- Trierweiler in India for first outing after Hollande scandal
- Para-counsellor policemen help other cops
- China patient with 'botched' nose gets death for killing doctor
Posted: 26 Jan 2014 08:06 PM PST
MUMBAI: Valerie Trierweiler, the ex-partner of French President Francois Hollande, was in India Monday on a charity visit, making her first public appearance since revelations of the leader's affair with an actress.
Trierweiler arrived in the financial city of Mumbai just after midnight for the long-planned two-day mission to promote a French humanitarian group, despite no longer being France's first lady.
Trierweiler did not speak to reporters after landing at Mumbai international airport and was surrounded by photographers before getting into a waiting car.
Hollande announced to AFP on Saturday that he was splitting from his partner of eight years following intense media scrutiny over his relationship with French actress Julie Gayet, 41.
Trierweiler, 48, had been convalescing at a presidential residence outside Paris after leaving hospital last Saturday, where she was treated for what was described as fatigue brought on by media reports on the affair two weeks ago.
Trierweiler is expected to visit a hospital Monday in Mumbai where the charity organising the trip, Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim - ACF), helps care for malnourished children.
The trip - which the charity says is being financed mostly by private Indian partners - also includes witnessing a training programme for medical staff.
She will lunch with the wives of top local businessmen and attend a gala dinner on Monday evening at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel where she is also staying.
A press conference is planned for Monday but Trierweiler herself may not address the media, the charity has said. Her visit is expected to generate intense press interest given the scandal and her refusal so far to speak about it.
Her entourage said on Sunday she was accompanied on the trip by a presidential bodyguard. A source close to her said: "She is on good terms with the president and she is better."
Monday's dinner has been organised to promote ACF's local charity partner Fight Hunger Foundation, with Trierweiler the guest of honour and sponsors including Moet & Chandon.
She will be shown around the city by French actress Charlotte Valandrey, who is involved in the cause of promoting organ donations and transplants.
Trierweiler visited India in February last year when, accompanied by the president, she visited a shelter for street children in New Delhi and spoke of her desire as First Lady to become a champion of children's rights.
Trierweiler is a glamorous, twice-married career journalist who has three children of her own.
Hollande, 59, announced his separation from Segolene Royal, a senior member of his Socialist party and a presidential candidate in 2007, just after she lost the election to Nicolas Sarkozy.
He then started living openly with Trierweiler. Although she is not married to Hollande, she assumed the role of first lady at official functions after Hollande's election in 2012.
Trierweiler cut down on her work at the French magazine Paris-Match and engaged in charitable activities after his election.
Following Hollande's announcement of their separation, Trierweiler tweeted: "I extend all my gratitude to the fantastic Elysee staff. I will never forget their dedication nor the emotional farewell."
On Sunday several thousand people marched through Paris to rally against a slew of policies under Hollande - the most unpopular French president of modern times - in a "Day of Anger" which ended with clashes between police and protesters. -AFPRelated story:
Hollande heads to crisis hit Turkey after split from first lady
Posted: 26 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST
Superintendent of Police Jason Loke does not just catch crooks. He also catches problems – the personal kind.
The 40-year-old is one of a growing number of volunteer police para-counsellors who are trained to help their colleagues deal with life's issues, whether marital, financial or work-related.
Once, he noticed how another policeman was under-performing at work. He took him out for drinks, and the married colleague revealed that he was having an affair with an old friend.
"He wanted to end the extramarital affair. He was concerned that it would affect his family and career," said Loke, an assistant director of the Forensics Division at the Criminal Investigation Department.
"I told him that if he gave up his family or career, it may not be the best way forward. Ultimately, he ended the relationship."
Loke, who has served in the force for 16 years, noticed how officers are more comfortable sharing their problems with one of their peers instead of an in-house psychologist.
That was one reason the voluntary para-counselling programme was launched in 2001. It started with 100 counsellors, but there are now 330, with at least one para-counsellor in every division.
It may be a volunteer position, but those who sign up have to go through a rigorous selection process, which involves passing a psychometric test to see whether the volunteers have the traits of a good counsellor, and a selection interview.
And then there are five days of training. During this time, they are taught basic counselling skills and learn how to support officers and their families in a crisis.
They also go through a suicide intervention and prevention course, in which they learn to spot signs of suicidal behaviour, such as depression and sudden withdrawals from social interactions.
Staff sergeant Dalip Kaur, 37, remembers how the para-counselling skills she learnt helped her deal with one of her recruits at the Training Command.
He was having problems dealing with the fact that he could not go home to play computer games, said Dalip.
"It was just a few more weeks to passing out and the trainee had refused to talk, as if he had lost his voice," she said.
"I showed him a calendar and tried to explain to him that he could go home to his games soon, after taking away the Saturdays and Sundays.
"After that, he seemed okay. I didn't think that a calendar could do such wonders," she said. — The Straits Times / Asia News Network
Posted: 26 Jan 2014 09:12 PM PST
BEIJING: A Chinese court sentenced to death Monday a patient who fatally stabbed a doctor over what he considered a botched nose operation, state media reported, in a case spotlighting China's overburdened health system.
Lian Enqing, 33, killed an ear, nose and throat specialist and injured two others because he "felt displeased with his nose and claimed to be suffering respiratory problems", the Xinhua state news agency said.
"While the hospital confirmed that the surgery was successful, Lian felt he was being cheated by the doctors," it cited Lian's sister as saying.
The attack last October prompted dozens of hospital staff to protest outside their workplace in Wenling city in the eastern province of Zhejiang, urging stronger safety guarantees in the face of periodic violence by patients.
Doctors in China, the world's most populous nation, are often overburdened with too many cases and taking bribes for better care is reportedly a widespread practice.
Authorities last month announced a one-year campaign to better protect hospital staff against attackers. -AFP
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