Covid-19 Means Good Times for the Pentagon

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Washington has initiated its largest spending binge in history. In the process, you might assume that the unparalleled spread of the disease would have led to a little rethinking when it came to all the trillions of dollars Congress has given the Pentagon in these years that have in …

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People who keep seeing the same doctor have lower death rates

Seeing the same doctor doesn’t just give the comfort of a familiar face – it might save your life. An analysis reveals that 18 of 22 studies from nine nations with varying health systems found that people who saw the same doctor over time had lower death rates (BMJ Open, doi.org/crmj). The studies used different …

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We’re all sitting down more

We’re frequently exhorted to get off our sofas and get active, but it seems such public health campaigns are not having enough impact. A pan-European study has found that since 2002 people have tended only to become more sedentary. In 2002, just over 49% of Europeans displayed “sedentary behaviours” – meaning they spent more than …

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Dumb protests

“Thousands of demonstrators – many of them carrying placards proclaiming Covid-19 to be a “hoax” or a “scam” – recently gathered in Trafalgar Square in London to protest against lockdown restrictions. Among the speakers was Piers Corbyn, the older brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was fined £10,000 for his part in organising …

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The global scale of lead poisoning

One in three children around the world have enough lead in their blood to endanger their long-term health, scientists have found. The Unicef-published report, based on blood tests performed on hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, estimates that around 800 million under-19s have at least five micrograms of lead in their blood per decilitre – …

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An Epicurean Poem ( about peace of mind)

    Dawn    A still, warm, and breathless tropical night, Before the birds awake and fishes stir. There is no breeze or whisper from the palms, Only a gunmetal gloom and swish of waves Gently shifting seaweed on the sand. I lie on a hammock counting intervals Between the flashing lights of marker buoys, …

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No end to the pharmaceutical racket!

Big Pharma giant Gilead last year dropped a sweet $31 million on its new CEO Daniel O’Day, along with marching orders to find a new path to greater profits. O’Day didn’t have to look far. The pandemic has given Gilead a new application — reducing Covid-19 recovery time — for its already developed antiviral drug …

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Entering the country

“The Trump administration is reportedly considering  blocking US citizens and permanent residents from re-entering the US if an official “reasonably” believes they could have Covid-19. Once upon a time, an American passport let you cross borders with ease – now it makes you persona non grata around the world. Not only are most Americans banned …

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The chaos and displacement started before the virus appeared

A total of 50.8 million people around the world were recorded as internally displaced in 2019, forced from their homes by conflict and disaster. This is the highest number ever, and 10 million more than in 2018. The figures come from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) in Norway. The most displacements were recorded in …

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A moral catastrophe: not just in the United States

Care England, Britain’s largest representative body for care homes, reckons that by the end of April 7,500 residents may have died of the virus.  But only those who die in hospital after testing positive are included in the statistics. Elderly sufferers, unseen, disregarded, have gone uncounted. Average life expectancy in nursing homes is only two years anyway, …

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Water crisis

Millions of Americans are facing unaffordable bills for running water and risk being disconnected or losing their homes Water bills weigh heavily on many Americans as utilities have been hiking prices to pay for environmental clean-ups, infrastructure upgrades and climate emergency defences to deal with floods and droughts. Federal funding for America’s ageing water system …

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The shame Americans should feel: corona virus and the big donations

Why is the US corona virus situation such a disgraceful mess? All politicians in America depend on big donors for their elections. That is a given. But some governors, (mainly in the South) are more than ever in the pockets of the super-rich in a country of obscene disparities of wealth. Having donated handsomely, the …

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The virus has been around longer than we thought

Milan, Italy Scientific analysis of sewage samples has shown that the novel coronavirus was present in both Milan and Turin by mid-December, more than two months before Italy’s first case was diagnosed in Codogno, southeast of Milan, on 20 February. Covid-19 patients are believed to shed the virus in their faeces from the time they …

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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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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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