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Over-90s admitted to English hospitals after cocaine use rises 10-fold in little over a decade



Over-90s admitted to English hospitals after cocaine use

The number of English pensioners aged over 90 admitted to hospital after suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders following cocaine use has rocketed over the past decade, figures published by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) revealed last week.

Data made public by NHS Digital showed that while only one person aged over 90 was admitted to hospital after suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders following cocaine use in 2007/08, that figure had risen ten-fold last year.

Overall, the total number of people of all age groups hospitalised after suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders following cocaine use hit 15,423 in England last year, which was up from 5,148 in 2007/08.

In 2007/08, 19 people aged between 60 and 69 were admitted to English hospitals after consuming cocaine, a number that rose to 314 last year.

Experts said the rising number of older people being treated in hospital after using cocaine was the result of existing users living longer and falling prices.

Discussing the increase with the Sunday Times, Dr Emily Finch of the addictions faculty at the Royal College of Psychiatrists said: “Many people don’t realise that cocaine use can cause mental health problems, resulting in people becoming so unwell they need to be admitted to hospital.”

Back in 2017, a report from the UK’s Office for National Statistics revealed that the so-called “Trainspotting generation” in their 40s had become the age group most at risk of drug overdose deaths.

The report found that for the first time ever in England and Wales, drug users aged between 40 and 49 had the highest incidence of deaths in which illegal substances played a role, overtaking those in their 30s.

ONS researchers put the emerging trend down to the fact that many addicts in that age group were beginning to lose their battles with substance abuse due to poor physical and mental health.

Separately, the Independent reports that NHS hospitals are being forced to install additional CCTV cameras in order to prevent the widespread and open dealing of drugs on hospital wards.

The news website quotes doctors and nurses as saying that patients are able to order drugs from their beds as though they were calling out for pizza and have their substances of choice delivered to the door of the ward they are on.

One nurse told the Independent that a major hospital had been forced to keep rival drugs gangs apart to prevent the breakout of violence on wards.

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Japan hands Lebanese government Interpol wanted notice for fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn



fugitive ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn

Authorities in Japan have issued an Interpol international Red Notice for former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn.

Ghosn jumped bail and fled Japan to travel to Lebanon between Christmas and new year.

In a dramatic and ultimately successful bid to avoid standing trial over financial misconduct charges, Ghosn is said to have escaped Japan while hiding in a musical instrument case that was taken out of his Tokyo home, where he had been under house arrest awaiting trial.

He was then flown to Lebanon on a private plane.

After arriving, Ghosn issued a defiant statement condemning the Japanese justice system, complaining that he had no chance of receiving a fair hearing there.

“I am now in Lebanon and will no longer be held hostage by a rigged Japanese justice system where guilt is presumed, discrimination is rampant, and basic human rights are denied, in flagrant disregard of Japan’s legal obligations under international law and treaties it is bound to uphold,” he said.

Albert Serhan, Lebanon’s justice minister, said on Thursday he had received the Interpol notice, and that the country’s government would carry out its duties, implying that the ex-car industry executive could be brought in for questioning.

The Lebanese government has already said that Ghosn entered the country legally using a French passport and Lebanese identification papers, making it highly unlikely that he will be handed over to Japanese authorities, particularly as the two nations do not have an extradition treaty.

Ghosn, who has Lebanese ancestry through his grandfather and spent much of his youth in the country, is much celebrated as one of the nation’s major success stories, and has even appeared on stamps there.

Gulf News reported today that Ghosn could even be offered a ministerial position in Lebanon’s government, in spite of the fact that authorities in the country have been facing widespread anti-corruption protests since October last year.

Fadi Walid Akoum, a Lebanese analyst, told Gulf News: “He is seriously being considered for the Ministry of Industry.

“Given that he faces accusations of corruption, then he will be automatically rejected by the Lebanese street, which revolted against corruption last October.”

As well as anti-corruption demonstrations, Lebanon is also facing an economic crisis that has seen the value of the Lebanese pound plummet and banks put limits on cash withdrawals.

Prosecutors in Japan accuse Ghosn of transferring Nissan funds for his personal use and to cover potential trading losses and misreporting his wages.

He has strenuously denied all the allegations made against him.

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European Patent Office agrees to help African counterpart improve assessment of patents



European Patent Office agrees to help African counterpart

The European Patent Office (EPO) has agreed to help the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) build capacity to examine patent applications validated in its member states.

On Monday, EPO President António Campinos and ARIPO Director General Fernando dos Santos signed a memorandum of understanding in Zimbabwe.

Under the agreement, which will be valid for the next five years, the EPO will provide ARIPO with access to resources, tools and training that will allow the latter organisation to more effectively uphold national patent filings for the countries it serves.

In a statement, Campinos said: “I am very pleased to conclude a reinforced partnership with ARIPO, the first regional organisation to sign this advanced co-operation agreement with the EPO.

“It demonstrates the strong commitment of our organisations to enhancing co-operation in order to support innovation and economic development in both our regions.

“Africa is an increasingly dynamic part of the global economy with strong growth potential. It stands to benefit from greater awareness of intellectual property, and improved access to the patent system.”

Santos said the signing of the agreement comes at a time when his organisation has been forging new partnerships and launching several fresh initiatives aimed at ensuring that its builds an effective patent examination system.

The Harare-based ARIPO is an inter-governmental agency that serves 19 countries across Africa that are home to approximately 350 million people.

At present, member nations include Botswana, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Thanks to agreements with global partners such as ARIPO, the EPO’s work products now cover markets of some 1.9 billion people, the agency said in a statement.

During his visit to Zimbabwe, Campinos also met with Rory Voller, the Commissioner of the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission of South Africa.

Voller and Campinos discussed a reinforced partnership agreed between their respective organisations in June of last year, and signed a new biennial work plan for 2020-21.

This partnership is expected to benefit both EPO applicants and South African inventors by providing improved conditions for companies filing patents in both regions.

Last month, the EPO signed a reinforced partnership agreement with Intellectual Property of Indonesia, which was the second intellectual property office in Southeast Asia to enter into such a deal with its European counterpart.

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Interpol coordinates second worldwide operation targeting severe criminal maritime pollution



criminal maritime pollution

Interpol and Europol have led a major global crackdown on the perpetrators of serious marine pollution crime.

The month-long operation, which was codenamed 30 Days at Sea 2.0 and involved law enforcement agencies from 61 countries, identified hundreds of violations and exposed serious cases of contamination worldwide, including the illegal discharge of harmful material and waste at sea, in rivers and around coastal areas.

Interpol said the majority of the offences uncovered as part of the operation were found to have been carried out primarily in order to avoid the cost of compliance with environmental legislation.

Across October, the 200 enforcement agencies that took part in the effort identified over 3,000 offences during 17,000 inspections.

In Europe, the operation was coordinated by Europol and Frontex, the European border security agency.

In a statement, Europol Executive Director Catherine De Bolle commented: “With incidents of maritime pollution increasing significantly over the last decade, and as Europol considers maritime pollution to be a priority environmental crime area, we are proud to coordinate this operation within the EU Member States in active cooperation with our colleagues from Interpol and Frontex.

“The nature of maritime pollution requires a coordinated and multi-agency approach on a global scale : the impressive results of the second edition of ‘Operation 30 Days at Sea’ illustrate once more what can be achieved when law enforcement agencies work together with the support of the EU and global organisations.”

As part of the operation, Interpol hosted an Operational Command Centre (OCC) in Singapore to focus on the illegal trade in plastic waste, which it has identified as a key threat to marine environment security.

Operation 30 Days at Sea 2.0 saw Interpol’s National Central Bureau in the Nigerian capital of Abuja help 18 local law enforcement authorities carry out investigations into illegal oil refineries, and find offenders responsible for severe oil leaks polluting the country’s waterways.

Elsewhere, intelligence shared between Malaysia and Holland resulted in investigators being able to identify the source country of seven containers of plastic waste being illegally shipped into Malaysia from Belgium via Hong Kong, and to initiate their repatriation.

The operation also saw Ecuador launch a plastic waste collection campaign in the World Heritage site of the Galapagos Islands, and authorities in Indonesia conduct a public awareness campaign on marine pollution.

Last year’s iteration of 30 Days at Sea resulted in over 5,200 inspections, which led to the establishment of at least 185 investigations.

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