Scores of Cape paramedics suffering from PTSD

Photo credit: IOL News

Cape Town – Health officials in the Western Cape say attacks on paramedics have led to an increase in the exodus of health-care workers too afraid to work in “violent Cape Town”.

On Tuesday, emergency services bosses briefed the provincial legislature’s standing committee on Community Development on the ongoing attacks on personnel.

MPLs were told that at any given time about 50 paramedics were booked off sick for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder brought on by the attacks and robberies.

From July to December, 35 attacks on paramedics had been recorded.

Officials told the committee as a result, many of their staff members had been moving to the Eastern Cape or asking for transfers to work outside Cape Town.

This despite an agreement with SAPS to escort ambulances into areas that had been categorised as “red-zones” due to previous attack.

These areas included Philippi, Nyanga, New Cross Roads, Gugulethu, Tafelsig in Mitchells Plain, Heideveld, Site C and Mandela Park in Khayelitsha, Kalksteenfontein as well as Hanover Park.

The head of Emergency Medical Services, Dr Shaheem de Vries, said staff members had been advised to use their discretion in dangerous situations.

Pumzile Papu, provincial manager for the EMS division, said, “They are under pressure from families due to the incidents and those who can’t move to the Eastern Cape or get jobs there ask for transfers to places like Knysna and Beaufort West, which leaves Cape Town depleted. People do not want to work in certain areas, even when you ask them to work overtime and you tell them where, they will say ‘no they can’t’.”

MEC for Health Nomafrench Mbombo told the committee it was hard to understand the motives behind attacks on medics and said it had become harder for them to deliver services.

“When we talk about the issue of the safety of EMS officials you have to put a bigger picture to it, it is already unsafe to be in a moving vehicle at any given time and now when you become a health-care professional you essentially become a mini-soldier. All of us here have been health-care workers at one time or another and had never experienced what staff members are going through.”

“But we are determined to provide services even if it does not take the 15 minutes required time but takes an extra 20 minutes, we are committed to attending to those in need.”

“But it is becoming even harder for our members to operate and in some instances they become an accessory to crimes, like this Sunday in Langa. They arrived to find people who were beating up this fellow and the team was prevented from attending to the patient because his attackers felt he needed to die first.”

“The mere fact that you are forced to stand there and watch a person die can be traumatic to anyone.”

“It is no wonder we are sitting with as many medics with PTSD.”

IOL News 

US Federal appeal court rules against Trump on travel ban

US President Donald J Trump

A report by Washington Post has it that the US federal appeals panel has maintained the freeze on President Trump’s controversial immigration order, meaning previously barred refugees and citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries can continue entering the United States.

In a unanimous 29-page opinion, three judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit flatly rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons, and they forcefully asserted their ability to serve as a check on the president’s power.

The judges wrote that any suggestion that they could not “runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

The judges did not declare outright that the ban was meant to disfavor Muslims — essentially saying it was too early for them to render a judgment on that question. But their ruling is undeniably a blow to the government and means the travel ban will remain off for the foreseeable future.

Trump reacted angrily on Twitter, posting just minutes after the ruling, “SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!” He later said to reporters that the judges had made “a political decision.”

“We have a situation where the security of our country is a stake, and it’s a very, very serious situation, so we look forward, as I just said, to seeing them in court,” he said.

The Justice Department, which was defending the administration’s position, said in a statement it was “reviewing the decision and considering its options.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who had sued over the ban, said, “Bottom line, this is a complete victory for the state of Washington,” and declared that the judges’ ruling “effectively granted everything we sought.”

The Justice Department could now ask the Supreme Court — which often defers to the president on matters of immigration and national security — to intervene. The Supreme Court, though, remains one justice short, and many see it as ideologically split 4-to-4. A tie would keep in place whatever the appeals court decides. The Justice Department could also ask the full 9th Circuit to consider the matter.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, center, thanks staff members after a news conference about a federal appeals court's refusal to reinstate President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, in Seattle. The ruling dealt another legal setback to the new administration's immigration policy.© AP Photo/Elaine Thompson Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, center, thanks staff members after a news conference about a federal appeals court’s refusal to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven…The appeals court opinion was written by Judge Michelle T. Friedland, who was appointed by President Barack Obama; Judge Richard R. Clifton, who was appointed by President George W. Bush; and Judge William C. Canby, who was appointed by President Jimmy Carter. It was detailed, but it does not represent a final judgment on Trump’s immigration ban.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge James L. Robart granted the states of Washington and Minnesota a temporary restraining order on the ban. The appeals court judges noted their ruling was a “preliminary one,” and they were deciding only whether the government had “made a strong showing of its likely success” in getting the restraining order thrown out.

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said on Fox News: “This ruling does not affect the merits at all. It is an interim ruling, and we’re fully confident now that we’ll get our day in court and have an opportunity to argue this on the merits, that we’ll prevail.”

The ruling, though, is critically important — as Trump’s ban on refugees lasts only 120 days, and his ban on visitors from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen lasts only 90 days. The judges also said that while the states of Washington and Minnesota had made serious allegations — and the impact of the order was “immediate and widespread” — the government had not pointed to any substantive evidence to support its need for the ban.

“The Government has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the judges wrote. “Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all.”

The states have alleged that the executive order harms their businesses and universities, preventing some students and faculty from traveling abroad for fear of being stranded and diminishing the sales tax revenue they receive.

Legislators and others who had opposed the ban hailed the judges’ ruling and urged Trump to back down.

“President Trump ought to see the handwriting on the wall that his executive order is unconstitutional,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “He should abandon this proposal, roll up his sleeves and come up with a real, bipartisan plan to keep us safe.”

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said, “If the President were serious about bringing our country together and keeping us safe, he would rescind this arbitrary and discriminatory order and recall what makes our country great.”

Hillary Clinton, who lost the presidency to Trump in November, posted on Twitter simply, “3-0.”

Federal immigration law undeniably gives the president broad authority to bar people from coming into the United States, stating that if the president finds “the entry of any aliens” would be “detrimental” to the country’s interests, he can impose restrictions. But lawsuits across the country have alleged that Trump’s particular order ran afoul of the Constitution in that it intentionally discriminated against Muslims.

At a hearing Tuesday, Justice Department lawyer August Flentje vigorously disputed that the measure was intended to target Muslims. In their ruling, the judges did not reveal their opinion on that question, although they noted Washington and Minnesota had “offered evidence of numerous statements by the President about his intent to implement a ‘Muslim ban’ as well as evidence they claim suggests that the Executive Order was intended to be that ban.”

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani recently said publicly: “So when [Trump] first announced it, he said, ‘Muslim ban.’ He called me up. He said: ‘Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ ” On the campaign trail, Trump himself called for a “complete and total shutdown” of Muslims entering the country.

The appeals court judges had questioned both sides skeptically at Tuesday’s hearing, seeming particularly interested in what evidence Trump relied upon in implementing his order and what limits the Justice Department saw on the president’s authority to set immigration policy. While Flentje urged them to restore the measure completely, he also at one point offered a fallback position. The judges, he suggested, could limit Robart’s order so that it applied only to foreigners previously admitted to the country who were abroad now or those who wished to travel and return to the United States in the future.

They declined to do even that, saying, as written, the president’s executive order could apply even to green-card holders — which it once seemed to do, although the White House counsel later issued guidance saying it did not. The judges said the Justice Department had “offered no authority establishing that the White House counsel is empowered to issue an amended order superseding the Executive Order,” and “in light of the Government’s shifting interpretations of the Executive Order,” they were not convinced that guidance would hold.

Trump and his supporters have pressed the case that the short-term stoppage on refugees and immigrants from the seven countries is necessary for national security reasons, and they have leveled blunt criticism at the courts. Trump went so far as to suggest on Twitter that if an attack were to happen, the judiciary would be to blame. On Wednesday, he denounced arguments about his order as “disgraceful” and said “a bad high school student” would understand the broad authority the law gives him to impose immigration restrictions.

A day earlier, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told Congress that he thought judges might be considering the issue from an “academic” perspective instead of the national security lens through which he views the world.

“Of course, in their courtrooms, they’re protected by people like me,” Kelly said.

Federal courts in New York, California and elsewhere already had blocked aspects of the ban from being implemented, although one federal judge in Massachusetts declared that he did not think that challengers had demonstrated that they had a high likelihood of success. The case before the 9th Circuit, though, was much broader than the others, because it stemmed from a federal judge’s outright halting of the ban.

Abby Phillip and John Wagner contributed to this report.

Activists hold placards outside a U.S. Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York: Activists hold placards outside the U.S. Courthouse where a federal judge issued an emergency stay that temporarily blocks the U.S. government from sending people out of the country after they have landed at a U.S. airport with valid visas, in Brooklyn.Chaos after Trump’s travel ban

 

The Washington Post

Madonna to Adopt Twin Girls From Malawi

Just days ago she denied a Nyasa Times breaking news that she had applied to High Court to adopt two children, US pop singer Madonna has been granted permission to adopt two more twin girls from Malawi, judiciatry spokesperson Mlenga Mvula has announced.

Mvula said Jusice Fiona Mwale of the High Court made the ruling on Tuesday in Lilongwe.

The singer already has two children from the Malawi – David Banda, adopted in 2006, and Mercy James, adopted in 2009 and the twins will bring the total of children the 58-year-old has taken in from the impoverished African country to four.

Madonna was in the courtroom when Justice Mwale made her determination granting her permission to adopt the twin girls named Esther and Stella Mwale.

But less than two weeks ago when Nyasa Times had a breaking news, Madonna denied she’d applied to adopt any more children, during a charity visit to Malawi.

According to judiciary spokesman, Madonna should provide the court within ” a home survey report” one of the conditions of the adoption.

The twin girls have lived together in an orphanage in Mchinji for two years.

Nyasa Times

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