World news wrapup: 13 June 2019

Pharmacy dispenser in court over sex act simulation allegations; politician’s brother beats up pharmacist; why one pharmacist collected 120,000 cigarette butts

Stirling, Scotland: A court has heard that pharmacy dispenser James Christie allegedly simulated oral sex with a Fruit Pastilles ice block, and made repeated references to the popular erotic novel and movie series Fifty Shades of Grey with a colleague.

Mr Christie had been the subject of an internal inquiry by the Bannerman’s Pharmacy in Dunblane, Perthshire, after colleagues made allegations of inappropriate behaviour, report the Scottish Sun.

Mr Christie allegedly referred to a colleague as “Miss Steele” – a character in the Fifty Shades of Grey series – and played the theme song to the movie in the pharmacy.

She described his activity with the ice block as “brazen”.

In another alleged incident, Mr Christie referred to a customer as a “porn star” when speaking to colleagues, and a witness said that he had simulated sex with the pharmacy’s fittings, including the corners of walls and benches.

He also allegedly made unwelcome comments about sex and “pinged” a colleagues’ bottom with an elastic band.

After the inquiry, Mr Christie’s employment at the pharmacy was terminated.

His defence solicitor told the court that the behaviour was “banter” and that other employees had on occasion “engaged in these kind of comments”.

The trial continues.


UK: The National Pharmacy Association has written to Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, warning that the sector could be “on the brink of facing an uncontrolled and unpredictable series of closures”.

The funding cuts imposed in 2016 have had a “devastating” effect on pharmacy, the NPA says, with all pharmacy businesses affected.

“Many independent community pharmacies are facing extreme financial hardship and are struggling to survive in business due to the reduction in community pharmacy funding, rising costs, increasing prescription volumes and a heavy workload,” the letter states.

“Many independent contractors are experiencing major cash-flow problems and find that their NHS funding does not even cover their wholesaler bill, while some contractors have been forced to use their own savings to keep their service to patients operating.

“Pharmacy teams are working exceptionally hard to meet the ever growing demand for health care, but there are limited resources in the system which is creating immense pressures. Funding is not keeping pace with the increasing costs and workload, and the situation is exacerbated by turbulent and escalating medicines prices.”

Pharmacy needs radical change to address the “unacceptable and untenable” situation, NPA says.

An “urgent” response is needed at this point, as negotiations for a new pharmacy contract have begun, says NPA.


Bettiah, India: The brother of a prominent politician physically attacked a pharmacist who he felt did not offer him enough respect, the Indian Express reports.

Pinu, the brother of Renu Devi – a vice-president of the Bhartiya Janata Party – went to a pharmacy in Bettiah and allegedly bashed a pharmacist who did not stand up to welcome him.

The attack was caught on camera and shows the pharmacist being beaten by the politician’s brother, who then hauled the pharmacist of the shop and taken to a nearby car. Several of the man’s friends were also in attendance and attacked the pharmacy’s staff.

The attack was caught on camera and circulated on social media by police.

The pharmacist’s family has been provided with police security.

Renu Davi has distanced herself from her brother, saying the two do not currently have a relationship and that people who commit mistakes should be punished.


Blackpool, England: A retired pharmacist spends his weekdays cleaning up rubbish around the resort town of Blackpool – and in that time he has collected around 120,000 cigarette butts he has used in a series of artworks.

Negweny El Assal began the voluntary clean-up three months ago, aiming to reduce plastic pollution and encourage businesses to offer bins for cigarette butt disposal, reports the Good News Network.

The owner of Cigarette Waste Management Ltd, he hopes to ultimately supply around 1,400 disposal bins free to businesses so that smokers do not throw them on the ground.

He has now created about 50 artworks with an anti-smoking, anti-littering message.

Mr Assal plans to open a gallery to display the artworks and help discourage smoking.

“It can be very smelly working with cigarettes,” said Mr Assal. “I always wear gloves.”

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