UK Ex-Headmaster Jailed In Singapore Over Drug Case

Vice Principal Gets Life Imprisonment For Raping 12-Year-Old In Ekiti
File Photo


A British former headmaster of an international school in China has been jailed for 10 months in Singapore after admitting possession and consumption of methamphetamine, officials said Tuesday.

Damien Michael Charnock used to be the head of Dulwich College Shanghai, a branch of the exclusive London private school.

Police arrested the 60-year-old in March at an apartment in the city-state and discovered bags containing the drug and a glass contraption for smoking it, according to court documents.

The case has echoes of hit American TV show “Breaking Bad”, which tells the story of a chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with cancer and turns to making meth to raise money to secure his family’s future.

Charnock pleaded guilty to three drug charges, and the attorney-general’s chambers confirmed he was jailed on Friday.

His offences represented “a precipitous fall from grace”, defence lawyer Remy Choo was cited as saying by Singapore news outlet CNA.

“His life’s work as a talented and immensely devoted educator lies in tatters.”

He had been smoking crystal meth since 2017 and was employed as a curriculum developer at the time of the offences, the court documents said, without mentioning who his employer was.

Singapore — which has tough anti-narcotics laws — punishes consumption of methamphetamine with a jail term of up to 10 years, and a fine of up to Sg$20,000 ($14,700).

In an interview in 2015, Charnock said he was appointed to work at the Shanghai institution in 2014 after years as a headmaster at a school in London.

Dulwich College, founded in the 17th century, now has several branches in Asia, including in Singapore.

‘Game Changer’ Tuberculosis Drug Cures 9 In 10

Expert Advocates More Measures To Curb Tuberculosis


A new treatment for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis can cure more than 90 per cent of sufferers, according to a trial hailed Monday as a “game changer” in the fight against the global killer.

Doctors in Belarus — a country with one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world — spent months treating patients with a new drug, bedaquiline, alongside other antibiotics.

The results, seen exclusively by AFP, were startling: Of the 181 patients given the new drug, 168 were totally cured.

The World Health Organization says currently only 55 per cent of people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are successfully treated.

The Belarus trial success rate – 93 per cent – was largely replicated in bedaquiline trials in other countries in eastern Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia, according to abstracts seen by AFP, due to be unveiled at a major tuberculosis conference later this week.

“The results from this study confirm… that newer drugs like bedaquiline can cure and are game changers for people living with multidrug-resistant and extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis,” Paula Fujiwara, scientific director of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease who was not involved in the research, told AFP.

Lead researcher Alena Skrahina, from the Republican Research and Practical Centre for Pulmonology and TB in Minsk, called the bedaquiline results “promising”.

“Generally, our study confirms the effectiveness of bedaquiline in previous clinical trials, and does not confirm the concerns about safety problems,” she told AFP.

Tuberculosis killed at least 1.7 million people in 2017, according to the WHO, making the airborne infection the world’s deadliest infectious disease.

It kills more than three times as many people as malaria every year and is responsible for the majority of HIV/AIDS deaths.

Despite the huge death toll, tuberculosis receives roughly a tenth of the global research funding that goes to HIV/AIDS.

Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is immune to two of the most common antibacterial drugs used to treat the disease.

Experts believe it is spreading worldwide due to poor handling of tuberculosis cases.

Unlike other global killers such as HIV, tuberculosis is curable — but currently only under a strict six-month supervised regimen involving multiple daily drug doses.

In many parts of the world, medications are incorrectly stored, or simply run out before the treatment has finished, leading to greater drug resistance, especially in crowded settings such as prison and hospitals.

The WHO says variants of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis have been reported in at least 117 countries around the world.

$13 Billion Pledge

Unlike many antibiotics, bedaquiline doesn’t attack the bacteria directly and instead targets the enzymes that the disease relies on for its energy.

All of the patients in the study experienced side effects but these were less severe than previously thought.

Last month UN member states agreed a global plan to fight tuberculosis and to facilitate cheaper access to vital drugs.

On the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York, world leaders pledged $13 billion annually to end the tuberculosis epidemic, with a further $2 billion to fund research — up from $700 million currently.

Unlike the battle against HIV, which has received high-profile celebrity backing, tuberculosis is often seen as a historic affliction affecting only remote and undeveloped parts of the world.

Scientists and policymakers gather this week in The Hague for a global conference on lung health, where they are expected to warn that tuberculosis could spread through richer nations currently struggling with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

India alone accounts for a quarter of all tuberculosis cases, and there are hopes that new, cheaper drugs could help strangle the spread of the disease if rolled out worldwide.

“We urgently need more affordable drugs like bedaquiline if we are to seriously make a dent in curing the estimated 600,000 people falling sick to multidrug-resistant tuberculosis each year and avoiding nearly a quarter of a million deaths,” said Fujiwara.

Italy Seizes 50 Million Euros Worth Of IS ‘Fighter Drug’


Italian police have seized 50 million euros worth of tablets of a synthetic opiate destined to be sold by the Islamic State (IS) group in Libya to raise funds for attacks, a court said Friday.

Financial police discovered over 24 million Tramadol tablets, en route from India to Libya, at the port of Gioia Tauro in southern Italy.

The painkiller has been described as the “fighter drug” as it is known to be popular among jihadists for its ability to dull pain and suppress fatigue.

The haul is estimated to be worth 50 million euros ($58 million), and was found following a police crackdown sparked by the discovery of a similar shipment in Genoa in May.

Investigators believe the IS group planned to sell the tablets to their foot soldiers for the equivalent of two euros a tablet.

“According to the information shared with foreign investigative sources, the traffic of Tramadol is directly handled by IS to finance terrorist activities planned and carried out across the world,” the court of Reggio Calabria said.

Part of the money raised from the sales would also go “to subsidize terrorist groups and extremists operating in Libya, Syria and Iraq,” it said in a statement.

The court said the catch had been possible thanks in part to the DEA, the US Drug Enforcement Administration.


PCN Seals 397 Drug Stores In Abia

PCN Seals 397 Drug Stores In Abia

The Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) has sealed 397 drug stores in Abia State for various offences.

The Deputy Director of Enforcement, Stephen Esumobi, said the action was in a bid to ensure rational distribution and dispersion of safe and quality medicines to the public.

According to him, the situation in Abia State is worrisome as most of the premises visited during the enforcement exercise cannot be guaranteed and pose danger to the public.

“What we have seen in Abia State is that many of the premises are not registered and the products are stored in an environment that is not suitable. Some of these products are sensitive to light and can be easily degraded by light and most of the products are not stored at the right temperature.

“The implication is that many of these products – even though they are not expired – are already degraded and are no longer good enough for human consumption. Many of the people handling these drugs do not have the requisite knowledge and cannot even pronounce the drugs they are selling”.

Mr Esumobi added that many of the stores in Umuahia, the state capital were operating in an unhealthy environment with others selling expired drugs, warning that any pharmacist involved in any form of malpractice would face severe sanction.

He also advised members of the public to purchase their medicines from only licensed pharmacies and simple household remedy from licensed patent chemist stores.

“Members of the public may not identify drugs that are degraded and that is why there must be a pharmacist on ground to be able to manage such ethical products. Even the life-saving drug when it is degraded can turn to adrenaline and can damage the liver and expose the individual to a life-threatening situation or even death.

“In fact, we have a problem here and the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria will do all within its power to ensure that this chaotic situation in Abia is brought to normal as soon as possible,” Esumobi stated.

A total of 441 premises were visited during the exercise and 360 patent medicine stores, 37 pharmacies were sealed for operating without registration with the PCN among other offences.

Twenty-seven premises were also issued compliance directives for poor documentation and failure to produce their licenses.

NDLEA Nabs Suspected Drug Dealers In Enugu


The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested two suspected drug dealers in Enugu State, South-East Nigeria.

The State Commander of the NDLEA, Dr. Anthony Ohanyere, made the disclosure during a visit of the State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to the command.

The suspects, Otito Ife and Peter Anigbo, were arrested in Akpakwume Nze, a community in Udi Local Government Area in the state.

According to the commander, the suspects were nabbed on July 24, 2017, following a surveillance that lasted for over a year.

He said a 20 kilogramme of methamphetamine and paraphernalia for making the illicit drugs were recovered from them while the investigation to unravel other accomplices is ongoing.

Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous human system.

NAFDAC Raids Abraka Market In Asaba

As portrayed in the mission statement of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to safeguard public health by ensuring that only the right quality of food, drugs and other regulated products are manufactured and consumed, the agency inspected a liqour factory and raided the popular Abraka market in Asaba, the Delta state capital.

The agency said it is conducting the raid following a tip-off about some people who had local liquor production sites, where adulteration was going on as well as unauthorised individuals involved in the sales and distribution of drugs.

The Director of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate Agency of NAFDAC, Mr Kingsley Ejiofor,  led the team to raid petty kiosks illegally involved in the sales of fake and unauthorised drugs at two popular Hausa communities, both along the Asaba- Onitscha expressway Oshimili south Local Government Area of Delta state.

The drugs confiscated are majorly fake aphrodisiac manpower drugs like Tramadol of 200mg, 225mg with high strength which is not meant to be sold at the market.

One of the NAFDAC officials explains the effect some of the drugs could have on the people using them; “Considering the nature of this environment, it is possible to have frequent cases of rape because of these kinds of drugs. All they just need to do is to administer a little portion of it into any drink, the lady drinks and gets unconscious, even when she wakes up, she cannot recall whatever it is that may have occurred”.

Earlier on, the team had inspected a liquor factory involved in the production of local gin.

Seemingly displeased with the production environment, Mr Ejiofor who led the team had asked the management of the factory to ensure that the production environment is clean and safe at all times, to ensure the safety of its consumers

While stating that the raid was carried out as a result of a tip-off by some individuals, Mr Ejiofor, however, advised the public to stop patronizing unauthorised drug sales shops, to avoid buying potentially dangerous and expired products.

“We are using this as an opportunity to encourage members of the public to report to us when they feel or consume any bad product harmful to their health.

“This particular raid came as a result of a consumer’s complain, who consumed a product and began to stool blood”, he said.

Sanitizing the Nigerian Society of Fake and Counterfeit Drugs, remains a top priority for the agency as it reassures Nigerians of a healthy and safe environment.

Novartis Muscle Wasting Drug Gets ‘Breakthrough’ Status

Novartis said on Thursday U.S. regulators have granted breakthrough therapy status for its investigational compound bimagrumab for the potential treatment of patients with sporadic inclusion body myositis (sIBM).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the “breakthrough therapy” designation earlier this year for medicines deemed likely to demonstrate “substantial improvement” over existing drugs.

sIBM is a rare yet potentially life-threatening muscle-wasting condition. Patients suffering from the disease can gradually lose the ability to walk. There are currently no approved treatments, according to Novartis.

Bimagrumab was developed by Novartis in collaboration with Morphosys. The drug works by stimulating muscle growth by blocking from inhibitory molecules.