First lady Melania Trump hospitalized for embolization procedure to treat kidney condition

First lady Melania Trump hospitalized for embolization procedure to treat kidney condition

Updated May 14, 2018 5:29 PM EDT

First lady Melania Trump underwent an “embolization procedure” to treat a benign kidney condition, the White House said Monday.

The first lady’s office said in a statement that the procedure was “successful and there were no complications.”

“Mrs. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week. The First Lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere,” the statement added.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham confirmed to CBS News that the president will visit Walter Reed later today. Grisham, who has visited the first lady, later told CBS News that the first lady is “doing very well” and is in “good spirits.”

The president spoke with the first lady before the procedure, and he also spoke to the doctor after the procedure had been finished, a White House official said. The president visited the first lady late Monday afternoon and tweeted that he was going to see her, adding, “Successful procedure, she is in good spirits. Thank you to all of the well-wishers!”

The first lady most recently appeared at the White House to unveil her “Be Best” campaign in a Rose Garden ceremony on Monday last week.

What is a kidney embolization procedure?

While many details of the first lady’s condition are not publicly known, CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook explained the procedure in general terms.

“It involves cutting off the arterial blood supply to something… [Doctors] put some substance into an artery that’s feeding whatever this benign condition is that they’re treating and then that cuts off the blood supply, cuts off the oxygen and whatever they’re treating would presumably shrink and start to be less important than it was before.”

One example of a benign growth on the kidneys that may be treated with an embolization procedure is an angiomyolipoma, or a benign collection of fat and muscle.

“It does tend to happen more in women than in men and it tends to be in middle age,” LaPook said.

There are a number of ways angiomyolipoma can be discovered, he explained. It can lead to pain and blood in urine as it grows or it could cause no symptoms and be found during routine imaging tests.

Other conditions an embolization procedure could be used to treat include aneurysms, or a bulge of an artery, and arteriovenous malformation, or abnormal connection between an artery and vein.

While there’s no indication whether Mrs. Trump’s procedure was an emergency or planned, LaPook said after this kind of procedure, it would not be at all unusual to keep her in the hospital for observation for a number of days.

“You can get pretty sick after an embolization because there’s a lot of inflammation that can go on you can get a fever and you want to make sure there are no complications like abnormal bleeding or infection,” he said, though he emphasized that it is normally a very safe procedure.

CBS News’ Arden Farhi and Steven Portnoy contributed to this report.

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HSBC performs first trade finance deal using single blockchain system

HSBC performs first trade finance deal using single blockchain system


Sumeet Chatterjee

HSBC said on Monday it had performed the world’s first trade finance transaction using a single blockchain platform, in a push to boost efficiency in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of international trade.

HSBC and Dutch bank ING completed the deal for Cargill last week when a shipment of soybeans was transported from Argentina to Malaysia via the global commodities trader’s Geneva and Singapore subsidiaries, the British lender said in a statement.

While there have been other trade finance deals that use blockchain in conjunction with other technologies, the Cargill transaction marked the first use of a single, shared digital application rather than multiple systems, HSBC said.

The use of blockchain technology in the banking industry is expected to reduce the risk of fraud in letters of credit (LoC) and other transactions as well as cut down on the number of steps used.

LoCs are the widely used way of financing between importers and exporters, helping guarantee more than $US2 trillion worth of transactions, but the process creates a long paper trail and takes between five and 10 days to exchange documentation.


Putting all of Asia Pacific’s trade-related paperwork into electronic form could slash the time it takes to export goods by up to 44 per cent and cut costs by up to 31 per cent, the HSBC statement said, citing a study by the United Nations.

“The reason why letters of credit have persisted is because of two real challenges – the absence of digital infrastructure and the challenge of coordinating multiple parties,” Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation and growth at HSBC’s commercial banking unit said.

“This platform helps us overcome the first and I think the technology and everyone focussed on it gives us the impetus to go after the second now with hopefully much better results than we have seen in the past.”

Mr Ramachandran said HSBC already had another client lined up for the next similar transaction.

Banks have invested millions in developing blockchain applications in a bid to cut costs and simplify back office processes, such as the settlement of securities trades.

Blockchain uses a distributed ledger maintained by a network of computers to verify transactions, rather than a centralised system. The blockchain application used in the Cargill transaction is supported by 12 banks, which could help bring the technology to the market more broadly.

HSBC said the transaction was executed on a platform called Corda, which was developed by R3, a New York-based blockchain consortium whose members include more than 100 banks, regulators and trade associations.

For the first time in Ontario, a major political party has more women on the ballot than men | CBC News

For the first time in Ontario, a major political party has more women on the ballot than men | CBC News

Some 56 per cent of the NDP’s candidates in the upcoming spring election are women, the party said Sunday, the first time in Ontario that a major political party has fielded more women than men.

NDP Leader Horwath highlighted the figure at a Mother’s Day campaign stop in Toronto. 

“We’ve always as a party been very committed to making sure that our representatives, our candidates that we put out in a campaign, represent the face of our communities,” Horwath told a crowd of supporters. She was joined by a number of women running on the NDP’s ticket. 

Horwath said the party was able to boost the number of women in its rank because seeking out female candidates is woven into local nomination races.  

“When people are serious about electing more women, you can put in place procedures and processes that ensure that that outcome happens,” she said. 

Of the NDP’s 124 candidates, 69 — or 56 per cent — are women. That’s up from 41 per cent in the 2014 election, when there were 17 fewer ridings in Ontario. 

At her own campaign stop, Liberal Leader Kathleen Wynne said that 45.5 per cent of the Grits’ candidates are women, while her last cabinet was 56 per cent women. The Liberals still have one more nomination to announce this week. 

During the 2014 election, 35 per cent of Liberal candidates were women.

While the Progressive Conservatives did not provide a specific number, a party spokesperson said in a statement, “We have 124 qualified and diverse candidates that are ready to deliver change for the people of Ontario.” In 2014, 27 Tory candidates were women. 

“I think increasingly parties are recognizing that women bring diverse voices and life experiences, and demonstrated leadership in the community that is very relevant in a political campaign,” said Nancy Peckford, executive director of Equal Voice, a non-partisan organization that works to boost the number of women in public office. 

Peckford points out that the NDP has had less trouble with the “incumbency problem” than their rivals. In other words, the NDP has more room for candidate turnover, and therefore more opportunities to bring women into the fold. She adds that while the PCs are slightly behind their primary opponents, they are still “doing very respectably.

“It’s certainly far more than we’ve seen from the federal Conservative party in the past,” Peckford said. 

“They see and understand the value in electing more women, but they’ve been less concerted about it.”

During her address to supporters, Horwath reiterated a number of campaign platform promises geared toward women. Among them are promises to enforce pay equity legislation and to do away with so-called “pink taxes” — though details on how this would be achieved are scant. The NDP’s platforms also includes a series of commitments called ‘The New Moms Guarantee,’ which would protect neo-natal health care services and boost funding to women’s health clinics. 

First Bafta TV Award winners announced

First Bafta TV Award winners announced

Left-right: Thandie Newton, Declan Donnelly and Claire FoyImage copyright

Image caption

Stars at the ceremony include Thandie Newton, Declan Donnelly and Claire Foy

Peaky Blinders has won its first ever Bafta Television Award, beating shows like Line of Duty and The Crown to the coveted prize for best drama series.

The award for BBC Two’s 1920s gang epic is recognition for how it’s gone from strength to strength over four series.

The show just had one nomination for this year’s Bafta TV Awards, which are being handed out in London.

Line of Duty went into the ceremony with four nominations, while The Crown had three.

The ceremony is being broadcast on BBC One with an hour’s delay.

Other early winners were:

  • Supporting actress: Vanessa Kirby – The Crown
  • Supporting actor: Brian F O’Byrne – Little Boy Blue
  • Mini-series: Three Girls
  • Single drama: Murdered for Being Different
  • Reality and constructed factual: Love Island
  • Comedy entertainment programme: Murder In Successville
  • International: The Handmaid’s Tale

Many of the guests wore badges in support of the Time’s Up movement.

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Iraq votes in its first post-ISIS election — and everything is at stake, from the economy to terrorism resurgence

Iraq votes in its first post-ISIS election — and everything is at stake, from the economy to terrorism resurgence

He is considered most likely to win, but faces many more competitors than in the last parliamentary contest. This year’s election has more than nine parties (also called lists, or coalitions) on the ballot, up from just four in 2014 — including around five Shia parties and several new independent lists.

Abadi’s rivals include controversial former prime minister Nuri al Maliki, who is often blamed for the sectarian rule that disenfranchised many Sunnis and led to the empowerment of ISIS in Iraq. Maliki remains among the most powerful figures in Iraq’s political landscape, however, and actually rules Abadi’s political party, Islamic Dawa.

Maliki remains strongly pro-Iran, as does candidate Hadi al Amiri, whose Iranian-backed Badr Organization is a part of the Popular Mobilization Forces, the Shia paramilitaries that played a vital role in defeating ISIS. Amiri’s Badr party has significant Shia support, but is accused by Sunnis and Kurds of sectarian abuses and violence.

Iran will be watching closely — Maliki and Amiri would be its favored candidates, although Abadi also has ties to Tehran. But Abadi’s nationalist, pan-Iraqi approach may temper the Islamic Republic’s entrenched presence in Iraqi politics. According to Ryan Turner, a senior analyst at risk consultancy PGI Group, “Over the long-term, the growth of a non-sectarian national identity could diminish Iran’s influence in the country.”