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  1. A new worship centre for Jehovah's Witnesses is coming to Gloucestershire. Plans were approved earlier this week (June 19) by Gloucester City Council to build the place of worship in Kingsway. The development will be the second Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses in Gloucester, the first being based in Abbeydale. The plans for the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Kingsway (Image: Gloucester City Council) The proposal includes a single storey building to be used by Jehovah's Witnesses as a place of worship and religious education, as well as five car parking spaces. The developer, Elevation One building design, said the building will resemble a site used by the religious group in Dover. A planning statement submitted by the firm said two new halls like the proposed have been built in the last year and another 14 nationwide have been planned. The site fronts Thatcham Avenue and abuts the southern boundary of Kingsway Primary School. The plans for the Jehovah's Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Kingsway (Image: Gloucester City Council)  It is not clear when building works will begin. It will be the ninth Kingdom Hall in Gloucestershire with others in Cirencester, Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Dursley, Blakeney and Lydney, in addition to the existing on in Gloucester.
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  2. If you’ve been in Newcastle city centre recently, you will have noticed them. Happily handing out copies of The Watchtower from carts, Jehovah’s Witnesses are taking to Newcastle’s streets in their droves. And the reason for the recent increase is simply due to a change in tactics. For years, members have gone door-to-door to spread the word about the faith. But now members are heading into the city to try and reach out to more people. “We feel the use of carts allows us to reach people we perhaps wouldn’t meet at home due to their work schedules or other factors,” said spokesperson Andrew Schofield. “The carts also provide the public with the choice of approaching us or not, which some people appreciate. Read more:
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  3. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have left hospital after the arrival of their third child, a boy. The couple's second son, who was born at 11:01 BST, weighing 8lb 7oz, is fifth in line to the throne. Prince George and Princess Charlotte had visited their brother at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London. Leaving the hospital Prince William said the couple were very happy, before holding up three fingers and joking he had "thrice the worry now". "We didn't keep you waiting too long this time," he added. When someone asked him whether the couple had decided on a name, he said: "You'll find out soon enough." Read more:
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  4. Independent investigators in the United Kingdom are weighing whether to launch a new investigation into the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. after receiving a “considerable number” of abuse allegations. The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, or IICSA, a government-sanctioned investigative panel in England and Wales, told The Guardian that it had gotten a “considerable number” of reports from both the public and elected officials about the Jehovah’s Witnesses in the U.K. A spokesperson told the newspaper the panel would “consider calls for a Jehovah’s Witnesses–specific investigation carefully.” It was unclear how many reports the watchdog group had received. When contacted by Newsweek, Jehovah’s Witnesses’ public information office did not immediately comment. Kathleen Hallisey, a lawyer who brought charges against the Jehovah’s Witnesses for sexual abuse in 2015, said she suspected there are thousands of such cases in the U.K., The Guardian reported. “The Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to recognize the issue of child abuse in their organization or to create robust safeguarding procedures to protect children,” she said. “An investigation by IICSA into the Jehovah’s Witnesses is an opportunity for the inquiry to effect real change in an organization that refuses to shine a light on child abuse and protect children.” News of the possible investigation comes weeks after the nonprofit religious transparency organization Faithleaks leaked 33 letters and internal documents revealing a pattern of sexual abuse by one Jehovah’s Witness member, and the lengths the church went to cover up the scandal. Those documents detail communications among church leaders and several legal entities—collectively known as Watchtower—between 1999 and 2012. In one letterto Watchtower dated November 14, 1999, the Palmer Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses from Brimfield, Massachusetts, said it had reviewed claims by two women who alleged their father sexually abused them as children. The group found those claims to be true. “Our impression upon speaking with both girls was similar. That they are both quite rational. It certainly appears that these were real events,” the letter said. In that case, church leaders pressured one of the accusers not to report the abuse to police. Years later, the church held an in-house trial and briefly excommunicated the father. That victim was not the only person pressured to remain silent. In the U.K., several alleged victims had come forward with similar claims in November 2017, according to The Telegraph. “Frankly, I would equate this to a scandal and a cover-up akin to the Catholic Church,” Hallisey told The Telegraph at the time.
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  5. Michael John Hewitt was described as a significant risk to young children and a dangerous offender. A man who took advantage of his position of trust in a Surrey branch of Jehovah's Witnesses and sexually abused three young girls has been sentenced to 15 yearsÂ’ imprisonment on Monday, 12 March at Croydon Crown Court. Michael John Hewitt, 71 and now of Fremington in Devon, was found guilty of eight counts of indecency with children who were all aged under 16 years at the time. He will be on the sex offenders register for life and have a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Restraining Order served. The court heard that in the 1980s Hewitt, who previously lived in Wallington, was a member of the Jehovah's Witness Congregation and abused his victims over several decades. Two of HewittÂ’s victims were as young as five when the abuse started. He sexually abused all three of them in his and their home addresses, undetected by family members. He later sold his home in Surrey and moved to Devon. On January 11, 2016, two of the victims reported what had happened to a family member, who then contacted police. Hewitt was later arrested in January 2016 and bailed pending further enquiries. Following extensive research by detectives from the Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command, the third victim was identified and came forward when told Hewitt was under investigation for two similar offences. In May 2017, Hewitt was charged with eleven counts of indecency with three girls under 16 years old. He was later acquitted of three offences. Whilst sentencing Judge Flahive described Hewitt as a significant risk to young children and a dangerous offender. Detective Constable Janet Williams, the investigating officer from the Met's Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command said:Â "The victims were abused by Hewitt at a very early age. Only when they were older were they able to understand what Hewitt subjected them to. Hewitt abused his position of trust to exploit the young girls for his own satisfaction. "I would like to pay tribute to the victims who had the courage to report these distressing crimes to police. I hope today's conviction gives the victims a measure of comfort and closure." Read more at
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  6. This subject is unlikely to subside. @AnneOMaly has related that "there is a campaign to have the UK JWs' child abuse allegation procedures officially investigated due to failings that have come to light in high profile cases over the past few years." This thread was started. due to publicity around the issue. The Times has reported on the campaign, (although a subscription is required to get the full account). The campaign includes pressure to include the matter in the investigation, currently in the UK, of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which has commenced hearings despite an extremely shaky start.
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    . So with this backdrop, don't miss an enlightening BBC drama looking at a particular series of incidents in Rochdale, UK. This illustrates some context around this disgraceful crime, and provides insight regarding the failings of institutional response, highlighting something of the general social and institutional environment that all, including Jehovah's Witnesses, find themselves within, particularly in the UK.
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    As these are time limited links, the drama is also available on youtube:
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  7. Children who were sexually abused by Jehovah's Witnesses were allegedly told by the church not to report the crimes. Victims from across the UK told the BBC they were routinely abused and that the religious organisation's own rules protected perpetrators. One child abuse lawyer believes there could be thousands of victims across the country who have not come forward because of the "two witness" rule. A spokesperson for the church said it did not "shield" abusers. 'Bring reproach on Jehovah' BBC Hereford and Worcester spoke to victims - men and women - from Birmingham, Cheltenham, Leicester, Worcestershire and Glasgow, one of whom waived her right to anonymity. Louise Palmer, who now lives in Evesham, Worcestershire, was born into the organisation along with her brother Richard Davenport, who started raping her when she was four. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence for the abuse. The 41-year-old, formerly of Halesowen, West Midlands, said when she told the church of the abuse she was told not to go to police. Read more:
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  8. A WOMAN who was molested by her father over 5 years and afterwards by a Jehovah’s Witnesses she asked for assistance has oral out about her ordeal. Terrified Angie Rodgers, from Ayrshire, was abused weekly by her perverted Jehovah’s Witness father Ian Cousins from a age of 11. Angie Rodgers was 11 years aged when her father started abusing her The dauntless teen eventually plucked adult a bravery to disclose in a Jehovah’s Witness elders, who took small action and she was after abused by one of them too, Harry Holt. Angie, now 36, said: “I incited to a church for assistance and we was abused a second time. “I was a child and they should have helped, though they incited on me. They make me feel sick. “I don’t consider I’ll ever get over what happened. I’ve usually schooled to live with it. “I have nightmares and flashbacks all a time and been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress.” Angie’s father was detained for 5 years in 2002 for his crimes, while Holt was usually jailed final year for Angie’s attack along with 7 others he molested. Now aged 36, Angie, a mother-of-four, has bravely waived her anonymity in a wish her story will assistance other people. She said: “Dad did it whenever he got a chance, even when we was ill. Angie Rodgers poses here with others in a Jehovah’s Witness community “Once, we was throwing adult with gastric influenza when father brought me home a feathery bunny, with a organic white floral dress and bloomers. “My wordless went to a Kingdom (church) and my father scooped me adult in his arms from a couch, took me to his room and molested me. “I prayed my wordless would come and save me though she never did. After that he used to try to hold me whenever we were alone. It got worse and worse. “We went to a Jehovah gathering when we was about 14 and he attempted to rape me in a tent. He was usually interrupted when an elder shouted him from outside.” At a age of 15 Angie confided in a friend, whose father led a opposite church, in a wish that they would be means to stop a abuse. While her father Cousins was called in for a “judicial meeting” no movement was taken, as Jehovah’s Witness elders can't act opposite suspects unless “there is a admission or dual convincing witnesses”. Angie was afterwards subjected to an talk by 3 masculine elders including Holt, where she was done to plead insinuate sum of a abuse. She explained: “They even asked what I’d been wearing, as if it was my fault. It was excruciating. we was so genuine we was still personification with toys and Lego during 18.” As Cousins showed plea for his sins he was authorised behind into a church after being reprimanded – and a abuse stopped. A brief while after in 1997, Holt done a pierce on Angie when pushing her home following a event door-knocking for members. She said: “On a approach home in a automobile he grabbed my leg and felt his approach adult towards my underwear.” Shocked, a immature lady told her relatives about a occurrence and a explanation led to Holt journey to Edinburgh. It was suggested in justice final year that he went on to abuse some-more children. Angie motionless to make a censure to a military about her father when she found out he had also abused another dual girls. She also incited her behind on a Jehovah’s Witnesses during 19 in a wish of starting fresh. The sacrament is pronounced to inspire members to reject people who leave, and Angie claimed that she didn’t see her mom for 6 years after she left. In 2014 a censure was done opposite Holt, and Angie concluded to come brazen and pronounce about her horrific experience. In Feb 2016, 71-year-old Holt was condemned to three-and-a-half years in jail for a abuse of 8 girls between 1971 and 2004. Angie said: “If what happened to me helps usually one immature lady – or child – go to a military it will have been value it. What happened to me is horrible though I’m perplexing to pierce on, differently my abusers have won. “The sacrament is zero though a cult. Children are kept wordless by fears of Holy condemnation and Armageddon if they move a church into ill repute. “It’s that fear and a fear of being shunned by friends and family if we leave that stops victims from stating to police. It’s primitive and it has to stop.” When contacted, a Jehovah’s Witnesses wouldn’t criticism on Angie’s box though they did criticism on their position in general. The matter said: “Jehovah’s Witnesses detest child abuse and perspective it as a iniquitous crime and sin. Safety of a children is of a pinnacle importance. “Elders do not defense abusers from a authorities. Anyone who commits a impiety of child abuse faces exclusion from a congregation. Any idea Jehovah’s Witnesses cover adult abuse is false. “We are doing all we can to forestall child abuse and to yield devout comfort to any who have suffered from this terrible impiety and crime.”
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  9. UK - Big Ben sounds its midday bongs for the last time in four years... and it upsets many Brits! Â
  10. UK - Conservation work set to silence much-loved Big Ben for four years Â
  11. 09:38 Official police statement Detectives have launched a murder investigation following the suspicious death of a man in Honiton today [6 June]. Police and ambulance crews were called at around 3.40pm after concerns were raised for the welfare of the man at a premises in Dowell Street. On arrival they found the man, who is yet to be identified, deceased at the scene. He had sustained a number of stab wounds. A 55-year-old man was located nearby and has been arrested on suspicion of murder. He has been taken into custody in Exeter awaiting questioning. Detectives from the Major Crime Investigation Team have launched an investigation to establish the circumstances of the man’s death. Officers are appealing for anyone who may have information which may assist with the enquiry to contact them. A cordon remains in place around the scene while a forensic examination is carried out by scenes of crime officers. Anyone who may have information about the incident is asked to contact police via 101@dc.police.uk or by telephoning 101, quoting log 529 of 06/06/17. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or the charity’s website at www.crimestoppers-org.uk Read more at
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    --------------------------------------- The question now is.... are either of the two Jehovah's Witnesses?
  12. NORTH KENSINGTON, London – Not less than four members of Jehovah’s Witnesses survived the inferno that ravaged the 24 storey Grenfel Tower, London killing at least 79 people. None of the witnesses died in the inferno, which has led to revolution and evacuation of about 25 other blocks that have failed fire resistant test in London. The 4 witnesses however lost their apartments and properties in the fire. “Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community”, the JWs said on their website.Jehovah’s Witnesses are known worldwide for their speed in mitigating the affliction of their neighbours worldwide.See full statement below. Jehovah’s Witnesses are assisting victims of a catastrophic fire that engulfed the Grenfell Tower, a 24-story apartment building in the North Kensington area of London, in the early morning hours of June 14, 2017. Authorities are reporting that at least 79 people were killed. Four Witnesses were evacuated from the apartment building, two of which were residents of Grenfell Tower. Fortunately, none of them were injured, although the Witnesses’ apartments were among those completely destroyed in the blaze. Witnesses that live near the now fire-gutted apartment building provided food, clothing, and monetary aid to their fellow members and their families that were affected. The Witnesses are also offering spiritual comfort to the grieving members of the North Kensington community.
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  13. In Newcastle town centre. UK. The Chronicle Live. 15 June 2017. A council worker will stand trial after he was accused of being drunk at the wheel of his road sweeper in Newcastle city centre. John Paul Carruthers, who has since resigned from his post at Newcastle City Council, was allegedly over the legal drink-drive limit when he ploughed into a Jehovah’s Witness stand on Northumberland Street near to Haymarket Metro Station. Prosecuting, James Long told Newcastle Magistrates’ Court: “The allegation is that he was driving a Newcastle City Council road sweeper when he collided first with a Jehovah’s Witness stand next to Haymarket Metro Station. He carried on then a short while later was detained on Ridley Place and was said to be aggressive. READ MORE:
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  14. Terrorist incident at Manchester Arena Police shutdown central Manchester, early Tuesday morning, after a suspected explosion at the Manchester Arena killed 19 and injured 50. Suicide Bomber suspected The incident is thought to have occurred at 22.35 local time (21.35 GMT), at the end of an Ariana Grande concert as 20,000 + attendees were leaving the premises. Emergency vehicles streamed to the arena and helicopters circled above as police urged people to stay clear of the area. As we all get more details about this event please post news below as a reply
  15. Dorking residents inspired to life-changing response to migration crisis Kristin and Peter Nevins came to Dorking from the US and piled their four children into two bedrooms so they could begin hosting refugees © Anna Gordon “If they ask, say you’re my nephew,” Constance Nash advised the young Syrian man staying with her, in case he encountered an unfriendly neighbour. Ms Nash has a lot of foreign guests this year at her home in Dorking, a leafy town in the Surrey hills about an hour’s train ride south of London. First came the Eritrean woman who was 28 weeks pregnant and then the wounded Syrian soldier and his Congolese friend, who had been sleeping rough. Then there were the Syrian and Sudanese teenagers. “They said they came on the train,” Ms Nash said. “Not in the train, on the train.” There was George from Ghana and Jean from the Congo and the Zimbabwean and Sudanese, and Ahmad, a soft-spoken pharmacist from Aleppo who stayed for five months. Ms Nash refers to them not as refugees but “guests”. She and a motley group of nearby residents have been hosting them during the past year to make their modest response to the global migration crisis and fill the sizeable gaps left by the British government. Constance Nash: 'It’s not charity. At all. It’s human solidarity.' © Anna Gordon “It’s not charity. At all. It’s human solidarity,” said Ms Nash, who — like her guests — is a foreigner who never expected to land in Dorking. A frenetic Parisian, she moved to the town 17 years ago after marrying an Englishman and then ended up staying after the marriage ended. She hates the idea of spinning her experience into a feel-good story, insisting: “We don’t do cute in Dorking.” “Actually, we do,” corrected her friend Carmel O’Shea, who was seated in Ms Nash’s kitchen-cum-salon on a recent afternoon. Also passing through were Syrian and Congolese refugees, a gaggle of schoolchildren and neighbours, a tattooed Anglican curate and his wife, a pair of cats and an unusually active turtle. Britain has pledged to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees. The government selects families from UN camps and meticulously screens them before offering asylum, housing, English lessons and a living allowance. But that ignores many others — from Syria and elsewhere — who arrive in the UK on their own. Some come with fake passports, or hidden in the back of trucks using the Channel tunnel. In theory, these people can claim asylum and, if necessary, receive government lodging. But in practice, many become trapped in a suspicious, slow-moving bureaucracy. In the interim, they may end up sleeping on church floors, in hospital emergency rooms or even on London’s night buses, as Jean sometimes did. The Nevins talk to Constance Nash in her kitchen. All three are part of the Dorking Group of local hosts © Anna Gordon “If it’s not deliberate then it’s the least competent government ever,” said Peter Nevins, a curate at the local Anglican church. He and his wife, Kristin — both from the US Midwest — moved to Dorking in August and piled their four children into two bedrooms so they could begin hosting. First came a Nigerian man, who stayed for a few days, and then a Syrian jeweller and baker, who had become friends in Calais’ infamous “jungle” migrant camp, and stayed for a few weeks. “The rooms should be filled, as far as I’m concerned,” Kristin shrugged. The Dorking Group, as the 10 local hosts informally call themselves, take referrals from an Epsom-based charity known as Refugees At Home, which has its own web page and Facebook group. The guests are first screened by the Red Cross and Refugee Council. Refugees At Home visits the hosts to check them, too. “Everyone just acts as if it’s going to be a friend’s friend [staying],”said Ms Nash, who first contacted Refugees At Home in August last year after reading about Icelanders pledging to house 11,000 refugees. “I got all agitated and said: ‘Let’s do it in England.’” Still, she recalled fretting after being briefed on her first arrival. “What if we don’t like her? She has nightmares. What if she sleepwalks?” Her son, Raph, 15, also confessed he was “a bit worried” about sharing the house with a stranger. But those fears melted. “When it clicks, it feels like the most normal thing you’ve ever done,” Ms Nash said. So much so that Raph’s school friend went home one day and asked his mother, Ms O’Shea, why they were not hosting any refugees. “I was hugely apprehensive. I wouldn’t even do French exchange with my kids,” Ms O’Shea said. Ahmad, a Syrian pharmacist, spent 10 months in the Calais 'jungle' before making it to the UK © Anna Gordon But she ended up opening her home to Mohammad, a 22-year-old Iranian builder — and sobbing when he left five months later. “I think we thought we were offering someone a room. It’s much more than that,” she said. Besides the humanity of it, hosting has wider benefits, the Dorking Group argues. Chief among them is that it speeds refugees’ integration, immersing them in the culture and language and making it easier for them to build their own lives if they win asylum. “It’s things like: why are the English always talking about the weather?” said David Preedy, a retired project manager. “It’s the kind of thing you don’t get going through the faceless, official scheme.” For Ahmad, the Syrian pharmacist, Ms Nash’s home was a refuge after a harrowing journey. He fled Aleppo in 2013 as the war intensified, paying a smuggler €1,050 to take him from Turkey to Greece. His nose was broken by bandits in Macedonia, where he was jailed. He also spent 10 months in the Calais “jungle” before making it to Britain. David Preedy, a retired project manager, has just had his first refugee to stay “When I stay in Dorking, I feel I am among my family,” he said in halting English. His asylum request was finally approved last week. But he appeared more focused on the news back home, repeatedly returning to a smartphone with images of bloodied corpses and rubble. Dorking has not been universally welcoming. When Ms Nash posted leaflets promoting her work around town they were torn down. Even the best-intentioned hosts admit they can become worn out. The Iranian family of Jehovah’s Witnesses that Mr Preedy and his wife took in ended up staying for nearly nine months. In addition to expenses for bus and train fares and food, Mr Preedy became drawn into the bureaucratic tangle of jobcentres, immigration law and the challenges of opening a bank account. “We saw them through the whole asylum process, which is mind-blowingly depressing,” he said. Still, he came away uplifted. “It’s given me a completely different perspective on people,” he said. Ms Nash also sounded transformed. “You really do connect and then it rips you apart when they leave,” she said. “But you know? It’s good sorrow, good sadness.” Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.
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  16. (CNN)The UK's fertility regulator has given the green light to a treatment that will make it possible for babies to be made from two women and a man. The new advancement in in vitro fertilization, developed by doctors in Newcastle, is intended to prevent children being born with certain fatal genetic diseases. The first child to be born in the UK through the new method could arrive by the end of 2017. The procedure will allow the donation of mitochondria, which provides energy for cells, to mothers with mutations within the DNA of their own mitochondria so they do not pass the mutations on to their child. What are mitochondria? Mitochondria are small structures found in our cells that generate the cellular energy used to power every part of our bodies. Mitochondria have their own DNA, which controls only mitochondrial function and energy production. This is separate from our "nuclear DNA," which makes us who we are and determines appearance and personality. (Source: Wellcome Trust) Replacing your mitochondria Mitochondrial diseases are genetic conditions; about one in 4,300 affected children are estimated to be born with these conditions every year. Mitochondria provide humans with energy and are present in almost every cell within the body. Known as "mitochondrial donation," the IVF technique involves replacing faulty mitochondria inherited from the mother with the healthy mitochondria of another woman. Most of a cell's genetic material, or DNA, is contained within the nucleus, but a very small amount (less than 1%) is found in the mitochondria. This mitochondrial DNA is inherited only from the mother through her eggs. If the mother's mitochondrial DNA is faulty, it is possible that she may pass on a number of rare but very serious mitochondrial diseases, including muscle weakness, diabetes, heart problems, epilepsy and stroke-like episodes. In serious cases, they can lead to death. About 1 in 6,500 children are thought to develop a serious mitochondrial disorder, according to Newcastle's Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, which has been a leading partner in the project. A historic decision "Today's historic decision means that parents at very high risk of having a child with a life-threatening mitochondrial disease may soon have the chance of a healthy, genetically related child," said Sally Cheshire, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority chairwoman. "This is life-changing for those families." An expert panel reviewed the development, safety and efficacy of these techniques over five years and four reports, she added, saying the authority feels that "now it is the right time to carefully introduce this new treatment in the limited circumstances recommended by the panel." Moving forward has been approved, but caution is still recommended. "Although it is tempting to rush ahead with new treatments, the UK approach of testing public opinion, putting the issue to Parliament and carefully monitoring laboratory research has proved to be the most responsible and sustainable of introducing new, cutting-edge treatments into the clinic," Cheshire said. "Such an approach has allowed us to balance innovation with safety, maintaining public trust as we go." In February 2015, UK lawmakers voted in favor of a law that would allow the pioneering technique using DNA from three people. The Newcastle team aims to offer treatment for up to 25 women a year affected by mitochondrial disease, but the treatment could be held back if they don't have enough healthy donated eggs. Playing catch-up The UK is probably not the first country in the world to have children born through the three-person technique. A Jordanian couple and doctors in New York claimed they performed the procedure in Mexico, with the child being born on April 6. The use of this reproductive technology was originally intended to prevent Leigh syndrome, a severe neurological condition that affects at least one in 40,000 newborns. The mother in this historic case previously had four pregnancy losses and had given birth to two children, one of whom survived less than a year and another who lived only six years, both due to this syndrome. For religious reasons, the mother wanted to use a technique that would not require the destruction of a fertilized egg. A team of doctors, led by Dr. John Zhang, founder of the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City, went to Mexico to perform the procedure, as it is not licensed in the US. But the UK may now see many babies being born through the method in the coming years. "Mitochondrial donation offers a real opportunity to cure a class of potentially devastating inherited conditions and will bring hope to hundreds of affected families in the UK," said Dr. Dagan Wells, associate professor at the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at the University of Oxford. "Research teams, such as those of Professors Herbert and Turnbull in Newcastle, have done sterling work to assess safety of methods for replacing defective mitochondria, and their research has provided much reassurance in that regard. "The HFEA's decision to allow clinics to apply for permission to perform mitochondrial donation finally opens the way to begin using this technology for the benefit of families that have faced much heartbreak and hardship as a result of carrying a mitochondrial disorder." "This marks a momentous and historic step, and we hope families next year will begin their journey to eradicate these genetic diseases," added Dr. Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society. "Clinics will now need to apply for a license, and the regulator will grant them, taking into account each application extremely carefully." CNN's Meera Senthilingam contributed to this report.
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  17. A two year-old boy with failing health can receive blood treatment despite the reluctance of his parents, the High Court has ruled. In An NHS Foundation Trust v T, the youngster, referred to as ‘Child T’, had an abnormally low blood platelet (cell) count which doctors believed was related to problems with his bone marrow. As a result he had fallen ill and regularly required hospital treatment. A haematologist (doctor specialising in blood disorders) concluded that T would require medical treatment for the foreseeable future “in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health”. But the likely use of “blood products” in this treatment had caused a dilemma for T’s parents because they were practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, a high profile Christian sect based in the United States which objects to blood transfusions and similar procedures on religious grounds. High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson described the parents as: “…fully committed to their son and to achieving the best outcome for him.” The clash between their religious beliefs and their desire to do their best for their son meant they could neither consent to the treatment nor oppose it, a position they explained in letters to the court. They asked for alternative forms of treatment to be considered. The NHS Trust looking after the boy applied for a legal declaration that treatment with blood products would be lawful despite the parents’ reluctance to consent. Mr Justice Peter Jackson concluded that: “I am in no doubt at all, having read the medical evidence and having considered the views of T’s parents, that it is overwhelmingly in T’s best interests for him to be able to receive this treatment in order for his health to be supported.” If the hospital were unable to administer the necessary treatment, there could be “very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on”, he explained. In the circumstances it was necessary, the Judge said, for the court to make this decision rather than the parents. The resulting legal order would, however, specify that blood products would only be used “if there is no clinically appropriate alternative.” Read the full judgement here. Image by Howard Lake via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence A two year-old boy with failing health can receive blood treatment despite the reluctance of his parents, the High Court has ruled. In An NHS Foundation Trust v T, the youngster, referred to as ‘Child T’, had an abnormally low blood platelet (cell) count which doctors believed was related to problems with his bone marrow. As a result he had fallen ill and regularly required hospital treatment. A haematologist (doctor specialising in blood disorders) concluded that T would require medical treatment for the foreseeable future “in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health”. But the likely use of “blood products” in this treatment had caused a dilemma for T’s parents because they were practicing Jehovah’s Witnesses, a high profile Christian sect based in the United States which objects to blood transfusions and similar procedures on religious grounds. High Court Judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson described the parents as: “…fully committed to their son and to achieving the best outcome for him.” The clash between their religious beliefs and their desire to do their best for their son meant they could neither consent to the treatment nor oppose it, a position they explained in letters to the court. They asked for alternative forms of treatment to be considered. The NHS Trust looking after the boy applied for a legal declaration that treatment with blood products would be lawful despite the parents’ reluctance to consent. Mr Justice Peter Jackson concluded that: “I am in no doubt at all, having read the medical evidence and having considered the views of T’s parents, that it is overwhelmingly in T’s best interests for him to be able to receive this treatment in order for his health to be supported.” If the hospital were unable to administer the necessary treatment, there could be “very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on”, he explained. In the circumstances it was necessary, the Judge said, for the court to make this decision rather than the parents. The resulting legal order would, however, specify that blood products would only be used “if there is no clinically appropriate alternative.”
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