1346: Maxinated

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 39m
May 13th, 2021
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Executive Producers: Peter Eisch, Alexander of Middle Cascadia, Tyler Boyd, Robert Hausner, Kandy Holbein, Randy Carlson

Associate Executive Producers: Rob McCauley, Jason Burlingame, Linsay Springer, Sir Sort It Out, Paul, Colin Preston

Cover Artist: Darren O'Neill

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The transition from COVID to Climate has started - Stay home because no gas
Elon Musk dirty car deplatforming
Regulatory Crackdown on Ransomware
In October, OFAC issued an Advisory making clear that any payment made to a sanctioned entity – even where the payment is made under the duress of a Ransomware attack – would be a violation of federal sanctions regulations. Significantly, OFAC sanctions apply with strict liability, so the intent of the victim is no defense, nor is the victim’s lack of knowledge that the payment is going to a sanctioned entity.
Another Texas ransomware attack is imminent
Pipelines - Buffet
Board of Trustees | NRDC
Thu, 13 May 2021 14:07
TrusteesBOARD CHAIRKathleen A. WelchFounder & Principal, Corridor Partners
CHAIR EMERITUSFrederick A.O. Schwarz, Jr.Chief Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law SchoolSenior Counsel, Cravath, Swaine and Moore, LLP
CHAIR EMERITUSDaniel R. TishmanChairman, Tishman ConstructionVice Chair, AECOMPrincipal, Tishman Realty
TREASURERMary P. MoranEnvironmentalistFoundation director
John H. AdamsFounding Director, NRDCChair, Open Space Institute
Geeta AiyerPresident & Founder, Boston Common Asset Management
Hon. Anne Slaughter AndrewAdvisor, Sustainable Energy Investments
Richard E. AyresThe Ayres Law Group
Atif AzherCorporate Partner, Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP, Palo Alto Office
Patricia BaumanPresident, Bauman FoundationChair, NRDC Action FundCo-Chair of the Brennan Center for Justice
Claire BernardPresident, Mariposa Foundation
Sarah E. CoganOf Counsel, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York Office
Laurie DavidAuthor, Producer, AdvocateCo-Founder, NRDC Los Angeles Leadership Council
Leonardo DiCaprioFounder and Chairman of LDF
John E. EchohawkExecutive Director, Native American Rights Fund
Catherine FlowersFounder, Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice
Nicole E. LedererChair and Co-Founder, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2)
Julia Louis-DreyfusActress/Producer
Kelly Chapman MeyerCo-Founder, American Heart Association Teaching Gardens
Peter MortonChairman/Founder, 510 Development Corp.
Wendy K. NeuChairman and CEO, Hugo Neu CorporationGrassroots community organizer and activist
Frederica P. Perera, Dr.P.H., Ph.D.Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public HealthFounding Director, Columbia Center for Children's Environmental HealthDirector, Program in Translational Research
Diana Propper de CallejonManaging Director, Cranemere, Inc.
Robert RedfordActorDirectorConservationist
Elena Rios, M.D.President & CEO at National Hispanic Medical Association
Laurance RockefellerConservationist
Tom Roush, M.D.Private investorEnvironmental activist
William H. SchlesingerPresident Emeritus, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Gerald TorresProfessor of Environmental Justice, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale Law School
David C. VladeckProfessor, Georgetown Law
David F. Welch, Ph.D.Founder, Chief Innovation Officer, Infinera Corporation
George M. Woodwell, Ph.D.NRDC Distinguished ScientistFounder, Director Emeritus, Woods Hole Research Center
Dan YatesExecutive Chairman, Dandelion Geothermal
Honorary TrusteesFrances BeineckePresident Emerita, NRDC
Anita BekensteinEnvironmentalistFoundation director
Anna Scott CarterEnvironmentalistCo-Founder, 'Clean by Design' initiative
Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D.Chair, Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, Inc.
Robert J. FisherDirector, Gap Inc.
Alan F. HornCo-Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, The Walt Disney StudiosChair Emeritus, NRDC
Charles E. KoobPartner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, LLP
Philip B. KorsantMember, Long Light Capital, LLC
Ruben KraiemSenior Partner, Covington and Burling, LLP
Shelly B. MalkinArtistConservationist
Josephine A. MerckArtistFounder, Ocean View Foundation
Jonathan F. P. RosePresident, Jonathan Rose Companies LLC
Christine H. Russell, Ph.D.EnvironmentalistFoundation director
James Gustave SpethProfessor of Law, Vermont Law SchoolDistinguished Senior Fellow, Demos
James TaylorSinger/Songwriter
Rewrite the Future | NRDC
Thu, 13 May 2021 14:06
''It's really exciting when storytelling can resonate with the greatest issue of our time. There can be no greater focus than saving our home.''
'--Laura Dern, Variety, ''Is Hollywood Doing Enough to Fight the Climate Crisis?''
By now there should be no doubt that the climate crisis is urgent and dire. So why aren't we rising up and demanding action?
In part, because we're telling ourselves the wrong stories about climate. That it's not urgent or even real. That we have plenty of time. That it's too expensive or too big to fix. That it's already too late. And other fairy tales that invite complacency.
We need a new climate narrative. A narrative that will help us face reality, confront our fear and grief, imagine possible futures, and inspire us to action. We need Hollywood to help us rewrite the future.
Beyond ApocalypseClick the video to watch NRDC's virtual panel at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Beyond Apocalypse: Alternative Climate Futures in Film and TV brought together filmmakers and climate leaders to discuss how entertainment stories can help us see, feel, and build the climate future we want.
The Power of StoriesSocial scientists tell us that entertainment can be a more effective way to change people's attitudes and behavior than factual communication.Entertainment reaches across demographics and national borders, and when a good story carries us away, we effortlessly absorb new information; identify with characters who may be very different from us; drop our defenses and identity group biases; and open our minds and hearts to new ways of thinking and living.
Over the decades, the entertainment community has focused its creative power on other social problems'--the Vietnam War, racism, women in the workplace, the AIDS epidemic, marriage equality'--and helped bring about cultural transformations. But Hollywood hasn't told many stories about climate change.
Yes, there have been barriers to climate storytelling in the past, but they're falling now. The climate crisis is no longer abstract and remote'--it is at our door. The power that network advertisers once had to influence content is waning with the rapid growth of subscription-based entertainment. Climate stories needn't be preachy, boring, or politically divisive, and the narrative possibilities go far beyond the clich(C)s of disaster and apocalypse.
NRDC's Rewrite the Future initiative aims to enlist the power of storytelling to help us turn the climate crisis around. We offer a range of support to encourage more, varied, and compelling climate stories in entertainment, including industry dialogue and networking, climate story consultation, and help with project development.
Storytellers have a vital role to play in shaping our cultural narrative about climate. And a new narrative is necessary if we're going to meet the challenges ahead. Together, Hollywood's storytellers can help save the world.
Climate Storytelling Is More than Disaster MoviesThe climate crisis and its solutions offer endless story opportunities across genres, from comedy to drama, recent history to speculative futures, and everything in between.
Realistic depictions of people dealing with climate anxiety, like this season's ''End of the World'' episode of Big Little Lies.Absurdist comedy, like the recent ''The Gang Solves Global Warming'' episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.How climate influences basic personal decisions, such as whether to have children, where and how to live, and what kind of work to do.Stories that personalize the impacts of climate-related disasters on people around the world.Emotionally engaging stories that show people facing, feeling, and moving through their fear and helplessness to become part of the solution in small and large ways.Characters based on the heroines and heroes who are leading communities to better futures, innovating solutions, and inspiring others to act.Audiences need to see and feel what our future will be like if we do nothing'--the hideous escalation of climate-related crises, the runaway climate feedback loops that could very well destroy us. (Day After Tomorrow, Years and Years)Most important, we need visual storytelling to show us the alternative to climate apocalypse'' the promise and immense opportunity of a healthy, sustainable, more equitable future if we leave complacency behind and rise to the challenge.Rewrite the Future offers support to entertainment professionals who wish to tell the greatest story of our time.Climate storytelling panels and workshopsIndustry dialogue and networkingCustomized climate story consultingWriters' room presentationsWorking with studio and network executives to expand markets for climate storiesTip sheet of helpful climate mentionsScience and policy expertisePackaging and developmentPromotion and amplificationLegislative advocacy for climate production tax incentivesClimate IP libraryTo learn more, please contact usDaniel HinerfeldCheryl SleanRewriteTheFuture@nrdc.org(310) 434-2303
Elon Musk Says Tesla Won't Accept Bitcoin For Car Purchases Any More : NPR
Thu, 13 May 2021 04:08
Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivers his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live" last week in an image released by NBC. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that Tesla would no longer accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for car purchases. Will Heath/NBC via AP hide caption
toggle caption Will Heath/NBC via AP Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivers his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live" last week in an image released by NBC. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that Tesla would no longer accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for car purchases.
Will Heath/NBC via AP Tesla is executing a rapid U-turn on Bitcoin.
Months after Tesla embraced Bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday the auto maker would no longer accept the cryptocurrency for car purchases due to its environmental impact.
Bitcoin is very energy-intensive. The "coins" are created through a process called "mining," in which powerful computers solve difficult math problems. That requires electricity '-- a mind-boggling amount of it.
"We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions," Musk explained in a tweet, "especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel."
The tweet comes just three months after Tesla surprised many by saying it would allow customers to pay for their electric vehicles with Bitcoin. Not only that, the company said at the time it also invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.
It was a good investment. In its most recently quarterly statement, Tesla's bitcoin holdings contributed substantially to its net profits.
But on Wednesday, Musk also said Tesla would no longer sell the cryptocurrency.
From the start, the company came under fire for embracing a currency with a substantial carbon footprint even though Musk has said that Tesla is dedicated to fighting climate change,
Bitcoin enthusiasts point out that renewable energy can power that mining. But critics point out that doesn't mean there's no impact.
And in some cases, Bitcoin mining has actually kept fossil fuel power plants in production when they would otherwise be inactive, adding to the world's carbon footprint.
"Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment," Musk also said on Twitter, a platform he frequently uses to comment on his companies.
Bitcoin values fell by thousands of dollars in the minutes immediately after Musk's tweet. But the price is still north of $50,000 per Bitcoin '-- 100 times what they were trading for five years ago.
In his tweet, Musk added the company is open to other cryptocurrencies with significantly fewer energy requirements.
The announcement comes days after Musk led to a plunge in another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin, after calling it a "hustle" while hosting Saturday Night Live.
Dogecoin, which started as a joke but became backed with real money, had previously surged in value after Musk expressed support for the cryptocurrency.
Elon Musk Says Tesla Won't Accept Bitcoin For Car Purchases Any More : NPR
Thu, 13 May 2021 04:08
Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivers his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live" last week in an image released by NBC. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that Tesla would no longer accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for car purchases. Will Heath/NBC via AP hide caption
toggle caption Will Heath/NBC via AP Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivers his opening monologue on "Saturday Night Live" last week in an image released by NBC. Musk tweeted on Wednesday that Tesla would no longer accept cryptocurrency Bitcoin for car purchases.
Will Heath/NBC via AP Tesla is executing a rapid U-turn on Bitcoin.
Months after Tesla embraced Bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday the auto maker would no longer accept the cryptocurrency for car purchases due to its environmental impact.
Bitcoin is very energy-intensive. The "coins" are created through a process called "mining," in which powerful computers solve difficult math problems. That requires electricity '-- a mind-boggling amount of it.
"We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions," Musk explained in a tweet, "especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel."
The tweet comes just three months after Tesla surprised many by saying it would allow customers to pay for their electric vehicles with Bitcoin. Not only that, the company said at the time it also invested $1.5 billion in the cryptocurrency.
It was a good investment. In its most recently quarterly statement, Tesla's bitcoin holdings contributed substantially to its net profits.
But on Wednesday, Musk also said Tesla would no longer sell the cryptocurrency.
From the start, the company came under fire for embracing a currency with a substantial carbon footprint even though Musk has said that Tesla is dedicated to fighting climate change,
Bitcoin enthusiasts point out that renewable energy can power that mining. But critics point out that doesn't mean there's no impact.
And in some cases, Bitcoin mining has actually kept fossil fuel power plants in production when they would otherwise be inactive, adding to the world's carbon footprint.
"Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future, but this cannot come at great cost to the environment," Musk also said on Twitter, a platform he frequently uses to comment on his companies.
Bitcoin values fell by thousands of dollars in the minutes immediately after Musk's tweet. But the price is still north of $50,000 per Bitcoin '-- 100 times what they were trading for five years ago.
In his tweet, Musk added the company is open to other cryptocurrencies with significantly fewer energy requirements.
The announcement comes days after Musk led to a plunge in another cryptocurrency, Dogecoin, after calling it a "hustle" while hosting Saturday Night Live.
Dogecoin, which started as a joke but became backed with real money, had previously surged in value after Musk expressed support for the cryptocurrency.
EXCLUSIVE Government, industry push bitcoin regulation to fight ransomware scourge | Reuters
Thu, 13 May 2021 03:31
A hooded man holds a laptop computer as blue screen with an exclamation mark is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration
Government and industry officials confronting an epidemic of ransomware, where hackers freeze the computers of a target and demand a payoff, are zeroing in on cryptocurrency regulation as the key to combating the scourge, sources familiar with the work of a public-private task force said.
In a report on Thursday, the panel of experts is expected to call for far more aggressive tracking of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While those have won greater acceptance among investors over the past year, they remain the lifeblood of ransomware operators and other criminals who face little risk of prosecution in much of the world.
Ransomware gangs collected almost $350 million last year, up threefold from 2019, two members of the task force wrote this week. Companies, government agencies, hospitals and school systems are among the victims of ransomware groups, some of which U.S. officials say have friendly relations with nation-states including North Korea and Russia.
"There's a lot more that can be done to constrain the abuse of these pretty amazing technologies," said Philip Reiner, chief executive of the Institute for Security and Technology, who led the Ransomware Task Force. He declined to comment on the report before its release.
Just a week ago, the U.S. Department of Justice established a government group on ransomware. Central bank regulators and financial crime investigators worldwide are also debating if and how cryptocurrencies should be regulated.
The new rules proposed by the public-private panel, some of which would need Congressional action, are mostly aimed at piercing the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, the sources said. If implemented, they could temper enthusiasm among those who see the cryptocurrencies as a refuge from national monetary policies and government oversight of individuals' financial activities, having surged past $1 trillion in total capitalization.
The task force included representatives from the FBI and the United States Secret Service as well as major tech and security companies. It will recommend steps such as extending ''know-your-customer'' regulations to currency exchanges; imposing tougher licensing requirements for those processing cryptocurrency; and extending money-laundering rules to facilities such as kiosks for converting currency.
It also calls for the creation of a special team of experts within the Justice Department to facilitate seizures of cryptocurrency, a process currently fraught with logistical and legal challenges.
Some of the ideas echo those proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which would expand disclosure rules for transactions worth more than $10,000.
Federal investigators said a proposal to register accounts would be especially helpful for identifying drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists as well as ransomware groups.
"That would be huge," said a senior Homeland Security Official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss emerging policy proposals. "This is a world that was created exactly to be anonymous, but at some point, you have to give up something to make sure everyone's safe."
Governments are already using the blockchain ledger that documents all bitcoin transactions to bring some charges. Last week, authorities arrested a man in Los Angeles and accused him of laundering more than $300 million through a service that combines transactions from multiple cryptocurrency wallets to obscure who is paying whom.
Records from the U.S. Marshals Service show that more than $150 million in crypto assets were seized last year and offered to the public at auction. Last week, the Marshals Service signed a $4.5 million deal with BitGo, a California-based exchange, to hold and sell more forfeited cryptocurrency.
But many of the exchanges, which conduct the critical operation of turning cryptocurrency into dollars or other widely accepted currencies, are in countries outside the reach of U.S. regulators.
The Institute for Security and Technology's Reiner said that international cooperation will be critical, and that pressure could be brought by allies with similar regulations, which could help push exchanges into countries where Americans will hesitate to send their funds.
''However much crypto markets think they have created their own networks, they still rely on existing financial markets,'' Reiner said.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Institute for Security and Technology (IST) >> RTF Report: Combatting Ransomware
Wed, 12 May 2021 19:59
A Comprehensive Framework for ActionRansomware is no longer just a financial crime; it is an urgent national security risk that threatens schools, hospitals, businesses, and governments across the globe.
This is not a problem that any one entity can solve. Over 60 experts from industry, government, law enforcement, civil society, and international organizations worked together to produce this comprehensive framework, which breaks down siloed approaches and advocates for a unified, aggressive, comprehensive, public-private anti-ransomware campaign. These recommendations are informed by a deep bench of experts and are immediately actionable, together forming a framework to reduce this criminal enterprise.
It will take nothing less than our total collective effort to mitigate the ransomware scourge. Read the report now to learn our path forwards.
Updated 4/30. On page 45, ''Global Resilience Institute'' has been corrected to ''Global Resilience Federation.
We felt an urgent need to bring together world-class experts across all relevant sectors to create a ransomware framework that government and industry can pursue, and ensure the continued faith of the general public in its institutions.
Philip Reiner, IST CEO and Executive Director of the RTFTHANK YOU: This report is the result of an immense collective effort by the RTF Members, and we at IST are proud to have convened such an incredible group of experts. We sincerely thank the RTF members, who volunteered immense time and care to this effort, whose lively discussions and deep expertise led to these recommendations, and who dedicate themselves each day towards making the ransomware problem better.
Priority Recommendations
The RTF report includes 48 recommendations that together form a comprehensive framework to address ransomware. Among those, these priority recommendations are the most foundational and urgent, and many of the other recommendations were developed to facilitate or strengthen these core actions.
Coordinated, international diplomatic and law enforcement efforts must proactively prioritize ransomware through a comprehensive, resourced strategy, including using a carrot-and-stick approach to direct nation-states away from providing safe havens to ransomware criminals.The United States should lead by example and execute a sustained, aggressive, whole of government, intelligence-driven anti-ransomware campaign, coordinated by the White House. This must include the establishment of 1) an Interagency Working Group led by the National Security Council in coordination with the nascent National Cyber Director; 2) an internal U.S. Government Joint Ransomware Task Force; and 3) a collaborative, private industry-led informal Ransomware Threat Focus Hub.Governments should establish Cyber Response and Recovery Funds to support ransomware response and other cybersecurity activities; mandate that organizations report ransom payments; and require organizations to consider alternatives before making payments.An internationally coordinated effort should develop a clear, accessible, and broadly adopted framework to help organizations prepare for, and respond to, ransomware attacks. In some under-resourced and more critical sectors, incentives (such as fine relief and funding) or regulation may be required to drive adoption.The cryptocurrency sector that enables ransomware crime should be more closely regulated. Governments should require cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto kiosks, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading ''desks'' to comply with existing laws, including Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Combatting Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws.The Ransomware Task Force FrameworkThis strategic framework aims to help policymakers and industry leaders take system-level action '-- through potential legislation, funding new programs, or launching new industry-level collaborations '-- that will help the international community build resistance, disrupt the ransomware business model, and develop resilience to the ransomware threat.
The framework is organized around four goals: deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategy; disrupt the ransomware business model and reduce criminal profits; help organizations prepare for ransomware attacks; and respond to ransomware attacks more effectively.
These goals are interlocking and mutually reinforcing. For example, actions to disrupt the ransomware payments system will decrease the profitability of ransomware, thereby helping to deter other actors from engaging in this crime. Thus, this framework should be considered as a whole, not merely a laundry list of disparate actions.
Goal #1: Deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategyThe number of actors capable of conducting ransomware attacks is large and growing, and to curb the growth of this threat in the long-term, steps must be taken to systemically discourage ransomware attacks. This deterrence must be multilayered and rely on all instruments of national power.
We propose a coordinated, effectively messaged, relentlessly executed deterrence campaign directed from the senior-most levels of the U.S. Government in real-time collaboration with international partners. The recommendations in this section are directly supplemented by the disruption activities recommended in Goal #2, as deterrence and disruption efforts go hand-in-hand.
This section includes recommendations like:
International signaling that ransomware is an enforcement priorityGlobal operational collaboration on ransomware takedownsEstablish an operationally focused U.S. government Joint Ransomware Task Force (JRTF) and a private sector Ransomware Threat Focus Hub (RTFH)Raise the priority of ransomware within the intelligence community, and designate it as a national security threatExerting pressure on nation-states that act as ''safe-havens'' for ransomware activitySee page 21 for more details.
Goal #2: Disrupt the ransomware business model and decrease criminal profitsRansomware is overwhelmingly a financially motivated crime, and as long as the profits outweigh the risks, attacks will continue. To effectively disrupt this threat, government and industry stakeholders must work collaboratively across borders to reduce the profitability of this criminal enterprise and increase the risk of ransomware execution. Governments can take diverse actions to:
Disrupt payment systems to make ransomware attacks less profitable;Disrupt the infrastructure used to facilitate attacks; andDisrupt ransomware actors themselves, through criminal prosecution and other tactics.This must all be done while minimizing harm to the victims of ransomware and not interfering with their ability to recover their systems.
This section includes recommendations like:
Require cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto kiosks, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading ''desks'' to comply with existing lawImprove information sharing of ransomware indicators from victims, information sharing between cryptocurrency entities and law enforcement, and sharing of ransomware intelligence by the governmentEstablish an insurance-sector consortium to share ransomware loss data and accelerate best practicesClarify lawful defensive measures that private-sector actors can take when countering ransomware.Apply strategies for combating organized crime syndicates to counter ransomware developers, criminal affiliates, and payment distribution infrastructureSee page 28 for more details.
Goal #3: Help organizations prepare for ransomware attacksAny organization can fall victim to ransomware, creating catastrophic disruption for the organization and those it serves. Yet despite extensive press coverage and content on this topic, the threat is poorly understood by many public- and private-sector leaders, and the majority of organizations lack an appropriate level of preparedness to defend against these attacks. Even firms that have invested in cybersecurity broadly may be unaware of how to prepare for, and defend specifically against, ransomware attacks, and information available is in many cases oversimplified or excessively complicated.
The challenge is to increase awareness and build defenses that will be effective both at scale and over time as the threat evolves. To do this, governments and industry leaders need to better connect with key audiences, including both the organizational leaders who need to understand that ransomware is a real and relevant threat to their organization, and also the individuals in operational roles (such as IT and security professionals) who need guidance on how to prioritize mitigation efforts given limited resources. Support should be customized based on each organization's current situation, including to what extent it is already appropriately informed and whether it has appropriately invested in time and resources.
This section includes recommendations like:
Develop a clear, actionable framework for ransomware mitigation, response, and recovery.Run nationwide, government- backed awareness campaigns and tabletop exercises.Update cyber-hygiene regulations and standardsRequire local governments and managed service providers (MSPs) to adopt limited baseline security measures.Highlight ransomware as a priority in existing funding provisions.Offer local government, SLTTs, and critical NGOs conditional access to grant funding for compliance with the Ransomware Framework.Alleviate fines for critical infrastructure entities that align with the Ransomware Framework.See page 35 for more details.
Goal #4: Respond to ransomware attacks more effectivelyFor victim organizations, a ransomware attack can be a stressful, potentially existential event. Crucial decisions about how to respond '-- including whether to pay the ransom '-- must be made under intense pressure. Facing the potential threat of losing their data permanently, organizations may make hurried decisions, particularly if they lack understanding about the ramifications of paying a ransom or the full range of alternatives open to them.
In order to improve organizations' ability to respond to ransomware attacks more effectively, government and industry leaders should increase the resources and information available to ransomware victims. At the same time, governments should require organizations to take certain actions before paying a ransom, including reporting the payment to the government. Ultimately, increased support for ransomware victims, including improved awareness of legal requirements prior to payment, will decrease the number of organizations that feel compelled or trapped into paying ransoms.
This section includes recommendations like:
Create ransomware emergency response authorities.Create a Ransomware Response Fund to support victims in refusing to make ransomware payments, and increase government support for the private sectorClarify United States Treasury guidance regarding ransomware payments.Improve incident reporting by creating a Ransomware Incident Response Network (RIRN), a standard format for reporting, and encourage incident reportingRequire organizations and incident response entities to share ransomware payment information with a national government prior to payment.Require organizations to take steps before paying a ransom, including reviewing alternatives and doing a cost-benefit analysisSee page 42 for more details.
5 urgent actions in the fightback against ransomware | World Economic Forum
Wed, 12 May 2021 19:58
' Criminal organizations are using ransomware to exploit vulnerabilities during the pandemic.
' Ransomware attacks have both a financial and a human cost.
' 65 business, non-profit and government organizations have banded together to form the Ransomware Task Force.
With the world still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, bad actors are stepping up efforts to capitalize on the global unrest with varying degrees of success. None have found so much success '' and caused so much damage '' as the criminal enterprises that have employed ransomware to threaten industry, commerce, education and lives in ways that transcend geopolitical boundaries.
Members of the World Economic Forum are familiar with how ransomware works, as criminals deploy malware that encrypts data on a victim's IT network, making it inaccessible to them until a ransom is paid '' often in the form of cryptocurrency. What many are not aware of is just how pervasive this activity has become, and how destructive it is in terms that go well beyond financial losses.
The average ransom paid by victimized organizations has more than doubled in the COVID-19 era, reaching $312,493 last year, according to the 2021 Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report. Those figures tell just part of the economic story, as the cost of system downtime and recovery often eclipses the ransom payment. And the human toll is even more dire. Ransomware stops hospitals, educational institutions and governments from operating effectively, or it sometimes shuts them down entirely for days or weeks.
During a ransomware attack, IT administrators often struggle to recover data and restore operations, while employees are idle. Meanwhile, senior leaders engage in intense internal deliberations, debating whether to pay the ransom or tough it out through the remediation process. In the interim, patients in hospitals lose access to chemotherapy doses and operations are delayed. Logistics providers find themselves unable to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Children go uneducated. And municipal and regional governments stop providing basic services.
This toll on society is why global leaders must act.
Thankfully, they are doing so. More than 65 software companies (including some longstanding and fierce competitors), cybersecurity vendors, government agencies from US and European countries, non-profits and academic institutions have joined forces to tackle this insidious threat. Under the moniker of the Ransomware Task Force (RTF), this group of industry leaders has developed a clear, structured set of recommendations that, if resourced and implemented, could rapidly reduce the impact of ransomware on society.
Their names are familiar to anyone who has gathered in Davos: Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Palo Alto Networks, Rapid7 and McAfee, just to name a handful. These businesses have provided workhorses, not show horses, collaborating to fight a problem that is simply too endemic for any one company, industry or government to mitigate on its own. The fact that they have come to that collective realization speaks volumes about the size of this effort.
The Task Force's recommendations, published in a recent report entitled Combating Ransomware: A Comprehensive Framework for Action, outline actions that governments, businesses and non-profits can take to deter ransomware criminals and disrupt their business model. While the report directs many of its recommendations at the US government due to task force members' strong connections there, the report also calls on other national governments and industries to work together as part of a global, collaborative effort to stem the tide of these attacks.
The pandemic has dramatically escalated the use of ransomware attacks
Image: IST
The primary objective of these actions is to deter ransomware criminals; help organizations prepare for and defend against attacks; undermine the practices that make ransomware so lucrative; and respond to ransomware attacks more effectively.
While there are too many recommendations in the 81-page report to list here, the RTF identifies five critical and urgent actions that form the backbone of its comprehensive framework:
1. International diplomatic and law enforcement agencies must declare ransomware a priority and carry out a comprehensive and resourced strategy, which would include measures to prevent nation states from providing safe haven to ransomware organizations.
2. The White House should coordinate an aggressive, sustained and intelligence-driven ''whole-of-government'' operational campaign, working more closely together with private industry and other governments, to fight ransomware.
3. Governments need to create cyber response and recovery funds; require that businesses and other organizations report ransom payments; and mandate that organizations consider alternatives before making payments.
4. The international community should coordinate efforts to develop a single, widely adopted Ransomware Framework that will help organizations prepare for and respond to ransomware attacks.
5. Governments must regulate the cryptocurrency sector more closely, and ensure exchanges, kiosks and over-the-counter trading desks comply with existing regulations, including know your customer, anti-money laundering, and combatting financing of terrorism laws.
If enacted together, these steps would result in immediate and longer-term benefits, and show cybercriminals that ransomware is no longer an easy and safe strategy for financial gain.
The World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity is leading the global response to address systemic cybersecurity challenges and improve digital trust. We are an independent and impartial global platform committed to fostering international dialogues and collaboration on cybersecurity in the public and private sectors. We bridge the gap between cybersecurity experts and decision makers at the highest levels to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity as a key strategic priority.
Our community has three key priorities:
Strengthening Global Cooperation - to increase global cooperation between public and private stakeholders to foster a collective response to cybercrime and address key security challenges posed by barriers to cooperation.
Understanding Future Networks and Technology - to identify cybersecurity challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies, and accelerate forward-looking solutions.
Building Cyber Resilience - to develop and amplify scalable solutions to accelerate the adoption of best practices and increase cyber resilience.
Initiatives include building a partnership to address the global cyber enforcement gap through improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public-private collaboration in cybercrime investigations; equipping business decision makers and cybersecurity leaders with the tools necessary to govern cyber risks, protect business assets and investments from the impact of cyber-attacks; and enhancing cyber resilience across key industry sectors such as electricity, aviation and oil & gas. We also promote mission aligned initiatives championed by our partner organizations.
The Forum is also a signatory of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace which aims to ensure digital peace and security which encourages signatories to protect individuals and infrastructure, to protect intellectual property, to cooperate in defense, and refrain from doing harm.
For more information, please contact us.
The ongoing efforts within the World Economic Forum's Partnership Against Cybercrime strongly position members to lead the implementation of many of these recommendations. Indeed, World Economic Forum members are uniquely positioned to do so, and have the means and influence to help wage this battle. The RTF's report should be the beginning of a global conversation that extends through the World Economic Forum Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore, with the world joining forces to mitigate a problem that threatens us all.
EXCLUSIVE Government, industry push bitcoin regulation to fight ransomware scourge | Reuters
Thu, 13 May 2021 03:31
A hooded man holds a laptop computer as blue screen with an exclamation mark is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration
Government and industry officials confronting an epidemic of ransomware, where hackers freeze the computers of a target and demand a payoff, are zeroing in on cryptocurrency regulation as the key to combating the scourge, sources familiar with the work of a public-private task force said.
In a report on Thursday, the panel of experts is expected to call for far more aggressive tracking of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. While those have won greater acceptance among investors over the past year, they remain the lifeblood of ransomware operators and other criminals who face little risk of prosecution in much of the world.
Ransomware gangs collected almost $350 million last year, up threefold from 2019, two members of the task force wrote this week. Companies, government agencies, hospitals and school systems are among the victims of ransomware groups, some of which U.S. officials say have friendly relations with nation-states including North Korea and Russia.
"There's a lot more that can be done to constrain the abuse of these pretty amazing technologies," said Philip Reiner, chief executive of the Institute for Security and Technology, who led the Ransomware Task Force. He declined to comment on the report before its release.
Just a week ago, the U.S. Department of Justice established a government group on ransomware. Central bank regulators and financial crime investigators worldwide are also debating if and how cryptocurrencies should be regulated.
The new rules proposed by the public-private panel, some of which would need Congressional action, are mostly aimed at piercing the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions, the sources said. If implemented, they could temper enthusiasm among those who see the cryptocurrencies as a refuge from national monetary policies and government oversight of individuals' financial activities, having surged past $1 trillion in total capitalization.
The task force included representatives from the FBI and the United States Secret Service as well as major tech and security companies. It will recommend steps such as extending ''know-your-customer'' regulations to currency exchanges; imposing tougher licensing requirements for those processing cryptocurrency; and extending money-laundering rules to facilities such as kiosks for converting currency.
It also calls for the creation of a special team of experts within the Justice Department to facilitate seizures of cryptocurrency, a process currently fraught with logistical and legal challenges.
Some of the ideas echo those proposed by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, which would expand disclosure rules for transactions worth more than $10,000.
Federal investigators said a proposal to register accounts would be especially helpful for identifying drug smugglers, human traffickers and terrorists as well as ransomware groups.
"That would be huge," said a senior Homeland Security Official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss emerging policy proposals. "This is a world that was created exactly to be anonymous, but at some point, you have to give up something to make sure everyone's safe."
Governments are already using the blockchain ledger that documents all bitcoin transactions to bring some charges. Last week, authorities arrested a man in Los Angeles and accused him of laundering more than $300 million through a service that combines transactions from multiple cryptocurrency wallets to obscure who is paying whom.
Records from the U.S. Marshals Service show that more than $150 million in crypto assets were seized last year and offered to the public at auction. Last week, the Marshals Service signed a $4.5 million deal with BitGo, a California-based exchange, to hold and sell more forfeited cryptocurrency.
But many of the exchanges, which conduct the critical operation of turning cryptocurrency into dollars or other widely accepted currencies, are in countries outside the reach of U.S. regulators.
The Institute for Security and Technology's Reiner said that international cooperation will be critical, and that pressure could be brought by allies with similar regulations, which could help push exchanges into countries where Americans will hesitate to send their funds.
''However much crypto markets think they have created their own networks, they still rely on existing financial markets,'' Reiner said.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Institute for Security and Technology (IST) >> RTF Report: Combatting Ransomware
Wed, 12 May 2021 19:59
A Comprehensive Framework for ActionRansomware is no longer just a financial crime; it is an urgent national security risk that threatens schools, hospitals, businesses, and governments across the globe.
This is not a problem that any one entity can solve. Over 60 experts from industry, government, law enforcement, civil society, and international organizations worked together to produce this comprehensive framework, which breaks down siloed approaches and advocates for a unified, aggressive, comprehensive, public-private anti-ransomware campaign. These recommendations are informed by a deep bench of experts and are immediately actionable, together forming a framework to reduce this criminal enterprise.
It will take nothing less than our total collective effort to mitigate the ransomware scourge. Read the report now to learn our path forwards.
Updated 4/30. On page 45, ''Global Resilience Institute'' has been corrected to ''Global Resilience Federation.
We felt an urgent need to bring together world-class experts across all relevant sectors to create a ransomware framework that government and industry can pursue, and ensure the continued faith of the general public in its institutions.
Philip Reiner, IST CEO and Executive Director of the RTFTHANK YOU: This report is the result of an immense collective effort by the RTF Members, and we at IST are proud to have convened such an incredible group of experts. We sincerely thank the RTF members, who volunteered immense time and care to this effort, whose lively discussions and deep expertise led to these recommendations, and who dedicate themselves each day towards making the ransomware problem better.
Priority Recommendations
The RTF report includes 48 recommendations that together form a comprehensive framework to address ransomware. Among those, these priority recommendations are the most foundational and urgent, and many of the other recommendations were developed to facilitate or strengthen these core actions.
Coordinated, international diplomatic and law enforcement efforts must proactively prioritize ransomware through a comprehensive, resourced strategy, including using a carrot-and-stick approach to direct nation-states away from providing safe havens to ransomware criminals.The United States should lead by example and execute a sustained, aggressive, whole of government, intelligence-driven anti-ransomware campaign, coordinated by the White House. This must include the establishment of 1) an Interagency Working Group led by the National Security Council in coordination with the nascent National Cyber Director; 2) an internal U.S. Government Joint Ransomware Task Force; and 3) a collaborative, private industry-led informal Ransomware Threat Focus Hub.Governments should establish Cyber Response and Recovery Funds to support ransomware response and other cybersecurity activities; mandate that organizations report ransom payments; and require organizations to consider alternatives before making payments.An internationally coordinated effort should develop a clear, accessible, and broadly adopted framework to help organizations prepare for, and respond to, ransomware attacks. In some under-resourced and more critical sectors, incentives (such as fine relief and funding) or regulation may be required to drive adoption.The cryptocurrency sector that enables ransomware crime should be more closely regulated. Governments should require cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto kiosks, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading ''desks'' to comply with existing laws, including Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML), and Combatting Financing of Terrorism (CFT) laws.The Ransomware Task Force FrameworkThis strategic framework aims to help policymakers and industry leaders take system-level action '-- through potential legislation, funding new programs, or launching new industry-level collaborations '-- that will help the international community build resistance, disrupt the ransomware business model, and develop resilience to the ransomware threat.
The framework is organized around four goals: deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategy; disrupt the ransomware business model and reduce criminal profits; help organizations prepare for ransomware attacks; and respond to ransomware attacks more effectively.
These goals are interlocking and mutually reinforcing. For example, actions to disrupt the ransomware payments system will decrease the profitability of ransomware, thereby helping to deter other actors from engaging in this crime. Thus, this framework should be considered as a whole, not merely a laundry list of disparate actions.
Goal #1: Deter ransomware attacks through a nationally and internationally coordinated, comprehensive strategyThe number of actors capable of conducting ransomware attacks is large and growing, and to curb the growth of this threat in the long-term, steps must be taken to systemically discourage ransomware attacks. This deterrence must be multilayered and rely on all instruments of national power.
We propose a coordinated, effectively messaged, relentlessly executed deterrence campaign directed from the senior-most levels of the U.S. Government in real-time collaboration with international partners. The recommendations in this section are directly supplemented by the disruption activities recommended in Goal #2, as deterrence and disruption efforts go hand-in-hand.
This section includes recommendations like:
International signaling that ransomware is an enforcement priorityGlobal operational collaboration on ransomware takedownsEstablish an operationally focused U.S. government Joint Ransomware Task Force (JRTF) and a private sector Ransomware Threat Focus Hub (RTFH)Raise the priority of ransomware within the intelligence community, and designate it as a national security threatExerting pressure on nation-states that act as ''safe-havens'' for ransomware activitySee page 21 for more details.
Goal #2: Disrupt the ransomware business model and decrease criminal profitsRansomware is overwhelmingly a financially motivated crime, and as long as the profits outweigh the risks, attacks will continue. To effectively disrupt this threat, government and industry stakeholders must work collaboratively across borders to reduce the profitability of this criminal enterprise and increase the risk of ransomware execution. Governments can take diverse actions to:
Disrupt payment systems to make ransomware attacks less profitable;Disrupt the infrastructure used to facilitate attacks; andDisrupt ransomware actors themselves, through criminal prosecution and other tactics.This must all be done while minimizing harm to the victims of ransomware and not interfering with their ability to recover their systems.
This section includes recommendations like:
Require cryptocurrency exchanges, crypto kiosks, and over-the-counter (OTC) trading ''desks'' to comply with existing lawImprove information sharing of ransomware indicators from victims, information sharing between cryptocurrency entities and law enforcement, and sharing of ransomware intelligence by the governmentEstablish an insurance-sector consortium to share ransomware loss data and accelerate best practicesClarify lawful defensive measures that private-sector actors can take when countering ransomware.Apply strategies for combating organized crime syndicates to counter ransomware developers, criminal affiliates, and payment distribution infrastructureSee page 28 for more details.
Goal #3: Help organizations prepare for ransomware attacksAny organization can fall victim to ransomware, creating catastrophic disruption for the organization and those it serves. Yet despite extensive press coverage and content on this topic, the threat is poorly understood by many public- and private-sector leaders, and the majority of organizations lack an appropriate level of preparedness to defend against these attacks. Even firms that have invested in cybersecurity broadly may be unaware of how to prepare for, and defend specifically against, ransomware attacks, and information available is in many cases oversimplified or excessively complicated.
The challenge is to increase awareness and build defenses that will be effective both at scale and over time as the threat evolves. To do this, governments and industry leaders need to better connect with key audiences, including both the organizational leaders who need to understand that ransomware is a real and relevant threat to their organization, and also the individuals in operational roles (such as IT and security professionals) who need guidance on how to prioritize mitigation efforts given limited resources. Support should be customized based on each organization's current situation, including to what extent it is already appropriately informed and whether it has appropriately invested in time and resources.
This section includes recommendations like:
Develop a clear, actionable framework for ransomware mitigation, response, and recovery.Run nationwide, government- backed awareness campaigns and tabletop exercises.Update cyber-hygiene regulations and standardsRequire local governments and managed service providers (MSPs) to adopt limited baseline security measures.Highlight ransomware as a priority in existing funding provisions.Offer local government, SLTTs, and critical NGOs conditional access to grant funding for compliance with the Ransomware Framework.Alleviate fines for critical infrastructure entities that align with the Ransomware Framework.See page 35 for more details.
Goal #4: Respond to ransomware attacks more effectivelyFor victim organizations, a ransomware attack can be a stressful, potentially existential event. Crucial decisions about how to respond '-- including whether to pay the ransom '-- must be made under intense pressure. Facing the potential threat of losing their data permanently, organizations may make hurried decisions, particularly if they lack understanding about the ramifications of paying a ransom or the full range of alternatives open to them.
In order to improve organizations' ability to respond to ransomware attacks more effectively, government and industry leaders should increase the resources and information available to ransomware victims. At the same time, governments should require organizations to take certain actions before paying a ransom, including reporting the payment to the government. Ultimately, increased support for ransomware victims, including improved awareness of legal requirements prior to payment, will decrease the number of organizations that feel compelled or trapped into paying ransoms.
This section includes recommendations like:
Create ransomware emergency response authorities.Create a Ransomware Response Fund to support victims in refusing to make ransomware payments, and increase government support for the private sectorClarify United States Treasury guidance regarding ransomware payments.Improve incident reporting by creating a Ransomware Incident Response Network (RIRN), a standard format for reporting, and encourage incident reportingRequire organizations and incident response entities to share ransomware payment information with a national government prior to payment.Require organizations to take steps before paying a ransom, including reviewing alternatives and doing a cost-benefit analysisSee page 42 for more details.
5 urgent actions in the fightback against ransomware | World Economic Forum
Wed, 12 May 2021 19:58
' Criminal organizations are using ransomware to exploit vulnerabilities during the pandemic.
' Ransomware attacks have both a financial and a human cost.
' 65 business, non-profit and government organizations have banded together to form the Ransomware Task Force.
With the world still reeling from the effects of COVID-19, bad actors are stepping up efforts to capitalize on the global unrest with varying degrees of success. None have found so much success '' and caused so much damage '' as the criminal enterprises that have employed ransomware to threaten industry, commerce, education and lives in ways that transcend geopolitical boundaries.
Members of the World Economic Forum are familiar with how ransomware works, as criminals deploy malware that encrypts data on a victim's IT network, making it inaccessible to them until a ransom is paid '' often in the form of cryptocurrency. What many are not aware of is just how pervasive this activity has become, and how destructive it is in terms that go well beyond financial losses.
The average ransom paid by victimized organizations has more than doubled in the COVID-19 era, reaching $312,493 last year, according to the 2021 Unit 42 Ransomware Threat Report. Those figures tell just part of the economic story, as the cost of system downtime and recovery often eclipses the ransom payment. And the human toll is even more dire. Ransomware stops hospitals, educational institutions and governments from operating effectively, or it sometimes shuts them down entirely for days or weeks.
During a ransomware attack, IT administrators often struggle to recover data and restore operations, while employees are idle. Meanwhile, senior leaders engage in intense internal deliberations, debating whether to pay the ransom or tough it out through the remediation process. In the interim, patients in hospitals lose access to chemotherapy doses and operations are delayed. Logistics providers find themselves unable to deliver COVID-19 vaccines. Children go uneducated. And municipal and regional governments stop providing basic services.
This toll on society is why global leaders must act.
Thankfully, they are doing so. More than 65 software companies (including some longstanding and fierce competitors), cybersecurity vendors, government agencies from US and European countries, non-profits and academic institutions have joined forces to tackle this insidious threat. Under the moniker of the Ransomware Task Force (RTF), this group of industry leaders has developed a clear, structured set of recommendations that, if resourced and implemented, could rapidly reduce the impact of ransomware on society.
Their names are familiar to anyone who has gathered in Davos: Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Palo Alto Networks, Rapid7 and McAfee, just to name a handful. These businesses have provided workhorses, not show horses, collaborating to fight a problem that is simply too endemic for any one company, industry or government to mitigate on its own. The fact that they have come to that collective realization speaks volumes about the size of this effort.
The Task Force's recommendations, published in a recent report entitled Combating Ransomware: A Comprehensive Framework for Action, outline actions that governments, businesses and non-profits can take to deter ransomware criminals and disrupt their business model. While the report directs many of its recommendations at the US government due to task force members' strong connections there, the report also calls on other national governments and industries to work together as part of a global, collaborative effort to stem the tide of these attacks.
The pandemic has dramatically escalated the use of ransomware attacks
Image: IST
The primary objective of these actions is to deter ransomware criminals; help organizations prepare for and defend against attacks; undermine the practices that make ransomware so lucrative; and respond to ransomware attacks more effectively.
While there are too many recommendations in the 81-page report to list here, the RTF identifies five critical and urgent actions that form the backbone of its comprehensive framework:
1. International diplomatic and law enforcement agencies must declare ransomware a priority and carry out a comprehensive and resourced strategy, which would include measures to prevent nation states from providing safe haven to ransomware organizations.
2. The White House should coordinate an aggressive, sustained and intelligence-driven ''whole-of-government'' operational campaign, working more closely together with private industry and other governments, to fight ransomware.
3. Governments need to create cyber response and recovery funds; require that businesses and other organizations report ransom payments; and mandate that organizations consider alternatives before making payments.
4. The international community should coordinate efforts to develop a single, widely adopted Ransomware Framework that will help organizations prepare for and respond to ransomware attacks.
5. Governments must regulate the cryptocurrency sector more closely, and ensure exchanges, kiosks and over-the-counter trading desks comply with existing regulations, including know your customer, anti-money laundering, and combatting financing of terrorism laws.
If enacted together, these steps would result in immediate and longer-term benefits, and show cybercriminals that ransomware is no longer an easy and safe strategy for financial gain.
The World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity is leading the global response to address systemic cybersecurity challenges and improve digital trust. We are an independent and impartial global platform committed to fostering international dialogues and collaboration on cybersecurity in the public and private sectors. We bridge the gap between cybersecurity experts and decision makers at the highest levels to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity as a key strategic priority.
Our community has three key priorities:
Strengthening Global Cooperation - to increase global cooperation between public and private stakeholders to foster a collective response to cybercrime and address key security challenges posed by barriers to cooperation.
Understanding Future Networks and Technology - to identify cybersecurity challenges and opportunities posed by new technologies, and accelerate forward-looking solutions.
Building Cyber Resilience - to develop and amplify scalable solutions to accelerate the adoption of best practices and increase cyber resilience.
Initiatives include building a partnership to address the global cyber enforcement gap through improving the efficiency and effectiveness of public-private collaboration in cybercrime investigations; equipping business decision makers and cybersecurity leaders with the tools necessary to govern cyber risks, protect business assets and investments from the impact of cyber-attacks; and enhancing cyber resilience across key industry sectors such as electricity, aviation and oil & gas. We also promote mission aligned initiatives championed by our partner organizations.
The Forum is also a signatory of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace which aims to ensure digital peace and security which encourages signatories to protect individuals and infrastructure, to protect intellectual property, to cooperate in defense, and refrain from doing harm.
For more information, please contact us.
The ongoing efforts within the World Economic Forum's Partnership Against Cybercrime strongly position members to lead the implementation of many of these recommendations. Indeed, World Economic Forum members are uniquely positioned to do so, and have the means and influence to help wage this battle. The RTF's report should be the beginning of a global conversation that extends through the World Economic Forum Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore, with the world joining forces to mitigate a problem that threatens us all.
U.S. Pipeline Shutdown Exposes Cyber Threat to Energy Sector - WSJ
Tue, 11 May 2021 03:47
The ransomware attack that forced the closure of the largest U.S. fuel pipeline this weekend showed how cybercriminals pose a far-reaching threat to the aging, vulnerable infrastructure that keeps the nation's energy moving.
Colonial Pipeline Co. closed its entire 5,500-mile conduit carrying gasoline and other fuels from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area Friday as it moved to contain an assault that involved ransomware, code that holds computer systems hostage. So far, no evidence has emerged that the attackers penetrated the vital control systems that run the pipeline, according to people familiar with the matter.
But the consequences of an infection spreading to that deeper layer are dire for any energy company. Many machines that control pipelines, refineries and power plants are well past their prime, have few protections against sophisticated attacks and could be manipulated to muck with equipment or cause damage, cybersecurity experts say.
Last year, a ransomware attack moved from a natural-gas company's networks into the control systems at a compression facility, halting operations for two days, according to a Department of Homeland Security alert. The company, which Homeland Security didn't name, didn't have a plan to respond to a cyberattack, the agency said.
The Colonial ransomware attack is a high-profile example of the online assaults that U.S. companies, schools, hospitals and other organizations now face regularly. It should also serve as a wake-up call for the energy industry's particular exposure, according to consultants and others who work with companies to shore up cybersecurity.
U.S. and industry officials have known for years about such problems surrounding the nation's energy infrastructure. A cybersecurity unit of Homeland Security said in 2016 it had worked to identify and mitigate 186 vulnerabilities throughout the energy sector, the most of any critical-infrastructure industry that year. In 2018, federal officials warned that hackers working for Russia had infiltrated the control rooms of U.S. electric utilities.
The energy industry is a big target. The U.S. has roughly 2.5 million miles of pipelines. Across that vast network are hundreds of thousands of devices'--sensors that take myriad readings, valves that help control flow and pressure within a pipeline and leak detection systems'--and all are vulnerable to attack, security experts said.
Refineries have even more valves and sensors than big pipelines, and there are about 135 of those across the country. That doesn't include electric utilities and all the components of the sprawling power grid.
Colonial ferries 100 million gallons a day of gasoline, diesel and other refined petroleum products from the country's chief refining corridor along the Gulf Coast to Linden, N.J. It transports roughly 45% of the fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the company's website.
Curtis Smith, a spokesman for Royal Dutch Shell PLC, one the owners of the Colonial Pipeline, said Sunday it is still too early to ''be specific about potential impacts to product flow.'' He said Shell is actively engaged with Colonial.
The trade group American Petroleum Institute said it was closely monitoring the pipeline situation and that cybersecurity is a top priority for the energy industry.
API members are engaged continuously with the Transportation Security Administration, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Energy Department to ''mitigate risk and fully understand the evolving threat landscape,'' said Suzanne Lemieux, API's manager of operations security and emergency response policy.
The type of attack that occurred against Colonial Pipeline is becoming more frequent and is something that businesses need to be concerned with, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday.
The attacks are ''here to stay and we have to work in partnership with businesses to secure networks, to defend ourselves against these attacks,'' she said on CBS's ''Face the Nation.'' Specific to the Colonial attack, ''it's an all-hands-on-deck effort right now.''
In response to the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, the Transportation Department's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said Sunday that it has issued a temporary hours of service exemption for trucks transporting gasoline and other refined products across 17 states, including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. The move would allow flexibility for truckers delivering fuel, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a tweet.
On Sunday, Colonial didn't provide a timeline for bringing the pipeline back into service but said that while its main lines remained offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points were once again operational. It said it was working to restore IT systems and developing a plan to start the pipeline back up when it had approval from federal regulators.
As markets opened Sunday evening, gasoline futures were up about 1.6% at $2.16 a gallon, after briefly rising more than 3% higher.
Analysts said a closure of the pipeline for a few days shouldn't have dramatic market impacts, because inventories of gasoline have been readied for the summer driving season and usually get replenished every five to six days. But if the pipeline remains offline for five days or longer, shortages could begin to affect retail stations and consumers along the East Coast, they said.
According to a report by an International Business Machine Corp. unit, energy companies in 2020 sustained the third-most attacks of any industry, up from ninth the previous year, as cybercriminals ramped up assaults on firms with software connected to operational control systems.
The industry is ill-prepared for such attacks, security experts said. Some operational technologies'--for physical systems like pipelines and the electric grid'--have protocols that predate those for the internet, said Padraic O'Reilly, co-founder and chief product officer of Boston-based CyberSaint Security, who works with pipelines and critical infrastructure on cybersecurity.
''There are just as many [operational technology] vulnerabilities as there are IT vulnerabilities, but they're scarier in a way because they can go cyber to physical,'' Mr. O'Reilly said, noting the energy sector has the most physical infrastructure of any industry that his company works with.
These weak spots have been known for years, but most energy companies have only recently begun to implement defenses, such as firewalls, to protect control systems, said Raymond Sevier, a technical solutions architect with Cisco Systems Inc., who focuses on industrial systems.
The control systems were considered safe for years because they weren't connected to the internet, but hackers have found ways to penetrate them through unsecured remote access and networked systems. Many companies have older, vulnerable Windows platforms still embedded within energy facilities, and efforts to implement cybersecurity measures rarely move beyond the pilot-program stage, Mr. Sevier said.
Because many industrial facilities run around the clock, it isn't easy to take down plants to patch outdated systems, keeping older machines in place and providing ''the perfect path for cyber pathogens'' once they are connected to company networks, said Grant Geyer, chief product officer of Claroty Ltd., a cybersecurity company that specializes in critical infrastructure environments.
Energy companies and other firms that operate infrastructure have invested heavily in recent decades to automate their processes and reduce costs, said Mark Montgomery, former executive director of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, a bipartisan policy group formed by Congress.
''It's not matched by a similar investment in cybersecurity,'' Mr. Montgomery said. ''It's creating a lot of risk and vulnerability that, obviously, criminals can exploit.''
Two people briefed on the Colonial Pipeline probe said the attack appeared to be limited to information systems and had not infiltrated control systems. U.S. cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. was investigating the attack, according to people familiar with the matter.
It is unclear how long it could take to bring the Colonial Pipeline back into service, said Robert M. Lee, founder of the industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos Inc.
IT security incidents can typically take days to resolve, while an attack on control systems can take weeks, given the average age and complexity of those technologies and their proximity to core operations, Mr. Lee said.
Many companies, Mr. Lee said, have underinvested in operational technology security, and U.S. officials have largely pushed firms to focus on measures to prevent attacks. That approach has left gaps in some businesses' ability to detect and respond to successful hacks, he said.
''Everything we've told our asset owners has been focused on preventive [security],'' he said. ''We need to shift that and focus on the whole approach.''
'--Eric Morath contributed to this article.
Write to Collin Eaton at collin.eaton@wsj.com, James Rundle at james.rundle@wsj.com and David Uberti at david.uberti@wsj.com
EXPLAINER: Why the Colonial Pipeline hack matters | AM 1420 The ANSWER - Cleveland, OH
Tue, 11 May 2021 03:42
NEW YORK (AP) '-- A cyberattack on a critical U.S. pipeline is sending ripple effects across the economy, highlighting cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the nation's aging energy infrastructure. The Colonial Pipeline, which delivers about 45% of the fuel used along the Eastern Seaboard, shut down Friday after a ransomware attack by gang of criminal hackers that calls itself DarkSide. Depending on how long the shutdown lasts, the incident could impact millions of consumers.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COLONIAL PIPELINE?
Colonial Pipeline, the owner, halted all pipeline operations over the weekend, forcing what the company called a precautionary shutdown. U.S. officials said Monday that the ''ransomware'' malware used in the attack didn't spread to the critical systems that control the pipeline's operation. But the mere fact that it could have done so alarmed outside security experts.
WILL THERE BE GASOLINE SHORTAGES?
It depends on how long the shutdown lasts. Colonial said it's likely to restore service on the majority of its pipeline by Friday.
There's no imminent shortfall, and thus no need to panic buy gasoline, said Richard Joswick, head of global oil analytics at S&P Global Platts. If the pipeline is restored by Friday, there won't be much of an issue. ''If it does drag on for two weeks, it's a problem,'' Joswick added. ''You'd wind up with price spikes and probably some service stations getting low on supply. And panic buying just makes it worse.''
SO WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH GASOLINE PRICES?
The average gasoline price jumped six cents to $2.96 over the past week, and it's expected to continue climbing because of the pipeline closure, according to AAA. Mississippi, Tennessee and the East Coast from Georgia to Delaware are the most likely to experience limited fuel availability and higher prices, and if the national average rises by three more cents, these would be the highest prices since November 2014, according to AAA.
WHAT'S RANSOMWARE AGAIN?
Ransomware scrambles data that can only be decoded with a software key after the victim pays off the criminal perpetrators. An epidemic of ransomware attacks has gotten so bad that Biden administration officials recently deemed them a national security threat. Hospitals, schools, police departments and state and local governments are regularly hit. Ransomware attacks are difficult to stop in part because they're usually launched by criminal syndicates that enjoy safe harbor abroad, mostly in former Soviet states.
WHO IS BEHIND THE ATTACK AND WHAT MOTIVATES THEM?
The hackers are Russian speakers from DarkSide, one of dozens of ransomware gangs that specialize in double extortion, in which the criminals steal an organization's data before encrypting it. They then threaten to dump that data online if the victim doesn't pay up, creating a second disincentive to trying to recover without paying.
Ransomware gangs say they are motivated only by profit. Colonial has not said how much ransom s.
WHY WASN'T COLONIAL ABLE TO PREVENT OR CONTAIN THE ATTACK?
Neither Colonial nor federal officials have explained how the attackers breached the company's network and went undetected. Cybersecurity experts believe that Colonial may not have employed state-of-the-art defenses, in which software agents actively monitor networks for anomalies and are programmed to detect known threats such as DarkSide's infiltration tools.
WHAT DOES COLONIAL NEED TO RESTORE ITS NETWORK AND HOW LONG WILL THAT TAKE?
That depends on how extensively Colonial was infected, whether it paid the ransom and, if it did, when it got the software decryption key. The decryption process could take several days at least, experts say. Colonial has not responded to questions on these issues, although it said only its IT network was affected.
DO PIPELINES FACE A GREATER RISK OF RANSOMWARE ATTACKS?
They're not necessarily at greater risk, but they do pose unique challenges. The Colonial Pipeline structure is a vast piece of critical infrastructure that provides fuel supply to states along the East Coast. Such a large network is bound to have different control systems along its path where it connects with distributors or customers.
''Every single time you connect something, you run the risk that you're going to infect something,'' said Kevin Book, managing director at Clearview Energy Partners. That variability can also make it harder for hackers to know where to find vulnerabilities, he said.
Over time, as pipelines expand, companies can end up with a mix of technology '-- some parts built within the company and others brought in from outside, said Peter McNally, global sector lead at Third Bridge. Many large energy companies have been under pressure from investors to limit reinvestment in such assets, which can be decades old, he added. That can be a problem when dealing with modern criminals.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has established and enforced mandatory cybersecurity standards for the bulk electric system, but there are no comparable standards for the nearly 3 million miles of natural gas, oil and hazardous liquid pipelines that traverse the United States. ''Simply encouraging pipelines to voluntarily adopt best practices is an inadequate response to the ever-increasing number and sophistication of malevolent cyber actors,'' said Richard Glick, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and Democratic Commissioner Allison Clements, in a joint statement. They called for the U.S. to establish mandatory pipeline security standards.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HALT RANSOMWARE ATTACKS?
Previous attempts to put ransomware operators out of business by attacking their online infrastructure have amounted to internet whack-a-mole. The U.S. Cyber Command, Microsoft and cross-Atlantic police efforts with European partners have only been able to put a temporary dent in the problem.
Last month, a public-private task force including Microsoft, Amazon the FBI and the Secret Service gave the White House an 81-page urgent action plan that said considerable progress could be possible in a year if a concerted effort is mounted with U.S. allies, who are also under withering attack.
Some experts advocate banning ransom payments. The FBI discourages payment, but the task force said a ban would be a mistake as long as many potential targets remain ''woefully unprepared,'' apt to go bankrupt if they can't pay. Neuberger said Monday that sometimes companies have no real choice but to pay a ransom.
The task force said ransomware actors need to be named and shamed and the governments that harbor them punished. It calls for mandatory disclosure of ransom payments and the creation of a federal ''response fund'' to provide financial assistance to victims in hopes that, in many cases, it will prevent them from paying ransoms.
___
Bajak reported from Boston. AP Writer Matthew Daly contributed from Washington.
Big Pharma
Merriam-Webster online dictionary expands definition of 'ANTI-VAXXER' to include those who oppose FORCED JABS '-- RT USA News
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:15
Merriam-Webster is again redefining language to fit a narrative, this time framing its definition of ''anti-vaxxer'' to include not only people who oppose vaccination, but also those who are against inoculation mandates.
The definition on Merriam-Webster's website says ''anti-vaxxer'' means ''a person who opposes vaccination or laws that mandate vaccination.'' It's not clear when it was written to include opposition to forced jabs, but many observers noticed for the first time on Wednesday.
''Welcome to '1984.' This is the Ministry of Truth,'' rapper and podcaster Zuby said on Twitter, referring to George Orwell's dystopian novel.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary has changed their definition of 'anti-vaxxer' to include'people who oppose laws that mandate vaccination'.Welcome to 1984. This is The Ministry of Truth. pic.twitter.com/a62lBOCJDj
'-- ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) May 12, 2021Other reactions were similar, with many commenters noting that they now fit the dictionary definition of ''anti-vaxxer,'' even though they believe in the benefits of vaccinations and choose to receive the shots themselves. Merriam-Webster's definition appears to dismiss the concept of favoring a product personally but being opposed, on principle, to forcing others to use it.
''Today, I begin my new life as an anti-vaxxer,'' podcast host Matt Walsh said. The conservative Young America's Foundation added that ''when the Left control the language, they control the narrative.''
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary updated its definition of "anti-vaxxer" to include anyone who opposes mandatory vaccinations.When the Left controls the language, they control the narrative.h/t @ZubyMusicpic.twitter.com/bZLAcDFvIj
'-- YAF (@yaf) May 12, 2021Such was the case '' or at least the attempt '' last October, when Merriam-Webster edited its definition of ''preference,'' noting that it was ''offensive'' in reference to a person's ''sexual preference.'' The revision helped back up US Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) when she accused Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett of being biased against gay people when she used the term as a synonym for ''sexual orientation.''
Also on rt.com Merriam-Webster labels 'sexual preference' OFFENSIVE after uproar over LGBTQ terminology during SCOTUS confirmation hearing And last June, Merriam-Webster expanded its definition of ''racism'' to include ''systemic oppression'' of one racial group by another. That revision reportedly came in response to a Black Lives Matter activist who suggested the change after losing arguments with people who said they weren't racist because they didn't consider their own ethnicity to be inherently superior.
''Anti-vaxxer'' was the most-searched definition Wednesday on Merriam-Webster's website. Users of the site posted comments under the definition, complaining of ''politics in the dictionary.'' One observer said, ''I, along with most of America, do not believe that trusting vaccines is synonymous with mandating them. We can't even trust the dictionary anymore.''
The term ''anti-vaxxer'' is relatively new, having entered the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009, and is used by media outlets and political commentators as a pejorative '' like ''9/11 truthers'' and ''birthers'' '' to brand vaccine skeptics as unhinged conspiracy theorists.
But as National Review pointed out on Wednesday, the latest Merriam-Webster definition classifies 79% of Americans as anti-vaxxers. A Morning Consult poll in December found that only 21% of respondents favored forced vaccinations.
Merriam-Webster tweaked its definition of ''vaccine'' in January, apparently to make it more friendly to the new mRNA-type inoculations that were created to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Also on rt.com 'Covidiot': New catch-all term created for people who ignore pandemic health warnings, hoard toilet paper Like this story? Share it with a friend!
I have T-Cell Immunity
SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls | Nature
Tue, 11 May 2021 03:30
AbstractMemory T cells induced by previous pathogens can shape susceptibility to, and the clinical severity of, subsequent infections1. Little is known about the presence in humans of pre-existing memory T cells that have the potential to recognize severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here we studied T cell responses against the structural (nucleocapsid (N) protein) and non-structural (NSP7 and NSP13 of ORF1) regions of SARS-CoV-2 in individuals convalescing from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (n = 36). In all of these individuals, we found CD4 and CD8 T cells that recognized multiple regions of the N protein. Next, we showed that patients (n = 23) who recovered from SARS (the disease associated with SARS-CoV infection) possess long-lasting memory T cells that are reactive to the N protein of SARS-CoV 17 years after the outbreak of SARS in 2003; these T cells displayed robust cross-reactivity to the N protein of SARS-CoV-2. We also detected SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in individuals with no history of SARS, COVID-19 or contact with individuals who had SARS and/or COVID-19 (n = 37). SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in uninfected donors exhibited a different pattern of immunodominance, and frequently targeted NSP7 and NSP13 as well as the N protein. Epitope characterization of NSP7-specific T cells showed the recognition of protein fragments that are conserved among animal betacoronaviruses but have low homology to 'common cold' human-associated coronaviruses. Thus, infection with betacoronaviruses induces multi-specific and long-lasting T cell immunity against the structural N protein. Understanding how pre-existing N- and ORF1-specific T cells that are present in the general population affect the susceptibility to and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection is important for the management of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
MainSARS-CoV-2 is the cause of COVID-192. This disease has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is having severe effects on both individual lives and economies around the world. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 is characterized by a broad spectrum of clinical syndromes, which range from asymptomatic disease or mild influenza-like symptoms to severe pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome3.
It is common to observe the ability of a single virus to cause widely differing pathological manifestations in humans. This is often due to multiple contributing factors including the size of the viral inoculum, the genetic background of patients and the presence of concomitant pathological conditions. Moreover, an established adaptive immunity towards closely related viruses4 or other microorganisms5 can reduce susceptibility6 or enhance disease severity7.
SARS-CoV-2 belongs to the Coronaviridae, a family of large RNA viruses that infect many animal species. Six other coronaviruses are known to infect humans. Four of them are endemically transmitted8 and cause the common cold (OC43, HKU1, 229E and NL63), while SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have caused epidemics of severe pneumonia9. All of these coronaviruses trigger antibody and T cell responses in infected patients: however, antibody levels appear to wane faster than T cells. SARS-CoV-specific antibodies dropped below the limit of detection within 2 to 3 years10, whereas SARS-CoV-specific memory T cells have been detected even 11 years after SARS11. As the sequences of selected structural and non-structural proteins are highly conserved among different coronaviruses (for example, NSP7 and NSP13 are 100% and 99% identical, respectively, between SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and the bat-associated bat-SL-CoVZXC2112), we investigated whether cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells are present in individuals who resolved SARS-CoV, and compared the responses with those present in individuals who recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also studied these T cells in individuals with no history of SARS or COVID-19 or of contact with patients with SARS-CoV-2. Collectively these individuals are hereafter referred to as individuals who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (unexposed donors).
SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in patients with COVID-19SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells have just started to be characterized for patients with COVID-1913,14 and their potential protective role has been inferred from studies of patients who recovered from SARS15 and MERS16. To study SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells associated with viral clearance, we collected peripheral blood from 36 individuals after recovery from mild to severe COVID-19 (demographic, clinical and virological information is included in Extended Data Table 1) and studied the T cell response against selected structural (N) and non-structural proteins (NSP7 and NSP13 of ORF1) of the large SARS-CoV-2 proteome (Fig. 1a). We selected the N protein as it is one of the more-abundant structural proteins produced17 and has a high degree of homology between different betacoranaviruses18 (Extended Data Fig. 1).
Fig. 1: SARS-CoV-2-specific responses in patients recovered from COVID-19.a, SARS-CoV-2 proteome organization; analysed proteins are marked by an asterisk. b, The 15-mer peptides, which overlapped by 10 amino acids, comprising the N protein, NSP7 and NSP13 were split into 6 pools covering the N protein (N-1, N-2), NSP7 and NSP13 (NSP13-1, NSP13-2, NSP13-3). c, PBMCs of patients who recovered from COVID-19 (n = 36) were stimulated with the peptide pools or with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and ionomycin (iono) as a positive control. The frequency of spot-forming units (SFU) of IFNÎ"-secreting cells is shown. d, The composition of the SARS-CoV-2 response in each individual is shown as a percentage of the total detected response. N-1, light blue; N-2, dark blue; NSP7, orange; NSP13-1, light red; NSP13-2, red; NSP13-3, dark red. e, PBMCs were stimulated with the peptide pools covering the N protein (N-1, N-2) for 5 h and analysed by intracellular cytokine staining. Dot plots show examples of patients (2 out of 7) that had CD4 and/or CD8 T cells that produced IFNÎ" and/or TNF in response to stimulation with N-1 and/or N-2 peptides. The percentage of SARS-CoV-2 N-peptide-reactive CD4 and CD8 T cells in n = 7 individuals are shown (unstimulated controls were subtracted for each response).
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NSP7 and NSP13 were selected for their complete homology between SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and other animal coronaviruses that belong to the betacoranavirus genus12 (Extended Data Fig. 2), and because they are representative of the ORF1a/b polyprotein that encodes the replicase''transcriptase complex19. This polyprotein is the first to be translated after infection with coronavirus and is essential for the subsequent transcription of the genomic and sub-genomic RNA species that encode the structural proteins19. We synthesized 216 15-mer peptides that overlapped by 10 amino acids and that covered the whole length of NSP7 (83 amino acids), NSP13 (601 amino acids) and N (422 amino acids) and split these peptides into five pools of approximately 40 peptides each (N-1, N-2, NSP13-1, NSP13-2 and NSP13-3) and a single pool of 15 peptides that spanned NSP7 (Fig. 1b). This unbiased method with overlapping peptides was used instead of bioinformatics selection of peptides, as the performance of such algorithms is often sub-optimal in Asian populations20.
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 36 patients who recovered from COVID-19 were stimulated for 18 h with the different peptide pools and virus-specific responses were analysed by interferon-Î" (IFNÎ") ELISpot assay. In all individuals tested (36 out of 36), we detected IFNÎ" spots after stimulation with the pools of synthetic peptides that covered the N protein (Fig. 1c, d). In nearly all individuals, N-specific responses could be identified against multiple regions of the protein: 34 out of 36 individuals showed reactivity against the region that comprised amino acids 1''215 (N-1) and 36 out of 36 individuals showed reactivity against the region comprising amino acids 206''419 (N-2). By contrast, responses to NSP7 and NSP13 peptide pools were detected at very low levels in 12 out of 36 COVID-19-convalescent individuals tested.
Direct ex vivo intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) was performed to confirm and define the N-specific IFNÎ" ELISpot response. Owing to their relative low frequency, N-specific T cells were more difficult to visualize by ICS than by ELISpot; however, a clear population of CD4 and/or CD8 T cells that produced IFNÎ" and/or TNF was detectable in seven out of nine analysed individuals (Fig. 1e and Extended Data Figs. 3, 4). Moreover, despite the small sample size, we could compare the frequency of SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNÎ" spots with the presence of virus-neutralizing antibodies, the duration of infection and disease severity and found no correlations (Extended Data Fig. 5). To confirm and further delineate the multi-specificity of the N-specific responses detected ex vivo in patients who recovered from COVID-19, we mapped the precise regions of the N protein that is able to activate IFNÎ" responses in nine individuals. We organized the 82 overlapping peptides that covered the entire N protein into small peptide pools (of 7''8 peptides) that were used to stimulate PBMCs either directly ex vivo or after an in vitro expansion protocol that has previously been used for patients with hepatitis B virus21 or SARS22. A schematic representation of the peptide pools is shown in Fig. 2a. We found that 8 out of 9 patients who recovered from COVID-19 had PBMCs that recognized multiple regions of the N protein of SARS-CoV-2 (Fig. 2a). Notably, we then defined single peptides that were able to activate T cells in seven patients. Using a peptide matrix strategy22, we first deconvolved the individual peptides that were responsible for the detected response by IFNÎ" ELISpot. Subsequently, we confirmed the identity of the single peptides by testing'--using ICS'--the ability of the peptides to activate CD4 or CD8 T cells (Table 1 and Fig. 2b). Table 1 summarizes the different T cell epitopes that were defined by both ELISpot and ICS for seven individuals who recovered from COVID-19. Notably, we observed that COVID-19-convalescent individuals developed T cells that were specific to regions that were also targeted by T cells from individuals who recovered from SARS. For example, the region of amino acids 101''120 of the N protein, which is a previously described CD4 T cell epitope in SARS-CoV-exposed individuals11,22, also stimulated CD4 T cells in two COVID-19-convalescent individuals. Similarly, the region of amino acids 321''340 of the N protein contained epitopes that triggered CD4 and CD8 T cells in patients who recovered from either COVID-19 or from SARS22. The finding that patients who recovered from COVID-19 and SARS can mount T cell responses against shared viral determinants suggests that previous SARS-CoV infection can induce T cells that are able to cross-react against SARS-CoV-2.
Fig. 2: SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in COVID-19 convalescent individuals target multiple regions of the N protein.a, PBMCs of 9 individuals who recovered from COVID-19 were stimulated with 12 different pools of 7''8 N peptides. The table shows IFNÎ" ELISpot responses against the individual N peptide pools. The asterisk denotes responses detected after in vitro expansion. b, After in vitro cell expansion, a peptide pool matrix strategy was used. T cells that reacted to distinct peptides were identified by IFNÎ" ELISpot and confirmed by ICS. Representative dot plots of 3 out of 7 patients are shown.
Table 1 SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell epitopesSARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in patients with SARSFor the management of the current pandemic and for vaccine development against SARS-CoV-2, it is important to understand whether acquired immunity will be long-lasting. We have previously demonstrated that patients who recovered from SARS have T cells that are specific to epitopes within different SARS-CoV proteins that persist for 11 years after infection11. Here, we collected PBMCs 17 years after SARS-CoV infection and tested whether they still contained cells that were reactive against SARS-CoV and whether these had cross-reactive potential against SARS-CoV-2 peptides. PBMCs from individuals who had resolved a SARS-CoV infection (n = 15) were stimulated directly ex vivo with peptide pools that covered the N protein of SARS-CoV (N-1 and N-2), NSP7 and NSP13 (Fig. 3a). This revealed that 17 years after infection, IFNÎ" responses to SARS-CoV peptides were still present and were almost exclusively focused on the N protein rather than the NSP peptide pools (Fig. 3b). Subsequently, we tested whether the N peptides of SARS-CoV-2 (amino acid identity, 94%) induced IFNÎ" responses in PBMCs from individuals who resolved a SARS-CoV infection. Indeed, PBMCs from all 23 individuals tested reacted to N peptides from SARS-CoV-2 (Fig. 3c, d). To test whether these low-frequency responses in individuals who had recovered from SARS could expand after encountering the N protein of SARS-CoV-2, the quantity of IFNÎ"-producing cells that responded to the N, NSP7 and NSP13 proteins of SARS-CoV-2 was analysed after 10 days of cell culture in the presence of the relevant peptides. Seven out of eight individuals tested showed clear, robust expansion of N-reactive cells (Fig. 3e) and ICS confirmed that individuals who recovered from SARS had SARS-CoV N-reactive CD4 and CD8 memory T cells11 (Extended Data Fig. 6). In contrast to the response to the N peptides, we could not detect any cells that reacted to the peptide pools that covered NSP13 and only cells from one out of eight individuals reacted to NSP7 (Fig. 3e).
Fig. 3: SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive responses are present in patients who recovered from SARS.a, PBMCs isolated from 15 individuals who recovered from SARS 17 years ago were stimulated with SARS-CoV N, NSP7 and NSP13 peptide pools. b, Spot-forming units of IFNÎ"-secreting cells after overnight stimulation with the indicated peptide pools. c, PBMCs of 15 individuals who recovered from SARS were stimulated in parallel with peptide pools covering the N proteins of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and the frequency of IFNÎ"-producing cells is shown. d, The composition of the SARS-CoV-2 response in each individual who recovered from SARS (n = 23) is shown as a percentage of the total detected response. N-1, light blue; N-2, dark blue; NSP7, orange; NSP13-1, light red; NSP13-2, red; NSP13-3, dark red. e, PBMCs of 8 individuals who recovered from SARS were stimulated with all peptides covering N, NSP7 and NSP13 of SARS-CoV-2 to detect cross-reactive responses. The numbers of cells that are reactive to the different peptide pools directly ex vivo and after in vitro expansion are shown.
Source data
Thus, SARS-CoV-2 N-specific T cells are part of the T cell repertoire of individuals with a history of SARS-CoV infection and these T cells are able to robustly expand after encountering N peptides of SARS-CoV-2. These findings demonstrate that virus-specific T cells induced by infection with betacoronaviruses are long-lasting, supporting the notion that patients with COVID-19 will develop long-term T cell immunity. Our findings also raise the possibility that long-lasting T cells generated after infection with related viruses may be able to protect against, or modify the pathology caused by, infection with SARS-CoV-2.
SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in unexposed donorsTo explore this possibility, we tested N-, NSP7- and NSP13-peptide-reactive IFNÎ" responses in 37 donors who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. Donors were either sampled before July 2019 (n = 26) or were serologically negative for both SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies and SARS-CoV-2 N antibodies23 (n = 11). Different coronaviruses known to cause common colds in humans such as OC43, HKU1, NL63 and 229E present different degrees of amino acid homology with SARS-CoV-2 (Extended Data Fig. 1 and 2) and recent data have shown the presence of SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive CD4 T cells (mainly specific to the spike protein) in donors who were not exposed to SARS-CoV-214. Notably, we detected SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNÎ" responses in 19 out of 37 unexposed donors (Fig. 4a, b). The cumulative proportion of all studied individuals who responded to peptides covering the N protein and the ORF1-encoded NSP7 and NSP13 proteins is shown in Fig. 4b. Unexposed donors showed a distinct pattern of reactivity; whereas individuals who recovered from COVID-19 and SARS reacted preferentially to N peptide pools (66% of individuals who recovered from COVID-19 and 91% of individuals who recovered from SARS responded to only the N peptide pools), the unexposed group showed a mixed response to the N protein or to NSP7 and NSP13 (Fig. 4a''c). In addition, whereas NSP peptides stimulated a dominant response in only 1 out of 59 individuals who had resolved COVID-19 or SARS, these peptides triggered dominant reactivity in 9 out of 19 unexposed donors with SARS-CoV-2-reactive cells (Fig. 4c and Extended Data Fig. 7). These SARS-CoV-2-reactive cells from unexposed donors had the capacity to expand after stimulation with SARS-CoV-2-specific peptides (Fig. 4d). We next delineated the SARS-CoV-2-specific response detected in unexposed donors in more detail. Characterization of the N-specific response in one donor (H-2) identified CD4 T cells that were reactive to an epitope within the region of amino acids 101''120 of the N protein. This epitope was also detected in patients who recovered from COVID-19 and SARS8,22 (Fig. 2b). This region has a high degree of homology to the sequences of the N protein of MERS-CoV, OC43 and HKU1 (Fig. 4e). In the same donor, we analysed PBMCs collected at multiple time points, demonstrating the persistence of the response to the 101''120 amino acid region of the N protein over 1 year (Extended Data Fig. 8a). In three other donors who were not exposed to SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2, we identified CD4 T cells specific to the region of amino acids 26''40 of NSP7 (SKLWAQCVQLHNDIL; donor H-7) and CD8 T cells specific to an epitope comprising the region of amino acids 36''50 of NSP7 (HNDILLAKDTTEAFE; H-3, H-21; Fig. 4e, Extended Data Fig. 8b).
Fig. 4: Immunodominance of SARS-CoV-2 responses in patients who recovered from COVID-19 and SARS, and in unexposed individuals.a, PBMCs of individuals who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 (n = 37), recovered from SARS (n = 23) or COVID-19 (n = 36) were stimulated with peptide pools covering N (N-1, N-2), NSP7 and NSP13 (NSP13-1, NSP13-2, NSP13-3) of SARS-CoV-2 and analysed by ELISpot. The frequency of peptide-reactive cells is shown for each donor (dots or squares) and the bars represent the median frequency. Squares denote PBMC samples collected before July 2019. b, The percentage of individuals with N-specific, NSP7 and NSP13-specific responses, or N-, NSP7- and NSP13-specific responses in cohort. c, The composition of the SARS-CoV-2 response in each responding unexposed donor (n = 19) is shown as a percentage of the total detected response. N-1, light blue; N-2, dark blue; NSP7, orange; NSP13-1, light red; NSP13-2, red; NSP13-3, dark red. d, Frequency of SARS-CoV-2-reactive cells in 11 unexposed donors to the indicated peptide pools directly ex vivo and after a 10-day expansion. e, A peptide pool matrix strategy was used for three individuals who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. The identified T cell epitopes were confirmed by ICS, and the sequences were aligned to the corresponding sequence of all coronaviruses known to infect humans.
Source data
These latter two T cell specificities were of particular interest as the homology between the two protein regions of SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and other common cold coronaviruses (OC43, HKU1 NL63 and 229E) was minimal (Fig. 4e), especially for the CD8 T cell epitope. Indeed, the low-homology peptides that covered the sequences of the common cold coronaviruses failed to stimulate PBMCs from individuals with T cells responsive to amino acids 36''50 of NSP7 (Extended Data Fig. 8c). Even though we cannot exclude that some SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells might be naive or induced by completely unrelated pathogens5, this finding suggests that unknown coronaviruses, possibly of animal origin, might induce cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 T cells in the general population.
We further characterized the NSP7-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells that were present in the three unexposed individuals. The reactive T cells expanded efficiently in vitro and mainly produced either both IFNÎ" and TNF (CD8 T cells) or only IFNÎ" (CD4 T cells) (Extended Data Fig. 9a). We also determined that the CD8 T cells that were specific to amino acids 36''50 of NSP7 were HLA-B35-restricted and had an effector memory/terminal differentiated phenotype (CCR7''CD45RA+/'') (Extended Data Fig. 9b, c).
ConclusionsIt is unclear why NSP7- and NSP13-specific T cells are detected and often dominant in unexposed donors, while representing a minor population in individuals who have recovered from SARS or COVID-19. It is, however, consistent with the findings of a previous study11, in which ORF1-specific T cells were preferentially detected in some donors who were not exposed to SARS-CoV-2 whereas T cells from individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 preferentially recognized structural proteins. Induction of virus-specific T cells in individuals who were exposed but uninfected has been demonstrated in other viral infections24,25,26. Theoretically, individuals exposed to coronaviruses might just prime ORF1-specific T cells, as the ORF1-encoded proteins are produced first in coronavirus-infected cells and are necessary for the formation of the viral replicase''transcriptase complex that is essential for the subsequent transcription of the viral genome, which then leads to the expression of various RNA species18. Therefore, ORF1-specific T cells could hypothetically abort viral production by lysing SARS-CoV-2-infected cells before the formation of mature virions. By contrast, in patients with COVID-19 and SARS, the N protein'--which is abundantly produced in cells that secrete mature virions17'--would be expected to preferentially boost N-specific T cells.
Notably, the ORF1 region contains domains that are highly conserved among many different coronaviruses9. The distribution of these viruses in different animal species might result in periodic human contact that induces ORF1-specific T cells with cross-reactive abilities against SARS-CoV-2. Understanding the distribution, frequency and protective capacity of pre-existing structural or non-structural protein-associated SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells could be important for the explanation of some of the differences in infection rates or pathology observed during this pandemic. T cells that are specific to viral proteins are protective in animal models of airway infections27,28, but the possible effects of pre-existing N- and/or ORF1-specific T cells onthe differential modulation of SARS-CoV-2 infection will have to be carefully evaluated.
MethodsData reportingNo statistical methods were used to predetermine sample size. The experiments were not randomized and the investigators were not blinded to allocation during experiments and outcome assessment.
Ethics statementAll donors provided written consent. The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by the NUS Institutional Review Board (H-20-006) and the SingHealth Centralised Institutional Review Board (reference CIRB/F/2018/2387).
Human samplesDonors were recruited based on their clinical history of SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 infection. Blood samples of patients who recovered from COVID-19 (n = 36) were obtained 2''28 days after PCR negativity and of patients who recovered from SARS (n = 23) 17 years after infection. Samples from healthy donors were either collected before June 2019 for studies of T cell function in viral diseases (n = 26), or in March''April 2020. All healthy donor samples tested negative for RBD-neutralizing antibodies and negative in an ELISA for N IgG (n = 11)19.
PBMC isolationPBMCs were isolated by density-gradient centrifugation using Ficoll''Paque. Isolated PBMCs were either studied directly or cryopreserved and stored in liquid nitrogen until use in the assays.
Peptide poolsWe synthesized 15-mer peptides that overlapped by 10 amino acids and spanned the entire protein sequence of the N, NSP7 and NSP13 proteins of SARS-CoV-2, as well as the N protein of SARS-CoV (GL Biochem Shanghai; see Supplementary Tables 1, 2). To stimulate PBMCs, the peptides were divided into 5 pools of about 40 peptides covering N (N-1, N-2) and NSP13 (NSP13-1, NSP13-2, NSP13-3) and one pool of 15 peptides covering NSP7. For single-peptide identification, peptides were organized in a matrix of 12 numeric and 7 alphabetical pools for N, and 4 numeric and 4 alphabetical pools for NSP7.
ELISpot assayELISpot plates (Millipore) were coated with human IFNÎ" antibody (1-D1K, Mabtech; 5 μg/ml) overnight at 4'‰°C. Then, 400,000 PBMCs were seeded per well and stimulated for 18 h with pools of SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 peptides (2 μg/ml). For stimulation with peptide matrix pools or single peptides, a concentration of 5 μg/ml was used. Subsequently, the plates were developed with human biotinylated IFNÎ" detection antibody (7-B6-1, Mabtech; 1:2,000), followed by incubation with streptavidin-AP (Mabtech) and KPL BCIP/NBT Phosphatase Substrate (SeraCare). Spot forming units (SFU) were quantified with ImmunoSpot. To quantify positive peptide-specific responses, 2— mean spots of the unstimulated wells were subtracted from the peptide-stimulated wells, and the results expressed as SFU/106 PBMCs. We excluded the results if negative control wells had >30 SFU/106 PBMCs or positive control wells (phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate/ionomycin) were negative.
Flow cytometryPBMCs or expanded T cell lines were stimulated for 5 h at 37'‰°C with or without SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 peptide pools (2 μg/ml) in the presence of 10 μg/ml brefeldin A (Sigma-Aldrich). Cells were stained with the yellow LIVE/DEAD fixable dead cell stain kit (Invitrogen) and anti-CD3 (clone SK7; 3:50), anti-CD4 (clone SK3; 3:50) and anti-CD8 (clone SK1; 3:50) antibodies. For analysis of the T cell differentiation status, cells were additionally stained with anti-CCR7 (clone 150503; 1:10) and anti-CD45RA (clone HI100; 1:10) antibodies. Cells were subsequently fixed and permeabilized using the Cytofix/Cytoperm kit (BD Biosciences-Pharmingen) and stained with anti-IFNÎ" (clone 25723, R&D Systems; 1:25) and anti-TNF (clone MAb11; 1:25) antibodies and analysed on a BD-LSR II FACS Scan. Data were analysed by FlowJo (Tree Star). Antibodies were purchased from BD Biosciences-Pharmingen unless otherwise stated.
Expanded T cell linesT cell lines were generated as follows: 20% of PBMCs were pulsed with 10 μg/ml of the overlapping SARS-CoV-2 peptides (all pools combined) or single peptides for 1 h at 37'‰°C, washed and cocultured with the remaining cells in AIM-V medium (Gibco; Thermo Fisher Scientific) supplemented with 2% AB human serum (Gibco; Thermo Fisher Scientific). T cell lines were cultured for 10 days in the presence of 20 U/ml of recombinant IL-2 (R&D Systems).
HLA-restriction assayThe HLA type of healthy donor H-3 was determined and different Epstein''Barr virus (EBV)-transformed B cells lines with one common allele each were selected for presentation of peptide NSP7(36''50) (see below). B cells were pulsed with 10 μg/ml of the peptide for 1 h at 37'‰°C, washed three times and cocultured with the expanded T cell line at a ratio of 1:1 in the presence of 10 μg/ml brefeldin A (Sigma-Aldrich). Non-pulsed B cell lines served as a negative control for the detection of potential allogeneic responses and autologous peptide-pulsed cells served as a positive control. The HLA class I haplotype of the different B cell lines: CM780, A*24:02, A*33:03, B*58:01, B*55:02, Cw*07:02, Cw*03:02; WGP48, A*02:07, A*11:01, B*15:25, B*46:01, Cw*01:02, Cw*04:03; NP378, A*11:01, A*33:03, B*51:51, B*35:03, Cw*07:02, Cw*14:02; NgaBH, A*02:01, A*33:03, B*58:01, B*13:01, Cw*03:02.
Sequence alignmentReference protein sequences for ORF1ab (accession numbers: QHD43415.1, NP_828849.2, YP_009047202.1, YP_009555238.1, YP_173236.1, YP_003766.2 and NP_073549.1) and the N protein (accession numbers: YP_009724397.2, AAP33707.1, YP_009047211.1, YP_009555245.1, YP_173242.1, YP_003771.1 and NP_073556.1) were downloaded from the NCBI database (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/). Sequences were aligned using the MUSCLE algorithm with default parameters and percentage identity was calculated in Geneious Prime 2020.1.2 (https://www.geneious.com). Alignment figures were made in Snapgene 5.1 (GSL Biotech).
Surrogate virus neutralization assayA surrogate virus-neutralization test was used. Specifically, this test measures the quantity of anti-spike antibodies that block protein''protein interactions between the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein and the human ACE2 receptor using an ELISA-based assay29.
Statistical analysesAll statistical analyses were performed in Prism (GraphPad Software); details are provided in the figure legends.
Reporting summaryFurther information on research design is available in the Nature Research Reporting Summary linked to this paper.
Data availabilityReference protein sequences for ORF1ab (accession numbers: QHD43415.1, NP_828849.2, YP_009047202.1, YP_009555238.1, YP_173236.1, YP_003766.2 and NP_073549.1) and the N protein (accession numbers: YP_009724397.2, AAP33707.1, YP_009047211.1, YP_009555245.1, YP_173242.1, YP_003771.1 and NP_073556.1) were downloaded from the NCBI database (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/protein/). All data are available in the Article or the Supplementary Information. Source data are provided with this paper.
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AcknowledgementsWe thank M. K. Maini and S. Vasudevan for critical reading and editing of the manuscript. Grant support was provided by a Special NUHS COVID-19 Seed Grant Call, Project NUHSRO/2020/052/RO5+5/NUHS-COVID/6 (WBS R-571-000-077-733).
Author informationAuthor notes These authors contributed equally: Nina Le Bert, Anthony T. Tan
AffiliationsEmerging Infectious Diseases Program, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
Nina Le Bert, Anthony T. Tan, Kamini Kunasegaran, Christine Y. L. Tham, Morteza Hafezi, Adeline Chia, Melissa Hui Yen Chng, Meiyin Lin, Nicole Tan, Martin Linster, Wan Ni Chia, Lin-Fa Wang, Eng Eong Ooi, Jenny Guek-Hong Low & Antonio Bertoletti
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), A*STAR, Singapore, Singapore
Meiyin Lin & Yee-Joo Tan
National Centre of Infectious Diseases, Singapore, Singapore
Mark I-Cheng Chen
Department of Infectious Diseases, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore
Shirin Kalimuddin & Jenny Guek-Hong Low
Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
Paul Anantharajah Tambyah
Division of Infectious Disease, University Medicine Cluster, National University Hospital, Singapore, Singapore
Paul Anantharajah Tambyah
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
Yee-Joo Tan
Singapore Immunology Network, A*STAR, Singapore, Singapore
Antonio Bertoletti
ContributionsN.L.B. and A.T.T. designed all experiments and analysed all of the data, prepared the figures and edited the paper; K.K., C.Y.L.T., M.H., A.C., M.L. and N.T. performed ELISpots and intracellular cytokine staining, and generated short-term T cell lines; M.H.Y.C. and M.L. performed viral sequence homology and analysed data; W.N.C. and L.-F.W. carried out antibody testing; M.I-C.C., E.E.O., S.K., P.A.T., J.G.-H.L. and Y.-J.T. selected and recruited patients and analysed clinical data; Y.-J.T. provided funding and designed the study; AB designed and coordinated the study, provided funding, analysed the data and wrote the paper.
Corresponding authorCorrespondence to Antonio Bertoletti.
Ethics declarations Competing interestsA.B. is a cofounder of Lion TCR, a biotechnology company that develops T cell receptors for the treatment of virus-related diseases and cancers. All other authors have no competing interests related to the study.
Additional informationPeer review information Nature thanks Petter Brodin, Stanley Perlman and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.
Publisher's note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Extended data figures and tablesExtended Data Fig. 1 Sequence alignment of the N protein from all types of human coronaviruses.Amino acid sequences for the N protein were downloaded from the NCBI database and aligned using the MUSCLE algorithm. Conserved residues are highlighted in yellow and the degree of conservation is indicated by the coloured bars above.
Extended Data Fig. 2 Sequence alignment of the ORF1-encoded non-structural proteins NSP7 and NSP13 from all types of human coronaviruses.Protein sequences for ORF1ab were downloaded from the NCBI database and aligned using the MUSCLE algorithm. The alignment for NSP7 and NSP13 is shown.
Extended Data Fig. 3 Flow cytometry gating strategy.a, Forward scatter area (FSC-A) versus forward scatter height (FSC-H) density plot for doublet exclusion. b, Forward and side scatter (SSC-A) density plots to identify the lymphocyte population. c, Live T cells were gated based on CD3 expression and a live/dead discrimination dye. d, e, Only single expressing CD8 and CD4 T cells were Boolean gated (d) and used for IFNÎ" and/or TNF analysis (e).
Extended Data Fig. 4 IFNÎ" and TNF production profile of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells of patients who recovered from COVID-19.PBMCs from patients recovered from COVID-19 (n = 7) were stimulated with the peptide pools covering N (NP-1, NP-2) for 5 h and analysed by intracellular cytokine staining for IFNÎ" and TNF. Dot plots show examples of patients with CD8 (top) or CD4 (bottom) T cells that produced IFNÎ" and/or TNF in response to stimulation with N-1 or N-2 peptide pools. The bars show the respective single and double cytokine producing T cells as a proportion of the total detected response after stimulation with the corresponding N peptide pools in each patient who recovered from COVID-19. Source data
Extended Data Fig. 5 Correlation analysis of SARS-CoV-2-specific IFNÎ" responses with the presence of virus-neutralizing antibodies, duration of infection and disease severity.a, b, The magnitude of SARS-CoV-2-specific responses, as quantified by IFNÎ" ELISpot, against all (N, NSP7 and NSP13) SARS-CoV-2 proteins tested (left), N (middle) or NSP7 and NSP13 (right) was correlated with the level of virus-neutralizing antibodies assayed using a surrogate virus neutralization assay (a; n = 28) and the duration of SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity (b; n = 34). The respective P values (two-tailed) and correlation coefficients (Spearman correlation) are indicated. Patients who present with mild (grey), moderate (orange) or severe (red) disease are indicated. c, Magnitude of SARS-CoV-2-specific responses stratified by mild (n = 26), moderate (n = 5) and severe (n = 5) disease. The bars represent the median magnitude of the response. Mild disease, with or without chest radiograph changes, not requiring oxygen supplement. Moderate disease, oxygen supplement less than 50%. Severe disease, oxygen supplement 50% or more or high-flow oxygen or intubation. Source data
Extended Data Fig. 6 Analysis of SARS-CoV N response.PBMCs of patient S-20 were expanded for 10 days and the frequency of T cells specific for the N-1 peptide pool were analysed by intracellular cytokine staining for IFNÎ" and TNF. Dot plots show CD8 and CD4 T cells that produced IFNÎ" and/or TNF in response to stimulation with the N-1 peptide pool.
Extended Data Fig. 7 Dominance of SARS-CoV-2 N, NSP7 and NSP13 responses in donors who recovered from COVID-19 or SARS as well as in unexposed individuals.PBMCs from the respective individuals were stimulated with SARS-CoV-2 peptide pools as described in Fig. 1. The composition of the SARS-CoV-2 response is shown as a percentage of the total detected response in each group. N-1, light blue; N-2, dark blue; NSP7, orange; NSP13-1, light red; NSP13-2, red; NSP13-3, dark red. The proportion of individuals with NSP-dominant responses are illustrated in the pie charts. Source data
Extended Data Fig. 8 Identification of SARS-CoV-2 epitopes in donors who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.a, Longitudinal analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 N(101''120) response in individual H-2. PBMCs collected at the stated time points were stimulated with peptides spanning amino acids 101''120 of the N protein and assayed by IFNÎ" ELISpot. The frequencies of IFNÎ" SFU are shown. b, PBMCs were stimulated with the single peptides identified by the peptide matrix in parallel with the neighbouring peptides and assayed by IFNÎ" ELISpot. The amino acid residues are shown on the left; the frequency of IFNÎ" SFU on the right. Activating peptides are indicated in red and neighbouring peptides in black. c, PBMCs from individuals H-3 and H-21 were stimulated with the NSP7 peptide comprising amino acids 36''50 from SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV, OC43, HKU1, NL63 and 229E and analysed ex vivo by IFNÎ" ELISpot. A NSP7(36''50) T cell line expanded from individual H-3 was also tested with the corresponding peptides of other coronaviruses by IFNÎ" ELISpot. Amino acid sequences of the various peptides are shown in the table. Conserved amino acids are highlighted in yellow. Source data
Extended Data Fig. 9 Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 NSP7-specific T cell responses in three individuals who were not exposed to SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.a, Dot plots show the frequency of IFNÎ"- and/or TNF-producing CD8 or CD4 T cells specific to the SARS-CoV-2 peptides directly ex vivo and after a 10-day expansion in three unexposed donors. b, The HLA class I haplotype of individual H-3 is shown in the table. HLA restriction of the NSP7(36''50)-specific T cells from this individual was deduced by co-culturing the T cells with NSP7(36''50)-peptide-pulsed EBV-transformed B cell lines that share the indicated HLA class I molecule (+). Activation of the NSP7(36''50)-specific T cells by autologous cells was achieved by the direct addition of the peptide and used as the positive control. c, The memory phenotype of CD8 T cells specific for NSP7(36''50) in individuals H-3 and H-21 were analysed ex vivo and shown in the dot plots. The frequencies of naive, effector memory, central memory and terminally differentiated NSP7(36''50)-specific CD8 T cells (red) are shown and density plots were overlaid on the total CD8 T cells (grey). Source data
Extended Data Table 1 Donor characteristicsSupplementary informationAbout this articleCite this articleLe Bert, N., Tan, A.T., Kunasegaran, K. et al. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls. Nature 584, 457''462 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2550-z
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Received : 20 May 2020
Accepted : 07 July 2020
Published : 15 July 2020
Issue Date : 20 August 2020
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2550-z
Further reading Clinical characteristics of COVID'19 patients with hepatitis B virus infection '-- a retrospective study Rui Liu , Li Zhao , Xiaoming Cheng , Huan Han , Cong Li , Dong Li , Andrew Liu , Guosheng Gao , Feng Zhou , Fang Liu , Yingan Jiang , Chengliang Zhu & Yuchen Xia Liver International (2021)
Prevalence and Longevity of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Among Health Care Workers Michael Brant-Zawadzki , Deborah Fridman , Philip A Robinson , Matthew Zahn , Clayton Chau , Randy German , Marcus Breit , Elmira Burke , Jason R Bock & Junko Hara Open Forum Infectious Diseases (2021)
Distinct Features and Functions of Systemic and Mucosal Humoral Immunity Among SARS-CoV-2 Convalescent Individuals Savannah E. Butler , Andrew R. Crowley , Harini Natarajan , Shiwei Xu , Joshua A. Weiner , Carly A. Bobak , Daniel E. Mattox , Jiwon Lee , Wendy Wieland-Alter , Ruth I. Connor , Peter F. Wright & Margaret E. Ackerman Frontiers in Immunology (2021)
Neurological Complications Associated with the Blood-Brain Barrier Damage Induced by the Inflammatory Response During SARS-CoV-2 Infection Ivn Alquisiras-Burgos , Irlanda Peralta-Arrieta , Luis Antonio Alonso-Palomares , Ana Elvira Zacapala-G"mez , Eric Genaro Salmer"n-Brcenas & Pen(C)lope Aguilera Molecular Neurobiology (2021)
Deciphering the ins and outs of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells Andr(C) Perez-Potti , Joshua Lange & Marcus Buggert Nature Immunology (2021)
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T-Detect COVID is now authorized for emergency use by the FDA.*
In studies, the T-Detect COVID test outperformed leading antibody tests.1, 2
In studies, the T-Detect COVID test outperformed leading antibody tests.1, 2
Special self-pay test price $150Additional fees include test authorization ($9) and blood draw (on-site lab: $60 or in-home: $140).
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For PatientsThe T-Detect COVID test can detect past COVID-19 infections for up to several months.
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Learn MoreFrequently asked questionsHow does T-Detect COVID work?
T cells are the first responders of the adaptive immune system and activate the antibody response. While antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) naturally wane and are detectable in the shorter term, T cell responses can persist in the blood long after antibody responses wane.1,2,4
The T-Detect COVID test can detect T cells in a blood sample that can remain for up to several months after symptoms appear.1,2,3
Zuo J, et al. Robust SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity is maintained at six months following primary infection. bioRxiv. 2020.Adaptive data on file.Ng, O, et al. Memory T cell responses targeting the SARS coronavirus persist up to 11 years post-infection. Vaccine. 2016.Dalai, S, et al. Clinical Validation of a Novel T-Cell Receptor Sequencing Assay for Identification of Recent or Prior SARS-CoV-2 Infection. medRxiv. 2020.What does the T-Detect COVID test measure?
The T-Detect COVID test can detect an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease, to assess recent or past infection. It is not intended for the diagnosis of active/current SARS-CoV-2 infection.
T cells are key players in the adaptive immune system. When the body is invaded by a foreign substance like a virus or bacteria, the immune system begins to rally one of its earliest lines of defense, helper T cells, to join the fight.
Helper T cells may call on their allies to kickstart antibody production to support the fight against the disease. Helper T cells also alert other types of T cells to the presence of foreign invaders to be targeted and destroyed.
After the body has fought off an infection or disease, a small number of T cells remain in the blood. They are called memory T cells and their job is to remember how to ward off these invaders if they ever return.
How accurate is the T-Detect test for COVID-19?
When the T-Detect COVID test was compared with serology testing:
In one study, 15 or more days after symptom onset with PCR-diagnosed COVID-19, the T-Detect COVID test identified 94.5% of patients, while leading serology (antibody) tests had a test range from 88.0 -90.4%.1In another study, 5+ months after PCR diagnosis, the T-Detect COVID test detected 95% of COVID-19 positive patients, while the serology (antibody) test had a range of 52-71% in detection of COVID-19 positive patients.2In studies, the T-Detect COVID test showed a specificity of >99%.1Dalai, S, et al. Clinical Validation of a Novel T-cell Receptor Sequencing Assay for Identification of Recent or Prior SARS-CoV-2 Infection. medRxiv. 2021.Adaptive data on file.What does the T-Detect COVID test mean in regard to immunity?
A T cell response is typically detectable in blood several days after initial infection. How long this response lasts post-infection and the implications for immunity are not known. In one study, T cells were shown to persist in the blood for more than six months after initial infection and studies of other coronaviruses show T cell responses can persist for several years.1,2,3
To protect yourself and others, the CDC recommends you wear a mask, stay at least six feet from others whom you don't live with, avoid crowds and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing).
Zuo J, et al. Robust SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cell immunity is maintained at six months following primary infection. bioRxiv. 2020.Channappanavar R, et al. Virus-specific memory CD8 T cells provide substantial protection from the lethal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus infection. J Virol. 2014.Ng, O, et al. Memory T cell responses targeting the SARS coronavirus persist up to 11 years post-infection. Vaccine. 2016.Who should take this test?
The T-Detect COVID test can help you understand if you've had a recent or past COVID-19 infection.
The T-Detect COVID test can provide answers in these situations:
You still have lingering symptoms and wonder if it was COVID-19You may have been exposed to COVID-19, but never got tested and you are concerned that you might have had COVID-19You were tested, but you are concerned it may have been a false negativeThe test is also appropriate for those interested in supporting COVID-19 research.
The T-Detect COVID test is not meant to diagnose an active infection.
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Please consult your doctor regarding whether you should be vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. As of January 25, 2021, the CDC recommends vaccination for most people, even if they have had a natural infection with SARS-CoV-2.1
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Updated Jan. 25, 2020. Accessed Jan. 26, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/faq.htmlCan a T cell test be used in place of, or in addition to, a PCR/antigen test?
T-Detect COVID is used to detect a recent or past COVID-19 infection. PCR/antigen tests are used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. Talk to your doctor about which test is right for you.
How long will it take to get results?
Estimated time for results is 7-10 days from shipment of blood sample (including 5-7 days for lab processing). Lab processing begins once all required provider and patient information is validated.
What will results look like?
The T-Detect COVID test results are a positive or negative result. A positive result means there was a recent or past exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A negative result indicates that past exposure to SARS-CoV-2 probably did not occur.
T-Detect COVID has been shown to have high sensitivity. However, in certain circumstances, including but not limited to the number of days since infection, the test may be negative despite a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
If I got the COVID-19 vaccine, will it affect my T-Detect COVID results?
We do not currently have information on how the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine may affect the T cell response and the results of the T-Detect COVID test, but we are actively gathering data and will provide updates as information becomes available.
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A recent study demonstrated 95% of patients tested positive for T cells up to five months after a confirmed positive PCR test.1 Clinically validated data for T-Detect COVID performance beyond five months is not available yet. Therefore, it is possible that individuals who received a positive PCR result for COVID-19 more than five months ago no longer have sufficient T cells to detect past infection.
Adaptive data on file.What does ''no result available'' mean?
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If we are unable to provide a laboratory report after you submit your blood sample, a refund will automatically be issued to the credit card you used and will be net of any costs for telehealth, phlebotomy, or other processing fees deducted. Contact us at 833-T-DETECT (833-833-8328) or email us at t-detectinquiries@adaptivebiotech.com.
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Mobile phlebotomy is a mobile blood draw service in which a certified phlebotomist (someone trained to draw blood) visits your home to collect a blood sample.
ExamOne is a national mobile phlebotomy service provider that Adaptive Biotechnologies has partnered with to help provide blood draw services to patients.
Labcorp is one of the largest clinical network laboratories in the U.S., with approximately 2,000 Patient Service Centers. If you select a Labcorp blood draw, a licensed phlebotomist (blood draw technician) will draw your blood at the Labcorp location you select after ordering the T-Detect COVID test.
PWNHealth is an independent healthcare provider network that provides oversight services to patients in connection with the laboratory testing they requested. PWNHealth and its services are independent from the laboratory and company from which patients request and register for the T-Detect COVID test.
Is this test available throughout the U.S.?
T-Detect COVID is available to be prescribed by healthcare professionals in all U.S. states.
Is this test available outside the U.S.?
The T-Detect COVID test is only available in the U.S. and is not available in U.S. Territories.
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You can visit CDC.gov and/or your county's public health department website to learn more about COVID-19, testing options and vaccination schedules.
* T-Detect COVID is not FDA cleared or approved. It is authorized for emergency use under an Emergency Use Authorization.
This test has not been FDA cleared or approved but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an EUA.
Testing of venous whole blood using K2 EDTA specimens is limited to laboratories designated by Adaptive Biotechnologies Corporation that are certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, and meets the requirements to perform high complexity tests as described in the T-Detect COVID Test Standard Operating Procedure that was reviewed by the FDA under this EUA.
This test has been authorized only for detecting and identifying the presence of an adaptive T-cell immune response to SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens.
The emergency use of this test is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.
T-Detect' COVID is not indicated for use in patients under age 18.
ReferencesDalai, S, et al. Clinical Validation of a Novel T-Cell Receptor Sequencing Assay for Identification of Recent or Prior SARS-CoV-2 Infection. medRxiv. 2020.Adaptive data on file.Contact UsCall our support line or send a message for assistance.
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FDA authorizes new T-cell test that could be game changer for COVID-19 long haulers - ABC News
Tue, 11 May 2021 03:05
"T-cells speak a kind of language," one expert said.
March 9, 2021, 11:07 AM
' 6 min read
The first-of-its-kind test for detecting whether someone was infected withCOVID-19 in the past -- using the body's T-cells -- was granted emergency authorization by the Food and Drug Administration late Friday night.
This could be a game changer for some coronavirus "long haulers" and for people who have not yet gotten a clear answer on whether they were previously infected with the virus.
Launched by biotech company Adaptive, in collaboration with Microsoft, the "T-Detect" COVID-19 test looks for the unique signals of the virus through T-cells, which can "remember" prior infections.
T-cells are essentially the immune system's front-line "foot soldiers," Adaptive CMO Lance Baldo told ABC News.
This undated transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S. Virus particles are shown emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab.
While current antibody tests aim to provide similar evidence, accuracy varies.
Some studies have shown antibodies wane after a few months' time, so, while antibodies can indicate whether a person's had the coronavirus in the past, timing is key: Test too early and the antibodies may not yet be detected, but test too late and the antibodies may have already faded from the blood stream.
While researchers still don't know exactly how long after a COVID-19 infection the T-cell immune response remains active, the longevity of the cells' "memory" makes for a promising candidate in the forensic work of tracking past infections.
In this Oct. 30, 2020, technicians conduct COVID-19 tests at a facility in Valencia, Calif.
The test could bring clarity to many patients who have not yet gotten definitive proof that they were once infected with the virus (since not everyone who wanted a test could get one at the start of the pandemic). It could also help find better treatments for those who've been infected.
"We're looking for that imprint, like a crime scene investigation," Dr. William Li, the president of the Angiogenesis Foundation and a T-Detect prescribing physician, told ABC News.
"So many people had the disease, recovered, never got a clear-cut diagnosis, yet they're suffering from these bizarre, persisting symptoms," Li added. "The T-cell test has been really useful in this long tail of COVID to help patients establish where they are."
The test is administered via blood draw. T-cell DNA is then extracted and sequenced with Microsoft's artificial intelligence, mapping out the immune system's "massive black box" data into navigable science, researchers say.
"We hope that this test will shed more light on how that system can be better targeted, enhanced and armed and ready against future infections," said Dr. Jim Kublin, the principal staff scientist at the Fred Hutch Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, and a T-cell immune response researcher on Adaptive's T-Detect Advisory Board.
"T-cells speak a kind of language," Peter Lee, the corporate vice president of Microsoft Research & Incubations, said. "We use machine learning to help translate that into the language of diseases."
Medical staff members work in the Intensive Care Unit where patients suffering from COVID-19 are treated at the Melun-Senart hospital, near Paris, March 8, 2021.
The out-of-pocket cost for the test is $150 -- a prohibitive fee for socioeconomically vulnerable populations repeatedly hit hard by the virus.
Baldo attributed the price to the test's novel technology, adding that offset options will be available to ensure equity of access.
What marks an inflection point in COVID-19 diagnostics won't close the books, however. Adaptive said they are continuing their research into the persistence of T-cells in the body after infection, severity of response to the virus and vaccine efficacy and durability.
"This long COVID problem could be a second epidemic to actually emerge from the first," Li said. "Remarkably, after a year we're still pining for these proper diagnostic tools -- and that's why this is such an important step forward."
ABC News' Eric Strauss, Sony Salzman and Matthew Vann contributed to this report.
Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity? | The BMJ
Tue, 11 May 2021 02:58
News & ViewsCovid-19: Do many...Covid-19: Do many people have pre-existing immunity? Feature Coronavirus BMJ 2020 ; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3563 (Published 17 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3563 Read our latest coverage of the coronavirus outbreak
Peter Doshi , associate editor The BMJ pdoshi{at}bmj.com It seemed a truth universally acknowledged that the human population had no pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2, but is that actually the case? Peter Doshi explores the emerging research on immunological responses
Even in local areas that have experienced some of the greatest rises in excess deaths during the covid-19 pandemic, serological surveys since the peak indicate that at most only around a fifth of people have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2: 23% in New York, 18% in London, 11% in Madrid.123 Among the general population the numbers are substantially lower, with many national surveys reporting in single digits.
With public health responses around the world predicated on the assumption that the virus entered the human population with no pre-existing immunity before the pandemic,4 serosurvey data are leading many to conclude that the virus has, as Mike Ryan, WHO's head of emergencies, put it, ''a long way to burn.''
Yet a stream of studies that have documented SARS-CoV-2 reactive T cells in people without exposure to the virus are raising questions about just how new the pandemic virus really is, with many implications.
Not so novel coronavirus?At least six studies have reported T cell reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 in 20% to 50% of people with no known exposure to the virus.5678910
In a study of donor blood specimens obtained in the US between 2015 and 2018, 50% displayed various forms of T cell reactivity to SARS-CoV-2.511 A similar study that used specimens from the Netherlands reported T cell reactivity in two of 10 people who had not been exposed to the virus.7
In Germany reactive T cells were detected in a third of SARS-CoV-2 seronegative healthy donors (23 of 68). In Singapore a team analysed specimens taken from people with no contact or personal history of SARS or covid-19; 12 of 26 specimens taken before July 2019 showed reactivity to SARS-CoV-2, as did seven of 11 from people who were seronegative against the virus.8 Reactivity was also discovered in the UK and Sweden.6910
Though these studies are small and do not yet provide precise estimates of pre-existing immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2, they are hard to dismiss, with several being published in Cell and Nature. Alessandro Sette, an immunologist from La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California and an author of several of the studies (box 1), told The BMJ, ''At this point there are a number of studies that are seeing this reactivity in different continents, different labs. As a scientist you know that is a hallmark of something that has a very strong footing.''
Box 1 Swine flu d(C)j vuIn late 2009, months after the World Health Organization declared the H1N1 ''swine flu'' virus to be a global pandemic, Alessandro Sette was part of a team working to explain why the so called ''novel'' virus did not seem to be causing more severe infections than seasonal flu.12
Their answer was pre-existing immunological responses in the adult population: B cells and, in particular, T cells, which ''are known to blunt disease severity.''12 Other studies came to the same conclusion: people with pre-existing reactive T cells had less severe H1N1 disease.1314 In addition, a study carried out during the 2009 outbreak by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 33% of people over 60 years old had cross reactive antibodies to the 2009 H1N1 virus, leading the CDC to conclude that ''some degree of pre-existing immunity'' to the new H1N1 strains existed, especially among adults over age 60.15
The data forced a change in views at WHO and CDC, from an assumption before 2009 that most people ''will have no immunity to the pandemic virus''16 to one that acknowledged that ''the vulnerability of a population to a pandemic virus is related in part to the level of pre-existing immunity to the virus.''17 But by 2020 it seems that lesson had been forgotten.
RETURN TO TEXTResearchers are also confident that they have made solid inroads into ascertaining the origins of the immune responses. ''Our hypothesis, of course, was that it's so called 'common cold' coronaviruses, because they're closely related,'' said Daniela Weiskopf, senior author of a paper in Science that confirmed this hypothesis.18 ''We have really shown that this is a true immune memory and it is derived in part from common cold viruses.'' Separately, researchers in Singapore came to similar conclusions about the role of common cold coronaviruses but noted that some of the T cell reactivity may also come from other unknown coronaviruses, even of animal origin.8
Taken together, this growing body of research documenting pre-existing immunological responses to SARS-CoV-2 may force pandemic planners to revisit some of their foundational assumptions about how to measure population susceptibility and monitor the extent of epidemic spread.
Population immunity: underestimated?Seroprevalence surveys measuring antibodies have been the preferred method for gauging the proportion of people in a given population who have been infected by SARS-CoV-2 (and have some degree of immunity to it), with estimates of herd immunity thresholds providing a sense of where we are in this pandemic. Whether we overcome it through naturally derived immunity or vaccination, the sense is that it won't be over until we reach a level of herd immunity.
The fact that only a minority of people, even in the hardest hit areas, display antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 has led most planners to assume the pandemic is far from over. In New York City, where just over a fifth of people surveyed had antibodies, the health department concluded that ''as this remains below herd immunity thresholds, monitoring, testing, and contact tracing remain essential public health strategies.''19 ''Whatever that number is, we're nowhere near close to it,'' said WHO's Ryan in late July, referring to the herd immunity threshold (box 2).
Box 2 Calculating the herd immunity thresholdIn theory, outbreaks of contagious disease follow a certain trajectory. In a population that lacks immunity new infections grow rapidly. At some point an inflection in this growth should occur, and the incidence will begin to fall.
The 1970s gave rise to a theory that defined this inflection point as the herd immunity threshold (HIT) and offered a straightforward formula for estimating its size: HIT=1''1/R0 (where R0 is the disease's basic reproduction number, or the average number of secondary cases generated by an infectious individual among susceptible people). This simple calculation has guided'--and continues to guide'--many vaccination campaigns, often used to define target levels of vaccination.20
The formula rests on two assumptions: that, in a given population, immunity is distributed evenly and members mix at random. While vaccines may be deliverable in a near random fashion, from the earliest days questions were raised about the random mixing assumption. Apart from certain small closed populations such as ''orphanages, boarding schools, or companies of military recruits,'' Fox and colleagues wrote in 1971,21 truly random mixing is the exception, not the rule. ''We could hardly assume even a small town to be a single homogeneously mixing unit. Each individual is normally in close contact with only a small number of individuals, perhaps of the order of 10-50.''
Nearly 50 years later, Gabriela Gomes, an infectious disease modeller at the University of Strathclyde, is reviving concerns that the theory's basic assumptions do not hold. Not only do people not mix randomly, infections (and subsequent immunity) do not happen randomly either, her team says. ''More susceptible and more connected individuals have a higher propensity to be infected and thus are likely to become immune earlier. Due to this selective immunization by natural infection, heterogeneous populations require less infections to cross their herd immunity threshold,'' they wrote.22 While most experts have taken the R0 for SARS-CoV-2 (generally estimated to be between 2 and 3) and concluded that at least 50% of people need to be immune before herd immunity is reached, Gomes and colleagues calculate the threshold at 10% to 20%.2223
Ulrich Keil, professor emeritus of epidemiology from the University of M¼nster in Germany, says the notion of randomly distributed immunity is a ''very naive assumption'' that ignores the large disparities in health in populations and ''also ignores completely that social conditions might be more important than the virus itself.'' He added, ''Tuberculosis here is the best example. We all know that the immune system is very much dependent on the living conditions of a person, and this depends very much on education and social conditions.''
Another group led by Sunetra Gupta at the University of Oxford has arrived at similar conclusions of lower herd immunity thresholds by considering the issue of pre-existing immunity in the population. When a population has people with pre-existing immunity, as the T cell studies may be indicating is the case, the herd immunity threshold based on an R0 of 2.5 can be reduced from 60% of a population getting infected right down to 10%, depending on the quantity and distribution of pre-existing immunity among people, Gupta's group calculated.24
RETURN TO TEXTBut memory T cells are known for their ability to affect the clinical severity and susceptibility to future infection,25 and the T cell studies documenting pre-existing reactivity to SARS-CoV-2 in 20-50% of people suggest that antibodies are not the full story.
''Maybe we were a little naive to take measurements such as serology testing to look at how many people were infected with the virus,'' the Karolinska Institute immunologist Marcus Buggert told The BMJ. ''Maybe there is more immunity out there.''
The research offers a powerful reminder that very little in immunology is cut and dried. Physiological responses may have fewer sharp distinctions than in the popular imagination: exposure does not necessarily lead to infection, infection does not necessarily lead to disease, and disease does not necessarily produce detectable antibodies. And within the body, the roles of various immune system components are complex and interconnected. B cells produce antibodies, but B cells are regulated by T cells, and while T cells and antibodies both respond to viruses in the body, T cells do so on infected cells, whereas antibodies help prevent cells from being infected.
An unexpected twist of the curveBuggert's home country has been at the forefront of the herd immunity debate, with Sweden's light touch strategy against the virus resulting in much scrutiny and scepticism.26 The epidemic in Sweden does seem to be declining, Buggert said in August. ''We have much fewer cases right now. We have around 50 people hospitalised with covid-19 in a city of two million people.'' At the peak of the epidemic there were thousands of cases. Something must have happened, said Buggert, particularly considering that social distancing was ''always poorly followed, and it's only become worse.''
Understanding this ''something'' is a core question for Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford University epidemiologist who developed a way to calculate herd immunity thresholds that incorporates a variable for pre-existing innate resistance and cross protection.24 Her group argues that herd immunity thresholds ''may be greatly reduced if a fraction of the population is unable to transmit the virus.''
''The conventional wisdom is that lockdown occurred as the epidemic curve was rising,'' Gupta explained. ''So once you remove lockdown that curve should continue to rise.'' But that is not happening in places like New York, London, and Stockholm. The question is why.
''If it were the case that in London the disease hadn't disseminated too widely, and only 15% have experienced the virus [as serology tests indicate] . . . under those circumstances, if you lift lockdown, you should see an immediate and commensurate increase in cases, as we have observed in many other settings,'' Gupta told The BMJ, ''But that hasn't happened. That is just a fact. The question is why.''
Possible answers are many, she says. One is that social distancing is in place, and people are keeping the spread down. Another possibility is that a lot of people are immune because of T cell responses or something else. ''Whatever it is,'' Gupta added, ''if there is a significant fraction of the population that is not permissive to the infection, then that all makes sense, given how infectious SARS-CoV-2 is.''
Buggert's study in Sweden seems to support this position. Investigating close family members of patients with confirmed covid-19, he found T cell responses in those who were seronegative or asymptomatic.10 While around 60% of family members produced antibodies, 90% had T cell responses. (Other studies have reported similar results.27) ''So many people got infected and didn't create antibodies,'' concludes Buggert.
Deeper discussionT cell studies have received scant media attention, in contrast to research on antibodies, which seem to dominate the news (probably, says Buggert, because antibodies are easier, faster, and cheaper to study than T cells). Two recent studies reported that naturally acquired antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 begin to wane after just 2-3 months, fuelling speculation in the lay press about repeat infections.282930
But T cell studies allow for a substantially different, more optimistic, interpretation. In the Singapore study, for example, SARS-CoV-1 reactive T cells were found in SARS patients 17 years after infection. ''Our findings also raise the possibility that long lasting T cells generated after infection with related viruses may be able to protect against, or modify the pathology caused by, infection with SARS-CoV-2,''8 the investigators wrote.
T cell studies may also help shed light on other mysteries of covid-19, such as why children have been surprisingly spared the brunt of the pandemic, why it affects people differently, and the high rate of asymptomatic infections in children and young adults.
The immunologists I spoke to agreed that T cells could be a key factor that explains why places like New York, London, and Stockholm seem to have experienced a wave of infections and no subsequent resurgence. This would be because protective levels of immunity, not measurable through serology alone but instead the result of a combination of pre-existing and newly formed immune responses, could now exist in the population, preventing an epidemic rise in new infections.
But they were all quick to note that this is speculation. Formally, the clinical implications of the pre-existing T cell reactivity remain an open question. ''People say you don't have proof, and they're right,'' says Buggert, adding that the historical blood donor specimens in his study were all anonymised, precluding longitudinal follow-up.
There is the notion that perhaps T cell responses are detrimental and predispose to more severe disease. ''I don't see that as a likely possibility,'' Sette said, while emphasising that we still need to acknowledge the possibility. ''It's also possible that this absolutely makes no difference. The cross reactivity is too small or weak to affect the virus. The other outcome is that this does make a difference, that it makes you respond better.''
Weiskopf added, ''Right now, I think everything is a possibility; we just don't know. The reason we're optimistic is we have seen with other viruses where [the T cell response] actually helps you.'' One example is swine flu, where research has shown that people with pre-existing reactive T cells had clinically milder disease (box 1).121314
Weiskopf and Sette maintain that compelling evidence could come through a properly designed prospective study that follows a cohort of people who were enrolled before exposure to SARS-CoV-2, comparing the clinical course of those with and without pre-existing T cell responses.
Understanding the protective value of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 T cell reactivity ''is identical to the situation on vaccines,'' said Antonio Bertoletti, professor of infectious disease at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. ''Through vaccination we aim to stimulate antibodies and T cell production, and we hope that such induction of immunity will protect '... but we need a phase III clinical study to really demonstrate the effect.''
German investigators came to the same conclusion, arguing that their T cell findings represented a ''decisive rationale to initiate worldwide prospective studies'' mapping pre-existing reactivity to clinical outcomes.31 Other groups have called for the same thing.6
''At the start of the pandemic, a key mantra was that we needed the game changer of antibody data to understand who had been infected and how many were protected,'' two immunologists from Imperial College London wrote in a mid-July commentary in Science Immunology. ''As we have learned more about this challenging infection, it is time to admit that we really need the T cell data too.''32
Theoretically, the placebo arm of a covid-19 vaccine trial could provide a straightforward way to carry out such a study, by comparing the clinical outcomes of people with versus those without pre-existing T cell reactivity to SARS-CoV-2. A review by The BMJ of all primary and secondary outcome measures being studied in the two large ongoing, placebo controlled phase III trials, however, suggests that no such analysis is being done.3334
Could pre-existing immunity be more protective than future vaccines? Without studying the question, we won't know.
AcknowledgmentsI thank Juan-Andres Leon and Angela Spelsberg for comments on a draft of this article.
This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ's website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.
https://bmj.com/coronavirus/usage
References'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µNg K, Faulkner N, Cornish G, Rosa A, Earl C, Wrobel A, et al. Pre-existing and de novo humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in humans [preprint]. BioRxiv. 2020. doi: 10.1101/2020.05.14.095414 .
'†µWeiskopf D, Schmitz KS, Raadsen MP, Grifoni A, Okba NMA, Endeman H, et al. Phenotype of SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome [preprint]. MedRxiv 2020. doi: 10.1101/2020.04.11.20062349 .
'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ Considerations for assessing the severity of an influenza pandemic . Wkly Epidemiol Rec 2009 ; 84 (22): 197 - 202 .
'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ'†µ View Abstract
Swine flu gives its survivors supercharged immunity
Tue, 11 May 2021 02:57
The swine flu pandemic of 2009 was one of the worst flu scares in recent memory, even if its actual effects ended up being relatively moderate. Now something unambiguously good could come of all this: a universal flu vaccine.
As many as sixty million people were infected with the H1N1 virus, although only about 18,000 people are known to have died from the disease. What researchers are now discovering is what swine flu leaves behind: a superpowered immune system with antibodies that can kill off any new flu virus, not just a return of H1N1.
Recent research on nine swine flu survivors revealed that the infection had caused all their immune systems to go into overdrive, creating a huge range of flu antibodies that aren't needed to fight off swine flu but would be very useful if any number of other flu strains tried to invade the subjects' bodies. More common flu strains like the seasonal flu or the very mild flu virus used to create the flu vaccine don't activate this many antibodies, suggesting there's something unusual about H1N1 that triggers this powerful immune response.
The power of the H1N1 immune response is extraordinary. According to the researchers, five of the types of antibodies isolated in their research would be enough to fight off all seasonal flu variations, the Spanish flu virus that killed as many as 50 million people in the pandemic of 1918, and a potentially deadly bird flu strain known as H5N1.
The researchers say the uniqueness of the swine flu is what triggered this response. The immune system didn't immediately know what to do with the virus, so it started creating lots of different antibodies based on its memory of other flu viruses it had previously encountered. By the time the immune system found the right antibodies to fight off the swine flu, enough had been created to ward off all other influenza variants as well. We don't know yet whether the H1N1 vaccine also transferred these super immunity properties, although that's next on the researchers' to-do list.
G/O Media may get a commission
Oxford University virus expert Dr. Sarah Gilbert, this could well lead us to a universal flu vaccine, and in the relatively near future, too:
"Many scientists are working to develop a vaccine that would protect against the many strains of flu virus. This work gives us more confidence that it will be possible to generate a universal flu vaccine. It will take at least five years before anything like this could be widely available."
Five years is a long time to wait, but considering that as many as 500,000 people die every year from various flu strains, it seems like a universal vaccine is very much worth waiting for.
[ Journal of Experimental Medicine via BBC News ; image via National Geographic]
Swine flu offers 'extraordinary super immunity' - BBC News
Tue, 11 May 2021 02:56
By Michelle RobertsHealth reporter, BBC News
image caption Swine flu infection boosted immunity to surprising degreesPeople who recover from swine flu may be left with an extraordinary natural ability to fight off flu viruses, findings suggests.
In beating a bout of H1N1 the body makes antibodies that can kill many other flu strains, a study in the Journal of Experimental Medicine shows.
Doctors hope to harness this power to make a universal flu vaccine that would protect against any type of influenza.
Ultimately this could replace the "best guess" flu vaccines currently used.
Such a vaccine is the "holy grail" for flu researchers. Many scientists are already testing different prototypes to put an end to the yearly race to predict coming flu strains and quickly mass produce a new vaccine each flu season.
Dr Patrick Wilson who led the latest research said the H1N1 swine flu virus that reached pandemic levels infecting an estimated 60 million people last year, had provided a unique opportunity for researchers.
"It demonstrates how to make a single vaccine that could potentially provide immunity to all influenza.
"The surprise was that such a very different influenza strain, as opposed to the most common strains, could lead us to something so widely applicable."
Extraordinary immunity
In the nine patients they studied who had caught swine flu during the pandemic, they found the infection had triggered the production of a wide range of antibodies that are only very rarely seen after seasonal flu infections or flu vaccination.
Five antibodies isolated by the team could fight all the seasonal H1N1 flu strains from the last decade, the devastating "Spanish flu" strain from 1918 which killed up to 50m people, plus a potentially deadly bird flu H5N1 strain.
The researchers believe the "extraordinarily" powerful antibodies were created as the body learned how to fight the new infection with swine flu using its old memory of how to fight off other flu viruses.
Next they plan to examine the immune response of people who were vaccinated against last year's swine flu but did not get sick to see if they too have the same super immunity to flu.
Dr Sarah Gilbert is a expert in viruses at Oxford University and has been testing her own prototype universal flu vaccine.
She said: "Many scientists are working to develop a vaccine that would protect against the many strains of flu virus.
"This work gives us more confidence that it will be possible to generate a universal flu vaccine."
But she said it would take many years for a product to go through the necessary tests and trials.
"It will take at least five years before anything like this could be widely available."
The number of deaths this winter from flu verified by the Health Protection Agency currently is 50, with 45 of these due to swine flu.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Pfizer suggested to media anti trump hydroxy messaging
Pharma and media collided to make trump look stupid. Thinking vaccines wouldn't happen. Hydroxy bad. Ivermectin bad.
Now they have to save face for killing people.
COVID Deniers tracked by MIT
MIT researchers 'infiltrated' a Covid skeptics community a few months ago and found that skeptics place a high premium on data analysis and empiricism.
"Most fundamentally, the groups we studied believe that science is a process, and not an institution."
https://arxiv.org/pdf/2101.07993.pdf
VAERS misuse against J&J
Right now, the system contains 27,769 reports completed in April. 20,125 of those - about 75% - are for the JNJ vaccine.
Only 3,193 are for
@moderna_tx and 4,309 for
@pfizer - even though those vaccines were given FAR more frequently than the JNJ shot.
AMA goes woke
Ayn Rand hit the nail on the head more accurately than anyone could've possibly imagined.
https://www.theepochtimes.com/mkt_breakingnews/american-medical-association-embraces-critical-race-theory-rejects-meritocracy_3812858.html
This paragraph in particular was quite striking.
“The commonly held narrative of meritocracy is the idea that people are successful purely because of their individual effort,” it states. “Medical education has largely been based on such flawed meritocratic ideals, and it will take intentional focus and effort to recognize, review and revise this deeply flawed interpretation.”
Cheers,
Producer ALF
Today's doctors are like today's car mechanics
Nazi eugenics - Wikipedia
Mon, 10 May 2021 17:38
Nazi eugenics (German: Nationalsozialistische Rassenhygiene, "National Socialist racial hygiene"), refers to the social policies of eugenics in Nazi Germany. The racial ideology of Nazism placed the biological improvement of the German people by selective breeding of "Nordic" or "Aryan" traitsat its center.[1]
Eugenics poster at the exhibition
Wonders of Life in Berlin in 1935. The poster shows demographic projections under the assumption of higher fertility of the "inferior" (
Minderwertige) relative to the "superior" (
H¶herwertige).
Eugenics research in Germany before and during the Nazi period was similar to that in the United States (particularly California), by which it had been heavily inspired. However, its prominence rose sharply under Adolf Hitler's leadership when wealthy Nazi supporters started heavily investing in it. The programs were subsequently shaped to complement Nazi racial policies.[2]
Those targeted for destruction under Nazi eugenics policies were largely living in private and state-operated institutions, identified as "life unworthy of life" (German: Lebensunwertes Leben), including prisoners, degenerates, dissidents, people with congenital cognitive and physical disabilities (German: erbkranken) including people who were feeble-minded, epileptic, schizophrenic, manic-depressive, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, deaf, blind, homosexual, idle, insane, and the weak, for elimination from the chain of heredity. More than 400,000 people were sterilized against their will, while up to 300,000 were killed under Action T4, a mass murder program.[3][4][5][6] In June 1935, Hitler and his cabinet made a list of seven new decrees, number 5 was to speed up the investigations of sterilization.[7]
The concept of "eugenics" was mostly known under the term of Rassenhygiene or "racial hygiene". The loanword Eugenik was in occasional use, as was its closer loan-translation of Erbpflege.An alternative term was Volksaufartung (approximately "racial improvement").[8]
Origins in the U.S. eugenics movement Edit The early German eugenics movement was led by Wilhelm Schallmayer and Alfred Ploetz.[9][10] Henry Friedlander wrote that although the German and American eugenics movements were similar, the German movement was more centralized and did not contain as many diverse ideas as the American movement.[10] Unlike the American movement, one publication and one society, the German Society for Racial Hygiene, represented all eugenicists.[10]
Edwin Black wrote that after the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it was spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[11] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California's.[2]
In 1927, the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology (KWIA), an organization which concentrated on physical and social anthropology as well as human genetics, was founded in Berlin with significant financial support from the American philanthropic group, the Rockefeller Foundation.[12] German professor of medicine, anthropology and eugenics Eugen Fischer was the director of this organization, a man whose work helped provide the scientific basis for the Nazis' eugenics policies.[13][14] The Rockefeller Foundation even funded some of the research conducted by Josef Mengele before he went to Auschwitz.[11]
Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:
You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought... I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.[11]
Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[15] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler's 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the "science of racial cleansing". Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the "common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics."[16]
Hitler's views on eugenics Edit Hitler's order for Action T4
Adolf Hitler read about racial hygiene during his imprisonment in Landsberg Prison.[17]
Hitler believed the nation had become weak, corrupted by dysgenics, the infusion of degenerate elements into its bloodstream.[18]
The racialism and idea of competition, termed social Darwinism in 1944, were discussed by European scientists and also in the Vienna press during the 1920s. Where Hitler picked up the ideas is uncertain. The theory of evolution had been generally accepted in Germany at the time, but this sort of extremism was rare.[19]
In his Second Book, which was unpublished during the Nazi era, Hitler praised Sparta, (using ideas perhaps borrowed from Ernst Haeckel),[20] adding that he considered Sparta to be the first "V¶lkisch State". He endorsed what he perceived to be an early eugenics treatment of deformed children:
Sparta must be regarded as the first V¶lkisch State. The exposure of the sick, weak, deformed children, in short, their destruction, was more decent and in truth a thousand times more humane than the wretched insanity of our day which preserves the most pathological subject, and indeed at any price, and yet takes the life of a hundred thousand healthy children in consequence of birth control or through abortions, in order subsequently to breed a race of degenerates burdened with illnesses.[21][22]
Nazi eugenics program Edit Collection bus for killing patients
In organizing their eugenics program the Nazis were inspired by the United States' programs of forced sterilization, especially on the eugenics laws that had been enacted in California.[11]
The Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, enacted on July 14, 1933, allowed the compulsory sterilisation of any citizen who according to the opinion of a "Genetic Health Court" suffered from a list of alleged genetic disorders and required physicians to register every case of hereditary illness known to them, except in women over 45 years of age.[23] Physicians could be fined for failing to comply.
In 1934, the first year of the Law's operation, nearly 4,000 people appealed against the decisions of sterilization authorities. A total of 3,559 of the appeals failed. By the end of the Nazi regime, over 200 Hereditary Health Courts (Erbgesundheitsgerichte) were created, and under their rulings over 400,000 persons were sterilized against their will.[24]
Nazi eugenics institutions Edit The Hadamar Clinic was a mental hospital in the German town of Hadamar used by the Nazi-controlled German government as the site of Action T4. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics was founded in 1927. Hartheim Euthanasia Centre was also part of the euthanasia programme where the Nazis killed individuals they deemed disabled. The first method used involved transporting patients by buses in which the engine exhaust gases were passed into the interior of the buses, and so killed the passengers. Gas chambers were developed later and used pure carbon monoxide gas to kill the patients.[citation needed ]In its early years, and during the Nazi era, the Clinic was strongly associated with theories of eugenics and racial hygiene advocated by its leading theorists Fritz Lenz and Eugen Fischer, and by its director Otmar von Verschuer. Under Fischer, the sterilization of so-called Rhineland Bastards was undertaken. Grafeneck Castle was one of Nazi Germany's killing centers, and today it is a memorial place dedicated to the victims of the Action T4.[25]
Identification Edit The Law for Simplification of the Health System of July 1934 created Information Centers for Genetic and Racial Hygiene, as well as Health Offices. The law also described procedures for 'denunciation' and 'evaluation' of persons, who were then sent to a Genetic Health Court where sterilization was decided.[26]
Information to determine who was considered 'genetically sick' was gathered from routine information supplied by people to doctor's offices and welfare departments. Standardized questionnaires had been designed by Nazi officials with the help of Dehomag (a subsidiary of IBM in the 1930s), so that the information could be encoded easily onto Hollerith punch cards for fast sorting and counting.[27]
In Hamburg, doctors gave information into a Central Health Passport Archive (circa 1934), under something called the 'Health-Related Total Observation of Life'. This file was to contain reports from doctors, but also courts, insurance companies, sports clubs, the Hitler Youth, the military, the labor service, colleges, etc. Any institution that gave information would get information back in return. In 1940, the Reich Interior Ministry tried to impose a Hamburg-style system on the whole Reich.[28]
Nazi eugenics policies regarding marriage Edit After the Nazis passed the Nuremberg Laws in 1935, it became compulsory for both marriage partners to be tested for hereditary diseases in order to preserve the perceived racial purity of the Aryan race. Everyone was encouraged to carefully evaluate his or her prospective marriage partner eugenically during courtship. Members of the SS were cautioned to carefully interview prospective marriage partners to make sure they had no family history of hereditary disease or insanity, but to do this carefully so as not to hurt the feelings of the prospective fianc(C)e and, if it became necessary to reject her for eugenic reasons, to do it tactfully and not cause her any offense.[29]
Nazi abortion policies Edit The Nazi's policies on abortions were conceived of alongside the general Nazi eugenics program. Upon coming to power, the Nazis restricted advertisements on the sale of contraceptives.[30] In May 1933, the Nazis reintroduced earlier laws outlawing the advertisement of abortion procedures and abortifacients to the public. In September of the same year, the Berlin Council of Physicians warned its members that "proceedings will be taken against every evil-doer who dares to injure our sacred healthy race."[30] Abortion procedures were placed under strict political control. Abortions for eugenic reasons were also prohibited during this period, but in some hereditary health courts such abortions were exempt from punishment. (This consideration extended to the exemption of punishment for a Jewish couple who attempted to procure an abortion in 1938, on the basis that the law did not protect Jewish embryos.)[30]
See also Edit References Edit ^ Peter Longerich (15 April 2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford University Press. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5. ^ a b Murphy & Lapp(C), 1994: p. 18 ^ "Close-up of Richard Jenne, the last child killed by the head nurse at the Kaufbeuren-Irsee euthanasia facility". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum . Retrieved January 26, 2019 . ^ Ian Kershaw, Hitler: A Profile in Power, Chapter VI, first section (London, 1991, rev. 2001) ^ Snyder, S. & D. Mitchell. Cultural Locations of Disability. University of Michigan Press. 2006. ^ Proctor, Robert (1988-01-01). Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis . Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674745780. Racial Hygiene: Medicine under the Nazis. ^ "New Limitations Further limit liberty of citizens who are told what they can do: Strengthens Nazi Control" The Evening Independent Newspaper. June 27 1935 ^ Petra Jaeckel, "Rassenhygiene in der Weimarer Zeit. Das Beispiel der >>Zeitschrift f¼r Volksaufartung (1926-1933)", Vokus, volkskundlich-kulturwissenschaftliche Schriften, Heft 1, 1/2002.Cornelia Schmitz-Berning: Vokabular des Nationalsozialismus, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2000, p. 382. ^ Weiss, Sheila (1987). Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer. University of California Press. Wilhelm Schallmayer (1857-1919) who, along with Alfred Ploetz (1860-1940), founded German eugenics. ^ a b c Friedlander, Henry (2000). The Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. Univ of North Carolina Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0807846759. Although the German eugenics movement, led until the Weimar years by Alfred Ploetz and Wilhelm Schallmayer, did not differ radically from the American movement, it was more centralized. Unlike in the United States, where federalism and political heterogeneity encouraged diversity even with a single movement, in Germany one society, the German Society for Race Hygiene (Deutsche Gesellschaft fue Rassenhygiene), eventually represented all eugenicists, while one journal, the Archiv fur Rassen- und Gsellschafts Biologie, founded by Ploetz in 1904, remained the primary scientific publication of German Eugenics. ^ a b c d Edwin Black (November 9, 2003). "Eugenics and the Nazis -- the California connection". San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved February 3, 2017 . ^ Gretchen E. Schafft, From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004), pp. 48-54. ^ Robert S. Wistrich, Who's Who In Nazi Germany (New York: Routledge, 2001), p. 60. ^ In 1933, Adolf Hitler appointed Fischer rector of Frederick William University of Berlin, now Humboldt University. See: "Rektoratsreden im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert '' Online-Bibliographie", der ehemalige Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universit¤t Berlin. ^ Jackson, John P. & Weidman, Nadine M. (2005). Race, racism, and science: social impact and interaction. Rutgers University Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-8135-3736-8. CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link) ^ Lombardo, Paul A. (2008). Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and "Buck v. Bell" . JHU Press. pp. 211''213. ISBN 9780801890109. ^ Friedman, Jonathan C. (2011). The Routledge History of the Holocaust. Taylor & Francis. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-415-77956-2 . Retrieved 1 August 2011 . ^ Evans, Richard J. (2005). The Third Reich in Power . Penguin Press. pp. 429. ISBN 978-1-59420-074-8 . Retrieved 1 August 2011 . ^ O'Mathºna, D"nal P (2006). "Human dignity in the Nazi era: implications for contemporary bioethics". BMC Medical Ethics. 7: E2. doi:10.1186/1472-6939-7-2. PMC 1484488 . PMID 16536874. ^ In 1876 Haeckel had discussed the selective infanticide policy of the Greek city of ancient Sparta.Haeckel, Ernst (1876). "The History of Creation, vol. I". New York: D. Appleton. p. 170. Among the Spartans all newly born children were subject to a careful examination or selection. All those that were weak, sickly, or affected with any bodily infirmity, were killed. Only the perfectly healthy and strong children were allowed to live, and they alone afterwards propagated the race. ^ Hitler, Adolf (1961). Hitler's Secret Book. New York: Grove Press. pp. 17''18. ISBN 978-0-394-62003-9. OCLC 9830111. ^ Hawkins, Mike (1997). Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 1860-1945: nature as model and nature as threat. Cambridge University Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-521-57434-1. OCLC 34705047. ^ facinghistorycampus.org '' The Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Archived 2009-02-07 at the Wayback Machine ^ Robert Proctor, Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1988): 108. ^ Knittel, S. "Remembering Euthanasia: Grafeneck in the Past, Present, and Future." B. Niven & C. Paver [eds]. Memorialization in Germany since 1945. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010: 124-133. ^ The Nazi census: identification and control in the Third Reich, By G¶tz Aly, Karl Heinz Roth, Edwin Black, Assenka Oksiloff, 2004, Temple University Press, p104 ^ See IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black, 2001, Crown / Random House, pg 93-96 and elsewhere ^ The Nazi census: identification and control in the Third Reich, By G¶tz Aly, Karl Heinz Roth, Edwin Black, Assenka Oksiloff, 2004, Temple University Press, p104-108 ^ Padfield, Peter Himmler New York:1990--Henry Holt ^ a b c David, Henry P.; Fleischhacker, Jochen; Hohn, Charlotte (1988). "Abortion and Eugenics in Nazi Germany". Population and Development Review. 14 (1): 81''112. doi:10.2307/1972501. ISSN 0098-7921. JSTOR 1972501. PMID 11655915. Bibliography Edit Books Edit Aly, G. (1994). Cleansing the Fatherland: Nazi Medicine and Racial Hygiene. The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4824-5Baer, E. et al. (2003). Experience and Expression: Women, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3063-0Baumslag, N. (2005). Murderous Medicine: Nazi Doctors, Human Experimentation, and Typhus. Praeger Publishers. ISBN 0-275-98312-9Biesold, H. (1999). Crying Hands: Eugenics and Deaf People in Nazi Germany. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press. ISBN 1-56368-255-9Burleigh, M. (1991). The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-39802-9Burleigh, M. (1994). Death and Deliverance: 'Euthanasia' in Germany, c.1900 to 1945. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-41613-2Caplan, A. (1992). When Medicine Went Mad: Bioethics and the Holocaust. Totowa, New Jersey: Humana Press. ISBN 0-89603-235-3Conroy, M. (2017). Nazi Eugenics: Precursors, Policy, Aftermath. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-3838210957Ehrenreich, Eric. The Nazi Ancestral Proof: Genealogy, Racial Science, and the Final Solution. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2007. ISBN 978-0-253-34945-3Evans, Suzanne E. (2004). Forgotten Crimes: The Holocaust and People with Disabilities. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee. ISBN 1-56663-565-9Friedlander, H. (1995). The Origins of Nazi Genocide. From Euthanasia to the Final Solution. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2208-6Gallagher, G. (1995). By Trust Betrayed: Patients, Physicians, and the License to Kill in the Third Reich. Arlington, Virginia: Vandamere Press. ISBN 0-918339-36-7Glass, J. (1999). Life Unworthy of Life: Racial Phobia and Mass Murder in Hitler's Germany Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-09846-0Kater, M. (1989). Doctors Under Hitler. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-1842-9Kuhl, S. (2002). The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514978-5Kuntz, D. (2006). Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race. The University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0-8078-2916-1Lifton, R. (1986). THE NAZI DOCTORS: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-04905-2McFarland-Icke, B. (1999). Nurses in Nazi Germany: Moral Choice in History. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00665-2M¼ller-Hill, B. (1998). Murderous Science: Elimination by Scientific Selection of Jews, Gypsies, and Others in Germany, 1933-1945. Plainview, New York: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. ISBN 0-87969-531-5Nicosia, F. et al. (2002). Medicine and Medical Ethics in Nazi Germany: Origins, Practices, Legacies. Berghahn Books. ISBN 1-57181-387-XProctor, R. (2003). Racial Hygiene: Medicine Under the Nazis. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-74578-7Ryan, Donna F., et al. (2002). Deaf People in Hitler's Europe. Washington, D.C.: Gallaudet University Press, ISBN 1-56368-132-3Schafft, G. (2004). From Racism to Genocide: Anthropology in the Third Reich. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02930-5Spitz, V. (2005). Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans. Sentient Publications. ISBN 1-59181-032-9Snyder, S. & D. Mitchell. (2006). Cultural Locations of Disability. University of Michigan Press. Weindling, P.J. (2005). Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials: From Medical War Crimes to Informed Consent. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-4039-3911-XWeindling, P.J. (1989). Health, Race and German Politics between National Unification and Nazism, 1870-1945. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-42397-XAcademic articles Edit Bachrach, S. (2004). "In the name of public health '-- Nazi racial hygiene". New England Journal of Medicine. 351 (5): 417''420. doi:10.1056/nejmp048136. PMID 15282346. Biddiss, M. (Jun 1997). "Disease and dictatorship: the case of Hitler's Reich". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 90 (6): 342''6. doi:10.1177/014107689709000616. PMC 1296317 . PMID 9227388. Cranach, M. (2003). "The killing of psychiatric patients in Nazi Germany between 1939-1945". The Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences. 40 (1): 8''18. PMID 12817666. Lerner, B. (May 1995). "Medicine and the Holocaust: Learning More of the Lessons". Annals of Internal Medicine. 122 (10): 793''794. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-122-10-199505150-00010. PMID 7717603. S2CID 29103267. Knittel, Suzanne., "Remembering Euthanasia: Grafeneck in the Past, Present, and Future", B. Niven & C. Paver [eds.]. Memorialization in Germany Since 1945. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010: 124-133, ISBN 978-0230207035, 30.K¶nig, Malte, "Racism within the Axis: Sexual Intercourse and Marriage Plans between Italians and Germans, 1940''3". Journal of Contemporary History 54 (3), 2019, pp. 508-526.Martin III, Matthew D., "The Dysfunctional Progeny of Eugenics: Autonomy Gone AWOL", Cardozo Journal of International Law, Vol. 15, No. 2, Fall 2007, pp. 371''421, ISSN 1069-3181.O'Mathºna, D. (Mar 2006). "Human dignity in the Nazi era: implications for contemporary bioethics". BMC Medical Ethics. 7 (1): E2. doi:10.1186/1472-6939-7-2. PMC 1484488 . PMID 16536874. Sofair, A. (Feb 2000). "Eugenic sterilization and a qualified Nazi analogy: the United States and Germany, 1930-1945". Annals of Internal Medicine. 132 (4): 312''9. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-132-4-200002150-00010. PMID 10681287. S2CID 6202732. Strous, R. D. (2006). "Nazi Euthanasia of the Mentally Ill at Hadamar". American Journal of Psychiatry January 2006; 163: 27.Torrey, E. (2010). "Psychiatric Genocide: Nazi Attempts to Eradicate Schizophrenia". NCBI. 36 (1): 26''32. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbp097 . PMC 2800142 . PMID 19759092. Weigmann, K. (2001). "The role of biologists in Nazi atrocities: lessons for today's scientists". EMBO Reports. 2 (10): 871''875. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kve217. PMC 1084095 . PMID 11600445. "Eugenical Sterilization in Germany" Eugenical News 1933, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; vol.18:5.Documentaries Edit Burleigh, M. (1991). Selling Murder: The Killing Films of the Third Reich. London: Domino Films.Michalczyk, J.J. (1997). Nazi Medicine: In The Shadow Of The Reich. New York: First-Run Features.External links Edit General reference
Ethics Of Using Medical Data From Nazi ExperimentsMedical Experiments of the Holocaust and Nazi MedicineSterilization Law in GermanyThe History Museum - Nazi EuthanasiaVictims of the Nazi EraNazi Medicine by Michael BerenbaumUnited States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Nazi Racial ScienceDeadly medicineEuthanasia programMentally and physically handicappedNazi Persecution of the Disabled
Nuremberg Code - Wikipedia
Mon, 10 May 2021 17:35
The Nuremberg Code (German: N¼rnberger Kodex) is a set of research ethics principles for human experimentation created by the USA v Brandt court as one result of the Nuremberg trials at the end of the Second World War. In a review written on the 50th anniversary of the Brandt verdict, Katz writes that "a careful reading of the judgment suggests that" the authors wrote the Kodex "for the practice of human experimentation whenever it is being conducted."[1]
Background Edit The origin of the Kodex began in pre''World War II German politics, particularly during the 1930s and 1940s. The pre-war German Medical Association was considered to be a progressive yet democratic association with great concerns for public health, one example being the legislation of compulsory health insurance for German workers[citation needed ]. However, starting in the mid-1920s, German physicians, usually proponents of racial hygiene, were accused by the public and the medical society of unethical medical practices. The use of racial hygiene was supported by the German government in order to promote an Aryan race. Racial hygiene extremists merged with National Socialism to promote the use of biology to accomplish their goals of racial purity, a core concept in the Nasionalist ideology. Physicians were attracted to the scientific ideology and aided in the establishment of National Socialist Physicians' League in 1929 to "purify the German medical community of 'Jewish Bolshevism'." Criticism was becoming prevalent; Alfons Stauder, member of the Reich Health Office, claimed that the "dubious experiments have no therapeutic purpose", and Fredrich von Muller, physician and the president of the Deutsche Akademie, joined the criticism.[2]
In response to the criticism of unethical human experimentation, the Reich government issued "Guidelines for New Therapy and Human Experimentation" in Weimar Republic, Germany. The guidelines were based on beneficence and non-maleficence, but also stressed legal doctrine of informed consent. The guidelines clearly distinguished the difference between therapeutic and non-therapeutic research. For therapeutic purposes, the guidelines allowed administration without consent only in dire situations, but for non-therapeutic purposes any administration without consent was strictly forbidden. However, the guidelines from Weimar were negated by Adolf Hitler. By 1942, the Nazi party included more than 38,000 German physicians, who helped carry out medical programs such as the Sterilization Law.[3]
After World War II, a series of trials were held to hold members of the Nazi party responsible for a multitude of war crimes. The trials were approved by President Harry Truman on May 2, 1945 and were led by the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union. They began on November 20, 1945 in Nuremberg, Germany, in what became known as the Nuremberg trials. In the trial of USA v Brandt, which became known as the "Doctors' Trial", German physicians responsible for conducting unethical medical procedures on humans during the war were tried. They focused on physicians who conducted inhumane and unethical human experiments in concentration camps, in addition to those who were involved in over 3,500,000 sterilizations of German citizens.[4][5]
Several of the accused argued that their experiments differed little from those used before the war, and that there was no law that differentiated between legal and illegal experiments. This worried Drs. Andrew Ivy and Leo Alexander, who worked with the prosecution during the trial. In April 1947, Dr. Alexander submitted a memorandum to the United States Counsel for War Crimes outlining six points for legitimate medical research.[6]
An early version of the Kodex known as the Memorandum, which stated explicit voluntary consent from patients are required for human experimentation, was drafted on August 9, 1947.[7] On August 20, 1947, the judges delivered their verdict against Karl Brandt and 22 others.[8] The verdict reiterated the Memorandum's points and, in response to expert medical advisers for the prosecution, revised the original six points of the Memorandum to ten points. The ten points became known as the Kodex, which includes such principles as informed consent and absence of coercion; properly formulated scientific experimentation; and beneficence towards experiment participants. It is thought to have been mainly based on the Hippocratic Oath, which was interpreted as endorsing the experimental approach to medicine while protecting the patient.[9][10]
Authorship 'controversy' Edit The Kodex was initially ignored, but gained much greater significance about 20 years after it was written. As a result, there were substantial rival claims for the creation of the Kodex. Some claimed that Harold Sebring, one of the three U.S. judges who presided over the Doctors' Trial, was the author. Leo Alexander, MD and Andrew Ivy, MD, the prosecution's chief medical expert witnesses, were also each identified as authors. In his letter to Maurice H. Pappworth, an English physician and the author of the book Human Guinea Pigs, Andrew Ivy claimed sole authorship of the Kodex. Leo Alexander, approximately 30 years after the trial, also claimed sole authorship.[11] However, after careful reading of the transcript of the Doctors' Trial, background documents, and the final judgements, it is more accepted that the authorship was shared and the Kodex grew out of the trial itself.[12]
The ten points of the Nuremberg Code Edit The ten points of the code were given in the section of the judges' verdict entitled "Permissible Medical Experiments":[6]
The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential.The experiment should be such as to yield fruitful results for the good of society, unprocurable by other methods or means of study, and not random and unnecessary in nature.The experiment should be so designed and based on the results of animal experimentation and a knowledge of the natural history of the disease or other problem under study that the anticipated results will justify the performance of the experiment.The experiment should be so conducted as to avoid all unnecessary physical and mental suffering and injury.No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur; except, perhaps, in those experiments where the experimental physicians also serve as subjects.The degree of risk to be taken should never exceed that determined by the humanitarian importance of the problem to be solved by the experiment.Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability, or death.The experiment should be conducted only by scientifically qualified persons. The highest degree of skill and care should be required through all stages of the experiment of those who conduct or engage in the experiment.During the course of the experiment the human subject should be at liberty to bring the experiment to an end if he has reached the physical or mental state where continuation of the experiment seems to him to be impossible.During the course of the experiment the scientist in charge must be prepared to terminate the experiment at any stage, if he has probable cause to believe, in the exercise of the good faith, superior skill and careful judgment required of him that a continuation of the experiment is likely to result in injury, disability, or death to the experimental subject.Importance Edit The Kodex has not been officially accepted as law by any nation or as official ethics guidelines by any association. In fact, the Kodex's reference to Hippocratic duty to the individual patient and the need to provide information was not initially favored by the American Medical Association.[13] Katz observes that the Western world initially dismissed the Nuremberg Code as a "code for barbarians, but unnecessary (or superfluous) for ordinary physicians."[1][14] Additionally, the final judgment did not specify whether the Kodex should be applied to cases such as political prisoners, convicted felons, and healthy volunteers.[citation needed ] The lack of clarity, the brutality of the unethical medical experiments, and the uncompromising language of the Kodex created an image that it was designed for singularly egregious transgressions.[1]
However, the Kodex is considered by some to be the most important document in the history of clinical research ethics, which had a massive influence on global human rights. In America, the Kodex and the related Declaration of Helsinki form the basis for the Code of Federal Regulations Title 45 Part 46,[15][16] which are the regulations issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for the ethical treatment of human subjects, and are used in Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). In 1966, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the United Nations, and supposed to be in force by 23 March 1976. Article seven prohibits experiments conducted without the "free consent to medical or scientific experimentation" of the subject.[13] The Covenant has 173 states parties as of September 2019.
In his 2014 review, Gaw observes that the Kodex "not only entered the legal landscape, but also became the prototype for all future codes of ethical practice across the globe."[11] The idea of free or informed consent also served as the basis for International Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical Research Involving Human Subjects proposed by the World Health Organization.[11][failed verification ] Another notable symposium review was published by the Medical University of Vienna in 2017: "Medical Ethics in the 70 Years after the Nuremberg Code, 1947 to the Present". President and Rector Markus Muller writes in his introduction that the Kodex "constitutes one of the most important milestones in the history of medicine, providing for the first time a proper framework for research on human subjects. Sadly, this milestone was not a voluntary, precautionary measure resulting from enlightened humanity, it only came into existence in the aftermath of dreadful Nazi atrocities. Following its conception, the Nuremberg Code bore rich fruit in multiple legal regards, becoming a cornerstone of clinical research and bioethics."[17]
See also Edit References Edit ^ a b c Katz, J. (1996). "The Nuremberg Code and the Nuremberg Trial. A reappraisal". JAMA. 276 (20): 1662''6. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540200048030. PMID 8922453. ^ Grodin MA. "Historical origins of the Nuremberg Code". In: The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code: Human Rights in Human Experimentation. Annas, GJ and Grodin, MA (eds.). Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1992. ^ Vollmann, J.; Winau, R. (1996). "Informed consent in human experimentation before the Nuremberg code". BMJ. 313 (7070): 1445''1447. doi:10.1136/bmj.313.7070.1445. PMC 2352998 . PMID 8973233. ^ "Eugenics/Euthanasia". ABC-CLIO . Retrieved 2013-09-16 . ^ http://www.stanford.edu/group/psylawseminar/The%20Nuremburg%20Code.htm ^ a b "Nuremberg Code". The Doctor's Trial: The Medical Case of the Subsequent Nuremberg Proceedings. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Online Exhibitions . Retrieved 13 February 2019 . ^ Mukherjee, Siddhartha (2010). The Emperor of All Maladies (First Scribner Hardcover ed.). Scribner. p. 33. ^ Annas, George J., and Michael A. Grodin. The Nazi Doctors and the Nuremberg Code. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. ^ Weindling, Paul (2001). "The Origins of Informed Consent: The International Scientific Commission on Medical War Crimes, and the Nuremburg Code". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 75 (1): 37''71. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0049. PMID 11420451. S2CID 20239629. ^ Weindling, Paul. "The origins of informed consent: The international scientific commission on medical war crimes, and the Nuremberg code". Bulletin of the History of Medicine 75.1 (2001): 37''71. ^ a b c Gaw, Allan (2014). "Reality and revisionism: New evidence for Andrew C Ivy's claim to authorship of the Nuremberg Code". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 107 (4): 138''143. doi:10.1177/0141076814523948. PMC 4109334 . PMID 24566934. ^ Shuster, Evelyne (1997). "Fifty Years Later: The Significance of the Nuremberg Code". New England Journal of Medicine. 337 (20): 1436''1440. doi:10.1056/NEJM199711133372006. PMID 9358142. ^ a b Junod, Val(C)rie (2005). Clinical drug trials Studying the safety and efficacy of new pharmaceuticals. Gen¨ve: Schulthess. p. 545. ^ Jacobs, Noortje (01-08-2012). "Which Principles, Doctor? The early crystallization of clinical research ethics in the Netherlands, 1947-1955" (PDF) . Utrecht University. Prof.dr Frank Huisman (Historical and Comparative Studies of the Sciences and the Humanities). ^ Hurren, Elizabeth (May 2002). "Patients' rights: from Alder Hey to the Nuremberg Code". History & Policy. United Kingdom: History & Policy. Archived from the original on 7 December 2013 . Retrieved 9 December 2010 . ^ "Public Welfare". Access.gpo.gov. 2000-10-01. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04 . Retrieved 2013-08-31 . ^ Czech, Herwig; Druml, Christiane; Weindling, Paul (2018). "Medical Ethics in the 70 Years after the Nuremberg Code, 1947 to the Present". Wiener Klinische Wochenschrift. 130 (Suppl 3): 159''253. doi:10.1007/s00508-018-1343-y . PMID 29926188. Further reading Edit Weindling, Paul: Nazi Medicine and the Nuremberg Trials (Palgrave, Basingstoke 2004)Schmidt, Ulf: Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors' Trial (Palgrave, Basingstoke 2004)Schmidt, Ulf: Karl Brandt. The Nazi Doctor: Medicine and Power in the Third Reich (Continuum, London, 2007)Weindling, Paul (2001). "The Origins of Informed Consent: The International Scientific Commission on Medical War Crimes, and the Nuremberg Code". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 75 (1): 37''71. doi:10.1353/bhm.2001.0049. PMID 11420451. S2CID 20239629. Archived from the original on 2008-10-23. Marrus, Michael R. (1999). "The Nuremberg Doctors' Trial in Historical Context". Bulletin of the History of Medicine. 73 (1): 106''123. doi:10.1353/bhm.1999.0037. PMID 10189729. S2CID 29831220. Archived from the original on 2007-12-01. BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL No. 7070, Volume 313: page 1448, 7 December 1996."The Nuremberg Code" (1947). In: Mitscherlich A, Mielke F. Doctors of Infamy: The Story of the Nazi Medical Crimes. New York: Schuman, 1949: xxiii''xxv.Carl Elliot's article "Making a Killing" in Mother Jones magazine (September 2010) asks if the Nuremberg Code is a valid legal precedent in MinnesotaExternal links Edit
A Guide to Home-Based COVID Treatment - AAPS | Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
Mon, 10 May 2021 17:25
COVID-19,
What's New April 17, 2021Guide last updated on 2/01/2021.
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Change Board RecertOrganized opposition is growing to counter-productive Maintenance of Certification requirements that do nothing to improve to quality of care.Learn more
Recent PostsCOVID-19: If I'm Pregnant, or Hope to Be, Should I Still Get the Jab?AAPS News May 2021 '' Getting to ZeroCOVID-19: If I've Had COVID, Should I Still Get the Jab?
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ED with woman
About two months ago I met a woman here in Austin (feb 15) and we dated briefly, casually for about
About two months ago I met a woman here in Austin (feb 15) and we dated briefly, casually for about
two months on the weekends. She informed me she had taken the vaccine and took the second dose
about three weeks ago. I haven’t. But I had trouble maintaining an erection with her . She even
said maybe that’s something you should check . I’m 55 and have never had an issue before, only
around her. I also experienced strange sensation in my head and left ear that have since
disappeared but was extremely annoying and kept me awake at night . It would accurately be
described as a tensor timpani issue. Since we are not seeing each anymore it has disappeared.
two months on the weekends. She informed me she had taken the vaccine and took the second dose
about three weeks ago. I haven’t. But I had trouble maintaining an erection with her . She even
said maybe that’s something you should check . I’m 55 and have never had an issue before, only
around her. I also experienced strange sensation in my head and left ear that have since
disappeared but was extremely annoying and kept me awake at night . It would accurately be
described as a tensor timpani issue. Since we are not seeing each anymore it has disappeared.
COVID-19 can infect penis tissue and could lead to erectile dysfunction - study | World News | Sky News
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:25
COVID-19 can infect tissue in the penis and potentially contribute to erectile dysfunction, researchers have found.
A scientific research paper published in the World Journal of Men's Health observed the difference in tissue composition between men who had contracted the disease and men who had not.
COVID can cause damage to blood vessels, which in turn can damage parts of the body the vessels supply, including the sponge-like tissue in the penis.
Image: Remnants of the virus were found in penis tissue, as indicated by the blue arrows. Pic: Dr Ranjith Ramasamy/University of Miami Health SystemRanjith Ramasamy, associate professor and director of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's reproductive urology programme, led the study.
He said that erectile dysfunction "could be an adverse effect of the virus".
The study focused on four men who were having penile prosthesis surgery for erectile dysfunction.
Two had suffered with COVID-19, and two had not. They were all aged between 65 and 71 and of Hispanic ethnicity.
The pair who had the coronavirus were infected six and eight months before the observations, with one hospitalised for the virus and the other not.
Neither had a history of erectile dysfunction.
Remnants of the virus were observed in the penis tissue of the two COVID-positive men.
Image: Dr Ranjith Ramasamy led the study. Pic: University of Miami Health SystemThe damage COVID causes to blood vessels is known as endothelial dysfunction.
Dr Ramasamy said: "In our pilot study, we found that men who previously did not complain of ED [erectile dysfunction] developed pretty severe ED after the onset of COVID-19 infection."
He added: "Our research shows that COVID-19 can cause widespread endothelial dysfunction in organ systems beyond the lungs and kidneys.
"The underlying endothelial dysfunction that happens because of COVID-19 can enter the endothelial cells and affect many organs, including the penis."
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Eliyahu Kresch, a medical student working with Dr Ramasamy, said: "These latest findings are yet another reason that we should all do our best to avoid COVID-19."
The paper suggested: "For now, history of COVID-19 should be included in the work-up of ED and positive findings should be investigated accordingly.
"Patients should be aware of the potential complication of post-COVID-19 ED.
"Any changes observed in ED after infection should be followed up with the appropriate specialist for treatment and to help further investigation into the condition.
"Future studies are needed to validate the effects of this virus on sexual function."
COVID-19 - Frequently Asked Questions | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Tue, 11 May 2021 14:27
COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions Frequently Asked QuestionsGiven the evolving nature of the pandemic, OSHA is in the process of reviewing and updating this document. These materials may no longer represent current OSHA recommendations and guidance. For the most up-to-date information, consult Protecting Workers Guidance.
This page includes frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. In States with OSHA-approved State Plans, additional guidance, provisions, or requirements may apply. Check here for a list of current State Plans and a link to their website for any additional information: https://www.osha.gov/stateplans
Questions are grouped by topic, and cover:
General InformationCleaning and DisinfectionCloth Face CoveringsConstructionEmployer RequirementsHealthcareLiability WaiversPersonal Protective EquipmentPosting the OSHA 300A or Equivalent FormRespirators and Particle SizeReportingRestrooms and Handwashing FacilitiesRetaliationReturn to WorkTesting for COVID-19TrainingVaccine RelatedWorker Protection ConcernsGeneral InformationWhat precautions should employers in non-healthcare workplaces take to protect workers from COVID-19?
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (Alert, Guidance) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued workplace guidance to guide employers during the COVID-19 outbreak. They describe how employers should develop preparedness plans and communicate those plans to protect workers through effective training. Employers should assess worker exposure to hazards and risks and implement infection prevention measures to reasonably address them consistent with OSHA Standards. Such measures could include use of cloth face coverings; training workers on proper respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, and other steps they can take to protect themselves.
Employers may need to consider using stanchions to help keep workers and others at the worksite at least 6 feet away from each other. Installing temporary barriers and shields and spacing out workstations can also help achieve physical distancing recommendations. Employers should clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, workstations, restroom stalls) at least daily, or as much as possible. Employers subject to OSHA's PPE standard must also provide and require the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) when needed. Job hazard assessments must be conducted to determine the appropriate type and level of PPE required.
Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace and Prevent Worker Exposure to COVID-19 alert provide more information on steps all employers can take to reduce workers' risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
Learn more about preventing the spread of COVID-19 from OSHA and CDC.
Cleaning and DisinfectionCloth Face CoveringsWhat are the key differences between cloth face coverings, surgical masks, and respirators?
Cloth face coverings:
May be commercially produced or improvised (i.e., homemade).Are worn in public over the nose and mouth to contain the wearer's potentially infectious respiratory particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks and to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), to others.Are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE).Are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (e.g., N95 respirators) or medical face masks (e.g., surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or face masks are recommended or required to protect the wearer.May be used by almost any worker, although those who have trouble breathing or are otherwise unable to put on or remove a mask without assistance should not wear one.May be disposable or reusable after proper washing.Surgical masks:
Are typically cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as medical devices (though not all devices that look like surgical masks are actually medical-grade, cleared devices).Are used to protect workers against splashes and sprays (i.e., droplets) containing potentially infectious materials. In this capacity, surgical masks are considered PPE. Under OSHA's PPE standard (29 CFR 1910.132), employers must provide any necessary PPE at no-cost to workers.1May also be worn to contain the wearer's respiratory particles (e.g., healthcare workers, such as surgeons, wear them to avoid contaminating surgical sites, and dentists and dental hygienists wear them to protect patients).May be used by almost anyone.Should be properly disposed of after use.Respirators (e.g., filtering facepieces):
Are used to prevent workers from inhaling small particles, including airborne transmissible or aerosolized infectious agents.Must be provided and used in accordance with OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).Must be certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).OSHA has temporarily exercised its enforcement discretion concerning supply shortages of disposable filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), including as it relates to their extended use or reuse, use beyond their manufacturer's recommended shelf life, use of equipment from certain other countries and jurisdictions, and decontamination.Need proper filter material (e.g., N95 or better) and, other than for loose-fitting powered, air purifying respirators (PAPRs), tight fit (to prevent air leaks).Require proper training, fit testing, availability of appropriate medical evaluations and monitoring, cleaning, and oversight by a knowledgeable staff member.OSHA has temporarily exercised its enforcement discretion concerning annual fit testing requirements in the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), as long as employers have made good-faith efforts to comply with the requirements of the standard and to follow the steps outlined in the March 14, 2020, and April 8, 2020, memoranda (as applicable to their industry).When necessary to protect workers, require a respiratory protection program that is compliant with OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). OSHA consultation staff can assist with understanding respiratory protection requirements.FFRs may be used voluntarily, if permitted by the employer. If an employer permits voluntary use of FFRs, employees must receive the information contained in Appendix D of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).1 If surgical masks are being used only as source control'--not to protect workers against splashes and sprays (i.e., droplets) containing potentially infectious materials'--OSHA's PPE standards do not require employers to provide them to workers. However, the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires each employer to furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Control measures may include a combination of engineering and administrative controls, including safe work practices like social distancing. Choosing to ensure use of surgical masks for source control may constitute a feasible means of abatement as part of a control plan designed to address hazards from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Back to Text
Are employers required to provide cloth face coverings to workers?
OSHA's Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace advises employers to provide all workers with face coverings (i.e. cloth face coverings, surgical masks), unless their work task requires a respirator. Employers should provide face coverings to the workers at no cost. Employers must discuss the possibility of "reasonable accommodation" for any workers who are unable to wear or have difficulty wearing certain types of face coverings due to a disability. In workplaces with employees who are deaf or have hearing deficits, employers should consider acquiring masks with clear coverings over the mouth for all workers to facilitate lip-reading.
Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment (PPE) and are not intended to be used when workers need PPE for protection against exposure to occupational hazards. OSHA's PPE standards do not require employers to provide them.
The General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires each employer to furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Control measures may include a combination of engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices like social distancing, and PPE.Are surgical masks or cloth face coverings acceptable respiratory protection in the construction industry, when respirators would be needed but are not available because of the COVID-19 pandemic?
No. Employers must not use surgical masks or cloth face coverings when respirators are needed.
In general, employers should always rely on a hierarchy of controls that first includes efforts to eliminate or substitute out workplace hazards and then uses engineering controls (e.g., ventilation, wet methods), administrative controls (e.g., written procedures, modification of task duration), and safe work practices to prevent worker exposures to respiratory hazards, before relying on personal protective equipment, such as respirators. When respirators are needed, OSHA's guidance describes enforcement discretion around use of respirators, including in situations in which it may be necessary to extend the use of or reuse certain respirators, use respirators beyond their manufacturer's recommended shelf life, and/or use respirators certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and OSHA have described crisis strategies intended for use in healthcare in which surgical masks or cloth face coverings may offer more protection than no mask at all when respirators are needed but are not available. Such information is not intended to suggest that surgical masks or cloth face coverings provide adequate protection against exposure to airborne contaminants for which respirators would ordinarily be needed. Although OSHA's enforcement guidance describes equipment prioritization that includes surgical masks, employers must still comply with the provisions of any standards that apply to the types of exposures their workers may face. For example, the permissible exposure limits of all substance-specific standards, such as asbestos and silica, remain in place, and surgical masks are not an acceptable means of protection when respirators would otherwise be required (e.g., when engineering, administrative, and work practice controls do not sufficiently control exposures).
If respirators are needed but not available (including as described in the OSHA enforcement guidance noted above), and hazards cannot otherwise be adequately controlled through other elements of the hierarchy of controls (i.e., elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and/or safe work practices), avoid worker exposure to the hazard. Whenever a hazard presents an imminent danger, and in additional situations whenever feasible, the task should be delayed until feasible control measures are available to prevent exposures or reduce them to acceptable levels (i.e., at or below applicable OSHA permissible exposure limits).
Does wearing a medical/surgical mask or cloth face covering cause unsafe oxygen levels or harmful carbon dioxide levels to the wearer?
No. Medical masks, including surgical masks, are routinely worn by healthcare workers throughout the day as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE) ensembles and do not compromise their oxygen levels or cause carbon dioxide buildup. They are designed to be breathed through and can protect against respiratory droplets, which are typically much larger than tiny carbon dioxide particles. Consequently, most carbon dioxide particles will either go through the mask or escape along the mask's loose-fitting perimeter. Some carbon dioxide might collect between the mask and the wearer's face, but not at unsafe levels.
Like medical masks, cloth face coverings are loose-fitting with no seal and are designed to be breathed through. In addition, workers may easily remove their medical masks or cloth face coverings periodically (and when not in close proximity with others) to eliminate any negligible build-up of carbon dioxide that might occur. Cloth face coverings and medical masks can help prevent the spread of potentially infectious respiratory droplets from the wearer to their co-workers, including when the wearer has COVID-19 and does not know it.
Some people have mistakenly claimed that OSHA standards (e.g., the Respiratory Protection standard, 29 CFR 1910.134; the Permit-Required Confined Space standard 29 CFR 1910.146; and the Air Contaminants standard, 29 CFR 1910.1000) apply to the issue of oxygen or carbon dioxide levels resulting from the use of medical masks or cloth face coverings in work settings with normal ambient air (e.g. healthcare settings, offices, retail settings, construction). These standards do not apply to the wearing of medical masks or cloth face coverings in work settings with normal ambient air). These standards would only apply to work settings where there are known or suspected sources of chemicals (e.g., manufacturing facilities) or workers are required to enter a potentially dangerous location (e.g., a large tank or vessel).
ConstructionHas OSHA changed its respiratory protection requirements for the construction industry?
No. All OSHA requirements for respiratory protection in construction that were in place before the COVID-19 pandemic remain in place. Under OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard for construction (29 CFR 1926.103), employers must follow 29 CFR 1910.134 the general industry respiratory protection standard. Similarly, employers must continue to follow requirements in other OSHA standards, including those that require respiratory protection to protect workers from exposures to certain chemicals and other hazardous substances.
OSHA recognizes that employers and workers in construction may not always be able to get the personal protective equipment they need because of shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. OSHA is providing temporary enforcement discretion around the requirements of certain standards, including the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134). The enforcement guidance describes criteria for enforcement discretion when employers make good-faith efforts to get National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)''certified N95 filtering facepiece respirators or other appropriate NIOSH-certified respirators and are unable to do so.
NIOSH guidance describes options for extended use and reuse of respirators, using expired respirators or respirators certified under the standards of other countries or jurisdictions, and other options for protecting workers who need respirators on the job. More information is available in the COVID-19 enforcement guidance on the Enforcement Memos page. Employers should regularly check the Standards page of OSHA's COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page for updates on the status of these memoranda.
Employer RequirementsHealthcareWhat should healthcare employers do to protect healthcare workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and OSHA are providing extensive guidance for infection prevention in healthcare settings.
Both agencies' guidance materials describe how healthcare employers should develop and implement infection control and preparedness plans and communicate those plans to workers through effective training. Employers should assess the risks and follow the hierarchy of controls for worker protection:
Engineering controls (e.g., airborne infection isolation rooms);Administrative controls (e.g., cohorting patients);Work practices (e.g., handwashing, disinfecting surfaces); andAppropriate personal protective equipment (e.g., gloves, respirators, face shields or other eye protection, and gowns).For information on protecting healthcare workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, please see:
Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the WorkplaceNational Emphasis Program '' Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)Temporary enforcement guidance in effect during the COVID-19 pandemicEnforcement guidance for COVID-19Alert: Prevent Worker Exposure to Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Spanish)CDC's COVID-19 websiteCOVID-19 and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Disclosures to law enforcement, paramedics, other first responders and public health authoritiesI am a healthcare worker who previously provided direct patient care without a mask. Why do I need one now?
OSHA recommends that, during the ongoing pandemic and associated community spread of COVID-19, all workers wear face coverings to prevent the spread of their respiratory particles. This is because people can spread SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by coughing, sneezing, or talking'--even if they do not feel sick. Because of other exposures in healthcare settings, healthcare workers may need to wear surgical masks to prevent or reduce the risk of this transmission, while also protecting themselves from exposure to patients' potentially infectious respiratory particles and other splashes or sprays of body fluids.
Healthcare workers and employers should also consult OSHA and CDC guidance to find out if they need additional types of personal protective equipment. OSHA recommends that healthcare workers with exposure to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients wear PPE ensembles that include N95 or better filtering facepiece respirators. The combination of surgical masks with face shields or goggles can reduce the risk of exposure to the virus when caring for people who may spread COVID-19 without knowing they have it. For some activities, including aerosol-generating procedures, healthcare workers likely need N95 or better filtering facepieces respirators. N95 or better respirators should be used in accordance with a respiratory protection program.
I am a lab technician, and I work with samples that contain (or may contain) SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. What level of biosafety precautions should I follow?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes the appropriate biosafety level (BSL) protection for various types of tasks in its Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for COVID-19 and Interim Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines for Handling and Processing Specimens Associated with COVID-19.
In general, CDC recommends that for:
Routine diagnostic testing of clinical specimens (e.g., processing initial samples, applying stains to fixed smears, and pathologic examination of inactivated tissues), work should be performed at BSL-2;Environmental specimen testing that involves virus concentration procedures (e.g., sewage surveillance testing), work should be performed at BSL-2 with BSL-3 precautions, including respiratory protection and a designated area for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment;Virus isolation in cell cultures, work should be performed at BSL-3;Environmental specimen testing that concentrates virus, work should be performed at BSL-2 with BSL-3 precautions.For viral testing of specimens conducted outside of a BSL-2 laboratory, such as rapid respiratory testing performed at the point of care, use standard precautions to provide a barrier between the specimen and personnel during specimen manipulation. For more information on specimen collection, handling, and testing, refer to the CDC's Interim Guidelines for Collecting, Handling, and Testing Clinical Specimens for COVID-19.
Aerosol-generating procedures and work with concentrated virus should always be performed in an appropriately maintained and certified biosafety cabinet.
OSHA also discusses laboratory biosafety on its COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page. This guidance is generally consistent with CDC's Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), 5th Edition.
Liability WaiversPersonal Protective EquipmentMy organization is experiencing a supply shortage of N95 filtering facepiece respirators. What alternatives are available if N95s are required to protect my employees?
OSHA has issued temporary enforcement guidance for the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134) for:
Required annual fit-testing.Supply shortages of disposable N95 filtering facepiece respirators.Use of respiratory protection equipment certified under standards of other countries.Decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators in healthcare.OSHA enforcement guidance describes additional measures employers can take to ensure workers have appropriate respiratory protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although OSHA's enforcement guidance describes equipment prioritization that includes surgical masks as potential considerations in some circumstances when respirators are not available, employers must still comply with the provisions of any standards that apply to the types of exposures their workers may face. For example, the permissible exposure limits of all substance-specific standards, such as asbestos and silica, remain in place, and surgical masks are not an acceptable means of protection when respirators would otherwise be required (e.g., when engineering, administrative, and work practice controls do not sufficiently control exposures).
If respirators are needed but not available (including as described in the OSHA enforcement guidance noted above), and hazards cannot otherwise be adequately controlled through other elements of the hierarchy of controls (i.e., elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and/or safe work practices), avoid worker exposure to the hazard. Whenever a hazard presents an imminent danger, and in additional situations whenever feasible, the task should be delayed until feasible control measures are available to prevent exposures or reduce them to acceptable levels (i.e., at or below applicable OSHA permissible exposure limits).
The CDC/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory (NPPTL), provides additional information on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and PPE.
Posting the OSHA 300A or Equivalent FormMust I post the OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses in my workplace if there are no workers at the site due to COVID-19?
If there are no workers at your physical establishment on February 1, 2021 due to COVID-19, you do not need to post the OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses. If your workplace subsequently opens and employees return to the establishment before May 1, 2021, you must post your OSHA 300-A Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses in a conspicuous place or places where notices to employees are customarily posted until May 1, 2021.
OSHA believes informing employees of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur at their workplace is an essential component of a good safety and health program. While you are not required to do so, electronically sharing Form 300-A with your employees would prove beneficial even if there are no employees currently onsite.
Respirators and Particle SizeWill an N95 respirator protect the wearer from the virus that causes COVID-19?
Yes, an N95 respirator is effective in protecting workers from the virus that causes COVID-19. "N95" refers to a class of respirator filter that removes at least 95% of very small (0.3 micron) particles from the air. Some people have mistakenly claimed that since the virus that causes COVID-19 is approximately 0.1 microns in size, wearing an N95 respirator will not protect against such a small virus. That mistaken claim appears to result from a misunderstanding of how respirators work.
When an infected person expels the virus into the air by activities like talking, coughing, or sneezing, the airborne particles are composed of more than just the virus. The virus is part of larger particles that are made up of water and other materials such as mucus. These larger particles are easily trapped and filtered out by N95 respirators because they are too big to pass through the filter. This is called mechanical filtration. But mechanical filtration is just one of the ways that respirator filters keep particles from passing through the filter. An electrostatic charge also attracts particles to fibers in the filter, where the particles become stuck. In addition, the smallest particles constantly move around (called "Brownian motion"), and are very likely to hit a filter fiber and stick to it.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tests respirators using particles that simulate a 0.3 micron diameter because this size particle is most likely to pass through the filter. If worn correctly, the N95 respirator will filter out at least 95% of particles this size. An N95 respirator is more effective at filtering particles that are smaller or larger than 0.3 microns in size.
The N95 respirator filter, as is true for other NIOSH-approved respirators, is very effective at protecting people from the virus causing COVID-19. However, it is important for employers and workers to remember that the respirator only provides the expected protection when used correctly. Respirators, when required, must be used as part of a comprehensive, written respiratory protection program that meets the requirements of OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard. The program should include medical evaluations, training, and fit testing.
ReportingAn employee has been hospitalized with a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this in-patient hospitalization to OSHA?
Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), employers are only required to report in-patient hospitalizations to OSHA if the hospitalization "occurs within twenty-four (24) hours of the work-related incident." For cases of COVID-19, the term "incident" means an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace. Therefore, in order to be reportable, an in-patient hospitalization due to COVID-19 must occur within 24 hours of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at work. The employer must report such hospitalization within 24 hours of knowing both that the employee has been in-patient hospitalized and that the reason for the hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19. Thus, if an employer learns that an employee was in-patient hospitalized within 24 hours of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the in-patient hospitalization was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within 24 hours of that determination. See 29 CFR 1904.39(a)(2), (b)(7)-(b)(8).
Employers should note that 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6)'s limitation only applies to reporting; employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must still record work-related confirmed cases of COVID-19, as required by 29 CFR 1904.4(a). For more information on recording cases of COVID-19, see https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
An employee has died of a work-related, confirmed case of COVID-19. Do I need to report this fatality to OSHA?
Under 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6), an employer must "report a fatality to OSHA if the fatality occurs within thirty (30) days of the work-related incident." For cases of COVID-19, the term "incident" means an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace. Therefore, in order to be reportable, a fatality due to COVID-19 must occur within 30 days of an exposure to SARS-CoV-2 at work. The employer must report the fatality within eight hours of knowing both that the employee has died, and that the cause of death was a work-related case of COVID-19. Thus, if an employer learns that an employee died within 30 days of a work-related incident, and determines afterward that the cause of the death was a work-related case of COVID-19, the case must be reported within eight hours of that determination.
Employers should note that 29 CFR 1904.39(b)(6)'s limitation only applies to reporting; employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness records must still record work-related fatalities, as required by 29 CFR 1904.4(a). For more information on recording cases of COVID-19, see https://www.osha.gov/memos/2020-05-19/revised-enforcement-guidance-recording-cases-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19.
Restrooms and Handwashing FacilitiesRetaliationWhat can I do if my employer fires me or takes other action against me for raising workplace safety and health concerns related to COVID-19?
Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 USC 660(c)) prohibits employers from retaliating against workers for exercising a variety of rights guaranteed under the law, such as filing a safety or health complaint with OSHA, raising a health and safety concern with their employers, participating in an OSHA inspection, or reporting a work-related injury or illness. Additionally, OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program enforces the provisions of more than 20 industry-specific federal laws protecting employees from retaliation for raising or reporting concerns about hazards or violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, health insurance reform, motor vehicle safety, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, securities, and tax laws.
If you believe you have suffered such retaliation, submit a complaint to OSHA as soon as possible in order to ensure that you file the complaint within the legal time limits, some of which may be as short as 30 days from the date you learned of or experienced retaliation. An employee can file a complaint with OSHA by visiting or calling his or her local OSHA office; sending a written complaint via fax, mail, or email to the closest OSHA office; or filing a complaint online. No particular form is required and complaints may be submitted in any language.
Visit OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program website for more information.
Return to WorkTesting for COVID-19What should employers do when an employee tests positive for COVID-19?
Workers who test positive for COVID-19 will be notified of their results by their healthcare providers or public health department and will likely be advised to self-isolate or seek medical care. OSHA recommends that workers tell their supervisors if they have tested positive for COVID-19 so that employers can take steps, such as cleaning and disinfection, to protect other workers. Employers who become aware of a case among their workers should:
Follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for community-related exposure to someone with known or suspected COVID-19.Follow CDC recommendations for when employees can return to work after having COVID-19.Follow CDC cleaning and disinfection recommendations to protect other employees.Is an employer required to notify other employees if a worker gets COVID-19 or tests positive COVID-19?
OSHA does not require employers to notify other employees if one of their coworkers gets COVID-19. However, employers must take appropriate steps to protect other workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the workplace. These steps might include specific actions as a result of a confirmed case, such as cleaning and disinfecting the work environment, notifying other workers to monitor themselves for signs/symptoms of COVID-19, or implementing a screening program in the workplace (e.g., for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 among workers).
The CDC Guidance for Business and Employers recommends employers determine which employees may have been exposed to the virus and inform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace. However, employers should maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the information disclosed and method of disclosure must comply with applicable federal, state, and local laws.
Employers and workers can visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's COVID-19 webpage and frequently asked questions to learn more about this topic.
TrainingWhat topics should employers cover in COVID-19 training for workers?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should consider training workers about:
The basics of how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads;Measures being taken to protect them from exposure and infection, including handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, social distancing, and use of any necessary workplace controls and/or personal protective equipment (PPE);What employees should do if they are sick, including staying home and reporting any signs/symptoms of COVID-19 to their supervisor.Some OSHA standards require employers to provide specific training to workers. For example, there are training requirements in OSHA's PPE standards (29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart I), including the Respiratory Protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134).
The training that is necessary can vary depending on a worker's job tasks, exposure risks, and the type of controls implemented to protect workers. See OSHA's COVID-19 Safety and Health Topics page for more specific information.
Vaccine RelatedI do not require my employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. However, I do recommend that they receive the vaccine and may provide it to them or make arrangements for them to receive it offsite. If an employee has an adverse reaction to the vaccine, am I required to record it?
No. Although adverse reactions to recommended COVID-19 vaccines may be recordable under 29 CFR 1904.4(a) if the reaction is: (1) work-related, (2) a new case, and (3) meets one or more of the general recording criteria in 29 CFR 1904.7, OSHA is exercising its enforcement discretion to only require the recording of adverse effects to required vaccines at this time. Therefore, you do not need to record adverse effects from COVID-19 vaccines that you recommend, but do not require.
Note that for this discretion to apply, the vaccine must be truly voluntary. For example, an employee's choice to accept or reject the vaccine cannot affect their performance rating or professional advancement. An employee who chooses not to receive the vaccine cannot suffer any repercussions from this choice. If employees are not free to choose whether or not to receive the vaccine without fearing adverse action, then the vaccine is not merely ''recommended'' and employers should consult the above FAQ regarding COVID-19 vaccines that are a condition of employment.
Note also that the exercise of this discretion is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding OSHA's expectations as to the recording of adverse effects during the health emergency; it does not change any of employers' other responsibilities under OSHA's recordkeeping regulations or any of OSHA's interpretations of those regulations.
Finally, note that this answer applies to a variety of scenarios where employers recommend, but do not require vaccines, including where the employer makes the COVID-19 vaccine available to employees at work, where the employer makes arrangements for employees to receive the vaccine at an offsite location (e.g., pharmacy, hospital, local health department, etc.), and where the employer offer the vaccine as part of a voluntary health and wellness program at my workplace. In other words, the method by which employees might receive a recommended vaccine does not matter for the sake of this question.
Worker Protection ConcernsWhat can I do if I believe my employer is not protecting me from exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on the job?
Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. If you have concerns, you have the right to speak up about them without fear of retaliation.
If you believe you are being exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or that your employer is not taking appropriate steps to protect you from exposure to the virus at work, talk to your supervisor or employer about your concerns. OSHA provides recommendations for measures workers and employers can take to prevent exposures and infections.
You have the right to file a complaint if you feel you are being exposed to a serious health or safety hazard. If you have suffered retaliation because you voiced concerns about a health or safety hazard, you have the right to file a whistleblower protection complaint.
If you believe you have contracted COVID-19 on the job, OSHA recommends several steps you should take, including notifying your supervisor. Your employer can take actions that will keep others in your workplace healthy and may be able to offer you leave flexibilities while you are away from work.
Visit OSHA's Workers page to learn more.
Can my employer force me to work if I have concerns about COVID-19, including a coworker having tested positive, personal medical concerns, or a high-risk family member living at my home?
Generally, your employer may require you to come to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some government emergency orders may affect which businesses can remain open during the pandemic.
Under federal law, you are entitled to a safe workplace. Your employer must provide a safe and healthful workplace. If you have concerns, you have the right to speak up about them without fear of retaliation.
Under section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, a worker who refused to work would be protected from retaliation if:
The worker believes that they faced death or serious injury (and the situation is so clearly hazardous that any reasonable person would believe the same thing);The worker tried, where possible, to get his or her employer to correct the condition, was unable to obtain a correction, and there is no other way to do the job safely; orThe situation is so urgent that the worker does not have time to eliminate the hazard through regulatory channels, such as calling OSHA.See 29 CFR 1977.12(b) for more information.
Employers and workers can visit the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's COVID-19 webpage and frequently asked questions to learn more about reasonable accommodations.
You have the right to file a complaint if you are required to work and believe you are being exposed to a serious health or safety hazard. If you have suffered retaliation because you voiced concerns about a health or safety hazard, you have the right to file a whistleblower protection complaint. No particular form is required and complaints may be submitted in any language.
Visit OSHA's Workers page to learn more.
Can I file an OSHA complaint?
If you believe that your health and safety are in danger, you (or your representative) have the right to file a confidential safety and health complaint with OSHA.
My workplace is running out of hand soap, wipes, and other sanitation products for workers. What can I do to stay safe?
Employers should strive to maintain a sufficient supply of sanitation and hygiene products such as soap or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use when soap and water are not available. Handwashing is an important measure for staying safe. If your workplace is running low, speak to your supervisor about ensuring more is provided.
If soap is not available, CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wear gloves, if needed. Don't touch your nose, mouth, eyes, face, or food with unwashed hands or while wearing gloves. OSHA's sanitation standards (29 CFR 1910.141, 29 CFR 1926.51, 29 CFR 1928.110, 29 CFR 1915.88, and 29 CFR 1917.127) are intended to ensure that workers do not suffer adverse health effects that can result if handwashing facilities and supplies and toilets are not sanitary or available when needed
This guidance may not be applicable in State Plans. https://www.osha.gov/stateplans. This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content, and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires employers to comply with safety and health standards and regulations promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan. In addition, the Act's General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1), requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
Magnetic Covid Arm
Evangelicals are NOT anti-vaxxers
Greetings from the land of Dear Leader DeWine!
Feel free to share on the show, or not. I have some experience with Evangelical Christians.
Currently listening to episode 1346 "Peak Woke" and I can't help but to share some insight into the discussion on Conservative Christians and the vaccines.
I am a member of a fairly large church in Ohio (approximately 1,500-2,000 people per Sunday over 2 services). We are considered a non-denominational church but you would probably call us "Evangelical". I would say a good majority of the church is more conservative due to the location but we do have a fair amount democrats and independents sprinkled in.
I am calling BS on the fact that "Conservative Evangelicals" are rejecting the vaccine because almost all of my church's leadership team has been fully vaccinated and almost everyone in my group of friends has been fully vaccinated. All of them are pretty open to sharing the fact that they got juiced and are sharing their juice cards on the social media platforms.
Bottom line - the media just wants to portray Christians and Conservatives in a bad light.
I'm just hoping enough yahoos in Ohio get vaxxed so my 6 year old doesn't have to wear a mask at school anymore. Talk about child abuse. And if they ever require the vaccine for students, I will be homeschooling my 3 human resources.
I, for one, will be calmly telling everyone who encourages me to get the vaccine that I have an immune system that works. I already had the rona and got over the minor symptoms just fine.
Thanks for reading and thank you for your courage!!
Sincerely,
Matt
India
Indian Health Ambassador Gets COVID Vaccine Live on TV to Show Everyone How Safe It Is - Dies 2 Days Later
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:21
Indian Health Ambassador and former comedian Vivek got his COVID-19 vaccine live on TV in late April to show everyone how safe it is.
The health ambassador died two days later.
LifeSite News reported:
TRENDING: BREAKING: Maricopa County Elections Officials DELETED ENTIRE DATABASE from Voting Machines - Including "All Election Information" from Main Database -- With Copy of Senate Letter
Vivekh, an Indian actor and health ambassador for the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, died two days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine dose earlier this month.
The well-known actor and comedian was admitted to a local hospital on April 16 for cardiac arrest after being vaccinated with Covaxin, an Indian coronavirus vaccine, the day prior. The 59-year-old was brought to the hospital unconscious and underwent a coronary angiogram and angioplasty before his death the following morning, GreatGameIndia reported.
The hospital said that Vivekh suffered acute coronary syndrome with cardiogenic shock and 100% blockage of a blood vessel.
The actor had taken his first dose of Covaxin on Thursday at a televised event with the health secretary of Tamil Nadu to encourage vaccination.
The Purge
New term: Trumpeted
Bill G
Bill Gates media boomerang
Gates Divorce Talks Begun in 2019 on Epstein Link, WSJ Says - Bloomberg
Sun, 09 May 2021 21:37
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"His Womanizing Was Well Known": Flood-'Gates' Open As Biographer Details Microsoft Founder's Salacious Past | ZeroHedge
Wed, 12 May 2021 20:57
Before Bill Gates was known as an elitist nerd masquerading as a leading vaccine expert, the Microsoft co-founder was a hard-partying womanizer who recruited local strippers to attend naked pool parties, and had major issues with infidelity even after marrying Melinda, according to a biography.
The Microsoft co-founder's wild lifestyle was well known among his inner circle '-- but newspapers like the New York Times hid the unflattering reports to continue getting ''spoon-fed stories,'' James Wallace wrote in the 1997 biography, ''Overdrive: Bill Gates and the Race to Control Cyberspace.''
They ''didn't report on the wild bachelor parties that Microsoft's boyish chairman would throw in his Seattle home, for which Gates would visit one of Seattle's all-nude nightclubs and hire dancers to come to his home and swim naked with his friends in his indoor pool,'' Wallace wrote.
It was a continuation from his time at Harvard, where he ''did like to frequent Boston's notorious Combat Zone, with its porn shows, strip joints, and prostitutes,'' Wallace wrote. -NY Post
What's more, Bill continued acting like a bachelor even after he started dating future wife Melinda in 1988.
"He continued to play the field for a while, especially when he was out of town on business, when he would frequently hit on female journalists who covered Microsoft and the company industry," writes Wallace. "His womanizing was well known, although not well reported."
Melinda, who filed for divorce last week after 27 years of marriage which included her husband's friendship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, "was well aware of Gates's womanizing" even after they were in a relationship. The couple "ran hot and cold," wrote the biographer, adding that they "broke up for nearly a year" because Gates wouldn't commit.
"When they got back together again in 1992, however, the relationship grew closer and stronger," he wrote.
One of Gates' exes, Ann Winblad, continued having 'weekends away' with the Microsoft executive even after marrying Melinda in 1994.
"A relationship with Bill early on is a test. Are you smart enough? Do you have enough common sense? Can you make the grade? Are you athletic enough?," Winblad told Wallace, who said Gates asked her opinion on Melinda before settling down.
"Melinda is Bill's pick. He could have chosen any woman as a wife for life. He has chosen her, and that means she is an exceptional woman," Winblad added.
Another ex, Jill Bennett '-- described as his ''first serious girlfriend'' '-- said they split because of Gates' fixation with working long hours.
''In the end, it was difficult to sustain a relationship with someone who could boast a 'seven-hour turnaround' '-- meaning that from the time he left Microsoft to the time he returned in the morning was a mere seven hours,'' she told Wallace. -NY Post
Longtime Gates friend and former Microsoft executive Vern Raburn agreed with the biography's take on Bill - telling the Daily Mail that there was "infidelity' during Gates' early relationship with Melinda.
"Being naked in a pool is no big deal," said Raeburn, but "there's a difference between being naked in a pool with a whole bunch of other people, and being naked in a pool with somebody else, or in a bed with somebody else."
According to Wallace, now 74, Gates "wasn't a choir boy back then."
ðŸ‘🤣 pic.twitter.com/Hiz6r2fWSS
'-- Ali G 🕠(@Ali_G_and_Doge) May 3, 2021"A lot of those Microsoft kids back then, they were young guys in pizza-stained T-shirts for two or three days working on software code," added the biographer. "Then they would have some pretty wild parties, where they would go out and get strippers in Seattle and bring them over to Bill's home."
In short, when rich kid Bill Gates wasn't burning the midnight oil cobbling together 'borrowed' software for DOS and Windows, he was a hard-partying bachelor who had a tough time giving it up for Melinda. Now he's a self-appointed vaccine czar whose wife is leaving after his years-long friendship with a pedophile spilled into the public.
Bill Gates Met With Jeffrey Epstein Many Times, Despite His Past - The New York Times
Wed, 12 May 2021 00:55
At Jeffrey Epstein's Manhattan mansion in 2011, from left: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive; former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers; Mr. Epstein; Bill Gates, Microsoft's co-founder; and Boris Nikolic, who was the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's science adviser. Published Oct. 12, 2019 Updated May 8, 2021 Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who committed suicide in prison, managed to lure an astonishing array of rich, powerful and famous men into his orbit.
There were billionaires (Leslie Wexner and Leon Black), politicians (Bill Clinton and Bill Richardson), Nobel laureates (Murray Gell-Mann and Frank Wilczek) and even royals (Prince Andrew).
[Jeffrey Epstein's charity: An image boost built on deception.]
Few, though, compared in prestige and power to the world's second-richest person, a brilliant and intensely private luminary: Bill Gates. And unlike many others, Mr. Gates started the relationship after Mr. Epstein was convicted of sex crimes.
Mr. Gates, the Microsoft co-founder, whose $100 billion-plus fortune has endowed the world's largest charitable organization, has done his best to minimize his connections to Mr. Epstein. ''I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him,'' he told The Wall Street Journal last month.
In fact, beginning in 2011, Mr. Gates met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions '-- including at least three times at Mr. Epstein's palatial Manhattan townhouse, and at least once staying late into the night, according to interviews with more than a dozen people familiar with the relationship, as well as documents reviewed by The New York Times.
Employees of Mr. Gates's foundation also paid multiple visits to Mr. Epstein's mansion. And Mr. Epstein spoke with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and JPMorgan Chase about a proposed multibillion-dollar charitable fund '-- an arrangement that had the potential to generate enormous fees for Mr. Epstein.
''His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me,'' Mr. Gates emailed colleagues in 2011, after his first get-together with Mr. Epstein.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, said he ''was referring only to the unique d(C)cor of the Epstein residence '-- and Epstein's habit of spontaneously bringing acquaintances in to meet Mr. Gates.''
''It was in no way meant to convey a sense of interest or approval,'' she said.
Over and over, Mr. Epstein managed to cultivate close relationships with some of the world's most powerful men. He lured them with the whiff of money and the proximity to other powerful, famous or wealthy people '-- so much so that many looked past his reputation for sexual misconduct. And the more people he drew into his circle, the easier it was for him to attract others.
Image Melanie Walker, who had known Mr. Epstein since 1992, joined the Gates Foundation as senior program officer in 2006. Credit... Copyright by World Economic Forum/Benedikt von Loebell Mr. Gates and the $51 billion Gates Foundation have championed the well-being of young girls. By the time Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein first met, Mr. Epstein had served jail time for soliciting prostitution from a minor and was required to register as a sex offender.
Ms. Arnold said that ''high-profile people'' had introduced Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein and that they had met multiple times to discuss philanthropy.
''Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,'' Ms. Arnold said. ''Gates recognizes that entertaining Epstein's ideas related to philanthropy gave Epstein an undeserved platform that was at odds with Gates's personal values and the values of his foundation.''
The First MeetingTwo members of Mr. Gates's inner circle '-- Boris Nikolic and Melanie Walker '-- were close to Mr. Epstein and at times functioned as intermediaries between the two men.
Ms. Walker met Mr. Epstein in 1992, six months after graduating from the University of Texas. Mr. Epstein, who was an adviser to Mr. Wexner, the owner of Victoria's Secret, told Ms. Walker that he could land her an audition for a modeling job there, according to Ms. Walker. She later traveled to New York and stayed in a Manhattan apartment building that Mr. Epstein owned. After she graduated from medical school, she said, Mr. Epstein hired her as a science adviser in 1998.
Ms. Walker later met Steven Sinofsky, a senior executive at Microsoft who became president of its Windows division, and moved to Seattle to be with him. In 2006, she joined the Gates Foundation with the title of senior program officer.
At the foundation, Ms. Walker met and befriended Mr. Nikolic, a native of what is now Croatia and a former fellow at Harvard Medical School who was the foundation's science adviser. Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates frequently traveled and socialized together.
Ms. Walker, who had remained in close touch with Mr. Epstein, introduced him to Mr. Nikolic, and the men became friendly.
Mr. Epstein and Mr. Gates first met face to face on the evening of Jan. 31, 2011, at Mr. Epstein's townhouse on the Upper East Side. They were joined by Dr. Eva Andersson-Dubin, a former Miss Sweden whom Mr. Epstein had once dated, and her 15-year-old daughter. (Dr. Andersson-Dubin's husband, the hedge fund billionaire Glenn Dubin, was a friend and business associate of Mr. Epstein's. The Dubins declined to comment.)
The gathering started at 8 and lasted several hours, according to Ms. Arnold, Mr. Gates's spokeswoman. Mr. Epstein subsequently boasted about the meeting in emails to friends and associates. ''Bill's great,'' he wrote in one, reviewed by The Times.
Image Mr. Gates in 2012 with Mr. Nikolic. The two men frequently traveled and socialized together. Mr. Nikolic befriended Mr. Epstein after Ms. Walker introduced them. Credit... Paul Morigi/Getty Images Mr. Gates, in turn, praised Mr. Epstein's charm and intelligence. Emailing colleagues the next day, he said: ''A very attractive Swedish woman and her daughter dropped by and I ended up staying there quite late.''
Mr. Gates soon saw Mr. Epstein again. At a TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., attendees spotted the two men engaged in private conversation.
Later that spring, on May 3, 2011, Mr. Gates again visited Mr. Epstein at his New York mansion, according to emails about the meeting and a photograph reviewed by The Times.
The photo, taken in Mr. Epstein's marble-clad entrance hall, shows a beaming Mr. Epstein '-- in blue-and-gold slippers and a fleece decorated with an American flag '-- flanked by luminaries. On his right: James E. Staley, at the time a senior JPMorgan executive, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. On his left: Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates, smiling and wearing gray slacks and a navy sweater.
A Vast Charitable FundAround that time, the Gates Foundation and JPMorgan were teaming up to create the Global Health Investment Fund. Its goal was to provide ''individual and institutional investors the opportunity to finance late-stage global health technologies that have the potential to save millions of lives in low-income countries.''
As the details of the fund were being hammered out, Mr. Staley told his JPMorgan colleagues that Mr. Epstein wanted to be brought into the discussions, according to two people familiar with the talks. Mr. Epstein was an important JPMorgan customer, holding millions of dollars in accounts at the bank and referring a procession of wealthy individuals to become clients of the company.
Mr. Epstein pitched an idea for a separate charitable fund to JPMorgan officials, including Mr. Staley, and to Mr. Gates's adviser Mr. Nikolic. He envisioned a vast fund, seeded with the Gates Foundation's money, that would focus on health projects around the world, according to five people involved in or briefed on the talks, including current and former Gates Foundation and JPMorgan employees. In addition to the Gates money, Mr. Epstein planned to round up donations from his wealthy friends and, hopefully, from JPMorgan's richest clients.
Mr. Epstein thought he could personally benefit. He circulated a four-page proposal that included a suggestion that he be paid 0.3 percent of whatever money he raised, according to one person who saw the proposal. If Mr. Epstein had raised $10 billion, for example, that would have amounted to $30 million in fees.
Ms. Arnold said Mr. Gates and the foundation had been unaware that Mr. Epstein had been seeking any fee. She said Mr. Epstein ''did propose to Bill Gates and then foundation officials ideas that he promised would unleash hundreds of billions for global health-related work.''
In late 2011, at Mr. Gates's instruction, the foundation sent a team to Mr. Epstein's townhouse to have a preliminary talk about philanthropic fund-raising, according to three people who were there. Mr. Epstein told his guests that if they searched his name on the internet they might conclude he was a bad person but that what he had done '-- soliciting prostitution from an underage girl '-- was no worse than ''stealing a bagel,'' two of the people said.
Image Mr. Gates, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. He was unaware that Mr. Epstein was seeking fees in his proposal for a charitable fund, Mr. Gates's spokeswoman said. Credit... Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters Some of the Gates Foundation employees said they had been unaware of Mr. Epstein's criminal record and had been shocked to learn that the foundation was working with a sex offender. They worried that it could seriously damage the foundation's reputation.
In early 2012, another Gates Foundation team met Mr. Epstein at his mansion. He claimed that he had access to trillions of dollars of his clients' money that he could put in the proposed charitable fund '-- a figure so preposterous that it left his visitors doubting Mr. Epstein's credibility.
Flying to FloridaMr. Gates and Mr. Epstein kept seeing each other. Ms. Arnold would not say how many times the two had met.
In March 2013, Mr. Gates flew on Mr. Epstein's Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Fla., according to a flight manifest. Ms. Arnold said Mr. Gates '-- who has his own $40 million jet '-- hadn't been aware it was Mr. Epstein's plane.
Six months later, Mr. Nikolic and Mr. Gates were in New York for a meeting related to Schr¶dinger, a pharmaceutical software company in which Mr. Gates had a large investment. On that trip, Mr. Epstein and Mr. Gates met for dinner and discussed the Gates Foundation and philanthropy, Ms. Arnold said.
And in October 2014, Mr. Gates donated $2 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab. University officials described the gift in internal emails as having been ''directed'' by Mr. Epstein. Ms. Arnold said, ''There was no intention, nor explicit ask, for the funding to be controlled in any manner by Epstein.''
Soon after, the relationship between Mr. Epstein and Mr. Gates appears to have cooled. The charitable fund that had been discussed with the Gates Foundation never materialized. Mr. Epstein complained to an acquaintance at the end of 2014 that Mr. Gates had stopped talking to him, according to a person familiar with the discussion.
The relationship, however, wasn't entirely severed. At least two senior Gates Foundation officials maintained contacts with Mr. Epstein until late 2017, according to former foundation employees.
Ms. Arnold said the foundation was not aware of any such contact. ''Over time, Gates and his team realized Epstein's capabilities and ideas were not legitimate and all contact with Epstein was discontinued,'' she said.
Days before Mr. Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, he amended his will and named Mr. Nikolic as a fallback executor in the event that one of the two primary executors was unable to serve. (Mr. Nikolic has declined in court proceedings to serve as executor.)
Mr. Nikolic, who is now running a venture capital firm with Mr. Gates as one of his investors, said he was ''shocked'' to be named in Mr. Epstein's will. He said in a statement to The Times: ''I deeply regret ever meeting Mr. Epstein.''
EcoHealth Alliance Global Partners Network
Wed, 12 May 2021 00:55
National Wildlife Health Center, USGSThe National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is a science center of the Biological Resources Discipline of the United States Geological Survey. The NWHC was established in 1975 as a biomedical laboratory dedicated to assessing the impact of disease on wildlife and to identifying the role of various pathogens in contributing to wildlife losses.
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Ministry of Health, MalaysiaThe Ministry of Health Malaysia is responsible for health systems: public health, health behavior, health management, medical research, healthcare tourism, health promotion, dental care, patient safety, medical devices, health institutions, pharmaceutical, and more.
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NYC Department of HealthWith an annual budget of $1.6 billion and more than 6,000 employees throughout the five boroughs, we're one of the largest public health agencies in the world, serving 8 million New Yorkers from diverse ethnic, cultural and economic backgrounds. With over 200 years of leadership in the field, we're also one of our nation's oldest public health agencies.
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Xeni on Twitter: "@BillGates sir you own this." / Twitter
Wed, 12 May 2021 00:05
Xeni : @BillGates sir you own this.
Sat Oct 12 19:25:11 +0000 2019
John Brockman (literary agent) - Wikipedia
Tue, 11 May 2021 23:44
John Brockman (born February 16, 1941) is a literary agent and author specializing in scientific literature. He established the Edge Foundation, an organization that brings together leading edge thinkers across a broad range of scientific and technical fields.
John Brockman
John Brockman in 2009
Born ( 1941-02-16 ) February 16, 1941 (age 80) Occupationliterary agentBrockman was born to immigrants of Polish-Jewish descent in a poor Irish Catholic enclave of Boston, Massachusetts.[1] Expanding on C.P. Snow's "two cultures", he introduced the "third culture"[2] consisting of "those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."
He led a scientific salon for 20 years, asking an annual question to a host of renowned scientists and publishing their answers in book form,[3] which he decided to symbolically close down in 2018.[4]
He is an editor of Edge.org.[5][6]
Association with Jeffrey Epstein Edit In 2019 it was suggested that Brockman was the ''intellectual enabler'' of Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who died awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking girls, who kept Brockman's Edge Foundation on a retainer fee.[7]
Brockman's famous literary dinners'--held during the TED Conference'--were, for a number of years after Epstein's conviction, almost entirely funded by Epstein. This allowed Epstein to mingle with scientists, startup icons and other tech billionaires.[8][9]
Quotes Edit "Traditional American intellectuals are, in a sense, increasingly reactionary, and quite often proudly (and perversely) ignorant of many of the truly significant intellectual accomplishments of our time." [10]"Throughout history, only a small number of people have done the serious thinking for everybody." [10]Bibliography Edit (1969) By the Late John Brockman(1970) 37(1973) "Afterwords: Explorations of the Mystical Limits of Contemporary Reality"(1988) Doing Science: The Reality Club(1995) The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution(1996) Digerati: Encounters with the Cyber Elite(1996) How Things Are: A Science Tool-Kit for the Mind (edited by John Brockman and Katinka Matson), Harper Perennial(2002) The Next Fifty Years: Science in the First Half of the Twenty-First Century(2003) The New Humanists: Science at the Edge(2004) Curious Minds : How a Child becomes a Scientist (edited by John Brockman), New York: Pantheon Books(2006) What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty(2006) Intelligent Thought: Science Versus the Intelligent Design Movement(2007) What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable(2007) What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better(2009) What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything. 150 high-powered thinkers discuss their most telling missteps and reconsiderations with Alan Alda, Brian Eno, Ray Kurzweil, Irene Pepperberg, Steven Pinker, Lisa Randall etc.(2009) This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future (with Patrick Bateson, Oliver Morton, Stephen Schneider, Stewart Brand, Brian Eno, K. Eric Drexler, and others)(2011) Culture: Leading Scientists Explore Societies, Art, Power, and Technology(2011) "Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future"(2012) "This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking"(2013) "This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works"(2014) "What Should We Be Worried About?: The Hidden Threats Nobody Is Talking About"(2015) "This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories that are Blocking Progress(2015) "What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence(2016) "Know This: Today's Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments"(2017) "This Idea is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, and Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know"(2019) Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI (edited by John Brockman)References Edit ^ Dazed (2012-07-08). "John Brockman". Dazed . Retrieved 2020-02-26 . ^ John, Warren St (1999-09-01). "Agent Provocateur". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028 . Retrieved 2019-03-25 . ^ Marcus, Gary (2013-01-15). "What We Should Fear". ISSN 0028-792X . Retrieved 2019-03-25 . ^ The Last John Brockman Edge Question, Wired article. ^ Popova, Maria (2011-09-14). "15 Years of Cutting-Edge Thinking on Understanding the Mind". The Atlantic . Retrieved 2019-03-25 . ^ Naughton, John (2012-01-08). "John Brockman: the man who runs the world's smartest website". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712 . Retrieved 2019-03-25 . ^ Morozov, Evgeny (Aug 22, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein's Intellectual Enabler" . Retrieved Oct 13, 2019 '' via The New Republic. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) ^ Morozov, Evgeny (Sep 7, 2019). "The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites" . Retrieved Oct 13, 2019 '' via www.theguardian.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) ^ "How Jeffrey Epstein Bankrolled An Exclusive Intellectual Boys Club And Reaped The Benefits". BuzzFeed News . Retrieved 2019-11-18 . ^ a b "Introduction | Edge.org". www.edge.org . Retrieved Oct 14, 2019 . CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) Further reading Edit Cultural Studies versus the "Third Culture". Slavoj Žižek. The South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol 101, No 1, pages 19''32 (2002). (article)Counterculture, Cyberculture, and the Third Culture: Reinventing Civilization, Then and Now. Lee Worden. West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California, Iain Boal, Janferie Stone, Michael Watts, Cal Winslow (eds.), pages 199''221. (Oakland, 2012).The "Third Culture Intellectuals" and Charles Darwin. Pascal Fischer. Anglistentag Konstanz 2013: Proceedings (XXXV), pages 71-80 (2014). (article)Neurohistory Is Bunk?: The Not-So-Deep History of the Postclassical Mind. Max Stadler. Isis, Vol 105, No 1, pages 133-144 (2014). (article)Network Celebrity: Entrepreneurship and the New Public Intellectuals. Fred Turner. Christine Larson. Public Culture, Vol 27, No 1, pages 53-84 (2015) (article)External links Edit John BrockmanBrockman's taste for Science or how to entertain the smartest peopleGuardian InterviewJohn Brockman at HuffPost"So What Happens After Happenings?", New York Times, September 4, 1966John Brockman: 40 years of "intermedia kinetic environments"Appearances on C-SPAN
Israel
Bibi's Rockets
Maintain power. This all started after he couldn't form a coalition and the mandate was given to Yair Lapid.
But Lapid needs the Arabs support. If there's a conflict that can't happen because: the Arabs won't support the government actions and there won't be any legitimacy for Lapid to use their support.
BTC
Retail job hopping to incentives at other retail
GameStop and doge
Noodle Gun
Allie Jade OTOTS weighs in on sports
My thoughts on trans MTF in sports: No matter what anyone says, an MTF that has gone through male puberty will always have an advantage, I am 9 years of hormone replacement therapy and life long dudette named Bernadette IE not athletic or played sports and I can still fairly easily pin my wife down who did play sports and has a more active job than I, we are both 34 years old.
I must go now as the future will miss me! Byeeeeeeeee
France roiled by debate over inclusive language
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:19
LE PECQ, France -- The fight to make the French language kinder to women took steps forward, and back, last week.
Warning that the well-being of France and its future are at stake, the government banned the use in schools of a method increasingly used by some French speakers to make the language more inclusive by feminizing some words.
Specifically, the education minister's decree targets what is arguably the most contested and politicized letter in the French language -- "e." Simply put, "e" is the language's feminine letter, used in feminine nouns and their adjectives and, sometimes, when conjugating verbs.
But proponents of women's rights are also increasingly adding "e" to words that normally wouldn't have included that letter, in a conscious -- and divisive -- effort to make women more visible.
Take the generic French word for leaders -- "dirigeants" -- for example. For some, that masculine spelling suggests that they are generally men and makes female leaders invisible because it lacks a feminine "e" toward the end. For proponents of inclusive writing, a more gender-equal spelling is "dirigeant·es," inserting the extra "e," preceded by a middle dot, to make clear that leaders can be of both sexes.
Likewise, they might write "les elu·es" -- instead of the generic masculine "elus" -- for the holders of elective office, again to highlight that women are elected, too. Or they might use "les idiot·es," instead of the usual generic masculine "les idiots," to acknowledge that stupidity isn't the exclusive preserve of men.
Proponents and opponents sometimes split down political lines. France's conservative Republicans party uses "elus"; the left-wing France Unbowed tends toward "elu·es."
"It's a fight to make women visible in the language," said Laurence Rossignol, a Socialist senator who uses the feminizing extra "·e."
Speaking in a phone interview, she said its opponents "are the same activists who were against marriage for people of the same sex, medically assisted reproduction and longer abortion windows. ... It's the new banner under which reactionaries are gathering."
But for the government of centrist President Emmanuel Macron, the use of "·e" threatens the very fabric of France. Speaking in a Senate debate Thursday, a deputy education minister said inclusive writing "is a danger for our country" and will "sound the death knell for the use of French in the world."
By challenging traditional norms of French usage, inclusive writing makes the language harder to learn, penalizing pupils with learning difficulties, argued the minister, Nathalie Elimas.
"It dislocates words, breaks them into two," she said. "With the spread of inclusive writing, the English language -- already quasi-hegemonic across the world -- would certainly and perhaps forever defeat the French language."
The French Education Ministry circular that banished the "·e" formula from schools did, however, accept other more inclusive changes in language to highlight women.
They include systematically feminizing job titles for women -- like "presidente," instead of "president," or "ambassadrice" rather than "ambassadeur" for female ambassadors. It also encouraged the simultaneous use of both masculine and feminine forms to emphasize that roles are filled by both sexes. So a job posting in a school, for example, should say that it will go to "le candidat ou la candidate" -- man or woman -- who is best qualified to fill it.
Raphael Haddad, author of a French-language guide on inclusive writing, said that section of the ministry circular represented progress for the cause of women in French.
"It's a huge step forward, disguised as a ban," he said. "What's happening to the France language is the same thing that happened in the United States, with 'chairman' replaced by 'chairperson' [and] 'fireman' by 'firefighter.'"
Information for this article was contributed by Aritz Parra, Frank Jordans and Nicole Winfield of The Associated Press.
Build Back Better
Retired Officers Question 2020 Election, Biden's Health in Open Letter
Wed, 12 May 2021 18:08
A group named "Flag Officers 4 America" released a letter signed by 124 former military leaders. The letter questioned the 2020 election result and President Joe Biden's physical and mental health. One serving Navy leader told Politico the letter was "disturbing and reckless." Sign up for our daily newsletter 10 Things in Politics You Need to Know Today. More than 120 retired US military leaders have signed an open letter appearing to advance a false conspiracy theory that the 2020 election was rigged and questioning President Joe Biden's mental capacity to serve.
"Without fair and honest elections that accurately reflect the 'will of the people' our Constitutional Republic is lost," said the letter released Tuesday by "Flag Officers 4 America," and signed by 124 former admirals and generals.
"The FBI and Supreme Court must act swiftly when election irregularities are surfaced and not ignore them as was done in 2020."
On its website, Flag Officers 4 America says it is a collection of "retired military leaders who pledged to support and defend the Constitution of the US against all enemies, foreign and domestic."
In the letter, the signatories, many of whom have been out of active service for decades, also addressed concerns over Biden's health.
"The mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief cannot be ignored. He must be able to quickly make accurate national security decisions involving life and limb anywhere, day or night," the letter said.
Insider has contacted the Defense Department for comment.
Read more: A powerful group of anti-Trumpers is threatening to form a new party. Republicans fear it would doom the GOP and render it 'not politically viable.'
Throughout the 2020 election campaign former President Donald Trump regularly cast doubts on Biden's health and suitability to rule, calling him "Sleepy Joe" and saying in March 2020 that there was "something going on" with Biden's mental abilities.
Earlier this month Biden's personal doctor, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, released a report on the president's health, in which he called him a "healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency."
Biden is the oldest serving US president in history, and the White House said this week that the president will undergo a full checkup this year.
Biden addresses a joint session of Congress on April 28. Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP, Pool In the Tuesday letter, the Flag Officers 4 America signatories also laid out what they deem to be the major threats facing the US, namely the rise of China, the rejoining of the Iran nuclear deal, immigration, and the ending of the Keystone Pipeline project.
The signatories also called for the removal of Section 230, a part of US law that shields tech companies from legal liability. Trump called for the section to be removed last year after Twitter flagged two of his tweets about mail-in voting.
"Our Nation is in deep peril," the signatories wrote in the introduction to the letter.
"We are in a fight for our survival as a Constitutional Republic like no other time since our founding in 1776. The conflict is between supporters of Socialism and Marxism vs. supporters of Constitutional freedom and liberty."
'Gross and blatant partisan attack'Several military experts told Politico the letter was an outright partisan attack and dangerous.
One serving Navy officer told Politico the letter was "disturbing and reckless" while Jim Golby, an expert in civil-military relations, told the outlet it was a "shameful effort to use their rank and the military's reputation for such a gross and blatant partisan attack."
The letter's organizer, Maj. Gen. Joe Arbuckle, told Politico: "Retired generals and admirals normally do not engage in political actions, but the situation facing our nation today is dire. ... We are facing threats greater than at any other time since our country was founded. To remain silent would be a dereliction of duty."
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M5M
The poor media are desperate for a Trump tweet
OTG
Smart Speakers Go Beyond Waiting to Be Asked - WSJ
Thu, 13 May 2021 13:49
Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Amazon.com Inc. are experimenting with features for their smart-home devices that more proactively assist users instead of waiting to be called on each time.
Google's newest Nest Hub device can automatically deploy radar to track users' sleep patterns every night, once they set up the feature. The device uses microphones and sound, light and temperature sensors to monitor coughing, snoring and other factors that can affect how well a person sleeps.
The Amazon Echo Show 10 automatically moves its display to face the user, even if it is performing a task that doesn't need user input, like showing a recipe on the screen.
Proactive or not, features in smart-home devices need to address a real user need, not stack the product with unnecessary and potentially confusing tools, said Ashton Udall, senior product manager at Google. The company developed sensor technology to monitor sleep, for example, because its research showed that consumers frequently forget to use or charge the wearables often employed for sleep tracking, or find the devices uncomfortable, he said.
Amazon and Google hope the experiences will help them compete for users and more fully integrate their devices into people's lives.
Smart-speaker adoption continued to increase during the pandemic, with about 94 million people in the U.S. estimated to own at least one smart speaker in 2021, up from 76 million in 2020, according to data from Edison Research. Twenty-four percent of Americans own Amazon's Echo devices and 13% own Google devices, with people who have smart speakers having 2.3 speakers per home on average, according to the data.
But while adoption has increased, device owners tend to try fewer new activities over time, researchers said. Proactive user experiences give tech companies another chance to present how useful smart devices can be, said Tom Webster, senior vice president at Edison Research.
Seamless features that create less friction for common tasks is one way to encourage people to keep trying new activities with these devices, including common tasks such as video calls, he said.
''And if the device kind of invisibly makes that easier, that's really the key to getting people to adopt new behaviors,'' Mr. Webster said.
But consumers still think about voice assistants as command-driven tools, voice technology experts say.
''There's this delicate balance between how to communicate proactively that I can do these things for you, but also being at your beck and call and unobtrusive,'' said Eric Turkington, vice president of strategic partnerships at RAIN Technology Inc., a voice and conversational artificial-intelligence firm.
Google announced updates coming to its smart-home devices with screens last year that proactively address some common tasks. The displays show different user interfaces that change throughout the day, showing the weather at one point, for example, and users' upcoming meetings at another time. In the evening, the device suggests ways for users to wind down, such as listening to relaxing sounds.
Nest Hub devices also automatically enlarge the information on their screens when people are farther away and surface more granular details as people get closer.
Proactive user experiences in smart-home technology are still nascent, said Toni Reid, vice president of the Alexa experience at Amazon.
''It can be absolutely magical'--but you also can get it wrong,'' Ms. Reid said. ''And so you need to make sure that what you're building actually does create delight.''
''The more that a truly ambient experience that's happening and it is proactive and it is helping the customer, it actually reduces the burden or cognitive load on a customer to have to think about all the things that Alexa might be capable of doing,'' Ms. Reid added.
Product features designed to anticipate someone's needs, like car headlights that automatically turn on at night, have been around for many years. But technologies like smart-home devices have a chance to help users with mundane, everyday tasks, said Ben Williams, global chief experience officer at R/GA, a digital agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.
''We've grown tired of repeat functions,'' Mr. Williams said.
Write to Ann-Marie Alcntara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com
Clips
VIDEO - (159) Illinois politicians cashing in on little-known pension perk - YouTube
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:50
VIDEO - Austin ISD revising COVID-19 protocols around masks | KVUE - YouTube
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:47
VIDEO - CNN's Dr. Gupta: 'Science Is Not Necessarily Being Followed' by CDC, 'We're Probably Doing Things That We Don't Need to'
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:43
On Wednesday's broadcast of CNN's ''New Day,'' CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta criticized the CDC for issuing coronavirus guidance that doesn't necessarily follow science, which results in people ''doing things that we don't need to be doing.'' Gupta also said he can understand why Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said she doesn't consider the CDC the ''gold standard'' anymore.
Gupta began by discussing school reopenings and said that ''we could have probably opened schools, in some ways, based on the knowledge that we had, much earlier.''
After viewing the clip of Collins, Gupta stated, ''It pains me to say this, but I see where she's coming from '-- Sen. Collins '-- on this. I think for a long time, the concern was the CDC was providing guidance at the beginning of the pandemic that was not scientifically based. And as a result, we didn't do things that we should have done in this country that could have greatly mitigated what has happened here. And now I think it's almost a little bit of the reverse problem. The science is not necessarily being followed to the same extent. And as a result, we're probably doing things that we don't need to be doing. So, in the end, the CDC needs to be just a science-based organization. What does the science say? You don't need to wear a mask outside. It's just one of these things that, again, we've known this for some time.''
Gupta continued that while it's difficult to paint the whole country with a broad brush on indoor masking due to different transmission rates in different areas and people in areas with high transmission probably need to be more cautious, ''If you're vaccinated, I don't think you need to wear a mask indoors either. So, this is what the science is sort of showing, and I think the CDC just needs to probably say that. They're erring on the side of caution. I get it. '... But I think, at this point, it has to be very clear what the science shows and what you can do as a result of that.''
(h/t Daily Caller)
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
VIDEO - GoLocalProv | East Coast Faces Gas Price Spike Due to Ransomware on Pipeline, Raimondo Says Attacks More Often
Thu, 13 May 2021 03:38
Monday, May 10, 2021
GoLocalProv News Team
View Larger +
Raimondo appeared on Face the Nation
The ransomware attack that hit the
largest U.S. fuel pipeline over the weekend exposed how cybercriminals pose a major threat to America's vulnerable energy infrastructure.
The implications are significant for the country and especially for the Northeast which is expected to see gasoline prices spike.
GET THE LATEST BREAKING NEWS HERE -- SIGN UP FOR GOLOCAL FREE DAILY EBLAST''Colonial Pipeline Co. closed its entire 5,500-mile conduit carrying gasoline and other fuels from the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area Friday as it moved to contain an assault that involved ransomware, code that holds computer systems hostage. So far, no evidence has emerged that the attackers penetrated the vital control systems that run the pipeline, according to people familiar with the matter,'' according to the Wall Street Journal.
Colonial Sunday night issued a statement, ''On May 7, Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack and has since determined that the incident involved ransomware. Quickly after learning of the attack, Colonial proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat. These actions temporarily halted all pipeline operations and affected some of our IT systems, which we are actively in the process of restoring.''
''Leading, third-party cybersecurity experts were also immediately engaged after discovering the issue and launched an investigation into the nature and scope of this incident. We have remained in contact with law enforcement and other federal agencies, including the Department of Energy who is leading the Federal Government response,'' said the company.
Raimondo Says this is the First of Many Cyberattacks
This security breach is of deep concern to the Biden Administration who are warning this may be the beginning of many attacks.
Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo appeared on Face the Nation on Sunday and warned that this type of cyberattacks may become more frequent.
''This is what businesses now have to worry about, and I will be working very closely with Ali Mayorkas [Secretary of Homeland Security] on this. It's a top priority for the administration. Unfortunately, these sorts of attacks are becoming more frequent. They're here to stay and we have to work in partnership with businesses to...secure networks, to defend ourselves against these attacks,'' said Raimondo.
''As it relates to Colonial, the president was briefed yesterday. It's an all-hands-on-deck effort right now. And we are working closely with the company, state and local officials to, you know, make sure that they get back up to normal operations as quickly as possible and there aren't disruptions in supply,'' added Raimondo.
"Many machines that control pipelines, refineries and power plants are well past their prime, have few protections against sophisticated attacks and could be manipulated to muck with equipment or cause damage, cybersecurity experts say, according to the Wall Street Journal. "The 5,500-mile Colonial Pipeline system carries roughly 45% of gasoline and diesel fuel consumed on the East Coast.''
Colonial said that ''Maintaining the operational security of our pipeline, in addition to safely bringing our systems back online, remain our highest priorities. Over the past 48 hours, Colonial Pipeline personnel have taken additional precautionary measures to help further monitor and protect the safety and security of its pipeline.''
''The Colonial Pipeline operations team is developing a system restart plan. While our mainlines (Lines 1, 2, 3 and 4) remain offline, some smaller lateral lines between terminals and delivery points are now operational. We are in the process of restoring service to other laterals and will bring our full system back online only when we believe it is safe to do so, and in full compliance with the approval of all federal regulations, added the company.
''At this time, our primary focus continues to be the safe and efficient restoration of service to our pipeline system, while minimizing disruption to our customers and all those who rely on Colonial Pipeline. We appreciate the patience and outpouring of support we have received from others throughout the industry,'' concluded Colonial in its statement.
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VIDEO - Institute for Security and Technology (IST) >> Our Events
Wed, 12 May 2021 22:32
Ransomware Task Force To Unveil Comprehensive Framework To Combat Ransomware
Ransomware is one of society's most pervasive threats and poses a critical risk to both national and global security. This destructive cybercrime, which results in staggering financial losses and puts human life at risk, will need commitment from every level of government and private industry to mitigate this evolving threat.
The Institute for Security and Technology (IST) '-- in partnership with a broad coalition of experts in industry, government, law enforcement, civil society, and international organizations who have joined IST's Ransomware Task Force (RTF) '-- will deliver a comprehensive framework to combat ransomware on Thursday, April 29. At 10 AM PT/1 PM ET. This online event will feature:
A Keynote from the Honorable Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security
Recommendations '-- A variety of engagements with the RTF Co-Chairs to delve into the challenges posed by the ransomware threat and the comprehensive framework:
Retired U.S. Army Major General John A. Davis, Vice President of Public Sector, Palo Alto Networks
Megan Stifel, Executive Director, Americas, Global Cyber Alliance
Michael Phillips, Chief Claims Officer, Resilience Insurance
Kemba Walden, Assistant General Counsel, Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
Chris Painter, President, Global Forum on Cyber Expertise Foundation
Jen Ellis, Vice President of Community and Public Affairs, Rapid7
Michael Daniel, President & CEO, Cyber Threat Alliance
Philip Reiner, CEO, Institute for Security and Technology
Join us on Thursday, April 29th, 2021. Register now to save the date for this important conversation.
Check Out IST's Previous Events
VIDEO - 14 minutes Griffin - Cancer - The Forbidden Cures - YouTube
Wed, 12 May 2021 16:46
VIDEO - (157) Peter McCullough, MD testifies to Texas Senate HHS Committee - YouTube
Wed, 12 May 2021 15:37
VIDEO - Beto O'Rourke Leads Libtard Clown Show Protesting Texas Bill SB7 Upholding Election Integrity
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VIDEO - Curtis Houck on Twitter: "Absolutely ghoulish. Never let a crisis go to waste! White House reporter eagerly asks Energy Secretary Granholm how these gas shortages due to the Colonial pipeline will help the administration push people toward accepti
Wed, 12 May 2021 11:07
Curtis Houck : Absolutely ghoulish. Never let a crisis go to waste!White House reporter eagerly asks Energy Secretary Granholm h'... https://t.co/X69AOJ7xyZ
Tue May 11 18:43:23 +0000 2021
UMA : @CurtisHouck And I was honestly expecting that sentence to end with "overcoming vaccine hesitancy and accepting vaccinations".
Wed May 12 11:06:23 +0000 2021
Jose Grafals : @CurtisHouck @benshapiro What other way to push their agenda but by causing energy problems and then telling the pu'... https://t.co/nEKq8aw3x4
Wed May 12 10:57:58 +0000 2021
Brian : @CurtisHouck @benshapiro What a joke! These people have destroyed our country in 7 months.
Wed May 12 10:39:02 +0000 2021
kissmyasstwatter : @CurtisHouck That f'n smile on her face....real funny huh? This is why I always wanted to throw a brick thru the tv'... https://t.co/gGwVuTV1kF
Wed May 12 10:26:23 +0000 2021
#Sledgehammer ðŸ--¨#ARAS : @CurtisHouck WTAF is this Canadian on about now?!?
Wed May 12 10:13:37 +0000 2021
jmbhhk : @CurtisHouck Everything with an internet or cell connection is hackable and even things that sit behind off the gri'... https://t.co/AgyCDxRj2v
Wed May 12 09:17:56 +0000 2021
VIDEO - ALT SEASON GAINS on Twitter: "https://t.co/2jfrpuUw4y The difference between the NBC coverage (above) and the CSPAN coverage (below) is absolutely obscene. https://t.co/gwqLNckVdQ" / Twitter
Wed, 12 May 2021 05:26
ALT SEASON GAINS : https://t.co/2jfrpuUw4yThe difference between the NBC coverage (above) and the CSPAN coverage (below) is absolutel'... https://t.co/DvG8pYjgRU
Wed May 12 05:09:53 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Rand Paul Confronts Biden's Transgender Health Nominee About "Genital Mutilation" - YouTube
Wed, 12 May 2021 02:56
VIDEO - Rand Paul EXPOSES Dr. Fauci on Live TV in FIERY Moment - YouTube
Wed, 12 May 2021 00:57
VIDEO - Alex Friedman, CFO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on innovations in philanthropy | Milken Institute
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Details11/16/2009Alex Friedman, CFO, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, on innovations in philanthropy
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VIDEO - Curtis Houck on Twitter: "Absolutely ghoulish. Never let a crisis go to waste! White House reporter eagerly asks Energy Secretary Granholm how these gas shortages due to the Colonial pipeline will help the administration push people toward accepti
Tue, 11 May 2021 22:09
Curtis Houck : Absolutely ghoulish. Never let a crisis go to waste!White House reporter eagerly asks Energy Secretary Granholm h'... https://t.co/X69AOJ7xyZ
Tue May 11 18:43:23 +0000 2021
Tim Hoopes : @CurtisHouck @benshapiro Remember - it took less than 3 months to create this mess and take us from complete energy'... https://t.co/cBeS0AQyDx
Tue May 11 22:02:58 +0000 2021
sellwrite : @CurtisHouck Won't affect electric vehicle owners - What fuel is used to produce the electricity?
Tue May 11 21:57:48 +0000 2021
Safuan : @CurtisHouck @benshapiro Great reporting 👍ðŸ>>, Im sure if u checked the video she laughed and smirked uncontrollably'... https://t.co/mhZFGURX1A
Tue May 11 21:57:31 +0000 2021
Buffy Glisterton : @CurtisHouck @benshapiro I'm more confused now than ever!
Tue May 11 21:56:30 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Dr. Fauci and CDC Director Walensky Testify on Efforts to Combat COVID-19 | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 11 May 2021 21:17
May 11, 2021 2021-05-11T10:04:38-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/011/20210511101438001_hd.jpg The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnesses included Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Dr. Fauci said the Biden administration's aim to have 70 percent of adult Americans vaccinated with at least one shot was ''an attainable goal'' and that if the U.S. continued its rate of vaccinations, it would have ''so few infections in this country, we will begin to return to a normality that all of us desire so much.'' Dr. Walensky testified that while she was encouraged by the decreased rate of COVID-19 infections, she encouraged Americans to ''remain vigilant.'' The witnesses, who also included HHS COVID-19 Response Chief Dr. David Kessler and FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks, answered a variety of questions regarding updating the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines, vaccinating children, the potential need for booster shots, and worldwide vaccination efforts.The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnesses included Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle'... read more
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee held a hearing on efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Witnesses included Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. Dr. Fauci said the Biden administration's aim to have 70 percent of adult Americans vaccinated with at least one shot was ''an attainable goal'' and that if the U.S. continued its rate of vaccinations, it would have ''so few infections in this country, we will begin to return to a normality that all of us desire so much.'' Dr. Walensky testified that while she was encouraged by the decreased rate of COVID-19 infections, she encouraged Americans to ''remain vigilant.'' The witnesses, who also included HHS COVID-19 Response Chief Dr. David Kessler and FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks, answered a variety of questions regarding updating the CDC's COVID-19 guidelines, vaccinating children, the potential need for booster shots, and worldwide vaccination efforts. close
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People in this videoMore People Hosting OrganizationSenate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions CommitteeSenate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Featured Clips from This Video 11:10 AM Senator Collins Says Conflicting and Confusing Guidance Has Undermined Confidence in CDCMaine Republican Senator Susan Collins says she used to consider the CDC to be the Gold Standard, but that she doesn't'...
7 minutes333 views 10:57 AM Senator Paul and Dr. Fauci Clash Over Research Funding of Wuhan LabSenator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Anthony Fauci, have a heated exchange about the funding of gain of function research'...
7 minutes7,987 views 10:19 AM CDC Director "Cautiously Optimistic" As COVID-19 Infections, Hospitalizations and Deaths Decline in U.S.CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky expresses cautious optimism as the number of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations,'...
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VIDEO - MAGNET STICKS TO WOMANS ARM AFTER VACCINE
Tue, 11 May 2021 20:14
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VIDEO - Stanley Druckenmiller: Fed endangering dollar's global reserve status
Tue, 11 May 2021 17:26
Federal Reserve policies aimed at keeping markets and the economy afloat during the pandemic could end up threatening the long-term health of the U.S. dollar, investing magnate Stanley Druckenmiller told CNBC on Tuesday.
The chairman and CEO of Duquesne Family Office said the Fed's insistence on holding interest rates down and buying trillions in bonds even though markets are thriving and the economy is booming is a long-term risk.
"I can't find any period in history where monetary and fiscal policy were this out of step with the economic circumstances, not one," Druckenmiller said during a"Squawk Box" interview.
Though he does not take issue with the Fed's initial actions to combat the pandemic-related threats, Druckenmiller said the central bank has kept its foot on the accelerator too long.
He asserted that the Fed has continued its policies to help underwrite the spending binge in Congress, which has allocated more than $5 trillion in stimulus and is contemplating trillions more in infrastructure-related spending.
Over the long haul, he said, the policies and the heavy debts and deficits they support will threaten the dollar's standing as the world's reserve currency. That status means the dollar is accepted for transactions and as a store of wealth anywhere and is widely held by central banks around the world.
"If they want to do all this and risk our reserve currency status, risk an asset bubble blowing up, so be it. But I think we ought to at least have a conversation about it," Druckenmiller said.
"If we're going to monetize our debt and we're going to enable more and more of this spending, that's why I'm worried now for the first time that within 15 years we lose reserve currency status and of course all the unbelievable benefits that have accrued with it," he added.
To be sure, others have warned in the past that Fed excesses could threaten the dollar, but the greenback has retained its position in the world.
One reason for that is there have been no other viable alternatives introduced.
Druckemiller has entertained the thought that a challenge could come from the crypto world. He said in the CNBC interview that the ultimate solution could be "some kind of ledger system invented by some kids from MIT or Stanford" though he conceded that "I don't know what it will be."
However, he noted that in the early days of the pandemic, other foreign governments already voiced their concerns about the dollar by selling Treasurys, the opposite of what normally would happen in a crisis when ultra-safe U.S. debt is generally seen as a haven.
Indeed, foreign holdings of government bills, notes and bonds actually have decreased, falling by $127 billion or nearly 2% over the past year, according to Treasury Department data. Foreigners hold nearly one-third of the public portion of the $28.2 trillion U.S. debt.
Druckenmiller said central banks have been the root of a lack of confidence in dollar stability.
"The problem has been clearly identified. It's [Fed Chair[ Jerome Powell and the rest of the world's central bankers," he said. "There's a lack of trust."
Druckenmiller's comments came a day after he and Duquesne partner Christian Broda said in an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal that Powell "needs to recognize the likelihood of future political pressures on the Fed and stop enabling financial and market excesses."
Similarly, former New York Fed President William Dudley wrote in Bloomberg News that markets are underestimating how much the central bank will have to raise interest rates in the years ahead to keep up with the inflation it is trying to foster.
The Fed itself, in its semiannual Financial Stability Report last week, said it worried about risks coming from soaring asset prices.
Druckenmiller told CNBC he has "no doubt whatsoever that we are in a raging mania in all assets."
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VIDEO - WorldWideNews24 (XII) on Twitter: "If you disagree with the chief medical advisor you might as well tie a rope around your next and jump over a bridge....Doug is scared shitless. Who are the puppet masters? https://t.co/aSEEbwsMfF" / Twitter
Tue, 11 May 2021 14:23
WorldWideNews24 (XII) : If you disagree with the chief medical advisor you might as well tie a rope around your next and jump over a bridge'... https://t.co/w5dfPUONoB
Tue May 11 00:26:30 +0000 2021
The Awakener : @News24Wide World Health Organization and China
Tue May 11 14:09:39 +0000 2021
RH : @News24Wide #FireFordOpenOntario
Tue May 11 13:29:45 +0000 2021
Ksks : @News24Wide Basically we DON'T elect people to make decisions for us, we just elect people to tell us what's been d'... https://t.co/xa0ODcUzhp
Tue May 11 13:28:53 +0000 2021
Canadian Dirt '– '¥ '– : @News24Wide Grab some balls there Ford! My God, you think you can't speak up? Then why the F'n Hell are you in politics??
Tue May 11 12:53:59 +0000 2021
PhaaðŸ'ho : @News24Wide https://t.co/AOHeSUxgWZ
Tue May 11 12:18:44 +0000 2021
Bryan Olson (OLASON) 🇨ðŸ‡...🇺🇸🇮🇸 : @News24Wide ðŸðŸðŸðŸ‡¨ðŸ‡...🇨ðŸ‡...🇨ðŸ‡...ðŸ'ðŸ'ðŸ' https://t.co/Da4OftROz4
Tue May 11 12:06:37 +0000 2021
Alexander Fahr : @News24Wide Dougie admitting he is a spineless eunuch. He just finished himself.
Tue May 11 12:02:28 +0000 2021
Danuta **** : @News24Wide wht are you so scared Doug Ford, are the bosses blackmailing you?
Tue May 11 11:41:47 +0000 2021
Marco T : @News24Wide Like Barry and Honey Sherman?
Tue May 11 11:31:58 +0000 2021
JCCZ🍁🇨ðŸ‡... : @News24Wide @DavidMilley22 We are watching the movie
Tue May 11 11:14:52 +0000 2021
Didtheearthmoveforyou? : @News24Wide @DavidMilley22 i hear deliberate dereliction of duty.Not looking and signing is the trouble with polit'... https://t.co/z7xyCNRSqq
Tue May 11 10:11:55 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Facing A Recall, Gov. Newsom Says More Stimulus Checks Are On The Way : NPR
Tue, 11 May 2021 11:52
Facing A Recall And A Massive Surplus, Gov. Newsom Proposes More Stimulus Checks California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Oakland, Calif., on Monday where he announced a new round of $600 stimulus checks residents making up to $75,000 a year. Newsom also announced a projected $75.7 billion budget surplus compared to last year's projected $54.3 billion shortfall. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference in Oakland, Calif., on Monday where he announced a new round of $600 stimulus checks residents making up to $75,000 a year. Newsom also announced a projected $75.7 billion budget surplus compared to last year's projected $54.3 billion shortfall.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images A year after slashing spending to fill a record-breaking deficit spurred by the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is eyeing a massive surplus and hopes to send out a second, larger round of stimulus checks to residents.
"It's a remarkable, remarkable turnaround," Newsom said in an interview with All Things Considered Monday.
California's progressive tax structure means the state budget suffered early in the pandemic but quickly rebounded, bolstered by capital gains taxes and high-income earners who've seen their wealth grow over the past year.
Newsom, who will likely face a recall election later this year, announced a plan to send billions of dollars back to taxpayers. If approved, the state would give $600 checks to workers who earn up to $75,000 annually, with $500 bonuses for tax filers with dependents and undocumented families.
Newsom said 80% of the state's workers and two-thirds of all residents would benefit from the plan.
State law requires that taxpayers get a rebate when a budget surplus hits a certain size, which has only happened once in California in more than 40 years. A spokesperson for the California Department of Finance said the numbers for this year's state budget won't be finalized until 2023.
Newsom said his stimulus proposal, which totals just under $12 billion in relief, goes "well above and beyond what is projected to be required" by the law. He claimed it is "the largest tax relief year-over-year in U.S. history as well, not just California history."
Several Republican lawmakers called Newsom's proposal the "recall refund," noting the governor announced the plan weeks after state officials confirmed the petition to recall him has enough valid signatures to go before voters.
State Sen. Scott Wilk used the hashtag #RecallRebate in a tweet calling out the governor's plan.
Newsom has denied the timing of the stimulus plan is tied to his political future and painted the recall effort as one funded and pushed by Republicans.
"It is a Republican-backed recall period, full stop," he said.
"To the extent that people rightfully and understandably were stressed and anxious over the last year because of this pandemic-induced recession and all the struggle, I completely respect and understand why some may have filled out a petition. But at the end of the day, this is what it is, a Republican-backed recall."
Lawmakers need to sign off on the stimulus plan but leaders of the budget committee attended the announcement in support, signaling it will pass.
VIDEO - Two experts on what was behind Monday's Big Tech sell-off - YouTube
Tue, 11 May 2021 11:41
VIDEO - Buttigieg Uses Colonial Pipeline Hack to Push $2T 'Infrastructure Bill' -- 'Excellent, Modern Infrastructure' a Nat'l Security Issue
Tue, 11 May 2021 03:31
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said Monday on MSNBC's ''Deadline'' that President Joe Biden's roughly $2 trillion plan for the nation's infrastructure was needed for ''national security.''
Referencing a cyber attack shutting down the Colonial Pipeline, anchor Nicolle Wallace said, ''I wonder if you can tell us how the proposed infrastructure bill would have protected this pipeline from a cyber attack and whether that is central to all those things that I know some of your conservatives make fun of, things that aren't actually tangible roads and bridges.''
Buttigieg said, ''Right, I mean, this is one more reminder that infrastructure in the U.S. means a lot more than roads and bridges. Although I would remind everybody that the American Jobs Plan has a huge amount of resources to improve roads and bridges in this country among many other things.''
He continued, ''The truth is that having excellent, modern infrastructure has always been a national security issue, and we are less safe and secure any time that we allow our infrastructure to degrade or to be behind the times.''
Buttigieg added, ''That's true when we think about roads and bridges, obviously. It's a safety issue if they're not in good shape. But it's also true as we're confronting threats of the future ranging from climate security to cybersecurity. It's one of the reasons why there is such a robust amount of funding for resilience built into the President's American Jobs Plan, an awareness that we need to be preparing and building for the future.''
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN
VIDEO - Nolte: Van Morrison Is Being Blacklisted for Anti-Media Song
Tue, 11 May 2021 00:21
Van Morrison, the 75-year-old legendary singer-songwriter behind ''Moondance,'' ''Gloria,'' ''Brown-Eyed Girl,'' ''Tupelo Honey,'' and countless other classics, is being blacklisted for his latest act of WrongThink.
If you recall, late last year, Morrison began speaking out against the coronavirus lockdowns, which open states like Texas and Florida have exposed as anti-science.
''[T]hose who are shutting down our economy haven't missed a paycheck since lockdown began. We are not in this together,'' he tweeted in December. In a separate tweet, he added, ''10 months on and the @niexecutive still hasn't presented the science for the Northern Ireland lockdown.''
In September of last year, Morrison released three songs blasting the world governments' lockdown policies. In November, Morrison teamed up with fellow legend Eric Clapton for ''Stand and Deliver,'' another song attacking lockdowns.
Naturally, Morrison and Clapton were vilified by the anti-science Woke Gestapo, especially those who infest the establishment media. Well, now, and only because he's all kinds of awesome, Morrison has released ''They Own the Media,'' a blistering critique of the fake news media. Here's a sample of the lyrics:
They tell us that ignorance is blissI guess by those that control the media, it isThey own the media, they control the stories we are toldIf you ever try to go against them, you will be ignored
'...
They control the narrative, they perpetuate the mythKeep on telling you lies, tell you ignorance is blissBelieve it all and you'll never get the truthNever get wise, wise through their lies
All true. Every word, true; and this is an artist actually being brave, not pretending to be brave as the establishment gushes over him'...
Here's the full song:
And so, now the blacklisting of Van Morrison has begun with the usual-usual racist/crazy/stupid narrative the establishment uses to destroy those guilty of WrongThink.
Here's a sample'...
Far-left Variety: '''They Own the Media': The 10 Craziest Lyrics From Van Morrison's Latest Album''
His new release, the double album ''Latest Record Project, Vol. 1,'' spans over two hours and consists of a series of bizarre rants and blues numbers that criticize millennial culture, Facebook, the mainstream media, psychiatrists, judges and, with no apparent irony, people who bitch.
The new album came under fire before it was even released, with the song title ''They Own the Media'' accused of mirroring a common antisemitic trope, although he leaves unspoken who the media-controlling ''they'' are in the lyrics.
For good measure, Variety added that ''Van Morrison put the 'crazy' in 'Crazy Love''' and ''his recent tracks have often been invoked in the same breath as 'tinfoil hat.'''
The far-left L.A. Times: ''After riling fans with anti-lockdown songs, Van Morrison now accused of anti-Semitism.''
''Latest Record Project, Vol. 1,'' a new two-hour, 28-track double album, doesn't include those tunes. Instead, it veers off in a conspiratorially cranky direction with songs titled ''The Long Con,'' ''Big Lie,'' ''Why Are You on Facebook'' and ''Stop Bitching. Do Something.''
The far-left Guardian: ''Van Morrison: Latest Record Project Volume 1 review '' depressing rants by tinfoil milliner.''
The far-left Rolling Stone: ''Van Morrison's 'Latest Record Project' Is a Delightfully Terrible Study in Casual Grievance.''
His repetition sounds less like the trance-like mysticism of a Caledonia poet and more like a furious customer demanding a refund.
'...
Morrison's new record bears a strange resemblance to the unhinged, rambling feel of the pandemic-era internet: more often than not, its 28 tracks come across as a collection of shitposts, subtweets, and Reddit rants set to knockoff John Lee Hooker grooves.
This is how modern-day blacklisting works'... Although plenty of left-wing artists have released songs every bit as blatantly political as what Morrison has, because his protest songs are guilty of WrongThink, because he's protesting against fascism instead of lobbying in favor of it, he's being eviscerated and turned into something socially unacceptable '-- not for the quality of the music, but for his message.
Suddenly after a 50-year career, he's a bigot with no talent, a crazy, a tinfoil hat-wearer, dangerous, scary, off his rocker, uninformed, and dangerous.
We've seen this a million times. As soon as an Oscar-winner like Jon Voight or a world-class comedian like Dennis Miller come out of the closet as right-leaning, they can no longer act, they are no longer funny, and they're raciststupidcrazies no one would dare work with.
As far as I'm concerned, Morrison and Clapton and Who frontman Roger Daltrey are three of the very few artists from the 60s and 70s who have remained true to what that era was supposed to stand for, which, if boiled down to a word, is Individualism. The rest, like the decrepit Rolling Stones, have completely sold out to The Man.
VIDEO - Steve Hilton investigates origins of COVID-19, links to US commissioned research | Fox News Video
Mon, 10 May 2021 20:38
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VIDEO - Dr. Fauci's Entire Career and Reputation Now Hinge On This One Video'... - Revolver
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If you were online last year around this time, your social media timeline was likely flooded with an endless stream of stories and memes featuring bats.
The coronavirus was just gaining steam back in January of 2020 and rumors were swirling that the virus started because Chinese people ate ''bat soup.''
While most of the bat-themed stories and memes were outlandish, the Worldwide Health Organization ( WHO ) did admit that Covid-19 and bats are most likely ancestrally linked. However, that's where they say the connection ends. WHO still claims the origins of Covid-19 remain a mystery.
Until now'...
A bombshell investigative report from Fox News host Steve Hilton has shed all-new light on the origins of Covid-19, and according to the report, it has nothing to do with bat soup and everything to do with Dr. Fauci and ferrets.
Yes, ferrets.
Ferrets are those adorable-looking fury little weasels that many Americans keep as pets'... and Dr. Fauci is that annoying little weasel Americans can't get rid of.
And when these two weasels finally came together inside a research lab in Wuhan, China, something unthinkable occurred '-- a deadly and destructive pandemic was created and unleashed upon the world.
That's what Steve Hilton is claiming in his new investigation into the origin of the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, the story of Covid-19 doesn't start in Wuhan, China. It actually began about ten years ago in a Netherlands research lab.
An innovative epidemiological study took place at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands. Researchers were looking to discover different ways respiratory viruses reacted in humans. Scientists used ferrets in their study because ferrets have similar pulmonary structures to humans, with well-developed respiratory bronchioles and submucosal glands.
Specifically, researchers wanted to know if a non-airborne virus could be mutated in order to become a contagious airborne disease.
So, in order to find this out, researchers injected the ferrets with a flu virus and after a series of tests, they discovered that yes, non-airborne viruses could be manipulated to become much stronger and spread via respiratory droplets.
The findings were groundbreaking and this study paved the way for an entirely new type of scientific genomics research called ''gain-of-function.''
The point of gain-of-function research was to replicate in a lab what had been done with the ferrets in the Netherlands '-- to take a virus and manipulate and mutate it to make it ''stronger'' in order to see if it will ''gain new function.''
On the surface, it sounds a bit ghoulish and almost ''Frankenstein-like,'' but imagine the advances medical research could make in the field of virus testing and vaccines simply by recreating these viruses in a lab.
Gain-of-function research was based on the philosophy, ''keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.''
However, when you keep your enemies that close, you run the risk of getting burned.
Creating these ungodly strong and highly contagious viruses for research purposes could lead to an accidental or nefarious catastrophe of epic proportions.
But even so, and despite the danger, many in the scientific community believed the potential for progress outweighed the tremendous risks involved.
Dr. Anthony Fauci was one of those people.
The gain-of-function research quickly spread to labs all over the world and the money was flowing in from all corners of the globe, including the United States.
According to a Newsweek piece written in 2019, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Fauci-led National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), committed $3.7 million dollars to research bats and coronaviruses in China over a six-year period.
It's worth noting in that Newsweek piece that US intelligence backtracked from their earlier claims that the coronavirus outbreak occurred ''naturally,'' and conceded that the pandemic ''might'' have started from a leak in the Wuhan lab.
But this new research wasn't just about bats. It went deeper and darker than that. As a matter of fact, Dr. Fauci was among the first to fund the controversial gain-of-function ferret research in Wuhan, China. Fauci was so committed to the controversial work that back in 2011 he wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post, entitled, ''A Flu Virus Risk Worth Taking,'' where he vigorously defended gain-of-function research.
But something very interesting took place right before Obama's moratorium on gain-of-function took effect.
Dr. Fauci had commissioned a study to assess the risk of new coronaviruses emerging from wild animals. Fauci wanted to see what viruses could infect animals and humans. The directive behind the research and written in the project summary was gain-of-function manipulation.
But the Obama admin was getting cold feet about the program.
While many in the scientific community (like Fauci) were very excited by gain-of-function research, the more popular it became, the more scrutiny it received, and significant security issues were being raised. Eventually, the controversy got to be too much and in 2014 the United States pulled the plug.
NPR reported that the Obama administration was concerned about any research that could make the viruses more dangerous, so they wanted to stop and review studies to see if they could make these germs capable of causing more disease or spreading easily through the air.
This is the official US statement on defunding gain-of-function research.
Gain-of-function studies, or research that improves the ability of a pathogen to cause disease, help define the fundamental nature of human-pathogen interactions, thereby enabling assessment of the pandemic potential of emerging infectious agents, informing public health and preparedness efforts, and furthering medical countermeasure development. Gain-of-function studies may entail biosafety and biosecurity risks; therefore, the risks and benefits of gain-of-function research must be evaluated, both in the context of recent U.S. biosafety incidents and to keep pace with new technological developments, in order to determine which types of studies should go forward and under what conditions.
In light of recent concerns regarding biosafety and biosecurity, effective immediately, the U.S. Government (USG) will pause new USG funding for gain-of-function research on influenza, MERS or SARS viruses, as defined below. This research funding pause will be effective until a robust and broad deliberative process is completed that results in the adoption of a new USG gain-of-function research policy 1 . Restrictions on new funding will apply as follows: New USG funding will not be released for gain-of-function research projects that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route. The research funding pause would not apply to characterization or testing of naturally occurring influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses, unless the tests are reasonably anticipated to increase transmissibility and/or pathogenicity. [PHE.gov]
But Dr. Fauci didn't stop funding gain-of-function.
That little weasel kept digging'...
Fauci kept the research alive by cleverly subcontracting the work out to a New York group called Eco-Health Alliance, led by Zoologist Peter Daszak. Daszak's claim to fame is discovering the link between bats and SARS.
Fauci paid the three-plus-million dollars to Eco-Health Alliance and the research continued.
But here's the wildest part'...
According to Steve Hilton's bombshell report, Eco-Health then turned around and subcontracted the gain-of-function portion of Fauci's research back to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Hilton says the paperwork from Wuhan has a ''reference number'' attached that leads directly back to the funds Fauci paid to Eco-Health Alliance.
All roads lead back to Wuhan, and Fauci is driving the car.
It's no secret that Fauci funded the Wuhan lab, there's been a lot of reporting on his ''general funding.'' However, Steve Hilton's bombshell report uncovered gory details about the specific work that was being done which nobody has reported on thus far.
According to the Wuhan paperwork that Mr. Hilton downloaded, the lab collected bat feces from a cave in China and discovered many cases of novel Coronavirus in the samples. Researchers analyzed and sequenced their genetic information, then built new viruses off of those samples and infected human cells with them. That research revealed that their man-made viruses could actually behave exactly like a natural virus.
But it's what researchers unlocked that is the most terrifying of all.
According to the report, the lab's creation and research of the virus unlocked a very specific ''gateway'' into the human body. And even more curious and creepy is that the Covid-19 virus that we're dealing with today has those exact same gateway characteristics.
Do you believe in coincidences? I don't'...
The Covid-19 virus sticks to cells 10-20 times stronger than the SARS virus did, and this is what makes Covid-19 so incredibly contagious.
Take a look at what happens when Covid enters the body:
Coronavirus enters the body through the nose, mouth, or eyes. Once inside the body, it goes inside healthy cells and uses the machinery in those cells to make more virus particles. When the cell is full of viruses, it breaks open. This causes the cell to die and the virus particles can go on to infect more cells.
The viruses created during the Wuhan research are not exactly the same as the Covid-19 virus we're dealing with today. However, as Mr. Hilton points out, the research that was done confirmed that Covid-19 could be manufactured in a lab using the same techniques that were developed in Dr. Fauci's project.
In addition, Fauci's project continued for another three years.
Today's Covid virus is different than any other ''natural'' virus we've seen in the past. Natural viruses become more contagious over time as they naturally mutate, but today's virus already had that feature ''built-in'' right out of the gate.
The paperwork from Dr. Fauci's project explains how researchers swapped viruses from bats and other animals in order to make more infectious viruses to study.
And even more curious was what Chinese Virologisst Shi Zhengli said '-- she explained that the ''backbone'' of this Covid-19 virus matches other man-made viruses from the Wuhan lab library.
According to Steve Hilton, experts say that Covid-19 looks like two different strains from bats, and another unidentified animal'... possibly the ferret again?
The question is this '-- can something like Covid-19 happen naturally? And if so, why does it look and act so similarly to man-made viruses from just a few years before, many of which are from Dr. Fauci's personal disease vault?
More coincidences? They're really piling up now.
I don't believe in coincidences, but I also don't know how Covidcame to be or how it was unleashed on the world. But I do think that Steve Hilton's investigation is the most in-depth and compelling that we've seen thus far. It definitely puts Fauci in the thick of things in a very precarious way, and it opens the door to a lot more questions.
Personally, I find it very hard to believe that all of this groundbreaking research was going on without Obama's knowledge. He's a man that loves to ''weaponize'' things. That's what his entire legacy consists of '-- weaponized IRS, Intel, and media.
Was Dr. Fauci hiding the research from Obama, or were Obama and Dr. Fauci hiding the research from everyone else? And after all of this information we just digested, is it so far-fetched to ask if Dr. Fauci's project and research were used later for something horribly nefarious in order to regain power?
Or was everything just one big coincidence?
All good questions and the American people deserve answers.
This is the video that outed Dr. Fauci's gain-of-function research, and right now, everything he's worked for hinges on whether or not Americans see this video and demand answers. If that happens, Fauci is likely done for.
ALL THE EVIDENCE.
FAUCI MONEY / ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE / GAIN OF FUNCTION VIRUS RESEARCH / WUHAN INSTITUTE.
All the cover ups, even the reason for the Mink cull.
All here.
Steve Hilton investigates origins of COVID-19, links to US commissioned research. https://t.co/xI7Gq7m6gG
'-- S'L'A'T'S #HumanRights #FreedomOfSpeech #MyLife (@manlikeslatt) January 27, 2021
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VIDEO - (149) Global Citizen VAX Live - Extended Concert Only on YouTube - YouTube
Mon, 10 May 2021 19:20
VIDEO - (147) Utopia 2020 - YouTube
Mon, 10 May 2021 15:56
VIDEO - COVID Shot Killing Large Numbers, Warns Top COVID Doctor Peter McCullough
Mon, 10 May 2021 15:48
In this interview with The New American magazine Senior Editor Alex Newman, the internationally renowned Dr. Peter McCullough''the doctor with the most citations in the National Library of Medicine on these topics''warned that the COVID shot was already causing thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations that have been recorded. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, he warned. In normal circumstances, 50 deaths reported to VAERS would result in a drug being taken off market immediately. In the case of the COVID shots, thousands have already been reported, and yet the mass vaccination programs continue to be pushed. Dr. McCullough, a professor of medicine who developed a globally acclaimed and highly successful COVID treatment protocol, also emphasized that there have been many unnecessary deaths as a result of policy decisions made at various levels of government.
VIDEO - Something Is Up. Therapeutic Nihilism is Worldwide
Mon, 10 May 2021 13:16
20 rumbles
Rumble '-- Groupthink and fear have taken over the world and drive an immoral, unethical, and even illegal, deficiency in access to early treatment for COVID.
STORIES
Doctor Explains Why He Gets Money For Giving Vaccinations | POPSUGAR Family
Thu, 13 May 2021 13:42
The vaccine debate is one that can easily turn ugly between parents, especially when discussed online. Instead of citing proven research on whether vaccines are harmful to children, some parents simply go off of fear and bash others who vaccinate their children, as well as the doctors who receive payouts from "big pharma" companies for administering what they deem to be harmful medication.
One pediatrician decided to get involved in the online dialogue to correct a major misconception that could lead to devastating consequences. Although the fact that doctors receive a kickback from pharmaceutical companies for administering vaccines is a factor in some anti-vaxxers' decisions, this doctor, Mikey, commented on the Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes' page on Facebook to explain it further.
Actually, we do get one. I'm a pediatrician. It's called a "Quality of Care Bonus" and it DOES NOT COME FROM BIG PHARMA. It comes from BIG INSURA. The INSURANCE companies pay us a bonus for taking good care of our patients. For pediatricians like me, that means making sure that kids have all their vaccines by a certain age.
Now, why would an INSURANCE company want to pay for me to give expensive vaccines (that they have to pay for, mind you) to a child if those vaccines were harmful? That would make no sense because the INSURANCE company would have to pay for the extra care that the child requires because of their "vaccine injuries." That would make absolutely NO SENSE.
No, the INSURANCE company has made an actuarial decision that by vaccinating my patients, I am reducing their costs by making my patients less likely to need expensive hospital stays and so the insurance company shares some of those costs with us.
Oh, and the reason for this, BTW, is the Affordable Care Act, which mandates that physicians be paid based on quality and cost savings, rather than production.
And I'm not exactly sure if I do have a price you could pay me to do something I thought was harmful to a patient, but if that price does exist, it's not a number I've ever seen. I didn't bust my ass through four years of university, four punishing years of medical school, and three dreadful years of residency . . . giving up my entire twenties to work in the lowest-paying hardest-working specialty in medicine just so I could hurt kids.
Stamford man vows to battle back after losing his leg weeks after receiving AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccination
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:54
A former taekwondo champion who had his leg amputated weeks after receiving the covid vaccination has vowed to battle back.
Dave Mears was crowned world champion in 1984 and went on to build a successful teaching career before moving to Thailand.
During his 21 years abroad, Dave qualified as a professional photographer and ran a series of successful bars before Covid-19 caused his business to come crashing down.
Dave Mears had his leg amputated below the knee following a severe infection which he fears could be linked to the covid vaccineHe was forced to return to England in April last year and was beginning to rebuild his life in his hometown of Stamford when he fell ill.
Dave's flu-like symptoms started within hours of having the AstaZeneca vaccination against Covid-19 on March 4. His symptoms got progressively worse over the following month.
His foot started to swell and he was rushed to Addenbrooke's Hospital for treatment on April 10. His left leg was later amputated below the knee.
Dave Mears had his leg amputated below the knee following a severe infection which he fears could be linked to the covid vaccineMedics haven't confirmed the cause of the infection, but Dave fears it was linked to the vaccine.
He said: ''It started with a horrendous fever. I was admitted to hospital on the 10th and on the 12th my foot just exploded. There was blood everywhere.
''At first they said I might lose a couple of toes, but then it was half my leg.
''The doctors say it's hard to prove that it's linked to the covid jab and that the infection could have been there for some time, but it's strange that I became ill for weeks on the night of the vaccine.
Dave Mears, right, in a taekwondo fight with Malcolm Scholes''I think it has got to be linked. It has put me off having the second one.''
Dave, 58, remains at Addenbrooke's Hospital but hopes to be transferred to Peterborough City Hospital to continue his recovery.
He said: ''The staff at Addenbrooke's have done a fantastic job. The NHS is absolutely wonderful.
''Now it's a matter of doing the physio correctly and not trying to rush it.''
Dave Mears with his taekwondo trophiesBy December Dave hopes to have use of a prosthetic leg and plans to return to taekwando displays.
Dave had lost three toes on his left foot a few years ago due to complications with diabetes.
His former pupil Richard Auciello, a taekwando instructor in Oakham, has set up a fundraising page to support Dave's recovery.
He said: ''As a child Dave was like a second dad to me. I owe him a lot so it's only natural for me to want to help him at a time like this.''
Richard Auciello, left, set up a fundraising page to help Dave MearsDonations can be made at: uk.gofundme.com/f/david-mears-amputee
One of the immediate challenges will be to find new accommodation with suitable access.
Dave added: ''I have so much to look forward to and I know there are so many people behind me.
''I can't wait to be back taking photos around the town that I love.
''As you get older, you appreciate what a beautiful place Stamford is.''
Addenbrooke's Hospital declined to comment on Dave Mears' case because it does not comment on individual patients. It, did however, reissue advice given out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which outlines some of the rare side effects of the vaccination
Side effects of vaccine are rare
The benefits of getting a vaccination outweigh the risks, says the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
In April, the committee issued issued advice to the government on the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, following reports of extremely rare blood clots in a very small number of people.
It said people under 30 with no underlying health conditions should be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca jab, such as Pfizer or Moderna, because of a possible link between the vaccine and rare blood clots.
In April, the chairman of the JVCI Professor Wei Shen Lim said this decision ''weighs up the risks of being seriously ill or dying from Covid-19 against the extremely small risk of a serious adverse event''.
He added: ''The vaccines have already saved thousands of lives and the benefit for the majority of the population is clear '' if you are offered a vaccine, you should take it.''
Leg swelling is listed as a very rare side effect of vaccination and symptoms can arise anywhere between four days to four weeks after receiving the jab.
Other rare side effects can include a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers, is unusual for you or feels worse if you bend over; feeling or being sick, problems speaking, drowsiness or seizures; a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin; shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain.
Call 111 immediately if you get any of these symptoms.
Rutland & Stamford Mercury editor Kerry Coupe's column published in the Mercury on Friday, May 7 (46936897)
Mississippi River bridge at Memphis closed to fix crack - ABC News
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:43
An interstate bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee, remains closed after inspectors found a crack in the span a day earlier
By The Associated Press
May 12, 2021, 1:48 PM
' 2 min read
Transportation officers and police block an Interstate 40 onramp to the bridge over the Mississippi River near downtown Memphis, Tenn., on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The Arkansas Department of Transportation tweeted on Tuesday that it found a crack during a routine inspection of the bridge. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- An interstate bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Memphis, Tennessee, remained closed Wednesday after inspectors found a crack in the span a day earlier.
The Interstate 40 bridge linking Arkansas and Tennessee was shut down Tuesday afternoon after the crack was discovered during a routine inspection, the Arkansas Department of Transportation said.
The department said it was working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to ensure the 48-year-old, 1.8-mile (2.9-kilometer) bridge is safe before reopening.
Traffic was being rerouted to the 71-year-old Memphis & Arkansas Bridge that carries Interstate 55 into Memphis, about 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) south of the I-40 span. River traffic was also shut down until further notice, the Tennessee Department of Transportation said.
In an inspection for the 2020 National Bridge Inventory report, the Federal Highway Administration said the I-40 bridge checked out in fair condition overall, with all primary structure elements sound and only some minor cracks and chips in the overall structure. Its structural evaluation checked out ''somewhat better than minimum adequacy to tolerate being left in place as is.''
However, height and width clearances for oversize vehicles were ''basically intolerable requiring high priority of corrective action,'' the inspectors found. Tennessee recommended ''bridge deck replacement with only incidental widening."
The bridge, which opened in 1973, carried a 2020 average of 35,000 vehicles a day across the Mississippi River, 29% of them trucks, according to the report. Its traffic volume was expected to increase to 56,000 vehicles per day by 2040.
American Medical Association Embraces Critical Race Theory, Rejects Meritocracy
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:38
The American Medical Association (AMA), the largest national organization representing physicians and medical students in the United States, says it will set aside its long-held concept of meritocracy in favor of ''racial justice'' and ''health equity.''
In an 86-page strategic plan released May 11, the AMA set out a three-year road map detailing how the advocacy group will use its influence to dismantle ''structural and institutional racism'' and advance ''social and racial justice'' in America's health care system.
According to its plan, the AMA will be following a host of strategies, including implementing ''racial and social justice'' throughout the AMA enterprise culture, systems, policies, and practices; expanding medical education to include critical race theory; and pushing toward ''racial healing, reconciliation, and transformation'' regarding the organization's own ''racially discriminatory'' past.
The AMA also makes clear that it now rejects the concepts of ''equality'' and ''meritocracy,'' which have been goals in the fields of medical science and medical care.
''Equality as a process means providing the same amounts and types of resources across populations,'' the association said. ''Seeking to treat everyone the 'same,' ignores the historical legacy of disinvestment and deprivation through historical policy and practice of marginalizing and minoritizing communities.''
While the AMA doesn't run America's health care system, it holds tremendous influence over medical schools and teaching hospitals that train physicians and other health professionals. Those institutes, the AMA says, must reject meritocracy, which it describes as a harmful narrative that ''ignores the inequitably distributed social, structural and political resources.''
''The commonly held narrative of meritocracy is the idea that people are successful purely because of their individual effort,'' it states. ''Medical education has largely been based on such flawed meritocratic ideals, and it will take intentional focus and effort to recognize, review and revise this deeply flawed interpretation.''
Instead, the AMA suggests, medical schools should incorporate into their programs critical race theory, an offshoot of Marxism that views society through the lens of a power struggle between the race of oppressors and that of the oppressed. As a result, according to the theory, all long-established institutions of Western society are considered to be tools of racial oppression.
''Expand medical school and physician education to include equity, anti-racism, structural competency, public health and social sciences, critical race theory and historical basis of disease,'' reads the document, which is loaded with critical race theory vocabulary.
In a statement that accompanied the plan, AMA President Gerald Harmon said he is ''fully committed to this cause'' and called on the medical community to join the effort.
''We believe that by leveraging the power of our membership, our influence, and our reach we can help bring real and lasting change to medicine,'' he said.
The controversy around critical race theory in U.S. institutions gained more attention in 2020, when President Donald Trump banned the use of training materials based on ''divisive and harmful sex and race-based ideologies'' in federal workplaces. President Joe Biden rescinded the order, instead issuing an order stating that his administration would pursue ''a comprehensive approach to advancing equity for all.''
BREAKING: Maricopa County Elections Officials DELETED ENTIRE DATABASE from Voting Machines - Including "All Election Information" from Main Database -- With Copy of Senate Letter
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:21
Last week, the Gateway Pundit reported about the emergency meeting that was called by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, after the County was reportedly unable to provide passwords to the auditors performing an audit of the county's 2020 Election results. They also did not provide access to the routers which were requested in the audit as well.
This afternoon, it was discovered that ''the entire database'' for the 2020 General election, showing the ''Results Tally and Reporting,'' has been deleted!100 Percent Fed Up reports'' President of the Arizona Senate Karen Fann has written a letter to Chairman Sellers, demanding answers.
Arizona Senate President Karen Fann
TRENDING: BREAKING: Maricopa County Elections Officials DELETED ENTIRE DATABASE from Voting Machines - Including "All Election Information" from Main Database -- With Copy of Senate Letter
Here is the letter to Maricopa County Supervisor Chairman Jack Sellers from Arizona Senate President Karen Fann:
Dear Chairman Sellers:
I am writing to seek your assistance and cooperation in the resolution of three (3) serious issues that have arisen in the course of the Senate's ongoing audit of the returns of the November 3, 2020, general election in Maricopa County.
I. Ongoing Non-Compliance with the Legislative Subpoenas
The first issue concerns Maricopa County's apparent intent to renege on its previous commitment to comply fully with the legislative subpoenas issued on January 13, 2021, which, as you know, Judge Thomason found were valid and enforceable.
To date, attorneys for Maricopa County have refused to produce virtual images of routers used in connection with the general election, relying on a conclusory and unsupported assertion that providing the routers would somehow ''endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, their operations, or the protected health information and personal data of Maricopa County's citizens.''If true, the fact that Maricopa County stores on its routers substantial quantities of citizens' and employees' highly sensitive personal information is an alarming indictment of the County's lax data security practices, rather than of the legislative subpoenas.Similarly, the County's assertion that producing the internet routers for inspection would cost up to $6,000,000 seems at odds with Deputy County Attorney Joseph La Rue's prior representation to Audit Liaison Ken Bennett that the routers already had been disconnected from the County's network and were prepared for imminent delivery to the Senate.Nevertheless, in an effort to resolve the dispute regarding production of the routers, we propose that agents of CyFIR, an experienced digital forensics firm and subcontractor of Cyber Ninjas, review virtual images of the relevant routers in Maricopa County facilities and in the presence of representatives of the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office. Such an arrangement would permit Maricopa County to retain custody and monitor the review of router data while ensuring that the Senate may access the information it requires'--and to which it is constitutionally entitled'--to successfully complete its audit. The Senate has no interest in viewing or taking possession of any information that is unrelated to the administration of the 2020 general election.
Separately, Maricopa County has refused to provide the passwords necessary to access vote tabulation devices. Its attorneys' insistence that the County does not have custody or control of this information is belied by the County's conduct of its own audits, which, if they were as comprehensive as they purported to be, almost certainly would have entailed use of the passwords to examine the tabulation devices, and it strains credulity to posit that the County has no contractual right to obtain (i.e., control of) password information from Dominion.II. Chain of Custody and Ballot Organization Anomalies
As the audit has progressed, the Senate's contractors have become aware of apparent omissions, inconsistencies, and anomalies relating to Maricopa County's handling, organization, and storage of ballots.We hope you can assist us in understanding these issues, including specifically the following:
The County has not provided any chain-of-custody documentation for the ballots.Does such documentation exist, and if so, will it be produced?The bags in which the ballots were stored are not sealed, although the audit team has found at the bottom of many boxes cut seals of the type that would have sealed a ballot bag. Why were these seals placed at the bottom of the boxes?Batches within a box are frequently separated by only a divider without any indication of the corresponding batch numbers.In some cases, the batch dividers are missing altogether.This lack of organization has significantly complicated and delayed the audit team's ballot processing efforts.What are the County's procedures for sorting, organizing, and packaging ballot batches?Most of the ballot boxes were sealed merely with regular tape and not secured by any kind of tamper-evident seal.Is that the County's customary practice for storing ballots?The audit team has encountered a significant number of instances in which there is a disparity between the actual number of ballots contained in a batch and the total denoted on the pink report slip accompanying the batch.In most of these instances, the total on the pink report slip is greater than the number of ballots in the batch, although there are a few instances in which the total is lower.What are the reasons for these discrepancies?For your reference, please see several illustrative (i.e., not comprehensive) examples in the table below:
For your convenience, images of the corresponding pink report slips are attached in Exhibit A.
III. Deleted Databases We have recently discovered that the entire ''Database'' directory from the D drive of the machine ''EMSPrimary'' has been deleted. This removes election related details that appear to have been covered by the subpoena. In addition, the main database for the Election Management System (EMS) Software, ''Results Tally and Reporting,'' is not located anywhere on the EMSPrimary machine, even though all of the EMS Clients reference that machine as the location of the database. This suggests that the main database for all election-related data for the November 2020 General Election has been removed. Can you please advise as to why these folders were deleted, and whether there are any backups that may contain the deleted folders?The image below shows the location of the files known to be deleted. In addition, the main database for ''Results Tally and Reporting'' is not present.
* * *
I am hopeful that we can constructively resolve these issues and questions without recourse to additional subpoenas or other compulsory processes.To that end, I invite you and any other officers or employees of Maricopa County (to include officials in the Elections Department) who possess knowledge or information concerning the matters set forth above to a meeting at the Arizona State Capitol on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. in Hearing Room 109. Chairman Petersen, former Secretary Bennett, and I will attend the meeting, which will be live-streamed to the public.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience whether you accept my invitation and, if so, which Maricopa County personnel will attend.
Thank you for your cooperation on these important issues of public concern.
Respectfully,
Karen Fann, President
Arizona State Senate
When inspectors received the boxes of ballots where the audit was being performed, the tamper-proof tape was cut on the boxes and the number of ballots inside the boxes was not the same as what was reported by the County reporter, and what was turned over to the Senate don't line up.
A week before the machines were turned over, records were deleted by an administrator'--this has to be treated as an act of intentional cover-up!
The Maricopa Arizona Audit team has also tweeted about the breaking bombshell:
Breaking Update: Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit. This is spoliation of evidence!
Breaking Update: Maricopa County deleted a directory full of election databases from the 2020 election cycle days before the election equipment was delivered to the audit. This is spoliation of evidence! pic.twitter.com/mY0fmmFXAm
'-- Maricopa Arizona Audit (@ArizonaAudit) May 13, 2021
Why would the database be deleted unless there was something massive they were trying to hide? This article is for everyone who's been trying to convince Americans that no voter fraud took place in the November election and that it was the safest and most secure election in modern history.
Nothing to see here!
UPDATE '-- Here is the letter from the Arizona Senate to the Maricopa County Supervisors
Exclusive Letter to Maricop'... by Jim Hoft
Fox News Reports Biden Admin Restarts Border Wall Construction, USACE Disputes Report | The Daily Wire
Thu, 13 May 2021 12:00
Fox News reported on Wednesday that Democrat President Joe Biden reversed course after halting construction of former President Donald Trump's border wall, and will now resume construction of a lengthy section of wall in Texas as the administration continues to grapple with a worsening border crisis. However, U.S. officials later disputed the report and said that the work being done was repair work on a flood levee.
''Fox News has confirmed via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that construction on a 13.4 mile stretch of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley will *RESUME* after pressure from local residents & politicians,'' Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter. ''The Biden admin previously halted all wall construction in Jan.''
BREAKING: .@FoxNews has confirmed via the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that construction on a 13.4 mile stretch of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley will *RESUME* after pressure from local residents & politicians.The Biden admin previously halted all wall construction in Jan.
'-- Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) May 12, 2021
About an hour later, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) responded to Melugin, writing: ''In support of CBP's border infrastructure program, USACE has resumed DHS-funded design & construction support on approx. 13.4 miles of levee in the Rio Grande Valley that were partially excavated or at various levels of construction when work on the wall was paused for review.''
''To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law,'' USACE added. ''Per DHS, we've started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley's flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.''
To be clear, wall construction remains paused to extent permitted by law. Per DHS, we've started critical work to repair the Rio Grande Valley's flood levee, which was excavated to make way for border wall. This remediation work will not involve expanding border barrier.
'-- USACE HQ (@USACEHQ) May 13, 2021
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said during a conversation with ICE employees last month that the administration was considering finishing ''gaps in the wall.'' A report by CNN last month said that the U.S. is on track to see 2 million migrants on the southern border this year, which is more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, and Alaska '-- combined.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection data published Tuesday showed that immigration arrests and detentions on the U.S.-Mexico border shot up in April to 178,622, a 3% increase from March, the highest in the history of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The media tried to spin the news as a bit of a win for the Biden administration because the surge in arrests of illegal aliens was driven in large part by single adults while the number of unaccompanied minors apprehended fell.
Former Trump administration officials and immigration officials, however, were not falling for the spin and instead slammed the extremely high number as being disastrous for the country.
''From day one, the Biden administration has pursued policies that have fueled this crisis, despite receiving dozens of briefings during the transition from myself and other professionals at the Department of Homeland Security warning them of the consequences of doing so,'' Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf said. ''The administration has reversed sound immigration policies like the Migrant Protection Protocols, asylum cooperative agreements with Northern Triangle countries, and construction of the border wall system.''
''These actions will continue to have immense costs not just for our law enforcement, but for working Americans and our communities, as well,'' Wolf added. ''Until this administration applies a consequence for coming here illegally, these numbers are going to remain at crisis levels. Make no mistake: this is not just a humanitarian crisis on our border '' it is a security crisis that is giving drug cartels and human smugglers a historic opportunity to expand their operations in the Western Hemisphere.''
The Government Accountability Office launched an investigation into the Biden administration in March to determine whether it ''broke the law by freezing the money in violation of budget rules designed to keep Congress in control of the cash flow,'' Politico reported. ''The probe highlights the challenge presidents have historically faced in fulfilling campaign promises that require money to be spent '-- or suspended '-- at odds with Congress' intent.''
Editor's Note: This report has been updated to include additional information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The title has also been altered for clarity.
The Daily Wire is one of America's fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member .
Starship Alves on Twitter: "@Breaking911 @adamcurry Because WORDS DO'... MATTER 🎶" / Twitter
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:26
Starship Alves : @Breaking911 @adamcurry Because WORDS DO'... MATTER 🎶
Wed May 12 21:26:55 +0000 2021
Austin ISD changes mask policy, no masks needed at outside recess
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:08
Alex Caprariello and Wes Wilson
20 hours ago
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Austin ISD families tell KXAN the district announced changes to its mask policy Wednesday morning (effective Wednesday) and will no longer require students to wear masks at during outdoor physical activities like recess.
According to emails Wednesday morning both from Austin ISD to parents and from school principals to parents, these are the changes the district is making:
Students may remove their masks while actively engaged in outdoor physical activities, such as recess, WOW, outdoor physical education. 6 feet physical distance should be maintained while masks are off.Ability to remove masks outdoors does not include students sitting or standing in small groups in close proximity to each other, for example between periods in a courtyard or outdoor walkways.This is an opt-out policy meaning parents must tell their school and complete a Google form before their child will be allowed to take off their mask. The form requires parents to submit their name, email and phone number, as well as the student's name, student number, and teacher's name. They then have to consent to allowing their child to take off their mask while outside.
Email sent to parents of students at an Austin ISD elementary school on May 12, 2021 (KXAN Photo)
Alexandra Copeland, Austin ISD's director of Health Services, also announced changes regarding things like graduation, campus tours and quarantining:
End-of-year activities such as promotion ceremonies are allowed outdoors.Quarantining is now required for 10 days, except in cases when masks were not worn consistently or high-risk people who have not been vaccinated are involved, which would require a 14-day quarantine.Tours and campus visitors for educational activities and instructional purposes with prior approval are allowed if COVID-19 screening procedures (including screening and temperature checks) are involved.Austin ISD said these changes are in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Austin Public Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
''If there are any concerns or comments, please reach out to your campus so we can provide that clarification and have that dialogue with families,'' Copeland said.
Many parents felt blindsided by this decision, calling it a ''gut-punch'' after the district made a hard push for families to return to in-person learning for the final six weeks of the school year. Others criticized the district for the abrupt announcement with little-to-no advance notice.
Melissa Ellis, a parent to three Austin ISD students, received the first email notification about the policy change at 9:17 a.m. on Wednesday morning, more than an hour and a half after her third grader was dropped off at school. She said if she would have known beforehand, she might have thought twice about sending him to school.
''The policy was announced, and it went into effect the same day,'' Ellis said. ''When I got that email, all I knew was that my child was already at school, and it was quite possible that he'd be sent out to recess, and kids would be whipping off their masks.''
Copeland said the decision to change the policy was made on Tuesday, and the subsequent announcement for families came ''immediately.'' She added the opt-in process buys more time for families to decide how they want to proceed.
''We made sure to notify families, we've put those safeguards in place so parents can have time to process and make the best decision for their student,'' Copeland said.
Ellis said she suspects the reoccurring pattern of poor messaging to families is a symptom of a disorganized communications department.
''They don't think about the implications for families. You need time to prepare your family; you need time to prepare your child,'' Ellis said. ''There's three weeks left in the school year. Literally, to the day. Why is today the day they have to all of a sudden start changing policies? It's been working fine. Just leave it alone!''
AISD said if parents have questions or concerns, they should contact the AISD Department of Health Services.
Reach KXAN's Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.
Bitcoin (BTC) price falls after Tesla stops car purchases with crypto
Thu, 13 May 2021 11:05
Published Wed, May 12 2021 10:26 PM EDTUpdated 15 Min Ago
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the electric vehicle maker would suspend car purchases using bitcoin, citing environmental concerns.As much as $365.85 billion was wiped off the entire cryptocurrency market though it did pare some losses. Bitcoin, ether and XRP were all sharply lower. Musk said Tesla will not be selling any bitcoin and intends to use it for transactions "as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy." Hundreds of billions of dollars were wiped off the entire cryptocurrency market after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that the electric vehicle maker would suspend car purchases using bitcoin.
At around 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday when Musk made the announcement, the value of the whole cryptocurrency market stood at around $2.43 trillion, according to data from Coinmarketcap.com. By 8:45 p.m., the market capitalization had dropped to around $2.06 trillion, wiping off around $365.85 billion.
The market has since pared some losses, and by around 6.30 a.m. the cryptocurrency market had seen around $235 billion wiped off its value since Musk's tweet. Bitcoin was down around 12% at around $49,624, according to CoinDesk data, dipping below the $50,000 mark for the first time since Apr. 24.
Despite the recent pullback, bitcoin is still up over 400% in the last 12 months.
In February, Tesla announced in a regulatory filing that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and planned to accept the cryptocurrency for payments.
Musk cited environmental concerns on Thursday and said Tesla is "concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel."
Bitcoin is not issued by a single entity like a central bank. Instead, it is maintained by a network of so-called "miners." These miners use purpose-built computers that require a lot of energy to solve complex mathematical puzzles in order for bitcoin transactions to go through. Bitcoin's energy consumption is larger than some individual countries.
Other cryptocurrencies ether and XRP were also sharply lower.
Musk has been a big proponent of digital currencies including bitcoin and dogecoin, helping to drive their prices higher in recent months.
The Tesla CEO said the company will not be selling any bitcoin and intends to use it for transactions "as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy."
Bitcoin has garnered interest in the last year as companies such as Square and Tesla announced bitcoin purchases and large institutional investors entered the cryptocurrency space. Major investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have also sought ways to allow their wealthy clients to get bitcoin exposure.
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Ohio Is Offering $1 Million Lottery Jackpots to Vaccinated Adults
Thu, 13 May 2021 10:47
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday that he will be offering $1 million each to five vaccinated Ohioans. Justin Merriman/Getty Images Five Ohioans will receive $1 million each in a lottery exclusively for vaccinated residents. Residents younger than 18 years old will be eligible for a college scholarship instead. Other states and cities have offered vaccination incentives, from crawfish to driving on a racetrack. See more stories on Insider's business page. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Wednesday the state is running five $1 million lottery draws exclusively for vaccinated residents.
From May 26 to June 23, one adult each week who has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or the singular Johnson & Johnson vaccine, will receive a special, million-dollar jackpot in the state's lottery draw.
State residents aged 12 to 18 '-- who, as of today, are now all eligible for a vaccine '-- will not be eligible for the monetary lottery. Instead, they will be entered into a draw for a four-year full scholarship, tuition and accommodation included, to any state college or university.
The move is the latest effort by authorities to encourage people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus and get closer to herd immunity.
New Orleans, Louisiana, is offering free crawfish to people who get a vaccine; in Alabama, the world-famous Talladega racetrack will allow vaccinated residents to drive (their own) cars on the strip.
It's an evidence-based approach: economists have found financial incentives are much more effective to persuade the vaccine-hesitant than appealing to a person's sense of community.
Health officials agree the US needs to reach 80% vaccination coverage nationwide '-- and soon '-- before we can begin to relax measures, without the fear of a COVID-19 resurgence.
States and cities are taking that race seriously, pushing to amp up their vaccination rates as they launch reopening plans.
Ohio is fully reopening in 3 weeksOhioans, for example, have three weeks to get a shot before the state lifts its COVID-19 measures '-- from mask mandates to indoor dining capacities '-- everywhere except nursing homes on June 2.
"It is time to end the health orders. It's been a year. You've followed the protocols. You've done what we've asked. You've bravely fought this virus," DeWine said in his televised briefing on Wednesday, shortly after a CDC panel green-lit the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds.
"And now, our cases are down, and we have a tested and proven weapon with the vaccine that all Ohioans 12 and over can utilize."
People who are registered to vote will be automatically entered, and the state will also create a sign-up form for people who are not in the voters' database.
The jackpot, drawn by the Ohio Lottery, comes from the state's share of coronavirus relief funds.
DeWine added in a tweet: "I know that some may say, 'DeWine, you're crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money. But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic '-- when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it '-- is a life lost to COVID-19."
Other states and cities are offering vaccine incentivesAt least five states in addition to Ohio have come up with creative ways to convince residents to get vaccinated.
In West Virginia, residents between the ages of 16 and 35 are eligible to receive a $100 savings bond if they get vaccinated. Gov. Jim Justice said in a press briefing the initiative was meant to encourage young people to get their shots.
Some residents of Harris County, Texas, and Detroit, Michigan, will also qualify for financial perks. The Harris County government set aside $250,00o to go toward gift cards, events, and other incentives for vaccinated folks. In Detroit, anyone who pre-registers to drive another city resident to get vaccinated will receive a $50 prepaid debit card.
Chicago is experimenting with a Vax Pass program to allow vaccinated residents to attend concerts and other in-person events. And in Connecticut, the state government is partnering with local vendors to offer an age-old incentive: free booze, specifically one free drink at participating restaurants between May 19 and 31.
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Biden to press: 'I'm not supposed to be answering all these questions'
Thu, 13 May 2021 10:44
News
By Samuel Chamberlain
May 13, 2021 | 1:00am
President Biden couldn't "resist" taking questions from the media despite having to leave following his remarks on May 12, 2021. Bloomberg via Getty Images
President Biden was in a talkative mood Wednesday, at one point telling media members, ''I'm not supposed to be answering all these questions.''
The president delivered remarks from the White House about the ongoing COVID-19 vaccination drive and took a pair of questions '-- one about the rising gas prices caused by the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack and the other about the ongoing violence in the Middle East.
After answering the second question, Biden turned to leave, but was brought up short by an unidentified media member who asked: ''What's your take on the end of your meeting, sir? Were you optimistic coming out of it today?''
''Which one '-- which one of the 12 I've had?'' the president answered.
After the press clarified that they were asking about a meeting between Biden, Vice President Harris and congressional leaders to discuss infrastructure legislation, the president returned to the lectern.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks about COVID vaccinations at the White House on May 12, 2021. AP''You guys are bad. I'm not supposed to be answering all these questions,'' the president said. ''I'm supposed to leave, but I can't resist your questions.''
The exchange took place days after White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitted that she doesn't like Biden to have too much face time with the White House press corps.
''He takes questions nearly every day he's out from the press,'' Psaki told CNN analyst David Axelrod on ''The Axe Files'' podcast May 6. ''That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times, we say, 'Don't take questions.' But he's going to do what he wants to do because he's the president of the United States.''
Biden has held just one formal news conference since his inauguration in January.
Coronavirus UK: SAGE advisers downgrade warnings on third wave Covid death toll | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 12 May 2021 16:05
The UK today confirmed another 20 Covid deaths and 2,474 infections, as SAGE advisers U-turned on their grisly third wave estimates and slashed predictions for next year's death toll by a factor of 10.
Positive tests were up a quarter on last Tuesday (27 per cent) and the daily average has now been rising for a week.
SAGE warned in documents published yesterday that next week's rule relaxation would trigger a rise in cases again, with hospital admissions and deaths to follow, but said vaccines would keep this significantly smaller than in any previous spike.
Another 231,835 people got their second vaccine doses yesterday, taking the total above 18million, while another 115,053 first doses were given out meaning 35,587,348 people have had at least one jab.
Data suggest vaccines are working so well in the real world that mathematical modellers who advise SAGE have dramatically downgraded their bleak predictions of more than 100,000 further Covid deaths within the next year and a third wave of the virus to rival the first two.
Their total death toll projection '' which is shown to the Prime Minister and has previously been criticised for being too downbeat '' has fallen 10-fold since the start of the UK's vaccine rollout as studies proved the jabs will slow transmission of the virus.
A report published yesterday showed that real-world data accounting for vaccinated people being less likely to pass on the virus has been factored in to long-term estimates for the first time.
The Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team, some of the Government's top advisers whose work triggered the first national lockdown in March 2020, have now revised their worst-case death toll for England to 16,600 more between May 2021 and June 2022.
This is based on the current scenario, with jabs remaining effective over time and no new variants taking over, and marks a drastic fall from a warning in January that 167,600 across the UK could die of Covid between then and next summer.
The team's death toll predictions have become lower and lower over recent months as studies showed how well vaccines are working in the real world.
In the past the team's models, among others, have been described as 'pessimistic'. Professor Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King's College who runs the Covid Symptom Study, said last month: 'They seem to be picking the most pessimistic of the assumptions each time in order to come up with the worst case scenario, perhaps to avoid complacency... But we're not going to see anything like we've seen previously.'
Public Health England has published data showing that jabs prevent up to 97 per cent of Covid cases and prevent around half of transmission from people who get infected after being vaccinated. Around 35.5million people in the UK have now had their first jab and 17.86m are fully vaccinated.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night announced that lockdown-easing plans would go ahead next Monday, May 17, with indoor socialising allowed as well as pubs and restaurants opening indoors and holidays permitted again. He said officials 'remain on track' to end lockdown completely in June and hinted social distancing could go.
Estimates of the Covid death toll up to June 2022 have been revised down numerous times over the last five months by experts at Imperial College London, as real-world evidence built up that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were becoming increasingly effective at preventing infection and transmission. Although almost 33,500 people have died in England since the January predictions were made, the modellers had previously included tens of thousands more deaths that they no longer believe will happen
Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team estimates of the number of people who will die each day by June 2022 have become progressively more optimistic as data proved the vaccines work. The purple line was a model published in January which saw a large spike in deaths this summer, while the blue line is the most recent '' published this week '' which shows only a small blip later in the year (Note: The graph shows modelled 'central estimate' epidemic curves of daily deaths as published by SAGE and produced by Imperial in January, February, March and May)
The estimated death tolls have been submitted to SPI-M, a sub-group of SAGE, regularly as the Government's roadmap out of lockdown has unfolded.
SPI-M admitted in documents published last night that it had become 'more optimistic' about reopening the country now that the vaccines had been proven to work in the real world.
As the PM announced that England's lockdown lifting would commence because cases and deaths are so low, a report from last Wednesday, May 5, said: 'Modelling presented in these central scenarios is more optimistic than those in SPI-M's previous Roadmap modelling.
'This is primarily due to recent evidence that vaccines significantly reduce onwards transmission from people who have been vaccinated but nevertheless become infected then symptomatic.
NEXT MONDAY'S RULE CHANGES WILL SPARK NEXT 'WAVE' BUT IT WILL BE SMALL, SAGE SAYS Next Monday's lockdown easing will trigger the start of another wave of Covid, SAGE has warned, but it won't be anywhere near as bad as the ones in spring or winter 2020.
In more than 100 pages of files published last night as Boris Johnson announced social distancing would become optional from May 17, scientists said they were 'more optimistic' about the reopening than earlier in the year.
The better-than-expected vaccine rollout and warmer weather would have Covid on the back foot and keep hospital admissions and deaths much lower than in Britain's first and second waves. Even the worst case scenario submitted by Warwick University experts suggests hospital occupancy might only reach half of its January high.
But SPI-M, a sub-group of SAGE that contains disease modelling experts such as Neil Ferguson, Graham Medley, John Edmunds and Steven Riley, said 'it is likely that Step 3 will lead to R greater than 1 in England'.
This means the rate of spread will be pushed into a continuously increasing state, with everyone catching the virus infecting one or more people.
Due to widespread vaccination of the people most likely to get severely ill or die, however: 'Any resurgence in hospital admissions and deaths following Step 3 of the Roadmap alone is highly unlikely to put unsustainable pressure on the NHS,' they added.
Top-line estimates shown to the Government by SPI-M suggest that following the May 17 unlocking and then opening up society completely in June would likely lead to a maximum of 55,000 hospital admissions over the next year '' compared to 464,000 since the start of the pandemic '' and to 11,200 more people dying by September 2021.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already indicated that more disease and death is inevitable, saying in February there was 'no credible route to zero Covid' and adding: 'Whenever we ease the lockdown '' whether it's today or in six or nine months '' we've got to be realistic and accept that there will be more infections, more hospitalisations and therefore, sadly, more deaths, just as there are every year with flu.'
'This suggests that if baseline policies to reduce transmission are kept in place at the end of the Roadmap, behaviour does not return to pre-pandemic levels, and vaccine roll out progresses, there is an opportunity to keep the next resurgence very small.'
The Imperial College models, made by a team including 'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson, show how, as the effectiveness of vaccines increased the potential death toll decreased.
In a SAGE file from January 13, the team suggested that around 130,800 people could die by June 2022, with the estimate ranging between 103,200 and 167,600.
This was the only one of the four reports to cover the whole UK '' the others considered only England, which has accounted for 88 per cent of all Britain's Covid deaths so far, suggesting its own figure could be around 115,000.
The same report saw the team estimate that a single dose of either vaccine would prevent 48 per cent of infections and two doses would stop 60 per cent of cases.
The estimates of how well the jabs worked had increased by a March 30 report, when it was around 63 per cent after either dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine and 65 per cent rising to 94 per cent with Pfizer.
Then, the team estimated that another 15,700 people would die by June 2022 '' between 4,800 and 26,800. This was a significant reduction from the earlier prediction and the death count had fallen by 10-fold assuming England followed the roadmap plan.
And in the most recent report, published yesterday after being presented to the Government last week, the potential number of deaths fell even further to between 5,100 and 16,600, with a mid-point of 10,850.
Although almost 33,500 people have died in England since the January predictions were made, the modellers had previously predicted tens of thousands more deaths that they no longer include in their estimates.
Professor Spector said of SPI-M models in April: 'They might want to warn people that if we just relax our guard this is what could happen, that's why a lot of language is written like that [pessimistic].
'I'm certainly not arguing we should totally relax right now but I think the vaccine is doing better than they are saying... and they are just painting a much bleaker scenario than the reality.
'I'm hoping we won't need any further lockdowns. I think we're going to have a very relaxed summer and I think we'll see some outbreaks during the autumn, which will pick up at the end of year. But we're not going to see anything like we've seen previously.'
A great deal more faith has been put into the vaccine rollout, which is now using three types of jab and has reached around half the population and two thirds of adults already.
SPI-M's report published yesterday said its estimates of the number of people who will die of Covid after lockdown are now 'considerably smaller' than they were earlier in the year.
It explained: 'In previous roadmap modelling, SPI-M-O included the effect of vaccine-induced transmission reduction in several ways: preventing a large proportion of vaccinated people becoming infected (and therefore entirely preventing them from transmitting it onwards); in some instances by increasing the proportion of vaccinated but infected people who are asymptomatic (and thus less able to transmit infection onwards) or in sensitivity analyses that assumed a 30 per cent drop in onward transmission from vaccinated but infected individuals.
'To reflect newly published data, two of the modelling groups now assume that onward transmission is reduced by up to a half in all people who are vaccinated but nevertheless become infected and as their central assumption.'
Top-line estimates presented to SAGE last week now suggest that there are unlikely to be more than 5,000 people in hospital at any one time over the next five months '' the purple worst-case is the only scenario in which this happens, and red is considered most likely. At the peak of the second wave there were almost 40,000 people in hospital in the UK. (This is a model by Warwick University and does not take into account a full lifting of lockdown in June)
New daily hospital admissions for Covid were not expected to surpass 1,000 within eight weeks of the May 17 rule-change. The graph shows possible effects of different R rate values after lockdown is eased, with 0.9 '' green; 1.2 '' blue; 1.5 '' yellow; 1.8 '' red. SPI-M said it could not predict what the true number would be
Britain's vaccination drive received another boost yesterday when yet more real-world data revealed the jabs are saving thousands of lives.
SINGLE JAB DOSE COULD HALF SPREADING RISK A single dose of vaccine slashes the risk of spreading coronavirus by up to half, a major study revealed in April.
Not only does the jab reduce a person's chance of catching Covid in the first place, it greatly reduces their chances of passing it on, should they get infected.
The research by Public Health England (PHE) which involved almost 1.5million adults is the first of its kind to confirm the effectiveness of the vaccines in curbing the virus's ability to spread.
The study on transmission of the virus found that adults who received the Pfizer vaccine '' but still caught the virus '' were 49 per cent less likely to spread it to other household members than those who weren't inoculated.
The results for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab were not quite as good but nonetheless, those who received it were 38 per cent less likely to transmit it to others in their household.
But the fact that both vaccines dramatically reduce the virus's ability to spread '' as well as preventing serious illness '' offer renewed hope that they hold the key to a return to normal life.
Public Health England analysis suggested one dose of AstraZeneca's vaccine cuts the risk of death by around 80 per cent. Two doses of Pfizer's jab slashes the odds by around 97 per cent, academics calculated.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the data, saying the evidence was 'clear' vaccines protect against the 'awful disease'. PHE estimates at least 10,000 lives have been saved by the vaccine programme so far.
Analysis showed that people vaccinated with a single dose of either vaccine had similar levels of protection against mortality after a single dose, at 44 per cent for AstraZeneca and 55 per cent for Pfizer, compared to the unvaccinated.
Combined with the protection vaccines offer against becoming a case in the first place, PHE said a single dose of either vaccine reduced deaths by about 80 per cent.
For the first time, the latest analysis included protection against mortality among people given both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
It showed that people fully immmunised with the American firm's jab have about 69 per cent protection against dying from the disease. This rises to 97 per cent when combined with the estimated protection against becoming a case.
A figure for two AstraZeneca doses could not be established because not enough people had been fully immunised with the British vaccine in time.
A second study compared vaccination rates among 20,000 patients hospitalised with Covid in the same four-month period.
Protection against hospitalisation was found to be 73 per cent after 28 days of the AstraZeneca vaccine in those aged 80 and over, and 81 per cent following a Pfizer first dose, rising to 93 per cent a fortnight after the second.
Addressing the PHE statistics, Mr Hancock said: 'The evidence is clear that vaccines provide significant layers of protection against this awful disease.'
What CAN you do from May 17? Britons will be able to hug 'close friends and family', drink a pint INSIDE a pub and finally go on holiday again as limit on mourners at funerals is lifted and cinemas, museums and hotels reopen
Hugs with family and friends and indoor socialising will be allowed from next Monday after a further easing of Covid-19 rules in England was confirmed today.
The next stage of the roadmap out of lockdown will go ahead as planned on May 17, with up to six people or two different households allowed to meet indoors.
Most social contact rules outdoors will be lifted, although gatherings of more than 30 outdoors will stay illegal until at least June 21 - the final stage of the roadmap.
But i ndoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatre and soft play areas and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will all reopen.
The rest of the accommodation sector will also return, with people from different households now allowed to mix in hotels and self-catering properties.
The much-criticised c ap on the number of mourners at funerals will be lifted, while u p to 30 people will be allowed at weddings and other life events.
More than 50million vaccine doses have been administered in the UK as the Government said it is on track to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July.
Boris Johnson last night raised hopes that an end to Covid measures may be sight, as he suggested social distancing could be scrapped completely by next month.
The Prime Minister unveiled the return of 'sensible hugs' as he gave the green light for close friends and family members in England to embrace once more from May 17 - after months of forcibly being apart.
In further good news the premier also suggested Britain's Covid nightmare could be over by June 21, saying that even rules such as one-metre plus could be removed from that date onwards.
But he flatly refused to pick-up the pace of the easing of lockdown, instead insisting that the Government would need to assess the current raft of changes before implementing more.
Flanked by medical and science chiefs Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance at a Downing Street briefing, he also urged people to be cautious, saying the country must remain 'vigilant' about fuelling cases and the threat from variants.
As of Monday groups of six or two households will be allowed to meet indoors for the first time in months.
Overnight visits will also be allowed, while outdoors the limit will rise to 30 in the most significant loosening yet.
Staycations can also get properly up and running, with hotels and B&Bs that do not have self-catering facilities permitted to open - as well as cinemas and theatres if audiences wear masks.
Crucially the government has decided the risk is now low enough that social distancing can be left more to 'personal choice' - meaning that while people are urged to be 'cautious', hugs are allowed at private gatherings.
However, despite the very low infection rate and stunning vaccine rollout, social distancing rules will still be maintained at bars and restaurants.
Together with a requirement for table service indoors, the hospitality industry warned it is more a 'psychological opening rather than an economic one' and many venues will still struggle to make ends meet.
Advice to work from home where possible will also stay in place.
Among other elements of the changes from next week, the much-criticised c ap on the number of mourners at funerals will be lifted, while up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings and other life events.
In a huge relief for many isolated elderly people and their families, care home residents will be able to have up to five named visitors - and up to two at once provided they are tested and follow guidelines. Residents will also have greater freedom to leave homes without having to isolate afterwards.
Indoor sport and exercise classes can restart, along with sauna and steamrooms. And secondary pupils will no longer need to wear masks at schools in England.
As announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps last week, a step is also being taken towards bringing back foreign holidays, with no quarantine requirements for those returning from 12 countries on the so-called green list.
Is the Woke Left a New Religion? Notes on the Tip of the Spear
Wed, 12 May 2021 15:53
''Equality'', I spoke the wordAs if a wedding vowAh, I was so much older thenI'm younger than that now". - Bob Dylan, 'My Back Pages'
''Until the color of a man's skinIs of no more significance than the color of his eyesMe say war''. '' Bob Marley, 'War'
The Rise of the ''Nones''
If you've been around the world of North American Christianity in the past decade, you've probably heard word of an alarming rise in one category of religious identity- the ''nones''. The nones are people who respond to survey's by saying that they have no religious affiliation at all. Or none. They may be atheist or agnostic or religion and religious identity just isn't on their radar at all. Those identifying as 'none' are up to 26% of the US population, a 10% jump from 2009. The nones are found across the country, in both men and women, and in diverse populations, and although more Democrats are nones, the same ''swelling'' growth is happening within Republican ranks too. The growth is happening faster in younger generations, with four-in-ten millennials identifying as none. It was bad enough for the church when it learned of a rising group of people who identified as ''spiritual but not religious''. At least those folks still sought out spiritual experience and could theoretically be led back into the Christian tradition. But these new nones aren't religious at all. Or are they?The Past Persists
Does our human religious propensity ever truly go away, even when we think it has? Some more atheist minded thinkers such as a Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins believe that we'll eventually- or at least hopefully- evolve out of our mucky superstition laden religious past, one day shedding its outdated skin and leaving behind only rational individuals on a new clear-headed earth. Contra these atheists, I believe that we're hardwired for religion, that we're homo religiosus, and that our religious impulse will never truly go away. As the depth psychologists of the early 20thcentury discovered, our past ways of understanding and organizing our world (what Jurgen Habermas termed a 'lifeworld') don't go away when we develop new ones. The past gets embedded within us. The philosopher Charles Hartshone put it this way- ''The earliest manifestations of the cognitive-spiritual side of man become'...part of the vague but potent background of all the later ones'' (Philosophers Speak of God). And the Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser put it like this- ''We must first of all remain cognizant that these structures [of consciousness] are not merely past, but are in fact still present in more or less latent and acute form in each one of us'' (The Ever Present Origin, p.42).Our developmental past does not disappear as we evolve and grow, it persists within us, ready to be activated given the proper circumstances. Let's take warlordism for instance. This rudimentary form of political organization has existed throughout much of human history. An often ruthless and brutal strongman takes control of a small region and commands his own ruling army. Warlords often thrive in periods of social chaos and societal breakdown. The form still exists in our society within organized crime and street gangs. In most of the modern world of democratic nation states warlordism is obviously outlawed and is crushed if it arises in any significant way. The society thus perceives it as mostly 'gone', a gnarled relic from a less enlightened past. But it remains latent within us, and given the right conditions it can erupt again out into the open, such as what happened in China during the Warlord Era of early 20th century. When the Chinese Revolution ended two thousand years of imperial rule, the vacuum left in its wake was quickly filled by willing and capable warlords. This part of our past is apparently easily accessible. As Johnny Cash sang so wearily, ''The beast in me is caged by frail and fragile bars''. Our religious impulse is the same. We might think it's gone away but it just finds new outlets, as we find new altars on which to worship, new avenues for redemption, and new Gods to idolize. And not surprisingly, it's going to seep into our politics too.
Our Flawed New Religion
Over the past several years a variety of commentators have increasingly noticed that the 'woke' (radical, identity politics) left bears many hallmarks of being a religion. In particular, as we'll see, it looks like a recapitulation of a fundamentalist form of Christianity. But before we outline the eye-opening ways in which religious forms show up in the movement, let's take a moment to outline what we're talking about when we talk about the 'woke left', and where it came from.The woke left has its roots in postmodern philosophy in general, as well as the Critical Theory of the German Frankfurt School, and the critical pedagogy movement. What do I mean by postmodern or postmodernism? Here's a description from the Marxist literary theorist Terry Eagleton- ''By 'postmodern', I mean, roughly speaking, the contemporary movement of thought which rejects totalities, universal values, grand historical narratives, solid foundations to human existence and the possibility of objective knowledge. Postmodernism is skeptical of truth, unity and progress, opposes what it sees as elitism in culture, tends towards cultural relativism, and celebrates plurality, discontinuity and heterogeneity'' (After Theory, 13). Postmodern philosophy emerged in the 1960s and became ascendent in the academy in the 1970s and 80s, particularly through the work of original thinkers such as Foucault, Derrida, Lyotard, Baudrillard and a host of others. It influenced many other fields, including architecture and film, to name just two examples. It also began to influence the social justice activism of the radical left, especially through a nascent movement in the 1970s and 80s called Critical Race Theory , which has become central to the thinking of the contemporary woke left.
By the time I hit campus in the mid 1990s and plunked myself happily into the middle of the radical left, much of these postmodern ideas were definitely swirling in the ethos. Many of the strands of what now gets called the woke left (or the Social Justice Warrior left) were already in the mix too, although they were not yet as cohered into a totalizing worldview, nor were their activist expression as virulent as the 'woke revolution' that's permeating society today. There were at that time already critiques from within the left against the rise of what was then most commonly called 'identity politics'. In 1992 Todd Gitlin wrote an article in Harper's Magazine entitled 'The Left, Lost in the Politics of Identity'. In it he lamented that the shift to identity politics on the left had transformed ''the core idea of the left: the weakening, even breakdown, of the ideals of a common humanity that have animated it for more than two centuries...Whatever universalism now remains is based not so much on a common humanity as on a common enemy -the notorious White Male''. The commonalities and universalism that were found on the left in Marxist slogans such as, ''Workers of the world, unite!'', had given way to groups of people who shared a particular identity organizing and demanding redress for their own particular set of grievances and oppressions. Old school leftists such as Eric Hobsbawm and Michael Parenti were critical of the departure from class as the central element of analysis and collective action. Chris Hedges recently voiced this same internal critique and was met with great condemnation from the woke left. We'll talk more about the issues of class analysis and universalism in a later section.
As we moved into the 2000s, this confluence of forces- postmodern philosophy, Critical Theory, and Critical Race Theory- came together to form what Peter Limberg at the The Stoa calls ''the woke egregore'', or the ''totalizing meta-narrative'' by which the radical identity politics left understands itself and the nature of reality. The word ''woke'' got attached to the movement not long after. According to an article in Vox, the phrase ''stay woke'' was being used by Black communities in the US in the mid 2000s (although it has a longer history). It was after the 2014 police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson that, ''''woke'' evolved into a single-word summation of leftist political ideology, centered on social justice politics and critical race theory''. But the woke left isn't just the latest instantiation in the long history of the liberal reformist left, which tried to transform the system from within. As we'll see, it marks a startling break from it in some of its core ideas. The woke left can be seen as a novel mutation, one that Wesley Yang has termed a ''successor ideology'', because it has broken with and often become a fierce adversary of the old reformist left.
This new woke left has also come to increasingly have many hallmarks of being a religion. Its religious qualities have been remarked on by many commentators, including Columbia University's John McWhorter, who wrote a 2015 article in The Daily Beast called, 'Antiracism, Our Flawed New Religion'. McWhorter has a new book length treatment of the subject called 'The Elect', which he's currently serializing on his Substack page. Let's now look at the many ways in which religious forms have resurfaced within this movement. Firstly, a conversion is required. One must covert from their deluded worldview to that of wokeness, and this becoming woke is very much like being born again. There is original sin, the sin of racism, or the sin of groups of people having inherent power and privilege over others. To overcome this sin you must confess your sin, or check your privilege, often out loud and to others (confession). This privilege checking can take extreme forms of self-abasement and self-humiliation, such as self-flagellation and washing people's feet, which starts to move into Opus Dei type territory.
There are of course sacred texts, with ''grievance studies scholarship being the Bible and Hadith of Social Justice'', not to mention popularizing texts such as White Fragility, which are important for the growth of any religious movement. One must keep strict puritanical observance of dogma however, or face banishment as a heretic, a form of excommunication known today as cancel culture. To avoid a dreaded canceling one can virtue signal to others on social media that they're strict adherents, a display of public piety akin to Christians of old making sure they were seen at church on Sunday. The woke left seeks moral purity, imploring its acolytes to strive for a utopian moral perfection in all their behaviour. Like many fundamentalist forms of religion, the woke left is very hostile to criticism, and is not interested in debate. Like cults such as Scientology, it's very organized and effective at attacking and silencing detractors. It's also highly intolerant, including against its own devotees. In all this it acts with a very noticeable zealotry, already commented on by David Brooks in 2015. It has increasingly morphed over time into a real life version of the Faith Militant.
There's a proselytizing impulse on the woke left, a Great Commission to go to all the world and preach the gospel of anti-racism, as seen for instance in an array of articles teaching woke disciples how to talk to their 'racist family'. As John McWhorter remarked on a podcast with Sam Harris, ''The woke think of themselves as The Elect who are ahead of the curve, and who are bringing the Good News''. The increasing attempt by the woke left to get anti-racism training into younger and younger age groups at school, could be seen as a new manifestation of Sunday school. The woke left believes in evil, but instead of it emanating from demonic forces in the heavenly realms, our human system itself is evil, and must be exorcised of its racist possession. It also rejects the modern separation of church and state and openly seeks a form of theocracy, where anti-racism training and woke ideology is fused into every aspect of the state apparatus. And there's also apparently a belief in martyrs, as seen in Nancy Pelosi's strange remarks that George Floyd sacrificed his life for the cause of justice (which sounds vaguely familiar).
Surveying this whole woke terrain, David French writes, ''It was foolish for anyone to believe that a less Christian America would be a less religious America''. Our religious impulses don't go away, they just resurface in new and sometimes twisted forms. And this new woke religion looks a lot like the recapitulation of a fundamentalist Christianity. But this new religion is missing three crucial aspects of the Christian tradition- there's no grace, there's no redemption, and there's no forgiveness. There's no conception of grace, where God extends God's love even to those who don't deserve it. There's no redemption, no vision of a future where all the nations come together in unity (Revelation 7:9; Isaiah 2:1-4). As Andrew Sullivan comments, ''Life [in the woke view] is simply an interlocking drama of oppression and power and resistance, ending only in death. It's Marx without the final total liberation''. And above all, there's no forgiveness. It doesn't matter how long ago the infraction was, or how much someone might've changed, there's only persecution, banishment, and extreme intolerance in the name of tolerance. Jesus' second great commandment to love thy neighbor as thyself, is tossed out the window. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream for a time when his children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, has been kicked to the curb. All that remains is no quarter. There's something very sour, something dark even, in this whole ''Great Awokening''. And many within this new religion are seeing it and getting out.
Leaving My Religion
As far back as 2014, an article titled 'Everything is problematic' was published in the McGill Daily by a queer activist named Yarrow Eady. It opened an important pressure valve for a growing discontent that was building within the woke left. Eady said that there was something ''vaguely dark and cultish'' about the movement. Eady writes, ''Any infraction reflected badly on your character, and too many might put you on my blacklist. Calling them 'sacred beliefs' is a nice way to put it. What I mean to say is that they are dogmas'...When I was part of groups like this, everyone was on exactly the same page about a suspiciously large range of issues. Internal disagreement was rare. The insular community served as an incubator of extreme, irrational views''. Articles like this continued to trickle out as the years went by and the woke left grew in both prominence and vehemence. In 2017, an American trans woman by the name of Frances Lee wrote a piece called, ''Excommunicate me from church of social justice''. Lee writes, ''There is an underlying current of fear in my activist, queer, and trans people of colour communities. It is separate from the daily fear of police brutality, discrimination, or street harassment. It is the fear of appearing impure'...Among us, grace and forgiveness are hard to come by'...The amount of energy I spend demonstrating purity in order to stay in the good graces of fast-moving activist communities is enormous. Often times, it means that I'm not even doing the real work I am committed to do''. She grew up in an evangelical form of Christianity, and after some time in the world of the woke left she was forced to ask herself, ''Have I extricated myself from one church to find myself confined in another?''Also in 2017, an article was written by a Chinese-Canadian trans woman talking about a ''crisis of faith'' within woke activist communities. Another talked about 'Leaving the SJW Cult and Finding Myself', after having seen ''concepts like equality and justice being used as a mask for resentful, murderous rage'', in what she describes as a ''secular religion'' full of ''true believers''. The exodus of willing apostates continues today. The Spectator recently released an ongoing series called ''Wokeyleaks'', which will act as a ''confidential news leak organization for sources who wish to divulge classified information (and hilarious anecdotes) about woke culture without fear of getting canceled''. There's also a new podcast called Fucking Cancelled, where the hosts and their guests tell some truly awful stories about cancel culture and getting cancelled. The podcast describes itself as ''for anyone who feels stifled or trapped by the authoritarian, punishing culture that dominates the left. It's a podcast for anyone who is too afraid to say what they really think. It's a podcast for people who have been cancelled, who are afraid of getting cancelled, or who have taken part in the cancellation of others and wondered if it was right''. Episode 9, a 101-type introduction to cancel culture, is particularly eye opening in terms of the truly toxic and often traumatizing nature of the woke left's internal culture. Another podcast in the same general territory is Blocked and Reported, hosted by the journalists Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal.
A lot of people are leaving the religion. Peter Limberg talks about the ''woke refugees'' that are showing up at his project The Stoa. But there's another large yet mostly hidden group that doesn't consent to the woke left either, and I'm not talking about conservatives and the right, who are open about their rejection of it. There's also a silent mass of liberal/progressive/left-leaning people who reject the woke left but are too afraid to speak out about it. Those within the woke left likely view their worldview as the dominant one in today's culture, because they're currently being supported and amplified by the mainstream media and many corporations (a troubling situation that we'll explore in the next and final section). But for many years now there's been what Freddie deBoer called in 2017 'the backchannel', ''that second line of communication, the private counterpart to the public face of the internet that is social media''. Basically, a lot of people talk privately in one-on-one settings about their critique or concern or horror at the antics of the woke left. It's just that they're too afraid of cancel culture and the possibly job ending attacks, or painful social ostracism, that might come from expressing their true feelings. So people speak privately to those they trust. I've spent plenty of time in the backchannel. The same happens on the internet. Away from the blaring woke bullhorns on Twitter, and the fire laden peaceful protests in the streets, are what Yancey Strickler in 2019 termed ''digital campfires'' in his Dark Forest theory of the internet. Strickler observes that many people are increasingly gathering in ''Slack channels, private Instagrams, invite-only message boards, text groups, Snapchat, WeChat'', protected spaces that ''provide psychological and reputational cover'' and allow genuine conversations free from the attacks of caustic woke partizans. I've spent plenty of time around these digital campfires too, and have heard a lot of distaste directed towards the views and actions of the Faith Militant.
The reign of the woke left appears to be waning. Its own members are leaving and more and more from the 'progressive left' are becoming braver in their open rejection of it, often aligning with conservatives along the way. The increasing truism that if you ''Go woke'' you'll ''Go broke'', signals that there's still a large silent majority that doesn't want anything to do with this flawed new religion, and won't spend their money on corporations or sports leagues who are virtue signaling on its behalf. It's looking like a major weapon of global capital and the ruling class is slowly losing strength, and not a moment too soon.
Raging on Behalf of the Machine
It wasn't that long ago that voices from the left were calling corporations psychopathic. These brand bullies were said to be solely interested in profit and nothing else. There's also a long history of media analysis on the left, from Noam Chomsky to Edward Said to Robert McChesney and Michael Parenti, that has viewed the media as a dangerous tool of elite power, one that can steer and construct reality for masses of people. And yet today many powerful corporations and almost the entire mainstream media establishment are behind the woke movement and its agenda, and I've heard very little reflection or concern from the woke left about this startling inversion. What do they think happened? Do they believe that these 'psychopaths' and the media they own all had powerful Road to Damascus moments, and have come to see the woke light?
Commentators from across the political spectrum have been trying to understand the phenomenon of ''woke capitalism''. What's precipitated the shift, and what's in it for the corporations? Is it just fear and a desire to be on the side of the perceived rising tide of culture? Or are there other motivations behind this show of support? Glen Greenwald sees the patronage as a sleight of hand that helps obscure the unjust activities of corporations. He writes, ''The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the corporate class and the ways they abuse and eliminate labor, control government, and destroy the working and middle classes will be impossible to see, as we are all blinded by the glare of their virtuous Instagram posts about racial justice and their unified campaigns against voter suppression. In an instant of swooning over their benevolent devotion to social justice, we will forget what they actually exist to do''. Chris Hedges sees the support of woke left as a weapon that can be wielded by corporations to their own advantage. He writes, ''Corporations know these moral purity tests are, for us, self-defeating. They know that by making the cancel culture legitimate'...they can employ it to silence those who attack and expose the structures of corporate power and imperial crimes''. Woke ideology becomes an incredible weapon/excuse for censorship, deflecting away criticism by calling it racist or homophobic or misogynist or hate speech, or silencing conservative voices by deeming them all alt-right or white supremacists. The deplatforming of a wide variety of alternative voices has been intense and plain to see over the last several years and has only picked up steam. This is another inversion of the historical left and its storied Free Speech Movement of the 1960s.The support of the woke left's identitarian politics also serves to obscure class as a key locus of analysis and activism, as the left gets lost in an endless series of internal identity conflicts. Whether it's ''black men are the white men of black people'', or woke anti-Semitism, or gay Jews being banned from a pride parade, or Asian Americans now being deemed ''white adjacent'', the focus on identity and who has the most intersectional cred is a very effective vehicle for divide and conquer tactics, one of the oldest ruling strategies of elite power. Marxism even has a concept for this called bourgeois nationalism, a ''practice by the ruling classes of deliberately dividing people by nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion, so as to distract them from initiating class warfare''. This part of the left's DNA has been forgotten too it would seem. What's incredible is that according to Episode 12 of the Moe Factz podcast, the term white supremacy was originally understood as a class concept. That statement needs a double take I'm sure, as that's not how it's understood by Critical Race Theory and the woke left, and that's not how it's commonly wielded within the culture wars today. But at least according to a long and sizeable strand of the American black intellectual tradition, white supremacy refers to a ruling class that people of all colors must live under. Moe says that this term could be exchanged for other terms that are commonly used today, such as the elites or the globalists.
We can see from the above that there could be good self-interested reasons for corporations, and by extension the media, to support the woke left. But let's expand the scope of the analysis one step beyond just this level of self-interest. In doing so we might evoke the 'conspiracy' label, but it's worth considering Mark Fisher's comment that ''[M]any of what we call 'conspiracies' are the ruling class showing class solidarity". The author Christopher Knowles, host of the singular Secret Sun blog and a totem figure of sorts for us here at Limited Hangout, tweeted this out recently- ''Wokeness is the religious project of transnational corporate Capitalism. Prove me wrong''. What if the woke left is being used as the tip of the spear by globalists who seek a world order beyond nation states? Who are these globalists? They're people like Henry Kissinger, Klaus Schwab, Jacques Attali and others of the Davos set, who speak very openly about their desire to see a system of global governance that supersedes nation states. Twenty-four world leaders just recently called for more globalism in response to the pandemic. Klaus Schwab's book The Fourth Industrial Revolution describes in (rather unsettling) detail exactly what this future technocratic society would look like. If it's a conspiracy, it's a very open one. Does the woke left help this globalist project achieve its goals? Does the woke religion help people form new identities, allowing them to abandon their old ones and be re-formed as global citizens of the Great Reset? Is this why Amazon and Facebook and Apple and George Soros and Bill Gates and the Ford Foundation have all donated millions of dollars to various social justice organizations of the woke left?
I'm not saying the woke left was created by a nexus of elite corporate power, although given the CIA's storied history of culture creation one could be forgiven for going down that road. But when you see a tool that could be useful to your own empire building project, you support it while you can. And the woke left is a powerful force for the erasure of old identities, as it's against many of the cornerstones of Western civilization. In the book Critical Race Theory: An Introduction, it says, ''Unlike traditional civil rights discourse, which stresses incrementalism and step-by-step progress, critical race theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and neutral principles of constitutional law''. An education manual by Robin DiAngelo and Ozlem Stenzoy echoes this by saying they reject ''liberal humanism'', seeing it as a ''mechanism for keeping the marginalized in their place''. Black Lives Matter came out against the nuclear family, before having to backtrack due to backlash. The National Museum of African American History & Culture also spoke out against the nuclear family, but went much further by saying that, ''"self-reliance," ''objective, rational thinking,'' ''hard work,'' the "nuclear family," and being ''polite'' are among the aspects and assumptions of ''white culture'' in the United States''. They too had to retract this due to backlash, including from the black community. Besides trying to eliminate the family, the woke cancelers have also come after the word's mom and dad, have said we shouldn't read to our kids, and have announced that mythology has too many triggers and shouldn't be read. If you add to this the ongoing attack on historical statues and the attempt at renaming buildings and erasing all of the 'racist' past, one can understand why this quote from George Orwell's 1984 was going around this year- ''Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right''.
In 1961, MIT psychologist and professor of management Edgar Schein wrote a book called Coercive Persuasion: A Socio-psychological Analysis of the ''Brainwashing'' of American Civilian Prisoners. In it he laid out a three-step process through which someone can have their identity remolded. 1) Unfreezing- the breaking down of someone's identity; 2) Changing- an indoctrination process that introduces new beliefs and values; 3) Freezing- reinforcing and normalizing that new identity so it becomes fixed. Also in 1961, the psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton wrote a book on the same subject, entitled Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism- A Study of ''Brainwashing'' in China. When you read his ''Eight Criteria for Thought Reform'' and then look at the woke left, some eerie resemblances are readily apparent. Both Schein's and Lifton's work have been used to understand how cults work to transform and control their members, and whether intentional or not, these processes are alive within the successor ideology of the woke left. If you add to this creation of malleable identities a belief in open borders and a rejection of nationalism, you can see why the elite globalist class would be readily supporting this movement.Our religious impulses never fully go away, they just resurface in new forms. We are homo religiosus after all. As John Sexton writes while surveying the woke left, ''Intersectionality is a substitute religion. Lack of faith doesn't always make people secular''. And a new religion isn't necessarily a bad thing, but when it's full of malice and resentment, when it lacks forgiveness and mercy, when it's dogmatic and insular, when its own members feel stifled and harmed by it, when it sows endless division and strife, when it's being used by powerful interests as a weapon in their class war, when it attempts to erase history and many of the core important values that underlie a healthy society, then this is a toxic religion that's got to go. And thankfully the tide is finally turning. Its own members are leaving and speaking out, and many others are leaving their digital campfires and backchannels and finding the courage to join them. A post-woke future is starting to emerge.
North Carolina Pipeline Caused the Biggest Gas Spill in Decades - 365 News Channel
Wed, 12 May 2021 15:27
Pipelines used to carry crude oil.Photo: Jim Mone (AP)Unless you're living in Huntersville, North Carolina, you may be blissfully unaware that the U.S.'s biggest gasoline spill since 1997 happened this past summer. The slowly-unfolding, little-reported-on saga in the state involves a company controlled by special interests like the Koch brothers and Shell, and a pipeline that has been transporting dirty energy for decades. And the crisis of the Colonial pipeline points to one of the next big issues for American fossil fuel infrastructure: what to do about dangerous, aging pipelines as we move to clean energy.
In August, two teenagers riding ATVs around in a nature preserve outside of Huntersville, a suburb north of Charlotte, noticed gasoline gurgling out of the ground and told the town fire department. (Colonial's owners told some state lawmakers a different story, initially claiming that they'd shut down the pipeline after noticing a pressure drop at another point in the line.) At first, the pipeline company reported that only 63,000 gallons of oil had been spilled, but throughout the fall, that number steadily crept up: 273,000 gallons in September , 311,000 gallons in November . The company now says nearly 1.2 million gallons have been leaked; that number could still rise as more assessments are done.
While pipeline owners tend to undershoot their initial estimates of spills, this level of screwup is ''somewhat astronomical and not normal,'' said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. Margolis said that gasoline's physical composition'--it sinks to the bottom of bodies of water, unlike oil, which stays slick on top'--could make spills like this harder to gauge.
But the age of the pipeline, Margolis said, was also probably a culprit in how the exact number was missed. Unlike newer pipelines, older ones like the Colonial pipeline ''don't have the same mechanisms in place to monitor spills and leaks,'' he said. ''This is a 40-some-year-old pipeline, it just doesn't have that kind of technology.''
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The Colonial pipeline is owned by a company of the same name, which is, in turn, controlled by companies including Koch Industries (its largest shareholder, which made $85 million in dividends from the pipeline in 2016 ) and Royal Dutch Shell . The pipeline was initially built in 1963 , and stretches from Texas to New Jersey. According to the company , the pipeline transports around 2.5 million barrels of fuel per day, mostly underground, that supplies 45% of the entire East Coast's gasoline. In 2016, North Carolina alone got 70% of its gasoline from the pipeline . Its owners have said that technology can detect leaks as small as 3% of the pipeline's daily flow''which works out to around 1.8 million gallons.
Colonial Pipeline (the company) has been doing damage control since the summer. As officials continued to gradually and quietly raise estimates of the spill in the press, it simultaneously bought out three properties near the leak site, spending more on those purchases than it's spent on environmental penalties levied over the past three decades. Yet the company has not disclosed the cause of the five-foot crack in the pipe segment outside of Charlotte. (That same line segment had also been repaired in 2004.)
Margolis pointed out that the Colonial pipeline is so old that its anti-corrosion mechanism is simply a coating of coal tar. ''That's scary,'' he said, pointing out that newer pipelines with updated technology still have accidents.
''When you think about Keystone 1, what's in the ground, that thing leaked, like, fifteen times the first year or two, and that supposedly had all the bells and whistles, all the new technology,'' he said, referencing the numerous accidents the TC Energy-owned pipeline, the predecessor to the Keystone XL project, has had in its 10-year existence. ''What we're talking about here is a whole step removed from that''they basically painted it with tar and threw it in the ground.''
Anti-pipeline activists tend to focus their attention on new infrastructure being built (and for good reason). New construction represents locking the world into new emissions, and it's much harder to argue for pulling the plug on a pipeline the size of Colonial's, which would represent a significant disruption in our daily lives if it was to suddenly disappear. The 2016 back-to-back spill and explosion, for example caused gas shortages in six states .
Yet Colonial may represent the next step forward in fighting for an energy transition: figuring out how to decommission pipelines that are falling apart.
''There aren't that many pipelines proposed for the near future. We know they're not economical, we know we need to move beyond fossil fuels, so at this point, it's like, what's the next issue with pipelines?'' Margolis said, pointing out that pipelines like Colonial are particularly dangerous in terms of explosions, water pollution, and other on-the-ground impacts. ''There's a couple ways to deal with this aging infrastructure. The big way, the main way we see it, is that these things should be decommissioned. When you see a pipeline that's this old with these kinds of problems. It shouldn't be repaired, it should be shut down.''
There are around 190,000 miles of pipelines that transport liquid petroleum products across the U.S. Deactivating pipelines is a messy, protracted affair, with several steps required from regulatory bodies to make sure it's done correctly. It's also expensive: Enbridge has estimated that properly deactivating its aging Line 3 pipeline and taking it out of the ground would cost more than $1.2 billion dollars . The company is currently considering simply abandoning it and paying off the landowners involved, which it says would cost a relatively paltry $85 million, but leave corrosive pipes littered underneath the landscape.
Activists opposing new pipelines also haven't stopped fighting them even after being built. The resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline morphed from blocking construction to shutting off a functioning pipeline after Trump lifted blocks set by his predecessor and allowed the pipeline to begin transporting oil. However, in July of last year , a judge ruled that the government did not complete an adequate impact assessment
For older pipelines like Colonial, which have been around long enough to survive any legal challenges related to their initial construction, the chance for shutdown could come when the owners make moves to make significant repairs''especially if those repairs cross new territories or require new permits. That struggle is playing out right now in Minnesota, where Enbridge is looking to construct a new pipeline to replace the crumbling Line 3. The company's proposed route for the replacement is facing legal challenges and significant backlash from Indigenous groups and activists who say the pipeline violates treaty rights with tribes in the area.
Just because pipelines like the Line 3 replacement or Colonial aren't technically new infrastructure doesn't mean that they can't keep the U.S. locked into using dirty fuels. If shareholders spend big to keep a pipeline working, they'll be less and less interested in suddenly doubling back on that investment.
''If you rebuild a pipeline, just like building a new pipeline, you're putting millions and millions of dollars into it,'' Margolis said. ''You're locking us into fossil fuel use for decades.''
Ontario likely to give mixed COVID vaccine doses due to shortage of AstraZeneca: minister | National Post
Wed, 12 May 2021 14:23
Quebec has also said that it plans to mix vaccines due to supply shortages, substituting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the Moderna vaccines
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One health expert says some Canadians who have already received the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot may be comforted to know they have the option of a different dose. Photo by Dado Ruvic/Illustration/ReutersTORONTO '-- Ontario will likely mix and match COVID-19 vaccine doses in light of uncertain future supply of all the shots approved for use in Canada.
Health Minister Christine Elliott says it's likely that recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine may receive a different shot for their second dose.
The province is waiting for the results from a U.K. study on mixing different vaccines and on advice from a federal immunization panel.
Quebec has also said that it plans to mix vaccines due to supply shortages, substituting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the Moderna vaccines in order to quickly give booster shots to long-term care residents.
It's unclear when more Oxford-AstraZeneca shots will arrive but Ontario is expecting millions of Pfizer-BioNTech shots in the coming weeks.
Biologist and science communicator Samantha Yammine says some Canadians who have already received the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot may be comforted to know they have the option of a different dose.
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More On This Topic Mixing COVID-19 vaccines could be making the best 'of a bad situation' Should we mix-and-match doses from different COVID-19 vaccines? Experts say maybe She says the pandemic has given rise to an ''infodemic,'' with a flood of advice about areas like the low risk of blood clots from viral-vector shots compared with mRNA vaccines.
Even with more mRNA vaccines on the way, Yammine says Canada should be careful about dismissing shots like Oxford-AstraZeneca's because they are important to ending the global pandemic.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization sparked controversy when it recommended that Canadians who aren't at high risk from COVID-19 may want to wait until a dose of Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna is available, calling them the ''preferred'' vaccines.
The comments were met with harsh criticism from public health officials and members of the public, and the chair of the committee said last week that the recommendation was not ''retrospective'' and that those who got the AstraZeneca vaccine did the right thing to protect themselves and their families.
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Solar storm travelling at 1.3 million kilometres per hour to hit Earth tomorrow
Wed, 12 May 2021 14:10
(C) NASA Solar storm travelling at 1.3 kilometres per hour to hit Earth tomorrow An "erupting filament of magnetism" has been spewed into the solar system by the Sun at 328 kilometres per second, and it could collide with Earth. The solar storm has been caused by a swirling pool of magnetism beneath the surface of the Sun, known as a sunspot.
Sunspots are dark patches on the Sun which are typically cooler than the rest of the star.
When experts say they are 'cooler', the average temperature of a sunspot still exceeds 3,500 degrees Celsius - although this is a drop from the average Sun surface of 5,500C.
They are typically cooler as sunspots are areas of strong magnetic fields.
The magnetism is so strong that it actually keeps some of the heat from escaping.
(C) NASA sun However, as the magnetic field builds, it increases pressure in the sunspot which can erupt as a solar flare or coronal mass ejection (CME).
The incoming CME could glance Earth tomorrow, or on May 13, astronomers have said.
When it does, it could lead to issues for technology that relies on satellites.
Space enthusiasts have said it could spark a G1 class geomagnetic storm.
(C) GETTY aurora
A solar storm of this power can lead to "weak power grid fluctuations" and can have a "minor impact on satellite operations".
This is because, as particles bombard Earth's magnetic shield, it causes it to expand which makes it harder for satellite signals to penetrate.
Astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on his Space Weather site: "A CME is coming. Hurled toward Earth by an erupting filament of magnetism on May 9, the solar storm cloud is expected to arrive on May 12 or 13.
"This is not an especially fast or powerful CME, but it could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms and auroras at high latitudes."
(C) NASA sun
While this solar storm is largely insignificant, some experts have warned a major solar storm is a matter of "when not if".
Every so often, the Sun releases a solar flare which in turn blasts energy into space.
Some of these solar flares can hit Earth, and for the most part, are harmless to our planet.
However, the Sun can also release solar flares so powerful that they can cripple Earth's technology.
Previous studies have revealed the Sun releases an extreme solar flare every 25 years on average, with the last Earth-hitting one coming in 1989.
(C) EXPRESS SUN This storm saw power outages in Quebec, Canada, as conducting rocks on Earth can carry the excess energy from the magnetic shield and plough it into the national grid.
While it is impossible to predict when and where a huge solar storm might hit, it is inevitable one will hit the planet in the future.
Risk consultancy firm Drayton Tyler said: "A solar superstorm is a 'when, not if' event.
"In the worst case, the direct and indirect costs are likely to run into trillions of dollars with a recovery time of years rather than months.
"The probability of an event of that size happening is estimated by the UK's Royal Academy of Engineering as one in 10 in any decade."
Whitmer threatens profit seizure if pipeline keeps operating
Wed, 12 May 2021 14:07
LANSING, Mich. (AP) '-- Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer threatened Tuesday to go after Enbridge's profits from a Great Lakes oil pipeline if the company defies her order to shut it down.
The Democratic governor issued the warning in a letter to the Canadian energy transport company on the eve of a state-imposed deadline to halt operation of Line 5, which moves oil through northern Wisconsin and Michigan to refineries in Ontario. Enbridge repeated its intention to defy Whitmer's demand.
A nearly 4-mile-long (6.4-kilometer-long) section of Line 5 divides into two pipes that cross the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac, which connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Whitmer, backed by environmentalists and native tribes, says the segment is vulnerable to a catastrophic spill in the cold, swirling channel. She revoked an easement last November that Michigan had granted in 1953 for the pipes to occupy the lake bottom and ordered them closed by May 12.
Enbridge insists the segment is in good condition and says its loss would cause economic damage in both countries, a position shared by the Canadian government, which filed a legal brief Tuesday in support of the company.
In her letter to Vern Yu, Enbridge's executive vice president for liquids pipelines, Whitmer said continued operation of the line after Wednesday ''constitutes an intentional trespass'' and that the company would do so ''at its own risk.''
''If the state prevails in the underlying litigation, Enbridge will face the prospect of having to disgorge to the state all profits it derives from its wrongful use of the easement lands following that date,'' Whitmer said.
Enbridge argues that the state has no authority to order the shutdown because the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration oversees interstate pipelines.
''We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely,'' spokesman Ryan Duffy said. ''Line 5 is operating safely, reliably and is in compliance with the law.''
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit last fall in support of Whitmer's order, while Enbridge countersued in federal court and wants the matter decided there. A federal judge is considering which court should have jurisdiction.
Nessel's office said it will continue seeking a shutdown order.
''We are reviewing other remedies that may be available to the state if Enbridge continues to operate the pipelines after the deadline,'' spokeswoman Lynsey Mukomel said.
Although U.S. District Judge Janet Neff has ordered mediation, the latest developments suggested the two sides remained deeply entrenched.
Canada's brief, filed in federal court, urged further efforts to reach a settlement.
''Line 5 is essential to our energy security,'' said Seamus O'Regan Jr., minister of natural resources. ''It heats both Canadian and American homes. It supports both Canadian and American jobs.''
Advocacy groups stepped up the pressure.
In Lansing, labor organizers spread 1,200 hard hats across the grounds of the Michigan Capitol, saying they represented jobs that would be lost without the pipeline. Among them were members of a union representing workers at a refinery in Toledo, Ohio.
''If Line 5 were to shut down, we don't have alternatives to get our crude oil to the refinery because of where we are and the infrastructure that we have,'' said Justin Donley, president of Local 912. ''So our refinery would likely shut down.''
The Consumer Energy Alliance, a business coalition, said a shutdown would imperil 33,000 jobs and cause at least $20.8 billion in economic losses in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Environmentalists said a spill in the straits would be far more costly.
''The decrepit, deteriorating and dangerous Line 5 pipeline is an ecological and public health tragedy waiting to happen in the world's largest freshwater lakes,'' said Collin O'Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
The Bay Mills Indian Community, which has treaty-recognized fishing rights in the Straits of Mackinac, approved a resolution Monday that ''banishes'' the underwater pipelines from its territory.
''Enbridge's continued harm to our treaty rights, our environment, our history, our citizens, and our culture, is a prime example of how banishment should be used,'' said Whitney Gravelle, president of the tribe's Executive Council. ''Banishment is a permanent and final action that is used to protect all that we hold dear.''
Enbridge is seeking state and federal permits to drill a $500 million tunnel beneath the straits to house a new pipeline, which supporters say would remove any threat of a leak. Opponents say the project carries its own environmental risks.
___
Flesher reported from Traverse City, Michigan. AP correspondent Rob Gillies contributed from Toronto. Nichols is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Opinion | The 1918 pandemic tells us that we can't celebrate the end of covid yet - The Washington Post
Wed, 12 May 2021 12:32
More than a year into the pandemic, the situation is chaotic. Lacking vaccines, lacking resources or lacking good policies, India, Turkey, much of South America and elsewhere are seeing the virus rage as never before. Europe is finally improving after an extraordinarily difficult few months, while in the United States, the pandemic's end may be in sight.
Are there any lessons that can be extracted from this landscape? And does the course of the 1918 pandemic hold any lessons for today?
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To answer the last question first, the 1918 pandemic began in the spring with an intermittent first wave no deadlier than ordinary influenza, then seemed to disappear. A more contagious and more lethal variant caused the deadly second wave, and then it also seemed to disappear. In March 1919, another variant sparked a third wave much less deadly than the second wave but more lethal than seasonal influenza. First wave illness protected against the second wave, but neither first nor second wave infection protected against the third wave variant. Further mutations, combined with an improved ability of the immune system to respond, helped turn the virus into an ordinary seasonal influenza '-- until it was replaced by the 1957 pandemic influenza virus.
Covid-19 was never going to disappear, but there is a reasonable chance that it will follow the 1918 precedent and become an endemic influenza-like illness that kills '-- serious enough, to be sure '-- and will require vaccine updates but will not require shutdowns. That would be the best case.
Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic
In terms of social, cultural and economic impacts, however, 1918 is not a precedent. The first wave, especially in the United States, was so mild it passed without notice, and no city took any public health action. During the second wave, most cities closed schools, theaters and saloons, and some required masks. But one of the biggest differences between the 1918 pandemic and this one is duration. The 1918 disease usually affected a given community for about six to eight weeks, and restrictions generally lasted only three to five weeks '-- too short a period for any permanent impact on behavior.
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Since the disease disappeared abruptly, society returned to pre-pandemic normal quickly. The third wave hit many cities '-- though, not all '-- but no one knew it was coming, so it didn't affect behaviors, and few places reinstituted restrictions for it.
By contrast, more than a year of covid-19 has already altered our working and living habits. Zoom is here to stay. Fewer office workers will be at their posts this fall simultaneously, affecting everything from commercial real estate to traffic, mass transit use, after-work happy hours and the economics of lunch counters. Architecture will change '-- windows will open again.
Will the pandemic, as many assume, be followed by a boom? Probably, but those who connect the 1918 pandemic to the Roaring Twenties ignore the far greater cultural impact of World War I's 20 million dead and events of 1919, 1920 and 1921. One of the most difficult years in American history, 1919 saw a Red Scare, beatings and lynchings of returning Black soldiers, a race riot in Chicago and related unrest in 25 other cities, the collapse of agricultural prices, an attempted assassination on the U.S. attorney general, violent strikes that paralyzed coal mines and steel factories, a police strike in Boston (Calvin Coolidge's response earned him the vice presidential nomination), and a general strike in Seattle. Then came a serious recession in 1920 and 1921. Only after all this did the 1920s roar.
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This time around, we have already had our share of convulsions. And we have already seen recession. Pent-up demand and stimulus spending should produce an expanding economy.
As to covid-19, we are winning the race between vaccination rates and the spread of variants, though it is not over yet. The heat and humidity of summer will help limit the virus's ability to spread. Last year, I predicted that summer would provide little relief because the vast majority of the population was still susceptible to infection. Now, with at least half the U.S. population vaccinated or about to be, summer should help. But it's been summer in Brazil and India; as they demonstrate, it's no panacea.
And if the United States has good reasons to expect full football stadiums this fall, that expectation comes with two caveats. First, variants able to escape vaccines and natural immunity could emerge. The vaccines have kept up so far with the mutations, but that could change.
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Second, hubris is not our friend. India's desperate situation is largely a result of a government thinking it had triumphed over the virus and ignoring scientific advice by reopening fully too soon without widespread vaccination. Our vaccination rates are falling nationally, but several Southern states already lag far behind that national rate, and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) just issued an order canceling all restrictions by local governments, an action that might be emulated by other states. These are not good signs, and all could lead to a resurgence of infections.
For much of the world, unfortunately, the situation remains bleak. And even in the United States, we have a ways to go before we can sing that anthem of the 1920s, ''Happy Days Are Here Again.''
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It's a Home in Brooklyn. What Could It Cost? $100,000? - The New York Times
Wed, 12 May 2021 12:31
Shaun Donovan and Raymond J. McGuire, candidates for mayor of New York, were way, way off when asked to estimate the median home price in the borough.
Shaun Donovan, left, and Raymond J. McGuire, right, thought the median home price in Brooklyn was in the $100,000 or less range. Mr. Donovan later said he was referring to assessed value. Credit... Left: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters; Right: Mpi43/MediaPunch May 11, 2021
Do you know the median sales price for a home in Brooklyn?
The question, which was recently posed to eight mayoral candidates by The New York Times editorial board, was not a trick. Brooklyn is a notoriously expensive borough in one of America's most expensive cities, and New York City's housing crisis promises to be a major issue in the coming years.
Yet the range of responses given by two of the candidates '-- off by roughly an order of magnitude '-- has touched off incredulity among New Yorkers.
''In Brooklyn, huh? I don't for sure,'' Shaun Donovan, who has touted his experience as housing secretary under President Barack Obama and housing commissioner under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, answered. ''I would guess it is around $100,000.''
The guess from Raymond J. McGuire, an investment banker and former executive at Citigroup who has sought to woo voters with his financial acumen, included similar numbers.
''It's got to be somewhere in the $80,000 to $90,000 range, if not higher,'' he said.
Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, said he believed the number was about $550,000. Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, guessed $1.8 million. Only Andrew Yang, who has been criticized in the past for seeming out of touch with the city's issues, guessed correctly: $900,000.
Kathryn Garcia, a former sanitation commissioner, guessed $800,000; Dianne Morales, a former nonprofit executive, $500,000; and Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller, $1 million.
While Mr. Donovan and Mr. McGuire are not considered among the leading candidates in the race, it was their answers that drew the most attention, with many people suggesting that they did not have a grasp on the problems of working people. As several people pointed out on social media, among the things that can be purchased in Brooklyn for $100,000 or less, according to the website Zillow: a parking space and two vacant lots.
''It's hard to imagine these men solving a problem they don't know exists,'' said Monica Klein, a political consultant. The Working Families Party, which has endorsed two other candidates, Ms. Morales and Ms. Wiley, is a client of Ms. Klein's firm, Seneca Strategies.
''If you don't spend your days refreshing StreetEasy and obsessing over apartments you will never afford, are you really a New Yorker?'' Ms. Klein asked
According to a note appended to a transcript of the editorial board's interview with Mr. Donovan, he had sent an email several hours after the interview to say that his $100,000 answer referred to the assessed value of homes in Brooklyn, which tends to be much lower than their selling price.
''I really don't think you can buy a house in Brooklyn today for that little,'' he wrote, according to the transcript.
Jeremy Edwards, a spokesman for Mr. Donovan, said Tuesday that Mr. Donovan ''misinterpreted the question and made a mistake.''
''He had been volunteering on a complex housing assessment lawsuit and just got the numbers mixed up,'' Mr. Edwards said. ''As Shaun says, he is a housing nerd and public servant who has dedicated 30 years of his life to solving the problems of housing affordability and homelessness, and the wrong number slipped out.''
[Read the transcript of Mr. Donovan's interview with the editorial board.]
In an emailed response on Tuesday, Mr. McGuire said he ''messed up when accounting for the cost of housing in Brooklyn.''
''I am human,'' he said. ''But make no mistake, I care deeply about our city's affordable housing crisis. I know what it's like not being able to afford a home because it was my own experience. At the heart of my housing plan, which addresses the entire housing spectrum from homelessness to homeownership, are New Yorkers who want leadership that will bring creative, data-driven solutions to housing in New York City.''
Image Brooklyn real estate values have soared, and the median price for a home in the borough is $900,000. Credit... Dave Sanders for The New York Times Nicole Gelinas, a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute who is focused on urban economics and infrastructure, said the more inaccurate answers showed ''a real sense of being out of touch with what's going on in the city,'' particularly regarding affordability.
Understand the N.Y.C. Mayoral RaceWho's Running for Mayor? There are more than a dozen people still in the race to become New York City's next mayor, and the primary will be held on June 22. Here's a rundown of the candidates.What is Ranked-Choice Voting? New York City began using ranked-choice voting for primary elections this year, and voters will be able to list up to five candidates in order of preference. Confused? We can help.She said the last time the median home price in Brooklyn was around $100,000 may have been in the 1980s.
''Buying salvaged houses in Bushwick when it was recovering from all of the fires of the 1970s '-- that was a unique period of time. You're looking at 35 years or more since you could really buy anything below six figures, never mind seven figures,'' she said.
Of the eight candidates questioned, five '-- Mr. Adams, Ms. Wiley, Mr. Donovan, Ms. Morales and Ms. Garcia '-- live in Brooklyn.
The candidates' answers, Ms. Gelinas said, recalled a comment that George H.W. Bush made when he visited the National Grocers Association convention in Florida during the 1992 campaign. In an article that February, The New York Times reported that ''a look of wonder flickered across his face'' as he saw the price of a quart of milk, among other items, registered on a grocery store scanner '-- cementing the impression that he did not understand middle-class life. (Other media outlets have since suggested that the characterization was inaccurate.)
''I think the candidate should at least have a number in the rough vicinity of what is the right number,'' Ms. Gelinas said.
She said that the candidates' answers could hurt them politically, particularly as many voters in New York City seem to not be paying attention to the mayoral race and have, according to polls, not decided who they are voting for.
''This is going to be the way that a lot of people are introduced to McGuire and Donovan,'' she said.
Sheelagh McNeill contributed research.
No, Dr. Anthony Fauci did not fund research tied to COVID 'creation'
Wed, 12 May 2021 11:00
By Noah Y. Kim, PolitiFact.com | Austin American-Statesman | 12:59 pm CDT May 11, 2021
WorldNetDaily: ''New evidence ties COVID-19 creation to research funded by Fauci"
PolitiFact's ruling: False
Here's why: More than a year after the coronavirus first arrived in the U.S., conspiracy theories continue to spread about a virology lab in Wuhan, China, which has drawn scrutiny throughout the pandemic for research it conducted on bat viruses.
One new claim about the lab comes from conservative news site WorldNetDaily, which tried to connect Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of infectious diseases at the National Institutes of Health, to the origin of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
"New evidence ties COVID-19 creation to research funded by Fauci," reads the headline.
As evidence of its claim, the article cited an investigation by Fox News commentator Steve Hilton, who claims that the coronavirus was created at the Wuhan lab with NIH grant money.
Although the NIH did fund a project at the Wuhan lab, there's no proof that the coronavirus was bioengineered. Both the WorldNetDaily article and Hilton's segment rely on a series of unsubstantiated allegations to spin a conspiracy theory about the virus being a lab creation.
WorldNetDaily has since dialed back on many of its claims, issuing three separate corrections, all of which cite scientists pushing back on the notion that SARS-CoV-2 was manmade. It has also placed a question mark at the end of the original headline. However, the bulk of the article text has not been updated.
Fact-check: Are migrants not screened for COVID-19 at Border Patrol stations, ports of entry?
The NIH grant to EcoHealth Alliance
In 2014, the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, the part of the NIH headed by Fauci, awarded a $3.4 million grant to the New York-based EcoHealth Alliance, which aims to protect people from viruses that jump from species to species.
The group hired the virology lab in Wuhan to conduct genetic analyses of bat coronaviruses collected in Yunnan province, about 800 miles southwest of Wuhan. EcoHealth Alliance paid the lab $598,500 over five years. The lab had secured approval from both the U.S. State Department and the NIH.
That the NIAID funded the project is not in question. However, the WorldNetDaily article goes further than that, claiming that the grant covered "gain of function" research on a bat coronavirus, which "created" SARS-CoV-2.
Gain-of-function research is a controversial form of study that involves boosting the infectivity and lethality of a pathogen. Proponents of gain-of-function say it helps researchers spot potential threats to human health and allows them to figure out ways to tackle a new virus. Fauci has advocated for gain-of-function research in the past. In a 2011 article he co-wrote for the Washington Post, he promoted it as a means to study influenza viruses.
However, there's no hard proof to support the article's claims about gain-of-function research. The overwhelming consensus among public health experts is that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 evolved naturally.
All parties involved in the grant to the Wuhan Institute of Virology have denied that it involved gain-of-function research.
The NIH told us: "The research supported under the grant to EcoHealth Alliance Inc. characterized the function of newly discovered bat spike proteins and naturally occurring pathogens and did not involve the enhancement of the pathogenicity or transmissibility of the viruses studied."
The grant was approved in May 2014. Five months later, on Oct. 17, the Obama administration announced it would not fund new projects that involved gain-of-function research, citing safety and security risks.
The NIH told us that it reviewed the EcoHealth Alliance project after the funding pause and determined that it did not involve gain-of-function research. As a result, it was not affected by the White House's new policy.
Hilton and WorldNetDaily do not provide evidence that the grant covered gain-of-function research. When we reached out to Fox News, a spokesperson pointed us to the transcript of Hilton's segment.
MIT biologist Kevin Esvelt reviewed a paper that appears to have been published with financial assistance from the grant. According to Esvelt, certain techniques that the researchers used seemed to meet the definition of gain-of-function research. But he told PolitiFact that "the work reported in this specific paper definitely did NOT lead to the creation of SARS-CoV-2" because the genetic sequences of the virus studied in the paper differ from that of the new coronavirus.
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No evidence that the coronavirus was manmade
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the NIH have all said that the virus was not derived from a lab.
If the virus had been altered in a lab, its genomic data would show signs of tampering. Although scientists from around the world have publicly shared the virus' genetic makeup thousands of times, there's still no evidence that the virus was bioengineered.
On Feb. 19, 2020, public health experts signed a public statement to "strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin."
"Scientists from multiple countries have published and analysed genomes" of SARS-CoV-2 "and they overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife," the statement reads, citing nine scientific studies.
A detailed computational analysis of the coronavirus conducted by five researchers in March found that its genetic makeup showed no signs of alteration. The ability of the virus to bind to human cells is most likely the result of natural selection in an animal host or in humans after the virus jumped from animals.
Fact-check: Are states actually seeing revenue increases amid pandemic year?
Our ruling
WorldNetDaily wrote that "New evidence ties COVID-19 creation to research funded by Fauci."
Both the NIH and EcoHealth Alliance have denied that a grant to the Wuhan lab funded gain-of-function research, though a scientist told us that one paper published with assistance from the grant seems to describe techniques similar to gain-of-function.
The CDC, the WHO, and the NIH have all said that the virus that causes COVID-19 evolved naturally. There is no evidence to support that claim that it was created by researchers.
This claim is False.
Fact-check: Did Biden admit that he's governing like a 'dictator'?
Sources
WorldNetDaily, New evidence ties COVID-19 creation to research funded by Fauci, Feb. 1, 2021
The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, Coronavirus origins: Special investigation - update, Jan. 31, 2021
Email interview with Kevin Esvelt, assistant professor of the MIT Media Lab, Feb. 4, 2021
Email interview with Marc Lipsitch, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Feb. 4, 2021
PolitiFact, Tucker Carlson guest airs debunked conspiracy theory that COVID-19 was created in a lab, Sep. 16, 2020
PolitiFact, Rudy Giuliani wrong about US policy, grant amount to Wuhan virus lab, May 1, 2020
PolitiFact, Health misinformation site promotes conspiracy about coronavirus, Feb. 10, 2020
PolitiFact, "What we know about the source of the coronavirus pandemic," April 17, 2020
Reuters, "Coronavirus very likely of animal origin, no sign of lab manipulation: WHO," April 21, 2020
Science Alert, "Here's How Scientists Know Coronavirus Wasn't Made in a Lab," July 17, 2020
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, About COVID-19, Sept. 1, 2020
National Geographic, "Fauci: No scientific evidence the coronavirus was made in a Chinese lab," May 4, 2020
Vox, Why some labs work on making viruses deadlier '-- and why they should stop, May 1, 2020
Washington Post, A flu virus risk worth taking, Dec. 30, 2011
U.S. government gain-of-function deliberative process and research funding pause on selected gain-of-function research involving influenza, MERS, and SARS viruses, Oct. 17, 2014
Plos Pathogens, Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus, Nov. 30, 2017
National Library of Medicine, NCBI SARS-CoV-2 Resources, accessed Feb. 4, 2021
The Lancet, Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19, Feb. 19, 2020
Nature, "The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2," March 17, 2020
Masha Drokova
Wed, 12 May 2021 04:03
Before launching her own VC firm, Masha Drokova worked at Runa Capital and helped transform it into one of the most active funds in Eastern Europe, having sourced investments in startups like ClassPass. After Runa, Drokova was recruited to join software company Acronis as a vice president leading global communications. That aspect of her career sticks around today in the firm Drokova founded, Day One Ventures, where she's building a fund that invests in startups and also leads their communications. It's so far invested in companies like Superhuman, DigitalGenius, Piper and parenting website Win... MORE
Before launching her own VC firm, Masha Drokova worked at Runa Capital and helped transform it into one of the most active funds in Eastern Europe, having sourced investments in startups like ClassPass. After Runa, Drokova was recruited to join software company Acronis as a vice president leading global communications. That aspect of her career sticks around today in the firm Drokova founded, Day One Ventures, where she's building a fund that invests in startups and also leads their communications. It's so far invested in companies like Superhuman, DigitalGenius, Piper and parenting website Winnie. LESS
EducationBachelor of Arts/Science, Moscow State University
A New Crazy Conspiracy on the Right Has People Filming Wood
Tue, 11 May 2021 23:26
Lumber prices have tripled amid increased home demand and pandemic-related production slowdowns, raising the average cost of a new home by $36,000.
It's a simple supply and demand issue. Until it isn't.
A growing community of lumber-shortage truthers on social media platforms deny there is any scarcity at all, blaming the increased prices instead on a nefarious cabal intent on lumber price-gouging'-- or even preventing would-be homeowners from achieving the American dream of homeownership.
May 10 - Magnet Sticks To Spot Where Woman Got Vaccinated, Others See Antennae Properties
Tue, 11 May 2021 20:15
23 hrs ago '19 #23 isthistobe said
Saw a movie about bio hacking And how underground nerds and incels are fuxking with creating their own vaccinesSplitting DNA and modifying it Made me think about all this bullsh*t This.
People seem to always be sh*tting on anti-vaxxers, Look i have all my vaccines up to date with the exception of the Flu shots i never took those but being realistic if we compare what we know is possible to all the hidden research/tech that our govt. has - Why shouldn't we be concerned?
What really is concerning to me tho is the amount of censorship that is happening surrounding COVID-19 vax, I don't EVER remember people getting their social medias banned or getting fired from their jobs because of any conspiracy theory concerning ie; Flu Shots etc. It almost makes you wonder, That's all.
You can't possibly force everyone to 'believe' and that is my issue with the current pandemic.
Vaccine passport will be on the NHS app from NEXT WEEK | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 11 May 2021 19:13
Vaccine passport will be on the NHS app from NEXT WEEK so tourists can prove they have received two jabs on arrival at holiday hotspotsThose vaccinated can use NHS app as vaccine passport from MondayOnce foreign travel ban is lifted, those travelling can prove they've had 2 dosesThose without smartphones are being urged to call their GP for helpBy Az Munrallee For The Daily Mail
Published: 20:37 EDT, 10 May 2021 | Updated: 20:50 EDT, 10 May 2021
Holidaymakers who have been fully inoculated against Covid will be able to use the NHS smartphone app as a vaccine passport from Monday.
Once Britain's foreign travel ban is lifted on May 17, Downing Street said those going abroad could show the app upon arrival to prove they have had two vaccine doses.
Those without smartphones are being urged to avoid calling their GP for help. Instead, they should ring 119 to order a letter confirming their vaccination status.
Official guidance from the Government published online states: ''You can access your Covid-19 vaccination status through the free NHS App from May 17.
'You can access the app through mobile devices such as a smartphone or by tablet.
Holidaymakers who have been fully inoculated against Covid will be able to use the NHS smartphone app (pictured) as a vaccine passport from Monday
'Proof of your Covid-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend you register with the app before booking international travel.
'Demonstrating your Covid-19 vaccination status allows you to show others that you've had a full course of the Covid-19 vaccine when travelling abroad to some countries or territories. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine.'
Rules vary widely from country to country on international travel '' but many are set to allow quarantine-free holidays for tourists who can show they have been vaccinated.
The app, developed by NHS Digital and NHS England, was originally designed to allow people to book appointments, repeat prescriptions and see their full medical records.
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EDITED - Golden Globe winners list 2021 - CNN
Tue, 11 May 2021 18:03
9 WHITE
4 Black
2 NON WHITE
1 ASIAN
(CNN)The Golden Globe Awards were presented Sunday night.
A full list of nominees follows below, with winners indicated in bold.
Jason Sudekis - "Ted Lasso" - *WINNER WHITE
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series -- Musical or Comedy
Catherine O'Hara - "Schitt's Creek"- WINNER* WHITE
Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series -- Drama
Josh O'Connor - "The Crown" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series -- Drama
Emma Corrin - "The Crown" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Mark Ruffalo - "I Know This Much is True" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Anya Taylor-Joy - "The Queen's Gambit" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Television Series Drama
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Gillian Anderson - "The Crown" - *WINNER WHITE
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
John Boyega - "Small Axe" - WINNER* BLACK
Best Television Series -- Musical or Comedy
FILM
Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture
Daniel Kaluuya - "Judas and the Black Messiah" - WINNER* BLACK
Jodie Foster - "The Mauritanian" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen - "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" - WINNER* NOT WHITE
Best Actor in a Motion Picture -- Drama
Chadwick Boseman, - "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" - WINNER* BLACK & DEAD
Andra Day - "The United States vs. Billie Holiday" - WINNER* BLACK
Best Actress in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Rosamund Pike - "I Care A Lot" - WINNER* WHITE
Best Actor in a Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen - "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" - WINNER* NOT WHITE
Best Director -- Motion Picture
Chloe Zhao - "Nomadland" - WINNER* ASIAN
All About Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon's 'Handoff' - Podcast Business Journal
Tue, 11 May 2021 16:19
CNN Audio announced The Handoff with Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon, the first podcast that will be exclusive to the CNN Channel on Apple Podcasts when it launches later this month.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, The Handoff is based on the unscripted ''handoff'' conversations that Cuomo and Lemon have at the end of Cuomo's 9 p.m. program Cuomo Prime Time, leading into Lemon's 10 p.m. show CNN Tonight.
''If you want unscripted, honest conversations about what matters, what you're talking about, the way you talk about it '' then listen to this podcast,'' Lemon tells The Hollywood Reporter. ''If you're not easily offended, then this is the podcast for you. If you are easily offended, then this is definitely the podcast for you. We're going to toughen you up.''
Judge rules woman must choose her Confederate flag or her biracial child | TheHill
Tue, 11 May 2021 14:58
Albany, N.Y., district court justices ruled last week a Confederate flag painted on a rock in a woman's driveway could play a role in an ongoing battle for custody of her multiracial child.
An appellate division of the state's second highest court ruled in a 5-0 decision that a couple would retain joint custody of their child born in 2014, The Albany Times Union first reported . But Justice Stanley Pritzker wrote in the court's ruling the woman has until June 1 to remove the rock from her driveway. Otherwise, it could factor "into any future best interests analysis.''
''Given that the child is of mixed race, it would seem apparent that the presence of the flag is not in the child's best interests, as the mother must encourage and teach the child to embrace her mixed race identity, rather than thrust her into a world that only makes sense through the tortured lens of cognitive dissonance,'' Pritzker wrote.
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Pritzker wrote in the ruling the mother, identified as Christie BB in court documents, testified she had the rock in her driveway, which the judge declared a ''a symbol inflaming the already strained relationship between the parties,'' according to the Times Union. The mother told the court ''she has never used any racial slurs in front of the child or at all.''
''As such, while recognizing that the First Amendment protects the mother's right to display the flag if it is not removed by June 1, 2021, its continued presence shall constitute a change in circumstances and Family Court shall factor this into any future best interests analysis,'' Pritzker wrote.
Justices John Egan, Sharon Aarons, Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald and John Colangelo joined Pritzker in the ruling, the paper reported.
The child's law guardian Jason Leifer told the Times Union he was in favor of the court's ruling, although he was not sure whether the rock belonged to the mother. Liefer said he thinks ''it's appropriate because it brings political views that could potentially damage the child's well-being into the custody discussion.''
"I think parties will now raise objections to many symbols and opinions held by the other party, including some that the majority of society does not find offensive," Leifer said.
"What's going to have to happen is this '-- if the issue is raised the court will need to hear evidence of the child how the child's well-being is negatively affected by a parent's views and opinions,'' Leifer added. ''In some cases this will be easy, such as if a child is being indoctrinated into a hate group, but in many cases it won't be so easy."
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Pentagon Weighs Ending JEDI Cloud Project Amid Amazon Court Fight - WSJ
Tue, 11 May 2021 14:39
WASHINGTON'--Pentagon officials are considering pulling the plug on the star-crossed JEDI cloud-computing project, which has been mired in litigation from Amazon.com Inc. and faces continuing criticism from lawmakers.
The Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract was awarded to Microsoft Corp. in 2019 over Amazon, which has contested the award in court ever since.
A federal judge last month refused the Pentagon's motion to dismiss much of Amazon's case. A few days later, Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks said the department would review the project.
''We're going to have to assess where we are with regard to the ongoing litigation around JEDI and determine what the best path forward is for the department,'' Ms. Hicks said at an April 30 security conference organized by the nonprofit Aspen Institute.
Her comments followed a Pentagon report to Congress, released before the latest court ruling, that said another Amazon win in court could significantly draw out the timeline for the program's implementation.
''The prospect of such a lengthy litigation process might bring the future of the JEDI Cloud procurement into question,'' the Jan. 28 report said.
Ms. Hicks and other Pentagon officials say there is a pressing need to implement a cloud program that serves most of its branches and departments. The JEDI contract, valued at up to $10 billion over 10 years, aims to allow the Pentagon to consolidate its current patchwork of data systems, give defense personnel better access to real-time information and put the Defense Department on a stronger footing to develop artificial-intelligence capabilities that are seen as vital in the future.
Some lawmakers and government-contracting experts say JEDI should be scuttled because its single-vendor, winner-take-all approach is inappropriate and outmoded for mammoth enterprises like the Department of Defense.
These people say the Pentagon should move to an increasingly popular approach to enterprise cloud-computing that includes multiple companies as participants. Spreading out the work also reduces the risk of legal challenges from excluded companies, they say.
Rep. Steve Womack (R., Ark.) called on the Pentagon last week to start fresh with a new contract-bidding process that would ''enable best-in-class capability by prioritizing the ongoing competition that a cloud environment can promote.''
Should the Pentagon scuttle JEDI, the government could seek to patch together a new cloud program by expanding several existing Defense Department information-technology contracts, said John Weiler, a longtime JEDI critic who is executive director of the IT Acquisition Advisory Council, a public-private consortium that advises government and industry on tech-procurement best practices.
Microsoft has acknowledged the problems created by the delays but said it is ready to continue the project.
''We agree with the U.S. [government] that prolonged litigation is harmful and has delayed getting this technology to our military service members who need it,'' the company said. ''We stand ready to support the Defense Department to deliver on JEDI and other mission critical DoD projects.''
Amazon declined to comment for this article. The company has contended in court that then-President Donald Trump exerted improper pressure on the Pentagon to keep the contract from going to Amazon because it is led by Jeff Bezos.
Mr. Trump has blamed Mr. Bezos for what he viewed as unfavorable coverage of his administration in the Washington Post, which Mr. Bezos bought in 2013 for $250 million. The Post says its editorial decisions are independent.
At the time, the Trump White House referred questions to the Pentagon, which denied that Mr. Trump or administration officials had any impact on the selection process.
Before the latest court fight, Oracle Corp. '--one of the original bidders'--had sued to halt the contract awarding process. Its 2019 lawsuit claimed that an Amazon employee who worked for the Pentagon in 2016 and 2017 helped steer the procurement process to favor Amazon, which then hired him back.
A judge subsequently rejected those allegations, allowing the bidding process to move forward.
Amazon has maintained that it got no favorable treatment from the Pentagon at any point, but the issue resurfaced last week, with Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) and Rep. Ken Buck (R., Colo.) sending a letter requesting a Justice Department investigation into alleged conflicts by that employee and others.
Last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) wrote a letter to Pentagon officials raising concerns about the agency's oversight of the project and seeking more details about alleged conflicts of interest and possible improprieties, which some critics and rival companies say might have skewed the initial procurement steps in Amazon's favor.
Several of the concerns raised in both letters had been reviewed previously. A federal judge in 2019 concluded that the former Amazon employee ''did not taint'' the program.
A Pentagon inspector general report last year determined that the Pentagon adviser didn't violate any ethical obligations or give preferential treatment to Amazon.
Steven Schooner, a George Washington University law professor who specializes in government contracting, said early questions about the Pentagon's underlying procurement strategy for JEDI have grown over time.
''And all of that is before this case became one of the most jaw-dropping, head-scratching collections of conflicts of interest imaginable,'' he said.
Write to John D. McKinnon at john.mckinnon@wsj.com
Our Moral Judgments Affect Our Perception of COVID Risk '' Reason.com
Tue, 11 May 2021 14:06
Church and protests are safe, beaches and parties are not? Two new studies showcase a tendency on full display during the COVID-19 pandemic: People perceive as less risky the activities they condone or see as important and more risky those they do not, even if the logistics'--and actual risk'--of the two activities are similar.
In other words, "risk judgments are sensitive to factors unrelated to the objective risks of infection," as study authors Cailin O'Connor, Daniel P. Relihan, Ashley Thomas, Peter H. Ditto, Kyle Stanford, and James O. Weatherall write in a draft paper on their research. "In particular, activities that are morally justified are perceived as safer while those that might subject people to blame, or culpability, are seen as riskier."
Their paper'--"Moral Judgments Impact Perceived Risks From COVID-19 Exposure"'--opens by noting inconsistent advice from public officials when it came to coronavirus exposure and risk:
In July of 2020 the Texas Medical Association released an infographic communicating COVID-19 risks for various activities. The infographic categorizes activities into risk levels in order to help readers make informed decisions about their own behaviors. But some of the rankings seem to be at odds with our best medical and scientific knowledge about COVID-19 transmission. In the infographic, going to the beach is ranked as riskier than going to the library, museum, or a doctor's waiting room, despite the fact that outdoor spaces have been widely found to be safer than indoor ones. Playing basketball is ranked as riskier than spending a week working in an office building, again despite the fact that basketball is often an outdoor activity, and one that is relatively short-lived. Other such infographics display similar trends: outdoor recreational activities such as going to the pool or playground are often ranked as riskier than indoor activities like grocery shopping. Seeing a doctor is routinely ranked as a low risk activity, despite the fact that it occurs indoors and involves exposure to individuals who see many (possibly sick) patients on a daily basis. One such infographic from Nebraska Medicine rates a doctor's visit as less risky than getting gas.
They theorized that the reasons for these discrepancies went beyond mere confusion or difficulty in assessing relative risk:
It seems that rather than reflecting a purely actuarial assessment of the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 from various types of activities, these risk judgments may actually reflect wider judgments about whether or not an individual ought to engage in a behavior.
In two experiments, they set out to test whether people respond "to whether or not an individual is culpable for engaging in the activity that potentially exposes them or others" when assessing COVID-19 risk. Specifically, they looked at three factors that might influence assessments: "the moral valence of an activity, its importance, and whether or not an individual intended to engage in it."
Study participants were presented with hypothetical scenarios of pandemic behavior. In these vignettes, risk factors were consistent but intentions and context varied. For instance, in one vignette, "Joe" got stuck in an elevator with maskless people in order to mail "a crucial work document"; in another, he got stuck in the elevator on his way to go buy cocaine.
"We expected subjects to judge actions as less risky when individuals exposed themselves for morally positive reasons, while engaged in important actions, or unintentionally," the authors explain.
Two of their predictions held up: that people judged as less risky the behavior they saw as morally good and that they saw as unintentional.
The relationship between risk assessment and the perceived importance of an activity proved less clear:
We found that judgments about whether a behavior was important were correlated with judgments about how risky it was. Upon controlling for judgments about the morality of the behavior, however, we found only minimal evidence that perceived importance independently influences risk judgments. Conversely, risk judgments were affected by moral judgments even after controlling for the importance of the activity.
" This follows previous work finding that moral judgment impacts risk judgment," noted O'Connor on Twitter. Prior research has found "that people think children are at greater risk of harm when their parents leave them alone intentionally (yoga) vs unintentionally (hit by a car)."
O'Connor pointed to "possible implications for public health messaging," including that "messaging should track real risk, not morality, and'...(maybe) focus on morally good activities like going to church or protests."
FREE MINDSWhen did Wired get so pro-censorship? Once a publication that celebrated innovation, the democratizing effects of technology, and an internet free from excessive regulation, Wired has become a disappointing morass of regurgitated, status quo thinking on tech policy issues. "The latest example is a big cover story by reporter Gilad Edelman, basically arguing that people who support Section 230 are 'wrong' and holding the law up as a 'false idol.' The piece is behind a paywall, because of course it is," Mike Masnick writes for TechDirt.
While presented as a news piece with thorough reporting and fact checking, it is clearly narrative driven.'...The framing of the article is that "everything you've heard about Section 230 is wrong" (that's literally the title), but that's not how the article actually goes. Instead, it comes across as "everyone who supports 230 is wrong." It starts off by talking about "the Big Lie" and the fact that Trumpist cable news'--namely Newsmax, One America, and Fox News'--repeatedly presented blatantly false information regarding voting technology made by Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic. It notes that the voting companies sued the news channels, and all of them have been much more circumspect since then about repeating those lies. Edelman then contrasts that with the world of social media:
As some commentators noted, one group was conspicuously absent from the cast of defendants accused of amplifying the voting machine myth: social media companies. Unlike traditional publishers and broadcasters, which can be sued for publishing a defamatory claim, neither Facebook nor YouTube nor Parler nor Gab had to fear any legal jeopardy for their role in helping the lie spread. For that, they have one law to thank: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
This statement is inaccurate on multiple levels. First of all, it's comparing apples to oranges. Traditional publishers and broadcasters face liability because they choose what limited content to publish. Note that while you can sue Fox News for defamation, no one is suing, say, Dish Network for offering Fox News. That's because liability should apply to those responsible for the speech. With Fox News, it's Fox News. They choose what goes on the air. With social media, they don't. They're more like the "Dish Network" in this scenario. The liability is not on them, but the speakers. If Dominion and Smartmatic wanted, they could have gone after the actual speakers on those social media networks for defamation, just as they chose to go after Fox and not Dish.
It's all about the proper application of liability to those actually doing the speaking. But you wouldn't get that message if you read this article.
More here.
Meanwhile, in the U.K.:
The Government's "online safety" legislation is an incoherent train wreck.
They're creating a "duty" on companies that will include removing legal speech '-- while also threatening punishment for removing legal content. https://t.co/ioN1lq32Ey
'-- Matthew Lesh (@matthewlesh) May 9, 2021
FREE MARKETSA cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions is causing a rift between Democrats. Once upon a time, people who itemized their federal taxes could deduct the full amount they paid to state and local governments. In 2017, the Trump administration put a cap of $10,000 on this deduction. Democrats in Congress have made repealing the SALT deduction cap a must have for passing the $2.25 trillion "infrastructure" package. But not all Democrats are on board with repealing the cap, which could lead to $88.7 billion in lost federal tax revenue (according to the Joint Committee on Taxation) and would largely benefit wealthy Americans. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I''Vt.) told Axios that repealing the SALT deduction cap "sends a terrible, terrible message'...You can't be on the side of the wealthy and the powerful if you're gonna really fight for working families."
For more on the SALT deductions debate, see these 2018 and 2019 Reason posts. As Eric Boehm wrote in the latter: "Democrats are trying to sell the repeal of the SALT caps as a middle-class tax break, but historical evidence shows that it almost exclusively benefits high-earning homeowners who live in parts of the country where you must pay high taxes."
QUICK HITS' New research finds that "organizations affiliated with law enforcement constitute the most significant lobbying force fueling the unprecedented number of anti-protest bills introduced by state lawmakers this year."
' Anthony Fauci said the time to relax face mask rules may be upon us:
Sunday on ABC News, Fauci was asked whether it's time to start relaxing indoor masks requirements. Fauci replied, "I think so, and I think you're going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated."
' More evidence that the Food and Drug Administration's "pause" of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine contributed to vaccine hesitancy.
' On religious freedom, LGBTQ rights, and compromise.
' Huntsville, Alabama, police officer William Darby has been convicted of murdering a suicidal man.
' History professor Alaina E. Roberts explores the complicated racial history of Oklahoma, which included Native American tribes owning thousands of enslaved black people. "Owning slaves was a part of their strategy to assimilate into American society and it allowed them to be seen as different from other Native people and as more civilized," Roberts told CNN. "It's not the happy narrative that we sometimes want to think about. I think that if we want to come together today and form interracial coalition'...in a powerful and honest way, we need to acknowledge the past and the issues that we've had there."
'We May Not Have a Full Two Years': Democrats' Plans Hinge on Good Health - The New York Times
Tue, 11 May 2021 13:50
In a narrowly divided Congress, an illness or a death could upend the balance of power and threaten an ambitious agenda.
Published May 10, 2021 Updated May 11, 2021, 1:31 a.m. ET
On March 21, 1950, an Illinois congressman named Ralph Church suddenly slumped in his seat while testifying before a House committee. His colleagues rushed to administer aid, but he was pronounced dead of a heart attack at 66.
He was neither the first nor the last member of Congress to die in office. ''You look back in history, nearly one in 10 members of Congress have,'' said Jane L. Campbell, president of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
That history has some Democrats worried that deaths or illnesses could derail President Biden's efforts to pass ambitious bills through Congress, which his party controls by the narrowest margins in decades.
''Our ability to make good on Biden's agenda is pretty much dangling by a thread,'' said Brian Fallon, a former aide to Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic majority leader. ''I don't think it's uncouth to talk about it. I think it's a reality that has to inform the urgency with which we approach those issues.''
As the accompanying chart shows, more than 1,160 sitting members and members-elect have died from accidents, disease and violence since the first Congress met in 1789, according to a New York Times analysis of House and Senate records. They include multiple House speakers, famed senators and two former presidents: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Johnson, who both returned to Congress after leaving the White House.
Number in each two-year Congress
Percentage of total membership in each Congress
HOUSE MEMBER
SENATOR
1%
2
3
4
5
5
10
15
20
25
30
1800
1820
1840
1860
1880
1900
1920
1940
1960
1980
2000
2020
Number in each two-year
Congress
Percentage of total membership
in each Congress
HOUSE MEMBER
SENATOR
10
20
30
1%
2
3
4
5
1800
1820
1840
1860
1880
1900
1920
1940
1960
1980
2000
2020
The pandemic and the Jan. 6 Capitol uprising fueled fears that this Congress was particularly vulnerable to such deaths. But with most members vaccinated and security tightened, old age may be a bigger threat. The average age of a sitting senator is 64, and for a representative it's 58, making this Congress one of the oldest.
''Heart disease and cancer are really the two most common causes of mortality, and they are both things that increase with age,'' said Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, who served on Mr. Biden's pandemic task force before he took office.
On average, 10 lawmakers have died in each two-year Congress: seven House members and three senators. Deaths peaked in the 1940s, and have slowed in recent decades. But every Congress except two has lost at least one member.
In the House this term, deaths have already affected the parties' close margins. Three members '-- Ron Wright of Texas and Representative-elect Luke Letlow of Louisiana, both Republicans; and the Democrat Alcee Hastings of Florida '-- have died, the most in a Congress in its first three months since the early 1980s. (Mr. Wright and Mr. Letlow died from Covid-19.)
Health problems have also dogged the Senate. Patrick Leahy, 81, Democrat of Vermont, was briefly hospitalized in January. Thom Tillis, 60, a North Carolina Republican, underwent cancer treatment. Questions have been raised about the health of Dianne Feinstein, 87, a Democrat who has represented California since 1992. Vermont's other senator, Bernie Sanders, 79, had a heart attack in 2019.
In the most extreme case, deaths could end Democrats' ability to pass legislation without Republican support '-- or even flip control of either chamber. That's more likely in the evenly divided Senate, where a single Democratic vacancy could hand Republicans committee gavels and the power to schedule votes until a Democratic successor was appointed or elected.
A serious illness could also upset the party's delicate legislative arithmetic. ''Schumer needs all 50 votes,'' said Mr. Fallon, now the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive advocacy group focused on the federal judiciary. ''If somebody is laid up or is hospitalized for a long period of time and their vote's not there, then having the majority is somewhat meaningless.''
It's also possible that a special election or governor's appointment could shift Senate control more lastingly. Several states require governors to fill vacancies with a temporary replacement of the same political party as the departed senator. But nine senators in the Democratic caucus represent states with Republican governors who can appoint anyone they choose. That could let a Republican governor name a Republican replacement, giving Republicans the majority, even if it may be temporary. (Six Republican senators represent states with Democratic governors who have similar authority.)
House vacancies are filled by special election, and relatively few seats are competitive, lowering the chances that deaths could alter partisan control. No special election to Congress so far this year has flipped a seat.
But special elections take time to organize; delays could further shrink Democrats' single-digit margin for error. Though House control has never changed mid-session, Republicans could push to elect a new speaker and take over committees if vacancies forced Democrats below a majority of seats, said Sarah Binder, a George Washington University political scientist who has studied congressional deaths.
''There's so much at stake for Democrats in losing control of one or both chambers midstream of a brand-new president with an ambitious agenda,'' she said. ''The loss of unified control would be devastating.''
Of course, deaths or illnesses could accrue to Democrats' political benefit. The early retirement of the ailing Republican senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia in 2019 left his seat open. Kelly Loeffler was appointed to it and lost to Raphael Warnock in January, helping give Democrats their current majority.
Deaths have altered the balance of power, and changed American history, before.
In the 1930 midterm elections, Republicans narrowly won the House. But a combined 14 representatives-elect in the two parties died before Congress convened 13 months later, and growing discontent over the Depression helped Democrats flip enough seats to claim a majority. They used it to pass legislation '-- including economic relief, protections for organized labor and higher taxes on the rich '-- over President Herbert Hoover's opposition, emphasizing his indifference to the Depression and bolstering the Democrat who ultimately defeated him: Franklin Roosevelt.
''I would not argue that Franklin Roosevelt would have lost in 1932 if it hadn't been for the Democrats gaining control of the House,'' said Andrew E. Busch, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. ''But it definitely is the case that they established the groundwork for the New Deal and helped Roosevelt to distinguish his program from Hoover's.''
Image Scott Brown, a Republican, won a 2010 Massachusetts Senate special election to replace Ted Kennedy, hurting Democrats' plans to overhaul health care. Credit... Bryce Vickmark for The New York Times More recently, the 2009 death of Senator Ted Kennedy of brain cancer '-- and Scott Brown's upset victory to fill his seat '-- cost Senate Democrats their filibuster-proof majority. That forced the House to abandon its more progressive version of the Affordable Care Act and pass a stingier bill that had already cleared the Senate.
''Losing Kennedy's seat forced Democrats to settle for a bill that had even more compromises than they had hoped,'' said Jonathan Cohn, who recounts the passage of the A.C.A., also known as Obamacare, in a new book, ''The Ten Year War.''
Mr. Kennedy's death may have also indirectly empowered legal threats to Obamacare's survival. The Senate version was hastily written and lacked a so-called severability clause, which protects laws from being overturned entirely if parts of them are ruled unconstitutional. That omission is now the reason a pending Supreme Court case could invalidate Obamacare in full. ''The entire law is at risk because there's no severability clause,'' Mr. Cohn said.
Of course, past is not necessarily prologue. Congressional deaths have declined sharply over the last several decades, amid medical advances and lengthening life spans. And members may not be a representative sample. ''Statistics are averages, and we're dealing with individuals,'' Dr. Emanuel said. Lawmakers ''tend to be well off and well educated, and those are predictors for longer life expectancy than the average.''
But some of them appear to recognize the potential for deaths to help or hinder Democrats. Mitch McConnell, the 79-year-old Republican minority leader in the Senate, recently got the Kentucky legislature to change the state's appointment rules, requiring the state's Democratic governor to fill vacancies with a member of the departing senator's party.
Still, recent history '-- including Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last September and the pandemic's devastation '-- suggests that mortality can unexpectedly shape political outcomes. For today's Democrats, moving quickly may be the surest way to prepare for the unthinkable.
''We have maybe a once-in-a-generation window to enact major reforms,'' Mr. Fallon said. ''We may not have a full two years to pace ourselves.''
Additional work by Lalena Fisher.
City of Austin to release camping ban enforcement plan
Tue, 11 May 2021 04:46
Jacqulyn Powell, Russell Falcon, and Kevin Clark
9 hours ago
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- As the reinstatement of Austin's homeless camping ban begins Tuesday, May 11, the City of Austin has released a plan for how it will be implemented one day before.
On May 1, voters chose to pass Proposition B, which made sitting, lying or camping on public property a Class-C misdemeanor in addition to adding restrictions on panhandling.
Phase 1Effective Tuesday, May 11, a 30-day period of community engagement and education will begin. During this time, the Austin Police Department will provide verbal warnings to those found camping in addition to resource information. This excludes instances that are of imminent safety or health concern.
Phase 2Phase 2 will be another 30-day period, during which APD will begin issuing written warnings and initial citations.
Phase 3During Phase 3, APD may initiate arrests and/or begin clearing out encampments in areas that have not been cleared following citations.
Phase 4During Phase 4, citations and arrests will continue as needed. APD will work with City of Austin homeless outreach teams to help provide further information on resources, when available.
All citations issued for violation of the new'¯ordinance'¯will be directed to the Downtown Austin Community Court, or DACC, where personnel evaluate each case and develop disposition plans that'¯include connecting individuals to needed social services'¯and/or'¯assigning them to'¯community service.
While the City issued basic information on Monday, the timing is not satisfying some.
''I think it's coming out too late,'' Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly said of the plan during an event Monday. ''My concern is, why didn't we have a plan in place? We knew this was going to happen.''
Some people experiencing homelessness told KXAN Monday they felt left in the dark about the plan.
''I think people should know what's going to happen tomorrow, like how crazy it's going to be down here,'' said Roger Roque, who's been camping outside of City Hall.
''If they're obviously in the middle of enforcing things, then it's just shut your mouth and go,'' said Michael Melchionda, who isn't sure where he'll move his tent.
However, Trisha English, who's also experiencing homelessness, expects a lot of her friends to stay put until they're forced to move.
''Some of them will stand their ground, and they will stay. This is not right,'' English said.
The proposition reinstating the ban passed a little more than a week ago with 57.7% of Austinites voting for the ban and 42.3% voting against it.
The City of Austin will host a conference on the implementation plan at noon Tuesday. KXAN will stream the event in this story on KXAN.com, on the official KXAN News Facebook page and in the KXAN News app.
Cyber attack shuts down U.S. fuel pipeline 'jugular,' Biden briefed | Reuters
Tue, 11 May 2021 04:25
Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline shut its entire network, the source of nearly half of the U.S. East Coast's fuel supply, after a cyber attack on Friday that involved ransomware.
The incident is one of the most disruptive digital ransom operations ever reported and has drawn attention to how vulnerable U.S. energy infrastructure is to hackers. A prolonged shutdown of the line would cause prices to spike at gasoline pumps ahead of peak summer driving season, a potential blow to U.S. consumers and the economy.
"This is as close as you can get to the jugular of infrastructure in the United States," said Amy Myers Jaffe, research professor and managing director of the Climate Policy Lab. "It's not a major pipeline. It's the pipeline."
Colonial transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, and other fuels through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines linking refiners on the Gulf Coast to the eastern and southern United States. It also serves some of the country's largest airports, including Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson Airport, the world's busiest by passenger traffic.
The company said it shut down its operations after learning of a cyberattack on Friday using ransomware.
"Colonial Pipeline is taking steps to understand and resolve this issue. At this time, our primary focus is the safe and efficient restoration of our service and our efforts to return to normal operation," it said.
While the U.S. government investigation is in early stages, one former official and two industry sources said the hackers are likely a professional cybercriminal group.
The former official said investigators are looking at a group dubbed "DarkSide," known for deploying ransomware and extorting victims while avoiding targets in post-Soviet states. Ransomware is a type of malware designed to lock down systems by encrypting data and demanding payment to regain access.
Colonial said it had engaged a cybersecurity firm to help the investigation and contacted law enforcement and federal agencies.
The cybersecurity industry sources said cybersecurity firm FireEye (FEYE.O) was brought in to respond to the attack. FireEye declined to comment.
U.S. government bodies, including the FBI, said they were aware of the situation but did not yet have details of who was behind the attack.
President Joe Biden was briefed on the incident on Saturday morning, a White House spokesperson said, adding that the government is working to try to help the company restore operations and prevent supply disruptions.
The Department of Energy said it was monitoring potential impacts to the nation's energy supply, while both the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Transportation Security Administration told Reuters they were working on the situation.
"We are engaged with the company and our interagency partners regarding the situation. This underscores the threat that ransomware poses to organizations regardless of size or sector," said Eric Goldstein, executive assistant director of the cybersecurity division at CISA.
Colonial did not give further details or say how long its pipelines would be shut.
The privately held, Georgia-based company is owned by CDPQ Colonial Partners L.P., IFM (US) Colonial Pipeline 2 LLC, KKR-Keats Pipeline Investors L.P., Koch Capital Investments Company LLC and Shell Midstream Operating LLC.
A hooded man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut its entire network after a cyber attack, the company said on Friday. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration"Cybersecurity vulnerabilities have become a systemic issue," said Algirde Pipikaite, cyber strategy lead at the World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity.
"Unless cybersecurity measures are embedded in a technology's development phase, we are likely to see more frequent attacks on industrial systems like oil and gas pipelines or water treatment plants," Pipikaite added.
PUMP PRICE WORRIES
The American Automobile Association said a prolonged outage of the line could trigger increases in gas prices at the pumps, a worry for consumers ahead of summer driving season.
A shutdown lasting four or five days, for example, could lead to sporadic outages at fuel terminals along the U.S. East Coast that depend on the pipeline for deliveries, said Andrew Lipow, president of consultancy Lipow Oil Associates.
After the shutdown was first reported on Friday, gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 0.6% while diesel futures rose 1.1%, both outpacing gains in crude oil. Gulf Coast cash prices for gasoline and diesel edged lower on prospects that supplies could accumulate in the region.
"As every day goes by, it becomes a greater and greater impact on Gulf Coast oil refining," said Lipow. "Refiners would have to react by reducing crude processing because they've lost part of the distribution system."
Oil refining companies contacted by Reuters on Saturday said their operations had not yet been impacted.
Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N), meanwhile, said its Products (SE) Pipe Line Corporation (PPL) serving many of the same regions remains in full service.
PPL is currently working with customers to accommodate additional barrels during Colonial's downtime, it said. PPL can deliver about 720,000 bpd of fuel through its pipeline network from Louisiana to the Washington, D.C., area.
Colonial Pipeline system map
The American Petroleum Institute, a top oil industry trade group, said it was monitoring the situation.
Ben Sasse, a Republican senator from Nebraska and a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the cyberattack was a wakeup call for U.S. lawmakers.
"This is a play that will be run again, and we're not adequately prepared," he said, adding Congress should pass an infrastructure plan that hardens sectors against these attacks.
Colonial previously shut down its gasoline and distillate lines during Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast in 2017. That contributed to tight supplies and gasoline price rises in the United States after the hurricane forced many Gulf refineries to shut down.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
They Are Going For The Jugular: Critical Infrastructure Of US Hit By DarkSide Hackers
Tue, 11 May 2021 04:24
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A List of All of the Shortages in US Economy, From Diapers to Cars
Tue, 11 May 2021 04:23
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Empty shelves and shoppers at a Target store in Dublin, California, on March 15, 2020. Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images As the US economy increasingly reopens, it is seeing shortages of all sorts of items. If you've tried to buy (or rent) a car or eat some chicken wings, you've probably noticed. Insider rounded up some of the major supply shortages and why they're lagging. See more stories on Insider's business page. Computer chips
President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor chip at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 24, 2021. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters An ongoing computer-chip shortage has affected cars, iPads, and dog-washing technology alike. Chipmakers like Intel had already seen production issues pre-pandemic, but as with many industries, COVID-19 brought a variety of new supply-chain issues. The chip shortage is a problem for consumers wanting basically anything with a computerized component, which is much of the economy. Take cars as an example.
The semiconductor shortage has hit automakers the hardest. In January, the consulting firm Alix Partners estimated the automotive industry would lose $61 billion in revenue from the shortage this year. As Insider's Katie Canales reported, demand for chips has gone up as consumers scrambled to buy cars and other technologies that use them.
But as more cars went into production, chip competition went up. Since then, many carmakers have been forced to shut down plants and prioritize which models they produce, while car prices at dealerships have continued to go up.
Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the semiconductor shortage has caused "insane difficulties" for the electric carmaker. Even Apple '-- a company that many thought would be able to dodge the shortage after it started making its own high-powered computer chips last year '-- said it will delay production on its iMac and iPad.
Used cars and rental cars
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc Buyers are still looking for vehicles, creating a competitive used-car market. As USA Today reported, used-car prices are on the rise as the aforementioned chip shortages affect new-car production, and buyers have turned to older ones instead, while Axios reported the average price of a used car has hit $17,609.
A UBS note estimated that in April, used cars saw their largest monthly price increase in 68 years of tracking, with prices rising between 8.2% and 9.3%.
If you're looking to rent, you might also be out of luck: Insider's Brittany Chang reported on the "perfect storm" hitting rental cars right now, with prices surging and demand increasing. Americans are itching to go on vacation this summer, as more people are vaccinated and some restrictions loosen. That's leading to far more demand '-- but rental-car companies had sold off parts of their fleets early into the pandemic, leaving fewer cars to go around.
It's not all bad news for used-car lovers, though: As USA Today reports, the trade-in market is hot, too, meaning your old car could be worth more right now.
Plastics and palm oil
aydinmutlu/Getty Images The devastating winter storms in Texas also left their mark on the plastics industry. As Insider's Natasha Dailey reported, the state is a key plastics exporter '-- and the storms made many plants, which are difficult to reactivate, press pause.
According to the Financial Times, rising plastic prices have led to an increase in packaging costs. Citing data from Mintec, the Financial Times reported that those costs have increased by nearly 40% from the start of 2020, marking "historic highs."
Palm oil, which is in a majority of those packaged products, also saw its prices climb, according to the Financial Times. That's due to yet another labor shortage; the industry had already been contending with finding more sustainable production methods.
Homes and vacation houses
A house's real estate for sale sign shows the home as being "Under Contract" in Washington, DC, November 19, 2020. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images The US was facing a shortage of 3.8 million homes as of April, according to Freddie Mac. Home builders have been struggling to keep up with demand as remote work fuels interest in spacious housing, with house prices rising at their fastest pace in 15 years, The Wall Street Journal reported. Lumber prices are also driving the cost of new homes even higher.
In the past year alone, the median cost of a home in the US shot up 15% from $300,000 in 2019 to $340,000 by the end of 2020, according to data from the National Association of Realtors. That measure does not even begin to account for hot housing markets like Austin, Texas, where the average home went for more than $800,000 in April.
Even vacation-home rentals are at an all-time high. A house in the Hamptons rented for $2 million this summer, and 85% of vacation rentals in popular destinations like Cape Cod, the Outer Banks, and the Jersey Shore are booked through August, according to the rental site VRBO.
Lumber
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images If you're wondering why the houses around you are getting more expensive, look to their component parts. No, seriously: Lumber prices have soared, and, as Insider's Ayelet Sheffey and Libertina Brandt reported, builders are even increasing house prices in an attempt to offset demand.
It's due to another pandemic disruption, as lumber mills were forced to temporarily close for safety concerns. When they reopened, they couldn't keep up with a scorching-hot housing market, goosed by a work-from-home economy, record low mortgage rates, and the need for personal space during the pandemic.
According to an April analysis from the National Association of Home Builders, soaring lumber prices added $36,000 to the cost of a new home. Lumber prices "remain stubbornly high," according to the report, due to mills shutting down, unexpected demand from big-box retail and DIY-ers, and tariffs imposed on Canadian lumber.
Household products like toilet paper and tampons
Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images Many household goods including toilet paper , diapers, and tampons are also facing supply problems.
One of the biggest producers of the pulp used to create toilet paper told Bloomberg that port delays and high shipping costs are causing companies to push delivery dates back months.
Shortages and shipping delays are causing many companies to hike prices. Last month, Proctor & Gamble said it would raise prices for baby-care and feminine-care products, as well as adult diapers to combat shortages and shipping costs. The same week, Kimberly Clark hiked the price of its Huggies diapers and Scott toilet paper.
Furniture
La-Z-Boy store Getty The work-from-home lifestyle helped the furniture industry boom but to such an extent that customers are seeing delivery dates that are months out.
In February, La-Z-Boy executives said customers could expect delivery dates that are five to nine months out from their order dates. Other furniture companies like Kasala, a Seattle-based chain, said they don't expect to get furniture parts until at least December.
Many US furniture stores use parts from China. The global shipping-container shortage, as well as delays at key ports in Southern California have not only made the goods more expensive, but have also pushed back delivery dates by several months.
The furniture shortage has been exacerbated by a spike in homeownership, as the number of available and unsold homes sits at record lows. In other words, a lot of new homeowners are waiting a long time for their new living-room sets.
Bacon and hot dogs
Getty Bacon and hot dogs will likely be in short supply this summer.
The pig shortage dates back to the onset of COVID-19 and outbreaks in at least 167 meat-processing plants forcing almost 40 plants to close as of June 2020. As vaccination rates pick up and people prepare for summer vacations and cookouts, analysts told Insider's Natasha Dailey demand will outstrip supply.
With pork companies still struggling to overcome lower production rates in 2020, the matter only intensified when high instances of disease hit the hog population this past winter.
Imported foods like cheese, coffee, and olive oil
Yipengge/Getty Images Imported goods including coffee, cheese, seafood, and olive oil are facing months of shipping delays.
Dozens of mega-containers ships are waiting to dock off the coast of Los Angeles. The site accounts for about one-third of US imports, and the backlog is causing ships to wait weeks to dock and unload.
Some companies are already seeing the impact on their shelves. In March, Costco said its supplies of cheese, seafood, and olive oil were running low.
General Mills said it has been forced to raise prices due to the delays increased shipping costs. Coca-Cola also raised prices to combat the supply-chain crunch. Neither company specified which products would be affected.
Coffee has also been hit by delays, Bloomberg reported in March. Peet's and JM Smucker, the brands behind Folgers and Dunkin' coffee, have said they're facing rising costs. Reuters reported that in February, port delays pushed coffee prices to their highest point in more than a year.
Chlorine
Chlorine can kill germs, but alcohol is more effective. Bill Oxford/ Getty Images This summer pool owners will see the worst chlorine shortage in US history, according to CNBC.
Supplies of the chemical have been strained since a fire at the chlorine manufacturer BioLab in Louisiana in September. The price for chlorine used in pools has nearly doubled this past year and is expected to rise even more to meet demand this summer.
Insider's Annabelle Williams reported that pool owners could help avoid the shortage by resorting to saltwater pools.
Corn
Cyndi Monaghan/Getty Images Corn is a key crop for many products, including fuel and different foods. As supply concerns loom, corn prices are popping off, according to Axios.
There's a few reasons that demand is so high: After an outbreak of swine fever in China, pig herds were "decimated," according to Axios, leading to huge corn demand in China. That spike in demand is coupled with corn crops in Brazil and Argentina experiencing both bad weather and pandemic-related labor shortages.
Now corn prices are on a record-setting clip, rising by 16% in April alone.
And, as Fortune reported, there could be a domestic supply issue too. Droughts and a rough winter are both concerning '-- and if American crops can't fill in the gaps, prices could rise even more.
Oxygen
A public notice hangs outside Shanti Mukund Hospital notifying shortage of oxygen beds, on April 22, 2021 in New Delhi, India. Hospitals in several cities are facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen as Covid-19 cases rise rapidly. India is producing sufficient oxygen to meet the demand, but the problem lies in its supply. With hospitals in several states running short of medical oxygen, the government has now banned supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except in nine specified industries. The supplies are being redirected to meet the rising demands of hospitals that are treating Covid-19 cases. Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images The New York Times reports that shortages of oxygen for medical purposes have worsened, with the global need tripling over two months from March to May. Those shortages have been particularly devastating in India, which has suffered from immense shortages amidst a wave of rising COVID cases.
According to the Times, poorer areas were struggling with oxygen supply even prior to the pandemic. As the pandemic progressed, oxygen supply wasn't prioritized '-- leading to even greater shortages now. Some hospitals may also be unable to use liquid oxygen, one of the more common (and cheaper) forms of oxygen.
In late April, several reports said that hospitals in India had just a few hours of oxygen supply left for patients.
Labor
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh Finally, a commodity unlike all the others is in surprisingly short supply: workers.
Major labor shortages are hitting businesses across America. As Insider's Kate Taylor reported, chains like Dunkin' and Starbucks are struggling to find workers '-- leading to reduced hours and hesitance on opening indoor dining back up.
There's a few possible reasons that unemployed workers are opting not to return, according to Insider's Ayelet Sheffey. They include workers making more on unemployment benefits than in their prior work as well as continued concerns over COVID-19 and the need to provide childcare at home.
As Insider previously reported, female tipped workers experienced lower tips and increased harassment during the pandemic.
One potential solution for ending this shortage, according to Taylor? Paying workers more.
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Here's What the Mainstream Media is Hiding About the COVID-19 Catastrophe in India
Tue, 11 May 2021 02:45
I've wanted to report on this for a couple of weeks now but needed to wait for further developments.
If any readers remember, I reported on India's COVID-19 situation a few months ago.
January 18th to be exact.
India developed a Home COVID-19 Treatment Kit for $3 per person.
The kit contained Zinc, Doxycycline, and Ivermectin.
Back in January, India's COVID-19 situation was tame compared to other parts of the world.
According to Worldometer, India reported 9,975 new COVID-19 cases on January 18th, 2021.
On April 30, 2021, India reported 402,110 new COVID-19 cases.
Here's the latest on India's dire situation:
New cases in India have surpassed 400,000'--the highest caseload yet. Even that is sure to be an underestimate https://t.co/x6kI3wlTGr
'-- The Economist (@TheEconomist) May 4, 2021
BREAKING: India reports 382,602 new coronavirus cases and a record high 3,783 new deaths
'-- Covid 19 #SOSIYC (@IYC_India_) May 4, 2021
A court in India's capital New Delhi has become the last hope for many hospitals struggling to get oxygen for COVID-19 patients as supplies run dangerously short. https://t.co/7H1EWwdXi5
'-- SBS News (@SBSNews) May 4, 2021
'Horrible' weeks forecast for India as the COVID catastrophe worsens https://t.co/xZ3pbO8pvw pic.twitter.com/gQboKAjOrX
'-- TIME (@TIME) May 4, 2021
So, what caused India to take such a drastic downturn with COVID-19?
The answer may lie with Big Pharma and the desire to vaccinate the global population with experimental vaccines.
I don't understand how people can watch this images from India of Covid patients suffocating to death and refuse a life-saving vaccine.
'-- Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) May 4, 2021
Pfizer in talks with India for COVID-19 vaccine https://t.co/kBn3GNyMrO by @AnjKhem pic.twitter.com/68ErZye9Fc
'-- Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) May 4, 2021
Suspiciously, India became much less reliant on the affordable home treatment kit when starting their COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Life Site News added commentary:
Virtually every news outlet has been screaming about the incredibly high rates of COVID victims, hospitalizations and deaths in India. Missing in these countless stories is awareness that the cause of the COVID surge could be connected to the reduced use in India of two proven generic drugs for treating and preventing COVID: first it was hydroxychloroquine and later ivermectin.
As a proponent of using these two medicines I have reviewed the strong real world data showing their effectiveness to cure and prevent COVID in Pandemic Blunder. Anyone honestly following the science would have to conclude that both of these medicines really work.
During 2020 and the first months of this year the COVID pandemic in India by all accounts was not at all devastating. And careful examination of the good news was that those two generic medicines had been widely provided to the population. Then the COVID vaccine movement hit the world and the terrible COVID surge hit India.
The mainstream media waged a war against early home/outpatient COVID treatment successfully used globally with those two generic medicines, both with very long histories of safety. Now the same media finds it appropriate to focus attention on all the bad news in India. But why have the media ignored the evidence that the India surge could be connected to the government dropping its wide use of ivermectin in recent months?
Why would this happen? Certainly, all the negative media coverage of ivermectin could have caused the India government to switch its priority to vaccines. If so, it has proven to be a blunder of epic proportions with many hundreds of thousands of Indians suffering and dying.
Sadly, it is difficult to find substantial interest in examining the possible role of reduced use of ivermectin in these dark days of the COVID pandemic in India.
Here are several key articles. First, an April 14 article ''Doctor Believes Ivermectin Drug Can Help India Stop Covid-19 Second Wave'' in the India Times talked about Dr. Surya Kant Tripathi, Head of Respiratory Medicine Department at King George Medical University in Lucknow. He believes ivermectin ''could help take control over the novel coronavirus.'' Also noted was that ivermectin ''is now being commonly used in various states in India.''
This senior physician also noted this about ivermectin use: ''This drug is now being commonly used in various states in India.'' This too was noted: ''Indian medical institutions have started giving COVID-19 patients Ivermectin off-label. Medical institutions across the nation are also giving the drug as a prophylaxis against the novel coronavirus. This is being seen in several states of the nation including Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Dr. Tripathi, in a conversation with Financial Express revealed that the drug has been in use for over nine months now without major side effects being reported.''
Did Big Pharma's influence steer India towards this downward spiral by directing the country away from effective and affordable at-home treatment kits?
Tell us your thoughts.
Michael Che Speaks Out on SNL Cultural Appropriation Backlash - E! Online
Tue, 11 May 2021 00:03
Elon Musk's Must-See Moments On "Saturday Night Live"
Michael Che is addressing the backlash surrounding one of his Saturday Night Live sketches.
The most recent episode of SNL, which aired on May 8, was already high on people's radar for booking Elon Musk as the host. The show's decision caused controversy, with several cast members speaking out about the Tesla CEO's debut on the long-running series.
Adding more fuel to the fire? Many social media users expressed their outrage with a sketch that aired on Saturday, featuring Elon, Kate McKinnon, Bowen Yang, Heidi Gardner, Ego Nwodim, Melissa Villase±or and Mikey Day.
The segment, titled "Gen Z Hospital," highlighted popular slang such as "bestie," "no cap," "go off, king," "sis" and other vernacular. However, many online found the sketch to be offensive and a form of cultural appropriation for using African American Vernacular English (AAVE).
"Love the relabelling of AAVE and a few assorted BLACK LGBTQ+ phrases as 'Gen z' speak," one Twitter user wrote. "Love to see the erasure in real time."
Another Twitter user shared, "i hate how aave has been reduced to gen z / stan twitter language because those who have any knowledge about anything watch this and just feel gross about this subtle mockery of black people."
"the appropriation of AAVE by white people is gross, the mislabeling of AAVE as a 'Gen Z phenomenon' is also gross," someone else weighed in, "but on top of that, the SNL skit reads like they just pulled a list of terms from UrbanDictionary and sprinkled them in, not caring that AAVE has a defined grammar!"
Others simply didn't find the skit funny, with one person adding, "SNL's gen z hospital sketch might just be the worst thing I have ever witnessed. unbearable levels of cringe."
Will Heath/NBC
Following the criticism of the sketch, Michael Che issued a statement on Monday, May 10. The comedian revealed he wrote the skit, noting he "was stunned" by the response.
"I've been reading about how my 'gen z' sketch was misappropriating AAVE," he shared on Instagram, later admitting that he didn't know what the term meant before. "I had to look it up. Turns out it's an acronym for 'African American Vernacular English.' You know, AAVE! That ol' saying that actual Black people use in conversation all the time..."
"Look the sketch bombed," he continued. "I'm used to that. I meant no offense to the 'AAVE' community. I love AAVE. AAVE to the moon."
The Weekend Update co-host captioned his post, "if i could stop one person from calling everybody bro and bestie, im happy with that."
Shutterstock
At this time, Michael is the only SNL star to speak out. The cast members who participated in the skit, as well as Elon, haven't publicly commented on the criticism. SNL has yet to publicly address the backlash either.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)
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Colonial Pipeline hackers apologize, promise to ransom less controversial targets in future - The Verge
Mon, 10 May 2021 23:51
'We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics'
By Mitchell Clark on May 10, 2021 2:44 pm The group behind the ransomware that took down Colonial Pipeline late last week has apologized for the ''social consequences,'' claiming that its goal is to make money, not cause societal problems. The group is called DarkSide, and the FBI has confirmed that the group's malware was responsible for compromising one of the US's largest fuel pipelines.
According to Vice, the group's apology was posted to its dark web site. It reads:
We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives.
Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.
From today, we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.
According to NYT cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, DarkSide isn't necessarily associated with a specific nationstate, but it does tend to avoid holding victims for ransom if their systems are running in certain Russian and Eastern European languages (see embedded tweet below). Bloomberg reports that the group is known to speak Russian.
According to The New York Times, the 5,500-mile-long Colonial Pipeline is responsible for carrying 45 percent of the fuel for the Eastern US, including jet fuel and gas. The company that runs the pipeline has put out a statement saying that it's currently bringing parts of its system back online, after halting all operations due to the cyberattack. Colonial Pipeline says its goal is to restore service by the end of the week.
FDA authorizes Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years old - The Washington Post
Mon, 10 May 2021 23:48
The Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, already authorized for adolescents 16 and older, was the first to be tested in younger adolescents. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)
Please NoteThe Washington Post is providing this important information about the coronavirus for free. For more free coverage of the coronavirus pandemic, sign up for our Coronavirus Updates newsletter where all stories are free to read.
The Food and Drug Administration cleared the first coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in children as young as 12 on Monday, expanding access to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot to adolescents ahead of the next school year and marking another milestone in the nation's battle with the virus.
The decision that the two-shot regimen is safe and effective for younger adolescents had been highly anticipated by many parents and pediatricians, particularly with the growing gap between what vaccinated and unvaccinated people may do safely. Evidence suggests that schools can function at low risk with prevention measures, such as masks and social distancing. But vaccines are poised to increase confidence in resuming in-person activities and are regarded as pivotal to returning to normalcy.
Watch more!
As drug companies expand access to coronavirus vaccines, health officials are working to persuade people who are skeptical or unwilling to get vaccinated. (Luis Velarde/The Washington Post)''Adolescents, especially, have suffered tremendously from the covid pandemic. Even though they're less likely than adults to be hospitalized or have severe illness, their lives really have been curtailed in many parts of the country,'' said Kawsar R. Talaat, an assistant professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. ''A vaccine gives them an extra layer of protection and allows them to go back to being kids.''
Expert advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to meet Wednesday to recommend how the vaccine should be used in that age group, and the vaccine can be administered as soon as the CDC director signs off on the recommendation.
Children rarely suffer serious bouts of covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. But there is no way to predict the few who will become dangerously sick or develop a rare, dangerous inflammatory syndrome. Out of more than 581,000 covid-19 deaths in the United States, about 300 have been people under 18 '-- a tiny fraction of the total. But that exceeds the number of children who die in a bad flu season.
Children appear to be less efficient at spreading the virus, although their role in transmission is still not fully understood '-- another reason for pediatric vaccinations.
Clinicians also worry that with a new virus with many unknowns, the possibility exists for long-term impacts of infection, even from the mild or asymptomatic courses of illness common among children.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, already authorized for adolescents 16 and older, was the first to be tested in younger adolescents. The FDA's decision will provide a potential path for other vaccine-makers to follow, most of which have launched or plan to initiate trials of their vaccines in teenagers and younger children.
The agency based its authorization on a trial of nearly 2,300 adolescents between 12 and 15 years old, half of whom received the same two-shot regimen shown effective and safe in adults. Researchers took blood samples and measured antibody levels triggered by the shots and found stronger immune responses in the teens than those found in young adults. There were 16 cases of covid-19 in the trial, all of them among adolescents who received a placebo, suggesting the regimen offered similar protection to younger recipients as it does to adults.
Robert W. Frenck Jr., the researcher who led the adolescent trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said the study was designed to test whether it triggered immune responses, not whether it prevented disease. But because of the number of children who became ill in the placebo arm of the trial, it also became evident the vaccine offered robust protection.
''That really points out how much covid there is in the adolescent community,'' Frenck said.
The data has not been published or peer-reviewed, but Kathryn M. Edwards, a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said the results announced by Pfizer were ''pretty exciting '-- it looked very effective and the immune responses were really good.''
Edwards said she is comfortable the benefits of vaccinations are clear among teens, noting that while children, in general, are at lower risk of severe covid-19 than adults, older adolescents seem to be more like adults in their risk for covid-19 than the very youngest children.
Audrey Baker, 15, and Sam Baker, 12, participated in the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. They do not know yet whether they received the vaccine or a placebo. (courtesy of Baker family)
Audrey Baker, 15, and Sam Baker, 12, rolled up their sleeves for shots in the Pfizer-BioNTech trial at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Audrey said she had no hesitation about signing up, and misses little things about how life used to be '-- eating out in restaurants and seeing family.
''I just trusted the science,'' Audrey said. ''I knew it was tested in adults. I was really just joining, hoping that maybe I could get vaccinated and help out science.''
Sam said he was more hesitant, in part because participating meant many follow-up lab tests. But he decided to do it and thinks he may have gotten the vaccine in the trial because he developed a headache and fever after his second dose.
Their mother, Rachel Baker, said she felt relief because of Sam's symptoms.
''The biggest benefit has been that I feel a weight off my shoulders,'' Rachel said. ''We haven't changed how we do anything. '... We're still masking, we're still social distancing, but we're a bit calmer about it all.''
H. Cody Meissner, a pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center and a member of an external advisory committee to the FDA, said he thinks a pediatric vaccine is needed. But he said he would like to see more safety data because the messenger RNA technology at the core of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and the biotechnology company Moderna does not have a long, established safety record, and its first large-scale use began in December.
Meissner abstained from the December vote that overwhelmingly recommended authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people 16 and older, because he thought the vaccine should be authorized in people 18 and older.
''For those who are eager to get it, it's important for them to understand that this is very rarely a severe disease in young adolescents, number one, and this is an entirely new vaccine,'' Meissner said. ''I just don't want people to get too swept up in fear of hospitalization and death from covid-19 for the first few decades of life.''
But many other physicians take comfort knowing that 250 million shots of messenger RNA vaccine have been given in the United States alone. Serious side effects, such as a risk of anaphylaxis, are extremely rare. Because the trial in teens was an ''immune bridging'' trial designed to test whether the vaccine triggered immune responses similar to those in adults, researchers did not need to recruit tens of thousands of people to see if those who received a vaccine were protected against illness. The immune bridging technique is commonly used to expand access to vaccines that have been proved effective and safe to adolescents or other populations.
The expansion of eligibility to children will probably ignite debates in families about when to get vaccinated, and among policymakers about whether it should be required.
Dorit Reiss, a law professor focused on vaccine policy at the University of California Hastings College of Law, said she thinks it is unlikely children will be mandated to receive a coronavirus shot until the vaccines win full approval and not just emergency use authorization.
She predicted that acceptance of the vaccine will evolve as more children are vaccinated and depend on the state of the pandemic. She noted that when vaccines are introduced, the rollout often starts slowly before accelerating.
''Nervousness about a new vaccine is normal, especially when it's for kids,'' Reiss said. ''Parents that are nervous now might feel different in a few months, once their friends' kids have gotten vaccinated. And the views of the kids are also going to matter '-- if teens are going to think this is going to make their lives easier.''
Opening up vaccinations to children may sharpen a debate unfolding globally about the equity of vaccine access. Talaat said that while she can't wait for her kids to have access to a vaccine, she is troubled by the global inequities as high-risk front-line workers or older people still don't have access to vaccines in countries where the coronavirus is out of control.
Moderna announced Thursday that an initial analysis of its teen trial found its vaccine was 96 percent effective among participants who received at least one dose. Moderna is in discussions with regulators about the data. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are testing their vaccines in children as young as infants. Johnson & Johnson is planning pediatric trials of its single-shot vaccine.
Trials in younger children are expected to take longer, because researchers must step down gradually in age and determine a safe and effective dose. William Gruber, senior vice president of vaccine clinical research and development at Pfizer, said data from tests in children as young as 2 years old may be available by September or October, with data on children as young as 6 months possible by the end of the year.
Within each age category, a separate risk-benefit assessment may take place. In the youngest children, given the low risk from the coronavirus, side effects may figure more prominently into the analysis, for example. Researchers may end up choosing a lower dose of vaccine. The understanding of children's role in transmission may also evolve and help guide vaccine use and public policy.
''We are proceeding carefully, cautiously,'' Edwards said. ''We're using the same rigid guidelines we use in all vaccines, and we take this very seriously. I think as time goes on and more information becomes available, some of the questions may be easier to address.''
COVID DATA - OpenVaers
Mon, 10 May 2021 23:41
ONSET: 18 days AGE: 24 SEX: M
(4/10/21)Day of shot: small headache and tired 4/13/21: had tingling/numb feeling in my lower half of my right leg and right arm and a bit on my left leg as well, lasted all day until i woke up the next day and the symptoms were no longer there 4/28/21: those tingling/ numb feeling came back but this time my right leg around my calf area would hurt when i would walk down/up the stairs( wouldn't hurt if i walked around the room unless i angled or moved my foot up) 4/29/21: still feel a bit of the tingling feeling a bit on my right hand but not as much s the day beforeRead FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Headache, Hypoaesthesia, Paraesthesia
ONSET: 24 days AGE: 87 SEX: F
Acute DVTRead FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Deep vein thrombosis
headache, chills, and body aches begin on 4/12 chills and aches end after 48 hours persistent symptoms: severe (tense, sometimes pounding) headache on right temple, sinus, back of head that worsens with activity, sometimes accompanied by nausea and loss of appetite sensitivity to light and sound and difficulty focusing vision fatigue and mind fog taking ibuprofen with limited improvementRead FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Chills, Headache, Sinus pain, Decreased appetite, Hyperacusis, Visual impairment, Fatigue, Nausea, Feeling abnormal, Pain, Full blood count normal, Photophobia
2-3 days after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the muscle underneath my right eye began twitching and it has twitched continuously since then without ceasing. It twitches all day and night and has not stopped even for a short period of time.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Muscle twitching
ONSET: 10 days AGE: 71 SEX: M
10 days after receiving the Janssen vaccine, patient experienced extreme / debilitating fatigue, muscle soreness, stiff joints that lasted 72 hours. At the same time as the fatigue onset, a severe rash with inflamed welts and blood-filled blisters covering torso and abdomen - front and back also appeared. The rash was severe for 3 days and slowly subsided; scars still visible today - red dots.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Blood blister, Rash vesicular, Fatigue, Urticaria, Joint stiffness, Myalgia, Rash
As soon as I got the shot it felt like something was flowing through my body limb by limb. My chest starts to feel tight and my upper back my arms were tingling. My right calf and right lower abdomen began having a sharp pain. About 25 minutes later I began sweating and felt like my chest was going to rupture. My heart was racing. Broke out in hives. After about 8 hours I was bedridden Ill. I was puking, fevering, headache and could not move my body I was in so much pain. I was afraid to go to sleep cause I thought I was going to die.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Abdominal pain lower, Hyperhidrosis, Paraesthesia, Chest discomfort, Insomnia, Pyrexia, Dizziness, Pain, Urticaria, Electrocardiogram normal, Pain in extremity, Vomiting, Headache, Palpitations
April 7th Adverse reactions to vaccine 5 hours after taking it including, feeling like a bowling ball was sitting on my chest, throat felt like it was closing, racing heart, resting pulse at 110, headache, chills, nausea April 8th flue like symptoms with chest pains April 9th chest pains, headache and fatigue was in bed entire day April 10th rested at home on Saturday but was very fatigued when I took a slow paced walk April 11th rested at home on Sunday continued chest pain April 12th Was part of a game where there was running involved after a º of a block of running I threw up and felt like I could not breath, the rest of the day I had chest pain and went toRead FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Chest discomfort, Electrocardiogram, Heart rate increased, Throat tightness, Chest pain, Fatigue, Nausea, Vomiting, Chills, Fibrin D dimer normal, Platelet count normal, Dyspnoea, Full blood count normal, Prothrombin level normal, Echocardiogram, Headache, Prothrombin time normal
ONSET: 1 days AGE: 68 SEX: M
The following evening after the shot, he had severe pains in his back and shoulders, headache, nausea (vomited). 2 days later, felt severe pain in his stomach, along with pain in his shoulders and back, with a headache, also vomited.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Abdominal exploration, Myocardial infarction, Abdominal pain upper, Nausea, Arthralgia, Vomiting, Back pain, Headache
ONSET: 3 days AGE: 56 SEX: M
I experienced hissing or ringing in my ears roughly 3 days after receiving the vaccine.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Ear discomfort, Tinnitus
ONSET: 5 days AGE: 51 SEX: F
5 days after vaccination I had partial vision impairment in my right eye. I saw my eye doctor two days later who believed it was retinal vein occlusion. He referred me to an ophthalmologist who I saw the following monday. The ophthalmologist confirmed it was retinal vein occlusion. His treatment was to administer an injection of medicine.Read FULL REPORT >
VACCINE TYPE(S): COVID19VACCINE NAME(S): COVID19 (COVID19 (JANSSEN))
SYMPTOM(S): Retinal vein occlusion, Visual impairment
Page 1 of 15728Results 1 - 10 of 157277
The Federal Bureau of Intentional Lying Claims Fuel Pipeline Cyber Attack is Darkside Ransomware - The Last Refuge
Mon, 10 May 2021 19:54
The Federal Bureau of Intentional Lying (FBI-L) has claimed the Colonial Pipeline Network was compromised by a hack from Darkside Ransomware:
''The FBI confirms that the Darkside ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks. We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.'' (LINK)When the state police tell us something prudence dictates we evaluate their motive against previous state police statements and make an independent decision. That's the basis of not being a victim to professional lying. That said, which is more likely:
A) A random cyber-hack from a dubious eastern-European source, has compromised the refined fuel capacity in the United States?
~ OR'...
B) The FBI, a political division -and state police- acting on behalf the U.S. intelligence community, are making this claim in order to provide cover for the Biden administration's purposeful policies that are skyrocketing the price of fuel?
I'm thinking, well, option B?'...
Posted in Big Government,
Big Stupid Government,
Deep State,
energy,
FBI,
Lawfare,
media bias,
Notorious Liars,
Professional Idiots,
propaganda,
Uncategorized
Britt McHenry Sues Fox News, Saying Tyrus Sexually Harassed Her - The New York Times
Mon, 10 May 2021 17:49
The Fox Nation host accused her former co-host Tyrus, whose real name is George Murdoch, of sexual harassment and said that Fox News failed to respond appropriately to her claims.
Britt McHenry in 2015, when she worked for ESPN. Now a Fox Nation host, she sued Fox News on Tuesday, charging that it did not respond appropriately when she accused her co-host of sexual harassment. Credit... Alex Brandon/Associated Press Dec. 10, 2019
Britt McHenry, who hosts a show on the Fox Nation streaming service, sued Fox News on Tuesday, saying the network had failed to respond to four sexual harassment complaints that she made against her former co-host, George Murdoch, and then retaliated against her for making those claims while giving him his own show.
Ms. McHenry said in court documents that she had ''suffered humiliation, emotional anguish, derailment of her career, and significant loss of economic opportunities'' as a result of her treatment by the network. The suit, filed in United States District Court in Manhattan, also names Mr. Murdoch, a former professional wrestler known by the stage name ''Tyrus,'' as well as three Fox News executives.
The lawsuit is the latest sexual harassment claim to hit Fox News, which was rocked by a drumbeat of allegations by female employees that led to millions of dollars in settlements and the departure of its chairman and chief executive, Roger Ailes, in 2016 and its highest-rated host, Bill O'Reilly, in 2017.
''I am standing up for myself, for women and for what's right,'' Ms. McHenry wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. ''I have maintained the same allegations because the truth doesn't change. I feel for any sexual harassment victim who has their story and evidence dismissed, doubted and not believed.''
Ms. McHenry claims in her suit that Mr. Murdoch, with whom she co-hosted the streaming program ''Un-PC,'' sent her sexually inappropriate text messages, threatened to send her a picture of his genitalia, and talked about having sex with her over the course of several months last year.
Ms. McHenry said she complained to Fox executives three times earlier this year but was asked what she did to ''provoke'' Mr. Murdoch and was told she was ''replaceable,'' according to her lawsuit. Her agent also complained on her behalf, she said in the suit.
Ms. McHenry claimed that after executives received a fourth complaint about Mr. Murdoch, she was ''frozen out by Fox News management'' and stopped receiving opportunities to appear on its television programs, which have much higher viewership than its streaming service.
Meanwhile, she said, her former co-host was promoted to be the host of his own streaming show, ''Nuff Said.''
Tom Clare, a lawyer representing Mr. Murdoch, denied Ms. McHenry's accusations in a statement on Tuesday.
''Tyrus denies the allegations in the lawsuit and will be defending it vigorously,'' Mr. Clare said. ''He looks forward to having a public forum in the court system to clear his name from the smear campaign that has been waged against him in the media. Tyrus will be pursuing defamation counterclaims.''
Fox News said in a statement that it had investigated Ms. McHenry's accusations, including when she filed similar allegations with the New York State Division of Human Rights in October.
''The lawsuit recycles the same allegations,'' the network said, adding: ''As we have previously stated, Ms. McHenry's allegations have been fully investigated and we are confident our actions will be deemed entirely appropriate in litigation. We expect all of her claims to be dismissed.''
But in her suit, which requests a jury trial, Ms. McHenry said the investigation into her claims had also been marred by sexual harassment. She said an investigator told her on two occasions in September that she was ''really pretty,'' and said to her, in reference to Mr. Murdoch, ''Come on, you didn't know you were leading him on?''
''After payouts of over $100 million in recent sexual harassment scandals, Fox News publicly says it now has 'zero tolerance' for sexual harassment,'' the lawsuit says. ''This is a dangerous lie. In practice, Fox News remains a sanctuary for sexual harassers, coddling and enabling the men who abuse female employees.''
Court documents filed on Tuesday outline what Ms. McHenry described as ''volatile and unpredictable behavior at work'' from Mr. Murdoch, including temper tantrums and fits of shouting in addition to inappropriately sexual text messages.
''I love ponytails and braids you look amazing and it's a real turn on not that you care but I love it,'' Mr. Murdoch wrote to her on Oct. 31, 2018, the suit claims. Two days later, he sent her an expletive-laced series of messages about her legs.
''Is it creepy how I look at you ???'' Mr. Murdoch asked her, according to the lawsuit. ''FYI you'll need those legs to escape from me in Montana.''
The messages continued two weeks later, after a work dinner during which Ms. McHenry said Mr. Murdoch drank to excess and then behaved in an ''aggressive and overtly sexualized manner'' toward her. After the dinner, Mr. Murdoch saw a picture of Ms. McHenry and decided to send her a message.
''The picture looks so good I would knock the picture up,'' he wrote, according to the suit. ''Crazy sexy love your legs.''
In a statement, Ms. McHenry's lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said she thought the network had not learned from its experiences with Mr. Ailes and Mr. O'Reilly.
''Britt McHenry's bombshell story should not be happening at Fox News in 2019,'' Ms. Bloom said. ''I am proud to represent her as she demands justice.''
New York police ID suspect in Times Square shooting, say he meant to shoot his brother when 4yo girl & two women were hit '-- RT USA News
Mon, 10 May 2021 16:04
New York police have identified the suspected gunman in a shooting on Saturday at Times Square that injured a four-year-old girl and two women as Farrakhan Muhammad, saying he was aiming at his brother but hit the bystanders.
The 31-year-old suspect's identity was first disclosed by several New York media outlets on Sunday. The NYPD then released a wanted poster naming Farrakhan Muhammad. The gunman was seen on surveillance video after Saturday's shooting, and he was reportedly identified when detectives were investigating a fatal stabbing at a Midtown Manhattan hotel hours later.
The detectives spotted a man hanging around near the hotel who looked almost identical to the alleged Times Square gunman. When they began to question him and noted his resemblance to the shooter, the man said, "I'm his brother."
He went on to tell officers that his brother was aiming at him when the shooting occurred, the New York Post reported. Police said Muhammad and his brother were among a group of men arguing when Muhammad pulled out his gun and started shooting.
He missed his intended target, allegedly hitting a four-year-old girl from Brooklyn, a 43-year-old New Jersey woman and a 23-year-old Rhode Island tourist who was visiting New York with her husband and toddler for Mother's Day weekend. The Rhode Island woman, Wendy Magrinat, told NBC4 News that she heard an argument behind her just before the gunshots.
Also on rt.com Small child & two bystanders shot as New York City's wave of gun crime arrives in Times Square "I told my husband, 'Let's move a bit forward,' because he had our two-year-old in his hands," she said. "At the same moment I told him that, the shots fired. I walked a little bit and then I started screaming, asking for help." Magrinat was shot in the leg. She said doctors elected not to remove the bullet because the surgery would do more damage.
Muhammad is reportedly an illegal CD peddler. Such peddlers are known for using aggressive tactics to get money out of tourists, such as asking a visitor's name, writing the name on a CD and demanding that they buy it, as it can no longer be sold to anyone else.
Muhammad was arrested last year for assaulting a man who tried to intervene when he was harassing a couple on the street, police said. Another CD peddler was reportedly shot and killed by a police officer in Times Square in 2009. The man allegedly fled when the officer asked for his tax identification, then turned and fired a semi-automatic pistol at the cop when he was chased. The officer returned fire and killed the man.
Also on rt.com Shooter walks into birthday party in Colorado Springs, murders his girlfriend and five others before killing himself '' police Saturday's shooting came amid a surge in gun violence in New York City. Through May 2, there had been 416 shooting incidents in the city, up 83% from a year earlier, police data showed. The number of victims was up 79%, at 463, and murders rose 17% during the same period to 132.
Times Square ranked as the world's No. 2 tourist attraction, behind only the Las Vegas Strip, drawing 39.2 million visitors in 2019, according to World Atlas. But New York's tourism industry was ravaged by strict Covid-19 lockdowns and is projected to possibly remain below pre-pandemic levels until 2025.
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Letter to President Biden About William Burns 51021 | Cyberwarfare | Security
Mon, 10 May 2021 15:46
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Sisterhood of spies Future is Female (Death Merchants): MSM Celebrates Women in the War Machine
Mon, 10 May 2021 14:14
W ASHINGTON '-- The mainstream media has made a noisy effort over the years to humanize America's war machine. But now, outlets like MSNBC are doubling down on efforts in 2019, celebrating the feminization of America's institutions of destruction and foreign sabotage.
You may think you've seen it all: from the ''humanitarian intervention'' canard whitewashing bloody regime-change operations and proxy warfare to fighter jets painted pink to ''raise awareness'' about breast cancer, to the pinkwashing of the military industrial complex with Lockheed Martin's sponsorship of Pride festivities and Raytheon being named the ''best place to work'' for LGBTQ people in 2017 by the nonprofit Human Rights Campaign.
If you thought this alternate universe of benevolent arms peddlers has peaked, you'd be mistaken, and '-- if you'll pardon the pun '-- gravely, at that.
Last week, MSNBC's Ali Velshi devoted a segment to the military industrial complex. As you may have guessed, it didn't focus on the revolving door between defense giants and government, America's bloated military budget and huge handouts to the industry, or anything else that you may think would be provided to you in a ''news'' report. No, MSNBC celebrated that the chief executives of four of the ''big five'' defense firms are women.
Those firms include Northrop Grumman; Lockheed Martin; General Dynamics; and Boeing Defense, Space & Security '-- one of Boeing's three busness units.
That segment is entitled ''The military-industrial complex is now run by women.''
>>
''There's also America's lead weapons negotiator, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control [and International Security] and the Under Secretary of State for Energy for Nuclear Security '-- also a woman. She runs the world's largest nuclear stockpile,'' Velshi declares proudly.
''Sisterhood of spies'' Meanwhile, earlier this week, NBC News profiled the ''sisterhood of spies'' taking shape at the Central Intelligence Agency, citing a ''U.S. intelligence official'' as saying that the CIA is now comprised of nearly 50 percent women.
Moreover, former torture overseer and now director of the agency, Gina Haspel, was the first woman to be appointed to the position and is staffing the upper echelons of the spy agency with other women. Her appointment of Cynthia Rapp to deputy director for analysis marks the first time ever that women have headed all three top directorates of the CIA.
'With her engaging leadership style and reputation for objectivity, [Rapp] will excel in leading our talented analytic cadre,'' said CIA Director of Public Affairs Brittany Bramell.
Congratulations to Sonya Holt. I'm sure that she'll do an excellent job making sure that when the CIA tries to instigate a coup d'etat against a leftist third world government, agents on the case will be LGBT at a proportional rate to the US population. https://t.co/8M6AIwV5xO
'-- Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) August 22, 2018
Haspel previously named Elizabeth Kimber the deputy director for operations. Dawn Meyerriecks, deputy director for science and technology, had held the position prior to Haspel's ascent to director.
Haspel also named Sonya Holt to be the chief diversity and inclusion officer in August.
The liberal viral video shop Now This tweeted that such moves constitute ''another stride towards progress'' on Wednesday.
https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1082963444565925888
Also this week, the U.S. Air Force reached a ''significant milestone'' in its history, according to a Dayton Daily News article republished by the U.S. military veteran publication Task & Purpose . That because a ''female pilot completed a routine F-35 Lightning II flight.''
''I am grateful for the women who have broken barriers previously; they built the path,'' the airwoman, Maj. Raechel Winiecki said. ''I look forward to the day when sorties like this are a regular occurrence.''
While it's significant that Winiecki was the first female F-35 test pilot to complete a mission, it is also significant that the accident-prone, $1.5 trillion dollar boondoggle that is the F-35 completed a mission. F-35s are plagued by countless defects '-- 966 of them as of June, to be precise. Problems with the U.S. military's most expensive war toy have included an ejection mechanism that poses a ''serious risk'' of death to pilots and cockpits that cause them to suffocate '-- so buckle up, ladies!
Top Photo | U.S. Air Force Capt. Rachel Winiecki, Capt. Kelly Nettleblad, and 1st Lt. Jessica Wyble, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilots, and 1st Lt. Katherine Conrad, 107th FS Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Michigan, A-10 pilot, pose in front of an A-10 at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., May 5, 2014. Photo | U.S. Air Force
Alexander Rubinstein is a staff writer for MintPress News based in Washington, DC. He reports on police, prisons and protests in the United States and the United States' policing of the world. He previously reported for RT and Sputnik News.
'Civil war is brewing in France and you know it': French military launches another salvo at Macron with new open letter '-- RT World News
Mon, 10 May 2021 13:48
A group of active French military personnel has published a new open letter to the country's president Emmanuel Macron, warning him of a "civil war" brewing in the country after all the "concessions" he's made to Islamism.
The letter, published in the conservative Valeurs Actuelles magazine late on Sunday, strikes a similar tone to the message published by the same outlet last month. Unlike the previous one, which was signed by 25 retired generals and active-duty soldiers, the new letter is anonymous and is open for signing by the general public. As of noon on Monday, it had attracted over 100,000 signatures.
The authors of the letter have described themselves as active-duty French soldiers, belonging to the younger generation of the military that saw actual combat over the past years.
"We are what the newspapers have called 'the fire generation.' Men and women, active soldiers, of all armies and of all ranks, of all opinions, we all love our country. These are our only claims to fame. And while we cannot, by law, express ourselves with our face uncovered, it is equally impossible for us to stay silent," the letter reads.
Also on rt.com More than half of French people support generals' warning that France is 'DISINTEGRATING,' hurtling toward civil war, poll shows The letter accuses President Macron of making "concessions" to Islamism on French soil, while the country's military has been spilling its blood to fight against it in "Afghanistan, Mali, the Central African Republic or elsewhere."
The authors have also indicated that at least some of them have taken part in the domestic Operation Sentinelle, launched after the devastating 2015 Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks, and witnessed certain ethno-religious communities in France completely detached from the rest of the country.
For such communities "France means nothing but an object of sarcasm, contempt or even hatred," the letter reads.
Like the previous letter, this new one warns the republic's authorities of an impending "civil war," with the very existence of France being at stake. "Once again, civil war is brewing in France and you know it perfectly well," the letter reads.
We are not talking about extending your mandates or conquering others. We are talking about the survival of our country, the survival of your country.
The authors of the letter have also voiced strong support towards the signees of the first one and harshly criticized the government's response to it.
"To encourage the army's senior officers to take a stand and expose themselves, before angrily sanctioning them as soon as they write anything other than battle reports, one must be quite perverse," the letter reads.
Cowardice, deceit, perversion: this is not our vision of the hierarchy. On the contrary, the army is, par excellence, the place where we speak the truth because we commit our lives.
The first letter, published on April 21 '' on the 60th anniversary of a failed coup d'(C)tat against General Charles de Gaulle over his support in favor of independence for Algeria '' caused an uproar among France's top officials. Prime Minister Jean Castex branded the message "an initiative against all of our republican principles, of honor and the duty of the army," while the military vowed to punish the active-duty signees.
Also on rt.com 18 French active-duty servicemen to face MILITARY COURT over open letter blasting 'Islamist hordes' & looming 'civil war' Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
No-show high school students reject COVID reopening rules - Los Angeles Times
Mon, 10 May 2021 13:13
During the first week of in-person learning at Panorama High School, drama teacher Patricia Francisco stood in the mini-theater talking on Zoom to her acting class. Two stage lights brightened her face as she spoke to her camera. Students were logging in from home, or from classrooms scattered around campus. Most appeared as black boxes on her screen.
''You guys who are on campus '-- I'm so proud of you for being here,'' she said. ''Those of you who are at home '-- we can succeed in any environment that we are ending up in.''
Except for her voice, the room was silent. Only three students were physically in the class '-- and they weren't paying attention to her as they attended other online classes while wearing noise-canceling headphones. Returning to school in Los Angeles Unified, the nation's second-largest school district, means sitting in one classroom all day, two or three days a week, with little intermingling or movement.
This ''Zoom in a room'' option for in-person schooling '-- the format for high school in Los Angeles and San Francisco '-- has failed to draw back the vast majority of students. Although official attendance data have not yet been released, a survey of L.A. Unified parents indicated that about 17% of high school students would come back to campus.
L.A. Unified is hardly alone in struggling to persuade high school students to return '-- or in offering a lean reopening experience.
A few large districts, including Santa Ana Unified and San Bernardino Unified, have not broadly reopened campuses, including for high school students. But most of California's largest districts are providing a patchwork of reopening approaches based on how local school boards weighed risks and benefits and how they met demands from teacher unions over back-to-campus working conditions. One big district, Corona-Norco Unified, has more than 75% of its students back. In others, it's closer to 20% with more limited schedules.
Despite detailed planning, the majority of secondary school students in California's largest districts will end their year much like it began '-- fully online, according to state data. For many, it will mean 17 or 18 months away from classrooms.
Statewide, about 84% of secondary school students have the option to return to their middle and high schools in some form, according to state data, which do not separate out high schools. An estimated 48% of all secondary students at schools that are open have returned to campus.
Reopening elementary schools was simpler: one class, one schedule. But educators have grappled with complex secondary schedules in which students move from classroom to classroom. The goal of safely bringing them back to campus has largely resulted in limited schedules and restrictions on hallway encounters, lunch with friends and extracurriculars, among other rules.
A Times review of many of the state's largest school districts revealed a range of approaches to reopening high schools:
In Elk Grove, the largest district in Northern California, students who opted for in-person instruction are allowed to come to campus four days a week or twice weekly, for five hours per day. They move from class to class, with teachers simultaneously instructing in-person and online students. About 22% of students opted to return '-- a little over half chose the two-day schedule. In Fresno, students can attend classes two days a week for four hours of in-person instruction. About 49% returned to campus, the rest remain online.In San Diego Unified, the state's second-largest district, students can be on campus two to four days a week '-- depending on space '-- and move from class to class for up to three periods per day. About 40% of high school students have returned.In Corona-Norco, where three in four students are on campus, students chose at the start of the school year whether they would return in person when campuses reopened and were assigned to online or in-person teachers based on that. Changing the decision meant getting a new teacher.With only weeks left in the academic year, the reopenings have put new pressure on students and teachers.
''No matter what situation you're in, you're having to relearn how to learn information and engage content,'' said A.Dee Williams, professor of education at Cal State Los Angeles. ''In high school, you have maybe six different subject matters that you're having to re-engage in a way you never have before.''
Three large Southern California school districts '-- Long Beach, Los Angeles and Capistrano Unified '-- reflect the various scenarios playing out across the state.
Ninth-grader Carlos ''Jairo'' Zamora, 16, logs in via Zoom to classes in another part of the building as he sits in the Panorama High School classroom of drama teacher Patricia Francisco.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Unified: Zoom in a room
Ninth-grader Carlos ''Jairo'' Zamora, 16, looked a little sleepy-eyed, but he lit up when asked how he felt during the first week back at Panorama High School, where he was one of three students in Francisco's drama class.
''I wanted to interact with other people,'' he said. ''I really did miss school. And I wanted to learn more.''
It didn't bother him that the teacher in front of him was instructing students elsewhere.
''She does her thing,'' he said, ''we do our thing.''
In L.A. Unified, middle and high school students are on campus for a full day in a schedule that alternates two-day weeks with three-day weeks. Students report to an assigned room and log into online learning just as they would have at home. Officials said keeping students together reduces the opportunity for the coronavirus to spread.
Francisco has faced unique challenges with her drama students at Panorama. Unlike at home, those on campus can't stand up and deliver a monologue or do a movement exercise while in their assigned classroom. Instead, they do quiet work while on campus '-- reading, writing a script or designing a set.
Overall, the parents of about one in five students at Panorama indicated they would return to campus. More than 90% of the school's students are Latino, and 96% are from low-income families.
The few who have returned are trying to make the best of it.
For Emma Espinoza, a junior at Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, the decision came down to softball.
''If I didn't play sports, I'd probably stay home too,'' the 16-year-old said. Her team practices just about every day, and catching the bus to a game is easier from campus, she said. She didn't see the point of sitting in a room all day on Zoom, but ''I adapt very easily.''
Andrea Glenn teaches a ''Justice in America'' class at Millikan High School in Long Beach. Greeting the in-person students, Glenn explained measures designed to keep them safe, including four fans and an air purifier.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
Long Beach Unified: Moving from class to class
Long Beach Unified, the state's fourth-largest school district, was the first big district in L.A. county to widely reopen, largely because the city has its own health department and vaccinatedd teachers earlier than other districts.
High school students, who began returning in late April, are split into cohorts that attend classes together two or three days a week. Students can move from class to class.
Yet most students remain online only. About 37% have returned, ranging from about 25% to 46% at the district's the 11 high schools.
At Millikan High School in East Long Beach, teacher Andrea Glenn was joined by five of 32 students in her ''Justice in America'' class. The others participated on Zoom. She positioned two laptops in the room to ensure constant visibility with students. After taking attendance, she began juggling between online and in-person students.
Greeting the in-person students, Glenn explained measures designed to keep them safe, including four fans and an air purifier. If she was going to remove her mask to sip water, she would do so in a corner. And she would do her best to keep her distance.
As she spoke, online students occasionally chimed in on speakers, asking for help.
Principal Alejandro Vega said the demographics of those staying home reflect the region. ''Asian, Black and Latino students are staying home at higher rates,'' he said.
Like many high school teachers, Glenn said her online students tend to keep their cameras off and microphones muted. Sometimes it's because they don't have the best internet access. Sometimes they're baby-sitting. About 36% of the school's students are from low-income families, 45% are Latino and 30% are white.
Simultaneously teaching online and in person ''is exhausting,'' Glenn said.
But, she added, ''a couple of them were giggling about something and it made me so happy just to hear students laughing. I missed that noise.''
Choir practice at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, Calif. ''These are students who have been successful but are struggling,'' said Meredith Hosseini, assistant principal at the school, where about 30% of students are from low-income families.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Capistrano Unified: An October opening
High schools in Capistrano Unified School District in South Orange County are outliers among large districts, with campuses open since October. When Orange County COVID-19 rates dipped in the fall, several county districts, including Capistrano, seized the opportunity.
High school students could return for a full day '-- and move from class to class '-- but only for two days a week because of capacity limitations driven by a requirement to keep six feet of distance between students. Many classrooms were nearly empty, and many students returned to online learning as the months passed, officials said.
In April, after the district lowered the distance requirement to three feet, it began allowing students on campus for a full day, four days a week. Now, about 42% of high schoolers are on campus. Increasing on-campus attendance became an imperative given students' online struggles, leading to a rise in Ds and Fs.
''These are students who have been successful but are struggling,'' said Meredith Hosseini, assistant principal at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, where about 30% of students are from low-income families and about half are white.
She said school administrators and teachers are finding creative ways to persuade students to return by restoring the hallmarks of the high school experience '-- ''in a modified way.'' The school's sprawling campus has helped by allowing activities to take place outside.
The school held a football game with a homecoming court in April, an annual air guitar concert and a performance of ''Urinetown: The Musical'' for which the school built an outdoor stage behind the theater.
''We're trying to get to the point where you have to do less squinting to make it feel like a real school,'' said Principal John Misustin.
On the first day of the four-day-a-week model, the school's choir director, Erin Girard, sat at a grand piano on the theater stage. The faces of about 10 students online could be seen quietly watching from a laptop on the piano. The 23 in-person students, who were together in one room for the first time, were preparing a show and seemed jubilant to be singing and dancing with one another.
''It's not just good for our vocals, it's good for our souls,'' Girard said.
Times staff writers Laura Newberry, Melissa Gomez and Iris Lee contributed to this report.
Melinda Gates Was Meeting With Divorce Lawyers Since 2019 to End Marriage With Bill Gates - WSJ
Sun, 09 May 2021 21:44
The split between Bill and Melinda Gates, announced last week, has been in the works for a long time.
Ms. Gates consulted with divorce lawyers roughly two years before she filed for divorce from Mr. Gates, saying their marriage was ''irretrievably broken,'' according to people familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The 56-year-old philanthropist has been working with lawyers at several firms since at least 2019 to unwind the marriage of more than 25 years, according to these people and the documents.
Last Monday, the billionaire couple announced they were ending their marriage. In a joint statement posted on Twitter, they said, ''we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.''
The couple hasn't said what prompted the split. One source of concern for Ms. Gates was her husband's dealings with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, according to the people and a former employee of their charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Ms. Gates's concerns about the relationship dated as far back as 2013, the former employee said.
The couple negotiated their divorce throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the documents show. They have three children who are all now 18 years or older, the divorce filing shows. The youngest is a senior in high school.
According to the documents reviewed by the Journal, Ms. Gates and her advisers held a number of calls in October 2019 when the New York Times reported that Mr. Gates had met with Mr. Epstein on numerous occasions. Mr. Gates once stayed late into the night at Mr. Epstein's Manhattan townhouse, the Times reported.
Bridgitt Arnold, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, said in 2019 that the software mogul and Mr. Epstein had met multiple times to discuss philanthropy. '' Bill Gates regrets ever meeting with Epstein and recognizes it was an error in judgment to do so,'' Ms. Arnold said at the time. Mr. Epstein died in jail in August 2019 awaiting trial on federal charges related to sex trafficking.
Ms. Gates, a global advocate for women and girls, had told her husband she was uncomfortable with Mr. Epstein after the couple met him together in 2013, the former employee of the Gates Foundation said. Mr. Gates and some employees of the Gates Foundation continued a relationship with Mr. Epstein despite her concerns, this person said.
The Daily Beast earlier reported on the 2013 meeting and Ms. Gates's concerns with Mr. Epstein.
When asked about his relationship with Mr. Epstein in a September 2019 interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Gates said: ''I met him. I didn't have any business relationship or friendship with him.''
A spokeswoman for Mr. Gates, who is 65 years old, said Friday he stands by his 2019 statement to the Journal and declined to comment further. A spokeswoman for Ms. Gates didn't respond to questions about her reasons for seeking a divorce.
In early 2020, Mr. and Ms. Gates surprised many people when they said they wouldn't attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, an annual gathering of business and world leaders that the power couple had attended for years.
A few months later, on March 13, Mr. Gates said he was resigning from the boards of Microsoft Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc. The Microsoft co-founder said he planned to focus more on his philanthropic efforts.
By that time, the Gateses were already in discussions to divide their vast wealth, according to the people familiar with the matter and the documents. Legal teams from both sides were privately in discussions with a mediator to work out a separation, the documents show.
Ms. Gates's legal team by then already included New York divorce lawyer Robert Stephan Cohen, the documents show. Mr. Cohen has represented Michael Bloomberg, Henry Kravis and Ivana Trump in their divorces.
Mr. Gates also has some star lawyers, including Ronald Olson, a partner at the firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP who has represented Mark Zuckerberg, among others. Mr. Olson is a board member at Berkshire Hathaway, where he sat alongside Mr. Gates and Mr. Gates's close friend Warren Buffett.
The May 3 divorce filing says the couple had agreed to a separation contract to divide their assets'--a fortune estimated at $130 billion by Forbes. Their assets include a $131 million lakeside compound in Washington state called Xanadu 2.0, a rare Leonardo da Vinci notebook and investments in Microsoft and Four Seasons Hotels.
Last week, Mr. Gates's investment firm transferred nearly $2.4 billion worth of public company shares to Ms. Gates, including stakes in car-dealership owner AutoNation Inc., a Mexican broadcaster and a Canadian railroad.
The Gateses have said they would give away most of their wealth and donated more than $36 billion to the Gates Foundation over the years. The couple said they planned to remain co-chairs at the foundation and jointly lead it after their divorce. ''We continue to share a belief in that mission,'' they said in their Twitter statement.
Ms. Gates signed her divorce petition in Bellevue, Wash., near the family home and the foundation's headquarters, according to the filing. Mr. Gates signed the papers from Palm Desert, Calif.
Write to Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com and Khadeeja Safdar at khadeeja.safdar@wsj.com
TheRebelTheGOAT on Twitter: "#IKEA #Delft #Netherlands requires ppl with medical exemptions for muzz...facemasks to adorn themselves with yellow stickers. You'd think they'd at least pick another color @adamcurry @consent_factory @naomirwolf @RubinRep
Sun, 09 May 2021 20:25
TheRebelTheGOAT : #IKEA #Delft #Netherlands requires ppl with medical exemptions for muzz...facemasks to adorn themselves with yellow'... https://t.co/Dofe0TvZWO
Sun May 09 17:31:12 +0000 2021
Elon Musk Brings Ratings Lift to 'SNL' - Variety
Sun, 09 May 2021 20:22
Elon Musk's turn as ''Saturday Night Live'' host brought the NBC late-night mainstay its third-highest ratings of the season.
The May 8 edition of ''SNL'' averaged a 4.8 household rating in Nielsen's overnight metered markets and a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49. That put Musk's episode at No. 3 behind Dave Chappelle's outing as host on Nov. 7 and the Oct. 3 season premiere fronted by Chris Rock. Musk tied the ratings mark set Oct. 24 with the episode hosted by Adele with H.E.R. in the music slot.
Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, made headlines by revealing that he has Asperger syndrome during his opening monologue. Musk marked the rare choice of a business world personality to host the NBC late-night institution although his pop culture profile has grown in recent years thanks to some of his antics and business ventures, all of which were spoofed on ''SNL.''
Musk's prominence in social media and his status as one of the world's wealthiest moguls boosted interest in his appearance on the sketch comedy series. For the first time ever, ''SNL'' was also live-streamed on YouTube in more than 100 countries.
Musk has been scolded by financial regulators for his pronouncements about his publicly held businesses in unusual channels for a CEO. During his monologue, he joked about ''SNL'' being live and the risk that posed for him.
''I could say something truly shocking '-- like I drive of Prius,'' he said.
The most recent ''SNL'' original, the April 10 edition hosted by ''Promising Young Woman'' star Carey Mulligan, averaged 3.6 rating in 44 overnight metered markets that measure late-night weekend viewership, and a 1.5 in adults 18-49.
NBC noted that ''SNL'' to date is enjoying its most-watched season in four years based on total viewers with an average of 12.6 million across 17 episodes to date.
''SNL'' will close out its 46th season with two more original episodes: May 15 with host Keegan-Michael Key and musical guest Olivia Rodrigo and the May 22 finale with host Anna Taylor-Joy and musical guest Lil Nas X.
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