Ashkenazic Women In Canada Offered free Cancers Treatment

Jewish women in Canada to be offered the chance to alter their genetic destiny by taking a test – at no cost to them – that will determine whether they are at high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers.

By screening for three inherited breast cancer gene mutations common to those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, Women’s College Research Institute scientists have an ambitious goal: to prevent the dreaded disease before it strikes.

They plan to do that by offering adult Jewish women in Ontario, with no known family history of breast or ovarian cancer, the blood test to screen for three specific mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, beginning this Thursday. Jewish women with a family history of breast or ovarian cancer who have never been tested are also eligible.

If expanding genetic testing to this group proves worthwhile, it could alter the way the testing is offered across Canada by recognizing one’s inherent risk of cancer, simply due to ancestry.

The goal of the test is “to prevent cancer,” said Steven Narod, director of the familial breast cancer research unit at Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto. One in 44 Ashkenazi Jewish people carry the mutation, he noted; in the general population, an estimated one in 400 individuals carries a mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.

For Ashkenazi women, a group with mainly Central and Eastern European ancestry, the test could reveal a risk they never knew they had.

Until now, Jewish ancestry was not enough to warrant testing for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer anywhere in Canada; nor is there any known organized population screening of Jewish women in the United States.

International Prostitution Fueling Human Trafficking In West Africa

Nigeria's porous border with its northern neighbor Niger is being exploited by traffickers smuggling teenage girls to Europe where they will work as prostitutes, immigration officials told IRIN.

"Our 910 kilometer boundary with Niger is too much for us to police which provides human traffickers an advantage to conduct their trade of smuggling young girls to Europe for prostitution," Oemi Bio Ockiya, head of the Nigerian immigration department in Kano told IRIN.

Ockiya said girls are transported from the southern part of Nigeria to Kano from where they are driven to Libya through Niger and then shipped to Europe, their final destination, for prostitution.

The traffickers convince the girls and their parents that lucrative jobs await their victims, but force them into prostitution once in Europe by holding on to their passports.

The trafficking of young women to Europe through Kano has been a common occurrence. Hitherto the traffickers would smuggle their victims through Kano airport using fake and stolen passports.

However the introduction of state-of-the-art passport reading machines and a run of high-profile arrests meant the traffickers resorted to driving the victims overland to Niger then Libya from where they are shipped to Europe, Ockiya said.

On May 12 immigration officials in Kano apprehended Samuel Osagie, a Nigerian national residing in Libya with 21 victims, 16 of them teenage girls, at a motor park in the city. He was apparently bound for Libya.

The girls, who are from four southern Nigerian states Edo, Akwa Ibom, Anambra and Delta, told the officials that Osagie arranged with their parents to take them to Libya to work as maids for US$1,272 fees each, which they would pay in installments from their wages.

"The work promise is a ruse. The truth of the matter is that they were going to pay the fees from the money they would make from prostitution in Europe," Ockiya said.

Ahmed Bello, head of the federally-funded National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons [NAPTIP] in charge of 18 northern states said trafficking is also spreading HIV/AIDS.

"Our investigation shows that 40 percent of trafficked girls repatriated to Nigeria test positive to HIV and this has serious social and economic implications," he said.

A Niger official who asked to remain anonymous as he was speaking on a sensitive subject without authorization said tackling trafficking is testing both countries.

"This is an issue that has to be tackled collectively. Nigeria and Niger conduct joint trans-border patrols to check criminal activities along the boundary but the length of the border is too much for us."

"Nigeria has more resources and personnel than Niger and if it is finding it difficult to police its side of the border you can imagine how much more difficult it is for Niger to effectively shut its side of the border against human traffickers," the official added.

Ockiya agreed limited manpower and inadequate logistics make effective policing of the long border impossible. He said the border patrol agencies would need helicopters and cars to help match the wealthy, sophisticated smugglers.

Mairo Bello, head of Kano-based Adolescent Health Information Project [AHIP], said that the authorities on both sides of the border are fighting an enemy far more sophisticated than them.

"The more the authorities devise new strategies, the more sophisticated the traffickers become in running their trade," he said.

Internet Dating, Internet Mariage, Gateway to Bliss?

Brenda Yufeh

Have you ever attended an "internet marriage"? By that, I mean a wedding which came as a result of using the World Wide Web to meet a suitable marriage partner. Statistics indicate that internet marriages are en-vogue nowadays. Although many people have not had the chance of attending such weddings, others have witnessed how many people met on different dating sites. Start dating, fall in love and get married. Why some people have ordeal stories to tell about internet marriages, others say it is not only a bed of roses but a gateway to find oneself in Europe or America.

Some might say an internet marriage is risky. It could be, but many choices in life are risky. And it remains true: nothing ventured, nothing gained. A pastor recently said he knows of three couples that met on the internet and are now married. He also knows a fourth couple who plan to get married. There is another woman in her forties who is corresponding with two men who have shown some interest in her through the net.

The web site was the meeting point for Melanie and Jeffery. In her early thirties, Melanie used to live at the Mvog-Atangana neighbourhood in Yaounde. She had never used a computer nor knows how to operate the internet. Being a cleaner in an administrative building, Melanie had to ask those who work in the office to show her how to operate the internet. This was to enable Melanie access to a web site which was meant for those searching for a husband or a wife. Jeffery came across Melanie's profile and became interested in her. Thereafter, they started dating each other. Over the internet, their love grew to the extent that they decided to tie the knots in holy matrimony. Before marriage, Jeffery, a French nationality, came to Cameroon to see Melanie for the first time. On his arrival at the Nsimalen Airport in Yaounde, he was with his son. For over two years, Melanie is happily living in France with her husband.

Not many people are lucky to narrate such a sweet story behind internet marriage like Melanie. Although Constance firmly believes in internet marriages, she says there is more than just dating and getting married through the web. "I married and divorced someone each month over the internet without ever having met them. One turned out to be a chimpanzee with really good skills at hitting the keyboard", Constance notes. Unlike Constance who was able to discover the nature of her man without ever meeting him, some girls have almost died of shock when they discovered that the person they use to discuss with never presented a true picture of him. Some have rejected their men on arrival at the airport when they realise he does not look like the person they expected. Others have travelled abroad just to discover that the person they called "my husband" was either a handicapped who could not do anything for himself or some person they never dreamt of accepting as a husband.

Paris Hilton And Benji Madden's Wedding Soon

Paris Hilton has recorded a gushing interview with the talk-show host claiming she and relatively new boyfriend Benji Madden are planning to marry. Urgh.

The blonde bombshell dropped the clanger, with Madden - who only recently was set to wed Monk - giving the idea the thumbs up.

Hilton waxed lyrical about what a great couple they were, while flashing his initials in bling on her ring finger.

Meanwhile, Paris Hilton has swapped partying for Monopoly.

The Simple Life star, who is currently dating Good Charlotte rocker Benji Madden, prefers quiet nights at home preparing homemade food and playing the property board game with her friends.

She said: "When I was younger I loved to go out, but now that I'm in a really great relationship it's so much more fun to stay at home. We don't really like to go out. We have game night where friends come over and play Monopoly.

"I love to cook for Benji, I cook great lasagne. I've grown up a lot and I'm at peace. He has changed my life in every way."

Paris isn't the first celebrity to confess a love of games. Pregnant Jessica Alba recently revealed she has been spending hours playing family card game Apples to Apples, while Kanye West played classic children's game Connect Four on his European tour and even challenged Beyonce Knowles to a tournament.

Paris - who is wearing a new two-banded diamond ring on her engagement finger - also revealed the pair have discussed starting a family, and she has her heart set on a traditional white wedding.

The 27-year-old socialite - who is best friends with Nicole Richie who is engaged to Benji's brother Joel Madden - added to People magazine: "We want to stay together forever. I wouldn't do a Las Vegas wedding. I don't know where or when but I do want it to be romantic.

"I can tell Benji will be an incredible father. He loves babies. Nicole is our first friend to have a baby. Seeing her daughter Harlow, it really makes me want one. I've always wanted to have a baby."

D.C Madam, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, Apparently Commits Suicide To Avoid Jail

Deborah Jeane Palfrey while awaiting sentencing for running a prostitution ring catering to Washington's elite has been found dead in a storage shed at her mother's home in Florida.

Police in the Gulf Coast town of Tarpon Springs said the 76-year-old mother of Deborah Jeane Palfrey woke from a short nap and began to search for her daughter.

She found Palfrey's body in the shed next to her mobile home, police said.

"Hand-written notes were found on scene that describe the victim's intention to take her life, and foul play does not appear to be involved," Captain Jeffrey Young said.

Palfrey, 52, was found guilty last month of running an escort service that earned her at least $US2 million ($2.12 million). She had not yet been sentenced but media reports said she could have faced up to 50 years in prison.

The scandal over the woman dubbed "the DC madam" ensnared Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, whose number was discovered in her telephone records.

Senator Vitter apologised publicly for committing a "serious sin" in his past.

Palfrey had insisted her company, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legal sexual fantasy business and initially considered selling her phone records to raise money for her defence.

When she later released her phone records for free, they ended up shedding little further light on her clientele.

Her lawyer, Montgomery Sibley, said he did not have any additional information about her death.

"My only comment is that I regret the loss of a good woman who deserved better," he said.