Bert Janssen, the longest-surviving heart transplant patient, has been recognised by Guinness World Records.
“The longest surviving heart transplant patient (male) is Bert Janssen (Netherlands, b. 8 June 1966), who has lived for 39 years and 100 days after receiving his transplant on 6 June 1984, in Harefield, UK as verified on 14 September 2023,” Guinness World Records wrote on its website.
“The surgery was performed by Harefield Hospital (UK) with further care provided by Laurentius Hospital (NL)”.
At the age of 17, Janssen was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.
His cardiologist in his home country had ties with Harefield Hospital in London and Magdi Yacoub, the doctor who eventually carried out the operation.
The now 57-year-old Janssen reportedly said the new heart allowed him to quickly return to a good quality of life, playing tennis and volleyball and securing a full-time job.
He said he was still grateful for the incredible gift his donor gave him and hopes his story would be an inspiration to others.
“I could never imagine I will come this far, but nevertheless I always look up to others who had their donor heart longer than I had,” he said.
“It feels like an honour to have reached this milestone, but what I think is most important is that I set a benchmark for others.
“It is now officially proved that it is possible to come this far while having a donor heart.
“I assume the marker will yet move quite a bit further and I will be pleased if others will break my record in due course.”
He married his wife Petra in 1996 and welcomed sons Guido and Ivo in 1996 and 2000 respectively.
Fernando Riesgo Gil, consultant cardiologist and lead of the heart transplantation service at Harefield Hospital, said it is fantastic that one of the hospital’s early transplant patients continues to live such a full and happy life so long after his transplant.
“Blood and Transplant website, there were 7,314 adults on the active transplant waiting list in the UK as of last week Feb. 2, 2024, along with 248 patients under the age of 18. Of the total, some 334 are waiting for hearts,” he said.
“Unfortunately, many of these people will die on the waiting list because we have a shortage of organ donors in this country.
“I hope that Bert’s story serves as an encouragement to the public to consider registering as organ donors, to give the gift of life.”
Brian Mulroney, former Canadian PM, dies at 84
Brian Mulroney, the former Canadian prime minister, is dead. He was 84.
Mulroney’s death was announced by Caroline, his daughter, on her X account on Thursday.
She said the 18th Canadian prime minister died “peacefully, surrounded by family”.
“On behalf of my mother and our family, it is with great sadness we announce the passing of my father, The Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister,” the post reads.
Justin Trudeau, the incumbent prime minister, described Mulroney as “generous, tireless, and incredibly passionate”.
He also praised Mulroney’s role in “building the modern, dynamic, and prosperous country we all know today”.
“Brian Mulroney loved Canada. I’m devastated to learn of his passing. He never stopped working for Canadians, and he always sought to make this country an even better place to call home,” Trudeau wrote.
“I’ll never forget the insights he shared with me over the years – he was generous, tireless, and incredibly passionate. As we mourn his passing and keep his family and friends in our thoughts, let us also acknowledge – and celebrate – Mr. Mulroney’s role in building the modern, dynamic, and prosperous country we all know today.”
Mulroney was the prime minister of Canada from 1984 to 1993. He won an overwhelming election victory with his Progressive Conservative Party in 1984.
One of his achievements was the negotiation of the North American free trade agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, the US and Canada, which came into force in 1994.
He also strengthened relations with the US and campaigned against apartheid in South Africa.
However, he fell out of favour during his second term in office because of the ongoing recession, high unemployment, the introduction of new taxes and the failure of a constitutional reform.
The reform was aimed at integrating the predominantly French-speaking province of Quebec more closely into the federation with more rights.
US Air Force officer sets himself ablaze outside Israeli embassy in Washington
A member of the United States’ air force set himself on fire on Sunday afternoon outside the Israeli embassy in Washington.
Ann Stefanek, US air force spokesperson, confirmed the man was an active-duty member but did not disclose his identity.
The man who filmed himself and live-streamed on Twitch, the social media platform, said his actions were in protest of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.
In the video, the man could be heard saying “I will no longer be complicit in genocide”, while standing before the embassy gates.
“I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest,” he added, before setting his phone down to film dousing himself in a clear liquid from a metal bottle.
He then lit himself on fire while yelling “Free Palestine!” until he fell to the ground.
The video was later taken down from the social media platform and replaced with a message stating that the channel violated Twitch’s guidelines.
Vito Maggiolo, the city’s fire department spokesperson, said the airman survived the incident after officers with the US secret service extinguished the fire.
Maggiolo said he was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries and remains in critical condition.
Tal Naim, spokesperson of the Israeli embassy, said no staff members were injured and all were accounted for.
In December, a person self-immolated outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta and used gasoline as an accelerant, according to Atlanta’s fire authorities.
A Palestinian flag was found at the scene, and police said the act was believed to be one of “extreme political protest”.
ECOWAS lifts sanctions against Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has lifted some sanctions imposed on Niger Republic, Mali and Burkina Faso — member nations that are ruled by the military.
The decision to lift the sanctions was reached at the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS held in Abuja on Saturday.
The regional bloc also lifted sanctions on the Republic of Guinea-Bissau.
The military junta in Mali took over power in August 2020 while soldiers in Burkina Faso overthrew the democratic government in September 2022.
Also, soldiers in the Niger Republic in July 2023 sacked the democratic government in the country, forcing the authority of ECOWAS to impose sanctions on the three countries.
Omar Alieu Touray, president of the ECOWAS commission, read the resolution taken at the summit.
He said while the political and targeted sanctions on the Niger Republic remain, the regional bloc lifted some financial and economic sanctions on Guinea-Bissau and Mali.
Touray said the decision is based on humanitarian considerations especially because of the month of Lent and the approaching Ramadan.
“Now, let me make it very clear what I have listed is not exhaustive. Political sanctions have not been lifted. Border closures have been lifted. And commercial sanctions have been lifted. But there are targeted sanctions as well as political sanctions. That remain in force,” he said.
“I think our sanctions regime should be assessed correctly. The list I have given relates mainly to Niger because all the other countries still have political sanctions on them.
“So the border closures, the commercial sanctions and all that are on leisure and that is what the leaders have decided to lift. But individual sanctions as well as political sanctions remain in place in Niger.
“Now for other countries, political sanctions remain. That is the limited ability to attend ECOWAS Summit as well as ministerial sessions.”
Earlier, President Bola Tinubu who is the chairman of ECOWAS asked for the lifting of sanctions on the three member states.
In a statement, Ajuri Ngelale, presidential spokesperson, said Tinubu also said the decision to lift the sanctions was based on humanitarian considerations.
“Everything we did was in hopes of persuading our brothers that there existed a better path, a path that would lead to genuine improvement of their people’s welfare through democratic good governance. And this was a path each of our nations had solemnly agreed with one another pursuant to formal regional treaty and protocol,” the statement quoted Tinubu as saying.
“However, the sanctions that we contemplated might help lead our brothers to the negotiating table have become a harsh stumbling block. In my mind and heart, that which is hurtful yet ineffective serves no good purpose and should be abandoned.
“ECOWAS was established for the unassailable objective of improving the lives of the people of this region through fraternal cooperation among all member states. This edifice was cemented on the strong foundation and apt conviction that, united as one, we can be the true masters of our destiny.”
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
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