Reuters – China reported on Wednesday its lowest number of new coronavirus cases in two weeks, bolstering a forecast by Beijing’s senior medical adviser for the outbreak in the country to end by April – but fears of further international spread remained.
The 2,015 new confirmed cases took China’s total to 44,653. That was the lowest daily rise since Jan. 30 and came a day after epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said the epidemic should peak in China this month before subsiding.
His comments gave some balm to public fears and to markets, where global stocks surged to record highs on hopes of an end to disruption in the world’s second largest economy.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) has likened the epidemic’s threat to terrorism and one expert said that while it may be peaking in China, this was not the case beyond.
“It has spread to other places where it’s the beginning of the outbreak,” Dale Fisher, head of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network coordinated by the WHO, said in an interview in Singapore. “In Singapore, we are at the beginning.”
Singapore has 50 cases, including one found at its biggest bank, DBS (DBSM.SI), on Wednesday that caused an evacuation at head office.
Hundreds of infections have been reported in dozens of other countries and territories, but only two people have died outside mainland China: one in Hong Kong and another in the Philippines.
China’s latest figures also showed that the number of deaths on the mainland rose by 97 to 1,113 by the end of Tuesday.
But doubts have been aired on social media about how reliable the data is, after the government last week amended guidelines on classification.
Two residents living on different floors of a high-rise tower called Hong Mei House, in northwestern Hong Kong’s Tsing Yi, had been infected with coronavirus, health officials said.
A 62-year-old woman was diagnosed with the virus about a week-and-a-half after a 75-year-old man in the same building became infected.
Three more cases have since been linked to Hong Mei House. The woman’s son, his wife and her father have been diagnosed with the virus. The mother, son and wife share an apartment.
RT – The Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki has hailed the release of a UN Rights office report on companies with Israeli settlement ties. Maliki also urged UN-member states and the UN Human Rights council to “issue recommendations and instructions to these companies to end their work immediately with the settlements,” Reuters reports.
“The publication of the list of companies and parties operating in settlements is a victory for international law,” said a statement issued by al-Maliki’s office.
The UN human rights office said on Wednesday it had identified 112 business entities for which it has reasonable grounds to conclude to have ties to Israeli settlements in the West Bank – 94 domiciled in Israel and 18 in six other states.
“While the settlements as such are regarded as illegal under international law, this report does not provide a legal characterization of the activities in question, or of business enterprises’ involvement in them,” according to the office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Daily Mail – Mystery surrounds the skeleton of a mysterious creature that washed up on a Scottish beach during Storm Ciara.
The intriguing beast was found on the Aberdeenshire coastline on Sunday as the country endured 90mph winds and torrential rain.
A photograph of the creature was shared on a Facebook page prompting hundreds of suggestions as to what it might be.
Some thought it a whale or a dolphin, while others rubbished this suggestion saying the ‘horns’ of the creature make it a thresher sharks – which have been known to enter British waters during the summer.
But even marine biologists are baffled, with Professor David Lusseau from the University of Aberdeen, saying he would need more information.
He told MailOnline: ‘Unfortunately from just this photo we can’t tell much other than it is a whale of some form. We would need shots of the front end (and probably a bit of poking around) to get an ID.’
Global Research – The US government has sanctioned Venezuela’s state-owned airline CONVIASA, claiming it is being used to “shuttle corrupt officials.”
While already subject to previous US unilateral coercive measures, the latest sanctions add the airline and 40 of its planes to the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals List so as “to ensure strengthened compliance.”
It paves the way for punitive measures to be taken against any US or non-US citizen or firm dealing with the airline, possibly affecting plane maintenance, refuelling, insurance, and a host of other operations. Passengers may also be sanctioned under the measure.Passengers may also be sanctioned under the measure.
Unveiling the measure Friday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told reporters that
“The illegitimate Maduro regime relies on CONVIASA to shuttle corrupt regime officials around the world to fuel support for its anti-democratic efforts.”
The sanctions were met with a defiant response from Caracas, with a range of government officials joining CONVIASA workers in rejecting the sanctions.
US unilateral coercive measures against Venezuela targeted a number of specific industries in 2019, including oil, gold, and the banking sector. They were expanded to a wide-reaching embargo in August.
The August embargo also authorised secondary sanctions to be applied against third parties dealing with the Caracas government. Despite Washington refraining from applying this measure so far, US Special Envoy for Venezuela Elliott Abrams raised the threat once again of action last week.
Speaking in a press conference on Thursday, Abrams specifically highlighted Russia’s involvement in Venezuela, warning that
“The Russians may soon find that their continued support of Maduro will no longer be cost-free,” while pledging to “demonstrate the seriousness of our intentions in Venezuela.”
Likewise, an anonymous senior White House official was quoted by Reuters warning Russian, Spanish, Indian and US oil giants Rosneft, Repsol, Reliance and Chevron to “tread cautiously.”
ESPN – Retired NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade recently opened up about supporting his daughter Zaya, who identifies as a transgender girl.
In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres on “The Ellen Show” this week, Wade said that one day his 12-year-old came home and asked to have a discussion about using she/her pronouns and going by a different name than the one that she was given at birth.
“When our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information we can, the best feedback we can,” Wade told DeGeneres. “And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved.”
Wade said that he and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union, are seeking more information to educate themselves about the LGBTQ+ community. Wade told DeGeneres that he reached out to the cast of “Pose,” an FX series about LGBTQ+ African American and Latino dancers in New York City.
Wade said in December on the podcast “All The Smoke” that he has had to do some work on reframing his stance toward the transgender and gay community.
Washington Examiner – Planned Parenthood of Maryland and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing the Trump administration over a rule that will require some health insurers to send their customers separate premium bills to cover abortion.
The finalized rule, slated to go into effect June, requires insurers in the Obamacare marketplace to send separate bills to enrollees, one for abortion coverage and one for all other healthcare costs. Attorneys with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America argue that high administrative costs for insurers will cause them to drop abortion coverage altogether.
“The Trump administration’s new insurance rule is another attack on abortion care, designed solely to push safe, legal abortion further out of reach,” said Meagan Burrows, an ACLU attorney.
Beneficiaries will also have to pay each monthly premium bill separately, using two checks, two money orders, or two electronic transactions.
When the rule was finalized Dec. 20, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said that it “fulfills Congress’ intent and reflects President Trump’s strong commitment to preventing taxpayer funding of abortion coverage.”
Federal funding for abortions, except when necessary to save a woman’s life or in cases of rape or incest, is prohibited by the Hyde Amendment, a restriction added to federal spending legislation. Anti-abortion activists wanted Hyde language also to be included in Obamacare.
“It is cruel and unacceptable that the Trump administration is interfering in my health care and trying to interfere with how health insurance companies do business, just because they want to make it more difficult for me to access my right to abortion,” said a plaintiff in the case named Rebecca.
National File – The Virginia House of Delegates has voted to pass House Bill 961 – a statewide ban on the sale of widely owned semi-automatic firearms, as well as the possession of suppressors and of magazines capable of holding 12 or more rounds of ammunition.
The bill, introduced by Northern Virginia Democrat Mark Levine, has faced widespread opposition from legislators and citizens alike and was listed as a top concern of Lobby Day attendees last month.
Passing the House by a hyperpartisan vote of 51-48, the bill is seen as such a legislative overreach that even a few Democrats joined in voting against it. It will now head to the Senate, where a previous push to pass a similar bill has already failed.
In a press release made shortly after the vote was held, the NRA credited Michael Bloomberg’s “bought and paid for lawmakers” with the bill’s passage and warned Virginians of Bloomberg and the Democrats’ end game.
“House Bill 961, as amended, is a comprehensive ban on many commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, suppressors, and standard capacity magazines. Though the committee amended the bill to allow citizens to keep currently owned firearms and suppressors, confiscation is undoubtedly still the end goal. There is no option for citizens to keep their lawfully acquired magazines with capacities greater than twelve rounds, forcing millions of Virginians to dispose of their property, become a criminal, or surrender them to the government.”
Delegate Dave LaRock, a Republican who serves the 33rd District, posted to Twitter after the vote, drawing attention to a side effect of the bill that is not often discussed.
If HB 961 passes the Senate, it will most certainly be challenged in court and seen as blatant government overreach in violation of the constitutions of both Virginia and the United States.
And just like that, Virginia House Democrats vote to make millions of Virginians surrender their property or become criminals. If the Senate goes along with this nonsense, the Governor will sign it, and then AG Herring will spend YOUR $$$ to defend this unconstitutional overreach pic.twitter.com/GXSs7JaO9p
Washington Examiner – Former 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang declined to endorse another Democrat vying for the nomination after he announced the end of his own campaign.
The entrepreneur-turned-politician ended his presidential bid on Tuesday night as he failed to gain any delegates in the New Hampshire primary. During an interview on CNN’s Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto Wednesday, Yang declined to back any of the other candidates remaining in the race but reiterated his stance that he’d support whoever wins the nomination.
“Well, right now, we’re still, obviously, like reflecting on our own campaign,” Yang explained, after being asked if he’d endorse anyone.
“I am already on the record saying I will support whoever the Democratic nominee is,” he continued. “And this process is very important for voters to make their voices heard and see what the direction of the party is. So no endorsements right now, though other candidates have been reaching out to me over the last number of hours, which I appreciate a great deal.”
“You know, I’m the math guy. It is clear tonight from the numbers we will not win this race,” Yang said, adding that he does not want to keep accepting donations if he knows he will not win the race. “It is bitterly disappointing for many of us, but it shouldn’t be.”
Investment Watch -The United States Postal Service (USPS) will temporarily suspend time guarantees on shipments destined for China and Hong Kong.
“USPS will be temporarily suspending the guarantee on priority mail express international destined for China and Hong Kong, effective Monday, February 10,” said a USPS service alert banner on its website.
In a note informing its counterparts globally, the USPS said it was “experiencing significant difficulties” in dispatching letters, parcels and express mail to China – including Hong Kong and Macau – as most of its supplier airlines have suspended their flights to those destinations, Associated Press reported.
Items destined for Macau will also be suspended, and USPS won’t resume services to these destinations “until sufficient transport capacity becomes available”, according to AP.
Activist Post – Last August the Chicago Tribune published a report that 11 smartphone models exceeded federal RF safety levels. This led to Fegan Scott law firm starting a class action lawsuit. iPhone 11 Pro is one of the models that exceeds RF safety levels. Two lawsuits have also been filed against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because they refuse to provide adequate RF exposure safety guidelines, limits, and testing (see 1, 2).
The FCC is not a health or environmental agency. They are supposed to protect the public by regulating the telecom industry but instead they have been putting everyone at risk for exposure related health issues and illnesses (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) – especially children (see 1, 2) since long before the Trump administration. In fact, no “safe” level of cell phone radiation has still been scientifically determined for children or pregnant women.
Last week a U.S. District Judge didn’t mince words about actions taken by iPhone maker, Apple, as well as the FCC.
RT – American aerospace giant Boeing has scored no orders for new jets last month for the first time in nearly 60 years, having delivered just 13 planes to its customers amid the ongoing 737 MAX crisis.
The deliveries included six 787 Dreamliners, two of 777s and 767s, as well as three 737NG aircraft. Boeing did not deliver any of its ill-fated Max jets in January, as they are still grounded around the globe following two deadly crashes that killed 346 people.
Daily Mail – Japan was rattled by a 5.2-magnitude earthquake off the coast of Fukushima province today.
The quake struck just over 50 miles from the city of Fukushima where the nuclear disaster occurred in 2011.
Witnesses said they had felt a 10-second long shake during the tremor at around 7.30pm local time.
No tsunami warning has been put in place by Japan’s meteorological agency.
Global Research – For a long time, scientists have known that certain types of fungi are attracted to radiation, and can actually help to break down and neutralize radiation in certain environments. The radioactive site of the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has acted as a real-life laboratory in many ways over the years, giving researchers a look into the physical impact that radiation has on plant and animal life.
In 1991, while a team of researchers was searching the Chernobyl area remotely with robots, they noticed black-spotted fungi growing on the walls of one of the nuclear reactors. They also observed that the fungi appeared to be breaking down radioactive graphite from the core itself. The fungi also seemed to be growing towards the source of the radiation, as if it was attracted to it.
Follow up research in 2007, at the University of Saskatchewan found that different types of fungi are attracted to radiation. A team led by Professor Ekaterina Dadachova observed that some types of fungi grew more rapidly when exposed to radiation.
The three species that were tested were Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Cryptococcus neoformans and Wangiella dermatitidis, all of which grew faster when exposed to radiation. The scientists believe that since these species had large amounts of the pigment melanin, it allows them to absorb things like radiation and convert it into chemical energy for growth.
Natural News – Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer product – with its primary ingredient, glyphosate – is the world’s most popular herbicide. For decades, despite controversy raging about its safety, farms, school grounds, parks and other areas have been doused in this toxic chemical.
Agencies responsible for protecting the health of the public, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have stubbornly insisted that glyphosate is essentially harmless, and this has given food production giants like General Mills free license to continue using it on the crops used in the manufacture of their products.
A study released by the non-profit organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) last year, revealed that 21 different oat-based snacks and cereals tested contained dangerously high levels of glyphosate.
This should be of great concern to everyone, particularly parents, because recent research has proved that glyphosate actually can cause cancer.
Dr. Coldwell – Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that two prebiotics, mucin and inulin, slowed the growth of melanoma in mice by boosting the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. In contrast to probiotics, which are live bacterial strains, prebiotics are “food” for bacteria and stimulate the growth of diverse beneficial populations. The study, published today in Cell Reports, provides further evidence that gut microbes have a role in shaping the immune response to cancer, and supports efforts to target the gut microbiome to enhance the efficacy of cancer therapy.
The research specifically opens new avenues to address important unmet clinical needs in melanoma, as it highlights the possible impact of prebiotics on tumor growth control and therapy resistance.
“Earlier studies have demonstrated that prebiotics limit tumor growth, but until now the mechanism by which they do so has been unclear,” says Ze’ev Ronai, Ph.D., professor in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Tumor Initiation and Maintenance Program and senior author of the study. “Our study shows for the first time that prebiotics limit cancer growth by enhancing anti-tumor immunity. The study supports further exploration of the potential benefits of prebiotics in treating cancer or augmenting current therapies.”
Ronai cautions that these findings require much more study before considering any evaluation in people with cancer.
“Prebiotics represent a powerful tool to restructure gut microbiomes and identify bacteria that contribute to anti-cancer immunity,” says Scott Peterson, Ph.D., professor in Sanford Burnham Prebys’ Tumor Microenvironment and Cancer Immunology Program and co-corresponding author of the study. “The scientific advances we are making here are getting us closer to the idea of implementing prebiotics in cutting-edge cancer treatments.”
>>The Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics
There are trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that take up residence in the lining of the digestive tract and play a key role in our health. Probiotics are one of the most well-known parts of this complex system. “Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that live in our guts and promote healthy digestion and also give the immune system a boost. Although your digestive tract naturally produces probiotics, it is beneficial to also consume more foods naturally rich in probiotics to increase your levels and variety of strains of the good bacteria,” Ditkoff explains. Probiotics have been shown to help balance the microorganisms in the digestive tract and help repopulate the beneficial bacteria after, say, taking a round of antibiotics.
Prebiotics, on the other hand, are types of carbohydrates found in fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that are non-digestible by the body. Instead, they pass through your gut and provide a food source for those healthy bacteria (probiotics) and allow them to thrive. “It’s important to note that all prebiotics are fiber, but not all fiber is prebiotic,” Ditkoff says.
Prebiotics are found in: onions, garlic, leeks, soybeans, chicory root, honey, banana, Jerusalem artichoke.