News Summary

Women desperate to be curvy buying illegal stimulants

Slender women desperate for a curvy ‘slim thick’ figure popularised by social media stars including the Kardashians are taking a potentially dangerous appetite stimulant in order to gain weight, a documentary reveals. Model Altou Mvuama, 19, from London, is one of thousands of women worldwide who have taken Apetamin, often falsely promoted by social media influencers as a quick fix for enhancing curves and achieving an hourglass physique. Apetamin, which is manufactured and sold by the Indian pharmaceutical company TIL Healthcare, is a syrup containing cyproheptadine (a hepatotoxin) to stimulate appetite, lysine and some vitamins. It has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration or the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and has reported side effects including liver failure, extreme drowsiness and excessive swelling. Despite this, Altou found Apetamin for sale on a string of sites including Amazon, Instagram and Depop, with bottles available for as little as £10. She was also able to buy it in three shops in London, with shopkeepers extolling its ability to help people gain weight. In Dangerous Curves: Get Thicc, Get Sick?, a new BBC Three documentary, she spoke to other young women who have taken Apetamin in the hope it would help them sculpt their dream body, and was horrified when she heard about the nasty side effects they experienced. Altou, who previously shared a video promoting Apetamin to her 14,600 YouTube subscribers, told how the product made her so drowsy she fell asleep at her school desk and her mother questioned if she might be pregnant. ‘You definitely get really sleepy and tired and miserable, my mum thought I was pregnant at one point because the amount of times I was sleeping,’ she recalled. ‘I was falling asleep at school and my mood swings were crazy. My mum did not want me to take Apetamin, because she was taking it a long time ago, again she loves being thicc[sic]. It had a huge affect on her. Because she has sickle cell anaemia she had to go to hospital, she ended up in a coma, it wasn’t good at all.’

Crowds react with joy and wariness to Floyd verdict

Black Americans from Missouri to Florida to Minnesota cheered, marched, hugged, waved signs and sang jubilantly in the streets after former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty over the death of George Floyd. But they also tempered those celebrations with the knowledge Chauvin’s conviction was just a first, tiny step on the long road to address centuries of racist policing in a nation founded on slavery. Many said they had prepared for a different result after watching countless deaths of people of colour at the hands of police go unpunished. The shooting death of another Black man, Daunte Wright, by officers in suburban Minneapolis during the trial and of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago last month heightened tensions and muted the court victory for many. “We are relieved but not celebrating because the killing continues,” the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who travelled to Minneapolis for the verdict, said in a telephone interview. “We hope this is the breaking point to stop legal lynching.” In St Louis, Missouri, a police association of predominantly black officers called the verdict important but “a pebble in the ocean”.

Palestine hit by another COVID-19 wave

Palestinians have suffered through a severe wave of COVID-19. Haytham Dieck with Bethlehem Bible College says many people connected with the school have fallen sick or seen loved ones die. Worse yet, Palestine has not received any large numbers of vaccines yet. Dieck says, “The Ministery of Health says they have some, but it’s only a limited number. I mean, in the West Bank you speak about three million people, in the Gaza strip you speak about 2 million. So about 5 million people [need vaccines]. People who were in their 20s and 30s, unfortunately, died because of COVID-19. It’s one of the saddest events ever, for someone alive today in the 21st century, to see all of this going on.” The loss of tourism Bethlehem thrived on tourism before the pandemic. “This is the petrol of Bethlehem,” says Dieck. “This is what makes Bethlehem actually alive.” The lack of tourists for over a year has crushed many families economically. Dieck says, “That means families live on tourism, either if they are working in the hotel business, or tour guide agencies. You speak about at least thousands of families that are living because of tourism. Now, they don’t have any income. And what makes it complicated is if you are infected by COVID-19, this will cost lots of money for treatment.” Ask God to comfort your Palestinian brothers and sisters. Pray they would show the hope of the risen Jesus during a difficult time. And pray Palestine would get access to large numbers of vaccines soon.

St. Vincent volcano threatens food and water supplies

Some 16,000 residents living near La Soufriere were told to evacuate on Friday following the volcano’s first explosion. An unknown number refuses to depart, The Associated Press reports, leaving officials concerned for residents’ well-being. “It’s destroying everything in its path,” Erouscilla Joseph, director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Center, told the AP following a massive blast. “Anybody who would have not heeded the evacuation, they need to get out immediately.” The ongoing volcanic activity puts essential supplies like food and water at risk. Falling ash contaminates water sources, while fast-moving lava flows wipe out citrus crops. Authorities met yesterday afternoon to discuss food difficulties, while Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says it could take months for the island nation to recover. Pastor Al Blake of Harvest Bible Chapel in Arnos Vale, St. Vincent, discussed the disaster with Trans World Radio’s Bill Early. “Ash plumes up to eight kilometers were observed, and ashfall has been recorded as far down as the Argyle International Airport. That can go on for days, for weeks,” Blake says. The St. Vincent volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and an explosion in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. Authorities have not reported any casualties from the latest eruption, but approximately 3,200 people stay in temporary shelters. “The evacuation centers here on the island are mainly schools and churches,” Blake explains. “Schools and churches don’t have beds; they don’t have all of the normal comforts of a domestic home.” Ask the Lord to comfort believers in St. Vincent during this tumultuous time. Pray for wisdom for Pastor Blake and other leaders as they seek ways to help people in need. “Psalm 46 shows us God is our refuge and strength; He’s a very present help in times of trouble,” Blake says. “Even though the mountains quake, God is able to save and deliver.” As people choose whether to stay in place or evacuate, pray God would give them wisdom and discernment