797: Laptop Bomb

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 7m
February 7th, 2016
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Executive Producers: Sir Pnonymous, Sir Snozzages of Suwanee, Sir Anonymous of the ADF, Arch Duke Sir Dwayne Melancon

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Sheats Baronet of the Cuban Leaf, David Hoffman, Sir D00M-Liberator of the Hennepin Slaves, Black Knight Sir Dave Koss

Cover Artist: 20wattbulb


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Alexa and Über LUX
Elections 2016
Horrible opening sequence production
Truro took advantage of later appearance
Marco and Jeb! both 'patted' the alpha dog on the way out.
Desk Mic's were shit
Cruz goes EMP again
Trump - Insurance companies are getting rich with ObamaCare
Trump - Donors & Contributors in the audience tonight
Adderall Crash During The ABC News Debate? - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 13:55
Murdoch floats John Kerry as last-minute Dem 2016 candidate | TheHill
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 18:19
News Corp. boss Rupert Murdoch is floating Secretary of State John Kerry as a Democratic presidential nominee as Hillary Clinton's candidacy ''sinks.''
''Watch Hillary's candidacy sink and sink,'' Murdoch tweeted Saturday morning. ''Nobody buying and more big trouble coming on emails. Dems looking for a replacement. John Kerry?''
The Fox News owner donated to Clinton's presidential primary campaign in 2008, and said in 2014 he could see himself supporting Clinton in 2016 depending ''on the Republican candidate totally.'' In January, Murdoch urged former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to enter the 2016 race amid Fox News' feud with Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
''This is Bloomberg's last chance,'' Murdoch tweeted. ''You never know until your hat in in the ring!''
Bloomberg has said he is considering a third-party run if Clinton does not win the Democratic nomination.
Watson for President 2016
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:58
Political decision making is not simply a bullet list of separate issues but rather a complex interconnected network of systems, all of which affect each other. Watson's capabilities for parallel processing on a given query allow it to evaluate concerns on a variety of metrics, gauging the most beneficial response across all areas. Watson can advise the best options for any given decision based on its impact on the global economy, the environment, education, health care, foreign policy, and civil liberties.Investment in the Future
Watson will be able to analyze trends in employment, markets, interest rates, education, poverty, crime, taxes, and policy to assess what actions are most suitable to accelerate investment in the nation's future. We believe that investing in the youth will be key to America's success over the next century, and that significant improvements can be made through federal funding completely by reforming the tax code. Some actions that would make the country once again competitive on a global scale:Single-payer national health care.Free university level education.Ending homelessness.Legalizing and regulating personal recreational drug use.In addition to investing in people it is obvious that there is a great need for investment in our country's infrastructure. For decades nations in Europe and Asia have surpassed the United States in the development of clean energy, public transportation solutions, and communication networks, all while our highways, bridges, and dams go uninspected and deteriorate into dangerous conditions. Rebooting infrastructure projects to a level unseen since the 1930's would boost our domestic workforce with hundreds of thousands of jobs, improve our environment with new clean energy plants, rebuild the middle class and increase the technology sector in the country.Shift bulk of electrical generation to solar, wind, hydroelectric, and wave farm.Review/Repair/Replace/Remove highways, bridges, dams.Upgrade and subsidize metropolitan public transit solutions for the next century.Build and subsidize metropolitan high-speed communication networks.Global Community
Watson would be able to recognize the international impacts of domestic policy decisions, and understand that our communication networks, transportation solutions, and economic entanglement have created a global community that we can not deny being a part of. As with any community, what is good for our neighbors is good for us. We have a responsibility to care for the human rights, labor practices, income, safety, and environment of the citizens of nations we do dealings with.Ensure a minimum-wage that meets a reasonable cost of living.Ensure fair and safe working conditions.Ensure global environmental commons protections.
State IG: Colin Powell, aides to Condoleezza Rice handled classified info in personal email
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:24
Records Management
State IG: Colin Powell, aides to Condoleezza Rice handled classified info in personal emailBy Sean LyngaasFeb 04, 2016Colin Powell disagreed with reports that he had received messages containing classified information via his personal email account while serving as secretary of State.
The State Department's inspector general has concluded that former Secretary of State Colin Powell and aides to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice received classified information via their personal email accounts while in office, according to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
In a Feb. 4 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Cummings said an IG review found that from 2003 to 2008, two email messages containing classified information were sent to Powell's personal account and 10 were sent to the personal accounts of Rice's immediate staff. None of the messages were marked classified at the time, according to Cummings.
He asked Kerry to provide copies of the 12 messages said to contain classified information by Feb. 18.
Cummings said the IG is reviewing the records management practices of five previous secretaries of State and their immediate staff. IG spokesman Doug Welty would not comment other than to say that the IG is conducting a review "to determine the proper scope and methodology for a review of the department's ability to preserve information and respond to information requests, among other things."
Rice is currently on the faculty at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "My understanding is that the [IG] report is in reference to emails sent to her assistant reporting diplomatic conversations and they contained no intelligence information," said Georgia Godfrey, Rice's chief of staff, in a statement to FCW.
Powell could not be reached for comment. However, he told NBC News he strongly disagreed that the information in the messages sent to him was classified.
"I wish they would release them," Powell said, "so that a normal, air-breathing mammal would look at them and say, 'What's the issue?'"
Rice's successor as secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, exclusively used a personal email account that ran on a private server during her tenure. More than 1,200 of the messages that passed through Clinton's server at the time have since been deemed classified. A federal investigation into her email practices is ongoing.
In a statement, Cummings argued that the revelation of irresponsible email practices involving former Republican secretaries of State showed that Republican investigations into Clinton's email activities "are nothing more than a transparent political attempt to use taxpayer funds to target the Democratic candidate for president."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is carrying out a probe of federal recordkeeping practices, which could lead to Clinton.
Cummings is not the only lawmaker to ask an agency leader about official email use this week. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter dated Feb. 1 to Defense Secretary Ash Carter asking if the Pentagon had determined whether classified information was involved in Carter's use of a personal email account last year.
Carter has called his now-discontinued use of personal email for some official business a mistake but has said no classified information was involved.
About the Author
Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.
Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.
Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.
Agencies Battle Over What Is 'Top Secret' in Hillary Clinton's Emails - NYTimes.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:39
WASHINGTON '-- Some of the nation's intelligence agencies raised alarms last spring as the State Department began releasing emails from Hillary Clinton's private server, saying that a number of the messages contained information that should be classified ''top secret.''
The diplomats saw things differently and pushed back at the spies.
In the months since, a battle has played out between the State Department and the intelligence agencies '-- as well as Congress '-- over what information on Mrs. Clinton's private server was classified and what was the routine business of American diplomacy, according to government officials and letters obtained by The New York Times.
At the center of that argument, the officials said, is a ''top secret'' program of the Central Intelligence Agency that is anything but secret. It is the agency's long effort to track and kill suspected terrorists overseas with armed drones, which has been the subject of international debates, numerous newspaper articles, television programs and entire books.
Interactive Feature | How Does the Government Classify Secrets?
The Obama administration's decision to keep most internal discussions about that program '-- including all information about C.I.A. drone strikes in Pakistan '-- classified at the ''top secret'' level has now become a political liability for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.
Some of the skirmishes over Mrs. Clinton's emails reflect the disagreements in a post-9/11 era over what should be a government secret and what should not. Nonetheless, 22 emails on Mrs. Clinton's server were held back from a tranche made public last week. Those 22 emails were deemed so highly secret that State Department officials in this case agreed with the intelligence agencies not to release them even in redacted form.
The emails are included in seven distinct chains that comprise forwarded messages and replies, and in most cases involved discussions of the C.I.A. drone program, government officials said.
At a Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire on Thursday night, Mrs. Clinton dismissed the issue, as she has in the past. She said the government was overzealously classifying information after the fact, citing as evidence the State Department's finding that two emails sent to Colin L. Powell's private email account and 10 others sent to the personal accounts of aides to Condoleezza Rice when each served as secretary of state should now be classified years after the fact. It is against the law to have classified information outside a secure government account.
Document | Letter by the Intelligence Agencies' Inspector General A letter by the intelligence agencies' inspector general says that a review of emails on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private computer server found numerous messages that have been classified ''top secret.''
''This just beggars the imagination,'' Mrs. Clinton said, going on to argue that the issue was merely an extension of Republican criticism over the attack against the American mission and C.I.A. annex in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012.
It remains unknown what exactly the 22 emails contain, given their classification as ''top secret,'' but the officials described them generally, on the condition of anonymity. The officials included people familiar with or involved in the handling of the emails in government agencies and in Congress.
Spokesmen and women for the State Department, the C.I.A. and the intelligence agencies' inspector general declined to comment on the content of the emails.
Security DesignationsSome of the emails include material classified at the highest levels, known as Top Secret/S.A.P., according to a letter sent to the Senate on Jan. 14 by the inspector general of the nation's intelligence agencies, I. Charles McCullough III. That designation refers to ''special access programs,'' which are among the government's most closely guarded secrets.
Several officials said that at least one of the emails contained oblique references to C.I.A. operatives. One of the messages has been given a designation of ''HCS-O'' '-- indicating that the information was derived from human intelligence sources '-- a detail that was first reported by Fox News. The officials said that none of the emails mention specific names of C.I.A. officers or the spy agency's sources.
The government officials said that discussions in an email thread about a New York Times article '-- the officials did not say which article '-- contained sensitive information about the intelligence surrounding the C.I.A.'s drone activities, particularly in Pakistan.
The officials said that at least one of the 22 emails came from Richard C. Holbrooke, who as the administration's special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan would have been intimately involved in dealing with the ramifications of drone strikes. Mr. Holbrooke died in December 2010.
Document | Debate Over the Release of an Email From Hillary Clinton's Server An email released by the State Department from Hillary Clinton's private server that she used while secretary of state was the subject of letters from the State Department to a congressional leader.
Mrs. Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of state was first disclosed in March, and since then the State Department has slowly released 33,000 emails that Mrs. Clinton and her aides determined were work-related. None of the emails sent through Mrs. Clinton's server were marked as classified, the officials said, and most were written by her aides and forwarded to her. That is also true of the emails forwarded to Mr. Powell and Ms. Rice, which until now have been in the department's unclassified archives.
The handling of classified information on Mrs. Clinton's server is now the subject of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the State Department's security and intelligence bureaus. According to the law and security procedures Mrs. Clinton agreed to follow when she became secretary, such material should not even have been sent over the State Department's official but unclassified state.gov server.
At the same time, the officials said, some of the classifications being sought for the emails fall into a gray area between public knowledge and secrecy. In such instances, the original source of the information '-- and thus the level of its classification '-- can be disputed, and has been, vigorously at times, they said. Other emails have been the subject of rigorous debate over what constitutes a secret and what the nation's diplomats can say about intelligence matters as they grapple with international crises.
''While the secretary of state has a duty to protect classified information, as all of us do in a position of trust, here she did not have the benefit of six-plus months of interagency classification reviews,'' said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. ''The same information said by people in two different positions may receive two opposite classification determinations.'' Though the State Department accepted the C.I.A.'s classification of the 22 emails, it has also sought to challenge accusations that it was negligent in handling secrets.
During the review, the State Department has rebutted claims by at least one intelligence agency that information in some of the emails ought to remain classified.
Some of those include the emails that led Mr. McCullough's office to refer the matter to the Justice Department last summer, prompting the F.B.I.'s investigation. Mr. McCullough made the referral based on an assessment that four of 40 emails that it sampled early on in the process contained ''top secret'' information.
Now, after months of review, only one of those four turned out to be classified at that level. (The State Department counts that email among the 22 of last week.) A second of the four emails has been downgraded to ''confidential,'' the lowest level of classification. The third was released last fall.
Different SourcesThe fourth involved an email sent by Kurt M. Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for Asian affairs, shortly after a North Korean ballistic missile test in July 2009. The email has not yet been made public, even in redacted form, but the State Department has challenged an assertion from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which gathers data through satellite images, that the email included information that came from a highly classified program.
In a letter this past Dec. 15 to Senator Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a State Department official said that the information could not have been based on N.G.A.'s intelligence because Mr. Campbell did not receive any classified intelligence briefings for what was a new job for him until a few days after the North Korean test.
More broadly, the memo stated, diplomats working at the State Department or in embassies around the world constantly receive and pass on information from unclassified sources '-- so-called parallel reporting '-- that can involve highly classified matters. That can make it difficult to determine with confidence whether information in any single email came from a classified source.
''When policy officials obtain information from open sources, 'think tanks,' experts, foreign government officials, or others, the fact that some of the information may also have been available through intelligence channels does not mean that the information is necessarily classified,'' the department's assistant secretary for legislative affairs, Julia Frifield, wrote in the December letter to Mr. Corker.
Another email whose classification has been disputed was dated April 20, 2011, and was among those that prompted members of Congress and Mr. McCullough's office to begin a review of the State Department's release of the emails by court order under the Freedom of Information Act.
It was from Timmy T. Davis, an officer in the State Department's Operations Center, and it conveyed to Mrs. Clinton's senior staff security concerns in Libya during the war against the country's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.
At the time, J. Christopher Stevens, the future ambassador to the country, was secretly traveling there as an envoy to the opposition leadership and had telephoned the Ops Center, as it is known, to advise it about his situation on the ground.
Mr. Davis sent his message, marked ''S.B.U.,'' or ''sensitive but unclassified'' to two of Mrs. Clinton's closest aides, Huma Abedin and Jacob J. Sullivan, as well as to Alice G. Wells, an executive assistant to Mrs. Clinton who is now the ambassador to Jordan.
At issue were two sentences in the email referring to reports by Africom, the American military command for Africa, describing the movement of Colonel Qaddafi's forces near the city of Ajdabiya. In a letter on Nov. 24 last year, Ms. Frifield detailed how the information in the email differed significantly from the suspected intelligence source and could well have been based on public briefings given the day before by NATO's military about the course of the war.
''The conclusion that the information in the email was drawn from that intelligence product is unsubstantiated and on its face wrong, given the differences between the information in the email and the information in the product,'' Ms. Frifield wrote.
Even in the case of the drone program, so much information about the strikes has filtered into public view that the C.I.A. did not object to every allusion to it, allowing at least vague references in the emails that the State Department has released so far.
In late October 2009, as she prepared for a trip to Pakistan, Mrs. Clinton asked her aides for good answers to questions she might expect while in the country about Blackwater, the private security company that Pakistanis had long suspected was secretly operating inside the country.
Ms. Abedin responded by email that the aides were working on an ''answer sheet'' for the tough questions she might get on the thorniest issues about American-Pakistani relations '-- including Blackwater, the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, and drones.
''You will have tonite or tomorrow am,'' Ms. Abedin wrote.
PP-Admissions Scam
Roe's End? Supreme Court case will decide the future of abortion access in the U.S. - News - The Austin Chronicle
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:30
Illustration by Jason Stout
After nearly a decade as a single mother raising a son, born from an unexpected pregnancy, she was finally able to focus on her own future; her own dreams; her career plans. Her son was now older, increasingly independent, and she too could finally experience more freedom.
But then, a man who claimed to have known her from college raped her. Two months later she discovered she was pregnant. Shattered and violated, her future plans quickly fell out of focus.
April considered adoption, yet the emotional weight of carrying a rapist's child for nine months was too much to bear. "Being forced to live that night out every day ... I couldn't handle it," she says. "The negativity that I was feeling would affect the child coming into this world, I didn't think that was fair. I would have been unhappy, my child would have been unhappy, my existing child would have been unhappy, and everything around us would have reflected that."
The choice became clear for the 35-year-old Texas woman, still hoping to establish her career and prioritize her own goals. She decided to terminate her pregnancy, joining the majority of women who do so '' mothers. Some 61% of women undergoing abortion in the U.S. already have at least one child, and half of them have two or more children, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Unfortunately, April (whose name has been changed to protect her privacy) also shared another trait common among women who choose abortion '' she lacked financial security; more than 40% of women that have abortions are poor. So instead of simply booking an appointment, April first had to find the money. And she, like many low-income women in Texas, was hit with the added burden of navigating an obstacle course of onerous rules and regulations strategically crafted by anti-choice state lawmakers.
Determined, April conducted heavy research (a "part-time job" she calls it) trying to find out where she could go in Texas for the procedure, how much it would cost, and what kind of financial support was available, all the while striving to understand the complex hurdles imposed by House Bill 2, the four-part law restricting abortion access, passed during the 2013 legis­lative session. HB 2 compels women to follow outdated FDA protocol when ingesting abortion-inducing pills; bans the procedure after 20 weeks of pregnancy; mandates that abortion-performing physicians secure admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic; and the final part '' temporarily blocked by the U.S. Supreme Court '' forces abortion clinics to make expensive changes to conform with the same building requirements as ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Taken together, the package law '' said to be one of the harshest and most destructive in the nation '' has shuttered half of the state's abortion clinics and created a logistical nightmare for providers and patients.
Compounding her confusion, April (who discovered she was pregnant eight weeks after the fact) calculated her pregnancy using the day she was raped as her starting date. But clinics start the count at the gestational period (based on the last menstrual period), which tacked weeks onto April's pregnancy, resulting in steeper barriers and higher expense. According to research from the Texas Policy Evaluation Project, HB 2 has caused appointment wait times at clinics to skyrocket, with some clinics delaying the procedure up to 20 days, in contrast to five days or fewer people usually had to wait before HB 2. And as the price of abortion (which can typically range between $350-3,500) is contingent upon how far along a pregnancy is, longer wait times translate into a more costly procedure '' and that's assuming you have the money.
"I read an article that said, 'If you want to have the procedure, don't be poor' '' but it's really the truth," says April. "If I had disposable income, it would not be a big deal. But being in the financial situation I am in made it take so much longer, made it so much more stressful and emotional." To pay for her abortion, the single mom relied on a handful of financial assistance groups, such as Fund Texas Choice, Texas Equal Access Fund, and the Lilith Fund. Without their help, she says, her procedure would have been impossible.
Moving further and further into her pregnancy and still struggling to secure all the cash needed, the native Texan '' limited by the dearth of clinics and prolonged wait times '' was eventually pushed out of her home state for constitutionally protected medical care, receiving the now $8,000 procedure in neighboring New Mexico, her final portion of funding trickling in while she sat anxiously in the clinic waiting room. And opponents of HB 2 say that is the state's ultimate goal '' to create an abortion care landscape so difficult to maneuver, so limited in its options, so burdensome and so inaccessible, that it transforms legal abortion into a mere theoretical right in Texas.
In fact, during hearings at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last January, state attorneys argued that women in Texas would not be unduly burdened by the law, as they could simply travel to New Mexico for abortion. But New Mexico does not employ the regulations found in HB 2, invalidating the state's core claim '' that the law is intended to protect the health and safety of women.
Now, the U.S. Supreme Court is charged with determining if the state can get away with it. Picked up for review by the nine justices in November, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly v. Cole, and before that, v. Lakey) '' the legal challenge against HB 2 filed by abortion providers '' will decide if Texas and other states must demonstrate that their abortion restrictions serve a legitimate health interest. Expected to be the most pivotal abortion rights case since 1992, Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt could very well set the course for reproductive health laws across the country for decades to come.
And it all started with four divisive bills that failed to muster enough support from a conservative Legislature during its regular session, only to be resurrected later by an anti-choice governor hellbent on making "abortion a thing of the past."
Damage in HB 2's WakeWhen former Gov. Rick Perry called a special legislative session (purportedly to tackle lingering "emergency" issues) in part to address the four abortion-restrictive laws that didn't pass during the regular 2013 session, it drew unforgettable and unprecedented engagement from pro-choice advocates, who flooded the Capitol by the thousands to oppose and testify during committee hearings. The historic "orange army" protests '' memorialized in photos saturated with orange shirts filling nearly every crevice of the Capitol rotunda '' reinvigorated local reproductive rights activism. Famously culminating in the epic 13-hour filibuster by Ft. Worth Sen. Wendy Davis, opposition to the omnibus bill attracted national and international attention. And for a brief moment in Texas legislative history the law was dead, suffering defeat by the resilience of pro-choice lawmakers and the power of citizen mobilization.
Despite the resounding objection from thousands of citizens, Perry '' underscoring his often dictatorial leadership style '' simply called a second special session, where normal voting rules were dashed, allowing HB 2 to sail through both chambers to his desk, where it was met with a publicized bill-signing ceremony in July 2013. "In signing [HB 2] today," he said, "we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built."
Nearly three years later, the destruction inflicted by HB 2 is painfully palpable.
Former Gov. Rick Perry, flanked by anti-choice bill authors, signs House Bill 2 into law in July 2013, triggering more than a dozen clinic closures and multiple legal battles.
Photo by John Anderson
While 41 abortion clinics existed in Texas prior to HB 2, only 19 remain today. The closures, a direct result of the difficulty in obtaining hospital admitting privileges for physicians and an inability to subsidize costly building changes, came in waves. Eight facilities shuttered or stopped offering abortion care after the bill passed. Another 11 clinics did so when it was enforced in November 2013. Over the next two years some clinics closed then reopened as oscillating court rulings pulled providers in different directions, while others shuttered for good. If the final ASC provision of the law goes into effect, as few as 10 clinics, concentrated in five major metro cities, are expected to serve all 5.4 million reproductive-age women in Texas. In Austin, only two abortion clinics '' Planned Parent­hood's South Austin Health Center, an ASC, and Austin Women's Medical Center '' remain today out of the four in operation prior to the rollout of HB 2. Planned Parenthood will be the only center in Austin offering abortions if the ASC requirement is upheld.
In October, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), a five-year analysis of the impact of the Legislature's slashes to women's health, found women are now being forced to wait up to four times longer for an appointment. Wait times at existing ASCs were 10 days or longer over the past year, they also noted, meaning the centers can barely satisfy current patient demand. TxPEP, a collaboration between UT-Austin, Ibis Reproductive Health, University of Cali­fornia-San Francisco, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham, cautions that with the ASC rule in place, the lone surviving clinic in Austin would see the annual number of abortions performed jump from about 3,700 to almost 7,500.
"Clearly, we are trying to be prepared and take whatever steps we need to expand services to meet the demand for women," says Sarah Wheat, vice president of community affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. "But these restrictions are too onerous. There should be more than one provider to service our community in Austin; there should be the full network of health providers that existed before the law passed." In a troubling preview of what may come, Planned Parenthood experienced a staggering 660% increase in callers seeking to schedule an abortion appointment when the ASC rule temporarily went into effect in October 2014.
More women would also be pushed from the first trimester of pregnancy to the second, raising the annual number of those later-term abortions from about 6,600 to nearly 12,400, a potentially dangerous prospect. "The increase in second-trimester abortion is concerning from a public health perspective. While they are very safe, they're associated with a higher risk of complications compared to early abortions and are more expensive," says Dr. Daniel Gross­man, a TxPEP co-investigator.
Distance and Other BurdensAs clinics shuttered left and right, the number of women required to venture at least 100 miles to receive their legal medical procedure more than doubled from 417,000 in May 2013 to 1,020,000 by April 2014. If the ASC rule goes into effect, the number is estimated to reach 1.34 million.
Couple the appointment delays with the strain of increased travel time, while factoring in up to four state-mandated trips to the clinic, the cost of child care, time off school or work, price of lodging, and securing funding for the procedure itself, it comes as no surprise that a majority (55%) of Texas women face at least one roadblock to reproductive health care access '' with cost being the leading obstacle, TxPEP research found. With 42% of U.S. women who obtain abortions earning incomes below the federal poverty level ($11,770 for a single woman with no children), the barrier of cost alone is substantial. And so the journey to obtain what should be easily accessible medical care becomes an exhausting, overly complicated, and perilous process, if not one that is wholly out of reach for low-income women. They, along with minorities, especially Latinas of the Rio Grande Valley '' rural, and undocumented women '' suffer disproportionately. Ultimately, the law punishes the state's most vulnerable.
"Certainly low-income women are taking the brunt of this," says Grossman. "They are being hit hardest by the significant added financial costs in terms of travel expense, lost wages, and child care." Gross­man and cohort offer a microcosm of what is likely occurring on a larger scale: In an article accepted by the medical journal Contraception in December, TxPEP conducted 23 in-depth interviews with Texas women seeking abortions in the wake of the clinic restrictions. Two women were pushed past 12 weeks of pregnancy before obtaining abortion care, while another two were forced to carry their pregnancies to term. The reasons for the latter? Constrained by high costs and excessive travel requirements, the two mothers in their 20s were unable to find a facility within their reach.
"This was never going to affect those lawmakers or their families, because people with means will always be able to get access to safe, legal abortion. They can afford to travel to another state, for instance," Jan Soifer, local attorney and Whole Woman's counsel, told the Chronicle in November. "This was always about punishing poor women, and keeping barriers in front of women whose lives are already so difficult. And that offends me so deeply." (Summing up the correlation between abortion access and socioeconomic status during a law event in 2015, ardently pro-choice Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said succinctly, "There's a sorry situation in the United States, which is essentially that poor women don't have choice. Women of means do. They will, always.")
Schell Carpenter, president of the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, a 15-year-old local nonprofit that provides direct assistance to women unable to afford abortion, understands well the growing need for financial help. Carpenter often sits on the organization's hotline and hears passionate pleas from women struggling to afford the procedure. In 2015, the group received a record 4,400 calls (yet due to limited resources was only able to fund 1,300); historically, 80% of callers are women of color, and 70% are already mothers. "I think about all the women that aren't even going to a clinic because they can't afford it, or are not willing to take the risk to cross a border checkpoint ... or don't know if it's even still legal," says Carpenter. Similarly, Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, says the group's hotline has been "flooded with calls" since HB 2. Many of the women who contact NAF express major difficulty paying for costs associated not only with the procedure but with travel; some even sell off personal items, from furniture to wedding rings, to obtain abortion care.
"It's important to realize that a consti­tu­tionally protected right to abortion isn't mean­ingful if there isn't access," reminds Carpenter. "And that's what this law is trying to attack. Without that access there is no choice."
Barriers to AccessAs most abortion providers will stress, it's crucial to consider HB 2's impact not in a vacuum but within the context of all the other barriers Texas lawmakers have crafted for women over the years. That includes a $74 million funding cut to family planning services in 2011, which helped lead to the closure of or halt in services at 82 publicly funded family planning clinics; the ones that remained served 54% of the clients that they had previously, according to a May 2015 article in the American Journal of Pub­lic Health. As a result, the clinics became limited in their ability to provide a full range of contraceptive methods, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (such as IUDs), which provide some of the most effective protection from unwanted pregnancy. And in an attempt aimed most directly at Planned Parenthood, lawmakers have steadily chipped away at preventative Medicaid services, such as birth control. It's no wonder 70% of Texas women reported barriers to contraceptive access in a recent study published in Obstetrics and Gyne­co­logy. By straining access to pregnancy prevention, anti-choice legislative policies, ironically, have created an environment that promotes unplanned pregnancy, and thus creates a greater need for abortion.
In 2011, the state also passed a pre-abortion sonogram law, requiring women to undergo an ultrasound (and hear the fetal heartbeat) 24 hours before the procedure, tacking on an extra trip to the clinic. And doctors must give abortion-seeking women a list of where they can go for free sonograms, which largely include religious "crisis pregnancy centers," whose mission is to deter abortion. More­over, the sonograms at CPCs are nonmedical, meaning they do not satisfy the state's requirement, potentially pushing misinformed women further along in their pregnancies.
The mixture of the Lege's draconian and ideologically motivated decisions in the past five years, combined with HB 2, created a perfect storm of destruction to the state's women's health network, and one that will take decades to rebuild, say providers and health professionals. "Sadly, HB 2 was not the first barrier. We really started to see more and more women fall through the cracks after the decimation of family planning in 2011 and the ultrasound law," says Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and president of Whole Woman's Health, the network of reproductive health facilities suing the state over the regulations. "Just those hurdles alone were too much to surmount for so many women '' and now, with HB 2, those women have nowhere to turn, and so they've been left with no choice but to take matters into their own hands."
Amy Hagstrom Miller of Whole Woman's Health
Photo by John Anderson
Miller recounts the story of a woman who reached out to her McAllen clinic. Tem­po­rar­ily closed, the clinic referred the caller '' pregnant, poor, and desperate to secure an abortion '' to the nearest licensed facility, 250 miles away in San Antonio. "I cannot take that much time off work and afford childcare to travel to San Antonio," the woman said. "But you need to know I will terminate this pregnancy. I have to terminate this pregnancy. So how about I tell you what I have in my cupboards, under my sink and in my medicine cabinet, and you tell me what to use and how to use it in order to do my own abortion."
Indeed, the evidence would corroborate the anecdotal: TxPEP released chilling findings in November showing anywhere between 100,000 and 240,000 women (from age 18 to 49) have tried to self-induce their abortions without medical assistance, making it more common in Texas than in other parts of the U.S. Researchers point to the state's sweeping clinic closures and proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, where the abortion-inducing drug Misoprostol is often available in pharmacies without a prescription. "We've started to see more and more women come in for an ultrasound to see if they're pregnant and we don't see them again," says Miller. "They are likely attempting to self-induce. We've also seen more people crossing the border to Mexico or trying to find abortion medication on the Internet. And we're hearing about people selling abortion pills out of their houses in communities that don't have access and are experiencing poverty and disenfranchisement." Miller adds, "I don't just mean the Rio Grande Valley '' I'm talking about places like Beaumont, too."
If the Supreme Court fails to block the final part of the law, the number of women who are forced to resort to self-induction will inevitably rise, warn reproductive health advocates. "We suspect, as it becomes harder and harder to access abortion, self-induction will be more common," says Grossman.
The Legal RoadThe case that now stands before the U.S. Supreme Court is the apex of three years of protracted court rulings that volleyed Texas abortion providers and patients between intense hope, anxiety, and confusion.
The rocky legal road to SCOTUS highlights not only the state's anti-choice obstinance, but the immense power of one of the most conservative federal appellate courts in the country. In September 2013, roughly two months after the bill was signed into law, abortion providers filed suit against the state, challenging two of the four restrictions '' physician admitting privileges, and the medication abortion rule. While federal Judge Lee Yeakel agreed with plaintiffs in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, writing that the admitting-privileges rule was void of a rational basis and created an unconstitutional burden on women seeking care, the conservative U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stayed his order and issued a final ruling that severely minimized the burden women would face when traveling great lengths for abortion care. Judge Edith Jones insensitively downplayed the 300 miles round-trip that mostly low-income, Latina women of South Texas must trek by saying, "You know how long that takes in Texas at 75 miles an hour? That's a particularly flat highway."
Thousands of "orange army" pro-choice activists gather at the Capitol to oppose Texas abortion restrictions in 2013.
Photo by John Anderson
Undeterred, providers filed a second legal challenge in April 2014, just days after the appeals court ruling. Represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights and Austin-based law firm O'Connell & Soifer, Whole Woman's Health, Nova Health Systems, Aus­tin Women's Health Center, Killeen Women's Health Center, and a group of abortion-providing doctors again challenged the admitting-privileges rule, specifically at two clinics in underserved communities (the Whole Woman's Health clinic of McAl­len and Reproductive Services of El Paso) and this time, challenged the requirement that clinics must transform into ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Following a five-day trial, Yeakel (again) deemed the regulations unconstitutional, writing they would "create an impermissible obstacle" for women and "operate for a significant number of women in Texas just as drastically as a complete ban on abortion."
Like d(C)j vu, the 5th Circuit stayed his ruling, allowing the ASC rule to take effect in early October 2014 '' albeit briefly. Some 13 clinics closed their doors and sent patients and providers into a panic.
So to recap, twice a Republican-appointed federal judge struck down the law, calling it an undue burden on women, and twice, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals nixed his opinion, shrugging off significant barriers to abortion access.
That's when the U.S. Supreme Court stepped in, temporarily blocking the appeals court ruling, pending a full review by the 5th Circuit. But as HB 2 case history has shown us, a journey to the 5th Circuit spells disaster for reproductive health providers. As expected, the conservative New Orleans-based court sided with the state in June 2015. But just days before the ASC rule was to be (re-)enacted, the Supreme Court swooped in with a 5-4 stay, granting plaintiffs of Whole Woman's Health v. Cole another rare victory.
Hagstrom Miller, like other abortion providers in the state, had a front-row seat to the dizzying legal back-and-forth. Prior to HB 2, Hagstrom Miller ran six abortion facilities in Texas. Now, she's down to four; if the ASC rule is enacted, only her ASC in San Antonio is certain to remain. Over the last two years she's had to shut down her flagship facility in Austin '' which also provided comprehensive preventative care like contraception and annual exams to local residents for more than a decade '' as well as her clinic in Beaumont. She's also had to close, then reopen, clinics in Fort Worth and McAllen twice, due to changing court opinion, sending her and staff on an emotional and logistical roller coaster. "Closing our clinics was just heartbreaking," says Miller, somberly. "Those decisions should not have been ones we had to make. I know that even though it was the law's fault, the state's fault, I feel like I let the people in those communities down '' those feelings are very real, even though intellectually they don't make sense."
In part, the rulings have still left her staff confounded. The 5th Circuit granted the McAllen clinic an exemption from the ASC rule '' as it is the sole clinic to serve the expansive Rio Grande Valley '' but with several ambiguous caveats: For instance, only one doctor is allowed to provide services at the clinic, and the exemption expires if another facility pops up in the 235 miles between it and San Antonio. (The RGV facility is typically counted as the tenth clinic that would survive the ASC rule.) "We've been given these weird little loopholes and asked to comply with administrative requirements that the state hasn't really explained. So, it's almost impossible to satisfy," she says. And "impossible to satisfy" '' much like the rest of the law '' seems to be the crux of the legislative playbook when it comes to HB 2, argue plaintiffs.
All along, providers vowed to take the case up to the Supreme Court if necessary; that promise became a reality in September when they formally requested the high court review Whole Woman's Health v. Cole. By November, SCOTUS agreed to take the case, setting in motion what is expected to be one of the most influential abortion rights cases in more than two decades.
Pretext of Safety"What's at stake in this case is whether states can enact laws that restrict access to abortion for pretextual reasons," explains Center for Reproductive Rights' Stephanie Toti, lead counsel for Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. "The Supreme Court will have to decide if the courts have to simply defer to the Legislature without scrutinizing its motives or making sure the measures it has adopted are reasonably related to the purported goal of protecting health."
Nearly to the point of exhaustion, plaintiffs, pro-choice advocates, and health professionals contend the two HB 2 restrictions in question are not only burdensome, but completely unnecessary: The ASC rule forces clinics to undergo a series of building code changes, including adding janitor closets and expanding hallways. With no demonstrable health benefit to the patient, the construction price tag would force mostly independent providers to shell out up to $5 million and in effect, bankrupt non-ASC clinics into oblivion. One of the most common and safest medical procedures, with a death risk 10 times lower than that associated with childbirth, and typically conducted as an outpatient procedure, the need for abortion to be performed in a mini-hospital setting is unsupported by medical science.
And the idea that abortion physicians must obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure is performed to ensure women who suffer complications (fewer than 1% of U.S. abortion patients) receive immediate attention doesn't even pass muster with the nonpartisan Texas Hospital Association, which slammed the rule as "time-consuming, expensive," and not in line with the "purpose for which privileges are intended." They point to an obvious logical hole: If a woman suffers complications and is rushed to the ER, there's no guarantee that her abortion doctor will be there when she arrives, yet she will be treated regardless.
For providers, the argument from day one has been focused on the lack of evidence the state brings to the table to back up the law's necessity, combined with the utter devastation it has and will inflict upon already struggling Texas women. Whether spurred by naivete, ignorance, or ruthless anti-choice ideology, bill authors and state officials have continually defended the "common sense" restrictions as benefiting the "health and safety" of women, while supplying little to no concrete medical proof to reinforce the claim. In fact, it was revealed the Attorney General's office employed notorious anti-choice activist Vincent Rue to ghostwrite testimony for pro-HB 2 witnesses during trial. The widely discredited wordsmith (who performs similar favors in courts all over the country) coached multiple witnesses, advising one, for instance, to disregard abortion data that ran counter to the state's claims. The behavior elicited censure from Judge Yeakel, who called the state's attempt to hide Rue's involvement "very disturbing."
Stephanie Toti, lead counsel in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt
Photo by Chi Nguyen / The Center for Reproductive Rights
"This conduct is pretty egregious and has been occurring on a scale that is quite likely to capture the Supreme Court's attention," says Toti of Rue's influence. "And it shows that if the best possible evidence that all of these states can come up with are doctors who aren't telling the truth and who aren't even writing their own testimony, that says something about the credibility of the state's claims and really shows that these laws are a sham."
On the other hand, the evidence in opposition to the law '' delivered from a diverse array of respected major medical associations, health care professionals, and political leaders from both sides of the aisle '' is unprecedented. In December, medical, science, social justice, business, religious, and political groups hit SCOTUS with a deluge of amicus briefs. The American Medical Association, the American College of Obste­tri­cians & Gynecologists, and the Amer­i­can Academy of Family Physicians wrote, "Not only are HB 2's ASC and privileges requirements entirely unnecessary, there is incontrovertible evidence that they are impeding women's access to quality abortion care." Not mincing words, the Obama administration's Department of Justice wrote in another brief, "For many women in Texas, they would create a legal regime in which a real choice about whether to carry a pregnancy to full term 'exists in theory but not in fact.'" And perhaps most notably, to support abortion as an unencumbered fundamental right, more than 110 women in the legal and political fields shared their personal abortion stories sans pseudonym '' a first for SCOTUS. Of course, this is aside from the stream of clinic leaders and health professionals who spent hours testifying at the Capitol and again during the trials. What role the outpouring of hostility toward the law plays remains to be seen.
The Supreme Court will also be tasked with providing further clarity on what constitutes an undue burden. In their 50-page appeal to SCOTUS, abortion providers argue the 5th Circuit's ruling "flouted longstanding [Supreme Court] precedent" by defying standards set by seminal 1992 abortion-rights case, Planned Parenthood v.Casey. While that challenge to a multi-part Pennsylvania abortion law resulted in a reaffirmation of abortion rights in Roe v. Wade, it did allow states wider latitude in restricting the procedure. However, when crafting abortion laws, states are barred from having "the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus." The "undue burden" test allows the Court to balance the state's interest in protecting fetal life with the ability of women to access their constitutional right without interference. The fact that the 5th Circuit failed to see that the "abrupt closure" of more than three-fourths of Texas abortion clinics would create substantial obstacles to abortion access "makes a mockery of the standard articulated in Casey," and stands in "blatant defiance" of the Court's precedent, Whole Woman's plaintiffs write. (The 5th Circuit, unlike the 7th or 9th Circuits, openly write that they "do not balance the wisdom or effectiveness of a law against the burdens the law imposes.")
"The Texas case presents the most stark effort to continue to restrict abortion since Casey and provides the Court another vehicle to undermine or possibly eradicate the rights we now know," says Kathryn Kolbert, who served as lead counsel before the Supreme Court in Casey. "This isn't regulation, this is an attempt to push the limits of the courts and to undermine legalized abortion as much as they can get away with. And if the Texas law is upheld, it allows other states to say, 'Not in my backyard.'"
Indeed, the ruling will carry with it widespread implications. States have adopted 288 different abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections, according to the Gutt­macher Institute. To get a sense of the recent nationwide upheaval of abortion rights: The same number of restrictions have been enacted in the past five years as in the entire previous 15. The laws include admitting privileges (15 new laws), and Tar­geted Regulation of Abortion Providers or "TRAP" (19 new laws), that are similar to the ones found in HB 2. "If the law is upheld, it will devastate abortion access not only in Texas but all throughout that region of the country," says Toti.
Considering the scant evidence presented by the state, juxtaposed with the damning results of HB 2, Kolbert remains "cautiously optimistic" the majority needed to overturn the law will do so, but the decision is expected to come down to Justice Anthony Kennedy, viewed as the swing vote. Legal observers can only speculate the outcome: In Casey, Kennedy helped maintain Roe in a compromise opinion, but in Gonzales v. Carhart, a 2007 case which upheld a nationwide ban on partial-birth abortion, he drafted the majority opinion. Then again, Kennedy joined liberal justices in temporarily stopping HB 2. Another tidbit to muddy the waters: Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, who will defend HB 2 before the Court, previously clerked for Kennedy. "I'm hopeful [Kennedy] will come down similarly to where he was in 1992 ... but justices change," says Kolbert.
All eyes will be on the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, the day oral arguments in the much anticipated case will be heard. After years of relentless fighting '' from the Capitol to the courtroom '' reproductive rights supporters brace for the final say on a law that has shredded their healthcare network, placed women at risk, and given the state largely unchecked power when it comes to regulating their bodies. Toti summarizes, "The justices will determine whether women will continue to have access to safe and legal abortion or whether we're going to turn the clock back 40 years and force more women to take matters into their own hands."
For plaintiffs and the millions of Texas women who rely on obtaining the constitutionally protected procedure safely in their communities, the stakes have never been higher.
Prior to multipart abortion law House Bill 2, 41 clinics existed in Texas. Today, more than half of the state's abortion clinics have closed due to the restrictions imposed by HB 2. If the U.S. Supreme Court fails to block the final provision of the law, a rule that forces clinics to transform into ambulatory surgical centers, Texas will be left with as few as 10 clinics to serve 5.4 million women (as the map above shows).
The 'admitting privileges' sham, and the future of abortion in America
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:35
On Tuesday, an appeals court panel upheld a Texas law passed in 2013 with the clear and unambiguous intent of making abortions all but impossible to get in the state. The Supreme Court is likely to take this case up, and when it does, there's a considerable possibility that it will accept the ruling and, in effect, create a backdoor repeal of Roe v. Wade. Depending on how far it chooses to go, we may find ourselves considerably farther down a road we're already traveling on reproductive rights: one in which we have two countries, one presided over by Democrats and one by Republicans, one where abortion is legal and one where it's technically legal, but all but impossible to obtain.
Give the anti-abortion forces this: They have demonstrated extraordinary creativity in coming up with new restrictions on women and the clinics that serve them. And when they do, they always say their only concern is for women's well-being, a claim so spectacularly dishonest that it's remarkable they can make it without busting out laughing every time.
I want to focus on one particular restriction at issue in this Texas case: that of "admitting privileges." The Texas law requires that in order to perform abortions, a doctor must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. This is an increasingly common abortion restriction; right now 11 states have laws requiring admitting privileges, 9 of which were passed in the last five years, since Republicans' sweeping wins in the 2010 election.
I'm sure that when most people hear this term, they think it has something to do with hospitals and doctors but they aren't really sure what. It probably sounds like it just means that if there's a problem with an abortion then a woman can go to the hospital. This isn't what it means at all.
"Admitting privileges" actually means that the doctor is akin to a staff member of that hospital; among other things, she has the privilege to admit a patient for a stay in the hospital without the say-so of any other doctors. The problem is that because hospitals don't want to become embroiled in abortion politics, they regularly refuse admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortions. For example, doctors at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi applied for admitting privileges to seven hospitals in the area, and were refused at every one.
So what happens if you're a woman who had an abortion and you find yourself experiencing complications, but your doctor doesn't have admitting privileges at the local hospital? Well, you go to whatever hospital you like (or, if it's a real emergency, the paramedics take you to one), and you get treated. If the doctors at the hospital need to consult with the doctor who performed your abortion, they pick up the phone and call her. Which is pretty much exactly what will happen if your doctor does have admitting privileges.
If there's ever been a case of woman who suffered some negative medical outcome because her doctor didn't have admitting privileges at the hospital where she was treated, I've never heard of it. I've also never heard an anti-abortion activist explain exactly what will happen to a woman who goes to such a hospital, and why that hypothetical instance is so terrifying that in order to prevent it we must pass laws that put one clinic after another out of business.
And that's precisely what has happened in Texas, just as anti-abortion advocates hoped. In 2012, before this law was passed, there were 41 clinics performing abortions in the state; today there are only 18.
Like all abortion cases, this one will be determined entirely by the whims of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has so much respect for women's autonomy that he once justified an abortion restriction by going on and on about how some women might later regret their choice, so it's much better to just not give them one. There's no way to tell for sure what he might do, but the question will hinge on whether the restrictions impose an "undue burden" on women seeking abortions, the standard established in a previous case. You don't have to wait 48 hours, have an ultrasound you don't want, and drive 200 miles to get yourself a vasectomy, but Kennedy may well decide that all that is not too much of a burden to impose on women who need abortions.
Now here's the really depressing part: If the Supreme Court were to rule that admitting privileges rules are a sham with no medical purpose that only serve to put abortion clinics out of business, it would be only the most temporary of setbacks for the anti-abortion forces. On the ride home from court they'd probably come up with three or four new restrictions to impose. Maybe the next abortion law in Texas or Oklahoma or South Dakota will require that doctors who perform abortions must be able to describe the proof to Fermat's Last Theorem in 60 seconds or less, or that in order to perform an abortion a doctor must have placed in the top 10 in the Indianapolis 500 within the last decade, or that women who want abortions must prove their physical fitness by holding a handstand for two minutes.
We already have two Americas when it comes to abortion. In one '-- in states controlled by Democrats, and for wealthy women living anywhere '-- abortions are available when they're needed. In the other '-- in states controlled by Republicans, for women without means '-- abortion might as well be illegal. There are already four states with only a single clinic that performs abortions, and if the Supreme Court takes this case and rules the way conservatives hope, before you know it there will be many more.
Editor's note: A previous version of this article misstated the number of Texas abortion clinics. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.
FAQ: The Next Abortion Battle: The Courts And Hospital Admitting-Privilege Laws | Kaiser Health News
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:45
By Julie Rovner August 8, 2014
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Even if you're trying, it's tough to keep score on what's happening with various lawsuits challenging some state abortion laws.
States led by anti-abortion governors and legislatures have been passing a broad array of measures over the past few years aimed at making the procedure more difficult for women to obtain. About two dozen states enacted 70 such measures in 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Those laws range from imposing waiting periods to requiring ultrasounds to limiting the use of the ''abortion pill'' mifepristone, or RU486.
The latest set of laws to be challenged in court, however, have to do with requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
For example, a federal district court judge in Alabama this week struck down as unconstitutional a portion of state law requiring physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges. Last week, a federal appeals court panel struck down a similar law in Mississippi. And a third law of the same type is awaiting a ruling in Wisconsin.
All these laws '' as well as a law in Texas that a federal appeals court allowed to take effect last November '' have one thing in common: They represent the latest fight over efforts to make abortion either less available (according to one side) or safer (according to the other).
Here are some frequently asked questions about the laws and the lawsuits surrounding them.
What are admitting privileges?
Admitting privileges are the right of a physician to admit patients to a particular hospital, and to provide specific services in that facility. In order for a physician to be granted privileges, a hospital generally checks the individual's medical credentials, license and malpractice history.
Many hospitals also require physicians to admit a minimum number of patients to the hospital each year before they will grant or renew privileges. Others require the doctor to live within a minimum distance of the hospital.
How do admitting privilege requirements relate to abortion?
Supporters of the laws say it's about safety. ''Once a physician assumes the responsibility for overseeing the provision of a medical procedure, there's an obligation on the physician to follow the care through to its ultimate conclusion,'' including any emergencies that might occur, said Ovide Lamontagne, general counsel of the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life.
Lamontagne also said the process itself for doctors to obtain hospital privileges is another safety check. ''Admitting privileges are sort of the profession's way of validating the credentials of a provider,'' he said.
Opponents of the laws, however, say they are more about making abortion less available.
''Admitting-privileges legislation would impose stricter requirements on facilities where abortions are performed than on facilities that perform much riskier procedures,'' said Jeanne Conry, former president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ''As an example, the mortality rate associated with a colonoscopy is more than 40 times greater than that of abortion,'' yet gastroenterologists who perform such procedures outside of the hospital setting do not face similar requirements ''in the context of safety.''
And opponents point out that most abortion providers cannot meet the number-of-admissions standard for gaining privileges because so few of their patients need hospital care.
How many states have passed admitting privileges laws?
According to the Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health issues, 15 states require abortion providers ''to have some affiliation with a local hospital,'' while 11 specifically require admitting privileges. Many of those laws are not in effect, however, having either been blocked by courts or are too new (Louisiana and Oklahoma) to have taken effect.
Americans United for Life counts 12 states with ''an enforceable admitting-privileges requirement for abortion providers,'' and four currently in litigation: Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Wisconsin.
In some states with admitting-privileges laws, physicians have been able to gain hospital access. In North Dakota, for example, a court case ended earlier this year when physicians at the state's only abortion clinic were granted privileges at one hospital.
What have the courts said about the laws?
Under current Supreme Court precedent, states cannot limit abortion in a way that imposes an ''undue burden'' on a woman's ability to obtain an abortion.
But different courts have had dramatically different responses to admitting privileges requirements for abortion providers.
In Texas, a district court judge last fall found the admitting privileges portion of that state's omnibus abortion restriction law unconstitutional. Then in May, a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that lower court ruling.
''Even if we were to accept that both clinics in the Rio Grande Valley were about to close as a result of the admitting privileges provision'...this finding does not show an undue burden,'' said the opinion written by Judge Edith Jones.
The opinion also noted that the lower court's finding that '''there will be abortion clinics that will close' is too vague.''
Since the ruling, the last remaining clinics in the Rio Grande valley did close. That left San Antonio, which is between 150-250 miles away, the closest city where legal abortions can be obtained for women in more than 20 Texas counties.
Texas now has fewer than half as many abortion clinics as it had before the law took effect, and that could drop even further depending on the outcome of a trial that began this week regarding another provision of the Texas law. That provision requires abortion clinics to meet the same facility standards as ''ambulatory surgical centers'' that do more complex surgeries. Those standards include such details as minimum door widths, and allowable types of materials to be used in floors and ceilings.
In Mississippi, a different set of judges from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled late last month that the state's admitting-privileges law could not take effect, because it would have forced the closure of the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.
''Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state'' wrote Judge E. Grady Jolly in the opinion.
Meanwhile, Alabama District Court Judge Myron Thompson cited the inability of doctors in the state's abortion clinics to be able to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in his Aug. 4 opinion striking down that state law.
''The evidence compellingly demonstrates that the requirement would have the striking result of closing three of Alabama's five abortion clinics,'' Thompson wrote in his 172-page opinion. ''If this requirement would not, in the face of all the evidence in the record, constitute an impermissible undue burden, then almost no regulation, short of those imposing an outright prohibition on abortion, would.''
A trial over Wisconsin's admitting privileges requirement ended in June. A decision is that case is expected soon.
Admitting Privileges (Health Care) Law & Legal Definition
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:33
Admitting privilege is the right of a doctor, by virtue of membership as a hospital's medical staff, to admit patients to a particular hospital or medical center for providing specific diagnostic or therapeutic services to such patient in that hospital. Each hospital maintains a list of health care providers who have admitting privileges in that hospital. Admitting privileges granted to a non physician is limited to treatment of patient independently, and admission of such a patient to hospital requires a physician's order. Admitting privileges of some physicians are limited to consultative services only.
Additional Admitting Privileges (Health Care) ResourcesView Health Care Forms - Download Health Care Forms in Minutes.Learn more at healthcare.USLegal.com - More Health Care Information.
HB2 Texas
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 14:31
H.B.ANo.A2AN ACTrelating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, andfacilities; providing penalties.BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:SECTIONA1.AA(a)AAThe findings indicate that:(1)AAsubstantial medical evidence recognizes that anunborn child is capable of experiencing pain by not later than 20weeks after fertilization;(2)AAthe state has a compelling state interest inprotecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at whichsubstantial medical evidence indicates that these children arecapable of feeling pain;(3)AAthe compelling state interest in protecting thelives of unborn children from the stage at which substantialmedical evidence indicates that an unborn child is capable offeeling pain is intended to be separate from and independent of thecompelling state interest in protecting the lives of unbornchildren from the stage of viability, and neither state interest isintended to replace the other; and(4)AArestricting elective abortions at or later than 20weeks post-fertilization, as provided by this Act, does not imposean undue burden or a substantial obstacle on a woman's ability tohave an abortion because:(A)AAthe woman has adequate time to decide whether 1234567891011121314151617181920212223241
to have an abortion in the first 20 weeks after fertilization; and(B)AAthis Act does not apply to abortions that arenecessary to avert the death or substantial and irreversiblephysical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnantwoman or abortions that are performed on unborn children withsevere fetal abnormalities.(b)AAThe legislature intends that every application of thisstatute to every individual woman shall be severable from eachother. In the unexpected event that the application of this statuteis found to impose an impermissible undue burden on any pregnantwoman or group of pregnant women, the application of the statute tothose women shall be severed from the remaining applications of thestatute that do not impose an undue burden, and those remainingapplications shall remain in force and unaffected, consistent withSection 10 of this Act.SECTIONA2.AASubchapter A, Chapter 171, Health and SafetyCode, is amended by adding Section 171.0031 to read as follows:Sec.A171.0031.AAREQUIREMENTS OF PHYSICIAN; OFFENSE. (a)AAAphysician performing or inducing an abortion:(1)AAmust, on the date the abortion is performed orinduced, have active admitting privileges at a hospital that:(A)AAis located not further than 30 miles from thelocation at which the abortion is performed or induced; and(B)AAprovides obstetrical or gynecological healthcare services; and(2)AAshall provide the pregnant woman with:(A)AAa telephone number by which the pregnant 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A22
woman may reach the physician, or other health care personnelemployed by the physician or by the facility at which the abortionwas performed or induced with access to the woman's relevantmedical records, 24 hours a day to request assistance for anycomplications that arise from the performance or induction of theabortion or ask health-related questions regarding the abortion;and(B)AAthe name and telephone number of the nearesthospital to the home of the pregnant woman at which an emergencyarising from the abortion would be treated.(b)AAA physician who violates Subsection (a) commits anoffense. An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanorpunishable by a fine only, not to exceed $4,000.SECTIONA3.AAChapter 171, Health and Safety Code, is amendedby adding Subchapters C and D to read as follows:SUBCHAPTERAC.AAABORTION PROHIBITED AT OR AFTER 20 WEEKSPOST-FERTILIZATIONSec.A171.041.AASHORT TITLE. This subchapter may be cited asthe Preborn Pain Act.Sec.A171.042.AADEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:(1)AA"Post-fertilization age" means the age of theunborn child as calculated from the fusion of a human spermatozoonwith a human ovum.(2)AA"Severe fetal abnormality" has the meaningassigned by Section 285.202.Sec.A171.043.AADETERMINATION OF POST-FERTILIZATION AGEREQUIRED. Except as otherwise provided by Section 171.046, a 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A23
physician may not perform or induce or attempt to perform or inducean abortion without, prior to the procedure:(1)AAmaking a determination of the probablepost-fertilization age of the unborn child; or(2)AApossessing and relying on a determination of theprobable post-fertilization age of the unborn child made by anotherphysician.Sec.A171.044.AAABORTION OF UNBORN CHILD OF 20 OR MORE WEEKSPOST-FERTILIZATION AGE PROHIBITED. Except as otherwise provided bySection 171.046, a person may not perform or induce or attempt toperform or induce an abortion on a woman if it has been determined,by the physician performing, inducing, or attempting to perform orinduce the abortion or by another physician on whose determinationthat physician relies, that the probable post-fertilization age ofthe unborn child is 20 or more weeks.Sec.A171.045.AAMETHOD OF ABORTION. (a)AAThis sectionapplies only to an abortion authorized under Section 171.046(a)(1)or (2) in which:(1)AAthe probable post-fertilization age of the unbornchild is 20 or more weeks; or(2)AAthe probable post-fertilization age of the unbornchild has not been determined but could reasonably be 20 or moreweeks.(b)AAExcept as otherwise provided by Section 171.046(a)(3),a physician performing an abortion under Subsection (a) shallterminate the pregnancy in the manner that, in the physician'sreasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A24
unborn child to survive.Sec.A171.046.AAEXCEPTIONS. (a)AAThe prohibitions andrequirements under Sections 171.043, 171.044, and 171.045(b) do notapply to an abortion performed if there exists a condition that, inthe physician's reasonable medical judgment, so complicates themedical condition of the woman that, to avert the woman's death or aserious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment ofa major bodily function, other than a psychological condition, itnecessitates, as applicable:(1)AAthe immediate abortion of her pregnancy withoutthe delay necessary to determine the probable post-fertilizationage of the unborn child;(2)AAthe abortion of her pregnancy even though thepost-fertilization age of the unborn child is 20 or more weeks; or(3)AAthe use of a method of abortion other than a methoddescribed by Section 171.045(b).(b)AAA physician may not take an action authorized underSubsection (a) if the risk of death or a substantial andirreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function arisesfrom a claim or diagnosis that the woman will engage in conduct thatmay result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physicalimpairment of a major bodily function.(c)AAThe prohibitions and requirements under Sections171.043, 171.044, and 171.045(b) do not apply to an abortionperformed on an unborn child who has a severe fetal abnormality.Sec.A171.047.AAPROTECTION OF PRIVACY IN COURT PROCEEDINGS.(a)AAExcept as otherwise provided by this section, in a civil or 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A25
criminal proceeding or action involving an act prohibited underthis subchapter, the identity of the woman on whom an abortion hasbeen performed or induced or attempted to be performed or induced isnot subject to public disclosure if the woman does not give consentto disclosure.(b)AAUnless the court makes a ruling under Subsection (c) toallow disclosure of the woman's identity, the court shall issueorders to the parties, witnesses, and counsel and shall direct thesealing of the record and exclusion of individuals from courtroomsor hearing rooms to the extent necessary to protect the woman'sidentity from public disclosure.(c)AAA court may order the disclosure of information that isconfidential under this section if:(1)AAa motion is filed with the court requestingrelease of the information and a hearing on that request;(2)AAnotice of the hearing is served on each interestedparty; and(3)AAthe court determines after the hearing and an incamera review that disclosure is essential to the administration ofjustice and there is no reasonable alternative to disclosure.Sec.A171.048.AACONSTRUCTION OF SUBCHAPTER. (a)AAThissubchapter shall be construed, as a matter of state law, to beenforceable up to but no further than the maximum possible extentconsistent with federal constitutional requirements, even if thatconstruction is not readily apparent, as such constructions areauthorized only to the extent necessary to save the subchapter fromjudicial invalidation. Judicial reformation of statutory language 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A26
is explicitly authorized only to the extent necessary to save thestatutory provision from invalidity.(b)AAIf any court determines that a provision of thissubchapter is unconstitutionally vague, the court shall interpretthe provision, as a matter of state law, to avoid the vaguenessproblem and shall enforce the provision to the maximum possibleextent. If a federal court finds any provision of this subchapteror its application to any person, group of persons, orcircumstances to be unconstitutionally vague and declines to imposethe saving construction described by this subsection, the SupremeCourt of Texas shall provide an authoritative construction of theobjectionable statutory provisions that avoids the constitutionalproblems while enforcing the statute's restrictions to the maximumpossible extent, and shall agree to answer any question certifiedfrom a federal appellate court regarding the statute.(c)AAA state executive or administrative official may notdecline to enforce this subchapter, or adopt a construction of thissubchapter in a way that narrows its applicability, based on theofficial's own beliefs about what the state or federal constitutionrequires, unless the official is enjoined by a state or federalcourt from enforcing this subchapter.(d)AAThis subchapter may not be construed to authorize theprosecution of or a cause of action to be brought against a woman onwhom an abortion is performed or induced or attempted to beperformed or induced in violation of this subchapter.SUBCHAPTERAD.AAABORTION-INDUCING DRUGSSec.A171.061.AADEFINITIONS. In this subchapter: 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A27
(1)AA"Abortion" means the act of using, administering,prescribing, or otherwise providing an instrument, a drug, amedicine, or any other substance, device, or means with the intentto terminate a clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman and withknowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonablelikelihood, cause the death of the woman's unborn child. An act isnot an abortion if the act is done with the intent to:(A)AAsave the life or preserve the health of anunborn child;(B)AAremove a dead, unborn child whose death wascaused by spontaneous abortion;(C)AAremove an ectopic pregnancy; or(D)AAtreat a maternal disease or illness for whicha prescribed drug, medicine, or other substance is indicated.(2)AA"Abortion-inducing drug" means a drug, a medicine,or any other substance, including a regimen of two or more drugs,medicines, or substances, prescribed, dispensed, or administeredwith the intent of terminating a clinically diagnosable pregnancyof a woman and with knowledge that the termination will, withreasonable likelihood, cause the death of the woman's unborn child.The term includes off-label use of drugs, medicines, or othersubstances known to have abortion-inducing properties that areprescribed, dispensed, or administered with the intent of causingan abortion, including the Mifeprex regimen. The term does notinclude a drug, medicine, or other substance that may be known tocause an abortion but is prescribed, dispensed, or administered forother medical reasons. 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A28
(3)AA"Final printed label" or "FPL" means theinformational document approved by the United States Food and DrugAdministration for an abortion-inducing drug that:(A)AAoutlines the protocol authorized by thatagency and agreed to by the drug company applying for authorizationof the drug by that agency; and(B)AAdelineates how a drug is to be used accordingto approval by that agency.(4)AA"Gestational age" means the amount of time thathas elapsed since the first day of a woman's last menstrual period.(5)AA"Medical abortion" means the administration or useof an abortion-inducing drug to induce an abortion.(6)AA"Mifeprex regimen," "RU-486 regimen," or "RU-486"means the abortion-inducing drug regimen approved by the UnitedStates Food and Drug Administration that consists of administeringmifepristone and misoprostol.(7)AA"Physician" means an individual who is licensed topractice medicine in this state, including a medical doctor and adoctor of osteopathic medicine.(8)AA"Pregnant" means the female reproductivecondition of having an unborn child in a woman's uterus.(9)AA"Unborn child" means an offspring of human beingsfrom conception until birth.Sec.A171.062.AAENFORCEMENT BY TEXAS MEDICAL BOARD.Notwithstanding Section 171.005, the Texas Medical Board shallenforce this subchapter.Sec.A171.063.AADISTRIBUTION OF ABORTION-INDUCING DRUG. 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A29
(a)AAA person may not knowingly give, sell, dispense, administer,provide, or prescribe an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant womanfor the purpose of inducing an abortion in the pregnant woman orenabling another person to induce an abortion in the pregnant womanunless:(1)AAthe person who gives, sells, dispenses,administers, provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug isa physician; and(2)AAexcept as otherwise provided by Subsection (b),the provision, prescription, or administration of theabortion-inducing drug satisfies the protocol tested andauthorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration asoutlined in the final printed label of the abortion-inducing drug.(b)AAA person may provide, prescribe, or administer theabortion-inducing drug in the dosage amount prescribed by theclinical management guidelines defined by the American Congress ofObstetricians and Gynecologists Practice Bulletin as thoseguidelines existed on January 1, 2013.(c)AABefore the physician gives, sells, dispenses,administers, provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug,the physician must examine the pregnant woman and document, in thewoman's medical record, the gestational age and intrauterinelocation of the pregnancy.(d)AAThe physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug shall provide thepregnant woman with:(1)AAa copy of the final printed label of that 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A210
abortion-inducing drug; and(2)AAa telephone number by which the pregnant woman mayreach the physician, or other health care personnel employed by thephysician or by the facility at which the abortion was performedwith access to the woman's relevant medical records, 24 hours a dayto request assistance for any complications that arise from theadministration or use of the drug or ask health-related questionsregarding the administration or use of the drug.(e)AAThe physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug, or thephysician's agent, must schedule a follow-up visit for the woman tooccur not more than 14 days after the administration or use of thedrug. At the follow-up visit, the physician must:(1)AAconfirm that the pregnancy is completelyterminated; and(2)AAassess the degree of bleeding.(f)AAThe physician who gives, sells, dispenses, administers,provides, or prescribes the abortion-inducing drug, or thephysician's agent, shall make a reasonable effort to ensure thatthe woman returns for the scheduled follow-up visit underSubsection (e). The physician or the physician's agent shalldocument a brief description of any effort made to comply with thissubsection, including the date, time, and name of the person makingthe effort, in the woman's medical record.(g)AAIf a physician gives, sells, dispenses, administers,provides, or prescribes an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnantwoman for the purpose of inducing an abortion as authorized by this 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A211
section and the physician knows that the woman experiences aserious adverse event, as defined by the MedWatch Reporting System,during or after the administration or use of the drug, the physicianshall report the event to the United States Food and DrugAdministration through the MedWatch Reporting System not later thanthe third day after the date the physician learns that the eventoccurred.Sec.A171.064.AAADMINISTRATIVE PENALTY. (a)AAThe TexasMedical Board may take disciplinary action under Chapter 164,Occupations Code, or assess an administrative penalty underSubchapter A, Chapter 165, Occupations Code, against a person whoviolates Section 171.063.(b)AAA penalty may not be assessed under this section againsta pregnant woman who receives a medical abortion.SECTIONA4.AASection 245.010(a), Health and Safety Code, isamended to read as follows:(a)AAThe rules must contain minimum standards to protect thehealth and safety of a patient of an abortion facility and mustcontain provisions requiring compliance with the requirements ofSubchapter B, Chapter 171.On and after September 1, 2014, theminimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent tothe minimum standards adopted under Section 243.010 for ambulatorysurgical centers.SECTIONA5.AASection 245.011(c), Health and Safety Code, isamended to read as follows:(c)AAThe report must include:(1)AAwhether the abortion facility at which the 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A212
abortion is performed is licensed under this chapter;(2)AAthe patient's year of birth, race, marital status,and state and county of residence;(3)AAthe type of abortion procedure;(4)AAthe date the abortion was performed;(5)AAwhether the patient survived the abortion, and ifthe patient did not survive, the cause of death;(6)AAtheprobable post-fertilization age of the unbornchild [period of gestation] based on the best medical judgment ofthe attending physician at the time of the procedure;(7)AAthe date, if known, of the patient's last menstrualcycle;(8)AAthe number of previous live births of the patient;and(9)AAthe number of previous induced abortions of thepatient.SECTIONA6.AASection 164.052(a), Occupations Code, is amendedto read as follows:(a)AAA physician or an applicant for a license to practicemedicine commits a prohibited practice if that person:(1)AAsubmits to the board a false or misleadingstatement, document, or certificate in an application for alicense;(2)AApresents to the board a license, certificate, ordiploma that was illegally or fraudulently obtained;(3)AAcommits fraud or deception in taking or passing anexamination; 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A213
(4)AAuses alcohol or drugs in an intemperate mannerthat, in the board's opinion, could endanger a patient's life;(5)AAcommits unprofessional or dishonorable conductthat is likely to deceive or defraud the public, as provided bySection 164.053, or injure the public;(6)AAuses an advertising statement that is false,misleading, or deceptive;(7)AAadvertises professional superiority or theperformance of professional service in a superior manner if thatadvertising is not readily subject to verification;(8)AApurchases, sells, barters, or uses, or offers topurchase, sell, barter, or use, a medical degree, license,certificate, or diploma, or a transcript of a license, certificate,or diploma in or incident to an application to the board for alicense to practice medicine;(9)AAalters, with fraudulent intent, a medical license,certificate, or diploma, or a transcript of a medical license,certificate, or diploma;(10)AAuses a medical license, certificate, or diploma,or a transcript of a medical license, certificate, or diploma thathas been:(A)AAfraudulently purchased or issued;(B)AAcounterfeited; or(C)AAmaterially altered;(11)AAimpersonates or acts as proxy for another personin an examination required by this subtitle for a medical license;(12)AAengages in conduct that subverts or attempts to 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A214
subvert an examination process required by this subtitle for amedical license;(13)AAimpersonates a physician or permits another touse the person's license or certificate to practice medicine inthis state;(14)AAdirectly or indirectly employs a person whoselicense to practice medicine has been suspended, canceled, orrevoked;(15)AAassociates in the practice of medicine with aperson:(A)AAwhose license to practice medicine has beensuspended, canceled, or revoked; or(B)AAwho has been convicted of the unlawfulpractice of medicine in this state or elsewhere;(16)AAperforms or procures a criminal abortion, aids orabets in the procuring of a criminal abortion, attempts to performor procure a criminal abortion, or attempts to aid or abet theperformance or procurement of a criminal abortion;(17)AAdirectly or indirectly aids or abets the practiceof medicine by a person, partnership, association, or corporationthat is not licensed to practice medicine by the board;(18)AAperforms an abortion on a woman who is pregnantwith a viable unborn child during the third trimester of thepregnancy unless:(A)AAthe abortion is necessary to prevent thedeath of the woman;(B)AAthe viable unborn child has a severe, 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A215
irreversible brain impairment; or(C)AAthe woman is diagnosed with a significantlikelihood of suffering imminent severe, irreversible brain damageor imminent severe, irreversible paralysis; [or](19)AAperforms an abortion on an unemancipated minorwithout the written consent of the child's parent, managingconservator, or legal guardian or without a court order, asprovided by Section 33.003 or 33.004, Family Code, authorizing theminor to consent to the abortion, unless the physician concludesthat on the basis of the physician's good faith clinical judgment, acondition exists that complicates the medical condition of thepregnant minor and necessitates the immediate abortion of herpregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a serious risk ofsubstantial impairment of a major bodily function and that there isinsufficient time to obtain the consent of the child's parent,managing conservator, or legal guardian; or(20)AAperforms or induces or attempts to perform orinduce an abortion in violation of Subchapter C, Chapter 171,Health and Safety Code.SECTIONA7.AASection 164.055(b), Occupations Code, is amendedto read as follows:(b)AAThe sanctions provided by Subsection (a) are in additionto any other grounds for refusal to admit persons to examinationunder this subtitle or to issue a license or renew a license topractice medicine under this subtitle. The criminal penaltiesprovided by Section 165.152 do not apply to a violation of Section170.002or Subchapter C, Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code. 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A216
SECTIONA8.AAEffective September 1, 2014, Section 245.010(c),Health and Safety Code, is repealed.SECTIONA9.AAThis Act may not be construed to repeal, byimplication or otherwise, Section 164.052(a)(18), OccupationsCode, Section 170.002, Health and Safety Code, or any otherprovision of Texas law regulating or restricting abortion notspecifically addressed by this Act. An abortion that complies withthis Act but violates any other law is unlawful. An abortion thatcomplies with another state law but violates this Act is unlawful asprovided in this Act.SECTIONA10.AA(a)AAIf some or all of the provisions of thisAct are ever temporarily or permanently restrained or enjoined byjudicial order, all other provisions of Texas law regulating orrestricting abortion shall be enforced as though the restrained orenjoined provisions had not been adopted; provided, however, thatwhenever the temporary or permanent restraining order or injunctionis stayed or dissolved, or otherwise ceases to have effect, theprovisions shall have full force and effect.(b)AAMindful ofLeavitt v. Jane L., 518 U.S. 137 (1996), inwhich in the context of determining the severability of a statestatute regulating abortion the United States Supreme Court heldthat an explicit statement of legislative intent is controlling, itis the intent of the legislature that every provision, section,subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word in this Act, andevery application of the provisions in this Act, are severable fromeach other. If any application of any provision in this Act to anyperson, group of persons, or circumstances is found by a court to be 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A217
invalid, the remaining applications of that provision to all otherpersons and circumstances shall be severed and may not be affected.All constitutionally valid applications of this Act shall besevered from any applications that a court finds to be invalid,leaving the valid applications in force, because it is thelegislature's intent and priority that the valid applications beallowed to stand alone. Even if a reviewing court finds a provisionof this Act to impose an undue burden in a large or substantialfraction of relevant cases, the applications that do not present anundue burden shall be severed from the remaining provisions andshall remain in force, and shall be treated as if the legislaturehad enacted a statute limited to the persons, group of persons, orcircumstances for which the statute's application does not presentan undue burden. The legislature further declares that it wouldhave passed this Act, and each provision, section, subsection,sentence, clause, phrase, or word, and all constitutionalapplications of this Act, irrespective of the fact that anyprovision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word,or applications of this Act, were to be declared unconstitutionalor to represent an undue burden.(c)AAIf Subchapter C, Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, asadded by this Act, prohibiting abortions performed on an unbornchild 20 or more weeks after fertilization is found by any court tobe invalid or to impose an undue burden as applied to any person,group of persons, or circumstances, the prohibition shall apply tothat person or group of persons or circumstances on the earliestdate on which the subchapter can be constitutionally applied. 123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627H.B.ANo.A218
(d)AAIf any provision of this Act is found by any court to beunconstitutionally vague, then the applications of that provisionthat do not present constitutional vagueness problems shall besevered and remain in force.SECTIONA11.AA(a)AAThe executive commissioner of the Healthand Human Services Commission shall adopt the standards required bySection 245.010, Health and Safety Code, as amended by this Act, notlater than January 1, 2014.(b)AAA facility licensed under Chapter 245, Health and SafetyCode, is not required to comply with the standards adopted underSection 245.010, Health and Safety Code, as amended by this Act,before September 1, 2014.SECTIONA12.AAThis Act takes effect immediately if itreceives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to eachhouse, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediateeffect, this Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day ofthe legislative session. 123456789101112131415161718H.B.ANo.A219
______________________________ ______________________________AAAAPresident of the Senate Speaker of the HouseAAAAAAI certify that H.B. No. 2 was passed by the House on July 10,2013, by the following vote:AAYeas 96, Nays 49, 1 present, notvoting.______________________________Chief Clerk of the HouseAAAI certify that H.B. No. 2 was passed by the Senate on July 12,2013, by the following vote:AAYeas 19, Nays 11.______________________________Secretary of the SenateAAAAAPPROVED:AA_____________________AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADateAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA_____________________AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGovernorAAAAAAAH.B.ANo.A220
'Multicultural Toilets' For 'Global Defecation' Seek To Stop Migrants Pooping On The Floor - Breitbart
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 09:39
Multiple reports have emerged of recent arrivals finding themselves utterly ''mystified'' by Western loos. Some have resorted to doing their business on the floor or outdoors, others have used showers, and many migrants will have never seen toilet paper before.
The issue caused some serious confusion last year, with one small German village being accused of racism after issuing leaflets politely asking migrants to use to the correct facilities.
With 1.5 million migrants from the Middle East and North Africa arriving in the country last year, solving the problem without facing such accusations of bigotry presents a sizeable business opportunity.
Enter the Global Fliegenschmidt toilet manufacturers based in Coswig, Saxony-Anhalt, who have announced their plans to develop a mobile ''multicultural toilet'' complete with a squatting platform and water hose for migrant friendly sanitation.
The design was shown to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung national newspaper, who gave a gloriously politically correct write up of the new product, branding it, ''Universally applicable: the refugee toilet is ideal for the globalised defecation.''
''Because everyone knows: Different cultures also mean different scale latrines. For Muslims, it is important that when using a toilet, one's back does not face Mecca. In addition, latrines for men and women have to separate from each other, and the floor cannot be green in colour, because that is the colour of Islam'', reads their report.
The article describes refugees standing on toilet bowls and breaking them, and some who resort to defecating in bushes.
''German toilets are a mystery to many refugees and this has already led to problems. A new mobile multicultural toilet should remedy this'--and along the way teach something about the coexistence of cultures'', declares the article.
In concludes: ''And so, as the refugees have brought about many changes in German society solely by their presence'... so is it now with the toilet in the future with this pressing issue.
''With some justification, one could say: Here we can even learn something from the refugees.''
New U.S. Assistance to Respond to Syria Crisis
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:32
Secretary Kerry announced today that the United States is providing nearly $601 million in additional life-saving humanitarian assistance for those affected by the war in Syria. This new funding brings U.S. humanitarian assistance in response to this conflict to more than $5.1 billion since the start of the crisis. Secretary Kerry also announced more than $290 million in U.S. development assistance for education to Jordan and Lebanon.
The Syrian conflict is the largest and most complex humanitarian emergency of our time, with more than two-thirds of Syria's pre-war population'--17 million people'--in need of humanitarian assistance. Through this humanitarian funding, the United States continues to provide food, shelter, water, medical care, humanitarian protection, and other urgent relief to millions of people suffering inside Syria and 4.6 million refugees from Syria in the region. It also helps mitigate the impact of the crisis on governments and communities throughout the region that are straining to cope with the mass influx of refugees from Syria.
The humanitarian assistance supports the operations of the United Nations, other international organizations, and non-governmental organizations. Through these organizations, the United States is able to provide assistance in all 14 governorates of Syria, helping the people who need it most'--and ultimately saving lives and alleviating suffering amid daily threats of violence and deprivation.
Our assistance supports critical humanitarian needs including those addressed in the 2016 UN appeal of $8 billion for Syria and the region. Part of the new funding responds directly to the appeal. Contributions from other donors are crucial to meeting emergency needs in 2016. The Assad regime continues to barrel bomb cities, use starvation as a weapon of war, and target civilians in schools, mosques, markets, and hospitals while violent extremist groups like ISIL and Al Nusrah Front also continue to brutalize Syrians every day. In addition to the horror of war in Syria, we also see the plight of refugees fleeing the region to European countries and are reminded of the need to provide humanitarian assistance and to promote inclusion and self-reliance in countries of first asylum. The United States reiterates that all parties to the conflict must cease unlawful attacks on civilians and comply with international law.
More than $290 million in U.S. development assistance will continue to support the Jordanian and Lebanese ministries of education in their goal of increasing access to high-quality education and supporting learning for all students, including Syrian refugees. Our education assistance will reach approximately 230,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, and 62,000 in Lebanon.
The United States recognizes that along with emergency relief, we must address the long-term development needs of Syria's neighbors, and the funding we are providing will continue to support communities in neighboring countries that have so generously hosted those refugees. There are 4.6 million Syrian refugees in the region today, the vast majority of whom receive support in the first country to which they flee. As we saw with the exodus to Europe this summer, Syrians who cannot find protection and assistance in Syria and neighboring countries, make difficult decisions to undertake dangerous journeys at great personal peril.
The humanitarian crises around the world have made painfully clear that despite our best efforts, all nations must do more. As Secretary Kerry recently announced, the United States is seeking commitments to expand the humanitarian safety net and create more long-term, durable opportunities for refugees worldwide. U.S. efforts to galvanize significant new global commitments will build toward a high-level summit on refugees hosted by President Obama at the United Nations General Assembly in September. This event will be the culmination of a vigorous, sustained diplomatic effort undertaken by the United States over the coming months to increase humanitarian assistance, access to resettlement and other legal forms of admission, and refugee self-reliance and inclusion through employment and education.
The United States remains committed to assisting those affected by this terrible war and strongly urges all governments, organizations, and individuals concerned about the situation to support the life-saving aid efforts of UN and other partners.
Highlights of Humanitarian Assistance:
UNHCR: More than $191 million
UNHCR's Syria operation is now the organization's largest refugee assistance operation; UNHCR provides both immediate support to new refugees and continuous support to vulnerable refugees. UNHCR also works with other UN agencies to assist persons in need inside Syria. The funding allows UNHCR to continue providing refugees and internally-displaced persons with shelter, protection (including registration, child protection, gender-based violence prevention and response, and mental health support), and daily necessities, either in-kind such as blankets, bedding, and cooking utensils or through cash assistance. UNHCR's efforts are increasingly focused on assistance to non-camp refugees and host communities as well as refugees in camps. In various locations throughout the region, in addition to the above, UNHCR also works in the areas of education, health care and employment support.
WFP: $83 million
Millions of Syrians, both inside the country and in neighboring countries, cannot independently fulfill their basic food needs and risk going hungry without continued international assistance. New USG funding will enable WFP to continue vital food assistance to millions of conflict-affected people inside Syria and to Syrian refugees in five neighboring countries. With USG support, WFP will continue to provide monthly household food parcels inside Syria, as well as vouchers to pregnant women and nursing mothers to improve their nutrition. In neighboring countries, WFP will continue to provide food voucher debit cards, which refugees use to buy groceries in local supermarkets, improving household nutrition and the appropriateness of available foods. To date, the food voucher debit cards have injected $1.25 billion into the economies of Syria's neighbors, creating economic benefits for the nations and communities hosting refugees.
UNICEF: More than $73 million
Syria's children continue to pay a heavy toll in the conflict. They constitute half of Syria's refugees and internally displaced persons. Inside Syria, over two million children are out of school and one of every four schools has been damaged or destroyed. As a result, many Syrian children in the country have little or no access to educational opportunities, and those arriving in neighboring countries as refugees are behind in schooling and face limited education opportunities. Today's announcement allows UNICEF to continue its child protection, education, child health, vaccinations and water and sanitation programs throughout the region, demonstrating the United States' strong support of the No Lost Generation initiative to invest in the future of the region.
Humanitarian Assistance Funding Numbers by Organization
If a scroll bar appears below the following table, swipe the table to move left/right of the dashed line.
This Announcement
New Total '' Since FY 2012
$191 million
$1.3 billion
$83 million
$1.3 billion
$159 million
$1.3 billion
$73 million
$465 million
$48 million
$329 million
$32 million
$181 million
$7 million
$55 million
$1 million
$45 million
$7 million
$38 million
Other International Organizations
$34 million
Other (admin)
$7.4 million
$601 million
$5.1 billion
Note: Amounts may not sum to column total due to rounding
U.S. Humanitarian Assistance for the Syria Crisis, By Country
INSIDE SYRIA: Nearly $314 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $2.6 billion
U.S. humanitarian assistance continues to provide critical, life-saving support to millions of people across Syria. The new U.S. contribution supports life-saving emergency food assistance, including monthly household food parcels, flour to bakeries, and food vouchers. The contribution also supports medical care, cash assistance for emergency needs, funding for shelters, water, and sanitation and hygiene projects to help those affected by the crisis. It also provides critical relief supplies and much-needed counseling and protection programs to help the most vulnerable, including children, women, persons with disabilities, and the elderly.
LEBANON: More than $133 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $1.1 billion
The UN estimates that Lebanon is the highest per capita refugee host country in the world, with over one million Syrian refugees, in addition to approximately 42,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria and the longstanding Palestinian refugee population in Lebanon. Today's announcement provides additional support to both refugees and Lebanese host communities. With the additional funding, the UN and international organization partners in Lebanon can continue to deliver shelter assistance, food voucher debit cards, education, health care, cash assistance for emergency needs, and basic relief items like blankets, heaters, and hygiene kits. For many of the non-food sectors, the UN uses efficient electronic cards to distribute aid and reach more people in need.
The additional U.S. funding also supports vulnerable Lebanese communities hosting refugees by rehabilitating the municipal water and sanitation systems, supporting local community centers, providing supplies and new equipment to health clinics, and improving school facilities.
JORDAN: More than $62 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $730 million
In Jordan, nearly 85 percent of Syrian refugees live in Jordanian towns and cities '-- not refugee camps. While U.S. funding will continue to support refugees living in camps, it also supports non-camp refugees seeking to ensure all refugees have civil documentation and refugee registration. The funding will provide continued food voucher debit cards to families, cash assistance to meet basic needs, maternal and child health care, and rehabilitation of inadequate shelter with the goal of ensuring refugees do not have to resort to desperate efforts to earn money, such as sending children to work instead of going to school. This funding also goes toward education support so that all children can access the education they need and deserve and, for the nearly 90,000 children who cannot be accommodated in public schools, this funding provides informal educational activities in child and adolescent-friendly spaces and psychosocial support to recover from the trauma suffered in Syria. Finally, U.S. funding supports life- saving food, shelter, water and healthcare for the nearly 20,000 Syrians stranded at the Jordanian border with Syria.
U.S. funding also includes support to UNRWA for the needs of more than 16,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan who have fled the conflict in Syria, by providing them with cash assistance for essential needs and helping them to access health care and educational services.
TURKEY: Nearly $54 million. New total since FY 2012: Nearly $379 million
U.S. funding assists Turkey in addressing the humanitarian and protection needs of over 2.5 million Syrian refugees in Turkish urban areas, host communities, and camps. Funding to UNHCR provides access to legal protection, greater psychosocial support and prevention of gender based violence; tents, blankets, and kitchen sets; targeted support to particularly vulnerable refugees; and technical support to government authorities. Funding for UNICEF helps build additional schools, pay teachers' stipends to provide quality education, buys school supplies and provides programming for children that emphasizes life skills. Through the World Food Program, the U.S. provides refugees food voucher debit cards that allow families to purchase nutritious food items. Support for the International Organization of Migration supports basic household needs for refugees, school transportation, mental health support, and shelter. The UN Population Fund provides women with hygiene kits, reproductive counseling, gender-based violence prevention and response services, youth programming, and language training. Funding to WHO supports the establishment of temporary heath centers and programs that help recertify and train Syrian doctors to join the Turkish healthcare system.
IRAQ: Nearly $24 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $228 million
In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government hosts 96 percent of Syrian refugees in the country, and has provided more than 2,000 square miles of land for the establishment of 11 camp and transit sites. This additional funding aims to repair health centers, expand schools, and improve water sanitation systems in refugee and host communities, as well as to manage and maintain camps. Other funding is going towards food voucher debit cards, initiatives targeting women and girls, to provide vocational and language training, general literacy training, and reproductive health, in addition to raising awareness about gender-based violence and early marriage issues. Assistance will also provide child protection activities, including recreational activities and psychosocial care.
EGYPT: $13 million. New total since FY 2012: More than $102 million
Our increased funding will help to provide increasingly critical protection and assistance to the all-urban Syrian refugee caseload in Egypt. The U.S. contribution enables humanitarian partners to expand assistance in major refugee-hosting cities such as Cairo and Alexandria with community-focused projects for refugees and host families in an effort to address the deteriorating protection environment. Assistance also targets prevention of and responsiveness to sexual and gender-based violence, protection and education for children, increased self-reliance and livelihood opportunities, distribution of food voucher debit cards, and improved access to health care services.
Humanitarian Assistance Funding Numbers by Country
If a scroll bar appears below the following table, swipe the table to move left/right of the dashed line.
This Announcement
Total '' Since FY 2012
Inside Syria
$314 million
$2.6 billion
$133 million
$1.1 billion
$62 million
$730 million
$54 million
$379 million
$24 million
$228 million
$13 million
$102 million
$1 million
$11 million
$601 million
$5.1 billion
Note: Amounts may not sum to column total due to rounding
For more detailed information on the U.S. government's response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, please visit: www.usaid.gov/crisis/syria and http://www.state.gov/refugeeresponse.
Dutch 'no' on Ukraine pact would force rethink, minister says
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:40
Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders reacts during a news conference in Havana, May 7, 2015.
AMSTERDAM The Dutch government would be obliged to reconsider its position on an EU pact establishing closer ties with Ukraine if it loses an upcoming referendum on the issue, the country's foreign minister said, but he stopped short of saying a "no" vote would scupper the treaty.
The referendum is not binding, but most Dutch parties have said they would respect a rejection by voters, which could plunge the European Union into crisis when tensions with Russia run higher than at any time since the Cold War.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Foreign Minister Bert Koenders rejected claims by opponents of the association agreement that it was a first step toward EU membership for war-torn Ukraine, which is battling Moscow-backed rebels in its East.
"The referendum law says the government will have to reconsider if there is a (negative) outcome," he said, adding that he would argue for a 'yes" vote. "I'm not going to say anything about the result, but we will then decide what to do."
The April 6 consultative referendum on the 394-page treaty was triggered after the anti-EU satirical website GeenStijl collected more than 400,000 signatures.
It is one of several challenges faced by the 28-member bloc, which is dealing with an unprecedented migration crisis, sluggish economic growth, a British referendum on membership and a struggle for influence with regional rival Moscow.
Koenders said the treaty would promote stability in Ukraine.
Near where he was speaking, an unruly crowd of several hundred gathered for a demonstration by the Dutch offshoot of German anti-immigration movement Pegida, hoisting Dutch and German flags and anti-Muslim slogans.
"I'm voting 'no'," said Nick, who had traveled from the eastern town of Enschede to participate in the demonstration, at which several arrests were made. "I'm simply against the EU. It's destroying our national identities."
Many voters, worried about the impact of immigration and the EU on their economic security after years of sluggish growth, see the referendum as a rare opportunity to cast a vote against the bloc.
But Russia, which is widely blamed for the 2014 downing of an airliner over Ukraine with 298 aboard, two thirds of them Dutch, may be even more unpopular.
"A vote against the association treaty is a nod to the Kremlin and pro-Russian rebels," wrote columnist Bert Lanting in the Volkskrant newspaper on Saturday. "It is a vote for the people who in all likelihood brought down flight MH-17."
(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Toby Chopra)
Prospect of Turkish Military Invasion in Syria is Very High
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:39
Senior Fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov told Radio Sputnik that the prospect of Turkey's military invasion in Syria is ''very high.''
The current activity at the Turkish-Syrian border suggests that Turkey is preparing to invade Syria, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Thursday.For its part, the Saudi Arabian authorities have declared readiness to take part in a ground operationin Syria. According to the Minister of Defense of the Kingdom Advisor Gen. Ahmed Asiri, in the Syrian territory, the Saudi military will fight only with Daesh.
Senior Fellow at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies Boris Dolgov told Radio Sputnik that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have always supported radical Islamists in Syria who are fighting in the Syrian territory against the government army and President Bashar Assad.
''Their goal is to bring to power Sunni forces in Syria. This aim remains in politics of Saudi Arabia and Turkey. In addition, Turkey has an aim of annexing the territory in Syria, home to the Turkmen, which was a part of the Ottoman Empire once.''
Dolgov further said, ''There is also the financial interests of Turkey which is the oil business captured by Daesh. This is also the reason as to why the Turkish leadership right now is supporting radical Islamists,'' the expert told Sputnik.
Earlier, the Russian Defense Ministry provided the international community with irrefutable video evidence of Turkish self-propelled artillery units shelling Syrian settlements in the northern part of Latakia province.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov pointed out that the Russian Defense Ministry has intensified all types of surveillance activity in the Middle East.
''So if someone in Ankara thinks that cancelling a Russian observation flight would help conceal something, that is just the mark of an amateur,'' Konashenkov said.
Boris Dolgov stressing this point said that, ''I believe that Turkey's likelihood of military intervention in Syria is very high. The Turkish leadership has long been saying that the Turkish troops need to protect Syrian civilians. Added to this statement there are allegations suggesting that Russia has bombed civilian objects, which is absolute nonsense. But it can be a pretext for an invasion,'' the expert concluded.
Tunisia finishes Libya border fence intended to keep out militants
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:41
SABKEHT ALYUN, Tunisia Tunisia has completed a 200-km (125 mile) barrier along its frontier with Libya to try to keep out Islamist militants, and will soon install electronic monitoring systems, Defense Minister Farhat Hachani said on Saturday.
Libya's chaos since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 has allowed Islamic State to gain a foothold there, and officials say militants who carried out two major attacks in Tunisia last year had trained in jihadist camps in Libya.
Troops have raised an earth wall and dug trenches 2 km (1.2 miles) from the Libyan border, and European and American military trainers will soon train Tunisian forces to improve electronic surveillance with cameras and radar, Hachani told reporters on a visit to the border.
"Today we finished closing it off, and this will help us protect our border, and stop the threat," he said.
Security forces said the defenses had already helped to reduce smuggling.
Islamic State controls the Libyan city of Sirte and has attacked key oil installations as it expands beyond its heartland in Iraq and Syria.
More than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for Islamic State and other Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, but Hachani said many had now returned to North Africa to join the group in Libya.
Since its own democratic revolution in 2011, Tunisia has been praised as a model of democratic transition, with free elections, a new constitution and a politics of compromise between secular and Islamist parties.
But last year's two major attacks, on a museum in Tunis and a beach hotel in Sousse, dealt heavy blows to its tourist industry, a mainstay of the economy.
(Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
Big Pharma
Everyone Hates Martin Shkreli. Everyone Is Missing the Point - The New Yorker
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:13
The anti-Shkreli argument asks us to be shocked that a medical executive is motivated by profit.Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP / GETTYOn Thursday morning, the most reviled person in America arrived on Capitol Hill for a short but memorable engagement with the most reviled institution in America. The institution was the U.S. Congress, which Americans say they hate'--though not quite enough, apparently, to stop relecting its members. And the person was Martin Shkreli, a pharmaceutical executive who loves to play the villain, and who can't decide whether to be amused or outraged when he is treated accordingly. Donald Trump can rightly be called polarizing, but Shkreli cannot: he seems to have precious few fans to balance out his innumerable detractors.
Shkreli achieved notoriety when his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, bought a drug called Daraprim, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be fatal to H.I.V. patients. After buying the drug, Turing raised its price from less than twenty dollars per tablet to seven hundred and fifty dollars. This was too high, in the judgment of many people who knew the industry, and many more who did not. Experts called the increase ''unjustifiable,'' while those discussing the situation online used less measured language. Shkreli at first said he would lower the price, which scarcely mollified his critics. (One headline: ''Martin Shkreli Lowers Drug Price, Is Still an Asshole.'') Then he said he wouldn't, which increased the outrage'--people were calling him ''pharma bro,'' the personification of a medical industry gone bad.
The word ''bro'' once evoked blithe white-guy gregariousness, but in interviews, and in the frequent online videos he broadcast from his darkened lair, Shkreli seemed brainy and somewhat awkward, like an evil genius. He spoke grandly about his plans and didn't bother to hide his disdain for anyone too dense to understand why higher prices, and higher profits, could be a boon for the industry, and for patients, because the income could fund additional research and development. Then, in December, he was indicted on seven counts of fraud, related to a hedge fund he had co-founded, and he resigned as C.E.O. of Turing. But, by then, his villainy had taken a turn for the whimsical: it was revealed that he had paid two million dollars for an unheard, one-of-a-kind album by the Wu-Tang Clan, and then embarked upon a feud with the Clan's greatest rapper, Ghostface Killah. It was clear that he wanted attention, even though it wasn't always clear what he wanted to do with it.
No matter: on Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform resolved to give him some more of it. Congressional hearings always involve some amount of theater; Shkreli's appearance, however, was nothing but theater, and a rather surreal form of it. Trey Gowdy, a Republican from South Carolina, took a lead role. He told Shkreli, ''This is a great opportunity, if you want to educate the members of Congress about drug pricing, or what you called the 'fictitious' case against you.'' Shkreli had been declining to answer the committee's questions, so Gowdy tried a different approach. ''We can even talk about the purchase of a'--is it Wu-Tang Clan? Is that the name of the album'--the name of the group?''
At that point, Shkreli's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, leaned forward, from a chair behind his client, and whispered something. Shkreli listened, then repeated the answer he had been giving all morning: ''On the advice of counsel, I invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and respectfully decline to answer your question.''
Gowdy turned to the chairman of the committee, Jason Chaffetz, a Republican from Utah. ''Mr. Chairman,'' Gowdy said, soulfully, ''I am stunned that a conversation about an album he purchased could possibly subject him to incrimination.''
The questioning continued this way, with Shkreli sometimes fidgeting, sometimes smiling, and sometimes furrowing his eyebrows, as if he couldn't believe he had to sit through something so ridiculous. Brafman later explained that his client was suffering from a surfeit of ''nervous energy,'' but Shkreli himself provided a different account of his state of mind, via Twitter: ''Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government.''
No one, least of all Shkreli, should be surprised that Thursday's performance inspired a new round of Shkreli-bashing. Perhaps the most eager participant was Jake Tapper, of CNN, who criticized Shkreli's ''smirky smugness'' and added some startlingly violent commentary: ''I'm sure there are many ailing individuals out there who might like to remove Shkreli's smile with the business end of a shovel.''
But was Shkreli's performance actually more objectionable than that of the legislators who were performing alongside him? Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, is the ranking Democrat on the committee, and he used his allotted time to deliver a scolding. ''Somebody's paying for these drugs, and it's the taxpayers that end up paying for some of them,'' he said. ''Those are our constituents.'' In fact, it's hard to figure out exactly who is paying what for Daraprim. Shkreli and Turing have claimed that hospitals and insurance companies will pay, while patients who can't afford it will get a discount, or get it for free. And Nancy Retzlaff, Turing's chief commercial officer, told the committee about her company's efforts to get the drug to people who can't afford it. The arrangement she described sounded like a hodge-podge, an ungainly combination of dizzyingly high prices, mysterious corporate bargaining, and occasional charitable acts'--which is to say, it sounded not so much different from the rest of our medical system.
Even so, Cummings acted as if Shkreli were the only thing preventing a broken system from being fixed. ''I know you're smiling, but I'm very serious, sir,'' he said. ''The way I see it, you can go down in history as the poster boy for greedy drug-company executives, or you can change the system'--yeah, you.'' Cummings has been in Congress since 1996, and he is a firm believer in the power of government to improve industry through regulation. And yet now he was begging the former C.E.O. of a relatively minor pharmaceutical company to ''change the system''? It seemed like an act of abdication.
The Republican-led committee was no more impressive. As if to establish that Turing was unnecessarily profitable, the committee released documents showing that the company had thrown a lavish party'--fireworks included'--and given some executives six-figure raises. (If this now counts as corporate behavior worthy of oversight and reform, the committee may soon find its schedule overbooked.) And then there was John Mica, a Republican from Florida, who has vowed to ''keep the government out of patients' sick beds.'' Notwithstanding his skepticism of government intervention, he expressed alarm that some drug prices have ''skyrocketed.'' Even more than his colleagues, he seemed taken aback by the star witness's recalcitrance, as if he couldn't fathom why a private citizen wouldn't be more deferential to his government'--at one point, he threatened to move to hold Shkreli in contempt.
The Daraprim saga has as much to do with the Food and Drug Administration as with Shkreli: although the drug's patent expired in the nineteen-fifties, the F.D.A. certification process for generic drugs is gruelling enough that, for the moment, whoever owns Daraprim has a virtual monopoly in America. (Overseas, it is much cheaper.) One of the witnesses on Thursday was Janet Woodcock, an F.D.A. official in charge of drug evaluation. Mica asked her about reports that a number of drugs had doubled or quadrupled in price in recent years. Woodcock said, ''Congress has not really vested any authority for the F.D.A. over pricing, so we do not follow that.'' If Mica wants to lower drug prices by encouraging competition, then he should concentrate on changing the regulatory process. And he should be aware that his plan will require more medical entrepreneurs, not fewer.
One of the strangest things about the anti-Shkreli argument is that it asks us to be shocked that a medical executive is motivated by profit. And one of the strangest things about Shkreli himself is that he doesn't seem to be motivated by profit'--at least, not entirely. Last fall, Derek Lowe, a chemist and blogger affiliated with Science, criticized Shkreli's plan to raise prices as a ''terrible idea,'' not least because such an ostentatious plan posed ''a serious risk of bringing the entire pricing structure of the industry under much heavier scrutiny and regulation.'' He called on the pharmaceutical industry to denounce Shkreli as a means of protecting its own business model; from an economic point of view, Shkreli's strategy seemed self-defeating. At least one person close to Shkreli seems to have agreed. One of the most revealing documents uncovered by the committee showed an unnamed executive imploring him not to raise the price of Daraprim again, saying that the risk of another media firestorm outweighed the benefit. ''Investors just don't like this stuff,'' the e-mail said. Shkreli's response was coolly noncommittal: ''We can wait a few months for sure.''
A truly greedy executive would keep a much lower profile than Shkreli: there would be no headline-grabbing exponential price hikes, just boring but reliable ticks upward; no interviews, no tweeting, and absolutely no hip-hop feuds. A truly greedy executive would stay more or less anonymous. (How many other pharmaceutical C.E.O.s can you name?) But Shkreli seems intent on proving a point about money and medicine, and you don't have to agree with his assessment in order to appreciate the service he has done us all. By showing what is legal, he has helped us to think about what we might want to change, and what we might need to learn to live with.
Most of our Presidential candidates claim to disdain Washington politicians, but, on Thursday, Shkreli put that disdain into practice'--and helped illustrate, to anyone paying attention, why it is so richly deserved. He is candid even when candor doesn't pay. (Can there be any doubt that Hillary Clinton, after her own recent appearance before Gowdy and some of his colleagues, would have loved to send a tweet like Shkreli's?) Last fall, Trump said that Shkreli ''looks like a spoiled brat''; in fact, he is the son of a doorman, born to parents who emigrated from Albania. Look at him now! True, he has those indictments to worry about. But he is also a self-made celebrity, thanks to a business plan that makes it harder for us to ignore the incoherence and inefficiency of our medical industry. He rolls his eyes at members of Congress, he carries on thoughtful conversations with random Internet commenters, and, unlike most of our public figures, he may never learn the arts of pandering and grovelling. He is the American Dream, a rude reminder of the spirit that makes this country great, or at any rate exceptional. Shkreli for President! If voters in New Hampshire are truly intent on sending a message to the Washington establishment they claim to hate, they could'--and probably will'--do a lot worse.
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Martin Shkreli - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:47
Martin Shkreli (;[2] born April 1, 1983)[3] is an American entrepreneur and financial and pharmaceutical executive. He is co-founder of the hedge fund MSMB Capital Management, co-founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of the biotechnology firm Retrophin, and founder and former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals. In September 2015, Shkreli received widespread criticism when Turing obtained the manufacturing license for the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,556 percent (from US$13.50 to US$750 per tablet) leading him to be referred to by media as the "most hated man in America".[4]
On December 17, 2015, Shkreli was arrested by the FBI on charges of securities fraud and released on bail.[1][5] He resigned as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals and was replaced by the company's board chairman, Ron Tilles.[6][7][8]
Early life and educationMartin Shkreli was born April 1, 1983,[3] the son of Albanian and Croatian immigrants who worked as janitors.[9] He, his two sisters, and his brother grew up in a working class community in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.[4][10][11][12]
Shkreli attended Hunter College High School. Shkreli dropped out before his senior year due to lack of interest,[13] but received the credits necessary for his diploma through a program that placed him in an internship at the Wall Street hedge fund Cramer, Berkowitz and Company[12] when he was 17.[4][14] Sources are conflicted on whether Shkreli graduated from Hunter[10] or whether he received sufficient credits there but actually graduated from City-As-School High School.[15]
Shkreli went on to receive a bachelor's degree in business administration from New York's Baruch College in 2005.[4] Shkreli told Vanity Fair that he developed an interest in chemistry when a family member suffered from treatment-resistant depression.[3] In March 2015, Hunter College High School announced that Shkreli had donated $1,000,000 to them.[16] According to The New York Times, "Hunter officials [originally] hailed the gift, with the alumni association's website declaring 'Martin Shkreli, from the Class of 2001, donates $1,000,000 to HCHS!' When asked [later] whether Hunter was considering returning the money, a press officer declined to comment. Two members of the alumni association did not respond to emails. Several classmates say that when they heard about Mr. Shkreli's gift, they could not help but wonder whether it was meant as a sly act of one-upmanship." One of the classmates told the Times: "I thought it was weird since he hadn't graduated. It seemed almost like a 'take that' move".[15]
CareerDuring Shkreli's time at Cramer, Berkowitz and Company, he recommended short-selling (shorting) a biotech stock, believing that the company's share price would drop. When it did so, Cramer's hedge fund profited. In 2003, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals was testing a weight'‘loss drug, and Shkreli, then 19, predicted that the stock price would fall. Shkreli's prediction drew the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which investigated Shkreli's knowledge about the stock but found no wrongdoing on his part.[17]
Hedge funds foundedAfter four years as an associate at Cramer Berkowitz, Shkreli worked as an analyst for Intrepid Capital Management and UBS Wealth Management.[18] He then started his first hedge fund, Elea Capital Management, in 2006.[14][19] In October 2007, Lehman Brothers won a $2.3 million default judgment against Shkreli and Elea, but Lehman collapsed before it could collect on the ruling.
In September 2009, Shkreli launched MSMB Capital Management,[9][20] which took its name from the initials of the two founding portfolio managers, Shkreli and his childhood friend Marek Biestek.[14][17] Shkreli and Biestek shorted biotech companies, then described flaws in the companies on stock trading chat rooms.[3]
MSMB traded Orexigen Therapeutics stock in February 2011, around the time that its price plunged when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declined to approve the drug Contrave.[21][22]
In 2011, Shkreli filed requests with the FDA to reject a new cancer diagnostic device from Navidea Biopharmaceuticals and an inhalable insulin therapy from MannKind Corporation while publicly short-selling both companies' stocks, the values of which dropped after Shkreli's interventions. The companies had difficulty launching the products as a result, although the FDA ultimately approved both.[17][23][24]
RetrophinShkreli founded Retrophin (NASDAQ: RTRX '' the name is a portmanteau of "recombinant dystrophin" '' in 2011, and ran it as a portfolio company with an emphasis on biotechnology, to create treatments for rare diseases.[17][25][26][27]
In 2011, MSMB made an unsolicited bid for AMAG Pharmaceuticals, US$378 million,[28] and in 2014, it acquired the rights to Thiola, a drug used to treat the rare disease cystinuria.[29]
Retrophin's board decided to replace Shkreli in September 2014, and he resigned from the company the following month.[30] He was replaced by Stephen Aselage.[31] During Shkreli's tenure as CEO, the company's employees used alias Twitter accounts to make gangster rap jokes and encourage short selling of other biotech stocks.[32] Critics argued that Shkreli was intelligent but too immature and unfocused for the job of CEO.[33]
After Shkreli's departure, Retrophin filed a US$65 million lawsuit against him in August 2015, claiming that he had breached his duty of loyalty to the biopharmaceutical company in a long-running dispute over his use of company funds[30][34][35] and "committed stock-trading irregularities and other violations of securities rules".[36] The lawsuit alleged that Shkreli had threatened and harassed a former MSMB employee and his family.[37] Shkreli and some of his business associates have been under criminal investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York since January 2015. Shkreli invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in order to avoid testifying during civil depositions.[38][39]
Shkreli's name is on two patents held by Retrophin for drugs to treat PKAN.[15][3][40]
Turing PharmaceuticalsShkreli founded Turing Pharmaceuticals in February 2015, after his departure from Retrophin. He launched Turing with three drugs in development acquired from Retrophin: an intranasal version of ketamine for depression, an intranasal version of oxytocin, and Vecamyl for hypertension.[41] Shkreli set a business strategy for Turing: to obtain licenses on out-of-patent medicines and reevaluate the pricing of each in pursuit of windfall profits for the new company, without the need to develop and bring its own drugs to market.[42][43] As markets for out-of-patent drugs are often small, and obtaining regulatory approval to manufacture a generic version is expensive, Turing calculated that with closed distribution for the product and no competition, it could set high prices.[42]
Price hike controversyIn accordance with Shkreli's business plan, Turing acquired Daraprim (pyrimethamine) '' an FDA-approved therapeutic since 1953 '' for US$55 million[44][45] on August 10, 2015, from Impax Laboratories.[46] The drug's most prominent use as of late 2015 was as an anti-malarial[47] and an antiparasitic, in conjunction with leucovorin and a sulfonamide, to treat patients with toxoplasmosis, including in AIDS populations.[48] The patent for Daraprim expired in 1953, and no generic version was available.[49] The Turing''Impax deal included the condition that Impax remove the drug from regular wholesalers and pharmacies,[47] and so in June 2015, two months before the sale to Turing was announced, Impax switched to tightly controlled distribution.[14] In keeping with its strategy for pricing in the face of limited competition (see above), Turing maintained the closed distribution.[42]
On September 17, 2015, Dave Muoio of Healio, an in-depth clinical information website for health care specialists,[50] reported on a letter from the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association to executives at Turing,[51] questioning a new pricing for Daraprim.[48] The price of a dose of the drug in the U.S. market increased from US$13.50 to US$750 per pill, overnight, a 5,556 percent increase.[52]
The price increase was initially criticized, jointly, by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association,[47][51] by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America,[53] and soon thereafter by presidential candidatesHillary Clinton,[54]Bernie Sanders,[55] and Donald Trump.[56] A subsequent organized effort called on Turing to return pricing to pre-September levels and to address several matters relating to the needs of patients, an effort that garnered endorsements from more than 160 medical'‘specialty and patient'‘related organizations (as of December 2015[update], 164 organizations from 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico).[57][58]
In response to the controversy, the record label Collect Records publicly ended its business relationship with Shkreli, who had invested in the company.[59]
In an interview with Bloomberg Markets, Shkreli claimed that despite the price increase, patient co-pays would actually be lower; that many patients would get the drug at no cost; that Turing has expanded its free drug program; and that it sold half of its drugs for one dollar.[60] He defended the price hike by saying, "If there was a company that was selling an Aston Martin at the price of a bicycle, and we buy that company and we ask to charge Toyota prices, I don't think that that should be a crime".[61][62] A few days later, Shkreli announced that he planned to lower the price by an unspecified amount, "in response to the anger that was felt by people".[38] But in late November, Turing reversed course and said it would not lower the price after all.[63] Following a request by Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Elijah Cummings for details of Turing Pharmaceuticals' finances and price-setting practices in September 2015,[64][65] the company hired four lobbyists from Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney with backgrounds in health care legislation and pharmaceutical pricing.[66][67] In addition to the lobbyists, Shkreli hired a crisis public relations firm to help explain the pricing decision.[68]
On October 22, 2015, Mark Baum, CEO of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals, announced that his company would provide a compounded (co-formulated) form of pyrimethamine, Daraprim's active agent, containing leucovorin,[69] one of two drugs (alongside a sulfonamide) in the standard protocol to treat toxoplasmosis in AIDS and other populations.[48]
Baum noted, "This is not the first time a sole supply generic drug '' especially one that has been approved for use as long as Daraprim '' has had its price increased suddenly and to a level that may make it unaffordable". He announced the availability of the compounded replacement for Daraprim as a part of a larger corporate program, "Imprimis Cares", to make "novel and customizable medicines available to physicians and patients ... at accessible prices". Imprimis is now offering its compounded, orally taken formulations of pyrimethamine and leucovorin beginning at US$99 for a 100'‘count bottle, essentially a dollar a dose.[69]
On November 23, 2015, Turing announced that the company would not reduce the list price of Daraprim, but said it planned instead to negotiate volume discounts of up to 50% for hospitals.[70] Turing said it was not as important to cut the list price as to reduce the cost to hospitals, where most patients get their initial treatment. The company pledged that no patient needing Daraprim would ever be denied access.[71] Infectious disease specialists and patient advocates, including Tim Horn of the Treatment Action Group and Carlos del Rio of the HIV Medicine Association, said Turing's actions were insufficient, given that patients initially treated for days at a hospital typically have to continue the treatment for weeks or months after leaving.[72]
KaloBios PharmaceuticalsIn November 2015, an investor group led by Shkreli acquired a majority stake in KaloBios Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: KBIO), a biopharmaceutical company based in South San Francisco, California.[73] Shkreli was named CEO of the company and also planned to continue in the role of CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.[74][75] After his December 2015 arrest, KaloBios Pharmaceuticals terminated him as CEO.[76] On December 29, 2015, KaloBios filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. This followed NASDAQ delisting its shares, and the resignation of two directors.[77]
Criminal prosecutionOn December 17, 2015, Shkreli was arrested by the FBI after a federal indictment[78] in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York was filed, charging him with securities fraud. The charges were filed after an investigation into his tenure at MSMB Capital Management and Retrophin. He was accused of running a Ponzi-like scheme.[1] A United States Department of Justice press release said, "As alleged, Martin Shkreli engaged in multiple schemes to ensnare investors through a web of lies and deceit".[79][80] In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Shkreli said that he was targeted by law enforcement for his price hikes of the drug Daraprim and his flamboyant personality.[81]
In his nationally syndicated column, political commentator Robert Reich wrote that what Shkreli did wrong was to be more audacious while "play[ing] the same game many others are playing on Wall Street and in corporate suites".[82]
In early 2016, Shkreli retained criminal defense attorneyBenjamin Brafman to defend him.[83][84]
Testimony before CongressShkreli was subpoenaed to appear before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform of the U.S. House of Representatives to answer questions about the Daraprim price increase.[85] Shkreli's efforts to quash the subpoena were unsuccessful.[85]
On February 4, 2016, Shkreli appeared before the House committee,[86] along with Nancy Retzlaff,[87] the Chief Commercial Officer of Turing, and Howard B. Schiller, the interim CEO of Valeant.[88]
Retzlaff answered questions on Turing's finances and commercial decision making around commercial cost, while Shkreli followed advice from his counsel to exercise his Fifth Amendmentright against self-incrimination by refusing to answer most questions, some of which related to personal issues like his Wu-Tang album.[89] Later the same day, Shkreli wrote a public message on Twitter reading, "Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government".[85]
Other projectsShkreli is a League of Legends player who goes by the name "Imagine Cerebral" and began expressing interest in purchasing an eSports team in 2014.[90] In May, Enemy eSports announced that it had rejected a US$1.2 million offer from Shkreli.[91] Eventually, he founded his own team, Odyssey eSports, and aimed to qualify for the 2015 North American League of Legends Challenger Series. The team lost to Cloud9 Tempest in the qualifying tournament and failed to qualify. In August, Odyssey merged with Imagine, with Shkreli becoming chairman of the team. During the merger, the team acquired the Dota 2 team Leviathan.[92][93]
In November 2015, Shkreli began livestreaming on YouTube showing him playing games such as League of Legends and chess, as well as offering financial advice. Shkreli had previously streamed on the website Twitch but switched to YouTube after his account was banned from Twitch for unknown reasons.[94][95] Shkreli received a phone call from the FBI on the day of his arrest live while streaming.[96] When Shkreli was arraigned in December and released on bail, he continued streaming from his apartment.[97]
Shkreli had a contract with Collect Records and has offered to bail out Bobby Shmurda.[98][99]
Personal lifeStarting in 2008, Shkreli served as chairman of the board of directors of the National Albanian American Council, a nonprofit organization that advocates for Albanians and promotes peace and economic development for human rights in the Balkans.[100][101] He continued in this role as of 2014[update].[102]
Shkreli was revealed as the winner of an auction for the Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin after the single copy of the album was sold via Paddle8 on November 24, 2015, for US$2 million to what was reported to be a "private American collector".[103] On December 9, 2015, Bloomberg Businessweek identified Shkreli as the purchaser.[104]
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"Express Scripts, Imprimis to offer $1 Daraprim alternative", CNBC, November 30, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015.^"About Healio". Healio. December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^ abCalderwood, Stephen B.; Adimora, Adaora (September 8, 2015). "Letter from Stephen B. Calderwood, MD, FIDSA (President, IDSA) and Adaora Adimora, MD, MPH, FIDSA (Chair, HIVMA) to Mssrs. Tom Evegan (Head of Managed Markets) and Kevin Bernier (National Director Alliance Development & Public Affairs), both of Turing Pharmaceuticals"(PDF). Arlington, Virginia: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA). Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Kliff, Sarah (September 22, 2015). "Vox Explainers: A Drug Company Raised a Pill's Price 5,500 Percent Because, in America, It Can". Vox. Retrieved December 9, 2015. ^Bloomfield, Doni (September 22, 2015). "Drug CEO Targeted by Clinton Is Criticized by Drug Lobby". Bloomberg Businessweek. ISSN 0007-7135. Retrieved September 23, 2015. ^Long, Heather; Egan, Matt; Dodley, Dominique (September 22, 2015). "Meet the guy behind the $750 AIDS drug". CNN. Retrieved September 23, 2015. ^Eunjung Cha, Ariana (September 22, 2015). "CEO who raised price of old pill more than $700 calls journalist a 'moron' for asking why". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 23, 2015. ^LoGiurato, Brett. "Donald Trump trashes former hedge-fund guy who jacked up drug price: 'He looks like a spoiled brat'". Business Insider. Retrieved September 23, 2015. ^Tirrell, Meg (October 22, 2015). Health Groups Appeal to Turing on Drug Price (October 22, 2015) (news video). Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: CNBC. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^"An Open Appeal to Turing Pharmaceuticals". Arlington, Virginia: Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). November 3, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Walters, Joanna (September 25, 2015). "Music Industry: Label Cuts Ties With Hedge Fund Man Who Boosted AIDS Drug Price 5,000%". The Guardian. Retrieved September 28, 2015. Subtitle: Collect Records says it is impossible to continue having Martin Shkreli as investor over raising Daraprim price from $13.50 per tablet to $750. ^Fu, Scarlet (September 21, 2015). "Drug Goes From $13.50 to $750 Overnight [interview]". Bloomberg. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Ramsey, Lydia (September 22, 2015). "A pharma CEO tried to defend his decision to jack up the price of a critical drug by 5,000% '' and it backfired". Business Insider. ^"Company hikes price of popular drug". Reuters. September 22, 2015. ^Pollack, Andrew (November 24, 2015). "Turing Refuses to Lower List Price of Toxoplasmosis Drug". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2015. ^Ramsey Lydia (October 12, 2015). "Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli failed to respond to Bernie Sanders about his drug hike '' and Sanders is not happy". Business Insider.^Sanders, Bernie (September 21, 2015). "2015-09-01 EEC Sanders to Turing Pharmaceuticals"(PDF). United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (Democratic Party). Retrieved October 9, 2015. ^Wilson, Megan R. (October 2, 2015). "Business & Lobbying: Drug firm maligned for 5,000 percent price hike turns to K Street for help". The Hill. Retrieved December 9, 2015. ^Ho, Catherine (October 7, 2015). "Working For 'The Most Hated Man in America'". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Tannahill, Jason (October 9, 2015). "PR Man Allan Ripp Representing The 'Most Hated Man in America'". EverythingPR. ^ abFox, Maggie (October 22, 2015). "Health: Competitor to Offer $1 Pill After Turing Price Hike Outrage". NBC News. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Langreth, Robert (November 24, 2015). "Drugmaker Turing Suggests It Won't Cut List Price of Daraprim". Bloomberg Businessweek. ISSN 0007-7135. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Pollack, Andrew (November 24, 2015). "Turing Refuses to Lower List Price of Toxoplasmosis Drug". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2015. ^"Business: Turing Reneges on Drug Price Cut, Rival's Version Sells Well". The Washington Post. Associated Press. November 25, 2015. Retrieved November 27, 2015. ^"KaloBios stock rockets after investment from Shkreli". Yahoo Finance. November 19, 2015. ^"KaloBios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Appoints Martin Shkreli CEO and Announces New Financing". Kalobios. November 19, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015. ^Weintraub, Arlene (November 19, 2015). "Here's Why Shkreli Is Going To Have His Hands Full Trying To Save KaloBios". Forbes. Retrieved December 10, 2015. ^Rosenfeld, Everett (December 21, 2015). "Martin Shkreli fired by KaloBios Pharmaceuticals". CNBC. Retrieved December 21, 2015. ^"Martin Shkreli's KaloBios files for bankruptcy". CNBC. Reuters. December 30, 2015. Retrieved December 30, 2015. ^Smythe, Christie; Geiger, Keri (December 17, 2015). "Shkreli, CEO Reviled for Drug Price Gouging, Arrested on Securities Fraud Charges". Bloomberg Businessweek. ISSN 0007-7135. ^Former Hedge Fund Manager and New York Attorney Indicted in Multimillion Dollar Fraud Scheme, U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York, United States Department of Justice, December 17, 2015.^Grimm, Ryan; Young; Jeffrey. (September 22, 2015). Drug-Price Gouging Hedge Fund Guy May Be Even Worse Than You Thought, SEC Documents Show. The Huffington Post.^Copeland, Rob. "Martin Shkreli Says Drug-Price Hikes Led to Arrest". The Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved December 21, 2015. (subscription required (help)). ^Reich, Robert (December 24, 2015). "Opinion: Shkreli: sociopath or just extra-brash corporate exec?". San Francisco Chronicle. ISSN 1932-8672. Archived from the original on February 6, 2016. So what, exactly, did Martin Shkreli do wrong, by the standards of today's capitalism? He played the same game many others are playing on Wall Street and in corporate suites. He was just more audacious about it. ^Goldstein, Matthew; Stevenson, Alexandra (February 3, 2016). "Martin Shkreli Appears to Adopt a New Legal Strategy: Silence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. ^Silverstein, Jason (February 2, 2016). "Martin Shkreli hires Benjamin Brafman, high'‘profile attorney who defended Sean Combs, Michael Jackson and Dominique Strauss'‘Kahn". Daily News. New York. LCCN sn83030450. ^ abcCarolyn Y. Johnson, 'Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli refuses to testify at congressional hearing, calls lawmakers 'imbeciles' in tweet, The Washington Post (February 4, 2015).^https://oversight.house.gov/hearing/developments-in-the-prescription-drug-market-oversight/^"TESTIMONY OF NANCY RETZLAFF CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER, TURING PHARMACEUTICALS"(PDF). oversight.house.gov. ^"Statement of Howard B. Schiller Interim Chief Executive Officer and Director, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc."(PDF). oversight.house.gov. 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DHS plans expanded social media checks on Syrian refugees
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:23
Social Media
DHS plans expanded social media checks on Syrian refugeesBy Bianca SpinosaFeb 04, 2016Not every refugee applying for entrance to the U.S. has their social media presence checked, but the long-term goal of the Department of Homeland Security is for social media vetting to happen across the board, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Director Leon Rodriguez said.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, asked Rodriguez at a hearing Feb. 3 if anyone is checking the social media of the 10,000 Syrian refugees the U.S. plans on admitting as part of an overall annual influx of 85,000 refugees.
"We are reviewing social media in those cases where there are existing flags of concern," Rodriguez said. "We are building as quickly as we can to build to a point where we would in fact be screening the entire body of Syrian refugee applicants. We are prioritizing as we bring new resources online'...those areas where we detect the greatest risk."
McCaul recommended DHS move to vet the social media of all visa applicants, not just Syrians.
However, there were tense exchanges throughout the hearing about how officials are vetting and monitoring refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. Lawmakers are concerned about individuals with ties terrorist groups such as the Islamic State gaining access to the U.S. homeland through established visa programs for workers, travelers and spouses of legal residents, or through refugee programs.
For instance, Tashfeen Malik, the female shooter in the Dec. 2015 San Bernardino attack, entered the U.S. on a fianc(C) visa.
"It was divulged that her social media had not been reviewed prior to coming into the United States or as part of the visa application process," McCaul said. "Something as fundamental, that really any employer before they hire someone, that I'm aware of, check."
Francis Taylor, the Homeland Security undersecretary of intelligence and analysis, said that DHS has been using social media in the vetting process since 2012, but the challenge has been using it comprehensively and effectively across the entire department. Taylor said Homeland Security formed a task force in Dec. 2015 to reach that goal. DHS has conducted four pilots using social media in connection with refugee applications.
"We learned in the Malik case'...that perhaps we didn't explore as many sources as we could have explored, although her private social media wouldn't have been available, so we've begun the process of developing a system to do that," Taylor said.
Bond was asked directly about Malik's social media. She and Bond told lawmakers that to her knowledge Malik's public Facebook page did not contain anything that would have raised red flags.
Lawmakers also wondered if the government has the resources it needs.
"Do we have enough linguists available to do the job right now?" Rep. Bill Keating (D-Mass.) asked.
Bond said they would be able to hire more people who could help translate social media posts, but for the most part the consular offices are trained in the language of the country where they're working and they also have local employees who can assist.
About the Author
Bianca Spinosa is an Editorial Fellow at FCW.
Spinosa covers a variety of federal technology news for FCW including workforce development, women in tech, and the intersection of start-ups and agencies. Prior to joining FCW, she was a TV journalist for more than six years, reporting local news in Virginia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Spinosa is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Writing at George Mason University, where she also teaches composition. She earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia.
Click here for previous articles by Spinosa, or connect with her on Twitter: @BSpinosa.
US not hamstrung in tracking suspects, Harvard study finds
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:37
FBI Director James Comey has argued that message encryption weakens the war on terror.
WASHINGTON '-- For more than two years the FBI and intelligence agencies have warned that encrypted communications are creating a ''going dark'' crisis that will keep them from tracking terrorists and kidnappers.
Now, a study in which current and former intelligence officials participated concludes that the warning is wildly overblown, and that a raft of new technologies '-- like television sets with microphones and Web-connected cars '-- are creating ample opportunities for the government to track suspects, many of them worrying.
'''Going dark' does not aptly describe the long-term landscape for government surveillance,'' concludes the study, published Monday by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and funded by the Hewlett Foundation.
The study argues that the phrase ignores the flood of new technologies ''being packed with sensors and wireless connectivity'' that are expected to become the subject of court orders and subpoenas, and are already the target of the National Security Agency as it places ''implants'' into networks around the world to monitor communications abroad.
The products, ranging from ''toasters to bedsheets, light bulbs, cameras, toothbrushes, door locks, cars, watches and other wearables,'' will give the government increasing opportunities to track suspects and in many cases reconstruct communications and meetings.
The study, titled ''Don't Panic: Making Progress on the 'Going Dark' Debate,'' is among the sharpest counterpoints yet to the contentions of James B. Comey, the FBI director, and other Justice Department officials, mostly by arguing that they have defined the issue too narrowly.
During the past year they have repeatedly told Congress that the move by Apple to automatically encrypt data on its iPhone, and similar steps by Google and Microsoft, are choking off critical abilities to track suspects, even with a court order.
The history of technology shows that what is invented for convenience can soon become a target of surveillance. ''Law enforcement or intelligence agencies may start to seek orders compelling Samsung, Google, Mattel, Nest or vendors of other networked devices to push an update or flip a digital switch to intercept the ambient communications of a target,'' the report said.
New bill seeks to add agility to electronic warfare development
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 16:59
New bill seeks to add agility to electronic warfare developmentBy Aisha ChowdhryFeb 05, 2016Two senators are calling for more funding flexibility for the Defense Department to research, develop and deploy electronic warfare technology.
On Feb. 4, Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Electronic Warfare Enhancement Act to reduce bureaucratic impediments to DOD's electronic warfare programs.
"Red tape is standing in the way of our military having access to the technology it needs to lead in today's complex and ever-evolving landscape," Gillibrand, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. "This legislation will help ensure our servicemen and women are less vulnerable to national security threats and have access to the most up-to-date electronic warfare technology available."
Kirk and Gillibrand said they are concerned that countries such as Russia, China and Iran are catching up to U.S. military capabilities in this area.
The Pentagon is getting into the act as well. In August 2015, the department established the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to accelerate deployment of electronic warfare technology after a DOD study concluded that the military had "lost focus on electronic warfare at the programmatic and strategic level."
"It is critical that the United States military dominates the offensive and defensive ends of electronic warfare," said Kirk, who is a former Navy Reserve intelligence officer.
The bill would provide funds for developing and fielding electronic warfare capabilities. It would also give program managers the flexibility to waive acquisition rules and regulations so they could expedite the process of obtaining and implementing warfare technology.
The bill would also require the Electronic Warfare Executive Committee to update Congress on its progress.
About the Author
Aisha Chowdhry is a staff writer covering Congress, the State Department, the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prior to joining FCW, Chowdhry covered foreign policy for CQ Roll Call. Her overseas work prior to that took her to Pakistan and Afghanistan. She has worked as a correspondent for Reuters based out of Islamabad. Chowdhry has also worked at the CBS affiliate in Washington as a multimedia journalist. She began her career as a freelance reporter for USA Today and covered stories from conflict zones. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Policy, and Voice of America, among others.
Chowdhry received her masters in broadcast journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.
Click here for previous articles by Chowdhry, or connect with her on Twitter: @aishach
Twitter suspends over 125,000 accounts for ''promoting terrorist acts'' | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:20
Twitter Inc said it had suspended over 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 for ''threatening or promoting terrorist acts, primarily related to ISIL.''
The microblogging service provider said in a blog on Friday that it had increased the size of the teams that review reports of such activity, reducing the response time significantly.
The company said it was seeing results, including an increase in account suspensions and ''this type of activity'' shifting away from Twitter.
Source: Reuters
Austin Media Professionals Weigh in on #OscarsSoWhite - YouTube
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:57
Is Whoopi trying to get fired from 'The View'? | Page Six
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:37
Whoopi Goldberg's erratic behavior behind the scenes at ''The View'' has some wondering if she's trying to goad ABC bosses into firing her.
According to an insider, Goldberg, 60, gets $5 million a year to lead the show's panel, but ''she has been at war with the management.''
The actress and host, now in the final year of a four-year contract, last year reportedly ­created a scene when she paraded around saying, ''I's a work for ABC, who is my master. I's a slave to ABC. It's '12 Years a Whoopi' at ABC,'' referring to the movie ''12 Years a Slave.''
A show source said, ''Whoopi has been so antagonistic, she's constantly at war with management. It's so bad that some execs think she's daring them to fire her so she can go off and do other things, particularly after her 'slave' outburst. She knows if they did fire her, they'd have to pay out her contract and she'd be paid $5 million for doing nothing.''
The source added, ''Whoopi loves the money, but she doesn't want to work so hard anymore. She doesn't come in prepared, she doesn't ­really engage with other panelists and guests. She gives some one-liners and moves on.''
The insider added, ''Her contract is up at the end of this season, and even if she does renew, it would be for significantly less money.''
An ABC rep insisted all is pure harmony: ''We hope Whoopi is here for a long time to come. She is a vital part of 'The View' who delivers every day as moderator and always comes to play.'' Her rep predictably said, ''This is entirely untrue.''
ABC News is desperately trying to salvage ''The View,'' which has suffered a ratings drop and cast issues since June 2014, after B arbara Walters retired.
Recent reports said ABC is preparing to fire two co-hosts in another round of musical chairs. The Daily Mail said Michelle Collins and Raven-Symon(C) could be let go from the lineup, which currently also consists of Goldberg, Joy Behar, Candace Cameron Bure and Paula Faris.
Oregon Oathers
Education: Who are the III% ~ Three Percenters
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 15:26
Mission Statement:
The Three Percenter's Club exists to serve the American people, to protect and defend the constitution and our way of life. '¨'¨TTPC's mission is give our members the capabilities and resources necessary to execute Military Strategies to defend against foreign and domestic enemies. '¨'¨TTPC forces provide the capability to combat any threat, force, or occupation who's purpose is to gain, sustain, and exploit comprehensive control over land, resources, and the people of the United States of America. '¨'¨The Three Percenter's Club's capability compliments the other militias and resistance groups capabilities. '¨'¨The Three Percenter's Club is charged with providing Tactical, Logistical and other functions to enable other Militias and Resistance groups to accomplish their missions and to provide support during local and national emergencies by assisting civil authorities in maintaining emergency preparedness. '¨'¨The Three Percenter's Club is organized to accomplish this mission.
April 19 1775 under suppose secret orders 700 British regulars were given orders to destroy colonial and rebel supplies in Concord Massachusetts. Intelligence network, led by the sons of Liberty,. Infiltrated am a patriot somewhere of this plan and were able to move supplies long before the British advance. As a British forces advance the Patriot militia new engagement with the British was imminent.'¨The first shots were fired just after dawn in Lexington, Massachusetts the morning of the 19th, the "Shot Heard Round the World." The colonial militia, a band of 500 men, were outnumbered and initially forced to retreat. The British army was able to press forward to Concord, where they searched for the supplies, only to come up empty handed.'¨While the British were searching, the American militia was able to reform, and they met the enemy at the North Bridge in Concord, and they were successful this time in driving the British back. As more American reinforcements arrived, they forced the British army south to Boston, and the militias blockaded the narrow land accesses to Charlestown and Boston, starting the Siege of Boston.'¨The American War for Independence was now in full swing.
So, now you ask yourself, why the history lesson on a three percenter website. How is a chilly morning in April 1775 relevant to me or cause today? I'm about to tell you. The fight is almost identical. Tyranny is just that, tyranny. No matter if it comes from a crown three thousand miles away or from a desk in an oval office in DC. It is the principal of what is being done that makes us, the three percent fight today.Is has become blatant that there are two absolute principals that are in this nation. The first is that Tyranny has conquered the political system. The second is that we will not stand for it. April 1775 is more pertinent now than you can imagine. Three percent established this nation from the most powerful nation in the world once. The three percent can now restore it.
It starts not here on this website, not at any rally, and not at the voting booth. It starts in your head. You have to live by the basic principal's of the cause. Most important, you have to believe. If patriots do not believe, the fight is in vain. On this website, you will find much information to tell you who we are, what we are about and the impact we make every single day. When you are ready, take the oath to defend the constitution. That simple. No money. No membership card. Only a way of life and a commitment to action. Feel free to reach out to any administrator here or on our Facebook page. We will answer any questions you have with honesty and will be willing to help you grow yourself in the cause.Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to talk to you. See you on the battlefield.
A Badly Wounded Deutsche Bank Lashes Out At Central Bankers: Stop Easing, You Are Crushing Us
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:22
Ten days ago, when Deutsche Bank stock was about 10% higher, the biggest German commercial bank declared war on Mario Draghi, as we put it, warning him that any further easing by the ECB would only push stocks (with an emphasis on DB stock which has gotten pummeled over the past few months) lower. What it got, instead, was a slap in the face in the form of a major new easing program when the Bank of Japan announced it is unveiling negative rates just three days later.
Which is why overnight a badly wounded Deutsche Bank has expanded its war against the ECB to include the BOJ as well, and in a note titled "The Risks From Further ECB and BOJ Easing" it wants that with the Zero Lower Bound already breached in nearly a third of global markets, the benefits to risk assets from further easing no longer exist, and in fact it says that while central banks have hoped that such measures would "push investors out the risk spectrum" the "impact has been exactly the opposite."
In other words, we have reached that fork in the road within the monetary twilight zone, where Europe's largest bank is openly defying central bank policy and demanding an end to easy money. Alas, since tighter monetary policy assures just as much if not more pain, one can't help but wonder just how the central banks get themselves out of this particular trap they set up for themselves.
Here is DB's Parag Thatte explaining the "The risks from further ECB and BOJ easing"
The BOJ surprised with a move to negative rates last week, while ECB rhetoric suggests additional easing measures forthcoming in March. While a fundamental tenet of these measures, in particular negative rates, has been to push investors out the risk spectrum, we remind that arguably the impact has been exactly the opposite:
Declining bond yields have been robustly associated with larger inflows into bonds at the expense of equities. Though a large over allocation to fixed income at the expense of equities already exists as a result of past Fed QEs and a lack of normalization of rates, further easing by the ECB and BOJ that lower bond yields globally will only exacerbate the over allocation to bonds;Asynchronous easing by the ECB and BOJ while the Fed is on hold risks speeding up the dollar's up cycle, pushing oil prices lower and exacerbating credit concerns in the Energy, Metals and Mining sectors. It is notable that the ECB's adoption of negative rates in mid-2014 which prompted the large move in the dollar and collapse in oil prices, marked the beginning of the now huge outflows from High Yield. These flows out of High Yield rotated into High Grade, ironically moving up not down the risk spectrum. The downside risk to oil prices is tempered somewhat by the fact that they look cheap and look to be already pricing in the next leg of dollar strength;Asynchronous easing by the ECB and BOJ that is reflected in the US dollar commensurately raises the trade-weighted RMB and increase the risk of a disorderly devaluation by China. The risk of further declines in the JPY is tempered by the fact that it is already very (-29%) cheap, but there is plenty of valuation room for the euro to fall.Broad-based move across asset classes towards neutral amidst uncertainties
US equity fund positioning inched closer to neutral; as anticipated the returning buyback bid is being offset by large persistent outflows (-$42bn ytd);European equity positioning is also close to neutral amidst slowing inflows; Japanese funds trimmed exposure from very overweight levels while flows turned negative for the first time in 2 months;The large short in US bond futures has started to be cut; 2y bond shorts were cut by half this week while short-dated rates futures are already long. Robust inflows into government bond funds which began this year have continued while the pace of outflows from HY and EM funds has slowed;A move toward neutral was also evident in FX positions. The surprise BoJ cut to negative rates caught yen longs by surprise, with the large initial subsequent depreciation in the yen partly reflecting a paring of positions. Meanwhile, the euro rose to a 3 month high as crowded leveraged fund shorts were being covered despite the ECB's dovish rhetoric;As the dollar fell, net speculative long positions in oil rose, reflecting mainly an increase in gross longs while shorts remain at record highs; copper shorts continue to edge back from extremes; gold longs are rising.Declining bond yields mean larger inflows into bonds at the expense of equities
A fundamental tenet of central bank easing has been to push investors out the risk spectrum. The impact has arguably been exactly the oppositeBeyond any negative signal further monetary easing sends on underlying growth prospects, historically falling bond yields with the attendant capital gains on bonds have seen inflows rotate into bonds at the expense of equities. The correlation between equities and bond yields remains strongly positive. Notably, the best period of inflows for equities was after the taper announcement in 2013 when bond yields rose sharply
Large over-allocation to fixed income already
Past Fed QEs, a lack of normalization of Fed rates and easing by other central banks means that a large over-allocation already exists in fixed income while the underallocation in equities remains massiveAdditional easing by the ECB and BoJ by encouraging inflows into bonds will only exacerbate the over allocation to fixed income
Asynchronous easing behind decline in oil and flight from HY
Asynchronous monetary easing by the ECB or BoJ while the Fed is on hold puts upward pressure on the dollar, downward pressure on oil prices and heightens credit concerns in the Energy, Metals and Mining sectorsIt is notable that the huge outflows from HY began to the day with the ECB's adoption of negative rates in Jun 2014. Those outflows from HY moved into HG, ironically moving up not down the risk spectrumThe risk to oil prices is somewhat tempered by the fact that oil prices are cheap to fair value and look to be pricing in the next leg of dollar strength
Asynchronous easing that is reflected in a higher dollar is reflected commensurately in the trade-weighted RMB
By virtue of the near-peg to the US dollar, by early 2015 the trade-weighted RMB had risen along with the US dollar by 32% in trade-weighted terms and has been in a relatively narrow range sinceA variety of Chinese economic indicators have been strongly negatively correlated with the US dollar: Chinese data surprises (-42%); IP (-65%); and retail sales (-59%)
Further dollar strength raises the risk of a disorderly Chinese devaluation
Asynchronous easing by the ECB and BOJ reflected in the US dollar and in turn the trade-weighted RMB increases the risk of a disorderly devaluation by ChinaThe risk of further declines in the JPY is tempered by the fact that it is already very cheap (-29%), but there is plenty of valuation room for the euro to fallThe surprise BoJ easing in January prompted a paring of longs, while investors are unwinding short positions in the euro despite dovish rhetoric by the ECB
* * *
A few last words. Since DB, whose CDS has soared to very dangerous levels in recent days suggesting the market is suddenly concerned about its counterparty status, is effectively the Bundesbank, one can make the argument that any incremental easing by the jawboning Mario Draghi during the ECB's next meeting suddenly looks very precarious.
On the other hand if Draghi once again isolates Weidmann and does cut rates to -0.40% as the market has largely priced in, because the ECB head fulfills the desires of his former employer Goldman Sachs first and foremost, one would wonder if as we speculated last summer Deutsche Bank is not indeed the next Lehman, if for no other reason than Goldman has decided the German financial behemoth should be the next bank to fail, and unleash the next global taxpayer-funded bailout episode.
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'… PYONGYANG MARATHON: Sign up before Feb 14 to run in the hermit kingdom!: Shanghaiist
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 07:22
The Pyongyang Marathon returns in 2016 on April 10. Held for the first time in 1981 and now open to international tourists, the competition presents an exclusive opportunity to visit the hermit kingdom. Read all about the race here and find out how you can join other Shanghaiist readers at the marathon by choosing one of four Pyongyang Marathon tour options departing from Beijing and Shanghai.
Almost anyone can run in the amateur marathon alongside professional athletes.
It's not possible to register for the race on your own. You will need to book a Pyongyang Marathon Tour with an official DPRK tour operator (Uri Tours) and then decide which category you want to sign up for (full, half or 10K). The tour operator will tell you all you need to know about traveling to the DPRK as well as running in the race.
There is no limit on the number of registered runners the marathon committee will accept. The Official Pyongyang Marathon Committee is welcoming as many runners as possible. However, April will be an incredibly busy month in the DPRK and it's possible that hotel accommodations and plane tickets will sell out quickly. It's recommended to book as soon as possible.
Sign-up for the Uri Tours Pyongyang Marathon 2016 newsletter.
Choose from one of four incredible tour options.
Ultra Short Pyongyang Marathon Tour - Beijing Departure
WHAT: 2 nights, 3 days in the DPRKWHEN: April 9 - 11PRICE: Starting at $1,050 USD
Pyongyang Marathon Short Tour - Shanghai Departure
WHAT: 3 nights, 4 days in the DPRKWHEN: April 8 - 11PRICE: Starting at $1,250 USD
Pyongyang Marathon Short Tour - Beijing Departure
WHAT: 3 nights, 4 days in the DPRKWHEN: April 9 - 12PRICE: Starting at $1,250 USD
Pyongyang Marathon & Kim Il Sung Birthday Tour - Beijing Departure
WHAT: 7 nights, 8 days in the DPRKWHEN: April 9 - 16PRICE: Starting at $2,050 USD
Registration Fee
Full marathon: $100 USDHalf marathon: $70 USD10K: $50 USDSpectators: $28 USD to watch soccer/football matches in the Kim Il Sung Stadium during the race(Registration fees are collected prior to the tour; cost of the tour package is additional)
Distance and finish time:
Full Marathon: 42.195km; finish time of 4 hoursHalf Marathon: 21.0975km; finish time of 4 hours10K: finish time of 2 hours
There are no official qualifying times for the amateur marathon, however, you must either FINISH or STOP within the times mentioned above. If you do not finish within those times, a bus will pick you up and escort you back to the stadium. The streets will be re-open to traffic at about 1pm.
The race starts and ends in the Kim Il Sung Stadium. Professionals and amateurs will start at the same location and time. Race starts at approximately 9am and is finished before 1pm.
The official 2016 Pyongyang Marathon course route:
Depart from Kim Il Sung StadiumPass through the Arch of TriumphFriendship TowerKumrung No.2 TunnelCongryu Rope Ladder on Taedong RiverMunsu Riverside StreetRungra BridgeKumrung TunnelPuksae riverside streetMoranbong StreetRe-enter through the Arch of TriumphArrive back at the Kim Il Sung StadiumThis is a 10K course and the marathon will make this loop 4 times, the half marathon twice.
COURSE CONDITIONS: You'll be running in the streets of Pyongyang, which are relatively flat. One lap is about 10km. Those running the 10K will do one lap and end right past the Arch of Triumph. Those running the half marathon will do 2 laps and those running the full marathon will do 4 laps. There will be km markers throughout the course to let you know how long to go before the finish line. There will also be cars with digital timers that will lead the pack to let runners know how much time has elapsed. There are 2 water stations per every 10km and restroom stops along the way. Lastly, for those who require energy gels, you should bring them with you and your tour guide will hand them to you at the designated water stations during the race.
WHAT TO WEAR: Please wear solid colors; no tie dye, pictures or lettering. Top and bottom can be different colors, so long as they are one solid color each. If your shirt has a small logo, the logo can be no bigger than 30cm in rectangular size and the lettering must be less than 4cm in size, according to the regulations of the International Federation.
You'll be given a number to pin to your shirt during the race. All runners must have a number affixed to their shirts.
WHAT YOU'LL GET: Firstly, you'll get a support kit from your tour guide, which includes a nifty Pyongyang Marathon T-shirt, energy snacks, marathon stickers and other exclusive DPRK goodies!
Each amateur runner will get a certificate issued by the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon Committee. If you come in first, second or third in any of the amateur categories, you will also be awarded a medal at the awards ceremony in front of 50,000 local spectators in the Kim Il Sung stadium. An American runner with Uri Tours won 2nd in the half-marathon category in 2014 and a French runner won 2nd in half in 2015!
Finally, you'll have a lifetime of bragging rights for running in this ultra-cool Pyongyang marathon!
Join the Pyongyang Marathon community on Facebook.
To qualify for the professional marathon, you must have the below qualifying times:
Men need a record of less than 2 hours and 27 minutesWomen need a record of less than 2 hours and 38 minutesRegistrants must provide proof of an official record time from the past 3 years
The International Athletics Federation registers the records of professional marathon runners who attend the Mangyongdae Prize International Marathon.
These runners made history in 2014 by being among the first foreign amateurs to run in the Pyongyang Marathon.
Edward from the US: read his pre-race thoughts in RUNNER'S WORLD and Pacific Daily News.
Morgan from France: read his thoughts on the race in RUE89.
Jacob from Nova Scotia, Canada: read his thoughts on the race in CBC (originally in the AP).
Shari and Jim from Las Vegas running their first marathon ever (you may have caught them speaking on BBC radio about their experience!):
Drone Nation
Wereldprimeur: politie zet roofvogels in om drones uit te schakelen | politie.nl
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:02
Nederland - In een innovatief project van de Nationale Politie in samenwerking met Guard From Above, een bedrijf dat roofvogels traint, wordt gekeken naar de mogelijkheid om roofvogels in te zetten voor het onderscheppen van vijandige drones.
In de toekomst zullen drones steeds vaker gebruikt worden en zal het aantal incidenten met drones toenemen. Ook kunnen drones worden gebruikt voor criminele doeleinden. De politie is daarom al langer bezig met het onderzoeken van mogelijkheden om ongewenst dronegebruik tegen te gaan.
Evenement 'Er zijn situaties waarin drones niet mogen vliegen. Dat heeft bijna altijd met veiligheid te maken', zegt Mark Wiebes, innovatiemanager van de Landelijke Eenheid van de politie. 'Er is een geval bekend waarbij een traumahelikopter wilde landen maar dat niet kon omdat iemand daar met een drone vloog. Je kan je ook voorstellen dat mensen mooie beelden willen maken van een evenement en een drone boven de menigte laten vliegen. Als de drone daar uit de lucht valt, kan dat gevaar opleveren voor de mensen.'
Vangnet Het vinden van de 'bestuurder' van een ongewenste drone is niet altijd even makkelijk. Daarom kijkt de politie behalve naar elektronische oplossingen zoals het overnemen van een besturingssysteem, ook naar 'fysieke' mogelijkheden om ongewenst dronegebruik tegen te gaan. Het inzetten van een vangnet is daar een voorbeeld van, maar ook de mogelijkheid om daarvoor een speciaal getrainde roofvogel te gebruiken.
Prooi Tijdens een demonstratie afgelopen vrijdag toonde de politie hoe dit in de praktijk werkt. Zodra de speciaal getrainde arend de drone in het vizier krijgt vliegt ze er op af, grijpt het ding beet, en brengt het naar de grond. Wiebes: 'De vogel ziet de drone als prooi en neemt die mee naar een veilig gebied, een plek waar hij geen last heeft van andere vogels of van mensen. Daar maken we gebruik van in dit project.'
Over een paar maanden beslist de politie definitief of de inzet van roofvogels een geschikt middel is om ongewenst dronegebruik tegen te gaan.
Start/pauze video
Ministry of Truth
Top German Journalist Admits Live On Air National News Agenda Set By Government - Breitbart
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:35
National public service broadcaster Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF), which was recently forced into a humiliating apology for their silence on migrant violence and sex assault is being drawn into a fresh scandal after one of their former bureau chiefs admitted the company takes orders from the government on what it reports. He said journalists received instructions to write news that would be ''to Ms. Merkel's liking''.
Former head of ZDF Bonn Dr. Wolfgang Herles make the remarks during a radio event (from minute 27) in Berlin where journalists discussed the media landscape. Moving on to the freedom of the press, the panel chair asked Dr. Herles whether things in Germany had got ''seriously out of whack''. With an honesty perhaps unusual in Germany, Dr. Herles replied that ordinary Germans were totally losing faith in the media, something he called a ''scandal''. He said:
''We have the problem that '' now I'm mainly talking about the public [state] media '' we have a closeness to the government. Not only because commentary is mainly in line with the grand coalition (CSU, CDU, and SPD), with the spectrum of opinion, but also because we are completely taken in by the agenda laid down by the political class''.
Worse than the mainstream, government controlled and poll-tax funded media in Germany just agreeing with the ruling coalition, the stations actually took orders on what was and was not to be reported on. He said:
'''...the topics about which are reported are laid down by the government.
''There are many topics that would be more important than what the government wants. But they, of course, want to deflect attention away from what doesn't happen. Yet what doesn't happen is often more important than what does happen '' more important than gesture politics''.
While these orders are sent to media companies from unspecified places in the government, they are communicated to individual journalists by news executives using a new-speak jargon. Dr. Herles explains that while ''there are, in fact, instructions from above'', when the editor in chief of ZDF communicated these instructions to his juniors he would merely say reporting should be framed in a way that ''serves Europe and the public good''.
There would be no need to add in brackets that this actually means it should be reported ''to Ms. Merkel's liking'', as they would be understood as the true meaning.
''Today, one is not allowed to say anything negative about the refugees'' said Dr. Herles, concluding: ''This is government journalism and that leads to a situation in which people no longer trust us. This is a scandal.''
There has been very little reporting of the comments in the German media, and what there was has been critical of the remarks. Focusreported the comments of one centre-left media figure, Der Freitag newspaper editor Jakob Augstein who when asked whether there had ever been such ''instructions from above'', said: ''No, I deny vehemently there has ever been commands from the top''.
That the German mainstream media is not free and routinely obscures or bends the truth has been a key criticism by the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of Europe (PEGIDA) movement, which has coined phrases like L¼genpresse '-- the liar press '-- to express their frustration.
Follow Oliver Lane on Twitter:or e-mail to: olane@breitbart.com
Hardware failure brings down tax systems
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:25
Hardware failure brings down tax systemsBy Zach NobleFeb 04, 2016The IRS experienced a hardware failure across several systems, forcing the tax agency to suspend electronic filing as tax season kicked off.
"Several of our systems are not currently operating, including our modernized e-file system and a number of other related systems," the IRS said in a statement posted late on Feb. 3.
Affected systems included electronic filing and the "Where's My Refund?" tool. The IRS.gov website remained online.
According to the most recent update on the federal IT Dashboard, the Modernized e-File system hit its target of 99 percent uptime.
In its statement, the agency indicated that systems could be back online today, but an IRS spokesman did not immediately respond to FCW's request for comment.
In the meantime, taxpayers can still submit their returns to tax-preparation companies, which will hold them until IRS systems are back online, the agency said.
"At this time, the IRS does not anticipate major refund disruptions," the statement reads. "We continue to expect that 9 out of 10 taxpayers will receive their refunds within 21 days."
The outage is the latest in a long list of IRS tech troubles, including a programming glitch that paid millions in fraudulent refunds and the 2015 breach of the "Get Transcript" web app.
The latest omnibus appropriations bill earmarked $290 million for taxpayer services, fraud prevention and cybersecurity at the IRS.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who has called for IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to be impeached, condemned the latest outage in a Feb. 4 statement.
"The IRS doesn't have its house in order at any level," said Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "The committee has been long concerned about IT vulnerabilities at the IRS. Under Mr. Koskinen's poor management, problems fester and the American people suffer."
About the Author
Zach Noble is a staff writer covering digital citizen services, workforce issues and a range of civilian federal agencies.
Before joining FCW in 2015, Noble served as assistant editor at the viral news site TheBlaze, where he wrote a mix of business, political and breaking news stories and managed weekend news coverage. He has also written for online and print publications including The Washington Free Beacon, The Santa Barbara News-Press, The Federalist and Washington Technology.
Noble is a graduate of Saint Vincent College, where he studied English, economics and mathematics.
Click here for previous articles by Noble, or connect with him on Twitter: @thezachnoble.
War on Weed
Marijuana in Space '' NASA Discovers THC on Meteorite Fragment | The health disorder
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:39
A team of astrophysicists at the University of Hawaii have created somewhat of a stir within the scientific community after the discovery of trace amounts of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a meteorite found in the Nevada desert in 2010.
The team of researchers who analyzed hundreds of meteorite fragments in search of microbacterial data found the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol in trace amounts, the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabinoids, a class of diverse chemical compounds that are found in a variety of plants, but most famously in the cannabis plant.
The study, that is funded in part by a NASA grant for research in astrobiology, is the first documented find of a psychoactive organic compound originating from outside of the Earth's atmosphere, a discovery that could revolutionize our modern view of psychotropic agents and their ''cosmic'' origins, admits astrophysicist James Han, head of the research team.
The discovery was clearly unexpected, admits the astrophysicist specialized in astrobiology.
''These findings will have a profound impact on the science of astrobiology as a whole'' admits the scientist, visibly perplexed by the discovery.
''If psychoactive elements are found outside of this planet's atmosphere, what does it say about the rest of the universe? If these chemical substances, that change brain functions and result in alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness in mammals as well as humans, find their origin in outer space, what role then has cometary impacts played on the human species? Or on life on the planet as whole? This discovery ultimately leaves us with more questions than answers''acknowledges the professor.
''It also gives a whole new meaning to the term getting high'' he told local reporters, with a pinch of humor.
Traces amounts of Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) were also found in a meteorite fragment in 2009 by a research team from the University of Mexico but the findings were dismissed at the time because of the ''controversial nature of the discovery'' and a wave of skepticism from the scientific community. Further analysis of the sample could now shed some light on this latest finding, believe experts.
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Agenda 2030
Leonardio DiCaprio Producing 'Sandcastle Empire' Movie for Paramount | Variety
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:55
Paramount Pictures has optioned the YA novel ''The Sandcastle Empire'' with Leonardo DiCaprio on board to produce.
Jennifer Davisson, DiCaprio's partner at Appian Way, is also attached to produce through their production banner.
The novel was written by Kayla Olson and is set in 2049 when the Earth is at a breaking point due to climate change, coastal flooding and overpopulation. A radical faction known as the Wolfpack overthrows the government and takes control.
The story centers on a young woman named Eden who escapes a Wolfpack labor camp, joining three others fleeing to an island. During her journey, she will find clues as to what happened to her missing father and find out that she is the key to bringing down the Wolfpack.
The book's theme of climate change is an important one for DiCaprio, as he's been vocal about the environmental issue, speaking out on it as recently as Saturday's SAG Awards.
Appian's Nathaniel Posey identified the book and brought it into the company.
DiCaprio can currently be seen in Fox's ''The Revenant'' and just won SAG award for his role in the film. He is repped by LBI Entertainment.
The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Some trees may make climate change worse, not better - NY Daily News
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 07:24
Saturday, February 6, 2016, 3:54 PM
Everything you know about climate change is wrong.
Trees '-- long assumed to help limit the ugly effects of climate change '-- may actually speed up global warming rates, according to a new study.
A team of French-led scientists claim Europe has been planting the wrong kind of trees during its reforestation efforts since 1750, and in the process has made climate change worse '-- not better. The theory is at odds with a widespread view that planting more trees helps human efforts to slow rising temperatures.
While Europe's forest area has grown by 10% in the past 250 years, its average temperatures have increased by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit.
So what gives?
The researchers believe that expanding forests, once lush with broadleaf species like oak and birch, with types of conifers like pine and spruce, have made the continent warmer, not cooler. While the broadleaf trees reflect sunlight, dark conifers absorb heat.
''Two and a half centuries of forest management in Europe have not cooled the climate,'' the scientists wrote in a report released Friday.
Europe's forests oak- and birch-heavy forests thinned between 1750 and 1850, BBC News reported. Foresters eager to replace the lost greenery often opted to plant conifers, which grow faster and can be used for everything from building materials to pulp.
The team, led by France's Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, said the changes in the makeup of Europe's forests outweighed trees' role in curbing global warming. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels, from the air as they grow.
"It's not all about carbon," lead author Kim Naudts said, adding that government policies to favor forests should be re-thought to take account of factors such as their color and changes to moisture and soils.
With News Wire Services
Tags:climate change ,trees ,france
Indian biotech firm says it has developed 2 vaccines for Zika virus '-- RT News
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:10
Indian scientists say they have developed two vaccines for the Zika virus, which is linked to underdeveloped brains in babies. The infection, dubbed a "global health emergency" by the WHO, is believed to have infected millions of people this year.
The two candidate vaccines, reportedly developed by Bharat Biotech International in Hyderabad, India, were created following research that began nine months ago.
"On Zika, we are probably the first vaccine company in the world to file a vaccine candidate patent about nine months ago,'' Bharat Biotech managing director Krishna Ella told NDTV.
"...The formulated inactivated vaccine is expected to elicit a strong antibody response as we see humoral immunity offering a primary defense against Zika infection,'' he told the International Business Times.
Read more
They will now be tested in animal and human trials. If those trials are successful, a vaccine could become available to the public in around four months. The best case scenario is that the biotech firm could make one million doses in that time, according to Ella.
Research into the vaccines began after the biotech firm legally imported a live Zika virus into the country last year. Ella has sought direct intervention from Prime Minister Narendra Modi since then, urging for the vaccines to be fast-tracked through clinical trials.
"The prime minister should take up this project as it helps communities like Brazil and Colombia where we can do vaccine diplomacy. We are a part of the BRICS group and we have to help them. We would love to help. We want global public health to benefit," he said.
Declared a ''global health emergency'' by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday, the Zika virus has been linked to thousands of cases of the birth defect microcephaly, which results in babies being born with underdeveloped heads and brains.
The outbreak of the virus began in Brazil last year, and since then more than 20 South American countries have confirmed cases of the infection, along with the US and Denmark. The WHO has estimated that between three and four million people worldwide have already been infected this year.
Zika: The Plot Thickens! | Another Way
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:10
A report by Russia Today suggests that Indian biotech firm, Bharat Biotech International, rather conveniently have 2 possible vaccines to combat the Zika Virus: and guess who else pops up; Mister genetically modified Mosquito himself! Here's a snippet from Bharat Biotech's website.
Dr. Krishna Ella is the Chairman & Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Limited.After early education in Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Ella studied at the University of Hawaii and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following a brief stint as a research faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina-Charleston, he returned to India and set up Bharat Biotech International Limited, a multidimensional biotechnology company specializing in R&D, manufacturing and marketing of vaccines and biotherapeutics for human use. Today, Bharat Biotech is one of the leading innovative R&D Companies, with 45 global patents, of which 5 are for new molecules. Bharat Biotech has been funded (>300 crores) by various agencies like DBT, CSIR, DST and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Small world isn't it!I've just looked at a piece The Daily Mail first published on 29th January, and updated the following day. They completely fail to even recognise the existence of Bharat Biotech International, let alone put it up as one of the forerunners.
Privately owned vaccine developer Hawaii Biotech Inc has joined the race to produce a vaccine for the mosquito-borne Zika virus, a fast-spreading infection which has been linked to severe birth defects in babies.The company initiated a formal program to test a Zika vaccine last fall, as the virus began to gain traction in Brazil, said Chief Executive Dr. Elliot Parks.'Right now, we are in the pre-clinical stage, as I suspect everyone is,' Parks, a former Johnson & Johnson executive, told Reuters in an interview late on Thursday.The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the Zika virus is 'spreading explosively' and could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas. There is no proven vaccine or treatment.Although a direct causal relationship has not been established, a link is strongly suspected between Zika and thousands of children born in Brazil with abnormally small heads, brain defects and impaired vision.A close cousin of dengue and chikungunya, Zika causes mild fever and rash. But an estimated 80 percent of those infected suffer no symptoms, making it difficult for pregnant women to know whether they have been infected.'We will have data coming through this year,' Parks said. 'When we enter the clinic is yet to be determined.'The United States has two potential candidates for a Zika vaccine and may begin clinical trials in people by the end of this year, but there will not be a widely available vaccine for several years, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
Great job guys!
The BBC appear to be doing all they can to ignore the whole thing, choosing instead to concentrate their efforts on things closer to home, such as rural councils not subsidising private bus companies anymore to run services that are only used by two people.USA Today mentioned Zika, but only because they were concerned that it could be transmitted sexually or through blood transfusions. In the case of catching the virus from tainted blood, yes I can see this to be of concern. But as far as worrying about catching it whilst having sex goes, I'm sure there are worse infections: HIV, hepatitis, gonarhea to name just a few!
Finally, I'll leave you with this video of Dr Leonard Coldwell speaking frankly about vaccines.
If you think that my work here is worth 10p a day, then you're right! So put your money where your mouth is, and for £3/month, Subscribe Here!
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Brazil's Ministry of Health and Foundation Announce Alliance to Advance Innovation in Global Health | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:46
First initiative of the alliance is the launch of Grand Challenges Brazil, a program to accelerate research to improve the health of women and children
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
BRASLIA, Brazil '' The Brazilian Ministry of Health today announced a strategic alliance with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to prioritize the development of solutions for pressing global health issues. This Alliance will dedicate resources to explore new ways of tackling challenges associated with vaccines, nutrition, maternal and child health, and infectious disease control.
The flagship initiative under the alliance is the launch later this year of Grand Challenges Brazil '' a program aimed at catalyzing innovative health research. Initially focused on maternal and child health, the Ministry of Health, National Council on Research and the Gates Foundation will allocate up to USD $8 Million (R $14.7 Million) for research to prevent and manage pre-term birth.
"Solutions developed in Brazil may have an important impact not only domestically but also abroad, leading to the country being acknowledged internationally for its capacity for innovation in health," said Alexandre Padilha, the Brazilian health minister.
Complications related to pre-term birth are the second leading cause of death in children under five globally, and solutions developed in Brazil could have broad impact both within and beyond its borders. This initiative will work toward similar goals as those of the Stork Network, a national maternal and child health program launched by President Dilma Rousseff in 2011.
"The Gates Foundation's investment in Brazil is a recognition of the Brazilian scientific capacity. Investment in research and innovation in health is a priority of the Ministry of Health in this government" said Secretary of Science, Technology and Strategic Supplies of the Ministry of Health, Carlos Gadelha.
This strategic alliance builds on the expanding collaboration between the Brazilian government and the Gates Foundation. The two partners are already collaborating to control tuberculosis and dengue fever and improve productivity among small famers, as announced by Bill Gates in a report to the G20 last November. Among other goals, the Alliance will work to fund the development and manufacturing of vaccines to better meet the needs of the GAVI Alliance and to explore cutting-edge vaccine research.
The alliance is grounded in the Ministry of Health and the Gates Foundation's shared goal of promoting health equity. Brazil's strong network of researchers and universal public health system create an opportunity to develop breakthrough health advances. The Gates Foundation's commitment to accelerate the development of life-saving technologies will support these advances to improve the lives of Brazilians and millions of people around the world.
''Brazil's leadership is helping to ensure that innovation in health is prioritized,'' said Trevor Mundel, president of the global health program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We believe this collaboration can serve as a model for international donors and emerging economies to work together for global impact.''
###Brazilian Ministry of Health's Secretariat of Science, Technology and Strategic SuppliesThe Secretariat of Science, Technology and Strategic Supplies (SCTIE) of the Ministry of Health is responsible for the planning, implementation and evaluation of the National Policy of Science and Technology in Health. The SCTIE promotes technical cooperation between States and Municipalities in Science and Technology, and coordinates with governmental and non-governmental agencies with the goal of promoting scientific and technological development in health.
Department of Science and TechnologyThe Department of Science and Technology (DECIT) of the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Strategic Supplies is responsible for incentivizing health research in Brazil, through Federal funding or the establishment of research networks. This area of the Ministry is also responsible for the evaluation of health technologies for inclusion in the Brazilian Unified Health System and promotes the scientific dissemination of studies funded by the Ministry.
Grand ChallengesThe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recognizes that solving our greatest global health and development issues is a long-term effort. Through Grand Challenges, the foundation along with other Grand Challenge partners such as USAID and Grand Challenges Canada, are committed to seeking out and rewarding not only established researchers in science and technology, but also young investigators, entrepreneurs and innovators to help expand the pipeline of ideas to fight diseases that claim millions of lives each year.
Zika: update from Brazil: towering non-evidence Jon Rappoport's Blog
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:53
Zika: update from Brazil: towering non-evidence
by Jon Rappoport
February 4, 2016
(To read about Jon's mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)
I can now provide the latest update on what researchers in Brazil are discovering, as they dig into their original findings about the Zika virus and cases of microcephaly (babies born with small heads and brain impairment).
A correspondent has offered a translation of an article that appeared in one of the major Sao Paulo newspapers, O Estado de S£o Paulo, on February 2nd, ''Pa­s tem 404 casos confirmados de microcefalia'':
It is obvious that no significant connection between microcephaly and the Zika virus has been found. It's not even close. So far, therefore, there is absolutely no reason to trumpet an epidemic of Zika. Doing so is quite insane, by any reasonable standard.
Here are the principal facts in the article (after which I'll comment):
* As of January 30, 2016, 4,783 suspected cases of microcephaly were reported in Brazil.
* Of those, 3,670 suspected cases of microcephaly, covering the entire country of Brazil, are being investigated.
* Of those 3,670, 404 cases have been confirmed as microcephaly or ''other alterations in the central nervous system'' of babies.
* Of those 404 cases, 17 ''had a relationship with zika virus.''
* 98% of the 404 microcephaly cases come from the Northeast area of Brazil, and in that area, Pernambuco has the highest number of cases: 56.
Now, let's take each one of these reported facts and examine it.
First: 4,783 suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil. ''Suspected'' is the operative word. This number means nothing, because it says nothing about confirmation. It's just a raw figure.
3,670 of these cases are being researched.
Of these 3,670, 404 have been confirmed as microcephaly or other alterations in the central nervous system of the babies. The key word here is ''or.'' The researchers don't know how many of the 404 babies have microcephaly. At the very most, it would be 404. 404 cases of microcephaly in the whole country of Brazil, so far. That is not an epidemic. For example, every year in the US, there are 25,000 cases of microcephaly. And the literature is very clear about causes: any insult to the fetal brain during pregnancy can result in microcephaly. Severe malnutrition, falling down stairs, a blow to the stomach, a toxic street drug or medical drug or vaccine or pesticide, and so on.
Of these 404 cases of (possible) microcephaly in Brazil, 17 babies have been found who ''have a relationship with the Zika virus.'' It's hard to be more vague. But for the sake of argument, let's say that in each of the 17, with a correct test done properly, the Zika virus was isolated. This finding does not even remotely approach proof that Zika is causing microcephaly. It's miles away from proof. Any honest researcher will tell you that. If Zika were the cause, researchers should have been able to find it in the overwhelming majority of the 404 babies. 17 out of 404 is, in fact, major evidence that Zika is not the cause.
98% of the 404 (possible) microcephaly cases come from the Northeast region of Brazil. Before jumping to any conclusions, realize that standards on reporting such cases differ from region to region. Up until now, there was no national focus on microcephaly. So there may be other cases from other regions. As for the 56 cases in Pernambuco, understand that the population of this area is 9.27 million people. It is significant to note that commercial agriculture is widespread in Pernambuco, and agriculture means toxic pesticides'--an important causal factor in microcephaly, as I've detailed in other articles.
To sum up, researchers so far have found 404 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, and who knows how many of those are actually some other kind of nervous-system impairment. And of those 404 babies, they have found, at best, 17 cases where the Zika virus was present.
And this is the epidemic that is shaking the world.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is spearheading the baseless propaganda and the hysteria. At the very least, hundreds of employees from WHO should be immediately fired from their jobs, if not jailed.
Jon Rappoport
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.
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Obama Nation
President Obama's Speech at Islamic Center of Baltimore: A Fact Check - Breitbart
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:30
Whatever the reason, President Barack Obama got a lot of things factually wrong in his 3 February 2016 speech at the Islamic Center of Baltimore. Things that are basic to doctrinal Islam are not only knowable because they are readily available in English but, it might be argued, obligatory that an American commander-in-chief should know in fulfillment of his oath to defend the Constitution against ''all enemies foreign and domestic.''
First, Mr. President, a mosque is not simply the Muslim version of a church, synagogue or temple. Because of the example of Muhammad, who is called the perfect man in the Qur'an (believed by Muslims to be the exact words of Allah), we know that mosques are established not only as places of prayer and worship, but also as centers for indoctrination, the dispensing of shariah justice, the stockpiling of weapons, and the launching of jihad. If in doubt about any of this, please check with the French police, who recently have been conducting raids on mosques and Islamic Centers in the wake of horrific jihadist attacks in Paris.
The president must have missed more than one lesson on Arabic grammar, too. When he claims that ''the word itself, Islam, comes from salam'--peace,'' he is mistaken. While the words ''Islam'' and ''salam'' share the same three root letters'--s, l, m'--they are, in fact, very different words with completely different meanings. While ''salam'' indeed means ''peace'' in Arabic, ''Islam'' means ''submission.'' Submission to what? To Allah and Islamic Law. A ''Muslim'' is a person who submits. Surely the president knows this. Or maybe the White House Arabic language translator needs to be replaced.
Unfortunately, in pursuit of that submission, Islamic doctrine obligates Muslim conquest of the Dar al-Harb (places not yet subjugated to shariah). We know this not only from the example of Muhammad's own life as taught to Muslim students from the 1st grade, but also from the Qur'an and hadiths. For example, Qur'an verse 9:29 says: ''Fight those who believe not'... until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued.'' The Qur'an is quite clear in verse 3:85 as well: 'Whoever seeks a religion other than Islam will never have it accepted of him'...' Islamic Law defines jihad quite simply: ''Jihad means to war against non-Muslims.''
This is not cherry-picking Qur'anic verses. This is Islamic doctrine as uniformly presented in the Qur'an, hadiths, biography of Muhammad, and Islamic Law. It is the agreed consensus of all authoritative Islamic scholars throughout the centuries. We may wish that more Muslim scholars would teach the prohibition of terror (jihad). But of course, they cannot teach what is contrary to Islamic doctrine. For the Qur'an itself commands Muslims to ''make ready your strength to the utmost of your power'... to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy.'' (Q 8:60)
And when the President purports to quote the Qur'an about killing an innocent, he either willfully or out of ignorance is misquoting Islamic scripture. In fact, Qur'an verse 5:32 cites from a Jewish commentary on the Talmud: ''On that account, We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone slew a person'--unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land'--it would be as if he slew the whole people'...'' This is the definition of killing without right in Islam. The takeaway here is that a Muslim may not kill except those who themselves have killed without right or perpetrated ''mischief in the land'''--which may include failing to accept Islam. What the President and others too often leave out is the next verse, Q 5:33, which lays out the punishments for those who disobey 5:32. They are: ''death, crucifixion, amputation of the hand and foot on opposite sides or exile from the land.'' The President might be asked why he left those out, when they are precisely the punishments the Islamic State (IS) is applying to those under its control in faithful obedience to what they believe is the word of Allah. This isn't an IS version or interpretation of the Qur'an. It is what the Qur'an actually says.
These are just a few of the things the President might have said, were his intention to be accurate about the enemy we fight. He might have added that we are not actually fighting terrorism: we are fighting to defend the Constitution from attack by forces of jihad seeking to impose shariah. This does not mean we must be at war with all Muslims. But all those who fight or support the Global Jihad Movement are on the wrong side of our Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and the way of life Americans treasure because, unlike Islamic doctrine, they enshrine principles of individual liberty, equality before man-made law, government by consent of the governed, and the right to freedoms of belief and speech.
Those, Mr. President, are the ''first things'' principles we Americans are willing to fight and die for. American Muslims who accept and defend them are patriots, too'--but unfortunately, these are not principles to be found anywhere in the authoritative Islamic canon'--and Americans need to know that.
Clare M. Lopez is Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.
VIDEO-Airport workers seen with laptop used in Somalia jet blast - CNN.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:18
In the video made public Sunday, one airport worker takes the laptop and hands it to another employee.
The employees then hand it over to a man who was killed when the laptop explosion blew a hole in the plane's fuselage, said Abdisalam Aato, a spokesman for the Somali Prime Minister.
Both workers have been arrested.
Somali officials identified the lone fatality as suspect Abdullahi Abdisalam Borleh. He was sucked out of the airliner through the hole from the blast Tuesday.
Bomber knew where to sitInvestigators suspect Borleh, a Somali national, carried a laptop computer with a bomb concealed onto the plane, according to a source familiar with the investigation.
He knew precisely where to sit and how to place the device to maximize damage, the source told CNN.
Given the placement, the blast likely would have set off a catastrophic secondary explosion in the fuel tank if the aircraft had reached cruising altitude, the source said.
But the explosion happened at a lower altitude, between 12,000 feet and 14,000 feet, killing the Somali national and injuring two others.
Though preliminary tests showed the bomb contained a military grade of the explosive TNT, the source said, it failed to bring down Daallo Airlines Flight 3159. The pilot turned around and landed the Airbus safely in Mogadishu.
Somalia asked U.S. officials for help with investigations, and several FBI agents are on the ground assisting in Mogadishu, the spokesman said.
"This was a sophisticated attack ... so we reached out to our international partners," Aato said.
Militants behind attackInvestigators believe the attack was orchestrated by Al-Shabaab, although they are not certain Borleh was a direct member of the group, according to the source. No group immediately claimed responsibility.
Al-Shabaab is an al Qaeda affiliate, though some of its it has factions have declared loyalty to ISIS. It has been responsible some of the deadliest violence in recent years in Somalia and surrounding nations, including Kenya and Uganda.
At least 20 people have been arrested in connection with the blast aboard the plane, the spokesman said.
VIDEO-Bernstein: Obama White House 'Terrified' Hillary Clinton Is 'Blowing Up Own Campaign' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 14:08
Full details at NewsBusters.org.
Appearing as a guest on Saturday's CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow, CNN political commentator and Carl Bernstein declared that, after spending time talking to the White House about Hillary Clinton's paid speeches to Goldman-Sachs, that they are "horrified" that Clinton is "blowing up her own campaign," and invoked President Richard Nixon's tapes as possibly comparable to the transcripts of her speeches.
As he described apparent panic at the White House, Bernstein used words and phrases like "terrified," "dumbfounded," "tied up in knots," and "beside themselves" to describe reaction to Clinton's "unfathomable" behavior.
VIDEO-Ben Carson Hilariously Blows GOP Debate Entrance - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 07:21
VIDEO-U.N.: Syria funds a need stopgap, won't end suffering - CNN.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:59
"The international community woke up very late to this reality. But at least it woke up," Filippo Grandi told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday. "Now we can do some work really to stabilize the people."
"But let me insist, the only solution is political. Otherwise the war will continue, and next year we'll be here again or in another capital, asking again for billions of dollars. For how long can we do that?"
Donor countries gathered in London on Thursday pledged more than $10 billion to help alleviate what the United Nations calls the "world's biggest humanitarian crisis."
The United Nations' response to the Syrian crisis last year was only 56% funded, falling more than $3 billion short of requirements. The situation was so critical that the World Food Programme was forced to cut food rations in refugee camps by an average of 50%, the agency said.
"I don't have yet the percentages for this year, but I have every reason to believe that it will be much higher," Grandi said. "People were hungry in the Middle East, a region which has not seen hunger for a long, long time."
"Germany pledged half of the food needs -- to cover half of the food needs of the World Food Programme. This is extraordinary."
'Incredible dilemmas'The strain and lack of opportunities in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey -- the Syrian neighbor countries that have borne the heaviest burden of the humanitarian disaster -- have led to increasing desperation among Syrian refugees.
There are 4.59 million Syrian refugees in neighboring countries, the United Nations says, and 6.5 million displaced within Syria.
That lack of opportunity, combined with the funding shortfalls that inhibited even the most basic standard of living, has contributed to the massive flow of desperate refugees to Europe over the past year.
Grandi, who took office at the beginning of the year, saw that desperation firsthand when he visited refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi speaks with a Syrian family outside their tent in Saadnayel, Lebanon, in the Bekaa Valley, on January 22.
"These people are faced with such incredible dilemmas," he said. "They were talking about whether it was necessary for them to take some of those boats across the Mediterranean as the only way towards a better life."
"I discouraged them, of course. But then, what's the alternative?"
Mothers, he said, told him their children "must go to school here, otherwise we have to go somewhere where they can go to school."
Jordan seeking helpJordan came to the London conference with a very specific agenda: Help us, or it is all going to collapse.
"Looking into the eyes of my people, and seeing the hardship and distress they carry," King Abdullah said, "I must tell you, we have reached our limit."
A camp for Syrian refugees in Al-Azraq, Jordan.
They came asking not only for more humanitarian funding, but for the kinds of trade deals that would help their economy and lead to a more robust and long-term solution for an enormous influx of people.
The U.N. has registered 636,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan -- about one refugee for every 10 Jordanians.
Though a deal has yet to be finalized, the European Union wants Jordan to allow Syrian refugees to obtain work permits, thus lessening, in theory, their need to make the perilous journey to Europe.
"I think if the package goes through, we will see a massive increase in work permits in Jordan," Grandi said. "I'm pretty sure about that."
"I hope that this will change, because what all the refugees always tell us is, 'Allow us to work. This is so much more dignified than receiving humanitarian assistance.' And it's true."
Hope amid the crisisWhile the funding is undoubtedly necessary, desperation fueled by the escalating war in Syria will continue to push refugees to flee the country.
Just this week, the Syrian government, backed by Russian airstrikes, launched an offensive on towns surrounding Aleppo.
Prospects for a political solution remain far from hand. U.N.-brokered peace talks were put on ice this week, postponed until the end of the month.
Escalation on the ground in Syria, said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, had "undermined" the negotiations.
"When you do the work that I do," Grandi said, "you have to remain hopeful to an extent."
"At least they haven't stopped talking; they postponed the next session."
VIDEO-CDC issues new safe-sex guidelines around Zika virus - CNN.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 06:54
Officials also said that pregnant women who have been exposed to Zika should talk with their doctors about testing for the virus.
While saying that the situation with Zika is "evolving rapidly" and that much had been learned in just the past two weeks, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden stressed in a news briefing that the primary concern with Zika at this time is protecting pregnant women and their unborn babies from a neurological disorder known as microcephaly.
"Each passing day, the linkage between Zika and microcephaly becomes stronger," Frieden said. Microcephaly results in babies being born with abnormally small heads that can lead to severe development delays and even death.
Since November, Brazil has seen 404 confirmed cases of microcephaly in newborns. Seventeen of those cases have a confirmed link to the Zika virus. Fifteen babies have died from the condition, with five linked to Zika. An additional 56 deaths are under investigation, and authorities are investigating 3,670 suspected cases.
"The priority is protecting pregnant women," Frieden told CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in an interview. "If you're pregnant, and you're thinking about traveling to a place were Zika is spreading, please don't.
"If you live in an area where Zika is spreading and you're pregnant, please protect yourself against mosquitoes. That's the bottom line."
Guidance for pregnant women without symptomsTwo weeks ago, the CDC advised any pregnant woman with symptoms of Zika (which can be mild and include fever, rash, headache, red eye) to be tested for the virus. Friday, the agency added guidelines for pregnant women who fear they have been exposed to the virus but have no symptoms.
"We know that four out of five people with Zika will have no symptoms," Frieden said in the briefing. "So our new guidance says pregnant women without symptoms can be offered testing between two to 12 weeks after travel."
Those tests would be serological blood tests, in addition to the ultrasounds recommended in the CDC's first round of guidance. "We heard that serial ultrasounds were very challenging to the health community, so we are now rolling out blood test kits," Frieden said.
He said that while the CDC is working around the clock to produce these kits, "not everyone who wants a test will be able to get one at this time" and that some of the tests might produce a false positive.
"They are not perfect, no test is perfect, but they are performing better than we had hoped, so we have more confidence than two weeks ago," said Frieden.
As for women who are thinking about getting pregnant, "We wish we had a perfect test to determine if someone might be potentially infectious, but we don't," Frieden said. "So the tests we are rolling out are being prioritized for women who are currently pregnant."
CDC issues guidelines for male sexual partnersFrieden also announced new guidelines for men who have partners who are pregnant.
"Men who live in or travel to areas of active Zika infections and who have a pregnant sexual partner should use latex condoms correctly, or refrain from sex until the pregnancy has come to term," Frieden told CNN's Gupta, "or until a test is available to see if he could possibly infect her."
While a study that showed Zika only stayed viable in blood and saliva for a week, "We don't know how long Zika can persist in semen," Frieden said. "We're doing those tests now, but it could be weeks to months before we have an answer.
"That's why we've issued these guidelines now, specifically for male sexual partners of women who are pregnant."
And for women who are not pregnant, Frieden told Gupta, "You can have a conversation with your doctor, but keep the big picture in mind. For most people who get Zika, there are no symptoms at all. For those who with symptoms, they are usually mild and gone within a week."
He said that risk for developing Zika depends on how long a person was in the area where Zika is present, how many mosquitoes are active in that area, how many mosquito bites they had and how well they protected themselves.
No ban on kissing, CDC saysAlso on Friday, a Brazilian public health institute said active Zika virus has been detected in saliva and urine. The finding poses new questions for researchers trying to understand how the virus could spread.
"It was known that the virus could be present in both urine and saliva. This is the first time we've demonstrated that the virus is active [in those fluids], with the potential to cause infection," Fiocruz researcher Myrna Bonaldo said.
But it doesn't necessarily mean you can get sick from contact with an infected person's saliva or urine, Gupta said.
"People have already shown that it can spread to bodily fluids other than blood, so this isn't entirely surprising," he said. "Presence of virus in saliva doesn't mean that it's necessarily transmissible that way."
Other labs, including the CDC, must now confirm the Fiocruz finding, Gupta said.
"We are not issuing guidance on kissing," Frieden said in the news briefing. "We take all reports seriously, but we need more information including the methodology of the study. The bottom line is Zika is primarily a mosquito-borne disease."
Five things you need to know about Zika
The World Health Organization on Monday declared a public health emergency over the Zika virus and increased reports of birth defects and a serious neurological condition that could be linked to it.
Health officials had previously reported isolated instances of the virus being passed via blood transfusions and sexual contact, including a U.S. case reported this week. The virus has spread to at least 29 countries.
As many as 3 million to 4 million people across the Americas will be infected with the virus in the next year, WHO has estimated.
Zika challenge similar to AIDS for medical community
Reports of Guillan-Barre Syndrome, a neurological conditon that can lead to paralysis, have also risen in areas where the virus has been reported.
Follow CNN Health onFacebook and Twitter.
CNN's Alessandra Castelli contributed to this report.
VIDEO-Ben Carson Causes Traffic Jam Off-Stage At ABC Debate - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:20
VIDEO-Ben Carson Causes Traffic Jam Off-Stage At ABC Debate - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:20
VIDEO-Trump and Cruz find common ground on 'Trumpertantrum' - CNN Video
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:54
Jeanne MoosNational correspondent
Jeanne Moos is a national news correspondent based in New York. During her 34 years at CNN, Moos has covered national and international issues and ground-breaking news and features, but she soon carved out a niche with her off-beat, thoughtful reporting on the quirkier aspects of life.
VIDEO-Advertisers go all in for Super Bowl | Reuters.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:25
Images of JanuaryFri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Zika virus transmitted in U.S.Fri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:23)
Hard times in Atlantic CityThu, Jan 28, 2016 -(1:54)
What is Zika?Thu, Jan 28, 2016 -(0:53)
Fifth aniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprisngTue, Jan 26, 2016 -(2:15)
Famous Faces of the World Economic Forum 2016Fri, Jan 22, 2016 -(1:18)
Gaza's parkour teamThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(0:44)
Kicking the habit in KabulThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(1:27)
The hottest year everWed, Jan 20, 2016 -(0:29)
Young Syrians dream of homeTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(2:15)
Martin Luther King Jr. DayTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(1:47)
Turn and face the strange: David Bowie dies...Mon, Jan 11, 2016 -(1:03)
Crossing the border in 2015Thu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:10)
Swimming in SiberiaThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(0:45)
One year anniversary of Charlie HebdoThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:37)
Federal government in armed stand-off with...Wed, Jan 06, 2016 -(1:22)
Images of DecemberTue, Jan 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Algeria's Tattooed womenMon, Jan 04, 2016 -(1:01)
What did you Google in 2015?Thu, Dec 31, 2015 -(0:35)
The stories of Japan's wartime ''comfort women''Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(1:47)
Hundreds of fighters and civilians escape...Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(0:59)
A look at the strangest scenes from 2015Wed, Dec 23, 2015 -(0:43)
A world of Christmas treesTue, Dec 22, 2015 -(1:36)
Reuters most captivating animal pictures of...Tue, Dec 22, 2015 -(0:46)
Santa Claus is coming to townMon, Dec 21, 2015 -(1:27)
The year in 60 seconds: 2015Wed, Dec 02, 2015 -(1:01)
Being Darth VaderWed, Dec 16, 2015 -(0:54)
Chelsea sack 'Special One' MourinhoFri, Dec 18, 2015 -(0:44)
Serena Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the...Thu, Dec 17, 2015 -(0:51)
Behind The Scenes of 'The Nutcracker'Mon, Dec 14, 2015 -(0:48)
Talking Climate COP21Sun, Dec 13, 2015 -(1:48)
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2015Wed, Dec 09, 2015 -(1:33)
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
VIDEO-Russia must be held accountable in Syria: Erdogan | Reuters.com
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:23
Images of JanuaryFri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Zika virus transmitted in U.S.Fri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:23)
Hard times in Atlantic CityThu, Jan 28, 2016 -(1:54)
What is Zika?Thu, Jan 28, 2016 -(0:53)
Fifth aniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprisngTue, Jan 26, 2016 -(2:15)
Famous Faces of the World Economic Forum 2016Fri, Jan 22, 2016 -(1:18)
Gaza's parkour teamThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(0:44)
Kicking the habit in KabulThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(1:27)
The hottest year everWed, Jan 20, 2016 -(0:29)
Young Syrians dream of homeTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(2:15)
Martin Luther King Jr. DayTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(1:47)
Turn and face the strange: David Bowie dies...Mon, Jan 11, 2016 -(1:03)
Crossing the border in 2015Thu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:10)
Swimming in SiberiaThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(0:45)
One year anniversary of Charlie HebdoThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:37)
Federal government in armed stand-off with...Wed, Jan 06, 2016 -(1:22)
Images of DecemberTue, Jan 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Algeria's Tattooed womenMon, Jan 04, 2016 -(1:01)
What did you Google in 2015?Thu, Dec 31, 2015 -(0:35)
The stories of Japan's wartime ''comfort women''Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(1:47)
Hundreds of fighters and civilians escape...Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(0:59)
A look at the strangest scenes from 2015Wed, Dec 23, 2015 -(0:43)
A world of Christmas treesTue, Dec 22, 2015 -(1:36)
Reuters most captivating animal pictures of...Tue, Dec 22, 2015 -(0:46)
Santa Claus is coming to townMon, Dec 21, 2015 -(1:27)
The year in 60 seconds: 2015Wed, Dec 02, 2015 -(1:01)
Being Darth VaderWed, Dec 16, 2015 -(0:54)
Chelsea sack 'Special One' MourinhoFri, Dec 18, 2015 -(0:44)
Serena Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the...Thu, Dec 17, 2015 -(0:51)
Behind The Scenes of 'The Nutcracker'Mon, Dec 14, 2015 -(0:48)
Talking Climate COP21Sun, Dec 13, 2015 -(1:48)
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2015Wed, Dec 09, 2015 -(1:33)
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
VIDEO-Bleak future for migrants in Europe | euronews, perspectives
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:21
In this week's Perspectives, we follow reports from around Europe on the continuing migrant crisis.
With up to 2,000 migrants still arriving on the Greek islands every day, the EU plan to set up several ''hotspots'' to register, screen and interview asylum seekers is moving forward but pressure is growing on the Greek government to speed up the process as France 3 reported on Thursday.
As Austria continues to tighten its immigration policy, the government plans to introduce a daily entry limit for asylum seekers. Several Austrian regions are coming up with specific measures. Austria's RSI reported from the far-western federal state of Vorarlberg.
The fear of seeing new so-called ''Jungles'', similar to the infamous one at the northern French port of Calais, is spreading in neighbouring Belgium. In the port city of Zeebrugge, the governor of West Flanders has sparked controversy over how he wants to treat migrants as France 2 explained.
Last summer, thousands of migrants and asylum seekers received a warm welcome in Germany, after a long and perilous journey to the heart of Europe. But months of bureaucratic hold-ups and money troubles are pushing several of them to return to their home countries. Italy's Rai 3 explored the issue on Wednesday.
VIDEO-Julian Assange warns of 'consequences if detention continues' | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:20
"If this illegal, immoral unethical detention continues, there will be criminal consequences for the parties involved, and those consequences can be taken in any state."
Julian Assange has hailed the United Nations panel's decision that he is being arbitrarily held ''a victory of historic importance.''
''How sweet it is. This is a victory that cannot be denied. It is a victory of historical importance, not just for me, for my family, for my children, but for the independence of the UN system,'' he said.
The Wikileaks founder appeared on the balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London to call on the UK and Sweden to allow him to freely leave the building.
Any move to hold him there would be a violation of the Convention Against Torture (CAT), he told the crowd below.
''If this illegal, immoral unethical detention continues, there will be criminal consequences for the parties involved, and those consequences can be taken in any state because the CAT (Convention against Torture) has universal jurisdiction.''
''The UN last night issued a statement stating that the determination is legally binding,'' he said.
Findings 'change nothing'
However, the UK Foreign Office claims the panel's findings ''change nothing.''
''There have been comments from Philip Hammond, the Foreign Minister of this country, today, saying 'this changes nothing.' ['...] We must understand that those comments are merely rhetoric. There is no argument in ''this changes nothing.'' It is not stating that the UK will pull out of the working group in its determinations, or the Human Rights Council, or even that it refuses to recognise the result,'' Assange told the crowd.
The 44-year-old Australian national claimed asylum in the embassy three-and-a half years ago to escape extradition to Sweden over accusations of sexual assault.
Assange has always denied the allegations against him.
Britain maintains it is legally obliged to arrest and extradite the Australian national if he leaves the embassy while a European Arrest Warrant is in place.
Wikileaks is under investigation in the US. Assange claims if he is forced to go to Sweden to face trial, Washington will take steps to have him extradited.
VIDEO-Diplomatic row at the UN highlights the difficulties for peace in Syria | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:19
As thousands flee the intense fighting around the Syrian city of Aleppo.
A diplomatic row has broken out at the UN in New York where the French ambassador to the United Nations slammed the Syrian government and its allies for scuppering the Geneva peace talks.
Fran§ois Delattre, is the French Ambassador to the UN''The Syrian regime and its allies have made no concessions. Quite the contrary, on the one hand the Syrian regime claims to discuss peace in Geneva, on the other hand it intensifies its military offensive against opposition groups with which it is supposed to discuss.''
Russia then took a swipe at the Syrian opposition groups and their backers.Vitaly Churkin, is the Russian ambassador to the UN: ''Those people who have encouraged the opposition to essentially walk out of the talks, who have been refusing our continued offers for them to arrange practical cooperation between us and them on the situation in Syria, they do not have much of a ground to criticise us. Moral or formal ground to criticise us.''
On the ground in Syria the situation continues to deteriorate as the violence increases.
VIDEO-EU foreign ministers tell Turkey to let in the exodus from Aleppo | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:19
Turkey's foreign minister was invited to an EU foreign ministers' meeting in Amsterdam on Saturday, where he was told his country had to take in the refugees massing on its Syrian border.
Some 20,000 refugees from Aleppo are already crowded into Bab al-Salama, and another 50,000 are reported to be on their way. Several EU ministers reminded Mevl¼t ‡avuşoğlu of Turkey's international obligations.
''It is unquestionable the fact that the people coming from inside Syria are Syrians in need of international protection. And, on top of that, the support that the EU is providing, to Turkey, among others, is aimed exactly at guaranteeing that Turkey has the means, the instruments and the resources to protect and to host people that are seeking asylum,'' said the EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.
Greece, much criticised for its initial response, has improved controls and on Lesbos one of the EU's ''''hotspot'''':http://www.ekathimerini.com/205708/article/ekathimerini/news/hot-spot-work-intensifies-as-greece-agrees-to-recognize-turkey-as-safe-country centres is taking shape with better housing and facilities. This future migrant registration centre is one of several that Brussels hopes will help host nations cope with the flood.
VIDEO-Syrian refugees flee to Turkey border as Aleppo assault intensifies | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:18
Around 35,000 Syrian refugees have arrived at the Turkish border, near the southern city of Kilis in the last two days, and are being accommodated on the Syrian side, the governor of Kilis said on Saturday.
Suleyman Tapsiz also said another 70,000 Syrians could be on their way to the border crossing, which lies between Oncupinar in Turkey and Bab al-Salam on the Syrian side.
The refugees have been fleeing an offensive by the Syrian army, backed by Russian air strikes, on rebel-held areas near the northern city of Aleppo.
One refugee said: ''We left our village and we were taken hostage by Daesh (Islamic State group). We quickly came to the village of Kafarnoos to cross the border to Turkey.''
''It's 48 hours that we sleep on the floor and on the sand until they let us cross the border,'' explained another.
Turkey's Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said on Saturday that Turkey would be maintaining its ''open door policy for people fleeing (Syria).''
VIDEO-Five migrants saved from channel after trying to sail to Britain from Calais | euronews, world news
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:17
It is not often that migrants attempt to get into Britain the hard way, by crossing the channel from France on their own.
However conditions are so bad in Calais' migrant ''jungle'' that some are prepared to risk their lives to get out of it.
Five migrants attempted the crossing in a three-metre boat on Saturday, but one of them swam back to shore for help after taking on water. The men had a lucky escape, but still needed treatment for hypothermia.
''They wouldn`t have held out for much longer, one of them had severe hypothermia. They were just exhausted and mostly scared by their misadventure,'' said the President of the Calais branch of the French National Rescue at sea association Bernard Barron.
The jungle continues to grow despite the French authorities opening other facilities, and at its busiest was home for some 5000 people.
Less crowded now, it remains a place of despair with inadequate sanitation and poor protection from the elements.
VIDEO-Why Millions Of Muslims Feel Violated By Obama's Mosque Visit - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:16
VIDEO-Woman In Car With LaVoy Vinicum When Killed Says "FBI Is Lying!" - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:16
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:15
VIDEO-British Government Says U.N. Human Rights Panel Ruling On Julian Assange CHANGES NOTHING! - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:11
VIDEO-Clinton: 'I Get a Scripture Lesson Every Morning' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:10
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VIDEO-Fiorina Demands Spot in ABC Debate; Gets Accused of Playing 'Gender Card' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:05
More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.
Talking to Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina on Thursday about possibly being excluded from ABC's GOP presidential debate on Saturday, MSNBC host Kate Snow touted a Washington Post hit piece accusing the businesswoman of ''playing the gender card'': ''...a conservative writer wrote that you're playing the gender card about this....Is it fair to say that you're playing the race '' the gender card?''
In the Post, ''conservative'' columnist Jennifer Rubin went on a tirade against Fiorina: ''She is free to carry on despite awful results, but she is not content merely to soldier on. She now insists that the debate rules be changed, not because the polls failed to pick up a surge...but because she is a woman.''
VIDEO-Obama Pal and Donor Gayle King to Interview President for Super Bowl | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:04
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VIDEO-Saudis Ready to Send Ground Forces Into Syria; State Dep't in General Would Welcome 'Additional Capabilities' Against ISIS | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:03
State Department spokesman John Kirby declined to comment Thursday on a Saudi offer to contribute to a ground offensive against ISIS in Syria, but said in general the U.S. would welcome ''additional capabilities lent to the coalition to go after'' the terrorist group.
VIDEO-Scarborough: Leaving Iowa, Top Journalists Quietly Told Me 'You Know Bernie Won' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:03
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VIDEO-Matthews to DNC Chair: Are Democrats 'Better Human Beings Than Republicans?' | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:02
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
In the middle of gathering Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's reaction to Thursday's MSNBC Presidential Candidates Debate, Hardball host Chris Matthews inquired which political party has ''better people'' and specifically if Democrats are ''better human beings than Republicans.''
Matthews's bizarre foray into judging whether half the American people are ''better'' than the other comes, of course, as his wife Kathleen is running as a Democrat for Congress in Maryland's Eighth Congressional District.
VIDEO-MSNBC Hosts: It's 'Crazy' Not to Root for Hillary as First Woman | MRCTV
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 02:01
[See NewsBusters for more.] The hosts of MSNBC Live on Friday thought it was ''crazy'' that some young women aren't supporting Hillary Clinton to be the first woman president. Chris Jansing and Tamron Hall marveled at a New Hampshire focus group that included young, college-age females. Hall proclaimed, ''The big headline for me in the randomly selected group of people, the young women there did not care that Hillary Clinton could be the first woman president.'' A shocked Jansing retorted, ''That's crazy to me. It really is.'' The journalists were reacting to Thursday's Democratic debates. Finding the remarks stunning, Hall continued, ''In fact, several of them were offended when she brought the line up pointing to the fact, 'how can I be establishment, I'm a woman running for president.'"
VIDEO-Madeleine Albright stumps for Clinton
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:50
Images of JanuaryFri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Zika virus transmitted in U.S.Fri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:23)
Hard times in Atlantic CityThu, Jan 28, 2016 -(1:54)
What is Zika?Thu, Jan 28, 2016 -(0:53)
Fifth aniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprisngTue, Jan 26, 2016 -(2:15)
Famous Faces of the World Economic Forum 2016Fri, Jan 22, 2016 -(1:18)
Gaza's parkour teamThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(0:44)
Kicking the habit in KabulThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(1:27)
The hottest year everWed, Jan 20, 2016 -(0:29)
Young Syrians dream of homeTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(2:15)
Martin Luther King Jr. DayTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(1:47)
Turn and face the strange: David Bowie dies...Mon, Jan 11, 2016 -(1:03)
Crossing the border in 2015Thu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:10)
Swimming in SiberiaThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(0:45)
One year anniversary of Charlie HebdoThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:37)
Federal government in armed stand-off with...Wed, Jan 06, 2016 -(1:22)
Images of DecemberTue, Jan 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Algeria's Tattooed womenMon, Jan 04, 2016 -(1:01)
What did you Google in 2015?Thu, Dec 31, 2015 -(0:35)
The stories of Japan's wartime ''comfort women''Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(1:47)
Hundreds of fighters and civilians escape...Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(0:59)
A look at the strangest scenes from 2015Wed, Dec 23, 2015 -(0:43)
A world of Christmas treesTue, Dec 22, 2015 -(1:36)
Reuters most captivating animal pictures of...Tue, Dec 22, 2015 -(0:46)
Santa Claus is coming to townMon, Dec 21, 2015 -(1:27)
The year in 60 seconds: 2015Wed, Dec 02, 2015 -(1:01)
Being Darth VaderWed, Dec 16, 2015 -(0:54)
Chelsea sack 'Special One' MourinhoFri, Dec 18, 2015 -(0:44)
Serena Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the...Thu, Dec 17, 2015 -(0:51)
Behind The Scenes of 'The Nutcracker'Mon, Dec 14, 2015 -(0:48)
Talking Climate COP21Sun, Dec 13, 2015 -(1:48)
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2015Wed, Dec 09, 2015 -(1:33)
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
VIDEO-Beyonc(C) releases surprise new song and video ahead of Super Bowl performance | Music | The Guardian
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:43
Beyonc(C) has released a single and music video on the eve of her performance at the Super Bowl half-time show with Coldplay, surprising fans with her first solo song since 2014.
The singer offered free downloads of the song, titled Formation, on Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service co-owned by her husband, Jay Z. Coldplay featured Beyonc(C) in a music video for the song Hymn for the Weekend, released last week.
Related:Coldplay and Beyonc(C): skip the cultural appropriation for Super Bowl halftime | Anthea Butler
Filmed in New Orleans and set to a mix of 19th century and 20th century aesthetics, with allusions to the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-police protests around the US, the floods of Hurricane Katrina and her husband's business empire, the video shows a police cruiser submerged in flooded streets, frills and fans in an old city mansion, take-out crawfish and riot police, a southern gothic funeral, and an 80s-style dance routine in a gymnasium.
Beyonc(C)'s Super Bowl appearance on Sunday will be her second on the main stage. She and Destiny's Child performed Crazy in Love, Single Ladies as well as Bootylicious and Independent Women in 2013.
VIDEO-Twitter users decry reported plan to prioritize tweets | Reuters
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:42
NEW YORK The hashtag #RIPTwitter became the top trending U.S. item on Twitter on Saturday, after a report from BuzzFeed said the company is planning to change how it displays users' tweets.
The BuzzFeed report, which went live on Friday night and did not disclose the source of its information, said the social media platform will reorder tweets to prioritize those it believes more users will want to see. Currently, Twitter arranges tweets in chronological order.
The response to the news on Twitter was overwhelmingly negative, with the hashtag #RIPTwitter suggesting many users of the micro-blogging site believe the changes would mean the death of the company.
Many users were upset that tweets from accounts with fewer followers could possibly be suppressed under the new system. Others complained that the changes would make Twitter too much like Facebook (FB.O), which arranges content through the use of an algorithm.
''Dear Twitter, don't try to be like Facebook, we don't like Facebook #RIPTwitter,'' tweeted ana (@dearcalumthood) on Saturday.
''Clearly the motto 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' is something @twitter isn't familiar with #RIPTwitter,'' tweeted EldestSalvatore (@EldestDamon) on Saturday.
A spokesperson for Twitter declined to comment.
Twitter has come under increasing pressure to boost user growth, as it struggles to attain advertising revenues equaling those of its larger Facebook rival.
Last month, Twitter came under fire when it announced a new feature that would allow users to post tweets up to 10,000 characters long, up from its previous limit of 140 characters.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Tom Brown)
A 3D printed Twitter logo is seen in this illustration picture made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 3, 2016.
Reuters/Dado Ruvic
VIDEO-Studio 10 host Sarah Harris warns post-baby shamers
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 01:28
Sarah Harris Talks Pregnancy Complications on Studio 10.
TV mums ... Studio 10's Sarah Harris with The Biggest Loser trainer Michelle Bridges before they both gave birth to sons. Picture: Supplied / Network Ten
STUDIO 10 host Sarah Harris is set to introduce her sweet new son, Paul to his ''extended TV family'' on Monday's show on the Ten Network but has a warning for the body shamers she took on during her pregnancy '-- back off about her baby weight.
The first-time mum who revealed she put on 25 kilograms before giving birth to her 4.25kg baby, was papped recently when ''we made it out of the house a couple of weeks ago'' only to have her appearance immediately come under scrutiny.
''The headline with the photo was 'Sarah flaunts her post-baby body' and I went, 'no, I'm not flaunting it at all. I'm leaving the house, I haven't brushed my hair and if I wasn't wearing these Spanx I'd look three sizes bigger,'' she told News Corp Australia.
''What I look like is the last thing I'm thinking about right now ... I'm still healing.''
Little dude...Harris drank raspberry leaf tea, had Chinese foot massages and ate carry to bring on the birth of her 4.25kg ''bruiser'' Paul. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia
Cradling her precious seven-week-old son, Harris admits she was not prepared for the experience of child birth, and ''didn't even know I was in labour'' until she was well-advanced.
''I went a week early because he was so big,'' she said, laughing about the various methods she tried to fast-track her special Christmas delivery.
''I don't know if it worked or not but I was drinking that raspberry leaf tea, I was getting Chinese foot massages. It was so hot, I was so over it. I was eating curry, walking up and down the stairs ... doing whatever I could to get this kid out.''
Husband Tom Ward, an IT specialist, had been apprehensive about attending the birth, but proved her greatest supporter.
New parents ... Harris credits husband Tom Ward, an IT specialist, with being her greatest supporter in the delivery ward. Picture: James HoranSource:Supplied
''He's very squeamish at the sight of blood but he stepped up and ended up cutting the cord. It was a really good experience for us to go through and to have this little dude at the end of it.''
The placid bub was named after Ward's father Paul and her grandfather William.
''I lived with my grandfather for a while, we were born on the same day and were very, very close. I think it's nice that he'll have a special relationship with his grandad, who likes to come around and take him for walks in the park...it's so sweet,'' she said.
Wearing booties knitted for him by an audience member to his first photo call, Harris is hopeful his TV debut will go as quietly as he goes when she props him up to watch the show at home.
''When you have a baby, you realise it's a noisy show ... there's applause, there's Joe Hildebrand sitting there talking the whole time, there's so many sounds he heard all the way through the pregnancy, so when you sit him in front of the telly, he actually goes a bit quiet. The applause, the people chatting and the music, it's a comfort to him...that's pretty cool.''
Harris' appearance back on the Studio 10 panel on Monday is just a cameo, but she plans to return to full-time work after Easter.
Radiant mum and bub ... Studio 10 host Sarah Harris and her seven-week-old baby Paul. Picture: Sam RuttynSource:News Corp Australia
Email: holly.byrnes@news.com.au
Twitter: @byrnesh
VIDEO-albright threatens hell - YouTube
Sun, 07 Feb 2016 00:59
VIDEO-Obama to push for climate funding in Congress
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 17:19
Images of JanuaryFri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Zika virus transmitted in U.S.Fri, Feb 05, 2016 -(1:23)
Hard times in Atlantic CityThu, Jan 28, 2016 -(1:54)
What is Zika?Thu, Jan 28, 2016 -(0:53)
Fifth aniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprisngTue, Jan 26, 2016 -(2:15)
Famous Faces of the World Economic Forum 2016Fri, Jan 22, 2016 -(1:18)
Gaza's parkour teamThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(0:44)
Kicking the habit in KabulThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(1:27)
The hottest year everWed, Jan 20, 2016 -(0:29)
Young Syrians dream of homeTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(2:15)
Martin Luther King Jr. DayTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(1:47)
Turn and face the strange: David Bowie dies...Mon, Jan 11, 2016 -(1:03)
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VIDEO-6-30-'It's too weak,' Kasich says of jobs report | MSNBC
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:18
What does the word 'progressive' mean?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and the publisher for the New Hampshire Union Leader, Joe McQuaid, debate over the definitions behind the different labels being thrown around between the Democratic presidential candidates such as progressive, liberal, socialist...
Hardball with Chris Matthews
Duration: 5:00
VIDEO-Young Women In NH ''Shrugging'' Off Clinton's Candidacy - YouTube
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:12
VIDEO-Remarks at the Syria Donors Conference
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:30
Well, your excellencies all, I'm cutting down significantly because we were originally given a little more time, but I'm very happy to try to fit it all in as quickly as I can. After almost five years of fighting, it's pretty incredible that as we come here to London in 2016, the situation on the ground is actually worse, not better. And the suffering in Syria grows; it's not diminishing.
So we all understand '' and I'm not going to go through all of it; as the secretary said, we know most of the details of what is happening. But obviously, people are reduced to eating grass and leaves and killing stray animals in order to survive on a day-to-day basis. That is something that should tear at the conscience of all civilized people, and we all have a responsibility to respond to it.
So we are called on to act today, and act we will. To date, the United States has provided over 4.5 billion to help Syrian refugees and those displaced within Syria, and I am proud that that makes us to date the largest single donor from external in the world. There are countries like Turkey and others who have a huge burden internally, and out of their budgets they're trying to meet that.
So today the United States is announcing our latest contribution, which is over $925 million. That includes more than 600 million in direct humanitarian aid to provide food, shelter, water, medical care, and other vital relief to millions of people inside of Syria and across the region. It also includes 325 million in development assistance, 290 million of which is new funding specifically to support schooling for 300,000 refugee youth in Jordan and Lebanon '' meeting directly, hopefully, the challenge that we face here today.
Now, ultimately the '' (applause). Obviously '' and a number of speakers have addressed this '' today the challenge is to not just write a check every other year to increase refugees; it's to stop the flow of refugees. It's to end the war. And we know that in the International Syrian Support Group, we're trying to do that, and I just want to take a quick moment.
In keeping with the spirit of Chancellor Merkel's exhortation that today should be a day of hope, let me just say that the UN Resolution 2254 on which the talks in Geneva are based and which all the parties have accepted says the following '' paragraph 12: ''calls on the parties to immediately allow'' '' this is when we passed it on the 18th of December '' ''to immediately allow humanitarian agencies rapid, safe, and unhindered access throughout Syria by'' the ''most direct routes, and allow immediate humanitarian assistance to reach all people in need, in particular in all besieged and hard-to-reach-areas,'' and also ''demands that all parties immediately comply with their obligations under international law,'' ''demands that all parties immediately cease any attacks against civilians and civilian objects'... including attacks against medical facilities and personnel, and'... indiscriminate use of weapons, including through shelling and aerial bombardment.''
That is mandatory. That was passed at the United Nations. That is the basis of these talks. There is no precondition. These were what should be immediately implemented starting in December and has not happened. So this morning, I talked to Foreign Minister Lavrov. And we have agreed that we are engaged in a discussion about how to implement the ceasefire specifically, as well as some immediate possible confidence-building steps to deliver humanitarian assistance in keeping with the UN resolution.
So obviously, we're compelled to respond to the immediate needs on the ground, and we're doing so today. In September, President Obama will convene a high-level summit on refugees at the UN General Assembly. And between then and now, we call on the global community to increase by at least 30 percent the overall response to humanitarian funding appeals for refugees. We urge at least 10 countries to make pledges that have never made pledges before. We urge 10 nations to open their doors to refugee admissions that have not done so in the past. We urge multilateral development banks to find ways to help countries like Jordan and Lebanon by offering concessional finance for programs that support services or job creation, and to help host communities. And we urge special attention to the problem not simply of housing but of helping refugees through education and employment, to build self-reliance and to resume a normal life.
So I thank you, Mr. Secretary-General. We are following the admonition of a Syrian refugee named Mohamad who lost four of his sons to this conflict. And he said it best. He said, ''Our dreams are very simple '' to have a decent living so that we can be self-sufficient and not put out a hand to beg. We want people to look at us as humans.'' And that is why it is so imperative that next week the ISSG find a combination to produce a ceasefire and to produce humanitarian access. And I can assure you we will get back to these talks in Geneva, and we will do the business that the nation and the world has set out for us. Thank you. (Applause.)
VIDEO-State department says evidence not needed to prove accusations - YouTube
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 18:13
VIDEO-Zika | Another Way
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:11
Take a look at this'...
And now, think about this'...
Now ask yourself this question. How did enough Zika cross the Pacific to cause an epidemic? Wikipedia, like every mainstream source, is either unwilling or unable to answer this, sticking to the route the virus appears to have taken
In April 2007, the first outbreak outside of Africa and Asia occurred on the island of Yap in the Federated States of Micronesia, characterized by rash, conjunctivitis, and arthralgia, which was initially thought to be dengue, chikungunya or Ross River disease.[41] However, serum samples from patients in the acute phase of illness contained RNA of Zika virus. There were 49 confirmed cases, 59 unconfirmed cases, no hospitalizations, and no deaths.[42] More recently, epidemics have occurred in Polynesia, Easter Island, the Cook Islands and New Caledonia.[40]Since April 2015, a large, ongoing outbreak of Zika virus that began in Brazil has spread to much of South and Central America, and the Caribbean. In January 2016, the CDC issued a level 2 travel alert for people traveling to regions and certain countries where Zika virus transmission is ongoing.
There has been speculation that the virus was spread back in 2014 when Brazil hosted the FIFA World Cup, and was visited by large numbers of people. This doesn't really stand up though, because none of the affected countries had teams playing. However, there was something else that started in 2014:
Brazil starts HPV vaccination programMarch 10, 2014Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Monday said the country was rolling out a vaccination program to protect five million 11-to 13-year-old girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause cause cervical cancer.''The state has an obligation to protect all girls,'' Rousseff said as she inaugurated the program in Sao Paulo.Brazil intends over five years to produce a vaccine in conjunction with biomedical research center Butantan Institute and US pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) via a $480 million investment, making available 41 million doses over that time frame until Brazil's labs can produce their own.The first year of the program will see 15 million doses'--three per child'--administered. The government hopes to reach at least 80 percent of Brazil's 5.2 million girls in the targeted age group.The World Health Organization says cervical cancer is the second most common form of the disease in women worldwide, each year bringing 250,000 deaths and 500,000 new cases.
Medical ExpressIt wouldn't be the first time that the HPV vaccination has been found to be contributing to the ill health of nations.
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VIDEO-Malaysia attorney general: Saudi royal family gave Najib $681M 'personal donation'
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 17:02
Saudi Arabia's royal family gave Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak a $681 million gift, Malaysia's attorney general has revealed, ending months of speculation about the source of the huge personal donation.
Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali told an unscheduled press conference on Tuesday that he was satisfied that the funds in Najib's account were "not a form of graft or bribery" and that "no criminal offence" had been committed in relation to the funds, according to Reuters reports.
"There was no reason given as to why the donation was made to PM Najib, that is between him and the Saudi family," Reuters reported the attorney general as saying.
Dow Jones reported that the AG also told the press conference that Najib returned $620 million of the cash to his Saudi donor as it "wasn't utilized."
According to Reuters, Apandi told the press conference that there was no need for Malaysia to seek "legal assistance" from any other country in order to investigate the funds, because he had found that no offence had been committed.
In addition, the attorney general reportedly said that he was satisfied that no offence had been committed in relation to SRC International, a former subsidiary of heavily indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). SRC had been probed over the alleged misappropriation of fund worth $932 million.
Malaysia's anti-graft agency has said on Dec. 31 that it had sent two reports to the attorney-general's office on its investigations into 1MDB. The agency was looking at the troubled financial state of the fund, as well as transfers allegedly made from the fund to Najib's personal bank accounts.
The Malaysian PM is chairman of 1MDB's advisory board.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) did not reveal its findings at the time or say whether any wrongdoing was involved. It would be up to the attorney to decide any further action, it had said at the time.
VIDEO-View topic - Martin Shkreli and the Big Pharma Psyop ' Cluesforum.info
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:44
OK folks, earlier this week in the Chatbox I mentioned how this Martin Shkreli character, who has been one of the top stories in the USA all year, weirds me out. I posted some GIFs and suggested that he is perhaps a sim. I did a few hours of research last night and I no longer believe he is a sim. I do however believe he is an obvious actor.Before I begin I just want to note that your instincts are NEVER wrong. You may be wrong about THE reason for your instincts being alarmed, but there always is A reason even if it's not obvious right away.
To catch people up on who he is
Martin Shkreli's bad month continues. After being arrested last week on charges of securities fraud, the infamous Shkreli '-- who came to public attention when he raised the price of drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill '-- has been fired from his position as CEO of pharmaceutical company KaloBios. The company says it sacked Shkreli on December 17th, the same day that he was arrested for allegedly misappropriating money to pay off debts at his previous companies, and shortly before he resigned from his position as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals on December 18th.Shkreli became CEO of KaloBios on November 19th after acquiring 70 percent of the company's outstanding shares. He planned to pull a similar trick at his new company that he did at Turing Pharmaceuticals, getting the license for a standard treatment '-- in this case for a parasitic infection called Chagas disease '-- and jacking up its price from a few hundred dollars for a course to almost $100,000 for 12 weeks. Shkreli has been joined on his way out of the door by Tony Chase, who stepped onto KaloBios' board with him in November, but it's not clear whether the San Francisco-based drug maker will go ahead with its plan to hike the price of its treatment.
http://www.theverge.com/2015/12/21/1064 ... -ceo-fired
Looking at his wiki, you'll notice a connection to UBS. This is the same company where the man who claimed to know 9/11 vicsim John Salamone worked and had a phone call with Hoi Polloi.
After four years as an associate at Cramer Berkowitz, Shkreli worked as an analyst for Intrepid Capital Management and UBS Wealth Management.[17] He then started his first hedge fund, Elea Capital Management, in 2006.[18][19] In October 2007, Lehman Brothers won a $2.3 million default judgment against Shkreli and Elea.
Instead of focusing on the (probably fake) paper trail, I want to focus on the guy in the videos we have.
full link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-U1MMa0SHw
In the Zuckerberg thread I mentioned that my litmus test for whether somebody is a hologram is how they interact with real people when in the same room as them. At 2:36 he is seated very close to a female news anchor and it's obvious to me they are responding to each other in very subtle ways that people do, especially in a male/female dynamic. So that's what made me throw out the hologram/sim idea.
But does this guy in the video give you the creeps or what? Want to know why? Because that was his objective.
So what's up with his weird smiles and facial expressions?
The entire interview is jampacked with Shkreli making arrogant smirks for no reason at all. He does that when he is listening and when he is speaking. He blinks at weird times. He overall makes himself the most repulsive person you can possibly be. But that's where he gives himself away.
When you listen to the interview you realize that this guy is really smart. Every business or pharmaceutical question they ask him he answers immediately without thinking about it. It's clear that he is very well-versed on these subjects. Whoever this guy is, he knows business and he knows pharmaceuticals. HOWEVER, all of these weird facial expresions he's making, he's doing consciously. It's obvious.
So to summarize, his knowledge of business and pharma is unconscious, yet his weird smirks and repulsive facial expressions are done consciously.
Let's say this is a real guy and he's truly an arrogant ass. Why would he consciously make an effort to come off this way? Even the biggest assholes and sociopaths will at least try to come off well on national television. Not this guy. Not this CEO.
But how are the news anchors and interviewers responding to his behavior?
They react with complete and obvious disgust. Watch any interview to hear the tone with which they speak to him. And then watch how he isn't bothered in the slightest by it. I mean just look at his wardrobe in the picture above and in the arrest picture. He just couldn't possibly come off worse.
So what we have here is a guy who is consciously attempting to come off as repulsive as possible, and interviewers who are most likely consciously feigning disgust at this man.
Shkreli actually has a live webcam on Youtube and Twitch where he just sits around for hours and "interacts" with other users. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0S2MJre4ak
Before I get to the webcam I'd like to remind readers that Shkreli just got arrested for Securities fraud, creating a pleasant schadenfreude story for the public.
Yet a few days afterwards, there he is on public live stream adding to his completely unlikeable persona. Where are his lawyers to tell him to stop? Reminds me of the Sandusky case.
Anyways I watched close to an hour of his live stream last night and I made several observations. First, I don't think they're really live. Second, he does not make all of those crazy faces from the CNBC interview. Instead what he does is look completely disinterested in anybody he's talking to on the phone or in chat. If he smiles he quickly wipes it off his face. Overall he does his best to seem like an unfriendly, arrogant grump.
To which I ask, if he hates interacting with people so much, why does he spend 5 hours doing it all the time? What does he get out of it? Why does he try to cover up any redeeming quality he might have? His room always seems too perfect. TV, video games, guitar, amp. Just feels staged. Too much "just a regular young guy's room". This is no regular guy, this is a supposed young, successful, ambitious millionaire.
This live stream is very important because it wipes out a devil's advocate argument. "Maybe the reason Shkreli acts so weird on TV is because he has Asperger's or something like that and doesn't realize how bad he comes off". It's in this live feed that it's clear to me that Shkreli is a normal guy with normal social cues. To my gut, he seems like he would be a normal, cool guy if he dropped the act.
So here's where I need help from the Clues Forum. The picture is starting to form. The Psyop is "create a disgusting person who price hiked a life-saving drug for pure profit and get the media and public to tear him to pieces". The idea is to make it seem like Martin Shkreli is the worst person out there in Big Pharma and that if any disgusting people come around, the media and law enforcement will expose them.
So the question becomes....Exactly what are they trying to distract from?
Are they trying to hide that major pharmaceutical companies have cures but keep them secret?Are they trying to distract from fake illnesses like AIDS?From other real price gouging from major pharmaceutical companies?Fix the reputation of Big Pharma by feigning disgust at this Shkreli character?Something not related to Pharma?
VIDEO-Donald Trump ROARS: 'Beat the SHI* Out of Them!' (2-2-16) - YouTube
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:57
VIDEO-WRONG!!!-See Who Makes His First Major Appearance in the 2016 Political Cycle in an Ad for Jeb Bush | Video | TheBlaze.com
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:47
It looks like the wait is over: George W. Bush has finally made his grand entrance into the 2016 political cycle. The former president, who has been largely silent on politics, is in a new ad promoting his younger brother, Jeb Bush.
''The first job of the president is to protect America. Our next president must be prepared to lead,'' Bush says in the background at the beginning of the Right to Rise ad as viewers see a waving American flag and an image of the White House.
''I know Jeb,'' the former president says with a smile as the camera turns to him.
The former commander in chief goes on to praise his brother for being a uniter and a fighter, saying Jeb has a ''good heart'' and a ''strong backbone.''
''Jeb will unite our country, he knows how to bring the world together against terror, and he knows when tough measures must be taken,'' Bush continues, as the music builds.
The ad ends with the former commander in chief telling viewers that experience matters in the race for the White House. Bush says his brother is a ''leader'' who has that experience, a key tenet of the former Florida governor's campaign.
''Jeb Bush is a leader who will keep our country safe,'' Bush says.
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VIDEO-Chelsea Clinton refers to Bernie Sanders as President Sanders 02-03-2016 - YouTube
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 14:09
VIDEO-Watch: Shkreli Smirks At Congress, Pleads Fifth, Gets Kicked Out, Tweets Congressmen Are 'Imbeciles' - The New Civil Rights Movement
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:49
'Pharma Bro' May Have Set Himself Up For Contempt Of Congress ChargeChange the conversation, change the worldShare thisMartin Shkreli was subpoenaed to testify before Congress, and last month took to Twitter to suggest he might not show. But show he did Thursday morning, sitting on a panel of pharmaceutical executives and a member of the FDA, in a House hearing on drug price gouging.
Shkreli used his constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination in response to nearly every question, sans the pronunciation of his last name.
But it wasn't pleading the Fifth that was so offensive, it was his contempt of the lawmakers duly-elected by the American people, among them the august civil rights leader Rep. Elijah Cummings, that was so disgusting.
In fact, as Cummings was delivering his opening remarks, Shkreli was smirking, which elicited this response from the Democratic ranking member: "It's not funny Mr. Shkreli, people are dying, and they are getting sicker and sicker."
Not only was Shkreli smug, he at times turned his head away from lawmakers addressing him directly, played with his pencil, and spoke with disdain to Congress.
Asked by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) why he would not answer questions, Shkreli not only pleaded the Fifth, he offered this response:
"I intend to follow the advice of my counsel, not yours."
After making it clear he would answer no questions, Shkreli was instructed to leave and was escorted out of the chamber.
Almost immediately after being kicked out of the House hearing, Shkreli took to Twitter to continue the insult parade:
Watch his "testimony":
VIDEO-CLINTON Goldman transcripts
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:17
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VIDEO-Leaked Hillary Clinton Emails - Domestic Hit Teams! - YouTube
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 23:26
VIDEO-Harlem pastor: Gays can't foreclose on my church until they birth babies 'through their anus'
Fri, 05 Feb 2016 15:32
Iowa party boss holding onto contested vote totals drives car with the license plate 'HRC 2016'
Two US Army soldiers accused of executing 16-year-old Texas boy '-- and laughing afterward
Trump backer explains pick to CNN: Drunk girls are at a bar and 'you have to go home with one of them'
This is what actually happened at the US consulate in Benghazi
'I needed a BJ': Kentucky mayor admits favors-for-sex scheme '-- but charges are dismissed anyway
'Please clap': Jeb Bush begs crowd to applaud after speech is met with total silence
Mom murdered her autistic son after seeking help from therapist who believes in 'Satanic mind control'
Bundy militants could be forced to repay $3.4 million to taxpayers over illegal stunt
Bundy militant ally Jon Ritzheimer denied bail by federal judge
Miami cop hits boy riding scooter '-- dragging him up to 40 feet beneath patrol car


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Big Pharma

Martin Shkreli Testimony-Cummings.mp3
Martin Shkreli Testimony-Gowdy-Wu Tang Clan.mp3


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Elections 2016

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JCD Clips

Assange update UN report.mp3
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DEBATE DEM crazy Hillary rant about what she did.mp3
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DEM DEBATE COre accusations long.mp3
REP DEBATE comments on nature of audience.mp3
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Diplomatic row at the UN highlights the difficulties for peace in Syria.mp3
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NA-Tech News


Obama Nation

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Shut Up Slave!

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Sanjay Gupta CLueless-CDC issues new safe-sex guidelines around Zika virus.mp3
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