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Alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America
Americas

Alarming vaccine disinformation is a danger to America

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser says that if they would have had pushback for vaccines then it would have been very difficult to eradicate any kind of disease. The nation’s premier infectious disease specialist added, “If we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now, if we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we’d still have polio in this country.”

A report released Friday by the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters documents that the majority of vaccine-related segments that Fox News aired over the past two weeks repeatedly fearmongered about and downplayed the need for continued vaccination campaigns. Also, it should be noted that Fox News reaching to 60 per cent of its audience who are above the age group of 65 years. And this misleading information on vaccines is highly critical and crucial coming from Biden administration.

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This issue got escalated since within the span of 12 days, from June 28 to July 11, Fox News aired 129 segments about coronavirus vaccines. Of those, 57 per cent included claims that either undermined or downplayed immunization efforts.

Alarmingly, this is happening when America is experiencing a dangerous spike in Covid cases. Director of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky bluntly says that it is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. They are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk while communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well.

On introspecting it is realized that believers of Fox News arehurt as they were helping Republicans win in the 2022 midterm. And if the economy slows down or if there’s a need to close businesses again to contain the virus, Biden could suffer political damage.

Merkel in White House: the two leaders vow to stand strong against Russia’s aggression
Americas

Merkel in White House: the two leaders vow to stand strong against Russia’s aggression

 As the German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to step down as the leader of the European country, she was greeted at White House on Thursday by US President Joe Biden kickstarting bilateral meetings between the two leaders. This is also the concluding visit of Merkel to the US in capacity of the leader of Germany. This visit also marks an attempt from Biden to further bolster relations with US allies.

The two leaders met at Oval Office before proceeding to a joint press conference. Biden and Merkel spoke about importance of alliance between US and Germany, and ways for strengthening it further. The leaders also vowed to work together and stand strong against Russian aggression as well as stand up against China’s exceeding anti-democratic actions.

Russia and Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 was another topic of discussion. Biden reiterated his concerns of the major pipeline, that is near completion, that will run between Germany and Russia under the Baltic Sea. Merkel agreed with Biden on the belief that the energy should not be used by Russia as a weapon. During the joint press conference Biden said, “We stand together and will continue to stand together to defend our eastern flank allies at NATO against Russian aggression.”

US has long argued that Nord Stream 2 can be a threat to European energy security by making it overly reliant on the Russian gas project. This will give Russia a leverage to exert pressure politically on vulnerable European nations, Ukraine in particular. Merkel tried to downplay the topic by noting that the pipeline is an addition to Ukraine pipelines and not a replacement of the same.

China

President Biden and Chancellor Merkel were unanimous on standing up against China and any other country that work to undermine free society and expression. They vowed to preserve democratic and universal rights of people across the world.

Covid-19 travel restrictions

Travel discussions due to Covid-19 pandemic was also discussed by the leaders. President Biden said that when it would be safe to lift ban on traveling from Europe to US was a discussion with Madam Merkel.

“It’s in the process now. And I’ll be able to answer that question to you within the next several days, what is likely to happen,” he said. Biden added that his team would further assess the pandemic condition and analyze when it would be safe to lift restrictions.

Biden also took this opportunity to pay tribute to Madam Merkel, the second longest serving Chancellor of Germany, as she nears the end of her political career. Standing by Merkel, Biden said, “On a personal note, I must tell you I will miss seeing you at our summits.”

After four years of divisive leadership by former US President Donald Trump, this visit by Merkel highlights efforts by Biden to strengthen ties with the US allies. The two leaders have worked with each other for years and have found a supporter in the other on a vast arena of subjects.

Starting the meeting in Oval Office, Biden said, “The cooperation between the United States and Germany is strong and we hope to continue that, and I’m confident that we will.”

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Canada has its first Indigenous governor general amid strained relations with First Nations
Americas

Canada has its first Indigenous governor general amid strained relations with First Nations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Canada’s first Indigenous governor general. Inuk leader Mary Simon has been appointed as Queen’s representative in Canada. What Trudeau called a “historic step”, comes at a critical time when Canada is having strained relations with the First Nations after discovery of over a thousand of unmarked graves of Indigenous children.

On Tuesday, Trudeau announced Simon’s appointment after escalating pressure on government to choose a new viceregal. “Canada is a place defined by people. People who serve those around them, who tackle big challenges with hope and determination, and above all, who never stop working to build a brighter tomorrow,” said Trudeau. “In other words, people like Mary Simon.”

A long time advocate of Inuit human rights, Mary Simon is originally from Kangiqsualujjuaq, in the Nunavik region of Quebec. She has also served as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the national advocacy organization for Inuit. Simon has also served as first Inuk Ambassador from Canada in Denmark.

Simon said, while also addressing in Inuktitut, her first language, “I am honoured, humbled and ready to be Canada’s first indigenous Governor General. I can confidently say that my appointment is a historic and inspirational moment for Canada and an important step forward on the long path towards reconciliation.” Mary Simon also said in her remarks that its time for Canada to “fully recognize, memorialize and come to terms with the atrocities of our collective past” after discovery of unmarked graves of children.

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Trudeau’s first selection for the post of governor general was Julie Payette who resigned in January over allegations of bullying by an anonymous staff.

Though the position is highly symbolic, once formally ordained Simon will hold a far superior federal office than Trudeau, outranking him as holder of highest Canada’s federal office, second to Queen.  

Big Tech Law Halted In Florida Respects Sanctity Of Tech Companies
Americas

Big Tech Law Halted In Florida Respects Sanctity Of Tech Companies

A federal judge in Florida has barricaded the law that was to strong-arm the social media businesses in America. Apparently, in May of this year, Florida lawmakers had approved a law that prevented social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from suspending politicians’ accounts.

Apparently, Trump’s accounts had been suspended after the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The reasons for this were that his comments and then subsequent propaganda that suited his political agenda were overpowering and influencing the generally negative narrative in the US social media. 

The U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle granted a preliminary injunction to a lawsuit filed by social media consortium of companies. Calling it a violation of their first amendment right and freedom to conduct business, the Big Tech Law was contested. 

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Speaking over the block on this Florida law, the group’s president Steve DelBianco at Net Choice said in a statement “We’re pleased the court ensured that social media can remain family-friendly by delaying Florida’s law from taking effect on July 1. This order protects private businesses against the State’s demand that social media carry user posts that are against their community standards. Even better, it lets social media provide high-quality services to their users while keeping them safe from the worst content posted by irresponsible users.” Net Choice is a consortium of social media tech companies and e-commerce giants. 

The bill to the law was passed in April by the Republican-led Florida state. It was to come in effect from today but has now been withheld. It passed, it could strong-arm the big techs into heavy penalties and rob them of keeping the social media healthy for public consumption.

The state would have been in a powerful position of doling out penalties of $250,000 a day in fines if any social media chose to ban any state-level political candidates and $25,000 for local candidates.

The law also would have forced social media giants to give users a seven-day notice before they were likely to be banned and give them a chance to change their behavior and resolve the issue on the platform.

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state
Americas

Nicaragua’s freedom is in a questionable state

Democracy in Nicaragua is hanging by a thread and its citizens are thinking that it may slip very soon into the hands of the dictatorship. Their President Daniel Ortega used his undisputed power to crack down and take disadvantage of country’s police and courts to fulfil his political favours. Treating the opposition with brutal efficiency, he made 13 leaders from the opposition party arrested on the grounds of “national security” violations. Human Rights say it is a clear sign that the President is doing his best to eliminate dissent and crush any competition ahead of the upcoming general elections in November.

This entire propaganda began with the arrest of prominent presidential candidate Cristiana Chamorro Barrios, who was earlier investigated on allegations that she mismanaged a non-profit free press advocacy organization. After the day of her announcing her candidacy, authorities raided her home and arrested her by saying she was involved in abusive management, ideological falsehood in competition with the crime of laundering money, goods and assets, to the detriment of the State of Nicaragua. Even though she hails from the sound background of Nicaragua’s preeminent family and she was seen as an ideal candidate that would beat Ortega in November elections.

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The reason why all Americans should pay attention to this is that instead of working with opposition groups and protesters to find a peaceful solution, Ortega’s government took the opposite approach. They went all intense and forceful by violating human rights. They detained thousands of people who participated in the protests and even prevented the injured people from gaining access to emergency medical care as a form of retaliation for their participation in the protests. Universities became ground zero as pro-government forces attacked students who had been holed up in defiance against the government, killing at least two people in one deadly incident, human rights group CENIDH reported.

With much international pressure, the government has though agreed international organizations to investigate the deaths of hundreds of protesters and release some of those imprisoned on what the IACHR called “unfounded and disproportionate charges.” Acting Assistant Secretary for the US Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, mentioned that Ortega had a chance to follow through on his commitment to allow free and fair elections, but instead he was playing another game. Se explained that their government is fearful of losing to a free and fair, transparent system. They see democracy as a threat and it would give more power in the hands of the people, this is why he has triggered these kinds of actions as no confidence in their ability to support people.

Why Are Republican States Withdrawing Federal Jobless Benefits?
Americas

Why Are Republican States Withdrawing Federal Jobless Benefits?

With more Republican states dropping unemployment benefits, it is going to be a difficult time of survival during the ongoing onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic.

To start with are Arizona, Georgia and Ohio that has withdrawn their support to the enhanced federal jobless benefits.

There are thirteen more such states that have withdrawn support which means the weekly $300 support that went into state benefits will not be there.

The jobless could lose as much $10.8 billion in payments in these states.

According to the Century Foundation, a progressive think-tank based in Washington, with states pulling off support, nationally, there will be some 16.8 million workers who will be adversely affected. This is the number of workers that are found on the unemployment programs, and the nation is still short 8 million-plus jobs from the start of the pandemic.

Strangely, the payment schedules for the package were extended by the Democrats till early September as part of their $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package. This is going to end as soon as June 12 in some states.

The reason that the governors are now citing is workforce shortages and the improving economy. But what happens to those who have been under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Assistance programs? These amount to nearly

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1.4 million out-of-work Americans who will stop receiving any payments once their states withdraw.

This was an initiated started in March 2020 and was meant to support freelancers, independent contractors, the self-employed and certain people affected by the coronavirus. If all Republican governors were to pull out their funding, some 4.8 million workers would be severely affected, and $29 billion in payments would also be lost.

Justifying itself, the state of Montana is actually offering a $1200 return-to-work bonus.  It will be making use of federal funds. Similar announcements have been made by South Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, Missouri, Iowa, Idaho, Tennessee, Wyoming, South Dakota and Utah. Other red states are likely to follow.

Additionally, Arizona has set aside $300 million in federal funds to offer one-time $2,000 bonuses to eligible people who take a full-time job and $1,000 to those who return part-time, after they complete at least 10 weeks of work.

Also, those earning $25 or less, roughly $52,000 a year, can qualify. They must begin working September 6 (Labor Day). It has also guaranteed that it will provide three months of child care assistance for unemployed workers who return to work and are eligible for the bonus. This entire scheme of things works well, if the returning lot is healthy, not a silent carrier of the virus and/or vaccinated to be fit to come back to work. Else we are looking at another widespread herd spread in no time.

The United States in favor of suspending patents for Covid-19 vaccines, Joe Biden
Americas

The United States in favor of suspending patents for Covid-19 vaccines, Joe Biden

The United States has announced that it is in favor of the suspension of patents for coronavirus vaccines, to allow the production of them also to other companies in addition to those that developed them and therefore hold the intellectual property. Support for the initiative was communicated by the trade representative for the United States, Katherine Tai, to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the most important body for regulating and harmonizing commercial activities and exchanges globally.

The opportunity to suspend patents on coronavirus vaccines has been discussed for months now and sees some countries and pharmaceutical companies opposed. Proponents believe that the suspension could speed up the production of vaccines, while opponents say that production processes are much more complicated and that production and delivery delays do not stem from problems related to restrictions on intellectual property.

Among the main supporters of the suspension are India and South Africa, leading a group of at least 60 countries that for the past six months has been calling for a revision of the rules for vaccine patents. Until now, the proposal had met with opposition from the European Union and the United States. The US administration of Donald Trump had ruled out the possibility of implementing a patent suspension, while the new president Joe Biden had signalled that he was in favor of a revision, already during his electoral campaign last year.

Presenting the US orientation to the WTO, Tai explained that “extraordinary times require extraordinary measures”. You then recalled that the discussion on the issue should be addressed immediately, given the time usually required to reach an agreement within the Organization. For decisions of this kind, it is necessary to reach a consensus among all 164 member states, a long process that requires a lot of diplomatic efforts.Earlier, WTO director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala argued for the need for knowledge transfer for coronavirus vaccine manufacturing if patent holders were unable to manufacture and deliver all necessary doses. In addition to the governments of several developing countries, this position is also shared by associations and non-profit organizations that provide health care.

Pharmaceutical companies argue that delays in deliveries or lack of sufficient doses in various countries do not result from patent ownership, but from production difficulties that would continue to exist even in the event of a suspension of intellectual property.

Other observers have pointed out the risks of suspending patents, recalling that it is thanks to this system that pharmaceutical companies invest large amounts of money to research and develop new drugs, taking on the risks associated with failures in their research or clinical trials. Patents guarantee these companies a certain economic return for a few years, before the intellectual property expires and the drug developed by them can be produced by others, usually with a significant reduction in the final price. On the other hand, in various circumstances, the research is conducted thanks to substantial public funding, and for which it is more difficult to assess the returns in direct economic terms and health improvement for all.

The suspension of patents, or their granting with free licenses, could allow other pharmaceutical companies to produce vaccines that are already authorized and have proved effective, but it could prove insufficient. In addition to patents, companies must know, the right machinery and have the raw materials for production, conditions that are not taken for granted in a phase like the present one where, due to the high demand, many resources are scarce.

While the director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called the new position of the United States “historic, a great moment for the fight against COVID-19“, it is not yet clear what position the Union will now take. Europe and several other countries such as the United Kingdom are so far opposed to the possibility of suspending patents. Commenting on the announcement by the United States, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalled that for now, the European Union’s goal is to increase the production of vaccines and that it will therefore be necessary to evaluate whether the US proposal on the issue can contribute to that goal.

Cheney hits back as GOP moves to oust her as No 3 House Representative, calls them Trump ‘cult’
Americas

Cheney hits back as GOP moves to oust her as No 3 House Representative, calls them Trump ‘cult’

Liz Cheney, the No.3 House Representative and a Republican from Wyoming, has hit back at fellow Republican leaders for trying to oust her from the leadership. Cheney warned her colleagues on Wednesday saying “history is watching” as they are considering to expel her from rank in House for continuing to challenge and reject all ‘lies’ around elections by former President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday afternoon, Cheney’s statements and tirade was published in The Washington Post as an opinion piece. It came as top two House Republicans are working on removing Cheney as No.3 and replacing her with a Trump loyalist, possibly Elise Stefanik. Former President Trump has been aggressively demanding dethroning of Ms. Cheney by the Republicans in leadership roles. Her fault – she continues to blame and rebuke her party for role in January 6 attack on Capitol Hill, blatantly protecting Trump for his role of inciting violence by his supporters, and supporting Trump’s lies around Presidential election that led to his loss.

In the article, Ms. Cheney warned the Republican party that it was at a “turning point” and it is a dangerous game that some Republicans are playing by supporting “the dangerous and anti-democratic Trump cult of personality”. Liz Cheney in her column said, “While embracing or ignoring Trump’s statements might seem attractive to some for fund-raising or political purposes, that approach will do profound long-term damage to our party and our country.” She continued, “Trump has never expressed remorse or regret for the attack of Jan 6 and now suggests that our elections, and our legal and constitutional system, cannot be trusted to do the will of the people. This is immensely harmful.”

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She further attacked McCarthy for failing to stand by his words of accepting Trump bore responsibility of the Capitol riots. She concluded, “We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.”

Steve Scalise, the No 2 Republican in House openly called for ousting of Liz Cheney on Wednesday morning and pushed for making Rep Elise Stefanik of New York in her place as No 3 in House, Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. McCarthy too is said to be pulling strings behind the curtain and urging other Republicans to support close ally and Trump supporter, Ms. Stefanik. Trump wasted no time in supporting Stefanik. He released a statement on Wednesday afternoon, “Elise Stefanik is a far superior choice, and she has my COMPLETE and TOTAL Endorsement for GOP Conference Chair.”

Mysterious illnesses in the White House, symptoms similar to Havana syndrome
Americas

Mysterious illnesses in the White House, symptoms similar to Havana syndrome

The White House is still examining reports of an alleged mysterious energy attack that occurred last November near the Ellipse, the large oval lawn south of the presidential residence. A spokesman for Joe Biden said so.

This is one of two incidents that federal agencies are investigating. What happened near the oval lawn would cause a national security council executive to be very ill. In another episode of 2019, a White House executive allegedly suffered a similar attack while walking the dog in a Virginia suburb not far from Washington.

The symptoms, dizziness, nausea, headache, ringing in the ears, seem similar to those of the so-called “Havana syndrome” reported by American diplomats in Cuba, China, and Russia. But US investigators have not yet ascertained whether the accidents on American soil are related to those that occurred abroad, which were likely caused by microwave energy, according to research by the US National Academy of Sciences for the State Department. The source of the energy and who possibly is behind these alleged attacks are still unknown.

Microwave energy would be the probable cause of the so-called “Havana syndrome”, the mysterious malaise that in recent years had struck American diplomats first in Cuba and then in China, leading to the evacuation of personnel and the freezing of diplomatic relations. This is the conclusion of a study by the US National Academy of Sciences on behalf of the State Department, after a long time unspecified “acoustic attacks” had been hypothesized.

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The study argued that “direct and pulsed radiofrequency energy seems to be the most plausible explanation” of the symptoms, which are many varied: headache, nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, difficulty speaking. Experts do not indicate the source of the energy or say whether it is the result of an attack but recall that research of this type was conducted several decades ago in the Soviet Union and offer “circumstantial support for this possible mechanism”.

The study specifies that the syndrome may have contributed with causes such as psychological and social factors, capable of exacerbating the symptoms. The scientists’ conclusion is alarming, according to which “the mere consideration of this scenario raises serious concerns in a world with uninhibited malevolent actors and new tools to harm others”. Hence the invitation to the US government to equip itself against such threats.

The first cases date back to 2016, when some American diplomats in Havana, as well as some Canadians, suddenly began to perceive a loud noise, “accompanied by pain in one or both ears or a large region of the head and, in some cases, from a sensation of pressure or vibration of the head, dizziness, followed in some cases by rattling, visual problems and cognitive difficulties, “recalls the study.

It was precisely the variety of symptoms that made solving the mystery difficult. Experts evoked the use of acoustic weapons with ultrasound or infrasound or electromagnetic weapons, some new spy equipment not yet tested with unwanted effects. Others even bothered the Caribbean crickets with their high frequencies.

“Don’t have time for a punch to punch with Republicans, I have job to do”, says Gretchen Whitmer
Americas

“Don’t have time for a punch to punch with Republicans, I have job to do”, says Gretchen Whitmer

When CBS News asked Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer to comment regarding the misogynistic remarks made by the chairman of Ron Weiser the Michigan Republican party leader. In reply, she said, “I don’t have time to focus on replying to the misogynistic remark by the Republicans; I’m not going to do that.” “I have an important job to do.” 

On 28 March, The chairperson of the Michigan GOP Ron Weiser faced harsh criticism for calling three female Democratic leaders “witches” to be scorched “at the stake” and for referencing “assassination” as an alternative to ousting the two Republican congressmen who voted against former President Donald Trump during impeachment. 

In February, the Republican chief in the state Senate, Mike Shirkey, professed to have “hit” Whitmer over appointments and budget. 

The two men apologized. However, on Sunday Whitmer stated: “I don’t know to whom they’ve apologized in light of the fact that I haven’t heard from themThe Guardian reported.

Currently, six men are facing charges over the scheme to kidnap and perhaps murder Whitmer. It was revealed in the investigation of the attack on the Capitol Hill building last year. Other defendants are facing state charges over the kidnapping conspiracy, Reuters reported.

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Whitmer revealed to CBS that she is focused on “helping get her state back on track, backing the Biden government’s American Jobs Plan. Furthermore, that is the thing that I will remain fixed on.” 

Whitmer says “We’ve seen real threats coming on those of us in office,” she added that “we’re seeing individuals in court this week that are blamed for plotting to kidnap and murder me.

The State GOP Chairman Ron Weiser’s ill remarks were reprimanded by Michigan Democrats as “dangerous” and “sexist” and also led people from the University Of Michigan Board Of Regents to urge for his resignation.

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