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France to approve ban on smacking children » Capital News

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If the ban on smacking children is approved, France will become the 55th state to call an end to the corporal punishment of children © AFP/File PATRICK KOVARIK

, Paris, France, Jul 2 – France’s parliament is expected to adopt a largely symbolic ban Tuesday on parents smacking their children, a practice which though condemned by the UN still enjoys widespread support in the country.

The ban, to be put to a final vote in the Senate on Tuesday, would make France the 55th state to prohibit corporal punishment of children.

It will be written into the Civil Code and read out to couples when they exchange their marital vows.

The newly-weds will be told that “parental authority is exercised without physical or psychological violence”.

The measure, which was adopted by MPs in November, is expected to easily pass the Senate despite some lawmakers on the right railing against what they see as “interference” in family life.

Violence towards children is already banned under France’s penal code, but a 19th-century addendum to the Civil Code’s definition of parental authority made allowances for parents when “disciplining” their children.

According to France’s Childhood Foundation, 85 percent of French parents admit to smacking their children.

Attempts by previous governments to ban the practise have run afoul of conservatives, but resistance has softened in recent years.

The new law does not contain a specific punishment for parents who break the rules.

Its main goal is to encourage society to change its ways, Maud Petit, the MP who sponsored the measure, said.

The legislation will bring France in line with international treaties on the rights of children.

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In 2015, the Council of Europe, which makes recommendations on rights, singled out France for failing to follow the example of other European countries by banning smacking.

A year later, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child urged France to “explicitly prohibit” all forms of corporal punishment of children.


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Esther Passaris bashed for donating sanitary pads branded with her photo – Nairobi News

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Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris has been bashed for donating sanitary pads with her pictures plastered on them.

Passaris posted on her social media pages the packets of sanitary pads she was donating to Nairobi students.

“900 cartons of quality menstrual hygiene products dispatched today so that our girls in Nairobi County can experience their menstruation in dignity and free of shame. No one should choose between a sanitary pad or meal. #TwendeKazike,” she wrote.

She handed the donation to the Kenya Red Cross for distribution. She later said that the donation was made by the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) which falls under the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs and the Chinese embassy.

Many netizens wondered why the Woman Rep branded the sanitary pads with her pictures.

Sital Chandaria wrote, “It’s donated thru yr office, not by u….why your pic…yr position is temporary, but the donation should not be associated with u but yr office…next time think long term.”

Mayodi_H commented, ” what was the cost of the branding? Certainly, it would have added an extra carton or so… but since you are headless, we move…..”

Teve posted, “The money you used on branding could have been used to buy more pads. What happens after you are no longer in office? the noble project dies? Think sustainability.”

“Nice gesture but did you have to print all the pads? Stop playing PR stunts with vulnerable Kenyans. If you want to help, help ppl out without such f****ry,” wrote Deejay Sylar.

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“Tenda wema nenda zako. Must you include your picture on the sanitary pads?” said Otieno Oloo.

Ericko bara posted, “Must you put your picture on them ,,this is hypocrisy of the highest order.”

Maigua Steve commented, “Lazima ungeeka picha yako hapo @EstherPassaris. Huezi kufa, billionaire @JackMa hakubrand mask na hakukufa. It’s your job to do what you did, not a favor. May you see this and probably block me. Smh!”

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Kenya: Trade Unionist Calls for 3-Month Rent Exemption for Tenants

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Nairobi — Central Organization Trade Union (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli has urged landlords to exempt Kenyans from paying rent for the next three months as the country battles COVID-19 pandemic which has already scuttled numerous businesses.

Atwoli said the Union will appeal to the Government to ensure rental issues for the low income and lower-middle-income earners are considered for the next three months.

“I would appeal to employers,entrepreneurs and landlords to heed to our call that for the coming three months, let them not ask rents from poor Kenyans who have mostly been sent on unpaid leaves,” he told Citizen Television.

He said this will be the only way for them to show solidarity in the wake of the pandemic which has so far infected 81 people in Kenya and seen more than 1,000 placed under quarantine.

Atwoli’s statement echoes that of the Landlords and Tenants Association of Kenya who Wednesday called for a three-month rent waiver for tenants.

“There should be a waiver for rent for the month of April, May, and June so that the common citizen can actually work on putting food on the table.”

The tenants-lobby said the government should assist landlords who are servicing loans to get a six-month moratorium from commercial banks.

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“The government should come up with a compensation package for the landlords. We know very well that most landlords depend on the rents they receive to service their loans. We are asking the government to institute the moratorium so that they can have that ample time to put food on their tables now that they are not going to get that income for the months of April, May, and June,” the association posed in a statement.

In his interview, Atwoli further opposed calls for a total lockdown saying it would affect Kenyans who rely on daily wages.

“I do not fully support a lockdown, with our fragile economy, many people cannot survive within it. But if need be, we can do it for not more than 14 days or seven days and by that time we should be testing people,” he added.

He also wants the Government to support civil societies so that they provide relief food for those who are unable to earn during this period as well as those living in abject poverty in order to avert any death due to hunger.

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What doctors are learning about Covid-19 ‘on the fly’

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By AFP
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Doctor Daniel Brenner has had a busy week in the emergency department of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, seeing dozens of presumed Covid-19 patients.

As Maryland and other parts of the United States brace for the kind of surges seen in New York and Louisiana, AFP spoke to the fourth-year resident to gain insight into what medical professionals are learning about the disease in real time.

Maryland has thus far seen two dozen deaths and around 2,000 cases – capacity is not yet stretched, but could soon be.

With hundreds of cases now coming in, Brenner said it becomes “very tricky to tease out who needs to be in the hospital, the people who are at high risk for developing severe symptoms and needing supplemental oxygen” versus those who can recover from home.

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Making the right call is crucial, but the problem is compounded by a lack of data to help rationalise choices.

“Is it older people? Is it people with medical conditions?” asked Brenner, adding that doctors were desperately trying to keep up with the latest medical literature as it gets published to stay better informed.

Different physicians have different views, “and there’s really no consensus across the country or the medical community which approach is right yet because this disease has only been studied for two months,” he said.
“We’re all trying to learn it on the fly.”

The most significant complication for coronavirus patients is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) in which the lungs stiffen and become inflamed and the body is starved of oxygen.

Doctors have found placing patients on the stomach in the “prone” position helps prevents fluid from building up in the relatively more healthy area in the back of the lung, said Brenner.

The technique is commonly used on preterm babies requiring ventilators, but for adults it is labour intensive and requires constant monitoring to make sure the breathing tube isn’t displaced.

Covid-19 patients also seem to require higher levels of air pressure on their ventilators than people who have developed ARDS by other means, added Brenner.

While hospitals in overwhelmed regions such as New York are in dire lack of personal protective gear, such shortages have not yet hit other parts of USA.

But the virus is forcing medical staff to change the way they work.

In the US, assisted breathing machines called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAPs) and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAPs) are not being used out of concern that they “might make a giant field of virus” by spraying droplets out of the patient’s mouth and nose under pressure, said Brenner.

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Ventilators, which place tubes down a patient’s air passage, do not have the same problem because the exhaled air is sealed.

But this creates its own issues – BiPAP was typically used for heart failure patients in the emergency room, but now these patients must go on ventilators.

This is a more invasive procedure which requires making them unconscious and giving them drugs to temporarily paralyse the body.

In addition to coronavirus cases “we also have everybody else who’s critically ill who still has to come to the hospital – so your heart attacks, your strokes, people who have been hit by a car, those people are still coming,” said Brenner.

Their care has to be managed in the context of the virus – meaning that if a patient comes in with a heart attack and has a cough, they are considered a suspected Covid-19 case. If they are unconscious, they are also presumed positive.

That means donning protective gear even when a heart patient experiences cardiac arrest – and losing precious time when every second can mean the difference between life and death.

“We all do this because we want to help people, so instinct is ‘The patient is in trouble, I have to go in right now, I don’t have time to deal with protective equipment,’ but we keep telling everyone and keep reminding ourselves that if we get infected we can’t help anyone else.”

Morale remains high among the medical staff, said Brenner, 36, even as “people are wrapping their heads around the magnitude of this a little bit” and turning to each other for support.

Some staff have been infected at the hospital, but thankfully there have not yet been any serious cases.

One thing that helps, he says, is support from the community in the form of meals sent by local businesses and individuals.

“Sometimes taking a moment and eating a sandwich can make you a much better doctor,” he said.

“And so that’s been a really nice thing that was kind of unanticipated, that the community has been so supportive and so kind.”

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