July 7, 2020

Today’s News: April 24, 2020

World News

US SNUBS launch of WHO-led initiative aimed at making Covid-19 vaccine globally & generally available

RT – World leaders have taken part in the launch of a global initiative to ensure equal access to the future vaccine against the novel coronavirus. The event, hosted by the World Health Organization, was notably snubbed by the US.

The launch of the “ACT accelerator” was held on Friday at the UN health body’s HQ in Geneva. The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a pretty impressive guest list for the ceremony, which included French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

As expected in a Covid-19-gripped world, foreign dignitaries had to use video links to take part. However not a single suitably high-ranking official from the US showed up, and the absence had nothing to do with a technical malfunction. The nation that last week defunded the WHO over its alleged cover-up of Covid-19’s seriousness simply snubbed the event.

“We look forward to learning more about this initiative in support of international cooperation to develop a vaccine for Covid-19 as soon as possible,” a spokesman for the US mission in Geneva said in an email to Reuters ahead of the meeting, stressing that “no US official participation” had been planned.

US President Donald Trump last week froze the WHO’s funding, pending an investigation into what he termed a “China-centric” behavior of the organization. He claimed the WHO helped Beijing mislead the world in the early days of the crisis by underestimating Covid-19’s severity. Both have rejected the allegation.

Petition Demanding Resignation of W.H.O. Chief Passes 1M Signatures

Breitbart – An online petition demanding the resignation of embattled World Health Organization (W.H.O.) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus over his handling of the global coronavirus pandemic passed one million signatures early Friday morning.

As Breitbart News reported, the campaign calling for an end to the Ethiopian’s controversial reign began on January 31.

That’s when the petition titled, “Call for the resignation of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General,” appeared on Change.org, citing Tedros’ refusal on January 23 to designate the Chinese coronavirus a global health emergency.

An anonymous Taiwan activist using the ID “Osuka Yip” launched the call, reflecting global concerns Tedros has been economical with the truth since the deadly virus it was first isolated in the southern Chinese city of Wuhan last November.

Japanese deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso agreed.

He said in parliament that some have even started calling the World Health Organization the “Chinese Health Organization,” NHK reported, such has been its inability to do anything other than repeat Chinese diplomatic messaging.

“We strongly think Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is not fit for his role as WHO director general. We call for the immediate resignation of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,” the petition states.

Such is the clamor of disapproval surrounding the Ethiopian bureaucrat that last week U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a hold on funds sent to the U.N. body, demanding they answer for their failures to properly warn the world about the deadly virus.

Coronavirus: France bans online sales of nicotine products

BBC- France has banned the online sale of nicotine products and limited their sale in pharmacies, after researchers suggested that nicotine may play a role in protecting against coronavirus.

The new rules cover products like nicotine gum and patches, designed to help people stop smoking.

Last week, data from a Paris hospital indicated that smokers were statistically less likely to be admitted for treatment for Covid-19.

Trials are set to continue in France.

Amazon will be fined €100,000 for EVERY ‘non-essential’ delivery in France after court rejects appeal in worker safety dispute

RT – Amazon will face a fine each time it delivers non-essential goods in France until it improves the safety conditions of its workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company earlier closed its warehouses in protest.

On Friday, an appeals court in Versailles, outside Paris, upheld last week’s ruling, which restricted Amazon’s French warehouses to only shipping IT products, health items, groceries and pet food until it ensures the safety of its workers.

Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce giant was given 48 hours to comply with the ruling, and will be fined €100,000 ($108,020) for every delivery that doesn’t meet the court’s requirements.

On April 14, a court ruled that Amazon had failed to guarantee the safety of its workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and said that the company must submit an updated professional risk assessment before it can resume full operations.

U.S. News, Politics & Government

Company poised to start COVID-19 vaccine safety test with Kansas City volunteers

KCTV – A second U.S. company is poised to begin a small safety test of a vaccine against the new coronavirus.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said Monday that it has Food and Drug Administration permission for the study in 40 healthy volunteers in Philadelphia and Kansas City, Missouri.

The study is a first step to see if the vaccine appears safe enough for larger tests needed to prove whether it will protect. Even if the research goes well, it is expected to take over a year before any vaccine could be widely available.

Last month, the first safety test in people of a different vaccine candidate began in Seattle. It was developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc.

Numerous other research groups are attempting to make vaccines against COVID-19 using a variety of different methods in hopes at least one will offer protection.

Inovio’s approach is what’s called a DNA vaccine, made using a section of the virus’ genetic code packaged inside a piece of synthetic DNA.

DNA, Vaccines, and Transhumanism

Vaxxter – Transhumanism is a futuristic concept where man and technology blend, resulting in soulless intelligent machines. It is a movement that favors the evolution of a new species of human through the use of integrative circuitry. Referred to as “human betterment for the post-human era,” transhumanists assume that humanity will only be enhanced by machines. No damage. No degradation. And no possibility for coercion or domination. In a post-human world, humanity as we know it will be obsolete.

In 2012, artificial intelligence pioneer Ray Kurzweil became Director of Engineering and Chief Futurist at Google. He was hired to work on projects to teach machines to learn. Kurzweil predicts that by 2030 (there’s that date again) technological advances will allow tiny nano-bots into the bloodstream by way of injection. From there, they’ll pass through the blood-brain barrier, and integrate into the brain. The human brain can then connect “the cloud,” achieving a level of brilliance never thought possible. So, essentially, biological beings will become “non-biological entities.” In his book, The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology, Kurzweil states, “In the future, there will be no distinction between human and machine, or between physical and virtual reality.”

But if our brains can tap UP into the cloud, it only makes sense the what’s in the cloud could be pushed DOWN into our brain. So, the question becomes: Who controls the specific information we’re allowed to tap into? Who determines which downloads we’ll get? The disturbing vision of thousands — or millions — of Manchurian Candidates comes to mind.

The Quest for Control of the Human Brain

In former-president Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address, he announced his plan to invest in brain mapping technologies. In April of that year, a $100+ million initiative was launched called BRAIN, which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies. Multiple public-private partnerships were funded, including the Allen Institute for Brain Science, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the Kavli Foundation and Institutes. Our tax dollars also funded this project; the government allocations included:

  • $20 million to the National Science Foundation to study how Big Data could be used to understand the ability of the brain to generate thoughts, emotions, and memories;
  • $40 million to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop training tools and resources to support the BRAIN initiative; and
  • $50 million to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop tools to capture and process dynamic neural and synaptic activities.

Using those funds — and more — DARPA announced in 2016 it would develop the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program. Touted as the next-level brain-computer interface (BCI), the NESD system is designed to turn brain activity into a binary code, allowing humans to engage with machines wirelessly, by simply thinking.

Darkside of Research

While many amazing medical uses could come from this research, from treating PTSD and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), to maneuvering brain-activated exoskeletons and prosthetic limbs, it takes very little imagination to see how this research could quickly turn dark.

  • What if the post-human world involves domination by strong, mechanical humanoids with enhancements designed to benefit institutions, at the expense of the individual?
  • Will the drivers to create bionic humans be economic efficiency, cultural modification, and military dominance?

Post-humans will live longer and be Global Citizens. The future will offer a single meld of humans and apolitical identity. All under rule by the UN and the global Sustainability Agenda. Bionic humans will have no need to connect, even with creatures of their kind. Advances in animal cloning and embryonic stem cell technologies are bringing human cloning closer to reality, eliminating the need to procreate. This satisfies the globalist’s concerns regarding planetary overpopulation. Need more worker bees? Create them at the factory. They need no benefits, no vacations, and can work 24/7.

DNA Vaccines: Permanent Manipulation of Humans and Animals

DNA vaccines, a type of genetic engineering, were first tinkered within the early 1990s. A small snip of DNA, say, from a herpes virus, makes its way into a bacterial “bubble” called a plasmid, by way of injection. When the plasmid-laden vaccine is injected, the cellular immune system gears up to eliminate the foreign protein (plasmid + viral DNA snip). And at the same time, the humoral immune system creates antibodies against the viral DNA. When a herpes virus enters the body, the memory T-cells and B-cells work together to attack the foreign virus. This eliminates the virus it and avoids infection. 

This process is not without problems.

  • The DNA snip can incorporate into the host’s DNA, leading to chromosome instability. The mutagenic effect can turn on oncogenes and turn off tumor suppressor genes, leading to cancer. 
  • Genetic expression is the process where genes create proteins. Genetic over-expression is when the process “goes rogue” and produces massive amounts of foreign protein, destroying human tissues via both acute and chronic inflammation.
  • Often the plasmid used is resistant to antibiotics; the same antibiotic resistance can be transferred to the host.
  • The plasmid DNA can appear very similar to the vaccine recipient’s DNA. The anti-DNA antibodies can attack human organs with similar DNA sequences. The result is autoimmunity, clearly identified as the cause of nearly 100 different diseases and suspected to be the cause at least 40 more chronic and potentially life-threatening conditions.

Judge tosses California law requiring background checks for ammunition

A federal judge blocked a California gun law on Thursday that required people to undergo a background check before purchasing ammunition.

U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez in San Diego called the regulations “onerous and convoluted,” adding that they violate a citizen’s Second Amendment rights, the Associated Press reported.

Benitez ruled in favor of the California Rifle & Pistol Association, which had asked him to halt the background checks with a preliminary injunction.

“The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured,” Benitez wrote in his 120-page opinion.

The Numbers on Your TV Screen Are a Lie…CDC Admits: Test Kits Contain Coronavirus.. are a complete failure!

Healthandmoneynews – As the new coronavirus took root across America, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent states tainted test kits in early February that were themselves seeded with the virus, federal officials have confirmed.

The contamination made the tests uninterpretable, and—because testing is crucial for containment efforts—it lost the country invaluable time to get ahead of the advancing pandemic.

The CDC had been vague about what went wrong with the tests, initially only saying that “a problem in the manufacturing of one of the reagents” had led to the failure. Subsequent reporting suggested that the problem was with a negative control—that is, a part of the test meant to be free of any trace of the coronavirus as a critical reference for confirming that the test was working properly overall.

Now, according to investigation results reported by The New York Times, federal officials confirm that sloppy laboratory practices at two of three CDC labs involved in the tests’ creation led to contamination of the tests and their uninterpretable results.

“Just tragic”

Shortly after the problems became apparent in early February, the Food and Drug Administration sent Timothy Stenzel, chief of in vitro diagnostics and radiological health, to the CDC to investigate what was going wrong. According to the Times, he found a lack of coordination and inexperience in commercial manufacturing.

Problems that led to the contamination included researchers coming and going from labs working on the test kits without changing their coats and researchers sharing lab space to both assemble test components and handle samples containing the coronavirus.

The CDC said in a statement Saturday to the Times that the agency “did not manufacture its test consistent with its own protocol.” Though the CDC appeared reluctant to admit contamination was at the root of the problem, the Times noted that in a separate statement the CDC seemed to acknowledge such problems, saying the agency has since “implemented enhanced quality control to address the issue and will be assessing the issue moving forward.”

After the CDC first sent its test kit to states in early February, it took the agency around a month to fix the problem. By then, the virus had invaded many communities unimpeded, and any chance that the US had at containing its spread had virtually vanished. By mid-March, many states turned to mitigation efforts, such as social distancing, to try to blunt—rather than prevent—the life-threatening, healthcare-overwhelming effects of COVID-19.

“It was just tragic,” Scott Becker, executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, told the Times. “All that time when we were sitting there waiting, I really felt like, here we were at one of the most critical junctures in public health history, and the biggest tool in our toolbox was missing.”

As of the morning of April 20, the US has confirmed more than 760,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 40,700 deaths. The numbers are expected to be underestimates due to the slow and still limited amount of testing.

Lysol Says Don’t Inject Disinfectants After Trump Remarks

Breitbart – The parent company of Lysol and another disinfectant warned Friday that its products should not be used as an internal treatment for the coronavirus after President Donald Trump wondered about the prospect during a White House briefing.

Trump noted Thursday that researchers were looking at the effects of disinfectants on the virus and wondered aloud if they could be injected into people, saying the virus “does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that.”

That prompted a strong warning from the maker of disinfectants Lysol and Dettol, which said it was issuing a statement to combat “recent speculation.”

“As a global leader in health and hygiene products, we must be clear that under no circumstance should our disinfectant products be administered into the human body (through injection, ingestion or any other route),” said the statement from Reckitt Benckiser.

Researchers are testing the effect of disinfectants on virus-laden saliva and respiratory fluids in the laboratory, said William Bryan, of the Department of Homeland Security. They kill the virus very quickly, he said.

“And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning,” Trump said. “Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs. So it would be interesting to check that. So, that, you’re going to have to use medical doctors with. But it sounds — it sounds interesting to me.”

The president has often talked up prospects for new therapies and offered rosy timelines for the development of a vaccine as he encourages states to move to reopen their economies.

On Thursday, the White House also pitched “emerging” research on the benefits of sunlight and humidity in diminishing the threat of the coronavirus.

Past studies have not found good evidence that the warmer temperatures and higher humidity of spring and summer will help tamp down the spread of the virus.

But William Bryan of the Department of Homeland Security said at a White House briefing Thursday that there are “emerging results” from new research that suggest solar light has a powerful effect in killing the virus on surfaces and in the air. He said scientists have seen a similar effect from higher temperatures and humidity. A biocontainment lab in Maryland has been conducting testing on the virus since February, Bryan said.

“The virus is dying at a much more rapid pace just from exposure to higher temperatures and just from exposure to humidity,” Bryan said.

Trump was asked if it was dangerous to make people think they would be safe by going outside in the heat, considering that so many people have died in Florida.

“I hope people enjoy the sun. And if it has an impact, that’s great,” Trump replied, adding, “It’s just a suggestion from a brilliant lab by a very, very smart, perhaps brilliant man.”

“I’m here to present ideas, because we want ideas to get rid of this thing. And if heat is good, and if sunlight is good, that’s a great thing as far as I’m concerned,” the president said.

Bryan stressed that the emerging results of the light and heat studies do not replace social distancing recommendations.

Pompeo: Anger at China ‘Appropriate’ — ‘Very Confident That the Chinese Communist Party Will Pay a Price’ for Coronavirus

Breitbart – As the United States appears to have gotten a grasp of the coronavirus pandemic, some of the focus has shifted to the Chinese government, whose actions are thought to be responsible for the virus’ spread, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is “confident” China will pay a price.

During an interview with Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity, Pompeo argued anger at China was justified.

“That’s appropriate that you’re angry,” he said. “I think many of us are angry. I know the president feels the same way. China caused an enormous amount of pain, loss of life and now a huge challenge for the global economy and the American economy as well by not sharing the information they had. Sean, you should know, we still don’t have full transparency from the Chinese Communist Party. I’m so concerned that there are things we don’t know. We don’t know the history. We haven’t been able to get our team on the ground to do the work that it needs to do. This is an ongoing challenge and the Chinese Communist Party and the World Health Organization have failed to do the things they have the responsibility to do. There’s a pandemic inside of the country.”

Pompeo could not offer by precisely what means China would pay a price but said the cost could come in a variety of ways.

“I am very confident that the Chinese Communist Party will pay a price for what they did here certainly from the United States,” Pompeo said. “I don’t know exactly what form that will take. Our focus today isn’t on that. It’s on making sure we keep America safe, take down the health risk, keep people healthy as we can, and get this economy going back. But I’m very confident. I talk to business people all around the country. I talk to ordinary citizens. People who have put their lives at risk over the last weeks. They know that this is a result of this virus that originated in Wuhan, China, and they know that the Chinese government didn’t do the things it needed to do.”

“There will be a cost associated with that,” he continued. “We need to focus on the here and now and there’ll be a time to make sure that we get this right to make sure that we’re not dependent on China for our pharmaceutical goods and all the things that we’ve seen that we just didn’t have right and that President Trump had identified early on as things we needed to fix in the relationship between the United States and China.

Biden says he thinks Trump will try to delay the presidential election

CNN – Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday he believes President Donald Trump will try to delay November’s presidential election.

“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser, according to a pool report. Biden has maintained the November election should not be postponed and has previously made similar comments.

Trump cannot unilaterally change the date of the election in November, as it has been set into law by federal statute and Congress would have to OK such a move. However, that has not stopped some Democrats from worrying that he will try to do so, and voters had asked the previously large field of Democratic presidential candidates if they had concerns that Trump would try to delay the election or refuse to leave office if he were defeated in November.

“Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement Friday. “President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd.”

Economy & Business

House approves $484bn in extra US coronavirus relief funds

Al Jazeera – The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a new $484bn relief bill to aid small businesses and the healthcare system hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate also approved the legislation and now the bill will head over to President Donald Trump.

Jobless claims in the United States have now reached 26 million.

Health

Sunlight and humidity kill coronavirus the fastest: US scientists

Experiment shows UV rays destroy COVID-19 both on surfaces and in air, but US gov’t research yet to be made public.

Al Jazeera – US scientists say coronavirus dies the fastest when it is exposed to direct sunlight, though a study cited has not yet been made public and awaits external evaluation.

William Bryan, science and technology adviser to the Department of Homeland Security, told reporters at the White House on Thursday that government scientists found ultraviolet rays had a potent impact on the pathogen, offering hope its spread may ease over the summer.

“The virus dies quickest in the presence of direct sunlight,” Bryan said.

“Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus – both surfaces and in the air,” he added. “We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well, where increasing the temperature and humidity or both is generally less favourable to the virus.”

It has long been known that ultraviolet light has a sterilising effect, because the radiation damages the virus’s genetic material and its ability to replicate.

But coronavirus has also proven lethal in warm-weather places such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, raising broader questions about the impact of environmental factors.

Dr Margaret Harris from the World Health Organization told Al Jazeera “the evidence is not supporting [the sunlight] theory”.

Magnesium Supplementation for Healthier Pregnancies and Babies

GreenMedInfo – You may know that magnesium is in your multivitamin, but did you know that getting adequate magnesium in your diet can help you guard against heart disease, cancer and diabetes? Read on: this super-nutrient is more important than you think, especially for pregnant women and their babies

Magnesium is an abundant micronutrient that performs numerous critical functions in the body. Magnesium is responsible for regulating muscle function, including the heart, by maintaining a healthy heartbeat and normal blood pressure levels.[i]

Magnesium also provides many metabolic benefits, including protein synthesis and blood glucose control.[ii] A low magnesium level in adults is linked to chronic inflammation, a factor that has been shown to contribute to major health conditions such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.[iii] The truth is, getting adequate magnesium in your diet is of far greater importance than you likely ever imagined.

Magnesium: A Must for New Moms

Magnesium’s anti-inflammatory effects and positive impact on blood sugar inspired researchers in Tehran, Iran, to explore the effects of magnesium supplementation on inflammatory markers, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)– an endogenous substance that helps grow new blood vessels — and pregnancy outcomes in women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus. This randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 36 women, aged 18 to 40 years old, who had been diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus.

Gestational diabetes mellitus, or GDM, is a condition that occurs during pregnancy wherein a hormone made by the placenta prevents the body from using insulin effectively.  This condition causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of being absorbed by the cells. Study participants were randomly allocated into two groups, experimental and control, and were given either 250 milligrams (mg) per day of magnesium oxide supplement or placebo for a period of six weeks. Gene expressions related to inflammatory markers and VEGF were assessed using blood draws, via reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.

Known as RT-PCR method, this laboratory technique combines reverse transcription of RNA into DNA and amplification of specific DNA targets using polymerase chain reaction and is primarily used to measure the amount of a specific RNA.

Good News

Publix buys farmers’ spare food & donates it to Feeding America food banks

News4jax – With families struggling to make ends meet and farmers tossing out surplus food, Publix is stepping up to help out both groups with a new initiative.

The Lakeland-based grocery chain announced Wednesday that it will begin buying produce and milk that would otherwise go to waste and donating it to Feeding America food banks.

This week, Publix has committed to purchase and donate over 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk as part of the effort, which is expected to continue for several weeks.

As News4Jax previously reported, farmers have been dealing with a surplus of food and milk with so many schools and restaurants closed. As a result, they’ve been throwing food away.

At the same time, an estimated 17.1 million people will experience food insecurity due to lost wages or layoffs, according to Feeding America, leading many of them to local food pantries.

The initiative by Publix offers a potential solution to both problems.

“As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said.