Thursday 28th of August 2014

ecumenical royal tours...

queen and pope

The Queen has met Pope Francis for the first time during a one-day visit to Rome.

It is the Queen's first foreign trip since a visit to Australia in 2011.

She gave the pontiff gifts from the royal estates, including a dozen eggs and a bottle of whisky.

"I've also brought something from all our estates, which is for you personally," said the Queen, wearing a lavender dress and a purple hat, as she handed the Pope a wicker basket full of food.

The 18 items from Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral also included two types of honey, chutney, soap, and 'Coronation Best Bitter' beer.

A Vatican official said the Pope would likely share the food with other residents of the guest house where he has lived since his election, or would donate it.

The pontiff gave the Queen and Prince Philip an orb decorated with a silver cross to deliver to Prince George.

"He will be thrilled by it," the Queen told the Pope. Then she paused and added: "When he is a little older."

The heads of the Catholic and Anglican churches met privately for about 25 minutes, in what was seen as part of a long process aimed at improving relations between the religions.


the secret of longevity: a royal tipple with quinine...


A royal embarrassment was looming on Friday when the Queen's bottle of Dubonnet was nearly prevented from entering Lord's cricket ground.

Security staff, who restrict the admission of alcohol, eventually relented, so the Queen was able to enjoy one of her favourite drinks while watching England's bowlers gain the upper hand against Australia.
There had been a minor panic the day before when it was discovered that the only bottle in the cellar was out of condition, and a local off-licence apparently said that no-one had asked for the drink in 30 years.
A bottle was found at a supermarket, but the difficulty in obtaining one raises the question, who drinks it?
The Queen Mother famously enjoyed a Dubonnet and gin, a habit inherited by her daughter. A Daily Telegraph reporter who spent time following the Queen earlier this year said she likes one immediately before lunch every day.
Invented in 1846 by chemist Joseph Dubonnet, from Paris, Dubonnet is a blend of fortified wine, herbs, spices and quinine.

As the 1932 advertising used to say : Dubo, Dubon, Dubonnet...
dubonnet cassandre

Many alcoholic drinks were laced with quinine in order to keep malaria at bay in the tropics... Remember the "gin and tonic" — tonic being a soda laced with quinine... The effective ingredient of course being the gin...
See mischief at top...


deadly and incapacitating...

The most deadly creature on earth

You were going to say humans, right? All those guns, bombs, chemicals and God-knows-what-else we use to kill each other.
Okay, we’re second, at 475,000 deaths annually. But it’s a distant second to the lowly mosquito, which, according to Bill Gates, kills 725,000 people a year; 600,000 of them by transmitting malaria. Another 200 million people are incapacitated annually by the disease.
Gates is devoting his blog to mosquitoes this week, hoping to create a Mosquito Week to compete with the Discovery Channel’s well-known Shark Week (the star of “Jaws” kills about 10 people each year), as he and his foundation continue their efforts to wipe out mosquito-borne illnesses.


In terms of speedy inducement of death, the Chironex fleckeri is possibly the most deadly animal on earth... If it does not kill more people annually it is due to people knowing when not to swim in waters where the jellyfish could be. But in terms of the number of death, the humble mossie is not a killer. There are many species of annoying mozzies, but only a few species of (Anopheles) mosquito females can carry the organisms that induce malaria.

Having been a malaria sufferer in my days in Africa, I know how this disease can be devastating (and near deadly for me) —  deadly for one of my mates. Malaria is not induced by a microbe or a virus... It's a complex single cell organism, a protozoa, that after finding a host, multiplies at a rapid rate. In human, once in the blood stream from mosquito "bite" (mozzies don't bite ‚ they prick and suck), the malaria protozoa enter the red blood cells and quickly multiply within.

In an amazing seemingly co-ordinated development, the protozoa having multiplied within the red blood cell, need to find more food supply. Within a few seconds, all the infected red blood cells "explode" and the multiplied protozoa reach for new red blood cells. The process repeats, weakening the patient blood supply at a rapid rate... Thus, a patient with malaria experience bouts of great fever regularly (42+ C — 107.6+ F) bringing on shaking and uncontrollable muscle spasms, until death — or until cured. There are several types of malaria. The most deadly being the cerebral malaria that infects the brain. The brain in general is a defenceless organ, apart from the blood stream that flows within. Since the blood stream is infected, the brain cannot cope with the invasion. Death can be fast — within 24 hours of infection.

Quinine and other related drugs like novoquine  can mask this deadly strain of the disease.

Finding a cure for stopping the invasion from the protozoa is a priority... In the late fifties and early sixties, the chemical DDT was used against mosquitoes quite effectively, though DDT also proved to be a long term danger to many more humans...

There has been some programs to minimise the mosquitoes breeding areas, such as draining swamps, but, we know that a few mozzies can breed in water caught between leaf and stem of ordinary house plants. The process of eliminating the malaria mosquito is a long battle...

One cannot vaccinate against malaria. The infection is not microbial. Quinine absorbed in the food/blood system was very effective for many years, but strains of the protozoa have become resistant. Quinine also has side-effects, including reducing hearing. From what I remember, quinine does not kill the protozoa, but it inhibits its ability to reproduce and eventually, unless one is "bitten" by a mozzie again, one can become free of the disease.

Should one find a medical or a mechanical solution to this problem, one would become a hero... I have no idea on this subject. Quinine is an extract from a particular plant and I believe it has since be synthesised... The synthesis of quinine may have brought some of the problems of resistance to quinine. I know that the synthesis of some "natural" substances are never the same as the original and they can induce allergies that do not exist when patient use natural products.

Like many other effective treatments of diseases, one would have to attack the cause, the transfer of and the infection from malaria simultaneously. Hopefully, the solution is available around us. All we have to do is to keep searching and find it... First find some mosquito repellent/killer, reduce mosquito breeding then find an effective replacement for quinine.

It may not be possible to eliminate malaria entirely, but I believe we can substantially reduce the number of deaths from it. In looking for "solutions" we have to also be aware that what may work, won't be effective after a while. Myxomatosis being a case in point. A disease specially devised to kill rabbits in Australia, a few rabbits became resistant to this patogen and now rabbits have bred again to record numbers.

One of the un-stated problem of malaria is that often, one can also be infected with other diseases which can fester, in the hot weather of the wet season of the tropics. This can complicate treatment and obscure malaria symptoms. As well, the liver being the normal undertaker and recycler of dead red blood cell, the number of dead cells brought on by malaria, overwhelm this organ. Liver failure was often the cause of death from malaria when I was in Africa, (Liver problems were not due to the amount of rum we drank).

My hat to Mr Gates for doing something about it. Actually, I would not be surprise if a large dose of quinine in a single shot could help sufferers temporarily... In the past, I have used powerful insecticides, kerosene and other poisons into water supplies but it made little difference to the mosquito larvae... but could have killed a small army... Small fish may be far more effective and less dangerous.

I believe the queen of England drinks Dubonnet which is laced with quinine, thus as far as we know she has not caught malaria on her trips around the globe...

All this was written from fading old memory. Please check for factual errors.

Gus leonisky

Your local mozzie expert.

about 2% of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles

Pope Francis has been quoted as saying that reliable data indicates that "about 2%" of clergy in the Catholic Church are paedophiles.

The Pope said that abuse of children was like "leprosy" infecting the Church, according to the Italian La Repubblica newspaper.

He vowed to "confront it with the severity it demands".

But a Vatican spokesman said the quotes in the newspaper did not correspond to Pope Francis's exact words.

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says there is often a studied ambiguity in Pope Francis' off-the-cuff statements.

He wants to show a more compassionate attitude towards Church teaching than his predecessors, but this can sometimes cause consternation among his media advisers, our correspondent adds.