Lithuanian doctors find kilo of screws and nails in man’s stomach

Lithuanian doctors find kilo of screws and nails in man’s stomach
Klaipeda Hospital in Lithuania where doctors removed over a kilogram of nails and screws from the stomach of an unidentified man, who started swallowing metallic objects after quitting alcohol. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 02 October 2021

Lithuanian doctors find kilo of screws and nails in man’s stomach

Lithuanian doctors find kilo of screws and nails in man’s stomach
  • The man, who remains unidentified, was admitted to hospital in the Baltic port city of Klaipeda
  • An X-ray of his stomach showed up pieces of metal -- some measuring up to 10 centimetres

VILNIUS: Doctors in Lithuania said on Friday they had removed over a kilogram of nails and screws from the stomach of a man who started swallowing metallic objects after quitting alcohol.
The man, who was not identified for reasons of patient confidentiality, was admitted to hospital in the Baltic port city of Klaipeda with severe abdominal pain.
An X-ray of his stomach showed up pieces of metal — some measuring up to 10 centimeters (four inches).
“During the three-hour operation with X-ray control, all foreign bodies, even the smallest ones, in the patient’s stomach were removed,” said surgeon Sarunas Dailidenas.
The hospital provided local media with a photograph of a surgical tray heaped with nails and screws.
“We’ve never seen anything like it,” Algirdas Slepavicius, head surgeon at Klaipeda Hospital told local media.
The doctor said that the man had begun swallowing the metal objects over the last month after he had stopped drinking.
The patient was in a stable condition following the operation, he added.


UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
Updated 19 January 2022

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events

UK Muslims looking for love invited to halal speed dating events
  • Singlemuslim.com says get-togethers will be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds
  • Events open to all ages and chaperones are allowed

LONDON: A UK-based dating app is bringing back its halal speed dating events next month to help Muslims find their perfect partner.
The events, organized by singlemuslim.com, will be hosted by British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri, and the organizers said that for the first time chaperones will also be able to attend.
“It’s been two years of single Muslims not really being able to meet or get out there and we’ve got a huge demand from the platform from people saying please bring your event back,” Adeem Younis, the app’s founder and chairman, told Arab News.
“A lot of our members — the prerequisite is that they are Muslim — still want to be able to meet people face to face in a halal environment that’s not going to be their living room or their home, and we facilitated a number of these pre-COVID and they were very successful,” he said.

Each of the full-day events — to be held in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds — will be open to up to 50 men and 50 women of all ages. The participants will have the option to take a chaperone and will meet in both formal and informal settings. Dinner and prayer facilities will also be provided.
“And you’ll have a world-class comedian who’s breaking the ice and compering and hosting the entire day, making it fun for everybody,” Younis said.
El-Ghorri, a Londoner who has appeared on the Jonathan Ross and Russell Howard shows, has a huge fan base within the Muslim community, but is also popular with mainstream audiences. She is also a member of the app.
“Finding the right partner when you are Muslim can be really challenging as culturally, we don’t really date,” she said.
“When we meet someone, it is expected that we will marry that person and it’s very important that your parents approve your choice of partner, so bringing your dad along to the event kills two birds with one stone.”

British-Moroccan comedian Fatiha El-Ghorri will be hosting and compering the entire day for the first time. (Supplied/Singlemuslim.com)

The event in London is expected to be particularly popular as it falls closest to Valentine’s Day.
“It’s a weekend of love and now, post-COVID, with a new year and fresh start, people have set their agenda.” Younis said.
“A lot of people are wanting to get married this year … what better way to do that than by attending a halal speed dating event?”
Singlemuslim.com was set up in 1999 and is one of the world’s world’s largest Muslim dating apps. Younis said the company had received a lot of requests from its members in Dubai, the UAE and Egypt to take halal speed dating to their countries.
He said the company would use the event formula as a roadmap to take it internationally, starting with the Arab market.
“Finding a life partner is difficult and challenging, especially within the Arab communities in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as people have become more urbanized,” he said.
About 5 percent of the apps members are from Saudi Arabia, where there is huge demand, especially as its digital savvy market is opening up more.
“We want to empower not just Muslim females, but anybody who’s Muslim to choose their own marriage partner, and the halal speed dating event is somewhere they can come and do that,” Younis said.


Lebanese man who threatened to blow up bank that withheld his money begins hunger strike

Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
Updated 19 January 2022

Lebanese man who threatened to blow up bank that withheld his money begins hunger strike

Lebanese man Abdullah Al-Saii was arrested Tuesday for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw his $50,000, began a hunger strike on Wednesday. (Social Media/Twitter)
  • Armed with a gun and grenade, he took staff and customers hostage and demanded to withdraw $50,000 of his own cash
  • The father-of-two, who could face 10 years in jail, was described by some commentators on social media as a ‘national hero’

BEIRUT: A Lebanese man arrested for taking people hostage and threatening to blow up a bank up as he attempted to withdraw $50,000 of his own money began a hunger strike on Wednesday.
Abdullah Al-Saii was armed with a gun, grenade and bottles of benzene when he entered a branch of the Bank of Beirut and Arab Countries in Jeb Jannine in Bekaa Valley, eastern Lebanon, on Tuesday. He said that staff at the bank had refused his previous requests to withdraw his savings, blaming the economic and banking crisis in the country
An Internal Security Forces official told Arab News that Al-Saii held more than 10 of the bank’s staff and customers hostage for several hours, demanding he be allowed to withdraw the money. He said he would blow up the branch if his demands were not met. The building was cordoned off and the standoff was resolved following negotiations, the official added.
“He surrendered himself after the bank gave the money to his wife and nobody was hurt,” said the ISF official. He added that Al-Saii began a hunger strike early on Wednesday afternoon after the attorney general’s office in Bekaa ordered the confiscation of the money.
Mustafa Kammouneh, the mayor of Jeb Jannine, told Arab News that Al-Saii, a father of two, had lived abroad for most of his life and, like most depositors during the financial crisis in the country, has been denied access to his life savings.
“What he did was totally understandable, especially given he needs money to support his family,” said the mayor. It was “totally expected and normal,” he added, considering the circumstances citizens have been enduring for the past two years.
Al-Saii is from the village of Kefraya. It is believed that his wife disappeared with the $50,000 shortly after prosecutors ordered the money be confiscated, said Kammouneh, adding that the couple’s children are being cared for by their grandparents.
When asked whether the wife, who is not Lebanese, had left the country, the mayor said only that he was sure she was no longer the village. A warrant has been issued for her arrest.
Antoine Kanaan, editor-in-chief of the Lebanon Law Review, said it is too early to speculate what charges Al-Saii might face.
“He committed a list of illegal acts that are punishable by law and could face up to 10 years in jail,” he told Arab News. “I am not sure whether he may benefit from any leniency factors, considering the socioeconomic circumstances.”
The incident prompted much discussion on social media in Lebanon, with many commentators supporting Al-Saii and some describing him as a “national hero” for his actions.
In a message posted on Twitter, Charbel Hage wrote: “Instead of prosecuting banks, their directors and shareholders for a breach of fiduciary duty, the justice system in Lebanon is prosecuting a depositor for withdrawing his money. Shameless.”
Journalist Salman Al-Andari tweeted that the judiciary had acted quickly to protect banks and their interests when they ordered the money be confiscated from the wife.
Lebanon has been in the grip of a financial crisis for more than two years. Banks have blocked access to accounts, preventing people from accessing their savings, which have lost more than 90 percent of their value.


Colombian author García Márquez had secret Mexican daughter

Colombian author García Márquez had secret Mexican daughter
Updated 18 January 2022

Colombian author García Márquez had secret Mexican daughter

Colombian author García Márquez had secret Mexican daughter
  • Márquez died in Mexico City in 2014, where thousands of his readers lined up to see his casket in a concert hall

BOGOTA, Colombia: For decades renowned Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez kept the public from knowing about an intimate aspect of his life: He had a daughter with a Mexican writer, with whom he had an extramarital affair in the early 1990s.
The closely guarded secret was published by Colombian newspaper El Universal on Sunday and confirmed to the Associated Press by two relatives of the Nobel Prize-winning author, who is famous for novels like One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Márquez died in Mexico City in 2014, where thousands of his readers lined up to see his casket in a concert hall. He was married for more than five decades to Mercedes Barcha and the couple had two children named Rodrigo and Gonzalo. They lived in Mexico City for much of their lives.
El Universal said that in the early 1990s Márquez had a daughter with Susana Cato, a writer and journalist who worked with Márquez on two movie scripts and who also interviewed him for a 1996 magazine story. Cato and Marquez named their daughter Indira: She is now in her early 30s and uses her mother’s surname.
Shani García Márquez, one of the writer’s nieces, told the AP that she had known for years about her cousin Indira, but had not mentioned her to the media because her parents always asked her to be discrete about her uncle’s personal life.
Gabriel Eligio Torres García, who is also a nephew of the Colombian writer, said he has been in touch with Indira Cato through social media, though he has never met her in person.
“My cousins Rodrigo and Gonzalo told me about her casually during a reunion,” he said.
Other members of García Márquez’s family, cited by El Universal, said they had not spoken about the writer’s daughter previously out of “respect” for Mercedes Barcha who died in August 2020. Torres García said that Indira Cato’s mother, Susana, had also been discrete about her daughter’s lineage, to keep her away from the media spotlight.
Indira Cato is now a documentary producer in Mexico City. She won several awards for a 2014 documentary on migrants passing through Mexico.
García Márquez’ family said they didn’t want to share her contact information because they were not authorized to do so, and the AP could not contact Indira Cato independently.
“She leads a very artistic lifestyle, like many people in this family,” said Shani García. “It makes us very happy that she has shined on her own.”


Dog rescued from collapsed house 6 days after landslide

Dog rescued from collapsed house 6 days after landslide
Updated 15 January 2022

Dog rescued from collapsed house 6 days after landslide

Dog rescued from collapsed house 6 days after landslide
  • A person emerged from the house Thursday carrying her alert black Labrador named Sammy
  • The Seattle Fire Department said firefighters had responded to reports of a dog possibly trapped inside the wreckage of the house

SEATTLE: A dog that was trapped for six days inside a house that collapsed last week in a landslide has been rescued, officials said.
“My baby. My baby,” home owner Didi Fritts said when a person emerged from the house Thursday carrying her alert black Labrador named Sammy, KING-TV reported.
The Seattle Fire Department said on Twitter Thursday that firefighters had responded to reports of a dog possibly trapped inside the wreckage of the house.
Veterinarians at the scene examined the dog, who seemed alert and wagged her tail after seeing Fritts, video from the TV station showed. The fire department described Sammy’s condition as stable.
The landslide on Jan. 7 caused the house to slide off its foundation, leaving James Fritts trapped inside, while his wife Didi crawled to safety.
Their other dog Lilly died in the collapse, The Seattle Times reported. Family members said they had returned daily to their house, hoping to hear the missing dog.
Rescue workers heard the dog when they arrived, David Cuerpo, a spokesperson for the Seattle Fire Department, told the newspaper.
They used chainsaws to cut through the home’s walls and flooring to get to the dog, working cautiously amid worries that the unstable home could suffer another collapse.
Rescue workers proceeded cautiously on Thursday, worried the house might suffer another collapse.


Afghan tradition allows girls to access the freedom of boys

Afghan tradition allows girls to access the freedom of boys
Updated 14 January 2022

Afghan tradition allows girls to access the freedom of boys

Afghan tradition allows girls to access the freedom of boys
  • Under the practice, a girl dresses, behaves and is treated as a boy, with all the freedoms and obligations that entails
  • Once a bacha posh reaches puberty, she is expected to revert to traditional girls’ gender roles

KABUL, Afghanistan: In a Kabul neighborhood, a gaggle of boys kick a yellow ball around a dusty playground, their boisterous cries echoing off the surrounding apartment buildings.
Dressed in sweaters and jeans or the traditional Afghan male clothing of baggy pants and long shirt, none stand out as they jostle to score a goal. But unbeknown to them, one is different from the others.
At not quite 8 years old, Sanam is a bacha posh: a girl living as a boy. One day a few months ago, the girl with rosy cheeks and an impish smile had her dark hair cut short, donned boys’ clothes and took on a boy’s name, Omid. The move opened up a boy’s world: playing soccer and cricket with boys, wrestling with the neighborhood butcher’s son, working to help the family make ends meet.
In Afghanistan’s heavily patriarchal, male-dominated society, where women and girls are usually relegated to the home, bacha posh, Dari for “dressed as a boy,” is the one tradition allowing girls access to the freer male world.
Under the practice, a girl dresses, behaves and is treated as a boy, with all the freedoms and obligations that entails. The child can play sports, attend a madrassa, or religious school, and, sometimes crucially for the family, work. But there is a time limit: Once a bacha posh reaches puberty, she is expected to revert to traditional girls’ gender roles. The transition is not always easy.
It is unclear how the practice is viewed by Afghanistan’s new rulers, the Taliban, who seized power in mid-August and have made no public statements on the issue.
Their rule so far has been less draconian than the last time they were in power in the 1990s, but women’s freedoms have still been severely curtailed. Thousands of women have been barred from working, and girls beyond primary school age have not been able to return to public schools in most places.
With a crackdown on women’s rights, the bacha posh tradition could become even more attractive for some families. And as the practice is temporary, with the children eventually reverting to female roles, the Taliban might not deal with the issue at all, said Thomas Barfield, a professor of anthropology at Boston University who has written several books on Afghanistan.
“Because it’s inside the family and because it’s not a permanent status, the Taliban may stay out (of it),” Barfield said.
It is unclear where the practice originated or how old it is, and it is impossible to know how widespread it might be. A somewhat similar tradition exists in Albania, another deeply patriarchal society, although it is limited to adults. Under Albania’s “sworn virgin” tradition, a woman would take an oath of celibacy and declare herself a man, after which she could inherit property, work and sit on a village council — all of which would have been out of bounds for a woman.
In Afghanistan, the bacha posh tradition is “one of the most under-investigated” topics in terms of gender issues, said Barfield, who spent about two years in the 1970s living with an Afghan nomad family that included a bacha posh. “Precisely because the girls revert back to the female role, they marry, it kind of disappears.”
Girls chosen as bacha posh usually are the more boisterous, self-assured daughters. “The role fits so well that sometimes even outside the family, people are not aware that it exists,” he said.
“It’s almost so invisible that it’s one of the few gender issues that doesn’t show up as a political or social question,” Barfield noted.
The reasons parents might want a bacha posh vary. With sons traditionally valued more than daughters, the practice usually occurs in families without a boy. Some consider it a status symbol, and some believe it will bring good luck for the next child to be born a boy.
But for others, like Sanam’s family, the choice was one of necessity. Last year, with Afghanistan’s economy collapsing, construction work dried up. Sanam’s father, already suffering from a back injury, lost his job as a plumber. He turned to selling coronavirus masks on the streets, making the equivalent of $1-$2 per day. But he needed a helper.
The family has four daughters and one son, but their 11-year-old boy doesn’t have full use of his hands following an injury. So the parents said they decided to make Sanam a bacha posh.
“We had to do this because of poverty,” said Sanam’s mother, Fahima. “We don’t have a son to work for us, and her father doesn’t have anyone to help him. So I will consider her my son until she becomes a teenager.”
Still, Fahima refers to Sanam as “my daughter.” In their native Dari language, the pronouns are not an issue since one pronoun is used for “he” and “she.”
Sanam says she prefers living as a boy.
“It’s better to be a boy ... I wear (Afghan male clothes), jeans and jackets, and go with my father and work,” she said. She likes playing in the park with her brother’s friends and playing cricket and soccer.
Once she grows up, Sanam said, she wants to be either a doctor, a commander or a soldier, or work with her father. And she’ll go back to being a girl.
“When I grow up, I will let my hair grow and will wear girl’s clothes,” she said.
The transition isn’t always easy.
“When I put on girls’ clothes, I thought I was in prison,” said Najieh, who grew up as a bacha posh, although she would attend school as a girl. One of seven sisters, her boy’s name was Assadollah.
Now 34, married and with four children of her own, she weeps for the freedom of the male world she has lost.
“In Afghanistan, boys are more valuable,” she said. “There is no oppression for them, and no limits. But being a girl is different. She gets forced to get married at a young age.”
Young women can’t leave the house or allow strangers to see their face, Najieh said. And after the Taliban takeover, she lost her job as a schoolteacher because she had been teaching boys.
“Being a man is better than being a woman,” she said, wiping tears from her eye. “It is very hard for me. ... If I were a man, I could be a teacher in a school.”
“I wish I could be a man, not a woman. To stop this suffering.”