1392: TRANSNOODLE

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 5m
October 21st, 2021
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: Mark Mabray, Rodney Lillibridge, Sharid, Thomas Balmer, Dreb Scott, Duke of the Southern California MegaRegion, 5ir Michael Douglas Carlin, Dame Angela Castaneda

Associate Executive Producers: Alexander of Middle Cascadia, ASHLEE & JON SPENCER, anonymous American Karen, DyAnn Schwanebeck, Anonymous

Cover Artist: Capitalist Agenda

Chapters

Hide suggested chapters
0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
7:53
Suggested chapter: The dogs name is Phoebe (Boufé)
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 1
22:46
Suggested chapter: coverage of death of 'breakthrough case' double jabbed Colin Powell
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
32:09
Suggested chapter: Dr H Risch Yale: The Unvax should be afraid of the vaxed
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
2
/ 0
35:52
Suggested chapter: AC before vax.. few sick.. After vax.. see a lot more sick and serious ill
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
40:06
Suggested chapter: M5M sponsored by yours truly....Pfizer!
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
1
/ 1
46:41
Suggested chapter: Religious Exemption re the Vax employment Mandate: Advice for dealing with employer
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
48:15
Suggested chapter: Leaked DOJ Lawyer clip on how hard it will be to get round the religious exemption
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
53:55
Suggested chapter: Celine Dion cancelled Vegas.. spasms bc of the vax?
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
54:41
Suggested chapter: Rushed covid shots for 5-11yo clip
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
1:24:02
Suggested chapter: ITM/Troll Count/No Agenda Social/Art/Start of 1st Donations Segment
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
1:51:39
Suggested chapter: End of First Donation Segment
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
1
/ 0
1:51:56
Suggested chapter: End of first donation segment
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
1
/ 0
2:11:56
Suggested chapter: Havanna Syndrome in news again. Directed energy weapon
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
2:32:54
Suggested chapter: Tip off: Bose donations to elizabeth warren - change in the ruling to hearing aids
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
2:35:36
Suggested chapter: Start of 2nd donation segment
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
2:44:56
Suggested chapter: Birthdays
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
2:46:06
Suggested chapter: Meetups
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
2:53:09
Suggested chapter: ISOs
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
3:00:16
Suggested chapter: Show Closing
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
3:01:40
Suggested chapter: End of show mixes
This is a suggested chapter
Guest producer
0
/ 0
Suggest a new chapter
Mandates
Fraud Waste Abuse Inspector BOTG
Somethings everyone should know.. You do not have to test positive in order for your provider to get paid the extra COVID money for your visit. As long as you are exhibiting 2 or more COVID related symptoms (example: fever and cough) the provider can bill the claim as COVID, and they will and are doing this at alarming #’s, especially if you decline a test. .There’s really nothing like spending our tax money on bullshit like this!
Another insane thing the general population might not know but absolutely should, is that not only when you an adult visits your doctor for a non COVID related visit, but also when you take your kids to the doctor and the doctor ask if you’re vaccinated and proceeds to advise you on the “safety and efficacy of the vaccine” they are now able tac on to their claim and bill extra for “COVID vaccination counseling”. Any way they can find to get that extra money!
Refresher on religion: 1st amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
No Vax? Insurance Premium goes up -Religious Exemptions!
I wish I could provide a standard doc on what to do to protect yourself and gather evidence for a future class action, but there is nothing in writing....yet. It is literally the wild west at the moment for procedural pushback and they know that.
I am in contact with former colleagues that are preparing for this...but it's going to be a long haul.
faqs about affordable care act implementation part 50, health insurance portability and accountability act and coronavirus aid, relief, and economic security act
Basically, the employers are doing it without any true practice to establish the legality of the surcharge. And using the idea based on the CDC information ONLY that the vaccine is the only way to stop COVID from affecting its bottom line when it comes to healthcare expenses.
Hence the grey area.
So....the advice I would offer for now...(and I am not in practice) so this is just common sense to protect your rights.
1 - Is to ask the employer to supply - IN WRITING - that the only wellness option for the surcharge is to get a COVID Vaccine. Print it out and keep this in a safe and secure place.
2) - Push back on the raw data from the healthcare charges during the pandemic, get their non-response in writing. (I can assure you that not one health care provider will provide their raw data until compelled to do so by a judge in the discovery phase of a trial.)
3)- File a religious exemption if offered one. If not, file one anyway and go on record in writing that you protest the surcharge and the offered 'wellness' option.
I'll keep you posted if any lawyers come out with a sign up for a class action - but for the moment they are all trying to wrap their heads around the insanity of the surcharge as it relates to the law.
Crazy times...
Minister Kat
Skunkworks (Lockheed Martin) protest Friday
Bij een eventuele nieuwe lockdown in het najaar zal het volgens minister Hugo de Jonge erg moeilijk zijn om mensen die gevaccineerd zijn te vrijwaren van maatregelen.
Dud Vaccine Lithuania
Lithuania: Cases continue to skyrocket in Lithuania, well over a month into one of the strictest vaccine passport systems in the world and nearly 3 weeks into a mask mandate, proving once again that if you just require vaccines to buy food and make everyone wear masks, you can control COVID
ITALY - Head of Police brigade throws off his helmet in disgust, at the water canons & tear gas used against civilians protesting the loss of human rights.
Lupus - No exemption!
I work as a data analyst contractor for the federal government. I
have Lupus SLE and tried to get a medical exemption from the shot from my
Rhuematologist, but she was not allowed to issue them. Any vaccine
exemption has to be approved by the lead physician of the medical group,
and to this point none were granted. In the past if I wanted an exemption
for anything else she would be free to sign it. So I'll probably lose my
job for it since I work in a fed building. Attached is my letter to bosses
hoping to be given a work around, but the writing is in the wall. I'll be
fine, but wondering if other producers are getting the same crap from their
doctors. Love ya man, no shit and thanks for everything!
VAERS
Nurses not being taught to aspirate
Hey Adam. ITM!
back in August I asked a Dr. friend of mine about whether or not they
aspirate during vaccine injections... her answer? "We haven't done that for
10 years! The chances of hitting the bloodstream are sooo low that there is
no reason to do it."
I asked a current Nursing student yesterday if they are being taught to
aspirate and she said "not for IM injections".
This is dangerous!
Thanks!
Craig
Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States | SpringerLink
Vaccines currently are the primary mitigation strategy to combat COVID-19 around the world. For instance, the narrative related to the ongoing surge of new cases in the United States (US) is argued to be driven by areas with low vaccination rates [1]. A similar narrative also has been observed in countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom [2]. At the same time, Israel that was hailed for its swift and high rates of vaccination has also seen a substantial resurgence in COVID-19 cases [3]. We investigate the relationship between the percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases across 68 countries and across 2947 counties in the US.
Sick Baby Cluster
I have just had a conversation with an upset midwife in a large 8000+ births per year hospital delivery unit.
They have had a cluster of babies this month who have been born seemingly healthy, but died within 48-72 hours from pulmonary haemmorhage....
To see a cluster of as many as 8 in one month in at-term babies in a large western capital city hospital without something else going on is unexpected... and apparently disturbing for some of the clinical staff
Coincidental anecdotal observation that I am going to look into...
All the mothers of this cluster of babies received covid jabs DURING gestation...
I don't like coincidence.
Bat vs Lab
NIH corrects untruthful assertions by NIH Director Collins and NIAID Director Fauci that NIH had not funded gain-of-function research in Wuhan.
Climate Change
Climate Change Threatens to Spread Viruses Through an Unprepared World
Supply Chains
Supply chains are meant to bring in Electric Driverless Trucks
Paintmakers Are Running Out of the Color Blue - BLOOMBERG
Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel NV is running out of ingredients to make some shades of blue, the latest fallout from the global supply-chain disruptions that are spreading across manufacturers.
“There is one basic color tint that is extremely difficult to get,” Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vanlancker said in an interview Wednesday after publishing third-quarter earnings. “It’s creating complete chaos.”
In addition to the bluish hue, Akzo Nobel is having trouble sourcing the tinplate used to make metal cans, forcing the Amsterdam-based company to ship empty pots from one country to another for filling. It also called a force majeure on deliveries of some exterior wall paints because an additive needed to make them waterproof is unavailable.
The supply-chain snarls that have sown disarray across industries are raising prices and creating shortages of some basic household products. Paint makers, which typically rely on hundreds of additives and chemicals, have warned for months of higher costs and logistical issues.
Akzo Nobel earlier Wednesday said the spiraling costs and materials shortages will last through the middle of next year.
UPS Supply chain issues
20 years at ups, had many positions.
In the last two years we have (in my building) seen 1/3 increase in volume.
Drivers can work a maximum of 60 hours a week because of dot regulations.
We go throught works like water, turnover is high.
Because we are union our wages are set, and they are lower than what
everyone is paying now. They have had to give bonus money for attendance so
people from out of town will come to work.
We can't fill the positions we have open, most people are way over worked
and morale has never been lower. Our building is too small to handle the
volume we currently have and Christmas is fast approaching. I'm not sure
where we have room to step it up, our larger hubs already run 24 hours a
day.
Icing on the cake is we are holding an election for president of the union,
they are trying to get rid of Hoffa. We are also about to start contract
negotiations and there is some hubub about strikes because of all the
consessions they want and how much they profited over the last few years.
Hearing Aids Scam
Aviation
Out-of-practice airline pilots are making potentially disastrous errors as they return to work | Financial Post
Back in the cockpit after time off recovering from COVID-19, an airline pilot forgot to start his plane’s second engine for takeoff, a mistake that could have ended in disaster if he hadn’t aborted the flight.
Another pilot, fresh from a seven-month layoff because of the pandemic and descending to land early in the morning, realized almost too late he hadn’t lowered the wheels and pulled out of the approach just 800 feet (240 metres) from the tarmac.
BBB
Soylent Green
M5M
At Axel Springer, Politico’s New Owner, Allegations of Sex, Lies and a Secret Payment
A high-flying German media giant is ahead on digital media but seems stuck in the past when it comes to the workplace and deal-making.
OTG
STORIES
The Emperor's New Clothes: Lizzo and ''The Naked Dress''
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 15:04
It may have been Cardi B's birthday party, but the headlines from last Monday evening's soiree were all about Lizzo. The Rumors singer set the internet on fire with a series of Instragram posts revealing what she wore'--or rather, didn't wear'--to the event.
What followed was a modern-day Emperor's New Clothes, with fashion writers at major publications falling all over themselves to praise the singer's dress. As if the ''dress'''--which resembled a purple fishing net and was completely see-through'--had anything at all to do with it.
Photo source: Backgrid
PopSugar declared the dress ''easily the sexiest thing we've seen [Lizzo] wear.'' Women's Health called the dress ''iconic'' and said that Lizzo looked ''fitter than ever.'' Seventeen praised Lizzo for ''serving hella booty'' and called her dress ''gorgeous.''
''Naked dresses'''--yes, there's actually a term for them'--aren't new. Rihanna wore one back in 2014 and, more recently, Meghan Fox wore one to the VMAs, while Zo Kravitz wore one to the Met Gala. Other celebrities have worn them, too, over the years.
But let's get real: it's not the dress all these people are gushing over. (The dress is essentially one of those mesh bags they sell mandarin oranges out of at the grocery store.) No, it's not Lizzo's dress. It's her body. That's what we're all looking at, right? Just like the Emperor in Hans Christian Andersen's folktale, Lizzo is walking around completely and utterly naked and, somehow, everyone around her is fawning all over her dress.
The ''body positivity movement'''--which seeks to convince us that overweight is actually healthy'--probably has something do with the gushing praise that rained down on Lizzo Monday night. (If we call her ''sexy'' and ''gorgeous'' and ''fitter than ever'' no one can accuse us of ''fat shaming.'') But the issue here isn't really ''body positivity.'' (I'm sure that Lizzo's body is sexy to some, and nakedness is titillating regardless of size.) In reality, the problem with ''naked dresses'' is that they leave the wearer, well, naked. And they allow us all to voyeuristically comment on a woman's body as if we're talking about something much more innocuous: her dress.
Imagine if, instead of write-ups on Lizzo's dress, the same fashion outlets wrote up their thoughts on her body. ''Lizzo arrived at the party sporting two large breasts and three to four rolls of belly fat.'' We'd be calling the feminism police faster than you could say '' #MeToo .'' But isn't that really what we're all talking about? Lizzo's body? And anybody else's body who chooses to wear a ''naked dress'' in public? The dress itself isn't really worth discussing.
The whole thing is a con'--and a pretty good one too. In the name of feminism, show us your boobs. The Emperor's not wearing any clothes.
Newspapers mistakenly receive vaccine status for 40,000 state workers
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 14:49
A communications manager in the Oregon Department of Administrative Services mistakenly sent a spreadsheet with the COVID-19 vaccination information for 40,000 employees of the state's executive branch to news organizations Monday, including the Statesman Journal.
The Statesman Journal requested data showing the vaccination and vaccine exception rates broken down by state department while reporting a story about the COVID-19 vaccination requirement deadline.
Gov. Kate Brown issued an executive order in August requiring all executive branch employees '-- along with individuals working in educational and health care settings '-- to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by Monday at midnight.
Adam Crawford, external relations director for the Department of Administrative Services, responded to this request.
The spreadsheet he sent to the Stateman Journal included the requested information, but also identified employees by name and specified if they were vaccinated, received a religious or medical exception, where HR was in the process of reviewing their documents or if they had not submitted documents.
No additional personal information '-- including home addresses or Social Security Numbers '-- was included.
The Oregonian reported Monday evening it received the same spreadsheet.
In a follow-up email, Crawford called the inclusion of the unredacted personal information "a mistake" and provided the newspaper with a redacted version of the spreadsheet. He asked the personal information not be reported.
Crawford did not immediately respond to an additional email asking further questions.
The Statesman Journal will not be publishing the spreadsheet, nor information contained within, and has elected to delete the file.
According to the data, more than 90% of eligible employees in the state's executive branch are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received an approved religious or medical exception.
Reporter Connor Radnovich covers the Oregon Legislature and state government. Contact him at cradnovich@statesmanjournal.com or 503-399-6864, or follow him on Twitter at @CDRadnovich.
Support local journalism by subscribing to the Statesman Journal.
Lithuanian news portals turn off COVID-19 vaccine comments | Inquirer News
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 13:25
Picture taken on September 28, 2020, shows a street in the Uzupis neigborhood in Vilnius, Lithuania, amid the novel coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. AFP FILE PHOTO
VILNIUS, Lithuania '-- Lithuania's biggest news portals on Wednesday said they were switching off public comments on their articles about Covid-19 vaccines in an effort aimed at curbing conspiracy theories.
Some 71 percent of adults in the eurozone country of 2.8 million people are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 '-- a higher rate than many of its neighbors in Central and Eastern Europe.
But infection rates have surged in recent days.
''We are showing solidarity with the state and society with the common effort to disable the unfounded misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers,'' Arnas Marcinkus, head of the Association of Online Media in Lithuania, told AFP.
''The success of the vaccination campaign must be our common cause, without excluding the government or the media. We all need to find solutions to get out of the pandemic,'' he said.
In October, Lithuania's parliament approved a cash incentive of 100 euros for people aged 75 and over who get vaccinated.
RELATED STORIES
Lithuania donates COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan
Man locks wife in bathroom thinking she has COVID-19
Subscribe to our daily newsletter Read Next
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Paintmakers Are Running Out of the Color Blue - BLOOMBERG
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 12:00
(Bloomberg) -- Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel NV is running out of ingredients to make some shades of blue, the latest fallout from the global supply-chain disruptions that are spreading across manufacturers.
''There is one basic color tint that is extremely difficult to get,'' Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vanlancker said in an interview Wednesday after publishing third-quarter earnings. ''It's creating complete chaos.''
In addition to the bluish hue, Akzo Nobel is having trouble sourcing the tinplate used to make metal cans, forcing the Amsterdam-based company to ship empty pots from one country to another for filling. It also called a force majeure on deliveries of some exterior wall paints because an additive needed to make them waterproof is unavailable.
The supply-chain snarls that have sown disarray across industries are raising prices and creating shortages of some basic household products. Paint makers, which typically rely on hundreds of additives and chemicals, have warned for months of higher costs and logistical issues.
Akzo Nobel earlier Wednesday said the spiraling costs and materials shortages will last through the middle of next year.
While demand is coming back to 2019 levels as some countries appear to be getting past the worst of the pandemic, the installed capacity for making raw materials hasn't changed, Vanlancker said.
''There isn't really a reason why this big panic is happening,'' the CEO said. ''This should be a transient situation that could take six to nine months to get back to normal, but there is no fundamental reason why there would be a lasting supply and demand imbalance.''
(C)2021 Bloomberg L.P.
NHS chiefs call for return to WFH and compulsory facemasks as daily deaths rise again | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:59
Sajid Javid will address NHS demands for a Covid 'Plan C' in a Downing Street press conference tonight after Tory MPs today slammed health leaders for urging ministers to immediately re-impose face masks and work from home guidance.
The Health Secretary will lead No10's first Covid briefing in a month at 5pm, with infections having soared to their highest level for almost three months and growing concerns about the country's sluggish booster jab roll-out.
NHS chiefs want ministers to bring out tough back-up restrictions, which include vaccine passports in nightclubs, and start forming a last-resort plan in case the measures fail to curb pressure on hospitals over the coming weeks and months.
Coronavirus deaths in the UK yesterday rose to their highest daily level since early March. Experts fear the growing outbreak may have been exacerbated by an even more infectious offshoot of Delta called AY4.2. The proportion of cases made up by the sub-strain have doubled in a month, official figures show.
Backbenchers today hit back at the NHS demands, claiming that U-turning on freedoms could result in an endless cycle of lockdowns every year.
Health and Social Care Committee member Paul Bristow slammed NHS bosses for trying to 'bounce Government into restrictions'. Steve Baker said: 'We cannot allow the liberties of the people of this country to be a tool of NHS capacity management.'
The Government rejected the NHS pleas, with Kwasi Kwarteng ruling out any lockdown. He claimed the return to normal life was 'very hard won' and insisted that Britain's 'approach is working'. The Business Secretary added the Government does not 'feel it's the time for Plan B right now', echoing No10's official stance yesterday.
Mr Kwarteng said he would continue to urge people to wear face masks in public and conceded the slow uptake of coronavirus booster jabs is 'something we really need to address'. Less than a third of care home residents have received their third dose, according to official data.
No10 is demanding better results on booster take-up with ministers launching a new TV campaign to encourage people to book appointments when they are invited.
Tonight will be the first Covid press conference '-- which were a mainstay when ministers announced restrictions on freedoms during the height of the pandemic '-- since September 14, highlighting the escalating fears about the winter crisis.
Last month's presser was attended by Boris Johnson, Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance, when they discussed vaccinating over-12s, the booster programme and the Government's winter 'Plan B'.
It comes after emergency Covid powers used to impose house-arrest, close businesses and schools, and restrict gatherings were extended for another six months yesterday.
Pictured left: Sajid Javid outside Number 10 this morning. Right: Boris Johnson leave number 10 Downing Street today as he heads to Prime Minister's Questions
The above maps show the proportion of Covid cases that were the Delta sub-variant AY.4.2 in the fortnight to June 26 (left) and the fortnight to July 31 (right). Darker colours indicate that more cases of the sub-variant had been detected
The above maps show the proportion of cases that were AY.4.2 in the fortnight to September 25 (left) and October 9 (right). The darker colours indicate that a higher proportion of infections were down to this sub-variant.
Health and Social Care Committee member Paul Bristow (left) slammed NHS bosses for trying to 'bounce Government into restrictions'. Steve Baker (right) said: 'We cannot allow the liberties of the people of this country to be a tool of NHS capacity management'
Timelapse maps reveal how '15% more infectious' Delta offshoot 'Nu' has rapidly spread across England since it was first detected in London and the South East in June The rapid spread of a more infectious Delta variant was laid bare today by a series of maps revealing how it surged across the whole of England.
One of the Government's major Covid-tracking projects first spotted the subtype '-- dubbed AY.4.2 '-- in June, with 19 cases scattered across London and the South East. But within a week, the number of infections had doubled to 47, and the variant was advancing into areas of the Midlands, East of England and the South West.
In just over three months it had reached almost every part of England. More than 2,500 cases of the subtype were detected across the country last week, meaning it now makes up almost 10 per cent of all infections. The hotspot is in Adur, West Sussex.
Scientists say the strain '-- thought to be 10-15 per cent more transmissible than its ancestor '-- likely first emerged in the UK because of the high number of infections here compared to other countries, which gives the virus more chance to mutate.
A separate dataset tracking variants globally puts its first emergence in Britain at June 14, followed by Ireland in late June, Germany in July, and Denmark and the US in August.
There is no evidence that it makes vaccines less effective or is more likely to trigger hospitalisation and death but No10 has vowed to keep a 'close eye' on AY.4.2. There have been some 20,248 cases of AY.4.2 in the UK to date, data suggests, and 13 in the US.
Experts believe that the World Health Organization will elevate the subtype to 'Variant under Investigation' in the coming days. It is likely to be named 'Nu', the next letter in the Greek alphabet.
In other coronavirus developments today:
It was revealed the UK's top scientific advisors only met twice in the last three months; Mr Kwarteng said holidays will not be cancelled again because of rising Covid cases and dismissed the idea of another lockdown; Figures showed there are nearly a third fewer mass vaccination hubs in operation now compared to when the original two-dose Covid vaccine programme was at the peak of its powers in April; GPs 'out-and-out rejected' No10's £250million proposals to give patients more face-to-face appointments; Michael Gove had to be shielded by a ring of police as he was ambushed with no protection by a mob of anti-vaxxer protesters; NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said complacency among older patients is to blame for the slow Covid booster rollout. Mr Bristow said reintroducing restrictions now would set a precedent for having lockdowns 'every year'.
He said: 'The NHS Confederation are wrong to try to bounce the Government into restrictions.
'Case rates driven by school return but fewer Covid hospitalisations than last month.
'This will only scare away those needing NHS treatment. If we lockdown now due to winter NHS pressure '-- it will happen every year.'
And Steve Baker, deputy chair of the Covid recovery group, said the course of society cannot be based purely on managing NHS capacity.
He told TalkRadio: 'I think if we cross that Rubicon we end up prioritising healthcare above everything else. Of course, health care is super-important, it's extremely important to everybody in my constituency.
'But we really have to ask fundamental questions about how we're choosing to live.
'And what I would say is: Yeah okay, if we do have to take some measures, let's do it on a voluntary basis but let's not be shutting down businesses.
'There's a wide range of damage that comes from lockdowns and restrictions and we can't afford to keep propping up businesses.'
Mr Kwarteng dismissed early calls for Plan B, telling BBC Breakfast the return to normal life had been 'very hard won'.
He said: 'What we have to remember in all this is that the vaccination rollout has allowed us to get some kind of normality
'We've had our lockdowns, we've managed to reopen the economy successfully, we've managed to get back to normal life and those gains were very hard won.
'And I don't want to reverse back to a situation where we have lockdowns. I don't think it's necessary. We think the course that we're plotting is the right one.'
There have been suggestions that the variant may be elevated to 'Variant under Investigation'. If this is the case the World Health Organization is likely to give it the name 'Nu', which is the next letter in the Greek alphabet
Matthew Taylor (left), chief executive of the NHS Confederation, has urged the Government to implement the back-up strategy amid rising Covid cases. But Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng (pictured today, right) said the Government does not 'feel that it's the time for Plan B right now'
The graph shows the proportion of cases sequenced in England that are the new subvariant AY.4.2 (yellow) and Delta (blue). Delta became dominant in the UK in May, overtaking the previously dominant Alpha strain (purple)
Only a QUARTER of care home residents have had their Covid booster vaccine Just over a quarter of care home residents have had a Covid booster vaccine, data shows amid fears that millions of elderly Britons will be left vulnerable to the virus this winter.
NHS England data shows that just 27.8 per cent of care home residents have received their crucial third dose and only 14.1 per cent of staff have been boosted.
That's despite the booster rollout launching over a month ago and care home residents and their carers being highlighted as the top priority groups.
The data also shows that little over half of eligible people over the age of 80 in England have been given a booster, while just a third of 75 to 79-year-olds have been revaccinated.
Pressure is mounting on the Government to get the sluggish programme up to speed as daily infections approach peak-second-wave levels and the NHS gears up for a harsh winter.
Members of No10's own scientists have publicly called for ministers to hurry up with the programme, which prompted Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to admit today it was 'something that we really need to address'.
NHS England boss Amanda Pritchard yesterday claiming the elderly are not coming forward quickly enough for their boosters.
But sources close to the booster drive told MailOnline capacity is also an issue, with figures showing there are nearly a third fewer mass vaccination hubs in operation now compared to April, when more than 400,000 extra jabs a day were being dished out.
An NHS practice manager said GPs are prioritising clearing the record-breaking backlog of 5.7million patients waiting for routine treatment in the UK over dishing out jabs.
But Matthew Taylor, chief executive of NHS Confederation '-- an organisation that represents NHS trusts '-- warned the health service is preparing for 'the most challenging winter on record' and risks 'stumbling into a crisis' without urgent action to stem the growing outbreak.
He said the 'consequence of not acting now' would be the NHS struggling to tackle the record-breaking backlog of 5.7million patients waiting for routine surgery. Hospital bosses already fear the waiting list will not be cleared for at least five years.
Mr Taylor told the Guardian: 'We are right on the edge '-- and it is the middle of October. It would require an incredible amount of luck for us not to find ourselves in the midst of a profound crisis over the next three months.
'The government ought to not just announce that we're moving to Plan B, but it should be Plan B plus. We should do what's in Plan B in terms of masks [and] working from home, but also we should try to achieve the kind of national mobilisation that we achieved in the first and second waves, where the public went out of their way to support and help the health service.'
In a second interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Taylor said the NHS was facing a 'perfect storm'.
'I think the Government needs to look at all those measures which science tells us can reduce the spread of the virus and further down the line the number of people going into hospital and dying,' he said.
'The winter is always tight for the NHS for a number of reasons. You add in Covid patients, then you add in pent up demand of people on waiting lists and those who haven't gone to the doctor and are now presenting with quite challenging symptoms.
'I speak to health service leaders every day and I have literally not spoken to any leader who doesn't say their service is under intense pressure now. We are in October and it is only going to get worse.'
He added: 'The risk of the NHS being overwhelmed is there. At the moment the system is working flat out and those winter pressures are going to grow.
'One of the consequences of not taking action is it will be very difficult to make any progress at all for those people who have been waiting a very long time for treatment.'
On Tuesday, the Government said a further 223 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid '-- bringing the UK total to 138,852.
While the numbers are often higher on Tuesdays because of a lag in reporting deaths and cases over the weekend, this is the highest figure for daily reported deaths since March 9.
Meanwhile, the seven-day average for cases is standing at 44,145 cases per day '-- the highest level for almost three months.
Mr Taylor urged the public to 'show extra support for the NHS' by 'behaving in ways that will keep themselves and others safe'.
He added: 'It is time for the Government to enact Plan B of its strategy without delay because without pre-emptive action, we risk stumbling into a winter crisis.
'Also, health leaders need to understand what a ''Plan C'' would entail if these measures are insufficient.
'The Government should not wait for Covid infections to rocket and for NHS pressures to be sky high before the panic alarm is sounded.'
Mr Kwarteng also told Sky News the vaccine rollout had been 'the most successful thing we've done' and urged those eligible to take up the offer of a third dose of the vaccine.
The Business Secretary said: 'The critical thing, as my colleague the Health Secretary has said, is about hospitalisation and also deaths, and, thank God, those figures are much, much lower than they were, certainly, at the beginning of the year.'
He said the Government was 'concerned' about rising deaths, but added: 'You'll remember at the beginning of the year we had hundreds, if not thousands, a day.
'Mercifully that hasn't happened and, as the Health Secretary said, it's something we're going to have to live with and I think we are managing the situation.'
Mr Kwarteng said: 'The infection rate was always likely to go up as we opened up the economy, because as people get back to normal life, the infection rate was likely to go up. But what was critically important was the hospitalisation rate and the death rate as well.'
He insisted the Government was not 'waiting and watching' as those figures rose.
He said: 'We're simply trying to analyse the data as we see it and come up with the right policies. Now, that's something which could change but, at the moment, we think that the course that we're plotting is the right one.'
The map shows the proportion of cases caused by AY.4.2 in the fortnight to October 9, with darker colours equating to more infections caused by the subvariant. Data from the Sanger Institute shows 8.9 per cent of all Covid-positive nose and throat swabs sequenced in England were caused by AY.4.2. It statistics suggests the sub-lineage is most prevalent in Adur, where 61 per cent of all positive samples sequenced were linked with AY.4.2. The subvariant also seems to be highly prevalent in East Lindsey (46 per cent) and Torridge (41 per cent)
The prevalence of the Delta strain, which was first detected in the UK in March and became dominant within two months, grew much faster than AY.4.2 has grown so far. Delta is still responsible for nine in 10 infections in England
Mr Kwarteng was also asked whether he would encourage people to wear face masks routinely.
He told BBC Breakfast: 'I wear face masks in public places, particularly on public transport, and people generally, as I notice on the tube in London, tend to '... they do wear face masks and face masks are worn. So, that's something which I think is a good thing.
'I think people should do what they feel is the right thing to do. They've got to, I think, be respectful towards other people, they've got to keep themselves safe and the public as well.'
Government's SAGE scientists have met just TWICE over the last three months The UK's top scientific advisors have only met twice in the last three months, it was revealed today amid fears a fourth Covid wave is just around the corner.
SAGE, which has guided the Government through the Covid pandemic, last met on October 15.
The October meeting was the second in as many months, with the influential panel last coming together before that on September 9.
The group '-- which includes England's chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty, Government chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, and 'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson, among others, didn't meet in August at all.
Labour today claimed it 'beggars belief' as to why Sage was 'effectively stood down', with cases having soared to a three-month high of around 45,000.
There were 223 recorded deaths from the virus in the UK yesterday, the highest total since March, a month in which Sage met three times alone.
It is understood that both Professor Whitty and Sir Patrick have raised alarm about the figures in recent days and that internal discussions in Government have turned to possibly reimposing some of the milder lockdown measures this winter.
Though Downing Street is reportedly resistant to this.
There are also concerns about the rise of a new Delta variant of the virus in the UK. The variant called AY.4.2, could be up to 10 to 15 per cent more infectious than its ancestor.
This, combined with a slow rollout of the Covid booster programme, with nearly 5million vulnerable adults yet to receive theirs, indicates there may be some dire weeks to come in Britain's fight against Covid.
SAGE meetings have diminished in frequency since February, when the second wave was just starting to fizzle out. Since then the group has mostly met thrice or twice a month but August this year was the first time the group did not meet at all since the pandemic began.
In comparison, SAGE met four times in August 2020, six times in September 2020, and five times in October last year as the country headed into the colder months and the onset of the second wave of the virus.
It contains some of the UK's leading epidemiologists, virologists and other health experts, with meetings also regularly attended by government officials.
At meetings they analyse the latest trends of how Covid has been spreading in the UK, and the latest research into the virus and how it can be contained and treated.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman has previously said Plan B would only be used if there was a 'significant risk of the NHS being overwhelmed'.
The spokesman said: 'There are a number of different factors that would play into that decision.
'Largely it would be required when there was a significant risk of the NHS being overwhelmed.
'We are not at that point. Because of the vaccination programme, the levels we are seeing in both patients admitted to hospital and deaths are far lower than we saw in previous peaks.'
On Tuesday, Professor Neil Ferguson, a leading member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said he thinks 'Plan B' could be implemented in England this winter, but it is unlikely 'we'll ever get close' to the lockdown the country experienced in January.
He added that the UK is no longer in the top rank of European countries in terms of overall vaccination coverage, particularly in vaccinating teenagers.
The UK now has one of the highest weekly rates of new reported cases in the world.
Just over 67 per cent of the UK population has received two doses of vaccine, according to Government figures '-- compared with at least 75 per cent in Denmark, 79 per cent in Spain and 86 per cent in Portugal.
The weekly rate of new reported cases of Covid-19 in the UK has jumped from 367 cases per 100,000 people at the start of October to its current level of 463 per 100,000.
By contrast, rates have dropped to very low levels in neighbouring countries such as Spain (24 per 100,000), France (48) and Germany (80).
SAGE fears there will be a fourth wave by the end of the year that may cripple the NHS. Ministers are overseeing a rollout of booster jabs to over-50s, healthcare workers and the immunosuppressed to protect the health service as much as possible and prevent No10 having to reintroduce masks and WFH guidance as part of its 'Plan B'.
But experts have warned the top-up jabs are being dished out too slowly, with 5.7million vulnerable adults eligible for a third dose yet to receive one.
Influential Government adviser Professor Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, insisted it was 'critical we accelerate' the booster drive to give ourselves the best chance of avoiding having to bring back curbs.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid warned there is 'huge pressure' on the NHS in England.
The increase in cases has been in part blamed on the new variant, which academics estimate may be up to 15 per cent more transmissible than the original Delta, which rapidly became dominant in Britain in the spring before taking off worldwide.
It has been detected in almost every part of the country, figures show, and it's thought to be behind almost 60 per cent of positive tests sampled sequenced in Adur, West Sussex.
No10 yesterday said it was 'keeping a very close eye' on AY.4.2 but insisted there is 'no evidence' that it spreads easier. Boris Johnson's official spokesperson also warned the Government 'won't hesitate to take action if necessary'.
Experts suggested the uptick of AY.4.2 '-- one of 45 sub-lineages of Delta '-- may be partly to blame, along with the return of pupils to classrooms from August and workers to offices.
Professor Francois Balloux, director of the University College London Genetics Institute, told the Financial Times the strain could be the most infectious subvariant seen since the pandemic began.
But he noted Britain is the only country where the sub-lineage has 'taken off', so its quick growth could be a 'chance demographic event'.
The World Health Organization will likely elevate AY.4.2 to a 'variant under investigation', which means it would be given a name under its Greek letter naming system, Professor Balloux added.
Cabinet minister rules out any new lockdown Kwasi Kwarteng has ruled out a winter lockdown despite 'concerns' around the slow booster Covid vaccine rollout.
The Business Secretary said No10 is concerned about the slow uptake of third jabs in light of rising Covid cases.
But he said that ministers 'don't want to go back into further restrictions' and noted there were no vaccines this time last year.
Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: 'I think the conversation about restrictions on travel, restrictions on more lockdowns is completely unhelpful.
'The vaccine has changed our total approach to this and has given us a measure of security that is very important. I would rule [lockdowns] out.
'As the Health Secretary said it's something we're going to have to live with and I think we are managing the situation.'
A total of 43,738 positive tests were recorded yesterday, a 16 per cent week-on-week increase. A further 223 deaths were registered, the highest single-day reported figure since March.
He said: 'The emergence of yet another more transmissible strain would be suboptimal.
'Though, this is not a situation comparable to the emergence of Alpha and Delta that were far more transmissible '-- 50 per cent or more '-- than any strain in circulation at the time.
'Here we are dealing with a potential small increase in transmissibility that would not have a comparable impact on the pandemic.'
The UK Health Security Agency, which took over from the now-defunct PHE, revealed in a report on Friday that the subvariant is expanding in England.
It includes two mutations '-- called Y145H and A222V '-- and is being monitored, the UKHSA said.
Both of these spike mutations have been found in other virus lineages since the pandemic began '-- but are not present on any current variant of concern.
Professor Balloux said the mutations are not obviously linked with increased transmissibility or evading protection granted by vaccines.
Only three AY.4.2 cases have been spotted in the US, while two per cent of cases in Denmark are caused by the sub-lineage, he added.
Data from the Sanger Institute suggests the sub-lineage is most prevalent in Adur, where 61 per cent of all positive samples sequenced were linked with AY.4.2.
The subvariant also seems to be highly prevalent in East Lindsey (46 per cent) and Torridge (41 per cent).
It comes as the UK recorded 49,156 new Covid infections yesterday, marking another three-month high. Hospitalisations and deaths are also on the rise.
Some experts have said the subvariant may be behind the surge, which other European countries are not seeing to the same extent.
Former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb tweeted on Sunday: 'We need urgent research to figure out if this 'delta plus' is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion.'
Around 3.7million third vaccines have been dished out to over-50s and the immuno-compromised in England as of Sunday (purple line), the latest date data is available for. But some 8.5million people are currently eligible for a booster dose, having received their second jab six months ago (green line). means 4.8million people may be suffering from waning immunity
How much more infectious is AY.4.2? Is it more deadly? Where has it been spotted? How much more infectious is AY.4.2?
Experts estimate the newly-emerged AY.4.2 subvariant is 10 to 15 per cent more transmissible than its ancestor.
Its prevalence in England doubled in a month from being behind four per cent of cases in September to 8.9 per cent in the two weeks to October 9.
But experts will need to keep monitoring the sub-lineage to determine if it really is more infectious.
Is AY.4.2 more deadly than earlier versions of Delta?
There is no evidence AY.4.2 is more deadly than earlier versions of the Delta strain, which was first identified in India last December.
Deaths in England have been relatively flat for months.
Due to the time it takes for someone to catch the virus and become seriously unwell, any impact the subvariant has on deaths will likely not be clear for weeks.
Where has AY.4.2 been spotted?
The subvariant has been spotted in nearly every part of England.
Data from the Sanger Institute, which sequences thousands of Covid samples in England every week, suggest the sub-lineage is most prevalent in Adur, where 61 per cent of all positive samples sequenced were linked with AY.4.2.
The subvariant also seems to be highly prevalent in East Lindsey (46 per cent) and Torridge (41 per cent).
Is it behind the surge in cases?
Some experts have said the subvariant may be behind the surge in cases in the UK, which other European countries are not seeing to the same extent.
But Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid Genomics Initiative at the Sanger Institute, said AY.4.2 alone does not explain the the UK's caseload, which is instead linked to the UK imposing less restrictions than other countries.
And as AY.4.2 is still at fairly low frequency, a 10 per cent increase its transmissibility would have only triggered a small number of extra cases.
Official figures have shown cases are also being fuelled by youngsters returning to classrooms last month, with as many as one in 12 being infected.
But Dr Jeffrey Barrett, director of the Covid Genomics Initiative at the Sanger Institute, told the Financial Times AY.4.2 alone does not explain the the UK's caseload, which is instead linked to the UK imposing less restrictions than other countries.
Professor Balloux said its rapid spread 'could have caused a small number of additional cases', but added: 'It hasn't been driving the recent increase in case numbers in the UK.'
Official figures have shown cases are also being fuelled by youngsters returning to classrooms last month, with as many as one in 12 being infected.
The Prime Minister's official spokesman said the Government is 'keeping a very close eye on' the subvariant.
They said: 'There's no evidence to suggest that this variant '... the AY.4.2 one '... is more easily spread. There's no evidence for that but as you would expect we're monitoring it closely and won't hesitate to take action if necessary.'
Dr Alexander Edwards, an immunologist at the University of Reading, told MailOnline it would be concerning if a variant starts to dominant that evades vaccine immunity.
He said: 'Before the successful rollout of vaccines, this was less likely to happen, but now, with such a high proportion of the population infected, alongside waning immunity, now is the time to be extra vigilant.
'Luckily, we can redesign our vaccines very quickly now, so there isn't yet anything to be afraid of.
'But any efforts made now to reduce cases and improve immunity '-- through boosters, vaccinating younger people, testing and effective isolating '-- could pay off if they cut the risk of vaccine evading variants.'
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist at the University of Warwick, told MailOnline the detection of AY.4.2 'highlights the need for continued genomic surveillance of the virus'.
Experts will need to monitor it to determine 'if it really is more transmissible and if it has any impact of the efficacy of vaccination', he said.
Professor Young added: 'The continued spread of the virus at a high level in the UK increases the risk of variants being generated that could be more infectiousness and more able to evade vaccine-induced immunity.'
It comes as official figures show nearly 5million vulnerable adults have yet to receive a Covid booster vaccine, after Downing Street admitted Britain faces a 'challenging' winter.
Despite the NHS top-up programme launching over a month ago, only around 3.7million out of the 8.5m eligible people in England have received the crucial third dose.
No10's scientists approved plans to revaccinate all healthy over-50s, frontline health staff and carers and patients with underlying medical conditions six months after their second dose, after evidence showed it was the 'sweet spot' for immunity.
The lagging rollout has left around 4.8m people with sub-optimal immunity as the country moves into the colder months and faces the double threat of increasing case numbers and flu.
SAGE adviser 'Professor Lockdown' Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, yesterday insisted it was 'critical we accelerate' the booster drive to give ourselves the best chance of avoiding having to bring back curbs.
And Sir David King, who was the Government's chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, criticised the rollout for moving 'extremely slowly'.
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, insisted the health service has 'plenty of capacity' to vaccinate all eligible people immediately but said people are not coming forward quickly enough. She told MPs on the Health Committee: 'It's really important that we now absolutely do get the message out that is Covid is still with us.'
But some experts also say the booster programme is going slower because the UK is juggling administering first jabs to children in secondary schools and running the largest flu vaccination programme in history.
Pictures yesterday show clinics lying virtually empty, some of which are not open for booster jab walk-ins '-- further highlighting the complexity of Britain's current rollout.
It comes against the backdrop of rising cases with 49,156 infections recorded yesterday '-- the highest daily figure in three months. Downing Street warned that Britons should prepare for a 'challenging few months'
Boris Johnson's spokesman said there were 'currently' no plans to reintroduce Plan B restrictions '-- which include face masks and working from home guidance '-- but that ministers were keeping 'a very close watch on the latest statistics'.
Britain led the world in the initial vaccine rollout, but it has now slumped behind Italy, Spain and France in terms of the percentage of the population to be double-jabbed.
This is because it delayed rolling out jabs to healthy children, whereas most EU members approved those plans much quicker.
All over-50s and the clinically vulnerable can get a booster jab from six months after their second dose.
But experts have warned that at the current rate the most vulnerable will not all receive their third vaccination until the end of January.
Asked if Covid booster jabs are the answer to waning immunity, Professor Ferguson told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'Absolutely, and there's data coming through now, which is not completely clear cut, but good data coming through from Israel, which shows that, if you've had the third booster dose of the vaccine, then you get very high loads, better than even you had after the second dose.
'And so I do think it's critical we accelerate the booster programme.
'The other thing is infection rates are highest in teenagers at the moment and most other European countries are ahead of us in vaccinating teenagers and giving them two doses, not just one dose.
'Two doses really are needed to block infection and prevent transmission, so I think that's the other problem, keep pushing on, getting coverage rates up higher in the teenagers who are driving a lot of this infection.'
He also called for face coverings to be brought back to remind people to be cautious in everyday interactions and 'remind people we're not completely out of the woods yet'.
All legal Covid restrictions were lifted in England on 'Freedom Day' in July, bringing an end to mandatory coverings indoors. However, people are still required by some transport companies and in medical settings '-- and No10 still advises people wear them in crowded environments.
Ministers are keeping masks, WFH guidance and controversial vaccine passports in their back pocket as part of the Government's 'Plan B', if an expected surge in cases this winter heaps unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
Professor Ferguson, an epidemiologist who sits on SAGE, admitted some measures have to be rolled back, in the event of an uptick in infections.
But speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he ruled out another blanket shut-down. He said: 'I doubt we'll ever get close to [the] lockdown we were in in January of this year.'
David's Law: Tory MPs Push End of Online Anonymity After Amess Killing
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:40
There are growing calls within the Tory party for Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government to introduce draconian restrictions on the internet, including an end to online anonymity on social media, in the wake of the killing of Sir David Amess MP.
On Sunday, Home Secretary Priti Patel suggested that the government may seek to include a ban on anonymity on social media following the suspected Islamist attack.
The call has been picked up by many in the so-called Conservative Party, despite there yet being no reported indication that online abuse led to what is being investigated as potential Islamist terrorism.
Tory MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, Mark Francois, who was a close friend of the slain politician, has been leading the push to introduce a ''David's Law'' which would end online anonymity.
Francois said that the forthcoming Online Harms Bill should be amended to prevent trolls from insulting or threatening public figures anonymously, saying: ''In the last few years David had become increasingly concerned about what he called the toxic environment in which MPs, particularly female MPs, were having to operate in.''
''He was appalled by what he called the vile misogynistic abuse which female MPs had to endure online and he told me very recently that he wanted something done about it,'' the Tory added.
There has been some pushback against the idea, with some claiming that the tragedy of Sir David's death has been hijacked in order to usher in anonymity restrictions, which presently appear unrelated to the killing.
Responding to the focus being placed on social media abuse and the supposedly contentious political climate, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said: ''Everyone is missing the point. Sir David's murder is not about rhetoric in politics but terrorism. If we misdiagnose the illness then we won't find a cure.''
'This Is a Fundamentalist Islamist Terror Attack,' Says Farage https://t.co/n6ZoSYOEHN
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 18, 2021
In comments made to Breitbart London, Dr Alan Mendoza, the executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, said that Sir David Amess wasn't killed because people are ''rude on Twitter''.
Dr Mendoza said that the focus of the apparent terror attack should be on rooting out Islamic extremism and the ''extremist teaching'' out of communities in Britain.
The Henry Jackson Society director suggested that the government should take a ''full-scale'' approach in tackling the problems of ''segregation and social division'' embedded in some communities, as well as devoting more resources to anti-terror programmes such as Prevent, which reportedly had been allerted to Ali Harbi Ali, the alleged killer of Sir David, apparently without taking action.
Mendoza said that the government should also look to adopt the recommendations of the 2016 Casey Review, which called for ''British values'' to be instilled in immigrant communities in order to increase social cohesion. The review also said that a heavy emphasis should be placed on learning the English language and for immigrants to agree to an ''integration oath''.
The report said that the failures to integrate migrant populations into the UK have come as a result of ''regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices'' being overlooked by government institutions out of ''fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic.''
''This has not helped the communities which many well-intentioned people in those institutions have wanted to protect; more often it has played straight into the hands of extremists. As a nation, we have lost sight of our expectations on integration and lacked confidence in promoting it or challenging behaviours that undermine it,'' the review stated.
Parliament discussing ending online anonymity in response to a terrorist attack. pic.twitter.com/jxpVDo65gr
'-- Chris Rose (@ArchRose90) October 19, 2021
On top of concerns about the government and the mainstream media focussing on the wrong target, civil rights campaigners have warned that an end to online anonymity could have dire consequences for speech and privacy rights in Britain.
Appearing on the Jeremy Vine programme on Tuesday, Big Brother Watch director Silkie Carlo said that when democracy comes under attack, people should stand up to defend its principles rather than rushing to enact restrictions.
''Anonymity has always enabled people to have debates about controversial issues, to bring corruption to light, and to speak about things better without necessarily wanting to be identified, like for example with workplace harassment,'' Carlo argued.
The privacy campaigner went on to note that some of the largest online movements, such as Me Too, would have been stifled if people were not able to speak out anonymously against powerful sexual predators.
Carlo said that any criminal behaviour online should be handled by the police, and not by foreign big tech companies such as Facebook and Twitter.
In Communist China, citizens are required to provide government identification in order to post on social media, a move that widely regarded as intended to shut down political dissent.
Priti Patel May End Online Anonymity in Wake of Politician Killing https://t.co/gd4a0zCxNG
'-- Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 18, 2021
Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka
Democrat Plans Plunge Deeper Into Chaos After Sinema Opposes Tax Hikes; May Leave Top Rates Unchanged | ZeroHedge
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:34
Senate Democrats are starting to freak out over Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's opposition to tax increases - a crucial component of their attempt to pass over $4.5 trillion between two spending packages.
Sinema is one of two moderate Democrats - the other being Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) holding up their party's spending agenda over their refusal to support the massive spending legislation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Sinema has told lobbyists that she won't stand for significant increases in taxes on businesses, high-income individuals, or capital gains - pushing Democrats to 'more seriously plan for a bill that doesn't include those major revenue increases."
While the Journal reports that Sinema is opposed to a wide swath of tax increases as described above, CNBC's Kayla Tausche reports that the Arizona moderate has told 'outside groups' that her topline figures are 24% corporate taxes, no increase to the carried interest tax, and a ceiling of 39.6% as the top individual tax bracket.
As I've reported on @CNBC: Sinema's communicated the below position to outside groups:- Corp tax rate of 23-24%- No increase to carried interest tax- Ceiling of 39.6% for top ind. income taxAnd while she *is* open to a carbon tax, Manchin isn't - making it a moot point. https://t.co/oyjq9ZiEHH
'-- Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) October 20, 2021It's unclear exactly where Sinema stands, however Dow Jones reported a short while ago that congressional Democrats are now considering leaving top tax rates unchanged. That said, going after tax cheats with a beefed-up IRS, and tightening the net on US companies' ability to earn money abroad, are still on the table.
Democrats had been hoping to pay for the entirety of their social policy and climate bill, now expected to cost around $2 trillion over a decade, with revenue from tax increases and government savings. In the House, Democrats have proposed raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21%, moving the top individual rate to 39.6% from 37% and increasing the top capital-gains rate to 28.8% from 23.8%. Their plan would also add a 3% surtax on income above $5 million. -WSJ
"I know some folks want to take away rate increases, it makes getting there using more interesting ideas'--I want to get there but I've got a long way to go," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Meanwhile, coastal Democrats are still trying to find a way to hook up their rich constituents with a SALT cap modification, according to Bloomberg.
The scaled-back spending package Democrats are wrangling over in Washington could still include a measure to expand or temporarily remove the cap on the federal deduction on state and local taxes.
House Ways and Means Committee Chair Richard Neal said addressing the $10,000 limit imposed by Republicans in their 2017 tax overhaul is still on the table. ''Yes, it has to be,'' Neal said when asked about it Wednesday.
"The strong consensus amongst the overwhelming majority of the members of the New York and New Jersey delegation is that some relief in terms of SALT should be part of this legislation," said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), a member of Democratic leadership.
Democrats had previously entertained a two-year repeal of SALT, which would cost roughly $180 billion, however leadership is already struggling with how cut the top-line spending on the $3.5 trillion social spending package to win support from Sinema and Manchin - who won't likely support a giant handout to wealthy Americans that would reduce revenues to pay for the legislation.
Chris Brown Supports Kyrie Irving's Vaccine Stance | Billboard
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:12
Brown has yet to make an official statement on whether he's been vaccinated against COVID-19, but Irving recently revealed that he is neither pro-vaccine nor anti-vaccine during an Instagram Live on Oct. 14.
"The financial consequences, I know I do not want to even do that," Irving said. "But it is reality that in order to be in New York City, in order to be on a team, I have to be vaccinated. I chose to be unvaccinated, and that was my choice, and I would ask you all to just respect that choice."
The Brooklyn Nets player added, "I am going to just continue to stay in shape, be ready to play, be ready to rock out with my teammates and just be part of this whole thing. This is not a political thing; this is not about the NBA, not about any organization. This is about my life and what I am choosing to do."
Brown -- who recently achieved a No. 3 hit in March on the Billboard Hot 100 with his and Young Thug's "Go Crazy" -- is currently being sued for copyright infringement for his 2019 hit "No Guidance," alongside Drake, for the similarities to the 2016 track "I Love Your Dress" by Braidon Cooper (performing as Mr. Cooper) and Timothy Valentine (credited as Drum'N Skillz).
Russians to stay off work for a week as virus deaths rise
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:04
MOSCOW (AP) '-- President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered most Russians to stay off work for a week starting later this month amid rising COVID-19 infections and deaths, and he strongly urged reluctant citizens to get vaccinated.
The government coronavirus task force reported 1,028 deaths in the past 24 hours, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. That brought Russia's death toll to 226,353, by far the highest in Europe.
Putin said he supports the Cabinet's proposal to introduce a nonworking period starting Oct. 30 and extending through the following week, when four of seven days are already non-working, including a two-day state holiday. In some regions where the situation is the most threatening, he said the nonworking period could start as early as Saturday and be extended past Nov. 7.
''Our task today is to protect life and health of our citizens and minimize the consequences of the dangerous infection,'' Putin said in a video call with top officials. ''To achieve that, it's necessary to first of all slow the pace of contagion and mobilize additional reserves of the health care system, which is currently working under a high strain.''
Russia's daily coronavirus mortality numbers have been surging for weeks and topped 1,000 for the first time over the weekend amid sluggish vaccination rates, lax public attitudes toward taking precautions and the government's reluctance to toughen restrictions. Only about 45 million Russians '-- roughly a third of its nearly 146 million people '-- are fully vaccinated.
The nonworking period should help limit the spread by keeping people out of offices and off crowded public transportation, but Moscow and many other cities haven't curbed access to restaurants, cafes, bars, theaters and gyms.
When the Cabinet proposed the measure Tuesday, many Russians rushed to book flights to Black Sea resorts to take advantage of the break.
Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, who leads the task force, emphasized that the nonworking week should imply limiting access to restaurants, theaters and other entertainment venues, adding that regional authorities will be expected to impose restrictions.
She particularly urged Russians to refrain from traveling to other regions during the period and emphasized the need for relatives of those infected to stay home.
It wasn't immediately clear what private businesses would be required to stop working in line with Putin's decree, in addition to state workers and employees of state-owned companies. During a similar measure early in the pandemic, many private and state-owned companies in ''vital'' economic sectors were allowed to keep operating.
The Cabinet has drafted measures on compensation to businesses to help absorb the economic blow, including one-time payments equivalent to a minimum monthly pay per worker and low-interest credits.
In urging Russians to get the shots, Putin said ''it's a matter of your life and security and the health of your dear ones.''
''There are only two ways to get over this period '-- to get sick or to receive a vaccine,'' he said. ''It's better to get the vaccine. Why wait for the illness and its grave consequences? Please be responsible and take the necessary measures to protect yourself, your health and your close ones.''
The Russian leader, who got the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine earlier this year, said he's puzzled by the vaccine hesitancy, even among his close friends, who told him they would get the shot after he does and then kept delaying it.
''I can't understand what's going on,'' Putin said. ''We have a reliable and efficient vaccine. The vaccine really reduces the risks of illness, grave complications and death.''
He approved a Cabinet proposal giving two days of paid leave to those getting the shot to help encourage vaccination.
Even though Russia in August 2020 became the first country in the world to authorize a coronavirus vaccine and has plentiful supplies, there has been reluctance among its citizens to get the shots, a skepticism blamed on conflicting signals from authorities.
While extolling Sputnik V and three other domestic vaccines, state-controlled media often criticized Western-made shots, a message that many saw as feeding doubts about vaccines in general.
Golikova emphasized that most of those who have died recently were unvaccinated. She said 87% of hospital beds allocated for COVID-19 patients are filled, with the number reaching 95% in some provinces.
Rising infections forced some regional authorities to suspend certain medical services as health care facilities were focusing on coronavirus patients. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov admitted the situation is ''very sad,'' noting that the level of vaccination in those regions was particularly low.
Putin warned regional leaders against trying to embellish statistics, saying a ''high number of new infections doesn't mean poor work'' by the authorities. ''It shows the efficiency of regional teams, not the other way round,'' he said.
Until now, the Kremlin ruled out a nationwide lockdown like the one early in the pandemic that dealt a heavy blow to the economy and sapped Putin's popularity, instead empowering regional authorities to decide on local restrictions.
Many of Russia's 85 regions already have restricted attendance at large public events and introduced digital codes proving vaccination or past illness for access to restaurants, theaters and other venues. Some have made vaccinations compulsory for certain public servants and people over 60.
In Moscow, however, life has continued as usual, with restaurants and movie theaters brimming with people, crowds swarming nightclubs and karaoke bars, and commuters widely ignoring mask mandates on public transportation even as ICUs have filled.
Medical workers expressed bewilderment over the vaccine skepticism and lax attitude to precautions. ''I think about sleepless nights when we get a huge number of patients who didn't even bother to use banal protective means,'' said Dr. Natavan Ibragimova of Moscow's Hospital No. 52, where an ICU was filled to capacity.
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said unvaccinated people over 60 will be required to stay home. He also told businesses to keep at least a third of their employees working remotely for three months starting Oct. 25.
Dr. Catherine Smallwood, the COVID-19 incident manager at the World Health Organization's European branch, said vaccination levels at or below 30% in Russia and eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania were ''particularly concerning.''
''It's very clear that in countries that have lower vaccine uptake, that's where we're seeing the serious pandemic effects at the moment in terms of deaths and people ending up in hospital,'' she said.
The government task force has registered more than 8 million total infections and its official COVID-19 death toll ranks Russia as having the fifth-most pandemic deaths in the world, behind the United States, Brazil, India and Mexico.
However, state statistics agency Rosstat, which also counts deaths in which the virus wasn't considered the main cause, has reported a much higher death toll '-- about 418,000 as of August.
___
Associated Press writers Jamey Keaten in Geneva and Kostya Manenkov in Moscow contributed.
___
Follow AP's pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic
Ex-SpaceX engineers are working on portable nuclear reactors that can power over 1,000 homes | Business Insider India
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:44
The startup 'Radiant' was founded by ex-SpaceX engineers who recently secured funding of $1.2 million to develop portable nuclear reactors. Radiant
Radiant is working on portable nuclear reactors that can help provide electricity in remote communities, disaster areas and bases. These are 1MW portable nuclear reactors that can power over 1,000 homes per unit. Founded by ex-SpaceX engineers, Radiant recently secured funding of $1.2 million for this project.This California-based startup has raised funding to develop a portable nuclear reactor that can fit in a shipping container. It's a 1 MegaWatt nuclear reactor and it can be used to power over 1,000 homes, according to a
report by New Atlas. These nuclear reactors are aimed at powering houses in remote communities, disaster areas and bases.
The startup 'Radiant' was founded by ex-SpaceX engineers who recently secured funding of $1.2 million to develop these portable nuclear reactors. Radiant's nuclear reactors can deliver over 1 MegaWatt of electricity and they can operate for up to eight years. This makes it possible for one reactor to power over 1,000 homes.
What's different with these nuclear reactorsThe nuclear reactors developed by Radiant use helium instead of water for cooling. This method, according to the company ''greatly reduces corrosion, boiling and contamination risks.'' The particle fuel used in these reactors does not melt according to Radiant and is also said to be capable of handling higher temperatures than traditional nuclear fuels. The company is also working around ways to refuel the reactors and also efficiently transport heat out of the reactor core.
How will it help The use of nuclear reactors to generate electricity can help reduce emissions produced by diesel generators. It would also decrease the need of getting trucks to transport fuel for these generators. While the need for trucks would still be there for transporting the nuclear reactors but the dependence is expected to be much lesser. Portability in itself is a big factor here as it would help electricity reach easily in remote areas.
Small nuclear reactorsSmall nuclear reactors are being developed by several countries including NASA who is making one the size of a garbage can. According to the World Nuclear Association, small nuclear reactors are convenient as they can be efficiently built in a controlled factory. Their small size and safety features also make it possible for them to be lent to countries with smaller grids. It can also help with easier financing as compared to larger nuclear plants.
But Radiant is one of the few to work on portable nuclear reactors, and it would be joining Copenhagen-based startup Seaborg Technologies that will deploy them globally on floating barges.
SEE ALSO: Apple MacBook Pro and AirPods 3 launched '' Indian pricing, features and everything you need to knowApple M1 Pro and M1 Max vs M1: Here's what Apple improved with its new custom chips{{}}
Could search engines be fostering some Dunning-Kruger? | Ars Technica
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:42
Getty Images | Aurich Lawson
Many of us make jokes about how we've outsourced part of our brain to electronic devices. But based on a new paper by the University of Texas at Austin's Adrian Ward, this is just a variation on something that has been happening throughout human history. No person could ever learn everything they need to know. But that's OK, according to Ward: "No one person needs to know everything'--they simply need to know who knows it."
Over time, we've developed alternatives to finding the person who has the information we need, relying on things like books and other publications. The Internet simply provides electronic equivalents, right?
Not entirely, according to Ward's latest results. Based on data he generated, it seems that search engines now return information so quickly and seamlessly that we tend to think we remembered information that we actually looked up. And that may be giving us unjustified confidence in our ability to pull facts out of our brain.
The speed of searchWard's hypothesis is based on the idea that we probably categorize the recall process based on how easy it is. Wading through all the extraneous information in a book to find the single nugget we require can be arduous, even when the book is right at hand. While it can sometimes be difficult to latch onto a fact in our memory, it's generally much more convenient. For the easy-to-recall items'--like the lyrics to annoying pop songs from our high school years'--it's often instantaneous.
Of the two, Ward argues, Internet searches are more like remembering something, in that they're generally quick, don't have a lot of extraneous information, and are displayed via interfaces that are easy to process. "Thinking with Google," he writes, "which delivers information as unobtrusively as possible, may simply feel more like thinking alone."
Advertisement If that's the case, performing searches to get information may feel a lot more like successfully pulling something out of our memory. And that could be misleading, since successful searches would give us the sense that our memory is more expansive than it actually is.
To test this hypothesis, Ward created a variety of information-recall questions. He then had people answer them, either by memory or by using Google. Layered on top of this simple scheme were variations on the recall challenge that helped identify how people viewed a successful Internet search.
Our sense of self includes GoogleThe most basic experiment involved having people answer 10 questions using either their memory or an Internet search and then take a cognitive self-esteem test, which measures how the subjects felt about their mental capacity. Those who were able to use Google got more questions right. But they came away with an enhanced sense of their own abilities. They were also more likely than those who relied on memory to say that they would do well on a future test in which they couldn't use the Internet.
From there, Ward's experiments branched out. In this case, both groups were given the correct answers to the questions they faced, allowing them to judge their actual performance. They were then asked about their confidence in a future test, and again, Google users were more confident. In this instance, however, subjects were actually given that future test, at which point it became clear that the Google-inflated confidence was misplaced, since the people who were deprived of the Internet in the second round performed just as poorly as everyone else.
In another test, the people who relied on memory were told that they got eight of 10 answers right, regardless of their actual performance. The ones who believed this score came away with an inflated sense of confidence that was roughly equal in magnitude to the people who used Google. Yet another test showed that this self-confidence evaporated if the Google users were asked to write down any answers they could pull out of memory before using Google. In other words, if they were forced to reckon with their memory's limitations before using the search engine, the subjects didn't end up with an exaggerated sense of their performance.
A Hearing Aid for Everyone - The New York Times
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:28
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/20/technology/hearing-aids-fda.htmlthe on tech newsletter
Over-the-counter hearing aids have the potential to show government and tech companies at their best.
Credit... Ruru Kuo Oct. 20, 2021
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.
My colleagues and I write a lot about failures of government and the horrors of technology. But this week we have good news.
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration started the process '-- after a long wait '-- to create a new category of government-approved hearing aids that Americans will be able to buy without a prescription. Congress authorized over-the-counter hearing aids in 2017.
These over-the-counter hearing aids have the potential to prove that the best efforts of government and technology companies can improve Americans' lives.
You can buy reading glasses at Walgreens without a prescription. Perhaps by this time next year, you'll be able to do the same with an officially labeled hearing aid at a cost of a few hundred dollars.
Medical professionals, patient advocates and tech executives that I've spoken with are excited about the potential of over-the-counter hearing aids. They imagine the government's blessing will spark new inventions from companies like Bose, Best Buy and Apple. And they believe that this could be the start of a golden age for hearing help.
''I'm crying reading this,'' Nicholas Reed, the director of audiology at the Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health, said he wrote to his contacts on Tuesday after hearing the news.
When I wrote about this topic in April, I was surprised at the pernicious and widespread effects of hearing loss. Roughly 38 million American adults report some degree of hearing loss, and only a minority of people who could benefit from hearing aids use them.
Prescription hearing aids work well for many Americans, if they have access to medical care and can afford to pay an average of about $5,000. (Hearing aids are not typically covered by traditional Medicare. Coverage by private health insurance plans and Medicaid is spotty.) Some people also feel embarrassed about losing their hearing or are put off by tests and fittings for hearing aids.
Untreated hearing loss can be serious. Struggling to understand what we hear stresses the brain and is associated with cognitive decline, dementia and social isolation.
Research by Dr. Reed and other academics found that some nonprescription hearing devices on the market for $350 or less '-- they can't legally be called hearing aids at the moment '-- were almost as good as prescription hearing aids for people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss. But hearing helpers in this category can be excellent or garbage, and it has been difficult to tell the difference.
The best listening devices might win approval as official over-the-counter hearing aids under the new F.D.A. rules. Experts say that more companies are waiting in the wings to offer new hearing products.
Bose announced in May a hearing device for $850, and the company told me that it wants to sell the product as an over-the-counter hearing aid when the F.D.A. finalizes its rules. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Apple is studying ways to make its AirPods, which are wireless headphones, into a device to enhance hearing.
More gadgets don't necessarily mean that more people will be helped by them. But the new market opportunity that the government created may open the door to ideas we can't yet imagine, wholesale changes in public awareness of hearing loss and choices for treating it.
Dr. Reed tells me that he envisions that sleeker-looking and easier-to-use hearing aids can help erode the stigma of hearing loss and that new device manufacturers will offer more consumer education about the problem.
He and other experts also imagine more pathways for hearing assistance in addition to devices. Maybe there will be the equivalent of Best Buy's Geek Squad to help people fit hearing aids that they buy without a prescription. If many more people seek hearing help, that could also mean more opportunities for health specialists who might offer hearing tests and treatments, separate from the devices.
People with more serious hearing loss may not be helped by an over-the-counter hearing aid. And even at a fraction of the cost of traditional hearing aids, many people still won't be able to afford them. Some drafts of the domestic policy plan being batted around Congress propose an expansion of Medicare coverage to include hearing aids.
Health care in the United States costs more than it does in many rich countries and produces worse health outcomes. But at least in this one corner of health care, people may soon get more innovation and lower costs. Not bad.
Before we go '...Facebook is going to change its name. Okaaaay. The Verge reports that Facebook plans to reveal a new name for the company next week to incorporate its interest in the ''metaverse,'' a term for a broad vision that virtual human interactions will be as complex as the real thing.
Shifting from Hollywood tabloid to conspiracy theories: BuzzFeed News traced the evolution of Crazy Days and Nights from a celebrity gossip blog to a hub for QAnon conspiracy theories. ''Gossip fans and QAnoners share a core belief: that behind closed doors, celebrities are doing unspeakable things,'' BuzzFeed writes.
Talk to the world through your phone: My colleague J. D. Biersdorfer has advice on how to use your smartphone to converse in a language that you don't know or to quickly translate a message or street sign.
Hugs to this I love Gritty, the oddball mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. Here is Gritty playing with a VERY EXCITED dog friend.
We want to hear from you. Tell us what you think of this newsletter and what else you'd like us to explore. You can reach us at ontech@nytimes.com.
If you don't already get this newsletter in your inbox, please sign up here. You can also read past On Tech columns.
Why Facebook is rebranding - by Casey Newton - Platformer
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:27
(Thought Catalog / Unsplash)Programming note: Platformer will be off on Thursday to work on some '... stuff. See you Monday!
Facebook is changing its name. Perhaps you heard. The news was broken by Alex Heath of The Verge on Tuesday night, and I've since confirmed it with sources of my own. The news could come as late as Oculus Connect, next Thursday; or as early as Facebook's earnings call, coming this Monday. The most remarkable detail I've heard, from two sources now, is that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has not settled on a final name. Facebook is fully back in its old move fast mode here, and I expect whatever happens next to come together very quickly.
Why rebrand? Why now? The company has been seriously discussing the move for at least the past two months, sources said. Antonio Lucio, the company's former chief marketing officer, pushed for Facebook to begin separating the corporate brand from its apps three years ago '-- changing the corporate name to something like ''FB Inc.,'' or an all-caps ''FACEBOOK Corporation.'' But the company's metaverse ambitions were less formed then, I'm told, and he was overruled.
There are two basic reasons why the company's stance changed. One is that the Facebook's reputation began taking sustained damage in the wake of the 2016 election and, fairly or not, never really recovered. The Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal; the FTC investigation; the Congressional antitrust inquiry; a parade of former employees denouncing the company on their way out the door, culminating in Frances Haugen's whistleblowing; activism around hate speech and misinformation on the platform from the left; activism around censorship and deplatforming on the right.
It added up.
Facebook's business has continued to thrive, but the company finds itself with fewer political allies today than it has ever had. Even more worrying, from Facebook's perspective, is that increasingly there are signs that a younger generation finds its products less necessary than their parents did. At the very least, kids today don't seem to find it cool.
Next week will serve up an absolute hurricane of Facebook news, the bulk of which will further dilute the brand equity. According to Facebook, dozens of journalists are planning to publish the results of their own investigations into the company. Haugen will testify again. Amidst all this, announcing that Facebook is now part of ''Horizon Inc.,'' or some similarly blank canvas of a noun, might seem like a feeble response. But at the very least it signals that a page is turning.
The second reason the leadership changed its mind about the name is that Facebook the app is not the future of Facebook the company. It arguably hasn't been ever since Zuckerberg bought Instagram, and then watched millennials flee the News Feed in favor of a younger, hipper brand. More recently, the quiet momentum of Oculus and the company's hardware division has signaled that Facebook the product and Facebook Inc. are increasingly distinct entities. Even if (say) Hillary Clinton had won in 2016, and Cambridge Analytica never happened, and its former employees spoke about the company positively, and Congress wasn't trying to break it up, Facebook would arguably still have good reason to fold its products under some new umbrella corporation. (If not the Umbrella Corporation.)
The latter reason is surely the one we will hear whenever the company is ready to talk about it. The former, though, is all anyone wants to talk about today. From the moment the news dropped, Twitter's dunk machine kicked into full gear, with (I'm estimating) 14 million people simultaneously offering up the same dozen or so jokes and takes on what the new name should be. What about Tronc? What about Qwikster? What about Weyland-Yutani? What about bringing back the ''the''? What about changing it to just ''The''?
The history of ignominious corporate rebrands was rehearsed, 280 characters at a time. There was talk of Altria. There was talk of Xe. There was talk of BP. There was talk of Alphabet, though it was generally acknowledged that Alphabet was more about bringing some sort of organizational sense to Google and making itself more palatable to shareholders than whatever Facebook might be up to.
Heath reported that the new name is likely to highlight the company's metaverse ambitions:
A possible name could have something to do with Horizon, the name of the still-unreleased VR version of Facebook-meets-Roblox that the company has been developing for the past few years. The name of that app was recently tweaked to Horizon Worlds shortly after Facebook demoed a version for workplace collaboration called Horizon Workrooms.
By morning, Vlad Savov was noting in Bloomberg that Facebook appears to control meta.com: ''The web address meta.com currently redirects to meta.org, the home of a biomedical research discovery tool developed under the stewardship of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, which is co-founded by the Facebook CEO.'' One of my Twitter followers, Neil Shankar, noted that someone has spent the past six or eight months scooping up lots of ''meta'' URLs, including strange ones: meta.accountant, that sort of thing.
But one source told me that the company is now leaning away from Meta as the name, and another told me the new name might not relate to the metaverse at all. Both sources suggested that Zuckerberg is keen for the new name to surprise '-- to be something unexpected. (Katie Notoupolous has some suggestions at BuzzFeed that you can vote on; they are, and I say this with love, all terrible.)
U.S. prepared to get COVID-19 vaccines to children age 5-11 : Coronavirus Updates : NPR
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:51
Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a vaccination booster shot clinic on Oct. 1, in San Rafael, Calif. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption
toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Safeway pharmacist Ashley McGee fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 booster vaccination at a vaccination booster shot clinic on Oct. 1, in San Rafael, Calif.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images The White House said on Wednesday that it is ready to quickly roll out COVID-19 vaccines for kids ages 5 to 11, if the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The administration has bought enough doses for all 28 million children in that age group and will provide it in smaller packages with essential supplies like smaller needles to make it easier to get to physicians, pediatricians and community health centers, Biden administration officials said.
"Should the FDA and CDC authorize the vaccine, we will be ready to get shots in arms," said White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients during a news briefing Wednesday morning.
The vaccine could be cleared for use in children ages 5 to 11 within a couple of weeks, officials said. The FDA's independent advisory committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26, and the CDC's independent advisory committee meeting is set for Nov. 2 and 3.
The Pfizer vaccine currently has full approval for use in adults, and the federal government has authorized it for emergency use in children ages 12 to 17.
White House officials said they were announcing the plan to inoculate children ages 5 to 11 before the vaccine was approved for that age group so they could be "operationally ready" to deploy the doses as soon as the approval came.
Under the plan, the administration will work with state and local leaders to make the vaccine available at more than 25,000 pediatricians' offices and primary care sites and 100 children's hospital systems as well as pharmacies, schools and community health centers.
The administration also will roll out a national public education campaign to inform parents and guardians about the vaccine and solicit questions.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the campaign would help head off one of the barriers to vaccinating both children and adults '-- misinformation about the drug.
"That's why we're making sure that it's trusted messengers with scientific credibility who go out there and talk about these vaccines," Murthy said. "But it is our collective responsibility '-- whether we're in government, in the media, whether we're individuals '-- to help prevent the flow and spread of misinformation online."
Trump to launch new social media platform Truth Social in SPAC deal - The Washington Post
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 09:05
Banished from Twitter and Facebook, former president Donald Trump is setting out '-- again '-- to create a platform where he can communicate easily with his base and the rest of the world.
Trump announced late Wednesday that his company, Trump Media and Technology Group, would be launching a new social media platform called Truth Social. The media company and platform were created, Trump said in a statement, to ''stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech.''
''We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American President has been silenced,'' he said. ''This is unacceptable.''
The site was briefly accessible to the public on Wednesday night, allowing people to create accounts and claim usernames. One account under the handle ''donaldjtrump'' posted a photo of a pig defecating.
Story continues below advertisement
Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Facebook and Twitter booted Trump from their platforms. Conservatives, including many in Congress, have long charged with little substantiation that popular social networks are biased against them.
After he lost his online platform this spring, Trump launched a blog called ''From the Desk of Donald Trump.'' But as The Washington Post and others reported, the site had low readership.
Trump has been planning the launch of a platform like Truth Social for months. His advisers previously told The Post that the former president feared the blog's underwhelming launch could cast doubt on the social media platform he wanted to create.
Story continues below advertisement
Trump's political rise was built off his large Twitter following, and his presidency was marked by his frequent use of Twitter to bash critics and announce policy changes. Trump's tweets were so widely watched that an apparent typo, ''covfefe,'' became a meme.
Trump Media and Technology Group also announced that it intends to launch a streaming service that features '''non-woke' entertainment programming, news, podcasts, and more.''
The new Trump company said it was merging with Nasdaq-listed Digital World Acquisition Corp., a blank-check company created to buy another business. The merger valued Trump Media and Technology Group, which will be listed on the stock exchange, at ''an initial enterprise value of $875 million,'' the statement said.
Story continues below advertisement
This month, Trump filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to force Twitter to reinstate his account. The suit alleged that Twitter was ''censoring'' Trump, adding that the platform ''exercises a degree of power and control over political discourse in this country that is immeasurable, historically unprecedented, and profoundly dangerous to open democratic debate.''
There have been other social networks created to attract conservative users, but they have not gained the traction that more mainstream platforms have.
Jason Miller, a former adviser to Trump, launched Gettr, which describes itself as a ''free speech social media platform.''
Miller said in a statement: ''Congratulations to President Trump for re-entering the social media fray! '... Now Facebook and Twitter will lose even more market share.''
Story continues below advertisement
The platform Parler became briefly popular after Trump was booted from Facebook and Twitter, but the network went dark for weeks after Amazon pulled its cloud support for it over concerns that it was not doing enough to moderate incitements to violence. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
''I'm excited to soon begin sharing my thoughts on TRUTH Social and to fight back against Big Tech,'' Trump said. ''Everyone asks me why doesn't someone stand up to Big Tech? Well, we will be soon!''
The network is set to launch in beta form in November and be available in full next year. A release date for the streaming service was not provided.
Drew Harwell contributed to this report.
Netflix Employees Walk Out to Protest Dave Chappelle's Special - The New York Times
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:58
Media | Netflix employees walk out to protest Dave Chappelle's special. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/20/business/media/netflix-protest-dave-chappelle.html Videotranscript
transcript
Netflix Employees Walk Out in Protest of Dave Chappelle SpecialDozens of Netflix employees joined more than a hundred supporters and trans activists in Los Angeles to protest a Dave Chappelle stand-up special. Critics of Mr. Chappelle's show said that it promotes bigotry against transgender people.Crowd: ''Trans lives matter. Trans lives matter. Trans lives matter. Trans lives matter. Trans lives matter. Trans lives matter.'' ''This isn't an instance of cancel culture because I've invited Dave Chappelle to have transformative dialogue with us on multiple occasions, and he has made it clear that it is not of interest to him. So just to be clear, this isn't cancel culture, but an avoidance of accountability. We are here today, not because we don't know how to take a joke. We're here because we're concerned that the jokes are taking lives.''
Dozens of Netflix employees joined more than a hundred supporters and trans activists in Los Angeles to protest a Dave Chappelle stand-up special. Critics of Mr. Chappelle's show said that it promotes bigotry against transgender people. Credit Credit... Mark Abramson for The New York Times Oct. 20, 2021 Updated 6:33 p.m. ET Amid cheers and chants of ''Team trans!,'' dozens of Netflix employees walked out of a company office building in Los Angeles on Wednesday to protest a recent Dave Chappelle stand-up special, in one of the most visible signs of worker unrest in the history of the streaming service.
Critics inside and outside the company have said that Mr. Chappelle's show, ''The Closer,'' promotes bigotry against transgender people. The protest put the tech company directly at the center of broader cultural debates about transphobia, free speech and employee activism. Throughout the day, #NetflixWalkOut was a top trending topic on Twitter.
Carrying signs that read ''Hey Netflix: Do Better'' and ''Transphobia Is Not a Joke,'' the employees joined more than a hundred supporters and activists who had begun rallying a couple of hours before.
In addition to the scene in Los Angeles, some Netflix staffers working remotely shut their laptops and called off work for the day at noon. It's unclear how many at Netflix, which had more than 9,000 full-time employees globally at the end of last year, participated in the virtual walkout.
Image Netflix has found itself directly at the center of broader cultural debates about transphobia, free speech and employee activism. Credit... Mark Abramson for The New York Times At the protest in Los Angeles, Joey Soloway, the creator of the Amazon Prime comedy series ''Transparent,'' urged Netflix executives to add a transgender person to its corporate board ''this week,'' and pushed the entertainment industry as a whole to begin hiring significantly more transgender people, adding: ''I want to pitch to a trans person. I would love to have a trans person give me notes on my story. I want a trans agent. I want a trans manager. I want so many trans critics at newspapers.''
Under bright skies, activists and supporters vastly outnumbered a small group of counterprotesters who carried signs that read ''Jokes Are Funny'' and ''Netflix, Don't Cancel Free Speech.'' There were a few minor skirmishes, but the atmosphere was mostly peaceful, with supporters chanting, ''We want accountability. When do we want it? Now!'' and, ''Trans lives matter.''
One of the organizers of the protest was Ashlee Marie Preston, who was featured in the Netflix documentary ''Disclosure,'' about Hollywood's impact on the transgender community. In an interview, Ms. Preston said she was there because Netflix employees have to be ''very careful'' about speaking to the news media.
Image Ashlee Marie Preston, who was featured in the Netflix documentary ''Disclosure,'' about Hollywood's impact on the transgender community, helped organize the rally. Credit... Mark Abramson for The New York Times B. Pagels-Minor, who is transgender and was fired last week from their job as a program manager at Netflix, read a list of demands that employees had for the company. Among them were hiring more transgender people and including disclaimers for content that is criticized for being transphobic. Netflix has said Mx. Pagels-Minor was fired for sharing sensitive documents outside the company; a lawyer for the former employee denied that her client shared information with the news media.
One employee, Gabrielle Korn, wrote on Twitter: ''We aren't fighting WITH Netflix. We're fighting FOR Netflix. We all know how great it can be and that it's not there yet.''
Though Mr. Chappelle's special has come under fire, there are some who have defended him, including the comic Damon Wayans, who told TMZ last week, ''We were slaves to P.C. culture and he just, you know '-- as an artist, he's van Gogh. He cut his ear off. He's trying to tell us it's OK.''
Image The rally attracted counterprotesters, including one who was pushed and asked to leave the premises. Credit... Mark Abramson for The New York Times Amid the rolling public relations crisis, Netflix executives have begun to adopt a conciliatory tone while still remaining supportive of Mr. Chappelle.
Ted Sarandos, Netflix's co-chief executive, gave several interviews on Tuesday in which he said that he had ''screwed up'' communication with employees after the outcry and that he should have discussed the controversy with more ''humanity.'' Mr. Sarandos also conceded that shows, series and movies on Netflix did have an impact on the real world, something he denied in an initial statement.
Similarly, hours before Wednesday's protest, the company said in a statement that it supported the walkout.
''We value our trans colleagues and allies and understand the deep hurt that's been caused,'' Netflix said in a statement. ''We respect the decision of any employee who chooses to walk out and recognize we have much more work to do both within Netflix and in our content.''
Fossil Fuel Drilling Plans Undermine Climate Pledges, U.N. Report Warns - The New York Times
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 23:56
Climate | Fossil Fuel Drilling Plans Undermine Climate Pledges, U.N. Report Warns https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/20/climate/fossil-fuel-drilling-pledges.htmlCountries are planning to produce more than twice as much oil, gas and coal through 2030 as would be needed if governments want to limit global warming to Paris Agreement goals.
New construction on a new petroleum plant near Svobodny in eastern Russia last year. Credit... Dimitar Dilkoff/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images By Brad Plumer
Brad Plumer will be covering the COP negotiations from Glasgow.
Oct. 20, 2021, 12:59 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON '-- Even as world leaders vow to take stronger action on climate change, many countries are still planning to dramatically increase their production of oil, gas and coal in the decades ahead, potentially undermining those lofty pledges, according to a United Nations-backed report released Tuesday.
The report looked at future mining and drilling plans in 15 major fossil fuel producing countries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Canada, China, India and Norway. Taken together, those countries are currently planning to produce more than twice as much oil, gas and coal through 2030 as would be needed if governments want to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.
Scientists and world leaders increasingly say that holding global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is crucial if humanity wants to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of climate change, such as ever-deadlier heat waves, large scale flooding and widespread extinctions. The world has already heated up roughly 1.1 degrees since the Industrial Revolution.
But the planned global expansion of fossil fuel extraction clashes sharply with those climate goals, the report found.
If the world remains awash in oil, gas and coal for decades to come, then many countries could find it more difficult to shift to cleaner sources of energy. At the same time, many of the oil wells and coal mines now being approved and developed could prove deeply unprofitable if demand for fossil fuels shrinks, creating economic disruption.
By 2030, the report found, the world's nations are planning to produce 240 percent more coal, 57 percent more oil and 71 percent more natural gas than would be needed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Starting Oct. 31, world leaders will gather at a major United Nations climate summit in Glasgow for two weeks to discuss how to reduce their planet-warming emissions. But environmentalists say that governments also need to focus on future plans for fossil fuel extraction, so that they are more closely aligned with proposals to sell more electric vehicles or install more renewable power.
''The world's governments must step up, taking rapid and immediate steps to close the fossil fuel production gap and ensure a just and equitable transition,'' said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.
Over the past decade, governments and businesses have slowly begun nudging the global economy away from its longstanding reliance on fossil fuels. Many countries are now planning significant expansions of wind and solar power and canceling plans for new coal plants. Major automakers like Ford and General Motors are investing heavily in electric vehicles and preparing to phase down sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars.
But that's just a start. The International Energy Agency recently looked at what would be needed to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. All of the world's nations would have to drastically cut their fossil-fuel use over the next three decades until they are no longer adding any greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2050, essentially achieving ''net zero'' emissions.
Under that scenario, the agency said, the world's nations would not approve the development of any new coal mines or new oil and gas fields beyond what has already been committed today.
Image A coalfield in India's Jharkhand state this month. Credit... Gautam Dey/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images Yet the new report, led by researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute, warns that many nations are still far out of step with that envisioned future.
Even as countries like China and the United States are expecting to cut back on coal extraction in the decades ahead, that would be offset by plans for new mining in places like Australia, India and Russia.
The United States, the report found, is still expected to see a major increase in oil and gas production by 2030. The Biden administration has vowed to pause and reform leasing programs for oil and gas drilling on federal lands, although those efforts have been tied up in the courts.
The report notes that more than half of fossil fuel production worldwide is controlled by state-owned companies, which are often insulated from market pressures and sometimes legally required to maintain production in order to keep tax revenues flowing. But even countries that depend on private companies to mine for coal or drill for oil often pay subsidies that can keep fossil fuel output artificially high.
In practice, it could prove tricky for governments to enact an orderly reduction of fossil fuel production worldwide. Even if the world does shift to cleaner energy, there will still be demand for oil and gas during the transition period. Each country that pumps out oil and gas would prefer to grab as much of that shrinking market share as possible and let others cut back. That dynamic can lead to overproduction worldwide.
Making the task even tougher, the world is currently experiencing a severe energy crunch, with Europe, Asia and Latin America all facing shortages of natural gas this fall to supplant their renewable power operations. The International Energy Agency recently warned that nations need to significantly increase their investment in clean energy to overcome these problems, but the disruptions could also bolster calls for more fossil fuel production. China's government, for example, recently ordered coal companies to increase their mining output to manage an electricity shortage that has led to rolling blackouts nationwide.
To address these challenges, the new report calls for closer international coordination ''to ensure that declines in fossil fuel production are distributed as equitably as possible, while minimizing the risks of disruption.''
C(C)line Dion cancels concerts due to 'severe and persistent muscle spasms' | C(C)line Dion | The Guardian
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:52
C(C)line Dion has postponed the start of her latest Las Vegas concert residency after suffering what a statement describes as ''severe and persistent muscle spasms''.
The Canadian singer was due to begin the new concert series, an update of her ongoing residency entitled C(C)line, at the Resorts World Las Vegas venue next month, but she has been unable to rehearse due to the illness. The dates, from 5-20 November and 19 January to 5 February, are intended to be rescheduled.
''I'm heartbroken by this,'' Dion said. ''My team and I have been working on our new show for the past eight months, and to not be able to open this November saddens me beyond words.''
''Nothing is more important than your wellbeing,'' Resorts World Las Vegas president Scott Sibella told Dion. The show was to set open a new theatre at the venue, with the city's largest and tallest stage.
Dion has been a mainstay in Las Vegas since 2003, when her show A New Day '... opened at Caesar's Palace. It is the most successful concert residency of all time, earning $385m (£279m) during its five-year run. The residency began in 2011 and ran on and off until 2019.
That year, Dion released her first album in six years, Courage. A world tour of the same name began in 2019 but was interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic '' it will now continue in May 2022.
In November 2020, Dion lost a legal battle with a concert agent who she claimed was being overpaid for a contract he negotiated for her ongoing Las Vegas concerts. She must continue paying Rob Prinz for the duration of the contract, until 2026. The deal, which began in 2017, will earn Dion $272m from concerts in Las Vegas, plus another $212m from touring.
SCOOP: Manchin Tells Associates He's Considering Leaving the Democratic Party and Has an Exit Plan '' Mother Jones
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:46
Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty
Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the
free Mother Jones newsletter.
In recent days, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has told associates that he is considering leaving the Democratic Party if President Joe Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill do not agree to his demand to cut the size of the social infrastructure bill from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion, according to people who have heard Manchin discuss this. Manchin has said that if this were to happen, he would declare himself an ''American Independent.'' And he has devised a detailed exit strategy for his departure.
Manchin has been in the center of a wild rush of negotiations with his fellow Democrats and the White House over a possible compromise regarding Biden's ambitious Build Back Better package, and Manchin's opposition to key provisions'--including Medicare and Medicaid expansion, an expanded child tax credit, and measures to address climate change'--has been an obstacle that the Democrats have yet to overcome. As these talks have proceeded, Manchin has discussed bolting from the Democratic Party'--perhaps to place pressure on Biden and Democrats in these negotiations.
He told associates that he has a two-step plan for exiting the party. First, he would send a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer, the top Senate Democrat, removing himself from the Democratic leadership of the Senate. (He is vice chair of the Senate Democrats' policy and communications committee.) Manchin hopes that would send a signal. He would then wait and see if that move had any impact on the negotiations. After about a week, he said, he would change his voter registration from Democrat to independent.
Manchin told associates that he was prepared to initiate his exit plan earlier this week and had mentioned the possibility to Biden.It is unclear whether in this scenario Manchin would end up caucusing with the Democrats, which would allow them to continue to control the Senate, or side with the Republicans and place the Senate in GOP hands. In either event, he would hold great sway over this half of Congress.
Without Manchin's vote, the Democrats cannot pass the package in the 50''50 Senate. And a vote on this measure is key to House passage of the $1 trillion bipartisan road-bridges-and-broadband infrastructure bill the Senate approved in August. (Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an Arizona Democrat, has also been a problem for the party.) Manchin has met with Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and a variety of his fellow Senate Democrats this week in an effort to strike a deal. Through it all, he has insisted that $1.75 trillion is his top and final offer, and he has constantly said no to proposed programs that almost every other congressional Democrat supports. He has told his fellow Democrats that if they don't accept his position, they risk getting nothing.
Manchin told associates that he was prepared to initiate his exit plan earlier this week and had mentioned the possibility to Biden. But he was encouraged by the conversations with Sanders and top Democrats that occurred at the start of the week and did not yet see a reason to take this step. Still, he has informed associates that because he is so out of sync with the Democratic Party, he believes it is likely he will leave the party by November 2022.
Manchin has repeatedly said he has a significant philosophical difference with most of his fellow Democrats. He has told reporters that he believes major programs in the Build Back Better bill would move the United States toward an ''entitlement mentality'' and that he cannot accept that. In a recent meeting with Biden, Manchin told the president that he sees government as a partner with the public not the ultimate provider, according to people who heard the senator's account of the conversation. He explained to the president that in his view Biden didn't win the presidency last year by championing progressive proposals, and he pressed the president to recall his campaign promise to bring people together. He also reminded Biden that he has vowed not to support any package unless it contains the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds to pay for abortions, except in cases of incest or when the life of the mother is at risk.
In his talks with Sanders and Democratic legislators, Manchin has said that they should be willing to accept his $1.75 trillion offer and continue to fight for the social and climate change programs he doesn't support and make these campaign issues in 2022 and 2024, as they try to elect more Democrats. Half of a bill is better than none, he has advised.
Manchin told associates that he is hopeful a compromise that creates an overall framework for the bill can be reached by the end of this week'--but at no more than the $1.75 trillion he supports. He has said that he believes if a deal is not attained on the social infrastructure package, he expects to be blamed and receive a ton of criticism.
Manchin's press secretary did not respond to a request for comment.
Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States | SpringerLink
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 15:01
Vaccines currently are the primary mitigation strategy to combat COVID-19 around the world. For instance, the narrative related to the ongoing surge of new cases in the United States (US) is argued to be driven by areas with low vaccination rates [1]. A similar narrative also has been observed in countries, such as Germany and the United Kingdom [2]. At the same time, Israel that was hailed for its swift and high rates of vaccination has also seen a substantial resurgence in COVID-19 cases [3]. We investigate the relationship between the percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases across 68 countries and across 2947 counties in the US.
MethodsWe used COVID-19 data provided by the Our World in Data for cross-country analysis, available as of September 3, 2021 (Supplementary Table 1) [4]. We included 68 countries that met the following criteria: had second dose vaccine data available; had COVID-19 case data available; had population data available; and the last update of data was within 3 days prior to or on September 3, 2021. For the 7 days preceding September 3, 2021 we computed the COVID-19 cases per 1 million people for each country as well as the percentage of population that is fully vaccinated.
For the county-level analysis in the US, we utilized the White House COVID-19 Team data [5], available as of September 2, 2021 (Supplementary Table 2). We excluded counties that did not report fully vaccinated population percentage data yielding 2947 counties for the analysis. We computed the number and percentages of counties that experienced an increase in COVID-19 cases by levels of the percentage of people fully vaccinated in each county. The percentage increase in COVID-19 cases was calculated based on the difference in cases from the last 7 days and the 7 days preceding them. For example, Los Angeles county in California had 18,171 cases in the last 7 days (August 26 to September 1) and 31,616 cases in the previous 7 days (August 19''25), so this county did not experience an increase of cases in our dataset. We provide a dashboard of the metrics used in this analysis that is updated automatically as new data is made available by the White House COVID-19 Team (https://tiny.cc/USDashboard).
FindingsAt the country-level, there appears to be no discernable relationship between percentage of population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases in the last 7 days (Fig. 1). In fact, the trend line suggests a marginally positive association such that countries with higher percentage of population fully vaccinated have higher COVID-19 cases per 1 million people. Notably, Israel with over 60% of their population fully vaccinated had the highest COVID-19 cases per 1 million people in the last 7 days. The lack of a meaningful association between percentage population fully vaccinated and new COVID-19 cases is further exemplified, for instance, by comparison of Iceland and Portugal. Both countries have over 75% of their population fully vaccinated and have more COVID-19 cases per 1 million people than countries such as Vietnam and South Africa that have around 10% of their population fully vaccinated.
Fig. 1Relationship between cases per 1 million people (last 7 days) and percentage of population fully vaccinated across 68 countries as of September 3, 2021 (See Table S1 for the underlying data)
Across the US counties too, the median new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days is largely similar across the categories of percent population fully vaccinated (Fig. 2). Notably there is also substantial county variation in new COVID-19 cases within categories of percentage population fully vaccinated. There also appears to be no significant signaling of COVID-19 cases decreasing with higher percentages of population fully vaccinated (Fig. 3).
Fig. 2Median, interquartile range and variation in cases per 100,000 people in the last 7 days across percentage of population fully vaccinated as of September 2, 2021
Fig. 3Percentage of counties that experienced an increase of cases between two consecutive 7-day time periods by percentage of population fully vaccinated across 2947 counties as of September 2, 2021
Of the top 5 counties that have the highest percentage of population fully vaccinated (99.9''84.3%), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies 4 of them as ''High'' Transmission counties. Chattahoochee (Georgia), McKinley (New Mexico), and Arecibo (Puerto Rico) counties have above 90% of their population fully vaccinated with all three being classified as ''High'' transmission. Conversely, of the 57 counties that have been classified as ''low'' transmission counties by the CDC, 26.3% (15) have percentage of population fully vaccinated below 20%.
Since full immunity from the vaccine is believed to take about 2 weeks after the second dose, we conducted sensitivity analyses by using a 1-month lag on the percentage population fully vaccinated for countries and US counties. The above findings of no discernable association between COVID-19 cases and levels of fully vaccinated was also observed when we considered a 1-month lag on the levels of fully vaccinated (Supplementary Figure 1, Supplementary Figure 2).
We should note that the COVID-19 case data is of confirmed cases, which is a function of both supply (e.g., variation in testing capacities or reporting practices) and demand-side (e.g., variation in people's decision on when to get tested) factors.
InterpretationThe sole reliance on vaccination as a primary strategy to mitigate COVID-19 and its adverse consequences needs to be re-examined, especially considering the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant and the likelihood of future variants. Other pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions may need to be put in place alongside increasing vaccination rates. Such course correction, especially with regards to the policy narrative, becomes paramount with emerging scientific evidence on real world effectiveness of the vaccines.
For instance, in a report released from the Ministry of Health in Israel, the effectiveness of 2 doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine against preventing COVID-19 infection was reported to be 39% [6], substantially lower than the trial efficacy of 96% [7]. It is also emerging that immunity derived from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine may not be as strong as immunity acquired through recovery from the COVID-19 virus [8]. A substantial decline in immunity from mRNA vaccines 6-months post immunization has also been reported [9]. Even though vaccinations offers protection to individuals against severe hospitalization and death, the CDC reported an increase from 0.01 to 9% and 0 to 15.1% (between January to May 2021) in the rates of hospitalizations and deaths, respectively, amongst the fully vaccinated [10].
In summary, even as efforts should be made to encourage populations to get vaccinated it should be done so with humility and respect. Stigmatizing populations can do more harm than good. Importantly, other non-pharmacological prevention efforts (e.g., the importance of basic public health hygiene with regards to maintaining safe distance or handwashing, promoting better frequent and cheaper forms of testing) needs to be renewed in order to strike the balance of learning to live with COVID-19 in the same manner we continue to live a 100 years later with various seasonal alterations of the 1918 Influenza virus.
References 1.Vaccinations CDC. CDC COVID data tracker. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2021. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations.
2.Nicolas E. Germany mulls restrictions for unvaccinated as cases soar. EUobserver; 2021. https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/152534.
3.Estrin D. Highly vaccinated Israel is seeing a dramatic surge in New COVID cases. Here's why. NPR; 2021. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2021/08/20/1029628471/highly-vaccinated-israel-is-seeing-a-dramatic-surge-in-new-covid-cases-heres-why.
4.Ritchie H, Ortiz-Ospina E, Beltekian D, Mathieu E, Hasell J, Macdonald B, Giattino C, Appel C, Rod(C)s-Guirao L, Roser M. Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). 2020. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus.
5.White House COVID-19 Team. COVID-19 community profile report. 2020. HealthData.gov. https://healthdata.gov/Health/COVID-19-Community-Profile-Report/gqxm-d9w9.
6.Ministry of Health Israel. Two-dose vaccination data. Government of Israel; 2021. https://www.gov.il/BlobFolder/reports/vaccine-efficacy-safety-follow-up-committee/he/files_publications_corona_two-dose-vaccination-data.pdf.
7.Thomas SJ, Moreira ED, Kitchin N, Absalon J, Gurtman A, Lockhart S, Perez JL, et al. Six Month safety and efficacy of the BNT162b2 Mrna Covid-19 vaccine. MedRxiv. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.28.21261159.
Article PubMed PubMed Central Google Scholar
8.Gazit S, Shlezinger R, Perez G, Lotan R, Peretz A, Ben-Tov A, Cohen D, Muhsen K, Chodick G, Patalon T. Comparing sars-cov-2 natural immunity to vaccine-induced immunity: reinfections versus breakthrough infections. MedRxiv. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.24.21262415.
Article Google Scholar
9.Canaday DH, Oyebanji OA, Keresztesy D, Payne M, Wilk D, Carias L, Aung H, Denis KS, Lam EC, Rowley CF, Berry SD, Cameron CM, Cameron MJ, Wilson B, Balazs AB, King CL, Gravenstein S. Significant reduction in humoral Immunity among healthcare workers and nursing home residents 6 months AFTER COVID-19 BNT162b2 mRNA vaccination. MedRxiv. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.08.15.21262067.
Article PubMed PubMed Central Google Scholar
10.McMorrow M. (rep.). Improving communications around vaccine breakthrough and vaccine effectiveness. 2021. Retrieved from https://context-cdn.washingtonpost.com/notes/prod/default/documents/8a726408-07bd-46bd-a945-3af0ae2f3c37/note/57c98604-3b54-44f0-8b44-b148d8f75165.
Download references
Author informationAffiliationsHarvard Center for Population and Development Studies, Cambridge, MA, USA
S. V. Subramanian
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
S. V. Subramanian
Turner Fenton Secondary School, Brampton, ON, Canada
Akhil Kumar
Corresponding authorCorrespondence to S. V. Subramanian .
Additional informationPublisher's NoteSpringer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Supplementary InformationBelow is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this articleCite this articleSubramanian, S.V., Kumar, A. Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination across 68 countries and 2947 counties in the United States. Eur J Epidemiol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7
Download citation
Received : 17 August 2021
Accepted : 09 September 2021
Published : 30 September 2021
DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s10654-021-00808-7
'Somebody is killing us': Intermountain CEO has same cancer as Colin Powell, who died from COVID-19
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:47
At-risk blood cancer patients like Marc Harrison rely on others to get vaccinated to build herd immunity. (Rick Bowmer | AP) Marc Harrison, president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, speaks during a news conference Aug. 31, 2021, in Salt Lake City. On Monday, Harrison highlighted the need for more Utahns to get vaccinated in light of Colin Powell's death from COVID-19. Powell had the same type of blood cancer that Harrison has; multiple myeloma leaves patients immunocompromised and at risk of contracting COVID-19 even if they are fully vaccinated.
| Oct. 19, 2021, 1:03 p.m.
| Updated: 3:22 p.m.
Dr. Marc Harrison, like Colin Powell was, is fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
But, also like Powell, the Intermountain Healthcare CEO suffers from multiple myeloma '-- the blood cancer that likely left Powell vulnerable to COVID-19 before he died from the virus this week.
''For people with blood cancers '-- lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma '-- only about half of them respond to an mRNA vaccine,'' Harrison said Monday, after Powell's death. Powell, who served as a four-star Army general, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State under George W. Bush, died Monday from the coronavirus.
While the overwhelming majority of Americans dying from COVID-19 right now are unvaccinated, the virus still is claiming victims from the 2% of people who are immunocompromised by other conditions '-- such as cancer or organ transplants '-- as well as by drugs that treat other illnesses, like inflammatory bowel disease, Harrison said.
''Somebody is giving them COVID. Somebody is killing us,'' Harrison said. ''The surest way to decrease that is for people to get their vaccinations.''
Among the immunocompromised, the vaccine may well be protective, especially with a booster shot, Harrison said. But only about half of patients with blood cancer develop antibodies in response to the vaccine, he said '-- and only one-third of transplant recipients do.
Harrison, for example, only has one-tenth to one-twentieth of some types of immune cells that are needed for ''an adequate immune system.''
''I guarantee you that everybody knows somebody out there like Gen. Powell or like me,'' Harrison said. ''The way herd immunity works is, we are relying on [others] to take good care of themselves and get vaccinated.''
Despite the state's slightly-below-average vaccination rate, Utahns, Harrison said, are generally ''charitable and good neighbors and very responsible.
''I can only believe that people must really just not understand if they are so cavalier. ... I can't imagine they don't care about one out of every 50 people.''
With about two-thirds of eligible Utahns fully vaccinated, Harrison remains vigilant about who he has contact with, frequently masking and asking others' vaccine status.
But at one recent public meeting, Harrison said, he found himself in a large group of people who were not masking and were not vaccinated. His risks are so elevated that simply being in the room made him eligible for monoclonal antibodies '-- an effective but limited-supply treatment typically given to high-risk patients who have contracted the virus but have not yet developed serious symptoms.
''It did make me feel not very valued that people are putting their own convenience ahead of my own life and death,'' Harrison said.
He declined to specify the meeting. At an August news conference, Harrison urged Utahns to wear masks in public settings, get vaccinated, stop the spread of misinformation, and ''put your virtual arms around'' health care workers. After a bone marrow transplant and experimental CAR T-cell therapy, his cancer has been in remission.
Oregon government agency inadvertently releases 40,000 state employees' vaccination status - oregonlive.com
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:46
A COVID-19 vaccination record card. On Monday, Oregon's administrative agency mistakenly released the names and vaccination statuses of around 40,000 state employees to two news organizations.
Oregon's central administrative agency on Monday inadvertently released the vaccination status of more than 40,000 individual state employees to The Oregonian/OregonLive and another media outlet.
A spreadsheet sent to the news organizations was supposed to contain the latest vaccination rates and vaccine exemption rates for each executive branch agency overseen by Gov. Kate Brown, who in August issued a mandate for many state employees to get vaccinated by Monday. The Oregonian/OregonLive has requested daily updates from the state recently but only aggregate figures for each agency.
Instead, Oregon Department of Administrative Services External Relations Director Adam Crawford emailed a file to The Oregonian/OregonLive and the Salem Statesman Journal Monday containing vaccination status by name for all executive branch employees: whether they are verified as vaccinated, received a medical or religious exemption, their vaccination record or exemption request is still being processed, or they had not submitted any information.
Crawford took the blame for the data release. ''It's a mistake on my part,'' he said in a phone call.
Ben Morris, a spokesperson for SEIU 503, said the release of information violates an agreement the union signed with the state in September which required the state to keep individuals' vaccination information confidential.
But Morris said that even ''more concerning is that one of the main things that we heard from members who were vaccine hesitant is they were concerned about their privacy in this situation. This is a breach of trust at the worst possible time.''
Morris said the union is still deciding how to respond.
The Oregonian/OregonLive will not publish the full dataset online, as it does with other state employee datasets such as salary information and public employee pensions.
The data show, as The Oregonian/OregonLive has reported, that large state agencies with low verified as vaccinated rates among their employees include Oregon State Police (74%), the Department of Corrections (70%) and the Forestry Department (65%). The corrections department and state police agency granted some of the highest rates of religious exemptions '' 19% and 14% respectively.
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
FDA Issues Landmark Proposal to Improve Access to Hearing Aid Technology for Millions of Americans | FDA
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 14:44
For Immediate Release: October 19, 2021Espa±ol ç®ä½'中文
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a landmark proposal intended to improve access to and reduce the cost of hearing aid technology for millions of Americans. The agency proposed a rule to establish a new category of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. When finalized, the rule would allow hearing aids within this category to be sold directly to consumers in stores or online without a medical exam or a fitting by an audiologist. The proposed rule is designed to help increase competition in the market while also ensuring the safety and effectiveness of OTC and prescription hearing aids.
Today's action follows President Biden's July Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which called for the FDA to take steps to allow hearing aids to be sold over the counter. This effort also builds on the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of expanding access to high-quality health care and lowering medical care costs for the American public.
''Reducing health care costs for everyone in America is a top priority,'' said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra. ''Today's move by FDA takes us one step closer to the goal of making hearing aids more accessible and affordable for the tens of millions of people who experience mild to moderate hearing loss.''
Approximately 15% of American adults (37.5 million) age 18 and over report some trouble hearing. However, despite the high prevalence and public health impact of hearing loss, only about one-fifth of people who could benefit from a hearing aid use one. The proposed rule aims to address barriers to use, including cost, access, social stigma related to hearing loss, perceived value of the devices or certain state and federal regulations.
Many hearing aids can be expensive. The rule aims to facilitate innovation and increase competition by lowering the barriers to entry for new hearing aid manufacturers. Under the proposed rule, hearing aids would be sold over the counter in more traditional brick-and-mortar retail stores or online (rather than doctors' offices or specialty retail outlets) and will likely be less expensive than those currently sold '' giving consumers greater choice at lower prices.
The proposed rule implements a key provision of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act, as enacted in the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017. President Biden's Executive Order on Competition included a timeline for action, and the FDA has now issued the proposed rule ahead of that schedule.
Hearing loss can be caused by aging, exposure to loud noises, certain medical conditions and other factors. Individuals with permanent hearing loss can use hearing aids to help make speech and sounds around them louder, enabling more effective communication with others.
''Hearing loss has a profound impact on daily communication, social interaction and the overall health and quality of life for millions of Americans,'' said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. ''The FDA's proposed rule represents a significant step toward helping ensure that adults with mild to moderate hearing loss have improved access to more affordable and innovative product options. The new regulatory category will provide the public with greater control over their hearing aid purchasing decisions at stores nationwide or online without the need for a professional hearing exam, fitting adjustment or a prescription.''
The proposed rule would also amend existing rules that apply to hearing aids for consistency with the new OTC category, repeal the conditions for sale for hearing aids and address state regulation of hearing aids. The OTC category, when finalized, would apply to certain air-conduction hearing aids intended for adults age 18 and older who have perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Hearing aids for severe hearing loss or for users younger than age 18 would be prescription devices.
To ensure patient safety, the proposed rule also addresses a maximum output (volume) limit for OTC hearing aids that would prevent injuries from overamplification of sound. In addition, the proposed rule includes certain device performance and design requirements, such as distortion control limits, self-generated noise limits, latency limits (how quickly an OTC hearing aid processes, amplifies and relays a sound), the range of frequencies that the device can reproduce and how uniformly the OTC hearing aid amplifies different frequencies over its bandwidth, as well as a requirement to limit the insertion depth of the device. The proposed rule also includes labeling requirements for OTC hearing aids.
To coincide with the proposed rule, the FDA also issued an updated draft guidance, Regulatory Requirements for Hearing Aid Devices and Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). The draft guidance describes hearing aids, PSAPs, their respective intended uses and regulatory requirements that apply to both types of products. The draft guidance is intended to provide further clarification regarding the differences between PSAPs, which help people with normal hearing amplify sounds, and hearing aids and to inform consumers that PSAPs are not considered OTC alternatives for hearing aids.
Related Information###
Boilerplate
The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.
Out-of-practice airline pilots are making potentially disastrous errors as they return to work | Financial Post
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:55
Concerns are growing that a lack of proficiency, confidence, or simply one moment of forgetfulness could lead to tragedy
Author of the article:
Bloomberg News
Angus Whitley and Anurag Kotoky
Publishing date:
Oct 15, 2021
'
1 day ago
'
10 minute read
'
5 Comments
A pilot moves through New York's LaGuardia Airport on December 3, 2020 in New York City. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images filesBack in the cockpit after time off recovering from COVID-19, an airline pilot forgot to start his plane's second engine for takeoff, a mistake that could have ended in disaster if he hadn't aborted the flight.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Another pilot, fresh from a seven-month layoff because of the pandemic and descending to land early in the morning, realized almost too late he hadn't lowered the wheels and pulled out of the approach just 800 feet (240 metres) from the tarmac.
Weeks earlier, a passenger plane leaving a busy airport headed off in the wrong direction, flown by a captain who was back on deck for the first time in more than six months.
These potentially disastrous errors all took place in the U.S. in recent months as pilots returned to work. In every case, crew blamed their oversight on a shortage of flying during COVID, the most deadly pandemic since the 1918 influenza outbreak and certainly the only one to have wreaked such havoc on what was a burgeoning global aviation industry.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
The incidents are among dozens of mistakes, confidentially declared by out-of-practice pilots since the start of the pandemic, that are stored on a low-profile database designed to identify emerging safety threats. The monitoring program, funded by the Federal Aviation Administration, is decades old but is now flashing warning signs as planes return to the skies across the world.
Deep cuts by airlines left some 100,000 pilots globally working skeleton hours or on long-term leave, according to consulting firm Oliver Wyman. Many haven't flown for more than 18 months. But as rising vaccination rates allow travel to resume, concerns are growing that a lack of proficiency, confidence, or simply one moment of forgetfulness could lead to tragedy.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
''It is really a critical situation,'' said Uwe Harter, a grounded Airbus SE A380 pilot for Deutsche Lufthansa AG who's also the executive vice president for technical and safety standards at the International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations. ''The last thing the industry needs now is a bad accident.''
While some airlines are providing pilots with adequate retraining, others are offering ''the bare minimum,'' if anything at all, said Harter, who himself hasn't flown since February 2020. ''The regulations that we have aren't sufficient.''
The last thing the industry needs now is a bad accident
It's not as if authorities are blind to this. The International Civil Aviation Organization, which sets industry standards, and the International Air Transport Association have seen the risks looming for months. Both bodies, as well as Europe's top aviation regulator, have published detailed training guides to help airlines transition out-of-practice pilots back into the air.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
But interviews with pilots from Asia and Europe '-- and the database of anonymous accounts in the U.S. '-- reveal varying degrees of ability and confidence among those who have returned to duty, including pilots who have completed retraining programs.
That's partly because no amount of classroom or virtual theory, or practice in a flight simulator, can replicate the real-life pressures of a cockpit. Nor do these preparations fully take into account the psychological, emotional and financial stresses from the pandemic weighing on airline crew.
Aviation has largely been defined by its colossal financial losses '-- US$138 billion last year alone and another US$52 billion expected in 2021 '-- since COVID brought travel to a standstill. As the industry tries to claw back some of its lost revenue, managing the safety risks posed by returning pilots is an additional burden and one that airlines with stronger balance sheets have the luxury of handling more proficiently than others.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
The scale of the problem is partly documented on the U.S. Aviation Safety Reporting System, the database of safety incidents voluntarily reported by pilots, crew and air-traffic controllers.
The pilot who tried to get airborne on one engine in December last year said in his report that his recovery from a COVID infection was ''heavy on my mind'' and contributed to his ''lack of focus.'' The ASRS reports don't name the crew, airlines or airports involved.
Flight Safety Foundation, a Virginia-based not-for-profit group that advises the aviation industry, said it's aware of the incidents on the ASRS database and is monitoring the situation globally. ''The more we know about potential safety issues, the better we are able to mitigate the risk,'' Flight Safety Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Hassan Shahidi said.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
In a line of work where there's little room for professional error, the dangers become stark. While most of the mistakes are minor '-- they include flying momentarily at the incorrect altitude or speed, or taxiing across a runway in the wrong place '-- some of the worst aviation disasters are rooted in seemingly inconsequential missteps.
And worryingly, the number of incidents tied to a lack of pilot proficiency climbed almost immediately after the pandemic began to disrupt commercial flying schedules, according to a February study by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona.
Rajee Olaganathan, an assistant professor at the university, found one such ASRS report in the eight months before March 2020, then 10 in the next eight months. All of them referred to problems landing the aircraft. In one, a pilot described approaching the runway with too much altitude. ''I wasn't at the comfort level I would have liked,'' he wrote.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Olaganathan said her findings show airlines need to educate pilots about skill deterioration and build suitably tailored training programs. But crew also need to be candid about their abilities. ''Pilots need to make an honest assessment of their skills and confidence upon returning to work,'' she said in an interview.
The obvious dangers posed by poor pilots, even before COVID, have made the job one of the most strictly controlled on the planet. United Nations agency ICAO usually requires pilots undergo two proficiency checks every 12 months and perform three takeoffs and landings every 90 days. They're also subject to examinations from doctors specializing in aviation medicine.
Many airline pilots haven't flown for more than 18 months. Photo by COOPER NEILL/AFP via Getty Images filesWhen the pandemic began, ICAO allowed airlines flexibility in meeting these rules because the virus was devastating enough, as long as carriers incorporated other safeguards. But with flying on its way back, the Montreal-based agency says it's becoming less lenient.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
''There's going to be a point beyond which you can't stretch standards,'' said Ian Knowles, a technical officer within ICAO's air navigation bureau, which leads the agency's response to crises. ''Standards are there for a reason.''
Even so, ICAO is still offering 41 exemptions from the standards in 11 countries including Cambodia, Nigeria and Pakistan, according to its website. Air Niugini in Papua New Guinea, for example, has been allowed to stretch its pilot-proficiency checks to 12-month intervals because Covid restrictions make it difficult to access flight simulators in nearby Australia and Singapore. Pilots at the airline must instead undergo more theoretical and practical training to compensate, details of the exemption show.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Knowles, who was a British Airways pilot before joining ICAO, concedes that just meeting ICAO requirements is no guarantee of performance.
''You could still be needing that extra edge,'' he said. ''There is a certain loss of confidence and ability that comes with even maintaining the very bare minimum.''
It's this element of human variation that makes it hard for regulators to get a handle on the risks posed by recently returned pilots, and the many who are yet to make a comeback.
While commercial flying in the U.S. is 17 per cent off normal levels, activity in Western Europe remains down 35 per cent, according to OAG. The shortfalls are even greater in the Middle East, Southern Africa and Southeast Asia, where many international borders remain shut.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
In interviews, some pilots who have returned to work report a loss of the muscular memory that once helped them follow procedures on the flight deck without pause. Others wonder if they still possess the clear-mindedness to handle a mid-air crisis.
A senior pilot for Qantas Airways Ltd., who spoke on condition of anonymity, said colleagues who haven't flown for six months typically make one or two minor procedural errors on their return.
They might forget to enter data into the flight computer at the appropriate time, or land the plane harder than normal, the pilot said. Actions that were once immediate and instinctive require more time and thought. That's after refresher sessions in a flight simulator, the pilot said.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
''If there's an engine failure or a fire, then you have to implement that procedure,'' said Amit Singh, a former head of pilot training at Indian airline IndiGo who founded not-for-profit organization Safety Matters. ''If you haven't flown for a long time, it may take you a few minutes or seconds extra.''
Despite the mistakes made by pilots since the pandemic, IATA, major regulators and some of the largest airlines insist the risks are under control.
The obvious dangers posed by poor pilots, even before COVID, have made the job one of the most strictly controlled on the planet. Photo by Mike Stone/Reuters files''As the crisis has continued, mitigations to risks that emerged over the past 18 months are getting stronger and more robust,'' IATA's safety director Mark Searle said.
The FAA said in a statement that its ''comprehensive data-driven safety oversight system enables the agency to detect risks and address problems early, including any that may result from pilots returning to work after Covid-related furloughs.''
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
And American Airlines Group Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., two of the biggest U.S. carriers, say their pilot training exceeds regulatory requirements.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency, meanwhile, said it had identified ''a small number'' of incidents potentially linked to pilot proficiency. Although it warned of the dangers when pilots lose even a little flying ability in August, EASA said in a statement it sees no need for further action.
Yet crew who have come back on duty with little recent flying experience have already come close to disaster. In September last year, a Lion Air Group plane carrying 307 passengers veered off the runway after landing at Medan in northern Indonesia. The pilot had flown less than three hours in the previous 90 days.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
No one was injured and it's true that serious incidents in aviation in general remain very rare. There was just one major accident for every 5 million jet flights between 2016 and 2020, according to IATA's latest Safety Report.
Evidence, however, suggests more oversight is needed in certain regions. Many of the safeguards against a lack of proficiency, such as rostering more-experienced crew in the cockpit and running additional simulator sessions, represent an additional cost '-- one that airlines under financial stress may struggle to foot.
Sydney-based Qantas, which has one of the strongest balance sheets of any airline despite the pandemic, dedicated an entire team to addressing pilot rustiness. Staff combed through research on other professions with similar skill sets to pilots and eventually found helpful parallels in surgery.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
The research showed that the fine motor skills of surgeons withstood long periods out of theater. But it was different when surgeons had to complete a list of procedures or apply previously acquired knowledge.
With that evidence, Qantas now puts its Boeing Co. 737 pilots through a six-day course before they get back in the sky, and a senior training captain sits in on their initial flights. The airline's A380 pilots have two days of training on the ground and in the simulator every 90 days, even though Qantas hasn't yet resumed flying the enormous jets.
''We realized very early on that we needed to think differently,'' Qantas Chief Pilot Dick Tobiano said. ''The data has shown that our pilots are coming back with the skills and confidence to do their job safely.''
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
At Indonesia's Lion Air, however, a senior captain speaking on condition of anonymity said he's so concerned about his colleagues' flying ability that he's scaled back his own flying hours. Indonesia has one of the world's poorest safety records with 105 accidents and 2,356 related fatalities, worse than Mexico and Venezuela, Aviation Safety Network data from 1945 through October show.
The captain said he had to take over the controls approaching Semarang's Ahmad Yani International Airport in Central Java during a flight mid last year. The junior pilot flying the plane hadn't worked for three months and failed to notice the aircraft wasn't locked into the airport's landing guidance system. Lion Air didn't respond to a request for comment.
Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
That may sound minor but the number of badly executed landings worldwide '-- coming in too high and too fast, for instance '-- almost tripled from pre-pandemic levels to 35 out of every 1,000 by May 2020, according to the U.K.'s own confidential safety incident reporting program.
More On This Topic G7 ministers agree to work towards common standards to speed up travel rebound Airlines demand virus-repelling seat coverings to cut COVID-19 cleaning Canada seeks to attract U.S. frequent flyers with perks on Air Canada It's important because more than half of all fatal commercial-jet accidents from 2011 through 2020 occurred on a plane's final approach to landing or the landing itself, research from Boeing shows. At lower altitudes, pilots have limited height and therefore less time to recover from an error or mechanical failure.
This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.
Article contentIndeed, some of the errors declared by pilots in the ASRS database have echoes in the most grim airline disasters.
In June last year, a first officer for an airline in the U.S. who hadn't flown in nearly three months forgot to switch on the anti-icing mechanism for the plane's airspeed sensors. In 2009, those same sensors iced up and triggered the crash of Air France Flight 447 on its way to Paris from Rio de Janeiro, killing all 228 people aboard.
The solution, according to Lufthansa pilot Harter, involves going beyond the pre-pandemic standards of pilot proficiency. Rather than prescribing enough training to meet requirements, airlines and regulators must give crew whatever they need to feel comfortable again, whether that's more time in a simulator or the acknowledgment there may be a mental component that extra rules can't always adequately address.
''That's the way forward,'' he said. ''And that's not written in any regulation.''
Bloomberg.com
_____________________________________________________________
For more stories like this one, sign up for the FP Work newsletter.
______________________________________________________________
Financial Post Top StoriesSign up to receive the daily top stories from the Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.
By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300 Thanks for signing up!A welcome email is on its way. If you don't see it, please check your junk folder.
The next issue of Financial Post Top Stories will soon be in your inbox.
We encountered an issue signing you up. Please try again
Minnesota teens can receive $200 if they get vaccinated
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:54
CNN Duration: 01:17 20 hrs ago
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced children who complete their Covid-19 vaccine series before the end of November will get a $200 Visa gift card and a shot at a $100,000 college scholarship. David Schuman with CNN affilliate WCCO reports.
More From CNN
'Case closed': 99.9% of scientists agree climate emergency caused by humans | Climate crisis | The Guardian
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:33
The scientific consensus that humans are altering the climate has passed 99.9%, according to research that strengthens the case for global action at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.
The degree of scientific certainty about the impact of greenhouse gases is now similar to the level of agreement on evolution and plate tectonics, the authors say, based on a survey of nearly 90,000 climate-related studies. This means there is practically no doubt among experts that burning fossil fuels, such as oil, gas, coal, peat and trees, is heating the planet and causing more extreme weather.
A previous survey in 2013 showed 97% of studies published between 1991 and 2012 supported the idea that human activities are altering Earth's climate.
This has been updated and expanded by the study by Cornell University that shows the tiny minority of sceptical voices has diminished to almost nothing as evidence mounts of the link between fossil-fuel burning and climate disruption.
The latest survey of peer-reviewed literature published from 2012 to November 2020 was conducted in two stages. First, the researchers examined a random sample of 3,000 studies, in which they found only found four papers that were sceptical that the climate crisis was caused by humans. Second, they searched the full database of 88,125 studies for keywords linked to climate scepticism such as ''natural cycles'' and ''cosmic rays'', which yielded 28 papers, all published in minor journals.
The authors said their study, published on Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, showed scepticism among experts is now vanishingly small.
Q&A What is Cop26? Show For almost three decades, world governments have met nearly every year to forge a global response to the climate emergency. Under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), every country on Earth is treaty-bound to ''avoid dangerous climate change'', and find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally in an equitable way.
Cop stands for conference of the parties under the UNFCCC. This year is the 26th iteration, postponed by a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow.
The conference will officially open on 31 October, and more than 120 world leaders will gather in the first few days. They will then depart, leaving the complex negotiations to their representatives, mainly environment ministers or similarly senior officials. About 25,000 people are expected to attend the conference in total. The talks are scheduled to end at 6pm on Friday 12 November.
Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
''It is really case closed. There is nobody of significance in the scientific community who doubts human-caused climate change,'' said the lead author, Mark Lynas, a visiting fellow at Cornell University.
This echoed the view expressed in August by the world's leading scientific body, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which said: ''It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land.''
The general public does not yet understand how certain experts are, nor is it reflected in political debate. This is especially true in the US, where fossil fuel companies have funded a disinformation campaign that falsely suggests the science is not yet settled, similar to the campaign by tobacco industries to cast doubt on the link between smoking and cancer.
The paper cites a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center that found only 27% of US adults believed that ''almost all'' scientists agreed the climate emergency was caused by human activity.
Many senior Republicans continue to cast doubt on the link between human activity and the climate crisis as market researchers have advised them to do since at least the presidency of George W Bush. According to the Center for American Progress, 30 US senators and 109 representatives ''refuse to acknowledge the scientific evidence of human-caused climate change''. Several big media organisations and social networks also promote climate-sceptical views that have little or no basis in science.
Lynas said the study should encourage them to review their policies. ''This puts the likes of Facebook and Twitter in a quandary. It is pretty similar to vaccine misinformation; they both lack a basis in science and they both have a destructive impact on society. Social networks that allow climate misinformation to spread need to look at their algorithms and policies or to be forced to do so by regulators.''
Some commentators have challenged the significance of a scientific consensus, saying it is a distraction from more pressing concerns. However, they say it is important for media organisations to avoid giving a false sense of balance by giving equal weight and coverage to for-and-against arguments. Most important, a consensus is seen as vital for a concerted international response to the climate crisis.
Procter & Gamble Raising Prices on Consumer Staples as Shortages and Bidenflation Bite
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:17
Procter & Gamble is raising prices on consumer staples and hiking its estimate of cost inflation.
The consumer products giant'--which makes Tide detergent, Bounty paper towels, Gillette razors, and Crest toothpaste'--says it is paying more for raw materials and transportation than it expected and sees no easing of inflationary pressures.
''The input cost pressures are really broad based,'' P&G Chief Financial Officer Andre Schulten told reporters at a briefing, describing the current market as ''a very challenging cost environment.''
Prices are rising faster than expected. In July, the company said higher costs would add an additional $1.9 billion in expenses this year. On Tuesday, the company raised this estimate to $2.3 billion
Key drivers for higher costs include lengthy delays at US ports that have prompted companies to increase inventories; and factory outages tied to Covid-19 lockdowns and tropical storms that have pinched supply.
''We do not anticipate any easing of costs,'' Schulten said in an interview. ''We continue to see increases week after week, though at a slower pace.''
Schulten said P&G was spending more on a variety of items, including chemical resins, pulp packaging, and, more recently, energy and diesel.
At P&G, profits for the quarter ending September 30 were $4.1 billion, down four percent, on a five percent jump in sales to $20.3 billion. The company said around one-fifth of the rise in sales was due to higher prices and the rest due to selling more product. Every segment showed more sales growth and sales in North America were particularly strong, the company said.
Gross margin came in at 49 percent, below the Wall Street estimate of 54 percent, highlighting the drag on profits from inflation. Higher inflation has become a theme of corporate earnings reports this season. Many companies say they have passed on some but not all of the costs. Supply chain disruptions have also caused problems, with some new products being delayed and high shipping costs straining profitability.
The company said it would start charging higher prices on razors, oral care products, and beauty products. It had earlier said prices would rise for diapers and paper towels.
Schulten said the company is finding backup suppliers and changing shipping routes to get products to consumers and keep store shelves stocked. It has also begun limiting how much a store can stock of some products, in an effort to cut back on stockpiling. Other products are being reformulated because ingredients are in short supply.
''AFP contributed to this report.
TikTok Threatens To Censor "Let's Go Brandon" Song For "Harassment And Bullying" | ZeroHedge
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:15
Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,
A popular new song containing the viral anti-Biden 'Let's Go Brandon' meme faces potential removal by TikTok for ''harassment and bullying.''
Yes, really.
After the track by rapper Loza Alexander soared up the Apple Music Hip Hop and Rap chart over the weekend, it also began to go viral on TikTok, receiving over 500,000 likes.
That's when the thought police stepped in.
''Tik Tok has threatened to remove my #letsgobrandon viral video that is approaching the number one spot on iTunes top us hip hop records! Tik Tok is claiming that I'm bullying? But how???'' asked Alexander.
ATTENTION news reporters!Tik Tok has threatened to remove my #letsgobrandon viral video that is approaching the number one spot on iTunes top us hip hop records! Tik Tok is claiming that I'm bullying? But how??? @TikTokSupport#lozaalexander #loza #letsgobrandonthemesong pic.twitter.com/ilAdaPHC6S
'-- Loza Alexander (@ImLozaAlexander) October 14, 2021The message from TikTok says that the song is being investigated for the ''content violation'' of containing ''harassment and bullying.''
Apparently, the new social media benchmark for ''bullying'' is making fun of the president.
In enforcing such a rule, TikTok is merely mirroring its Communist Chinese censorship system, which also blocks content that lambastes or ridicules President Xi Jinping.
Hear 'Let's Go Brandon' via the video below.
* * *ZH: Meanwhile, Alexander has uploaded several videos of the #letsgobrandonchallenge where people dance, or just look hot, to his viral song.
China's Magnesium Shortage Could Spell More Trouble For Global Car Industry | ZeroHedge
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 12:27
While a shortage of semiconductors has plagued the global auto automotive industry this year, the market is now turning its focus to magnesium, a hardening agent of aluminum. Such a shortage could paralyze the aluminum billet production used to make engine blocks, gearboxes, frames, body panels, and rims, among other critical items for automobiles in Europe and the Americas.
"A magnesium shortage could trigger a shortage of aluminum, which in turn could also hit car production.
"We stress at this point that such a scenario is not yet included in our estimates. The issue has just emerged and no carmaker has yet warned about it," BofA Securities analyst told clients in a note.
The source of the shortage is China's monopoly on global magnesium production. Production curbs of energy-intensive smelters have reduced the industrial metal's output, resulting in dwindling stockpiles in Europe and North America.
Barclays analyst Amos Fletcher told clients in a note that "there are no substitutes for magnesium in aluminum sheet and billet production." He warned if "magnesium supply stops," the entire auto industry will grind to a halt.
The latest warning of magnesium shortages materializing was last week's warning from S&P Global Platts who obtained a letter from Matalco Inc. President Tom Horter warning customers, "in the last few weeks, magnesium availability has dried up, and we have not been able to purchase our required magnesium units for all of 2022."
Matalco is North America's largest producer of aluminum billet. Horter's warning continued:
"The purpose of this note is to provide this advanced warning that, if the scarcity continues, and especially if it becomes worse, Matalco may need to curtail production in 2022, resulting in allocations to our customers."
For a stunning wake-up call to just how concentrated the complex global supply chain is, 85% of the world's magnesium production comes from China. Much of it comes from one town in Shaanxi province, Yulin, where the government has curbed output at 70% of all magnesium smelters this year due to energy conservation ahead of the Northern Hemisphere winter.
European industry groups have sounded the alarm. WV Metalle, Germany's non-ferrous metal trade association, warned:
"It is expected that the current magnesium reserves in Germany and throughout Europe will be exhausted in a few weeks at the end of November 2021 at the latest," the group said. "In the event of a supply bottleneck of this magnitude, there is a risk of massive production losses."
European Aluminium, whose members include Norsk Hydro, Rio Tinto, and Alcoa, said, "the current magnesium supply shortage is a clear example of the risk the EU is taking by making its domestic economy dependent on Chinese imports. The EU's industrial metals strategy must be strengthened."
Aluminum futures on the London Metal Exchange have broken out to a new high as concerns of magnesium supply mount.
The critical question is if Beijing will allow magnesium smelters to restart operations by the end of the year or early next year to replenish supplies. If that's not the case, expect the automotive industry to be dealing with a twin crisis of not just a lack of semiconductors but also crucial aluminum.
Pfizer's Power - Public Citizen
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 12:25
I n February, Pfizer was accused of ''bullying'' governments in COVID vaccine negotiations in a groundbreaking story by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.[1] A government official at the time noted, ''Five years in the future when these confidentiality agreements are over you will learn what really happened in these negotiations.''[2]
Public Citizen has identified several unredacted Pfizer contracts that describe the outcome of these negotiations. The contracts offer a rare glimpse into the power one pharmaceutical corporation has gained to silence governments, throttle supply, shift risk and maximize profits in the worst public health crisis in a century. We describe six examples from around the world below.[3]
Table 1: Select Pfizer Contracts Reviewed[4]PurchaserDateTypeDosesPrice Per DoseTotal CostAlbaniaDraft[5]Draft Definitive Agreement500,000$12$6 millionBrazil03/15/21[6]Definitive Agreement100 million$10$1 billionColombia02/02/21[7]Definitive Agreement10 million$12$120 millionChile12/01/20[8]Definitive Agreement (Redacted)10 millionRedactedRedactedDominican Republic10/29/20[9]Binding Term Sheet[10]8 million$12$96 millionEuropean Commission11/20/20[11]Custom Advance Purchase Agreement200 million$18.6[12]$3.7 billionPeru17/9/20[13]Binding Term Sheet10 million$12$120 millionUnited States21/07/20[14]Custom Advance Purchase Agreement (Redacted)100 million$19.5$1.95 billionUnited Kingdom12/10/20[15]Custom Advance Purchase Agreement (Redacted)30 millionRedactedRedactedPfizer's demands have generated outrage around the world, slowing purchase agreements and even pushing back the delivery schedule of vaccines.[16] If similar terms are included as a condition to receive doses, they may threaten President Biden's commitment to donate 1 billion vaccine doses.[17]
High-income countries have enabled Pfizer's power through a favorable system of international intellectual property protection.[18] High-income countries have an obligation to rein in that monopoly power. The Biden administration, for example, can call on Pfizer to renegotiate existing commitments and pursue a fairer approach in the future. The administration can further rectify the power imbalance by sharing the vaccine recipe, under the Defense Production Act, to allow multiple producers to expand vaccine supplies.[19] It can also work to rapidly secure a broad waiver of intellectual property rules (TRIPS waiver) at the World Trade Organization.[20] A wartime response against the virus demands nothing less.
1. Pfizer Reserves the Right to Silence Governments.In January, the Brazilian government complained that Pfizer was insisting on contractual terms in negotiations that were ''unfair and abusive.''[21] The government pointed to five terms that it found problematic, ranging from a sovereign immunity waiver on public assets to a lack of penalties for Pfizer if deliveries were late. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism soon published a scathing story on Pfizer's vaccine negotiations.[22]
Less than two months later, the Brazilian government accepted a contract with Pfizer that contains most of the same terms that the government once deemed unfair.[23] Brazil waived sovereign immunity; imposed no penalties on Pfizer for late deliveries; agreed to resolve disputes under a secret private arbitration under the laws of New York; and broadly indemnified Pfizer for civil claims.[24]
The contract also contains an additional term not included in other Latin American agreements[25] reviewed by Public Citizen: The Brazilian government is prohibited from making ''any public announcement concerning the existence, subject matter or terms of [the] Agreement'' or commenting on its relationship with Pfizer without the prior written consent of the company.[26] Pfizer gained the power to silence Brazil.
Brazil is not alone. A similar nondisclosure provision is contained in the Pfizer contract with the European Commission and the U.S. government.[27] In those cases, however, the obligation applies to both parties.
For example, neither Pfizer nor the U.S. government can make ''any public announcement concerning the existence, subject matter or terms of this Agreement, the transactions contemplated by it, or the relationship between the Pfizer and the Government hereunder, without the prior written consent of the other.''[28] The contract contains some exceptions for disclosures required by law. It is not clear from the public record whether Pfizer has elected to prohibit the U.S. from making any statements thus far. The E.C. cannot include in any announcement or disclosure the price per dose, the Q4 2020 volumes, or information that would be material to Pfizer without the consent of Pfizer.[29]
2. Pfizer Controls Donations.Pfizer tightly controls supply.[30] The Brazilian government, for example, is restricted from accepting Pfizer vaccine donations from other countries or buying Pfizer vaccines from others without Pfizer's permission.[31] The Brazilian government also is restricted from donating, distributing, exporting, or otherwise transporting the vaccine outside Brazil without Pfizer's permission.[32]
The consequences of noncompliance can be severe. If Brazil were to accept donated doses without Pfizer's permission, it would be considered an ''uncurable material breach'' of their agreement, allowing Pfizer to immediately terminate the agreement.[33] Upon termination, Brazil would be required to pay the full price for any remaining contracted doses.[34]
3. Pfizer Secured an ''IP Waiver'' for Itself.The CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, has emerged as a strident defender of intellectual property in the pandemic. He called a voluntary World Health Organization effort to share intellectual property to bolster vaccine production ''nonsense'' and ''dangerous.''[35] He said President Biden's decision to back the TRIPS waiver on intellectual property was ''so wrong.''[36] ''IP, which is the blood of the private sector, is what brought a solution to this pandemic and it is not a barrier right now,'' claims Bourla.[37]
But, in several contracts, Pfizer seems to recognize the risk posed by intellectual property to vaccine development, manufacturing, and sale. The contracts shift responsibility for any intellectual property infringement that Pfizer might commit to the government purchasers. As a result, under the contract, Pfizer can use anyone's intellectual property it pleases'--largely without consequence.
At least four countries are required ''to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Pfizer'' from and against any and all suits, claims, actions, demands, damages, costs, and expenses related to vaccine intellectual property.[38] For example, if another vaccine maker sued Pfizer for patent infringement in Colombia, the contract requires the Colombian government to foot the bill. At Pfizer's request, Colombia is required to defend the company (i.e., take control of legal proceedings.)[39] Pfizer also explicitly says that it does not guarantee that its product does not violate third-party IP, or that it needs additional licenses.
Pfizer takes no responsibility in these contracts for its potential infringement of intellectual property. In a sense, Pfizer has secured an IP waiver for itself. But internationally, Pfizer is fighting similar efforts to waive IP barriers for all manufacturers.[40]
4. Private Arbitrators, not Public Courts, Decide Disputes in Secret.What happens if the United Kingdom cannot resolve a contractual dispute with Pfizer? A secret panel of three private arbitrators'--not a U.K court'--is empowered under the contract to make the final decision.[41] The arbitration is conducted under the Rules of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). Both parties are required to keep everything secret:
The Parties agree to keep confidential the existence of the arbitration, the arbitral proceedings, the submissions made by the Parties and the decisions made by the arbitral tribunal, including its awards, except as required by Law and to the extent not already in the public domain.[42]
The Albania draft contract and Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, and Peru agreements require the governments to go further, with contractual disputes subject to ICC arbitration applying New York law.[43]
While ICC arbitration involving states is not uncommon, disputes involving high-income countries and/or pharmaceuticals appear to be relatively rare.[44] In 2012, 80% of state disputes were from Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and West Asia, and Central and Eastern Europe.[45] The most common state cases were about the construction and operation of facilities.[46] In 2020, 34 states were involved in ICC arbitrations.[47] The nature of state disputes is not clear, but only between 5 to 7% of all new ICC cases, including those solely between private parties, were related to health and pharmaceuticals.[48]
Private arbitration reflects an imbalance of power. It allows pharmaceutical corporations like Pfizer to bypass domestic legal processes. This consolidates corporate power and undermines the rule of law.
5. Pfizer Can Go After State Assets.The decisions reached by the secret arbitral panels described above can be enforced in national courts.[49] The doctrine of sovereign immunity can sometimes, however, protect states from corporations seeking to enforce and execute arbitration awards.
Pfizer required Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru to waive sovereign immunity.[50] In the case of Brazil, Chile and Colombia, for example, the government ''expressly and irrevocably waives any right of immunity which either it or its assets may have or acquire in the future'' to enforce any arbitration award (emphasis added).[51] For Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, this includes ''immunity against precautionary seizure of any of its assets.''[52]
Arbitral award enforcement presents complex questions of law that depend on the physical location and type of state asset.[53] But the contract allows Pfizer to request that courts use state assets as a guarantee that Pfizer will be paid an arbitral award and/or use the assets to compensate Pfizer if the government does not pay.[54] For example, in U.S. courts, these assets could include foreign bank accounts, foreign investments, and foreign commercial property, including the assets of state-owned enterprises like airlines and oil companies.[55]
6. Pfizer Calls the Shots on Key Decisions.What happens if there are vaccine supply shortages? In the Albania draft contract and the Brazil and Colombia agreement, Pfizer will decide adjustments to the delivery schedule based on principles the corporation will decide. Albania, Brazil, and Colombia ''shall be deemed to agree to any revision.''[56]
Some governments have pushed back on Pfizer's unilateral authority for other decisions. In South Africa, Pfizer wanted to have the ''sole discretion to determine additional terms and guarantees for us to fulfill the indemnity obligations.''[57] South Africa deemed this ''too risky'' and a ''potential risk to [their] assets and fiscus.''[58] After delays, Pfizer reportedly conceded to remove this ''problematic term.''[59]
But others have not been as successful. As a condition to entering into the agreement, the Colombian government is required to ''demonstrate, in a manner satisfactory to Suppliers, that Suppliers and their affiliates will have adequate protection, as determined in Suppliers' sole discretion'' (emphasis added) from liability claims.[60] Colombia is required to certify to Pfizer the value of the contingent obligations (i.e., potential future liability), and to start appropriating funds to cover the contingent obligations, according to a contribution program.[61]
Pfizer's ability to control key decisions reflects the power imbalance in vaccine negotiations. Under the vast majority of contracts, Pfizer's interests come first.
A Better WayPfizer's dominance over sovereign countries poses fundamental challenges to the pandemic response. Governments can push back. The U.S. government, in particular, can exercise the leverage it holds over Pfizer to require a better approach. Empowering multiple manufacturers to produce the vaccine via technology transfer and a TRIPS waiver can rein in Pfizer's power. Public health should come first.
ReferencesSarah Teng, intern in the Access to Medicines Program, designed the cover image.
[1] Madlen Davies, Rosa Furneaux , Ivn Ruiz, Jill Langlois, 'Held to Ransom': Pfizer Demands Governments Gamble with State Assets to Secure Vaccine Deal, Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Feb 23 2021), https://tinyurl.com/t2z39a63.
[2] Id.
[3] While there are similarities across the contracts, each agreement is unique. The specific examples outlined below should not read as reflective of other contracts.
[4] In several cases, governments signed additional deals with Pfizer. We reviewed select contracts that were publicly available.
[5] Albania-Pfizer Contract Draft, (''Albania Draft Contract''), (Jan. 6 2021) https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20616251-albanian-pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-contract. The final provisions of the agreement may have differed from this draft. However, given similarities between this draft and the other reviewed agreements, we believe the modifications, if any, were likely not substantial. The contract was first leaked on Twitter, and then shared widely in the press.
[6] Brazil-Pfizer Contract (''Brazil Contract''), (March 15 2021) https://aurores.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Brazil-Pfizer.pdf. The contract was leaked online and later covered by The Guardian in August. See e.g., https://tinyurl.com/yupsz2j4.
[7] Colombia-Pfizer Contract (''Colombia Contract''), (Feb. 2 2021), https://www.nodal.am/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/DOCUMENTO.pdf. The contract was leaked in the Colombian Media in August. https://tinyurl.com/4vswvrz4. It is currently referenced in the UNICEF Vaccine Market Dashboard.
[8] Chile-Pfizer Contract (''Chile Contract'') (Dec. 1 2021), https://www.chiletransparente.cl/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Acuerdo-de-fabricacion-y-suministro-PFIZER.pdf. A Chilean transparency initiative published a redacted version of the contract.
[9] Dominican Republic-Pfizer Contract (''D.R. Contract'') (Oct. 29 2020), https://www.keionline.org/35485. Knowledge Ecology International obtained the contract through a freedom of information law request.
[10] The text was subject to the approval of the Dominican Republican National Congress, which reportedly approved the text with no objections. Pfizer and AstraZeneca, The Game of Contracts with Small Print, Dominican Today, https://tinyurl.com/yhasn7um.
[11] European Commission-Pfizer Contract (''E.C. Contract'') (Nov. 20 2020), https://tinyurl.com/3bph89wy. The Italian public broadcaster RAI published the EC Contract in April.
[12] 15.5 EUR.
[13] Peru-Pfizer Contract (''Peru Contract'') (Sept. 17 2020), https://tinyurl.com/y2ap74xz. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism published the contract.
[14] United States-Pfizer Contract (''U.S. Contract'') (July 21 2020), https://tinyurl.com/4k5j7d5u. The contract is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website.
[15] United Kingdom-Pfizer Contract (''U.K Contract'') (Oct. 10 2020), https://tinyurl.com/45vt6vd5. This likely is the definitive agreement that follows on from initial agreement announced in July. The contract is available on the U.K government website.
[16] Madlen Davies, Rosa Furneaux, Pfizer backs down over ''unreasonable terms'' in South Africa vaccine deal (April 19 2021). https://tinyurl.com/tnys9u2c. (''He described how Pfizer's late demand caused delays in the discussions, which in turn put back the anticipated vaccine delivery dates.''). See also the impasse in Philippines. Philippines receives side letter from Pfizer; WHO sees resolution of 'impasse' soon (Feb 23. 2021), https://tinyurl.com/3fs8z3cb (''The delivery of 117,000 Pfizer-BioNTech doses, initially expected in mid-February, was delayed by concerns on indemnification.'').
[17] White House, FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Historic Vaccine Donation: Half a Billion Pfizer Vaccines to the World's Lowest-Income Nations (June 10 2021), https://tinyurl.com/he8bm9tk
[18] Peter Drahos and John Braithwaite, Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy? (2007) (tracing the role of Pfizer in advocating for a system of international patent protection).
[19] Zain Rizvi, Jishian Ravinthiran, Amy Kapczynski, Sharing The Knowledge: How President Joe Biden Can Use The Defense Production Act To End The Pandemic Worldwide, Health Affairs Blog (August 6, 2021), https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20210804.101816/full/
[20] Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
[21] Madlen Davies , Rosa Furneaux , Ivn Ruiz , Jill Langlois, 'Held to Ransom': Pfizer Demands Governments Gamble with State Assets to Secure Vaccine Deal, Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Feb 23 2021), https://tinyurl.com/t2z39a63.
[22] Id.
[23] One clause that appears to have changed is the number of doses supplied by Pfizer. It is also not clear whether Brazil developed a foreign bank guarantee fund.
[24] Brazil Contract, footnote 6, Article 9.4 (Waiver of Sovereign Immunity), pg. 45, Article 2.6 (Delivery Delays), pg. 34, Article 9.4 (Waiver of Sovereign Immunity) pg. 45, Article 3.1 (Indemnification by Purchaser), pg. 43, respectively.
[25] The other Latin American contracts reviewed contain a more limited nondisclosure obligation. For example, under the Colombia contract, neither Pfizer nor Colombia can ''use the name, trade name, service marks, trademarks, trade dress or logos of the other Party in publicity releases, advertising or any other publication, without the other Party's prior written consent in each instance.'' This does not appear to prohibit the government from talking about the contract, as long as it is not a ''publicity release, advertising, or any other publication.''
[26] Brazil Contract, Article 12.3 (Publicity), pg. 32 (''Purchaser shall not make, or permit any person to make, any public announcement concerning the existence, subject matter or terms of this Agreement, the wider transactions contemplated by it, or the relationship between the Parties (except as required by Law, and subject to the protections set forth in Section 10.1), without the prior written consent of Pfizer (such consent not to be unreasonably withheld or delayed)''.
[27] E.C. Contract, footnote 11, Article II.10 (Announcements and Publicity), pg. 36.
[28] U.S. Contract, footnote 14, Article 11.11 (Announcements), pg. 25.
[29] E.C. Contract, footnote 11, Article II.10 (Announcements and Publicity), pg. 36.
[30] For example, Colombia is also required to distribute the vaccine only in its territory. Colombia Contract, footnote 7, Article 4.6 (Diversion Issues), pg. 23 (''All Product delivered to Purchaser shall be: (a) stored securely by Purchaser; and (b) distributed by Purchaser only in Colombia in a secure manner appropriate to the transportation route and destination, in each case (a) and (b) to guard against and deter theft, diversion, tampering, substitution (with, for example, counterfeits) resale or export out of Colombia, and to protect and preserve the integrity and efficacy of the Product.'').
[31] Brazil Contract, footnote 6, Article 2.1 (f) (Agreement to Supply), pg. 31 (''Purchaser, including any related Person or any agents of Purchaser, covenants to exclusively obtain all of its supply of any Vaccine of Pfizer, BioNTech or their respective Affiliates intended for the prevention of the human disease COVID-19 (including the Product) either (i) directly from Pfizer or from Pfizer through the COVAX Facility, or (ii) from a Third Party, whether by donation, resale or otherwise, only if Purchaser has obtained Pfizer's prior written consent. Any breach of this Section 2.1(f) shall be deemed an uncurable material breach of this Agreement, and Pfizer may immediately terminate this Agreement pursuant to Section 6.2. For clarity, nothing in this Section 2.1(f) shall prevent Purchaser from purchasing competing vaccine products of any Third Party.'').
[32] Brazil Contract, footnote 6, Article 4.6 (Diversion Issues), pg. 38 (''Purchaser shall not directly or indirectly resell, donate, distribute, export or otherwise transport the Product outside the Territory without Pfizer's prior written consent.'').
[33] Brazil Contract, footnote 6, Article 2.1 (f) (Agreement to Supply), pg. 31.
[34] Brazil Contract, footnote 6, Article 6.2 (Termination for Cause), pg. 27 (''In the event that this Agreement is terminated by Pfizer under this Section 6.2, Purchaser shall pay within thirty (30) days of the date of notice of termination of this Agreement the full Price for all Contracted Doses less amounts already paid to Pfizer as of such date.'')
[35] Ed Silverman, Pharma leaders shoot down WHO voluntary pool for patent rights on Covid-19 products, STAT (May 28 2020), https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2020/05/28/who-voluntary-pool-patents-pfizer/
[36] U.S. Backs Waiver of Intellectual Property Protection for Covid-19 Vaccines, Wall Street Journal (May 6 2021), https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-backs-waiver-of-intellectual-property-protection-for-covid-19-vaccines-11620243518
[37] WTO delays decision on waiver on COVID-19 drug, vaccine rights (Dec. 10 2020), https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-wto-idUSKBN28K2WL
[38] This extends to all civil claims, including adverse effects. That has been detailed elsewhere: Madlen Davies, Rosa Furneaux , Ivn Ruiz , Jill Langlois, 'Held to Ransom': Pfizer Demands Governments Gamble with State Assets to Secure Vaccine Deal, Bureau of Investigative Journalism (Feb 23 2021), https://tinyurl.com/t2z39a63.
[39] Colombia Contract, footnote 7, Article 8.2 (Assumption of Defense), pg. 31.
[40] Pfizer signed the letter opposing the TRIPS waiver sent to President Biden in March, for example. PhRMA Letter Opposing TRIPS Waiver to President Biden (March 5 2021), https://patentdocs.typepad.com/files/2021-03-05-phrma-letter.pdf
[41] U.K. Contract, footnote 15, Article 23 (Dispute Resolution) pg. 36. (''The arbitration award shall be final and binding on the Parties, and the parties undertake to carry out any award without delay. Judgment upon the award may be entered by any court having jurisdiction of the award or having jurisdiction over the relevant party or its assets.'')
[42] Id.
[43] Article on Governing Law. Albania Draft Contract pg. 34, Brazil Contract pg. 45, Chile Contract pg. 29, Colombia Contract pg. 43, DR Contract pg. 17, Peru Contract pg. 9.
[44] Our analysis is limited by a lack of transparency.
[45] Arbitration Involving States and State Entities under the ICC Rules of Arbitration '' Report of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR (2012), https://iccwbo.org/publication/arbitration-involving-states-state-entities-icc-rules-arbitration-report-icc-commission-arbitration-adr/, pg. 4.
[46] Arbitration Involving States and State Entities under the ICC Rules of Arbitration '' Report of the ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR (2012), https://iccwbo.org/publication/arbitration-involving-states-state-entities-icc-rules-arbitration-report-icc-commission-arbitration-adr/, pg. 4.
[47] 194 state-owned entities were also involved. ICC Dispute Resolution 2020 Statistics, https://iccwbo.org/publication/icc-dispute-resolution-statistics-2020/ pg. 11. See also, an analogous mechanism known as investor-state dispute resolution, which is based on international law as opposed to contract: Global Trade Watch, Table of Foreign Investor-State Cases and Claims Under NAFTA and Other U.S. ''Trade Deals'' (Jan. 15 2021), https://www.citizen.org/article/table-of-foreign-investor-state-cases-and-claims-under-nafta-and-other-u-s-trade-deals/
[48] ICC Dispute Resolution 2020 Statistics, https://iccwbo.org/publication/icc-dispute-resolution-statistics-2020/ pg. 17.
[49] United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 10 June 1958) (''Each Contracting State shall recognize arbitral awards as binding and enforce them in accordance with the rules of procedure of the territory where the award is relied upon, under the conditions laid down in the following articles.'')
[50] Article on Waiver of Sovereign Immunity. The language differs in some of the contracts. Brazil Contract, pg. 45, Chile Contract pg. 24, Colombia Contract pg. 36, DR Contract pg. 17, Peru Contract pg. 9.
[51] Id.
[52] Id.
[53] In the U.S., the governing statute is the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA). 28 U.S.C § 1602. Sovereign property used for commercial activity can be used to execute a judgment based on an arbitral award if the state has waived immunity. Property belonging to an instrumentality of a foreign state engaged in commercial activity can also be used. 28 U.S.C § 1610. However, certain kinds of foreign sovereign property are absolutely immune from award attachment and execution. This includes property belonging to the foreign central bank or monetary authority and property used for military purposes. 28 U.S.C §1611.
[54] Under FSIA, this is known as ''attachment prior to the entry of judgment'' and can be done if the state waives this kind of immunity and ''the purpose of the attachment is to secure satisfaction of a judgment that has been or may ultimately be entered against the foreign state.'' 28 U.S.C § 1610
[55] Other jurisdictions may handle these questions differently, potentially exposing other types of sovereign assets. These assets may also be vulnerable in settlement negotiations.
[56] Albania Draft Contract, pg. 14. Brazil Contract, pg. 22. Colombia Contract, pg. 15.
[57] Pfizer Backs Down Over Unreasonable Terms in South Africa Vaccine Deal (April 19 2021), https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-04-19/pfizer-backs-down-over-asset-seizing-clause-in-south-africa-vaccine-deal.
[58] Id.
[59] Id.
[60] Colombia Contract, footnote 7, Article 8.5 (Privileges and Immunities), pg. 32. This includes but is not limited to funding state contractual contingency funds.
[61] Id.
FDA Approves Cell-Based Flu Shot for Ages 6 Months and Older
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 12:23
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the Flucelvax quadrivalent vaccine for use in children aged 6 months and older, according to a statement from manufacturer Seqirus.
"This approval officially allows all eligible Americans to receive a cell-based influenza vaccine, increasing the potential for greater vaccine effectiveness," according to the company.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently recommends annual influenza vaccination for all individuals aged 6 months and older without contraindications.
Flucelvax is manufactured using a cell-based process that yields a more precise match to the WHO-selected influenza strains for a given year. This process avoids the variation associated with traditional egg-based vaccines, and offers the potential for greater vaccine effectiveness, according to the company.
The approval was based in part on data from a phase 3 randomized, controlled noninferiority study of children aged 6-47 months. The data are the first for a cell-based flu vaccine in this age group, and were presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meeting in 2021.
In the immunogenicity study of children aged 6 months through 3 years, described in the package insert, 1,597 children received Flucelvax quadrivalent and 805 received a control quadrivalent vaccine. After 28 days, Flucelvax showed noninferiority to the control quadrivalent against four influenza strains.
The most common side effects with Flucelvax quadrivalent vaccine overall are pain, redness, swelling, or a hardened area at the injection site, headache, low energy, muscle aches, and malaise. Additional side effects reported in children include tenderness or bruising at the injection site, sleepiness, diarrhea, changes in eating habits, and irritability. The vaccine is contraindicated for individuals with allergies to any of its ingredients.
Additional efficacy data on Flucelvax for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years were recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Full prescribing information for Flucelvax is available here.
The FDA approval letter is available here.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.
Congress' Access to Individuals' Private Communications: The Jan. 6 Committee's Troubling Precedent
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 12:21
In late August, the special House committee charged with investigating the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol took the first steps toward subpoenaing the communications records of private citizens involved in rallies to protest certification of the election, as well as Republican lawmakers whose role in the events of Jan. 6th has come into question. The committee asked the companies to preserve these records for now. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy reacted with outrage, tweeting: ''If these companies comply with the Democrat order to turn over private information, they are in violation of federal law and subject to losing their ability to operate in the United States.'' He warned ominously that ''a Republican majority will not forget.''
Progressive commentators were quick to point out that McCarthy himself, by threatening reprisal against companies that cooperate with the requests, might be violating the law against obstructing congressional investigations. But underlying McCarthy's shameful attempt to bully the companies into noncompliance is a legitimate question about the scope of Congress's authority to obtain private information. Key constitutional safeguards that protect Americans' privacy against intrusions by the executive branch '' such as the requirement to obtain a warrant '-- are notably absent when it comes to congressional investigations. Nor do the statutory privacy protections Congress has enacted adequately fill the gap. If we acknowledge that Congress, just like the executive branch, is capable of abusing its powers and infringing on the rights of Americans, it follows that Americans need a better way of enforcing those rights than the law currently provides.
This article explains the current legal terrain underlying the committee's requests, and makes the case that we must develop a different approach'--one that more faithfully reflects modern understandings of the Fourth Amendment and expectations of privacy.
The Jan. 6th Committee RequestsTo date, the committee has sent 35 letters to telecommunications and social media companies'--including Google, Microsoft, and all major cell phone carriers'--requesting that they preserve certain records that the committee might need for its work. The letters include lists of the people whose records should be preserved. Although those lists have not been released publicly, the letters describe some of the categories into which the people fall'--for instance, ''individuals who were listed on permit applications or were otherwise involved in organizing, funding, or speaking at the January 5, 2021, or January 6, 2021, rallies in the District of Columbia relating to objecting to the certification of the electoral college votes.''
In other words, the requests aren't limited to people who participated in the attack on the Capitol; they sweep in those who were lawfully exercising their right to protest. The letters also reportedly target the records of certain Republican lawmakers who communicated with Trump or were involved in the rallies on Jan. 6.
The committee asked the companies to preserve data of all kinds, including emails, text messages, voice mail messages, location information, and call data records. The requests thus encompass not only non-content information, sometimes known as ''metadata,'' but also communications content, which ordinarily receives the highest level of constitutional and statutory protection. The requests also include cell site location information, which law enforcement officers must get a warrant to obtain under the Supreme Court's 2018 decision in Carpenter v. United States.
These preservation requests are likely to be followed by requests to produce at least a subset of the records. Those requests, in turn, will likely be followed'--if not accompanied'--by committee-issued subpoenas, backed up by potential civil fines and criminal penalties. Although the law allows the companies to produce some of the requested records voluntarily, that is not the case for all of the records (as discussed below); and in any event, holding out for a subpoena is a better customer-relations strategy for the companies.
The Statutory LawWould it be illegal for the companies to comply with such subpoenas, as McCarthy has alleged?
As a threshold matter, it is well-established that Congress has broad legal authority to issue subpoenas'--and to compel compliance with them by initiating civil enforcement or contempt proceedings'--in support of its own legislative functions. There is no statute that establishes this authority; rather, the Supreme Court has held that it is a necessary incident to the powers that the Constitution grants to the legislature.
This authority is not limitless, however. It does not override the individual rights set forth in the Constitution, which may be raised as a defense in contempt proceedings. Moreover, Congress can regulate its own exercise of its subpoena authority, as it frequently does through committee rules. Thus, if there is a statute that prohibits companies from disclosing certain information to Congress, such disclosure would be unlawful regardless of whether a congressional committee had issued a subpoena for the information.
The Stored Communications Act (SCA) might well be such a law. Absent narrow exceptions that don't apply here, the statute sets forth the following framework governing the disclosure of customer information by electronic communications service providers and remote computing service providers:
Under 18 U.S.C. § 2702, providers are prohibited from voluntarily disclosing'--non-contents information to ''any governmental entity''communications content to ''any person or entity''Under 18 U.S.C. § 2703, ''a governmental entity'' may compel disclosure of'--certain basic subscriber information, with ''an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute or a Federal or State grand jury or trial subpoena''more detailed non-contents information, with a court order based on a showing that the records are ''relevant and material to an ongoing investigation''communications content, with a warrant (although communications stored for more than 180 days can be obtained with a subpoena)The bottom line is that these provisions allow providers to voluntarily disclose non-contents information to Congress and likely allow Congress to subpoena the information if providers won't freely release it. But the provisions arguably prohibit providers from voluntarily providing communications content, and they do not allow Congress to obtain such content with a subpoena.
Key to this conclusion, and to the SCA framework in general, is the definition of ''governmental entity.'' The statute defines this term as ''a department or agency of the United States or any State or political subdivision thereof.'' ''Departments and agencies,'' in turn, are creatures of the executive branch, and are defined as such in the statute. Accordingly, the SCA's prohibition on the voluntary disclosure of non-contents information to ''any governmental entity'' leaves companies free to turn that same information over to congressional committees. This would include the call data records, geolocation information, and other types of metadata identified in the Jan. 6th committee's letters.
If the providers won't voluntarily release the information, Congress could arguably obtain it with a subpoena. A congressional subpoena is not one of the methods of compelled disclosure listed in the SCA. However, Congress's authority to issue subpoenas does not come from the statute; it comes from the Constitution. As long as the statute doesn't prohibit disclosure of non-contents information to Congress in the absence of one of the methods of compelled disclosure identified in Section 2703, Congress retains its constitutional authority. As noted above, the SCA does not prohibit disclosure of non-contents information to Congress at all.
This conclusion is consistent with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's (SSCI) analysis of the SCA in its report on Russian interference with the 2016 election. The committee stated that it ''was not aware of any congressional committee that had pursued the production of such data'' previously, though ''other committees have since followed suit in pursuing these requests.'' (That said, the Special Committee to Investigate Whitewater Development and Related Matters apparently issued subpoenas to phone companies for phone records in 1996.) Noting that ''no court has addressed whether the Stored Communications Act restricts Congress's independent authority to obtain [non-contents] data as part of a duly authorized investigation,'' the committee analyzed the law and concluded that there was no such restriction. It issued subpoenas to several providers, none of whom raised objections.
The SSCI made a point, however, of saying it was seeking only non-contents information. While the SCA bars voluntary disclosure of non-contents information to ''any governmental entity,'' it prohibits voluntary disclosure of communications content to ''any person or entity.'' Some have argued that this language should be construed to exclude Congress, given that Congress rarely includes itself in legislation without saying so directly. On that reading, providers could voluntarily disclose the information to Congress but not to executive branch agencies. Were the text any less clear, that would be a sensible interpretation. But such interpretive canons come into play only where a statute's language is ambiguous. The statute includes no narrowing construction of the word ''entity,'' and the plain meaning of the word would clearly include the United States legislature. Under any straightforward reading of the law, the SCA thus bars companies from voluntarily disclosing emails, text messages, voice mail, and other forms of content to the Jan. 6th committee.
Indeed, at the same time the SCA gives Congress much freer access than executive branch agencies to non-contents information, it appears to bar Congress almost entirely from obtaining communications content. The SCA explicitly forbids providers from disclosing content to ''any person or entity'' without an applicable exception (such as consent) or one of the methods of compelled disclosure listed in Section 2703. But only a ''governmental entity'' can compel disclosure of communications content under Section 2703, and that term is defined to include only executive branch agencies and departments. Moreover, as discussed further below'--and as SSCI acknowledged in its Russia report'--there are no means by which a congressional committee could procure the warrant that the SCA requires for most communications content.
The incongruous treatment of congressional access to non-contents information and communications content could be read as proof that the SCA was never meant to restrict congressional access in the first place. Once again, though, the lack of ambiguity in the term ''any person or entity'' is fatal. Where the language Congress has employed is clear, Congress is no more spared from the unintended consequences of its drafting choices than the rest of us. (In that respect, the law places private entities, such as third-party data brokers, in the same strange position as Congress: there is no limit on the non-contents information they can obtain from providers on a voluntary basis, but they have no means at all to obtain communications content.) In this case, lawmakers have apparently recognized that more explicit language would be needed to exempt Congress from the SCA. They have included such language in the Electronic Privacy Act, a bill that has passed the House three times but never been enacted into law.
There is another federal law that could come into play and that further complicates the statutory analysis: the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This law protects the confidentiality of ''customer proprietary network information'' (CPNI)'--which includes, among other things, phone logs and location information generated when calls are made'--in the hands of telecommunications carriers. ''Except as provided by law or with the approval of a customer,'' carriers may disclose personally identifiable CPNI only in the course of providing telecommunications or related services.
Whether the Telecommunications Act would bar companies from disclosing phone records and certain location information to Congress depends on whether courts would interpret compliance with a congressional subpoena as a disclosure ''provided by law.'' This language clearly applies to subpoenas issued by law enforcement agencies pursuant to statutory authorization (such as the SCA), and courts have held that it also applies to discovery requests in civil litigation that are authorized by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which have congressional approval through the Rules Enabling Act. But there appears to be no instance in which a court has addressed its application to a congressional subpoena issued pursuant to Congress's inherent constitutional authority.
The Fourth AmendmentStatutory schemes may supplement, but not replace, the constitutional floor provided by the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Under modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, a search takes place when the government intrudes on a person's reasonable expectation of privacy, and a warrantless search is presumptively unreasonable unless it falls within an established exception to the warrant requirement. To obtain a warrant, the government must show ''probable cause'' to a neutral magistrate.
This basic understanding of the Fourth Amendment is familiar to every student of constitutional law. Whether and how it applies to congressional subpoenas, however, is far from clear. As a recent (and prescient) law review article by Aaron Cooper aptly highlights, there is scant case law on the subject, and the most relevant Supreme Court cases predate major relevant developments in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
The Supreme Court has not addressed a Fourth Amendment objection to a congressional subpoena since it decided McPhaul v. United States in 1960. (Its recent high-profile ruling in Trump v. Mazars addressed a claim that a congressional subpoena violated the separation of powers, not the Fourth Amendment.) McPhaul involved a subpoena issued by the House Subcommittee on Un-American Activities to Arthur McPhaul, alleged to be the executive secretary of the Civil Rights Congress, which had been declared a ''subversive organization'' by the Attorney General. The subcommittee sought records and correspondence relating to the organization; McPhaul refused to comply and was found guilty of criminal contempt.
In refusing to overturn McPhaul's conviction, the Court assumed that a congressional subpoena complies with the Fourth Amendment if it is not too broad, and that it meets this criterion if the scope of the materials sought does not exceed the scope of the investigation. But while this inquiry looks nothing like the modern Fourth Amendment test for a search performed by executive agencies, it was not based in any distinction between Congress and the executive branch. Indeed, the Court cited Oklahoma Press Publishing Co. v. Walling'--a 1946 Supreme Court case involving a subpoena issued by the Department of Labor'--as the relevant precedent.
Oklahoma Press, in turn, relied primarily on a distinction between ''actual searches'' and so-called ''constructive searches.'' An ''actual search'' takes place where a government official ''enter[s] [a person's] premises against their will, to search them, or to seize or examine their books, records or papers without their assent.'' A ''constructive search'''--as effectuated by a subpoena'--commands the recipient to perform the search herself and turn over the requested books, records, or papers. While actual searches require a warrant based on probable cause, the Court articulated the following standard for constructive searches pursuant to subpoenas:
It is not necessary, as in the case of a warrant, that a specific charge or complaint of violation of law be pending or that the order be made pursuant to one. It is enough that the investigation be for a lawfully authorized purpose, within the power of Congress to command. . . .The requirement of ''probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation,'' literally applicable in the case of a warrant, is satisfied in that of an order for production by the court's determination that the investigation is authorized by Congress, is for a purpose Congress can order, and the documents sought are relevant to the inquiry. Beyond this the requirement of reasonableness, including particularity in ''describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized,'' also literally applicable to warrants, comes down to specification of the documents to be produced adequate, but not excessive, for the purposes of the relevant inquiry.
In subsequent cases, justices have presented a twofold rationale for distinguishing between ''actual'' and ''constructive'' searches and using dramatically different standards to evaluate their constitutionality. First, when government officials are the ones conducting the search, they might encounter large amounts of irrelevant private information in the course of looking for particular records. A subpoena avoids the incidental exposure of personal information that can occur when the government enters onto one's property. Second, a subpoena gives the subject the opportunity to present objections before complying, whereas a direct search does not.
Lower courts have continued to cite Oklahoma Press and McPhaul in the small number of cases addressing legislative subpoenas, and the Supreme Court has cited it in reviewing administrative subpoenas. It's not clear, however, why the reasoning of Oklahoma Press and McPhaul should survive Katz v. United States, the watershed 1967 case in which the Court redefined the scope of Fourth Amendment privacy rights. In Katz, the Court held that a trespass on private property is not required for a government ''search,'' and that a search takes place any time the government intrudes on a reasonable expectation of privacy. Under this analysis, Fourth Amendment rights should turn on the nature of the information being sought and whether the target of the search treated the information as private. It should be irrelevant whether the search exposes other private matters to the government's view, or whether there is an opportunity to object before the search takes place.
What's more, even if the reasoning of Oklahoma Press somehow survives Katz, it's difficult to see how it could survive Carpenter. Carpenter involved one type of ''constructive search'': an order to produce records issued to a third party. The physical act of searching for responsive records was to be performed by the cell phone service company that received the order rather than the government itself, and the company had the opportunity to lodge objections. Yet the Court found that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their location over time, and that police officers therefore need a warrant to compel companies to turn over customers' historical cell site location information.
In his dissent, Justice Alito argued that the Court's decision effectively erased the line between actual and constructive searches and posed an existential threat to investigative subpoena authority. The majority, however, dismissed Alito's concern, noting that ''the Government will be able to use subpoenas to acquire records in the overwhelming majority of investigations. We hold only that a warrant is required in the rare case where the suspect has a legitimate privacy interest in records held by a third party.'' Put differently, subpoenas are insufficient only ''when the Government obtains the modern-day equivalent of an individual's own 'papers' or 'effects.'''
By contrast, the majority noted, Alito's strict embrace of the actual-versus-constructive-search distinction would eviscerate the warrant requirement: ''If the choice to proceed by subpoena provided a categorical limitation on Fourth Amendment protection, no type of record would ever be protected under the Fourth Amendment requirement.'' As Justice Gorsuch pointed out (albeit in dissent), ''No one thinks the government can evade [the] prohibition on opening sealed letters without a warrant simply by issuing a subpoena to a postmaster for 'all letters sent by John Smith.'''
In short, when it comes to historical cell site location records, at least'--as well as any other categories of information that the Court might recognize as the modern-day equivalents of ''papers'' or ''effects'''--the highly permissive Fourth Amendment standard for subpoenas articulated in Oklahoma Press should not govern a legal analysis of the Jan. 6 committees' subpoenas.
What standard should apply?It does not follow, however, that courts should or will require Congress to meet the same standard as police departments when seeking to obtain the type of information specified in the Jan. 6 committee's preservation letters. Congress's purpose in conducting investigations is'--or at least should be'--very different from the purpose underlying police or FBI investigations. Indeed, it would violate the separation of powers for Congress to conduct law enforcement investigations. If Congress is doing its job and not usurping that of the executive branch, it will rarely be armed with probable cause to suspect private citizens of criminal activity. And even if it had such evidence, there are no means by which Congress can come before a judge and apply for a warrant.
But which way do these observations cut? The fact that Congress cannot comply with a warrant requirement could be seen as proof that Congress should not have the power to conduct searches of Fourth Amendment-protected information at all. The Court has made clear that ''Congress has no 'general' power to inquire into private affairs and compel disclosures.'' Congress's power of inquiry must always be in service of its legislative function. Does Congress really need access to individuals' communications content, geolocation information, or other sensitive personal information to legislate effectively? In his Mazars dissent, Justice Thomas answered that question in the negative: ''I would hold that Congress has no power to issue a legislative subpoena for private, nonofficial documents'--whether they belong to the President or not.''
Moreover, even though Congress's functions are markedly different from those of the executive branch, the concerns animating the Fourth Amendment apply to both in full measure. The amendment's drafters sought to protect against invasive fishing expeditions (i.e., ''general warrants'') designed to harass, embarrass, and persecute political opponents and to suppress ideological dissent. As the facts of McPhaul make painfully clear, Congress is every bit as likely as the executive branch to abuse its power of inquiry for such purposes. Although the Red Scare is behind us, other scares have taken its place and will continue to arise. Sadly, it is not difficult to envision a future congressional committee subpoenaing the communications and location information of Black Lives Matter activists as part of a supposed investigation into Antifa. Indeed, a current example of legislative subpoena abuse can be found at the state level: A committee of the Republican-led legislature of Pennsylvania recently voted to subpoena the personal information of millions of voters as part of an investigation into (widely debunked) claims of ''voter fraud'' in the 2020 presidential election.
On the other hand, some might argue that a more flexible Fourth Amendment standard is appropriate when government actors conduct searches for reasons other than law enforcement. The Supreme Court has recognized a ''special needs'' exception to the warrant requirement, which applies under ''exceptional circumstances in which special needs, beyond the normal need for law enforcement, make the warrant and probable cause requirement impracticable.'' The exception originally applied in circumstances where criminal activity was simply not at issue'--such as building inspections to ensure fire safety'--and where neutral criteria for the searches were in place to avoid abuses of discretion. But almost any law enforcement action can be framed in terms of some non-law-enforcement benefit, and the exception has expanded to include highly discretionary activities that look very much like law enforcement'--such as warrantless searches of probationers' homes.
Even in cases involving special needs, however, courts must ask whether the search is ''reasonable'' under the Fourth Amendment'--an analysis that requires balancing the government's interest in conducting the search against the privacy interests of the affected individuals. This is a much more demanding standard than the one set forth in Oklahoma Press and McPhaul. In Senate Select Committee on Ethics v. Packwood, a district court took that approach in reviewing a congressional committee's subpoena for a lawmaker's diaries. Without expressly distinguishing McPhaul or applying the ''special needs'' doctrine to congressional investigations, the court held that it must ''balanc[e] the nature and quality of the intrusion on the individual's Fourth Amendment interests against the importance of the governmental interests alleged to justify the intrusion.'' It upheld the subpoena in part because the committee had agreed to elaborate procedures designed to shield various types of personal or privileged information in the diaries.
When it comes to requests for the private papers of public officials, additional factors come into play. In Mazars, the Court held that the principle of separation of powers requires courts to scrutinize a congressional subpoena for executive officials' private records more closely. Although a congressional subpoena for fellow lawmakers' private records does not raise the same separation-of-powers issue, it does create a similar potential for politically-motivated abuses. This factor arguably heightens the lawmakers' interest in privacy. By the same token, however, Congress has a particularly weighty interest in keeping its own house in order. That interest is likely at its pinnacle when the investigation involves an alleged attempt by members to interfere with Congress's own constitutional role in certifying the results of a presidential election.
Perhaps more courts will follow Select Senate Committee's lead going forward and adopt a balancing test. But it would be a mistake to wait for the Supreme Court to explain how to map modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence onto congressional subpoenas. For one thing, Congress has long recognized that people have strong privacy interests in certain types of information that still do not receive Fourth Amendment protection, including financial and credit reports and medical records. Congress has passed laws that restrict the disclosure of such information to executive branch entities, but in many cases (such as non-contents information under the SCA) it has given itself much freer access. The Jan. 6 preservation letters should prompt a conversation about whether Congress ought to impose some limits on its own access to such records.
Moreover, the validity of congressional subpoenas is an issue that rarely comes before the courts. It could be many years before the Supreme Court clarifies the law. And when it does so, there is no guarantee that the Fourth Amendment test it articulates will provide sufficient privacy protections as a matter of policy. We might well conclude, as a society, that the SCA's current bar on companies disclosing communications content to Congress either voluntarily or under subpoena is the best way to protect against abuse, even if an outright bar is not required by the Fourth Amendment. And we might want to extend that bar to include geolocation information and other particularly sensitive types of records, or at least create a higher bar for their disclosure. For instance, Congress could prohibit itself from acquiring such information unless it were necessary for a compelling legislative purpose and a sufficient substitute could not be acquired through other means. It could also place strict limits on its own handling of the information to mitigate the intrusion on privacy.
Of course, if Congress were to legislate right now, it would be more likely to dismantle existing restrictions on disclosures to Congress than to preserve or strengthen them. That's all the more reason to put pressure on lawmakers in the other direction. Those who support the Jan. 6 committee's investigation (and I include myself in that category) will be tempted to champion the broadest possible powers of inquiry. But those powers must be balanced against the constitutional rights of private citizens, and what the Jan. 6 committee does now will set a precedent for future congressional investigations. A rule that allows Congress unfettered access to the emails, text messages, and geolocation information of protest organizers will serve none of us well in the long run.
Image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/POOL/AFP via Getty
If Democrats Really Cared About Climate Change They Would Have Gone Nuclear - by Michael Shellenberger - Michael Shellenberger
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 12:11
In an extraordinary coincidence of timing, progressive climate activists discovered last weekend that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has ties to the coal industry at the very same moment that he made clear he wouldn't support their legislation. The novelist Don Winslow created a powerful Twitter video showing links between to the coal industry and Manchin's wife, son, and daughter. It has gone viral.
In truth, Manchin's ties to the coal industry have been a matter of public record for decades, and he has been telling Democrats publicly and privately for months that he opposed the so-called Clean Energy Performance Program. But in order to gin up outrage from Democrats, progressives are acting shocked to learn not only that Manchin has ties to one of his state's largest industries, but also that he opposed The Program.
In truth, few in Washington thought Manchin would change his mind about The Program, in part because it was so badly written, and extreme. The Program was authored and championed by a Canadian political scientist, Leah Stokes, who has no experience regulating electric utilities and who achieved her position by writing a book attacking electric utilities for modestly resisting efforts to make the US electrical grid more reliant on weather-dependent energy sources, which contributed to blackouts in California and Texas.
Share
I have spent the last decade advocating for the preservation and expansion of nuclear energy, in part to address climate change, and believe we need a national strategy to do so. Nuclear energy is first and foremost a national security issue, since nuclear energy programs can be retrofitted to make weapons-grade uranium and plutonium, and the US Congress has inadvertently allowed China and Russia to take over nuclear exports around the world.
But the Clean Energy Performance Program was a badly written subsidy that would have increased electricity prices, blackouts, and US dependence on solar panels made by enslaved Muslims in China. Because of its heavy subsidies for weather-dependent renewables, The Program would not only have resulted in windfall profits for wind and solar developers, it would have locked in natural gas for decades, and likely increased carbon emissions than if the US continues to operate nuclear plants and, for national security, economic, and environmental reasons, expands them.
More work will be required to make that vision a reality, as Democrats made clear. At the moment, the Biden Administration and Senate Democrats led by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are considering several alternatives to the failed climate legislation and none include an expansion of nuclear. Some Democrats are pushing the idea of a carbon tax, albeit one that exempts gasoline, the price of which is climbing rapidly. Others are pushing loan guarantees for renewables. Still others are seeking to pay industries to reduce emissions.
Many Democrats are rightly worried that representatives of the Biden Administration will be embarrassed when they show up to climate change talks in Scotland in two weeks empty handed, but many progressive Democrats are unsatisfied with anything short of a radical transformation of our electrical system. Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL), co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Task Force, told a reporter that tax credit subsidies for solar panels and wind turbines won't be good enough to replace the Program (CEPP) that Manchin killed.
''As a practical matter, if you pass it with the CEPP you have the most impactful climate policy that has ever been passed by Congress,'' said Casten. ''And, oh by the way, it's still not enough. If you pass it without the CEPP, it's not really a climate bill.''
There is still a way for President Biden and Senate Democrats to salvage their climate change plans, and that's to pass legislation that would expand nuclear energy from its current 19% today to 30% of electricity by 2030 and 50% by 2050. Such a goal is easily doable, as France, Sweden, Japan, and South Korea have all proven with their expansions of nuclear energy.
Six times over the last two years I urged the Senate and House to pass such a ''Green Nuclear Deal,'' and found strong support for such a proposal from Republicans and a few Democrats, including Senator Joe Manchin, who described nuclear energy as a way to lift people out of poverty around the world.
''Nuclear power provides about 10 percent of the world's electricity and prevents approximately two gigatons of carbon from reaching our atmosphere every year,'' he said earlier this year. ''But about 789 million people around the world still live without electricity. Nuclear energy can be part of delivering that electricity to lift people out of poverty and provide the opportunities that many have become accustomed to.''
The model for the Green Nuclear Deal is the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), said Manchin, which involved the construction of large hydroelectric dams, which produced fertilizer, provided cheap electricity for factories, and lifted tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. The first chairman of the U.S. government's Atomic Energy Commission, David Lilienthal, was the former head of the TVA. He wanted to expand nuclear plants in the same way TVA had expanded hydroelectric dams.
But Lilienthal and other pro-nuclear liberals were attacked by the radical Left, who re-branded themselves first as the ''New Left,'' and then as ''progressives.'' By 1970, the radical anti-nuclear Left had taken over the Democratic Party. The label of ''progressive'' came to mean its opposite. ''Progressive,'' for the anti-nuclear radical Left, meant returning to a world powered by renewables '-- a world before nuclear energy, fossil fuels, and the industrial revolution.
Instead of embracing Lilienthal's vision of a high-energy world, one characterized by universal prosperity and human flourishing, ''progressives'' sought to return to a world characterized by agrarian poverty and feudal inequality. ''Progressives'' then proceeded to spend 50 years convincing elites and much of the public that renewables not nuclear represented the future.
Share
Manchin is one of the last old school New Deal Democrats in Congress. Sen. Whitehouse and Rep. Casten are progressive Democrats who believe in renewables. It's not strictly ideological. Casten, for example, comes out of the renewable energy industry, only entering politics after being repeatedly sued by investors for alleged financial misconduct.
But where Casten and Whitehouse favor subsidies for renewable energy companies, which shield companies from accountability to taxpayers or ratepayers when blackouts result, Manchin favors the TVA model of directly providing electricity to the people.
''The Tennessee Valley Authority,'' Manchin said, ''is a model that can inform our efforts both domestically and abroad. Russia and China have made a strategic effort to supplant our nuclear leadership over recent years. We must push back. With the necessary policy and funding we can maintain our nuclear supply chain, create high-paying manufacturing jobs, and reassert that U.S. leadership.''
Progressive renewable energy advocates insist that a Green Nuclear Deal is unrealistic, but Britain yesterday announced that it was putting nuclear energy at the heart of its climate agenda, in part for the reasons Manchin mentioned: energy independence and to compete with China.
Last year I coauthored an oped for Britain's leading conservative newspaper, The Telegraph, with the conservative British environmental activist, Christopher Barnard, titled, ''We must take on Russia and China's energy dominance by going big on nuclear power.'' The oped had an impact. Just a few weeks ago the British removed the Chinese government as co-financer of a new nuclear plant.
Financial ties to industries powerful in one's home state always matter, but the real reason Manchin is pro-nuclear and skeptical of renewables is because the former actually lifts people out of poverty while the latter don't provide enough energy to sustain our high-energy societies. Fossil fuels made the industrial revolution possible because renewables didn't provide enough energy.
Renewables are today parasitical on society because they return less than half as much energy as our high-energy societies require to function, while hydro electric dams and nuclear power plants provide three to seven times more energy. This ''energy returned on energy invested'' (EROEI) calculation is helpful since it doesn't rely on the financial manipulations renewable industry spokespersons engage in while demanding heavy subsidies.
''Without new construction or the preservation of the existing nuclear fleet in the U.S., achieving a sustainable energy system will be more challenging and expensive,'' said Manchin. ''Every year in the U.S., nuclear-generated electricity prevents more than 506 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere. If we are serious about meeting our climate goals without sacrificing reliability, we must protect our existing fleet. Why then is the U.S. fleet decreasing and why are we taking them offline?''
In his support for nuclear, Manchin shows he cares about climate change while his Democratic colleagues demonstrate, in their unwillingness to consider a Green Nuclear Deal, even at the cost of embarrassing President Biden when his team shows up to Scotland in two weeks, that they really don't.
Klimaatdoelen Parijs in gevaar door groei olie- en gaswinning | Trouw
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 11:55
Bekijk het ja-woord dat 195 landen in 2015 gaven aan het Parijse Klimaatakkoord eens als huwelijksgelofte, dan is inmiddels een relatiecrisis uitgebroken. De beloften staan nog op papier, maar toewijding ontbreekt. Wereldwijd zijn landen de komende tien jaar van plan om ruim twee keer zoveel olie, aardgas en steenkool te winnen als toelaatbaar is om de Parijs-doelen te kunnen bereiken. Dat blijkt uit een woensdag verschenen rapport van het VN-milieubureau Unep.
Het rapport drukt landen met de neus op de feiten aan de vooravond van een nieuwe mondiale VN-Klimaattop, begin november in Glasgow. In de jaren tot 2040 dreigt de productie van fossiele energie, die bij verbranding de aarde opwarmt, volgens de Unep-prognoses verder te stijgen. Dit staat haaks op de wereldwijde ambitie om de opwarming van de aarde te beperken tot 1,5 graad. Ook het streven om de opwarming in elk geval ruim onder de gevaarlijke grens van 2 graden te houden is buiten bereik, omdat landen de energiehonger hoofdzakelijk blijven stillen met fossiele energie. Het aandeel zonne- en windenergie groeit, maar raakt achterop.
Financile steun Dit komt volgens Unep deels doordat landen hun subsidies en belastingvoordelen voor fossiele energie niet afbouwen. Sterker: sinds corona vloeide meer financile steun, zo'n 300 miljard dollar, naar olie- en gasprojecten, meer dan naar schone investeringen. ''Een uitfasering van fossiele steun met publiek geld is nodig'', zegt klimaatexpert Lucile Dufour van het Instituut voor duurzame ontwikkeling, die meeschreef aan de Unep-studie. Zij roept op tot een 'shift' naar een duurzame economie. De studie komt bovenop het rapport van VN-klimaatpanel IPCC, dat afgelopen zomer waarschuwde voor extreem weer '' hevige regen, droogte, hitte '' als gevolg van de klimaatcrisis. In Glasgow moeten landen daarop volgens VN-klimaatbaas Ant"nio Guterres een ultiem antwoord zien te bieden, door hun maatregelen op te schroeven waardoor de CO2-uitstoot daalt.
Opvallend is dat een reeks landen, waaronder de grootste uitstoters China en de VS, afgelopen jaar juist mooi in het nieuws kwamen, omdat zij ambities presenteerden om binnen een paar decennia 'netto nul' broeikasgassen uit te gaan stoten. De auteurs van de Unep-studie zien dit als een positieve ontwikkeling. Maar zolang resultaten uitblijven neemt de haalbaarheid van de plannen af, waarschuwen de auteurs van de studie. Klimaatactiviste Greta Thunberg zette de politieke beloften om in 2050 klimaatneutraal te worden, terwijl de oliepompen nog jaren blijven draaien, onlangs weg als een 'blabla'-verhaal. Volgens klimaatwetenschappers kunnen landen hun strategie naar 'netto nul' emissies wel degelijk halen, mits zij het gebruik van vervuilende energiebronnen tijdig afbouwen.
'Een grote stap' Bij het gebruik van steenkool gaat die verschuiving mondjesmaat de goede kant op, blijkt uit de Unep-studie. De winning van kolen stabiliseert en een lichte daling wordt ingezet. Landen kijken in toenemende mate kritisch naar het financieren van steenkool. China bouwt wel eigen kolencentrales, maar besloot afgelopen maand om over de grens geen geld meer te steken in kolen. ''Een grote stap'', noemt Niklas Hagelberg van het VN-milieubureau dat. Om de energiehonger in de wereld te stillen neemt de productie van aardgas ondertussen toe '' zoals in Duitsland, China, Canada en de VS '' waardoor de klimaatdoelen alsnog buiten bereik raken.
Om aan 'Parijs' te voldoen moet de wereldwijde energievraag ook dalen. Dat kan door fabrieken, huizen en voertuigen zuiniger te maken. Energie besparen is de goedkoopste manier om te verduurzamen, aldus Unep. Rijke industrielanden kunnen dit als kans benutten. Ontwikkelingslanden zijn daarvan afhankelijk, omdat zij binnen de afspraken van 'Parijs' recht hebben op groei en hoger energiegebruik.
Lees ook: De nieuwe Nederlandse klimaatgezant is een prins: 'Er zijn landen die 'Glasgow' niet willen laten slagen' Prins Jaime de Bourbon de Parme is de nieuwe klimaatgezant van Nederland. Hij voorziet dat grote olieproducerende landen de klimaattop in Glasgow willen frustreren. ''Er zitten landen tussen die Glasgow niet willen laten slagen. Die zoeken iets om het kapot te maken. Daar zit een grote uitdaging.''
Hier zou content moeten staan van bijv. Twitter, Facebook of InstagramOm u deze content te kunnen laten zien, hebben wij uw toestemming nodig om cookies te plaatsen. Open uw cookie-instellingen om te kiezen welke cookies u wilt accepteren. Voor een optimale gebruikservaring van onze site selecteert u "Accepteer alles". U kunt ook alleen de sociale content aanzetten: vink hiervoor "Cookies accepteren van sociale media" aan.
Everything's under control, says PM, despite rising Covid cases | News | The Times
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 02:38
Boris Johnson says that coronavirus is ''under control'' and ministers are adamant that there is no need to change course despite the highest number of daily deaths since March.
Yesterday 223 deaths and 43,738 new cases were reported, but the prime minister told cabinet that ''hospital admissions remain broadly flat'', with numbers still lower than during the summer. The seven-day average for deaths, at 130, is below where it was last month.
There were 828 hospital admissions reported in England yesterday and senior scientific advisers said that it was too soon to panic. Last night emergency coronavirus powers were renewed for another six months without a vote. Johnson told a cabinet meeting that ''although we face a difficult winter, we have a plan in place
Meghan McCain blames 'toxic' hostility for 'The View' exit | TheHill
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 21:44
Meghan McCain Meghan Marguerite McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden Comedian Norm Macdonald dies following battle with cancer: report MORE in a new audiobook is blaming a "toxic" work environment and overwhelming hostility from co-hosts for her exit from ABC's "The View."
McCain, the lone conservative voice during her stint on the show, said she grew increasingly unhappy with the "toxic, direct and purposeful hostility" on the show, calling out co-hosts Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi Goldberg'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran apologizes for comments about Whoopi Goldberg on 'The View' Bill Maher hits back at Whoopi Goldberg over 'Black national anthem' Whoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' MORE and Joy Behar Josephine (Joy) Victoria BeharCaitlyn Jenner says she would run again, calls on GOP to be 'more inclusive' 'The View's' Navarro tells critics to 'keep on hating' after COVID-19 scare Harris says images of Border Patrol on horseback evoked 'times of slavery' MORE by name in a new audiobook titled "Bad Republican."
Portions of McCain's forthcoming audio memoir were first obtained by Fox News media correspondent Howard Kurtz.
Behar and Goldberg "grew meaner and less forgiving" as former President Trump Donald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley '-- Presented by Xerox '-- Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE 's time in the White House went on, McCain reportedly writes, saying she felt her colleagues on the show began to see her "as if I had become an avatar for everything they hated about the president."
Goldberg specifically, McCain said, displayed "open disdain" for her.
"Once she turns on you, it can create unfathomable tension at the table," McCain writes.
McCain, the daughter of the late Sen. John McCain John Sidney McCainThe Memo: Powell ended up on losing side of GOP fight A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics Virginia race looms as dark cloud over Biden's agenda MORE (R-Ariz.) also references a January argument between she and Behar over which political party is in a stronger position heading into the year.
"You missed my so much, Joy. You missed me so much when I was on maternity leave," McCain, who had just returned from maternity leave, said during the spat. "You missed me so much '-- you missed fighting with me."
"I did not," Behar replied. "I did not miss you. Zero."
McCain, in her book, says she "felt like" she'd "been slapped" following the segment and broke out into "uncontrollable sobbing" during a commercial break over Behar's remark, which she called "nasty."
When contacted by The Hill on Tuesday about McCain's complaints, ABC responded, saying The View, "has been a platform on air and behind the scenes for strong women," for 25 years.
"Live television and different perspectives can often lead to surprising moments, but the team is collaborative and supportive - focused on delivering an informative daily talk show to our loyal viewers," a spokesperson for the network said.
McCain announced in July she would leave the show after four seasons, saying she wanted to pursue new opportunities and spend more time with her newborn child and family.
She has since been given a column on DailyMail.com and ripped President Biden Joe BidenJan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Overnight Energy & Environment '-- Presented by the American Petroleum Institute '-- Democrats address reports that clean energy program will be axed Two House Democrats to retire ahead of challenging midterms MORE in her first dispatch for the website.
Updated 5:43 p.m.
At Axel Springer, Allegations of Sex, Lies and a Secret Payment - The New York Times
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 21:18
the media equation
A high-flying German media giant is ahead on digital media but seems stuck in the past when it comes to the workplace and deal-making.
Julian Reichelt, the newsroom leader at the German tabloid Bild, whose workplace conduct was the subject of an investigation. Credit... Clemens Bilan/EPA Published Oct. 17, 2021 Updated Oct. 19, 2021, 8:51 a.m. ET
A high-level editor at the powerful German tabloid Bild was trying to break things off with a woman who was a junior employee at the paper. He was 36. She was 25.
''If they find out that I'm having an affair with a trainee, I'll lose my job,'' the editor, Julian Reichelt, told her in November 2016, according to testimony she later gave investigators from a law firm hired by Bild's parent company, Axel Springer, to look into the editor's workplace behavior. I obtained a transcript through someone not directly involved.
Just before the editor spoke those words, another woman at the paper had lodged a sexual harassment complaint against the publisher of Bild. But Mr. Reichelt's relationship with the junior employee continued, she testified, and he was promoted to the top newsroom job in 2017.
Mr. Reichelt then gave her a high-profile job, one she felt she wasn't ready for, and he continued to summon her to hotel rooms near the gleaming Berlin tower occupied by Axel Springer, she said.
''That's how it always goes at Bild,'' she told the investigators. ''Those who sleep with the boss get a better job.''
[Update: Bild ousts editor after Times report on workplace behavior]
This account is drawn from an interview conducted in the spring by a law firm retained by Axel Springer for an investigation that quickly closed, clearing Mr. Reichelt. A spokeswoman for Axel Springer and Mr. Reichelt, Deirdre Latour, said the woman's testimony included ''some inaccurate facts,'' but declined to specify which ones.
Mr. Reichelt did not, as he feared, lose his job when his relationship with the woman, as well his conduct toward other women at Bild, became public. Instead, Mr. Reichelt, who denied abusing his authority, took a brief leave and then was reinstated as perhaps the most powerful newspaper editor in Europe after the company determined that his actions did not warrant a dismissal.
Bild is the flagship publication of Axel Springer, a titan of German media since after World War II. The company is now focusing much of its energy on the United States. American media types may know it mainly for its leader, Mathias D¶pfner, a charismatic chief executive who moved more swiftly than most traditional publishers to embrace the internet.
In 2015, the company bought Business Insider (now called Insider) for $442 million. This summer, it announced that it had purchased Politico for $1 billion. Axel Springer aims ''to become the leading digital publisher in the democratic world,'' Mr. D¶pfner told me in an emailed statement.
But as the reports on the Bild investigation suggest, the company's workplace culture may be stuck in a time warp. And as Axel Springer moved across the Atlantic this summer on its spending spree, the company's aggressive and '-- a key American executive said '-- ''sneaky'' style of doing business generated friction.
To get a feel for the German company now emerging as a major player in American, and global, media, it's important to understand the man for whom it was named, a towering figure in postwar media.
Axel Springer was a fierce anti-Communist and supporter of Israel, and his papers were hostile to the student leftists of the 1960s and 1970s. The Red Army Faction bombed Axel Springer's offices in Hamburg in 1972. In 1974, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Heinrich B¶ll published ''The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum,'' about a woman whose life is ruined by an aggressive reporter for a Bild-like paper after she has an affair with a left-wing militant.
Bild's politics are now center-right, but have grown sharp-edged under Mr. Reichelt, a former war correspondent. The tabloid initially welcomed Syrian refugees, then turned bitterly critical of immigration (though it is also hostile to the far-right AfD party). A Washington correspondent for Bild complained, in internal Slack messages that subsequently leaked, of a slant toward Donald Trump in the coverage of the 2020 U.S. presidential debates. The paper has also attacked the German government's Covid restrictions and its main public health expert.
It seems the old battles have left Axel Springer forever on its guard against potential enemies. That quality can seem slightly out of place in 21st century Germany, where the company publishes not just Bild but also the broadsheet Die Welt, and is the owner of a lucrative classifieds business. When I visited Berlin this summer, Mr. Reichelt took me to a restaurant in his armored car.
''They have a bunker mentality,'' said Moritz Tschermak, the author of a recent, critical book on Bild, ''and at the moment the bunker mentality is quite strong.''
Mr. Springer, who died in 1985, also had a personal life that might be called colorful. His third wife had previously been married to his next-door neighbor. His fourth wife was the next-door neighbor's second wife. His fifth wife, Friede Springer, had been the family's nanny. When he left the company to her upon his death, she surprised her many doubters by emerging as a force in her own right. She is now the vice chairwoman of Axel Springer's supervisory board.
Image Mathias D¶pfner, Axel Springer's charismatic leader, moved more swiftly than most traditional publishers to embrace the internet. Credit... Pool photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka Her longtime ally is Mr. D¶pfner, a music scholar turned editor. He joined the company in 1994 and took over Die Welt in 1998. Ms. Springer made him the chief executive in 2002, after she had waged a successful legal battle against challenges to her leadership by others in the Springer family.
Mr. D¶pfner, who once described himself as ''a mixture of aesthete and carpet salesman,'' is an enthusiastic deal-maker who stands 6-foot-7. Under his leadership, Axel Springer has had elaborate holiday parties, including a disco night in 2018 that included 10 D.J.s, 512 disco balls and a joint performance by the Village People and company board members. His dance moves at one party left an impression on the company's slacks-wearing partners at Politico. He also owns one of Germany's leading collections of female nude paintings.
Mr. D¶pfner's biggest impact has been in pushing the company online. In 2012, he dispatched members of the mostly male senior executive team to Silicon Valley, where they roomed together, made a study of the new media economy and produced a goofy video that showed them sharing king-size beds. The goal was to transform Axel Springer into a global giant able to solve the riddle of how to profit from digital journalism.
Early results were uneven, including investments in the recently troubled Ozy Media. Mr. D¶pfner's biggest quarry, The Financial Times, slipped through his fingers in 2015. Axel Springer consoled itself with the purchase of Business Insider, which has thrived under its ownership. And Mr. D¶pfner made progress on a campaign to force Google and other tech giants to pay publishers for content.
In 2019, the American private equity firm KKR bought more than 40 percent of the company and took it private, an endorsement of Mr. D¶pfner's strategy. In 2020, Axel Springer bought the newsletter company Morning Brew '-- and set its sights on Politico.
Last fall, Ms. Springer offered Mr. D¶pfner a reward for his decades of service: $1.2 billion of Axel Springer stock. She then sold him a bit more, making him a billionaire and major shareholder. The shares came with the voting rights to her remaining stake, making it clear that the company is Mr. D¶pfner's now.
That is the backdrop for the dual dramas that consumed Axel Springer in 2021.
The first was the investigation into Mr. Reichelt, the editor who is also the face of a new television network Bild has started. Der Spiegel reported in March, under the headline '''Screw, Promote, Fire,''' that Axel Springer had hired a law firm to investigate claims that Mr. Reichelt had created a hostile work environment for women; the publication did not report all the details of the claims. Der Spiegel described ''the Reichelt system,'' in which ''the editor in chief was said to have invited female trainees and interns to dinner via Instagram. Young female employees were sometimes quickly promoted. Their fall from grace was similarly rapid.''
His leave of absence lasted all of 12 days. When Axel Springer announced that the investigation was over, it issued a statement saying that it had examined ''accusations of abuse of power in connection with consensual relationships and drug consumption at the place of work. Contrary to rumors reported in several media titles, there were no accusations of sexual harassment, and the investigations did not discover any evidence whatsoever of sexual harassment or coercion.''
The statement went on to say that unspecified ''mistakes'' were outweighed by ''the enormous strategic and structural changes as well as the journalistic achievements that have taken place under the management of Julian Reichelt.''
The statement included an apology: ''What I blame myself for more than anything else is that I have hurt people I was in charge of,'' Mr. Reichelt said. He returned to his post, but with a woman, Alexandra W¼rzbach, as Bild's co-editor. She was given responsibility for personnel and the Sunday edition.
Axel Springer has sought to keep details of the investigation's findings out of the German press. Mr. Reichelt sued Der Spiegel in March, and won a minor legal victory forcing the publication to append a statement to its article acknowledging that Mr. Reichelt said he had never received the questions sent to Axel Springer's spokesperson.
In April 2018, the business newspaper Handelsblatt was prepared to report on alleged conflicts of interest in Mr. Reichelt's relationship with a woman at a public relations agency, Der Spiegel reported this year. The article was killed after a call from Mr. Reichelt, a person involved in the process said. (A Handelsblatt spokeswoman did not respond to an emailed inquiry.)
This year, Juliane L¶ffler, a reporter at the German publisher Ippen, along with three other members of Ippen's investigative team, worked on an investigation of Mr. Reichelt's conduct in the hope of publishing an article with more details on what had taken place at Bild. In the course of reporting, Ms. L¶ffler and her colleagues gained access to some of the same documents that I reviewed in recent weeks, as the Ippen article was nearing its publication date. Then, on Friday, Ippen told its investigative unit that it was killing the story.
The directive came from Ippen's largest shareholder, Dirk Ippen, according to correspondence from a company official that I obtained. Ms. L¶ffler and her fellow reporters objected, writing in a letter to company management that ''no legal or editorial reasons were given'' for stopping their reporting.
An Ippen spokesman, Johannes Lenz, said that Ippen had decided not to publish the story ''to avoid the appearance of combining a journalistic publication with the economic interest of harming the competitor.''
The documents I saw paint a picture of a workplace culture that mixed sex, journalism and company cash. The trainee who gave testimony in the law firm's inquiry said that when she was moved around the newsroom, another Bild editor told her he was tired of having to take on women with whom Mr. Reichelt had had relationships.
That editor did not respond to an inquiry for this column; the woman whose testimony appears in the investigation report declined to comment, and The New York Times is not naming her because the interview transcript includes her request for anonymity.
The woman also testified that when the expenses for the job she'd been placed in exceeded her salary, she complained to Mr. Reichelt, who authorized a special payment of 5,000 euros and ''told her that she should never tell anyone.''
Axel Springer's compliance department also received a complaint this year that Mr. Reichelt had provided a forged certificate showing that he was divorced to a woman who was working on contract with Axel Springer and with whom he was having a relationship. A copy of the phony divorce certificate was shared with me.
I did not have access to the complete report by the lawyers who investigated Axel Springer, and the company declined to provide it. Mr. D¶pfner said in the emailed statement: ''The culture at Bild was not up to our standards and does not reflect the broader culture at the company. To say that it does paints a false view of Axel Springer.''
He also said the Bild workplace culture would not be replicated in the United States. ''We will not tolerate any behavior in our organizations worldwide that does not follow our very clear compliance policies. We aspire to be the best digital media company in the democratic world with the highest ethical standards and an inclusive, open culture,'' he said.
Axel Springer forwarded a letter from lawyers stating that Bild was not legally obliged to fire Mr. Reichelt.
But a March 1 message from Mr. D¶pfner to a friend with whom he later had a falling out over the way the company handled the allegations against Mr. Reichelt, Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre, suggests that, while Mr. D¶pfner was central to deciding how to act on the investigation's findings as chief executive, he may not have been impartial. In the message, sent after Axel Springer had become aware of the allegations, but before the investigation was underway, Mr. D¶pfner referred to an opinion column by Mr. Reichelt complaining about Covid restrictions.
Mr. D¶pfner wrote that ''we have to be especially careful'' in the investigation, because Mr. Reichelt ''is really the last and only journalist in Germany who is still courageously rebelling against the new GDR authoritarian state,'' according to a copy of the message that I obtained. (The reference to GDR, or Communist East Germany, in this context, is a bit like ''woke mob.'') Mr. D¶pfner also wrote that Mr. Reichelt had ''powerful enemies.''
Mr. D¶pfner's political statement in that message may seem at odds with his stated plans for his new American properties, which The Wall Street Journal reported last week, will ''embody his vision of unbiased, nonpartisan reporting, versus activist journalism, which, he said, is enhancing societal polarization in the U.S. and elsewhere.''
As Axel Springer was struggling to contain the fallout from the Bild investigation, Mr. D¶pfner's focus was on Washington. This spring and summer, he conducted secret, parallel conversations with executives at two rival news organizations based in Washington, Politico and Axios, the site started in 2016 by Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen and Roy Schwartz, all formerly of Politico.
Mr. D¶pfner's goal was to buy both and combine them into a mighty competitor to the nation's largest news outlets. The Politico acquisition, announced in August, was a triumph for his company. But behind the scenes, Axel Springer's courting style had alienated its other target.
On July 29, Mr. VandeHei, the Axios chief executive, told his board of an unusual situation, according to two people at the meeting. Mr. D¶pfner, he said, had floated the idea of installing Mr. VandeHei as the chief executive of the Politico-Axios combination. But Mr. D¶pfner knew that Politico's leadership team, still bitter over Mr. VandeHei's departure to start a rival publication, would object. So Mr. D¶pfner proposed that they keep the deal secret and announce it only after it was too late for Politico to withdraw, Mr. VandeHei told his board.
Mr. VandeHei told the board that he found Axel Springer's approach ''sneaky,'' the two people said, and that it was ''not how we do business here.'' He pulled out of the deal, the people said.
My colleague Edmund Lee, who recently left the media beat for a management job at The Times, graciously shared his reporting with me on the Axios negotiations.
Mr. D¶pfner, through a spokeswoman, flatly denied that account. ''We were truthful and straightforward about our plans and intentions,'' he said. ''No lies and no deceptions.''
Axel Springer ousts Bild editor Julian Reichelt after sexual misconduct probe
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 20:26
Axel Springer, the owner of Politico, Insider and a host of digital media publications, has ousted Julian Reichelt, a top editor at its German tabloid Bild, after an explosive report revealed his alleged sexual misconduct and the company's efforts to sweep it under the rug.
The news comes after an investigation penned by Ben Smith of the New York Times on Sunday shed light on Reichelt's affair with an underling whom he promoted to a high-ranking job, as well as multiple instances of sexual harassment.
Axel Springer said Monday that ''new findings'' have led it to let go of Reichelt since his workplace conduct was the subject of a recent investigation. Without spelling out what was uncovered, the company said that ''the board of directors learned that Julian Reichelt still does not clearly separate personal and professional matters and has told the board of directors the untruth. For this reason, the board of directors now considers a termination of the work to be inevitable.''
Reichelt (right) with Armin Laschet, the Union's candidate for chancellor, for an interview for Bild TV. dpa/picture-alliance/Sipa USAThe company said Johannes Boie, 37, currently editor-in-chief of Welt Am Sonntag, would join Alexandra W¼rzbach and Claus Strunz as co-editors in chief of Bild.
Axel Springer CEO Mathias D¶pfner added: ''We would have liked to continue the path of cultural renewal we have taken with the editorial team and the publishing house at BILD together with Julian Reichelt. This is no longer possible. With Johannes Boie we have a first-class successor. He has proven that he combines journalistic excellence with modern leadership.''
The news comes as Axel Springer expands its presence in the US, having recently bought an ownership stake in news site Politico. The political site is the latest in a slew of US acquisitions for Axel Springer, which bought Business Insider (now called Insider) in 2015 and newsletter publisher Morning Brew last year.
During Reichelt's affair, which took place from 2016 to 2017, the editor, then 36, told his 25-year-old junior employee that he feared he would lose his job if his affair with a ''trainee'' became public. But he didn't end the dalliance, and instead Reichelt gave her a high-profile job, one she felt she wasn't ready for, while he continued to summon her to hotel rooms near Axel Springer's Berlin headquarters.
Word of the affair got out when German newspaper Der Spiegel reported it in March under the headline, ''Screw, Promote, Fire.'' That prompted Axel Springer to hire a law firm to look into the affair and claims that Reichelt created a hostile work environment for women.
The German newspaper described ''the Reichelt system,'' in which ''the editor in chief was said to have invited female trainees and interns to dinner via Instagram. Young female employees were sometimes quickly promoted. Their fall from grace was similarly rapid.''
The young woman with whom he had an affair confirmed the editor's M.O. to investigators, saying: ''That's how it always goes at Bild. Those who sleep with the boss get a better job.''
Axel Springer CEO Mathias D¶pfner said Bild's culture was not up to the company's standards and does not reflect a broader culture at the media giant. AFP via Getty ImagesReichelt, who was the editor and the face of a new TV network started by Bild, did not, as he feared, lose his job following the explosive report. Instead, he denied abusing his authority and took a 12-day leave, only to be reinstated by the company, which determined his actions didn't warrant termination.
At the time, Axel Springer issued a statement referencing ''mistakes'' but said they were outweighed by ''the enormous strategic and structural changes as well as the journalistic achievements that have taken place under the management of Julian Reichelt.''
It also included an apology from Reichelt, who said: ''What I blame myself for more than anything else is that I have hurt people I was in charge of.''
The editor returned to his post, but with a woman, W¼rzbach, as Bild's co-editor. She was given responsibility for personnel and the Sunday edition.
The Times said Axel Springer has tried to keep the details of the investigation out of the German press. In 2018, the business newspaper Handelsblatt was prepared to report on alleged conflicts of interest in Reichelt's relationship with a woman at a public relations agency, Der Spiegel reported this year. But the Times said the article was killed after a call from Reichelt.
Julian Reichelt was the face of Bild's new television network, Bild TV. dpa/picture alliance via Getty IThis year, German publisher Ippen was preparing an investigation of Reichelt's conduct, but as the story was nearing its publication date, it was killed without any reason. The Times said the directive came from Ippen's largest shareholder, Dirk Ippen.
An Ippen rep told the Times that the publication decided not to publish the story ''to avoid the appearance of combining a journalistic publication with the economic interest of harming the competitor.''
Axel Springer, which fired Reichelt on Monday, said it had been made aware of cases in which the editor did not clearly ''separate personal and professional matters.'' Getty ImagesAccording to documents viewed by the Times, the trainee testified that when the expenses for the job she'd been placed in exceeded her salary, she complained to Reichelt, who authorized a special payment of 5,000 euros ($5,800) and ''told her that she should never tell anyone.''
Aside from the affair, documents painted a picture of a coverup culture at Bild, in which women who were involved with the editor in chief were often moved around to other departments. One Bild editor said he was tired of taking on women with whom Reichelt had an affair, the newspaper said.
Initially, Axel Springer said its investigation did not find any evidence of sexual harassment or coercion by Reichelt. APThe publication also described the lengths to which Reichelt was willing to go to cover up his behavior, noting that Axel Springer's compliance department received a complaint this year that Reichelt had provided a forged certificate showing that he was divorced to a woman who was working under contract with Axel Springer and with whom he was having a relationship. A copy of the phony divorce certificate was reviewed by the paper.
''Julian Reichelt had made mistakes, but no unforgivable mistakes,'' Axel Springer said Monday. ''Errors that would have justified an immediate separation could not be proven and were denied by Julian Reichelt. Instead of a termination, there was a second chance.''
China's Communist Party all set to hold key meet next month ahead of 2022 leadership change - The Financial Express
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:37
This was decided at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau presided over by Xi, who is the General Secretary of the party besides heading the military and the Presidency. China's ruling Communist Party will hold its key conclave in November ahead of next year's Congress which will pave the way for major leadership changes and a possible unprecedented third term for President Xi Jinping.
The 19th Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee will hold its sixth plenary session in Beijing from November 8 to 11, during which a key resolution on the major achievements and historical experience of the party's 100 years of endeavours will be reviewed, an official announcement here said.
This was decided at a meeting of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau presided over by Xi, who is the General Secretary of the party besides heading the military and the Presidency.
The Political Bureau of the party listened to a report on soliciting opinions for drafting the resolution and decided to submit the draft after revisions to the plenary session for deliberation, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.The sixth plenary session is regarded as significant as it is the biggest party meet ahead of next year's leadership change.
Politically, it is regarded as a key meeting for Xi, 68, who has emerged as the most powerful leader after party founder Mao Zedong, as he is widely expected to take up an unprecedented third term in office. China's all top leaders derive their power from the post of the General Secretary of the CPC. Xi's all predecessors retired following the mandatory rule of two five-year terms.
President Xi is widely regarded to be in power after the end of his second tenure later next year, possibly for life in view of a constitutional amendment in 2018 which removed the two-term limit for the President. He has also been made the ''core leader'' of the party in 2016, a status enjoyed only by Mao.
According to the agenda unveiled in August for the November 8-11 plenary session, the Political Bureau will present its work report to the plenary session, which will study the issue of comprehensively reviewing major achievements made and the historical experience accumulated during the party's 100 years of endeavour.
More than 370 full and alternate members of the Central Committee will take part in the plenum. Over the past three decades, the party has usually used the last plenary session to address party affairs, especially on key appointments, ideology and party-building matters.
Observers say that the key issue to be watched is to see if the party continues to follow precedent on its leadership changes, especially the informal retirement age of 68, besides the two terms for its top leadership set by party's founder Mao's successor Deng Xiaoping.
Along with Xi, Premier Li Keqiang too will be completing his two-term limit in early 2023. Nearly a dozen of the 25 members of the Politburo will be older than 68 in October next year. Since he took over the reins of the CPC in late 2012, Xi had consolidated his grip on power with the high-intensity anti-corruption campaign in which over a million officials, including many top military officials, were punished.
He has also launched several political initiatives, including the realisation of the Chinese dream broadly defined as reclaiming the lost greatness of the nation, making China a moderately prosperous society, elimination of absolute poverty, consolidation of the CPC power over the military and integration of Hong Kong.
In recent weeks, Xi has made a strong pitch for the reunification of Taiwan with the Chinese mainland amidst heightened tensions with the estranged island, saying that the ''Taiwan question'' will be resolved and peaceful reunification in the best interest of people of both sides.
The Taiwan issue brooks ''no external interference'', he said on October 9 in the backdrop of the US and Japan stepping up their backing to the estranged island in the face of China's increasingly aggressive posture.Xi's comments came after China sent a record number of military jets into Taiwan's air defence zone for four days in a row, in a public show of force.
Taiwan considers itself a sovereign state '' but China views the self-ruled island as a breakaway province. Beijing has not ruled out the possible use of force to achieve unification of Taiwan with the mainland.
As he set for his third term, he recently launched a new initiative called ''common prosperity for all'' Chinese, which is widely reported to be the new policy of redistribution of wealth, ending the era of billionaires in the country.The new policy shift came as the government has mounted unprecedented crackdowns on Alibaba and other top corporate firms from various sectors within the economy, including technology, online education and real estate to tackle widening income inequality, rising debt levels and slowing consumption.
Xie Maosong, a senior researcher with Tsinghua University's National Strategy Institute, said: ''this plenum will carry lots of symbolic value for Xi in terms of his status in the party's history as it looks back at the past 100 years, as the party presses ahead with the next centenary goal''.
''Mao (Zedong) was the founder of new China and Deng (Xiaoping) made it affluent. ''Xi, who's overseeing the party at its centenary, will be seen (at the plenum) as the leader who made the party and China strong. It's important to send the right message to the Chinese people'... from the historical perspective,'' Xie added.
Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market's Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.
Fox News Reporter Panics, Deletes Tweet Suggesting Colin Powell's Death 'Raises New Concerns' About Covid Vaccine Efficacy
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:15
Fox News anchor John Roberts panicked and deleted a tweet suggesting Colin Powell's death 'raises new concerns' about Covid vaccine efficacy.
General Colin Powell, former secretary of state and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, died Monday from coronavirus.
Powell, 84, was fully vaccinated.
John Roberts fired off a tweet Monday that prompted immediate backlash from the Covidian cult.
TRENDING: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Kinney County Texas Sheriff Coe Announces Historic Plan to Deputize Local Citizens to Fight Back Against Biden Border Invasion -- LIVE ANNOUNCEMENT AT 8:30 Eastern!
''The fact that Colin Powell died from a breakthrough COVID infection raises new concerns about how effective vaccines are long-term.'' '' Roberts tweeted Monday morning before deleting the post.
Perhaps Roberts' handlers at Fox weren't too happy he questioned Big Pharma.
Roberts fired off a series of tweets praising Covid vaccines.
''I plan to get a booster as soon as possible.'' Roberts said.
As we all know, the FDA is now recommending boosters for certain people, and I personally know a number of people who have had breakthrough infections '' some of them, quite troubling. Yes, Powell had myeloma, but I was still stunned to hear of his passing from COVID'....
'-- John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) October 18, 2021
..we live in the same town, and we would occasionally run into each at the local sandwich shop. His death is a loss for our community and our country.I plan to get a booster as soon as possible.
'-- John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) October 18, 2021
A reporter for MSNBC attacked John Roberts and said Colin Powell's death underscores how effective the vaccines are.
Powell was 84. He had cancer. Additionally, the fact that he is perhaps the only real high profile breakthrough death we know about only underscores how effective the vaccines are. It doesn't raised questions about it. https://t.co/X0Ju24qTN0
'-- Sam Stein (@samstein) October 18, 2021
Rachel Levine, openly transgender health official, to be sworn in as four-star admiral - The Washington Post
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:40
A senior Biden health appointee who made history when she became the nation's highest-ranking openly transgender official is also set to become its first openly transgender four-star officer, the administration announced on Tuesday.
Rachel Levine, the U.S. assistant secretary for health, will be sworn in Tuesday as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, a 6,000-person force that responds to health crises on behalf of the federal government, including administering coronavirus vaccines and delivering care after hurricanes. Levine is also the organization's first-ever female four-star admiral.
In an interview, Levine stressed that her new position as an admiral was ''not just symbolic,'' and that she would take a leadership role in shaping the public health corps' priorities. ''I'm doing this because of my dedication to service '... [and] with the utmost respect and honor for the uniform that I will be wearing,'' Levine said, adding she would begin wearing the group's blue uniform immediately.
Story continues below advertisement
The public health service is one of the nation's eight uniformed services, although it is distinct from the six military services '-- including the Navy, Army and Air Force '-- by explicitly focusing on medical issues. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps, whose officers command vehicles that probe hurricanes and map the seafloor, is also a uniformed service.
The 63-year-old Levine, who was previously Pennsylvania's health secretary and had not served in the commissioned corps, is now set to take a more prominent role in the service's operations. She will be the sixth four-star admiral in the corps' history, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania's former secretary of health, is the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the Senate. (The Washington Post)Political appointees are regularly tapped for senior roles in the corps. Brett Giroir, Levine's predecessor during the Trump administration, was sworn in as an admiral after his 2018 Senate confirmation. Vivek H. Murthy, the nation's surgeon general, also serves as a vice admiral.
Story continues below advertisement
The long-running health corps traces its history to 1798, but the service was formally established by Congress in 1889. The oft-overlooked corps has struggled with retirements and visibility; it was slow to get access to its own supply of coronavirus vaccines, even as its officers helped deliver shots around the nation.
Nation's public health service, deploying to fight covid-19, waits on vaccines
Administration officials touted the significance of Levine's elevation to admiral, praising President Biden's commitment to diversity and noting that the ceremony will occur during LGBTQ history month.
''Admiral Levine's historic appointment as the first openly transgender four-star officer is a giant step forward toward equality as a nation,'' HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
Story continues below advertisement
Levine has been repeatedly targeted by conservative advocacy groups and politicians, who claimed her historic selection '-- as the first openly transgender official ever confirmed by the Senate '-- was a political gesture by Biden. At Levine's confirmation hearing to serve as assistant secretary for health, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tried to draw a connection between genital mutilation and transition-related care, which prompted stern rebukes from Paul's Democratic colleagues.
But Levine shrugged off questions about a similar backlash to Tuesday's announcement. ''I am not worried,'' she said. ''I'm such a strong proponent of diversity, equity and inclusion '... and we have a president that is such a strong advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion as well.''
New York Judge Restricts Unvaccinated Father From Visiting 3-Year-Old Daughter
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:36
A Manhattan judge suspended a Long Island father's visitation with his toddler daughter unless he submits COVID-19 tests on a weekly basis or gets vaccinated'--despite the man already having contracted the virus.
''Here, in-person parental access by defendant is not in the child's best interests, and there are exceptional circumstances that support its suspension,'' wrote Justice Matthew Cooper, according to the New York Post, in a case involving the father's divorce and custody dispute over his 3-year-old daughter.
Cooper also wrote that that the ''dangers of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with a child while the COVID-19 virus remains a threat to children's health and safety cannot be understated.'' The names of the father, mother, and daughter were not revealed in the order.
But the father's lawyer, Lloyd Rosen, told the New York Post late last week that he was previously infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, arguing that the man has natural immunity and therefore, doesn't need the vaccine. Several studies, including a landmark research paper from Israeli researchers in late August, have found that natural immunity provides robust and long-term protection against the CCP virus, and in some cases, it's superior to the two-dose Pfizer vaccine.
''My client is not a conspiracy theorist,'' the attorney said late last week. ''He has concerns about the vaccine. He's heard about side effects. He once had a bad reaction to a flu vaccine.''
''This judge must feel that 80 million Americans who aren't vaccinated are placing their children at imminent risk of harm and, therefore, the courts should intervene and remove those children from their parents,'' Rosen continued to say. ''This is an absurd position to take.''
However, the mother's lawyer, Evan Schein, praised the judge's ruling.
''It's an incredibly important one that highlights the extraordinary times we are living in and reinforces that a child's best interests are paramount,'' he told the Post.
In September, Schein had raised concerns about the father's vaccination status. Cooper then claimed that inoculation is now a requirement to ''participate meaningfully in everyday society'' and pointed to controversial vaccine mandates for various professions.
New York City earlier this year mandated that people have to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, gyms, bars, theaters, and similar businesses. Meanwhile, the New York state government recently mandated that healthcare workers have to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or face suspension, although a federal judge last week issued a temporary ruling allowing the workers to skip the shots if they apply for religious exemptions.
The Epoch Times has contacted Rosen for additional comment.
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Follow
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
The 'Great Resignation' goes global - The Washington Post
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:12
You're reading an excerpt from the Today's WorldView newsletter. Sign up to get the rest, including news from around the globe, interesting ideas and opinions to know, sent to your inbox every weekday.
In the United States, the phenomenon dubbed as the ''Great Resignation'' seems to be picking up speed. A record 4.3 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in August, according to new data from the Labor Department '-- a figure that expands to 20 million if measured back to April. Many of these resignations took place in the retail and hospitality sectors, with employees opting out of difficult, low-wage jobs. But the quitting spans a broad spectrum of the American workforce, as the toll of the pandemic '-- and the tortuous path to recovery '-- keeps fueling what Atlantic writer Derek Thompson has described as ''a centrifugal moment in American economic history.''
Wages are up and businesses face staffing shortages, while the experience of a sustained public health emergency has prompted myriad Americans to reevaluate their work options.
Story continues below advertisement
''This [pandemic] has been going on for so long, it's affecting people mentally, physically,'' Danny Nelms, president of the Work Institute, a consulting firm, told the Wall Street Journal. ''All those things are continuing to make people be reflective of their life and career and their jobs. Add to that over 10 million openings, and if I want to go do something different, it's not terribly hard to do.''
The ''Great Resignation'' in the United States was preceded by a far greater '-- decades-long, arguably '-- stagnation in worker wages and benefits. In lower-end jobs, earnings have not matched the pace of inflation, while work grew more informal and precarious. Workers' rights activists now see a vital moment for a course correction. October has been a banner month for American organized labor, with major strikes across various industries sweeping the country.
''Workers are harder to replace and many companies are scrambling to manage hobbled supply chains and meet pandemic-fueled demand for their products. That has given unions new leverage, and made striking less risky,'' my colleagues reported.
For the average worker in a developed Western economy, there are reasons for encouragement. ''The truth is people in the 1960s and '70s quit their jobs more often than they have in the past 20 years, and the economy was better off for it,'' wrote Thompson in the Atlantic. ''Since the 1980s, Americans have quit less, and many have clung to crappy jobs for fear that the safety net wouldn't support them while they looked for a new one. But Americans seem to be done with sticking it out. And they're being rewarded for their lack of patience: Wages for low-income workers are rising at their fastest rate since the Great Recession.''
Story continues below advertisement
In social democratic Western Europe, a stronger safety net has led to somewhat less disruption in the workforce. But similar trends are at play: ''Data collated by the OECD, which groups most of the advanced industrial democracies, shows that in its 38 member countries, about 20 million fewer people are in work than before the coronavirus struck,'' noted Politico Europe. ''Of these, 14 million have exited the labor market and are classified as 'not working' and 'not looking for work.' Compared to 2019, 3 million more young people are not in employment, education or training.''
A survey published in August found that a third of all Germany companies were reporting a dearth in skilled workers. That month, Detlef Scheele, head of the German Federal Employment Agency, told S¼ddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the country would need to import 400,000 skilled workers a year to make up for shortfalls in a host of industries, from nursing care to green tech companies. Pandemic-era border closures and rising wages in Central and Eastern European countries have led to shortages of meatpackers and hospitality workers in countries like Germany and Denmark.
''Frankly, this is a pay issue,'' said Andrew Watt, head of the European economics unit at the Macroeconomic Policy Institute at the German trade unions' Hans B¶ckler Foundation, to Politico. ''Wages will have to increase in these sectors to get people back into tough, low-paid jobs. That's no bad thing.''
Story continues below advertisement
But the story gets a bit more uneven, and certainly more grim, in the developing world. In Latin America and the Caribbean, 26 million people lost their jobs last year amid pandemic-era shutdowns, according to the U.N.'s International Labour Organization. The vast majority of jobs that have returned are in the informal sector, an outcome that often means even lower pay and greater precarity in a region already defined by profound economic inequality.
''These are jobs that are generally unstable, with low wages, without social protection or rights,'' said Vin­cius Pinheiro, regional director for the ILO, at a briefing last month. He also noted the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the region's youth. According to one study earlier this year, 1 in 6 people aged between 18 and 29 in Latin America and the Caribbean had left work since the pandemic began.
In Asia's diverse economies, other pains are being felt. China is seeing its own version of the ''Great Resignation,'' with a younger generation of workers more disenchanted by their prospects and turned off by the relatively low wages in the manufacturing centers that powered China's economic rise. Authorities in Beijing warn of a growing shortage of skilled workers in its crucial tech industry, a challenge for China's leadership as it tries to steer the national economy toward more skilled sectors. And as global demand picks up after the fallow months of the pandemic, China's factories are feeling the pinch of labor shortages.
Story continues below advertisement
Another labor-related pandemic phenomenon is crystallizing in neighboring Vietnam: Many migrant workers who left for their rural homes when jobs in big cities dried up amid lockdowns are not coming back.
''It's clear that there was extreme hardship faced by both businesses and workers during the prolonged lockdown,'' said Mary Tarnowka, executive director of AmCham Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, to the Financial Times. ''And there was particular pain and hardship for people at lower income levels who didn't have money for rent or food.''
In their villages, many of Asia's working poor can at least count on roofs over their head and food to eat. It's another form of resignation. Those who clung to what jobs they could keep were often coping with more dire conditions. When the pandemic snarled fast-fashion supply chains, millions of garment workers in South Asia, as a recent study by the Asia Floor Wage Alliance documented, had to swallow wage losses and endure work arrangements marked by widespread human rights abuses.
Story continues below advertisement
''Workers were already not being paid fair wages and had little savings at the beginning of the pandemic,'' said Zameer Awan, field worker with the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, to Reuters. ''Now most are deep in debt and those who have found jobs again find themselves in more abusive conditions but without a voice anymore.''
Judicial Watch: Records from DC Metropolitan Police Reveal New Information and Questions about U.S. Capitol Police Shooting of Unarmed Ashli Babbitt | Judicial Watch
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 12:53
October 13, 2021 | Judicial Watch(Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch announced today that it received 532 pages of documents from the DC Metropolitan Police about the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building.
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a May 2021 FOIA lawsuit filed after DC failed to respond to two April, 2021 FOIA requests submitted by Judicial Watch to the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for records related to Babbitt's death (Judicial Watch v. The District of Columbia (No. 2021 CA 001710 B)).
Babbitt was shot and killed as she climbed through a broken interior window in the United State Capitol. She was unarmed, and a 14-year Air Force veteran. The identity of the shooter was kept secret by Congress as well as federal and local authorities for eight months until U.S. Capitol Police officer Michael Byrd went public to try to defend his killing of Ms. Babbitt.
On April 14, 2021, the Justice Department issued a press release stating: ''The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt'...''
The new records include the January 6, 2021, Metro PD Death Report for Babbitt (identified as Ashli Elizabeth McEntee-Babbitt Pamatian). The investigators note that the possible Manner of Death was ''Homicide (Police Involved Shooting).'' The narrative description of the ''Terminal Event'' (Babbitt's death) notes that ''the victim was shot inside of the U.S. Capitol building. After being shot, the victim was transported to Medstar for advance life support, however after several attempts to revive the victim, she succumb [sic] to her injury and was pronounced dead at 1515 hours by Dr. [redacted] the attending physician.'' Under the ''Investigation/Medical History'' portion of the report, the investigators wrote, Babbitt ''was involved in a first amendment demonstration at the U.S. Capitol'.... the decedent was shot by a member of Law Enforcement after breeching a secured room at First Street, Southeast, Washington, DC , (U.S. Capitol Building).'' Under description of the Body, the investigators note, ''The decedent suffered a single gun shot wound to the upper portion of the left chest near the clavicle.''
In a January 6, 2021, ''Incident Report,'' under ''Public Narrative,'' the investigators wrote, ''On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Subject-1 had entered the United States Capitol during a riotous event. While inside of the building, Subject-1 had attempted to enter a secured area and was shot in the chest. Subject-1 was transported to a local trauma hospital where lifesaving efforts provide futile. Subeject-1 was pronounced dead at 1515 hours by Dr. [redacted].''
Under the ''Internal Narrative'' section, the investigators wrote:
On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, Lieutenant Michael Byrd of the Unites States Capitol Police was assigned as the House Chamber Commander during the day work tour of duty. At approximately 1446 hours, while providing protection to the House Chambers during a riotous act, Lieutenant Byrd discharged his issued service pistol and struck Subject-1 in the chest. Lieutenant Byrd's issued service pistol was initially secured by members of the United States Capitol Police, Internal Affairs Division, however, the service pistol was ultimately taken by the Department of Forensic Sciences. The office involved shooting is being investigated by the MPD-IAD and is assigned IS# [redacted].
On January 7, 2021, a ''Senior Police Officer/Agent'' in the Metro PD Internal Affairs Division emailed an Assistant U.S. Attorney:
[P]lease let this serve as an official notification regarding a serious use of force. On January 6, 2021, United States Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd '... was involved in a fatal, Use of Force (Service Pistol) approximately 1446 hours while in an area of the Capitol building known as the Speakers Lobby. Lieutenant Byrd discharged his service pistol one time which struck Ms. Ashli McEntee in her left shoulder '... I will be the lead agent regarding Lieutenant Byrd's UOF
An April 14, 2021, letter from Assistant U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips to Metro PD Assistant Chief Wilfredo Manlapaz, notifies Manlapaz:
This office has considered the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged use of excessive force in the above-captioned case [United States Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd]. We have decided to decline criminal prosecution of the above-listed officer as a result of this incident. Accordingly, this matter is referred to you for whatever administrative action you deem appropriate.
A Metro PD Internal Affairs Division report indicates that the Internal Affairs Division interviewed Lt. Michael Byrd and another United States Capitol Police officer (whose name is withheld), on January 6, 2021, at 7:38 p.m. and the interview was recorded. The investigators notes that Byrd, on duty that day since 7:00 a.m., was only equipped with his service weapon, but no ASP (telescoping baton) or OC (pepper spray). He'd last qualified on the shooting range on October 22, 2020. The report notes, ''Lieutenant Byrd declined to provide a statement until he can consult an attorney.'' The interviewing agent asked Byrd to have his attorney contact him.
The records include a January 6, 2021, Internal Affairs Division report of an interview conducted of a United States Capitol Police Sergeant, whose name is withheld:
Someone on the House Floor shouted that there had been shots fired. Sergeant [redacted] was advised that the sound was breaking glass, not gunshots. He radioed that the report of gunshots was incorrect, that it was glass breaking. Sergeant [redacted] was approached by an officer who advised that the sound was, in fact, gunshots. Sergeant- went back over the radio and reported that there were gunshots on the House Floor.
Sergeant [redacted] walked out of the House Chamber, into the Speaker's Lobby and observed glass being broken out of the doors and windows at the east end of this area. He observed that an officer and Lieutenant Byrd had taken up positions and had their guns out. Sergeant [redacted] took his gun out and positioned himself behind a pillar in the Speaker's Lobby.
A glass panel came completely out of one of the windows and a protester started to come through the opening. There was a lot of screaming and Sergeant '' heard someone yelling, ''get back, get back.''
Sergeant [redacted] was positioned furthest away from this barricaded door and Lieutenant Byrd was positioned the closest.
Sergeant [redacted] observed a white, female protester was climbing through an opened area where the glass pane had been knocked out. He heard a gunshot and this female fell backwards through the opening. The crowd on the other side of the barricaded east doors, began to step back and some put their hands in the air. Sergeant [redacted] observed Lieutenant Byrd step back just after hearing the gunshot. He did not see anything in the female protester's hands prior to the gunshot.
Sergeant [redacted] never went on the other side of the barricaded east door. He also did not know that it was Lieutenant Byrd who shot his gun until he talked to him moments after it occurred. Lieutenant Byrd looked upset and stated, ''I was the one who took the shot.''
In a written transcript of the interview of the aforementioned U.S. Capitol Police sergeant, it appears his name is Sergeant McKenna. He says during the interview that the woman climbing through the window was wearing a ''gray sweater.'' The interviewee continued:
Uh, I saw Lieutenant Byrd kinda. I don't know if it was before or after. Cause I was trying to figure this out of, but there was at one point where I remember seeing him and he kind of went like this and then came back up again. Uh, I don't know if that was from him taking the shot and then stepping back from that shot or if it was before that, I can't, no matter how I tried to rack my brain, I can't, I can't figure out when that happened, but uh, so I don't know if something happened to him where [sic] caused him to take the shot or not.
***
I actually did what I did, but, uh, I was just, I dunno, I don't know why it was such a crazy hectic moment that I don't know what else I could add to it.
The interviewer asks the sergeant if he saw anything in the woman's hands as she was climbing through the window, and he replies, ''I didn't see anything in her hands now.'' Asked when he realized Byrd shot the woman, the sergeant replied, ''I said, what, you know? And then he was like, I was the one who took the shot and I was like '...'' Speaking of Byrd's reaction the sergeant said, ''No, his eyes were red. He was, you could see he was visibly upset and he just, you know, kind of comfort him and told him, you know, we gotta get outta here.'' The interviewing agent asked the sergeant about Babbitt being shot, ''Did you go up to her [?].'' He replied, ''No, no, no. I maintained my position.''
After the shooting, the sergeant said Byrd directed him and other officers to go down ''into the subway.'' The interviewing agent then asks the sergeant several questions, saying, ''And I know this is kind of obvious, but, but, I'm gonna ask it anyhow. You've worked for the Capitol police department for [redacted] now.'' Sergeant replies, ''Yes.'' The agent then asks, ''This was not a typical day, was it?'' Sergeant replies, ''Definitely not my craziest day there.'' The agent, ''Nothing like this has with now, has it.'' Sergeant replies, ''No I'd say the closest one was when we had the, the shots fired back in 2004, 2005 in the Rayburn building '...'' The agent continues, ''Not to pull your man card at all, but was this a frightening situation?'' Sergeant replies, ''Oh yeah.'' The sergeant continued, ''Oh yeah. I'm not afraid to say I was, I was scared shit.''
In a January 6, 2021, summary report of an interview of another United States Capitol Police officer by the Internal Affairs Division investigator, the interviewee, who was immediately behind Byrd in the Speaker's Lobby when Byrd shot Babbitt, said ''He did not see Ms. McEntee [Babbitt] in possession of any potential weapons.'' The report continued, ''He reiterated that he did not observe that she was armed.'' The United States Capitol Police officer claimed that ''Lieutenant Byrd was shaking, he did not say anything'.... Byrd was nervous, teary-eyed, and appeared very upset. His voice also shaky when he called for medical assistance over the radio. Lieutenant Byrd was still very upset.''
In the January 16, 2021, interview transcript of the above United States Capitol Police officer who witnessed the shooting of Babbitt, he reported that a man with a beard in a suit attended to Babbitt after she was shot, and both he and the sergeant above believed the man was with the House Sergeant-at-Arms office, but neither provided his identity. When asked about Lt. Byrd's demeanor after the shooting, the officer said about Byrd, ''He was shaky. He was, he was teary eyed. You know, you can just tell, like, I ain't gonna say when somebody regrets to do something, when somebody is just nervous, you know, they'll rub their head, they'll pace back and forth.'' When asked if he heard any verbal commands given by police prior to Babbitt being shot, he replied, ''Not at that point'' and then ''I do not recall that.''
Another Capitol Police officer interviewed on February 4, 2021, by Metro PD's Internal Affairs Division advised that prior to Babbitt being shot, ''He did not hear any verbal commands.''
Another Capitol Police officer was interviewed on February 4, 2021. In the transcript of his interview, he said that after the shooting of Babbitt, Lt. Byrd ''was down and out'' and ''almost in tears.'' He noted that when Babbitt was shot, ''it wasn't that loud'', despite having one of his ears completely uncovered. He also reported that he did not hear any verbal commands given by officers.
A January 6, 2021, telephone interview report was of a man who'd claimed to have been in the House Chambers. The man said he saw Lt. Byrd position himself behind a pillar and claimed he heard Byrd shout ''loud verbal commands'' stating that he would ''shoot.'' The interviewee also said Byrd fired twice. He went on to say that he felt Byrd had ''saved several people's lives'' through his actions. According to the transcript, the interviewee ''reached out'' to the Metro PD to give his statement.
In the transcript of this interview, the interviewee said, ''We started talking about evacuating the, uh, all the members or we didn't really have that conversation.'' He went on to say of Byrd, ''He was yelling, he was giving commands. Um, he was saying, I will shoot. Uh, he was saying some other stuff. I couldn't clearly make out what he was saying, but he was definitely, uh, giving commands, no question about it.'' He continued: ''He [Byrd], uh, did everything he could do'.... He was by himself, we were defending the front door and they were shaking it.'' He went on to claim that Byrd ''fired two shots.'' The interviewee said he had a ''conversation'' with Byrd after Byrd shot Babbitt. He claimed that Byrd was ''giving commands'' and ''threatening to use lethal force.''
A DC Department of Forensic Sciences crime scene examination report filed January 11, 2021, indicated that among Babbitt's personal possessions was a ''Para force'' folding knife.
A DC Forensics crime scene examination report dated January 10, 2021, indicated that one spent shell casing was recovered from the scene. A police service weapon from ''P1'' [Lt. Byrd] was turned over to the Forensic department. The police observed a blood trail from the hallway outside the Speaker's Lobby doors leading down to the first floor of the House in the security area. Babbitt's backpack contained clothing, stickers, U.S. currency, a face mask, a California driver's license in the name of Ashli McEntee, four credit cards in the same name, gloves, sunglasses, a wallet and cigarettes. The handgun turned over was a Glock 22 .40 cal. The shell casing was SPEER 40 S&W. 15 remaining cartridges were also turned over with a magazine. A ''Trump Nation'' and blood-spattered ''Trump 2020'' flags were also recovered.
In the June 15, 2021, official Internal Affairs Division Investigative Report issued on the Use of Force shooting of Babbitt by Lt. Michael Byrd, the Metro PD investigators noted that the ''Violations that led to police contact'' were ''Felony Rioting/Unlawful Entry'' and the ''Violations during police contact'' was ''Felony Rioting.'' The investigators further noted that Babbitt had no outstanding arrest warrants, but an entry under ''Previous arrests'' was fully redacted.
A description of events on January 6 in another report indicates that it was a ''representative'' on the House floor who first shouted ''Shots fired'' on January 6. The investigators note, ''The crowd on the outside of the previously barricaded east doors began to step back, and some raised their hands in the air. Sergeant [redacted] did not see anything in Ms. Babbitt's hands prior to hearing the gunshot.'' According to the investigators they, ''recovered a 'a para force' folding knife in Ms. Babbitt's pants pocket.''
''These previously secret records show there was no good reason to shoot and kill Ashli Babbitt,'' stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''The Biden-Garland Justice Department and the Pelosi Congress have much to answer for the over the mishandling and cover-up of this scandalous killing of an American citizen by the U.S. Capitol Police.''
These records are part of Judicial Watch's ongoing investigation into the death of Babbitt and the January 6 disturbance.
In September, Judicial Watch announced that it filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking records related to the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building.
Judicial Watch recently filed a motion for discovery in its lawsuit against the United States Capitol Police (USCP) for emails and videos concerning the disturbance at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. The Capitol Police are trying to shut down the lawsuit by arguing that the requested records are ''not public records.''
On August 3, Judicial Watch announced that it obtained new documents showing the Washington, DC Medical Examiner submitted a request to cremate Babbitt two days after gaining custody of her body. The documents also showed that Babbitt's fingerprints were emailed to a person supposedly working for the DC government, which resulted in Microsoft ''undeliverable'' messages written in Chinese characters being returned.
In May, Judicial Watch sued both the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense for records regarding the deployment of armed forces around the Capitol complex in DC during January and February of 2021.
Judicial Watch also filed a lawsuit for Speaker Nancy Pelosi's communications with the Pentagon in the days after the January 6 incident.
###
Russian entrepreneurs have just launched tattoo-QR codes to prove your Covid status '-- The Calvert Journal
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 12:48
For millions of us, scanning and carrying QR codes has become a staple of pandemic life. But if you're tired of touting your phone every time you want to grab a coffee, then entrepreneurs in Moscow have a new proposition: getting a QR code as a (temporary) tattoo.
Created by food courier service Delivery Club and Everink Tattoo, the new service is aimed at Muscovites who need a QR pass to enter bars and restaurants. The link proves that the holder is either fully vaccinated, has had Covid-19 in the past six months, or has had a recent negative PCR test.
The new measures came into force in the Russian capital on 23 June, amid record daily Covid-19 infection rates and a very low vaccine uptake, with just 13 per cent of Russia's population being fully vaccinated.
To speed up the country's vaccination drive, the Russian government has resorted to measures to incentivise people to get themselves vaccinated, ranging from competitions and cash payments to threats of dismissal.
Everink Tattoo and Delivery Club hope that their tattoos will also encourage Russians to get jabbed, as well as providing a boost to the country's hospitality sector.
Lasting between two and three weeks, the waterproof tattoos come with a catalog of designs, with the simple square paired with designs from floral wreaths to ''wino forever''.
Sinclair Broadcast Group stations disrupted by ransomware attack - The Washington Post
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 12:44
correction
A previous version of this article misstated the call letters of KHQA and the channel numbers of WLUK Fox 11. This article has been corrected.
Sinclair Broadcast Group was the target of a ransomware attack that disrupted operations this weekend at several television stations, the company said Monday in a regulatory filing.
The Hunt Valley, Md.-based company disclosed the breach in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing after the Record, an online publication owned by the cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, reported that a number of its television stations had been affected.
Sinclair is the latest in a growing list of businesses, schools, hospitals and other institutions to face ransom demands from hackers who use malware to encrypt data on their computer systems, rendering them unusable. As of Monday afternoon, it was unclear who was responsible for the hack.
Story continues below advertisement
The shadow industry of online extortionists, often led by Russian criminal groups, pulled in more than $400 million last year, according to Chainalysis, a firm that tracks cryptocurrency payments. The White House has made fighting ransomware a priority, and President Biden has urged President Vladimir Putin to rein in ransomware criminals operating out of Russia.
Hacks and data breaches are all too common. Here's what to do if you're affected.
Sinclair began investigating Saturday, the filing said, and by Sunday had discovered that several of its servers and workstations were encrypted with ransomware. It also said hackers took unspecified data.
The cyberattack ''has caused '-- and may continue to cause '-- disruption to parts of the Company's business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements,'' the company said in the filing.
Story continues below advertisement
Leigh Anne Arnold, a Sinclair spokeswoman, said the company is ''working diligently to address the incident and to restore operations quickly and securely.''
Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at Kentik, said a number that Sinclair uses for routing online traffic went dark late Sunday night after a brief flurry of activity. Madory said it could have been an indicator of bad actors exfiltrating data or possibly a sign the company was attempting to remediate. Sinclair has retained a cybersecurity company with experience in ransomware remediation, according to the SEC filing.
Biden administration holds meeting on ransomware threat with more than 30 nations and E.U.
The company, which has 185 television stations in 86 markets, did not address questions regarding how widespread the service disruptions were, but at least a half-dozen of its stations used social media to inform audiences of the outages. They include KHQA (Channel 7) in Hannibal, Miss.; KOMO News in Seattle; WLUK Fox 11 in Wisconsin; CBS (Channel 6) in Albany, N.Y.; and KATU (Channel 2) in Portland, Ore.
Story continues below advertisement
''Technical issues have kicked us off the air this morning,'' tweeted Phil Kelly, a host at a Columbus television station. ''It's a corporate wide problem that our engineers are working hard to fix. Hopefully see you soon?''
Some journalists continued to deliver broadcasts through Facebook Live and video clips on Twitter, sharing updates on local news, traffic and weather.
KATU News, which serves Portland and Southwest Washington state, was on the air Monday morning but still experiencing difficulties. ''We are on the air, still dealing with significant technical issues'... So our newscast looks a bit different today. But, we're here! Bear with us as we work through the challenges,'' said KATU News's Hannah Olsen on Twitter.
The anatomy of a ransomware attack
Some Twitter users responded to the posts with confusion about why systems were down. Heather Kovar, an anchor and reporter in Albany for WRGB (CBS 6) addressed sports fans on Twitter, posting Sunday morning that ''NFL Today is now airing on CBS 6. Thank you for your patience as we worked to correct our technical difficulties.''
Story continues below advertisement
Since the cyberattacks on the Colonial Pipeline in May and on meat supplier JBS weeks later, the U.S. government has stepped up efforts to combat them. Last week, the Biden administration ­concluded a two-day meeting on ransomware with more than 30 nations recognizing it for the first time as a global security threat and agreeing to work together to fight it.
A TV company warned its viewers about the media's 'fake news.' Now it's about to take over some of the nation's biggest stations.
The Recorder, citing a person in contact with Sinclair employees, reported that the hack disrupted several stations because many sections of their systems are connected through the same Active Directory domain, making it hard to isolate the breach. But the hackers did not appear to have reached a Sinclair system called ''the master control,'' allowing the broadcasting company to replace local feeds with a national one.
Sinclair shares closed Monday at $26.39, down more than 2.9 percent.
Facebook announces 10,000 EU jobs to build 'metaverse'
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 17:02
. (C)AFPParis (AFP) - Facebook on Monday announced plans to hire 10,000 people in the European Union to build the "metaverse", a virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been a leading voice in Silicon Valley hype around the idea of the metaverse, which would blur the lines between the physical world and the digital one.
The technology might, for example, allow someone to don virtual reality glasses that make it feel as if they're face-to-face with a friend -- when in fact they are thousands of miles apart and connected via the internet.
"The metaverse has the potential to help unlock access to new creative, social, and economic opportunities.And Europeans will be shaping it right from the start," Facebook said in a blog post.
"Today, we are announcing a plan to create 10,000 new high skilled jobs within the European Union (EU) over the next five years."
The European hires will include "highly specialised engineers", but the company otherwise gave few details of its plans for the new metaverse team.
"The EU has a number of advantages that make it a great place for tech companies to invest -- a large consumer market, first class universities and, crucially, top quality talent," the blog post said.
Distraction from bad news?The announcement comes as Facebook grapples with the fallout of a damaging scandal, major outages of its services, and rising calls for regulation to curb its vast influence.
The company has faced a storm of criticism over the past month after former employee Frances Haugen leaked internal studies showing Facebook knew its sites could be harmful to young people's mental health.
The Washington Post last month suggested that Facebook's interest in the metaverse is "part of a broader push to rehabilitate the company's reputation with policymakers and reposition Facebook to shape the regulation of next-wave Internet technologies".
But Zuckerberg also appears to be a genuine evangelist for the advent of the metaverse era, predicting in July that Facebook will transition from "primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company" over the next five years.
Facebook bought Oculus, a company that makes virtual reality headsets, for $2 billion in 2014 and has since been developing Horizon, a digital world where people can interact using VR technology.
In August it unveiled Horizon Workrooms, a feature where co-workers wearing VR headsets can hold meetings in a virtual room where they all appear as cartoonish 3D versions of themselves.
Blurring the linesMetaverse enthusiasts point out that the internet is already starting to blur the lines between virtual experiences and "real" ones.
Stars such as pop diva Ariana Grande and the rapper Travis Scott have performed for huge audiences, watching at home, via the hit video game Fortnite.
In Decentraland, another online platform widely seen as a forerunner to the metaverse, you can already get a job as a croupier in its virtual casino.
"No one company will own and operate the metaverse.Like the internet, its key feature will be its openness and interoperability," Facebook said in its blog post.
It is not the only company pouring millions into developing the technology that could turn a fully-fledged version of the metaverse into reality.
Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, announced earlier this year that it had raised $1 billion in new funding, with some of that money set to support its vision of the metaverse.
Miami anti-vax school: Centner Academy says students who get covid vaccine must stay home for 30 days - The Washington Post
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 14:51
In April, a Miami private school made national headlines for barring teachers who got a coronavirus vaccine from interacting with students. Last week, the school made another startling declaration, but this time to the parents: If you vaccinate your child, they'll have to stay home for 30 days after each shot.
The email from Centner Academy leadership, first reported by WSVN, repeated misleading and false claims that vaccinated people could pass on so-called harmful effects of the shot and have a ''potential impact'' on unvaccinated students and staff.
Story continues below advertisement
David Centner, one of the school's co-founders, repeated the debunked claims in a statement to The Washington Post, saying the policy is a ''precautionary measure'' based on ''numerous anecdotal cases that have been in circulation.''
''The school is not opining as to whether unexplained phenomena have a basis in fact, however we prefer to err on the side of caution when making decisions that impact the health of the school community,'' Centner said.
Despite the Food and Drug Administration's evidence that coronavirus vaccines are safe and highly effective, vaccine misinformation online has been a top hurdle for the White House and public health experts when persuading people to get the shots. Almost 219 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, which is about 66 percent of the eligible population, according to The Post's vaccination tracker.
Story continues below advertisement
In July, President Biden excoriated social media companies, accusing them of ''killing people'' by failing to regulate misinformation about the vaccines on their platforms. In August, Facebook released data that showed the most popular piece of content from January through March was a link to an article that cast doubt on the vaccine. Last Wednesday, attorneys generals from 14 states sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, inquiring if the company provided special treatment to those disseminating vaccine falsehoods on the platform.
Arguments that mask mandates violate an individual's constitutional right to liberty might not cut it with the Supreme Court. Here's why. (Drea Cornejo/The Washington Post)Unfounded claims about masks and vaccines have trickled down to schools, where students under 12 years old remain at a higher risk of contracting the virus since they are ineligible for the vaccines.
Tensions between parents and school districts have also grown violent at times. In August, a parent at an Austin school ripped a mask off a teacher's face. A week later, police said the father of a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., high-schooler assaulted another student after she confronted him about trying to bring his daughter onto campus without a mask. He was arrested and charged with child abuse without great bodily harm.
Story continues below advertisement
Centner Academy is in Miami's ritzy Design District, and tuition ranges from about $15,000 to nearly $30,000 per year. The school has become a haven for anti-vaccine parents because it does not require any immunizations for enrollment, citing a parent's ''freedom of choice'' and falsely claiming there are ''unknown risks associated with vaccinations'' that could harm children.
A similar sentiment was shared in an email to parents last week regarding the coronavirus vaccine. School leadership referred to the shots as ''experimental,'' WSVN reported, and encouraged parents considering vaccinations for their child to wait several more months until the school year ends.
''We ask that you hold off until the summer when there will be time for the potential transmission or shedding onto others to decrease,'' Centner Academy leaders wrote.
Story continues below advertisement
The school has a history of spreading inaccurate information about the vaccine and penalizing those who choose to get the shots. In April, Centner Academy employees were told they had to notify Leila and David Centner, the married co-founders of the school, if they received a vaccine. Vaccinated school employees were told they would not be allowed any contact with students ''until more information is known'' about the vaccines. School leaders also told those wanting the vaccine to wait until the summer to get the shots.
About a week later, a math and science teacher told students they should not hug their vaccinated parents for more than five seconds, the New York Times reported, referencing the same falsehoods the school communicated in its email about vaccine components ''shedding'' onto others. Some parents threatened to pull their children out of the school over the comments.
Leila Centner has also spread anti-vaccine information during a meeting with parents and staff, and in a WhatsApp group with community members, according to the Times. In late January, Leila and David Centner invited outspoken anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak at the school.
Story continues below advertisement
The co-founders also discouraged teachers from wearing masks, the Times reported. When state health department officials visited for routine dining inspections, teachers were allegedly told in a WhatsApp group to put on masks. The school also allegedly provided parents with mask exemption forms for their children.
In his statement to The Post, David Centner said the school's policies are made as a ''prudent precautionary measure.''
''Our top priorities have always been our students' well-being and their sense of safety within our educational environment,'' he said.
Chicago's Art Institute Fires All of Its Docents: Too Many Wealthy White Ladies
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 13:06
The Art Institute of Chicago fired all of its roughly 100 volunteer museum guides, or docents, in September because too many of them were wealthy, white women.
The news of the mass firing has only trickled out slowly, partly because the institute asked docents not to speak to the media, and because the left-leaning Chicago media showed little interest in covering the issue.
Art Institute of Chicago (Tom Ipri / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday:
In museum-speak, a docent is a trained volunteer who greets visitors and guides them through the collection, filling in details of the artists' lives, speaking to the visual elements of the work on display and adding art-history context. The Art Institute used to have more than 100 docents, 82 of them active, until Veronica Stein, an executive director of learning and engagement, sent a Sept. 3 email canning all of them. In gratitude for their long, unpaid service'--averaging 15 years each'--the Art Institute offered the involuntarily retired guides a two-year free pass to the museum.
The apparent problem was that the Art Institute docents were mostly older white women of above-average financial means and with plenty of time on their hands. The institute needs to go to a more professional model, Ms. Stein explained, ''in a way that allows community members of all income levels to participate, responds to issues of class and income equity, and does not require financial flexibility.''
'...
A blistering Sept. 27 editorial in the Chicago Tribune criticized the Art Institute's actions as shameful and done in a ''weaselly'' way. It was one of the few mentions of the story in Chicago-area media. In reply, Robert Levy, chairman of the Art Institute, defended the decision of his ''professional staff'' to dismiss the amateur volunteers. Though the docents were given no warning before being fired, Mr. Levy insisted that the plan had been in the works for 12 years: ''Critical self-reflection and participatory, recuperative action is required if we are to remain relevant to the changing audiences seeking connection to art.''
Ironically, the Journal was able to speak to one of the fired docents, who happened to be black, and defied the museum's request that no one speak directly to the media '-- perhaps because she had less fear of being accused of racism.
American Gothic (Tom Waterhouse / Flickr / CC)
The aforementioned Tribune editorial, available here, said:
Anyone with some tread on their tires who's been fired by email can recognize the protocol. The writer blathers on about your years of dedication to your job, their gratitude for all you have done for all this time, and then hits you with some self-justifying jargon: the need to ''update systems,'' maybe, or the need to ''rebuild'' or ''better serve'' someone or some group. These days, perhaps even in the name of ''equity'' or ''inclusion.''
By then you know what's coming after all the disingenuous paragraphs: You're canned, most likely in favor of a newer model.
'...
Once you cut through the blather, the letter basically said the museum had looked critically at its corps of docents, a group dominated by mostly (but not entirely) white, retired women with some time to spare, and found them wanting as a demographic.
No matter that the docents had typically trained for years, if not decades, on how to describe the Art Institute's collection, or worked hard on adjusting to the trendy new ways (''Art and Activism'') of describing the work to be found there, or put in hour after hour in academic study of their fields.
The Tribune noted that the apparent age and race discrimination involved in the firings might not be enough to provide grounds for a lawsuit, at least in the federal courts, because federal employment laws do not cover volunteers.
However, there are also applicable state laws, and the State of Illinois has its own human rights commission to hear such grievances.
The Art Institute of Chicago is free on Tuesdays, and is enjoyed by visitors of all races, including public school groups.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
42 U.S. Code § 300aa''22 - Standards of responsibility | U.S. Code | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 13:03
Please help us improve our site!
Skip to main content U.S. Code Notes (a) General ruleExcept as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (e) State law shall apply to a civil action brought for damages for a vaccine-related injury or death.
(b) Unavoidable adverse side effects; warnings (1) No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a
vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after
October 1, 1988
, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.
(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), a vaccine shall be presumed to be accompanied by proper directions and warnings if the vaccine manufacturer shows that it complied in all material respects with all requirements under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.] and section 262 of this title (including regulations issued under such provisions) applicable to the vaccine and related to vaccine-related injury or death for which the civil action was brought unless the plaintiff shows'-- (B) by clear and convincing evidence that the manufacturer failed to exercise due care notwithstanding its compliance with such Act and section (and
regulations issued under such provisions).
(c) Direct warningsNo vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988 , solely due to the manufacturer's failure to provide direct warnings to the injured party (or the injured party's legal representative) of the potential dangers resulting from the administration of the vaccine manufactured by the manufacturer.
(d) ConstructionThe standards of responsibility prescribed by this section are not to be construed as authorizing a person who brought a civil action for damages against a vaccine manufacturer for a vaccine-related injury or death in which damages were denied or which was dismissed with prejudice to bring a new civil action against such manufacturer for such injury or death.
(e) PreemptionNo State may establish or enforce a law which prohibits an individual from bringing a civil action against a vaccine manufacturer for damages for a vaccine-related injury or death if such civil action is not barred by this part.
(July 1, 1944, ch. 373, title XXI, §'¯2122, as added
Pub. L. 99''660, title III, §'¯311(a),
Nov. 14, 1986
,
100 Stat. 3773; amended
Pub. L. 100''203, title IV, §'¯4302(b)(1),
Dec. 22, 1987
,
101 Stat. 1330''221.)
References in TextThe Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, referred to in subsec. (b)(2), is act June 25, 1938, ch. 675, 52 Stat. 1040, as amended, which is classified generally to chapter 9 (§'¯301 et seq.) of Title 21, Food and Drugs. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Tables.
Amendments1987'--Subsecs. (b)(1), (c). Pub. L. 100''203 substituted ''effective date of this subpart'' for ''effective date of this part''.
{'misc': '', 'cleanpath': '/uscode/text/42/300aa-22', 'headtext': ' Standards of responsibility', 'cfr_titles': [{'title': '42', 'parts': [{'part': '100', 'cleanpath': '/cfr/text/42/part-100', 'headtext': 'VACCINE INJURY COMPENSATION'}]}], 'section': '300aa-22'}
FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) | U.S. Department of Labor
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:58
FECA Bulletins have been divided into five-year groups to make it easier for you to search and find the information you are looking for.
Fiscal Year 2022
Bulletin
Subject
FECA Bulletin No. 22-01
Coverage for Injuries Resulting from the COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Federal Employees.
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
Fiscal Year 2020
Bulletin
Subject
FECA Bulletin No. 20-01
Compensation Pay - Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost-of-Living Adjustments.
FECA Bulletin No. 20-02
Compensation Pay: Compensation Rate Changes for 2020.
FECA Bulletin No. 20-03
Compensation Pay: Compensation Rate Changes for 2020.This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletin 20-02.
FECA Bulletin No. 20-04
Compensation Pay - Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost-of-Living Adjustments.This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletin 20-01.
FECA Bulletin No. 20-05
Federal Employees Contracting COVID-19 in Performance oF Duty
FECA Bulletin No. 20-06
Change in collection procedures for debt owed to the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC).
FECA BULLETIN NO. 22-01 October 1, 2021
Subject: Coverage for Injuries Resulting from the COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for Federal Employees.
Background: On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order mandating COVID-19 vaccination for most Federal employees. The order directed each agency to implement a program to require COVID-19 vaccination for all of its employees, with exceptions only as required by law.
The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injuries that occur in the performance of duty. The FECA does not generally authorize provision of preventive measures such as vaccines and inoculations, and in general, preventive treatment is a responsibility of the employing agency under the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 7901. However, care can be authorized by OWCP for complications of preventive measures which are provided or sponsored by the agency, such as adverse reaction to prophylactic immunization. See PM 3-0400.7(a).
Further, deleterious effects of medical services furnished by the employing establishment are generally considered to fall within the performance of duty. These services include preventive programs relating to health. See PM 2-0804.19.
However, this executive order now makes COVID-19 vaccination a requirement of most Federal employment. As such, employees impacted by this mandate who receive required COVID-19 vaccinations on or after the date of the executive order may be afforded coverage under the FECA for any adverse reactions to the vaccine itself, and for any injuries sustained while obtaining the vaccination.
Purpose: To provide guidance on coverage for claims for injury on or after September 9, 2021, resulting from receipt of the mandated COVID-19 vaccination for Federal employees.
Applicability: All FECA Program Staff and Other Stakeholders.
Reference: Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, Part 2 Claims, Chapter 2-0804 Performance of Duty, and Part 3 Medical, Chapter 3-0400 Medical Services and Supplies; 20 CFR § 10.313; Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees.
Actions::
1. Because COVID-19 vaccination is a specific event occurring during a single day or work shift, any adverse reactions or injuries should be reported on Form CA-1, Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay / Compensation. Where two vaccinations are required several weeks apart, reactions to each are considered separate claims.
2. When a claim is received for injury due to receipt of the COVID-19 vaccination, the claims examiner should determine if the vaccine was received prior to September 9, 2021. If the vaccination was received prior to this date, coverage is afforded only if the vaccine was administered or sponsored by the employing agency. See PM 2-0804.19.
3. The claims examiner should then confirm that the employee is covered by the September 9, 2021 executive order. The order applies to any executive agency as defined in 5 U.S.C. 105 '' agencies that fall under the executive branch of the government (excluding the Government Accountability Office). The order does not apply to employees of the United States Postal Service. If there is any question regarding applicability of the executive order, the claims examiner should query the employing agency. If the employee is not covered by the executive order, coverage is afforded only if the vaccine was administered or sponsored by the employing agency. See PM 2-0804.19.
4. If the employee is covered by the executive order and vaccination was received on or after September 9, 2021, coverage may be afforded for (1) adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccination and (2) injuries sustained as the direct result of an employee receiving their mandated vaccination. Examples of such injuries include but are not limited to accidents while commuting a reasonable distance to and from the vaccination site and slip and fall injuries occurring at the vaccination site.
5. The claims examiner should, however, ensure that the employee followed any employing agency policy with respect to obtaining their mandatory vaccination. The executive order directs each agency to implement, to the extent consistent with applicable law, a program to require COVID-19 vaccination for all of its Federal employees.
a. If an employing agency requires employees to receive their mandatory vaccination at specific times and/or at a specific location(s), coverage is only afforded if the employee follows the agency's vaccination policy.
b. If any employing agency allows employees to obtain their mandatory vaccination at any time or location, coverage is afforded regardless of where or when the employee receives their vaccination, with the only limitation being for that of reasonableness.
6. The executive order requires full vaccination, which is considered to be two shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, also known as Comirnaty, two shots of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, or one shot of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. The order does not cover or mandate booster vaccinations. Should there be any changes regarding approved vaccination brands or mandated vaccination frequencies, the FECA program will publish additional guidance.
Disposition: This bulletin should be retained until incorporated into Chapter 2-0804, Performance of Duty, of the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All FECA Program Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 22-01
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-01
Issue Date: October 21, 2020
Subject: Special Case Handling in COVID-19 FECA Claims Processing and Adjudication
Background: The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injury in the performance of duty; injury includes a disease proximately caused by federal employment. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DFELHWC) administers FECA. FECA provides to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103. FECA pays compensation for the disability or death of an employee resulting from injury in the performance of duty.
While all federal employees who contract COVID-19 related to their federal employment are entitled to FECA coverage, special case handling considerations apply. FECA Bulletin No. 20-05 was released on March 31, 2020, to provide targeted instructions to claims staff on the handling of COVID-19 FECA claims, including for employment designated by the FECA program as high-risk employment, which are expanded upon here.
Purpose: To provide additional guidance regarding special case handling of COVID-19 FECA claims.
A. High-Risk Employment Determinations by Position
As outlined in FECA Bulletin No. 20-05, OWCP recognizes that federal employees who have direct and frequent in-person and close proximity interactions with the public may be considered to have high-risk employment as it relates to COVID-19. This includes, but is not limited to, members of law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel.
1. To make high-risk determinations by position, OWCP must first make a factual determination regarding exposure to COVID-19, based primarily upon the employing Agency's input. Questions by OWCP to the Agency will focus on the conditions of employment, with an emphasis on exposure to individuals known to have COVID-19 and/or required exposure to the general public and/or COVID-19 affected populations such as patients. Initial fact-finding will focus on the following:
Nature of Exposure and Contact (e.g., direct contact with one or more person(s) confirmed to have COVID-19, direct contact with the general public and/or COVID-19 affected populations such as patients, and the proximity);Volume of Exposure (e.g., less than 10 people, 10-50 people, etc.);Duration of Exposure (e.g., less than 2 hours per shift, 2-4 hours per shift, etc.); andOther (e.g., any pertinent information specific to the exposure or the employee's position).Where the facts provided by an agency are not limited to an individual employee, but are applicable to all employees in a specific position, at a specific location, and during a specific time frame, OWCP will utilize this information to efficiently make a factual high-risk determination on the position itself. The high-risk determination pertains only to the positions, geographic locations, and timeframes, as indicated by the employing Agency. Additionally, the employing Agency can challenge the high-risk determination on any individual case, since the work duties of specific individuals may be inconsistent with the high-risk determination. For example, the employee may hold that position but be temporarily assigned to different duties.
2. An internal team, designated as the COVID-19 Task Force, and consisting of the FECA Director (now the Director of DFELHWC) and his designees, the FECA Policy Chief, and the OWCP Chief Medical Officer1, will review the available evidence of likely workplace exposure to COVID-19 for each specific position. This review includes an examination of how COVID-19 was caused by the position's work-related activities. The Task Force makes the high-risk employment determination by position based upon the facts presented by the Agency and the contemporaneous epidemiologic understanding and related science accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the virus and its transmissibility. Based on that review, the Task Force finds whether there is sufficient evidence to accept that the diagnosis of COVID-19 is proximately caused by employment.
If the COVID-19 Task Force determines that the position is high-risk, OWCP will designate the position as high-risk. When this occurs, a position-based high-risk determination memorandum is created and placed in the applicable FECA case files at the time of adjudication. In each of those instances, OWCP will accept that the exposure was proximately caused by high-risk employment and no further medical evidence explaining the relationship between the confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and the employment is required.
These high-risk position level reviews occur primarily for those positions with a higher volume of claims. Examples include a physician or nurse at the Department of Veterans Affairs or a Correctional Officer for the Bureau of Prisons.
B. High-Risk Employment Determinations by Case Specific Facts
In other instances, OWCP may collect information about an individual case that indicates a possible high-risk employment determination for a specific employee, but not a high-risk determination for all employees in this position. If a claimant/employee's position has not been classified as high-risk, but the individual case employment circumstances are the same or similar to the circumstances for high-risk determination by position, and there is indication (of likely exposure at work to COVID-19), then a memorandum will be created by the claims examiner and submitted to the Task Force. The memorandum should include details specific to that case regarding the job duties, nature and duration of exposure, and all other pertinent facts obtained from the claimant/employee and the employing Agency.
The COVID-19 Task Force will review this memorandum and make a high-risk case specific determination based on the facts submitted in the memorandum and the contemporaneous epidemiologic understanding and other science accepted by the CDC regarding the virus and its transmissibility. The Task Force's review includes examining how COVID-19 may have been caused by the employee's work-related activities. Based on that review, the Task Force determines whether there is sufficient evidence to accept that the diagnosis of COVID-19 was proximately caused by employment.
If the COVID-19 Task Force determines the case specific employment is considered high-risk, a high-risk determination memorandum is created and placed in the applicable case file at the time of adjudication. In each of these cases, OWCP will accept the exposure was proximately caused by high-risk employment and no further medical evidence explaining the relationship between the confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and the employment is required.
C. All Other Determinations
If the claimant's position is not considered high-risk or the claimant's specific case is not considered high-risk, the claimant/employee should be asked to provide medical evidence from a physician to include the diagnosis of COVID-19 and an explanation of how COVID-19 was caused by the employee's work-related activities.
D. Additional Development and Adjudication of Claims
All COVID-19 FECA claims will be fully developed to establish the five basic elements set forth in 20 CFR 10.115, pursuant to the special handling procedures further addressed in items 1-5 below.
1. Medical Development. The claimant/employee will be asked to submit the laboratory test results that confirm the diagnosis of COVID-19. If there are any questions regarding the laboratory test result submitted, the claims examiner should refer to OWCP's Chief Medical Officer for review and clarification.
If the Task Force has made a high-risk determination based on position or case specific facts, as indicated in section A and B above, and a positive COVID-19 laboratory test result is submitted, no further medical development is necessary. However, in certain instances, and where the facts of a case warrant, OWCP may request a medical statement of the causal relationship of how the COVID-19 was employment-related, in addition to the COVID-19 test result.If the Task Force has not made a high-risk determination, as indicated in section C above, the claimant/employee should be asked to provide medical evidence from a physician to include the diagnosis of COVID-19 and an explanation of how COVID-19 was caused by the employee's work-related activities.While an antibody test may be submitted to confirm that the employee had COVID-19, the medical evidence should also address how the diagnosis of COVID-19 is employment-related and/or include a contemporaneous indication that the claimant was diagnosed with/treated for COVID-19 by a physician.If there is a claim that COVID-19 aggravated, accelerated, or precipitated another ancillary medical condition, the claimant/employee should be asked to provide additional medical evidence from a physician.If the employing Agency has copies of responsive medical documentation (such as lab results, antibody test results, or health unit entries), the Agency should promptly provide such documents to the DFELHWC.2. Extensions. A period of 30 days is generally allowed for the submission of any evidence requested by OWCP. An extension of additional time can be granted in the following circumstances:
If the claimant/employee requests an extension;If a positive test result has been submitted, but the factual evidence is missing; orIf there is a positive laboratory test result on file, but the official laboratory report is missing and OWCP's Chief Medical Officer (or his designee) determines that the medical evidence is insufficient, an official laboratory test result must be requested.3. Adjudication/Disposition
All cases will be accepted for COVID-19 if the five basic elements set forth in 20 CFR 10.115 are established.The case will be denied if the medical evidence does not support that the injured worker contracted COVID-19 (where no laboratory report or medical evidence supporting the diagnosis is submitted).If the claim does not meet the five basic elements for acceptance, but the medical evidence supports the diagnosis of COVID-19, the case will be administratively closed and suspended for adjudication. The FECA Procedure Manual allows for administrative closure of cases without formal adjudication by claims staff2 for very simple/minor traumatic injuries that are not expected to involve large medical expenses. If the claim was filed within 30 days of the injury and the employee provides the evidence described in 20 CFR 10.210, the employee is entitled to Continuation of Pay (COP).3 The employer may terminate COP when the conditions outlined in 20 CFR 10.220 are met. Suspended adjudication does not constitute a formal denial, and the employee will be advised of the additional documentation needed should they wish to pursue their claim further.4. Withdrawal of Claim. Certain COVID-19 claims may have been filed as a preventive for exposure only, due to quarantine, or otherwise filed prematurely. In such circumstances, an employee may decide not to pursue his or her claim. A claimant may withdraw his or her claim in writing (but not the notice of injury) at any time before OWCP determines eligibility for benefits. See 20 CFR 10.100 (b)(3). However, any COP granted to an employee after a claim is withdrawn must be charged to sick or annual leave, or considered an overpayment of pay consistent with 5 U.S.C. 5584, at the employee's option.
5. Reopening Cases that were Administratively Closed and Suspended for Adjudication. Cases suspended for adjudication under item 3(c) above should be reopened for full development and adjudication if:
The employee requests a formal decision; orThe employee claims wage loss compensation after the expiration of the COP period. In this instance, supportive medical evidence from a physician on the relationship between the illness and the claimed disability and/or medical expenses is needed regardless of the employment determination (high-risk or not high-risk); orThe medical bills or other related expenses submitted for payment on the case exceed $1,500.00.6. Death benefits. Claims for COVID-19 death benefits are adjudicated in a manner similar to other claims for death benefits.
The claimant has the burden of establishing the essential elements of the claim, which includes the existence of a causal relationship between an employee's death and federal employment. Medical evidence addressing the cause and effect relationship between death and employment is required.The evidence must establish that the employee's death was causally related to federal employment by cause, aggravation, acceleration, or precipitation. COVID-19 need not be the sole cause of death, and the fact that the employee may have had other non-work related medical conditions does not preclude a survivor's entitlement to benefits.If the employment is considered high-risk, a positive COVID-19 laboratory test result is sufficient to find the COVID-19 was employment-related. If a COVID-19 laboratory test is not available, COVID-19 listed on the death certificate as a primary or contributing cause of death is also highly probative and will be considered along with the evidence discussed above.It is recognized that obtaining a positive COVID-19 laboratory rest result may not be possible in death cases and available medical records may be limited. As such, the claims examiner may refer the available factual and supportive medical evidence to OWCP's Chief Medical Officer or a District Medical Advisor (DMA) for an opinion on the medical diagnosis and causal relationship where appropriate.Applicability: Appropriate National and District Office personnel.
Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained until incorporated unto the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forFederal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All Appropriate DFELHWC Staff
1 OWCP's Chief Medical Officer (CMO) is currently a physician who holds a master's degree in public health, and is certified as a specialist by the American Board of Preventive Medicine. The CMO is trained in disease prevention and control, risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication, and has extensive experience protecting military and civilian personnel from infectious disease, occupational injury, and environmental hazards.
2 See FECA Procedure Manual 1-0400-4. If the case is administratively closed for payment of expenses up to $1500, a letter is sent to the employee/claimant with his/her claim number providing information on how to access case information and how to submit documentation and medical reports in the event that medical bills are expected to exceed the established threshold (which would necessitate the case be reopened for formal adjudication by claims staff).
3 If COVID-19 is contracted during a single workday or shift, and therefore meets the definition of a traumatic injury (see 20 CFR 10.5(ee)), COP is payable. Since the date and time of transmission may not always be known due to the nature of the virus, OWCP DFELHWC will use the date of last exposure prior to the medical evidence establishing the COVID-19 diagnosis as the date of injury.
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-01
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-02
Issue Date: October 22, 2020
Subject: Telemedicine for Routine Appointments
Background: The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines telehealth as ''the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration.''1
Under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) may provide to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103.
While the FECA program has previously allowed telehealth services, in accordance with the discretion granted to DOL and delegated to OWCP, the FECA program is instituting a new policy concerning telehealth services available to employees receiving medical benefits under the FECA.
The FECA program is fully aware that some treating physicians or providers may be constrained in their ability to practice telemedicine by the requirements of either state law or their licensing authorities.'¯ The FECA program does not have the authority to countermand or absolve physicians of their responsibility to follow those requirements, and recognizes that such requirements must be observed by the physicians to whom they apply. This includes the requirement that the physician must be physically located in the same state as the claimant's residence while providing telemedicine (or must be licensed to practice medicine in the state where the claimant resides).
Telemedicine is optional, not required.
Purpose: To provide the FECA approved telehealth services and establish how telehealth services must be submitted for reimbursement.
Applicability: All FECA personnel and medical providers.
Reference: Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, Part 5 Benefit Payments and Part 3 Medical, Chapter 3-0300 Authorizing Examination and Treatment, and Chapter 3-0400 Medical Services and Supplies. 20 C.F.R. § 10.300; 20 C.F.R. § 10.304; 20 C.F.R. § 10.310; 20 C.F.R. § 10.335.
Action:
In accordance with FECA regulations, policies and procedures, authorized providers may provide routine medical care through telemedicine (when that care is associated directly with one or more accepted conditions), without pre-authorization. This includes physical and occupational therapy. Some services may still require authorization in accordance with FECA procedures, but there is no specific pre-authorization required to provide the service via telehealth. A provider may choose to conduct a routine medical appointment utilizing telemedicine options (including phone, video conferencing or similar technologies as permitted by state law) which the provider believes will provide the most appropriate medical benefit to the claimant. The provider should conduct telemedicine in private settings, such as a physician in a clinic or office connecting to a patient who is at home or at another clinic. Providers should carefully observe privacy precautions and use private locations; claimants should not receive telemedicine services in any other setting without the claimant's consent. In the exercise of their professional judgment, the provider may determine that, to best meet the medical needs of the claimant, the telemedicine appointment may be facilitated by a medical professional on site with the claimant. In these circumstances, the physician may have a Registered Nurse (RN), Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP), or Physician Assistant (PA) present with the claimant during the telemedicine appointment. If a field nurse is assigned to the case, the nurse may participate telephonically in the appointment. There are a limited number of services approved by the FECA program that can be provided through telemedicine. Covered telehealth services are analogous with services payable by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) but are not inclusive of all CMS approved services. The FECA program may consider updates based on future needs of the program. See attachment. Provider types eligible to be reimbursed for telehealth services in the FECA program are limited to: 25 Physician, 32 Psychologist (with Specialty type 42 for psychiatrists), 77 Social Worker, 28 Chiropractor, 72 Occupational Therapist, and 71 Physical Therapist. Eligible provider types may be modified based on future needs of the program. Providers should bill utilizing appropriate modifiers, billing codes, and the claimant's address as the location of delivery of the medical care if applicable. OWCP recognizes modifiers GT (via interactive audio and video telecommunications systems), GQ (via an asynchronous telecommunications system), and 95 (synchronous telemedicine service rendered via a real-time interactive audio and video telecommunications system) as required billing code modifiers for telehealth services. Providers should use the most appropriate place of service (POS) when billing. For telemedicine or home services the following POS should be used: 12 - Patient home (if the claimant is located at home during the visit). If other appropriate medical professionals participated in the telemedicine appointment, then they may bill using non-telemedicine billing codes appropriate to their visit in the home as long as they were not already in the home for another authorized, billable service. Along with the bill for services, the provider must provide the following information when the bill is submitted for payment:a) Appointment Notes that articulate the method of telemedicine that the provider employed and the length of visit (prolonged services in physical condition cases should be rare);
b) Any vitals or medical evidence collected;
c) An outline of the medical need and the benefit derived from the appointment, as it relates to the claimant's accepted condition(s); and
d) The additional contents of the notes should comport with the FECA Regulations set forth at 20 C.F.R. § 10.330.
OWCP staff will conduct reviews of this documentation to monitor and verify that the requirements for payment were met. If discrepancies are identified, they will work with the provider to overcome issues prior to initiating recoupment of payments made or other action.Disposition: This bulletin is effective 10/30/20 and is to be retained until incorporated into the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
1 https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/3015/what-is-telehealth/index.html
Attachment to Bulletin 21-02:There are a limited number of services covered under Telehealth for FECA. This table lists the CPT/ HCPCS codes that can be billed for telehealth.
LIST OF ALLOWABLE TELEHEALTH SERVICESCodeDescription90785Psytx complex interactive90791Psych diagnostic evaluation90792Psych diag eval w/med srvcs90832Psytx w pt 30 minutes90833Psytx w pt w e/m 30 min90834Psytx w pt 45 minutes90836Psytx w pt w e/m 45 min90837Psytx w pt 60 minutes90838Psytx w pt w e/m 60 min90839Psytx crisis initial 60 min90840Psytx crisis ea addl 30 min90847Family psytx w/pt 50 min96136Psycl/nrpsyc tst phy/qhp 1s97110Therapeutic exercises97112Neuromusulcar reeducation97116Gait training therapy97161PT Eval low complex 20 min97162PT Eval mod complex 30 min97163PT Eval high complex 45 min97164PT re-eval est plan care97165OT eval low complex 30 min97166OT eval mod complen 45 min97167OT eval high complex 60 min97168OT re-eval est plan care97530Therapeutic activities97535Self care mngment training97542Wheelchair mngment training97750Physical Performance Test97755Assistive Technology Assess97760Orthotic mgmt&traing 1st en97761Prosthetic traing 1st enc99201Office/outpatient visit new99202Office/outpatient visit new99203Office/outpatient visit new99204Office/outpatient visit new99205Office/outpatient visit new99211Office/outpatient visit est99212Office/outpatient visit est99213Office/outpatient visit est99214Office/outpatient visit est99215Office/outpatient visit est99232Subsequent hospital care99354Prolong e&m/psyctx serv o/p99355Prolong e&m/psyctx serv o/p99367Medical Team Conference99421Online digital e&m 5''10 min99422Online digital e&m 11-20 min99423Online digital e&m 21 or more min99441Phone e/m phys/qhp 5-10 min99442Phone e/m phys/qhp 11-20 min99443Phone e/m phys/qhp 21or more min99080Special ReportsG0508Crit care telehea consult 60Q3014Telehealth originating site facility feeBack to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-02
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-03
Issue Date: February 18, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay - Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost-of-Living Adjustments.
Purpose: To furnish information on the CPI adjustment process for March 1, 2021.
The cost-of-living adjustments granted to a compensation recipient under the FECA are based on the ''Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers'' (CPI-W) figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The annual cost of living increase is calculated by comparing the base month from the prior year to the base month of the current year, with the percentage of increase adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent. 5 U.S.C. §8146(a) establishes the base month for the FECA CPI as December.
December 2019 had a CPI-W level of 250.452 and the December 2020 level was reported by BLS as 254.081. This means that the new CPI increase, adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of one percent, is 1.4 percent. The increase is effective March 1, 2021, and is applicable where disability or death occurred before March 1, 2020. In addition, the new base month for calculating the future CPI is December 2020.
The maximum compensation rates1 , which must not be exceeded, are as follows:
$8,974.88 per month$8,284.52 each four weeks$2,071.13 per week$414.23 per day (for a 5 day week)
Applicability: Appropriate FECA Program personnel.
Reference: FECA Consumer Price Index (CPI) Amendment, dated January 6, 1981; Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Publication for December 2020 (USDL-21-0024).
Action: National Office Production will update the iFECS CPI tables and recalculate all payment records when the iFECS system is not in use by Office personnel. The March 26, 2021 will be the first check paid at the 2021 rate.
Please note that if there are any cases with fixed gross overrides, those cases must be reviewed to determine if CPI adjustment is necessary. If so, a manual calculation will be required. If the gross override payment is in fact eligible for annual CPI increases, the payment plate should be adjusted in the iFECS system to pay as a ''Gross Override with CPI.''
CPI Minimum and Maximum Adjustments Listings. Form CA-841, Cost-of-Living Adjustments; Form CA-842, Minimum Compensation Rates; and Form CA-843, Maximum Compensation Rates, should be updated to indicate the increase for 2021. Attached to this directive is a complete list of all the CPI increases and effective dates since October 1, 1966 through March 1, 2022, for reference. Verification of Compensation. If claimants write or call for verification of the amount of compensation paid (possibly for mortgage verification; insurance verification; loan application; etc.), please continue to provide this data in letter form from the district office. Many times a Benefit Statement may not reach the addressee and regeneration of the form is not possible. A letter indicating the amount of compensation paid every four weeks will be an adequate substitute for this purpose.Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until further notice or the indicated expiration date.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Attachment: Cost of Living Adjustments
Distribution: All FECA Program Staff
1 Per 2021 General Schedule (Base) 2021 General Schedule (Base).
ATTACHMENT TO FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-03
COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTSUnder 5 USC §8146(a)EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
10/01/66
12.5%
03/01/90
4.50%
01/01/68
3.7%
03/01/91
6.1%
12/01/68
4.0%
03/01/92
2.8%
09/01/69
4.4%
03/01/93
2.5%
03/01/94
2.5%
06/01/70
4.4%
03/01/95
2.7%
03/01/71
4.0%
03/01/96
2.5%
05/01/72
3.9%
03/01/97
3.3%
06/01/73
4.8%
03/01/98
1.5%
01/01/74
5.2%
03/01/99
1.6%
07/01/74
5.3%
11/01/74
6.3%
03/01/00
2.8%
06/01/75
4.1%
03/01/01
3.3%
01/01/76
4.4%
03/01/02
1.3%
11/01/76
4.0%
03/01/03
2.4%
07/01/77
4.9%
03/01/04
1.6%
05/01/78
5.3%
03/01/05
3.4%
11/01/78
4.9%
03/01/06
3.5%
05/01/79
5.5%
03/01/07
2.4%
10/01/79
5.6%
03/01/08
4.3%
03/01/09
0.0%
04/01/80
7.2%
09/01/80
4.0%
03/01/10
3.4%
03/01/81
3.6%
03/01/11
1.7%
03/01/82
8.7%
03/01/12
3.2%
03/01/83
3.9%
03/01/13
1.7%
03/01/84
3.3%
03/01/14
1.5%
03/01/85
3.5%
03/01/15
0.3%
03/01/86
N/A
03/01/16
0.4%
03/01/87
0.7%
03/01/17
2.0%
03/01/88
4.5%
03/01/18
2.2%
03/01/89
4.4%
03/01/19
1.8%
03/01/20
2.3%
03/01/21
1.4%
Prior to September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest multiple of $.23 on a weekly basis ($.23, $.46, $.69, or $.92). After September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest $.25 on a weekly basis ($.25, $.50, $.75, or $1.00).
New compensation ratesPrior to 09/07/74Eff. 11/1/74.08-.34 = .23
.13-.37 = .25
.35-.57 = .46
.38-.62 = .50
.58-.80 = .69
.63-.87 = .75
.81-.07 = .92
.88-.12 = 1.00
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-03
Back to Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-04
Issue Date: February 18, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay: Compensation Rate Changes for 2021.
Background: On December 31, 2020, the President signed an Executive Order increasing General Schedule basic pay rates for 2021.
Reference: 2021 General Schedule (Base).
Purpose: To inform the appropriate personnel of the minimum/maximum rates of compensation under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act for affected cases on the periodic disability and death payrolls.
The maximum compensation rate payable is based on the scheduled salary of a GS-15, Step 10 of $143,598 per annum. The basis for the minimum compensation rate of $22,194 is the salary of a GS-2, Step 1. The actual rates are outlined below.
Effective January 3, 2021
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Weekly
$320.11
$2,071.13
Daily (5-day week)
$64.02
$414.23
Effective January 3, 2021
Type
Minimum
Maximum
28-Day Cycle
$1,280.43
$8,284.52
Effective January 3, 2021
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Monthly
$1,849.50
$8,974.88
Action: The Integrated Federal Employees' Compensation System (iFECS) was updated with the rate changes for the periodic disability and death payrolls.
Applicability: Appropriate National and District Office personnel
Disposition: This bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until the indicated expiration date.
Antonio RiosDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All FECA Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-04
Back to FECA Bulletins Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-05 February 18, 2021
Subject: Payment authorization on reimbursements exceeding $50,000
Purpose: This circular is being issued to modify the authorization process for medical reimbursements exceeding $50,000.
Authority: Under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) may provide to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation."
The below protocols supersede the reimbursement authorization process outlined in the FECA Procedure Manual, 5-202(15) and 5-202(16).
Action: Reimbursements exceeding $50,000 will no longer be forwarded to a District Director (DD) or designee for review. Authorizations will be made by the Chief or Assistant Chief of the Branch of Fiscal Operations or the National Director of Field Operations.
Reimbursements exceeding $50,000, including cases involving special indicators such as COVID-19 cases (COR), may also be reviewed by the Chief of the Branch of Program Integrity and/or the Deputy Director for Program Systems and Integrity in addition to the personnel listed above.
Antonio RiosDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All FECA Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-05
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-06 March 3, 2021
Subject: Revised Process for Converting Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) Paper Cases into Fully Imaged Official Case Records
Background: In FY 2000, the then Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC)1 which was responsible for administering the FECA program, one of the four programs within OWCP, deployed a new imaging system, the OWCP Automated System for Imaging Services (OASIS). All documents received by OWCP for the FECA program from that point forward were captured and stored only electronically for FECA cases. On February 21, 2001, the OWCP issued Bulletin 01-01, OASIS - Retention Schedule for Paper Documents. This bulletin outlined procedures for the destruction of documents that had been scanned into the FECA electronic file. On May 5, 2010, the OWCP issued Bulletin 10-01, Converting DFEC Paper Cases into Fully Imaged Official Case Records, which outlined procedures for converting paper files that were created prior to the deployment of imaging into fully imaged files and the resultant destruction of the paper components of the case files after conversion. In February 2002, the FECA program no longer added documents to any of the Paper Cases, instead scanning all incoming mail into the imaging system, and thus creating a cohort of Hybrid Case Files, which is a partially imaged record with the FECA program maintaining all paper files and documents received prior to that date.
Since that time, the district offices have converted many paper case file components into imaged documents, thereby creating a fully imaged record. Cases have been fully imaged for various reasons, including but not limited to the following: ease of management, prior to transferring a case to the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) or Branch of Hearings and Review (BHR), Improper Payment Audits and prior to referring a case for a referee examination (see FECA Bulletin 05-01, Medical Exams/IME: Security of Case Records During the Referral Process).
Reference: OWCP Procedure Manual Chapter 1-0300
Purpose: To notify Offices of a change in the protocols and process for separating and audit requirements for paper case files that are converted to electronic cases records in order to fully image the remaining 52,000 case records currently maintained in the district offices.
Applicability: Claims Examiners, All Claims Supervisors, Medical Schedulers, District Medical Directors, Technical Assistants, System Managers, Staff Nurses, and Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists, OWCP Contractors
Action: New Protocol for Converting Paper Cases into Fully Imaged Official Case Records
The following new protocol will apply to any cases scanned for Backfile Conversion, Privacy Act responses, MBE cases, and for BHR. It will not apply to cases currently being scanned for ECAB or Improper Payment audits, or cases subject to a Litigation Hold. The latter are to be maintained until the hold is release. The following forms in the paper case file must be imaged as distinct electronic documents viewable in the imaged case file and properly indexed.Forms CA1, CA2, CA-2a, CA-5, CA-6, CA-7, 7a's, 7b's, CA-8
Acceptance Letters, Forms and all Formal Decisions in the paper case file must be imaged as distinct electronic documents viewable in the imaged case file and properly indexed. All other documents will be imaged together as one document in the same order as they are in the Paper Case Record and indexed as Misc./Converted Case Record. The received date for all other documents not listed in Action Item Four (4) will be 2/1/2002 (This is the date that OWCP/FECA stopped adding paper to existing files and began the creation of hybrid case records). An audit of documents within the paper case file is required to help verify that all documents have been properly associated with the electronic case record, that the documents have been properly categorized, and that the imaged documents are of an acceptable quality. Two percent of all documents must be sampled from the paper case file. In addition to the random sample all of the following documents must also be verified as appropriately imaged and indexed: Forms CA1, CA2, CA-2a, CA-5, CA-6, CA-7, 7a's, 7b's, CA-8. The person(s) assigned to perform the audit must be documented in the record. Once the case file has been completely imaged and audited for accuracy, the District Director or designee must take the following steps:a) Change the Fully Imaged indicator in iFECS to "Y"b) Image a copy of the Fully Imaged Case Memo (See Attachment 1)c) Index this memo as MISC/Fully Imaged Memo
After these actions have been taken, the electronic record will then be classified as the official case record for that case. The paper case file must be retained for no less than seven (7) work days from the date the case file was fully converted to electronic images and the instructions in Section 8 completed. If no problems arise during this period, the paper case documents may be destroyed after the end of the seven (7) work day period.Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained until incorporated into Part 1 of the OWCP Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All FECA Program Staff and Contractors
1 In FY 2020, the FECA program and the Longshore program were combined into a new division called Division of Federal Employees, Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DFELHWC)
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-06
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-07 March 9, 2021
Subject: New FECA Pharmacy Benefits Management System
Purpose: To announce the implementation of a Pharmacy Benefits Management (PBM) System by the Office of Workers' Compensation's (OWCP) Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation for the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) program.
Background: Pharmacy benefit managers are third-party administrators (TPA) of prescription drug programs for commercial health plans, self-insured employer plans, Federal and State government employee health plans. PBMs are primarily responsible for developing and maintaining formularies which include an approved listing of prescriptions, contracting with pharmacies to increase enrollment, negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers and processing and paying prescription drug claims.
In accordance with 5 U.S.C. 8103 and 20 C.F.R. 10.809, OWCP has contracted with Optum to serve as FECA's PBM for claimants covered under the FECA. OWCP's FECA PBM will be responsible for pharmaceutical transactions including implementation of FECA eligibility determinations and pricing for pharmaceutical drugs provided to FECA claimants. All FECA claimants will be required to use the OWCP FECA PBM for prescribed drugs; otherwise, payment of drugs will not be authorized at the pharmacy. The PBM will pay network pharmacies directly and then seek reimbursement for those payments from FECA's Employees' Compensation Fund.
The FECA PBM will also be phasing in an optional Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and diagnostic testing component.
Actions: PBM implementation will be accomplished in a phased approach. In order to receive pharmacy benefits, injured workers must present their new pharmacy cards to a participating pharmacy along with prescriptions for their accepted, work-related condition(s). A listing of participating pharmacies can be found on the internet at www.ecomp.dol.gov. Further assistance in locating or verifying a participating pharmacy or transferring a prescription can be obtained by contacting Optum at 1-833-FECA-PBM.
Optum/FECA pharmacy cards and welcome letters will be mailed to current FECA claimants in multiple groupings. Due to urgent safety concerns, welcome packets will first be mailed by April 1, 2021, to claimants who have been prescribed opioids with daily dosages exceeding the 90 MED (Morphine Equivalent Dose). Pharmacy Cards and welcome letters for the remainder of the FECA claimants will first be mailed by April 30, 2021. All Pharmacy cards will include a Bank Identification Number (BIN), the date the cards become effective, a PBM toll-free number for information, as well as claimant-specific information. Once the FECA PBM is phased in, use of an employing agency pharmacy (PBM) program is no longer permissible.Additional phases are estimated to be deployed over the next several months of Fiscal Year 2021, and will include the development and implementation of a (1) formulary management system (2) user interface for pharmacy authorization transmittals (3) utilization review programs (4) DME and diagnostic testing programs along with other programs to assist FECA claimants and FECA program staff. Subsequent FECA Bulletins containing the details of those phases will be issued once those phases are ready for deployment. Additional information and updates will be posted on the FECA website and provided to the subscriber list references on the FECA website.ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All DFELHWC Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-07
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-08 March 26, 2021
Subject: Telemedicine for Routine Appointments '' Updated
This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletin 21-02
On October 22, 2020, the Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation '' Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) Program published FECA Bulletin No. 21-02 (Telemedicine for Routine Appointments) to outline FECA's telehealth policy. Since that date, FECA's Program Integrity Unit (PIU) has reviewed billing data to evaluate compliance. Based on those findings, the FECA program is making minor updates to the existing policy.
The following codes are being added as payable telehealth services since the PIU determined these codes are necessary and/or customary for treatment of work-related injuries: 96130 PSYCL TST EVAL PHYS/QHP 1ST 96131 PSYCL TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA 96132 NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP 1ST 96133 NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA 96137 PSYCL/NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA 96138 PSYCL/NRPSYC TECH 1ST S9999 Sales Tax (as required by law e.g. HI)The following CPT codes are being removed: 99421 online digital evaluation - 5-10 minutes 99422 online digital evaluation - 11-20 minutes 99423 online digital evaluation - 21 or more minutesThe PIU determined they were incorrectly added during the initial policy implementation, were not billed at all as telehealth services since policy implementation in October 2020, and there are other covered codes that could be used for services.Two additional provider types are being approved for telehealth services: Podiatrists Insurance Company (Third Party Carriers) if the originating provider type and procedure codes are within established policyRequirements for telehealth medical reports (to include the length of visit) are being emphasized since some reports reviewed by the PIU were determined to be insufficient.For ease of use, FECA is re-publishing the contents of FECA Bulletin 21-02 in its entirety with the above updates incorporated as part of this Bulletin
The effective date for the new policy is March 27, 2021.
Background (from Bulletin No. 21-02):
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines telehealth as ''the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support and promote long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, and public health and health administration.''1
Under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA), the Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) may provide to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103.
While the FECA program has previously allowed telehealth services, in accordance with the discretion granted to DOL and delegated to OWCP, the FECA program is instituting a new policy concerning telehealth services available to employees receiving medical benefits under the FECA.
The FECA program is fully aware that some treating physicians or providers may be constrained in their ability to practice telemedicine by the requirements of either state law or their licensing authorities.'¯ The FECA program does not have the authority to countermand or absolve physicians of their responsibility to follow those requirements, and recognizes that such requirements must be observed by the physicians to whom they apply. This includes the requirement that the physician must be physically located in the same state as the claimant's residence while providing telemedicine (or must be licensed to practice medicine in the state where the claimant resides).
Telemedicine is optional, not required.
Purpose: To provide the FECA approved telehealth services and establish how telehealth services must be submitted for reimbursement.
Applicability: All FECA personnel and medical providers.
Reference: Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, Part 5 Benefit Payments and Part 3 Medical, Chapter 3-0300 Authorizing Examination and Treatment, and Chapter 3-0400 Medical Services and Supplies. 20 C.F.R. § 10.300; 20 C.F.R. § 10.304; 20 C.F.R. § 10.310; 20 C.F.R. § 10.335.
Action (Revised and Updated from Bulletin No. 21-02):
In accordance with FECA regulations, policies and procedures, authorized providers may provide routine medical care through telemedicine (when that care is associated directly with one or more accepted conditions), without pre-authorization. This includes physical and occupational therapy. Some services may still require authorization in accordance with FECA procedures, but there is no specific pre-authorization required to provide the service via telehealth.A provider may choose to conduct a routine medical appointment utilizing telemedicine options (including phone, video conferencing or similar technologies as permitted by state law) which the provider believes will provide the most appropriate medical benefit to the claimant. The provider should conduct telemedicine in private settings, such as a physician in a clinic or office connecting to a patient who is at home or at another clinic. Providers should carefully observe privacy precautions and use private locations; claimants should not receive telemedicine services in any other setting without the claimant's consent. In the exercise of their professional judgment, the provider may determine that, to best meet the medical needs of the claimant, the telemedicine appointment may be facilitated by a medical professional on site with the claimant. In these circumstances, the physician may have a Registered Nurse (RN), Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP), or Physician Assistant (PA) present with the claimant during the telemedicine appointment. If a field nurse is assigned to the case, the nurse may participate telephonically in the appointment.There are a limited number of services approved by the FECA program that can be provided through telemedicine. Covered telehealth services are analogous with services payable by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) but are not inclusive of all CMS approved services. The FECA program may consider updates based on future needs of the program. See attached ''List of Allowable Telehealth Services''.Provider types eligible to be reimbursed for telehealth services in the FECA program are limited to: 25 Physician, 32 Psychologist (with Specialty type 42 for psychiatrists), 77 Social Worker, 28 Chiropractor, 27 Podiatrist, 72 Occupational Therapist, 71 Physical Therapist, and 95 Insurance Company (Third Party Carriers), if the originating provider type and procedure codes are within established policy. Eligible provider types may be modified based on future needs of the program.Providers should bill utilizing appropriate modifiers, billing codes, and the claimant's address as the location of delivery of the medical care if applicable. OWCP recognizes modifiers GT (via interactive audio and video telecommunications systems), GQ (via an asynchronous telecommunications system), and 95 (synchronous telemedicine service rendered via a real-time interactive audio and video telecommunications system) as required billing code modifiers for telehealth services. Providers should use the most appropriate place of service (POS) when billing. For telemedicine or home services the following POS should be used: 12 - Patient home (if the claimant is located at home during the visit).If other appropriate medical professionals participated in the telemedicine appointment, then they may bill using non-telemedicine billing codes appropriate to their visit in the home as long as they were not already in the home for another authorized, billable service.Along with the bill for services, the provider must provide the following information when the bill is submitted for payment:a) Appointment Notes that articulate the method of telemedicine that the provider employed and the length of visit (prolonged services in physical condition cases should be rare)
Including the length of the visit is required as this allows the FECA Program the ability to verify that the services provided have been accurately reported and billed;b) Any vitals or medical evidence collected;
c) An outline of the medical need and the benefit derived from the appointment, as it relates to the claimant's accepted condition(s); and
d) The additional contents of the notes should comport with the FECA Regulations set forth at 20 C.F.R. § 10.330.
OWCP staff will conduct reviews of this documentation to monitor and verify that the requirements for payment were met. If discrepancies are identified, they will work with the provider to overcome issues prior to initiating recoupment of payments made or other action.Disposition: This bulletin is effective March 27, 2021 and is to be retained until incorporated into the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
1 https://www.hhs.gov/hipaa/for-professionals/faq/3015/what-is-telehealth/index.html
Attachment to Bulletin 21-08:There are a limited number of services covered under Telehealth for FECA. This table lists the CPT/ HCPCS codes that can be billed for telehealth.
LIST OF ALLOWABLE TELEHEALTH SERVICESCodeDescription90785Psytx complex interactive90791Psych diagnostic evaluation90792Psych diag eval w/med srvcs90832Psytx w pt 30 minutes90833Psytx w pt w e/m 30 min90834Psytx w pt 45 minutes90836Psytx w pt w e/m 45 min90837Psytx w pt 60 minutes90838Psytx w pt w e/m 60 min90839Psytx crisis initial 60 min90840Psytx crisis ea addl 30 min90847Family psytx w/pt 50 min96130PSYCL TST EVAL PHYS/QHP 1ST96131PSYCL TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA96132NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP 1ST96133NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA96136Psycl/nrpsyc tst phy/qhp 1s96137PSYCL/NRPSYC TST EVAL PHYS/QHP EA96138PSYCL/NRPSYC TECH 1ST97110Therapeutic exercises97112Neuromusulcar reeducation97116Gait training therapy97161PT Eval low complex 20 min97162PT Eval mod complex 30 min97163PT Eval high complex 45 min97164PT re-eval est plan care97165OT eval low complex 30 min97166OT eval mod complen 45 min97167OT eval high complex 60 min97168OT re-eval est plan care97530Therapeutic activities97535Self care mngment training97542Wheelchair mngment training97750Physical Performance Test97755Assistive Technology Assess97760Orthotic mgmt&traing 1st en97761Prosthetic traing 1st enc99201Office/outpatient visit new99202Office/outpatient visit new99203Office/outpatient visit new99204Office/outpatient visit new99205Office/outpatient visit new99211Office/outpatient visit est99212Office/outpatient visit est99213Office/outpatient visit est99214Office/outpatient visit est99215Office/outpatient visit est99232Subsequent hospital care99354Prolong e&m/psyctx serv o/p99355Prolong e&m/psyctx serv o/p99367Medical Team Conference99441Phone e/m phys/qhp 5-10 min99442Phone e/m phys/qhp 11-20 min99443Phone e/m phys/qhp 21or more min99080Special ReportsG0508Crit care telehea consult 60Q3014Telehealth originating site facility fee Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-08
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-09April 28, 2021Subject: Processing FECA Claims for COVID-19 under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Background: The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injury in the performance of duty; injury includes a disease proximately caused by federal employment. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DFELHWC) administers the FECA. The FECA provides to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103. The FECA pays compensation for the disability or death of an employee resulting from injury in the performance of duty.
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law. This new legislation streamlines the process for federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the FECA. Specifically, Section 4016 of the ARPA provides that a ''covered employee'' as defined below shall, with respect to any claim made by or on behalf of the covered employee for benefits under the FECA, be deemed to have an injury proximately caused by exposure to COVID-19 arising out of the nature of the covered employee's employment.
Under Section 4016 of the ARPA, the term ''covered employee'' means an individual:
Who is an employee under Section 8101(1) of title 5, United States Code, employed in the Federal service at any time during the period beginning on January 27, 2020, and ending on January 27, 2023;Who is diagnosed with COVID''19 during such period; andWho, during a covered exposure period prior to such diagnosis, carries out duties that'--require contact with patients, members of the public, or co-workers; orinclude a risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus.Previously, COVID-19 claims under the FECA were processed under the guidelines provided by FECA Bulletin No. 20-05 (released March 31, 2020) and FECA Bulletin No. 21-01 (released October 21, 2020). This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletins 20-05 and 21-01.
With respect to all COVID-19 cases processed under the ARPA, no benefits are payable after September 30, 2030. This statutory limitation on benefits does not apply to COVID-19 claims accepted prior to March 12, 2021.
Purpose: To provide guidance regarding the processing of COVID-19 FECA claims as set forth in the ARPA.
Actions:
I. Cases Processed Prior to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Previously Accepted Cases. Any COVID-19 claim filed under the FECA that was accepted for COVID-19 prior to March 12, 2021 is not impacted because coverage for benefits had already been extended. Any case accepted on or before March 11, 2021 (the date of enactment) is not an ARPA case; such cases are not subject to Section 4016's limitation that no benefits may be paid after September 30, 2030.Previously Denied Cases. The FECA program will review all COVID-19 claims previously denied based on a lack of federal exposure or a lack of medical evidence establishing causal relationship to determine if the claim can now be accepted under the ARPA. This will occur without a request from the claimant. If the FECA program determines that the case can now be accepted under the ARPA, the case will be reopened under the Director's own motion under Section 8128(a) of the FECA, and the case will be accepted. If this occurs, the claimant and Employing agency will be notified. The case will be converted to a ''19'' prefix case and the C19 indicator will be added as addressed in paragraph III below.Previously Administratively Closed Cases. No action will be taken based on the ARPA on COVID-19 cases already administratively closed. The claimant remains eligible for Continuation of Pay (COP) pursuant to 20 CFR 10.205 - 224, if Form CA-1 was timely filed, and medical bills for basic treatment incurred for COVID-19, to include any testing, are still payable up to $1500. However, any future actions, if necessary, will be taken in accordance with the ARPA since the claim had not been formally accepted, so each of these cases has been converted to a ''19'' prefix case, and the C19 indicator will be added as addressed in paragraph III below.II. Filing of Cases under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Form Filing Process. The Employees' Compensation and Management Portal (ECOMP) should be used to file new claims as the form filing process in ECOMP has been updated to assist claimants and employing agencies with filing claims for COVID-19 on a CA-1.Use of the CA-1. The FECA program considers COVID-19 to be a traumatic injury since it is contracted during a single workday or shift (see 20 CFR 10.5(ee)), and considers the date of last exposure prior to the medical evidence establishing the COVID-19 diagnosis as the Date of Injury since the precise time of transmission may not always be known due to the nature of the virus.Update to the CA-1 in ECOMP. To assist the FECA Program with collecting necessary information to make determinations under the ARPA, the claimant and agency are provided with specific instructions that are intended to supplement the routine claim filing questions. These instructions are documented in the attachment to this Bulletin.III. Creation of Cases under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Creation and Administrative Closure of Cases. Consistent with PM 1-0400.4, cases not expected to involve large medical expenses or extended disability may be administratively closed without formal adjudication by claims staff. COVID-19 cases filed under the ARPA will administratively close like other cases, and assignment of Triage Nurses will occur using the same criteria as other cases.Nature of Injury, Cause of Injury and Location of Injury Codes. All cases filed after March 11, 2021 for COVID-19 will use the following codes: Nature of Injury - COVID-19 (T9)Cause of Injury - Exposure to COVID-19 (9C)Location of Injury - COVID-19 (ZZ)
Case Indicator. For COVID-19 claims filed after March 11, 2021, a new internal special tracking indicator (C19 '' COVID-19) will be assigned. This replaces the previous indicator (COR). Cases received on and prior to March 11, 2021 that were pending adjudication will have their case indicator changed from COR to C19.Case Prefix. All cases filed after March 11, 2021 for COVID-19 will have a prefix ''19'' rather than the current prefix ''55'' used in other new FECA claims. Cases received on or prior to March 11, 2021, that were pending adjudication will have their case number changed such that the prefix is ''19.''Case Number Conversion Notification. In all instances where a case number is changed to a ''19'' prefix, regardless of the reason, a letter will be sent to the claimant and agency notifying them of the change.IV. Case Adjudication Procedures under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021
Employee. The claims examiner should make a determination as to whether the employee is an employee under 5 U.S.C. 8101(1) of the FECA and whether he or she was diagnosed with COVID-19 (in accordance with paragraph 2 below) between January 27, 2020, and January 27, 2023. If it is determined that the employee was an employee under Section 8101(1) but diagnosed with COVID-19 outside of the period of January 27, 2020, through January 27, 2023, routine FECA case handling procedures apply.Individuals otherwise covered under FECA but not covered under Section 8101(1) of title 5, United States Code are not covered under the ARPA and routine FECA case handling procedures apply. Examples include state or local law enforcement officers not employed by the United States who are covered under 5 U.S.C. 8191-8193.Diagnosis of COVID-19. In order to establish a diagnosis of COVID-19, an employee (or survivor) should submit: a. A positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result; orb. A positive Antibody or Antigen COVID-19 test result, together with contemporaneous medical evidence that the claimant had documented symptoms of and/or was treated for COVID-19 by a physician (a notice to quarantine is not sufficient if there was no evidence of illness); orc. If no positive laboratory test is available, a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician together with rationalized medical opinion supporting the diagnosis and an explanation as to why a positive test result is not available.In certain rare instances, a physician may provide a rationalized opinion with supporting factual and medical background as to why the employee has a diagnosis of COVID-19 notwithstanding a negative or series of negative COVID-19 test results.
Medical reports from nurses or physician assistants are acceptable if a licensed physician cosigns the report.Covered Exposure. The employee is deemed to have had exposure if, during the covered exposure period, he or she carries out (1) duties that require a physical interaction with at least one other person (a patient, a member of the public, or a co-worker) in the course of employment duties, or (2) duties that otherwise include a risk of exposure to COVID-19. The interaction does not have to be direct physical contact. Nor is there a specified time for such interaction, any duration qualifies. General office contact and interaction is sufficient. This includes but is not limited to interaction in shared workspaces such as lunchrooms, break areas and common restrooms.Covered Exposure Period. The evidence should establish manifestation of COVID-19 symptoms (or positive test result) within 21 days of the covered exposure described in paragraph 3 above.Existing medical literature suggests that the incubation period of COVID-19 is between two and 14 days; however, the use of 21 days acknowledges an employee's potential delay in seeking professional medical evaluation and treatment.Teleworking Employees. An employee that is exclusively teleworking during a covered exposure period is not considered a ''covered employee'' under the ARPA. For such cases, routine FECA case handling procedures apply.Adjudication and Disposition of Claims. a. Claim Acceptances: If, following any appropriate development, the evidence establishes that the employee meets the definition of ''covered employee'' under Section 4016 of the ARPA, the employee's COVID-19 will be deemed proximately caused by Federal employment and the claim will be accepted for COVID-19.b. Claim Denials: If, following appropriate development, the evidence fails to establish that the employee was diagnosed with COVID-19, the claim will generally be denied on that basis. If, following appropriate development, the evidence fails to establish any covered exposure during a covered exposure period as defined in paragraphs 1, 3, 4 and 5 above, the claim will generally be denied based upon the failure to establish exposure to COVID-19 occurred in the performance of Federal employment.d. Withdrawal of Claim: Certain COVID-19 claims may have been filed preventatively for exposure only, due to quarantine, or otherwise filed prematurely. In such circumstances, an employee may decide not to pursue his or her claim. A claimant may withdraw his or her claim in writing (but not the notice of injury) at any time before OWCP determines eligibility for benefits. See 20 CFR 10.100 (b)(3). However, any COP granted to an employee after a claim is withdrawn must be charged to sick or annual leave, or considered an overpayment of pay consistent with 5 U.S.C. 5584, at the employee's option.
Duplicate Claims. Generally, a claim for COVID-19 will not be considered a new injury unless the date of injury is more than 1 year from the date of injury of any prior accepted COVID-19 claim for the same employee. Rather it will be combined with the existing claim and developed as necessary as a consequential or recurrence claim.Claims for Disability. The ARPA outlines the criteria to determine whether COVID-19 is deemed proximately caused by federal employment. However, acceptance of the claim for work-related COVID-19 does not alter the claimant's burden of proof for establishing disability, the need for ongoing medical treatment and any claim for a consequential condition. See PM 2-0901.5(a)(2).Death Claims. The criteria to determine whether COVID-19 is deemed proximately caused by federal employment are the same for claims involving death. However, in death cases, the FECA program will also ask for evidence and records to support that the death was the result of COVID-19, or that COVID-19 was a contributing cause of death. This will typically include hospital records showing treatment, a hospital death discharge summary detailing the cause of death, and/or a death certificate but may also include other documentation depending on the circumstances of the case.V. Non-Chargeable Flag
In accordance with Section 4016(d) of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, all cases flagged as an ARPA case with the ''19'' prefix will be flagged as non-chargeable in the FECA database, meaning it will not be included in annual chargeback billing.
Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained until incorporated into the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All DFELHWC '' FECA Program Staff
Attachment: CA-1 ECOMP Prompts for COVID-19 Claims under the ARPA
Attachment to FECA Bulletin 21-09CA-1 ECOMP Prompts for COVID-19 Claims under the ARPA
A. Claimant Portion of the CA-1. Upon selecting to file a new claim in ECOMP, the claimant is provided a new option to file a COVID specific CA-1. If they choose this option, the following prompts will supplement the routine process:
Date and Time Injury Occurred. The claimant is asked about the last date he or she was exposed to others in the work setting prior to the onset of COVID-19 symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test result.Cause of Injury. The claimant is asked to explain what individuals he or she was exposed to in the workplace and the nature and extent of the interaction(s).Nature of Injury. The claimant is asked to explain symptoms related to COVID-19, whether he or she has received a positive test result for COVID-19 and whether he or she has consulted with a medical professional.Upload Attachments Option. The claimant is asked specifically to upload a copy of a COVID-19 positive test result and any documentation of interactions with a medical professional.B. Supervisor Portion of the CA-1. In COVID-19 claims, agencies are provided with specific questions that deviate from the routine process as outlined below:
Performance of Duty (POD). The employing agency is advised to only indicate the employee is not in POD if the employee was not working or was teleworking on the date of injury, or if the supervisor disagrees substantively with the employee's description of injury.Third Party Liability. The answer to this question will default to no third party liability for COVID-19 cases.Anatomical Location, Nature of Injury, Cause of Injury. These responses will be automatically filled in accordance with the codes in section III, part 2 of this Bulletin.Agreement with the Employee. The employing agency will be advised to only indicate ''no'' if the employee was not working or was teleworking on the date of injury, or if the supervisor disagrees substantively with the employee's description of injury.Controversion of COP. The employing agency will be advised to only controvert COP if one of the specific nine regulatory reasons applies. That reason must be selected and explained.CA-16. The employing agency is prompted to provide a CA-16 if they do not substantively dispute the employee's description of Cause and Nature of Injury, and if the claim was submitted within 1 week of the Date of Injury, or the date the employee had symptoms of COVID-19 or received a positive test result. Issuing the CA-16 will allow the claimant to obtain the necessary test to confirm COVID-19 and receive medical treatment, if indicated. Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-09
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-10August 18, 2021Subject: Establishing FECA Claims for COVID-19 under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 through Antigen Testing
Background: The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injury in the performance of duty; injury includes a disease proximately caused by federal employment. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation (DFELHWC) administers the FECA. The FECA provides to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103. The FECA pays compensation for the disability or death of an employee resulting from injury in the performance of duty.
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) was signed into law. This new legislation streamlined the process for federal workers diagnosed with COVID-19 to establish coverage under the FECA.
On April 28, 2021, the FECA Program issued FECA Bulletin 21-09, which provided detailed processing procedures for claims for COVID-19 filed under the ARPA.
FECA Bulletin 21-09 provided that, in order to establish a diagnosis of COVID-19, an employee (or survivor) should submit:
a. A positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result; or
b. A positive Antibody or Antigen COVID-19 test result, together with contemporaneous medical evidence that the claimant had documented symptoms of and/or was treated for COVID-19 by a physician (a notice to quarantine is not sufficient if there was no evidence of illness); or
c. If no positive laboratory test is available, a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician together with rationalized medical opinion supporting the diagnosis and an explanation as to why a positive test result is not available.
In certain rare instances, a physician may provide a rationalized opinion with supporting factual and medical background as to why the employee has a diagnosis of COVID-19 notwithstanding a negative or series of negative COVID-19 test results.
Antigen tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the coronavirus. They are sometimes referred to as rapid diagnostic tests because it can take less than an hour to get the test results. Positive antigen test results are highly specific, meaning that if you test positive you are very likely to be infected.1
As antigen testing has become more prevalent over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FECA Program will no longer require contemporaneous medical evidence submitted together with an antigen test to establish the diagnosis of COVID-19. Submission of an antigen test alone is now sufficient to establish the medical component of a COVID-19 claim.
Purpose: To provide amended guidance regarding the processing of COVID-19 FECA claims as set forth in the ARPA.
Actions:
1. Diagnosis of COVID-19. With respect to Case Adjudication procedures under the ARPA, the following diagnostic criteria now apply:
In order to establish a diagnosis of COVID-19, an employee (or survivor) should submit:
a. A positive Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or Antigen COVID-19 test result; or
b. A positive Antibody test result, together with contemporaneous medical evidence that the claimant had documented symptoms of and/or was treated for COVID-19 by a physician (a notice to quarantine is not sufficient if there was no evidence of illness); or
c. If no positive laboratory test is available, a COVID-19 diagnosis from a physician together with rationalized medical opinion supporting the diagnosis and an explanation as to why a positive test result is not available.
In certain rare instances, a physician may provide a rationalized opinion with supporting factual and medical background as to why the employee has a diagnosis of COVID-19 notwithstanding a negative or series of negative COVID-19 test results.
Medical reports from nurses or physician assistants are acceptable if a licensed physician cosigns the report.
2. Previously Denied Cases. The FECA program will review all COVID-19 claims previously denied in accordance with the guidance provided in FECA Bulletin 21-09 based on the submission of an antigen test without contemporaneous medical to determine if the claim can now be accepted. This will occur without a request from the claimant. If the FECA program determines that the case can now be accepted under the ARPA, the case will be reopened under the Director's own motion under Section 8128(a) of the FECA, and the case will be accepted. If this occurs, the claimant and employing agency will be notified.
Disposition: This Bulletin amends FECA Bulletin 21-09 and is to be retained until incorporated into the FECA Procedure Manual.
--------1 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/if-youve-been-exposed-to-the-coronavirus
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All DFELHWC '' FECA Program Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-10
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-11
Issue Date: September 1, 2021
Subject: Retention of the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, 6th Edition (2009).
Background: The schedule award provisions of the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) at 5 U.S.C. 8107 and its implementing regulations at 20 C.F.R. 10.404 establish the compensation payable to employees sustaining permanent impairment. For consistent results, and to ensure equal justice under the law to all claimants, good administrative practice necessitates the use of a single set of tables with uniform standards applicable to all claimants. The American Medical Association's (AMA) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment has been adopted by the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) FECA Program as the appropriate standard for evaluating schedule losses. In January 2008, the AMA published the Sixth Edition of the Guides, noting that the Guides are revised periodically to incorporate current scientific clinical knowledge and judgment. This Edition implemented substantial reforms to the methodology of calculating permanent impairment. In accordance with its established practice, the FECA Program moved forward to this most recent version of the Guides in evaluating permanent impairment.
In August 2008, a 54-page "Clarifications and Corrections, Sixth Edition, Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment" was distributed. The 54-page publication specified clarifications and corrections to the original printing of the Sixth Edition of the Guides. Subsequently, the FECA Program adopted this most recent version of the Sixth Edition of the Guides on March 15, 2009, with an effective date of May 1, 2009. See FECA Bulletin 09-03. The most recent version of the Sixth Edition at that time was the second printing of the Sixth Edition in 2009, which incorporated the clarifications and corrections which were published in August 2008.
In April 2021, the AMA announced the commencement of regular updates to the Sixth Edition of the Guides. In addition, the AMA further reported a transition to a digital platform and subscription service for the current and all future updates to the Sixth Edition of the Guides. These updates are to be posted on the AMA Guides Digital Website approximately three months prior to their effective date.
The first update to the Sixth Edition made in accordance with the new AMA policy, AMA Sixth Edition 2021, was made available on April 1, 2021 and became effective on July 1, 2021.
All substantive updates made in the AMA Sixth Edition 2021 relate to mental and behavioral health conditions, including changes in terminology and methodology related to the mental and behavioral health content1. As the FECA Program has no statutory or regulatory authority to provide schedule awards for mental health impairment, the changes in AMA Sixth Edition 2021, if adopted by the Program, would not have any significant impact on its schedule award impairment calculations.
As noted above, the FECA Program has been using the Sixth Edition since 2009. In that time, the Program has worked with its attending physicians, second opinion and referee physicians, and District Medical Advisors to provide clear, consistent, and accurate impairment ratings using this version of the Guides Adoption of the AMA Sixth Edition 2021 at this time would place an undue burden on the Program's stakeholders. It would require the procurement, learning, and understanding of a new and digital edition of the Guides despite such edition having no material impact on impairment ratings provided under the FECA.
As such, it is in the best interest of the FECA Program to retain the second printing of the Sixth Edition (2009) at this time. Future updates of the Guides will continue to be monitored and updated versions may be adopted depending on their impact on the FECA Program and alignment with its goal of providing fair and consistent impairment awards to injured Federal workers.
Purpose: To provide notice that although the Sixth Edition of the AMA Guides have recently been updated, the FECA Program will be maintaining the use of the second printing of the Sixth Edition (2009) rather than adopting the latest updated version.
Reference: 5 U.S.C. 8107 and 20 C.F.R. 10.404. This Bulletin supplements the information contained in the FECA Procedure Manual 3-0700 and 2-0808, as well as FECA Bulletin No. 09-03 and FECA Bulletin No. 17-06.
Action: No change or action is necessary at this time, and the FECA Program will continue to use the second printing of the Sixth Edition (2009) to evaluate permanent impairment.
Any impairment report in which impairment is assessed using a more recent version of the Sixth Edition should be returned to the rating physician with instructions to evaluate impairment under the second printing of the Sixth Edition (2009).
Applicability: Claims Examiners, Quality Assurance and Mentoring Examiners, Supervisory Claims Examiners, Hearing Representatives, District Medical Advisors, and Claims Assistants.
Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained until incorporated unto the FECA Procedure Manual.
1 https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ama-guides/ama-guides-sixth-2021-current-medicine-permanent-impairment-ratings
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All Appropriate FECA Program Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-11
FECA BULLETIN NO. 21-12 September 30, 2021
Subject: Release of Privileged Medical Records
Background: The Privacy Act of 1974 provides that federal agencies ''establish procedures for the disclosure to an individual upon his request of his record or information pertaining to him, including special procedure, if deemed necessary, for the disclosure to an individual of medical records, including psychological records, pertaining to him.'' 5 U.S.C. 552a(f)(3). In accordance with the Privacy Act and the Department's implementing regulations, the OWCP Procedure Manual currently provides that where a claimant requests medical records that discuss psychiatric conditions, the CE should ask the District Medical Advisor (DMA) whether releasing such information would constitute a danger to the claimant or others; and if so, the CE should instruct the claimant that the medical records will instead be provided to the claimant's treating physician. See OWCP Procedure Manual, Chapter 1-0400-7(a)(1)(A); see also 29 C.F.R. 71.4(d).
Since establishing this procedure, federal courts have found that the Privacy Act clearly directs agencies to devise special procedures for disclosure of medical records in cases in which direct transmission could adversely affect a requesting individual, but that these procedures eventually must lead to disclosure of the records to the requesting individual. See Bavido v. Apfel, 215 F.3d 743, 748-50 (7th Cir. 2000). Current Department of Justice (DOJ) guidelines further provide that while agencies have the freedom to promulgate special procedures to limit potential harm from individual access to medical records, many courts have held that agency rules for disclosure of medical records may not create, in effect, a new substantive exemption from accessing medical records that would otherwise be available under the Privacy Act. This bulletin provides revised procedures consistent with the Privacy Act, case law, and current DOJ guidance.
Reference: OWCP Procedure Manual Chapter 1-0400
Purpose: To provide revised procedures in situations where the FECA Program determines that release of medical documentation to an injured worker would represent a health or safety risk to themselves or others.
Applicability: All DFELHWC FECA Program Staff
Action: The claims examiner (CE) should take the following steps if he or she identifies a case in which there is an indication that there may be a health or safety risk in allowing a claimant direct immediate access to his or her medical records. This identification should be made based on evidence, not accepted condition and could be made in scenarios that include but are not limited to (1) while reviewing a copy request, (2) while reviewing a second opinion report or other medical evidence, or (3) while taking a phone call. Examples of cases that require further review are ones in which the medical evidence discusses suicidal or homicidal tendencies or the claimant demonstrates threatening behavior.
In these cases:
The CE should provide the case number and recommendation to the Branch of Regulations and Procedures (R&P) through a designated e-mail address.R&P will review the request and make a final determination.Should R&P disagree with the CE recommendation, the CE will be advised and no further action is needed. Any pending Privacy Act requests can be processed in accordance with established procedure.Should R&P agree with the CE determination, the claimant's case file will be notated accordingly, and a letter will be issued to the claimant explaining the determination and their Privacy Act appeal rights. See action item six below. The letter will advise the claimant that they will be restricted from viewing his or her medical records in the Employees' Compensation Operations and Management Portal (ECOMP). The letter determination will be visible in ECOMP with a specific category/subject (Outgoing/Medical Records Restricted) so that the claimant is aware of the reason why no medical records are visible in ECOMP.If there is a pending Privacy Act or copy request, subsequent actions will depend on whether the claimant has designated an authorized representative in accordance with 20 C.F.R. 10.700.a. If the claimant has a designated authorized representative, a copy of the requested medical records should instead be provided to the authorized representative of record. The claimant should be notified and advised to contact the authorized representative, who will review the medical records with the claimant and then provide the claimant a copy of the requested medical records.
b. If the claimant has not designated an authorized representative, the claimant should be advised that OWCP is unable to release medical records directly to them due to concerns over the safety of the claimant and others. Instead, the claimant should be instructed to designate an individual (such as a physician, health professional, or other responsible individual) who is willing to receive medical records on the claimant's behalf, review them, and then share them with and release them to the claimant.
6. Should the claimant disagree with the case file access restrictions indicated in the letter issued pursuant to action item four above, they may file an administrative appeal to the Solicitor of Labor within 90 days of the date of the determination, by mail, fax, or email, and in accordance with the specific requirements set forth in the provided appeal rights. See 29 C.F.R. 71.7.Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained until otherwise revised or incorporated into Part 1 of the OWCP Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forDivision of Federal Employees', Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation
Distribution: All DFELHWC FECA Program Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 21-12
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-01
Issue Date: January 27, 2020
Expiration Date: February 28, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay - Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost-of-Living Adjustments.
Purpose: To furnish information on the CPI adjustment process for March 1, 2020.
The cost-of-living adjustments granted to a compensation recipient under the FECA are based on the "Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers" (CPI-W) figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The annual cost of living increase is calculated by comparing the base month from the prior year to the base month of the current year, with the percentage of increase adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent. 5 U.S.C. §8146(a) establishes the base month for the FECA CPI as December.
December 2018 had a CPI-W level of 244.786 and the December 2018 level was reported by BLS as 250.452. This means that the new CPI increase, adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of one percent, is 2.3 percent. The increase is effective March 1, 2020, and is applicable where disability or death occurred before March 1, 2019. In addition, the new base month for calculating the future CPI is December 2019.
The maximum compensation rates1 , which must not be exceeded, are as follows:
$8,886.25 per month$8,202.68 each four weeks$2,050.67 per week$410.13 per day (for a 5 day week)
Applicability: Appropriate National Office and District Office personnel.
Reference: FECA Consumer Price Index (CPI) Amendment, dated January 6, 1981; Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Publication for December 2019 (USDL-20-0044)
Action: National Office Production updated the iFECS CPI tables and recalculated all payment records when the iFECS system was not in use by District Office personnel. The March 28, 2020 will be the first check paid at the 2020 rate.
Please note that if there are any cases with fixed gross overrides, those cases must be reviewed to determine if CPI adjustment is necessary. If so, a manual calculation will be required. If the gross override payment is in fact eligible for annual CPI increases, the payment plate should be adjusted in the iFECS system to pay as a "Gross Override with CPI."
CPI Minimum and Maximum Adjustments Listings. Form CA-841, Cost-of-Living Adjustments; Form CA-842, Minimum Compensation Rates; and Form CA-843, Maximum Compensation Rates, should be updated to indicate the increase for 2019. Attached to this directive is a complete list of all the CPI increases and effective dates since October 1, 1966 through March 1, 2020, for reference.Verification of Compensation. If claimants write or call for verification of the amount of compensation paid (possibly for mortgage verification; insurance verification; loan application; etc.), please continue to provide this data in letter form from the district office. Many times a Benefit Statement may not reach the addressee and regeneration of the form is not possible. A letter indicating the amount of compensation paid every four weeks will be an adequate substitute for this purpose.Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until further notice or the indicated expiration date.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forFederal Employees' Compensation
Attachment: Cost of Living Adjustments
Distribution: All DFEC Staff
1 Per for Executive Heads of Departments and Agencies dated December 26, 2019.
COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTSUnder 5 USC §8146(a)EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
10/01/66
12.5%
03/01/90
4.50%
01/01/68
3.7%
03/01/91
6.1%
12/01/68
4.0%
03/01/92
2.8%
09/01/69
4.4%
03/01/93
2.5%
03/01/94
2.5%
06/01/70
4.4%
03/01/95
2.7%
03/01/71
4.0%
03/01/96
2.5%
05/01/72
3.9%
03/01/97
3.3%
06/01/73
4.8%
03/01/98
1.5%
01/01/74
5.2%
03/01/99
1.6%
07/01/74
5.3%
11/01/74
6.3%
03/01/00
2.8%
06/01/75
4.1%
03/01/01
3.3%
01/01/76
4.4%
03/01/02
1.3%
11/01/76
4.0%
03/01/03
2.4%
07/01/77
4.9%
03/01/04
1.6%
05/01/78
5.3%
03/01/05
3.4%
11/01/78
4.9%
03/01/06
3.5%
05/01/79
5.5%
03/01/07
2.4%
10/01/79
5.6%
03/01/08
4.3%
03/01/09
0.0%
04/01/80
7.2%
09/01/80
4.0%
03/01/10
3.4%
03/01/81
3.6%
03/01/11
1.7%
03/01/82
8.7%
03/01/12
3.2%
03/01/83
3.9%
03/01/13
1.7%
03/01/84
3.3%
03/01/14
1.5%
03/01/85
3.5%
03/01/15
0.3%
03/01/86
N/A
03/01/16
0.4%
03/01/87
0.7%
03/01/17
2.0%
03/01/88
4.5%
03/01/18
2.2%
03/01/89
4.4%
03/01/19
1.8%
03/01/20
2.3%
Prior to September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest multiple of $.23 on a weekly basis ($.23, $.46, $.69, or $.92). After September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest $.25 on a weekly basis ($.25, $.50, $.75, or $1.00).
New compensation ratesPrior to 11/1/74Eff. 11/1/74Prior to 11/1/74 .08-.34 = .23
Eff. 11/1/74 .13-.37 = .25
.35-.57 = .46
.38-.62 = .50
.58-.80 = .69
.63-.87 = .75
.81-.07 = .92
.88-.12 = 1.00
ATTACHMENT TO FECA BULLETIN NO. 20 - 01
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-01
Back to BCT Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-02
Issue Date: January 27, 2020
Expiration Date: January 1, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay: Compensation Rate Changes for 2020.
Background: On December 26, 2019, the President signed an Executive Order increasing General Schedule basic pay rates for 2020.
Reference: Memorandum for Executive Heads of Departments and Agencies dated December 26, 2019; and the attachment for the 2020 General Schedule.
Purpose: To inform the appropriate personnel of the minimum/maximum rates of compensation for affected cases on the periodic disability and death payrolls.
The maximum compensation rate payable is based on the scheduled salary of a GS-15, Step 10 of $142,180 per annum. The basis for the minimum compensation rate of $21,974 is the salary of a GS-2, Step 1. The actual rates are outlined below.
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Weekly
$316.93
$2,050.67
Daily (5-day week)
$63.39
$410.13
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
28-Day Cycle
$1,267.72
$8,202.68
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Monthly
$1,831.17
$8,886.25
Action: The Integrated Federal Employees' Compensation System (iFECS) will be updated with the rate changes for the periodic disability and death payrolls.
Applicability: Appropriate National and District Office personnel
Disposition: This bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until the indicated expiration date.
Antonio RiosDirector forFederal Employees' Compensation
Distribution: All DFEC Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-02
Back to FECA Bulletins Table of Contents
Back to BCT Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-03
Issue Date: February 19, 2020
Expiration Date: January 1, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay: Compensation Rate Changes for 2020. This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletin 20-02.
Background: On December 26, 2019, the President signed an Executive Order increasing General Schedule basic pay rates for 2020.
Reference: Memorandum for Executive Heads of Departments and Agencies dated December 26, 2019; and the attachment for the 2020 General Schedule.
Purpose: To inform the appropriate personnel of the minimum/maximum rates of compensation for affected cases on the periodic disability and death payrolls.
The maximum compensation rate payable is based on the scheduled salary of a GS-15, Step 10 of $142,180 per annum. The basis for the minimum compensation rate of $21,974 is the salary of a GS-2, Step 1. The actual rates are outlined below.
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Weekly
$316.92
$2,050.68
Daily (5-day week)
$63.38
$410.14
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
28-Day Cycle
$1,267.68
$8,202.72
Effective January 5, 2020
Type
Minimum
Maximum
Monthly
$1,831.09
$8,886.28
Action: The Integrated Federal Employees' Compensation System (iFECS) will be updated with the rate changes for the periodic disability and death payrolls.
Applicability: Appropriate National and District Office personnel
Disposition: This bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until the indicated expiration date.
Antonio RiosDirector forFederal Employees' Compensation
Distribution: All DFEC Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-03
Back to FECA Bulletins Table of Contents
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-04
Issue Date: February 19, 2020
Expiration Date: February 28, 2021
Subject: Compensation Pay - Consumer Price Index (CPI) Cost-of-Living Adjustments. This Bulletin supersedes FECA Bulletin 20-01.
Purpose: To furnish information on the CPI adjustment process for March 1, 2020.
The cost-of-living adjustments granted to a compensation recipient under the FECA are based on the "Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers" (CPI-W) figures published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The annual cost of living increase is calculated by comparing the base month from the prior year to the base month of the current year, with the percentage of increase adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of 1 percent. 5 U.S.C. §8146(a) establishes the base month for the FECA CPI as December.
December 2018 had a CPI-W level of 244.786 and the December 2019 level was reported by BLS as 250.452. This means that the new CPI increase, adjusted to the nearest one-tenth of one percent, is 2.3 percent. The increase is effective March 1, 2020, and is applicable where disability or death occurred before March 1, 2019. In addition, the new base month for calculating the future CPI is December 2019.
The maximum compensation rates1 , which must not be exceeded, are as follows:
$8,886.28 per month$8,202.72 each four weeks$2,050.68 per week$410.14 per day (for a 5 day week)
Applicability: Appropriate National Office and District Office personnel.
Reference: FECA Consumer Price Index (CPI) Amendment, dated January 6, 1981; Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Publication for December 2019 (USDL-20-0044)
Action: National Office Production updated the iFECS CPI tables and recalculated all payment records when the iFECS system was not in use by District Office personnel. The March 28, 2020 will be the first check paid at the 2020 rate.
Please note that if there are any cases with fixed gross overrides, those cases must be reviewed to determine if CPI adjustment is necessary. If so, a manual calculation will be required. If the gross override payment is in fact eligible for annual CPI increases, the payment plate should be adjusted in the iFECS system to pay as a "Gross Override with CPI."
CPI Minimum and Maximum Adjustments Listings. Form CA-841, Cost-of-Living Adjustments; Form CA-842, Minimum Compensation Rates; and Form CA-843, Maximum Compensation Rates, should be updated to indicate the increase for 2019. Attached to this directive is a complete list of all the CPI increases and effective dates since October 1, 1966 through March 1, 2020, for reference.Verification of Compensation. If claimants write or call for verification of the amount of compensation paid (possibly for mortgage verification; insurance verification; loan application; etc.), please continue to provide this data in letter form from the district office. Many times a Benefit Statement may not reach the addressee and regeneration of the form is not possible. A letter indicating the amount of compensation paid every four weeks will be an adequate substitute for this purpose.Disposition: This Bulletin is to be retained in Part 5, Benefit Payments, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual, until further notice or the indicated expiration date.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forFederal Employees' Compensation
Attachment: Cost of Living Adjustments
Distribution: All DFEC Staff
1 Per for Executive Heads of Departments and Agencies dated December 26, 2019.
COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTSUnder 5 USC §8146(a)EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
EFFECTIVE DATE
RATE
10/01/66
12.5%
03/01/90
4.50%
01/01/68
3.7%
03/01/91
6.1%
12/01/68
4.0%
03/01/92
2.8%
09/01/69
4.4%
03/01/93
2.5%
03/01/94
2.5%
06/01/70
4.4%
03/01/95
2.7%
03/01/71
4.0%
03/01/96
2.5%
05/01/72
3.9%
03/01/97
3.3%
06/01/73
4.8%
03/01/98
1.5%
01/01/74
5.2%
03/01/99
1.6%
07/01/74
5.3%
11/01/74
6.3%
03/01/00
2.8%
06/01/75
4.1%
03/01/01
3.3%
01/01/76
4.4%
03/01/02
1.3%
11/01/76
4.0%
03/01/03
2.4%
07/01/77
4.9%
03/01/04
1.6%
05/01/78
5.3%
03/01/05
3.4%
11/01/78
4.9%
03/01/06
3.5%
05/01/79
5.5%
03/01/07
2.4%
10/01/79
5.6%
03/01/08
4.3%
03/01/09
0.0%
04/01/80
7.2%
09/01/80
4.0%
03/01/10
3.4%
03/01/81
3.6%
03/01/11
1.7%
03/01/82
8.7%
03/01/12
3.2%
03/01/83
3.9%
03/01/13
1.7%
03/01/84
3.3%
03/01/14
1.5%
03/01/85
3.5%
03/01/15
0.3%
03/01/86
N/A
03/01/16
0.4%
03/01/87
0.7%
03/01/17
2.0%
03/01/88
4.5%
03/01/18
2.2%
03/01/89
4.4%
03/01/19
1.8%
03/01/20
2.3%
Prior to September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest multiple of $.23 on a weekly basis ($.23, $.46, $.69, or $.92). After September 7, 1974, the new compensation after adding the CPI is rounded to the nearest $1.00 on a monthly basis or the nearest $.25 on a weekly basis ($.25, $.50, $.75, or $1.00).
New compensation ratesPrior to 11/1/74Eff. 11/1/74Prior to 11/1/74 .08-.34 = .23
Eff. 11/1/74 .13-.37 = .25
.35-.57 = .46
.38-.62 = .50
.58-.80 = .69
.63-.87 = .75
.81-.07 = .92
.88-.12 = 1.00
ATTACHMENT TO FECA BULLETIN NO. 20 - 04
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-04
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-05
Issue Date: March 31, 2020
Subject: Federal Employees Contracting COVID-19 in Performance oF Duty
Background: The Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) covers injury in the performance of duty; injury includes a disease proximately caused by federal employment. The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL) Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC) provides to an employee injured while in the performance of duty, the services, appliances, and supplies prescribed or recommended by a qualified physician, which OWCP considers "likely to cure, give relief, reduce the degree or the period of disability, or aid in lessening the amount of the monthly compensation." See 5 U.S.C. 8103. FECA pays compensation for disability or death of an employee resulting from injury in the performance of duty.
While all federal employees who contract COVID-19 related to their federal employment are entitled to FECA coverage, special case handling considerations apply to those employees engaged in high-risk employment. In the case of COVID-19, federal employees who are required to have in-person and close proximity interactions with the public on a frequent basis '' such as members of law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel '' will be considered to be in high-risk employment triggering the application of Chapter 2-0805-6 of the FECA Procedure Manual. In such cases, there is an implicit recognition of a higher likelihood of infection related to such federal employment. OWCP DFEC recognizes that certain kinds of employment routinely present situations that may lead to infection by contact with sneezes, droplet infection, bodily secretions, and surfaces on which the COVID-19 virus may reside. Conditions such as COVID-19 (like the diseases covered in Chapter 2-0805-6) more commonly represent a work hazard in health care facilities, correctional institutions, and drug treatment centers, among others. The employment-related incidence of COVID-19 appears more likely to occur among members of law enforcement, first responders, and front-line medical and public health personnel, and among those whose employment causes them to come into direct and frequent in-person and close proximity contact with the public.
DOL has created new procedures to specifically address COVID-19 claims. Employees filing a claim for workers' compensation coverage as a result of COVID-19 should file Form CA-1, Federal Employee's Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation. The new procedures will also call the adjudicator's attention to the type of employment held by the employee, rather than burdening the employee with identifying the exact day or time they contracted the novel coronavirus.
Purpose: To provide targeted instructions to claims staff on the handling of COVID-19 FECA claims by federal employees.
Action:
A special indicator has been assigned to all COVID-19 claims. The indicator is available for input in the Employees' Compensation and Management Portal (ECOMP) or can be added by case-create clerks where the form is received on paper or by fax. However, where the indicator is not included (such as in cases where the agency uses its own electronic data interchange (EDI) system or where the agency did not elect to use the indicator available in ECOMP), claims examiners should alert their District Director that the COVID-19 indicator must be added.An OWCP DFEC COVID-19 Task Force has been created to help ensure cases are handled expeditiously in a fair and consistent manner. The Task Force will review all COVID-19 claims development and adjudications.EXPOSURE FROM HIGH-RISK EMPLOYMENT: If a COVID-19 claim is filed by a person in high-risk employment (by job category or otherwise confirmed by the employer1), OWCP DFEC will accept that the exposure to COVID-19 was proximately caused by the nature of the employment. If the employer supports the claim and that the exposure occurred, and the CA-1 is filed within 30 days, the employee is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay for up to 45 days.EXPOSURE FROM OTHER EMPLOYMENT: If a COVID-19 claim is filed by a person whose position is not considered high-risk, OWCP DFEC will require the claimant to provide a factual statement and any available evidence concerning exposure. The employing agency will also be expected to provide OWCP DFEC with any information they have regarding the alleged exposure, and to indicate whether they are supporting or controverting the claim. If the employer supports the claim, including that the exposure occurred, and the CA-1 is filed within 30 days, the employee is eligible to receive Continuation of Pay for up to 45 days.TESTING: The results of any COVID-19 testing should be submitted to OWCP if available. If the employee has encountered difficulty in obtaining such testing, OWCP will authorize such testing if the employee is working in high-risk employment or otherwise has a confirmed COVID-19 employment exposure.MEDICAL: Medical evidence establishing a diagnosis of COVID-19 is needed. You will need to provide medical evidence establishing that the diagnosed COVID-19 was aggravated, accelerated, precipitated, or directly caused by your work-related activities. For health and safety reasons, claimants may wish to use telehealth to obtain medical evidence from a qualified physician '' OWCP encourages this flexibility.CAUSAL RELATIONSHIP: Establishing causal relationship generally requires a qualified physician's opinion, based on a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that the diagnosed condition is causally related to employment conditions. This opinion must be based on a complete factual and medical background. In the case of high-risk employment, the factual and medical background would include the physician's recognition that the employee is engaged in high-risk employment that included exposure to COVID-19 while in federal employment. See D.M. (T.M.) Docket No. 19-0358 (issued March 19, 2020) (ECAB found the employee's death due to meningococcemia was causally related to her high-risk employment as a nurse at the employing establishment, as her employment routinely presented situations which could lead to infection by contact with human blood, bodily secretions, and other substances.)USE OF THE DISTRICT MEDICAL ADVISOR (DMA): In the case of high-risk employment where testing establishes a diagnosis of COVID-19 but no physician's signature is on file following appropriate development, the CE may use the DMA to establish the diagnosis and provide the above-referenced recognition that the employee is engaged in high-risk employment that included exposure to COVID-19 while in federal employment.DISABILITY: FECA pays compensation for partial or total disability of an employee resulting from injury in the performance of duty. Just as with other conditions/claims, disability is claimed by the filing of a CA-7, Claim for Compensation, with the employing agency and requires an incapacity because of an employment-related injury to earn wages.1 A real-time list of occupational codes and/or job series, including the geographic locations where the high-risk determination has been flagged by the agency, will be available to OWCP staff to assist OWCP's determination that the position falls within that category.
Applicability: Appropriate National and District Office personnel.
Disposition: This bulletin is to be retained until incorporated into the Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forFederal Employees' CompensationDistribution: All DFEC Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-05
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
FECA BULLETIN NO. 20-06
Issue Date: June 5, 2020
Subject: Change in collection procedures for debt owed to the Division of Federal Employees' Compensation (DFEC).
Background: 20 CFR §10.441(b) provides that when an overpayment has been made to an individual who is not entitled to further payments, the individual shall refund to the Office of Workers' Compensation (OWCP) the amount of the overpayment as soon as the error is discovered or his or her attention is called to the same.
The overpayment is subject to the provisions of the Federal Claims Collection Act of 1966 (as amended), 31 U.S.C. §§ 3701-3720A, and may be reported to the Internal Revenue Service as income. If the individual fails to make such refund and the overpayment cannot be recovered from continuing compensation, the OWCP may recover the debt through any available means, including offset of salary, annuity benefits, or other Federal payments, including tax refunds as authorized by the Tax Refund Offset Program, or referral of the debt to a collection agency or to the Department of Justice.
Previously, if DFEC could not recover an overpayment from continuing compensation or through similar, alternative means, the debtor was required to submit a paper check by mail.
If a payment was not received in response to the Final Overpayment Determination, DFEC staff issued demand letters and referred the debt to the Treasury for collection, when appropriate.
Applicability: Appropriate National Office and District Office personnel.
Reference: 5 U.S. C. § 8129, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3701-3720A, 20 C.F.R. §10.441, Chapter 6-0100, Introduction and Chapter 6-0500, Debt Liquidation, Part 6, Debt Management, Federal (FECA) Procedure Manual.
Action:
Once a Final Overpayment Determination has been issued to a debtor, and recovery cannot be made from continuing compensation payments, DFEC staff will refer the debt and a copy of the decision to National Office for submission to Treasury's Centralized Receivable Service (CRS). CRS will collect payments on behalf of the program and pursue collection actions including referrals for Cross Servicing.Payments received through CRS will be posted to the account via the debt management application in the integrated Federal Employees' Compensation System (iFECS).Disposition: This bulletin should be retained until incorporated into Chapter 6-0500, Debt Liquidation, of the FECA Procedure Manual.
ANTONIO RIOSDirector forFederal Employees' Compensation
Distribution: All DFEC Staff
Back to Top of FECA Bulletin No. 20-06
Back to FECA Bulletins (2020-2024) Table of Contents
Horse-Bleep: How 4 Calls on Animal Ivermectin Launched a False FDA-Media Attack on a Life-Saving Human Medicine - by Mary Beth Pfeiffer and Linda Bonvie - RESCUE with Michael Capuzzo
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:37
RESCUE with Michael Capuzzo is on
Substack '' the place for independent writing
BLM Co-Founder Appointed as a Los Angeles County Commissioner: 'Trained Marxist'
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:31
A Black Lives Matter co-founder who once admitted that she had been ''trained'' to be a Marxist organizer has been appointed to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.
Patrisse Cullors recently revealed the move in a newsletter to her supporters, titled ''The Abolitionist's Update on Art and Activism.'' She said she ''came back and hit the ground running'' after ''some much needed time of rest.'' In May, Cullors stepped down as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation following a controversy surrounding her property purchases.
''I'm thrilled to continue to weave my roles as artist and organizer, where I can continue to support Black creatives,'' Cullors wrote in the update sent last week. ''I have a ton of to-do's on my list. I won't share them now. Just stay put and watch as they unfold.''
''I truly believe Black creatives are the backbone of our society and community,'' she continued. ''We are often under represented and under resourced. But I plan on advocating for the full support of Black creatives across my beautiful ass city!''
Cullors was appointed to the commission by L.A. County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, a Democrat. The group functions in an advisory role to the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors, the governing body of America's most populated county. A press release from Mitchell's office said, ''Cullors will serve on behalf of the 2 million residents of the Second District,'' which is represented by Mitchell and includes Watts, Compton, Inglewood, and Koreatown.
''Art is a powerful tool in helping to connect, envision and create a better world,'' said Sup. Mitchell. ''Patrisse has demonstrated her understanding of this and has experience using various mediums of art and community engagement to inspire and create change. Patrisse shares my commitment to equity and justice and will use her creativity to make arts and culture more accessible for the residents throughout the Second District.''
According to Mitchell's office, ''There are over 107 arts organizations that primarily serve Second District residents and are using a wide range of artistic mediums to address key social justice challenges that include: anti-recidivism, healing trauma, and dismantling systemic racism.''
Cullors has been creating art to complement her grassroots activism for at least seven years. During that time, she emerged as one of the most prominent organizers in Southern California and led numerous efforts and organizations demanding systemic change. The first meeting of what would become the Black Lives Matter Global Network took place at an L.A. art center called St. Elmo's Village, known as a black artists' community. Street protest dances, poetry, and other artistic concepts are often incorporated into her projects and demonstrations.
''Artists and cultural workers historically and presently play a significant role in shaping movements,'' Cullors said in 2018 after she joined the faculty of the Social Justice and Community Organizing program at Arizona's Prescott College. She created a course examining how social practice, cultural work, and art impact community organizing.
Cullors recently co-founded ''a reimagined art gallery and studio located in the Second District that is dedicated to shifting the trauma-induced conditions of poverty and economic injustice through the lens of Inglewood and its community,'' according to Mitchell's office.
''We can create meaningful change by investing in our imaginations and collective skills, give dollars towards beautifying our communities with art that is for us and by us, and continue to educate and amplify what justice can look like if we first invest in ourselves,'' said Cullors. ''All of these areas of work are areas that the Department of Arts and Culture is also committed to, and I am very excited to join this collaboration as an Arts Commissioner.''
During a 2015 interview, Cullors said both she and fellow BLM co-founder Alicia Garza were ''trained Marxists,'' and that ideological theory had been influential in building the BLM movement.
Cullors is not the first Black Lives Matter leader appointed as an L.A. County commissioner.
This is an excerpt from The Daily Wire.
Scroll down to leave a comment and share your thoughts.
Who is 400 Mawozo, the Haitian gang accused of kidnapping American missionaries? - The Washington Post
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:26
But for Haitians rich and poor, gang violence and kidnappings for ransom have become a tragically common facet of life.
Abductions by the busload: Haitians are being held hostage by a surge in kidnappings
Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country, holds the grim record of the world's highest kidnapping rate per capita. One gang '-- 400 Mawozo '-- was responsible for 80 percent of abductions in Haiti from June through September, according to G(C)d(C)on Jean, director of the Center for Analysis and Research in Human Rights in Port-au-Prince.
Experts say the group is probably behind Saturday's kidnapping, too.
Story continues below advertisement
Here's what to know about 400 Mawozo and Haiti's gang violence.
American missionaries and family members kidnapped in Haiti by '400 Mawozo' gang, groups say
Members of Ohio-based Christian Aid Ministries, including 16 Americans and one Canadian, were kidnapped in Haiti on Oct. 17 near Port-au-Prince. (Reuters)What to knowWho is 400 Mawozo? Who else have they targeted? Why are gangs surging in Haiti? Why are kidnappings so common in Haiti?
Dozens of US nuclear lab workers sue over vaccine mandate
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:22
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) '-- Workers at one of the nation's premier nuclear weapons laboratories face a deadline Friday '-- be vaccinated or prepare to be fired.
A total of 114 workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory '-- the birthplace of the atomic bomb '-- are suing over the mandate, saying exemptions have been unduly denied and their constitutional rights are being violated by Triad National Security LLC, the contractor that runs the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy.
It will be up to a state district judge whether to grant an injunction to prevent employees from being fired while the merits of the case are decided. A hearing was underway Thursday.
The lawsuit alleges that lab management has been harassing employees and has created a hostile work environment. The complaint outlines the experiences of many of the workers, including one who was screamed at for not being vaccinated and was told by a fellow crew member that he and his family deserved to die.
The lab has declined to comment on the lawsuit and has not answered questions about the current vaccination rate among employees, whether any exemptions have been approved or what will happen to employees who refuse to be inoculated when Friday rolls around.
The plaintiffs include scientists, nuclear engineers, project managers, research technicians and others who have some of the highest security clearances in the nation for the work they do. Some employees said many of those who could lose their jobs are specialists in their fields and would be difficult to replace in the short term.
Some of the employees who are part of the lawsuit have worked for Los Alamos lab for decades, while others are newer hires who have relocated to New Mexico from other states and countries. Thirty-four of them are named in the lawsuit and 80 have opted to remain anonymous, citing fears of retaliation.
While the lab said last week that more than 96% of workers had at least one shot, it's not known yet how many have received a second dose. Some workers have estimated that the percentage of those fully vaccinated by Friday will be lower.
Some employees have estimated the lab could lose anywhere from 4% to 10% of the workforce because of the mandate.
''In any organization there are people, not always recognized, who quietly make the work of others possible. Lose them, and you are in trouble,'' said Greg Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group, a watchdog group that has been monitoring lab activities for years.
The lab currently employs nearly 14,000 and is among the largest employers in New Mexico. It's also located in a county that is among the most affluent in the U.S. because of its high population of Ph.Ds.
Attorney Jonathan Diener, who is representing the workers in their lawsuit, said the case includes a wealth of scientific information to consider, but he was hopeful the judge would make a decision soon because people's lives stand to be upended.
The lawsuit cites statements made over the last year by top officials in the U.S. and with the World Health Organization in which they noted that there is more to be learned about how the vaccines reduce infection and how effective they are when it comes to preventing infected people from passing it on.
''The fact that the vaccines have only been shown to reduce symptoms of the recipient and not prevent infection or transmission is a fact extremely important to plaintiffs' claims,'' the lawsuit states.
Since the lab's vaccination rate already is thought to be high, Mello said forcing the few holdouts to get shots would make no epidemiological difference.
''If LANL doesn't have herd immunity at this point, there is no basis for the mandate. LANL is not being scientific,'' he said.
Some of the workers have raised similar arguments, saying the high degree of scrutiny that is required of them when working with nuclear weapons or other high-level projects is not being applied on the vaccine front despite the lab's extensive modeling work for the state on spread and other COVID-19 related trends.
Lab Director Thomas Mason has said the pandemic has had a serious impact on the lab, citing higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in unvaccinated employees. However, employees who are pushing back said the cases among the unvaccinated would naturally be higher because the lab had removed vaccinated employees from its regular testing pool.
At Sandia National Laboratories, based in Albuquerque, all employees and subcontractors must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 or file for an exemption by Friday. Lab managers made COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for new hires on Sept. 13.
So far, more than 88% of Sandia employees, interns, post-doctoral staffers and contractors at sites in New Mexico and California are fully vaccinated.
In New Mexico, nearly 72% of people 18 and over are fully vaccinated. That percentage hasn't moved much in recent weeks as more people are pushing back against the vaccines.
Schumer: Use DOGS to keep airport security lines moving if vaccination rule creates staff shortage | Daily Mail Online
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 09:22
Chuck Schumer has suggested using sniffer dogs to replace people at airports if the fast-approaching deadline for COVID vaccinations for all staff causes a shortage of workers.
The Senate Majority leader, who represents New York, told a press conference in Manhattan that he had a solution for Thanksgiving travel chaos.
About 40 per cent of TSA workers are currently at risk of being fired for refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine.
Approximately 24,000 employees, including some airport screeners, have until November 22 - the Monday before Thanksgiving - to get the shot or risk being fired under President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for all federal workers.
But Schumer said he could avert chaos with the help of four-legged replacements for human staffers.
'If TSA lags in jabs, send in the dogs,' he said.
'There is no reason on God's green Earth why anyone '-- let alone a TSA agent '-- shouldn't have the vaccine.
'Now if the agency plans now with contingencies, including the deployment of the canine dog teams, wherever the vaccine rates are impacting staffing and security, travel headaches can be avoided,' Schumer said.
Chuck Schumer on Sunday (pictured) suggested the TSA 'send in the dogs' to replace workers who refused to get vaccinated, and were fired as a result
A bomb sniffer dog, Rufus, is seen at work in an airport in Arlington, Virginia. Schumer suggested the dogs could be more widely used
He said his idea 'really works' and should be seriously considered.
'The canine teams are really effective,' he said.
'They can help secure national security and allow TSA agents to more effectively and efficiently screen individuals for explosives. It really works and moves the lines along.'
He added that the TSA should 'particularly look at New York' to try out his idea, given the large numbers of passengers passing through and the low vaccination rate among TSA workers in the city.
Schumer's suggestion was widely mocked online.
'Fear not! Chuck Schumer has solved it. Dogs! (Not Babylon bee or onion),' said one, referring to two satirical news websites.
'Can these dogs replace stupid Senators? @SenSchumer,' another joked.
Another critic added: 'To be fair, a dog would be a much better senator than Chuck Schumer.'
Only about 60 percent of the TSA has been vaccinated, Transportation Safety Administrator David Pekoske told CNN on Wednesday
'That number needs to go up quite a bit higher over the next few weeks.'
But meeting the deadline is already tight.
The last possible date for a TSA agent to get a Pfizer vaccine is October 18, and the last day to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine already passed on October 11.
Pfizer requires a three-week waiting period between doses, and Moderna requires a four-week waiting time.
The last possible date to get a single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine is November 8 - two weeks before the deadline.
Anyone without at least one shot could face disciplinary action as early as November 9, the Office of Personnel Management announced October 1, noting that failure to comply with the federal mandate is an act of misconduct.
Approximately 24,000 TSA workers have until November 22 - the Monday before Thanksgiving - to get the COVID vaccine or risk being fired under President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate for all federal workers
In order to meet the deadline, they have until October 18 to get their first Pfizer dose or November 8 to get a single Johnson and Johnson vaccine
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that vaccine mandates should not divide people, as he warned that more directives for private businesses could be coming
The office recommended agencies begin to pursue 'progressive discipline' by November 9 for any employee who has not begun the vaccination process, according to Federal News Network.
'Agencies are encouraged to consider whether lesser disciplinary penalties are adequate, as an initial matter, to encourage an employee to be vaccinated, such as a short suspension of 14 days or less,' said an office official.
If the unvaccinated federal worker demonstrates at any point during the suspension that they are taking steps to comply with the mandate, though, the OPM says agencies should effectively pause disciplinary action and give them a deadline for receiving a final dose and providing proof of vaccination.
Once they have provided that proof, agencies should stop the disciplinary process.
But if the temporary suspension does not compel the employee to get vaccinated, the OPM recommends agencies consider greater disciplinary measures - including termination.
The office pointed to Mazares v Department of Navy, in which the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the Navy's decision to fire two civilian employees who refused to get the anthrax vaccine before a deployment on a naval ship to Korea.
The court ruled at the time that the employees' termination was not excessive as they were fired because they failed to obey a direct order from a supervisor.
In the interview with CNN, Pekoske said he is 'very hopeful' that the agency's employees can meet the deadline, and there will not be worker shortages.
Still, he said: 'We are building contingency plans for if we do have some staffing shortages as a result of this, but I hope to avoid that.'
He said he has been holding employee town halls to encourage TSA workers to get the vaccine so they will not be fired.
In total, the agency reports, more than 10,000 employees have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, with 30 deaths associated with COVID.
There are now 335 employees currently on leave with the virus.
Nationwide, the CDC says the rate of transmission remains high, even as there were only 84,086 new cases reported nationwide on October 12, with 1,252 deaths.
About 65.6 percent of all Americans have had at least one dose of the COVID vaccine as of Wednesday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control, and 56.6 percent are fully vaccinated.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske said he has been holding employee town halls to encourage TSA workers, like the screener seen here, to get the vaccine so they will not be fired
In total, the agency reports , more than 10,000 employees have contracted the virus since the start of the pandemic, with 30 deaths associated with COVID
Pekoske also said he has contingency plans in place to avoid long lines at the TSA screening checkpoints over the holiday season
Biden announced the mandate for all federal workers last month, and said on Thursday that vaccine mandates shouldn't divide Americans.
He warned that more directives were coming for private businesses.
'Let's be clear, vaccination requirements should not be another issue that divides us,' Biden said.
'That's why I continue to battle the misinformation out there.'
A proposed rule that would mandate vaccines for companies with more than 100 people is also moving forward, with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration submitting the rule to the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday.
The rule will be implemented once OMB's review is complete and it's published in the Federal Register.
'The Labor Department will soon issue an emergency rule for companies with 100 or more employees to implement vaccination requirements among their workforce,' Biden said Thursday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki wouldn't give a timeline when asked about the rule on Wednesday.
'We don't, as a ... longstanding practice, comment on the timeline of how long that takes because we want to allow that process to happen,' she answered.
'But, you know, it should be an indication that it's there and now it is being reviewed.
'And once it is finalized and through the [Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs] process and review, it will be posted publicly in the Federal Register and you will all have access to every detail of it.'
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly told CNBC on Tuesday he believes businesses should not impose COVID vaccine mandates on their employers.
'I've never been in favor of corporations imposing that kind of mandate,' he said. 'I'm not in favor of that, never have been.
'But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees and all federal contractors, which covers all the major airlines have to have a mandate in place by December 8, so we're working through that.'
He said the week before, that 56,000 employees still had to be vaccinated in accordance with the mandate.
The announcement came just a few days after Southwest Airlines had to cancel almost 2,000 flights over the weekend.
Mike Van de Ven, the president of the airline, told employees in a video on Sunday that staffing shortages were to blame.
The airline, meanwhile, initially told the public that air traffic control issues in Florida caused the problem, but the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) then issued a statement saying there were problems for a few hours on Friday, but not at the weekend.
Furious passengers said that they were told in airports that the cancellations were due to Southwest employees walking out in protest at the airline's decision to enforce COVID-19 vaccinations.
But the airline said that that was not the case, and that poor weather in Jacksonville, Florida, sparked a cascading effect.
'Southwest Airlines extends a tremendous apology to our Customers and Employees for the flight cancellations and delays which occurred over the weekend and on Monday,' the airline said.
'On Friday evening, the airline ended the day with numerous cancellations, primarily created by weather and other external constraints, which left aircraft and Crews out of pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday.
'Unfortunately, the out-of-place aircraft and continued strain on our Crew resources created additional cancelations across our point-to-point network that cascaded throughout the weekend and into Monday.
'Southwest Teams have been working diligently to restore stability to the network, and we are experiencing less disruptions on Monday. We hope to restore our full schedule as soon as possible.
'As a note, the operational challenges were not a result of Southwest Employee demonstrations.'
ALL CLIPS
VIDEO - Donald Trump announces launch of 'TRUTH' social media site - YouTube
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 12:10
VIDEO - LEAKED White House Audio Of DOJ Lawyer Mocking Religious Exemptions - YouTube
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:49
VIDEO - VIDEO: Mount Aso erupts in Kyushu, Japan - Insider Paper
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:44
Mount Aso, one of the world's largest volcano, in Kumamoto Prefecture erupted at 11:43 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Agency.
The agency issued a level 3 volcanic activity alert, advising people not to approach the area. The alert includes the cities of Aso and Takamori, as well as the village of Minami-Aso. On the five-tiered scale, a level 3 alert is the third highest.
VIDEO: Mount Aso, one of the largest volcano in world, erupts in Kyushu, JapanOctober 19, 2021 11:44 pm
Polina TikhonovaPolina Tikhonova from Kyiv is Insider Paper's Editor/Writer. Besides editing pieces, Polina covers articles with a focus on World affairs and politics at Insider Paper. Polina holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. Her articles and news reports have been published by many newspapers, magazines, journals, blogs, and online media sources across the globe. Polina is fluent in English, German, Ukrainian, and Russian.
VIDEO - (17) Variety on Twitter: ""Your jokes are promoting hateful and discriminatory behavior and conversation, and that is what hurts us," says @eurekaohara at the #NetflixWalkout. https://t.co/OsrDv4QD1O https://t.co/5obnHIfFR9" / Twitter
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:38
Variety : "Your jokes are promoting hateful and discriminatory behavior and conversation, and that is what hurts us," says'... https://t.co/9VEZYBhWQ9
Wed Oct 20 18:26:57 +0000 2021
VIDEO - University Of Denver To Require Flu Vaccine: 'We're Taking This Seriously' '' CBS Denver
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:22
DENVER (CBS4) '' With cold and flu season approaching on Colorado University is requiring everyone on campus to get another vaccine shot. Earlier this month, health officials from the University of Denver announced they would require all students and staff to get a flu vaccine by mid-December.
(credit: CBS)
''If history tells us anything, we expect it is very likely going to be a very aggressive flu season,'' said Michael LaFarr the Executive Director of health and Counseling at DU. ''It's a part of our overall plan to protect our community. The health and wellbeing of our community.''
DU has had an aggressive policy against COVID-19 to keep students in the classroom. Students and staff are required to take a saliva test every nine days. Because of aggressive testing, coronavirus positivity has remained well below 1% this year. With similar symptoms between COVID and flu, the school said it would bring back the flu vaccine requirement this year.
''From people living in the residence halls to close proximity of the classrooms, it puts us at greater risk than other environments. So, we need as many safety mechanisms along the way to protect and we've got a vaccine,'' LaFarr said.
READ MORE: Gov. Jared Polis Receives Flu Shot, Urges Others To Keep Hospitals From Filling UpOn Monday, Gov. Jared Polis got his flu vaccine and said with more than 1,000 people hospitalized from COVID, a secondary surge of patients with the flu would push many hospitals beyond their capacity.
(credit: CBS)
''We are in a situation where we simply can't afford as a state to have our normal flu numbers, we've got to beat this thing,'' Polis said. ''We've got to keep that number low and the best way to do that is get vaccinated.''
Officials around DU believe their stringent health policies are appreciated on campus. Hundreds more students are on campus than last year, and vaccine clinics are planned each week for the rest of the semester.
''Our enrollment numbers are through the roof,'' said LaFarr. ''I think people are recognizing we're taking this seriously, we're protecting them. Sure, I can't say every person is on board, but I would say the vast majority are.''
Jeff Todd Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver headquarters. More from Jeff Todd
VIDEO - (11) X Strategies LLC on Twitter: "CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says that they will continue to recommend schools have mask mandates even after the FDA approves vaccinations for children: "As we head into these winter months, we cannot be compla
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:14
X Strategies LLC : CDC Director Rochelle Walensky says that they will continue to recommend schools have mask mandates even after the'... https://t.co/cL4BfRre7R
Wed Oct 20 14:49:25 +0000 2021
joseph stricker : @XStrategiesLLC Let's go Brandon
Thu Oct 21 02:41:53 +0000 2021
aldc71 : @XStrategiesLLC Nope
Wed Oct 20 22:36:06 +0000 2021
Griffin Mill : @XStrategiesLLC Trumpy PAC misconstrues what she says
Wed Oct 20 21:27:29 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Greenville: GE employees plan walkout over vaccine mandate
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 11:01
YOUR HEALTH EMPLOYEES IN GENERAL ELECTION GENERAL ELECTRIC IN GREENVILLE, OR STAGING A WALKOUT ASHE T COMPANY NOW REQUIRES ALL WORKERS TO GET VACCINATED AGAINST COVID9 -1THE MANDATE FALLS IN LINE WITH THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S EXECUTIVE ORDER REQUIRING FEDERAL CONTRACTORS TO BE VACCINATED NOW AN EMPLOYEE TELLS WYFF NEWS FOR THE WALKOUT IS SCHEDULED FOR THURSDA Y MORNING AT 10:45. YOU KNOW A LOT OF PEOP'L'S GONNA LEAV AE HALF A DAY TOMORROW TO ME OVER THERE ACROSS THE STREET AND TALK ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THEIR BELIEFS AND WHAT WE THINK WE NEED TO DO AND A LOT OF PEOPLE'S NOT SHOWINGP TO U WORK FOR THIS FRIDAY AND PEOPLE WILL SHOW UP NEXT WEEK, BUT HONESTLY BELIEVE THIS S GO IING TO BE AT LEAST ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK FROM HERE ON OUT LE IKTHESE THE SE AGAINST THIS WE HAVE TO IN RESPONSE TO ETH PLAEDNN WALKOUT GE SAYS QUOTE. ALL GE US EMPYEESLO WILL BE FULLY VACCINATED OR RECEIVE A MEDICAL OR RELIGUSIO ACCOMMODATION BY DECEMBER 8TH AS REQUIRED IN THE ORDER AND QUOTE NOW GOVERNOR HENRY MCMASRTE HAS SAID SOUTH CAROLINA WILL NOT STOP BUSINESSSE FROM MANDATING COVID-19 VACCINE SAYING THE DOESN'T
General Electric employees in Greenville plan walkout in response to vaccine mandate
"The majority of the shop is against the federal government forcing anything on an individual," worker says
In response to a vaccine mandate, General Electric employees in Greenville said they're expecting a "strong turnout" for a planned walkout.WYFF News 4 received a tip saying workers will be staging a walkout from the GE Gas Power Service Center at 10:45 am Thursday.The companywide mandate at GE falls in line with the Biden administration's executive order that requires all federal contractors to be vaccinated.RELATED: SC governor vows to fight Biden administration threats over COVID-19 rulesWhen asked for a response to the walkout, a spokesperson for GE said: "All GE U.S. employees will be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious accommodation by December 8th as required in the order."An employee, who didn't want his name use and who has worked at the plant for 16 years, told WYFF News 4 that they were told about they mandate last week. "So we have to be fully vaccinated by December 8 and that means for us to start getting these shots, we need to do it within the next two weeks to be able to comply with that deadline," he said. Gov. Henry McMaster has said that South Carolina will not stop businesses from mandating COVID-19 vaccines because the state doesn't have the authority to do so.
GREENVILLE, S.C. '--In response to a vaccine mandate, General Electric employees in Greenville said they're expecting a "strong turnout" for a planned walkout.
WYFF News 4 received a tip saying workers will be staging a walkout from the GE Gas Power Service Center at 10:45 am Thursday.
The companywide mandate at GE falls in line with the Biden administration's executive order that requires all federal contractors to be vaccinated.
RELATED: SC governor vows to fight Biden administration threats over COVID-19 rules
When asked for a response to the walkout, a spokesperson for GE said: "All GE U.S. employees will be fully vaccinated or receive a medical or religious accommodation by December 8th as required in the order."
An employee, who didn't want his name use and who has worked at the plant for 16 years, told WYFF News 4 that they were told about they mandate last week.
"So we have to be fully vaccinated by December 8 and that means for us to start getting these shots, we need to do it within the next two weeks to be able to comply with that deadline," he said.
Gov. Henry McMaster has said that South Carolina will not stop businesses from mandating COVID-19 vaccines because the state doesn't have the authority to do so.
VIDEO - Plan for Vaccinating Kids Ages 5-11 - YouTube
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:12
VIDEO - True North on Twitter: "Are you as eager as the government of Ontario is to vaccinate your kids? #onpoli #cdnpoli https://t.co/1onnzZvZMM" / Twitter
Thu, 21 Oct 2021 10:00
True North : Are you as eager as the government of Ontario is to vaccinate your kids? #onpoli #cdnpoli https://t.co/1onnzZvZMM
Tue Oct 19 20:05:00 +0000 2021
imalush : @TrueNorthCentre Is she even real? Looks like a fuzzy hologram. Even the bg is more clearer than her projection.
Thu Oct 21 05:28:53 +0000 2021
Scott AO : @TrueNorthCentre "forces on the ground"??? This is psychotic for so many reasons
Thu Oct 21 04:36:33 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Dark Winter - YouTube
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 21:07
VIDEO - Board of Education Meeting October 18, 2021 - YouTube
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 18:54
VIDEO - Bernie's Tweets on Twitter: "ITALY - Head of Police brigade throws off his helmet in disgust, at the water canons & tear gas used against civilians protesting the loss of human rights. "Take it off, show it to the whole world!.. How can we do
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:21
Bernie's Tweets : ITALY - Head of Police brigade throws off his helmet in disgust, at the water canons & tear gas used against civili'... https://t.co/oUMP3bH5dj
Tue Oct 19 17:51:41 +0000 2021
VIDEO - E A on Twitter: "'...@adamcurry'(C) @joerogan they are laughing in our faces ! https://t.co/CSSpD0XaPn" / Twitter
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 16:16
E A : '...@adamcurry'(C) @joerogan they are laughing in our faces ! https://t.co/CSSpD0XaPn
Wed Oct 20 15:59:34 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Blind Joe - I WILL NOT COMPLY!!! (A #ttribute to #Vegetables #Vitamins and #Truth) - YouTube
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 15:03
VIDEO - (21) Keith on Twitter: "If you're double jabbed start to worry. https://t.co/1lSfC3lTyL" / Twitter
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:45
Keith : If you're double jabbed start to worry. https://t.co/1lSfC3lTyL
Tue Oct 19 07:16:07 +0000 2021
Mat : @kent_keith Keith do you still have this tweet please it's been taken off my account
Wed Oct 20 13:25:49 +0000 2021
northern lass : @kent_keith https://t.co/372Gfz8SMF
Wed Oct 20 12:57:33 +0000 2021
kent erwin : @kent_keith @freedoms_rights What caused the pandemic in 1918? The first time mass use of new high power wireless r'... https://t.co/X8cmthJUWv
Wed Oct 20 12:07:27 +0000 2021
Consumer N83373160 : @kent_keith This is because a very high percentage in that demographic are fully vaccinated (over 80% over the age'... https://t.co/fJnfXh6kig
Wed Oct 20 11:30:42 +0000 2021
observer : @kent_keith Why when I try to view the quote retweets, am I greeted with this ðŸ¤-- https://t.co/2ho1fbv7pH
Wed Oct 20 10:46:11 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Sinclair TV stations crippled by weekend ransomware attack
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:36
Image: ThisisEngineering RAEng
Update October 18, 09:00 EST: Sinclair Broadcast Group has confirmed that it was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend [press release, SEC filing]. Sinclair also said attackers have also stolen data from the company's network.
On October 16, 2021, the Company identified and began to investigate and take steps to contain a potential security incident. On October 17, 2021, the Company identified that certain servers and workstations in its environment were encrypted with ransomware, and that certain office and operational networks were disrupted. Data also was taken from the Company's network. The Company is working to determine what information the data contained and will take other actions as appropriate based on its review.
Promptly upon detection of the security event, senior management was notified, and the Company implemented its incident response plan, took measures to contain the incident, and launched an investigation. Legal counsel, a cybersecurity forensic firm, and other incident response professionals were engaged. The Company also notified law enforcement and other governmental agencies. The forensic investigation remains ongoing.
While the Company is focused on actively managing this security event, the event has caused '' and may continue to cause '' disruption to parts of the Company's business, including certain aspects of its provision of local advertisements by its local broadcast stations on behalf of its customers. The Company is working diligently to restore operations quickly and securely.
As the Company is in the early stages of its investigation and assessment of the security event, the Company cannot determine at this time whether or not such event will have a material impact on its business, operations or financial results.
As the Company conducts its investigation, it will look for opportunities to enhance its existing security measures.
TV stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group broadcast television company went down over the weekend across the US, with multiple sources telling BleepingComputer a ransomware attack caused the downtime.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is a Fortune 500 media company (with annual revenues of $5.9 billion in 2020) and a leading local sports and news provider that owns multiple national networks.
Its operations include 185 television stations affiliated with Fox, ABC, CBS, NBC, and The CW (including 21 regional sports network brands), with approximately 620 channels in 87 markets across the US (amounting to almost 40% of all US households).
This is the second incident that impacted Sinclair's TV stations in July 2021, when the company asked all Sinclair stations to change passwords "as quickly as possible" following a security breach.
Ransomware attack likely behind TV stations going downSources have told BleepingComputer that a ransomware attack caused these significant technical issues. The attackers have been able to impact many TV stations via Sinclair's corporate Active Directory domain.
BleepingComputer was also told that they shut down Active Directory services for the domain, leading to wide disruption throughout the entire organization and affiliates by blocking access to domain resources across the network
Several corporate assets were taken down in the incident, including the email servers, broadcasting, and newsroom systems, forcing TV stations to create Gmail accounts to receive news tips from viewers and use PowerPoint for newscasts graphics.
Still a no go! #technology #technicaldifficulties pic.twitter.com/Lw4sAVTX2X
'-- Heather Kovar (@CBS6Heather) October 17, 2021While regional sports channels were largely not affected by the incident, there are reports that, in some US markets, local NFL games were replaced by national sports programming (such as bowling).
Because of the ongoing issues, some stations were also forced to switch to live Facebook streams instead of their regular newscasts, while others were forced to delay evening newscasts altogether [1, 2].
Still dealing with technical difficulties at @CBS6Albany '.... Our 11pm newscast (which is starting late after football) will be unconventional. We're working with handwritten notes, and it's going to be a bit more conversational. Tune in, and thanks for bearing with us! pic.twitter.com/D620UCD72F
'-- Leanne DeRosa (@CBS6Leanne) October 18, 2021Sinclair TV stations slowly recoveringSince reports of Sinclair TV stations going down began coming in, as first reported by The Record, some of them have managed to start broadcasting again. However, it's evident that the incident severely impacted them.
For instance, a source told BleepingComputer that, even though KABB is back up, they have issues with weather graphics.
WCHS is also up, with news stories from Fox NewsEdge being streamed straight out of a browser window in fullscreen, with WPGH and KOKH also having problems displaying their standard graphics
Others, like WBSF and WCWN, are now broadcasting different programming, switching from CW programming to "Charge!" subchannels.
A handful seems to have been more severely affected, such as WPFO, which did a half-hour newscast instead of the usual full hour, and WTAT and WRGB, who had to cancel their newscasts altogether.
A Sinclair spokesperson told BleepingComputer they company was the target of a ransomware attack after the story was published:
Sinclair Broadcast Group recently identified a cybersecurity incident involving our network. As a result of the incident, certain devices were encrypted with ransomware, data was taken from our environment, and certain business operations have been disrupted. Senior management was notified, and we implemented our incident response and business continuity protocols, took measures to contain the incident, and launched an investigation. A cybersecurity firm that has assisted other companies in similar circumstances was engaged, and law enforcement and other governmental agencies were notified.
We are working diligently to address the incident and to restore operations quickly and securely. As we work to complete the investigation, we will look for opportunities to enhance our existing security measures. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through this incident.
VIDEO - Whistleblower Physician Assistant Says NY Hospital Admissions Were 90% Vaccinated, Not Being Reported to VAERS
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:25
Physician Assistant Deborah Conrad had the hospital where she works track the patients admitted and their COVID-19 vaccination status. The hospital is United Memorial Medical Center, within the Rochester Regional Health System in New York.
Conrad's community reportedly has a less than 50% COVID-19 vaccination rate. Even so, the rate for hospital admissions were approximately 90% vaccinated.
GO AD-FREE, GET EXCLUSIVE CONTENT, BECOME A PREMIUM USER
MORE NEWS: EPIC TAKEDOWN: Based Irish Politician Calls Out Media's Dehumanization Of Pure Bloods
Aaron Siri, Conrad's attorney, sent a letter to the CDC and FDA on July 19. The letter stated, ''These patients were admitted for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to COVID-19 infections. Even more troubling is that there were many individuals who were young, many who presented with unusual or unexpected health events, and many who were admitted months after vaccination.''
Conrad said she contacted the health authorities to report the cases, but the CDC and FDA ignored her.
Additionally, doctors approached Conrad to report instances of adverse vaccine reactions, and Conrad volunteered to file such reports with VAERS. Siri said, ''In response, the Hospital told Ms. Conrad they were going to audit the VAERS reports that Ms. Conrad submitted because, 'in [her] clinical role and as a leader in the organization,' she was to 'support [the Hospital's] approach to the vaccine,' and submitting reports to VAERS apparently is contrary to its' approach to the vaccine.'''
Employees are mandated by law to report ''certain medical events arising after vaccination to VAERS.'' Fewer than one percent of instances, however, are in fact reported, Siri pointed out.
***FOLLOW US ON TELEGRAM***
''As explained before,'' the letter continued, ''unless and until under-reporting to VAERS is addressed, underreporting to a passive signal detection system will continue to blind health agencies, medical professionals, and patients from what is really occurring in the clinic and will render true informed consent impossible. With the drive to vaccinate every single American with COVID-19 vaccines, the safety of all Americans, literally, depends on this broken system. Fix it.''
Siri's letter has thus far been ignored.
VIDEO - BREAKING: Leaked audio reveals DOJ official questioning sincerity of Americans' religious exemptions to COVID vaccine | The Post Millennial
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:21
Custom made fan favorite Jerseys starting at $24.99 with
Fansidea
White House officials don't care about religious exemptions from vaccine mandates, and they don't think people who bring religious exemptions from vaccine mandates are "sincere" in their beliefs.
Human Events senior editor Jack Posobiec broke the news on Human Events Daily, exposing the Biden administration's complete disregard for Americans' religious liberty rights. DOJ attorney Marty Lederman can be heard on a phone call from September advising the administration as to how to combat employees religious exemption demands from the vaccine mandate.
In the leaked call, Lederman advises that in "cases, for instance in the New York case that's currently going on against the State of New York, the Thomas More Society is representing a bunch of doctors and nurses who claim that they would sin gravely in cooperation with the evil of abortion. How would they be doing so? The claim is that all three of the current vaccines, either have fetal cells that were obtained by abortions in the vaccine itself, or in the case of Pfizer and Moderna that those vaccines were tested using fetal cells that had been aborted, and even the connection to the previous testing, makes them cooperative with evil in a way that their religion prohibits.
"I don't want to say anything too categorical but I believe that this claim will be very difficult for agencies to successfully claim that's either insincere or not religious, even if it is. Even if we know that many of those claims are not sincere, or are sincere but not religions, this is the most common behavior you're going to confront probably, and it's likely that you will have to take as a given the employee's claim.
"Not always, right, but one response that some hospitals have started to give is, 'well do you know that Tylenol, and Tums, and Preparation H, those were all tested using aborted fetal cell lines, too.' And I expect that employees will then say 'well I didn't know that, but now that you tell me that and I'll stop using those products as well.'
"And then we will turn to the, 'what does the government have to do once the employee makes that shown.' And here, basically there is a compelling interest, obviously, in keeping our workforce and the public with which we interact safe from COVID."
Posobiec dug into this, noting that the administration doubts the sincerity of Americans' faith in claiming that they are so opposed to abortion that they do not want to benefit from aborted cells. In fact, it's not just that they don't think Americans are sincere in their beliefs, but to the extent that they may be, the administration seeks to find a way around those faith-based assertions.
The issue of abortion and Catholicism has been hotly contested since Biden took office, since the Catholic president has claimed that he is pro-abortion. The Washington Post went so far as to say that Catholics who oppose abortion are "right wing."
When asked about the President's stance on abortion, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed that his faith was personal, and could not answer as to how he reconciled his religious views with his progressive, pro-abortion stance.
"Joe Biden is a strong man of faith and as he noted just a couple of days ago, it's personal. He goes to church nearly every weekend. He even went when we were on our overseas trip. But it's personal to him, he doesn't see it through a political prism, and we're not going to comment on the inner workings of the Catholic Church," Psaki said. This after some US Catholic Bishops called for the president to be denied the Eucharist on account of his public pro-abortion position.
In addition to seeking to undermine Americans' religious liberty as regards choosing whether to take the vaccine or not, this administration has sought to force Catholic hospitals to perform sex-change surgeries and treat gender dysphoric patients with "gender-affirming" care.
VIDEO - Former CDC Director Gives Alarming Statistic on Fully Vaccinated COVID Deaths
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 13:18
Speaking during an interview with Fox News Monday afternoon, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said that more than 40 percent of people who have recently died from Wuhan coronavirus in Maryland were fully vaccinated.
"A lot of times people may feel it's a rare event that fully vaccinated people die. I happen to be the senior advisor to Governor Hogan in the state of Maryland. In the last 6-8 weeks, more than 40 percent of people who died in Maryland were fully vaccinated," Redfield said, responding to the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
At the time of his death from virus complications, Powell was also fighting a blood cancer that lowers the ability to stave off infection. According to the Maryland Department of Health, 65.7 percent of adults in the state are fully vaccinated.
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield, now senior advisor to Governor Hogan in MD- "In the last 6-8 weeks, more than 40% of the people who died in Maryland were fully vaccinated" pic.twitter.com/sBO2mwnc5p
'-- BBIsBak#4?? (@bbisback_4) October 19, 2021Dr. Robert Redfield just told @MarthaMacCallum on @Foxnews that 40% of the recent Covid deaths in the state of Maryland were among people who are fully vaccinated. Redfield says this under scores the importance of maintaining a high level of immunity.
'-- John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) October 18, 2021Redfield served as CDC director under President Donald Trump and currently works as an advisor for Maryland's Republican Governor Larry Hogan. His comments come as the Biden administration continues to push for booster shots and while the Food and Drug Administration works to approve mixing boosters from different companies.
From The Wall Street Journal:
The Food and Drug Administration is moving to soon allow people to receive booster shots that are different from their first Covid-19 vaccine doses, people familiar with the matter said.
The FDA won't recommend any booster over the others but will permit people to get a booster shot that is different from the shot they first received, one of the people familiar with the matter said.
The FDA is seeking to authorize mixing and matching as soon as this week, the people familiar with the matter said. The FDA is also expected to approve Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson boosters this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
VIDEO - Video
Wed, 20 Oct 2021 00:13
Privacy
VIDEO - John King discloses he is immunocompromised - CNN
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 21:41
By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
Updated 3:48 PM EDT, Tue October 19, 2021
New York(CNN Business) CNN anchor and Chief National Correspondent John King told viewers on Tuesday that he has multiple sclerosis and is immunocompromised.
"I'm going to share a secret I've never shared before," King said. "I have multiple sclerosis. So I'm grateful you're all vaccinated."
The disclosure came on King's program, "Inside Politics," during a discussion about how General Colin Powell, who died of coronavirus complications, was more vulnerable to the virus because he also had multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that suppresses the body's immune response.
King pointed out that people should get vaccinated not only to protect themselves, but also to protect those who are immunocompromised. People with certain medical conditions are still more susceptible than others to catching Covid-19 even after being vaccinated because they are less likely to mount an immune response, or may have a harder time fighting the infection.
King said that he is grateful CNN has mandated employees be vaccinated and said he worries about contracting the coronavirus and "bringing it home to my 10-year-old son who can't get a vaccine."
"I don't like the government telling me what to do, I don't like my boss telling me what to do," King said. "In this case it's important."
During the segment, King also discussed how some right-wing media figures, such as Fox News host Tucker Carlson, were dishonestly using Powell's death to cast doubt on the effectiveness of vaccines.
King called Carlson's behavior "reckless."
VIDEO - These Herbal Medicines Prove Effective In Treating COVID-19 Symptoms, Study Shows
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 21:39
KEY POINTSLagundi and tawa-tawa were able to relieve mild symptoms in patients without comorbiditiesThe DOST may launch another trial to determine the effectiveness of herbal treatments in patients with comorbiditiesThe DOST allocated P4.9 million to fund the clinical trialsSeveral herbal medicine and supplement have proven effective in treating mild COVID-19 symptoms, a new study by Filipino researchers found.
In the clinical trial funded by the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology (DOST), researchers from the University of the Philippines Manila found that lagundi tablets were able to relieve mild symptoms in COVID-19 patients without comorbidities.
Lagundi, also known as the five-leaved chaste tree, is commonly used to alleviate coughing, asthma, facilitate the discharge of phlegm and lower fever caused by colds or the flu.
''That's their conclusion, that it brought symptomatic relief to the mild cases of the disease especially those with no taste and smell,'' Rowena Cristina Guevara, DOST undersecretary for research and development, told The Philippine Star in a phone interview.
The two-stage clinical trial, which ended in mid-September, involved 278 patients aged 19 to 55 from seven quarantine facilities in the Philippines with mild cases of COVID-19 without comorbidities.
The UP Manila researchers are expected to launch another clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of herbal medicine in mild and moderate COVID-19 cases among people with comorbidities.
A separate clinical trial sponsored by the DOST also found positive results on using tawa-tawa to treat participants with mild to moderate cases of COVID-19.
"Of the 172 random COVID-19 positive respondents who took two tawa-tawa 1,950mg capsules three times a day for 10 days, their symptoms disappeared within three to five days," Guevarra said, according to GMA Network.
During the trial, participants who received tawa-tawa said their fever, chills, body aches and cough were alleviated. Other trial participants also said they experienced increased appetite and better bowel movements after receiving the herbal medicine.
Tawa-tawa (Euphorbia hirta) is a plant commonly used in folklore medicine in the Philippines to treat dengue fever. It is also used to help patients with asthma and bronchitis breathe normally, as well as soothe eye infections, including pink eye or conjunctivitis, according to Hello Doctor.
The DOST-funded clinical trials began last year and enrolled participants from the quarantine centers of the Philippine National Capital Region Police Office. The DOST has also allocated PHP4.9 million to fund the clinical trials.
A worker prepares traditional Chinese herbal medicines at Beijing's Capital Medical University Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital May 25, 2011. The hospital distributes around 20,000 prescription doses daily, more than five tonnes of ingredients, from their stock of 600 different types of plants, herbs, and animal organs. Almost all traditional Chinese herbal medicine has been banned from sale in European Union (EU) countries since May 1, following the implementation of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive that was originally passed in 2004. Under the guidelines, all herbal medicinal products are required to obtain a certificate before entering the EU market, and have a history of at least 30 years, including 15 years in EU regions. Photo: Reuters
VIDEO - Southwest drops plan to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 21:38
Published Tue, Oct 19 2021 9:10 AM EDTUpdated 6 Hours Ago
A Facebook iconShare by facebookA Twitter iconShare by twitterA LinkedIn iconShare by linkedinAn email iconShare by email
Southwest scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated workers with pending exemptions on unpaid leave after the Dec. 8 deadline.Both American and Southwest require their new-hire employees to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination before their first day.Large airlines are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration order that requires their employees to be vaccinated or receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons.Travelers wait to check in at the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Kevin Dietsch | Getty Images
Southwest Airlines has scrapped a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have applied for but haven't received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave starting by a federal deadline in December.
Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are among the carriers that are federal contractors and subject to a Biden administration requirement that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 by Dec. 8 unless they are exempt for medical or religious reasons. Rules for federal contractors are stricter than those expected for large companies, which will allow for regular Covid testing as an alterative to a vaccination.
Executives at both carriers in recent days have tried to reassure employees about job security under the mandate, urging them to apply for exemptions if they can't get vaccinated for medical or for a sincerely held religious belief. The airlines are expected to face more questions about the mandate when they report quarterly results Thursday morning. Pilots labor unions have sought to block the mandates or sought alternatives like regular testing.
Southwest's senior vice president of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, vice president and chief people officer, wrote to staff on Friday that if employees' requests for an exemption haven't been approved by Dec. 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed.
The company is giving employees until Nov. 24 to finish their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue paying them while the company reviews their requests, and said it will allow those who are rejected to continue working "as we coordinate with them on meeting the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation)."
"This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case," they wrote in the note, which was reviewed by CNBC.
Southwest confirmed the policy change, which comes just weeks before the deadline.
United Airlines implemented its own vaccine mandate in August, a month before the government rules were announced. United had told staff that they would be put on unpaid leave if they received exemptions. More than 96% of its staff is vaccinated. Some employees sued the company over the unpaid leave and a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, has temporarily blocked the airline from going forward with its plan.
American's CEO, Doug Parker, met with labor union leaders on Thursday to discuss vaccine exemptions.
American Airlines management "indicated that, unlike the approach taken by United, they were exploring accommodations that would allow employees to continue to work," the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union that represents American's mainline cabin crews, said in a note to members Monday. "They failed to offer any specifics as to what such accommodations might look like at that time."
Hundreds of Southwest employees, customers and other protesters demonstrated Monday against the vaccine mandate outside of Southwest Airlines' headquarters in Dallas, the Dallas Morning News reported.
An airline spokeswoman said the carrier is aware of the demonstration.
"Southwest acknowledges various viewpoints regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, and we have always supported, and will continue to support, our employees' right to express themselves, with open lines of communication to share issues and concerns," she said.
Southwest's Goldberg and Weber told staff that if their request for exemption is denied, employees can reapply if the staff member "has new information or circumstances it would like the Company to consider."
Southwest requires new-hire employees to be vaccinated as does American Airlines for new staff for its mainline operation, spokesmen said.
Delta Air Lines is also a federal contractor subject to the government requirements, but it hasn't yet required staff vaccinations. Last week, the carrier reported that about 90% of its roughly 80,000 employees are vaccinated. In August, Delta announced unvaccinated staff would start paying $200 more a month for company health insurance in November.
Watch our live stream for all you need to know to invest smarter.
View the full site
VIDEO - Greta Thunberg sings Rick Astley hit at climate concert - BBC News
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 20:14
Greta Thunberg launched a global series of concerts highlighting climate change on Saturday, by singing Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up".
The Swedish climate activist took to the stage in Stockholm along with Fridays for Future's Andreas Magnusson to perform the hit song.
Ms Thunberg has previously taken part in the internet phenomenon 'rick-rolling' by tweeting out what she said was a link to a new speech, but actually linked to the music video for the song.
The event was the first in a series of 19 global concerts called Climate Live 2021, which aim to raise awareness and put pressure on world leaders ahead of COP26, the global climate conference taking part in Glasgow in November.
VIDEO - MSM: Sponsored by Pfizer - YouTube
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:31
VIDEO - (20) Drew Hernandez on Twitter: "DALLAS TX: Southwest employees chant ''LET'S GO BRANDON'' in front of the South West headquarters to protest the airline vaccine mandate Get More News: https://t.co/u7URmoOvPT https://t.co/JwSKXrzqaa" / Twitter
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:16
Drew Hernandez : DALLAS TX: Southwest employees chant ''LET'S GO BRANDON'' in front of the South West headquarters to protest the airl'... https://t.co/ufqsvyQWOm
Mon Oct 18 14:34:50 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Cuomo Prime Time on Twitter: "Former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams remembers his mentor, Colin Powell. He says Powell paved the way for ''all Black people... to be able to be in these high profile government positions.'' https://t.co/2BjTgeE8E
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 15:02
Cuomo Prime Time : Former US Surgeon General Jerome Adams remembers his mentor, Colin Powell.He says Powell paved the way for ''all B'... https://t.co/eSG7IkU7aa
Tue Oct 19 01:43:31 +0000 2021
bug : @CuomoPrimeTime communist pigeon
Tue Oct 19 14:55:47 +0000 2021
Jeff Mann : @CuomoPrimeTime when I think of Colin Powell, I think of WMD and the likelihood he knew it was a lie, and yet milli'... https://t.co/vQBOHWDccF
Tue Oct 19 14:36:49 +0000 2021
Anthony Fischer : @CuomoPrimeTime ...so you don't actually have to be competent to become Surgeon General. Interesting.
Tue Oct 19 13:06:48 +0000 2021
Jason Peters : @CuomoPrimeTime Doctor needs to be struck off for stupidity.... guess he gets a lot of brown envelopes .... clearl'... https://t.co/q9zdpp9VaR
Tue Oct 19 11:33:27 +0000 2021
TheSmellofFreedom : @CuomoPrimeTime ''Fact Checked'' Fully Vaccinated War Criminal Dies of Covid 👌ðŸ>>
Tue Oct 19 11:24:49 +0000 2021
Pam777 : @CuomoPrimeTime I do remember @JeromeAdamsMD when first heard the word mask 🷠he did go on tv and tried to show how'... https://t.co/mB1lsWp6eP
Tue Oct 19 11:09:27 +0000 2021
Lydiaw : @CuomoPrimeTime Tucker's not the only one questioning the efficacy of vaccines. Follow the science. What started ou'... https://t.co/Q0DldCjatJ
Tue Oct 19 05:39:44 +0000 2021
Point5 : @CuomoPrimeTime A year ago you said NO WAY in HELL could we have a vaccine that's tested and works available for an'... https://t.co/R0bC4CQNAJ
Tue Oct 19 05:25:12 +0000 2021
Point5 : @CuomoPrimeTime 1st - The spin is happening because a fully vaccinated high-profile person has died. More than that'... https://t.co/xhsIiQ29gi
Tue Oct 19 05:22:20 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Tesla reveals first electric truck and delivers roadster surprise - YouTube
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:56
VIDEO - STUNNING ADMISSION: We'll Scrap Vaccine Mandate If We Can't Enforce It - XYZ
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:47
Brett Sutton gives the distinct impression that he is just happy to be raking in a pay check. Officially he is the Chief Health Officer of Victoria whose ''directions'' have caused Melbourne to become the most locked down city in the world.
In reality he is Bill Gates' puppet via his sister in law. He says what he is told to say so that Daniel Andrews can use the excuse ''We're just following CHO directions'' when really, that is what they wanted to do all along. This facade becomes apparent whenever Sutton has to answer a question or explain policy.
Did she say ''pushback''?
Yes, they are watching our behaviour to see what they can get away with, just as @CraigKellyMP said yesterday.
It's about control'...how much control will they get? pic.twitter.com/QAck4QadPb
'-- ValGlass2.0 (@AussieVal10) October 12, 2021
Journalist: ''On the vaccine passport trial, a lot of businesses are starting to get a bit of pushback from patrons, there's one in particular in Warnambool fielding calls from vaccinated haters, so what's your advice on how businesses can better manage?''
Sutton: ''The trial in part is to see how this goes. Um, the message is clear (gives sheepish laugh), we want settings to open up safely and the increased caps for those settings are absolutely because there is an expectation that fully vaccinated people will be the ones attending.
''That makes it safer and it makes it much more able to have a bigger patron cap in those settings. I think businesses want that increased patron cap and I think they'll want to do whatever they can to ensure that there's compliance so that they can safely operate with those greater caps.
''There'll be some tensions but let's see how the trial plays out in terms of how compliance and enforcement works in those settings, and the ease with which those vaccine passports or vaccine certificates work in those settings.''
He should have stopped one paragraph earlier but as I said, he's stopped caring.
The vaccine mandate is a trial.
They are monitoring how people respond to the trial and will adjust settings accordingly. If people go along with it they will ramp up the ''settings'' because they can, ie they will experiment to see what else they can force us to do. However, if people don't comply they will scale the ''settings'' back because they have to.
Daniel Andrews has already backflipped on his vow to allow no exemptions to the vaccine mandate, because he needs enough people in law enforcement and the judicial system to be willing to enforce it. This means he has already backed down once when challenged.
The government is making business owners responsible for enforcing the vaccine mandate as a way of deflecting responsibility for its own tyranny. In doing so it risks the possibility that the people it requires for its tyranny to work '' business owners to enforce it and the public to accept it '' won't behave as they have calculated.
It's like the ferry scene from The Dark Knight where The Joker expects ordinary people to blow up criminals in a vain attempt to save their own skins. It's a nationwide prisoner's dilemma. If nobody complies with the vaccine mandate they can't make it work.
Psychopaths never expect simple humanity to win out.
Subscribe to XYZ on Telegram, Bitchute, Twitter and Gab.
VIDEO - NIH and ivermectin - YouTube
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:46
VIDEO - WATCH: Lori Lightfoot says cops who oppose vaccine mandates are spreading 'misinformation' to 'induce an insurrection' | The Post Millennial
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:43
Custom made fan favorite Jerseys starting at $24.99 with
Fansidea
Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago claimed on Monday that those police officers who oppose the vaccine mandate in the Windy City are attempting to "induce an insurrection."
When asked about the police union's refusal to back the city's vaccine mandates, Lightfoot said, "What we've seen from the Fraternal Order of Police, in particularly leadership, is a lot of misinformation, a lot of half truths, and, frankly, flat out lies in order to induce an insurrection. And we're not having that."
"And so we want to make it very, very clear that the law is on our side, we feel very confident about it. And what we said even after, when I heard that he said, even after the lawsuit was filed, we notified them, is urging members of the department to ignore their chain of command," Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot has had an adversarial relationship with the police. In August, officers turned their backs on her when she visited a critically injured officer in the hospital who was ambushed by criminals intent on killing cops.
She also declared racism to be a public health crisis, and prohibited law enforcement officers from chasing a suspect on foot.
Lightfoot also backed a plan to send out mental health professionals on some emergency calls instead of police officers.
Lightfoot was asked about the legal action the city has brought against the union. "I guess the big question is why legal action, but can I also put it this way? There is a different tone from CPS [Chicago Public Schools], from Pedro Martinez. He was asked, you know what's going to happen to those who don't have their vaccines? And he said the other day, we're going to work with them, we're going to talk to them, we're going to make sure what try to understand what's going on. So why a different tone for CPS than the police?"
"Well, I don't think there is a different tone for one versus the other," Lightfoot remarked. "CEO, Martinez has indicated that and again, in agreement with the union, so that is one circumstantial difference, that every adult in the system has to be vaccinated," Lightfoot said, noting that the Chicago teachers' union is in favor of mandatory vaccinations of all members, and has said so.
"And that agreement was reached months ago. And they've been working very hard to execute on that agreement, or reach with all the collective bargaining agencies that employe folks at CPS.
"So it's a very different set of circumstances. And I think he believes it's gonna be very small group that remains either unvaccinated or not signing up. And so he understands, though, that accountability is important, as do we.
"So you ask the question of why the lawsuit," Lightfoot said, referring to the restraining order that Chicago City Hall filed against the union chief, which was upheld by a judge, "because we believe that the FOP leadership is trying to foment in illegal work stoppage, a strike, pure and simple. We've laid that out in the materials. And we're not just we're not having that the contract is clear."
Lightfoot said that the police union is not authorized to strike, that union head "John Catanzara has destroyed his police career." Lightfoot said that her office is not going to allow the union, and those who oppose vaccine mandates, "to jeopardize the public safety of our city, our residents, by making it seem as if he is in charge of the Chicago Police Department, and he alone can determine staffing, and whether or not officers come to work."
Lightfoot said that if officers don't abide by the law, there's no way to expect citizens to uphold those laws "with any degree of legitimacy, if the those who are sworn to uphold the law, act as if they're above the law. We're not going to tolerate that. That's not acceptable. And I think what you're going to see is that a lot of officers are going to abide by the mandate and fill out their information."
Chicago imposed a mandate on their law enforcement officers, and those officers who are against that mandate and do not wish to comply were threatened with termination, or what was termed "separation" from the police department.
An internal notice distributed to officers said that if they don't get the shot, they could face an investigation and penalties, according to local news.
The head of the Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara, has been in an ongoing dispute with the city over these requirements. He issued his own statement on Friday after a judge told him to stop commenting publicly about his opposition to vaccine mandates, and to stop encouraging other officers to oppose the mandates as well.
Catanzara said that "Policy starts at the top in this city, and it has proven time and time again that the top of this city's policy needs to change, with that being said," he held up a sign announcing his run for Chicago mayor in 2023.
Officers were required to upload their vaccination status by Friday night, and if they didn't, they would be required to get COVID-19 tested twice per week, at their own cost and time.
VIDEO - (21) Tim Graham on Twitter: "A little shocking! NBC report on how college football games are NOT "superspreader" events includes video of Joy Reid and Dr. Fauci sounding panicky notes. Ooooops. https://t.co/H8Bc2GoiPw https://t.co/tjqapmVA2w" / Tw
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:39
Tim Graham : A little shocking! NBC report on how college football games are NOT "superspreader" events includes video of Joy Re'... https://t.co/MusCaTyaxR
Sat Oct 16 21:05:32 +0000 2021
rypy : @TimJGraham Uh oh!!! Is this the first of the big media companies going against the big agenda??? It was bound to h'... https://t.co/jAAituTIlv
Tue Oct 19 12:14:01 +0000 2021
Ron : @TimJGraham And that's Joy Reid's network but guarantee she doesn't correct herself, all she does is scream racism'... https://t.co/9JRPOOHeJ8
Tue Oct 19 11:58:24 +0000 2021
Soarfeet : @TimJGraham "Covid cases, hospitalizations and deaths now all down nationwide," Brewster said. "Cases are now in st'... https://t.co/23wypGp0D6
Tue Oct 19 11:57:46 +0000 2021
Sean tyler : @TimJGraham So'.....,,, I can go to a football game but I can't go to Christmas. Cool
Tue Oct 19 04:45:08 +0000 2021
John Mcmickle : @TimJGraham It is time someone called Fauci out.
Tue Oct 19 03:22:31 +0000 2021
John G. Russell : @TimJGraham IDIOTS
Tue Oct 19 01:01:02 +0000 2021
JARLIP : @TimJGraham Aren't these events making ppl provide proof of vaccination or a negative test? I mean, that would help, would it not?
Mon Oct 18 23:53:52 +0000 2021
VIDEO - (20) Insider Paper on Twitter: "WATCH: Protesters chant 'Arrest Bill Gates!' outside Downing Street ahead of Boris Johnson's dinner where 20 influential business figures, including Microsoft founder was invited. https://t.co/lITeZhN8VV https:/
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:34
Insider Paper : WATCH: Protesters chant 'Arrest Bill Gates!' outside Downing Street ahead of Boris Johnson's dinner where 20 influe'... https://t.co/y0Yc8lUtEI
Mon Oct 18 23:25:15 +0000 2021
VIDEO - Parents Protest California COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Kids - YouTube
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:33
VIDEO - Riccardo Bosi "We are coming for you" - YouTube
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:26
VIDEO - MUST WATCH: Avi Yemini steps in for woman violently arrested in Melbourne
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:18
By Avi Yemini FREE legal defence Ordinary Australians are being fined extortionate amounts for doing regular things like exercising outside for too long. Are you one of them?
SendOn Saturday, police swarmed Princess Park in Carlton North, attempting to shut down a protest that never eventuated.
Thousands of officers descended on the inner-city park confronting locals lawfully out enjoying the day.
Sitting on a park bench with her husband drinking tea, one woman refusing to show ID police violently tackled to the ground.
Mainstream media quickly photographed the woman as police had her pinned to the gravel, labelling her a protester.
But none of them spoke to their alleged "protester".
If they had, they'd know she was innocent.
I did speak to the traumatised woman and her husband.
I also spoke to witnesses who corroborated their story.
That's why we're providing the couple with a free lawyer through our FighTheFines.com.au program.
Police are out of control, and I let them know it.
Would you please donate what you can to help us fight the egregious ticket if you're willing and able? Every dollar helps. Click here to donate now.
VIDEO - WELL INTO 2022: Daniel Andrews places Unvaccinated Victorians UNDER SIEGE - XYZ
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:15
Daniel Andrews has indicated his intention to lay siege to Victorians who do not want to be vaccinated, vowing that discrimination against them will continue ''well into 2022''. As an example, he indicated that there would be no unvaccinated people at next year's Melbourne Grand Prix:
Premier Daniel Andrews today stated in no uncertain terms that unvaccinated Victorians will remain excluded from economic and social activities well into 2022. Premier also warned double dosed Victorians they may be locked up if they don't take booster shots if required. pic.twitter.com/YP0uQj2bFM
'-- real Rukshan (@therealrukshan) October 19, 2021
''Why would you get the system going, why would you get the thing up and running, and then essentially pull all that down, pull all the architecture that you've built, the infrastructure that you've built, the culture that you've changed '' why would you change that four or five weeks later? We will not be doing that here.
''I'm not going to say to someone, ''oh just wait us out will ya, just wait four or five weeks and then you'll be able to go to the pub.'' No, if you make the judgement to not get vaccinated and you reckon you can wait out us or the publican or whoever you wanna think you're waiting out, you won't wait out the virus, cos the virus will be here for a long time, and your only protection against it is being vaccinated.
''This will be well into 2022.
''Well and truly into 2022. Then we're going to get into booster issues so it won't be your first and second dose, it'll be have you had your third, and then the other issue will be, well, who knows what variant's coming? Who knows? Look, we don't.''
These statements indicate a clear coordination of talking points among state officials on three key points:
Pushing forward the pandemic timeframe and thus the state of emergency at least another six months.Normalising the idea that Covid ''booster'' shots will become part and parcel of modern life.Reinforcing the convenient spectre of so-called ''new variants'' which will always hangs over our heads.We predict these will drop just in time for the next round of social engineering. This ties into the most crucial aspect of Andrews' speech:
''Why would you get the system going, why would you get the thing up and running, and then essentially pull all that down, pull all the architecture that you've built, the infrastructure that you've built, the culture that you've changed.''
Being precious about system architecture is one thing, but what they really value is the change in culture, the behaviour modification they have been able to achieve. CHO Brett Sutton has several times stated that they are effectively running behavioural tests on the entire population of Victoria and adjusting their so-called ''settings'' to achieve whatever result they want.
Andrews' reference to people trying to ''wait out'' the segregation period was no accident. His government would have received feedback that this is what people are saying to each other and to their bosses, this is what a lot of people are banking on. The government intends to modify this kind of thinking and behaviour.
Thus the goal of all this lecturing and scolding is to use behaviour modification, otherwise known as coercion, to reduce the number of unvaccinated people to as manageable a number of possible before they eventually unleash brute force.
Dictator Dan has indicated his willingness to go door to door to force people to get vaccinated. They are simply calculating the point at which this will become feasible.
Subscribe to XYZ on Telegram, Bitchute, Twitter and Gab.
VIDEO - Rally held in support of health care workers against Mayo Clinic vaccine mandate
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:09
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 5:46 PM CDT | Updated: 15 hours ago
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - More than 100 people are rallying against the COVID-19 vaccine mandate at Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire.
The rally, which was held from 4 until 7:30 p.m. Monday along Babcock Street and West Madison Street in Eau Claire, was held 'in support of healthcare workers who are against the COVID-19 vaccination policy.'
Former nurse Melissa Clyde, who quit last week due to the mandate, said she attended the rally to support her peers and called the mandate 'unacceptable.'
''I feel like harm's being placed on our healthcare workers right now,'' Clyde said. ''And it's not a choice. They're being mandated, so it's not a choice at this point, and that's unacceptable.''
Mayo Clinic spokesperson Kelley Luckstein said in a statement that the vast majority of Mayo Clinic employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.
''Making COVID-19 a vaccination a requirement to work at Mayo Clinic will help ensure we have a healthy workforce and that Mayo Clinic is a safe place to receive care, just as our patients expect,'' Luckstein said in the statement. ''The Mayo Clinic enterprise staff vaccination rate for COVID-19 is at 88%.''
''In consideration of the safety of our patients, staff, visitors and communities, Mayo Clinic is transitioning to the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination program, with vaccination required to work at Mayo Clinic,'' Luckstein said. ''A review process will be available for staff to seek medical or religious exemptions to vaccination.''
The statement added that staff may take part in social media and advocacy on their own behalf, as long as it's done in accordance with applicable Mayo Clinic policies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the best way to fight the surge of delta variant COVID-19 cases is to get vaccinated. The Wisconsin Medical Society urged health care systems to mandate vaccinations in early August.
For more information on COVID-19 cases and vaccines in Wisconsin, you can visit the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website. The CDC's website also provides information about case activity, COVID-19 testing and vaccines on its COVID-19 data dashboard. Mayo Clinic also provides COVID-19 information on its website, including visitor information, scheduling for vaccines and additional resources to learn more about the coronavirus pandemic.
Copyright 2021 WEAU. All rights reserved.
VIDEO - CNN Accidentally Allows Someone To Tell The Truth On Air | ZeroHedge
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 14:00
Less than a week after CNN scrambled to do damage control when their chief medical correspondent was wrecked by Joe Rogan over Ivermectin lies, the network may have another fire to put out...
Indeed, just days after anchor Don Lemon tried to 'networksplain' Rogan's argument, host Brian Stelter made the mistake of allowing former NYT Editor Bari Weiss on air to discuss examples of why the world has gone mad.
Stelter's first mistake, of course, was having Weiss on his show.
His second mistake was assuming she didn't have receipts when she said the world has gone mad.
"Where can I start? Well, when you have the chief reporter on the beat of COVID for The New York Times talking about how questioning or pursuing the question of the lab leak is racist, the world has gone mad.
When you're not able to say out loud and in public there are differences between men and women, the world has gone mad.
When we're not allowed to acknowledge that rioting is rioting and it is bad and that silence is not violence, but violence is violence, the world has gone mad," Weiss said.
"When you're not able to say the Hunter Biden laptop is a story worth pursuing, the world has gone mad.
When, in the name of progress, young school children, as young as kindergarten, are being separated in public schools because of their race, and that is called progress instead of segregation, the world has gone mad. There are dozens of examples."
Stelter's third and final mistake was asking Weiss "who" is to blame?
''People that work at networks like, frankly, like the one I'm speaking on right now, who try and claim that it was racist to investigate the lab leak theory,'' Weiss shot back, adding later that CNN and the MSM's actions were "disinformation by omission."
Watching Stelter's face alone is worth the price of admission.
CNN accidentally let someone tell the truth on air'...pic.twitter.com/SOCjP9lbq7
'-- Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) October 18, 2021How did CNN not "lose" her feed halfway through that?
VIDEO - Italian riot police fire tear gas, water cannon at anti-Covid health pass protesters blocking Trieste port '' David Icke
Tue, 19 Oct 2021 13:47
Posted by Richard Willet - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 19 October 2021
Police in northeastern Italy deployed tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters staging a sit-in at Trieste port in opposition to the introduction of the country's 'Green Pass' Covid health document.
The Italian government approved a law in September requiring all workers to show a Covid Green Pass, which provides proof of their vaccination status, negative test result or recent recovery from the virus. The move, some of the strictest Covid rules in the world, was a first for Europe.
Four days after the demonstration kicked off at the port, police demanded protesters leave the area ''in the name of the law,'' before firing tear gas and using water cannon. The gathered crowd of demonstrators were heard chanting ''liberty! liberty!'' and ''people like us never give up!''
Police deploy water cannons to disperse anti-Green Pass protesters in Trieste#Trieste #GreenPass #Italy #COVID19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/EafJ3lt4Mn
'-- Ruptly (@Ruptly) October 18, 2021
A #Trieste continuano gli idranti e le cariche su persone con le mani alzate.Questa ¨ una VERGOGNA per un Paese che pretende di definirsi ''democratico'',indipendentemente da ci² che si pensi su #COVID19, vaccini e #greenpass.L'Italia sui media di tutto il Mondo.. pic.twitter.com/9ZW4yZ2HEX
'-- Valeria S. (@valy_s) October 18, 2021
Read More: Italian riot police fire tear gas, water cannon at anti-Covid health pass protesters blocking Trieste port
VIDEO - 150: Global Warming Denialism - No Agenda
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 13:39
Hold on, citizen!
In order to accept your input, cookies are used to keep track of your submissions on the website.
Sign in or create an account for an even better experience. How is it better? Shut up citizen and join the crew of No Agenda producers.
Failed to generate a cookie. Sorry about that.
VIDEO - Fauci Tees Up Unvaccinated Blame Campaign Over Potential 'Fifth Wave' | ZeroHedge
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 12:55
Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Faucci, is setting the stage to blame the next uptick in Covid-19 cases on the unvaccinated.
Fauci's 'science' - which does not include the vastly superior naturally-acquired immunity from previous Covid-19 infections, or the fact that the vaccine does not prevent transmission - presumes that "the more people we get vaccinated, the less likelihood that there's gonna be another surge as we go into the winter."
Of note, just over 67% of the US is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
JUST IN: Fauci says unvaccinated Americans could lead to dangers of fifth COVID wave https://t.co/EmUjLZPYG6 pic.twitter.com/NmKutAcFK0
'-- Insider Paper (@TheInsiderPaper) October 17, 2021Just like 86.1% vaccinated Singapore?
After vaccinating over 85% of its population, Singapore 🇸🇬 finally flattened the curve, but along the wrong axis: pic.twitter.com/jHjczPGooE
'-- Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) October 8, 2021Via ReutersIf only there were cheap and effective prophylaxis and early treatment options in everyone's medicine cabinet to take at the first sign of infection.
via ivmmeta.comFauci on Sunday also suggested that people shouldn't be hesitant to take Johnson & Johnson booster shots, as they probably should have made their vaccine a two-dose regimen instead of a single shot anyway.
"I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisors to the FDA felt, is that given the data that they saw, very likely, this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with," he told ABC News' "This Week."
''What the advisors to the FDA felt is that, given the data that they saw, very likely, this should have been a two dose vaccine to begin with," Dr. Anthony Fauci tells @MarthaRaddatz booster shots authorized for Johnson & Johnson vaccine. https://t.co/0guMYoI4vj pic.twitter.com/KjPQy9ZGg0
'-- This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 17, 2021The 'top doc' went on to suggest that some J&J vaccine recipients might be well served to mix brands - receiving a Pfizer or Moderna shot as their booster.
"You know, that is true the data you refer to that if you [get the booster], people who have originally received J&J with either Moderna or Pfizer, the level of antibodies that you induce in them is much higher than if you boost them with the original J&J," said Fauci, adding "I think it's going to be variable depending upon who you are. For example, a woman of childbearing age who'd would have almost no issues at all with a possible adverse event of myocarditis '-- which you see, rarely'...with the mRNA vaccine '-- that person might want to opt for that approach."
"If you're a young man who does have that very, very rare risk of getting myocarditis, you might want to take the J&J route."
So remember - when the next Covid-19 wave hits the US, blame the unvaccinated. Of course, we don't expect Fauci to actually call out the least vaccinated demographics, as that might ruin such finely curated narratives.
VIDEO - The Supply Chain Explained And The Lies They Are Pushing - YouTube
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 11:34
VIDEO - 'Priceless': US students accused of 'hypocrisy' as they back diversity quotas'... unless it comes to college football team (VIDEO) '-- RT Sport News
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 11:31
A report featuring interviews with University of Florida students has led to claims of hypocrisy regarding diversity quotas after some of those questioned changed their tune when it applied to their college football team.
A reporter from conservative news website Campus Reform performed interviews with students on game day as their team took on and eventually lost to Alabama last month, and were asked if they would support diversity quotas some institutions are spending millions of dollars on implementing when applied "in the workplace and the college admissions process".
At first, in the clip already seen by close to a quarter of a million people, every student surveyed showed a preference for diversity when it comes to making decisions on hiring staff and admissions.
"They should probably have diversity quotas for college admissions and a bunch of other things," explained one.
"As a first-generation college student from a Hispanic household it's very important," stated another.
When the reporter shifted the focus to college sports, however, and whether diversity protocol should be applied to them, there appeared to be a marked difference in attitude among the same students who immediately rejected the notion.
Instead, they cited the need to allow factors such as talent, ability and skill be make or break.
"Obviously, with sports, it's talent first over anything," stressed one, as another claimed that quotas in sports teams don't "make much sense" and "should be based on skill".
The inconsistency in their opinions was justified through arguments that sports are "different" than general admissions and hiring.
The students were then presented with what would happen if a diversity quota, based on the University of Florida's own demographics, influenced the Gators' starting offense and left it without the majority of its current starters while only one black star would remain.
Such a conundrum saw some interviewees questioning the logic that resulted in their initial backing for diversity quotas with one saying: "We'd probably be losing because we recruit based on skill and if we recruited based on diversity we'd probably be worse."
They were asked if their minds had been changed on diversity quotas "in other sectors like the work place, like college admissions", and conceded that the comparison was "a good way to open your eyes" and "admit students based on their scores and their academic merit more so than diversity".
"I don't necessarily think quotas are the way to go. I know they're unconstitutional. I know they're wrong," remarked another participant.
The comments on the YouTube video numbered more than 3,600, with one popular remark reading: "This is priceless. They don't even realize their hypocrisy until pointed out."
"The reality is that conversations like these may be the very first time anyone on campus has engaged these students in a simple critical thinking exercise about their beliefs," said another person.
"That illustrates how politically monolithic campuses are these days. Campuses are often ideological bubbles surrounded by reality."
Also on rt.com As students at Britain's 'top university' must confess to their 'personal guilt' to get on campus, my advice is'... fake it
VIDEO - Greta dances her face off'... I'm kinda speechless'... '' CITIZEN FREE PRESS
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 11:14
Is this one 18 yet? Can't wait for it to be charged as an adult prep
Equal_opportunity_offender
That old classic horror movie The Omen, was forewarning us about creatures like her would soon emerge from the depths of hell.
Demon Children are for real and she is one of them!!
Um. SHE is definitely a stranger to love. And to auto-tune'...
Dammit! I used to like that 80s song.
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
October 18, 2021 12:56 am
If Hillary found a time machine'...
Vote Up 3 Vote Down Reply
October 18, 2021 12:49 am
Rick rolled.
Vote Up 2 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 11:59 pm
Once an autistic dork, always an autistic dork.
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 11:07 pm
Move out of your parents basement, fool.
Vote Up -3 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 11:43 pm
She might be trying to save water by not washing her hair, but she should should at least brush it!
Vote Up 7 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 10:33 pm
She better stick to her climate change rants cause she sure can't sing or dance.
Vote Up 4 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 10:24 pm
Didn't they make Gates dance to that song to humanize him?
Vote Up 0 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 10:17 pm
WTH'...'...And I thought she hated fossil fuels'....I wonder what the carbon foot print was on that shin dig.
Vote Up 5 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 10:13 pm
An attempt to make her more human and likeable?
I guarantee she has an SS tramp stamp.
Barely Legal and hot to rick roll'...
I don't blame Greta at all, she's just surfing on the fame wave pushed up by hundreds of mind numbed idiots.
How dare you.
Vote Up 1 Vote Down Reply
October 17, 2021 10:33 pm
2 meatballs and a piece of sausage
No stranger to love but a stranger to common sense
She just looks unwashed and dirty.
Vote Up 15 Vote Down Reply
Got that typical mid eastern look
Oh, my God! The carbon, the carbon! Just imagine the carbon footprint of this fiasco!
Bet that wasnt solar or wind energy powering those lights'...'...
Poor little Greta Thunberg. For such a young girl, she really has a bad Stank Down Below. A true Stink Hole. Just look at the stretch marks around her mouth. She may be young but she's been around the world and then some. Already knows how to take it in the Cheeser. Swallows too.
Is Citizen Free Press becoming like Drudge Report? We do not want to see anything about Greta whatever.
That was the first time I've been Rick Rolled and didn't enjoy it :\
Will someone please comb her hair. Looks like she hasn't combed it in years.
I'm sure Holy Mother Earth very much blesses and sanctifies the Blessed Greta and her Holy Crusade against the Civil Society and Christendom.
I'm sure the puppet master had a hard time keeping the strings untangled'...
Worship of the Goddess Greta at the altar of Enviro Galactica in the Holy Shrine of the Greenie Gnomes will land the faithful in the Lake of Fire.
Listen to all those brainwashed fools in the crowd'...no concept of reality.
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
Listen to what a child says?Yeah right.
What a strange little boy dancing and singing off key and that taller boy in suspenders too.
She just obliterates the stereotype of the smoking hot Seedish chick. FJB
Swedish, though she does look rather seedy. FJB.
Now that's entertainment. A voice like Helen Keller and the moves of a young Jerry Lewis.
She was rockin!!! LMFAO pathetic
I've never seen anyone more neurotically desperate for attention.
I always feel like i need to go wash my hair everytime i see her!
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
Same feeling I get from Jen Psaki.
When did this happen? She is not wearing a face muzzle, and neither is the audience.
She's pretty ugly, if you ask me. Bleh!
I'd rather see her acting like a regular teenager, than being used by others to further their political agendas.
Vote Up 14 Vote Down Reply
Blame her parents.
Exploitation is obvious.
Vote Up 11 Vote Down Reply
What the hell was that.
Vote Up 12 Vote Down Reply
Sounded like someone killing a cat.
Modern version of ''Hitler Youth,'' without the knives.
Definitely not dancing'...A seizure maybe???
Its sad that she has no idea who she is.
Greta 'Rick-Rolled' herself. What an idiot.
That's very unkind on the unco teenage swedish doom goblin. She only went to get a can of coke and somebody filmed it.
Poor little commie retard thinks she's got talent.
Vote Up 10 Vote Down Reply
She must be a vegetarian'... looks like she has a protein deficiency with that thinning hair line.
I have to go throw up now'....
Does she have Down Syndrome?
Vote Up 11 Vote Down Reply
Yes. I looked it up once.inside corner of the eyelid (near the nose) is closed off by skin, similar to an oriental, creating a very narrow opening of the eyelidsshort upturned nosevery thin upper lipthe upper lip is smooth, missing the vertical indentation from the septum of the nose to the upper lipsmall head and brainnot bright '' trouble processing information '' quick to angerthey look like Downs, but I meet Downs people who are productive and mellow
Are they casting for Omen III?
Greta wasn't bad. Cute smile and all. The dude in yellow needed to get Doc Martin-stomped by some burnt-out skinheads.
Vote Up -5 Vote Down Reply
In the Bible, being led by children is a punishment.
I see what you did there, CFP. Well played.
I didn't know she knew how to enjoy herself. Good for her, she needs to lighten up.
The David Hogg of climate change'...
Vote Up 12 Vote Down Reply
Ya, das ess sooo sexxxy'.....🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮🤮
Vote Up -1 Vote Down Reply
So at least we now know that her idiot savant power is not music or dance.
One has to wonder if the D.O.D. didn't arrange 60 doses of vaccine by age 60 months and all the prior recommendatons by the CDC (which is under the DOD), to come up with some actual savants, to make up for the fact American women have almost basically quit having children, and the school systems waste the mnids of those children born, as America falls behind in technology.

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image
Image
Load image

Clips

CBSN AM - anchor Ian Lee - china will punish parents for childrens bad behavior (28sec).mp3
Great Thunberg at Climate Concert - Rick Ashley.mp3
Dark Winter Hopkins Simulation re-posted -Day 1- Small pox outbreak.mp3
Dark Winter Hopkins Simulation re-posted -Day 6- Running out of vaccine.mp3
ABC ATM - Mona Kosar-Abdi - pawternity leave -time off for new pet (36sec).mp3
Madam Speaker in Parliment on 6 month extensiion of powers.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Mona Kosar-Abdi - why are twist ties on bread different colors (24sec).mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Mona Kosar-Abdi - procter & gamble price hike (22sec).mp3
Dr H Risch Yale unvaxxed.mp3
Facebook sued NPR.mp3
Havana Syndrome Best guess 2.mp3
Havana Syndrome Best guess MPR.mp3
Havana Syndrome conclusion.mp3
Havana Syndrome Intro 2.mp3
Havana Syndrome IntroONE.mp3
history of post office rip offs.mp3
In and Out story SF KRON.mp3
ISO Boom.mp3
ISO hello.mp3
Marine Sheller real story.mp3
NYC Library no fee story.mp3
reward from State NTD.mp3
super hard wood.mp3
TG Action at Netflix 2.mp3
TG Action at Netflix 3.mp3
TG Action at Netflix ONE.mp3
trans sports bill TX.mp3
Trump sued golf course.mp3
update Biden social spending bill.mp3
Afghanistan weird meeting sans US.mp3
Bari Weiss on Stelter.mp3
BIDEN AMtrak plug.mp3
BIDEN amtrak rail change.mp3
coercion law NTD.mp3
COvid shots for kids.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - thomas jefferson statue taken down (14sec).mp3
Netflix Drag performer at Protest.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Andrea Fujii - superman motto will no longer contain word american way (32sec).mp3
Fox The Five shameless Kraft Mac and Cheese ad.mp3
Donald Trump announces launch of 'TRUTH' social media site.mp3
joHn King CNN - has MS and grateful all are vaxxed its about ME.mp3
Joy Reid melting down over police officers refusing to comply with mandates.mp3
No freedoms for the unvaccinated well into 2022 in Victoria.mp3
NPR - Leana Wen - Get a shot for Colin Powell.mp3
Ontario government also giddy about vaccinating kids 5-11.mp3
Rally held in support of health care workers against Mayo Clinic vaccine mandate.mp3
University Of Denver To Require Flu Vaccine.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Alex Presha - NHL player submits fake vaccine card (12sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Carter Evans - california parents protest mandate -Hotez (39sec).mp3
DOJ Recording - Religious Exemption.mp3
General Electric employees in Greenville plan walkout in response to vaccine mandate.mp3
ABC GMA - anchor James Longman - china hyper-sonic missile (1min21sec).mp3
UK Labor Leader Keir Starmer on Telegram Threat.mp3
ABC ATM - anchor Mona Kosar-Abdi - facebook rebranding -changing name (16sec).mp3
Sinclair stations ransomware attack shut down.mp3
Sponsored By Pfizer - Supercut.mp3
CBSN AM - anchor Ian Lee - putin accuses female reporter of being distracting (29sec).mp3
ABC World News Tonight - anchor David Muir - pig to human kidney transplant (17sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor Robin Roberts - breakthrough cases -number of deaths (32sec).mp3
ABC GMA - anchor TJ Holmes - Dr Jen Ashton colin powell breakthrough case death (1min29sec).mp3
CBS Evening News - anchor Norah ODonnell - Dr Megan Ranney powell death vax not to blame (54sec).mp3
Former CDC director Robert Redfield confirms 40% died were fully vaxxed.mp3