Category Archives: Health Care

‘Truly Shameful’: Pentagon Ran Secret Anti-Vax Campaign Against China at Height of Covid Pandemic

“I don’t think it’s defensible,” an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth said of the clandestine effort.

By Jake Johnson. Published 6-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo:Covid-19 vaccination/flickr/CC

Reuters investigation published Friday revealed that the Pentagon ran a “clandestine operation” aimed at discrediting China’s coronavirus vaccines and treatments, a campaign that U.S. public health experts and others condemned as a cynical ploy that endangered lives for political purposes.

According to Reuters, the Pentagon’s secretive campaign was designed to counter what the U.S. “perceived as China’s growing influence in the Philippines,” a country that was ravaged by Covid-19. The virus, which killed millions of people globally, was first detected in Wuhan, China in late 2019.

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Is Shell’s exit from Nigeria a front to dodge legal responsibilities?

The oil giant is selling its Niger Delta subsidiary – but lending the new owners the money for the purchase

By Andy Rowell and James Marriot Published 6-6-2024 by openDemocracy

Damaged trees in the Niger Delta following the 2008 Bodo oil spill. Photo: Sosialistisk Ungdom (SU)/flickr/CC

Nigerian activists believe Shell’s apparent end to its 87-year operation in the country is an effort to avoid its legal responsibilities while holding onto the potentially profitable side of the business.

In January, the oil giant revealed it had “reached an agreement to sell its Nigerian onshore subsidiary” to Renaissance, a consortium of four Nigerian oil firms and one based in Switzerland.

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ISDS Courts Have Helped Fossil Fuel Firms Rake In $80 Billion in Public Money

“ISDS is the secret weapon for fossil fuel companies against climate laws,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-6-2024 by Common Dreams

Demonstration against the TTIP and ISDS in 2016. Photo: War on Want

A week after the European Union announced its withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, which has been criticized for being one of many global agreements that allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments, a coalition on Thursday released an analysis showing just how lucrative such deals have been for firms whose emissions are wrecking havoc on the planet.

The Transnational Institute, the Trade Justice Movement (TJM), Power Shift, and the Institute for Policy Studies joined forces to unveil the Global ISDS Tracker, which includes data on more than 1,300 cases that have made their way to secretive tribunals set up by investor-state dispute mechanisms in treaties including the Energy Charter Treaty.

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UN Chief Calls for Global Ban on Fossil Fuel Advertising

“There is no longer any cover for agencies to say that they are doing the right thing when working with polluters,” said one campaigner. “Everyone knows this is wrong, and everyone needs to act.”

By Julia Conley. Published 6-5-2024 by Common Dreams

Over 100,000 marched in Vancouver in solidarity with the youth of the world in the September 27, 2019 Climate Strike.. Photo::Chris Yakimov/flickr/CC

Despite the grim news that scientists on Wednesday reported last month as the hottest May on record globally, marking 12 straight months with record-breaking heat, climate advocates expressed optimism after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres signaled what one called a “game-changing intervention,” urging governments to ban advertisements by fossil fuel firms.

The demand is in line with prohibitions on advertising for other “products that harm human health—like tobacco,” said Guterres.

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US Senate Hearing Highlights Impacts of ‘Horrific Anti-Abortion Crusade’

Sen. Patty Murray described the event as “a close accounting of the trauma Republicans are inflicting on women and families across our country, and the damage they are doing to basic reproductive healthcare.”

By Jessica Corbett. Published 6-4-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Senator Patty Murray/X

Abortion rights advocates in the U.S. Senate held a Tuesday hearing highlighting the impacts of healthcare bans imposed by the GOP, particularly since the Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which reversed Roe v. Wade.

The hearing—titled, “The Assault on Women’s Freedoms: How Abortion Bans Have Created a Healthcare Nightmare Across America”—was officially hosted by Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but he kicked it off by explaining why he was turning things over to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the panel’s former leader.

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Sanders Praises $35 Cap on Inhalers Just Six Months After Probe Into ‘Outrageous’ Prices

“Americans who have asthma and COPD should not be forced to pay, in many cases, 10 to 70 times more for the same exact inhalers as patients in Europe and other parts of the world,” said the independent senator from Vermont.

By Jon Queally. Published 6-2-2024 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: NBC News

Less than six months after launching a probe in the U.S. Senate into “the outrageously high prices” that asthma patients and others across the country pay for inhalers, Sen. Bernie Sanders celebrated the official start of a new program by one of the largest makers in the industry on Saturday to cap out of pocket costs at $35.

Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said Saturday was “the first day of a new program instituted by the major pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim, which will allow people with asthma and COPD to purchase brand name inhalers at their local drugstore or pharmacy for only $35 dollars.”

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UN Agencies Call for International Aid as War-Torn Sudan Faces Famine Threat

“Extreme hunger is unfolding” as a civil war enters its second year and funding is slow to arrive, the agencies warned.

By Edward Carver. Published 5-31-2024 by Common Dreams

Photo: Ahmed Hussen/X

A group of United Nations agencies and humanitarian groups sounded the alarm Friday that 18 million Sudanese are acutely hungry as a civil war that began in April 2023 continues to ravage the country.

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a group of 12 U.N. agencies and 7 humanitarian organizations, issued a statement on the staggering scale of hunger and insecurity in Sudan, including in the Darfur region in the country’s west. They called for an immediate influx of international funding—billions of dollars of which has already been pledged, but not yet delivered—so that food could be planted before the rainy season.

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As India Swelters, Experts Say Deadly Heat Is Growing Public Health Emergency

“How much evidence is enough for action?” asked one expert as temperatures soared to over 120°F in New Delhi and 16 people died in Bihar.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-30-2024 by Common Dreams

When the water tanker arrives in Delhi. Screenshot: Licypriya Kangujam/X

As a record heatwave scorches large swaths of India, killing 16 people in Bihar state, climate scientists warned Thursday that extreme heat fueled by the worsening climate emergency poses a fast-growing threat to public health and human survivability.

The Indian Meteorological Department said temperatures soared to over 120°F in recent days in New Delhi. The agency said it is investigating an all-time high reading of 127.2°F in the capital on Wednesday that may be attributable to a sensor error. If the reading is accurate, it would mark the highest temperature ever recorded in India.

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Educators Celebrate as Judge Strikes Down New Hampshire ‘Banned Concepts’ Law

One advocate said the federal judge “correctly decided that educators have the constitutional right to teach honest, accurate lessons and wasn’t dragged into the clutches of the extreme right.”

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-28-2024 by Common Dreams

A middle school class. Photo: woodleywonderworks//flickr/CC

Education and free speech advocates cheered Tuesday’s federal court ruling striking down New Hampshire’s classroom censorship law, one of several so-called “white discomfort” bills passed in Republican-controlled states in recent years.

U.S. District Judge Paul J. Barbadoro’s 50-page ruling says that the New England state’s so-called “banned concepts” law is “unconstitutionally vague” and contains “viewpoint-based restrictions on speech that do not provide either fair warning to educators of what they prohibit or sufficient standards for law enforcement to prevent arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

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World Leaders Urged to Protect Syrian Refugees Amid Lebanon’s Crackdown

“Lebanon’s authorities must stop summarily deporting refugees to a place where they are at risk of violations, lift restrictions, and end their vitriolic campaign against refugees,” said one Amnesty campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Syrian refugee children in the Ketermaya refugee camp, outside Beirut, Lebanon on June 1, 2014. Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/flickr/CC

Amnesty International on Monday reiterated human rights groups’ rising concerns about a Lebanese crackdown on Syrian refugees as the European Union hosted a conference in Brussels focused on “supporting the future of Syria and the region.”

The conference comes at right-wing leaders in the E.U. campaign as anti-migrant ahead of the bloc’s June elections and after European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen in early May announced a three-year, €1 billion ($1.06 billion) assistance package to support “the most vulnerable people in Lebanon, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and host communities,” as well as “urgent domestic reforms” and “border and migration management.”

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