French election: Macron loses absolute majority in parliament in 'democratic shock' | Reuters
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:20
289 seats needed for absolute majorityMacron's camp falls well shortInitial results point to hung parliamentLeftwing alliance seen as main opposition groupFar-right scores major winsPARIS, June 19 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron lost control of the National Assembly in legislative elections on Sunday, a major setback that could throw the country into political paralysis unless he is able to negotiate alliances with other parties.
Macron's centrist Ensemble coalition, which wants to raise the retirement age and further deepen EU integration, was on course to end up with the most seats in Sunday's election.
But they will be well short of the absolute majority needed to control parliament, near-final results showed.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comA broad left-wing alliance was set to be the biggest opposition group, while the far-right scored record-high wins and the conservatives were likely to become kingmakers.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire called the outcome a "democratic shock" and added that if other blocs did not cooperate, "this would block our capacity to reform and protect the French."
A hung parliament will require a degree of power-sharing and compromises among parties not experienced in France in recent decades. read more
There is no set script in France for how things will now unfold. The last time a newly elected president failed to get an outright majority in parliamentary elections was in 1988.
"The result is a risk for our country in view of the challenges we have to face," Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said, while adding that from Monday on, Macron's camp will work to seek alliances.
Macron could eventually call a snap election if legislative gridlock ensues.
"The rout of the presidential party is complete and there is no clear majority in sight," hard-left veteran Jean-Luc Melenchon told cheering supporters.
Leftwing Liberation called the result "a slap" for Macron, and economic daily Les Echos "an earthquake."
ALLIANCES?United behind Melenchon, leftwing parties were seen on course to triple their score from the last legislative election in 2017.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron arrive to vote in the second round of the French parliamentary elections, at a polling station in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, France, June 19, 2022. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
In another significant change for French politics, far-right leader Marine Le Pen's National Rally party could score a ten-fold increase in MPs with as many as 90-95 seats, initial projections showed. That would be the party's biggest-ever representation in the assembly.
Initial projections by pollsters Ifop, OpinionWay, Elabe and Ipsos showed Macron's Ensemble alliance winning 230-250 seats, the left-wing Nupes alliance securing 141-175 and Les Republicains 60-75.
Macron became in April the first French president in two decades to win a second term, as voters rallied to keep the far-right out of power.
But, seen as out of touch by many voters, he presides over a deeply disenchanted and divided country where support for populist parties on the right and left has surged.
His ability to pursue further reform of the euro zone's second-biggest economy hinges on winning support for his policies from moderates outside his alliance on both the right and left.
MODERATES?Macron and his allies must now decide whether to seek an alliance with the conservative Les Republicains, who came fourth, or run a minority government that will have to negotiate bills with other parties on a case-by-case basis.
"There are moderates on the benches, on the right, on the left. There are moderate Socialists and there are people on the right who, perhaps, on legislation, will be on our side," government spokeswoman Olivia Gregoire said.
Les Republicains' platform is more compatible with Ensemble than other parties. The two together have a chance at an absolute majority in final results, which requires at least 289 seats in the lower house.
Christian Jacob, the head of Les Republicains, said his party will remain in the opposition but be "constructive", suggesting case-by-case deals rather than a coalition pact.
The former head of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, and Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon lost their seats, in two major defeats for Macron's camp.
Macron had appealed for a strong mandate during a bitter campaign held against the backdrop of a war on Europe's eastern fringe that has tightened food and energy supplies and sent inflation soaring, eroding household budgets.
Melenchon's Nupes alliance campaigned on freezing the prices of essential goods, lowering the retirement age, capping inheritance and banning companies that pay dividends from firing workers. Melenchon also calls for disobedience towards the European Union.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comAdditional reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten, Michel Rose, Richard Lough, John Irish, Juliette Jabkhiro, Caroline Pailliez, Layli Foroudi; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Cynthia Osterman and Daniel Wallis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Pope sparks resignation rumours after postponing Africa trip and holding unusual cardinal meeting | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:19
Pope Francis has fuelled speculation that he could resign after postponing a trip to Africa and announcing an unusual meeting of cardinals.
Hobbled by pain in his knee and forced to use a wheelchair in recent weeks, the 85-year-old pontiff postponed a July trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan last week.
He also announced an unusual decision to hold a consistory to name new cardinals during a Vatican vacation month and arranged meetings to ensure his reforms stay intact.
Pope Francis (pictured yesterday) has fuelled speculation that he could resign after postponing a trip to Africa and announcing an unusual meeting of cardinals
The extraordinary consistory will be held on August 27, a slow summer month at the Catholic headquarters, to create 21 new cardinals - 16 of whom will be under the age of 80, thereby eligible to elect his successor in a future conclave.
Since becoming pope in 2013, the Argentine pontiff has created 83 cardinals in a move to shape the future of the Catholic Church, in part to counter Europe's historically dominant influence, and to reflect his values.
On August 28, Francis will then pay a visit to L'Aquila and the tomb of Celestine V - the first pope to have resigned from the papacy, in the 13th century.
He then joins the world's cardinals - many of them meeting their peers for the first time - in two days of discussions over the reform of the Roman Curia, which Francis announced in March with the unveiling of a new constitution.
Francis' shake-up of the Roman Curia attempts to shift the Church back towards its pastoral roots, allows lay Catholics to head Vatican departments and creates a dicastery specifically for charity works among other reforms.
The moves have triggered intense speculation about his plans for the future, including the most radical - that he was planning to step down.
The resignation of a pope was once almost unthinkable until Benedict XVI renounced his reign in 2013, citing his declining physical and mental health.
In 2014, a year after being elected to replace Benedict, Francis himself told reporters that were his health to impede his functions as pope, he would consider stepping down too.
Francis previously told reporters that were his health to impede his functions as pope, he would consider stepping down (pictured yesterday)
'He (Benedict) opened a door, the door to retired popes,' the pontiff said then.
More recently in May, as reported by various Italian media, Francis joked about his knee during a closed-door meeting with bishops: 'Rather than operate, I'll resign.'
But Vatican insiders do not yet think Francis is on the verge of handing over the papal keys.
One source told AFP: 'In the pope's entourage, the majority of people don't really believe in the possibility of a resignation.'
Rumours within the insular Roman Curia - the Catholic Church's powerful governing body - are nothing new, and often fuelled by those with an interest, said Italian Vatican expert Marco Politi.
'These rumours are encouraged by the pope's opponents who are only eager to see Francis leave,' he told AFP.
A trip to Canada at the end of July is still on the pontiff's schedule, and the pope continues to receive injections in his knee and physical therapy, according to the Vatican.
As a child, Francis had one of his lungs partially removed. Today, besides his knee issue, he suffers recurring sciatic nerve pain.
Rumours of a resignation also flared last year after Francis underwent colon surgery, prompting him to tell a Spanish radio station that the idea 'hadn't even crossed my mind'.
Politi said of the latest resignation rumours: 'At this stage, it is a question of being realistic and not alarmist.'
He said it was 'hard to imagine' Francis would resign while the Synod of Bishops - an initiative meaningful to Francis that is intended to study how the Church moves forward in a more inclusive way - is ongoing, due to complete in 2023.
Alberto Melloni, a professor of Christianity and secretary of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Sciences in Bologna, told AFP 'preposterous' conjectures had been made about the pope's health and his intentions.
'These are things in which there is a desire to understand, to speculate, but there is little to say,' he said.
CIA director makes rare trip to Moscow for talks on Russia-U.S. ties | Reuters
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:16
CIA Director William Burns testifies during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing about worldwide threats, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., April 14, 2021. Saul Loeb/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comMOSCOW, Nov 2 (Reuters) - CIA director William Burns is making a rare visit to Moscow to discuss U.S.-Russia relations, the latest in a series of high-level contacts that show both sides want to keep talking despite mutual distrust and a long list of disputes.
A U.S. Embassy spokesperson said Burns was leading a delegation of senior U.S. officials to Moscow on Tuesday and Wednesday at President Joe Biden's request.
"They are meeting with members of the Russian government to discuss a range of issues in the bilateral relationship," the spokesperson said.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRussia's Security Council said Burns, a Russian-speaker and former ambassador to Moscow, held talks with Nikolai Patrushev, the council's secretary and a former head of Russia's FSB intelligence service.
Neither side gave details of the conversation, but security issues loom large in their troubled relationship.
Ties have hit a series of post-Cold War lows over issues including Russian-based cyberattacks against U.S. targets, Moscow's support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the jailing of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and Russia's behaviour towards Ukraine, from which it seized the Crimea peninsula in 2014. read more
Biden sent a top Russia expert, Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, to Moscow for talks last month that failed to yield any progress in a dispute between the two countries over the sizes of their respective embassies.
Biden met Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Geneva in June, and said at the time it would take six months to a year to find out whether the two countries could establish a meaningful strategic dialogue.
Putin frequently criticises the United States but said last month he had established a constructive relationship with Biden. The Kremlin has said a further meeting between the two this year is a realistic possibility. read more
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comReporting by Polina Devitt and Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Alison Williams
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Bristol: Women's rights activists 'silenced' by balaclava-clad trans rights mob | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:11
Feminists said balaclava-clad trans rights activists 'silenced' them today in Bristol as tensions between the two groups erupted again.
The mob dressed all in black were heard screaming 'trans rights are human rights' while women's rights activists held a talk in honour of Father's Day in College Green.
During the clash, the anarchists were seen pushing police and women, while another person held a sign saying TERFs - the name given to gender critical women - should 'suck my d***'.
Another man was seen writing on the ground that 'after Colston TERFs are next'.
The slave trader Edward Colston's statue was thrown in the river in Bristol amid anti-racism protestors in 2020.
Bristol Anarchist Federation celebrated that it disrupted and silenced the Standing for Women gathering by also singing Wonderwall and All Star.
The clash comes after a similar balaclava-clad gang of trans activists 'manhandled' a feminist next to a statue of a suffragette in Manchester earlier this year.
One person held a sign saying TERFs - the name given to gender critical women - should 'suck my d***'
During the clash, the anarchists were seen pushing police and women in Bristol today
But Bristol Anarchist Federation blamed the women who were there including blogger and feminist organiser Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull from Standing for XX. They said on Twitter: 'Awesome crowd gathered! Free wraps, free cake, music, flags, banners! Come on down to college green and join us in opposing the transphobes!'
Using a megaphone, a man - also clad in black with his face covered - was seen shouting at the feminists in Bristol today.
He screamed that they are 'the oppressors' and are 'taking rights from people' while the feminists struggled to be heard over the noise.
Wales Women's Rights Network tweeted: 'Absolutely appalling intimidation of women in Bristol this afternoon, with [us] requiring a police escort as [trans rights activists] shout abuse and harass peaceful demonstrators. We will not be silenced.'
They also claimed an 'angry man with a megaphone was trying to drown out a young, black autistic woman'.
Later in another video the anarchists were heard telling the feminists to 'get out of the city'.
Another man was seen writing on the ground that 'after Colston TERFs are next'. The slave trader Edward Colston's statue was thrown in the river in Bristol amid anti-racism protestors in 2020
But Bristol Anarchist Federation blamed the women who were there including blogger and feminist organiser Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull from Standing for XX.
They said on Twitter: 'Awesome crowd gathered! Free wraps, free cake, music, flags, banners'.
And called people to College Green to 'oppose' alleged 'transphobes'.
The Standing for XX group also shared videos were their protesters were seen waiving signs which said 'woman' means 'adult human female' and called for women to stop being 'erased'.
They also called the trans activists a 'cult' who are trying to 'bully and intimidate women into silence'.
After the protest finished, the women's rights group said they went to a pub in Bristol where police were seen in videos guarding the entrance.
Huge roars were also heard in Bristol city centre today as two groups of protesters met - nude cyclists and activists.
The World Naked Bike Ride set off from the Full Moon pub, near Cabot Circus, at 12.30pm to protest for a better environment, safer cycling and celebrate body freedom.
Using a megaphone, a man - also clad in black with his face covered - is seen shouting at the feminists in Bristol today. Pictured: The Bristol clash with protesters with their faces covered holding trans and LGBT flags seen
However, the bike ride passed College Green where 60 people from Standing for Women was gathered.
A larger group of around 100 trans rights activists, also staged a counter-rally in the same place, BristolLive reported.
Avon and Somerset Police told the MailOnline in a statement: 'Earlier today, officers facilitated around 150 peoples' right to protest in Bristol city centre.
'Two groups with differing views gathered at College Green at around 1pm and specialist police liaison officers regularly engaged with both throughout the afternoon.
'At one point, officers formed a line between protestors in order to keep them apart and maintain order.
'While both groups at times raised their voices, there were no physical confrontations.
'The right to protest is a fundamental democratic right and we are pleased to have been able to facilitate both these demonstrations.'
But Bristol Anarchist Federation blamed the women who were there including blogger and feminist organiser Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull from Standing for XX. They said on Twitter: 'Awesome crowd gathered! Free wraps, free cake, music, flags, banners'. Pictured: The clash
After the protest finished, the women's rights group said they went to the pub where police were seen in videos guarding the entrance
Wales Women's Rights Network tweeted: 'Absolutely appalling intimidation of women in Bristol this afternoon'
Aleks Kovacevic, 44, was allegedly 'manhandled' by a gang next to the city's statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in St Peter's Square, Manchester this year.
The feminist has said the scuffle lasted for around a minute and she was pushed on to a wall by a group of men, or trans men, who also grabbed her arms as she waved her purple, white and green suffragette flag.
In May footage of her being punched in St Ann's Square, Manchester, in March also emerged, although trans activists accused Aleks of kicking a trans woman and insisting on calling her a man.
After the Pankhurst stand-off she won praise from JK Rowling, who shared the footage of incident on Twitter and said: 'I never expected the right side of history to include so many people in masks intimidating and assaulting women, did you? But she never dropped her flag. Emmeline would be proud.'
Expert Panel Calls for Overhaul of U.S. Public Health System - The New York Times
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:07
Politics | Citing a disastrous pandemic response, an expert panel calls for an overhaul of the U.S. public health system. https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/21/us/politics/public-health-commonwealth-fund.html A Covid-19 memorial in Washington in September. Credit... Kenny Holston for The New York Times A bipartisan panel of health experts calls on Tuesday for an overhaul of the American public health system that would greatly expand the role of the federal government, giving Washington the authority to set minimum health standards and coordinate a patchwork of nearly 3,000 state, local and tribal agencies.
The recommendations flow from what the panel, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a National Public Health System, described as the inadequacies and inequities of the United States' response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than one million Americans.
But in a report released on Tuesday, the panel said it also wanted to address the failures of the nation's public health agencies to protect Americans from other health risks, including drug overdoses, diabetes and maternal mortality.
In recommending the creation of a new ''national public health system,'' the bipartisan panel, financed by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit research group focused on health care issues, is dipping its toe in contentious political waters.
While other countries have centralized public health authorities, public health in the United States is largely managed at the state and local level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the federal public health agency, does not have the authority to compel states to act '-- it cannot, for example, investigate outbreaks of infectious disease in a particular state unless it has an invitation from state officials to do so.
State health agencies and the C.D.C. have a long history of working collaboratively, but throughout the pandemic, elected state officials '-- particularly those in red states '-- have been reluctant to cede control. When the C.D.C. asked states to sign agreements to share vaccination data with the federal government, for example, a number of states balked.
In its report, the panel cited ''archaic approaches to aggregating data'' as one reason so many Americans have died. It called on Congress to give the Department of Health and Human Services authority to establish and enforce standards for data collection.
Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, a member of the panel, who served as C.D.C. director in President George W. Bush's administration, said the pandemic had ''taught us that we have to have a coordinated, integrated public health network that functions '-- and the only way that we can bring that together is by having a national approach.''
The panel's report comes as Congress is considering legislation that takes a different approach to shoring up the nation's public health infrastructure. The Senate health committee has passed a bipartisan measure that would require the C.D.C. director to be confirmed by the Senate, and that calls for additional steps to improve coordination among the nation's public health agencies.
The commission's recommendations are more sweeping. The panel, led by Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under President Barack Obama, calls for the creation of a new position '-- Under Secretary for Public Health '-- within the Department of Health and Human Services, to oversee the national public health system.
The under secretary would coordinate the work of more than a dozen federal agencies that play a role in public health, and would have the power to set minimum health standards for the states.
''Our system of public health is a federalist system with states and localities having considerable autonomy '-- and appropriately so, as they adapt to the needs of their states and communities,'' Dr. Hamburg said in an interview. ''However, the public health protections that individuals receive shouldn't be wholly dependent on where you live. There should be a core set of expectations.''
Squirrels Could Make Monkeypox a Forever Problem - The Atlantic
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:06
In the summer of 2003, just weeks after an outbreak of monkeypox sickened about 70 people across the Midwest, Mark Slifka visited ''the super-spreader,'' he told me, ''who infected half of Wisconsin's cases.''
Chewy, a prairie dog, had by that point succumbed to the disease, which he'd almost certainly caught in an exotic-animal facility that he'd shared with infected pouched rats from Ghana. But his owners' other prairie dog, Monkey'--named for the way he clambered about his cage'--had contracted the pathogen and survived. ''I was a little worried,'' said Slifka, an immunologist at Oregon Health & Science University. All the traits that made Monkey a charismatic pet also made him an infectious threat. He cuddled and nibbled his owners; when they left the house, he'd swaddle himself in their clothing until they returned. ''It was sweet,'' Slifka told me. ''But I was like, 'Can Monkey be in his cage when we come over?'''
Slifka made it home pox-free, and the 2003 outbreak fizzled out. But that rash of cases was a close call: an opportunity for the virus to set up shop in a new animal host. One lasting interspecies hop, akin to the one that SARS-CoV-2 has made into white-tailed deer, and monkeypox will be ''with us forever'' in the U.S., says Barbara Han, a disease ecologist at the Cary Institute, in New York. In Central and West Africa, where the virus is endemic, scientists suspect that at least a couple of rodent species intermittently slosh it into humans. And as the largest-ever epidemic of monkeypox outside of Africa in history continues to unfurl'--more than 2,700 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported across roughly three dozen countries'--the virus is now getting plenty more shots on goal. This time, we may not get so lucky; the geography of monkeypox might soon change.
Any new leaps could reshape the future for this virus, and for us. Experts consider the possibility unlikely'--''low risk, but it is a risk,'' says Jeffrey Doty, a disease ecologist at the CDC. Existing animal reservoirs make some diseases near impossible to snuff out; the emergence of new ones could seed future outbreaks in places where they're not currently common. If researchers can ID some of those animals, and keep them from mingling with us, we could head off a few of those issues. But that's a big if. With so many susceptible animals out there, figuring out which ones harbor the virus could send researchers on a yearslong race, without a clear finish line.
Scientists first discovered monkeypox in the 1950s, in two species of monkeys housed at a Danish animal facility; hence the name, which will likely change soon. But in the decades since, the best evidence of the virus lingering in animals has been tugged from rodents in Central and West Africa, including rope squirrels, sun squirrels, Gambian pouched rats, and dormice. All signs point to rodents being ''responsible for maintaining this virus in the wild,'' Doty told me, and so he and his colleagues worry most about those mammals when they ponder what animals in non-endemic regions may pose the most future risk.
But a lot of rodents scurry the planet'--about 2,500 species, which together make up roughly 40 percent of known mammals. Though not all species are capable of carrying monkeypox'--for example, guinea pigs, golden hamsters, and common mice and rats usually don't'--many of them can.
Building the case for an animal reservoir tends to require years of fieldwork, rigorous safety protocols, and a good deal of luck. For a few viruses, the reservoir narrative is relatively neat: Hendra virus, an often-fatal respiratory infection, typically moves from bats to horses to people; most hantaviruses, which can cause lethal fevers, set up shop in one rodent species each. Monkeypox, however, is far less picky than that. Experts suspect that multiple animals keep the virus percolating in the wild. Just how many, though, is anyone's guess.
Read: Monkeypox could be nothing'--or it could be the next syphilis
The gold standard for establishing a reservoir requires isolating active virus'--proof that the pathogen was xeroxing itself inside of a viable host. But in the wilds of nature, ''you can break your back and end up getting only five animals from a species,'' Han, who's been using machine learning to try to predict potential monkeypox reservoirs, told me. ''And what's five animals?'' They may lack the virus in question, even if other members of their population harbor it; they may have been caught at an age, or during a season, when the pathogen's not present. And among the animals that host the virus, a reservoir might not always be the most obvious species: Rodents might be among the most commonly detected carriers of monkeypox, but zoo outbreaks and laboratory experiments have shown the virus to be capable of infiltrating anteaters, rabbits, and a hefty handful of primates, along with other un-mousy mammals. In several of these species and others, scientists have found antibodies that recognize poxviruses, hinting at past exposures; they've even uncovered the virus's DNA. Only twice, though, has anyone found active virus in wild animals: a rope squirrel from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1980s, and a sooty mangabey, found in C´te d'Ivoire about a decade ago.
Even those cases weren't slam dunks. It takes more to ''figure out which one is a reservoir, versus which ones get infected, but aren't actually responsible for maintaining circulation of the virus'' in nature, then spilling it into human communities, Jamie Lloyd-Smith, a disease ecologist at UCLA, told me. Just because an animal could bop the virus into us doesn't mean that it will.
For that to happen, humans need to have enough contact with the animals to make exposure likely'--on routine hunts for bushmeat, for instance, or in fractured landscapes where animals forage for food in and around people's homes. Lloyd-Smith, who has been analyzing surveys of residents of the Congo, said parsing what's risky and what's not is tougher than it sounds: Most everyone in these areas interacts with forest creatures all the time. ''It's not like, 'Oh, it was the people who ate the salmon mousse at the church breakfast,''' he told me. To complicate matters further, wild and domesticated animals can act as intermediaries between humans and a true reservoir, says Stephanie Seifert, a disease ecologist at Washington State University. Researchers sometimes have to traverse webs of interaction, moving through Kevin Bacon''esque degrees of separation, to pinpoint the original source.
Unveiling those natural origins is key to blocking the virus from moving onto new real estate'--and, perhaps, breaking existing tenancies. In Central and West Africa, for instance, where some people's livelihoods depend on hunting and eating wild game, ''You can't just say, 'Don't interact with rodents,''' Seifert told me. But with more investigation, says Clement Meseko, a veterinarian and virologist studying the human-wildlife interface at Nigeria's National Veterinary Research Institute, perhaps experts could eventually pinpoint just a couple of species, then recommend sustainable alternatives in their place. Improved sanitation to keep rodent pests away from humans could also help. So could doling out vaccines to people who live in the high-risk regions of endemic countries'--or perhaps to worrisome wild animals themselves. (Immunizing animals is a pretty lofty goal, but may still be a better alternative to culling animals, which ''often doesn't work,'' Lloyd-Smith said.)
Read: Monkeypox vaccines are too gnarly for the masses
In the U.S., amid the current rash of monkeypox cases, the CDC has recommended that infected people avoid interacting with pets, livestock, and other animals altogether. Though no cat or dog has ever been known to contract the infection, ''we basically know nothing about monkeypox in common companion animals,'' Doty said. For now, it's best to play it safe.
And the most meaningful way to keep the virus from surging into a new animal species, Han said, ''is to control the human outbreak.'' Already, monkeypox's species range is formidable, and in today's world, humans and animals are colliding more frequently. Amid the ongoing outbreak, Meseko, who is spending the year completing a fellowship in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been taking note of ''how squirrels are just free all over the place.'' Whatever threat they might pose to us, ''animals are also in danger from humans,'' he told me.
Human activity, after all, brought monkeypox to the U.S. in 2003, and into a coterie of prairie dogs that included Chewy and Monkey. ''They would not have been exposed geographically without us moving around this virus,'' Seifert said. And the human desire for pets brought those prairie dogs into dozens of midwestern homes. People mobilize disease; our species, too, poses an immense infectious threat to the planet. The current monkeypox outbreak, for instance, is more sprawling and human-centric than those documented in the past. And the more opportunity the virus has to infiltrate new hosts, the more opportunity it has to expand its species range. Any trickle into animals might not be detected until too late; perhaps, some experts pointed out, it already occurred long ago, seeding a reservoir that helped the ongoing epidemic erupt. ''We have no evidence of that right now,'' says Grant McFadden, a poxvirus expert at Arizona State University. ''But that could change on a dime.''
(20-05-2022) EURO COIN set PROOF VERSION - YEAR 2022
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:06
The series consists of eight coins with the reverse side bearing the technical characteristics that are the same for all countries participating in the single European currency. The obverse side depicts the coat of arms of Pope Francis, Sovereign of Vatican City State, the inscription ''Vatican City'' and twelve stars. The series is available in two versions: the first with the 20 euro silver coin and the second with the 50 euro gold coin. The 20 euro silver coin, designed by Chiara Principe, is dedicated to a current theme that is very close to Pope Francis' heart: treatments to counter the pandemic and the need to be vaccinated. The coin depicts a doctor, a nurse and a young person who is ready to receive the vaccine. The Holy Father has repeatedly stressed the importance of vaccination, recalling that healthcare is ''a moral obligation'', and it is important to ''continue efforts to immunise even the poorest peoples''. The 50 euro gold coin, designed by Marco Ventura, is dedicated to Our Lady of Mercy: the Virgin Mary is shown standing with her mantle outspread under which a multitude of believers find shelter. Depicted as the protector of humanity from the evils of the world, the Madonna was also called ''Our Lady of Help.'' The four words that surround the figure of the Virgin Mary - ''listening, love, help, welcome'' - have distinguished the work of Caritas for more than 50 years
Data sheet Set Price Euro 180.00 Legal weight 26 g Diameter 36 mm Number of coins 9 Nominal values 2. 1 Euro 50. 20. 10. 5. 2. 1 Eurocent - 20 Euro Scultor 2. 1 Euro 50. 20. 10. 5. 2. 1 Eurocent (D.Longo) - 20 Euro (C. Principe) Engraver U. Pernazza, M.A. Cassol, L. De Simoni, M.G. UrbU. Pernazza, M.A. Cassol, L. De Simoni, M.G. Urbani, S. Petrassi, E.L. Frapiccini, M.C. Colaneri, C.Momoni - 20 Euro A. Masini Mint IPZS (Italy) Mintange 4,000 coins Bordo circolare scallops
The Billionaire Family Pushing Synthetic Sex Identities (SSI) - Tablet Magazine
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:04
One of the most powerful yet unremarked-upon drivers of our current wars over definitions of gender is a concerted push by members of one of the richest families in the United States to transition Americans from a dimorphic definition of sex to the broad acceptance and propagation of synthetic sex identities (SSI). Over the past decade, the Pritzkers of Illinois, who helped put Barack Obama in the White House and include among their number former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, current Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and philanthropist Jennifer Pritzker, appear to have used a family philanthropic apparatus to drive an ideology and practice of disembodiment into our medical, legal, cultural, and educational institutions.
I first wrote about the Pritzkers, whose fortune originated in the Hyatt hotel chain, and their philanthropy directed toward normalizing what people call ''transgenderism'' in 2018. I have since stopped using the word ''transgenderism'' as it has no clear boundaries, which makes it useless for communication, and have instead opted for the term SSI, which more clearly defines what some of the Pritzkers and their allies are funding'--even as it ignores the biological reality of ''male'' and ''female'' and ''gay'' and ''straight.''
The creation and normalization of SSI speaks much more directly to what is happening in American culture, and elsewhere, under an umbrella of human rights. With the introduction of SSI, the current incarnation of the LGBTQ+ network'--as distinct from the prior movement that fought for equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans, and which ended in 2020 with Bostock v. Clayton County, finding that LGBTQ+ is a protected class for discrimination purposes'--is working closely with the techno-medical complex, big banks, international law firms, pharma giants, and corporate power to solidify the idea that humans are not a sexually dimorphic species'--which contradicts reality and the fundamental premises not only of ''traditional'' religions but of the gay and lesbian civil rights movements and much of the feminist movement, for which sexual dimorphism and resulting gender differences are foundational premises.
Through investments in the techno-medical complex, where new highly medicalized sex identities are being conjured, Pritzkers and other elite donors are attempting to normalize the idea that human reproductive sex exists on a spectrum. These investments go toward creating new SSI using surgeries and drugs, and by instituting rapid language reforms to prop up these new identities and induce institutions and individuals to normalize them. In 2018, for example, at the Ronald Reagan Medical Center at the University of California Los Angeles (where the Pritzkers are major donors and hold various titles), the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology advertised several options for young females who think they can be men to have their reproductive organs removed, a procedure termed ''gender-affirming care.''
The Pritzkers became the first American family to have a medical school bear its name in recognition of a private donation when it gave $12 million to the University of Chicago School of Medicine in 1968. In June 2002, the family announced an additional gift of $30 million to be invested in the University of Chicago's Biological Sciences Division and School of Medicine. These investments provided the family with a bridgehead into the world of academic medicine, which it has since expanded in pursuit of a well-defined agenda centered around SSI. Also in 2002, Jennifer Pritzker founded the Tawani Foundation, which has since provided funding to Howard Brown Health and Rush Memorial Medical Center in Chicago, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Foundation Fund, and the University of Minnesota's Institute for Sexual and Gender Health, all of which provide some version of ''gender care.'' In the case of the latter, ''clients'' include ''gender creative children as well as transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents ...''
In 2012, J.B. Pritzker and his wife, M.K. Pritzker, worked with The Bridgespan Group'--a management consultant to nonprofits and philanthropists'--to develop a long-term strategy for the J.B and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation. Their work together included conducting research on developments in the field of early childhood education, to which the foundation committed $25 million.
Ever since, a motivating and driving force behind the Pritzkers' familywide commitment to SSI has been J.B.'s cousin Jennifer (born James) Pritzker'--a retired lieutenant colonel in the Illinois Army National Guard and the father of three children. In 2013, around the time gender ideology reached the level of mainstream American culture, Jennifer Pritzker announced a transition to womanhood. Since then, Pritzker has used the Tawani Foundation to help fund various institutions that support the concept of a spectrum of human sexes, including the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the Williams Institute UCLA School of Law, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Palm Military Center, the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH), and many others. Tawani Enterprises, the private investment counterpart to the philanthropic foundation, invests in and partners with Squadron Capital LLC, a Chicago-based private investment vehicle that acquires a number of medical device companies that manufacture instruments, implants, cutting tools, and injection molded plastic products for use in surgeries. As in the case of Jon Stryker, founder of the LGBT mega-NGO Arcus Foundation, it is hard to avoid the impression of complementarity between Jennifer Pritzker's for-profit medical investments and philanthropic support for SSI.
Pritzker also helps fund the University of Minnesota National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, which claims ''the gender spectrum is inclusive of the wide array of gender identities beyond binary definitions of gender'--inclusive of cisgender and transgender identities, gender queer, and nonbinary identities as a normal part of the natural expression of gender. Gender spectrum health is the healthy, affirmed, positive development of a gender identity and expression that is congruent with the individual's sense of self.'' The university, where Pritzker has served on the Leadership Council for the Program in Human Sexuality, provides ''young adult gender services'' in the medical school's Institute for Sexual and Gender Health.
Pritzker's philanthropy is also active in Canada, where Jennifer has helped fund the University of Toronto's Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, a teaching institution invested in the deconstruction of human sex. An instructor in the Bonham Centre and the curator of its Sexual Representation Collection'--''Canada's largest archival collection of pornography'''--is transgender studies professor Nicholas Matte, who denies categorically that sexual dimorphism exists. Pritzker also created the first chair in transgender studies at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The current chair, Aaron Devor, founded an annual conference called Moving Trans History Forward, whose keynote speaker in 2016 was the renowned transhumanist, Martine Rothblatt, who was mentored by the transhumanist Ray Kurzweil of Google. Rothblatt lectured there on the value of creating an organization such as WPATH to serve ''tech transgenders'' in the cultivation of ''tech transhumanists.'' (Rothblatt's ideology of disembodiment and technological religion seems to be having nearly as much influence on American culture as Sirius satellite radio, which Rothblatt co-founded.) Rothblatt is an integral presence at Out Leadership, a business networking arm of the LGBTQ+ movement, and appears to believe that ''we are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, and beneficent.''
We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful, and beneficent.
For-profit medical corporations and nonprofit institutions that intersect with the goliath LGBT NGO infrastructure, many of which receive Pritzker funding, have created a political scaffolding to engineer the institutionalization of SSI ideology and medical practice in the United States'--solidifying the concept of people being born in wrongly sexed bodies or wrongly being born in sexed bodies at all. At least two clinics in California are now providing nonbinary surgeries and nullification surgeries for individuals who feel both male and female, or like neither.
The Gender Multispeciality Service (GeMS) at Boston Children's Hospital, ''the first major program in the U.S. to focus on gender-diverse and transgender adolescents,'' was founded in 2007. ''Since that time,'' says the GeMS website, ''we have expanded our program to welcome patients from ages 3 to 25.'' The first such clinic for children in the Midwest, the Gender & Sex Development Program at Lurie Children's Hospital, opened in Chicago in 2013 with a $500,000-$1 million gift pledge from Pritzker. (The husband of Jean ''Gigi'' Pritzker, another cousin, sits on Lurie's board of directors.) The Gender Mapping Project estimates that there are now thousands of similar ''gender clinics'' around the world, and over 400 that offer to medically manipulate the sex of children.
Like Stryker's Arcus Foundation, the Pritzkers have forged a close relationship with the psychiatric establishment. The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie was launched with a $15 million gift from the Pritzker Foundation in 2019, and received another $6.45 million in 2022 to address ''concerns about mental health consequences for children and adolescents arising from the COVID pandemic.'' Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Jennifer's cousin, signed into law SB 2085, Coverage of the Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model (CoCM)'--the American Psychiatric Association's model legislation requiring private insurers and Medicaid in Illinois to cover CPT codes for CoCM, which ''requires a primary care (or other) physician or clinician to lead a team that includes a behavioral health care manager who checks in with patients at least once a month and an off-site psychiatric consultant who regularly reviews patients' progress and offers advice.''
Jeanne Pritzker, married to J.B.'s brother Anthony, who is Jennifer's cousin, is a training psychologist at UCLA where she and her husband established the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Scholarship to support medical students at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine. Mrs. Pritzker is a member of the Board of Visitors at the Geffen School, which is affiliated with a children's hospital named after Mattel'--the multinational toy company that debuted a ''transgender Barbie'' recently made in the likeness of the actor Laverne Cox.
On June 30, 2019, Gov. Pritzker issued Executive Order 19-11, titled Strengthening Our Commitment to Affirming and Inclusive Schools, to welcome and support children with manufactured sex identities. A task force was established to outline statewide criteria for schools and teachers that recommended districts amend their school board policies ''to strengthen protections for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming students.''
In August 2021, Gov. Pritzker signed into law a new sex education bill for all public schools in Illinois, the first of its kind designed in accordance with the second edition of the National Sex Education Standards (NSES) to update sex ed curricula in K-12 schools. Bill SB0 818 will be implemented on or before Aug. 1, 2022. Though the bill includes a written opt-out for parents (but not an alternative if they do opt-out), many are concerned with the material being brought into children's schools under the auspices of teaching them sexual health'--namely gender identity ideology and other related material.
The NSES manual was crafted by The Future of Sex Education Initiative (FoSE) and funded by the Grove Foundation, which in turn has also worked with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (of Hewlett-Packard fortune) and Ford Foundation to institute Working to Institutionalize Sex Education (WISE)'--''A national initiative that supports school districts in implementing sex education'''--throughout the country. The Bridgespan Group, which assisted the Pritzkers with their philanthropic trajectory in 2012, was retained by the Packard Foundation to review its collaborative efforts across its investment portfolio and to report on a series of case studies, including the WISE initiative.
FoSE is a collaboration between three other organizations: The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (Siecus), ''a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to affirming that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of life''; Advocates for Youth, ''partnering with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people's rights to honest sexual health information''; and Answer, ''which provides and promotes unfettered access to comprehensive sexuality education for young people.'' Each of these is also funded by the Grove Foundation, whose fortune comes from the now-deceased Andrew Grove, former CEO of Intel Corporation.
FoSE has created a ''scaffolding approach'' to teaching kids about sex in public schools and teaching them very young. Its credo is that ''not only are younger children able to discuss sexuality-related issues but that the early grades may, in fact, be the best time to introduce topics related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, gender equality, and social justice related to the LGBTQ community before hetero- and cisnormative values and assumptions become more deeply ingrained and less mutable.''
Critics of the NSES standards created by the FoSE collaborative and now being implemented in Illinois under Gov. Pritzker may have concerns about a 72-page manual in which the term ''anal sex'' comes up 10 times and the word ''intimacy'' only half as often. The word ''gender,'' for what it's worth, is used 270 times.
While many Americans are still trying to understand why women are being erased in language and law, and why children are being taught they can choose their sex, the Pritzker cousins and others may be well on their way to engineering a new way to be human. But what could possibly explain the abrupt drive of wealthy elites to deconstruct who and what we are and to manipulate children's sex characteristics in clinics now spanning the globe while claiming new rights for those being deconstructed? Perhaps it is profit. Perhaps it is the pleasure of seeing one's own personal obsessions writ large. Perhaps it is the human temptation to play God. No matter what the answer is, it seems clear that SSI will be an enduring part of America's future.
Texas to spend $408 million to install EV charging stations every 50 miles on its highways - Drive Tesla
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 17:01
Charging can make or break electric vehicles (EVs), and the state of Texas is planning to make public EV chargers commonplace by installing charging stations every 50 miles on its interstate highways.
If you own or plan to own an EV in Texas, the city is planning to make your charging experience as smooth as possible. The state wants to provide EV charging stations supporting 1 million vehicles. The program aims to make traveling long distances with electric cars a good experience.
The Texas Department of Transportation is embarking on a five-year plan to install chargers on the main corridors and interstate highways, although it will still cover rural areas. There will be enough charging stations that drivers won't go more than 50 miles before coming across another station, alleviating range anxiety.
Each station will have multiple stalls to ensure that drivers have a good chance of finding an available connector.
The Lone Star State is funding the $408 million EV charging program with money obtained from the federal Infrastructure and Jobs Act.
While less than 1 percent of Texas registered vehicles are electric, records show that the number of EVs in the state has tripled since 2020, pointing to huge growth in the sector.
Meanwhile, Drive Tesla reported in April that Tesla did not get any state support in installing Superchargers in Texas. The EV company applied for a grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) but was not selected as a recipient, even though it submitted the lowest cost per charger, which would have allowed the program to install 700 chargers.
However, with the recipients selected, the fund would only be able to set up 170 chargers.
Tesla snubbed from Texas EV rebate program
June 19: The seventh wave of the coronavirus epidemic in Israel: about 47 thousand infected, more than 570 in hospitals '' The Observatorial
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:57
On Sunday, June 19, the Israeli Ministry of Health published new data on the coronavirus epidemic. Comparison with data for June 18 is difficult, since they were not published on Saturday morning.
The Ministry of Health announces the seventh wave of the epidemic. Coronavirus departments in hospitals reopened.
Quarantine measures may soon be tightened. So far, the Ministry of Health does not insist on the return of the ''mask regime'' in the premises and public transport, although it recommends wearing masks.
In total, since the beginning of the pandemic, 4,229,177 cases of coronavirus infection have been detected in the country (more than 48,000 new cases per week).
The number of infected people is taken into account by PCR tests and tests at checkpoints (a positive home test result is not included in the statistics if it is not confirmed at the checkpoint).
Over the past day, 13235 tests have been carried out. Coronavirus was detected in 40% of cases. (The number of tests being conducted is clearly not enough.)
At the moment, 46921 people are infected (+21062 in a week).
10896 patients with COVID-19 died (+24 in a week).
572 cases in hospitals (+183 in a week), others are recovering at home. The number of hospitalized has risen markedly in a week.
The condition of 158 patients is assessed by doctors as severe (+53 per week), 37 are connected to ventilators or ECMO (+15 per week).
The infectiousness index (an index of the reproduction of the virus, showing how many people, on average, one infected person transmits it) '' 1.3.
According to a report by the Israeli Ministry of Health, 91% of seriously ill patients are over 60 years old. The vast majority of those infected tolerate the disease easily.
According to the Israeli Ministry of Health, as of June 19, 6,710,921 people (72% of the country's population) received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 6,142,986 people (66% of the country's population) received the second dose.
4496955 people were vaccinated with the third dose (48% of the country's population). The fourth dose was received by 818,718 people (9% of the country's population).
In recent months, the vaccination process in Israel has been very slow. There is a growing number of people who were vaccinated more than six months ago (that is, they cannot be considered ''fully vaccinated'').
You can sign up for the vaccination queue at the health insurance fund: by phone, through the website or mobile application.
There is a program ''Vaccination at home'', the purpose of which is to eliminate social injustice in relation to residents of the periphery and settlements with a low socio-economic status.
On June 8, a group of specialists in the fight against epidemics held a vote on the issue of further vaccination of the population against coronavirus. Most experts spoke out against vaccinating the population with the fifth dose of the vaccine, but for the recommendation to vaccinate children from 5 to 11 years old with the third dose.
At the same time, specialists from the Ministry of Health strongly recommend that all citizens over 60 and people from health risk groups receive another booster vaccination.
Cancellation of quarantine measures
The mandatory wearing of protective masks in the premises has been canceled.
List of places where the wearing of a protective mask is still required:'' hospitals, clinics and pharmacies;'' organizations providing emergency medical care;'' institutions in which there are elderly people (nursing homes);'' international flights (cancelled from May 24);'' a mask must also be worn by a person heading to a place of self-isolation (usually in connection with a positive test result for coronavirus).
In addition, the Ministry of Health recommends that risk groups (the elderly, people with reduced immunity, etc.) continue to wear protective masks indoors, even if this is not necessary.
Since May 21, the mandatory PCR test procedure upon arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport has been cancelled. The requirement for foreigners to provide a negative PCR or antigen test result when boarding a plane departing for Israel has also been abolished. At land borders and for sea cruises, there will also be no need to do coronavirus checks.
At the same time, passengers within 48 hours before departure to Israel still need to fill out a declaration to enter the country.
Since June 3, the state of emergency in the healthcare system, declared in the spring of 2020 in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, has been lifted.
At the same time, against the backdrop of a new wave of the epidemic, the Ministry of Health recommends that people from risk groups wear protective masks indoors and on public transport.
''Coronavirus traffic light'': almost all cities in Israel are recognized by the Ministry of Health as ''red''
As of June 19, 2022, almost all cities in Israel are recognized by the Ministry of Health as ''red'' in terms of the dynamics of the spread of coronavirus infection.
From the point of view of quarantine measures, this does not matter so far, since almost all quarantine measures have been canceled (even wearing protective masks on premises or public transport is not mandatory), and the school year is ending.
In accordance with the assessment of the epidemiological situation by the Ministry of Health, the status of ''red'' (with the most threatening dynamics of the epidemic) was assigned to the following cities with a population of more than 20 thousand people: Nahariya, Modiin, Kiryat Motzkin, Kiryat Ono, Maale Adumim, Ramat Hasharon, Kiryat -Ata, Acre, Rehovot, Afula, Herzliya, Yavne, Petah Tikva, Katzrin, Ness Ziona, Rishon Lezion, Ashdod, Eilat, Rosh HaAyin, Ashkelon, Kiryat Bialik, Holon, Karmiel, Ariel, Ramat Gan, Raanana, Yehud, Haifa, Givatayim, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Kfar Saba, Beer Yaakov, Kiryat Malachi, Nof HaGalil, Od HaSharon, Arad, Bat Yam, Hadera, Beer Sheva, Ofakim , Dimona, Or Yehuda, Tiberias, Netanya, Shfaram, Nazareth, Netivot, Ramla, Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Umm el-Fahm, Sakhnin, Elad, Bnei Brak.
Taipei, Tira, Modiin-Ilit and Tamra are recognized as ''orange''.
The cities of Rahat and Beitar Ilit are still considered ''yellow''.
Among the ''green'' only small settlements '' mostly Arab villages, whose residents often shy away from testing.
NASA: Beperk CO2-uitstoot om oorlog met buitenaardse wezens te voorkomen | Wetenschap | AD.nl
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:56
Andrew Gillum Indicted on Federal Charges of Conspiracy and Fraud - The New York Times
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:55
The former Democratic nominee for Florida governor was indicted in a criminal case stemming from his time as Tallahassee mayor and statewide candidate.
According to the indictment, Mr. Gillum and two unnamed associates solicited campaign contributions from undercover agents. In exchange, the agents were promised ''unencumbered government contracts.'' Credit... Lynne Sladky/Associated Press June 22, 2022
MIAMI '-- Andrew Gillum, the Democrat who lost the 2018 Florida governor's race to Ron DeSantis, surrendered to federal authorities in Tallahassee on Wednesday after he and a close associate were charged with conspiracy and 19 counts of fraud over how they raised and used funds when he was mayor of Tallahassee and a candidate for governor.
Mr. Gillum, 42, was also charged with making false statements to the F.B.I.
He pleaded not guilty in a court appearance on Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Gillum, dressed in a navy suit with a dark tie and face mask, was cuffed around his wrists and ankles, with a chain around his waist. Inside the courtroom were some of his friends and a gaggle of news reporters. He left the courthouse after his release and gave no comment to the cameras and microphones waiting outside.
The once-ascendant Democrat, Mr. Gillum came within 32,000 votes of the governorship in 2018 '-- which would have made him Florida's first Black governor and a future White House hopeful '-- only to lose his political direction and face personal struggles. In 2020, the police found him in a Miami Beach hotel room where another man was suffering from a possible drug overdose.
The charges appear to stem from a federal investigation into Tallahassee City Hall that began in 2015 and involved undercover F.B.I. agents posing as developers. Revelations from the investigation, including that Mr. Gillum had socialized with the undercover agents in New York, where they took a boat ride to the Statue of Liberty and saw the hit Broadway musical ''Hamilton,'' were an issue in the 2018 campaign. Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, said at the time that Mr. Gillum could not be trusted to run the state.
Mr. Gillum, who did not disclose the gifts at the time as required by state law, paid a $5,000 Florida ethics fine in 2019.
The 21-count indictment against Mr. Gillum shows that a grand jury filed the charges against him on June 7. Also charged was Sharon Lettman-Hicks, 53, a confidante of Mr. Gillum's since he was in college. According to the indictment, she used her communications company to disguise fraudulent payments to Mr. Gillum as part of her payroll.
In a statement, Mr. Gillum said he had run all of his political campaigns ''with integrity.''
''Make no mistake that this case is not legal, it is political,'' he said. ''There's been a target on my back ever since I was the mayor of Tallahassee. They found nothing then, and I have full confidence that my legal team will prove my innocence now.''
Ms. Lettman-Hicks, who is running as a Democrat for a State House seat in Tallahassee, was in a wheelchair when she appeared in court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. She declined to comment.
The indictment covers events involving Mr. Gillum and Ms. Lettman-Hicks from 2016 to 2019. The false statements charge against Mr. Gillum is related to his interactions with the undercover agents.
According to the indictment, beginning in 2016, Mr. Gillum and two unnamed associates solicited campaign contributions from the undercover agents for Mr. Gillum's newly formed Forward Florida political action committee. To keep the agents' names private, the associates promised to funnel the contributions in other ways, including through Ms. Lettman-Hicks's company, P&P Communications. In exchange, they were promised ''unencumbered government contracts,'' according to one of the unnamed associates.
Mr. Gillum told one of the undercover agents that he ''should separate in his mind the campaign contributions and the Tallahassee projects,'' the indictment says, adding that Mr. Gillum also ''indicated he looked favorably on'' the undercover agent's proposed development projects.
The indictment says that when Mr. Gillum voluntarily spoke to F.B.I. agents in 2017, he ''falsely represented'' that the undercover agents posing as developers never offered him anything and that he had stopped communicating with them after they tried to link their contributions to support for potential Tallahassee projects.
The fraud and conspiracy charges are related to Mr. Gillum's dealings with Ms. Lettman-Hicks with regards to P&P Communications and Mr. Gillum's campaign.
In 2017, when he became a candidate for governor, Mr. Gillum resigned from his position with People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group whose Tallahassee office was leased from Ms. Lettman-Hicks. Mr. Gillum lost his annual $122,500 salary, and Ms. Lettman-Hicks lost $3,000 in monthly rent. Mr. Gillum was also paid about $70,500 a year as mayor, a position he held from 2014 to 2018.
Mr. Gillum then became an employee of P&P Communications, where he was given a monthly salary of $10,000. According to the indictment, hiring Mr. Gillum was ''only a cover used to provide him funds that he lost'' after his resignation from People for the American Way.
When Mr. Gillum and Ms. Lettman-Hicks solicited $50,000 in grant funding from two unnamed organizations, the money was intended to be used for the Campaign to Defend Local Solutions, an effort by Mr. Gillum to fight state efforts to pre-empt local governments' power. Instead, according to the indictment, that money ultimately went to P&P Communications to pay Mr. Gillum.
In 2018, the indictment says, Mr. Gillum and Ms. Lettman-Hicks defrauded an unnamed campaign donor who had given $250,000 intended for Mr. Gillum's campaign. Instead, $150,000 of that was diverted to Mr. Gillum's political action committee and to P&P Communications.
According to the indictment, in November 2018, $130,000 from the campaign was supposed to go to ''get out the vote'' efforts. Instead, $60,000 went to P&P Communications and was used in part to pay Mr. Gillum $20,000 in ''bonus'' payments from Nov. 20 to 29, 2018.
Eventually, it was listed falsely in Mr. Gillum's campaign finance report as a reimbursement for ''Get Out the Vote Canvassing.''
Alexandra Glorioso contributed reporting from Tallahassee.
Twitter's use of your personal information for tailored advertising
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:54
We may have asked for your phone number or email address to secure or authenticate your account (for example, for two-factor authentication). As we told you in October 2019, we may have used these phone numbers or email addresses to deliver tailored advertising to you on Twitter until September 2019. On June 6, 2022, we entered into a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission to resolve this issue.
As of September 17, 2019, we are no longer using phone numbers or email addresses collected for safety or security purposes for advertising. We never disclosed or shared your phone number or email address with advertisers. There is no action that you need to take regarding this issue.
You have a number of options to control your privacy and security when you use Twitter:
Control your privacy settings. You can find out more about your privacy settings on Twitter, including how to enable or disable personalized ads, by visiting https://myprivacy.twitter.com. Review your multi-factor authentication settings. By requiring both a password and a secondary code or security key to access your account, multi-factor authentication can help keep your account safe. You can use an authentication app, a security key, or a phone number for multi-factor authentication. (And if you provide us a phone number for multi-factor authentication, it will not be used for advertising purposes without your consent.) You can learn about multi-factor authentication settings by visiting https://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/two-factor-authentication. For more details about how we protect the information you share with us and how we use that data, we encourage you to visit the Twitter Privacy Center.
We are very sorry this happened. If you have questions or comments about this notice or what we do to protect your information moving forward, you may contact Twitter's Office of Data Protection through this form.
Starbucks might restrict public access to bathrooms, CEO suggests | KTLA
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 16:15
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he wasn't sure if the chain's locations could keep their bathrooms open to the public, citing the safety of customers'...Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said he wasn't sure if the chain's locations could keep their bathrooms open to the public, citing the safety of customers and staff. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)by: Michael Bartiromo, Nexstar Media Wire
Posted: Jun 10, 2022 / 09:42 AM PDT
Updated: Jun 10, 2022 / 10:00 AM PDT
Starbucks might be taking its bathrooms private again.
The coffee chain, which opened its caf(C) bathrooms to the non-purchasing public after a high-profile incident in 2018, could soon be walking back its restroom policy in order to maintain a ''safe environment'' for patrons and staff, CEO Howard Schultz said.
Schultz hinted at the policy change Thursday, in an interview at The New York Times' DealBook D.C. policy forum.
''There is an issue of just safety in our stores, in terms of people coming in, who use our stores as a public bathroom, and we have to provide a '... safe environment for our people and our customers,'' Schultz said during a conversation with The Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Schultz broached the topic during a discussion regarding mental health, which he claimed to be the ''No. 1 issues'' that Starbucks is dealing with ''as a company.''
''[The] mental health crisis in this country is severe, acute and getting worse,'' Schultz said.
When asked by Ross Sorkin how the company plans to ''deal'' with the issue, Schultz responded by saying Starbucks needs to train its employees and ''harden'' its stores.
''I don't know if we can keep our bathrooms open,'' he said.
Starbucks had previously announced its open-bathroom policy in the wake of a 2018 incident at a Philadelphia location, where two Black men were arrested while waiting to meet with a business acquaintance in the store. One of the men had previously asked to use the restroom but was denied, the Associated Press reported at the time.
Starbucks previously had no fixed policy on bathroom access, Schultz said in the wake of the arrests, and decisions were ultimately up to individual stores.
After the incident, Schultz himself said Starbucks bathrooms would be open to all, as would the caf(C) areas, regardless of whether someone makes a purchase or not.
''We don't want to become a public bathroom,'' said Schultz, ''but we're going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key.''
Starbucks also included the directive in its ''third place'' policy, which aimed to position its cafes as welcoming spaces for the public, so long as visitors use the spaces lawfully and respectfully.
On Thursday, however, Schultz appeared to express uncertainty that Starbucks would be able to provide safe spaces for the public, especially during what he feels is a worsening mental-health crisis in the country.
''Again, Starbucks is trying to solve a problem and face a problem that is the government's responsibility,'' Schultz said. ''And when I think about the issues that we, our business is facing and the challenge that our people are facing, almost every, every question you ask is a question about what the government's responsibility is, and what I realize more and more, the government is no longer gonna solve any of these problems.''
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Mark Middleton: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know | Heavy.com
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:30
LinkedIn/Getty Mark Middleton and Bill Clinton
Mark Middleton was an Arkansas businessman and former presidential advisor to President Bill Clinton whose May 2022 death is under scrutiny.
According to Radar Online, Middleton was a Little Rock businessman who was ''linked to'' sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein by introducing him to Clinton. Daily Mail reported that Middleton ''admitted Jeffrey Epstein to the White House multiple times during his presidency.'' Authorities have not accused Middleton of any involvement in Epstein's crimes.
Middleton was 59 when he died. The family's company is based in Bryant, Arkansas. His LinkedIn page says he was ''President at MidCorp Capital'' and based in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was listed as managing director of Middleton Heat and Air. He was a prominent member of the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s.
The Middleton family has filed a lawsuit to prevent the local sheriff from releasing photos and videos of the death scene. His death was classified as a suicide, that lawsuit says.
Here's what you need to know:
1. Middleton Was Found 'Hanging From a Tree With a Shotgun Blast Through His Chest,' Reports SayMiddleton's brother Larry Middleton wrote in an affidavit with the family's lawsuit, ''My brother died by suicide in Perry County, Arkansas on May 7, 2022, at the age of 59 years of age. Since his death, I, and other members of the family, have received intimidating, threatening, hurtful, and offensive inquiries from individuals regarding Mark and his death based on an unsupported, offensive, and unsubstantiated conspiracies.''
Radar Online reported that Middleton was discovered on May 7, 2022, ''hanging from a tree with a shotgun blast through his chest and a cheap Dollar Tree-type extension cord around his neck.''
Investigators determined that his cause of death was suicide, the site reported. Daily Mail reported that Middleton died at the Heifer Ranch in Perryville, ''owned by an anti-poverty nonprofit called Heifer International, 30 miles away from his home.''
Perry County Sheriff Scott Montgomery gave Daily Mail details of the death before no longer talking. He told the site that Middleton had told his family he was ''depressed.
Perry Co Sheriff Scott Montgomery
''I don't know the man, and I don't why he picked our county or picked that location to commit suicide. To our knowledge, he had never been there before, and we have no record of him being there before,'' the sheriff told Daily Mail previously.
''He died from a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the chest. He found a tree and he pulled a table over there, and he got on that table, and he took an extension cord and put it around a limb, put it around his neck and he shot himself in the chest with a shotgun.''
The sheriff added: ''It was very evident that the shotgun worked because there was not a lot of blood or anything on the scene. You can tell the shotgun blast was on his chest, you can tell that because there is a hole in the chest and pellets came out the back of his back. It was definitely self-inflicted in our opinion.''
Heavy has reached out to Sheriff Montgomery for comment. His spokesman responded that the department is not commenting because it's an ''open investigation.''
According to Radar Online, Arkansas mother of two Ashley Haynes ''was found drowned in the Arkansas River with an extension cord knotted to her ankle and attached to a concrete block'' months before Middleton died.
Facebook Ashley Haynes
An anonymous source claimed to Radar Online that Haynes and Middleton knew each other. ''I saw her in Mark's office! I was leaving and he (Middleton) was telling me that he had a very important financial meeting '' and that's the woman who came in!'' the anonymous business associate told the site.
''Mrs. Haynes had a bag strapped to her leg with a green extension cord,'' states the police report, according to Radar Online. ''Inside the bag was a large concrete block that measured 16x16x4.''
2. The Family Has Filed Suit to Prevent Release of Death Photos & Other Investigatory MaterialsMiddleton's family has filed a lawsuit to prevent local investigators from releasing details about Middleton's death.
Middleton's wife Rhea and brother Larry filed the lawsuit on May 23. According to Radar Online, they used an attorney with the Rose Law Firm that once employed Hillary Clinton. It was filed in Perry County Circuit Court.
There is a June 14 hearing in the case, according to Perry County online court records.
Heavy has confirmed the details of the lawsuit, which reads:
This is an action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated §§ 16-111-101 et seq. The Middletons seek a declaration that: (1) the Middletons have a privacy interest in the photographs, videos, sketches, and other illustrative content (collectively the 'Media Content') depicting Mark Middleton's ('Mr. Middleton') body or scene of Mr. Middleton's death contained within the Perry County Sheriffs Department's investigatory file designated as Case No. 22-244 (the 'File'); (2) that the Defendants may not disclose the Media Content depicting Mr. Middleton's body or the scene of Mr. Middleton's death contained within the Perry County Sheriffs Department's File; (3) and, in order for the Media Content to be disclosed, a party seeking disclosure must affirmatively meet the standard set by the Arkansas and United States Supreme Courts.
The lawsuit alleges:
The Middletons understand that the File contains Media Content that depicts Mr. Middleton's body and the scene of Mr. Middleton's death'...Since Mr. Middleton's death, Mr. Middleton's family, including the Middletons, has been harassed by outlandish, hurtful, unsupported, and offensive online articles regarding Mr. Middleton, his death, and his family'...These articles are scurrilous, baseless, and malicious'...The same individuals who created the online articles will attempt to obtain details of the File, including the Media Content contained within the File, from Defendants. This information will then almost certainly be published online. Plaintiffs, and other family members of Mr. Middleton, will suffer irreparable harm if such materials are disclosed.
The family maintains that it has a privacy interest in the photos. They ''seek a judgment declaring that the Media Content contained within the File that depict Mr. Middleton's body or his scene of death not be disclosed in response to a FOIA request, as the family's privacy interest outweighs the public's interest, or lack thereof, in disclosure,'' the lawsuit states.
Read the lawsuit in full here.
The family wrote that the death involves ''no crimes.''
Radar Online had previously quoted an anonymous source who raised questions about Middleton's death and said, ''Everyone that I know here, that has worked with Mark, knows it is physically impossible for Mark to have killed himself.''
3. Middleton Was Described as a 'Close Friend of the President' in Congressional Documents & He Figured Into Some Major Clinton-Era Controversies Getty Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko (L), speaks with Former U.S. President Bill Clinton (C) and Canadian businessman Frank Giustra at the Clinton Global Initiative forum September 16, 2005 in New York City.
In 1999, the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform, discussed Middleton. U.S. Rep. Dan Burton, committee chair, said the following about him, according to a transcript.
Mark Middleton is here today. He is a former senior White House aide from Arkansas. He was a close friend of the President. He was the Special Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Chief of Staff. For the last 2 1/2 years, he has not cooperated with this committee's investigation in any way.
Did Mark Middleton know Liu Chao-Ying? We don't know. Was he working with the Chinese Government or other foreign sourcesto arrange campaign contributions? We don't know. Did Mark Middleton get a half a million dollars to do good things forChina? We don't know.
We have asked Mr. Middleton to come in and talk with us. We have asked him to respond to all the allegations that have been raised about him. We have not been able to convince him to tell us his side of the story. His lawyer tells us that he is going to assert his fifth amendment rights and not answer any of our questions today.
According to Arkansas Money and Politics:
Middleton was the former finance director for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign and special assistant to Clinton under Chief of Staff Mack McLarty. He was also the president of MidCorp Capital in Bryant, a member of the UAMS Foundation Fund board of advisors and the CHI St. Vincent Foundation board of directors, and a University of Arkansas alum.
In 1997, The New York Times reported:
In the spring of 1995, a few months after his fraud conviction, former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell and his wife asked a recently retired White House aide whether the Riady family of Indonesia, which had already paid Hubbell $100,000, would be keeping him on its payroll even as he faced prison.
Over dinner at the Palm restaurant in Washington, the former aide, Mark Middleton, told the Hubbells to take their question to the Riady family itself or to John Huang, the Riadys' former top American executive, who was then a trade official at the Commerce Department, says Robert Luskin, Middleton's lawyer.
It is not known whether Hubbell ever followed up on Middleton's suggestion at the Palm. But the gathering, and other new details gleaned from interviews with current and former aides and their associates, indicate that Middleton was one of about a dozen or so senior Clinton administration aides and advisers who found themselves drawn into Hubbell's plight in one way or another.
The House committee says that Middleton ''came to Washington in 1992 after raising money for the Clinton campaign. He was a young attorney who had left the law firm of Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates and Woodyard to become one of the first campaign workers for then-Governor Clinton.''
According to that document, ''Middleton raised between $4-5 million as Arkansas Director and later as Southern Finance Director. During the transition period after the 1992 election, Middleton worked for Mack McLarty, who had just been named Chief of Staff. McLarty later hired Middleton as an executive or special assistant in the Chief of Staff's Office, where he was a liaison to the Arkansas and business communities.''
4. The Family Described Middleton as an 'Inspiring & Dedicated Leader'The Middleton family announced the death of Middleton in a statement printed in May by the Benton Courier. That article says that the family owns Middleton Heat & Air.
''The Middleton family has lost an inspiring and dedicated leader, as well as a son, brother, husband and father. Mark leaves behind a company that he helped build from the ground up alongside his family and was proud to run for the last 25 years,'' the family's statement read, according to the newspaper.
''Mark also built a trusted, experienced and tenured team that we are confident in to lead during this difficult time. We know Mark would be grateful for their leadership and the continued commitment of each member of the Middleton team to provide the quality of service you have enjoyed for 45 years. No words can express our sadness over this loss or our gratitude for your support and prayers during this time.''
5. Middleton Helped Run One of the State's 'Largest HVAC Companies' & Authorized Some of Epstein's Trips to the White House, Reports Say Getty In this handout provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Jeffrey Epstein poses for a sex offender mugshot after being charged with procuring a minor for prostitution on July 25, 2013 in Florida.
Arkansas Business reported that Middleton ''helped turn the family business, Middleton Heat & Air, into one of the largest HVAC companies in the state.''
When Middleton died, Bryant City Hall wrote on Facebook,
The City of Bryant staff and elected officials were saddened to learn about the passing of Mr. Mark Middleton over the weekend. Mark has been an avid supporter of this community for many years. He has invested not only in the Bryant Parks System but also in the quality of play for hundreds of kids, who over time he sponsored in various recreational leagues. Our hearts go out to his family, and extended family, at Middleton Heat and Air.
According to his LinkedIn page, Middleton had a law degree from the University of Arkansas.
Daily Mail reported that Epstein ''made at least 17 trips to the White House between 1993 and 1995, seven of which were authorized by Middleton.'' According to Daily Mail, Middleton ''was also one of the many passengers to fly on Epstein's jet, known as the 'Lolita Express.'''
Middleton's name appears in Epstein's ''black book,'' according to the site, Epstein's Black Book.
READ NEXT: Kaitlin Armstrong: Texas Woman Sought in Murder of Pro Cyclist Who Had Dated Her Boyfriend
Man found not responsible for Times Square vehicle rampage
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:24
NEW YORK (AP) '-- A man who drove his car through crowds of people in Times Square in 2017, killing a young tourist and maiming helpless pedestrians, was cleared of responsibility Wednesday because of mental illness.
A jury in New York City accepted an insanity defense claiming Richard Rojas was so psychologically disturbed he didn't know what he was doing.
The judge has said the finding would qualify Rojas for an open ended ''involuntary mental commitment'' instead of a lengthy prison term. He ordered Rojas held while he drafts an examination order, and said there would be a hearing on the matter Thursday.
Rojas, 31, who was impassive throughout the trial, had no visible reaction to a verdict reached after less than two days of deliberations.
The defendant was accused in an attack that injured more than 20 people and killed Alyssa Elsman, 18, of Michigan, who was visiting the popular tourist destination with her family.
The jury was instructed that if it found prosecutors had proven elements of murder and assault charges, it also had to decide whether or not Rojas ''lacked responsibility by reason of mental disease or defect.''
Rojas' attorney Enrico DeMarco told reporters outside court that the verdict ''right and humane,'' adding that winning over the jury was an uphill battle ''because it was such a horrible act.''
In a statement, District Attorney Alvin Bragg said his office's ''condolences continue to be with the family, friends and loved ones of Alyssa Elsman, who suffered a terrible and tragic loss, and all of the victims of this horrific incident.''
Jyll Elsman, the mother of Alyssa, reacted with dismay in a social media message.
''Really the only thing I have to say is if this had happened to any of the juror's children '-- would they still have said 'not responsible'?'' she wrote.
The trial, which began early last month, featured testimony from victims who suffered severe injuries from what prosecutors labeled ''a horrific, depraved act.''
On the defense side, family members testified how Rojas descended into paranoia after he was kicked out of the Navy in 2014.
That Rojas was behind the wheel of the car was never in doubt. Multiple security videos showed him emerging from the vehicle after it crashed. That put the focus of the case on his mental state.
In his closing argument, prosecutor Alfred Peterson conceded that Rojas was having a psychotic episode, including hearing voices, at the time of the rampage. But Peterson argued Rojas showed he wasn't entirely detached from reality by maneuvering his vehicle onto the sidewalk and driving with precision for three blocks, mowing down people until he crashed.
One victim's pelvis was separated from her spine. Doctors were certain she would die, but she somehow survived. Elsman's younger sister Eva, then 13, testified during the trial about her own injuries: broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a compound leg fracture and other wounds that kept her in the hospital for weeks.
''The defendant made a decision that day,'' the prosecutor, Peterson, said. ''He made a choice. '... He went to the 'crossroads of the world,' a high profile place where everyone knows there's lots and lots of people.''
Once there, he was ''in full control of his car,'' he added.
DeMarco told jurors ''there should be no doubt'' his client met the legal standard for an insanity finding. The evidence, the lawyer said, showed Rojas ''lacked a substantial capacity to know what he was doing was wrong'' because of an underlying illness '-- schizophrenia, as diagnosed by a defense psychiatrist who testified.
The defense attorney played a videotape in the courtroom of Rojas jumping out of his car after it slammed into a sidewalk stanchion. Rojas could be heard yelling, ''What happened? '... Oh my God, what happened?'' as he was being subdued, and could be seen banging his head on the ground.
Rojas, the attorney said, ''lost his mind.''
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
'Russia Has Won This War': German Journalist Says West Lying About Ukraine War
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:23
German TV is admitting what's become increasingly obvious: the West is in denial that Russia has all but won its military conflict with Ukraine.
A guest of the German talk show program ''Maischberger'' laid out how European leaders are getting humiliated on the world stage as they continue to prosecute the war in Ukraine against Russia that can no longer be won.
''I am afraid we are now faced with a situation where we now have to face an uncomfortable truth,'' said journalist Wolfram Weimer last week. ''And that is that Russia has won this war.''
Truth grenades on German TV! pic.twitter.com/oWl3Rk6DGM
'-- vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) June 18, 2022''Now, our chancellor is working with this language template: 'Russia must not win this war. Ukraine must win,''' Weimer continued.
''I'm just wondering where this is headed politically, because in fact Russia has practically conquered the Donbas in just a matter of a few days. The area gains are huge, they are about as big as Holland and Belgium put together. The land connection to Crimea is there. That means, how is Russia supposed to lose this war now?''
looking at today's map, Russia seems to be pushing westward. Maybe they will take Odessa too and make Ukraine a land locked country. Want to see how Ukraine cheerleaders will spin loss of coastline access as a win pic.twitter.com/maWaSdFgny
'-- Felix Leiter (@FelixRight4) June 15, 2022Weimer went on to say that Ukraine ''does not have the strength'' to militarily fight Russia despite receiving billions of dollars of weapons and assistance from the West, and that Russia is ''also winning the international game of sanctions.''
''The Chinese have jumped on Russia, the Indians are doing business like never before with Russia, important emerging countries like Brazil and South Africa have left the West '-- and the federal chancellor has a trip to South Africa, he was embarrassed on the open stage, they don't want sanctions. They don't even want to talk about a war of aggression.''
Weimer pointed out that French President Emmanuel Macron's conciliatory rhetoric of reaching a truce with Russia is a signal that Europe has lost political ground over the Ukraine conflict.
''That means we have also lost this international struggle for the majority. And I'm afraid we have to admit that, and because I assume that Macron's initiative is based on realpolitick insight, we cannot win this war, we have to end it as quickly as possible and that is also of great value to start a diplomatic initiative,'' Weimer said.
''That's what I actually expect from our federal government, precisely because it was so reluctant to keep the channel to Moscow open, Berlin actually has to present a peace plan and I hope the trip to Kiev will result in [German Chancellor Olaf Scholz] doing so,'' he concluded.
The West's sanctions against Russia have backfired spectacularly.
The Russian ruble is now at a 5-year high against the U.S. dollar, and European nations have been forced to cut back on increasingly expensive oil and natural gas that was previously supplied by Russia.
Sometimes reality is reality even when one wishes it weren't. The ruble at a 5-year-high against the dollar: pic.twitter.com/CVvEHRRbCx
'-- Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 20, 2022And as Weimer noted, China, India, and other non-Western countries have ramped up commerce with Russia since the sanctions came into effect.
Meanwhile, because of Ukraine and Russia's key roles in global food production '' namely wheat and fertilizers '' food prices in the U.S. and Europe have spiked dramatically.
The majority of Americans don't support U.S. intervention in the Ukraine war, and are much more worried about poor government leadership, soaring inflation, and high gas prices, according to a recent Statista poll.
Twitter: @WhiteIsTheFuryTruth Social: @WhiteIsTheFuryGettr: @WhiteIsTheFuryGab: @WhiteIsTheFuryMinds: @WhiteIsTheFuryWhole World Turns Its Back On Joe Biden And The War In Ukraine
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Biden State Department Taps Beijing Bull To Run China Shop
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:18
Biden AdministrationTom Donilon has promoted investments in China, opposed tariffs on regime
Tom Donilon / AP Chuck Ross ' June 22, 2022 5:00 amThe Biden administration's pick to advise the State Department on "strategic competition" with Beijing chairs an investment think tank that urged Americans to triple their investments in China.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday selected BlackRock Investment Institute chairman and Obama administration national security adviser Tom Donilon to co-chair the Foreign Affairs Policy Board amid the State Department's pivot to China.
Donilon's work at BlackRock could pose a conflict of interest for the board, which provides "advice, feedback, and perspectives" to senior State Department officials on foreign policy matters. Under his leadership, the Investment Institute has urged investors to dramatically increase their stakes in Chinese companies. What's more, BlackRock views "strategic competition" with China as bad for the company's bottom line.
"Strategic competition between the U.S. and China and resulting tensions have also contributed to uncertainty in the geopolitical and regulatory landscapes," reads BlackRock's most recent annual report. The firm listed U.S.-Chinese competition as a factor that could hurt its revenue and profit. BlackRock opened a mutual fund in China in September, making it the first American firm approved to sell financial products there.
BlackRock's Chinese entanglements have raised concerns that the company is undermining the United States. The company has come under fire for investing in sanctioned Chinese companies, including surveillance giant Hikvision. Even progressive megadonor George Soros called BlackRock's investments in China a "tragic mistake" that would damage U.S. national security interests.
Donilon has sided with China in the debate over tariffs imposed during the Trump administration. He chided government officials in 2019 about the tariffs and inaccurately warned that they would cause a global recession.
"Future generations of Americans will judge today's leaders harshly for squandering this moment," Donilon wrote in an article touted by China Daily, a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party.
Tariffs "are hurting U.S. businesses, consumers, and farmers," Donilon wrote. "They are alienating U.S. allies. And, analysts warn, they are increasing the risk of a global recession."
The Foreign Affairs Policy Board plays a crucial role at the State Department. The department says the board is "necessary to supplement the advice and support the Secretary gets from the Department" on a broad range of international issues. Its meetings are closed to the public due to "discussions on sensitive, and often classified, topics and materials."
Tariffs are likely to be an area of focus for the board, as will the administration's position on China's human rights record and increased military activity in the Pacific and South China Sea. Blinken has accused Beijing of waging genocide against Muslims in western China. Other officials, including climate envoy John Kerry, have refused to confront Chinese leaders on the topic for fear of hurting cooperative efforts on climate change.
Donilon, whom Blinken has called his "dear friend," is the latest in a string of Biden allies to land an influential advisory post. The State Department picked Dominic Ng, the chairman of East West Bank, to represent the United States on the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation's Business Advisory Council. Ng, a major Biden donor, has criticized U.S. foreign policy toward China and served on organizations linked to the Chinese Communist Party.
Biden selected his longtime friend, Chris Dodd, to serve as special adviser for the Summit of the Americas. Dodd signed an ethics agreement because his lobbying firm represents some of the countries represented at the summit. Biden appointed another major donor, Joe Kiani, to serve on the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Neither the State Department nor BlackRock returned requests for comment.
Published under: BlackRock , CCP , China , State Department , Tom Donilon
Publix won't give COVID vaccine to children under 5
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:11
Since COVID-19 vaccines first became available, Publix has played a major role in tackling the public health emergency in Florida by offering vaccines to adults and, later, children as young as 5.
But the Lakeland grocery company says it will not offer the vaccine approved for children ages 4 and under ''at this time.''
Spokesperson Hannah Herring said Tuesday that Publix will not release a statement explaining its decision. The company's website indicates that it is still accepting COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children ages 5 and up.
The company still offers other child vaccinations, including the flu shot for babies as young as 6 months.
The vaccine rollout for the nation's youngest children has been complicated in Florida, where state leaders have questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, going against the recommendations of the nation's top health regulators and medical associations.
Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo recommended against giving vaccines to healthy children, contrary to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Florida was the only state in the nation not to preorder doses of the under 5 vaccine, which the White House said could delay delivery to medical providers in the state. Parents of children under 18 months must rely on pediatricians, medical clinics and children's hospitals to get their kids vaccinated.
Publix is not affected because it is enrolled in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program, which means it orders vaccine doses directly from the federal government.
The governor tapped Publix to become a key part of Florida's vaccine rollout in early 2021. By that April, the grocery chain was the single largest vaccine supplier in Florida and was getting nearly a quarter of the state's doses.
The company is Florida's largest private employer and a regular donor to political campaigns of both major political parties, though its donations skew Republican. It donated $100,000 to Gov. Ron DeSantis's political committee in early 2021.
Publix's decision not to vaccinate young children puts it at odds with Walmart, one of its main competitors in the Southeast. Walmart plans to provide vaccines to kids ages 3 and older.
''While we expect the majority of these vaccines to be distributed to pediatric providers, we plan to administer authorized vaccines for ages 3-5 as supply and distribution allows,'' said Walmart spokesperson Tyler Thomason in an email.
South Tampa mother of two Samantha Thompson was able to book a vaccination appointment for her 3-year-old son at her local Publix on Tuesday. Then she received a phone call informing her that her chosen location was not authorized to vaccinate children under 5.
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Explore all your optionsNow she'll have to cross the bay next week to vaccinate her son at a Walgreens in Seminole, which she said was the closest appointment she could find.
''It's frustrating, because there is so much confusion,'' Thompson said. ''Throughout this whole process, it feels like our interests are not being looked out for.''
' ' '
How to get testedFlorida: The Department of Health has a list of test sites.
The nation: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help you find a testing site.
' ' '
How to get vaccinatedThe COVID-19 vaccine is being administered at clinics, doctors' offices, public health offices and retail pharmacies. Here's how to find a site near you:
Find a site: Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination sites in your ZIP code.
More help: Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline.
Phone: 800-232-0233. Help is available in English, Spanish and other languages.
Disability Information and Access Line: Call 888-677-1199 or email DIAL@n4a.org.
' ' '
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WARNING: How the CDC's COVID-19 warning system fails Tampa Bay and Florida.
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WHO chief 'believes Covid DID leak from Wuhan lab' after a 'catastrophic accident' in 2019 | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 14:10
WHO chief 'believes Covid DID leak from Wuhan lab' after a 'catastrophic accident' in 2019 despite publicly maintaining 'all hypotheses remain on the table'Director-general Tedros Adhanom confided to a senior European official: sourceThe Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns about Wuhan's Institute of VirologyWorldwide death toll of Covid pandemic now estimated to be above 18millionWHO initially branded lab leak fears 'a conspiracy theory', accepting China story By Glen Owen Political Editor For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 17:01 EDT, 18 June 2022 | Updated: 18:20 EDT, 18 June 2022
The head of the World Health Organisation privately believes the Covid pandemic started following a leak from a Chinese laboratory, a senior Government source claims.
While publicly the group maintains that 'all hypotheses remain on the table' about the origins of Covid, the source said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, where infections first spread during late 2019.
The Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns within Western intelligence services about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists were manipulating coronaviruses sampled from bats in caves nearly 1,000 miles away '' the same caves where Covid-19 is suspected to have originated '' in April 2020. The worldwide death toll from the Covid pandemic is now estimated to have hit more than 18 million.
Researchers work at a lab in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where Covid was first found
The WHO was initially criticised for its deferential approach to China over the pandemic, as well as a willingness to accept Beijing's protestations that claims of a laboratory leak were just a 'conspiracy theory'.
However, in the absence of any compelling evidence of 'zoonotic' spread '' the process by which a virus leaps from animals to humans '' it is now adopting a more neutral public stance.
Dr Tedros updated member states on the pandemic this month, admitting: 'We do not yet have the answers as to where it came from or how it entered the human population.
'Understanding the origins of the virus is very important scientifically to prevent future epidemics and pandemics.
'But morally, we also owe it to all those who have suffered and died and their families. The longer it takes, the harder it becomes. We need to speed up and act with a sense of urgency.
'All hypotheses must remain on the table until we have evidence that enables us to rule certain hypotheses in or out. This makes it all the more urgent that this scientific work be kept separate from politics. The way to prevent politicisation is for countries to share data and samples with transparency and without interference from any government. The only way this scientific work can progress successfully is with full collaboration from all countries, including China, where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported.'
The Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns about the region's Institute of Virology in 2020
It was suggested Covid 'could easily have escaped while being analysed' by scientists
Last year, the WHO established the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (Sago) to outline which studies would be needed to identify the origins of SARS-CoV-2 '' as Covid is scientifically known '' and to 'create a global framework for studying the origins of emerging and re-emerging pathogens'.
An original probe into the outbreak by the WHO was resisted fiercely by China, leading to a report that concluded the SARS-CoV-2 virus probably passed to humans from a bat via another unidentified species.
But after 14 nations including the UK, US and Australia criticised its findings as being heavily compromised, Dr Tedros admitted the report's flaws and ordered the new process.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom has been reluctant to openly criticise China
The Government has taken a cautious approach to apportioning blame for Covid '' something that China-sceptics attribute to a fear of offending Beijing.
However, American intelligence has placed the secretive Wuhan laboratory at the centre of its analysis.
Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that workers at the institute had fallen ill with Covid-like symptoms in autumn 2019 '' weeks before the alarm was raised, and said that as part of military projects its scientists were experimenting with a bat coronavirus very similar to the one that causes Covid.
A WHO spokesman said: 'Dr Tedros has been consistently saying all hypotheses remain on the table as scientists pursue their work.'
Bill Gates Buys Massive Amount of Farmland in North Dakota, But the State AG Just Stepped in
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:59
Commentary By Richard Moorhead June 22, 2022 at 5:10pm Bill Gates has made himself the single largest private owner of farmland in the United States.
The globalist billionaire expanded his holdings of American farmland, accumulating a total of 242,000 acres of the most arable land in America, according to The Daily Caller.
North Dakota's attorney general is stepping in after Gates' trust acquired six parcels of land in Pembina County.
Attorney General Drew Wrigley sent a Tuesday letter to the trust, demanding answers on how he intends to use (or hoard) the land he purchased in the state.
North Dakota law restricts the ownership and leasing of farmland to corporations and limited liability companies. In addition, there are certain limitations with regard to trusts.
If Gates' trust is unable to demonstrate that it's using the land in accordance with state law, he could face fines of $100,000 unless the trust divests from the land within one year.
Bill Gates acquired six parcels of land in Pembina County. Tuesday, the office of the Attorney General sent out a letter asking the Red River Trust to confirm how the company plans to use the land and if it meets any of the exceptions to the North Dakota Corporate Farming Laws. pic.twitter.com/MGGFKV16mm
'-- DOCTOR FROM LONG ISLAND NEW YORK (@Doctorfromliny) June 22, 2022
Some of Gates' public remarks suggest a dark motive for his hoarding of American farmland.
Should Bill Gates' land be confiscated?
Yes: 96% (2968 Votes)
No: 4% (138 Votes)
Gates has urged developed nations such as the United States to replace real meat with a synthetic laboratory-made replacement.
If Bill Gates offered me his entire fortune, I would not agree to this. No amount of money would be worth going a lifetime without actual red meat. https://t.co/ozudoyAlA1
'-- Philip Klein (@philipaklein) March 26, 2022
''You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they're going to make it taste even better over time,'' the Microsoft founder argued in an interview with the MIT Technology Review, according to The Western Journal.
Gates' position as the single largest owner of American farmland puts him in a unique position to potentially harm ranchers and cattlemen.
The billionaire could prevent ranchers from grazing their cows on his extensive property, cutting them off from land they've used for decades.
This would significantly increase supply pressures on ranchers, and ultimately raise the price of beef at the supermarkets.
The hoarding of farmland also stands to impact the entire American food chain in an era where price pressures make it costlier than ever for Americans to feed their families.
Gates' trust has 30 days from the receipt of the letter to demonstrate how it's legally using the land.
The globalist oligarch was also reportedly seen within the halls of the United States Capitol earlier this month.
SummaryRecent Posts ContactRichard Moorhead is a conservative journalist, a graduate of Arizona State University, service member, and guitar player.
Efficacy of Nicotine in Preventing COVID-19 Infection - Full Text View - ClinicalTrials.gov
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:58
The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic represents a major therapeutic challenge. The highly contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) and the long duration of the disease have led to a massive influx of patients admitted in health services and intensive care units.
According to current knowledge, there are no treatments that prevent the spread of the infection, especially in exposed populations, or the disease progression to a severe form.
Daily active smokers are infrequent among outpatients or hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Several arguments suggest that nicotine is responsible for this protective effect via the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR).
Nicotine may inhibit the penetration and spread of the virus and have a prophylactic effect in COVID-19 infection.
However, the epidemic is progressing throughout French territory and new variants (in particular the "English B1. 1.7 variant of SARS-COV-2") much more contagious run a risk of accelerating the epidemic in the population. The anti-SARS-COV-2 vaccines recently launched (or being evaluated) represent great hope in this health crisis, but trials were only able to show their effectiveness on symptomatic forms of SARS-COV-2 infection. On the one hand, the vaccination compaign for the entire population requires many months,which leaves many unprotected subjects waiting. In addition, there is currently no evidence of a protective role of vaccines against asymptomatic forms of COVID-19 and therefore on SARS-COV-2 transmission. Finally, the nicotine patches may protect people in hight-risk areas/periods until they are vaccinated (if they accept it and are eligible for it) and in the post-vaccination weeks necessary for the effectiveness of the vaccine,which reinforces the importance of evaluating this alternative prevention strategy, in the context of the arrival of vaccines
Starlink internet may become unusable for many Americans
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:52
SpaceX has warned that its Starlink internet service faces an existential threat.
The company announced on Tuesday, June 21, that its Starlink network would become "unusable for most Americans" if a proposal by Dish Network to use the 12 GHz band for terrestrial 5G is approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
SpaceX made its announcement in a strongly-worded letter to the FCC. The claims are part of a fierce ongoing feud with Dish Network.
SpaceX: A new 5G network proposal could cause 'harmful interference' to Starlink usersIn its letter to the FCC, SpaceX highlighted the fact that U.S.-based satellite broadcaster Dish Network is seeking permission to operate a high-power 5G mobile service in the 12 GHz band.
The issue, according to SpaceX, stems from the fact that this is part of the same Ku-band spectrum used by Starlink, OneWeb, and other satellite operators to connect to user terminals.
The private space company said it has conducted tests in Las Vegas showing that Dish Network's proposal would cause Starlink users to "experience harmful interference" more than 77 percent of the time.
In a separate press statement, SpaceX explained that, "d espite technical studies dating back as far as 2016 that refute the basis of their claims, DISH has attempted to mislead the FCC with faulty analysis in hopes of obscuring the truth."
"If DISH's lobbying efforts succeed," it continued, "our study shows that Starlink customers will experience harmful interference more than 77% of the time and total outage of service 74% of the time , rendering Starlink unusable for most Americans."
That is a big if of course, but DISH's 5G network currently serves roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, and much like SpaceX, the company is making efforts to expand its coverage. Dish Network has also filed its own FCC complaints against SpaceX in the past, and it recently demanded the company deactivate customers using Starlink on the move.
SpaceX claims the FCC has received misleading analyses SpaceX claims its recent Vegas study only serves to highlight an issue that should be obvious to the FCC and Dish Network. David Goldman, SpaceX senior director of satellite policy, wrote in the FCC complaint, "this analysis verifies what should be intuitive '-- that a high-power terrestrial network would blow out anyone using the high-sensitivity equipment satellite consumers must use to receive signals that comply with Commission and international power restrictions on satellite downlink transmissions."
"As a result, vastly fewer Americans could be connected using next-generation satellite services, and those that remain would experience degraded service and regular network outages."
Goldman also criticized a number of interference analyses conducted by companies looking to build 5G networks. One study, Goldman explained, was completely "untethered from reality", as it failed to address important factors such as the way satellite operators share their spectrum via coordination arrangements '-- one was recently agreed by SpaceX and OneWeb, for example.
Ultimately, SpaceX is calling on the FCC to reject Dish Network's 12 GHz 5G network proposal. The companys said it would impede its work to provide high-speed internet to the most underserved Americans. Others might argue that all that astronomical obstruction can't be for nothing.
SpaceX also urged the government agency to investigate whether technical studies submitted to the regulator by DISH and other organizations were intentionally misleading.
SpaceX could own two-thirds of all active satellites within 18 months Astronomers face their own kind of existential threat due to Starlink and other similar satellite mega-constellations, including one in the works by Amazon called Project Kuiper. A recent study by scientists at the University of Regina stated that "w ithout drastic reduction of the reflectivities, or significantly fewer total satellites in orbit, satcons will greatly change the night sky worldwide."
SpaceX's internet satellite service currently doesn't serve a great deal of U.S. cities and it is mainly available in rural areas. However, the company is set to vastly expand availability in 2023, according to a map on its website.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently stated that SpaceX is expecting "over 4,200 Starlink satellites in operation within 18 months", which would constitute two-thirds of all active satellites. And, barring FCC approval of Dish Network's 5G proposal, it will likely only continue to grow from there.
Monkeypox: Gay and bisexual men at higher risk of exposure to be offered vaccines | UK News | Sky News
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:43
Vaccines should be offered to some gay and bisexual men at higher risk of contracting monkeypox, the UK Health Security Agency has said.
It recommends offering the smallpox vaccine Imvanex, which is shown to be effective against the virus.
The UKHSA said a doctor may advise vaccination for someone who "has multiple partners, participates in group sex or attends 'sex on premises' venues".
Anyone can contract monkeypox, but the agency said data show higher levels of transmission "within, but not exclusive to, the sexual networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men".
Monkeypox is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection, but can be passed on through the close contact that occurs during sex.
There were 793 confirmed cases in the UK as of 20 June: 766 in England, 18 in Scotland, three in Northern Ireland and six in Wales.
The strategy has been endorsed by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which led the UK's approach to COVID vaccinations.
Previously, the UKHSA only recommended a vaccine for close contacts of cases, including healthcare workers.
NHS England is due to give details shortly on how eligible people can get a jab. People are advised not to come forward until contacted.
What do you need to watch out for?
People are being advised to watch out for any new spots, ulcers, or blisters on any part of their body - especially if they've had close contact with a new partner.
Anyone with these symptoms should avoid close contact with others and call NHS 111 or their local sexual health centre.
More information can be found on the NHS website.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, said contact tracing was helping limit the spread of monkeypox and that by offering a vaccine they hope to "break chains of transmission".
"Although most cases are mild, severe illness can occur in some people, so it is important we use the available vaccine to target groups where spread is ongoing," she said.
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Professor Paul Hunter, of the University of East Anglia's school of medicine, said the new vaccination strategy "was the right thing to do".
"What we have seen with monkeypox is a significant and continuing increase of the second wave despite control measures having been in place for a few weeks.
"So, it is certainly looking like the current strategy of ring vaccination is not working. This is probably down to difficulties in identifying cases and their contacts rapidly enough, possibly due to stigma.
"The report today about offering vaccine to MSM at high risk of exposure is the right thing to do. I would just add that monkeypox is spreading because of frequent, multiple close and intimate contacts.
"Even though we are not seeing much spread outside of MSM, Monkeypox doesn't care whether those contacts are same sex or mixed sex, and so I think we should be ready to start offering the vaccine to female sex workers as well."
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4:24 Monkeypox: What we knowMore than 2,500 cases have been reported in over 35 countries outside Africa, where monkeypox is endemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week that the virus is to be renamed after experts called for a "non-discriminatory" alternative.
Ukraine Bans Main Opposition Party, Seizes All Its Assets '' David Icke
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:26
Posted by Richard Willet - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 22 June 2022
Ukrainian authorities have banned the country's main opposition party and seized all its assets, once again undermining the narrative that President Zelensky is presiding over a beacon of democracy.
The country's Ministry of Justice announced the move via Facebook, revealing that the Opposition Platform '-- For Life had been shut down and its assets, money and property transferred to the state.
The party had previously had its operations suspended in March after it was accused of being complicit with Russia and being ''anti-Ukrainian.''
The ban means that Zelensky's main political opposition has been eliminated. The OPPL was the second largest party in the country and its popularity surpassed that of Zelensky's Servant of the People party last year.
Its leader Viktor Medvedchuk, who claims he is merely looking out for the interests of the Ukrainian people by seeking better relations with Russia, was placed under house arrest last month.
The announcement said the party was suspected of acting to ''undermine the sovereignty'' of Ukraine, with authorities have already banned 10 other political opposition parties for the same reason.
Last month, President Zelensky signed a bill into law that gave the green light to ban any party that challenged the government's policy on the Russian invasion, empowering courts to seize assets without the right to appeal.
While opposition parties are being obliterated, Ukrainians who engage in dissent are also being rounded up and arrested by armed men from the Ukraine Security Service.
Read More: Ukraine Bans Main Opposition Party, Seizes All Its Assets
China's bank run victims planned to protest. Then their Covid health codes turned red - CNN
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:02
(CNN)Liu, a 39-year-old tech worker in Beijing, arrived in the central city of Zhengzhou on Sunday with all the boxes ticked to travel under China's stringent Covid restrictions.
He had tested negative for Covid-19 the day before; his hotel had confirmed he could be checked in; and the
health code on his phone app was green -- meaning he had not been exposed to people or places deemed risks and was therefore free to travel.
But when Liu scanned a local QR code to exit the Zhengzhou train station, his health code came back red -- a nightmare for any traveler in
China, where freedom of movement is strictly dictated by a color-code system imposed by the government to control the spread of the virus.
Anyone with a red code -- usually assigned to people infected with Covid or deemed by authorities to be at high risk of infection -- immediately becomes persona non grata. They are banned from all public venues and transport, and are often subject to weeks of government quarantine.
That all but derailed plans for Liu, who had come to Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan province, to seek redress from a bank that has frozen his deposits. He had put his life savings -- totaling about 6 million yuan ($890,000) -- into a rural bank in Henan, and since April hasn't been able to withdraw a penny.
Over the past two months, thousands of depositors like Liu have been fighting to recover their savings from at least four rural banks in Henan -- in a case that involves billions of dollars. In late May, hundreds of them traveled to Zhengzhou from across China and
staged a protest outside the office of the Henan banking regulator to demand their money back -- to no avail.
Another protest was planned for Monday. But as the depositors arrived in Zhengzhou, they were stunned to find that their health codes -- which were green upon departure -- had turned red, according to six who spoke with CNN and social media posts.
Dozens of depositors were taken into a quarantine hotel guarded by police and local officials, before being sent away on trains bound for their hometowns the next day; others were "quarantined" at several other locations in the city, including a college campus, according to the witnesses and online posts.
Depositors accused Zhengzhou authorities of tampering with the health code system to prevent them from returning to the city -- and thus thwarting their plans to fend for their rights.
"The health code should have been used to prevent the spread of the pandemic, but now it has deviated from its original role and become something like a good citizen certificate," said Qiu, a depositor in eastern Jiangsu province.
Qiu, a teacher, had not been to Henan to protest, but his health code also turned red on Sunday evening after he scanned a QR code from Zhengzhou. He said a fellow depositor had shared a photo of the Zhengzhou QR code on the WeChat messaging app, in an attempt to find out whether depositors outside Henan were also affected.
The red code seems to target only depositors. Qiu used his wife's phone to scan the QR code, and it came back green, he said. "I called the government hotline in Zhengzhou to complain about my red code, and they told me there was some error with the Big Data information database."
Liu and Qiu both asked to be identified only by their surnames.
CNN has reached out to the Zhengzhou government for comment. The Henan Provincial Health Commission told
state-run news website thepaper.cn it was "investigating and verifying" the complaints from depositors who received red codes.
The alleged abuse of power sparked an outcry on social media.
"Now (the authorities) can stop you from petitioning by directly putting digital shackles on you, aka giving you red codes," said one comment on Weibo, China's Twitter-like platform.
Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a state-run nationalist tabloid,
said on Weibo that local governments should not use health codes for any purposes other than epidemic prevention.
"If any locality tries to prevent the movement of certain people by controlling their health codes for other purposes, it's not only a clear violation of Covid prevention laws and regulations, but also will jeopardize the credibility of the health codes and the public's support for epidemic prevention," Hu wrote on Tuesday. "It'll do more harm than good to our social governance."
Rights groups have long warned that China's omnipresent Covid surveillance and tracking network could be used by authorities to target individuals and groups for political reasons, such as suppressing dissent.
Last November, Xie Yang, a human rights lawyer in the southern city of Changsha,
said on Twitter that his health code turned red on the morning he was about to board a flight to Shanghai to visit the mother of
Zhang Zhan, a citizen journalist
imprisoned for reporting on China's initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
"The health code, like many algorithmic-based systems in China and around the world, lacks transparency. Exactly how companies designed the app and the criteria they use to categorize people remain unclear ... It is also hard to know whether the system allows local governments to tamper with it as a means to prevent protests," said Maya Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has studied China's digital surveillance.
"The opacity of the health code, the ability of it to arbitrarily control people's movement while giving people few means to effectively appeal the app's decision, makes it an especially abusive system."
Code turns green again
From the Zhengzhou train station, Liu, the depositor from Beijing, was taken to a room where several other travelers with red health codes were present.
There, he met another depositor who had traveled from Anyang, another city in Henan, and the two of them were then escorted by police to a quarantine hotel. By the evening, about 40 depositors -- all with red health codes -- had ended up at the hotel, and were told to stay the night there.
The following afternoon, he was allowed to leave the hotel and return to Beijing -- escorted by police and local officials until he boarded the train. He was exempted from scanning any QR codes on the way -- because his code was still red and according to Covid rules, he would not have been allowed to enter the train station, let alone travel.
On Tuesday, as news and anger about the red health codes spread online, some depositors said their health codes had turned green again.
Liu's code also turned green by the late afternoon, but he said he wants accountability.
"Officials who made the decision (to tamper with the health code system) and who carried out the policy should receive their punishment according to law," he said. "But I'm not too optimistic about that. The government's power is too capricious."
Additional reporting by Laura He and CNN's Beijing bureau.
Sri Lankan economy has 'completely collapsed', leader says | Business News | Sky News
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 12:53
Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said the country's economy has "completely collapsed", leaving it unable to pay for essentials such as oil imports.
It follows months of shortages of food, fuel, and electricity, and the realisation that even the credit lines from neighbouring India that have sustained the country so far will not be enough.
Mr Wickremesinghe told Sri Lanka's parliament: "We are now facing a far more serious situation beyond the mere shortages of fuel, gas, electricity and food.
"Our economy has completely collapsed - that is the most serious issue before us today."
Mr Wickremesinghe said that the state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation is $700m (£572m) in debt, adding: "As a result, no country or organisation in the world is willing to provide fuel to us.
"They are even reluctant to provide fuel for cash."
Sri Lanka has been struggling under the weight of its debt, combined with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including a loss of tourism revenue and the rising cost of commodities.
In April, it suspended payment on the equivalent of £9.8bn in foreign debt.
Read more:Sri Lanka faces bankruptcy - but what went wrong?
Image: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil WickremesingheMr Wickremesinghe said that efforts to turn the situation around had failed, adding: "If steps had at least been taken to slow down the collapse of the economy at the beginning, we would not be facing this difficult situation today.
"But we lost out on this opportunity.
"We are now seeing signs of a possible fall to rock bottom."
Previous prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned in May after months of protests and clashes between government supporters and those demanding a change in leadership.
This brought veteran Mr Wickremesinghe to the role for a sixth time, in a move that opposition politicians said was aimed at protecting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family from protesters' anger.
Image: Protests continued on Wednesday, with opposition supporters pictured here near Mr Wickremesinghe's homeWhat comes next?
A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Colombo earlier this week and talks with them have made progress, Mr Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday, adding that an agreement was likely by the end of this month.
"We have discussed multiple points including fiscal policy, debt restructuring and direct cash transfers," he said.
"Parallel to this, we have also started talks on a debt restructuring framework, which we hope will be completed in July."
Once a deal is reached with the IMF, Mr Wickremesinghe said that his plan is to focus on increasing the country's exports and stabilising the economy.
Mr Wickremesinghe said he would also ask India, China and Japan for more help ahead of an interim budget in August.
He said: "We need the support of India, Japan and China who have been historic allies.
"We plan to convene a donor conference with the involvement of these countries to find solutions for Sri Lanka's crisis.
"We will also seek help from the US," he said.
Delegates from India will arrive in Sri Lanka on Thursday to talk about additional support their country could offer, and a team from the US is expected next week.
Polio outbreak detected in UK sewage samples despite virus being officially eradicated in 2003
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 12:52
People are being urged to ensure their polio vaccines are up to date after an outbreak of the virus was detected in UK sewage samples Polio, which was officially eradicated in the UK in 2003, can cause paralysis in rare cases and can be life-threatening.
The UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA), working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has found polio in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works, which serves around four million people in north and east London.
While it is normal for the virus to be picked up as isolated cases and not detected again, experts have raised the alarm after several genetically-linked samples were found between February and May.
Previously, the virus has been picked up when a person vaccinated overseas with the live oral polio vaccine (OPV) returned or travelled to the UK and briefly shed traces of the vaccine-like poliovirus in their faeces.
Polio has been found in the UK Steve Parsons
But the virus in the recent samples has evolved in England and is now classified as a 'vaccine-derived' poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2).
VDPV is a strain of the weakened poliovirus, that was initially included in the oral polio vaccine, which has changed over time and behaves more like the ''wild'' or naturally-occurring virus.
This means it can be spread more easily to people who are unvaccinated and who come into contact with the faeces or coughs and sneezes of an infected person.
The UKHSA is working on the theory that a person vaccinated abroad with the polio vaccine '' possibly in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Nigeria '' entered the UK early in 2022 and was shedding the virus.
That person has has now passed it onto other, closely-linked individuals in north-east London, who in turn are shedding the virus into their faeces.
Experts are looking at the possibility that just one family or extended family may be affected, though it is unclear how many people need to be infected for polio to be detected in sewage samples.
Typical polio vaccine PA
The UKHSA stressed that the virus has only been detected in sewage samples and no cases of paralysis have been reported.
It is now investigating the extent of community transmission and has established a ''national incident'' to check for cases elsewhere as a precaution.
The polio vaccine is given on the NHS when a child is eight, 12 and 16 weeks old as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine. It is given again at three years and four months old as part of the 4-in-1 (DTaP/IPV) pre-school booster, and at 14 as part of the 3-in-1 (Td/IPV) teenage booster.
All of these vaccines need to have been given for a person to be fully vaccinated, though babies who have had two or three doses will have substantial protection.
Latest figures show that by the age of two in the UK, almost 95 percent of children have had the correct number of doses. However, this drops to just under 90 percent in London.
When it comes to the pre-school booster, just 71 percent of children in London have had it by the age of five.
Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: ''Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low.
''Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower.
''On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it's important you contact your GP to catch up or, if unsure, check your red book.
''Most of the UK population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk.
''We are urgently investigating to better understand the extent of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to swiftly report any suspected cases to the UKHSA, though no cases have been reported or confirmed so far.''
Most people who get polio do not have symptoms but some suffer mild, flu-like issues such as a high temperature, extreme tiredness, headaches, vomiting, a stiff neck and muscle pain.
In one in 100 to one in 1,000 infections, the polio virus attacks the nerves in the spine and base of the brain.
This can cause paralysis, usually in the legs, that develops over hours or days.
If the breathing muscles are affected, polio can be life-threatening.
Medics have now been alerted by UKHSA to look out for signs of polio paralysis.
Urgent medical attention should be sought if people experience rapid onset of weakness in a limb, which will be floppy, or difficulties with breathing.
The last case of natural polio infection acquired in the UK was in 1984.
The UK stopped using live oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 2004 and switched to inactivated polio vaccine (IPV).
FDA to Order Juul E-Cigarettes Off U.S. Market - WSJ
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 12:45
Agency has cleared way for rivals Reynolds American, NJOY Holdings to keep selling tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes
Updated June 22, 2022 5:53 pm ETThe Food and Drug Administration is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FDA could announce its decision as early as this week, the people said. The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market.
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The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FDA could announce its decision as early as this week, the people said. The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market.
Uncertainty has clouded Juul since it landed in the FDA's sights four years ago, when its fruity flavors and hip marketing were blamed for fueling a surge of underage vaping. The company since then has been trying to regain the trust of regulators and the public. It limited its marketing and in 2019 stopped selling sweet and fruity flavors.
The FDA has been conducting a review of U.S. vaping products, weighing their popularity with young people against their potential benefits as less harmful alternatives for adult cigarette smokers. All U.S. e-cigarette manufacturers in 2020 were required to submit their products for FDA review to stay on the market.
The FDA in 2020 barred the sale of all sweet and fruity e-cigarette cartridges and hasn't yet allowed any to come back. The agency has cleared the way for Juul's biggest rivals'--Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc.'--to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market. Industry observers had expected Juul to receive similar clearance.
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Juul could pursue an appeal through the FDA, challenge the decision in court or file a revised application for its products.
Juul surged to the top of the U.S. e-cigarette market in 2018, but it has lost some ground to other brands more recently. It slipped to second place behind Reynolds's Vuse brand in the 12 weeks ended June 4, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Goldman Sachs analyst Bonnie Herzog.
Last year, Juul reported a net loss of $259 million and an 11% decline in sales to $1.3 billion, according to a disclosure the company made to employees. The U.S. represents nearly all of Juul's revenue, though its products are also available in Canada, the U.K., Italy, France and the Philippines.
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The FDA is separately moving forward on a plan to mandate the elimination of nearly all nicotine in cigarettes, a policy that would upend the $95 billion U.S. cigarette industry and, health officials say, prompt millions of people to quit smoking or switch to alternatives such as e-cigarettes. That rule will take years to implement and tobacco companies could sue to fight it.
An FDA order against Juul would be a blow for Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc., which in 2018 paid $12.8 billion for a 35% stake in Juul. The deal valued Juul at $38 billion.
Since then, Juul's value has plummeted amid the regulatory crackdowns and declining sales. Altria valued its Juul stake at $1.6 billion as of March 31.
Shares of Altria, which assisted Juul with its FDA application, fell 9.2% in Wednesday trading after The Wall Street Journal reported on the expected FDA decision.
When Juul became a teen status symbol, many agencies launched investigations into the e-cigarette startup. States, school administrators and families filed thousands of lawsuits against the company alleging that Juul had targeted teens. A criminal investigation by federal prosecutors and the FDA is pending, according to a person familiar with the matter, as are most of those lawsuits.
Regulators and lawmakers criticized Juul's early use of young adult models, celebrities and social-media influencers in its marketing. In response, Juul voluntarily shut down its
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Facebook and Instagram accounts in the U.S., stopped using models in its advertising and suspended all of its print, broadcast and digital advertising in the U.S. In 2019, Juul halted U.S. sales of its mango, mint and other sweet flavored pods, leaving only tobacco and menthol on the market. The company has said that it never targeted children.
Underage vaping has fallen in the U.S. since federal restrictions raised the legal purchase age for tobacco products to 21 and barred the sale of sweet and fruity e-cigarette refill cartridges. Juul's popularity among young people also has dropped. A federal study released in September showed that Juul was the No. 4 brand among high school vapers, after Puff Bar, Vuse and Smok.
In its submission to the FDA, Juul submitted two flavors'--menthol and Virginia Tobacco'--in two nicotine strengths, 3% and 5%. The company's application amounted to more than 125,000 pages, including scientific research, marketing materials and an update on its efforts to curb illegal sales to minors. Juul also pitched a new device designed to unlock only for users at least 21 years old.
Write to Jennifer Maloney at email@example.com
Biden administration says it plans to cut nicotine in cigarettes - The Washington Post
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 08:20
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The Biden administration said Tuesday it plans to develop a rule requiring tobacco companies to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes sold in the United States to minimally or nonaddictive levels, an effort that, if successful, could have an unprecedented effect in slashing smoking-related deaths and threaten a politically powerful industry.
The initiative was included in the administration's ''unified agenda,'' a compilation of planned federal regulatory actions released twice a year. The spring agenda was released Tuesday.
The administration notice said the Food and Drug Administration intends by May 2023 to develop a proposed standard ''that would establish a maximum nicotine level in cigarettes and certain finished tobacco products.''
In a statement released late Tuesday, the FDA said the goal is ''to reduce youth use, addiction and death.'' If nicotine were reduced, many addicted users would have a greater ability to quit, and young people could be prevented from becoming regular smokers, the agency said.
The administration also said a nicotine-reduction requirement could advance ''health equity by addressing disparities associated with cigarette smoking, dependence, and cessation.''
The policy would fit with a major goal of the White House '-- to cut cancer deaths. As part of the White House's retooled cancer moonshot announced this year, President Biden promised to reduce cancer death rates by 50 percent over 25 years. About 480,000 Americans die of smoking-related causes each year, and tobacco use remains the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States.
The decision to pursue a policy to lower nicotine levels marks the first step in a lengthy process, and success is not assured. It could take at least a year for the Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cigarettes, to issue a proposed rule, experts say. After that, the FDA would have to sift through comments from the public before issuing a final rule.
Opposition could delay or derail the effort '-- especially if the regulation is not completed before Biden leaves office. A president elected in 2024 could tell the FDA to stop work on an unfinished rule. The tobacco industry, which is sure to be fiercely opposed to such a drastic change in its products, could challenge a final regulation in court.
The FDA has supported reducing nicotine levels in cigarettes for years but has never secured the necessary upper-level support, including from the Obama White House. The Trump administration's first FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, said he wanted to lower nicotine levels as part of a broader tobacco policy, and the agency took an early step in 2018 by publishing an information-gathering notice. The plan to move forward was listed on the Trump administration's regulatory agenda.
But the idea never had full-throated White House backing, according to those familiar with the situation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The effort was shelved after Gottlieb left the administration in spring 2019. Given the twists and turns of this issue, the Biden administration will be under pressure from advocates to indicate it is serious about getting a nicotine-lowering requirement across the finish line.
Supporters say slashing nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, would be a milestone in public health that would save millions of lives over generations. In another significant move to reduce smoking-related deaths, the FDA in April proposed banning menthol cigarettes, the only flavored cigarettes still permitted.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the administration was planning to pursue the nicotine-reduction policy.
Mitch Zeller, who recently retired as director of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products and is a longtime advocate of reducing nicotine in cigarettes, acknowledged it could take years for such a requirement to take effect.
''The most important, game-changing policies take a long time, but it is worth the wait because, at the end of the day, the only cigarettes that will be available won't be capable of addicting future generations of kids,'' Zeller said.
Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an antismoking group, said slashing nicotine levels ''would produce the greatest drop in cancer rates and make the biggest difference'' of any public health measure under discussion by the administration.
The American Heart Association praised the step, calling it ''one of the most consequential actions the FDA could take to change the deadly trajectory of tobacco use in this country.''
Guy Bentley, director of consumer freedom at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank, criticized the plan.
''In practical terms, the proposal would ban most cigarettes currently sold in America,'' Bentley said. ''Combined with the Biden administration's proposed ban on menthol cigarettes, this would amount to an effort similar to the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920s'' '-- and would ultimately fail, he said.
Bentley said rather than cutting nicotine levels in cigarettes, the administration should promote safer alternatives such as e-cigarettes. The FDA is reviewing thousands of applications from e-cigarette manufacturers to determine which should be allowed to remain on the market.
In early 2021, the FDA pitched the nicotine-reduction strategy in talks on tobacco issues with the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services. At the time, the White House gave the FDA the go-ahead to pursue a policy banning menthol cigarettes, but senior officials put off a decision on reducing nicotine levels, according to people familiar with the issue who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.
Backers say the idea is a natural fit with the White House cancer moonshot because it would slash cancer deaths and does not require a big outlay of government money given that the FDA has been working on the issue for years.
''There's a long arc to major policymaking, and the Biden administration's commitment to advance that effort will mean it gets done,'' said Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner. The combination of reduced nicotine levels and appropriate regulation of other sources of nicotine for addicted adult smokers, such as e-cigarettes, could be ''one of the most impactful public health efforts in modern times,'' he said.
Nicotine, a chemical that occurs naturally in the tobacco plant, does not cause cancer. But its highly addictive properties make it hard for people to quit using cigarettes, which produce smoke that contains harmful constituents that can cause lung cancer and heart disease.
Myers, of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, predicted an FDA requirement to slash nicotine in cigarettes would trigger ''the greatest reaction from the tobacco industry of any action ever taken by the government. It is an existential threat despite claims [by cigarette companies] that they support a smoke-free future.''
The 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act gave the FDA the authority to regulate cigarettes, including cutting nicotine to minimally and nonaddictive levels. Under the law, the FDA may not ban cigarettes or reduce nicotine levels to zero. But it is permitted to set product standards that dictate components, ingredients, additives and nicotine yields for cigarettes, if those standards are needed to protect the public health.
Altria, one of the nation's biggest tobacco companies, said, ''We believe tobacco harm reduction is a better path forward. The focus should be less on taking products away from adult smokers and more on providing them a robust marketplace of reduced harm FDA-authorized smoke-free products. Today marks the start of a long-term process, which must be science-based and account for potentially serious unintended consequences.''
Aaron Williams, senior vice president for scientific and regulatory affairs at Reynolds American, one of the nation's biggest tobacco companies, said the company is reviewing the proposal.
''Our belief is that tobacco harm reduction is the best way forward to reduce the health impacts of smoking,'' Williams said.
Other opponents of such a policy will probably argue, as they have in the past, that reducing nicotine to nonaddictive levels is a de facto ban on cigarettes, prohibited by law, and that science does not support such a move. They also are likely to say that slashing nicotine would boost demand for products on the black market.
Zeller countered that the science supporting slashing nicotine levels is well-established. He said researchers have determined the levels at which nicotine is minimally addictive or nonaddictive. And he said they also have concluded that reducing nicotine should occur in ''one fell swoop'' because a gradual decrease would encourage smokers to smoke more to compensate to get the same amount of nicotine.
In its 2018 notice, the FDA said lowering nicotine levels to minimally or nonaddictive levels ''could give addicted users the choice and ability to quit more easily, and it could help to prevent experimenters (mainly youth) from initiating regular use and becoming regular smokers.''
An agency-funded study published in 2018 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that lowering nicotine levels could save more than 8 million lives by the end of the century. The number probably is a little lower now because the percentage of adult smokers has declined in recent years from the 15 percent rate used in the study to about 12 to 13 percent.
What Are Rock Cairns? | Live Science
Thu, 23 Jun 2022 00:19
HomeReferences Rock cairns are typically associated with ancient cultures. This burial cairn in Scotland dates back to the Bronze Ages. (Image credit: shutterstock)Rock cairns are human-made stacks, mounds or piles of rocks. They take different forms, and have been built by cultures around the world for many different purposes. Cairns may serve as monuments, burial sites, navigational aids (by land or sea), or ceremonial grounds, among other uses. They may stand alone, in clusters, or in a network of related cairns; for example, as trail markers in a park.
Larger cairns can withstand time and weather, and archaeologists believe that some examples are hundreds of years old. Rock cairns are considered cultural features, or parts of a landscape built by humans. They're similar to works built with larger stones, such as megaliths, earthen mounds or stone geoglyphs, which are stones arranged to outline an image when seen from above.
Cairns aren't just structures '-- their locations may be carefully chosen, and the construction process or ceremonial use may be culturally important. Because of this, rock cairns can be "very difficult to understand without looking at a landscape scale," said Mara Nieves Zede±o, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona. [Spectacular Images Reveal Mysterious Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia]
Trail markers and art projectsWhile many cairn traditions are very old, one type of cairn-building feels distinctly modern. There's a controversial trend of artistically stacking stones in the wilderness, expressly to post pictures to social media. Conservationists criticize these amateur stacks, saying they can be confused for trail markers, and lead hikers astray. They also note that these amateur piles can disturb wildlife when they're built or fall apart and that they leave a human mark in places that should be left in a more natural state.
Most of these artistic stone stacks are not easily confused with older cairns, which, over hundreds of years, have had soil and vegetation build up around the rocks. Historical cairns may be so old that they've sunken into the ground, have been covered in lichen, or are otherwise obscured from view.
The scale is also typically different. Older cairns may be made of stones too large for a single person to easily move, or they may consist of thousands of individual rocks. For example, at a Mohican stone memorial pile at Monument Mountain, in western Massachusetts, it was customary for visitors to add a stone. The votive cairn was 18 feet long and 6 feet high when it was first described in detail by a colonist in 1762, said Lucianne Lavin, the director of research and collections at the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut.
Certain forms of rock cairns are still used today, for example, as trail markers. (Image credit: Shutterstock) What were rock cairns for?The word cairn comes from Scottish Gaelic. In Scotland, burial cairns are well-known, but there are many possible uses for cairns, which vary from culture to culture.
In the West, native peoples have sometimes constructed burial cairns, Zede±o said, but there's no clear evidence for astrology-based cairn positions. Instead, at memorial sites that are sometimes confusingly called medicine wheels, a central cairn might be surrounded by other cairns that point toward important places in a person's life.
In Montana, Zede±o has studied a series of cairns built around 500 years ago by the ancestors of modern-day Blackfeet Indians to funnel herds of buffalo to their death at cliff sites called buffalo jumps. The cairn construction displays a great deal of organization and understanding of buffalo behavior. "A site could have anywhere from 500 to 5,000 cairns," Zede±o said. "It's very large-scale landscape engineering."
In the northeastern United States, grave sites are just one possible context for cairns, Lavin said. They take other forms, including animal effigies and split stones filled with smaller rocks that are considered portals to the underworld. There are also stone ceremonial grounds that were built in spiritually significant places, with astrological stones that marked the position of celestial bodies in the sky at the start and end of dayslong festivals.
But the origin or purpose of Native American cairns or other stone features is often disputed in the region. "There are some archaeologists who think that everything is farm clearing," Lavin said. In other words, the stones are just piles of rocks that have been pulled from an agricultural field. "There are other archaeologists, including myself, who realize that there are a diversity of features out there." She points to records from settlers, like the accounts of Monument Mountain, as evidence that Native Americans were building stone structures in Colonial America.
The question isn't just academic. Cairns are sometimes destroyed by construction, and recognition of these sites by the government is critical to preserving their ongoing cultural value to Native Americans, Lavin said.
Read a statement about rock cairns from the National Park Service.Learn more about Zede±o's work on buffalo jumps at Archaeology.orgView cairns in a location database from Historic Environment Scotland.Correction: This article was updated on June 17, 2019 to state that the ancient cairns in northeastern United States may have served various cultural purposes and grave sites are just one possibility.
Greg Uyeno is a science journalist. He has studied cognitive science at the University of California, Berkeley and journalism at New York University. He's always interested in the language of science and the science of language.
Domestic Violence Facts and Statistics At A Glance '' Domestic Violence Research
Wed, 22 Jun 2022 16:13
FACTS AND STATISTICS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AT-A-GLANCE
Facts and Statistics on Prevalence of Partner Abuse VictimizationOverall, 22% of individuals assaulted by a partner at least once in their lifetime (23% for females and 19.3% for males)Higher overall rates among dating studentsHigher victimization for male than female high school studentsLifetime rates higher among women than menPast year rates somewhat higher among menHigher rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) among younger, dating populations ''highlights the need for school-based IPV prevention and intervention efforts''PerpetrationOverall, 25.3% of individuals have perpetrated IPVRates of female-perpetrated violence higher than male-perpetrated (28.3% vs. 21.6%)Wide range in perpetration rates: 1.0% to 61.6% for males; 2.4% to 68.9% for women,Range of findings due to variety of samples and operational definitions of PVEmotional Abuse and Control80% of individuals have perpetrated emotional abuseEmotional abuse categorized as either expressive (in response to a provocation) or coercive (intended to monitor, control and/or threaten)Across studies, 40% of women and 32% of men reported expressive abuse; 41% of women and 43% of men reported coercive abuseAccording to national samples, 0.2% of men and 4.5% of women have been forced to have sexual intercourse by a partner4.1% to 8% of women and 0.5% to 2% of men report at least one incident of stalking during their lifetimeIntimate stalkers comprise somewhere between one-third and one half of all stalkers.Within studies of stalking and obsessive behaviors, gender differences are much less when all types of obsessive pursuit behaviors are considered, but more skewed toward female victims when the focus is on physical stalking Facts and Statistics on Context Bi-directional vs. Uni-directionalAmong large population samples, 57.9% of IPV reported was bi-directional, 42% unidirectional; 13.8% of the unidirectional violence was male to female (MFPV), 28.3% was female to male (FMPV)Among school and college samples, percentage of bidirectional violence was 51.9%; 16.2% was MFPV and 31.9% was FMPVAmong respondents reporting IPV in legal or female-oriented clinical/treatment seeking samples not associated with the military, 72.3% was bi-directional; 13.3% was MFPV, 14.4% was FMPVWithin military and male treatment samples, only 39% of IPV was bi-directional; 43.4% was MFPV and 17.3% FMPVUnweighted rates: bidirectional rates ranged from 49.2% (legal/female treatment) to 69.7% (legal/male treatment)Extent of bi-directionality in IPV comparable between heterosexual and LGBT populations50.9% of IPV among Whites bilateral; 49% among Latinos; 61.8% among African-AmericansMotivationMale and female IPV perpetrated from similar motives '' primarily to get back at a partner for emotionally hurting them, because of stress or jealousy, to express anger and other feelings that they could not put into words or communicate, and to get their partner's attention.Eight studies directly compared men and women in the power/control motive and subjected their findings to statistical analyses. Three reported no significant gender differences and one had mixed findings. One paper found that women were more motivated to perpetrate violence as a result of power/control than were men, and three found that men were more motivated; however, gender differences were weakOf the ten papers containing gender-specific statistical analyses, five indicated that women were significantly more likely to report self-defense as a motive for perpetration than men. Four papers did not find statistically significant gender differences, and one paper reported that men were more likely to report this motive than women. Authors point out that it might be particularly difficult for highly masculine males to admit to perpetrating violence in self-defense, as this admission implies vulnerability.Self-defense was endorsed in most samples by only a minority of respondents, male and female. For non-perpetrator samples, the rates of self-defense reported by men ranged from 0% to 21%, and for women the range was 5% to 35%. The highest rates of reported self-defense motives (50% for men, 65.4% for women) came from samples of perpetrators, who may have reasons to overestimate this motive.None of the studies reported that anger/retaliation was significantly more of a motive for men than women's violence; instead, two papers indicated that anger was more likely to be a motive for women's violence as compared to men.Jealousy/partner cheating seems to be a motive to perpetrate violence for both men and women. Facts and Statistics on Risk Factors Demographic risk factors predictive of IPV: younger age, low income/unemployment, minority group membershipLow to moderate correlations between childhood-of-origin exposure to abuse and IPVProtective factors against dating violence: Positive, involved parenting during adolescence, encouragement of nonviolent behavior; supportive peersNegative peer involvement predictive of teen dating violenceConduct disorder/anti-social personality risk factors for IPVWeak association between depression and IPV, strongest for womenWeak association overall between alcohol and IPV, but stronger association for drug useAlcohol use more strongly associated with female-perpetrated than male-perpetrated IPVMarried couples at lower risk than dating couples; separated women the most vulnerableLow relationship satisfaction and high conflict predictive of IPV, especially high conflictWith few exception, IPV risk factors the same for men and women Facts and Statistics on Impact on Victims, Children and Families Impact on PartnersVictims of physical abuse experience more physical injuries, poorer physical functioning and health outcomes, higher rates of psychological symptoms and disorders, and poorer cognitive functioning compared to non-victims. These findings were consistent regardless of the nature of the sample, and, with some exceptions were generally greater for female victims compared to male victims.Physical abuse significantly decreases female victims' psychological well-being, increases the probability of suffering from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse; and victimized women more likely to report visits to mental health professionals and to take medications including painkillers and tranquilizers.Few studies have examined the consequences of physical victimization in men, and the studies that have been conducted have focused primarily on sex differences in injury rates.When severe aggression has been perpetrated (e.g., punching, kicking, using a weapon), rates of injury are much higher among female victims than male victims, and those injuries are more likely to be life-threatening and require a visit to an emergency room or hospital. However, when mild-to-moderate aggression is perpetrated (e.g., shoving, pushing, slapping), men and women tend to report similar rates of injury.Physically abused women have been found to engage in poorer health behaviors and risky sexual behaviors. They are more likely to miss work, have fewer social and emotional support networks are also less likely to be able to take care of their children and perform household duties.Similarly, psychological victimization among women is significantly associated with poorer occupational functioning and social functioning.Psychological victimization is strongly associated with symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation, anxiety, self-reported fear and increased perceived stress, insomnia and poor self-esteemPsychological victimization is at least as strongly related as physical victimization to depression, PTSD, and alcohol use as is physical victimization, and effects of psychological victimization remain even after accounting for the effects of physical victimization.Because research on the psychological consequences of abuse on male victims is very limited and has yielded mixed findings (some studies find comparable effects of psychological abuse across gender, while others do not) it is premature to draw any firm conclusions about this issue.Effects of Partner Violence and Conflict on ChildrenSignificant correlation between witnessing mutual PV and both internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depression) and externalizing outcomes (e.g., school problems, aggression) for children and adolescentsExposure to male-perpetrated PV: Worse outcomes in internalizing and externalizing problems, including higher rates of aggression toward family members and dating partners, compared to no exposureChildren and teens exposed to female-perpetrated PV significantly more likely to aggress against peers, family members and dating partners compared to those not so exposedResults mixed regarding additive effect of exposure to PV and experiencing direct child abuseWitnessing PV in childhood correlated with trauma symptoms and depression in adulthoodChild abuse correlated with family violence perpetration in adulthoodChildren more impacted by exposure to conflict characterized by contempt, hostility and withdrawal compared to those characterized only by angerGreater impact when topic discussed concerns the child (e.g., disagreements over child rearing, blaming the child)High inter-parental conflict/emotional abuse leads to a decrease in parental sensitivity, warmth and consistent discipline; and an increase in harsh discipline and psychological controlNeurobiological and physical functioning mediate relationship between inter-parental conflict and negative child outcomesMaternal behaviors somewhat more affected than paternal behaviors, but findings are equivocal, given difficulty in disaggregating male and female perpetrated conflict from couple level operationalizationsGreater effects found for mother-child relationships and child outcomes through the toddler years; greater effects found for father-child relationships and child outcomes during the school-age yearsFamily systems theory useful in understanding how discord in one part of the family can impact functioning in the family as a whole, even if it poses some methodological and explanatory challenges Facts and Statistics on Partner Abuse in Other Populations Partner Abuse in Ethnic Minority and LGBT PopulationsAfrican-Americans: Older studies found higher rates of male-to-female partner violence (MFPV); recent studies have found higher rates of female-to-male partner violence (FMPV)Psychological aggression reported at significantly higher rates than physical aggressionAs with White populations, minor/moderate aggression far more prevalent among Black couples than severe aggressionIn dating studies, no gender differences found in rates of physical or psychological victimization, but women reported higher rates of physical aggression than menLatinos: Mutual and minor/moderate PV most prevalent, but not as much as psychological aggressionNo gender differences for physical or psychological aggression, except among migrant farm workers where MFPV was highestAsian Americans: The one general population study found percentage of mutual violence perpetration to be one-third of totalOverall rates of PV comparable across gender in large population, community and dating samplesLowest rates found among Vietnamese, compared to respondents who identified as Filipino, Chinese or others of Asian descentNative Americans: Only three studies found; women reported higher rates of victimization than men, and reported higher levels of injuries incurredRisk factors for ethnic minority PV include: substance abuse, low SES, and violence exposure and victimization in childhoodLGBT populations: Higher overall rates compared to heterosexual populationsInconsistent findings regarding PV differences between same-sex subgroupsRisk factors for LGBT groups include discrimination and internalized homophobiaPartner Abuse WorldwideA total of 162 articles reporting on over 200 studies met the inclusion criteria and were summarized in the online tables for Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and the Caucasus.A total of 40 articles (73 studies) in 49 countries contained data on both male and female IPV, with a total of 117 direct comparisons across gender for physical PV.Rates of physical PV were higher for female perpetration /male victimization compared to male perpetration/female victimization, or were the same, in 73 of those comparisons, or 62%.There were 54 comparisons made for psychological abuse including controlling behaviors and dominance, with higher rates found for female perpetration /male victimization, in 36 comparisons (67%).Of the 19 direct comparisons made for sexual PV, rates were found to be higher for female perpetration /male victimization in 7comparisons (37%).When only adult samples from large population and community surveys were considered, the overall percentage of partner abuse that was higher for female perpetration /male victimization compared to male perpetration/female victimization, or were the same, was found to be 44% for adult IPV, although in many comparisons, the differences were slight.Studies reporting on female victimization only found the lowest rates for physical abuse victimization in a large population study in Georgia (2%, past year), and the highest in a community survey in Ethiopia (72.5% past year) On the higher end, rates of physical PV far exceed the average found in the United States.The lowest rates of psychological victimization were found in large population study in Haiti (10.8% past year); highest was 98.7% in Bangkok, Thailand (past year).Unlike physical IPV, the highest rates of psychological abuse throughout the world are about the same as those found in the United States (80%).Rates of sexual abuse victimization differed widely across regions, with rates as low as 1% in Georgia (past year); highest rates were found in a study of secondary school students in Ethiopia (68%, lifetime)Physical injuries were compared across gender in two studies. As expected, abused women were found to experience higher rates of physical injuries compared to men.Far more frequently mentioned were the psychological and behavioral effects of abuse, and these included PTSD symptomology, stress, depression, irritability, feelings of shame and guilt, poor self-esteem, flashbacks, sexual dissatisfaction and unwanted sexual behavior, changes in eating behavior, and aggression.Two studies compared mental health symptoms across gender. In Botswana, women were found to evidence significantly more of these than men; whereas in a clinical study in Pakistan male and female IPV victims suffered equally (60% of men and women reported depression, 67% anxiety.)A variety of health-related outcomes were also found to be associated with IPV victimization, including overall poor physical health, more long-term illnesses, having to take a larger number of prescribed drugs, STDs, and disturbed sleeping patterns. Abused mothers experienced poorer reproductive health, respiratory infections, induced abortion and complications during pregnancy; and in a few studies their children were found to experience diarrhea, fever and prolonged coughing.The most common risk factors found in this review of IPV in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe have also been found to be significant risk factors in the U.S. and other English-speaking industrialized nations.Most often cited are the risk factors related to low income household income and victim/perpetrator unemployment, at 36. An almost equally high number of studies (35) reported victim's low education level. Alcohol and substance abuse by the perpetrator was a risk factor in 26 studies. Family of origin abuse, whether directly experienced or witnessed, was cited in 18 studies. Victim's younger age was also a major risk factor, mentioned in 17 studies, and perpetrator's low education level was mentioned in 16.In contrast to the U.S., there is a much higher tolerance by both men and women for IPV in other parts of the world, with rates of approval depending on the country and the type of justification.Regression analyses indicated that a country's level of human development (as measured by HDI) was not a significant predictor of male or female physical partner abuse perpetration.Additional regression analyses indicated that a nation's gender inequality level, as measured by the Gender Inequality Index (GII), was not predictive of either male or female perpetrated physical partner abuse or female-only victimization in studies conducted with general population or community samples.Separate regression analyses on data from the IDVS with dating samples indicate that higher gender inequality levels significantly predict higher prevalence of male and female physical partner abuse perpetration. GII level explained the variance for 17% of male partner abuse and 19% of female partner abuse perpetration.A final analysis examined the association between dominance by one partner and partner violence perpetrated against a partner in dating samples using data from the IDVS. Male dominance scores were not found to be predictive of male partner violence perpetration; however, female dominance scores explained 47% of the variance of female partner violence perpetration. Facts and Statistics on The Role of Law Enforcement and the Criminal Justice System The Crime Control Effects of Criminal SanctionsPossible causal mechanisms for the effectiveness of arrest and prosecution: fear of sanctions and victim empowerment; however, because none of the reviewed studies adequately measure such mechanisms, review assumes a general crime control effect that is neutral about causal mechanisms''Based upon the analyses and conclusions produced by these studies, we find that the most frequent outcome reported is that sanctions that follow an arrest for IPV have no effect on the prevalence of subsequent offending. Among the minority of reported analyses that do report a statistically significant effect, two-thirds of the published findings show sanctions are associated with reductions in repeat offending and one third show sanctions are associated with increased repeat offending.''Wide range of recidivism from 3.1% to 65.5% , due to high variability in measures of repeat offending (e.g., follow-up time frame)Studies unclear about then exact nature of the sentence imposed, and what constitutes a ''prosecution'' or ''conviction''Diversity of analytic methods hinder analysis of effect sizesSample selection bias: None of the studies address this issue; for instance, if a small number of low-risk cases are prosecuted, prosecuted offenders are more likely to re-offend compared to those not prosecuted, because of the selection processMissing data: Often leads to cases being dropped from a study, which in turns creates sample biasGender and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Criminal Justice Decision MakingFemale arrests affected by high SES, presence of weapons and witnessesWomen more likely than men to be cited rather than be taken into custody, but the gender discrepancy is less when a decision is made on whether to file charges as misdemeanors or feloniesMen are more likely than women to be convicted and to be given harsher sentences''Males were consistently treated more severely at every stage of the prosecution process, particularly regarding the decision to prosecute, even when controlling for other variables (e.g., the presence of physical injuries) and when examined under different conditions.''No conclusive evidence of discrimination against ethnic minority groups in either arrest, prosecution and sentencingDual arrests were more likely in same-sex couples compared to heterosexual couples, perhaps due to incorrect assumption by police that same-sex couples more likely to engage in mutual violence.Protective orders far more likely to be granted, and with more restrictions to women than to men (particularly in cases involving less severe abuse histories)Mock juries more likely to assign blame responsibility to male perpetrators in contrast to female perpetrators, even when presented with identical scenariosEffectiveness, Victim Safety, Characteristics and Enforcement of Protective OrdersA large percentage of women who are issued protective orders (POs) tend to be unemployed or under-employed as income ranged between $10,000 to $15,000, and almost 50% of women are financially dependent on their partners.At least half of women obtaining POs are married, and married women are more likely to stay with their abusers and be pregnant.Women who are issued POs tend to have more mental health issues (i.e., depression, PTSD) and rural women tend to experience more abuse and mental health issues than urban womenOnly a few studies have examined characteristics of men seeking a PO ''Effectiveness'' defined as violations of protective orders (POs) and/or re-victimizationSome studies have found POs to reduce violence against victims, with an almost 80% reduction in violence reported to policeVictims report feeling safer and having greater psychological well-being after obtaining a protective order; still, POs violated at a rate of between 44% to 70%Nearly 60% of women who had secured a PO reported to have subsequently been stalkedSeverity of criminal charges on the offender, as well as previous violations, best predictors of new PO violationsAlthough there is no significant difference in the amount of abuse suffered by married and unmarried victims, married victims less likely to seek final protective orders, perhaps because they are more likely to be re-victimizedWomen granted POs at significantly higher rates than men, especially in cases involving lower level violenceNo gender differences in the enforcement of POs, and no differences in rates of recidivism Facts and Statistics on Assessment and Treatment Risk AssessmentLittle agreement in the literature with regard to the most appropriate approach (actuarial, structured clinical judgment) nor which specific measure has the strongest empirical validation behind it, leaving clinicians and policy makers with little clear guidanceReview yielded studies reporting on the validity and reliability of eight IPV specific actuarial instruments and three general actuarial risk assessment measures.Range of area under the curve (AUC) values reported for the validity of the Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) predicting recidivism was good to excellent (0.64 '' 0.77)The single study that reported on the Domestic Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (DVRAG) reported an AUC = 0.70 (p < .001). The inter-rater reliability for both instruments was excellentThe Domestic Violence Screening Inventory (DVSI) and Domestic Violence Screening Inventory '' Revised (DVSI-R) were found to be good predictors of new family violence incidents and IPV recurrence (AUC range 0.61 '' 0.71)Three studies examined the Psychopathy Checklist '' Revised (PCL-R) and Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG), neither of which are IPV specific, reporting AUCs ranging from 0.66 '' 0.71 and 0.67 '' 0.75, respectively.The Level of Service Inventory '' Revised (LSI-R) and Level of Service Inventory '' Ontario Revision (LSI-OR) were discussed in four articles, reporting two AUC values of 0.50 and 0.73, both of which were predicting IPV recidivismTwo structured professional judgment instruments were included in the review, the Spousal Assault Risk Assessment guide (SARA) and the Brief Spousal Assault Form for the Evaluation of Risk (B-SAFER. The SARA research reports nine AUCs ranging from 0.52-0.65. The interrater reliability (IRR) for the SARA was excellent for total scores, good for the summary risk ratings, and poor for the critical items. Although neither of the articles examining the B-SAFER reported the predictive validity of the instrument one did report the IRR based on 12 cases with a mean interclass coefficient (ICC) of 0.57.The Danger Assessment (DA) has the largest body of literature behind it, but there are limitations in the research that inhibit a clear determination of the psychometric properties of the measure, thus far. Victim appraisals of the risk of future IPV show some evidence of predictive accuracy; however, further research is needed to determine the best means with which to collect the victim's reports and determining the conditions (e.g., stalking) and characteristics of victims that should be considered (e.g., PTSD, substance use).Overall, the literature reveals moderate postdictive/predictive accuracy across measures with little evidence to support one as being highly superior to others, particularly given the heterogeneity of perpetrators and victims, study limitations, and the small body of empirical literature to date.Several themes emerged when we examined the synthesized literature: (1) There is a relatively small body of empirical evidence evaluating IPV violence risk assessment measures. (2) The need for continued advancements in the methodological rigor of the research including prospective studies, research that compares multiple measures within single studies, and research that uses large samples and appropriate outcome indicators. In terms of clinical implications, the review demonstrates the considerable promise of several IPV risk assessment measures but generally reveals modest postdictive/predictive accuracy for most measures.Victim appraisals, while the research has a considerable ways to go, were found to have clinical relevance. However, preliminary evidence suggests that clinicians may want to be particularly cautious when working with some sub-groups when taking into account victims' perceptions (e.g., PTSD symptoms, substance use, stalking and severe abuse experienced) and supplement the woman's input with an additional structured assessment.When clinicians and administrators are faced with the challenge of determining which measure(s) to use to assess risk of IPV they should carefully consider the purpose of the assessment (Heilbrun, 2009). Assessors also should take into account the context, setting, and resources when evaluating which measure best suits their needs.Consideration must be given to the characteristics of the population to be assessed (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status) and the extent to which a measure has been cross-validated in similar samples is requiredAssessors need to be clear about the outcome of concern (verbal abuse, physical abuse, severe violence, stalking, femicide) and knowledgeable about relevant base ratesBased on the available literature, we are also unable to provide guidance on the clinical relevance and utility of these instruments with female perpetrators, male victims, and in same-sex relationships due to the lack of studies using relevant populations.Effectiveness of Primary Prevention EffortsAll studies incorporated a curriculum-based intervention, with the primary goal of lowering rates of PVSchools provided the setting for two-thirds of the interventions; the rest were conducted in community settingsOf the five most methodologically-sound school based studies, only one, the Safe Dates Program, found a clear-cut positive outcome on PV behavior (emotional abuse, mild physical abuse and sexual coercion)In contrast, each of the five most methodologically-sound community-based studies was deemed effective in reducing PV; among them were two interventions targeting couples and one family-based intervention involving parents and their adolescent childrenAlthough outcomes are mixed, especially for the school-based studies, and no studies were replicated, the authors suggest that ''because prevention is generally cost-effective, programming is badly needed to prevent IPV before it begins.''Effectiveness of Intervention Programs for Perpetrators and VictimsAuthors reviewed studies all utilized either a randomized or quasi-experimental designMixed evidence for the effectiveness of perpetrator interventionsEvidence that group or couples format can be effective, but many studies flawedMore promising results for programs with alternative content (e.g., programs that encourage a strong therapist-client relationship and group cohesion, use some form of Motivational Interviewing technique)Inconsistent effects for brief interventionsStructured interventions found to reduce rates of re-victimization compared to no-treatment controls when they include supportive advocacyCognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) most effective in reducing the deleterious effects of PV on victims and enhancing their emotional functioningLittle evidence to indicate the superiority of one type of intervention over another. Thus, there is no empirical justification for agencies, state organizations, judges, mental health professionals, or others involved in improving the lives of those impacted by IPV to limit the type of services offered to clients, or to restrict the theoretical and ideological underpinnings of such methods. Full References for PASK Manuscripts Capaldi, D.M., Knoble, N.B.,Shortt, J.W., & Kim, H.K. (2012). A systematic review of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 3(2), 231-280.Carney, M., & Barner, J. (2012. Prevalence of partner abuse: Rates of emotional abuse and control. Partner Abuse, 3(3), 286-335.Desmarais, S.L., Reeves, K.A.,Nicholls, T.L.,Telford, R. & Fiebert, M.S. (2012). Prevalence of physical violence in intimate Relationships '' Part 1: Rates of male and female victimization. Partner Abuse, 3(2), 140-169.Desmarais, S.L., Reeves, K.A.,Nicholls, T.L.,Telford, R. & Fiebert, M.S. (2012). Prevalence of physical violence in intimate relationships '' Part 2: Rates of male and female perpetration Partner Abuse, 3(2), 170-198.Eckhardt, C.I., Murphy, C.M., Whitaker, D.J., Sprunger, J., Dykstra, R., & Woodard, K. (2013). The effectiveness of intervention programs for perpetrators and victims of intimate partner violence. Partner Abuse, 4(2),Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., & McCullars, A. (2012). Motivations for men and women's intimate partner violence perpetration: A comprehensive review. Partner Abuse, 3(4),Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., Misra, T.A., Selwyn, C. & Rohling, M.L. (2012). Rates of bi-directional versus unidirectional intimate partner violence across samples, sexual orientations, and race/ethnicities: A comprehensive review.Partner Abuse, 3(2), 199-230Lawrence, E., Oringo, A., & Brock, R. (2012). The impact of partner abuse on partners. Partner Abuse, 3(4),MacDonnel, K. Watson (2012). The combined and independent impact of witnessed interparental violence and child maltreatment. Partner Abuse, 3(3), 358-378.Maxwell, C., & Garner, J. (2012). The crime control effects of criminal sanctions for intimate partner violence Partner Abuse, 3(4),Nicholls, T., Pritchard, M., Reeves, K., & Hilterman, E. (2013). Risk assessment in intimate partner violence: A review of contemporary approaches. Partner Abuse, 4(1),Russell, B. (2012). Effectiveness, victim safety, characteristics and enforcement of protective orders. Partner Abuse, 3(4),Santovena, E, Lambert, T., & Hamel, J. (2013). Partner abuse worldwide. Partner Abuse, 4(1)Shernock, S., & Rusell, B. (2012). Gender and racial/ethnic differences in criminal justice decision making in intimate partner violence cases. Partner Abuse, 3(4),Sturge-Apple, M.L., Skibo, M.A., & Davies, P.T. (2012). Impact of parental conflict and emotional abuse on children and families. Partner Abuse, 3(3), 379-400.West, C. (2012). Partner abuse in ethnic minority and gay, lesbian bisexual, and transgender populations. Partner Abuse, 3(3), 336-357.Whitaker, D.J., Murphy, C.M., Eckhardt, C.I., Hodges, A.E., & Cowart, M. (2013). Effectiveness of primary prevention efforts for intimate partner violence Partner Abuse, 4(2)John Hamel, LCSW conceived and supervised the project. The journal's former Associate Editors, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Ph.D., and Denise Hines, Ph.D., provided editorial assistance.
FDA to Order Juul E-Cigarettes off U.S. Market - WSJ
Wed, 22 Jun 2022 14:02
U.S. health officials are poised to reject Juul's application after two-year review
The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FDA could announce its decision as early as Wednesday, the people said. The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market.
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The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market, according to people familiar with the matter.
The FDA could announce its decision as early as Wednesday, the people said. The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market.
Uncertainty has clouded Juul since it landed in the FDA's sights four years ago, when its fruity flavors and hip marketing were blamed for fueling a surge of underage vaping. The company since then has been trying to regain the trust of regulators and the public. It limited its marketing and in 2019 stopped selling sweet and fruity flavors. Juul's sales have tumbled in recent years.
The FDA has barred the sale of all sweet and fruity e-cigarette cartridges. The agency has cleared the way for Juul's biggest rivals, Reynolds American Inc. and NJOY Holdings Inc., to keep tobacco-flavored e-cigarettes on the market. Industry observers had expected Juul to receive similar clearance.
Juul had no immediate comment. The company could pursue an appeal through the FDA, challenge the decision in court or file a revised application for its products.
Write to Jennifer Maloney at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kolencentrales op vol vermogen om gas te besparen: 'Elke kuub telt' - NRC
Tue, 21 Jun 2022 12:10
Nederlandse kolencentrales mogen per direct weer op vol vermogen draaien om huishoudens en bedrijven van elektriciteit te voorzien. Het kabinet hoopt met het gas dat daarmee wordt bespaard de gasvoorraden voor komende winter aan te vullen.
Het risico op een tekort aan gas in de winter neemt volgens minister Rob Jetten (D66, Klimaat en Energie) toe nu de Russische president Poetin 'gas steeds meer inzet als machtsmiddel'' en Rusland veel minder gas levert aan Europa dan is afgesproken. De afgelopen week zijn de leveringen aan Duitsland, Itali en Oostenrijk fors teruggeschroefd.
Jetten kondigde maandag aan de wet in te trekken die nu de productie van kolencentrales beperkt. De centrales mochten sinds begin dit jaar tot en met 2024 maar 35 procent van hun capaciteit gebruiken. Die ingreep moest voorkomen dat het kabinet opnieuw niet zou voldoen aan de Urgenda-norm voor de uitstoot van broeikasgas CO2 (25 procent reductie ten opzichte van 1990).
Zondag maakte de Duitse minister van Economie en Klimaat Robert Habeck (Groenen) noodmaatregelen bekend. Ook de Duitse regering wil meer gebruikmaken van kolencentrales. Duitsland is sterk afhankelijk van gas uit Rusland.
Jetten benadrukte dat er in Nederland geen acuut tekort is aan gas. Toch kondigde het kabinet maandag ook 'het eerste niveau van een gascrisis'' af. Daarmee treedt het noodplan 'Bescherm en Herstelplan Gas' in werking. Dit eerste van in totaal drie crisisniveaus geeft het kabinet volgens Jetten de mogelijkheid om de gasmarkt 'strakker te monitoren''. Gasbedrijven moeten nu dagelijks informatie aanleveren over gasleveringen en gasvoorraden.
Jetten deed maandag ook een dringend beroep op bedrijven en huishoudens om zoveel mogelijk energie te besparen. 'Elke kuub gas telt'', zei de minister. Korter douchen, de airconditioning niet aanzetten en isoleren zijn ook deze zomer manieren om energie te besparen, aldus Jetten.
Grote verbruikers van gas, zoals de industrie, wil het kabinet verleiden hun gasverbruik te minderen door ze een vergoeding aan te bieden. In het noodplan kunnen grootverbruikers verplicht worden afgesloten als er acute gastekorten zijn. 'Door ze nu te helpen verduurzamen, kunnen we de maatschappelijke impact zo klein mogelijk houden'', zei Jetten. Hoeveel die nog uit te werken regeling gaat kosten, kon hij niet zeggen.
Het kabinet trok eerder al miljarden euro's uit om bedrijven te bewegen de gasvoorraden aan te vullen. Hoeveel die subsidie uiteindelijk kost, kon Jetten maandag ook niet zeggen, wel dat hij 'zeer tevreden'' was over het verloop. De verschillende gasvelden zijn inmiddels voor 47 tot 55 procent gevuld, 'aanzienlijk meer dan dezelfde periode vorig jaar''.
Staatssecretaris Hans Vijlbrief (D66, Mijnbouw) herhaalde maandag dat het gasveld in Groningen in oktober op de waakvlam gaat. Het veld moet in 2023 kunnen sluiten. Extra gaswinning in Groningen is alleen een optie 'als er een veiligheidssituatie ontstaat die zo ernstig is dat je die kunt afwegen tegen de veiligheid van de Groningers'', zei Vijlbrief maandag in NRC. Bijvoorbeeld als ziekenhuizen niet meer verwarmd kunnen worden of huishoudens niet meer kunnen koken.
Aanvullend klimaatbeleidVoor Jetten is het een pijnlijk besluit om de kolencentrales weer volop te laten draaien. Hij was als fractievoorzitter van D66 in de Tweede Kamer groot voorstander van sluiting om zo de CO2-uitstoot te verlagen. 'In zo'n acute situatie met een oorlog in Europa moet je maatregelen nemen die je eerder niet voor mogelijk hield'', zei Jetten maandag. Hij wees erop dat vanaf 2030 kolenproductie in Nederland niet meer is toegestaan.
Kamerleden van coalitiepartijen VVD en CDA vonden het aanzetten van de kolencentrales eerder al goed verdedigbaar. Coalitiepartijen D66 en ChristenUnie wilden eerst inzetten op het besparen van energie. Voor de ChristenUnie was meer kolenstroom echter ook geen taboe.
Op Prinsjesdag wil Jetten met aanvullende ingrepen komen die de extra uitstoot van de kolencentrales elders compenseren. Het klimaatdoel van het kabinet, om de uitstoot van CO2 in 2030 met ten minste 55 procent te verlagen, moet zo alsnog worden gehaald. 'Dat ben ik verplicht aan toekomstige generaties.''
Als de kolencentrales weer volledig gaan draaien, kan dat 2 miljard kuub gas besparen in de gasgestookte elektriciteitscentrales, maar of de centrales weer volledig aangaan is volgens Jetten nog niet te zeggen. De kolencentrales kregen een compensatie voor het beperken van hun productie. In totaal kon dat het kabinet gedurende drie jaar 1,9 miljard euro kosten. Die compensatie stopt nu. Jetten gaat de komende tijd berekenen hoeveel geld dat uitspaart.
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Hong Kong's Jumbo Floating Restaurant sinks at sea - The Washington Post
Tue, 21 Jun 2022 03:49
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One of Hong Kong's most famous landmarks '-- a large floating restaurant known for its lavish banquet halls and neon lights '-- capsized in the South China Sea, its parent company said Monday.
The Jumbo Floating Restaurant '-- also known as Jumbo Kingdom '-- was towed from the city last week after closing down during the pandemic. The vessel hit adverse weather Sunday and capsized near the Paracel Islands, Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises said in a statement, adding that no crew members were hurt.
The sprawling 260-foot-long boat spent nearly half a century in Hong Kong's waters, playing host to ''numerous international dignitaries and celebrities,'' including Queen Elizabeth II and Tom Cruise, according to the Jumbo Kingdom website.
Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises previously said it could not afford the cost of maintenance '-- with millions of dollars spent on inspections and repairs to meet licensing requirements. Hong Kong's government, under Chief Executive Carrie Lam, rejected calls to offer temporary financial relief.
Coronavirus binds Hong Kong even closer to Beijing as the mainland takes lead on pandemic response
''We have clearly indicated that the government has no plans to invest money in the operation of the restaurant as we are not good at running such premises,'' Lam said.
Even before the pandemic, the restaurant, which served Cantonese fare, was accumulating debt. But Hong Kong's early move to ban tourists hit Jumbo Kingdom and other attractions hard.
Earlier this month, before it was towed, the restaurant's 130-foot kitchen flotilla snapped off the back of the boat and sunk in Hong Kong's Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter.
It was unclear exactly where Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises planned to take the restaurant before it sank. A spokesperson for the company told South China Morning Post that the vessel was being towed somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Reporter Shouts His Challenge After Biden Pretends Not to Notice Question
Mon, 20 Jun 2022 19:14
Commentary By Jack Gist June 20, 2022 at 10:56am Who's afraid of the human train wreck Hunter Biden? President Joe Biden appears to be. Or maybe he just can't remember who his son is from time to time.
On Thursday, Biden signed the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022 into law during a ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and several other Democratic politicians were on hand for the event.
As the president finished signing the legislation, a reporter asked him a question about a Russian billionaire who paid $3.5 million to Hunter Biden through the firm Rosemont Seneca Thornton in 2014, according to the Daily Caller.
''Why haven't you sanctioned Russian oligarch Elena Baturina who did business with your son?'' the reporter said.
Biden '-- who at first appeared to be confused '-- ignored the question, stood up from his desk and began talking to the suits hovering around him like flies.
A reporter in the room then shouted a follow-up question: ''Why have you stopped taking questions from the press?''
And then another, ''What are you afraid of?''
''Why haven't you sanctioned Russian oligarch Elena Baturina who did business with your son?''
BIDEN: *confused stare*
Hunter Biden received $3.5 million her in 2014. pic.twitter.com/krMy7RC9eF
'-- RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 16, 2022
It was unclear whether the follow-ups came from the same reporter who asked the initial question about Baturina and his son.
Joe Biden must be afraid of something. Or maybe a lot of things.
According to the American Presidency Project, Biden has held eight solo news conferences during his time in office '-- six in 2021 and two in 2022 '-- and seven joint conferences.
His immediate predecessors, former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, held 27 and 21 news conferences, respectively, in their first year in office.
Biden held nine.
All told, both Obama and Trump held at least double the number of news conferences in a year than Biden has to date.
Even Chris Wallace '-- who left Fox News for the ill-fated CNN+ '-- called out then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki in April on why Biden had been ''sheltered'' by the press.
Psaki attempted to defend the president by saying he takes questions from the reporters at the White House ''nearly every day.''
Wallace wasn't having it.
''I'll tell you exactly why that's different,'' he said, ''because when you're standing there you can take a question, you can answer it, you can sluff it off and you move on.
''It in no way compares, and oftentimes, he gives a partial answer and walks away. It in no way compares to sitting down with a reporter for 20-30 minutes and having a 'you can't move away,' 'you can't duck it.'''
Chris Wallace is correct to push Psaki on why Biden isn't taking more questions from the press. It's been far less than his predecessors. pic.twitter.com/BJqrn1W4aK
'-- Geoff Pilkington (@geoffpilkington) April 21, 2022
Wallace was right on this one.
It's easy to speculate why Biden might not want to answer questions from reporters.
His mind isn't what it used to be. Though Biden has always been known for his gaffes, he does it so often now that it is anything but funny. When you're president of the United States, gaffes can have real-world consequences.
Maybe he's afraid that he is confused so often. That would be scary.
Or maybe he's afraid to take questions that could expose a scandal involving himself or his family members.
Or maybe he's afraid of cementing his legacy as the worst president in the history of the United States if he keeps opening his mouth.
One thing is for certain: It's not only Biden who is afraid of reporters. So are his handlers. ''I'm going to get in trouble'' is one of the president's go-to excuses for avoiding questions or changing their trajectory.
Another thing is certain: We all should be afraid too.
The economy is in tatters. The drums of war are beating across the globe. The Biden administration is leading the nation into a cultural catastrophe.
Sorry to say, Joe Biden is an embarrassment '-- and that's dangerous for a man in his position.
SummaryMore Biographical Information Recent Posts ContactJack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Jack Gist is an award-winning writer who has published essays, poetry and fiction in Catholic World Report, First Things, The Imaginative Conservative, New Oxford Review and others.
Israel to Dissolve Government, New Prime Minister Confirmed
Mon, 20 Jun 2022 19:12
Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Israel's foreign minister agreed to submit a bill to dissolve Parliament, according to an announcement Monday, coming weeks ahead of President Joe Biden's visit to the country.
Bennett will step aside to be replaced by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Bennett's partner in the unlikely coalition of opposites that ended former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's record 12-year rule about a year ago, according to a statement from his office. It's slated to be the fifth election in Israel in four years.
Bennett confirmed in that statement that Lapid ''will soon take over as prime minister in accordance with an agreement between us.''
''It is not an easy moment but we took the right decision,'' Bennett also said.
''We did everything we could to maintain this government. We didn't leave any rock unturned,'' the prime minister said, adding that last week that a law regarding Israeli settlements will expire and will cause ''chaos.'' He continued, '' We couldn't let that happen. Therefore we decided to go for election in order to prevent that.''
And Lapid, a former journalist who heads the largest party in the coalition, will serve as interim prime minister until new elections can be held.
''We need to tackle the cost of living, wage the campaign against Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah, and stand against the forces threatening to turn Israel into a non-democratic country,'' Lapid said in a statement about his plans while in office.
The collapse of the government comes less than a month before Biden's visit to Israel, which is planned for July 13. According to the agreement between Bennett and Lapid, once the Knesset is dissolved and an election is called, Lapid will become the acting prime minister.
Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision ''great news'' and added that he wants to form a wide national government following the new elections.
''It is clear to everyone that this government, the biggest failure in the history of Israel, is at the end of its road,'' Netanyahu said in a video on Twitter, while adding that the current government depends too much on ''terror'' supporters. It also ''neglected the personal security of citizens of Israel'' and ''raised the cost of living to new heights,'' according to a translation.
Earlier this month, the White House confirmed Biden would visit Israel, the West Bank portion of Israel, and Saudi Arabia in July.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told the Axios website that ''Biden's trip to Israel will happen as planned'' following Monday's announcement.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.