1389: Wigglesworth

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 34m
October 10th, 2021
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Executive Producers: Knight YYZ loving Long Islander, Ella Kopistecki, Percy from Parts Unknown, The Christensen Family, Bernard Sirr, Jason Bauman, Sir Brian of London, Sir Ken of Pennsyltucky -> Baron of South Felton, Seth DuCasse, Brandon Keafer, Sir Greg of the Surprise Headlocks, Stuart The Strange, Black Dame Local of the Lost Pines

Associate Executive Producers: John Taylor, Sir Kit Bored, Betty Solero, Scott Tillema, Rich Malloy, Sir Ben of The Apex, Baronet of Orland Township, Rebecca Brahm, Sir A Source Familiar with the Matter - Baron of the Great Lakes Watershed, Kenneth Corson

Cover Artist: Korrekt Da Rekard

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22:57
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26:38
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31:57
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35:44
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38:27
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39:59
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42:56
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46:47
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47:37
Suggested chapter: Southwest cancellations at Jacksonville Airport due to possible ATC walkout
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48:52
Suggested chapter: Reports from fellow producers about job walk offs
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Suggested chapter: Dismal September Jobs Report
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53:26
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54:36
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57:47
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59:02
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1:01:02
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1:08:58
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1:10:49
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1:13:08
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1:15:34
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1:16:49
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1:19:04
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1:21:40
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1:24:18
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The Hyperlink is in danger!
Please do not only send screenshots. Useless to me and I can't follow threads or comments
OTG
Now, Flying Microchips Are Headed Our Way
As if conspiracy theorists didn’t have enough to worry about, Northwestern University engineers have just developed a flying microchip.
As reported in the Sep. 23 issue of Nature, the airborne microchip is carried from place to place by the wind, behaving very much like a maple tree leaf as it gradually makes its way to the ground.
Roughly the size of a grain of sand, the “electronic microflier” is not powered by an internal engine. (My microengineering savvy tells me a microchip engine would require a very sophisticated mechanic—at least on par with a Saab or Mercedes.) To develop the microflier, engineers studied the behavior of wind-dispersed seeds from trees and designed a device that would drop slowly enough that it could be used to monitor air pollution and any airborne disease on the way down. Which would be just great.
The Hyperlink is in danger!
Please do not only send screenshots. Useless to me and I can't follow threads or comments
Climate Change = Supply Change
Belgian air force - out of coal joke
Google, YouTube to prohibit ads and monetization on climate denial content
98% of scientists google discards 2%/of all scientists
Details: Google advertisers and publishers, as well as YouTube creators, will be prohibited from making ad revenue off content that contradicts "well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change," the company's ads team said in a statement.
"This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change."
Ads and monetization will still be allowed to run alongside other climate-related topics, like public debates on climate policy, impacts of climate change, and new research around the issue.
Google said it's making these changes in response to frustration from advertisers and content creators about their messages appearing alongside climate denialism.
"Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos," the company said.
Natural-Gas Shortage Sets Off Scramble Ahead of Winter
Natural gas stocks are alarmingly low around the world, and prices in most places have never been higher after surging to new records in Europe and Asia this week. Demand has jumped as economies have bounced back from pandemic shutdowns, and the squeeze has caught traders, shipowners and energy executives off guard.
Tight supplies from Russia and strong demand in China and Latin America have made European economies including Spain, the Netherlands and the U.K. particularly vulnerable. The countries in recent years have wound down coal-fired plants and become more dependent on gas.
Even in the U.S., the world’s largest producer of natural gas, the bidding war has dragged up prices to their highest in over a decade, setting the stage for an expensive winter heating season and higher electricity bills.
Dude named Ben - Protector of megawatts explains coal quantities
Listening to the show and hearing you and John talk about the China coal issues. Just to give you ideas on how much call a power plant can burn oak Grove in Franklin Texas Burns 680 tons an hour per unit for two units that coal is delivered from the mine in just in time delivering with about a 10-day storage on site
After taxes, a whole house generator
Cost Of Shipping Between China And U.S. Plunges... But For The Worst Possible Reason
The cost of shipping a 40-foot container from China to the U.S. West Coast dropped nearly half in the previous four days, going from about $15,000 to just over $8,000, while the spot rate for shipping to the East Coast had fallen by more than one-quarter from over $20,000 to less than $15,000.
Commenting on this sudden reversal, Rabobank's Michael Every put it best:
we now have the first signs of a possible levelling off in insane shipping prices from Asia – but only because the power-cuts being seen in China have led to a shortage of goods. As such, Western importers pay less for shipping…but only because the imports are not available at any price! Recall my zhetons anecdote from 1994 Moscow? Recall what modern economics was all about at the very beginning, with the argument over the relative value of water and diamonds? Guess what has made things that should be common so scarce? Long supply chains, which don’t make sense if energy and shipping costs are high. Also recall that for far longer than modern economics has been with us, the world was all about *mercantilism*, because people understood that if you don’t control trade and money, they control you.
Centering Frontline Communities
Jabs for Jobs
We are losing a lot of good Producers in key positions due to mandates
Bad Chad BOTG Report FD and PD
This is the pendulum swinging: Previously, the push in public service (police, fire, public works, whatever) has been to "Add Value". How can we pack every minute
of public service employment with some sort of productivity? So you get cops coming to medical calls to assist, even when no law enforcement component is
necessary. Under the old philosophy, this was desirable. The idea was that this could demonstrate to the public that cops are valuable community servants that
aren't just there to beat people up and arrest people. Sometimes they show up and do CPR or apply an AED.
However.... now administration sees every pubic contact as a liability. Another opportunity for someone to get in trouble. Body cameras, cell phone cameras, all a
tell a tale and we've all see the horror stories of these videos being taken out of context, or worse.... judged in the stark white light of a nice safe
environment with the benefit of time and personal safety. Split second-decisions judged over hours of rewinding and viewing by people who have never had to decide
anything in a fraction of a second. It's different when you're there.
But we haven't actually been "defunded". Cops are leaving voluntarily. Retiring if they are able, falling back on a bachelor's degree and some experience to get
them into another field. If you haven't noticed.... there are a LOT of job openings. And those that are still here are vocal on their plans to get out as soon as
they can. There aren't bodies to fill the applications. Most recently the city started offering a sign-on bonus of several thousand dollars. Veteran cops are
leaving and the trickle of recruits that replace them are children.... 20, 21 years old maybe. Good people, but it's hard to replace 20 or 30 years of experience
with zero experience.
Today, even at the FD... we are below minimum staffing. Literally cannot find people to come in for overtime. Had to shut down my rig and I got moved from my
typical Safety And Medical officer job to riding backwards (junior firefighter position) on the Truck. That probably means nothing to you, but trust me... moving
me to the Truck is a very, very desperate move.
Top Executives Are Embracing Vaccine Mandates In A Win For Biden Administration
Still no OSHA ruling?
IATSE BOTG Report
I'm a 10 year I.A.T.S.E. member from the broadway touring circuit. Wanted to add some context to the brief discussion about the looming strike y'all had today. There was a vote on Monday for a strike authorization (something like 90% of members voted, 98.6 of them were yes), not an actual "we're going on strike now". Strike authorization means the union has agreed they will strike if negotiations with AMPTP fall thru again. A good majority of the beef has been over lower pay rates from "new media" like y'all have discussed, but the other foot is long ass working hours set by the film producers. Think 16 hour days back to back during filming. This IG account has been fueling a lot of the social media chatter: https://www.instagram.com/ia_stories/. 60,000 union members would be on strike if this happens. I don't believe the theatre side of stagehands would go strike.
Here's a brief personal interjection. Before talks and saber rattling for the strike we're going on, a lot of the discussion on FeedBag has been "if you can't meet the working standards set by the producers then you need to go find a new career, end of story." Of course they're talking about the jab. I've seen touring group members go on record saying they're keeping track of anyone making "antivaccine" or "antiscience" posts and adding them to do not hire lists. Through and through, union or non union, this has been the sentiment. If you wont take the shot, find a new career. That's a huge double standard to about face a month later and be "we have to stand in solidarity!" or "these working conditions set by the producers are unacceptable!". I am one of those millennials who wont take the shot and have had to find new avenues of making an income. No Agenda and the surrounding productions has made that process way more fun than it should be.
Oh I forgot, pronunciation: I.A.T.S.E. = Eye Ought See
JAX ATC Walkout?
JAX ATC and weather - swapa
Southwest cancels and delays hundreds of flights nationwide. Here's what happened
An air traffic control issue combined with weather delays on the East Coast have caused problems across the airline's network, forcing the Dallas-based carrier to delay and cancel hundreds of flights.
By Saturday afternoon, the flight-tracking website Flight Aware showed Southwest with 568 cancellations and 717 delayed flights nationwide.
"Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend as we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers as quickly as possible," Southwest said in an emailed statement.
After receiving pushback to that initial statement online from those who pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration's delay website showed no evidence of delays, the airline issued an updated statement.
"We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports yesterday evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations.
Sir Ernesto IBM BOTG
Well I just got the ‘accept the vaccine or lose your job’ email from the company CEO.
I work for IBM.
There is no way around it, no testing option, no exemptions.
Technically they say there is an exemption process you can try but when you look into it, it’s basically like running into a brick wall and not possible. I think it’s just there as a technicality to avoid lawsuits.
Bottom line is I’m hosed, since I am the sole source of income for my family, defiance is not an option for me. They’ve got me by the balls.
RedHat BOTG
My company (Red Hat) just announced this today. Looks like I’ll be a dude named Ben looking for a new gig.
LGBBTQQIAAPK+ BLM Noodle Boy
Bill Shatner's Space Trip is problematic!
5. Unlike the U.S.S. Enterprise’s historic flight in September 1966, which included Lt. Nyota Uhura, a Black female communications officer played by Nichelle Nichols, there will be no people of color onboard Shatner’s flight nor were there any people of color on the July mission. The other members of Tuesday’s Blue Origin flight will include Audrey Powers, Blue Origin's vice president of missions and flight operations; Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of an Earth observation company; and Glen de Vries, vice chair for a French software company.
Pfizer Marketing
Build Back Better
Vaccinations are an on boarding process
WEF “Young Global Leaders”
United States
Politics and Policy
Jeffrey Zients (White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator since 2021, selected in 2003), Jeremy Howard (co-founder of lobby group “masks for all”, selected in 2013), California Governor Gavin Newsom (selected in 2005), Peter Buttigieg (selected in 2019, candidate for US President in 2020, US secretary of transportation since 2021), Chelsea Clinton (Clinton Foundation board member), Huma Abedin (Hillary Clinton aide, selected in 2012), Nikki Haley (US ambassador to the UN, 2017-2018), Samantha Power (US ambassador to the UN, 2013-2017, USAID Administrator since 2021), Ian Bremmer (founder of Eurasia Group), Bill Browder (initiator of the Magnitsky Act), Jonathan Soros (son of George Soros), Kenneth Roth (director of “Human Rights Watch” since 1993), Paul Krugman (economist, selected in 1995), Lawrence Summers (former World Bank Chief Economist, former US Treasury Secretary, former Harvard University President, selected in 1993), Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter, selected in 2020), Stéphane Bancel (Moderna CEO).
Media
CNN medical analyst Leana Wen (selected in 2018), CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, Covid Twitter personality Eric Feigl-Ding (a ‘WEF Global Shaper‘ since 2013), Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times financial columnist), Thomas Friedman (New York Times columnist, selected in 1995), George Stephanopoulos (ABC News, 1993), Lachlan Murdoch (CEO of Fox Corporation).
Technology and Social Media
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1993), former Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer (2000-2014, selected in 1995), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (1998), Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page (2002/2005), former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (2001-2011, selected in 1997), Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales (2007), PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (2007), eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar (1999), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (2009), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (2007).
Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand
Professor Devi Sridhar (a leading ‘zero covid’ proponent, selected in 2020/21), former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (both selected in 1993), BBC World Service journalist Dawood Azami, Lynn Forester de Rothschild (co-owner of The Economist), Nathaniel Rothschild (son of Lord Rothschild), historian Niall Ferguson (selected in 2005), William Hague (Foreign Secretary, 2010-2014), Charles Allen (CEO of ITV, 2004-2007; Chairman of EMI, 2008-2010).
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (since 2017, selected in 2014), Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland (selected in 2001; former managing director of Reuters). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a WEF participant, but is not a confirmed Young Global Leader.
Germany
Chancellor Angela Merkel (selected in 1993, 12 years before becoming Chancellor), current Health Minister Jens Spahn and former Health Ministers Philipp Roesler and Daniel Bahr, current co-chair of the Green Party and failed Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock (selected in 2020), former co-chair of the Green Party Cem Özdemir (selected in 2002), media mogul and Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner (selected in 2001), talk show host Sandra Maischberger, late Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle (1997), former German President Christian Wulff (selected in 1995, 15 years before becoming President), Reto Francioni (former CEO of Deutsche Boerse).
European Union
EU Commission Presidents Jose Manuel Barroso (2004-2014, selected in 1993) and Jean-Claude Juncker (2014-2019, selected in 1995), French President Emanuel Macron (since 2017, selected in 2016), former French President Nicolas Sakozy (2007-2012, selected in 1993), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (2014-2016, selected in 2012), former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004, selected in 1993), Klaus Regling (CEO of the European Financial Stability Mechanism since 2012), Guy Verhofstadt (former Belgian Prime Minister, Chair of the Brexit Steering Group), Danish Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, and Mark Leonard (founding director of the Soros-funded European Council on Foreign Relations).
Switzerland
Natalie Rickli (Director of Health of the Canton of Zurich, selected in 2012), former Presidents of the Swiss National Council Christa Markwalder (selected in 2011) and Pascale Bruderer-Wyss (selected in 2009), Geneva politician Pierre Maudet (selected in 2013), NZZ media group CEO Felix R. Graf (selected in 2007), former Swiss Justice Minister Ruth Metzler (selected in 2002), former Swiss television CEO Roger de Weck (2011-2017, selected in 1994), former UBS CEOs Peter Wuffli (selected in 1994) and Marcel Rohner (selected in 2003), former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Tiam (1998).
FB Whistleblower
FB Whistleblower - Like Big Tobacco - Master States Agreement for harm done - Taxe
BTC
IRS $600 Limit
Is it any coincidence that $600 is exactly what a person makes pretax if they work a 40 hour week at $15 per hour? But please, keep telling yourselves they’re looking for billionaires.
M5M
SNL season premiere bombs: Lowest ratings in 47-year history
Ivermectin etc
Mandates
Brett's Coof Report
The primary purpose of this essay is to better provide others with information that
can tamp down their fears. Humanity has dealt with much more deadly viruses in
comparison.
China
Spell check by the CCP of Microsoft
Taiwan won't 'bow' to China, says President Tsai
In her National Day speech, Taiwan's president called on Beijing to respect her country's sovereignty. The remarks came one day after China's Xi Jinping reiterated his desire for reunification.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took a strong stance against what Taipei sees as Chinese aggression on Sunday, saying in a speech that her country would "not bow to pressure" from Beijing.
Tsai said she hoped for an easing of tensions, but that "we will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us... as it offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people."
The president's speech was to mark Taiwan's National Day, which celebrates the start of the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that ended China's Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China, whose government relocated to Taiwan as a result of the Chinese Civil War.
China’s Xi Emphasizes ‘Peaceful Reunification’ With Taiwan, Days After Record Show of Force
HONG KONG—Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “peaceful reunification” with Taiwan days after China’s People’s Liberation Army sent a record 56 bombers and other aircraft on sorties near the self-ruled island in a single day.
“The historical task of the complete reunification of the motherland must be fulfilled, and can definitely be fulfilled,” Mr. Xi said in Beijing on Saturday, adding that achieving that goal by peaceful means is in the interests of people in Taiwan.
Mr. Xi’s remarks were part of a speech that marked the 110th anniversary of the revolution that overturned Qing imperial rule in China. In the decades that followed, the Communists and Nationalists jostled for control of China, which later led to a split between China and Taiwan amid a civil war. Nationalist forces withdrew to the island, and communist leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
The Purge
Russian authorities expand list of 'foreign agent' media - ABC News
They included reporters from Russian Dozhd independent TV, The New Times news outlet, BBC and the U.S-funded RFE/RL among others.
Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based international organization known for its open-source investigations into Russian military action in Ukraine and Syria and attacks on Kremlin opponents in Russia and abroad, was also added to the list in an apparent attempt to discourage Russians from cooperating with it.
The two other news outlets labeled as foreign agents Friday were the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot) that covers events in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region and M.News online publication.
The “foreign agent” label has been widely seen as part of the authorities' efforts to muzzle critical voices. The Kremlin, however, has denied that it is stifling freedom of speech and insists that the designation doesn’t bar media outlets from operating.
VAERS
FB Breast feeding groups, Mom's don't want 'Pfizer Milk'
AFG
U.S. delegation to meet Taliban in first high-level talks since pullout
WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A U.S. delegation will meet with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday in their first face-to-face meeting at a senior level since Washington pulled its troops from Afghanistan and the hardline group took over the country, two senior administration officials told Reuters.
The high-level U.S. delegation will include officials from the State Department, USAID and the U.S. intelligence community, will press the Taliban to ensure continued safe passage for U.S. citizens and others out of Afghanistan and to release kidnapped U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs, the officials said.
Another top priority will be to hold the Taliban to its commitment that it will not allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for al Qaeda or other extremists while pressing the group to improve access for humanitarian aid as the country faces the prospect of a "really severe and probably impossible to prevent" economic contraction, U.S. officials said.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who has for years spearheaded U.S. dialogue with the Taliban https://www.reuters.com/world/us/brokering-exit-afghanistan-us-envoy-khalilzad-became-face-diplomatic-debacle-2021-09-10 and been a key figure in peace talks with the group, will not be part of the delegation.
The U.S. team will include the State Department's Deputy Special Representative Tom West as well as top USAID humanitarian official Sarah Charles. On The Taliban side, cabinet officials will be attending, officials said.
"This meeting is a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban that we've had ongoing on matters of vital national interest," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"This meeting is not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban's own actions. They need to establish a sustained track record," the official said.
Mass Fealty Formation
TikTok is channel hopping on crack
Pope
Big Pharma
STORIES
George Soros' Fund Reveals Surprise Bitcoin Bet Amid Huge $500 Billion Crypto Price Surge
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 12:00
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Gelato Network Raises $11 Million Series A To Develop Web 3.0 Automation","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 7, 2021","hourMinute":"04:39","amPm":"pm","isEDT":true},"index":2,"title":"Gelato Network Raises $11 Million Series A To Develop Web 3.0 Automation","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/tatianakoffman/2021/10/07/gelato-network-raises-11-million-series-a-to-develop-web-30-automation/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/615f5a19ce7d0dac1d6729d0/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"d3cacb0rc3d400"},{"textContent":"
Oct 7, 2021, 05:00am EDT
Why 'Dogecoin Killers' Are Making Huge Price Gains, Leaving Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, XRP And Cardano In The Dust","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 7, 2021","hourMinute":"05:00","amPm":"am","isEDT":true},"index":3,"title":"Why 'Dogecoin Killers' Are Making Huge Price Gains, Leaving Bitcoin, Ethereum, BNB, XRP And Cardano In The Dust","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2021/10/07/why-dogecoin-killers-are-making-huge-price-gains-leaving-bitcoin-ethereum-bnb-xrp-and-cardano-in-the-dust/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/60cf0023da4eca9955e2fec8/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"6801i2ij1o4000"},{"textContent":"
Oct 6, 2021, 07:45pm EDT
Wall Street Giants Are Suddenly Piling Into Bitcoin And Crypto Amid A $500 Billion Price Pump","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 6, 2021","hourMinute":"07:45","amPm":"pm","isEDT":true},"index":4,"title":"Wall Street Giants Are Suddenly Piling Into Bitcoin And Crypto Amid A $500 Billion Price Pump","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2021/10/06/wall-street-giants-are-suddenly-piling-into-bitcoin-and-crypto-amid-500-billion-price-pump/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/615dd16eaee71f17bb3ba9b6/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"ae2gmm5dkd9400"},{"textContent":"
Oct 6, 2021, 04:15pm EDT
MoneyGram Partners With Ripple Competitor Stellar, Will Settle Transactions With USDC Stablecoin","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 6, 2021","hourMinute":"04:15","amPm":"pm","isEDT":true},"index":5,"title":"MoneyGram Partners With Ripple Competitor Stellar, Will Settle Transactions With USDC Stablecoin","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/ninabambysheva/2021/10/06/moneygram-partners-with-ripple-competitor-stellar-will-settle-transactions-with-usdc-stablecoin/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/615e01edd5bb5fb320b0145e/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"63grap9nf9k800"},{"textContent":"
Oct 6, 2021, 03:54pm EDT
Bitcoin Prices Reached Their Highest Since May'--Where Will The Crypto Go Next?","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 6, 2021","hourMinute":"03:54","amPm":"pm","isEDT":true},"index":6,"title":"Bitcoin Prices Reached Their Highest Since May'--Where Will The Crypto Go Next?","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/cbovaird/2021/10/06/bitcoin-prices-reached-their-highest-since-may-where-will-the-crypto-go-next/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/615dfe77ae36ac64d9f496ec/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"cq85hi0p479k00"},{"textContent":"
Oct 6, 2021, 01:08pm EDT
What Caused Bitcoin Prices To Reach Their Highest Since May?","scope":{"topStory":{"date":{"monthDayYear":"Oct 6, 2021","hourMinute":"01:08","amPm":"pm","isEDT":true},"index":7,"title":"What Caused Bitcoin Prices To Reach Their Highest Since May?","uri":"https://www.forbes.com/sites/cbovaird/2021/10/06/what-caused-bitcoin-prices-to-reach-their-highest-since-may/","image":"https://specials-images.forbesimg.com/imageserve/615dd7720d67953f133d97df/960x0.jpg"}},"id":"1aakbkeb6jn800"}],"breakpoints":[{"breakpoint":"@media all and (max-width: 767px)","config":{"enabled":false}},{"breakpoint":"@media all and (max-width: 768px)","config":{"inView":2,"slidesToScroll":1}},{"breakpoint":"@media all and (min-width: 1681px)","config":{"inView":6}}]};
Sweden, Denmark pause Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for younger age groups | Reuters
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:52
STOCKHOLM, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Sweden and Denmark said on Wednesday they are pausing the use of Moderna's (MRNA.O) COVID-19 vaccine for younger age groups after reports of possible rare cardiovascular side effects.
The Swedish health agency said it would pause using the shot for people born in 1991 and later as data pointed to an increase of myocarditis and pericarditis among youths and young adults that had been vaccinated. Those conditions involve an inflammation of the heart or its lining.
"The connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine Spikevax, especially after the second dose," the health agency said, adding the risk of being affected was very small.
Shares of Moderna fell 4.9%, or $16.08, to $316.11 in afternoon trading.
A Moderna spokesperson said in an email the company was aware of the decisions by regulators in Denmark and Sweden to pause the use of its vaccine in younger individuals because of the rare risk of myocarditis and or pericarditis.
"These are typically mild cases and individuals tend to recover within a short time following standard treatment and rest. The risk of myocarditis is substantially increased for those who contract COVID-19, and vaccination is the best way to protect against this."
According to one U.S. study that has yet to undergo peer review young males under 20 are up to six times more likely to develop myocarditis after contracting COVID-19 than those who have been vaccinated.
Denmark said that, while it used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as its main option for people aged 12-17 years, it had decided to pause giving the Moderna vaccine to people below 18 according to a "precautionary principle".
"In the preliminary data ... there is a suspicion of an increased risk of heart inflammation, when vaccinated with Moderna," the Danish Health Authority said in a statement.
It referred to data from a yet unpublished Nordic study, which would now be sent to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for further assessment. Final data was expected within a month, it added.
Sweden and Denmark said they now recommended the Comirnaty vaccine, from Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), instead.
A nurse prepares a syringe with a dose of the Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at Enfermera Isabel Zendal hospital in Madrid, Spain, July 23, 2021. REUTERS/Juan MedinaThe Danish Health Authority said it had made the decision even as "heart inflammation is an extremely rare side effect that often has a mild course and goes away on its own".
The EMA's safety committee concluded in July that inflammatory heart conditions can occur in very rare cases following vaccination with Comirnaty or Spikevax, more often in younger men after the second dose.
The benefits of shots based on so-called mRNA technology used by both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks, regulators in the United States, EU and the World Health Organization have said.
Data suggests reported cases of rare heart inflammation are relatively higher after Moderna's vaccine compared with the Pfizer/BioNTech shots, Canadian health officials said last week.
Although both vaccines are based on mRNA technology, the Pfizer shot contains 30 micrograms of vaccine per dose compared with 100 micrograms in the Moderna vaccine.
Data from one of two U.S. vaccine safety monitoring databases has also suggested that Moderna's vaccine may carry a higher risk of myocarditis among young people.
The vaccine is not approved for people under age 18 in the United States.
Norway already recommends the Cominarty vaccine to minors and said on Wednesday that it was reiterating this.
"Men under the age of 30 should also consider choosing Cominarty when they get vaccinated," Geir Bukholm, head of infection control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, said in a statement.
A Finnish health official said Finland expected to publish a decision on Thursday.
The EMA approved the use of Comirnaty in May, while Spikevax was given the nod for children over 12 in July.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander in Stockholm and Stine Jacobsen in Copenhagen; Additional reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo, Julie Steenhuysen in Chicago, Michael Erman in New York; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Alex Richardson and Alison Williams
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations Plummet in Southern US, Rise in Northern States
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:49
COVID-19 metrics in southern states like Florida have plummeted in recent weeks while rising in many northern states, including heavily vaccinated ones.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Mississippi, for instance, have plunged some 95 percent from the peak of 5,018 on Aug. 19 to just 268 on Oct. 7. COVID-19 related hospitalizations in the state, one of the worst-hit in the nation, dropped from 1,667 on Aug. 19 to 403 on Thursday.
Similar drops have been recorded in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, and Texas.
At the same time, metrics have been rising in many northern states, including those in New England.
Vermont, for instance, went from one case on July 5 to 286 on Oct. 1, and eight hospitalizations in the month of June to 160 in the month of September, though the metrics have been declining in recent days.
In North Dakota, active cases jumped from 143 on July 5 to 4,485 on Oct. 7 while hospitalizations rose from 9 to 184.
Seasonal PatternExperts say the shift is part of a seasonal pattern for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19.
Last year, cases started dropping in the south at the same time they climbed in much of the upper Midwest and other northern areas. The same pattern is playing out again, Dr. Scott Atlas, who advised former President Donald Trump and is now a senior fellow in health care policy at the Hoover Institution, told The Epoch Times.
''We've seen some kind of seasonality, or really cycles where we have seen these surges,'' Dr. Adnan Munkarah, executive vice president and chief clinical officer for the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, added during a briefing this week. Active cases and hospitalizations have risen 97 percent and 96 percent, respectively, in the state since hitting lows in early July.
Experts aren't sure what's driving the pattern. Ideas include differences in humidity and differences in temperature, which may lead more people to spend longer portions of time indoors. The virus spreads much more easily in crowded indoor spaces.
Another key factor, many experts say, is protection populations have against the virus. Protection can come from vaccination or prior infection, also known as natural immunity. Both do well against severe disease but protection from infection has been waning among the vaccinated, dropping by half for Pfizer's shot after five months, according to one recent study.
The decline in cases ''is likely due to a decrease in spread of the Delta variant due to a combination of an increasing proportion of the population that is vaccinated and an increasing proportion of the population that has gained temporary immunity because they have been infected and survived COVID-19,'' Danyelle McNeill, public information officer for the Arkansas Department of Health, told The Epoch Times in an email.
Some people thought the rising number of people with immunity would prevent another set of waves, or sharp increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, but that proved inaccurate. Multiple states have seen numbers similar to or even higher than previous peaks.
''We thought we were out of the woods,'' Dr. Michael Saag, professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham's Division of Infectious Diseases, told The Epoch Times. ''The end of June seemed like everything was settling down. And then July 4 weekend hit, and that was coincident with Delta really exploding, and throughout July, and especially August, all hell broke loose.''
New cases peaked in Alabama on Aug. 15. They've since dropped 70 percent. Hospitalizations peaked around the same time. They've decreased about 62 percent as of Oct. 8.
Nationwide, both cases and hospitalizations have dropped since hitting peaks in late August and early September.
Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama's state health officer, points at a computer screen in his office in Montgomery, Ala., on June 29, 2021. (Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images)'Humbled'Scientists are becoming more aware that the CCP virus is different than any other virus.
The epidemic ''is almost impossible to predict,'' Saag said. ''I've been humbled tremendously about this epidemic in terms of having no ability to predict, really, what to expect,'' he added.
''I would not be telling the truth if I told you I knew,'' Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama's state health officer, said during his weekly update on Friday when asked why cases in the state have gone down so quickly.
Federal health officials and modelers have consistently been wrong with predictions, including models that vastly overestimated how many people would need hospital care last year.
''Things have changed. We didn't know things early on,'' Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a recent appearance on Hugh Hewitt's radio show.
One problem stems from counting hospitalizations, Atlas noted. Approximately half of COVID-19 hospitalizations may have been admitted ''for another reason entirely,'' researchers said last month. That's a major issue when counting child hospitalizations. Many of the children have respiratory syncytial virus, which is more dangerous to young kids than COVID-19.
Mandates DisputedGovernors in many states imposed harsh restrictions last year when the pandemic first started. Others have continued issuing orders, including mask mandates.
Governors in southern states were hammered earlier this year for largely opposing mandates. President Joe Biden on multiple occasions blamed them for the rise in metrics. He suggested the opposition was contributing to the spike in metrics in southern states.
''The escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states,'' Biden told a press conference in August. At a separate briefing, he said masks and vaccines are the two best ways to protect against COVID-19 and alleged governors trying to forbid mask mandates for schools were ''setting a dangerous tone.''
But the governors pushed back, and an increasing number of officials say the effectiveness of the mandates is unclear.
''The data and the science doesn't back up'' more restrictive measures, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, told reporters this week. ''For instance, I think there's seven states across the country that still have a state of emergency and mask mandates. Their data doesn't look any different than ours. In fact, it's worse than ours. So their mitigation measures haven't worked. And you see this time and time again.''
Officials in Vermont are encouraging mask wearing in certain conditions and urging everybody to get vaccinated but have avoided mask and vaccine mandates.
Vermont has the lowest COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 residents, according to an age adjustment of mortality data reported to the federal government. Hawaii, which has imposed some of the strictest measures anywhere in the world, is second.
''We've made decisions based on the disease burden in our community, daily new case counts, test positivity rates, resource capacity such as health care staffing, emergency department capacity, oxygen, and the number of available hospital bed and ICU units. And we've been successful,'' Hawaii Gov. David Ige, a Democrat, told a press conference on Friday.
Even after the recent spike in Florida, which saw its highest hospitalization totals during the pandemic, the state is 27th.
The dramatic decline in COVID-19 metrics in the state ''happened without lockdowns, mask mandates, or vaccine passports,'' Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, told The Epoch Times via email.
DeSantis prioritized early treatment of COVID-19, primarily through monoclonal antibodies, a drug shown in studies to prevent hospitalizations, as well as vaccinating the elderly.
''There is a lot we still don't know about COVID-19. However, it is clear from the past 18 months that cases rise and fall in certain regions at different times of year, regardless of whether governments impose restrictions like lockdowns and mask mandates,'' Pushaw said.
Hospital workers process COVID-19 tests at a hospital in Aiea, Hawaii, on Sept. 15, 2021. (Caleb Jones/AP Photo)Moving ForwardExperts believe higher vaccination rates will help protect against future waves, especially among people who don't have antibodies from recovering from COVID-19.
''We should try to make sure that everybody who is old who hasn't had COVID gets vaccinated,'' Dr. Martin Kulldorff, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a senior scholar at the Brownstone Institute for Social and Economic Research who has advised DeSantis, told The Epoch Times.
''We have a series or group of incredibly effective vaccines if we can only get people to roll up their sleeves and get it,'' Saag said.
While the number of vaccinated Americans getting infected, hospitalized, and dying continues to rise, data from states across the country do not track prior immunity, though patients are often asked if they have had COVID-19 when being admitted to hospitals. A series of studies have shown that people who recover from COVID-19 are at little risk of re-infection.
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Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news, including politics and court cases. He started at The Epoch Times as a New York City metro reporter.
Pope Francis and Nancy Pelosi meet at the Vatican
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:44
Vatican City, Oct 9, 2021 / 05:20 am
Pope Francis met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Saturday.
At the time of publication, the Vatican had released no information about what the pope and Pelosi discussed, in line with its usual custom for papal meetings with non-heads of state.
Vatican Media.But it noted the audience in its daily bulletin for Oct. 9, saying that the House Speaker was accompanied by her husband, the businessman Paul Pelosi, and entourage.
Photographs released by the Vatican showed that Pelosi also met with Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and ''foreign minister'' Archbishop Paul Gallagher.
Vatican Media.The first Italian-American Speaker of the House was in Rome to give the keynote address at the opening session of the G20 Parliamentary Speakers' Summit. She also met with the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The day before her audience with the pope, the 81-year-old discussed the environment, migration, and human rights during a visit to the Vatican.
Vatican Media.The Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development announced the visit on Oct. 8 in a post on its Twitter account.
Pelosi was accompanied to the Vatican on Friday by Patrick Connell, the charg(C) d'affaires of the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See.
On the same day, the White House announced that former U.S. senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana is President Joe Biden's nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See.
Vatican Media.Pelosi, a Catholic mother of five, has clashed repeatedly with the archbishop of her home diocese over her support for abortion.
Vatican Media.Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone launched a prayer campaign last month aimed at inspiring ''a conversion of heart'' among politicians supporting abortion.
''A conversion of heart of the majority of our Congressional representatives is needed on this issue, beginning with the leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi,'' the San Francisco archbishop said.
Vatican Media.''I am therefore inviting all Catholics to join in a massive and visible campaign of prayer and fasting for Speaker Pelosi: commit to praying one rosary a week and fasting on Fridays for her conversion of heart.''
Cordileone urged Catholics and people of goodwill to sign up for the ''Rose and a rosary for Nancy Pelosi'' campaign.
Nancy Pelosi with Vatican Secetary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. Vatican Media.(Story continues below)
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A rose will be sent to the Speaker ''as a symbol of your prayer and fasting for her,'' he explained.
In May, Pelosi said that she was ''pleased'' with a Vatican letter to the U.S. bishops which addressed Communion for pro-abortion politicians. She claimed that the Vatican had instructed the bishops not to be ''divisive'' on the issue.
In response, Cordileone said the Vatican was in fact promoting ''dialogue'' between bishops and pro-abortion politicians, ''to help them understand the grave evil they are helping to perpetrate and accompany them to a change of heart.''
''Speaker Pelosi's positive reaction'' to the letter, he noted, ''raises hope that progress can be made in this most serious matter.''
Vatican Media.In July, Cordileone criticized Pelosi after she cited her Catholic faith while defending efforts to permit federal funding of elective abortions.
''Let me repeat: no one can claim to be a devout Catholic and condone the killing of innocent human life, let alone have the government pay for it,'' he said.
Pelosi had a 15-minute audience with Benedict XVI in 2009.
The Vatican said that the German pope ''took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death.''
Vatican Media.Pope Francis is expected to receive Joe Biden on Oct. 29, in the U.S. president's first official visit to the Vatican since his inauguration, according to sources at the Apostolic Palace.
Joe Biden, the second Catholic president in U.S. history, is due to attend the G20 summit in Rome on Oct. 30''31.
In a statement after the papal audience, Pelosi described the meeting as a ''spiritual, personal and official honor.''
She said: ''His Holiness' leadership is a source of joy and hope for Catholics and for all people, challenging each of us to be good stewards of God's creation, to act on climate, to embrace the refugee, the immigrant and the poor, and to recognize the dignity and divinity in everyone.''
''His Holiness' encyclical Laudato si' is a powerful challenge to the global community to act decisively on the climate crisis with special attention to the most vulnerable communities. I expressed the gratitude of those working on climate action in the Congress for the immense moral clarity and urgency that His Holiness continues to bring to the climate crisis, and how we continue to cherish his address to the Joint Session of Congress in 2015.''
She continued: ''His Holiness commands our attention to honor the Gospel of Matthew by serving 'the least of these,' lifting up those who have been left out or left behind, especially in the time of COVID.''
''In San Francisco, we take special pride in Pope Francis, who shares the namesake of our city and whose song of St. Francis is our anthem. 'Lord, make me a channel of thy peace. Where there is darkness, may we bring light. Where there is hatred, may we bring love. Where there is despair, may we bring hope.'''
This report was updated at 08:50 MDT with Nancy Pelosi's statement.
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The WEF and the Pandemic '' Swiss Policy Research
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:39
WEF founder Klaus Schwab in 2014 (Alamy)Published: October 6, 2021 (upd.)Share on: Twitter / Facebook / Telegram
How is the Davos World Economic Forum involved in the coronavirus pandemic?
The Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) is a premier forum for governments, global corporations and international entrepreneurs. Founded in 1971 by engineer and economist Klaus Schwab, the WEF describes its mission as ''shaping global, regional and industry agendas'' and ''improving the state of the world''. According to its website, ''moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.''
The WEF has been involved in the coronavirus pandemic in several ways.
First, the WEF was, together with the Gates Foundation, a sponsor of the prescient ''Event 201'' coronavirus pandemic simulation exercise, held in New York City on October 18, 2019 '' the same day as the opening of the Wuhan Military World Games, seen by some as ''ground zero'' of the global pandemic. China itself has argued that US military athletes may have brought the virus to Wuhan.
Second, the WEF has been a leading proponent of digital biometric identity systems, arguing that they will make societies and industries more efficient, more productive and more secure. In July 2019, the WEF started a project to ''shape the future of travel with biometric-enabled digital traveler identity management''. In addition, the WEF collaborates with the ID2020 alliance, which is funded by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations and runs a program to ''provide digital ID with vaccines''. In particular, ID2020 sees the vaccination of children as ''an entry point for digital identity.''
Third, WEF founder Klaus Schwab is the author of the book COVID-19: The Great Reset, published in July 2020, which argues that the coronavirus pandemic can and should be used for an ''economic, societal, geopolitical, environmental and technological reset'', including, in particular, advancing global governance, accelerating digital transformation, and tackling climate change.
Finally, the WEF has been running, since 1993, a program called ''Global Leaders for Tomorrow'', rebranded, in 2004, as ''Young Global Leaders''. This program aims at identifying, selecting and promoting future global leaders in both business and politics. Indeed, quite a few ''Young Global Leaders'' have later managed to become Presidents, Prime Ministers, or CEOs (see below).
During the coronavirus pandemic, several WEF Global Leaders and Global Shapers (a junior program of the Global Leaders) have played prominent roles, typically promoting zero-covid strategies, lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates. This may have been a (largely failed) attempt to protect public health and the economy, or it may have been an attempt to advance the global transformation agenda outlined above, or perhaps both.
In this regard, some notable Young Leaders include Jeffrey Zients (US White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator), St(C)phane Bancel (CEO of Moderna), Jeremy Howard (founder of influential lobby group ''Masks for All''), Leana Wen (zero-covid CNN medical analyst), Eric Feigl-Ding (zero-covid Twitter personality), Gavin Newsom (Governor of California, selected in 2005), Devi Sridhar (British zero-covid professor), Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand), French President Emanuel Macron (selected one year prior to his election in 2017), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (selected back in 1993), and German Health Minister Jens Spahn.
To get a full overview of their members, see Global Leaders for Tomorrow and Young Global Leaders on WikiSpooks (a Wiki focusing on covert power structures) as well as the official Young Global Leaders website. For an overview of some notable members in politics and the media, see below.
In conclusion, the Davos World Economic Forum has indeed been involved in the strategic management of the coronavirus pandemic, with a major emphasis on using the pandemic as a catalyst for digital transformation and the global introduction of digital identity systems.
Digital Identity: The 2018 vision of the World Economic ForumDigital Identity: The vision of the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2018)WEF ''Young Global Leaders''An overview of some WEF Young Global Leaders (2005-2021) and Global Leaders for Tomorrow (1993-2003) in politics and the media. The list is not exhaustive.
Sources: Global Leaders for Tomorrow and Young Global Leaders on WikiSpooks.
United StatesPolitics and Policy
Jeffrey Zients (White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator since 2021, selected in 2003), Jeremy Howard (co-founder of lobby group ''masks for all'', selected in 2013), California Governor Gavin Newsom (selected in 2005), Peter Buttigieg (selected in 2019, candidate for US President in 2020, US secretary of transportation since 2021), Chelsea Clinton (Clinton Foundation board member), Huma Abedin (Hillary Clinton aide, selected in 2012), Nikki Haley (US ambassador to the UN, 2017-2018), Samantha Power (US ambassador to the UN, 2013-2017, USAID Administrator since 2021), Ian Bremmer (founder of Eurasia Group), Bill Browder (initiator of the Magnitsky Act), Jonathan Soros (son of George Soros), Kenneth Roth (director of ''Human Rights Watch'' since 1993), Paul Krugman (economist, selected in 1995), Lawrence Summers (former World Bank Chief Economist, former US Treasury Secretary, former Harvard University President, selected in 1993), Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter, selected in 2020), St(C)phane Bancel (Moderna CEO).
Media
CNN medical analyst Leana Wen (selected in 2018), CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, Covid Twitter personality Eric Feigl-Ding (a 'WEF Global Shaper' since 2013), Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times financial columnist), Thomas Friedman (New York Times columnist, selected in 1995), George Stephanopoulos (ABC News, 1993), Lachlan Murdoch (CEO of Fox Corporation).
Technology and Social Media
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1993), former Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer (2000-2014, selected in 1995), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (1998), Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page (2002/2005), former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (2001-2011, selected in 1997), Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales (2007), PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (2007), eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar (1999), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (2009), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (2007).
Great Britain, Canada, New ZealandProfessor Devi Sridhar (a leading 'zero covid' proponent, selected in 2020/21), former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (both selected in 1993), BBC World Service journalist Dawood Azami, Lynn Forester de Rothschild (co-owner of The Economist), Nathaniel Rothschild (son of Lord Rothschild), historian Niall Ferguson (selected in 2005), William Hague (Foreign Secretary, 2010-2014), Charles Allen (CEO of ITV, 2004-2007; Chairman of EMI, 2008-2010).
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (since 2017, selected in 2014), Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland (selected in 2001; former managing director of Reuters). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a WEF participant, but is not a confirmed Young Global Leader.
GermanyChancellor Angela Merkel (selected in 1993, 12 years before becoming Chancellor), current Health Minister Jens Spahn and former Health Ministers Philipp Roesler and Daniel Bahr, current co-chair of the Green Party and failed Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock (selected in 2020), former co-chair of the Green Party Cem –zdemir (selected in 2002), media mogul and Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner (selected in 2001), talk show host Sandra Maischberger, late Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle (1997), former German President Christian Wulff (selected in 1995, 15 years before becoming President), Reto Francioni (former CEO of Deutsche Boerse).
European UnionEU Commission Presidents Jose Manuel Barroso (2004-2014, selected in 1993) and Jean-Claude Juncker (2014-2019, selected in 1995), French President Emanuel Macron (since 2017, selected in 2016), former French President Nicolas Sakozy (2007-2012, selected in 1993), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (2014-2016, selected in 2012), former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004, selected in 1993), Klaus Regling (CEO of the European Financial Stability Mechanism since 2012), Guy Verhofstadt (former Belgian Prime Minister, Chair of the Brexit Steering Group), Danish Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, and Mark Leonard (founding director of the Soros-funded European Council on Foreign Relations).
SwitzerlandNatalie Rickli (Director of Health of the Canton of Zurich, selected in 2012), former Presidents of the Swiss National Council Christa Markwalder (selected in 2011) and Pascale Bruderer-Wyss (selected in 2009), Geneva politician Pierre Maudet (selected in 2013), NZZ media group CEO Felix R. Graf (selected in 2007), former Swiss Justice Minister Ruth Metzler (selected in 2002), former Swiss television CEO Roger de Weck (2011-2017, selected in 1994), former UBS CEOs Peter Wuffli (selected in 1994) and Marcel Rohner (selected in 2003), former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Tiam (1998).
Video Annex1) Bill Gates demanding ''digital immunity proof'' in March 2020Video: Bill Gates demanding 'digital immunity proof' in March 2020 (source)
2) Edward Snowden warning of the ''destruction of rights'' (March 2020)
3) The Chinese ''social credit'' system (May 2019)
See alsoThe Global 'Vaccine Passport' AgendaIsrael: Highest infection rate in the worldWikipedia: A Disinformation Operation?Share on: Twitter / Facebook / Telegram
EXCLUSIVE Cathay working with Airbus on single-pilot system for long-haul | Reuters
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:26
Cathay, Airbus collaborating on single-pilot projectProgramme targets 2025 launch on Cathay A350s - sourcesAirlines stand to save on long-haul crew costsPARIS, June 16 (Reuters) - Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) is working with Airbus (AIR.PA) to introduce "reduced crew" long-haul flights with a sole pilot in the cockpit much of the time, industry sources told Reuters.
The programme, known within Airbus as Project Connect, aims to certify its A350 jet for single-pilot operations during high-altitude cruise, starting in 2025 on Cathay passenger flights, the sources said.
High hurdles remain on the path to international acceptance. Once cleared, longer flights would become possible with a pair of pilots alternating rest breaks, instead of the three or four currently needed to maintain at least two in the cockpit.
That promises savings for airlines, amid uncertainty over the post-pandemic economics of intercontinental flying. But it is likely to encounter resistance from pilots already hit by mass layoffs, and safety concerns about aircraft automation.
Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) has also worked on the single-pilot programme but currently has no plans to use it, a spokesman for the German carrier told Reuters.
Cathay Pacific Airways confirmed its involvement but said no decision had been made on eventual deployment.
"While we are engaging with Airbus in the development of the concept of reduced crew operations, we have not committed in any way to being the launch customer," the Hong Kong carrier said.
Commercial implementation would first require extensive testing, regulatory approval and pilot training with "absolutely no compromise on safety", Cathay said.
"The appropriateness and effectiveness of any such rollout as well as (the) overall cost-benefit analysis (will) ultimately depend on how the pandemic plays out."
It added: "Having said that, we will continue to engage with Airbus and to support development of the concept."
Airbus has previously disclosed plans to add single-pilot capability to the A350, but the airlines' participation had not been reported. Work has resumed after the COVID-19 crisis paused the programme, Chief Test Pilot Christophe Cail said.
"We've proven over decades we can enhance safety by putting the latest technology in aircraft," Cail told Reuters, declining to identify project partners. "As for any design evolution, we are working with airlines."
VITAL SIGNS
Safe deployment will require constant monitoring of the solo pilot's alertness and vital signs by on-board systems, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has said.
If the flight encounters a problem or the pilot flying is incapacitated, the resting copilot can be summoned within minutes. Both remain in the cockpit for take-off and landing.
"Typically on long-haul flights when you're at cruise altitude there's very little happening in the cockpit," EASA chief Patrick Ky told a German press briefing in January.
"It makes sense to say OK, instead of having two in the cockpit, we can have one in the cockpit, the other one taking a rest, provided we're implementing technical solutions which make sure that if the single one falls asleep or has any problem, there won't be any unsafe conditions."
Pilot groups have voiced alarm.
"We struggle to understand the rationale," said Otjan de Bruijn, head of the European Cockpit Association representing EU pilots.
Invoking the 737 MAX crisis, which exposed Boeing's (BA.N) inappropriate links to U.S. regulators, De Bruijn said the programme's cost-cutting approach "could lead to higher risks".
Single-pilot operations, currently limited to planes with up to nine passengers, would need backing from U.N. aviation body ICAO and countries whose airspace they cross. China's support is key to any Cathay deployment.
EASA plans consultations this year and certification work in 2022, while acknowledging "significant risk" to the 2025 launch date, a spokesman said.
In a closed-door industry briefing this year, the agency suggested reduced-crew flights would begin with a single operator, according to notes of the meeting reviewed by Reuters.
EMERGENCY DESCENT
Airbus has designed an A350 autopilot upgrade and flight warning system changes to help a lone pilot manage failures, sources close to the project said. Use of a specially designed unisex toilet would be possible during the shift, in coordination with air traffic control.
The mid-sized plane is suitable because of its "emergency descent" feature that quickly reduces altitude without pilot input in the event of cabin depressurisation.
Proponents suggest single-pilot operations may be accepted by a flying public used to crew leaving the cockpit for bathroom breaks. They also point to higher error rates from human pilots than automated systems.
Both arguments miss the point, according to a source close to Lufthansa - who said the airline's executives were advised last year that the programme could not meet safety goals.
Flying solo for hours is a "completely different story", the source said, citing the 2009 AF447 disaster as an example of malfunctions occurring in cruise. The Air France (AIRF.PA) A330's copilots lost control after its speed sensors failed over the Atlantic, while the captain was resting.
"Airbus would have had to make sure every situation can be handled autonomously without any pilot input for 15 minutes," the source said. "And that couldn't be guaranteed."
Lufthansa has not withdrawn from Project Connect and remains involved as an adviser, its spokesman said.
While the airline has no plans to deploy single-pilot operations, he added, "the suggestion that Lufthansa was an essential part of the project and then pulled back is not true."
Single-pilot capability would add an A350 sales argument, experts say, and rival Boeing lacks an equivalent model with sufficient automation.
Filippo Tomasello, a former EASA official, said the payroll and accommodation savings for long-haul crew would not be lost on airlines.
"COVID may end up accelerating this evolution because it's putting tremendous economic pressure on aviation," Tomasello predicted.
"If EASA certifies this solution, airlines will use it."
Reporting by Laurence Frost Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in SydneyEditing by Mark Potter
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Taiwan won'²t '²bow'² to China, says President Tsai
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:02
In her National Day speech, Taiwan's president called on Beijing to respect her country's sovereignty. The remarks came one day after China's Xi Jinping reiterated his desire for reunification.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took a strong stance against what Taipei sees as Chinese aggression on Sunday, saying in a speech that her country would "not bow to pressure" from Beijing.
Tsai said she hoped for an easing of tensions, but that "we will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us... as it offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people."
The president's speech was to mark Taiwan's National Day, which celebrates the start of the 1911 Wuchang Uprising that ended China's Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the Republic of China, whose government relocated to Taiwan as a result of the Chinese Civil War.
China calls for 'peaceful reunification'One day earlier, Chinese leader Xi JInping had used the same occasion to reiterate his goal of making Taiwan and mainland China a single nation under the control of Beijing.
His comments came on the heels of increased military tensions between the two countries.
Increasing tensionsTaipei has said there have been more than one hundred incursions on its airspace by Chinese jets in recent weeks.
According to reports, US special forces have been in Taiwan to train troops, leading to more combative rhetoric from Beijing.
President Tsai called for dialogue and mutual respect in her speech, adding that the future of Taiwan must be decided by the Taiwanese people.
es/fb (dpa, Reuters)
'This is not where we expected to be': Massachusetts nurses strike hits 7-month mark
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 10:54
Oct. 10, 2021, 4:30 AM EDT
By Ben Kesslen
The nursing strike at Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, marked its seventh month Friday, as negotiations between the union and hospital officials continued to deteriorate with no end in sight.
More than 700 nurses walked off the job March 8, citing chronic staffing issues made worse by the pandemic. Despite months of negotiations, the workers, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, said the hospital owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare would not meet their demands. The nurses now hold the record for the longest nurses strike in state history.
''This is not where we expected to be,'' said Marie Ritacco, 58, who started her career as a nurse at Saint Vincent in 1983. Ritacco said she and her peers saw assignments getting more intense, with more patients to take care of and less ancillary staff.
The nurses maintain that the nurse-to-patient ratio had been at an unmanageable level, leading to a decrease in the quality of care they were able to provide. The staffing problems started before the pandemic, and union officials said they had been negotiating with the hospital for more than 18 months before voting to strike.
''Once the pandemic hit, care inside that building became exponentially more difficult to provide,'' Ritacco said. ''They're not concerned about the workers or the people we care for; they are worried about their profit margins.''
Diane Smoot continues on the Saint Vincent nurses picket line on Oct. 1 in Worcester, Mass. Ashley Green / Telegram & Gazette via USA Today NetworkThe Massachusetts Nurses Association said nurses were overworked, didn't receive proper personal protective equipment and were sidelined in the name of profit margins before and during the pandemic.
Ritacco described situations where nurses had so much to do in a single shift, they were unable to bathe, turn, wash or walk patients. She said one nurse she knows found herself in a situation where she had to choose between protecting a patient who was going to fall out of a bed or respond to a call from a patient with chest pain '-- with no backup in sight.
Being understaffed shift after shift, day after day "leads to errors," Ritacco said. "It's how patients develop bed sores and urinary tract infections. Nobody is there to feed them or even to hold their hand."
Covid-19 pushed the nursing staff to their limit while Tenet furloughed workers who could've been shifted to other parts of the hospital that needed more help, the union said. Doctors received bonuses, but nurses didn't, it added.
The length of the strike ''is a travesty and serves as an indictment of Tenet Healthcare and their unyielding desire for profit,'' Marlena Pellegrino, a nurse at Saint Vincent and co-chair of the nurses bargaining unit, said in a statement.
In August, it looked like the strike would end when the two parties agreed to a contract, but things fell apart over the return-to-work policy.
RecommendedSaint Vincent has hired some permanent nurses to replace the workers on the picket line and said it couldn't accommodate the nurses' request to return to their exact pre-strike positions. The hospital wasn't going to remove the new nurses from positions they "bravely took during the strike," said CEO Carolyn Jackson.
"The people on the inside caring for patients, travel nurses, other staff, are doing a great job taking the best possible care," she said. Adding that the strike has taken a toll on the hospital, she said, "We have had to reduce services as a result of the strike. In August, we closed 111 beds."
But the hospital has not been able to come to an agreement with the nurses. Jackson said many of the nurses' complaints are overblown and that she believes the strike was started under false pretenses. She said the strike is a concerted effort by the Massachusetts Nursing Association to get Saint Vincent to agree to a maximum patient-to-nurse staffing ratio '-- an effort the union tried to pass statewide in 2018 through a ballot initiative that ultimately failed.
While Jackson acknowledged work conditions were challenged during the pandemic, she emphasized that according to the hospital, staffing ratios never reached an illegal or dangerous range.
She also maintained that the union's staffing demands are impossible to meet. "If every hospital across the state went to a 4-to-1 ratio, you wouldn't have enough nurses," she said. "It would exacerbate an already challenging nurse staffing crisis."
Steve Striffler, a professor of anthropology and director of the Labor Resource Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston, said similar staffing fights have increased in the past decade at hospitals across the country as private equity companies and other outside investors have taken over more hospitals.
''I don't think it's about anything else except for cutting costs,'' Striffler said, adding that the irony of the nursing shortage is that it's in part created by nurses leaving the industry due to understaffing issues.
''You can only spend so much time in understaffed trenches,'' he said.
Referencing what happened at Saint Vincent in August, Striffler said it's ''unheard of for two sides to come to an agreement, after a really contentious strike, and for them, the employer, to say, 'No, we aren't going to guarantee you can come back to the job you've been in.'''
Ritacco said the fact that nurses around the country are experiencing similar issues makes the fight all the more important.
''What Tenet is trying to do is send a strong message that other nurses should not get the idea to do the same thing. It is not lost on us how important it is for us to hold our ground,'' she said. ''This will be a bellwether, and we are not going to back down.''
Ben Kesslen Ben Kesslen is a reporter for NBC News.
Tampa airport's 'deteriorating' control tower must be replaced, Castor says
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 04:03
Not long ago, the elevator and air conditioning went out in Jen McCoy's office building. That's a headache, but in a nearly 50-year-old facility, these things happen.
What's notable is where McCoy works: The air traffic control tower at Tampa International Airport.
''Twenty flights of stairs in this kind of heat is no fun,'' said McCoy, the president of the local chapter of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. ''The airport itself is very nice. They put a lot of money into it. It's separate from our facility. The tower is very old. It is by far the worst facility I've been in.''
McCoy isn't the only one who feels that way.
Tampa International Airport is in the middle of a $2 billion capital improvement campaign that will include a new office tower, widened roads, new express curbside lanes and a 16-gate airside hub. It routinely ranks near the top of traveler satisfaction surveys. After a hard-hit 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, airport officials have said they expect 2021 to be a record year for passenger traffic.
But the control tower, long a topic of consternation among air traffic controllers, is a different story. The Federal Aviation Administration-controlled facility is ''deteriorating,'' said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, and it's past time for it to be replaced.
''It's in awful shape,'' Castor said. ''I remember, as a little girl, the big new Tampa airport, and it has really stood the test of time '-- except for this tower, because they haven't invested in it. ... I think it's bordering on occupational hazards.''
Castor has called for a new Tampa tower before. This time, though, it might actually happen. The bipartisan, trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that passed the Senate in August has earmarked $5 billion to repair and replace air traffic control facilities. To help stake Tampa's claim, Castor sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Federal Aviation Administration head Steve Dickson outlining complaints about the tower, including cracked windows, old and broken water pipes near electrical wiring, and plumbing and sewage issues resulting in ''odors so pungent they have resulted in controllers taking sick leave.''
McCoy said that while air traffic controllers are used to high-stress environments, such problems are ''definitely a distraction.''
''I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the AC going out is a direct safety hazard,'' she said. ''We're going to make sure that the flying public is safe. But what it does is, it just adds this distraction. We don't have room for error in our job. The fewer distractions, the better.''
Tampa International Airport's 49-year-old air traffic control tower, shown here on Sept. 10, is "degrading" and overdue for a replacement, said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson Rick Breitenfeldt said the agency ''looks forward to the passage of this once-in-a-generation funding,'' which will enable it to fix air tower issues.
''The agency is working to correct infrastructure issues at the Tampa International Airport air traffic control tower involving the heating and air conditioning, ventilation, roofing and sewage systems,'' Breitenfeldt wrote. ''During this process, the FAA continues to provide safe and efficient air traffic services at the airport.''
The Federal Aviation Administration has long considered replacing Tampa's tower, which also houses radar and approach control services for airports from Sarasota to St. Petersburg to Brooksville to Lakeland, as well as MacDill Air Force Base. In 2010, an engineering firm hired by the agency found that the tower was ''degraded'' and ''well past its useful life.'' Local controllers supported a 2017 bill that would have privatized federal air traffic control, arguing that such a move could snip through red tape stalling tower repairs.
Tampa International is one of what the Federal Aviation Administration calls its ''Core 30'" airports, generally defined as America's busiest. The Tampa tower is the second-oldest on the list, behind a 71-year-old facility in Baltimore. Several other Florida airport towers have been replaced this century, including all three other Core 30 hubs: Orlando International Airport and Miami International Airport in 2002 and Palm Beach International Airport in 2010. An $80 million tower is nearing completion at Fort Myers' Southwest Florida International Airport.
While most new towers are federally funded, Breitenfeldt said local airports, governments and aviation agencies, such as the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, can contribute to some or all of a project. Airport spokesperson Veronica Cintron said that typically happens only when an airport needs to relocate a tower for its own purposes, which is not the current case with Tampa International.
In some cases, local aviation authorities have contributed to a new tower, then sought reimbursement from the Federal Aviation Administration. Castor said Tampa airport officials were leery of getting stuck with a bill in the tens of millions.
''When the Tampa airport invested in upgrading its baggage screening after 9/11, we had to fight for years and years and years to get reimbursement,'' she said. ''So I think they're a little skittish on taking that path.''
Airport spokesperson Danny Valentine said the airport supported Castor's campaign for infrastructure funding.
''We welcome her continued advocacy for the safety and improvement of airport facilities,'' he said. ''The health and safety of all employees, passengers and visitors is and will always be our top priority.''
Tampa International Airport's 49-year-old air traffic control tower, shown here on Sept. 10, is "degrading" and overdue for a replacement, said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]If Tampa does get a new tower, the Federal Aviation Administration will conduct a siting study to determine where to place it, Breitenfeldt said. Cintron said the airport has a site set aside, and that the airport would work with the Federal Aviation Administration on construction. Otherwise, she said the airport does not inspect or maintain the current federally operated tower in any way.
McCoy said the airport's expansive growth has actually created a few small blind spots for controllers scanning runways from atop the tower. It's nothing critical, she said, but ''every little tiny thing like that that happens in our job is just an increased chance of a mistake, and having a tower with much better visibility is going to be a huge improvement.''
So will working elevators, toilets and air conditioning, she said.
''You watch the building degrade around you, and you wonder, how long can we continue to work in this building?'' she said. ''We're probably past our last leg. These buildings, they're not designed to last forever, and this one is just beyond its useful lifespan.''
Southwest Airlines cancels hundreds of flights nationwide
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 04:00
If you're flying Southwest Airlines this weekend, make sure to check your flight before you leave for the airport.
An air traffic control issue combined with weather delays on the East Coast have caused problems across the airline's network, forcing the Dallas-based carrier to delay and cancel hundreds of flights.
By Saturday afternoon, the flight-tracking website Flight Aware showed Southwest with 568 cancellations and 717 delayed flights nationwide.
"Air Traffic Control (ATC) issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend as we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers as quickly as possible," Southwest said in an emailed statement.
After receiving pushback to that initial statement online from those who pointed out that the Federal Aviation Administration's delay website showed no evidence of delays, the airline issued an updated statement.
"We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports yesterday evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations.
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"We are working hard behind the scenes to minimize challenges and fully recover the operation as we take care of displaced Crews and Customers as quickly as possible. We will continue to reset our network today and hope to return to close to normal operations as we move into Sunday," the statement from Southwest read.
Southwest did not comment on speculations circulating online claiming the issues might be related to labor action due to vaccine mandates.
A spokesperson for the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association told The Arizona Republic that the organization was unaware of any labor-related issues and would not condone any sort of work stoppage.
Though the issues did not happen in Phoenix, the impact is being felt in the Valley just as families are traveling to take advantage of fall break. By 1:05 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Sky Harbor showed 110 flights delayed and 53 canceled.
ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
'-- Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021Allyson Therien planned to head home to Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday morning but was unable to due to Southwest canceling her flight twice in one day.
Therien had been in Phoenix for over a week visiting family and booked a flight home Saturday morning.
''I was booked on a flight home to Omaha from Phoenix at 12:10 p.m. today. Received a text at 6:10 a.m. today that my flight was canceled and was redirected to rebook online,'' Therien told The Republic. ''I got the last seat on the last flight to Omaha today, leaving at 6:50 p.m. That flight just got canceled via text and am rebooked for a flight leaving tomorrow at 7:20 p.m.''
However, she said she's ''90% sure'' that the flight will also be canceled given the issues the airline has been experiencing.
''I am here for vacation, visiting family. Fortunately, that means that I have a free place to stay and flexibility,'' Therien said. ''However, I was supposed to be in Minnesota for work on Monday morning.''
The airline recommends customers use online, self-service rebooking options on southwest.com.
"We encourage travelers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport. And, especially because it is Fall Break, travelers should give themselves extra time and arrive early," Heather Shelbrack, spokesperson for Sky Harbor, said when reached by email.
Republic reporter Haleigh Kochanski contributed to this article.
You can connect with Arizona Republic Consumer Travel Reporter Melissa Yeager through email at melissa.yeager@azcentral.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Support local journalism like this story by subscribing today.
Ivermectin 'buyers clubs' are being set up in the UK | New Scientist
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 00:49
Self-medicating with ivermectin for covid-19 could be dangerous
Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg via Getty Images
MULTIPLE ''buyers clubs'' are trying to import the drug ivermectin to the UK to prevent and treat covid-19, even though there is no evidence supporting use of the drug in this way, and it could even be dangerous.
The UK Medicines and Health products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) has cautioned people not to try to buy ivermectin through third parties to treat covid-19. The drug is used to treat parasite infections in humans and some other animals, but has gained a lot of attention '...
Massive Pole Shifts are Cyclic according to Declassified CIA Document >> Exopolitics
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 00:44
Ben Davidson, founder of Space Weather News, began his six part Earth Catastrophe Cycle video series by discussing a 57 page booklet called ''The Adam and Eve Story'' authored by ''Chan Thomas'', which was classified by the CIA at some point after its 1963 publication, and declassified in part on June 24, 2013 with the release of a sanitized digital version on the CIA's website. Thomas' analysis of cyclic pole shifts was different in key respects to what was being proposed at the time by Charles Hapgood in his seminal book, The Earth's Shifting Crust (1958).
According to Davidson, it was Thomas more accurate explanation for how a pole shift happens, which led to the CIA classifying Thomas' book. The Adam and Eve Story was first published in 1963 by Emerson House, with a third edition published in 1965, and then republished by Bengal Tiger Press in 1993. It is not clear when, why and how the CIA classified Thomas book, but the fact that the CIA chose to release a declassified sanitized version in 2013 is very significant.
In part 1 of his video series, Davidson contrasts Hapgood's wandering pole hypothesis with the pole shift described in the CIA suppressed book by Thomas. Hapgood wrote of a pole shift of up to 40 degrees that could recur every 5000 years or so in The Earth's Shifting Crust where earlier geographical poles would wander on the Earth's surface with each crustal displacement.
Instead, Thomas wrote of a massive shift of almost 90 degrees that would move both poles into the tropics in less than a day, and then back to their earlier polar positions after the next cycle:
In ¼ to ½ a day the poles move almost to the equator, and all hell lets loose. The atmosphere and oceans don't shift with the shell '' they just keep on rotating West to East '' and at the equator that speed is 1000 miles per hour. It has to be, normally, to make one rotation per day. So, while the shell shifts with the poles going toward the equator, the winds and oceans go eastward, blowing across the face of the earth with supersonic speeds, inundating continents with water miles deep'....
You can see, then, that ice ages are not a matter of advancing and retreating ice; it's simply that different areas of the Earth are in polar regions at different times, for different durations of time, with the changes between positions taking place in a fraction of a day. [The Adam and Eve Story, pp.13-14]
Thomas provided a table illustrating how the North pole, for example, would switch back and forth between northern hemisphere regions after experiencing close to a 90 degree tilt.
The Adam and Eve Story, p. 17.
It is Thomas' conclusion of cyclic pole shifts of almost 90 degrees that flip the poles back and forth over millennia that Davidson identified as the key reason the CIA classified Thomas' work. If the North and South poles flipped back and forth 90 degrees, there would be little evidence of previous pole shifts since these would be buried under thick layers of ice.
This takes us to the science of paleomagnetics '' the study of the record of the Earth's magnetic field in rocks, minerals or archeological materials '' which has been used to determine the historic movement of the Earth's magnetic poles.
Davidson cited a number of scholarly articles which studied paleomagnetic data from volcanic hotspots. A highly regarded 1985 paleomagnetic study titled, ''True polar wander: An analysis of Cenozoic and Mesozoic paleomagnetic poles'' found ''the pole has moved 22 deg + or 10 deg in the past 180 m.y.[million years].'' This was far less than the 40 degree wandering pole hypothesis that Hapgood proposed in an approximate 5000 year period.
A subsequent 2001 study titled ''Stability of the Earth with respect to the spin axis for the last 130 million years'' concluded that ''the time-averaged position of the spin axis has deviated by no more than Ë'5° over the last 130 million yr, indicating that mantle mass heterogeneities have not changed rapidly enough to drive TPW [True Polar Wander].'' Davidson cited these and a 2018 study as the key elements of the body of scientific evidence refuting Hapgood's wandering pole hypothesis.
However, as Davidson pointed out, the scientific data from paleomagnetic studies did not address Thomas' theory of the poles flipping back and forth over geologic time, thereby giving the appearance that the poles had not moved over millions of years as researchers had mistakenly concluded:
All work crushing the theory utilizes these flawed studies, especially the long term average pole position and none address the problem of a ping pong shift where you would have that time average pole position appearing to be in the same position over millions of years.
Davidson goes as far as suggesting that Hapgood, who worked for the CIA's predecessor the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, conducted a ''limited hangout'' with his 1958 book to get some of the truth out into the public arena, but doing so in a way that could be eventually discredited.
Davidson cited a 1994 book titled World in Peril about the once classified information provided by an Arctic polar explorer, Major Maynard White, who told his son, Ken (the book's author), about secret Pentagon meetings in 1948 where suppression of evidence of cyclic pole shifts was discussed:
At one of the scientific meetings that Major White attended in the Pentagon in early 1948, the scientists discussed the advisability of alerting the public to the pending polar-flip phenomenon. None of the scientist would agree to withhold the information from the public, but, on the other hand, neither could they agree on how to release it. The knowledge of this phenomenon, some felt, could in itself destroy the moral fiber of society. Their fears were apparently unfounded when, in the early 1950s, information about the flip phenomenon was released in both a newspaper column and a magazine article, but surprisingly generated no responses from an apparently stunned parochial or incredulous public.
Given the amount of scientific data presented by Davidson in his Earth Catastrophe Cycle series, it's clear that physical pole shifts of approximately 90 degrees have been historically recorded, and that this became known to government authorities as early as 1948.
This takes us to the critical question: ''What is the trigger for a geophysical pole shift?''
Hapgood, along with Albert Einstein, who wrote the preface to Hapgood's 1958 book, believed that the accumulation of ice at the North and South poles would be the trigger for a crustal displacement (geophysical pole shift). Einstein explained the triggering mechanism as follows:
In a polar region there is continual deposition of ice, which is not symmetrically distributed about the pole. The earth's rotation acts on these unsymmetrically deposited masses, and produces centrifugal momentum that is transmitted to the rigid crust of the earth. The constantly increasing centrifugal momentum produced in this way will, when it has reached a certain point, produce a movement of the earth's crust over the rest of the earth's body, and this will displace the polar regions toward the equator.
Davidson asserts in part 1 of his series that Einstein eventually broke with Hapgood when he realized that the amount of ice at the poles would be insufficient to trigger a crustal displacement as he had earlier concluded from Hapgood's data.
In contrast to Hapgood, Thomas believed the explanation was that something in the Earth's interior was occurring that was the triggering mechanism. Thomas wrote:
'... once every few thousand years neutral matter escapes from the 860-mile [1385 km] radius inner core into the 1300-mile [2092 km] thick molten outer core, and there is a literal atomic explosion inside the Earth. The explosion in the high energy layer of the outer core disrupts completely the electrical and magnetic structure in both the molten outer core and the outer 60-mile thick molten layer. Finally, the ice caps are allowed to pull the shell of the earth around the interior, with the shallow molten layers lubricating the shift all the way. [The Adam and Eve Story, p.14]
Thomas likens the ''neutral matter'' escaping Earth's inner core to the plasma in a solar burst since these are based on what he claimed was the same governing universal principle found in the atom and galaxies. Consequently, Thomas is suggesting that the triggering mechanism for the sun emitting a solar flash or micronova, is similar to what triggers the Earth's inner core to release waves of energy that ultimately shift both the magnetic and physical poles by as much as 90 degrees, in a cyclic pattern.
In World in Peril, the triggering mechanism is described as a flip in the Earth's magnetic field as cited by Davidson:
It was determined through repeated experimentation that as the ''magnetic pole approached the ''geographic pole, the ''magnetic'' pole would at some point accelerate its rate of convergence as though pulled toward the ''geographic'' pole by centripetal force and jump to coincide; but instead of the poles coinciding, the ''magnetic'' pole would rapidly ''flip'' around the ''geographic'' pole, them spin off towards the equator as though by centrifugal force, ending up at a position where the two axes assumed an approximate 89-degree divergence. After this polar ''flip'' occurred, the axes would then gradually begin to reconverge over a long period of time.
According to the classified information received by Major White and his USAF Arctic reconnaissance unit, the magnetic pole flip would be the trigger for a crustal displacement leading to an almost 90 degree geophysical pole shift, as explained in the description to the World in Peril:
World in Peril '... provides an explanation, based on the unit's findings, of how Pentagon scientists determined our globe has evolved in prehistory, and how another earth-reshaping cataclysm is imminent! Now we can understand why mammoths and mastodons found in the arctic permafrost had been instantaneously frozen with subtropical vegetation in their mouths and stomachs. World in Peril may be the only book in print that accurately explains the elusive triggering mechanism for the phenomena known to scientists for over 200 years as ''crustal shift,'' and what it implies.
It's important to emphasize the complementary nature of the triggering mechanisms found in Thomas' The Adam and Eve Story and White's information in World in Peril.
White essentially described an internal geological process by which a magnetic pole flip would lead to a crustal displacement so the two sets of poles (magnetic and geophysical) would briefly realign at opposite ends of the equator. The magnetic poles would then gradually realign with the new geophysical North and South poles until the cycle repeated itself with the former geophysical poles flipping back to their former positions.
Some unknown event inside the Earth would trigger both the magnetic pole flip and the crustal displacement according to the information acquired by White, and had been suppressed by national security officials.
Thomas' book explains the internal mechanism which triggers the pole shifts. The neutral matter he described is basically the functional equivalent of a micronova or solar flare being emitted by the Earth's inner core. Consequently, any evidence of the Earth's interior generating something analogous to increased solar activity is an important clue to a pole shift occurring in the near future.
Davidson's six part series makes a cogent case for a connection between cyclic micronovas and historic pole shifts of almost 90 degrees, which occur in a back and forth flipping action making it appear that the present poles have been in their respective positions for millions of years, as paleomagnetic studies have mistakenly concluded.
Furthermore, his emphasis on the information proposed by Thomas and White as crustal displacement being triggered by internal geological events, rather than external events such as accumulation of ice at the poles, leads to a correct focus on something happening inside Earth's molten core.
The historic data and analyses presented by Davidson point to something simultaneously triggering eruptions of ''neutral matter'' from the inner Earth core, and from the sun in the form of micronovas. This takes us finally to the role played by cosmic rays as the elusive trigger mechanism, and recent scientific data showing these recently emerging out of Antarctica and a possible connection to mysterious global seismic waves.
Continued in Part 3. For Part 1, click here
(C) Michael E. Salla, Ph.D. Copyright Notice
Further Reading The Coming Solar Flash & the Galactic Federation '' Q&A with Corey Goode More Scientists Confirm Volcanoes Rapidly Melting Antarctica's Ice Sheets Advanced Technology Reports Leaked by Corey Goode Confirmed by Leading Scientist Global Elite Prepare for Massive Solar Eruptions claims Secret Space Program Whistleblower Secret Diplomatic Meeting near Saturn Discussed Humanity's Future Will Antarctic German Space Program Reveal Itself & Release Advanced Technologies? Now Available! Antarctica's Hidden History: Corporate Foundations of Secret Space Programs Tags: Albert Einstein, Chan Thomas, Charles Hapgood, Maynard White, Pole Shift
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The WEF and the Pandemic '' Swiss Policy Research
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 00:40
WEF founder Klaus Schwab in 2014 (Alamy)Published: October 6, 2021 (upd.)Share on: Twitter / Facebook / Telegram
How is the Davos World Economic Forum involved in the coronavirus pandemic?
The Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) is a premier forum for governments, global corporations and international entrepreneurs. Founded in 1971 by engineer and economist Klaus Schwab, the WEF describes its mission as ''shaping global, regional and industry agendas'' and ''improving the state of the world''. According to its website, ''moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.''
The WEF has been involved in the coronavirus pandemic in several ways.
First, the WEF was, together with the Gates Foundation, a sponsor of the prescient ''Event 201'' coronavirus pandemic simulation exercise, held in New York City on October 18, 2019 '' the same day as the opening of the Wuhan Military World Games, seen by some as ''ground zero'' of the global pandemic. China itself has argued that US military athletes may have brought the virus to Wuhan.
Second, the WEF has been a leading proponent of digital biometric identity systems, arguing that they will make societies and industries more efficient, more productive and more secure. In July 2019, the WEF started a project to ''shape the future of travel with biometric-enabled digital traveler identity management''. In addition, the WEF collaborates with the ID2020 alliance, which is funded by the Gates and Rockefeller foundations and runs a program to ''provide digital ID with vaccines''. In particular, ID2020 sees the vaccination of children as ''an entry point for digital identity.''
Third, WEF founder Klaus Schwab is the author of the book COVID-19: The Great Reset, published in July 2020, which argues that the coronavirus pandemic can and should be used for an ''economic, societal, geopolitical, environmental and technological reset'', including, in particular, advancing global governance, accelerating digital transformation, and tackling climate change.
Finally, the WEF has been running, since 1993, a program called ''Global Leaders for Tomorrow'', rebranded, in 2004, as ''Young Global Leaders''. This program aims at identifying, selecting and promoting future global leaders in both business and politics. Indeed, quite a few ''Young Global Leaders'' have later managed to become Presidents, Prime Ministers, or CEOs (see below).
During the coronavirus pandemic, several WEF Global Leaders and Global Shapers (a junior program of the Global Leaders) have played prominent roles, typically promoting zero-covid strategies, lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates. This may have been a (largely failed) attempt to protect public health and the economy, or it may have been an attempt to advance the global transformation agenda outlined above, or perhaps both.
In this regard, some notable Young Leaders include Jeffrey Zients (US White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator), St(C)phane Bancel (CEO of Moderna), Jeremy Howard (founder of influential lobby group ''Masks for All''), Leana Wen (zero-covid CNN medical analyst), Eric Feigl-Ding (zero-covid Twitter personality), Gavin Newsom (Governor of California, selected in 2005), Devi Sridhar (British zero-covid professor), Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand), French President Emanuel Macron (selected one year prior to his election in 2017), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (selected back in 1993), and German Health Minister Jens Spahn.
To get a full overview of their members, see Global Leaders for Tomorrow and Young Global Leaders on WikiSpooks (a Wiki focusing on covert power structures) as well as the official Young Global Leaders website. For an overview of some notable members in politics and the media, see below.
In conclusion, the Davos World Economic Forum has indeed been involved in the strategic management of the coronavirus pandemic, with a major emphasis on using the pandemic as a catalyst for digital transformation and the global introduction of digital identity systems.
Digital Identity: The 2018 vision of the World Economic ForumDigital Identity: The vision of the World Economic Forum (WEF, 2018)WEF ''Young Global Leaders''An overview of some WEF Young Global Leaders (2005-2021) and Global Leaders for Tomorrow (1993-2003) in politics and the media. The list is not exhaustive.
Sources: Global Leaders for Tomorrow and Young Global Leaders on WikiSpooks.
United StatesPolitics and Policy
Jeffrey Zients (White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator since 2021, selected in 2003), Jeremy Howard (co-founder of lobby group ''masks for all'', selected in 2013), California Governor Gavin Newsom (selected in 2005), Peter Buttigieg (selected in 2019, candidate for US President in 2020, US secretary of transportation since 2021), Chelsea Clinton (Clinton Foundation board member), Huma Abedin (Hillary Clinton aide, selected in 2012), Nikki Haley (US ambassador to the UN, 2017-2018), Samantha Power (US ambassador to the UN, 2013-2017, USAID Administrator since 2021), Ian Bremmer (founder of Eurasia Group), Bill Browder (initiator of the Magnitsky Act), Jonathan Soros (son of George Soros), Kenneth Roth (director of ''Human Rights Watch'' since 1993), Paul Krugman (economist, selected in 1995), Lawrence Summers (former World Bank Chief Economist, former US Treasury Secretary, former Harvard University President, selected in 1993), Alicia Garza (co-founder of Black Lives Matter, selected in 2020), St(C)phane Bancel (Moderna CEO).
Media
CNN medical analyst Leana Wen (selected in 2018), CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, Covid Twitter personality Eric Feigl-Ding (a 'WEF Global Shaper' since 2013), Andrew Ross Sorkin (New York Times financial columnist), Thomas Friedman (New York Times columnist, selected in 1995), George Stephanopoulos (ABC News, 1993), Lachlan Murdoch (CEO of Fox Corporation).
Technology and Social Media
Microsoft founder Bill Gates (1993), former Microsoft CEO Steven Ballmer (2000-2014, selected in 1995), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (1998), Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page (2002/2005), former Google CEO Eric Schmidt (2001-2011, selected in 1997), Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales (2007), PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel (2007), eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar (1999), Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (2009), Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (2007).
Great Britain, Canada, New ZealandProfessor Devi Sridhar (a leading 'zero covid' proponent, selected in 2020/21), former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (both selected in 1993), BBC World Service journalist Dawood Azami, Lynn Forester de Rothschild (co-owner of The Economist), Nathaniel Rothschild (son of Lord Rothschild), historian Niall Ferguson (selected in 2005), William Hague (Foreign Secretary, 2010-2014), Charles Allen (CEO of ITV, 2004-2007; Chairman of EMI, 2008-2010).
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (since 2017, selected in 2014), Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland (selected in 2001; former managing director of Reuters). Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a WEF participant, but is not a confirmed Young Global Leader.
GermanyChancellor Angela Merkel (selected in 1993, 12 years before becoming Chancellor), current Health Minister Jens Spahn and former Health Ministers Philipp Roesler and Daniel Bahr, current co-chair of the Green Party and failed Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock (selected in 2020), former co-chair of the Green Party Cem –zdemir (selected in 2002), media mogul and Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner (selected in 2001), talk show host Sandra Maischberger, late Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwelle (1997), former German President Christian Wulff (selected in 1995, 15 years before becoming President), Reto Francioni (former CEO of Deutsche Boerse).
European UnionEU Commission Presidents Jose Manuel Barroso (2004-2014, selected in 1993) and Jean-Claude Juncker (2014-2019, selected in 1995), French President Emanuel Macron (since 2017, selected in 2016), former French President Nicolas Sakozy (2007-2012, selected in 1993), Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (2014-2016, selected in 2012), former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004, selected in 1993), Klaus Regling (CEO of the European Financial Stability Mechanism since 2012), Guy Verhofstadt (former Belgian Prime Minister, Chair of the Brexit Steering Group), Danish Minister for the Environment Lea Wermelin, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, former Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, and Mark Leonard (founding director of the Soros-funded European Council on Foreign Relations).
SwitzerlandNatalie Rickli (Director of Health of the Canton of Zurich, selected in 2012), former Presidents of the Swiss National Council Christa Markwalder (selected in 2011) and Pascale Bruderer-Wyss (selected in 2009), Geneva politician Pierre Maudet (selected in 2013), NZZ media group CEO Felix R. Graf (selected in 2007), former Swiss Justice Minister Ruth Metzler (selected in 2002), former Swiss television CEO Roger de Weck (2011-2017, selected in 1994), former UBS CEOs Peter Wuffli (selected in 1994) and Marcel Rohner (selected in 2003), former Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Tiam (1998).
Video Annex1) Bill Gates demanding ''digital immunity proof'' in March 2020You do not have sufficient freedom levels to view this video. Support free software and upgrade.
Video: Bill Gates demanding 'digital immunity proof' in March 2020 (source)
2) Edward Snowden warning of the ''destruction of rights'' (March 2020)3) The Chinese ''social credit'' system (May 2019)See alsoThe Global 'Vaccine Passport' AgendaIsrael: Highest infection rate in the worldWikipedia: A Disinformation Operation?Share on: Twitter / Facebook / Telegram
How much do we REALLY know about the background of Facebook 'whistleblower' Frances Haugen? '-- RT Op-ed
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:36
By Kit Klarenberg, an investigative journalist exploring the role of intelligence services in shaping politics and perceptions. Follow him on Twitter @KitKlarenberg
Before we take Frances Haugen's testimony at face value, it would be useful to know more about her career history '' in particular her time working alongside former elite US spies in Facebook's Threat Intelligence division.
Ever since Haugen testified to the Senate, the media and social media have been abuzz with praise for the Facebook ''whistleblower'', endlessly repeating her words and allegations without critique, and enthusiastically endorsing her proposals for greater surveillance, censorship and control of social media and the internet more widely by the US government.
Haugen, who offered ostensible first-hand testimony about her time working for and with Facebook's counterterrorism and counterespionage teams, has almost universally been taken at face value by journalists, pundits, politicians, and average citizens. Some have nonetheless been surprised to learn that Facebook maintains dedicated units of that kind at all.
Also on rt.com How Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft wage a domestic War on Terror, and make billions Many would likely be similarly shocked to learn that these units form part of the social network giant's Threat Intelligence division, which is staffed by former Pentagon, CIA and NSA spies.
Little information on the division can be found on the web, although its strategy is known to be led by Ben Nimmo, a former NATO propagandist and alumnus of Integrity Initiative, a secret UK Foreign Office information warfare operation itself staffed by military intelligence veterans.
A paywalled report by elite industry outlet Intelligence Online nonetheless names David Agranovich, ex-Pentagon analyst and intelligence director for the White House National Security Council; Nathaniel Gleicher, former Council cybersecurity chief and Justice Department senior counsel for computer crime and intellectual property; and Mike Torrey, previously NSA and CIA cyber analyst, as occupying senior positions in Threat Intelligence.
Agranovich and Torrey were key authors of Facebook's State of Influence Operations 2017-2020 report, published in May. The document repeatedly alleged that China, Iran and Russia sought to weaponize the social network for malign purposes. Western cyber warfare operations known to target social media, such as the British Army's 77th Brigade and Washington's Operation Earnest Voice, were unmentioned, which is entirely unsurprising when one considers who wrote it.
Read more
Job listings for positions in Threat Intelligence make abundantly clear that an extensive espionage background is mandatory for all employees. An ad for an analyst role, posted mere days before Haugen testified to the Senate, states ''5+ years of experience working in intelligence (either government or private sector), international geopolitical, cybersecurity, or human rights functions,'' and ''experience prioritizing tasks, projects, and analytical or investigative needs'...with minimal direction or oversight'' are absolute ''minimum qualifications'' for anyone wishing to apply.
A university qualification in ''computer science, information systems, intelligence studies [or] cybersecurity,'' and ''regional knowledge and/or language skills, especially East or Southeast Asia,'' are listed as ''preferred qualifications'', the latter indicating precisely where the unit's crosshairs are, and aren't, trained.
It's somewhat puzzling, then, that Haugen came to work for this elite, spy-dominated unit. While an extensive clean-up of her web history was conducted prior to going public, her still-extant LinkedIn profile '' which somewhat amazingly reveals she helped found dating app Hinge, and served as its Chief Technical Officer '' makes no mention of any experience remotely relevant to counterespionage.
Incongruously, though, the listing for Haugen's Facebook role, unlike all other entries on her CV, offers no details on her responsibilities or achievements, and only the vague job title of 'Product Manager'. Then again, a cumulative seven years spent at Google may have been sufficient to impress her recruiters.
The search engine monopoly's own origins trace back to a US intelligence program in the 1990s, under which academics were financed to create a system whereby vast quantities of data on private citizens could be monitored, collected and stored, and individual users identified and tracked.
Throughout the search engine's development, company cofounder Sergey Brin met regularly with research and development representatives of defense contractors and the CIA '' one has since recalled how he would ''rush in on roller blades, give his presentation and rush out.'' Moreover, Pentagon, CIA and NSA contracts have been absolutely pivotal to transforming Google and other tech giants from small start-ups, literally operating from basements, into the global behemoths they are today.
Read more
Still, the composition of Threat Intelligence raises serious questions about Haugen's narrative '' first and foremost, how can Facebook be said to not be doing enough to act against alleged foreign-borne threats? It's somewhat inconceivable that the best intelligence veterans money can buy, who have a clear and demonstrable bias against Western state-mandated ''enemy'' countries, are asleep at the wheel.
At the very least, it's indisputably a strange situation indeed when an individual spends two and a half years in extremely close quarters with former high-ranking spies with an avowed focus on China, Iran and Russia, then very publicly declares that the US government needs greater censorship and surveillance powers '' which the very agencies from which her co-workers hail have similarly demanded for years '' in order to battle the threat to democracy posed by these countries.
One can't help but be reminded of 15-year-old Kuwaiti citizen Nayirah al-á¹abaḥa tearfully addressing the US Congress' Human Rights Caucus in the lead up to the Gulf War.
''I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital'... While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where'... babies were in incubators,'' she attested. ''They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die.''
Her words travelled the world over, were repeated endlessly on all major Western news networks, endorsed by Amnesty International, and cited repeatedly by US lawmakers and President George H. W. Bush as a rationale for waging war on Iraq, which occurred three months later.
Also on rt.com The revelation that Facebook puts profit before public good is no surprise, but the reality is it's more fragile than ever It would not be until 1992 that Nayirah was revealed to be the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and her story to be completely untrue. Her Congressional appearance was a publicity stunt organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign, run by US propaganda merchants Hill & Knowlton on behalf of the Kuwaiti government.
It's been said that if Nayirah's lies had been exposed for what they were at the time, it might've prompted the public, journalists and politicians to consider whether they were being manipulated into supporting military action. Given the degree to which Haugen is preaching to the converted, even such a discrediting, debilitating exposure surely won't hamper the US national security state's inexorable push to take over the internet for good.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
UPDATED: Attack Submarine USS Connecticut Suffers Underwater Collision in South China Sea - USNI News
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 15:04
USS Connecticut (SSN-22) arrives at Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan for a scheduled port visit on July 31, 2021. US Navy Photo
This post has been updated with additional details on the injuries to the crew of USS Connecticut and the location of the collision.
Almost a dozen sailors have been injured after a U.S. nuclear attack submarine hit an unknown underwater object in the South China Sea, USNI News has learned.
The Seawolf-class nuclear attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) suffered an underwater collision while operating in international waters on Oct. 2 and is returning to port in U.S. 7th Fleet, a U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman confirmed to USNI News on Thursday.
''The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN-22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy's top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries,'' Capt. Bill Clinton told USNI News.''The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut's nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.''
A defense official told USNI News about 11 sailors were hurt in the incident with moderate to minor injuries. The attack boat is now headed to Guam and is expected to pull in within the next day, the official said. The underwater strike occurred in the South China Sea and the attack boat has been making its way to Guam on the surface since Saturday, a defense official confirmed to USNI News.
The Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Wash., based submarine deployed on May 27 for the Pacific, the Navy announced at the time. The service has released photographs of the submarine operating in the Western Pacific with port calls in Japan in late July and August. U.S. 7th Fleet commander Adm. Karl Thomas visited the submarine in August, according to the service.
Connecticut is one of three Sea Wolf-class boats, a late Cold War attack submarine designed to hunt the most complex Soviet submarines in deep blue water. Along with USS Sea Wolf (SSN-21) and USS Jimmy Carter (SSN-23), Connecticut is among the Navy's most capable and sensitive attack boats.
The last known instance where a submerged U.S. submarine struck another underwater object was in 2005. Then, USS San Franciso (SSN -711) struck an underwater mountain at full speed near Guam. One sailor died in the incident.
The following is the complete Oct. 7 statement from Pacific Fleet.
The Seawolf-class fast-attack submarine USS Connecticut (SSN 22) struck an object while submerged on the afternoon of Oct. 2, while operating in international waters in the Indo-Pacific region. The safety of the crew remains the Navy's top priority. There are no life-threatening injuries.
The submarine remains in a safe and stable condition. USS Connecticut's nuclear propulsion plant and spaces were not affected and remain fully operational. The extent of damage to the remainder of the submarine is being assessed. The U.S. Navy has not requested assistance. The incident will be investigated.''
Alleged Texas high school shooter released from jail | TheHill
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:48
A student who is accused of opening fire in a Texas high school on Wednesday has been released on bond, according to multiple reports.
Timothy George Simpkins, 18, posted a $75,000 bond and was released from Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, according to local ABC affiliate WFAA. Four people were injured in the shooting.
Simpkins, who was a student at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, was inside a classroom on the second floor of the building when a fight started between him and a 15-year-old student, according to an arrest warrant reported by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Videos of the fight were circulating on social media, the newspaper reported, one of which showed Simkins being hit by another student.
Once teachers were able to break up the fight, Simpkins walked to an orange backpack, grabbed a gun and began shooting at the student he fought with.
One student told police that Simpkins shot seven to eight times, and others said they heard three to six shots, according to the Star-Telegram.
The student who fought Simpkins was in critical condition as of Thursday, according to the newspaper. A teenage girl was grazed by a bullet but was treated and released from the hospital.
A 25-year-old teacher who broke up the fight was also shot, but is in good condition, the newspaper reported. Another teacher was injured, but she fell and was not shot.
Simkins fled the scene of the shooting, but later turned himself in. He is facing charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The Hill has reached out to the Arlington Police Department for comment.
Carol Harrison Lafayette, who is acting as the spokesperson for Simpkins' family, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that the 18-year-old was being bullied.
''The decision he made, taking the gun, we're not justifying that,'' Harrison Lafayette told the newspaper. ''That was not right. But he was trying to protect himself. And so we hope that the police department does the investigation properly.''
Digital ID Wallet - Thales - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:41
Former Austin police officer sends blistering retort after city offers chance to rehire '' Law Officer
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:37
'I did not leave APD for money ... No amount of money could make me return ... What we crave is leadership'
Weekly E-NewsletterSubscribe'--and get the latest news and editorials direct from Law Officer each week!
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Russian authorities expand list of 'foreign agent' media - ABC News
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:10
Russian authorities have labeled nine more journalists and three media organizations as ''foreign agents,'' part of official efforts to sideline critics '-- just as a Russian journalist won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize
By The Associated Press
October 8, 2021, 8:04 PM
' 2 min read
MOSCOW -- Russian authorities on Friday labeled nine more journalists and three media organizations as ''foreign agents,'' part of efforts to sideline critics '-- hours after a Russian journalist won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dmitry Muratov, and fellow journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines, won the prize for their fight for freedom of expression. Muratov, the editor of Novaya Gazeta, a leading independent newspaper in Russia, said he would use the prize money to help Russian journalists facing reprisals.
Many in Russia had hoped that the prize would persuade Russian authorities to slow down their sweeping crackdown on independent media, which included dubbing critical media outlets and individual journalists as ''foreign agents'' '-- a label that carries strong pejorative connotations and implies an increased government scrutiny.
However, shortly after the Nobel Peace Prize announcement Russia's Justice Ministry added another nine journalists and three entities to its lists of foreign agents.
They included reporters from Russian Dozhd independent TV, The New Times news outlet, BBC and the U.S-funded RFE/RL among others.
Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based international organization known for its open-source investigations into Russian military action in Ukraine and Syria and attacks on Kremlin opponents in Russia and abroad, was also added to the list in an apparent attempt to discourage Russians from cooperating with it.
The two other news outlets labeled as foreign agents Friday were the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Knot) that covers events in Russia's volatile North Caucasus region and M.News online publication.
The ''foreign agent'' label has been widely seen as part of the authorities' efforts to muzzle critical voices. The Kremlin, however, has denied that it is stifling freedom of speech and insists that the designation doesn't bar media outlets from operating.
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India staring at power crisis with coal stocks down to days
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:57
NEW DELHI (AP) '-- An energy crisis is looming over India as coal supplies grow perilously low, adding to challenges for a recovery in Asia's third largest economy after it was wracked by the pandemic.
Supplies across the majority of coal-fired power plants in India have dwindled to just days worth of stock.
Federal Power Minister R. K. Singh told the Indian Express newspaper this week that he was bracing for a ''trying five to six months.''
''I can't say I am secure '... With less than three days of stock, you can't be secure,'' Singh said.
The shortages have stoked fears of potential black-outs in parts of India, where 70% of power is generated from coal. Experts say the crunch could upset renewed efforts to ramp up manufacturing.
Power cuts and shortages over the years have subsided in big cities, but are fairly common in some smaller towns.
Out of India's 135 coal plants, 108 were facing critically low stocks, with 28 of them down to just one day's worth of supply, according to power ministry data released on Wednesday, the most recently available.
On average, coal supplies at power plants had fallen to about four days worth of stock as of the weekend, the ministry said in a statement. That's a sharp plunge from 13 days in August.
Power consumption in August jumped by nearly 20% from the same month in 2019, before the pandemic struck, the power ministry said.
''Nobody expected economic growth to revive like this and for energy demand to shoot up so quickly,'' said Vibhuti Garg, an energy economist at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
The shortfalls in supply were worsened by flooding of mines and other disruptions from unusually heavy rains, Garg said.
India mostly relies on domestically mined coal. With global coal prices at an all-time high, increasing imports is not an option, experts said.
The government has asked state-run Coal India Ltd. to increase production.
Coal prices in Indonesia, one of India's suppliers, swelled to nearly $162 per ton this month from $86.68 in April, boosted by surging demand in China, where recent power cuts have forced factories to shut down and left some households in the dark.
''With the current prices, it is difficult for India to rely on external sources for coal as it's about two or three times more than what we pay domestically right now,'' said Swati DSouza, research lead at National Foundation for India.
With monsoon rains receding, coal deliveries have picked up and are likely to rise further, according to the power ministry. An official team is monitoring the situation and following up with Coal India Ltd. and the railways to improve supplies, the ministry said.
But the crisis has highlighted India's need to develop more renewable energy resources given that demand is likely to keep increasing.
It should serve as a ''turning point for India,'' where there is ample renewable energy potential to help offset such disruptions, said Sunil Dahiya, an analyst at the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
''The situation shouldn't be used to push for more coal -- that is not the crisis. The solution going forward is to move away from coal and other fossil fuels,'' he said.
'--
AP science writer Victoria Milko contributed from Jakarta, Indonesia.
China Threatens "Cataclysmic Upheaval" In Relations After Former Aussie PM Gives Fiery Speech In Taiwan | ZeroHedge
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:55
Australia's former prime minister Tony Abbott visited Taipei on Friday where he gave a speech urging the international community to show "solidarity" with the self-ruled island, resulting in a quick reaction out of China demanding that Canberra officails stay out of its internal affairs.
Abbott provocatively told the conference that "any attempt at coercion would have incalculable consequences" for China and strongly suggested that both the United States and Australia would come to Taiwan's aid militarily. "I don't believe America could stand by and watch [Taiwan] swallowed up," he said, added of his own country: "I don't believe Australia would be indifferent to the fate of a fellow democracy of almost 25 million people."
Source: Associated PressThe bellicose words come on the heels of last month's AUKUS agreement between Australia, the US and UK, which will see nuclear-powered submarine technology transferred to Canberra for the first time in history. Beijing is accusing Australia of violating its own commitments to maintaining a nuclear free zone.
Abbott's speech was met with a response of out Chinese state media mouthpiece Global Times, which said in an op-ed published the same day that Aussie leaders are "recklessly" joining Washington in a push for Taiwan "secessionism". GT author Chen Hong said the following:
"Should Australia be so reckless as to challenge China's sovereignty over Taiwan, there is absolutely no room for maneuver or diplomatic solution. Seismic changes could take place in the bilateral relations."
The piece further charged Western media and politicians to hyping the Taiwan situation to the point of manufacturing "an atmosphere of crisis" by "distorting and falsifying".
"It is no secret that the anti-China forces in the West have been taking advantage of the media to create an atmosphere of crisis - usually by distorting and falsifying the actual situation - before taking any concrete steps of substance," Chen wrote.
Golly. Tony Abbott speech in Taiwan. Extraordinary. A direct reference to Xi, saying China has "cancelled popular personalities in favour of a cult of the new red emperor." Accuses Beijing of wanting to make Australia a "tributary state" pic.twitter.com/91rtgU0CgY
'-- Stephen Dziedzic (@stephendziedzic) October 8, 2021The fiery op-ed particularly denounced former PM Abbot's visit to the island as part of increasing "acts of recklessness from Canberra." It added that with these provocations "the bilateral relations could face cataclysmic upheaval."
"On the Taiwan question, Australia has been playing the role of a daring vanguard for the US, helping Washington test the regional waters to gauge China's tolerance and test China's responses," the state media article described. "Many are worried that Australia might imprudently follow the lead of some European countries to take injudicious actions."
The AUKUS defense pact certainly suggests this "testing" of the regional waters is accurate. So far it's only resulted in a firmer and firmer response from China, and up the escalation ladder we go...
EXCLUSIVE-U.S. delegation to meet Taliban in first high-...
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:48
By Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - A U.S. delegation will meet with senior Taliban representatives in Doha on Saturday and Sunday in their first face-to-face meeting at a senior level since Washington pulled its troops from Afghanistan and the hardline group took over the country, two senior administration officials told Reuters.
The high-level U.S. delegation will include officials from the State Department, USAID and the U.S. intelligence community, will press the Taliban to ensure continued safe passage for U.S. citizens and others out of Afghanistan and to release kidnapped U.S. citizen Mark Frerichs, the officials said.
Another top priority will be to hold the Taliban to its commitment that it will not allow Afghanistan to again become a hotbed for al Qaeda or other extremists while pressing the group to improve access for humanitarian aid as the country faces the prospect of a "really severe and probably impossible to prevent" economic contraction, U.S. officials said.
U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad, who has for years spearheaded U.S. dialogue with the Taliban https://www.reuters.com/world/us/brokering-exit-afghanistan-us-envoy-khalilzad-became-face-diplomatic-debacle-2021-09-10 and been a key figure in peace talks with the group, will not be part of the delegation.
The U.S. team will include the State Department's Deputy Special Representative Tom West as well as top USAID humanitarian official Sarah Charles. On The Taliban side, cabinet officials will be attending, officials said.
"This meeting is a continuation of the pragmatic engagements with the Taliban that we've had ongoing on matters of vital national interest," said a senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
"This meeting is not about granting recognition or conferring legitimacy. We remain clear that any legitimacy must be earned through the Taliban's own actions. They need to establish a sustained track record," the official said.
The United States' two decades-long occupation of Afghanistan culminated in a hastily organized airlift in August which saw more than 124,000 civilians including Americans, Afghans and others being evacuated as the Taliban took over. But thousands of other U.S.-allied Afghans at risk of Taliban persecution were left behind.
Washington and other Western countries are grappling with difficult choices as a severe humanitarian crisis looms large over Afghanistan. They are trying to formulate how to engage with the Taliban without granting it the legitimacy it seeks while ensuring humanitarian aid flows into the country.
Many Afghans have started selling their possessions to pay for ever-scarcer food.
The departure of U.S.-led forces and many international donors robbed the country of grants that financed 75% of public spending, according to the World Bank.
While there was an improvement for humanitarian actors get access to some areas that they haven't been in a decade, problems still persisted, the U.S. official said, adding that the U.S. delegation would press Taliban to improve.
"Right now, we are facing some real access issues....There are a lot of challenges in ensuring that female aid workers are provided unimpeded access to all areas," the official said and added that Washington needed to see an improvement by the Taliban on this front "if we are to contemplate even more robust humanitarian assistance."
PRESSURE ON WOMEN'S RIGHTS
While the Taliban has promised to be more inclusive than when it led the country from 1996 to 2001, the United States has repeatedly said it will judge the new Taliban government based on its deeds not its words.
The Taliban drew from its inner high echelons to fill top posts in Afghanistan's new provisional government announced last month, including an associate of the Islamist militant group's founder as premier and a wanted man on a U.S. terrorism list as interior minister. There were no outsiders and no women in the cabinet.
The European Union foreign policy chief said on Sunday its behavior up to now was "not very encouraging."
"We will certainly press the Taliban to respect the rights of all Afghans including women and girls and to form an inclusive government with broad support," the U.S. official said.
He added that there were discrepancies between the Taliban's promises of continued safe passage and implementation.
"As a practical matter, their implementation of their commitments have been uneven. It is true that sometimes we receive assurances from certain levels but then follow through on those assurances has truly been uneven," the official said.
The United States has directly facilitated the departure of 105 U.S. citizens and 95 lawful permanent residents out of Afghanistan since Aug. 31, when U.S. withdrawal was completed, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Thursday.
He declined to provide a precise figure for those remaining, but said the agency was in contact with "dozens of Americans in Afghanistan who wish to leave" but that the number was dynamic and constantly changing. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Michelle Price and Alistair Bell)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
The Daily Beast
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:41
I: MAPPING THE ROUTEFrom financial commitments to relief efforts to a nimble plan for supporting the world's largest cities, companies like Pfizer took some smart steps in early 2020. This segment of the panel conversation will invite panelists to look critically at the initial pandemic response to inform a roadmap that can guide more inclusive responses moving forward.
II: ALL OR NOTHINGIt's not enough to develop a vaccine'--you have to get it out there to those who want it to build true defenses against the next pandemic. Until the whole world is vaccinated, we're all at risk. This segment will focus on how diverse industries can work together to improve distribution, especially in underserved communities.
III: RACING AHEADThe reality is, this pandemic isn't over. Even still, scientists and public healthcare experts around the world are already looking to apply what they've learned in the last 18 months to prepare for the next pandemic. To improve our ability to respond to future threats, we'll look at the scientific, technical, and sociological advances that have been made due to COVID-19.
Ottawa interdira toutes les personnes non vaccin(C)es de quitter le Canada | Coronavirus | Radio-Canada.ca
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:30
La densification des banlieues est-elle in(C)vitable?‰lections municipales au Qu(C)bec 2021 La densification des banlieues est-elle in(C)vitable? Confront(C)es des quartiers qui se d(C)veloppent un rythme effr(C)n(C), les Villes sont parfois prises de court.
Ann(C)e (C)lectorale et (C)tat d'urgence sanitaire ne feraient pas bon m(C)nagePolitique provinciale Ann(C)e (C)lectorale et (C)tat d'urgence sanitaire ne feraient pas bon m(C)nage l'heure des bilans, le gouvernement pourra s'accaparer les r(C)alisations li(C)es la gestion de la pand(C)mie.
Vaccination en sant(C) : le ministre Dub(C) sugg¨re la suspension du permis d'exercerCOVID-19 : tout sur la pand(C)mie Vaccination en sant(C) : le ministre Dub(C) sugg¨re la suspension du permis d'exercer Il demande aux ordres professionnels de prendre clairement position en faveur de la vaccination.
Le panel politique du 8 octobre 2021En direct avec Patrice Roy Le panel politique du 8 octobre 2021 Analyse de l'actualit(C) avec nos pan(C)listes : Madeleine Blais-Morin et S(C)bastien Bovet
Qu(C)bec solidaire veut un organisme de protection des langues autochtonesPolitique provinciale Qu(C)bec solidaire veut un organisme de protection des langues autochtones Le parti demande la cr(C)ation d'un Office qu(C)b(C)cois de la langue fran§aise version autochtone.
Vaccination obligatoire pour les employ(C)s f(C)d(C)raux : pas assez selon le Congr¨s du travail du CanadaPour faire un monde Vaccination obligatoire pour les employ(C)s f(C)d(C)raux : pas assez selon le Congr¨s du … Les fonctionnaires f(C)d(C)raux qui refusent de divulguer leur statut vaccinal leur employeur, ou qui ne veulent pas du vaccin, seront invit(C)s …
Centering frontline communities in the face of climate change
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:18
As an organization with almost three decades of history in the Pacific Northwest, we've done our best to respond to the issue of global warming in a way that builds social, economic, and ecological resilience in the region. From registering the first voluntary forest carbon transaction in the Northwest and providing climate-smart tools for land managers, to partnering with tribal communities on forest management and conservation projects, our response to a changing climate is informed by environmental and community concerns.
But while we undertake various projects to respond to the challenges of global warming across our region, we also recognize our endeavors are couched in the context of Ecotrust as a primarily dominant-culture (white) organization. When it comes to taking tangible action to address and mitigate sea level rise, warmer winters, or changing food supply for the folks who will be impacted by these effects here at home, workable solutions with staying power must come from frontline communities.
Frontline communities are those that experience ''first and worst'' the consequences of climate change. These are communities of color and low-income, whose neighborhoods often lack basic infrastructure to support them and who will be increasingly vulnerable as our climate deteriorates. These are Native communities, whose resources have been exploited, and laborers whose daily work or living environments are polluted or toxic.
And while these communities have a disproportionate wealth of experience living with the implications of climate change, they likely haven't benefited from the same deference on environmental issues with which Ecotrust and other dominant-culture organizations are privileged.
That's why, this year, Ecotrust endorsed the People's Climate Movement March for Climate, Jobs & Justice in Portland to support an intentional power shift. In previous years, leadership of the march fell to mainstream environmental organizations. This year, it was led by Oregon Just Transition Alliance, a coalition of social and environmental justice groups. Mainstream organizations, who have most often been the public face of environmentalism, were asked to step into support roles, while the leadership and voices of frontline communities were centered.
In platform and action, the march was focused on issues that local frontline communities identified as crucial focal points here in Oregon, including gentrification, displacement, inequitable transit access, militarization of public spaces, and the housing crisis '' and the threads connecting each of these issues with environmental justice and climate change.
The time has come in climate work to center voices from these impacted communities. As we move forward as an organization, we are learning about the climate connections to a wide range of racial and social justice issues experienced by frontline populations '' connections that may not be clear to those who don't experience these disparities as part of their daily lives. We are showing up in solidarity to support the call from these communities for equitable housing, public transportation, clean energy, green spaces, and worker and immigrant rights.
We know it will be important, valuable, and rewarding work '' and we know we still have a long way to go, together.
330+ Scientists Tell Biden: Stop All New Fossil Fuel Projects Now ' Children's Health Defense
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:16
More than 330 U.S. research scientists sent a letter to President Biden Thursday urging him to use his executive authority to stop all new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency '-- actions they say are necessary to avoid the worst damages of the climate crisis and deliver on environmental justice.
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More than 330 U.S. research scientists sent a letter to President Biden Thursday urging him to use his executive authority to stop all new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency '-- actions they say are necessary to avoid the worst damages of the climate crisis and deliver on environmental justice.
The letter was organized by two prominent public-health and climate scientists, Drs. Sandra Steingraber and Peter Kalmus, and national advocacy groups Center for Biological Diversity and Food & Water Watch.
It's signed by leading scientists including Michael Mann, Robert Bullard, Aradhna Tripati, Robert Howarth, Kim Cobb, Mark Jacobson and Drew Shindell.
The letter directly supports the core demands of frontline communities to the president in the massive People vs. Fossil Fuels mobilization taking place at the White House next week. Scientists including Dr. Steingraber plan to participate in the action and risk arrest.
''U.S. scientists are done speaking calmly in the face of inaction,'' said Steingraber. ''Terrified by our own data, we stand in solidarity with the People vs. Fossil Fuels mobilization and its demands. President Biden, listening to science means acting on science. It means stopping new fossil fuel projects, opposing industry delay tactics, and declaring a national climate emergency.
''Climate change is genuinely an emergency, and we need to start treating it as such,'' said Kalmus. ''It does no good to speak of an 'existential crisis' while continuing to expand the fossil fuel industry.''
To end fossil fuel expansion, the letter calls on Biden to use his authority to end new fracking and drilling on public lands and waters, stop the approval of fossil fuel infrastructure projects, and end fossil fuel exports and subsidies. The scientists further urge the president to declare a climate emergency to advance a rapid, just buildout of clean renewable energy.
The letter highlights that Black, Brown, Indigenous and poor communities bear the brunt of the climate disasters and serious health harms caused by fossil fuel pollution, and that ending the fossil fuel era is necessary to protect frontline communities.
''Our communities are living every day with the toxic chemicals that are shutting down beaches in California right now,'' said Dr. Robert Bullard, distinguished professor and director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University and a signatory of the letter.
''We hear President Biden making lots of promises, but Black, Brown and Indigenous communities are waiting for action. We're waiting on the president to stop the fossil fuel projects that are killing us and deliver on the environmental justice he promised.''
The scientists also urge the president to reject fossil fuel industry delay tactics like carbon capture and storage, blue hydrogen, and carbon offsets that impede the rapid transition to renewable energy and perpetuate a racist fossil fuel system.
''The climate emergency is caused by burning fossil fuels, and the only way out is to quickly ramp down and end the fossil fuel industry,'' said Kalmus. ''Carbon indulgences and hypothetical tech solutions are dangerous distractions. Far too much time has been wasted already.''
''The science is clear: To stand a chance of avoiding complete climate catastrophe, we must halt all new fossil fuel development now. Today, not tomorrow,'' said Dr. Robert Howarth, professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University and a board member of Food & Water Watch.
Other prominent scientist signatories on the letter include Anthony Ingraffea, Peter Gleick, William Ripple, Terry Root, Lucile Jones, Doreen Stabinsky and Sarah Myhre.
''When scientists across the U.S. are imploring the president to get the country off fossil fuels, it's time to listen,'' said Dr. Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity. ''A crisis this big demands more than crossed fingers and compromise. Biden must use his substantial powers to make a rapid transition to clean energy if we want a livable future.''
Originally published by Center for Biological Diversity.
How to create a good explainer, explained | by Diogo A. Rodriguez | Notes from the Classroom | Medium
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:12
What is an explainer?An explainer is a conversation, not a traditional article. Therefore, it doesn't follow the traditional structure we journalists use when we write. Explainers must answer questions, but not just any question. They have to be something a "normal" person would ask. I see many explainers that indeed use the questions, but they are in not in service of the explanation. They are there just to be inter-titles.
Why is it important to think of an explainer as a conversation?Because, as I said before, when you think in terms of a conversation, the logic is going to be completely different. Forget the NYT standard article: this is like talking to your mom, your uncle. By the way, a good way to try to figure how to structure an explainer is to talk to your mom, your uncle, and figure out what they want to know about the subject you're reporting on.
How do I choose what is going to be in an explainer?The conversation is the center of it. But, more than that, an explainer has to offer something to people who are reading it. It needs to be useful. The definition of useful can vary, but generally, it implies getting people up to speed with the core of the issue -and the impact it can have on their lives. So you should focus on things that will make sense to an audience that might not dive deep and justs want the gist of what is going on.
Is there a right way to write an explainer?In Me Explica, we created some basic rules. First, no jargon. You have to explain everything and find the simplest words possible to describe something. Don't assume that people know what DoJ, caucus, inflation, Fed, committee mean. I'm serious. It's very difficult to do this exercise, but it is essential. Second, names need context, always. Don't say just "Trump" or "Bolsonaro". It is always "president Trump" and "Brazilian president Bolsonaro". Third, write explainers trying to mimic the spoken language, not the written register. That means you'll write very simple sentences, you're going to repeat words and that's OK. Writing like that makes the explainer more accessible.
Can I create explainers in any format?Yes! Any format is good for an explainer. But always be mindful that they must be self-sufficient. That means you have to edit the hell out if so it makes sense as a single piece. Don't assume that people will seek further information after watching a short video, an Instagram Story or meme. Most likely they'll be satisfied with that one piece. But always think that it can be an invitation to get deeper. Or a first step towards understanding the broader issues (and even reading more articles about it).
*Diogo Rodriguez is a 2019 Fellow at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at CUNY. In Brazil, he created Me Explica, an explanatory news platform that is being incubated at the TN program.
No, your antibodies are not better than vaccination: An explainer | Ars Technica
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:12
Shots '-- Infection does offer some immune protection'--but it's unreliable compared with vaccines. Beth Mole - Oct 8, 2021 10:15 am UTC
Enlarge / Dr. Silvia Gelvez gestures after receiving a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19, at Colombia University Clinic in Bogota on February 18, 2021.
As long as there have been vaccines against COVID-19, there have been arguments for why people shouldn't get those vaccines. One of the more persistent'--and hairier'--arguments is that people who have already been infected with the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, don't need a vaccine. An infection will generate immune responses similar to those generated by vaccines, the thinking goes. So, why waste coveted vaccine doses on people who already have immune responses against the virus'--which may also needlessly put those people at risk of vaccine side effects, however rare?
It's a reasonable question, and there is legitimate scientific debate about it. There are also different approaches to the issue in terms of public health policy. In Israel, for example, people who have recovered from COVID-19 after testing positive on a PCR test can get a vaccination "Green Pass" that's valid for up to six months. The pass allows them entry into various places just as it does for people who are fully vaccinated. In the European Union, some member states offer a similar "Digital COVID Certificate" to people who have recovered from COVID-19 and received just one dose of a two-dose mRNA vaccine regimen.
In the US, however, public health officials are unequivocal in their approach: people are categorized as either vaccinated or unvaccinated, regardless of prior infection. It's an approach with many strengths, including robust scientific data supporting vaccination for people who have recovered. That data'--which we'll get into below'--has consistently shown that immune responses from natural infections are extremely variable, thus unreliable. Vaccines, on the other hand, have repeatedly been proven to generate highly protective immune responses.
The vaccines are also remarkably safe, with few serious side effects that occur extremely rarely. One of the most concerning side effects is myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle). But even there, the rate of myocarditis in the most at-risk group (males ages 12 to 29) is only estimated to be 41 in a million, and the cases are generally mild.
Comparing that with actual COVID-19 infections'--which can cause severe disease even in young, healthy people and may cause persistent, months-long symptoms in up to half of people infected'--there's no contest. Vaccines are safer. And they're just as safe for people who have previously recovered. People with past COVID-19 cases are no more likely to have serious side effects from vaccines than people who haven't been previously infected, though they may have more side effects.
Advertisement The US approach also has logistical benefits. Simple categories of "vaccinated" and "unvaccinated" skip over the messy and difficult step of figuring out who has been infected and when. From the early stages of the pandemic, the US has struggled'--and is still struggling'--to roll out accurate, widely available tests for SARS-CoV-2. Many people who have been infected never officially tested positive. Others assumed they were infected when they may have actually had one of many other respiratory infections. And antibody tests that look for evidence of past infections are notoriously inaccurate.
Though opponents argue that mass vaccination is driven by "evil corporations" out for prodigious profits at all costs, the fact is that vaccines are extremely safe and offer recovered people strong, lasting protection against a virus that has already killed more than 700,000 Americans.
Efficacy and variabilityThat's not to say that there aren't weaknesses to the US's approach. For one thing, the approach can make vaccines look bad. In many instances, vaccine effectiveness is gauged by comparing COVID-19 case rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated people. But in the US, the unvaccinated include people who have no immunity and recovered people, who have some immunity and are, thus, expected to have fewer infections. This waters down case rates in the unvaccinated group and ends up lowering the vaccine efficacy estimates.
Still, the vaccines' efficacy estimates are extraordinarily good. A recent study found that the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine was holding steady with 90 percent efficacy against COVID-19 hospitalization for at least six months. A separate study found that the Moderna mRNA vaccine was 93 percent effective against hospitalizations among people without immunocompromising conditions. Johnson & Johnson's vaccine was 71 percent effective.
And again, many vaccine efficacy numbers don't account for past infection and may be artificially lower because of that. How much lower? It's unclear. Since the beginning of the pandemic, researchers have noted time and again that immune responses generated by SARS-CoV-2 infections vary wildly, with some of the weaker responses seen in people with mild disease and stronger responses in people with severe disease.
In one study Ars reported on back in June of last year, researchers looking at SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in people who had recovered found that the difference between the highest and lowest levels varied by a factor of over 1,000. The researchers saw even more variability when they looked at neutralizing antibodies'--those known to bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting cells. Neutralizing antibody levels in recovered people varied over a range of 40,000-fold, and up to 20 percent of people didn't have any detectable level of neutralizing antibody.
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Inside Purdue Pharma's Multimillion-Dollar Payouts to Politicians and Pill-Pushers '' Mother Jones
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:11
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Before it was dissolved this fall, Purdue Pharma made billions selling the painkillers behind the overdose crisis while giving millions to patient advocacy groups, doctors' organizations, and academia'--spending that effectively served as an OxyContin marketing blitz.
Yet the details of this largesse have long been murky. Congressional and media investigations have named only a handful of recipients, and a more comprehensive view of Purdue's payouts didn't exist'--until now.
Buried among thousands of opioid litigation documents is a 44-page spreadsheet from the company detailing more than $115 million in disbursements to nearly 800 organizations, including medical societies, police associations, anti-drug campaigns, and political networks. The data, which runs from 2002 to early 2015, reveals that groups like the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, PhRMA, and the Patient Advocate Foundation took even more money after 2007, when Purdue executives were convicted of federal felonies for misleading regulators and physicians about OxyContin's dangers.
While the company touted its spending as a virtuous effort, medical experts say it ultimately served Purdue. ''Any marketing message that a pharmaceutical company can get into the voice of a third party is a more effective marketing message for them,'' Georgetown pharmacology professor Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman told Mother Jones. And as Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Caleb Alexander put it, ''For-profit pharmaceutical companies don't give away money for free. Even the philanthropic giving'--rest assured it's highly aligned with commercial strategy.''
We sorted the 3,769-line database, verifying key entries against previous reporting and government investigations, or with recipient organizations. Representatives of the company and many other organizations did not dispute the spreadsheet's accuracy or otherwise respond to requests for comment.
To get a deeper look into Purdue's spending, explore our interactive chart. For highlighted findings, look below.
Purdue bankrolled organizations for pain doctors and their patients, lending OxyContin marketing a human face. A 2018 Senate report found that both the APF and the APS developed messaging to support ''the financial interests of opioid manufacturers.'' Both were dissolved after their drugmaker funding was revealed.
Known for its iconic ''This Is Your Brain on Drugs'' TV ads, PDFA received funding for a helpline and an anti-medicine-abuse project. Its successor organization told Mother Jones it would never again ''have any relationship with Purdue Pharma or any other opioid pain medicine manufacturers.''
Purdue Pharma's website trumpets its support of NADDI as part of a 20-year effort to ''stem prescription opioid abuse.''
The powerful lobbying group is the database's largest single recipient, accounting for roughly a fifth of the total.
Virginia's attorney general said Purdue and the PAF worked together to spread the company line on painkillers; the group says the funding supported a program to help patients cover drug co-pays.
While Purdue was ordered to pay at least $644 million in court settlements over the period covered by the spreadsheet, it only explicitly mentions this one case. In September, a federal bankruptcy court ordered the company's owners to pay a final $4.5 billion settlement.
Includes BIO and at least one other lobbying association, several YMCA groups in Purdue's home state of Connecticut, and significant donations to Johns Hopkins.
In 2003, the Government Accountability Office found cancer patients were an early and major target of Purdue's painkiller marketing.
As OxyContin came under greater media and government scrutiny, the spreadsheet indicates a fourfold increase going to groups of elected officials. The largest recipient was a fund associated with the US Conference of Mayors.
The AMA and its foundation received more than $3 million'--both to promote painkillers and to fight addiction to them. (The AMA denies that the funding affected its lobbying or policies.)
Meet The Giant - the world's tallest moving statue, built by Irish hands | The Irish Post
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:08
A COLOSSAL moving statue built by an Irish company is being billed as one of the most exciting visitor attraction concepts of the 21st century.
The Giant, which was conceived by Dublin-based The Giant Company, led by entrepreneur Paddy Dunning, is the world's tallest moving statue, standing over 10 stories high.
It comes complete with exhibition space, a roof garden, dining facilities and a viewing tower - allowing visitors to literally stand on the shoulders of a giant and look out over the city below.
The Giant's arms and head can move positions and its patented skin, a matrix of millions of programmable LED pixels, gives it the ability to instantly take the form of any man or woman '' from historical figures to celebrity stars, or simple selfies of its visitors.
The Giant can take on any form - superhero or otherwise
Supported by Enterprise Ireland and the world's largest commercial real estate company, CBRE, the concept for The Giant includes the multi-storey statue mounted on a plinth housing a novel exhibition.
The ambitious project, which is still under development, is now seeking funding and investors to help make the concept a reality.
Mr Dunning'‹, who is the man behind Dublin's National Wax Museum, Temple Bar Music Centre/The Button Factory and a leader in the redevelopment of Temple Bar, Dublin's Cultural Quarter, is hoping to find 21 sites across the globe and interested developers who ''want to attract hundreds of thousands of people to a particular location''.
''We are now seeking 21 sites in 21 cities by the end of 2021,'' he explains.
''The Giant will be one of the world's most ambitious cultural and commercial projects bringing together art, amusement and wonder to create a contemporary and highly profitable business,'' he adds.
''We envision The Giant as an adjunct to new urban redevelopment projects, stadiums, arenas, shopping centres, museums and other locations; it's going to be an awe-inspiring addition to the cities where we locate it.''
Under the current proposals The Giant will transform every hour, changing into an exemplary man or woman, and will also have the ability to speak or sing to the crowds that gather below.
Deemed one of the most exciting visitor projects of the 21st century, multiple Giants could be found across the globe if funding is sourced
Between these dramatic appearances visitors who have been scanned inside the exhibition space will also be uploaded onto the giant statue, resulting in the world's most spectacular selfie.
''They can also add audio messages to their Giant selfies wishing friends and relatives birthday and anniversary greetings, or offering marriage proposals and other salutations,'' The Giant Company team confirms.
The attraction is expected to offer significant economic benefits to any city where it is located - providing jobs and attracting local residents and international tourists.
Each structure will cost between '‚¬15'''‚¬20million to develop, depending on location and size of Giant, which is variable, but is expected to draw approximately 500,000 visitors each year, generating annual revenues of around '‚¬12million.
''Besides income from ticket sales, The Giant provides several revenue-producing opportunities including advertising on the spectacular three-dimensional digital statue; Giant selfies; private and corporate events and conferences and retail shops and restaurants which are situated on the terrace roof garden,'' The Giant Company explains.
Mr Dunning and his team are working with award-winning Berlin-based architecture studio '‹Dan Pearlman '‹on the creation of The Giant'‹. '‹
CBRE has partnered with The Giant Company to find premium sites in cities around the world.
CBRE's Florence Stanley'‹ said: ''We are very excited to be working on this project sourcing sites in 21 cities around the world.
''Our immediate priority is securing appropriate locations and from there finding investors who will see the huge benefits of situating this iconic attraction in their city.''
Niall McEvoy'‹, Manager of the High Potential Start Up Dept at Enterprise Ireland, said: ''The Giant is a project we have supported from when it was at concept stage.
''At the core of this innovation is an ambitious team that has a vision for developing landmark attractions in multiple city locations across the globe.
''We look forward to supporting the next phase of the roll out of this innovation.''
Interested parties and potential investors should click here or email [email protected] '‹
Biden back to fake White House set for spin on down jobs report
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:50
President Biden went back to his fake White House set as the backdrop for his reaction to the disappointing September jobs report Friday, days after the mock-up was widely panned on social media.
Despite the White House offering several venues fit for presidential remarks '-- including the Oval Office, the East Room, the State Dining Room and even the Brady Press Briefing Room '-- the administration has increasingly opted to use the model set up in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, across from the executive mansion itself.
In recent weeks, Biden has used the venue for getting a COVID-19 booster shot, as well as for virtual meetings '-- whether with CEOs on raising the federal debt ceiling, world leaders on the pandemic and climate change, or FEMA staff on the progress of Hurricane Ida '-- and remarks on Aug. 23 in which he urged employers to adopt vaccine mandates.
President Biden speaks about the September jobs report from the South Court Auditorium. AFP via Getty ImagesAccording to the White House website, the South Court Auditorium has been used for 36 official events involving Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris fewer than nine months into their term of office. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and UN Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield have also used the set for events.
The set caused a social media frenzy Wednesday during Biden's call with CEOs when viewers noted a digitally created view of the White House Rose Garden behind one of the cutout windows.
Former President Donald Trump's adviser Stephen Miller suggested on Twitter that the auditorium was chosen ''because it allows him [Biden] to read a script directly from a face-on monitor (& w/out teleprompter glass that can be seen on camera).''
This was not the first time Biden has used this set. AFP via Getty Images Along with the set, the jobs report did not give promising news. AFP via Getty ImagesOther social media users ridiculed the president for using a ''literal game show set,'' while others accused him of deliberately trying to deceive Americans into thinking he was in the White House.
''Why did the White House build a literal game show set complete with fake windows for Joe Biden???'' tweeted Abigail Marone, press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), summing up the views of many. ''So weird.''
Dave Chappelle Talks Cancel Culture After Netflix Special Controversy '' The Hollywood Reporter
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:31
Amid a swirl of controversy around his new Netflix special, The Closer, Dave Chappelle took center stage Thursday night at a star-studded and sold-out show at L.A.'s iconic Hollywood Bowl. Though the superstar comedian did not repeat any of the jokes that have been loudly rejected by members of the LGBTQ community, GLAAD and the National Black Justice Coalition, he thumbed his nose at the notion of cancel culture while also promoting messages of kindness and love.
Chappelle shared the marquee with a screening of his Untitled: Dave Chappelle Documentary, a 118-minute film directed by American Factory Oscar winners Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert that offers an inside look at last year's ''Summer Camp'' series. Mounted at Wirrig Pavilion near Chappelle's home in Yellow Springs, Ohio, the more than 50 shows served to reinvigorate the small town during dark days in the COVID-19 pandemic as it played host to his circle of famous friends.
Some were on the bill tonight, including Snoop Dogg, Talib Kweli, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Stevie Wonder, poet Amir Sulaiman, Nas, Lizzo and a singing Jon Hamm. Comedian Jeff Ross kicked off the program with a short set, followed by a screening of the film, which one attendee described as ''moving.'' Then came Chappelle '-- dressed in a suit, with his wife and a cigarette in hand '-- for the main event that saw him being heralded at the mic on numerous occasions as the greatest living comic.
''If this is what being canceled is like, I love it,'' the 48-year-old said in response to a standing ovation. The line, and many more like it, was greeted by rapturous applause from the crowd, which included a masked Brad Pitt, Tiffany Haddish, Donnell Rawlings, Chuck Lorre, Sterling K. Brown and others. At another point, he was more blunt: ''Fuck Twitter. Fuck NBC News, ABC News, all these stupid ass networks. I'm not talking to them. I'm talking to you. This is real life.''
But that is precisely what the LGBTQ community, and in particular trans women, have objected to after Chappelle used their real lives, bodies and gender identity as punchlines in The Closer. ''Gender is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on Earth, had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on Earth. That is a fact,'' he says in the special, his last of a string of Netflix specials that also included Sticks & Stones, Equanimity and The Bird Revelation.
He also sided with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling by identifying as ''team TERF,'' a term that means trans-exclusionary radical feminist, an ideology that excludes trans women as women. The special, currently No. 4 on Netflix's top U.S. top 10 list of the streamer's most popular titles, also features jabs at white gays, the #MeToo movement and lesbians, among others. ''I don't hate gay people, I respect the shit out of you '-- not all of you,'' he says. ''I'm not that fond of these newer gays '-- too sensitive, too brittle. I miss the old-school gays '... the Stonewall gays. They didn't take shit from anybody.''
In the few days since The Closer was released, Chappelle has received condemnation from the NBJC, which called for the special to be pulled from the streamer. ''With 2021 on track to be the deadliest year on record for transgender people in the United States '-- the majority of whom are Black transgender people '-- Netflix should know better,'' NBJC executive director David Johns said in a statement released to media. ''Perpetuating transphobia perpetuates violence. Netflix should immediately pull The Closer from its platform and directly apologize to the transgender community.''
GLAAD weighed in on Twitter: ''Dave Chappelle's brand has become synonymous with ridiculing trans people and other marginalized communities. Negative reviews and viewers loudly condemning his latest special is a message to the industry that audiences don't support platforming anti-LGBTQ diatribes. We agree.''
Jaclyn Moore, a trans writer, executive producer and showrunner who spent four seasons on Netflix's Dear White People, took a stand on Twitter to say that she will no longer work with Netflix while the company continues to ''put out and profit from blatantly and dangerously transphobic content.'' She added: ''I love so many of the people I've worked with at Netflix. Brilliant people and executives who have been collaborative and fought for important art. '... But I've been thrown against walls because I'm not a 'real' woman. I've had beer bottles thrown at me.''
TV writer, producer and actress Franchesca Ramsey responded to a tweet that defended the comedian by posting, '''Hey this is harmful' isn't an attempt at 'cancellation' nor is it possible to 'cancel' a very wealthy & famous man for spreading transphobic bullshit in the name of 'comedy.'''
Despite a strict no-cellphones policy during Chappelle's Hollywood Bowl show, a video surfaced showing Wonder offering brief remarks during which he tackled those two subjects: comedy and cancel culture. After being escorted into the lights by Chappelle, who seemed genuinely moved throughout the course of the night, Wonder said, ''What we need to cancel is hate. What we need to cancel is fear because we have to have love, and we should never cancel that. I want us to cancel the idea of feeling that we don't want anyone to laugh because if we don't laugh, we cry. And I don't believe that was God's intention '-- ever.''
For his part, Chappelle delivered an earnest moment when he doubled down on themes so prominently displayed in the doc. ''Do something nice for someone who looks nothing like you,'' he said during the event, which wrapped at 11 p.m. with a fireworks display. ''We have to trust one another.''
Netflix declined to comment. Following the Bowl outing, Chappelle headed to The h.wood Group venue Bootsy Bellows for an afterparty in West Hollywood. Among the attendees were Leonardo DiCaprio, Hamm and Wonder, who, once again, got on the microphone but this time to perform ''Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)'' and ''My Cherie Amour.''
With reporting by Lacey Rose.
Exclusive: Pattern Identified in Arizona Audit Mirrors Michigan Scandal Revealed in DetroitLeaks Tapes on Provisional Ballots
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 12:22
According to the initial Cyber Ninja Report released to the media on Friday, the day before the Arizona Senate report was made public, there was real concern about provisional ballots.
On page 2 of the early Cyber Ninja report:
There were substantial statistically significant anomalies identified in the ratio of hand-folded ballots, on- demand printed ballots, as well as a statistically significant increase in provisional ballot rejections for a mail-in ballot already being cast, suggestive of mail-in ballots being cast for voters without their knowledge.
Then on Friday the Cyber Ninja Report revealed that 58,550 voters appeared on election day to vote who had reportedly already received a mail-in ballot , page 59:
5.7.1 Real-Time Provisional Ballots
TRENDING: Manchin Buries His Head in His Hands, Tells Schumer His Unhinged Senate Speech Attacking Republicans Was "F*cking Stupid"
The Arizona Secretary of State Elections Procedures Manual identifies circumstances that require the issuance of a Provisional Ballot. If a voter appears in the e-pollbook or signature roster as having received an early ballot by mail, but the voter wants to vote in person on Election Day, that voter must be issued a Provisional Ballot. However, Maricopa County reported 58,550 voters who had received mail ballots but were issued standard ballots on Election Day. The County identifies these as ''real-time Provisional Ballots.'' There is no mention of real-time provisional in the AZ Elections Procedures Manual. In fact, the EPM specifically addresses this circumstance and is clear that such voters must be issued a Provisional ballot.
These 58,550 voters turned up on election day and were told they already voted by mail-in ballot without their knowledge. The language was watered down in the final report.
Arizona was not the only state in 2020 that illicit acts with provisional ballots.
In Michigan, leftist operatives taught poll workers how to cheat with provisional ballots.
Damning audio was released by Detroit Leaks before the election that outlined poll worker training wherein workers were trained in how to lie, trained on how to handle ballot challenges from Trump supporters, told to call 911 on any challengers and to use COVID as an excuse to deny poll challengers access to view the ballots as they were being counted and tabulated.
The series of leaks also revealed that even challenged or provisional ballots would be processed as regular ballots.
This was a tactic used by the left and TAUGHT to poll workers before the election. They were taught how to cheat with provisional ballots.
In fact, the poll workers in Detroit were taught tactics on how to cheat with provisional ballots.
** Jim and Joe Hoft reported on this illegal practice at the regent University Election Integrity Conference back in March.
The reporter who initially published this video was later threatened by far left Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel demanding he take down this damning audio or face charges.
The Democrats did not want this audio made public!
The FBI and Bill Barr completely ignored this evidence.
It now appears this was a tactic used in several states '-- Not just Arizona.
The Uncertain Future of Ham Radio
Fri, 08 Oct 2021 23:39
John Anderson (AJ7M), from Marysville, Washington on the air from home for the 2020 ARRL Field Day event, held June 27-28. Field Day is ham radio's largest on-air annual event and demonstration.Photo: John Anderson
Will the amateur airwaves fall silent? Since the dawn of radio, amateur operators'--hams'--have transmitted on tenaciously guarded slices of spectrum. Electronic engineering has benefited tremendously from their activity, from the level of the individual engineer to the entire field. But the rise of the Internet in the 1990s, with its ability to easily connect billions of people, captured the attention of many potential hams. Now, with time taking its toll on the ranks of operators, new technologies offer opportunities to revitalize amateur radio, even if in a form that previous generations might not recognize.
The number of U.S. amateur licenses has held at an anemic 1 percent annual growth for the past few years, with about 7,000 new licensees added every year for a total of 755,430 in 2018. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission doesn't track demographic data of operators, but anecdotally, white men in their 60s and 70s make up much of the population. As these baby boomers age out, the fear is that there are too few young people to sustain the hobby.
''It's the $60,000 question: How do we get the kids involved?" says Howard Michel, former CEO of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). (Since speaking with IEEE Spectrum, Michel has left the ARRL. A permanent replacement has not yet been appointed.)
This question of how to attract younger operators also reveals deep divides in the ham community about the future of amateur radio. Like any large population, ham enthusiasts are no monolith; their opinions and outlooks on the decades to come vary widely. And emerging digital technologies are exacerbating these divides: Some hams see them as the future of amateur radio, while others grouse that they are eviscerating some of the best things about it.
No matter where they land on these battle lines, however, everyone understands one fact. The world is changing; the amount of spectrum is not. And it will be hard to argue that spectrum reserved for amateur use and experimentation should not be sold off to commercial users if hardly any amateurs are taking advantage of it.
Before we look to the future, let's examine the current state of play. In the United States, the ARRL, as the national association for hams, is at the forefront, and with more than 160,000 members it is the largest group of radio amateurs in the world. The 106-year-old organization offers educational courses for hams; holds contests where operators compete on the basis of, say, making the most long-distance contacts in 48 hours; trains emergency communicators for disasters; lobbies to protect amateur radio's spectrum allocation; and more.
Former ARRL CEO Howard Michel (WB2ITX) at headquarters station, W1AW.Photo: ARRL
Michel led the ARRL between October 2018 and January 2020, and he fits easily the profile of the ''average" American ham: The 66-year-old from Dartmouth, Mass., credits his career in electrical and computer engineering to an early interest in amateur radio. He received his call sign, WB2ITX, 50 years ago and has loved the hobby ever since.
''When our president goes around to speak to groups, he'll ask, 'How many people here are under 20 [years old]?' In a group of 100 people, he might get one raising their hand," Michel says.
Members from the LASA High School Amateur Radio Club, K5LBJ, in Austin, Texas participated in School Club Roundup, a twice-yearly on-air event that encourages participation from ham radio school groups.Photo: Ronny Risinger (KC5EES)
ARRL does sponsor some child-centric activities. The group runs twice-annual Kids Day events, fosters contacts with school clubs across the country, and publishes resources for teachers to lead radio-centric classroom activities. But Michel readily admits ''we don't have the resources to go out to middle schools"'--which are key for piquing children's interest.
We need to ''convince them there's more than getting licensed and putting a radio in your drawer and waiting for the end of the world."
Sustained interest is essential because potential hams must clear a particular barrier before they can take to the airwaves: a licensing exam. Licensing requirements vary'--in the United States no license is required to listen to ham radio signals'--but every country requires operators to demonstrate some technical knowledge and an understanding of the relevant regulations before they can get a registered call sign and begin transmitting.
For those younger people who are drawn to ham radio, up to those in their 30s and 40s, the primary motivating factor is different from that of their predecessors. With the Internet and social media services like WhatsApp and Facebook, they don't need a transceiver to talk with someone halfway around the world (a big attraction in the days before email and cheap long-distance phone calls). Instead, many are interested in the capacity for public service, such as providing communications in the wake of a disaster, or event comms for activities like city marathons.
''There's something about this post-9/11 group, having grown up with technology and having seen the impact of climate change," Michel says. ''They see how fragile cellphone infrastructure can be. What we need to do is convince them there's more than getting licensed and putting a radio in your drawer and waiting for the end of the world."
New FrontiersDhruv Rebba (KC9ZJX) with memorabilia from his ham radio contact with astronaut Joe Acaba (KE5DAR) onboard the International Space Station.Photo: Sateesh Nallamothu
The future lies in operators like Dhruv Rebba (KC9ZJX), who won Amateur Radio Newsline's 2019 Young Ham of the Year award. He's the 15-year-old son of immigrants from India and a sophomore at Normal Community High School in Illinois, where he also runs varsity cross-country and is active in the Future Business Leaders of America and robotics clubs. And he's most interested in using amateur radio bands to communicate with astronauts in space.
Rebba earned his technician class license when he was 9, after having visited the annual Dayton Hamvention with his father. (In the United States, there are currently three levels of amateur radio license, issued after completing a written exam for each'--technician, general, and extra. Higher levels give operators access to more radio spectrum.)
''My dad had kind of just brought me along, but then I saw all the booths and the stalls and the Morse code, and I thought it was really cool," Rebba says. ''It was something my friends weren't doing."
He joined the Central Illinois Radio Club of Bloomington, experimented with making radio contacts, participated in ARRL's annual Field Days, and volunteered at the communications booths at local races.
''We want to be making an impact'... The hobby aspect is great, but a lot of my friends would argue it's quite easy to talk to people overseas with texting and everything, so it's kind of lost its magic."
But then Rebba found a way to combine ham radio with his passion for space: He learned about the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, managed by an international consortium of amateur radio organizations, which allows students to apply to speak directly with crew members onboard the ISS. (There is also an automated digital transponder on the ISS that allows hams to ping the station as it orbits.)
Rebba rallied his principal, science teacher, and classmates at Chiddix Junior High, and on 23 October 2017, they made contact with astronaut Joe Acaba (KE5DAR). For Rebba, who served as lead control operator, it was a crystallizing moment.
''The younger generation would be more interested in emergency communications and the space aspect, I think. We want to be making an impact," Rebba says. ''The hobby aspect is great, but a lot of my friends would argue it's quite easy to talk to people overseas with texting and everything, so it's kind of lost its magic."
That statement might break the hearts of some of the more experienced hams recalling their tinkering time in their childhood basements. But some older operators welcome the change.
Take Bob Heil (K9EID), the famed sound engineer who created touring systems and audio equipment for acts including the Who, the Grateful Dead, and Peter Frampton. His company Heil Sound, in Fairview Heights, Ill., also manufactures amateur radio technology.
''I'd say wake up and smell the roses and see what ham radio is doing for emergencies!" Heil says cheerfully. ''Dhruv and all of these kids are doing incredible things. They love that they can plug a kit the size of a cigar box into a computer and the screen becomes a ham radio'.... It's all getting mixed together and it's wonderful."
But there are other hams who think that the amateur radio community needs to be much more actively courting change if it is to survive. Sterling Mann (N0SSC), himself a millennial at age 27, wrote on his blog that ''Millennials Are Killing Ham Radio."
Sterling Mann (N0SSC) is advocating that ham radio shift away from a focus on person-to-person contacts.Photo: Sterling Mann
It's a clickbait title, Mann admits: His blog post focuses on the challenge of balancing support for the dominant, graying ham population while pulling in younger people too. ''The target demographic of every single amateur radio show, podcast, club, media outlet, society, magazine, livestream, or otherwise, is not young people," he wrote. To capture the interest of young people, he urges that ham radio give up its century-long focus on person-to-person contacts in favor of activities where human to machine, or machine to machine, communication is the focus.
These differing interests are manifesting in something of an analog-to-digital technological divide. As Spectrum reported in July 2019, one of the key debates in ham radio is its main function in the future: Is it a social hobby? A utility to deliver data traffic? And who gets to decide?
Those questions have no definitive or immediate answers, but they cut to the core of the future of ham radio. Loring Kutchins, president of the Amateur Radio Safety Foundation, Inc. (ARSFi)'--which funds and guides the ''global radio email" system Winlink'--says the divide between hobbyists and utilitarians seems to come down to age.
''Ham radio is really a social hobby...Here in Mississippi, you get to 5 or 6 o' clock and you have a big network going on and on'--some of them are half-drunk chattin' with you."
''Younger people who have come along tend to see amateur radio as a service, as it's defined by FCC rules, which outline the purpose of amateur radio'--especially as it relates to emergency operations," Kutchins (W3QA) told Spectrum last year.
Kutchins, 68, expanded on the theme in a recent interview: ''The people of my era will be gone'--the people who got into it when it was magic to tune into Radio Moscow. But Grandpa's ham radio set isn't that big a deal compared to today's technology. That doesn't have to be sad. That's normal."
Gramps' radios are certainly still around, however. ''Ham radio is really a social hobby, or it has been a very social hobby'--the rag-chewing has historically been the big part of it," says Martin F. Jue (K5FLU), founder of radio accessories maker MFJ Enterprises, in Starkville, Miss. ''Here in Mississippi, you get to 5 or 6 o' clock and you have a big network going on and on'--some of them are half-drunk chattin' with you. It's a social group, and they won't even talk to you unless you're in the group."
Martin F. Jue (K5FLU), founder of well-known radio accessories maker MFJ, is developing new products to accommodate the shift towards digital radio communications in the amateur bands.Photo: Richard Stubbs
''It'll all be digital at some point, right at the antenna all the way until it becomes audio."
But Jue, 76, notes the ham radio space has fragmented significantly beyond rag-chewing and DXing (making very long-distance contacts), and he credits the shift to digital. That's where MFJ has moved with its antenna-heavy catalog of products.
''Ham radio is connected to the Internet now, where with a simple inexpensive handheld walkie-talkie and through the repeater systems connected to the Internet, you're set to go," he says. ''You don't need a HF [high-frequency] radio with a huge antenna to talk to people anywhere in the world."
To that end, last year MFJ unveiled the RigPi Station Server: a control system made up of a Raspberry Pi paired with open-source software that allows operators to control radios remotely from their iPhones or Web browser.
''Some folks can't put up an antenna, but that doesn't matter anymore because they can use somebody else's radio through these RigPis," Jue says.
He's careful to note the RigPi concept isn't plug and play'--''you still need to know something about networking, how to open up a port"'--but he sees the space evolving along similar lines.
''It's all going more and more toward digital modes," Jue says. ''In terms of equipment I think it'll all be digital at some point, right at the antenna all the way until it becomes audio."
The Signal From Overseas China's advancing technology and growing middle class, with disposable income, has led to a ''dramatic" increase in operators.
Outside the United States, there are some notable bright spots, according to Dave Sumner (K1ZZ), secretary of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU). This collective of national amateur radio associations around the globe represents hams' interests to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a specialized United Nations agency that allocates and manages spectrum. In fact, in China, Indonesia, and Thailand, amateur radio is positively booming, Sumner says.
China's advancing technology and growing middle class, with disposable income, has led to a ''dramatic" increase in operators, Sumner says. Indonesia is subject to natural disasters as an island nation, spurring interest in emergency communication, and its president is a licensed operator. Trends in Thailand are less clear, Sumner says, but he believes here, too, that a desire to build community response teams is driving curiosity about ham radio.
''So," Sumner says, ''you have to be careful not to subscribe to the notion that it's all collapsing everywhere."
China is also changing the game in other ways, putting cheap radios on the market. A few years ago, an entry-level handheld UHF/VHF radio cost around US $100. Now, thanks to Chinese manufacturers like Baofeng, you can get one for under $25. HF radios are changing, too, with the rise of software-defined radio.
''It's the low-cost radios that have changed ham radio and the future thereof, and will continue to do so," says Jeff Crispino, CEO of Nooelec, a company in Wheatfield, N.Y., that makes test equipment and software-defined radios, where demodulating a signal is done in code, not hardwired electronics. ''SDR was originally primarily for military operations because they were the only ones who could afford it, but over the past 10 years, this stuff has trickled down to become $20 if you want." Activities like plane and boat tracking, and weather satellite communication, were ''unheard of with analog" but are made much easier with SDR equipment, Crispino says.
Nooelec often hears from customers about how they're leveraging the company's products. For example, about 120 members from the group Space Australia to collect data from the Milky Way as a community project. They are using an SDR and a low-noise amplifier from Nooelec with a homemade horn antenna to detect the radio signal from interstellar clouds of hydrogen gas.
''We will develop products from that feedback loop'--like for hydrogen line detection, we've developed accessories for that so you can tap into astronomical events with a $20 device and a $30 accessory," Crispino says.
Looking ahead, the Nooelec team has been talking about how to ''flatten the learning curve" and lower the bar to entry, so that the average user'--not only the technically adept'--can explore and develop their own novel projects within the world of ham radio.
''It is an increasingly fragmented space," Crispino says. ''But I don't think that has negative connotations. When you can pull in totally unique perspectives, you get unique applications. We certainly haven't thought of it all yet."
The ham universe is affected by the world around it'--by culture, by technology, by climate change, by the emergence of a new generation. And amateur radio enthusiasts are a varied and vibrant community of millions of operators, new and experienced and old and young, into robotics or chatting or contesting or emergency communications, excited or nervous or pessimistic or upbeat about what ham radio will look like decades from now.
As Michel, the former ARRL CEO, puts it: ''Every ham has [their] own perspective. What we've learned over the hundred-plus years is that there will always be these battles'--AM modulation versus single-sideband modulation, whatever it may be. The technology evolves. And the marketplace will follow where the interests lie."
About the AuthorJulianne Pepitone is a freelance technology, science, and business journalist and a frequent contributor to IEEE Spectrum. Her work has appeared in print, online, and on television outlets such as Popular Mechanics, CNN, and NBC News.
Opinion | Will you fall into the conspiracy theory rabbit hole? Take our quiz and find out. - Washington Post
Fri, 08 Oct 2021 19:50
Who believes in conspiracy theories? Statistically speaking: almost everyone.
A team of researchers recently showed several thousand Americans a list of 20 common conspiracy theories and asked if they believed them. These included false conspiracy theories about the John F. Kennedy assassination, 5G cellular wireless technology, Barack Obama's birth certificate, covid-19 and climate change. The result: Nine in 10 Americans believed in at least one conspiracy theory.
The study '-- led by Adam Enders of the University of Louisville and Joseph Uscinski of the University of Miami '-- surveyed a representative sample of 2,023 Americans in March 2020 and 2,015 more in October 2020. This article uses questions from their surveys to test your knowledge '-- and your credulity.
So, can you tell fact from fiction, or will you fall down the rabbit hole? Scroll down to find out.
1/6 Let's get started: Which of the statements below is true?
Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire accused of running an elite sex trafficking ring, was murdered to cover up the activities of his criminal network.
President John F. Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy rather than by a lone gunman.
The FBI kept tabs on civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., attempting to find compromising information and damage his reputation.
Regardless of who is officially in charge of the government and other organizations, there is a single group of people who secretly control events and rule the world together.
2/6 Partisanship plays a role in what people believe: Both Republicans and Democrats are prone to believe conspiracy theories that make the other party look bad. Can you pick the true statement '-- or will you be blinded by party loyalty?
Republicans cheated their way to win the 2000, 2004 and 2016 presidential elections.
Hillary Clinton conspired to provide Russia with nuclear materials.
During Ronald Reagan's presidency, government officials secretly and illegally sold weapons to Iran, and used the money to fund Nicaraguan revolutionaries.
Barack Obama faked his citizenship to become president.
Real-world events sometimes follow this formula as well. Example: The Reagan administration acted secretly and illegally in the Iran-contra affair, and the FBI did spy on King. But the key difference is that these real incidents are backed up by evidence, facts and witnesses.
Conspiracy theories are different. They're just theories. Most have no evidence to support them. They often connect unrelated facts to create an impression of plausibility.
Yet almost everyone believes at least one. According to Enders, ''One thing I notice a lot in talking to colleagues, journalists and students '-- people don't realize that a lot of people just believe weird stuff. A lot of this commotion about conspiracy theories, especially in the last four or five years, is fueled by this complete misunderstanding of the basic contours of public opinion.''
3/6 Conspiracy theorists commonly seize on subjects that most people have little expertise in, such as health and science, and therefore cannot easily be debunked. Half of Americans believe one of the claims in the list below, but only one is backed by evidence. Which of these is true?
The dangers of genetically modified foods are being hidden from the public.
The U.S. government secretly dosed Americans with LSD in an attempt to develop mind control technology.
The AIDS virus was created and spread around the world on purpose by a secret organization.
The coronavirus was purposely created and released by powerful people as part of a conspiracy.
4/6 Some conspiracy theories are like astrology '-- entertaining nonsense that ultimately doesn't hurt anyone. But some are bizarre, sinister or downright offensive. Which of these statements, if any, is correct?
School shootings, such as those in Newtown, Conn., and Parkland, Fla., are ''false flag'' attacks perpetrated by the government.
The number of Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II has been exaggerated on purpose.
Satanic sex traffickers control the government.
None of the above
Some of these theories are transparently absurd: The Holocaust was not exaggerated, mass shootings were not faked, and Satan worshippers don't control the government.
But the least believable conspiracy theories can have the biggest consequences. Holocaust deniers and believers in ''false flag'' theories often support political violence and exhibit sociopathic personality traits. Many of the rioters involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol showed some allegiance to QAnon '-- a belief system built on conspiracy theories about Satanists.
Most Americans aren't drawn to these dark ideas '-- instead, they more casually rely on false theories to explain tragedies including terrorist attacks or presidential deaths; or they enjoy nasty rumors about their political opponents. The belief in one false theory does not necessarily mean the belief in an alternate reality. But it sometimes can.
As Enders told us: "The political and psychological and social motivations that fuel beliefs in conspiracy theories are shared among all people.''
5/6 Let's try another one: Which of the three statements below is true?
The U.S. government knew hundreds of Black men in Alabama had syphilis, but told them they had ''bad blood'' and withheld treatment as part of a medical experiment.
President Donald Trump faked having covid-19 in order to help his chances at reelection.
Donald Trump colluded with Russians to steal the presidency in 2016.
6/6 Conspiracy theories often help powerful people '-- sometimes by putting other powerful people in the crosshairs, or by playing on prejudices. Which of these statements is correct?
A powerful family, the Rothschilds, through their wealth, controls governments, wars and many countries' economies.
There is a ''deep state'' embedded in the government that operates in secret and without oversight.
Fossil fuel companies like Exxon knew about climate change for decades, but spread misinformation about the issue to deflect blame and influence environmental policies.
Even reasonable people fall for conspiracy theories. During George W. Bush's presidency, half of Democrats said Bush let the 9/11 attacks happen so he could start wars. Two-thirds of Republicans believe the ''big lie'' '-- that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.
These theories have consequences. Since the 2020 election, Republicans have pursued election ''audits'' '-- recounts aimed at casting doubt on Joe Biden's win. Other conspiracy theories, such as anti-vaccine narratives, threaten public health.
Eventually, you'll run into a conspiracy theory that appeals to you politically or psychologically. So be careful and double-check your sources '-- or you could fall down the rabbit hole, too.
Google, YouTube to prohibit ads and monetization on climate denial content - Axios
Fri, 08 Oct 2021 00:26
Google and YouTube on Thursday announced a new policy that prohibits climate deniers from being able to monetize their content on its platforms via ads or creator payments.
Why it matters: It's one of the most aggressive measures any major tech platform has taken to combat climate change misinformation.
Details: Google advertisers and publishers, as well as YouTube creators, will be prohibited from making ad revenue off content that contradicts "well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change," the company's ads team said in a statement.
"This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change."Ads and monetization will still be allowed to run alongside other climate-related topics, like public debates on climate policy, impacts of climate change, and new research around the issue.Google said it's making these changes in response to frustration from advertisers and content creators about their messages appearing alongside climate denialism.
"Advertisers simply don't want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don't want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos," the company said. Yes, but: Google often makes changes to its ads policies to reduce misinformation, but this update is notable, given how hard it can be to characterize certain commentary about climate change as denialism or misinformation.
The tech giant says that when evaluating content against the new policy, "we'll look carefully at the context in which claims are made, differentiating between content that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim."The company says it has consulted with experts, like representatives of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Reports, to create the policy. The report found that there is "unequivocal" evidence showing that human emissions of greenhouse gases are causing global warming."Google says it will use a combination of automated tools and human review to enforce the new policy. The big picture: Internet companies have been under increased pressure from climate activists to do more to address climate change denial on their platforms.
Google on Wednesday unveiled a suite of new tools that give consumers more information so they can choose to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.In February, Facebook expanded an online portal meant to counter misinformation about climate change.Why it matters: Social media platforms have immense reach, and they've come under fire from activists and some lawmakers globally for doing too little to thwart the spread of inaccurate content.
What to watch: Google will begin enforcing the new policy next month.
Eurosurveillance | Nosocomial outbreak caused by the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant in a highly vaccinated population, Israel, July 2021
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 13:02
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Pnina Shitrit1,2,*, Neta S Zuckerman3,*, Orna Mor3,4, Bat-Sheva Gottesman2,5, Michal Chowers2,5 View Affiliations Hide Affiliations
Affiliations: 1Infection Control Unit, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel 2Sackler Medical School, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv Israel 3Central Virology Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer, Israel 4Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Israel 5Infectious Disease Unit, Meir Medical Center, Kfar Saba, Israel * These authors contributed equally to the article and share first authorship.
Correspondence: Michal Chowers chowersm post.tau.ac.il
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Abstract Full-Text Figures & Tables References (14) Supplementary Material Metrics/Cited By Related Content AbstractA nosocomial outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant infected 42 patients, staff and family members; 39 were fully vaccinated. The attack rate was 10.6% (16/151) among exposed staff and reached 23.7% (23/97) among exposed patients in a highly vaccinated population, 16''26 weeks after vaccination (median: 25 weeks). All cases were linked and traced to one patient. Several transmissions occurred between individuals wearing face masks. Fourteen of 23 patients became severely sick or died, raising a question about possible waning immunity.
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Facebook responds to whistleblower testimony by asking to be regulated | The Week
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 13:01
Embattled tech giant Facebook has issued a response following former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen's damning testimony before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday. Previously, Haugen leaked internal documents to both Congress and The Wall Street Journal, which then became the basis for the Facebook Files investigation published by the latter.
Haugen worked at the company "for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives '-- and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question," wrote Facebook's director of policy communications in a statement following the hearing.
And although the company does not agree with her "characterization of the many issues she testified about," Facebook agrees with Haugen on one thing '-- it's time for Congress "to begin to create standard rules for the internet."
The brief statement did, however, receive some criticism for its attempt to discredit Haugen, with one person even calling the response "utterly misguided."
Talk about a rough couple of days.
WHO recommends broad rollout of world's first malaria vaccine
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:22
T he World Health Organization, acting on the advice of its scientific advisers, announced Wednesday that it would recommend a broad rollout of a much-needed malaria vaccine, saying pilot testing had shown that it was safe and could be effectively deployed in remote and rural settings.
The decision, which was announced by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, marks a landmark moment in the fight against malaria, for which no other vaccines exist. The disease killed roughly 400,000 people in 2019 '-- the most recent year for which statistics are available '-- mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The biggest toll is on young children; an estimated 279,000 children under the age of 5 died from malaria in 2019.
''As some of you may know, I started my career as a malaria researcher, and I longed for the day that we would have an effective vaccine against this ancient and terrible disease,'' Tedros said during a news conference from Geneva. ''Today is that day, an historic day.''
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He said he believed the vaccine '-- the first for a human parasite '-- would save tens of thousands of lives.
The vaccine, known as RTS,S and developed by GSK, is given in four doses. The complexity of delivering a four-dose regimen in low-resource settings had raised concerns about how useful the vaccine could be in the real world. For that reason, the WHO's vaccine advisers previously recommended the vaccine be used first in a pilot program. That program began in 2019, with Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi deploying the vaccine.
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All three countries gave the first three shots of the vaccine at monthly intervals starting at either 5 or 6 months of age, with the last given 18 months or so after the first '-- around a child's second birthday. While the initial doses are given at the time other vaccines are administered, the last is not. It was feared that in remote and rural settings, parents might not bring their children back in for a final dose of the vaccine, limiting the vaccine's usefulness.
Another fear was that parents might assume the vaccine, which only offers partial protection, was more potent than it actually is and as a result, might let down their guard on other malaria prevention measures such as having children sleep under a treated bed net.
Tedros said the pilot program confirmed that the vaccine can be effectively delivered through child health clinics and that community demand for the vaccine is strong. More than 800,000 children have already received the vaccine.
Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO regional director for Africa, said the vaccine ''offers a glimmer of hope for the continent.''
The pilot programs also laid to rest some safety concerns about the vaccine that had arisen during the clinical trials for RTS,S, said Kate O'Brien, director of WHO's department of immunization, vaccines, and biologicals.
Those studies raised questions about whether increased rates of meningitis, cerebral malaria, and an overall increase in deaths among girls were seen in children who had received the vaccines. The trials did not conclude that these concerns were real '-- the trial investigators felt the signals were due to chance, not causation. But having given the vaccine to more than 800,000 children, it is now clear there is no link, O'Brien said.
It will be up to member countries to carry out implementation of the rollout. And funding will need to be raised to help them do so, said Pedro Alonso, head of WHO's global malaria program.
While the vaccine does not offer full protection against malaria '-- and indeed is not as effective as vaccines against many childhood diseases such as measles or rubella '-- even partial protection can have a big impact on the burden of malaria. WHO experts noted that children who live in countries where the parasite circulates can contract it multiple times a year.
Being repeatedly sick stunts children's development, said Alejandro Cravioto, chairman of WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization. The SAGE, as it is known, was one of the expert groups advising the WHO on the RTS,S decision.
Clinical trials of RTS,S suggested where used, the vaccine reduces the risk of contracting malaria by 40% and the risk of being admitted to hospital for severe malaria '-- a development that carries a high risk of death '-- by 30%. The pilot program confirmed that effectiveness in the field, said Pedro Alonso, director of WHO's Global Malaria Program.
Dyann Wirth, who chairs WHO's Malaria Policy Advisory Group said the world needs more and better malaria vaccines. But Wirth, an immunologist at Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said the decision to proceed with broad use of RTS,S could help spur development of next-generation vaccines.
Development of the vaccine took 30 years of work involving GSK and a network of African research centers with support from the Seattle-based nongovernmental global health agency PATH, as well as funding for late-stage development of the vaccine from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
''It has been a long road, and is extremely exciting to finally be able to say that RTS,S could soon be available '' alongside other malaria interventions '' to more children across Africa,'' Ashley Birkett, head of malaria vaccine development for PATH, told STAT via email.
COVID-19: New drug combo may combat coronavirus infection
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:21
Share on Pinterest Researchers have been testing several drug combinations to fight off SARS-Cov-2 infection. Daniel Grizelj/Getty ImagesThere is an urgent need for effective and readily available antiviral therapies to treat COVID-19.A new study has found that a drug combination involving the antivirals interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and nafamostat effectively combatted SARS-CoV-2 infection.The drug combination inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in cell culture and animal studies at lower concentrations than the individual drugs.The higher efficacy of the IFN-α-nafamostat combination at lower concentrations may help reduce side effects and improve patient outcomes.The drug combination produces its antiviral effect by inhibiting a host enzyme instead of a viral protein, potentially reducing the risk of drug resistance.Although high-income nations have achieved high vaccination rates, the unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has left low-income countries struggling to immunize their populations. This disparity in access to vaccines is highlighted by the fact that only 2.3% of individuals in low-income countries have received at least a single dose of the vaccine.
Until vaccines become available to the rest of the global population, effective antiviral treatments against COVID-19 could help reduce fatalities and even hospitalizations. Furthermore, antiviral treatments could play a pivotal role in the pandemic, especially in the event of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants resistant to vaccines.
Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
Although the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) has approved some antiviral treatments, these treatments have several shortcomings. These limitations include the need for intravenous administration, limited availability, high costs, and therapeutic effects confined to a narrow time window.
A recent study published in the journalViruses shows that a combination of two antiviral drugs, interferon-alpha (IFN-α) and nafamostat, was effective in combating SARS-CoV-2 infection.
''Here, we demonstrated that combinations of IFN-α with nafamostat appear to be effective for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture and small animals. Moreover, the combinational therapies required lower drug concentrations than monotherapies, reducing side effects,'' said the study's lead author Dr. Denis Kainov, a professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
''Therefore, development of IFN-based combinations may lead to practical therapeutic options, especially for newly diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 positive [people] who have yet to develop severe disease.''
In contrast to the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines, antiviral treatments tested against COVID-19 have shown limited success so far.
Currently available treatments, such as remdesivir and monoclonal antibodies, are effective only during the early stages of COVID-19. Furthermore, there is mixed evidence about the effectiveness of remdesivir, whereas monoclonal antibodies have shown limited efficacy against new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
The limited success of single-drug therapies, also known as monotherapies, in treating people with COVID-19 has led researchers to use a combination of these drugs.
Combination therapies have been deployed against various infectious diseases due to their similar or better efficacy against the infectious agent at lower doses than the individual drugs. In other words, using two or more drugs can produce a synergistic effect, where the effect of the drug combination is greater than the sum of the effect produced by the individual drugs.
The use of lower drug doses in combination therapies can result in milder and fewer side effects. In addition, combination therapies can also reduce the risk of the emergence of drug-resistant variants.
Previous human studies had suggested that IFN-α alone and nafamostat in combination with another antiviral could be effective in treating COVID-19.
Consequently, the researchers investigated the antiviral effects of the IFN-α-nafamostat combination against SARS-CoV-2.
Interferons, including IFN-α, belong to a class of signaling molecules called cytokines that immune cells release during a viral infection.
During a SARS-CoV-2 infection, IFN-α helps recruit immune cells to the lungs and activate them, contributing to the antiviral response. IFN-α also stimulates the secretion of other cytokines that amplify the immune response, thus limiting SARS-CoV-2 replication.
In the present study, the researchers used pegylated IFN-α, a chemically modified form of IFN-α that lasts longer in the body than the unmodified form. Pegylated IFN-α, sold under the brand name Pegasys, is used in combination with other antivirals to treat hepatitis B and C.
On the other hand, nafamostat is a drug used for the treatment of acute pancreatitis and as an anticoagulant to prevent blood clots.
''Of all drugs with potency data from laboratory studies using human cell lines against SARS-CoV-2, nafamostat appears to be the most potent and may be the only drug where blood concentrations almost always exceed levels required to stop the virus from replicating. It is also likely that nafamostat will reach high levels in the lungs where the SARS-CoV-2 virus causes so many of its problems. Nafamostat also has a favorable safety profile,'' explained Dr. Kainov.
Dr. Kainov continued, ''The anti-blood-clotting properties of nafamostat may be a further potential advantage of this drug as micro clots in the vascular system can be complications of COVID-19. Nafamostat has been clinically studied in small case series of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, and there are few planned randomized controlled trials.''
The researchers first compared the efficacy of the Pegasys-nafamostat combination with the drugs as monotherapies in laboratory cultures of human lung cells. They measured the ability of the drug combination and the individual drugs to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 replication and prevent the death of the cultured human lung cells due to the infection.
The Pegasys-nafamostat combination had comparable efficacy against the virus at low concentrations as the individual drugs at much higher concentrations.
The researchers then tested the combination in hamsters inoculated with SARS-CoV-2. Three days of treatment with the combination resulted in significantly lower viral RNA levels in the lungs than untreated hamsters in the control group.
The Pegasys-nafamostat combination had an additive effect on viral RNA levels. In other words, this effect of the combination treatment on viral mRNA levels was approximately close to the sum of the effect expected with the two individual drugs.
Combination therapy with Pegasys and nafamostat also resulted in increased expression of genes encoding cytokines involved in the antiviral response.
The researchers also investigated the potential mechanism for the synergistic effects of the Pegasys-nafamostat combination. Their previous research had shown that IFN-α increases the expression of the Serpin E1 gene in human cells.
Furthermore, other studies have shown that both nafamostat and Serpin E1 inhibit the expression of the enzyme transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2), which plays a critical role in viral replication.
Hence, the researchers investigated whether the inhibition of TMPRSS2 mediated the synergistic actions of the Pegasys-nafamostat combination.
Similar to the previous experiment, the researchers treated SARS-CoV-2-inoculated hamsters with a combination of Pegasys, nafamostat, and a Serpin E1 inhibitor for 3 days. The inclusion of the Serpin E1 inhibitor eliminated the impact of Pegasys, inhibiting viral RNA levels in the lungs to a similar extent as nafamostat alone.
These results indicate that the activation of Serpin E1 plays a central role in mediating the antiviral effects of Pegasys. Moreover, these results suggest that the inhibition of TMPRSS2 possibly mediated the synergistic effects of Pegasys and nafamostat.
Identifying TMPRSS2 inhibition as the potential mechanism for synergistic effects of the Pegasys-nafamostat combination could lead to the development of other drug combinations that target this enzyme.
Significantly, SARS-CoV-2 and certain influenza viruses rely on TMPRSS2 for entry into human cells. Since the antiviral effects of the Pegasys-nafamostat combination are due to the inhibition of a host or human protein, it might reduce the likelihood of the emergence of drug-resistant variants.
This is unlike the action of other antiviral drugs that target viral proteins. Antiviral drugs that target viral proteins are more likely to result in drug resistance due to mutations in the viral protein.
Dr. Jordan Feld, a clinical scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, told Medical News Today:
''The concept is certainly attractive in that this approach would likely be effective irrespective of the viral sequence, which is quite relevant with the continuing emergence of new variants of concern. That being said, it would be helpful to confirm the mechanism somewhat more convincingly and to understand how specific the mechanism is.''
''Usually, resistance is not an issue with interferons because of the multi-pronged attack that interferon drives. However, if the antiviral effect, in this case, is very specific to TMPRSS2 activity, it is possible that resistance could emerge. Given that both drugs can be given to people, it would certainly be reasonable to consider a pilot trial of this combination,'' Dr. Feld continued.
Dr. Kainov indicated that they intend to conduct clinical trials involving the drug combination in the future.
For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.
COVID-19 rapid test kits recalled over false positives - Axios
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 10:55
Sign up for our daily briefingMake your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.Catch up on the day's biggest business storiesSubscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day's business news and trends and why they matterStay on top of the latest market trendsSubscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.Sports news worthy of your timeBinge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.Tech news worthy of your timeGet our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.Get the inside storiesGet an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everydayCatch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everydayWant a daily digest of the top Denver news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios DenverWant a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des MoinesWant a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin CitiesWant a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa BayWant a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios CharlotteWant a daily digest of the top Nashville news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.Sign up for Axios NW ArkansasStay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reportersEllume at-home tests being made. Photo: Patrick Hamilton/AFP
Ellume, an Australian company that makes at-home COVID-19 tests, is voluntarily recalling test kits sent to retailers and the Department of Defense due to concerns over false positives, the company announced in a statement.
Why it matters: In September, manufacturers warned that the U.S. was weeks away from the production levels needed for President Biden's plan of mass-scale rapid COVID-19 testing.
The U.S. has been far more cautious than other countries about rapid, at-home testing, AP notes.By the numbers: About 427,000 test kits have been impacted, according to ABC News.
195,000 of those kits were unused and eligible for a recall. The remaining kits led to 42,000 positive results and as many as a quarter of the results may have been false positives, Ellume CEO Dr. Sean Parsons said, per the New York Times. What they're saying: "We recognize that this incident may have shaken the confidence of some of those who trusted Ellume to help them manage their health and to take back a bit of control of their lives during this pandemic." Parsons said in a statement.
"We have learned from this experience, we have implemented additional controls to ensure our product meets our high quality standards and we are going to do everything in our power to regain your trust," Parsons added.
Governors Unveil Plan To End Biden's Border Crisis: 'We're Not Going To Sit Around While Biden Refuses To Act' | The Daily Wire
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 10:53
Ten Republican governors gathered in Mission, Texas, on Wednesday where they unveiled a 10-point plan to end Democrat President Joe Biden's border crisis.
The event comes as the administration has faced catastrophic levels of illegal immigration on the U.S. southern border. Many directly blame Biden for the crisis, saying that his policies and messaging has created enormous incentive for migrants to illegally enter the U.S.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott was joined at the press conference by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Idaho Governor Brad Little, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.
The governors released the following 10-point plan to end Biden's border crisis:
Continue Title 42 public health restrictions: The Biden Administration should continue to invoke Title 42 to refuse entry to individuals coming into the country due to the COVID-19 public health risk, which was initially issued by the previous administration. Title 42 currently expels approximately 44% of apprehensions. In July, more than 18% of migrant families and 20% of unaccompanied minors tested positive for COVID-19 upon being released from Border Patrol custody. Reports estimate that the Biden Administration has placed approximately 40,000 COVID-19 positive migrants into American cities.Fully reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols: The Biden Administration should comply with recent federal court rulings and fully reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) established by the prior administration, which require asylum seekers to return to Mexico to await their court hearing outside of the United States, serving as a deterrent to cross. Upon taking office, President Biden issued a directive to terminate the MPP, and although litigation may continue, the Biden Administration should halt any attempts to appeal and fully reinstate the policy.Finish securing the border: The Biden Administration should reopen construction contracts to continue building the border wall and invest in infrastructure and technology, such as lights, sensors, or access roads, to complete the border security system. Upon taking office, President Biden terminated the national emergency at the border, stopped all border construction, and redirected funds to build the wall.End catch and release: The Biden Administration should end the Obama-era policy of catching and releasing apprehended migrants into U.S. cities along the South Texas border, leaving illegal immigrants paroled and able to travel anywhere in the country. Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order reinstating catch and release policies that incentivize illegal immigration and make deportation laws difficult to enforce.Clear the judicial backlog: The Biden Administration should dedicate additional judges and resources to our U.S. immigration courts to end the growing backlog and expedite court appearances for illegal migrants. Reports indicate backlogged cases total more than 1 million, the most ever.Resume the deportation of all criminals: The Biden Administration should enforce all deportation laws of criminally convicted illegal aliens. Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order ordering the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to prioritize only the deportation of aggravated felons, gang members, or terrorists, leaving other criminals to remain in the United States.Dedicate federal resources to eradicate human trafficking and drug trafficking: Due to the rapid increase of cartel activity, the Biden Administration should dedicate additional resources to eradicate the surge in human trafficking and drug trafficking, arrest offenders, support victims, and get dangerous drugs'--like fentanyl and methamphetamine'--off our streets.Re-enter all agreements with our Northern Triangle partners and Mexico: President Biden should re-enter the prior administration's agreement with the Northern Triangle countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras) and Mexico. The countries agreed to enforce their respective borders, fix their asylum systems, and receive migrants seeking asylum before they journey north to the United States. Upon taking office, President Biden issued an Executive Order terminating the agreements.Send a clear message to potential migrants: President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Biden Administration officials at every level should state clearly and unequivocally that our country's borders are not open and that migrants seeking economic opportunity should not attempt to abuse or misuse the asylum process. Prior to and after taking office, President Biden blatantly encouraged illegal immigrants to come to the United States.Deploy more federal law enforcement officers: Due to overwhelming needs at the border, the Biden Administration should deploy more and provide greater resources to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Due to a lack of federal resources, Arizona and Texas have had to initiate an Emergency Management Assistance Compact to request law enforcement resources directly from states, receiving offers from eight states, to arrest and detain illegal trespassers.''The Biden Administration's open border policies have led to complete chaos at the southern border, and pose a threat to the safety of Texans and all Americans,'' said Governor Abbott. ''Texas has stepped up to keep our communities safe and mitigate this crisis ourselves, and our efforts have been made stronger by the support and assistance of governors from across the nation. I thank the state governors who are here with me today for their support and for visiting the border to see firsthand the ramifications of President Biden's disastrous policies. Together, we are sending a strong message to the Biden Administration that we will not tolerate their refusal to secure the border '-- and we will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our communities safe.''
''We're not going to sit around while Biden refuses to act,'' said Governor Ducey. ''We've tried to meet with the president and be part of the solution, but he refuses. No, worse '-- he ignores us, just like he's ignoring the border and the well-being of the American people. If the president won't meet with us, then we'll share our policy ideas today. Hopefully he will hear our solutions and begin to act.''
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Top Secret CIA Cable Admits "Dozens" Of Agents Abroad Are Being Captured, Killed | ZeroHedge
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 10:52
It was revealed this week in a bombshell New York Times report that the CIA has raised the alarm with all its overseas stations and officers that an unusually high number of US informants are being captured and executed abroad. There are "dozens" of such instances, according to an agency memo.
The report is an incredibly rare instance of the media getting hold of a fresh, very recent highly classified memo that's also sure to be embarrassing for the agency. "The message, in an unusual top-secret cable, said that the CIA's counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or most likely compromised," the NYT writes.
"Although brief, the cable laid out the specific number of agents executed by rival intelligence agencies '-- a closely held detail that counterintelligence officials typically do not share in such cables."
Image: AFP/Getty The cable warned its officers across the globe against put "mission over security" - which it strongly suggested was a key cause that's leading to poor tradecraft, putting agents at risk. "Agents" in this context means foreign and local assets recruited by the CIA to spy in their home countries, a dangerous endeavor which puts all the risk on the foreign person (and their family) who feeds sensitive information to their CIA handler.
The cable also cited the growing capabilities and awareness on the part of foreign and rival agencies of US intelligence's methods. According to the NY Times synopsis of what's in the top secret memo:
The cable highlighted the struggle the spy agency is having as it works to recruit spies around the world in difficult operating environments. In recent years, adversarial intelligence services in countries such as Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have been hunting down the CIA's sources and in some cases turning them into double agents.
Especially the growing biometric technology deployed by China is seen as a serious problem for maintaining local assets' cover.
The report continues by spelling out, "The large number of compromised informants in recent years also demonstrated the growing prowess of other countries in employing innovations like biometric scans, facial recognition, artificial intelligence and hacking tools to track the movements of CIA officers in order to discover their sources."
Pakistani intelligence very effective at hunting down CIA sources and flipping them into double agents, according to this must-read NYT reporting on a secret agency cable.https://t.co/X0zYIsVw7Z
'-- Rupert Stone (@RupertStone83) October 5, 2021Though this wasn't addressed in the cable, there's also the possibility of leaks and the question of double-agents gaining compromising material, further exposing other assets.
The NY Times report further quotes former CIA operatives who described a somewhat flawed internal system and bureaucracy that's set up to reward ambition but not recognize when officers prudently exercise restraint. Promotions are often handed out to operatives who recruit the most agents abroad.
One former CIA operative, Douglas London, told The Times, "No one at the end of the day is being held responsible when things go south with an agent." But of course in general it remains that few if anyone are ever held accountable for failures when it comes to Washington's massive national security state bureaucracy.
Farm to Fork: How the EU and the Davos Cabal Plan to Control Agriculture
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 10:42
Image Attribution: CC-BY-4.0: (C) European Union 2019 '' Source: EP". (creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) Image Original Attribution & Link: By European Parliament from EU - Hearing of Frans Timmermans (the Netherlands) - Executive Vice President-Designate - European Green Deal, CC BY 2.0, LINK By F. William Engdahl 29 September 2021 Whenever we hear the word ''sustainable'' we would be well-advised to take a critical look behind the nice sounding words. In the case of the globalist Agenda 2030 with its 17 sustainable goals by 2030, the one for creating a ''sustainable agriculture'', when looked at closely, will destroy a huge part of EU agriculture production and drive already rising global prices for food far higher. The EU Commission calls their Green Deal for food the cute title, ''Farm to Fork.'' It is being backed by Klaus Schwab's omnipresent World Economic Forum and their Great Reset.
Keep in mind that sustainable as defined by the UN and Davos World Economic Forum means achieving Zero Carbon emissions by 2050. Yet there is no scientific study independently proving that CO2 is endangering our planet by creating global warming. Only myriads of dubious, well-funded computer models. The harmless gas is essential to all human, animal and all plant life. Now the European Union Commission is pushing a top-down radical agenda on the agriculture heart of the world's second most important food producer as part of its ill-conceived EU Green Deal. If implemented as is likely, it will cause drastic reduction in crop outputs, a severe reduction in meat protein and, perhaps most dangerous, an overturning of current EU law regulating new gene-edited crops, or GMO.2. That will have global consequences.
Farm to Fork'...
In May 2020 the EU Commission released its Farm to Fork Strategy. The official Brussels rhetoric makes it sound like a food nirvana is coming. They state, ''The Farm to Fork Strategy is at the heart of the European Green Deal, aiming to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly.'' Wow, that sounds super.
They then get to the real agenda: ''We need to redesign our food systems which today account for nearly one-third of global GHG (Green House Gas) emissions, consume large amounts of natural resources, result in biodiversity loss and negative health impacts'...'' This is a clever way of demonizing farmers and our food production as CO2 violators. The solution? ''New technologies and scientific discoveries, combined with increasing public awareness and demand for sustainable food, will benefit all stakeholders.'' What new technologies will be explained.
How do the unelected bureaucrats in Brussels plan to ''redesign our food systems'' to eliminate one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050? By forcing farmers to go bankrupt by demanding new costly inputs to production and radical new genetic manipulated patented plants with unproven safety. Above all they plan to lift the current de facto ban on gene-edited plant cultivation. For those who do not know, it is the same unproven risky technology used in the COVID-19 vaccines of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA gene-edited vaccines using CRISPR.
EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski, says of the Farm to Fork Green Agenda, ''Farmers will need to radically transform their production methods and make the best use of technological, digital, and space-based solutions to usher in the new agricultural transition.'' So they plan a radical transformation. Already this sounds ominous.
To raise the share of pesticide-free organic farming to 25% of the EU total at the same time reducing chemical pesticide use by 30% by 2030 sounds great to the uninformed. Like the claims of Monsanto and the GMO industry that their GMO crops reduce need for pesticides, it is a lie. The EU is using this as bait to introduce a radical change in strict current EU rules for allowing approval of gene-edited plants and animals into agriculture. In their May 2020 document on Farm to Fork Green Deal, the EU states that the Commission is ''carrying out a study which will look at the potential of new genomic techniques to improve sustainability along the food supply chain.'' This means gene-editing, CRISPR/Cas9 genetic modification.
'New Genomic Techniques'
In April this year, the EU Commission released that study on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs). NGTs are producing gene-edited plants and even animals. The report claims that NGTs, ''techniques to alter the genome of an organism, have the potential to contribute to a more sustainable food system as part of the objectives of the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy.'' The report calls for a ''public debate'' to change the strict EU laws on approval of GMO crops that require extensive testing and labelling of GMO crops.
That law from 2001 has successfully restricted use of GMO across the EU in contrast with the USA where unregulated GMOs are dominant for key crops. In 2018 the European Court of Justice, the EU court, ruled that Gene-edited crops should be subject to the same stringent regulations as first-generation genetically modified (GMO) organisms. The key to the Davos and EU Farm to Fork Agenda is a radical reduction in pesticides to be replaced by gene-edited crops allegedly able to replace pesticides.
The EU Commission, in cahoots with Bayer-Monsanto and others of the GMO agribusiness lobby, are working hard to remove that court restriction. Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said of their April EU study, ''The study we publish today concludes that New Genomic Techniques can promote the sustainability of agricultural production, in line with the objectives of our Farm to Fork Strategy.'' New Genomic Techniques is the euphemism for gene-edited crops.
EU Vice President responsible for the Green Deal, Franz Timmermans, has openly admitted the lure of promising huge cuts in pesticides, implying it will come from abolishing restrictions on gene-editing. He told a recent EU Green Week conference that the EU aims to give farmers the tools to adopt precision agriculture and to leverage scientific discoveries to optimize seeds: ''That's how we limit our dependency on pesticides.'' Precision agriculture and scientific discoveries to optimize seeds is Brussels doublespeak for massive introduction of unregulated gene-editing. He continued, ''Going to ecological farming doesn't mean we all have to munch on grass and live in caves, we need to use the latest technology to get us there.'' That means gene-editing CRISPR.
Translated into plain English, the heart of Farm to Fork is the planned overturning of the 2018 ECJ court ruling that treats CRISPR gene-edited plants or animals under the same strict ''precautionary principle'' rules for GMO. With no restrictions, gene-editing companies like Bayer-Monsanto will be free to introduce experimental and unproven genetically altered plants and animals into our diet with no labelling.
Such a gene-edit-free regime already exists in the USA where the USDA and regulators allow CRISPR gene-edited soy oil, mushrooms that don't brown, wheat with more fiber, better-producing tomatoes, herbicide-tolerant canola and rice that doesn't absorb soil pollution as it grows. Gene-edited US projects on fish and animals include such dubious ones as cows that only have male calves, using CRISPR; Pigs that don't need castration; hornless dairy cows and growth-enhanced catfish using CRISPR to develop catfish with more muscle cells. It makes the mouth water'...
CRISPR Risks Huge, Rewards Not
The major lobbying push to remove EU regulations on gene-edited crops or animals is coming from Bayer-Monsanto and the other GMO agribusiness giants including Syngenta, BASF, and DowDupont's Corteva. In November 2020 Liam Condon, the President of Bayer-Monsanto crop science division told a Bayer Future of Farming conference, that Bayer is lobbying ''very strongly'' to change the EU's GMO regulations to exempt gene editing. Condon said, ''[We are] promoting very strongly that regulations should catch up with technology and allow this technology to be used, [not only] for the benefit of Europeans, but also for the benefit of others all over the world who look to Europe for regulations.'' Condon called gene editing and CRISPR technology an ''amazing breakthrough'' that would allow agriculture to be more sustainable. What he omitted was that deregulating gene-edited crops will allow Bayer-Monsanto and other major GMO companies to charge farmers for their patented ''sustainable'' seeds.
Gene-editing of plants or animals is not at all risk-free as claimed. The technology is not at all precise or controlled and often has unpredicted outcomes such as unintended genetic alteration, even the inadvertent addition of foreign DNA from other species, or even entire foreign genes, into the genome of gene-edited organisms.
This is still a new experimental technology. Its advocates such as Bayer-Monsanto claim that gene editing of plants is precise. Yet investigation finds that far from proven. Dr. Allison K Wilson of The Bioscience Resource Project, states, ''plant gene editing methods are also prone to introducing UTs (Unintended Traits or genetic damage)'...new evidence from both animals and plants indicates that gene editing itself can result in unintended mutations at or near the target site. These include the insertion of vector, bacterial, and other superfluous DNA, and the unintended introduction of large DNA deletions and rearrangements.''
These are not minor flaws that can be ignored. Wilson concludes, ''plant gene editing outcomes are imprecise and unpredictable, and that, depending on the combination of techniques used, gene editing can be highly mutagenic. While in theory it might someday be possible to create a GM crop that meets the broad requirements of sustainable agriculture, in practice this seems highly unlikely to ever happen.''
According to an analysis of the EU Farm to Fork strategy by Global Ag Media, ''the effect of these strategies will be an unprecedented reduction of EU production capacity and of its farmers' income. All sectors show declines in production of 5% to 15%, with the livestock sectors being the most heavily impacted'... Meanwhile, whatever the scenario, production prices show a net increase of around 10% with a negative impact for most farmers' incomes. '' The EU farmers' union, Copa-Cogeca warns the policy will result in an unprecedented reduction in agriculture capacity. But that's the real intent of ''sustainable agriculture.''
Davos and EU Farm to Fork
The radical EU Farm to Form Green agenda finds its echo in the Davos World Economic Forum which already in 2014 promoted what it called, ''Enabling Trade: From Farm to Fork.'' A January 2018 WEF report states, ''Gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR-Cas could provide a way to achieve multi-trait improvements, producing a step change in productivity while improving the drought resistance and nutritional content of food. '' This was done together with McKinsey & Co as part of the WEF Food Security and Agriculture Initiatives and their Great Reset. WEF Forum Partners include Bayer, Syngenta, BASF. According to the WEF website, ''The World Economic Forum at its Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2020 brought together leaders from industry and business with Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to explore how to catalyze the European Green Deal.'' Bayer's Liam Condon was also there as was the head of Syngenta and BASF.
If the EU agriculture sector is brought into the gene-edited GMO regime and its production radically reduced as a consequence, it will drive ever greater food shortages around the world. This is the Davos plan along with their COVID-19 eugenics Great Reset agenda. Calling it Farm to Fork makes it sound harmless. It clearly is not.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
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CIA admits its informants were executed by Iran and China after communications system was breached | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:41
The CIA has admitted that too many informants are being killed, captured or turned in a top secret memo to their spies across the world.
The unusual cable, sent to all CIA stations and bases, said the counterintelligence mission center had analyzed dozens of cases over the last several years.
The memo gave an exact number of informants killed, classified information not usually shared in such cables, according to the New York Times.
Former officials have also disclosed that China and Iran cracked the agency's classified communications system, or 'covcom', and executed informants in those networks while others had to be extracted and resettled.
The memo reprimands spies for poor tradecraft, being overly trusting of sources, underestimating foreign intelligence agencies and 'putting mission over security' by moving too fast and not paying enough attention to potential risks.
Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan have had success in hunting down informants in recent years - and in some cases turning them into double agents.
In Iran and China, some intelligence officials believe that Americans provided information to the adversarial agencies that could have helped expose informants.
The rival counterintelligence agencies are utilizing biometric scans, facial recognition, AI and hacking tools to track CIA officers to discover their sources.
The CIA admitted that their informants were executed by both Iran and China after a top secret memo revealed that too many are being captured and killed
It cited Iran, China, Pakistan and Russia as nations that have been going after American spies and turning them into double agents, if not killing them
The CIA has been pre-occupied over the last two decades with terrorist threats and Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
But old-fashioned intelligence collection is now once again central to the CIA's mission as tension grows with China and Russia.
Monica Elfriede Witt, an ex-Air Force sergeant who defected to Iran, was indicted on a charge of giving up information to Tehran in 2019. The Iranians leveraged her knowledge only once they determined that she could be trusted.
In 2019, former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee was sentenced to 19 years in prison for providing secrets to the Chinese government, which they then used to arrest and execute at least 20 of his fellow agents.
US officials suspect China shared the information Lee gave them to Russia, who used it to expose, arrest and kill American spies.
Those findings led the CIA to temporarily shut down human spying in China and reevaluate how it communicates with intelligence assets worldwide.
Lee was charged with possessing classified information but not as a spy because officials had a lack of proof and would not wanted to air any evidence they have in a public courtroom, according to NBC News.
In 2020, Iranian forces executed Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd, a man accused of reporting on the movements of that nation's forces in Syria on behalf of the United States and Israel.
He was also accused of spying on Revolutionary Guard commander Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian national hero who was killed in a drone strike by the US earlier in 2020.
Mousavi-Majd, a former translator, was found guilty by Iran of receiving money from both the CIA and Israeli intelligence's Mossad.
'No one at the end of the day is being held responsible when things go south with an agent,' said Douglas London, a former agency operative.
'Sometimes there are things beyond our control but there are also occasions of sloppiness and neglect and people in senior positions are never held responsible.'
Monica Elfriede Witt (pictured above), an ex-Air Force sergeant who defected to Iran, was indicted on a charge of giving up information to Tehran in 2019
In 2019, former CIA officer Jerry Chun Shing Lee (pictured above) was sentenced to 19 years in prison for providing secrets to the Chinese government, which they then used to arrest and execute at least 20 of his fellow agents
In 2020, Iranian forces executed Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd (pictured above), a man accused of reporting on the movements of that nation's forces in Syria on behalf of the United States and Israel
Returning to greater intelligence gathering is a high-level objective for the agency, especially as Congress turns it's focus away from the Middle East and closer to Russia and China
Returning to greater intelligence gathering is a high-level objective for the agency, especially as Congress turns it's focus away from the Middle East and closer to Russia and China.
The agency will also look to learn more about the Pakistan's ties to the Taliban now that the American-back government in Afghanistan has collapsed.
Officials said the messages are a way of pushing intelligence officers to become more serious about counterintelligence.
A CIA spokeswoman declined to comment on the memo.
Full article: Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:33
1. IntroductionIn March 2020 countries around the world, including the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., deployed various forms of lockdown that dragged on for over a year in many jurisdictions and show signs of returning in the fall of 2021 under the threat of new Covid-19 variants. This response to the pandemic has dominated not only the daily lives of ordinary people, but also the economic reality within which most businesses have been forced to operate. Lockdowns and the reactions to them, have had consequences for consumer demands, supply chains, profitability, and the redistribution of wealth. The average citizen and business person has had to trust that such a blunt and destructive policy tool was justified in the face of a novel viral pandemic.
The public and business trust has been necessary because most people have limited or no access to the immense research response to the Covid-19 pandemic '-- with estimates of over 40,000 related papers produced in one year. Even with access, most people lack the time or training to decipher the complex and often conflicting reports. Thus, although the research covers every imaginable aspect of Covid-19, and despite the explosion of knowledge regarding the virus, the human reactions to it, and the consequences of these reactions, the average person and corporate executive remains unaware of most of it.
The public and business trust has also been reinforced by the one-sided, incomplete, and almost unchanging ubiquitous media, public health, and political response to the pandemic. With respect to lockdown policies, many political jurisdictions have repeated the same spring 2020 programs in 2021, ignoring what has been learned in the meantime. Often public announcements were made that were inconsistent with basic Covid-19 facts that were easy to find, if you knew where to look. Furthermore, when research results contrary to the official government response were shared on social media, they were often pulled from these platforms, making access to the full research picture generally unavailable to an average citizen. As a result, for most citizens and business people the public media and official public health news conferences have been the only source of Covid-19 information.
At the same time, over the course of the pandemic, general information about the virus, transmissions, deaths, and lockdowns across different jurisdictions has become available on various platforms. On the surface, it appears that lockdowns are not necessary for viral waves of deaths and cases to end. Nor does it appear that there was ever any widespread over-utilization of hospitals, especially in locations with little or no lockdown. Furthermore, casual observation shows that jurisdictions with lockdowns often did not avoid large waves of cases and deaths. In many ways, the virus seemed to progress independently of lockdown policy. Thus, on the one hand citizens and business people have been asked, in a blind trust, to go along with drastic and unprecedented lockdowns; while on the other hand, becoming aware of apparent inconsistencies. How is a reasonable person to think about all of this?
This review of a segment of the Covid-19 literature is intended to give some broader access to the academic research and issues around the common response of lockdown, and to help provide an understanding of these issues to both access government lockdown policy and understand the general information they are receiving. The focus is to critically assess the cost/benefit studies that have been written over the past sixteen months on lockdown policies related to the Covid-19 pandemic. The review covers over 100 different academic studies, along with related Covid-19 data sites. I have sought out studies that (i) dealt with matters of 'lockdown' either directly or indirectly, and (ii) were related directly or indirectly to issues relevant to the costs or benefits of lockdown.
The term 'lockdown' is used to generically refer to state actions that imposed various forms of non-pharmaceutical interventions. That is, it is used to include mandatory state-enforced closing of non-essential business, education, recreation, and spiritual facilities; mask and social distancing orders; stay-in-place orders; and restrictions on private social gatherings.
'Lockdown' does not refer to cases of 'isolation,' where a country was able to engage in an early and sufficient border closure that prevented trans-border transmission, followed by a mandated lockdown that eliminated the virus in the domestic population, which was then followed by perpetual isolation until the population is fully vaccinated. This strategy was adopted by a number of island countries like New Zealand.1 Here I will only consider lockdown as it took place in most of the world; that is, within a country where the virus became established.
The report begins with an examination of four critical assumptions often made within the context of estimating benefits and costs. Understanding these assumptions explains why early studies claimed that the benefits of lockdown were so high, and also explains why the predictions of those studies turned out to be false. Then I examine the major cost/benefit studies in roughly chronological order, and focus on the critical factor in these studies: distinguishing between mandated and voluntary changes in behavior. Preliminary work on the costs of lockdown is reviewed, and finally a simple cost/benefit methodology is used to generate several cost/benefit ratios of lockdown for my home country of Canada. In no scenario does lockdown pass a cost/benefit test; indeed, the most reasonable estimates suggest that lockdown is a great policy disaster.
2. Cost benefit studiesWhen it comes to the question of choosing any type of public policy, the Nobel prize winner Ronald Coase put it best:
It would clearly be desirable if the only actions performed were those in which what was gained was worth more than what was lost. But in choosing between social arrangements within the context of which individual decisions are made, we have to bear in mind that a change in the existing system which will lead to an improvement in some decisions may well lead to a worsening of others. In devising and choosing between social arrangements we should have regard for the total effect.
[Coase p. 44, 1960 ]
Coase was making two points. The first should be obvious: policy decisions should be made based on both costs and benefits. To focus on one side of the issue and consider only costs or only benefits necessarily leads to a mistaken policy. The second point is more subtle: an attempt to achieve a particular benefit through one mechanism might lead to an exacerbation of the costs. There are multiple methods to achieve a goal, but the cost consequences might be different for each method. At the end of the day, choosing the optimal policy requires a 'regard for the total effect.'2
Over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been no public evidence that governments around the world have considered both the benefit and cost sides of their policy decisions. To my knowledge, no government has provided any formal cost/benefit analysis of their actions. Indeed, the steady press conferences and news releases almost entirely focus on one single feature of the disease. Although the focus of government announcements has changed over the year, from 'flattening the curve', number of Covid-19 deaths, number of Covid19 cases, hospital capacity, and variant transmissions (especially the delta variant), there has seldom been any official mention of the costs of the actions taken to address these concerns.
Economists and other social scientists have been attracted to the policy issues regarding Covid-19. Economists in particular, given their training in modeling human behavior and testing those models with real world data, have written hundreds of papers that deal with both the costs and the benefits of lockdown.
Here, aside from going through some of the theoretical issues, I provide a summary of the major findings.
2.1. Issues in determining lockdown benefitsMost of the 'action' in the early cost/benefit studies came from the benefit side. That is, many early studies reported enormous benefits to lockdown, and little attention was given to the particulars of lockdown costs. The claims of extremely high benefits, however, were almost entirely theoretical and sensitive to model assumptions. It is important to understand these theoretical issues and how they manifested in determining Covid-19 lockdown benefits.3
2.1.1. The counterfactual number of cases/deathsThe argument for lockdown benefits is intuitive. If a new virus enters an unknowing population with no immunity and spreads exponentially, causing an overwhelming of hospitals and subsequent large numbers of deaths, then a physical, government mandated, intervention that isolates people and slows down the transmission of the virus can reduce the spike of infections, allow hospitals to cope given their capacity constraints, postpone deaths, and possibly reduce deaths until a vaccine can be created. Lockdown is a formal, state-mandated 'one size fits all' version of the social norm 'keep your distance from people who are sick.'4
If lockdown reduces the transmission of the virus, the natural question to ask is 'by how much?' In other words, 'but for the lockdown' what would the level of infection/transmission/deaths be? What is the counterfactual to lockdowns?
Within the field of epidemiology it is common to model disease through what is called a SIR model.5 Although these models can vary in many ways, they all model virus progression through a population in a mechanical fashion. One key parameter is the basic reproduction number, Rt which indicates the expected number of secondary infections in a vulnerable population generated by a single given infection. Cases of the virus explode exponentially when the Rt > 1, and then collapse as herd immunity is reached and the virus recedes to an endemic state (Rt '‰ 1). Lockdowns are often interpreted as a means of effectively altering the reproduction number.
Early in the pandemic the Neil Ferguson et al. ( 2020 ) model appeared to drive many lockdown decisions and was widely covered in the media. Figure 1 reproduces a key figure of that paper (Table 2, p. 8), and shows the results of various types of lockdown on occupied ICU beds. The symmetry, smoothness, and orderly appearance of the functions is a result of the mechanical nature of the model. This type of figure is found, in one form or another, in most papers based on a SIR model.
Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the LiteraturePublished online:29 September 2021
Figure 1. ICU predictions in ICL model.
Figure 1. ICU predictions in ICL model.
In Figure 1 the black 'do nothing' line is the counterfactual, while the other lines are various types of lockdowns. The harsher the lockdown, the 'flatter' the case load, with the blue line being the strongest lockdown. The difference between the black line and another line is the benefit of that particular lockdown in terms of cases delayed. Clearly the exponential growth of the 'do nothing' counterfactual leads to enormous differences, and makes lockdown look better.
The ICL model made dire predictions that saturated media coverage in the first wave of the pandemic. Table 1 shows some death predictions for four countries. Column (i) contains Ferguson et al.'s predictions for an unmitigated, no lockdown pandemic. In the U.S., close to 2.2 million people were predicted to die by the end of July 30, 2020. Column (ii) is the Ferguson et al. prediction with full lockdown, based on a reproduction number of 2.4.6 Column (iii) is the actual cumulative deaths as of July 30, 2020. The U.K., U.S., and Canada all had lockdowns in the spring of 2020, and so the appropriate comparison is between columns (ii) and (iii). Column (iv) takes the ratio of these two columns and shows that the Ferguson et al. model was spectacularly wrong; off by factors of 5.88 to 14.71. Sweden had minimal restrictions, and so depending if actual deaths are compared to column (i) or (ii), the error ratio is either 11.56 or 5.30; either way, the model missed for Sweden as well.
Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the LiteraturePublished online:29 September 2021
Table 1. Predicted and actual deaths.
Given the prediction that lockdowns would lower deaths by one-half, the authors made a dramatic recommendation: 'We therefore conclude that epidemic suppression is the only viable strategy at the current time. The social and economic effects of the measures which are needed to achieve this policy goal will be profound.' (Ferguson et al. 2020 , p. 16). In retrospect it is remarkable that such a conclusion was drawn. The authors recognized that the 'social and economic effects' would be 'profound,' and that the predictions were based on the 'unlikely' behavioral assumption that there would be no change to individual reactions to the virus. However, given the large counterfactual numbers, presumably they felt no lockdown cost could justify remaining open.
Problems with the ICL model were pointed out immediately: i) the reproduction number (Rt) of 2.4 was too high; ii) the assumed infection fatality rate (IFR) of 0.9% was too high and not age dependent; iii) hospital capacity was assumed fixed and unchangeable; and iv) individuals in the model were assumed to not change behavior in the face of a new virus.7 All of these assumptions have the effect of over-estimating the counterfactual number of cases, transmissions, and deaths.8
2.1.2. The exogenous behavior assumptionA major reason for the failure of SIR models to predict actual cases and deaths is because they assume no individual in the model ever changes behavior.9 The implication of ignoring individual responses to a viral threat are dramatic. Atkeson ( 2021 ) used a standard SIR model (with exogenous behavior) that included seasonal effects and the introduction of a more contagious variant in December 2020 to forecast daily U.S. deaths out to July 2023. The results of this standard model were typical: the model made apocalyptic predictions on deaths that were off by a factor of twelve by the summer of 2020. However, he then used the same model with a simple behavioral adjustment that allowed individuals to change behavior in light of the value of Rt. The new forecast of daily deaths based on this single addition completely changed the model's predictive power. The model now tracked the actual progression of the daily deaths very closely. In correspondence with Atkeson he provided his explanation for this result:
The intuition for this result is simple. If new infections and daily deaths from the disease grow too high, people take costly efforts to avoid interaction and thus slow disease spread. Likewise, if the prevalence of the disease falls toward zero, then the demand for costly disease prevention efforts also falls towards zero, and so the disease will come back unless the population has already achieved herd immunity measured at pre-pandemic levels of behavior.
Whether Atkeson ( 2021 ) has correctly modeled the Covid-19 virus is not at issue. Nor is it the case that the assumption of exogenous behavior is the only failing of the SIR model.10 The point is, there is a dramatic change in predicted behavior once human reactions are included. Voluntary changes in behavior are optimal for the individual given their health circumstances, and therefore are likely to have large effects on cases and mortality. On the other hand, the blunt instrument of lockdown has little impact on mortality for those who have voluntarily locked down on their own, and likewise little impact on mortality for those who have not locked down but are either immune or unlikely to die given their age and health status. A model lacking endogenous individual adjustment then, radically over-estimates the number of daily deaths, and this is a common problem in many cost/benefit studies.
The fact that individuals privately and voluntarily respond to risks has two important implications. First, it influences how any counterfactual outcome is understood with respect to the lockdown. When no voluntary response is assumed, models predict exponential caseloads and deaths without lockdowns. If lockdowns are imposed and cases coincidently fall, the actual number of cases is then compared to a counterfactual that never would have happened.11 Therefore, not accounting for rational, voluntary individual responses within a SIR model drastically over-states any benefit from lockdown.12
Second, any empirical work that considers only the total change in outcomes and does not attempt to separate the mandated effect from the voluntary effect, will necessarily attribute all of the change in outcome to the mandated lockdown. Once again, this will over-estimate the effect, and quite likely by an order of magnitude.
Individuals change behavior for two reasons. They voluntarily respond to the threat of a virus, and they react to mandated lockdowns.13 Both channels of behavior create a total effect. It is important for lockdown empirical work to distinguish between the two channels of behavior to determine how much behavior changed because of mandated lockdowns and how much because of voluntary changes.14
2.1.3. The assumed value of lifeAll economic cost/benefit studies of Covid-19, either directly or indirectly, utilize some method to estimate the number of cases, infections, or deaths as the virus progresses through the population over time. Counting cases and deaths, however, is only half the process. To estimate benefits and compare them to costs economists assign a dollar value to the change in outcomes. If lockdown benefits are in terms of the number of deaths delayed, then a value to these lives must be used.15
Economic value is based on the idea of maximum sacrifice. Thus, when it comes to the value of an individual's life, this value is determined by the actual individual. In practice, what is measured is the marginal value to extend one's life a little bit by reducing some type of harm, and then use this to determine a total value of life. This measure, developed in the 1960s by Thomas Schelling, is called 'The Value of a Statistical Life' (VSL), and is widely used in policy work. The VSL is estimated by observing individual marginal tradeoffs. Thus, if someone pays $1000 to reduce the chance of death by 1/10,000 over the next year, then this implies a value of life of $10,000,000. One problem with using the VSL for estimating the benefits of saving lives through lockdown is that it measures the total value of life based on a marginal value. Thus, using a VSL (which is based on observing ordinary people not at the point of death) as a measure of the value of a life of someone about to die, is likely to provide an over-estimate of the value of the life.16
In many Covid-19 cost/benefit studies, however, there is another more serious problem with how the VSL is used. Namely, it is often assumed that i) the VSL is independent of age, and ii) that the VSL is equal to around $10,000,000. Both of these claims are not true.17
Hammitt (pp. 10''12) surveys the literature on VSL estimates and shows that all studies reject the idea that the VSL is constant over the life-cycle. For example, one age based VSL estimate from Robinson, et al. ( 2020 ) is shown in Figure 2.
Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the LiteraturePublished online:29 September 2021
Figure 2. Age related estimates of VSL.
Figure 2. Age related estimates of VSL.
To assume that the VSL is constant implies that individuals are indifferent between living one more day or eighty more years. Figure 2 shows more reasonable estimates, with the value of a child being seven times the value of an 85'‰year old. The VSL of $2,000,000 for an 85'‰year old is based on the assumption that life expectancy is still ten years. For someone who is 85, in poor health with multiple serious illnesses, the VSL would be much lower.18
Assuming a VSL of $10,000,000 creates a strong bias in the conclusion of many early cost/benefit studies. Since those over age sixty make up a minority of the population, but account for the vast majority of Covid-19 deaths, the use of a constant and large VSL leads to a vast over-estimate of the benefits of lockdown.
Consider the ICL case applied to the US. That model predicted 2.2 million Covid- 19 deaths by June without lockdown. If each life lost was worth $10,000,000, then the benefit of lockdown would be $22 trillion dollars. In 2019'‰US GDP was $21.4 trillion dollars. At this estimate of death and VSL, it would make sense to shut down (not just lockdown) 100% of the US economy for an entire year!19
2.2. An issue with lockdown costs2.2.1. Comparing apples to orangesThe final theoretical issue relates to what costs are compared to benefits. As noted, when considering the value of lockdown the VSL is used to determine the value of lives saved. The VSL is based on preferences, as it should be, and so the VSL is a dollar measure of the utility an individual receives from living. Most notably, the VSL is not a measure of how productive an individual is in terms of the dollar value of goods and services they produce. An infant is valuable, as is a retired senior citizen, but neither produces any market goods and services.
In contrast, it is common in cost/benefit studies to only use lost GDP as the measure for the cost of lockdown. That is, the reduced value of goods and services caused by lockdown is the only cost of the lockdown considered. For example, US GDP over 2020 fell by 3.5%.20 If 100% of the fall in GDP (approximately $770 billion) is attributed to the lockdown (that is, the virus directly had no effect on production), then compared to the presumed '22 trillion' dollar savings in lives, lockdown seems like an excellent policy.
This type of comparison, however, is entirely inappropriate. The VSL is based on the utility of life, and therefore, the costs of lockdown must also be based on the lost utility of lockdown. It has been understood from the very beginning of the pandemic that lockdown caused a broad range of costs through lost civil liberty, lost social contact, lost educational opportunities, lost medical preventions and procedures, increased domestic violence, increased anxiety and mental suffering, and increased deaths due to despair and inability to receive medical attention. If the value of lockdown is measured in utility, then the costs of lockdown must be measured in the same fashion. Excluding the value of lost non-market goods (goods not measured by GDP) grossly under-estimates the cost of lockdown.
To point out the distinction, assume that instead of using the VSL to measure the value of a life, the gain in GDP was used to measure the benefits of lockdown. Since the large majority of those who died of Covid-19 were retired, elderly, and sick they generally did not contribute to GDP.21 Hence, using a GDP only measure for a cost and benefit study would imply virtually no benefits to lockdowns and massive costs. This conclusion would be inappropriate, but at least it compares apples to apples.
2.3. Reviewing lockdown cost/benefit studies2.3.1. Early theoretical cost/benefit studiesGenerally, the earliest cost/benefit studies done in spring 2020 suffered from each of the theoretical assumptions outlined above; assumptions that were either known, or turned out to be, incorrect, and which biased the results in favor of lockdown.22 There were few empirical studies done in the earliest stages of the pandemic, but those that were done often relied on mechanical SIR models for counterfactuals, and had very limited data to work with. At the very beginning of the pandemic 'studies' were mostly casual, and simply guessed that benefits were likely greater than costs.23
By the late spring academic articles appeared that contained the same sentiments. Consider Thunstr¶m, et al. ( 2020 ) who concluded that:
'... social distancing likely generates net social benefits. In our benchmark case, which we view as the most plausible case among those we examined, the present value of net benefits from social distancing amount to $5.16 trillion.
The Thunstr¶m, et al. article assumed that there was no private voluntary response to the virus, Rt = 2.4, the VSL=$10M, there was a fixed and unchanging hospital capacity, the IFR reached 1.5% at capacity, and costs only entailed a 6.2% fall in GDP. These assumptions generated $12.4'‰T in the value of 1.24'‰M lives saved, and $7.21'‰T in lost GDP. As noted above, every one of these assumptions biased the model in favor of lockdown benefits and against lockdown costs.
To see how sensitive the Thunstr¶m, et al. conclusion is, consider making just one change: using the Robinson et al. age-dependent VSL numbers rather than the constant VSL of $10'‰M. Now the 1.24'‰M lives only have a value of $5.54'‰T, and lockdown has a negative value of $-1.66'‰T. One realistic change in assumptions flipped the cost/benefit conclusion.24
2.3.2. April''June: Early challenging resultsMany of the early theoretical studies received wide media attention, no doubt triggered by the exceptional claims made about deaths and costs. However, even in the early months of April, May, and June 2020 challenges to the sudden conventional wisdom on both the theoretical and empirical front were common.25
On April 27, 2020, three economists at the University of Chicago published 'Some basic economics of Covid-19 policy' (Mulligan, Murphy, and Topel). The title is very informative. Understanding optimal policy goes back to recognizing that total benefits and costs must be compared (and comparable), and that efforts to increase benefits involve costs. They pointed out what was mentioned above: the VSL is not constant, nor is it appropriate to consider trading off 'lives for GDP.':
The VSL for very old individuals is lower because they have fewer years of re- maining life to lose, and because they are in generally poorer health than younger people. The value of a statistical life is a powerful tool because it allows us to assess some fundamental trade-offs between health and other aspects of people's lives. It is critical to remember that the trade-off here is not between 'lives' and GDP '-- it is the trade-off between two things that people themselves value: health and other aspects of their lives.
Mulligan et al. go on to note that it is improper to consider models in which the individuals do not respond to the presence of a virus: 'The fact that individuals put great value on their own health and longevity means that there are strong individual incentives to engage in self-protection.' They also note: (i) that isolation and suppression of the disease delays the development of herd immunity, which ultimately is the way a society comes out of a pandemic; (ii) that since a vaccine takes time to develop, approve, and deliver, the costs of lockdown must be projected out over the entire period; and (iii) that policy must evolve with new information.
Mulligan et al. use an average VSL of $4.2'‰M, and given their calculations, a one year lockdown reduced net wealth 'even ignoring other long-run costs from reduced values of human and physical capital and any intrinsic value of reduced civil liberties.' They claimed that with the given knowledge of the time, 'that broad lockdowns make the most sense when the level of infection is high. In the language of economists, the marginal product of mandatory social distancing is greatest when there are many infected individuals circulating.' In other words, stay-at-home orders make little sense when the fraction of the population infected is less than 1''2% as it was in many places around the world.
Other studies in the early spring provided better empirical evidence about the virus. Lewis et al. ( 2020 ) found that there was a 6.19% fall in quarter GDP growth, and that this was attributed to the response to the virus (ie. lockdowns were having negative market consequences). Coibion et al. ( 2020 ) found that average individual income losses over the first wave in the U.S. were between $5000''$33,000. Ravindran and Manisha ( 2020 ) was an early paper showing that jurisdictions with lockdown saw in increase in violence against women.
Very early in the pandemic it was clear that predictions based on basic SIR models were wrong, and a major factor was the assumed infection fatality rate (IFR). Levin et al. ( 2020 , but available in July 2020) was one example of an early meta-analysis that brought together a number of smaller studies from around the world to estimate the IFR. They found that the IFR for Covid-19 was extremely age-specific. Children and younger adults have a very low IFR, and this increases with age, and dramatically increases after age 70. They estimated that at age 55 the IFR is 0.4%, but by age 85 it is 14%. Thus, although younger people were bearing the costs of reduced employment and education, any benefits of lockdown were received by much older cohorts.
These months also saw the first empirical studies on lockdown effects at the state level, with mixed results. Friedson et al. ( 2020 ) was an early study of shelter-in-place regulations, and found that in California this policy reduced cases by between 125''219 per 100,000 population, but each death delayed cost 400 jobs. Dhaval, Friedson, Matsuzawa, McNichols, et al. ( 2020 ) looked at a natural experiment in Texas where there was variation across the state in the timing of lockdowns. They found that urban lockdowns reduced cases by 19''26%, but that there was no overall effect at the state level. Lin and Meissner ( 2020 ), was one of the first empirical studies that showed that the lockdown effect was minimal and that lower workplace interactions invoked larger residential activity. They also found that common shocks across the
U.S. had a larger effect than local lockdown shocks.26 Chaudhry et al. ( 2020 ), examining the fifty most infected countries and exploiting the timing and degree of interventions, found no relation between border closures, full lockdowns, and testing on Covid-19 mortality.
Despite the mixed results, one early empirical paper on lockdown was widely cited and heavily influential: Flaxman et al. ( 2020 ) claimed lockdowns saved 3 million lives in Europe. This paper looked at lockdowns across 11 European countries in the spring of 2020. It inferred transmission rates based on observed deaths, assumed homogeneity across the countries, and critically assumed that the reproduction number R(t) only changed because of the immediate response to the mandated lockdown. They concluded that (p. 260):
In our analysis, we find that only the effect of lockdown is identifiable, and that it has a substantial effect (81% (75''87%) reduction in Rt). Taking into account country-specific effects, the effect size of lockdown remains large across all coun- tries
The Flaxman et al. paper received criticism on a number of fronts: they assumed homogeneous populations, they lumped vastly different country policies into single indicator variables, and they assumed exogenous human behavior.27 Homburg and Kuhbandner ( 2020 ), focus on the fact that Rt, by definition within a fixed population, must decline over time as recovered individuals are no longer susceptible to infection. However, Flaxman et al. assumed that the reproduction number was fixed at Rt = R0 up until the moment of lockdown, at which point it changed to a new fixed level. This forced the model to put all of the explanatory power on the lockdown indicator variable and grossly exaggerated the effect of lockdown. Homburg and Kuhbandner conclude that ''... the results of Flaxman et al. are artifacts of an inappropriate model.'28
Despite the modeling issues and structural econometric tricks, one other feature of Flaxman et al. needs to be highlighted: the problem of attributing the 'total' effect on transmission to lockdown, and not breaking down the channels by which an effect might have happened. Flaxman et al. state that 'Our parametric form of Rt assumes that changes in Rt are an immediate response to interventions rather than gradual changes in behaviour, '...'. This means that the only interpretation possible for the empirical results is that lockdown mattered. Thus, even if the estimated effect was true, it raised the question: was it caused by the mandated lockdown or voluntary individual reactions to the virus?29
2.3.4. Four stylized facts about covid-19Atkeson et al.'s ( 2020 ) paper 'Four Stylized Facts About Covid-19' was a watershed result that appeared six months into the pandemic. Using data from 23 countries and all U.S. states that had experienced at least 1000 cumulative deaths up to July 2020, it discovered important features of the progression of the virus across countries that cast serious doubt that any forms of lockdown had a significant large impact on transmission and death rates.
In particular, they found that across all of the jurisdictions there was an initial high variance in the daily death and transmission rates, but that this ended very rapidly. After 20''30'‰days of the 25th death the growth rate in deaths fell to close to zero, and the transmission rate hovered around one.30 Not only did Atkeson et al. find a dramatic drop and stability of the death and transmission rates, but the spread in these rates across jurisdictions was very narrow. That is, across all jurisdictions, after 20''30'‰days the virus reached a steady state where each infected person transmmited the virus to one other person, and the number of daily deaths from the virus became constant over time.
This finding contrasted with all of the early local, small sample, studies that found any effects of lockdown on cases and deaths. Across all jurisdictions the progression of the virus was the same, despite wide ranging differences in the degree and type of lockdown. In their words:
Our finding in Fact 1 that early declines in the transmission rate of COVID- 19 were nearly universal worldwide suggest that the role of region-specific NPI's implemented in this early phase of the pandemic is likely overstated Our findings in Fact 2 and Fact 3 further raise doubt about the importance in NPI's (lockdown policies in particular) in accounting for the evolution of COVID-19 transmission rates over time and across locations. Many of the regions in our sample that instigated lockdown policies early on in their local epidemic, removed them later on in our estimation period, or have have not relied on mandated NPI's much at all. Yet, effective reproduction numbers in all regions have continued to remain low relative to initial levels indicating that the removal of lockdown policies has had little effect on transmission rates.
[pp. 15''16]
Atkeson et al. speculated on three reasons for their findings. First, unlike the assumptions made in the SIR models, individuals do not ignore risks, and when a virus enters a population people take mitigating or risky actions based on their own assessments of that risk.31 Second, again in contrast to the classic SIR model where individuals uniformly interact with each other, actual human networks are limited and this can limit the spread of the virus after a short period. Finally, like other pandemics, there may be natural forces associated with Covid-19 that explain the rapid move to a steady state death and transmission rate.
Each of these reasons suggest that the early correlative findings between lockdowns and cases were not causal linkages. At best the early findings have to be considered with caution. As noted above, Atkeson ( 2021 ) continued pandemic modeling shows the critical importance of including seasonality, lockdown fatigue, and behavioral responses to the virus.
2.3.5. Voluntary versus mandated lockdown channelsAs the summer and fall of 2020 progressed Covid-19 research continued as academics studied finer details based on new data and modeling refinements. Perhaps most significantly a number of papers found strong evidence that changes in human behavior significantly affected the progression of the virus, and that this channel was more important than mandated lockdowns for altering the number of cases, transmission rates, and deaths.
Bj¸rnskov ( 2021 ) exploited cross-country variation in European lockdown policy and found that (p. 7):
Comparing weekly mortality in 24 European countries, the findings in this paper suggest that more severe lockdown policies have not been associated with lower mortality. In other words, the lockdowns have not worked as intended.
Eichenbaum, de Matos, et al. ( 2020 ) showed that elderly people in particular are more likely to reduce spending, time away from home, and the consumption of goods likely to involve high contact with other people. Hunt et al. ( 2020 ) exploited the variation in stay-at-home orders across the U.S. and found that lockdowns had only modest effects on Covid-19 transmission rates. Rather, they found that
'...most social distancing is driven by voluntary responses. Moreover, we show that neither policy nor rates of voluntary social distancing explain a meaningful share of geographic variation. The most important predictors of which cities were hardest hit by the pandemic are exogenous characteristics such as population and density.
Large urban centers got hit harder by the virus, but consistent with the Atkeson et al. ( 2020 ) finding, the transmission rate of the virus depended on endogenous individual responses.32
Goolsbee and Syverson ( 2020 ), using cellular phone location records, found that voluntary 'self-lockdown' explained most of the enormous change in behavior in the spring, and that they 'do not find evidence of large temporal or spatial shifting in response to shelter-in-place policies' (p. 12).
There are, by my count, over twenty studies that distinguish between voluntary and mandated lockdown effects. Although they vary in terms of data, locations, methods, and authors, all of them find that mandated lockdowns have only marginal effects and that voluntary changes in behavior explain large parts of the changes in cases, transmissions, and deaths. Consider the following:
This observational study, using a generalized phenomenological method based on official daily deaths records only, shows that full lockdown policies of France, Italy, Spain and United Kingdom haven't had the expected effects in the evolution of theCOVID-19 epidemic. Our results show a general decay trend in the growth rates and reproduction numbers two to three weeks before the full lock- down policies would be expected to have visible effects. Comparison of pre and post lockdown observations reveals a counter-intuitive slowdown in the decay of the epidemic after lockdown.
[Meunier, p. 6, May 2020 , emphasis added]
Lockdowns are overall effective at curbing the spread of the disease and at reducing deaths (after about 30 days). But the harsher is not the better: partial lockdowns are as effective as stricter ones, but at a lower cost.
[Bonardi et al., June 2020 , emphasis added]
We test and find wanting the popular notions that lockdowns with their attendant social distancing and various other NPIs confer protection.
[Nell, et al., July 2020, emphasis added]
'... our analysis shows that people voluntarily reduce their visits to workplace, retails, grocery stores, and limit their use of public transit when they receive information on a higher number of new cases and deaths. This suggests that individuals make decisions to voluntarily limit their contact with others in response to greater transmission risks, leading to an important feedback mechanism that affects future cases and deaths. Model simulations that ignore this voluntary behavioral response to information on transmission risks would over-predict the future number of cases and deaths.
[Chernozhukov et al. p. 52, 2021 , emphasis added.33]
Lockdowns are ineffective at reducing Covid-19 deaths. Variation amongst counties in the United States, where over one-fifth had no lockdown, shows no impact of lockdowns. Specifically, one cannot reject the hypothesis of zero difference in deaths between lockdown and non-lockdown counties.
[Gibson, p. 8, November 2020 , emphasis added]
These findings of the relative importance of voluntary responses relative to mandated lockdowns have continued to be confirmed.34 A study by Bendavid et al. ( 2021 ) that distinguished between strong and weak lockdown countries concluded:35
In the framework of this analysis, there is no evidence that more restrictive non- pharmaceutical interventions ('lockdowns') contributed substantially to bending the curve of new cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain or the United States in early 2020. By comparing the effectiveness of NPIs on case growth rates in countries that implemented more restrictive measures with those that implemented less restrictive measures, the evidence points away from indicating that [more restrictive] NPIs provided additional meaningful ben- efit above and beyond [light restrictive] NPIs. While modest decreases in daily growth (under 30%) cannot be excluded in a few countries, the possibility of large decreases in daily growth due to [more restrictive] NPIs is incompatible with the accumulated data.
emphasis added
A reasonable conclusion to draw from the sum of lockdown findings on mortality is that a small reduction (benefit) cannot be ruled out for early and light levels of lockdown restrictions. There is almost no consistent evidence that strong levels of lockdown have a beneficial effect, and given the large levels of statistical noise in most studies, a zero (or even negative) effect cannot be ruled out. Maybe lockdowns have a marginal effect, but maybe they do not; a reasonable range of the decline in Covid-19 mortality is 0''20%.
2.4. The costs of lockdownResearch on the cost of lockdowns has lagged that of the benefits, and even still is incomplete and piecemeal because there are several critical issues which will take time to sort out. First, lockdown costs depend on the expectations people have on how long they will last. These expectations have been constantly changing as lockdowns have been repeatedly extended from an initial two weeks to over sixteen months. Second, many costs will manifest over time, and estimates of these costs can not been done yet. Third, without lockdowns there still would have been negative consequences from the virus itself, and these must be separated from the costs of the lockdown reaction. Fourth, lockdowns take place in the context of other countries and there are general equilibrium and feedback effects that require sorting out. Finally, it is still unknown how permanent many of the effects will be.
2.4.1. Lost GDPThese issues have meant that all estimates of lockdown costs to date in cost/benefit studies have been limited and unsatisfactory. For example, Miles et al. provides a good discussion of cost estimation issues, but then settles on using different scenarios of lost GDP in the U.K. as a cost estimate. There is no question that lost GDP from lockdown is a cost. Lockdowns that close non-essential businesses, supply chains, and various service sector activities, must reduce the production of goods and services. Since these goods and services are valued, this loss is an obvious cost of lockdown.
Measures of GDP losses over the year abound. Miles et al.have different scenario losses attributed to lockdown that range from £200B '' £550B for the U.K.
In terms of actual losses, Sweden had a'‰'''‰7.4% change in the second quarter of 2020, compared to ''13.9% change for the EU in the same time period (Eurostat, 2021 ). If we used Sweden (which had GDP fall 2.8% over the year) as a lockdown counterfactual, then perhaps one half of the EU fall in GDP could be contributed to lockdowns.36 Applying this to a country like Canada, that experienced about an 11% fall in the second quarter GDP and overall a 5.1% fall in GDP, then Canada's lockdown cost about $89 billion dollars.37
When considering losses of GDP, it is important to note that these losses have not been evenly distributed. Canada, like most countries, borrowed to finance lockdown transfer payments, which transfers the debt burden to younger generations. Furthermore, GDP losses vary across industries. In Canada, for example, retail sales experienced a drop of 30% in the second quarter of 2020, but then mostly recovered. Full-service dining sales, on the other hand, dropped by 80% in the second quarter, but by the end of the year were still down 52%. Finally, international flights fell by an enormous 90% in the second quarter, and remained there for the rest of the year.38
As noted earlier in section II.B, only using GDP losses as a measure of lockdown costs grossly under-estimates the costs. Despite this, it is often the case that studies with this methodology still find that costs of lockdown exceed any benefits. For example, Miles et al. find that costs exceed benefits for every one of their forty scenarios '-- even though they use the over-estimated Ferguson et al. counterfactual of lives saved. In other words, despite under-estimating the costs and over-estimating the benefits (and only for the first three months of lockdown) they still concluded:
We find that the costs of the three-month lockdown in the UK are likely to have been high relative to benefits, so that a continuation of severe restrictions is un- likely to be warranted.
[p. R75, August 2020]
2.4.2. Other costsFrom the beginning it has been recognized that costs involved both the lost goods and services from shutting down economic activity and the lost utility from restricting individual freedoms. Over the course of the year the list of costs beyond lost GDP has increased, and the reach of lockdowns in terms of suffering has turned out to be nuanced and long. Many of the costs will not be known for years as they work out in reduced graduation rates, increased structural unemployment, reduced future earnings, permanent changes to the workforce and organization of businesses, reduced social capital, and reduced long run health status. Here I provide a short list of some of the findings arrived at thus far.
Lost educational opportunities. Lost, delayed, or poor education leads to reduced human capital that has life long negative consequences.39 Not only has lockdown reduced educational opportunities for the young, the distribution of the effects is not equal. Bonal and Gonz'alez ( 2020 ), find that children in low income families, with poor access to online resources, suffer more than others.
Additional effects of school closures.40 Closing schools creates isolation for children, which is known to increase the risk of mental health conditions.41
Agostinelli et al. ( 2020 ) showed that school closures hurt students from low income families more. Baron et al. ( 2020 ) reported that school closures inhibit the reporting of child abuse. Green et al. ( 2020 ), using Canadian data found that closing schools and having children learn from home meant that parents reduced labor force participation. Lewis, et al. ( 2021 ) provide an extensive list of literature on the harm school closures have had on children and conclude: 'School closures have been implemented internationally with insufficient evidence for their role in minimising covid-19 transmission and insufficient consideration of the harms to children.'42
Perhaps the most startling education finding was from Christakis et al. ( 2020 ), who estimated the linkage between school, lost educational attainment, and life expectancy. Over the course of just the first wave of the pandemic their point estimate on the estimated effect of school closures on life expectancy was 13.8 million lost years of life. To put this in context, the average age of Covid-19 death in the US is about 75. A healthy 75 year old American has a 12 year life expectancy. Thus, the 13.8 million lost life years translates into 1,150,000 75 year old deaths. These lost life years were over the first wave of the pandemic, and are more than twice the number of all U.S. Covid-19 deaths in the first year.
Increased deaths expected from unemployment. Life expectancy depends on wealth levels.43 McIntyre and Lee ( 2020 ) predict between 418''2114 excess suicides in Canada based on increased unemployment over the pandemic year. Bianchi et al. ( 2020 ), using time-series data on unemployment, life expectancy, and mortality, estimate the effect of Covid-19 unemployment shocks on future deaths. They find that for the U.S. over the next 15 years unemployment shocks caused by the lockdown reaction will increase deaths by 800,000. These deaths will disproportionately effect women and African-Americans. Since the authors do not distinguish between the effect of the pandemic and lockdowns, not all of the deaths can be attributed to lockdown. However, the link between lockdowns and unemployment is well established.
Increased deaths from overdoses and other deaths of despair. Lockdowns disrupt illegal drug channels, often resulting in a more contaminated drug supply. Lockdowns also increase human isolation, leading to increased depression and suicides.44 As early has June 2020, Jia et al. reported substantial increases in depression, stress, and anxiety were linked to lockdown. Mulligan ( 2020 ) found that over the course of 2020 across the U.S. deaths of despair increased between 10''60%. Killgore et al. ( 2020 ) found that the number of people with thoughts of suicide in the U.S. states with lockdown increased with each passing month, but remained stable in states without lockdown.
Increased domestic violence. Chalfin et al. ( 2021 ) found that much of the increased domestic violence is related to increased alcohol which increased during lockdown.45
Lost non-Covid-19 medical service. In the spring lockdown hospitals cancelled scheduled appointments for screenings and treatments (e.g. London et al. 2020 ; Garcia et al. 2020 ), this created fear among individuals who required emergency treatments and, ironically, although emergency calls for treatment often fell, things like deaths from Cardiac ar- rest increased (e.g. Holland et al. 2020 ). Woolf et al. ( 2020 ) estimate that in the U.S. about 1/3 of the excess deaths over 2020 are not Covid-19 deaths. Maringe et al. ( 2020 ) estimate that approximately 60,000 years of lost life will result in England from increased cancer deaths resulting from suspended screenings. (see also Lai 2020 ). These results are supported by Williams et al. ( 2021 ) who find that during the first wave of the pandemic in England and Wales the non-Covid-19 related excess mortality caused by lockdowns 'more than offset' any decrease in Covid-19 deaths attributed to lockdown.46
The opportunity costs of lockdown are widespread across societies, and everyone has faced some type of lockdown consequence. These costs are often non-market and in the future, making them difficult for third parties to measure. They are also unevenly distributed onto the young and the poor who have been unable to mitigate the consequences of lockdown. These characteristics contribute to the lack of attention given to them, and stand in sharp contrast to Covid-19 case loads and deaths that are measured, highly concentrated, and widely reported.
In light of the nature and measurement problems associated with the costs of lockdown, as of July 2021 no true, standard, cost benefit study has been conducted. All efforts have rested on assumptions and guesses of things not yet known. It will still take time for a systematic, ground-up, attempt to determine the total lost quality of life brought about by lockdown. Even though such studies do not exist, there is still weight to the economic logic that, with negligible benefits and obvious high costs, lockdown is an inefficient policy.
3. An alternative cost/benefit methodologyProfessor Caplan ( 2020 ) has suggested a thought experiment that provides a solution for the cost measurement issue. Rather than attempt to measure a long list of costs and add them up, Caplan proposes a method that exploits our willingness to pay to avoid the harms of lockdown. If lockdown imposed net costs of $1000 on a person, then that person would be willing to pay up to $1000 to avoid lockdown. Caplan, however, poses the matter in terms of time rather than dollars. His (paraphrased) thought experiment is the following:
Suppose you could either live a year of life in the COVID era with lockdowns (e.g. like what happened in the U.K.), or 12-X months with the virus but no lockdowns (e.g. like what happened in Sweden or Florida). What value of X would make the AVERAGE person indifferent?
Professor Caplan's thought experiment addresses the total costs of all covid prevention as perceived by each person living under it, and therefore is an appropriate utility based cost measure to hold up against the value of lives saved through lockdown: X is the number of months a person is willing to pay to avoid lockdowns, other things equal. To make this more explicit, let y0 be the set of behaviors one would engage in during the Covid-19 pandemic year without lockdown (Swedish case), and y1 be the set of behaviors engaged in with actual lockdown (UK case). Let U (y0, 12'‰'''‰Xmonths) be the utility of the former, and U (y1, 12'‰months) be the utility of the latter. Professor Caplan is asking: what value of X makes the two utilities equal?
For any random individual, X could take on a wide range of values. For some this past year has been horrific, and perhaps they would have preferred it never happened. Perhaps they suffered violence or abuse that was fueled by frustration and alcohol while locked down during a long stay-at-home order. Or perhaps they lost a business, a major career opportunity, or struggled over a long period of unemployment and induced depression. For these people, X equals 12 '-- they would have paid 12'‰months of their life to have avoided this past year. Others might have been willing to pay even more. For the vast majority of populations, Covid-19 was not a serious health risk. Lockdowns provided no benefits and only costs. Thus, for the vast majority, X likely takes on a value in the order of a few months.
On the other hand, consider the case of an elderly person in relatively poor health. Such a person, as we know from the research done on voluntary responses, will very likely isolate and lockdown voluntarily. Mandated lockdowns impose no marginal costs on them, and as a result, this person would set X'‰='‰0. That is, they would pay nothing to have avoided mandated lockdowns. There are others for whom lockdown was also just a minor inconvenience. Those who are professional and have no children at home; who have access to Amazon, Zoom, and the internet; who live in a large house with a garden, dislike travel (and travelers), and have poorer health are also likely to pay very little to avoid lockdown. These folks might be willing to sacrifice only a week or two (e.g. X = .25) to avoid lockdown.
The question is: how many months would be sacrificed on average? Professor Caplan argues that X'‰='‰2'‰months is a conservative estimate. That is, on average, two months would be sacrificed to have avoided lockdown. For the sake of demonstration, I will use this value of two months, in the context of Canada, to calculate the costs of lockdown.
As of March 2021 the pandemic had lasted one year, and by assumption the average Canadian had lost two months of normal life due to lockdown. The population of Canada is 37.7 million people, which means that 6,283,333'‰years of life were lost due to Canada's lockdown policy. This number of years can be converted into 'lives' using average life expectancy.
The average age of reported Covid-19 deaths in Canada over the first year of the pandemic was 80.47 In Canada an average 80'‰year old has a life expectancy of 9.79'‰years.48 This means that the 6,283,333 million years of lost life is equivalent to the deaths of 643,513 80'‰year olds.49 As of March 22, 2021 Canada had a total of 22,716 deaths due to Covid-19 (or 222,389 lost years of life).
The question is, however, how many lost years of life would have resulted from Covid-19 deaths if there had been no lockdown? Within the econometric evidence, one of the highest counterfactual upper bounds on the number of Covid-19 deaths was found by Chernozhukov et al. (p. 51) at 50%; that is, deaths would have been, at most, 50% higher had there been no lockdown.50 Given that most of the literature finds a zero effect of lockdowns on deaths, perhaps a mid-point estimate between zero and the Chernozhukov et al. upper bound would be a 20% increase in the number of deaths. In the table below I will calculate benefits for both scenarios.
Therefore, in the two cases of an increase of 20% or 50% in deaths with no lockdown, Canada would have experienced an additional 4543 or 11,358 deaths. Meaning there would have been additional 44,430 or 111,081'‰years of lost life due to Covid-19 deaths. The benefit of lockdown, therefore, was the avoidance of these extra years of lost life. As noted, the cost of lockdown was 6,283,333'‰years of lost life, and therefore, the cost/benefit ratio of lockdown is 141 (6,283,333/44,430) or 56 (6,283,333/111,081).
Table 2 below shows nine different cost-benefit ratios using the same procedure, but with different assumptions. In terms of lockdown costs the table considers two extremes. The first is that X = .5 or two weeks. In other words, lockdowns were little more than an inconvenience for the average Canadian. The second is that X'‰='‰5, in which case the average Canadian was willing to sacrifice almost half of a year to avoid lockdowns. In terms of the benefits of lockdown the table uses three cases: the 20% mid-point estimate, the 50% upper bound, and the apocalyptic values of the Ferguson et al., Imperial College of London (ICL) model.51 All three of these benefit estimates are on the high side, and so the cost/benefit ratios are conservative.
Covid-19 Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the LiteraturePublished online:29 September 2021
Table 2. Cost/benefit ratios.
The cost/benefit ratios based on the Ferguson et al. model are presented only to show that even under that nonsense scenario lockdown is a failure as a policy by cost/benefit standards. The review of the literature suggests that lives saved likely ranged between 0-20% of actual deaths. Thus, even under the assumption that lockdowns were little more than a minor inconvenience on average (X = .5), the costs were at least thirty-five times higher than the benefits. The reasonable conservative case is that the cost/benefit ratio is around 141, which means that by any cost/benefit standard, lockdown has been a public policy disaster.
This analysis only considers the number of years of lost life. A proper cost/benefit analysis would consider the value of these lost years. As noted above, the value of life is not constant across age. Since the life years lost to Covid-19 deaths were mostly among those older than 60, and since the years of lost life because of lockdown have mostly been among the young, adjusting the above cost/benefit ratios for the value of life will make lockdown an even worse policy.52
4. ConclusionAfter more than a year of gathering aggregate data, a puzzle has emerged. Lockdowns were brought on with claims that they were effective and the only means of dealing with the pandemic. However, across many different jurisdictions this relationship does not hold when looking at the raw data.
A casual examination of lockdown intensity and the number of cumulative deaths attributed to Covid-19 across jurisdictions shows no obvious relationship.53 Indeed, often the least intensive locations had equal or better performance. For example, using the OurWorldInData stringency index (SI) as a measure of lockdown, Pakistan (SI: 50), Finland (SI: 52), and Bulgaria (SI: 50) had similar degrees of lockdown, but the cumulative deaths per million were 61, 141, and 1023. Peru (SI: 83) and the U.K. (SI: 78) had some of the most stringent lockdowns, but also experienced some of the largest cumulative deaths per million: 1475 and 1868.54
Using information from OurWorldInData, the cumulative deaths per million on March 28, 2021 in North America were 1351 and for the European Union 1368. Sweden had light restrictions, but cumulative deaths were 1327; while the UK had heavy lockdowns and 1868 cumulative deaths per million. This stands in sharp contrast to the dire predictions that were made about Sweden in the first six months of the pandemic.55
Similar findings arise when comparing various US states. Florida and California were often compared because they are similar in terms of size and latitude, but had different lockdown policies. Florida locked down in the spring but then started lifting restrictions, on September 25th, 2020 all restrictions were lifted. California has had various mandates throughout 2020, but in early December issued a stay-at-home order that remained in place until January 25th, 2021.56 However, the cumulative deaths per 100,000 people are practically indistinguishable: 152 for Florida and 143 for California.57
It is easy to find counter examples when using unconditional counts on deaths across different jurisdictions. That is, one can find cases where lockdown states had fewer deaths per million than some non-lockdown states (e.g. Ireland and Germany had high stringency indexes and below average deaths per million). However, it remains the case that lockdown is not associated with fewer deaths per million, but (likely) more.58
These unconditional observation puzzles are resolved by the research done over the past year. The preconceived success of lockdowns was driven by theoretical models that were based on assumptions that were unrealistic and often false. The lack of any clear and large lockdown effect is because there isn't one to be found.
The consideration of any policy must consider all costs and all benefits of that policy. All estimates of costs and benefits depend on various assumptions of parameters and structural model forms, and many of the studies examined (especially the early ones) relied on assumptions that were false, and which tended to over-estimate the benefits and under-estimate the costs of lockdown. As a result, most of the early cost/benefit studies arrived at conclusions that were refuted later by data, and which rendered their cost/benefit findings incorrect.
Advances in models and data over the past year have showed that lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths. Generally speaking, the ineffectiveness of lockdown stems from voluntary changes in behavior. Lockdown jurisdictions were not able to prevent non-compliance, and non-lockdown jurisdictions benefited from voluntary changes in behavior that mimicked lockdowns.
Using a cost/benefit method proposed by Professor Bryan Caplan the most reasonable cost/benefit ratio of lockdowns in terms of life-years saved in Canada is 141. However, given their limited effectiveness, lockdowns still fail under extremely conservative estimates of costs. Furthermore, if the fall of 2021 results in many cases resulting from the more transmissible delta variant among a shrinking number of unvaccinated people, then the expected benefits of lockdown policies become even smaller. Lockdowns are not just an inefficient policy, they must rank as one of the greatest peacetime policy disasters of all time.
1 Other island countries with this strategy include many Pacific island nations (like Samoa and Tonga), Caribbean islands (like Cuba and Jamaica), and Iceland.
2 It has been a sad irony that Covid-19 policy has not been driven by economics, the discipline that specializes in the study of costs and benefits, but by epidemiologists who have 'no expertise in weighing health benefits against other costs' (Boettke and Powell 2021 , p. 1092). For example, Miles et al. ( 2020 ) provide an excellent economic assessment of the first pandemic wave in Europe. They pointed out the need to consider all costs and benefits, and recognized that the costs of widespread severe restrictions likely exceeded costs. They also pointed out that economics suggests using more targeted measures to deal with the particular effects of Covid-19. Unfortunately, lockdown proponents have often portrayed arguments like this as a type of 'moral bankruptcy.'
3 The vast majority of studies have focused on cases and deaths, and so that is what is dealt with here. Issues of 'long-covid' and other non-mortality costs that might be reduced by lockdown are not addressed. See Kniesner and Sullivan ( 2020 ) for a discussion of non-fatal Covid-19 outcomes.
4 It has become a stylized fact that lockdown was successful during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918''1919. However, Barro ( 2020 ), showed early on in this pandemic that school closures, prohibitions on public gatherings, and isolation orders had no significant effect on overall mortality during the second wave of the great 1918''1919 pandemic. It is also the case that prior to Covid-19 the WHO was opposed to widespread border and school closures, stay at home orders, and lockdowns.
5 This model depends on number of people susceptible (S), infectious (I), or recovered (R).
6 This was the lowest value considered. Other predictions used values as high as 3.3, with considerably more deaths predicted.
7 Estimates of the IFR have continued to fall over the year. Ioannidis ( 2020 ) estimated that the median IFR was 0.27% across 51 locations around the world. He noted that this IFR was 'much lower than estimates made earlier in the pandemic' (p.1). Ioannidis ( 2021 ) later estimated the average global IFR at 0.15%.
8 There are many forms of SIRs models, and the exact channel by which the virus mechanically progresses varies across studies. For example, Ambikapathy and Krishnamurthy ( 2020 ) model the exponential viral growth using a system of differential equations that mimic a SIR model. Given the assumed parameters in the model, lockdowns inhibit the transmission rates and produce a predicted benefit. See also Sj¶din et al. 2020 , or Liu et al. May 2020 for other examples of mechanical virus models. One problem with SIR models that is not addressed here is their sensitivity to model specification. Chin et al. ( 2021 ) show that the original SIR models used by the ICL were ''... non-robust and highly sensitive to model specification, assumptions and data employed to fit models.' (p. 102).
9 The notion that epidemiological models should contain endogenous human behavior was explained in a classic paper by Philipson ( 2000 ). This feature is common in economic models of Covid-19. For example Farboodi et al. ( 2020 ) and Luther ( 2020 ) found that individual responses to the virus were substantial and happened before lockdowns were mandated. Leeson and Rouanet ( 2021 ) point out the various ways this endogenous response self-limits the externality of infection, which reduces the presumed rationale for lockdowns in the first place.
10 The effects of lockdown on transmission turned out to be much more nuanced. For example, Mulligan ( 2021 ) found that workplaces quickly adopted safety protocols, making them safer places than households where people were locked down. Social networks, patterns of immunity, population age distributions, and the like all played large roles in transmissions and interfered with the naive lockdown predictions.
11 An example of this is found in Hsiang et al. ( 2020 ), who use the pre-lockdown growth rates of the virus in their calculation of the counterfactual trajectory of new cases. This ignores the fact that transmission and infection rates vary over time, and that a major reason for this variation is voluntary changes in behavior.
12 The use of these models has continued into 2021 with respect to covid-19 variants. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, stated on February 2, 2021 that the new variant would cause a 'hurricane' of new cases, and 'The fact is that the surge that is likely to occur with this new variant from England is going to happen in the next six to fourteen weeks. And, if we see that happen, which my forty-five years in the trenches tell me we will, we are going to see something like we have not seen yet in this country '...'. Quoted from https://nationalinterest.org/blog/coronavirus/health-expert-prepare-category-5-coronavirus-hurricane-177476. According to OurWorldInData, on February 2, 2021 there were 428 cases per million (cpm) people in the U.S. Six weeks later on March 14 there were 163 cpm; fourteen weeks later on May 4 there were 145 cpm. Cases did not rise to unprecedented hurricane levels, but rather fell by more than two times. By late August cases were up to 258 cpm, but due to a different (delta) variant and behavior changes caused by vaccinations.
13 Furthermore, these two responses are inter-related:
The endogenous behavioral response '... may also limit the effectiveness of efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19. A lockdown, for example, that does not end the pandemic may suppress disease prevalence temporarily only to encourage behavior that leads the disease to become just as prevalent as before the lockdown.
[Leeson and Rouanet, p. 1111, 2021 ]
14 For example, if only 10% of change in cases is caused by mandated lockdown and 90% is caused by voluntary changes in behavior, then attributing all of the effect to lockdown over-estimates the lockdown effect by nine times. The less important mandated lockdowns are, the greater the over-estimation. This issue was publicly known as early as April 2020. Abouk ( 2020 ) examined differences in policies across the U.S. and separated out the voluntary effect. He noted (p. 2):
While there is strong evidence for reduced social contact in the US, not all of these reductions can be attributed to NPIs: mobility data show that people in most states had already started to reduce the time they spend outside their homes before any NPI was implemented.
He found that stay-at-home orders had a substantial effect on confirmed cases, but business and school closures, along with bans of large gatherings did not.
15 Many object to the assignment of a number to the value of a life. To do so, however, makes it impossible to compare the costs and benefits of a policy decision. Arguing that assigning values to lives is immoral has been one method used to prevent the policy discussions from using cost/benefit analysis.
16 The major alternative to using VSL is a 'quality of life adjusted years' (QALY), which takes into account the health status of the individual. Given the age and health of most people who died of Covid-19, the QALY produces a value of life generally lower than the VSL. I ignore the debate over which method is more appropriate since most cost/benefit studies used the VSL; however, see Miles et al. for an example of the use of QALY in a Covid-19 study.
17 See Hammitt ( 2020 ) for an excellent discussion of the VSL and descriptions of how it varies with age.
18 It has been understood for some time that those dying of Covid-19 have comorbidities. Accord- ing to the March 17, 2021 CDC weekly update (https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covidweekly/index.htm#ExcessDeaths) only 6% of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. were attributed to Covid-19 alone. The average number of comorbidities of those who died was 3.8. Thus, even assigning a VSL of $2,000,000 for individuals with multiple comorbidities is too high.
19 The absurdity of such a conclusion points to the problem of using a marginal value of life to estimate a total value. If the entire economy of the US was actually closed for one year, the total loss of life would be in the hundreds of millions.
20 Taken from Bureau of Economic Analysis: https://www.bea.gov/news/2021/.
21 As of March 2021, 95.9% of deaths were to individuals over age 60, and 69.1% of deaths were to individuals over 80. Source: https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html.
22 I ignore the issue of 'homogeneity' in SIR models (the idea that everyone in the model is the same) because most empirical work ignored it. However, this is another significant shortcoming of many models. Acemoglu et al., as early as May 2020 , produced a SIR model where there were three different age cohorts, with age-increasing risks from Covid-19. Not too surprisingly, in such a model a uniform, blanket lockdown is not optimal. By June of 2020 models started appearing where individuals could differ in many characteristics like transmissibility, locations, ages, occupations, etc. Both Ellison ( 2020 ), and Akbarpour et al. ( 2020 ) showed that introducing heterogeneity resulted in herd immunity being reached much faster, and which raised the costs of blanket lockdowns.
23 See for example, this March 23, 2020 article: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/a-covid-cost-benefit-analysis/which assumed lockdown saved one million lives all valued at $9M each, and made no guess at costs, but concluded 'I still think the benefits will easily prevail'...'. Another article from March 31, 2020 (https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/03/modelers-weigh-value-lives-and-lockdown-costs-put-price-covid-19), assumed a constant value of life of $9.5M, and a loss of GDP caused by lockdown of 22%, argued that 'even a yearlong lockdown makes economic sense.'
24 Almost all of the cost/benefits studies I found from the early spring suffered from the problems of using a standard SIR model to estimate the counterfactual, constant and high VSL, high transmission and infection fatality rates, and costs based on GDP. These include Eichenbaum et al. ( 2020 ), Bethune and Korinek ( 2020 ), Jones et al. ( 2020 ), Baker et al. ( 2020 ), Bloom et al. ( 2020 ), Hall et al. ( 2020 ), Basili and Nicita ( 2020 ), and Cutler and Summers ( 2020 ). An interesting example is Rowthorn and Maciejowski ( 2020 ). Although it came out later in the summer, it still used a basic SIR model in its cost/benefit analysis. What makes it interesting is that the authors recognized how critical the VSL number was. When a life is worth £2m, then only a lockdown of 5.3 weeks was justifiable. When the VSL is £10m it still only justified a 10 week lockdown.
25 These challenges came from professionals in public health as well as economics. Rangel et al. ( 2020 ) pointed out very early that narrow models that only focused on a few outcomes would lead to terrible public health outcomes.
26 Other early studies showing that lockdown reduced cases include Born et al. ( 2020 ), Courtemanche et al. ( 2020 ), Dehning et al. ( 2020 ), and Hannah et al. ( 2020 ) and Dhaval, Friedson, Matsuzawa, and Sabia ( 2020 ). Most of the early studies are based on modeling exercises, which again, depend critically on the model's counterfactual prediction. An exception was Banerjee and Nayak ( 2020 ) who looked at county level mobility data in the U.S. and did a difference-in-difference analysis between counties with and without lockdown. They found a positive effect of lockdown, but their data only spanned February 1 '' March 31 2020, and over this period most of the states without mandated lockdowns had almost no infections. Hence there is a serious endogeneity problem with the cross-section analysis. That is, the lack of response is being attributed to the absence of lockdown, when it likely reflects the absence of the virus.
27 Even Flaxman et al. recognize the problem of exogenous behavior: 'We do not account for changes in behaviour; in reality, even in the absence of government interventions we would expect Rt to decrease and therefore would overestimate deaths in the no-intervention model.'
28 Lewis (2020), and Lemoine ( 2020 ) both write devastating critiques of the Flaxman et al. paper. In analyzing the Flaxman et al. supplementary material these two critiques also point out that the study's findings related to Sweden refute the study's conclusion.
29 Ibarra-Vega ( 2020 ) uses a similar approach where the counterfactual number of in- fections is determined by a SIR model with exogenous behavior, and then shows that in such an imaginary model lockdowns are effective.
30 Evidence that the virus was not exponentially out of control was available very early on. Harris ( 2020 ) shows that after one month the case load was flattening in NY.
31 See Eksin, Paarporn, and Weitz ( 2019 ) for a study of the effect of human behavior on the progression of disease. Adding behavioral responses to SIR models in economics goes back at least to Philipson and Posner ( 1993 ). It is not a new idea. Dhaval, Friedson, Matsuzawa, Sabia, et al. ( 2020 ) had shown early on that in the context of a large political rally local individuals recognized the increased risk of transmission and adjusted their behavior to mitigate this risk, leading to no change in transmission rates.
32 Gupta et al. ( 2020 ) survey the literature on social distancing and claim that mandates have an effect, but the volunteer response is larger.
33 This paper, which is likely the most sophisticated econometric causal study, found that lockdowns have a direct effect on cases and mortality. However, in a detailed analysis and replication Lemoine ( 2021 ) found that none of their results were robust.
34 Using a natural experiment methodology in Denmark, Kepp and Bj¸rnskov (2020) find that 'efficient infection surveillance and voluntary compliance make full lockdowns unnecessary.' A different type of study is Savaris et al. ( 2021 ) that uses mobility data to identify time spent at home, and looked at over 3700 pairwise jurisdictional comparisons, they found ''... no evidence that the number of deaths/million is reduced by staying at home.' Most notably, they were not studying lockdown stay-at-home orders, but actual stay-at-home behaviors. Elenev et al. 2021 ) show that people in neighboring jurisdictions voluntarily respond to stay at home orders elsewhere. Berry et al. ( 2021 , p. 1) found that 'shelter-in-place orders had no detectable health benefits, only modest effects on behavior, and small but adverse effects on the economy. '... Many people had already changed their behaviors '...'.
35 This paper received a number of critical letters and comments to the journal. The authors responded in Bendavid et al. ( 2021 ), showing that the criticisms were invalid. They conclude in their reply:
Given their many uncontestable harms to health and society, we believe that the extant literature does not provide strong support for their [NPI] effectiveness at reducing case spread, and should be subjected to careful, critical and rigorous evaluation. If the benefits of such measures are negligible (or worse), their perpetuation may be, on balance, detrimental to the health of the public. p. 3.
36 Sweden's GDP growth taken from: https://tradingeconomics.com/sweden/gdp-growth.
37 Canada's GDP levels are from: https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/gdp.
38 Data taken from Statistics Canada's economic dashboard: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/71-607-x/71-607-x2020009-eng.htm.
39 The role of education in the formation of human capital and its importance for individual well being and economic growth is well established in economics. See Becker ( 1994 ) for a classic treatment.
40 Although not a research study, a Unicef bulletin contains a long list of lockdown and school closures on children. These include: lost days of education (especially for early education), food insecurity, lost access to health care, increased stress, increased risk of abuse at home, poorer infant and maternity care, failure to receive regular vaccinations, and increased mental health issues. See https://downloads.unicef.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Unicef-UK-Children-In-Lockdown-Coronavirus-Impacts-Snapshot.pdf
41 Loades et al. ( 2020 ) survey 80 studies related to isolation and children and conclude ''... increased the risk of depression, and possibly anxiety at the time at which loneliness was measured'...'.
42 For other effects of closing schools see also Fuchs-Schndeln et al. ( 2020 ), or Buonsenso et al. ( 2020 ).
43 See Roelfs et al. ( 2011 ) and references that show this relationship has been understood for some time. Lindo ( 2011 ) also shows that unemployment contributes to higher infant death.
44 This channel has been known for some time. See Steptoe et al. ( 2013 ) and references, or Holt-Lunstad et al. ( 2015 ) who showed that physical isolation and social loneliness increased mortality. The CDC reported in August 2020 (Czeisler et al. ( 2020 ) that there were elevated mental health conditions brought on by the pandemic, and Newlove-Delgado et al. ( 2021 ) found that lockdown contributed to increased mental health problems among U.K. youth and that this problem was most serious among young women.
45 Awareness about the effect of lockdown on violence against women was available as early as March 2020 when the WHO released a statement: https://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/emergencies/COVID-19-VAW-full-text.pdf. Binge drinking is strongly associated with stay at home orders (Weerakoon et al. ( 2021 ).)
46 See also Agrawal et al. ( 2021 ) for similar findings of increased excess deaths, using data from 43 countries and all US states. Other effects range from increased major amputations, longer wait list times, fewer organ transplants (Manara et al. ( 2020 )). Many primary care appointments switched to telephone and online appointments, which are often inferior substitutes for in-person treatments.
47 https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/epidemiological-summary-covid-19-cases.html
48 https://knoema.com/atlas/Canada/topics/Demographics/Age/Life-expectancy-at-age-80-years
49 The life expectancy of a 25 year old Canadian is 55.2 years, so the 6.3m lost life years is the equivalent of losing 114,130 25 year olds
50 This upper bound was not statistically significant, and Lemoine ( 2021 ) later showed that it was not robust.
51 As noted in Table 1, the Ferguson et al. model predicted that lockdowns saved 134,054 lives (266, 741-132, 687) until the end of July 2020, which was presumably to be the end of the pandemic.
52 Lally ( 2021 ) performs a cost benefit study for New Zealand and compares the cost per QALY to estimates of lost GDP and other costs of lockdown. He concludes these costs ''... to be at least 13 times the generally employed figure of $62,000 for health interventions in New Zealand; the lockdowns were therefore not justified.'
53 Whether these deaths were actually caused by Covid-19 is an important matter, but one that I have not dealt with in this paper.
54 All numbers from OurWorldInData are as of March 28, 2021. https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/covid- stringency-index
55 Gardner, et al. ( 2020 ), claimed the following about Sweden: 'This individual-based modelling project predicts that with the current mitigation approach approximately 96,000 deaths (95% CI 52,000 to 183,000) can be expected before 1 July, 2020.' The original ICL model, Report 12 (appendix) also predicted 90,157 deaths in Sweden by the end of July, 2020. On March 28, 2021 the total number of deaths in Sweden was 13,402. Klein et al. ( 2020 ) pointed out 16 different factors for Sweden compared to other Nordic countries that explained their worse experience with the virus. The most important factor was the 'dry tinder' situation; that is, Sweden had a light flu season in the year prior to Covid-19 which meant that it had a large number of elderly people who would have normally died in the previous year. The lower excess deaths in 2019 was then made up by the higher than average excess deaths in the spring of 2020. Overall, the excess deaths for Sweden in 2020 was just 1.5% higher than average. Source: https://www.cebm.net/covid-19/excess-mortality-across-countries-in-2020/ This dry tinder effect accounted between 25''50% of the difference in death rates across the Nordic countries.
56 See John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center for lockdown information: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/state-timeline/.
57 Texas, which removed all lockdown restrictions on March 10, 2021, is another very public case. The reaction to opening up was overwhelmingly negative: the California Governor called it 'absolutely reckless,' Dr. Fauci said 'It just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,' and President Joe Biden said it was 'a big mistake' and the result of 'Neanderthal thinking.' However, cases and deaths continued to fall after the removal of lockdown restrictions.
58 Simply regressing cumulative deaths per million on lockdown stringency across the 36 countries available with information from OurWorldInData, produces:
Cum.Death/M =352.66+10.64(0.80) (1.59)
where the t-statistic is in the parentheses. The small positive correlation is the wrong sign for lockdown efficacy and is not statistically significant. One should not put too much stock in such a simple cross section regression, my point is only that a simple correlation isn't found.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal - Connecticut ' OpenSecrets
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:31
$1,699,775
grand total of contributions Richard Blumenthal has reported in the current election cycle.Number of Contributions from Individuals (of $200 or more): 1,097
RankContributorTotalIndividualsPACs1Microsoft Corp$15,701$15,701$02Granite Telecom$15,000$15,000$03Crawford Group$12,800$2,800$10,0004Yale University$11,996$11,996$05Lone Pine Capital$11,200$11,200$06Centene Corp$10,018$18$10,0007Freepoint Commodities$10,000$10,000$08Harvard University$9,805$9,805$09Foster & Foster$9,550$9,550$010Oracle Corp$9,066$2,066$7,00011McGuireWoods LLP$9,000$5,500$3,50012Samsung Group$7,925$5,425$2,50013R&D Dynamics Corp$7,600$7,600$014Marriott International$6,705$6,705$015Sea Research Foundation$6,000$6,000$016News Corp$6,000$0$6,00017Pfizer Inc$5,965$1,165$4,80018Wachtell, Lipton et al $5,725$5,725$019Starwood Capital Group$5,700$5,700$020Alternative Investment Group$5,600$5,600$0*registrants, or active lobbying firm
These tables list the top donors to candidates in the 2015 - 2020 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Why (and How) We Use Donors' Employer/Occupation Information
The organizations listed as "Top Contributors" reached this list for one of two reasons: either they gave through a political action committee sponsored by the organization, or individuals connected with the organization contributed directly to the candidate.
Under federal law, all contributions over $200 must be itemized and the donor's occupation and employer must be requested and disclosed, if provided. OpenSecrets uses that employer/occupation information to identify the donor's economic interest. We do this in two ways:
First, we apply a code to the contribution, identifying the industry. Totals for industries (and larger economic sectors) can be seen in each candidate and race profile, and in the Industry Profile section of the OpenSecrets website. Second, we standardize the name of the donor's employer. If enough contributions came in from people connected with that same employer, the organization's name winds up on the Top Contributor list. Of course, it is impossible to know either the economic interest that made each individual contribution possible or the motivation for each individual giver. However, the patterns of contributions provide critical information for voters, researchers and others. That is why Congress mandated that candidates and political parties request employer information from contributors and publicly report it when the contributor provides it.
In some cases, a cluster of contributions from the same organization may indicate a concerted effort by that organization to "bundle" contributions to the candidate. In other cases'--both with private companies and with government agencies, non-profits and educational institutions'--the reason for the contributions may be completely unrelated to the organization.
Showing these clusters of contributions from people associated with particular organizations provides a valuable'--and unique'--way of understanding where a candidate is getting his or her financial support. Knowing those groups is also useful after the election, as issues come before Congress and the administration that may affect those organizations and their industries.
METHODOLOGY
The figures profiled here include money from two sources: These contributors were either the sponsors of a PAC that gave to the politician, or they were listed as an individual donor's employer. Donors who give more than $200 to any federal candidate, PAC or party committee must list their occupation and employer. Based on that information, the donor is given an economic code. These totals are conservative, as not all of the individual contributions have yet been classified by OpenSecrets.
In cases where two or more people from the same family contributed, the income-earner's occupation/employer is assigned to all non-wage earning family members. If, for instance, Henry Jones lists his employer as First National Bank, his wife Matilda lists "Homemaker" and 12-year old Tammy shows up as "Student," OpenSecrets would identify all their contributions as being related to the "First National Bank" since that's the source of the family's income.
Although individual contributions are generally categorized based on the donor's occupation/employer, in some cases individuals may be classified instead as ideological donors. A contribution to a candidate may be given an ideological code, rather than an economic code, if the contributor gives to an ideological political action committee AND the candidate has received money from PACs representing that same ideological interest.
NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2015 - 2020 election cycle and based onFederal Election Commission data released electronically on March 22, 2021. ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")
WHY DON'T THE NUMBERS ADD UP?Sometimes it's hard to make apple-to-apple comparisons across some of the pages in a candidate's profile. Here's why:
Summary numbers - specifically "Total Raised and Spent" and "PAC/Individual Split" - are based on summary reports filed by the candidates with the Federal Election Commission. All other numbers in these profiles ("Quality of Disclosure," "Geography" and "Special Interests") are derived from detailed FEC reports that itemize all contributions of $200 or more.
There is also a time lag in posting the information. While summary numbers are reported almost immediately by the FEC -- and listed quickly on OpenSecrets -- processing and analyzing the detailed records takes much longer. For that reason, summary numbers are usually higher (and more current) than the numbers based on detailed records.
HOW CURRENT ARE THESE FIGURES?The figures in these profiles are taken from databases uploaded by the FEC to the internet on the first day of every month. Those databases are only as current as the FEC has been able to compile by that date (see the note above about lag times for data entry).
OpenSecrets updates figures for "Total Raised and Spent" and for "PAC/Individual Split" a few days after the first of the month. The remaining figures - based on detailed contribution data - is updated by OpenSecrets after the 20th of every month. This gives us time to analyze the contributions and categorize them by industry and interest group.
Feel free to distribute or cite this material, but please credit OpenSecrets. For permission to reprint for commercial uses, such as textbooks, contact OpenSecrets: info[at]crp.org
Brandon Silverman, the founder and CEO of the Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle, is leaving the company; team members were reassigned several months ago (Alex Heath/The Verge)
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:25
Mediagazer presents the day's must-read media news on a single page.
The media business is in tumult: from the production side tothe distribution side, new technologies are upending the industry.Keeping up with these changes is time-consuming, as essential media coverageis scattered across numerous web sites at any given moment.
Mediagazer simplifies this task by organizing the key coverage in one place.We've combined sophisticated automated aggregation technologies withdirect editorial input from knowledgeable human editorsto present the one indispensable narrative of an industry in transition.
Texas man sentenced to 15 months in prison for spreading COVID-19 hoax on Facebook - CBS News
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:24
A man who perpetuated a COVID-19 hoax on Facebook last year has been sentenced to 15 months in prison. Christopher Charles Perez was found guilty on two counts, which criminalize false information and hoaxes related to biological weapons, the Justice Department announced this week.
Authorities say that in April 2020, the 40-year-old Perez posted two false, threatening messages on Facebook, claiming he paid someone infected with COVID-19 to lick items at a grocery store in San Antonio to scare people away. A screenshot of the post was sent to Southwest Texas Fusion Center (SWTFC). SWTFC contacted the the FBI office in San Antonio.
After further investigation, it was determined Perez's threat was false '' he did not pay anyone to intentionally spread COVID-19. Perez also admitted his post was false.
"Those who would threaten to use COVID-19 as a weapon against others will be held accountable for their actions, even if the threat was a hoax," FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs said in a statement. "Perez's actions were knowingly designed to spread fear and panic and today's sentencing illustrates the seriousness of this crime. The FBI would like to thank our law enforcement partners for their help in this case."
In addition to his 15-month sentence, Perez was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.
The investigation was conducted by FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force, along with Weapons of Mass Destruction personnel.
During the pandemic, hoaxes like Perez's post have run rampant on many social media platforms, which have responded by ramping up their efforts to combat the spread of misinformation.
Facebook says it has deleted over 20 million false posts and shut down the accounts of 3,000 repeat offenders. The company says it has also put warning labels on 190 million questionable posts and promoted factual vaccine information.
However, a Wall Street Journal report last month described how Facebook's algorithms allegedly push divisive content, because it promotes user engagement. In a "60 Minutes" interview this week, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen said the social media platform changed its algorithm in 2018 to promote "what it calls meaningful social interactions" through "engagement-based rankings."
She said that content that gets engaged with '' such as reactions, comments, and shares '' gets wider distribution.
Haugen quit Facebook on her own accord and left with thousands of pages of internal research and communications that she shared with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She testified in front of a Senate subcommittee this week.
More Caitlin O'Kane Caitlin O'Kane is a digital content producer covering trending stories for CBS News and its good news brand, The Uplift.
Sweden Suspends MODERNA For Those Under 30...
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:22
COPENHAGEN, Denmark '-- Swedish health authorities on Wednesday suspended the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for those ages 30 and under, saying the move was done out of precaution.
The reason for the pausing is ''signals of an increased risk of side effects such as inflammation of the heart muscle or the pericardium'' '-- the double-walled sac containing the heart and the roots of the main vessels, Sweden's Public Health Agency said in a statement. ''The risk of being affected is very small.''
Anders Tegnell, Sweden's chief epidemiologist, said they ''follow the situation closely and act quickly to ensure that vaccinations against COVID-19 are always as safe as possible and at the same time provide effective protection'' against the disease.
In July, the European Medicines Agency recommended authorizing Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12 to 17, the first time the shot has been authorized for people under 18.
Moderna's vaccine was given the green light for use in anyone 18 and over across the 27-nation European Union in January. It has also been licensed in countries including Britain, Canada and the U.S., but so far its use hasn't been extended to children. To date, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only one approved for children under 18 in Europe and North America.
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency takes part in a digital news conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic situation, in Stockholm, Sweden, on Thursday March 11, 2021. APHundreds of millions of Moderna doses already have been administered to adults. In a study of more than 3,700 children ages 12 to 17, the vaccine triggered the same signs of immune protection, and no COVID-19 diagnoses arose in the vaccinated group compared with four cases among those given dummy shots.
Sore arms, headache and fatigue were the most common side effects in the young vaccine recipients, the same ones as for adults.
U.S. and European regulators caution, however, that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines appear linked to a rare reaction in teenagers and young adults '-- chest pain and heart inflammation.
The Swedish health authorities said that the heart symptoms ''usually go away on their own,'' but they must be assessed by a doctor. The conditions are most common among young men, in connection with, for example, viral infections such as COVID-19. In 2019, approximately 300 people under the age of 30 were treated in hospital with myocarditis.
In this file photo taken on December 24, 2020 a person unpacks a special refrigerated box of Moderna Covid-19 at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. AFP via Getty ImagesData point to an increased incidence also in connection with vaccination against COVID-19, mainly in adolescents and young adults and mainly in boys and men.
New preliminary Nordic analyzes indicate that the connection is especially clear when it comes to Moderna's vaccine, especially after the second dose, the agency said.
''The increase in risk is seen within four weeks after the vaccination, mainly within the first two weeks,'' it said.
In Denmark, people under the age of 18 won't be offered the Moderna vaccine out of precaution, the Danish Health Authority said Wednesday. It said that data, collected from four Nordic countries, show that there is a suspicion of an increased risk of heart inflammation when vaccinated with Moderna shots, although the number of cases of heart inflammation remains very low.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Swedish Public Health Agency listens during a press conference updating on the coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) situation, on October 13, 2020, in Stockholm, Sweden. TT News Agency/AFP via Getty ImaThe Swedish agency said the vaccine from Pfizer is recommended for these age groups instead. Its decision to suspend the Moderna vaccine is valid until Dec. 1.
The preliminary data from the Nordic study have been sent to the European Medicines Agency's adverse reaction committee and will now be assessed.
The study was conducted by Denmark's Statens Serum Institut '-- a government agency that maps the spread of the coronavirus in the country '-- the Medical Products Agency in Sweden, the National Institute of Public Health in Norway and the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in Finland. The final results were expected in about a month, the Danish official said.
In this June 9, 2020 file photo, Sweden's State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference, in Stockholm, Sweden. APIn Denmark, children and young people ages 12-17 have primarily been invited to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech.
''Based on the precautionary principle, we will in future only invite children and young people to receive this vaccine, not least in view of the fact that it is for this vaccine that the largest amount of data from use exists for children and young people, especially from the USA and Israel, said Bolette Soeborg of the government health agency.
Was Spanish Flu Caused by Vaccines? - henrymakow.com
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:22
A pandemic is an efficient way to get rid of "useless eaters" without destroying property.
The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 infected 500 million people, 20% of the world's population and killed over 60 million people. This is roughly three times as many people as were killed and maimed in World War One, and is comparable to WWII losses. Yet this modern plague has slipped down the memory hole. Why?
Was it a deliberate ploy by the Illuminati to finish the job WWI began?
This repost is inspired by this article: The Spanish Flu- Only the Vaccinated Died
Also, Vaccines were used and may have been a factor. And also US Vaccines Caused Spanish Flu
After the war, Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller told his CIA interrogator that the Spanish Flu was caused by a "double blow" virus. Could the first blow "which attacked the immune system" have actually been a vaccine? The Spanish Flu began at Fort Riley after a massive vaccine experiment.
Mueller: "I am not a doctor, you understand, but the 'double-blow' referred to a virus, or actually a pair of them that worked like a prize fighter. The first blow attacked the immune system and made the victim susceptible, fatally so, to the second blow which was a form of pneumonia...[Schreiber told me] a British scientist actually developed it...Now you see why such things are insanity. These things can alter themselves and what starts out as a limited thing can change into something really terrible."
Was Spanish Flu (1918) Deliberate Genocide?
(Updated from Dec 14, 2006)
By Henry Makow Ph.D.
In 1948, Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo, told his CIA Interrogator that the influenza pandemic of 1918-19, the most devastating plague in human history, was man-made.
Mueller said the flu started as an US army bacteriological warfare experiment that somehow infected US army ranks at Camp Riley KS in March 1918, and spread around the world. He says that it "got out of control" but we cannot discount the horrible possibility that the "Spanish Flu" was a deliberate elite depopulation measure. Researchers have found connections between it and the "Bird Flu."
It was called the Spanish Flu because the first human case was identified there. Understandably there was panic worldwide, as influenza was not discovered until 1933, so the mystery ailment was rather frightening.
According to Wikipedia: "In the U.S., about 28% of the population suffered, and 500,000 to 675,000 died. In Britain 200,000 died; in France more than 400,000. Entire villages perished in Alaska and southern Africa. In Australia, an estimated 10,000 people died and in the Fiji Islands, 14% of the population died during only two weeks, and in Western Samoa 22%. An estimated 17 million died in India, about 5% of India's population. In the Indian Army, almost 22% of troops who caught the disease died of it."
"Indeed, symptoms in 1918 were so unusual that initially influenza was misdiagnosed as dengue, cholera, or typhoid. One observer wrote, "One of the most striking of the complications was hemorrhage from mucous membranes, especially from the nose, stomach, and intestine. Bleeding from the ears and petechial hemorrhages in the skin also occurred. ...Another unusual feature of this pandemic was that it mostly killed young adults, with 99% of pandemic influenza deaths occurring in people under 65 and more-than-half in young adults 20 to 40 years old. This is unusual since influenza is normally most deadly to the very young (under age 2) and the very old (over age 70). "
MUELLER'S SOURCE At a 1944 Nazi bacteriological warfare conference in Berlin, General Walter Schreiber, Chief of the Medical Corps of the German Army told Mueller that he had spent two months in the US in 1927 conferring with his counterparts. They told him that the "so-called double blow virus" (i.e. Spanish Flu) was developed and used during the 1914 war.
"But," according to Mueller, left, "it got out of control and instead of killing the Germans who had surrendered by then, it turned back on you, and nearly everybody else." ("Gestapo Chief: The 1948 CIA Interrogation of Heinrich Mueller" Vol. 2 by Gregory Douglas, p. 106)
James Kronthal, the CIA Bern Station Chief asked Mueller to explain "double blow virus."
Mueller: "I am not a doctor, you understand, but the 'double-blow' referred to a virus, or actually a pair of them that worked like a prize fighter. The first blow attacked the immune system and made the victim susceptible, fatally so, to the second blow which was a form of pneumonia...[Schreiber told me] a British scientist actually developed it...Now you see why such things are insanity. These things can alter themselves and what starts out as a limited thing can change into something really terrible."
The subject of the Spanish Flu arose in the context of a discussion of typhus. The Nazis deliberately introduced typhus into Russian POW camps and, along with starvation, killed about three million men. The typhus spread to Auschwitz and other concentration camps with Russian and Polish POWS.
In the context of the Cold War, Mueller says: "If Stalin invades Europe...a little disease here and there would wipe out Stalin's hoards and leave everything intact. Besides, a small bottle of germs is so much cheaper than an atom bomb, isn't it? Why you could hold more soldiers in your hand than Stalin could possibly command and you don't have to feed them, clothes them or supply them with munitions. On the other hand, the threat of war...does wonders... for the economy." (108)
Is Mueller credible? In my opinion he is. Gregory Douglas apparently is a pseudonym for his nephew with whom he left his papers. Normally a hoax would not run to thousands of pages. The Interrogation is 800 pages. The Memoirs are 250 pages. The microfilmed Archive apparently covers 850,000 pages. Finally, the material I have read is incredibly well informed, consistent and full of plausible revelations .
(left, Flu fashion)
CONCLUSION
The Illuminati have made no secret of its desire to decrease the world population. (See Alan Stang, Population Extermination: How Will it be Done? )
It's possible that World War One was a disappointment in terms of the numbers killed. Whether the "Spanish Flu" was deliberate or not, we cannot say. But apparently the US Army has a record of experimenting with drugs/chemicals/bacteria on unwary soldiers. Did such an experiment get "out of control" at Fort Riley? Or was that its purpose in the first place?
-----
Related -
Related- Israeli Study Claims Coronavirus 8x more Lethal for Vaccinated
-----------Spanish Flu was Bioterror Attack on Humanity
See also "Hitler's Gestapo Chief Became Top Truman Advisor"
See also "The Influenza Pandemic of 1918"
Another view-- Vaccines Responsible for Swine Flu
http://educate-yourself.org/cn/spanishfluvaccineconnection09dec06.shtml
Actually 90,000 and that Each Infected Person In Turn Infects 14.
First Comment from George (Jan 28. 2020)
"The vaccines used to address virus are the real threat."
Biological weapons are limited to a very important factor: they must have very low secondary communicability. The so-called Spanish flu, which may very well have been a biological warfare weapon, failed that basic requirement. New candidates for ideal bio-warfare weapons include anthrax, hantavirus, ebola, and others.
My personal opinion, for what it is worth, is that the real weapon will not be the disease, but mandatory vaccinations. Those vaccinations will not be blind, but color-coded on a social credit score akin to that of China. Red code will be for immediate termination. Green would be for friends of the system. Yellow would be for problem people who are drains on the system due to alcoholism, drug addiction, chronic criminality, and even old age and excessive drains on the pension system.
Vaccinations designed to kill fairly quickly but not immediately, including Alzheimer-inducing special mixtures, could do the trick without excessive uproar. Blue coding would be for people who can fix your car, build houses, do electrical work, etc., and whose thoughts do not extend beyond sports and porn. Naturally they would be allowed to live unless they turned yellow, or, very unlikely, red. The cull cannot be indiscriminate. It will be pinpoint in its precision... or should I say needlepoint?
Incidentally, there were a suspicious number of deaths of microbiologists in 2001, suggesting that there may have been some plan to use biological warfare as part of the 9/11 coup, and an attempt to silence possible troublemakers in advance. Anthrax did indeed play a role initially, but faded out of the picture.
In the original 2006 article, Heinrich Mueller does say the Spanish Flu was a "double blow virus" which first weakens the immune system. This is what critics say the covid vaccines do.
Lars Vilks: Muhammad cartoonist killed in traffic collision - BBC News
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:26
Image source, EPA
Image caption, Lars Vilks was under police protection because of his 2007 image of the Prophet Muhammad as a dogSwedish artist Lars Vilks, who sketched the Prophet Muhammad's head on a dog's body, has died in a traffic accident.
Vilks was reported to be travelling in a civilian police vehicle which collided with a truck near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden.
Investigators said the collision, which also killed two police bodyguards, showed no signs of foul play.
The 75-year-old artist had been living under police protection after receiving death threats over the cartoon.
The cartoon, published in 2007, offended many Muslims who regard visual representation of the Prophet as blasphemous. It came a year after a Danish newspaper published cartoons of the Prophet.
Image source, Reuters
Image caption, It is currently unclear what caused the accidentAfter the accident, a large fire broke out and a number of emergency vehicles attended the scene. The driver of the truck was injured and taken to hospital, where he was questioned by investigators.
A statement from police said it was still unclear how the collision occurred, but initially there was nothing to suggest that anyone else was involved.
"This is being investigated like any other road accident. Because two policemen were involved, an investigation has been assigned to a special section of the prosecutor's office," a police spokesperson told news agency AFP, adding that there was no suspicion of foul play.
One eyewitness told the Aftonbladet newspaper that the car Vilks was thought to be in seemed to lose control and came over to his side of the motorway at high speed. The truck in front did not have time to swerve and then they collided with a loud bang at "incredible speed", he told the newspaper.
Stefan Sinteus, chief of the South Sweden regional investigation unit, told a press conference that officers were attempting to determine why the car had swerved off the road.
"We don't know yet the reason why the bodyguard car was on the wrong side of the road," he said. "But we're talking to witnesses, we have found remnants of tyres on the E4 road before the accident so we're looking into the possibility that it could have been a tyre explosion or something similar."
Media caption, Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks says he that was probably the target of the attack in the cafe in CopenhagenVilks made headlines around the world after his 2007 cartoon caused outrage, leading then Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to meet ambassadors from 22 Muslim countries in an attempt to defuse the situation.
Shortly afterwards, al-Qaeda in Iraq offered a $100,000 (£73,692) reward for his murder.
In 2015, Vilks attended a debate on free speech that was targeted in a gun attack in Copenhagen. He said he was probably the target of the attack, which killed a film director.
But police said on Monday there had been no new threats made against him recently.
Although he is most famous for his sketch of Muhammad as a dog, Vilks was an artist and activist who often worked with paint or created installations.
One of his creations was a sculpture made of driftwood in a nature reserve in southern Sweden which he erected without permission and which triggered a lengthy legal battle.
Kyrsten Sinema Bathroom Protest Was Justified
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:23
Image: Manuel Balce Ceneta (AP)
The effectiveness of certain kinds of protest will always be up for debate. From violent altercations to boycotts, sit-ins and marches, each method has some history of success and failure that differs among participants, observers, and the object of the protestors' scorn. So naturally, a group of activists pursuing Senator Kyrsten Sinema around the Arizona State University campus over the weekend and'--controversially, somehow'--briefly following Sinema into a public restroom to note that their family members were deported'--is bound to prompt some pearl-clutching.
On Sunday, social justice organization Living United for Change in Arizona uploaded a video of activists asking Sinema to defend her opposition to President Biden's Build Back Better Act, an ambitious package which promises additional covid-19 relief, an extension of the Child Tax Credit, the creation of millions of clean-energy jobs, the revitalization of the nation's infrastructure, universal preschool, free community college, an extension of covid-19 economic relief, and more. The Biden administration intends to pay for the multi-trillion dollar bill by making wealthy Americans and corporations pay higher taxes.
Democrats at large support the bill, but two Senate Democrats, in particular, are busy holding up any significant advancements: Conservative Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sinema of Arizona.
The two have been in lockstep, opposing any modicum of progress since Biden entered office and insisting that means testing and smaller budgets suffice in solving decades-old problems and systemic inequities. But it's Sinema's unique brand of amused aloofness that grates in a way that Manchin's inherent stubbornness does not.
It's no wonder her constituents'--who don't understand what the fuck she's doing any better than the rest of us '--are piping mad. Mad enough to pester her after she finished teaching a class at ASU.
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LUCHA's video shows a group of activists waiting outside Sinema's classroom. When she emerges, they ask if they could talk to her briefly about the importance of the Build Back Better plan.
''Actually, I'm heading out,'' she says, scurrying away from them and heading to a large bathroom with multiple stalls. A couple of members follow her inside.
''We knocked on doors for you to get you elected,'' says an activist named Blanca. ''And just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don't support what you promised us.''
Cue the sounds of toilets flushing.
The Build Back Better agenda also provides a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a point that hit close to home for Blanca. In the video, Blanca tells Sinema that she was brought to the United States as a child, and that her parents were deported in 2010. Her grandfather recently died in Mexico, but Blanca couldn't go to her funeral due to her immigration status.
''There's millions of undocumented people just like me who share the same story or even worse... because of SB1070 and because of anti-immigrant legislation,'' Blanca said. ''We need to hold you accountable to what you told us, what you promised us that you were going to pass when we knocked on doors for you. It's not right.''
But apparently, the only thing ''not right'' was following Sinema into the bathroom.
Fox News, predictably, published a headline asserting that Sinema was being ''stalked.'' Right-wing goons Jack Posobiec responded to LUCHA's video by tagging the FBI. NBC's Senior Capitol Hill Correspondent Garret Haake tweeted , ''If you think this will be effective in moving Sinema, ask yourself when the last time was that you took unsolicited advice from a stranger in a bathroom.'' It's clear he's never been in a woman's club bathroom. And even The Nation's justice correspondent, Elie Mystal, insisted , ''There is absolutely no upside to protesting people while they're in the bathroom.''
Then there's Sinema's take: In a statement, she described the incident as ''not a legitimate protest.''
''It is unacceptable for activist organizations to instruct their members to jeopardize themselves by engaging in unlawful activities such as gaining entry to closed university buildings...and filming students in a restroom,'' Sinema said.
Given these reactions, one would think that an angry activist kicked open the bathroom door while Sinema was taking a massive dump. Instead, they just sort of stood around in a public space, politely but firmly demanding that Sinema to do the job they elected her to do. Even President Biden was seemingly unimpressed by all the whining, telling reporters during a Monday press conference that ''It happens to everybody... it's part of the process.''
He's right. And for all the pearl-clutching, few are providing a more effective and safe alternative to what these activists did. They told Sinema, to her face'--and through a door'--that she was failing them and why. There was no violence, no rude language, nothing. Just a few constituents following their representative into a large bathroom to air their grievances. What should they have done instead? Call her office and direct their ire through a receptionist like surely countless Americans do each day? Write her a letter she won't read? Vote her into office again and hope that, this time, she'll deign them important enough to listen to?
But maybe it's easier to act like a public bathroom is a sacred place than criticize the fact that Sinema decided to hide from her voters like a coward.
Meanwhile, publications will likely continue to busy themselves marveling at the ease in which Sinema refuses to back down from her convoluted principles . But outside of the beltway bullshit, voters who saw her as the lesser of any number of Arizona evils in the voting booth have to contend with the fact that they might as well have stayed home and let her Republican competitor win. At this juncture , it's hard to see much of a difference.
Carlos Watson resigns from NPR board | Current
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:06
Carlos Watson, co-founder and CEO of Ozy Media, resigned from his position on the NPR board of directors Friday.
''I have accepted his resignation on behalf of the Board,'' NPR board Chair LaFontaine Oliver said in a statement. ''Mr. Watson's resignation is effective as of today.''
Watson resigned prior to a meeting of the board's governance committee, which planned to consider his future on the board, according to NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik.
Watson and his media company came under scrutiny Sunday after the New York Times reported that Ozy COO and co-founder Samir Rao impersonated a YouTube executive during a February meeting with Goldman Sachs. At the time Ozy was seeking a $40 million investment from the firm. Watson told the Times that Rao had experienced a ''mental health crisis'' and had returned to work after taking time off. The piece, by media columnist Ben Smith, also questioned Ozy Media's audience claims.
The company's board did not investigate the incident, according to the Times, but later hired a law firm to scrutinize the company's business practices, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Watson pushed back on Smith's reporting, calling it a ''hitjob'' and an ethical breach. He said Smith, a former editor-in-chief at BuzzFeed News, had been more involved in acquisition talks between Ozy and BuzzFeed than Smith had disclosed in his Times column. Watson criticized Smith for omitting audience data, such as Ozy's claim of having a ''social reach of more than 35 million.''
Follow-up reporting by CNN on Thursday revealed workplace culture issues at Ozy Media and a ''pervasive trend of staffers being worked to the point of exhaustion or worse.'' CNBC also reported that Watson ''lied'' about the investor status of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne when he appeared on the cable network two years ago.
Since publication of the Times story, one of Ozy Media's early investors surrendered its shares, and board Chair Marc Lasry resigned.
Watson joined the NPR board in 2016 and was re-elected in May to a second three-year term that was to begin in November.
Watson has hosted three PBS series. Breaking Big, half-hour documentaries produced by Ozy Media in 2018, explored how influential artists, media personalities and innovators achieved success. Third Rail With Ozy, a prime-time debate series, aired in 2017. Point Taken, a 2016 production of Boston's GBH, tested a debate-show format with late-night audiences.
This story has been updated with details about the PBS programs that Watson has hosted.
Facebook bans QAnon across its platforms
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:47
Facebook said Tuesday that it is banning all QAnon accounts from its platforms, a significant escalation over its previous actions and one of the broadest rules the social media giant has put in place in its history.
Facebook said the change is an update on the policy it created in August that initially only removed accounts related to the QAnon conspiracy theory that discussed violence, which resulted in the termination of 1,500 pages, groups and profiles.
A company spokesperson said the enforcement, which started Tuesday, will ''bring to parity what we've been doing on other pieces of policy with regard to militarized social movements,'' such as militia and terror groups that repeatedly call for violence.
''Starting today, we will remove Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts for representing QAnon. We're starting to enforce this updated policy today and are removing content accordingly, but this work will take time and will continue in the coming days and weeks,'' Facebook wrote in a press release. ''Our Dangerous Organizations Operations team will continue to enforce this policy and proactively detect content for removal instead of relying on user reports.''
The spokesperson said the company believed it needed to limit the ''ability of QAnon and Militarized Social Movements to operate and organize on our platform.''
QAnon is a conspiracy theory that grew out of the fringes of the internet and posits that high-profile Democrats and Hollywood celebrities are members of a child-eating cabal that is being secretly taken down by President Donald Trump, and that members of this fictitious cabal will soon be marched to their execution. The conspiracy theory relies on posts from Q, an anonymous user of the extremist message board 8kun, which was formerly called 8chan, who has been wrongly predicting the roundup of prominent Democrats since October 2017.
The Facebook spokesperson said the company is ''not going after individual posts,'' but whole accounts that spread the conspiracy theory, which has been tied to acts of violence.
QAnon accounts have become centralized hubs for coordinated disinformation campaigns in the last several weeks. Before last Tuesday's debate, QAnon accounts pushed the conspiracy theory that former Vice President Joe Biden was secretly wearing an earpiece before the debate even began.
In the last week, the QAnon community has pushed the conspiracy theory that Trump is not sick with the coronavirus, but carrying out secret missions in a fictitious war that has been predicted by QAnon followers.
Generally, QAnon accounts are also spreaders of coronavirus disinformation, as many followers do not believe the virus exists or that it's as deadly as scientists say.
''We have to think about the QAnon networks as the rails upon which misinformation is driven,'' said Joan Donovan, research director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. ''Every account, event and page are tracks where disinformation can be spread. so it is imperative that Facebook dismantle their infrastructure. Without Facebook, they are not rendered inert, but it will make it more difficult to quickly spread disinformation.''
''Of course, this all could have been done sooner, before Q factions aligned with militia groups and anti-vaxxers, to curtail the spread of medical misinformation and the mobilization of vigilante groups,'' Donovan said.
With the new and complete ban, Facebook faces new hurdles to identifying accounts and enforcement. Reacting to the partial ban in August, QAnon groups and followers shifted tactics to evade moderation, dropping explicit references to Q, and ''camouflaging'' QAnon content under hashtags ostensibly about protecting children.
Ben Collins covers disinformation, extremism and the internet for NBC News.
Brandy Zadrozny is a senior reporter for NBC News. She covers misinformation, extremism and the internet.
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Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:39
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Therapeutically administered ribonucleoside analogue MK-4482/EIDD-2801 blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets | Nature Microbiology
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:27
AbstractThe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is having a catastrophic impact on human health1. Widespread community transmission has triggered stringent distancing measures with severe socio-economic consequences. Gaining control of the pandemic will depend on the interruption of transmission chains until vaccine-induced or naturally acquired protective herd immunity arises. However, approved antiviral treatments such as remdesivir and reconvalescent serum cannot be delivered orally2,3, making them poorly suitable for transmission control. We previously reported the development of an orally efficacious ribonucleoside analogue inhibitor of influenza viruses, MK-4482/EIDD-2801 (refs. 4,5), that was repurposed for use against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is currently in phase II/III clinical trials (NCT04405570 and NCT04405739). Here, we explored the efficacy of therapeutically administered MK-4482/EIDD-2801 to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection and block transmission in the ferret model, given that ferrets and related members of the weasel genus transmit the virus efficiently with minimal clinical signs6,7,8,9, which resembles the spread in the human young-adult population. We demonstrate high SARS-CoV-2 burden in nasal tissues and secretions, which coincided with efficient transmission through direct contact. Therapeutic treatment of infected animals with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 twice a day significantly reduced the SARS-CoV-2 load in the upper respiratory tract and completely suppressed spread to untreated contact animals. This study identified oral MK-4482/EIDD-2801 as a promising antiviral countermeasure to break SARS-CoV-2 community transmission chains.
MainMK-4482/EIDD-2801 is the orally available pro-drug of the nucleoside analogue N4-hydroxycytidine (NHC), which has shown potent anti-influenza virus activity in mice, guinea pigs, ferrets and human airway epithelium organoids4,10,11. Acting through the induction of error catastrophe in virus replication4,12, NHC has broad-spectrum anti-RNA virus activity. In addition to ameliorating acute disease, we have demonstrated in a guinea pig transmission model that NHC effectively blocks the spread of influenza virus from infected animals to untreated contact animals11.
Several mouse models of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection have been developed, some of which were also employed to confirm the in vivo efficacy of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 against betacoronaviruses13. However, human SARS-CoV-2 cannot productively infect mice without viral adaptation or introduction of human ACE2 into transgenic animals, and none of the mouse models support transmission to uninfected mice14. Spill-back of SARS-CoV-2 to farmed minks, subsequent large-scale mink-to-mink transmission and, in some cases, zoonotic transmission back to humans revealed efficient viral spread among members of the weasel genus without previous adaptation6,7,8,9. Although mink farms reported elevated animal mortality and gastrointestinal and respiratory clinical signs15, outbreak follow-up revealed continued intra-colony spread for extended periods of time9, suggesting that the acute clinical signs in the majority of infected animals may be mild. These mink field reports corroborated results obtained with experimentally infected ferrets showing that mustelids of the weasel genus transmit SARS-CoV-2 efficiently without strong clinical disease manifestation16,17. As this presentation of SARS-CoV-2 infection resembles the experience of frequently asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 spread in the human young-adult population18, ferrets represent a relevant model species to assess therapeutic impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
To first validate host invasion and tissue tropism of SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets, we inoculated animals intranasally with either 1'‰—'‰104 or 1'‰—'‰105'‰plaque-forming units (p.f.u.)'--low- and high-inoculum group, respectively'--of SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolate 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 per animal. The shed virus burden was monitored daily over a period of 10'‰d. The virus load in the upper and lower respiratory tract was determined for two animals from each inoculum group on days four and ten after infection, respectively.
Virus release from the upper respiratory tract peaked three days after infection and was undetectable by day seven in the animals of the high-inoculum group (Fig. 1a and Supplementary Table 1). Infection of animals in the low-inoculum group was less efficient. The shedding profiles correlated closely with the infectious particle load in nasal turbinates; a heavy virus tissue burden in the high-inoculum group was present on day four, which decreased substantially by approximately four orders of magnitude by day ten (Fig. 1b and Supplementary Table 2).
Fig. 1: SARS-CoV-2 infects the upper respiratory tract of ferrets.Ferrets (n'‰='‰4 biologically independent animals) were intranasally inoculated with either 1'‰—'‰104 or 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020. a, Virus titre in nasal lavages collected daily. LOD, limit of detection. b''f, At 4 and 10'‰d post infection, two ferrets from each group were killed and the infection was characterized. b, Number of infectious virus particles in the nasal turbinates. c, Viral RNA was present in the nasal turbinates of all of the infected ferrets. d, Number of viral RNA copies, determined using quantitative PCR with reverse transcription (RT''qPCR), in select organs extracted from infected ferrets 4 or 10'‰d after infection. Two lung lobes (right (R.) and left (L.) cranial) per animal; SI, small intestine; LI, large intestine. e, Detection of 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 RNA in rectal swabs of ferrets inoculated with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. RNA was extracted from the rectal swabs and the absolute copy numbers were determined using RT''qPCR. f, Body weight of ferrets, measured daily and expressed as a percentage of their weight at day 0. g, CBC analysis, performed every second day. No noticeable differences were detected for any of the parameters tested, including total white blood cells (WBCs), lymphocytes, neutrophils and platelets. The shaded green areas represent the range of normal Vetscan HM5 laboratory values. h''l, Select interferon and cytokine responses in PBMCs harvested every two days after infection. Analysis by RT''qPCR relative to day 0 for animals infected with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020. h,i, The infected ferrets displayed elevated expression of ifn-β (h) and ifn-Î" (i). j, Only some animals had moderately elevated levels of il-6. k,l, The interferon-stimulated genes mx1 (k; P'‰='‰0.0192 on day 4) and isg15 (l; P'‰='‰0.009 and P'‰<'‰0.0001 on days 2 and 4, respectively) showed a sharp peak on day 4 after infection. The number of independent biological repeats (n, individual animals) is shown for each subpanel. Statistical analysis was performed using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Dunnett's post-hoc multiple comparison test. Symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals), lines connect the group mean'‰±'‰s.d. (a,e''l) and bar graphs show the mean (b''d).
Source data
Infection with a low concentration of inoculum resulted in low virus loads in the turbinates on day 4 and undetectable burden thereafter. However, quantitation of viral RNA copy numbers in the turbinates using RT''qPCR revealed the continued presence of moderate (approximately 104'‰copies'‰g''1 tissue) to high ('‰¥107'‰copies'‰g''1 tissue) virus loads in the groups with low and high inoculums, respectively (Fig. 1c and Supplementary Table 3). Irrespective of the inoculum concentration, no infectious particles were detected in bronchoalveolar lavages or lung tissue samples (Extended Data Fig. 1). Several organ samples (lungs, heart, kidneys and liver) were also RT''qPCR-negative on both days 4 and 10 (Fig. 1d), confirming inefficient infection of the ferret lower respiratory tract and limited systemic host invasion. Only the small and large intestine samples were PCR-positive on day 4 after infection, and rectal swabs showed continued low-grade shedding of viral genetic material (Fig. 1e and Supplementary Table 4).
The animals in the high-inoculum group experienced a transient drop in body weight that reached a low plateau on days 5''6 after infection but recovered fully by the end of the study (Fig. 1f and Supplementary Table 5). One animal in the low-inoculum group showed a gradual slight reduction in body weight until the end of the study (day 10). No other clinical signs, such as fever or respiratory discharge, were noted. The complete blood counts (CBCs) taken every second day revealed no significant deterioration from the normal range in the overall white-blood-cell counts as well as lymphocyte, neutrophil and platelet populations of either inoculum group (Fig. 1g and Supplementary Table 6). The relative expression levels of type I and II interferon in the ferret peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) sampled at 48-h intervals reached a plateau approximately 3'‰d after infection and stayed moderately elevated until the end of the study (Fig. 1h,i and Supplementary Table 7). IL-6 levels were moderately elevated in some animals but these changes did not reach statistical significance (Fig. 1j). However, we noted a prominent expression peak of select interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) with antiviral effector function (MX1 and ISG15) 4'‰d after infection, followed by a return to baseline expression by the end of the study (Fig. 1k,l).
Before in vivo efficacy evaluation, we validated the potency of NHC against the SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolate 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 in cell culture (Fig. 2a). Four-parameter variable slope regression modelling of the dose-response data revealed 50 and 90% effective concentrations (EC50 and EC90, respectively) of approximately 3.4'‰µM and 5.4'‰µM, respectively, which is within an approximately sixfold range of potency data reported for other human betacoronaviruses19. Based on these results, ferrets were infected with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. per animal in the subsequent MK-4482/EIDD-2801 efficacy tests and the levels of infectious virions in nasal lavages were determined twice daily (Fig. 2b). The viral burden in respiratory tissues was assessed 4'‰d after infection. In all treatment experiments, MK-4482/EIDD-2801 was administered twice a day (b.i.d.) through oral gavage. Dosing commenced 12'‰h after infection at 5 or 15'‰mg'‰kg''1'‰body weight, or 36'‰h after infection at 15'‰mg'‰kg''1. The titres of shed virus in the nasal lavages were equivalent in all MK-4482/EIDD-2801 groups and vehicle-treated controls at the time of the first treatment (12'‰h after infection), indicating uniform inoculation of all animals in the study (Fig. 2c and Extended Data Fig. 2a). Initiation of therapy at the 12-h time point resulted in a significant reduction (P'‰<'‰0.001) of the shed virus load within 12'‰h, independently of the MK-4482/EIDD-2801 dose administered, and infectious particles became undetectable within 24'‰h of the start of treatment. When first administered at the peak of virus shedding (36'‰h after infection), MK-4482/EIDD-2801 completely suppressed the release of infectious virions into nasal lavages within a slightly longer period of 36'‰h, whereas the vehicle control animals continued to shed infectious particles until the study end.
Fig. 2: Therapeutic MK-4482/EIDD-2801 is orally efficacious against SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets.a, Dose-response inhibition test of NHC against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells (multiplicity of infection of 0.1'‰p.f.u. per cell; n'‰='‰3 biologically independent experiments). The effective concentrations (EC50 and EC90, shown with the upper 95% confidence interval limit in parenthesis) were derived from four-parameter variable slope regression modelling. b, Schematic of the therapeutic efficacy study. Ferrets (n'‰='‰3 biologically independent animals) were infected intranasally with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 and either gavaged with vehicle or treated b.i.d. with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 commencing 12 (5'‰mg'‰kg''1 and 15'‰mg'‰kg''1) or 36'‰h (15'‰mg'‰kg''1) after infection. Nasal lavages were collected twice a day and blood was collected every other day. Yellow circles represent SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2-infected source animals. c, Viral titres of the nasal lavages of the infected ferrets from b. Treatment with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 significantly reduced the virus titres within 12'‰h of dosing onset in all treatment groups. Statistical analysis was performed using a two-way ANOVA with Dunnett's multiple comparison post-hoc test. d,e, Infectious particle (d) and viral RNA copy (e) numbers in the nasal turbinates of infected ferrets extracted 4'‰d after infection. Statistical analysis was performed using a one-way ANOVA with Dunnett's multiple comparison post-hoc test. c''e, P values are shown; NS, not significant; p.i., post infection. The number of independent biological repeats is shown for each panel. Symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals), lines connect the group mean'‰±'‰s.d. (a,c) and bar graphs show the mean'‰±'‰s.d. (d,e).
Source data
Only the vehicle-treated animals carried detectable virus burden in their nasal turbinates 3.5'‰d after infection (Fig. 2d and Extended Data Fig. 2b), indicating that MK-4482/EIDD-2801 had silenced all SARS-CoV-2 replication. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was still detectable in the nasal tissues extracted from animals in all groups, albeit significantly reduced (P'‰='‰0.0089 and 0.0081 for the 5 and 15'‰mg'‰kg''1 MK-4482/EIDD-2801 groups, respectively) in the treated animals versus the vehicle controls (Fig. 2e and Extended Data Fig. 2c). The animals in the 12-h therapeutic groups showed a significant reduction (P'‰'‰¤'‰0.044) in effector ISG expression compared with the vehicle-treated animals, although no significant differences in relative interferon and IL-6 induction were observed (Extended Data Fig. 3a''f).
These results demonstrate the oral efficacy of therapeutic administration of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 against acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in the ferret model. Consistent with our previous pharmacokinetic and toxicology work-up of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 in ferrets, treatment did not cause any phenotypically overt adverse effects, and the white-blood-cell and platelet counts of the drug-experienced animals remained within the normal range (Extended Data Fig. 4).
SARS-CoV-2 shedding into the upper respiratory tract of ferrets establishes conditions for the productive spread from the infected source to uninfected contact animals16,17. To assess transmission efficiency, we co-housed intranasally infected source animals with two uninfected contact animals each for a period of 3'‰d, starting 30'‰h after the inoculation of the source animal (Fig. 3a). Nasal lavages and rectal swabs were obtained daily from all of the animals and blood was sampled at the start of the study and on days four and eight after the original infection. The viral burden and RNA copy numbers in the respiratory tissues were determined at the end of the co-housing phase (source animals) and at study termination (contact animals).
Fig. 3: Therapeutic oral treatment with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 prevents contact transmission.a, Schematic of the contact transmission study. Two groups of source ferrets (n'‰='‰3 biologically independent animals each) were infected with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 and received MK-4482/EIDD-2801 treatment (5'‰mg'‰kg''1'‰b.i.d.) or vehicle starting 12'‰h after infection. At 30'‰h after infection, each source ferret was co-housed with two uninfected untreated contact ferrets. The source animals were euthanized after 3'‰d, and the contact ferrets were isolated and monitored for 4'‰d. Nasal lavages and rectal swabs were collected once a day and blood was sampled at 0, 4 and 8'‰d post infection. b, Source ferrets treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 had significantly lower virus titres than the vehicle animals 12'‰h after treatment commencement (P'‰='‰0.0003). The contacts of the vehicle-treated sources began to shed 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 within 20'‰h of co-housing. No virus could be detected in the untreated contacts of the source ferrets treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801. Statistical analysis was performed using a two-way ANOVA with Sidak's multiple comparison post-hoc test; P values are shown. c,d, Infectious particle (c) and viral RNA copy (d) numbers in the nasal turbinates of the source and contact ferrets from b extracted 4 and 8'‰d after the start of the study, respectively. Statistical analysis was performed using a one-way ANOVA with Sidak's multiple comparison post-hoc test (c, P'‰<'‰0.0001 for intergroup comparison of contact animals; d, P'‰='‰0.0002 and P'‰<'‰0.0001 for intergroup comparisons of the source and contract animals, respectively). e,f, Viral RNA copy number in the small (SI) and large (LI) intestine (e), and rectal swabs (f). The samples from the source ferrets treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 and their contacts were PCR-negative for viral RNA. Statistical analysis was performed using a one-way (e) or two-way (f) ANOVA with Sidak's multiple comparison post-hoc test. The samples being compared in the post-hoc tests (c''f) have been colour-coded black or red for the vehicle-treated source and contact ferrets, respectively. The number of independent biological repeats is shown for each panel. P values are shown. Symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals), lines connect the group mean'‰±'‰s.d. (b,f) and bar graphs show the mean'‰±'‰s.d. (c''e).
Source data
Infectious particles first emerged in the nasal lavages of some contact animals 24'‰h after the start of co-housing (Fig. 3b and Supplementary Table 8). By the end of the co-housing phase, all contact animals were infected and approached the peak virus-replication phase, demonstrating that transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among ferrets is rapid and highly efficient.
A second cohort of source animals inoculated in parallel with SARS-CoV-2 received oral MK-4482/EIDD-2801 at a dose of 5'‰mg'‰kg''1'‰body weight, administered b.i.d. starting 12'‰h after infection. Productive infection of these animals was validated by the titres of SARS-CoV-2 in the nasal lavages 1'‰d after infection (Fig. 3b), which very closely matched those seen in the initial efficacy tests (Fig. 2c). Although we also co-housed the treated source animals with two untreated contacts each for nearly 3'‰d, no infectious SARS-CoV-2 particles were detected in any of the series of nasal lavages obtained from these contacts throughout the study or in any of the nasal turbinates sampled from the contact animal at end of the study (Fig. 3c and Supplementary Table 9).
The nasal turbinates extracted from the contacts of the vehicle-treated source animals contained high copy numbers of viral RNA, underscoring successful host invasion after transmission (Fig. 3d and Supplementary Table 10). Consistent with our earlier observations, the turbinates of the treated source animals harboured moderate-to-high ('‰¥105'‰copies'‰g''1 tissue) levels of viral RNA, although infectious particles could not be detected. In contrast, all respiratory tissues of the contacts co-housed with the source animals treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 remained SARS-CoV-2-genome free, indicating an absence of any low-grade virus replication that could have hypothetically progressed in these animals below the detection level of infectious particles (Fig. 3e,f and Supplementary Tables 11,12). Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was present at low copy numbers in the intestinal tissue samples and rectal swabs of the vehicle source animals as well as their contacts but undetectable in the MK-4482/EIDD-2801-treated source group and co-housed contact animals.
Phylogenetic analysis of outbreaks in mink farms revealed prolonged intra-colony circulation and zoonotic mink-to-human transmission9, leading us to select ferrets'--members of the weasel genus closely related to minks'--as a SARS-CoV-2 transmission model. We noted that the experimental infection of ferrets was strongly dependent on the amount of viral inoculum used. Productive host invasion was only observed after intranasal delivery of 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. SARS-CoV-2. The shed SARS-CoV-2 load in ferret nasal lavages, a core virological marker of a transmission model, showed good cross-study consistency. Our experiments returned peak shed virus titres of 1'‰—'‰103''1'‰—'‰104'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1, closely resembling the ferret lavage titres found in two previous studies, which reported up to 1'‰—'‰104'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1 (ref. 20) and 1'‰—'‰103'‰median tissue culture infectious dose'‰ml''1 (ref. 21) in nasal lavages, respectively.
Natural infection through direct contact was highly efficient, possibly reflecting the prolonged exposure of contact to source animals in a confined space. However, nearly all contacts started to shed virus within less than 24'‰h after the beginning of co-housing. This timeline indicates that transmission must have occurred shortly after the introduction of contact to the source animals, despite the fact that the shed viral titres of the source animals were only 1'‰—'‰103'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1 nasal lavage in this disease period. Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 between ferrets through the air has recently been demonstrated22. Our results underscore that natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 through large droplets, aerosols and/or fomites is highly productive.
MK-4482/EIDD-2801 is currently being tested in advanced multi-centre clinical trials, which were launched after the successful completion of phase I safety trials (that is, NCT04392219). Although the dosages applied in these studies and human pharmacokinetic data have not yet been disclosed, Merck & Co. have revealed23 that NHC reached levels in human blood that were safe and exceeded antiviral concentrations against SARS-CoV-2 in primary human airway epithelia cultures (NHC EC90 of approximately 0.5''1'‰Î¼M; ref. 13). Our pharmacokinetic profiles for MK-4482/EIDD-2801 revealed that NHC plasma concentrations '‰¥0.5'‰Î¼M at trough (12'‰h after dosing based on a b.i.d. regimen) are reached after oral doses of approximately 130 and 10'‰mg'‰kg''1 were administered to cynomolgus macaques and ferrets, respectively4. These calculations drove our decision to dose ferrets with the 5'‰mg'‰kg''1 dose used in this study, which represents a conservative estimate of a safe human-dose equivalent based on all of the available information. Underscoring the high broad-spectrum antiviral potential of the drug, 5'‰mg'‰kg''1 is also close to the lowest efficacious dose of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 against seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses in ferrets4,10.
Closely resembling our previous experience with influenza therapy4,10, MK-4482/EIDD-2801 was well tolerated and orally efficacious against SARS-CoV-2, reducing the upper respiratory virus load to below the detection level within 24'‰h of the first drug administration when therapy was initiated after the onset of virus shedding and by nearly two orders of magnitude when first administered at the peak of virus replication. Similarly, viral genetic material was undetectable in the gastrointestinal samples of the treated animals, which is consistent with previous observations of a sustained presence of the biologically active triphosphate form of NHC in all soft tissue, except liver, in different species4,12,24.
Importantly, treatment suppressed all transmission to the untreated direct contacts despite a prolonged direct proximity of the source and contact animals as well as detectable virus shedding from the source animals at the beginning of the co-housing phase. This complete block may indicate a bottom threshold of the shed SARS-CoV-2 load for successful spread. In addition, the genome integrity of some EIDD-2801-experienced virions shed from the treated animals may have been only partially compromised. Rather than being chain-terminating when incorporated by the viral polymerase, NHC undergoes spontaneous tautomeric interconversions, leading to base pairing either as cytosine or uracil25. The resulting randomly positioned transition mutations induce viral error catastrophe26, causing a collapse of the virus population. This mechanism of antiviral activity of NHC was demonstrated for alphaviruses12, pneumoviruses11 and orthomyxoviruses4, and confirmed to equally apply to betacoronaviruses19 and specifically SARS-CoVs13. In our study, a limited presence of the analogue in the viral genomes generated shortly after the start of treatment may have had a greater impact on natural invasion of an immune-competent host in vivo than on virus replication in type I interferon-deficient cultured cells such as the Vero E6 used for titration27. This view is consistent with the frequent observation (such as in ref. 28) that many mutant viruses can be propagated in cell culture but are attenuated in vivo and incapable of productive host invasion.
Consistent with the conserved antiviral mechanism of action of NHC across diverse viral targets, several previous attempts to induce robust resistance to the compound in alphaviruses12, orthomyxoviruses4 and betacoronaviruses19 were unsuccessful, indicating a high genetic barrier against viral escape. For betacoronaviruses specifically, a very moderate twofold increase in the EC90 concentration was reported after 30 passages in the presence of inhibitor19. Given that these mutations delayed viral replication and thus posed a fitness penalty, it is unlikely that clinical use of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 will result in the emergence of pre-existing resistance in circulating virus populations or trigger the appearance of viral variants with enhanced pathogenicity.
Our previous studies with influenza viruses in ferrets4 and guinea pigs11 furthermore demonstrate that the antiviral efficacy and transmission block by MK-4482/EIDD-2801 are not host-species restricted. A virological study of hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) revealed that the average load of SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies detected in human sputum during the peak phase of infection is 7.0'‰—'‰106'‰copies'‰ml''1 (maximum of 2.35'‰—'‰109'‰copies'‰ml''1)29. Attempts at virus isolation from human patients were generally unsuccessful when the samples contained <1'‰—'‰106'‰RNA copies'‰ml''1. In ferrets, we found peak shedding titres of 1'‰—'‰103''1'‰—'‰104'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1 in the nasal lavages and an earlier study reported that SARS-CoV-2 concentrations of up to 1'‰—'‰104'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1 ferret nasal lavage correlates to up to 1'‰—'‰108'‰viral RNA copies'‰ml''1 (ref. 20). These comparisons suggest that the peak viral RNA copy load in ferret nasal lavages recapitulates that seen in human sputum. At present, the tissue distribution and antiviral efficacy of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 in humans are still unknown. If ferret-based inhibition data of SARS-CoV-2 transmission are predictive of the effect in humans, however, patients with COVID-19 could become non-infectious within 24''36'‰h after the onset of oral treatment. Treatment with MK-4482/EIDD-2801, in particular when initiated early after infection, thus has the potential to provide threefold benefits: it may mitigate the risk of progression to severe disease and accelerate recovery, ease the emotional and socio-economic toll associated with mandatory prolonged isolation and aid in rapidly silencing local outbreaks.
MethodsStudy designFerrets (Mustela putorius furo) were used as an in vivo model to examine the efficacy of therapeutically administered oral MK-4482/EIDD-2801 against SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus transmission to uninfected contact animals. Viruses were administered to source animals through intranasal inoculation and the virus loads in nasal lavages and rectal swabs were monitored periodically as well as in respiratory tissues and a subset of organs 4 or 10'‰d after exposure. The virus titres were determined based on plaque assays and viral RNA copy numbers; blood samples were subjected to CBC analysis and RT''qPCR quantitation of the expression levels of select cytokine and innate antiviral effectors.
Cells and virusesVero E6 cells were obtained from the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC CRLK-1586) and cultured in DMEM medium supplemented with 7.5% heat-inactivated fetal bovine serum (FBS) at 37'‰°C with 5% CO2. SARS-CoV-2 (2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020) was propagated using Vero E6 cells supplemented with 2% FBS. The virus stocks were stored at ''80'‰°C and titres were determined by plaque assay. Vero E6 cells were authenticated by morphology and susceptibility to virus infection, and routinely checked for bacterial and mycoplasma contamination at intervals of 6'‰months.
Virus yield reduction assayVero E6 cells were seeded in 12-well plates (3'‰—'‰105'‰cells per well) 24'‰h before infection. The cells were infected using a multiplicity of infection of 0.1'‰p.f.u. per cell. SARS-CoV-2 was allowed to adsorb for 1'‰h at 37'‰°C. Subsequently, the virus inoculum was removed and the cells were overlaid with medium containing threefold serial dilutions of NHC (50''0.68'‰µM) in DMEM supplemented with 2% FBS. The infected cells were incubated with compound for 48'‰h at 37'‰°C, followed by virus titration by plaque assay. The EC50 and EC90 concentrations were calculated using four-parameter variable slope regression modelling.
Plaque assaySamples were serially diluted (tenfold dilutions starting at a 1:10 initial dilution) in DMEM medium supplemented with 2% FBS containing Antibiotic-Antimycotic (Gibco). The serial dilutions were added to Vero E6 cells seeded in 12-well plates at 3'‰—'‰105'‰cells per well 24'‰h previously. The virus was allowed to adsorb for 1'‰h at 37'‰°C. Subsequently, the inoculum was removed and the cells were overlaid with 1.2% Avicel (FMC BioPolymer) in DMEM and incubated for 3'‰d at 37'‰°C with 5% CO2. The Avicel was removed and the cells were washed once with PBS, fixed with 10% neutral buffered formalin and plaques were visualized using 1% crystal violet.
Establishing the infectious doseFemale ferrets (6''10'‰months of age) were purchased from Triple F Farms. The ferrets were rested for 1'‰week following arrival, and then randomly assigned to groups and housed individually in ventilated negative-pressure cages in an ABSL-3 facility. To establish a suitable inoculum for the efficacy and transmission studies, the ferrets (n'‰='‰4) were inoculated intranasally with 1'‰—'‰104 and 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 in 1'‰ml (0.5'‰ml per nare). The ferrets were anaesthetized with dexmedetomidine/ketamine before inoculation. Nasal lavages were performed on non-anaesthetized animals once a day using 1'‰ml PBS containing twofold concentrated Antibiotic-Antimycotic (Gibco). The nasal lavage fluids were stored at ''80'‰°C until virus titration through plaque assays on Vero E6 cells. For blood sampling, the ferrets were anaesthetized with dexmedetomidine and approximately 0.5'‰ml blood was drawn from the anterior vena cava. A Vetscan HM5 (Abaxis) was used to perform CBCs in accordance with the manufacturer's protocol. Rectal swabs were performed every 2'‰d. Groups of two ferrets were killed 4 and 10'‰d post infection and their organs were harvested to determine the virus titres and presence of viral RNA in different tissues.
AnimalsThe group sizes were three ferrets per condition for all animal experiments. A power calculation (P'‰<'‰0.05; 80% power) predicted that this sample size was sufficient to detect a difference of 1.19'‰log10'‰p.f.u.'‰ml''1 in virus titre in ferret nasal lavages. As no statistically informative reference datasets for the SARS-CoV-2 ferret model were available at the start of the study, we based this prospective calculation on our experience with a canine distemper virus ferret infection model that has shown a cumulative s.d. of 0.32 in our laboratory. In the transmission experiments, the ferrets were co-housed at a ratio of one source to two contact animals, three co-housing sets per condition. Incoming animals were randomly assigned to the different study groups; no blinding of investigators was performed.
In vivo efficacy of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 in ferretsThe groups of ferrets were inoculated with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 in 1'‰ml (0.5'‰ml per nare). At 12'‰h after infection, three groups of ferrets were treated b.i.d. with vehicle (1% methylcellulose) or MK-4482/EIDD-2801 at a dosage of 5 or 15'‰mg'‰kg''1, respectively. At 36'‰h after infection, a fourth group of ferrets began receiving b.i.d. treatment with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 at a dose of 15'‰mg'‰kg''1. The compound was administered via oral gavage in 1% methylcellulose. After the start of treatment, b.i.d. dosing was continued until 4'‰d after infection. Nasal lavages were performed on all of the ferrets every 12'‰h. Blood samples were obtained every 2'‰d after infection and stored in K2-EDTA tubes (Sarstedt CB 300). CBC analysis was performed on each blood sample in accordance with the manufacturer's protocols. After the CBC analysis, the red blood cells were lysed with ACK buffer (150'‰mM NH4Cl, 10'‰mM KHCO3 and 0.01'‰mM EDTA pH'‰7.4) and the PBMCs were harvested and stored at ''80'‰°C in RNAlater until further RT''qPCR analysis was performed. All of the ferrets were euthanized 4'‰d after infection and their organs were harvested to determine the virus titres and presence of viral RNA in different tissues.
Contact transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in ferretsA group of six source ferrets, which were housed individually, were inoculated intranasally with 1'‰—'‰105'‰p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020. Twelve hours after infection, the source ferrets were split into two groups (n'‰='‰3 each) receiving vehicle or MK-4482/EIDD-2801 treatment at a dose of 5'‰mg'‰kg''1 b.i.d. by oral gavage. At 30'‰h post infection, each source ferret was co-housed with two uninfected and untreated contact ferrets. The ferrets were co-housed until 96'‰h after infection, when the source ferrets were euthanized and the contact animals were housed individually. The contact animals were monitored for 4'‰d after separation from the source ferrets and then killed. Nasal lavages and rectal swabs were performed on all of the ferrets every 24'‰h. Blood samples were collected at 0, 4 and 8'‰d after the source ferret infection. For all ferrets, organs were harvested to determine the virus titres and the presence of viral RNA in different tissues.
Titration of SARS-CoV-2 in tissue extractsFor virus titration, the organs were weighed and homogenized in PBS. The homogenates were centrifuged at 2,000g for 5'‰min at 4'‰°C. The clarified supernatants were harvested and used in subsequent plaque assays. For detection of viral RNA, the harvested organs were stored in RNAlater at ''80'‰°C. The tissues were ground and the total RNA was extracted using an RNeasy mini kit (Qiagen). RNA was extracted from the rectal swabs using a ZR viral RNA kit (Zymo Research) in accordance with the manufacturer's protocols.
SARS-CoV-2 RNA copy numbersDetection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA was performed using the nCoV_IP2 primer''probe set (National Reference Center for Respiratory Viruses, Institut Pasteur) targeting the SARS-CoV-2 RdRp gene. An Applied Biosystems 7500 real-time PCR system using the StepOnePlus real-time PCR system was used to perform the RT''qPCR reactions. TaqMan fast virus 1-step master mix (Thermo Fisher Scientific) was used in combination with the nCoV_IP2 primer''probe set to detect viral RNA. To quantitate the RNA copy numbers, a standard curve was created using a PCR fragment (nucleotides 12669''14146 of the SARS-CoV-2 genome) generated from viral complementary DNA using the nCoV_IP2 forward primer and the nCoV_IP4 reverse primer. The RNA values were normalized to the weights of the tissues used.
Systemic interferon and cytokine profilingThe relative expression of interferon, ISGs and cytokines was determined by real-time PCR analysis. RNA was extracted from PBMCs that were harvested at various time points after infection. Complementary DNA was reverse transcribed with SuperScript III (Invitrogen) using oligo-dT primers and analysed by real-time PCR using Fast SYBR Green master mix (Applied Biosystems). The signals were normalized to glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase messenger RNA, analysed using the comparative threshold cycle (Î--Î--Ct) method and expressed relative to day 0 of infection for each respective animal. The sequences of the primers used for the analyses are shown in Supplementary Table 13.
Statistics and reproducibilityThe Microsoft Excel (versions 16.42 and 16.43) and GraphPad Prism (version 8.4.3) software packages were used for most of the data collection and analysis, respectively. Reverse transcription RT''qPCR data were collected and analysed using the StepOnePlus (version 2.1; Applied Biosystems) software package. The final figures were assembled using Adobe Illustrator (version CS6). One- or two-way ANOVAs with Dunnett's, Tukey's or Sidak's multiple comparisons post-hoc tests without further adjustments were used to evaluate statistical significance when more than two groups were compared or datasets contained two independent variables, respectively. The specific statistical test applied to individual studies is specified in the figure legends. The Source Data files summarize the statistical analyses (effect size, degrees of freedom and P values) of the respective datasets. Effect sizes between groups in the ANOVAs were calculated as η2'‰='‰(SSeffect)'‰/'‰(SStotal) for one-way ANOVA and ω2'‰='‰(SSeffect'‰'''‰(dfeffect)(MSerror))'‰/'‰MSerror'‰+'‰SStotal for two-way ANOVA; SSeffect, sum of squares for the effect; SStotal, sum of squares for total; dfeffect, degrees of freedom for the effect; MSerror, mean squared error. To determine the antiviral potency and cytotoxicity, the effective concentrations were calculated from dose-response datasets through four-parameter variable slope regression modelling; the values have been expressed with 95% confidence intervals when possible. A biological repeat refers to measurements taken from distinct samples, and the results obtained for each individual biological repeat are shown in the figures along with the exact size (n, number) of biologically independent samples, animals or independent experiments. The measure of the centre (connecting lines and columns) is the mean throughout. The error bars represent the s.d. throughout. For all experiments, the statistical significance level α was set to <0.05; exact P values are shown in individual graphs or Supplementary Tables wherever possible.
Ethics statementAll animal work was performed in compliance with the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health and the Animal Welfare Act Code of Federal Regulations. Experiments with SARS-CoV-2 involving ferrets were approved by the Georgia State Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee under protocol A20031. All experiments using infectious SARS-CoV-2 were approved by the Georgia State Institutional Biosafety Committee under protocol B20016 and performed in BSL-3/ABSL-3 facilities at the Georgia State University.
Reporting SummaryFurther information on research design is available in the Nature Research Reporting Summary linked to this article.
Data availabilityAll of the data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article. Source data are provided with this paper.
Code availabilityThis study does not use custom codes. All of the commercial computer codes and algorithms used are specified in the Methods section.
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AcknowledgementsWe thank M. Kumar for providing an aliquot of 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 stock, members of the GSU High Containment Core and the Department for Animal Research for support, and J. Sourimant and A. L. Hammond for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported, in part, by Public Health Service grant nos AI071002 (to R.K.P.) and AI141222 (to R.K.P.) from the NIH/NIAID. The funders had no role in the study design, data collection and interpretation or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Author informationAuthor notes These authors contributed equally: Robert M. Cox, Josef D. Wolf.
AffiliationsInstitute for Biomedical Sciences, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA, USA
Robert M. Cox, Josef D. Wolf & Richard K. Plemper
ContributionsR.M.C. and J.D.W. performed the virus-stock preparations; animal inoculations; sampling and necropsies; contributed to the experiment design, data analysis and presentation; and edited the manuscript. R.M.C. performed all of the RT''qPCR experiments and analyses. J.D.W. performed all of the CBC analyses. R.K.P. conceived, designed and coordinated the study; conceived and designed experiments; contributed to the animal inoculations and necropsies; contributed to data analysis and presentation; and wrote the manuscript.
Corresponding authorCorrespondence to Richard K. Plemper.
Ethics declarations Competing interestsThe authors declare no competing interests.
Additional informationPeer review statement Nature Microbiology thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work. Peer reviewer reports are available.
Publisher's note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Extended dataExtended Data Fig. 1 SARS-CoV-2 does not progress to the ferret lower respiratory tract.Ferrets were inoculated intranasally with 1'‰—'‰104 (blue) or 1'‰—'‰105 p.f.u. (black) of 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020. a, Analysis of bronchioalveolar lavages (BALF) and four lung lobes (right (R.) and left (L.) cranial and caudal) per ferret. BALF and tissues samples were harvested 4 (n'‰='‰2 biologically independent animals) and 10 (n'‰='‰2 biologically independent animals) days after infection. The number of independent biological repeats is shown. Symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals).
Source data
Extended Data Fig. 2 Experimental means and intergroup comparison of in vivo efficacy study results of MK-4482/EIDD-2801 in SARS-CoV-2-infected ferrets.a, Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 titres in nasal lavages of SARS-CoV-2 infected ferrets treated with different doses and dosing regimens. Mean virus titres ± SD are shown for different study days (days pI). LOD was 10 p.f.u. (a-b). Samples below LOD were plotted as 9 p.f.u. b, SARS-CoV-2 titres in nasal turbinates of ferrets from (a). Mean virus titres ± SD are shown. L.O.D. was 10 p.f.u. (a-b). c, Viral RNA detected in nasal turbinates of ferrets from (a). Mean RNA copy numbers ± SD are shown. Statistical significance was determined between different treatment groups. LOD was 1 RNA copy, samples below LOD were plotted as 1 RNA copy. Statistical analysis was performed by two-way (a) or one-way (b-c) ANOVA with Tukey's multiple comparison post-hoc test. P values are shown. (*) denotes samples where one or two repeats were below LOD. (**) denotes all three repeats for at least one dosing group were below LOD.
Source data
Extended Data Fig. 3 Interferon induction and cytokine profiling of SARS-CoV-2 ferrets treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801.Ferrets (n'‰='‰3 biologically independent animals) were infected intranasally with 1'‰—'‰105 p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 and either gavaged with vehicle (black (a-f)) or treated b.i.d. with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 commencing 12 (5'‰mg/kg (blue (a-f)) and 15'‰mg/kg (orange (a-f)) or 36-hours (15'‰mg/kg; red (a-f)) after infection. a-f, Selected interferon and cytokine expression levels in PBMCs relative to day 0. Blood samples of animals treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 or vehicle as specified were collected every two days after infection and PBMCs analysed by RT-qPCR. Statistical analysis of changes relative to day 0 by two-way ANOVA with Dunnett's post-hoc multiple comparison test. The number of independent biological repeats (n; individual animals) is shown. In all panels, symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals), lines connect group means ± SD.
Source data
Extended Data Fig. 4 Complete blood count of SARS-CoV-2 ferrets treated with MK-4482/EIDD-2801.Ferrets (n'‰='‰3 biologically independent animals) were infected intranasally with 1'‰—'‰105 p.f.u. 2019-nCoV/USA-WA1/2020 and either gavaged with vehicle (black (a-f)) or treated b.i.d. with MK-4482/EIDD-2801 commencing 12 (5'‰mg/kg (blue (a-f)) and 15'‰mg/kg (orange (a-f)) or 36-hours (15'‰mg/kg; red (a-f)) after infection. a-d, Blood samples were collected every two days after infection and complete blood counts determined. No abnormal values were observed in all parameters tested, including total WBCs (a), lymphocytes (b), neutrophils (c), and platelets (d). The shaded green areas represent normal Vetscan HM5 lab values. The number of independent biological repeats (n; individual animals) is shown for each subpanel. Symbols represent independent biological repeats (individual animals), lines connect group means ± SD.
Source data
Supplementary informationAbout this articleCite this articleCox, R.M., Wolf, J.D. & Plemper, R.K. Therapeutically administered ribonucleoside analogue MK-4482/EIDD-2801 blocks SARS-CoV-2 transmission in ferrets. Nat Microbiol 6, 11''18 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-020-00835-2
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Received : 03 November 2020
Accepted : 18 November 2020
Published : 03 December 2020
Issue Date : January 2021
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-020-00835-2
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Exclusive: Government Secretly Orders Google To Identify Anyone Who Searched A Sexual Assault Victim's Name, Address And Telephone Number
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:58
There are fears the government is secretly ordering Google to provide information on innocent users who typed in certain search terms.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images The U.S. government is secretly ordering Google to provide data on anyone typing in certain search terms, an accidentally unsealed court document shows. There are fears such ''keyword warrants'' threaten to implicate innocent Web users in serious crimes and are more common than previously thought. In 2019, federal investigators in Wisconsin were hunting men they believed had participated in the trafficking and sexual abuse of a minor. She had gone missing that year but had emerged claiming to have been kidnapped and sexually assaulted, according to a search warrant reviewed by Forbes. In an attempt to chase down the perpetrators, investigators turned to Google, asking the tech giant to provide information on anyone who had searched for the victim's name, two spellings of her mother's name and her address over 16 days across the year. After being asked to provide all relevant Google accounts and IP addresses of those who made the searches, Google responded with data in mid-2020, though the court documents do not reveal how many users had their data sent to the government.
It's a rare example of a so-called keyword warrant and, with the number of search terms included, the broadest on record. (See the update below for other, potentially even broader warrants.) Before this latest case, only two keyword warrants had been made public. One revealed in 2020 asked for anyone who had searched for the address of an arson victim who was a witness in the government's racketeering case against singer R Kelly. Another, detailed in 2017, revealed that a Minnesota judge signed off on a warrant asking Google to provide information on anyone who searched a fraud victim's name from within the city of Edina, where the crime took place.
While Google deals with thousands of such orders every year, the keyword warrant is one of the more contentious. In many cases, the government will already have a specific Google account that they want information on and have proof it's linked to a crime. But search term orders are effectively fishing expeditions, hoping to ensnare possible suspects whose identities the government does not know. It's not dissimilar to so-called geofence warrants, where investigators ask Google to provide information on anyone within the location of a crime scene at a given time.
''As with all law enforcement requests, we have a rigorous process that is designed to protect the privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement,'' a Google spokesperson said.
The latest case shows Google is continuing to comply with such controversial requests, despite concerns over their legality and the potential to implicate innocent people who happened to search for the relevant terms. From the government's perspective in Wisconsin, the scope of the warrant should have been limited enough to avoid the latter: the number of people searching for the specific names, address and phone number in the given time frame was likely to be low. But privacy experts are concerned about the precedent set by such warrants and the potential for any such order to be a breach of Fourth Amendment protections from unreasonable searches. There are also concerns about First Amendment freedom of speech issues, given the potential to cause anxiety amongst Google users that their identities could be handed to the government because of what they searched for.
''Trawling through Google's search history database enables police to identify people merely based on what they might have been thinking about, for whatever reason, at some point in the past. This is a virtual dragnet through the public's interests, beliefs, opinions, values and friendships, akin to mind reading powered by the Google time machine,'' said Jennifer Granick, surveillance and cybersecurity counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). ''This never-before-possible technique threatens First Amendment interests and will inevitably sweep up innocent people, especially if the keyword terms are not unique and the time frame not precise. To make matters worse, police are currently doing this in secret, which insulates the practice from public debate and regulation.''
The Wisconsin case was supposed to have remained secret, too. The warrant only came to light because it was accidentally unsealed by the Justice Department in September. Forbes reviewed the document before it was sealed again and is neither publishing it nor providing full details of the case to protect the identities of the victim and her family. The investigation is ongoing, two years after the crimes occurred, and the DOJ didn't comment on whether or not any charges had been filed.
Forbes was able to identify one other, previously unreported keyword warrant in the Northern District of California in December 2020, though its existence was only noted in a court docket. It also has the potential to be broad. The order, currently under seal, is titled ''Application by the United States for a Search Warrant for Google Accounts Associated with Six Search Terms and Four Search Dates.''
There's more that the government can get with such requests than simple Google account identities and IP addresses. In Wisconsin, the government was hopeful Google could also provide ''CookieIDs'' belonging to any users who made the searches. These CookieIDs ''are identifiers that are used to group together all searches conducted from a given machine, for a certain time period. Such information allows investigators to ascertain, even when the user is not logged into a Google account, whether the same individual may have conducted multiple pertinent searches,'' the government wrote.
There was another disturbing aspect to the search warrant: the government had published the kidnapping victim's name, her Facebook profile (now no longer accessible), her phone number and address, a potential breach of a minor's privacy. The government has now sealed the document, though was only alerted to the leak after Forbes emailed the Justice Department for comment. That mistake'--of revealing the identity of minor victims of sexual abuse in court documents'--has become a common one in recent years. As in the latest case, the FBI and DHS have been seen choosing pseudonyms and acronyms for victims, but then publishing their full Facebook profile link, which contains the name of the minor.
UPDATE: After publication, Jennifer Lynch, surveillance litigation director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), highlighted three other Google keyword warrants that were used in the investigation into serial Austin bombings in 2018, which resulted in the deaths of two people.
Not widely discussed at the time, the orders appear even broader than the one above, asking for IP addresses and Google account information of individuals who searched for various addresses and some terms associated with bomb making, such as ''low explosives'' and ''pipe bomb.'' Similar orders were served on Microsoft and Yahoo for their respective search engines.
As for what data the tech companies gave to investigators, that information remains under seal.
You can read the orders on Google here, here and here. The Microsoft and Yahoo orders can be found here and here.
"Pandora Papers": The Left-Wing Media are a Tool for Soros and They're Too Dumb to Notice
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:55
The Washington Post, the Guardian and 150 other news outlets have obtained access to 11.9 million ''confidential files'' on offshore bank accounts and companies in 200 countries, melodramatically dubbed ''the Pandora Papers'', the next in a series of illegal hacks released to damage certain companies and high-profile figures after the ''Panama Papers'' and ''Paradise Papers'', among others.
Once again, the entire operation is a carefully coordinated media campaign waged for shady purposes by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an NGO founded and funded by George Soros and the Open Society Foundations (2017: $400,000; 2018: $1.5 million; 2019: $25,000).
ICIJ was founded by the Open Society funded Center for Public Integrity 1997 and has formally been independent since 2017. According to InfluenceWatch, ''the Center for Public Integrity has received contributions from a number of left-leaning foundation funders including the Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network Fund, Foundation to Promote Open Society, Knight Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation.''
While the ''Pandora Papers'' have so far produced little evidence of any real crimes being committed, the real question is, when will international finance authorities start examining the dubious way Soros-tied NGOs, media and ''investigative journalists'' manipulate markets with spurious allegations that rarely lead to any criminal convictions?
TRENDING: It Begins: Federal Investigators Are Issuing Warrants for Google to Turn Over Anyone Typing in Certain Search Terms
In ''Secret Empires'', corruption expert Peter Schweizer (''Clinton Cash'') documents how Soros and other Obama loyalists like Tom Steyer and Marty Nesbitt parlayed their advance knowledge of Obama policy into millions in revenue. In 2009, for example, George Soros started investing $1.1 billion in ''green'' and ''climate change'' NGOs to push for tougher policy on coal and oil drilling, while at the same time shorting the affected companies and later buying them for pennies on the dollar.
When Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected President in 2016, George Soros not only lost approx. $1 billion, he also lost his exclusive access to the White House, which he has been fighting tooth and nail ever since to regain. In the meantime, however, he may have needed an alternate method of manipulating markets and reaping profits '' conceivably, this may be how the idea of using illegal hacks and the Open Society network of ''investigative journalists'', left-wing media and ''research collectives'' was born.
A series of data dumps were thus foist upon the world as sensational news stories '' ''Swiss Leaks'', ''Lux Leaks'', the ''Panama Papers'' and ''Paradise Papers'' '' usually with very little actual criminal activity behind them. Thus, the biggest victim of the so-called ''Paradise Papers'' was Apple Computer, which stood accused of tax evasion, which it denied, stating it had paid $35 billion in taxes in the time period concerned. In July 2020, Apple Computer was completely exonerated of the spurious claims by the Court of the European Union '' not that anybody took any notice. The damage was already done.
In 2020, Soros-tied NGOs were investing massively in order to prevent the reelection of Donald Trump, perhaps raising the need for more cash in the run-up to the election. Coincidentally, on Sept. 21, 2020, ICIJ reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier dropped the so-called FinCen Files, accusing Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank of shady ties to shifty characters. (Obermayer and Obermaier are also behind the plot to bring down the patriotic Austrian government 2019, and the ICIJ Pegasus Spy Software attacks on conervative governments worldwide.)
Share prices of the banks concerned tanked approx. 5% the next market day, allowing any hedge fund which happened to have any foreknowledge of the ''explosive revelations'' to reap a handy profit. Throughout 2020, investment firm Blackrock had taken a series of short positions in Deutsche Bank, for example. Little has come of the allegedly nefarious dealings of Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank since then.
Now that the key German elections are over, the Soros-tied media network lost no time in hyping their next data dump, the ''Pandora Papers'', while conspicuously failing to reveal exactly what foreknowledge Soros-related investment funds had of the upcoming ''bombshell'' allegations.
The so-called ''investigative journalists'' involved in exposing the ''secrets of the global elite'' of course neglect to ever examine the offshore banking practices of Soros Fund, Quantum Fund and other OSF-tied funds all located in tax shelters like Panama, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands, or the practice of laundering money through tax-exempt NGOs which are then used to influence public policy and destroy entire companies and industries.
The number of children seeking urgent behavioral health care at Connecticut Children's has tripled since the summer, forcing families to wait hours on end for an emergency department bed - Hartford Courant
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:11
Connecticut Children's Medical Center is struggling to manage a surge in children showing up to its emergency department seeking urgent behavioral health care. In the past few weeks, the number of children in need of such care has tripled in comparison to what it was over the summer, forcing families in crisis to wait in hallways for hours on end before obtaining a bed for their child.
The overburdened emergency department has drawn the attention of the state Department of Public Health, which has been working with the Hartford hospital on how to transfer patients at least 16 years old to other hospitals in the state.
On Monday evening, Dr. James E. Shmerling, the president and chief executive officer of Children's, said that there were about 43 children in ''Zone C'' of the hospital's emergency department, the area for children seeking behavioral health care, including for suicidal ideation, self-harm and other mental health conditions. At one point last week, there were as many as 47 children in Zone C.
Over the summer, there were typically about 15 or 16 children in Zone C '-- a third of the current volume.
''This is our COVID surge,'' Shmerling said.
Currently, there are only 11 beds in Zone C, although the hospital has added additional areas for about a dozen other children, for a total capacity of about 20 to 25 children, Shmerling said. But over the past month, the number of children in Zone C has ranged from 30 to 50, according to hospital spokesperson Monica Buchanan.
''A lot of these children are on stretchers and there's no physical space right now, other than in the hallway,'' Shmerling said. ''That's unfortunately the status.''
After the initial wait to obtain a bed in the emergency department, children who require inpatient psychiatric care must then wait even longer for an available bed at another institution, since Children's does not have any licensed psychiatric beds. Often that wait lasts days, sometimes as long as a week.
That's what happened to a pair of Connecticut parents who realized last week that their child was self-harming and seriously contemplating suicide. They rushed to Children's '-- only to spend eight hours sitting on plastic chairs before their child was given a bed in Zone C.
In this 2019 file photo, Dr. Steven Rogers, medical director of behavioral health for Connecticut Children's Medical Center, stands outside a room in Zone C of the hospital for behavioral and mental health patients. The room is purposely stripped to ensure the safety of patients who may try to harm themselves. (STEPHEN DUNN/Special to Hartford Magazine)
Three days passed until a pediatric psychiatrist visited their child and informed the family that ''it would take 7-8 days for a bed to open in a psychiatric hospital,'' one of the parents, who asked to remain anonymous to protect their child, wrote in an email.
''Being stuck in the emergency unit of CCMC means that our child is receiving no treatment of any kind even though we came here for a potentially life-threatening situation,'' the parent said.
Children's has hired more than 100 people this year alone to work in Zone C, Shmerling said, but the larger issue is not one of staff '-- but of space. The hospital has seen a significant rise in its volume of patients seeking medical and surgical care, which means that there are no extra beds or any ''flex space'' to offset the surge in demand for behavioral health care.
''We're having a medical and surgical surge, and a behavioral health surge at the same time,'' he said. ''We can handle a medical, surgical surge, but we're at a breaking point with the behavioral health.''
The hospital plans to build 15 medical psychiatric beds, but Shmerling said that it would take 12 to 18 months before they become operational.
''It'll help us in the long run but it won't help us tonight,'' he said.
Six months ago, pediatric mental health providers, who reported that they were already severely overburdened, warned that they expected to see an even greater surge in demand for care in the fall, as children returned to school.
For many children, the profound disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic '-- from remote learning to reduced social contact '-- significantly exacerbated, or led to the emergence of, experiences of anxiety and depression. And while for some children, this fall offered a return to the familiar routines of in-person learning, for others, it brought yet another destabilizing change.
''Especially for kids who have anxiety, their preferred methods of coping is avoidance,'' Dr. Ruby Lekwauwa, a child adolescent psychiatrist at the Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, told the Courant in May. ''They've had six, seven, eight months of not having to deal with their peers, not having to deal with their teachers, and the idea of having to go back to school is a huge, huge obstacle and a source of a lot of stress for them.''
During the summer, when the number of children arriving at the Children's emergency department for behavioral health services dropped to around 15 or 16 on a given day, the rate of children showing increased risk of suicide also declined.
All children ages 10 and older who visit the emergency department at Children's for any reason undergo a suicide risk screening. Usually about 16% of children show signs of increased risk of suicide, but that rate rose steadily over the course of the pandemic, to 22% this past January and up to 25% by March. Then it began to decline, to 21% in April and May, 19% by June, 14% by July and 15% by August.
That metric is typically at its lowest point during the summer, when children are not in school. And while the hospital does not yet have data for September, that proportion will likely rise again given the high demand for behavioral health services that Children's has seen in the past month.
Attempting to reduce the volume of patients in its emergency department, Children's is working with the state Department of Public Health and the Connecticut Hospital Association to potentially transfer older patients '-- those who are 16 to 18 years old '-- to hospitals with more capacity. Each week, there are about 30 patients in that age group in the Children's emergency department, Shmerling said.
Chris Boyle, a DPH spokesperson, confirmed Monday that the agency and the CHA are ''in discussions to provide support to Connecticut Children's with the diversion of behavioral health patients ages 16 and older to hospitals with appropriate psychiatric services.'' The Department of Public Health also sent a representative to Children's over the weekend to assess the situation in the emergency department.
While other hospitals are often similarly overburdened, some have offered to take in a few of those older patients, Shmerling said, including, recently, Stamford Hospital '-- nearly 80 miles away.
''If we can just reduce the demand for the older patients that might have better alternatives, that takes the pressure off us so we can take care of the younger kids,'' he said.
Meanwhile, the parents who rushed their child to Children's last week are still spending 24 hours a day in Zone C, waiting for an inpatient psychiatric bed to open up. They know that every day that they wait further exacerbates an already traumatic situation. Their child is confined to ''an enclosed space that is not intended to serve as a hospital room, without the possibility of walking or moving around,'' according to one of the parents.
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But they have no other options.
''If we take our child home we lose the 'privilege' of getting our child the treatment that is needed because our child would lose the ability to get admitted to a psychiatric hospital,'' the parent wrote.
If you are in Connecticut and experiencing thoughts of suicide, call 211 or text ''CT'' or ''HELLO'' to 741741. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). Connecticut's domestic violence hotline is 888-774-2900. Residents looking for more information on youth suicide prevention and mental health can read the CDC's COVID-19 Parental Resources Kit, and visit www.preventsuicidect.org or gizmo4mentalhealth.org.
Workers at all of Kellogg's U.S. cereal plants go on strike
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:36
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) '-- Work at all of the Kellogg Company's U.S. cereal plants came to a halt Tuesday as roughly 1,400 workers went on strike, but it wasn't immediately clear how much the supply of Frosted Flakes or any of the company's other iconic brands would be disrupted.
The strike includes plants in Omaha, Nebraska Battle Creek, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Memphis, Tennessee.
The union and the Battle Creek-based company have been at an impasse at the bargaining table for more than a year, said Daniel Osborn, president of the local union in Omaha. The dispute involves an assortment of pay and benefit issues such as the loss premium health care, holiday and vacation pay and reduced retirement benefits
''The company continues to threaten to send additional jobs to Mexico if workers do not accept outrageous proposals that take away protections that workers have had for decades,'' said Anthony Shelton, president of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.
The threat to move work to Mexico doesn't sit well with Osborn.
''A lot of Americans probably don't have too much issue with the Nike or Under Armor hats being made elsewhere or even our vehicles, but when they start manufacturing our food down where they are out of the FDA control and OSHA control, I have a huge problem with that,'' Osborn said.
The company insists that its offer is fair and would increase wages and benefits for its employees that it said made an average of $120,000 a year last year.
''We are disappointed by the union's decision to strike. Kellogg provides compensation and benefits for our U.S. ready to eat cereal employees that are among the industry's best,'' Kellogg spokesperson Kris Bahner said in a statement.
Osborn said he expects the company to try to bring non-union workers into the plants at some point this week to try to resume operations and maintain the supply of its products.
The company acknowledged that it is ''implementing contingency plans'' to limit supply disruptions for consumers.
The plants have all continued to operate throughout the coronavirus pandemic, but Osborn said that for much of that time workers were putting in 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to keep up production while so many people were out because of the virus.
''The level we were working at is unsustainable,'' Osborn said.
Kellogg's workers aren't the first food workers to strike during the pandemic.
Earlier this summer, more than 600 workers at a Frito-Lay plant in Topeka, Kansas, walked off the job to protest working conditions during the pandemic, including forced overtime. That strike ended in July when workers ratified a new contract.
Workers at Nabisco plants in five states went on strike in August to protest plans by Nabisco's parent, Mondelez International, to move some work to Mexico, among other issues, according to the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, which also represents the Kellogg's workers. That strike ended last month when workers ratified a new contract.
___
Associated Press writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed to this report from Detroit.
The entirety of Twitch has reportedly been leaked | VGC
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:26
An anonymous hacker claims to have leaked the entirety of Twitch, including its source code and user payout information.
The user posted a 125GB torrent link to 4chan on Wednesday, stating that the leak was intended to ''foster more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space'' because ''their community is a disgusting toxic cesspool''.
VGC can verify that the files mentioned on 4chan are publicly available to download as described by the anonymous hacker.
One anonymous company source told VGC that the leaked data is legitimate, including the source code for the Amazon-owned streaming platform.
Internally, Twitch is aware of the breach, the source said, and it's believed that the data was obtained as recently as Monday. We've requested comment from Twitch and will update this story when it replies.
The leaked Twitch data reportedly includes:
The entirety of Twitch's source code with comment history ''going back to its early beginnings''Creator payout reports from 2019Mobile, desktop and console Twitch clientsProprietary SDKs and internal AWS services used by Twitch''Every other property that Twitch owns'' including IGDB and CurseForgeAn unreleased Steam competitor, codenamed Vapor, from Amazon Game StudiosTwitch internal 'red teaming' tools (designed to improve security by having staff pretend to be hackers)Some Twitter users have started making their way through the 125GB of information that has leaked, with one claiming that the torrent also includes encrypted passwords, and recommending that users enable two-factor authentication to be safe.
If you have a Twitch account, it's recommended that you also turn on two-factor authentication, which ensures that even if your password is compromised, you still need your phone to prove your identity using either SMS or an authenticator app.
To turn on two-factor identification:
log on to Twitch, click your avatar and choose Settingsgo to Security and Privacy, then scroll down to the Security settingchoose Edit Two-Factor Authentication to see if it's already activated. If not, follow the instructions to turn it on (you'll need your phone)The torrent also reportedly includes Unity code for a game called Vapeworld, which appears to be chat software based on Amazon's unreleased Steam competitor Vapor.
Meanwhile, Vapor, the codename for an alleged in-development Steam competitor, is claimed to integrate many of Twitch's features into a bespoke game store.
Finally, the leaked documents allegedly show that popular streamers such as Shroud, Nickmercs and DrLupo have earned millions from working with the popular streaming platform.
What it doesn't include is money that streamers have earned outside of Twitter, including merchandise, YouTube revenue, sponsorships and external donations.
Despite this caveat, the list shows that 81 Twitch streamers have been paid more than $1 million by Twitch since August 2019.
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The anonymous leaker has stated that this is just the first part of the content due to be leaked, but hasn't stated what they plan to also release.
Twitch has regularly found itself under fire from creators and users who feel the site doesn't take enough action against problematic members of the Twitch community.
Last month a group of Twitch streamers called on other channels and viewers to boycott the site for 24 hours as a response to hate raids.
VGC has not downloaded the entire torrent but can confirm it does contain 125GB of dataOn the same day as the campaign was initially announced, Twitch posted a thread on Twitter explaining that it was attempting to stop hate raids but that it was not ''a simple fix''.
''No one should have to experience malicious and hateful attacks based on who they are or what they stand for,'' it stated. ''This is not the community we want on Twitch, and we want you to know we are working hard to make Twitch a safer place for creators.
''Hate spam attacks are the result of highly motivated bad actors, and do not have a simple fix. Your reports have helped us take action '' we've been continually updating our sitewide banned word filters to help prevent variations on hateful slurs, and removing bots when identified.
''We've been building channel-level ban evasion detection and account improvements to combat this malicious behaviour for months. However, as we work on solutions, bad actors work in parallel to find ways around them '' which is why we can't always share details.''
COVID-19: 'Hybrid immunity' may give us 'edge' over the coronavirus
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:22
Share on Pinterest New research shows that a combination of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and the first dose of an mRNA vaccine confers exceptional immunity to new variants of the coronavirus. Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty ImagesResearch suggests that people who have had COVID-19 and later receive the first dose of an mRNA vaccine develop exceptional immunity against a wide range of variants of the virus.These individuals could even have some protection against similar viruses that may jump from animals to humans to cause future pandemics.In people who have not had a natural SARS-CoV-2 infection, a third jab, or ''booster,'' may provide similarly broad protection.Almost 2 years after COVID-19 emerged in Wuhan, China, a growing body of evidence suggests that the human immune system of some individuals '-- with the help of vaccines '-- has gained the upper hand against the virus.
Several studies have found that people who recover from the infection and later receive the first dose of an mRNA vaccine develop strong immunity against a wide range of variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Furthermore, these individuals appear to have good protection against related coronaviruses that could cause future outbreaks.
Scientists have used the term ''hybrid'' immunity to refer to the immune-strengthening effect of exposure to infection followed by vaccination. They have drawn this metaphor from genetics. In plants, for example, when the offspring of two breeds grow more strongly than either parent, this is known as ''hybrid vigor.''
In people who have never had COVID-19, a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine may also provide hybrid immunity against variants of SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses.
Stay informed with live updates on the current COVID-19 outbreak and visit our coronavirus hub for more advice on prevention and treatment.
In one of the most recent studies, scientists created a virus that contained 20 naturally occurring mutations of the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which is the protein that the virus uses to break into cells.
The spike proteins were resistant to antibodies belonging to unvaccinated people who had recovered from COVID-19 and to antibodies from people who had been vaccinated but never had COVID-19.
Remarkably, however, antibodies from individuals who had recovered from COVID-19 and were subsequently vaccinated neutralized these spike proteins.
These antibodies were also highly effective against six SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including Delta and Beta. In addition, they neutralized several viruses in the same family of coronaviruses, known as sarbecoviruses, that usually infect bats and pangolins.
Antibodies from these individuals also neutralized SARS-CoV-1, which is the coronavirus that caused the SARS outbreak 20 years ago.
The paper was originally available as a preprint, but it now appears in Nature.
One of the authors, the virologist Prof. Paul Bieniasz, has conducted several studies of hybrid immunity with his colleagues at Rockefeller University in New York.
He notes that hybrid immunity develops in people who had COVID-19 early in the pandemic and are then vaccinated 6''12 months later.
''While SARS-CoV-2 infection itself is thought to be quite short-lived, it is likely that some viral proteins and possibly even some infected cells persist, perhaps even for months,'' he says.
He explains that this gives the immune system the chance to optimize and diversify its antibodies to recognize a wide range of variants. Vaccination then boosts the levels of these antibodies. He adds:
''One could reasonably predict that these individuals would be quite well-protected against most, and perhaps all, of the SARS-CoV-2 variants that we are likely to see in the foreseeable future.''
Another study, which appears in Science, found that in people who had recovered from COVID-19, a single dose of an mRNA vaccine boosted their levels of neutralizing antibodies against all variants of concern by up to 1,000-fold.
The authors conclude that their study highlights the importance of vaccinating people who have had COVID-19 in order to give them immunity to new variants.
In an accompanying comment article, the virologist Prof. Shane Crotty, Ph.D., from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, CA, writes that a type of immune cell called a memory B cell is responsible for hybrid immunity.
These cells remember past encounters with a particular viral infection and generate the same antibodies when they encounter the same infection again.
However, they also create a range of mutated versions of this antibody, which Prof. Crotty calls ''a stockpile of immunological variants.'' These anticipate future infections with different versions of the same virus.
''These diverse memory B cells, created in response to the original infection, appear to be preemptive guesses by the immune system as to what viral variants may emerge in the future,'' he writes.
People who have never had COVID-19 also benefit from this effect following vaccination, though to a lesser extent.
Another study that monitored the immunity of such individuals for 6 months after their second dose of an mRNA vaccine found that their antibody levels waned. However, their memory B cells recognized the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants, and these cells increased in number 3''6 months after vaccination.
''The same antibody can actually detect, and presumably neutralize, the Alpha variant, the Beta variant, and, very likely, the Delta variant as well,'' says senior author Prof. E. John Wherry, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia.
All the same, people who recover from COVID-19 and later have a first dose of a vaccine have stronger immunity than they would otherwise. This is because their immune system recognizes all 25 proteins that make up a SARS-CoV-2 virus.
In contrast, an mRNA vaccine only encodes a single protein '-- namely, the spike. Therefore, following vaccination, immune systems that have never encountered the virus itself only learn to recognize this protein and variants of it.
Prof. Wherry believes that in such cases, a booster dose of a vaccine will promote further evolution of these antibodies to provide stronger protection against variants.
The unpublished study, by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, is available on the preprint server BioRxiv.
''Based on all these findings, it looks like the immune system is eventually going to have the edge over this virus,'' says Prof. Bieniasz.
''And if we're lucky, SARS-CoV-2 will eventually fall into that category of viruses that gives us only a mild cold.''
What about related viruses that may jump from animals to humans to cause future pandemics, though? Can scientists develop a vaccine that protects against these as well as SARS-CoV-2?
The best approach may be to develop a vaccine that targets SARS and use it in conjunction with a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
Researchers led by the National University of Singapore reached this conclusion after finding that people in Singapore who recovered from SARS many years ago and recently received the Pfizer mRNA vaccine develop the strongest immunity against a broad range of sarbecoviruses.
Their antibodies neutralize not only SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern but also sarbecoviruses in bats and pangolins that have the potential to infect humans.
The study features in the New England Journal of Medicine.
''These findings show the feasibility of a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine strategy,'' they write.
Their research suggests that a SARS vaccine may be a better candidate to protect against future sarbecovirus pandemics than a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
They found that people who had recovered from SARS and later received the Pfizer vaccine had better protection against sarbecoviruses than people who had recovered from COVID-19.
''This group of recovered COVID-19 patients vaccinated with mRNA certainly have high levels of antibodies against COVID based on published work and our own data,'' co-author Prof. David Lye of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore told Medical News Today.
''[B]ut they won't be broadly neutralizing as demonstrated in our study against SARS and [viruses originating in] the rat and pangolin,'' he added.
He told MNT that he and his colleagues are urging biotech companies to accelerate their development of SARS vaccines.
For live updates on the latest developments regarding the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, click here.
Swedish Mohammed cartoonist died: Accident or assassination? - Disclose.tv
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:21
The Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks (75) died in a traffic accident. The artist had been under police protection for years because he drew the Islamic prophet Mohammed as a dog.
Vilks's car collided with a truck driving in the opposite direction. The vehicle was driving on the E4 motorway near the town of Markaryd in southern Sweden on Sunday afternoon.
According to the publisher Expressen, the artist's car slammed against the guardrail before colliding with the truck. The driver of the truck was hospitalized.
''That the person we wanted to protect and two colleagues were killed in this tragedy is incredible and very sad.''
Head of the regional policeThe Swedish Minister of Culture Amanda Lind (41) also commented on the accident on Twitter. She described the incident as ''extremely tragic'' and explained that the artist had to renounce his freedom since 2010 because he made use of his freedom of expression and developed artistically.
''It is so incredibly sad that it has to end this way,'' wrote Lind on Twitter.
Oerh¶rt tragiskt med trafikolyckan i Markaryd d¤r konstn¤ren Lars Vilks och tv¥ poliser omkommit. Lars Vilks som sedan 2010 tvingats leva i ofrihet p¥ grund av att han gjort bruk av sin yttrandefrihet och sin konstn¤rliga frihet. S¥ outs¤gligt sorgligt att det skulle sluta s¥h¤r.
'-- Amanda Lind (@amandalind_) October 3, 2021Lars Vilks has repeatedly dealt with Islamist-motivated attacksThe cartoonist was known for his portrayal of the Prophet Mohammed as a dog. A Swedish newspaper published one of his drawings for the first time in August 2007, which sparked international outrage.
The artist received death threats from Islamist extremists and various state governments intervened on the subject. The publication of the pictures was officially condemned by Iran and Pakistan.
An Iraqi group of the Al-Qaeda terror network also came forward and announced via video that they had put a bounty of $100,000 dollars on the Swede.
From then on, the doctor of art history lived under police protection and repeatedly found himself a target for attacks. In 2014, the American Colleen LaRose (58), known in the media as ''Jihad Jane'', was arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison for planning a murder attempt on Vilks.
The former professor was also almost murdered on February 14, 2015, in Copenhagen when a 22-year-old Dane with Palestinian roots attacked him at an event about freedom of expression. The perpetrator injured five police officers and killed a filmmaker and a Jewish security guard before the officers shot him in front of his home.
The authorities are investigating the accident ''like any other traffic accident'' and have ruled out a crime or a terror attack for now.
ALL CLIPS
VIDEO - Contributing to the Carbon Almanac
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 12:46
Contributing to the Carbon Almanac
I think a book can make a difference. If you're able to contribute to one, I'd love to hear from you.
Over the years, I've seen how a shared conversation can enable change. And a book'--an agreed upon set of facts--can be the focus of that conversation.
I've produced many almanacs over the years, including the Information Please Business Almanac and The Women's Almanac. This project is more urgent though.
The Carbon Almanac will be a collection of tables, graphs, history, quotes, explanations and maps about the state of carbon in our world today. It's a zero-profit all-volunteer project, built by a cadre of people online and eventually shared widely. The whole thing is built online, completely asynchronous and horizontal.
We are searching for twenty or thirty more contributors. Here's a simple form... we'll reach out soon if it's a good fit. At that point, we will share login information to join the community.
Thanks for making a difference.
VIDEO - US nuclear sub crashes in S. China Sea '' US silent (Full show) - YouTube
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:55
VIDEO - BREAKING: Pfizer 'Fetal Cell' Whistleblower Melissa Strickler has been TERMINATED - YouTube
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:37
VIDEO - Trust Us - YouTube
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:36
VIDEO - Man Shouts "Let's Go Brandon" Live On Fox News
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:34
Man Shouts "Let's Go, Brandon!" Live On FoxNo Spin News with Bill O'Reilly
VIDEO - What in God's Name Is Scalp Popping? - InsideHook
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:31
TikTok has long played willing host to dumb and dangerous trends. At various times on the platform, people have filed down their own teeth, dipped their testicles in soy sauce, and even licked public toilet bowls in an effort to get coronavirus on purpose.
It's easy to point out how abjectly insane these experiments are, but that doesn't mean other users don't want to watch them happen '-- or even try them out for themselves, in the name of king content.
One of the latest trends is another head-scratcher: ''scalp popping.'' The origin video shows a barber tugging sections of a man's hair back so hard that the man's head makes loud cracking noises, similar to the sound a back makes when you twist and turn in a chair. Check out the video below:
To answer the questions that come to any rational person's mind after watching that video '-- no, scalp popping is not safe, and no, it does not serve any purpose. Naturally, the video has nearly two million likes and millions more than that in views.
What's even happening here? According to Dr. Anthony Youn, a plastic surgeon with a TikTok following of his own, ''This is when pull the hair so hard you pop the galea off of the skull that you create [a] popping sound.'' The galea aponeurotica is a ''tough fibrous sheet of connective tissue that extends over the cranium,'' as defined by Radiology Reference. When the barber pulls the man's hair back, he's pulling the tissue it's attached to, too, with such force that it slaps back against the skull, creating the ''pop.''
Some seem to find the sound satisfying '-- perverse ASMR is certainly having a moment '-- but the endgame is nowhere worth it. This can lead to tears, scarring, inflammation, and even bleeding inside the scalp. Fortunately, Dr. Youn commands a large audience of his own (with 6.5 million followers), so it's possible the experts have intervened before high school kids start trying this at lunch.
Kudos, also, to TikTok itself, for dropping the following disclaimer on the #scalppopping page: ''Performance, imitation, or encouragement of dangerous amateur stunts and risky behavior that can lead to serious injury or death is not permitted on TikTok.'' Just this once, let's hope the platform means it.
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VIDEO - September 10, 2021 - YouTube
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 11:28
VIDEO - Leana Wen, M.D. on Twitter: "As a woman under 50 who received the J&J vaccine, I will not get a J&J booster. There are other options, specifically Pfizer and Moderna, that are not associated with the very rare but very serious blood clotti
Sun, 10 Oct 2021 00:47
Leana Wen, M.D. : As a woman under 50 who received the J&J vaccine, I will not get a J&J booster. There are other options, specifical'... https://t.co/WxbUwHytHw
Sat Oct 09 01:09:51 +0000 2021
Dave : @DrLeanaWen I trust your advice, Dr. Wen. Big fan!
Sat Oct 09 22:10:56 +0000 2021
Jason Wied : @DrLeanaWen Does anyone still believe this woman?
Sat Oct 09 21:59:42 +0000 2021
BenJamN : @DrLeanaWen You're right, I'm much more of a myocarditis guy myself. Thanks doc! ðŸ¤
Sat Oct 09 21:42:28 +0000 2021
Leonard Sowah : @DrLeanaWen The Brits have data from natural history experiments do to shortages in their implementation. May take'... https://t.co/8B8s1X8JBb
Sat Oct 09 21:33:09 +0000 2021
Cognitive Dissonance : @DrLeanaWen https://t.co/bpJThINlEO
Sat Oct 09 21:20:37 +0000 2021
Terry : @DrLeanaWen Look forward to the statue of you going up... https://t.co/DaEXUswz3W
Sat Oct 09 20:55:59 +0000 2021
noone@nowhere : @DrLeanaWen This is irresponsible. The chances of any blood clotting disorder from your 2nd JnJ jab, if you were fi'... https://t.co/C50My9mXsM
Sat Oct 09 20:30:30 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Teen dead after 'gun battle' on 6th Street, APD officer fired weapon during shootout | KXAN Austin
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 20:41
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- An investigation has been launched after an APD officer fired their gun during a shootout between two groups of people downtown overnight.
APD Chief Joseph Chacon said two officers ran towards the sound of gunfire on East 6th Street and Sabine Street at about 1:15 a.m. on Saturday morning.
When they arrived at the scene, the officers saw a group of men shooting at another group. In response, one of the officers fired their weapon, Chacon said, and the suspects fled the scene.
It is unclear if anyone was shot by the officer, Chacon said.
A few minutes later, officers found a 17-year-old Black male with a gunshot wound, Chacon said. The teenager was taken to a local hospital, but APD confirmed on Saturday morning that he later died from his injuries.
''Witnesses were located that advised that this appeared to be a dispute, and ultimately a gun battle between two different groups of individuals and multiple weapons were observed,'' Chacon said in a media briefing early Saturday morning.
The scene at a shooting involving an Austin Police Department officer overnight (Picture: KXAN/Frank Martinez)He said that the officers were working a DWI investigation a block away from the incident when they heard gunshots.
A few minutes after the groups ran away from the scene, officers located two people that appear to have been involved and recovered a handgun.
They then found the critically injured 17-year-old. Police don't know whether the teenager was shot by the officer or one of the other people involved in the shootout.
APD Chief Joseph Chacon gives a media briefing after a shooting involving an Austin Police Department officer overnight (Picture: KXAN/Frank Martinez)Chacon asked anyone who witnessed the incident or has video of the shooting to contact police by calling 9-1-1 or the Crimestoppers tipline at 512 472-8477.
Body camera footage captured the moment that the officer fired the weapon, Chacon said.
The officer involved in the shooting is a four-year veteran with APD and will be placed on administrative duty.
VIDEO - Maher: 'How Are We Going to Build Back Better if We Have No Workers and No Supplies?'
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 17:29
On Friday's broadcast of HBO's ''Real Time,'' host Bill Maher wondered how the Build Back Better bill will help the economy when there's a shortage of workers and building supplies are being held up by supply chain issues.
Maher said, ''It's interesting. Because I keep reading about the Build Back Better bill. They want '-- we can't '-- we don't have enough workers, even if we passed it tomorrow. And because of all these supply chain problems, we don't have building supplies. So, how are we going to build back better if we have no workers and no supplies?''
He added, ''It's a good idea, though. It's always a good idea.''
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett
VIDEO - Saagar Enjeti: Biden SECRETLY CAVES To China, Big Business On Trump's Trade War - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:30
VIDEO - China's Nightmarish New Bio Weapon Targets Race and Ethnicity - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 16:19
VIDEO - get the f*kn jab - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:46
VIDEO - Pfizer Whistleblower Leaks Execs Emails: 'We Want to Avoid Having Info on Fetal Cells Out There' - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:06
VIDEO - China's POWER SHORTAGE Could Cause Economic Collapse - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 14:05
VIDEO - (20) Election Wizard on Twitter: "REPORTER: "What do you make of these really terrible polls?" @PressSec: "This is a really tough time in our country...we still have 20% of the country who've decided not to get vaccinated." https://t.co/2Y1PhaB89Z
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:54
Election Wizard : REPORTER: "What do you make of these really terrible polls?"@PressSec: "This is a really tough time in our countr'... https://t.co/NAYupQkE3A
Fri Oct 08 19:27:51 +0000 2021
Andrew Tice : @ElectionWiz @PressSec 20% 🆠thats funny! Good one Jen! Reason for the low polling is aversion to blatant tyranny.'... https://t.co/F0LDt6Y2xB
Sat Oct 09 13:49:49 +0000 2021
news guy : @ElectionWiz @PressSec glad somebody besides doocy is calling her out? she genuinely looks hurt by the question.
Sat Oct 09 13:45:58 +0000 2021
WEWILLSEE : @ElectionWiz @PressSec Deflecting every day
Sat Oct 09 13:39:30 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Deepfake AI voice clone: 30min vs 8hrs of training (Descript Overdub demo) - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:45
VIDEO - Jen Psaki: It's ''unfair and absurd'' that companies would increase costs for consumers - YouTube
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:25
VIDEO - HILARIOUS: Someone Paged "Let's Go Brandon" At Chicago's O'Hare Airport [VIDEO]
Sat, 09 Oct 2021 13:19
As the ''Let's Go Brandon'' craze, also known as ''F**k Joe Biden'' sweeps the nation, people in the movement keep coming up with more creative ways to implement it.
This time, someone had ''Let's Go Brandon paged at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
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MORE NEWS: Angry Dad Serves School Board $200 Million Medical Malpractice Lawsuit At Public Meeting
WATCH:
>>>FOLLOW US ON GAB<<<
Intercom: Lets Go Brandon, please report to G10 to meet your party. Passenger Lets Go Brandon, please report to G10 to meet your party.
Brick Suit: Lets Go Brandon
It seems as if Brandon gets around.
Rumors have him at loads of college football stadiums across the country week after week, a pro golf tournament, and concerts of many different music genres.
His name has been shouted at the Congressional baseball game, a few NFL games, from people marching the streets wherever Joe Biden shows up and even by young students on a school bus.
Brandon's popularity and the legend continues to grow.
MORE NEWS: NBA Star Andrew Bogut Joins Stew Peters From Behind Enemy Lines In Australia
The people of the internet appreciate it.
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Here's what a few of them are saying'...
''Real heroes don't wear capes.''
''Brandon was already the most popular dude in stadiums coast to coast. Now, he is getting paged at the airport. His legend continues to grow. Brandon is going places.''
''Brandon is everywhere now!!''
''How damn dumb are these airport workers.''
''May you live forever, Brick Suit Man! Well played, sir.''
pic.twitter.com/CVwy0YkrUl
'-- brtsr (@brtjr) October 8, 2021
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VIDEO - Ex-Austin mayors, billionaire activist George Soros add political muscle to Prop A fight | KXAN Austin
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 14:28
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Three former Austin mayors and a Democratic billionaire activist have waded into the political battle over Proposition A.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Save Austin Now '-- the political action committee pushing the ballot measure '-- announced former mayors Lee Leffingwell, Lee Cooke and Ron Mullen have thrown their support behind the proposition, alongside current Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly.
If passed, Prop A would add hundreds of officers to Austin's police department by requiring a ratio of two officers for every 1,000 residents. As KXAN has reported, the cost could land between $271.5 million and $598.9 million over five years, according to a memo from the city's chief financial officer.
''There is nothing wrong with having too many police officers, but there is a lot wrong with having too few,'' Leffingwell said.
Opponents believe the passage of Prop A could lead to funding cuts within the fire department, along with parks, pools, and libraries.
Last week, Democratic billionaire and activist George Soros donated $500,000 to anti-proposition Equity PAC, the group behind the 'No Way on Prop A' campaign. The contribution was made through Soros' Open Society Policy Center, according to financial records.
His money, along with a $200,000 donation from the Fairness Project and $120,383 in other contributions reported in a recent campaign filing, means Equity PAC and 'No Way on Prop A' have $820,383 headed into the Nov. 2 election. Save Austin Now has raised $731,732, according to its most recent filing.
''The 115 organizations against Prop A comprise one of the largest and most diverse groups in the history of Austin politics, in addition to a growing list of 38 current and former elected officials,'' said Laura Hernandez Holmes, campaign manager for 'No Way on Prop A.'
Last week, the Austin Firefighters Association announced it would not support Prop A, saying the Austin Police Department is fully funded and already has the money to hire hundreds of more officers.
VIDEO - White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing | C-SPAN.org
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 14:15
October 6, 2021 2021-10-06T20:26:12-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/2e3/20211006150410012_hd.jpg The White House COVID-19 Response Team gave an update on federal efforts to combat the pandemic. Topics included an expansion of testing options, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, and therapeutics.The White House COVID-19 Response Team gave an update on federal efforts to combat the pandemic. Topics included an expansion of testing options, COVID-19 and flu vaccinations, and therapeutics.
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Thu, 07 Oct 2021 12:24
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VIDEO - Biden exposed as clueless by John Kerry, 'The Five' reacts - YouTube
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:35
COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: Hollywood Battle Lines Emerge '' The Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:25
In August, a high-profile actor was on the set of a film when he came down with COVID-19 and was hospitalized. The star, known to the cast and crew as being dismissive of vaccines and masks, was said to be unvaccinated. The film shut down for three weeks, but not before more than a dozen crewmembers got sick, sources say. Ultimately, the stoppage resulted in a seven-figure hit for the production company. The Hollywood Reporter is withholding the actor's name because he didn't flout any specific protocol on the project. The actor's rep declined to comment.
Though Hollywood might appear unified when it comes to embracing such COVID-19 preventive measures as vaccines, the reality is more divided, mirroring the broader American population, where 44 percent are not fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. In the film and TV industry, there are no universal vaccine mandates in place, allowing for individual producers to determine whether those in Zone A '-- typically the project's main actors, who cannot wear a mask because of storylines, as well as key crewmembers '-- require proof of vaccination.
That wiggle room has resulted in a number of productions descending into chaos, as was the case on Paramount+'s The Offer, which shut down production in late July due to a Zone A COVID-19 positive. That positive person was publicly identified as a series star who was said to be unvaccinated. Sources tell THR that the stoppage resulted in a $6 million loss for the limited series about the making of The Godfather. (A Paramount+ rep counters that the figure was below $6 million.)
George Clooney calls it a ''crazy'' situation that some of his brethren are eschewing the COVID-19 vaccine. ''It's stupid. And it's stupid because every generation in our country for more than a lifetime has been asked to sacrifice something for the safety of their fellow man '-- get shot, fight Nazis,'' he says. ''All that anyone's being asked here is to get a shot in the arm and put on a mask. Grow up. Get something done.''
From studio backlots to agency conference rooms, the vaccine debate is dividing Hollywood just as the delta variant keeps up its destructive path. While vaccine skeptics are far less likely to voice their opinions publicly, plenty of industry holdouts remain. A number of performers, from Rob Schneider (now shooting Netflix's Home Team) to Letitia Wright (filming Marvel's Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) have shared anti-vaccine positions on social media. In Wright's case, a set source says she has espoused similar views about the COVID-19 vaccines on the Atlanta production. The British actress quietly parted ways with her entire U.S. team of representatives in the wake of a backlash over posting a controversial anti-vaccine video in December.
Disney, the studio behind Black Panther, will begin rolling out a sticker system on all of its new productions in mid-October that requires visible proof of COVID-19 vaccination status, as stipulated in a return-to-work agreement between AMPTP and Hollywood's unions. Those in Zone A who are fully vaccinated will have a wristband. Those who are not, will not. (Anything already shooting is not covered.)
NBCUniversal recently found itself in an awkward standoff with Sean Penn. The Oscar-winning actor left the set of the Watergate-era limited series Gaslit in July and said he wouldn't return until every member of the production was vaccinated. But NBCUniversal, which already had imposed the strictest requirements possible according to on-set protocols established in September 2020 by an agreement between the AMPTP and the unions, only requires Zone A members to be fully vaccinated. Penn came back about two months later. His return was considered a compromise. (Only Gaslit's Zone A members were required to be vaccinated, but an NBCUniversal spokesperson says there is currently an all-zone mandate until production wraps.)
Penn, whose CORE organization was instrumental in supplying widespread COVID-19 testing and vaccine distribution across Los Angeles County, also stuck his neck out while promoting his MGM film Flag Day and requested that unvaccinated moviegoers skip the cinemas. ''Stay home until you are convinced of these very clearly safe vaccines,'' Penn told THR, adding: ''We've normalized this notion of radical libertarianism, and it really is a violation of the idea of interconnectedness.''
Some actors have learned to coexist amid a murky landscape, in which some colleagues continue to avoid the jab. ''Each individual has his or her own rights. We aren't in control of anyone's body, only that person is,'' says Black-ish star Anthony Anderson. ''I'm vaccinated because I have preexisting conditions as a Type 2 diabetic, so I wanted to make sure that I did whatever I could to stave off this pandemic and COVID. But I'm not here to judge anyone on what they should do with their body. I can only govern what I'm doing with mine. As long as they respect me, I respect them. And as long as we keep our 6-foot distance and wear a mask, then we can interact and do what we want to do. But it's not my place to police anyone.''
Productions aren't the only Hollywood battlefield; social circles are also facing turmoil. THR learned of an instance that saw an A-lister cut ties with a beloved yoga instructor who refused the vaccine. The star had highly recommended the guru and facilitated introductions to a cadre of fellow insiders, some of whom are said to have ended the relationship as well to protect loved ones with vulnerable conditions.
And while many companies have instituted vaccine mandates for the return to work, the full picture isn't yet clear as many are still working from home. Still, some are angry about what they see from a distance. ''There are definitely people who have refused to get vaccinated, and they were putting the safety and health of their co-workers in jeopardy,'' the agency partner says. ''We've encountered a few, but people are now getting to the point where they've woken up to the reality that non-vaccinated people are the ones causing chaos and making others sick. Nobody wants to work in an environment where that is a possibility, and you are not fully protected.''
For now, Hollywood decisionmakers seeking to implement blanket COVID-19 vaccination requirements have their hands tied. The AMPTP-Hollywood's union protocols will remain in effect until Oct. 31. Furthermore, many productions feature actors and actresses under the age of 12, who are not yet approved to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
But some actors like Giancarlo Esposito are hoping that the unvaccinated simply avoid sets while the delta variant rages. ''If you don't want to vaccinate, go to a small island and sequester yourself,'' the Mandalorian and Better Call Saul actor says. ''[Otherwise] you're saying 'Fuck you' to all you other human beings. We all have to do it if we want to live. I don't understand how people don't vaccinate. For me, I've lost dear friends, so I know it's real. Not only in Europe but in America, friends who were completely healthy and uncompromised. The vaccine is the answer. I'm not downing anyone who doesn't want to vaccinate. Don't work. Go ride it out somewhere where you're not going to compromise anyone else if you get it.''
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 6 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.
Oct. 6, 12:25 pm Updated to include a comment from an NBCUniversal spokesperson regarding its COVID-19 safety protocols on Gaslit.
VIDEO - Doctors Spreading COVID-19 Misinformation Should Have Licenses Revoked, Medical Board Says | Here & Now
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 11:02
A doctor with a stethoscope. (Getty Images) Correction: In the audio version of this story, we referred to Dr. Joseph Mercola as one of the founders of America's Frontline Doctors. Dr. Mercola is not affiliated with that group. We regret the error.
It's one thing when your barber or the guy at a hardware store announces that vaccines don't work or that 5G causes COVID-19. But what if the person spreading misinformation about a deadly virus is a doctor?
It's rare '-- but it's happening. Among the most prolific spreaders are a group called America's Frontline Doctors. The organization is small, but the audiences it attracts are outsized.
Now the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is taking action with a recommendation that medical professionals who spread coronavirus misinformation have their medical licenses revoked or suspended.
Host Robin Young discusses the issue with Humayun Chaudhry, FSMB's president, who says the consequences of spreading misinformation can be fatal.
This segment aired on September 24, 2021.
VIDEO - CDC director warns the U.S. is at risk of a severe flu season this year
Thu, 07 Oct 2021 03:59
Published Wed, Oct 6 2021 3:47 PM EDTUpdated 4 Hours Ago
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CDC influenza experts are concerned that the United States could be at risk for a severe flu season this year, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Wednesday.That's because the U.S. population may now have reduced immunity against influenza after flu cases reached an all-time low last year, she said.Walensky urged Americans to get vaccinated for both Covid and the flu.Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky testifies during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing to examine the FY 2022 budget request for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on May 19, 2021 in Washington,DC.
Jim Lo Scalzo | AFP | Getty Images
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza experts are concerned that the United States could be at risk for a severe flu season this year, Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned Wednesday.
That's because the U.S. population may now have reduced immunity against influenza after seasonal flu cases reached an all-time low last year when large parts of the nation were shut down, Walensky told reporters during a White House press briefing.
During the 2020-2021 flu season, there were very few flu cases, "largely because of masking and physical distancing and other prevention measures put in place for the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.
There were around 2,000 flu cases last influenza season, according to data reported to the CDC. By comparison, the 2019-2020 flu season saw an estimated 35 million cases, according to the agency.
Walensky urged Americans to get shots for both Covid and the flu, saying vaccinations are not just important for ending the pandemic but also preventing other infectious diseases. An increase in flu infections this winter could put an additional burden on the nation's health-care system, increasing stress on health care workers who are already fighting a high number of hospitalizations due to Covid, she said.
About 69,000 Americans are currently in inpatient beds with Covid, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
"We continue to see many hospitals and intensive care units across the country at full capacity," Walensky said. "Each year in the United States, influenza can claim between 12,000 and 52,000 lives and result in 140,000 to 710,000 hospitalizations."
She said it is safe and effective to get vaccines for Covid and the flu at the same time.
"We need as many people as possible to be vaccinated for influenza, so that we can provide protection for those who are at most risk, such as adults who are over 65, those of any age who have chronic health conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes, and children, especially under five who are at risk of severe complications from the flu," she said.
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VIDEO - CBS Chicago Special Report: Why I Carjack; Teens Tell All '' CBS Chicago
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:34
By Irika Sargent and Carol Thompson
CHICAGO (CBS) '-- Chicago faces a carjacking crisis.
READ MORE: Huntley H.S. Dismissal Postponed, Building Placed On 'Hold In Place' Lockdown As Police Investigate 'Potential Safety Concern'The city is on pace to top last year's numbers. You've heard from victims of those crimes. You've heard from police and community leaders trying to prevent those crimes.
But, for the first time you're hearing from some of the youngest carjackers committing those crimes. They talk about why they do it, how they do it and what it will take to get them to stop.
Three teens sat down with CBS 2's Irika Sargent for a candid conversation.
We're giving them a voice, not to glamorize to take advantage of them, but to understand why they do it. Could what they say help you stay safe?
'David' is 14 years old.
''If they fight back, I drag them out of the car and get in,'' he said.
'Nicole' is 16 with a long list of carjackings on her record.
''I'd say like six. I don't know. I don't count. (laughs)''
The Crimes
There could be hundreds of teens in Chicago looking for their next victims. We know from Chicago Police data CBS 2 received through a public records request that police arrested 50 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 for carjacking. That was in the first four months of this year.
'David' had not been arrested when we talked with him over the summer. He told us he didn't have any regrets after committing his first carjacking.
Anyone anywhere can be carjacked. It's happening in dark alleys, busy parking lots, even steps away from your front door.
Victims described their carjackers: ''I could just feel her hands around my neck.'' And '''...leaned over into the car and put the gun to my head.'' And '''...put a gun to my chest and said, 'If you move, I'll kill you'.''
We've been tracking a surge in carjackings for two years with many victims shocked at the age of their attackers.
The wife of a man shot dead when teens couldn't figure out how to drive his car said through tears, ''I want my husband back. It's the worst day of my life.''
The daughter of an Army veteran beaten to death by teens said, ''It makes no sense to me.''
Chicago Police have expanded its carjacking task force twice already this year. However, without much success. Through the end of September, CPD has made arrests in just 73 of 1,203 carjackings. That's an under 6% arrest rate.
The arrest data reveals 54% of those arrested for carjackings (January through April) were 17 years old or younger.
Until now, you haven't heard from young carjackers on what motivates them to commit these crimes, how they choose their targets and if anything will make them stop.
CBS 2 set up a room to speak with the three teens. CBS 2 set it up in a way that we wouldn't see them, and they wouldn't see each other. Nothing else was off the table.
'David' is 14 Years Old
Sargent: ''What drew you to it?''
'David': ''The game. GTA.''
GTA is the longstanding, popular video game, Grand Theft Auto.
'David': ''If you don't got a car on there, you can just take the car from people. It looked fun. I wanted to do it.''
Sargent: ''Take me back that first time.''
'David': ''Me and my friends, three of us, we was walking and I told 'em 'Let's take a car.' We saw a man and we just ran and stuck him up and got in the car and drove off.''
Sargent: ''Did he seem scared, shocked to see someone so young doing it?''
'David': ''Yeah.''
Sargent: ''Would you say that it was easy?''
'David': ''Yes.''
He says getting the gun was also simple.
'David': ''People on Facebook and stuff. They sell guns.''
Sargent: ''So you were able to buy a weapon off Facebook?''
'David': ''Yes.''
Sargent: ''And do you find a lot of kids your age do that?''
'David': ''Yes.''
'Nicole' is 16 Years Old
'Nicole' carjacks for different reasons.
'Nicole': ''I had some place to go and I didn't have a way there. Sometimes I even sell a car, like get a car just to get money.''
She says being a girl works in her favor.
'Nicole': ''They wouldn't probably expect a younger aged female to be out here carjacking.''
Sargent: ''What kind of weapons do you use when you commit a carjacking?''
'Nicole': ''A knife.''
Nicole has been arrested before. But, after a short stay in juvenile detention, she was back out and back to carjacking.
Sargent: ''Is this something that you still are doing?''
'Nicole': ''Yes.''
READ MORE: 21-Year-Old Man Shot While Driving, Crashes Into Tree And Lou Malnati's Restaurant In North CenterThe Community
''In my mind there is no child that is irredeemable,'' says Tyrone Muhammad.
He spent 21 years in prison for murder. And, before that as a teenager he says ''I did the drive-by. I did the carjacking,'' Muhammad said.
Now he runs a mentoring group called Ex-Cons for Community & Social Change (ECCSC). The goal? To stop teens from landing behind bars, using his own life as a cautionary tale. Does mentoring work?
''If you don't replace their activity with something constructive., where they can see themselves making a living, then you'll never fix this problem,'' Muhammad said.
And there's a lot of work to be done.
CBS2 has been tracking carjackings in Chicago. With 1,203 carjackings so far in 2021, this year is on track to top last year's number of 1,414.
These two years together have already netted more carjackings than the pervious three years combined. 2,617 compared to 2,307. Nearly every neighborhood has been hit.
The five hardest hit communities so far this year:
Austin, 93Garfield Park, 75North Lawndale, 75Humboldt Park, 47South Shore, 44'Nicole' often targets the Loop where there have been 11 carjackings this year. That's two more than last year.
Sargent: ''What about that area makes it a prime spot?''
'Nicole' says it's all about how people act, ''They will think that it's like more safer for them'...like they don't have to worry about nobody running up on them.''
Sargent: ''Have you ever hurt someone?''
'Nicole': ''No. No. It hasn't got that far.''
Though, she admits it can quickly escalate.
Sargent: ''People are losing their lives because of this. People are paralyzed because of this. Do you think of the victims?''
'Nicole': ''I want to say yeah. But like in that moment you might not be thinking.''
Remote Learning Impact
With the increased carjackings over the past two years, could remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic be partially to blame?
'Nicole' says, ''I would sometimes go to school and sometimes I won't. If I'm feeling it or not.''
She adds, ''If I was like doing the in-person school, then it would be less of me like thinking to go carjack somebody.''
'David' says he also didn't take remote learning '''...that serious.'' He says he was ''bored.'' And, had more time on his hands to commit a carjacking.
And, recently released first day attendance numbers from Chicago Public Schools back up what 'Nicole' and 'David' said.
For the 2020-2021 school year, first day attendance was 84%. Last year, CPS started the school year remote learning. First day attendance numbers dropped 10% drop from previous years.
'Chris', 19 Years Old
'Chris', now 19, committed his first carjacking at 15. His sights set on areas like the north side and ''Neighborhoods that have low crime rate but like wealthy people,'' he said.
He also tracks the police, looking for gaps in service, ''Which area is the slowest on police cars coming around.''
Chris said he has carjacked drivers just to ride around the city. But there's another deadly reason. What he calls hot cars are often used in drive-by shootings.
Sargent: ''Has there been a time when you used a hot car for retaliation with an enemy or gang-related?''
'Chris': ''That's touchy topic. I have been in a situation where a hot car was involved.''
Chris said he recently stopped carjacking. His mother discovered what he was doing and kicked him out. He also became a father.
''She told me get yourself together and you'll be able to be here for your son. That's what really changed me,'' he said.
The Past and The Future
'Nicole' and 'David' said their families were unfortunate examples.
''Seeing my brothers go in and out of jail for this type of stuff,'' said 'Nicole'.
''I got family members that are also doing the same thing,'' said 'David'. He says that played a role in him carjacking.
Muhammad tries to change teens' paths by getting them jobs at construction sites, partnering with local businesses, pastors and legislators. But is that enough to make kids like 'David' and 'Nicole' successful?
''Absolutely not. Not without right mentors being positioned. 'Cuz the moment those young people are interrupted by feelings, anger, frustration with life they'll go back to what they know,'' said Muhammad.
While David' and 'Nicole' haven't reached a point where they want to stop carjacking, they still talk of big dreams.
'Nicole' wants to be a doctor. ''Working in UIC Hospital or something. Taking care of people or saving lives,'' she said. What does she say to people who are skeptical? How would she show them she wants to change? ''Graduate high school and go to college,'' she said.
'David' wants to own his own car dealership and feels he can accomplish that.
Reverend Robin Hood knows stories of kids like these well. He mentors teen carjackers and often partners with Muhammad.
''They're not mature enough to see the whole picture, like we would love for them to do. They don't see they can kill somebody. They don't see, they can go to jail the rest of their life,'' said Rev. Hood.
But, at this point, many don't agree with that. They want them locked up and they won't have sympathy for even the youngest children when they come with such a serious threat.
'David': ''See, I won't shoot them. If they fight back, I like, drag them out of the car and get in extra fast.''
Sargent: It's just having that thrill again that's what would make you do it again?
'David': ''Yeah.''
This is not the end of the conversation. It's a multi-layered issue with a lot of opinions. CBS 2 is committed in the coming weeks to exploring the complexities of this surge in carjackings and specifically those carjackings committed by teenagers like 'David', 'Nicole' and 'Chris'.
MORE NEWS: Police, Ald. Matt Martin To Hold Virtual Community Meeting Next Week In Wake Of 3 Rolling Gunfire, Shootout Incidents In North Center AreaYou can also watch an in-depth discussion on Facebook about this story with Irika Sargent and Erin Moriarty from CBS News' 48 Hours here.
VIDEO - WATCH: Facebook Whistleblower to Testify Before Congress
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 20:27
October 5, 2021 2021-10-05T19:59:56-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/07f/20211005202531001_hd.jpg Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing on the business practices and decisions of the social media company, and how to protect children online with privacy regulations. Ms. Haugen said that as long as Facebook is hiding its research from public scrutiny, it would be unaccountable, and that congressional action is needed. Lawmakers' questions to the witness focused on how Facebook targets children and uses algorithms to promote content that the company knows is harmful.Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing on the business practices'... read more
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection hearing on the business practices and decisions of the social media company, and how to protect children online with privacy regulations. Ms. Haugen said that as long as Facebook is hiding its research from public scrutiny, it would be unaccountable, and that congressional action is needed. Lawmakers' questions to the witness focused on how Facebook targets children and uses algorithms to promote content that the company knows is harmful. close
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People in this videoMore People Hosting OrganizationSenate Commerce, Science,and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data SecuritySenate Commerce, Science,and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security Featured Clips from This Video 10:28 AM Whistleblower Frances Haugen Calls on Congress to Regulate FacebookFormer Facebook Product Manager Frances Haugen calls on Congress to regulate the social media platform, saying the'...
9 minutes2,031 views Related Video April 13, 2021 Senate Hearing on Travel and Tourism During Coronavirus PandemicThe Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Tourism, Trade and Export held a hearing on the state of travel and tourism in the'...
October 28, 2020 Social Media Content ModerationFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified on social media content'...
August 5, 2020 Techology Companies and Antitrust LawThe five commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) testified on a range of topics before the Senate Commerce'...
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VIDEO - Ex-Austin mayors, billionaire activist George Soros add political muscle to Prop A fight | KXAN Austin
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 19:29
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Three former Austin mayors and a Democratic billionaire activist have waded into the political battle over Proposition A.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Save Austin Now '-- the political action committee pushing the ballot measure '-- announced former mayors Lee Leffingwell, Lee Cooke and Ron Mullen have thrown their support behind the proposition, alongside current Austin City Council member Mackenzie Kelly.
If passed, Prop A would add hundreds of officers to Austin's police department by requiring a ratio of two officers for every 1,000 residents. As KXAN has reported, the cost could land between $271.5 million and $598.9 million over five years, according to a memo from the city's chief financial officer.
''There is nothing wrong with having too many police officers, but there is a lot wrong with having too few,'' Leffingwell said.
Opponents believe the passage of Prop A could lead to funding cuts within the fire department, along with parks, pools, and libraries.
Last week, Democratic billionaire and activist George Soros donated $500,000 to anti-proposition Equity PAC, the group behind the 'No Way on Prop A' campaign. The contribution was made through Soros' Open Society Policy Center, according to financial records.
His money, along with a $200,000 donation from the Fairness Project and $120,383 in other contributions reported in a recent campaign filing, means Equity PAC and 'No Way on Prop A' have $820,383 headed into the Nov. 2 election. Save Austin Now has raised $731,732, according to its most recent filing.
''The 115 organizations against Prop A comprise one of the largest and most diverse groups in the history of Austin politics, in addition to a growing list of 38 current and former elected officials,'' said Laura Hernandez Holmes, campaign manager for 'No Way on Prop A.'
Last week, the Austin Firefighters Association announced it would not support Prop A, saying the Austin Police Department is fully funded and already has the money to hire hundreds of more officers.
VIDEO - Facebook Seeking Government Action For Information Control
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:04
Live EP 2637-6PM FAKE FACEBOOK "WHISTLEBLOWER" IS A PSYOP TO BRING MORE GOVERNMENT CONTROLThe Pete Santilli Show - LIVE Show
VIDEO - Feminist Lawyer Calls Dave Sexist as Vaccine Mandate Debate Gets Heated | POLITICS | Rubin Report - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 17:03
VIDEO - Study: Vaccines Being Administered Incorrectly - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:59
VIDEO - (7) Disclose.tv on Twitter: "NEW - It's raining drones in China. They fell from the sky during a botched show in Zhengzhou. https://t.co/MvuTuCqirL" / Twitter
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:52
Disclose.tv : NEW - It's raining drones in China. They fell from the sky during a botched show in Zhengzhou.https://t.co/MvuTuCqirL
Mon Oct 04 18:10:05 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Person of Interest - The Great Filter (05x08) - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:48
VIDEO - Biden's new China trade plan echoes Trump's; China sends 52 aircraft to Taiwan ADIZ | China in Focus - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:33
VIDEO - Dr. Nathan Thompson Tests Patients Immune System after Each Jab shares disturbing result
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:33
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VIDEO - Victorian Chief Health Officer (CHO), Prof Bret Sutton Thinks Protesting For Freedom Is Wacky - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 16:12
VIDEO - (18) Mike of Texlahoma on Twitter: "This is how many oil tankers are backed up near the port of Thackerville, Oklahoma (via the Red River.) Huge backlog. https://t.co/VICgkAOHDS" / Twitter
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:59
Mike of Texlahoma : This is how many oil tankers are backed up near the port of Thackerville, Oklahoma (via the Red River.) Huge backlo'... https://t.co/SX7gYNjInN
Mon Oct 04 12:54:18 +0000 2021
Alan Traiger : @InfoHarvester OMG
Wed Oct 06 15:49:46 +0000 2021
Mary Ann Minnich : @InfoHarvester This infrastructure plan is messing up a lot of things. We need bridges and Biden wants heavy tolls to pay for them
Wed Oct 06 15:43:54 +0000 2021
Dread Pirate Pureblood. : @InfoHarvester @HighImpactFlix
Wed Oct 06 14:30:33 +0000 2021
Dread Pirate Pureblood. : @InfoHarvester @MyGreaseMonkey
Wed Oct 06 14:30:02 +0000 2021
MSmith''Π: @InfoHarvester Who's paying demurage on all that?
Wed Oct 06 14:00:54 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Marc Pilcher, 'Bridgerton' Emmy winner, dies age 53 of Covid-19 - CNN Style
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:55
Written by Amy Woodyatt, CNN London
Marc Pilcher, the award-winning hair stylist and makeup designer who won an Emmy for his work on the hit Netflix show "
Bridgerton," has died of Covid-19 at the age of 53, weeks after winning the award.
Pilcher's agency Curtis Brown confirmed the news to CNN on Tuesday, referring to a statement the agency gave to
Variety, by friends and family.
According to the statement, Pilcher was "double vaccinated" and had no underlying health conditions. He took multiple Covid-19 tests and tested negative to make the trip to the US for the Emmy's ceremony and back to the UK.
Soon after returning, he became ill and his condition deteriorated over the weekend. He died on Sunday, Curtis Brown said.
Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn," 2011. Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz/The Weinstein Company/Everett Collection
His death comes just weeks after he won an Emmy for "Outstanding Period And/Or Character Hairstyling" in September.
Pilcher was known for his work across various theater shows, television programs and films.
He worked in hair and make up styling roles on films including "Beauty and the Beast," "My Week with Marilyn," "The Invisible Woman" and "The Young Victoria."
Judi Dench in "My Week with Marilyn," 2011. Credit: Laurence Cendrowicz/The Weinstein Company/Everett Collection
He was a nominee at the 2019 Academy Awards for his work on "Mary Queen of Scots," which starred Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie.
"Bridgerton" actor Nicola Coughlan paid tribute to Pilcher on
Instagram on Monday, calling the hair and make up artist "brilliant and visionary."
Nicola Coughlan, pictured as Penelope Featherington in "Bridgerton," paid tribute to Pilcher on Instagram. Credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix
"Marc was so passionate about his work and so tremendously talented. Not even a month ago he won his first Emmy award. It's a tragedy that he's been taken so young when he had so much yet to do," Coughlan, who played Penelope Featherington in the show, wrote.
"Please also use this as a reminder that Covid is still a very real and present danger, please get vaccinated and mask up to protect yourself and others," she added.
Felicity Jones in "The Invisible Woman," 2013. Credit: David Appleby/Sony Pictures Classics/Everett Collection
Emily as Queen Victoria, hair by Pilcher. Credit: Mary Evans/GK FILMS/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection
In his career in the film and television industry, Pilcher had worked with artists including Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Shirley MacLaine, Ralph Fiennes, Emily Blunt, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Madonna, Helena Bonham Carter, Michelle Williams, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ian McKellen, his family said the statement.
VIDEO - (18) POLARIS on Twitter: "John Kerry admits in interview with French TV that Joe Biden had no idea about the fallout with the French from the AUKUS sub deal. "He literally had not been aware of what had transpired" https://t.co/EblvE05zKg" / Twitt
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 15:51
POLARIS : John Kerry admits in interview with French TV that Joe Biden had no idea about the fallout with the French from the'... https://t.co/z0jV8Ve4Ps
Tue Oct 05 18:14:57 +0000 2021
Lou : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC If Biden didn't know then who stuck the deal?
Wed Oct 06 15:49:34 +0000 2021
Michael C Carter : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC There is no excuse in the world @POTUS for not being aware of the AUKUS submarine d'... https://t.co/8W6wkB6y8x
Wed Oct 06 15:44:13 +0000 2021
lisa walsh : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC When will John Kerry just go away?????
Wed Oct 06 15:42:49 +0000 2021
T : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC lol who the hell is running the country
Wed Oct 06 15:40:44 +0000 2021
Amy Klobuchar's vibrating hair : @polarisnatsec I thought he spoke French
Wed Oct 06 15:40:37 +0000 2021
Marburg virus-Elect : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC Looking down and to the left the entire answer.
Wed Oct 06 15:39:25 +0000 2021
Caren : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC This is just complete insanity
Wed Oct 06 15:39:00 +0000 2021
Luiz Eduardo Nascimento : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC France is gone, forget them
Wed Oct 06 15:37:36 +0000 2021
fillup555 : @polarisnatsec @LindseyGrahamSC https://t.co/Ry7vyUsHZG
Wed Oct 06 15:37:00 +0000 2021
Mary Lou Hemann : @polarisnatsec Plain and simple'... Biden is a complete failure on every decision'... unless it was his intent to make ev'... https://t.co/nSKfTSp8O7
Wed Oct 06 15:35:48 +0000 2021
Sid Kingfish : @polarisnatsec Makes me wonder if if Creepy Joe has any awareness of the ubiquitous Biden chants. ''Herp derp they'... https://t.co/TudJDsTYKw
Wed Oct 06 15:35:08 +0000 2021
VIDEO - User Clip: Fauci & Bright - Universal Flu Vax Scenario for mRNA Vax & COVID | C-SPAN.org
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:21
November 1, 2019 | Clip Of Universal Flu Vaccine This clip, title, and description were not created by C-SPAN.2019-11-01T16:16:42-04:00 https://images.c-span.org/Files/ae6/20191101164555002_hd.jpg Fauci & Bright - Universal Flu Vax Scenario for mRNA Vax & COVIDFauci & Bright - Universal Flu Vax Scenario for mRNA Vax & COVID
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VIDEO - Ingrezza Commercial (2021) - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:17
VIDEO - Trillion Dollar Bill - The Simpsons - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 14:06
VIDEO - SEC Chair Gensler: A Ban on Crypto Would Be 'Up to Congress' '-- CoinDesk
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 02:39
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler told Congress on Tuesday that the SEC has no plans to ban crypto.
When asked by Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), a longtime crypto supporter and member of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, if the SEC had any plans to follow China's lead in banning cryptocurrency in favor of a prospective central bank digital currency (CBDC), Gensler said, ''No, that would be up to Congress.''
Gensler's assertion that the SEC does not plan to ban crypto mirrors similar remarks made by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week, when the central bank head told the House Financial Services Committee that the Fed had ''no plans to ban'' the $2.2 trillion asset class.
Questions from Congress about the SEC's efforts to regulate crypto come amid a growing debate on Capitol Hill about how the industry and its various parts, including exchanges and stablecoins, should be regulated.
During Tuesday's four-hour hearing, Gensler fielded questions about cryptocurrency, stablecoins, the regulation of exchanges and decentralized finance (DeFi).
Gensler mostly reiterated his previous thoughts on crypto regulation including the need for exchanges to ''come in and register'' with the SEC, the potential systemic risk posed by stablecoins and the need for them to be subject to increased regulation, and that ''most'' cryptocurrencies fall under the definition of a security.
However, Gensler also expanded on his understanding of the SEC's authority to regulate the crypto industry.
When asked by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) to provide ''guidance'' on the topic of crypto regulation, Gensler reiterated his previous position that crypto exchanges need to register with the SEC but added that decentralized exchanges (DEXs) would also be subject to regulations.
''Even in decentralized platforms '' so-called DeFi platforms '' there is a centralized protocol. And though they don't take custody in the same way [as centralized exchanges], I think those are the places that we can get the maximum amount of public policy.''
Gensler also expanded on his stance on stablecoins, which he has previously called the ''poker chips'' at the crypto ''casino.'' Gensler doubled down on his poker chip analogy during his response to several questions, adding that he viewed stablecoins as a systemic risk to the economy.
''The $125 billion of stablecoins we have right now are like poker chips at a casino,'' Genser said. ''I do think that if this continues to grow '' and it's grown about tenfold in the last year '' it can present those systemic wide risks.''
The statement comes a day after CoinDesk first reported that USDC stablecoin issuer Circle was served with an ''investigative subpoena'' from the SEC's Enforcement Division in July.
The price of bitcoin, already up on the day, appeared to jump further on Gensler's comments, rising to as high as $51,678.20. In recent trading, the price of the leading cryptocurrency was at $51,329.82, up 4.59% in the last 24 hours.
UPDATE (Oct. 5, 20:57 UTC): Adds further Gensler remarks, bitcoin price action.
Cheyenne Ligon
Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy.
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VIDEO - 'You Sir, Are The One Ignoring Science': Rand Paul Battles Becerra Over COVID-19 Rules - YouTube
Wed, 06 Oct 2021 02:22

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