Indonesian parliament approves privatising of three major state firms

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The parliament of Indonesia has approved government plans to make an Initial Public Offering (IPO) of shares in three major state-owned firms, privatising them. They are steelmaker Krakatau Steel, Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) and national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia.

The parliament has left the process fully in the hands of the government, and has set the maximum stake to be sold at 30% for BTN and Krakatau, and 40% for Garuda. Although Indonesia has been known to fund budget deficits with privatisation, the intention is for the funds from this scheme to go to the businesses themselves to allow expansion.

Krakatau expects 3.2 trillion Rupiah (IDR) from the sale, while the estimated price for their stock is between IDR3 and IDR4 trillion (321 – 428 million USD). Both ArcelorMittal SA, the biggest steelmaker in the world, and BlueScope Steel Ltd, the largest in Australia, have expressed an interest in the IPO. Krakatau will use the funds to help finance an expansion scheme which aims to have production doubled to five million tonnes in 2011.

BTN, which focuses on home owner loans, has set itself a target income of IDR36.12 trillion (3.86 billion USD) in 2010 compared to a projected IDR22.9 trillion ( 2.45 billion USD) this year. Net profit for this year is projected at IDR472 billion (50.5 million USD)and is hoped to rise to IDR1.39 trillion (148.7 million USD) in 2010. The bank’s loan to deposit ratio is predicted to rise from 105.05% this year to 144.93% in 2012. BTN hopes to conduct its IPO before the end of 2008.

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Garuda is not quite 100% state-owned to start with, unlike the other two, but is very close with 95.44% of the company belonging to the government. Like all of Indonesia’s 51 airlines, Garuda is on the list of air carriers banned in the EU due to safety concerns raised after a string of air accidents in the nation. Garuda expects to raise IDR4.2 trillion (449.4 million USD) in funds from the IPO, and will use IDR2.5 trillion (267.5 million USD) to pay off its debts and invest IDR1.7 trillion (181.9 million USD) in new aircraft.

The government is still working to get a deal to make IPOs for architectural firm Yodya Karya and three plantation firms called Perkebunan Nusantara III, IV and VII.

Canadian city announces first Studios of Brampton tour

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Created by the Brampton Arts Council and the City of Brampton, the Studios of Brampton studio tour will allow residents a chance to view works by dozens of local artists at twelve locations.

The tour will run October 1 & 2 from 10 pm until 4 pm ET.

On the tour are the personal studios of watercolourist Jack Reid, sculpture Marion Bartlett, woodworker Rick Bino, ceramicist Eric Wong, calligrapher and fashion illustrator Rosemarie Gidvani, abstract painter Karen Darling, oil painter John Cutruzzola, stain-glass artist Darlene Robichaud, and watercolourist Gordon Stuart.

Also on the tour is the Art Gallery of Peel, which will be exhibiting Sydney Drum, a Canadian artist based in New York, and Kelly McNeil.

Visual Arts Brampton and Beaux-Arts Brampton will both have line-ups of local artist members. VAB has confirmed displays by William Band, Bridget Doughty, Betty Jean Evans, Marguerite Finlayson, Conrad Mieschke, Keith Moreau, Mary Noble, Olga Rudge, and Elizabeth Patrick.

Sample works representing each location on the tour will be shown at the Brampton City Hall’s Atrium Gallery.

Turkey’s President Erdogan proposes converting Hagia Sophia Museum to mosque

Sunday, March 31, 2019

On Wednesday, as a part of his pre-election campaign, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an pledged converting Hagia Sophia, formerly a Greek Orthodox church and now a museum, to a mosque, following the election today. He announced this change by live television on Wednesday and again verbally in a rally on Friday, despite criticism by the Greek foreign minister and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who questioned his authority to make the change.

On Friday in Istanbul, as a part of an election rally, Erdogan said, “After elections, we will change Hagia Sophia’s name from museum to mosque[…] We have some plans and we are going to implement these plans.” Earlier this week on Wednesday on the live television, President Erdogan said — as reported by Hurriyet Daily News — “Ayasofya [Haghia Sophia] will no longer be called a museum. Its status will change. We will call it a mosque”.

This Wednesday Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos emphasized the requirement of approval by UNESCO, saying “It [Haghia Sophia] is not only a great temple of Christendom — the largest for many centuries — it also belongs to humanity. It has been recognized by UNESCO, as part of our global cultural heritage. So any questioning of this status is not just an insult to the sentiments of Christians, it is an insult to the international community and international law”, as quoted by Greek Reporter. In an interview with Sputnik News, UNESCO also said that this change would require its approval.

This Thursday the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also criticized the move, this time not only implying approval would be required, but also recommending to maintain the status of the monument as a museum. They released a statement which said, “Hagia Sophia bears profound historical and spiritual significance to Muslims and Christians alike, and its status as a museum must be maintained”.

On live television Erdogan also attacked the proclamation of Golan Heights as official Israeli territory by the President of the United States Donald Trump, which was made on Monday. This proclamation contradicted the United Nations’ official position on status of the territory, which belonged to Syria and was occupied by Israel.

Namely, President Erdogan said on Wednesday, “Those who remain silent when Masjid Al-Aqsa is attacked, trampled, its windows smashed, cannot tell us what to do about the status of Ayasofya[…] Unfortunately, Trump is behaving like a bully boy[…] How can you do this despite the United Nations? What are you doing? Being at the helm of a state like the U.S. does not give you such a right.”

Erdogan also said earlier he might rename the monument. On the live television he said, “Constantinople will never exist again[…] The name of this area is Islambol [full of Islam] and you know that.” UNESCO reportedly said a change of name of a world heritage site would required approval from the World Heritage Committee.

UNESCO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is based in Paris.

Polish President Lech Kaczy?ski dies as his plane crashes in Russia

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Polish President Lech Kaczy?ski, travelling with 95 other people, died when his plane crashed in Russia. Officials say the crash, which occurred when the plane was approaching a Russian airport on Saturday, was due to dense fog, and that there are no survivors.

The Polish Central Bank governor, Slawomir Skrzypek, and other members of the Polish government were amongst those onboard. The crash was near Smolensk airport in western Russia. Kaczy?ski’s wife was killed along with him when the Tupolev Tu-154 went down; the trip to Russia was to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre, when thousands of Polish prisoners of war and civilians were killed by the Soviets.

According to preliminary reports, it got caught up in the tops of trees, fell to the ground and broke up into pieces. There are no survivors in that crash.

Sergei Antufyev, the governor of the Smolensk area, said on Russian television that no one survived the crash; the claim was backed by Polish news agencies as well. “As it was preparing for landing, the Polish president’s aircraft did not make it to the landing strip,” he commented.

“According to preliminary reports, it got caught up in the tops of trees, fell to the ground and broke up into pieces. There are no survivors in that crash. We are clarifying how many people there were in the [Polish] delegation. According to preliminary reports, 85 members of the delegation and the crew,” he added.

The exact passenger number was not known at first, with conflicting figures given by the Russian police, who said there were 132 people on board, and Polish officials. However, a full flight manifest received from the Presidential Office has been published by several news portals, giving 96 as the number of killed in the crash, including eight members of the crew. The manifest is also available on the Office’s official web page.

Television footage showed the burning plane with its charred parts scattered in the forest where it crashed. The plane crashed approximately two kilometres (1.3 miles) from Smolensk airport.

“The plane caught fire after the crash. Teams began attempting to pull out passengers from the badly damaged airplane,” commented a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry from Warsaw. The chief of Poland’s military force, Franciszek Gagor and Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer were among the victims.

A Polish television worker, Slawomir Wisniewski, said he was a witness to the crash, having seen it from hotel close by. “I saw through the fog, the aeroplane flying very low with the left wing pointing to the ground. I heard something being broken and then that thudding sound. Two flashes of fire next to each other,” he said, as quoted by the BBC.

Polish Foreign Minister, Radoslaw Sikorski noted that the country “could not have conceived a more horrible, poignant, tragic occurrence than our president going to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the murder of 20,000 Polish officers at Katyn himself dying.”

With the Polish president deceased, the speaker of the lower house of the parliament known as the Sejm, currently Bronislaw Komorowski, takes over as head of state, Komorowski’s assistant Jerzy Smolinski told the Reuters news agency.

Kaczy?ski is survived by his daughter Marta and by his identical twin brother, Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski who was Prime Minister of Poland from 2006 to 2007 and is currently chairman of the Law and Justice Party he co-founded with Lech. Both brothers were child actors who starred in the 1962 film, The Two Who Stole the Moon.

The Tupolev Tu-154, which was operated by the Polish Air Force, made its debut flight in 1990. 2,725 people have died in the 66 crashes involving this type of aircraft.

According to the flight manifest, those on board included:

  • Lech Kaczy?ski, the President of Poland
  • Maria Kaczy?ska, the first lady of Poland
  • Ryszard Kaczorowski, the last President of the Polish government-in-exile
  • Jerzy Szmajdzi?ski, the Deputy Speaker of the Sejm
  • W?adys?aw Stasiak, Chief of Office of the President of the Republic of Poland
  • Aleksander Szczyg?o, head of the National Security Bureau
  • Pawe? Wypych, Secretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland
  • Mariusz Handzlik, Undersecretary of State in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland
  • Andrzej Kremer, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • General Franciszek G?gor, Chief of the Polish Army General Staff
  • S?awomir Skrzypek, President of the National Bank of Poland.
  • Andrzej Przewo?nik, Secretary-General of Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites and several members of the Sejm.

Several other Polish government figures were in the plane as well. None of the passengers survived the crash. Poland has declared a week of national mourning after the incident.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was immediately appointed by Dmitry Medvedev, the president, as the head of the commission to investigate the crash. The latter also sent Sergei Shoigu, the Russian minister of emergency situations, to the site of the crash.

It is definitely the most tragic event in the post-war history of Poland.

Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk remarked that “[w]e stand in the face of an incredible tragedy, one of the biggest tragic events of our nation’s history. It is definitely the most tragic event in the post-war history of Poland.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev commented that “All Russians are sharing in your grief and mourning. I promise that all the circumstances of this tragedy will be investigated most thoroughly, in closest cooperation with the Polish side. I have given exhaustive instructions to the law-enforcement agencies.”

He added, “On behalf of the Russian people, I am expressing my deepest, most sincere condolences to the people of Poland, sympathy and support for the victims’ families and friends.” According to Medvedev, Monday the 12th will be a day of national mourning in Russia.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, meanwhile, noted, “I think the whole world will be saddened and in sorrow as a result of the tragic death in a plane crash of President Kaczynski and his wife Maria and the party that were with them.”

“We know the difficulties that Poland has gone through, the sacrifices that he himself made as part of the Solidarity movement. We know the contribution he made to the independence and the freedom of Poland,” he continued.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said of Kaczy?ski, “[He] devoted his life to his country. A tireless defender of the ideas in which he believed, he always battled with conviction for the values that founded his entry into politics: democracy, liberty and the fight against totalitarianism.”

I remember many meetings with him on European and international levels, in the end we always found a solution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated, “This is a political and human tragedy for Poland, our neighbouring country. Lech Kaczy?ski was a real lobbyist for his country, he loved his country and he was an argumentative European.”

Merkel also told of the memories she had of Kaczy?ski, saying: “I remember many meetings with him on European and international levels, in the end we always found a solution. I know that all of his life was dedicated to the fight for Poland’s freedom and Europe’s freedom. My husband and I fondly remember [his] invitation to his country house near Gdansk where we spent many, many hours talking about Polish and European history.”

US President Barack Obama made statement saying, “Today, there are heavy hearts across America. The United States cherishes its deep and abiding bonds with the people of Poland. It is a testament to the strength of the Polish people that those who were lost were travelling to commemorate a devastating massacre of World War II as the leaders of a strong, vibrant, and free Poland.”

Obama added, “That strength will ensure that Poland emerges from the depths of this unthinkable tragedy, and that the legacy of the leaders who died today will be a light that continues to guide Poland – and the world – in the direction of human progress.”

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, “Kaczynski served his country and people with distinction and conviction, and was deservedly respected internationally. That he died en route to an event marking a new level of reconciliation between Poland and Russia is particularly poignant.”

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also expressed his condolences. “The tragic death of president Kaczincki of Poland is a great loss to the people of the Polish Republic and of course to the government of the Polish Republic,” he said. “This has been an extraordinary tragedy involving the loss of nearly 100 people. On behalf of the Australian Government we extend our condolences to the Polish people, to the the Polish government and our thoughts and our prayers are with them all.”

Wikinews attends Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wikinews attended the sixth annual Mini Maker Faire in Tyler, Texas, United States on Saturday. Similar to a giant science fair, the event featured a variety of science, engineering and technology projects and items.

An array of technologies were on hand including 3D printers, drones, and various other physics devices. The owner of the Make Crate subscription service stated her company’s products place a strong emphasis on teaching young people about technology and coding. A traditional blacksmith was also on hand displaying metal working techniques.

Numerous Maker Clubs from an array of local schools were on hand, displaying a broad swathe of tech projects. A group of amateur hobbyists diplayed a model of the deck of the aircraft carrier, the USS Ronald Reagan with a solenoid device hooked up to launch paper airplanes.

News briefs:June 16, 2010

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Obama and Romney enter final stretch in campaign for US Presidency

Friday, November 2, 2012File:ObamaVsRomney.jpg

Incumbent U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have returned to campaigning after taking time out due to Hurricane Sandy.

On Wednesday, Obama visited New Jersey, meeting with Governor Chris Christie in Atlantic City, and spoke to victims of the storm at a community center in Brigantine. Obama earned the praise of the Republican governor who said “[Obama had] sprung into action immediately”. The President’s reaction to the storm also earned him positive polling, with a Washington Post/ABC survey saying 8 out of 10 respondents thought Obama had responded in a “good” or “excellent” manner to the storm.

After restarting the campaign, Obama has campaigned in Wisconsin where he has attacked Romney’s proposed policies as being the same as those of George W. Bush. “Governor Romney has been using all his talents as a salesman to dress up these very same policies that failed our country so badly – the very same policies we’ve been cleaning up after for the past four years – and he is offering them up as change.” said the President.

Yesterday, the independent mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg gave his endorsement to Obama. With several areas of New York affected by flooding from Hurricane Sandy, the former Republican mayor said Obama’s stance on climate change factored in his decision. Writing an editorial for Bloomberg View, the mayor asserted: “Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”

Bloomberg said Obama had taken action to deal with climate change; has proposed measures to reduce emissions from cars and power plants. Bloomberg explained he could not support Romney as the Republican challenger had changed his position on several issues. “In the past he has taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care – but he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the very health care model he signed into law in Massachusetts,” said Bloomberg.

Bloomberg did however have some criticism of Obama. He said that Obama had “engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.” Responding in a statement, Obama said he was “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement”.

Romney spoke at an event in the city of Roanoke, Virginia, criticising Obama’s proposal to create a cabinet-level position for business development. In his speech in Virginia, Romney stated: “I don’t think adding a new chair in his cabinet will help add millions of jobs on Main Street. We don’t need a secretary of business to understand business. We need a president who understands business and I do.” Romney also launched a TV advert which stated that the idea represents a broader failing of the Obama presidency by suggesting that Obama’s “solution to everything is to add another bureaucrat.”

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After speaking in Roanoke, Romney spoke in Doswell, Virginia. His speech was interrupted by a protester who shouted “Climate change caused Sandy! Let’s get real!”

Romney plans to make a last-minute campaign stop in Pennsylvania on Sunday.

Jill Stein, the presidential candidate for the Green Party of the United States, was arrested on Wednesday in Winnsboro in east Texas for misdemeanor criminal trespassing while trying to bring food and confectionery to environmental protesters who have been camping in trees for over a month to protest the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Stein has been released pending a court date.

News briefs:August 6, 2006

The time is 19:00 (UTC) on August 6th, 2006, and this is Audio Wikinews News Briefs.

Contents

  • 1 Headlines
    • 1.1 Lebanon fighting escalates as ceasefire looms
    • 1.2 Syrian minister rejects proposed U.N. resolution
    • 1.3 British soldier killed in southern Afghanistan
    • 1.4 Canadian held in China faces execution
    • 1.5 Iran bans Shirin Ebadi-led human rights group
    • 1.6 I’m staying for at least a year: Blair
    • 1.7 Participant claims drug trial gave him cancer
    • 1.8 Vaccine targets obesity in rats
    • 1.9 Reuters retracts image; suspends employee due to threat
    • 1.10 American cyclist Floyd Landis tested positive for excessive levels of testosterone in second test
    • 1.11 Jenson Button wins 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix
    • 1.12 Day 1 report of Wikimania 2006
  • 2 Closing statements

Heating bills, oil price rise predicted

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

USA — A US government report was issued Wednesday predicting the rise of heating bills due to colder temperatures and impacts Hurricanes Rita and Katrina had on the nation’s energy production.

Local forecasters predict that most of the US will have a warmer-than-expected winter this year. However, households that heat their homes by gas can expect to pay 29.8% more in heating bills. In the case of colder-than-expected weather, an increase of 66% in household heating costs is likely. In typical weather, prices will rise about 47.6%. Households that use electricity can expect a rise of about 5% from last year. NOAA‘s 2005-2006 U.S. Winter Outlook calls for warmer-than-normal temperatures across much of the central and western United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. The Midwest, the Southern Californian coast and the East Coast have equal chances of warmer, cooler or near-normal temperatures this winter.

Around one third of the US crude oil and one fifth of the natural gas outputs in Mexico still remain closed due to hurricane-related damage. Seven oil refineries remain offline.

The Energy Information Administration predicts that the price of oil will rise to around $64 per barrel (42 gallons or 158.97 litres) in 2006, with $58 being the average for this year.

Cleveland, Ohio clinic performs US’s first face transplant

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A team of eight transplant surgeons in Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, USA, led by reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow, age 58, have successfully performed the first almost total face transplant in the US, and the fourth globally, on a woman so horribly disfigured due to trauma, that cost her an eye. Two weeks ago Dr. Siemionow, in a 23-hour marathon surgery, replaced 80 percent of her face, by transplanting or grafting bone, nerve, blood vessels, muscles and skin harvested from a female donor’s cadaver.

The Clinic surgeons, in Wednesday’s news conference, described the details of the transplant but upon request, the team did not publish her name, age and cause of injury nor the donor’s identity. The patient’s family desired the reason for her transplant to remain confidential. The Los Angeles Times reported that the patient “had no upper jaw, nose, cheeks or lower eyelids and was unable to eat, talk, smile, smell or breathe on her own.” The clinic’s dermatology and plastic surgery chair, Francis Papay, described the nine hours phase of the procedure: “We transferred the skin, all the facial muscles in the upper face and mid-face, the upper lip, all of the nose, most of the sinuses around the nose, the upper jaw including the teeth, the facial nerve.” Thereafter, another team spent three hours sewing the woman’s blood vessels to that of the donor’s face to restore blood circulation, making the graft a success.

The New York Times reported that “three partial face transplants have been performed since 2005, two in France and one in China, all using facial tissue from a dead donor with permission from their families.” “Only the forehead, upper eyelids, lower lip, lower teeth and jaw are hers, the rest of her face comes from a cadaver; she could not eat on her own or breathe without a hole in her windpipe. About 77 square inches of tissue were transplanted from the donor,” it further described the details of the medical marvel. The patient, however, must take lifetime immunosuppressive drugs, also called antirejection drugs, which do not guarantee success. The transplant team said that in case of failure, it would replace the part with a skin graft taken from her own body.

Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, a Brigham and Women’s Hospital surgeon praised the recent medical development. “There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Leading bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania withheld judgment on the Cleveland transplant amid grave concerns on the post-operation results. “The biggest ethical problem is dealing with failure — if your face rejects. It would be a living hell. If your face is falling off and you can’t eat and you can’t breathe and you’re suffering in a terrible manner that can’t be reversed, you need to put on the table assistance in dying. There are patients who can benefit tremendously from this. It’s great that it happened,” he said.

Dr Alex Clarke, of the Royal Free Hospital had praised the Clinic for its contribution to medicine. “It is a real step forward for people who have severe disfigurement and this operation has been done by a team who have really prepared and worked towards this for a number of years. These transplants have proven that the technical difficulties can be overcome and psychologically the patients are doing well. They have all have reacted positively and have begun to do things they were not able to before. All the things people thought were barriers to this kind of operations have been overcome,” she said.

The first partial face transplant surgery on a living human was performed on Isabelle Dinoire on November 27 2005, when she was 38, by Professor Bernard Devauchelle, assisted by Professor Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France. Her Labrador dog mauled her in May 2005. A triangle of face tissue including the nose and mouth was taken from a brain-dead female donor and grafted onto the patient. Scientists elsewhere have performed scalp and ear transplants. However, the claim is the first for a mouth and nose transplant. Experts say the mouth and nose are the most difficult parts of the face to transplant.

In 2004, the same Cleveland Clinic, became the first institution to approve this surgery and test it on cadavers. In October 2006, surgeon Peter Butler at London‘s Royal Free Hospital in the UK was given permission by the NHS ethics board to carry out a full face transplant. His team will select four adult patients (children cannot be selected due to concerns over consent), with operations being carried out at six month intervals. In March 2008, the treatment of 30-year-old neurofibromatosis victim Pascal Coler of France ended after having received what his doctors call the worlds first successful full face transplant.

Ethical concerns, psychological impact, problems relating to immunosuppression and consequences of technical failure have prevented teams from performing face transplant operations in the past, even though it has been technically possible to carry out such procedures for years.

Mr Iain Hutchison, of Barts and the London Hospital, warned of several problems with face transplants, such as blood vessels in the donated tissue clotting and immunosuppressants failing or increasing the patient’s risk of cancer. He also pointed out ethical issues with the fact that the procedure requires a “beating heart donor”. The transplant is carried out while the donor is brain dead, but still alive by use of a ventilator.

According to Stephen Wigmore, chair of British Transplantation Society’s ethics committee, it is unknown to what extent facial expressions will function in the long term. He said that it is not certain whether a patient could be left worse off in the case of a face transplant failing.

Mr Michael Earley, a member of the Royal College of Surgeon‘s facial transplantation working party, commented that if successful, the transplant would be “a major breakthrough in facial reconstruction” and “a major step forward for the facially disfigured.”

In Wednesday’s conference, Siemionow said “we know that there are so many patients there in their homes where they are hiding from society because they are afraid to walk to the grocery stores, they are afraid to go the the street.” “Our patient was called names and was humiliated. We very much hope that for this very special group of patients there is a hope that someday they will be able to go comfortably from their houses and enjoy the things we take for granted,” she added.

In response to the medical breakthrough, a British medical group led by Royal Free Hospital’s lead surgeon Dr Peter Butler, said they will finish the world’s first full face transplant within a year. “We hope to make an announcement about a full-face operation in the next 12 months. This latest operation shows how facial transplantation can help a particular group of the most severely facially injured people. These are people who would otherwise live a terrible twilight life, shut away from public gaze,” he said.