1418: Homeless Apocalypse

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 25m
January 20th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Tony Cabrera, No Agenda Shop, Sir Ed Kammeyer, Barron Husky Bottom "Sheriff of Liepers Fork", Grand Duke Sir Dwayne Melancon, Sir Kyle, Baronet, Tidewater Architect

Associate Executive Producers: Baroness Dame Meowdison, Sir DH Slammer, Viscount dirty dick bangs of dc, Eddie Jennings, Adam Alamano, Lindsey Fox

Cover Artist: Tante Neel

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
3:22
UK ends COVID restrictions
titleguy
11:49
French Canadian TV show: kids in favor of forcing unvaxed into submission
titleguy
14:30
Starbucks no longer requires vaccinations or weekly tests for employees
titleguy
15:00
Free Covid Tests!
Guest producer
16:12
It's so awkward when couples fight in public.
Guest producer
22:15
No FDA approval for children's jabs.
Guest producer
24:39
The Fourth Dose
titleguy
29:53
Justice Sonia Sotomayor attends hearings virtually due to maskless Gorsuch
titleguy
31:49
International Criminal Court case against Rona conspirators
Guest producer
37:31
Public Health Canada confirms secretly accessing location data for 33 million mobile devices.
titleguy
38:47
Hamster Genocide in Hong Kong
Guest producer
45:23
Taking the L stories
titleguy
53:29
Stanford mandate
Guest producer
55:25
Homeless Apocalypse!
Guest producer
1:07:28
Train Looting
Guest producer
1:09:21
5G vs Airlines
Guest producer
1:15:32
Letter from radiologist producer
titleguy
1:19:23
Biden Stuff
Guest producer
1:40:59
Executive Producer Credits
Guest producer
2:02:03
Boobs! (Boob Anthem)
Guest producer
2:14:29
Russia is everywhere these days
titleguy
2:55:37
Donations
titleguy
3:02:04
Birthdays, Title Changes & Meetups
titleguy
3:13:15
Isos
titleguy
3:19:51
End of Show Mixes
titleguy
Suggest a new chapter
Mass Formation
Supply Chains
Rumored train strike this week
Train looting BOTG
Hey guys!
To get into an international container box, you need a LARGE bolt cutter, or one of the new cordless models. There is a required 0.5 inch steel bolt and/or an eighth inch steel cable device. Those bolts can be a real bitch to get off. As a former truck driver delivering these containers, I have had the displeasure of dealing with both these security devices. I can't imagine the dealing with one of these bolts on a moving train with little footing to leverage the bolt cutters.
Sir Mark, The Wandering Knight
Great Reset
Hotel room no desk, don't live there
Homeless demolition man
Equity means now we are all slaves
Great Resignation
Ancilla says antiwork thread heavy in algos on Reddit
Food Intelligence
VAERS
Climate Change
Freedom Passports
War on Weed
Test To Stay
Ivermectin etc
5G
Net Neutrality
Equipping backbone networks with high-performance and secure DNS resolution infrastructures - Works
The deployment of DNS4EU aims to address such consolidation of DNS resolution in the hands of few companies, which renders the resolution process itself vulnerable in case of significant events affecting one major provider. Moreover the lack of significant EU investment in the field hampers the development of infrastructures that favour the detection and filtering of local cyber-threats that nonetheless could have significant socio-economic impacts. In addition, the processing of DNS data can have an impact on privacy and data protection rights.
DNS4EU shall offer a high level of resilience, global and EU-specific cybersecurity protection, data protection and privacy according to EU rules, ensure that DNS resolution data are processed in Europe and personal data are not monetised. It shall adhere to the latest internet security and privacy standards. It shall be widely discoverable and easy to configure by end-users on their equipment and software.
12. Lawful filtering: Filtering of URLs leading to illegal content based on legal requirements applicable in the EU or in national jurisdictions (e.g. based on court orders), in full compliance with EU rules.
BLM LGBBTQQIAAPK+ Noodle Boy
Russia
Pfizer Marketing
Pfizer Contract
Pfizer Inc., New York, New York, was awarded a $2,047,500,000 modification
(P00007) to contract W58P05-21-C-0002 for an additional 300 million doses of
COVID-19 vaccine for international donation to low and low-middle income
countries. Work will be performed in New York, New York, with an estimated
completion date of Sept. 30, 2022. Fiscal 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief
Supplemental Appropriations Act funds in the amount of $2,047,500,000 were
obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Aberdeen
Proving Ground, Maryland, is the contracting activity.
Bat vs Lab
Neuremburg
China
Big Tech
STORIES
(20) The Honest Zionist on Twitter: "Tonga, underwater volcano.. No - mini nuke.. watch !! https://t.co/qF9YIh4T9h" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:34
The Honest Zionist : Tonga, underwater volcano.. No - mini nuke.. watch !! https://t.co/qF9YIh4T9h
Tue Jan 18 01:37:47 +0000 2022
Gerlad the barbarian : @FairbanksJarrad ''Mini nuke''What the fuck is your definition of a mini nuke? It was equivalent to some of the bigg'... https://t.co/kCAfbmpz3w
Thu Jan 20 00:42:39 +0000 2022
66s : @FairbanksJarrad New nuclear bomb
Tue Jan 18 18:19:41 +0000 2022
Bayer To Stop Selling Glyphosate Products In US, Including RoundUp
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:27
Take a breath. Release the tension in your body. Place attention on your physical heart. Breathe slowly into the area for 60 seconds, focusing on feeling a sense of ease. Click here to learn why we suggest this.
What Happened: Bayer announced last Thursday that they will stop selling Roundup for residential use in 2023 in the U.S. Home and Garden Market. This is certainly a victory for all humans as the product is highly toxic to people, the environment and our food supply.
As part of Bayer's motion to maintain shareholder confidence during an onslaught of lawsuits surrounding their RoundUp product, they released a statement revealing their five-point plan,
Help Support Our FOI Efforts: We are holding the Canadian government accountable by submitting Freedom of Information requests demanding transparency on COVID policy decisions as we know science is not on the side of policy. Help us fund these efforts by donating today. Click here to Donate.
As part of the five-point plan, the company will also take additional steps to help close the door on this litigation and ensure that any claims brought by individuals who use Roundup' in the future are few in number and unlikely to succeed. These measures include that the company and its partners will replace its glyphosate-based products in the U.S. residential Lawn & Garden market with new formulations that rely on alternative active ingredients beginning in 2023, subject to a timely review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state counterparts.
The company will still sell the product commercially and in other countries.
Why It's Important: A key reflection point is Bayer did not come to this decision due to a recognition that the product is toxic and harmful, but based on mitigating financial risk.
There have been over 30,000+ legal claims from customers who feel their use of Bayer's glyphosate products, including Roundup, led to their cancer development. Regardless, the multi-billion dollar chemical company feels ''This move is being made exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.''
''Bayer's decision to end U.S. residential sale of Roundup is a historic victory for public health and the environment, as agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses.''
Center for Food Safety executive director Andrew KimbrellAs Kimbrell states, the banning of 'all' of these chemicals would benefit the land, people and animals, so why continue to approve it? Perhaps this is where the revolving door relationship between these massive companies and regulatory agencies comes into play.
Bayer's statement may not come as a surprise, why would a company admit their product is harming people while lawsuits are impending? But the question is, why do we want a society where this type of lie or omission is commonplace to protect profits?
The Takeaway: What do we make of a society that rewards profit over health? What is the real purpose of government in today's society: to help people live good lives and to steward progression and large decisions, or is it to protect corporate interests and the economy at all costs?
In my opinion, it feels as though we are a society so disconnected from our bodies and authentic selves, likely in part due to trauma brought on by our way of living, that we no longer know what it means to live a life where we can thrive. We instead don't recognize we are in a system that is designed for suffering. Perhaps it's this realization, along with a reconnection to our body and authentic self, that is required to start opening up to the idea that a wholesale change of our way of life is necessary to create a better world.
BlackRock CEO Says Everyone's Quitting Because Old World of Work Is 'Gone'
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:27
BlackRock's Larry Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs about the record number of workers quitting. Fink said that workers seeking new opportunities is a good thing and that companies have to adapt. Companies that don't adjust to the "new reality" will "do so at their own peril," he said. Loading Something is loading.
We're in a new world of work, according to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink '-- and he says that's a good thing.
In his annual letter to CEOs, Fink touched on everything he thought was "vital to driving durable long-term returns" and helping the company's clients reach their goals. One trend he highlighted was the record-breaking number of workers quitting.
"Companies expected workers to come to the office five days a week. Mental health was rarely discussed in the workplace. And wages for those on low and middle incomes barely grew," Fink wrote. "That world is gone."
In November, the last month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data for, a record 4.5 million workers quit. That capped off eight months of workers quitting at near-record highs. A record 1 million workers in leisure and hospitality '-- the country's lowest-paid sector '-- quit, while hiring remained strong, indicating that workers weren't leaving the workforce but rather switching into new roles as wages continued to grow.
While businesses shedding record numbers of workers may sound like a cause for alarm for CEOs, Fink said that it's good that workers are ducking out for bigger and brighter things in the new world of work '-- and that companies that keep up will reap the rewards.
"Workers seizing new opportunities is a good thing: It demonstrates their confidence in a growing economy," Fink wrote. Indeed, as Insider reported in August, some of the quits in the record numbers may be backlogged ones. Workers found their careers and financial prospects uncertain during the pandemic, but around April 2021 quits began to reach records.
That's coupled with workers' desire to get more from their employer, Fink said. He highlighted flexibility and "more meaningful work" as things workers are looking for. So as companies "rebuild," CEOs "face a profoundly different paradigm" than what they were used to, Fink wrote.
The 'Great Resignation' signals a cultural and economic shiftAnthony Klotz, the organizational psychologist who coined the phrase "Great Resignation," previously told Insider that the pandemic prompted somewhat of an existential crisis for American workers.
"From organizational research, we know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions," Klotz said. That causes people to think about what brings them purpose and happiness '-- and question how that stacks up with what they're doing.
For example, the jobs website Indeed said that in a recent survey of workers who had voluntarily quit during the pandemic, 92% of respondents indicated the pandemic had "made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."
Fink wrote that "workers demanding more from their employers is an essential feature of effective capitalism," driving prosperity and making talent recruiting more competitive, thereby forcing companies to "create better, more innovative environments for their employees '-- actions that will help them achieve greater profits for their shareholders."
What about the businesses that don't adapt?
"Companies not adjusting to this new reality and responding to their workers do so at their own peril," Fink said. "Turnover drives up expenses, drives down productivity, and erodes culture and corporate memory. CEOs need to be asking themselves whether they are creating an environment that helps them compete for talent."
Opinion: Want true equity? I propose, modestly, forcing California parents to swap children
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:24
If California is ever going to achieve true equity, the state must require parents to give away their children.
Today's Californians often hold up equity '-- the idea of a just society completely free from bias '-- as our greatest value. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he makes decisions through ''an equity lens.'' Institutions from dance ensembles to tech companies have publicly pledged themselves to equity, along with diversity and inclusion.
But their promises of newly equitable systems are no match for the power of parents.
Fathers and mothers with greater wealth, education or other resources are more likely to transfer these advantages to their children, compounding privilege over generations. As a result, children of less advantaged parents face an uphill struggle, social mobility has stalled and democracy has been corrupted. More Californians are giving up on the dream; a recent Public Policy Institute of California poll found declining belief in the notion that you can get ahead through hard work.
My solution is simple, and while we wait for the legislation to pass, we can act now: The rich should give their children to the poor, and the poor should give their children to the rich. Homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.
Now, I recognize that some naysayers, hopelessly attached to their privilege, will dismiss such a policy as ghastly, even totalitarian. But my proposal is quite modest, a fusion of traditional philosophy and today's most common political obsessions.
In his ''Republic,'' Plato adopted Socrates' sage advice '-- that children ''be possessed in common, so that no parent will know his own offspring or any child his parents'' '-- in order to defeat nepotism, prevent the amassing of great fortunes and create citizens loyal not to their sons but to society. To replace parents, Plato offered now-familiar ideas, from compulsory education to '-- a millennia before Newsom's conception-to-college agenda '-- health regimes for pregnant women and children age 5 and younger.
Today, universal orphanhood aligns with powerful social trends that point to less interest in family. Californians are slower to marry and are having fewer children '-- our state's birth rate is at an all-time low.
Surveys also suggest many of us are breaking off ties with family members who don't share our politics. But my proposal would be unifying, fitting hand-in-glove with the most cherished policies of progressives and Trumpians alike.
The left's introduction of anti-racism and gender identity in schools faces a bitter backlash from parents. Ending parenthood would end the backlash, helping dismantle white supremacy and outdated gender norms.
My proposal also would give Democrats the opportunity to build a new pillar of the social democracy they seek '-- a system for raising children, called ''Foster Care for All.'' Under this system, Democrats could stop pretending that they will enact universal preschool or child care, which they've promised '-- and failed to deliver '-- for a generation.
Over on the right, you'll see people posing as parent defenders. But Republicans are happy to jettison fathers and mothers to pursue their greatest passions, like violating migrant rights. Once you've gone so far as to separate immigrants from their children and put the kids in border concentration camps, it's only a short walk to a wholesale separation of all Americans from their progeny.
Then there's the pro-lifers. The idea of universal orphanhood dovetails nicely with the conservative campaign to end Roe v. Wade and all abortion rights. In fact, a suggestion from Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in a recent Supreme Court hearing on a case that could overturn Roe, inspired me to write this column. She posited that abortion rights are no longer necessary because all 50 states now have ''safe haven'' laws that allow women to turn their babies over to a fire or police department after birth.
My proposal would merely make mandatory such handovers of babies to the state.
Perhaps such coercion sounds dystopian. But just imagine the solidarity that universal orphanhood would create. Wouldn't children, raised in one system, find it easier to collaborate on climate change and other global problems?
Now, I don't expect universal support for universal orphanhood. A few contrarians, lost in the empty chasm between American extremes, might object to this rational proposal on emotional grounds. They might argue that pursuing your own conception of family is fundamental to freedom. Or that our differences and biases, for all the damage they can do, also give human life much of its meaning.
They also may suggest that people don't really want to start or finish at the same point in life. They may even say that what we really desire is what the title orphan of the musical ''Annie'' insisted upon: ''I didn't want to be just another orphan, Mr. Warbucks. I wanted to believe I was special.''
But you shouldn't pay those critics any mind. Because they just can't see how our relentless pursuit of equity might birth a brave new world.
Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Z"calo Public Square.
Austria just decided that Google Analytics is illegal. | by new realities. | Jan, 2022 | Medium
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:24
The EU waited long enough: now GDPR is putting its shoes on. new realities.
6 days ago · 4 min read
This day was always going to come of course, and now a precedent has been set.
In a landmark ruling by the Austrian Data Protection Authority (ADPA), the transfer of information from European data subjects to be stored and processed in the US by'...
Starbucks Ends Its Plan to Require Worker Vaccination and Testing - The New York Times
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:17
Starbucks baristas in training in Cheektowaga, N.Y. The company said the vast majority of its workers were vaccinated. Credit... Libby March for The New York Times The Supreme Court's ruling last week shutting down the Biden administration's effort to enlist large employers in its vaccination campaign, experts said, would trigger a new wave of uncertainty about how companies keep workers safe from Covid-19.
Now Starbucks, with 9,000 U.S. coffee shops and 200,000 workers, has became one of the first major retailers to backtrack on vaccine plans since the ruling.
Starbucks told its employees in a memo on Tuesday that they would no longer be required to be fully vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing. Just two weeks earlier, the company had detailed the requirement and set a deadline of Feb. 9.
The Supreme Court's decision did not prohibit companies from keeping their vaccine rules in place, and many will continue rolling out stringent Covid-19 safety protocols, especially as Covid case counts remain high.
Starbucks's move to drop its vaccine-or-test deadline highlights how the court's ruling has put the responsibility for determining vaccination rules squarely on employers. And companies face a patchwork of federal, state and local laws, which range from vaccine mandates that are stricter than the federal government's to laws blocking companies from requiring workers to wear masks.
''For most employers, it has proved to be a day-to-day crisis because when they think they know the answer, the rules change,'' said Domenique Camacho Moran, a labor and employment lawyer with the firm Farrell Fritz.
Retailers and their advocates had been among the most vocal critics of the federal government's vaccine rule, saying it would have exacerbated their struggles to hire or hold on to workers when millions of unemployed Americans remain on the sidelines of the job market.
Some labor lawyers say they believe other companies will follow Starbucks in relaxing or undoing their company mandates.
''A lot of companies were pursuing the vaccine or test requirement only because they were being required to do so,'' said Brett Coburn, a lawyer at Alston & Bird.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, at the request of President Biden, had issued its so-called emergency temporary standard in November. It told businesses with 100 or more workers to require employees to be vaccinated or test weekly.
John Culver, the chief operating officer at Starbucks, said in his memo Tuesday announcing the change in the company's plans that more than 90 percent of Starbucks workers in the United States had disclosed their vaccination status and that ''the vast majority'' were fully vaccinated.
''I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,'' Mr. Culver wrote.
The company's move comes as it faces a growing effort among its work force to unionize. Two weeks ago, employees at a unionized Buffalo-area store walked out, protesting what they said were unsafe working conditions. Some said they were dismayed to see the vaccine rule dropped.
Starbucks Workers United, a union that represents two Buffalo-area stores, expressed frustration that the decision was made without their comment.
''Starbucks reversed their vaccine mandate without discussing the issue, or negotiating about it, with the unionized partners,'' the union said in a statement.
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to KnowFor its part, Starbucks maintained that its vaccination requirement had been introduced only because of the federal government's standard, which the Supreme Court then blocked.
''It was not our own independent policy,'' said Reggie Borges, a spokesman for the company. ''We knew OSHA was requiring it, the Supreme Court hadn't ruled on it one way or the other and we needed to make sure our partners were supported and prepared to be in compliance.''
Some major employers, including Walmart and Amazon, had held off on issuing broad vaccine requirements while OSHA's rule was entangled in legal proceedings. Others, including United Airlines and Tyson Foods, made their own rules. A November poll of 543 companies by the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson found that 57 percent either required or planned to require Covid vaccines, including 32 percent that would do so only if OSHA's rule took effect.
''It's pretty divided in corporate America,'' said Amanda Sonneborn, a partner at the law firm King & Spalding. ''There's those that have chosen to do mandates on their own, those that were following the government's mandate and those that challenged it.''
Companies weighing vaccine requirements have grappled with a number of factors, according to Ms. Sonneborn, including concerns about labor shortages, the political perception of mandates and the need to keep workers safe.
Starbucks said this month that workers would have to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10.
''It made me feel a little bit better knowing I was working with people who were vaccinated,'' said Kyli Hilaire, 20, a barista who participated in the unionized store's walkout over safety concerns.
''You see people every day, you work closely with them, there's not much of an opportunity for distancing,'' Ms. Hilaire said. ''The number of customers coming into the space makes you cautious. I try to double mask, but sometimes it can be difficult to breathe.'' Starbucks ''strongly recommends'' customers wear facial coverings in stores, and requires them where mandated by local laws.
Starbucks also announced a variety of new Covid-19 safety protocols on Tuesday. Workers are now required to wear three-ply medical grade masks, which the company said are available in stores, and isolation guidelines have been expanded to cover anyone who has been exposed to Covid-19, even if they are fully vaccinated.
The company continues to encourage its employees to get the vaccine and booster, and offers two hours of paid time off for getting the shots.
The difference between lidar and millimeter wave radar
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:14
In simple terms, laser radar mainly detects the surrounding environment by emitting a laser beam. Vehicle laser radar generally uses multiple laser emitters and receivers to establish a three-dimensional point cloud image to achieve real-time environment sensing. The advantage of LiDAR is that it has a wider detection range and higher detection accuracy. However, Lidar also has disadvantages: poor performance in extreme weather such as rain, snow and fog. Millimeter wave radar refers to the radar with the working frequency band in the millimeter wave band. The principle of ranging is the same as that of the general radar, that is, the radio wave (radar wave) is sent out, and then the echo is received, and the target is measured according to the time difference between the transmitting and receiving. Location data. The millimeter wave radar is the frequency of this radio wave is the millimeter wave band. The wavelength of the millimeter wave is between the centimeter wave and the light wave, so the millimeter wave has the advantages of microwave guidance and photoelectric guidance, and the guide head has the characteristics of small volume, light weight and high spatial resolution. In addition, the millimeter wave seeker has a strong ability to penetrate fog, smoke, and dust, which is a big advantage over laser radar. The shortcomings of millimeter-wave radar are also very intuitive. The detection range is directly constrained by the band loss (high-band radar must be used to detect the far-reaching), and pedestrians cannot be perceived, and all obstacles around can not be accurately modeled.
How insurance companies - but not Medicare - will handle those free COVID-19 test kits
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 15:55
By MARIA Gardnermgardner@dailyherald.com
Updated 1/16/2022 9:16 AM
Beginning Saturday, Jan. 15, insurance companies must cover up to eight take-home COVID tests per month for every person covered under their insurance plan.
President Joe Biden's administration on Monday announced the requirement that insurance companies and group health plans cover the cost of over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19. But the order excludes Medicare beneficiaries.
Under the directive, for instance, "a family of four, all on the same plan, would be able to get up to 32 of these tests covered by their health plan per month," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
State Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs already are required to cover over-the-counter COVID tests. Medicare covers COVID-19 tests only when performed by a laboratory using a PRC or antigen test and when ordered by a medical provider.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, said her office has received several calls from constituents concerned that Medicare beneficiaries were excluded from the directive. Several representatives are calling on HHS Director Xavier Becerra to extend the requirement to Medicare, she said.
"These are people who are vulnerable, that want to have a test and often can't afford one," Schakowsky said.
Under the directive, insurance companies can choose to have clients file a reimbursement claim after they've bought the test or provide the reimbursement at the time of purchase.
Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois informs customers on its website that if over-the-counter COVID-19 tests are purchased using a pharmacy within their network, they should not have to submit a separate claim.
"Members can use the same broad networks used for COVID-19 vaccines to request tests. Claims will be submitted directly from the pharmacy to Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois," according to the company website.
Walgreens and CVS are listed among the large pharmacies the company has partnerships with.
In contrast to what appears Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois is advising their holders, Walgreens directs customers to use their receipt to seek reimbursement with their insurance company.
"At this time, customers are able to purchase an over-the-counter test and use their receipt to seek reimbursement. We ask for patience as we make this complex process as smooth as possible. We remain committed to providing vaccinations and testing services and products that are critical to helping protect our communities," according to Walgreens' website.
Under the plan, the government will reimburse insurance carriers up to $12 per individual test.
Tests must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For information, go to www.covid19.ncdhhs.gov for the latest lists on approved tests.
Insurance carriers will not be required to have a doctor's note for the over-the-counter test to be purchased under this plan, nor will the purchase require "any cost-sharing requirements such as deductibles, co-payments or coinsurance, prior authorization, or other medical management requirements."
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Chinese spy Christine Lee operated out in the open, damaging trust and creating an atmosphere of paranoia | World News | Sky News
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 15:15
Spies come in different flavours.
Christine Ching Kui Lee isn't the cloak and dagger type who works for China's Ministry of State Security. If she were, she wouldn't still be in the UK. Three agents who worked for the MSS, posing as journalists, were quietly deported in 2020.
The Home Secretary has already made it clear that Ms Lee's actions were "under the criminal threshold".
MI5 alleges that Ms Lee was working for the United Front Work Department, a long-established organ of the Chinese Communist Party.
Image: Christine Ching Kui Lee isn't the cloak and dagger typeLabour MP Barry Gardiner says Chinese agent 'gained no political advantage' from him
Pressure and influence
According to the US government, the Department "uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing's preferred policies".
And mostly, it does this in the open. Its website is full of photos of events. Ms Lee apparently operated in the same way, with publicly registered donations to politicians, high profile trips to Downing St, even an award (now rescinded) from Theresa May.
Concerns about her links to the Communist Party elite - she is certainly very well connected - date back at least to 2017. But she was allowed to continue her activities.
MI5 warns Chinese government 'agent' has been 'active' in UK parliament
Image: MI5's advisory notice regarding Christine Ching Kui LeeSo the unprecedented warning to parliament represents a change of approach. MI5 may now have substantial evidence of her links to the Chinese Party-State. But it's also a recognition that Chinese attempts to influence the outside world come in various guises, and just because some are more public doesn't mean they are less troubling.
Pressure on overseas Chinese communities
And the interference notice also shows something else: that these public activities not only potentially harm Britain's interest but also those of Chinese people, or people of Chinese descent, living in the UK.
Last year a vice minister of the United Front Work Department said the organisation was committed to "strengthening the unity and solidarity of all Chinese people at home and abroad" as part of its mission "to build a strong and prosperous country".
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13:02 Barry Gardiner speaks to Sky News about accepting donations from LeeMs Lee's activities in the UK included setting up the British Chinese Project, to engage the British Chinese community in UK politics, according to Martin Thorley, a research fellow at the University of Exeter.
This was presented as a grassroots initiative. If Ms Lee is an agent of the Chinese state, it must be seen in a different light.
Atmosphere of paranoia
It's telling that the Chinese embassy in London dismissed the allegations against Ms Lee as "smearing and intimidation against the Chinese community in the UK".
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The mission of the United Front Work Department is precisely to co-opt Chinese people abroad - to blur the line between the legitimate actions and interests of British-Chinese people with the political goals of the Party.
That can only damage trust, potentially creating an atmosphere of paranoia. And that is not MI5's doing, but the Chinese government's.
More Young Kids Are Getting Sick From Cannabis Edibles - The New York Times
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:36
As states legalize cannabis, a growing number of children are inadvertently consuming marijuana-infused foods.
To protect children from accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles, some states have passed laws governing how these foods can be packaged and presented. Credit... Chona Kasinger for The New York Times Jan. 14, 2022
Mouthwatering chocolate, soft and chewy cookies, lollipops and fruity gummies: Marijuana edibles often look just like regular foods. Some candies even mimic familiar brands like Skittles or Starburst.
And for a young child '-- or anyone, really '-- that's incredibly tempting.
Foods and beverages laced with cannabis have exploded in popularity. To protect children from accidentally ingesting marijuana edibles, some states have passed laws governing how these foods can be packaged and presented. Colorado, for example, requires the cannabis edibles to be contained in child-resistant packaging and include the letters ''THC'' (the main mind-altering chemical in cannabis). In addition, the state has banned the sale of edibles that look like people, animals or fruit.
But despite these measures, unintentional marijuana exposures have continued to climb in Colorado and elsewhere, especially in states where recreational cannabis has been legalized. In Washington state, unintentional cannabis exposures among children under 6 nearly tripled in the five years after retail cannabis stores opened. Nationally, in 2016 there were 187 exposures to marijuana edibles among kids 12 and under in the United States, according to data from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. By 2020 that number had risen to more than 3,100 '-- a majority of the children were 5 years old and under.
''That's just the tip of the iceberg,'' said Dr. Sharon Levy, the director of the Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Not everyone will call Poison Control to report an exposure, she added.
Of those who did call Poison Control, edibles were responsible for nearly half of the 4,172 marijuana exposures among children 9 and under between 2017 and 2019, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics in April. (The other exposures were from things like concentrated extracts or dried marijuana plants.) Exposures were more common among children ages 3 to 5 and were more frequent in states where cannabis use is legal. While there were no deaths, 15 percent of children who were exposed experienced moderate symptoms '-- for example, they might have been very difficult to wake up or had a seizure. A small proportion '-- about 1.4 percent '-- experienced major effects that would be considered life-threatening, such as multiple seizures, sedation to the point where they were no longer responsive or difficulty breathing.
It has been nearly a decade since Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize the recreational use of cannabis. Eventually, 16 other states and Washington, D.C., followed suit.
''The trend will likely continue upward as more states legalize cannabis and markets expand,'' Jennifer M. Whitehill, the lead author of the Pediatrics study, said in an email.
Elizabeth Perry, a mother in Maryland, spoke to WRC-TV, the NBC News station in Washington, D.C., last year about the cannabis overdose that landed her toddler, Oliver, in the emergency room. Initially, when Oliver started displaying signs of lethargy, she didn't know what was wrong. Then he started crying, shaking and seizing. She rushed him to the hospital where doctors intubated him and ran toxicology tests that revealed Oliver had THC in his system.
''I told them that wasn't possible, we don't smoke, we don't have drugs in the house,'' Ms. Perry told NBC4 Washington. ''And then, two minutes later, my jaw dropped.'' She suddenly realized that he had most likely eaten the cannabis gummies she bought to help her sleep.
The doctors told NBC4 Washington that Oliver, who wasn't yet 2 years old, had eaten about 15 gummies, or about 75 milligrams of THC. That's more than seven times the typical adult dose. (The amount of THC in one serving varies. Oregon permits a maximum of 5 milligrams per serving size, for example, while Colorado allows no more than 10 milligrams of THC per serving.)
A similar phenomenon has been happening in Canada. A study published in JAMA Network Open examined all cannabis-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations in Ontario among children 9 and under between January 2016 and March 2021. The researchers found that after marijuana edibles became available in early 2020, a greater proportion of kids were hospitalized. Overall, 19 of the children, or 3.6 percent, were admitted to intensive care.
Many adults and teenagers alike generally assume that edible marijuana products are harmless, said Dr. Levy, who specializes in treating adolescents with substance use disorders.
But that's not the case.
''THC is addictive, associated with mental health disorders and interferes with brain development during adolescence,'' Dr. Levy said. ''People who use edibles are also at risk of using too much and having a bad side effect because it takes longer to feel the effect of edibles than smoking or vaping.''
She added: ''We are seeing a whole lot more psychosis and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome,'' a condition that leads to severe vomiting and dehydration.
What happens to a child who eats marijuana?Dr. Sam Wang, an associate professor of pediatrics at Children's Hospital Colorado, said young children who ingest a little cannabis typically become sleepy. They might walk unsteadily and ''they look a little high,'' he said. But children who consume a larger quantity of marijuana have persistent vomiting or show up in the emergency room comatose, with slowed breathing. In rare cases, they need a mechanical ventilator to help them breathe.
The children generally become better over the course of one to two days, he added '-- and aside from one debatable case involving an infant in 2017, there are no known cases of a child dying from cannabis exposure.
''The children I've cared for and heard about at our hospital all recovered,'' said Dr. Lois Lee, an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School. ''But some had to be hospitalized for treatment and monitoring. And others were in the emergency department for hours, while their parents waited for them to improve enough so they could be safely discharged home.''
What should you do if your child has eaten cannabis?If you believe that your child might have ingested cannabis, call Poison Control to speak with someone right away, Dr. Lee said.
Poison Control can also advise you as to when it is necessary to seek medical care.
If your child has more severe symptoms '-- for example, he or she is vomiting, seizing, having trouble breathing or not waking up '-- it is best to go straight to the emergency room, where the doctors can run toxicology tests and provide oxygen and other treatments if needed, Dr. Lee added.
''Many children don't require any substantial treatment, just observation until they wake up,'' she said.
How can you protect children from accidental ingestion?First, don't assume that child-resistant packaging alone will prevent a determined child from eating your edibles.
''Parents and caregivers should always store cannabis products, especially edibles, safely out of reach of children,'' Dr. Whitehill said. ''Kids are really clever and some kids just get into everything, so actually locking it away '-- the way one would do with certain medications '-- is a good idea.''
''Locked is best, if possible,'' agreed Kaitlyn Brown, the clinical managing director of the American Association of Poison Control Centers. ''Parents think they have something up on top of the fridge, completely out of reach, out of sight, and the next thing they know their 2-year-old is a climber and is scaling the counter.''
Finally, the Children's Hospital Colorado website says that if your child will be spending time at a friend's house, it is important to ask their parents whether they keep marijuana in their home and whether they are storing it safely. Likewise, if you have guests staying at your home who use marijuana edibles, make sure they understand the house rules about keeping cannabis out of sight and out of reach.
If you or someone you know may have ingested a dangerous substance, please contact Poison Control immediately at 1-800-222-1222 or go to poisonhelp.org for assistance.
IRS To Require Facial Recognition To View Tax Returns | ZeroHedge
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:34
The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has partnered with a Virginia-based private identification firm which requires a facial recognition selfie among other things, in order to create or access online accounts with the agency.
According to KrebsonSecurity, the IRS announced that by the summer of 2022, the only way to log into irs.gov will be through ID.me. Founded by former Army Rangers in 2010, the McLean-based company has evolved to providing online ID verification services which several states are using to help reduce unemployment and pandemic-assistance fraud. The company claims to have 64 million users.
Some 27 states already use ID.me to screen for identity thieves applying for benefits in someone else's name, and now the IRS is joining them. The service requires applicants to supply a great deal more information than typically requested for online verification schemes, such as scans of their driver's license or other government-issued ID, copies of utility or insurance bills, and details about their mobile phone service.
When an applicant doesn't have one or more of the above '-- or if something about their application triggers potential fraud flags '-- ID.me may require a recorded, live video chat with the person applying for benefits. -KrebsonSecurity
For the sake of his article, Krebs made himself a guinea pig and signed up with ID.me to describe the lengthy process that "may require a significant investment of time, and quite a bit of patience."
After uploading images of one's driver's license, state issued ID or passport.
If your documents get accepted, ID.me will then prompt you to take a live selfie with your mobile device or webcam. That took several attempts. When my computer's camera produced an acceptable result, ID.me said it was comparing the output to the images on my driver's license scans. -KrebsonSecurity
Once that's accepted, Id.me will ask to verify your phone number - and will not accept numbers tied to voice-over-IP services such as Skype or Google Voice.
screenshots via krebsonsecurity.comKrebs' application became stuck at the "Confirming your Phone" stage - which led to a video chat (and having to resubmit other information) which had an estimated wait time of 3 hours and 27 minutes. Krebs - having interviewed ID.me's founder last year - emailed him, and was able to speak with a customer service rep one minute later "against my repeated protests that I wanted to wait my turn like everyone else."
As far as security goes, CEO Blake Hall told Krebs last year that the company is 'certified against the NIST 800-63-3 digital identity guidelines" and "employs multiple layers of security, and fully segregates static consumer data tied to a validated identity from a token used to represent that identity."
"We take a defense-in-depth approach, with partitioned networks, and use very sophisticated encryption scheme so that when and if there is a breach, this stuff is firewalled," said Hall. "You'd have to compromise the tokens at scale and not just the database. We encrypt all that stuff down to the file level with keys that rotate and expire every 24 hours. And once we've verified you we don't need that data about you on an ongoing basis."
Krebs believes that things such as facial recognition for establishing one's identity is a "Plant Your Flag" moment, because "Love it or hate it, ID.me is likely to become one of those places where Americans need to plant their flag and mark their territory, if for no other reason than it will probably be needed at some point to manage your relationship with the federal government and/or your state."
The top commenter in his comments section, meanwhile, begs to differ...
The Covid Orchestra, Board of Trustees ''The Names of the People Killing Humanity''
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:24
https://weliveinamadworld.com/the-covid-orchestra-board-of-trustees-the-names-of-the-people-killing-humanity/
''The Names of the People Killing Humanity'' compiled by Dr. David Martin. Related posts: https://t.me/robinmg/11281, https://t.me/robinmg/11277 1. Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001), Chairman and Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management LLP 2. Andre Hoffmann, Vice- Chairman, Roche 3. Angel Gurria, QECD 4. Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 5. Christine Lagarde, President European Central Bank 6. Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance, Office of the Deputy Prime minister of Canada 7. David M. Rubenstein, Co-Founder and Co-Executive Chairman, Carlyle Group 8. Dustin Moskovitz, Open Philanthropy 9. Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General, European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) 10. Feike Sybesma, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Royal Philips 11. H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Queen of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Office of H.M Queen Rania Al Abdullah 12. Heizo Takenaka, Professor Emeritus, Keio University 13. Herman Gref, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, Sberbank 14. Jim Hagemann Snabe,Chairman Siemens 15. Julie Sweet, Chief Executive Officer, Accenture 16. Klaus Schwab, Founder, and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum 17. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF) 18. L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology 19. Larry Page, Google 20. Laurence D Fink, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, BlackRock 21. Luis Alberto Moreno, Member of the Board of Trustees World Economic Forum 22. Marc Benioff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Salesforce 23. Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, United Nations 24. Mark Schneider, Chief Executive Officer, Nestle 25. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook 26. Mukesh D Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries 27. Orit Gadiesh, Chairman, Bain & Company 28. Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals 29. Paula Ingabire, Minister of Information Technology and Innovation, Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Innovation of Rwanda 30. Peter Brabeck-Latmathe, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees, World Economic Forum 31. Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 32. Robert Mercer, Renaissance Fund 33. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister, Government of Singapore 34. Thomas Buberi, Chief Executive Officer, AXA 35. Yo-Yo Ma, Cellist 36. Zhu Min, Chairman, National Institute of Financial Research Dr. David Martin '' Follow the Patents, Then You Will Understand Covid https://rumble.com/vov60h-dr.-david-martin-follow-the-patents-then-you-will-understand-covid.html
McDonald's expands test of McPlant burger created with Beyond Meat
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:23
McDonald's McPlant burger
Source: McDonald's
McDonald's is expanding its test of the plant-based McPlant burger, created as part of its partnership with Beyond Meat.
Starting Feb. 14, the fast-food giant will roll out the burger at roughly 600 locations in the San Francisco Bay and Dallas-Fort Worth areas to learn more about consumer demand for the potential menu item. The test began in November with just eight restaurants, so the chain could understand the impact on its operations.
The announcement is the latest step in McDonald's cautious approach to the plant-based meat trend. The company has taken its time to learn more about the longevity of meat substitutes and consumer demand, even as other fast-food chains raced to add the trendy item to their menus. For example, rival Burger King, which is owned by Restaurant Brands International, added the Impossible Whopper to its menu more than two years ago.
The McPlant burger uses a patty made from peas, rice and potatoes to mimic the taste and texture of beef. Toppings include mayonnaise and American cheese. Customers in the two test markets will be able to buy the burger for a limited time, while supplies last.
For Beyond Meat, a wider-scale test is a massive opportunity to impress consumers with its meat substitutes, although it represents just a small fraction of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants. Wall Street analysts have grown bearish on the stock, saying the company is struggling with competition and falling U.S. grocery sales.
In preparation for a larger launch with McDonald's and other fast-food menu items this year, Beyond hired Tyson Foods veteran Doug Ramsey as its chief operating officer in December. In his team at the meat producer, Ramsey oversaw the company's supply relationship with McDonald's.
McDonald's and Beyond announced a three-year partnership in February. The burger chain has already started selling McPlant burgers in some international markets, including Sweden, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Before the official announcement of the McPlant line, McDonald's tested a meatless burger that used a Beyond patty in several dozen Canadian restaurants in September 2019. By the following April, the chain had ended the pilot and has since said that it has no plans to bring back its P.L.T. burger.
Shares of Beyond were up 2% in premarket trading. The stock has fallen 54% in the last 12 months, cutting its market value down to $4.08 billion.
McDonald's stock was up less than 1% in premarket trading. The burger chain's stock has climbed 19% in the same time, giving it a market value of $197 billion.
Checkpoint Charlie could start soon | Cairns News
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:02
Vaccine passport please!The Queensland Labor Party Corporation has placed these prominent, potential checkpoints at the entry to every town in the state where there are no immediate side tracks or exiting roads.
Cairnsnews asked the Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey why these points have been placed right around the state with easily detachable speed signs which can be quickly converted to any other sign or barricade.
He said it was a safety exercise to alert drivers to change of speed signs before entering towns. We omitted to ask him why new bitumen had been laid at each point averaging 150 metres in length.
The cost of this exercise would have been many tens of millions of dollars and when the Labor State is totally bankrupt and trading while insolvent, any other business would have been shut down and the directors prosecuted. Not in Comrade Annastacia's kingdom.
The design of these checkpoints allows them to be used at the drop of a hat to erect vaccination scrutiny road blocks or whatever else Deep State has in store.
We believe superannuation accounts that had two trillion dollars in them in 2021 are being raided to fund the communist state and their upcoming plan to detain all unvaccinated people, the identities of whom are so far somewhat scant.
From where are the hundreds of millions needed for super payouts to the thousands of sacked public servants coming from?
How easy it would be to intercept and arrest the unvaxxed at these checkpoints then transport them to the Toowoomba detention centre. Comrade Premier has already revealed this camp is for unvaxxed citizens and for overseas visitors to quarantine.
About Editor, cairnsnewsOne of the few patriots left who understands the system and how it has been totally subverted under every citizen's nose. If we can help to turn it around we will, otherwise our children will have nothing. Our investigations show there is no 'government' of the people for the people of Australia. The removal of the Crown from Australian Parliaments, followed by the incorporation of Parliaments aided by the Australia Act 1987 has left us with corporate government with policies not laws, that apply only to members of political parties and the public service. There is no law, other than the Common Law. This fact will be borne out in the near future as numerous legal challenges in place now, come to a head soon.
Jordan Peterson: Why I am no longer a tenured professor at the University of Toronto | National Post
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:44
The appalling ideology of diversity, inclusion and equity is demolishing education and business
Publishing date:
Jan 19, 2022
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13 hours ago
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1537 Comments
Jordan Peterson speaks at ICC Sydney Theatre on February 26, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage) I recently resigned from my position as full tenured professor at the University of Toronto. I am now professor emeritus, and before I turned sixty. Emeritus is generally a designation reserved for superannuated faculty, albeit those who had served their term with some distinction. I had envisioned teaching and researching at the U of T, full time, until they had to haul my skeleton out of my office. I loved my job. And my students, undergraduates and graduates alike, were positively predisposed toward me. But that career path was not meant to be. There were many reasons, including the fact that I can now teach many more people and with less interference online. But here's a few more:
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First, my qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students (and I've had many others, by the way) face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers. This is partly because of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (my preferred acronym: DIE). These have been imposed universally in academia, despite the fact that university hiring committees had already done everything reasonable for all the years of my career, and then some, to ensure that no qualified ''minority'' candidates were ever overlooked. My students are also partly unacceptable precisely because they are my students. I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions. And this isn't just some inconvenience. These facts rendered my job morally untenable. How can I accept prospective researchers and train them in good conscience knowing their employment prospects to be minimal?
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Second reason: This is one of many issues of appalling ideology currently demolishing the universities and, downstream, the general culture. Not least because there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough (BIPOC: black, indigenous and people of colour, for those of you not in the knowing woke). This has been common knowledge among any remotely truthful academic who has served on a hiring committee for the last three decades. This means we're out to produce a generation of researchers utterly unqualified for the job. And we've seen what that means already in the horrible grievance studies ''disciplines.'' That, combined with the death of objective testing, has compromised the universities so badly that it can hardly be overstated. And what happens in the universities eventually colours everything. As we have discovered.
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All my craven colleagues must craft DIE statements to obtain a research grant. They all lie (excepting the minority of true believers) and they teach their students to do the same. And they do it constantly, with various rationalizations and justifications, further corrupting what is already a stunningly corrupt enterprise. Some of my colleagues even allow themselves to undergo so-called anti-bias training, conducted by supremely unqualified Human Resources personnel, lecturing inanely and blithely and in an accusatory manner about theoretically all-pervasive racist/sexist/heterosexist attitudes. Such training is now often a precondition to occupy a faculty position on a hiring committee.
Need I point out that implicit attitudes cannot '-- by the definitions generated by those who have made them a central point of our culture '-- be transformed by short-term explicit training? Assuming that those biases exist in the manner claimed, and that is a very weak claim, and I'm speaking scientifically here. The Implicit Association test '-- the much-vaunted IAT, which purports to objectively diagnose implicit bias (that's automatic racism and the like) is by no means powerful enough '-- valid and reliable enough '-- to do what it purports to do. Two of the original designers of that test, Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, have said as much, publicly. The third, Professor Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard, remains recalcitrant. Much of this can be attributed to her overtly leftist political agenda, as well as to her embeddedness within a sub-discipline of psychology, social psychology, so corrupt that it denied the existence of left-wing authoritarianism for six decades after World War II. The same social psychologists, broadly speaking, also casually regard conservatism (in the guise of ''system justification'') as a form of psychopathology.
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More On This Topic Jordan Peterson: Open the damn country back up, before Canadians wreck something we can't fix Jordan Peterson returns to Cambridge where he was a victim of cancel culture in 2019 Banaji's continued countenancing of the misuse of her research instrument, combined with the status of her position at Harvard, is a prime reason we still suffer under the DIE yoke, with its baleful effect on what was once the closest we had ever come to truly meritorious selection. There are good reasons to suppose that DIE-motivated eradication of objective testing, such as the GRE for graduate school admission, will have deleterious effects on the ability of students so selected to master such topics as the statistics all social sciences (and medicine, for that matter) rely upon completely for their validity.
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Article contentFurthermore, the accrediting boards for graduate clinical psychology training programs in Canada are now planning to refuse to accredit university clinical programs unless they have a ''social justice'' orientation. That, combined with some recent legislative changes in Canada, claiming to outlaw so-called ''conversion therapy'' (but really making it exceedingly risky for clinicians to do anything ever but agree always and about everything with their clients) have likely doomed the practice of clinical psychology, which always depended entirely on trust and privacy. Similar moves are afoot in other professional disciplines, such as medicine and law. And if you don't think that psychologists, lawyers and other professionals are anything but terrified of their now woke governing professional colleges, much to everyone's extreme detriment, you simply don't understand how far this has all gone.
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Article contentJust exactly what am I supposed to do when I meet a graduate student or young professor, hired on DIE grounds? Manifest instant skepticism regarding their professional ability? What a slap in the face to a truly meritorious young outsider. And perhaps that's the point. The DIE ideology is not friend to peace and tolerance. It is absolutely and completely the enemy of competence and justice.
And for those of you who think that I am overstating the case, or that this is something limited in some trivial sense to the universities, consider some other examples: This report from Hollywood, cliched hotbed of ''liberal'' sentiment, for example, indicates just how far this has gone. In 2020, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscar people) embarked on a five-year plan (does that ring any historical bells?) ''to diversify our organization and expand our definition of the best,'' They did so in an attempt which included developing ''new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars,'' to, hypothetically, ''better reflect the diversity of the movie-going audience.'' What fruit has this initiative, offspring of the DIE ideology, borne? According to a recent article, penned by Peter Kiefer and Peter Savodnik, but posted on former NY Times' journalist Bari Weiss's Common Sense website (and Weiss left the Times, because of the intrusion of radical left ideology into that newspaper, just as Tara Henley did recently, vis a vis the CBC): ''We spoke to more than 25 writers, directors, and producers '-- all of whom identify as liberal, and all of whom described a pervasive fear of running afoul of the new dogma. '... How to survive the revolution? By becoming its most ardent supporter. '... Suddenly, every conversation with every agent or head of content started with: Is anyone BIPOC attached to this?''
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Article contentAnd this is everywhere '-- and if you don't see it, your head is either in the sand or shoved somewhere far more unmentionable. CBS, for example, has literally mandated that every writers' room be at least 40 per cent BIPOC in 2021 (50 per cent in 2022).
We are now at the point where race, ethnicity, ''gender,'' or sexual preference is first, accepted as the fundamental characteristic defining each person (just as the radical leftists were hoping) and second, is now treated as the most important qualification for study, research and employment.
Need I point out that this is insane ? Even the benighted New York Times has its doubts. A headline from August 11, 2021: Are Workplace Diversity Programs Doing More Harm than Good? In a word, yes. How can accusing your employees of racism etc. sufficient to require re-training (particularly in relationship to those who are working in good faith to overcome whatever bias they might still, in these modern, liberal times, manifest) be anything other than insulting, annoying, invasive, high-handed, moralizing, inappropriate, ill-considered, counterproductive, and otherwise unjustifiable?
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Article contentAnd if you think DIE is bad, wait until you get a load of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scores . Purporting to assess corporate moral responsibility, these scores, which can dramatically affect an enterprise's financial viability, are nothing less than the equivalent of China's damnable social credit system, applied to the entrepreneurial and financial world. CEOs: what in the world is wrong with you? Can't you see that the ideologues who push such appalling nonsense are driven by an agenda that is not only absolutely antithetical to your free-market enterprise, as such, but precisely targeted at the freedoms that made your success possible? Can't you see that by going along, sheep-like (just as the professors are doing; just as the artists and writers are doing) that you are generating a veritable fifth column within your businesses? Are you really so blind, cowed and cowardly? With all your so-called privilege?
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Article contentAnd it's not just the universities. And the professional colleges. And Hollywood. And the corporate world. Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity '-- that radical leftist Trinity '-- is destroying us. Wondering about the divisiveness that is currently besetting us? Look no farther than DIE. Wondering '-- more specifically '-- about the attractiveness of Trump? Look no farther than DIE. When does the left go too far? When they worship at the altar of DIE, and insist that the rest of us, who mostly want to be left alone, do so as well. Enough already. Enough. Enough.
Finally, do you know that Vladimir Putin himself is capitalizing on this woke madness? Anna Mahjar-Barducci at MEMRI.org covered his recent speech. I quote from the article's translation: ''The advocates of so-called 'social progress' believe they are introducing humanity to some kind of a new and better consciousness. Godspeed, hoist the flags, as we say, go right ahead. The only thing that I want to say now is that their prescriptions are not new at all. It may come as a surprise to some people, but Russia has been there already. After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks, relying on the dogmas of Marx and Engels, also said that they would change existing ways and customs, and not just political and economic ones, but the very notion of human morality and the foundations of a healthy society. The destruction of age-old values, religion, and relations between people, up to and including the total rejection of family (we had that, too), encouragement to inform on loved ones '-- all this was proclaimed progress and, by the way, was widely supported around the world back then and was quite fashionable, same as today. By the way, the Bolsheviks were absolutely intolerant of opinions other than theirs.
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Article content''This, I believe, should call to mind some of what we are witnessing now. Looking at what is happening in a number of Western countries, we are amazed to see the domestic practices '-- which we, fortunately, have left, I hope '-- in the distant past. The fight for equality and against discrimination has turned into aggressive dogmatism bordering on absurdity, when the works of the great authors of the past '-- such as Shakespeare '-- are no longer taught at schools or universities, because their ideas are believed to be backward. The classics are declared backward and ignorant of the importance of gender or race. In Hollywood, memos are distributed about proper storytelling and how many characters of what color or gender should be in a movie. This is even worse than the agitprop department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.''
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Article contentThis, from the head of the former totalitarian enterprise, against whom we fought a five decades' long Cold War, risking the entire planet (in a very real manner). This, from the head of a country riven in a literally genocidal manner by ideas that Putin himself attributes to the progressives in the West, to the generally accepting audience of his once-burned (once (!)) twice-shy listeners.
And all of you going along with the DIE activists, whatever your reasons: this is on you. Professors. Cowering cravenly in pretence and silence. Teaching your students to dissimulate and lie. To get along. As the walls crumble. For shame. CEOs: signalling a virtue you don't possess and shouldn't want to please a minority who literally live their lives by displeasure. You're evil capitalists, after all, and should be proud of it. At the moment, I can't tell if you're more reprehensibly timid even than the professors. Why the hell don't you banish the human resource DIE upstarts back to the more-appropriately-named Personnel departments, stop them from interfering with the psyches of you and your employees, and be done with it? Musicians, artists, writers: stop bending your sacred and meritorious art to the demands of the propagandists before you fatally betray the spirit of your own intuition. Stop censoring your thought. Stop saying you will hire for your orchestral and theatrical productions for any reason other than talent and excellence. That's all you have. That's all any of us have.
He who sows the wind will reap the whirlwind. And the wind is rising.
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Kazakhstan president fires defence minister following protests | Euronews
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:35
Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has dismissed the country's defense minister in the wake of unprecedented demonstrations.
Murat Bektanov was criticised by Tokayev for a lack of ''leadership qualities" during the unrest and was fired on Wednesday.
"We were unable to use [our army's] potential in a critical situation and were forced to resort to outside help," the president said.
A Russian-led alliance of 2,000 soldiers had been deployed in Kazakhstan earlier this month to support the authorities amid the protests.
Russia's defense ministry said on Wednesday that all the troops had now withdrawn, with the last four military planes landing outside Moscow on Wednesday.
President Tokayev had asked the alliance for assistance after protests over fuel prices spread into a general protest against the authoritarian government and turned into violent riots that killed over 220.
A week after the forces arrived, Tokayev declared their mission accomplished and announced a gradual withdrawal.
On Wednesday, Kazakhstan's parliament also backed Tokayev's decision to replace his influential predecessor, Nurstultan Nazarbayev, as head of the National Security Council.
The move is widely seen as an attempt to mollify anti-government voices and simultaneously end Nazarbayev's patronage.
The 81-year-old former president ran Kazakhstan for 29 years after it gained independence and kept the influential post at the helm of the National Security Council after stepping down as president in 2019.
Nazarbayev released a video on Tuesday in which he denied tensions among Kazakhstan's ruling elites and referred to himself as ''a retiree, currently enjoying retirement in the capital".
OutKick Exclusive: Penn Swimmer Alleges Lia Thomas Colluded With Fellow Transgender Swimmer Before Race '' OutKick
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:25
Videos by OutKick
In an exclusive interview with OutKick, a biological female member of the Penn women's swimming said she believes her teammate, transgender swimmer Lia Thomas, colluded with Yale transgender swimmer Iszac Henig, who's transitioning from female to male, during a 100 freestyle race on January 8.
The swimmer, granted anonymity due to what is viewed as threats from the university, activists, and the current political climate, believes Thomas, who has reportedly been comparing herself to Jackie Robinson, and Henig cooked up a plan before a Penn home tri-meet with Yale and Dartmouth.
''Looking at [Lia's] time, I don't think she was trying,'' the Penn swimmer alleges. ''I know they're friends and I know they were talking before the meet. I think she let her win to prove the point that, 'Oh see, a female-to-male beat me.'''
When pressed on if she flat-out thought it was collusion, the Penn swimmer seemed convinced.
''I do. I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be shocked if I found out that was 100% true,'' Thomas' teammate said.
In the 100 freestyle race, Henig finished with a time of 49.57; Thomas touched the wall in 52.84. During a November tri-meet with Princeton and Cornell, Thomas swam the 100 freestyle in 49.42.
Penn's Lia Thomas / Yale's Iszac HenigThe anonymous Penn swimmer also accuses Thomas of mailing it in during the January 8 200 freestyle race that the transgender swimmer (1:48:73) won by two seconds.
''I was on deck and said to a friend, 'She's literally not trying.' You could just tell,'' OutKick's source said. ''It was blatantly obvious. I was watching the 200 free and she was literally keeping pace with the other girls.
''She was No. 1 in the country at one point. These are definitely talented swimmers, but they're not the caliber of being at the top in the country or anything like that.''
The Penn female swimmer acknowledged that the team wasn't 100% after traveling to Florida after the holidays for training, but noted that the training shouldn't have made such a difference in Thomas' performance.
''You can tell when someone is dying and they're swimming slow,'' the swimmer added. ''You can also tell when someone is not trying and I could see [in the 200 freestyle] that Lia was not trying.''
Thomas, who has already qualified for the women's NCAA championships in the 200 & 500 freestyle, was also accused by those in attendance of ''coasting'' and ''barely trying'' in the 500 freestyle race that Thomas won by one second.
OutKick's source within the swim team also noted that the Thomas drama doesn't end there. She says that the Penn Florida trip traveling party included two private security guards '-- one male and one female who were described as likely being ex-SWAT '-- and special instructions by the school to avoid wearing Penn gear as to not cause possible confrontation with people who may be following the Thomas story. Since most of their gear has Penn splashed across the front, teammates reportedly resorted to covering up logos with tape.
Lia Thomas on deck during the January 8 tri-meet against Dartmouth and Yale / via Fox News DigitalThe only team member to ignore the school's advisory? Lia Thomas, according to the source.
''It was crazy. People were wearing shirts with Duct Tape on them and had bags duct-taped while Lia was wearing gear with big letters,'' the annoyed teammate told OutKick.
Penn's swim season continues Saturday with a dual meet on the road at Harvard.
Scientists develop new Covid diagnosis test using X rays | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:09
X RAYS could replace PCR tests for Covid after scientists claim breakthrough is able to give result within minutes and is 98% accurateA new covid diagnosis could replace PCR tests using X-rays - within minutes Experts developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) to detect the virus faster than PCRIn testing, this groundbreaking technique was found to be 98 per cent accurate It is hoped that this technology could be used to aid medical staff on frontlineBy Kaya Terry For Mailonline
Published: 15:43 EST, 19 January 2022 | Updated: 19:21 EST, 19 January 2022
Scientists have developed a groundbreaking Covid diagnosis test using X-rays that are able to give a result within minutes and are 98 per cent accurate.
Experts at the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) pioneered the Artificial Intelligence programme to help healthcare staff during times 'when PCR tests are not readily available'.
The programme is able to detect the virus faster than a PCR test - which typically takes around two hours to return a result.
X-ray technology is used to compare the scans to a database of close to 3,000 images belonging to patients suffering with Covid, healthy individuals and patients with viral pneumonia.
Scientists have developed a groundbreaking Covid diagnosis test using X-rays that are able to give a result within minutes and are 98 per cent accurate (file image)
An AI process then uses an algorithm to analyse visual imagery and make a diagnosis. The technique was found to be 98 per cent accurate.
It is hoped that this technology could be used to aid medical staff in Accident and Emergency departments across the UK.
Professor Naeem Ramzan, Director of the Affective and Human Computing for SMART Environments Research Centre at UWS, led the three-person team behind the project, which also involved Gabriel Okolo and Dr Stamos Katsigiannis.
He said: 'There has long been a need for a quick and reliable tool that can detect Covid-19, and this has become even more true with the upswing of the Omicron variant.
'Several countries are unable to carry out large numbers of covid tests because of limited diagnosis tools, but this technique utilises easily accessible technology to quickly detect the virus.
'Covid-19 symptoms are not visible in x-rays during the early stages of infection, so it is important to note that the technology cannot fully replace PCR tests.
The AI programme is able to detect the virus faster than a PCR test - which typically takes around two hours to return a result
'However, it can still play an important role in curtailing the viruses spread especially when PCR tests are not readily available.
'It could prove to be crucial, and potentially life-saving, when diagnosing severe cases of the virus, helping determine what treatment may be required.'
Professor Milan Radosavljevic, Vice-Principal of Research, Innovation and Engagement at UWS, added: 'This is potentially game-changing research.
'It's another example of the purposeful, impactful work that has gone on at UWS throughout the pandemic, making a genuine difference in the fight against Covid-19.
'I am incredibly proud of the drive and innovation demonstrated by our internationally renowned academics, as they strive to find solutions to urgent global problems.'
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Victorian health authorities backflip on move to ban IVF procedure after Melbourne woman's desperate plea | Sky News Australia
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:06
The Victorian Government has reversed its decision to impose a three month ban on IVF procedures after a Melbourne woman's plea to overturn the move went viral.
Victorian health authorities have backflipped on its decision to impose a three month ban on IVF procedures after a Melbourne woman's desperate plea went viral.
Deputy Premier James Merlino announced some services will resume on Thursday, while others will restart next Tuesday.
"Following advice from the Chief Health Officer, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedures suspended as part of the temporary changes to protect our hospital will recommence to support Victorians who are wanting to start or grow their family," Mr Merlino said in a statement on Thursday morning.
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"IVF is a challenging journey for anyone to go through, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic, and we're deeply sorry for the distress caused by affected services in recent weeks.
"We thank Victorians for their patience as soon as we've worked through critical workforce issues, and we'll keep working to have other services restored as soon as we can."
Mr Merlino's announcement comes following widespread criticism of the government's decision to put a pause on procedures due to hospitals being overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Melbourne woman Melanie Swieconek issued a heartfelt plea following the announcement earlier this week, "begging" Victorian authorities to reverse the ban.
"I can't even fathom how you came to the decision that you did. And I thought maybe it's because you never actually met someone who's going through IVF," she said in a video on Instagram.
"We have tried everything else. Trust me. We have tried everything else.
"To just put a blanket ban on IVF for three months ... you can't have any idea what this will do to some women.
Ms Swieconek, who was one of many women calling on the government to reverse their decision, argues infertility is a pandemic itself.
"We think COVID is a pandemic, I am telling you - infertility is a pandemic. And now we're dealing with both."
"We listened to you during 2020 and 2021, we got double vaxxed, we trusted you, because you told us to listen to the experts.
"So I'm begging, I'm begging you, I'm on my knees. Please now listen to the experts."
Infertility affects about one in six Australian couples of reproductive age.
Fact Check: 'The Great Reset' Is NOT A Secret Plan Masterminded By Global Elites To Limit Freedoms And Push Radical Policies | Lead Stories
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:01
WEF InitiativeIs "The Great Reset" a secret plan masterminded by global elites to limit freedoms and push radical policies? No, that's not true: It's the name of a public policy initiative the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The phrase has been hijacked by conspiracy theorists who believe an evil cabal is using the pandemic as a pretext. In some versions of the theory, shadowy elites orchestrated COVID-19 to seize power; in others, the virus just presents the opportunity for them to do so.
Like most successful conspiracy theories, this one has its roots in something real. They can be traced to an initiative launched by the WEF in June 2020. Far from being a secret, though, the plan was announced with a fair amount of fanfare and even has a website, which can be seen here.
According to the WEF, the Great Reset agenda has three main components . The first is steering markets toward fairer outcomes. The second is ensuring investments are helping to advance shared goals, such as sustainability, and the third component is harnessing technology in support of the public good.
The WEF explains what the Great Reset is in the following video:
The organization acknowledges how the name of its initiative could scare some people, with a voice in the video saying:
A Great Reset? That sounds more like buzzword bingo, masking some nefarious plan for world domination. Hands up, this kind of slogan hasn't gone down well. But all we really want to say is that we all have an opportunity to build a better world.
"COVID-19: The Great Reset" is also the name of a book written by WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab. Lead Stories has debunked a claim about that book before, finding that a purported page from Schwab's book that discussed eliminating 4 billion "useless eaters" was not from that book.
From the fringes to the mainstream
Although the WEF plan was introduced in June 2020, the Great Reset -- as a conspiracy theory -- took several months to gather steam. According to Ciaran O'Connor, a disinformation analyst at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, the initiative was low-hanging fruit because details on it were so vague. In a conversation with Lead Stories on June 30, 2021, he said the following about the plan's lack of specificity:
That leaves such a vacuum in which serial disinformers can create content against it because they can fill in the gaps as to what the Great Reset is supposed to be.
The conspiracy theory got a manifesto of sorts in October 2020, in the form of an open letter written to then-President Donald Trump from Carlo Maria Vigan², a Catholic archbishop. He wrote:
The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups.
And later:
Mr. President, I imagine that you are already aware that in some countries the Great Reset will be activated between the end of this year and the first trimester of 2021. For this purpose, further lockdowns are planned, which will be officially justified by a supposed second and third wave of the pandemic. You are well aware of the means that have been deployed to sow panic and legitimize draconian limitations on individual liberties, artfully provoking a world-wide economic crisis.
Vigan²'s letter, which can be read in full here, touches on many of the central tenets of the conspiracy theory of the Great Reset : attacks on capitalism and private property, vaccination as a means of control and the pandemic as pretext for planned lockdowns and to push radical policies. He stops short of accusing the "global (C)lite" of creating the pandemic, writing just that it wants to " subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations."
Shortly after his letter was published, the Great Reset exploded into the mainstream when a video of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau uttering the phrase "building back better" and "reset" went viral. His comments gave fuel to those who believe some evil plan is unfolding behind the scenes:
I thought this was supposed to be a conspiracy theory. But here it is, straight from Trudeau's mouth. The pandemic is the excuse for a "Great Reset" of the world, led by the UN. pic.twitter.com/ybugYfjhAq
-- Ezra Levant 🍁 (@ezralevant) November 15, 2020 Conservative pundits, such as Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, picked up on the theory and ran with it. Referencing both Trudeau and Vigan², Carlson wrote about the lockdowns and a "leadership class." He asked:
What does the Great Reset look like? This is what it looks like: The people in charge doing whatever they want because they're in charge. There will be no live music in the Great Reset. Choirs will be illegal unless they are singing the praises of Kamala Harris. Christmas will be banned. 'Sorry, put on your mask and spend the holidays alone. Good luck.'
According to the BBC, the phrase "Great Reset" has gotten more than 8 million interactions on Facebook and was shared almost 2 million times on Twitter through May 2021. Posts spiked with the Trudeau video and then fell, though they are still way above where they were in June 2020 when the Great Reset initiative was officially launched.
'The Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie'
In more extreme versions of the theory, the so-called elite orchestrated the pandemic as a way to wipe out most of the human race. The threat of COVID-19 is grossly exaggerated and the vaccines are "weapons of mass destruction," according to theorists like Dr. Vernon Coleman, who Lead Stories has debunked before.
In a video (archived here) published on March 13, 2021, Coleman mentioned the Great Reset in the same breath as Agenda 21, another debunked conspiracy theory about depopulation. He said near the start of the video:
We all know that the evil elite -- the Agenda 21 and Great Reset promoters -- have all along intended to kill between 90% and 95% of the world's population. Sadly, I fear it's probably too late to save many of those who've had the vaccine. Millions doomed, and I fear that many will die when they next come into contact with the coronavirus. Other versions of the theory lean toward a ntisemitism. According to the Anti-Defamation League, such rhetoric often worms its way into conspiracy theories and the Great Reset is no exception. The organization wrote that some believers blame Jews, including billionaire philanthropist George Soros, for controlling the WEF and for masterminding a plot to take over the world.
O'Connor, the disinformation analyst , pointed to the conspiracy theory's flexibility or malleability as one of the reasons behind its success. That idea were echoed in an article by Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein, who called the Great Reset a conspiracy smoothie. She wrote:
Less a conspiracy theory than a conspiracy smoothie, the Great Reset has managed to mash up every freakout happening on the internet -- left and right, true-ish, and off-the-wall -- into one inchoate meta-scream about the unbearable nature of pandemic life under voracious capitalism.
Indeed, the theory may have the potential to stick around, according to O'Connor, because of pent-up frustrations from those who don't agree with how their countries dealt with COVID-19. He said:
It provides many groups of people who've felt marginalized or put out by the tumultuous events of the last 15 months with someone to blame, and reasons to blame them.
Global burden of bacterial antimicrobial resistance in 2019: a systematic analysis - The Lancet
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 11:58
Summary BackgroundAntimicrobial resistance (AMR) poses a major threat to human health around the world. Previous publications have estimated the effect of AMR on incidence, deaths, hospital length of stay, and health-care costs for specific pathogen''drug combinations in select locations. To our knowledge, this study presents the most comprehensive estimates of AMR burden to date.
MethodsWe estimated deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) attributable to and associated with bacterial AMR for 23 pathogens and 88 pathogen''drug combinations in 204 countries and territories in 2019. We obtained data from systematic literature reviews, hospital systems, surveillance systems, and other sources, covering 471 million individual records or isolates and 7585 study-location-years. We used predictive statistical modelling to produce estimates of AMR burden for all locations, including for locations with no data. Our approach can be divided into five broad components: number of deaths where infection played a role, proportion of infectious deaths attributable to a given infectious syndrome, proportion of infectious syndrome deaths attributable to a given pathogen, the percentage of a given pathogen resistant to an antibiotic of interest, and the excess risk of death or duration of an infection associated with this resistance. Using these components, we estimated disease burden based on two counterfactuals: deaths attributable to AMR (based on an alternative scenario in which all drug-resistant infections were replaced by drug-susceptible infections), and deaths associated with AMR (based on an alternative scenario in which all drug-resistant infections were replaced by no infection). We generated 95% uncertainty intervals (UIs) for final estimates as the 25th and 975th ordered values across 1000 posterior draws, and models were cross-validated for out-of-sample predictive validity. We present final estimates aggregated to the global and regional level.
FindingsOn the basis of our predictive statistical models, there were an estimated 4·95 million (3·62''6·57) deaths associated with bacterial AMR in 2019, including 1·27 million (95% UI 0·911''1·71) deaths attributable to bacterial AMR. At the regional level, we estimated the all-age death rate attributable to resistance to be highest in western sub-Saharan Africa, at 27·3 deaths per 100'‰000 (20·9''35·3), and lowest in Australasia, at 6·5 deaths (4·3''9·4) per 100'‰000. Lower respiratory infections accounted for more than 1·5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most burdensome infectious syndrome. The six leading pathogens for deaths associated with resistance (Escherichia coli, followed by Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) were responsible for 929'‰000 (660'‰000''1'‰270'‰000) deaths attributable to AMR and 3·57 million (2·62''4·78) deaths associated with AMR in 2019. One pathogen''drug combination, meticillin-resistant S aureus, caused more than 100'‰000 deaths attributable to AMR in 2019, while six more each caused 50'‰000''100'‰000 deaths: multidrug-resistant excluding extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, third-generation cephalosporin-resistant E coli, carbapenem-resistant A baumannii, fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli, carbapenem-resistant K pneumoniae, and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae.
InterpretationTo our knowledge, this study provides the first comprehensive assessment of the global burden of AMR, as well as an evaluation of the availability of data. AMR is a leading cause of death around the world, with the highest burdens in low-resource settings. Understanding the burden of AMR and the leading pathogen''drug combinations contributing to it is crucial to making informed and location-specific policy decisions, particularly about infection prevention and control programmes, access to essential antibiotics, and research and development of new vaccines and antibiotics. There are serious data gaps in many low-income settings, emphasising the need to expand microbiology laboratory capacity and data collection systems to improve our understanding of this important human health threat.
FundingBill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, and Department of Health and Social Care using UK aid funding managed by the Fleming Fund.
Research in contextEvidence before this study
To identify previous estimates of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) burden before this study, we did a systematic review and consulted with content experts. We searched the evidence available in PubMed for published works that evaluate exposure to antimicrobial resistant organisms (bacteria only) and evaluated all human-focused publications with more than ten cases, all genders, and all age groups. From these findings, we extracted study type, pathogen''drug combinations, counterfactuals, locations, methods, outcomes, and population. Extensive literature exists estimating incidence, deaths, hospital length of stay, and health-care costs associated with AMR from a small number of drug-resistant infections in select locations. There is widespread agreement that AMR poses a serious potential threat to human health around the world. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, published in 2016, estimated that as many as 10 million people could die annually from AMR by 2050. Recent estimates of the burden of drug-resistant infections covering several pathogens have also been published for the USA, Thailand, the EU and European Economic Area, and several other locations, as well as estimates for several pathogen''drug combinations for a wider range of locations. To our knowledge, however, there have been no comprehensive estimates covering all locations and a broad range of pathogens and pathogen''drug combinations.
Added value of this study
This study is the most comprehensive analysis of the burden of AMR to date, producing estimates for 204 countries and territories, 23 bacterial pathogens, and 88 pathogen''drug combinations, in 2019. This study uses major methodological innovations to provide important new insights into the AMR burden. Additionally, since this analysis builds on estimates of disease incidence, prevalence, and mortality from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2019, our findings on the burden of bacterial AMR can be compared with other causes of death, offering crucial context on the magnitude of the burden of this important health issue. Improvements to the input data and models compared with previous publications make our AMR estimates the most robust of any to date. Finally, this study is the first to quantify the burden of AMR using two different AMR counterfactual scenarios.
Implications of all the available evidence
Our estimates indicate that bacterial AMR is a health problem whose magnitude is at least as large as major diseases such as HIV and malaria, and potentially much larger. Bacterial AMR is a problem in all regions; we estimated that, in 2019, the highest rates of AMR burden were in sub-Saharan Africa. Six pathogens accounted for 73·4% (95% uncertainty interval 66·9''78·8) of deaths attributable to bacterial AMR. Seven pathogen''drug combinations each caused more than 50'‰000 deaths, highlighting the importance of developing policies that specifically target the deadliest pathogen''drug combinations, particularly through expansion of infection prevention and control programmes, improving access to essential second-line antibiotics where needed, and through vaccine and antibiotic development. Additionally, our comprehensive data collection effort shows that high-quality data on infectious disease, pathogens, and AMR are only sparsely available in many low-income settings. Both preventing bacterial AMR and increasing microbiological laboratory and data collection capacity to improve scientific understanding of this health threat should be a very high priority for global health policy makers.
Introduction Bacterial antimicrobial resistance (AMR)'--which occurs when changes in bacteria cause the drugs used to treat infections to become less effective'--has emerged as one of the leading public health threats of the 21st century. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the UK Government, argued that AMR could kill 10 million people per year by 2050.
1O'Neill J Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations.
, 2O'Neill J Antimicrobial resistance: tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations.
Although these forecasts have been criticised by some,
3de Kraker MEA Stewardson AJ Harbarth S Will 10 million people die a year due to antimicrobial resistance by 2050?.
, 4 National Office for Animal HealthNOAH response to final O'Neill AMR review report July 2016.
WHO and numerous other groups and researchers agree that the spread of AMR is an urgent issue requiring a global, coordinated action plan to address.
5 WHOAntimicrobial resistance.
, 6 US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAntibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2019.
, 7Prestinaci F Pezzotti P Pantosti A Antimicrobial resistance: a global multifaceted phenomenon.
, 8 WHOGlobal action plan on antimicrobial resistance.
Information about the current magnitude of the burden of bacterial AMR, trends in different parts of the world, and the leading pathogen''drug combinations contributing to bacterial AMR burden is crucial. If left unchecked, the spread of AMR could make many bacterial pathogens much more lethal in the future than they are today.
One major challenge to tackling AMR is understanding the true burden of resistance, particularly in locations where surveillance is minimal and data are sparse. Extensive literature exists estimating the effects of AMR on incidence, deaths, hospital length of stay, and health-care costs for select pathogen''drug combinations in specific locations,
1O'Neill J Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations.
, 2O'Neill J Antimicrobial resistance: tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations.
, 6 US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAntibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2019.
, 9Naylor NR Atun R Zhu N et al.Estimating the burden of antimicrobial resistance: a systematic literature review.
, 10Cassini A H¶gberg LD Plachouras D et al.Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis.
, 11Lim C Takahashi E Hongsuwan M et al.Epidemiology and burden of multidrug-resistant bacterial infection in a developing country.
, 12Temkin E Fallach N Almagor J Gladstone BP Tacconelli E Carmeli Y Estimating the number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant
Escherichia coli and
Klebsiella pneumoniae in 2014: a modelling study.
but, to our knowledge, no comprehensive estimates covering all locations and a broad range of pathogens and pathogen''drug combinations have ever been published. For instance, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a 2019 report on AMR infections and deaths in the USA for 18 AMR threats using surveillance data,
6 US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAntibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2019.
while Cassini and colleagues
10Cassini A H¶gberg LD Plachouras D et al.Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis.
estimated the burden of eight bacterial pathogens and 16 pathogen''drug combinations in the EU and European Economic Area for 2007''15. Likewise, Lim and colleagues estimated the burden of multidrug resistance in six bacterial pathogens in Thailand in 2010,
11Lim C Takahashi E Hongsuwan M et al.Epidemiology and burden of multidrug-resistant bacterial infection in a developing country.
and Temkin and colleagues estimated the incidence of
Escherichia coli and
Klebsiella pneumoniae resistant to third-generation cephalosporins and carbapenems in 193 countries in 2014.
12Temkin E Fallach N Almagor J Gladstone BP Tacconelli E Carmeli Y Estimating the number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant
Escherichia coli and
Klebsiella pneumoniae in 2014: a modelling study.
Although these publications are important contributions to the body of work on AMR, they are insufficient to understand the global burden of AMR and identify and target the highest priority pathogens in different locations. Additionally, existing studies have generally considered only one measure of AMR burden.
13de Kraker MEA Lipsitch M Burden of antimicrobial resistance: compared to what?.
Because we do not know the extent to which drug-resistant infections would be replaced by susceptible infections or by no infection in a scenario in which all drug resistance was eliminated, it is important to quantify the burden on the basis of both these counterfactual scenarios.
In this study, we present the first global estimates of the burden of bacterial AMR covering an extensive set of pathogens and pathogen''drug combinations using consistent methods for both counterfactual scenarios.
Methods Overview We developed an approach for estimating the burden of AMR that makes use of all available data and builds on death and incidence estimates for different underlying conditions from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) 2019, which provides age-specific and sex-specific estimates of disease burden for 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories in 1990''2019.
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
Our approach can be divided into ten estimation steps that occur within five broad modelling components (a flowchart of the estimation steps is given in the
appendix p 123). First, we obtained data from multiple data sources, including from published studies (eg, microbiology data, inpatient data, data on multiple causes of death, and pharmaceutical sales data) and directly from collaborators on the Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance project,
15Hay SI Rao PC Dolecek C et al.Measuring and mapping the global burden of antimicrobial resistance.
members of the GBD Collaborator Network, and other data providers.
We estimated the disease burdens associated with and attributable to AMR for 12 major infectious syndromes (lower respiratory infections and all related infections in the thorax; bloodstream infections; peritoneal and intra-abdominal infections; meningitis and other bacterial CNS infections; typhoid, paratyphoid, and invasive non-typhoidal
Salmonella spp; urinary tract infections and pyelonephritis; diarrhoea; tuberculosis [not including tuberculosis associated with HIV]; bacterial infections of the skin and subcutaneous systems; endocarditis and other cardiac infections; infections of bones, joints, and related organs; and gonorrhoea and chlamydia) and one residual category, 23 bacterial pathogens, 18 drug categories or combinations of drugs for which there is resistance, and 88 pathogen''drug combinations (
appendix pp 45''46). We modelled all-age and age-specific deaths and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for 204 countries and territories, and we present aggregated estimates for 21 GBD regions, seven GBD super-regions, and globally in 2019 (a full list of GBD locations by region is available in the
appendix pp 100''05).
16Murray CJ Ezzati M Flaxman AD et al.GBD 2010: design, definitions, and metrics.
For the first counterfactual scenario'--where all drug-resistant infections are replaced by susceptible infections'--we estimated only deaths and DALYs directly attributable to resistance. For the second counterfactual scenario'--where all drug-resistant infections are replaced by no infection'--we estimated all deaths and DALYs associated with resistant infection. Estimates of AMR burden based on each counterfactual are useful in different ways for informing the development of potential intervention strategies to control AMR.
13de Kraker MEA Lipsitch M Burden of antimicrobial resistance: compared to what?.
, 17Dunachie SJ Day NP Dolecek C The challenges of estimating the human global burden of disease of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.
, 18Limmathurotsakul D Dunachie S Fukuda K et al.Improving the estimation of the global burden of antimicrobial resistant infections.
Input data We used several data collection strategies. Through our large collaborator networks, we obtained datasets not previously available for AMR research, including hospital and laboratory data, as well as datasets published previously and those outlined in research articles.
19Ashley EA Recht J Chua A et al.An inventory of supranational antimicrobial resistance surveillance networks involving low- and middle-income countries since 2000.
Each component of the estimation process had different data requirements and, as such, the input data used for each modelling component differed. The diverse data sought included the following sources: pharmaceutical companies that run surveillance networks, diagnostic laboratories, and clinical trial data; high-quality data from researchers including large multisite research collaborations, smaller studies, clinical trials, and well established research institutes based in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs); data from public and private hospitals and public health institutes providing diagnostic testing; global surveillance networks; enhanced surveillance systems; national surveillance systems; and surveillance systems for specific organisms such as
Mycobacterium tuberculosis and
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (all sources are listed by data type in the
appendix pp 8''15).
Figure 1 shows a summary of the distinct data types gathered and for which estimation step each data type was used. Also shown in
figure 1 is the number of unique study-location-years and individual records or isolates available for each data type. Location-years of data refer to unique GBD locations and years for which we have records or isolates. In total, 471 million individual records or isolates covering 7585 study-location-years were used as input data to the estimation process.
Table 1 shows the number of individual records or isolates used and number of countries covered in each of the five broad modelling components separately by GBD region. Two of five components included data from every GBD region and two of five included data from 19 of 21 GBD regions. Our models of sepsis and infectious syndrome were the most geographically sparse, covering 16 countries from ten regions; the input data for these models were highly detailed microdata that are only sparsely available. However, our framework for estimating the total envelope of infectious syndrome mortality used GBD cause-specific mortality estimates to minimise reliance on these sparse data.
Figure 1 Data inputs by source type
Show full caption Total sample size for each source type, regardless of specific inclusion criteria for a given estimation step. Individual isolates that were tested multiple times for resistance to different antibiotics are listed only once here whenever isolates were identified uniquely in the data. For datasets where isolates could not be uniquely identified across pathogen''drug combinations, such as some antimicrobial resistance surveillance systems, some isolates might be double counted. Yellow boxes indicate that the source type was used in that estimation step. A full list of data sources included in this study, organised by data type, is included in the
appendix (pp 8''15).
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) Table 1 Data included in each modelling component by region and the fraction of countries represented in each region
Total sample size and fraction of countries covered for each modelling component by GBD region. The units for sample size are deaths for sepsis and infectious syndrome models; cases for case-fatality ratios; cases, deaths, or isolates for pathogen distribution; pathogen''drug tests for fraction of resistance; and pathogen''drug tests for relative risk. Sample sizes reflect model-specific selection criteria, resulting in lower totals for the sepsis, infectious syndrome, case-fatality ratio, and pathogen distribution models in this table than those in
figure 1. Totals for fraction of resistance and relative risk are higher in this table than in
figure 1 because of the difference in units for certain source types, such as microbial data (isolates in
figure 1, pathogen''drug tests here). Several data sources inform multiple components; therefore, data points should not be summed across a row as that will lead to duplication. More information on the data types used and the components that they inform is presented in the
appendix (pp 8''15). GBD=Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study.
Open table in a new tab All data inputs for the models were empirical data, not modelled estimates, except for a custom meta-analysis of vaccine probe data that we did to estimate the fraction of pneumonia caused by
Streptococcus pneumoniae (
appendix pp 37''38). All study-level covariates for models, such as age and sex, were extracted from empirical data. All country-level covariates were modelled estimates that were produced previously for GBD 2019,
20 Institute for Health Metrics and EvaluationGlobal Burden of Disease Study 2019 (GBD 2019) data input sources tool.
, 21Fullman N Yearwood J Abay SM et al.Measuring performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries and territories and selected subnational locations: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.
or those that were modelled by Browne and colleagues.
22Browne A Chipeta M Haines-Woodhouse G et al.Global antibiotic consumption in humans, 2000 to 2018: a spatial modelling study.
We describe data inputs for each of ten estimation steps in greater detail in the following subsections and in the
appendix (pp 17''18, 31, 34''35, 44, 54). Data input citations are available
online.
Estimation steps one and two: deaths in which infection played a role by infectious syndrome First, to define the number of deaths where infection plays a role, we used GBD 2019 cause of death estimates
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
to determine the number of deaths by age, sex, and location for which either the underlying cause of death was infectious or'--for non-communicable, maternal, neonatal, nutritional, and injury deaths'--for which the pathway to death was through sepsis. Sepsis is defined as a life-threatening organ dysfunction due to a dysregulated host response to infection.
23Singer M Deutschman CS Seymour CW et al.The third international consensus definitions for sepsis and septic shock (sepsis-3).
The methods used to estimate infectious underlying causes of death and sepsis deaths have been published previously
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
, 24Rudd KE Johnson SC Agesa KM et al.Global, regional, and national sepsis incidence and mortality, 1990-2017: analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study.
and are summarised in the
appendix (pp 17''18).
In estimation step one, we used data for multiple causes of death covering 121 million deaths, 5·54 million hospital discharges with discharge status of death, and 264'‰000 records of multiple causes of death linked to hospital records from ten countries and territories, as well as 870 deaths from Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) sites across six countries (
appendix pp 17''18), to develop random effects logistic regression models to predict the fraction of sepsis occurring in each communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional underlying cause of death; non-communicable underlying cause of death; and injury underlying cause of death. This approach follows the methods validated by many researchers in sepsis epidemiology
25 WHOGlobal report on the epidemiology and burden of sepsis: current evidence, identifying gaps and future directions.
, 26Angus DC Linde-Zwirble WT Lidicker J Clermont G Carcillo J Pinsky MR Epidemiology of severe sepsis in the United States: analysis of incidence, outcome, and associated costs of care.
, 27Martin GS Mannino DM Eaton S Moss M The epidemiology of sepsis in the United States from 1979 through 2000.
, 28Rhee C Dantes R Epstein L et al.Incidence and trends of sepsis in US hospitals using clinical vs claims data, 2009''2014.
and used by Rudd and colleagues.
24Rudd KE Johnson SC Agesa KM et al.Global, regional, and national sepsis incidence and mortality, 1990-2017: analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study.
We then multiplied the fraction of sepsis predicted from the logistic regression models onto GBD cause-specific mortality estimates to determine the mortality envelope for our analysis. Our mortality envelope consisted of all deaths in which infection played a role, which included all sepsis deaths with non-infectious underlying causes, plus all deaths with an infectious underlying cause in GBD 2019 (
appendix pp 21''23).
In estimation step two, we used details on the pathways of disease provided in multiple causes of death and hospital discharge data in a second stage of random effects logistic regression models to further subdivide deaths in which infection played a role into 12 major infectious syndromes and one residual category. These regressions predicted the proportion of sepsis-related deaths that were caused by a given infectious syndrome separately for each communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional underlying cause of death; non-communicable underlying cause of death; and injury underlying cause of death. We used this fraction to subdivide sepsis deaths with non-infectious underlying causes into specific infectious syndromes. For underlying causes of death that are themselves infectious, all deaths were assigned to their single corresponding infectious syndrome (eg, the GBD cause ''lower respiratory infections'' was assigned to the infectious syndrome ''lower respiratory infections and all related infections in the thorax'';
appendix pp 21''23).
Due to the pathogen distributions varying substantially for hospital-acquired and community-acquired infections in two infectious syndromes'--lower respiratory and thorax infections and urinary tract infections'--we further estimated the subdivision of these syndromes into community-acquired and hospital-acquired infections (appendix pp 17''30; table with community-acquired and hospital-acquired subdivisions presented on pp 24''25).
Incidence of infectious syndromes disaggregated by age, sex, and location For the nine infectious syndromes in this study that were estimated as one or more causes of death and disability in GBD 2019 (lower respiratory and thorax infections; CNS infections; typhoid, paratyphoid, and invasive non-typhoidal
Salmonella spp; urinary tract infections; diarrhoea; tuberculosis; bacterial skin infections; cardiac infections; and gonorrhoea and chlamydia), we used GBD 2019 incidence estimates as a baseline for infectious syndrome incidence (
appendix p 16).
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
To this baseline, we added the number of incident cases of each infectious syndrome that co-occurred with underlying non-communicable diseases (NCDs); maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases (MNNDs); and injuries, which we calculated by dividing the number of infectious syndrome deaths that occurred with underlying NCDs, MNNDs, and injuries (by age, sex, location, and GBD cause) by syndrome-specific and pathogen-specific case-fatality ratios (CFRs; estimation described in the following subsection). Bloodstream infections, bone and joint infections, and intra-abdominal infections are not estimated in GBD, so for these infectious syndromes, we exclusively used the number of incident cases of each infectious syndrome that co-occurred with underlying NCDs, MNNDs, and injuries to estimate incidence (
appendix pp 56''60).
Estimation steps three and four: pathogen distribution for deaths and incident cases To estimate the pathogen distribution of each infectious syndrome separately for deaths and incident cases for each age, sex, and location, we made use of multiple data sources. For estimation step three, we took data that linked pathogen-specific disease incidence to deaths to develop models for pathogen-specific CFRs that varied by age, location, and syndrome. We used the Bayesian meta-regression tool MR-BRT
29Zheng P Barber R Sorensen RJD Murray CJL Aravkin AY Trimmed constrained mixed effects models: formulations and algorithms.
to estimate CFRs as a function of the Healthcare Access and Quality Index and various bias covariates (
appendix pp 31''34).
21Fullman N Yearwood J Abay SM et al.Measuring performance on the Healthcare Access and Quality Index for 195 countries and territories and selected subnational locations: a systematic analysis from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.
These CFRs allowed us to integrate sources that reported pathogen distribution only for deaths and those that reported only incidence by mapping the reported deaths by pathogen into implied cases by pathogen. After mapping, we had 157 million isolates and cases from 118 countries and territories to estimate the pathogen distribution of each infectious syndrome (estimation step four), with each dataset including a unique spectrum of pathogens and groups of pathogens. To incorporate all these heterogeneous data, we used a new modelling environment, termed multinomial estimation with partial and composite observations. This modelling environment allows for the inclusion of covariates in the network analysis
29Zheng P Barber R Sorensen RJD Murray CJL Aravkin AY Trimmed constrained mixed effects models: formulations and algorithms.
and for Bayesian prior probability distributions to be incorporated. To model the infectious syndrome pathogen distribution comprehensively, we estimated, where applicable, the incidence and death proportions attributable to viral, fungal, parasitic, and bacterial pathogens; however, AMR burden was calculated only for selected bacteria for which resistance is clinically relevant and sufficient data are available. More details on this approach are provided in the
appendix (pp 34''44).
Estimation steps five to seven: prevalence of resistance by pathogen We used data from 52·8 million isolates to analyse the proportion of phenotypic AMR for each pathogen'--the proportion of infections that were drug resistant, hereafter referred to as prevalence of resistance'--for 88 pathogen''drug combinations. We chose these 88 combinations by first creating an exhaustive list of all clinically relevant combinations for which we had any data and then eliminating combinations that did not meet minimum data availability and computational feasibility requirements for accurate statistical modelling (
appendix pp 59''60).
For the pathogen''drug combinations in the 2014 WHO AMR global report on surveillance,
30 WHOAntimicrobial resistance global report on surveillance 2014.
as well as fluoroquinolone and multidrug resistance in
Salmonella enterica serotypes Typhi and Paratyphi, we supplemented microbial datasets from collaborators and surveillance networks with aggregate microbiology data from systematic reviews and published surveillance reports. The number of positive isolates identified for each pathogen''drug combination is shown in the
appendix (pp 90''91). Clinical and Laboratory Standard Institute (CLSI) guidelines were used to define minimum inhibitory concentration breakpoints when these minimums were provided. When only a phenotypic disk interpretation was available, we used the interpretation as provided. We used two categories of susceptibility: susceptible and non-susceptible. The non-susceptible group includes isolates reported as ''non-susceptible'', ''intermediate'', and ''resistant''. To account for bias in resistance data provided by tertiary care facilities, we adjusted tertiary rates of resistance by crosswalking them to data from non-tertiary and mixed facilities using MR-BRT as described in the
appendix (pp 45''48).
31Murray CJL Aravkin AY Zheng P et al.Global burden of 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
We used a two-stage spatiotemporal modelling framework to estimate the prevalence of resistance in each pathogen''drug combination by location for 2018. Given the many challenges to data collection and reporting caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,
32 New York Department of HealthHospital associated infection reporting persuant to Public Health Law section 2819.
, 33 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesCOVID-19 emergency declaration blanket waivers for health care providers.
as well as our collaborators' process of data collation and cleaning, we were unable to collect more contemporary data; we assumed no change in prevalence of resistance for 2019. First, we fitted a stacked ensemble model between the input data and selected covariates from the list of plausible and health-related covariates available in GBD 2019 (
appendix pp 48''49, 92''93); the estimates from the stacked ensemble model were then inputted into a spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression model
31Murray CJL Aravkin AY Zheng P et al.Global burden of 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
to smooth the estimates in space and time. The exceptions to this modelling approach were multidrug-resistant (MDR) excluding extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis and XDR tuberculosis, for which published GBD 2019 estimates were already available.
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
Given the strong relationship between antibiotic consumption levels and the proliferation of resistance, we modelled antibiotic consumption at the national level to use as a covariate in the stacked ensemble model of prevalence of resistance. We analysed data from 65 Demographic and Health Surveys and 138 Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys using model-based geostatistics to quantify antibiotic usage in LMICs. These LMIC-specific estimates of antibiotic usage were combined with pharmaceutical sales data from IQVIA, WHO, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) by use of an ensemble spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression model to produce a location-year covariate on antibiotic consumption for all 204 countries and territories included in this study.
22Browne A Chipeta M Haines-Woodhouse G et al.Global antibiotic consumption in humans, 2000 to 2018: a spatial modelling study.
Additional details on our estimation method for prevalence of resistance are available in the
appendix (pp 44''53).
To account for multidrug resistance, we used line-level microbiology data that tested multiple antibiotics for the same isolate to produce Pearson correlation coefficients of the co-occurrence of resistance to different antibiotics. With these Pearson correlations and our prevalence of resistance estimates, we used an optimisation-based approach to solve for multivariate binomial distributions that define the prevalence of resistance of every combination of resistance to the antibiotics analysed. Every such distribution was characterised by a contingency table specifying probabilities of all combinations of resistance and susceptibility among the antibiotics analysed. The observed prevalence of each drug overall and Pearson correlations between drugs provided noisy partial observations of combinations of these entries. We optimised over the space of such contingency tables to find the nearest feasible distribution given the data, producing, for each pathogen, a set of resistance profiles: the proportions of bacteria with each combination of resistance and susceptibility among all the antibiotics analysed (
appendix pp 48''49).
Estimation steps eight and nine: relative risk of death for drug-resistant infection compared with drug-sensitive infections Using data from 164 sources representing 511'‰870 patients with known outcome and resistance information, we estimated the relative risk of death for each pathogen''drug combination for a resistant infection compared with that of a drug-sensitive infection using MR-BRT. Because of data sparsity, we assumed the relative risk was the same for every syndrome, location, and age group; the assumptions on location and age group risk are consistent with those in the estimation process previously used by Cassini and colleagues.
10Cassini A H¶gberg LD Plachouras D et al.Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis.
We used a two-stage nested mixed effects meta-regression model to estimate relative risk of death for each pathogen''drug combination that was adjusted for age, admission diagnosis, hospital-acquired versus community-acquired infection, and site of infection (
appendix pp 54''56). For the non-fatal excess risk, we estimated the relative increase in length of stay associated with a resistant infection compared with that of a drug-sensitive infection, adjusted for length of stay prior to culture being drawn. Data on length of stay were available from 59 sources representing 455'‰906 admissions. We used the same modelling framework for excess length of stay as we used for relative risk of death. Due to data sparsity on the excess risk of death associated with drug-resistant
N gonorrhoeae, we did not produce a fatal estimate for this pathogen.
To produce burden estimates of multiple pathogen''drug combinations that were mutually exclusive within a given pathogen (and thus could be added), we produced a population-attributable fraction (PAF) for each resistance profile with resistance to at least one drug (
appendix pp 56''60). The PAF represents the proportional reduction in deaths or years lived with disability (YLDs) that would occur if all infections with the resistance profile of interest were instead susceptible to all antibiotics included in the analysis. When two or more antibiotics were resistant in a single profile, we used the relative risk for the antibiotic class that was the largest as the relative risk for calculating the PAF:
PAF=Rkd(RRkD-1)1+'‘d=1nRkd(RRkD-1)
Where
R is prevalence of resistance,
RR is relative risk,
K is a pathogen with
d=1, '..., n resistance profiles with resistance to at least one antibiotic class, and
D is the antibiotic class in profile
d with the highest relative risk (
appendix pp 56''60).
Estimation step ten: computing burden attributable to drug resistance and burden associated with drug-resistant infections We computed two counterfactuals to estimate the drug-resistant burden: the burden attributable to bacterial AMR based on the counterfactual of drug-sensitive infection and the burden associated with bacterial AMR based on the counterfactual of no infection (
appendix pp 56''60). Briefly, to estimate the burden attributable to AMR, we first calculated the deaths attributable to resistance by taking the product of deaths for each underlying cause, the proportion of these deaths in which infection played a role, the proportion of infectious deaths attributable to each infectious syndrome, the proportion of infectious syndrome deaths attributable to each pathogen, and the mortality PAF for each resistance profile. We used previously described GBD methods
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
to convert age-specific deaths into years of life lost (YLLs) using the standard counterfactual life expectancy at each age.
34 WHOGlobal priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics.
To calculate attributable YLDs, we took the product of the infectious syndrome incidence, the proportion of infectious syndrome incident cases attributable to each pathogen, YLDs per incident case, and the non-fatal PAF. For resistance profiles that had resistance to more than one antibiotic class, we redistributed burden to the individual antibiotic classes proportionally on the basis of excess risk, providing a mutually exclusive burden for each pathogen''drug combination (
appendix pp 56''60). To calculate DALYs, we took the sum of YLLs and YLDs. To estimate the overall AMR burden of the drug-sensitive counterfactual, we added the burden estimates of all the pathogen''drug combinations.
The approach for calculating the fatal burden associated with AMR was identical to that for fatal burden attributable to AMR, except we replaced the mortality PAF for each resistance profile with the prevalence of resistance in deaths. For the number of incident infections associated with resistance, we took the product of infectious syndrome incidence, the proportion of infectious incident cases attributable to each pathogen, and the prevalence of resistance in incident cases. On the basis of these death and incidence estimates, we then computed YLLs, YLDs, and DALYs associated with drug-resistant infections. We calculated YLLs using the same methods used to calculate YLLs attributable to AMR. We converted incidence into YLDs using a YLDs per incident case ratio for each infectious syndrome based on a proxy GBD cause (a simplified YLD calculation compared with the standard sequelae-based method;
appendix pp 56''60). Finally, we calculated DALYs by summing YLLs and YLDs. To estimate the overall AMR burden of this counterfactual, we repeated the described calculations with the prevalence of resistance to one or more antibiotics estimated and summed across all pathogens.
Uncertainty analysis and out-of-sample validation Following previously described GBD methods,
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
we propagated uncertainty from each step of the analysis into the final estimates of deaths and infections attributable to and associated with drug resistance by taking the 25th and 975th of 1000 draws from the posterior distribution of each quantity of interest. Out-of-sample validity estimates are provided in the appendix for our models of sepsis (pp 25''30), infectious syndrome distribution (pp 25''30), pathogen distribution (pp 43''44), prevalence of resistance (pp 51''53), and relative risk (pp 55''56).
Role of the funding source The funders of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or the writing of the report.
Results We estimated that, in 2019, 1·27 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 0·911''1·71) were directly attributable to resistance (ie, based on the counterfactual scenario that drug-resistant infections were instead drug susceptible) in the 88 pathogen''drug combinations evaluated in this study. On the basis of a counterfactual scenario of no infection, we estimated that 4·95 million deaths (3·62''6·57) were associated with bacterial AMR globally in 2019 (including those directly attributable to AMR).
Table 2 provides estimates of deaths, YLLs, and DALYs from AMR for each counterfactual.
Table 2 Deaths, YLLs, YLDs, and DALYs (in counts and all-age rates) associated with and attributable to bacterial antimicrobial resistance, globally and by GBD super-region, 2019
DALYs=disability-adjusted life-years. GBD=Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study. YLDs=years lived with disability. YLLs=years of life lost.
Open table in a new tab We estimated that among the 21 GBD regions, Australasia had the lowest AMR burden in 2019, with 6·5 deaths per 100'‰000 (95% UI 4·3''9·4) attributable to AMR and 28·0 deaths per 100'‰000 (18·8''39·9) associated with AMR in 2019 (
figure 2). Western sub-Saharan Africa had the highest burden, with 27·3 deaths per 100'‰000 (20·9''35·3) attributable to AMR and 114·8 deaths per 100'‰000 (90·4''145·3) associated with AMR. Five regions had all-age death rates associated with bacterial AMR higher than 75 per 100'‰000: all four regions of sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. Although sub-Saharan Africa had the highest all-age death rate attributable to and associated with AMR, the percentage of all infectious deaths attributable to AMR was lowest in this super-region (
appendix p 97).
Figure 2 All-age rate of deaths attributable to and associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance by GBD region, 2019
Show full caption Estimates were aggregated across drugs, accounting for the co-occurrence of resistance to multiple drugs. Error bars show 95% uncertainty intervals. GBD=Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Three infectious syndromes dominated the global burdens attributable to and associated with AMR in 2019: lower respiratory and thorax infections, bloodstream infections, and intra-abdominal infections (
figure 3). Combined, these three syndromes accounted for 78·8% (95% UI 70·8''85·2) of deaths attributable to AMR in 2019; lower respiratory infections alone accounted for more than 400'‰000 attributable deaths and 1·5 million associated deaths (
figure 3).
Figure 3 Global deaths (counts) attributable to and associated with bacterial antimicrobial resistance by infectious syndrome, 2019
Show full caption Estimates were aggregated across drugs, accounting for the co-occurrence of resistance to multiple drugs. Error bars show 95% uncertainty intervals. Does not include gonorrhoea and chlamydia because we did not estimate the fatal burden of this infectious syndrome. Bone+=infections of bones, joints, and related organs. BSI=bloodstream infections. Cardiac=endocarditis and other cardiac infections. CNS=meningitis and other bacterial CNS infections. Intra-abdominal=peritoneal and intra-abdominal infections. LRI+=lower respiratory infections and all related infections in the thorax. Skin=bacterial infections of the skin and subcutaneous systems. TF''PF''iNTS= typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, and invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella spp. UTI=urinary tract infections and pyelonephritis.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)In 2019, six pathogens were each responsible for more than 250'‰000 deaths associated with AMR (
figure 4):
E coli, Staphylococcus aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, and
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, by order of number of deaths. Together, these six pathogens were responsible for 929'‰000 (95% UI 660'‰000''1'‰270'‰000) of 1·27 million deaths (0·911''1·71) attributable to AMR and 3·57 million (2·62''4·78) of 4·95 million deaths (3·62''6·57) associated with AMR globally in 2019. Six more pathogens were each responsible for between 100'‰000 and 250'‰000 deaths associated with AMR:
M tuberculosis, Enterococcus faecium, Enterobacter spp
, Streptococcus agalactiae (group B
Streptococcus),
S Typhi, and
Enterococcus faecalis. For deaths attributable to AMR,
E coli was responsible for the most deaths in 2019, followed by
K pneumoniae, S aureus, A baumannii, S pneumoniae, and
M tuberculosis.The share of AMR burden caused by each of the six leading pathogens differed substantially across GBD super-regions. In the high-income super-region, approximately half of the fatal AMR burden was linked to two pathogens:
S aureus (constituting 26·1% [95% UI 17·4''34·1] of deaths attributable to AMR and 25·4% [24·1''27·0] of deaths associated with AMR) and
E coli (constituting 23·4% [19·5''28·2] of deaths attributable to AMR and 24·3% [22·9''25·8] of deaths associated with AMR;
figure 5). By contrast, in sub-Saharan Africa, the leading pathogens were distinct from those of the high-income super-region, and each represented a smaller share of the AMR burden;
S pneumoniae contributed to 15·9% (11·4''21·0) of the deaths attributable to AMR and 19·0% (17·1''21·1) of the deaths associated with AMR, whereas
K pneumoniae contributed to 19·9% (15·1''25·4) of the deaths attributable to AMR and 17·5% (16·3''18·7) of the deaths associated with AMR.
In 2019, meticillin-resistant
S aureus was the one pathogen''drug combination in our analysis with more than 100'‰000 deaths and 3·5 million DALYs attributable to resistance (
figure 6;
appendix pp 121''22, 129). Six more pathogen''drug combinations each caused between 50'‰000 and 100'‰000 resistance-attributable deaths in 2019: MDR excluding XDR tuberculosis, third-generation cephalosporin-resistant
E coli, carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii, fluoroquinolone-resistant
E coli, carbapenem-resistant
K pneumoniae, and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant
K pneumoniae (
figure 6). In the next tier of pathogen''drug combinations, ten combinations each caused between 25'‰000 and 50'‰000 deaths attributable to AMR. Four of these ten combinations included fluoroquinolone resistance, three included carbapenem resistance, and two had trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistance.
Figure 6 Global deaths (counts) attributable to bacterial antimicrobial resistance by pathogen''drug combination, 2019
Show full caption For this figure, only deaths attributable to resistance, not deaths associated with resistance, are shown due to the very high levels of correlation for resistance patterns between some drugs. 3GC=third-generation cephalosporins. 4GC=fourth-generation cephalosporins. Anti-pseudomonal=anti-pseudomonal penicillin or beta-lactamase inhibitors. BL-BLI=β-lactam or β-lactamase inhibitors. MDR=multidrug resistance. Mono INH=isoniazid mono-resistance. Mono RIF=rifampicin mono-resistance. NA=not applicable. Resistance to 1+=resistance to one or more drug. S Paratyphi=Salmonella enterica serotype Paratyphi. S Typhi=S enterica serotype Typhi. TMP-SMX=trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. XDR=extensive drug resistance.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)In the appendix, we present the equivalent AMR findings for DALYs instead of deaths (pp 124''29), as well as the burden attributable to and associated with specific pathogen''drug combinations by age group (neonatal, post-neonatal, age 1''4 years, and age 5 years or older) and super-region (pp 106''18).
Among the seven leading pathogen''drug combinations for deaths attributable to resistance, the proportion of isolates estimated to be resistant varied substantially by country and territory (
figure 7A''G). For meticillin-resistant
S aureus, resistance was generally highest (60% to less than 80%) in countries in north Africa and the Middle East (eg, Iraq and Kuwait) and lowest (less than 5%) in several countries in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa (
figure 7A). For isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (MDR excluding XDR)
M tuberculosis, isolate resistance was highest (primarily 10% to less than 30%) in eastern Europe and under 5% in many countries around the world (
figure 7B). To show where data are available and how the modelled estimates differ from the input data,
figure 7 also shows the raw, unadjusted prevalence of resistance for each of the seven leading pathogen''drug combinations.
Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT)Figure 7 Raw data and modelled estimates for the percentage of pathogen isolates that are resistant by country and territory, 2019
Show full caption Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (A), isoniazid and rifampicin co-resistant (excluding XDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis (B), third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Escherichia coli (C), carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (D), fluoroquinolone-resistant E coli (E), carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae (F), and third-generation cephalosporin-resistant K pneumoniae (G). Locations with no data or modelled estimates are presented in white. XDR=extensively drug resistant.
View Large Image Figure ViewerDownload Hi-res image Download (PPT) Discussion The global burden associated with drug-resistant infections assessed across 88 pathogen''drug combinations in 2019 was an estimated 4·95 million (95% UI 3·62''6·57) deaths, of which 1·27 million (0·911''1·71) deaths were directly attributable to drug resistance. In other words, if all drug-resistant infections were replaced by no infection, 4·95 million deaths could have been prevented in 2019, whereas if all drug-resistant infections were replaced by drug-susceptible infections, 1·27 million deaths could have been prevented. Compared with all underlying causes of death in GBD 2019, AMR would have been the third leading GBD Level 3 cause of death in 2019, on the basis of the counterfactual of no infection; only ischaemic heart disease and stroke accounted for more deaths that year.
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
Using the counterfactual of susceptible infection, AMR would have been the 12th leading GBD Level 3 cause of death globally, ahead of both HIV and malaria (more information on GBD causes by level presented in the
appendix pp 18, 67''75).
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
By any metric, bacterial AMR is a leading global health issue.
12Temkin E Fallach N Almagor J Gladstone BP Tacconelli E Carmeli Y Estimating the number of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant
Escherichia coli and
Klebsiella pneumoniae in 2014: a modelling study.
Additionally, our analysis showed that AMR all-age death rates were highest in some LMICs, making AMR not only a major health problem globally but a particularly serious problem for some of the poorest countries in the world.
All six of the leading pathogens contributing to the burden of AMR in 2019 (
E coli, S aureus, K pneumoniae, S pneumoniae, A baumannii, and
P aeruginosa) have been identified as priority pathogens by WHO
34 WHOGlobal priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics.
and AMR has been highlighted in the political arena through the Global Action Plan on AMR,
8 WHOGlobal action plan on antimicrobial resistance.
the UN Interagency Coordination Group,
35 UNInteragency Coordination Group on Antimicrobial Resistance.
the One Health Global Leaders Group,
36 WHOGlobal Leaders Group on antimicrobial resistance.
and several others. However, only one of these pathogens has been the focus of a major global health intervention programme'--
S pneumoniae, primarily through pneumococcal vaccination.
37 WHOPneumococcal conjugate vaccines in infants and children under 5 years of age: WHO position paper'--February 2019.
Furthermore, the first Sustainable Development Goal
38 UNSDG Indicators'--global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
indicator for antimicrobial resistance was only proposed in 2019, and this indicator (3.d.2) is very limited in scope.
39 WHOIndicator 3.d.2: percentage of bloodstream infections due to selected antimicrobial-resistant organisms.
, 40 UNReport of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal indicators.
Our findings, which'--to our knowledge'--are the most comprehensive estimates of the burden of bacterial AMR to date, clearly show that drug resistance in each of these leading pathogens is a major global health threat that warrants more attention, funding, capacity building, research and development, and pathogen-specific priority setting from the broader global health community.
Resistance to fluoroquinolones and β-lactam antibiotics (ie, carbapenems, cephalosporins, and penicillins)'--antibiotics often considered first line for empirical therapy of severe infections
41 WHOThe selection and use of essential medicines: report of the WHO Expert Committee, 2017 (including the 20th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines and the 6th WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Children).
'--accounted for more than 70% of deaths attributable to AMR across pathogens. In 2017, WHO published a priority list for developing new and effective antibiotic treatments. The list was intended to inform research and development priorities related to new antibiotics and put the most emphasis on pathogens with multidrug resistance that cause severe and often deadly infections in health-care and nursing home settings. Although the intention of this list was to set new antibiotic research and development priorities rather than identify the most burdensome pathogen''drug combinations, its utility in dictating priorities has still been limited by the absence of a global assessment of the burden of bacterial AMR. Only five of the seven pathogen''drug combinations that we estimated to have caused the most deaths attributable to bacterial AMR in 2019 are currently on the list; MDR tuberculosis and fluoroquinolone-resistant
E coli are not included.
34 WHOGlobal priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics.
Additionally, meticillin-resistant
S aureus'--the leading pathogen''drug combination in our analysis for attributable deaths in 2019'--is listed as ''high'' but not ''critical'' priority.
34 WHOGlobal priority list of antibiotic-resistant bacteria to guide research, discovery, and development of new antibiotics.
WHO has explained that the absence of MDR tuberculosis from its priority list is because it has already been established globally as a top priority for innovative treatments, but this exclusion remains a source of considerable debate.
42Burki TK Tuberculosis missing from WHO bacteria list.
, 43Castro J The WHO made a big mistake on tuberculosis. It must fix it. STAT.
Although many factors were considered in producing the WHO priority list, these new estimates of the global burden of specific pathogen''drug combinations can inform future work on WHO priority pathogen''drug combinations.
Intervention strategies for addressing the challenge of bacterial AMR fall into five main categories. First, the principles of infection prevention and control remain a foundation for preventing infections broadly and a cornerstone in combating the spread of AMR.
44 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development European Centre for Disease Prevention and ControlAntimicrobial resistance: tackling the burden in the European Union. Briefing note for EU/EEA countries.
These include both hospital-based infection prevention and control programmes focused on preventing health-care-acquired infections, and community-based programmes focused on water, sanitation, and hygiene. Community-based programmes are particularly important in LMICs where the AMR burden is highest and clean water and sanitation infrastructure is weak; sustained support for these programmes is an essential element of combating AMR.
Second, preventing infections through vaccinations is paramount for reducing the need for antibiotics. Vaccines are available for only one of the six leading pathogens (
S pneumoniae), although new vaccine programmes are underway for
S aureus, E coli, and others.
45Jansen KU Knirsch C Anderson AS The role of vaccines in preventing bacterial antimicrobial resistance.
Vaccination programmes are an important strategy for preventing
S pneumoniae,46Klugman KP Black S Impact of existing vaccines in reducing antibiotic resistance: primary and secondary effects.
and vaccine development is crucial for pathogens that currently have no vaccine. Other vaccines, such as the influenza or rotavirus vaccines, also play a role in preventing febrile illness, which can lead to a reduction in antibiotic prescribing and can reduce AMR emergence even for pathogens without vaccines.
45Jansen KU Knirsch C Anderson AS The role of vaccines in preventing bacterial antimicrobial resistance.
Third, reducing exposure to antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease is an important potential way to reduce risk. Increased use of antibiotics in farming has been identified as a potential contributor to AMR in humans,
2O'Neill J Antimicrobial resistance: tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations.
, 47Tang KL Caffrey NP N"brega DB et al.Restricting the use of antibiotics in food-producing animals and its associations with antibiotic resistance in food-producing animals and human beings: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
, 48Van Boeckel TP Pires J Silvester R et al.Global trends in antimicrobial resistance in animals in low- and middle-income countries.
, 49Ter Kuile BH Kraupner N Brul S The risk of low concentrations of antibiotics in agriculture for resistance in human health care.
although the direct causal link remains controversial.
50Wu G Day MJ Mafura MT et al.Comparative analysis of ESBL-positive
Escherichia coli isolates from animals and humans from the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.
, 51Mather AE Reid SWJ Maskell DJ et al.Distinguishable epidemics of multidrug-resistant
Salmonella Typhimurium DT104 in different hosts.
Fourth, minimising the use of antibiotics when they are not necessary to improve human health'--such as treating viral infections'--should be prioritised. To this end, building infrastructure that allows clinicians to diagnose infection accurately and rapidly is crucial so that antimicrobial use can be narrowed or stopped when appropriate.
52Holmes AH Moore LSP Sundsfjord A et al.Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance.
The notion of antibiotic stewardship remains a core strategy in most national and international AMR management plans, although barriers to implementing stewardship programmes in LMICs should be addressed.
53Cox JA Vlieghe E Mendelson M et al.Antibiotic stewardship in low- and middle-income countries: the same but different?.
, 54Rolfe Jr, R Kwobah C Muro F et al.Barriers to implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs in three low- and middle-income country tertiary care settings: findings from a multi-site qualitative study.
Fifth, maintaining investment in the development pipeline for new antibiotics'--and access to second-line antibiotics in locations without widespread access'--is essential. In the past few decades, investments have been small compared with those in other public health issues with similar or less impact.
55 WHO2019 antibacterial agents in clinical development: an analysis of the antibacterial clinical development pipeline.
Given the global importance of bacterial AMR, more assessment of which policies have worked, and where, is urgently needed.
Many might expect that with higher antibiotic consumption in high-resource settings, the burden of bacterial AMR would be correspondingly higher in those settings. We found, however, that the highest rates of death were in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia. High bacterial AMR burdens are a function of both the prevalence of resistance and the underlying frequency of critical infections such as lower respiratory infections, bloodstream infections, and intra-abdominal infections, which are higher in these regions.
14Vos T Lim SS Abbafati C et al.Global burden of 369 diseases and injuries in 204 countries and territories, 1990-2019: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019.
Other drivers of the observed higher burden in LMICs include the scarcity of laboratory infrastructure making microbiological testing unavailable to inform treatment to stop or narrow antibiotics,
56 WHOWHO sepsis technical expert meeting'--meeting report.
the inappropriate use of antibiotics driven by insufficient regulations and ease of acquisition,
57Morgan DJ Okeke IN Laxminarayan R Perencevich EN Weisenberg S Non-prescription antimicrobial use worldwide: a systematic review.
inadequate access to second-line and third-line antibiotics, counterfeit or substandard antibiotics that can drive resistance,
52Holmes AH Moore LSP Sundsfjord A et al.Understanding the mechanisms and drivers of antimicrobial resistance.
, 58Laxminarayan R Duse A Wattal C et al.Antibiotic resistance'--the need for global solutions.
, 59Kelesidis T Falagas ME Substandard/counterfeit antimicrobial drugs.
and poor sanitation and hygiene.
60Collignon P Beggs JJ Walsh TR Gandra S Laxminarayan R Anthropological and socioeconomic factors contributing to global antimicrobial resistance: a univariate and multivariable analysis.
, 61Ramay BM Caudell MA Cord"n-Rosales C et al.Antibiotic use and hygiene interact to influence the distribution of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in low-income communities in Guatemala.
, 62Hendriksen RS Munk P Njage P et al.Global monitoring of antimicrobial resistance based on metagenomics analyses of urban sewage.
The higher burden in low-resource health systems highlights the importance'--both for the management of individual patients and for the surveillance of AMR'--of well developed national action plans and laboratory infrastructure in all regions and countries. The pattern of AMR varies geographically, with different pathogens and pathogen''drug combinations dominating in different locations. Our regional estimates could prove useful for tailoring local responses as a one size fits all approach might be inappropriate. Although antibiotic stewardship is a foundational aspect for preventing the spread of AMR, limiting access to antibiotics is not a suitable response to AMR in all settings. In fact, it could be argued that an increase in access to antibiotics would decrease the AMR burden in some locations where second-line antibiotics are unavailable and would be lifesaving; this might well be the case in western sub-Saharan Africa. By contrast, limiting access to antibiotics in south Asia through stewardship programmes might be the appropriate response for that region because antibiotic overuse or misuse is believed to be a major driver of AMR there.
58Laxminarayan R Duse A Wattal C et al.Antibiotic resistance'--the need for global solutions.
AMR is a global problem and one that requires both global action and nationally tailored responses.
This study evaluated both the burden of bacterial infections associated with drug resistance and the burden directly attributable to drug resistance.
13de Kraker MEA Lipsitch M Burden of antimicrobial resistance: compared to what?.
At the global level, the difference is nearly four-times that attributable to AMR. We estimated both measures of burden because there is insufficient evidence to determine the extent to which drug-resistant infections would be replaced by no infection or susceptible infection if drug resistance was eliminated. Some evidence from the spread of meticillin-resistant
S aureus and meticillin-susceptible
S aureus suggests that drug-resistant infections do not simply replace drug-susceptible infections,
63Mera RM Suaya JA Amrine-Madsen H et al.Increasing role of
Staphylococcus aureus and community-acquired methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States: a 10-year trend of replacement and expansion.
, 64Delorme T Garcia A Nasr P A longitudinal analysis of methicillin-resistant and sensitive
Staphylococcus aureus incidence in respect to specimen source, patient location, and temperature variation.
but this finding might not generalise to all other pathogens and other mechanisms of resistance.
Both measures are informative in different ways. For instance, when considering the specific burden of each pathogen''drug combination, we believe that the burden attributable to resistance is more appropriate because very high levels of co-resistance among some drugs lead to many deaths being duplicated across drugs when considering burden associated with resistance. When thinking about the role of vaccination to combat AMR, the no-infection counterfactual is more appropriate because infections would be eliminated, whereas interventions based on antimicrobial stewardship might be better informed by the susceptible infection counterfactual because some resistant bacteria might be replaced by susceptible bacteria.
22Browne A Chipeta M Haines-Woodhouse G et al.Global antibiotic consumption in humans, 2000 to 2018: a spatial modelling study.
In either case, the magnitude of the global bacterial AMR problem is very large and likely bounded by the two measures.
Our ability to compare our estimates with previous estimates is somewhat limited. The only global burden estimates for AMR are from the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance,
1O'Neill J Tackling drug-resistant infections globally: final report and recommendations.
which did not provide death estimates by pathogen''drug combination, making direct comparison challenging. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance estimated 700'‰000 deaths in 2014 attributable to resistance to six pathogens: HIV, tuberculosis, malaria,
S aureus, E coli, and
K pneumoniae. We produced estimates for four of those pathogens'--tuberculosis,
S aureus, E coli, and
K pneumoniae'--and estimated 670'‰000 deaths attributable to resistance to those pathogens in 2019.
Cassini and colleagues
10Cassini A H¶gberg LD Plachouras D et al.Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis.
produced an estimate for the EU of 16 pathogen''antibiotic combinations in 2015. We produced estimates for 11 of these 16 combinations; we did not estimate colistin resistance in
E coli, P aeruginosa, or
A baumannii because of the paucity of data on colistin resistance in LMICs, or multidrug resistance in
P aeruginosa or
A baumannii because of our approach to MDR infections. For the 11 pathogen''drug combinations that overlap, Cassini and colleagues estimated approximately 30'‰000 deaths and 796'‰000 DALYs caused by resistance in the EU in 2015. For these same 11 pathogen''drug combinations,
we estimated 23'‰100 deaths (95% UI 14'‰600''34'‰600) and 393'‰000 DALYs (246'‰000''595'‰000) attributable to bacterial AMR for western and central Europe combined. Cassini and colleagues used a mix of both counterfactuals to inform their estimates, so it is expected that their EU estimate is somewhat higher than ours for the susceptible counterfactual. This comparison is not perfect because there is not complete overlap in the locations included in western and central Europe and EU member countries (ie, Switzerland is included in our estimate and not in the EU designation, whereas Estonia is in the EU but is part of our eastern Europe region;
appendix pp 100''05), but it offers some idea of how our estimates compare with those of previous publications.
Some of our estimates might be unexpected and deserve special attention, particularly the high burden in sub-Saharan Africa and the burden of carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii. Although we estimated sub-Saharan Africa to be the super-region with the lowest percentage of infectious deaths attributable to AMR (
appendix p 97), the rate of deaths in which infection plays a role was so much greater in sub-Saharan Africa than in other super-regions that it overcame a relatively low prevalence of resistance and was the super-region with the highest estimated AMR burden in 2019.
Regarding carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii, we estimated that it was the fourth leading pathogen''drug combination globally for 2019, responsible for slightly fewer deaths than third-generation cephalosporin-resistant
E coli. At first glance, this finding seems to contrast with other estimates such as those from Cassini and colleagues or the CDC, who have estimated the burden of carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii to be substantially lower than that of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant
E coli.
6 US Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAntibiotic resistance threats in the United States, 2019.
, 10Cassini A H¶gberg LD Plachouras D et al.Attributable deaths and disability-adjusted life-years caused by infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the EU and the European Economic Area in 2015: a population-level modelling analysis.
When assessed by super-region, however, our results are much more consistent with the published literature: similar to the CDC and ECDC, we found the burden of third-generation cephalosporin-resistant
E coli to exceed that of carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii in high-income settings, whereas the inverse pattern was found in south Asia, where a higher relative burden of carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii than that in high-income regions has been documented.
11Lim C Takahashi E Hongsuwan M et al.Epidemiology and burden of multidrug-resistant bacterial infection in a developing country.
Our global burden was strongly influenced by this higher relative burden of carbapenem-resistant
A baumannii in south Asia and other LMICs.
Our estimate for the burden of resistance is confined to the 88 pathogen''drug combinations we analysed. Expanding our resistance analysis to more pathogen''drug combinations'--particularly adding viruses, parasites, and fungi'--would increase our estimate of the burden and could alter some of the results reported, depending on the correlation structure of resistance between the newly added and original 88 pathogen''drug combinations. It would provide a more thorough account of the threat of AMR and improve the accuracy of our estimates for the combinations reported here that share a high degree of co-resistance with combinations not yet analysed.
This study has several limitations, the most important being the sparsity of data from many LMICs on the distribution of pathogens by infectious syndrome, the prevalence of resistance for key pathogen''drug combinations, and the number of deaths involving infection; and the severe scarcity of data linking laboratory results to outcomes such as death. 19 of 204 countries and territories had no data available for any of our modelling components. Limited availability of data in some parts of the world was particularly consequential for the prevalence of resistance and relative risk modelling components; we assumed that the relative risk for each pathogen''drug combination, as well as the correlation structure of resistance between drugs, was the same in every location, age, and infectious syndrome. This might underestimate the AMR burden for LMICs, since the relative risk might be higher in locations where fewer second-line and third-line antibiotics are available. Assuming a single relative risk for all infectious syndromes is a potentially strong assumption; it is not immediately clear what direction this biases results, but it might lead to overestimation. Another substantial assumption we made due to insufficient linked data was that the relative risk of death or length of stay for infection from an MDR organism was assumed to be equal to the highest individual relative risk among the drugs assessed. This mostly likely underestimates the relative risk of MDR infections because fewer effective antibiotic options remain as resistance accumulates. In light of data sparsity, we made several additional methodological assumptions (
appendix pp 17''60). Despite scarcity, our estimates are informed by data from all regions (
figure 7,
table 1). These figures, and the appendix (pp 26''30, 43''44, 52''53, and 56, which provides out-of-sample model validation), suggest that our modelled estimates fit the data, where available.
Our analysis echoes that of another paper in highlighting critical AMR data gaps in several regions.
65Oldenkamp R Schultsz C Mancini E Cappuccio A Filling the gaps in the global prevalence map of clinical antimicrobial resistance.
There are many well described barriers to good-quality clinical bacteriology in LMICs, and proper quality assurance and quality-control measures are crucial for quality care and accurate laboratory-based surveillance.
66Ombelet S Ronat J-B Walsh T et al.Clinical bacteriology in low-resource settings: today's solutions.
Many lab-based surveillance systems are not linked to patient diagnoses or outcomes, limiting the inferences that are possible to obtain from such data. Selection bias in how samples get incorporated into surveillance systems; scarcity of laboratory facilities to test for AMR and other challenges in identifying AMR;
17Dunachie SJ Day NP Dolecek C The challenges of estimating the human global burden of disease of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.
insufficient data linking prevalence of resistance to infectious syndrome, underlying cause, and outcome; barriers to sharing data that have been collected; and other data-linking and data optimisation issues continue to complicate the assessment and interpretation of the results in many cases.
A second limitation of our study was the several potential sources of bias we noted when combining and standardising data from a wide variety of providers. Our estimates of the proportion of infections that were community acquired versus hospital acquired for lower respiratory and thorax infections and urinary tract infections were based on the coding of data from multiple causes of death and hospital discharge data. This approach could lead to misclassification, since the criteria used in this coding are not strictly related to community versus hospital acquisition. In future iterations of the project, we hope to improve on the identification of community-acquired and hospital-acquired infections.
Additionally, no universal laboratory standard exists to demarcate resistance versus susceptibility, and we often had to defer to laboratory interpretation to classify the isolates in our data, resulting in heterogeneous classification. Whenever possible, we classified resistance using the most recent CLSI guidelines based on the minimum inhibitory concentrations provided in the data; however, CLSI breakpoints have changed over time, and many datasets did not provide sufficient detail to allow for retrospective reanalysis of the data.
67Humphries RM Abbott AN Hindler JA Understanding and addressing CLSI breakpoint revisions: a primer for clinical laboratories.
Finally, there is a possibility of selection bias in passive microbial surveillance data, particularly if cultures are not routinely drawn. It might be that, in certain locations, cultures are drawn only if a patient does not respond to initial antibiotic therapy, which might lead to an overestimate of the prevalence of resistance. Furthermore, in LMICs, hospital microbial data might skew towards more urban populations or more severe disease, which might not be representative of the broader population. We also received various data from tertiary care facilities; although we adjusted for bias in the prevalence of resistance data collected from these sources, much of our data came from mixed-classification or unclassifiable facilities, so it is possible that we did not fully adjust for all potential tertiary bias. Further limitations specific to each modelling component can be found in the
appendix (pp 119''20).
Despite these limitations, this study is the most comprehensive analysis of bacterial AMR burden to date, reflecting the best and widest range of available data and the use of models that have been tested and iterated over years of GBD analysis to incorporate disparate data sources. Individually, these sources do not fully address the burden of AMR but, when used collectively, they provide a more complete estimate with robust geographical coverage. To our knowledge, our study is the first to report burden both attributable to and associated with AMR for an extensive list of pathogens and pathogen''drug combinations, with global and regional findings based on estimates for 204 countries and territories. In the future, these estimates could be used to better inform treatment guidelines. The dominant bacterial pathogens for a given infectious syndrome and the antibiotics that would offer effective treatment could be identified using the data for this study, which, along with estimates of pathogen''drug burden, could be used to inform empirical syndromic treatment guidelines tailored to a specific location.
Our analysis clearly shows that bacterial AMR is a major global health problem. It poses the largest threat to human health in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia, but it is important in all regions. A diverse set of pathogens are involved, and resistance is high for multiple classes of essential agents, including beta-lactams and fluoroquinolones. Efforts to build laboratory infrastructure are paramount to addressing the large and universal burden of AMR, by improving the management of individual patients and the quality of data in local and global AMR surveillance and bolstering national AMR plans of action. Enhanced infrastructure would also expand AMR research in the future to evaluate the indirect effects of AMR, such as the effect of AMR on perioperative prophylaxis or prophylaxis of infections in transplant recipients, the effects of AMR on transmission, the impact and prevalence of specific variants evaluated through genotypic epidemiology, and more. Identifying strategies that can work to reduce the burden of bacterial AMR'--either across a wide range of settings or those that are specifically tailored to the resources available and leading pathogen''drug combinations in a particular setting'--is an urgent priority.
Antimicrobial Resistance Collaborators
Christopher J L Murray, Kevin Shunji Ikuta, Fablina Sharara, Lucien Swetschinski, Gisela Robles Aguilar, Authia Gray, Chieh Han, Catherine Bisignano, Puja Rao, Eve Wool, Sarah C Johnson, Annie J Browne, Michael Give Chipeta, Frederick Fell, Sean Hackett, Georgina Haines-Woodhouse, Bahar H Kashef Hamadani, Emmanuelle A P Kumaran, Barney McManigal, Ramesh Agarwal, Samuel Akech, Samuel Albertson, John Amuasi, Jason Andrews, Aleskandr Aravkin, Elizabeth Ashley, Freddie Bailey, Stephen Baker, Buddha Basnyat, Adrie Bekker, Rose Bender, Adhisivam Bethou, Julia Bielicki, Suppawat Boonkasidecha, James Bukosia, Cristina Carvalheiro, Carlos Casta±eda-Orjuela, Vilada Chansamouth, Suman Chaurasia, Sara Chiurchi¹, Fazle Chowdhury, Aislinn J Cook, Ben Cooper, Tim R Cressey, Elia Criollo-Mora, Matthew Cunningham, Saffiatou Darboe, Nicholas P J Day, Maia De Luca, Klara Dokova, Angela Dramowski, Susanna J Dunachie, Tim Eckmanns, Daniel Eibach, Amir Emami, Nicholas Feasey, Natasha Fisher-Pearson, Karen Forrest, Denise Garrett, Petra Gastmeier, Ababi Zergaw Giref, Rachel Claire Greer, Vikas Gupta, Sebastian Haller, Andrea Haselbeck, Simon I Hay, Marianne Holm, Susan Hopkins, Kenneth C Iregbu, Jan Jacobs, Daniel Jarovsky, Fatemeh Javanmardi, Meera Khorana, Niranjan Kissoon, Elsa Kobeissi, Tomislav Kostyanev, Fiorella Krapp, Ralf Krumkamp, Ajay Kumar, Hmwe H Kyu, Cherry Lim, Direk Limmathurotsakul, Michael James Loftus, Miles Lunn, Jianing Ma, Neema Mturi, Tatiana Munera-Huertas, Patrick Musicha, Marisa Marcia Mussi-Pinhata, Tomoka Nakamura, Ruchi Nanavati, Sushma Nangia, Paul Newton, Chanpheaktra Ngoun, Amanda Novotney, Davis Nwakanma, Christina W Obiero, Antonio Olivas-Martinez, Piero Olliaro, Ednah Ooko, Edgar Ortiz-Brizuela, Anton Yariv Peleg, Carlo Perrone, Nishad Plakkal, Alfredo Ponce-de-Leon, Mathieu Raad, Tanusha Ramdin, Amy Riddell, Tamalee Roberts, Julie Victoria Robotham, Anna Roca, Kristina E Rudd, Neal Russell, Jesse Schnall, John Anthony Gerard Scott, Madhusudhan Shivamallappa, Jose Sifuentes-Osornio, Nicolas Steenkeste, Andrew James Stewardson, Temenuga Stoeva, Nidanuch Tasak, Areerat Thaiprakong, Guy Thwaites, Claudia Turner, Paul Turner, H Rogier van Doorn, Sithembiso Velaphi, Avina Vongpradith, Huong Vu, Timothy Walsh, Seymour Waner, Tri Wangrangsimakul, Teresa Wozniak, Peng Zheng, Benn Sartorius, Alan D Lopez, Andy Stergachis, Catrin Moore*, Christiane Dolecek*, Mohsen Naghavi.
*Contributed equally.
Affiliations
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (Prof C J L Murray DPhil, K S Ikuta MD, F Sharara MS, L Swetschinski MSc, A Gray BS, C Han BA, C Bisignano MPH, P Rao MPH, E Wool MPH, S C Johnson MSc, S Albertson BS, A Aravkin PhD, R Bender BS, M Cunningham MSc, Prof S I Hay FMedSci, H H Kyu PhD, J Ma MS, A Novotney MPH, A Vongpradith BA, P Zheng PhD, A Stergachis PhD), Department of Health Metrics Sciences, School of Medicine (Prof C J L Murray, A Aravkin, Prof S I Hay, B Sartorius PhD, Prof M Naghavi PhD), Department of Applied Mathematics (A Aravkin), Department of Global Health (A Stergachis, Prof M Naghavi), Department of Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy (A Stergachis), University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA; Department of Infectious Diseases (K S Ikuta), Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Department of Infectious Diseases (K S Ikuta), University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Nuffield Department of Medicine, Big Data Institute (F Bailey MBChB, A Browne MPH, M Chipeta PhD, F Fell MSc, N Fisher-Pearson BA, S Hackett PhD, G Haines-Woodhouse MRes, E Kobeissi MPH, E Kumaran MSc, M Lunn BSc, B McManigal PhD, C E Moore DPhil, P Olliaro PhD, G Robles Aguilar DPhil), Nuffield Department of Medicine, Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health (E Ashley FRCPath, V Chansamouth MSc, B Cooper PhD, Prof C Dolecek FRCP, S Dunachie PhD, B Kashef Hamadani MPH, C Lim MSc, Prof D Limmathurotsakul PhD, P Newton FRCP, C Perrone MD, G Thwaites FMedSci, P Turner FRCPath, B Sartorius PhD, N Day DM, R Greer MRCGP, H van Doorn PhD, T Wangrangsimakul FRCPath), Ineos Oxford Institute of Antimicrobial Research (Prof T Walsh DSc), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Department of Pediatrics (R Agarwal DM), All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India; Health Services Research Unit (S Akech PhD), Nairobi Programme (J Bukosia MSc), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)'--Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Nairobi, Kenya; Department of Global Health (J Amuasi PhD), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Global Health and Infectious Diseases (J Amuasi), Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine, Kumasi, Ghana; Department of Medicine (J Andrews MD), Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA; Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (E Ashley, V Chansamouth, P Newton, T Roberts PhD), Mahosot Hospital, Vientiane, Laos; Department of Medicine (S Baker PhD), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK; Oxford University Clinical Research Unit-Nepal (B Basnyat FRCPE), Oxford University, Kathmandu, Nepal; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health (A Bekker PhD, A Dramowski PhD), Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa; Department of Neonatology (A Bethou PhD, N Plakkal MD), Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry, India; Paediatric Infectious Disease Department (J Bielicki PhD), University of Basel Children's Hospital, Basel, Switzerland; Paediatric Infectious Diseases Research Group (J Bielicki, A J Cook MSc, A Riddell PhD, N Russell MBBS), Institute for Infection and Immunity (T Munera-Huertas PhD), St George's University of London, London, UK; Department of Pediatrics (S Boonkasidecha MD, M Khorana MD), Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health, Bangkok, Thailand; Department of Pediatrics (C Carvalheiro PhD), University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, Brazil; Colombian National Health Observatory (C Casta±eda-Orjuela MD), Instituto Nacional de Salud, Bogota, Colombia; Epidemiology and Public Health Evaluation Group (C Casta±eda-Orjuela), Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia; Department of Neonatology (S Chaurasia PhD), All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, India; Immunology and Infectious Disease Unit Academic Department of Pediatrics (S Chiurchi¹ MD), Academic Hospital Pediatric Department (M De Luca MD), Bambino Ges¹ Children's Hospital, Rome, Italy; Internal Medicine (F Chowdhury PhD), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit (F Chowdhury, Prof C Dolecek), Faculty of Tropical Medicine (N P J Day, C Perrone), Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand; Nuffield Department of Medicine (B Cooper PhD), University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; PHPT-AMS Research Unit (T R Cressey PhD), Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand; Department of Molecular & Clinical Pharmacology (T R Cressey), University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK; Department of Pharmacy (E Criollo-Mora BSc), Department of Medicine (A Olivas-Martinez MD, E Ortiz-Brizuela MSc), Department of Infectious Diseases (A Ponce-de-Leon MD), Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion Salvador Zubiran, Mexico City, Mexico; Disease Control and Elimination Department (S Darboe MSc, A Roca PhD), Clinical Services Department (K Forrest FRCP), Laboratory Services Department (D Nwakanma PhD), Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Banjul, The Gambia; Department of Social Medicine and Health Care Organization (K Dokova PhD), Department of Microbiology and Virology (T Stoeva PhD), Medical University of Varna, Varna, Bulgaria; Infectious Disease Epidemiology (T Eckmanns PhD, S Haller MPH), Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany; Infectious Disease Epidemiology (D Eibach MD, R Krumkamp DrPH), Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany; Microbiology Department (A Emami PhD), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran; Clinical Sciences (N Feasey PhD), Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK; Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme, Blantyre, Malawi (N Feasey); Applied Epidemiology Programs (D Garrett MD), Sabin Vaccine Institute, Washington, DC, USA; Institute of Hygiene (Prof P Gastmeier MD), Charit(C) University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Department of Health Policy and Management (A Z Giref PhD), Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; National Data Management Center (A Z Giref), Ethiopian Public Health Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Chiangrai Clinical Research Unit (R C Greer, T Wangrangsimakul), Department of Microbiology (S Dunachie, C Lim, Prof D Limmathurotsakul, N Tasak BNS, A Thaiprakong BS), Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Bangkok, Thailand; MMS Medical Affairs (V Gupta PharmD), Becton, Dickinson and Company, Franklin Lakes, NJ, USA; Epidemiology & Public Health Research Department (A Haselbeck Dr rer medic, M Holm PhD), International Vaccine Institute, Seoul, South Korea; National Infection Service (S Hopkins FRCP), Antimicrobrial Resistance Division (J V Robotham PhD), Public Health England, London, UK; Department of Medical Microbiology (K C Iregbu MD), National Hospital, Abuja, Nigeria; Department of Medical Microbiology (K C Iregbu), University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria; Department of Clinical Sciences (Prof J Jacobs PhD), Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium; Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Transplantation (Prof J Jacobs), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; Pediatric Infectious Disease Department (D Jarovsky MD), Santa Casa de S£o Paulo, S£o Paulo, Brazil; Microbiology Department (F Javanmardi PhDc), Shiraz University of Medical sciences, Shiraz, Iran; Department of Pediatrics (N Kissoon MBBS), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada; Laboratory of Medical Microbiology (T Kostyanev MD), University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium; Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt (F Krapp MSc), Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru; Department of Neonatology (A Kumar MD, S Nangia MD), Lady Hardinge Medical College & Kalawati Saran's Children's Hospital, New Delhi, India; Department of Infectious Diseases (M J Loftus MBBS, A Y Peleg PhD, A J Stewardson PhD), Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Clinical Research Department (N Mturi MRCPCH, C W Obiero MPH), KEMRI'--Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya (E Ooko PhD); Parasites and Microbes Programme (P Musicha PhD), Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK; Deparment of Pediatrics (M M Mussi-Pinhata MD), University of S£o Paulo, Ribeir£o Preto, Brazil; Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals (T Nakamura MSPH), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (T Nakamura), London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Department of Neonatology (R Nanavati MD), Seth GSMC & KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India; Medical Department (C Ngoun MD), Executive Office (C Turner FRCPCH), Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit (P Turner), Angkor Hospital for Children, Siem Reap, Cambodia; Department of Global Health (C W Obiero), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Infectious Disease Department (A Y Peleg, A J Stewardson), The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia; Department of Medicine (A Ponce-de-Leon), Universidad Panamericana, Mexico City, Mexico; International Operations Department (M Raad MD), International Operations Direction (N Steenkeste PhD), Fondation M(C)rieux, Lyon, France; Department of Paediatric and Child Health (T Ramdin MBBCh), University of Witwatersrand, Parktown, South Africa; Department of Critical Care Medicine (K E Rudd MD), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Doctors in Training (J Schnall MBBS), Austin Health, Heidelberg, VIC, Australia; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology (Prof J A G Scott FMedSci), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK; Department of Epidemiology & Demography (Prof J A G Scott), KEMRI'--Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya; Department of Neonatology (M Shivamallappa DM), King Edward Memorial Hospital Mumbai, Mumbai, India; Department of Medicine (J Sifuentes-Osornio MD), Instituto Nactional de Ciencias Medicas, Mexico City, Mexico; Microbiology Laboratory (T Stoeva), Varna University Hospital, Varna, Bulgaria; Oxford University Clinical Research Unit Viet Nam (G Thwaites, H Vu PhD), University of Oxford, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit, Siem Reap, Cambodia (C Turner); Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Hanoi, Vietnam (H R van Doorn); School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences (S Velaphi PhD), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics (S Velaphi), Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Microbiology (S Waner MMed), Lancet Laboratories, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Global Tropical Health (T Wozniak PhD), Menzies School of Health Research, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
Contributors
Detailed information about individual author contributions to the research are available in the
appendix (pp 65''66). Members of the core research team for this topic area had full access to the underlying data used to generate estimates presented in this paper. All other authors had access to, and reviewed, estimates as part of the research evaluation process, which includes additional stages of formal review.
Data sharing Citations for the data used in the study can be accessed from the Global Health Data Exchange AMR website. Access to the data are also provided as data use agreements permit.
Declaration of interestsE Ashley reports that Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital'--Wellcome Trust Research Unit received financial support from the Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance Project (GRAM) to extract and prepare data for the present manuscript. J Bielicki reports grants from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, Horizon 2020, and Swiss National Science Foundation, and a contract from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), outside of the submitted work; and consulting fees from Shionogi and Sandoz and speaking fees from Pfizer and Sandoz, outside the submitted work. C Carvalheiro reports financial support for the present manuscript from the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, who provided payments to Funda§£o de Apoio ao Ensino, Pesquisa e Assistªncia of the Clinical Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeir£o Preto, University of S£o Paulo, Brazil. S Dunachie reports financial support for the present manuscript from UL Flemming Fund at the Department of Health and Social Care, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Wellcome Trust; a paid membership role for the Wellcome Trust Vaccines Advisory Selection Panel Vaccines and AMR in November, 2019; and an unpaid role as an expert adviser to WHO's Global Antimicrobrial Resistance Surveillance System, from November, 2018 onwards, outside the submitted work. A Haselbeck reports support for the present manuscript from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1205877). C Lim was supported by the Wellcome Trust Training Fellowship between September, 2017 and March 2020 (206736/Z/17/Z), outside the submitted work. M Mussi-Pinhata reports support for the present manuscript from research from grant funding from Fondazione PENTA'--Onlus and the Clinical Trial Manager Global Antibiotic R&D Partnership (GARDP). P Newton reports support for the present manuscript from research grant funding from the Wellcome Trust. J Robotham is a member of the UK Government Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Prescribing Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections, outside the submitted work. J Scott reports that the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) received financial support from Emory University to support CHAMPS projects in Ethiopia for the present manuscript; reports a paid fellowship from the Wellcome Trust, research grants from Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and NIHR paid to LSHTM, and an African research leader fellowship paid to LSHTM by the Medical Research Council, outside the submitted work; and reports being a member of the data safety and monitoring board for PATH Vaccines Solutions for SII PCV10 in The Gambia. J Sifuentes-Osornio reports financial support from Oxford University for the present manuscript; research grants from Oxford, CONACYT, Sanofi, and Novartis, outside of the study; consulting fees from Senosiain and speaker fees from Merck, outside of the study; and membership of the Sanofi advisory board of COVID-19 Vaccine Development, which is currently in progress, outside of the study. A J Stewardson reports grants or contracts from Merck, Sharp, & Dohme paid to Monash University, Melbourne, outside of the study. P Turner reports grants, consulting fees, and support for attending meetings or travel from Wellcome Trust, outside the study. H van Doorn reports grants or contracts from the University of Oxford and is the principal investigator for the Fleming Fund pilot grant; and he is a board member of Wellcome Trust's Surveillance and Epidemiology of Drug Resistant Infections. T Walsh reports financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the BARNARDS (neonatal sepsis and mortality) study for the present manuscript. All other authors declare no competing interests.
Acknowledgments
Funding was provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (OPP1176062), the Wellcome Trust (A126042), and the UK Department of Health and Social Care using UK aid funding managed by the Fleming Fund (R52354 CN001). E Ashley acknowledges that Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital''Wellcome Trust Research Unit receives core funding from Wellcome (20211/Z/20/Z). N Feasey acknowledges that the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme diagnostic microbiology service is funded by a Wellcome Asia and Africa Programme grant. S Dunachie acknowledges funding from NIHR Global Research Professorship (NIHR300791). F Krapp was supported by Framework Agreement Belgian Directorate of Development Cooperation-Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp. M Khorana and S Boonkasidecha would like to acknowledge GARDP. A Peleg acknowledges the support from an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Practitioner Fellowship. A Stewardson is supported by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Early Career Fellowship (GNT1141398). P Turner acknowledges that the Cambodia Oxford Medical Research Unit is part of the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit Tropical Health Network and is core funded by Wellcome (220211/Z/20/Z). T Wangrangsimakul acknowledges funding from the Wellcome Trust, as part of the MORU Tropical Health Network institutional funding support. The Medical Research Council Unit'--The Gambia at the LSHTM acknowledges all the staff in the microbiology clinical laboratory for their support. We acknowledge The Australian Group for Antimicrobial Resistance, and The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, Sydney, Australia. We acknowledge John Murray, Becton, Dickinson and Company. We give thanks to the late Rattanaphone Phetsouvanh, the Lao Ministry of Health, and the Directorate of Mahosot Hospital who enabled the collection and sharing of Lao data, Vientiane, Lao People's Democratic Republic. We thank Sabrina Bacci, Liselotte Diaz H¶gberg, Marlena Kaczmarek, Maria Keramarou, Favelle Lamb, Dominique L Monnet, Gianfranco Spiteri, Carl Suetens, Therese Westrell and Klaus Weist at the ECDC, Solna, Sweden, for providing information on databases and discussions on data interpretation. We acknowledge Jennifer R Verani and team, CDC, Nairobi, Kenya; Allan Audi and team, Centre for Global Health Research, KEMRI, Kisumu, Kenya. We acknowledge Jepht(C) Kaleb and Giscard Wilfried Koyaweda, National Laboratory of Clinical Biology and Public Health, Bangui, Central African Republic. We acknowledge Tien Viet Dung Vu and Nguyen Minh Trang Nghiem, Oxford University Clinical Research Unit, Wellcome Africa Asia Programme, National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Hanoi, Vietnam; and the VINARES Consortium. We acknowledge the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. We acknowledge Samuel Akech, Ednah Ooko, James Bukosia, Neema Mturi, J Anthony G Scott, Philip Bejon, Lynette Isabella Oyier, Salim Mwarumba, Esther Muthumbi, Christina Obiero, Robert Musyimi, Shebe Mohammed, Caroline Ogwang, Christopher Maronga, Ambrose Agweyu, KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya. We acknowledge scientific contributions to this work from the Pan American Health Organization. We would like to acknowledge the scientific contributions made from the GRAM advisory committee, specifically Neil Ferguson and Sharon Peacock. We would like to acknowledge Tomislav Mestrovic for his significant contributions to this manuscript and the overall research enterprise. We thank the Kenya Medical Research Institute, United States Army Medical Research Directorate-Africa, Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya; we acknowledge the International Nosocomial Infection Control Consortium, Buenos Aires, Argentina; we would like to thank the CHILDS Trust Medical Research Foundation, Chennai, India; we acknowledge the Childhood Acute Illness & Nutrition Network investigators; we thank Institut Pasteur and Laboratoire National de Biologie Clinique et de Sant(C) Publique in Bangui, Central African Republic; we would like to acknowledge the Global Tuberculosis Programme of WHO, Geneva, Switzerland; we thank the SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program, JMI Laboratories, North Liberty, Iowa, USA; we acknowledge the Sihanouk Hospital Center of Hope, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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IdentificationDOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02724-0
Copyright(C) 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd.
User License Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) | ScienceDirectAccess this article on ScienceDirect Linked ArticlesThe overlooked pandemic of antimicrobial resistance As COVID-19 rages on, the pandemic of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) continues in the shadows. The toll taken by AMR on patients and their families is largely invisible but is reflected in prolonged bacterial infections that extend hospital stays and cause needless deaths.1 Moreover, AMR disproportionately affects poor individuals who have little access to second-line, more expensive antibiotics that could work when first-line drugs fail.
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Aircraft Operations and Radar Altimeter Interference from 5G - ALPA
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January 19, 2022
As this is a developing situation, ALPA will update this page with additional operational resources and information for pilots as they become available. Learn more about this issue.
BackgroundIn early 2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) awarded the mobile wireless industry radio spectrum to operate 5G transmissions in the ''C-Band,'' or 3.7-3.98 GHz, adjacent to the spectrum used by radar altimeters. This approval was made despite the aviation industry informing the FCC since 2018 of the need to ensure that radar altimeters are protected from 5G interference.
In the United States, wireless broadband deployment was originally scheduled to begin on December 5, 2021. After high-level talks, mobile wireless has agreed with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to delay broadcast of C-Band 5G until January 19, 2022. Mobile wireless further agreed on January 18, 2022, to not turn 5G transmitters on within about 2NM of airport runways, which will allow access to more airports for aircraft with AMOCs. In the meantime, FAA, FCC, mobile wireless, and aviation (including ALPA) will be working to find a way forward that ensures safety first and foremost, but also tries to avoid mass disruptions to passenger and cargo airline flights. The 5G signals in the United States are at higher power levels than any other deployment currently in use elsewhere in the world and also with closer proximity to airports.
Canada has also approved 5G in the C-Band, but with restrictions against using C-Band in the vicinity of 26 airports and other measures to ensure aviation safety.
Keep reading for guidance for both U.S. and Canadian airline operations.
Flight Safety ConcernsRadar altimeter interference from 5G signals can take the form of loss of radar altitude information or, worse, incorrect radar altitude information unknowingly being generated. There have been fatal accidents associated with incorrect radar altitude, most recently Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 in Amsterdam in 2009.
Altitude information derived from radar altimeters has been deeply integrated into aircraft systems and automation, with the latest aircraft using it to change aircraft handling qualities and prepare systems such as ground spoilers and thrust reversers for deployment prior to touchdown. This is in addition to radio altimeter use for autoland and in Category (CAT) II/III and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) AR approaches.
FAA Actions and Operational Updates On November 2, 2021, the FAA issued a special airworthiness information bulletin (SAIB) alerting operators to the potential for severe restrictions in flight operations to ensure safety. An updated version, SAIB AIR-21-18R1, was published on December 23, 2021. On December 9, 2021, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) covering all transport category aircraft. The AD requires the following Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) revision that prohibits the following operations in the presence of possible 5G interference: Figure 1 to paragraph (g)'--AFM Revision (Required by AD 2021-23-12)Radio Altimeter Flight Restrictions When operating in U.S. airspace, the following operations requiring radio altimeter are prohibited in the presence of 5G C-Band wireless broadband interference as identified by NOTAM (NOTAMs will be issued to state the specific airports where the radio altimeter is unreliable due to the presence of 5G C-Band wireless broadband interference):
Instrument Landing System (ILS) Instrument Approach Procedures (IAP) SA CAT I, SA CAT II, CAT II, and CAT III Required Navigation Performance (RNP) Procedures with Authorization Required (AR), RNP AR IAP Automatic Landing operations Manual Flight Control Guidance System operations to landing/head-up display (HUD) to touchdown operation Use of Enhanced Flight Vision System (EFVS) to touchdown under 14 CFR 91.176(a) On December 23, 2021, the FAA issued Safety Alert for Operators 21007 (12): Describes some of the other aircraft systems that may be affected by C-Band 5G interference on radar altimeters and also contains examples of 5G interference NOTAMs. On January 4, 2022, the FAA published a list of 50 airports where mobile wireless will transmit at reduced power for a period of 6 months (until July 6, 2022). On January 13, 2022, the FAA issued NOTAMS for all airports and approaches that are restricted by the AD. ALPA has downloaded the full list (view Excel file), which was valid at the time it was downloaded, but pilots should check the latest NOTAMs before flight. Guidance and Limitations by Aircraft ManufacturersIt is further anticipated that, depending on the aircraft, aircraft manufactures may identify additional limitations on specific aircraft. If they do, the FAA may restrict the use of other aircraft systems with additional ADs. The limitations imposed by the ADs protect operations by preventing the most critical hazards from occurring in the case of radar altimeter interference.
Airbus has issued Flight Operations Transmission 999.0002/22 (01/10/2022) which describes the currently understood effects of radar altimeter anomalies. Guidance is provided for A320 family, A330, and A340 aircraft for handing these anomalies. No effects are currently expected for A300/A310, A350, and A380 aircraft. FAA will be issuing Airworthiness Directive 2022-02-16 specific to the Boeing B787 which affects the MEL and operational procedures associated with Landing Systems and Landing Distance Calculations. This AD will be published on Wednesday 1/19/2022 and will be effective upon publication. B787 crews should be receiving a bulletin which covers these Airplane Flight Manual changes. Boeing has issued a Multi-Operator Message (MOM) for Boeing B737 MAX models, outlining high-level pending operational procedures changes for thrust reversers and speedbrake deployment for takeoff and landing, as well as additional vigiliance around autopilot and autothrottle behavior. Embraer Flight Operations Letter 170-001/22 and Operational Bulletin 170-001/22 (01/02/2022): Describe the possible effects of C-Band 5G interference on its E170, E175, E190, and E195 aircraft. Note: The FAA has not yet issued ADs based on these bulletins. Additional restrictions or limitations will be listed here when they are published.Alternate Methods of Compliance The FAA has developed a process by which better performing radar altimeters that are able to reject 5G interference can be approved to operate without regard to the AD and NOTAMs. These Alternate Methods of Compliance (AMOC) approvals will be specific to a combination of aircraft model and radar altimeter model.
The method of approval will take into consideration the performance of the aircraft/radar altimeter combination, as well as the location and power of the 5G transmitter in the vicinity of the airport. Therefore, the AMOCs are being issued with a list of airports where they are effective.
As of 1/19/2022, FAA has approved AMOCs for several models of radar altimeters, installed on Boeing 717, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, MD-10/-11 and Airbus A300, A310, A319, A320, A321, A330, A340, A350, and A380 models. These AMOCs are limited to certain airports and specific models of radar altimeters. Pilots should ensure that they have AMOC documentation for their aircraft and airport (e.g. in a dispatch release) before operating at an airport without regard to the 5G AD/NOTAM.Additional ALPA RecommendationsIt is critical for pilots to be aware of and comply with any restrictions imposed via AD, AFM, and NOTAMs by the FAA and airline. The flight manual restrictions from the airworthiness directive coupled with NOTAMs that inform of the presence of 5G (C-Band) or restrictions of specific instrument procedures are important triggers, that pilots must carefully evaluate their aircraft's ability to be safely operated and determine what additional contingencies must be considered.
During flight planning and advanced preparation, consider whether the weather forecast allows for the use of the available instrument approach procedures, should an alternate airport be required. Alternate airports may need to be selected that are further away from the intended destination and may impact fuel loading plans significantly.
Follow company guidance for operating in the 5G interference areas and actively pursue information from your air carrier when you have questions.
Pilots are also advised to:
Always err on the side of caution. Reinforce to passengers that all phones must be in airplane mode. Know the equipage of the specific aircraft you will be flying, and any limitations. Remember that air traffic control (ATC) doesn't know the capabilities or limitations of the aircraft you are operating. Inform ATC of your limitations as needed and be prepared to utilize ''unable.'' Read the AD and NOTAMs very carefully for your airports and alternates. The AD and NOTAMs will discuss very specific combinations of approaches and aircraft functions that are not authorized. In addition, the NOTAMs may change rapidly on a daily or weekly basis as further data is analyzed. It is imperative a thorough review of the NOTAMs is conducted before each flight. Have documentation of any AMOC that allows the AD/NOTAM to be disregarded. Utilize dispatch to carefully screen what limits are in place for the airports and alternates, including Weather and forecasts and Fuel load and contingency plans for diversion and ATC flow control actions. Be especially aware of any anomalies during operations below 5,000 feet AGL. Follow any guidance provided by your airline and, in the case of conflicting guidance, follow the airline procedures.Report Radar Altimeter AnomaliesIf a radar altimeter anomaly is seen in operations:
Report issues immediately to ATC. Report any issues or experiences via ASAP/SMS after the flight is complete. Also, after flight completion, submit a radar altimeter anomaly report: US pilots are requested to file an FAA anomaly report. Canadian pilots are also requested to report any anomalies to Transport Canada. The form requires input from both the Pilot-In-Command and the airline operator. Fill out Parts 1 and 3 of this form, then submit to your airline using the process established by the airline. In the event that a company does not have a process set up to fill out Part 2 of this form, ALPA recommends that pilots send the partial report to Transport Canada to the e-mail address at the bottom of the form. ALPA would also appreciate a DART report on the radar altimeter anomaly. Find DART on the ALPA app or at dart.alpa.org.Canadian OperationsCanadian Aviation Regulation 605.84 already requires US-type-certificated aircraft registered in Canada to comply with US ADs when operating in the US. Transport Canada has additionally issued Canadian Airworthiness Directive CF-2021-52 extending this requirement to all Canadian-registered aircraft that fly in the US, and Canadian members are therefore also prohibited from performing the operations listed above on this page when the appropriate NOTAMs are in effect.
Canada has also approved 5G in the C-Band but with restrictions against using C-Band in the vicinity of 26 airports and other measures to ensure aviation safety. Canada is not expected to start 5G service in the C-Band until June 2022 and will initially operate in a lower frequency band (3.45-3.65 GHz). Service in the same frequencies as the United States will start no earlier than 2023.
26 Protected Airports in Canada
Abbotsford
CYXX
Calgary
CYYC
Charlottetown
CYYG
Churchill
CYYQ
Edmonton
CYEG
Fort McMurray
CYMM
Fredericton
CYFC
Gander
CYQX
Moncton
CYQM
Halifax
CYHZ
Iqaluit
CYFB
Hamilton
CYHM
London
CYXU
Montreal Mirabel
CYMX
Montreal Trudeau
CYUL
Ottawa
CYOW
Prince George
CYXS
Quebec City
CYQB
Regina
CYQR
Saskatoon
CYXE
St John's
CYYT
Thunder Bay
CYQT
Toronto
CYYZ
Vancouver
CYVR
Winnipeg
CYWG
Yellowknife
CYZF
View an interactive map showing the location and extent of protected and exclusion zones around these airports.
Any additional restrictions on operations by Transport Canada will be added here as they become available.
In December 2021, the Radio Advisory Board of Canada (RABC) stood up a working group chaired by one representative each from aviation and mobile wireless to work through the technical issues on how C-Band 5G and aviation radar altimeters can coexist. The working group is overseen jointly by Transport Canada and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development (ISED) Canada. ISED is the radio spectrum regulator of Canada. ALPA is a member of this working group.
How 5G Clashed With an Aviation Device Invented in the 1920s - The New York Times
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 10:59
The potential for interference between 5G signals and the radio altimeters long used by pilots has divided the telecom and aviation industries.
The altimeter plays a crucial role in planes, helping pilots determine a jet's altitude and its distance from other objects. Credit... Roger Kisby for The New York Times Jan. 19, 2022
A technological innovation that helped pilots fly fighter jets during World War II is now at the heart of the dispute between airlines and AT&T and Verizon over 5G, an innovative service meant to speed up mobile devices.
The clash has been years in the making and came to a head in the last few weeks. AT&T and Verizon agreed on Tuesday to restrict 5G near airports after airlines warned that potential interference from it could cause a crucial device on planes to malfunction, and force them to cancel flights. Even with the airport restriction, a number of international airlines on Tuesday canceled flights to the United States, though some of those flights were restored.
The instrument in question is a radio altimeter. It was first developed in the 1920s but still plays a crucial role in planes, helping pilots determine a jet's altitude and its distance from other objects. In some planes, altimeter readings are fed directly into automated systems that can act without input from pilots. As aviation experts describe it, the 5G system used by AT&T and Verizon works in similar frequencies to the ones used by altimeters.
''You do not want to be on planes landing without the altimeter working,'' said Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Transportation in charge of researching new technologies. She added that aviation regulators were correct in raising concerns about 5G and were taking appropriate steps to ensure safety.
But telecommunications experts say that there is little or no risk to altimeters from 5G and that the aviation business has had years to prepare for what little risk there is. ''The science is pretty clear '-- it is hard to repeal the laws of physics,'' Tom Wheeler, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, wrote in a piece for the Brookings Institution in November, in which he noted that F.C.C. engineers had found no real cause for concern.
What are aviation safety experts worried about?The altimeter was patented by Lloyd Espenschied, a prolific inventor who spent more than 40 years working for Bell Labs, the celebrated research arm of AT&T. The device functions by sending out radio waves to determine a plane's location relative to the ground and other objects.
If an altimeter's waves don't bounce back because of 5G interference, or can't be distinguished from other nearby waves, the altimeter could give the wrong reading or not function at all, said Peter Lemme, a former Boeing engineer who spent 16 years at the company designing safety systems that relied on altimeters.
A malfunctioning altimeter, for example, could prompt a plane's computers to warn pilots about phantom obstacles or prevent systems from warning pilots of real threats.
The Helicopter Association International held a webinar last week for its members on 5G interference. One of the panelists was Seth Frick, a radar system engineer at Honeywell Aerospace, which makes altimeters for many aircraft, including its own military helicopters. Mr. Frick said Honeywell had found a range of errors, from altimeters ''getting noisy'' to providing no reading, in the company's testing of 5G interference.
''I don't know if there's any cases where we can say there is absolutely no interference,'' Mr. Frick said on the webinar.
Pilots tend to rely on altimeters when visibility is limited by, say, fog. But they are not used in most landings, which is why some wireless experts have dismissed the aviation industry's concerns as hyperbolic. In addition, wireless experts have said most modern altimeters should be able to filter out interference.
''I see why it is a greater concern,'' said Tim Farrar, a wireless industry consultant who has looked at the issue. ''But I am still not convinced you will see any interference.''
Could a malfunctioning altimeter cause other problems? Image The Boeing 737 Max was grounded in 2019 for nearly two years after more than 300 people died in two crashes. Credit... Lindsey Wasson for The New York Times One of aviation safety experts' biggest concerns is that an altimeter malfunctioning because of interference could set off a chain of mistakes by the automated systems and by pilots. Such errors played an important role in the two fatal accidents involving the Boeing 737 Max that led regulators in 2019 to ground that plane for nearly two years.
''This is something that everyone will be more cautious about '-- the impact on aircraft with a high degree of automation '-- because of the problems automated systems caused on the 737 Max,'' Mr. Farrar said.
Some experts said they were most worried about 5G interference with the Boeing 787, a larger plane that is typically used on long, international flights.
Altimeters are a key part of the 787's landing system, turning on the reverse thrusters that slow the plane once it has landed. Mr. Lemme said a Boeing patent suggested that the function was totally automated, meaning that even a pilot landing a 787 manually would not be able to reverse the plane's thrusters if the altimeter malfunctioned. The 787's landing gear brakes, which are triggered by weight, would still function, as would its wing spoilers, which are only partly controlled by altimeter readings. But Mr. Lemme said a lack of reverse thrusters would make it difficult for pilots to stop planes before they reached the end of the runway.
''You absolutely could have some planes running through runways,'' he said.
Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.
The F.A.A. on Friday issued a notification that it had detected ''anomalies'' that ''regardless of weather or approach'' could cause 5G interference to affect a number of the 787's automated systems. ''The presence of 5G C-band interference can result in degraded deceleration performance, increased landing distance and runway excursion,'' the agency said. The notification covers 137 787s in the United States and more than 1,010 worldwide.
Why weren't these concerns addressed earlier?AT&T and Verizon's decision to temporarily limit their new 5G network within two miles of airports should address many of these safety concerns '-- at least for now. But the start of 5G has been years in the making, raising questions about why airlines, the F.A.A., the wireless companies and the F.C.C. did not resolve them earlier.
Ms. Furchtgott-Roth said previous warnings from aviation experts had been ignored. She said that in December 2020, the Transportation Department sent a letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration warning that allowing 5G to operate in its proposed frequency band would cause problems for flight safety systems. She said that letter was never passed along to the F.C.C. and to wireless companies.
Instead, the F.C.C., relying on its own research that cleared 5G of safety concerns, went ahead with a planned auction. In February, carriers bid more than $80 billion to use that portion of the wireless spectrum for 5G.
''Wireless carriers have a right to expect a return on their investment,'' Ms. Furchtgott-Roth said. ''But you should be very happy that the F.A.A. is taking a strong stance to ensure people's safety.''
Still, wireless experts, including some officials at the F.C.C. like Brendan Carr, a Republican member of the commission, dismiss the warnings from the F.A.A. and airlines, arguing that 5G interference does not pose a safety risk.
What happens now?Ms. Furchtgott-Roth, who teaches transportation economics at George Washington University, said that to fully resolve the issue each plane model had to be tested. ''Can't say the newer ones are going to work and the older ones are not going to work,'' she said. ''In some cases, it's the opposite.'' The F.A.A. says it has already cleared 62 percent of the commercial fleet in the United States.
The airline industry has been working on new standards for radio altimeters that would address the 5G interference and other issues. But those standards are not scheduled to be released until October and would apply only to new altimeters. The F.A.A. has approved five models of altimeters as 5G compliant in the past week, but the approvals are based on the combination of altimeter and plane model, and no altimeters have been approved for use in 787s.
''The most likely solution is swap out the altimeters,'' said Mr. Lemme, the former Boeing engineer, adding that could take years.
Upgrading altimeters could cost billions of dollars. Airlines do not want to bear that burden, and neither do the wireless companies.
In his Brookings Institution piece, Mr. Wheeler, the former F.C.C. chair, outlined three sources of potential funding: The government could spend some of the $82 billion it received from selling 5G frequencies to the wireless companies; the wireless industry could be forced to pay additional fees for use of those frequencies; or the aviation industry could be forced to pay for the upgrades because it has long known that 5G was coming.
A more immediate solution would be to make permanent the temporary limits that AT&T and Verizon have placed on their 5G networks near airports. Or the companies could reduce the strength of the 5G signals near airports, or redirect antennas in ways that limit or eliminate their impact on planes. These options would probably make 5G networks less useful in those areas, and potentially not available for those who live within the buffer zones of certain airports.
Any solution will have to be negotiated between the airlines and the F.A.A. on one side and wireless companies and the F.C.C. on the other. But the two camps view the problem so differently that reaching agreement could be difficult, said Harold Feld, a senior vice president at Public Knowledge, a research and advocacy group that has received funding from AT&T and Verizon.
''The assumptions for how altimeters and 5G towers are going to interact in the real world from each side are radically different,'' he said.
Biden backs Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell policy tightening plan
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 09:37
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022.
Oliver Contreras | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he supports Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's expected move to start tightening monetary policy and wind down the easy-money measures the central bank used to insulate the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Biden said he respects the Fed's independence, but underscored that the central bank is tasked with taming inflation.
"Covid-19 has created a lot of economic complications, including rapid price increases across the world economy. People see it at the gas pump, the groceries stores, and elsewhere," Biden said in his first news conference of the year.
"The Federal Reserve provided extraordinary support during the crisis for the previous year and a half," the president continued. "Given the strength of our economy and pace of recent price increases, it's appropriate '-- as Fed Chairman Powell has indicated '-- to recalibrate the support that is now necessary."
While Biden's comments were brief and supportive, they were notable given that the Fed is empowered to maximize employment and tame prices as a nonpartisan body.
Former President Donald Trump skirted historical precedent when he repeatedly and publicly berated the Fed's decision-making and past efforts to make it tougher to borrow. Trump's barbs were often personal and tended to ridicule Powell as Fed chief. Trump in 2017 nominated Powell, a Republican, to lead the Fed.
Biden nominated Powell for a second term late last year, a move motivated in part by the Fed chief's efforts to support American business and the financial sector during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The central bank has telegraphed for months that it will soon raise interest rates and has already begun to cut the quantity of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities it buys each month to support the U.S. economy. The moves are designed to make borrowing more expensive for American businesses and curb corporations' appetite for debt.
The Biden administration and the Fed have both come under pressure from upset voters in recent months amid a spike in inflation and increased costs for goods as diverse as meat and used cars.
The Labor Department's latest inflation report showed that U.S. consumers paid 7% more for all goods and services in December than they did 12 months prior. The figure represented the fastest year-over-year price increase since 1982.
Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:The thinking goes that if businesses cannot borrow as much, they will not spend as much, and overall economic activity will cool. Inflation is often a symptom of an overheating economy and a signal that supply and demand are mismatched.
For their part, Democrats and the majority of economists blame the global pandemic for the current rash of inflation. They say it will calm down once supply chain disruptions are resolved.
Other economic metrics, they add, offer a more upbeat outlook for the U.S. economy. Earlier on Wednesday, the White House published a list of records related to the U.S. jobs market and the gains American workers saw in 2021.
Rebounding the the Covid-era recession, the U.S. added a record number of jobs in 2022 with a gain of more than 6 million, according to the latest Labor Department data. The U.S. unemployment rate, meanwhile, dropped from 6.2% when the president took office to 3.9% as of December, the largest single-year drop ever.
Senate will vote on voting rights bills and filibuster rules change
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 21:59
A message for the senate to pass voting rights legislation sponsored by The Declaration for American Democracy, is seen on 3rd Street SW, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
The Senate could decide the fate of sweeping voting rights bills and proposed changes to the chamber's rules Wednesday after months of wrangling over how far Congress needs to go to protect U.S. democracy.
The chamber aims to vote as soon as Wednesday night to advance legislation that would expand early and mail-in voting and make Election Day a national holiday, among a bevy of other reforms. Republicans will block the proposals.
Democrats then plan to vote on changing Senate rules to require a so-called talking filibuster for only the voting rights bills. The change would force GOP senators to actively speak on the Senate floor to block the legislation rather than withhold their support in a vote. If all senators used up their speeches '' each is allowed up to two speeches, with no time limit '' the chamber could pass the proposals with a simple majority.
While the Senate rules tweak would require a simple majority, it is also expected to fail. Two Democrats, Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, have said they will oppose most proposed changes to the filibuster.
"Win, lose or draw, we are going to vote, we are going to vote," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday on the floor of the chamber. "Especially when the issue relates to the beating heart of our democracy, as voting rights does."
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., holds his new conference following the Senate Democrats caucus meeting on voting rights and the filibuster on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
Bill Clark | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
The impasse will likely leave Democrats no closer to passing election reforms they view as vital to preserving ballot access after GOP-led legislatures in states such as Georgia and Texas approved restrictive voting laws last year. Supporters of voting rights legislation around the country '-- particularly voters of color who are expected to disproportionately feel the effects of state laws '-- have urged Democrats to take action before the November midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.
All 50 senators in the Democratic caucus have backed the voting rights bills before the Senate. They have not agreed on the need to scrap the filibuster to pass them.
Democratic leaders including President Joe Biden, who spent more than 30 years in the Senate, have urged the party to get behind the proposed rules changes.
It is unclear now how Democrats will proceed once the voting rights effort fails. Some Republicans have sounded open to reforming the process of counting electoral votes after a presidential election to make it harder to overturn a result.
Changes to the Electoral Count Act would respond specifically to efforts by former President Donald Trump and his allies to reverse Biden's 2020 presidential election victory based on false claims of widespread cheating. After courts rejected Trump's repeated efforts to overturn state results, his allies pressured former Vice President Mike Pence to step in when Congress counted electoral votes on Jan. 6, 2021, the day a mob of Trump supporters overran the Capitol and delayed the transfer of power.
Pence did not try to reverse the presidential result. But the effort by Trump and his allies raised the specter of officials trying to overturn future elections.
Republicans have opposed any legislation that would create more federal guidelines for how states run elections. They have also warned that getting rid of the filibuster would affect how the Senate functions for years to come.
"Today the Senate will need to prevent this factional frenzy from damaging our democracy, damaging the center and damaging our republic forever," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday.
Democrats will try to advance legislation that contains two voting rights bills, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
The first proposal would expand early and absentee voting and make automatic voter registration the national standard. The plan aims to make it easier to comply with state voter ID laws and restore incarcerated people's right to vote after their sentences end.
It would also enshrine Election Day as a national holiday.
The second bill named for the late civil rights activist and congressman aims to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 gutted in a 2013 Supreme Court decision. Shelby County v. Holder invalidated the piece of the law that required certain jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to get the Justice Department's approval before changing voting rules.
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Antiwork: Unemployment for all, not just the rich!
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 21:52
I put in my two week notice 14 days ago. Working as a data management worker, with tons of I/O, in a very unintuitive workflow. It'll take weeks (maybe months) to train a replacement for the custom workflow our system has. I'm the only person in my department, and been working for $17ish an hour for the last 3 years, with laughably small raises. (+- $.20/year)
I asked for a raise to $22/hr toward the end of 2021, and it was rejected, with a counter offer of $18.50. I wrote a letter of resignation and gave it to my boss, who brought up that I had been offered more of a raise than the last 3 years combined, so I didn't need to quit, resignation not accepted. I have a good relationship with him, so I think he thinks he can just order me not to quit. Even so, I'm out. Sorry.
For the last 13 days, I have mentioned every day that I'm leaving on the 19th. Every time, he has told me that I can't leave, because that would be debilitating for all my coworkers, and that maybe I can renegotiate at raise after the first quarter, but leaving now would result in untold losses for the company, implying that I would need to be available after to help transition a new person into my role, and if I didn't, legal action might result.
Yesterday, I didn't say anything. I didn't bring it up, and the work day went forward as usual. Today, I have 9 missed calls from him, but I'm not answering.
There's no way they would/could take legal action, right? I did not submit my letter directly to HR until seven days ago, but got no response.
Was Peter Daszak Working For The Central Intelligence Agency?
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 21:17
Dr. Shi Zhengli, Dr. Peter Daszak, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology''We found other coronaviruses in bats, a whole host of them, some of them looked very similar to SARS. So we sequenced the spike protein: the protein that attaches to cells. Then we'... Well, I didn't do this work, but my colleagues in China did the work. You create pseudo particles, you insert the spike proteins from those viruses, see if they bind to human cells. At each step of this, you move closer and closer to this virus could really become pathogenic in people. You end up with a small number of viruses that really do look like killers."
This statement was said by EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak at a 2016 forum discussing ''emerging infectious diseases and the next pandemic''. Daszak, who received more than $118 million in grants and contracts from federal agencies, including $53 million from USAID, $42 million from DOD, and $15 million from HHS, appeared to boast about the manipulation of ''killer'' SARS-like coronaviruses carried out by his ''colleagues in China'' at the now infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology.
According to investigative research done by independent-journalist Sam Husseini and The Intercept, much of the money awarded to EcoHealth Alliance did not focus on health or ecology, but rather on biowarfare, bioterrorism, and other dangerous uses of deadly pathogens.
EcoHealth Alliance received the majority of its funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a State Department subsidiary that serves as a frequent cover for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Their second largest source of funding was from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), which is a branch of the Department of Defense (DOD) which states it is tasked to ''counter and deter weapons of mass destruction and improvised threat networks.''
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a long history of acting as a contract vehicle for various CIA covert activities. With an annual budget of over $27 billion and operations in over 100 countries, one former USAID director, John Gilligan, once admitted it was ''infiltrated from top to bottom with CIA people.'' Gilligan explained that ''the idea was to plant operatives in every kind of activity we had overseas; government, volunteer, religious, every kind.''
In 2013, a US cable published by WikiLeaks outlined the U.S. strategy to undermine Venezuela's government through USAID by "penetrating Chavez's political base", "dividing Chavismo", and "isolating Chavez internationally." In 2014, the Associated Press disclosed that USAID contracted out a project to develop a rival to Twitter in order to foment a rebellion in Cuba.
From 2009 to 2019, USAID partnered with EcoHealth Alliance on their PREDICT program which identified over 1,200 new viruses, including over 160 coronavirus strains; trained roughly 5,000 people around the world to identify new diseases; and improved or developed 60 research laboratories.
What better way for the CIA to collect intelligence on the world's biological warfare capabilities?
Dr. Andrew Huff received his Ph.D. in Environmental Health specializing in emerging diseases before becoming an Associate Vice President at EcoHealth Alliance, where he developed novel methods of bio-surveillance, data analytics, and visualization for disease detection.
On January 12, 2022, Dr. Andrew Huff issued a public statement (on Twitter) in which he claimed, Peter Daszak, the President of EcoHealth Alliance, told him that he was working for the CIA.
Dr. Andrew Huff's full statement below:
Dr. Huff continued, '''...I wouldn't be surprised if the CIA / IC community orchestrated the COVID coverup acting as an intermediary between Fauci, Collins, Daszak, Baric, and many others. At best, it was the biggest criminal conspiracy in US history by bureaucrats or political appointees.''
What exactly did they cover-up?
Peter Daszak's EcoHealth Alliance'--financed by USAID, DOD, and other U.S. Government agencies'--partnered with Dr. Ralph Baric of the University of North Carolina and Dr. Shi Zhengli of the Wuhan Institute of Virology to conduct gain-of-function research on bat-borne coronaviruses.
Baric successfully created a ''chimeric'' coronavirus in 2015. There is a well-documented scientific paper trail that details how Dr. Baric and Dr. Zhengli continued to collaborate on gain-of-function research together to create what went on to be a potential precursor to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, and Dr. Peter Daszak, who were proponents of this type of international collaboration on gain-of-function research were heavily incentivized to cover up the possibility of a lab origin because they previously had funneled U.S. taxpayer money to the Chinese lab.
At the start of 2020, there was a lot of chatter about where the virus SARS-CoV-2 actually originated from. Two papers published in March 2020'--one in Nature Medicine and one in The Lancet'--controlled the direction of the dialogue on the origin of the virus.
Both papers were repeatedly cited by Fauci, Collins, Daszak, the corporate media, and big tech as evidence to shut down and even censor any discussion of the possibility that the virus originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Only later through redacted emails released by FOIA did we learn that Fauci, Collins, and Daszak were intimately involved in crafting the two papers which dismissed the lab origin hypotheses as ''conspiracy theory.''
In February 2020, Daszak told University of North Carolina coronavirus researcher Dr. Ralph Baric that they should not sign the statement condemning the lab-leak theory so that it seems more independent and credible. ''You, me and him should not sign this statement, so it has some distance from us and therefore doesn't work in a counterproductive way,'' Daszak wrote.
More unredacted emails have revealed that while these scientists held the private belief that the lab release was the most likely scenario, they still worked to seed the natural origin narrative for the public through the papers published in Nature Medicine and The Lancet.
In April 2020, Daszak opposed the public release of Covid-19-related virus sequence data that has been gathered from China, as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) PREDICT program because he said it would bring ''very unwelcome attention'' to the aforementioned ''PREDICT and USAID'' programs.
In September 2020, scientists were outraged when Daszak was chosen to lead the World Health Organization task force examining the possibility that Covid-19 leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
Despite many clear attempts to cut off a legitimate scientific inquiry into the Wuhan lab origin hypothesis, the theory continued to persist predominantly due to the fact that the Chinese government was unable to provide a single shred of evidence in support of the natural origin theory.
In May 2021, the narrative turned when, Nicholas Wade, a former science reporter at the New York Times published his seminal column outlining the case for the Covid lab-leak theory.
For SARS1, an intermediary host species was identified within four months of the epidemic's outbreak and the host of MERS was identified within nine months. Yet some 15 months after the SARS2 outbreak began, and a presumably intensive search, Chinese researchers had failed to find either the original bat population, or the intermediate species to which SARS2 might have jumped, or any serological evidence of a natural origin.
Every step of the way, Fauci, Collins, and Daszak have done everything in their power to obfuscate, mislead, and misinform the world about the possibility of SARS-CoV-2 originating at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
If Dr. Andrew Huff is telling the truth, Fauci, Collins, and Daszak might be covering up the lab origin not only for themselves, but also for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Government.
THE DOWNLOAD:Dr. Robert Malone Publishes Photograph Of Uttar Pradesh Ivermectin Covid Kit: Densely populated, relatively poor, and they have absolutely crushed the COVID-19 death curve. Malone was able to acquire a photograph of a treatment kit that included; Paracetamol, Multivitamin W/ Zinc, Vitamin D3, Ivermectin, and Doxycycline. Read more.
Dr. Tyson And Dr. Fareed Publish #1 New Release In Communicable Diseases: Dr. Tyson and Dr. Fareed publish their new book, Overcoming The Covid Darkness: How Two Doctors Successfully Treated 7,000 Patients. The book tells the stories of how the doctors used early treatment protocols to successfully treat 7,000 (now 8,000) Covid-19 patients. Read more.
UChicago Must End Its Booster Mandate'--We Are Not Lab Rats: The Editorial Board of The Chicago Thinker publishes an immaculately sourced scientific takedown of booster mandates for university students. We will not play pretend'-- COVID is not the plague, the vaccine is still experimental, and the risk of myocarditis and menstrual cycle issues is very real for young people. Read more.
Defeat The Mandates In D.C. On Sunday, January 23 Starting At 11:30 AM: Featured speakers include RFK, Jr., Dr. Peter McCullough, Dr. Robert Malone, Del Bigtree, Dr. Paul Marik, Dr. Richard Urso, Dr. Christina Parks, Dr. Bret Weinstein, Dr. Pierre Kory, Dr. Chris Martenson, Dr. Ryan Cole, Steve Kirsch, and more. Read more.
Over $250 million of counterfeit HIV treatments sold '-- RT World News
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 21:14
A Gilead Sciences investigation has uncovered over 85,000 bottles of medication were tampered with or faked over the past few years
In a statement released on Wednesday, drugmaker Gilead Sciences said the company has seized 85,247 bottles from 17 locations in nine US states after an investigation into counterfeit medication.
The drugmaker claims that an unauthorized network of drug suppliers sold over $250 million worth of medication that was faked or tampered with, some of which was provided to patients, potentially endangering them.
The counterfeit medication, replicating treatments such as Biktarvy and Descovy, was provided in authentic bottles that were empty or near empty, having previously contained HIV drugs.
Gilead accused counterfeiters of replacing medication with fake drugs and documentation before resealing the containers, as if they were unopened.
The confirmation from Gilead about its investigation comes after a US federal judge unsealed a civil lawsuit that was filed by the drugmaker against 22 defendants who were accused of distributing ''dangerous'' counterfeits to ''unsuspecting patients.''
''We therefore believe that we have successfully stopped any additional counterfeits from these defendants reaching patients,'' Lori Mayall, Gilead's anti-counterfeiting executive, said following the lawsuit's unsealing.
Back in August, Gilead had warned the public that it was aware counterfeit HIV medication was being distributed in the US, stating that it was ''taking aggressive action'' to address the situation.
Evaluating the number of unvaccinated people needed to exclude to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmissions ''''excluding unvaccinated people has negligible benefits for reducing transmissions''
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 17:21
By Ralph Turchiano on December 12, 2021'
Read Time: 4 Minute, 15 Second
AbstractBackground: Vaccine mandates and vaccine passports (VMVP) for SARS-CoV-2 are thought to be a path out of the pandemic by increasing vaccination through coercion and excluding unvaccinated people from different settings because they are viewed as being at significant risk of transmitting SARS-CoV-2. While variants and waning efficacy are relevant, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines reduce the risk of infection, transmission, and severe illness/hospitalization in adults. Thus, higher vaccination levels are beneficial by reducing healthcare system pressures and societal fear. However, the benefits of excluding unvaccinated people are unknown. Methods: A method to evaluate the benefits of excluding unvaccinated people to reduce transmissions is described, called the number needed to exclude (NNE). The NNE is analogous to the number needed to treat (NNT=1/ARR), except the absolute risk reduction (ARR) is the baseline transmission risk in the population for a setting (e.g., healthcare). The rationale for the NNE is that exclusion removes all unvaccinated people from a setting, such that the ARR is the baseline transmission risk for that type of setting, which depends on the secondary attack rate (SAR) typically observed in that type of setting and the baseline infection risk in the population. The NNE is the number of unvaccinated people who need to be excluded from a setting to prevent one transmission event from unvaccinated people in that type of setting. The NNE accounts for the transmissibility of the currently dominant Delta (B.1.617.2) variant to estimate the minimum NNE in six types of settings: households, social gatherings, casual close contacts, work/study places, healthcare, and travel/transportation. The NNE can account for future potentially dominant variants (e.g., Omicron, B.1.1.529). To assist societies and policymakers in their decision-making about VMVP, the NNEs were calculated using the current (mid-to-end November 2021) baseline infection risk in many countries. Findings: The NNEs suggest that at least 1,000 unvaccinated people likely need to be excluded to prevent one SARS-CoV-2 transmission event in most types of settings for many jurisdictions, notably Australia, California, Canada, China, France, Israel, and others. The NNEs of almost every jurisdiction examined are well within the range of the NNTs of acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) in primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) ('‰¥ 250 to 333). This is important since ASA is not recommended for primary prevention of CVD because the harms outweigh the benefits. Similarly, the harms of exclusion may outweigh the benefits. These findings depend on the accuracy of the model assumptions and the baseline infection risk estimates. Conclusions: Vaccines are beneficial, but the high NNEs suggest that excluding unvaccinated people has negligible benefits for reducing transmissions in many jurisdictions across the globe. This is because unvaccinated people are likely not at significant risk '-- in absolute terms '-- of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others in most types of settings since current baseline transmission risks are negligible. Consideration of the harms of exclusion is urgently needed, including staffing shortages from losing unvaccinated healthcare workers, unemployment/unemployability, financial hardship for unvaccinated people, and the creation of a class of citizens who are not allowed to fully participate in many areas of society.
Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
Clinical Protocolshttps://www.crd.york.ac.uk/prospero/display_record.php?RecordID=292263
Funding StatementThis study received no grant from any funding agency, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. It has also received no support of any kind from any individual or organization. BH is supported by a personal research grant from the University of Wroclaw within the 'Excellence Initiative, Research University' framework and by a scholarship from the Polish Ministry of Education and Science. None of these institutions were involved in this research and did not fund it directly.
Author DeclarationsI confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.
Yes
I confirm that all necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived, and that any patient/participant/sample identifiers included were not known to anyone (e.g., hospital staff, patients or participants themselves) outside the research group so cannot be used to identify individuals.
Yes
I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).
Yes
I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.
Yes
Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv
Click to access 2021.12.08.21267162v1.full.pdf
Categories: All Posts
The Vaccinators Will Never Stop Vaccinating
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 16:55
St(C)phane Bancel, radical vaccinator.The vaccinators are deranged lunatics, and whatever happens with Corona, we now face a prolonged, multi-year struggle to retain control of our bodies and our bloodstreams. This is what I get from COVID-19: What's Next?, a World Economic Forum panel discussion featuring Moderna CEO St(C)phane Bancel.
Like everything produced by the WEF, it's stultifying, boring and terrifying all at the same time. Below the fold, I've transcribed the key moments for you, but the takeaways are simple enough:
'--Moderna, just one of multiple pharmaceuticals eager to exploit our new vaccine mania, are expanding their manufacturing capacity to produce as many as 6 billion mRNA vaccine doses per year.
'--Moderna will have an Omicron-specific vaccine as early as March, and they won't be the only ones. The compliant triple jabbed can look forward to having their fully vaccinated status revoked once again.
'--Moderna are working in close collaboration with ''Dr. Fauci's team'' and with public health experts to develop an annual combined mRNA flu, RSV and Corona vaccine to reduce ''compliance issues.''
'--The industry more broadly has targeted about 20 pathogens for vaccine development, from Zika to Nipah, with a view towards being able to rapidly deploy mRNA vaccines against future virus threats.
The vaccinators are a great sword of Damocles over our heads. As I type this, they are scouring the earth for the novel pathogens their products require, and they, together with their bureaucratic and academic allies, will do their level best to call into being new pandemic scares and vaccination campaigns whenever possible '' perhaps every flu season.
At 6:25, Bancel discusses where he thinks we are in the pandemic:
We are first very happy, that with such a change like Omicron and a variant like Omicron, the vaccines are holding very well, and the third dose has proven to be very important. What we're doing right now is to prepare for what should the vaccine be in the fall of 2022, and what should it contain. And our experts are working with public health experts like Doctor Fauci's team to figure this out. Because soon we're going to have to decide what goes into the vaccine for Fall of 2022.
The other piece we're doing of course is around manufacturing capacity. You know, in 2021, we shipped 807 million doses. We're very proud that around 25% went to middle income and low income countries. And we're continuing to ramp up, we have a lot of capacity coming on line in Q1, this quarter, with the goal to be able to make 2 to 3 billion doses for this year.
And the other piece we're working on is for 2023, is how do we make it possible from a societal standpoint that people want to be vaccinated. And we're going to do this by preparing combinations, we're working on the flu vaccine, we're working on an RSV vaccine, and our goal is to be able to have a single annual booster, so that we don't have compliance issues, where people don't want to get two to three shots a winter, but they get one dose, where they get a booster for Corona, and a booster for flu and RSV, to make sure that people get their vaccine.
The moderator asks: How close are we to that?
So the RSV program is now in Phase 3, the flu program is in Phase 2 and soon in Phase 3, I hope as soon as second quarter of this year. So the best case scenario would be the fall of 2023, as a best case scenario, I don't think it would [be available] in every country, but we believe it's possible to operate in some countries next year.
At 15:00, the moderator wants to know: ''How do you encourage vaccination? Is there a way that companies like Moderna need to communicate differently or put up data differently that encourages people to get vaccinated?''
Bancel responds:
Yes, so the vaccination question is of course a very complicated one, I mean many public health experts ... have tried really hard now for two years to get people to believe in the vaccines. And of course there's always a better job that we can all do, starting from the companies. In terms of explaining the science, explaining the side effects, explaining the long term benefits, and the risk reward of getting a vaccine vs. not getting a vaccine. I think a lot has been done but clearly more can be done. But as Tony [Fauci] said, what is sad is all the misinformation that we are seeing every day, online, sometimes on TV, about the vaccine and what they do and what they don't do. Is very sad ...
At 16:45, Bancel discusses the effectiveness of the current Moderna vaccine against Omicron:
What we saw was an important drop of neturalising antibody after 2 dose of vaccine [against Omicron], but what we saw thankfully, is after a third dose there was very strong protection, which is why you saw around the world all the public health experts go on urging people who had not been boosted to get a third to protect them, especially people at high risk. What we're doing, and we started this the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when we saw the sequence, is developing an Omicron specific vaccine. That vaccine is being finished to be made, it should be in the clinic in the coming weeks, and we're hoping in a March time frame to be able to have data to share with regulators to figure the next step forward. And that's always been a great partnership between public health experts, the regulators and the vaccine makers, to figure out what's the best path. As Tony said, for two years we've all worked literally seven days a week together to figure out how to fight this common enemy of the virus. The enemy is not another company or another group, the enemy has only been the virus and will stay the virus.
At 43:45, Bancel discusses future plans:
I'm optimistic. I mean I'm an entrepreneur so I'm optimistic by nature, but I'm optimistic that what is being done today is going to help tremendously. We're working with Dr. Fauci's team, we're working with Richard [Hatchett], to work on many more pathogens. ... The entire scientific community has known for years that there's at least around twenty-ish pathogens that are a risk for which we need vaccines, you know we have Zika vaccine in Phase 2 ... we're working on a Nipah vaccine, those are viruses that not everybody has heard of. Because we need to have the data. What dose, what construct from a genetic standpoint is required ... so that if a new pathogen emerges from that family we can very quickly move into a Phase 3. '...
The other piece is manufacturing. If you look in 2020, we were able to ship 20 million doses to the US government when the vaccine was authorised. That is not a lot. But this year we're going to have 2-3 billion doses of capacity in a 6 month time frame, which is what I believe it will take us to get authorisation of a vaccine, if all the work has been done before ... you could have 1.5 billion doses available in six months, and that's just from Moderna. And you have other platforms, it could be a much bigger number ...
Stalin and Biden agree: Who gets to count the votes matters more than who gets to vote - American Thinker
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 16:04
'); googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1609270282082-0'); }); }Speaking maskless at a holiday fundraiser celebration for the Democratic National Committee last night, December 14, President Joseph Biden (D) admitted to the assembled a fundamental totalitarian voting principle which Democrats across the US, and now in the White House, have used for years,
'); googletag.cmd.push(function () { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1609268089992-0'); }); }"The struggle is no longer just who gets to vote or make it easy for eligible people to vote. It's about who gets to count the vote - whether your vote counts at all," Biden told a crowd of a few hundred donors and party officials at a gathering at the Hotel Washington. (bold added)
Biden says the struggle is no longer about who gets to vote, it's about ''who gets to count the vote'' pic.twitter.com/riZ0GFqsGf
'-- Jewish Deplorable (@TrumpJew2) December 15, 2021Compare that statement to that of brutal Russian communist dictator, Joseph Stalin, nearly a hundred years ago, admitting, "I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this '-- who will count the votes, and how."
The Texas Electric Grid Failure Was a Warm-up '' Texas Monthly
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 14:34
Anthony Mecke had drifted to sleep in the break room when a loud knock roused him at 1:23 a.m. ''We just got the call,'' a coworker said.
Mecke, a moonfaced 45-year-old, is the manager of systems operation training at CPS Energy, the city-owned electricity provider that serves San Antonio. He started at the company not long after high school, working at one point as a cable splicer, a job he performed in hot tunnels beneath the sidewalks of San Antonio. He thought he'd seen it all. But when he hustled from the break room, where he'd sneaked in a power nap after an all-day shift, into the company's cavernous control room, housed in a tornado-proof building on the city's East Side, what he witnessed unsettled him.
This was Monday, February 15, 2021. A winter storm had brought unusually frigid temperatures to the entire middle swath of the United States, from the Canadian border to the Rio Grande. In San Antonio, it dropped to 9 degrees. In Fort Worth, the storm's icy arrival a few days earlier had led to a 133-vehicle pileup that left 6 dead. Abilene and Pflugerville had advised residents to boil their water, the first of thousands of such warnings that would eventually affect 17 million Texans. Across the state, families hunkered down and did anything they could to stay warm. The overwhelming majority of Texas homes are outfitted with electric heaters that are the technological equivalent of a toaster oven. During the most severe cold fronts, residents crank up those inefficient units, and some even turn on and open electric ovens and use hair dryers.
The control room at CPS Energy, in San Antonio. Photograph by Jeff WilsonMecke could track the spiking energy use in real time. One wall of the control room is covered in enormous computer monitors displaying maps and data. He scanned for one particular piece of information. The state's electricity reserves, which are tapped to prevent emergencies, were already depleted. The problem wasn't just surging demand. Power plants all across the grid were shutting off, incapacitated by frozen equipment and a dearth of natural gas, the primary source of fuel.
The Texas power grid was, at that moment, like an airplane low on fuel that needed to jettison cargo to stay aloft. That's what the call had been about. The state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, had just told CPS Energy and fifteen of the state's other electric utility companies to immediately begin turning off power for portions of their service areas. The result would be blackouts.
14 Ways to Prepare for the Next Winter Freeze By Alexandra Villarreal
Nobody yet knew just how widespread the blackouts would become'--that they would spread across almost the entire state, leave an unprecedented 11 million Texans freezing in the dark for as long as three days, and result in as many as seven hundred deaths. But neither could the governor, legislators, and regulators who are supposed to oversee the state's electric grid claim to be surprised. They had been warned repeatedly, by experts and by previous calamities'--including a major blackout in 2011'--that the grid was uniquely vulnerable to cold weather.
Unlike most other states that safely endured the February 2021 storm, Texas had stubbornly declined to require winterization of its power plants and, just as critically, its natural gas facilities. In large part, that's because the state's politicians and the regulators they appoint are often captive to the oil and gas industry, which lavishes them with millions of dollars a year in campaign contributions. During the February freeze, the gas industry failed to deliver critically needed fuel, and while Texans of all stripes suffered, the gas industry scored windfall profits of about $11 billion'--creating debts that residents and businesses will pay for at least the next decade.
Since last February, the state has appointed new regulators and tweaked some of its statutes. But despite the misery, death, economic disruption, and embarrassment that Texas suffered, little has changed. The state remains susceptible to the threat that another winter storm could inflict blackouts as bad as'--or even worse than'--last year's catastrophe. Despite promises from public officials to rectify these problems, we remain largely defenseless and can only hope we aren't thrashed by another Arctic blast. Even as forecasters predict a relatively warm winter on average, there is compelling evidence that such extreme weather phenomena are becoming more common. To understand the danger, it's worth examining how close the Texas grid came last year to a meltdown that could have left much of the state without power for several weeks, or even months.
Aerial view of Dallas's Highland Meadows neighborhood on February 15, 2021. Isaac Murray/GettyTwo days before Mecke was awakened in his office, ERCOT had held an emergency conference call to warn the state's utilities and rural electric cooperatives that blackouts were likely. ERCOT officials said the grid might have to shed as much as 7,500 megawatts'--effectively darkening roughly one of every eight homes in the state. That's nearly twice as much as the last controlled load shed, in 2011, when rolling blackouts had lasted as long as eight hours, which in turn was four times longer than the previous large-scale blackout, in 2006.
The worst-case scenario ERCOT had gamed out, what it called ''extreme winter,'' contemplated a record-setting demand of 67.2 gigawatts. Electricity consumption blew past that mark at 7 p.m. on February 14. Meanwhile, electricity supply continued to dwindle as underinsulated power plants went down, one after another.
For the grid to function properly, the supply of electricity must always match demand; this equilibrium is reflected in the grid's frequency, which usually remains steady at 60 hertz. Power plants across the state are tuned in to the frequency, and they automatically increase or decrease generation to maintain equilibrium. The grid is like a giant synchronized machine, its components linked across hundreds of miles, from Midland to Houston, from Amarillo to Brownsville. On this night, as demand drastically outpaced supply, the frequency dropped and the vast machine began churning faster. But eventually it couldn't compensate on its own.
By 1:23 a.m., ERCOT could no longer delay action. An operator in its control room picked up the hotline phone, which was wired to sixteen of the state's utility companies, and ordered a thousand-megawatt load shed statewide. ''You practice for this for years,'' Mecke said. ''You hope it never happens.''
In fact, a few hours earlier, he'd run his coworkers through a simulation of a nearly identical load shed. When the time came to carry out the operation for real, there were no hiccups. ''It was surprisingly calm,'' he said. ''It was smooth.'' Within seconds, electricity in parts of San Antonio began to blink off. Mecke, hopeful that the grid would stabilize, breathed a sigh of relief. The calm was short-lived.
The frequency should have risen after the load shed, but instead it kept falling. It was ''nerve-racking,'' said Mecke.
At 1:47 a.m., the hotline phone rang again. Everyone in the CPS control center stopped what they were doing. ERCOT needed another thousand megawatts cut. Because of coronavirus precautions, CPS executives weren't in the control room. Rudy Garza, the chief customer officer, tracked the frequency's dangerous decline on his phone, texting back and forth with industry friends and former coworkers from across the state. ''We were scared,'' he said.
CenterPoint Energy, a utility in Houston, runs a control room similar to that of CPS. Eric Easton, CenterPoint's vice president of real-time operations, was hastening to execute the second round of blackouts when the hotline phone rang for the third time, at 1:51 a.m. ERCOT ordered another three thousand megawatts'--more than the first two combined. ''Calls started coming in so fast that they were overlapping,'' said Easton. ''When are we going to stop shedding load?'' he wondered.
But the situation was only growing more dire. At the precise time of the third call, the frequency reached a critical threshold: 59.4 hertz. The Texas grid, which has been around in some form since World War II, had only once in its history fallen this low. Automated turbines across the state began spinning even faster to produce more electricity, but when the frequency dips below 59.4 hertz, the turbines reach speeds and pressures that can cause catastrophic damage to them, requiring that they be repaired or replaced. This scenario was unlikely because, to prevent it, the grid automatically triggers a nine-minute countdown when it strikes 59.4 hertz. If the frequency did not rise in time, power plants would shut down and the grid would begin turning itself off completely. This would leave all 26 million Texans who relied on the ERCOT grid without power for weeks or months.
A few more minutes ticked by. The frequency kept falling, touching 59.302 hertz, yet another alarming precipice. At 59.3 hertz, human operators are taken out of the equation: they are too slow to make the urgent adjustments that are needed to stabilize the grid. The system is programmed to automatically start blacking out as many areas as are necessary to balance power supply and demand. But in this scenario, that fail-safe may not have worked because so many areas had already been manually cut off. ''We were on the very edge,'' said Easton.
In a last-ditch effort to prevent the grid's collapse, ERCOT placed a fourth hotline call, at 1:55 a.m., and ordered another 3,500 megawatts. All across Texas, grid operators were moving as quickly as they could, blacking out more and more neighborhoods, but they were running out of options. As the countdown approached zero, the frequency suddenly shot back up. The immediate crisis was over'--the last-second load shed had worked'--but for most of the following day, the grid remained dangerously unstable.
Bill Magness, former CEO of ERCOT, testifying at the Texas House. Eric Gay/APIt is hard to fathom the devastation a total shutdown would have wreaked. Bill Magness, then the CEO of ERCOT, would explain as much to the Texas Senate ten days later. Magness is a lawyer with a buzz cut and ramrod-straight posture who spent time in the nineties and aughts as a practicing Buddhist. ''What my team and the folks at the utilities in Texas would be doing is an exercise called 'black start,''Š'' he said. A black start would have required carefully rebooting a few power plants at a time and using them to jump-start others, thereby restoring the grid piece by piece. It's not a matter of flipping switches. The steps required for a black start are numerous, complex, and delicate. No one knows how long that process would take, because no one has ever needed to do it. Magness said it would have been weeks at least.
Most of the state's residents would have been without heat, potable water, or light, as would almost all of the businesses on which they depend. Traffic lights wouldn't have worked. Caravans of trucks, likely escorted by the National Guard, would have delivered fuel to generators to keep hospitals (many of which were nearly at max capacity because of COVID-19), fire departments, and other emergency services operating. When the freeze lifted and the roads thawed, many would have attempted an exodus into neighboring states'--all of which, with a few brief exceptions, kept power'--but even that would have proved difficult because gas pumps run on electricity. Magness looked grimly around the Senate chamber as he described the doomsday scenario. ''Imagine: the suffering that we saw [would have been] compounded.''
An Oncor power substation in Waco on February 18, 2021. Photograph by Matthew BuschIn her ground-floor apartment on Uvalde Road, a busy commercial thoroughfare in the Cloverleaf community, just east of Houston, Mary Gee liked to sit by the window, watching the people and cars passing by. Across the way were an auto-parts store, a car wash, and a Tex-Mex restaurant. There was always something happening. But the snow and ice in February brought Uvalde to a standstill.
The neighborhood lost power early Monday morning, February 15. After the sun rose, a few neighbors ventured out. Word passed in Gee's complex, the Havenwood, that a nearby Burger King was open'--that would have meant not only food but warmth. Some decided to check it out. This wasn't an option for Gee. She was relatively healthy, but at 84, walking more than a mile on slippery sidewalks was out of the question.
''It kind of felt like the end of the world,'' said Christion Jones, who lived a few doors down from Gee. Other residents sat in cars to warm up, their engines idling, the exhaust forming small clouds in the frigid air. But Gee had stopped driving years before and had given the last car she owned to a god-granddaughter.
Gee had grown up with eight brothers and sisters, and much of her childhood was spent in a rural house with a wood-burning heater in the small town of Normangee, between Houston and Waco. She had worked as a nurse for more than twenty years at Houston Methodist hospital. On weekends, she and her husband, Herman, had kept a shed at a local flea market selling clothes, LPs, purses, electronics'--a little bit of everything. Gee liked to chat up the regulars.
Herman died in 2018, and she tragically lost her only child, Michael, the next year. But Gee wasn't alone. Most of her siblings had moved to Bryan and Houston, which meant she was surrounded by nieces and nephews. She often spoke with them on the phone, calls that would stretch at least half an hour as Gee asked about relatives one by one. If any were struggling, she would pray for them.
The day Gee lost power, her niece Zona Amerson tried to call her, but no one picked up. Amerson, who's 64, was concerned, but there was no way to drive across town to check on her. The roads were impassable. Then one of Amerson's pipes burst, with no plumbers available to fix it. She was distracted by her own crisis.
On Thursday, Amerson heard from a relative that her aunt had died. A Harris County medical examiner ruled that the cause was hypothermia. Gee was one of hundreds of Texans who died because of the lack of electricity. (The state recently updated the death toll to 246, a number that falls far short of the total that experts on mortality say is the true measure of the cost in lives of this disaster, which accounts for those who, for example, had a heart attack and couldn't get to a hospital.) Others included a centenarian in a senior living community in Houston who'd also succumbed to hypothermia; she'd received a college degree in the thirties and had taught elementary school in a single-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin. An 87-year-old Austin woman died of a fast-moving urinary tract infection after her catheter froze. Two men in Garland are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning'--neighbors said they were running a gas-powered generator inside an apartment unit. In Sugar Land, southwest of Houston, a family used their fireplace to stay warm. The house caught fire, and a grandmother and three of her grandchildren died. The mother survived. ''Most of all, I think, what I will miss is just seeing them grow into these amazing human beings that I knew that they would be,'' she told the Houston Chronicle.
Of the millions of Texans who lost electricity during the blackouts, which lasted from Monday through Thursday, most experienced it as a week of compounding problems. Millions either lost water or needed to boil water. When the water finally came back on, burst pipes began to flow, causing billions of dollars in damage. Plumbers were so overwhelmed with calls that some homeowners had to wait months for repairs. Economists at the Dallas Federal Reserve estimated that the blackouts cost the state's economy somewhere in the $80 to $130 billion range, potentially making it the most expensive disaster in state history.
Of the millions of Texans who lost electricity during the blackouts, most experienced it as a week of compounding problems.
Even Texas newcomer Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and the world's richest person, was affected. ''I was actually in Austin for that snowstorm in a house with no electric, no lights, no power, no heating, no internet'--couldn't actually even get to a food store,'' he said at an investor meeting in October.
Dan Meador, an engineering manager at Austin tech firm Anaconda, also lost power. He and his pregnant wife bedded down in their living room in front of their fireplace. When they woke in the morning, it was 7 degrees outside with a windchill factor of ''8. He used the fire to boil cowboy coffee and cook sausages in a cast-iron pan. The following days were devoted solely to meeting basic needs: finding firewood and preparing meals. When a neighbor's cedar tree splintered and fell under the weight of ice, he fetched his chain saw'--before remembering it was electric. Meador, a former linebacker for the University of Arkansas football team, used a hacksaw instead. When I spoke to him eight months later, he was still shaken by the experience. ''You turn your water faucet on, water comes out,'' he said. ''There's a lot of faith that we have in this stuff just showing up.''
A family outside their powerless Austin apartment, warming up next to a fire made by burning a discarded armoire. Photograph by Tamir KalifaThe Texas Legislature was still in the early stages of its biennial gathering in Austin when the blackouts occurred. Lawmakers and staff were told to stay off the icy roads. This appears to be the first time in state history that winter weather forced legislators to stay home.
Of course, that didn't stop politicians from pointing fingers. Rick Perry, former governor and former U.S. secretary of energy, tried to preempt calls to increase federal oversight of the state's grid. In a striking display of insensitivity to the families who were grieving the loss of loved ones, he claimed that Texans were willing to forgo power ''for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.'' Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was one of many politicians to blame wind turbines. ''Our renewables aren't reliable,'' he said on Good Morning America. Governor Greg Abbott appeared on Sean Hannity's Fox News show and argued that the blackouts showed how the Green New Deal, which was then a subject of intense debate in Washington, D.C., would be a ''deadly deal for the United States.''
Blaming renewables was, of course, a politically convenient lie. Yes, some wind farms in West and South Texas had frozen up'--their operators hadn't invested in blades with internal warming coils that allow windmills to function perfectly fine in other states and regions, including north of the Arctic Circle in Norway. But many windmills kept working, helping to prevent a worse disaster. Even Abbott admitted, while the blackouts were ongoing, that the biggest culprit was power plants that ran on gas.
As the death toll climbed, the politicians' bluster ebbed. Abbott added a new item to the legislative session: winterizing the state's power system. Patrick promised, ''We're going to get to the bottom of this and find out what the hell happened, and we're going to fix it.''
Such promises had been made before. A decade earlier, in February 2011, temperatures in Texas plunged into the single digits, and ERCOT instituted rolling blackouts that affected 3.4 million homes and businesses (but for only a matter of hours, rather than days). David Dewhurst, a Republican who was then the lieutenant governor, blamed a lack of ''winterization and preparation.'' Weeks later, the Legislature held a hearing on the blackouts, and Troy Fraser, a Republican state senator representing the Twenty-fourth District, demanded, ''How are we going to make sure that doesn't happen again?''
The answer came in the form of a bill introduced by Senator Glenn Hegar, a Republican from Katy. It required the Public Utility Commission, which oversees ERCOT and the state's electricity utilities, to review power plants' weatherization plans. If any plan was deemed insufficient, the PUC could request more detail, but it had no enforcement authority. (The bill didn't mention the need to winterize natural gas pipelines, an omission that rendered the measure effectively meaningless, since those power plants, even if fully operational, can't produce electricity without a steady supply of gas.) Craig Estes, a Republican senator from Wichita Falls, tried to put some teeth on the bill with a substitute that required power plants to comply with the state's findings. But a few days later, Hegar's original bill was back, with Estes's changes stripped out. Hegar, who later left the Senate and was elected state comptroller in 2014, ensured the PUC was little more than a glorified paper collector.
DeAnn Walker reiterated as much when, on February 25 of last year, the Senate business and commerce committee held a fourteen-hour hearing to determine what had happened this time around. Walker, the chair of the PUC, testified that her agency's job was simply to gather and warehouse the plans. ''I don't believe we, as the PUC, have authority to require weatherization,'' she said.
Representative Chris Paddie looking on as Greg Abbott signs a pair of ERCOT reform bills on June 8, 2021. Montinique Monroe/GettyFor many of the lawmakers, the lengthy hearing was a crash course in the labyrinthine mechanics and bureaucracy of the state's grid. The federal government regulates all of the country's regional grids except for ERCOT, which operates wholly inside Texas. (When regional grids experience blackouts, they are able to import power from neighboring grids; because the Texas grid is an island unto itself, with only a few small connections to Mexico and other states, importing large amounts of power isn't an option.) The ERCOT grid covers almost all of Texas, though El Paso and parts of East Texas are plugged into other regional grids. ERCOT is overseen by the PUC, whose three commissioners are appointed by the governor. Since the 2011 freeze and blackouts, all the agency's commissioners have been picked by Abbott and Perry. (The PUC was later expanded to include five commissioners.)
A separate body, the Railroad Commission of Texas, regulates the state's oil and gas industry'--or at least it's supposed to. In practice, it seldom does. Its three commissioners are elected, and their campaign coffers are filled by oil and gas industry executives. Following the 2021 blackout, the commissioners expressed little interest in learning why the February storm caused statewide outages only in Texas, not in neighboring states and states far to the north. They instead aggressively defended the industry they're supposed to regulate, arguing publicly that the state's failure to require winterization of natural gas providers played no role in the disaster. At the February committee hearing, Christi Craddick, then the Railroad Commission chair, tried to pin the blame on electric power producers, claiming that the gas industry was hamstrung by lack of electricity, not the other way around. ''The oil field simply cannot run without power,'' she testified.
''Yes, it can happen again.'' That's what Curt Morgan, chief executive of the power company Vistra, told me.
That claim, however, doesn't withstand scrutiny. Craddick was well aware of problems with the gas supply before the blackouts began, something I discovered while reviewing records of dozens of phone calls, emails, and texts among those responsible for keeping the lights on. Five days before the blackouts began, Walker, the PUC chair, received an unwelcome call from an executive at Vistra, an Irving-based company that is the largest power producer in ERCOT. The executive warned that the company would be unable to meet the rising demand for electricity because it would soon face natural gas shortfalls at several of its plants. Texas normally produces about 29 billion cubic feet of gas a day. By February 11, when temperatures hit 22 degrees in Midland, about 915 million cubic feet were already offline, according to a federal report on the blackout. (Six days later, around the peak of the blackouts, 3.7 billion cubic feet were offline. All but 591 million of that was caused by the failure of gas infrastructure.)
That morning, Walker called Craddick. ''We are going to have gas problems at our gas plants,'' Walker said. The next day, the Railroad Commission issued an emergency order intended to help power plants get access to gas, but the order added to the growing confusion. There was only so much natural gas to go around, and the Railroad Commission wasn't sure exactly who should get it. On February 13, two days before the blackouts began, 22 gas processing plants had been disrupted by cold weather conditions. Not a single one was disrupted by loss of electric power.
State senator Charles Schwertner in the Texas Capitol. Photograph by Jeff WilsonState senator Charles Schwertner, an orthopedic surgeon from Georgetown and a conservative Republican, knew little about the grid when his home's power went out that week. But he was a quick study. A few weeks after the initial February hearing, Lieutenant Governor Patrick asked him to carry the main bill to fix the grid. Schwertner later told me he concluded right away that the PUC commissioners were ''derelict'' in their oversight duties.
I met him in his Capitol office, which is adorned with prints of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter. He was proud of the bill he wrote. It created a government body to ensure coordination between the gas and power industries. (As reliant as these industries are upon each other, no such formal body had existed before.) The bill directed the PUC and the Railroad Commission to levy a $1 million fine each day on power plants, pipelines, and natural gas facilities that failed to winterize, and it allocated an initial $21 million to the Railroad Commission to hire about a hundred inspectors to verify that the gas industry was preparing for cold weather.
When Schwertner sent his bill to the House, the legislation also created a committee to map the gas-electric supply chain and determine which gas facilities were critical to the operation of power plants. It authorized the Railroad Commission to use its hundred new employees to inspect and, if necessary, fine gas companies. When the bill returned from the House, though, the language had been revised: only companies ''prepared to operate during a weather emergency'' were considered critical. This created a troubling loophole. Once the bill had passed, the Railroad Commission was responsible for implementing it, and the agency proposed a rule allowing gas companies to exempt themselves from winterizing simply by paying a $150 filing fee and claiming that a facility wasn't prepared to stay operational'--a dizzying bit of circular reasoning.
Schwertner told me that requiring winterization for one part of the grid (the electric power providers) but not another (those who provide gas to the electricity providers) reflected the political power of the gas industry. ''There was some pushback by industry,'' he said, citing natural gas producers and pipeline operators. He said he didn't like the House changes, especially the weakening of ''weatherization requirements of natural gas.'' Some of his colleagues were less diplomatic.
During a Senate committee hearing in September, Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican senator from Brenham, reamed out Railroad Commission executive director Wei Wang for not effectively implementing the law. Kolkhorst called the $150 opt-out fee ''disturbing.'' At the same hearing, Senator John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, offered Wang a compliment of sorts. ''You've unified this body'--let me just thank you for that. You've brought the family together here . . . Your rule-making proposal sucks.'' Schwertner wrapped up the conversation by demanding change.
The Railroad Commission didn't budge, and it was roundly condemned. Then, in late November, it appeared to reverse course, at least rhetorically. It announced that most pipelines and gas processing plants, along with many wells, would be required to winterize. But thus far the commission has engaged in delay tactics. These rules won't be finalized until sometime later this year'--after the winter. Perhaps the rules will be potent enough to compel real change. But if past is prologue, the new rules are likely to be ineffectual'--a repeat of what happened in 2011.
Savannah and Sam Peyton, huddled in their Austin home after more than three days without power, on February 18, 2021. Photograph by Tamir KalifaThe week of the blackout produced staggering, hard-to-fathom energy bills Texans will be paying for years. That's because the state's electricity market broke sometime around midday on Monday, February 15. In the hours after the blackouts, ERCOT tried to shore up electricity reserves to stabilize the grid. The computer system that runs the market, though, interpreted this as an oversupply (in the middle of blackouts!) and dropped prices. When ERCOT and the PUC realized what was happening, officials decided to bypass the market and, on Monday evening, manually set prices at the maximum of $9,000 per megawatt hour. (By comparison, the average hourly price in 2020 was $25.73.) For fear that restarting the market and letting prices fluctuate in the midst of blackouts would lead to instability, officials kept prices at that artificially inflated level until Friday.
As a result, Texans spent an exorbitant amount on electricity during a week in which most of them couldn't get much electricity. For the entirety of 2020, Texans paid $9.8 billion to keep the juice flowing. On February 16 alone, they spent roughly $10.3 billion. Costs for the month of February totaled more than $50 billion.
The bill for this pricing disaster is coming due. The Legislature approved the issuance of what will likely end up being about $5 to $6 billion in bonds to pay back some of these costs. That form of borrowing creates an obligation of about $200 for every adult and child in Texas.
Of the 2,500 participants in the ERCOT market'--power plant owners, electricity marketers, electric cooperatives, creditors, and traders'--many are privately held and don't disclose their profits and losses. But some of the big shareholder-owned electricity generators were stuck with major losses because, while electricity prices were astronomical, natural gas prices were even higher.
As a result, anyone who had natural gas to sell came away a winner. Large Dallas-based pipeline owner Energy Transfer posted a net profit of $3.29 billion for the first three months of 2021; it had never posted even a $1 billion quarterly margin before. The company chalked up its profits to preparation'--it had forked over the money to winterize parts of its facilities, so they remained up and running during the storm. Kinder Morgan made $1.41 billion, its best quarter ever. British oil giant BP, which supplies more gas in the U.S. than any other company, was coy. ''It was a very exceptional quarter in gas trading,'' CEO Bernard Looney told Bloomberg, which pointed to an estimate suggesting that the firm reaped $1 billion during that stretch. Gas producer Comstock Resources president Roland Burns put it much more plainly, saying it was ''like hitting the jackpot.''
According to Bloomberg, about $8.1 billion was spent on gas burned to generate electricity during that week. Another $3.3 billion went for gas sold directly to homeowners, a figure that's publicly available only because the Railroad Commission approved the issuance of bonds to compensate three gas utilities that paid exorbitant prices for fuel that week. These bonds will be paid off through extra charges on customers' monthly bills, though it's not yet clear for how long. Even more was spent by city-owned gas companies, many of which have tacked on additional charges to customers' bills to pay off the enormous costs the companies ran up over a few days.
It's possible that some of the massive profits made by gas companies were illicit. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is looking into potential market manipulation by Texas pipeline companies, which are subject to the least regulation and oversight of any pipelines in the country. Those companies operate in a regulatory penumbra. For their pipelines operating only in Texas, they're generally exempt from reporting tariffs and other market information the federal government requires of interstate pipelines. This makes it difficult to determine whether gas prices were manipulated. In September, FERC chair Richard Glick told Congress, ''We have found a number of anomalies.'' FERC later disclosed that two cases of possible natural gas market manipulation were being investigated, though it wouldn't identify the two companies involved. (Disclosure: Texas Monthly's chairman is Randa Duncan Williams, who is also chairman of the general partner of Enterprise Products Partners, a major pipeline company whose gas pipelines are located entirely within Texas. Company executives say they've received no inquiries from FERC.)
At the same September hearing, Kansas senator Roger Marshall asked a panel of FERC commissioners, ''Was there price gouging, and who made the money?'' None of the four commissioners came up with an answer.
Most Texas politicians have shown little interest in even asking this question. The chief executive of every major power plant in Texas testified repeatedly before state lawmakers. But Kelcy Warren, the chair of Energy Transfer, never appeared. Warren then gave a $1 million campaign contribution to Abbott on June 23, shortly after the legislative session ended'--a session in which Abbott, despite his initial calls to fix the grid, resisted muscular new regulation of the gas industry. (Oil and gas executives, employees, and political action committees contributed about $16.6 million of the $79 million that Abbott raised from 2017 through 2020, according to an analysis by Texans for Public Justice.)
For his part, Texas attorney general Ken Paxton, who's awaiting trial on felony securities fraud charges, hasn't announced that his office is investigating any energy price gouging. I recently asked PUC chair Peter Lake, whom Abbott appointed in the spring, after DeAnn Walker resigned, to assess who profited from the disaster. ''I'm not sure anybody has a full picture of the complexity of all these financial transactions,'' he said cautiously. It's telling that Lake, who was supposedly brought in to fix ERCOT and the electricity market, dodged a question about who stood to gain and lose the most from maintaining the status quo.
Though it may be hard to believe today, Texas's grid became a pioneer in the world of electricity generation and distribution two decades ago.
The most prominent Texan who appears to be itching for a confrontation with gas companies is Paula Gold-Williams, the longtime head of CPS Energy, the city-owned utility in San Antonio. Days after the crisis ended, two gas suppliers owned by Energy Transfer sent CPS an email asking for $317.5 million. ''Due to the unprecedented weather event over the past 10 days, the price of natural gas rose dramatically,'' the email said. It demanded that CPS pay cash or provide a letter of credit.
CPS refused to pay. Instead, it filed a lawsuit claiming price gouging. In its downtown San Antonio offices, Gold-Williams had watched electricity and gas prices carefully before and during the debacle. A native of San Antonio's East Side, she trained as an accountant and worked as a regional controller for Time Warner and as a vice president at Luby's before joining CPS, where she worked her way up to CEO. ''We will pay every legitimate price and cost,'' she promised, but not a dollar more. Working with her staff, she determined that about $40 per unit of gas was reasonable. Anything above that? The $500 price Energy Transfer had demanded? That was unconscionable. When I reached out to Energy Transfer about the financial tug-of-war, the company sent a statement saying CPS was responsible for the costs because it didn't prepare for the storm. ''CPS is trying to play politics and place blame on others,'' the statement said.
But when I talked to Gold-Williams, she was resolute. ''I am absolutely focused on getting to the bottom of this,'' she said. In October, she announced her retirement, but she promised to stay engaged with the company'--specifically to assist with the lawsuit.
Idle drilling rigs near Midland. Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via GettyYes, it can happen again.'' That's what Curt Morgan, chief executive of the power company Vistra, told me when I asked about the potential for another electricity crisis. Vistra lost about $2 billion during the storm, and it plans to spend more than $80 million by the end of this year to prepare its plants for the next Arctic blast.
In November, I visited one of those plants, in Odessa. During the February storm, ice had accumulated and clogged the air-intake system, so Vistra is investing $2.5 million to make sure that doesn't happen again. From atop any of the plant's four 10-story boilers, which produce the high-pressure steam that's converted into electricity, you could look out toward the horizon and see a landscape dotted with pipelines, pump jacks, and flare stacks. The irony was stark: the plant sits in the heart of one of the world's largest oil and gas fields, yet when blanketed by extreme temperatures, it couldn't get the gas it needed to stay operational.
Though Vistra is ensuring its own plant will be able to sustain such conditions, the same can't be said for its neighboring gas producers, which means its own investment may be futile. ''I worry about the gas system,'' Morgan told me. ''The area that I'm most concerned about is the Railroad Commission oversight.'' He's not alone.
You might think that the natural gas industry, having scored a multibillion-dollar windfall at the expense of other Texans, might show some magnanimity in victory and agree to take steps to ensure against future blackouts. But you would be wrong. The gas industry continues to fight ferociously to avoid the kinds of regulations that are commonplace in other states. It has boosted by millions of dollars its campaign contributions to friendly politicians, including the three officials leading the Railroad Commission.
Meanwhile, Governor Abbott promised in November that ''everything that needed to be done was done to fix the power grid.'' The Texas Tribune reported that in December, after the blackouts became an issue in his reelection campaign, Abbott went a step further by enlisting officials at ERCOT and the PUC to launch an optimistic public relations offensive. But when I interviewed nearly a dozen experts in natural gas and electricity, the consensus was that little has been done to secure our electric grid. ERCOT itself has admitted we could face blackouts this winter. Just before the new year, the agency released a report in which it suggested it had enough power generation to easily manage ''normal'' winter weather. Doug Lewin, an Austin-based energy consultant, blasted this conclusion on Twitter: ''To say we have enough power in normal weather is not helpful.''
Days later, on January 2, a cold front passed through West Texas. The temperature in Midland hit a low of 14 degrees before rebounding to 56 the next day. During that brief spell, the gas infrastructure faltered, with production falling by 25 percent, according to market intelligence firm S&P Global. Still, the approach of our governor and legislators and regulators boils down to hoping we don't see extreme temperatures anytime soon.
Indeed, forecasters predicted a relatively warm winter this year. Some might reason that if the planet is warming, Arctic storms are less likely. There is growing evidence, however, that the opposite is true. Judah Cohen, a visiting scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has published two influential papers on the topic, the first in 2018 and another this past September. The second paper, which appeared in Science, a prestigious peer-reviewed publication, explained that as the earth warms, conditions are occurring more frequently that enable a blast of Arctic air to push far into North America, even all the way down to Texas. In other words, the overall warming of the planet disrupts weather systems in ways that increase the chances for occasional extreme-cold events.
Cohen told me it all has to do with the polar vortex, an atmospheric river that circles around the Arctic at an average of 90 miles an hour. Typically, it traps the cold air in the far northern latitudes, but as Arctic Sea ice melts and the world warms, the polar vortex is more likely to wobble and stretch. In January and February of 2021, a warm mass of air from Eurasia banged into the vortex, causing it to dip southward and push cold air as far down as the Rio Grande Valley. ''Where the polar vortex goes, so goes the cold air,'' Cohen explained.
So what would it cost to winterize all the wells in Texas, as most other states do, and ensure the electricity flows the next time an Arctic blast hits the Lone Star State? Dallas Federal Reserve economists cite a 2011 estimate that it would cost each gas power plant $50,000 to $500,000 to winterize. Statewide, it would cost between $85 and $200 million annually'--the rough equivalent of one or two days of revenue from the Texas gas industry, and less than one-fiftieth the cost that the industry charged during the February disaster.
It's worth noting that much of the cost of winterization would remain in the Texas economy. One of the world's leading manufacturers of heat-tracing equipment, Thermon Group Holdings, is based in Austin and operates a major factory in San Marcos. A few years ago, it winterized an oil complex on Russia's Sakhalin Island'--where the average low temperature in January is 3 degrees Fahrenheit'--for $12 million. ''All of this technology exists,'' said Thermon CEO Bruce Thames. ''We just haven't invested in it in the state of Texas.''
Power lines in Austin. Photograph by Jeff WilsonThis is particularly shameful to hear for anyone versed in Texas's history as an energy leader.
Though it may be hard to believe today, Texas's grid became a pioneer in the world of electricity generation and distribution two decades ago. Under Governor Perry, Texas spent $6.9 billion on an ambitious program to build 3,600 miles of new high-voltage transmission lines. One set of lines stretched from Dallas to the Panhandle, forming a looping figure that came to be known colloquially as ''the horsehead.'' Other lines began in Central Texas and headed west, reaching toward Midland and Odessa and into the windy counties where the Chihuahuan Desert meets the Great Plains. In other states, the construction of comparable transmission lines often gets delayed for years, mired in bureaucratic morasses and landowner lawsuits. Texas completed its entire network in a relatively brisk nine years.
These lines were a boon to renewable energy developers, connecting the large population centers along Interstate 35 (and east to Houston) to western parts of the state, where land is cheap, landowners are welcoming, and wind and sun are plentiful. In 2020 Texas generated more renewable electricity than any other state by far. California was a distant second. By all accounts, Texas, long famed for being a global powerhouse in oil and gas, had cemented its leadership in the next generation of energy.
And then came the February blackouts. Our folly was laid bare: it's as if we'd built a powerful, expensive car and then tried to pinch pennies by not buying antifreeze for it.
Despite this embarrassment, Texas still enjoys unmatched expertise in energy engineering, financing, and manufacturing. Some of the technology and gear developed to frack oil and gas is now being repurposed to tap renewable energy. Shipyards that once made vessels to install offshore oil rigs are now adapting for offshore wind turbines. Taking advantage of these resources would create tens of thousands of good jobs, including for workers displaced as oil and gas exploration inevitably declines.
Low-carbon grids are the future, and Texas has a multiyear head start. But before this opportunity can be grasped, the state needs political leaders and regulators who are focused on the jobs and well-being of average Texans rather than on the narrower incumbent interests of owners and executives of fossil fuel companies.
This article originally appeared in the December 2021 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline ''It Could Happen Again.'' Subscribe today.
BlackRock CEO Says Everyone's Quitting Because Old World of Work Is 'Gone'
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 01:00
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in February 2017. Rob Kim/Getty Images BlackRock's Larry Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs about the record number of workers quitting. Fink said that workers seeking new opportunities is a good thing and that companies have to adapt. Companies that don't adjust to the "new reality" will "do so at their own peril," he said. We're in a new world of work, according to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink '-- and he says that's a good thing.
In his annual letter to CEOs, Fink touched on everything he thought was "vital to driving durable long-term returns" and helping the company's clients reach their goals. One trend he highlighted was the record-breaking number of workers quitting.
"Companies expected workers to come to the office five days a week. Mental health was rarely discussed in the workplace. And wages for those on low and middle incomes barely grew," Fink wrote. "That world is gone."
In November, the last month that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released data for, a record 4.5 million workers quit. That capped off eight months of workers quitting at near-record highs. A record 1 million workers in leisure and hospitality '-- the country's lowest-paid sector '-- quit, while hiring remained strong, indicating that workers weren't leaving the workforce but rather switching into new roles as wages continued to grow.
While businesses shedding record numbers of workers may sound like a cause for alarm for CEOs, Fink said that it's good that workers are ducking out for bigger and brighter things in the new world of work '-- and that companies that keep up will reap the rewards.
"Workers seizing new opportunities is a good thing: It demonstrates their confidence in a growing economy," Fink wrote. Indeed, as Insider reported in August, some of the quits in the record numbers may be backlogged ones. Workers found their careers and financial prospects uncertain during the pandemic, but around April 2021 quits began to reach records.
That's coupled with workers' desire to get more from their employer, Fink said. He highlighted flexibility and "more meaningful work" as things workers are looking for. So as companies "rebuild," CEOs "face a profoundly different paradigm" than what they were used to, Fink wrote.
The 'Great Resignation' signals a cultural and economic shiftAnthony Klotz, the organizational psychologist who coined the phrase "Great Resignation," previously told Insider that the pandemic prompted somewhat of an existential crisis for American workers.
"From organizational research, we know that when human beings come into contact with death and illness in their lives, it causes them to take a step back and ask existential questions," Klotz said. That causes people to think about what brings them purpose and happiness '-- and question how that stacks up with what they're doing.
For example, the jobs website Indeed said that in a recent survey of workers who had voluntarily quit during the pandemic, 92% of respondents indicated the pandemic had "made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."
Fink wrote that "workers demanding more from their employers is an essential feature of effective capitalism," driving prosperity and making talent recruiting more competitive, thereby forcing companies to "create better, more innovative environments for their employees '-- actions that will help them achieve greater profits for their shareholders."
What about the businesses that don't adapt?
"Companies not adjusting to this new reality and responding to their workers do so at their own peril," Fink said. "Turnover drives up expenses, drives down productivity, and erodes culture and corporate memory. CEOs need to be asking themselves whether they are creating an environment that helps them compete for talent."
Two thirds of Covid vaccine side effects are imagined, study suggests
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 00:43
Two thirds of side effects associated with the Covid-19 vaccine are likely to be caused by the "nocebo effect" - where people become ill because they expect to, scientists believe.
US researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre (BIDMC) in Boston studied the rates of adverse events reported by 22,000 vaccine trial participants who received a real jab, compared with a similar number who received a dummy injection.
After one dose, more than 35 per cent of placebo participants experienced symptoms such as headaches, fever and swelling at the injection site, compared with 46 per cent of the vaccine group.
After a second dose, 32 per cent given a placebo reported side effects, compared with 61 per cent who had a real jab.
Analysis suggested that the nocebo effect accounted for 76 per cent of side effects after a first dose, and 52 per cent after a second, meaning that overall, around two thirds of symptoms were imagined.
Experts said that people should be warned they could experience nocebo symptoms in order to lessen fears.
'Hyper alert to bodily feelings'''Nonspecific symptoms like headache and fatigue are listed among the most common adverse reactions following Covid-19 vaccination in many information leaflets,'' said senior author Ted Kaptchuk, director of the Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter at BIDMC and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
''Evidence suggests that this sort of information may cause people to misattribute common daily background sensations as arising from the vaccine or cause anxiety and worry that make people hyper-alert to bodily feelings about adverse events.
''Medicine is based on trust. Our findings lead us to suggest that informing the public about the potential for nocebo responses could help reduce worries about Covid-19 vaccination, which might decrease vaccination hesitancy.''
'Vaccine hesitancy' The placebo effect is the phenomenon where a person's physical or mental health improves after they receive a treatment with no pharmacological therapeutic benefit, such as a sugar pill or a syringe full of saline.
But sometimes placebo effects can also harm - the so-called nocebo effect occurs when a person experiences unpleasant side effects after a dummy treatment.
''Adverse events after placebo treatment are common in randomised controlled trials,'' said lead author Dr Julia Haas, an investigator in the Program in Placebo Studies at BIDMC.
''Collecting systematic evidence regarding these nocebo responses in vaccine trials is important for Covid-19 vaccination worldwide, especially because concern about side effects is reported to be a reason for vaccine hesitancy.''
The research was published in the journal Jama Network Open.
China builds its own movie empire - Axios
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 21:43
China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.
Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.
"It's a real turning away from the global entertainment industry," said Rebecca Davis, China bureau chief for Variety.What's happening: The pandemic is ushering in a new era of unpredictability for Western entertainment companies that operate in China.
"The pandemic put China in a better position to control releases," said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian. Despite Disney's best efforts to court Chinese officials to ensure its films are welcome to the region, its highest-grossing films last year '-- all Marvel titles '-- were blocked reportedly for character portrayals or concerns about comments made by filmmakers, directors or actors in the films. "Marvel films are typically very lucrative there, but the political aspects in blocking those films took precedence for the Chinese government over the positive box office economic impact they likely would have had," said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice Pro.By the numbers: It wasn't just Marvel films that were affected. The total share of U.S. films among China's foreign film offerings declined from 46% in 2020 to 39% in 2021, Variety reports.
Revenue for U.S. films in China fell across the board, while Chinese films dominated the box office. Of the foreign films that did play in Chinese theaters last year, just 28% were 2021 titles; most were older films.The big picture: China's leaders have set a goal for China to become a "strong film power" by 2035, Aynne Kokas, assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, told Axios.
China already surpassed the U.S. as the world's largest theatrical market for the first time in 2020 and beat it again in 2021, in large part due to its reliance on local films, per Comscore. Chinese regulators typically allow about 34 foreign films to be shown per year. China's massive market means films don't have to go global '-- they just need to be effective locally, Dergarabedian said. Of the 200 top grossing films globally last year, 44 were from China, 80 were from North America and 76 were from other regions, per an Axios analysis. Most of those 44 Chinese films made very little money outside of China. Beijing's desire to establish a powerful domestic film industry isn't to rival the soft cultural power that America has enjoyed through the global dominance of Hollywood, but to create and then manipulate a powerful platform to disseminate party messages, per Davis.The impact: The highest-grossing film in the Chinese box office in 2021 '-- and in Chinese cinematic history '-- was "Battle for Lake Changjin," a propaganda war film glorifying the Chinese army's fight against the American military during the Korean War.
The timing of the film's release came as China's leaders are mobilizing the country for extended rivalry with the United States.Another recent film, "Embrace Again," uses China's most popular movie stars to amplify Beijing's preferred narrative of the pandemic '-- as a heartwarming struggle of a people against a virus '-- while erasing the government failures that allowed the initial outbreak to become a pandemic. The film dominated the New Year's box office."The story of the pandemic in China is in part being written by the state-backed films that have all the technical elements of a Hollywood blockbuster," Davis said.Yes, but: The Chinese audience's interest in Hollywood films hasn't necessarily diminished, Robbins said, noting that piracy for Western films is rampant in the region.
With the growth of streaming, the U.S. movie and TV industry is less dependent on the box office model, even if traditional production companies still rely on China, Kokas notes. And streaming platforms like Netflix aren't active in the Chinese market at all.What to watch: "It's in a state of limbo right now, one that may shift Hollywood's near-future global strategies as well as what China itself needs to continue supporting in its own theatrical market growth in the long term," Robbins said.
The bottom line: The Chinese market "can make the difference between a hero and a zero at the box office globally," said Dergarabedian.
Go deeper: China is censoring Hollywood's imagination
NHL will no longer test asymptomatic players for COVID-19: report | The Post Millennial
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 21:39
Asymptomatic NHL players and staff will no longer be tested by the league following the All-Star break, sources told ESPN.
According to ESPN, the NHL and NHLPA reached an agreement on the matter. The league will still test players and staff before cross-border travel between the US and Canada. Symptomatic players will still be tested.
The league was testing players daily during a harsh December that saw games delayed due to COVID-19 outbreaks caused by the Omicron variant. The league has since reduced isolation periods for positive tests from 10 days to five days.
The NHL All-Star Weekend goes from Feb. 4 - 5. Players will be tested upon arrival, but not throughout the weekend, a source told ESPN.
"At the end of the day, our players are testing positive with very little symptoms, if any symptoms at all," Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman said in December. "I don't see it as a threat to their health at this point. So I think we need to take it a step further and question why are we even testing guys that have no symptoms."
73 percent of players have tested positive this season.
Zuckerberg and Google CEO approved deal to carve up ad market, states allege in court - POLITICO
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:06
The states originally filed the suit against Google in December 2020 and updated that with a heavily redacted version of their most recent complaint in November. They refiled a version with far fewer deletions on Friday after a judge in New York ruled that the additional details should be made public.
The lawsuit alleges that Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally signed off on the terms of the deal. | Carsten Koall/Getty Images
'A big deal': Among other new details, the new filing alleges that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's chief operating officer, helped negotiate the agreement and urged Zuckerberg's approval, calling it ''a big deal strategically.'' The complaint says the team that negotiated the deal sent Zuckerberg an email telling him, ''We're nearly ready to sign and need your approval to move forward.''
"Facebook CEO [REDACTED] wanted to meet with COO [REDACTED] and his other executives before making a decision," says the complaint, with Zuckerberg's and Sandberg's names '-- but not their titles '-- still blacked out.
Sandberg and a Google senior vice president ultimately signed the September 2018 agreement, the lawsuit says. "Google CEO Sundar Pichai also personally signed off on the terms of the deal," it adds.
Previous versions of the complaint had revealed the existence of the deal, nicknamed Jedi Blue. But the newest details show that the pact between Google and Facebook, the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the online advertising market, was negotiated and approved at the highest levels of both companies. Before joining Facebook, Sandberg was a top Google executive in charge of online sales.
The suit: The states' suit accused Google of monopolizing the advertising technology market, the tools used to buy, sell and display the online ads that fund many websites. In November, they updated their complaint with additional details, and the judge overseeing the suit ordered parts of their allegations unsealed this week.
Google spokesperson Peter Schottenfels rejected the suit Friday as a hapless legal maneuver from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the multistate suit. The company said it will ask a judge next week to dismiss the case.
"Despite Attorney General Paxton's three attempts to re-write his complaint, it is still full of inaccuracies and lacks legal merit," Schottenfels said. "Our advertising technologies help websites and apps fund their content, and enable small businesses to reach customers around the world. There is vigorous competition in online advertising, which has reduced ad tech fees, and expanded options for publishers and advertisers."
Google also denied that Pichai was involved in approving the deal. "We sign hundreds of agreements every year that don't require CEO approval, and this was no different," Schottenfels said.
Facebook, now known as Meta, echoed its earlier defense of the arrangement between the two companies.
''Meta's non-exclusive bidding agreement with Google and the similar agreements we have with other bidding platforms, have helped to increase competition for ad placements," Meta spokesperson Christopher Sgro said in a statement Friday. "These business relationships enable Meta to deliver more value to advertisers while fairly compensating publishers, resulting in better outcomes for all.''
Meta is not a defendant in the lawsuit.
Treasurer Moore Announces Board of Treasury Investments Ends Use of BlackRock Investment Fund > West Virginia State Treasurer's Office
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:03
Posted on January 17, 2022
CHARLESTON, W.Va. '' State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced the Board of Treasury Investments, which manages the state's roughly $8 billion operating funds, will no longer use a BlackRock Inc. investment fund as part of its banking transactions.
The decision was based on recent reports that BlackRock has urged companies to embrace ''net zero'' investment strategies that would harm the coal, oil and natural gas industries, while increasing investments in Chinese companies that subvert national interests and damage West Virginia's manufacturing base and job market.
''As the state's chief financial officer and chairman of the Board of Treasury Investments, I have a duty to ensure that taxpayer dollars are managed in a responsible, financially sound fashion which reflects the best interests of our state and country, and I believe doing business with BlackRock runs contrary to that duty,'' Treasurer Moore said.
Treasurer Moore said this action is consistent with his belief that the state should not do business with firms whose corporate policies directly threaten West Virginians' interests and livelihoods.
Treasurer Moore also pointed to the significant financial risks associated with firms that invest heavily in China, due to that country's lack of free market protections, intellectual property rights and outright government interference in markets and business activities.
''The Chinese government's blatant interference and controls over businesses and markets creates a tremendous amount of uncertainty and risk for anyone attempting to invest there,'' Treasurer Moore said.
BlackRock has been criticized for investing in some Chinese companies that have been identified by the U.S. Department of Commerce as ''acting contrary to the foreign policy interests of the United States.''
''BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has been outspoken in pressuring corporate leaders to commit to investment goals that will undermine reliable energy sources like coal, natural gas and oil under the guise of helping the planet, but at the same time he's pouring billions in new capital into China, turning a blind eye to abhorrent human rights violations, genocide and that country's role in creating the COVID-19 global pandemic,'' Treasurer Moore said. ''Even liberal financier George Soros has said BlackRock's China investments are 'a tragic mistake' that could potentially damage our national security.
''Any company that thinks Communist China is a better investment than West Virginia energy or American capitalism clearly has a bad strategy,'' Treasurer Moore said. ''We will continue to give our state's business to people who aren't simultaneously trying to destroy our economy.''
Judicial Watch: Documents Show CA State Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Americans' Election Posts | Judicial Watch
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 16:02
April 27, 2021 | Judicial WatchUsed Biden for President's Communications Firm to Identify 'Misinformation'
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 540 pages and a supplemental four pages of documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these documents were ''misinformation briefings'' emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020. The documents show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.
The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch's California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests to the Office of the California Secretary of State for records related to the Office of Election Cybersecurity's database of social media posts; communications with social media companies; and other social media related records regarding the 2020 elections. Judicial Watch filed the requests after a December 2020 report surfaced that the state agency was surveilling, tracking, and seeking to censor the speech of Americans:
The Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State's office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. In 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.
''We don't take down posts, that is not our role to play,'' Dresner said. ''We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.''
On September 24, 2020, a California Secretary of State chart lists a video from Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and falsely alleges :
Head of conservative group Judicial Watch Hosts video alleging Democrats benefit from incorrect voter rolls and ballot collection.
The Secretary of State's office details its communication with YouTube: ''We wanted to flag this YouTube video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots.'' The chart quotes Fitton describing Judicial Watch's statement about its federal lawsuit settlement with Los Angeles County that will require it to clean up voter rolls and how a Michigan court ''changed the rules'' on ballot deadlines and ballot harvesting. (The controversial decision was overturned in October 2020.)
The document shows that California state officials contacted YouTube directly to remove the video on September 24, 2020, and that YouTube seemed to respond by deleting the video on September 27, 2020.
On September 11, 2020, outside consultant Zeke Sandoval, of the SKDK communications firm, provides the Secretary of State's Office a ''Misinformation Daily Briefing,'' which again targets Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Trump tweeted, ''The big Unsolicited Ballot States should give it up NOW, before it is too late, and ask people to go to the Polling Booths and, like always before, VOTE. Otherwise, MAYHEM!!! Solicited Ballots (absentee) are OK,'' and Twitter was quick to fact check and shared a link with info about how voting by mail is safe and secure . Viral reply on Twitter from Tom Fitton asserting, ''Mailing 51 million ballots to those who haven't asked for increases risk of voter fraud and voter intimidation!''
A 30-page '' Misinformation Tracking Sheet '' lists social media posts that the office disagrees with and has asked social media companies to remove.
In an internal email on January 12, 2021, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer Paula Valle emails Chief Counsel Steve Reyes and Jenna Dresner in the Office of Cybersecurity, as well as Press Secretary Sam Mahood stating that she is uncomfortable with CalMatters reporter Fred Brewster's questions about the office's tracking and censoring efforts:
Hi Steve '' Please see below '' the reporter at Cal Matters who PRA'd us is doing a follow-up story. We asked him to send us his questions. I am not necessarily comfortable with his line of questions and the additional doors that this will open. I want to get your feedback I would simply like to give him a statement about what our goal is and leave it at that. Thoughts?
Brewster's questions, which include concerns from citizens who were targeted by the ''Misinformation Tracker,'' were sent on January 12, 2021:
I reached out to the users on page 7 and page 21 of the Misinformation Tracker request I received. Both individuals wanted to know how their posts ended up being labeled misinformation and how, given their relatively small following, they came to the attention of the Office of Election Cybersecurity?
Another user named ''DC O'Bryan'' had his post taken down (page 5 of the Misinformation Tracker). In an email, you highlight a report sent to the state that says, ''I don't know if this is hot air meant to provoke. If it is, a call from an official might get the point across that you don't joke about election fraud.'' Was O'Bryan called to confirm that his post was a joke?
How does the Office of Election Cybersecurity differentiate between parody and satire and misinformation?
Did CISA, Facebook, or any other partners provide guidance on how to spot and define misinformation? If someone has their posts in the Misinformation Tracker, are there plans to contact those individuals and is there a way for them to petition the state to delete them?
The Secretary of State's Office emails Facebook and Twitter on April 25, 2019, with requests from the Office to remove tweets and posts for what they have labeled ''misinformation.''
The office emails Facebook, attempting to set up a call to discuss removing future posts. This 15-minute call is with ''new Facebook contact for social media reporting: Javier Hernandez, Politics & Government Outreach'' in order to discuss how the office will report posts to Facebook. In the email, Facebook outlines its goals to directly work with ''electoral authorities in every state'' so that they can ''report instances of voter suppression on Facebook directly to our team, so [Facebook] can look at them quickly and remove them from the site.''
On December 31, 2019, after the Secretary of State's office reports a tweet to [email protected], Kevin Kane, a Twitter representative, replies and offers his direct contact for the Office's future needs in removing posts.
In a September 21, 2020, email chain with the subject line ''elections issue,'' Jenna Dresner in the Secretary of State's Office of Cybersecurity writes to ''Cristina and team'' at Facebook at 11:43 a.m.: ''We want to flag this Instagram post.''
The reply comes from Facebook Community Operations: ''Thank you for your report. We have reviewed the '... content and can confirm that the content has been removed '...'' At 12:53 pm. Dresner writes to Press Secretary Sam Mahood, Social Media Coordinator Akilah Jones and others, ''Post from this morning was removed (and fast!) Akilah we can update tracker.''
In an October 28, 2020, email, Jones writes to Flores at Facebook and CCs Dresner that a post, which was from a user named @Screenplaywale, ''voters are being asked to gerrymander and voter suppress their 'trump supporting father's ballots.'''
In an email chain on September 14, 2020, titled ''Election Issue'' the office internally complains about how long it takes Facebook to remove a post and how to speed up this process.
Mahood writes to Dresner: ''It looks like it took Facebook 2 weeks to respond to Chris. This is way too long, we should raise to FB and make sure we know best method to report posts.'' Dresner responds: ''S ure '' I'm 98% sure this is the one you chased with an email directly to our FB contacts which resulted in it taken down that day. I can confirm that process works for the future?''
On August 22, 2019, Maria Benson , director of communications for the National Association of Secretaries of State emails the communications directors for Secretaries of State offices that Twitter confirmed that they streamlined their process for government officials to report ''misinformation:''
Great news'--Twitter is now on-boarding states into their mis/disinformation partner support portal! Once on-boarded, you will be able to directly report mis/disinformation instead of having to submit it to me first'....'' [Emphasis in original]
Benson also gives contact information for Facebook and Google complaints, and says: ''If any of the items you reported do not get prompt attention, please let me know and I can also reach out the companies.''
On September 24, 2019, The California Secretary of State's office confirms that it plans to participate in Facebook's ''misinformation'' training which is a review from Facebook on ''monitoring guidelines for reporting misinformation'' and teaches participants how to use the direct reporting channel Facebook opened for them.
On October 1, 2020, Benson forwards information from Twitter about their training to directly remove posts they label as misinformation to the Secretary of State's office. This is described by Twitter as: '' training on creative and effective content strategies on Twitter in advance of the U.S. Election,'' as well as ''onboarding state and local election officials onto Twitter's Partner Support Portal.'' This portal is described as, ''a dedicated way for critical stakeholders '' like you '' to flag concerns directly to Twitter.''
'' These new documents suggest a conspiracy against the First Amendment rights of Americans by the California Secretary of State, the Biden campaign operation, and Big Tech,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''These documents blow up the big lie that Big Tech censorship is 'private' '' as the documents show collusion between a whole group of government officials in multiple states to suppress speech about election controversies.''
###
Crypto.com suspends withdrawals after 'unauthorized activity' - Los Angeles Times
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:42
Crypto.com said Monday that it stopped all deposits and withdrawals while it investigates ''unauthorized activity'' on some accounts.
The crypto wallet provider and trading platform said in a Twitter post that the measure was temporary to allow it to improve security and it would resume activity once the update was complete. The company added that all funds are safe.
Several users had reported on social media that their cryptocurrencies, at times equating to tens of thousands of dollars, had disappeared from their Crypto.com accounts in recent days. A spokesperson from Crypto.com didn't respond to a request for comment.
Technical issues on crypto trading platforms have become commonplace as the hype surrounding digital assets grows. Providers such as Coinbase, Binance and Kraken have all sustained widespread outages at times of peak demand in the last year, causing trouble for investors who were prevented from making withdrawals or liquidating their positions during volatile trading periods.
Crypto.com has more than 10 million customers and is one of the most prominent platforms in the U.S., having recently secured naming rights to take over from Staples as the title sponsor of the Los Angeles sports center. The $700-million deal accompanied a major marketing push starring Crypto.com investor and Hollywood actor Matt Damon.
Crypto influencer and podcast host Ben Baller said in a tweet Monday that about 4.28 ether, which equates to roughly $14,000, had been ''stolen out of nowhere'' from his account, a move that would have required a hacker to bypass two-factor authentication security measures.
Baller later alleged that as of mid-morning in London, a wallet belonging to Crypto.com had lost approximately 5,000 ether, which equates to roughly $16.3 million.
Dogecoin co-founder Billy Markus also said he had spotted ''odd activity'' on an Ethereum wallet Monday on Crypto.com, noting an unusual pattern of transactions going to recipient wallets.
'Anti-work' threads on Reddit fueling the Great Resignation
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:33
They say you have to work hard to get ahead, but some are finding that you can work very little and still do pretty well.
On Reddit, the ''antiwork'' subreddit is now one of the social network's most active and engaged pages, after seeing explosive growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. It currently has more than 1.6 million users, up from 180,000 in October 2020. People post epic text and e-mail screenshots of quitting their jobs, but the real heroes are so-called ''idlers'' '-- those who stay in jobs doing the absolute minimum to get by while still collecting a paycheck.
''Everyone has hit their limit with COVID, overwork, their mortgages, rent payments and so many things with capitalism. There's nothing wrong with wanting to take a break from that and do less of it,'' said Doreen Ford, the page's moderator. A 30-year-old living in Boston, Ford once held a job in retail, but for the past five years, she's been self-employed as a dog walker, working about 25 hours a week.
Antiwork moderator Doreen Ford says that movement is a major snub towards capitalism. courtesy of Doreen FordShe noted that the general idea behind the anti-work movement ''is to reduce the coercive element of labor as much as possible by subverting capitalism,'' and said that those active on the page are mainly far leftists who support Bernie Sanders and AOC, and, often also identify as socialists, communists and/or anarchists.
Among them are users like podcastquestions, who boasted that they make $80,000 a year by answering one to two calls a week ''and literally nothing else.'' Another user, an anonymous IT professional, bragged about taking things a step further, automating their gig at a law firm with ''a simple script that performed [their] entire job'' for over a year. Company brass didn't catch on, and the employee was still paid $90,000 a year.
Some fear anti-workers could have far-reaching consequences for the economy. The Financial Times recently reported that Goldman Sachs was fretting that the movement posed a ''long-run risk'' to labor force participation.
It comes at a time where a record number of workers are quitting, a phenomenon that's been dubbed the Great Resignation. In November, 4.5 million Americans voluntarily left their jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
But those numbers tell only part of the story, said Rutgers professor Todd Vachon, director of the school's Labor Education Action Research Network.
''Everyone has hit their limit with COVID, overwork, their mortgages, rent payments and so many things with capitalism.''
Doreen Ford, moderator of the ''antiwork'' subreddit''We're not only seeing the mass resignation, but at the same time a wave of strike activity and new organizing activity among workers that have remained in their jobs,'' Vachon told The Post.
''The two are interconnected. A shortage of workers willing to take low-wage jobs empowers those in those jobs to take bold actions to improve them with less fear of being fired or replaced.''
The anti-work subreddit shows people doing just that. One user, a technician of some sort who goes by the name willcalliv, posted screenshots of a demanding email sent to their boss. They noted that their ''skills are high in demand this year'' and asked for a 6.8 percent raise, a work week of no more than 45 hours, a company phone and a new car with a working air conditioner '-- all in the name of ''personal growth.''
While it's unclear if the asks were granted, willcalliv's post received more than 80,000 upvotes of support from Redditors.
Another user who goes by the screen name introductionhonest10 and works in management recently wrote of their demands on their employer. They proposed a 10 percent pay increase, five extra days off a year, and having Monday be an optional workday for those who are ahead on their tasks. The proposal was accepted a few months back and the results have been good: employee satisfaction is up, and there's been no decline in revenue.
''All I can say is wowwww,'' introductionhonest10 said in a post.
Ford, who is currently pursuing a master's in philosophy at Boston College, while also running the anti-work subreddit and hosting a podcast, says such success stories show the movement is about more than self-absorbed Gen Zers who can't be bothered to get out of bed '-- sort of.
''What we call laziness is actually people reaching their limits for very good reasons that are outside of their control,'' she said. ''Well, some of us are lazy and we just don't want to work.''
Senate Changes Rules To Move Gorsuch Supreme Court Nomination Forward : NPR
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:29
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans set a precedent for the Senate on Thursday, changing rules for Supreme Court confirmations and easing the process for nominee Neil Gorsuch. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans set a precedent for the Senate on Thursday, changing rules for Supreme Court confirmations and easing the process for nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images This is how the Senate changes '-- not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.
By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.
"This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice," said McConnell in a closing floor speech.
Senate Democrats voted against ending debate on Gorsuch's nomination on a near party-line vote, leaving Republicans shy the 60-vote hurdle required by Senate rules to move on to a final confirmation vote.
Democrats opposed Gorsuch for a variety of reasons, including his conservative judicial philosophy, dissatisfaction with his answers during his confirmation hearings and a simmering resentment towards McConnell's decision to block any consideration of President Obama's nominee Merrick Garland last year.
"We believe that what Republicans did to Merrick Garland was worse than a filibuster," said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
So McConnell then, as promised, used the power of his position and with all of his GOP colleagues lined up behind him, to essentially change the rules of the Senate '-- to lower that threshold on Supreme Court nominations to end debate from 60 to 51 votes. The change did not affect the legislative filibuster.
McConnell made a point of order that ending debate on the nomination only requires a simple majority. The motion was not sustained by the chair because Senate rules required 60 votes, so McConnell then made a motion to overturn that ruling. And once that motion passed on a party-line vote, the Gorsuch nomination only needed 51 votes to clear the hurdle.
That mild-sounding parliamentary maneuver has the most destructive nickname, "the nuclear option," because it contains sweeping impact on the Senate, President Trump and all of his successors '-- and the nation as a whole.
By essentially eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees '-- an extension of the 2013 nuclear option triggered by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for all lower court and executive branch nominees '-- all presidential nominees will now face a far easier path navigating through the Senate confirmation process. It also could make it easier for presidents to appoint more overtly partisan justices to the Supreme Court.
The change will also test the character of the Senate and the people who serve in it, and lay bare whether the upper chamber is slowly lurching towards becoming more like the majority-driven and reactionary House of Representatives, where the minority party has little substantive role.
Opponents of easing the filibuster warn that the next and likely step is to eliminate the legislative filibuster, which allows any one senator to hold up a piece of legislation and requires a 60-vote threshold to break the logjam and move such a bill forward. Critics of the filibuster say the maneuver is abused and used so regularly that it has rendered the Senate incapable of acting on even routine legislative matters.
The filibuster and the rights it gives to individual senators and the minority party are reasons why the Senate has long considered itself "the greatest deliberative body in the world."
But the use of filibusters and the polarization between the two parties have dramatically increased in the past two decades, making it harder and harder for the Senate to reach bipartisan consensus even on matters like the annual 12 spending bills.
The impact of McConnell's move Thursday is a matter of heated debate, and its long-term effects are unpredictable. Advocates of changing the Senate rules on filibusters say it may be a necessary evolution for a polarized Congress to function in the modern era, while opponents say it threatens to send the nation further down a path where the two parties are so opposed that bipartisanship and centrism are relics of another era.
"Today's vote is a cautionary tale about how unbridled partisan escalation can ultimately overwhelm our basic inclination to work together, and frustrate our efforts to pull back, blocking us from steering the ship of the Senate away from the rocks," Schumer said.
Want the 'TLDR' on a site's terms of service? There's a bill for that - The Verge
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:24
Democrats and Republicans are getting behind a new bill, introduced Thursday, that would force tech companies to simplify the language in their terms of service agreements, making it easier for consumers to understand.
The Terms-of-service Labeling, Design and Readability Act '' or TLDR for short '' would require websites to provide a ''summary statement'' for users before they opt in to a terms of service agreement. The statement would summarize the legal jargon into something more easily understood by the average user, along with disclosing any recent data breaches (from the three years) and the types of sensitive data the site may collect. The summary would also explain ''whether a consumer can delete their data, and if so, provide instructions on how.''
''For far too long, blanket terms of service agreements have forced consumers to either 'agree' to all of a company's conditions or lose access to a website or app entirely,'' Rep. Lori Trahan (D-MA), one of the bill's lead sponsors, said in a statement on Thursday. ''No negotiation, no alternative, and no real choice.''
''No negotiation, no alternative, and no real choice.''
This bipartisan push for greater transparency into tech comes after Facebook faced months of criticism from lawmakers over how the company may harm users. Specifically, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress multiple times, outlining a series of leaks she released after leaving the social media company. Lawmakers used these disclosures as a means of demanding more transparency from the embattled social media company and others, like Snap, TikTok, and YouTube.
It's unclear if lawmakers have received any additional internal reports, like those concerned with mental health, from any large tech companies, as of publication.
While the TLDR Act applies to most large websites and apps, like Facebook and Twitter, it exempts some small businesses. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would be the main enforcers of the law, and they would be authorized to seek civil action against sites that break it.
''Users should not have to comb through pages of legal jargon in a website's terms of services to know how their data will be used,'' said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA). ''Requiring companies to provide an easy-to-understand summary of their terms should be mandatory and is long overdue.''
Het laatste woord over het verraad van Anne Frank? 'Er blijven nog veel puzzelstukken over' | De Volkskrant
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:03
Anne Frank op 10-jarige leeftijd. Beeld Anne Frank Stichting
Het is bijna tachtig jaar geleden dat Anne Frank werd verraden. Wie tipte de nazi's over haar onderduikadres? Een onderzoeksteam zegt nu de waarschijnlijke verrader te hebben gevonden.
Ronald Leopold, directeur Anne Frank Stichting: 'Ik heb veel waardering voor het indrukwekkende werk van het team, het onderzoek is zorgvuldig uitgevoerd. Er is veel nieuwe informatie gevonden, voldoende aanleiding om het spoor van notaris Van den Bergh te volgen. Met als meest bijzondere vondst de kopie van het briefje. Maar er blijven nog veel puzzelstukken over. Over de lijsten die bij de Joodse Raad zouden hebben gelegen, over het briefje en over de notaris zelf. Allemaal zaken die moeten worden uitgezocht om de geloofwaardigheid van deze theorie te versterken.'
Emile Schrijver, algemeen directeur van het Joods Cultureel Kwartier in Amsterdam: 'Na lezing van het boek vroeg ik mij af: wat draagt de gepresenteerde vondst bij aan verraad in het algemeen? Hoe past deze casus in de algemene praktijk van de opsporing van onderduikers? En hoe kwam de lijst met de adressen van onderduikers tot stand die Arnold van den Bergh mogelijk aan de SD heeft afgestaan? Dat ook Joden zich aan verraad hebben bezondigd, is niet nieuw. Maar hoe werden zij daartoe gebracht? Het gaat om wat mensen elkaar onder uitzonderlijke omstandigheden kunnen aandoen, schrijven de onderzoekers. Maar dat is voor mij toch te veel een gemeenplaats.'
Publicist en oud-journalist Sytze van der Zee, auteur van het boek Vogelvrij (2009), waarin de hypothese werd ontvouwd dat het verraad moest zijn gepleegd door Ans van Dijk, de (Joodse) vrouw die na de oorlog voor meervoudig verraad ter dood werd veroordeeld: 'De hypothese dat Arnold van den Bergh de dader was, is goed doortimmerd. Dat betekent niet dat m­jn hypothese nu is weerlegd. Het coldcaseteam denkt dat Ans van Dijk het niet geweest kan zijn omdat ze in Zeist verbleef op het moment waarop de bewoners van het Achterhuis werden verraden. Dat mag dan zo zijn: in de nazomer van 1944 was er nog geregeld treinverkeer tussen het midden van het land en Amsterdam. In mijn boek heb ik juist aangetoond dat Ans van Dijk ook in deze periode geregeld het Duitse hoofd van de Nederlandse Gestapo-rechercheurs heeft bezocht. Kortom: het mysterie blijft. En misschien is dat ook wel goed.'
David Barnouw, coauteur van de wetenschappelijk Niod-editie van De Dagboeken van Anne Frank (1986): 'Van het gebruik van big data bij wetenschappelijk onderzoek ben ik in het algemeen niet zo onder de indruk: het levert alleen wat op als alle relevante informatie gedigitaliseerd is. De onderzoekers omkleden hun bevindingen terecht met allerlei voorbehouden. Ze zijn echter heel stellig in hun schuldigverklaring van die arme notaris. Terwijl ik mij afvraag of hij heeft kunnen beschikken over een lijst met Joodse onderduikadressen. De Joodse Raad was veel te gezagsgetrouw om zo'n lijst aan te leggen, zou ik menen.'
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Larry Fink's Letter to CEOs Says Stakeholder Capitalism Is Not 'Woke' - The New York Times
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 14:27
Larry Fink's latest annual letter to corporate America clarifies, and defends, his approach to social and environmental issues at the world's largest money manager.
''Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics,'' Laurence D. Fink wrote in his annual letter to the chief executives of companies that his firm, BlackRock, invests in. Credit... Sipa, via Associated Press Jan. 17, 2022
Laurence D. Fink, the founder and chief executive of the investment giant BlackRock, has become one of the most influential voices in business over the past decade in pushing corporate leaders to think beyond profits, to their social purpose.
Mr. Fink has delivered his words in annual letters that have drawn remarkable attention, but also criticism from all corners: that he is beholden to politically correct antibusiness activists, or that he is co-opting these issues for marketing purposes.
On Monday night, he used his latest letter to corporate America to clarify '-- and defend '-- his approach.
''Stakeholder capitalism is not about politics,'' Mr. Fink wrote to the chief executives of businesses that BlackRock has invested in. ''It is not 'woke.' It is capitalism.''
Mr. Fink's annual letter is widely followed, and this year's 3,300-word edition is sure to be read in boardrooms and beyond.
On Friday, BlackRock said it managed more than $10 trillion in assets, across an array of index funds, pension plans and other investment products, cementing the firm's position as the world's largest asset manager. That gives Mr. Fink a huge amount of influence: If a public company that BlackRock has invested in ignores his calls, his firm could seek to oust its directors or, among its actively managed funds, sell its shares.
So when Mr. Fink began urging chief executives four years ago to consider how they contributed to society, his words carried weight. Within weeks of his telling leaders in 2020 that climate change would become a ''defining factor'' in how BlackRock assessed their companies, many blue-chip businesses announced plans to become carbon-neutral or carbon-negative.
In this year's letter, Mr. Fink urged chief executives to continue embracing their moral responsibility as the pandemic reshapes society and business, and as consumers and workers demand more from companies.
But in perhaps the most telling sentence, he said that what drove his push for companies to have purpose was creating profits. ''Make no mistake, the fair pursuit of profit is still what animates markets; and long-term profitability is the measure by which markets will ultimately determine your company's success,'' he wrote.
Much of this year's letter was devoted to Mr. Fink's belief that a focus on environmental, social and corporate governance issues '-- E.S.G., for short '-- does not conflict with making money. Reducing a company's carbon footprint, for example, makes the business more resilient in the long term, which is in investors' interests.
''We focus on sustainability not because we're environmentalists, but because we are capitalists and fiduciaries to our clients,'' Mr. Fink wrote.
He suggested that E.S.G. was not a fad but a permanent feature of the corporate world. Business leaders who do not adapt to the new reality, he suggested, risk being overtaken by younger and more innovative rivals in step with the times.
''Capital markets have allowed companies and countries to flourish. But access to capital is not a right,'' he wrote. ''It is a privilege. And the duty to attract that capital in a responsible and sustainable way lies with you.''
But some critics say Mr. Fink and BlackRock are not pushing companies hard enough to go green. Environmental groups have called out what they see as shortcomings in Mr. Fink's approach: BlackRock's Big Problem, a collection of nonprofits and other advocates, accuses the firm of failing to exclude major polluters from its investment funds, even in E.S.G.-focused products.
In his latest letter, Mr. Fink defended his more gradual approach, including a refusal to force BlackRock to divest holdings in fossil-fuel companies. (He has said in the past that the firm cannot rid many of its mainstream funds of holdings in companies that are part of major stock indexes.)
''Divesting from entire sectors '-- or simply passing carbon-intensive assets from public markets to private markets '-- will not get the world to net zero,'' he wrote. Focusing solely on cutting down on the supply of oil and gas, and not reducing the demand for fossil fuels, would simply drive up energy prices and encourage more of a backlash against green-energy efforts, he argued.
BlackRock has also faced pressure from the opposite end of the climate spectrum. Last year, Texas lawmakers passed a bill that, on paper, would block the state's agencies from investing public money with financial companies, like BlackRock, if they were to ''boycott energy companies.''
''If Wall Street turns their back on Texas and our thriving oil and gas industry, then Texas will not do business with Wall Street,'' Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, a supporter of the bill, posted on Twitter last year.
Mr. Fink's letter did not address the Texas bill, and to date the state has not cut off BlackRock. He also said the firm would offer individual investors more ability to vote its shares, something BlackRock has been under pressure to do, especially by Republican lawmakers who have complained that the firm has too much influence. BlackRock is making it easier for institutions to vote themselves as well.
''We are pursuing an initiative to use technology to give more of our clients the option to have a say in how proxy votes are cast at companies their money is invested in,'' Mr. Fink wrote. ''We now offer this option to certain institutional clients, including pension funds that support 60 million people.''
Along with his push for companies to focus more on climate, he repeated a call on governments and multinational organizations like the World Bank to be more supportive of investments in green energy.
''Businesses can't do this alone,'' Mr. Fink wrote, ''and they cannot be the climate police.''
American mercenaries preparing 'chemical weapon' incident in east Ukraine, Russia claims '-- RT Russia & Former Soviet Union
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 00:55
US private military companies (PMCs) are preparing a provocation using chemical weapons in troubled and tense eastern Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed on Tuesday.
Moscow believes there are more than 120 employees of American PMCs operating in the region, where they are working with Ukrainian special forces.
Containers with ''unidentified chemical components'' have been delivered to the cities of Avdeevka and Krasny Liman in Donbass in order to stage provocations, Shoigu said, at Tuesday's meeting of the Defense Ministry board, in Moscow, attended by President Vladimir Putin.
The minister, who was sitting alongside Putin and Russia's top General Valery Gerasimov, provided no further details or evidence of the false-flag chemical attacks that had purportedly been planned.
Tensions have been mounting in eastern Ukraine since last month, when several Western media outlets reported that Russia had been amassing troops near the border and claimed that Moscow was planning a large-scale military invasion of the country.
The US and its allies have promised more sanctions against Russia if such a scenario is realized, but the Kremlin has repeatedly denied accusations that it is masterminding any attack, calling them groundless attempts to instill ''hysteria.''
Instead, Moscow has blamed the West for encouraging Kiev to use force against the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk by supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government and intensifying the NATO buildup in Eastern Europe.
Dershowitz: What If Prince Andrew Were Innocent? | Newsmax.com
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 00:31
Prince Andrew has been accused, by one woman with a long history of not telling the truth, of having had sex with her when she was over the age of consent and claims she was paid $15,000.
The accusation has ruined his life, his work and his reputation. He has been stripped of his titles and responsibilities based on this accusation.
But what if his accuser Virginia Giuffre simply made up the story? What if she, in fact, only posed for a photograph with Prince Andrew, and then used that ''evidence'' to falsely claim that she had sex with him?
What if she is framing Prince Andrew in order to obtain more than millions she has already gotten from others in similar suits?
What if Prince Andrew is actually innocent?
I am not asking the readers of this article to believe Prince Andrew in his denials of ever having had sex with the accuser.
None of us knows what happened or didn't happen after that photograph was taken.
I am only asking the readers to assume, simply for purposes of analysis, the possibility that Prince Andrew might be innocent.
Right now, he is presumed guilty. If he had been charged by an official government agency, say a prosecutor or grand jury, he would be presumed innocent as a matter of law, even though the imprimatur of the government was behind the accusation.
Here, no governmental agency or unbiased official has ever accused Prince Andrew of a crime.
His only accuser is an individual who stands to benefit financially from the accusation.
Yet the media and public opinion seem to presume Prince Andrew is guilty.
The New York Times reports that there ''are legal charges hanging over him.'' This suggests that some unbiased institution has leveled charges.
But anyone can be sued by anyone '' hence the expression, ''The Pope can be sued for paternity.''
A lawsuit for money brought by an individual should never give rise to any kind of presumption of guilt.
As Judge Jose A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals has cautioned the media and the public:
Materials submitted by parties to a court should be understood for what they are. They do not reflect the court's own findings. Rather, they are prepared by parties seeking to advance their own interests in an adversarial process. Although affidavits and depositions are offered ''under penalty of perjury,'' it is in fact exceedingly rare for anyone to be prosecuted for perjury in a civil proceeding. ...
Thus, although the act of filing a document with a court might be thought to lend that document additional credibility in fact, allegations appearing in such documents might be less credible than those published elsewhere.
[T]he media does the public a profound disservice when it reports on parties' allegations uncritically. ... Even ordinarily critical readers may take the reference to ''court papers'' as some sort of marker of reliability. This would be a mistake.
We therefore urge the media to exercise restraint in covering potentially defamatory allegations, and we caution the public to read such accounts with discernment. (Emphasis added.)
Many in the media have not heeded this wise warning for a number of reasons. One reason could be that media companies profit from reporting salacious accusations against prominent people.
I understand this all too well because I am being sued by Virginia Giuffre, the same person accusing Prince Andrew.
Despite the fact that I have produced overwhelming evidence of my innocence, the media highlights her accusations and buries evidence she is making false claims.
In my case, the court struck the original accusation against me, her lawyers apologized for filing it, and one of her lawyers acknowledged on tape she was wrong.
She, herself, has admitted that she falsely claimed that she had dinner with Al and Tipper Gore on Jeffrey Epstein's notorious Island. (The Gores never even met Epstein.)
Yet, the media persist in repeating Giuffre's accusation, merely saying that I ''deny it.''
The judge in the Prince Andrew case made it clear that in allowing the case to go forward, he was not deciding who is telling the truth; that will be up to a jury.
He was merely assuming, as the law says he must, that the allegations contained in the complaint are true for purposes of further review of the evidence.
Yet the media persists in reporting on the case as if there had been a finding of guilt.
So, the fundamental question remains: Why should one individual with a history of false accusations, have the power to destroy lives, careers and reputations, based solely on an accusation?
What if the presumption of guilt that seems to have been imposed on Prince Andrew were imposed on all people who were subject to private, adversarial lawsuits?
What if it were your brother, sister or father who was being sued by an individual with a history of falsely accusing people?
These are issues that need to be debated, but today's media seems less interested in discussing complex moral and legal issues than in assuming the worst about public figures.
Alan M. Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School and and the author most recently of "The Case for Color Blind Equality in the Age of Identity Politics," and "The Case for Vaccine Mandates," Hot Books (2021).'‹ Read more of Alan Dershowitz''s reports '-- Here.
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The mystery of Dr Aafia Siddiqui | Al-Qaida | The Guardian
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 13:02
O n a hot summer morning 18 months ago a team of four Americans '' two FBI agents and two army officers '' rolled into Ghazni, a dusty town 50 miles south of Kabul. They had come to interview two unusual prisoners: a woman in a burka and her 11-year-old son, arrested the day before.
Afghan police accused the mysterious pair of being suicide bombers. What interested the Americans, though, was what they were carrying: notes about a "mass casualty attack" in the US on targets including the Statue of Liberty and a collection of jars and bottles containing "chemical and gel substances".
At the town police station the Americans were directed into a room where, unknown to them, the woman was waiting behind a long yellow curtain. One soldier sat down, laying his M-4 rifle by his foot, next to the curtain. Moments later it twitched back.
The woman was standing there, pointing the officer's gun at his head. A translator lunged at her, but too late. She fired twice, shouting "Get the fuck out of here!" and "Allahu Akbar!" Nobody was hit. As the translator wrestled with the woman, the second soldier drew his pistol and fired, hitting her in the abdomen. She went down, still kicking and shouting that she wanted "to kill Americans". Then she passed out.
Whether this extraordinary scene is fiction or reality will soon be decided thousands of miles from Ghazni in a Manhattan courtroom. The woman is Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three. The description of the shooting, in July 2008, comes from the prosecution case, which Siddiqui disputes. What isn't in doubt is that there was an incident, and that she was shot, after which she was helicoptered to Bagram air field where medics cut her open from breastplate to bellybutton, searching for bullets. Medical records show she barely survived. Seventeen days later, still recovering, she was bundled on to an FBI jet and flown to New York where she now faces seven counts of assault and attempted murder. If convicted, the maximum sentence is life in prison.
The prosecution is but the latest twist in one of the most intriguing episodes of America's "war on terror". At its heart is the MIT-educated Siddiqui, once declared the world's most wanted woman. In 2003 she mysteriously vanished for five years, during which time she was variously dubbed the "Mata Hari of al-Qaida" or the "Grey Lady of Bagram", an iconic victim of American brutality.
Yet only the narrow circumstances of her capture '' did she open fire on the US soldier? '' are at issue in the New York court case. Fragile-looking, and often clad in a dark robe and white headscarf, Siddiqui initially pleaded not guilty, insisting she never touched the soldier's gun. Her lawyers say the prosecution's dramatic version of the shooting is untrue. Now, after months of pre-trial hearings, she appears bent on scuppering the entire process.
During a typically stormy hearing last Thursday, Siddiqui interrupted the judge, rebuked her own lawyers and made strident appeals to the packed courthouse. "I am boycotting this trial," she declared. "I am innocent of all the charges and I can prove it, but I will not do it in this court." Previously she had tried to fire her lawyers due to their Jewish background (she once wrote to the court that Jews are "cruel, ungrateful, back-stabbing" people) and demanded to speak with President Obama for the purpose of "making peace" with the Taliban. This time, though, she was ejected from the courtroom for obstruction. "Take me out. I'm not coming back," she said defiantly.
The trial, due to start in January, is just one piece of a much larger ­ puzzle. It is a tale of spies and militants, disappearance and deception, which has played out in the shadowlands of Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2001. In search of answers I criss-crossed Pakistan, tracking down Siddiqui's relatives, retired ministers, shadowy spy types and pamphleteers. The truth was maddeningly elusive. But it all started in Karachi, the sprawling port city on the Arabian Sea where Siddiqui was born 37 years ago.
Her parents were Pakistani strivers '' middle-class folk with strong faith in Islam and education. Her father, Mohammad, was an English-trained doctor; her mother, Ismet, befriended the dictator General Zia ul-Haq. Aafia was a smart teenager, and in 1990 followed her older brother to the US. Impressive grades won her admission to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology and, later, Brandeis University, where she graduated in cognitive neuroscience. In 1995 she married a young Karachi doctor, Amjad Khan; a year later their first child, Ahmed, was born.
Siddiqui was also an impassioned Muslim activist. In Boston she campaigned for Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya; she was particularly affected by graphic videos of pregnant Bosnian women being killed. She wrote emails, held fundraisers and made forceful speeches at her local mosque. But the charities she worked with had sharp edges. The Nairobi branch of one, Mercy International Relief Agency, was linked to the 1998 US embassy bombings in east Africa; three other charities were later banned in the US for their links to al-Qaida.
The September 11 2001 attacks marked a turning point in Siddiqui's life. In May 2002 the FBI questioned her and her husband about some unusual internet purchases they had made: about $10,000 worth of night-vision goggles, body armour and 45 military-style books including The Anarchist's Arsenal. (Khan said he bought the equipment for hunting and camping expeditions.) Their marriage started to crumble. A few months later the couple returned to Pakistan and divorced that August, two weeks before the birth of their third child, Suleman.
On Christmas Day 2002 Siddiqui left her three children with her mother in Pakistan and returned to the US, ostensibly to apply for academic jobs. During the 10-day trip, however, Siddiqui did something controversial: she opened a post box in the name of Majid Khan, an alleged al-Qaida operative accused of plotting to blow up petrol stations in the Baltimore area. The post box, prosecutors later said, was to facilitate his entry into the US.
Six months after her divorce, she married Ammar al-Baluchi, a nephew of the 9/11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, at a small ceremony near Karachi. Siddiqui's family denies the wedding took place, but it has been confirmed by Pakistani and US intelligence, al-Baluchi's relatives and, according to FBI interview reports recently filed in court, Siddiqui herself. At any rate, it was a short-lived honeymoon.
Fowzia Siddiqui is the elder sister of Aafia Siddiqui. Photograph: Declan WalshIn March 2003 the FBI issued a global alert for Siddiqui and her ex-husband, Amjad Khan. Then, a few weeks later, she vanished. According to her family, she climbed into a taxi with her three children '' six-year-old Ahmed, four-year-old Mariam and six-month old Suleman '' and headed for Karachi airport. They never made it. (Khan, on the other hand, was interviewed by the FBI in Pakistan, and subsequently released.)
Initially it was presumed that Siddiqui had been picked up by Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) spy agency at the behest of the CIA. The theory seemed to be confirmed by American media reports that Siddiqui's name had been given up by Mohammed, the 9/11 instigator, who was captured three weeks earlier. (If so, Mohammed was probably speaking under duress '' the CIA waterboarded him 183 times that month.)
There are several accounts of what happened next. According to the US government, Siddiqui was at large, plotting mayhem on behalf of Osama bin Laden. In May 2004 the US attorney general, John Ashcroft, listed her among the seven "most wanted" al-Qaida fugitives. "Armed and dangerous," he said, describing the Karachi woman as a terrorist "facilitator" who was willing to use her education against America. "Al-Qaida Mom" ran the headline in the New York Post.
But Siddiqui's family and supporters tell a different story. Instead of plotting attacks, they say, Siddiqui spent the missing five years at the dreaded Bagram detention centre, north of Kabul, where she suffered unspeakable horrors. Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist turned Muslim campaigner, insists she is the "Grey Lady of Bagram" '' a ghostly female detainee who kept prisoners awake "with her haunting sobs and piercing screams". In 2005 male prisoners were so agitated by her plight, she says, that they went on hunger strike for six days.
For campaigners such as Ridley, Siddiqui has become emblematic of dark American practices such as abduction, rendition and torture. "Aafia has iconic status in the Muslim world. People are angry with American imperialism and domination," she told me.
But every major security agency of the US government '' army, FBI, CIA '' denies having held her. Last year the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, went even further. She stated that Siddiqui was not in US custody "at any time" prior to July 2008. Her language was unusually categoric.
To reconcile these accounts I flew to Siddiqui's hometown of Karachi. The family lives in a spacious house with bougainvillea-draped walls in Gulshan Iqbal, a smart middle-class neighbourhood. Inside I took breakfast with her sister, Fowzia, on a patio overlooking a toy-strewn garden.
As servants brought piles of paratha (fried bread), Fowzia produced photos of a smiling young woman whom she described as the victim of an international conspiracy. The US had been abusing her sister in Bagram, she said, then produced her for trial as part of a gruesome justice pageant. "As far as I'm concerned this trial [in New York] is just a great drama. They write the script as they go. I've stopped asking questions," she said resignedly.
But Fowzia, a Harvard-educated neurologist, was frustratingly short on hard information. She responded to questions about Aafia's whereabouts between 2003 and 2008 with cryptic cliches. "It's not that we don't know. It's that we don't want to know," she said. And she blamed reports of al-Qaida links on a malevolent American press. "Half of them work for the CIA," she said.
The odd thing, though, was that the person who might unlock the entire mystery was living in the same house. After being captured with his mother in Ghazni last year, 11-year-old Ahmed Siddiqui was flown back to Pakistan on orders from the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. Since then he has been living with his aunt Fowzia. Yet she has forbidden him from speaking with the press '' even with Yvonne Ridley '' because, she told me, he was too traumatised.
"You tell him to do something but he just stands there, staring at the TV," she said, sighing heavily. But surely, I insisted, after 15 months at home the boy must have divulged some clue about the missing years?
Fowzia's tone hardened. "Ahmed's not allowed to speak to the press. That was part of the deal when they gave him to us," she said firmly.
"Who are they?" I asked.
She waved a finger in the air. "The network. Those who brought him here."
Moments later Fowzia excused herself. The interview was over. As she walked me to the gate, I was struck by another omission: Fowzia had barely mentioned Ahmed's 11-year-old sister, Mariam, or his seven-year-old brother, Suleman, who are still missing. Amid the hullabaloo about their imprisoned mother, Aafia's children seemed to be strangely forgotten.
That night I went to see Siddiqui's ex-husband, Amjad Khan. He ushered me through a deathly quiet house into an upstairs room where we sat cross-legged on the floor. He had a soft face under the curly beard that is worn by devout Muslims. I recounted what Fowzia told me. He sighed and shook his head. "It's all a smokescreen," he said. "She's trying to divert your attention."
The truth of the matter, he said, was that Siddiqui had never been sent to Bagram. Instead she spent the five years on the run, living clandestinely with her three children, under the watchful eye of Pakistani intelligence. He told me they shifted between Quetta in Baluchistan province, Iran and the Karachi house I had visited earlier that day. It was a striking explanation. When I asked for proof, he started at the beginning.
Their parents, who arranged the marriage, thought them a perfect match. The couple had a lot in common '' education, wealth and a love for conservative Islam. They were married over the phone; soon after Khan moved to America. But his new wife was a more fiery character than he wished. "She was so pumped up about jihad," he said.
Six months into the marriage, Siddiqui demanded the newlyweds move to Bosnia. Khan refused, and grew annoyed at her devotion to activist causes. During a furious argument one night, he told me, he flung a milk bottle at his wife that split her lip.
After 9/11 Aafia insisted on returning to Pakistan, telling her husband that the US government was forcibly converting Muslim children to Christianity. Later that winter she pressed him to go on "jihad" to Afghanistan, where she had arranged for them to work in a hospital in Zabul province. Khan refused, sparking a vicious row. "She went hysterical, beating her hands on my chest, asking for divorce," he recalled.
After Siddiqui disappeared in March 2003, Khan started to worry for his children '' he had never seen his youngest son, Suleman. But he was reassured that they were still in Pakistan through three sources. He hired people to watch her house and they reported her comings and goings. His family was also briefed by ISI officials who said they were following her movements, he said. (Khan named an ISI brigadier whom I later contacted; he declined to speak).
Most strikingly, Khan claimed to have seen his ex-wife with his own eyes. In April 2003, he said, the ISI asked him to identify his ex-wife as she got off a flight from Islamabad, accompanied by her son. Two years later he spotted her again in a Karachi traffic jam. But he never went public with the information. "I wanted to protect her, for the sake of my children," he said.
Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi, a geologist and uncle of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, at his home in Islamabad, Pakistan Photograph: Declan WalshKhan's version of events has enraged his ex-wife's family. Fowzia has launched a 500m rupees (£360,000) defamation law suit, while regularly attacking him in the press as a wifebeater set on "destroying" her family. "Marrying him was Aafia's biggest mistake," she told me. Khan says it is a ploy to silence him in the media and take away his children.
Khan's explanation is bolstered by the one person who claims to have met the missing neuroscientist between 2003 and 2008 '' her uncle, Shams ul-Hassan Faruqi. Back in Islamabad, I went to see him.
A sprightly old geologist, Faruqi works from a cramped office filled with coloured rocks and dusty computers. Over tea and biscuits he described a strange encounter with his niece in January 2008, six months before she was captured in Afghanistan.
It started, he said, when a white car carrying a burka-clad woman pulled up outside his gate. Beckoning him to approach, he recognised her by her voice. "Uncle, I am Aafia," he recalled her saying. But she refused to leave the car and insisted they move to the nearby Taj Mahal restaurant to talk. Amid whispers, her story tumbled out.
Siddiqui told him she had been in both Pakistani and American captivity since 2003, but was vague on the details. "I was in the cells but I don't know in which country, or which city. They kept shifting me," she said. Now she had been set free but remained under the thumb of intelligence officials based in Lahore. They had given her a mission: to infiltrate al-Qaida in Pakistan. But, Siddiqui told her uncle, she was afraid and wanted out. She begged him to smuggle her into Afghanistan into the hands of the Taliban. "That was her main point," he recalled. "She said: 'I will be safe with the Taliban.'"
That night, Siddiqui slept at a nearby guesthouse, and stayed with her uncle the next day. But she refused to remove her burka. Faruqi said he caught a glimpse of her just once, while eating, and thought her nose had been altered. "I asked her, 'Who did plastic surgery on your face?' She said, 'nobody'."
On the third day, Siddiqui vanished again.
Amid the blizzard of allegations about Siddiqui, the most crucial voice is yet to be heard '' her own. The trial, due to start in January, has suffered numerous delays. The longest was due to a six-month psychiatric evaluation triggered by defence claims that Siddiqui was "going crazy" '' prone to crying fits and hallucinations involving flying infants, dark angels and a dog in her cell. "She's in total psychic pain," said her lawyer, Dawn Cardi, claiming that she was unfit to stand trial.
But at the Texas medical centre where the tests took place, Siddiqui refused to co-operate. "I can't hear you. I'm not listening," she told one doctor, sitting on the floor with her fingers in her ears. Others reported that she refused to speak with Jews, that she manipulated health workers and perceived herself to "be a martyr rather than a prisoner". Last July three of four experts determined she was malingering '' faking a psychiatric illness to avoid an undesirable outcome. "She is an intelligent and at times manipulative woman who showed goal-directed and rational thinking," reported Dr Sally Johnson.
Judge Richard Berman ruled that Siddiqui "may have some mental health issues" but was competent to stand trial.
Back in Pakistan Siddiqui has become a cause celebre. Newspapers write unquestioningly about her "torture", parliament has passed resolutions, placard-waving demonstrators pound the streets and the government is spending $2m on a top-flight defence. High-profile supporters include the former cricketer Imran Khan and the Taliban leader Hakumullah Mehsud who has affectionately described Siddiqui as a "sister in Islam".
The unquestioning support is a product of public fury at US-orchestrated "disappearances", of which there have been hundreds in Pakistan, and deep scepticism about the American account of her capture. Few Pakistanis believe a frail 5ft 3in, 40kg woman could disarm an American soldier; fewer still think she would be carrying bomb booklets, chemicals and target lists.
But there are critics, too, albeit silent ones. A Musharraf-era minister with previous oversight of Siddiqui's case told me it was "full of bullshit and lies".
Two weeks ago the Obama administration introduced a fresh twist, when it announced that next year (or in 2011) five Guantanamo Bay detainees will be tried in the same New York courthouse, a few blocks from the World Trade Centre. One of them is Siddiqui's second husband, Ammar al-Baluchi, also known as Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali, who stands accused of financing the 9/11 attacks.
But while the Guantanamo detainees will be tried for their part in mass terrorism, Siddiqui's case focuses on a minor controversy '' whether she fired a gun at a soldier in an Afghan police station. And so the big questions may not be probed: whether the ISI or CIA abducted Siddiqui in 2003, what she did afterwards, and where her two missing children are now. In fact the framing of the charges raises a new question: if Siddiqui was such a dangerous terrorist five years ago, why is she not being charged as one now? A senior Pakistani official, speaking on condition of strict anonymity, offered a tantalising explanation.
In the world of counter-espionage, he said, someone like Siddiqui is an invaluable asset. And so, he speculated, sometime over the last five years she may have been "flipped" '' turned against militant sympathisers '' by Pakistani or American intelligence. "It's a very murky world," he said.
"Maybe the Americans have no charges against her. Maybe they don't want to compromise their sources of information. Or maybe they don't want to put that person out in the world again. The thing is, you'll never really know."
Lame Cherry: You didn't pray now Enjoy your Lazy Ass Problem
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 05:07
 
As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.
The Lame Cherry warned all of you weeks ago that HAARP was using earth slosh to create a cold basin Alberta Canada and would move it east, which it now has. The President Nominee, told you to start praying as this was going to be hammering every one in what was coming.
Well, it came and now you can enjoy your not having created a big enough prayer link to cost you a pile of money and problems.
This is Izzy. She has been the perfect nasty from HAARP as you can see she has both rain and snow. This does not normally occur in storms, but this girl will have ice too as I have watched with interest Izzy making an ice storm in Noem Dakota as it piled snow in the James River Valley just to the north to send a message to Putin and Xi that their nuclear first strikes would just hot zone this area for death and not all of America.
Not so fast as Iz is now making life hell in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. She is going to pick up speed now and plunge eastward into the Ohio, and then ice up the Carolinas before sending a schock through the Northeast. The Arctic cold is going to follow this to this region into the end of January. The 1% is going to bleed you of your money in heating costs.
Izzy was a lie in the weather service called it a Clipper. This is no front line storm of cold air. This is a blob of moisture coming out of Canada where there is not an ocean. I already proved Izzy was getting moisture piped into her from the Pacific out of Southern California to set up what you see there on the gif. She will now rampage to the east and make life hell there and kill lots of people.
I have a secret in this stuff that I only shared with a few about this weather and it involves God in what is taking place. Not going to publish it here as too many dead beats an the information would not make any difference to those I do communicate with.
The point is I do know what is going on, and you do not.
Thinking about what to write here, but it seems the girl is starting to rotate, which means she is going cyclone and is probably why she is going to hammer those mask wearing states. If this was a real Clipper she would be in Texas tonight with snow and freezing in the south over the next days on her front line. As she is just a fat vax phat blob, she is riding the jet stream as she plumps along making comfortable people uncomfortable.
I'm going to be watching what HAARP does in the next two weeks.I already know next week, but as Gerald Celente says that the paradigm will shift from vaxness to climate change, it is going to be hard to convince east state metro mask wearers that climate change is the ordeal when they are getting their asses frozen off into February. That is the Catch 22 in this. Do they rape people's finances for heating costs and bare shelves, or do they stop fucking with the weather in the west as everything goes east and makes an impression on the bleaters there.
The 1 % seems to have too many balls in the air in Fauci PedoVax, Schwab corporate commies. Big Oil burning the HAARP storm oil, the banks juggling with Wall Street the stock market, war with Putin and Xi and oh yes firing all the medical people over Bunghole Roberts and Bungholio Kavanaugh's vote on vax mandates. Am sure there is other stuff, but the quality control in this operation is really going down as one faction is zapping another faction..........you cant have climate change, sell oil and spike energy all in the same paradigm.
Enjoy your lazy ass problem. You were warned like lots of things like rich people need to donate here, but you know better and now HAARP nature is coming for you.
PS: Do you realize we are half done with this shitty January? Praise God for that. I hate January!!!
Nuff Said.
agtG
What you need to know about COVID vaccines and imaging scans
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 01:53
Credit: University of Rochester Medical Center
The first thing to know is: The COVID vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary. Doctors recommend them and the vaccines are available to everyone ages 12 and older in New York state.
But individuals and health care providers should talk about the timing of imaging tests around vaccination. These include CT and PET scans, mammograms, and other scans used to screen, diagnose, or follow the course of illness. In peer-reviewed medical journals, researchers are studying and sharing information on the significance of timing'--including this recent commentary in The Lancet Oncology by Peter Prieto, M.D., M.P.H., of the Wilmot Cancer Institute.
Why is it important to tell your doctors when you received the vaccine?
Because a common side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines are temporary swollen lymph nodes, which can show up on imaging scans in the days and weeks after vaccination. This is a natural and expected reaction to the shot, a positive sign that the vaccination is working as the body mounts an immune response. Often, a person will not even realize they have enlarged nodes.
But if you're getting an imaging test, the nodes can raise red flags, said Jennifer Harvey, M.D., Chair of Imaging Sciences at the University of Rochester Medical Center. As more people are vaccinated, it's becoming more common to see enlarged nodes on scans, she said.
If a patient is suspected to have cancer or has the disease and is undergoing follow-up imaging tests, the swollen lymph nodes may require investigation, said Susan Hobbs, M.D., Ph.D., head of cardiothoracic imaging at URMC.
Recently, for example, Hobbs was caring for two patients with lung cancer. Their scans showed "hot" lymph nodes'--nodes with high metabolic activity'--on the same side as the tumor and also near the arm to which the vaccine was injected. It was important to biopsy the lymph nodes to sort out whether the abnormality was due to the vaccine or cancer.
It's important for cancer patients to discuss vaccine timing with their oncology care teams, she said.
A case study shows the value of doctor-patient communication, education
Lara Press-Ellingham, 48, of Fairport, was diagnosed on Dec. 1, 2020, with melanoma on the left shoulder. Her surgeon, Prieto, an assistant professor of Surgical Oncology at URMC, removed the skin cancer on Dec. 11, and pathology reports indicated it was early-stage, with micro metastasis to one lymph node. (The Lancet Oncology article is about Press-Ellingham's case, with her permission.)
Later that month, on Dec. 31,2020, she received her first dose of the COVID vaccine (Moderna). It was early in the vaccine rollout and not much was known about side effects, but she was eager to protect herself.
On Jan. 5, 2021, she had a PET scan to determine if the melanoma had spread beyond that one lymph node. The scan results were worrisome, showing three nearby regions of hot lymph nodes'--but when a biopsy was performed, the results came back negative for melanoma.
"We were somewhat relieved," Press-Ellingham recalled. "But then Dr. Prieto said: 'If it's not melanoma, I really need to know what it is, so we'll have to do more surgery.'"
That's when it became clear that the COVID vaccine may be the culprit. They were discussing a possible surgery date of Jan. 29, when Press-Ellingham told Prieto that she would be getting her second dose of the COVID vaccine the day before, on Jan. 28.
"I asked, "Is that a problem?" and the conversation just stopped. Then, he asked me about the date of my first vaccine and when we pieced it together he felt strongly that my abnormal PET results were related to that shot," she said. "Peter did a great job of explaining that the vaccine did exactly what it was supposed to do."
They decided to pause more surgery. She received her second vaccine dose on Jan. 28, as planned'--but Prieto arranged for it to be injected into her thigh instead of the arm. Five days later, on Feb. 5, she had a follow-up PET scan and the results were "exactly what we were hoping for," Press-Ellingham said.
"This time the arm region was completely quiet but the lymph nodes in the groin area were lit up," she said, proving that the temporary flare-up in her upper left side was due to the first vaccine.
Her advice? "Slather yourself with sunscreen and see a dermatologist regularly. Also, everyone should get the vaccine as soon as possible. We should expect side effects. They're normal and nothing to be scared of."
Prieto added his own thoughts: "This is by no means meant to discourage vaccination," he said, "but it's important that vaccination history is disclosed and considered, as oncologists confront confounding images."
"More oncologists and physicians are aware of this now," he added, "but it is a unique problem connected to perhaps the largest public health event and vaccination effort of our lifetime."
What about mammograms and COVID vaccine?
Breast imaging specialists have also been seeing temporary, enlarged lymph nodes on the side of the vaccine injection. The nodes can inadvertently cause a mammogram to look abnormal even if no cancer is present, said Avice O'Connell, M.D., director of Women's Imaging at URMC.
But she urges people to not delay their routine mammograms; delaying raises the risk of finding cancer later, when it's less treatable. Ideally, women should schedule a screening mammogram a week before the COVID vaccine. If that's not possible, she said, get the vaccine and the mammogram as soon as you can'--and be sure to tell the radiologist and mammography staff about your vaccine dates and which arm received the shot.
This recent report from the Journal of the American College of Radiology presents a management plan for radiologists in the context of COVID-19 vaccination.
More information: Peter A Prieto et al, COVID-19 mRNA vaccine-related adenopathy mimicking metastatic melanoma, The Lancet Oncology (2021). DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00197-2
Constance D. Lehman et al, Unilateral Lymphadenopathy After COVID-19 Vaccination: A Practical Management Plan for Radiologists Across Specialties, Journal of the American College of Radiology (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.jacr.2021.03.001
Journal information: Lancet Oncology , Journal of the American College of Radiology
Provided by University of Rochester Medical Center
ALL VIDEO
VIDEO - Parkview Medical Center suspends weekly testing for vaccine-exempt health care workers - KRDO
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 16:23
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Parkview Medical Center says the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has suspended their twice-weekly testing requirement for health care workers who have been exempted from the COVID-19 vaccine.
Parkview, which is the largest health care system in Pueblo County, confirmed the update to KRDO Tuesday after we learned of the change from an email sent to employees.
The email reads:
"Changes were made to the state's vaccine mandate, the state removed the requirement that health facilities have a testing policy in place for vaccine-exempted employees. This along with the fact that the antigen testing supplies are depleting and in-demand nationwide we have made the decision to discontinue the twice-weekly testing for employees (and others) with an approved exemption for the COVID vaccine. Staff, volunteers, students, and others must still don appropriate PPE and social distance, as feasible. We will continue to monitor and follow required mandates and following required mandates and will reinstate our current policy if necessary."
In a statement to KRDO, Parkview Medical Center said, "CDPHE has eliminated the requirement of weekly testing for employees with valid exemptions. We are following their guidelines."
CDPHE confirmed this change has been made at the state level. In a statement they said, "the board removed the requirement that facilities have a testing plan in place for employees who have vaccine exemptions, but some facilities may opt to do that. Facilities are still required to follow guidelines for infection control, including proper use of personal protective equipment and physical distancing, and they are permitted to have more stringent testing requirements if they elect to do so."
CDPHE did not say if they change was made because of a health care workers shortage. However, local health leaders are aware of the need for workers.
"There has been tots of discussion at the state level and around the state in emergency rooms and hospitals about how we then go to this next faze if we are out of workers, out of testing and people really can't provide the level of care that they are used to and thats really called crisis standards of care," Pueblo Health Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Chris Urbina, said.
Parkview officials were not able to be reached on why there is a shortage of testing supply. According to Dr. Urbina, each hospital system in Colorado has their own supply of tests.
"Actually all the health care systems are procuring tests so we don't know exactly how many tests they have but generally when we hear from the hospitals or clinics, they have enough tests and are continuing to test their health care workers," Dr. Urbina said.
In the Pueblo community, health leaders say a shortage of tests, specifically antigen tests, is something they are experiencing.
"We are aware there is a shortage of rapid antigen tests in the community. The current Omicron surge has increased demand for tests across the country putting a strain on the current supply chain. PCR tests are still available at the Pueblo Mall and the Pueblo Fairgrounds. Testing is free and people can preregister to make the testing process faster on-site," Pueblo Health Director, Randy Evetts, said.
Overall, health leaders say health care workers are experiencing the same pandemic fatigue that many Americans are working through.
"From a capacity stand point, they are at that edge. From staffing they are similarly at that situation as other workers are and finally they are just tired. I feel for our colleagues," Dr. Urbina said.
The state vaccine mandate for health workers was renewed on December 15th, 2021. This renewal will run for 120 additional days.
It is unclear at this time if other hospital systems in Colorado are following the new testing procedures for vaccine exempt workers. We have not received a response back from Centura Health, the operator of 17 hospitals in Colorado.
VIDEO - Dispute between companies over Texas winter storm fees | wfaa.com
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 15:57
Dallas-based Energy Transfer says the gas will continue to flow to Luminant's power plants, but did not say for how long. Meanwhile, winter weather approaches.
DALLAS '-- Editor's note: The video above on why Texas is on its own power grid is from June.
A fight is unfolding between two Texas energy giants, and power to 400,000 homes is being used as leverage.
One of Texas' largest power providers on Wednesday asked state regulators to intervene and stop Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer from halting natural gas service to its power plants.
Luminant Corp., a subsidiary of Vistra Corp., on Wednesday filed the 149-page document with the Texas Railroad Commission.
The filing says Energy Transfer has threatened to stop providing natural gas to its plants as soon as Monday over $21.6 million in fees Energy Transfer says it is owed in connection with last February's winter storm.
Luminant's filing included a Jan. 13 letter from Energy Transfer stating that if payment is ''not received within ten (10) days'' it would no longer be able to ''deliver gas'' to Luminant's gas-fired power plants.
Hours after Luminant's filing, Energy Transfer sent a response to the commission stating that it will continue to supply Luminant's plants with natural gas while it tries to work out the fee dispute. Energy Transfer asked the commission to delay any rulings for now.
"We will continue to sell them gas pursuant to the same process, terms and conditions that have been in place since Dec. 1, 2021," an Energy Transfer spokesperson said in a statement late Wednesday to WFAA.
Sources tell WFAA that the dispute is ruffling feathers all the way up to Gov. Greg Abbott's office. Kelcy Warren, co-founder of Energy Transfer Partners, is one of Abbott's biggest donors. He gave the governor a $1 million political contribution last year.
Luminant's five natural gas-fueled plants supplied by Energy Transfer's pipelines provide 2,000 megawatts of electricity and serves about 400,000 ''Texas homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools,'' the filing says.
Two of them '' one in Graham and another in Trinidad '' are served only by Energy Transfer's pipelines, according to the filing.
Three others have access to other pipelines, but may not be able to operate at full capacity if Energy Transfer ''discontinued service,'' the filing says.
''Respondents' threat to terminate service in the middle of winter is illegal and grossly irresponsible and should be prohibited by this Commission,'' the filing says.
According to the filing, Luminant spent approximately $1.5 billion for natural gas during the February winter storm, twice its planned natural gas cost to fuel its entire Texas fleet for a full year. The filing says Luminant paid Energy Transfer more than $600 million for natural gas during the winter storm.
Luminant's position is that the $21.6 million in fees are illegal and would not withstand regulatory scrutiny.
The power company's contract for natural gas ended in November, according to the filing, and since then, the company has been buying natural gas without a contract since then.
Energy Transfer reported last year publicly that it had made $2.4 billion ''from the storm for 2021.''
VIDEO - The Deep Rig by Patrick Byrne
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 15:33
The Deep Rig:How Election Fraud Cost Donald J. Trump the White House, By a Man Who did not Vote for Him(Or, what to send friends who ask, "Why do you doubt the integrity of the 2020 Election?")
What Really HappenedIn this book he describes what in August 2020 brought him into researching the field of election fraud,then what really happened on a national scale during the 2020 election.
Lifetime EntrepreneurHe describes the work he and his team of "cyber-ninjas" did to unravel it, along with the experienceof being a lifetime entrepreneur trying to interact with Washington, DC.
Behind the HeadlinesThis book takes you behind the headlines to the backroom scenes that determined whether or not thefraud would be exposed in time, and in the process, paints a portrait of Washington double-dealingsthat will leave the reader asking, "Is this the end of our constitutional republic?"
History in the MakingThis started with the 6 installment you may have read on the websiteDeepCapture.com.Yet those installments were more or less first drafts.For the book the content was rearranged for the flow to be more logical,addtional details added,pieces of proof, backstories, and previously unknown but important details (e.g., what went on backroom with Pence) that appear nowhere else but are a part of history.
Why do you doubt?Note the subtitle: ''What to send friends who ask, 'Why do you doubt the integrity of Election 2020?'''Many people feel frustrated because they know, they just cannot say why they know, yet get frustrated with those who cannot see.Now they have something they can send their friends. If you know a few of those people, please feel free to send each a copy.
Dr. Patrick M. ByrneThe author is a noted libertarian who did not vote for Trump and has publicly criticized him on numerous occasions: that said, he believes that Election 2020 was rigged, and this should be objectionable to every person who believes that "just government derives its power from the consent of the governed."Click Here For More Information
VIDEO - Episode 1628 Scott Adams: I'm Ready to Take the L on Vaccinations. I Wasn't Convinced Until Today - YouTube
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 15:01
VIDEO - (1) Rebel News on Twitter: "Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot is accusing some doctors of spreading "misinformation about vaccines." Elliot urged the College of Physicians to do "everything" possible to censor these doctors. HELP US: https:
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:32
Rebel News : Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliot is accusing some doctors of spreading "misinformation about vaccines." Ell'... https://t.co/27QpcgScIa
Wed Jan 19 16:13:14 +0000 2022
Animal Lover : @RebelNewsOnline STOP THREATENING OUR DOCTORS ! What they recommend is between them and their patients whom they'v'... https://t.co/ZOZal4UIR3
Thu Jan 20 14:32:19 +0000 2022
Dr. Mosab Hawarey : @RebelNewsOnline A health minister who doesn't qualify to be a medicine student if serious due diligence is made. C'... https://t.co/3SYe0DFRJv
Thu Jan 20 14:28:04 +0000 2022
Keith : @RebelNewsOnline How much are you paid to read what they tell you to say
Thu Jan 20 14:15:20 +0000 2022
VIDEO - Unvaccinated Man Feeling Left Out As All His Vaccinated Friends Have COVID - YouTube
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:04
VIDEO - Big question mark hangs over Wellcamp quarantine hub
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 14:03
With the controversial Wellcamp quarantine facility set to open in weeks, the Palaszczuk government is still trying to work out exactly who will use the hub. This is everything we know so far.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles and John Wagner inspect the first modules in the upcoming Wellcamp quarantine hub outside Toowoomba.
The Palaszczuk government is still working out who will actually use the Wellcamp quarantine facility in Toowoomba when it opens in just a matter of weeks.
Health officials on Sunday confirmed the site could be used to quarantine members of the community '' such as the vulnerable who share a household with someone who has tested positive to Covid.
It came as Queensland recorded another 17,445 coronavirus cases, with 670 patients in hospital and 49 people being treated in intensive care.
Another three Queenslanders lost their lives to the virus, with two of them only having received one dose of the vaccine.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced in October that international students would be the first group of people to use the Wellcamp facility when it opened '' saying it was why her government ''went it alone'' with the site.
But on Sunday, Deputy Premier Steven Miles cast doubt on whether the site would be used by international students '' revealing the government was still determining the cohorts that were ''most appropriate'' for using the facility
''As you would be aware if we continue on our current trajectory, we would hope to meet that 90 per cent (double vaccination) target this week,'' he said.
''And that would allow vaccinated arrivals from countries where their vaccines are approved by our TGA to not quarantine on arrival.
''But there will continue to be a need for quarantine for some arrivals as well as for other cohorts.''
Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard suggested the facility could be used by members of the community, but said that would be determined by Queensland Health.
''There are often circumstances where for example you have a household with more than one person in it and one person in that household is sick,'' he said.
''But '... another person might be very vulnerable. That might be the sort of person.
''These are the various options that we're looking at at the moment.''
Construction of the site was completed as scheduled by the end of last year, with government staff now ''operationalising'' the facility '' which the Deputy Premier said was due to be available in coming weeks.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles, with chief health officer John Gerrard at Doomben Vaccination Clinic in Ascot on Sunday. Picture: Richard Walker
Mr Miles wouldn't say on Sunday how much the government had contributed to the site, maintaining that the financial arrangements of the quarantine facility was ''commercial-in-confidence''.
''Our arrangement is a lease from the Wagner Corporation,'' Mr Miles said.
''We have a 12 month lease with an option of a further 12 months if it is required.
''And the lease arrangement represents good value when compared to the very significant costs that we've incurred renting out entire hotels for the best part of the last two years.''
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said: ''Neither the government nor taxpayers could possibly be any worse off by showing how much an arrangement like this is costing.''
VIDEO - Starchild2020 on Twitter: "👏👏👏" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 13:44
Starchild2020 : 👏👏👏 https://t.co/YxRDxQ7b8u
Thu Jan 20 08:01:35 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (21) Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 on Twitter: "CNN guy in Ukraine can barely get his words out about Biden's incursion remarks https://t.co/KnQ8J7h64a" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:38
Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 : CNN guy in Ukraine can barely get his words out about Biden's incursion remarks https://t.co/KnQ8J7h64a
Thu Jan 20 00:35:50 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (22) Rebel News on Twitter: "87% of Canadians had their cellphone location data secretly accessed by Public Health Canada to monitor their movement during the pandemic. FULL REPORT: https://t.co/b5pwdFWQoC https://t.co/VUs1SZfOL4" / Twitter
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:36
Rebel News : 87% of Canadians had their cellphone location data secretly accessed by Public Health Canada to monitor their movem'... https://t.co/4SpBIG5dQP
Fri Jan 14 16:18:42 +0000 2022
VIDEO - (23) Efrat Fenigson on Twitter: "Here's your next treat waiting around the corner." / Twitter
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:26
Efrat Fenigson : Here's your next treat waiting around the corner. https://t.co/4I5VNoXxrc
Wed Jan 19 20:41:31 +0000 2022
am JO : @efenigson I don't agree with him most of the time but give him this credit.
Thu Jan 20 02:47:02 +0000 2022
focusview : @efenigson @BrendaJ98869280 I think MSFT is at the center of the WEF UN and 2030 agenda - if something goes wrong a'... https://t.co/sRyo4vIyzQ
Thu Jan 20 01:28:25 +0000 2022
ꅐꏂꋊ ꂵê²ê²ê‹Š ê'êƒ¬ê² : @efenigson People who have been doing research have seen this coming for some time now. Suddenly accounts like'... https://t.co/h4H61sLu9Z
Thu Jan 20 00:38:17 +0000 2022
astarxy : @efenigson @Fractalwatch Another one from Billy https://t.co/x3JKFaYVqr
Wed Jan 19 23:33:31 +0000 2022
GSchaal : @efenigson Bill Hates people
Wed Jan 19 22:05:25 +0000 2022
Dor : @efenigson His voice is unpleasant...his spectacles have plastic frames.
Wed Jan 19 21:01:32 +0000 2022
liron 🇨🇾 : @efenigson https://t.co/Rb2KWL1OOL
Wed Jan 19 20:58:28 +0000 2022
Gordon : @efenigson Remember Bill Gates is just some famous and wealthy computer geek who walks into global issues 'accident'... https://t.co/eQckN6b1v7
Wed Jan 19 20:50:29 +0000 2022
ChedoPir : @efenigson Kill Bill and Klaus SchwabðŸ
Wed Jan 19 20:48:20 +0000 2022
Serge Winkler : @efenigson the coming energy blackouts and supply shortages included
Wed Jan 19 20:46:58 +0000 2022
Serdat Tebim : @efenigson One hint, Bill Gates is fully invested in small modular reactors, probably the future of nuclear energy.'... https://t.co/ATWOkRR3pL
Wed Jan 19 20:45:22 +0000 2022
Penseur : @efenigson Prepare for green certificates to fight "climate change".
Wed Jan 19 20:43:55 +0000 2022
VIDEO - 'I am begging you': Fertility specialist's plea to Dan Andrews over IVF ban - YouTube
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:07
VIDEO - What is the Great Reset? | Davos Agenda 2021 - YouTube
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 12:02
VIDEO - Coronavirus Victoria: Melbourne patient faked chest pains to get a PCR test
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 11:59
A Melbourne hospital worker has hit out at a patient who called triple zero while faking chest pains to get a PCR test quickly. The patient was rushed to the emergency department of the Royal Melbourne Hospital last week, where they admitted they had faked the pain and just wanted a COVID-19 test.
Nurse unit manager Susan Harding at the Royal Melbourne Hospital said a person faked chest pains in a desperate move to get a PCR test. (Nine) "They called triple zero, called an ambulance under the guise of having chest pain, they presented to the emergency department and were fast-tracked down to a resuscitation room at which point they declared they didn't have chest pain, and that they really wanted a PCR and wanted it quickly," Ms Harding said.
"That is an unbelievable misuse of resources."
Victorians have been continuously warned to refrain from calling triple zero or attending emergency departments unless they require emergency assistance.
"We don't want people to unnecessarily present to the emergency department," Ms Harding said.
"I can absolutely with confidence say that if people attend clinics or services and their care requirements are beyond what that service can provide, they will be on-referred to the emergency department.
"So we are asking people to make good decisions.
"We've been challenged in the last couple of weeks and what we don't want to do is put our healthcare service under pressure."
Victorians have been urged to refrain from calling Triple Zero or attending emergency departments unless they require emergency assistance. (Supplied) Ambulance wait times have been of concern in recent weeks amid staff shortages and escalating demand.
A Code Brown emergency measure is set to prioritise the offload of ambulance patients at emergency departments.
"If you are not too unwell and you're seeking advice or information only, there are other quicker, more accessible means that you can gain that advice rather than calling Triple Zero or coming to an emergency department," Deputy State Controller Adam Horsborough said.
VIDEO - WATCH: President Biden Holds News Conference
Thu, 20 Jan 2022 00:34
January 19, 2022 2022-01-19T16:01:35-05:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/1ce/20220119160235013_hd.jpg President Biden held a news conference marking the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. During his remarks, he touched on his administration's accomplishments, as well as areas that need to be fixed, such as inflation and high prices. While discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, ''some people may call what's happening right now the new normal. I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better. We're moving toward a time when Covid-19 won't disrupt our daily lives.'' President Biden answered many questions on a variety of topics, including on Russia and Ukraine, working with Republicans, his social spending agenda, and voting rights.President Biden held a news conference marking the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. During his remarks, he touched on his administration's accomplishments, as'... read more
President Biden held a news conference marking the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. During his remarks, he touched on his administration's accomplishments, as well as areas that need to be fixed, such as inflation and high prices. While discussing the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, ''some people may call what's happening right now the new normal. I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better. We're moving toward a time when Covid-19 won't disrupt our daily lives.'' President Biden answered many questions on a variety of topics, including on Russia and Ukraine, working with Republicans, his social spending agenda, and voting rights. close
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VIDEO - Covid: Face mask rules and Covid passes to end in England - BBC News
Wed, 19 Jan 2022 22:01
By Marie Jackson & Mary O'ConnorBBC News
Media caption, Watch: The prime minister announces plans to end Plan B measures in England
England's Plan B measures are to end from next Thursday, with mandatory face coverings in public places and Covid passports both dropped, Boris Johnson has announced.
The prime minister also said the government would immediately drop its advice for people to work from home.
The PM said England was reverting to "Plan A" due to boosters and how people had followed Plan B measures.
He told MPs scientists believed the Omicron wave had peaked nationally.
At a Downing Street press conference, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This is a moment we can all be proud of.
"It's a reminder of what this country can accomplish when we all work together."
But, he said, this should not be seen as the "finish line" because the virus and future variants cannot be eradicated - instead "we must learn to live with Covid in the same way we live with flu".
He urged people to continue taking steps to keep the virus at bay, including hand washing, ventilating rooms and self-isolating if positive - and pressed those who were unvaccinated to come forward to get their jabs.
Earlier, in a statement to MPs in the House of Commons, the prime minister said:
Mandatory Covid passports for entering nightclubs and large events would end, though organisations could choose to use the NHS Covid pass if they wishedPeople would no longer be advised to work from home and should discuss their return to offices with employersFace masks will no longer be mandated, though people are still advised to wear coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces and when meeting strangersFrom Thursday, secondary school pupils will no longer have to wear face masks in classrooms and government guidance on their use in communal areas would be removed "shortly"Further announcements on the easing of travel rules and restrictions on care home visits in England are expected in the coming days, Boris Johnson added.
The prime minister also said the government intended to end the legal requirement for people who test positive for Covid to self-isolate - and replace it with advice and guidance.
The current regulations around self-isolation expire on 24 March. Mr Johnson said he expected not to renew them then - and suggested that date could be brought forward if the data allows.
Citing the latest infection study by the Office for National Statistics, Mr Johnson said its data showed that infections levels were falling in England. He also said hospital admissions had stabilised and scientists believed "it is likely that the Omicron wave has now peaked nationally".
However, he said he did expect cases to continue rising in primary schools and pointed to significant pressures on the NHS in north-east and north-west England.
Looking ahead, Mr Johnson said the government would set out its long-term strategy for living with coronavirus.
He urged people to "remain cautious" during the last weeks of winter as there were still "significant pressures" on the NHS and the pandemic was "not over".
In response, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said he would back lifting Plan B measures "as long as the science says it is safe" and accused the prime minister of being "too distracted" to have a "robust plan to live well with Covid".
School leaders' unions said Covid remained a challenge for schools, with high numbers of staff and pupils absent.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, welcomed the end of face coverings in classrooms, but warned the government risked giving the impression the crisis was over when there was still huge disruption in education.
And the Royal College of Nursing said dropping Plan B would do "nothing to ease the pressure on the NHS".
"We can't rely on the vaccine alone when the situation is still so precariously balanced," its chief executive Pat Cullen said.
But for the hospitality sector, which suffered as people worked from home and were cautious over Omicron, there was relief. Industry group UKHospitality said businesses could now begin their revival and recovery.
The whole of Plan B is going. But is it too soon?
Infections levels, while falling, are still well above what they were last winter. And hospital admissions have only just started coming down.
The fact remains that England - and the rest of the UK for that matter - is one of the best protected nations when you combine the immunity built up by vaccination and previous infection.
This does not mean people will not catch the virus in the future, but it does limit how many will become seriously ill.
What's more, this Omicron wave appears to have peaked at just over 2,000 hospital admissions a day - very much best-case scenario territory.
This has given both ministers and the scientists advising them confidence that it's at least time to ease restrictions.
Others will argue this is going too far, too quickly.
But in the end it comes down to a judgement about what is proportionate.
And certainly you have to wonder what impact the politics involved in this has had - the Tory backbenchers were unlikely to vote to keep any part of Plan B.
But in the end it also comes down to a judgement about what is proportionate.
There is a trade-off that has to be made between the costs of such restrictions and the benefits they bring.
With the worst of the Omicron wave almost certainly over, the benefits were reducing.
The latest Covid restrictions were first introduced in December to try to slow the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant and allow time for the booster vaccine rollout.
UK daily infections remain high but are falling - on Wednesday, the UK recorded 108,069 new cases.
Dr Susan Hopkins, the UK Health Security Agency's chief medical adviser, said case rates would largely decline but "may plateau at some point".
Vaccine uptake and mask wearing around strangers would determine how quickly that happens, she added.
Hospital admissions also appear to be decreasing. However, there is a lag between people catching the virus and becoming seriously ill so deaths are continuing to rise - and are up 14.7% on last week.
On Wednesday, 359 deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded.
Nearly 37 million boosters have been given across the UK so far.
In Scotland, some restrictions will be lifted from Monday, including allowing nightclubs to reopen and removing limits on indoor events.
In Wales, crowds will return to sporting events from Friday and nightclubs can reopen the following week. In Northern Ireland, nightclubs remain closed and indoor standing events are not allowed.
More on this story
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VIDEO - Dr. Reiner Fuellmich - Update on Nuremberg 2.0
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 22:21
Rumble '-- Dr. Reiner Fuellmich is a lawyer who has been working tirelessly at holding world governments accountable, spearheading Nuremberg 2.0.
Tonight he will give us an update on exactly what these lawsuits are, how they differ from the original Nuremberg Trials, and where he is up to in his global efforts.
You can rack the work of the Corona Investigative Committee here (translation to English button in top right hand corner):
https://corona-ausschuss.de/en/
Dr Reiner Fuellmich's Telegram:
https://t.me/ReinerFuellmichEnglish
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U.S. Embassy Kyiv : ''We have information that indicates Russia has already pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct a false flag'... https://t.co/xFbumTbUPK
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VIDEO - Alfred States ðŸ‡ðŸ‡...🇺🇸 on Twitter: "This is from a protest in New York. So much truth here. https://t.co/JkXE696oSD" / Twitter
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:54
Alfred States ðŸ‡ðŸ‡...🇺🇸 : This is from a protest in New York. So much truth here. https://t.co/JkXE696oSD
Mon Jan 17 16:07:17 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:46:21 +0000 2022
1776Life : @Alfred_StatesX I just want to see her voting record...I want to hear her say America first. I want to hear her'... https://t.co/SyYXyG7f90
Tue Jan 18 15:45:53 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:45:46 +0000 2022
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julz : @Alfred_StatesX Bless this woman!!
Tue Jan 18 15:44:14 +0000 2022
Robert Fritzenkotter : @Alfred_StatesX Targeted ads try to attract low income families. Tragic https://t.co/zUV3K37Mot
Tue Jan 18 15:42:39 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:41:53 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:40:53 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:40:50 +0000 2022
Rick Nappier, CEO, RPUSA LLC : @Alfred_StatesX @CynthiaKaui meanwhile in NYC.
Tue Jan 18 15:40:22 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:37:43 +0000 2022
Thanasis : @Alfred_StatesX She got my vote for President right now.
Tue Jan 18 15:36:52 +0000 2022
Graycat47 : @Alfred_StatesX maximum basedness
Tue Jan 18 15:36:50 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:35:09 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:35:08 +0000 2022
mahakala : @Alfred_StatesX Blacks
Tue Jan 18 15:33:14 +0000 2022
I choose freedom : @Alfred_StatesX Holy cow. She is magnificent! Who is she?
Tue Jan 18 15:32:18 +0000 2022
Carol Hendrix : @Alfred_StatesX YAAAASSSS ðŸ'ªðŸ'ªðŸ'ª Been saying this for years! The educational system in this country is BROKEN. You're'... https://t.co/IEHGwTHV5P
Tue Jan 18 15:30:50 +0000 2022
Dude : @Alfred_StatesX Chills! This is the leader we need. Promote this woman at every turn.
Tue Jan 18 15:30:39 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:28:03 +0000 2022
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Tue Jan 18 15:27:31 +0000 2022
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Eric R Walters : @Alfred_StatesX But you all voted For Joe B because he told you you wouldn't be black anymore if you didnt.
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Eric R Walters : @Alfred_StatesX Heath Bar maybe
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Jill Kalata : @Alfred_StatesX She should run for Mayor.
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Lisa Miller : @Alfred_StatesX Trump should find out who she is and give her a job
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Tue Jan 18 14:39:53 +0000 2022
VIDEO - Five nurses speak out about what is really going on in hospitals
Tue, 18 Jan 2022 15:40
stkirsch Published January 17, 2022 33,290 Views 633 rumbles
Rumble '-- I met with 5 nurses on a single Zoom call who have all left their jobs, so they are no longer afraid to speak out about what is really happening in hospitals today. If you think our healthcare system is well run and there is no corruption, you are in for a big surprise.
https://www.americanfrontlinenurses.com/
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VIDEO - Ukraine Rebels, Russia Claim Imminent Chemical 'Disaster' As U.S. Urges Calm
Mon, 17 Jan 2022 02:25
The leader of the separatist forces in Ukraine has echoed a Russian claim that U.S. mercenaries are preparing to use chemical weapons in the eastern Donbas conflict zone, as Washington D.C. accused Moscow of spreading dangerous disinformation.
Denis Pushilin, the head of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic which is being backed by Russia in its war with Kyiv, told the the Govorit Moskva radio station on Tuesday that Ukrainian forces and their American partners were threatening a "man-made humanitarian disaster," according to Russia's state-backed Tass news agency.
"The Armed Forces of Ukraine continue their military build up next to the line of contact," Pushilin told Govorit Moskva. "Ukraine is persistently demonstrating its reluctance to engage in a dialogue with us."
"The analysis of the situation along the line of contact demonstrates that the adversary is getting ready for new provocations," Pushilin claimed.
"We call upon guarantor nations of the Minsk Agreements, and international organizations working to promote reconciliation in Donbas, to prevent the use of chemical weapons against civilians."
"Ukraine is attempting to stage a man-made humanitarian disaster on our soil, which may trigger unpredictable consequences for the entire world," he added.
Kyiv, Pushilin said, "is prepared to sacrifice the lives not only of residents of the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, but also of its own citizens, living in Kyiv-controlled areas."
Pushilin was playing off claims made by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Tuesday that some 120 American mercenaries'--who have allegedly been training Ukrainian troops'--had arrived in the Kyiv-controlled Donbas towns close to the front lines.
"Tanks with unidentified chemical components have been delivered to the cities of Avdiivka and Krasny Lyman for the completion of the provocations," said Shoigu, offering no supporting evidence.
The claim prompted rebuttals by the U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price, who wrote on Twitter: "Contrary to statements from the Russian Defense Minister, Russia and its proxies are responsible for escalating tensions, not Ukraine or the United States.
"We call on Russia to stop using false, inflammatory rhetoric and take meaningful steps to de-escalate tensions to provide a positive atmosphere for discussions."
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby also dismissed Shoigu's allegations. "Those statements by Minister Shoigu are completely false," Kirby told a press briefing on Tuesday.
Asked whether Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Russian counterpart, Kirby responded: "He has not talked to Minister Shoigu and I don't have anything on his calendar to announce today."
Russian officials, proxies and media organizations have encouraged reports of supposed imminent chemical weapons attacks in Syria in recent years.
Such reports became an important part of Russian and Russian-aligned disinformation in Syria, particularly after regime forces there'--commanded by President Bashar al-Assad and backed by Russia'--launched chemical weapons attacks on opposition forces and civilians.
Russian officials and media organizations have consistently denied the involvement of Assad or his forces in such incidents, instead framing chemical weapons attacks as false flag operations conducted by opposition forces.
Some 100,000 Russian troops remain deployed along Ukraine's borders, with concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin might order an invasion in the new year. Moscow and Kyiv remain at odds over the former's annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014, and for backing separatist forces in the east of the country.
Years of peace talks have failed to end the fighting. With Ukraine pivoting West, the Kremlin is now demanding guarantees that Kyiv will not be allowed to join the NATO alliance.
On Tuesday, Putin said Russia will "undertake proportionate military-technical countermeasures and will respond firmly to unfriendly steps" if NATO expands further eastwards.
Ukrainian soldiers talk outside a building near the front line on December 8, 2021 in Marinka, Ukraine. The leader of the separatist forces in Ukraine has echoed a Russian claim that U.S. mercenaries are preparing to use chemical weapons in the Donbas conflict zone. Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

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3 Illinois relatives charged in connection with Jan 6 - Google Social media and DL.mp3
Podcast Ad -Juvederm Lip Filler [unintentional injection into a blood vessel stroke] (58sec).mp3
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