ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:32:54 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Majority of EU Countries Opt-Out of Approved GE Crops http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64844-majority-of-eu-countries-opt-out-of-approved-ge-crops.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--October 13, 2015.  Nineteen European Union (EU) member states (Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Solvenia, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales) have opted out of approving GE cultivation except for research purposes. In the past, the EU has not been particularly fond of GE crops; currently, only one GE crop, insect resistant maize MON 810, has been approved for cultivation.

In March, the EU passed a new directive that allowed GE crops to be approved for use Union-wide. Along with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), that directive also gave member states the ability to “adopt legally binding acts restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMOs in their territory after such GMOs have been authorised to be placed on the Union market.” Once the opt-out applications have been processed and transmitted to the companies, they have one month to take action; that is, the companies most affected by the ban will have the chance to oppose it. Member states have cited environmental and agricultural issues as a reason for opting out and while biotechnology companies can deny them, it is likely that member states will invoke “substantial grounds” to protect their ban. “Member states … have to justify their opt-out measures – that they are motivated by an overriding reason of general interest, and are in line with the rules of the internal market,” said European Commissioner Margreth Vestayer.

And while biotechnology companies, like Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, and Pioneer, might be thought to automatically seek to deny member states the right to ban the use of GE crops, it has not been the case so far. Last month, Monsanto abided by Latvia’s and Greece’s requests for a ban and stated that they “will consider any other such requests on a case-by-case basis.” That trend of acquiescence may end, though, since heavily-populated countries like Germany have joined the ranks of member states requesting a ban on GE crops, with over half of the EU opting out. Biotechnology powerhouses like Monsanto might consider ban requests more carefully in order to protect profits, considering that it is currently facing financial deficits. Although Monsanto has previously stated that it will not seek any new GE crop approvals in the EU, it may need to recover lost ground. Just two weeks ago, Monsanto announced that it would be cutting around 2,600 jobs, affecting 11.6 percent of its workers, as a result of last quarter’s unexpected loss. Sales from its prized product, Roundup (glyphosate), fell from $1.25 billion to $1.1 billion. Earlier this year, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a program of the World Health Organization, announced it had classified glyphosate a human carcinogen, based on laboratory animal studies.

While over half of EU’s member states are making strides to keep GE foods off their shelves, the U.S. government is sprinting in the opposite direction. In the last year, three GE crops (soybean, cotton, and corn) have been deregulated and approved for commercial use in the U.S. More recently, Senate is awaiting a vote on Bill H.R. 1599, otherwise known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, which would preempt states by preventing state and local governments from enacting laws banning GE labels. On July 23, the House of Representatives voted to pass the DARK Act through to Senate for a vote, which could happen any day now. Environmental and industry lobbyists are racing against the clock to convince senators that GE labeling is good or bad, respectively. While 9 out of 10 Americans agree that they would prefer that GE foods bear a label, congressmen have consistently sided with profit-driven industry.

Proponents of the DARK act tout scientific studies that prove the safety of GE crops; however, numerous studies can be found that show the GE crops are much more than an extension of selective breeding. The root of the problem with GE crops lies in the implementation of their use. A prospective article found in the New England Journal of Medicine that outlines the hazards associated with food residues of elevated pesticide use in GE crops and focuses on the significance of the actual increase in herbicide use and weed resistance in herbicide-tolerant crops.

Beyond Pesticides urges consumers to pressure our government officials to guard the safety of their citizens. Legislation like the DARK Act, which has passed in the House, will place a prohibition on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal preemption of state and local authority. To get involved, contact your Senator to tell them to vote against the H.R. 1599.

In the meantime, while we wait for the National Academy of Sciences to release a new GE report (expected in 2016), the best and currently only way to avoid GE food is to support organic agriculture and eat organic food. Beyond Pesticides has long advocated for organic management practices as a means to foster biodiversity, and research shows that organic farmers do a better job of protecting biodiversity than their chemically-intensive counterparts. Instead of prophylactic use of pesticides and scheduled sprays, responsible organic farms focus on fostering habitat for pest predators and other beneficial insects, set action levels for pests based upon monitoring, and only resort to judicious use of least-toxic pesticides when other cultural, structural, mechanical, and biological controls have been attempted and proven ineffective.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: www.beyondpesticides.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:18:58 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64844-majority-of-eu-countries-opt-out-of-approved-ge-crops.html
Five Great American Hypocrisies http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64836-five-great-american-hypocrisies.html CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--October 12, 2015

A recent report found that untaxed or undertaxed offshore holdings amount to an estimated $620 billion owed to the U.S. taxpayers. That is just the tip of the hypocrisy iceberg. (Photo: rolffimages/Bigstock via Citizens for Tax Justice)

American 'exceptionalism' exists in the minds of super-patriots who are more than willing to overlook their own faults as they place themselves above other people. The only question may be which of their self-serving hypocrisies is most outrageous and destructive.

1. Corporations Hoarding $2 Trillion in Profits, Asking Taxpayers to Pay Their Employees' Wages

Citizens for Tax Justice just reported that Fortune 500 companies are holding over $2.1 trillion in accumulated profits offshore for tax purposes, with estimated taxes due of over $600 billion. But high-profile businessmen Peter Georgescu and Warren Buffett both recently recommended that government subsidies be used to increase worker wages, and Marco Rubio agreed, suggesting that government should pay the sick leave for corporate employees.

Georgescu proclaimed: "This country has given me remarkable opportunities.." In return, he concludes, taxpayers should "provide tax incentives to business."

2. Mourning American Lives, But Not Foreign Lives

Two days after President Obama expressed grief and anger about the Oregon school shootings, a hospital in Afghanistan was bombed by the U.S., killing 22 people. Our government admitted its mistake. But we haven't apologized for funding Saudi Arabia's attacks in Yemen, which are killing hundreds of civilians. Or for our drone strikes in Pakistan, which led one 13-year-old to say, "I no longer love blue skies...The drones do not fly when the skies are gray."

Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman assured us that "If necessary, the President would implement changes that would make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future." But these are empty words. Professor Marc Herold's research has shown that "as the U.S. bombs get smarter, civilian casualties increase." The military is encouraged to "drop bombs on sites which previously might not have been hit for fear of causing widespread civilian deaths."

3. Caring About Unborn Children, But Not Living Children

The anti-abortion element keeps attacking Planned Parenthood, even though the long-successful and essential organization saves women's lives through breast cancer screenings, and reduces abortions by providing contraceptive services.

Little mention is made of the 65% rise in homeless children in less than ten years. Or of the fact that only the United States and South Sudan have failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It's a curious phenomenon that a safe and secure fetus garners more attention than a child exposed to the harsh realities of the world outside.

4. Demanding Self-Reliance of People Who Can't Find a Living-Wage Job

The Koch-funded Heritage Foundation proclaimed, "Helping the poor should mean promoting individual freedom through self-reliance.." The Cato Institute added, "SNAP helps breed dependency and undermines the work ethic."

Here are the facts: Nearly two-thirds of all working-age poor are actually working, but unable to earn a living wage, forcing them to rely on food stamps, which only provide about $5 a day per person for meals. In addition, over 83 percent of all benefits going to low-income people are for the elderly, the disabled, or working households.

Black families have the least opportunities, and are most maligned. The Wall Street Journal blurted: "..Too few blacks...have taken advantage of the opportunities now available to them." But a recent study found that job applicants were about 50 percent more likely to be called back if they had "white" names. A hiring analysis study found that white job applicants with criminal records were called back more often than blacks without criminal records. Over half of the black college graduates of recent years were underemployed in 2013, working in occupations that typically do not require a four-year college degree.

Perhaps worst of all, Congress vilifies the poor for laziness while doing little to provide employment opportunities. In 2011 Senate Republicans killed a proposed $447 billion jobs bill that would have added about two million jobs to the economy. Members of Congress filibustered Nancy Pelosi's "Prevention of Outsourcing Act," even as a million jobs were being outsourced, and they temporarily blocked the "Small Business Jobs Act." In April, 2013 only one member of Congress bothered to show up for a hearing on unemployment. When asked what he would do to bring jobs to Kentucky, Mitch McConnell responded, "That is not my job. It is the primary responsibility of the state Commerce Cabinet."

5. Turning Away People Who Were Displaced by Our "Free Trade" Pacts

Many Americans have sympathized with Donald Trump's anti-immigrant sentiments, despite his cruel assessment of Mexican people: "They're bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."

Apparently few Americans are aware of, or concerned about, the hardships faced by Mexican families since the beginnings of NAFTA. Subsidies to U.S. corn farmers led to lower prices and a tripling of corn exports to Mexico over the first ten years of the trade pact. Prices collapsed in Mexico. Corn that earned growers 2.00 pesos per kilogram in 1994 dropped to .50 pesos in 2001. Production became concentrated in the hands of a few wealthy landowners. Over 1.3 million jobs were lost in agriculture since 1994, while 500,000 manufacturing jobs were gained, most of them at lower wages than before NAFTA, and many of them in the crime-filled and disease-ridden maquiladora factory towns at the U.S. border.

Ana Luisa Cruz would leave her house in Ciudad Juarez at 5 AM to work at a maquiladora factory for $7.60 a day, which was not enough to pay for both food and school fees for her three younger children. Mexico's wages fell further as factory jobs were lost to even lower-wage countries. For many like Ana Luisa, there was nothing else to do but seek work across the border, in the United States.


Banks get bailouts, but homeowners and students can't declare bankruptcy. Drug companies increase prices by 5,000%, but Medicare is not allowed to negotiate for lower drug prices. Charter schools are public when the money is being passed out, but private when we want to look at their books.

The list goes on and on.

About the Author:

Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org), and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and Realities" (Clarity Press). He can be reached at paul@UsAgainstGreed.org.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Source: www.commondreams.org



frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Mon, 12 Oct 2015 18:12:50 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64836-five-great-american-hypocrisies.html
Alaska Governor's Puzzling Math: To Cope with Climate, We Must Drill More Oil http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64835-alaska-governor-s-puzzling-math-to-cope-with-climate-we-must-drill-more-oil.html

Independent Bill Walker said he wants to 'urgently' drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge

ALASKA--(ENEWSPF)--October 12, 2015
Independent Alaska Governor Bill Walker. (Screenshot: BBC)Independent Alaska Governor Bill Walker. (Screenshot: BBC)

Displaying a rather circular logic that defies common scientific understanding, Alaskan Gov. Bill Walker has said that the state must expand fossil fuel drilling in order to pay for the damage caused by climate change.

Walker, an independent, told BBC News that Alaska is facing "a significant fiscal challenge," due to falling oil prices and Shell's decision to pull out of drilling in the Chukchi Sea. Meanwhile, he noted, "We have villages that are washing away because of changes in the climate."

To pay for adaptation and mitigation efforts, Walker said he wants to "urgently" drill in the protected lands of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge (ANWR): "This isn't something we can put off for 10-20 years... We have to begin this process now—it's an absolute urgency for Alaska."

These remarks echo ones he made in late September, after Shell announced it was scrapping its Arctic drilling plans.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion have been conclusively linked to global warming, which in turn is caused by rising greenhouse gas emissions. Experts have warned that to avoid worsening climate change, the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground

The Washington, D.C.-based Defenders of Wildlife has described ANWR as "one of the most fragile and ecologically sensitive ecosystems in the world" and "ground zero for climate change impacts." 

The Obama currently administration opposes ANWR drilling, though the Walker administration is lobbying hard for the White House to rethink its position.

As BBC reports, "the battle to exploit oil reserves in the Refuge is likely to intensify over the coming years, much to the dismay of many native people in the area." The Gwich'in people in the region remain resolutely opposed to drilling there, regardless of what the money is used for.

"In ten years from now I'd like to see us still continuing our native ways and being able to live off the land," Princess Daazhraii Johnson from the Gwich'in community told BBC. "I'd like to see us agreeing, Alaskans agreeing, that we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground."


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Source: www.commondreams.org



frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Mon, 12 Oct 2015 18:04:05 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64835-alaska-governor-s-puzzling-math-to-cope-with-climate-we-must-drill-more-oil.html
‘The Stakes are High,’ UN Chief Tells Climate Finance Meeting in Peru http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64820-the-stakes-are-high-un-chief-tells-climate-finance-meeting-in-peru.html
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second left) speaks at Climate Finance Ministerial lunch in Lima, Peru. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

PERU--(ENEWSPF)--9 October 2015 – Stressing that financial resources are central to meeting the goals of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Agenda, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today said that in order to create a low-carbon, climate-resilient future that benefits everybody, allocating appropriate finance is of key importance.

“The first step must be a politically credible trajectory for mobilizing $100 billion dollars per annum by 2020. The methodology for deciding what is climate finance, and how private finance is counted, needs to be developed by all concerned – developed and developing countries alike,” Mr, Ban told a gathering of Climate Finance Ministers in Lima, Peru.

The Secretary-General is currently in Lima, Peru to participate in the 2015 Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund.

In his remarks to the Ministers, he urged the developed countries to mobilize new climate finance resources beyond their official development assistance (ODA) and above what is already on the table, stating that ‘mobilization is about more than accounting.’

The UN chief also commended Germany, France and the United Kingdom for making pledges recently to double their public climate finance commitments. He asked other countries to make similar announcements before a UN conference in Paris, known informally as COP 21, where global leaders and international organizations will meet in December to agree a historic universal climate change accord.

“[Such announcements] are essential for strengthening equity and global solidarity. Trust can also be strengthened through innovative financing mechanisms that provide debt relief and new resources to strengthen the resilience of small island development states and least developed countries,” Mr. Ban continued.

As for countries that are facing imminent climate threats and are attempting to raise capital, Mr. Ban recommended seeking help from the G7’s Climate Risk Insurance initiative, the French Early Warning System and the African Renewable Energy and the African Adaptation Initiatives.

Highlighting trust between countries as priority, the UN chief said that collectively, all countries must ensure that the Green Climate Fund is fully up and running and approving projects in developing countries such as the small island developing States and least developed countries (LDCs).

Mr. Ban stressed that the annual meeting in Peru must produce an overall progress report on climate finance which is supported by both developed and developing countries alike.

“It could then serve as the comprehensive baseline on which further work will need to take place between now and the Paris COP. Paris must signal that a low-carbon transformation of the global economy is inevitable, beneficial and already under way,” he explained.

The UN chief noted that business and private financing companies are already beginning to respond to the climate challenge. He urged the governments to design policies that encourage the private sector to forgo short-term thinking and invest in low-carbon, resilient growth.

He also reported that the Climate Change Support Team at the UN has produced an assessment on the role of the private sector in supporting the transformation of the global economy toward low-carbon, climate resilient development.

“It finds there is growing consensus on the need for a real carbon price and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. Low-carbon investments are growing, but remain insufficient for limiting temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius.

Adaptation needs are increasing, but are badly under-resourced. To meet these challenges, “we need bold leadership from Finance Ministers, from business leaders and investors, and from international financial institutions that include the voices of developing countries,” said Mr. Ban.

Source: www.un.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 23:35:02 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64820-the-stakes-are-high-un-chief-tells-climate-finance-meeting-in-peru.html
Bill O'Reilly on the House Benghazi Committee: 'Of Course It's Political' http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64818-bill-o-reilly-on-the-house-benghazi-committee-of-course-it-s-political.html

NEW YORK--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  A penchant for truth telling is spreading across the Republican Party.

Last night on FOX, leading conservative voice Bill O'Reilly echoed House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy's comments on the House Benghazi Committee's partisan nature.  While the American people have always known that the Benghazi Committee is a taxpayer-funded campaign against Hillary Clinton, the continued admissions by leading conservatives is a sign that even they are done pretending that this was ever about anything other than hurting Hillary Clinton.

Watch the clip, which aired on Fox, here.

Source: www.hillaryclinton.com



frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 23:25:25 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64818-bill-o-reilly-on-the-house-benghazi-committee-of-course-it-s-political.html
Use of Long-acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods Continues to Increase in the United States http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64816-use-of-long-acting-reversible-contraceptive-methods-continues-to-increase-in-the-united-states.html Increases in These Highly Effective Methods Seen Across Virtually All Groups of Women

NEW YORK--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  U.S. women are increasingly turning to highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods—particularly IUDs. According to “Changes in Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods Among United States Women, 2009–2012,” by Guttmacher Institute researchers Megan L. Kavanaugh and colleagues, use of the IUD and the contraceptive implant by 15–44-year-old female contraceptive users increased from about 9% in 2009 to nearly 12% in 2012. Comparison with previous studies shows that this increase is a part of a decade-long trend: In 2002, only about 2.4% of U.S. women using contraception were using LARC methods.

The authors analyzed data from the 2008–2010 and 2011–2013 rounds of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Survey of Family Growth. They found that while LARC use increased across nearly every group of women studied, the most significant increases were among Hispanic women, those with private insurance, those with fewer than two sexual partners in the past year and those who had never had children.

With failure rates of less than 1% per year with typical use, LARCs are the most effective reversible methods available. “LARC methods have the potential to significantly decrease unintended pregnancy in the United States because they are ‘set and forget,’ meaning they require no intervention from women, resulting in greater effectiveness,” says Kavanaugh, the study’s lead author.

Because past research has shown great differences by race and income in the use of LARC methods—and has raised concerns about possible coercion or the targeting of certain groups with these methods—the authors paid special attention to associations between use and these characteristics. Their findings address the concern that LARC methods may be promoted specifically to black women: There was no increase in use among this group, while use did increase among women of other racial and ethnic groups. Further, in 2012, there were no differences in LARC use according to women’s poverty status.

“Unintended pregnancy is concentrated among poor and low-income women and women of color. These elevated rates are symptomatic of larger overarching inequalities that result in reduced access to reproductive health care and services. While LARC methods alone do not address these inequalities, understanding how the use of these methods differs among different groups of women is an important first step toward ensuring that all women have access to the most effective contraceptive methods,” Kavanaugh explains.

Further, the researchers caution that there is no single best contraceptive method for all women. They recommend that women be provided with accurate information about the full range of contraceptive methods, including LARC methods. “It is important that each woman’s stated preferences and childbearing goals be prioritized, so each can choose the method that is best for her,” Kavanaugh notes.

Although the data analyzed in this study predate the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage guarantee, the authors note that this provision will likely contribute to a continued increase in women’s access to and use of the IUD, which would otherwise have high upfront costs.

“Initiating use of an implant or IUD can cost a month’s salary for a woman working full time at minimum wage,” says Kinsey Hasstedt, a public policy associate at Guttmacher. “More women who want to use these highly effective contraceptive methods should now be able to access them without out-of-pocket costs.”

Changes in Use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive Methods Among United States Women, 2009–2012” by Megan L. Kavanaugh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute, is currently available online and will be published in the forthcoming issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Source: www.guttmacher.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:22:52 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64816-use-of-long-acting-reversible-contraceptive-methods-continues-to-increase-in-the-united-states.html
NARAL Pro-Choice America Statement on 4th Hearing to Defund Planned Parenthood http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64815-naral-pro-choice-america-statement-on-4th-hearing-to-defund-planned-parenthood.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--October 8, 2015. Statement from Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America:
“Once again, we are being subjected to the consequences of anti-choice politicians’ obsession with Planned Parenthood. It’s little wonder Rep. McCarthy would drop out of the race for House speaker this morning, given the dysfunction and paralysis caused by the extreme anti-choice minority in the GOP. Today’s hearing—the 4th of its kind-- follows on the heels of yesterday’s sixth vote in Congress’s futile witch hunt against Planned Parenthood. This is part of their shameful obsession to deprive low-income men and women access to the affordable health care that they need.
“The witness list is a terrifying parade of the kinds of anti-choice activists that extreme members of Congress decided are ‘experts’ in women’s bodies: a doctor who founded and operates an anti-choice pregnancy center; a clinic protester who engaged in the intimidation of abortion providers and patients; and an anti-choice activist who filed a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood, dismissed for 'failing to provide a single example.' All of them are blatantly partisan and single-mindedly anti-choice—none of them are qualified to decide healthcare policy for the women of this country.
“7 in 10 Americans believe women should be able to make their own health care decisions. Hateful, partisan rhetoric, may be on full display in Congress today but we will not allow them to restrict our freedoms."
More about today’s witnesses:

In his 2013 testimony before Congress, Dr. Anthony Levatino said that an abortion is “usually” not a “viable treatment option” for saving the life of “patients with life threatening conditions related to or caused by pregnancy.”

In December 1999, Luana Stoltenberg joined a rally “in front of the newly opened Planned Parenthood clinic in Bettendorf, Iowa, singing carols and praying as they pushed baby strollers carrying dolls. ‘The reason it's raining today is because God is crying,’ Luana told Jacqueline Adams of CBS' Early Show.”

Referencing her anti-choice activism, Sue Thayer described herself on Facebook in 2013 as a “messenger sent by GOD to speak the truth and to shed light in a very dark place." In 2012, she posted on Facebook, “History shows that once a culture embraces homosexuality, it doesn’t last much longer. Pray that the court rules with the Bible.”

Today’s Congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood brings the total to four this session.

Source: www.prochoiceamerica.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 18:17:03 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64815-naral-pro-choice-america-statement-on-4th-hearing-to-defund-planned-parenthood.html
NOAA Awards $5.7 Million to Improve Hazardous Weather Forecasts http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64813-noaa-awards-5-7-million-to-improve-hazardous-weather-forecasts.html Research to focus on improved prediction of tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, snow
NOAA awards $5.7 million to improve hazardous weather forecasts (map).(Credit: NOAA)

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015. NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan announced today $5.7 million in cooperative research agreements and grants to improve the forecasting of hazardous and extreme weather including tornadoes, hurricanes, heavy rainfall, floods and snowstorms.

“These research investments are designed to accelerate the development and use of advanced observing systems, forecast models, and other decision-support tools that will improve our nation’s resilience to hazardous weather,” said Sullivan during remarks at the Society of Environmental Journalists conference in Norman, Oklahoma.

She added, “By engaging with a broad array of academic and other research partners, we aim to improve scientific understanding of these hazardous and extreme weather phenomena to solve the real problems our citizens, businesses, and leaders face every single day. Congressional leadership was instrumental in making these projects a priority."

The funding, provided by NOAA Research, will support collaborative work between NOAA and 27 academic, government and industry research institutions located in 16 states across the nation for these four major programs:

Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment in the Southeast U.S. (VORTEX-SE), $1.9 million – a new research program to improve tornado forecasts and warnings in the Southeastern United States, building upon the best practices and knowledge gained from earlier projects in the Great Plains. This new research program will advance our understanding of how environmental factors in the region affect the formation, intensity, structure, and path of tornadoes in this region. The research will also determine public perceptions of tornado risk, the best methods for communicating forecast uncertainty to the public, and differences in the way various demographic groups receive and respond to tornado warnings. This work will not only help inform storm prediction in the southeast U.S., but also in other regions such as the southern Great Plains and Texas.

Joint Hurricane Testbed (JHT), $1.4 million – This testbed brings together world-class researchers and forecasters online and in person to develop, test and verify improvements to forecast computer models with the goal of moving hurricane research into day-to-day operations. This year’s funding from the U.S. Weather Research Program (USWRP) will support new projects to better use satellite data to improve computer model forecasts of the genesis and rapid intensification of tropical cyclones, improve analysis tools and the forecast products posted online to inform the public. Projects will also support the transition of a new coastal storm tide forecast model to operational use by NOAA hurricane forecasters.

Hydrometeorology Testbed, (HMT) $1.2 million – This testbed focuses on quantifying and forecasting rain and snow, improved forecasting of streamflow and flooding, and improved decision-support tools for NOAA forecasters.  This year’s USWRP funding supports new projects that will evaluate high-resolution streamflow forecast models that provide new uncertainty information, improve representation of cloud droplets and assimilation of other data into high-impact weather forecast models and ensembles of models, and provide new flash flood products for forecaster evaluation.

Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT), $1.2 million – This funding from USWRP will support new projects in this testbed focused on improving ensembles of high-resolution storm forecast models and data assimilation techniques, hail forecasting tools, and estimation of one-hour probabilities of near-term severe weather using real-time environmental data. This could lead to improvements in real-time analysis and forecasting of hazardous weather that accompanies thunderstorms, such as tornadoes, hail, damaging wind, and lightning.

More information about these projects is available online.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

Source: www.noaa.gov


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:58:39 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64813-noaa-awards-5-7-million-to-improve-hazardous-weather-forecasts.html
Privatized Meat Inspection Experiment Jeopardizes Food Safety http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64811-privatized-meat-inspection-experiment-jeopardizes-food-safety.html An analysis based on inspection documents and non-compliance reports obtained through the Freedom of Information Act reveals large numbers of defects being missed in the USDA's controversial pilot project for privatized poultry inspection.

Washington, D.C. –-(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  In the name of budget-cutting, more defective and unsanitary poultry contaminated with feathers, bile and feces could make its way to consumers if the USDA’s controversial pilot project for privatized inspection in poultry slaughter plants is expanded. Today the national consumer group Food & Water Watch released an analysis of the USDA’s HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) that reveals large numbers of defects are routinely being missed when inspection tasks are performed by company employees instead of USDA inspectors.

“Based on the data coming out of the plants where this privatized inspection scheme is already in place, it is unacceptable for USDA to try to expand this program to more plants,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “As the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee hears from USDA tomorrow about their plans for meat and poultry inspection, we hope that they ask tough questions about why USDA is planning to leave consumers at risk to save money.”

The USDA has been running the pilot project with privatized inspection in two-dozen slaughter facilities since 1998. USDA is proposing an expansion of the pilot to all poultry slaughter plants, and forecasts that over three years this change will save $90 million through the elimination over 800 inspector positions. And, since most poultry plants will be able to increase their production line speeds to 175 birds per minute, the industry expects to save an estimated $256.6 million in production costs.

Poultry plants involved in the HIMP pilot have been granted line speed waivers. Some plants in the pilot have operated at line speeds upwards of 200 birds per minute, compared to 35 birds per minute for which each USDA inspector is responsible for in plants receiving conventional inspection.

Part of the pilot project is a verification program that samples between 20 to 80 birds per slaughter line during an eight-hour shift to check for defects missed by company employees. Thousands of poultry carcasses may be processed on each line during any given shift of production. The defects fall into seven different categories; two are considered ‘Food Safety’ issues and the other five are considered to be ‘Other Consumer Protection’ issues.

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Food & Water Watch obtained verification inspection documents (HIMP Form 1) and non-compliance reports (NRs) for 14 poultry plants involved in the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) from January 1, 2011 through August 2011 for the first shift of production. The USDA supplied more than 5,000 pages of documents, which revealed:

Company employees miss many defects in poultry carcasses. The inspection category that had the highest error rate was ‘Other Consumer Protection 4’ for dressing defects such as feathers, lungs, oil glands, trachea and bile still on the carcass. The average error rate for this category in the chicken slaughter facilities was 64 percent and 87 percent in turkey slaughter facilities.  In one turkey slaughter facility, nearly 100 percent of samples found this category of defect.

The data showed wide variation in the number of defects missed from plant-to-plant.  There seems to be no consistency across the industry.

 The overwhelming number of non-compliance records filed for the 14 plants was for fecal contamination found on the carcasses. Out of 229 NRs filed from March to August 2011, 208 (90%) were for visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees.

One notable NR stated, “I observed a section of intestine wrapped around the rotating paddles in the neck chiller.  The intestine was approximately 1 1/2 feet in length, contained fecal material. Additionally, numerous other pieces (of) digestive tract materials, such as chicken crops and esophagus were also observed in the neck chiller…This regulatory noncompliance would potentially allow for the cross contamination of necks by digestive contents material such as ingesta and/or feces.”

“USDA inspectors receive extensive training to protect public health in poultry facilities, but there is no similar requirement for company employees to receive training before they assume these inspection responsibilities in the proposed privatized inspection system,” said Hauter. “USDA’s proposal to shift this public health responsibility to company employees is a budget-cutting maneuver that puts consumers at risk.”

Non-Compliance Reports and Plant Performance Results

Source: www.foodandwaterwatch.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:46:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64811-privatized-meat-inspection-experiment-jeopardizes-food-safety.html
California Poised to Set Strictest Antibiotics Standards for Livestock Use in the Nation http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64810-california-poised-to-set-strictest-antibiotics-standards-for-livestock-use-in-the-nation.html

SACRAMENTO--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015 – By the end of the weekend, California Governor Jerry Brown  will announce his decision on legislation by Sen. Jerry Hill that sets the strictest limits in the U.S. on the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in meat production. The bill will help protect the efficacy of antibiotics needed for human use. Antibiotics are a cornerstone of modern medicine.

Late in the legislative session, Gov. Brown called for substantial improvements to SB 27, adding stricter provisions that go significantly beyond the policy pursued by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The final bill waiting to be signed by Gov. Brown prohibits the regular use of antibiotics on animals that are not sick for either speeding up animal growth or so-called “disease prevention;” federal policy targets only growth promotion. It also requires the California Department of Food and Agriculture to develop a program to gather information on antibiotic use in meat production, puts livestock antibiotic use under veterinary oversight, and calls for the development of guidelines and best management practices for the use of antibiotics in livestock.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified antibiotic resistance as one of the top health threats facing the nation, putting the effectiveness of essential medicines at risk. CDC estimates that each year at least 23,000 people die from antibiotic-resistant infections and at least 2 million people are sickened by such infections. Both human and animal use of antibiotics contributes to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, but more than 70 percent of sales of medically important antibiotics in the United States are for animal use. Most of these antibiotics are for use in feed and water, and much of it is given at low doses to large herds or flocks of healthy animals, which creates greater risk of breeding antibiotic resistance.

Following is a statement from Avinash Kar, Senior Attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Health Program:

“SB 27 instantly puts California at the forefront of U.S. efforts to end livestock misuse of antibiotics. It is a game changer: by reining in the misuse of these miracle drugs, it helps ensure that life-saving antibiotics will be effective when we need them most.”

Following is a statement from Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS):

“While there is much more to do to address the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance, and to reduce food safety and animal welfare impacts associated with industrial animal production, SB 27 steps in where the federal government has failed to act.  With SB 27, California will once again be a leader for the rest of the nation by taking these efforts to reduce the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in livestock.”

Following is a statement from Jason Pfeifle, Public Health Advocate with the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG):

“We don’t give antibiotics regularly to humans who aren’t sick and we shouldn’t be giving them to animals that aren’t sick either. For decades, the careless overuse of antibiotics in meat production has promoted the growth and spread of drug-resistant bacteria that threaten human health. Despite the steady rise in antibiotic-resistant infections, neither Congress nor the Obama Administration has taken meaningful action to stop this dangerous practice on factory farms. With these new restrictions on regular antibiotic use in meat production, our medicine is more likely to work when we need it.”

Following is a statement from Bill Allayaud, California Director of Governmental Affairs for the Environmental Working Group (EWG):

“It is tremendous that California will lead the way on this critical issue for Californians, Americans, and indeed the world, as the FDA fiddles while Rome burns.  Once again, this Governor looks to the future and takes action. And, a big tip of the hat to Senator Hill who grasped the seriousness of the issue, worked on it for two years, and took it across the finish line.”

Following is a statement from Adam Scow, California Program Director for Food and Water Watch (FWW):

“Food & Water Watch is pleased that Gov. Brown has helped California take long overdue steps to rein in the overuse of antibiotics in livestock production. SB 27 will start to slow the threat to our health caused by antibiotic resistance and help make sure our lifesaving drugs work when we need them.”

Following is a statement from Victoria Rome, California Legislative Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“With his call for improvements to SB 27, Gov. Brown is firmly on the side of science and public health. The administration’s changes turned SB 27 from a bill opposed by NRDC and the public interest community into a bill we support. We applaud Gov. Brown for his leadership.” 


Center for Food Safety’s (CFS) mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 700,000 consumer and farmer advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

CALPIRG is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety, our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society. Visit us at www.calpirg.org and follow us on Twitter @CALPIRG.

The Environmental Working Group’s is a nonprofit based in Washington D.C. with offices in Sacramento and Oakland whose mission is to advocate for a healthier, greener world, activate consumers to stand up for better policies and markets, and advance sound science in environmental health. EWG is online at www.ewg.org and on Twitter @EWG.

Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control. With headquarters in Washington D.C., Food & Water Watch has offices in 15 states and Europe. Visit us at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org.

Source: www.centerforfoodsafety.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:42:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64810-california-poised-to-set-strictest-antibiotics-standards-for-livestock-use-in-the-nation.html
NRDC: Exporting U.S. Crude Oil Would Boost Climate Pollution and Risks to Communities http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64807-nrdc-exporting-u-s-crude-oil-would-boost-climate-pollution-and-risks-to-communities.html  

WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015 –The following is a statement by Franz Matzner, director of the Beyond Oil Initiative at the Natural Resources Defense Council, on a pending House bill—which faces a presidential veto—to remove the four-decade-old prohibition on U.S. exports of crude oil:

“Lifting the oil export ban is a giveaway to the oil industry that would undermine the progress our country is making to use more clean energy and fight climate change. It means more climate pollution, and more risk of pipeline blowouts, exploding oil trains and contamination of our precious aquifers. It’s time to reject Big Oil’s attempt to lock in dirty fuels of the past, and accelerate the transition to clean energy for tomorrow.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

Source: www.nrdc.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:21:21 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64807-nrdc-exporting-u-s-crude-oil-would-boost-climate-pollution-and-risks-to-communities.html
Center for American Progress Launches National Grassroots Effort to Raise Awareness for Nutrition Assistance Programs http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64806-center-for-american-progress-launches-national-grassroots-effort-to-raise-awareness-for-nutrition-assistance-programs.html preschool lunch

Grapes are served during preschool lunch at the Latin American Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware, 2009. Source: AP/Steve Ruark

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  The Center for American Progress—along with its partners Witnesses to Hunger, the Coalition on Human Needs, the Food Research & Action Center, Feeding America, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics—launched a day of action today calling on Congress to strengthen child nutrition programs and protect the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, from further cuts. More than 48.1 million Americans lived in households that struggled against hunger last year, including 15.3 million children.

“Community Voices: Why Nutrition Assistance Matters” features powerful stories from individuals who are experiencing poverty and food insecurity firsthand. From a working mother who relies on the Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, program to provide healthy food for her new baby to a corporate executive who recognizes that access to free meals at school contributed to her academic success growing up, dozens of individuals are part of the project.

“Families struggling with hunger are the real experts when it comes to the importance and effect of these critical nutrition assistance programs that help millions of Americans during periods of economic insecurity and lift them out of poverty,” said Melissa Boteach, Vice President of the Poverty to Prosperity Program at CAP. “Child nutrition programs such as the WIC program; school, summer, child care, and after-school meals, and SNAP are vital to the health and well-being of families across the country, as well as to the overall economy. Too much is at stake for Congress to not protect all nutrition assistance programs this fall during budget negotiations and invest in making them stronger.”

Read their first-person stories online and learn more about the project at http://talkpoverty.org/communityvoices.

Related resources:

3 Things You May Have Missed in the New Poverty, Income, and Inequality Data by Melissa Boteach, Shawn Fremstad, and Rachel West

Video: Anti-Poverty Dictionary by Melissa Boteach, Kulsum Ebrahim, and Andrew Satter

How the Child and Adult Care Food Program Improves Early Childhood Education by Christine Binder, Joel Berg, Maryam Adamu, and Katie Hamm

Proposed Congressional Cuts to Nutrition Assistance Would Cost Jobs by Melissa Boteach

Source: www.americanprogress.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:16:05 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64806-center-for-american-progress-launches-national-grassroots-effort-to-raise-awareness-for-nutrition-assistance-programs.html
California Report Finds 'Systemic Problems' in Oversight of L.A.-area Oil Wells http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64804-california-report-finds-systemic-problems-in-oversight-of-l-a-area-oil-wells.html Oil Regulators Permitted Underground Injection Wells Before Assessing Water Pollution Threats

LOS ANGELES—(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  California oil regulators today released a report that found “systemic problems” in the state’s regulation of oil industry underground injection in the Los Angeles area. The report admits that oil companies have been allowed to drill wells and begin injecting fluid underground before any assessment of contamination risks to underground water supplies in and around America's second-largest city.

“State officials admit they have been endangering water supplies by letting the oil industry virtually drill at will in the Los Angeles area,” said Hollin Kretzmann with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The Brown administration plans to take years to evaluate the water-pollution risks while letting the oil industry continue dumping huge quantities of toxic fluid into the ground.”

The report from the state’s Department of Conservation explains that, in 2012, the state decided to ignore requirements to assess before the start of a project whether oil waste fluid could threaten underground water. That decision was made not long after Gov. Jerry Brown fired two top oil regulators for moving too slowly to approve injection well permits.

Today’s review also found that many older injection wells in Los Angeles have not been reviewed for water contamination risk in decades. There is no review on file at all for at least 19 oil industry injection projects in the L.A. area. But the state plans to take at least three years to assess the problem, even as these wells continue to operate.

The state’s assessment of underground injection risks to L.A.’s water was completed as early as a year ago, but it’s been under administration review and held from the public since that time.

“The Brown administration kept these disturbing findings from the public and is still dragging its feet on taking corrective action to protect our water supplies,” Kretzmann said. “That failure to act in the Los Angeles area raises huge questions about injection well risks to water supplies in other parts of the state.”

The oil industry operates about 55,000 injection wells in California. Some are used to dispose of toxic wastewater, which commonly contains benzene and other cancer-causing chemicals. Other injection wells shoot vast quantities of water or steam into the earth to release oil deposits. Both types of injection wells can contaminate underground water supplies.

Under pressure from federal regulators, state officials admitted earlier this year that they allowed oil companies to drill thousands of wells into protected aquifers across California. The state’s top oil regulator resigned in the wake of those revelations. But the state has shut down just 23 of these illegal wells, while thousands of others continue to operate in protected aquifers.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Source: www.biologicaldiversity.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:02:25 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64804-california-report-finds-systemic-problems-in-oversight-of-l-a-area-oil-wells.html
Governor Brown Signs Historic Legislation Banning Polluting Plastic Microbeads From Beauty Products in California http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64803-governor-brown-signs-historic-legislation-banning-polluting-plastic-microbeads-from-beauty-products-in-california.html SACRAMENTO, Calif.—(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  California Gov. Jerry Brown today signed into law Assembly Bill 888, phasing out the use of plastic microbeads in beauty products by 2020. Importantly, the new law closes a loophole in microbead bans passed in other states, including Indiana and New Jersey, allowing companies to replace traditional plastic microbeads with more plastic. The California ban is the strongest legislation in the country and will set the standard for the industry.

“Our oceans are choking on plastic, so it’s great to see the California Legislature eliminating this pointless and harmful source of plastic pollution,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Once again, California has set the national standard for policies protecting our precious natural resources."

AB 888, which will prevent 38 tons of plastic from entering California’s waterways each year, was authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and supported by a coalition of leading environmental groups and clean water agencies.

Plastic microbeads — designed to be washed down the drain and too small to be reliably captured by wastewater treatment facilities — pollute lakes, rivers and oceans by the millions. Once in the environment, plastic microbeads concentrate toxins such as pesticides and flame retardants on their surface, which may then transfer to the tissue of fish that mistake microbeads for food. One tube of exfoliating facewash can contain more than 350,000 microbeads.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Source: www.biologicaldiversity.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 17:00:48 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64803-governor-brown-signs-historic-legislation-banning-polluting-plastic-microbeads-from-beauty-products-in-california.html
Lawsuit Filed to Protect People, Wildlife From Toxic Soot Pollution in California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Utah http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64802-lawsuit-filed-to-protect-people-wildlife-from-toxic-soot-pollution-in-california-arizona-idaho-oregon-pennsylvania-and-utah.html SAN FRANCISCO—(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Environmental Health and Neighbors for Clean Air sued the Environmental Protection Agency today for failing to enforce air quality standards that limit dangerous particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants, cars and other sources. Today’s lawsuit seeks to force the EPA to ensure that communities in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah are implementing air quality plans that meet clean air standards to reduce soot pollution. 

“The Clean Air Act saves lives, protects wildlife and reduces the haze of toxic soot pollution,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We can only reduce the scourge of air pollution if the EPA and states follow a sound blueprint to clean up our skies.” 

Soot pollution causes serious health problems for people and wildlife, creates regional haze, and harms the environment. The burning of fossil fuels to generate power and drive automobiles has led to soot pollution throughout the country.

“Soot is one of the deadliest types of pollution, and even the EPA has acknowledged that soot pollution is linked to premature death, heart attacks and strokes, and childhood asthma and bronchitis,” said Caroline Cox of the Center for Environmental Health. “The residents of these states should not have to wait any longer for clean air that won’t make them sick.”

The Clean Air Act requires the EPA to set nationwide, health and public welfare-based standards for particulate pollution and sets mandatory deadlines to develop plans to achieve and maintain air quality standards. Today’s lawsuit demands that the agency correct these violations in order to set up plans to reduce dangerous soot levels. 

Soot, referred to as “particulate matter” by the EPA, is often produced through the burning of fossil fuels. Particulate matter is made up of tiny particles about 30 times smaller than the width of the average human hair and can lodge deep in the lungs. It causes a range of health problems for people and wildlife, results in regional haze, harms plants and acidifies water bodies.

Last month the Center for Biological Diversity reached an agreement with the EPA to enforce Clean Air Act standards limiting dangerous pollution from tiny airborne particles like soot in Iowa and Puerto Rico.

Source: www.biologicaldiversity.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:58:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/64802-lawsuit-filed-to-protect-people-wildlife-from-toxic-soot-pollution-in-california-arizona-idaho-oregon-pennsylvania-and-utah.html
Bernie Sanders Opposes FDA Chief Nominee Over Ties to 'Greedy' Big Pharma http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64800-bernie-sanders-opposes-fda-chief-nominee-over-ties-to-greedy-big-pharma.html

While at Duke, Robert M. Califf received millions in funding and salary support from Eli Lilly, Merck, Novartis, and other drug companies

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015
Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers remarks on Medicare at a National Nurses United rally in July. (Photo: Reuters)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday said he would vote against President Barack Obama's nomination to head up the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), citing Dr. Robert M. Califf's ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Califf, a cardiologist and Duke University researcher, became FDA deputy commissioner earlier this year, and Obama announced plans to nominate him as the agency's chief last month. But in light of several recent industry scandals that brought national attention to price gouging of life-saving medications, Sanders—who is running for president as a Democrat—on Friday said he would not support the status quo when the vote comes before the U.S. Senate health committee.

Robert M. Califf is Obama's nominee for FDA chief. (Photo: National Organization for Rare Disorders)Robert M. Califf is Obama's nominee for FDA chief. (Photo: National Organization for Rare Disorders)

"At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they need, we need a new leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies and work to substantially lower drug prices. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Califf is not that person," Sanders said following a meeting with the nominee this week.

A recent exposé by the New York Times revealed that Califf's multi-million dollar research center at Duke received more than 60 percent of its funding from the industry, while his 2014 financial disclosure documents showed drug companies like Eli Lilly, Merck, and Novartis paid him hefty fees for "consulting" and in salary support. And as the Boston Globe reported on Wednesday, Califf also took the "highly unusual" step of removing his name from a series of scientific papers criticizing the FDA's oversight of clinical trials—"a decision that could raise ethical concerns," explains the Globe's Sheila Kaplan.

"In a sense, he's the ultimate industry insider," Daniel Carpenter, a Harvard political science professor, told the Times.

Sanders continued on Friday, "Instead of listening to the demands of the pharmaceutical industry and their 1,400 lobbyists, it is about time that the FDA and Congress started listening to the overwhelming majority of the American people who believe that medicine is too expensive."

"It is time for the United States to join the rest of the industrialized world by implementing prescription drug policies that work for everybody, not just the CEOs of the pharmaceutical industry," he said.

Given the recent price-gouging cases, both Sanders and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton have made reform of the pharmaceutical industry central platforms of their campaigns. For his part, Sanders recently introduced a plan that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers and would lower barriers to importing cheap pharmaceuticals from other countries, such as Canada.

"The greed of the pharmaceutical industry is a public health hazard to the American people," Sanders said. "That has got to change."


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Source: www.commondreams.org



frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:43:26 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64800-bernie-sanders-opposes-fda-chief-nominee-over-ties-to-greedy-big-pharma.html
Public Citizen: WikiLeaks Publication of Complete, Final TPP Intellectual Property Text Confirms Pact Would Raise Costs, Put Medicines Out of Reach http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64799-public-citizen-wikileaks-publication-of-complete-final-tpp-intellectual-property-text-confirms-pact-would-raise-costs-put-medicines-out-of-reach.html Final Deal Rolls Back Bush-Era “May 2007” Access to Medicine Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. –-(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015.  WikiLeaks’ publication today of the final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property chapter text verifies that the pact would harm public health by blocking patient access to lifesaving medicines, Public Citizen said today. The latest leak of a secret TPP text reveals how the TPP would roll back the “May 10 Agreement” reforms brokered in 2007 between Democratic congressional leaders and the George W. Bush administration. It also reveals the contentious “death sentence” clause on biologics, or biotech drugs, which roiled TPP talks in Maui and Atlanta.

“If the TPP is ratified, people in Pacific Rim countries would have to live by the rules in this leaked text,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines program. “The new monopoly rights for big pharmaceutical firms would compromise access in TPP countries. The TPP would cost lives.”

The leak comes the morning after a White House meeting with pharmaceutical executives who are dissatisfied that the deal did not provide them even greater monopoly rights.

“The monopolist pharmaceutical industry has won a lot with the TPP, at the expense of people’s health,” said Burcu Kilic, policy director for Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines program. “They should stop crying crocodile tears.”

WikiLeaks published the complete TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, dated Monday, October 5, 2015 – the date that the 12 Pacific Rim nations announced a final TPP deal. The leaked text does not contain negotiating country brackets, indicating rules are no longer subject to debate, but rather are the final version subject only to a legal “scrub.”

“These final TPP rules would lengthen, strengthen and broaden special patent and data protections, which pharmaceutical companies use to delay generic competition and keep drug prices high,” said Maybarduk.

The text shows that TPP rules do not even conform to the Bush-era May 10 access to medicines standards that many congressional Democrats had insisted be further improved. In contravention of the May 10 standard, TPP imposes patent term extensions and additional and longer marketing exclusivities, as shown in Public Citizen’s analysis (PDF). Unlike the May 10 Agreement standard, the TPP would require developing countries to quickly transition to the same rules that apply to developed countries, which provide extreme monopoly rights for the pharmaceutical industry and limit access to affordable medicines.

“From very early on in the TPP negotiations, and to the ire of health advocates, it became apparent that the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) was abandoning the May 10 Agreement template,” said Maybarduk. “With today’s publication of the final version of the TPP IP chapter by WikiLeaks, for the first time the public can see precisely which rules negotiators agreed to and, importantly, how far beyond the May 10 Agreement the provisions extend pharmaceutical intellectual property obligations in developing countries.”

Pharmaceutical intellectual property and access to medicines have been especially contentious issues in the TPP talks, contributing to years of delay in the Obama administration’s timeline for completing a TPP deal. While various new monopoly rights for drug firms were agreed to by participating nations, confrontations over a special exclusivity rule for biologics – medical products derived from living organisms, including many new and forthcoming cancer treatments – contributed to the meltdown of the August ministerial in Hawaii and the double-overtime near-failure in Atlanta. 

Biologics exclusivity is separate from and independent of patent protection, though the protections may overlap. The USTR initially supported a twelve- and then an eight-year minimum monopoly period, while a majority bloc of negotiating countries would not consider more than five years’ exclusivity. (Five countries provide no special biologics exclusivity rule at all in their laws.) A Public Citizen analysis of the biologics provisions is available here (PDF).

The final document imposes a minimum mandatory five-year period.  It also subjects the issue to future discussions of a “TPP Commission” and efforts “to deliver a comparable effective period.” This reflects a USTR effort to impose eight-year monopolies over countries’ refusal.

“That purposefully ambiguous language is meant to provide USTR a means to harass countries in the future, and keep pushing for longer monopolies and industry profits at the expense of people’s health,” said Kilic.

The USTR has indicated its solution to medicine access would include transition periods for developing countries. Yet the leaked text shows that transition periods would last only three to ten years and apply to only a few of the rules under discussion. A Public Citizen analysis of the transition periods in the leaked text is available here (PDF).

“Forcing expansive pharmaceutical monopoly rules on countries that can scarcely afford high drug prices has not always been U.S. trade policy, and in the past U.S. policymakers have recognized that the needs of developing countries should not always be subordinate to U.S. pharmaceutical industry profits,” said Maybarduk. “Some rare public servants from TPP countries fought back and stood for health in this negotiation. Their efforts saved lives,” said Maybarduk. “Yet in the end, the TPP will still trade away our health.”

Source: www.citizen.org

 Related Article:

 Breaking News: WikiLeaks Releases Final Negotiated Text for TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter

frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:46:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64799-public-citizen-wikileaks-publication-of-complete-final-tpp-intellectual-property-text-confirms-pact-would-raise-costs-put-medicines-out-of-reach.html
Fight for the Future: Wikileaks Releases Final Negotiated Text of TPP Intellectual Property Chapter Exposing Grave Threat to Internet Freedom, Free Speech, Access to Medicine http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64797-fight-for-the-future-wikileaks-releases-final-negotiated-text-of-tpp-intellectual-property-chapter-exposing-grave-threat-to-internet-freedom-free-speech-access-to-medicine.html Digital rights group Fight for the Future calls for Congress to Defund the corrupt U.S Trade Representative (USTR) in response to leaked text

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--October 9, 2015. This morning, Wikileaks released the final negotiated text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “Intellectual Property” chapter, confirming advocates warnings that the deal contains extreme copyright provisions and monopoly protections for large pharmaceutical companies that threaten online freedom of speech and affordable access to medicine.

Fight for the Future, a leading digital rights group that has opposed the TPP due to its utter lack of transparency and potential to lead to widespread Internet censorship, issued the following statement, which can be attributed to campaign director Evan Greer:

“The text of the TPP’s intellectual property chapter confirms advocates warnings that this deal poses a grave threat to global freedom of expression and basic access to things like medicine and information.

But the sad part is that no one should be surprised by this. It should have been obvious to anyone observing the process that this would be the result.  Appointed government bureaucrats and monopolistic companies were given more access to the text than elected officials and journalists; from the outset there was no way this was going to be a good deal for the public”

“Honestly, at this point, the only true course of action for members of Congress who still believe in democracy would be to completely defund and do away with the office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR,) who are largely responsible for the TPP and its extremist contents. This agency become the laughing stock of Washington, DC and is one of the most blatant examples of a revolving door between industry and government. The contents of the TPP’s IP chapter were bought and paid for by Hollywood and the pharmaceutical industry before the negotiations even began.

The U.S.’s copyright system is corrupt and severely broken. But instead of trying to fix it, the USTR is trying to force these draconian policies on the rest of the world. We at Fight for the Future will fight to make sure that never happens, and we call upon the entire Internet to fight with us.”

Fight for the Future is a digital rights nonprofit that has driven more than 130,000 emails and more than 15,000 phone calls to Congress opposing the TPP  in recent months, rallied more than 7,500 websites for an online protest, and helped coordinate a letter to Congress from more than 250 tech companies expressing transparency and tech related concerns about Fast Track legislation.

The group made headlines in March when they flew a 30’ blimp over several of Senator Ron Wyden’s town hall meetings calling for him to “Save the Internet” by opposing Fast Track for the TPP, and then parked a Jumbotron on capitol hill to display the viral video they made about the stunt. More recently, Fight for the Future made a splash on the hill when they delivered actual rubber stamps to every house Republican’s office with a mock letter from President Obama asking Congress to “please rubber stamp my secret trade agenda.

Fight for the Future works to defend the Internet as a free and open platform for expression and creativity, and is best known for their role organizing the massive online protests against SOPA, the Internet Slowdown for net neutrality, and the Reset The Net campaign for online privacy, which was endorsed by Edward Snowden.

Source: www.fightforthefuture.org


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:23:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/64797-fight-for-the-future-wikileaks-releases-final-negotiated-text-of-tpp-intellectual-property-chapter-exposing-grave-threat-to-internet-freedom-free-speech-access-to-medicine.html
Lead Poisoning Fears Finally Stir Action, But Does It Come Too Late for People of Flint? http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64794-lead-poisoning-fears-finally-stir-action-but-does-it-come-too-late-for-people-of-flint.html

'Governor Snyder’s announcement confirmed what we already knew, that his emergency manager poisoned children and families in Flint.'

MICHIGAN--(ENEWSPF)--October 8, 2015
Flint residents protest the water quality in the city on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, outside Flint City Hall in Flint, Mich. (Photo: Danny Miller/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)
Flint residents protest the water quality in the city on Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, outside Flint City Hall in Flint, Mich. (Photo: Danny Miller/The Flint Journal-MLive.com via AP)

Following growing public outcry, and a year of inaction, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday finally addressed Flint's public health crisis by calling for its water service to be reconnected to the Detroit system.

"Governor Snyder’s announcement confirmed what we already knew, that his emergency manager poisoned children and families in Flint. It should not have taken this long for the governor to admit that he was wrong and take action to fix the problem that he created," said Hugh Madden, communications director for Progress Michigan, in a statement released Thursday.

"The damage that the governor and the emergency manager have done in Flint doesn’t stop with the water switch," Madden continued. "The question now is, who is going to be held responsible for poisoning people in Flint and how are Snyder and our elected officials going to ensure that this doesn’t happen in other cities in Michigan?"

Since the emergency manager switched the city's drinking water to the Flint River in April 2014, "it increased the amount of chemicals used to treat the water and failed to put in place the proper corrosion controls, resulting in water that contains high levels of TTHMs [total trihalomethanes], lead, copper and other heavy metals," explained Lynna Kaucheck, senior organizer for the Food & Water Watch, in a statement released Thursday.

"Soon after the switch, Flint residents began reporting water that was brown or greenish-blue and symptoms including hair loss and rashes," Kaucheck continued. "What’s even worse, this water came at a high price as water rates were among the highest in the country before a judge ordered a rate reduction. Sadly, the DEQ, Governor Snyder and Mayor Walling turned a blind eye and let this problem persist for months."

Researchers at Hurley Children's Hospital recently discovered that children living in two Flint zip codes have elevated levels of lead in their blood, prompting the state to begin distributing water filters to residents earlier this month.

Residents hailed the governor's pronouncement as a testament to local organizing, including the efforts of the community group Water You Fighting For. But in a city that's over 56 percent black, and plagued with poverty and unemployment, many expressed concern that the year of inaction will have lasting impact.

"Unfortunately," Kaucheck noted, "the switch may come too late for some Flint children who will suffer a lifetime of consequences from having been poisoned by the high levels of lead in Flint’s drinking water. We can only hope that Governor Snyder and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) learn from this tragedy and moving forward implement the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule to it’s fullest extent."


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Source: www.commondreams.org



frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Thu, 08 Oct 2015 23:13:38 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64794-lead-poisoning-fears-finally-stir-action-but-does-it-come-too-late-for-people-of-flint.html
Rep. Schakowsky and Sen. Feinstein Introduce Health Insurance Rate Review Legislation http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64784-rep-schakowsky-and-sen-feinstein-introduce-health-insurance-rate-review-legislation.html WASHINGTON D.C. –-(ENEWSPF)--October 8, 2015. Rep. Jan Schakowsky today introduced the Health Insurance Rate Review Act of 2015 to allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to block or modify unreasonable health insurance premium increases in states where insurance regulators lack the authority to do so. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement on introducing the Health Insurance Rate Review Act:

“When individuals, families and small business owners purchase health insurance, they deserve to know that the premiums they pay are reasonable,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “The evidence shows that health consumers benefit if they live in states where insurance regulators have and use the authority to prevent unreasonable price hikes. Unfortunately, in too many states like Illinois that authority is missing. This bill is a common-sense solution that gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services backup authority to prevent excessive premiums because everyone – no matter where they live or do business – deserves reasonable insurance rates.”

“There is no question that the Affordable Care Act is holding down health insurance rate increases. Insurance premiums are increasing at the slowest rate in decades,” said Senator Feinstein. “To continue to build on the law’s success, the Health and Human Services Secretary should have the ability to reject increases that are determined to be excessive. This policy is already in place in many states and the benefits to consumers are clear.”

“It is unacceptable that in many states, consumers are at the mercy of insurance companies who continue to raise premiums because there is no authority to block unfair rates,” said Schakowsky. “In my home state of Illinois, insurance companies are trying to increase premiums by as much as 38 percent. It is time for us to ensure that every consumer, regardless of where they live, is not subjected to unjustifiable premium increases.”

Many state insurance regulators already have the ability to reject unreasonable health insurance rate increases, resulting in clear benefits to consumers. Insurers in New York requested 13.5 percent increases, on average, for 2016 premiums. Regulators disagreed and reduced the increase by nearly half, to 7.1 percent. In Connecticut, a United Healthcare plan wanted to raise rates by 12.4 percent for 2016. After regulators reviewed the request, a 5.5 percent increase was approved.

“I believe consumers in every state should benefit from such review, whether through state insurance departments or, if necessary, through back-up federal authority. My bill would provide that protection,” said Rep. Schakowsky.

Source: www.schakowsky.house.gov


frodojrr147@yahoo.com (Press Release) Thu, 08 Oct 2015 22:37:16 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/64784-rep-schakowsky-and-sen-feinstein-introduce-health-insurance-rate-review-legislation.html