NEWDELHI-Doctors in India have successfully separated conjoined twin boys who were attached at the skull in a marathon surgical procedure that lasted more than 36 hours and involved 40 doctors.

The two-year-old twins, who suffered a rare condition occurring once in about 2.5 million births, underwent the operation at a government-run hospital in New Delhi on Wednesday.

“It was a team work of 40 doctors, 20 nurses and many other paramedical staff. Without their help this would not have been possible,” the All India Institute of Medical Science hospital said in a statement. One of the surgeons involved said the most challenging aspect was repairing the holes left in the young boys’ heads after they were separated.

The twins were born in a village in the eastern state of Odisha with shared blood vessels and some shared brain tissue.

They had undergone the first phase of the separation surgery in August.

“The most challenging job after the separation was to provide a skin cover on both sides of the brain for the children as the surgery had left large holes on their heads,” said Maneesh Singhal, a plastic surgeon who was a part of the operating team.

“The skin was generated from the expansion of two balloons which were placed inside their heads during the first surgery in August,” Singhal told AFP on Friday.

“The next step will be reconstruction of their skulls,” he added.

Conjoined siblings are identical twins who are born with their skin and internal organs fused together, according to the University of Maryland Medical Centre website.

About half are stillborn, and the survival rate is between five and 25 percent.

They develop from a single egg, which splits in the case of healthy twins, but not fully in the case of conjoined siblings.Nazarbayev orders Kazakh switch to Latin alphabet( SNIP5)



 Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev on Friday ordered his government to swap out the country’s Cyrillic alphabet for its Latin equivalent in a symbolic break with its Soviet past.

A decree released by the presidency ordered the government to provide a phased transition of the Kazakh alphabet into a Latin-based script by 2025.

The Kazakh language is part of the Turkic family and currently uses a modified version of the Cyrillic alphabet with 42 letters.

The country will use a 32-letter Latin alphabet after the switch.

The oil-rich Central Asian country says the move is part of its modernisation strategy but it is also seen by many as an intention to distance Kazakhstan from former master Russia.

Kazakhstan is a close ally of Russia and has the largest ethnic Russian population of the five Central Asian states that gained independence from Moscow in 1991.

But Moscow’s takeover of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pledge to protect compatriots beyond his country’s borders have troubled the Kremlin’s ally.

Putin enraged Kazakh nationalists in 2014 by describing Kazakhstan as part of “the greater Russian world” and saying it never had statehood before 1991.

Nazarbayev, 77, moved to accelerate the long-planned transition to Latin in April, when he penned an article in a state newspaper which said specialists would begin training to teach the alphabet from 2018 and new textbooks would be published.

Kazakhstan briefly used the Latin alphabet during the Soviet era before switching to Cyrillic letters in 1940.

After a government-controlled language commission completed work on the new alphabet, many Kazakhs expressed disappointment with the final product.

Some have objected to the fact that under the new system, Kazakhstan will be spelled “Qazaqstan”, potentially prompting foreign states to reconsider their official spellings of the country.

“So Nazarbayev said it’s time to accept latest version of Latin KZ alphabet. Which is a shitty one with apostrophes,” tweeted Aigerim Toleukhanova, a journalist from the largest city Almaty.

The foreign ministry said in September that the switch would “facilitate Kazakhstan’s development”.

“(Latin) is used by approximately 70 percent of all countries, making it an essential part of communicating across the globe, especially in terms of technology, business, science and education,” it said.

The Russian language enjoys an official constitutional status and Nazarbayev uses it along with Kazakh in speeches.