Tag Archives: coronavirus

‘Appalled’ by Vaccine Booster Plans, WHO Chief Rebukes Big Pharma, Rich Nations

“I will not stay silent when the companies and countries that control the global supply of vaccines think the world’s poor should be satisfied with leftovers,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-9-2021

Photo: U.S. Secretary of Defense/flickr

With the Biden administration expected to begin offering third doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. public in less than two weeks despite vocal pushback from many experts, the head of the World Health Organization on Wednesday demanded a moratorium on booster shots until at least the end of the year in order to free up supply for low-income nations.

During his weekly press briefing, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he is “appalled” that rich nations are moving ahead with booster campaigns as billions of people across the globe lack access to a single dose. Less than 2% of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Our World in Data. Continue reading

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‘Catastrophe’ Feared as 35 Million People Are Set to Lose Jobless Aid in 3 Days

“Millions will suffer as they lose this critical source of income and the loss of spending will suppress job growth.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-3-2021

Members of the Georgia State Defense Force from across the state pack supply boxes at Second Harvest of South Georgia food bank in Valdosta, Ga. Photo: Georgia National Guard/Wikimedia/CC

Millions of jobless workers are set to lose critical unemployment benefits in roughly 72 hours—and neither Congress nor the Biden administration seem prepared to do anything about it.

Despite the ongoing threat posed by the highly transmissible Delta variant, the White House and Democratic lawmakers have provided no indication that they plan to prevent several pandemic-related unemployment programs from expiring on September 6, which—in a cruel irony—happens to be Labor Day. Continue reading

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Biden’s Permanent SNAP Boost ‘Will Transform Lives,’ Say Anti-Poverty Advocates

The USDA’s record 27% increase in food stamp benefits “is a large advance for poverty reduction, nutrition, and opportunity for children,” said one economist.

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-16-2021

Progressives on Monday commended the Biden administration for approving the largest permanent expansion of food benefits in the history of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which anti-poverty advocates say will help improve health and educational outcomes for millions of low-income households in need of financial support.

Although the cost of a healthy diet has grown over time, the United States Department of Agriculture had not increased the value of the Thrifty Food Plan—its model for estimating how families could meet nutritional guidelines as inexpensively as possible, which is used to calculate SNAP benefits—since it was first established in 1975 based on 1962 prices, with the exception of adjustments for inflation. Continue reading

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‘A Devastating Failure’: Eviction Ban Expires as House Goes on Vacation and Biden Refuses to Act

“We’re now in an eviction emergency,” said Rep. Cori Bush. “Eleven million are now at risk of losing their homes at any moment. The House needs to reconvene and put an end to this crisis.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-1-2021

Capitol police tell a group it’s “prohibited to sleep on the ground” as they protest the end of the eviction moratorium. Photo: Alia Fierro/Twitter

A nationwide eviction moratorium officially expired Saturday after the Biden administration refused to extend it unilaterally and Congress failed to act in time, putting millions of people across the U.S. at risk of losing their homes in the near future as the highly virulent Delta strain tears through the country.

The CDC’s temporary eviction ban lapsed as a growing group of lawmakers and activists rallied on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to demand that Democratic leaders immediately reconvene the House and pass an extension. Many lawmakers skipped town Friday after the House adjourned for its seven-week August recess without holding a vote on prolonging the moratorium, which—while flawed—significantly curbed the number eviction filings nationwide. Continue reading

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Planet’s Vital Signs Are Reaching Dangerous ‘Tipping Points’ Amid Climate Crisis, Scientists Warn

“We need to stop treating the climate emergency as a stand-alone issue—global heating is not the sole symptom of our stressed Earth system.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-28-2021

Human activity may be pushing the climate beyond dangerous ‘tipping points,’ say 14,000 scientists. As the extreme drought emergency continues in California, historically low water levels are visible at Lake Oroville on July 22, 2021 in Oroville, California. Photo: NOAA

More than a year after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down economies around the world and sharply reduced worldwide travel—sparking speculation among some that emissions would plummet as a result—a coalition of scientists said in a paper published Wednesday that the planet is nonetheless reaching multiple “tipping points,” with levels of sea ice melt, deforestation, and other markers revealing that urgent action is needed to mitigate the climate emergency.

“The extreme climate events and patterns that we’ve witnessed over the last several years — not to mention the last several weeks — highlight the heightened urgency with which we must address the climate crisis,” said Philip Duffy, co-author of the study and executive director of the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts. Continue reading

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Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

“How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-24-2021

People marched in more than 50 U.S. cities on Saturday to demand Medicare for All. (Photo: @Jaybefaunt/Twitter)

Just days before the 56th anniversary of Medicare being signed into law, advocates for creating a public, universal health insurance program in the United States to replace the largely private, for-profit system held marches in more than 50 cities across the country on Saturday.

The day of action was organized by a coalition of over 100 groups, from Mainers for Accountable Leadership, the Chicago Teachers Union, and Sunrise Movement Seattle to various arms of Democratic Socialists of America, Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), and Our Revolution. Continue reading

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The time for a four-day week has arrived

A new experiment from Iceland confirms what many of us have long suspected: reducing working hours improves wellbeing and productivity

By Jack Kellam.  Published 7-8-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Rawpixel Ltd/flickr/CC

Over the past six years, Iceland has been quietly conducting a major economic experiment. More than 2,500 public sector employees – representing over 1% of the country’s entire working population – reduced their working hours from 40 hours per week to 35 or 36 hours, with no loss of pay.

Trials of shorter working weeks are not new: in recent years a number of ‘four-day week’ experiments have taken place around the world – from Microsoft’s trial in Japan to Unilever’s experiment in New Zealand. But Iceland’s two trials, which took place between 2015 and 2021 among employees of the country’s national government and Reykjavík City Council, are unparalleled in terms of scale and scope. Progress was meticulously monitored by Icelandic researchers, which generated an unrivalled amount of evidence on the impact of shorter working hours. This week the key findings were published in a joint report published by Alda (Association for Sustainable Democracy) and Autonomy. Continue reading

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‘Triumph for Environmental Justice’: Oil Companies Scrap Pipeline Plans Amid Grassroots Pressure

“We’ve shown them that we aren’t the path of least resistance,” said a local organizer. “We are the path of resilience.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-4-2021

Activists attend a rally opposing the Byhalia Connection pipeline. (Photo: @Hunter_Demster/Twitter)

Community activists in Memphis, Tennessee and northwest Mississippi celebrated a grassroots victory on Saturday after two oil companies canceled plans to build a pipeline that would have run through wetlands and several low-income, majority-Black neighborhoods.

Valero and Plains All American Pipeline had long planned to construct the Byhalia Connection pipeline, which would have been 49 miles long and linked two pipelines that transport crude oil to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Continue reading

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US and Israel Vote ‘No’ as 184 Nations Condemn American Blockade of Cuba

“The U.N. vote… on Cuba was a chance for President Biden to show global leadership,” said CodePink co-founder Medea Benjamin. “He failed miserably.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-23-2021

New York City, April 2021. Photo: The All-Nite Images/flickr/CC

Peace and human rights advocates joined the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday in their annual condemnation of the United States’ disastrous economic embargo against Cuba.

For the 29th straight year, the members of the General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution demanding an end to the 60-year U.S. economic blockade on Cuba. This year, 184 nations voted in favor of the resolution, while the U.S. and Israel voted against it. Three nations—Brazil, Colombia, and Ukraine—abstained. Continue reading

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‘Bolsonaro Out!’: Massive Protests as Brazil’s Covid-19 Death Toll Tops 500,000

“We are on the street to defend our country, our people, our lives, our culture, our education, our economy. We can no longer die of Covid.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-20-2021

Rio de Janeiro – Brazilians organizing for the biggest protests in years. Photo: Imediata/Twitter

As Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll surpassed 500,000 on Saturday, at least hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of more than 400 cities across the nation and around the world to blame President Jair Bolsonaro for the grim pandemic milestone and demand his ouster.

Chanting and holding signs with slogans including “Bolsonaro Out,” “500,000 Deaths, It’s His Fault,” and “Vaccines Now,” protesters called for the resignation or impeachment of the far-right president. Demonstrators also implored the government to ramp up vaccination efforts. Continue reading

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