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Oil leaking at rate of 25,000 barrels a day in Mexican gulf

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill could be leaking at a rate of 25,000 barrels a day, five times the government’s current estimate, industry experts say.
Basing their calculations on government data and standard industry measurement tools, the experts said the Gulf spill may already rival the historic 1969 Santa Barbara, Calif., and 1989 Exxon Valdez disasters.
Ian MacDonald, professor of oceanography at Florida State University who specialises in tracking ocean oil seeps from satellite imagery, said there may already be more than 9 million gallons of oil floating in the Gulf now.
Meanwhile engineers prepared to try containing the gushing Gulf of Mexico oil well with giant underwater boxes and siphons, as seaside towns braced for landfall of a giant slick.

BP PLC, the oil giant that leased the rig whose sinking last week caused the disaster, has failed in efforts using unmanned submarines to activate a shutoff device on the undersea well.
A stopgap solution BP is planning—covering the well with containers and pumping the oil out—will take weeks to roll out and is untested at the one-mile depth of this well, however. BP said it would begin working this weekend on a permanent solution to the crisis, drilling a new hole to cut off the damaged well, but industry scientists said that could take months.

The Deepwater Horizon, operated for BP by Transocean Ltd., burned and sank last week, leaving 11 dead and an open well on the ocean floor.
With a quick solution to shut off the spill looking out of reach Friday, the government and the oil industry struggled to contain the resulting slick and keep it from shore. The American Petroleum Institute alerted members that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar wanted advice from the industry on how to manage the spill by the end of Friday.

The Deep Horizon slick began threatening the wetlands of the Louisiana co.ast, raising fears of environmental disaster in some of America’s richest shrimp, oyster and fish breeding grounds. Strong winds and choppy seas hampered efforts to hem in the oil. Several vinyl containment barriers, known as booms, broke up in the rough weather. Others remained on shore, as high waves - expected to continue through the weekend - made it impossible to lay them in the Gulf.
An equally pressing emergency loomed more than 40 miles offshore, where the deepwater well kept spewing oil uncontrollably.

Industry scientists say the permanent solution is to close the entire well. To do that, they must drill another hole - through 13,000 feet of rock a mile under the ocean’s floor - that will intercept the leaking well. They can then pump in cement to try to plug the leaks.
This operation will take up to three months and is highly complex; the drills must precisely hit the leaking well—which is just seven inches wide. When a well off the coast of Australia blew out last year, it took five attempts over 10 weeks to hit the old well and shut it down.

BP says it will begin drilling the new well this weekend.
Within hours of the explosion, BP was sending unmanned submarines to the well to try to trigger a device called a “blowout preventer,” which is essentially a powerful valve meant to clamp down on the well and shut it off in case of emergency.
The device should have been triggered in the explosion, but wasn’t; that failure will be a central question in the investigation.

In theory, the blowout preventer can also be activated by underwater robots. BP has six robots working on it, and says it will keep trying, but so far the valve has not worked. “It’s just not functioning appropriately,” Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, said in an interview this week.
For now, BP is trying a series of stopgap measures. The company is constructing three steel boxes—each 40 feet tall and weighing 73 tons—that it will place on top of the gushing oil. Pipes running through the boxes will carry the oil to a ship.  - (Wall Street Journal)

China back on the map by World Expo 2010

At 63 metres high, the inverted crimson pyramid hangs over Shanghai’s waterfront, dwarfing the 200 other newly built structures around it. Designed to resemble an ancient crown, the China Pavilion in the centre of the sprawling Expo 2010 grounds along the Huangpu River is very much the powerful host surrounded by rings of anxious-to-please guests.

The opening of Expo 2010 following the spectacular fireworks display that rivalled the stunning opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics two years ago, represents the fulfillment of a century-old Chinese ambition to hold the World’s Fair in Shanghai. The near-full attendance at the six-month-long event – 189 of the world’s 196 countries are to take part – reflects how the Middle Kingdom has moved from the ranks of the world’s envious to the envied.

If the Beijing Olympics marked the moment China asserted itself as a global power after decades of isolation, the Shanghai Expo represents the world’s acknowledgment of that new status, with developing countries in particular fighting an undeclared battle to show which among them is friendliest with this emerging superpower.
“It’s a coming-of-age party,” said the Ottawa-born television host, Mark Rowswell who is a massive celebrity in China and Canada’s commissioner-general to Expo 2010. “The Olympics was a chance for China to put on a show for the world. The Expo is the flipside of that – the world trying to put on a show for China.”
Indeed, some 95 percent of the 100 million people who are expected to pass through Expo’s turnstiles over the coming six months are expected to be Chinese. In true Chinese style, it will be the largest and most expensive World Fair in the 149-year history of the event.

Just as Beijing did two years ago, this city of 20 million people has transformed itself for Expo. Some $59-billion was reportedly spent on the 5.3-square-kilometre site that spans both sides of the Huangpu , as well as new subway lines, a new airport terminal and an overhaul of the city’s signature Bund riverfront stroll.
Since Queen Victoria summoned the world to Hyde Park for the first World’s Fair in 1851, Expos have repeatedly been used to herald the arrival of new forces on the international stage. The Eiffel Tower was built in Paris for the 1889 World’s Fair, and a trio of early 20th century exhibitions in the United States showcased the speed with which the U.S. was overtaking the conflict-ridden powers of Europe.
The theme of Expo 2010 is urbanisation – the ubiquitous motto is “better city, better life” – though as with past world fairs, most national pavilions are dedicated to showing off that country’s cultural and technological achievements.

Perhaps most symbolic of Beijing’s growing influence in parts of the world the West once held sway over is the joint African pavilion, which hosts 42 countries under one roof. The largest pavilion on the site, the entire tab was picked up by the Chinese government to ensure that as many countries as possible were in attendance.
“China is very important to the whole of the world, and especially to Tanzania and to Africa. China has contributed a lot, first in the decolonisation process in Africa, and after they have supported us economically,” Tanzania’s ambassador to Beijing, Omar Mapuri said. “It’s a win-win relationship for both. China is looking for resources in Africa, and of course we’re looking for access to the biggest market in the world.”

Critics say the international response is motivated primarily by fear that those who did not attend would suffer in terms of access to the world’s largest market. “You’ve always had to pay the price if you want to do business here. You have to pay tribute to the Emperor,” said a Shanghai-based writer and consultant
Paul French. “Governments feel, and I don’t think they’re wrong about this, that the Chinese would somehow penalise them, as they do whenever a Western leader has a cup of tea with the Dalai Lama.”
– (The Globe and Mail)

Cheese and eggs: UK debate digested

Gordon Brown looked like a mouldy cheese, David Cameron a fleshy buttock and Nick Clegg a scrambled egg. Britain’s newspapers pulled no punches as they summed up the last of the country’s pre-election leadership debates in typically ribald fashion.
With the partisan press in broad agreement with opinion polls that handed victory in the third televised encounter to Conservative leader Cameron, many dwelled on Prime Minister Brown’s failure to revive his chances ahead of the May 6 vote.
And for some there was disappointment that more was not made of the now-notorious gaffe that saw Brown caught on tape calling a supporter of his Labour party - an elderly woman by the name of Gillian Duffy - “bigoted.”
The Sun newspaper, a Rupert Murdoch-owned tabloid that has declared its backing for Cameron, gave its reaction in image form, picturing Brown’s face burned into a piece of bread under the headline “Scrambled Clegg and Toast.”
“Cameron ran rings round exhausted Gordon Brown and increasingly rattled Clegg as they traded blows over the economy,” Sun Political Editor Trevor Kavanagh wrote. “The Tory [Conservative] leader looked like a real prime minister in waiting as he laid out his plans on tax, spending and bank reform.
“Like a tired old stag cornered by two young bucks, Brown put his head down and charged,” he added.
The left-wing Daily Mirror front paged an image of Cameron next to a soap powder box bearing the words “New! Improved! Spin.” Another headline added: “More fibs and froth than ever! Guaranteed.”
The paper described Cameron as a “slippery salesman” trying to “soft-soap the electorate on the economy.”
More surprising was a headline on the front page of the Guardian, another left-leaning paper, which handed unequivocal election victory to Cameron and his Conservatives. “Barring an earthquake, Tory leader is on his way to No. 10 [Downing Street],” it said. - (CNN)

Bangkok loses 233 million dollars in tourism revenue

(The Hindu) - Anti-government protests that have taken over Bangkok’s chief commercial district have already cost the country an estimated 233 million dollars in forfeited tourism revenues, media reports said Saturday.
Followers of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), also called the red shirts for their trademark protest attire, have been staging rallies in Bangkok since March 12 calling on the prime minister to dissolve parliament and hold new elections.

On April 3 the red shirts occupied Ratchaprasong Road in the heart of the capital’s commercial district, forcing scores of posh shopping centres and five—star hotels to shut over security concerns.
The protests, which have claimed 27 lives and left more than 900 people injured in clashes between troops and red shirts this month, are starting to have their toll on the country’s tourism sector, still Thailand’s leading foreign exchange earner, the Bangkok Post reported, citing government figures.
In March, 1.34 million foreign visitors arrived at international airports in Bangkok, Phuket, Hat Yai and Chiang Mai, down 4.6 per cent compared with March 2008, according to data compiled by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

In April, arrivals slumped 21 per cent compared with 2008 figures. The TAT compared 2010 arrivals to 2008 figures, the most recent “normal” year for tourism, prior to last year’s downturn as a result of the global financial crisis.
Revenues for tourism expenditure fell by 7.5 billion baht (233 million dollars) during March and April, compared with 2008 expenditures, TAT estimated. TAT governor Surapol Svetasreni said the downturn will force the agency to lower its target for 15.5 million tourists this year, compared with 14.4 million in 2009 and 14.6 million in 2008. A new estimate will be announced after the end of the protest, which is nowhere in sight.

Belgium agrees to Burqa Ban, while France contemplates

(Washington Post) – Belgium’s vote to ban full face veils in public is the furthest any European country has gone to confront a tiny minority whose choice in clothing has come to symbolise the issue of integrating some Muslim minorities.
The issue is being debated elsewhere in Europe, especially in France, and the example of two countries moving toward a ban has raised the stakes in a dispute pitting politicians and public opinion against Muslim leaders and human rights groups.

The lower house of parliament in Brussels passed the draft law almost unanimously Thursday evening. It could become law in the coming months as the Senate is not expected to block it.
France, home to Europe’s biggest Muslim minority, is next in line, planning to debate a draft law from mid-May and ban all face veils in public within months. Polls say about 70 percent of voters want some ban, but not all back a complete one.

Full facial veils -- known as niqabs or burqas -- are extremely rare in Europe, but the number of women wearing them is rising. No exact figures exist, but estimates put the totals at about 2,000 in France and a few hundred in Belgium.
Promoters of a ban denounce the veils as a threat to public security, an affront to women’s dignity, a negation of gender equality or an intrusion of religion on public life. Concern over radical Islamism echoes through their arguments.

In France this week, both the communist deputy Andre Gerin and the far-right leader Marine Le Pen used the same term -- “the tip of the iceberg” -- to urge a full ban on the veils.
“Once we solve the burqa problem, we’ll still have the problem of polygamy, of praying in the streets of big cities, of banning pork from cafeterias, in short all the sectarian demands the French are confronted with daily,” Le Pen said.
Bans are under debate in several other European states. Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said this week a veil ban was “conceivable” there, and his minister for women supported one in public buildings, banks, hospitals and offices.

Far-right leader Geert Wilders, whose political clout could grow in the Dutch general elections in June, advocates outlawing face veils there. Right-wing groups in Switzerland and Italy have also urged bans, but no action seems likely there soon.
The moves toward a full veil ban have evoked protests from Muslim leaders in Europe, many of whom do not consider veiling obligatory in Islam but resent laws that single out Muslims.
In Paris, head of a civic group, M’Hammed Henniche, called UAM 93, told officials the planned ban there was spreading “panic” in the city’s sensitive northern suburbs. “The community feels like this is a rape,” he said.
Details of bans

Under Belgium’s draft law, wearing a full facial veil could lead to fines of 15-25 euros (about $20 to $33) and imprisonment for up to seven days.
According to the Paris daily Le Figaro, Paris plans to slap a 150 euro ($200) fine on women wearing full veils, with stiffer penalties for people who force others to veil themselves.

Rescuing girls from sex slavery

A group fights to prevent sexual trafficking of Nepal’s women and girls. Anuradha Koirala, 61, started Maiti Nepal following an abusive relationship, in a country where more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls have been rescued and rehabilitated since 1993
Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.
“I used to be really sad and frustrated with what was happening in my life,” she said.
The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta - now 26 - had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta’s visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.
“The brothel where I was ... there were many customers coming in everyday. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn’t comply, she would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons.”
It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal’s sex trafficking victims.
“Families are tricked all the time,” said Koirala. “The trafficking of the girls is done by people who are basically known to the girls, who can lure them from the village by telling them they are getting a nice job. It’s a lucrative business.”
By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993.
According to the U.S. State Department, some 10,000 to 15,000 women and girls from Nepal are trafficked to India and then sexually exploited each year.
Koirala’s own history in an abusive relationship led her to her crusade. For most of her young adulthood, she taught primary school English in Nepal. But when her relationship took a violent turn, her life’s “purpose and responsibility completely changed,” she said.
“Every day, there was battering. And then I had three miscarriages that I think were from the beating. It was very difficult because I didn’t know in those days where to go and report it, who to ... talk to.”
After the relationship ended, Koirala used a portion of her $100 monthly salary to start a small retail shop to employ and support displaced victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
By the early 1990s, an increasing demand for help and persistent cases of violence against women compelled Koirala to do more. Maiti Nepal was her brainchild for giving voice, legal defense and rehabilitation to victims of sex trafficking. – (CNN)

Ten-year-old girl survives lethal box jellyfish attack

A ten-year-old girl has become the first person ever to have survived an attack from a lethal box jellyfish, the world’s most venomous creature.
Rachael Shardlow was stung by the creature while swimming in the Calliope River, near Gladstone, in Queensland, Australia.
Rachael’s 13-year-old brother pulled her on to the riverbank. She told him she could not see or breathe, and fell unconscious with the jellyfish’s tentacles still strapped to her limbs.
Zoology and tropical ecology associate professor at James Cook University, Jamie Seymour, says the girl’s survival after such an extensive sting is unheard of.

‘I don’t know of anybody in the entire literature where we’ve studied this where someone has had such an extensive sting that has survived,’ he told ABC news in Australia.
‘When I first saw the pictures of the injuries I just went, ‘you know to be honest, this kid should not be alive. I mean they are horrific.’
‘Usually when you see people who have been stung by box jellyfish with that number of the tentacle contacts on their body, it’s usually in a morgue.’

Associate professor Seymour says the university is interested to see how long it takes for Rachael to recover, as well as whether there are any long-term effects.
‘From our point of view it’s really useful information that you very seldom, if ever, get your hands on,’ he told the Aussie TV station.
Rachael’s father, Geoff Shardlow, says his daughter has scarring as well as some short-term memory loss.
‘We’ve noticed a small amount of short-term memory loss, like riding a pushbike to school and forgetting she’s taken a pushbike,’ he said.
‘The greatest fear was actual brain damage [but] her cognitive skills and memory tests were all fine.’
Shardlow says it is vital there are more jellyfish warning signs erected throughout central Queensland.
– [Daily Mail]

In the Land of Music and murder

With 268 armed gangs or neighbourhood ‘corner crews’ locked in deadly turf wars, Jamaica is one of the most violent societies on earth.
With a population of less than three million people, police kill hundreds of people every year in what they claim are crime-related shootouts, making Jamaica’s police force among the deadliest in the world.
Rights groups say that these shootings add up to a campaign of extra-judicial executions carried out by police who have taken the law into their own hands.

The official police response to these allegations cannot be recorded - the commissioner has issued standing orders which ban all officers from speaking to foreign journalists.
But, as reporter Simon Ostrovsky discovered, many others in Jamaica are prepared to speak out. One of them, Robert Hill, an entertainer, actually warned of his own impending death.
“Hello Jamaica. I’m Robert Hill AKA Kentucky Kid. I really don’t know what is going on but all I know, police are covering up for each other and they’re trying to kill me,” Hill explained in a video message.
Hill went on to explain how his car had been hit by a police car that had passed through a red light.
Hills car was badly damaged in the incident and he was taken to the police station to give a written statement.
But after waiting for four hours, Hill was sent home and told to return within 24 hours to submit the statement.
When he returned the following day, the police told him that they could not take his statement.
“They told me that they could not take my statement, [and asked] why I did not give it at the time of the accident. I told them that Sergeant Gardener told me to return to give it,” Hill explained.
When he refused to leave without providing a statement, Hill said he was physically forced out of the building.
“All I know is I can’t get any justice. Who will fix my car? Who will take care of my health?” Hill asked in his video message.

Kimmo Matthews, a reporter for the Jamaica Observer, says Hill was concerned for his safety.
“The first time he came in and spoke to us it was evident that he was really concerned. He had mentioned that police had threatened him at his home and they were intimidating him.”
Hill saw a legal aid lawyer who advised him to install a camera in his house. He followed their advice.
“After installing the camera he came to me three days later showing me some video footage of what appeared to be police manhandling him along with his wife. It appeared they were holding him and pushing him around in a room and they were asking him questions,” Matthews says.
Hills wife was eight months pregnant when she was beaten by police along with her husband.Hill told Matthews that members of the police wanted him to drop his case and had resorted to intimidation and physical violence to make him do so.

When Hill took the video of the violence to the police high command, he said nobody was willing to help him.
“I can’t get any justice from anyone in Jamaica. All I know is everywhere I go for justice in the police force there is someone there trying to kill me or someone there trying to set me up with the police,” Hill said.
“So I would like the whole world to check this out, listen to this, and know that if I’m dead or anything happens to me, it’s the Jamaican police that carry out that work or that order.”
On December 8, 2009 Robert Hill was shot dead by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). The police report said they were forced to shoot because Hill had a gun. Kumiko, Hill’s wife, said Hill had received a call that night from someone who said they wanted to see a car that he was selling. He told her he was going out to show it to them but would be right back. His cousin accompanied him, but Hill had forgotten the car key and asked his cousin to return to the house for it.

“The Robert Hill case perhaps is a nadir for Jamaica because Robert went and caught the people on tape,” says Carolyn Gomes, a medical doctor and the executive director of Jamaicans for Justice.
“You can see them, their faces, you can see them beating him and his wife. You can see them threatening him, and he took that tape to the police high command and they came back and killed him.”
“It was too much. It was too much for me to bear. Up to this point I cannot believe that he is dead, that he is gone, just because of a car,” says Hills mother, Caroline.
Robert Hill was one of 224 people killed in police shootings last year.
“In the last ten years, 1,900 of our Jamaican citizens, officially, have been killed by the police, more than 1,900. In that time, one policeman has been convicted of manslaughter and he has been freed on appeal,” Gomes says.

Indian ‘holy man’ perplexes doctors

Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian man who claims not to have eaten or drunk anything for 70 years - but is still in perfect health.
A team of scientists and doctors in Sterling Hospital, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, are studying the claims of Prahlad Jani, a local holy man, who is over 70 years old.
He claims to have been blessed by a goddess when he was 8-years-old, which has enabled him to survive without sustenance and that he derives energy through meditation.
Most people can live without food for several weeks, with the body drawing on its fat and protein stores. But the average human can survive for only three to four days without water.


Middle East talks ‘set to begin’
The US secretary of state has said that the Middle East peace process will get back on track next week, with indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks.
Hillary Clinton said on Friday that George Mitchell, the US special Middle East envoy, would travel to the region to mediate the peace negotiations.

“We will be starting with proximity talks next week,” Clinton said.
Clinton said the US expected an Arab foreign ministers meeting on Saturday to endorse the new talks.
But Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, told Al Jazeera that the beginning of the talks was not yet a done deal.

“We are making every possible effort to begin these talks. Every effort is being made to do this. But the official decision will be made by the Arab foreign ministers and the PLO executive committee,” he said.
“Keep in mind that we have agreed as Arabs and Palestinians to begin the proximity talks last March, and then the Israeli government decided to introduce 1,600 housing units on occupied land in East Jerusalem which sabotaged that effort.

“Now, I hope that once the Arab foreign ministers and the PLO executive committee meet next week we can have an answer on whether to begin these talks.”
There was no immediate reaction from Israeli government officials. - (Al-Jazeera)

India and Pakistan seek thaw
The prime ministers of India and Pakistan have agreed that the two countries relations should be normalised after months of diplomatic deadlock prompted by the attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008, according to officials.

India’s Manmohan Singh met Yusuf Reza Gilani, his Pakistani counterpart, on the sidelines of a two-day summit of South Asian leaders in Bhutan’s capital, Thimpu, on Thursday.
Nirupama Rao, India’s Foreign Secretary, said that the two men had “very good talks” and asked their officials to take steps as soon as possible to normalise relations, signalling an unexpected thaw.
“The idea was on renewal of dialogue; to understand the state of affairs,” Rao told reporters after the meeting.
“There was a lot of soul-searching here. The searchlight is on the future, not on the past.”

She said the two prime ministers had asked their foreign ministers and foreign secretaries to meet “as soon as possible to work out the modalities for restoring trust” and taking the dialogue forward.
India broke off a peace dialogue with Pakistan after 166 people were killed as armed men rampaged through Mumbai in November 2008.

Since then, New Delhi has repeatedly rejected Islamabad’s calls for talks resumption, insisting that not enough has been done to bring members of the Pakistan-based group, which India blames for the attacks, to justice.
The two men last met on the sidelines of a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Egypt, where they agreed in a joint statement that action on terrorism “should not be linked” to peace talks. - (Al-Jazeera)

Australia overhauls cigarette packs
Australia is set to ban branding, logos, promotional text and colourful images from all packets of cigarettes in attempt to dramatically cut the number of smokers in the country.
From 2012, all packets of cigarettes will look almost identical, carrying prominent, graphic health warnings while the brand will be relegated to a small, generic font at the bottom.

“Cigarettes are not cool. Cigarettes kill people. Therefore, the government makes no apology whatsoever for what it’s doing,” Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, told reporters on Thursday.
“The cigarette tobacco companies will hate this measure, they will oppose it. Nonetheless, we believe, this and other measures help to reduce smoking.”

Canberra has said that it wants one million fewer Australians to smoke by 2020.
Rudd said that about 15,000 Australians die of smoking-related diseases every year, and that tobacco use costs the country $31.5b a year in healthcare and lost productivity.
The government also announced a 25 percent hike in the tax on cigarettes from midnight on Thursday.
Tobacco companies immediately condemned the packaging rules and vowed to challenge them in court.
“Introducing plain packaging just takes away the ability of a consumer to identify our brand from another brand and that’s of value to us,’’ Cathie Keogh, a spokeswoman for the Imperial Tobacco company, told local radio.
“It really affects the value of our business as a commercial enterprise and we will fight to support protecting our international property rights.” – (Al-Jazeera)


Prostate cancer vaccine approved
A “vaccine” which harnesses the body’s own immune system to fight prostate cancer has been approved for use by US drug regulators.
Provenge - which is designed to be used in men with advanced disease - is the first of its kind to be accepted by the Food and Drug Administration.
Each dose has to be individually tailored and it is an expensive treatment at $93,000 per patient.
It will add to, rather than replace, existing treatments, said experts.
Doctors have been working on therapies that prompt the immune system to fight tumours for decades.
Potential success stories include an experimental vaccine for melanoma which is in the late stages of development.
This latest therapy is made by collecting special blood cells from each patient that help the immune system recognise cancer as a threat.
These are then mixed with a protein found on most prostate cancer cells and a substance which kick-starts the immune response.
The drug is not a “cure” but is used in advanced prostate cancer that has spread to other sites in the body and is no longer responding to standard hormone treatment.
Clinical trials showed that the treatment extended the lives of patients by four months.
This compares with an average of three months with chemotherapy.

Chilli peppers key to killing pain
Studying chilli peppers is helping scientists create a new type of painkiller which could stop pain at its source.
A team at the University of Texas says a substance similar to capsaicin, which makes chilli peppers hot, is found in the human body at sites of pain.
And blocking the production of this substance can stop chronic pain, the team found.
They report their findings in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Capsaicin is the primary ingredient in hot chilli peppers which causes a burning sensation.
It does this by binding to receptors present on the cells inside the body.

Similarly, when the body is injured, it releases capsaicin-like substances - fatty acids called oxidized linoleic acid metabolites or OLAMs - and these, via receptors, cause pain, the researchers have found.
Dr Kenneth Hargreaves, senior researcher at the Dental School at the University of Texas, and his team next set out to see if they could block these newly discovered pain pathways.
Lab work on mice showed that by knocking out a gene for the receptors, there was no sensitivity to capsaicin.
Armed with this knowledge they set about making drugs to do the same.
Dr Hargreaves said: “This is a major breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of pain and how to more effectively treat it.

“We have discovered a family of endogenous capsaicin-like molecules that are naturally released during injury, and now we understand how to block these mechanisms with a new class of non-addictive therapies.”
Ultimately, he hopes the drugs will be able to treat different types of chronic pain, including that associated with cancer and inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.