At a beauty shop in downtown Nairobi, shelves packed with so-called skin lightening creams in luxurious packets and names such as Fair & Lovely, Venus, Lady Diana and Fairever fill almost an entire aisle. \nJeanne, who is on a visit from Rwanda, is selecting a cream and notes they are very popular in her homeland as "the women want to brighten their skin. Our men like light women," she says. \nJeanne has used skin-lightening creams for six years, and says she does not plan to stop. \n"My husband and other people give me compliments now," she says, but admits that she sometimes gets black spots on her face. \nSkin-lightening cream is no ordinary facial cream. Some contain mercury, which is known to cause neurological and kidney damage, speech and hearing impairments, and can also lead to psychiatric disorders. \nThe other ingredients in skin-lightening creams include hydroquinone, which can cause blue-black discolorations and also lead to neuropathy, a disease of the nervous system. Numerous studies worldwide have shown that women using the creams have suffered mercury poisoning. Modern lightening creams are somewhat milder, but can still bring unwanted results. \nPatrick Munyiri, a cosmetician at a beauty center and school in Nairobi, discourages his clients and students from using them. \n"You can use it for a while, but after a few years you will see the repercussions. You get pimples, rashes or black spots that turn into wounds. Often they don't heal. You're stuck with it". \nHe says young girls know the creams are dangerous, but do not heed the warnings. \nAngelica, a customer at a downtown beauty shop, says she once tried a lightening cream. \n"But my skin reacted very badly. Now I would not try it again. And I think it looks weird to have different colors in your face and on the rest of your body," she says. \nThe wish to look lighter runs deep in many African societies. \nIn Nigeria, where the use of skin-lightening creams is widespread, an estimated 77 percent of women use them. In Senegal, the figure is 52 percent, in South Africa 35 percent and in Mali 25 percent. \nResearchers in South Africa have pointed out that "society has a significant impact on the misuse of skin-lightening agents. It is known that the majority of black men prefer light-skinned women as partners, girlfriends or wives." \nThese opinions resound at shopfloor level. \n"Our men make us do it! Most girls and women know its dangerous, but they don't care. If a lighter woman walks in to a room, she'll get all the looks," says Macerlin, a beauty shop assistant.
WIDE REOPENING DISCOURAGED: A study from Peking University has suggested that lifting restrictions in the style of the US, UK and others would be catastrophic China would face a “colossal outbreak” on a scale beyond anything any other country has yet seen if it were to reopen in a similar manner to the US. That is a prediction based on statistical modeling by researchers at Beijing’s Peking University. A switch from China’s current COVID-19 elimination strategy to a US-style approach with few restrictions would lead to as many as 637,155 infections per day, according to the study, which was published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday. That would be the largest daily figure reported by any country since the start of the
UNCERTAINTY: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken did not specify measures NATO might take, but many believe that the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project could be canceled The US has said it has evidence that Russia has made plans for a “large scale” attack on Ukraine and said NATO allies are “prepared to impose severe costs” on Moscow if it attempts an invasion. Speaking at a NATO ministers meeting in Latvia, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it was unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had made a decision to invade, but added: “He’s putting in place the capacity to do so in short order, should he so decide.” “So despite uncertainty about intention and timing, we must prepare for all contingencies while working to see to
NOT ELIGIBLE: Most of those charged over democracy protests were born after the UK handed Hong Kong back to China, figures form Hong Kong Watch showed More than 90 percent of people who have faced protest charges in Hong Kong are too young to access a UK visa scheme dedicated to helping Hong Kongers flee to the UK, say advocates and lawmakers calling for new laws to assist them. The release of the figures on Sunday by advocacy group Hong Kong Watch comes before a British parliamentary debate this week on proposed migration law amendments that would widen the pathway for people with British National Overseas (BNO) status to resettle in the UK. More than 10,000 people were arrested during or after the mass protests that swept Hong
An episode of The Simpsons in which the cartoon family from the US visit Tiananmen Square has been removed from Disney’s streaming channel in Hong Kong at a time when authorities are clamping down on dissent. The missing episode adds to concerns that Chinese-style censorship is becoming the norm in the territory, ensnaring global streaming giants and other major tech companies. Disney+ has made rapid advances since it was launched 18 months ago, reaching more than 116 million worldwide subscribers. The Hong Kong version started streaming earlier this month and eagle-eyed customers soon noticed that an episode of The Simpsons featuring China was