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Indian-origin cancer patient awarded PhD in an early convocation held by Canadian University

Several people came to show their support and pride towards Dsouza. Her extended family from Toronto, India and the US were there so was her immediate family. Jadyn, her 15 year old daughter stood by her like a rock.

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Precilla Veigas DSouza,an Indian origin cancer patient receives her PhD, Source- Screenshot from youtube
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New Delhi, May 18, 2017- Allen Saunders once said, “Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” The quote, though an age old, keeps its significance till date. Life doesn’t actually happens as we plan it to be. It consists of several surprises and sometimes disappointments too.

The same happened with Precilla Veigas Dsouza, who was diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer when she was halfway through her PhD in medical science at the University of Toronto.

The doctor had told Dsouza that she could survive at best for a year if aided by chemotherapy. Dsouza accepted the challenge posed by life and fought this fatal disease to complete her PhD in the next six weeks. Dsouza had already completed 80% of her dissertation work when she was diagnosed with the disease.

The University held a special convocation for her on May 9, 2017, a month before their usual June celebrations, to mark her achievement, showing a rare gesture.

In an open letter published in Hindustan Times, Veigas said,”I fear I may not survive another four weeks to see my June convocation. “ The 45 year old woman who has been a gifted student had always nurtured the dream of doing a PhD which could not be fulfilled in the earlier years of her life due to the trying circumstances.

Born in Karnataka, she moved to Dubai in 1997 after getting married but her dream followed her everywhere. She wrote in the letter “Even though my husband was doing well in his career, I was not happy. I was haunted by a longing to fulfill my dream of doing a PhD.”

Her dreams began to take shape when they shifted to Canada in 2003. She was given the permission to work on a pilot programme and got a job volunteering in a reputed hospital in 2005after which she also got a volunteer role in a clinical research organisation.

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She was also offered a full time job but she turned it down to pursue further education in clinical research. Dsouza applied both at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as at Humber College in Toronto to get two post-graduate certificates in clinical research.

Her gruelling hard work soon paid off as she became coordinator of a groundbreaking clinical study, involving more than 74 hospitals, and that required collecting data on cardiac arrest and trauma patients, who were in the danger of bleeding to death. Her fascinating work soon convinced Dr Sandro Rizoli, who would later be her supervisor, to accept her as a PhD candidate in 2012 at the Faculty of Medicine in University of Toronto.

However, she was struck by tragedy in 2015 when she was diagnosed with cancer. Dsouza is fighting the disease very bravely and now when she has received her coveted degree, her joy knows no bounds.

Several people came to show their support and pride towards Dsouza. Her extended family from Toronto, India and the US were there so was her immediate family. Jadyn, her 15 year old daughter stood by her like a rock. In her one of her interviews, Veigas acknowledged the great strength she derives from her family. Veigas said, “I’ve always had very strong support.”

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Her work has helped treating trauma patients by matching them to the most effective blood products for transfusion at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto.
She also wrote, “I am also so happy to leave a legacy for my daughter, Jadyn, to find the strength to achieve her own life goals,”
Veigas hopes to become inspiration for others and encourages everyone to follow their dreams.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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U.S.- Canada Show a United Front During Huawei Tech Executive’s Trial

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said Canadian officials were granted consular access Friday to one of the detainees and they are still trying to contact the second.

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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland takes part in a news conference at the Embassy of Canada in Washington. VOA

The United States and Canada promised a fair judicial process for a Chinese tech executive who was arrested earlier this month in Canada.

In talks at the State Department on Friday, the U.S. and Canadian foreign and defense ministers put on a united front, following a growing diplomatic dispute between the United States and China, in which Canada finds itself in the middle.

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland defended her country’s detention of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, saying it was “not a political decision,” but “a matter of following the rules.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was also “respecting the rule of law each step along the way” as it seeks Meng.

Canada arrested Meng at the request of the United States, which says Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. She has been released on bail and is awaiting possible extradition to the United States.

Huawei, China, Canada
A man lights a cigarette outside a Huawei retail shop in Beijing. VOA

Disagreement with Trump

Freeland implicitly pushed back against recent comments by U.S. President Donald Trump, who has said the case could be used as part of wider trade negotiations with Beijing.

“It is also very important for Canada that extradition agreements are not to be used for political purposes,” she said. “Canada does not do it that way and I believe it is obvious that democratic countries, such as our partners in the United States, do the same.”

Freeland also said she was extremely concerned about the fate of two Canadians — businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig — who were detained in China this week, in what is widely seen as a case of retaliation against Canada’s detention of Meng.

Huawei, China, Trump, Canada
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s chief financial officer, is seen in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters. VOA

“For me and the prime minister, there are no issues that touch us more personally and immediately than the detention of Canadians outside our country,” Freeland said, adding, “This is a huge priority for our government.”

Canadians ‘ought to be returned’

Secretary of State Pompeo called China’s detention of the Canadian citizens “unacceptable” and said that they “ought to be returned.”

China’s foreign ministry says the Canadian citizens are each being investigated on suspicion of violating China’s national security laws. Analysts and rights groups have called those laws powerful and vague.

In a statement Saturday, the International Crisis Group called for the immediate release of Kovrig, who is their senior expert for North East Asia, based in Hong Kong. The group said Kovrig had always worked transparently and constructively with Chinese authorities.

Mike Pompeo, USA, Canada
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters, Dec. 12, 2018, at United Nations headquarters. VOA

“The real danger to China comes from Michael’s arbitrary arrest and detention, for these will have a chilling effect on people wanting to visit and engage with the country,” said Crisis Group president and CEO Robert Malley.

The statement also noted that since Kovrig had been a Canadian diplomat in China between 2014 and 2016, “diplomatic missions around the globe should be concerned by the suggestion that normal diplomatic work could be grounds for future detention.

Also Read: As Huawei CFO Gets Released On a Bail, Trump Suggests a Trade Deal With China

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said Canadian officials were granted consular access Friday to one of the detainees and they are still trying to contact the second. The Crisis Group confirmed that the Canadian ambassador in Beijing has been able to visit Kovrig. (VOA)