The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Canada on January 25, 2000 · 3
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The Gazette from Montreal, Quebec, Canada · 3

Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Issue Date:
Tuesday, January 25, 2000
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A3 fw G5ucttc TODAY McGill University's Redpath Museum of Natural History at 859 Sherbrooke St. W. is presenting Evolution of Life: Dinosaurs, Ethnology of Africa and Ancient Egypt. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. Call (514) 398-4086. T CITY EDITOR: BRIAN KAPPLER (514) 987-2505 A tale of two sister -J- ty mmmm THE GAZETTE, MONTREAL, TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2000 Sk La One twin a success, the other's life ruined by brainwasher, lawyer says GEORGE KALOGERAKIS Gazette Justice Reporter They were identical twins but their lives were far from the same. Zella Kastner took yearly trips to the Bahamas to scuba dive. Gail Kastner lived in a garage, protected from the cars and furnace by a makeshift cardboard wall. Zella Kastner's children grew up to be psychiatrists and dental surgeons. Gail Kastner's boy bagged groceries at Steinberg's and worked as a security guard. It didn't begin that way. Both were honours students in high school, popular with the boys and in love with skating and horse-racing. But Gail Kastner changed at the age of 19 when she was admitted to the Allan Memorial Institute for depression. There, she was given electroshock treatments by notorious brainwashing Dr. Ewen Cameron. Kastner is suing the institute for $4.2 million. Yesterday, Kastner's lawyer pointed out the twin's contrasting lives to the judge hearing the case. Lawyer Alan Stein said the women, now 66, had the same affluent upbring AIDS getting tougher: study Yet more evidence that strains of HIV are outwitting standard drug therapy AARON DERFEL Gazette Health Reporter At least one in five Quebecers newly infected with the AIDS virus are showing some resistance to standard drug therapy, suggests a Montreal study released yesterday. The results should serve as a wake-up call to Canadians who have been lulled into a false sense of security as the number of AIDS deaths has plummeted across the country in the past five years, the researchers warned. "This is the first demonstration that drug-resistant strains of HIV are actively being transmitted within the Canadian population," said Dr. Mark Wainberg, director of the McGill University AIDS Centre. "Unfortunately, we cannot promise anybody that the drug cocktails that are currently in use are going to work ibrever." The findings, published yesterday in the journal AIDS, are similar to those of three other recent studies in Europe and the United States. However, the McGill study is the first to show that resistant HTV strains are being transmitted through intravenous drug use in addition to sexual contact MORE TESTS NEEDED The study also highlights the need for regular testing of HIV-infected patients to pinpoint strains in their blood that have grown resistant to the latest drugs. At present, such screening is not routinely done in Canada, resulting in long-term patients who are unwittingly prescribed drugs that are of little use to them. The average HTV-drug regimen costs $15,000 a year, while the test is priced at 5500. Wainberg urged the federal and provincial governments to subsidize such tests, arguing that they're a smart investment , The McGill study examined 97 Quebecers who had been infected with the Chunk of concrete falls, hits car on Decarie Expressway Transport Quebec engineers are examining the bottom of the Royalmount Ave overpass above the southbound Decarie Expressway after a chunk of concrete from the overpass fell on a passing car yesterday. Around 9 am., a small chunk of concrete fell several metres and landed on the hood of Danilo Biagioni's Volkswagen Golf before bouncing through his windshield, luckily on the passenger side Biagioni was unhurt "The windshield just exploded. That's all I saw," Biagioni told reporters at the scene of the accident Thank God I was alone or the passenger could have been seriously hurt" Biagioni managed to keep driving to the nearby Jean Talon St exit It was only when he pulled over that he real- I ing, same parents, same intelligence. What made their lives so dramatically different was the brainwashing experiments done without permission by Cameron in 1953 on Gail Kastner, he added. She lost all childhood memories and has been unable to work since. "But then you have a twin sister who had a very fruitful life," Stein told the judge. "This is an excellent comparison and your lordship should take that into account when assessing the (financial) damages." When Kastner left the Allan Memorial, her life changed. The court has heard she regressed into baby talk and urinated on her sister's living-room floor with company present. She was shunned by her Gail Kastner lived in a garage. relatives, finally even by her twin sister, who couldn't put up with her bizarre, zombie behaviour. "She was going away from me," her sister told the court. "She was so altered, I was afraid of her." Zella Kastner did help out at the be- human immunodeficiency virus since July 1997. The researchers found that 22 people, or about 23 per cent, exhibited viral strains that were resistant to the standard HTV drugs. About 4 per cent or four people, had strains that outwitted the triple drug combination of AZT, 3TC and a protease inhibitor. Finally, two people did not respond to any of the HIV drugs currently available in Quebec. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the HTV drugs do not cause resistance. Rather, people who don't take their drugs properly or who are prescribed inadequate regimens develop resistance over time. HIV, by its very nature, is constantly mutating into new strains. Still, the current drug combinations will work well on newly infected patients who don't show signs of resistance and who follow their treatment carefully COCQ-SIDA, a coalition of Quebec AIDS organizations, is in the midst of its own study on drug compliance Michel Morin, the organization's assistant director, said preliminary results show that more than 70 per cent of more than 200 people surveyed have missed taking their drugs as prescribed at least once Morin said that sometimes a person simply forgets to take a dose. But the multiplicity of side-effects, which can include nausea, diarrhea, skin problems and fatigue, can also lead a person to stop taking them, Morin said. AIDS groups are also concerned that there may be a slacking off of condom use, particularly in some circles of gay men. Health Canada held a meeting last week on tests to detect mutant strains of HTV, but has not reached a decision, said spokesman Eric Morin. Authorities in Quebec were unaware of that type of testing. DEBBIE PARKES OF THE GAZETTE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT ized what had happened. "At first I thought it was a piece of ice or something," Biagioni said. "Then when I saw wha U was, I realized how lucky I am." Two lanes ot the southbound Decarie were closed for several hours last night as the overpass was inspected. Transport Quebec spokesman Marc Barriere said the agency is still investigating what caused the concrete to fall, but one hypothesis is that the shift from intense cold over the last few days to much milder weather yesterday may have played a rote. Barriere said engineers are ensuring that the overpass is structurally sound and called the Royalmount viaduct "without a doubt one of the safest and most secure viaducts in the city." ginning, especially after her dazed sister gave birth in 1957 to a son, Avery Zella Kastner moved in with them to care for the boy because Gail Kastner was still disoriented by Cameron's treatment. She had to move out when her husband got sick. In the end, the twins didn't see each other for almost two decades, between 1965 and 1983. Gail Kastner's abandonment by her family still stings. She told the court about visiting her ailing mother in the hospital with a card and flowers. Her mother would rip up the card so her twin sister wouldn't see she had been there. And she remembers her mother rushing her out if the more successful twin was due to arrive. The worst was when Gail Kastner learned her mother was telling people she only had one daughter, Zella. Zella Kastner had married a chemist and worked as a sales executive for a clothing company One of her children, " .-- iriiiafr ii rtfr"- MARIE-FRANCE COALLIER, GAZETTE One of the first graduates of a sewing course aimed to get immigrants into the work force, Hynda Messaoudi will start an internship soon. Stitching together a future livelihood SUE MONTGOMERY The Gazette Lesson 1: mittens are bag-like things that keep your hands warm. Seems simple. But for 13 immigrant women from Haiti, Afghanistan and Algeria, learning about and stitching up the unfamiliar items was part of a new six-month industrial sewing course aimed at getting them into the workplace. "It was a great way to prepare these women for work that will value their abilities, allow them to earn a living and to develop a sense of social solidarity," said Catherine Limperis, who helped develop the course at the Laval Intercultural Centre. . The mittens were donated to underprivileged children at schools in Laval, and other items of clothing were included in Christmas baskets distributed by the Laval Volunteer Centre. More importantly, women who would otherwise lack the training, confidence and language to find work in Quebec are now about to begin four-week internships at various clothing manufacturers around the city With luck, it may lead to full-time work. Similar courses already exist within various school boards' adult-education programs. However, they require prior knowledge of French and don't always include lessons on how Quebec society functions, Limperis said. "We had this type of clientele coming in all the time and we noticed that they can't work unless they are well-prepared and get to know the work world," Limperis said. "We have to give Lawrence Hoffman, became a respected psychiatrist at the Allan Memorial. He testified for his aunt at her trial. Gail Kastner had also got married, to an appliance salesman. About 10 years later, he walked out, leaving her with a child but no rent money When her son could no longer tolerate life with his erratic mother, he left, too. That's when Gail Kastner found herself alone and living in the makeshift garage. At that point, Jewish Family Services took charge of her affairs and she was able to find a better apartment. Her son, despite taking two CEGEP degrees, remains unemployed at 42. The twins have since reconciled, and Zella Kastner attended most of her sister's trial. The trial is almost over. Yesterday, her lawyer made his final arguments. He referred to an actuarial report that found Gail Kastner would easily have made $3.6 million in her working life if she had finished her nursing degree. , Today, lawyers for the Allan Memorial will give their side of the story. Reporter George Kalogerakis can be reached at (514) 861-7974 or at jiBBRR' ,if : jlBl them the tools." For example, many women had problems with their husbands giving them permission to go out to work or felt guilty leaving their children at home "It's not easy, but we have individual counseling services to deal with these problems," she said. One of the course's first graduates, 34-year-old Hynda Messaoudi raved about how the program helped hen " "I already had had training (in Algeria) in haute couture but all the jobs here were in industrial sewing," she said, mentioning that she is about to start an internship in Saint-Hubert LOTS OF SUPPORT "There was a lot of warmth among the women, because we are all immigrants and going through the same experiences, so I found a lot of support" Her internship employer, Tiberio Massignani of TIVA clothing, welcomes the chance to hire trained workers in thr fiercely competitive textile industry "It's a great idea that gives everyone a hand," he said. Messaoudi, who has been in Quebec 4'4 years and found out about the course through an ad in the paper, said she hopes to land a full-time job paying between $8 and $9 an hour Demand is high for the sewing course Limperis said two more groups of women are in line to learn the ropes. The Laval Intercultural Centre, which also offers office courses, is running the sewing program with the Sir Wilfrid Laurier school board and with $100,000 from the Quebec government PEGGY CURRAN Diary dissent Hit a nerve, get mail selection from the E-mail bag: Celine Dion's retirement diary brought a flurry of correspondence. Andy wrote: "I found your article offensive and anything but funny Maybe your intentions were harmless but in the end it came across as vile and petty. You owe Ms. Dion and her fans an apology." From Patty: "If you wrote this you must hate Celine or you wanted to be funny. 1 don't know, but some people believe your story and got really excited that she will still be in the news. I don't think it's funny and you really made fun of her. I didn't expect this from a fellow Canadian." From Eric: "You owe me $15.75. That is how much I had to pay for the dry-cleaning of my beautiful Versace trousers . . . after reading Celine's diary! ... (Next) may I recommend Mariah Carey and her lack of clothes." Shelley: "I reside in Michigan and I am insulted by your 2000 diary of Celine Dion. I'm sure you could have chosen more important things to write about like your providence's (sic) pompous attitude about being above everyone else in regards to your country. You should be so lucky that you have such a good role model for all to look up to. Get a life!!!" Finally, from Cara: "I saw the article about Celine Dion's year 2000 diary and I was just wondering, is that real? Did she write it?" POLICING LANDLORDS After demolition of the Montreal Hunt Club this month, Greg Miller, a Montrealer now living in Minneapolis, wrote about the way officials there deal with delinquent landlords: "The city actually sends the police out to arrest homeowners when they haven't carried out the necessary repairs ordered by city inspectors. It's amazing how fast people cough up fines and repair their buildings after being taken downtown in a police cruiser." Lisa Rosati-White, on the citizens' outcry over plans for a Loblaws superstore on Henri Bourassa Blvd.: "All those Ahuntsic protesters should only know that we folk in T.M.R. would only be too glad if a Loblaws would open up in the Rockland mall - where Eaton used to be. ... The Metro store in the mall closed in December and we miss having a food store within walking distance, especially the seniors who would make a trip to Metro their daily walking exercise." Desperately seeking Snoopy. With the recent retirement of Charles M. Schulz, Montrealer Shirley Cohen is taking another stab at tracking down a tapestry of the Peanuts gang she embroidered and gave to the Montreal Children's Hospital in the 1960s. For . three decades, the original work, 3 feet by 4 feet and mounted on plywood, hung in the orthopedic ward of the hospital During renovations a few years ago, the piece went into storage for safe-keeping, never to be seen again. If you think you've seen Linus's blanket call Cohen at (514) 737-7268. Montrealers have until Feb. 15 to submit photos, with a written description, for the Millennium Book Project Coordinators David Widgington and Soukwan Chan hope to collect 125,000 images from around the world that capture the best and worst of the human condition in 2000. "The book we publish will show what people around the world are thinking, what they want to change and what they would prefer to remain the same," said Widgington, a map maker and co-author of Montreal Up-Close: A Pedestrian's Guide to the City To get a broader perspective, Widgington and Chan have solicited entries from Nepal to New York City and have sent personal requests to Queen Elizabeth H, Fidel Castro, Brad Pitt and the Dalai Lama. Proceeds from the book will go to a scholarship fund for Legacy International, a UN-affiliated educational organization. Send entries to Widgington at R O. Box 5205, Station B, Montreal, Quebec H3B 4B5. To find out more on submission criteria and photo-release forms, check out their Web site at www. millenniumbookprojectcom foggy Curran can be reached by phone at (514) 987 2529 or by E-mail at A

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