Cover for No Agenda Show 1583: Ninny
August 20th, 2023 • 3h 7m

1583: Ninny


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Ukraine vs Russia
F16's for Ukraine BOTG
Former F-16 regarding F-16’s for Ukraine:
▪️ F-16s can't take off from a concrete runway , they're made for tarmac. Now Ukrainian planes are based in Poland, they fly to the Ukrainian air base for fuel and weapons.
▪️ If F-16s are to be based and even take off in Ukraine, they must shed half their weight : the concrete is too hard for this aircraft. If they fly out of Poland and directly into combat, Polish bases become a legitimate target.
▪️ The problem with the pilots : it is almost impossible to change the pilot to another platform. The Americans tried to do this for a long time when they started selling F-16s to Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria. It's a matter of muscle memory in case of stress.
▪️ In addition, 20-30 aircraft will not do anything. Aircraft were already handed over to them, and we destroyed them one by one.
In order to massively crush our air defense, we need at least an air division, which will suffer huge losses.
Angry Birds Theatre conference Ukraine
Big Pharma
Antidepressants: I wasn't told about the side effects - BBC News
About one in seven people in the UK now take medication to treat depression but some say they are not being given appropriate advice about the potential side effects of the drugs they have been prescribed.
Disease X
Gottlieb and BioBot PCR
ITM AC & John,
When BioBot does its waste-water analysis (assuming arguendo the tech works), does each opioid found include whether or not it was prescribed?
My understanding is that the opioid crisis that Big Pharma is paying tens of billions in tort $s is the result of over prescription; viz., legal use—albeit also morphing into illegal use once addicted.
Btw, “Biobot uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and RNA sequencing (via Illumina’s tools)…” (
As we know, PCR can find any molecule given enough cycles, and Gottlieb’s on the Illumina board, so a lack of independence exists concerning his touting BioBot… His public statements touting BioBot usually disclose his Illumina board seat (supporting his expertise), but I’ve not seen a concomitant disclosure that BioBot uses Illumina’s products.
Safe travels AC.
Ministry of Truthiness
Climate Change
Beef vs Broccoli calories scam language
Of course you and John are right about the nutritional value of Beef vs Broccoli especially as it pertains to protein content. BUT, this is where their deceptive wording comes in. If you go back and listen to the initial report the person presenting the claim used very specific wording "There is more protein in Broccoli PER CALORIE than beef". Not per cup, not per pound, per calorie. It's just them gaslighting us. Since beef has a huge amount of nutritional value all around, it has many more calories. I did a little googling and it might also be the case that they were undervaluing protein in beef a good bit but it's hard to get consistent answers on nutritional facts. I did find this interesting article in Beef Magazine from 2014 responding to this very claim. You can probably skip the article if you want, mostly just "beef council" type stuff, like how animal protein is better than plant protein, but they have some useful numbers in it. I for one plan to include plenty of Broccoli in my diet...along with the side of beef I already have on order from my local friendly rancher.
Maui Fires
Smart meters may be used to torch homes?
Hawaii fires: spread of conspiracy theories reveals tech firms’ failings | Hawaii fires | The Guardian
These theories have had devastating real-world impacts, including the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, in which a white supremacist killed 23 people and injured 22 others and cited the great replacement theory as motivation.
Experts say the spread of such theories can be attributed to the algorithms central to tech platforms, which prioritize content that receives more engagement.
“We know companies like Meta weigh the most important material on the platforms based on engagement, which often tends to be either vitriolic content, conspiratorial content or something that’s controversial,” said Katie Paul, director of the non-profit tech watchdog the Tech Transparency Project (TTP). “After disasters, when there is a lot of online content related to a particular event, these mechanisms help to amplify some of that harmful content above more authoritative sources.”
In some cases, platforms inadvertently prioritize such content. A study conducted by the TTP and anti-hate group the Anti-Defamation League found that the search function on Facebook or Instagram will auto-complete certain terms with conspiracy theories, with the phrase “World Economic Forum” returning results for “World Evil Forum” that include conspiracy theories.
“This is a clear example of how even in something as simple as search results, the platform’s are weighing conspiracy content over more legitimate content on the websites,” Paul said.
Great Reset
Trump Tucker Theory
Tucker is going to end Trump in the interview. Mark my words. Tucker is the only person that can “lead” the MAGA people to another candidate. The tucker and Fox News situation left him looking like a folk hero that is actually looking out for the common man (like Trump). He is still getting paid, and has zero ratings that he has to worry about. Likely, he will press Trump on the vaccine – and we know Trump isn’t going to admit he was wrong about all of that – and then Tucker is going to pick him apart piece by piece Everybody and their momma will be watching it, and see the end of Trump. After that, they can watch the debate between the other candidates that wasn’t a shit show because Trump wasn’t there. I can see this a mile away. Tucker is going to end Trump. He’s the logical person that could actually take trumps base and lead them to another candidate. Do you see it? Enjoy your trip.
Biden Crime Family
Assassinations' - US Global politics
WastewaterSCAN Dashboard
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 14:49
WastewaterSCAN Dashboard
America's Tech Giants Rush to Comply With New Curbs in Europe - WSJ
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 14:24
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Marijuana and hallucinogen use, binge drinking reached record highs among middle-aged adults, survey finds | CNN
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:59
CNN '--
Last year, more middle-aged adults were binge drinking, using marijuana or consuming hallucinogens than ever before, according to a new report. Cannabis use surged among young adults under 30, alongside historic rates of vaping, as well.
The new data comes from the University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future panel study, which tracks substance use among adults between 19 and 60 years old. Funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the survey records data from a cohort of about 28,500 participants across the country each year.
''Substance use is not limited to teens and young adults, and these data help us understand how people use drugs across the lifespan,'' Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in a news release. ''Understanding these trends is a first step, and it is crucial that research continues to illuminate how substance use and related health impacts may change over time.''
More than ever, older adults are using marijuana, hallucinogens and vape products According to the 2022 survey results, marijuana use was reported by around 44% of adults under 30, up from 28% a decade ago. More people also used marijuana daily than ever before, nearly doubling from 2012.
Cannabis use has also been spiking among adults ages 35 to 50; 28% used marijuana in 2022, up from 17% five years ago.
For Dr. Joseph Palamar, an associate professor and substance use expert in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone, it isn't surprising that marijuana use has continued to climb, given the increasing acceptance and availability of the drug in many states. What Palamar, who wasn't involved in the new study, found especially notable is that marijuana use among middle-aged adults is nearly the same as that reported by high school seniors.
The trend could be because interested adults are trying the drug for the first time, or because younger marijuana users '' those who historically have used it more frequently '' are entering higher age brackets, Palamar explained.
''It looks like we're reaching a point in which parents and grandparents are almost as likely to smoke weed as the kids,'' he wrote in an email to CNN.
Middle-aged adults also used hallucinogens such as LSD, MDMA, peyote and psilocybin at record rates, according to the study. Five years ago, less than 1% used hallucinogens, compared with 4% in 2022. Still, 8% of adults under 30 used hallucinogens '' double the rate of their older counterparts and a figure that has steadily climbed over the past few years.
According to the data, the growth in hallucinogen use is being driven by drugs other than LSD. There are a number of natural and synthetic hallucinogen alternatives, but two substances stand out, Palamar said: psilocybin and ketamine. His own research has found that psilocybin, also known as shrooms, is becoming more popular in clubs and dance festivals. Ketamine was being consumed similarly.
''There has been widespread media coverage of its effects on treating depression,'' Palamar said of ketamine. ''We recently found that through 2022, law enforcement seizures of ketamine skyrocketed, and use also increased among nightclub and dance festival attendees. We really need to keep our eye on both ketamine and psilocybin.''
Over 1 in 5 young adults each reported vaping marijuana and nicotine in 2022, the highest levels yet recorded, the study says. While vaping rates have remained about steady among middle-aged adults, the number of young adults who vape has grown over the past five years, with nicotine vaping nearly double the rate recorded 5 years ago.
Among young adults, however, alcohol use has steadily declined over the past decade. But that's not been the case for adults between 35 and 50.
In the older group, binge drinking '' consuming five or more drinks in a row '' reached its highest levels yet. Nearly 30% of those participants reported binge drinking, reflecting a consistent increase in rates since 2012.
The study also found that the proportion of people who used cigarettes, most narcotics and sedatives has declined over the past 10 years.
''Behaviors and public perception of drug use can shift rapidly, based on drug availability and other factors,'' said Dr. Megan Patrick, a research professor at the University of Michigan and principal investigator of the study, in the news release. ''It's important to track this so that public health professionals and communities can be prepared to respond.''
While binge drinking may be on the rise among middle-age adults, new results from a separate survey show changing views on alcohol across the country.
A record 39% of Americans say that moderate drinking '-- one to two drinks a day '-- is bad for health, according to a recent Gallup poll. That's an 11% increase since 2018 '-- the last time the poll was conducted '-- and younger adults are driving the shifting attitudes around alcohol.
According to the 2023 Gallup data, over half of adults under 35 believed that drinking is moderation was bad for health '-- an 18% increase from 2018. For middle aged adults between 35 and 54, that belief increased by 13%. Only 3% more adults over 55 thought that moderate drinking to be a health detriment.
The poll, which was conducted in July, comes months after the World Health Organization released a statement indicating that no level of alcohol consumption is safe for health.
Women were more likely than men to view moderate drinking as harmful, as were respondents from the West and Midwest.
Still, Americans believe that alcohol is far less harmful than tobacco products, the poll found. 76% viewed cigarettes as ''very harmful,'' compared with 30% who thought the same about alcohol.
Marijuana, though, alarmed the fewest participants: only about 23% considered it ''very harmful.'' Four in 10 considered it ''not harmful at all.''
Oliver Anthony and the 'mainstreaming' of conspiracy theories - The Washington Post
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:57
If you had asked someone at the beginning of the month whether they had heard of '-- let alone listened to '-- Oliver Anthony, you probably would have gotten a blank stare in return. Now, the singer from Farmville, Va., with a fiery beard and big voice is everywhere because of his viral song, ''Rich Men North of Richmond.''
Since its debut on Aug. 8, Anthony's performance of ''Rich Men North of Richmond,'' shared on the YouTube channel Radiowv, has been viewed more than 17 million times and became the No. 1 song on the U.S. iTunes chart. According to Billboard, the song is now on pace to enter the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 next week.
This feat is virtually unheard of for a newcomer like Anthony, an unsigned talent without any substantive following or known industry connections. But Anthony's ascent isn't just remarkable for its scale. The song, which alludes to politicians and other nefarious powers-that-be, has been boosted predominantly by far-right influencers and outlets, who have hailed ''Rich Men'' as a new working-class anthem.
But with lyrics such as ''I wish politicians would look out for miners, and not just minors on an island somewhere'' '-- an apparent reference to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged with sex trafficking '-- ''Rich Men'' also nods to conspiracy theories and grievances that are deeply rooted in far-right circles. (QAnon believers often cite Epstein as proof that a global cabal of elites has been trafficking children.)
Some believe the success of the song, particularly on the heels of ''The Sound of Freedom,'' a box-office smash that echoed QAnon propaganda, signals a mainstreaming of ideas that were once fringe.
In the weeks before Anthony's viral success, Jason Aldean's ''Try That in a Small Town'' rocketed to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 after conservatives rallied behind the controversial single. Critics accused Aldean of advocating for vigilante violence and said the music video contained coded threats against Black people.
But Anthony's rise arguably is even more notable. Aldean was already an established country music star with a large and loyal fan base. Anthony seemed to come out of nowhere.
''Rich Men'' is credited to a songwriter named Christopher Anthony Lunsford, believed to be Anthony's legal name. His social media presence is relatively spare: Anthony recently joined Twitter, and his posts on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube focus on his music, his land and his dogs.
According to Anthony, he used to work in a factory in western North Carolina but now lives ''off the grid'' in the Piedmont region of Virginia, on 90 acres of woodland he hopes to convert to a farm on which he can raise livestock. In a recent YouTube video, shared the day before his viral performance was released, Anthony said he began writing songs in 2021, and considers himself ''pretty dead center'' when it comes to politics. ''It seems both sides serve the same master, and that master is not someone of any good to the people of this country,'' Anthony said.
The most revealing window into Anthony's worldview may be a YouTube playlist he curated, ''Videos that make your noggin get bigger.'' The list includes performances from Luciano Pavarotti and Hank Williams Sr., but it also features several talking heads popular among the far-right '-- Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan '-- as well as multiple clips putting forward the conspiracy theory that Jews were responsible for 9/11.
Mike Rothschild, a journalist and author who covers conspiracy theories, doesn't think these connections are incidental:
''If you are plugged in enough to the conspiracy world to drop a reference to Epstein island into a song you've written, that's not the only thing you're consuming.'' (Anthony did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.)
Even if most people don't pick up on the reference '-- or skip right over it '-- it's significant to fans who harbor similar beliefs, Rothschild said.
''The people who do know '... it's the only thing they care about,'' he said.
The song has won plenty of conservative fans north, south, east and west of Richmond.
Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) were quick to applaud ''Rich Men North of Richmond.''
''You've created an anthem for our times. Congratulations, Oliver!'' Boebert tweeted Sunday, while Greene called the song ''the anthem of the forgotten Americans who truly support this nation.''
Megyn Kelly discussed the song on her show with former House speaker Newt Gingrich, saying the song reminded the country of ''the importance of economic issues.''
An early champion of the song was Jason Howerton, a right-wing journalist who co-founded Reach Digital, a conservative consulting firm based in Texas.
Howerton, a self-described multimillionaire, seemed to suggest last week that he had helped Oliver produce the song, tweeting: ''When I offered to cover the cost for Oliver to produce a record, I had NO idea what would transpire, nor did I know just how powerful his story was or the situation that God was inserting me into.''
When asked about his connection to Anthony this week, Howerton responded that he is ''not working with Oliver in any official capacity'' and is ''not really the guy to talk about country music.''
Anthony's meteoric rise has provoked its fair share of skepticism '-- and other theories. Some have accused him of being an industry plant, an artist who presents as independent but is secretly backed by rich and powerful insiders. Others have speculated that ''Rich Men'' was the product of ''astroturfing,'' a coordinated marketing or PR campaign pretending to be a grass-roots movement.
Rothschild doubts that's the case. For one, it's hard to purposefully make something go so viral, so quickly. And if the country music industry did have this power, they would probably go for someone ''more marketable'' than Anthony, he said.
''I don't think there needs to be some kind of scheme or a scam to make this guy popular,'' he said. ''I think this just the right thing, at the right time, for the right group of people.''
The arc of the song's rise supports that line of thinking. Right-wing influencers quickly picked up the video across different social media platforms, including Telegram and Twitter. As ''Rich Men'' gained traction online, more people tried to capitalize on the song's popularity: YouTubers posted reaction videos; detractors dunked on it; country music blogs and entertainment sites wrote about it '-- all expanding the song's reach.
But the song has an undeniable appeal to audiences beyond its right-wing talking points, country music experts.
Protest anthems '-- anti-establishment missives on behalf of a forgotten, rural working class '-- have a long history in folk music and country music, noted Ted Olson, a professor at East Tennessee University who studies country music and Appalachia.
''Rich Men'' is also just general enough in its message that many listeners are able to project their lives and experiences onto it, he said. Many fans may skip over the song's contradictions '-- with its lyrics that advocate for the working man while mocking ''the obese milking welfare.''
''Unpacking a song involves a lot of these layers of analysis, which maybe a lot of listeners are not wanting to do,'' Olson said.
Don Cusic, a professor of music industry history at Belmont University in Nashville, credited the song's popularity to Anthony's style of singing: straining and sincere, full of emotion and conviction. This pared-down appeal is a far cry from Aldean's slick Nashville production.
Anthony's ''got a voice that just cuts through,'' Cusic said.
For Rothschild, the popularity of ''Rich Men,'' like ''The Sound of Freedom'' before it, signals a major turning point for ''conspiracy culture.'' Not only is there more acceptance of these ideas in mainstream discourse, but the far-right is gaining ground in the world of pop culture, a world that has long been dominated by leftist personalities and values.
Even if conspiracy theories have long flourished in conservative news outlets and podcasts, this crossover moment is significant, Rothschild argues.
It demonstrates the power and influence of right-wing networks, he said: ''When this community puts its muscle behind '-- particularly marketing '-- something, it could be a big hit.''
It could also further expand the scope of the far-right's reach, into places where people may not be expecting to hear those ideas. Rothschild said he believes more people are likely to hear ''Rich Men'' or watch ''Sound of Freedom'' than listen to the vast majority of conservative podcasts.
In the meantime, Anthony is making plans to go on tour and release an album. This week, an upcoming Anthony show at a Farmville restaurant sold out in just three minutes. The 300-person venue originally had an open mic planned for that night, which Anthony signed up for.
A manager for the restaurant, Jessica Dowdy, told the Roanoke Times that fans as far away as Ohio and New Hampshire were coming to hear Anthony perform.
''One guy said he's driving 10 hours.''
Washington Dulles Airport Evacuated As Police Segway Catches Fire - View from the Wing
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:53
by Gary Leff on August 20, 2023
Two police officers were injured at Washington Dulles airport when a segway belonging to the airport's Segway/T3 Patrol spontaneously caught fire. The departures level of the head house was evacuated for approximately 90 minutes while the fire department responded to the blaze and passengers stood outside of the terminal.
Happening in Dulles Airport right now, but the security officers 👮''¸ was able to quench the fire.
'-- Ranking Z (@zubiranks) August 19, 2023
NBD, just a segway exploding at Dulles. @PoPville @theHillisHome @DCist @WashProbs
'-- Jared Stern, LIVE ON BROADWAY* OUT NOW! (@FunnyJared) August 19, 2023
ALERT: Around 7:30p.m. smoke was observed in the main terminal caused by a police motorized segway. Passengers evacuated as a safety precaution. MWAA Fire and Rescue responded, contained the smoke and completed ventilation by 9 p.m. Operations resumed afterwards.
'-- Dulles Airport (IAD) (@Dulles_Airport) August 20, 2023
By around 9 p.m. the fire which began near the EgyptAir ticket counters was extinguished and smoke cleared, so passengers and airport staff were permitted to return into the terminal. Both officers were transported to the hospital, though injuries weren't serious.
More From View from the Wing
Army Report Shows Increase in Suicides by Active-Duty Soldiers in 2023 |
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:20
As senior leaders work to reduce the stigma of seeking mental health care, the active-duty Army had one of its worst quarters for suicide in six years.
Between January and March, the Army saw suicides in its active component increase from 37 in the same time frame last year to 49, according to Pentagon data released Friday. Meanwhile, the part-time components saw a slight reduction. The Army National Guard has had 18 suicides this calendar year so far, compared to 22 this time last year, and the Reserve had eight soldiers die by suicide, down from 10 in the same quarter last year.
The first quarter of 2023 was the third worst for Army suicides since 2017. The numbers are only a snapshot, but they paint a concerning picture for the active-duty Army as commanders await new service-wide policies on suicide prevention that were originally supposed to be released in 2021. The service has also struggled to get mental health resources to bases, partly due to being unable to compete against the private sector for salaries as the U.S. faces a nationwide shortage of mental health care workers.
Read Next: After Secret Documents Leak, Pentagon Plans Tighter Controls to Protect Classified Information
Right now, there is little service-wide guidance on how leaders are expected to intervene or detect whether a soldier in their formation faces suicidal ideation or made an attempt on their own life. The Army's online resources center on a handful of general PowerPoint presentations, and the service's intervention and mental health care policies are spread across at least five separate regulations, few of which have any concrete guidance for company-level leaders.
In May, reported on the death of Spc. Austin Valley, an infantryman with the 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley, Kansas. Valley attempted suicide during his unit's deployment to Poland, but was discovered by other soldiers. He was swiftly returned to Kansas but was under no significant supervision, was not under inpatient care and struggled to secure consistent behavioral health appointments. A month after his return, he died by suicide.
The service has long promised to rewrite its suicide prevention policy, but effectively halted the effort near when the regulations were expected to be released in 2021. The most recent delay is tied to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's goal of establishing uniform prevention policies across all service branches after an independent commission recommended such a move in February.
The lack of service-wide policy has led some formations to issue their own ad-hoc guidance.
According to service data, the most at-risk soldiers are males under the age of 30 and staff sergeant and below in rank. Most suicides correlate with personal issues such as financial stress or rocky romantic relationships, though experts say the cause of suicidal ideation can rarely be limited to one thing.
The risks are greatly increased with access to personal firearms, spurring an advisory panel for Austin to recommend limitations of gun sales on bases, such as four-day waiting periods, though many installations have civilian gun stores right outside their gates.
On-base exchange stores in the U.S. sold 113,200 firearms in 2021, according to data provided to as part of an investigation into service members taking their own lives with weapons purchased at exchanges. Experts have found that suicide is often an impulsive decision, and even small delays can reduce the likelihood of death.
The active-duty Air Force and Navy had 17 and 14 suicides between January and March this year, respectively. The Marine Corps was the only other service with a notable change, seeing 14 suicides, a spike from eight compared to the same time frame last year.
Veterans and service members experiencing a mental health emergency can call the Veteran Crisis Line, 988 and press 1. Help also is available by text, 838255, and via chat at
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon
Related: A Soldier Attempted Suicide in Poland. Left to Roam at Fort Riley, He Killed Himself.
Story Continues
Antidepressants: I wasn't told about the side effects - BBC News
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:19
Media caption, Seonaid Stallan says Dylan had expressed no suicidal thoughts before starting on Sertraline
By Anton Ferrie
BBC Scotland News
About one in seven people in the UK now take medication to treat depression but some say they are not being given appropriate advice about the potential side effects of the drugs they have been prescribed.
Seonaid Stallan's son Dylan was a teenager when he began receiving treatment for body dysmorphia and depression.
"He was struggling with the way he felt about himself, the way he looked," Seonaid said.
"He was extremely anxious. He would be physically sick. He would be unable to leave the house."
Dylan, from Glasgow, was treated with the antidepressant Fluoxetine from the age of 16.
But when he turned 18, his medication was changed to Sertraline.
Within two months of his prescription change he had taken his own life.
Image caption, Dylan Stallan's mother Seonaid says they were not warned about potential side effects when his antidepressant was changed
His mother says neither of them were warned about potential side effects when his medication was changed.
Seonaid says she was at the appointment with her son and they were not told he might feel worse on the new drug before he felt better.
She says he was also told that it would be okay to drink alcohol while on the new antidepressant.
NHS guidance says it is best to avoid alcohol when starting on Sertraline until you see how it makes you feel - and the leaflet inside the box itself says alcohol should be avoided.
Seonaid says the night before her son took his own life in 2015, he had drunk a "considerable amount" of alcohol.
She says Dylan had expressed no suicidal thoughts before starting on Sertraline.
Seonaid says "none of us can say for sure what would have happened" had she and Dylan been told about the possible effects of drinking alcohol.
But she believes the advice they received from the clinic played a role in her son's decision to end his life.
Image caption, Seonaid Stallan says Dylan had expressed no suicidal thoughts before starting on Sertraline
The private clinic where Dylan was treated told the BBC it was "deeply saddened" by his death and extended its condolences to his family.
"Though we are not in a position to comment on any individual's treatment, our clinical team would of course be happy to meet with Ms Stallan if there remain concerns she would like to discuss," it said.
The effectiveness of antidepressants on under-18s is not fully known and in the UK only one kind of drug - Fluoxetine, also called Prozac - is commonly prescribed to this group.
But, when you turn 18, like Dylan, you can be prescribed any antidepressant.
There is some clinical trial evidence to suggest the risk of suicide in 18 to 24-year-olds is increased when they take these medications.
Better understanding
Prof Bernadka Dubicka says a discussion around side effects should be happening whenever a patient is prescribed antidepressants, regardless of age.
She told the BBC: "The data seems to show that up until the age of 25, one in 50 young people who are on an antidepressant might experience an increase in suicidal thinking and self-harm in those first few weeks after taking an antidepressant."
Seonaid believes better research and a better understanding of the side effects of antidepressants may be life-saving, as rates of prescriptions go up.
She told Dylan's story to a new documentary for the BBC iPlayer which features the stories of young people whose lives have been changed - and saved - by antidepressants.
Wider discussion of side effects when taking these drugs has grown as numbers of those prescribed the drugs have risen.
About one in seven people in the UK now take antidepressants and about 8% of those are under 25.
The physical and mental side effects of the drugs can be wide-ranging from headaches and brain fog to more severe side effects such as loss of sexual function and suicidal thoughts.
Experts say there is not always time for these side effects to be fully discussed at the point the drugs are prescribed.
GP and sexual medicine expert Dr Ben Davis believes the current pressures on GPs mean in-depth discussion of the effects of the drugs does not always happen.
He said: "There are people for whom they are life-saving medication.
"But the other side is a 10-minute consultation with someone you've never met before, with the pressure of someone who is seeing 30 people a day.
"Do good decisions about long term medication happen in that environment? I think not."
The BBC has spoken to more than 100 people who have used or are using antidepressants, and all of them report side effects of some kind.
Image caption, Connor spoke to us under a pseudonym to shield his identity
For some it has had a profound and negative impact on their sex lives.
Connor, who spoke to us under a pseudonym to shield his identity, has described the impact that antidepressants have had on his body.
He suffers from what is known as PSSD, or Post-SSRI Sexual Dysfunction.
An SSRI is a class of antidepressant that includes Sertraline, which Connor began taking in his 30s.
He says that within 24 hours of his first pill, his sex drive disappeared, which was accompanied by extreme physical symptoms.
No attraction
Twelve months after stopping taking antidepressants, these symptoms persist.
"I still have numbness in my genitals," he says. "I'm basically asexual. I have no attraction to the opposite sex.
"When I considered myself to be a depressed person, I had a very healthy sex life."
Connor is one of more than 1,000 people who are part of the PSSD Network, an online community started to raise awareness of the condition, which is not currently recognised by the NHS.
He says antidepressants have "completely destroyed [his] life".
Dr Davis says sexual difficulties on antidepressants are prevalent.
"We know that one in two people with depression will have some difficulty with sex," he said.
"But we also know if you give medication to people, if you give antidepressants, there is evidence that up to eight in 10 people suffer from sexual difficulties with medication."
But for some, the risk of side effects is worth the positive impact that antidepressants can have.
Image caption, Elliott Brown says antidepressants have saved his life
London-based comedian Elliott Brown has been taking antidepressants on-and-off since the age of 16.
One side effect has been a reduction in his libido.
"In terms of sex drive, it's a lot higher when I'm off them," he said.
"Your partner who you're with sometimes, their thought is, 'is it because I don't find them attractive enough'?
"That's the point where you have to be honest with them."
He says, regardless of side effects he experiences, the trade-off has been worth it and they have saved his life.
"I don't think I'd be here without them," Elliott says.
"I think it's more important to want to be here and be with your loved ones than get lucky occasionally, or, for me, very rarely."
If you or someone you know are feeling emotionally distressed, the BBC Action Line can point you to organisations that offer advice and support.
How did taking antidepressants affect you? What were the side effects like? You can get in touch by emailing
Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also get in touch in the following ways:
If you are reading this page and can't see the form you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at Please include your name, age and location with any submission.
Around the BBC
My 'healthy' wife died a day after being diagnosed with cancer as we didn't know the signs - don't make the same mistake | The Sun
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:16
A "HEALTHY" mum died just hours after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer.
Liz Taylor had been suffering from fatigue and migraines, but had no idea these could be symptoms of acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APML).
Liz Taylor, 51, died in July 2022 after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia Credit: Leukaemia UK 2
The mum with her husband Jonathan and two daughters Kate and Charlotte Credit: Leukaemia UKHer family now wants to use her story to educate others on the potential red flags.
Liz's husband Jonathan, from Desford, Leicestershire, said: "We want to urge people not to dismiss any sign or symptom they may have or put it down to daily aches and pains we all often suffer, irrespective of age."
The mother-of-two first noticed something was wrong in late 2021.
She was feeling constantly tired, but put this down to her hectic lifestyle.
Liz was working full-time as a teaching assistant at Stafford Leys Primary School in Leicester and was busy being a parent.
But over the subsequent months she began to notice other symptoms, including a severe pain in the sternum area of her chest, a pain in her leg, migraines, blurred vision and eventually heavy bleeding.
She went to the optician and doctor about her headaches and was offered a blood test.
"This showed her blood count was very low and was at serious risk of infection, but no reason could be found other than possibly some kind of virus," Jonathan said.
The migraines and blurred vision became more frequent, which eventually prompted a visit to A&E.
There, Liz was diagnosed with neutropenia '' a low number of a particular type of white cells in her blood - but again, no cause was found.
Her symptoms continued to worsen and the results of an MRI scan later revealed multiple infarcts (marks on the brain).
Liz was then told she was having continued mini-strokes and was immediately admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary.
"Given blood clots are generally a major cause of strokes, the hospital's initial diagnosis was that a heart problem had been causing the multiple blood clots and strokes '' which later proved not to be the case," said Jonathan.
"During the following 10 days, Liz underwent numerous cardio checks and assessments, during which time she suffered a larger, more serious stroke.
"Having been initially cancelled due to her hospital admission 10 days earlier, eventually a bone marrow test was scheduled."
Once the results came back, Liz was diagnosed with APML.
She tragically passed away the following day on July 14, 2022, from a brain hemorrhage - a direct effect from the previous strokes.
Liz's daughters are still coming to terms with her loss, struggling to truly accept why their beautiful mum was taken so young.
Jonathan Husband Only 160 people in the UK are diagnosed with APML each year.
Although symptoms are often similar to other leukaemias, its appearance isn't easily detected in blood samples.
APML is a very aggressive, rapidly-developing cancer which can normally only be conclusively diagnosed with a bone marrow biopsy.
Following his wife's death, Jonathan frantically searched online for information on her condition.
He came across Leukaemia Care and Leukaemia UK's #SpotLeukaemia campaign and now wants to spread the word.
"It prompted me to wish that if only I and the medical teams caring for Liz had the knowledge and foresight to identify the signs earlier, Liz could have been diagnosed sooner," he said.
"She passed away on the day after her APML diagnosis aged 51, without having had any opportunity for treatment.
"The family, in particular her two daughters Kate, 26, and Charlotte, 23, are still coming to terms with her loss, struggling to truly accept what has happened and how or why their beautiful mum was taken so young.
"The entire family including her mum, dad, and brother are still numb and in shock that someone so young, fit and healthy can be taken in this way."
'ACT BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE'Jonathan, who has helped raise almost £20,000 for charity, added: "Before Liz's eventual diagnosis, the tell-tale signs were dismissed as fatigue, menopausal, migraines and eye deterioration.
"Even later, having suffered from mini strokes, the prognosis was to investigate it from a cardiology not from a haematology viewpoint.
"Sadly, for Liz, the now-obvious multiple symptoms she had from APML were never all joined up, and heartbreakingly the eventual bone marrow test came too late.
"Guilt isn't the right word, but there is widespread remorse and regret that with all of Liz's symptoms the family and medical teams hadn't been knowledgeable enough to understand and link together the true symptoms of APML.
"Our focus now is on leaving a positive legacy in Liz's name, through charity events and raising awareness on the early signs of leukaemia, in particular APML."
According to Leukaemia UK, the most common indicators of APML include:
Fatigue '' caused by low numbers of red blood cells (anaemia) Repeated infections '' caused by low numbers of white blood cells Blood clots which could lead to pains around the body, headaches or problems with vision Bruising and bleeding easily '' caused by low numbers of platelets Unexplained weight loss If you have any concerns about possible APML symptoms, please speak to your GP.
Are tiny blood clots the real cause of Long Covid? Cutting-edge research suggests this may be the answer to the condition that's left up to half of young victims bedridden or, like Samir, in a wheelchair | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:15
Back in September 2020, 11-year-old Samir Touati looked set for a bright future.
A keen student, he'd just got into a competitive secondary school and was the kind of youngster who enjoyed zooming around on his bike or playing with friends in the park near his home in Barking, Essex.
But the happy routine came to an abrupt end within weeks of the start of his first term, after he caught Covid.
Less than six months after recovering from the infection in September 2021 '-- which caused fever, severe chest pain and fatigue '-- he was confined to a wheelchair with long Covid symptoms.
'I don't remember a day without pain,' Samir, 13, told Good Health in a voice heavy with fatigue.
Back in September 2020, 11-year-old Samir Touati (pictured before Covid) looked set for a bright future
But the happy routine came to an abrupt end within weeks of the start of his first term, after he caught Covid (pictured now)
'Long Covid has taken my life and smashed it to bits. It has taken every happiness and destroyed it beyond repair. It has all but killed me.'
His mother Jana, 52, describes how difficult her son's life has become.
'He is unable to stand up. Any movement gives him severe pain all over his body,' she says.
'He also has noise sensitivity which makes him cry out and causes muscle spasms if he even hears the vacuum cleaner, for instance.
'But the worst thing is the chronic tiredness that stops him going to school,' says Jana, an accountant and mother of three, who is married to Mohamed, 56, who was previously a chef and is now a full-time carer for Samir.
'Samir has been ill for 20 months and, until he gets some kind of proper treatment, he isn't going to recover,' says Jana.
Long Covid '-- defined as symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and brain fog that last for at least two months after infection '-- is thought to affect at least two million people in the UK; around 69,000 of them children.
That number is rising as the virus continues to circulate. And while Britain led the world in developing vaccines and treatment for acute Covid, it seems research into long Covid has been left behind.
Just as the UK Covid-19 Inquiry starts to investigate the pandemic's impact, patients and doctors are calling for more help now for those suffering from the effects of the infection.
Specialist doctors recently gave an emotional presentation in Westminster to MPs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on coronavirus, with Dr Rae Duncan, a consultant cardiologist at Newcastle Hospitals, detailing the stories of some of her patients, many young and previously fit but now desperately ill with long Covid.
Dr Duncan told the hearing: 'Covid is not over, it's still killing, disabling and maiming: what level of death and disability is it going to take for us to take this seriously? Long Covid research is no longer prioritised and the economic consequences in the UK and globally are going to be catastrophic for decades,' she said at the hearing in May.
In July 2021, NHS England published its long Covid plan for 2021/22, which included £70 million to expand long Covid services and £30million for an enhanced service for general practice to support patients.
But when it published its updated plan in July last year, there was no funding for the enhanced service.
And although a network of specialist NHS long Covid clinics has been created, patients interviewed by Good Health reported waiting times of more than a year and of only being given advice on symptom management, rather than treatment.
'If we don't find a treatment, more individuals are going to be longer-term disabled,' said Dr Duncan.
Less than six months after recovering from the infection in September 2021 '-- which caused fever, severe chest pain and fatigue '-- Samir was confined to a wheelchair with long Covid symptoms
'[That includes] young adults who are a significant part of our workforce and children who are part of our future workforce.'
One potential approach that some doctors (including Dr Duncan) believe could help is targeting changes to blood-clotting processes caused by the virus.
Research has shown that some people with long Covid have tiny clots ('microclots') in their blood: these are thought to reduce the supply of oxygen to vital organs, tissues and, in particular, to the mitochondria, the 'batteries' in our cells.
This in turn causes the chronic debilitating fatigue and other symptoms of long Covid.
Dr Duncan showed the APPG an image of a blood sample containing fragments of blood-vessel lining from an 11-year-old with long Covid who is now in a wheelchair as a result.
Long Covid has ripped my life from me Hollie Bramwell had just embarked on a career as a history teacher when she became ill with Covid.
The 27-year-old had hoped to buy a house with her boyfriend James Young, 33, a railway manager.
Instead, 18 months on, they are both still living with her parents in Chartham, Kent.
Hollie Bramwell 27, with her dog Mabel is a former history teacher and now housebound, delibilated by long covid and suffering from a lack of effective treatment
Every morning she waves all three off to work at 7.30am and spends long days alone with her dog Mabel for company.
She caught Covid at her school in December 2021.
Like many others she struggled back into work but then found she couldn't cope.
'My heart rate can go up to 180 when I stand up and I just black out,' says Hollie (pictured with Mabel).
Every morning Holly waves all three off to work at 7.30am and spends long days alone with her dog Mabel for company
'As a history teacher the most embarrassing thing is the brain fog.'
She faced a ten-month wait to be seen at a long Covid clinic, only to be told there was nothing they could offer for her symptoms.
'I'm completely reliant on my parents and James,' says Hollie. 'I couldn't possibly teach or socialise. My life has been ripped from me.'
She explained that the clots are formed when T-cells (white blood cells that are part of the immune system) are chronically activated by a Covid infection, leading to the overproduction of molecules called cytokines that damage the lining of blood vessels.
Blood components called platelets respond to this by clumping together in a clot.
And, depending on where the clot forms, this could help explain the wide range of long Covid symptoms.
The APPG was told how 38 to 50 per cent of previously fit people aged between 16 and 40 affected by long Covid are being left bedridden and in wheelchairs.
Many are unable to sit up as a result of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, where the heart rate suddenly rockets, causing fainting.
Some think this may be linked to microclots. These microclots might also help to explain UK research, published in the journal Circulation in 2022, which found that people who caught Covid in the first wave had a risk of heart attack or stroke 21 times higher than those without a Covid diagnosis.
By six months to a year after diagnosis, the risk had gone back down, although it remained higher than it was pre-Covid.
Greater health problems lie ahead, suggested Dr Duncan: 'The post-Covid condition is not just long Covid; there's an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia and Parkinson's disease.
'There's a lot we still don't know but we're beginning to get signals that treating the blood vessel issues of long Covid may reduce the future risk of heart disease.'
The role of microclots was first identified by Resia Pretorius, a professor of physiological sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in 2021.
Following her research, private clinics offering an expensive 'blood washing' system called apheresis to clear these microclots were set up across Europe, including in Germany, Cyprus and Switzerland.
'Blood is taken out of one arm and put through a machine that splits red cells from plasma,' explains Dr Asad Khan, a respiratory disease consultant based in Manchester.
'The plasma is run through a filter to remove excess clotting factors and then re-combined with the red cells and put back in the other arm.'
Dr Khan, who has long Covid, has himself had the treatment in Germany.
He was first infected with coronavirus while treating patients in November 2020 and says he's had it four times since: he has been unable to work because of debilitating fatigue, brain fog and muscle pain.
'My symptoms were so bad I contemplated ending my life,' says Dr Khan, who belongs to a Facebook group for doctors with long Covid that has 2,000 members.
Last year, when Good Health first spoke to Dr Khan, he'd already spent £30,000 on apheresis.
He has now had 21 sessions (each lasts three to four hours and costs around £1,110) at a total cost, with other therapies, of £50,000 '-- his life savings.
'Apheresis has helped, but hasn't got me back to where I was. I was completely fit but now I'm struggling all the time,' he says.
An investigation by the BMJ in 2022 reported that long Covid patients were travelling abroad and spending thousands to have this treatment.
While some said their symptoms had improved, experts flagged that there is 'as yet no published and peer reviewed evidence showing that apheresis and anticoagulation therapy reduce the microclots'.
Other experts are circumspect about microclots being the key to long Covid.
'There are many mechanisms proposed and microclots is just one,' says Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London.
Samir's mother Jana (pictured with him), 52, describes how difficult her son's life has become. 'He is unable to stand up. Any movement gives him severe pain all over his body,' she says.
'There hasn't been much hard data published so we don't have definitions, pathways and therapies yet.' Ondine Sherwood, a spokesman for the charity Long Covid SOS, added: 'We understand why people are so excited about the microclots theory because it feels like progress. Unfortunately, we're still a long way from microclot treatment being available on the NHS because we lack robust data.
'We still don't know why people are developing these clots; whether they are indeed driving symptoms; which patients would most likely benefit from anticoagulant therapy; and whether removing the clots is a permanent solution. Without the right research we can't move on.'
The underlying issue is a lack of resources.
Professor Altmann says: 'We're losing 2 to 3 per cent of the workforce and many children to this condition. We need to take it seriously.
'When I talk to scientists around the world they're surprised we're doing so little in the UK because we were seen as world leaders in recognising [long Covid] in the first place.'
Amitava Banerjee, a professor of clinical data science at University College London, is leading Britain's only publicly funded trial of long Covid therapies '-- looking at the benefits of antihistamines, anti-inflammatories and an anti-clotting drug.
However, the trial is a year behind schedule, partly because of a lack of resources. 'We don't think long Covid is one disease, there's likely to be different sub-types based on different clusters of symptoms,' says Professor Banerjee.
'Microclots are probably one of those, but even if microclots explain some of the problem, we need to understand more. Anti-clotting drugs can themselves be very dangerous because they can cause bleeding.'
'Samir has been ill for 20 months and, until he gets some kind of proper treatment, he isn't going to recover,' says Jana
Despite the risks, some desperate families are embarking on anti-clotting therapy privately.
In December 2022, almost 18 months after her daughter Victoria developed Covid, Sarah Priest, a mother of two, obtained a prescription for the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel from a private doctor.
'I'm sure Victoria has clots because of the improvement in her condition,' says Sarah, who works as a part-time teacher for adults with learning disabilities.
Victoria, 13, previously a keen cellist and Girl Guide, had missed almost two years of school, but she's now 'in a home education group, able to engage more and getting some quality of life back', says Sarah, 45, from Worthing, West Sussex.
The toll of long Covid on children is particularly worrying, with a recent survey by the University of Derby finding that fewer than half of children with long Covid were back in full-time school.
For Jana Touati, effective treatment for Samir seems elusive.
'We're aware there is the possibility of using anti-clotting therapy but there's nowhere in the UK where he could be tested to see if he would benefit,' she says.
'We couldn't take him to Germany because there's no way he can travel.'
Particularly upsetting, she says, is that while her older two children are moving on with their lives, Samir is still struggling.
'They got Covid at the same time as Samir but recovered within days '-- my daughter Amal is 18 and due to go to university and Yacob is 16 and has done GCSEs, but Samir isn't moving on. He's spent two years being unwell.
'He's very bright academically but has missed out on a great deal of school and normal things. He can hardly move around in the house, let alone play outside. I wonder when his life will ever go back to normal. It's incredibly worrying.'
Long Covid SOS
Long Covid Kids
NatWest claims to be inclusive but its actions are full of prejudice | Express Comment | Comment |
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:14
NatWest is limiting cash says Tim Newark (Image: Shutterstock)
Eight in ten Red Wall voters want the legal right to pay with cash in shops, says a recent poll. But NatWest bank is limiting access to cash for many of its customers.
Meanwhile, left-wing councils are charging drivers more for using cash to pay for parking, hitting older motorists the most. Voters across battleground constituencies in the Midlands and the North are echoing
Nigel Farage's call for cash to be protected as legal tender. Standing up to a trend demanding cashless transactions only, the Brexiteer is hitting home with his defence of cash because 88 percent of voters polled agree, demanding the right to pay for good or services with cash.
Some 19 percent claimed it was now ''hard'' or ''very hard'' to pay in shops or restaurants without a bank card. The link between cash and liberty is clearly made when banks can limit customers' use of cash or close down their accounts because they disapprove of their freedom of speech.
No one can easily function without a bank account, forcing everyone to submit to owning a smartphone or making cashless payments. It is a discouragement to economic activity as many traders have to accept cash as part of their daily lives.
READ MORE Nigel Farage warns banks trying to 'force cashless society' upon Britons
Nigel Farage calls for cash to be protected (Image: Getty)
Once customers submit to digital currency it only makes them more vulnerable to the diktats of government or big business.
In Canada in February 2022, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government shamefully froze the accounts of hundreds of truckers connected to the Freedom Convoy protests against Covid-19 restrictions that shut down roads.
They even froze the accounts of people making donations to the protestors. Interventions like this are akin to Communist China having complete control over everyone's life, ensuring they all sing from the same hymn-sheet.
That something like this could never happen in Britain was blown apart by Nigel Farage having his Coutts account shut down because of his pro-Brexit political views.
That very little has been learned from this incident is clear from Coutts' owner NatWest deciding to limit cash deposits and withdrawals from September.
Claiming it is to protect its customers from fraud, it is deeply discriminatory not only to cash-handling traders but also older generations.
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Coutts shut down Farage's bank (Image: Getty)
NatWest virtue signals that it is inclusive but its actions are anything but that and full of prejudice.
My disabled 90-year-old mother does not have a smartphone or access to Internet banking and is deeply dependent on my drawing out cash for her on a regular basis. Why should she be forced to buy a smartphone or computer at an age when she does not want to master another new skill and one that only makes her vulnerable to internet scamming?
This blatant prejudice is repeated by left-leaning councils across the country that want to bully older motorists into downloading their apps to pay for parking. Lib-Dem Sutton in southwest London is charging motorists £3 an hour if they want to pay in cash as opposed to £2 an hour if they download their app.
At a time when councils should be encouraging everyone to visit their high streets and support their local shops, this is naked discrimination against those who prefer to be low-tech. And smartphones don't always work.
''The technology is far from infallible,'' says RAC spokesman Rod Dennis. ''If the signal fails or isn't strong enough, drivers who have made every effort to pay to park are left in an impossible position.''
The fact is that anti-car councils are using this to discourage older people from driving into town centres for ecological reasons, using the same tactics that banks do to nudge us towards a cashless society whether we want it or not.
It is all about gaining greater control over every one of us'--making us more compliant to institutions that have moved on from merely doing business with us to making judgments on our personal views.
By embracing a so-called moral dimension in their businesses they are forcing us to comply with their Woke visions of the world.
It is a very worrying trend and Nigel Farage is to be saluted for picking a fight with the banks that are leading this charge towards subservience.
Cash is freedom not to be monitored or bullied. As the latest poll shows, there are Red Wall votes to be had for any politician who has the guts to stand up in defence of cash.
Former chief immigration officer claims he has been 'cancelled' by NatWest for political reasons after he is told his bank account will be closed | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:13
Kevin Saunders is retired but previously led the Border Force operation in CalaisHe said he received a letter from his bank saying his account would be closedBy Chris Brooke
Published: 17:00 EDT, 9 August 2023 | Updated: 10:44 EDT, 10 August 2023
A former chief immigration officer believes he has been 'cancelled' by NatWest for political reasons after speaking out on TV about the cross-channel illegal migrant problem.
Kevin Saunders, who is retired and aged in his 70s but previously led the Border Force operation in Calais, was stunned to receive a letter from his bank informing him that his account would be closed.
He said he has had no financial problems and no reason was given.
Speaking on GB News to Nigel Farage, who is spearheading a campaign to stop 'debanking', he said: 'I just got a letter totally out of the blue last Thursday saying basically we are closing your account you've got six months to find another account, thank you very much and goodbye.'
Mr Saunders said he was 'absolutely gobsmacked' to read the letter and recalled Mr Farage's highly-publicised dispute with the NatWest group.
Kevin Saunders (pictured), a former chief immigration officer, believes he has been 'cancelled' by NatWest for political reasons after speaking out on TV about the cross-channel illegal migrant problem
He previously led the Border Force operation in Calais, was stunned to receive a letter from his bank informing him that his account would be closed
The ex-immigration chief has appeared on the news channel to discuss the migrant issue and thought that must be connected to the decision.
He commented: 'I wonder if the bank don't like me very much, I can't think of any other reason.'
A suggestion that the decision was connected to his mortgage coming to an end 'just doesn't hold water' as he finished paying it off over ten years ago, he said.
Cancelling for political reasons is the 'only assumption that I can make,' he said.
Adding to Mr Farage: 'I was shocked, I am not a huge media star like yourself, I don't bank at Coutts, I don't have lots of money stuck in the bank, why pick on me I am the small man.'
Mr Saunders said he has been with his bank for a long time, his account is in credit and he receives a small amount of interest.
Commenting: 'It's a lot of hassle to change your bank account.'
Last year Mr Saunders appeared on national TV news to suggest the government look at the option to put illegal migrants on a cruise ship and take them back to where they came from.
He has also said Britain should make the country more 'unattractive' to deter migrants arriving here.
NatWest said: 'We are contacting some customers to inform them of our decision to withdraw a legacy product that they hold with us. However, we hold a full range of current account products that we are continually investing in to enhance the customer experience.
'We are getting in touch directly with impacted customers to explain the steps they need to take.'
NOW WE HAVE PROOF! TGP EXCLUSIVE: Massive 2020 Voter Fraud Uncovered in Michigan - Including Estimated "800,000 Ballot Applications Sent to Non-Qualified Voters" - Bags of Pre-Paid Gift Cards, Guns with Silencers, Burner Phones, and a Democrat-Funded Orga
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:11
An exclusive Gateway Pundit report by Benjamin Wetmore and Patty McMurray
Special Thanks to
Phil O'Halloran and
Lori Skibo for their contributions and assistance with this story. The two election integrity activists obtained a copy of the State Police report and began investigating the story in June. Phil O'Halloran, now Chairman of the Michigan Republican Party's Election Integrity Committee and Lori Skibo, Director of the MI GOP's Poll Challenger Program, brought it to our attention and are assisting with our research of this story.
* * * * * * * * * *
On October 8, 2020. only one month before the 2020 general election, Muskegon, MI City Clerk Ann Meisch noticed a black female (whose name was redacted from the police report), dropping off between 8,000-10,000 completed voter registration applications at the city clerk's office.
The Muskegon Police Department was contacted and asked to investigate. On 10/21/20 First Lieutenant Mike Anderson was contacted by Tom Fabus, Chief of Investigations for Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel's Office. According to the MI State Police report, Mr. Fabus asked for Michigan State Police assistance with a joint investigation of alleged voter fraud being conducted by the Muskegon Police Department and the AG.
An investigative task force was formed, and an investigation was initiated.
The following is from the MI State Police report:
On 10/16/20 Muskegon City Clerk Ann Meisch and Deputy Clerk Kimberly Young contacted the Muskegon Police Department after noticing irregularities in voter registration applications received both in person and by mail.
The Muskegon city clerk became suspicious when the female, (whose name is redacted in the first part of the police report, but then later, is unredacted), hand-delivered thousands of voter registrations to her office, many of them in the same handwriting.
On 10/20/20 (deadline day for in-person voter registration applications) the suspect retumed to the *Muskegon City Clerk's office to deliver additional registration forms in person. Meisch estimated that (suspect) brought an additional 2500 forms. Meisch contacted the Muskegon Police Department and Detective Logan Anderson and Captain Shawn Bride conducted a non-custodial interview with the suspect.
Meisch stated that in her opinion a quantity of the voter registration forms were highly suspicious and possibly fraudulent.
Meisch's opinion was based on the fact that numerous forms appeared to have been completed by the same writer and upon initial examination, addresses on multiple forms were invalid or non-existent.
Meisch investigated further and found that phone numbers on multiple forms were erroneous and signatures on multiple forms didn't appear to match signatures on file with the Department of Secretary of State. Examples included an address in the and another in the [REDACTED]
Those addresses do not exist in the Muskegon City house numbering system. Another form listed 80 W. Southern Ave which is the address for Muskegon High School and is clearly not a residence.
Later in the report, the name of the female suspect was unredacted.
The MI State Police investigator assigned to the case spoke with the female suspect who explained that she was being paid $1150/week ''to find un-registered voters and provide them with a form so they can get registered to vote or obtain their absentee ballot.'' The only problem is, the handwriting on the voter registrations was the same on several of the registrations and many of the addresses were non-existent or fake.
MI Attorney General Dana Nessel, who is currently attempting to prosecute 15 senior citizens and the former MI GOP co-chair for casting an alternate set of electoral votes in the 2020 election, asked the MI State Police to join the Muskegon Police and AG's investigation of the potentially massive, multi-city voter fraud operation.
Two members of AG Dana Nessel's Criminal Investigation Division were assigned to the operation, yet curiously, she failed to mention the investigation to the public. To this day, Dana Nessel is still claiming there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Michigan, despite the fact that she knew her office and the office of her friend, Michigan's crooked SOS Jocelyn Benson, were involved with the MI State Police in a large scale investigation that took place across the state before it was taken over by the FBI.
Corey Ames, a MI SOS analyst CONFIRMED ''a quantity of the forms they found in their investigation ''are clearly fraudulent.'' MI SOS Jocelyn Benson also claimed there was no widespread voter fraud in Michigan and neglected to mention the investigation to the public.
Today, The Gateway Pundit and our close friends from Michigan are exposing this damning report. The evidence from this investigation exposes criminal election fraud involving thousands of fraudulent ballots in Michigan by an organization that set up temporary offices in several swing states prior to the 2020 election.
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This explosive investigation was covered up and buried from the public, until today.
It should be noted that after documenting these crimes and investigating for weeks, the Michigan police turned their investigation over to the FBI who promptly buried the findings. Once again, the FBI apparently took no action'--more on that in an upcoming report.
The police in Muskegon were investigating voter fraud in October 2020, a month prior to the general election. The FBI failed to follow-up on the alleged election crimes according to Michigan election investigator Phil O'Halloran. O'Halloran is now the Election Integrity Chair of the Michigan Republican Party.
The police report has redactions throughout, but not all names were redacted. The police report names 'GBI Strategies' as the organization running the scheme. The Tennessee-based group is heavily connected to the Biden campaign and various Democrat campaign committees. The released report also names ''Brilus'' as a primary person involved.
The police report from 2020 revealed that GBI Strategies has been in operation since 2014. And, the investigators found that GBI Strategies was paid $1,571,386 by the Doug Jones for Senate campaign back in 2018. That was just one race they were involved in.
The investigators also found that GBI Strategies was paid $188,000 by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 2018. (paragraph 11)
The employees at GBI Strategies were being paid $15 an hour or $120 a day. (paragraph 8)
A woman interviewed by police said she was paid $1150 per week and given a rental car. She said she was given a ''reloadable pay card.'' (paragraph 3)
Police reported that hundreds of pre-paid cards from ''different'' companies, along with ''dozens of new (burner?) phones were found in the Southfield raid in Michigan.
The police report noted that there were numerous job openings listed in Flint, Michigan and Regional Field Manager postings in Washington DC and Chicago, Illinois. This group had branches across the nation.
During their investigation, the police also found partially completed voter registration forms and police found ''pelican cases in the room with semi-automatic rifles joined with suppressors and optics and customized pistols.'' One case had ''4 rifles and 4 pistols.''
The police report claims these weapons were determined to be legal and lawful after calling in the ATF to inspect the weapons.
The affiant (witness who filled out the affidavit) first witnessed minivans moving from a hotel in Grand Haven to the location of the business, a former California Eyecare location. The next day Detective Luker was notified. He went to the address where he found a bag of trash filled with information on employee agreements.
The affiant believed the records found at the location were crucial to determining the crime of Election Fraud Forgery and determining who may be criminally liable and who may have profited from the fraud.
The affiant later obtained a copy of the Mukegon PD Report 2020-19124 authored by Officer Foster with a supplemental report by Detective Logan Anderson along with a copy of the search warrant of the business location.
This next paragraph from the police document reveals that Muskegon City Clerk Ann Meisch and Deputy Clerk Kimberly Young first contacted the police on October 16, 2020.
Meisch and Young contacted police after receiving multiple ''State of Michigan Voter Registration Application'' forms which in their opinion appeared to be fraudulent. According to the report, Meisch based her opinion on the fact that some of the addresses on the applications appeared to be invalid or non-existent. Also, some of the phone numbers were invalid and some signatures did match those on file.
Meisch also noted that the handwriting on the ballots appeared to be the same with a similar signature and ALL OF THE BALLOTS appeared to come from the same company with two locations in Southfield and Auburn Hills.
Meisch told police some of the forms were dropped off in person to the Muskegon City Clerk's office by a black female who identified herself as Brianna Hawkins. Miss Hawkins said her employment entailed registering voters and helping them obtain absentee ballots.
Meisch estimated that the leftist organization delivered approximately 8,000-10,000 voter registration forms to the Muskegon City Clerk's office and provided a sampling of 42 suspected fraudulent applications to Officer Foster for examination. Meisch stated they identified by viewing her Facebook profile.
Employee Brianna Hawkins dropped off between 8K -10K registrations in ONE day!
The investigators found that ''a number of voter applications forms were clearly fraudulent.''
The report notes that police found, ''Dozens of new phones'' and ''Hundreds of pre-paid payment cards'' '' these items were clearly considered suspicious by the police in the report.
Also in the report: the left-wing ballot organizing group had suppressors (Silencers) and automatic weapons for some odd reason.
Nearly three years later, President Trump faces multiple prosecutions because he 'fraudulently' pursued 'baseless' claims of voter fraud according to prosecutors and the mainstream media. Trump won the Michigan vote in 2016 by 15,000 votes but suspiciously lost to Joe Biden by 150,000 votes four years later, despite increasing his vote share in neighboring Ohio. 16 Trump Presidential electors in Michigan are being prosecuted by far-left Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, because, according to Dana Nessel the controversial Michigan AG, they 'fraudulently' believed that there was systemic voter fraud that was not being properly investigated.
The released police report has redactions throughout, but not all names were redacted. The police report names 'GBI Strategies' as the organization engaged in what the report suggests is widespread, systemic, voter fraud in multiple locations around the state. The Tennessee group is heavily connected to the Biden campaign and various Democrat campaign committees. The released report also names ''Brilus'' as a primary person involved.
The police report also notes that the organization used rental cars around the state as part of its deployments, naming several of the field locations for their operations. On election night, a suspicious 3:30 AM van delivering the Biden Ballot Dump in Detroit at the facility formerly known as the TCF Center was accompanied by a vehicle registered to a rental car company.
The Gateway Pundit previously obtained the video and broke the story.
The Gateway Pundit has always reported that there were unanswered statistical anomolies within the absentee data. Repeated trends across the state of Michigan that appear to show systemic voter fraud among absentee ballots.
Michigan State Senator Ruth Johnson, who is a former Secretary of State, told the Gateway Pundit: ''My estimate is over 800,000 ballot applications were sent to non-qualified voters in Michigan, including many individuals who moved or died, and even some individuals who were underage or non-citizens. Many were sent to people who had moved out of state.'' These ballot applications, if turned back in, would cause a live ballot to then be sent to that address by the clerk. Both the ballot applications and the live ballots were not seriously checked for a 'signature match' because Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson purposefully advised clerks to illegally assume and presume the signatures were a match.
This tip from Muskegon clerk Ann Meisch, who has been the City Clerk of Muskegon since 2007, was referred to the FBI. Clerk Meisch has been a City Clerk for other Michigan cities for 17 years before that. There's no evidence the FBI did anything with this investigation. And in fact, the Bill Barr appointed DOJ attorney overseeing election fraud cases was notorious for political persecution against conservatives.
We have more coming on our investigation. Stay tuned.
Again, special thanks to Phil O'Halloron and Lori Skibo for their help with this report.
Police report 1 of 2:
Police report 2 of 2:
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said that Phil O'Halloran believes that GBI Strategies is engaged in voter fraud across the state of Michigan. O'Halloran has said that he would like to clarify that he believes that they are 'innocent until proven guilty' and that he is concerned that a fair investigation has never occurred.
U.S. Retailer Target Sees Plunge in Sales After Boycott Following Introduction of LGBT+ Merch to 'Celebrate Pride Month' '' The Daily Sceptic
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:03
U.S. retail giant Target's decision to stock controversial Pride merchandise has come back to haunt them, resulting in a plunge in their revenue figures. The Telegraph has the story.
The Minneapolis-based company posted a 5% drop in sales to $24.8 billion (£19.5 billion) in the second quarter '' its first decline in six years.
It comes after Target was hit by a backlash over its range of products to support the LGBT+ community, in particular its displays of merchandise to celebrate Pride month.
The retail chain faced criticism and homophobic abuse led by far-Right personalities over products including gender fluid mugs, Queer All Year calendars and children's books entitled Bye, Bye Binary, Pride 1,2,3 and I'm Not a Girl.
Other ranges included a collaboration with British transgender designer Erik Carnell's brand, Abprallen, which has been criticised for making clothes with images of pentagrams, horned skulls and other Satanic products.
Target eventually removed some products from its 2,000-strong Pride collection citing staff safety after an increase in confrontations between customers and employees and damage to displays.
The decision prompted further outcry from Target employees who celebrate Pride.
Target bosses have said they cannot pin down exactly how much of an impact the boycott had on sales, but that trading improved in July from June.
Brian Cornell, Chief Executive of Target, said the company had learned from the backlash and would be more cautious about its merchandise offering for ''heritage'' months, which celebrate various ethnic and marginalised groups.
He told reporters: ''We'll continue to celebrate Pride and other heritage moments, which are just one part of our commitment to support diverse teams and guests.
''However, as we navigate an ever changing operating and social environment, we're applying what we've learned to ensure we're staying close to our guests and their expectations of Target.''
Worth reading in full.
How many people are homeless in the UK? And what can you do about it?
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:02
Knowing the scale of the issue is vital to understanding how to solve it
There were 271,000 households recorded as homeless in England at the start of 2023 according to charity Shelter. However, new statistics from January to March this year show how quickly the situation is worsening, with unprecedented amounts of people reaching out to councils for help or while record numbers are living in temporary accommodation.
And it is not always a visible problem. Hidden homelessness, also known as sofa surfing, is virtually impossible to count as people staying at friends or relatives homes are out of sight and often don't consider themselves to be homeless.
The Big Issue is committed to tackling poverty and preventing homelessness. With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis left in its wake, scores of UK households remain at risk of falling into homelessness.
It is vital that we have an accurate idea of how many people are homeless in the UK '' if you don't know how many people need help, how can you help them?
How many people are homelessness in the UK?Overall, Crisis estimated that around 227,000 people were experiencing the worst forms of homelessness '' rough sleeping, sleeping in vans and sheds, and stuck in B&Bs '' across England, Scotland and Wales in 2021.
That figure is projected to rise beyond 300,000 households on any given night in 2023, the charity warned in its Great Britain Homelessness Monitor report. The report arrived as the country was in a state of flux with the cost of living crisis, rising rents and the withdrawal of emergency measures in place during the pandemic set to see more people fall into insecure positions.
But, as we know, homelessness is difficult to quantify. There are many different types of homelessness; as well as rough sleeping, many people may find themselves stuck in temporary, insecure accommodation like hostels or shelters. Between January and March this year, 105,000 households in England were recorded as living in temporary accommodation, including 130,000 children '' this is the highest on record since 1998.
Another method of counting how many people experience homelessness is keeping track of how many households contacted councils for help with homelessness, known as statutory homelessness. Over 80,000 households in England contacted their local council for help between January and March 2023 '' the highest number since records began in 2018.
English councils helped more than 278,000 households with homelessness between April 2021 and March 2022. That's up 16% on the previous year but 9% below pre-Covid levels.
Homelessness facts and statistics: The numbers you need to know in 2022How many empty homes are there in the UK?What is the main cause of homelessness?No-fault (section 21) evictions are a leading driver of homelessness and the Westminster government promised to ban them in 2019. Ministers are set to axe no-fault evictions in the upcoming Renters' Reform Bill, but rates are still surging in the meantime. There has been a more than 40% increase in no-fault evictions since 2022, with 2,228 households served a section 21 notice between April and June this year alone. More than 23,000 households have been evicted through the courts after receiving a section 21 notice since 2019.
As for Scotland's latest official homelessness statistics, the number of applications to local authorities for help with homelessness remains lower than before the pandemic but is rising.
There were 28,882 homeless households recorded in 2021/22, up from just over 28,000 in the previous year. That accounts for 32,592 adults and 14,372 children.
Big Issue ContributionYour support today will connect individuals living in poverty to the vital resources, services and opportunities needed to begin their journey to a new future. You will be supporting individuals in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.
In Wales,11,704 households were assessed as homeless or owed a duty by local authorities to help them secure accommodation between April 2021 and March 2022. That's an 11% decrease in the number of people who need support in 2020/21. A total of 10,872 individuals were also reported to be in temporary accommodation in Wales during May 2023.
As for the number of people rough sleeping, the latest official count estimated a total of 3,069 people were sleeping rough on a single night in autumn 2022 in England, up by a quarter on the 2,440 in 2021. The rise was the first recorded since 2017's peak.
However, the number of people sleeping rough has grown steadily since 2010, and the number of people counted in 2022 was 74% higher than the 1,768 people spotted 12 years earlier.
Traditionally, the official rough sleeping figures are often thought to be a considerable underestimate as they rely on single-night counts and estimates by local authorities.
Efforts are underway to improve the quality of data on street homelessness. The government has pledged to publish management information on a quarterly basis as part of its strategy to end rough sleeping in England by 2024.
The latest data shows 2,447 people were estimated to be sleeping rough on a single night in March 2023. The official figures show a rise of 342 people or 16% since the previous quarter in December 2022 and a rise of 641 people or 35% since the same time in 2022.
The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) is thought to be a more accurate method. This tracks the flow of rough sleeping over a longer period with multiple agencies reporting contact with people on the streets. However it only currently operates in London.
Nevertheless, Chain annual figures show a much higher number of people sleeping rough and that number has increased sharply in the last year. A total of 13,325 people were spotted sleeping rough on the streets of London between April 2022 and June 2023 with 3,272 of those spotted between April and June this year.
How does homelessness differ for women?How do people become homeless?Homelessness charities warned that the cost of living crisis was driving that rise. A total of 6,391 people were spotted sleeping rough in London for the first time '' up 26% on the 5,091 people spotted a year previously.
In Wales, the official count has been suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic but recent management statistics show that around 154 people are sleeping rough around the country as of May 2023.
Scotland doesn't use the same method as England and Wales. Scottish councils measure how many people apply to them for help with rough sleeping.
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In 2021/22, 2,129 households reported sleeping rough in the three months before making a homelessness application to their local council while 1,304 households said they'd been rough sleeping the night before.
Both of these figures are lower than any previously recorded since records began in 2002/03.
Counting the number of people rough sleeping is notoriously difficult. Often people can be hidden meaning they are missing from statistics.
This is a particular issue for women who face an increased risk of violence and often choose not to bed down on the streets, instead seeking shelter in places like transport hubs, cafes or even choosing to walk all night instead.
A coalition of homelessness and women's organisations in London joined forces to tackle the issue in October 2022. The resulting women's rough sleeping census found 154 women, including trans and non-binary women, sleeping rough in London in a week.
That number was higher than previously thought with an extra 71 women found across 13 London boroughs when the data was compared to the latest official rough sleeping count. Organisers believed the number could be even higher.
People who might be described as ''hidden homeless'' are often slipping through the cracks. Crisis has estimated that as many as 62% of single homeless people do not show up on official figures.
The Office for National Statistics carried out a review into the scale of hidden homelessness across the UK in March 2023 but statisticians noted that the available information means ''it is not currently possible to estimate the true scale of hidden homelessness across the UK''.
However, the review did lay out the many types of hidden homelessness, including sofa surfing with friends or relatives, living in unconventional structures like mobile homes or a tent or overcrowded accommodation or squatting in disused buildings.
ONS statisticians also revealed that women, young people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to experience hidden homelessness and, therefore, missing from homelessness statistics. This could mean they are unable to access support to help them into a secure, permanent home.
Which country has no homeless people? Homelessness is an issue that affects every country and there are different approaches to tackling the issue too.
Finland has perhaps come closest to solving the problem of street homelessness. Their adoption of the Housing First model over the last 30 years has seen rough sleepers given a home alongside intensive wraparound support to help them adapt to their new surroundings and to deal with issues like addiction or mental health problems.
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The Housing First model has become a big part of the UK's response to homelessness and has proven particularly successful in Scotland with England and Wales developing programmes.
But the Finnish success story is the result of a 30-year commitment by successive governments and it remains to be seen whether the Housing First model can play such a significant role in ending homelessness in the UK.
Finland was cited as a benchmark as Prince William launched his Homewards programme to end homelessness.
The Westminster government announced it was extending rough sleeping pilots in the West Midlands, Manchester and Merseyside as part of the strategy to end rough sleeping by 2024.
England is lagging behind its smaller neighbours in Scotland and Wales, according to Crisis' Homelessness Monitor report covering Great Britain.
England has much higher rates of the worst forms of homelessness than the devolved nations and more of its homelessness spending is spent on temporary accommodation compared to prevention and support, academics found
What can you do about it? If you see a rough sleeper, send details of where and when you see them, as well as a brief description of the person, to StreetLink using their website, app or phone line. StreetLink is operated in partnership by Homeless Link and St Mungo's. Scotland has no centralised service so you should check for contact details of your local council.
What should you do if you see a homeless person?What are homeless hostels? Alerts are monitored by volunteers at St Mungo's who check information and forward them on to outreach teams. Every day hundreds of alerts are received by StreetLink.
And, of course, for more than 30 years The Big Issue has been on the frontline offering a way out, and one of the best things you can do is to buy this magazine every week, take your copy and support your vendor as they work hard to earn their way out of the poverty trap.
This article is updated regularly with the latest information.
Immigration: A Solution to US Labor Shortages and Inflation? |
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:01
By Sanwar Ali:The United States, a nation constructed on the principles of liberty and opportunity, has always been a beacon for immigrants worldwide. However, recent years have seen a significant decrease in immigration numbers, leading to a myriad of economic issues, including labor shortages and inflation. This article explores why the US needs more immigrants and how they can benefit the economy.
Table of Contents:Immigration and the US EconomyThe Impact of Labor ShortagesThe Inflation ConundrumThe Necessity of ImmigrationThe Downfall of Decreased ImmigrationThe Role of Visa ProgramsAddressing the Skills ShortageLegislative Solutions NeededThe Future of the US WorkforceConclusion1. Immigration and the US EconomyImmigrants have always played a crucial role in the US economy. They contribute to the workforce, start businesses, pay taxes, and help drive economic growth. But recent trends show a decline in immigration, which poses a significant challenge to the US economy. The COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated these issues, creating a perfect storm of labor shortages and inflation.
"Immigration must be a part of the solution to the labor shortage problem," says an economist at the Federal Reserve.2. The Impact of Labor ShortagesLabor shortages have become a major concern for the US economy. These shortages are particularly acute in industries such as construction, hospitality, and agriculture, where immigrant workers typically fill a significant portion of jobs.
A decrease in immigration has led to extreme labor shortages and wage increases. Consequently, employers have been forced to offer higher wages to attract workers, leading to increasing costs for consumers'--a phenomenon known as inflation.
3. The Inflation ConundrumInflation is a complex economic issue with multiple contributing factors. However, labor shortages, driven by a decrease in immigration, have been identified as a significant contributor to recent inflation spikes.
"The US is running out of workers, and immigration must be part of the solution," says a Harvard Kennedy School researcher.4. The Necessity of ImmigrationIf the US is to continue growing its economy and remain globally competitive, it must address its labor shortages. Immigration offers a viable solution.
In 2022, the US had almost twice as many job openings as unemployed workers. Meanwhile, the total working-age population rose only by around 3% per year. These trends suggest a clear and pressing need for more workers'--specifically, immigrant workers.
5. The Downfall of Decreased ImmigrationThe pandemic and policy changes have significantly reduced immigration to the US. This decrease has exacerbated labor shortages and contributed to rising inflation.
Immigration limits, USCIS backlogs, closures of DOS consulates overseas, and border restrictions have all played a part in this decline. It's estimated that nearly two million working-age immigrants who would have ordinarily entered the US were unable to do so.
6. The Role of Visa ProgramsSeveral visa programs, such as the H-2A and H-2B, allow foreign workers to enter the US temporarily for specific types of work. However, these programs primarily target employers with seasonal needs, leaving a gap in non-seasonal occupations.
By making it easier for foreign workers to come into the country, the US could effectively address its labor shortages and mitigate the effects of inflation.
7. Addressing the Skills ShortageMany sectors of the US economy require specific skills that are currently in short supply. The construction industry, for example, is projected to need more than a half a million additional workers in 2023.
Immigrants, many of whom bring unique skills and expertise, could help fill these gaps and stimulate economic growth.
8. Legislative Solutions NeededTo address these challenges, the US government must take action. Updating Schedule A, a list of occupations facing dire shortages, could make hiring from abroad easier for employers.
Additionally, adjusting the definition of "seasonality" could open current worker programs to employers in year-round industries.
9. The Future of the US WorkforceThe US workforce is aging, and as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age, the demand for workers in various sectors will only increase.
By embracing immigration as a solution to labor shortages, the US can ensure a robust and diverse workforce for years to come.
10. ConclusionThe US is at a critical juncture. To address labor shortages and combat inflation, it must embrace immigration as a solution. By doing so, it can ensure a vibrant, diverse, and robust workforce that will drive economic growth and prosperity for all. helps with US Work Visa: L1, H1B, E2, and O1 VisasThere are various types of US visas that individuals can apply for, depending on their circumstances. Some of the most common employment-based visas include:
L1 visa: This visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions or have specialized knowledge.
H1B visa: This visa is for specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields.
E2 visa: This visa is for investors who have made a significant investment in a US business and, management or essential skills employees. Only certain nationalities can apply.
O1 visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. For more information and advice, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)(link sends e-mail)
Hawaii wildfires: Maui's emergency leader RESIGNS citing 'health reasons' a day after claiming it didn't matter his team didn't set off island's sirens - as death toll hits 111 | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 12:00
The head of Maui's Emergency Management Agency resigned on Thursday night, citing 'health reasons'.
It comes a day after Chief Herman Andaya faced fierce backlash by saying he did not regret not activating warning sirens as the wildfire swept across the island.
Andaya said he opted to send out alerts via mobile devices, radio waves, television and the county's opt-in resident alert system - but not via siren.
Despite the claim the warning sirens could have saved hundreds of people, Andaya argued the systems are generally used for tsunami warnings and Hawaiians are trained to seek higher ground when they go off, which would have led them toward the blazing inferno.
It has since emerged that the official has a history of downplaying the importance of the island's siren systems.
Governor Josh Green said he expects the official death toll will rise by about 10 people per day for the next week - officials have not said what they believe the final figure will be
Andaya also claimed that even if the sirens had sounded, there would have been significant swaths of land where there are no sirens and people would therefore not have been hypothetically saved by them
Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said in a statement on Thursday that he had accepted Andaya's resignation.
'Given the gravity of the crisis we are facing, my team and I will be placing someone in this key position as quickly as possible and I look forward to making that announcement soon,' Bissen said.
Andaya defended his experience and qualification for office during the mid-week press conference held by Governor Josh Green.
'Had we sounded the siren that night, we're afraid that people would have gotten mauka [toward the mountains] and if that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire,' he said.
'I should also note that there are no sirens mauka, or on the mountainside, where the fire was spreading down. So even if we sounded the siren, we would not have saved those people out there on the mountainside.'
The response came after a reporter said that several survivors of the fire - which claimed the lives of at least 111 people - said their neighbors and loves ones may have been saved if the sirens had gone off before they noticed the 1,000-degree flames rolling toward their houses.
Andaya had a pattern of downplaying the importance of the island's siren system in the year's leading up to the tragedy, NBC News reported.
In meetings dating back to 2019 he repeatedly called sounding the civil service sirens 'a last resort,' according to meeting transcripts of the county's public safety commission.
People walk past destroyed by wildfire in Lahaina - search teams have covered an estimated 38 percent of the impacted area
Maui Mayor Richard Bissen defended Andaya at Wednesday's press conference alongside Governor Green
Search operations continue in Lahaina, as hope fades that any survivors will be found - though some 1,300 people remain missing
Lahainas banyan, near the town's historic courthouse building, is known as the oldest living banyan tree in the US. Both the tree and the courthouse have been severely damaged.
Andaya made the remarks to commissioners in recent years after monthly tests found some were not working and, in one case, after a false alarm, the publication reported.
A reporter at Wednesday's conference also seemed to question Andaya's resume, and how he's had no prior experience in emergency management before taking on his current role in 2017. He was chief-of-staff to a former mayor.
The member of the press then asked if he would consider handing further responsibility off to someone else.
Andaya said the claim he didn't have experience before assuming his current position is 'not true.'
He argued his employment history includes time in the housing department, and as a staffer in the mayor's cabinet, during which time he 'reported to the emergency operation centers.'
'To say that I am not qualified, I think is incorrect,' he added.
Both Governor Green and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen defended Andaya against the journalist's quasi-accusations. Green agreed his reaction to hearing the sirens would be to expect a tsunami.
Governor Green confirmed Wednesday the death toll had risen to 110, though search teams have canvassed just 38 percent of the impacted territory.
The Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in downtown Lahaina is seen still standing amidst the rubble
Carole Hartley, 60, from Alabama, was one of the first wildfire victims to be identified
Clyde Wakida is pictured with his wife of 46 years, Penny. He died trying to save the house they built together 35 years ago
Franklin 'Frankie' Trejos, 68, died trying to shelter Sam, a golden retriever. Both was found dead inside a car
Officials, including Green, have said the death toll will likely continue to climb in the next few weeks.
There is increasing concern that numerous children, who were at home because schools were closed and parents were at work, are among the dead.
'Our parents work one, two, three jobs just to get by and they can't afford to take a day off,' Jessica Sill, a kindergarten teacher at Lahaina's King Kamehameha III Elementary School, told the Wall Street Journal. 'Without school, there was nowhere for [kids] to go that day.'
The death toll has now grown to at least 111 people and there is growing fear that many children are among the dead - as they were left home alone when schools delayed opening due to power outages before the storm.
A kindergarten teacher in Lahaina said that a seven-year-old boy - who is the cousin of two of her former students - was found dead alongside his family in a burned out car.
Jessica Sill, who teaches at King Kamehameha III Elementary School, told the Wall Street Journal: 'Our parents work one, two, three jobs just to get by and they can't afford to take a day off.
'Without school, there was nowhere for [kids] to go that day.'
Public schools on Maui have started the process of reopening and traffic has also resumed on a major road, in signs the painful recovery process is underway.
German Kids Passports All Go Biometric Next Year - Activist Post
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:58
By Jim Nash
Germany is doing away with children's paper passports in favor of biometric documents with embedded electronic chips beginning next year.
The children's passports had to be renewed annually and cost a one-time fee of '‚¬13 (approximately US$14.13) with '‚¬6 annual renewals. The electronic passport will cost '‚¬37.50 ($40.77), but it is valid for up to six years for Germans up to 25 years old, according to Google's machine translation of reporting by the news publication Focus Online.
The children's passports did not include the security chips or fingerprint biometrics required for acceptance in the U.S., Australia, and some African countries, and the photo could be updated, unlike a biometric passport.
Parents can request an ID card for children up to 11 years old. This card can be used for travel within the European Union, the Schengen area and Switzerland.
Source: Biometric Update
Jim Nash is a business journalist. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Investors Business Daily, Robotics Business Review and other publications. You can find Jim on LinkedIn.
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'UK's inefficient homes face £700 extra energy costs as gas prices soar' - Energy Live News
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:58
A fresh study reveals a potential financial burden on homes rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band F.
As the new price cap takes effect, these households could see their bills surge by a substantial £685 in comparison to those in EPC band C homes.
The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) spearheaded the analysis, delving into the potential impact of the upcoming price cap on different EPC bands.
The findings highlight the disparities that could arise, with band F homes potentially bearing a significantly heavier cost burden.
Wholesale gas costs are on a steady rise, expected to remain two to three times higher than pre-crisis levels in the coming years.
This translates into elevated gas bills.
With around 40% of the UK's electricity generation reliant on gas, the impact ripples to electricity costs, highlighting the intertwined nature of energy expenses.
Jess Ralston, Energy Analyst at ECIU said: ''The government says it wants to cut the cost of living '' getting the ECO scheme running better in time for winter, insulating homes so households need less expensive gas could do that.
''We also have to consider security of supply this winter, as we are not out of the woods on the gas crisis yet and prices are predicted to stay higher than pre-crisis in the long term.
''More UK gas won't come online anytime soon, and won't help with prices anyway as they are set by global markets. More renewables and insulating homes would shield the UK permanently from volatile gas prices.''
Make sure you check out the latest Net Hero Podcast episode:
'UK faces £1.5bn surge in energy bills due to wind farm barriers' - Energy Live News
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:57
The government is under fire for potentially causing higher energy prices by creating obstacles to the growth of wind farms.
The Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) has raised concerns that these barriers could lead to a massive £1.5 billion increase in annual energy bills.
Analysis from ECIU suggests the forthcoming government Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction, designed to facilitate new offshore wind farms, could potentially witness only a handful of projects circumventing the stringent Treasury guidelines.
This dire scenario could translate into an adverse financial impact of approximately £1.5 billion annually for UK billpayers.
The essence of the CfD auctions lies in securing renewable energy developers with a fixed price for the electricity their projects generate.
This measure affords them insulation against potential price fluctuations for a span of multiple years.
Yet, the ECIU warns that the odds of projects successfully navigating through Treasury regulations are bleak, a trend that has manifested in previous rounds.
According to Jess Ralston, an Energy Analyst at the ECIU, the government's attention appears to be directed at North Sea gas licenses and tax incentives for oil companies, actions that are unlikely to lower energy bills.
Jess Ralston said: ''Even with inflation pushing costs up for offshore wind, it will still generate electricity much cheaper than gas power stations. Stifling wind farms pushes up bills. Treasury's rules seem to be actively working against bringing them down.''
A spokesperson for the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero told Energy Live News: ''We do not recognise these figures '' last year's CfD scheme auction was the largest ever, issuing contracts to nearly 100 clean tech projects, and we increased this year's budget to reflect the large volume of eligible applications received.
''The UK is a world leader in renewable technologies, with the four largest operational offshore wind farms in the world providing enough capacity to power the equivalent of at least ten million homes per year.
''CfD is designed to protect generators against price fluctuations and compares favourably to other international schemes. We understand there are supply chain pressures for the sector globally, and we are listening to their concerns.''
Make sure you check out the latest Net Hero Podcast episode:
Risk of fatal heart attack may double in heat wave & high fine particulate pollution days | American Heart Association
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:55
Research Highlights:
An analysis of more than 202,000 heart attack deaths between 2015-2020 in a single Chinese province found that days that had extreme heat, extreme cold or high levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution were significantly associated with the risk of death from a heart attack, especially in women and older adults.The greatest increase in the risk of death from heart attack was seen on days that had the combination of extreme heat and high levels of PM2.5.The days with extreme heat were associated with an increased risk of heart attack death in women vs. men, and in older adults than in younger adults. Older adults were also at a greater risk of heart attacks compared to younger adults during days with extreme cold or high levels of PM2.5.Embargoed until 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET Monday, July 24, 2023
DALLAS, July 24, 2023 '-- The combination of soaring heat and smothering fine particulate pollution may double the risk of heart attack death, according to a new study of more than 202,000 heart attack deaths in China. The study published today in the American Heart Association's flagship journal Circulation.
''Extreme temperature events are becoming more frequent, longer and more intense, and their adverse health effects have drawn growing concern. Another environmental issue worldwide is the presence of fine particulate matter in the air, which may interact synergistically with extreme temperatures to adversely affect cardiovascular health,'' said senior author Yuewei Liu, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China. ''However, it remains unknown if and how co-exposure to extreme temperatures and fine particulate pollution might interact to trigger a greater risk of death from heart attack, which is an acute response potentially brought on by an acute scenario and a great public health challenge due to its substantial disease burden worldwide.''
To examine the impact of extreme temperatures with and without high levels of fine particulate pollution, the researchers analyzed 202,678 heart attack deaths between 2015-2020 that occurred in Jiangsu province, a region with four distinct seasons and a wide range of temperatures and fine particulate pollution levels. The deaths were among older adults with an average age of 77.6 years; 52% were older than age 80; and 52% were male. Particulate exposure on the day of each death and one day before death were included in the analysis.
Extreme temperatures were gauged according to the daily heat index (also referred to as apparent temperature) for an area, which captures the combined effect of both heat and humidity. Both the length and extremeness of heat waves and cold snaps were evaluated. Heart attack deaths, or case days, during these periods were compared with control days on the same day of the week in the same month '-- meaning that if a death occurred on a Wednesday, all other Wednesdays in the same month would be considered control days. Particulate levels were considered high on any day with an average level of fine particulate matter above 37.5 micrograms per cubic meter.
''Our findings provide evidence that reducing exposure to both extreme temperatures and fine particulate pollution may be useful to prevent premature deaths from heart attack, especially for women and older adults,'' Liu said.
Compared with control days, the risk of a fatal heart attack was observed at the following levels:
18% higher during ­2-day heat waves with heat indexes at or above the 90th percentile (ranging from 82.6 to 97.9 degrees Fahrenheit), increasing with temperature and duration, and was 74% higher during 4-day heat waves with heat indexes at or above the 97.5th percentile (ranging from 94.8 to 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit). For context, 6,417 (3.2%) of the 202,678 observed deaths from heart attack happened during heat waves with heat indexes at or above the 95th percentile (ranging from 91.2 to 104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) for three or more days.4% higher during 2-day cold snaps with temperatures at or below the 10th percentile (ranging from 33.3 to 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit), increasing with lower temperatures and duration, and was 12% higher during 3-day cold snaps with temperatures at or below the 2.5th percentile (ranging from 27.0 to 37.2 degrees Fahrenheit). For context, 6,331 (3.1%) of the 202,678 observed deaths from heart attack happened during cold spells with temperatures at or below the 5th percentile (ranging from 30.0 to 38.5 degrees Fahrenheit) for 3 or more days.Twice as high during 4-day heat waves that had fine particulate pollution above 37.5 micrograms per cubic meter. Days with high levels of fine particulate pollution during cold snaps did not have an equivalent increase in the risk of heart attack death.Generally higher among women than men during heat waves.Higher among people ages 80 and older than in younger adults during heat waves, cold snaps or days with high levels of fine particulate pollution.The mean age of all individuals who died from a heart attack in Jiangsu from 2015-2020, including during non-extreme temperature events, was 77.6 years old; 52.1% of these individuals were over 80 years old.The researchers estimated that up to 2.8% of heart attack deaths may be attributed to the combination of extreme temperatures and high levels of fine particulate pollution (> 37.5 micrograms per cubic meter), according to WHO targets.
''Strategies for individuals to avoid negative health effects from extreme temperatures include following weather forecasts, staying inside when temperatures are extreme, using fans and air conditioners during hot weather, dressing appropriately for the weather, proper hydration and installing window blinds to reduce indoor temperatures,'' said Liu. ''Using an air purifier in the house, wearing a mask outdoors, staying clear of busy highways when walking and choosing less-strenuous outdoor activities may also help to reduce exposure to air pollution on days with high levels of fine particulate pollution. To improve public health, it is important to take fine particulate pollution into consideration when providing extreme temperature warnings to the public.''
In a 2020 scientific statement and a 2020 policy statement, the American Heart Association details the latest science about air pollution exposure and the individual, industrial and policy measures to reduce the negative impact of poor air quality on cardiovascular health. Reducing exposure to air pollution and reversing the negative impact of poor air quality on cardiovascular health, including heart disease and stroke, is essential to reducing health inequities in Black and Hispanic communities, those that have been historically marginalized and under-resourced, and communities that have the highest levels of exposure to air pollution.
The investigators recommended additional research about the possible interactive effects of extreme weather events and fine particulate pollution on heart attack deaths in areas with different temperature and pollution ranges to confirm their findings. The study did not include adjustments for any adaptive behaviors taken by individuals, such as using air conditioning and staying indoors, when temperatures are extreme or pollution levels are high, which could cause misclassification of individuals' exposure to weather and alter their risk patterns. These results also may not be generalizable to other regions in China or other countries due to potential variations of adaption capacity and temperature distribution.
Fine particulates are less than 2.5 microns in size and may be inhaled deep into the lungs, where they can irritate the lungs and blood vessels around the heart. Most are associated with fuel combustion, such as particles from car exhaust, factory emissions or wildfires.Previous research has confirmed that exposure to particulate matter including fine particulates is linked to heart disease, stroke and other health issues.For context, the World Health Organization's target for average annual exposure to fine particulate pollution level is no more than 5 micrograms per cubic meter and no more than 15 micrograms per cubic meter for more than 3-4 days per year.In this study, heat waves were defined as periods at or above the 90th, 92.5th, 95th and 97.5th percentiles of daily heat indexes (ranging from 82.6 to 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit across Jiangsu province, China) for at least 2, 3 or 4 consecutive days.Cold spells were defined as periods at or below the 10th, 7.5th, 5th, 2.5th percentiles of daily heat indexes (ranging from 27 to 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 2, 3 or 4 consecutive days.Co-authors and authors' disclosures are listed in the manuscript. This study was funded by China's Ministry of Science and Technology.
Statements and conclusions of studies published in the American Heart Association's scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers and the Association's overall financial information are available here.
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Multimedia is available on right column of release link: July 24, 2023, view the manuscript online.AHA news release: Extremely hot and cold days linked to cardiovascular deaths (December 2022)AHA news release: Personal protection and public policy change can decrease health impact of pollution (Nov. 2020)Follow AHA/ASA news on Twitter @HeartNewsFollow news from the AHA's flagship journal Circulation @CircAHAAbout the American Heart Association
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Australian Christian Lobby says plans to combat social media misinformation will 'cancel Christian posts' | Australian politics | The Guardian
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:52
Labor is facing growing opposition from conservative and Christian groups against a plan to toughen social media self-regulation of misinformation, including fresh claims from the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that the proposal will ''cancel Christian posts online''.
The ACL joins Family Voice, One Nation and the former Nationals MP George Christensen in campaigning against the bill. Its new claims come despite the communications minister, Michelle Rowland, releasing an exposure draft and guidance materials that explain Australian Communications and Media Authority will not gain the power to request specific content or posts be removed from digital platform services.
It will campaign against the changes in Rowland's seat of Greenway at the Victory Life Christian church in Blacktown on Saturday evening.
One Nation will also campaign against the bill at a free speech conference in Brisbane later in August, with conservative broadcaster Alan Jones a keynote speaker.
Christensen, who is now the Australian campaigns director of right-wing petition platform CitizenGo, has amassed more than 20,000 signatures for a petition against the bill.
In June 2021 the Acma asked the Morrison government for ''reserve powers'' to introduce binding rules and codes of conduct due to concerns the existing rules written by industry were ''too narrow'' to prevent all the harms of misinformation and disinformation.
The Coalition committed to introduce the laws. After the Coalition was defeated at the 2022 election, Labor recommitted to the policy in January 2023.
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The law would allow ACMA to require social media companies to toughen their policies on ''content [that] is false, misleading or deceptive, and where the provision of that content on the service is reasonably likely to cause or contribute to serious harm''.
In campaign materials Michelle Pearse, the chief executive of the Australian Christian Lobby, claims the bill is a ''threat to our religious freedom''.
''The 'mis-information bill' is particularly dangerous for Christians who want to express an alternate view to the prevailing woke culture on gender and sexuality and for those who want to speak out against abortion,'' she said.
Wendy Francis, ACL's national director, told Guardian Australia the bill ''fails to include any mechanisms to protect valid expression of opinion and belief or to ensure that there are clear and defined limits on suppression of speech''.
Francis cited challenging the ''affirmation only'' approach to gender transitioning, comments questioning health advice from the chief medical officer and ''public discussion on the inappropriateness of conversion therapy legislation, where it extends unjustifiably to prayer'' as examples of speech that could be in the firing line.
Francis warned the bill gives social media platforms ''far greater scope'' to become vehicles for ''political bias''.
George Christensen claims the misinformation bill amounts to 'big government instructing big tech what to censor and how to censor them'. Photograph: Paul Karp/The GuardianChristensen's CitizenGo campaign to ''save free speech'' came to Canberra on Friday, with two mobile truck billboards outside Old Parliament House warning that the ''government is watching you'', even though the changes preserve industry self-regulation.
Christensen denied the campaign was misleading.
''Well, the government is proposing a law which will have a government agency, basically, doing the enforcement of social media companies to enforce us, in terms of what we post online,'' he told Guardian Australia.
''So this is going to be big government instructing big tech what to censor and how to censor them.''
The Coalition has formalised its opposition to the bill, with the shadow communications minister saying it will give Acma 'extraordinary powers'. Photograph: Paul Karp/The GuardianThis week the Coalition formalised its opposition to the bill. In March 2022 the then communications minister, Paul Fletcher, said the changes would ''encourage platforms to be ambitious in addressing the harms of disinformation and misinformation''.
But shadow communications minister, David Coleman, said the bill was ''very bad'', gave Acma ''extraordinary powers'' and the government should ''rip it up''.
''Freedom of speech is fundamental to our democracy, and the Coalition will always fight for it.
''[The bill] would lead to digital companies self-censoring the legitimately held views of Australians to avoid the risk of massive fines.''
Christensen acknowledged the Coalition in government had proposed the same thing, but said he complained at the time.
Rowland said ''online misinformation and disinformation sows division, undermines democracy and can cause serious harm''.
''It is a threat to the wellbeing of Australians, and should be taken seriously.''
''The ACMA would have no powers to determine what is true or false. The moderation of content would remain the responsibility of the digital platforms '' as is already the case.''
As Covid cases rise, who should be wearing masks?
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:50
To mask, or not to mask?
That is the question facing many doctors, public health officials and concerned citizens worldwide, as cases of COVID-19 once again tick upward.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Thursday that there's a new, ''highly mutated variant'' of the coronavirus named BA.2.86 that's spreading worldwide.
Recent data from the New York state Department of Health, released Aug. 2, showed that COVID cases spiked by 55% over the prior week, with an average of 824 reported cases per day across the state.
The rise in COVID-19 cases isn't limited to New York: The CDC recorded 10,320 US hospital admissions for COVID-19 in the week ending August 5 '-- a 14.3% increase from the week prior.
However, despite alarmist headlines about a ''summer surge,'' many doctors are urging people not to panic.
''It is ticking up a little bit '-- but it's not something that we need to raise any alarm bells over,'' Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Associated Press.
Mask mandates aren't likely to return anytime soon, say some health officials. Dr. Ashwin Vasan, the NYC health commissioner, has said ''the good news is that we're not seeing anything in the virus that suggests it's getting more transmissible or more lethal. What this really is, is just waning immunity '... This is part of living with COVID and these fluctuations are to be expected.'' Getty ImagesAnd public health experts who monitor COVID-19 concentrations in wastewater aren't seeing anything too worrisome.
''It's important to remember right now the concentrations are still fairly low,'' said Cristin Young, an epidemiologist at Biobot Analytics, the CDC's wastewater surveillance contractor, adding that concentrations are about 2.5 times lower than they were last summer.
New variants continue to appear, including the latest one dubbed EG.5 or ''eris,'' but no single strain of the coronavirus has emerged as the dominant variant.
''There are a couple that we're watching, but we're not seeing anything like delta or omicron,'' said Young, referring to the variants that sparked previous COVID-19 surges.
But for certain people, a little extra caution is recommended.
People with underlying health conditions should use extra caution, experts agree. AFP via Getty Images''[O]f course, if I was someone who had an underlying health condition, I would accept a whole lot less risk,'' Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County (California) public health director, told the Los Angeles Times.
''And I would be very careful to mask,'' Cody added.
People over the age of 65 are also more likely to get a severe case of COVID-19, the CDC warns, which may cause them to be hospitalized, need intensive care, require a ventilator, or die.
''Even though the declared emergency is over, COVID is still circulating '-- and it probably will be for quite some time. And so if you really don't want to get sick, you can protect yourself by wearing a mask when you're indoors,'' said Cody.
''But it's, at this point, an individual decision,'' Cody added.
Should we wear masks again? Covid guidelines experts recommend | The Independent
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:49
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The uptick of Covid transmissions this summer has raised questions about whether or not certain safety measures such as wearing masks should be brought back.
''It is ticking up a little bit, but it's not something that we need to raise any alarm bells over,'' Dr David Dowdy, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told the Seattle Times. Although many health experts like Dr Dowdy don't believe people have cause to worry, some have expressed their concerns.
While many people have forgone wearing masks, UC San Francisco infectious diseases expert, Dr Peter Chin-Hong, cautioned the Los Angeles Times that swearing off masks for good would put people at higher risk of contracting the virus, elaborating: ''Right now, when things are heating up all around the country with Covid, you might want to think about [masking at] public transit and airports.''
According to the Los Angeles Times, the number of Covid hospitalisations has risen an estimated 12 per cent weekly over the course of the last three weeks. But, compared to the heights of the pandemic, these reported numbers are rather low. Covid-19 hospital admissions were at 9,056 for the week ending 29 July, a number that is marginally less than past peaks such as 44,000 weekly hospital admissions in early January, or during the omicron surge of January 2022, in which there were 150,000 admissions.
It's highly likely that, due to a lack of ongoing data collection nationally, the numbers may not truly reflect the number of people contracting Covid. Since President Joe Biden declared that Covid is no longer a national emergency in April, the majority of federal authorities have scaled back hypervigilance and data tracking, so the CDC and many states have not been tracking the number of positive test results since May.
Many health experts stress that people should remain vigilant.
''Even though the declared emergency is over, Covid is still circulating - and it probably will be for quite some time. And so if you really don't want to get sick, you can protect yourself by wearing a mask when you're indoors,'' Dr Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County public health director and health officer, told the LA Times. ''But it's, at this point, an individual decision.''
Dr Cody said that wearing masks even only in a high-risk environment is better than nothing at all ''because the more people are together, the greater the chance that one of those people is going to be infectious and spread Covid to others''.
Health experts also urged people to be respectful of those who choose to wear masks, especially since you never know their reasons for doing so. In Los Angeles, the Department of Health encouraged individuals to consider ''risk levels of close family or friends they spend time with, and the nature of the event or location'' when deciding whether or not to wear a mask.
If you are up to date on your vaccinations, the likelihood of you contracting coronavirus is lower, while those who have not received a booster shot since the September 2022 omicron surge are urged to schedule an appointment for overdue booster shots. Dr Chin-Hong suggests that, for those who are either immunocompromised or older, it's better to get the 2022 boosters now rather than wait for the 2023 formula.
The 2023 version of the vaccine will be designed to combat the latest dominant Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5, which according to The New York Times, has reportedly seen a wave in hospitalisations on the East Coast.
New Covid wave has begun in UK and masks should be worn again, warn scientists | The Independent
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:39
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Experts have warned it is ''reasonably certain'' the UK is in another wave of Covid-19 '' and suggested people should wear face masks again.
Hospital admissions for coronavirus have risen in recent weeks, just as the effectiveness of vaccines is wearing off, a new variant has emerged and ministers have decided Covid boosters will not be offered to nearly 12 million Britons this winter.
''Without ramping up surveillance, and in the face of waning immunity, we are travelling into winter more vulnerable and with blinkers on,'' warned Christina Pagel, a member of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies that advises on the virus.
Rates have risen since early July
Prof Pagel predicted the new wave could cause extreme pressure on the health service, with a repeat of last winter's ''unprecedented'' NHS crisis of Covid, flu and respiratory virus that came all around the same time.
''Any increase in hospital burden is bad news, given record waiting lists for diagnosis and treatment and persistently high waits in hospitals for admission,'' she wrote in the British Medical Journal.
''Infection is also not harmless simply because it's causing fewer hospital admissions '' long Covid remains an ongoing significant problem, damaging people's lives (eg through persistent fatigue or brain fog), as well as taking them out of the workforce.''
And she warned that a new variant very different from previous strains could make ''hard-won protection much less protective''.
Dr Trisha Greenhalgh, a University of Oxford healthcare expert and also iSage member, wrote on social media: ''My various science WhatsApp groups are buzzing'... I understand little of the detail but it looks like it's once again time to MASK UP.''
Asked whether people should wear them again, she added: ''In high-risk situations I personally would wear one, yes. More to the point, I'm currently AVOIDING such situations eg not going to cinema.''
The new Covid variant, Eris, emerged this summer as hospital admissions rose and estimated numbers of people with Covid jumped by almost 200,000 last month.
A descendant of Omicron, Eris, or EG.5.1, now accounts for between 10 per cent and 16.74 per cent of cases, and is the second-most prevalent strain in the UK, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Prof Pagel pointed out under-50s have not had a vaccine for 18 months, and most under-75s for a year.
She wrote: ''Protection from previous infection will also be waning in the absence of a large wave for several months.
''It is thus likely that this wave is hitting a more susceptible population than the last few, and this might be enough to drive a large wave this September when coupled with return to school and work and more time spent inside, where the virus spreads most easily.''
Latest cases data in England, as of 10 August
There are no signs that Eris is more dangerous than other variants.
But Prof Pagel warned: ''Given few, if any, mitigations worldwide and much lower surveillance, such a variant could spread a long way before we realised it was a problem.''
She also raised the alarm over a new '' as yet unnamed '' variant with many new mutations, detected in Israel and Denmark. It might fizzle out, but people are more vulnerable now, she said.
There are few ways to track the prevalence of Covid-19 in England since the end of wastewater monitoring last March, the end of Office for National Statistics Covid-19 survey in March this year, and gradual reduction of testing in hospitals.
Around 7 July, cases were thought to have fallen to their lowest since the summer of 2020. However, since the start of last month, daily hospital admissions have risen, and on 4 August were more than double the figure four weeks earlier.
On that date, the 1,802 patients admitted in the previous seven days represented a rise of 366 on the week before '' a 26 per cent increase.
In all, 1,844 Covid patients were in hospital, in an increase thought to be driven partly by more social mixing indoors during wet weather.
This article was amended on 17 August 2023. It originally referred to the scientists as members of the official government advisory group, Sage, but this was incorrect. They are in fact members of Independent Sage, which is a group of scientists offering public advice on Covid-19.
Ozempic-Like Weight Loss Drug Liraglutide May Improve Brain Function
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:38
Share on Pinterest New research suggests that liraglutide, a weight loss drug in the same class as Ozempic, may improve activity in the area of the brain linked with associative learning. FreshSplash/Getty ImagesResearch has found that people with obesity have impaired metabolic sensing associated with decreased insulin sensitivity, which has been shown to affect behavioral choices (also called associative learning).However, the anti-obesity drug liraglutide appeared to restore this ability to natural levels.Experts say this could be due to the drug's influence on dopamine levels.If this link holds, this could represent yet another advantage of using GLP-1 drugs in obesity treatment.GLP-1 drugs might also have potential uses in treating other medical conditions that involve low dopamine.A new study published in the journal Nature Metabolism found that people with obesity (defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as having a BMI of 30 or greater) had reduced associative learning ability.
However, people who took the medication liraglutide (sold under the brand names Saxenda and Victoza) appeared to return to normal functioning.
Liraglutide belongs to a class of medications called ''GLP-1 agonists,'' which activate the GLP-1 receptor causing the pancreas to produce more insulin when blood sugar is high. This drug is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It also has applications in obesity treatment due to the fact that it induces a feeling of satiety, causing people to consume less food.
The study authors explained that associative learning occurs when an external stimulus becomes associated by the brain with some sort of consequence '-- either positive or negative '-- which then causes a change in our behavior whenever we are exposed to that stimulus again.
The region of the brain that controls associative learning '--the dopaminergic midbrain '-- is plentiful in receptors for insulin so the research team wanted to learn how this learning process works in both people with obesity and those without.
They also wanted to look at how the weight loss drug liraglutide might affect associative learning.
The study involved 24 individuals with reduced insulin sensitivity and 30 with normal insulin sensitivity.
Each evening, the participants received an injection containing either the medication liraglutide or an inactive placebo.
The following morning, each volunteer was asked to perform a task in order to gauge their associative learning ability.
The researchers found that individuals with obesity did not do as well on the task as those who had a normal BMI.
Additionally, activity in the area of the brain linked with associative learning was reduced in subjects with obesity.
However, after taking a single dose of liraglutide, participants with obesity no longer showed any impairment in associative learning ability compared to those without obesity. Nor did they exhibit any difference in brain activity.
According to Dr. Daniel Atkinson, Clinical Lead at Treated, who was not involved in the study, these findings could indicate that treatment with liraglutide is helping to restore this function in the brains of people with obesity.
So, just how might liraglutide be helping with associative learning?
''The part of the brain that regulates our response to outside stimuli is driven partly by a chemical called dopamine,'' explained Atkinson, ''and it's theorized that low levels of a gut hormone called GLP-1 can reduce dopamine activity.''
Atkinson further noted that levels of dopamine tend to be lower in people with obesity.
''Liraglutide helps our guts to produce more GLP-1, which could in turn increase dopamine activity,'' he said, ''so this might be why the study recorded an upswing in associative learning responses.''
Dr. Dina Peralta-Reich, who is the director of New York Weight Wellness Medicine and a double board-certified MD specializing in Obesity Medicine and Pediatrics, said that when it comes to obesity treatment we know that GLP-1 agonists are very effective aids for weight loss.
''However,'' she said, ''if we uncover their potential to enhance associative learning among individuals struggling with obesity, it presents yet another substantial advantage in managing obesity through GLP-1s.''
Peralta-Reich further noted that this study looked only at liraglutide, which is a short-acting GLP-1 analog.
''[Y]et it is possible that similar effects could emerge when examining long-acting GLP-1s, she said.
Atkinson added that it is also possible that liraglutide could have utility in other medical conditions that involve lower dopamine activity due to metabolic impairment, such as Parkinson's disease, depression, psychosis, and cardiovascular disease.
''So it's possible that in the future, treatments that work in a similar way to liraglutide might not just be used for diabetes and weight loss,'' he explained.
''But as is often the case,'' Atkinson concluded, ''more specific research will be needed to determine how effective these treatments would be if used in this way.''
New research has found evidence that obesity is linked with reduced associative learning ability, which affects behavioral choices.
However, the anti-obesity drug liraglutide seems to be capable of restoring this ability to normal, perhaps due to its effects on dopamine levels.
While we already know that GLP-1 agonists like liraglutide, Ozempic, and Wegovy are effective in treating obesity, this study provides evidence for why they are so helpful.
It also may be possible in the future that these drugs will be used in the treatment of other low-dopamine conditions beyond diabetes and obesity.
Cheap ecstasy-style party drug used by Putin's soldiers becoming problem in UK - Mirror Online
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 11:37
Anti-anxiety drug Phenibut, developed in the 1960s to help the Soviet military handle pressure, is a growing concern for drug charities, which fear more users are becoming hooked
Phenibut costs as little as 39p per gram ( Image: Getty Images)
A cheap party drug originally developed for Russian astronauts is becoming a problem in the UK.
Phenibut can give ecstasy-style highs and is a growing concern for drug charities, which fear more and more users are becoming addicted. The anti-anxiety drug was developed in the 1960s to help cosmonauts and military in the then Soviet Union handle pressure. It became more popular '' and accessible '' in recent years after being adopted by soldiers in Vladimir Putin 's army.
Phenibut costs as little as 39p per gram when bought in bulk, typically on the dark web, and its side-effects include hallucinations, tremors and depression. The UK Addiction Treatment Centre has had calls from users who fear they are hooked.
Dale Conlon, head of admissions, said: ''Calls for help with Phenibut addiction have come out of nowhere recently as previously we have never had a single call about this drug being a problem. Now we're getting a call a week. But after researching the drug, our clinicians found that it has been cited to have been used as an anti-anxiety agent for Russian military.
"This all makes us extremely concerned because it means there has been, for some time, a clear and established supply chain of this illegal Russian drug for some time in the UK, and now, treatment centres like ours are starting to see the fall-out.''
Officials confirmed Phenibut is not covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act, so its possession is not illegal. The Home Office did not comment.
The United States Is NOT A Republic: It Is A Corporate Entity via New American Security - Helena
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 08:49
A Presidential candidate in Ecuador was assassinated. And the US is sending a security force of FBI agents to Ecuador to investigate. Why? Because the candidate was a US Puppet. Germany has determined he was shot by rival Mexican cartels '' perhaps they think Ecuador is in Mexico? In actuality, Ecuador has been a proxy state of the US since it's independence from Colombia in the 1930's. Since then coups and assassinations have been somewhat commonplace with the CIA front and center in allegations.
In 2000, Ecuador adopted the US dollar as its national currency despite being a Spanish nation. The most recent American affiliate President of Ecuador was Rafael Correa who took office in 2007, shortly after returning to Ecuador from his residence in Illinois.
A left wing socialist, Correa's economy was built on oil and gas. When the price of gas deflated 50%, Correa had no money to prop up the socialist reforms and welfare state he had built. As the economy entered a recession, Correa fled to Belgium. An arrest warrant was issued but Belgium refused to comply.
The next US proxy insert was Lenin Moreno. He earned numerous awards during his tenure, including a nomination for the Nobel Prize despite having an approval rating of just 9%'... Most importantly, he allowed oil drilling in the Amazon Rainforest. Leaving office amid charges of bribery and corruption, Moreno fled to Paraguay and works for the Organization of American States.
Fernando Villavicencio thus became the next US proxy '' given the US need to maintain a military base on the Galapagos Islands and continue to ravage the Amazon Rainforest unfettered and unregulated.
Enter Anthony Blinken '' losing yet another US colony, Blinken will need to find a new candidate. Stretched a bit thinly, Blinken has announced the possibility of sending US military troops to Niger, his latest faux pas.
There are numerous bureaus under the direct overseer, Secretary of State, including; Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Bureau of Health Security and Diplomacy, Bureau of Legislative Affairs, Executive Secretariat, Office of Civil Rights , Office of DEI, and Counselor of The Department.
These three Bureaus are key. These agency directors have diverse backgrounds, ie they were all initially appointed by Obama. Their backgrounds include; CIA, DoD, Harvard, CDC, WHO, Bill Gates, USAID, CSIS, NED, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Center For a New American Security, among others.
The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) was founded in 2007 by Michele Flourney and Kurt Campbell. Their function is to create wars and coups so as to colonize countries for the Cartel. Their goal is to 'secure' natural resources, energy, critical minerals, land, water, and biodiversity from countries around the world on behalf of their funders '' military contractors, oil & gas companies and Open Society Foundation.
These Funding Companies are running the US Government. They call the shots. They determine where and when the wars will be. They determine Geoengineering targets. They own Congress '' both parties.
In other words '' The United States NOT a Republic, it is a Corporation ruled by stakeholders. And Congress is a deflection of corporate ownership. Congress does the bidding of their owners within the schematic of milking taxpayers of their wages. Presidential candidates are given tasks during their campaigns with one candidate chosen at the onset who will win 'by an upset'. They created our debt. They create inflation. They create recessions. They tell Blinken what to do.
When you are good, they will reward you with money. But when you are bad, and allow their colonies to be whiplashed by regimes outside of the Funders schematic, you will be severely punished and banished from their protection via the CIA, NSA, and FBI. Under Anthony Blinken's watch he has lost Ukraine, Niger, and now Ecuador.
Quietly, 2 days ago, Biden pre-emptively signed an Executive Order that will take effect sometime in 2024. Likely written by the director at the Bureau of Intelligence & Research, the EO is accompanied by a declaration of a National Emergency. Citing China, Hong Kong, and Macau, the EO declares that investment in 'certain' technology, AI and military industries in these countries will be prohibited. Therefore companies already doing business with the CCP are on notice to decouple and leave China before the EO takes effect.
The National Emergency powers entitle the President to 136 distinct statutory emergency powers. Powers that would under normal circumstances not be authorized. 13 of these require a declaration from Congress; the remaining 123 are assumed by an executive declaration with no further Congressional input.
There are currently 42 National Emergencies still in effect: the vast majority involve blocking and freezing assets of other countries funds under US jurisdiction.
Biden's EO directs the Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen, to issue regulations that monitor or prohibit transactions that may help China develop technology to counter US national security capabilities'... The West has effectively destroyed China's real estate market and will be attempting to setback China's technology and military via this EO.
The end result would be to diminish the power and value of the BRICS '' inline with the diminishing of Western Countries wealth distribution. Thereby attempting to ensure a Cartel Closed Door. And the completion of the pyramid ORDER.
Comer Demands Docs with Biden's Secret Pseudonym: 'Robert L. Peters'
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 07:21
House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) demanded Thursday that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) hand over all documents and communications in which then-Vice President Joe Biden used pseudonyms such as ''Robert Peters,'' ''Robin Ware,'' and ''JRB Ware.''
Comer listed the pseudonyms in a letter to NARA in which he demanded access to then-Vice President Joe Biden's documents and communications regarding official duties that overlapped with his son's activities in Ukraine.
One email, which Comer says the committee has already seen, includes an attachment with the vice president's schedule, indicating that he had spoken by phone to then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The email was sent to a ''Robert L. Peters'' and cc'ed to the vice president's son, Hunter Biden.
Joe Biden was the designated foreign policy point person to Ukraine during the Obama administration. The House Oversight Committee argues that Joe Biden threatened to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine in 2015 until the president of Ukraine fired prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had jurisdiction for an investigation into the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Burisma paid Hunter Biden $83,000 a month for a board position to obtain the Biden ''brand,'' as Biden business associate Devon Archer described the arrangement.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden walks near St. Michael's Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, April. 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)
Years later, in 2018, Joe Biden bragged about the firing of Shokin, which he pushed for during an official visit to Ukraine in 2015.
''I said, 'I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars.' I said, 'you're not getting the billion. I'm going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours,''' Biden told the audience. ''I looked at them and said, 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.' Well, son of a bitch. He got fired.''
On Tuesday, Comer issued a request to NARA for all unredacted materials in which then-Vice President Joe Biden used a pseudonym related to his relationship with Ukraine. Comer explained he specifically seeks an email titled, ''Email Messages To and/or From Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden related to Burisma and Ukraine.'' Comer said the email, attached with a document, was sent to ''Robert L. Peters'''-- a pseudonym for Joe Biden:
The Committee seeks unrestricted special access under the PRA to Case Number 2023- 0022-F, entitled ''Email Messages To and/or From Vice President Biden and Hunter Biden related to Burisma and Ukraine,'' which has been published on NARA's website. These records have been redacted for public release pursuant to the PRA and FOIA. For example, an email bearing the subject ''Friday Schedule Card,'' is withheld in part under a ''P6'' and ''b(6)'' restrictions, denoting personal information regarding the subject under the PRA and FOIA respectively.
Attached to this email, and made available on the NARA website, is a document that indicates at 9:00 a.m. on May 27, 2016, Vice President Biden took a call with the president of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. It is concerning to the Committee, however, that this document was sent to ''Robert L. Peters'''--a pseudonym the Committee has identified as then Vice President Biden. Additionally, the Committee questions why the then-Vice President's son, Hunter Biden'--and only Hunter Biden'--was copied on this email to then-Vice President Biden.
NARA '' Special Access Request by Breitbart News on Scribd
''Joe Biden has stated there was 'an absolute wall' between his family's foreign business schemes and his duties as Vice President, but evidence reveals that access was wide open for his family's influence peddling,'' Comer wrote in a statement. ''The National Archives must provide these unredacted records to further our investigation into the Biden family's corruption.''
''We already have evidence of then-Vice President Biden speaking, dining, and having coffee with his son's foreign business associates,'' he continued. ''We also know that Hunter Biden and his associates were informed of then-Vice President Biden's official government duties in countries where they had a financial interest.''
Comer gave NARA until August 31, 2023, to respond with the material.
Follow Wendell Huseb¸ on Twitter @WendellHuseb¸. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.
Mass Murder & The West Maui Land Grab '' NewsWars
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 07:18
Maui will either be a major milestone for the ruling class or a line in the sand for We the People.
The blame for the destruction of West Maui is falling upon Hawaiian Electric who knew as early as four years ago that there was a risk of fire due to their own negligence of maintaining power lines. But did nothing. Hawaiian Electric, who is owned by Vanguard and BlackRock, has been shifting their focus to clean energy. But in order to Build Back Better, they must first destroy the old system. And so the power was left on to feed the fires.
The outdoor siren warning system on Maui is one of the most advanced and maintained warning systems on Earth. Residents are accustomed to monthly tests and on the day of the fire, no sirens went off. The director in charge of this warning system was at a FEMA disaster seminar in Oahu as the fires were devastating the people of Maui.
When asked if he regretted not sounding the alarm, he said no. Because he was worried that the people would run into the fire.
But instead, they burned to death. Including an untold number of children who were home alone that morning because of a school cancellation.
The water wasn't on. Fire hydrants were dry. And the Deputy Director of Water Resource Management, who was named an Obama Foundation Leader, refused to release water for the west Maui fires until it was too late. He says that in order to share water, Hawaiians need to discuss equity.
Without any warnings and without any water, the people tried to flee. But they were stopped by the police who had orders to keep people from escaping.
The Maui chief of police, John Pelletier, was the incident officer at one of the biggest cover-up operations in US history; the 2017 Las Vegas shootings.
Residents are not allowed to leave unless they get a permission slip from the federal government. But the government recently decided to shut that option down.
While the fires burned, a book was published about the entire event. The book blamed climate change and was written by a Dr Miles Stones. The definition of milestone is; an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development.
Hawaii is being usurped by the same billionaires pushing for the World Economic Forum's Great Reset. They have been planning on turning Maui into a test bed for their Artificial Intelligence Smart Grid. But the people were in their way, so they burned them out. Maui will either be a major milestone for the ruling class, or a line in the sand for we the people.
The federal government offers a one-time payment of seven hundred dollars to each family that has lost their home. And the Governor of Hawaii tells reporters that the state plans on acquiring the land.
And if it wasn't for the local community, the survivors would be left alone to die in the ashes of their neighbors.
Don't forget, Infowars relies on YOUR SUPPORT! In order to continue funding this independent operation, we urge you to visit the Infowars Store where you can fund the battle against globalism by purchasing great products such as dietary supplements, air and water filters, books, t-shirts, survival gear and much more.
200 Ships Are Stuck at the Panama Canal
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 05:49
"If we don't adapt, we are going to die."Back It UpRemember the chaos that ensued in 2021, when a cargo ship got stuck, blocking passage through the Suez Canal?
Now, a massive flotilla of ships is currently stuck in the world's worst traffic jam at the Panama Canal '-- and the end of this new watery pile-up could be at least a few weeks away.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, the famous human-dug canal has more than 200 ships waiting to pass through it as its transit continues to be stymied thanks to the worst drought it's experienced in a century.
The 50-mile-long canal, as the report notes, relies on rainwater to replenish it. When it doesn't rain enough, the authorities that control the canal have to reduce traffic through it to conserve water, and those that are allowed through have to pay higher fees to do so.
Daily traffic is currently capped at 32 ships, which is down from the prior average of about 36 when there's enough water for the canal '-- which uses more than 50 million gallons of water per day '-- to operate at full capacity.
Ship's CreekAs the drought worsened last month, canal administrator Ricaurte Vsquez Morales said during a press event that traffic restrictions may remain in place until the end of the year and added that it will cost the canal an estimated $200 million in lost revenue.
Beyond the regulatory and financial concerns associated with this massive backup, Vsquez Morales suggested that the drought also illustrates one of the biggest existential threats facing the canal as well.
"We have to find other solutions to remain a relevant route for international trade," he said during the July press summit. "If we don't adapt, we are going to die."
As of right now, the wait to enter the canal on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides is, as the WSJ notes, roughly 20 days, which has led some shipping companies to seek alternative routes while others pay hefty surcharges that will, in turn, make the goods they're transporting cost all the more.
Whichever way you look at it, the situation at the Panama Canal is an absolute quagmire '-- and with climate change worsening droughts, so, too, will these kinds of issues become increasingly severe.
More on shipping: Captain Attacked Twice by Orcas Says They're Developing Better Anti-Boat Strategies
Inside the Collapse of Hunter Biden's Plea Deal - The New York Times
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 21:52
There were signs, subtle but unmistakable, that Hunter Biden's high-stakes plea agreement with federal prosecutors might be on shaky ground hours before it went public in June, according to emails sent by his legal team to the U.S. attorney's office in Delaware.
When one of Mr. Biden's lawyers sent over the draft of the statement they intended to share with the news media, a top deputy to David C. Weiss, who had overseen the inquiry since 2018, asked to remove two words describing the status of the five-year investigation, according to interviews and internal correspondence on the deal obtained by The New York Times. ''Concluded'' and ''conclusion'' should be replaced with the weaker ''resolved,'' the deputy said.
Six weeks later, the federal judge presiding over a hearing on the agreement would expose even deeper divisions and the deal imploded, prompting Mr. Weiss to seek appointment as special counsel with the freedom to expand the inquiry and bring new charges.
The deal's collapse '-- chronicled in over 200 pages of confidential correspondence between Mr. Weiss's office and Mr. Biden's legal team, and interviews with those close to Mr. Biden, lawyers involved in the case and Justice Department officials '-- came after intense negotiations that started with the prospect that Mr. Biden would not be charged at all and now could end in his possible indictment and trial.
Earlier this year, The Times found, Mr. Weiss appeared willing to forgo any prosecution of Mr. Biden at all, and his office came close to agreeing to end the investigation without requiring a guilty plea on any charges. But the correspondence reveals that his position, relayed through his staff, changed around the time a pair of I.R.S. officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses.
Now, the I.R.S. agents and their Republican allies say they believe the evidence they brought forward, at the precise time they did, played a role in influencing the outcome, a claim senior law enforcement officials dispute.
''It appears that if it weren't for the courageous actions of these whistle-blowers, who had nothing to gain and everything to lose, Hunter Biden would never have been charged at all,'' a team of lawyers for one of the I.R.S. agents said in a statement, adding that the initial agreement reflected preferential treatment.
A spokesman for Mr. Weiss had no comment. He is legally barred from discussing an open investigation, and a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the situation pushed back on the idea that Mr. Weiss had been influenced by outside pressures, and ascribed any shifts to the typical ebb and flow of negotiations.
The documents and interviews also show that the relationship between Mr. Biden's legal team and Mr. Weiss's office reached a breaking point at a crucial moment after one of his top deputies '-- who had become a target of the I.R.S. agents and Republican allies '-- left the team for reasons that remain unclear.
Image Two I.R.S. officials accused the Justice Department of hamstringing their investigation of Hunter Biden. Credit... Hailey Sadler for The New York Times Above all, this inside chronicle of the agreement vividly illustrates the difficulty of the task facing Justice Department officials like Mr. Weiss, who have been called upon to investigate prominent figures at a time of extreme polarization, when the nation's political and criminal justice systems are intertwining in treacherous and unpredictable ways.
No one tasked with a comparable inquiry in recent years '-- like those who oversaw the investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump '-- managed to smoothly unwind their investigations when they chose not to indict their targets.
Precisely what happens next is unclear. Mr. Biden's top lawyer has quit, and accused prosecutors of reneging on their commitments. And Republicans, who waged an all-out war to discredit the deal, are seeking to maximize the political damage to President Biden, seeing it as a counter to the four criminal prosecutions of Mr. Trump, their party's presidential front-runner.
Mr. Weiss had a few reasons to ask Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to appoint him special counsel. The status could grant him greater authority to pursue leads around the country, and could provide him with added leverage in a revamped deal with Mr. Biden. But he was also motivated by a requirement to produce a report that would allow him to answer critics, according to people with knowledge of the situation '-- an accounting that could become public before the 2024 election.
Image David C. Weiss was appointed special counsel after the implosion of an agreement that would have spared the president's son prison time. Credit... Suchat Pederson/The News Journal, via Associated Press An Opening BidIn January, Christopher J. Clark, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, arrived in Wilmington, Del., to push Mr. Weiss to end the investigation into the president's troubled son that had, at that point, dragged on for more than four years.
Mr. Clark began by telling Mr. Weiss that his legacy would be defined by how he handled this decision.
If his host somehow missed the message, Mr. Clark followed up with an even more dramatic gesture, reading a quote from a Supreme Court justice, Robert Jackson, who had been a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials: Prosecutors could always find ''a technical violation of some act on the part of almost anyone'' but should never succumb to pressure from the powerful.
That first face-to-face interaction, between a fiery white-collar defense lawyer who has represented Elon Musk and a late-career federal prosecutor known for keeping his gray-haired head down, set into motion months of intense negotiations that led to an agreement that appeared to end Mr. Biden's tax and firearms violations, only to derail over the extent of his immunity from future prosecution.
Mr. Biden's foreign business ventures, especially when his father was vice president and later when he was addicted to crack cocaine, had long raised ethical and legal concerns. In 2018, Mr. Weiss was quietly assigned the Hunter Biden investigation and then kept on by Justice Department officials in the Biden administration to complete the job.
Mr. Weiss cast a wide net from the start, examining a range of Mr. Biden's business dealings, his finances and personal conduct. But the inquiry eventually narrowed.
By late 2022, Mr. Weiss '-- who relied on the work of I.R.S. investigators, the F.B.I. and lawyers in the Justice Department's tax division '-- had found some evidence but determined that he did not have sufficient grounds to indict Mr. Biden for major felonies, according to several people familiar with the situation.
Mr. Weiss told an associate that he preferred not to bring any charges, even misdemeanors, against Mr. Biden because the average American would not be prosecuted for them.
But in January, the two sides hunkered down on the business at hand. Mr. Clark first tried to undermine the gun case, arguing that the charge was likely unconstitutional and citing recent legal challenges after the Supreme Court's decision last year expanding gun rights.
Then he took on the tax case, laying out with slides how Mr. Trump's longtime confidant, Roger Stone, had failed to pay his taxes for several more years than Mr. Biden but had been allowed to deal with it civilly and had faced no criminal punishment.
Mr. Weiss seemed noncommittal.
If he chose not to charge, members of Mr. Biden's legal team believed Mr. Weiss still wanted something from Mr. Biden '-- like an agreement to never own a gun again '-- to show there was some accountability after his long-running inquiry.
Mr. Clark would have to wait awhile to find out.
Image When Republicans took over the House in 2022, they had pledged to conduct investigations into the younger Mr. Biden. Credit... Al Drago for The New York Times Four months later, on Monday, May 15, a familiar figure reached out to Mr. Clark: Lesley Wolf, a top Weiss deputy with whom Mr. Clark had developed a rapport over the previous two years. In a conference call with the Biden legal team, she acknowledged Mr. Clark's core demand: that his client never be asked to plead guilty to anything.
She then made a proposition '-- a deal in which Mr. Biden would not plead guilty, but would agree to what is known as a deferred prosecution agreement.
Such a deal allows a person charged with a crime to avoid entering a formal plea if he or she agrees to abide by a series of conditions, like enrolling in drug treatment or anti-violence programs, relinquishing ownership of weapons or forgoing alcohol.
The agreements, widely used to avoid clogging courts and jails with low-level offenders, have legal teeth. If the terms are violated, a person can be charged with the original crimes.
Mr. Clark '-- knowing Mr. Biden wanted to bring an end to the investigation that had hovered over him, his family and the Biden White House '-- was amenable. He told Ms. Wolf he would draft language for such an agreement, an opening bid that would kick off final talks.
By Thursday, Mr. Clark and his legal team sent Ms. Wolf their version of an agreement. It made no mention of a guilty plea, but included a promise that Mr. Biden would never again possess a gun and a pledge that he would pay his taxes.
Ms. Wolf suggested additions, including a demand for a statement of facts, a detailed and unflattering narrative of an individual's conduct that had been investigated.
The parties then turned to the most important provision of all, an issue that would ultimately unravel the deal: Mr. Clark's sweeping request for immunity not only for all potential crimes investigated by Mr. Weiss, but also for ''any other federal crimes relating to matters investigated by the United States'' he might have ever committed.
Ms. Wolf appears to have discarded Mr. Clark's language. Mr. Clark pushed back in a call with Mr. Weiss and the language was replaced with a narrower promise not to prosecute for any of the offenses ''encompassed'' in the statement of facts.
The end seemed in sight. When the basic outline was hashed out, Mr. Clark asked Ms. Wolf if she was serious about finalizing the agreement '-- if so, he would fly out to California to explain the terms to his nervous client.
Take the trip, she said.
Mr. Clark ran all of this by Mr. Biden in a meeting at his Malibu house '-- in a garage where he works on his paintings. He approved the plan.
That Friday, Mr. Clark asked Ms. Wolf if he should stay in California to finalize the deal in Mr. Biden's presence over the weekend.
No, she replied, it would take her a couple of more days.
Mr. Clark, believing that they were on the brink of a deal, flew back to New York.
Image Gary Shapley, a veteran I.R.S. investigator, tried to pursue what he believed could be a major break in the Biden investigation. Credit... Kenny Holston/The New York Times Outcry on Capitol HillBut on Capitol Hill, the efforts to upend a resolution were gaining momentum.
While Mr. Weiss concluded that there was not enough evidence to charge Mr. Biden with major crimes, not all his colleagues shared that opinion. The perception that Mr. Biden was being treated too softly spurred resistance among some investigators who believed that his office had blocked them from following all leads.
Few were more frustrated than Gary Shapley. A veteran I.R.S. investigator, he had worked major cases and helped take on big bankers. But every time he said he tried to pursue what he believed could be a major break in the Biden investigation, he felt stymied.
When investigators went to interview Hunter Biden, they were told they couldn't approach the house. An attempt to serve a search warrant on Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s guesthouse? Denied. The request to search a storage unit belonging to Hunter Biden? Derailed.
Finally, he reached out to Mark Lytle, a former federal prosecutor, and the men eventually connected with former Republican staffers who had worked for Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, and had knowledge of federal whistle-blower protections.
Mr. Shapley had been raising concerns internally since at least the fall of 2022, but that winter, he took his allegations to the Justice Department's watchdog, lodging a complaint in February.
By April, Mr. Shapley offered to share insider details with House Republican committee investigators, including his claim that Mr. Weiss had told him that federal prosecutors in Washington and California had refused to bring tax charges against Mr. Biden. His most startling allegation: Mr. Weiss had been so frustrated that he had considered asking Mr. Garland to appoint him as special counsel in late 2022. (Mr. Weiss and Mr. Garland have both denied that account.)
Image ''I am committed to making as much of his report public as possible,'' said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, who has minimized contact with Mr. Weiss in hopes of insulating himself from the investigation into the president's son. Credit... Kenny Holston/The New York Times Mr. Shapley requested special protections to bypass legal restrictions on discussing ongoing federal investigations.
It all began to explode into public view on May 15 '-- the same day Ms. Wolf contacted Mr. Clark '-- when it was reported that the investigative team that had worked on the case, including Mr. Shapley, had been removed. The next day the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee fired off a letter to the I.R.S. commissioner demanding an explanation.
A day later, as Mr. Clark flew back to New York, lawyers for a second tax investigator sent a letter to the I.R.S. commissioner, claiming the team of investigators on the case had been removed after expressing concerns about political interference from the Justice Department.
The letter was quickly made public. The agents' claims were the breakthrough House Republicans had long been seeking.
The I.R.S. investigators had given Congress something genuinely new: summaries of WhatsApp messages that appeared to show Hunter Biden involved in a shakedown in which he had invoked his father, firsthand testimony from people who had reviewed Mr. Biden's finances and the credibility of their long careers at the tax agency.
On May 24, CBS aired an interview with one of the agents. Two days later, he testified behind closed doors before the House Ways and Means Committee, creating buzz on Capitol Hill. The second man testified on June 1. Three weeks later, the committee voted to publicly release transcripts of the testimony, leading to even more news coverage.
Image Mr. Weiss was quietly assigned to investigate Hunter Biden in 2018, and was kept on by the Biden administration. Credit... Doug Mills/The New York Times Shifting GroundAs the testimony from the I.R.S. agents took hold, Mr. Biden's legal team felt the ground shift beneath them. The U.S. attorney's office suddenly went quiet.
Early in the negotiations, Ms. Wolf included what seemed like a boilerplate disclaimer in an email, that her team ''had not discussed or obtained approval'' from her superiors for the terms of the final agreement.
On Tuesday, May 23, after four days of silence, Ms. Wolf delivered unwelcome news. Mr. Weiss had revised what he wanted in the deal, now demanding that Mr. Biden plead guilty to two misdemeanor counts of failing to pay his taxes. It crossed a red line for Mr. Clark.
Erupting in anger, Mr. Clark accused Ms. Wolf of misleading him. He renounced the possibility of any deal, but after consulting with Mr. Biden, reversed course and told Ms. Wolf that Mr. Biden was willing to go along.
Mr. Clark then went to Wilmington to meet the prosecutors, where they hammered out the details of the deal.
By the middle of June, both sides were prepared to announce a deal.
Under the agreement, Mr. Biden would plead guilty to two tax misdemeanors and avert prosecution on the gun charge by enrolling in a diversion program.
Mr. Biden's legal team was eager to issue a statement claiming that the agreement represented the conclusion of the government's investigation. That Monday, June 19, Mr. Clark sent a draft to Shannon Hanson, another Weiss deputy, which clearly stated the investigation was over.
''I can confirm that the five-year long, extensive federal investigation into my client, Hunter Biden, has been concluded through agreements with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Delaware,'' it read.
''With the conclusion of this investigation, he looks forward to continuing his recovery and moving forward,'' it continued.
Ms. Hanson suggested the edit from ''has been concluded'' to ''resolved,'' and she also asked Mr. Clark to strike the phrase ''With the conclusion of this investigation.''
But hours after the agreement was announced, confusion set in. In a news release, Mr. Weiss's office said that the investigation was ''ongoing,'' taking Mr. Biden and officials at Justice Department headquarters by surprise
It was at this critical juncture that Ms. Wolf began to take a significantly reduced role, although it is unclear had anything to do with Biden case.
In their testimony, the I.R.S. whistle-blowers claimed that Ms. Wolf '-- who had made a couple of campaign donations to Democrats '-- had discouraged them from pursuing lines of inquiry that could lead to the elder Mr. Biden.
Around this time, Leo Wise '-- a senior prosecutor who had spent nearly two decades in the Baltimore U.S. attorney's office '-- was quietly transferred to the department's criminal division, then detailed to Delaware to add legal firepower to the relatively small Delaware office.
It was his name, not Ms. Wolf's, that appeared on the plea deal. And it was Mr. Wise who was tasked with defending the deal, one he had not negotiated, in front of a federal judge who proved to be unforgiving.
Image Hunter Biden's plea deal fell apart at the courthouse in the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington, Del. Credit... Kenny Holston/The New York Times A Deal UpendedHunter Biden walked into the Wilmington federal courthouse on July 31, with the expectation that his long legal odyssey was nearing an end.
But there were signs all was not well. Hours earlier, the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means committee had made one final stab at scuttling the agreement, urging the court to consider the whistle-blowers' testimony.
It turned out to be unnecessary.
Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, repeatedly informed the two sides that she would be no ''rubber stamp.'' She picked apart the deal, exposing substantial disagreements over the extent of the immunity provision.
Mr. Clark said the deal indemnified his client not merely for the tax and gun offenses uncovered during the inquiry, but for other possible offenses stemming from his lucrative consulting deals. Mr. Wise said it was far narrower '-- and suggested the government was still considering charges against Mr. Biden under laws regulating foreign lobbying.
The two sides tried to salvage it, Judge Noreika was not convinced, and Mr. Biden silently left the courthouse under a hail of shouted questions.
Michael S. Schmidt is a Washington correspondent covering national security and federal investigations. He was part of two teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2018 '-- one for reporting on workplace sexual harassment and the other for coverage of President Trump and his campaign's ties to Russia. More about Michael S. Schmidt
Glenn Thrush covers the Department of Justice. He joined The Times in 2017 after working for Politico, Newsday, Bloomberg News, The New York Daily News, The Birmingham Post-Herald and City Limits. More about Glenn Thrush
Utah's New Law on Genetic Procedures '' SB 144 (2022)
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 17:32
159 W Broadway, Suite 200
Salt Lake City, UT 84101
BA.2.86, a new, highly mutated COVID variant, has been detected in the U.S. Why the CDC and WHO are monitoring it | Fortune Well
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 13:38
The World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are tracking a newly identified, highly mutated strain of COVID experts warn could be the next big leap in viral evolution'--if the variant takes off.
The WHO on Thursday announced that it had declared BA.2.86'--formerly referred to as BA.X and dubbed ''Pirola'' by variant trackers, after an asteroid'--a ''variant under monitoring,'' the lowest of three levels of alert. ''High flying'' variants EG.5, XBB.1.5, and XBB.1.6 have been designated as ''variants of interest,'' of greater concern. And only Omicron persists as a ''variant of concern,'' the highest level of alert.
WHO has designated #COVID19 variant BA.2.86 as a 'variant under monitoring' today due to the large number of mutations it carries.So far, only a few sequences of the variant have been reported from a handful of countries.
'-- World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) August 17, 2023Later in the day, the CDC announced that it, too, was tracking the variant, and that it had been detected in the U.S.'--in Michigan, in addition to Israel and Denmark, where it had first been reported earlier in the week.
CDC is tracking a new lineage of the virus that causes COVID-19. This lineage is named BA.2.86, and has been detected in the United States, Denmark and Israel. CDC is gathering more information and will share more about this lineage as we learn it.
'-- CDC (@CDCgov) August 18, 2023And on Friday, the U.K. Health Security Agency (HSA) said that the variant had been identified in England, and that it was ''assessing the situation.'' The patient ill with BA.2.86 is elderly and hospitalized, Raj Rajnarayanan'--assistant dean of research and associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology campus in Jonesboro, Ark., and a top COVID-variant tracker'--told Fortune. They have no recent travel history, according to a risk assessment for the variant published Friday by the agency.
A case of the COVID-19 variant BA.2.86 has been identified in the UK & a number of other countries. Dr Meera Chand, Deputy Director, has said "We're aware that BA.2.86 has been detected in the UK. UKHSA is assessing the situation & will provide further information in due course."
'-- UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) August 18, 2023Unlike most circulating variants, which have evolved from Omicron spawn XBB, BA.2.86 is thought to have evolved from a much earlier strain of Omicron'--BA.2, which circulated in early 2022, or perhaps from the original Omicron, BA.1.1.529, which spiked cases to record highs in late 2021 and early 2022.
And it appears to be vastly different from its predecessors. So far, most widely circulating Omicron variants feature a small handful of mutations that make them slightly different from the last'--usually a bit more transmissible.
BA.2.86, on the other hand, features 30 or more mutations that separate it from other Omicron'--mutations with the potential to make it considerably more immune-evasive, and able to more easily infect cells, according to Jesse Bloom, a computational biologist at Fred Hutch Cancer Center in Seattle, Wash., and top variant tracker.
That makes BA.2.86 as different from other Omicron strains as the first Omicron was from the original strain of COVID found in Wuhan in 2019, Bloom asserts in a widely cited presentation he posted online.
Because of this, ''Pirola'' has the potential to become the next variant the WHO awards a Greek letter to'--likely Pi, hence the nickname.
''What sets this one apart from the many other Omicron subvariants is that it exhibits a large number of mutations '... far more than we usually see,'' Ryan Gregory, a biology professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told Fortune. He's been assigning ''street names'' to high-flying variants since the WHO stopped assigning new Greek letters to them.
While only six (unrelated) cases'--and counting'--of the variant had been identified in four countries as of late Friday, sequencing worldwide is at an all-time low.
''It's fairly likely it's going undetected in some other countries,'' Gregory said.
The fact that the cases are geographically dispersed, with no travel history, ''suggests there is established international transmission'' that may have occurred only recently, the U.K. HSA said in its risk assessment. There may be a degree of community transmission in the U.K., it added.
Regarding BA.2.86, when @SolidEvidence uses the word "avalanche," it's not a good sign.And here's the 30+ Î-- spike mutations (BA.2.86 vs XBB.1.5) from @RajlabN
'-- Eric Topol (@EricTopol) August 18, 2023The cases' wide spread and their significant similarities suggest that growth could be rapid, Ryan Hisner'--a top variant tracker who discovered the second and third identified cases, in Denmark'--told Fortune.
But even if BA.2.86 does spread rapidly, it may not drive hospitalizations and deaths upward, Dr. Stuart Ray, vice chair of medicine for data integrity and analytics at Johns Hopkins' Department of Medicine, points out.
Though the highly mutated variant is ''quite divergent'' from other known circulating strains, ''it's unclear whether it will have a significant effect on the number of severe cases or our management/prevention strategies,'' he told Fortune.
BA.2.86's unusual originsThe unusual new variant might have equally unusual origins.
BA.2.86 likely developed in an immunocompromised patient with a long-term infection, multiple experts say. Such lengthy infections give the virus opportunity to repeatedly evolve and collect a large number of mutations'--it's likely how Delta and Omicron came about.
But variants from immunocompromised patients rarely spread'--which is why Hisner was taken aback when he spotted the variant, first identified in a patient in Israel, in Europe.
Because the infected Israeli patient wasn't immunocompromised, he knew that the variant had likely already made the leap from someone with a sub-par immune system to hosts with normal ones. Hisner wasn't sure when more sequences would appear, ''but I figured we would see at least a few eventually,'' he said.
''But when they showed up in Denmark, I was really taken aback.''
Can BA.2.86 out-compete leading variants?Three main questions remain: how the variant's mutations will affect symptoms and severity, if it will take off anywhere (or everywhere), and how new XBB.1.5 COVID vaccines'--slated for U.S. release in September'--might hold up (in addition to our existing immunity).
The significant number of mutations in BA.2.86 portends significant changes in immune evasion, the U.K. HSA said in its Friday report. But immunity is broader than just antibodies, Bloom points out. While antibody immunity to COVID, from either infection or vaccination, lasts only three to six months on average, T-cell immunity is thought to last much longer.
''Even if a highly mutated new variant like BA.2.86 starts to spread, we will be in a far better place than we were in 2020 and 2021, since most people have some immunity'' to COVID, he recently wrote.
Regardless of the vaccine's performance against it, treatments like COVID antiviral Paxlovid that don't target the virus's highly mutated spike protein should still work well, according to Rajnarayanan.
All scenarios are possible. But even if BA.2.86 were to take off in the U.S. or worldwide, ''I'd be very surprised if things get as bad as they did in that first winter, or during the Delta era or that first BA.1 wave'' in late 2021 and early 2022, Hisner said.
U.S. COVID deaths, hospitalizations continue upward trendThe CDC's latest U.S. COVID data on Friday showed a continued upward trend in hospitalizations, which saw a 14% rise from July 30-Aug. 5, the most recent period for which data was available. Deaths, too, were up'--8% from Aug. 6-12. ''Eris'' EG.5 lead sequenced domestic cases, comprising an estimated 20%, followed by ''Fornax'' FL.1.5.1, estimated to be responsible for 13% of cases.
Globally, reported COVID cases were up 63% from mid-July through mid-August compared to the month prior, the WHO said Thursday in a situation report. It cautioned that ''reported cases do not accurately represent infection rates due to the reduction in testing and reporting globally.''
During that time period, only 44% of countries reported any COVID infections to the WHO'--a number that could include countries that reported only one case.
Maui's first reported fire likely caused by power lines, data shows - The Washington Post
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 13:08
KULA, Hawaii '-- At 10:47 p.m. last Monday, a security camera at the Maui Bird Conservation Center captured a bright flash in the woods, illuminating the trees swaying in the wind. ''I think that is when a tree is falling on a power line,'' says Jennifer Pribble, a senior research coordinator at the center, in a video posted on Instagram.
''The power goes out, our generator kicks in, the camera comes back online, and then the forest is on fire.''
At that exact moment, 10 sensors in Makawao, a small, rural town in the East Maui region of Upcountry '-- where the Conservation Center is located '-- recorded a significant incident in Hawaiian Electric's grid, according to data from Whisker Labs, a company that uses an advanced sensor network to monitor grids across the United States. The bright light in the video was probably an ''arc flash,'' something that happens when a power line ''faults'' '-- meaning it has come in contact with vegetation or another line, or gets knocked down, releasing power, usually through sparks, according to a Whisker Labs official and other experts.
The fire in Makawao was the first of several reported on Maui last week, and this is the first time an electrical malfunction caught on video has been directly correlated with data confirming that Hawaiian Electric's power system experienced a major problem at the same time.
It adds to evidence that the state's main utility equipment sparked multiple fires last week, when powerful winds '-- predicted for days '-- whipped through drought-stricken grasslands. While the still-burning Makawao fire had nothing to do with the blaze that roared into Lahaina, it was one of several fires sparked on Aug. 7 and 8. At least one of those exploded into the blaze that roared into Lahaina, overwhelming residents, tourists and firefighters. As of Tuesday, 99 people had been confirmed dead in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century, and crews have only searched 25 percent of burned neighborhoods.
''This is strong confirmation '-- based on real data '-- that utility grid faults were likely the ignition source for multiple wildfires on Maui,'' said Bob Marshall, the founder and CEO of Whisker Labs, which has 78 sensors across Maui, part of a robust network of hundreds of thousands monitoring grids across the United States.
Asked about the coinciding video and sensor data, a spokesman for Hawaiian Electric, the power provider for Maui and other islands, declined to comment.
''Our immediate focus is on supporting emergency response efforts, restoring power for our customers and communities, and developing a long-term recovery plan,'' spokesman Darren Pai said. ''We know there is speculation about what started the fires, and we, along with others, are working hard to figure out what happened.''
As the Upcountry conservation workers tried to save endangered birds last Monday night, the fire quickly spread across Kula's pastures, thick trees, dead branches and eucalyptus-flecked gulches. A few hours later, across the island in Lahaina, another fire would pop up next to an electrical substation, after a bright flash.
Residents have barely been able to process the immense loss of life, historical sites, homes and businesses, as well as damage to revered and familial lands. Many are still searching for loved ones, putting out spot fires around their neighborhoods and trying to help get necessities like food, medicine and propane to scores of people in need.
In interviews and online messages, eight residents said they had long raised concerns with Hawaiian Electric about the utility's aging poles and power lines strung across Maui, which in places is thick with drought-stricken trees, brush and grasslands.
For days, the utility has faced scrutiny since The Post reported that, despite warnings, the company had not cut power in advance of the wind storm to avoid sparking wildfires. It had not adopted a power shut-off plan, as many utilities in California and other states have done.
Lahaina resident Holly Raubenheimer returned to her destroyed neighborhood Saturday to see what little remained of her home. (Video: Reshma Kirpalani/The Washington Post)
Nina Rivers, who lives near the bird sanctuary, said she and neighbors provided emails to the utility and videos of low-hanging lines in trees. She said there had been fires from electrical equipment in the past, but responders always put them out quickly.
''I was already fighting with the electric company because they never maintain the lines,'' said Rivers, a fifth-generation Hawaii resident who lives on her family's 40-acre farm. ''We were very concerned that these high-voltage lines were running through our property and going to our neighbors because they'd been on the ground, buried in trees, or lying so low.''
While it is not yet clear if an independent governmental authority will launch an investigation, Hawaiian Electric has begun investigating where people say the fires ignited. On Monday, inspectors from Los Angeles and Oahu walked around Kula, a town near the bird sanctuary that sustained significant damage, asking residents when and where they first saw flames and when their power went out.
The company, which told utility commissioners in an emergency filing last week that it expected damage to its grid to be ''extensive,'' has already completed an immense amount of work. It has restored power to about 80 percent of customers who have been without it since last Tuesday, it said on Twitter. Workers have also quickly repaired many of the poles and lines, including those near where residents say the fires started.
About 38 miles away from the bird sanctuary on Aug. 8, in Lahaina, a young woman named La'i woke up suddenly around 3 a.m. Something bright had flashed outside her second-story window, coming from the power poles and Hawaiian Electric substation right up the hill from her family's home next to Lahainaluna Road. Then it was dark again. Before falling back asleep, she couldn't believe how strong the wind sounded, said La'i, whose parents asked that her full name not be used.
Whisker Labs' seven sensors in Lahaina recorded that flash, too, showing two significant faults at 2:44 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. They were two of 34 faults that occurred between 11:38 p.m. last Monday until 5 a.m. the following morning. When a power line's voltage drops, that means that ''a bunch of energy was dissipated somewhere that is not customary,'' said Marshall. That discharge means sparks could be spewing into the wind and onto dry trees and grasses
''It is unambiguous that Hawaiian Electric's grid experienced immense stress for a prolonged time,'' Marshall said, comparing the fluctuating data to the grid's stable readings from weeks and months prior. ''There were dozens and dozens of major faults on the grid and any one of those could have been the ignition source for a fire.''
Across the street, Carly Agbayani woke up at 5 a.m. sweating next to her husband. She quickly realized that the air conditioning was off and her lights wouldn't turn on.
Walking outside her home, which faces an empty lot, another home and the Hawaiian Electric power plant, the 46-year-old hotel worker was immediately buffeted by powerful, dusty winds. Around 6 a.m. her AC started to crank again, she recalled. Two other residents also remember their systems coming back online, a least for a little while.
According to sensor data, power in parts of Lahaina came back on briefly from 6:10 a.m. through 6:39 a.m. before going out again. And that's a problem, wildfire and energy experts said, because it means lines that had been de-energized ''were all of a sudden potential new source of fire in the community,'' said Michael Wara, who directs the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University.
By this point, the electrical grid was clearly having serious issues, said Marshall. The question, though, is how much Hawaiian Electric knew about these issues and what, if anything, it did with that information.
Utilities often use technology known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or Smart Meters, which track and report problems in real time. Since at least 2008, Hawaiian Electric had been installing these meters across all of its islands, with some pushback, with the goal of completing this roll out by 2024. According to an analysis by the Honolulu Civil Beat last November, the company had been lagging, with 51 percent of Maui County still on the old system. These meters would have detailed the power outages to Hawaiian Electric ''with quite a bit of spatial detail,'' Wara said.
The company did not respond to The Post's questions about its metering data and what that data showed. Marshall said Whisker Labs reached out to Hawaiian Electric offering them his findings but also did not hear back.
Around 6:40 a.m., shortly after Agbayani's family lost power for a second time, her 6-year-old son ran up to her. He smelled smoke. Sprinting outside, she looked up the hill and saw bright orange flames leaping and dancing in the wind, closing in on the home close to her. That was the exact same time that her neighbor and husband's childhood friend, Shane Treu, went live on Facebook, documenting plumes of smoke and ribbons of fire erupting below the power lines and plant just walking distance from his front door.
''A power line just went down,'' Treu said, spraying water from a garden hose in front of his home on Lahainaluna Road and lamenting that they had just got their power back on. ''See it right there,'' he says, swinging the camera to a downed wire in now-charred grass, ''that's the power line that started it. It started from up the road there. And all of that is still burning.''
A few minutes later, Treu went live again as first responders began to arrive. The roaring winds were bending the trees on the sidewalk in half. When a police officer pulled up, Treu warned him to watch out. ''The line is live on the ground right there,'' he yelled amid the roaring winds.
The fire had turned ''wild,'' Agbayani said. The winds were so powerful that they were pelting their skin with gravel. Police arrived, blaring megaphones to evacuate. She and her husband, Mike, grabbed what bags they could pack, stuffed their kids in their car and drove down the hill toward town.
After the evacuation order was lifted and officials said the fire was 100 percent contained, the couple returned to their home and stayed there, as would a few of their neighbors. The small crew would spend the next 12 hours hosing down their wood-clap roofs and walls until the water ran out, as well as some of the homes next to them. They stayed up all night chasing down flames that leaped from the reignited blaze onto lawns and shoveling dirt on them, Mike Agbayani and three others said in interviews.
Those in Kula also shared harrowing stories of trying to save themselves and their homes as flames raced over fields and down the gulch toward them. They used trash cans and coolers full of water when the spigots around them went dry.
For Rivers, whose family has owned the same land for 60 years, it was gutting to watch the flames destroy nearby pastures and homes. But for a long time, she said, she'd had a gnawing feeling that a disaster like this could happen. Her family has been battling with Hawaiian Electric for at least 10 years over the condition of the infrastructure, which ''runs through a forest filled with highly flammable invasive grasses,'' she said.
After venting her frustration, she pivoted. Her close-knit community has been working for days to organize relief work and cleanup, alongside firefighters still battling the Upcountry fire, which is about 65 percent contained.
''It's hard to think about recovering from this, what we will look like,'' Rivers said. ''But we are used to fighting for and protecting what is ours, and we will.''
Climate change and global warming
The Maui wildfires are proof that carbon zealotry can kill
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 05:09
Zero carbon zealotry can be dangerous to your health. In fact, in the hands of government officials, it can kill.
Ask the grieving families of Maui, the Hawaiian island ravaged by wildfires last week.
As the fires raged, liberal media blamed the devastation on climate change.
''How Climate Change Turned Lush Hawaii into a Tinderbox,'' announced The New York Times.
Sorry, the evidence is piling up that the opposite is true.
Zero carbon extremism diverted the island's main electrical producer, Hawaiian Electric, from insulating wires, clearing areas around vulnerable transmission sites and taking other precautions to prevent wildfires it knew were likely to occur. It dithered on prevention, while pouring funds and manpower into meeting the Hawaiian government's mandate that all electricity must be produced from renewables by 2045.
The death toll from Lahaina Fire has reached 111, but will go higher, because much of the island hasn't been searched.
The death toll from Lahaina Fire has reached 111 but is expected to rise. James KeivomThe fire's already the deadliest in US history. But wildfires ignited by inadequately maintained electrical transmission systems '-- uninsulated wires, flimsy poles, out-of-control plant growth '-- have also devastated Texas, Colorado and California.
Six out of 20 recent wildfires in California, including the 2018 Camp Fire, which killed 85, the Kinkade fire in Sonoma in 2019 and the Dixie Fire in 2022, were caused by sparks due to aging transmission equipment and poor maintenance.
Follow the latest NYP coverage of the deadly Maui wildfires
Maui's emergency sirens didn't go off as wildfires tore through island, officials confirm as residents return to destroyed homes'Near-riot' in fire-ravaged Lahaina, Maui, as 100 drivers clash with copsBiden, Harris not going to Maui because they 'don't want to distract' from relief effortsMaui wildfire before-and-after photos show complete destruction, homes razed by flamesCalifornia's Pacific Electric & Gas boasts that it's ''helping to heal the planet'' and is determined to achieve a ''net zero energy system in 2040 '-- five years ahead of California's current carbon neutrality goal.''
What about healing the families who needlessly lost loved ones in these fires?
Pursuing zero carbon by sacrificing safety and the production of a reliable electricity supply is crazy.
We all want to protect the planet, but at a reasonable pace.
Only 30% of Americans support Biden's goal of ''getting to zero as soon as possible.'' APOn Wednesday, as rescue operations continued in Maui, President Joe Biden celebrated the one-year anniversary of his Inflation Reduction Act, announcing that the United States is on a path ''to reach net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.''
He should have added, ''come Hell or high water.''
Only 30% of Americans support Biden's goal of ''getting to zero as soon as possible,'' per Pew Research.
They can see the trade-offs are too risky.
As the grisly facts come out about Maui, that lesson is clearer than ever.
Though an official report on the fires' causes will take months, photos and evidence from grid monitors point to a string of fires ignited as power lines hit trees, other lines or the ground because of wind.
''This is strong confirmation '-- based on real data '-- that utility grid faults were likely the ignition source for multiple wild fires on Maui,'' says Bob Marshall, CEO of Whisker Labs, which monitors electric grids across the US, including in Maui.
Four years ago, in the aftermath of a damaging 2019 wildfire season, Hawaiian Electric concluded that power lines emitting sparks were a serious threat, and the company prepared a plan for fire retardant poles, monitoring technology and insulation.
Then it dithered, spending less than $245,000 on wildfire prevention, while it went whole hog launching big projects in renewable energy.
It stalled until 2022 to even request a rate hike for wildfire mitigation.
Hawaiian Electric spent less than $245,000 on wildfire prevention, while it went whole hog launching big projects in renewable energy. New York PostHawaiian Electric's priorities '-- in hindsight, lethal priorities '-- reflected the overwhelmingly Democratic, woke political culture of the state.
Beware that across the US, leftist politicians are pushing for net-zero on a reckless timetable that sacrifices the safety of ordinary people.
Wildfires are among the worst side effects.
But right here in the New York City area, Democrats are mandating that Con Edison go to zero-carbon and zero-nuclear electrical generation, never mind that consumers will see their bills more than double by 2025 (say good-bye to using the clothes dryer and A/C) and face blackouts.
As energy giant Harold Hamm writes in his new book, Game Changer, with current technologies, net-zero ''has zero chance of working.''
Tell the politicians, ''Yes, save the planet, but don't kill us or destroy our standard of living in the process.''
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York.
Twitter: @Betsy_McCaughey
Prayers and Aloha for Maui - Tulsi Gabbard
Sat, 19 Aug 2023 04:15
I just arrived here on Maui where the fatalities count from this week's catastrophic fires continues to rise. Sadly, officials are reporting 93 individuals were killed because of the fire, with over 1,000 still missing. Everyone from the area that I've talked to has said that the number of people who died is significantly higher than what's been reported. Within hours, Lahaina was razed to the ground, with most people having no warning or time to evacuate.
My heart is breaking daily for the lives lost, and the people and families who escaped with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My heart breaks for this community which will never be the same.
So many of you have reached out, expressing your concern, sharing your prayers for the people of Maui, and asking how can you help.
The needs of the community continue to evolve on a daily basis. The support that this community needs is urgent now, and will continue to persist for the months and years to come as they begin the long process of rebuilding.
There are many organizations doing great work on the ground. I'm raising funds through my non-profit ''We Must Protect'' to get support to those who need it most. It's a completely volunteer-run organization committed to ensuring every dollar contributed is used to provide maximum positive impact to those we serve.
2,170 beautiful acres have burnt to ash. 2,200 buildings have been destroyed '-- homes, businesses, historic landmarks, and community pillars.
I served this community for 8 years as their Representative in Congress and walked the streets of historic Lahaina so many times. It's as though a bomb exploded and destroyed the entire community. Lahaina is unrecognizable today.
I've met with business owners, residents, community leaders, first responders, health care professionals, students, teachers, farmers. This community is filled with people who love their home, are proud of their community, and are doing all that they can to support each other right now. My goal is to support them.
Every dollar that you contribute to our Maui Relief Fund will go to support our brothers and sisters on Maui who are struggling and suffering in ways that are impossible to measure. They need our aloha and urgent support to meet basic needs like medicine, food, fuel, transportation, and temporary housing. We're also supporting local organizations that are mobilized here on the ground to offer both immediate services and those required for the long road ahead to recover and rebuild.
This crisis is far from over. There's so much pain, fear, grief, frustration, and incredible suffering. And yet, the real mourning has not even begun, as so many families here are still in survival mode '-- just trying to make it to tomorrow.
Please donate what you can to help those who are most in need right now. Mahalo for standing with the people of Maui during this tragic and unprecedented time of immense loss.
Thank you for sharing this with your friends and family who are concerned for Maui's people and may be moved to support them.
Jack Smith's "Flight Risk" Deception
Fri, 18 Aug 2023 19:32
A few weeks after his appointment as special counsel to take over the Justice Department's existing investigations into Donald Trump on two criminal matters, Jack Smith carefully plotted his first move.
Get Trump's DMs .
For non-Twitter users, DM is short for ''direct messages.'' But that's not all Smith had in his crosshairs. According to a recently unsealed search warrant served on Twitter earlier this year, the longtime DOJ apparatchik also wanted tweets that the former president drafted, deleted, liked, or retweeted.
Certain that evidence of criminal activity existed deep in the bowels of Trump's long-dormant Twitter file, Smith further sought the identity of accounts the former president ''followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked or unblocked, and all users who have followed, unfollowed, muted, unmuted, blocked or unblocked the subject account.'' The social media behemoth, at the time transitioning to its new owner, Elon Musk, also would be forced to disclose any purchases the @realDonaldTrump account made as well as associated credit card numbers and billing records.
And that wasn't all Smith wanted. To ensure Trump didn't learn of the search warrant and attempt to invoke executive privilege to protect his records from the prying eyes of Joe Biden's Justice Department, Smith applied for a nondisclosure order. Twitter, if a judge approved both the warrant and the nondisclosure, would be prevented from notifying the former president of the warrant for 180 days.
Smith, of course, got his wish. Beryl Howell, the former chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, signed off on the broad search warrant on January 17. The Obama-appointed judge also approved a nondisclosure order under the terms of the Stored Communications Act, the statute Smith relied on to hide the warrant from Trump.
And that's when Twitter cried foul.
In a motion asking to vacate or modify the nondisclosure order, Twitter made a number of arguments related to Trump's First Amendment rights and the novel nature of the case. ''[The] issues presented by the government's demand for private presidential communications without notice are weighty and entirely without legal precedent. These executive privilege issues are distinct from issues presented in a typical search warrant,'' Twitter's legal counsel explained in a February 6 filing.
But one claim really irked Twitter: the suggestion that Donald Trump was a flight risk.
The Stored Communications Act requires the government to meet one of five criteria before seeking a nondisclosure order that would prevent a provider from notifying a customer about a search warrant: one is fear the target will flee prosecution'--a claim Jack Smith's office proposed in its application for the nondisclosure order.
And, it appears, a claim Smith later explained he made in error. Which is impossible to believe considering the flight risk threat was discussed by his lawyers during private conversations and at least one sealed court hearings.
In a phone call with Smith's office on January 31, Twitter's senior counsel ''raised specifically the claim in the Non-Disclosure Order that the former President was likely to flee from prosecution if the Non-Disclosure Order or Warrant was disclosed.'' Counsel further told Greg Bernstein, one of Smith's prosecutors, ''that it seemed very unlikely that the former President presents a risk of flight because of a warrant for his Twitter data.'' (The name of Twitter's senior counsel at the time is redacted in court documents.)
During a February hearing before Judge Howell, the flight risk matter was discussed on numerous occasions by the judge and lawyers representing Twitter. Howell asked Bernstein to directly respond ''to Twitter's comment that there is no reason to believe notification would suddenly cause Trump or potential confederates to destroy evidence, intimidate witnesses, or to flee prosecution (emphasis added).'' Bernstein stated they would address those concerns in another sealed motion.
Howell herself said she reviewed her own nondisclosure order ''to see, is that language just as specific as that, and it is'''--meaning the language in her order specifically determined Trump was a flight risk and therefore he should not know about the warrant. She continued: ''It doesn't have to be. Under [the nondisclosure statute], it's not just by the account holder, it's by any other person who might flee, might obstruct. And this NDO was written fairly narrowly, to say the least.''
Howell, once again, reiterated the fact the NDO declared Trump as a flight risk . And Smith's lawyers, once again, did not object to her reading of their proposed order.
Howell further challenged Twitter's request to remove the flight risk statement from the NDO. ''Your modification was to take out of the NDO 'potential risk of flight by the President,' although he does have properties overseas that would be probative,'' Howell said.
When Twitter pressed the matter, Howell suggested the company was trying to get in Trump's good graces. ''Is it because the CEO wants to cozy up with the former President, and that's why you are here?'' Howell sneered at Twitter's legal team. ''No, Your Honor,'' George Varghese, one of Twitter's retained lawyers, replied. ''In this case, one of the arguments was flee from prosecution. As this Court has already noted, the former President of the United States, who has announced that he is rerunning for President, is not at flight from prosecution. Presumably, with his security detail, he is not fleeing.''
But it appears that Twitter at least partially got their way. In her March 3 order denying Twitter's motion to vacate the NDO and impose a $350,000 fine for allegedly delaying fulfillment of the subpoena'--another falsehood as I explained here '--Howell disclosed in a footnote that the NDO accidentally stated Trump was a flight risk. ''By contrast to the Application for the NDO, the NDO itself also offered as grounds for nondisclosure the basis that the user of the Target Account would 'flee from prosecution.' The government has since explained that justification to the NDO was erroneously included.''
A subsequent appellate court decision upholding the search warrant and NDO also revealed Smith's deception: ''The district court also found reason to believe that the former President would 'flee from prosecution.' The government later acknowledged, however, that it had 'errantly included flight from prosecution as a predicate' in its application. The district court did not rely on risk of flight in its ultimate analysis.''
That may be true since Howell completely ignored the matter, with the exception of a footnote, in her March order despite the fact Twitter made the ''flight risk'' excuse a major point of contention with Smith's office. And since Smith's application for the NDO remains under seal, the public cannot see exactly how it was presented to Judge Howell.
Here's what likely happened. Smith cited Trump's risk of flight in both the application and proposed order sent to Howell. (Government motions seeking any court order often include a proposed order ready for the judge to sign.) Howell, who has issued unprecedented rulings against Trump in both the classified documents case and January 6 investigation, probably didn't even read the text of either the application or proposed order before signing it.
If it targeted Trump, that's all she needed to know.
It wasn't until Twitter busted Smith and Howell for claiming Trump would flee the country if he found out about the warrant that both offices retracted the claim. Howell actually backtracked on her own order during the February 7 hearing. When Twitter's lawyer again insisted that the 'risk of flight for a former President of the United States doesn't make a lot of sense,'' Howell confessed, ''I would agree with that.''
Not that any of it matters. Smith will face no sanction for misleading the court. The court will face no sanction for filing an NDO against the former president of the United States partially based on Judge Howell's belief he is a flight risk.
And these same deceptive villains now have all of Trump's Twitter records in their dirty little hands.
VIDEO - IRS agent accidentally shot, killed by fellow agent during training at Phoenix gun range
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 14:53
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A special agent with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is dead after being accidentally shot by another IRS agent during a training exercise Thursday at a federal gun range in Phoenix, officials confirmed. On Friday, IRS officials identified the victim as 47-year-old Patrick Bauer, a longtime Arizona resident. He was a retired master sergeant with the Arizona Air National Guard and served with the 161st Air Refueling Wing Security Forces Squadron, the National Guard said in an email. He served for more than 20 years, completing multiple state missions and overseas deployments. ''Our hearts go out to MSgt Bauer's family, friends and all those who had the privilege to work with him. His service to the state and nation will forever be remembered,'' Maj. Gen. Kerry L. Muehlenbeck, Arizona National Guard Adjutant General, said in a written statement. Bauer is survived by his wife and four kids.
A spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirms that an incident occurred at their gun range, which multiple federal agencies were utilizing at the time through an interagency agreement. The spokesperson said no Federal Bureau of Prisons employees were injured in the incident.
Charlotte M. Dennis with the Phoenix Field Office of the IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) division said after the shooting, Bauer was taken to HonorHealth Deer Valley Medical Center, where he died. ''Our concern today is for the agent and their family,'' she said in the written statement on Thursday.
Special agents with the FBI's Phoenix field office are investigating the shooting. ''The FBI's investigation will be methodical and thorough to address every element of the incident,'' an emailed statement said. Those findings will then be turned over to the U.S. Attorney's Office (District of Arizona) for review.
WHAT ARE IRS CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS?The special agents involved in Thursday's shooting were part of the IRS's Criminal Investigations unit with the Phoenix Field Office. Special agents with IRS-Criminal Investigations are the law enforcement branch of the IRS and are fully-sworn law enforcement officers who investigate violations of the Internal Revenue Code, including potential tax crimes, money laundering and some bank secrecy act violations. According to the IRS, the Criminal Investigations Division is made up of 3,000 employees worldwide, with 2,100 of those being special agents.
The IRS told Arizona's Family Investigates that the Phoenix Field Office of IRS Criminal Investigations covers four states: Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. The office has approximately 90 special agents.
An IRS agent was shot and killed during training in Phoenix so we look into the background of armed IRS agents.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, a website that tracks law enforcement line-of-duty deaths, this is the fifth line-of-duty death involving IRS Criminal Investigations and the first involving a shooting death.
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VIDEO - Ukraine port ship reaches Istanbul despite Russian blockade ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
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VIDEO - Ecuador votes in election marred by violence - YouTube
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:34
VIDEO - US southwest on high alert as Hurricane Hilary approaches from Mexico ' FRANCE 24 English - YouTube
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:32
VIDEO - Zelenskyy in Sweden for talks, Putin meets with generals in Rostov-on-Don | Ukraine Update - YouTube
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:29
VIDEO - Libya: government denies plans to lease port to foreign forces - YouTube
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:17
VIDEO - Niger: Thousands queue to volunteer in armed forces as threat of ECOWAS military intervention looms - YouTube
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 13:12
VIDEO - You MUST all listen to this woman! - LifeSite
Sun, 20 Aug 2023 07:23
Thu Aug 17, 2023 - 10:07 pm EDTFri Aug 18, 2023 - 7:39 am EDT
(LifeSiteNews) '-- I will mostly let Christine Anderson speak for herself other than to confirm that what she says is correct, if not understated.
We are all imminently facing the most dangerous, ruthless totalitarian movement in all of human history. Covid was just the first trial. Much, much more is to come.
Anderson knows what she is talking about. The Great Reset agenda, of which LifeSiteNews has written a great deal, is moving rapidly toward implementation.
There is still hope, but that hope depends upon a great awakening of the masses and non-compliance becoming the norm.
Far too many are amazingly still too trusting and asleep and not believing what should be believed due to the falsely soothing influence of media and government propaganda. In reality, there is an enormous amount of solid evidence supporting what Anderson is warning about.
Listen to this good, heroic woman:
German MEP, Christine Anderson: The so-called ''pandemic'' was a beta test'--conducted by unelected globalists'--to see how easy it would be to seize totalitarian control, under the pretext of a global ''emergency''.
''The goal, ultimately, is to transform our free and democratic'...
'-- Wide Awake Media (@wideawake_media) August 11, 2023
And then get involved in the battle for freedom NOW.
Steve is the co-founder and managing director of
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Clips & Documents

All Clips
ABC ATM - Andrew Dymburt - 33 years for Jan 6th defendent (19sec).mp3
ABC ATM - Morgan Norwood - teacher fired over reading book (25sec).mp3
ABC GMA - Alexis Christoforous - climate change -drought panama canal (1min22sec).mp3
ABC WNT - David Muir - CDC tracking new covid variants -booster (20sec).mp3
ABC WNT - David Muir - tracking covid.mp3
ABC WNT - David Muir Mary Bruce - biden aims to nudge japan and south korea toward greater unity.mp3
ABC WNT - Mola Lenghi - airline pilot attacks parking gate with ax (1min13sec).mp3
Africa Today - Ukraine announces a long fight against the Russian hold in Africa.mp3
Africa Today Haiti BBQ warns of internaitonal forces.mp3
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is pressed by MSM about the wildfires in her province being linked to climate change 500 human set.mp3
Alex Jones - 08.18.23 - MSM rolls out new COVID fear campaign as 2024 election closes in.mp3
Baby killing monster.mp3
Bobby the K with Tucker on BSL Labs and funding by DoD.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell Lilia Luciano - real estate developers target maui residents.mp3
CBS EV - Norah ODonnell Scott MacFarlane - suspected mastermind of 911 attacks 4 other defendants could escape death penalty under plea agreement.mp3
CBS Evening - Norah ODonnell - TX woman threatens Trump judge (27sec).mp3
CBS Mornings - Gayle King Errol Barnett - covid cases on the rise.mp3
CBS-8 San Diego - Anna Laurel (1) visitor before the storm (21sec).mp3
CBS-8 San Diego - Anna Laurel (2) local before the storm (28sec).mp3
CNN Tapper - Trump was right about Hunter in debates.mp3
CNN This Morning - Phil Mattingly Sanjay Gupta - uptick in covid [1] - tripledemic...again.mp3
CNN This Morning - Phil Mattingly Sanjay Gupta - uptick in covid [3] - 3 respiratory viruses 3 vaccines.mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppie Harlow Sanjay Gupta - uptick in covid [2] - whats the latest guidance.mp3
CNN This Morning - Poppy Harlow Sanjay Gupta - cancer diagnosis rates are going up in younger adults.mp3
Dr. Naomi Wolf - explains what a new variant being pushed means for the public [1].mp3
Dr. Naomi Wolf - explains what a new variant being pushed means for the public [2].mp3
DW - US approved dutch F16s for Ukraine.mp3
DW on civilian attack of drone factory.mp3
Ecuador votes in election marred by violence FBI because he was OUR GUY.mp3
EU Parliament, Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes on Greta BLUE CARD called.mp3
F24 - Ukraine port ship reaches Istanbul despite Russian blockade.mp3
F24 - US southwest on high alert as Hurricane Hilary approaches from Mexico.mp3
Fulton county jail hilarity.mp3
German MEP Christine Anderson - The so-called 'pandemic' was a beta test.mp3
Hawaii State Representative - Diamond Garcia [R] -expalins how FEMA payments to hawaii has 24 billion going to ukraine.mp3
Hunter iden new details weird.mp3
IRS agent killed during gun range training THEY THEIR.mp3
ISO big deal.mp3
ISO weejend.mp3
koreaand japan pbs.mp3
Libya -africa today - government denies plans to lease port to foreign forces.mp3
Local report with interview of Ting insurance gadget CEO maui fire.mp3
Maui fires planning 2.mp3
Maui fires planning 3.mp3
Maui fires planning ntd.mp3
Maui NOW - maui police chief john pelletier describes the scene in lahaina.mp3
McGregor on end of countery by 2024.mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe (1) Mika Brzezinski - TX woman threatens Trump judge (59sec).mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe (2) Ken Dilanian - safety of our judges (1min32sec).mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe (3) Ken Dilanian - arrested 4 times for making threats (1min40sec).mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe (4) Joe Scarbourgh - consequences of rhetoric (1min36sec).mp3
MSNBC Morning Joe (5) Rev. Al Sharpton - riggers (1min26sec).mp3
Native Indians demand redskins name be reinstated.mp3
NBC - Lester Holt Andrea Mitchell - north korea possibly using russian missile tech.mp3
NBC Lester Holt Covid never went away, RSV warning.mp3
NBC NN - Antonia Hylton - smash and grab robbery crackdown.mp3
NBC NN - Ellison Barber - US approves F16 jets for ukraine.mp3
NBC NN - Lester Holt Garrett Haake - trumps georgia grand jury faces threats.mp3
NBC NN - Tom Costelo - US and russia compete for the moon.mp3
NBC Now (1) Ann Thompson - covid summer spike -booster (54sec).mp3
NBC Now (2) Ann Thompson - annual covid shot just like flu shot (26sec).mp3
NBC Now (3) Ann Thompson - flu shot covid booster & RSV vaccine all at once (46sec).mp3
NBC Today - Blayne Alexander - concerns for safety of Trump judges (1min54sec).mp3
NBC Top Story - Miguel Almaguer - Maui top emergency official resigns (1min22sec).mp3
NEWSQuard responds.mp3
Niger-africa today - Thousands queue to volunteer in armed forces as threat of ECOWAS military intervention looms.mp3
Novo Nordisk spent $11 million on Ozempic promotion Yahoo FInance.mp3
NPR Read of ROSCOSMOS Statement.mp3
NYC to use prison HA.mp3
Oz going cash free.mp3
Passport tips backlog.mp3
PBS Brooks on Biden Last.mp3
PBS Brooks on Georigia.mp3
PBS Ruth on Dems Biden.mp3
Saudi Israel Bomb 1.mp3
Saudi Israel Bomb 2.mp3
Saudi Israel Bomb 3 wow.mp3
Saudi Israel Bomb 4 geez.mp3
Storm Hilary in socal pbs.mp3
Taibbi Aspen Clip.mp3
The Carters Birthday.mp3
The Hills Rising - Jessica Burbank - debate strategy for ron desantis posted online by super PAC.mp3
Tik Tok - Australian woman has seen enough American flags (40sec).mp3
TRT - Over 50,000 ordered to evacuate as fires intensify across Canada.mp3
TRUMP Filings update.mp3
UKRAINE f-16s coming pbs.mp3
UKRAINE ntd update f16.mp3
UKRAINE ntd update TWO.mp3
Wildfires 2 PBS.mp3
Wildfires PBS.mp3
WWLP 22 News - Chicopee MA - Kiara Smith - corona virus variant ERIS.mp3
Yelen on shrooms.mp3
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