How a father tracked the ‘Black Widow’ following his son’s murder
He’s a former Winnipeg lawyer in his mid-seventies, grieving for his murdered son. She’s an eye-catching Puerto Rican blonde in her early thirties, whom the newspapers dubbed the “Black Widow.”
For more than four years, they danced a duet of surveillance and evasion over two continents-the father pursuing the femme fatale, in a tale that rivals anything by Raymond Chandler.
Raymond Chandler Chandler became a detective fiction writer
“We knew where she was all the time,” said the father, Abe Anhang about his son’s widow, Aurea Vazquez-Rijos, alias Beatrice Dominicci. “But we couldn’t touch her.”
all the timeその間ずっと
So he did the next best thing. He didn’t let her out of his sight. Using the services of a colourful, Milan-based detective known as Farouk, and assorted other informants he won’t name, Anhang tracked the movements of Vazquez-Rijos in Italy and throughout Europe, convinced that the widow was a fugitive in the investigation of the 2005 murder of his son Adam.
He passed on what he learned to the FBI in Puerto Rico, as they built a file on Vazquez-Rijos, the five-foot-two widow who once won a beauty pageant as Miss Puerto Rico Petite.
WATCH BELOW: When Adam Anhang was murdered in Puerto Rico, his father, Abe, suspected there was more to the story. Here, Abe and his wife explain how they kept track of his son’s widow, right up to her arrest last summer.
right up to～に至るまでrightは「全く」、「ずっと」
Vazquez-Rijos, along with her sister Marcia and her sister’s boyfriend, was under indictment for conspiracy to hire the man who killed Adam in a midnight attack on the streets of Old San Juan. But before the indictment came down, she’d moved to Italy.
READ MORE: Father awaits justice in son’s 2005 murder in Puerto Rico
And Anhang and the FBI were powerless against Italian authorities, who have a long history of non-cooperation with U.S. law enforcement.
They were also up against a very smart, very resourceful woman. At one point, Vazquez-Rijos realized that Farouk was following her, so she confronted him and threatened to sue Anhang for stalking.
But the detective, working on a retainer of nearly $1,000 a day, stayed on the job and continued to shadow her-where she ate, the friends she made, where she worked, the aliases she used and when she changed her appearance.
Vazquez-Rijos, he reported back, even felt bold enough to travel throughout Europe, including Gibraltar, France and England, always staying one step ahead of her pursuers.
Anhang explained: “She had access to three or four identity cards, she was using three or four different names, different hairstyles, different hair colourings. So by the time we found out she had been in another country, she had already left it.”
Vazquez-Rijos was nothing if not brazen. In 2008, she was approached in Florence by a Puerto Rican newspaper reporter and she offered him her story-the story of a bereft widow valiantly trying to make a life in Italy. She asked for $5,000. He refused.
nothing if not
Meanwhile, Farouk followed Vazquez-Rijos’ every twist and turn and reported back to Anhang. The detective’s emails to his employer had a distinct Inspector Clouseau-flavor. He once described a false rumor as “fried air.”
But Anhang didn’t hire him for his grasp of English. Farouk’s detective work was solid. Among the highlights of his findings were:
Her liaison with an air-conditioner contractor in Florence that resulted in the birth of twin girls-a development that Anhang said was intended purely to secure her residency status in Italy. In the middle of the pregnancy, the family learned from an Italian newspaper that she was on the run, and the relationship ended soon after. The girls are now in the custody of the man’s family.
Her infiltration of the small, tight-knit Jewish Orthodox community in Florence-Vazquez-Rijos appealed to their sense of compassion, telling community leaders that her husband had died in a car crash, and that she needed help to raise her twin girls.
She also claimed to be a convert to Judaism-something that’s in dispute. Community leaders believed her, helped find her a place to live, and accepted her girls into the synagogue’s day-care centre. Anhang travelled to Florence and told members of the community that her story was bogus, and the resulting controversy caused a deep rift within the community.
Her cultivation of a deep friendship with a rich married Florentine banker in his 60s-Paolo Galardi helped her set up a travel agency, and later financed her legal fight to resist extradition to Puerto Rico. Galardi first threatened legal action if his name was made public. He later relented, but insisted in an interview with 16×9 that “justice makes mistakes” and that Vazquez-Rijos, a loving mother, is innocent.
Her quick getaway-After her exposure in Florence, Vazquez-Rijos moved to Venice and took up with a local diamond merchant.
take up with～と親しく［仲良く］なる
The murkiest part of Vazquez-Rijos’ odyssey is the final chapter-her arrest in Spain last June. The facts haven’t been officially confirmed, but it’s speculated that her apprehension may have been the result of a carefully executed sting operation led by the FBI.
Someone she trusted, possibly her employer, told her to connect with a tourist group waiting for her in Madrid. She was asked to bring her American passport as identification. It was all a ruse (A year earlier, U.S. consular officials in Italy had renewed her American passport, with her real name, possibly for this very purpose).
When she boarded the Madrid-bound flight on June 30, 2013, FBI officials were notified immediately, and they contacted Spanish police and Interpol. They were waiting as Vazquez-Rijos disembarked.
“I got a call 10 minutes after she landed,” said Anhang. He won’t go into detail, but one can assume he was fully briefed by the FBI about the sting, and the imminent arrest.
The Black Widow had walked into a web, spun in part by the man who had pursued her for 4 1/2 years. And this time, he hopes, there will be no escape.
Weedkiller glyphosate 'doesn't cause cancer' - Bayer
Many gardeners use the common weed killers
Pharmaceutical group Bayer has dismissed claims that an ingredient used in weed killers is carcinogenic.
dismiss a claim要求を拒絶する［はねつける］、抗議を却下する
The German company, which owns agriculture giant Monsanto, says herbicides containing glyphosate are safe.
On Friday, Monsanto was ordered to pay $289m (￡226m) damages to a man who claimed the products caused his cancer.
A Californian jury said Monsanto should have warned users about the dangers of its Roundup and RangerPro weedkillers.
Bayer completed its $66bn takeover of Monsanto in June.
A Bayer spokesperson told the BBC the two companies operate independently. In a statement the company said: "Bayer is confident, based on the strength of the science, the conclusions of regulators around the world and decades of experience, that glyphosate is safe for use and does not cause cancer when used according to the label."
The landmark lawsuit was the first to go to trial alleging a glyphosate link to cancer.
The claimant, groundsman Dewayne Johnson, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2014. His lawyers said he regularly used a form of RangerPro while working at a school in Benicia, California.
He is among more than 5,000 similar plaintiffs across the US.
Glyphosate is the world's most common weedkiller. The California ruling could lead to hundreds of other claims against Monsanto.
The company said it intends to appeal against the verdict.
What is glyphosate and is it dangerous?
Glyphosate was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, but its patent expired in 2000, and now the chemical is sold by various manufacturers. In the US, more than 750 products contain it.
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the World Health Organisation's cancer agency, concluded that glyphosate was "probably carcinogenic to humans".
However, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists it is safe when used carefully.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) also says glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.
Last November 2017 EU countries voted to renew the licence of glyphosate despite campaigns against it.
BBC North American correspondent James Cook reported that in California - where a judge recently ruled that coffee must carry a cancer warning - the agriculture industry sued to prevent such a label for glyphosate, even though the state lists it as a chemical known to cause cancer.
What do we know about glyphosate?
What happened in the groundsman case?
Jurors found on Friday that Monsanto had acted with "malice" and that its weed killers contributed "substantially" to Mr Johnson's terminal illness.
Following an eight-week trial, the jury ordered the company to pay $250m in punitive damages together with other costs that brought the total figure to almost $290m.
Mr Johnson's lawyer, Brent Wisner, said the jury's verdict showed that the evidence against the product was "overwhelming".
"When you are right, it is really easy to win," he said.
How did Monsanto react?
"The jury got it wrong," vice-president Scott Partridge said outside the courthouse in San Francisco.
In a written statement, the company said it was "sympathetic to Mr Johnson and his family" but it would "continue to vigorously defend this product, which has a 40-year history of safe use".
"Today's decision does not change the fact that more than 800 scientific studies and reviews - and conclusions by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the US National Institutes of Health and regulatory authorities around the world - support the fact that glyphosate does not cause cancer, and did not cause Mr Johnson's cancer," it added.
Plastic pollution: How one woman found a new source of warming gases hidden in waste
It's your classic movie eureka moment.
Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water.
Instead, in a "happy accident" she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water.
Now she's published further details in a study into the potential warming impact of gases seeping from plastic waste.
"It was a totally unexpected discovery," Dr Royer told BBC News.
"Some members of the lab were experimenting with high density polyethylene bottles looking at methane biological production, but the concentrations were much higher than expected."
"So we realised that the emissions were not just coming from the biology but from the bottle that we were using for the experiment."
After graduating from university in Barcelona, Dr Royer found herself in Hawaii, leading teams of volunteers who were helping to remove plastic from beaches at weekends, while working on the chemistry of the substance during the week.
Now she's published her report after spending a year and a half testing different types of plastic in and out of seawater to see if they emit methane and ethylene, which both contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Dr Royer found that the most widely-used plastic, the stuff used to make shopping bags, is the one that produces the greatest amount of these warming gases.
At the end of the study, after 212 days in the sun, this plastic emitted 176 times more methane than at the start of the experiment.
Ironically, when plastics were exposed to air the amount of methane emitted was double the level from sea water.
What's causing these emissions?
In short it's the Sun. Solar radiation acts on the surface of plastic waste. As it breaks down, becomes cracked and pitted, these defects increase the surface area of plastic available to sunlight which accelerates gas production. Even in the dark, the gas continues to seep out.
"I'm in the field every week," said Dr Royer.
Plastic waste washed up in a Hawaiian bay
"When I touch a piece of plastic, if there's a little impact on that plastic it's degrading into hundred of pieces pretty much as we look at it."
Is this a big deal?
Up to now, the link between plastics and climate change was mainly focussed on the use of fossil fuels like oil and gas in the manufacture of plastic items.
It's also known that when plastics degrade in the environment, they release CO2. Experts have welcomed this report as it is the first time that anyone has tried to quantify other warming gases emerging from plastic waste.
"Low density polyethylene (LDPE) does emit ethylene, methane and propane, even at low temperatures that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions," Prof Ashwani Gupta from the University of Maryland, who was not involved in the study, told BBC News.
"It is nice to see some quantified emissions on greenhouse gases for the selected polyethylene. The results clearly show variation in gas emission levels among the different polyethylene sources."
While the amounts of methane and ethylene being produced right now from plastics are very small, Dr Royer is concerned about the future and the fact that as plastic breaks down, more surface area is exposed, increasing the amount of the gases that drifts into the atmosphere.
"If we look at all the plastic produced since 1950, it's pretty much all still on the planet, and it's just degrading into smaller and smaller pieces, so we know the industry is booming and in the next 30 years and more and more greenhouse gases will be produced - that's a big thing."
What have the plastics industry said?
Nothing much at this point. According to Dr Royer, when she approached companies in the field, they weren't keen on talking about it.
"I told them I was a scientist and I was trying to understand the chemistry of the plastic," she said.
"I was trying to order some plastics of different densities and I was asking questions about the process and they all said we don't want to have contact with you anymore.
"I think the plastic industry absolutely knows, and they don't want this to be shared with the world."
How have other scientists reacted?
"Research on plastic waste is revealing it to be a disturbing pandora's box," said Dr Montserrat Filella, a chemist at the University of Geneva.
"As research expands our knowledge, we are realising that plastics can be insidious in many other ways. For instance, as vectors of 'hidden pollutants', such as heavy metals present in them or, now, as a source of greenhouse gases. And, in all cases, throughout the entire lifetime of the plastic."
Plastic debris from the tsunami in Japan is still causing problems in Hawaii
Others agreed that further research was urgently needed.
"No one knows how much methane and ethylene are being released from these sources. We don't know if it is adding significant amounts of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere," said Dr Jennifer Lynch, a marine environment expert from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (Nist).
"It's another consequence of the use of plastics and it needs further examination."
Dengue fever outbreak stopped by special mosquitoes
The specially bred mosquitoes carry the bacteria Wolbachia which reduces the transmission of viruses
Australian researchers say for the first time an entire city has been protected from viral disease dengue.
ボルバキア (Wolbachia pipientis) は節足動物やフィラリア線虫の体内に生息する共生細菌の一種で、特に昆虫では高頻度でその存在が認められる。ミトコンドリアのように母から子に伝わり（遺伝し）、昆虫宿主の生殖システムを自身の都合のよいように変化させることから、利己的遺伝因子の一つであると見なされている。
Captive-bred mosquitoes with a naturally occurring bacteria were released in the city of Townsville, where they mated with local mosquitoes.
By spreading the bacteria Wolbachia, which hinders dengue transmission, the city has been dengue-free since 2014.
Researchers from Monash University also believe their work could stop mosquito-borne diseases Zika and malaria.
"Nothing we've got is slowing these diseases down - they are getting worse," said Scott O'Neill, director of the World Mosquito Program, quoted by the Guardian.
"I think we've got something here that's going to have a significant impact and I think this study is the first indication that it's looking very promising."
Over four monsoon seasons, researchers released the Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes across 66km sq (25 sq miles) in the Queensland tropical town of 187,000 people.
The community embraced the project, with even school children releasing the special mosquitoes that passed on their bacteria to the local population of mosquitoes.
They have published their results, calling the trial the first citywide success.
"At a cost of around A$15 (￡8.50) per person, the Townsville trial demonstrates the approach can be rolled out quickly, efficiently and cost effectively to help provide communities ongoing protection from mosquito-borne diseases," Professor O'Neill said.
The programme is currently working in 11 countries and aims to deploy the Wolbachia mosquitoes in larger and poorer parts around the world with a target of reducing the cost to just US$1 (75p) per person.
The next step for the team is in Yogyakarta in Indonesia - a city of nearly 390,000 - where a randomised controlled trial is under way
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang calls for crackdown on vaccine industry
Authorities in China have ordered an investigation into a vaccination scandal as panic grows over product safety.
Last week vaccine maker Changsheng Biotechnology Co was found to have falsified production data for its rabies vaccine.
The firm has been ordered to halt production and recall rabies vaccines.
There has been no evidence of harm from the vaccine, but the scandal has sparked a huge outcry in China.
Changsheng, which suspended trading in its shares for part of Monday, saw their value drop by 10% on the day.
The shares have slumped 47% since mid-July, when news of the scandal first broke.
On Sunday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urged severe punishment for the people involved, saying the incident had "crossed a moral line".
"We will resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that endanger the safety of peoples' lives, resolutely punish lawbreakers according to the law, and resolutely and severely criticise dereliction of duty in supervision," he said in a statement posted on a government website.
Changsheng has apologised, saying that it was "guilty and embarrassed" and would co-operate with drug regulators to carry out a comprehensive internal investigation.
How did all this happen?
On 15 July, China's State Drug Administration (SDA) announced that Changchun Changsheng had falsified production data during the production of its freeze-dried human rabies vaccine.
According to a report by Xinhua, an official said the company had "fabricated production records and product inspection records", as well as "arbitrarily changed process parameters and equipment" during production.
The China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) said the rabies vaccine had been recalled and that the company would be put under investigation.
Days later, Jilin province authorities announced a 2017 batch of the firm's diptheria, tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine - or DTaP - was also substandard.
感染部位によって咽頭・扁桃ジフテリア、喉頭ジフテリア、鼻ジフテリア、 皮膚ジフテリア、 眼結膜ジフテリア、生殖器ジフテリアなどに分類できる。
According to state media outlet CGTN, more than 250,000 doses of DTaP in the batch had already been sold to disease control and prevention centres in eastern China.
The company has now been ordered to pay a fine of 3.4m yuan ($510,000; ￡387,957).
How will this affect people?
According to the CFDA, there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed by the vaccine.
Concern has now shifted to the safety of the DTaP vaccine.
The vaccine is subsidised by the government and is given to infants across the country.
Parents have voiced concerns about the potential risks to their children's health
It is not known how many children have received the vaccine, but there have not been any reports of children falling ill after receiving the inoculation.
The Chinese government has not said what impact the substandard vaccine could have on a person's health.
What has the reaction been?
People are furious.
"Thousands of mothers around the country are worried. Over 200,000 children could be affected. What kind of society am I living in?" asked one person on Weibo.
"My son will be vaccinated next month. I don't know whether or not to let him," said another.
Chinese censors have also identified the issue as highly sensitive. A widely circulated article pointing out murky practices in the vaccine industry in China was deleted.
This is not the first time substandard vaccines have been produced in China.
In 2016, an illegal vaccine ring which involved hundreds of people was uncovered.
Some $88m worth of vaccines were found to be inadequately refrigerated and were not transported in approved conditions.
World Cup: Pussy Riot protesters jailed over pitch demonstration
Four members of the Russian punk activist group Pussy Riot have been jailed for 15 days for disrupting the World Cup final by running onto the pitch.
They were accused of violating the rules for spectators at sporting events and wearing police uniforms illegally.
They were also banned from attending sports events for three years.
Pussy Riot said it was a protest against human rights abuses in Russia. Stewards hauled the four off the pitch.
The incident interrupted the second half of the Croatia v France match for about 25 seconds. France went on to win 4-2.
go on to次に～する
Security was tight and it is not clear how the activists managed to get through
Pussy Riot has staged high-profile protests against President Vladimir Putin before. Three members were jailed in 2012 for an anti-Putin punk song performed in a Moscow cathedral.
The group has tweeted that the four arrested on Sunday spent the whole night at a police station in great discomfort.
Three women and a man ran onto the pitch, though one was tackled on the sidelines. They wore police-style uniforms: white shirts, black trousers and epaulettes.
One woman managed to do a high-five salute with French star Kylian Mbappe before being led off the pitch.
But the male intruder was grabbed in anger by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren. After the incident Lovren told reporters: "I just lost my head and I grabbed the guy and I wished I could throw him away from the stadium."
The man was identified as Pyotr Verzilov, husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. She was among three Pussy Riot members jailed in 2012.
The three women World Cup intruders were named as Nika Nikulshina, Olga Kurachyova and Olga Pakhtusova.
A statement from Pussy Riot said the aims of their protest included making the Russian authorities:
Free all political prisoners
Stop illegal arrests at public rallies
Allow political competition in the country
Stop fabricating criminal cases and jailing people on remand for no reason
The statement quoted a Russian poet, Dmitry Prigov, who had contrasted the "heavenly policeman who speaks to God on his walkie-talkie" with "the earthly one who fabricates criminal cases".
The Russian anti-Putin activist and blogger Alexei Navalny has tweeted a video clip showing two of the pitch invaders being interrogated.
An angry voice is heard shouting at Mr Verzilov and one of the women - looking dishevelled in their mock police uniforms.
"Sometimes I regret that it's not 1937" the person off-camera says, alluding to the communist-era terror campaign instigated by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
UK to build record-breaking solar planes
A solar plane which can stay aloft for weeks at a time is to be manufactured by Airbus in the UK.
The unmanned craft flies high in the atmosphere to avoid commercial air traffic and adverse weather.
Known as the Zephyr, its remote-sensing potential has already seen the UK MoD invest, but Airbus also hope to develop the craft as a communications platform.
The Zephyr will now begin industrial production in Farnborough, after several years of testing.
Named for the Zephyr's late inventor, the newly opened Kelleher facility has the capacity to produce up to 30 of the planes each year.
Its inauguration was announced at the 2018 Farnborough Air Show.
Powered by solar energy during the day, and solar-charged batteries by night, the Zephyr holds the absolute endurance record for un-refuelled aeroplanes - 336 hours, 22 minutes and eight seconds in the air.
The latest model, the Zephyr S, is currently aloft above the skies of Arizona in the US, where Airbus aims to fly it for 30 days, breaking the vehicle's own 14-day record set in 2010.
The 120-day flight capacity promised by the craft's lightweight battery technology has yet to be tested, but the company hopes to do so within the next year.
The craft itself weighs only 30kg, with an additional 30kg of battery
Various remote-sensing systems are currently being tested for use with the craft. As it can remain aloft at upwards of 70,000ft (21km) in one region for a continuous period of time, rather than orbiting the Earth like a traditional satellite, its potential for monitoring activity such as shipping traffic and wildfires is being explored.
The plane's 5kg payload allowance does make accommodating a range of instruments a challenge. The whole craft weighs less than 75kg, much of which is devoted to its battery technology.
Plans for future models include a twin tail, which would accommodate a heavier payload.
For a time, Facebook were also developing similar technology
Other companies have also expressed an interest in the technology's communications capability.
Facebook, who recently retired a similar project known as Aquila, have been collaborating with Airbus.
According to Janna Rosenmann, head of unmanned aerial systems at Airbus, the two companies "have a joint goal to try to bring internet connectivity... to connect the unconnected".
Hot summer leading to 'toxic' algae
A freshwater ecologist says blue-green algae had been a particular problem this summer
Potentially toxic algae is blooming in rivers and lochs during Scotland's long, hot summer, scientists have warned.
Blue-green algae, which poses a health risk to humans and animals, has flourished during the warm spell.
The algae has reportedly led to the death of two dogs after they ingested the substance earlier this summer.
Now scientists are urging people to record sightings of the algae in a bid to speed up response times.
Lake District 'toxic' algae warning
Freshwater ecologist Prof Laurence Carvalho said blue-green algae had been a particular problem this summer.
"Not only has it been very warm but it has also been very dry, which means they have not been flushed out of water courses by rain," he said.
flush ~ out of…から～を勢いよく洗い流す
It is posing a particular risk to dogs who appear to be attracted by the smell, he added.
Earlier this month a dog reportedly died from algae poisoning after drinking water from the River Conon, near Maryburgh in the Highlands.
A similar incident is reported to have happened in Loch Awe in May.
Prof Carvalho said: "Animals will drink from water if they are thirsty and it seems dogs are particularly affected because they seem to be attracted by the smell of the algae."
Blue-green algae are microscopic, but clump together in visible colonies up to a few millimetres in size that can rise to the surface and form thin wispy green blooms or thick, paint-like scums.
When it is ingested, it can cause damage to the liver or the nervous system in humans and animals.
People who have been swimming in or have swallowed algal scum can suffer from skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and muscle and joint pain but there is no evidence of long-term effects or death among people in the UK.
Prof Carvalho, who works at the Centre for Ecoology and Hydrology, has helped develop an app called Bloomin' Algae which allows users to submit images of the bloom and its location.
The information will be passed on to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, so it can inform local authorities.
He said: "The app provides an early warning system and speeds up the process of local authorities or landowners putting up signs at sites where there is blue-green algae, to warn the public of the risks.
"It will also help us understand the drivers of growth of these algae, such as the impact of climate change."
Giving birth makes woman allergic to water
A NEW mum was over the moon about the birth of her baby girl ? until she hopped in the shower and realised something had changed.
over the moon《be ～》〈話〉大喜びしている
WHEN Cherelle Farrugia gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, she knew her life was going to change forever.
But aside from the emotional changes the 25-year-old Welsh mum was going through, her body had also gone through a drastic physical change.
Two months after she gave birth to Willow in January, Ms Farrugia began to realise her body was breaking out in painful and severely itchy hives every time she had a shower.
Ms Farrugia then spent weeks going through a process of elimination, trying to figure out why showering had become such a painful experience.
The Cardiff mum swapped out all of her products, assuming she was having an allergic reaction to one of them.
When that didn’t work she tried showering in cold, hot, lukewarm, even water the same temperature as her own body.
Then, she tried using bottled and filtered water to wash herself and jumped in a chlorine pool to see if she’d still react ? and every time she still broke out in the painful hives.
She even changed her shower head, worried there might be mould in it she was allergic to.
Eventually, after a bit of Googling, Ms Farrugia suspected she had an extremely rare condition called Aquagenic Uticaria ? only 35 people have reported having it in the whole world.
水アレルギー（みずアレルギー）は、水蕁麻疹 aquagenous urticaria, aquagenic urticaria
The condition causes urticaria, or hives, to develop rapidly on a person’s skin almost immediately after touching water, regardless of its temperature.
Speaking to theDaily Mail, Ms Farrugia said it took months to be officially diagnosed with the disease.
“It took a while because the first doctor I saw hadn’t really heard of it and thought I had heat-related hives so it took about three months for me to get an official diagnosis,” she said.
The new mum struggled with post-partum depression after giving birth to Willow and doctors believe her depression as well as the spike in her hormone levels during the pregnancy could’ve caused the painful condition to develop.
Ms Farrugia has since learnt when exactly her hives start to develop and tries to limit her showers to three minutes.
“It tingles at first and that’s how I know that I am about to react. Once the tingles start about a minute later my whole upper body is covered with hives which last anywhere between 30-60 minutes before they go back down again,” Ms Farrugia told the Daily Mail.
“I then make sure I am busy for the next hour or so because if I sit there and think about it I get really upset over it. So I usually play with my daughter or take the dog out for a walk to distract myself.”
Her “uncomfortable and very, very itchy” rash tends to occur after five minutes in water.
But the Cardiff mum breaks out even when she gets rained on, sweats or goes swimming.
Ms Farrugia attempted to reduce her showering, but after a month of that, she decided to just deal with the itchy rash, showering daily and just sitting in a dressing gown until the rash subsides.
Doctors also believe the condition is degenerative and Ms Farrugia worries that one day, even drinking water will be painful.
“I can drink water fine as I’m not affected internally however I have read that there are some people with the condition who can’t drink plain water as their throat swells,’ she said.
“The condition tends to be degenerative so one day I may not be able to drink it either.”
Ms Farrugia has come up with a number of ways to lessen the itchy hives because there’s still no cure for her rare condition.
She uses Aloe Vera to soothe the itching, “ironic” because it contains water, Ms Farrugia said.
The Cardiff mum also tries to dry off as quickly as she can and is currently having cognitive behavioural therapy.
Since realising what she was suffering from, Ms Farrugia started an Instagram page in a bid to raise awareness for the rare condition.
Immediate stop to NHS mesh operations
The mesh implants are used to ease incontinence and to support organs
NHS England is putting an immediate curb on mesh operations after safety concerns.
It has accepted the advice of a new review looking at harm reported by women who received the treatment for stress urinary incontinence.
stress urinary incontinence腹圧性尿失禁
The review's chair, Baroness Julia Cumberlege, said she was "appalled at the seriousness and scale of the tragic stories" that her team had heard.
Many women say the implants caused them agony by cutting into tissue.
Some say they have been left with life-changing injuries.
Claire Cooper, who had the implants, mistakenly had a hysterectomy after doctors were unable to diagnose what was causing her pain. She was left feeling suicidal and unable to have sex.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 UK women have had a mesh fitted. The net-like fabric can be attached into the wall of the vagina to act as a scaffold to support organs, such as the bladder, to keep them in the right place to help manage incontinence or another condition called prolapse.
Most patients suffer no ill effects, NHS England says.
England's Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said mesh would remain a treatment of last resort for some: "Carefully selected patients will continue to have access in discussion with their consultant."
Baroness Cumberlege said the independent review found no evidence on the benefits for treating urinary incontinence that would outweigh "the severity of human suffering caused by mesh complications".
"My team and I are in no doubt that this pause is necessary. We must stop exposing women to the risk of life-changing and life-threatening injuries. We must have measures in place to mitigate the risk, and those are sadly lacking at the moment.
"At this stage in our review we are not recommending a ban, but a halt to procedures."
The pause can be lifted if certain checks and measures are met by March 2019, says the review team.
This includes keeping a register of every procedure and any complications.
To date, it's still unclear how many women have been adversely affected by mesh. The government is carrying out an audit to try to find out.
The health watchdog NICE has already recommended that vaginal mesh operations for treating organ prolapse should largely be stopped in England.
The use of vaginal mesh to treat urinary incontinence was not mentioned in the draft NICE guidelines, however.
A number of Scottish health boards have already stopped using mesh implants altogether, and in Wales the procedures are seen as a 'last resort'.
The safety review chaired by Baroness Cumberlege is also looking at concerns about a hormone pregnancy test called Primodos and an epilepsy drug called sodium valproate, which have both been linked to birth defects.
Mesh used for bowel patients (rectopexy) has not been included in the temporary suspension.
DNA 'barcode' delivering personalised breast cancer care
Scientists in Cambridge say advances in genetics are set to transform the treatment of breast cancer, making it more personalised to each patient.
All women there diagnosed with breast cancer have their entire genetic code mapped.
Doctors say it is helping them chose the right treatment and predict whether patients are likely to experience side effects.
It can also reveal whether their cancer is becoming resistant to treatment.
Carlos Caldas, Prof of Cancer Medicine and programme director at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, said: "By sequencing the tumour we have something like a barcode which gives us the pattern of mutations in that cancer.
"We can understand how the body, and in particular the immune cells are responding and this enables us to deliver more precision medicine.
"This barcode also enables us to do surveillance and identify early whether a tumour is coming back because it is developing resistance to treatment - when those cells start releasing their DNA we can detect them in a blood test known as a liquid biopsy."
To date, 275 women have joined the Personalised Breast Cancer Programme in Cambridge, which was launched in 2016 with just over ￡1m funding from Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust.
They aim to enrol 2,000 patients in the next four years.
Prof Caldas said: "Breast cancer is not one but 10 or 11 diseases that are distinct molecular entities and we will increasingly see patients being categorised into one of these groups, enabling us to tailor the way we monitor them; it's a dramatic improvement in the way we personalise their treatment."
How it works:
All cancer patients have two genomes - the so-called germline DNA they inherited from their parents and the corrupted genetic code in their cancer
Women diagnosed with breast cancer in Cambridge have a sample of their tumour and of their blood sent for sequencing, with the full results coming back within 12 weeks
The germline genome can tell whether they inherited mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2 genes, which increases their risk of both breast and ovarian cancer - these findings can also have implications for their wider family
Tumour sequencing allows researchers to catalogue all the mutations in cancer cells and enables them to predict whether they will respond to specific treatments
Some drugs, known as targeted therapies, are designed for people whose cancer cells have specific gene mutations which 'drive' tumour growth
Dr Jean Abraham, consultant oncologist at Addenbrooke's hospital, said: "We have had lots of cases where we either opted for a patient to go on a clinical trial because of the results of their sequencing or were offered an alternative treatment as that was a better option."
Elizabeth Banns, 61, joined the study after she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer last year.
inflammatory breast cancer炎症性乳がん
Like other patients, she had surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Despite this extensive treatment, her cancer returned and is now incurable, but Elizabeth remains optimistic: "Being part of research gives you are feeling of control and being part of something."
She told me: "It's reassuring knowing that I don't have to keep going back for biopsies because they have my genetic code and that of my cancer; it's banked and hopefully it will mean that first one targeted drug trial and then another will come along that I will be eligible for."
Breast cancer patients in Cambridge are also offered the opportunity to take part in research involving so-called mouse avatars.
Within an hour of their biopsy, samples from their tumour is injected under the skin of laboratory mice.
These cancer avatars are used to model the effects of different treatments.
I was shown two sets of mice, all carrying the same tumour.
The patient had not responded to chemotherapy, and nor did the mouse avatars that were given the same drug - the tumours could be seen growing under their skin.
The second group were given a different drug from the patient and their tumours had not grown.
The hope is, for some patients, it will identify the most promising drugs and eliminate others which are unlikely to work.
Dr Alejandra Bruna, molecular biologist, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute told me: "We want to reduce the number of toxic drugs that we give to patients, and where possible treat them with targeted therapies with fewer side effects."
The patients' tumours are also grown in cells lines, enabling the majority of drug testing to be done in laboratory dishes, so minimising the number of animal tests.
The project is still at the research stage and not directly influencing clinical decisions.
Why does India's air look different from space?
There is something very distinct about the air over India and the surrounding countries in South Asia.
It is the presence of formaldehyde - a colourless gas that is naturally released by vegetation but also from a number of polluting activities.
The elevated concentrations have been observed by Europe's new Sentinel-5P satellite, which was launched last October to track air quality worldwide.
It is information that will inform policies to clean up the atmosphere.
Compared to the major constituents like nitrogen and oxygen, the formaldehyde signal is actually very small; in every billion air molecules just a few will be HCHO. But it can be a signifier of more general pollution problems, says Isabelle De Smedt from the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB).
"The formaldehyde column is composed of different sorts of volatile organic compounds, and the source can be from vegetation - so, from natural origin - but also from fires and pollution," she told BBC News.
"It depends on the region but 50-80% of the signal is from some biogenic origin. But above that you have pollution and fire. And the fire can be from coal burning or wildfires, but in India, yes, you have a lot of agricultural fires."
India also uses considerable quantities of wood in the home for cooking and heating.
When volatile organic compounds are brought together with nitrogen dioxide (NO?, from fossil fuel burning) and sunlight, reactions will produce ground-level ozone.
This is a severe respiratory irritant that can lead to significant health problems.
Notice how the Himalaya Mountains essentially corral the air on the plains, preventing it from moving north.
The relative low in formaldehyde concentration in north-west India is centred over the desert lands of Rajasthan, where, obviously, there is much less vegetation and fewer people.
Sentinel-5P was procured and launched by the European Space Agency for the European Union's Copernicus Earth-monitoring programme.
The satellite's Tropomi instrument can detect the presence in the atmosphere of a suite of trace gases in addition to formaldehyde, including nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide (SO?), methane, carbon monoxide (CO) and aerosols (small droplets and particles).
All affect the air we breathe and therefore our health, and a number of them also play a role in climate change.
Formaldehyde concentrations across the globe, Nov-2017 to June-2018: The information will help develop policies to improve air quality
The Tropomi instrument itself represents a remarkable step-change on the capability of its predecessor spectrometer system known as Omi, which still flies today on an American space agency satellite.
"We already had really good data, but we needed many more days of observations, sometimes years of observations, to get this kind of quality," said Dr De Smedt.
"The new (India) map contains four months of data. Tropomi can do in one month what Omi did in six.
"We now see much faster the details, the small emissions, the cities - the kind of signals we didn't see so well before. We needed 10 years of data to see the emissions around Tehran, for example. In this map you can see them from only four months of Tropomi data."
After a test and commissioning phase, S5P will go fully operational at the end of the month for some of its data products, such as nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Others, like formaldehyde, will have to wait until the Autumn.
Overall, the Tropomi investigations on S5P are led from the Netherlands Met Office (KNMI). The BIRA-IASB heads up the HCHO and SO? analyses.
The bus, or chassis, of the satellite was assembled by Airbus in the UK, making S5P Britain's biggest single industrial contribution to the Sentinel series of satellites that have been procured for Copernicus.
Gene-edited farm animals are on their way
Scientists have created pigs that are immune to one of the world's costliest livestock diseases.
The team edited the animals' DNA to make them resist the deadly respiratory disease known as PRRS - a move that could prevent billions of pounds in losses each year.
豚繁殖・呼吸障害症候群（Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome：ＰＲＲＳ）
However, consumers have traditionally been reluctant to eat genetically altered animals and crops.
This poses a significant barrier to farmers owning gene-edited pigs.
And because genome, or gene, editing (GE) is relatively new, the absence of regulation currently prevents their sale anyway.
GE is different to the more widely used technology of genetic modification. The former involves the precise alteration of an organism's DNA, while the latter is characterised by the introduction of foreign genetic sequences into another living thing.
These are gene edited pigs resistant to one of the world's most costly animal diseases
The pig research also raises animal welfare issues. Critics say that creating disease-resistant animals will discourage farmers from improving the welfare of their livestock. Some think that the way the animals are kept can make them less prone to contracting the virus that causes PRRS.
PRRS, which stands for Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, can cause breathing problems and death in young pigs.
Why don't consumers want to eat genetically altered foods?
In the past, there have been fears (unsupported by scientific evidence) that GM foods might cause harm to human health.
Among those concerns are that the products of modified crops or animals might trigger allergies or that genes inserted into the food would get into human DNA.
But GM foods have been available for decades and no adverse effects on humans have ever been reported.
In its guidance, the World Health Organization (WHO) says: "No effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved."
So, what did the scientists do?
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh's Roslin Institute used gene editing to delete a small region of pig DNA. But this relatively small edit prevents the PRRS virus from gaining a foothold on the surfaces of pig cells.
The scientists then exposed four of their gene-edited pigs to the PRRS virus. Writing in the Journal of Virology, they report that none became ill.
Research leader Dr Christine Tait-Burkard stressed that no foreign genes were inserted into the pig. She added that tests so far showed that the animals are not weakened or affected in any other way by the process.
"The animals are all pig… with just a tiny section snipped out. The main thing that this edit will do is… benefit animal welfare because the animals will not get a very devastating disease," she said.
The genetic edit is permanent, so disease resistance will be passed down the generations through natural breeding.
What's not to like?
Helen Browning of the Soil Association believes that this approach deals with the symptoms of a problem, rather than addressing the root causes.
She has kept pigs for 30 years on her organic farm in north Wiltshire. Ms Browning says that keeping them outdoors and having higher welfare standards makes the animals less prone to disease.
"If gene editing is being used for disease resistance and it is not encouraging companies to change the way they keep their pigs so they don't get disease in the first place, then it becomes a problem rather than a solution," Ms Browning said.
When can I tuck into a gene-edited bacon butty?
That's still several years away. While the technology is almost in place, the regulations are not and some are calling for a public debate first.
"First and foremost we need a broader conversation on the acceptability of gene-edited meat entering our food chain, to help inform political leaders on how these techniques should be regulated," Dr Tait-Burkard told BBC News.
"If these studies are successful and the public are accepting of this technology, we would then be looking to work with pig breeding companies to integrate these gene edits into commercial breeding stocks."
What else is gene-editing being used on?
The PRRS-resistant pig project is one of several research efforts across the world to create gene edited animals for livestock production.
Among them is a project to make domestic pigs more resistant to African swine fever.
アフリカ豚コレラウイルス アスファウイルス科 致死性の出血性疾患 豚の単球・マクロファージなどの細胞でよく増殖する
Researchers are also trying to increase the muscle mass of sheep and cows by deleting a small section of DNA. They are trying to mimic a trait that occurs naturally in Belgian Blue cattle.
What's the catch?
There is a tension between the needs of the producer and of animal welfare.
In 1989, researchers working for the US Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland, added a gene into the DNA of a pig that would produce a human growth hormone. The expectation was that the animal would grow faster and be leaner than normal pigs.
The researchers were successful: weight gain increased by 15%, feed efficiency by 18%, and carcass fat was reduced by 80%.
But the animals suffered from several unanticipated health problems, including kidney and liver problems, uncoordinated walking, bulging eyes, gastric ulcers, heart disease and pneumonia.
The catastrophic failure of the now infamous "Beltsville Pig" resulted in a voluntary moratorium on growth hormone experiments on mammals in the US.
Because gene editing is more precise, those working in the area believe that it is much less likely to lead to unanticipated side effects.
Dr Tait-Burkard cited the example of double-muscled livestock, a trait which can be introduced through genetic modification or editing or through regular breeding - as in the Belgian Blue cattle.
"Whilst making animals resistant to diseases by genome editing will automatically also aid productivity it presents immediate benefits to animal welfare. However, when we look at traits such as the double-muscled [attribute in] animals there are no real upsides but mostly downsides to animal welfare," Dr Tait-Burkard explained.