Novartis challenges patent rejection in India

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The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is about to challenge patent rejection in India before the Supreme Court of India. The court case is to begin on March 28.

Should the complaint be successful millions of people may no longer be able to purchase necessary medication.

Novartis AG headquarters in Basel (2006)
Image: Andrew.

The object of special attention is Imatinib, a medication used to treat certain cancers, which is marketed by Novartis as Gleevec (USA) or Glivec (Europe/Australia/Latin America).

The desired interpretation of patent law would give Novartis a renewal of another twenty years for its patent on the medication.

Over six years Novartis has been struggling over different interpretations of article 3(d) of Indian patent law, which rules the patenting of variants of already approved medicines. On March 28 Novartis will present another interpretation of article 3(d) restricting it to “discoveries“, while the patent application would constitute an “invention“.

Novartis’ head of corporate research in Basel, Paul Herrling, told the journal Nature: “[The case is] about the rewarding of innovation where markets exist, not about impeding access to medicines for poor patients. […] We think that Gleevec is a fundamental breakthrough in medicine. If 3(d) can be used to prevent the patenting of results of innovative biomedical research, it will certainly be a disincentive for both Indian research-based pharmaceutical companies and for foreign companies wanting to be active in India. This would be to the disadvantage of Indian patients.”

Brook Baker from the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts, a professor in the Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy (PHRGE), explained the situation as follows: “Novartis would like the Supreme Court to adopt a low-threshold standard whereby slight improvements will count as significantly enhanced efficacy. […] If this low-hurdle standard is adopted, companies will be able to evergreen their patents in India much as they do in the United States. […] India is a major exporter of generic medicines to developing countries, including 80% of the medicine now used to treat over 6.6 million people living with HIV/AIDS. India’s status as the pharmacy of the poor and of the developing world is actually under attack.”

Médecins Sans F … Read More has set up the protest web page “Novartis, Drop the Case!”, with information about the court case.


Geelong win 2009 Australian Football League Grand Final

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Geelong defeated St. Kilda by 12 points in the 2009 Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Both sides advanced after winning their Qualifying and Preliminary Finals.

The AFL finals series groups the best eight teams into two groups – the first through fourth and fifth through eighth. The winners of the Qualifying Finals (first v fourth, second v third) get a week off, the losers play the winners of the Elimination Finals (Fifth v eighth, sixth v seventh).

Australian rules football is played on a field 170-200 metres long by 140-170 metres wide. The two teams consist of 18 players a side. Scores are quoted as goals-behinds (total).

St Kilda finished top of the ladder after the 22 Home and away season with only two loses in rounds 20 and 21. They defeated Collingwood by 28 points in the Qualifying Final then the Western Bulldogs by seven points in the Preliminary Final.

Geelong finished second with four losses, all in the latter half of the season. They defeated the Western Bulldogs by 14 points in Qualifying Final then Collingwood by 73 points in the Preliminary Final.

Geelong player Gary Ablett Jr. won the Brownlow Medal earlier in the week but quickly “forgot” about it to focus on the Grand Final. “We’ve prepared well, we’ve prepared as good as we can and we have some important players back at the right time, it’s fantastic,” he said. “We’ll be going into the game with no excuses.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster James Taylor predicted that storms may pass over the MCG during the second, third or last quarters. “That’s when we expect most likely we’ll see shower activity spreading across Melbourne,” Mr Taylor told AAP. “Hopefully, the opening ceremony will escape the weather. Thunderstorms are certainly possible.” The police are also out in force, and will check all drivers leaving the ground are not drunk.

Quarter Time
St Kilda 3-2 (20)
Geelong 3-0 (18)
Half Time
St Kilda 7-7 (49)
Geelong 7-1 (43)
3 Quarter Time
St Kilda 9-11 (65)
Geelong 9-4 (58)
Full Time
St Kilda 9-14 (68)
Geelong 12-8 (80)

The Melbourne Cricket Ground hosted the 2009 AFL Grand Final

Geelong won the toss and kicked towards the City end. The predicted weather did not materialise in the first quarter Within the first eight seconds, the both teams had held up the ball causing another ruck contest.

Geelong pressed ahead in the first two minutes. Max Rooke manage to kick the first goal right on a minute twenty. St Kilda pushed forward immediately but did not convert. Geelong pressed again scoring a goal on five minutes. St Kilda replied with a behind.

St Kilda kicked their first goal through Brendan Goddard on eight and a half minutes. They continued to pressure Geelong resulting in another goal to Lenny Hayes.

The quarter ended in a back and forth tussle. Adam Schneider finished the quarter with a goal.

The predicted rain started during quarter time and continued through most of the second quarter but eased off towards the end.

St Kilda opened the quarter scoring a goal through Sean Dempster within the first three and a half minutes to push there lead to nine points. Geelong maintained forward pressure for the next two minutes before St Kilda countered to no result. Geelong responded to the counter with there own but did not score.

St Kilda pushed forward scoring a behind.

It took another ten nine minutes before either team scored a goal. Geelong scored that goal through Shannon Byrnes. they scored the next three goals through Gary Ablett, Tom Hawkins and Paul Chapman.

St Kilda rounded out the quarter with goals to Clinton Jones, Justin Koshitzke and Schneider.

The third quarter started with Geelong kicking a behind. Soon after, A St. Kilda player was sent off under the blood rule to receive medical attention, before Geelong kicked another behind. Cameron Mooney then kicked the first goal of the third quarter, putting Geelong back in front by one point. Nick Riewoldt then kicked a goal to put St. Kilda back in front, followed by another behind. Riewoldt then attempted to kick another goal, but was smothered on the goal line, scoring a behind. Another behind was scored by St. Kilda soon after.

Paul Chapman then kicked his second goal to reduce the margin to one point, with 8:53 remaining in the quarter. Gary Ablett then kicked a behind to three quarter time.

The fourth quarter started with Tom Hawkins kicking his second goal, reducing the margin to one point. Schneider then kicked a behind, increasing the margin back on two points. St. Kilda then kicked another behind, increasing the margin to three points. Geelong then made up two of the behinds, and scoring a third to draw the score with 5min left. Paul Chapman then kicked his third goal. Geelong then kicked another behind. St. Kilda then scored a behind, reducing the margin to one goal.

Max Rooke kicked a goal on the final siren to get Geelong to a two goal win.

Paul Chapman won the Norm Smith Medal for being the best player on the ground in the Grand Final. was one of many peer to peer sites streaming the game

The game was broadcast live on Channel 10 and One HD in Australia; ESPN in the USA, United Kingdom and Ireland; TSN in Canada; and Australia Network in the Asia Pacific region. Some Peer to Peer websites streamed the … Read More

Jackpot rises on ‘Mega Millions’ lottery in US; breaks record

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In just over 24 hours, the Mega Millions lottery jackpot in the United States has risen to US$330,000,000 to make it the third largest lottery jackpot in the world.

On Thursday, the jackpot was at $325 million and it still could rise before the drawing takes place tonight at 8:00 p.m. (pacific time), 11:00 p.m. (eastern time).

Twelve states in the U.S. participate in the lottery and the odds of at least one person winning the jackpot are one in 175,711,536. It costs just one dollar to purchase a ticket and if you win, you can receive the winnings in sums of 36,000 for every million won, each year, or receive it all in one lump sum which totals just under $200 million before taxes.

On March 6, 2007, the Mega Millions jackpot of US$390 million, the highest lottery jackpot ever in the world, was paid out to two individuals who lived in Georgia and New Jersey. If no one wins Friday’s jackpot, which will have rolled over 16 times without a single winner, it could break the record for the largest lottery jac … Read More

Armed robbers steal valuable statuettes from Olympia museum, Greece

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Armed robbers stole around 60 valuable statuettes from a museum in Olympia, Greece this morning. A state television channel reported that the Greek culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos tendered his resignation upon hearing of the robbery.

“We must wait and see what the local archaeology supervisor will say, but the items were of incalculable value,” local mayor Thymios Kotzias said. The value of the articles hasn’t been calculated yet.

The masked robbers initially demanded a female employee to hand over the articles. When she refused, they tied her up and snatched the articles through the glass planes themselves.

This is the second major robbery in the country recently. Paintings by Pablo Picasso, Piet Mondrian and others were stolen from Athens Natio … Read More in January. Olympia is the place where the first Olympic Games were held.

Ritual sacrifice in Nepal sees 320,000 animals slaughtered to Hindu goddess

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In a tribute to Gadhimai, a Hindu goddess of power, a Nepalese festival began today with the mass sacrifice of 20,000 buffalo in the village of Bariyapur. Shortly after, 300,000 birds, sheep and goats were similarly ritually slaughtered.

It is estimated as many as 750,000 people travelled from India, which recently banned similar mass-sacrifices, to make up the majority of the festival’s estimated one million attendees. Member of Parliament Shiv Chandra Kushwaha skipped Tuesday’s legislative meeting, saying that the festival had more importance as a religious celebration.

Although animal rights groups have condemned the ceremony as cruel, the Nepalese government has ignored requests to cancel the festival, held once every five years. Last year, the government banned a similar slaughter during the festival of Yanya Punhi, and was greeted with angry protests.

The meat is taken to local villages, who host large feasts for those in attendance, as it is believed to ward … Read More

Dutch sheep contaminated by bluetongue

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In the southern part of the Dutch province of Limburg there has been an outbreak of bluetongue according to a statement of the Ministry of Agriculture. This disease is dangerous for sheep. Sheep who are infected by the disease would get a blue tongue, high fever and a swollen head. The disease may also cause death for them. For many other animals and for humans the disease isn’t dangerous. It is the first time that this disease has been spotted in the Netherlands. Usually this disease can only be found in the countries of the Mediterranean.

Source of contamination, Kerkrade

To combat the disease, the Dutch authorities have forbidden exports of animals such as sheep, goats and cows. In the surrounding 20 kilometers of the source of the outbreak it is forbidden to transport animals; the animals have to be stabled and insecticides are obliged. Furthermore, an area of protection of 150 kilometers has been arranged which these animals are not allowed … Read More

CanadaVOTES: Animal Alliance (AAEVPC) candidate Marie Crawford running in Toronto—Danforth

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On October 14, 2008, Canadians will be heading to the polls for the federal election. Animal Alliance Environment Voters Party of Canada candidate Marie Crawford is standing for election in the riding of Toronto—Centre.

Marie is a Director of Animal Alliance of Canada, a separate but related organization. She volunteers her time for Animal Alliance, but unlike party leader Liz White, does not work out of their office.

Wikinews contacted Marie, to talk about the issues facing Canadians, and what they and their party would do to address them. Wikinews is in the process of contacting every candidate, in every riding across the country, no matter their political stripe. All interviews are conducted over e-mail, and interviews are published unedited, allowing candidates to impart their full message to our readers, uninterrupted.

The incumbent in this riding is National Democratic Party (NDP) leader Jack Layton. Other than Crawford, trying for the riding are Liberal Andrew Lang, Sharon Howarth (Green), and Christina Perreault (Conservative), Marcell Rodden (Marxist-Leninist), and Bahman Yazdanfar (Canadian Action Party), and independent John Richardson. The riding has existed federally since 1979, and has the seat has been occupied by Bob Rae (NDP, 1979–1982), Lynn McDonald (NDP, 1982–1988), Dennis Mills (Liberal, 1988–2004), and Layton (NDP, 2004 to present).

For more information, visit the campaign’s official website, lis … Read More

Scotland suffers severe flooding following downpour

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Parts of Scotland, including, Aberdeenshire, Arbroath, Tayside, and Grampian have experienced severe flooding following heavy rains.

Map of the damage caused by a 2007 flood.

Abroath is being described as virtually cut off, with major routes including the main railway line to Aberdeen disrupted.

A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire council was quoted as saying that “our crews have been working throughout the night providing support to the emergency services, keeping roads clear as best they can and helping with the evacuation of residents.

“The torrential rainfall across a large part of Aberdeenshire has meant that our crews have been stretched very thinly but they have been committed to helping wherever possible.

“Our resources were stretched to the limit. We’d already given out most of our sandbags. Anyone experiencing flood-related difficulties can phone 01224 665400 and we will offer advice, support and assistance.”

Superintendent Innes Walker of Grampian Police said that “people should not take journeys unless absolutely necessary and they should listen to the radio for updates on road conditions.

“The advice we are getting from the Met Office is that conditions improved overnight but clearly there will be a knock on effect for commuters.

“Grampian Police are working with the local authority, Scottish Ambulance Service, Grampian Fire and Rescue and the Coastguard to alleviate the problems and minimise the effects of this flooding on affected people.”

Flood helpline for Aberdeenshire – 01224 665400 Scottish Environment Agency Floodline – 084 … Read More

Icelandic Kaupthing Bank earnings soar 292%

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Iceland’s biggest bank, Kaupthing Bank, has released it’s six month results. The net earnings before taxes were ISK 24,766 million ( EUR 315 million) up 280% since same time last year when they were ISK 6,500 million (EUR 83 million).

The net earnings after taxes were ISK 13,673 million (EUR 174 million) during the second quarter of 2005, soaring up 292% since same time last year.

‘Performing well’

Hreiðar Már Sigurðsson, CEO of Kaupthing bank, says the bank is performing well in all key market areas. Sigurðsson also talked about the future of the bank, and the recent acquisition of Singer & Fridlander: “Our acquisition of the British bank Singer & Friedlander is an important milestone for the Bank and brings us closer to attaining our goal of becoming one of the leading investment banks in northern Europe. Singer & Friedlander brings on board some 600 dedicated professionals to join the trusted team already in place across the group, and the majority of the Bank’s employees are now located outside Iceland.”

The bank has been increasing fast since the Icelandic government sold it in 2002 and it now has 70% of it’s revenues coming from abroad.

Earnings per share were ISK 37.9 ISK during the first six months of the year, up from ISK 14.9 … Read More

Australia appeals for no execution in Indonesian drug case

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A 27-year-old former beauty student from the Gold Coast of Australia faces the death penalty. She was allegedly caught at Bali airport importing marijuana from Australia in October. Appearing before an Indonesian judge after authorities found 4.1kg of high-grade cannabis in her unlocked boarding bag, she could be sentenced to death by firing squad, the maximum penalty for the crime.

With that possibility looming for Ms. Corby, her father journeyed to her side, and an anonymous email petition was distributed around Australia and overseas, calling on the Australian government to ensure that, innocent or guilty, Ms. Corby is returned to Australia to escape execution.

An Australian witness who volunteered information which he says will endanger his own life, has testified that Schapelle Corby was unwittingly caught up in a domestic Australian drug-running operation gone wrong. The man alleged that Australian airport workers had placed the contraband in her luggage after it had been checked-in, with the drugs to have been removed before the luggage left Australia. [1]

Ms. Corby, who says she is innocent of the charges, staggered and paused to vomit while being led through a throng of journalists watching her trial in Jakarta, Indonesia, earlier today.

“I’m really sick,” Ms. Corby told Densbar’s head judge Linton Sirait, who told her to take better care of herself in jail so she would not get diarrhea. “Don’t be stressed,” Judge Sirait added as he adjourned the trial until April 14.

Her sister said a doctor would visit her in prison to assess her condition. Her father, suffering with prostate cancer, said it was difficult to watch his daughter struggling so hard when things were nearing the “nitty-gritty now.”

Wikinews Australia has in-depth coverage of this issue: Schapelle Corby

He added: “The stress and the whole thing and the stomach cramps and the nerves. It’s getting on top of her.”

Australian politicians, noting the public support thrown behind the Gold Coast citizen, are promising to take her case up on several issues with the Indonesian Attorney-General later today. However, Mr. Corby expressed doubts that politicians could work things out: “It depends on what they call justice here [in Indonesia]. It looks a bit fairyland to me.”

“Everything’s reversed here. You’re guilty until you’re proven innocent,” commented Mr. Corby in Indonesia. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is said to be monitoring the case to ensure the court hands down a just and fai … Read More