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Entries in Angelina Jolie (6)


Angelina Jolie Links News of Geneticist Mary-Claire King & New Movie "Decoding Annie Parker" To Her BRCA1 Gene

A new movie “Decoding Annie Parker” will shine a light on the discovery of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that dramatically increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. With Tuesday’s revelation that Angelina Jolie carries the BRCA1 gene, the movie with Helen Hunt playing the geneticist Mary-Claire King is certain to spark interest in the film.

The film will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival in France this month.

“We knew there were going to be serious obstacles to getting people to watch (the film),” director Steven Bernstein said at the Dallas International Film Festival. “People’s first reaction would be ‘Oh, it’s a film about cancer, I don’t want to see it.’ So we had to get the word out the film was about something bigger than that — although cancer’s a very, very big thing indeed — but it’s something about the human condition that we were trying to express. Something that people could actually come and see and feel uplifted by rather than depressed by.” via NBC News

The opening trailer of the film clearly adds a bit of gender sparing to the story line, with Hunt surrounded by dismissive men who say her theory that there is a defective gene link is poppycock.

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Angelina Jolie stunned women worldwide, sharing news that she had a double mastectomy in an offensive move against eventual probability of breast cancer. Actress and magnificent humanitarian, mother, lover and partner Angelina Jolie revealed that she had a double mastectomy earlier this year after learning that she carries a defective version of a gene called BRCA1. The gene defect, and another called BRCA2 are rare, causing only 5-10% of breast cancers and 10-15% of ovarian cancers among white women in America, writes the New York Times.

Women who carry the gene mutations have, on average, about a 65% risk of developing breast cancer, compared to a 12% risk among most women. Writing an Op Ed for the Times today, Jolie said that the probability in her case was 87%.

The actress also faces a 50% chance of contracting ovarian cancer. Jolie’s process began on Feb. 2 with a “nipple delay”, which she explains in detail. Surprisingly, days after her second operation to remove the breast tissue, Jolie writes that she was back to a normal life.

With major advancements in reconstructive surgery in recent years, Angelina Jolie says the results can be beautiful and only detected by small scars. Her story is tracked on the Pink Lotus Breast Center in Beverly Hills.

Genetist Mary-Claire King

Working in the sciences is notoriously challenging for women — men outnumber and out-earn them across the biological, life, physical and social sciences. The story of geneticist Mary-Claire King, who won the 2013 €100,000 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, confirms the difficulty women have being taken in science — even when they are correct in their research hypothesis.

Mary-Claire King is American Cancer Society Professor in the Department of Genome Sciences and Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. In awarding her price, Goethe University Frankfurt wrote:

“Mary-Claire King was the first to demonstrate that there is a genetic predisposition for breast cancer. This proof has permanently changed thinking about the genetics of common complex diseases,” wrote the Scientific Council of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation in explaining its decision. Professor King has also worked for decades in identifying the victims of human rights violations around the world. The Scientific Council continued: “She makes it clear that genetics can benefit humanity.”

If Mary-Claire King and Angelina Jolie don’t know each other before now, they surely will soon.

The prizewinner has also identified other disease genes. The conditions they cause include inherited deafness, schizophrenia, autism, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Mary-Claire King is also highly respected for her humanitarian commitment. She uses genetic technologies to expose violations of human rights. Since 1984 she has been working with the grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. These grandmothers are demanding the return of their grandchildren to their biological families. The children were kidnapped by the military junta between 1976 and 1983, orphaned and given up for adoption to sympathizers of the junta. Mary-Claire King provides sound proof of the biological kinship of the children. She also works with the UN War Crimes Tribunal and has identified the victims of war, terror and torture in countries such as Cambodia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Bosnia.

CNN’s Zoralda Sambolin Reveals Breast Cancer

CNN “Early Start” anchor Zoralda Sambolin walked into work today, knowing that she was diagnosed with a very early form of breast cancer called DCIS five weeks ago.

Handed her script about Angelina Jolie’s own revelation of her double mastectomy, Sambolin decided to tell viewers her own story after sharing Jolie’s.

Recently, Peggy Orenstein wrote a New York Times Magazine story called Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer.

Orenstein admits that she regrets writing a 1997 article about how a mammogram saved her life. And after receiving a new diagnosis of breast cancer last summer, the author — who was named one of The Columbia Journalism Review’s 40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years” — decided it was imperative that she write a new article on breast cancer. 

Orenstein writes about DCIS, Zoraldo Sambolin’s diagnosis, saying that for many DCIS lesions, there is only a 5 percent chance of invasive cancer developing over 10 years. Orenstein speaks candidly:

“In this country, the huge jump in D.C.I.S. diagnoses potentially transforms some 50,000 healthy people a year into “cancer survivors ” and contributes to the larger sense that breast cancer is “everywhere,” happening to “everyone.” That, in turn, stokes women’s anxiety about their personal vulnerability, increasing demand for screening — which, inevitably, results in even more diagnoses of D.C.I.S. Meanwhile, D.C.I.S. patients themselves are subject to the pain, mutilation, side effects and psychological trauma of anyone with cancer and may never think of themselves as fully healthy again.”


Eden Foods Files Suit Against Contraception Mandate, Citing Birth Control As Immoral | G8 Takes On Rape As War Crime

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Eden Foods Says Contraception Is Murder & Immoral

Salon drops the bombshell that Eden Foods CEO and founder, Michael Potter, is seeking in court to deny employees the right to contraception as part of Obamacare. Potter objects to contraception and argues that the contraception mandate violates his rights under the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. 

Eden Foods also supports personhood amendments, believing that the rights of a fertilized egg are equal to those of the breast-feeding mom with three kids and an adoring husband who is eating those chips. Eden also believes de facto that this same woman should die in a Catholic hospital emergency room, rather than save her life — if such action could possibly harm her zygote or embryo. Salon continues:

Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that “these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.” The complaint also says that “Plaintiffs believe that Plan B and ‘ella’ can cause the death of the embryo, which is a person.” (Studies show that neither Plan B nor Ella interfere with fertilization, which is the Catholic definition of the beginning of life, if not the medical one. In other words, not the death of an embryo. Also, at that stage, it’s a zygote, not an embryo — let alone a “person.”) The filing also said that “Plaintiff Eden Foods’ products, methods, and accomplishments are described by critics as: tasteful, nutritious, wholesome, principled, unrivaled, nurturing, pure.”

Under no circumstances will Eden Foods ever work its way into my kitchen again — and I’ve bought plenty of their products over the years. ~ Anne

G8 Acts on Rape in War

Hosted by British Foreign Secretary William Hague, who invited humanitarian Angelina Jolie to join the G8 ministers at today’s meeting in London, the ministers agreed to set up an international framework for investigating and prosecuting rape” while making no provisions for amnesties ever for sexual violence in peace treaties. 

Hague called the use of rape as a war tactic “the slave trade of our generation.”

Jolie, who is the UN special envoy for refugees, was joined the the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Zainab Bangura.

Hague and Jolie announced a USD 35.4 million international agreement for action against sexual violence in war zone. 

“Our goal must be a world in which it is inconceivable that thousands of women, children and men can be raped in the course of a conflict, because an international framework of deterrence and accountability makes it impossible,” Hague told his fellow G8 foreign ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US in the run-up to the annual summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland in June.

Shocking Anti-Rape Bra

Three Indian engineering students led by Manisha Mohan, an engineering student at SRM University in Chennai, have developed ‘anti-rape’ lingerie in response to the brutal gang rape in Delhi. Mohan calls the bra SHE ‘Society Harnessing Equipment’.  

The garments are wired with pressure sensors and equipped with an “electric-shock circuit board” which delivers up to 82 shocks when the garments detect unwanted force. Using a GPS system, the lingerie is also designed to send an alert to parents or police. 

The students say that the inside of the garments are insulated with polymer — with a circuit placed near the bosom “because in the attempt of rape or roadside-eve-teasing, as per survey, women are attacked first on their bosom.”

A website for the project reveals what looks like what looks like a white nightgown with wiring between the breasts. Mohan cited India’s recent Delhi and Bangalore rape tragedies as inspirations for the development of the product.

Mohan explains that a woman can switch on an electric switch attached to the waist of the garment when she feels she is in potential danger. “When I know that there is no harm, I switch it off,” Mohan says. “But when I’m moving out of my office late at night, I could turn it on.” When the garment is in “on” mode, the sensors would be able to detect force from pinching or squeezing and unleash the shock, writes The Daily Beast.

In a related story, Forbes magazine writes ‘The Culture of Rape’ and a Smart Phone App: Activism Meets Technology in India

Created by a team led by Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman, whose 2009 film The Line plumbed the controversial areas of sexuality and consent, debuted the Circle of 6 app in the United States last year 

“Basically, we saw the number of downloads in India increase by 1,000 percent after the gang rape in New Delhi – making India the No. 2 spot outside the U.S. for downloads,” said Schwartzman. “We were motivated to translate to Hindi and find the best on the ground resources in New Delhi we could find for women in need.”


Angelina Jolie & Madonna Make Big Donations To Girls' Education | Obama Morning After Pill Restrictions Overturned

Actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie introduced the audience at last week’s Women in the World Summit to very personal stories about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban who stopped her school bus and asked which of the girls was the blogger Malala.

Vital Voices, with a donation from the Women in the World Foundation, established the Malala Fund, to be directed by the 15-year-old. In the BBC video below, Malala announces the first grant to educate 40 girls in her home district in the Swat Valley. 

After Jolie, who is the special enjoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, left the stage, conference organizer Tina Brown announced that the actress had recently donated $200,000 to the fund. Jolie has started her own project to fund girls’ schools in particular, with proceeds from her jewelry collection Style by Jolie jewelry collaboration with Robert Procop.

1. 25-year-old US diplomat Anne Smedinghoff died in an attack in Afghanistan on Saturday. The young diplomat had volunteered to deliver books to a school in southern Afghanistan.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met Smedinghoff on his recent trip to Afghanistan and spoke of her today.

“The folks who want to kill people, and that’s all they want to do, are scared of knowledge. And they want to shut the doors and they don’t want people to make their choices about the future. For them, it’s ‘You do things my way and if you don’t, we’ll throw acid in your face. We’ll put a bullet in your face,’ to a young girl trying to learn,” Kerry said. “So this is a huge challenge for us. It is a confrontation with modernity, with possibilities, and everything that our country stands for, everything we stand for, is embodied in what Anne Smedinghoff stood for.”

The young diplomat graduated from John Hopkins University in 2009 with a degree in international relations. She joined the Foreign Service shortly afterward. via CNN

2. In another piece of great news for girls, Madonna is set to sell her painting ‘Trois Femmes à la Table Rouge’, a 1921 painting by Fernand Léger at Sotheby’s in New York on May 7th. Proceeds from the sale estimated to fetch $5-$7 million will be used for girls’ education.

“I have a great passion for art and a great passion for education,’’ she said in a statement announcing the sale. “In conjunction with Sotheby’s I would like to share these two passions,’’ adding that “I cannot accept a world where women or girls are wounded, shot or killed for either going to school or teaching in girls’ schools.’’

Indeed, girls’ education is the topic on everyone’s minds and the subject of the last panel on Thursday evening at the Women in the World Conference. Moderated by Christiane Amanpour, the panelists were Humaira Bachal, founder of theDream Foundation TrustKhalida Brohi, founder of the Sughar Women Program, and Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, CEO of SOC Films. 

3. A US Federal judge ruled on Friday that emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Next Choice should be available to all, including minors.

In a sharply worded ruling that called government regulators “politically motivated and scientifically unjustified,” U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled that levonorgestrel-based contraceptives such as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose should be available over the counter to all customers within 30 days.

“There is no serious health risk associated with use of Plan B as prescribed and intended, much less one that would make restrictions on distribution necessary for its safe use,” Korman wrote.

“A federal judge has accomplished what two administrations failed to do: make a decision about access to a drug based on medical evidence,” said Michael Halpern, program manager at the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists. via LA Times

4. In Kansas, papers filed in court by the US Department of Justice reveal as assertion that domestic terrorist Angel Dillard asked a prison inmate to firebomb the house of Dr Mila Means, an abortion provider who stepped into abortion care in Wichita, Kansas after the assassination of Dr. George Tiller.

The Department of Justice sued Dillard — who claims that God speaks to her, guiding her actions — for sending an allegedly threatening letter to Dr. Means. 

Of note in the RHReality Check article, is the news that anti-choice terrorists are increasingly claiming the “god defense” when arguing their cases. Dr. Tillard’s killer Scott Roeder says his actions were motivated by God. 

Dillard claims that her conversations with both Roeder and inmate Robert Campbell are shielded from disclosure under “priest-penitent” privilege. A judge has ruled the communications are not protected since she is not ordained clergy. The defense has appealed.

5. US Women — especially working mothers — have little social policy backup, compared to women in other developed countries. But those who survive the challenges of career and motherhood appear to achieve significantly greater gender parity as managers, compared to women in other countries .

View chart large.

In separate data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the US has the smallest gap between women and men in senior management positions, as of 2008. 16% of men managers have senior positions versus 14% for women. 

Writing for the New York Times Economix blog, Catherine Rampell has a major magazine feature ‘Lean In, Dad: How Shared Diaper Duty Could Stimulate the Economy.’ 

Madonna is selling ‘Trois Femmes à la Table Rouge’, a 1921 painting by Fernand Léger at Sotheby’s in New York on May 7. Proceeds from the sale estimated to fetch $5-$7 million will be used for girls’ education.