1468: Superwokes

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 41m
July 14th, 2022
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Executive Producers: Baron Charles and Baroness Vicki Peil of Arizona, Viscount Sir Scovee of the Piedmont, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Enslaver of the Spice Planet Dune, Baronet, Chris of the Sonoma Crush, Don Marotta, Daniel Galloway, Dame Pamsterdamned!, Sir Marc Hampton, Jonathan Walker, Claire Hayes, Sir Endernaught Wave Bender of Spark, Sir RJ of Grand Point Manitoba Canada, James Jackson, Andy P., Emily Shade

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Donald of the Fire Bottles, Alan Grunyon, Pat Eckert, Scott The Jew, Erick Senkmajer, Rodger Roundy, Corey Lapeyrouse, Matthew Nolan

Cover Artist: Capitalist Agenda

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TODAY
Mac & Cheese Day
Reminder to not send links to twitter, but to source. It hurt the show this morning
Liberal Austin High School Teacher Anxiety BOTG
I HAVE ANXIETY TEACHER
Kids blankets and teddy bears in class
Shy, on meds and introverted
Very scared
College grads feel entitled they should have a job ready for them
WFH is a right
No pressure on the kids - parents don't know what to do?
I need extra time
High-school give accommodations, now colleges do and workplace isn't having that.
America is a soup - celery still tastes like celery
Alison abortion majority pence vs kamala
ATC BOTG
I've been hearing a lot of producers discuss the pilot issue, lest we not forget about the Air Traffic Control issue that is also impacting our national airspace system. Full disclosure - I am a contract air traffic controller, my "customer" is the FAA. As such, I am on a monthly Zoom calls with my air traffic manager counterparts and one piece of the meeting really stood out. I work underneath the Potomac Terminal Radar Approach Control (Washington DC / Baltimore / Richmond)nand they reported an interesting factoid. Over the past three months, 16 controllers at that facility lost their medical clearance; What they classified as a spike. If I were to ballpark a figure of the total of controllers on their staff, I'd say about 200. I'm not sure if you get a class II or a class III (I have to maintain a class II) I've seen a lot of turnover/wait-lists for FAA physicals recently it seems a lot of AME's aren't doing physicals anymore. I'll try to gather some intel at my next physical in September. I accepted the vaccine into my life, regrettably, and did experience some heart related side effects. One of my employees died two weeks after his second shot. I'm sure there is a connection.
Jacksonville Center looks to be the canary in the coal mine and I think they know it. They have all the routes from the New York/DC area down to Florida. They are known for getting Trump to cave on the government shutdown, they pulled another stunt regarding the Biden vaccine mandates (not as effective, but very disruptive).
Another tidbit worth noting, the FAA and National Air Traffic Controllers Association are still a bit "high-and-right" on COVID. If a controller or technician gets a COVID positive result, the air traffic facility has to shut down for a cleaning. I've recently seen towers shut down for a significant period for a "Level 3 cleaning" - basically, some lady comes through with a Lysol misting machine and disinfects everything. I've seen departures to certain facilities stopped for at least an hour to complete this cleaning. Compound that with the ground stops for specific airlines, its all a mess.
How is that instrument rating going?
Value 4 value is the future
Comedians are doing it
We just removed all the dumb barriers
Podcasts are communities and it can be rough and tumble sometimes.
VAERS
It's not the vaccine
Geert van den Bosch
Instead of generating herd immunity, C-19 mass vaccination triggers a chain reaction of new pandemics and epidemics with major impact on global health
Vaccine Exemption Letter
I noticed in the last ep 1468 you mentioned that your daughter's boyfriend is not able to enter the US because he's an unvaccinated foreigner. I had the same problem, I am a non-us citizen and unvaccinated. I needed to travel to the US for work in June and so I got a bit desperate and as such I got my (much obliging) doctor to sign a medical exemption letter for me which I have attached to this email. This letter was accepted by the airline and I was allowed to enter the US without any issues or concerns. It worked!!
I am sharing this with you as a very small humble gift to you - feel free to reuse, repurpose and share but please keep me anon. Hopefully with this your daughter and her bf can enter the US without trouble.
[In addition to this I needed to sign an attestation found here: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/Combined-Passenger-Attestation-Amended-Testing-Order-12-02-2021-p.pdf (Section 2 B Medical contraindication)]
It's pretty straightforward and I had a great time in the US. Additionally, I was asked at some events to show proof of vaccination and all I did was show this letter and I experienced no resistance whatsoever.
I love what you and John are doing, keep it up!!!
Energy & Inflation
Revolution in Armenia
Citizens want the whole Government removed for failing on economic policies, serving the elite and poor leadership
Pakistan is next
Anecdotal only talked to IT off shore guy about Sri Lanka
He said Pakistans next, I found that interesting.
Food Intelligence
De miljardairsfamilie die pal achter de boeren staat (want hoe meer vee, hoe meer geld)
De heus straight to humans
Remember the Bird Seed
Roe v Wade
The truth about the Swedish rape crisis.
In the year of 1975, Sweden had 421 reported rapes for the whole year. Fast forward to 2021 and that same number has gone up to a shocking 9 668.
Glitch!
Ministry of Truthiness
SSRI's
SSRI employee BOTG
Don’t use my name I wanna keep my job. Boots on the ground report on how a 5150 really goes down once you are in a psych ward held against your own will in CA. God bless you of u don’t know the laws regarding a legal hold in California.
Ive worked at a Southern California in-patient Psychiatric hospital since 2006 where we deal with depressed, suicidal patients, homicidal patients, or schizophrenic patients. We have beds for children to adults. In the state of California a “5150” is a legal 72 hour hold placed on a person by a police officer, doctor or nurse. The person must meet at least one of 3 criteria to be placed on a 5150:
1) a danger to themself
2) a danger to others
3) gravely disabled (can’t provide food clothing or shelter) (By the judgment of the person writing the hold, usually a police officer, doctor or nurse)
Once you are on a 5150 you have to wait 72 hours to then be either let go home or placed on a “5250” which is a 14 day hold. The doctor assigned to you is the only one who can break the hold but the chances are so slim that it’s very rare; I’d say a 1% chance.
You see if the doctor breaks the hold and the patient is released and commits suicide or does a mass shooting the doctor could get in legal trouble for his misjudgment of breaking and freeing the patient. So as you see it hardly rarely gets done.
Every civilian patient brought in on a hold is prescribed an antipsychotic like (zyprexa, risperdal haldol etc) or antidepressant (Wellbutrin, Prozac, Zoloft, lexapro etc). Which they must take while inpatient in order to be allowed to leave the hospital quickly.
If a patient on a hold attempts to leave (AWOL) staff can physically stop the patient from leaving. If that patient on the 5150 becomes “unsafe” as in agitated and attempts to hurt himself or a staff member; then the doctor will be called and oral medication (pills) would be ordered to offer the patient. This order would be written under a medical emergency. The usual medications ordered are Ativan, haldol and Benadryl.
If the patient then refuses to take the pills by mouth that were ordered by the doctor under a “medical emergency” by being combative while attempting to leave then shots can be given to the patient.
I.M. (Intramuscular Medications) shots would then be ordered. It is usually 3 shots consisting of Benadryl 50mg, Haldol 5mg and Ativan 2mg. This is called a “B52” which is medical slang. The is B for Benadryl, 5 for the 5mg haldol and 2 for the 2mg Ativan.
Zyprexa 5mg can be substituted for the haldol for various reasons.
These 3 shots (B52) would then be administered to the patient as EMERGENCY medication thus giving the staff legal right to physically hold down the patient and give these shots against the patients own will since he refused to take them by mouth.
The time it takes from taking a patient down to the floor and holding him there until shots are ordered over the phone from the doctor can range anywhere from 2-5 minutes on the short end to about 15 minutes and over on the long end. The patient would then by physically held down until he is no longer resisting and the medication has kicked in.
On your SSRI theory I can tell you from years of experience that the majority of our patients are Democrat in ideology or LGBT in one way or another.
I’d estimate at any given time our patient population of about 150 patients is about 85% Democrat and 15% republican or other.
But the one thing all our patients seem to have in common is that they tend to be either very self centered or have low self confidence or self esteem.
EuroLand
Great Reset
LA / Long Beach Ports AB5 BOTG
I work for a Freight Brokerage. The driver protest is definitely being taken seriously. The bill that CA is implementing will affect the ports drastically, most likely causing more shortages on store shelves. I will follow up with a more in depth report if one is necessary.
Here's a link to live cameras at the ports. https://www.wcmtoa.org/live
So I can only speak for my office, but I can confirm we had containers that didn’t make it out of the Long Beach port. I will hear more tomorrow. There’s rumored to be another protest planned for Monday.
I’m having trouble figuring out if AB5 is an NWO domino which will trigger other events or if this is about greedy ass California wanting more tax dollars or if it’s both.
Developing world to face wave of defaults – Bloomberg — RT Business News
Emerging nations, including El Salvador, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan, will be challenged with a historic cascade of defaults as a quarter-trillion-dollar pile of distressed debts exerts downward pressure on economies, Bloomberg is reporting.
“With the low-income countries, debt risks and debt crises are not hypothetical,” the World Bank’s Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart told the agency on Saturday. “We’re pretty much already there.”
Over the past six months, there’s reportedly been a doubling in the number of emerging markets with sovereign debt that trades at highly distressed levels, meaning yields that indicate investors believe default is a real possibility.
When Pope retires the Queen dies - to usher in a new era
OTG
Prime Time Purge
New Viruses & Variants
Vape Wars
BLM LGBBTQQIAAPK+ Noodle Boy
WHO Says Gender is a 'Spectrum' Which Goes 'Beyond' Male and Female
It is not yet known how the global organization will change its 2011 guidelines, but it released a public statement this week to say its update version will include “beyond non-binary approaches to gender and health to recognize gender and sexual diversity or the concepts that gender identity exists on a continuum and that sex is not limited to male or female” and will focus on “highlighting and expanding on the concept of intersectionality, which looks at how gender power dynamics interact with other hierarchies of privilege or disadvantage, resulting in inequality and differential health outcomes for different people.”
Ukraine Russia
Russia-Ukraine crisis threatens favorite Middle Eastern dip — RT Business News
Hummus prices are expected to surge as the conflict between the world’s biggest exporters of chickpeas drags on
World prices for hummus are expected to increase by up to 20%, the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) has warned. The GPC cites the drastic decline in supplies from Russia and Ukraine of chickpeas, the essential ingredient for the dip, as the key reason for the surge.
“Globally, chickpea prices may rise by 15 to 20% – the same value as the fall of the supply,” Navneet Singh Chhabra, an analyst at the trade association and director of global chickpea trader Shree Sheela International said, as quoted by The New York Times.
Uvalde
Mike the Active Shooter target cop - Uvalde BOTG
Yeah I saw it. And they had all the tools needed to get in the classroom as well. Scared and lack of training. First officer encounter was after suspected crashed his vehicle. Officer saw his weapon and radioed his supervisor if it was ok to shoot. WTF? Supervisor responded too late or didn’t respond. Had the chance to put him in the dirt before he got to the school. Lack of training plus officers are so scared to do their jobs now for fear of getting in trouble or losing their job. It’s how the media attention has program them now. Nobody wants to be that CNN story. Pathetic.
Elon Twitter
STORIES
MTG: How To Stop Mass Shootings
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 17:05
It took a tragedy on America's birthday, and the death of seven people, to demonstrate once and for all that gun control doesn't work. Shooter Bobby Crimo bought the murder weapon himself, legally, in Illinois, a state with some of the strongest gun control laws in the country. Red flag laws didn't stop him. There's no reason to think they would work anywhere else.
What's more, the city of Highland Park passed a total ban on assault rifles in 2013. Around the time, Mayor Nancy Rotering bragged: ''Banning assault weapons '... is one common-sense action to reduce gun violence and protect our children and our communities from potential mass violence and grief.''
It turned out Republicans against gun control were right all along. On July 4, Highland Park's residents came to know the terror, carnage, and grief that come with living in a ''gun-free zone,'' areas better described as killing fields. No one can deny it anymore. Gun control comes with a body count. It makes everyone less safe.
Curbing Second Amendment rights won't stop these shootings. But I know what will. As I reviewed photographs of the cross-dressing killer, who called himself ''Awake the rapper,'' and as I read about his life and upbringing, Highland Park took on another meaning.
As I watched those rambling, cryptic, sometimes threatening videos on YouTube, and tried to make it through Crimo's chaotic music videos, I saw psychosis and desperation, a young man searching for meaning, alone, lost in angry fantasy.
I saw the unmistakable signs of drug abuse. Crimo was a marijuana smoker'--that was obvious. You can see how, over the years, heavily smoking weed turned his skin gray and hair dull. While marijuana use can ease anxiety, PTSD, and even perform miracles for epileptics, for others it can cause psychosis.
There was more to Bobby Crimo's decline than just dope. In addition to self-medicating, it's a safe bet that he was on prescription drugs. Crimo was a member of an online movement called the ''Sad Boys,'' men who defy stereotypes and share their mental health struggles online. Most have depression.
Crimo was known to police as they had been called to his family home multiple times after he made threats of suicide and murder. These are clear signs of depression.
27 per cent of teens aged 12 to 19 are on prescription drugs, most commonly something for ADD. Over 20 years old'--the age range of many white male shooters'--it switches to antidepressants. The numbers increase every year, as does the percentage of young people who say they're depressed.
I understand why journalists are so keen to defend SSRIs, the most common variety of antidepressants. Half of them have prescriptions themselves. I'm not trying to be mean. Just read their social media feeds to see how heavily medicated America's elite media class is.
Meanwhile, everyone is being paid to lie to you about the medicines. Elites were rewarded during Covid to praise rushed, experimental jabs. We still don't know if they work (seems not), or what the long-time side effects are (heart attacks in fit 22-year-olds).
Big Tech, politicians, entertainers, and the press closed ranks starting in 2020 to lie to us for Big Pharma. It was an assault on our right to know what they were putting in our bodies. No one was too obscure to bribe. Tiny TikTok influencers with a couple hundred followers were handed $1,200 to make the jab sound safe and cool.
Everyone has their own favorite example of this cringe pharmaceutical propaganda. Mine is LA singing teacher Lisa Donahey belting out THIS GIRL IS ON PFIZER!, screwing up the tune while showing off her ''Fauci ouchie.''
Incentives for celebrities, cable news, and newspapers remain huge. Last week, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported that hundreds of people are dying without warning every week in the UK. The experts have no idea why, except it's definitely not Covid, they insist.
We all hate being deceived, treated like we're idiots. We're not fooled by made-up terms like ''sudden adult death syndrome.'' But there's no slowdown in the bare-faced lies. America's corporatized, low-IQ media can't be trusted to hold power to account at all.
Away from the corrupting influence of corporate money, some stories simply don't excite mainstream journalists, because many hold extremist politics and hateful social attitudes.
White, working-class Americans don't qualify for victim status. (Even worse, they're held responsible for Trump.) So journalists only mention them to call them racist, or laugh at their suffering. Consider the horrible, spiteful coverage of OxyContin.
One writer in 2016 said towns ruined by oxycodone, which were overwhelmingly rural, white and Republican, ''deserve to die.'' That was in National Review, a supposedly ''conservative'' magazine. Left-wing reporters had even less sympathy.
To the media, men are oppressors, never victims'--even children, even though white male literacy is in the gutter, and even though men are hopelessly behind in college. That's why journalists continue to ignore a scandal that has touched millions of American lives, and which may have contributed to hundreds of acts of mass violence.
I'm talking about the boys placed on drugs to ''calm them down,'' because teachers find them tough to manage, or to ''level them out,'' because they are angry and disaffected without God, a stable home life, discipline at school, challenging lessons, sport, or, in many cases, their fathers.
Bobby Crimo joins a long list of shooters with brains damaged by mind-altering substances. Was he on prescription antidepressants as well? The public must see his medical records. We know enough about previous shooters to demand answers.
The media insists there's no link between violence and SSRIs. Their ''fact checks'' are never very convincing. The truth is, it's hard to find a mass shooter who wasn't on some form of psychotropic, a class of medication that includes antidepressants, anxiety pills, painkillers, and most illegal drugs.
Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in the Charleston church shooting, was on Suboxone. Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza took the antidepressants Lexapro and Celexa. Aurora killer James Holmes? Clonazepam and Zoloft. Virginia Tech mass murderer Seung-Hui Cho was prescribed Prozac. The list goes on forever, but the media says you're guilty of ''baseless'' and ''unfounded'' conspiracy theories if you notice a pattern.
Why are so many young men put on SSRIs, Adderall, and other life-wrecking drugs, at rates unthinkable to previous generations? Sometimes, it's because they are lifelines, at least when used sparingly. For some, under close supervision, they provide essential support with the traumas of teenage years.
More often, however, boys are placed on addictive, dangerous substances almost vindictively, for being full of energy and disruptive when bored'--in other words, for being boys. Teens once let off steam in competitive sport and demanding physical activity. But in today's feminized educational environment, teachers judge boys against female standards of behavior, and punish them when they don't behave like girls.
In her book The War Against Boys, scholar Christina Hoff Sommers describes how young men are punished for normal, healthy behavior, and how they fall behind in school as a result. Codes of conduct, behavior standards and even exams have all been rewritten to favor girls by the three-quarters of American teachers who are women.
The average age of these teachers is 41. There are very few male teachers who are heroic masculine role models. Schoolteachers of both sexes lean Democrat. 60 per cent of K-12 educators say ''white supremacy'' is a major problem; some are thinking of their own students.
Our country is becoming fatherless and faithless, with a teaching workforce offended by masculinity and occasionally outright hostile to the sex and race of its students. Stir in decades of reflexive pill-popping culture, and we arrive at a dangerous moment in history: The tranquilization of the American male.
Parents use a variety of potent drugs to make boys obedient and submissive. Usually they don't consider the potentially devastating consequences. SSRIs can produce the opposite effects to the ones intended. They can create mood swings, paranoia, rage, and outbursts of violence. They have even been linked to murders.
The same adverse reactions can occur in unsupervised patients who abruptly stop taking their pills. Withdrawal can lead to persistent dark or rage-filled thoughts, and suicidal or homicidal urges. When you consider how many people are on these medications, it's no wonder the country is falling apart.
Footage of Antifa marching in DC on July 4, and a stampede in Philadelphia after two cops were shot on the same day, reveals an America as volatile, frail, and close to snapping as its elderly President. Joe Biden's mental deterioration and the social decay on our streets are starting to resemble one another.
We can't safeguard the President's mental faculties from decline, but we can and we must protect the mental health of the young men in our charge, and the generations to follow. The side effects of SSRIs and other psychotropics is a deliberately overlooked but crucial factor in America's mass shootings that we still don't properly understand.
If we don't act quickly, these mass shootings will continue. They may become more frequent. But to make any progress, we must first accept the lessons of Highland Park, and put gun control behind us. By studying common characteristics of these tortured, psychotic mass shooters, we can work to prevent future attacks.
According to a 2019 Secret Service report, 91 per cent of school shooters exhibit observable mental health symptoms ahead of time. Two thirds announce their intentions before they act. 80 per cent were bullied; 83 per cent are retaliating over a grievance. None of this has anything to do with guns, but it might help us identify potential killers.
Mass violence occurs with or without guns, as Europe demonstrates. Mass stabbings are no less terrifying than shootings. Trucks driven into crowds of pedestrians are no less deadly. More people were killed with hands, fists and feet than rifles in 2020, per the FBI.
Whatever the facts say, Democrats won't give up their gun obsession willingly. And there are plenty of weak Republicans who vote for a band-aid approach that won't stop the hemorrhaging. But gun control is a failed solution. We don't need any more data, in the form of dead bodies, to underscore the point.
So long as Republicans and Democrats are fixated on gun control, we can't address the true cause of violence. It's time to tackle the systemic neglect of the American male; the alienated, unstable boys our godless communities and feminized culture have created, and the dangerous drugs we've relied on for decades to cover it up.
Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene represents Georgia's fourteenth district.
Written By: Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene is a wife, mother, and congresswoman representing Georgia's 14th District.
The truth about the Swedish rape crisis.
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 17:04
There is something terrible happening in Sweden, and for some strange reason it seems like most of the media is refusing to talk about it.
Before the covid pandemic, I used to report a lot on the increasing crime that was happening in Sweden. I have been warning for many years about the rape crisis in Sweden, and I was constantly ignored. Even worse, people on the left attacked me for it, or tried to come up with some kind of excuse to try and explain away the issue.
Sadly I was correct in my warnings. The problem has only gotten worse in Sweden. It was really bad already back in 2017. Now it has somehow managed to get even worse.
Sweden has seen an upward trend in the rape statistics for a long time now. Actually, not even an upward trend. More like an absolute skyrocket in the worst way possible.
In the year of 1975, Sweden had 421 reported rapes for the whole year. Fast forward to 2021 and that same number has gone up to a shocking 9 668.
That's an increase of over 2200% in 46 years! That is a catastrophe.
You would think this would be all over the news, yet it is not. Not even in Sweden is this being talked about as much as it should.
Sweden brands itself as a feminist country where they care about women's rights, but this disaster that is mostly affecting women is being ignored. Why is that?
In fact, the number of rapes in Sweden the last 5 years might actually shock you. Now, keep in mind that Sweden is a small country with a population of only 10 million people.
The last 5 years in Sweden there has been a whopping 42 936 reported rapes according to official crime statistics. Let that sink in for a minute.
Now, you might have heard from people on the left claiming that Sweden changed their definition of rape, thus they claim the situation in Sweden isn't actually as bad as the statistics say compared to other countries. They say Sweden has a stricter definition of rape than other countries.
Let's say that they are correct that Sweden has a stricter definition. That doesn't change the fact that Sweden has a rape crisis and I will show why.
In fact, after researching the statistics I found that things are worse than I thought.
Let's do a deep dive into the statistics to find out what is actually going on in Sweden'...This part took me a long time of research and writing, so this is exclusive for my paid subscribers. If you aren't a paid subscriber yet, please consider becoming one as that will help me to continue writing important articles like this one and you also get exclusive access to all of my work. Your support is highly appreciated and helps a lot and you don't want to miss the rest of this article!
How can we help kids cope with 'eco-anxiety'? - BBC Future
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 17:03
How can we help kids cope with 'eco-anxiety'?
(Image credit: Getty Images)
More and more children are experiencing "eco-anxiety": a chronic fear of environmental doom. But some are converting their panic into a force for good.
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Striding onto the streets of Glasgow, 16-year-old Amy O'Brien joined tens of thousands of other marchers last November for a Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. O'Brien is an activist with Fridays for Future Ireland, a youth movement that uses school strikes to campaign for climate justice. She had taken the train and ferry from her home town of Mitchelstown in County Cork to Glasgow to attend the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). But while the journey was motivated by her activism, it also had a deeply personal side effect: it gave her hope.
O'Brien had spent half her life worrying about the impact of global climate change, to the point of feeling an intense fear over the planet's future '' an increasingly common phenomenon among children and teenagers. Now the sight of so many diverse banner-carrying campaigners, of all ages, offered her "a glimmer of the future that is possible".
"It was a really colourful scene, and there was music and there were people dancing," O'Brien recalls. "At one point it started lashing with rain, and so you would think it would dampen the scene, but actually there was such a bright, hopeful and exuberant protest. Everyone seemed so happy to be together, showing up for the world we want to see."
O'Brien has been acutely aware of the climate crisis since the age of eight, when she first learned in primary school about the impact of melting Arctic ice on polar bears.
"Even at the start, I was upset for animals and that nature was having to change because of us," she says. "I felt a bit powerless." By age 13 or 14, "fear kicked in" as she witnessed increased flooding of Cork's River Lee, and learned how extreme weather was displacing people in countries like India and the Philippines. "Their lives are torn apart, and these are the same people who contributed the least to this crisis," O'Brien says. "I started to feel fear and hurt for what they were already going through."
The intense feeling that O'Brien experiences in the midst of the climate crisis, has a name: eco-anxiety, defined by the American Psychological Association as "a chronic fear of environmental doom".
Eco-anxiety can be caused by the stressful and frightening experience of "watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children and later generations", according to a report published by the association and two other organisations, Climate for Health and Eco-America. It may come with "feelings of loss, helplessness, and frustration", and guilt, as the sufferers feel they are unable to stop climate change.
A protester in Buenos Aires, Argentina, shows a message on her hand saying "our future" (Credit: Muhammed Emin Canik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
As a broader form of environmental fear, eco-anxiety isn't exactly new '' in the 19th century, the Victorians worried about growth-stunting, lung-choking black smoke from coal-burning in the UK. But as human activity increases the risk of extreme weather, including heatwaves, droughts and flooding, and as the United Nations warns of a "code red for humanity", surveys show that kids are suffering from climate anxiety at even higher rates than adults '' including feelings of worry, fear, anger, grief, despair, guilt and shame. These often fluctuating moods and feelings can include positive sensations as well, such as hope.
"Children are infinitely more informed than their parents think, a lot of the time," says Caroline Hickman, a psychotherapist at the University of Bath in the UK. She led a 2021 global online survey of climate anxiety in 10,000 teenagers and young adults aged 16-25 in 10 countries, including the UK, US, Brazil, India and the Philippines.
Close to 60% of the young people who responded to the survey said that they felt "very" or "extremely" worried about climate change while 75% said that "the future is frightening", 56% believe that "humanity is doomed" and 39% were hesitant to have children. Fifty-eight percent of respondents felt that governments were betraying them or future generations.
Offering children honest answers to their questions about climate catastrophe isn't always easy, though. Parents instinctively want to protect their kids from "painful, scary, traumatic stuff", Hickman says. But although climate anxiety is distressing, it's also rational, she and her co-authors contend. So when a 10-year-old child asks, "is it true that in 100 years the Earth will be burned to a crisp?" it's "not pure fantasy", Hickman says. "It's not, 'Mummy, can sharks fly?' The question is grounded in reality."
If a child asks questions about climate change, first find out what they have learned about the topic, Hickman advises, including whether they are reading scaremongering stories online. Then, "tell her it's a brilliant question", she says, and add: "I want you to feel proud of those feelings. Because you only feel that anxiety or worry because you care about the planet."
School children demonstrate in Jakarta, Indonesia. Fear of climate change has united young people all over the world (Credit: Ed Wray/Getty Images)
Hickman enthusiastically endorses "lots of conversations" with kids around climate change. But parents also need to calibrate their responses to children at different ages, advises climate educator Harriet Shugarman, executive director of Climate Mama, an advocacy organisation for parents.
In her book How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change: Turning Angst into Action, Shugarman offers advice to parents of kids from nursery school age to late-teen years on how they can mitigate anxiety and take action on climate change.
"When kids are coming to you with questions directly, we have to tell the truth, whatever age they're at," she says. But we should also strengthen their own sense of agency. "Kids do have power, and we want to try to work to build that up at each age," she advises.
With very young children, the first step is to create "a sense of wonder in nature" '' watching ants in the grass on outings to city parks, or sharing stories and songs. Include your five-to-six-year-old kids in climate marches, take photos of the protests, and have kids send their own drawings or letters to local officials, she suggests.
By the time kids reach the ages of 10-13 years old, they are probably learning about climate change in school. Encourage them to discuss climate change with teachers, neighbours and family, Shugarman says. Also, "we can remind them that there are so many scientists, businesspeople, organisations, elected officials, working on the climate crisis all over the world."
By ages 14-16 years old, teenagers are approaching the age at which they'll be able to vote. "Their elected officials are interested in what they have to say because they are future voters," Shugarman says. Political engagement for older teens is crucial. "So many young people seem so disillusioned, rightly so, perhaps, with our democracies. But they are very fragile and we need them to be participatory."
Young activists in Durban, South Africa. Africa is vulnerable to climate change, yet contributes only 3.8% to global emissions (Credit: Darren Stewart/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Action and participation may also help temper one of the societal risks of eco-anxiety: as well-founded as the fear of the environmental crisis may be, when taken too far, it could actually hinder positive change.
Ilan Kelman, professor of disasters and health at University College London Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction in the UK, fears that eco-anxiety in young people may be feeding a state of "eco-paralysis" where they feel unable to take action because their emotional distress is overwhelming.
"There's no claim whatsoever that it's all good news," Kelman says of the state of the planet. The increase in heat and humidity will lead to very high mortality, he stresses, and "a lot of people are going to have no option but to be forced to move or to die". Furthermore, "if the Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets go, then that is extremely concerning. We're looking at a major reconfiguration of the world's shore lines."
Even so, "the doomsday scenarios, the calamity, the utter destruction: I cannot find any scientific support for that," Kelman says. "Even in the worst case scenarios, 'Earth burnt to a crisp' is not a feasible outcome," he notes. "I've yet to find a scenario which within the next hundred years, or in fact the next thousand or ten thousand years, a scenario in which humans become extinct because of climate change."
"We should also be incredibly inspired by how far humanity has come," Kelman emphasises. He advises climate-anxious youngsters to "focus on the science, and balance the real worries with all the wonderful inspiration, wisdom and success which humanity has shown over decades and centuries".
He includes among these successes the divestment by pension funds and foundations in fossil fuels, localised energy systems such as small wind turbines or solar roof panels, guerilla gardening in neglected spaces, rainwater harvesting, accessible science on the internet, as well as broader social progress that has improved the lives of many, such as laws outlawing discrimination and oppression and granting people equal rights.
Kelman notes that action on climate isn't limited to public protests. Young people can consider a career in journalism, science and technology, medicine and health, or standing for political office. "A lot of youth activists have been amazing in taking governments to court," he says, referring to the increasing number of campaigners suing governments and companies to take action against climate change. "That has been inspirational, that has been successful. Put your energies into the legal system, to end fossil fuel subsidies, to make governments legally adhere to the pledges that they're making."
Many young people find hope in campaigning, like these children at a climate march in Amsterdam (Credit: Ana Fernandez/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images)
Many of the young people campaigning against climate change are driven as much by anger as anxiety, Hickman says.
"I started research with children and young people around climate change 10 years ago '' children as young as five, up to mid-20s, in the Maldives, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, France, the UK and America," she says. "What I started hearing over and over again from children, was, 'it's not the environmental problems that are frightening me; yes, they are upsetting; what really frightens me is government failure to act on this'."
That anger at government inertia is familiar for Rose Kobusinge, a 26-year-old climate justice activist and PhD student at the University of Coventry in the UK. Born in Western Uganda, Kobusinge says her "real understanding" of climate change came in her early-20s. She was motivated to act when she saw how droughts in her home in the Kabarole and Ntoroko districts of Uganda were drying crops and killing livestock, and receding glaciers in the Rwenzori mountains were triggering "massive floods and landslides in Kasese and Bundibugyo in Western Uganda, my closest neighbouring districts".
The African continent is vulnerable to climate change, she notes, yet its contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is the smallest '' just 3.8% of the total.
"Children and young people, we are taking climate change as a real threat, because we know it's the future of the children that is at stake," Kobusinge says. At COP26, which she attended, she saw how world leaders made big promises, yet fell short on action.
"I feel that there is limited time," Kobusinge says. "Our global leaders are supposed to care about the most vulnerable, to care about the poor, to care about the children and the youth, [but] are not doing what they should be doing. It makes me feel uncertain about the future." Even so, "when I look at young people, civil societies and indigenous communities coming together to ask for climate justice, that gives me a little bit of hope", she says. She encourages activists to support one another and create safe spaces, online or in-person, to share feelings.
Using your anxiety positively "is like a blessing in disguise", she says, because it can prompt action and motivation.
That's advice that Amy O'Brien has taken to heart. Using Telegram and Zoom, she connects with MAPA activists (Most Affected People and Areas, or communities in Africa, Latin America, and the Pacific Islands, that suffer most from the effects of climate change). Together with five other young activists, she hosts the late-night Sustainable Sleepover Club podcast, where participants talk about "anything and everything", including "movies and chocolates, climate justice, gender equality and trans rights." To "educate and empower", she writes for the Fridays for Future international newsletter, as well as her local newspaper.
"Through activism, I've met so many other activists who really care about the climate crisis," O'Brien says, and that gives her hope: "Hope is also now my driving force, like a little light pushing me to act."
Seeing the numbers of diverse protesters on the coalition day of action at COP26, "really emphasised to me that I'm not alone; there are so many people who care about this, and we will win, because we're fighting together," she says. "We were dancing to protests, we laughed when it rained, a rainbow started shining'... and it was just really beautiful. From the whole experience, I learned about the power of my voice as well."
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NIH-funded study suggests acetaminophen exposure in pregnancy linked to higher risk of ADHD, autism | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 17:01
Media Advisory
Wednesday, October 30, 2019
WhatExposure to acetaminophen in the womb may increase a child's risk for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder, suggests a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The study was conducted by Xiaobing Wang, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and colleagues. It appears in JAMA Psychiatry.
Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is marked by a pattern of hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disorder that affects how a person behaves, interacts with others and learns.
Researchers analyzed data from the Boston Birth Cohort, a long-term study of factors influencing pregnancy and child development. They collected umbilical cord blood from 996 births and measured the amount of acetaminophen and two of its byproducts in each sample. By the time the children were an average of 8.9 years, 25.8% had been diagnosed with ADHD only, 6.6% with ASD only and 4.2% with ADHD and ASD. The researchers classified the amount of acetaminophen and its byproducts in the samples into thirds, from lowest to highest. Compared to the lowest third, the middle third of exposure was associated with about 2.26 times the risk for ADHD. The highest third of exposure was associated with 2.86 times the risk. Similarly, ASD risk was higher for those in the middle third (2.14 times) and highest third (3.62 times).
The authors conclude that their results support earlier studies linking acetaminophen exposure in the womb with ADHD and ASD and underscore the need for additional research. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration urges careful consideration before using any pain-relieving medication during pregnancy.
NIH funding for the study was provided by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
WhoJohn Ilekis, Ph.D., of the NICHD Pregnancy and Perinatology Branch, is available for comment.
ArticleJi, Y, et al. Association of cord plasma biomarkers of in utero acetaminophen exposure with risk of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism spectrum disorder in childhood. JAMA Psychiatry.2019.
About the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): NICHD conducts and supports research in the United States and throughout the world on fetal, infant and child development; maternal, child and family health; reproductive biology and population issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit NICHD's website.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
NIH'...Turning Discovery Into Health®
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Texas A&M professor speaks on ERCOT conservation plan
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:59
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -After ERCOT made a public statement on July 10 for Texans on conserving energy, a Texas A&M University professor believes there is only one way to solve the power grid issue.
Andrew Dessler, Atmospheric Sciences Professor at Texas A&M, said the ERCOT statement was intentionally misleading to Texans. Dessler said it is very normal to have a low amount of wind and there is only one way to solve the problem of Texas' power grid: Solar energy.
''What we need to do to solve this problem is build more solar energy,'' said Dessler. ''Solar produces power when wind doesn't and they tend to be anti-correlated. So if you want to have reliable power, you want to have wind and solar. If we had a lot more solar, we wouldn't be having these discussions.''
He said building more solar energy into the Texas power grid would reduce the cost of energy overall. Plus, Dessler said there wouldn't be pollution in the air from solar energy, like other forms create.
For more information on Andrew Dessler, click here.
Copyright 2022 KBTX. All rights reserved.
How this electronics-frying weapon is supposed to work | Popular Science
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:58
South of Death Valley and north of Los Angeles, the Air Force is testing a new weapon designed not to kill. Together with the Office of Naval Research, the Air Force Research Laboratory is conducting two months of testing on a device called the High-Powered Joint Electromagnetic Non-Kinetic Strike Weapon, or HiJENKS. It's the culmination of a five-year project to create a machine that can destroy electronics in a targeted way.
HiJENKS is the successor to a similar weapon, the Counter-electronics High-Power Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP. Both weapons were designed to disable electronics without using physical force, such as an explosive blast or the kinetic force from impact. Making a weapon that can disable electronics without causing physical damage to its target is hard, and it might be part of why the Air Force is open to new delivery systems, other than a missile, in this latest iteration.
In short, HiJENKS is a high-powered weapon that fries electronics with pulsed bursts of microwave energy. When it comes to targets, many weapon and sensor systems require smooth functioning of electronics to work, and a disruption that fries circuits could halt a threat while leaving the physical parts of the system untouched.
CHAMP, which HiJENKS is designed to improve upon, was built to fit in the case of a bomber-launched cruise missile. Little about the exact form of HiJENKS is known at present, though it could be mounted on a new cruise missile. Alternatively, HiJENKS might be carried in a weapon pod that draws power from a plane, or it could even become the primary weapon system of a drone flown as a wingmate to a crewed fighter.
''We'll start looking at more service-specific applications once we've done this test that demonstrates the technology,'' Jeffry Heggemeier, chief of AFRL's high-power electromagnetics division, reportedly told press at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
''Heggemeier said the program hasn't yet designated a platform for the weapon, but noted HiJENKS' smaller footprint means it could be integrated on a wider range of carrier systems,'' reports C4ISRNET.
To grasp the full ambition the Air Force has for HiJENKS, it helps to first understand its predecessor, CHAMP.
Thanks CHAMPThe origins of CHAMP, possibly the first non-kinetic-effect missile deployed by the Air Force, can be traced back to 2009. The Air Force was looking for a weapon that could disable electronics without causing physical damage. Functionally, CHAMP was a cruise missile that replaced an explosive payload for one that targeted electronics with high-powered pulsed microwaves. Possible targets for disruption could include the navigation computer in a missile, or the radar and targeting system of an anti-air missile installation. The Air Force demonstrated CHAMP in a test in Utah in 2012, but then the program stalled.
In 2017, CHAMP briefly gained some wider attention as a possible tool for the United States to use against a North Korean nuclear launch, though that possibility had real limits. The first is that, while not all electronics are hardened against electromagnetic energy attacks, nuclear missiles and warheads tend to be. (This is because a nuclear blast is the one kind of weapon guaranteed to produce an electromagnetic pulse, which is part of the overall horror of a nuclear detonation, though not the primary risk to people.)
Regardless of its specific limitations in that mission, CHAMP was designed to give the Air Force an option for neutralizing an electronics-dependent threat without having to kill people or destroy a building or vehicle.
When a cruise missile outfitted with CHAMP was fired at a specific building, reports Popular Mechanics, ''The resulting pulse of electromagnetic radiation would fry enemy electronics, rendering vital equipment worthless without, as the Air Force Research Lab put it, 'damage to infrastructure and danger to life.'''
And HiJENKS ensueIn 2019, the Air Force retired the missile that carried CHAMP. HiJENKS could be in a new missile, or it could be in a range of weapons from drone payload, to plane-mounted weapon pod. Whatever the new form factor, HiJENKS appears to be developed to make it a more immediately useful weapon than CHAMP.
''HIJENKS will include improvements that 'resolve operational issues' that the CHAMP team experienced with the first airborne [high-powered microwave] system,'' wrote Jack McGonegal of the Air Force in the spring of 2020, as part of an Air Force task force analyzing future weapons. ''These improvements will most likely involve decreases in size and weight of the [high-powered microwave] payload while seeing an increase in maximum power.''
However HiJENKS develops, it carries with it some of the inherent risks in a new weapon loaded inside a familiar casing. Because the effect of the high-powered microwave is range-limited, a commander targeted by HiJENKS would be unable to tell if the missile fired is carrying deadly explosives, or tactically frustrating but nonlethal microwaves. When fired upon by HiJENKS, it would be reasonable to assume most people would respond as though under attack by a traditional weapon.
In battle, that may not make much of a difference at all. But if commanders and presidents are hoping a non-kinetic weapon like HiJENKS may expand their options in a conflict, that assumption carries the risk that it will be seen as a conventional threat, regardless.
The Global Vaccine Nightmare Has Just Begun
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:52
I went to the nail salon this week, and there was a young women working there who started weeping inconsolably in a corner. I asked the manager what was wrong. ''She just lost her mother'' was the reply. She had died in her sleep suddenly though she was perfectly healthy.
This last weekend, I had attended the funeral of an old friend. He was perfectly healthy too, and then he got late-stage pancreatic cancer '-- and he was gone a few months later.
That was the exact same story for another friend. He was healthy as a horse, until he wasn't '-- because he too had suddenly developed late-stage pancreatic cancer.
Not to mention a young (and very fit) mother I know who just got a check-up, and was told that she too has suddenly developed aggressive cancer in her early 40s.
The perfectly healthy are getting bad cancers much too frequently now.
The perfectly healthy are dying suddenly .
What all of them shared was being vaccinated.
Steve Kirsch on Substack has conducted a survey (done by a third party) and the results are so disturbing that nobody in the corporate media will touch it.
Ten million Americans have heart injuries.
Ten million Americans had to be hospitalized after taking the vaccines.
Five million Americans can't work after being vaccinated.
At least 600,000 Americans died after getting vaccinated.
More than 5 billion people have been injected with at least one dose of a COVID vaccine '-- so if we extrapolate a 6% heart injury/hospitalization rate from the survey, that would mean 300 million people have been effected.
If Dr. Malone is correct and a majority of vaccinated people have undiagnosed myocarditis, that would mean 3 billion people are at serious risk of sudden cardiac death.
You can't imagine it (and I can't imagine it ) but if that really happens to even a tenth of 3 billion people in the next few years, then we are talking about a world-altering event.
If you've being paying attention on social media '-- or, most of all, on Substack '-- then you already know that this man-made disaster was happening on a vast scale because you've seen far too many posts of soccer players suddenly collapsing on the field, or young people hooked up to machines at the hospital after getting their first clot shot, just like me.
In fact, mortality rates for young people across Europe are rising dramatically '-- in yet another sign that the use of the experimental COVID vaccines should be halted immediately.
Healthy people are now dying so frequently and suddenly from heart failure that the totally corrupt corporate media has invented names like Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (''SADS'') to account for these obviously vaccine-related deaths.
Suddenly, toddlers are now having seizures after getting vaccinated as well.
As for vaccinated women who are pregnant, they are experiencing miscarriages and still births at much higher rates than in the past.
What has the American medical community done about this catastrophe? They have aided and abetted it the entire way.
They have taken the Big Pharma blood money and the Federal government's blood money '-- and they have stayed silent while they injected your friends and family with these deadly vaccines and watched them die.
You know it '-- and I know it.
When their patients asked for ivermectin to treat COVID, they denied them those prescriptions and treated them like deviants for asking '-- and they strongly recommended they get vaccinated instead.
When injured people had the audacity to complain about their vaccine injuries, our doctors and nurses gaslighted them, or told them to stay silent, or told them they had no clue why they were having problems.
It's the most shameful episode in the history of American medicine.
Sudden deaths. Infant seizures. Blood clots. Miscarriages. Heart attacks. Skyrocketing mortality rates. Declining birth rates.
You might think that the COVID virus has gone away, but the global vaccine nightmare has just begun.
I Need Your Support!Who held the Biden Administration to account for its corruption every day like me?
Independent and fearless journalists need your support like never before.
I need your support like never before.
The corporate media is completely corrupt. Just go down the list: the Russia Hoax, the stolen 2020 election, the deadly COVID vaccines. The corporate media is actively trying to hide the truth from the American people on a daily basis.
If we are going to survive the current regime then we must stand together.
I've got your back.
Do you have mine?
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Russia-Ukraine crisis threatens favorite Middle Eastern dip '-- RT Business News
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:51
Hummus prices are expected to surge as the conflict between the world's biggest exporters of chickpeas drags on
World prices for hummus are expected to increase by up to 20%, the Global Pulse Confederation (GPC) has warned. The GPC cites the drastic decline in supplies from Russia and Ukraine of chickpeas, the essential ingredient for the dip, as the key reason for the surge.
''Globally, chickpea prices may rise by 15 to 20% '' the same value as the fall of the supply,'' Navneet Singh Chhabra, an analyst at the trade association and director of global chickpea trader Shree Sheela International said, as quoted by The New York Times.
According to the estimates revealed by the trade association, supplies of chickpeas to the world market may be reduced by as much as 20% as war tensions between Russia and Ukraine, along with sanctions levied against Moscow, emerged as the biggest disrupters of the flow of the legume.
The GPC added that the price spike would be also attributed to rising freight costs, which have been driven in part by higher oil prices.
The industry group highlighted that Russia and Ukraine are two of the world's biggest exporters of chickpeas, while Russia alone accounts for roughly a quarter of the global chickpea trade. The sanctions-hit nation reportedly produces some 250,000 tons of chickpeas per year.
Chhabra stressed that economic sanctions are currently limiting the ways Russian growers can get chickpeas out of the country.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's annual production of chickpeas makes up between 30,000 and 50,000 tons, but this year the country is expected to produce a maximum of 5,000 tons, according to the analyst.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
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The End of Private Car Ownership - You will drive nothing and you will be happy - The Washington Standard
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:50
The term ''pedestrian'' has a derogatory meaning because peasants walked while nobles were ''equestrians'' and rode horses. The industrial revolution eliminated this class difference, as it did so many others, by making car ownership available to the masses until eventually Herbert Hoover was able to boast that ''Republican prosperity has reduced and increased earning capacity'' to ''put the proverbial 'chicken in every pot' and a car in every backyard to boot.''
Democrats have spent two generations trying to get those cars out of every backyard.
Biden is trying to bring back Obama's mileage standards that were estimated to raise car prices by 20%.The goal is to ''nudge 40% of U.S. drivers into electric vehicles by decade's end.''
Will 40% of Americans be able to afford electric cars that cost an average of $54,000 by 2030?
Not likely. Nor are they meant to. Biden's radical 'green' government, which includes Tracy Stone-Manning, the former spokeswoman for an ecoterrorist group as the head of the Bureau of Land Management, isn't looking to nudge drivers into another type of cars, but out of cars.
Gas prices are a way to price Americans out of car ownership under the guise of pushing EVs.
Biden's Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm responded to American concerns about high gas prices by urging them to buy electric cars. Granholm, who had promoted a green energy tycoon who spent years in prison for fraud, who had served on the board of directors of an electric battery company, and made millions divesting stock in an electric vehicle manufacturer, is a fan.
''Most electric vehicles are now cheaper to own than gas-powered cars from the day you drive them off the lot,'' Granholm tweeted.
That isn't actually true, but actual cars have become more expensive to own, largely because of efforts by the Biden administration, and by various states, including California. That hasn't however made electric cars any more affordable for ordinary Americans.
The average price of an electric car shot up to $54,000 in May. Car prices in general have risen in the Biden economy, but electric cars are naturally expensive. The raw material costs for an average electric car are up to over $8,000. That's compared to $3,600 for an actual car.
When your raw material costs are that high, electric cars will be inherently unaffordable.
The Obama administration pumped billions in taxpayer money into battery and electric car manufacturing, the majority of which failed, on the theory that enough government subsidies would lower battery costs. Not only was much of that money lost, but currently electric battery costs hover around the $160 kilowatt-hour mark. Green boosters cheer that's far down from over $1,000 per kWh a decade ago, but that still adds up to the reality that an electric car capable of traveling for even short distances needs a battery that alone costs thousands.
The Nissan Leaf, which approaches $30,000 once the reality of MSRP in the current sales market is taken into account, is one of the cheapest electric cars around, and has a range of only 149 miles. Replacing its battery can set back car owners $6,500 to $7,500. And that's even when you can manage to find one or someone willing to replace it. In less than 3 years, Leafs lose 20 miles of range. By the fifth year, they have lost 30 miles. And it's all downhill from there.
The Nissan Leaf was initially a hit, but car manufacturers quickly realized that anyone willing to overpay that much for substandard performance had money to burn. The electric car market is now thoroughly dominated by luxury vehicles subsidized by taxpayers. And the Leaf went from 90% market share to less than 10%. The EV market is now a taxpayer-funded status symbol.
The dirty truth about the ''clean'' car market is that it consists of traditional car companies and Tesla frantically trying to unload a limited share of luxury electric cars on wealthy customers to cash in on the emissions credits mandated by states like California. Tesla makes more money reselling these regulatory credits to actual car companies than it does selling cars. Taxpayers and working class car-owners pick up the bill for the entire luxury electric vehicle market.
A market that they are shut out from by design.
The ''green'' vision is not a world in which everyone has their own electric car. It's one of collective transport, of buses, light rail, and car-pooling through shared rides and roving self-driving cars. The only vehicle the average consumer is supposed to own is a bicycle.
While the Biden administration is still pretending that it's out to ''encourage'' electric car ownership by making actual cars too expensive for much of the country to afford, others are saying the quiet part out loud.
''Car-lovers will doubtless mourn the passing of machines that, in the 20th century, became icons of personal freedom. But this freedom is illusory,'' an Economist article predicted.
''There will be fewer cars on the road'--perhaps just 30% of the cars we have today,'' the head of Google's self-driving car project predicted.
''The days of the single occupancy car are numbered,'' Brook Porter at G2 Venture Partners, a green energy investment firm, thundered in an article titled, The End of Cars in Cities.
Dan Ammann, the former president of GM, claimed that ''the human-driven, gasoline-powered, single-passenger car'' is the ''fundamental problem'' in a post titled, ''We Need to Move Beyond the Car''. He has since gone to work for Exxon-Mobil.
Predictions are cheap, but car bans are expensive and all too real. The European Union voted to back a ban on the sale of non-electric cars by 2035. California is also pushing for a similar 2035 ban on the sale of new actual cars in the state. Officials noted that the ban would push more than half of mechanics out of work and leave much of the state unable to afford cars.
Canada has its own 2035 car ban. Last year, Governor Newsom and Governor Cuomo, along with 10 other governors, urged Biden to impose a 2035 car ban on all Americans.
Electric cars aren't actually ''cleaner''. The mining processes that produce ''green'' technologies are as dirty, if not dirtier, and trade dependence on oil for dependence on rare earth metals, and dependence on the Middle East for dependence on Communist China. The one thing that they decisively accomplish is to make it impossible for ordinary Americans to own cars.
And that is what environmentalists really want. But not just them.
The vision of a nation in which private car ownership is a luxury good, in which cars have been priced out of the reach of most people through environmental measures that concentrated on gas-powered vehicles, and then added more taxes and fines for the waste'' and ''inefficiency'' of an individual owning a vehicle is not very far away.
The technocratic sales pitch is that ride-sharing and self-driving cars will make car ownership unnecessary. Why own a big clunky machine when you can own nothing and be happy?
The reality is that car ownership offers mobility and independence. That is exactly what the leftist radicals making social policy want to eliminate. Gas prices are not Putin's price hike, they're the green dream. And that dream isn't to put you in a Nissan Leaf. It's the Pol Pot dream of dismantling civilization and rolling back the industrial revolution.
Once the dark age norms of their dark enlightenment are restored, peasants will go back to being pedestrians and only the progressive philosopher kings will ride.
Article posted with permission from Daniel Greenfield
WHO Says Gender is a 'Spectrum' Which Goes 'Beyond' Male and Female
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:42
The World Health Organization has come under fire after it made the controversial announcement that it would be updating its gender guidance outline to include 'non-binary'.
The organization which was instrumental in giving countries advice and dictating rules during the Covid 19 pandemic already has a ''gender mainstreaming manual'' released in 2011 which says there are many other genders other than male and female, arguing that gender is a construct which involves an intricate spectrum.
Now the WHO, which supposedly has its roots in science and medicine, with its website claiming its core mission is to achieve ''measurable impacts on people's health at the country level,'' has said its current woke gender guidelines are not extreme enough.
It is not yet known how the global organization will change its 2011 guidelines, but it released a public statement this week to say its update version will include ''beyond non-binary approaches to gender and health to recognize gender and sexual diversity or the concepts that gender identity exists on a continuum and that sex is not limited to male or female'' and will focus on ''highlighting and expanding on the concept of intersectionality, which looks at how gender power dynamics interact with other hierarchies of privilege or disadvantage, resulting in inequality and differential health outcomes for different people.''
Medical and health experts have warned that the move could over complicate science and denies basic biological facts, tainting facts with flowery constructs and baseless feelings.
''It is a dismissal of basic biology '-- and mistake,'' Professor Jenny Gamble from Coventry University told MailOnline.
''Not being clear about basic biology opens the door to a range of problems, including very poor health communication but also distorted data.''
Dr Karleen Gribble, a nursing expert from Sydney University said a global body with international influence on the way countries deal with medical and health issues should not be supporting an unscientific and dangerous agenda which defies basic biological facts:
''The website says that the handbook is being updated ''in light of new scientific evidence and conceptual progress on gender, health and development,'' she told MailOnline.
''However, there is no new scientific evidence suggesting there are more than two sexes.
''Rather, the idea that there are more than two sexes, is a postmodern, unscientific understanding that should not be supported by the WHO.
''The wording regarding there being more than male and female sexes is concerning,'' she added.
Gribble went on to say that she felt disappointed the WHO had decided to focus on gender identity rather than the health of women and girls around the world, particularly in countries where women are still treated as the inferior gender:
''If this occurs, this will almost certainly dilute focus on the severe health disadvantage that women and girls face in many countries because they are female which can only be a bad thing.
''Many of us who work internationally in maternal and child health are very concerned about the push to desex language spilling over into UN organizations like WHO and United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund.''
Western countries around the world donated millions to the WHO during the Covid pandemic, with the USA contributing an eyewatering $280 million in December 2021.The US ripped up its WHO membership under Donald Trump's leadership but re-joined under Biden.
Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.
Biden HHS Guidance Shoehorns Unfettered Abortion Into Existing Law
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:41
The Biden administration's ''new guidance'' to hospitals declaring that abortions must be provided in emergencies seeks not to clarify the law but to provide pro-abortion forces a way to skirt state law while pushing several lies to further the false narrative that overturning Roe v. Wade endangers women's lives.
In a Monday press release, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that through its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), it had issued what it called ''clarifying guidance on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA)'' on ''abortion services in emergency situations.''
Congress passed the EMTALA in 1986 ''to ensure public access to emergency services regardless of ability to pay,'' by imposing ''specific obligations on Medicare-participating hospitals that offer emergency services.'' Specifically, under the EMTALA, a medical facility that runs an emergency room '-- which is not all health care facilities '-- must ''provide a medical screening examination (MSE) when a request is made for examination or treatment for an emergency medical condition (EMC), including active labor, regardless of an individual's ability to pay.'' The law then requires hospitals ''to provide stabilizing treatment for patients with EMCs,'' with a hospital that ''is unable to stabilize a patient within its capability'' arranging a transfer to another facility.
The press release issued on Monday announced that HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra had written to health care providers in conjunction with the CMA's issuances of a new memorandum purporting to explain the mandates of EMTALA ''in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.''
After providing a quick summary of the EMTALA, the CMA memorandum noted that ''an emergency medical condition may include a condition that is likely or certain to become emergent without stabilizing treatment'' and that ''emergency medical conditions involving pregnant patients may include, but are not limited to, ectopic pregnancy, complications of pregnancy loss, or emergent hypertensive disorders, such as preeclampsia with severe features.''
''If a physician believes that a pregnant patient presenting at an emergency department is experiencing an emergency medical condition as defined by EMTALA, and that abortion is the stabilizing treatment necessary to resolve that condition, the physician must provide that treatment,'' the memorandum continued. The memorandum then concluded: ''When a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the life of the pregnant person '-- or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA's emergency medical condition definition '-- that state law is preempted.''
While federal law clearly ''preempts'' or overrides conflicting state laws because of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution, the CMS memorandum proves problematic for several reasons. But before dissecting the many problems with the memorandum, it is important to highlight the deceptive bait-and-switch Becerra effected in purporting to summarize the memorandum and the EMTALA's mandates in the letter he dispatched to health care professionals on Monday.
''Stabilizing treatment could include medical and/or surgical interventions (e.g., abortion, removal of one or both fallopian tubes, anti-hypertensive therapy, methotrexate therapy etc.), irrespective of any state laws or mandates that apply to specific procedures,'' Becerra wrote.
He continued: ''Thus, if a physician believes that a pregnant patient presenting at an emergency department, including certain labor and delivery departments, is experiencing an emergency medical condition as defined by EMTALA, and that abortion is the stabilizing treatment necessary to resolve that condition, the physician must provide that treatment.'' Significantly, Becerra then declared that ''when a state law prohibits abortion and does not include an exception for the life and health of the pregnant person '-- or draws the exception more narrowly than EMTALA's emergency medical condition definition '-- that state law is preempted'' (Emphasis added).
As the above excerpt shows, Becerra added the word ''health'' to the language of the CMS memorandum, which speaks instead to ''exceptions for the life of the pregnant [woman].'' And that sleight-of-hand is telling to those well-versed in the rhetoric of abortion apologists and their ability to squeeze an elephant into the ''health'' mouse hole, with ''physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the woman's age,'' all framed as ''relevant factors'' to assess the effects of pregnancy on a woman's ''health,'' leaving ''health'' to mean anything.
Donna Harrison, an OB/GYN and the CEO for the Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), told The Federalist, ''The AAPLOG is concerned that by using the ambiguous word 'health' that the Biden administration is trying to use EMTALA to force the performance of abortions in situations which are not medical emergencies.''
''We will be closely monitoring the interpretation of this guidance document,'' Harrison added.
Beyond the apparent attempt by Becerra to expand the preemptive force of the EMTALA to situations in which it does not apply, the memorandum itself pushes several fallacies being peddled by abortion apologists since the Dobbs decision dropped, such as that with Roe overturned, women will no longer receive life-saving health care in the case of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. The CMS memorandum and Becerra's letter reinforce these false narratives by, in purporting to address the EMTALA's requirements in light of state abortion laws, including a discussion of the treatment of ''ectopic pregnancy'' and ''complications of pregnancy loss.''
But the medical treatment of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are not abortions. Elizabeth Kirk, the director of the Center for Law & the Human Person at the Columbus School of Law at the Catholic University of America, and Dr. Ingrid Skop, an obstetrician-gynecologist and director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, corrected those misconceptions in an article for SCOTUSblog's symposium on Dobbs, ''Why the Dobbs Decision Won't Imperil Pregnancy-Related Medical Care.''
''Medical treatment of a pregnant mother and her child seeks to protect the life and health of both patients, where possible,'' they explained. ''In contrast, the purpose of abortion is to cause the death of one of the patients, namely the unborn child. An abortion procedure is not the same thing as treatment for an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage management, which even Planned Parenthood admits.'' With an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy outside of the uterus, the medical ''indication and interventions '... versus elective abortion are vastly different.'' In fact, ''mifepristone and misoprostol, used commonly to provide medical abortions, specifically do not treat a pregnancy outside of the uterus, and deaths have occurred in women seeking abortion when this condition has not been first ruled out.''
Further, while the treatments for miscarriage or pregnancy loss, may sometimes ''be the same as those for abortion (e.g., dilation and suction or misoprostol or, uncommonly, a combination of mifepristone/misoprostol), the purpose is vastly different, i.e., removing an already dead fetus versus causing the death of a fetus.''
Likewise, the treatment of ''preeclampsia with severe features,'' another example the HHS's supposed guidance suggests would justify an abortion, ignores the distinction between the treatment of the mother's medical condition and a procedure aimed at intentionally causing the death of the fetus. And because ''the incidence of pre-eclampsia with severe features '... prior to viability is exceedingly rare,'' treating the mother's emergency medical condition will often allow physicians to save the child.
Similarly, abortion is not medically necessary to treat placenta previa, which ''is a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix, making a vaginal delivery impossible due to the possibility of life-threatening hemorrhage if labor occurs.'' As AAPLOG has detailed, placenta previa ''are frequently diagnosed in pregnancy on ultrasound around 20 weeks, however approximately 90% of these will resolve on their own before delivery.''
But ''if significant hemorrhage occurs due to a placenta previa (which again is so rare prior to viability that no incidence is even reported), the patient should be taken for an emergency C-section which is the most expedient way to get her bleeding under control.'' In fact, ''it would be medically dangerous and irresponsible to try to do an abortion since any instrumentation through the cervix would pierce the placenta and cause immediate massive bleeding.'' Further, ''an abortion would take significantly longer in this case and be much risker for the mother.''
Given these medical facts and the legal reality that states that prohibit abortion clearly define it as procedures that intentionally cause the death of an unborn child, and therefore treating ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages are not abortions, the laws already make clear that an abortion ban is not a ban on providing life-saving medical treatment to pregnant women even if it results in the death of a fetus.
Health care providers know this, and Becerra and the CMS know that they know this, but the letter and memorandum serve other goals of the pro-abortion Biden administration, including: providing abortion-oriented medical facilities with a basis to skirt state law by framing an elective abortion as mandated by EMTALA; pushing misinformation to the public concerning the treatment of ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages; misrepresenting the medical need for an abortion to preserve the life of the mother; misrepresenting state abortion laws to create the false impression that abortion bans prohibit doctors from treating women's emergency medical conditions; and creating a political talking point that Dobbs puts women's lives at risk based on the strawman crafted by the administration.
But at the end of the day, the strawman constructed by HHS easily collapses when one remembers that the goal of an abortion is a dead baby, while the goal of treating a pregnant woman with a serious health condition is to save the mother and, if possible, deliver her baby alive.
Margot Cleveland is The Federalist's senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize'--the law school's highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.
Shinzo Abe's Ruling Party Gains Supermajority In Upper-House Election Following His Assassination | ZeroHedge
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:37
Authored by Aldgra Fredly via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours)
Japan's ruling center-right party scored a supermajority in the House of Councillors election on July 10, claiming more than half of the 125 contested seats, in the wake of the assassination of former prime minister and party leader Shinzo Abe.
Japan's prime minister and president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Fumio Kishida, second left, speaks after placing a red paper rose on an LDP candidate's name, to indicate a victory in the upper house election, at the party's headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, on July 10, 2022. (Toru Hanai, Pool Photo via AP)Abe's factious Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 119 of the 248 seats in the upper chamber of parliament, while its coalition partner Komeito secured 27 seats, broadcaster NHK reported.
This has secured for the party the two-thirds majority required to amendment Japan's pacifist post-war Constitution. As part of Abe's Japan-first policies, he was looking to revise Article 9, forbidding Japan from possessing its own military or forces with ''war potential.''
If unchallenged by other factions within the party, the victory will allow Kishida to preside until the next election in 2025. Kishida, a moderate from Hiroshima who wants nuclear weapons banned, represents the smaller, more left-leaning liberal wing of the LDP, while Abe lead the right-leaning nationalist wing.
Kishida is more dovish on foreign policy than Abe, who was considered hawkish on China for his revitalising of the Quad forum and nationalizing of the uninhabited Senkaku islands that China contests as part of its territory'--the Diaoyu islands.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Rome, Italy, on April 24, 2019. (Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images)The LDP held a moment of silence for Abe at its Tokyo headquarters. Kishida carried a solemn expression as he placed victory ribbons next to the names of winning candidates on the whiteboard, The Japan Times reported.
''Violence threatened the electoral process, the very foundation of our democracy. I was determined to go through with this election at all costs,'' he said, referring to the shooting of Abe that occurred two days before the poll.
Speaking at a press conference, Kishida said that his administration will focus on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the soaring cost of living. He also pledged to revive the Japanese economy.
''I am determined to achieve results as part of my 'new capitalism' economic model, which is aimed primarily at revitalizing the economy,'' he said.
''At the same time, I will take a step-by-step approach to continue our work on diplomacy, security, and constitutional revision.''
The party's victory might allow Kishida to revise Japan's pacifist constitution'--a dream Abe never achieved.
Asked about the plans for constitutional revision on Sunday, Kishida said that he would focus on putting together a bill to be discussed in parliament.
Abe's MurderAbe, Japan's longest-serving leader, was fatally shot on July 8 during a campaign speech in the western city of Nara. Police arrested a 41-year-old man who allegedly shot Abe at close range, and said the suspect had used a homemade gun.
Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (C) falls on the ground in Nara, western Japan, on July 8, 2022. (Kyodo News via AP)The local police force manning the campaign event said on Saturday that security arrangements had been flawed.
Local media reported that the suspect, Tetsuya Yamagami, told police that he intended to kill Abe because he believed that the ex-premier was connected to a religious organization that had bankrupted his family. Police have not identified the group.
Abe's death has drawn condolences from across political divides, and from around the world. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Tokyo on Sunday to offer condolences over Abe's death and to meet with senior Japanese officials.
''Thank you, Prime Minister Kishida, for the opportunity to visit and pay my respects to mourn with you and your nation a great statesman. We are deeply saddened over the killing of one of our dearest friends. The U.S.-Japan alliance will always remain strong,'' Blinken said on Twitter.
Mourners offer flowers for former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo, at the entrance of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) headquarters building in Tokyo, Japan, on July 10, 2022. (Toru Hana/Pool via AP)Many Japanese have been in mourning Abe's assassination, with hundreds visiting the LDP headquarters over the weekend to remember the former prime minister. Abe's wake will be held on Monday night and funeral for family and close friends on Tuesday.
Scopolamine Produces Larger Antidepressant and Antianxiety Effects in Women Than in Men - PMC
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:37
Journal List Neuropsychopharmacology v.35(12); 2010 Nov PMC3055321 Neuropsychopharmacology. 2010 Nov; 35(12): 2479''2488.
Maura L Furey1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA
Ashish Khanna2American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Coral Gables, FL, USA
Elana M Hoffman1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA
Wayne C Drevets3Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Tulsa, OK, USA
1Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, NIMH, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA
2American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Coral Gables, FL, USA
3Laureate Institute for Brain Research, Tulsa, OK, USA
*Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH, 15K North Drive, Building 15K, Room 115B, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA. Tel: +301 594 7773; Fax: +301 594 9959; E-mail:
vog.hin.liam@yerufmReceived 2010 Jun 18; Revised 2010 Jul 16; Accepted 2010 Jul 18.
Copyright (C) 2010 American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
This article has been
cited by other articles in PMC.
Supplementary MaterialsSupplementary Figure 1.
GUID: 7F98E256-03B7-41B4-82D8-B9B9487A87C2
GUID: 80A8C4D9-EF9F-4DEA-AD6F-7443013FCAF0
AbstractSome antidepressant agents generate differential benefit based on gender. Blocking cholinergic muscarinic receptors using scopolamine produces robust and rapid antidepressant effects in males and females combined. This study evaluated if males and females differ in the antidepressant response magnitude following scopolamine administration. A total of 52 male and female outpatients meeting criteria for recurrent major depressive or bipolar disorder participated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover clinical trial involving seven i.v. infusions of placebo or scopolamine (4'‰Î¼g/kg). Following a single-blind placebo lead-in, participants entered either a placebo-block/scopolamine-block or a scopolamine-block/placebo-block sequence. Each block included three sessions. Clinical ratings were acquired before each infusion and included the Montgomery''Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). A treatment group — block interaction (F=21.0, p<0.001) was observed in MADRS scores across gender, and the reduction was significant by the evaluation following the first scopolamine administration (F=8.4, p=0.006). The treatment group — block interaction was also significant in males (F=3.8, p=0.043) and females (F=35.6, p<0.001) separately. A block — gender interaction (F=7.4, p=0.009) indicated that the response magnitude was larger in women. The treatment — block interaction was significant for the HAM-A across gender (F=12.0, p<0.001), and was significant for females (F=24.9, p<0.001) but not for males (F=1.3, p=0.30). When comparing the baseline block to study end, the block — gender interaction (F=12.6, p=0.001) showed that the antianxiety response was greater in women. Men and women show a rapid antidepressant response following scopolamine, but the magnitude of response is larger in women than in men.
Keywords: depression, gender, antidepressant, antimuscarinic, anticholinergic
INTRODUCTIONMajor depressive disorder (MDD) is reported twice as often in women when compared with men (Goodnick et al, 2000). The basis for this gender difference remains unclear. Some propose that women are more willing to seek help and to report symptoms than are men (see review Frackiewicz et al, 2000), leading simply to a reporting bias. Others have suggested that gender-specific influences of socialization, acute stressors, or sexual assault may explain the higher prevalence of depression in women (Frackiewicz et al, 2000). Finally, biological theories suggest that differences in brain structure and/or function underlie the difference in prevalence. For example, estrogen and progesterone may influence depressive symptoms in women as these hormones modulate levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and monoamine oxidase (Benmansour et al, 2009; Gupta et al, 2007; Sell et al, 2008; Zhang et al, 2006). Further evidence for the implication of these hormones in depression comes from studies showing that the incidence of depression is greater in women than in men during the reproductive years, but after menopause when levels of estrogen and progesterone remain low, the incidence of depression in women becomes less than that seen in men (Bebbington et al, 1998; Bland et al, 1988). Moreover, women experience an increased risk of a depressive episode in relation to hormonal triggers associated with reproductive events, including the premenstrual or postpartum periods (Steiner et al, 2003; Yonkers, 2003). Together, these findings support a biological contribution to the observed gender difference in the prevalence of depression.
Although this point remains contested (Hildebrandt et al, 2003; Pinto-Meza et al, 2006; Quitkin et al, 2001), a literature exists that argues that men and women respond differently to antidepressant pharmacotherapies. When differences are reported, women showed an enhanced response to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) vs either the selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, reboxetine, or the tricyclic antidepressants imipramine and maprotiline (which predominantly inhibits norepinephrine transporters), whereas men showed a better response to imipramine vs SSRI and no difference in their response to reboxetine or maprotiline vs SSRI (Berlanga and Flores-Ramos, 2006; Kornstein et al, 2000; Martenyi et al, 2001). Moreover, gender-based differences in response to SSRIs seen in premenopausal women are absent in postmenopausal women (Berlanga and Flores-Ramos, 2006; Kornstein et al, 2000; Martenyi et al, 2001). The evidence that estrogen has a role in the regulation of the serotonergic system (Rubinow et al, 1998) is consistent with the findings that the enhanced response outcome to SSRIs is specific to premenopausal women. If in fact the response to antidepressant agents differs based on gender, this observation would provide additional support for the hypothesis that the difference in the prevalence of depression is biologically based, and would further suggest that men and women tend toward differences in the underlying neurobiology of a similar symptom complex.
An insight into the underlying neurobiology of depression and mechanistic explanations for diagnostic subgroups will benefit from expanding our knowledge and understanding of gender differences. Recently, we reported that the antimuscarinic agent, scopolamine, produced rapid and robust antidepressant effects in currently depressed male and female patients with MDD or bipolar disorder (BD) (Drevets and Furey, 2010; Furey and Drevets, 2006). The purpose of this study was to determine if gender-based differences exist in the antidepressant response to scopolamine.
MATERIALS AND METHODSParticipantsVolunteers between 18 and 45 years of age evaluated at the NIMH outpatient clinic were assessed for eligibility if they denied current nicotine use and met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; American Psychiatric Association, 2000) criteria for recurrent MDD or BD, based upon an unstructured interview conducted by a psychiatrist and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV-TR (First et al, 1997). Exclusion criteria included exposure to psychotropic or other medications likely to affect CNS or cholinergic function within 3 weeks (8 weeks for fluoxetine), suicidal ideation, delusions or hallucinations, lifetime history of substance dependence or substance abuse within 1 year, medical or neurological disorders, abnormal electrocardiogram or blood pressure, narrow angle glaucoma, hypersensitivity to anticholinergic agents, hepatic dysfunction, electrolyte disturbance, HIV or hepatitis viral infection, or weight >125'‰kg. Pregnant or nursing females were also excluded.
Study DesignDuring each of seven sessions, subjects received a 15-min intravenous (i.v.) infusion of either a placebo (P) saline solution, or 4.0'‰Î¼g/kg of scopolamine (S). A single-blind, lead-in session was used in which all subjects received a placebo infusion. As psychiatric assessments were obtained before session infusions, the lead-in placebo in session 1 allowed for a second baseline assessment to be obtained in session 2, before the session 2 infusion. Subsequently, individuals were randomized into either a P/S or S/P double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, whereby P constituted a block of three sessions during which participants received placebo and S comprised a block of three sessions during which participants received scopolamine ( Figure 1 ). Follow-up interviews were obtained to provide the final assessment. Sessions were scheduled 3''5 days apart. Non-pregnancy was established before each session. Randomization sequences were determined by the NIH outpatient pharmacy and assigned by subject number at the time of consent. All staff involved in the administration of the infusion and the session assessments remained blind to allocation until participants completed the study.
Blocked experimental design reflecting infusion series and assessment sessions for each of the two randomized patient groups. In block I, participants received a series of three infusions of either placebo or scopolamine; in block II, participants again received a series of three infusions and were crossed over to scopolamine or placebo.
AssessmentBefore each infusion, psychiatric interviews were completed using the Montgomery and Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) (Khan et al, 2002), Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A) (Hamilton, 1959), Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) (Young et al, 1978), and Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement (CGI-I) (Khan et al, 2002) scales. Visual analog scales (VAS) and the Profile of Mood State (POMS) (McNair et al, 1971) were administered at baseline and at 20, 60, 120 (VAS only), and 150'‰min relative to infusion start time, and blood samples were obtained at baseline and at 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 150'‰min relative to infusion start time.
Outcome MeasuresThe antidepressant and antianxiety responses to scopolamine were evaluated by assessing changes in MADRS and HAM-A scores, respectively. The CGI assessed overall clinical improvement. Secondary outcome measures included the VAS and the POMS to assess acute changes in mood within each session. The YMRS was obtained to assess the possible development of manic symptoms.
Patients were characterized as achieving (Nierenberg and DeCecco, 2001): (1) full response ('(C)¾50% reduction in MADRS score from baseline); (2) partial response (<50% but '(C)¾25% reduction); or (3) nonresponse (<25% reduction). Patients achieving remission (post-treatment MADRS score '(C)½10) were also identified.
Scopolamine AssayBlood samples were centrifuged at 3000'‰r.p.m. and 4'‰°C for 10'‰min, and the plasma transferred to polypropylene tubes, frozen, and stored at ''70'‰°C until analysis. Scopolamine plasma levels were determined by CANTEST BioPharma Services, a Division of CANTEST (Burnaby, BC, Canada). Area under the curve (AUC) concentration from 30 to 150'‰min was estimated for each session. Repeated measures ANOVA (RM ANOVA) was used to evaluate session differences across genders, and between-group differences evaluated overall gender effects on AUC. As samples were processed in three different batches, batch was included as a covariate.
Data AnalysisA treatment group (P/S vs S/P) — assessments RM ANOVA was performed to evaluate differences in change in MADRS, HAM-A, CGI-I, VAS, and the POMS. To provide a balanced design allowing for group — study block — repeated measures analyses, MADRS data were separated into a baseline block (assessments 1 and 2), and two experimental blocks. For each experimental block, the first and last measures were included in the analysis, so that experimental block I included assessments 3 and 5, and experimental block II included assessments 6 and follow-up. The treatment group — block analyses were used to test the hypotheses that scopolamine produces greater reductions in MADRS and HAM-A scores than placebo. When the RM ANOVA was significant, we calculated post hoc between- and within-group t-tests in planned comparisons to identify significant effects on the outcomes measures in the presence of significant overall ANOVAs. Speed of response onset was evaluated using t-tests to compare the first assessment following the first scopolamine administration relative to placebo assessments for both the S/P and the P/S treatment groups. Paired t-tests were used to test the hypothesis that scopolamine reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety as indicated by within-group changes in clinical rating scores, and independent t-tests were used to test the hypothesis that the change in scale scores is greater during scopolamine than during placebo.
Treatment group — assessment RM ANOVA analyses were then performed within gender to characterize drug effects separately. Gender-based differences in the magnitude of treatment response were evaluated on the MADRS, HAM-A, CGI-I, VAS, and POMS by comparing the baseline block (assessments 1 and 2) with study end assessments (last 2 assessments). The χ2 was used to determine if the response rates observed following scopolamine treatment differed between men and women. Gender-based differences in scopolamine response were also considered regarding frequency of side effects using χ2, and magnitude of change in vital signs using RM ANOVA.
Secondary analyses using RM ANOVA were performed to evaluate the influence of diagnostic subgroups on treatment response to rule out the possibility that such subgroups were driving the observed gender effects. Subgroups included MDD vs BD, and presence vs absence of comorbid anxiety disorder.
RESULTSPatient CharacteristicsOutpatients were recruited from May 2004 through February 2010 at the NIMH (Supplementary Figure 1). Of 113 subjects assessed for eligibility, 59 were excluded for not meeting entrance criteria (n=24) or refusing to participate (n=35). In all, 54 patients met the entrance criteria and were randomized into treatment. One subject withdrew following the first infusion (single-blind placebo), and one subject dropped out after randomization but before session 1, and hence these two subjects did not contribute any data to the analysis. Of the remaining 52 patients, 27 patients were randomized into the P/S group, including 15 females and 12 males, and 25 into the S/P group, including 16 females and 9 males. Thus, a total of 52 participants received the intended treatment, completed the protocol, and were included in all analyses. Data for 40 of these 52 participants were included in two previous publications (Drevets and Furey, 2010; Furey and Drevets, 2006). In cases where follow-up interviews could not be obtained for the assessment following session 7 (n=8), analyses were performed using the last observation carried forward (LOCF). The characteristics of the treatment groups separated by gender are shown in Table 1 . The P/S and S/P groups did not differ at baseline in MADRS (F=0.73, p=0.49) or HAM-A (F=0.95, p=0.40) scores; males and females did not differ at baseline in MADRS (F=0.09, p=0.92) or HAM-A (F=1.3, p=0.29); and no treatment group — gender interaction was observed at baseline in MADRS (F=0.12, p=0.89) or HAM-A (F=0.15, p=0.86) scores.
Table 1Baseline Characteristics of the P/S and S/P Groups, Separated by Females and Males
FemalesMales P/S (n=15)S/P (n=16)P/S (n=12)S/P (n=9)Mean age+SD31.2±7.635.7±7.630.0±9.132.8±10.2Number MDD/BD9/612/410/27/2Baseline MADRS±SD31.1±4.729.9±5.432.3±5.330.0±3.6Baseline HAM-A±SD20.0±6.522.6±7.616.6±6.919.2±9.7Chronic illness (>2 years)8977Comorbid anxiety3764Outcome IndicesMean (±SD) MADRS scores for the two treatment groups across all eight evaluations appear in Figure 2a in the groups combined across gender. The RM ANOVA showed a significant treatment group — block interaction (F=21.0, p<0.001) (see Supplementary Materials for more detail). The treatment group — block interaction on MADRS scores showed a similar pattern as described above when considering men (F=3.8, p=0.043) and women (F=35.6, p<0.001) separately ( Figure 2b and c ), indicating that both men and women showed significant improvement in depression severity following scopolamine treatment. Regarding changes from the baseline to experimental block I in men alone, the S/P group showed a within-group reduction in depression severity (F=15.1, p<0.005; Cohen's d=1.71, CI=''0.84 to 5.36), but this change did not differ significantly from the change observed in the P/S group (F=0.97, p=0.34), suggesting that a larger sample size would have been needed to establish a drug effect that exceeded that seen with placebo. When comparing the baseline block to the study end in males and thus doubling the sample size, a reduction in MADRS is observed (F=34.3, p<0.001). The women in the S/P group showed a within-group reduction in depression severity in the first experimental block relative to the placebo block (F=53.8, p<0.001), and the observed change differed significantly from the observed change in the P/S group (F=14.1, p<0.001; Cohen's d=1.85, CI=''0.55 to 5.33), indicating that the drug effect exceeded the change seen during placebo. Moreover, this difference was significant at the first evaluation in the first experimental block (t=6.1, p<0.001). When comparing the baseline block to the study end assessments, a block — gender interaction was also observed (F=7.4, p=0.009; Cohen's d males=1.83, CI=0.28''4.75; Cohen's d females=2.68, CI=1.13''5.57), indicating that the antidepressant response magnitude was greater in females than in males ( Figure 2d ).
Mean MADRS scores (±SE) are shown for each of the seven assessments and the follow-up evaluation are presented for all subjects combined (a), as well as for females (b) and males (c) separately. Mean baseline and study end MADRS scores are also shown (d) separated into female and male subgroups.
In an effort to determine if diagnostic subgroups distributed differently across males and females are driving the gender effect on the magnitude of improvement on MADRS scores, we also considered antidepressant response relative to primary diagnosis (ie, MDD or BD) and to the presence of comorbid anxiety disorders by comparing the baseline block to study end. No effect of block — diagnosis (F=0.12, p=0.67) or block — comorbid anxiety disorder (F=0.07, p=0.80) was observed, nor did we see a block — diagnosis — gender interaction (F=1.4, p=0.24) or a block — comorbid anxiety — gender interaction (F=0.01, p=0.91).
Table 2 provides a summary of response outcome. By study end, 22 of 31 females experienced a full response (71%) and 18 of 31 females experienced remission of symptoms (58%), whereas 9 of 21 males showed a full response (42%) and 6 of 21 males experienced remission of symptoms (28%). At study end, 4 of 31 females showed nonresponse relative to baseline measures (13%), whereas 7 of 21 males showed nonresponse (33%). The proportion of men and women who showed a full response (vs a partial or nonresponse) differed (χ2=4.11, p<0.05), with a larger proportion of women showing a full response following treatment with scopolamine. Similarly, the proportion of men and women who showed nonresponse (vs partial or full) to scopolamine trended toward significance (χ2=3.13, p<0.07), with a larger proportion of men showing nonresponse to scopolamine than women.
Table 2Response Outcomes for Females and Males Treated with Scopolamine
Baseline blockBlock 1Block 2Females'ƒP/S group (n=15)'ƒ'ƒFull response (>50%)0012 (80%)'ƒ'ƒPartial response (25''49%)1 (7%)3 (20%)3 (20%)'ƒ'ƒNonresponse14 (93%)12 (80%)0'ƒ'ƒRemissiona (MADRS '(C)½10)0010 (67%)'ƒS/P group (n=16)'ƒ'ƒFull response (>50%)07 (44%)10 (63%)'ƒ'ƒPartial response (25''49%)1 (6%)5 (31%)2 (13%)'ƒ'ƒNonresponse15 (94%)4 (25%)4 (25%)'ƒ'ƒRemission (MADRS '(C)½10)06 (38%)8 (50%) Males'ƒP/S group (n=12)'ƒ'ƒFull response (>50%)02 (17%)6 (50%)'ƒ'ƒPartial response (25''49%)03 (25%)3 (25%)'ƒ'ƒNonresponse12 (100%)7 (58%)3 (25%)'ƒ'ƒRemission (MADRS '(C)½10)01 (8%)4 (33%)'ƒS/P group (n=9)'ƒ'ƒFull response (>50%)02 (22%)3 (33%)'ƒ'ƒPartial response (25''49%)1 (11%)2 (22%)2 (22%)'ƒ'ƒNonresponse8 (89%)5 (56%)4 (44%)'ƒ'ƒRemission (MADRS '(C)½10)002 (22%)The HAM-A scores showed a treatment group — block interaction when the gender data were combined (F=12.0, p<0.001), and this interaction was significant when considering only females (F=24.9, p<0.001) but not significant for only males (F=1.3, p=0.30). The females in the S/P group showed a reduction in HAM-A in the first experimental block relative to the baseline block (F=57.9, p<0.001) and this change differed from the change observed in the P/S group (F=21.6, p<0.001), suggesting that the reduction observed in the S/P group exceeded the change seen during placebo. This reduction was significant with the first evaluation in experimental block 1 when compared with baseline (t=5.3, p<0.001). When comparing the baseline block to study end, the block — gender interaction was significant (F=12.6, p=0.001), indicating that the antianxiety response was greater in women than in men ( Figure 3 ).
Mean baseline and study end HAM-A scores (±SE) are shown separated into female and male subgroups.
To evaluate the possibility that subgroups are driving the gender effect on the improvement in HAM-A scores, we also analyzed response magnitude relative to diagnosis and comorbid anxiety disorders. No effect of block — diagnosis (F=0.84, p=0.44) or block — comorbid anxiety disorder (F=1.3, p=0.30) was observed. No block — diagnosis — gender interaction was observed (F=1.1, p=0.33), or a block — comorbid anxiety — gender interaction was observed (F=1.8, p=0.18).
Mean CGI-I scores are shown for the two treatment groups in Figure 4a . A treatment group — assessment interaction was observed (F=7.9, p<0.001). The RM ANOVA also showed a treatment group — block interaction (F=22.2, p<0.001) (see Supplementary Materials for more details). The treatment group — block interaction was significant for women alone (F=39.5, p<0.001; Figure 4b ), and although this interaction was also significant for men alone (F=4.6, p=0.046); Figure 4c ), the treatment groups did not differ significantly at any single time point (p>0.10; with a trend in the final time point, p=0.08). Within females, the two treatment groups differed in the first evaluation in block I and this change in CGI-I score was greater in the S/P group when compared with baseline (F=8.7, p=0.006). Similarly, considering the transition from experimental block I to block II using evaluations 5 and 6, the P/S group shows an improvement in CGI-I that is larger than the change seen in the S/P group (F=14.6, p=0.001). Comparing baseline to study end, a block — gender interaction is seen (F=5.8, p=0.02), indicating that overall clinical improvement was larger in women than in men ( Figure 4d ).
Mean CGI-I scores (±SE) are shown for each of the seven assessments and the follow-up evaluation are presented for all subjects combined (a), as well as for females (b) and males (c) separately. Mean baseline and study end CGI-I scores are also shown (d) separated into female and male subgroups.
Autonomic measures during placebo and scopolamine, as well as changes in autonomic measures during scopolamine relative to placebo, were evaluated. As systolic blood pressure trended toward being higher overall in males (F=3.6, p=0.06) and specific time points were significantly higher in males vs females under placebo (time point 5, t=2.7, p=0.01; time point 8, t=2.4, p=0.02), the analyses to determine scopolamine effects were performed on values reflecting delta in systolic blood pressure, so that systolic blood pressure during placebo was subtracted from systolic blood pressure during scopolamine. The change in systolic blood pressure observed on scopolamine relative to placebo did not differ based on gender (F=0.12, p=0.73), although the difference at time point 5 was significant (t=2.2, p=0.03). This effect was likely driven by the elevated measure obtained during placebo for time point 5 in males (reported above).
Diastolic blood pressure also tended to be higher in males (F=2.9, p=0.09), and specific time points were significantly higher in males vs females under placebo (time point 5, t=2.40, p=0.02; with trend level significance at time point 2, t=1.9, p=0.07; and time point 3, t=2.0, p=0.052), and thus the scopolamine effect was evaluated based on delta. The change in diastolic blood pressure during scopolamine relative to placebo showed no gender (F=1.7, p>0.20) or gender — time (F=0.80, p>0.20) effect. No gender difference was measured in heart rate during placebo (F=2.7, p=0.10), and no drug — gender (F=0.43, p>0.20) or drug — gender — time point interaction (F=0.84, p>0.20) was observed. No gender-based difference in the change in heart rate during scopolamine relative to placebo was observed (F=0.93, p>0.20).
Scopolamine was well tolerated and resulted in no medically serious adverse events. The frequency of reported side effects is presented in Table 3 . No gender-based difference in the frequency of any side effect was observed (p>0.10), except for fatigue where men reported fatigue more than women under placebo and scopolamine (p=0.04). No gender-based difference in AUC occurred across sessions (F=0.95, p>0.20) nor did the mean AUC differ based on gender (t=0.67, p>0.20). The results from the VAS and POMS are discussed in Supplementary Material.
Table 3Reported Side Effects Following Placebo and Scopolamine Infusions, Separated for Females and Males
PlaceboScopolamine Females (n=31)Males (n=22)FemalesMalesDizziness03911Light-headed772013Blurred vision031815Drowsy9112218Dry mouth1472420Fatigue2627'Feel drugged'3078Nausea0101Nervousness1311Palpitations2120Irritability0000Headache0121Restlessness0311Vertigo0010DISCUSSIONThe results of this study demonstrate that men and women show a rapid antidepressant response following scopolamine, but the mean reduction in depression ratings was larger in women than in men. Scopolamine produced improvement in depression severity by the first assessment following the first administration of the drug in both gender groups; thus, the rapidity of the antidepressant response was comparable, but by study end the magnitude of response was greater in females than in males. In addition, a larger proportion of women showed a response to scopolamine (71%) than did men (38%), and thus the greater improvement was driven partially by the larger proportion of women who responded to scopolamine.
The absence of significant differences in the antidepressant response magnitude between MDD and BD diagnostic subgroups, as well as the absence of differences between patients with and without comorbid anxiety disorder, indicates that no such underlying subgroup effects are driving gender-based differences. Moreover, there was no interaction between these diagnostic subtypes and gender, further supporting the conclusion that the observed effects are based on gender differences and are not spurious findings driven by other factors.
A robust antianxiety response was observed exclusively in females, with males showed no significant improvement in anxiety ratings associated with drug administration (although this effect in males might become significant with a larger sample size). Thus, women show scopolamine-induced improvement in both the depression severity and anxiety, whereas men show modest improvement in depression severity.
The cholinergic system has been implicated in depression for decades by a variety of types of evidence (Janowsky et al, 1972, 1983, 1994; Janowsky and Overstreet, 1990), and has resurfaced as a potential target for novel therapeutics (Furey and Drevets, 2006; Janowsky et al, 1994; Overstreet et al, 1996, 1998). For example, in addition to the recent demonstration that this antimuscarinic agent has rapid antidepressant effects, several types of evidence suggest that muscarinic cholinergic receptor sensitivity is increased in the depressed phases of MDD and BD (Janowsky and Overstreet, 1990; Janowsky et al, 1994; Riemann et al, 1994b). Compatible with the findings of the current study, functional sex differences have been reported in baseline and cholinergically stimulated plasma hormone measures between major depressives and matched controls that suggest that heightened cholinergic sensitivity exists in premenopausal female, but not in male, patients with MDD (Riemann et al, 1994a; Rubin et al, 1999, 2003). Moreover, both functional neuroimaging (Cannon et al, 2006) and genetic (Comings et al, 2002) studies have implicated type 2 muscarinic cholinergic (M2) receptors in affective disorders. Specifically, Cannon et al (2006) reported that the distribution volume of the [18F]FP-TZTP, a PET radioligand that is relatively selective for M2 receptors, was reduced in bipolar depressives relative to controls, although the sample size was too small to permit assessment of sex effects. In unipolar depression, Wang et al (2004) showed associations between genetic variation in the CHRM2 gene and depression arising in families with an alcohol-dependent proband, whereas Comings et al (2002) found that genetic variation in the 3'² region of the CHRM2 gene (A/T 1890) was associated with MDD specifically in females. Taken together, these findings highlight the relevance of the muscarinic cholinergic system in depression and also appear complementary to the current report, as gender differences have been associated with both the genetic variation in the CHRM2 gene in MDD and now with the likelihood of experiencing an antidepressant response to scopolamine.
Previously, we proposed that the antidepressant effects of scopolamine may be mediated via interactions involving N-methyl--aspartate glutamatergic receptors (NMDARs). Elevated glutamatergic transmission has been associated with the pathophysiology of depression, and a variety of antidepressant treatments have been shown to result in reduced NMDAR function (for review, see Paul and Skolnick, 2003). The NMDAR gene expression is enhanced by muscarinic receptor stimulation in at least some brain structures (Liu et al, 2004), and thus the elevated muscarinic receptor sensitivity identified in mood disorders (Janowsky et al, 1994) may contribute to an elevation in NMDAR transmission. Scopolamine administration reduces mRNA concentrations for NMDAR types 1A and 2A in rat brain (Liu et al, 2004) and via this mechanism may reduce NMDAR function.
Although the underlying mechanism that explains gender differences remains unclear, there are indications that hormones may have an important role in modulating the interactions between NMDAR function and M2 receptor stimulation. Estrogen has been shown to modulate the functional state of the cholinergic system by increasing choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity and by increasing the release of Ach (Gibbs et al, 2004; Pongrac et al, 2004). Researchers have also demonstrated that estrogen enhances NMDAR function by increasing NMDAR binding, at least in some brain regions, possibly by increasing the density of dendritic spines that express NMDAR (McEwen et al, 2001; Smith et al, 2009; Woolley and McEwen, 1994). Moreover, Daniel and Dohanich (2001) demonstrated that the influence of estrogen on NMDA receptor function is mediated specifically via M2 receptors.
The interactions among M2 receptors, NMDA receptors, and estrogen may indicate a direction for further study to evaluate the role of the cholinergic system in mood disorders, and the gender-based differences in the prevalence of depression. A variety of types of evidence have suggested that the cholinergic muscarinic receptors are hypersensitive in mood disorders, although the extent to which this finding extends to specific muscarinic subtypes has yet to be established. Nevertheless, if the muscarinic supersensitivity includes M2 receptors, this would be expected to increase NMDA receptor function (either via modulating gene expression and/or by increasing NMDA receptor density), consistent with the current understanding that increased glutamatergic activity is associated with depression. Thus, the reduction of NMDA receptor activity following the antagonism of M2 receptors with scopolamine conceivably could account for the antidepressant effects observed (Liu et al, 2004). More interesting in the context of the current paper is the role of estrogen in this complex interaction. Estrogen enhances the interaction between M2 and NMDA receptors to boost further NMDA receptor activity, a mechanism that may contribute to the increased prevalence of depression in women, as well as the greater antidepressant response to scopolamine in women than men. By blocking M2 receptors with scopolamine, the influence of estrogen on NMDA receptors presumably would be diminished, which should further reduce NMDAR activity. Although the relation between NMDA receptors and M2 receptors would also apply to mood disorders in men, the influence of estrogen would be substantially smaller and thus the magnitude of change would be reduced.
The muscarinic cholinergic system interacts with other neurotransmitter systems implicated in the pathophysiology of depression that are also influenced by gonadal steroids, and that may alternatively or additionally contribute to sex differences in the antidepressant response to scopolamine. Interactions between the muscarinic cholinergic and serotonergic systems are hypothesized to contribute to the pathogenesis of major depression (Overstreet et al, 1996, 1998). Multiple aspects of serotonergic system function are influenced by testosterone, progesterone, and/or estrogen, and these interactions are hypothesized to underlie sex differences in the clinical epidemiology and course of mood disorders (Benmansour et al, 2009; Gupta et al, 2007; Rubinow et al, 1998; Sell et al, 2008; Zhang et al, 2006). Such interactions conceivably may influence cholinergic''serotonergic interactions in a way that modulates antidepressant responses to scopolamine.
Similarly, catecholaminergic neurotransmitter systems have been implicated in the pathophysiology of mood disorders, and testosterone, progesterone, and/or estrogen have been shown to modulate catecholamine synthesis, release, degradation, and/or transport (Alonso-Solis et al, 1996; Lester et al, 2010; Thompson and Certain, 2005; Zhang et al, 2006). The muscarinic cholinergic system interacts with catecholaminergic neurotransmitter function such that alterations in the balance between systems may have major roles in the pathophysiology of mood disorders (Janowsky et al, 1972, 1983; Lester et al, 2010; Sarter et al, 1999). For example, reduced dopaminergic receptor transmission is hypothesized to underlie the impairment of reward seeking and motivated behavior in depression (reviewed in Drevets et al, 2008). Increased muscarinic receptor sensitivity in depression would be expected to result in reduced striatal dopaminergic release (Hartvig et al, 2002). In addition, ovarian steroids exert an antidopaminergic effect at both the pituitary and striatal levels, whereas androgens can reverse these effects (Alonso-Solis et al, 1996; Dluzen and Ramirez, 1989; Labrie et al, 1980). Thus, females conceivably may develop more prominently reduced dopaminergic transmission in association with muscarinic receptor supersensitivity than males. If so, then conversely females would be expected to show enhanced improvement in response to muscarinic antagonist administration than males. In summary, although the mechanisms underlying sex differences in the antidepressant response to scopolamine remain unclear, the prominent influence that gonadal steroids exert on a variety of neurobiological systems suggests that these mechanisms involve complex interactions involving multiple neurotransmitter systems.
Several features of the sample selection limit the generalizability of the current findings. First, the sample was relatively small for the male participants. Second, both elderly and pediatric subjects, and current nicotine users, were excluded from participation in the study, and thus the findings may not generalize to such cases. Smokers were excluded from participation because of concern regarding possible functional interactions between the muscarinic and nicotinic cholinergic receptor systems that could potentially influence the antidepressant effect of scopolamine. Finally, we used a single regimen for the administration of scopolamine.
The finding that males show a reduced antidepressant response to three pulses of scopolamine at 4'‰Î¼g/kg i.v. may highlight the need to determine if males would experience added benefit from increasing the number of administrations or by using a larger dose of scopolamine. The dose used in this study varied based on body weight, but was the same for males and females. Future studies should focus on the evaluation of slightly higher doses of scopolamine in men.
AcknowledgmentsWe thank Mark Opal and Summer Peck for technical support, Michele Drevets and Joan Williams for patient recruitment and evaluation, David Luckenbaugh for statistical advice, and Paul Carlson, Alan Mallinger, Andy Speer, Carlos Zarate, Meena Vythilingam, and the 5SW Day Hospital nursing staff for medical support. This research was supported by the NIH NIMH-DIRP.
NotesThe NIMH has filed a use-patent for the use of scopolamine in the treatment of depression, and Drs Furey and Drevets are identified as co-inventors on this pending patent application. The other authors declare no conflict of interest.
FootnotesSupplementary Information accompanies the paper on the Neuropsychopharmacology website (http://www.nature.com/npp)
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124,000 Leaked Documents Reveal How Uber Spread "F**king Illegal" Ride-Sharing Globally | ZeroHedge
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:32
A treasure trove of more than 124,000 confidential documents known as "The Uber Files" reveals the inside story of how Uber aggressively pushed into international markets
The unprecedented leak to The Guardian and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media outlets shows how the ride-sharing service wooed prime ministers, presidents, billionaires, and oligarchs for access to their home markets between 2013-17.
The files cover Uber's operations across 40 countries during a period in which the company became a global behemoth, bulldozing its cab-hailing service into many of the cities in which it still operates today. -- The Guardian
Uber's history of disregarding local laws and regulations and even conducting law-breaking activities were detailed in the cache of files containing emails, iMessage, and WhatsApp messages, including conversations with co-founder Travis Kalanick and top-level execs.
In a 2014 message to a coworker, Uber's former head of global communications, Nairi Hourdajian, reportedly stated: "Sometimes we have problems because, well, we're just fucking illegal."
In an exchange between Kalanick and execs, the co-founder overlooked concerns about sending French Uber drivers to demonstrate against the taxi industry. "I think it's worth it ... Violence guarantee[s] success," Kalanick wrote to colleagues.
There were also messages between Kalanick and Emmanuel Macron, who helped the company into the French market -- it was noted that Macron, then economy minister, secretly brokered deals with opponents in the French cabinet to allow the company to disrupt Europe's taxi industry.
In 2016, Kalanick met with then-U.S. Vice President Biden at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He messaged his staff about Biden's tardiness: "I've had my people let him know that every minute late he is, is one less minute he will have with me."
Detailed in The Uber Files, company execs held 100 meetings worldwide in 17 countries.
The documents reveal for the first time Uber's $90 million-a-year lobbying and public relations push to disrupt the global taxi industry.
In response to the data dump, Uber spokesperson Jill Hazelbaker admitted mistakes were made when Kalanick ran the company. However, his replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, has been "tasked with transforming every aspect of how Uber operates" and has "installed the rigorous controls and compliance necessary to operate as a public company."
"We have not and will not make excuses for past behavior that is clearly not in line with our present values. Instead, we ask the public to judge us by what we've done over the last five years and what we will do in the years to come," Hazelbaker said.
One document revealed Uber developed a "kill switch" so that when authorities raided offices around the world, law enforcement seeking information on the company's practices would be cut from access to the company's data systems, thus preventing evidence gathering.
Developing world to face wave of defaults '' Bloomberg '-- RT Business News
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:29
Emerging nations, including El Salvador, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan, will be challenged with a historic cascade of defaults as a quarter-trillion-dollar pile of distressed debts exerts downward pressure on economies, Bloomberg is reporting.
''With the low-income countries, debt risks and debt crises are not hypothetical,'' the World Bank's Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart told the agency on Saturday. ''We're pretty much already there.''
Over the past six months, there's reportedly been a doubling in the number of emerging markets with sovereign debt that trades at highly distressed levels, meaning yields that indicate investors believe default is a real possibility.
Another cause for major concern reportedly arises from a potential ''domino effect'' that commonly occurs when scared investors begin yanking money out of countries with economic problems.
In June, traders reportedly pulled $4 billion out of emerging-market bonds and stocks, marking a fourth straight month of outflows.
Probable defaults may be followed by political instability. Earlier this year, Sri Lanka was the first nation to stop paying its foreign bondholders, burdened by unwieldy food and fuel costs that fueled protests and political chaos.
''Populations suffering from high food prices and shortages of supplies can be a tinderbox for political instability,'' Barclays has said, as quoted by Bloomberg.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section
Gopuff laying off 10% of global workforce, closing dozens of US warehouses | Grocery Dive
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:29
Gopuff plans to lay off 10% of its global workforce and close dozens of dark stores as it grapples with a challenging market and leveling e-commerce demand.
In a July 12 memo to investors, founders and Co-Chief Executive Officers Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev said the company will reduce its workforce in order to ''remove overhead and drive operational efficiencies.'' A Gopuff spokesperson said the company will be letting about 1,500 workers go.
This follows the company's announcement in early April that it would eliminate 3% of its positions globally from its workforce of roughly 15,000 workers.
In addition, Gopuff plans to consolidate its footprint by ''closing and consolidating'' 76 dark stores across the U.S., which the spokesperson said equates to about 12% of the company's footprint in the country. The company plans to expand delivery zones at high-performing warehouses in order to continue serving most of the customers in impacted markets.
The founders said in the memo that Gopuff will focus on its ''core'' instant delivery offerings as well as promising new ventures, like selling Apple products. It will also lean into its advertising business, ramp up forecasting technology and improve inventory management.
The company will also invest further in international markets, most notably the U.K., where it has seen monthly order growth increase by a factor of 10 in less than a year, according to the memo.
''Today, the instant commerce industry that Gopuff created is at an inflection point,'' Gola and Ilishayev wrote.
Instant delivery has exploded over the past two years as startups and established retailers alike have sought to capitalize on e-commerce growth spurred by the pandemic. But a few startups have gone out of business or scaled back in recent months as companies grapple with slowing demand and costly operations.
Tuesday's memo noted that Gopuff, which was founded in 2013, has expanded rapidly in recent years '-- perhaps too rapidly.
''In a bull market, we were incentivized to scale our geographic footprint,'' the memo noted. ''In assessing the business in light of today's economic environment, we found that we can be more efficient by focusing on maturing our high-performing MFCs to drive profitable growth in each market.''
Still, the founders struck an optimistic note for the future, noting that Gopuff plans to become profitable in 2024.
''These shifts not only accelerate our timeline to profitability, but they also take us back to our roots of keeping profitability at the core of every decision,'' the memo stated.
Anti-Vaping Rhetoric Misleads Public About E-Cigarette Safety, Study Finds | American Council on Science and Health
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:28
The evidence is clear at this point: vaping is less dangerous than smoking and helps many people give up their deadly cigarette habit. Nobody who fairly looks at the data can dispute either conclusion, yet tobacco-control researchers, activists, and federal regulators routinely deny or downplay both observations. Science denial is always irritating, but it's especially troublesome in this case because it has polluted the public's understanding of vaping and discouraged smokers from trying an alternative that might save their lives.
As an ex-smoker who quit with the help of an e-cigarette, I have a dog in this fight. But you don't have to take my word for it. The conclusion in the preceding paragraph came from a study recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ''Adults in the United States increasingly perceive electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, as 'more harmful' than traditional cigarettes," Medscape reported on June 20. More importantly,
... [T]he percentage of people who exclusively used traditional cigarettes almost doubled between 2019 and 2020 among those who perceived e-cigarettes as more harmful, jumping from 8.4% in 2019 to 16.3% in 2020 '... Since e-cigarettes entered the US market in 2006, public health experts have questioned claims from manufacturers that the products work as a harm reduction tool to help traditional cigarette smokers to quit.
Questioning the harm-reduction utility of e-cigarettes 16 years ago was reasonable. The fact that researchers continue to express the same doubts today is simply inexcusable. Let's take a closer look at the study.
Why does the public fear vaping?
The authors analyzed data gathered as part of the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), a mail-based, nationally representative survey that asks US adults about their perceptions of cancer and other health-related information. The data were collected in five cycles between January 2018 and May 2020. The answers of more than 3,000 respondents (2018: 3,360; 2019: 3,217; 2020: 3,677) from each year were included in the final analysis. The authors reported that
Relative harm perceptions of E-cigarettes versus cigarettes were assessed with the following question that had a choice of 6 responses: Compared to smoking cigarettes, would you say that electronic cigarettes are.... Respondents were categorized as perceiving E-cigarettes as relatively less harmful (replied much less harmful or less harmful), as harmful (replied just as harmful), and more harmful (replied more harmful or much more harmful) than cigarettes.
The negative shift in perceptions, the authors suggested, was possibly driven by media coverage of the so-called ''EVALI epidemic.'' Between 2019 and 2020, when more than 2,000 people were hospitalized with vaping product-use-associated lung injuries and 68 died.
I write ''so-called'' because these cases weren't caused by vaping per se, as the CDC wrongly maintained for months, but by illegally purchased devices that were used to vape THC or CBD. These chemicals, native to marijuana, not tobacco, were mixed with vitamin E acetate, which probably caused the reported lung injuries. Dr. Josh Bloom helpfully explained the chemistry behind this phenomenon in this story; later research confirmed his analysis.
During the EVALI outbreak, reporters did what they usually do when they don't have all the facts: they amplified the risks'--again, with the implicit blessing of the CDC'--but showed little interest in reporting the resolution to the controversy. According to the study authors:
'... more harmful relative perceptions were present at high levels in March 2020 and April 2020, suggesting that misperceptions persisted long after the link to vitamin E acetate '... was initially identified in September 2019, possibly because media coverage was not sustained at initial levels after the outbreak source was identified.
The trend continues
EVALI is no longer a major public health concern, but the ideological activism and sloppy reporting that fueled the controversy then continue to undermine vaping as a harm-reduction tool today. Researchers publish low-grade research alleging that e-cigarette use carries severe health consequences and the media dutifully reports the results. ACSH and other science-minded outlets correct the propaganda; unfortunately, this good news doesn't attract nearly as much attention as the sexy, scary headlines did.
Experts recognize this problem and know it needs to be addressed. "We're good in public health about messaging that cigarettes are bad, that tobacco is broadly harmful," Dr. Ashley Brooks-Russell, associate professor at the Colorado School of Public Health, told Medscape Medical News. "We're really bad at talking about lesser options, like if you're going to smoke, e-cigarettes are less harmful."
Dr. Russell is correct, but I'd go further. Even when they document the harm caused by common anti-vaping tropes, tobacco researchers can't abandon their skepticism e-cigarettes. As the study authors themselves wrote,
E-cigarettes '... contain high levels of nicotine and youth-appealing flavors that may contribute to addiction and progression to combustible tobacco product use among adolescents and young adults.
Every word of that sentence is at least partially false. Many e-cigarettes contain little or no nicotine. Flavored vapes do not encourage teen use of any tobacco product; there is no sound evidence to justify that speculation. The authors also repeated an anti-vaping claim that has become an article of faith among tobacco researchers: ''the risks associated with long-term use are unclear.'' That's necessarily true because nobody has a crystal ball, but public health researchers routinely use that statement to imply that we will find some serious vaping-associated risk in the future.
''The long-term risks of exclusive use of e-cigarettes are not fully known,'' The American Cancer Society claims, ''but evidence is accumulating that e-cigarette use has negative effects on the cardiovascular system and lungs. Without immediate measures to stop epidemic use of these products, the long-term adverse health effects will increase.''
Could you imagine a major medical institution making a similar declaration about COVID-19 vaccines or pubertal blockers used to treat gender dysphoria? After all, we don't know the long-term effects these powerful drugs may have on the people who take them (see here and here). Surely we have to stop the ''epidemic use'' of these products until we know more about them, right?
If those loaded questions irritate you, then maybe you're beginning to understand why the popular rhetoric about vaping is so absurd. A proper assessment of any product necessitates that we accurately balance the risks and benefits of using it. Nobody asserts that vaping is risk-free; it's an effective intervention designed to reduce smoking, which continues to kill people around the world.
With that standard in mind, speculating about the harms we we might find one day is a foolish thought experiment. Tell the public what we know today: vaping is a low-risk alternative for adult smokers who want to quit cigarettes.
Avian flu: Dead birds falling from the sky is a bad omen for humanity - New Statesman
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:26
Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty ImagesPolitical paralysis, looming recession and climate change: dark metaphorical clouds are hanging over Britain '' and now dead birds are falling from the sky. Take a walk along a beach in Scotland or down the east coast of England this summer and you are likely to find the bodies of sick seabirds washed up on the shore. In Brighton last weekend a seagull dropped dead mid-flight.
If this feels particularly apocalyptic, even by 2022's standards, then it should. ''The last nine months have been unprecedented,'' an RSPB officer said. ''We have never seen anything like this before.''
The deaths are the result of a new variant of H5N1, a strain of highly pathogenic avian influenza, or ''bird flu''. Low-pathogenic bird flu circulates naturally and causes no signs of disease in wild waterbirds, but the crowded conditions of intensive poultry farms can cause the virus to mutate into a deadly form. The origins of this particular strain have been traced to a farm in the Guangdong region of China in 1996. Since then, it has spilled over to wild birds and travelled westwards to Europe, Africa and, more recently, North America, via the movement of poultry and wild migration.
Desperate measures, including mass poultry culls, have been used for decades to try to contain the disease, but the recent variant is now killing wild birds at alarming speed. At first it seemed to be limited to small outbreaks during winter, mainly in ducks, geese and swans, explains the RSPB's Martin Fowlie. Then, this past winter, the spread didn't stop with the spring as experts had hoped. Birds from previously uninfected species are now dying in vast quantities '' from gannets to roseate terns to great skuas (of which the UK is home to half the global population).
The exact wild death toll is hard to determine. This is partly due to the lack of a joined-up system for monitoring and recording the deaths, explains James Pearce-Higgins from the British Trust for Ornithology. But Fowlie estimates Britain's current total figure for the year at ''tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands'' and conservation groups have been doing what they can, including launching fundraising appeals to support survey work.
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I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy Seabirds breeding in closely packed colonies are proving especially vulnerable. Estimates put declines for some species as high as 85 per cent on some Scottish islands. In one particularly heart-wrenching video an infected gannet is seen in torturous spasms; birds often suffer fits before death. On Coquet Island, Northumberland, all the chicks from 1,964 sandwich tern nests died. Birds of prey that eat dead birds are also at high risk.
Nor is it just the UK's seabirds that are impacted. The disease is killing at an unprecedented scale, from peregrine falcons in the Netherlands to cranes in Israel. Nearly 400,000 wild bird deaths from the disease have been counted by the World Organisation for Animal Health in the last year alone (a conservative estimate). According to Thijs Kuiken, a professor of comparative pathology at the Erasmus University medical centre in Rotterdam, this year's outbreak ''has affected both more poultry farms and more wild birds in Europe than any before it''.
For some species the consequences could be dire. Birds returning from the arctic this autumn, such as dunlins and oystercatchers, could become infected in their hundreds of thousands. Furthermore, many seabirds are long-lived and only produce one or two chicks a year, so the deaths of large numbers of adults will lead to precipitous declines. For species, such as roseate terns, that are already declining or have small populations, local extinction is an increasing possibility, Kuiken warns.
Stopping the devastation will not be easy. Vaccination of wild birds is almost impossible due to the lack of a vaccine that can be delivered orally (and so easily distributed) and the vast numbers of species (and their food sources) in question. More support for monitoring the scale of the deaths is therefore essential to understanding the virus's potential impact and assessing what can be done. Expert groups from across relevant industries, science and conservation need to be formed to better model how the disease moves between species, says Fowlie, ''but we're not seeing the government doing that, and with [parliamentary] recess it's likely nothing will happen over the summer''.
Increased protection for breeding sites, as well as measures to guard against overfishing and poorly placed wind turbines, could help seabird populations increase their chances of recovering from the disease, conservation experts stress. And such calls to protect habitats can't come loudly enough in light of a new report from the UK Environment Agency warning that 15 per cent per cent of native flora and fauna species now face extinction, including a quarter of mammals.
Avian flu specifically, however, will probably also need to be addressed at its source: poultry farms. The EU's non-vaccination policy for poultry needs to be dropped, Kuiken argues, and longer term plans should look at high-intensity farming. The emergence and spread of new variants is correlated to the density of birds in farms, so ''to decrease the chance of new variants we should have smaller numbers''. ''It's a man-made problem'', he says, and ''just one of many arguments in favour of system change'' in the agricultural sector, alongside land protection and the need to reduce carbon emissions.
If we don't take action soon, then the virus's next deadly stop could be even closer to home. While H5N1 crossing over into humans has so far been rare, that could change, Kuiken warns. Other carnivore species, including otters, polecats and seals, have died from the disease causing infection of the brain. Even if not very virulent, a sufficiently transmissible variant in people could cause a huge problem: in 1918 Spanish influenza, which derived from birds, killed between 20 and 50 million people.
Could it be the next Covid-19? ''Yes,'' Kuiken says. ''We're knowingly risking our own lives by allowing this kind of system to continue as it is.''
[See also: Fuel price protests can't just avoid the climate question]
Penny Mordaunt on course to be next PM if she reaches final round of Tory leadership race, poll finds | Politics News | Sky News
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:23
Penny Mordaunt is on course to become prime minister if she reaches the final two candidates to succeed Boris Johnson, a new YouGov poll reveals.
The survey of 879 Conservative Party members conducted last night and today suggests the former defence secretary, who launched her campaign this morning, wins by a huge margin against all other contenders.
The poll is bad news for Mr Sunak, the frontrunner among MPs, as he loses to all candidates apart from Nadhim Zahawi.
Ms Mordaunt beats the former chancellor, who has the most declared MP backers at 50.
Politics Hub: Dorries accuses Sunak's team of 'dirty tricks' and 'dark arts'
Asked to select their favourite replacement, Ms Mordaunt comes first among Tory members with 27% of votes. Kemi Badenoch comes second with 15% while Mr Sunak and Ms Truss are tied on third place with 13%.
Tom Tugendhat has 8%, Suella Braverman has 5%, Jeremy Hunt 4% and Mr Zahawi 1%. Some 6% say "none of the above" are their preferred candidate while 8% say they don't know.
The order of preference among members is very different to the public choice of those 358 Tory MPs who have so far declared, who put Mr Sunak first, Ms Mordaunt some distance behind on second, Ms Truss on third, Ms Badenoch on fourth and Mr Tugendhat on fifth.
The members were also asked who they would vote for if given a choice between just two names, with Ms Mordaunt winning against every competitor.
Ms Mordaunt beats Mr Sunak by 67% to 28%, beats Ms Truss by 55% to 37% and Ms Badenoch - who comes second among members - by 59% to 30%.
In the event that Ms Mordaunt does not make the final round, Ms Truss would beat Mr Sunak by 67% to 28%.
Only candidates who made it on the ballot paper with the support of 20 or more MPs yesterday were put before the members.
Read more:Eight MPs left in contest after day of high-profile casualtiesNadhim Zahawi would 'certainly' offer Boris Johnson a cabinet role if he wins leadership race
Sky News is hosting a live TV debate with the contenders vying to be the next leader of the Conservative Party and therefore prime minister, and you could be in the virtual audience.
The debate will take place on Monday 18 July hosted by Sky News presenter Kay Burley.
If you would like to be a member of the virtual audience and be in with a chance of asking a question, please email NewsDebates@sky.uk.
Penny Mordaunt - Wikipedia
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:23
British politician (born 1973)
Penelope Mary Mordaunt FRSA (; born 4 March 1973) is a British politician who has been serving as Minister of State for Trade Policy since 2021. A member of the Conservative Party, she has been the Member of Parliament (MP) representing Portsmouth North since 2010. She previously served in Theresa May's Cabinet as Secretary of State for International Development from 2017 to 2019 and Secretary of State for Defence from May to July 2019.
Mordaunt read philosophy at the University of Reading, before working in the public relations industry. She held roles within the Conservative Party under party leaders John Major and William Hague, and also worked for George W. Bush's presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Mordaunt was elected to the House of Commons in May 2010. Under the coalition government of David Cameron, she served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Decentralisation from 2014 to 2015. After the 2015 general election, Cameron promoted her to Minister of State for the Armed Forces, the first woman to hold the post. Mordaunt supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum on EU membership. Following Theresa May's appointment as Prime Minister, Mordaunt was appointed Minister of State for Disabled People, Work and Health. In 2017, following the resignation of Priti Patel, she was appointed Secretary of State for International Development. She also served as Minister for Women and Equalities from 2018 to 2019.
In May 2019, Mordaunt was appointed Secretary of State for Defence, replacing Gavin Williamson, becoming the first woman to hold the post. She served as Defence Secretary for 85 days before being removed from the position by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In the February 2020 reshuffle, she re-entered government as Paymaster General. In the 2021 reshuffle, she was appointed Minister of State for Trade Policy.
Following Johnson's resignation in July 2022, Mordaunt announced that she was running in the leadership race to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and therefore the next prime minister.
Early life and career Mordaunt was born on 4 March 1973 in Torquay, Devon.[2][3][4] The daughter of a former paratrooper, she states she was named after the Arethusa-class cruiser HMS Penelope.[5] Her father, John Mordaunt, born at Hilsea Barracks, served in the Parachute Regiment before retraining as a teacher, and later a youth worker for Hampshire Council.[6] Her mother, Jennifer (n(C)e Snowden), was a special needs teacher at several Purbrook schools.[6] Through her mother she is a relative of Philip Snowden, the first Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer.[7] The actress Dame Angela Lansbury is her grandmother's cousin,[8][9] and she is thus distantly related to the former Labour leader George Lansbury.[10] Mordaunt has two brothers: her twin, James, and a younger brother, Edward.[11] Mordaunt was educated at Oaklands Roman Catholic Comprehensive School in Waterlooville, Hampshire and studied drama at the Victoryland Theatre School.[12]
Mordaunt was 15 when her mother died of breast cancer and, following her twin brother in leaving school, she became her younger brother Edward's primary caregiver. The following year her father was also diagnosed with cancer, from which he recovered. To pay her way through her studies, Mordaunt worked in a Johnson & Johnson factory, and became a magician's assistant to Will Ayling, a past President of the Portsmouth Magical Society and of The British Ring of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.[13][14]
Mordaunt has attributed her interest in politics to her experiences working in hospitals and orphanages of Romania in her gap year, while that country was in the aftermath of the 1989 revolution.[15]
Mordaunt read philosophy at the University of Reading, graduating in 1995 with upper second class honours. She was the first member of her family to attend university.[11] Mordaunt was active in student politics and served as President of the Reading University Students' Union.[16]
After her graduation, Mordaunt's employment was focused on public relations in various sectors. Under Prime Minister John Major she was Head of Youth for the Conservative Party, before working for two years as Head of Broadcasting for the party under party leader William Hague (1999''2001).[4][11] She worked as a communications specialist for the Freight Transport Association (now Logistics UK) from 1997 to 1999. In 2000, she worked briefly as Head of Foreign Press for George W. Bush's presidential campaign.[17][18] She was Communications Director for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea from 2001 to 2003, before leaving to set up a new Anglo-American website called 'virtualconservatives'.[19][11] From 2004 to 2006, she was a director of Media Intelligence Partners.[4]
Mordaunt worked for the Bush campaign again in 2004.[20] She was a director at the Community Fund, which merged with the New Opportunities Fund to create the Big Lottery Fund, and created the Veterans Reunited programme, enabling service men and women to visit World War II battlefields and be involved in commemorative events.[6] Mordaunt worked for the Big Lottery Fund from 2003 to 2005.[4] In 2006, she became one of six directors at charity Diabetes UK, a role she held until 2009.[4][21][22]
Parliamentary career In November 2003 Mordaunt was selected as Conservative candidate to contest Portsmouth North in the 2005 general election. She attained a 5.5% swing towards the Conservatives,[11] but lost to Labour candidate Sarah McCarthy-Fry by 1,139 votes.[23] A critic of women-only shortlists,[24][25] Mordaunt worked after the 2005 election as chief of staff for David Willetts's aborted leadership campaign.[26]
Mordaunt was re-selected in January 2006 to contest Portsmouth North at the 2010 general election.[11] At the election, she won the seat with an 8.6% swing from Labour, giving her a 7,289 majority. She was re-elected at the 2015, 2017, and 2019 general elections.
After her election in 2010, she was a member of the Public Bill Committee for the Defence Reform Act 2014.[27]
Mordaunt served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Decentralisation from 2014 to 2015, prior to being appointed Minister of State for the Armed Forces in 2015, the first woman to hold the post.[8][28]
During Mordaunt's time as Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for Communities and Local government, she was accused by the Fire Brigades Union "of misleading MPs over assurances given to firefighters from fire authorities regarding what would happen to their pensions if they fail fitness tests". This dispute led to strike action by firefighters over the increase of retirement age.[29]
When receiving the Speech of the Year award at The Spectator magazine's Parliamentarian of the Year Awards in November 2014, Mordaunt said that she had delivered a speech in the House of Commons just before the Easter recess in 2013 on poultry welfare so as to use the word "cock", as a forfeit for a misdemeanour during Naval Reserve training.[30][31] She used the word "cock" six times and "lay" or "laid" five times. Following her comments, she was accused by Labour MP Kate Hoey of trivialising parliament.[32]
In 2014, Mordaunt proposed the loyal address in reply to the Queen's speech from the throne.[33][34]
In 2014, Mordaunt appeared on reality television programme Splash! Although her Labour opponents criticised the media appearance, questioning whether her focus should instead have been on her constituency work,[35] Mordaunt stated that the response was overwhelmingly positive and defended her appearance,[36] stating that she was donating all of her £10,000 appearance fee plus any additional sponsorship to charity; £7,000 towards the renovation of her local lido and the rest to four armed services charities.[37]
In the EU membership referendum, Mordaunt supported Brexit.[38]
In June 2020, in response to vandalism of war memorials, Mordaunt stated: "I would like to suggest that for some found guilty of vandalising such memorials they might benefit from some time spent with our service personnel '' perhaps at a battle camp. That might give them a new appreciation of just what these people go through for their sakes."[39]
In June 2020, Mordaunt said that some Overseas Development Assistance should instead be spent on a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia.[40]
Secretary of State for International Development Mordaunt was appointed Secretary of State for International Development on 9 November 2017, after Priti Patel resigned.[41]
In February 2018, an investigation by The Times newspaper revealed allegations of misconduct by Oxfam staff operating in Haiti, in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake. Mordaunt argued that Oxfam, which had received £32m in Government funds in the previous financial year, had failed in its "moral leadership" over the scandal. She also said that Oxfam did "absolutely the wrong thing" by not reporting the detail of the allegations to the Government. Mordaunt felt it was important for aid organisations to report offences because she suspected that there were paedophiles "targeting" the charity sector in order to carry out predatory activities.[42]
Minister for Women and Equalities She became Minister for Women and Equalities in April 2018, replacing Amber Rudd, who had resigned following the Windrush scandal.[43] In July 2018 she became the first minister to use sign language in the House of Commons, to applause from all sides.[44] In March 2019, she was criticised in a newspaper article by Maya Forstater, who claimed she had not answered to some Mumsnet users' satisfaction questions on sex and gender during a webchat held on International Women's Day.[45]
In Parliament she previously sat on the Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee), the Defence Committee, the European Scrutiny Committee and the Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee).[46]
Secretary of State for Defence On 1 May 2019, Mordaunt was appointed as the first-ever female secretary of state for defence following the dismissal of Gavin Williamson.[47] After Boris Johnson became Prime Minister, Mordaunt left the Government on 24 July 2019.[48]
Later ministerial career In a cabinet reshuffle in February 2020, Mordaunt re-entered the Government, joining the Cabinet Office as Paymaster General in succession to Oliver Dowden.[49] She was the UK alternate co-chair of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.[50] She was made Minister of State for Trade Policy in the 2021 cabinet reshuffle.[51]
Conservative Party leadership contest 2022 Logo used by Mordaunt's 2022 leadership bid
In July 2022, Mordaunt launched her bid to be the next Conservative leader and consequently UK prime minister.[52] An early promotional video published by her campaign attracted criticism for featuring footage of former professional sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in 2013.[52][53][54] Athlete Jonnie Peacock requested to be removed from the same video published by her campaign.[55][56] Mordaunt's campaign edited the video to remove footage of Peacock and Pistorius.[53]
Early in the contest, journalist Owen Jones accused Mordaunt of "throwing trans people under a bus to advance her own career" after she appeared to negate her 2018 statement that "trans women are women and trans men are men" by insisting on a strictly biological basis for womanhood.[57] After one of the favourites to become the next Conservative leader Ben Wallace announced he would not stand,[58] Mordaunt was favourite in polling conducted by political blog ConservativeHome.[59]
Mordaunt was one of eight contenders who achieved the necessary 20 nominations by the 12 July deadline. Three other candidates had to drop out earlier that day. As at close of nominations, Mordaunt and Rishi Sunak were being reported as joint favourites with bookmakers.[60]
Parliamentary support The following table shows how many MPs supported Mordaunt during each election round:
DateVotes Received%Position / CandidatesRef13 July 20226718.72 / 8[61]14 July 20228323.32 / 6[62]18 July 2022Naval service Mordaunt is a Royal Naval Reservist. In 2010, she was serving as an acting sub-lieutenant, at shore establishment HMS King Alfred on Whale Island.[63][64][65] From May 2015 until April 2019, she had no annual training commitment and received no remuneration from the Navy.[66] She was made an honorary commander in April 2019,[66] and an honorary captain on 30 June 2021.[67] As of 2022[update],[failed verification ] she was the only female MP in the Royal Naval Reserve.[68]
Personal life A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, she is a member of the British Astronomical Association,[69] and as of 2013 was chair of the Wymering Manor Trust in Portsmouth.[70] She ran the League of Friends visiting team at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth for eight years.[6] She is a patron of the Victoria Cross Trust, and Enable Ability, a disability charity based in Portsmouth, in addition to being a Scouting ambassador.[6]
Mordaunt met Paul Murray when they were both students at the University of Reading and married him in 1999, but this ended in divorce the following year.[71][72] She was later in a long-term relationship with Ian Lyon, a classical singer.[73] They had no children of their own, but Lyon had a 16 year old daughter. Her hobbies include astronomy, painting, dance and music.[74][4][6] She owns four Burmese cats.[75]
Mordaunt is a descendant of Denis and Mary Mordaunt, who were born in County Wexford, Ireland, during the late 18th century, according to a genealogy website maintained by her uncle Henry Mordaunt.[76]
Publications Greater: Britain after the storm (with Chris Lewis, 2021)References ^ "TheyWorkForYou". TheyWorkForYou. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8744. ^ Mordaunt, Penny (2009). Penny welcome video blog. YouTube. Event occurs at 0:05. Archived from the original on 18 December 2021 . Retrieved 21 December 2018 . ^ a b c d e f "Mordaunt, Rt Hon. Penelope Mary, (Rt Hon. Penny), (born 4 March 1973), PC 2017; MP (C) Portsmouth North, since 2010; Minister of State, Department for International Trade, since 2021". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u251190 . Retrieved 14 July 2022 . ^ "Strategic Defence and Security Review". Hansard - UK Parliament. 21 June 2010. ^ a b c d e f "Meet Your Portsmouth North MP". Age UK . Retrieved 13 July 2022 . ^ Kinchen, Rosie (12 January 2014). "Penny Mordaunt: Get fresh and the mermaid of Westminster will break your arm" . The Sunday Times. ^ a b Hope, Christopher (15 July 2014). "Pen portraits of the 10 Conservative women ministers who were promoted in the reshuffle" . The Telegraph . Retrieved 15 July 2014 . ^ Bell, Matthew (18 March 2004). "The Feral Beast: Cecilia pins her hopes on the Pope" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022 . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ Profile: Penny Mordaunt, a risqu(C) but not revolting potential Tory leadership contender Conservative Home, March 17 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2022. ^ a b c d e f "Penny Mordaunt profile". conservatives.com. Archived from the original on 30 April 2010 . Retrieved 8 May 2015 . ^ "Penny Mordaunt: Member of Parliament for Portsmouth North". conservatives.com. Archived from the original on 16 December 2014 . Retrieved 8 May 2015 . ^ "Who is Penny Mordaunt? Navy reservist vying for Tory leadership". Metro (British newspaper) . Retrieved 14 July 2022 . ^ Darren Slade (9 November 2017). "New minister Penny Mordaunt sawn in half in Bournemouth hotels". Bournemouth Echo . Retrieved 6 July 2022 . ^ Murphy, Joe (18 March 2004). "Howard's harem". Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013 . Retrieved 8 May 2015 . ^ "Penny Mordaunt MP renames landmark University building and gives annual Edith Morley Lecture". University of Reading. 10 March 2017 . Retrieved 14 August 2021 . ^ "The role of women in McCain's presidential campaign". Woman's Hour. 1 September 2008. BBC Radio 4. ^ Brogan, Benedict (14 June 2001). "Bush's black spin doctor backs Hague" . The Telegraph . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ "New Head of PR at Kensington and Chelsea". PR Week. 10 January 2003 . Retrieved 5 October 2018 . ^ Hamilton-Miller, Tara (3 January 2008). "Tara's top Tories". New Statesman . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ Black, Alex (4 May 2006). "Profile: Penny Mordaunt, Diabetes UK". PR Week . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ "Executive Team". Diabetes UK. Archived from the original on 23 May 2008 . Retrieved 7 October 2018 . ^ "Hopefuls tackle Pompey FC crisis". BBC News. 3 May 2010. ^ Appleton, Josie (20 April 2005). "How will women vote?". Spiked . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ Woolf, Marie (15 January 2005). "Tories face call for positive discrimination" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022 . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ "Tory Leadership Watch: August". BBC News. August 2005 . Retrieved 16 May 2009 . ^ "House of Commons Public Bill Committee on the Defence Reform Bill 2013''14". UK Parliament . Retrieved 17 September 2013 . ^ Kelly, Liam (15 July 2014). "Brandon Lewis promoted to housing and planning minister in reshuffle". The Guardian . Retrieved 15 July 2014 . ^ Press Association (16 February 2016). "Firefighters in England announce new industrial action". The Guardian . Retrieved 16 February 2016 . ^ Mason, Chris (1 December 2014). "Penny Mordaunt speech: Fowl play or light-hearted fun?". BBC News . Retrieved 7 December 2014 . ^ "Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt criticised for smutty Commons speech delivered 'for a dare' ". Evening Standard. 30 November 2014 . Retrieved 7 December 2014 . ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (30 November 2014). "Tory MP Penny Mordaunt said 'c**k' several times in Parliament speech as part of Navy dare" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022 . Retrieved 7 December 2014 . ^ Mason, Rowena (4 June 2014). "Penny Mordaunt brings the House down after Queen's speech". The Guardian. ^ Gimson, Andrew (17 March 2016). "Profile: Penny Mordaunt, a risqu(C) but not revolting potential Tory leadership contender". ConservativeHome . Retrieved 19 September 2016 . ^ Mason, Rowena (8 January 2014). "Tory MP to be contestant on Splash!". The Guardian . Retrieved 10 July 2022 . ^ Booth, Jenny (14 January 2014). "Tory MP Penny Mordaunt defends appearing in swimsuit on TV reality show" . The Times . Retrieved 18 January 2014 . ^ Devlin, Kate (2 May 2019). "First female defence secretary Penny Mordaunt has armed forces in her blood" . The Times. ^ Citations:Withnail, Adam (22 May 2016). "Tory minister Penny Mordaunt 'plain and simple lying' over Turkey joining EU" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022 . Retrieved 2 November 2017 . Asthana, Anushka (22 May 2016). "David Cameron suggests defence minister is lying over Turkey joining EU". The Guardian . Retrieved 19 September 2016 . Verhofstadt, Guy (31 May 2016). "Relax, Britain '' you can hate the eurozone and still vote remain". The Guardian . Retrieved 31 May 2016 . ^ "Penny Mordaunt calls for cenotaph vandals to be sent to 'battle camps' ". Sky News. 17 June 2020 . Retrieved 17 June 2020 . ^ Hope, Christopher (17 June 2020). "Spend the aid budget on a successor to HMY Britannia, Penny Mordaunt tells Boris Johnson" . The Telegraph . Retrieved 29 November 2020 . ^ "Penny Mordaunt replaces Priti Patel in cabinet reshuffle". BBC News. 9 November 2017 . Retrieved 9 November 2017 . ^ "Oxfam 'failed in moral leadership' ". BBC News. 11 February 2018 . Retrieved 11 February 2018 . ^ Elgot, Jessica (30 April 2018). "Penny Mordaunt adds women and equalities to ministerial role". The Guardian . Retrieved 29 November 2020 . ^ Minister Penny Mordaunt uses sign language in Commons first - video. The Guardian. 4 July 2018 . Retrieved 6 April 2022 . ^ Forstater, Maya (27 March 2019). "Has Penny Mordaunt got away with the worst Mumsnet performance ever?" . Independent. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022 . Retrieved 6 August 2021 . ^ "Parliamentary career for Penny Mordaunt". UK Parliament . Retrieved 7 October 2018 . ^ "Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson sacked over Huawei leak". BBC News. 1 May 2019 . Retrieved 1 May 2019 . ^ Devlin, Kate (24 July 2019). "Penny Mordaunt sacked as defence secretary" . The Times . Retrieved 29 November 2020 . ^ "Paymaster General". GOV.UK . Retrieved 17 June 2020 . ^ "Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee - Fact Sheet" (PDF) . GOV.UK . Retrieved 7 December 2020 . ^ Fishwick, Ben (16 September 2021). "Reshuffle sees Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt out as paymaster general in move to trade". Portsmouth News . Retrieved 16 September 2021 . ^ a b Tidman, Zoe (10 July 2022). "Oscar Pistorius appears in Tory campaign clip as GB Paralympian asks to be removed". The Independent. ^ a b Lemmer, Richard (10 July 2022). "MP Penny Mordaunt edits her campaign video after complaints over paralympics footage". portsmouth.co.uk. ^ Citations: Turner, Camilla (28 May 2022). "Shaky start for Penny Mordaunt as Oscar Pistorius appears in her Conservative leadership launch video". Telegraph.co.uk . Retrieved 12 July 2022 . Maguire, Patrick. "Rishi might be ahead of the pack, but it's a push to call him the favourite". The Times. ^ Jones, Henry (10 July 2022). "Awkward start to Penny Mordaunt's leadership campaign with hasty video edit". The Independent. ^ "Champion sprinter demands pic axed from Tory hopeful Penny Mordaunt's campaign video". LBC. 10 July 2022. ^ Tidman, Zoe (10 July 2022). "Tory MP accused of 'throwing trans people under bus' after hitting out at critics". The Independent. ^ "Boris Johnson resignation: Wallace rules out bid to replace PM". BBC News. 9 July 2022 . Retrieved 11 July 2022 . ^ Goodman, Paul (11 July 2022). "Our latest Next Tory Leader Survey. Mordaunt leads Badenoch by under ten votes in over eight hundred". Conservative Home . Retrieved 11 July 2022 . ^ "As it happened: Eight contenders in race for next PM after Javid pulls out". BBC News. 12 July 2022 . Retrieved 12 July 2022 . ^ "Rishi Sunak wins first round of Tory leadership vote". BBC News. 13 July 2022 . Retrieved 13 July 2022 . ^ "Braverman out as Sunak winsand Mordaunt second in Tory vote". BBC News. 13 July 2022 . Retrieved 14 July 2022 . ^ "The Register of Members' Financial Interests: MORDAUNT, Penny (Portsmouth North)". parliament.uk. 25 October 2010 . Retrieved 9 July 2022 . ^ Mordaunt, Penny (22 October 2010). "Diary of the week: Penny Mordaunt (blog)". TotalPolitics.com . Retrieved 3 December 2013 . ^ "Royal Naval Reservists mission on the Dart". Royal Navy. Ministry of Defence. 12 March 2014 . Retrieved 26 October 2016 . ^ a b "Changes to the Register of Members' Interests: Penny Mordaunt". TheyWorkForYou . Retrieved 9 July 2022 . ^ "No. 63542". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 November 2021. p. 21618. ^ Channon, Max (24 July 2019). "Navy reservist Penny Mordaunt no longer Defence Secretary". PlymouthLive . Retrieved 10 July 2022 . ^ "Penny Mordaunt's appointment applauded in Britain". The Sunday Guardian . Retrieved 13 July 2022 . ^ Stafford, Stephen (15 February 2013). "Volunteers' hopes for 'haunted' Wymering Manor". BBC News . Retrieved 15 July 2014 . ^ Dale, Iain (21 July 2019). "Penny Mordaunt interview: Britain's first female defence secretary on her dream job" . The Sunday Times . Retrieved 22 July 2019 . ^ Dale, Iain (21 July 2019). "Penny Mordaunt interview: Britain's first female defence secretary on her dream job" . Retrieved 13 July 2022 . ^ Fishwick, Samuel (6 February 2015). "All aboard with Penny Mordaunt". Evening Standard . Retrieved 22 July 2019 . ^ "Allison Pearson: It is perfectly clear that Penny Mordaunt must be our next prime minister". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 13 July 2022 . ^ Horton, Helena (15 September 2016). "Westminster mouse infestation so bad MP Penny Mordaunt brings her own pedigree cat to office". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 14 July 2022 . ^ Mordaunt, Henry Charles (September 2020). "My Own Family History - descendents of Denis (1783 - 1868) and Mary Mordaunt, County Wexford, Ireland". mordauntfamilyhistory.com. External links Official websiteOfficial leadership bid websitePenny Mordaunt at the Conservative PartyProfile at Parliament of the United KingdomContributions in Parliament at HansardVoting record at Public WhipRecord in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
Hungary declares 'state of emergency' over threat of energy shortages | Euronews
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:23
By AP with Euronews ' Updated: 13/07/2022 - 22:40
Hungary has declared a "state of emergency" in response to supply disruptions and rising energy prices in Europe.
The country's government says it will now increase its domestic energy production capacities to ensure adequate supply.
Gergely Gulys, chief of staff for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbn, blamed the war in Ukraine and European Union sanctions on Russia for Europe's "energy crisis".
There is ''unlikely to be enough gas in Europe for the autumn and winter heating season,'' he told a news conference in Budapest.
''The prolonged war and the sanctions from Brussels have caused energy prices to rise dramatically across Europe, and in fact a major part of Europe is already in an energy crisis,'' Gulys added.
Budapest says it will boost its annual production of natural gas from 1.5 billion cubic metres to 2 billion cubic metres.
The EU member state also plans to increase the extraction of coal and restore an offline lignite-fired power plant in Matra.
Energy exports will be banned, and Hungary's only nuclear power plant will extend its operating times to increase production, Gulys said on Wednesday. Citizens have also been ordered to "moderate their consumption or pay the surplus at the market price".
The measures -- which go against Hungary's climate commitments -- are set to go into effect in August.
The announcements come after Orbn convened a Cabinet meeting to discuss what he called an ''energy emergency'' in Europe.
Hungary is heavily dependent on fossil fuels from Russia, and last year signed a 15-year agreement with state energy giant Gazprom for the purchase of natural gas. Hungary gets around 65% of its oil and 85% of its gas from Russia.
The Hungarian prime minister has fought against EU proposals to target Russian oil exports with sanctions, arguing that such measures would cripple his country's economy.
The bloc subsequently conceded to temporarily allow oil imports from Russia's Druzhba pipeline to certain landlocked countries.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister P(C)ter Szijjrt" also announced that Hungary would seek to buy an additional 700 million cubic metres of gas from an unknown country.
Amazon Admits Giving Police Ring Footage Without Consent
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:22
Ring, Amazon's perennially controversial and police-friendly surveillance subsidiary, has long defended its cozy relationship with law enforcement by pointing out that cops can only get access to a camera owner's recordings with their express permission or a court order. But in response to recent questions from Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., the company stated that it has provided police with user footage 11 times this year alone without either.
Last month, Markey wrote to Amazon asking it to both clarify Ring's ever-expanding relationship with American police, who've increasingly come to rely on the company's growing residential surveillance dragnet, and to commit to a raft of policy reforms. In a July 1 response from Brian Huseman, Amazon vice president of public policy, the company declined to permanently agree to any of them, including ''Never accept financial contributions from policing agencies,'' ''Never allow immigration enforcement agencies to request Ring recordings,'' and ''Never participate in police sting operations.''
Although Ring publicizes its policy of handing over camera footage only if the owner agrees '-- or if judge signs a search warrant '-- the company says it also reserves the right to supply police with footage in ''emergencies,'' defined broadly as ''cases involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person.'' Markey had also asked Amazon to clarify what exactly constitutes such an ''emergency situation,'' and how many times audiovisual surveillance data has been provided under such circumstances. Amazon declined to elaborate on how it defines these emergencies beyond ''imminent danger of death or serious physical injury,'' stating only that ''Ring makes a good-faith determination whether the request meets the well-known standard.'' Huseman noted that it has complied with 11 emergency requests this year alone but did not provide details as to what the cases or Ring's ''good-faith determination'' entailed.
Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told The Intercept he encourages any Ring owners concerned about warrantless access of their cameras to enable end-to-end encryption '-- an option the company declined to make the default setting after being urged to do so by Markey. ''I am disturbed that Ring continues to offer, in any situation, warrantless footage from user's devices despite the fact that once again, police are not the customers for Ring; the people who buy the devices are the customers,'' said Guariglia.
''Police are not the customers for Ring; the people who buy the devices are the customers.''
Guariglia added that even though the ''emergency'' exception hypothetically might be warranted in the most dire circumstances, there will always be the risks of ''mission creep'' and police abuse without any meaningful oversight. ''If there is the infrastructure, if there is the channel by which police can request footage without a warrant or consent of the user, under what circumstances they get it is out of our control. I worry that because it's decided by the police and by somebody at Ring, there will be temptation to use that for increasingly less urgent situations.''
In a statement to The Intercept, Markey said that he believed Amazon and Ring have both lost the benefit of the doubt, despite their purported good-faith efforts. ''I'm deeply concerned to learn that the company has repeatedly disclosed users' recordings to law enforcement without requiring the users' permission,'' the senator added. ''This revelation is particularly troubling given that the company has previously admitted to having no policies that restrict how law enforcement can use Ring users' footage, no data security requirements for law enforcement entities that have users' footage, and no policies that prohibit law enforcement officers from keeping Ring users' footage forever.''
Canada will soon offer doctor-assisted death to the mentally ill. Who should be eligible? | National Post
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:21
Canada is still determining who should be eligible for MAID for mental illness, but some experts say it could become the most permissive jurisdiction in the world
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Apr 04, 2022
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In March 2023, Canada will become one of the few nations in the world allowing medical aid in dying, or MAID, for people whose sole underlying condition is depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD or any other mental affliction. Photo by Getty ImagesMost people who seek a doctor's help to die are already dying of cancer.
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With terminal cancer, ''there is something inside the body that can be seen,'' says Dutch psychiatrist Dr. Sisco van Veen, tumours and tissues that can be measured or scanned or punctured, to identify the cells inside and help guide prognosis.
You can't see depression on a scan. With the exception of dementia, where imaging can show structural brain changes, ''in psychiatry, really all you have is the patient's story, and what you see with your eyes and what you hear and what the family tells you,'' van Veen says. Most mental disorders lack ''prognostic predictability,'' which makes determining when psychiatric suffering has become ''irremediable,'' essentially incurable, particularly challenging. Some say practically impossible. Which is why van Veen says difficult conversations are ahead as Canada moves closer to legalizing doctor-assisted deaths for people with mental illness whose psychological pain has become unbearable to them.
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One year from now, in March 2023, Canada will become one of the few nations in the world allowing medical aid in dying, or MAID, for people whose sole underlying condition is depression, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, PTSD or any other mental affliction. In the Netherlands, MAID for irremediable psychiatric suffering has been regulated by law since 2002, and a new study by van Veen and colleagues underscores just how complicated it can be. How do you define ''grievous and irremediable'' in psychiatry? Is it possible to conclude, with any certainty or confidence, that a mental illness has no prospect of ever improving? What has been done, what has been tried, and is it enough?
''I think there's going to be lots of uncertainty about how to apply this in March 2023,'' says Dr. Grainne Neilson, past president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and a Halifax forensic psychiatrist. ''My hope is that psychiatrists will move cautiously and carefully to make sure MAID is not being used as something instead of equitable access to good care.''
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In the mental health field, opinions are deeply divided. Mental illness is never irremediable, one side argues. There is always hope for a cure, always something more to be tried, and a person's ability to think rationally, to seek an assisted death when they might have a life expectancy of decades, can't help being clouded by the very fact they are struggling psychologically.
Article content In psychiatry, really all you have is the patient's story, and what you see with your eyes and what you hear and what the family tells you
Others argue that despite well-meaning ''Bell Let's Talk'' days, there still exists a profound lack of understanding about, and fear of, mental illness, and that the resistance reflects a long history of paternalism and unwillingness to accept that the suffering that can come from mental illness can be as equally tormenting as the suffering from physical pain.
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Article contentSometime in April, an expert panel struck by the Liberal government to propose recommended protocols for MAID for mental illness will present its report to the government. A joint parliamentary committee studying the new MAID law has been given a mandate to report back by June 23. The expert panel's chair declined an interview request, but her 12-member assembly has been tasked with setting out proposed parameters for how people with mental illness should be assessed for and '-- if found eligible '-- provided with MAID, not whether they should be eligible.
Those who know the literature well say the panel has likely looked long and hard at several questions: Must the person seeking a doctor-assisted death have tried all possible evidence-based treatments? All reasonable treatments? At least some? How long should the ''reflection'' period be, the time between first assessment and provision of death? Should cases of MAID for mental illness require approval from an oversight committee or tribunal, the way abortions in this country once had to be deemed medically necessary by a three-doctor ''therapeutic abortion committee,'' before abortion was decriminalized more than three decades ago?
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Article contentThe idea that mental illness might make someone eligible for state-sanctioned assisted death had long been forbidden ground in Canada's euthanasia debate, and the path from there, to here has been a convoluted one.
Canada's high court ruled in 2015 that an absolute prohibition on doctor assisted dying violated the Charter, that competent adults suffering a ''grievous and irremediable'' medical condition causing intolerable physical or psychological suffering had a constitutional right to medically hastened death.
That decision formed the impetus for Canada's MAID law, Bill C-14, which allowed for assisted dying in cases where natural death was ''reasonably foreseeable.''
In 2019, a Quebec Superior Court justice ruled the reasonably foreseeable death restriction unconstitutional, and that people who were intolerably suffering but not imminently dying still had a constitutional right to be eligible for euthanasia.
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Article content Conrad Black: Canada's immoral soultion to spiralling health-care costs '-- kill the patients Chris Selley: Canada as unprepared to expand access to assisted suicide as it was to fight COVID-19 The troubling debate over a 'good' death for all In March 2021, Bill C-7 was passed that made changes to the eligibility criteria. Gone is the ''reasonably foreseeable'' criterion and, as of March 17, 2023, when a two-year sunset clause expires, MAID will be expanded to competent adults whose sole underlying condition is a mental illness.
Already, the removal of imminent death has made MAID requests far more complex, providers say. These are known as ''Track Two'' requests. At least 90 days must pass between the first assessment and the administration of MAID. Most involve chronic, unrelenting physical pain '-- nerve impingement, significant muscle spasms, neuropathic pain, chronic headaches. Ottawa MAID providers have received roughly 80 Track Two requests over the past year. ''I think we've had only two proceed,'' said Dr. Viren Naik, medical director of the MAID program for the greater Ottawa area. Of the 30 providers within The Ottawa Hospital program, only four are willing to see Track Two patients, and Naik says he's probably going to lose two more of them. Many are conflicted when people aren't close to dying. ''Making sure that they're not requesting MAID because they're vulnerable in any way has also been a challenge. If I take that to mental health, I think those issues are only going to compound.''
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The expert panel has been instructed to recommend safeguards. For Dr. Sonu Gaind, a past president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the most fundamental safeguard has already been bypassed, because there is no scientific evidence, he says, that doctors can predict when a mental illness will be irremediable. Everything else goes out the window.
Gaind isn't a conscientious objector to MAID. He's the physician chair of the MAID team at Humber River Hospital in Toronto, where he's chief of psychiatry. He works with cancer patients. He's seen the positive, the value that MAID can bring. But unlike cancer, or progressive, neurodegenerative diseases like ALS, ''we don't understand the fundamental underlying biology causing most major mental illnesses.''
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''We identify them through the clustering of various symptoms. We try to target treatments as best we can. But the reality is, we don't understand what's going on, on a fundamental biological level, unlike with the vast majority of these other predicable conditions.'' Without understanding the biological underpinnings, what do you base your predictions on, he asks. He's heard the argument that it's difficult to make firm predictions about anything in medicine. But there's a world of difference between the degree of uncertainty between advanced cancers and mental illnesses like depression, he argues.
''There's no doubt that mental illnesses lead to grievous suffering, as grievous, even more grievous in some cases than other illnesses,'' Gaind says. ''It's the irremediability part that our framework also requires and that scientifically cannot be met. That we cannot do. That's the problem.''
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Euthanasia for mental illness has, in fact, already occurred in Canada. Testifying before a Senate committee studying Bill C-7 last year, Vancouver psychiatrist Derryck Smith told the story of ''E.F.'', a 58-year-old woman who suffered from severe conversion disorder, where a person's paralysis, or blindness or other bizarre nervous system symptoms can't be explained by any physical findings. She suffered from involuntary muscle spasms. Her eyelid muscles had spasmed shut, leaving her effectively blind. Her digestive system was a mess, she was in constant pain and needed to be carried or use a wheelchair. In May 2016, Alberta's Court of Queen's Bench allowed her an assisted death.
Smith took part in another case involving a 45-year-old Vancouver woman who had suffered from anorexia nervosa since she was 17. She'd endured a ''gauntlet'' of treatments, he said, had been certified several times under the Mental Health Act, involuntarily hospitalized and force fed by a tube in a manner that left her feeling ''violated.'' ''At the time I assessed her, she had virtually no social life '... no joy in her life.'' Smyth determined the woman had capacity to agree to assisted death.
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Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani. Photo by Supplied by Dr. Jennifer GaudianiWhile most people with anorexia nervosa recover, or eventually find some stability, ''a minority of those with severe and enduring eating disorders recognize after years of trying that recovery remains elusive, and further treatment seems both futile and harmful,'' Dr. Jennifer Gaudiani and colleagues write in a controversial paper that sparked an outcry among some colleagues for suggesting people with severe, enduring anorexia '-- ''terminal'' anorexia '-- have access to assisted dying.
The term terminal anorexia nervosa isn't recognized in the field ''as even being a thing,'' Gaudiani said in an interview. ''There are plenty of clinicians and parents who say, 'How dare you? This could never be a terminal diagnosis.'''
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''This represents an exceptionally tiny fraction of people,'' Gaudiani says. In her paper, she describes three, including Jessica, a ''brilliant, sensitive, thoughtful, intuitive'' 36-year-old woman who had struggled with anorexia since her junior year of high school. She suffered her first hip fracture at 27, her bones collapsing from malnutrition. She cycled in and out of treatment, and every meaningful bit of weight gain was followed by more restricting, more binge eating, and laxative abuse. Terrified of a long-drawn-out death from starvation, she sought and received a prescription for MAID. Gaudiani was the consulting doctor.
The Denver eating disorders specialist says she couldn't imagine endorsing MAID for any other psychiatric condition, although ''it may be that I will down the road.'' But with chronic, enduring anorexia nervosa, ''some people think that you must continue to force folks to keep trying, keep doing new things, rather than accepting that they may have a case that can't be turned around,'' she said.
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But how is it possible to know that it can't? The case illustrates how fraught the question can be. Offering MAID to people with anorexia nervous would be ''complicated beyond belief,'' says Dr. Blake Woodside, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Toronto and former director of the largest hospital-based eating disorders program in the country, at Toronto General Hospital.
Doctors would need an enormous amount of clarity about the criteria, assessments would need to be done by people deeply experienced in treating the disease who could differentiate between someone who is hopeless, ''and somebody who has made a reasoned decision that their life should end. And those are two different situations,'' Woodside says.
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''Most people with anorexia nervosa do not want to die, and most people with severe anorexia nervosa do not see themselves at risk of death. The majority of people with bad anorexia nervosa have significant denial about how severe their illness is.''
Woodside was once involved in a study testing deep brain stimulation for severe anorexia. Investigators had hoped to recruit six people with a history of at least 10 years of illness, and at least three unsuccessful attempts at intensive treatments. In the end, 22 people signed on '-- ''22 people who were willing to volunteer for experimental neurosurgery in the hope they would have a better life.'' About a third made a substantial recovery; another third had some meaningful improvement. For the rest, the brain stimulation didn't touch them. But Woodside has a patient who, after 11 admissions to intensive treatment programs, is now fully recovered. ''It took her eight or nine years to recover, but she's fully recovered.'' She recently had a second baby.
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It's not a request they are making in the height of a despaired moment
Gaind worries about the overlap of isolation and poverty. ''We know there is so much overlap with all sorts of psycho-social suffering.'' The people who get MAID when death is foreseeable are seeking autonomy and dignity, he said. They also tend to come from a higher socioeconomic standing.
''But when you expand it to sole mental illness conditions, the entire demographic shifts, and it's people who have unresolved life suffering that also fuels their request,'' Gaind says. A stark gender gap also emerges: when MAID is provided to the imminently dying, it's a 50-50 gender split. As many men as women seek and get it. Experience in the Netherlands and other countries shows that twice as many women seek and receive MAID for mental illness.
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Why that concerns Gaind is that it parallels the ratio of suicide attempts. ''Two-to-one women to men attempt suicide in the context of mental illness. Most who attempt suicide once don't try again, and don't subsequently actually take their lives. So, the concern is, are we then shifting this transient suicidality into a permanent death?''
He believes people should have autonomy to make their own decisions. But with depression, ''it does affect your outlook on the future. You don't think about the future the same way. You see nothing. And there's that hopelessness.''
When the Ontario Medical Association surveyed members of its psychiatry section last year, only 28 per cent of those who responded said MAID should be permitted for sole mental illness as an underlying condition; only 12 per cent said they would support it for their own patients.
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Others argue that mental illness can sometimes be irremediable, the suffering intolerable and that competent, capable people have the right to make their own judgements and decide how much uncertainty they're willing to accept. They reject the arguments around vulnerability and that MAID is an ''easier'' path to suicide. In one study, 21 Dutch people who had a wish for assisted death because of suffering from mental illness said they wanted a ''dignified'' end of life. ''Suicide was perceived as insecure and inhumane, for both the patient and others,'' the authors write. The people saw ''impulsive suicidality'' as different from a request for doctor-hastened death. ''Suicidality, although sometimes also planned, was perceived as an act out of desperation and crisis; a state of mind in which there is no more room for other thoughts or control over actions. A wish for (assisted dying) was more well considered.''
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Under Canada's MAID law, people requesting assisted dying for a medical condition can refuse treatments they don't find acceptable. It's not clear whether the same will hold where mental illness is the sole underlying condition. The law also states that intolerable suffering is wholly subjective and personal. It's what the person says it is, and, unlike the Netherlands, a doctor doesn't have to agree.
Under those criteria, Canada could become the most permissive jurisdiction in the world with respect to MAID and mental illness, according to an expert panel of the Council of Canadian Academies.
''We don't force people to undergo treatment in order to realize their autonomy,'' says Dalhousie University's Jocelyn Downie, a professor of law and medicine. ''We don't compel people with cancer to try chemotherapy '-- they don't have to have tried any if they want to have MAID, because we are basically respecting their autonomy. We're saying, 'You don't have to make that choice, even though many people would think that is a reasonable thing to do, to try these things before you proceed.' But we don't force that.'' Still, if someone is refusing the most basic treatments, ''that to me is a red flag about their decision-making capacity,'' Downie says. ''It doesn't mean they don't have decision-making capacity.'' But unreasonable decisions can be warning flags a deeper dive is needed.
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Dr. Sonu Gaind believes people should have autonomy. But with depression, ''it does affect your outlook on the future. You don't think about the future the same way.'' Photo by Peter J. Thompson/National PostWhat will psychiatrists in Canada be looking for? A robust, eligibility assessment process, Neilson says. That any request for doctor-assisted death is one of ''durability and voluntariness,'' that it's a settled one, free of undue, outside influences. That it's not an impulsive wish. ''It's not a request they are making in the height of a despaired moment, or at a time when they are vulnerable.'' That standard treatments have been offered, attempted and failed, with no other reasonable alternatives. That at least one independent psychiatrist expert in the specific disease be involved in the assessment, which is problematic. In many parts of the country, it can be a challenge to find a psychiatrist to treat mental illness, let alone provide an assessment for assisted death.
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Assessing competence is, in practice, not as big a challenge as some might think, van Veen says. In the Netherlands, 90 per cent of requests don't end in MAID. ''Sometimes they are retracted by patients, but most are denied by psychiatrists.'' In the CMAJ study, psychiatrists providing assessments described being morally conflicted. Many grappled with doubt: Am I being too early? Am I missing something? ''You can't be too rash in helping these people die,'' says van Veen, of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre. But MAID has also started conversations about the limits of psychiatric treatments.
Those who do seek MAID in the Netherlands often have decades-long therapeutic histories, severe, therapy-resistant disorders that have put them in and out of hospital, again and again. ''The repetitiveness, the waxing and waning of psychiatric suffering'.... You have some good years, but there is always the fear and danger looming of a new mental health crisis,'' van Veen says. ''These are the patients who are very, very unlucky.'' They're also tired. ''Treatment fatigue is really something that stands out in this patient group.''
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He does believe it is possible to establish irremediability, incurability, in psychiatry. ''I just think it's very challenging.'' He and his co-authors plea for a ''retrospective'' view, meaning look at the person's history of failed treatments, rather than the prospect for improvement.
That approach ''absolves the psychiatrist from the unreasonable task of making highly accurate prognostic claims,'' they write. It moves from ''this will never get better,'' to, ''everything has been tried.''
' Email: skirkey@postmedia.com | Twitter: sharon_kirkey
If you're thinking about suicide or are worried about a friend or loved one, please contact the Canada Suicide Prevention Service at 1.833.456.4566 toll free or connect via text at 45645, from 4 p.m. to midnight ET. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
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FRANCE: "Far-Right" and "Far-Left" Band Together to Vote AGAINST COVID-19 Passports at Borders, Major Defeat for Globalist-Puppet Macron
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:19
WEF-stooge and French President Emmanuel Macron suffered his first devastating defeat after his ruling party lost its majority in elections last month.
After a fierce debate that began on Monday and lasted until late Tuesday night, the French Parliament has voted AGAINST COVID-19 health passports at the borders.
Opposition lawmakers rejected a proposal to give the government powers to reinstate the health passport after the current state of emergency expires August 1st.
HUGE NEWS
French parliament has voted AGAINST covid passports for travellers to the country, a big defeat for Macron.
'-- PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) July 13, 2022
RFI shared details of the debate that reportedly had ''an atmosphere like a football match'':
The first article of the bill passed the assembly with 221 votes in favour and 187 against.
This allows the government to continue to collect health data on screening tests (SI-DEP device) and vaccinations until 31 January, instead of the 31 March planned in the original version.
Two other remaining articles, on the modalities of a parliamentary follow-up, have been merged into one.
However, opposition deputies of the far-right National Rally (RN), of the right-wing Republicans (LR) and of the left alliance NUPES led by far-left France Unbowed (LFI) went on to reject the second article on border controls, one of the key parts of the bill.
You read that last part correct.
The ''far-right'' and ''far-left,'' the so-called ''extremes,'' worked together to strike down COVID-19 health passports.
''With 219 votes to 195, MPs refused the government the possibility to demand travellers show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test when entering or leaving France after 1 August when the current state of emergency expires,'' RFI noted.
Watch the celebration of the 'populist right' and 'populist left' banding together below:
French parliament has voted AGAINST Covid health passports for travellers to the country, a big defeat for Macron. ðŸ‡ðŸ‡·#moj_podsetnik biće , chain reaction https://t.co/RrPKvBBCuo pic.twitter.com/e0DlFYm4qs
'-- Hordearii (@Hordearii_72) July 13, 2022
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne condemned the two sides joining forces:
(translated) ''The situation is serious. By joining together to vote against the measures to protect the French against Covid LFI, the LR and the RN prevent any border control against the virus. After the disbelief on this vote, I will fight so that the spirit of responsibility wins in the Senate,'' Borne tweeted.
L'heure est grave. En s'alliant pour voter contre les mesures de protection des Fran§ais face au Covid LFI, les LR et le RN empªchent tout contr´le aux fronti¨res face au virus.Pass(C)e l'incr(C)dulit(C) sur ce vote, je me battrai pour que l'esprit de responsabilit(C) l'emporte au S(C)nat.
'-- ‰lisabeth BORNE (@Elisabeth_Borne) July 12, 2022
''Parliament has done its job, the opposition has done its job,'' RN deputy S(C)bastien Chenu and vice-president of the Assembly told France Info on Wednesday, celebrating what he described as a ''spineless'' text.
''We have reinstated our freedom'', he went on, adding that ''the government cannot do everything with a bulldozer like it's been doing for the past five years.''
Chenu also hinted that this victory could be the first step for healthcare workers fired for refusing COVID-19 inoculation to be rehired into their positions.
If anything, the victory highlights the uphill challenge Emmanuel Macron faces after losing the absolute majority in the National Assembly during last month's legislative elections.
Fuel rationing: Essential workers to get petrol station priority if winter shortages occur '' The Irish Times
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:24
More than 40 categories of emergency and essential workers will be given access to a network of 130 service stations across the country in the event of a severe shortage requiring fuel rationing, under the latest Government plan.
The plans are considered to be the ''worst-case scenario'' and would come into effect in the event of severe oil supply disruption as Europe remains on edge about a shutdown of energy following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Under the Government plan, if there is severe disruption, some 130 ''designated critical service stations'' would remain open to provide fuel only to essential workers.
[ Gas pressure - why the Government is warning about a difficult winter ]
[ Cold, cold winter in store as a potential energy crisis looms in Ireland ]
[ Germany bracing itself for 'nightmare' energy scenario ]
Essential workers would be able to get fuel not only for their official vehicles but also for other vehicles needed to get to and from work, a source said.
Sources have said technical checks are now under way on pumps to determine if a limit on sales to non-essential workers of 15 to 20 litres could also be put in place, with suggestions that garda­ or soldiers will also have to man the petrol stations in the event of disputes.
There are four tiers to which bulk fuels will be rationed, the first being these designated critical stations. An updated list of workers who can use these include: garda­; the Defence Forces; fire services; the National Ambulance Service; the Irish Prison Service; Civil Defence; the Irish Coast Guard; the Order of Malta; St John's Ambulance Service; the Irish Red Cross; the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and any other organisation deemed appropriate by Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan.
Others deemed to be essential workers include those in port facilities and shipping; commercial aviation; public transport; haulage services; healthcare workers; teachers and childminders; postal services; food production; journalists; financial services; agriculture (including the movement of livestock) and funeral services, among others. The list runs to more than 40 organisations or professions.
Any other bulk fuels, if available, would be distributed to non-critical haulage or support services to critical services under the second tier, non-critical service stations under the third tier, and other drivers under the fourth tier.
There are also contingency plans in place for gas rationing. If Ireland was to be affected by serious gas shortages, similar rationing plans have been drawn up that would be divided between direct gas users and electricity users, as the power sector is a primary consumer of gas. Hospitals, schools and home heating would be prioritised.
The plans are being drawn up as part of work by the Government's new Energy Security Emergency Group which is planning for potential oil or gas shortages in Ireland and examining modelling scenarios. The body has various subgroups looking specifically at gas security, oil security and communications strategies among other topics. The subgroups meet either every week or every fortnight and are made up of senior Government officials and industry figures.
Industry sources have privately expressed concern about the winter period ahead, warning that any sudden threat of a cut-off of Russian energy could result in panic buying among customers, which would create a supply shock. The National Oil Reserves Agency currently holds about 85 days of oil stocks.
Government sources said the worst-case-scenario planning is unlikely to come to pass, but there is growing anxiety about the winter ahead.
A spokesman for the Department of Environment said the selection of the critical petrol stations was done with the cooperation of the industry.
The spokesman said supply disruptions of varying degrees were recently modelled.
''In the context of worst-case scenarios, a number of service stations would be deemed Designated Critical Service Stations. These would ensure that fuel would be available for emergency and critical services in extreme circumstances. A list of such service stations is compiled with the assistance of industry body Fuels for Ireland (FFI). Emergency planning also includes measures around the identification and prioritisation of critical services, and personnel within these services, to ensure the provision of fuel to these critical services and personnel,'' he said.
''Given the supply position and outlook, the activation of any such plans is not envisaged, however. As is the case for all other jurisdictions across Europe, such planning is appropriate in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine and the EU response in terms of sanctions. Detailed operational matters around contingency planning are not published.''
Last month, European Union leaders were warned at an EU summit that Russia may starve their countries of gas and unleash a winter of economic misery on their populations. In France, energy-intensive companies are speeding up contingency plans to convert their gas boilers to run on oil amid fears of further reductions in the gas supply from Russia.
Blood clots: The nation's favourite drink could make your blood sticky '' increasing risk | Express.co.uk
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:03
"In order to avoid becoming dehydrated, it is important to drink plenty of fluids."
Yet, as seen above, not all fluids are created equal; some may be more hydrating than others.
Professor Whitely recommends sipping on water, diluted squash, herbal teas, and fruit juice to help remain hydrated.
Researcher and chemist, Doctor Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel, disagrees with the notion that tea could be dehydrating.
"Tea potentially increasing the risk of blood clots because of dehydration echoes very outdated science," he said.
Doctor Bond added: "Recent studies, including a RCT [randomised controlled trial], have actually shown that tea offers the same hydrating properties to water.
"Intakes of six to eight servings of black tea has been found to be equally as hydrating as water '' based on a range of markers of hydration status."
For hot days and balmy evenings, Professor Whiteley recommends:
Staying in the shade as much as possibleAvoiding direct heat, especially during the hottest part of the day.
Urgent warning to gardeners as soil 'increases risk of killer heart disease' | The Sun
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:02
GREEN FINGERS 14:13, 1 Jul 2022 Updated : 14:16, 1 Jul 2022 GARDENERS have been warned that their habit could leave them at an increased risk of heart disease.
Medics found that pollutants in the soil could have a 'detrimental effect on the cardiovascular system'.
1
Gardeners have been warned about the possible dangers lurking in their soil Credit: GettyThe results of the analysis pushed experts to recommend that people wear a face mask, if they are in close contact with the soil.
Experts at the University Medical Center Mainz, Germany said pollution of air, water and soil is responsible for at least nine million deaths each year.
They highlighted that more than 60 per cent of pollution-related deaths are due to heart issues such as strokes, heart attacks, heart rhythm disorders and chronic ischaemic heart disease.
Writing in Cardiovascular Research, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology, the authors said soil pollutants include heavy metals, pesticides, and plastics.
They state that contaminated soil could then lead to increasing oxidative stress in the blood vessels, which in turn leads to heart disease.
Dirty soil can get into the blood stream, through inhalation.
Soil pollutants also flow into rivers, making dirty water, which may later be consumed.
Pesticides were also linked to cardiovascular disease.
The experts added that while people who work in agriculture and chemical industries will be most at risk - the general public could also ingest pesticides from contaminated food, soil and water.
The experts said: "Although soil pollution with heavy metals and its association with cardiovascular diseases is especially a problem low- and middle-income countries since their populations are disproportionately exposed to these environmental pollutants, it becomes a problem for any country in the world due to the increasing globalisation of food supply chains and uptake of these heavy metals with fruits, vegetables and meat.''
Medics also investigated cadmium, which is a heavy metal that occurs naturally in small amounts in air, water, soil and food, and also comes from industrial and agricultural sources.
Their analysis showed mixed results in the relationship between cadmium and heart disease.
Through analysis they found that the number of cardiovascular emergency department visits in Japan was 21 per cent higher on days with heavy exposure to Asian dust.
This dust is hazardous because it is usually contaminated and is airbourne.
Professor M¼nzel added that more studies are needed on the combined effect of multiple soil pollutants on cardiovascular disease since we are rarely exposed to one toxic agent alone.
"Research is urgently required on how nano- and microplastic might initiate and exacerbate cardiovascular disease.
"Until we know more, it seems sensible to wear a face mask to limit exposure to windblown dust, filter water to remove contaminants, and buy food grown in healthy soil."
Solar storms may cause up to 5500 heart-related deaths in a given year | New Scientist
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:02
In an approximate 11-year cycle, the sun blasts out charged particles and magnetised plasma that can distort Earth's magnetic field, which may disrupt our body clock and ultimately affect the heart
Health 17 June 2022 By Alice Klein
A solar storm
Jurik Peter/Shutterstock
Solar storms that disrupt Earth's magnetic field may cause up to 5500 heart-related deaths in the US in some years.
The sun goes through cycles of high and low activity that repeat approximately every 11 years. During periods of high activity, it blasts out charged particles and magnetised plasma that can distort Earth's magnetic field.
These so-called solar storms can cause glitches in our power grids and bring down Earth-orbiting satellites. A handful of studies have also hinted that they increase the risk of heart '...
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"Take The Tragedy In Sri Lanka And Multiply By Ten": The Fed Just Lobbed A Financial Nuke That Will Obliterate The Global Economy | ZeroHedge
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:53
By Larry McDonald, author of the Bear Traps Report
We are living in a period of mass ''Jonestown'' economic delusion. Just twenty months ago '' central bankers were offering to buy nearly every junk bond known to mankind, dramatically distorting the ''true cost of capital.'' All the way from crypto to emerging markets '' it was a moral hazard overdose. Everyone on earth was borrowing money at fantasy-land bond yields.
Now, the Fed is promising endless rate hikes and $1T of balance sheet reduction onto a planet with emerging market and Euro-zone credit markets in flames.
Listen, all I have is an economics degree from the University of Massachusetts, but after having spent the last 20 years trading bonds professionally and embarking on a 20k feet deep autopsy on the largest bank failure of all time '' from my seat the current Fed agenda is sheer madness and will be outed very soon.
The true cost of capital was distorted for so long, we now have hundreds of academics'' clueless to the underlying serpent inside global markets. When the 6 foot seven, Paul Volcker walked the halls of the Marriner S. Eccles Building of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, our planet embraced about $200T LESS debt than we are staring down the barrel at today. Please call out the risk management imbeciles that make any reference of ''Powell to Volcker.''
In 2021, global debt reached a record $303T, according to the Institute of International Finance, a global financial industry association. This is a FURTHER jump from record global debt in 2019 of $226T, as reported by the IMF in its Global Debt Database. Volcker was jacking rates into a planet with about $200T LESS debt. Please call out the risk management imbeciles that make any reference of Powell to Volcker.
Many economists in 2022 are highly delusional '' a very dangerous group indeed. When you hike rates aggressively with a strong dollar you multiply interest rate risk, which was already off the charts coming from such a low 2020 base in terms of yield '' it's a convexity nightmare. Interest rate hikes today - hand in hand with a strong U.S. Dollar - carry 100x the destructive power than the Carter '' Reagan era.
At the same time, you add lighter fluid on to the credit risk fire in emerging markets with a raging greenback. Global banks have to mark to market most of these assets. If global rates reset higher and stay at elevated levels, the sovereign debt pile is in gave danger. The response to Lehman and Covid crisis squared (see above) has left a mathematically unsustainable bill for follow on generations. The Fed CANNOT hike rates aggressively into this mess without blowing up the global economy. We are talking about mass - Jonestown delusion on roids.
Then Covid-19 placed a colossal leverage cocktail on top. Emerging and frontier market countries currently owe the IMF over $100B. U.S. central banking policy + a strong USD is vaporizing this capital as we speak.
A dollar screaming higher with agricultural commodities '' priced globally in dollars - is a colossal tax on emerging market countries '' clueless academics at the Fed are exporting inflation into countries that can least afford it. Emerging '' andfrontier market countries owe the IMF over $100B '' U.S. central banking policy '' strong USD, is vaporizing this capital.
A quarter-trillion dollars of distressed debt is threatening to drag the developing world into a historic cascade of defaults. The number of developing nations trading distressed has doubled, with El Salvador, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia and Pakistan appearing particularly vulnerable. With the low-income countries, debt risks and debt crises are not hypothetical - try buying oil in USD in an EM currency. A fifth '-- or about 17% '-- of the $1.4 trillion emerging-market sovereigns have outstanding in external debt denominated in dollars, euros or yen, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Academics at the Fed are exporting inflation into countries that can least afford it '' decimating communities all over the planet. The tragedies are piling up. While given cover from their well-placed collection of pawns, tough guy Powell is playing his Volcker act '' right out of a scene in a poor man's poker game. In terms of who ́s actually running the show '' emerging market bonds are plunging 10 points a week and Powell wants you to think he's got pocket Kings.
Truth is, the global credit risk dynamic has the Aces, and the Fed is looking down at pocket 2s, if that. The IMF has total lending capacity near $1T, Powell is currently wiping out 10% of that. Ultimately, this lost tribe will be coming back, ''hat in hand'' - yet again to the U.S. taxpayer.
So now we have global bank balance sheets, stressed by $20T to $30T in mark to market losses from Equities, Treasuries, European government bonds, Crypto, Private equity and Venture capital '' in the middle of the worst emerging market credit crisis in decades. All after just 150bps of rate hikes from the Fed? Hello?? Anyone home? There are A LOT of bonds that look like this! Oh '' by the way '' Egypt owes the IMF $13B, the Fed just lit these liabilities on fire.
If the Fed keeps its policy path promises, take the tragedy in Sri Lanka and multiply it by ten across the globe over the next six months. Check-mate FOMC.
The Art of Political Theater - Clandestine's Newsletter
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:35
Many people are confused about the public back and forth between Trump and Elon. Trump just dropped a series of 3 truths, all with the same photo of him and Elon, in which he continues to half heartedly ''bash'' Elon. While simultaneously admitting, and drawing attention to, fact that these two have been working together in some capacity, for a few years now.
See truths below:
The usage of the same photo back to back is DEFINITELY out of the ordinary. It's extremely odd. Nobody does that. Trump certainly doesn't do that. To me, it clearly looks like Trump is trying to send some sort of a message. Anyone who has been following along since the beginning, you know what's going on, because this behavior is familiar.
It's political theater. Trump has done it since 2016. He will publicly bash and insult someone that works for him, to create the illusion that they aren't working together. He did the same EXACT thing with Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller, Wray, etc. All to create the illusion of distance. Trump didn't want the media narrative to exist that he was pulling the strings.
Trump would whine and complain on Twitter that he couldn't control any of these people. That they were wild, on the loose, and acting on their own behalf. When in reality, Trump was literally their boss, met with them at least twice a week in private meetings at the White House, and could fire them at ANY moment.
For those who are aware that Trump is a proud student of Sun Tzu, all of these actions make even more sense, and perfectly represent the teachings of theatricality and deception. Trump utilizes Sun Tzu strategies in everything he does. It's no different here.
To me, it's clear the message Trump is sending is that Elon is working with/for Trump. And perhaps the same can be said for Jack Dorsey, because Trump included a nearly identical photo op with Jack in the last truth, and hinted that Elon made some sort of ''breach'' with the $15 million stock purchase barrier. Insinuating that Jack would have had to have been in on the deal with Elon, in order to allow it to progress that far without media attention. Keep in mind Jack Dorsey has publicly and openly supported Elon taking over Twitter.
Also, the half hearted ''bashing'' of Elon in Trump's recent truths, aren't even offensive. Trump makes fun of him for making electric cars and rocket ships that aren't great, but conveniently leaves out that he paid Elon countless multi-billion dollar DoD contracts to help build Space Force ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
You think Trump hates Elon's products sooooo much, that he just decided to give him BILLIONS of dollars, year over year?
You think Trump would ACTUALLY publicly insult his highest paid employee, who also happens to be taking out a massive Deep State asset in Twitter? Which also happens to be Trump's business opponent to Truth Social?
What benefit would Trump have from publicly mock the guy who is helping him in every way? Elon is making tons of centrists go red, he has openly said he's voting for Trump/Conservatives, he bashes leftists all day long, exposed Twitter and Orwellian Deep State corruption. What good does making fun of Elon do for Trump?
Folks, it's theater. 100%. It's the same playbook. Trump is doing zero damage to Elon here. All that he's really doing is drawing eyes on to the situation by commenting on it, subtly reminding everyone that Trump technically is/was Elon's boss, as well as pointing out the irregularity, that Elon was able to progress so far in the deal without media knowing about it, suggesting that Jack Dorsey would have had to have been in on the move as well.
Trump is winning on all fronts. Both Elon and Dorsey are behaving in ways that benefit Trump. If you think that's an accident, you haven't been paying attention to how the game is played.
He who stands on top of the mountain did not fall there.
-Clandestine
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Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:22
Energie Jasper Been Caitlin Stooker 06:00 Gratis proberen Maak eenvoudig een account aan E-mailadres Gebruik een geldig e-mail adres, bv uwnaam@voorbeeld.nl
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Heathrow tells airlines to stop selling summer tickets | Evening Standard
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:21
Heathrow Airport has asked airlines to stop selling summer tickets as the aviation sector struggles to deal with demand for travel.
The extraordinary move has seen the airport introduce a capacity cap of 100,000 daily departing passengers until September 11.
Heathrow's chief executive John Holland-Kaye said it could handle around 100,000 departing seats a day, but forecasting predicted daily departing seats over the summer will average 104,000 seats.
About 1,500 of those 4,000 extra seats above capacity had already been sold to passengers, so the airport was asking airlines to stop selling more summer tickets.
The measures had been taken because some airlines had not taken enough action to reduce their schedule, despite an 'amnesty' by ministers to remove slots from schedules without penalty in a bid to cope with demand on airports.
He said: "Over the past few weeks, as departing passenger numbers have regularly exceeded 100,000 a day, we have started to see periods when service drops to a level that is not acceptable: long queue times, delays for passengers requiring assistance, bags not travelling with passengers or arriving late, low punctuality and last-minute cancellations.
"This is due to a combination of reduced arrivals punctuality (as a result of delays at other airports and in European airspace) and increased passenger numbers starting to exceed the combined capacity of airlines, airline ground handlers and the airport.
"Our colleagues are going above and beyond to get as many passengers away as possible, but we cannot put them at risk for their own safety and wellbeing."
Officials at BA, one of the major airlines operating from Heathrow, were locked in meetings on Tuesday to discuss how to respond.
Mr Holland-Kaye said that a significant factor in the constraint on passenger numbers was a lack of ground staff, who are contracted by airlines to provide check-in staff, load and unload bags and turnaround aircraft.
The airport boss apologised for the impact the capacity cap would have on holidaymakers, with the capacity cap covering the summer holidays.
''By making this intervention now, our objective is to protect flights for the vast majority of passengers at Heathrow this summer and to give confidence that everyone who does travel through the airport will have a safe and reliable journey and arrive at their destination with their bags,'' he said.
''We recognise that this will mean some summer journeys will either be moved to another day, another airport or be cancelled and we apologise to those whose travel plans are affected.''
It comes after months of travel disruption in airports across the UK, with Heathrow officials saying it had seen 40 years of passenger growth in just four months.
On Monday morning, Heathrow ordered the cancellation of around 60 morning flights in bid to cope with demand, affecting the travel plans of around 10,000 passengers.
The Euro Zone Adds First Nation in Seven Years - The Daily Upside
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:15
Europe's hottest club is also one of its most exclusive. And, for the first time since 2015, it's about to admit a new member nation.
On Tuesday, European Union finance ministers formally voted to approve Croatia's entrance into the euro zone. The nation will become the currency's 20th member at the start of next year.
Eur' InvitedIn about 30 years, Croatia has gone from a war-torn nation to a tourism hotspot after gaining European Union membership in 2013 following a series of governance reforms. But one headache remained for backpacking travelers: exchanging euros (used in 19 of 27 EU nations) for the Croatian kuna.
But, after what EU Economy Commissioner Paulo Gentiloni hailed as an ''amazing journey,'' that headache is finally over. It took a few major steps, and comes with some great benefits:
First, Croatia had to set an exchange rate of one euro to around 7.53 kuno, as well as meet certain criteria like maintaining sound public finances and moderating long-term interest rates in-line with EU benchmarks.The transition will officially occur on January 1 of next year, giving the country months to prepare before gaining access to the stability and perks of a well-integrated economy with the rest of the currency's user countries.''Adopting the euro is not a race, but a responsible political decision,'' said Zbynek Stanjura, finance minister of the Czech Republic, which also currently holds the six-month rotating title of European Union presidency. Lithuania and Latvia were the last two nations to join the club, in 2015 and 2014 respectively.
Dollar Dip: Croatia's admission comes at a strange time for the euro zone. On Tuesday, the euro and the US dollar reached parity for the first time in two decades. The value of the euro has fallen 12% since the start of the year, as the war in Ukraine sends the continent into an energy and inflation crisis '-- with many analysts saying a so-called hard landing is all but inevitable for the alliance's economy. American travelers may reap some temporary rewards, but it could spell trouble for global economic stability.
Your word use reveals the age you are likely to reach
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:14
Your word use reveals the age you are likely to reach
The series A History of Psychology in Autobiography, in which a number of influential psychologists wrote a short autobiography, was published in the sixties. Two American psychologists from this era discovered that they could predict from their colleagues' word use how long they would live. The more often the psychologists used words with a positive emotional overtone, the older they lived to be.
Positivity - longevity
The type of research that Sarah Pressman, of the University of Kansas, and Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon University, published in Health Psychology in 2012 is not new.In 2001 psychologists at the University of Kentucky published an analysis of 180 life descriptions of Catholic nuns, written decades earlier when the nuns were 22 years old. [J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 May;80(5):804-13.] When the researchers found out how old the nuns had lived to be, it turned out that the nuns who had used more words with positive emotional overtones were less in a hurry to shuffle off this mortal coil.
StudyPressman and Cohen decided to perform a similar analysis on 88 autobiographies in A History of Psychology in Autobiography. They used a more refined classification for words with emotional overtones than their predecessors, distinguishing between four sorts of words rather than just two.
The researchers first looked for words with a 'high activated positive affect': words like happy, active, energetic, lively, enthusiastic. Then they looked for words with an 'unactivated positive affect', such as calm, relaxed and content.
The researchers also distinguished between high activated and unactivated for words with negative emotional overtones. They distinguished between words with a 'high activated negative affect', such as worried, jittery, distressed and upset, and words with an 'unactivated negative affect', such as sad, lonely, downhearted and hopeless.
The researchers counted the number of emotionally charged words in the autobiographies and then looked at the age the writers had reached, from which they were able to construct the figure shown below.
ResultsThe psychologists that had used many words with a high activated positive affect lived five years longer than the psychologists who had not done so. The figure suggests that psychologists who used many words with a high activated negative affect lived shorter lives, but the correlation was not statistically significant. Words with an unactivated emotional affect had no influence on lifespan.
When the researchers looked at which type of words with a high activated positive affect had the strongest correlation with a longer lifespan, the words that had something to do with humour were the ones that were most noticeable. Psychologists who had used many humorous words in their autobiography lived six years longer than psychologists who had used few humorous words.
The least powerful words with a high activated positive affect were self-assurance words. Use of these words only extended lifespan by three years.
ExplanationA possible explanation that the researchers put forward is that "there are physiological changes that occur in conjunction with arousing positive emotional experiences (improved vagal tone, increased endogenous opioids) that contribute to better health."
"These changes may improve health through their influences on immune and cardiovascular function and may also aid in buffering physiological stress responses."
Source:Health Psychol. 2012 May;31(3):297-305.
More:Positive view of life after retirement extends life expectancy 24.04.2013Looking down on the elderly raises chance of heart attack 25.04.2013No fear in the face of aging extends life expectancy 23.04.2013
Archives:Psychology of LongevityPsychology
A Bored Chinese Housewife Spent Years Falsifying Russian History on Wikipedia
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:12
A Chinese woman made up more than 200 articles in one of the largest hoaxes on the site. PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK
Posing as a scholar, a Chinese woman spent years writing alternative accounts of medieval Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia, conjuring imaginary states, battles, and aristocrats in one of the largest hoaxes on the open-source platform.
The scam was exposed last month by Chinese novelist Yifan, who was researching for a book when he came upon an article on the Kashin silver mine.
Discovered by Russian peasants in 1344, the Wikipedia entry goes, the mine engaged more than 40,000 slaves and freedmen, providing a remarkable source of wealth for the Russian principality of Tver in the 14th and 15th centuries as well as subsequent regimes. The geological composition of the soil, the structure of the mine, and even the refining process were fleshed out in detail in the entry.
Yifan thought he'd found interesting material for a novel. Little did he know he'd stumbled upon an entire fictitious world constructed by a user known as Zhemao. It was one of 206 articles she has written on Chinese Wikipedia since 2019, weaving facts into fiction in an elaborate scheme that went uncaught for years and tested the limits of crowdsourced platforms' ability to verify information and fend off bad actors.
''The content she wrote is of high quality and the entries were interconnected, creating a system that can exist on its own,'' veteran Chinese Wikipedian John Yip told VICE World News. ''Zhemao single-handedly invented a new way to undermine Wikipedia.''
Yifan was tipped off when he ran the silver mine story by Russian speakers and fact-checked Zhemao's references, only to find that the pages or versions of the books she cited did not exist. People he consulted also called out her lengthy entries on ancient conflicts between Slavic states, which could not be found in Russian historical records. ''They were so rich in details they put English and Russian Wikipedia to shame,'' Yifan wrote on Zhihu, a Chinese site similar to Quora, where he shared his discovery last month and caused a stir.
The scale of the scam came to light after a group of volunteer editors and other Wikipedians, such as Yip, combed through her past contributions to nearly 300 articles.
SCREENSHOT OF AN ENTRY ZHEMAO WROTE THAT HAS BEEN DELETED FROM WIKIPEDIA
One of her longest articles was almost the length of ''The Great Gatsby.'' With the formal, authoritative tone of an encyclopedia, it detailed three Tartar uprisings in the 17th century that left a lasting impact on Russia, complete with a map she made. In another entry, she shared rare images of ancient coins, which she claimed to have obtained from a Russian archaeological team.
One article she tampered heavily with was on the deportation of Chinese in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and '30s. It was so well-written it was selected as a featured article and translated into other languages, including English, Arabic, and Russian, spreading the damage to other language editions of Wikipedia.
Among the first users to interact with her, Yip almost couldn't believe himself when he learnt how she'd tricked the system. Like many others, he was previously impressed with Zhemao's knowledge on the obscure topic and her dedication, as she made edits almost every other day.
''Her entries appeared comprehensive, with proper citations, but some were made up, while others had page numbers that did not add up,'' Yip said. For instance, she frequently quoted from ''History of Russia From Earliest Times'', a colossal work with 29 volumes by well-known Russian historian Sergei M. Soloviev. But the Chinese translation she cited turned out to be bogus.
Editors normally presume writers are contributing in good faith, said Yeh Youchia, a volunteer editor who plays the roles of a patroller and a rollbacker, and who helped contain the fallout.
''When surveying new content, we only check whether it is blatant plagiarism and if it has proper sources. She understood the format of Wikipedia very well and provided sources that were very difficult to verify,'' Yeh said.
The content is only one aspect of her invention.
To create an air of credibility, Zhemao described herself as the daughter of a Chinese diplomat stationed in Russia who married a Russian man and listed her academic credentials on her user profile, including a doctoral degree in world history from the Moscow State University. Recently, she added that she was a pacifist and attached a petition her husband supposedly signed in protest of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Though Zhemao occasionally feigned humility and expressed disgust with ''online circle-jerking,'' the investigation also found that she controlled at least four sock puppets, alternative accounts she used to create an illusion of support. ''Please don't call me boss, I am just an ordinary student,'' Zhemao wrote in reply to one of them.
With another sock puppet, she posed as a doctoral student in world history at Peking University who had studied in Russia, and claimed to know Zhemao in real life. Though one account, the Inquisitive Amateur, was active since 2010, the investigation suggested she only seized control of it in 2019.
Zhemao's convincing persona as a modest scholar won her the trust of the community.
''I thought she was a rare talent, as the site lacked writers knowledgeable in medieval Russia,'' Eric Liu, a history student involved with Wikipedia since 2015, told VICE World News. He awarded her with a Wikipedia barnstar earlier this year to thank her for her contributions.
''I deeply regret not realizing her nonsense and even gave her support. It feels like I was an accomplice to her scheme,'' Liu said. The incident dealt a heavy blow to the site's dwindling credibility and many users are now paranoid about potential fraud, he added.
As a punishment, Zhemao and her affiliated accounts were suspended permanently. Most of her articles were deleted based on community consensus. Some Wikipedians even wrote to experts, seeking help to separate the wheat from the chaff.
''Volunteers are continuing to review additional articles that may have been affected,'' a spokesperson of the Wikimedia Foundation told VICE World News in an email.
''Vandalism or other negative behavior can happen from time to time on Wikipedia, as is expected with any open, online platform that is available for everyone to contribute to. With that said, this specific type of behavior on Wikipedia is not common,'' they added.
So who is Zhemao in real life? She came clean in an apology letter issued on her Wikipedia account last month. She speaks neither English nor Russian and is a housewife with only a high school degree.
The hoax started with an innocuous intention. Unable to comprehend scholarly articles in their original language, she pieced sentences together with a translation tool and filled in the blanks with her own imagination. ''As the saying goes, in order to defend a lie, you must tell more lies,'' she wrote. Before long, they had accumulated into tens of thousands of characters, which she was reluctant to delete.
The alternative accounts were imaginary friends she ''cosplayed'' as she was bored and alone, given her husband was away most of the time and she didn't have any friends. She also apologized to actual experts on Russia, whom she had attempted to cozy up to and later impersonated.
''The knowledge I have right now is not enough to make a living. In the future I will learn a craft, work conscientiously, and not do pointless things like this any more,'' she added.
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Cyber Polygon 2022 to take place on July 8
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 13:09
Cyber Polygon is organized by BI.ZONE, an expert in digital risks management (Sber Ecosystem), with the support of the World Economic Forum's Centre for Cybersecurity and INTERPOL. The training is conducted on an annual basis and will take place for the fourth time in 2022. The central theme this year is Digital Resilience in the Cloud Age.
The event will consist of three parallel tracks: an online conference with the participation of top executives from global organizations, a technical cybersecurity training for corporate teams, and expert talks from leading specialists in practical cybersecurity.
Speakers from around the world will discuss how to maintain business continuity and develop safely in the cloud era. Among the invited experts are leaders of the private and public sectors from across the globe as well as representatives of international organizations.
Meanwhile, during the technical training, participants will work through the actions of a corporate response team in a targeted attack on their hybrid cloud infrastructure.
''Organizations around the world are experiencing an extreme shortage of competent cybersecurity experts, reaching a deficit of several million specialists. In the meantime, cyberattacks are becoming more and more sophisticated, and cybersecurity specialists now have to focus on being proactive and continuously developing their professional skills, rather than keeping pace with criminals. We realize that sharing skills and knowledge is essential to increase the overall level of expertise worldwide. This is why we conduct Cyber Polygon, where industry professionals will exchange their experience and knowledge for the fourth consecutive year,'' Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Sber.
''Last year, the event sparked so much interest that we were able to accept just a fifth of all applicants. This year, we are expanding the training infrastructure to accommodate much more companies. As usual, the training will be free of charge, and its principal goal remains the same'--to strengthen cybersecurity at all levels,'' Dmitry Samartsev, BI.ZONE CEO.
''INTERPOL has been an integral part of the Cyber Polygon since its inception in 2019. This partnership aligns with one of our core pillars of enhancing the capabilities of law enforcement in combating cybercrime, part of INTERPOL's Global Cybercrime Strategy in support of our 195 member countries. We have no doubt that this year's Cyber Polygon will provide another important milestone for us all to become more agile and responsive to the ever-evolving cybercrime in the cloud age,'' Craig Jones, Director of Cybercrime, INTERPOL.
''Cyber Polygon's cybersecurity training event helps raise awareness of cyber attacks across organisations, across borders and across the public and private sectors. The impressive year-on-year growth in the number, variety and geographical spread of Cyber Polygon's participants shows that it is responding to a global need. Each year the exercise develops in scope and sophistication, keeping pace with evolving cyber threats, and we look forward to Cyber Polygon 2022,'' Alexander Klimburg, Head of Centre for Cybersecurity, World Economic Forum.
Cyber Polygon is an international initiative between BI.ZONE and Sber. Last year, the training gathered 200 teams from 48 countries. The online conference attracted more than 7 million viewers from 78 countries. The event featured Mikhail Mishustin, Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board at Sber; Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum; Steve Wozniak, Co-founder of Apple Computer, and other participants.
Farmer Percy Schmeiser Finds That GMOs Come With a Stiff Price '-- Even if You Don't Grow Them - Greenpeace USA
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 12:54
"It's pretty easy to paint this as the multinational beating up on the poor little farmer."'-- Trish Jordan, Monsanto spokeswoman
A Canadian court ruled yesterday that farmer Percy Schmeiser must pay Monsanto after his fields were found to be contaminated by the company's genetically engineered canola. Pollen from neighboring fields was the source of the contamination. The award amounts to over $15,000 plus damages, which could amount to another $75,000, and came after Monsanto company investigators trespassed on Schmeiser's land and found the company's genetically engineered canola growing in his field. The court found that because Monsanto owns patent rights on the genes used in the altered canola, the farmer was liable for growing the crop, even though he did not intentionally plant the engineered seed.
''It will take totally all of my wife's and myself's retirement funds that we've worked for all our life,'' said a disappointed Percy Schmeiser, 70. ''I've lost 50 years of work because of a company's genetically altered seed getting into my canola, destroying what I've worked for, destroying my property and getting sued on top of it.''
''It's outrageous that farmers are forced to pay for genetic pollution from unwanted crops,'' said Charles Margulis, a Greenpeace Genetic Engineering Specialist. ''The same chemical companies that polluted our food with pesticides are now polluting our food with their new genetic technology.''
In the U.S., farmers have become increasingly concerned about genetic pollution since environmentalists revealed that StarLink, an engineered variety not approved for human food, has contaminated the food and seed supply. Earlier this month USDA revealed that it would spend as much as $20 million to buy StarLink-contaminated seed. Other engineered seed contamination has been detected in cotton, soy and other crops, yet farmers have no protection from this genetic seed pollution. If the Schmeiser case sets a precedent, any farmer whose crop is contaminated via tainted seed, pollen drift, or other unavoidable environmental pollution will be forced to pay biotech companies for unwanted genetic pollution.
''It's as if a pesticide drifted into your field and destroyed your crop, and instead of getting compensation, you have to pay the company for using its chemical,'' added Margulis.
According to The Washington Post, in response to the Schmeiser decision, the U.S. National Farmers Union said: ''We're extremely concerned by what liabilities may unfold for the farmer, particularly with cross-pollination of genetically modified plants.''
Trish Jordan, Monsanto's spokeswoman in Winnipeg was cited as admitting the company's reputation has been damaged by the case. ''For Monsanto, it is a bit of a no-win situation. It's pretty easy to paint this as the multinational beating up on the poor little farmer,'' she was quoted as saying.
Google News - Opinion | An Abortion Story Too Good to Confirm
Wed, 13 Jul 2022 23:25
Language & region English (United States)
Hackers posing as Merkel target ECB's Lagarde - German source | Reuters
Wed, 13 Jul 2022 21:17
President of European Central Bank Christine Lagarde speaks during a signing ceremony on the adoption of the euro by Croatia in Brussels, Belgium July 12, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comFRANKFURT, July 12 (Reuters) - Unidentified hackers attempted to trick European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde into letting them open a messaging app account in her name by posing as former German chancellor Angela Merkel, a German source said on Tuesday.
The plot was quickly foiled without any information being compromised, an ECB spokesperson said.
"We can confirm that there was an attempted cyber incident recently involving the president," the ECB spokesperson said. "It was identified and halted quickly. No information was compromised. We have nothing more to say as an investigation is ongoing."
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comThe incident was first reported by Business Insider.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters hackers pretending to be Merkel messaged Lagarde asking her to disclose an authentication code that would have enabled them to open a WhatsApp account linked to the ECB chief's phone number. There was no official confirmation of this.
In a letter dated July 4 and seen by Reuters, Germany's domestic intelligence agency and Federal Office for Information Security warned German lawmakers that such a scheme was under way but without naming either of the targets.
"Specifically, the attackers exploit the existing relationship of trust between two high-ranking political figures," it said, referring to a "social engineering campaign".
While the tactics were not new, the German authorities said this scheme was unique in that it used the guise of top politicians.
"Affected parties who pass on authentication data to the attackers lose control over the respective messenger account. The attackers can then use this account, for example, to attack other people," the letter warned.
It said such a scheme typically asks mobile phone users to switch from SMS to WhatsApp, but also Signal or Telegram, both of which market themselves as securely encrypted apps.
Reuters has contacted Merkel's office for comment.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comReporting by Francesco Canepa and Andreas Rinke; Writing by Rachel More; Editing by Catherine Evans and Alison Williams
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Netherlands Partnered with WEF to Subvert Global Food Ahead of Farm Bans; Bill Gates Involved
Wed, 13 Jul 2022 15:03
Behind government restrictions in the Netherlands that could force farms to close is an agreement last year between the country's leadership and the World Economic Forum. As the country rolls out restrictions that are forcing farmers out of business, and as protests spread across Europe, the government agreement on a new food system is raising questions on whether a deeper agenda is at play.
This includes programs under the WEF's Food Innovation Hubs, an initiative of its Food Action Alliance which was set to align with the United Nations Food Systems Summit, and tied into its Agenda 2030 guidelines on Sustainable Development Goals.
We also speak with Coach Joe Kennedy and First Liberty Institute attorney Jeremy Dys on their recent Supreme Court victory for Coach Kennedy's right to public prayer as a high school football coach.
In this live Q&A with Crossroads host Joshua Philipp we'll discuss these topics and others, and answer questions from the audience.
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ERCOT CEO: We didn't think Texas' summer would be this hot
Wed, 13 Jul 2022 14:10
Shelby Webb,
Staff writer
July 12, 2022Updated: July 12, 2022 1:37 p.m.
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1 of 2 ERCOT interim President Brad Jones sat down for an exclusive interview with the Houston Chronicle after calling for a conservation notice for Monday afternoon
Brandon Bell, Staff / Getty Images Show More Show Less 2 of 2 Brade Jones, interim CEO of ERCOT, poses for a headshot.
Chris Reichman Show More Show Less This summer has already been brutal for ERCOT .
Tight grid conditions have become nearly a daily occurrence. The all-time record for demand has already been broken eight times in the past three months. Officials have called for conservation as weary Texans adjust their thermostats out of fear that using too much may stress the system, potentially sparking memories of the power outages that blanketed the state in February 2021.
But despite those concerns, the lights have stayed on.
At the helm of ERCOT's operations is Brad Jones, the nonprofit grid manager's interim CEO who was appointed after his predecessor was ousted amid the fallout of the February 2021 freeze. Jones, who previously oversaw New York's grid operator for about three years, sat down with the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday to talk about changes made since the freeze, how the grid is faring this summer and his hopes -- and concerns -- about the future of power in Texas.
Here are five key takeaways from the Chronicle's interview with Jones:
1.) ERCOT officials did not expect this summer to be as hot as it has been:
ERCOT's Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, or SARA, report had projected that peak demand on the hottest day of summer would probably reach around 77,300 megawatts (one megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes on a hot day). But Jones said forecasters did not anticipate temperatures to get close to where they were during the record heat logged in 2011. Temperatures that summer were about 5 degrees hotter than average.
RELATED: Texas grid survives sweltering day, but heat is still on ERCOT
"The question we always ask of our weather forecasting team is: Is this 2011? And you'd hear no, this is not 2011. Everyone was saying this is not 2011. And about the end of May they're saying, this looks like 2011. And at about the end of June, they're saying it's like we're heading into 2011," Jones said.
He said the extreme heat scenario for this summer estimated that demand could reach above 81,000 megawatts, which was the original forecast for Monday. Forecasters originally gave that scenario a 5 percent chance of happening, he said.
"The 81,500 (megawatts) was the extreme, but those numbers are in the system. We just start with what we think the expected case is, and in early May, the expected case was 77,500" megawatts, he said.
2.) Jones is concerned, but hopeful, about getting through the rest of this summer:
To keep up with record-breaking demand this summer, ERCOT has called on thermal generators (think natural gas, coal and nuclear) to run as much as possible, including having some humming in the background just in case their power is needed in tight grid conditions.
Having those plants running is part of more "conservative operations" ERCOT is working with, which essentially gives the grid manager more of a cushion when electricity supplies get tight. As of right now, Jones said he doesn't see evidence that having more power in the short term will mean more plants breaking down in the future.
"Now, I am concerned that there will be more (generation) outages because just the way we're running them this summer, not even the conservative operations, just how we're running in the summer. It puts a lot of wear and tear on some of these older machines. So I am concerned about their reliability all the way through the summer, but right now they are performing extraordinarily with low outage rates."
At the same time, he said, Texans have shown they've been able to cut back on usage to help ease the tight grid conditions. On Monday, for example, ERCOT officials expected a few hundred megawatts to be shaved off demand after issuing a conservation notice. But Jones said smaller customers, in conjunction with large industrial users, ended up cutting demand by more than 2,500 megawatts from what officials had projected.
"It was millions of customers in Texas helping out. And this is where I get impressed by the Texas spirit, the spirit of people who wanted to help each other," Jones said.
3.) Conservation alerts no longer mean the grid is in emergency conditions:
Jones said ERCOT officials used to wait until the grid was already in emergency conditions -- and sometimes close to triggering rolling blackouts -- before calling a conservation notice. He said that's no longer the case, and that the conservation notices are now called to avoid getting close to emergency conditions altogether.
RELATED: ERCOT's shift in operations may mean rise in prices for customers
"When we call for it, I want Texans understand: That's not because we're going into rolling outages. That's because we want to stay far enough away from a rolling outage scenario that we're asking for it early," Jones said. "We used to stand right at the edge of the cliff before calling one, now we're 10 feet back when we start to it manage."
"You noticed yesterday, we didn't go into an emergency. We stayed out of that altogether," he added.
4) Wind is not the enemy:
In a press release sent to media Sunday night, ERCOT pointed to low wind output as a driver for the tight grid conditions. Gov . Abbott and others blamed wind as a primarily driver of outages in the February 2021 freeze, even though the majority of generation that tripped offline came from thermal sources, especially natural gas.
Wind output was relatively low yesterday, Jones said, but it remains a good resource for ERCOT .
"Bringing them in is an extraordinary value for Texas and for ERCOT , Texans get lower prices and ERCOT gets very reliable generation most of the time. We can predict it. We have real good sense of what is going to do every day," he said. "Sometimes it just has a bad day."
He said part of the reason he and others have called for more quick-starting gas generation is to buoy the supply of cheap wind and solar and to act as a bridge when those resources aren't producing due to weather conditions.
"If we don't get enough dispatchable , we can't bring in more solar or wind. Because then we're going to be in a situation where, when it gets dark and still, we can't keep the lights on," Jones said. "We have to figure out a way to attract and retain the amount of dispatchable generation that we need."
5.) The key to long-term reliability is bringing more responsive generation online:
Jones said the grid is in pretty dire need of more generation that can turn on quickly to respond to grid conditions. One option is utility scale batteries, which can store energy from wind and solar farms and discharge that stored power when their output is low. Another is fast-responding gas plants.
Generators, however, have been reluctant to build new generation while the Public Utility Commission studies a new design for ERCOT's power market. Final blueprints of the market redesign aren't expected until later this year or perhaps early next year.
"We need more generation, we need more dispatchable generation," he said.
De miljardairsfamilie die pal achter de boeren staat (want hoe meer vee, hoe meer geld)
Tue, 12 Jul 2022 22:56
De vestiging van De Heus Voeders in Utrecht. Beeld Raymond Rutting / de Volkskrant
Op de dag dat de familie De Heus definitief toetrad tot de culturele elite van Nederland, had dezelfde familie De Heus, eigenaar van een multinational in veevoer, een boodschap voor een heel andere laag van de bevolking.
E(C)n familie, twee werelden.
In het kasteel Nyenrode, aan het riviertje de Vecht, krijgen de zeventigers Henk en Victoria de Heus-Zomer op woensdag 22 juni de Museumpenning opgespeld, een koninklijke onderscheiding voor de kunstcollectie die zij de afgelopen dertig jaar hebben opgebouwd. Staatssecretaris Gunay Uslu voor Cultuur en Media spreekt lovende woorden over het internationale niveau van de verzameling, over hun liefde voor moderne kunst, over de rol die het echtpaar speelt in het steunen van jonge kunstenaars. Aan de muur hangen prachtige werken uit hun collectie, die ze zelf uit landen als China en Brazili hebben gehaald. De Wijde Wereld In, is de titel van de tentoonstelling, even kosmopolitisch als het bedrijf dat dit mogelijk maakte.
Een stukje verderop, langs de snelweg A1, verschijnt die woensdag op een groot reclamescherm het karakteristieke groen en blauw van de firma De Heus, een van de drie grote veevoerbedrijven van Nederland. 'Trots op de boer', staat erop. Het is de dag van het grote boerenprotest in Stroe. Op Facebook betuigt het bedrijf nog meer steun aan de boeren. 'Rij je op de A1 bij Hoevelaken of A30 bij Barneveld? Kijk dan goed om je heen en lees ons statement. Ben je onderweg naar het protest? Dan wensen we je een goede dag. Rij en doe voorzichtig en laat van je horen!'
Rond het weiland in Stroe zelf hangen spandoeken van De Heus, dat met een aantal andere landbouwbedrijven heeft meebetaald aan de organisatie van het protest. En terwijl de staatssecretaris in Nyenrode meneer en mevrouw De Heus prijst voor het podium dat zij jonge kunstenaars hebben geboden, staan in Stroe op een ander, mede door De Heus betaald podium jonge boeren af te geven op het 'elitaire korps' dat in Nederland de dienst uitmaakt maar 'nog nooit een plant in leven gehouden heeft'.
E(C)n familie, twee gezichten. Zeer salonf¤hig, maar ook voor de boeren op de bres. Het is, in deze zwaar gepolariseerde tijden, bijna onvoorstelbaar dat dezelfde naam aan weerszijden van de culturele kloof opduikt. Of is er toch een verband tussen die twee?
De firma De Heus heeft met ForFarmers en de co¶peratie Agrifirm zo'n 75 procent van de Nederlandse veevoedermarkt in handen. Net als andere toeleveranciers en verwerkers in de landbouwketen, zoals machinefabrikant Lely, kaasmaker A-ware en kalfjesslachter Van Drie, hebben de veevoerbedrijven de afgelopen decennia geprofiteerd van de schaalvergroting en intensivering van de landbouw. Voor voerbedrijven is het verband duidelijk: elk dier erbij betekent extra omzet.
Koen en Co de Heus, de huidige ceo's van De Heus Voeders. Beeld Flip Franssen / ANP
Het heeft De Heus geen windeieren gelegd. Het bedrijf, in 1911 in Barneveld opgericht door de overgrootvader van de huidige twee ceo's Co en Koen, behaalde in 2020 een omzet van 3,2 miljard euro en een winst van 125 miljoen. Daarvan ging 40 miljoen naar de aandeelhouders, Co en Koen en hun zus Jobien. Als familie behoort De Heus volgens Quote tot de top-5 van rijkste families van Nederland, met een geschat vermogen van 1,6 miljard euro.
Hoewel meer dan de helft van het geld uit het buitenland komt, heeft het bedrijf veel te verliezen met de dreigende inkrimping. In een verklaring maakt het op de dag van Stroe duidelijk waarom het de boerenprotesten steunt. 'Als het aangekondigde beleid wordt doorgezet, dan zal dat niet alleen grote gevolgen hebben voor het aantal boerenbedrijven in Nederland. Ook andere bedrijven in ons voedselsysteem zien hun toekomst onzeker worden', is de uitleg. 'Bij het zoeken naar een oplossing voor het stikstofdossier moet dan ook nadrukkelijk het toekomstperspectief van alle ketenpartijen in ons voedselsysteem worden meegenomen.'
Alle ketenbedrijven in ons voedselsysteem. Eigenlijk staat daar dus gewoon: dat verzet, dat is in ons belang.
Een bedrijf van generaties De Heus is een bedrijf van generaties. In het hoofdkantoor in Ede hangt in de gang achter de balie een groot portret van J.J. de Heus, zoon van oprichter Hendrik Anthonie, die in 1911 in de Langstraat in Barneveld begint met Graan- en Meelhandel H. A. de Heus. Achter de winkel bouwt hij een molen en silo's om grondstoffen in op te slaan. De klanten zijn kleine koeien- en kippenboeren in de Gelderse Vallei, het platte land tussen de bulten van de Veluwe en de Utrechtse Heuvelrug. De Heus valt nog niet op '' er zijn bijna evenveel voerleveranciers als kerken in het strengchristelijke dorp. De schaal is die van paard en wagen. Pas honderd jaar later zou het hier Food Valley gaan heten.
De Heus groeit aanvankelijk rustig. De vrachtwagens beginnen de hele regio te bedienen en er komt een overslaginstallatie in Wageningen, waar binnenvaartschepen de via de haven van Rotterdam ge¯mporteerde granen kunnen lossen. Barnevelder Mark Brouwer, later militair geworden, herinnert zich hoe hij als jongetje op de bijrijdersstoel naast zijn opa het hele land doorkruiste; er hing een houten vrachtwagen aan de schouw met een draaischijf met de namen van de kleinkinderen, zodat zijn oma kon bijhouden wie er die dag aan de beurt was om mee te gaan. 'Het was een familiebedrijf in verschillende opzichten', zegt hij. 'Iedereen die er werkte werd als familie beschouwd, en ook hun families hoorden erbij. Het was echt een gemeenschap. De oude meneer De Heus kwam ook naar de condoleance van mijn opa.'
Hoe gemoedelijk ook, er worden harde zaken gedaan. Een gepensioneerde kippenboer in het nabijgelegen Kootwijkerbroek, een vlaggenmast met de boerenzakdoek in zijn voortuin, vertelt hoe zijn vader ergens in de jaren zestig zijn kippenstal uitbreidde en daarna in financile problemen kwam. Voerleverancier De Heus wilde wel inspringen met een lening die terugbetaald moest worden met een jarenlang voercontract. Onderpand: de hele boerderij. 'Mijn vader heeft het gered, maar het was jaren spannend. Anderen zijn zo hun boerderij wel kwijtgeraakt.' Tja, reageert een woordvoerder van De Heus: 'Heeft de kippenboer ook aangegeven dat de bank op dat moment helemaal geen financiering meer wilde verstrekken?'
De Heus neemt links en rechts andere veevoerbedrijven over en bouwt fabrieken van Sneek tot Veghel. Er komt steeds meer soja uit Brazili, maar het blijft een Barnevelds bedrijf '' in alle opzichten. Als directeur Henk de Heus en zijn vrouw Victoria begin jaren negentig voor een receptie het hoofdkantoor van de ABN Amrobank binnen stappen en daar een kunstwerk van een dikke zwaardvis zien, zijn ze zo getroffen dat ze ook de witte muren van hun huis aan de Stationsweg met kunst willen gaan bedekken. Daarbij kopen ze eerst alles wat los en vast zit, vervolgens laten ze zich adviseren door de curator van ABN Amro, tevens vrouw van Remco Campert, om zo een verzameling op te bouwen die nu tot de belangrijkste van Nederland behoort. De werken aan de muur wisselen voortdurend, wat even niet aan de muur past gaat naar de kelder, naast het zwembad. Maar het blijft in Barneveld.
Snelle expansie onder de nieuwe generatie Het is een nieuwe generatie die de ambities verder opschroeft. Zoon Co is in 1994 na zijn studie economie het bedrijf in gerold, zoon Koen, die rechten heeft gedaan, arriveert wat later, tegen de eeuwwisseling. Hij is zoals zoveel afgestudeerden in die tijd ge¯nteresseerd in het snelle geld van investment banking, van fusies en overnames (M&A), in Amsterdam, Londen en New York. Maar waarom bij een bank of consultant gaan werken als het eigen familiebedrijf ook links en rechts bedrijven aan het opslokken is '' soms zelfs groter dan De Heus zelf? En wat als ze dat nou niet alleen in Nederland deden, maar wereldwijd?
In 2004 vertrekt het bedrijf uit Barneveld en belegt de familie met de naaste medewerkers een topoverleg op landgoed Het Roode Koper op de Veluwe. Daar wordt de strategie uitgestippeld voor de volgende tien jaar. De Brics-landen zijn net ontdekt, de landen in Azi, Afrika en Zuid-Amerika met een snel groeiende middenklasse, en de familie voorspelt dat die hun geld ook aan vlees en zuivel gaan besteden. 'Wie het beter heeft eet meer vlees of vis, dat heeft ook iets met status te maken', aldus global director business development Hein Brenninkmeijer vorig jaar op de M&A-website Mena. En dan is daar dus meer kippen-, varkens-, koeien- en visvoer bij nodig. Conclusie, in 2004: dr moeten we zijn.
Het boerenprotest op een weiland in Stroe, waaraan De Heus heeft meebetaald. Beeld ANP
Als Co en Koen drie jaar later als duo aantreden als nieuwe bestuursvoorzitters, vertalen ze de strategie in keiharde cijfers. Elke vijf jaar moet de omzet en winst van het bedrijf verdubbelen. Overnames zijn essentieel. Omdat ze een familiebedrijf zijn, kunnen ze snel schakelen, zonder voortdurend overleg en papierwerk. Daarbij nemen ze graag andere familiebedrijven over, zegt Brenninkmeijer, of andere onervaren tegenpartijen in ontwikkelingslanden die nog nooit van mergers & acquisitions gehoord hebben. Ook dat gaat lekker snel. Brenninkmeijer over de overname van UAB in Indonesi: 'Toen de verkoper van het bedrijf het contract had getekend, zei hij: ik lees het vanavond nog een keertje goed door '' misschien kom ik morgen nog met wat wijzigingen. Toen hebben we maar even haarfijn uitgelegd dat dat dus echt niet de bedoeling was.'
Volgens De Heus is dit een onjuiste voorstelling van zaken door Brenninkmeijer, die niet meer werkzaam is bij De Heus. 'Met familiebedrijven hebben we vaak een culturele fit. Dergelijke bedrijven hebben vaak uitstekende adviseurs in dienst, die op een zeer goede manier de belangen van hun clinten behartigen. Bovendien zijn er verschillende voorbeelden van bedrijven die nu onderdeel zijn van De Heus die voor de overname eigendom waren van een zakelijk zeer ervaren investeringsmaatschappij.'
De groei is ook priv(C) zichtbaar '' de opeenhoping van geld is de grote gemene deler tussen het bedrijf en de familie. Terwijl Henk en Victoria in Barneveld blijven wonen '' gastvrije mensen die bezoekers met sigaretten ontvangen '' met dochter Jobien als buurvrouw, koopt Koen in 2016 voor 13 miljoen euro een villa in Baarn, het voormalige stulpje van Joop van den Ende. Zo ontstijgt de nieuwe generatie bazen de geboortegrond, vanuit de weilanden van de Gelderse vallei naar de bossen van 't Gooi, een van de reservaten van nieuw geld in Nederland. Hoewel ze al jaren zaken deden met De Heus, stappen sommige boeren in de omgeving van Barneveld over naar kleinere leveranciers. 'Mijn vader was een relatief kleine boer en wilde geen nummer zijn', zegt Brouwer.
'De monden van de wereld blijven voeden' Ondanks de internationale expansie blijft de Nederlandse markt voor De Heus belangrijk. Het bedrijf verzet zich met hand en tand tegen een verkleining van de veestapel '' met het argument dat 'we' toch de monden van de wereld moeten blijven voeden. Dat het bedrijf een aanzienlijk belang heeft bij het in stand houden van de intensieve veehouderij, blijkt uit de cijfers. Voor boerderijen met varkens en kippen vormt mengvoer ongeveer tweederde van de totale kosten '' voor melkveehouderijen is dat ongeveer de helft, omdat die ook gras eten. De winstmarges zijn niet zo heel groot, voor een bedrijf als De Heus, zo'n 6 tot 8 procent in Nederland, dus het is niet zo dat zo'n bedrijf de boeren afperst. Maar het betekent wel dat alles ingericht is op efficintie en schaal. Als de voerfabrieken op halve kracht gaan draaien renderen ze niet meer.
Dus moet de landbouw blijven zoals die is. En dus probeert het bedrijf nadrukkelijk de publieke opinie te be¯nvloeden en steunt het organisaties die twijfel zaaien in de stikstofdiscussie.
Zo sponsort het bedrijf (net als Royal A-Ware en Van Drie) het programma Wie de boer niet kent, dat dit voorjaar bij RTL4 op tv te zien was. Hoe groot de financile bijdrage van De Heus is wil producent Icare niet zeggen, maar de inhoudelijke bemoeienis van De Heus is onmiskenbaar. Deelnemende boeren werden door het bedrijf naar voren geschoven ('Als De Heus zoiets vraagt zeg ik daar ja tegen', zegt varkenshouder Wim van Vulpen uit Bunnik) en zelfs het logo van het programma heeft het groen-blauw van De Heus.
De Heus Voeders in Utrecht. Beeld Raymond Rutting / de Volkskrant
Ook betaalt De Heus de stichting Agri Facts, die met 'onafhankelijke onderzoeksjournalistiek' onder meer de effecten van stikstof probeert te relativeren en bagatelliseren, en soms rechtszaken aanspant tegen organisaties of bedrijven die in hun ogen fouten maken. Daarmee staat Agri Facts in een traditie die teruggaat tot de jaren vijftig, toen sigarettenfabrikanten wetgeving probeerden tegen te houden met gesponsorde twijfel, een tactiek die ook het klimaatbeleid jaren vertraagde. De stichting heeft negenhonderd donateurs die elk 150 euro betalen, zegt Geesje Rotgers, een van de onderzoekers van de stichting, die tevens als communicatiemedewerker verbonden is aan de Producenten Organisatie Varkenshouderij. Dit jaar schenken De Heus, Royal A-Ware en Van Drie ieder 75 duizend euro, zegt zij. De sponsoren hebben volgens haar geen invloed op de redactie. 'Dat is contractueel vastgelegd.'
De Heus stelt in een reactie dat de stikstofdiscussie 'vanuit verschillende perspectieven' kan worden belicht. 'In onze ogen is het belangrijk om ook een tegengeluid te laten horen.'
De Heus zelf heeft ook een omvangrijk educatieprogramma De Heus Kidzz, met hulp bij het maken van werkstukken en zelf geproduceerde filmpjes over het boerenbedrijf. Dat dat perspectief niet volledig is, blijkt uit het filmpje over een melkveehouderij, waarin wel wordt uitgelegd dat de kalfjes bij de moeder worden weggehaald ('dat is veel schoner') maar niet dat ze daarna worden opgefokt en naar de slachterij gaan. 'Positieve verhalen moet je vertellen', schrijft woordvoerder Joost Belt in Vooruit!, het kwartaalmagazine van De Heus, waarin hij noemt welke initiatieven het bedrijf onderneemt om de sector minder onbekend en onbemind te maken. 'Gaat u samen met ons verder in het delen van mooie verhalen?'
Sporen in Barneveld In Barneveld zijn de sporen van de familie De Heus nog steeds te vinden. Op de plek van de oude fabriek in de Langstraat staat nu weliswaar een appartementencomplex, maar voor het gemeentehuis staat een goudkleurig staketsel van ringen en eierdopjes, in de vorm van een groot ei '' een geschenk van het bedrijf aan de gemeente bij het honderdjarig bestaan, toen De Heus Koninklijk werd. Victoria is nog steeds beschermvrouwe van het plaatselijke Nairac-museum, waar soms werken uit de collectie hangen. En over de landelijke weggetjes in de buurt rijden nog steeds de blauw-groene vrachtwagens met bulkvoer, voor de kippen en koeien van de vallei, langs de boerderijen die met boerenzakdoeken en omgekeerde Nederlandse vlaggen zijn getooid.
30 kilometer verderop, in Baarn, voor de monumentale villa van Koen de Heus, aan een lommerrijke laan met heggen en mooie eiken en veel blauwe Volvo's, hangt een wimpel met de vaderlandse driekleur. Het smalle doek beweegt lichtjes. Welke kleur boven is, is niet goed te zien. Hangt van de wind af. En van wat je wilt zien.
Lees ook
The Meaning of the Cryptic Messages on The Economist's "The World in 2019" Cover | The Vigilant Citizen
Tue, 12 Jul 2022 18:32
Vigilant Reports A look at the cryptic symbolism found on the cover of the Economist's ''The World in 2019'' which includes the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. What are they trying to tell us?
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December 20, 2018
Every December, the reputed magazine The Economist publishes a special edition that predicts the trends and the events of the year to come. And every time, the cover of these editions is an elaborate collection of images referring to various people
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For the first time, a drugmaker is seeking FDA approval for an over-the-counter birth control pill - CBS News
Tue, 12 Jul 2022 14:00
For the first time, a pharmaceutical company has asked for permission to sell a birth control pill over the counter in the U.S.
HRA Pharma's application on Monday sets up a high-stakes decision for health regulators amid legal and political battles over women's reproductive health. The company says the timing was unrelated to the Supreme Court's recent decision overturning Roe v. Wade .
Hormone-based pills have long been the most common form of birth control in the U.S., used by millions of women since the 1960s. They have always required a prescription, generally so health professionals can screen for conditions that raise the risk of rare, but dangerous, blood clots.
The French drugmaker's application compiles years of research intended to convince the Food and Drug Administration that women can safely screen themselves for those risks and use the pill effectively.
"For a product that has been available for the last 50 years, that has been used safely by millions of women, we thought it was time to make it more available," said Frederique Welgryn, HRA's chief strategy officer.
Welgryn said the application "marks a groundbreaking moment in contraceptive access."
An FDA approval could come next year and would only apply to HRA's pill, which would be sold under its original brand name, Opill. The company acquired the decades-old drug from Pfizer in 2014, but it's not currently marketed in the U.S.
Reproductive rights advocates want to see other prescription contraceptives move over the counter and, eventually, for abortion pills to do the same.
That potential for a precedent-setting decision once again places the FDA under an intense political spotlight.
Late last year, the agency was condemned by abortion opponents and praised by women's rights advocates when it loosened access to abortion pills. The agency faced similar political pressures in 2006 when it approved over-the-counter use of the emergency contraception pill Plan B.
Many conservative groups stress they are only interested in curtailing abortion, and state bans often explicitly exclude contraception.
Even before Monday's announcement, Democratic lawmakers were calling on the FDA to swiftly consider any such requests.
"We urge FDA to review applications for over-the-counter birth control pills without delay and based solely on the data," said more than 50 members of the House's Pro-Choice Caucus in a March letter.
Many common medications have made the switch from behind the pharmacy counter, including drugs for pain relief, heartburn and allergies.
In each case, companies must show that consumers can understand the drug's labeling, evaluate its risks and use it safely and effectively without professional supervision. HRA spent seven years conducting the FDA-required studies, including a trial that followed 1,000 women taking its pill for six months.
Behind the company's efforts is a coalition of women's health researchers and advocates who have worked for nearly two decades to make contraceptives more accessible, especially to groups with less access to health care.
The Oral Contraceptives Over-the-Counter Working Group helped fund some of HRA's research and is mobilizing support behind a media campaign dubbed Free the Pill.
"A lot of our research has been about making the case to help inspire and support a company to take this work on," said Kelly Blanchard, president of Ibis Reproductive Health, a group member that supports abortion and contraceptive access.
Birth control pills are available without a prescription across much of South America, Asia and Africa. Last year, Paris-based HRA won U.K. approval for the first birth control pill available there without a prescription.
Advocates were particularly interested in HRA's drug because they say it's likely to raise fewer safety concerns.
The pill contains a single synthetic hormone, progestin, which prevents pregnancy by blocking sperm from the cervix.
Most birth control pills contain progestin plus estrogen, which can help make periods lighter and more regular. Progestin-only pills are generally recommended for women who can't take the more popular combination pills due to health issues.
But estrogen also accounts for most of the blood clot risk associated with oral contraceptives. FDA's labeling warns against their use in certain women already at risk for heart problems, such as those who smoke and are over 35.
For most women, the drugs are overwhelmingly safe. For every 10,000 women taking combination pills annually, three to nine will suffer a blood clot, according to FDA data. That compares with one to five clots among 10,000 women who aren't taking birth control.
And medical professionals point out that blood clot rates are much higher in women who become pregnant, when hormone levels and reduced blood flow increase clotting risk.
"What I definitely see is a misunderstanding of the dangers of these pills. It is much safer to take the pill than to be pregnant" said Dr. Maura Quinlan, a Northwestern University physician and member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She was not involved in HRA's application or research.
The medical association supports making all hormone-based contraceptives available over the counter. Last month, the nation's largest physician groups, the American Medical Association, endorsed making birth control pills available over the counter.
Still, support is not universal.
Diana Zuckerman of the nonprofit National Center for Health Research says comparing the safety risks of the pills with pregnancy is not the right approach.
Many women take birth control pills to regulate their periods or reduce bleeding, said Zuckerman, whose group evaluates medical research. "Those are real benefits, but they are not worth the risk of potentially fatal blood clots," she said.
The FDA has long monitored the safety of oral contraceptives, updating their warnings over the years.
Last year, the agency placed a hold on a study by drugmaker Cadence Health, which has also been working on an over-the-counter pill. The agency told the company to conduct additional blood pressure checks of trial participants. The company says it is "working to overcome this regulatory hurdle."
The FDA is required to hold a public meeting to evaluate HRA's application before making a decision. Safety considerations are likely to take center stage.
Executives at HRA, which is owned by Perrigo Co., expect a decision in the first half of 2023.
Advocates hope it will be the first of many.
"Once we see the approval of this product, it will demonstrate that it's possible and that the data is strong," Blanchard said. "Hopefully we'll see the process speed up from here."
Women across the U.S. are stocking up on emergency contraceptives after the Supreme Court overturned its landmark ruling protecting a woman's right to have an abortion.
Online reproductive and sexual health provider Wisp, which sells two different types of so-called morning-after pills, said recently it witnessed an unprecedented 3,000% surge in sales of the emergency contraceptives after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Sales of morning-after pills have continued to rise every day since and so far the company has been able to meet demand, Wisp CEO Ahmad Bani said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.
Customers first flocked to Wisp's website in May, after a draft version of the high court's decision on Roe was leaked . At the time, Wisp recorded a 40% surge in sales of emergency contraception products and services compared to the previous month, Bani said.
Some retailers, including national pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid, are rationing the medication to preserve supply amid the spike in demand.
Megan Cerullo contributed to this report.
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The Many Reasons ESG Is a Loser - WSJ
Mon, 11 Jul 2022 13:51
You'll pay far higher expenses for a fund with similar stocks but worse performance.
July 10, 2022 11:57 am ETA few years ago, a guy with a famous last name who ran a socially responsible investment fund asked me to lunch. I was hesitant because I figured he was planning to yell at me for a column I had recently written: ''Stocks Weren't Made for Social Climbing.'' I wrote, ''Profits are the best measure of a business's value to consumers'--and to society.'' Instead, he was quite pleasant, though while I ate, he complained that most other environmental, social and governance funds weren't all that socially responsible compared with his'--''not ESG enough.'' I asked him what was in his portfolio, expecting Tesla or some oat-milk company....
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A few years ago, a guy with a famous last name who ran a socially responsible investment fund asked me to lunch. I was hesitant because I figured he was planning to yell at me for a column I had recently written: ''Stocks Weren't Made for Social Climbing.'' I wrote, ''Profits are the best measure of a business's value to consumers'--and to society.'' Instead, he was quite pleasant, though while I ate, he complained that most other environmental, social and governance funds weren't all that socially responsible compared with his'--''not ESG enough.'' I asked him what was in his portfolio, expecting Tesla or some oat-milk company. He answered, '' General Motors . '' OK then.
These days ESG is big business, with $2.77 trillion in ''global sustainable fund assets.'' The average expense ratio is 0.41%. And sure enough, apparently some funds aren't ESG enough. Police in May raided the European offices of Deutsche Bank 's DWS unit in an investigation of ''greenwashing'''--saying its investments were more sustainable than they were. The authorities claim, ''We've found evidence that could support allegations of prospectus fraud.'' In June the Securities and Exchange Commission announced an investigation into Goldman Sachs for claiming some of its funds were sustainable and ESG when they really weren't. This is a fight over branding. What has the investment world come to?
Then there's this: On May 18, the S&P dropped Tesla from its S&P 500 ESG Index. Exxon is still in. The S&P explains why, unconvincingly citing ''Tesla's (lack of) low-carbon strategy.'' Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, ''ESG is a scam. It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors.'' Those are strong words. Let's investigate.
Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock , which has around $10 trillion in assets under management, wrote in a letter to CEOs, ''We focus on sustainability not because we're environmentalists, but because we are capitalists.''
Let's look inside. BlackRock's ESG Aware MSCI USA ETF has almost the same top holdings as its S&P 500 ETF with Apple , Microsoft , Amazon , Alphabet , Tesla, Nvidia , JP Morgan Chase , Johnson & Johnson and United Healthcare, dropping Berkshire Hathaway and moving Meta and Home Depot to higher weightings. Fees on ESG Aware are 0.15%, or 15 basis points. BlackRock's plain-vanilla iShares Core S&P 500 ETF index fund charges only 3 basis points. That's right, BlackRock charges five times as much for juggling a few names and slapping ESG on the name. Capitalists indeed. As of June 30, ESG Aware was down 23.7% vs. down 20% for the S&P 500 index.
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Look away if you're squeamish, but BlackRock helpfully notes that the S&P 500 has investments of 0.92% in controversial weapons, 0.59% in nuclear weapons, 0.68% in tobacco and 0.12% in United Nations Global Compact violators. Yikes. But not the BlackRock Sustainable Advantage Large Cap Core Fund, an actively managed fund with none of that icky stuff. On May 31 its top holdings were similar to the S&P 500 with lower weightings of Berkshire and UnitedHealth and increased weightings of Visa and Exxon. Exxon! Gross fees were 0.74% and net fees of 0.49% as BlackRock chooses to waive some fees. This fund was down 20.6% as of June 30.
So yes, you're paying someone five to 15 times as much to adjust some weightings and perform worse. For BlackRock, ESG and sustainable investing don't seem to be about responsible or socially just investing, they are simply a lucrative business model.
And it's not only ESG. In May, BlackRock and the U.N. announced plans for ''gender lens'' investing. Can they even say that anymore? Fidelity already has a Women's Leadership ETF with net expenses of 0.59% and a similar themed mutual fund with 0.90% expense ratio'--20 to 30 times the cost of an S&P 500 ETF.
University of Colorado professor Sanjai Bhagat,
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writing in the Harvard Business Review, makes four important points about ESG: 1) ESG funds have underperformed; 2) companies that tout their ESG credentials have worse compliance records for labor and environmental rules; 3) ESG scores of companies that signed the U.N. Principles of Investment didn't improve after they signed, and financial returns were lower for those that signed; and my favorite point, 4) Companies publicly embrace ESG as a cover for poor business performance. It makes sense. When earnings are bad, companies cite their focus on ESG. When earnings are good, they drop ESG references. Actually, this is dangerous as ESG metrics drive overinvestment by ESG funds in companies bragging about their credentials right as their financials turn south. Ouch.
My advice: Buy the stocks of companies with great prospects over the next decade at reasonable prices. Or buy the S&P 500 index and ride the market. But please, stay away from ''social'' and ''sustainable'' feel-good investing products and other fads. Skip ESG'--it just gives someone else sustainable profits.
Write to kessler@wsj.com.
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VIDEO - Long COVID symptoms leads to woman applying to end life | CTV News
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 16:38
Contracting COVID-19 radically changed Tracey Thompson's life. It's been more than two years since the initial infection, but her symptoms still dictate her days, leaving her with heavy-weighted fatigue, robbing her of energy and her ability to work.
Thompson, a Toronto resident in her 50s, says the enduring illness and lack of substantive financial support has led her to begin the process of applying for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD), a procedure that first became legal in Canada in 2016.
''[MAiD] is exclusively a financial consideration,'' she told CTV News Toronto.
After 26 months of lost income since the onset of symptoms, no foreseeable ability to work and an absence of support, Thompson said she expects to run out of money in about five months.
''My choices are basically to die slowly and painfully, or quickly. Those are the options that are left,'' she said.
In addition to severe fatigue, Thompson lists a number of symptoms she's developed from long COVID: she can no longer read books or text longer than a Tweet. Her vision usually begins to blur around sunset. It's difficult for her to digest food. Her taste and smell have been altered. Some days, the oxygen exchange in her lungs is compromised, making it difficult to breathe. Scars mark her heart from the swelling she experienced from myocarditis.
A year after Thompson became ill, MAiD legislation was revised in Canada. Before, only those whose natural death was reasonably foreseeable '-- otherwise known as Track One patients '-- were eligible to apply for MAiD. For instance, patients with terminal illnesses.
The legislation amended in March 2021 has seen the creation of a Track Two patient. Now, a Canadian enduring an ''intolerable'' and ''irreversible'' illness, disease or disability who may not be near the natural end of their lives can qualify for assisted death as well.
The most recent Health Canada data shows that 7,595 Canadians chose medically assisted deaths in 2020 '' accounting for 2.5 per cent of the country's deaths. This marks a more than 34 per cent increase over the previous year.
However, in 2020, only patients who had a reasonably foreseeable death were eligible for MAiD. Since then, the potential pool of applicants has substantially grown.
'NO CURE' Before Thompson contracted COVID-19, she worked as a chef in Toronto.
Her job consisted of long hours crammed with quick decisions and physical exertion. Now, she says deciding whether to stand up and fill a glass with water can bring her day to a standstill.
''From being able-bodied and employed to basically bedbound. I can't get up on average for 20-plus hours. I have very little capacity to expend the energy physically, mentally and emotionally, so I try to stay home all the time,'' she said.
It's not that Thompson wants to die. In fact, she still treasures the little bursts of joys in life.
''I'm very happy to be alive. I still enjoy life. Birds chirping, small things that make up a day are still pleasant to me, they're still enjoyable. I still enjoy my friends,'' she said.
''There's a lot to enjoy in life, even if it's small.''
Yet, a world in which Thompson cannot access an income is not one she thinks she'll survive.
''I don't relish the idea of suffering for months to come to the same conclusion. When support is not coming, things aren't going to change,'' she said.
''It seems irrational to put myself through that just to die in the end.''
Since Thompson's illness is not clearly outlined in the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) eligibility, which currently grants a single applicant a maximum amount of $1,169 a month, she believes it could take years to qualify '' something that many Ontarians who've applied to the program say is not uncommon. Even if Thompson did qualify, she says the whole sum of the monthly support would, at best, cover her rent.
''That would be the entirety of my living budget,'' she said.
So far, Thompson has sought one doctor's approval for MAiD and is waiting to hear back from a second specialist. To be considered, an applicant needs two independent doctors or nurse practitioners to confirm they meet the criteria. That goes alongside a written request for MAiD signed by the person who is applying for it.
The applicant has up until the moment before the procedure to withdraw consent. Ultimately, once criteria is reached, the decision is in their hands.
While Thompson is still working through the necessary steps, she's confident she'll get approval.
''As best I know, I would meet the criteria. I'm very ill.''
''There is no treatment. There is no cure. You don't have to be terminally ill,'' she said.
'A DIFFERENT LIFE' While Thompson is currently eligible for MAiD, there is a new cohort of Canadians who will be able to apply in a matter of months.
Beginning on March 17, 2023, applicants with a mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition will qualify for MAiD in Canada.
Mitchell Tremblay has already penned his letter for consideration.
Mitchell Tremblay has written his letter of request for a medically assisted death (Supplied). ''Since I was 18, I've been in the system,'' Tremblay, now 39, told CTV News Toronto. ''I have never had roots. I have never had a chance to heal.''
At 17, he received a number of mental health diagnoses, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) generalized anxiety and a major depressive disorder.
The following year, a couple days before his eighteenth birthday, his parents kicked him out of the house.
''My parents didn't believe any of it,'' he said. ''If the help had been there, I would've had a completely different life.''
For nearly 15 years, Tremblay has been on ODSP. At the start, he said the approximate $1,000 was just enough to live on. With an incremental change since then, he said he's barely able to survive.
''I'm basically living on the same amount since 2008,'' he said. ''I've gone homeless so many times I can't keep track.''
Looking back, Tremblay said if he'd had financial and emotional support, even just 10 years ago, he could have had an ''absolutely different life.''
'WOEFULLY INADEQUATE' Dr. Naheed Dosani, a Toronto palliative care doctor and health equity lead at Kensington Health, said many people who are choosing to pursue MAiD following the recent revision are doing so to alleviate their suffering.
But it can be difficult to dissect the root of suffering, he says.
''One of the things that becomes very difficult to tease out is when suffering is related to the fact people don't have housing or food and how that is so difficult to separate from suffering related to a medical condition,'' he said.
''My worry is that we are creating a situation where it is easier for people to choose death by MAiD than to choose to live well, because society is not offering them adequate access to money, housing, food security and social support,'' Dosani added.
Lack of affordable housing and financial support do not alone qualify a patient for an assisted death, but Dr. Stefanie Green, a MAiD practitioner in Victoria, B.C., said such complexities may contribute to a person's suffering.
''Suffering is one of the elements required for eligibility for MAiD, so it's impossible to discount these issues when assessing someone,'' she said.
As a MAiD practitioner, Green said it's part of her job to evaluate the issues contributing to a person's suffering and strive to seek out, inform and make available the limited resources that do exist.
''Our health system is woefully inadequate in serving our population with these resources,'' Green said. ''But I do not think we can hold these patients hostage.''
There are circumstances where an assisted death is appropriate, said Dr. Harriette Van Spall, a physician in Hamilton, Ont. involved in MAiD research. ''But when related to socio economic status, living conditions, loneliness or control of symptoms that can be cared for, it is quite tragic for people to have to choose MAiD,'' she said.
Van Spall said part of the problem is that society has become transactional to the point that we view some lives as more valuable than others.
''We have to be careful we don't apply laws that inadvertently help people terminate their lives because they don't feel valued or respected or that they belong,'' she said.
As Thompson takes steps towards an assisted death, she says she's mindful of the way MAiD and access to assisted death intersects with marginalized groups in society.
''The government as a body is telling people that they're willing to assist them to death because they don't have enough money to live with dignity. That is a pretty clear signal to me that, unless you are able-bodied enough or able-minded enough to work to produce profit, then you don't have any place here,'' Thompson said.
''That seems really clear to me.''
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VIDEO - Trudeau defends Nord Stream 1 turbine decision | CTV News
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 15:13
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada's decision to grant a Canadian company a two-year exemption to federal sanctions, allowing them to return turbines from a Russian pipeline that supplies natural gas to Germany.
The prime minister said that while it was "a very difficult decision," Russia is trying to "weaponize energy as a way of creating division amongst the allies," and that Canada's move was made to help Germany in the short-term as it and other European countries work to reduce their reliance on Russian oil and gas.
"Canada has been one of the strongest countries in the world in standing with Ukraine," Trudeau said during a press conference in Kingston, Ont. on Wednesday, vowing the continuation of support such as sanctions, while citing the billions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid offered to-date.
Complete coverage of the war in UkraineZelenskyy condemns Canada over Russian pipeline turbinesWATCH: Ukraine war's impact on children's mental healthThe turbines, part of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, were sent to Siemens Canada in Montreal for repairs, but once the federal government imposed sanctions on Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom, the company was restricted from sending the equipment back.
On Saturday, Canada announced it had decided to grant a "time-limited and revocable permit" to allow the equipment to be returned.
Canada faced pressure from both Russia and Germany to return the turbines to Germany, fearing the risk of further energy instability. The energy giant claimed it needed the turbines in order to continue supplying Germany, after already considerably decreasing the gas flow through the pipeline, prompting the Germans to express concern over a lack of reserve supply.
"Countries in Europe, particularly Germany, have stepped up massively in their support of Ukraine as well, and we need to hold together, particularly faced with the attempts by Russia to weaponize energy policy, to divide us amongst ourselves," Trudeau said, adding that Canada's sanctions are meant to target and punish "Putin and his cronies," not other allied countries.
"And that's exactly why we took this difficult decision, to be there for our allies, to ensure that in Europe '-- not just governments, but populations '-- stay steadfast and generous in their support of Ukraine."
UKRAINIAN CONGRESS TRYING TO QUASH PERMITThe contentious decision '-- while backed by the U.S. and the EU '-- has been roundly condemned by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as well as the federal opposition parties. And, it is now facing a legal challenge.
On Tuesday night the Ukrainian World Congress announced that it had filed a notice of application for judicial review of the decision with the Federal Court, arguing that granting the permit "was not reasonable, transparent, or properly authorized."
"Over the past several days, the Ukrainian World Congress together with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has been pleading with the Government of Canada to revoke the waiver'... To date, our efforts have been unsuccessful, and we have had no choice but to take legal action," said the Congress in a statement.
"This is not just about a turbine or possibly many turbines to support Russia's energy exports, this is about continuously succumbing to Russia's blackmail. This could be Siemens' moment," said Ukrainian World Congress President and CEO Paul Grod about the effort to quash the permit.
Zelenskyy has said Canada's decision is about more than wrongly deciding to hand over the turbines, but an "absolutely unacceptable exception to the sanctions regime against Russia" that sets a concerning precedent.
While initially billed by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson as a "time-limited and revocable permit," the deal allows for the movement of six turbines which, according to his office "follow a regular maintenance schedule" that will be allowed to be followed for two years, with the ability for the permit to be revoked at any time.
"The exemption is for 2 years, pending revocation,'' said Wilkinson spokesperson Keean Nembhard in an email to CTVNews.ca.
In backing Canada's decision to return the turbines, the European Commission says, in doing so, "one of the excuses being used by Russia for reduced gas flows has been removed."
"The Commission continues to work closely with its international partners, including Canada and the United States, to ensure the energy security of Europe for the coming winter," said the Commission.
Alongside the decision to returning the key pieces of pipeline infrastructure, the federal government announced the imposition of a new round of sanctions targeting Russia's oil and gas sector, and Trudeau pledged Wednesday that "ever stronger" sanctions will come.
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VIDEO - John Bolton: Those who criticized claims he planned coups are 'snowflakes' | Washington Examiner
Thu, 14 Jul 2022 14:50
| July 13, 2022 04:19 PM
F ormer national security adviser John Bolton says those who criticized claims that he assisted in planning coups in other nations are "snowflakes."
Bolton defended his claims he orchestrated coups abroad, dismissing those who denounced his professed involvement in overturning governments as "snowflakes" who didn't understand actions he took in the interest of national security.
BOLTON AFFIRMS JAN. 6 INVESTIGATORS' SUSPICIONS OF TRUMP FAVORING 'BURNER PHONES'
"Well, I think there are a lot of snowflakes out there that don't understand what you need to do to protect the United States," Bolton said in an appearance on Newsmax on Wednesday.
Bolton alluded to an attempted coup d'etat in Venezuela but did not list any other coups.
"I'm not going to get into specifics. I did write about Venezuela in my memoir. And I think that any president that's not willing to do what it takes to protect the interests of the American people, it needs to have some counseling," Bolton said.
On Tuesday, he told CNN's Jake Tapper he had helped "plan coup d'etat" while giving analysis after the Jan. 6 committee hearings.
"I disagree with that. As somebody who has helped plan coup d'etat, not here but, you know, other places, it takes a lot of work," Bolton said.
Bolton was pushing back at Tapper's claim that someone does not need to be "brilliant to attempt a coup."
The United States has participated in several coup attempts, including in Iran in 1953, the Dominican Republic in 1961, Brazil in 1964, and Chile in 1973, according to Foreign Policy.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
Some suggest the U.S. government has been involved in planning coups in various countries, but there has been little confirmation of U.S. involvement in several coup attempts. While a report from the BBC suggested former Army soldiers were involved in planning a coup in Venezuela, it is unknown whether the U.S. government was involved.
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Something went wrong, but don't fret '-- let's give it another shot.
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  • 0:00
    Yeah, the numbers are flawed. They're no good. Adam curry,
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    John C. Devora.
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    Thursday July 14 2022. This is your award winning keep our
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    nation media assassination episode 1468
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    Celebrating macaroni and cheese cheddar melted together and
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    in FEMA Region number six in the morning, everybody. I'm Adam
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    in from Northern Silicon Valley where I'm in northern Silicon
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    Valley. I'm John C. Dvorak. Buzzkill,
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    for the assassins. Hey man, Mac and Cheese Day International Mac
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    and Cheese Day. Congratulations,
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    man. Congratulations to you. It's also Bastille Day.
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    Bastille Day clips. I do have mac and cheese clips throughout
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    the years as we have been predicting the consumption of
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    mac and cheese increasing since 2000. What do you think?
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    905 2005 now this this does go back to those days Oh quickie
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    cheeseburgers deep fried butter dip and pork fat and cheese was
  • 2:29
    mayonnaise soaked barbecued mozzarella Patty melts Americans
  • 2:32
    will eat at Na Na if you are selling sauteed raccoons
  • 2:37
    assholes I mistake
  • 2:40
    Americans would buy them and eat them. Especially get dumped them
  • 2:44
    into butter and put a little salsa on this country is big
  • 2:48
    time. Pig time. Forget the bald eagle. You know what the
  • 2:51
    national emblem of this country ought to be a big bowl of
  • 2:54
    macaroni and cheese. Mac and cheese mac and cheese
  • 3:00
    There you go. Ladies and gentlemen predicted and came
  • 3:03
    true. Mac and cheese our national meal. Yeah, and it's
  • 3:09
    and it's really only the United States. I think Australia
  • 3:13
    Australia is pretty big on the on the mac and cheese. But in
  • 3:16
    Europe, it's like now. I don't think that's a thing mac and
  • 3:20
    cheese in Europe. In fact, I remember distinctly when I was
  • 3:23
    living in the UK, they would make fun. Oh, yes. Yes, you
  • 3:27
    yanks. You'd like Mac and mac and cheese Mac, Mac and Cheese
  • 3:31
    mac and cheese mac and cheese. Yeah.
  • 3:34
    Yeah. And root beer and peanuts.
  • 3:37
    Only if you fix them properly. Yeah, that was actually I'll
  • 3:42
    just get this out of the way real quick. I was. Did I did we
  • 3:46
    talk about that? The picture that one of our producers sent
  • 3:50
    to me of the bird seed farmed for the future. It was
  • 3:55
    mealworms. Did we talk about that on the last show? No. Okay,
  • 3:59
    well, okay, so I have this picture of these mealworms. And
  • 4:04
    it's maize. And it says right there on the back farmed for the
  • 4:08
    future. And has all the and it's like, really, it's your bird but
  • 4:12
    it's grown for chubby pet by chubby pet products. And we love
  • 4:16
    animals and this is all what does it strict selection means
  • 4:20
    we can offer the most nutritious meal worms these are the
  • 4:23
    greatest world mealworms ever produced. They've been raised
  • 4:25
    and refined to the very highest quality through a 100% natural
  • 4:30
    scientific genetic selection program. So it's genetic
  • 4:34
    mealworms and then it says a not really small letters, not yet
  • 4:39
    certified for human consumption. Not yet certified for human
  • 4:44
    consumption. And then I caught this little this little snippet
  • 4:48
    of
  • 4:48
    an NG a photo Here's a photo of this yes, yeah, no,
  • 4:51
    it's it's a bad Yes. I have a photo from one of our producers
  • 4:54
    to bag. Bag of worms. Yes,
  • 4:57
    protein 59% Fat 20 4% fiber 6% Not yet certified for human
  • 5:04
    consumption, and then all of a sudden I'm like, oh, yeah, Texas
  • 5:07
    limb was talking about this on a recent interview, listen that
  • 5:10
    he's from the beef initiative. So I have to. So he went out on
  • 5:13
    a tour, 1000 mile tour and went around, you know, Texas, he went
  • 5:18
    to St. Tennessee, Colorado is going to Georgia. And he's
  • 5:22
    trying to get, you know, ranchers to sell directly to
  • 5:25
    people, but he's really educating people about food. And
  • 5:27
    this is a great lesson. So I have
  • 5:29
    to put the proof of work, I have to go out there and educate
  • 5:32
    because a lot of people that I did talk to they don't really
  • 5:35
    understand what's going on with food, and are totally in
  • 5:38
    empathetic with that we're going through a global industrial food
  • 5:42
    shift is what I call it right now. You're starting to see
  • 5:45
    what's happening in the Netherlands, in Europe and
  • 5:48
    across the world. They're coming after our and I'm not going to
  • 5:51
    be this dude's dude. But go global shift. And it's been
  • 5:56
    planned for decades, in the last time that they all got together
  • 5:59
    and really signed some contracts on the global and government and
  • 6:03
    corporate level wars 2017 and 2018. They've had four years to
  • 6:08
    do what they're doing. COVID was the distraction, and it's going
  • 6:11
    to move forward and they're taking the cow they're taking
  • 6:14
    the animal and taking the soil out of your consumption model.
  • 6:17
    And they're going to tell you that you're saving the planet
  • 6:20
    and then it's going to taste good.
  • 6:23
    Exactly. Just like mac and cheese. No, no animal No. All
  • 6:29
    done in the lab. You're saving the planet and it tastes great.
  • 6:32
    Mike even likes it. So I think that yeah, that bird seed with
  • 6:37
    the mealworms Of course it's intended for human consumption
  • 6:44
    Okay, well that's one way to start to show gross everyone
  • 6:47
    out.
  • 6:48
    Reality brother reality. Okay, you go let's see, will Biden
    </