25.11.2022
Sturgeon on the spot over ‘discriminatory and ageist’ breast cancer screening policy

In Scotland, only women between the ages of 50 and 70 are offered breast screening every 3 years. But Jackie Baillie MSP pointed out that self-referred screening is still paused for women over 70 since the pandemic started. In Scottish parliament, she said: “The breast screening programme was paused for all women during the pandemic and paused even longer for women over 70.

“It would appear that a further restriction has been applied and women over 75 are being denied breast cancer screening.

“My constituent who raised this with me described this decision as discriminatory and ageist.

“Can the First Minister advise whether this restriction is just in Greater Glasgow and Clyde or does this apply Scotland-wide and if so will she reverse this decision?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “I’ll ask the Health Secretary to write to the member on the detail of that because it’s important that we make sure that is right.

“In terms of the restoration of the breast screening for the age groups for which breast screening is advised that is already has happened.

“In terms of the older age groups which are on a self-referral basis that has been done in a phased way but I’ll come back to Jackie Baillie via the Health Secretary on the detail of that.”

It comes as Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has been told to “stop side-stepping” long Covid as opposition MSPs called for a support service to be rolled out to help thousands of Scots.

The Scottish Government has been urged to adopt a digital service offering help which is currently only available to long Covid patients in Edinburgh and Midlothian.

The charity worked with NHS Lothian and Pogo Digital Healthcare to create a digital platform called My Tailored Talks, which brings primary care and third-sector services together for the first time.

It enables GPs to refer patients directly to tailored self-management information and CHSS’s long Covid support services.

The system aims to improve patient care while limiting pressure on GPs, the charity said.

In a letter to Mr Yousaf, the opposition MSPs said: “It is simply not acceptable for so little support to be available, or for it to be so inconsistent across the country.

“We desperately need the Scottish Government to take more action and provide the services that people have been asking for two years.

“The Scottish Government needs to take action to support people with long Covid now.”

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09.12.2022
German foreign minister blames Brexit for ‘opening old wounds’ ahead of Cleverly showdown
German Foreign Minister Analena Baerbock has taken aim at Brexit ahead of a showdown with her UK counterpart James Cleverly.…
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09.12.2022
Brittney Griner back home in U.S. after Russian prisoner swap
American basketball star Brittney Griner returned to the United States early Friday after being freed in a high-profile prisoner exchange…
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  • 1 час, 40 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    German foreign minister blames Brexit for ‘opening old wounds’ ahead of Cleverly showdown

    German Foreign Minister Analena Baerbock has taken aim at Brexit ahead of a showdown with her UK counterpart James Cleverly. She said the UK’s decision to leave the EU put the Irish peace process at risk, saying the EU and UK have a responsibility to “protect and implement” the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    Ms Baebock said: “Brexit was and is a watershed for us all. That applies particularly to the relationship between the United Kingdom and Ireland due to the division of the island of Ireland.

    “It was only in 1998 that the Good Friday Agreement brought peace after more than 30 years of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

    “This peace, the fact that hostilities have ceased and both Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland can once again live alongside one another in a spirit of good neighbourliness must not be jeopardised under any circumstances.”

    She added: “Yet precisely this is at stake as a result of Brexit and its consequences for trade, freedom of movement and other issues.”

    Ms Baerbock said the Protocol prevented “a hard border on the island of Ireland and thus also the reopening of the old wounds”.

    She added: “All of us – in the EU member states and in the United Kingdom – have a responsibility to protect and to implement the Northern Ireland Protocol.”

    Her comments came after the UK Foreign Secretary suggested that Germany’s position on the protocol might not be as strong as it seems.

    Mr Cleverly said Germany’s strong commitment to the Northern Ireland Protocol was “an avatar”, adding: “I think often what people say they want and what people actually want are subtly different”.

    The German government signed a coalition agreement which explicitly states that post-Brexit agreements, including the Northern Ireland Protocol, had to be “fully implemented”.

    The UK has been locked in talks with the EU over the Northern Ireland Protocol – which was agreed as part of the withdrawal agreement to avoid a hard border in Ireland post-Brexit – since October 2021.

    It allows Northern Ireland to remain within the EU’s single market for goods but it has faced criticism because a border was effectively created between Great Britain and Northern Ireland down the Irish Sea.

    The border has led to delays, supermarket shortages and increased costs for businesses in Northern Ireland.

    There has been no functioning government in Stormont since the elections last May, as the DUP has refused to restore powersharing unless the Northern Ireland Protocol is scrapped.

    An election was triggered in Stormont in October after the executive was blocked from meeting due to the Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) protest over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

    Earlier this week, a bill extending the deadline for fresh elections to be held in Northern Ireland passed its third reading in the Commons.

    The bill – introduced by Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris last week – is being fast-tracked through Parliament, passing all three stages in one day.

    It will extend the deadline for the Northern Ireland Assembly to be formed until December 8, with the possibility of a further six-week extension to 19 January.

    There has been no functioning government in Stormont since the elections last May, as the DUP has refused to restore powersharing unless the Northern Ireland Protocol is scrapped.

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  • 2 часа, 52 минуты назад 09.12.2022Politics
    Brittney Griner back home in U.S. after Russian prisoner swap

    American basketball star Brittney Griner returned to the United States early Friday after being freed in a high-profile prisoner exchange following nearly 10 months in detention in Russia.

    The deal, which saw her swapped for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout, secured the release of the most prominent American detained abroad and achieved a top goal for President Joe Biden. But the U.S. failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years.

    Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Baylor University All-American and Phoenix Mercury pro basketball star. Her status as an openly gay Black woman, locked up in a country where authorities have been hostile to the LBGTQ community, injected racial, gender and social dynamics into her legal saga and brought unprecedented attention to the population of wrongful detainees.

    Biden’s authorization to release Bout, the Russian felon once nicknamed “the Merchant of Death,” underscored the heightened urgency that his administration faced to get Griner home, particularly after the recent resolution of her criminal case on drug charges and her subsequent transfer to a penal colony.

    Griner was seen getting off a plane that landed Friday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.

    The athlete, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at an airport there in February after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil. Before her conviction, the U.S. State Department declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” — a charge that Russia has sharply rejected.

    The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday’s swap, saying in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that the exchange took place in Abu Dhabi and Bout had been flown home.

    Biden spoke by phone with Griner. U.S. officials said she would be offered specialized medical services and counseling.

    In releasing Bout, the U.S. freed a former Soviet Army lieutenant colonel whom the Justice Department once described as one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. in 2010.

    Bout was serving a 25-year sentence on charges that he conspired to sell tens of millions of dollars in weapons that U.S officials said were to be used against Americans.

    Following Griner’s arrest at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February, she pleaded guilty in July but still faced trial because admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system does not automatically end a case.

    She acknowledged in court that she possessed canisters with cannabis oil but said she had no criminal intent and she accidentally packed them. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

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  • 4 часа, 52 минуты назад 09.12.2022Politics
    News The Buckshee

    Republicans are facing a reckoning over their future after their poor performance in the midterms — and the debate is running hot inside the main hub of the GOP.

    In a series of private email threads obtained by POLITICO, a handful of Republican National Committee members denounced former President Donald Trump, with one pushing for fellow members and RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel to forcefully condemn his decision to host a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with antisemites.

    “I am flabbergasted at the lack of outrage from Ronna about this,” wrote Oscar Brock, a national committeeman from Tennessee. “I tweeted to her yesterday, asking her to condemn this. We must, as a party, oppose all racism and prejudice, and condemn those who accept and endorse it, which includes inviting neo-nazi’s [sic] to dinner.”

    The emails, which were sent to all 168 committee members’ email addresses, offer a rare glimpse at the agitation that is roiling among some in the Republican National Committee at a moment of intense scrutiny of the institution and the party it represents. It also brings to the surface tensions over whether or not McDaniel can or should lead the RNC in this current political climate, with an increasingly undisciplined Trump launching a third presidential run and the party coming to terms with midterm losses that many blame on the former president. McDaniel claims the support of a majority of committee members, but has recently faced challenges for the chair position.

    The thread obtained by POLITICO begins with a heartfelt message from committeeman Richard Porter from Illinois on Thanksgiving Day.

    “I am sipping my coffee and thinking how thankful I am to be part of an organization dedicated to preserving, protecting and promoting our great nation, the ideals of which were so beautifully expressed by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence,” Porter wrote. “I am so thankful to be working alongside each of you, and each of the other people in our respective states and territories, to stop the hate and defeat the anger.”

    But days later, the discussion quickly turned to Trump’s dinner with Ye, the rapper known better as Kanye West, and Nick Fuentes, an avowed white nationalist and Holocaust denier.

    “Is it just me or is anyone else struck by the incredible irony that Richard was writing these wonderful words within 48 hours of Donald Trump having dinner with anti-Semite Kanye West and Nick Fuentes, also an anti-Semite and a racist, white nationalist. All Republican leaders need to stand up and denounce Trump’s actions and lack of judgment here,” wrote committeeman Bill Palatucci from New Jersey on November 26.

    Palatucci confirmed the authenticity of the email, noting he has long been critical of Trump in public too. In the email thread, his sentiment was echoed by Jay Shepard, a national committeeman from Vermont.

    “As individuals and as a party we must not tolerate people like Nick Fuentes and Kanye West,” Shepard wrote. “We should never ever give them a platform for their hatred. Giving them attention only divides us as a nation. No Republican should be associated with them, its [sic] not who we are.”

    McDaniel did respond to Trump’s dinner at Mar-a-Lago in a statement that said, “white supremacy, neo-Nazism, hate speech and bigotry are disgusting and do not have a home in the Republican Party.” She later called Kanye’s remarks “abhorrent,” adding, “there is no place for Kanye, Fuentes, or their views inside the Republican Party.”

    But she did not mention Trump by name.

    At the time, McDaniel was trying to navigate the fallout from the dinner while also managing several major other political projects. She and her team were securing support from the necessary number of RNC committee members to secure a fourth term. The RNC was also helping prop up Herschel Walker’s candidacy during the senate runoff election in Georgia, as private angst mounted that the National Republican Senatorial Committee was not devoting enough funds.

    In an email to the same thread of committee members on Nov. 26, David Shafer, the chair of the Georgia Republican Party, outlined the challenges that McDaniel faced.

    “I feel for Ronna in the sense that I have spent much of my four years as Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party dealing with various requests and demands that I use my platform to denounce other Republicans,” Shafer wrote, and went on to explain to his fellow members how the Georgia runoff “does not grip the national imagination the way it did two years ago because there is no way for us to get to 51.”

    On Tuesday, Republicans lost the senate runoff, prompting a follow up email from Shafer the next day.

    “Tuesday was a tough day in Georgia. Herschel was massively outspent, maybe 3 to 1 in a four week period of time and still held his own,” wrote Shafer.

    He went on to refer to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell’s comments about candidate quality as “unhelpful” — to the degree it was viewed as a dig at Walker, who McConnell endorsed — and bemoaned the limited financial support from the NRSC for the Georgia runoff.

    “We used our RNC transfer dollars for the ground game and were forced to raise money from entirely within the state for our critically important mail program. Two weeks out, we were $2.5 million short when I sent what was for me an embarrassing email begging the other state parties for help,” Shafer wrote. He included a note of thanks for McDaniel, who he called “one big hero.”

    “Ronna spent most of Thanksgiving week haranguing United States Senators and her major donors asking them to help us, and she came through in a big way,” Shafer emailed. “She alone filled $1.9 million of the shortfall. THANK YOU.”

    McDaniel has been forthcoming about the GOP’s pitfalls in the midterms and says she has plans to ensure the party doesn’t suffer a similar fate in 2024. She claims the support of more than one hundred RNC members, according to a letter that was circulated and shared with POLITICO — well above the simple majority of the 168 members needed. Asked for comment for this article, a spokesperson with the chair’s re-elect passed along several statements of support from RNC members for McDaniel.

    “Ronna McDaniel has grown our Party from the grassroots up: from building a permanent national ground game and establishing a year-round Election Integrity operation to expanding minority outreach and transferring more funds than ever to all 56 states and territories,” read North Carolina GOP Chair Michael Whatley’s statement. “I am proud to join the nearly two-thirds of RNC members in endorsing her re-election.”

    But criticism of McDaniel has escalated in the aftermath of the Georgia runoff election. On Fox News, host Laura Ingraham said that while she likes the RNC chair, it was time for new party leadership. Ingraham notably invited Harmeet Dhillon, a committeewoman from California who recently announced a challenge to McDaniel on Tucker Carlson’s show.

    Dhillon’s law firm has represented Trump in legal matters — having made hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process, according to FEC filings — and she herself has close ties to several figures in MAGA world.

    How beneficial that may be in a run for RNC chair is unclear. As the email thread shows, there are members who want a clean break from Trump and who may bristle at the idea that Dhillon would take the RNC’s neutrality pledge seriously. Moreover, another prominent figure in Trump circles, Dave Bossie, a committeeman from Maryland, already endorsed McDaniel last week.

    Dhillon told POLITICO she has seen a “tremendous outpouring” of support for her campaign and pledged neutrality in a 2024 primary if elected.

    “RNC Rules require the party to be neutral in the presidential primary process, and if elected I would faithfully honor that obligation. During any tenure as RNC chair, I would take a leave of absence from my law firm and focus my energy on electing Republicans to office across the nation,” Dhillon said.

    Dhillon and her allies have been contacting RNC members in hopes that they can flip those committed on paper to McDaniel, according to people familiar with the campaign. Brock, for one, said he’d received a slew of outreach from pro-Dhillon people he did not know, and assumed that it was happening organically and being sparked by her appearances on Fox News.

    “I’m impressed people are paying attention to the largest campaign operation,” he said in an interview. “I feel we have an obligation to listen.”

    But while Brock said he liked Dhillon personally, the courtship her allies have undertaken does run the risk of alienating some members, a person close to the RNC said. “This is a smoke filled, back room, papal conclave and you can piss people off,” the person said.

    After Dhillon said in media appearances that members were afraid to speak out against McDaniel, at least one committeeman rushed to McDaniel’s defense in a separate email sent to committee members, also obtained by POLITICO.

    “We support Ronna because we are confident she is the best person for the job,” wrote Jeff Kent, a committeeman from Washington. “The notion that we have been bought and paid for through state party transfers is an insult to our integrity.”

    The email, like the others, underscores the brewing conflicts within the party and behind the scenes jockeying for chair. They also illustrate the uncertainty that many members have with the status quo. Speaking about the exchanges in an interview with POLITICO, Palatucci said he liked McDaniel on a personal level.

    “But I think it’s time to go,” he added. “It’s time to move on and make a change. The alternatives? That’s the hard question. I think we need a change. I was encouraging [former congressman Lee] Zeldin to run and he took himself out and Harmeet stepped forward and I have had one brief conversation with her and I like her. Haven’t made a decision yet but… I prefer her to not making a change. It’s a bit of a Hobbesian choice.”

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  • 5 часов, 40 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    Jeremy Hunt to tear up ‘overbearing’ EU rules to turbocharge post-Brexit economy

    Jeremy Hunt is set to tear up a swathe of “overbearing” EU rules to boost the City post-Brexit. The move is part of an attempt to boost Britain’s financial services industry after Brexit. Speaking today in Edinburgh, the Chancellor will announce a package of reforms, centred around increasing the City of London’s competitiveness.

    The reforms will see the treasury relax ring-fencing rules on smaller banks and mandate financial regulators to focus on economic growth as well as consumer protection.

    The “Edinburgh Reforms” are a step back from the initial plans, which were previously dubbed “Big Bang 2.0” – a mark of Mr Hunt distancing himself from the more radical proposals planned by his predecessor Kwasi Kwarteng.

    The original title of the reforms was an echo of Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the Square Mile in the mid-1980s.

    The reforms are part of an attempt to seize post-Brexit freedoms and boost the city’s competitiveness, with the Chancellor saying that leaving the EU is a “golden opportunity” to “unleash the full potential of our formidable financial services sector”.

    Ring-fencing requires banks to separate their retail banking services from their investment and international banking activities and was introduced as a response to the financial crisis.

    While the UK’s biggest lenders will still be required to adhere to ring-fencing requirements, several smaller banks, such as Santander UK, Virgin Money and TSB Bank, will likely be exempt.

    The changes could also include a review of the Mifid 2 rulebook – regulation around financial research – as well as deregulation of trading rules to boost flexibility for investors.

    The Treasury also said rules that “hold back growth will be reviewed, with overbearing EU rules which put companies off listing in the UK being overhauled”.

    Announcing the reforms, Mr Hunt said: “This country’s financial services sector is the powerhouse of the British economy, driving innovation, growth and prosperity across the country.

    “Leaving the EU gives us a golden opportunity to reshape our regulatory regime and unleash the full potential of our formidable financial services sector.

    “Today we are delivering an agile, proportionate and home-grown regulatory regime which will unlock investment across our economy to deliver jobs and opportunity for the British people.”

    The plans come in the wake of Mr Hunt’s Autumn Statement, which saw the Treasury unveil a swathe of tax rises and spending cuts, taking taxes to their highest level since World War 2.

    One of Britain’s biggest business groups warned that Mr Hunt’s tax raid has had a “chilling effect” on the economy and risks damaging the UK’s competitiveness.

    Alex Veitch, the British Chambers of Commerce’s director of policy, said: “Business confidence has been falling for months. It is now clear that the September mini-Budget and Autumn Statement have had a further chilling effect.

    “Very few firms will be willing to invest as they face a wall of higher prices, interest rates and taxes.

    “The very real worry is that the UK will get left behind by our competitors, once the economy emerges from recession, as growth remains so weak.”

    The Chancellor and City Minister Andrew Griffith will meet with City chief executives today to discuss the reforms and examine how the financial services sector can further drive investment and economic growth.

    Simon Morris, a financial services partner at City law firm CMS, welcomed the reforms but said: “Headline reforms are only half the story, and the City needs continued stability to thrive.

    “Government and regulators have promised to maintain world-class regulation with no bonfire-lit race to the bottom – this is greatly assuring. [But] the second element is more challenging, and the Government cannot optimise its regulatory reforms without the UK first re-establishing its reputation as a fiscally stable jurisdiction.”

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  • 9 часов, 40 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    SNP MP claims ‘if we hadn’t shut our borders’ with Brexit the NHS would be better

    Former SNP Deputy Leader Stewart Hosie fumed at the impact of Brexit on NHS staffing levels during Question Time in Bishop Auckland on Thursday. The Dundee East MP raged that “maybe if we hadn’t shut our borders” fewer NHS staff from overseas would have gone home meaning there would be fewer unfilled vacancies across the health service.

    He said: “Maybe if we hadn’t shut our borders to our friends in Europe and all those doctors and nurses hadn’t gone home.

    “That wouldn’t be at least one of the issues that we had to face.”

    The former SNP Deputy Westminster leader added that many working people were now experiencing the highest levels of inflation in their lifetimes.

    He said: “If we take the point that was originally made, inflation at 9, 10 ,11 percent. Most people who are working today have never seen inflation like that in their lives.

    “They’ve never seen the erosion of their salaries like that in their lives.”

    “So it’s no wonder people are balloting to go on strike.”

    The SNP Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster added that he fully supported workers undertaking industrial action.

    He said: “The one thing that strikes me, is that most people who are balloting to strike do not want to go on strike.

    “They just want the Government to negotiate with them.

    “I have to say, I support the right to strike if the Government won’t negotiate a fair deal.

    “It’s not good, none wants to see it but I think it’s the right thing to do.

    “There’s one final point I’d like to add.

    “In Scotland the council workers got a settlement that they agreed to. In Scotland the Scotrail workers got a settlement they were prepared to agree to.”

    “What about the teachers who went on strike today and yesterday”? host Fiona Bruce asked referencing walkouts by members of the EIS union.

    Mr Hosie responded that SNP ministers in Holyrood were willing to negotiate with unions in sharp contrast to their Tory counterparts in Westminster therefore making a settlement more likely.

    He said: “The teachers and the nurses, those negotiations are ongoing but therein lines the thing. The ministers are actually negotiating.

    “UK ministers need to negotiate with the workforces who are on strike and worse than that they need to stop scuppering negotiations which is now a theme that is developing throughout the labour movement.”

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  • 15 часов, 40 минут назад 09.12.2022Politics
    Boris has ‘no interest being leader of Opposition’ as poll shows Tories are still behind

    Conservative MPs are already looking for a replacement for Rishi Sunak on the assumption that they cannot avoid defeat in the next election. This comes as the latest tracker poll has given the Tories a two point boost but still leaving them 21 percent behind Labour.

    A former cabinet minister told Express.co.uk: “There is no avoiding defeat. The only question is whether we can limit the damage.

    “We need to avoid a 1997 result or worse.”

    In 1997 the Tories under John Major suffered the worst defeat in their history.

    A massive victory for Labour under Tony Blair saw the Conservatives wiped out in Scotland and Wales leaving them with just 165 seats losing more than half the constituencies they won in 1992.

    The latest Techne UK poll for Express.co.uk gives Labour 48 percent (down one) and the Conservatives 27 (up one).

    If the Techne poll played out in an election it would leave the Conservatives in a worse place than 1997 with 121 seats.

    Meanwhile, Labour would have a majority of 226 seats.

    The former cabinet minister, who is a close ally of Mr Johnson, said that the prospect of unavoidable defeat was now playing into the calculations about whether he tries to make another comeback.

    The senior MP said: “Boris does not want to be leader of the Opposition. He has no interest in that.”

    The former minister added: “He knows his one chance to come back was when Liz Truss stepped down.

    “He had the numbers but for his own reasons he did not want to go ahead with it.

    “We (Tory MPs) know that we cannot change prime minister for a third time, voters just would not accept it.

    “The next election will be a disaster if we do that.

    “The question is what we do after the election in opposition.”

    There is currently a campaign to push for Me Johnson to return.

    But most MPs believe it is either too late or would be catastrophic.

    Former chairman Jake Berry and former Treasurer Lord Cruddas are both understood to be behind the push.

    There is also a concern that Richard Tice’s Reform UK, previously the Brexit Party, is taking Tory votes.

    Reform is polling at 5 percent in the tracker poll but taking 11 percent of Leave voters from 2016 and 7 percent of Conservative from 2019.

    There are fears that if Nigel Farage makes a comeback their vote share will be even higher.

    Techne chief executive Michela Morizzo said: “This week our regular tracker poll sees the Labour vote share drop by 1 point to 48 points with the Conservatives gaining a point and moving to 27 percentage points nationally.

    “Even with this 2 point swing from Labour to Conservatives Rishi Sunak’s Government has little festive cheer. NHS operation waiting numbers have exceeded this week for the first time 7 million patients on a list for treatment and many public sector workers are either already on strike or considering strike action.

    “These are bleak mid-winter times for the Conservative Party and there is no doubt that an easy and quick way back into contention with Labour still seems a far and distant prospect at this time.”

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Politics Sturgeon on the spot over 'discriminatory and ageist' breast cancer screening policy