Marapara Rotary Mission in Bata

Bacolod lone district Congressman Tony “Doc” Golez  was among ten volunteer doctors along with dentists, Rotoractors and nurses to give a helping hand on Sunday to residents of Brgy. Bata in Bacolod City with another popular medical mission organized by the Rotary Club of Bacolod Marapara.

Bacolod lone district Congressman Tony "Doc" Golez examines a young boy from Brgy. Bata

Bacolod lone district Congressman Tony “Doc” Golez examines a young boy from Brgy. Bata

The mission was led by club members Dr. Renier Gerochi, an orthopedic surgeon, and dentist Dr. Selwyn Lloyd Baloyo. It was held at

Club member Dr. Selwyn Lloyd Baloyo in action on Sunday.

Club member Dr. Selwyn Lloyd Baloyo in action on Sunday.

the Antonio Chan Memorial Technical Center in Bata.

Some 200 barangay members and their children availed themselves of adult and pedia medical checks, dental work, circumcisions, ECG and random blood sugar tests . The mission was held primarily for the benefit of Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club caddies and their families plus others in the barangay.

Said Barangay Kagawad Flor Abaring, who is also chair of the local health committee: “These medical missions are really important for our residents, especially as our budget is simply not sufficient to cover everyone. We really appreciate the work of the Marapara Rotary Club.”

Speaking at the mission, Rotary club president Mike Bantug said: “We were pleased to once again have the opportunity to be of service to the less fortunate in our society, especially those who may not be able to see a doctor or to buy medicines.

“We are most grateful for the strong support and dedication shown by the doctors, dentists, nurses and other volunteers who gave up

Dr. Maribeth Lee looking after a patient on Sunday at the Bata medical mission

Dr. Maribeth Lee looking after a patient on Sunday at the Bata medical mission

their Sunday to be of service to the people of Bata.

The club also presented Barangay officials with a nebulizer to treat asthmatics plus medicines for local residents. Congressman Golez also donated medicines.

Apart from medical missions, the club undertakes many other community activities each year.  It’s main fund-raising event is the annual ‘Rotary-Golf for a Cause’ tournament held at the Negros Occidental Golf and Country Club in Bata, Bacolod. This year’s event will be staged on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28.

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India Cracks Down on Eunuchs

Indian Eunuchs at a festival in New Delhi

Indian Eunuchs at a festival in New Delhi

In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine that eunuchs still exist. But they do. It’s estimated there are some 700,000 in India alone.

They usually make a living begging and entertaining guests at family gatherings.

“Traditionally, eunuchs in  India are believed to be lucky and graced by the gods because they are neither male nor female. So when they dance and sing at a wedding or a birth, many blessings may indeed come the family’s away,” said retired Indian army officer Colonel Mohan Chandra Papnai.

“But nowadays there are many gangs of eunuchs, who are really nothing more than scary thugs. They turn up on festive occasions, they intimidate people, make exorbitant demands for money and even break into people’s homes to demand payment,” added Col. Papnai, who has launched a helpline in Lucknow, the Uttar Pradesh state capital, where extortion by eunuchs is rampant.

The helpline is managed by a group of senior citizens and retired soldiers, who are offering a round- the-clock service to help anyone facing harassment from eunuchs.

Col. Papnai stressed that until now distressed  citizens could not summon help quickly, and by the time reinforcements arrived, the eunuchs had fled.

Indian Eunuchs ready to entertain guests at a festival

Indian Eunuchs ready to entertain guests at a festival

“But now, thanks to our helpline, manned by effective clusters of volunteers located throughout the city, we will deal once and for all with this damn eunuch menace.”

We have already started generating awareness among people by personal interaction and distributing pamphlets. Today, we are getting more than 15 cases a day. It is a good beginning”, he added.

Lucknow is not alone in having problems with Eunuchs.

The director general of the railway police recently issued a circular to officials asking them to curb the illegal practices of eunuchs.

Said one railway official “Eunuchs usually operate in groups of two or three. They board trains and demand money from passengers. Those who confront them have to face their wrath. Eunuchs even strip themselves in public to embarrass the passengers. Thus people usually give money to avoid such problems,” said a railway official.

He added that eunuchs also often steal bags of passengers.

Hoomen Rajkhowa, a student who regularly uses trains, said eunuchs mostly target the young male passengers as they can be easily enticed and humiliated.

“If someone refuses to budge, he is treated with sexually abusive words and sometimes physical intimidation like touching the genitalia of the protagonist,” he added.

But eunuch groups deny they are responsible. Speaking on behalf of the Uttar Pradesh Eunuch’s Association, a spokesman said, “some people are out to defame our community by engaging in forcible collection.

“True eunuchs are happy to receive whatever they are given without making any demands. These extortions are committed by imposters – lumpen elements who are merely pretending to be eunuchs.”

But one eunuch admitted, on condition of anonymity, that they do indeed harass people to make a living.

“This is the only feasible way for the third sex to sustain livelihood. The only other means of livelihood available to us is prostitution for males who have a fancy for transsexuals,” she said.

Reviled English King’s Skeleton Found

We’ve just started to plan our 2013 holiday. Once again its back home to dear old England.

After we’ve seen family and friends, we’ll pick up a hire car from Hertz and, with the aid of one of their magical ‘Never Lost’ satellite navigation systems, we’ll be heading to the English Midlands to visit the city of Leicester.

Richar 111

Richar 111

Ordinarily Leicester would not be on our schedule, but this year is different. It was recently confirmed that a skeleton discovered under a city parking lot are the remains of the controversial King Richard 111, the last Plantagenet King of England, who was savagely killed in battle more than 500 years ago.

The discovery has caused great interest and excitement in England.

Born in 1452, Richard 111 was still a child when his elder brother Edward IV became king. He helped his brother in battle and led the war against Scotland in 1480.

After Edward’s untimely death in April 1483, Richard’s future was put in doubt as Edward’s sons were still alive. He is alleged to have murdered the sons and in a series of palace coups he secured power. He was crowned on July 6, 1483.

Months later the southern counties raised a rebellion in the name of Henry Tudor – later to become Henry V11. Richard reigned for another two years in a climate of an ever-growing crisis. Richard and his royal army left Leicester in August 1485 and met Henry’s troops on at Bosworth Field where he was killed on August 22.

Richard 111 and his resting place for 500 years

Richard 111 and his resting place for 500 years

Following his defeat and death, the victorious Tudors began rewriting history to destroy Richard’s reputation.

The skull of Richard 111

The skull of Richard 111

Using old maps, archaeologists traced the location of the medieval Church of the Grey Friars where Richard was said to have been buried. That site is now a city parking lot.

When the skeleton was found archaeologists were sure it was Richard especially as the skeleton’s spine was severely twisted. All contemporary accounts spoke of the king being deformed.

After DNA testing involving a living descendant in Canada, it was confirmed that the remains were indeed those of the notorious king.

Archaeologists were sure it was Richard especially as the skeleton's spine was twisted

Archaeologists were sure it was Richard especially as the skeleton’s spine was twisted

Investigators revealed the skeleton bore the marks which show Richard met a violent death. They found evidence of ten wounds inflicted shortly before his death plus evidence of  �umiliation�injuries to his corpse, including several head wounds with part of the skull sliced away. There was also a cut to the rib cage and a pelvic wound likely caused by a sword through the right buttock.

The current plan is for interment of his remains in Leicester Cathedral. But Richard III enthusiasts are calling for the remains to be buried in York. Some are even campaigning for London’s Westminster Abbey or Windsor Castle, where other monarchs are interred.

Magic Wands – Still Seen in Manila

He might be a conman, but the man’s jaw-dropping chutzpah takes a lot of beating.

Jim McCormick

Jim McCormick

James McCormick, 56, is on trial for fraud at Britain’s Old Bailey Court in London for selling useless ‘magic wand’ bomb detection devices for up to $40,000 (Php1.6m) each.

McCormick allegedly raked in some $75 million (Php3 billion) by selling these dubious devices to security forces in war zones around the world.

His company, ATSC, claimed they could detect not only explosives but drugs, ivory, diamonds and cash.

Brochures featuring men in military uniforms promised detection of substances in planes, underwater, underground and through walls. The company claimed the devices were able to bypass ‘all known forms of concealment’ and be able to detect at distances.

But the prosecution at the Old Bailey said the devices didn’t work and McCormick knew full well they didn’t work.

McCormick hit on the idea for his bomb detector after buying a $20 novelty machine in the US for finding golf balls.

Golf ball finder or bomb detector?

Golf ball finder or bomb detector?

They were advertised as a ‘great novelty item’ which used the customer’s body to ‘energize its actions’. McCormick bought 300 of these devices from the US and based his detector on them. In fact, his first model was so similar, it appeared to be the novelty golf ball finder, but simply re-badged and sold as ADE (advanced detection equipment) . A more sophisticated model was developed later.

The devices consist of a plastic handle and a retractable antenna ‘like a wand’. The handle is connected via a wire to a pouch. In the pouch is a card that is said to encode information about the substance to be detected. McCormick claimed the device was powered by static electricity emanating from the user.

One expert said the wand was nothing  more than a dowsing rod – a supernatural practice believed to reveal the location of water and minerals that has been around for hundreds of years.

McCormick, who pleaded not guilty to fraud, is reported as saying, “We have been dealing with doubters for ten years. One of the problems we have is the machines do look a little primitive.”

A 'magic wand' bomb detector

A ‘magic wand’ bomb detector

In one test, a guard and a driver from a US newspaper drove through nine police checkpoints where guards were using the device. None of them detected the two AK-47 rifles and ammunition inside the vehicle.

On a recent trip to Manila I spotted one of these devices in the hands of a security officer at the entrance to an office bock in Makati. I asked if I could try it out. The ‘wand’ changed direction depending on the angle I was holding the device.

At one stage, it pointed directly at an elderly street sweeper; hardly a serious contender for blowing up the capital.

I concluded the doubters were probably correct.

The trial continues.