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Friday, 15 June 2012 11:44

Taliban commander Killed in Kandahar

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kabul (BNA) Mullah Faez commander of armed Taliban was killed by operation of Afghan and NATO forces in Kandahar province yesterday.  This operation occurred during arresting of Mullah Faez in his hideout in the vicinities of Daman district.  According to NATO press statement. In this operation number of armed rebels were killed and injured.  According to NATO press statement, 2 Afghan soldiers were injured in this event.  NATO said that Mullah Faez organized terrorist attacks on Afghan and NATO forces.  Faez directed most terrorist attacks of armed Taliban in the Daman and Shahwalikot districts of Kandahar province.  T. Suraya-Yarzada

Friday, June 15, 2012

Maidan-Wardak (BNA) a suicide bomber who wanted to attack on base of Afghan forces in Maidan-Wardak province was killed by these forces.  This attacker wanted to attack on 2nd division of national army forces in the Mangali area, Syeedabad district was identified by these forces and killed.  The Medias office of Maidan-Wardak said to BNA the attacker name is Ismael and was resident of Syeedabad district.  Ismael has 22 ages with of his suicide vest was killed by national army forces to this base. T. Suraya-Yarzada

Friday, June 15, 2012

Kabul (BNA)  Eid Mohammad a commander of Haqani network was killed in Paktika province today.  This commander was killed in combined operation of Afghan and NATO forces in the outskirts of Sharan city center of Paktika province.  NATO press statement said to BNA, in this operation number colleague of Eid Mohammad was killed as well.  This statement said that Commander Eid Mohammad has committed leadership of Haqani network fighters in Paktika province and he involved terrorist attacks on Afghan and NATO forces in that province.  In this operation the Afghan and NATO forces and civilians had no casualties.  T. Suraya-Yarzada

(BNA) Friday 15 June 2012,

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Excellencies Ministers,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Asalam Alaikum and Good morning!

Most Welcome to today’s meeting in Kabul. We in Afghanistan are privileged to have your presence here today and I am grateful that you took time out of your very busy schedule to be with us and to support and encourage Afghanistan further.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Last year we had a historic Heart of Asia Conference in Istanbul Turkey, a country for centuries so close to Afghanistan and supportive of us in very particular terms in the past ten years, we are grateful to our brothers in Turkey and for their continued support. The Conference today is the 2nd in this direction.

Afghanistan, ladies and gentlemen, as you all are fully aware, after ten years of having received support from NATO, ISAF countries and from our neighbors in the region, has begun the process of transition to Afghan authority which is today in its 3rd phase and the completion of which will bring at least 75 percent of Afghan population under the cover of protection and services provided by the Afghan government.

Dr Ashraf Ghani , the Chairman of this Transition Process oversees the program and we are certain that transition will be completed in 2013 whereby the entire country, the Afghan population, their security , their well-being and matters related to the governance will be handled by the Afghan government alone. Of course, certain measures of support will continue to be provided by our friends in the international community. 2014 will see, as we all know, the complete withdrawal of the international forces in Afghanistan -- that is NATO and ISAF. We thank all of you in this room for having provided support to Afghanistan all these years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We were just last month in Chicago in NATO where many of you present around this meeting today pledged support to Afghanistan from 2014 to 2024, a very meaningful support, a substantial support to the Afghan security forces and to other elements of governance in Afghanistan. We are grateful and soon after that we were in China in Beijing for Shanghai Cooperation Council Organization’s meeting, where Afghanistan was accepted as an Observer of the Shanghai Cooperation Council, we are very grateful to China for their support and for welcoming us in their country and for doing all they can, to give Afghanistan a better relationship in this region with our neighbors and beyond.

During the Shanghai Cooperation Council, I found out to my very pleasant surprise , I should say, that the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Council supported Afghanistan’s engagement with the international community, supported the pledges and the cooperation extended to us during Chicago NATO summit and in particular , in my meetings with President Hu Jintao and President Putin. Both the leaders expressed their support and understanding of the relationship that Afghanistan has evolved with the international community and after partnership deals signed with various allies of ours in the international community, the support from these global powers and our neighbors is very important to Afghanistan and the continued progress of Afghanistan towards stability and economic development. In deed, it is Afghanistan where there is cooperation of all of us, countries in the region, the neighbors and our allies in NATO and ISAF that will bring stability not only to Afghanistan but the much needed relief from terrorism and radicalism and violence to more stability and peace and progress in this region.

 

So in deed, as the heart of Asia, Afghanistan wishes to be and is seeing the signs of a more cooperative environment in Afghanistan and in the region. In this process of Afghanistan moving towards a complete transition and stability and progress from 2014 to 2024, one of the most important elements of success and for our endeavors towards that success is the successful completion of the peace process that we have launched two years ago under the leadership of Shaheed President Burhanuddin Rabbani and all of us around this meeting today have a responsibility in this regard, some in one form, others in other forms.

Mr. Salahuddin Rabbani the current Chairman of the Peace Council of Afghanistan will be very soon visiting our brothers in Saudi Arabia, from there, subsequently, he will visit our brothers in Pakistan, his Majesty Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain [King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia] has been a guiding leader for us through all these difficult years in Afghanistan and since his Majesty has his representative here , I would request humbly that Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain’s support and guidance continue in the peace process of Afghanistan so that this country can see the reconciliation process that brings an end to violence in Afghanistan. We also very much hope that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan will do the same with us, we are already engaged in a serious and deep dialogue with our neighbors in Pakistan as well, our relations in this neighborhood and in this region have been against some of the contradictions that exist today in the international relations, prevailing international relations.

Afghanistan has fortunately so far been successful in maintaining equilibrium of relationship; we, by all means, intend to continue this, we have signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States of America and with Germany, with France, with Italy, with the United Kingdom and Europe, we have signed a strategic partnership deal with India in this region, these partnership deals will not reduce from our relations with our neighbors, but we rather hope that these partnerships add to the positive aspect of our relations with our neighbors, our brothers in Iran have been a steadfast supporter of Afghanistan for the past many years and Afghanistan wishes the continuation of this brotherly cooperative relationship as I am sure will come to us from our brothers in Iran and we hope that our partners in the west and particularly in the United States and others will recognize that Afghanistan is in this neighborhood and has to live in peace and prosperity with its neighbors and with the countries in this region.

Ladies and gentlemen,

From Bonn, from the very successful conference in Bonn, with a great, gracious hospitality of Germany , we would be moving in two to three weeks time to Tokyo, where Japan as always will be a gracious and generous host to an Afghan conference for the economic development in Afghanistan. Afghanistan will be presenting a vision for its economic future to the Tokyo Conference , a strategy for its economic development in the Tokyo Conference, I am sure , if not all of the ladies and gentlemen here but the majority of you will be present in the Tokyo Conference.

I hope that you continue to support Afghanistan’s efforts towards prosperity and economic well-being and in our view that well-being will come only when Afghanistan domestic economic growth is stronger, when Afghanistan begins to produce of its own soil and gain further economic prosperity and from the opportunities that exist in Afghanistan, that brings us to business and investment in Afghanistan that I hope, all of you will take the opportunity to invest in. China was the first country to invest in Afghanistan followed by others in the region and from our friends in the international community, we are grateful for those investments and make sure that we provide all the protection and all the incentives that we can possibly provide under any circumstances , so that these investments are not only profitable and with dividends to those who have invested but also bring the much needed progress economically to the Afghan people and an economy that is self sustaining and moving towards a better future.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I welcome you once again to today’s meeting and I thank all of you for your participation and Afghanistan would assure you that Afghanistan recognizes out of a grim experience of the past that it is only in stability and harmony and peace in this region that Afghanistan can prosper and be stable and your contributions towards this objective are of immense importance whether you are in our neighborhood or in our near neighborhood or farther away from us, your participation has been of immense importance to Afghanistan, I thank all of you , international organizations and the countries for having had the patience to be here with Afghanistan.

Now that Afghanistan has gotten the support and pledges from the international community that it was expecting, it is our job for the next two years when I will still be in office to undertake a fundamentally stronger activity towards improved , better governance in Afghanistan, I will be calling a special joint session of the parliament next Thursday to discuss Afghanistan’s needs towards improved governance and the steps that we must take so that in the next two years, we prepare the ground better for the next President and the next government to start on a better footing and on a firmer fundamental in Afghanistan, I thank you very, very much for your attention and hope, you will have a pleasant and happy stay in Kabul. I am sure you will be busy but I hope, it will also be pleasant and happy.

Thank you very much!

 

 (BNA) Friday 15 June 2012,

President Hamid Karzai met on Wednesday with William Hague, British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to discuss issues of mutual interest.

During the meeting held in the Presidential Palace, the two sides first discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the region, the peace process and Pakistan's role in this regard.

William Hague said that they had spoken with Pakistani officials on the Pakistan's role in the Afghan peace process and hoped that Afghanistan and Pakistan be able to continue their increased cooperation and talks in this respect.

President Karzai said that there was no other way for the region but to join hands and fight the evil scourge of terrorism and radicalism steadfastly, realistically and honestly.

In a separate meeting, President Hamid Karzai also met with Ms. Fu Ying, Deputy Foreign Minister of China.

President Karzai first thanked Chinese government for their hospitality and warm welcome to the High-level delegation of Afghanistan on his recent trip to China and praised the goodwill and intention of the Chinese government, leading to the success of the President’s visit to that country.

China's Deputy Foreign Minister then thanked President Karzai for the meeting and congratulated him on the membership of Afghanistan as an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Ms. Fu Ying also said that China closely followed the transition in Afghanistan and added that under the framework of bilateral cooperation, China was ready to provide assistance and support to Afghanistan.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ying added that China was keen to see peace and stability in Afghanistan since peace and stability in Afghanistan would lead to a safe and stable region. In this context, she said that China supported the negotiations between Afghanistan and Pakistan and hoped that the two countries achieve success to this end.

Underscoring enhanced cooperation between countries of the region in the fight against terrorism, the President said that the region had to honestly cooperate in the war on terrorism.

Deputy Foreign Minister of China also said that the Afghan government could spend, in line with its priorities, a grant assistance of 150 million Yuan to be provided by China.

Separately, President Hamid Karzai also met with Torki Soud, Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia.

The two sides first discussed the situation in Afghanistan and the region and the peace process.

Saudi Foreign Minister then said that peace, stability and security in Afghanistan was important for Saudi Arabia.

Reaffirming his country’s support to the peace process of Afghanistan, he stressed on Pakistan's role in this process and added that peace and stability in Afghanistan would mean peace and stability in Pakistan.

President Karzai thanked Saudi Arabia for its assistance and and support and appreciated the role and consideration of his Majesty Khadim ul-Haramain ul-Sharifain (the Custodian of the two holy mosques), King Abdullah in providing cooperation and assistance to Afghanistan.

 (BNA) Friday 15 June 2012,

President Hamid Karzai met yesterday with Yerzhan Kazykhanov, Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan to discuss issues of mutual interest.

Mr. Yerzhan Kazykhanov said that Kazakhstan and Afghanistan have had diplomatic relations for twenty years and added that “we sincerely want to extend our relations with Afghanistan since Afghanistan is a major country in our foreign policy”.

Foreign Minister Kazykhanov gave assurance to the President that “Kazakhstan supports Afghanistan Security Forces” and pledged that his country would provide an assistance of $ 2 millions for the ASNF forces.

President Karzai thanked for Kazakhstan’s support to Afghanistan in a bid to become an Observer Member State in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and added, “the future of this region will depend on development in Afghanistan”.

The President said that Kazakhstan could play “a bigger role in the region” and underlined that under the framework of bilateral cooperation, enhanced engagement between Afghanistan and Kazakhstan is necessary.

President Karzai underscored that countries in the region had to join hands to eliminate radicalism and terrorism in the region.

Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan also expressed his deep sorrow over the recent earthquake in Baghlan province that resulted in casualties and offered his condolences to the President and the people of Afghanistan. He also congratulated President Karzai on Observer membership of Afghanistan in the SCO.

Moreover, President Hamid Karzai met in a separate meeting today with Prof. Ekmeledddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of OIC.

The two sides stressed on the unity of Islamic countries and described enhanced regional cooperation as the most important element for economic prosperity and a joint fight against terrorism and radicalism in the region.

Prof. Ekmeledddin Ihsanoglu declared OIC’s support to the Afghan peace process and praised the efforts made by the Government of Afghanistan for strengthening peace in the country.

 

Friday, 15 June 2012 04:51

Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan passes away

Friday 15 June 2012,

 

KARACHI: Legendary Pakistani ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan passed away after a protracted illness in a private hospital in Karachi on Wednesday.

Only last month, king of ghazal Mehdi Hassan, was discharged from hospital. However, just a day later, he was admitted back due to health problems. This time round though, he hasn't been put on ventilator.

Mehdi Hassan's son Arif confirmed the news and added, "My father has been ill for the last 12 years but this year, his condition has deteriorated significantly and in the last one month, he was released from hospital for just one day before being admitted again."

Arif Mehdi said that the funeral would take place on Friday, June 15.

Mehdi Hassan, who has a huge fan following all over the world, was suffering from lung, chest and urinary tract ailments for the past many years.

He was born on July 18, 1927 in a village called Luna in Rajasthan, India into a family of traditional musicians.

He was honoured with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, and Gorkha Dakshina Bahu by the Government of Nepal.

Mehdi Hassan had his musical grooming from his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both traditional Dhrupad singers. Hassan started to perform at a young age of eight and sang in more than 325 films.

To make both the ends meet Mehdi started working in Chichawatni, in a bicycle shop. He later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn’t wither and he kept up the routine of practice on a daily basis.

The struggle ended when Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1957, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity.

Friday 15 June 2012,

GDANSK: Defending champions Spain are on course for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after their 4-0 thrashing of Ireland on Thursday put them top of Group C with the Irish bowing out.

For all their endeavour in defence, Ireland struggled constantly to cope with the torrent of Spanish attacks as Chelsea's Fernando Torres proved he is back to his best with two clinically-taken goals.

Having decided the Euro 2008 final with the winning goal against Germany, Torres netted either side of Manchester City's David Silva second-half strike before his replacement Cesc Fabregas added the fourth seven minutes from time.

With 66 percent ball possession, 26 shots on goal, 20 of which were on target, Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given had a busy night as Spain dominated while Ireland managed just six shots on goal in total.

The win puts Spain top of the group on goal difference and level on four points with second-placed Croatia, who Vicente del Bosque's world champions face here at Arena Gdansk again on Monday.

Having suffered their second defeat after losing 3-1 to Croatia on Sunday, Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland will exit after the group stages.

Italy, who drew 1-1 with Croatia earlier, have two points in third and can still progress if they beat Ireland in Poznan, Poland, the same day, but the Azzurri are reliant on either Spain or Croatia winning in Gdansk.

Spain had complained to UEFA about the dry condition of the Gdansk pitch during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Italy as Fabregas labeled it "a disaster", but heavy rain during Thursday's match made the issue null and void.

Having used a 4-3-3 formation against Italy without a recognized striker, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque elected to start Torres at the expense of Barcelona's Fabregas.

The Chelsea star rewarded the faith with the opening goal after just four minutes.

With Spain on the attack, Ireland defender Richard Dunne tackled Silva on the edge of the area, but Torres pounced on the loose ball and drilled his shot past Given from a tight angle.

Buoyed by the legions of green-clad fans, who clearly outnumbered the Spanish fans at Arena Gdansk and sang until the end, Ireland battled forward, but any rare first-half forages into the Spain half were quickly snuffed out.

A heavy tackle on Andres Iniesta earned Ireland captain Robbie Keane the game's first booking on 36 minutes and Glenn Whelan followed just before the break for a foul on Silva as it finished 1-0 at the break.

Trapatonni brought on Stoke City's Jon Walters for Simon Cox up front at half-time, but there was no stemming the tide of Spanish attacks.

A long-range shot from Iniesta was parried by Given, but fell into Silva's path, who jinked his way around defenders to roll his shot calmly past Given four minutes after the break.

After Given pulled off more heroics to deny Xavi Hernandez's corner shot, Ireland lifted their tempo with a series of attacks as Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas was pressed into service.

The threatened third goal came when Silva released Torres, who raced away from Dunne and slotted home his shot on 70 minutes to give Given no chance before the Spaniard made way for Fabregas four minutes later.

The Barcelona star, who scored the equaliser against Italy, again showed his class as he drilled home his shot from a tight angle for Spain's fourth

 

Friday 15 June 2012,

NEW YORK: For millions of heart patients, a pair of new blood thinners have been heralded as the first replacements in 60 years for warfarin, a pill whose hardships and risks have deterred many from using the stroke-prevention medicine.

But growing complaints of risks and deaths tied to the new crop of drugs have made some top U.S. cardiologists hesitant to prescribe them. Some are proposing a more rigorous monitoring regimen for when they are used.

Most concerns revolve around Pradaxa, a twice daily pill from Boehringer Ingelheim that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2010 to prevent strokes in patients with an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation. It was the first new oral treatment for that use since warfarin was introduced in the 1950s.

"The good news is you now have an alternative to warfarin," said Dr. Alan Jacobson, director of anti-coagulation services at the Veterans Administration (VA) healthcare system in Loma Linda, California. "The bad news is you can kill a patient as easily with the new drug as you could with the old drug" if it is not handled properly.

"The average patient doesn't understand anything about the new drug, or what the risks are, or what other medicines he can or can't take," said Jacobson, citing interactions with common painkillers and other drugs that can alter Pradaxa blood levels.

Xarelto, a once daily pill that Johnson & Johnson developed with Bayer AG, was approved last November for atrial fibrillation. The condition affects about 3 million Americans, causing blood to pool in a storage chamber of the heart, where it can clot and travel to the brain.

Both new drugs were designed to sidestep risks of warfarin, including brain hemorrhages and other dangerous bleeding, and become mainstays of a new therapeutic market worth at least $10 billion a year. Patients taking warfarin require close monitoring and regular blood tests as well as dietary and lifestyle changes.

Doctors have less data and familiarity with Xarelto, which is still being rolled out.

But Jacobson and another dozen physicians interviewed by Reuters expressed similar concerns about both Pradaxa and Xarelto.

They say that real world use of Pradaxa and Xarelto, which do not require regular blood monitoring or frequent doctor follow-up, raises concerns about the risk of stroke, serious bleeding and blood clots if not taken properly, particularly in patients with poor kidney function.

The nonprofit Institute for Safe Medication Practices estimated last month that 542 reports of deaths associated with Pradaxa were reported to the FDA in 2011, topping all other medicines, including warfarin, with 72 deaths. Adverse event reports on Xarelto were not available.

A case study published in March raised alarm in particular, showing an elderly Utah patient on Pradaxa developed a massive brain hemorrhage and died after a minor fall.

European regulators have instructed Boehringer Ingelheim to add warnings about the bleeding risk to Pradaxa's package insert. Almost two dozen U.S. federal lawsuits have been filed against Boehringer Ingelheim alleging harm from Pradaxa.

Boehringer declined to comment on the lawsuits. The German company also declined to comment about the deaths, but said the number of reports of bleeding with Pradaxa were within Boehringer's expectations, given the incidence of bleeding seen in the drug's largest study.

"Research has shown that the number of reported adverse events for a drug peaks during its first few years on the market," when doctors are most likely to file voluntary reports to regulators and drugmakers, company spokeswoman Emily Baier said.

Dr. Robert Temple, a top official in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said few doctors notify the agency about incidents from warfarin because its risks are already well known. So the lopsided number of Pradaxa reports compared with warfarin may not indicate an elevated risk, he said.

"We don't necessarily believe it is real," he said. "But we're watching it. We can't help but notice it."

A SHIFT IN PRACTICE

The makers of Pradaxa and Xarelto say it takes time for doctors to get up to speed on new types of treatments and how to best administer them outside the controls of clinical trials.

"This is a shift in medical practice," said Dr. John Smith, senior vice president for clinical development at Boehringer. "Individual physicians have to determine what the follow-up plan will be, to use common medical-sense judgment."

Dr. Peter Wildgoose, a senior director of clinical development at J&J, said the company has not provided special advice on follow-up care for patients on Xarelto.

"There's nothing more than for any other drug that people regularly take," he said, adding that most atrial fibrillation patients probably see their doctors on a regular basis. "These drugs have been tested long term, for several years at a time, with very good outcomes."

Boehringer Ingelheim and Johnson & Johnson officials stressed there was far less evidence in trials of brain bleeding - the most worrisome side effect of anti-coagulants - in patients taking Pradaxa and Xarelto than those taking warfarin.

In the meantime, warfarin is holding its own, with 33 million U.S. prescriptions filled for atrial fibrillation and other uses last year, according to IMS Health, a healthcare information and services company. Some 2.2 million prescriptions were filled for Pradaxa.

About 130,000 U.S. prescriptions were written for Xarelto in the first three months of 2012. Pradaxa and Xarelto each cost about $3,000 a year, versus just $200 for generic warfarin.

Prominent U.S. heart doctors stress that neither new drug has a known antidote for a bleeding emergency, as warfarin does.

They also say that patients using them should undergo testing ahead of time to ensure good kidney function, be carefully taught potential pitfalls of the drugs and be seen by doctors periodically, especially after a switch is made.

"I have received a dozen phone calls from local colleagues in the last couple of months about bleeding on Pradaxa and have yet to find a single case where that bleeding was not related to improper use of the drug," said Dr. Sanjay Kaul, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Kaul found that many of the doctors failed to test patient kidney function before prescribing Pradaxa, though 80 percent of the drug is excreted in that organ. Weak kidneys allow the medicine to build to unsafe levels in the bloodstream. About two thirds of Xarelto is eliminated by the kidneys. Other doctors failed to ask patients whether they had a history of gastrointestinal bleeding, which raises the risk for Pradaxa.

"What really compounds the matter is the lack of a specific antidote to reverse life-threatening bleeding" from Pradaxa, said Kaul, who served on independent panels that advised the FDA on both new medications. Kaul said he had written only one prescription for Pradaxa and none for Xarelto.

Boehringer Ingelheim said it is working on an antidote, but declined to elaborate. Johnson & Johnson said it is not developing an antidote, but is monitoring early efforts by other drugmakers to come up with one. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, which is developing a blood clot drug called Eliquis that is similar to Xarelto, declined to comment on the antidote issue.

HOPES FOR A THIRD NEW DRUG

Warfarin thins the blood by blocking Vitamin K, while Pradaxa directly inhibits thrombin - a protein involved in clotting. Xarelto and Eliquis - which Bristol-Myers is developing with Pfizer Inc - interferes with a protein called Factor Xa.

Richard Purkiss, an analyst with Atlantic Equities, sees the new blood clot drugs reaching combined global annual sales of $10 billion for stroke prevention and other uses, with Eliquis commanding up to a 60 percent market share, based on data showing it was more effective and safer than warfarin, including less bleeding and risk of death from all causes.

Neither Pradaxa nor Xarelto were able to claim both superiority and better safety than warfarin, or reduced risk of death.

Eliquis is eliminated mainly by the liver, which some doctors say could make it more appropriate than Pradaxa or Xarelto for older patients and those with kidney problems. The FDA is expected to make a decision on Eliquis by June 28.

Michael Liss, portfolio manager at American Century Investments, predicts Eliquis will overtake Pradaxa and Xarelto within six months after it is introduced. He expects it to capture peak annual sales of up to $4 billion, with Pradaxa and Xarelto dividing up another $3 billion.

Dr. Kenneth Bauer, head of hematology for the Veterans Administration health system in Boston, said the FDA should never have approved Pradaxa and Xarelto for patients with severe kidney dysfunction, since such patients were excluded from large studies. Nor should the agency have approved an untested 75-milligram half dose of Pradaxa for such patients, he said.

"These are people whose kidneys are already damaged ... and even at the smaller dose (of Pradaxa), you risk overdosing yourself," Bauer said.

The FDA said it routinely approves adjusted doses of medicines, and noted that patients with severe liver dysfunction were included in smaller studies of Xarelto and Pradaxa.

Boehringer Ingelheim's Smith said the FDA cleared the lower dose of Pradaxa after conducting its own analysis of how it performs in the bloodstream.

FRAIL ELDERLY 'CANARY IN COAL MINE'

Almost 15 percent of Americans over the age of 80 are believed to have atrial fibrillation and face a fivefold higher risk of stroke if untreated.

Dr. Richard Besdine, director of the Center for Gerontology at Brown University, said he had switched only two of his approximately 100 elderly patients from warfarin. He is unlikely to switch many others for at least a few years.

"If there's an adverse event lurking in the closet for a new drug, it's most likely to come out in patients that are old and frail and taking multiple medications. They're the canary in the coal mine," he said.

Even so, Besdine - like many other doctors now on the sidelines - believes the new drugs may eventually displace warfarin as doctors become familiar with them.

Others note that warfarin's disadvantages have led as many as 70 percent of prospective patients to refuse to take it, leaving plenty of room for the new drugs.

Dr. Robert Califf, a Duke University cardiologist who headed the largest study of Xarelto, noted warfarin is still one of the biggest causes of U.S. emergency room fatalities.

"We shouldn't lose sight of what warfarin is like in the real world," he said

 

Friday 15 June 2012,

 

CAIRO: Egypt's top constitutional court on Thursday ruled the whole Islamist-dominated parliament illegitimate, paving the way for the military to resume legislative powers, state media and a military source said.

"The constitutional court affirmed in the details of its verdict that the parliamentary elections were not constitutional, and the entire composition of parliament has been illegitimate since its election," the official MENA news agency reported.

Members of the ruling military council were in a meeting and did not immediately issue a statement. But a military source said the court decision gave the military legislative powers.

"We don't want it (the power) but according to the court decision and that law, it reverts back to us," the source said.

The military suspended the constitution after a popular uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak last year and left in charge army generals who rule under an interim charter.

Faruq Sultan, the head of the constitutional court, told AFP that the decision "voids" parliament and must be respected by the authorities.

"It voids parliament, not in the meaning of dissolves," he said. "But the constitutional court's rulings is binding on all state authorities and all people," he said.

The Islamist speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatni had said before the ruling that no authority had the power to dissolve the legislature, which he said would consider how to apply the court's ruling.

Parliament is dominated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood through its political arm. It is running a candidate in this weekend's presidential election against former airforce chief and Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq.

The court also ruled on Thursday that a law barring Shafiq and other senior Mubarak officials from standing for public office was unconstitutional