Temple in Leicester tackles organ donation shortages in ethnic minority groups

By Perry Johnson

The life-threatening issue of organ donation shortages among those of an ethnic minority background is being tackled by Vanik Council UK, whose seminar in Leicester last year saw more than 30 people register as a donor.

The free event, which focused on kidney disease prevention and treatment, delivered talks from various medical professionals and patients to about 150 people.

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The audience at the Jain Centre seminar in Oxford Street

The seminar was held in the city on Sunday, March 17, inside Britain’s first consecrated Jainism temple, The Jain Centre, and was organised by Vanik Council, an umbrella group established in 1978 for local Jain and Hindu associations across the UK.

Manhar Mehta, Chairman of the Vanik Council, said: “We regularly organise health awareness events around the country for members of our affiliated associations to relieve sickness and promote and preserve good health.

“The main aim of the seminars held in Leicester, and eight other venues across the country over the last two years, was to raise awareness within the Jain community for the need of donating organs to save lives.”

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From left: Mr Maunesh Shah, Mr Manhar Mehta, Mr Vaghji Shah and Mr Vijay Sheth

Research issued by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) last year indicated that whilst 1 in 5 of those on the Transplant Waiting List were from an ethnic minority background, there had only been 114 donations from these groups that year.

The Vanik Council joined the NHSBT’s Live Transplant Initiative campaign in 2017 and has seen more than 170 people show interest in live organ donation as a result of this and five other events.

Mr Mehta said: “Jainism teaches its followers to be helpful to others and save others’ lives; through this event people have gained knowledge on a subject for which they had not paid attention in the past.”

The group is currently working alongside the recently established Jain and Hindu Organ Donation Group (JHOD) in order to tackle the acute need for both live and after-death organ donations within their communities.

For more information on organ donation or to register as a donor visit:  https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/.

Leicester locals outraged by plans to build over a thousand new homes on Scraptoft nature reserve

By Perry Johnson

Residents have expressed outrage at the submission of controversial plans to build 1,200 new homes in Scraptoft, on land currently designated as a nature reserve.

The proposed development, which has already been put through the consultation stages by Harborough District Council, would also see the proposed site in Scraptoft North introduce a new village centre with shops, community centres and a primary school – all to be delivered in six stages.

Martin Harris, a Scraptoft resident, said: “This development will strip the village of its identity – we are a beautiful, countryside village and I fear that getting rid of one of our nature reserves for more housing would completely change the face of Scraptoft.”


Historic Church of All Saints in Scraptoft, Leicestershire

Under the plans, Parker Strategic Land hope to utilise the former Prisoner of War camp in Beeby Road, which is currently home to one of only two designated nature reserves in the Harborough District, as well as Scraptoft Golf Club.

In order for the development to go ahead, the land would have to be de-classified as a reserve and the golf club relocated to a site in Houghton on the Hill, which has already been agreed with the club through consultation.

Concerns have also been raised that the development would see the boundary between the village and the city blurred as the land to Scraptoft North is largely a green wedge zone, the purpose of which is to maintain a distinction between the two.

In response to this, Harborough District Council has assured that a new, if smaller, green wedge zone will be developed to prevent a merging; and any significant historic and natural sites will be maintained to safeguard the village’s identity.

Review: Conflicts come to a head as ‘The Walking Dead’ ends its mid-season slow but steady

By Perry Johnson

The mid-season finale of ‘The Walking Dead’ aired this week, and with the show once again going on its three month hiatus, the tenth season finds itself displaying a solid, yet somewhat underwhelming mid-point climax.

The episode, titled ‘The World Before’, focuses largely on key characters throughout its hour or so runtime, as conflicts come to a head.

It was satisfying to see this episode brutally force Rosita (Christian Serratos) into once again displaying that she is an unflinching and capable survivor; especially when considering that, after last season’s six-year time jump, the character has been too busy dealing with injuries, relationship issues or motherhood to get her hands dirty.

In a tense first scene after the title screen rolls, Rosita – with infant daughter in hand, catches the treacherous Dante (Juan Javier Cardenas) red-handed, mere moments after mercilessly killing her child’s father after he discovered that he was a mole sent by the enemy faction.


Rosita (Christian Serratos) returns to being a hardened survivor in her grief – and gets the stand-out walker kill of the episode in the process (Photo: AMC)

In the conflict that inevitably ensues, Rosita is able to not only overpower and viciously beat the cold-blooded killer, but simultaneously take down a re-animated Siddiq (Avi Nash) as he lunges, teeth gnashing, towards her daughter. It’s an extremely sudden, fast-paced bit of action that is guaranteed to get viewers’ heads spinning and hearts pounding right from the offset.

This scene, however, is the only time in the episode that a walker feels like any kind of threat; despite them being such a focal point for the show. While this may leave some scenes feeling more underwhelming than clearly anticipated, it does work to provide a backdrop of realism. After more than ten years of surviving in this world, it makes sense for individual walker attacks to be greeted with annoyance rather than fear.

One thing is certain though, the special effects, make-up and prosthetics involved in creating these shambling corpses has in no way met the same fate. With walkers increasingly wasting away and decaying over the show’s timeline, almost every episode features a stand-out, gore-filled and blood-soaked zombie kill – and this one was no exception. Showing layers of bloody skin being stripped off a walker’s scalp as its helmet is removed is enough to put anybody off eating for at least a fortnight.

While walkers may no longer elicit the same sense of terror they once did, The Walking Dead has found intrigue in exploring a new kind of threat. The fact that the current enemy faction wear suits of human skin to blend in with the dead has elicited a strong theme of paranoia since their inception. With the revelation that Dante has been working as an informant for the enemy, and sabotaging communities to stoke fear and confusion in their members, it has shown just how dangerous paranoia can be.


Carol (Melissa McBride) puts the group in danger as she obsesses over avenging her son     (Photo: AMC)

This is epitomised in Carol (Melissa McBride), who also receives a decent spotlight this episode. This season has seen her become increasingly hell-bent on avenging her adopted son, who was brutally decapitated by Whisperer leader Alpha (Samantha Morton) last year.

Earlier this season Carol came face to face with Alpha, and does so again in this episode; however, the fact that she has been taking caffeine pills and seeing ghostly apparitions of all her dead children throw doubt on her reliability for both characters and viewers.

It’s refreshing to see some conflict rise between her and fellow show stalwart Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) as a result of this, considering the pair have the closest and longest bond of any characters on the show.

However, this uncertainty has the adverse effect of leaving the show feeling confused and without a clear direction at times. While this is often frustrating, it perfectly mirrors what the characters are facing and allows viewers to experience that first-hand.

Carol’s increasing obsession with vengeance closes the mid-season finale out with an interesting, if anticlimactic, cliff-hanger. Giving chase to Alpha, Carol leads her allies into an undead-filled trap. It will be interesting to see when the show returns in February if they can all make it out alive. If they don’t, there’s only one person to blame.

Gotta catch ‘em all? Pokemon Sword and Shield breaks expectations

By Bethany Spence

Last month (NOV15) saw the release of Pokémon Sword and Shield, the two newest games of the long-running series, in an exclusive launch for the Nintendo Switch.


Pokemon Sword: New Legendary Pokemon Zamazenta. Sourced from https://www.nintendo.be/nl/Games/Nintendo-Switch/Pokemon-Sword-1522111.html

Despite being a popular franchise since it’s conception in 1996 due to the appeal of a variety of cute and cuddly “pocket monsters” or Pokémon, there has been widespread controversy over the exclusion of popular Generation One fan favourites and the first case of a limited National Pokédex, a method of registering your in-game catches.

As a series that has always toted the catchphrase “Gotta catch ‘em all!”, this has caused many fans to criticise creative studio Game Freak’s choice to limit their ability to do just that. The introduction of each new generation of Pokemon game has always traditionally led to new regions and animals for the player to explore and capture, from Kanto to Johto, and onwards to the new Galar region.

With this slow expansion of the number of available monsters increasing from the original 151 up to the whopping 807 Pokemon across seven generations – with the eighth generation rumoured to bring the total to almost 1000 – limiting the amount of Pokemon the player could catch was always going to be a hurdle for the future. However, by removing all starters bar the fan favourite and money maker Charmander evolution line, and the introduction of the Gigantamax feature has caused some die-hard fans to lose part of their enthusiasm for the upcoming game.

Pokemon enthusiast Joshua Marvin, who started the series at the age of 5, said; “At first I was excited but the more I heard and the more information that was released, the less enthusiastic I became. From a young age, my goal has always been to catch them all and I had grown attached to certain Pokemon, so to hear that they’re no longer being included almost makes it feel like it isn’t the same game anymore.”

Joshua continued: “For now, I will not be buying the game, but perhaps during a price drop after the release and seeing how other reviews have gone, I might consider adding it to my games collection.”

Due to the controversy over the limited PokeDex, many people took their concerns and criticisms online, with some extreme fans even resorting to sending death threats to the developers at Game Freak. These are being handled by Twitter moderators in conjunction with the authorities.

When asked about the outpouring of hate from the more negative members of the community, casual fan Vikhil Parshotam, 21, said: “Honestly, it’s shocking to see how negative some members of the community have become. Nobody deserves this kind of hate for issues we all knew would arise, and frankly, it makes me feel rather ashamed to admit I am a fan.”

DMU Gospel Choir Christmas celebrations begin

By Bethany Spence

The De Montfort University Gospel Society, semi-finalists on the 2018 Britain’s Got Talent television series, will be running its Christmas event today (MondayDEC2) in the Portland Building from 7pm till 9pm.

The event is advertised on the group’s Facebook event as “a way to come together and celebrate through music.”

This is one of many celebrations of the Yule season being run by the society, as on Christmas Day it will be hosting an event for a free Christmas dinner – by booking only – for those at the university unable to head home for the holidays, staff and more, from 4pm till 9pm.


Chairwoman Hannah Milnes, a member of the society since 2018, who is running these events, said: “This society is a gospel choir who celebrates Christianity through worship, aiming to spread joy through Leicester and beyond. We are a family that support each other and have fun in the name of God.”

“One of my favourite memories with the society is performing at graduations with members of the choir who were in their third year, and moving on from university, as well as attending the Christmas Carol service in Leicester Cathedral with other local choirs.”

She continued: “The Christmas period is the time that you will find most of the older members of our choir doing their charity work by singing in different places raising money, like in the local Sainsbury’s or even Leicester Prison.”