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Sep 18, 2015

Russia Ends Production of Genetically Modified Food (GMO)

Russia's government has decided against producing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the country's Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said Friday.

The deputy orime minister underscored the need to draw a "clear distinction" between this decision and science and research projects in fields such as medicine.

"As for genetically modified organisms, we have decided against the use of GMO in food production," Dvorkovich said.

A law requiring manufacturers to label products whose GMO content is higher than 0.9 percent has been in effect since 2007. On December 31, 2014, President Vladimir Putin signed a federal bill imposing fines up to $6,000 for violating the GMO labeling rule.


Aug 25, 2015

Germany Moves to Ban GMO Seeds

Germany will invoke new legislation banning the growing of genetically modified crops in country – even those varieties that have been approved as being safe.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt plans to make use of new "opt-out" rules to stop GMO crop cultivation, a letter from the agriculture ministry seen by Reuters shows.

"The German government is clear in that it seeks a nationwide cultivation ban. There's resistance from all sides, from the public to the farmers," Agriculture Ministry Spokesman Christian Fronczak said in a phone interview with Bloomberg.

In March, a new EU law meant GMO crops could be approved. But the law also granted each country the right to opt out by banning GMOs even after they have been approved as safe by the European Commission.

Previously, when the EU approved crops as safe to produce they had to be permitted for cultivation in all EU states, Reuters reported.

In its letter, the Agriculture Ministry asked for the backing of state ministries. Germany gave state governments until September 11 to reply. If it hears no objections from the states, it will ask that companies exclude Germany from their applications to sell GMO seeds, Bloomberg reported.

Despite assertions by companies like Switzerland's Syngenta AG and US rival Monsanto Co. that the seeds are safe, GMO crops have divided opinion in Europe. England is among those in favor of them, while France and Germany are among those opposed. Scotland banned GMO crops under the new EU measures earlier this month.

The new EU rules give countries until October 3 to inform the Commission that they wish to opt out of new EU GMO cultivation approvals, according to the ministry letter.

Source : SputnikNews

Aug 12, 2015

United States : California Now Wants to be First State to Mandate Adult Vaccines – Criminal Penalties for those Who Refuse

Is California becoming a medical police state?

Health Impact News Editor Comments

In a brazen act of medical tyranny, California recently became the first state in the U.S. where lawmakers removed religious exemptions to those opposing vaccines for their children. The bill now signed into law, SB277, faces legal hurdles in court next.

Now, legislators in California want to pass the “first US adult vaccine mandate with NO personal exemptions and CRIMINAL penalties for failure to comply.” SB 792, would eliminate an adult’s right to exempt themselves from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure.
Will California soon become a medical police state?

URGENT ACTION ALERT Monday July 13, 2015

SB792- The first US adult vaccine mandate with NO personal exemptions (only medical exemptions approved by a doctor and defined by the bill) and CRIMINAL penalties for failure to comply will be heard in the California Assembly Human Services Committee this Tuesday July 14th at 1:30 in Room 437.

SB 792 would eliminate an adult’s right to exempt themselves from one, some, or all vaccines, a risk-laden medical procedure. This bill would make California the first state to require mandated vaccinations for all childcare workers, including all private and public school early childhood education programs (Headstart, Private preK and preschools), family daycares, and daycare centers.
Commencing September 1, 2016, a person shall not be employed at a family day care home if he or she has not been immunized against influenza, pertussis, and measles. An employee shall receive an influenza vaccination between August 1 and December 1 of each year.
This bill eliminates medical autonomy, crushes religious freedom, undermines personal freedom, and burdens quality providers with a non-optional series of medical interventions in the form of mandated vaccines that are not even 100% effective.
Bill SB 792 excerpt:
This bill, commencing September 1, 2016, would prohibit a day care center or a family day care home from employing any person who has not been immunized in accordance with the schedule for routine adult immunizations, prescribed by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The bill would specify circumstances under which a person would be exempt from the immunization requirement, based on medical safety and current immunity, as specified. The bill would make conforming changes to provisions that set forth qualifications for day care center teachers and applicants for licensure as a family day care center. Because the bill would extend the application of a crime under the act, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
Read the entire bill here.

CALL – FAX – EMAIL – TWEET — URGE a NO VOTE TODAY

Assembly Human Services Committee: http://ahum.assembly.ca.gov/hearings
(916) 319-2089 – Fax (916) 319-2189

Kansen Chu (Chair) (D) – 25 (Abstain on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5175, Sacramento, CA 94249-0025
(916) 319-2025 Fax: (916) 319-2125

Chad Mayes (Vice Chair) (R) – 42 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4144, Sacramento, CA 94249-0042
(916) 319-2042 Fax: (916) 319-2142

Ian C. Calderon (D) – 57 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 2148, Sacramento, CA 94249-0057;
(916) 319-2057 Fax: (916) 319-2157

Patty López (D) – 39 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4126, Sacramento, CA 94249-0039
(916) 319-2039 Fax: (916) 319-2139

Brian Maienschein (R) – 77 (No on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 4139, Sacramento, CA 94249-0077
(916) 319-2077 Fax: (916) 319-2177

Mark Stone (D) – 29 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5155, Sacramento, CA 94249-0029
(916) 319-2029 Fax: (916) 319-2129

Tony Thurmond (D) – 15 (Yes on 277)
P.O. Box 942849, Room 5150, Sacramento, CA 94249-0015
(916) 319-2015 Fax: (916) 319-2115

EMAIL:
,
,
,
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,

,


TWEET:
@MrTonyMendoza
@TonyThurmond
@AsmMarkStone
@BMaienschein
@ChadMayesCA
@kansenchu
@PattyLopez_D_39
@IanCalderon
@IanAD57

Also contact YOUR Assembly Member to urge a NO VOTE! http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/

SB792: Assembly Health Committee Hearing, June 30, 2015



Medical Doctors Opposed to Forced Vaccinations – Should Their Views be Silenced?

One of the biggest myths being propagated in the compliant mainstream media today is that doctors are either pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine, and that the anti-vaccine doctors are all “quacks.”

However, nothing could be further from the truth in the vaccine debate. Doctors are not unified at all on their positions regarding “the science” of vaccines, nor are they unified in the position of removing informed consent to a medical procedure like vaccines.

The two most extreme positions are those doctors who are 100% against vaccines and do not administer them at all, and those doctors that believe that ALL vaccines are safe and effective for ALL people, ALL the time, by force if necessary.


Very few doctors fall into either of these two extremist positions, and yet it is the extreme pro-vaccine position that is presented by the U.S. Government and mainstream media as being the dominant position of the medical field.

In between these two extreme views, however, is where the vast majority of doctors practicing today would probably categorize their position. Many doctors who consider themselves “pro-vaccine,” for example, do not believe that every single vaccine is appropriate for every single individual.

Many doctors recommend a “delayed” vaccine schedule for some patients, and not always the recommended one-size-fits-all CDC childhood schedule. Other doctors choose to recommend vaccines based on the actual science and merit of each vaccine, recommending some, while determining that others are not worth the risk for children, such as the suspect seasonal flu shot.

These doctors who do not hold extreme positions would be opposed to government-mandated vaccinations and the removal of all parental exemptions.
In this eBook, I am going to summarize the many doctors today who do not take the most extremist pro-vaccine position, which is probably not held by very many doctors at all, in spite of what the pharmaceutical industry, the federal government, and the mainstream media would like the public to believe.
Source : GlobalResearch

Jul 2, 2015

GMO Corn Makes Rats Infertile, New Study Finds

Still think GMOs and their non-GMO counterparts are equivalent? Think again. Unlike GM corn, non-GMO corn doesn’t cause sterility. A new study released by Egyptian scientists found that rats fed a GMO diet suffer from infertility, among other health issues.

Researchers from the Food Technology Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Anatomy and Embryology, and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt, have found that several unsavory changes occur when rats were fed GM corn.

The rats’ organs/body weight and serum biochemistry were altered, indicating potential adverse health and toxic effects.
“GM corn or soybeans leads to significant organ disruptions in rats and mice, particularly in livers and kidneys. In addition they found other organs may be affected too, such as heart and spleen, or blood cells. The kidneys of males fared the worst, with 43.5% of all the changes, the liver of females followed with 30.8%”
Additionally, by day 91, many of the rats fed a GM diet were completely sterile.

As reported by Sustainable Pulse:
In the third study, histopathological examination was carried out on the rats fed the GM maize, and the results were compared with rats fed non-GM maize. The study found clear signs of organ pathology in the GM-fed group, especially in the liver, kidney, and small intestine. An examination of the testes revealed necrosis (death) and desquamation (shedding) of the spermatogonial cells that are the foundation of sperm cells and thus male fertility – and all this after only 91 days of feeding.”
Read: GMO Soy Linked to Sterility, Birth Defects, Infant Mortality

How long do you think this effect will take to show up in human beings who eat GM food?

The study abstract reads:
“This study was designed to evaluate the safety of genetically modified (GM) corn (Ajeeb YG). Corn grains from Ajeeb YG or its control (Ajeeb) were incorporated into rodent diets at 30% concentrations administered to rats (n= 10/group) for 45 and 91 days…General conditions were observed daily…and serum biochemistry were measured. The data showed several statistically significant differences in organs/body weight and serum biochemistry between the rats fed on GM and/or Non-GM corn and the rats fed on AIN93G diets. In general, GM corn sample caused several changes by increase or decrease organs/body weight or serum biochemistry values. This indicates potential adverse health/toxic effects of GM corn and further investigations still needed.”
This study simply corroborates previous findings, proving the same deleterious effects. Russian biologist Alexey V. Surov and his colleagues found that Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) soy, grown on 91% of US soybean fields, leads to problems in growth or reproduction – in many cases, causing infertility. Animals who ate GM soy were sterile by the third generation.

Years ago, Natural Society unveiled proof that hamsters fed Monsanto’s GM soy for two years had growth and development abnormalities, and also – became sterile.

If you don’t see a pattern here, you might need to look again.

Source : NaturalSociety

Jun 30, 2015

WHO : Cuba Has Officially Eradicated HIV Transmission to Babies

The World Health Organizaiton says Cuba has just scored a huge victory in the global battle against HIV and syphilis.

Cuba became the first country in the world Tuesday to be recognized by
the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating mother-to-child
transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“This is a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually
transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an
AIDS-free generation” said Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General.

According to the WHO, Cuba's mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV is
 now below 2 percent of births, while syphilis transmission is less than
 0.5 percent. Just two babies were born with HIV in Cuba in 2013, while 5
 were born with syphilis, according to figures verified by the WHO and
the Pan American Health Organization.

Michel Sidibe, Executive Director of the United Nations program UNAIDS,
described Cuba's achievement as “a celebration for children and families
 everywhere.”

“It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba
to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that
 they have ended their epidemics among children,” Sidibe said.

The WHO first announced they believed Cuba would be eligible for
recognition in March, but until now has withheld confirmation while it
conducted an in-depth review of the country's health data.

Worldwide, close to 1.4 million women with HIV become pregnant every
year. Without specialized treatment, there is a 15-45 percent chance a
HIV positive mother will pass the disease to their baby, either before
birth or during breast feeding. Comparably, around 1 million women with
syphilis become pregnant, according to the WHO.

In a statement, the WHO said Cuba's milestone in combating these two
diseases was achieved through guaranteed comprehensive prenatal care for
 mothers, including testing for HIV and syphilis.

“These services are provided as part of an equitable, accessible and
universal health system in which maternal and child health programs are
integrated with programs for HIV and sexually transmitted infections,”
the statement read.

The milestone shows that the fight against some of the world's worst
diseases is winnable, according to Pan American Health Organization
director Carissa Etienne.

“Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health
coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against
challenges as daunting as HIV,” Etienne said.

Source : Telesur

Jun 19, 2015

Japan : Fukushima Fallout - Bird Mutation and Possible Evacuation of Tokyo

The real picture of the seriousness of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan is being covered up by governments and corporations putting people's lives further at risk.

Fukushima will most probably go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century as citizens are not being informed about the actual risks and dangers. The real picture of the seriousness of the situation is being covered up by governments and corporations, according to Robert Hunziker, an environmental journalist.

Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents fled the area after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the peripheries of Fukushima have reopened to former residents, but many people are hesitant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is safe.

One reason for such reluctance has to do with the symptoms of radiation. It is sinister because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically capable of sensing its effects, according to Dr. Helen Caldicott, as reported by Global Research.

She further added that radiation slowly accumulates over time without showing effects until it is too late.

It was reported by Ben Mirin that bird species around Fukushima are in sharp decline, and it is getting worse over time. Some of the developmental abnormalities of birds include cataracts, tumors, and asymmetries. Birds were spotted with strange white patches on their feathers, Smithsonian reported.

Dr. Helen Caldicott, co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, writes that Fukushima is literally a time bomb in dormancy and right now the situation is totally out of control.

According to Dr. Caldicott, “It’s still possible that Tokyo may have to be evacuated, depending upon how things go.”

The highest radiation detected in the Tokyo Metro area was in Saitama with cesium radiation levels detected at 919,000 Becquerel (Bq) per square meter, a level almost twice as high as Chernobyl’s ‘permanent dead zone evacuation limit of 500,000 Bq’, media reported.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) attends a press conference of the IAEA Board of Governors Meeting at IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria on June 8, 2015
Furthermore, there have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year causing anxiety and anger among residents there. Earlier it was reported that TEPCO is struggling with an enormous amount of contaminated water which continues to leak into the surrounding soil and sea.
 But despite the severity of the Fukushima disaster, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an agreement with Japan that the US would continue importing Japanese foodstuff. Therefore, Dr. Caldicott suggests that people not vote for Hillary Clinton.

“The US government has come up with a decision at the highest levels of the State Department, as well as other departments who made a decision to downplay Fukushima. In April, the month after the powerful tsunami and earthquake crippled Japan including its nuclear power plant, Hillary Clinton signed a pact with Japan that stated there is no problem with the Japanese food supply and we will continue to buy it. So, we are not sampling food coming in from Japan,” Arnie Gundersen, energy advisor told Global Research.

However, unlike the United States, Germany is shutting down all nuclear reactors because of Fukushima. In comparison to the horrible Chernobyl accident, which involved only one reactor, Fukushima has a minimum of three reactors that are emitting dangerous radiation.

Source : SputnikNews

Jun 9, 2015

Fracking Has Contaminated Drinking Water in Eleven States, EPA Study

After years of asserting that hydraulic fracturing has never tainted drinking water, the Obama administration issued a long-awaited study of the controversial oil and gas production technique that confirmed “specific instances” when fracking “led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells.”

The conclusion was central to a nearly 1,000-page draft assessment issued Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency to address public concerns about the possible effects of fracking on drinking water.

In the past, top Obama administration officials such as former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz maintained that there was no evidence fracking had fouled drinking water, despite findings to the contrary by EPA’s own scientists in several highly publicized cases. The acknowledgment of instances of fracking-related contamination marks a notable reversal for the administration.

“Today EPA confirmed what communities living with fracking have known for years: fracking pollutes drinking water,” said Earthworks policy director Lauren Pagel. “Now the Obama administration, Congress and state governments must act on that information to protect our drinking water, and stop perpetuating the oil and gas industry’s myth that fracking is safe.”

Still, the EPA determined that the number of contamination cases “was small compared to the number of hydraulically fractured wells.”

“We did not find evidence that these mechanisms [of possible contamination] have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States,” the study said.

Oil and gas companies have also consistently contended that fracking has never contaminated drinking water. In the face of the EPA study results, industry groups such as Energy in Depth seized upon the conclusion that contamination did not appear to be widespread to argue that fears over fracking were unfounded.

“With this new report, it couldn’t be clearer that shale development is occurring in conjunction with environmental protection—and the claims by anti-fracking activists have been thoroughly debunked,” wrote Katie Brown on Energy In Depth’s website.

But EPA officials said the study is not meant to provide a comprehensive tally of water contamination incidents. There is no national database of the number of wells fracked or contamination incidents at oil and gas sites. For 40 years, Congress and successive administrations have exempted the oil and gas sector from a host of federal pollution rules that would require detailed reporting of its activities.

As a result, the report stitches together a piecemeal picture of fracking-related incidents. It relies on several case studies involving a handful of major incidents, such as a well blowout in Killdeer, N.D., that state regulators investigated. It also uses state data for possible contamination events, such as spills of fracking fluid at well pads, which EPA acknowledges provides a limited scope of the problem.

“The spills occurred between January 2006 and April 2012 in 11 states and included 151 cases in which fracturing fluids or chemicals spilled on or near a well pad,” the study said. “Due to the methods used for the EPA’s characterization of spills, these cases were likely a subset of all fracturing fluid and chemical spills during the study’s time period.”

The study notes that the small number of contamination incidents included in the report might not be due only to their rarity but “to other limiting factors,” including the lack of pre- and post-fracking data about drinking water resources; the dearth of long-term studies; and “the inaccessibility of some information on hydraulic fracturing activities and potential impacts,” most likely held by companies.

“This is a study of how we can best protect our water resources,” said Dr. Thomas A. Burke, EPA’s science adviser and deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Research and Development, which conducted the study. As far as fracking goes, Burke said during a press conference, “it’s not a question of safe or unsafe.”

Launched five years ago at the behest of Congress, the water study was supposed to provide critical information about the method’s safety “so that the American people can be confident that their drinking water is pure and uncontaminated,” said a top EPA official at a 2011 hearing.

But the report was delayed repeatedly, largely because the EPA failed to nail down a key component: the prospective, or baseline, sampling of water before, during and after fracking. Such data would have allowed EPA researchers to gauge whether fracking affects water quality over time, and to provide best industry practices that protect drinking water. EPA had planned to conduct such research, but its efforts were stymied by oil and gas companies’ unwillingness to allow EPA scientists to monitor their activities, and by an Obama White House unwilling to expend political capital to push the industry, an InsideClimate News report from March showed.

As a result, the study does not offer new empirical data gathered by the EPA about fracking’s effects, said several scientists who research oil and gas development’s impact on water. Rather, the EPA report provides an overview of existing literature and of cases of fracking-related water pollution investigated by state regulators.

“It’s comprehensive in its treatment of the literature, but it’s not very comprehensive in bringing new research or data from the field,” said Robert Jackson, professor of environment and energy at Stanford University. “That’s my biggest disappointment: They didn’t do prospective studies, they didn’t do well monitoring, they didn’t do much field research. I don’t feel like we have a lot of new information here.”

Despite its conclusion that fracking has not led to systemic water contamination, the report nonetheless catalogues risks to drinking water at every step of the process: from acquiring water to use in stimulating the well and mixing the fracking chemicals with the water to constructing wells, injecting the fracking fluid into the well, and handling of fracking waste water that flows back up the well.

Further, the study confirmed problems that independent researchers have identified over the last five years in peer-reviewed scientific literature. The EPA cited the high number of chemical spills on well pads in places such as Colorado, where fracking fluid could leach into the water table. It confirmed the migration of methane into some people’s drinking water in Pennsylvania. Moreover, it noted that oil and gas companies, especially in the West, frack in underground sources of drinking water––or USDWs––formations where pockets of water and hydrocarbons weave through each other.

Industry has denied such types of fracking. But Jackson and his Stanford colleague Dominic DiGiulio presented research at a conference last year that said oil and gas companies are fracking at much shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through the underground water sites.

The draft report now goes to the EPA’s Science Advisory Board for review and it will be open for public comment after June 5.

Source : InsideClimateNews

Jun 8, 2015

Fukushima : Researcher warns that 800 Tera Becquerel of Cesium-137 will Reach West Coast of North America by 2016

About 800 tera becquerel of Cesium- 137 is going to reach West Coast of North America by 2016, equivalent to 5 percent of the total Cs-137 amount discharged to the Pacific Ocean after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, a Japan researcher was quoted by Kyodo recently.

Michio Aoyama, a professor from Japan’s Fukushima University Institute of Environmental Radioactivity said about 3,500 tera bq of Cs-137 have been released to the sea and 1.2 to 1.5 tera bq of Cs-137 released to the air, then fell to the sea from the crippled nuclear plant.

Part of the radioactive substances have been observed to move eastward at a speed of 7 kilometers and 3 kilometers one day before March and August 2012 respectively, Aoyama said.

However, Cs-137 levels detected at U.S. beaches were 1 to 2 bq per cubic meter, much lower than the safety limit for cesium levels in drinking water by the World Health Organization.

“Even if all the 800 tera bq Cs-137 have arrived, the radiation levels will stay at relatively low level that aren’t expected to harm human health,” said Aoyama.

[GR editor: This statement contradicts a number of studies. It needs to be qualified in relation to the broader issue of radiation levels on the California coastline, including the impacts on marine life. Prof. Aoyama presents the official version. His assessment tends to underestimate the impacts of radiation]
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution of America has announced early April that they detected Cs-134 for the first time in a seawater sample from the shoreline of North America. Cs-134, with a half-life of only two years, is an unequivocal marker of Fukushima ocean contamination, said researchers.

Source : ShanghaiDaily
 

Jun 2, 2015

Study Show Whooping Cough (Pertussis) Cases Rise in United States Due to Failed Vaccine

The reason that cases of whooping cough have been on the rise in the United States is due not to fewer people vaccinating their children but to a decreased effectiveness of the vaccine itself, according to a study conducted by researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology on April 23.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is named after the distinctive gasping, “whooping” noise that patients make while inhaling after the severe coughing fits caused by the disease.

In recent years, health experts have raised concerns that pertussis cases are on the rise. Between 1965 and 2002, there were an average of about 10,000 cases per year in the United States. In recent years, that number has risen to about 29,000 per year, with a high of 48,000 in 2012.

The mystery of rising pertussis rates
In the new study, the researchers applied mathematical models to a massive data set containing information on U.S. pertussis cases between 1950 and 2009 to test the various hypotheses posed to explain rising disease rates. The explanations tested included lower vaccination rates, improved diagnosis (either through increased awareness or more accurate diagnostic tests), and a change in the vaccine formula that took place in 1991.

Prior to 1991, the pertussis vaccine was made from the killed body of the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which causes the disease. But this vaccine sometimes led to severe convulsions, caused by fever and brain inflammation.

Concern over these side effects led to the development, in 1991, of an “acellular” vaccine, which does not contain killed bacterial bodies and should therefore have a lower rate of side effects. The acellular vaccine was adopted in the United States in the 1990s.

The acellular vaccine is known to be less effective, however, having only an 80 percent effectiveness rate, compared with 90 percent for the (discontinued) whole-cell vaccine.

Vaccine — not vaccine refusers — to blame
The researchers analyzed the duration of the acellular vaccine and found that on average it confers immunity for 50 years. In a small number of people, however, the protection wears off significantly faster. This small change, combined with the 10 percent decrease in effectiveness, was enough to explain the change in pertussis prevalence over the past two decades.

The researchers found further evidence in the fact that the demographic most infected by pertussis has changed from adolescents to children between the ages of 7 and 10.

“The lower level of protection of this group of kids is well explained by the fact that they were among the first group to be entirely vaccinated by the acellular vaccine,” lead researcher Manoj Gambhir said.

Mathematical modeling failed to support any of the other hypotheses offered as explanations for increased pertussis cases.

This means, of course, that parents who choose not to give their children the DTaP vaccine are not to blame for rising pertussis rates. Instead, a change in the vaccine itself wholly explains the recent increase.

Don’t expect the study to lead to any changes in the direction of U.S. vaccine policy, however. Even though the analysis found that the acellular vaccine provides protection for 50 years, the researchers suggested that perhaps booster shots should be given every 10.

The study might also be used as an excuse for still more vaccine research and development. According to Dr. Pritish Tosh of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group, who was not involved in the study, the findings suggest that researchers need to develop still a third variety of pertussis vaccine, to solve the problems with the first (whole-cell) and second (acellular) types.

Source: NaturalNews

May 20, 2015

Coal's giant compagny Peabody Energy exploited Ebola crisis for corporate gain, say health experts

Public health experts outraged after world’s largest privately-held coal company, Peabody Energy, promotes its product in the fight against Ebola in Africa as part of a PR campaign to rebrand the fossil fuel as a solution to global poverty.

Public health experts involved in the response to the Ebola crisis have condemned what they described as a ludicrous, insulting and opportunistic attempt to exploit the disease for corporate gain by the world’s largest privately-held coal company.

As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis.
Greg Boyce, the chief executive of Peabody, a US-based multinational with mining interests around the world, included a slide on Ebola and energy in a presentation to a coal industry conference in September last year. The slide suggested that more energy would have spurred the distribution of a hypothetical Ebola vaccine – citing as supporting evidence a University of Pennsylvania infectious disease expert.

The World Health Organisation believes nearly 27,000 people contracted Ebola in an outbreak of the virus in West Africa last year, and more than 11,000 died – although the international agency believes that is probably an underestimate.
Public health experts who were involved in fighting the spread of Ebola were outraged at Peabody’s suggestion that expanding energy access with coal generation could have hindered the spread of Ebola and helped with the distribution of a vaccine – especially as there is no approved vaccine against the disease.

Meanwhile, the medical expert cited by Peabody to support its claims told the Guardian he had never heard of the company – and that it had got his name wrong.

“There is no apparent merit or evidence to support such a thesis,” said Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Centre for Disaster Preparedness, and an adviser to the White House on the US response to Ebola.

“Peabody has very specific and explicit corporate goals. I think this is a pretty far fetched leap from a global crisis to try to justify the existence of a company that is interested in producing and selling coal.”
Peabody Energy's CEO Gregory Boyce speaks to delegates at the 21st World Energy Congress in Montreal, September 14, 2010.
Peabody Energy’s CEO Greg Boyce.
Redlener added: “I think it’s an opportunistic attempt and somewhat desperate to relate corporate self-interest to a massive public health crisis.”

Skip Burkle, a senior fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative at the university’s school of public health, said Peabody’s claims were “absolutely ludicrous”. “We are talking about public health infrastructure,” he said. “Energy is just one piece of it. There are so many other factors that have to come together.”

He went on: “The coal industry is going down but there are other answers to this and it is not to dump it in Africa. It is just an insult to the population.”

Peabody denied it was using the Ebola crisis for its own gain. “Mr Boyce was simply noting that a lack of electricity dramatically impaired the ability to fight Ebola in key nations that have little energy access and where hospitals rely on generators for power,” Vic Svec, the company’s senior vice-president for global investor and corporate relations told the Guardian.

The doctor whose comments were used to justify Peabody’s claims was relatively sanguine. “I know nothing about the coal industry,” Harvey Rubin, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania said.

He did say he intended to contact the company to correct his name – which was wrong on the power point.

Boyce had claimed in the power point that electricity shortages had hampered the fight against Ebola.

“Lack of electricity impairs ability to fight crises like Ebola,” the headline to Boyce’s powerpoint said.

It went on to quote Rubin – misidentified as Harry not Harvey – on the importance to public vaccination efforts of a reliable electricity supply.

“Let’s say someone does develop an Ebola vaccine. Distributing a vaccine would require continuous chain refrigeration,” Rubin said.

But he told the Guardian he was “agnostic” on the issue of power sources. He said there were already sufficient supplies of electricity in Africa for effective distribution of vaccines by using existing cell phone towers. “We can piggyback on those towers,” he said.

The Ebola claims surfaced amid growing pressure on Peabody Energy from the downturn in coal and a global anti-apartheid style fossil fuel divestment campaign.

Over the last two years, over 200 institutions and major investors have committed to selling off their stocks of oil, coal and gas, on the grounds that much of the world’s reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground to avoid dangerous climate change. Some institutions – such as Stanford University – have committed only to dumping coal, while hanging on to oil and gas holdings.

The Guardian supports the fossil fuel divestment movement, and through its Keep it in the Ground campaign has called on two of the world’s biggest charities, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels. The Gates Foundations’s Asset Trust has a $1.6m holding in Peabody according to the most recently available information. The Wellcome Trust does not have a direct investment in the company.

Peabody views the fossil fuel divestment campaign as “misguided and symbolic”. But in the past it has suggested that divestment could have an impact on the business. “The impact of such efforts [fossil fuel divestment campaigns] may adversely affect the demand for and price of securities issued by us, and impact our access to the capital and financial markets,” wrote Peabody in its 2014 annual filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Svec though, denied that the campaign represented a threat to the company’s bottom line. “Fossil fuels comprise more than 80% of all energy use globally, and these fuels will continue to be with us for centuries.”

But the fossil fuel divestment movement has intensified Peabody’s campaign to rebrand coal. It is the dirtiest of fossil fuels which contributes heavily to climate change and causes large numbers of deaths because of pollution produced when burning it.

But in a power point presentation, prepared for the managers of the world’s richest sovereign wealth fund, the Norwegian government pension fund in June last year, Peabody executives argued that coal was positioned to be the fastest-growing fuel of the 21st century.

At the time, the fund had 64m NOK (£5.5m) in Peabody, down from 1.2bn NOK in 2010.

In the meeting, Peabody argued that “21st-century coal” was positioned to be the main driver of digital expansion, and of urbanisation of developing countries. It also said access to coal was the cure for global poverty.

The effort did not work. As of 31 December, the Norwegian government pension fund had dumped all shares of Peabody and other US coal companies, according to Urgewald, a German NGO which monitors the fossil fuel divestment campaign.

“So they were obviously not convinced by Peabody’s presentation,” said Heffa Schuecking, a campaigner for Urgewald.
  • This article was amended on 20 May. It originally stated that the Wellcome Trust does “not appear to have” a direct investment in Peabody. It has been amended to make clear that Wellcome does not have a direct investment.
Source: TheGuardian

May 13, 2015

The Toxic Impacts of Aluminium Contained in Paediatric Vaccines on the Human Nervous System

Administration of Aluminium to Neonatal Mice in Vaccine-relevant Amounts is Associated with Adverse Long Term Neurological Outcomes. Our previous ecological studies of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has demonstrated a correlation between increasing ASD rates and aluminium (Al) adjuvants in common use in paediatric vaccines in several Western countries. The correlation between ASD rate and Al adjuvant amounts appears to be dose-dependent and satisfies 8 of 9 Hill criteria for causality. 

We have now sought to provide an animal model to explore potential behavioural phenotypes and central nervous system (CNS) alterations using subcutaneous injections of Al hydroxide in early postnatal CD-1 mice of both sexes. Injections of a “high” and “low” Al adjuvant levels were designed to correlate to either the U.S. or Scandinavian paediatric vaccine schedules vs. control saline-injected mice. Both male and female mice in the “high Al” group showed significant weight gains following treatment up to sacrifice at 6 months of age. Male mice in the “high Al” group showed significant changes in light–dark box tests and in various measures of behaviour in an open field. 

Female mice showed significant changes in the light–dark box at both doses, but no significant changes in open field behaviours. These current data implicate Al injected in early postnatal life in some CNS alterations that may be relevant for a better understanding of the aetiology of ASD.

Introduction
Aluminium (Al) is the most abundant metal and third most common element in the Earth’s crust. Normally chemically bound to other elements, Al is not typically bioavailable and indeed seems to play no role in any known biochemistry of plants, animals or humans. In the last 150 years, however, Al, through human activities has become much more prevalent in the human environment. Notably, Al is widely used in industrial and material applications, is widely found in processed foods, is contained in various medicinal compounds, and can be used as a flocculant in water treatment. Because of such ubiquity, it is increasingly found in our bodies. Overall, we now live in what has been termed “The Aluminium Age”.

For all of its positive properties as a material, Al is also demonstrably toxic to biological systems, an observation that has been in the scientific literature for at least a century. Although Al may deleteriously impact various organ systems, some of its worst impacts may be on the nervous system.

Some of the toxic actions of Al on the nervous system include: disruption of synaptic activity, mis-folding of crucial proteins, promotion of oxidant stress, and increased permeability of the blood–brain barrier, to mention only a few of the more egregious impacts. In particular, Al has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and animal models of the disease clearly demonstrate Al-induced cognitive deficits and pathologies. Al vaccine adjuvants, in use since the mid-1920s, have been shown to produce Lou Gehrig’s-like motor phenotypes in mice and motor neuron degeneration. The neurotoxic effects of Al adjuvants have been discussed in previous publications by our group and by others. Additionally, Al in vaccines has been linked to the induction of autoimmune diseases. Recently, we compared the amount of Al in various national paediatric vaccine schedules with increasing rates of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and found a significant correlation that appeared to be dose dependent. These ecological data satisfied 8 or 9 so-called Hill criteria for causality. Similar conclusions about a potential role of Al adjuvants in ASD have been discussed by other investigators. The above results led us to attempt to create an animal model of ASD based on early life administration of Al adjuvants by injection. The current manuscript describes the behavioural outcomes of this study. A future publication will address central nervous system (CNS) alterations

Conclusions
Al salts are the most widely used adjuvants today and have been since the 1920s. The fact that they can trigger pathological immunological responses and a cascade of unwanted health effects has been relatively under-appreciated to date. Nevertheless, it is clear that the problem with vaccine-derived Al is three-fold: 1) it can persist in the body,2)  it can trigger pathological immunological responses and 3) it can make its way into the CNS where it can drive further deleterious immuno-inflammatory and excitotoxic processes.

This paper reports only preliminary data on the adverse neurodevelopmental effects of early Al exposure in paediatric vaccine-relevant doses in an animal model and hence does not provide conclusive evidence on the hypothesized causative role of Al in autism. However, our current results are consistent with the existing evidence on the toxicology and pharmacokinetics of Al adjuvants which altogether strongly implicate these compounds as contributors to the rising prevalence of neuro-behavioural disorders in children. Given that autism has devastating consequences in a life of a child, and that currently in the developed world over 1% of children suffer from some form of ASD], it would seem wise to make efforts towards reducing infant exposure to Al from vaccines.
 
Notes:
First published in Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 128 (2013) 237–244
Administration of Aluminium to Neonatal Mice in Vaccine-Relevant Amounts is Associated with Adverse Long Term Neurological Outcomes
C. A. Shaw et.al.
Neural Dynamics Research Group, University of British Colombia, Vancouver, B. C.

May 11, 2015

United States : ACLU Joins Fight Against a California Mandatory Vaccination Bill Pushed by Bought-Off Politicians

One of the country’s oldest civil rights legal groups has joined the fight against a California bill that would deprive parents in the Golden State the right to decide whether or not they want to expose their children to potentially harmful vaccines.

Mothers who are fighting against SB 277 believe they have an ally in the California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) because they and the civil rights legal organization are questioning the constitutionality of the measure.

In recent days, mothers with children in tow ventured to Sacramento, the state capital, to lobby against the measure which would remove all exemptions – religious and philosophical – to opting out of vaccinating children. The measure, if passed, will require all children attending public and private schools to be vaccinated; parents who homeschool their children could still opt out, but many have said homeschooling is not an option because they can’t afford it.

In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, mothers said they would continue coming to Sacramento when the measure comes up before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has been debating it.

The paper said the ACLU would be joining in the effort to oppose the measure under grounds that it may not be constitutional.

ACLU California Center for Advocacy and Policy legislative director, Kevin G. Baker wrote a letter to the bill’s authors, State Sens. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), arguing that the California Constitution appears to provide all children in the state an unconditional right to a public education.

“I was hoping for more of a dialogue”

Baker did not opine one way or the other regarding whether children should be vaccinated or not. Instead, he focused his letter on the contention that the legislation does not provide a sufficient argument for the state having a “compelling interest” in the mandatory vaccination of children.

“We’re not solving it with this broad brush approach that keeps kids out of school,” he wrote, according to the Times.

About 2.5 percent of California kindergarteners had persona belief waivers on file with the state at the beginning of the current school year. It was a voluntary decrease from the previous year. According to state records examined by the Times, 0.52 percent of them based in some religious belief while another 1.64 percent are based on “health care practitioner” counseling.

In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there was 90 percent “herd immunity” for measles, a rate that is more than met sufficiently in the 2014-15 California kindergarten class, which has a rate of 92.6 percent.

“I was hoping for more of a dialogue,” Baker said regarding a lack of response from the lawmakers he sent his letter to, according to the Times, “but they think they’ve got the moral high ground here and they intend to just push this through.”

“Your rights are being ripped from you”

British scientist and former physician Andrew Wakefield, whose groundbreaking research linking autism and immunizations helped launch a worldwide anti-vaccination movement, is in California to urge residents to fight back against SB 277.

In an April 25 speech at a local chiropractic college, Wakefield told students they should do all they could to resist the Senate measure.

“Your rights are being ripped from you,” Wakefield said, as quoted by the San Francisco Chronicle. “Parents are no longer going to be in charge of their own children. This is the fight that has to be taken to Sacramento.”

As for Pan, a pediatrician by trade, it is understandable why he is pushing for mandatory vaccinations. As NaturalNews has reported, he has financial connections to Big Pharma vaccine pushers like Merck, the manufacturer of MMR II (measles, mumps and rubella).

Dirty money tends to finance dirty politics. It’s amazingly hypocritical for the party of pro-choice when it comes to abortion transforms into the party of no choice when it comes to harmful vaccines, which represent a form of medical violence against the people.

Sources:
http://www.breitbart.com
http://www.latimes.com
http://www.sfgate.com
http://www.naturalnews.com
http://truthwiki.org/The_American_Council_on…
http://truthwiki.org/Vaccine_Fanaticism


United States : Nuclear Fire Spills Unknown Volume of Oil into NY Hudson River

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the incident “obviously raises concerns” given the nuclear plant's close proximity to New York City.

Environmental concerns loom large after oil leaked into New York's
Hudson River Sunday from nuclear transformer damaged in a fire at Indian Point nuclear plant north of New York City Saturday evening.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has previously called for the
plant's shutdown, stated the spill covered a considerable area. Though
the exact amount of leaked oil is not yet clear to emergency officials,
the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission estimates the spill volume to
be thousands of gallons of oil.

"If you are on site, you see an oil sheen all over the area where the
transformer went on fire, and it was a significant area that was covered
 by oil, foam and water," Cuomo explained.

Oil spilled into the river and onto its banks when the holding tank
containing the explosion overflowed. Emergency measures to contain the
spread of the leak included placing booms in the river to keep the
spilled oil within a 300-feet-wide area.

The plant operator Entergy Corp reported the facility was stable and did
 not pose a threat after the fire was extinguished and Unit 3 reactor
was shut down. The plant's second active reactor remained operational.

Cuomo, however, said any irregularities at the nuclear plant, located
just 40 miles (65 km) north of the U.S.'s most populous metropolis New
York City, “obviously raises concerns” for public safety, particularly
if the fire damage leads to further issues.

While emergency response crews initially extinguished the fire, the heat
 reignited the blaze, which was again contained. No one was injured.

Clean up of the oil slick is expected to last a couple of days as the
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation aims to minimize
 the impact of the spill on the Hudson River and the community.

New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant, opened in 1962, also
spilled oil into the Hudson River in 2010 when a nuclear transformer
explosion and fire triggered a leak. The New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation deemed the spill was caused by structural
shortcomings of the containment system that could have averted an
overflow. Nuclear operator Entergy agreed to pay US$1.2 million for the
incident.

Indian Point provides 25 percent of New York's and Westchester County's
electricity, servicing millions of homes and facilities.

Source : Telesur

May 5, 2015

United States : New Evidence Shows Fracking Chemicals Drinking Water

Advocates for the industry, to which there is a strong opposition movement, have long tried to claim that the compounds used for drilling pose no risk to humans or the environment.

Traces of chemicals commonly used for fracking were found in drinking
supplies of three homes in Bradford County in the U.S. state of
Pennsylvania, a study revealed Monday.

The investigation, which appeared in scientific paper Proceedings of the
 National Academy of Sciences, proved the long-held worry of damaging
underground drinking water sources from the method of extracting gases
known as hydraulic fracturing.

The report explicitly links the practice with the affected water
systems.

“This is the first case published with a complete story showing organic
compounds attributed to shale gas development found in a homeowner’s
well,” said Susan Brantley, one of the study’s authors and a
geoscientist from Pennsylvania State University.

Advocates for the industry, to which there is a strong opposition
movement, have long tried to claim that the compounds used for drilling
pose no risk to humans or the environment. Now, they claim that the
study's findings are unsubstantiated.

This is not the first time that scientists have found evidence of the
damage caused by fracking. In April this year, researchers at the U.S.
Geological Survey released a report finding that fracking has lead to
increased seismic activity in the U.S., especially the states of
Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and
Texas.

At the end of 2014, New York State led the field in a state-wide ban due
 to the health risks, a move the campaigners said had “great
significance.”

Across the Atlantic, the United Kingdom's top scientist Mark Walport
agrees and warns of the potential health risks.

“History presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that
later proved to be problematic — for instance involving asbestos,
benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides,
 mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds, as well as CFCs,
high-sulphur fuels and fossil fuels in general,” Walport warned in an
annual report on innovation at the end of last year.

Source : Telesur

May 4, 2015

Japan, Fukushima : “Caldrons of Hell”: More than 300 Tons of Highly Radioactive Water Generated Daily

Yauemon Sato, the ninth-generation chief of a sake brewery operating here since 1790 [and president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku] likens the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to “caldrons of hell.” In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sato said the nuclear disaster “continues to recur every day”… Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: What drives you to be so active, including in the use of renewable energy? — Sato: You know the caldron of hell? You will be sent to hell and will be boiled in that caldron if you do evil. And there are four such caldrons in Fukushima… And the disaster has yet to end. It continues to recur every day. More than 300 tons of water, contaminated with intense levels of radioactive substances, are being generated every day…
Hiroaki Koide, professor at Kyoto Univ. Research Reactor Institute (retired), Apr 24, 2015:

  • 11:30 – The Prime Minister [said Fukushima] had been brought to a close. My reaction on hearing his words was, ‘Stop kidding.’ Reality is, though 4 years have passed, the accident has not yet been brought to a close at all.
  • 15:15 – What is the situation within the core? How much has melted? Where is the fuel exactly? We do not know… This is an accident of a severity that cannot be imagined anywhere else… As you can see, we are facing a very, very difficult situation. The only choice that we have open to us is to somehow keep the situation from getting worse.
  • 30:30 – We are in a very terrible situation, I would even call it a crisis.
  • 55:30 – The Japanese government has issued a declaration that this is an emergency situation. As a result, normal laws do not have to be followed. What they are saying is that, in these very high radiation exposure level areas, they have basically abandoned people to live there. They’ve actually thrown them away to live there… The Cs-137 that’s fallen onto Japanese land in the Tohoku and Kanto regions, so much so that this area should all be put under the radiation control area designation [the Kanto region includes Tokyo and is home to over 40 million people].
  • 1:01:00 – I really do want to impress upon you that the accident effects are continuing.
  • 1:02:00 – Bahrain’s Ambassador to Japan: If you were the Prime Minister of Japan, what are you going to do with this very complicated situation?… Koide: When you have an emergency legally declared, regular laws are put on hold. What that means is people can be thrown away into areas where normally people should not be… The first thing I would do as Prime Minister is evacuate all the children that are in the contaminated areas.
  • Watch Koide’s presentation here 
Source : ENENews

Apr 29, 2015

Argentina : Over 30,000 doctors and health professionals ask to ban Monsanto

Doctors, scientists and environmentalists in Argentina, and across Latin America, are demanding a ban on Monsanto products. Over 30,000 doctors and health professionals in Argentina are the latest to add their voice to the fight against Monsanto, asking the federal government to ban its products after recent studies found they may contain carcinogens, press reports stated Tuesday.

Other social organizations and researchers across Latin America have also spoken out against Monsanto's products, signs of a larger and more ambitious campaign to ban the agrochemical company from the whole region.

The demands come after the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report last month with the findings that glyphosate, the active chemical in Monsanto product Roundup, “probably causes cancer.”    

The chemical is also sold by other companies under the names Cosmo Flux,  Baundap, Glyphogan, Panzer, Potenza and Rango.

According to Argentina's union of medical professionals, Fesprosa, glyphosate, “not only causes cancer. It is also associated with increased spontaneous abortions, birth defects, skin diseases, and respiratory and neurological disease.” 

“In our country glyphosate is applied on more than 28 million hectares. Each year, the soil is sprayed with more than 320 million liters, which means that 13 million people are at risk of being affected, according to the Physicians Network of Sprayed Peoples (RMPF),” said Fesprosa in a press statement earlier this month.

The union, which represents over 30,000 doctors and health specialists in the country, also asked for the chemical to be banned from the country, and force agribusinesses to change their structure in order to not be dependent on chemicals. This includes stop using genetically modified plants. 

Glyphosate is used mainly on genetically modified crops – which have been adapted to tolerate the chemical so farmers can spray it on their fields to kill weeds but not their crops.       

The product is common not only in Argentina, but all of Latin America.
According to Carlos Vicente, a representative of GRAIN, a non
governmental organization that promotes sustainable agriculture,
glyphosate was first introduced to the region in the 1970's and its use
spread rapidly through the use of Monsanto products.

According to Greenpeace Andino, the use of agrochemicals in Argentina in
 particular has increased by 858 percent over the last 22 years.

Today, there are some 50 million hectares of genetically modified soy
crops in Latin America, where 600 million liters of the chemical are
used each year, Vicente told Inter Press Service.

Roundup Ready crops are particularly common in Argentina, Bolivia,
Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. These five countries alone comprise of 83
 million hectares of genetically modified crops, according to Javier
Souza, coordinator of Latin American pesticide action network, RAP-AL.

“We believe the precautionary principle should be applied, and that we
should stop accumulating studies and take decisions that could come too
late,” Souza told Inter Press Service, referring to a principle that
precautionary measures sure be taken against a product that is believed
to pose a threat to health or environment, even if a definitive
cause-effect relationship has not been established. 

However, the pesticide is not only used on genetically modified crops,
but also on vegetables, tobacco, fruit trees and plantation forests of
pine or eucalyptus, as well as in urban gardens and flowerbeds and along
 railways.

Souza, who is also the head of the Argentine Center for Studies on
Appropriate Technologies, has called for an all out ban of the product
in the region.

“We advocate a ban on glyphosate which should take effect in the short
term with restrictions on purchasing, spraying and packaging,” said
Souza.

Greenpeace also demands a ban of the product in Latin America, which it
says is “damaging to both the soil and our health,” and advocates for
cleaner agricultural production techniques.

“We cannot allow the business interests of a North American
multinational to be more important than the health of the people of our
region. Governments should promote the technology and practices of
organic farming to protect growers, consumers and the environment,” said
 Franco Segesso, coordinator of the campaign at Greenpeace Andino.

Source : Telesur

Apr 24, 2015

Cuba has had a lung cancer vaccine for years


When Cuba and the United States said they were going to be friends again, images sprang to mind of Americans tanning on once-forbidden beaches, and McDonald’s opening in picturesque Habana Vieja.

That may happen. But this partnership clearly has more promising plans. Turns out Cuba’s been sitting on a breakthrough cancer treatment. Now it’s going to test it out in America.

This week, the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo, New York signed an agreement to import a Cuban lung cancer vaccine. The drug CimaVax helps treat symptoms and recurrence, said institute director Candace Johnson, when she returned Tuesday from a two-day trade trip to the island. 

“[Lung cancer] patients have a very high risk for recurrence. You have one nodule, you know you are maybe going to be get another nodule. You could take perhaps this vaccine that could help prevent a recurrence,” Johnson told Buffalo TV's WIVB News 4.

The institute will conduct clinical trials of CimaVax in the United States and seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration, Johnson said. Cuban scientists will also visit Buffalo to help with testing and research.

The trade trip was led by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the first US governor to visit Cuba since presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced the historic thaw in December.

The Obama administration has rewritten some Cuba policies, allowing deals like this that make joint research possible. But much of America’s Cuba trade embargo remains intact and only Congress can change that.

The Castro regime has long invested in medical research, and is famous for putting its extensive health system to work as a kind of global doctor diplomacy arm.

CimaVax was developed by government-run Molecular Immunology Center. It's not brand new, and Cuba has not kept its success a secret. Cuban researchers were testing the drug in the 1990s and major world media outlets have reported on it in the 2000s.

The center has also developed a second lung cancer drug called Racotumomab, which encourages the immune system to fight solid tumors.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths, killing 163,000 Americans in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.
There’s also potential for importing Cuban medicines treating other conditions.

One drug Heberprot-P helps treat diabetic foot ulcers. It’s used in 18 countries, and is undergoing trial in the European Union, but the embargo has kept it out of the US.

Source : GlobalPost


Apr 23, 2015

Chinese scientists say they have tweaking the genes of human embryos for the first time in history

The genome-editing enzyme known as CAS9 at work on a strand of DNA.A group of Chinese scientists just reported that they modified the genome of human embryos, something that has never been done in the history of the world, according to a report in Nature News.  

A recent biotech discovery — one that has been called the biggest biotech discovery of the century — showed how scientists might be able to modify a human genome when that genome was still just in an embryo.

This could change not only the genetic material of a person, but could also change the DNA they pass on, removing "bad" genetic codes (and potentially adding "good" ones) and taking an active hand in evolution.

Concerned scientists published an argument that no one should edit the human genome in this way until we better understood the consequences after a report uncovered rumors that Chinese scientists were already working on using this technology. 

But this new paper, published April 18 in the journal Protein and Cell by a Chinese group led by gene-function researcher Junjiu Huang of Sun Yat-sen University, shows that work has already been done, and Nature News spoke to a Chinese source that said at least four different groups are "pursuing gene editing in human embryos."

Specifically, the team tried to modify a gene in a non-viable embryo that would have been responsible for a deadly blood disorder. But they noted in the study that they encountered serious challenges, suggesting there are still significant hurdles before clinical use becomes a reality.

CRISPR, the technology that makes all this possible, can find bad sections of DNA and cut them and even replace them with DNA that doesn't code for deadly diseases, but it can also make unwanted substitutions. Its level of accuracy is still very low.

Huang's group successfully introduced the DNA they wanted in only "a fraction" of the 28 embryos that had been "successfully spliced" (they tried 86 embryos at the start and tested 54 of the 71 that survived the procedure). They also found a "surprising number of ‘off-target’ mutations," according to Nature News.

Huang told Nature News that they stopped then because they knew that if they were do this work medically, that success rate would need to be closer to 100%. 

Our understanding of CRISPR needs to significantly develop before we get there, but this is a new technology that's changing rapidly.

Even though the Chinese team worked with non-viable embryos, embryos that cannot result in a live birth, some say that editing the human genome and changing the DNA of an embryo is ethically questionable, because it could lead to more uses of this technology in humans. Changing the DNA of viable embryos could have unpredictable results for future generations, and some researchers want us to understand this better before putting it into practice.

Still, many researchers think this technology (most don't think it's ready to be used yet) could be invaluable. It could eliminate genetic diseases like sickle cell anemia, Huntington's disease, and cystic fibrosis, all devastating illnesses caused by genes that could theoretically be removed. 
 

Others fear that once we can do this accurately, it will inevitably be used to create designer humans with specific desired traits. After all, even though this research is considered questionable now, it is still actively being experimented with.

Huang told Nature News that both Nature and Science journals rejected his paper on embryo editing, "in part because of ethical objections." Neither journal commented to Nature News on that statement.

Huang plans on trying to improve the accuracy of CRISPR in animal models for now. 

But CRISPR is reportedly quite easy to use, according to scientists who previously argued against doing this research in embryos now, meaning that it's incredibly likely these experiments will continue.



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