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Vietnam jails Canadian for sexually abusing homeless boys

Hanoi: Vietnam has jailed a Canadian teacher for four years for sexually abusing underage homeless boys he met on Hanoi's streets, a court official said on Thursday, in a rare prosecution for the offence.

Vadim Scott Benderman, 46, who taught English at a foreign language centre and played music in bars in Hanoi, was found guilty at a trial in the capital Hanoi on Wednesday.

"He was charged for having sex with four local homeless teenaged boys he met in the centre of Hanoi between late 2014 and his arrest in the middle of last year," the clerk said.

According to local media reports, Benderman met the boys in central Hanoi before luring them to his apartment and paying them around $13 for sex.

The indictment said his "behaviour infringed upon the teenagers' physical and psychological development," according to a report on the VNExpress news site.

It also "badly influenced (Vietnam's) customs and causing social disorder," the report added.

Benderman will be deported after completing his four-year jail term, the clerk added.

The Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, which works with at-risk youth, said it was "relieved" Benderman was behind bars but would have liked a longer sentence.

In a statement posted on its website the foundation lauded Vietnamese authorities for managing to "catch and imprison this paedophile who has been abusing children".

Prosecutions for child sex abuse are more common in countries neighbouring Vietnam, although former British glam rocker Gary Glitter spent three years in Vietnamese prison after a high-profile conviction for sex crimes in 2006.

Glitter, 64, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was arrested in Vietnam in late 2005 and convicted of committing obscene acts with two girls then aged 11 and 12 in the southern resort town of Vung Tau.

He was deported upon his release in 2008. Glitter, who paid compensation to the families of both victims, evaded the more serious charge of child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad in Vietnam.

Vadim Scott Benderman, 46, who taught English at a foreign language centre and played music in bars in Hanoi, was found guilty at a trial in the capital Hanoi on Wednesday.

"He was charged for having sex with four local homeless teenaged boys he met in the centre of Hanoi between late 2014 and his arrest in the middle of last year," the clerk said.

According to local media reports, Benderman met the boys in central Hanoi before luring them to his apartment and paying them around $13 for sex.

The indictment said his "behaviour infringed upon the teenagers' physical and psychological development," according to a report on the VNExpress news site.

It also "badly influenced (Vietnam's) customs and causing social disorder," the report added.

Benderman will be deported after completing his four-year jail term, the clerk added.

The Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, which works with at-risk youth, said it was "relieved" Benderman was behind bars but would have liked a longer sentence.

In a statement posted on its website the foundation lauded Vietnamese authorities for managing to "catch and imprison this paedophile who has been abusing children".

Prosecutions for child sex abuse are more common in countries neighbouring Vietnam, although former British glam rocker Gary Glitter spent three years in Vietnamese prison after a high-profile conviction for sex crimes in 2006.

Glitter, 64, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was arrested in Vietnam in late 2005 and convicted of committing obscene acts with two girls then aged 11 and 12 in the southern resort town of Vung Tau.

He was deported upon his release in 2008.

Glitter, who paid compensation to the families of both victims, evaded the more serious charge of child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad in Vietnam.

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Herbal combo may provide novel 'cure' for breast cancer

Bioactive flavonoids isolated successfully from Touch Me Not (Mimosa pudica), Aloe vera and stonebreaker (Phyllanthus niruri) may provide the much sought after cure for breast cancer. India researchers from Kannur University, Kerala, India, in a study published in the International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences found that flavonoids isolated from Aloe vera, Mimosa pudica and Phyllanthus niruri showed cytotoxicity activity against human breast carcinoma cell line (MCF-7) and the inhibitory concentration at 50 per cent growth (IC50) was found to be, Mimosa pudica, Aloe vera and Phyllanthus niruri.

The study is titled "A comparative evaluation of anticancer activities of flavonoids isolated from Mimosa pudica, Aloe vera and Phyllanthus niruri against human breast carcinoma cell line (MCF-7) using MTT assay."The researchers concluded: "The results indicated the cytotoxicity activity of all the three flavonoids isolated.

Therefore, they can be effectively employed in anticancer treatment. Cytotoxic study suggested that flavonoid from Mimosa pudica has the maximum cytotoxic effect than flavonoid from Aloe vera and Phyllanthus niruri against MCF-7, Human breast cancer cell line (Mimosa pudica >Aloe vera> Phyllanthus niruri).

So the findings of this study could be considered as valuable information for the use of medicinal natural products in cancer treatment. Molecular level studies and investigations to characterize and elucidate the structure of the active principle behind the activity are under progress."

Commonly called stonebreaker, Phyllanthus niruri also known as 'Chanca piedra' belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae. Phyllanthus niruri is similar to Phyllanthus amarus, which also belongs to the same family. It is a widespread tropical plant commonly found in coastal areas that grows 40 to 70 centimetre tall.

In Nigeria, it is called enyikwonwa and ngwu in the Ibo, oyomokeso amanke edem in Efik, geeron-tsuntsaayee (bird's millet) in Hausa, ehin olobe and yin-olobe in Yoruba. Whole plants have been used in traditional medicine for treatment of jaundice, asthma, hepatitis and malaria. It has a potent free radical scavenging activity and could scavenge superoxides, hydroxyl radicals and can inhibit lipid peroxides.

Mimosa pudica is a small or middle sizes tree about 1.5 metre in height with leaves are very sensitive, both pinnae and leaflets folding when touched. It belongs to Fabaceae family. It is reported to contain alkaloid, glycoside, flavonoids and tannins.

All parts of the plant are considered to possess medicinal properties. The plant has anti-microbial, anti-convulsant, hyperglycemic, anti-oxidant, anti-venom, diuretic, anti-cancer, antidiabetic, anti-fertility and anti-histamic activities. It is a creeping annual or perennial herb often grown for its curiosity values; as the compound leaves fold inward and droop when touched and reopens within minutes later.

The species is a native to South America and Central America, but is now a pan tropical weed. The other names for the plant are: humble plant, shame plant, touch me not. This plant has history for use for the treatment of various ailments and the most commonly used plant part is the root, but leaves, flowers, fruit and bark can also be utilized and also about the antimicrobial activity of the plan. Mimosa pudica weed, known in Nsukka as Kpakorukwu and in Udi as Kpakochuku was recently discovered to have solar properties suitable for the production of solar cells.

This was disclosed by Pharm Nwaoga, Justus Amandianaze, Chief Technologist in the department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, University of Nigeria Nsukka. Aloe barbadensis miller (Aloe vera), a member of the Liliaceae family, is a perennial succulent with turgid lace-shaped green leaves, and is referred to as the silent healer.

Aloe vera extracts have been reported to have many biological activities such as hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, antifungal, anticancer, antioxidant and immuno-protective properties. Aloe vera plant has been known and used for centuries for its health, beauty, medicinal and skin care properties.

The name Aloe vera derives from the Arabic word "Alloeh" meaning "shining bitter substance," while "vera" in Latin means "true." 2000 years ago, the Greek scientists regarded Aloe vera as the universal panacea. The Egyptians called Aloe "the plant of immortality."

Today, the Aloe vera plant has been used for various purposes in dermatology. Indeed cancer is the major public health problem, causing approximately seven million deaths every year worldwide.

According to the researchers, more than 80 per cent of cancer deaths are due to carcinomas such as lung, breast, prostate, colorectal, and pancreas cancers, which are currently the most lethal cancers. Lung cancer and colorectal cancers are responsible for the first and third most cancer related deaths in men and women.

Breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men rank second. Several studies have shown that cancer is largely environmentally determined, being diet a major variable. Dietary patterns, foods, nutrients and other dietary constituents are closely associated with the risk for several types of cancer, and in this regard, it has been estimated that 35 per cent of cancer deaths may be related to dietary factors. Recently, dietary polyphenols have received much attention for their anticancer properties.

Many studies in different cell lines, animal models and human epidemiological trials suggest a protective role of dietary polyphenols against different types of cancers. Flavonoids are a group of more than 4,000 polyphenolic compounds that occur naturally in foods of plant origin and are categorized, according to chemical structure, into flavonols, flavones, flavanones, isoflavones, catechins, anthocyanidins and chalcones.

The flavonoids have aroused considerable interest recently because of their potential beneficial effects on human health. They have been reported to have antiviral, anti-allergic, antiplatelet, anti- inflammatory, antitumor, antioxidant, antithrombotic, hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic activities.

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Suicide bombers kill 22 in Borno

Two suspected suicide bombers, a male and a female, attacked a mosque in Molai-Umarari, about five kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, in the early hours of yesterday, killing 22 worshippers.

The Imam of the mosque, who was in the front, however, survived the twin blasts and is now receiving treatment in an hospital.

In his reaction to the incident, President Muhammadu Buhari said despite the horrendous attack on the early morning worshippers and with the current renewed determination of the Nigerian security agencies, coupled with the regional and international attention, the end of Boko Haram insurgency was on sight.

In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina yesterday, the President commiserated with families of the victims. He said "the condemnable and reprehensible" attack on a place of worship by perpetrators who pretended to be worshippers, has once again exposed them as mere criminals who have no place among civilized people.

The President who commended the security agencies and care givers for their prompt deployment to the area and reaffirmed that those who perpetrate, finance, organise and sponsor these reprehensible acts of terrorism will not escape punishment. He implored Nigerians to continue to remain vigilant and cooperate with the relevant government agencies to defeat the enemy.

Military sources and residents said about two dozens of worshippers were killed while praying."A male and a female suicide bombers suspected to be Boko Haram members joined the worshippers in the early hours of Wednesday prayers at Molai-Umarari mosque, and later detonated their improvised explosive devices while the worshippers were praying," a source said.

A top military source and rescue official in Maiduguri, also from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), told The Guardian that 22 bodies had already been evacuated from the blast scene and taken to an hospital morgue.

Governor Kashim Shettima has visited and condole with the villagers, praising them for exhibiting gallantry by not fleeing their community because of the attacks.

He assured the villagers that the mosque would be secured by building a perimeter fence with a locking system to prevent any future attacks from terrorists.

The village head, Modu Ba Mallum attributed yesterday's mosque attack to the replacement of military commander last week and lack of patrol vehicles to the 70 vigilante youths assigned to patrol the village for 24 hours.

Confirming the incident, the Nigerian Army said the twin attack, which went off within a few minutes interval, was targeted at a crowd of worshippers in a mosque located in the area.

In a statement confirming the attack, the acting Director Army Public Relations (DAPR), Colonel Sani Usman said "22 people were killed and 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries when the first attack targeted (at) a mosque (occurred), while the second blast went off about 50 metres away, a few minutes later".

While promising that the military will not rest on its oars to bring the perpetrators and masterminds of these crimes to justice, Usman said the troops, security agents and care givers have been mobilized to the scene, as the wounded have been evacuated to an hospital for medical attention. He said soldiers and other security operatives, in collaboration with the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), have secure the area and are combing the environment for possible clues.

Also yesterday, the Army confirmed that it has recovered its Armoured Personnel Carrier earlier captured by Boko Haram, when they (insurgents) launched an attack at Buni Yadi, Yobe state last year.

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