues relating to dairy products. The SSM said the first phase of conducting urine tests for the 10,000 milk program students was expected “to soon be completed”, and the next phase would be followed including arranging students for ultrasound inspections if required. For inquiries, call the SSM Disease Prevention and Control Centre hotline on +853 2856 1122 seven days a week.

Ukraine calls snap parliamentary elections

Sample Image
by Anya Tsukanova*

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko yesterday called for general elections, after dissolving parliament when parties failed to resurrect a ruling pro-Western coalition in the former Soviet state.
Yushchenko decreed to "set parliamentary elections for December 7, 2008," said a statement on his official website, ending weeks of uncertainty about whether the coalition could patch up its differences.
The crisis has raised concerns in the West that pro-Moscow parties may come to power in the eastern European country of 47 million, casting doubt on Kiev's bid to strengthen ties with Washington and Brussels.
Pro-Western parties won a narrow majority in September 2007 polls, though the largest single share of votes went to the pro-Moscow Regions Party, which has strong support in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.
Yushchenko said he would dissolve parliament late Wednesday in a televised speech that also included sharp words for a fellow pro-Western politician, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a former ally turned bitter arch-rival.
"I am deeply convinced that it was human ambition that destroyed the democratic coalition — one person's ambition, lust for power, differences in values and putting personal interests ahead of national ones," Yushchenko said, referring to Tymoshenko.
The prime minister's allies in turn blamed Yushchenko for the coalition's disintegration.
"We consider this act to be anti-constitutional and senseless," the deputy chief of the parliament faction of Tymoshenko's party, Andrei Portnov, was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.
"What happened today was 100-percent provoked by the president, who is the one standing behind the coalition's collapse," Portnov said.
The coalition fell apart last month after Yushchenko's party pulled out in protest at Tymoshenko's decision to support a bid by the pro-Russian opposition to reduce the president's powers.
Tensions between the pair deepened during the Russian-Georgian war in August, with Yushchenko supporting Tbilisi and charging Tymoshenko with "treason" for her more neutral stance.
Yushchenko and Tymoshenko have had a love-hate relationship since 2004, when they joined forces in the so-called Orange Revolution to overturn the rigged election of pro-Russian candidate Viktor Yanukovych as president.
The two are likely rivals in the next presidential elections set for late 2009 or early 2010, as is Yanukovych, head of the pro-Moscow Regions Party.
December's vote could also impact Ukraine's bid to join the NATO military alliance, which has been spearheaded by Yushchenko in the face of strong opposition from Russia.
Last month Tymoshenko said the crisis had "considerably weakened" Kiev's bid to join NATO.
Although the ruling coalition has collapsed, Tymoshenko's government will remain in place until a new one can be formed.