Covid-19 pandemic risks worst global food crisis in decades

The covid-19 pandemic’s impact on hunger around the world could be worse than the calamitous spike in food prices of 2007 and 2008, a leading food security expert warns. Unlike the scarcity of food during the crisis 13 years ago, the big issue this time is the economic downturn hitting the ability of millions of …

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The coming crisis in American primary healthcare

Over the past several years, there has been a growing shortage of physicians in this country, especially in primary care. A new report by the Association of American Medical Colleges suggests that the shortage will only worsen in the coming years, in large part because of physician burnout. A stronger claim could be made that …

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Oxford is tying itself in knots over racism

Oxford University apparently has plans for “trauma dispensation” and the “decolonisation of science degrees”. ( Excuse  me!  What on earth is trauma dispensation and when was science “ colonized”?  Ed.) ”Stepford students! Snowflakes! Students are mocked but in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, it is vice-chancellors who spot trauma everywhere and want to …

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Annexation of the occupied West Bank

(This post is a bit longer than usual, but the injustice is so troublesome that I wanted to reproduce it;  one won’t find it easily in the American media): Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) decries the Israeli government’s intended annexation of significant parts of the occupied West Bank (to start this coming Wednesday), for the …

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Basics of Epicureanism

From time to time I post a brief description of Epicureanism, not for the benefit of the cognoscenti, but for new readers for whom Epicurus is just the name of a philosopher: Epicureanism is a system of philosophy based on the teachings of Epicurus, founded around 307 B.C. It teaches that the greatest good is …

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Abortion No. 2

Yesterday I wrote about Tennessee and the attempt to use the corona virus crisis to shut down  abortion services. Tennessee is not the only state determined to end abortion. Other states are using the ruse of declaring abortions “elective”, rather than medical, emergencies.  Texas, Ohio, Iowa, Oklahoma, Alaska and Alabama have issued bans on abortion …

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Abortion

At around 12.30 p.m on Juneteenth, with the doors of the legislature locked to the public, Tennessee passed one of the country’s most restrictive abortion bans, one that would prohibit abortion before many patients even know they are pregnant. It includes medically unnecessary, anti-science restrictions, including some rooted in racism and misogyny. If Tennessee Governor …

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US voting data being traded on the dark web

Data on millions of US voters is being illegally traded on the dark web as the US is gearing up for the 2020 presidential election. The data could be used to attempt to influence voters. The dark web is a part of the internet not searchable using normal means. It is encrypted and visible only through …

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Defund the Pentagon!

“In 1997, the Department of Defense set up the 1033 program as part of the National Defense Authorization Act to provide thousands of domestic police forces with “surplus” equipment of almost every imaginable militarized kind. “Since then, thanks to your tax dollars, it has given away $7.4 billion  worth of such equipment, some of it …

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Are they born so uncaring and greedy? An un-Epicurean story

In 2019, Samuel Hazen, CEO of HCA Healthcare in Nashville, was paid  $26.8 million in compensation ( don’t you just love the word “ compensation”? ).  Until the pandemic hit things looked even better.  Then HCA promptly cut the salaries of 11,000 corporate staff, and even Hazen “sacrificed,” donating $237,000 of his salary — less …

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Making the legal profession great again

$1699.00 The top rate attorneys at Weil, Gotshal and Manges are charging to handle the bankruptcy of retailer J. Crew (American Lawyer, 22 May 2020) A year ago J. Crew had 14,500 employees, 10,000 of them part-time.  {Inequality.org) Meanwhile, America, known worldwide for being the go-to country for lawyers who want to make fortunes, is …

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The iniquities of the drug industry

If ever we find a Covid-19 vaccine, it won’t just be the academics and pharmaceutical giants leading the search we have to thank.  It will also be down to all the funding provided by governments and global charities. Public-private organisations such as Gavi (the global vaccine alliance, supported by the WHO and the Gates Foundation) …

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The British quarantine

“Even by its own increasingly chaotic standards, the mess into which the Government has got itself over its new quarantine rules takes some beating,” said The Times. The new regulations – which came into force this week – require travellers to Britain to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. This is “the wrong policy at …

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Start again!

Democracy being sidelined in th US……. Recent events have exposed the inadequacy of the US democratic checks and balances created over200 years ago.  What’s required is a second American revolution  – and a fresh constitutional convention that demolishes anachronisms like the electoral college, makes democracy work for all, and refocuses on constructive global engagement.  (Guardian …

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Covid’s genetic link to dementia

People who are genetically predisposed to develop Alzheimer’s are more likely to be severely affected by the coronavirus, a new study has found. The researchers examined the DNA and medical records of almost 40,000 relatively young Britons (aged 48 to 60) and found that those with two copies of a faulty gene called APOE e4 …

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Following on from yesterday……police budgets.

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments are facing unprecedented revenue shortfalls, forcing them to make tough decisions about their 2020-21 budgets. Stunningly, however, police departments across the country are not facing any budget cuts, with many actually receiving budget increases. As we observe police departments deploy tanks, riot gear, tear gas, rubber …

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Don’t defund the police; reduce what you spend on them!

The phrase “defund the police” has quickly gained popularity in the past two weeks, but as this Washington Post piece explains, the term isn’t nearly as radical as it may sound. It isn’t a call to eliminate the police entirely – it is simply meant to draw attention to the outsized funds that police departments …

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Barbarism

Horrific killing Iran’s President Rouhani has ordered his government to speed up new laws to increase the penalties for “honour killings”, following the murder of Romina Ashrafi (pictured), a 14-year-old girl who’d run away with her 29-year-old boyfriend. In a case that has appalled Iranians, Ashrafi’s father is suspected of beheading her with a sickle …

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