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TRAGEDY & CRISIS IN ONTARIO

Kate Wand | April 2, 2021

The story behind the tragedy & the crisis in Ontario.

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April 4, 2021 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | Leave a comment

Luhansk Military Says Civilian Wounded in Ukraine’s Drone Attack

Sputnik – 04.04.2021

LUHANSK – A civilian man has been hospitalized with multiple shrapnel wounds after an explosive device dropped from a drone by Ukrainian forces detonated in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR), the LPR forces said on Sunday.

The report comes amid the rise in ceasefire violations in Ukraine’s breakaway region of Donbass. On Saturday, Donetsk People’s Republic reported that a pre-school child was killed and a woman was injured in a Ukrainian drone attack in Oleksandrivske on Saturday. After the tragedy, Russian lower house speaker Viacheslav Volodin suggested that it is time to expel Ukraine from the Council of Europe.

According to the Luhansk forces, the fresh attack took place on a bank of the Siverskyi Donets River near the village of Mykolaivka. The explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicle is said to have been launched by servicemen of the 80th brigade of Ukraine’s armed forces.

The wounded man was taken to a hospital.

The militia specified that since additional ceasefire measures took effect in Donbas in late July, it has registered six cases of Ukraine’s combat drone launches into the breakaway region. As a result, two members of the people’s militia were injured.

The militia went on to call on international observers and the global community to “pay close attention to the terrorist actions of the Ukrainian side, which amount to a violation of the Geneva convention.”

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | | Leave a comment

Washington Institute Calls Yemeni Forces as New Hezbollah, Warns against Augmenting Military Capabilities of Ansarullah

Al-Manar | April 4, 2021

The augmenting military capabilities of the Yemeni Armed Forces have been increasingly worrying the United States of America and the Zionist entity, according to The Washington Institute for the Near East Policy.

The study, titled “Yemen’s ‘Southern Hezbollah’: Implications of Houthi Missile and Drone Improvements”, called on the US administration to deal with the “Houthis” as a challenge that will go beyond the war in Yemen.

In light of the recent Yemeni attacks on the Saudi home front, the study concentrated on the development of Yemen’s missile and drone industries, calling on U.S. diplomats and military planners to factor this threat complex into their future calculations beyond the current Yemen war.

The study also considered that the Yemeni armed forces can develop missile/drone assembly industry further range increases, adding that the Yemeni forces would be able to reach new targets if they so desire—perhaps ‘Israel’ given their known enmity toward that country, or even Egypt and Jordan as part of a wider effort to exert themselves in the Red Sea (e.g., hindering international shipping, targeting Suez Canal infrastructure).

The study warned against the possible victory of the Yemeni army and popular committees (Ansarullah) in Marib, considering that either a win or a draw would ensconce the Houthis as “a new ‘southern Hezbollah’ on the Red Sea—mirroring the position of Lebanese Hezbollah on the Mediterranean—with a growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones capable of threatening the Suez Canal, the Bab al-Mandab Strait, the Gulf states, the Red Sea states, and perhaps even ‘Israel’”.

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran will have no direct, indirect talks with US in Vienna: Official

Press TV – April 4, 2021

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi says Iran and the US will have no direct or indirect talks in Vienna, where the remaining parties to a 2015 nuclear deal will meet Tuesday to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

He made the remarks on Sunday, two days after participants at the virtual meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission agreed to resume in-person talks in the Austrian capital.

Araqchi said Iran’s negotiations with Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia in Vienna are purely technical about the lifting of sanctions and Iran’s remedial measures as well as the sequence of the US lifting of sanctions which should be verified.

“What we are pursuing in Vienna at the Joint Commission is precisely based on the firm positions of the establishment that have repeatedly been stated by Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] and the country’s officials,” he said.

“We will have no talks, whether direct or indirect, with the Americans in Vienna. We will negotiate with the Joint Commission and the P4 + 1 and pronounce our condition for the [US] return to the JCPOA. Our demand is that the US must first fulfill all its obligations and remove all the sanctions it has imposed, then we will verify and return” to the point before the remedial measures Iran has taken, he added.

The Europeans are trying to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal, which the administration of former US president Donald Trump almost wrecked after abandoning it in May 2018 and imposing the “toughest ever” anti-Iran sanctions.

After the withdrawal, Iran waited for a year for the Europeans to take remedial measures and thwart the unilateral American sanctions as per their obligations under the JCPOA, but to no avail.

That prompted the Islamic Republic to suspend some of its obligations in line with its legal rights stipulated under Article 36 of the JCPOA.

The new US administration, under President Joe Biden, has spoken of a willingness to return to the nuclear agreement, but in practice, it has been sticking to Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign.

Last month, Ayatollah Khamenei said Washington must first remove all the sanctions it has imposed on Tehran in a verifiable manner before Iran reverses its nuclear countermeasures.

Iran has drawn a line in the sand before going to the Vienna talks: it will not accept any step-by-step lifting of the sanctions as suggested by the Americans.

“We do not have any step-by-step plan or proposal and do not accept it,” Araqchi reiterated Sunday.

“In our opinion, there is only one step: All the sanctions that were reimposed after Trump’s withdrawal or imposed newly under different headings should be identified and the United States must lift them. Then we will verify and return to our commitments.”

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite | , | 2 Comments

[“Sustainable”] Uranium Prices Poised To Rally

Oilprice.com | April 3, 2021

The uranium market is emerging from years in the doldrums as the overhang from the nuclear disaster in Japan is cleared and global demand picks up steam.

The spot price for U3O8 moved above $30 per pound for the first time this year as uranium producers and mine developers hoover up above-ground inventories and reactor construction continues apace.

Two new research notes from BMO Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley say today’s price marks a floor and predict a rally in prices over the next few years to the ~$50 level by 2024.

The stars seem to be aligning for a new phase of nuclear energy investment with the US, China and Europe bolstering the bull case for the fuel this month.

Although nuclear energy was not mentioned explicitly in the $2 trillion Biden infrastructure proposal released today, its federally mandated “energy efficiency and clean electricity standard” is hardly achievable without it.

Source: Cameco

Over the weekend leaked documents showed a panel of experts advising the EU is set to designate nuclear as a sustainable source of electricity which opens the door for new investment under the continent’s ambitious green energy program.

China’s 14th five-year plan released a fortnight ago also buoyed the uranium market with Beijing planning to up the country’s nuclear energy capacity by 46% – from 48GW in 2020 to 70GW by 2025.

There are several factors working in uranium’s favour, not least the fact that annual uranium demand is now above the level that existed before the 2011 Fukushima disaster when Japan shut off all its reactors:

  • Uranium miners, developers and investment funds like Yellow Cake (13m lbs inventory build up so far) are buying material on the spot market bringing to more normal levels government and utility inventories built up over the last decade
  • Major mines are idled including Cameco’s Cigar Lake (due to covid-19) which accounts for 18m lbs or 13% of annual mine supply. The world’s largest uranium operation McArthur River was suspended in July 2018 taking 25m lbs off the market
  • Permanent closures so far this year include Rio Tinto’s Ranger operation in Australia (3m lbs) and Niger’s Cominak mine (2.6m lbs) which had been in operation since 1978. Rio is exiting the market entirely following the sale of Rössing Uranium in Namibia
  • Like Cameco, top producer Kazatomprom, which mined 15% less material last year due to covid restrictions has committed to below capacity production (–20% for the state-owned Kazakh miner) for the foreseeable future
  • Price reporting agency and research company UxC estimates that utilities’ uncovered requirements would balloon to some 500m lbs by 2026 and 1.4 billion lbs by 2035
  • Roughly 390m lbs are already locked up in the long term market while 815m lbs have been consumed in reactors over the last five years, according to UxC
  • There are 444 nuclear reactors in operation worldwide and another 50 under construction – 2 new connections to the grid and one construction start so far in  2021
  • Much cheaper and safer, small modular nuclear power reactors which can readily slot into brownfield sites like decommissioned coal-fired plants (or even underground or underwater) are expected to become a significant source of additional demand.

There are caveats to this rosy scenario, however.

Morgan Stanley warns that “the opacity of the inventory situation remains a key uncertainty to price – see for example palladium, which needed almost 7 years of deficit before the price really took off.”

BMO says given the still high levels of inventories “acute shortages and price squeezes are extremely unlikely, both for this year and the foreseeable future,” adding that “there is no obvious need for new mine supply in the near future.”

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Progressive Hypocrite | , | 4 Comments

Alaska Won’t Let Biden Stop Its Oil Boom

By Felicity Bradstock | Oilprice.com | April 3, 2021

New discoveries in Alaska by an Australian independent could provide hope for bigger oil finds yet to come in the country’s National Petroleum Reserve. Australian independent oil firm 88 Energy has been making strides in its Alaska project in recent weeks announcing an oil discovery in its Merlin-1 exploration well in the southeast National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Further testing will show the full extent of the discovery.

88 Energy is predicting a potential 650 million barrels of oil at Merlin-1 based on its current information. This would mean the oil-bearing geologic formation, Nanushuk, is much larger than originally thought.

Alaska Peregrine Development Company, or “APDC” has been largely funding 88 Energy operations, providing the first $10 million for the drilling project. Initial drilling reached 1,512 feet, or 460 metres with a prospective oil target at 6,000 feet, or 1,829m.

The Australian firm also announced a share subscription agreement with ELKO International LLC this month, issuing 360 million shares at a share price of 1.8 cents, meaning an input of $6.48 million (US4.92m) into the project.

ConocoPhillips is already planning the development of its ‘Willow’ discovery in the north of the Merlin well, which could hold an anticipated 750 million barrels. And New-Guinea producer, Oil Search, is developing ‘Pikka’, to the east of the well. Production is expected from both discoveries by 2026.

These discoveries are all based in the Nanushuk formation in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve. But Alaskan oil expands well beyond this. In December 2020, Shell Offshore Inc.’s application to form the West Harrison Bay unit in the shallow state waters of the Beaufort Sea was approved.

Shell’s plan of exploration in the 81,000-acre unit was filed last June, aiming to drill two wells over the next five years. The area encompasses both the Nanushuk and Torok formations.

Elsewhere in Alaska, its North Slope, which could hold tens of billions of barrels of heavy oil, is being explored. A study, costing $9.6 million, by Hillcorp Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks is testing the potential of injecting a synthetic polymer to help recover the heavy oils.

However, Biden’s suspension of new leases on federal lands and in federal waters threatens new discoveries in the Alaskan region. Even if existing exploration projects prove successful, Biden’s suspension and aims to speed up climate change policies could mean a huge proportion of Alaskan oil remains untouched.

Alaska was one of 13 states to call for an end to Biden’s pause on new oil leases through a lawsuit this month. The state relies heavily on oil production for employment and its economy as a whole. Alaska has enjoyed $180 billion in oil revenue since its statehood, with one-quarter, or 77,600, of Alaskans employed in the sector.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s issued a statement stating, “We fear that President Biden’s attack on federal oil and gas leasing has only begun, and the State must be involved to protect the interests of all Alaskans in the responsible development of the bountiful natural resources contained within Alaska,” said Dunleavy, in the statement”.

With significant new finds in Alaskan waters and pressure on the government to balance environmental policies with the future of U.S. oil and gas, the state could prove hopeful for the substantial extraction projects of both light and heavy oil over the next decade.

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | | 1 Comment

A year of fear

By Dr Gary Sidley | The Critic | March 23, 2021

The British public’s widespread compliance with lockdown restrictions and the subsequent vaccine rollout has been the most remarkable aspect of the coronavirus crisis.

The removal of our basic freedoms — in the form of lockdowns, travel bans and mandatory mask wearing — have been passively accepted by the large majority of people. Furthermore, the proportion of the general public expressing a willingness to accept the Covid-19 vaccines has been greater in the UK than almost anywhere else in the world. But has the government achieved this widespread conformity through the unethical use of covert psychological strategies — “nudges” — in their messaging campaign?

A major contributor to the mass obedience of the British people is likely to have been the activities of government-employed psychologists working as part of the “Behavioural Insights Team” (BIT). The BIT was conceived in 2010 as “the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural science to policy.” In collaboration with governments and other stakeholders, the team aspire to use behavioural insights to “improve people’s lives and communities”. Several members of BIT, together with other psychologists, currently sit on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B), a subgroup of SAGE, which offers advice to the government about how to maximise the impact of its Covid-19 communications.

A comprehensive account of the psychological approaches deployed by BIT is provided by an Institute of Government document titled MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy, where it is claimed that these strategies can achieve “low cost, low pain ways of ‘nudging’ citizens … into new ways of acting by going with the grain of how we think and act”. Several interventions of this type have been woven into the Covid-19 messaging campaign, including fear (inflating perceived threat levels), shame (conflating compliance with virtue) and peer pressure (portraying non-compliers as a deviant minority) – or “affect”, “ego” and “norms”, to use the language of behavioural science.

Behavioural scientists know that a frightened population is a compliant one, so this was exploited as a way of compelling us to abide by the coronavirus restrictions. The minutes of the SPI-B meeting on 22 March 2020 stated: “The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased … using hard-hitting emotional messaging.” Aided by the mainstream media, the British public were subsequently bombarded with fear-inducing information, images and mantras: Covid-19 daily death counts reported without context; inflated predictions of future casualties; recurrent footage of dying patients in Intensive Care Units; and scary slogans like, “If you go out you can spread it”, or “People will die”, often accompanied by images of emergency personnel wearing PPE.

We all strive to maintain a positive view of ourselves. Utilising this human tendency, behavioural scientists have recommended messaging that equates virtue with adherence to the Covid-19 restrictions, so that following the rules preserves the integrity of our egos while any deviation evokes shame. Examples of these nudges in action include: slogans such as, “Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives” and “Protect yourselves, Protect your loved ones”; TV advertisements where an actor tells us, “I wear a face covering to protect my mates”; the pre-orchestrated Clap for Carers ritual; ministers telling students not to “kill your gran”; and close-up images of acutely unwell hospital patients with the voice-over, “Can you look them in the eyes and tell them you’re doing all you can to stop the spread of coronavirus?”

And then there’s what the psychologists euphemistically refer to as “normative pressure”: awareness of the prevalent views and behaviour of our fellow citizens — through peer pressure and scapegoating — can prise us into compliance. The simplest example is ministers repeatedly telling us that the vast majority of people are “obeying the rules”. But normative pressure is less effective in changing the behaviour of the deviant minority if there is no visible indicator of pro-social conformity rooted in communities. The mandating of masks in summer 2020 — in the absence of strong evidence that they reduce viral transmission in the community — enabled the rule breakers to be instantly distinguished from the followers. Appearing unmasked in public places now felt comparable to failing to display the icon of a dominant religion while being among devout followers; even if no explicit challenge ensues, the implicit demand to conform is palpable.

The same covert strategies are now being used to promote the uptake of the Covid-19 vaccines. The tactic of fear inflation is evident in a recent NHS England document that recommends healthcare staff “leverage anticipated regret” on the over-65s cohort by telling them they are “over three times more likely to die”. The recommended follow-up statement is, “Think about how you will feel if you do not get vaccinated and end up with Covid-19?” For young people — who are at vanishingly small risk of suffering serious illness should they contract Covid-19 — shame is the selected tool from the behavioural-science armoury; the recommendation is that they should be told “normality can only return, for you and others, with your vaccination.” As for the healthcare staff who will administer the jabs, the psychological experts suggest an ego boost from being hailed as the, “latest ‘NHS Heroes’”.

So, what’s wrong with using these covert psychological strategies to improve compliance with public health policy?

In comparison to the government’s traditional tools of persuasion (such as information provision and rational argument) these methods of influence differ in their nature and subconscious mode of action. Consequently, three sources of ethical concern emerge: problems with the methods per se; problems with the goals to which they are applied; and problems with the lack of consent.

It is questionable whether a civilised society should knowingly increase the emotional discomfort of its citizens as a means of gaining their compliance. State scientists deploying fear, shame and scapegoating to change minds is an ethically dubious practice that in some respects resembles the tactics used by totalitarian regimes such as China, where the state inflicts pain on a subset of its population in an attempt to eliminate beliefs and behaviour they perceive to be deviant.

Another ethical issue associated with the methods of covert nudging used in the Covid-19 communications campaign concerns the unintended consequences. Shaming and scapegoating has emboldened some people to harass those unable or unwilling to wear a face covering. More disturbingly, fear inflation has led to many people being too scared to attend hospital with non-Covid illness, while many old people, rendered housebound by fear, will have died prematurely from loneliness. Collateral damage of this sort is likely to be responsible for many of the tens of thousands of excess non-Covid deaths in private homes. In a civilised society, is it morally acceptable to use psychological strategies that are associated with this level of collateral damage?

The perceived legitimacy of using covert psychological strategies to influence people may also depend upon the behavioural goals that are being pursued. It seems likely that a higher proportion of the general public would be comfortable with the government resorting to subconscious nudges to reduce violent crime – for example, to discourage young men from stabbing each other – as compared to the purpose of imposing unprecedented and non-evidenced public-health restrictions. Would British citizens have agreed to the furtive deployment of fear, shame and peer pressure as a way of levering compliance with lockdowns and mask mandates? Maybe they should be asked before the Government considers any future imposition of these techniques.

In 2010, the authors of the MINDSPACE document — one of whom is Dr David Halpern, a member of SAGE and the SPI-B — recognised the significant ethical dilemmas arising from the use of influencing strategies that impact subconsciously on the country’s citizens and emphasised the importance of consent. Indeed, they could not be clearer: “policymakers wishing to use these tools … need the approval of the public to do so.” They go on to suggest some practical ways of acquiring this consent, including the facilitation of “deliberative forums” where a representative sample of several hundred people are brought together for a day or more to explore an issue and reach a collective decision. I am unaware of any public consultation of this type being conducted to gain the public’s permission to use covert psychological strategies.

At an individual level, obtaining a recipient’s permission prior to an intervention is a long-established principle of ethical clinical practice. Informed consent is an essential precursor to any medical procedure, including vaccination. To ensure ethical integrity, healthcare staff should be encouraging each potential recipient to, consciously and rationally, weigh up the pros and cons of accepting the Covid-19 vaccine rather than nudging them towards compliance.

The covert psychological strategies incorporated into the state’s coronavirus information campaign have achieved their aims of inducing a majority of the population to obey the draconian public health restrictions and accept vaccination. The nature of the tactics deployed — with their subconscious modes of action and the emotional discomfort generated — do, however, raise some pressing concerns about the legitimacy of using these kinds of psychological techniques for this purpose. The government, and their expert advisors, are operating in morally murky waters. An open, public-wide debate about the ethical integrity of these approaches — and the extensive collateral damage associated with them — is urgently required.


Dr Gary Sidley is a retired clinical psychologist with over 30 years’ experience working for the NHS. He is a member of the Health Advisory and Recovery Team (HART).

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Health Advisory & Recovery Team vs SAGE

Health Advisory & Recovery Team | COVID-19 Weekly Bulletin | 31 March 2021

HART vs SAGE
HART Pathology Lead Dr John Lee appeared on Good Morning Britain this week alongside Professor Susan Michie who sits on SAGE and the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B).

Dr Lee noted the lack of evidence for asymptomatic spread of SARS-CoV-2 and also pointed out the absence of diverse scientific discussion in the media. Susanna Reid denied this, stating that the other side was being heard on social media and in the papers. However, these avenues are not the same as trusted mainstream TV programmes and the void of diverse thinking here has no doubt hampered the public’s understanding of ‘the science’.

Reid went on to say that ‘we know from the evidence that lockdown does work’. This is simply not true. Increasingly, the body of evidence points to the exact opposite as can be seen here and in dozens of published peer-reviewed papers, in stark contrast to the absence of evidence demonstrating significant benefits from lockdown when examining the real-world (as opposed to modelled) evidence. In addition, these models neglect to adequately assess the collateral harms.

Reid highlighted the figure of 126,000 COVID-19 deaths. However, there is a serious issue with excess, mainly non-Covid deaths at home which have reached over 50,000 in total. Here in the UK this figure currently sits at roughly 1,000 people each week. Perhaps many of these people would not have been put off seeking medical treatment had Michie, and her behavioural science colleagues, not terrified them into ‘staying at home’. A review of these covert, ethically questionable, psychological strategies was recently published by a member of HART here.

Michie also talked about mutant variants and how many people it is or is not ‘safe’ to interact with. It is a shame that these questions were addressed to a psychologist, rather than to a pathologist with medical training. No mention was made of the inevitable seasonal decline of the virus and Michie mentioned several thousand new cases a day, neglecting to outline how these figures relate to hospital statistics (currently at September levels).

Patients admitted to hospital in the UK

In fact, we know from numerous studies that there will be a significant number of post infectious positives at this stage with patients admitted to hospital for other reasons, incidentally testing positive. In the community, the expected surge in cases in the secondary school population has not materialised and the results of testing show that there is no active SARS-CoV-2 in that population. Overall, there is minimal evidence of residual coronavirus in the community. Mitchie went on to say cases are rising in Scotland. Again, this simply is not true.

Cases in Scotland

Michie then described the possibility of exponential growth if we remove measures too quickly, which shows a misunderstanding of the current immunity status of the population. With so many now having antibodies through natural infection or vaccination, it seems highly unlikely that this virus could now spread in an epidemic fashion. A transition into an endemic phase, as with seasonal flu in which there may be localised outbreaks, mainly in specific institutionalised settings, is much more likely.

The problems with Michie’s thesis are underpinned by the false assumption that asymptomatic spread is a major driver of transmission. There is no robust evidence for this phenomenon, and it would go against decades of understanding of respiratory viruses and how they are transmitted. By continuing to disseminate this questionable hypothesis to the British public, she is continuing to spread unnecessary fear. A far more balanced approach would be to focus on:

1. The viral season rapidly waning
2. The huge percentages of vaccinated people & those with acquired or innate immunity
3. The fact that children are not a significant driver of the disease
4. The fact that clinical symptoms are the driver of transmission of respiratory viruses

We need to stop ‘acting like we’ve got it’ and start living what is left of our finite lives.

Data not dates
It was reported this week that the weekly COVID-19-related death toll has fallen to the lowest rate since October. However, in a scenario of ever-decreasing death rates and diminishing prevalence of the virus, a comparison to the COVID mortality rate at the beginning of the winter wave seems somewhat arbitrary and of no relevance to the current situation. Once deaths reach minimal levels, this indicates that cases must have been minimal 18 days earlier.

A far more sensible metric for comparison would be the current test positivity rate. Since 21 March the PCR positivity rate has been only 2.1% i.e. only 1% higher than the baseline positivity rate we saw in summer. Including all testing, only 0.43% of 1.2 million tests were positive on 29 March. To put this in perspective, 9,957 people tested negative out of every 10,000 tests done. Remaining locked down under these circumstances indicates that the Government has adopted a “Zero Covid” strategy, despite their own admission of the futility and harm that would be caused by attempting this policy. Patrick Vallance himself said: “I think the chance of eradication, true eradication – ie zero – are in themselves close to zero.”

Tracking the success of the vaccine and maintaining confidence
Last week, Sir Christopher Chope MP and William Wragg MP raised important questions in the House of Commons regarding COVID-19 deaths following coronavirus vaccination. Health Secretary Matt Hancock responded ‘I think we do have it’. Hancock also referred to the SIREN study but this only covers healthcare workers and therefore does not provide the complete information required for monitoring adverse effects, safety and efficacy. HART would urge active data capture, including a simple vaccine history taken at every unscheduled attendance at a hospital.

We must not forget that these are experimental vaccines, without full regulatory approval but issued under emergency waivers. It would be concerning in the extreme if data were not being collected or if the level of scrutiny of vaccine effects was not sufficient. The availability and rapid access to this data is vital in maintaining the public’s confidence in the vaccination programme.

US states continuing to open up
Governors across the US are continuing to open up their states and remove COVID-19 restrictions. Earlier this month, Mississippi and Texas both announced the end of business restrictions and mask mandates, while North Dakota went a step further and implemented legislation to make mask mandates illegal. In Florida, Governor DeSantis is to forbid vaccine passports with an executive order.

In Texas, COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations carry on their downward trajectory despite their removal of measures being described variously as: “absolutely reckless” by California Governor Gavin Newsom, “it just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now” by Dr Fauci and “neanderthal thinking” by President Joe Biden.

Essential viewing
Nick Hudson, co-founder of the international group Pandemics ~ Data & Analytics (PANDA), has given a keynote address at the inaugural BizNews Investment Conference in South Africa. In his speech, Hudson gives a comprehensive overview of the COVID-19 pandemic and explores how instead of helping to slow the spread of the virus, lockdowns have led to infant mortality, poverty, starvation, joblessness and a major upsurge of psychological disorders. Well worth taking 30 minutes to watch in full, here. This video is currently being viewed by several thousand people per hour.

24 March 2021

There is no emergency
COVID-19 cases are low and all-cause deaths are now back to normal pre-pandemic rates and falling. All vulnerable groups have been offered a vaccination. There are no longer any justifiable or ethical reasons for prolonging Covid-related statutory ‘emergency powers’.

It is anticipated that all phase 1 priority groups (approximately 32 million people) will have been offered a vaccine by 15 April, a group accounting for 99% of the deaths last spring. This will be an amazing achievement. The virus is now endemic and will circulate at very low levels this summer and is then likely to join the range of respiratory viruses circulating each winter. Talk of continuing social distancing and masks for several years is therefore unnecessary and unhelpful. We urgently need to reduce fear and increase hope as we recover from this crisis.

It is vital that we harness the benefits of the rapid vaccine rollout by acknowledging we are no longer in an emergency. We can and must reopen society. Government and SAGE will need to undo the negative messaging, after a year in restrictions many people will still be fearful to pick up their lives again. News that a £2m Government contract has just been awarded for a COVID Public Information Campaign over the next two years is concerning. The repeal of the coronavirus emergency legislation would give a very positive message of confidence and hope to the British public. Therefore, HART continues to urge all MPs to vote against the renewal of the Coronavirus Act this week in Parliament.

No evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in schools
HART predicted 24,000 false positive results in children in the first week of mass testing based on 4 million children being tested twice. In the week of 4 March, only 2.7 million tests were carried out on secondary school children and 0.05% of them were positive. Our previous prediction was based on the estimated false positive rate for the adult population of 0.3%. Testing of university students prior to Christmas showed a very low false positive rate of at or below 0.06% including NewcastleHullExeter and Birmingham. Testing among school children is demonstrating a similar rate. The good news is that these numbers are so low that no-one can be left in any doubt that they represent only false positive results and that there is no SARS-CoV-2 at present in the secondary school population. The ONS estimated that there would be SARS-CoV-2 in 0.4% (1 in 250) 12-24 year olds, so this is another instance of failed testing with PCR. With no virus in schools, there is now no justification for the mask mandate or mass testing.

Is mask wearing benign?
This week, Dr Mary Ramsay from Public Health England told the BBC that face coverings were a ‘lower level restriction’ that ‘people can live with’ and they should continue to be worn ‘for a few years’. Her words are similar to those used by politicians to justify the introduction of the mask mandate in summer 2020, when it was portrayed as an extra layer of protection, a precautionary measure, a nothing-to-lose restriction.

While there is no evidence that masks significantly reduce transmission when worn routinely in real-world settings, there is recognition that they may constitute an infection hazard, particularly when used incorrectly. Masks potentially cause physical harms, while the social and psychological cost of concealing our faces from other people is considerable. Face coverings impair all forms of communication and human connection, make lip-reading impossible for the deaf and constitute a gross impediment to children’s social development.

A highly visible reminder that danger is supposedly all around, face coverings are fuelling widespread, irrational fear at a time when the current viral threat is very low and the vulnerable have been vaccinated. As we look to re-activate the economy and reopen our society, this mask-induced fear will act as a major obstacle. HART believes the Government should now lift the mandate and allow people to decide for themselves whether to wear one. It is time to trust the public with their own personal risk-based decision making.

The futility of border closures
Summer holidays are in doubt again, with the news that a £5,000 fine will come into force for anyone trying to travel abroad without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Matt Hancock has said the restrictions are to ‘guard against’ new variants that might put the vaccine rollout at risk. Professor Neil Ferguson was also quoted as saying we ‘should be planning on summer holidays in the UK not overseas’. Closing international borders to keep out ‘foreign mutants’ of an already endemic virus is neither useful nor possible. It is worth noting that mutant variants from abroad pose no extra threat compared with any homegrown variants and are likely to have very similar sequences. Mutant variants, emerging overseas or domestically, are an inevitable biological reality once a virus is in the population, as is the case in the UK. The virus will mutate slowly over time, irrespective of borders.

Mandatory vaccination for care home workers
The news that the government is considering making COVID-19 vaccination a legal requirement for all care workers is concerning and against international law. This would create a precedent of eroding informed consent, and is difficult to justify when the vulnerable population have themselves already been offered at least one dose of vaccine, especially in the light of Scottish data that suggests the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine reduces risk of hospitalisation by up to 94%. If this is case, would it be better to prioritise second doses for all vulnerable groups, thus rendering the vaccination of our younger, healthy population unnecessary?

And some good news…
The number of patients admitted per day to intensive care units is now close to normal, pre-pandemic levels for the time of year. It appears we are well beyond the risk of overwhelming the NHS – further highlighting that now is the time to lift restrictions and allow the NHS to begin rapidly addressing the backlog of postponed appointments and operations. There is no sign of a virus resurgence in American states such as Florida and Texas which have lifted restrictions.

Prior Bulletins

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Video | | 1 Comment

Willem Engel Interviews Sukharit Bhakdi About The EMA Letter

Willem Engel with Sukharit Bhakdi | April 2, 2021

21 seconds Dutch intro, English after

Professor Sukharit Bhakdi interviewed by Willem Engel about the 4th Letter to the EMA

https://www.facebook.com/113266477112887/videos/271982307714998

April 4, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video | , | Leave a comment