ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Fri, 03 Jul 2015 15:27:24 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Invited by Vatican, Naomi Klein Makes Moral Case for World Beyond Fossil Fuels http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62588-invited-by-vatican-naomi-klein-makes-moral-case-for-world-beyond-fossil-fuels.html

Activist and author praises 'courageous' invitation by Pope in face of fossil fuel industry's power

VATICAN--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015
Author and activist Naomi Klein spoke at the Vatican on Wednesday, calling climate change a "moral crisis" that should unite all people. (Photo: Adolfo Lujan/flickr/cc)

Naomi Klein—activist, author, and self-described "secular Jewish feminist"—spoke at the Vatican on Wednesday where she championed the Pope's message for global action on climate change and made the case for "the beautiful world" beyond fossil fuel addiction.

Klein, who was invited to speak by the Vatican, gave her speech ahead of a two-day conference to discuss the Pope's recent encyclical, Laudato Si', on the environment and the threat of the global economic system—subjects that the author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate knows well.

The encyclical has garnered praise from environmental campaigners like Greenpeace International's Kumi Naidoo, who called it a "clarion call for bold, urgent action."

"Pope Francis writes early on that Laudato Si’ is not only a teaching for the Catholic world but for 'every person living on this planet.' And I can say that as a secular Jewish feminist who was rather surprised to be invited to the Vatican, it certainly spoke to me," Klein told reporters ahead of the conference, which is called People and Planet First: the Imperative to Change Course.

She praised what she described as "the core message of interconnection at the heart of the encyclical."

Klein also expanded on what may appear to be an unlikely alliance with the leader of the Catholic Church.

"Given the attacks that are coming from the Republican party around this and also the fossil fuel interests in the United States, it was a particularly courageous decision to invite me here," she said, according to the Associated Press. "I think it indicates that the Holy See is not being intimidated, and knows that when you say powerful truths, you make some powerful enemies and that's part of what this is about."

"I have noticed a common theme among the critiques. Pope Francis may be right on the science, we hear, and even on the morality, but he should leave the economics and policy to the experts," Klein said in her speech. "They are the ones who know about carbon trading and water privatization, we are told, and how effectively markets can solve any problem. I forcefully disagree.

"The truth is that we have arrived at this dangerous place partly because many of those economic experts have failed us badly, wielding their powerful technocratic skills without wisdom," she said. "In a world where profit is consistently put before both people and the planet, climate economics has everything to do with ethics and morality. Because if we agree that endangering life on earth is a moral crisis, then it is incumbent on us to act like it."

Echoing the Pope's message to address inequities, Klein said that "our current system is also fueling ever widening inequality."

But Klein stressed that her appearance at the Vatican did not mean that any one world view was "being subsumed by anyone else's."

"This is an alliance on a specific issue. It's not a merger," Klein said. "But when you are faced with a crisis of this magnitude, people have to get out of their comfort zones."

Despite the magnitude of the crisis, Klein stressed: "We can save ourselves."

"Around the world, the climate justice movement is saying: See the beautiful world that lies on the other side of courageous policy, the seeds of which are already bearing ample fruit for any who care to look.

"Then, stop making the difficult the enemy of the possible.

"And join us in making the possible real," she said.

The two-day conference, which comes in the lead-up to the COP21 international climate talks in Paris later this year, is being coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the International Cooperation for Development and Solidarity (CIDSE), an alliance of Catholic development agencies. Alongside Klein, other speakers include Ottmar Edenhofer, co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pontifical council president H.E. Cardinal Peter Turkson, and CIDSE secretary general Bernard Nils.

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Source: www.commondreams.org

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 23:01:44 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62588-invited-by-vatican-naomi-klein-makes-moral-case-for-world-beyond-fossil-fuels.html
Neil Young invites Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir to Open for 'The Monsanto Years' Show http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62585-neil-young-invites-reverend-billy-and-the-stop-shopping-choir-to-open-for-the-monsanto-years-show.html

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  Sharing their opposition to Monsanto and Starbucks and Walmart, Reverend Billy and the 40 singing-activists join forces with the radicalized rocker on Tuesday, July 21, at Jones Beach Theater in New York. Accompanying Neil Young is the band “Promise of the Real,” with Lukas and Micah Nelson, sons of Willie Nelson.

Monsanto is also the Devil of the Church of Stop Shopping. This summer, the Rev & singers will perform “Non-Violent Dramatic Actions” to support a ban on Monsanto’s Roundup, the world’s most frequently used herbicide. New York City sprayed Monsanto’s Carcinogenic Roundup more than 1,300 times on its parks and playgrounds in 2013. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, was declared a likely carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

This spring, the singing and preaching activists invaded London’s British Museum for an unsanctioned concert against BP, a company that buys prestige by giving money to the old museum. During a recent trip to Chicago to lead the March Against Monsanto, they exorcised Monsanto from Home Depot and their new office building. They also visited the sacrifice community of Marktown, IN. This small town suffers extreme rates of cancers and asthma, living in the shadow of the largest tar sands refinery in the United States, the Whiting Refinery, owned by BP and the Koch Brothers.

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Reverend Billy is Bill Talen. What began as a satiric take-down of the rightwing preacher in the 90’s – changed after 9/11. Reverend Billy became a popular pastor in New York, baptizing hundreds of children into a “life beyond shopping.” The Church of Stop Shopping believes in fighting for, and praying to, the Earth. The Church of Stop Shopping has fired all fundamentalist gods, usually with a good joke. After three arrests last fall, two from “Black Lives Matter” actions, Reverend Billy is out of the court system.

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:53:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62585-neil-young-invites-reverend-billy-and-the-stop-shopping-choir-to-open-for-the-monsanto-years-show.html
Statement by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on the Agreement in Principle with BP to Settle Civil Claims for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62573-statement-by-interior-secretary-sally-jewell-on-the-agreement-in-principle-with-bp-to-settle-civil-claims-for-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html WASHINGTON, D.C. --(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell released the following statement on the news today that BP disclosed it has reached agreements in principle with the United States, state, and local governments for a settlement of civil claims arising from the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

“This is an incredibly significant step in our efforts to make the Gulf Coast whole in the wake of the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history. If approved by the court, this settlement would help restore the natural resources that were impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but to also build back the resiliency of the region, which is critical to the health of our economy and environment.

“As the discussions move forward, the Department of the Interior is fully committed to working with our fellow Trustees to ensure that people who live all along the coast and other stakeholders continue to have every opportunity to be engaged in these meaningful recovery and restoration efforts.”

Source: doi.gov

Related Article:

Statement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on the Agreement in Principle with BP to Settle Civil Claims for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:12:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62573-statement-by-interior-secretary-sally-jewell-on-the-agreement-in-principle-with-bp-to-settle-civil-claims-for-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html
Measles Led to Death of Clallam Co., Washington Woman; First in US in a Dozen Years http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62572-measles-led-to-death-of-clallam-co-washington-woman-first-in-us-in-a-dozen-years.html Tragic outcome for immunocompromised patient shows need for community protection

OLYMPIA--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. The death of a Clallam County woman this spring was due to an undetected measles infection that was discovered at autopsy.

The woman was most likely exposed to measles at a local medical facility during a recent outbreak in Clallam County. She was there at the same time as a person who later developed a rash and was contagious for measles. The woman had several other health conditions and was on medications that contributed to a suppressed immune system. She didn’t have some of the common symptoms of measles such as a rash, so the infection wasn’t discovered until after her death. The cause of death was pneumonia due to measles.

This tragic situation illustrates the importance of immunizing as many people as possible to provide a high level of community protection against measles. People with compromised immune systems often cannot be vaccinated against measles. Even when vaccinated, they may not have a good immune response when exposed to disease; they may be especially vulnerable to disease outbreaks. Public health officials recommend that everyone who is eligible for the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine get vaccinated so they can help protect themselves, their families, and the vulnerable people in their community.

Measles is highly contagious even before the rash starts, and is easily spread when an infected person breathes, coughs, or sneezes. If you're not protected, you can get measles just by walking into a room where someone with the disease has been in the past couple of hours.

Children should be vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine, with the first dose between 12 and 15 months and the second at four-to-six years. Adults born after 1956 should have at least one measles vaccination; some people need two. The state Department of Health immunization program has online information about measles and measles vaccine.

The measles diagnosis for the Clallam County woman brings the state’s case count to 11, and is the sixth in Clallam County for the year. The last active case of measles in Washington this year was reported in late April. Within about three weeks of exposure to someone with measles, it’s possible to develop the disease. Since more than three weeks has already passed since the last active measles case, no one who had contact with one of the known cases is any longer at risk for developing measles from those exposures.

The last confirmed measles death in the United States was reported in 2003. More information about measles nationwide is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

The Department of Health website (doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Source: doh.wa.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:10:12 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62572-measles-led-to-death-of-clallam-co-washington-woman-first-in-us-in-a-dozen-years.html
Audubon Society: $18.7 Billion Settlement Reached in BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster Case http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62571-audubon-society-18-7-billion-settlement-reached-in-bp-deepwater-horizon-oil-disaster-case.html Largest Marine Oil Spill Resulted in Deaths of Estimated One Million Birds
Gannett. Photo: Kim Hubbard/Audubon

NEW YORK--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015 -- Responding to news this morning of a settlement in the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster case, the National Audubon Society released the following statement:

"You break it, you pay for it – that's how this is supposed to work. Now Gulf Coast restoration can begin in earnest. It's time to heal the wounds that BP tore in Gulf Coast ecosystems and communities," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold (@david_yarnold). "And healing is possible. The great early restoration work led by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is evidence of that, and we look forward to the day that the people, waters, lands, and birds of the Gulf Coast are whole once more."

The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.

Source: www.audubon.org

Related Article:

Statement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on the Agreement in Principle with BP to Settle Civil Claims for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:07:27 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62571-audubon-society-18-7-billion-settlement-reached-in-bp-deepwater-horizon-oil-disaster-case.html
Environmental Working Group: White House Calls for Update to Biotech Regulation http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62570-environmental-working-group-white-house-calls-for-update-to-biotech-regulation.html WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  The White House's call to update the system evaluating the safety of crops and food produced by genetic engineering is a foundation for building a more transparent food system that includes mandatory GMO labeling, according to the Environmental Working Group.

The White House has directed three federal agencies- the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture- to update the Coordinated Framework, a regulatory policy that governs safety evaluations of plants, animals, and microbes that have been developed through genetic engineering. The Coordinated Framework was originally issued in 1986 and hasn’t been updated since 1992.

"Reform of the badly outdated system for reviewing GMO crops and other products is long overdue," said Scott Faber, senior Vice President of the Environmental Working Group. “Today's announcement confirms the need for more transparency in our food system and only further illustrates why mandatory GMO labeling is so necessary. The President should not wait to make good on his 2007 campaign pledge to require mandatory labeling, and he should make clear that he will reject legislation, notably the DARK Act, that would make it harder to label GMOs."

More than 125 business leaders sent a letter to the President last week thanking him for his leadership on food issues and asking for his continued support in implementing a mandatory federal GMO labeling standard. They also asked that President Obama veto Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-Kan.) anti-GMO labeling bill, also known as the DARK act, should it pass Congress.

Source: www.ewg.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 22:03:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62570-environmental-working-group-white-house-calls-for-update-to-biotech-regulation.html
Ethan Nadelmann Q & A with The Marshall Project: Why Smoking Bans in Prison Are Not The Answer http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/62569-ethan-nadelmann-q-a-with-the-marshall-project-why-smoking-bans-in-prison-are-not-the-answer.html NEW YORK—(ENEWSPF)—July 2, 2015. Hundreds of inmates rioted in an Australian prison on June 30 in response to a cigarette smoking ban that was set to take hold at all 13 prisons in the state of Victoria. Tensions at the prison had reportedly been running high since earlier this month, when the facility stopped selling tobacco.

Such bans are already the norm in the United States.

The Marshall Project's Alysia Santo recently spoke with the Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelmann about the unintended consequences of tobacco bans in prison.

Below is the Q and A with Ethan and the Marshall Project and a piece from Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance titled Why Smoking Bans in Prison Are Not the Answer.  

The Marshall Project

The Case for Smoking in Prison; When cigarettes are outlawed, only outlaws have cigarettes. By Alysia Santo, July 1, 2015 - https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/07/01/the-case-for-smoking-in-prison

Hundreds of inmates rioted in an Australian prison on June 30 in response to a cigarette smoking ban that was set to take hold at all 13 prisons in the state of Victoria. Tensions at the prison had reportedly been running high since earlier this month, when the facility stopped selling tobacco.

Such bans are already the norm in the United States. The Federal Bureau of Prisons removed tobacco from prison commissaries in 2006, and in January officially instituted rules prohibiting smoking and possession of tobacco, except as part of authorized religious activity. The case for outlawing smokes in prison is pretty much the same as the case for banning them anywhere else: cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other diseases for the smoker and those in proximity. But there is an argument *for *cigarettes in prison, asserts Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that advocates liberalizing America’s drug laws. The Marshall Project’s Alysia Santo recently spoke with Nadelmann about the unintended consequences of tobacco bans in prison. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Australia is one of many countries that are banning tobacco in detention facilities. In the U.S., most states already have restrictions, and 20 states are completely smoke and tobacco free, both indoors and out. Based on what we’ve seen here in the states, what should Australian prison officials expect?

It’s a lesson in economics 101. In prisons where cigarettes are banned, they sell for up to $20 each, and whole packs of cigarettes can sell for up to $200. This creates a major profit opportunity for gangs, who already have networks for smuggling other things, but cigarettes take it to another level in terms of the profit potential.

And this is also a source of corruption amongst prison employees. If you think from the perspective of a prison guard, they may never be willing to smuggle heroin or cocaine, because of the moral opprobrium associated with those. But when it comes to smuggling cigarettes, you’re violating the same laws of contraband, yet you can see how a lot of guards could say, “Well, what’s so terrible about selling a cigarette? I know I’m breaking the rules, but here I can make a little money. I smoke, he smokes, what’s the big deal?”

What about the needs of the nonsmoking inmates and correction officers who pushed for these bans in some places, citing their right to work and live free of second-hand smoke?

It seems to me there’s a fair element of hypocrisy in all of this. On the one hand, you have California, one of the first states to ban cigarettes in prison. Meanwhile, the entire California prison system is under the thumb of the federal courts because they have been violating the U.S. Constitution by not providing adequate health care to inmates. So to ban cigarettes and then become notorious because inmates are dying from a lack of health care, it makes you wonder, what do authorities really care about?

We can think about this even more broadly. All scientific evidence shows if you have people addicted to heroin, putting them on a methadone program increases the likelihood they will be healthy behind bars and decreases the likelihood they’ll go back to street drugs when they get out of prison. In Australia and Europe, methadone programs are standard operating procedure. But we don’t do that here.

It also makes me think about other health interventions that prisoners are denied access to. We know there’s a fair amount of sex behind bars, and in many prisons outside the U.S., condoms are provided. Even sterile syringes are available in recognition of the fact that inmates are accessing illegally obtained drugs, and one wants to avoid the spread of HIV or Hepatitis C. Those basic harm-reduction approaches are well grounded in public health and scientific evidence. But it’s something that we in the U.S., with our much more punitive approach to incarceration, haven’t allowed. And so I tend to see much of this smoking ban as being on its face about improving the health of inmates, but given the broader punitive thrust of incarceration in America, most of what’s going on with the tobacco ban is really about saying, let’s punish them. Let’s deny them things.

There’s very little research into the impact of these bans. Ohio prisons banned tobacco in 2009, and soon after, prisons director Gary Mohr reportedly asked his department to investigate whether an increase in violence was linked to the ban. When I requested the results of that inquiry, a corrections spokesperson told me they were unable to locate any actual studies into a possible link. Why do you think we know so little about the fallout of these bans?

There’s a real paucity of any serious research examining these prohibitions. Does it increase corruption and black markets? Do tobacco bans enrich prison gangs? Are there growing levels of violence associated with this? We don’t have solid answers on any of this stuff, and I think it’s a tragedy that there isn’t any good information.

There has to be an incentive for people to want to know. Since one of the likely outcomes of such a study would be to reveal higher levels of contraband and corruption than generally acknowledged, I can see all sorts of reasons why they would not want to come out with a report showing how that’s been impacted by bans on tobacco. If you’re in charge of a prison, do you want to issue a report that produces that kind of information?

Is there a smoking policy for prisons that would make sense to you?

Why not allow a smoking area where people could consume during certain hours? And to the extent that electronic cigarettes don’t pose a broader threat, why not allow those? There’s no second-hand consequence to those, and the harms to health are fairly minimal. People smoke cigarettes not only because they are addicted, but for the pleasure, the relaxation. And now that we see that many of the pleasures of tobacco can be taken in a vaporized form, why are we depriving people who are incarcerated of that pleasure? That opportunity to relax? That just seems about being punitive and cruel.

Related Material:

Huffington Post

Why Smoking Bans in Prison Are Not The Answer!, By: Tony Newman, March 30, 2010 - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-newman/why-smoking-bans-in-priso_b_518631.html

According to a major story in USA Today last week, more than half of U.S. states have now banned smoking in their prisons.

The rationale that drives prisons to prohibit smoking is that it improves the heath of people behind bars and saves health care costs. While improving prisoners' health and saving scarce tax dollars are worthy goals, in reality these bans don't prevent prisoners from smoking -- but they do create a whole range of unintended consequences, none of which are discussed in the USA Today story.

Prohibition of drugs doesn't work in society or behind bars. Despite 40 years of a "war on drugs," marijuana and other drugs are as accessible as ever. The same is true behind bars. It is common knowledge that drug use is rampant in prison. It's ironic that drug war policies are premised on the promise of a "drug-free society," yet we can't even keep drugs out of maximum security prisons.

The prohibition of cigarettes doesn't stop smoking; it just hands over control of the commodity to the black market and causes prices to skyrocket. An Associated Press article in 2007 looked at the impact of California's ban on tobacco in prisons and found a burgeoning black market where a pack of smokes could fetch up to $125 dollars! The end result is that the drug trade around cigarettes becomes as violent as the drug trade around illicit drugs.

If we acknowledge that tobacco use -- like other drug use -- is inevitable, the next question should be: What will happen to people who are caught smoking cigarettes? We know that people behind bars are already excessively punished for illicit drug use. My colleague Anthony Papa at the Drug Policy Alliance just wrote a piece about Amir Varick Amma, who served five extra years behind bars for smoking a marijuana joint in prison. Are people going to be punished in the same ruthless and counterproductive ways for breaking the tobacco ban?

Instead of criminalizing a popular coping mechanism, the state should offer incarcerated smokers educational resources and a helping hand if they are interested in quitting. The cost of providing inmates with nicorette gum and nicotine patches would be far less expensive than adding more punitive sanctions to their already excessive time behind bars -- and it wouldn't create a new violent black market. As we learned with alcohol in the 1920s and through decades of the counterproductive war on drugs, regulation is more effective at promoting safety and health than prohibition.

Tony Newman is the Director of Media Relations at the Drug Policy Alliance (www.drugpolicy.org)

Follow Tony Newman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TonyNewmanDPA

San Francisco Chronicle

Tobacco ban in state prisons will create black market, violence, By Tony Newman, July 13, 2005  

On July 1, California adopted a new policy prohibiting cigarette smoking in all state prisons. The legislation, sponsored by Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, was sold as a way to save millions of dollars in health- care costs and improve the health of all prisoners. While there is some logic to the pro-health/ fiscally responsible rhetoric, this new law won't prevent people from smoking; instead, it will increase violence behind bars.

Cigarettes are harmful, and there are real costs associated with treating cigarette smokers, but this policy is a case of the cure being worse than the disease. The ban will not eradicate cigarette smoking. It's painfully obvious that prohibition has not ridded our society of drugs, be it alcohol in the 1930s or marijuana today. Even putting someone in a prison cell doesn't keep him or her from obtaining and using drugs -- in fact, many inmates report starting to use illegal substances while locked up, out of depression or desperation.

Everything that is available on the street is available behind bars, at a very high price -- both in dollars and in lives. So while these policies do not deliver on their promise to eliminate drugs, they do generate collateral damage. The misperception is that drugs cause crime -- in reality, it is not the substance itself, but prohibition of it, that leads to violence.

When alcohol was illegal in the 1920s and '30s, not only did people drink, but there were shootouts over the manufacture and distribution of liquor. Today, such violence is largely unheard of. Same substance, different policies -- and vastly different body counts. Similarly, when someone who sells marijuana is killed by a rival dealer, it is not the substance that killed that person, it is the violence associated with making pot illegal and artificially inflating its price. The huge profits associated with illegal drugs attract unsavory characters to the industry. And the same will be true for tobacco: If cigarettes are made illegal inside or outside prison, there will be violence over the right to sell them.

Source: www.drugpolicy.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:57:14 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/62569-ethan-nadelmann-q-a-with-the-marshall-project-why-smoking-bans-in-prison-are-not-the-answer.html
Groups File Suit to Protect Mexican Gray Wolves in New Mexico and Arizona http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62566-groups-file-suit-to-protect-mexican-gray-wolves-in-new-mexico-and-arizona.html Challenge federal policies that further imperil endangered wild wolves

http://wolf-whisper305.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/mexicanwol.jpg

TUCSON--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  A coalition of local, regional and national conservation watchdog groups filed suit today to ensure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopts policies that give endangered Mexican gray wolves a fair shot at recovery in their historic U.S. range.

In January 2015, USFWS issued a final rule that refuses to consider the only wild population of Mexican wolves as “essential” to the species’ recovery, arbitrarily caps the population of Mexican gray wolves at a level far below what scientists consider necessary for recovery, prevents wolves from recolonizing native habitat in northern Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah, and allows more killing of Mexican wolves by federal agents and private landowners.

“Unfortunately, politics supplants wildlife biology in key parts of the USFWS Mexican gray wolf plan,” said John Mellgren, the Western Environmental Law Center attorney representing the advocacy groups in the lawsuit. “Our goal in this case is to put the science back into the management of Mexican wolves in the U.S.”

“Banishing Mexican wolves from their native habitats to appease political interests is the latest mistake in the Service’s long history of mismanagement of the species’ recovery,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “The only wild population of Mexican wolves is clearly essential to the species’ survival and recovery.”

The final rule takes the unprecedented step of capping the Mexican wolf population at 300–325, and states that any excess wolves will be placed into captivity or killed. Capping the population is not based on the best available science and will not benefit the conservation and recovery of the endangered Mexican wolf. Indeed, the best science shows that at least 750 wolves spread across three populations is necessary for recovery.

The final rule fails to explain how the only population of Mexican wolves in the wild is not essential to the species’ recovery. By labeling the only Mexican wolves remaining in the wild as “nonessential,” USFWS prevents implementation of vital protections that are necessary to truly recover the species.

Although the final rule expands the geographic boundaries of the area in which Mexican wolves will be allowed to roam, it ignores the best available science showing wolves must recolonize areas in the Southern Rockies and Grand Canyon to recover. By mandating the removal of any Mexican wolf that wanders outside the arbitrary, political boundaries established by USFWS, the agency undermines Mexican wolf recovery.

“Mexican wolves have struggled for almost a century because of human efforts to eradicate the species,” said Judy Calman, staff attorney for the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance. “These embattled, iconic animals shouldn’t also have to struggle against the very agency tasked with saving them.”

The revised rule also allows for increased lethal take and permanent removal through placement in captivity of wild Mexican wolves. USFWS presents no scientific justification of how removing more wolves from the wild meets its duty to conserve and recover the Mexican wolf.

“As it stands today, there are no excess Mexican wolves,” said Friends of Animals President Priscilla Feral. “Instead, there is a dire need to protect the few remaining wolves struggling to survive, which cannot be achieved under the immoral, predatory and failed machinations of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.”

The Mexican gray wolf is the smallest, rarest and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf. The species was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1978, but recovery efforts have largely foundered because USFWS has yet to do what science shows is necessary to restore the species.

Source: www.westernlaw.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:08:15 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62566-groups-file-suit-to-protect-mexican-gray-wolves-in-new-mexico-and-arizona.html
AFL-CIO: Jobs Numbers Deceiving As Workers’ Wages Continue to Suffer http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62565-afl-cio-jobs-numbers-deceiving-as-workers-wages-continue-to-suffer.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. In response to the June Jobs report that showed no wage growth, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement:

Although the job growth in June is promising, the fact that there was zero wage growth is appalling. Workers are tired of waking up every day and hearing about the so-called economic recovery. Working families are hurting because they have been left out of this “recovery.” We’ve heard enough double talk around wages. We will not stand by while corporations continue to annihilate any chance at real economic growth. Working families have earned the right to be paid fairly for hard work. And we will continue our tireless fight to raise wages because working families deserve an economy that works for all.

Source: www.aflcio.org

Related Article:

Payroll Employment Rises by 223,000 in June, 2015; Unemployment Rate Declines to 5.3%

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:04:14 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62565-afl-cio-jobs-numbers-deceiving-as-workers-wages-continue-to-suffer.html
AFL-CIO's Trumka Denounces Administration’s Decision to Resume Military Aid to Bahrain http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62564-afl-cio-s-trumka-denounces-administration-s-decision-to-resume-military-aid-to-bahrain.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. Statement by AFl-CIO President Richard Trumka on the Obama Administration’s decision to resume military aid to Bahrain despite its government’s failure to improve labor and human rights record:

We strongly disagree with the Obama's Administration's decision to resume military aid to Bahrain. We join a large number of human rights groups which are deeply concerned about the continuing decline of the human rights situation in the country.  The Bahraini government has failed to keep its promises to the American government to improve the administration of labor rights including eliminating widespread workplace discrimination based on religion and political belief.  This is why the AFL-CIO filed a case under labor rights provisions of the U.S. Bahrain Free Trade Agreement regarding Bahrain’s failure to live up to its commitments with respect to workers’ rights. By bolstering Bahrain’s government the Obama Administration is undermining the struggle of Bahraini families in their efforts to attain same basic human rights that we cherish here in the United States including the right to associate in unions.

Source: www.aflcio.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 17:01:48 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62564-afl-cio-s-trumka-denounces-administration-s-decision-to-resume-military-aid-to-bahrain.html
Monitoring Seawater Reveals Ocean Acidification Risks to Alaskan Shellfish Hatchery http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62563-monitoring-seawater-reveals-ocean-acidification-risks-to-alaskan-shellfish-hatchery.html NOAA, University of Alaska collaborate with shellfish hatchery
NOAA and the University of Alaska worked with the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, to research the effects of ocean acidification. (Credit: Wiley Evans, NOAA)NOAA and the University of Alaska worked with the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, to research the effects of ocean acidification. (Credit: Wiley Evans, NOAA)

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  New collaborative research between NOAA, University of Alaska and an Alaskan shellfish hatchery shows that ocean acidification may make it difficult for Alaskan coastal waters to support shellfish hatcheries by 2040 unless costly mitigation efforts are installed to modify seawater used in the hatcheries.

"Our research shows there could be significant effects from ocean acidification on Alaska's emerging shellfish hatchery industry in a matter of two and half decades," said Jeremy Mathis, Ph.D., an oceanographer at NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and a co-author of the study, "On the Frontline: Tracking Ocean Acidification in an Alaskan Shellfish Hatchery," appearing today in PLOS ONE. "We need to continue to partner with industry and other stakeholders to make sure we're providing the environmental intelligence needed by industry to answer key questions and make decisions to meet these challenges."

The absorption of carbon dioxide primarily from human sources is making global oceans more corrosive to calcium carbonate minerals which shellfish need to build and maintain shells. The waters off Alaska are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification because the absorption of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions is not the only process contributing to acidity. Melting glaciers, upwelling of carbon-dioxide rich deep waters, the natural decomposition of plant-life that gives off carbon dioxide and the fact that cold water more readily absorbs carbon dioxide all exacerbate ocean acidification in the region. 

This system, called a Burkolator because it was developed by Burke Hales at Oregon State, measures carbon dioxide in seawater to help monitor ocean acidification. (Credit: NOAA).This system, called a Burkolator because it was developed by Burke Hales at Oregon State, measures carbon dioxide in seawater to help monitor ocean acidification. (Credit: NOAA)

A team of scientists from NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and the University of Alaska Fairbanks worked with the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, to monitor seawater chemistry over a 10-month period from October 2013 to August 2014 to measure the potential effects of changing ocean chemistry on the growth of oyster, clam, scallop and other shellfish larvae or seed. 

Researchers found that ocean chemistry off Seward fluctuates significantly by season. There is currently a five-month window during spring and summer when growing conditions favor larval shellfish, followed by periods of poor growing conditions in autumn and winter. But under some predicted scenarios for carbon dioxide emissions this five-month window for growing shellfish could close as early as 2040. The hatchery would then only be able to produce viable shellfish seed if it installed costly mitigation efforts to modify ocean water entering the facility. 

While shellfish farming in Alaska involves mostly small-scale operations focused on oysters and mussels, stakeholder interest is growing and there is an effort underway to increase farmed shellfish production to a multi-million dollar annual level. Communities are embracing shellfish farming to diversify the local economy and create jobs. Currently, Alutiiq Pride is the only shellfish hatchery in Alaska that can provide seed stock to local residents that otherwise have to buy seed from outside the state. However, as the cost of producing seed stock increases in states like Washington and Oregon due to rising ocean acidification levels, hatcheries will be looking for alternative locations to supply large-scale operations. The growth of shellfish farming increases the need for effective monitoring of ocean waters. 

"A key to tracking ocean acidification and its effects is our ability to make continuous robust measurements of the carbonate system in hatchery settings to understand how it varies over time," said Wiley Evans, Ph.D., of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the lead scientist on the project. "We've come a long way in our ability to monitor ocean acidification." 

Jeff Hetrick, owner of Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, worked with NOAA scientists on research to better understand how ocean acidification would affect his hatchery business over time. (Credit: Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery).Jeff Hetrick, owner of Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery in Seward, Alaska, worked with NOAA scientists on research to better understand how ocean acidification would affect his hatchery business over time. (Credit: Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery)

Jeff Hetrick, owner of Alutiiq Pride and a longtime Alaska resident, explained why he wanted to participate in the research. "Ocean acidification has had major impacts on hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest and we wanted to evaluate what, if any, impacts could be expected here in Seward," Hetrick said. "The results have been alarming." 

The study reinforces broader research showing that Alaska's commercial and subsistence fisheries are vulnerable to ocean acidification. Alaska is home to some of our nation's most valuable commercial and subsistence fisheries. NOAA's latest Fisheries of the U.S. report estimates that nearly 60 percent of U.S. commercial fisheries landings by weight are harvested in Alaska. These 5.8 billion pounds brought in $1.9 billion in wholesale values or one third of all landings by value in the U.S. in 2013. 

Ocean acidification monitoring will continue at the Alutiiq Pride Shellfish Hatchery and will expand to at least one other site along the southeast Alaska coast in late 2015.

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. Join us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

Source: noaa.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:59:13 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62563-monitoring-seawater-reveals-ocean-acidification-risks-to-alaskan-shellfish-hatchery.html
NRDC: Replacing Damaging HFCs a Key Move on Climate Change http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62562-nrdc-replacing-damaging-hfcs-a-key-move-on-climate-change.html WASHINGTON—(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015 – The Environmental Protection Agency today finalized standards setting deadlines to end certain uses of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, powerful heat-trapping gases that significantly contribute to climate change, because safer, climate-friendlier alternatives now exist.

The EPA’s move affects HFCs used in motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration and vending machines, aerosols, and foam blowing. The agency proposed the standards a year ago and finalized them today.

The following is a statement from David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

“The EPA’s welcome move is another critical step to cut the heat-trapping pollution that drives dangerous climate change. With safer coolants, foam-blowing agents, and aerosol propellants already on the market, it’s time to stop using the most damaging HFCs. The benefits are clear: we can help curb dangerous climate warming, drive innovation in energy efficiency, and leave a better world for our children.

“Today’s action is well-timed to help push for faster phase-down of HFCs in Montreal Protocol negotiations later this month.”

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

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:55:34 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62562-nrdc-replacing-damaging-hfcs-a-key-move-on-climate-change.html
With No Indication of Investigation of Pa. DOH Negligence on Fracking Health Complaints, Group Demands Records from Attorney General http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62561-with-no-indication-of-investigation-of-pa-doh-negligence-on-fracking-health-complaints-group-demands-records-from-attorney-general.html

AG’s Office Promised to Investigate in 2014; Evidence Suggests It Has Only Conducted Some Introductory Interviews

Philadelphia, Pa.--(ENEWSPF)--July , 2015 – The advocacy group Food & Water Watch submitted yesterday a Right-to-Know request to the state attorney general’s office, seeking any and all documents pertaining to fracking-related public health concerns in the state. The request comes almost a year after the office indicated to fracking-harmed residents who had unsuccessfully sought help from the Department of Health (DOH) and called on the attorney general to investigate, that it would indeed conduct an investigation. Since then, no evidence of any substantive investigation has surfaced.

In July, 2014, an agent from the attorney general’s environmental crime unit requested from Food & Water Watch and Berks Gas Truth a list of state residents who had claimed to have contacted DOH about fracking-related health concerns, and hadn’t received adequate responses. The agent stated that the office would contact the individuals and conduct an investigation. However, follow-up with residents indicates that at least some interviews have taken place, but no follow-up investigation was ever launched.

“I spoke with the attorney general’s office, shared my story of how the Department of Health handled my health complaint, and was told we would see a report of the investigation. A year later, we haven’t heard a thing. And we still need help,” said Audrey Gozdiskowski, a Wyoming County resident who approached the DOH with a fracking-related health complaint last July and was subsequently contacted by the attorney general’s office.

Ms. Gozdiskowski was one of a dozen affected residents that sent a letter to the attorney general last July, demanding the investigation of the DOH.

This Right-to-Know request comes on the heels of a Food & Water Watch analysis of reams of documents it obtained that clearly demonstrate an ongoing pattern of alarming inadequacy and negligence by DOH in its response to fracking-related health complaints. After a 2014 StateImpact Pennsylvania report revealing that DOH health workers were instructed to identify key fracking “buzzwords,” and told not to respond to fracking-related health complaints, Food & Water Watch requested and eventually received the DOH natural gas drilling log of health complaints. The logs demonstrate that state residents are regularly reporting alarming health concerns, and that state agencies have failed to adequately respond and address these health problems from drilling and fracking.

Food & Water Watch will also be seeking more records from DOH, as significant gaps in data clearly exist in the documents received up to this point.

Common symptoms reported in the logs include breathing difficulty, asthma, throat and nose irritation, noxious odors, skin problems, and abdominal issues. Residents also reported headaches nosebleeds, eye irritation, hair loss and cancer. DOH responses to these complaints did not adequately address the seriousness of the reported symptoms. Many residents, after calling DOH, were simply referred to other state agencies and/or told to have their air or water tested.

As the analysis of the health complaint logs notes, the symptoms residents reported to the DOH are consistent with concerns identified in a range of scientific and public health assessments of the potential health impacts of drilling and fracking. For instance, many peer-reviewed papers point to the dangers of oil pollution from drilling and fracking, and the likelihood of respiratory and other health effects.

Contact: Seth Gladstone – sgladstone[at]fwwatch[dot]org

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.

Source: www.foodandwaterwatch.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:53:06 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62561-with-no-indication-of-investigation-of-pa-doh-negligence-on-fracking-health-complaints-group-demands-records-from-attorney-general.html
EPA Finalizes Rule to Reduce Climate-Damaging HFCs http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62556-epa-finalizes-rule-to-reduce-climate-damaging-hfcs.html WASHINGTON –(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015.  Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a rule to prohibit certain uses of chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. This action responds to President Obama's Climate Action Plan by reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air-conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.

“Today’s action delivers on the President’s Climate Action Plan and the administration’s commitment to acting on climate. And it is in line with steps leading businesses are already taking to reduce and replace HFCs with safer, climate-friendly alternatives,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This rule will not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also encourage greater use and development of the next generation of safer HFC alternatives.”

In the United States, HFC emissions are expected to nearly double by 2020 and triple by 2030. New technologies and new climate-friendly refrigerants can significantly reduce these emission increases. EPA estimates this final rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 54 to 64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than 5.8 million homes.

The HFCs and HFC-containing blends affected by today’s rule are used in aerosols, foam blowing, motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration and vending machines. In many of the sectors addressed by today’s rulemaking, EPA is also approving several alternatives under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program; the new options offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer.

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act and EPA’s SNAP Program, EPA reviews alternatives on an ongoing basis and issues updates to the lists of acceptable and unacceptable substitutes. Today’s rule changes the status of certain high-global warming potential (GWP) HFCs that were previously listed as acceptable under the SNAP Program as unacceptable in specific end uses. These changes are based on information showing other alternatives are available for the same uses that pose lower risk overall to human health and the environment.

In developing and finalizing the rule, EPA received input from industry, environmental groups and others through workshops and meetings, and reviewed more than 7,000 public comments. Based on public comment on the proposal and additional information submitted to the agency, the agency’s final rule makes a number of changes from the proposal. These include giving manufacturers the time and flexibility they need to ensure a smooth transition to safer alternatives.

Learn more about EPA’s SNAP Program and the rule: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/regulations.html.

Source: epa.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:36:21 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62556-epa-finalizes-rule-to-reduce-climate-damaging-hfcs.html
After Years of Ignoring Calls to Ban Dangerous Pesticide, EPA Begins to Act on Chlorpyrifos http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62555-after-years-of-ignoring-calls-to-ban-dangerous-pesticide-epa-begins-to-act-on-chlorpyrifos.html Victory: Communities remain at risk from widespread agricultural use, protections still needed

A farm field.

Farmworkers and their families, who are predominantly low-income and majority Latino, bear the brunt of poisonings from pesticides and pesticide drift. Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice

Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. Some 15 years after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chlorpyrifos from residential use, the agency announced yesterday that it may ban the neurotoxic pesticide from use in agricultural fields as well.  The announcement came after a recent court of appeals decision directing the agency to act on a 2007 petition to ban the chemical.

Environmental health and farmworker advocates who brought the legal case are calling the announcement an important step in the right direction, and potentially more far-reaching, if the agency fully commits to a ban next year.  EPA states in its report to the court:

“EPA intends to grant the Petition by publishing in the Federal Register not later than April 15, 2016, a proposed rule pursuant to 21 U.S.C. section 346a(d)(4)(A)(ii) to revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances to address drinking water exposure concerns in small sensitive watersheds throughout the country.”

“By revoking all chlorpyrifos tolerances, EPA would ban all uses of chlorpyrifos on food. This is what we have been seeking for years. EPA’s own findings show that chlorpyrifos causes brain damage to children and poisons workers and bystanders,” said Patti Goldman, the Earthjustice attorney handling the case. “At long last, EPA is taking steps to protect children, workers and their families by banning this hazardous pesticide.” 

In December 2014, EPA finally acknowledged the extensive body of peer-reviewed science correlating chlorpyrifos exposure with brain damage to children, including reduced IQ, delayed development, and loss of working memory. For 15 years, EPA has been allowing exposures at levels far greater than those leading to the harm to children’s brains. As a result, advocates continue to press for greater protections for children at both state and federal levels, until the agency cements its commitment to a ban.

EPA’s report to the court cites harm to workers as another reason to act on a ban.

“Every year, farmworkers and families in rural communities are exposed to chlorpyrifos, and EPA is finally acknowledging the damage this exposure can cause. It’s high time for EPA to follow the science and take action,” said Dr. Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist at Pesticide Action Network. “A ban would ensure that both workers and families in rural communities are safe from this drift-prone, bad actor pesticide.”

“The types of brain damage chlorpyrifos causes are every parent’s worst fears—reduced IQ, attention disorders, delayed development,” said Jennifer Sass, senior scientist at Natural Resources Defense Council. “EPA must act to stop exposures to this pesticide and protect children’s brains from this type of egregious harm.”

“If EPA does ban chlorpyrifos, it’s a step forward on the path to environmental justice,” said Virginia Ruiz of Farmworker Justice. “Farmworkers and their families, who are predominantly poor and majority Latino, bear the brunt of poisonings from pesticides and pesticide drift.”

About Earthjustice

Earthjustice is the premier nonprofit environmental law organization. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, to preserve magnificent places and wildlife, to advance clean energy, and to combat climate change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Source: www.earthjustice.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:32:57 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62555-after-years-of-ignoring-calls-to-ban-dangerous-pesticide-epa-begins-to-act-on-chlorpyrifos.html
Colgate-Palmolive Pays $2mil to Settle Litigation on Lack of Efficacy of Its Triclosan Soaps http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62554-colgate-palmolive-pays-2mil-to-settle-litigation-on-lack-of-efficacy-of-its-triclosan-soaps.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--July 2, 2015. SoftSoap manufacturer, Colgate-Palmolive Co., has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a class action suit that alleged the company misled consumers into thinking its brand of Softsoap Antibacterial liquid hand soaps killed most common germs, when in fact they do not, according to documents filed in New Hampshire federal court. After years in court, Colgate Palmolive decided to settle “in order to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation.” Triclosan’s use in hand soap has been shown to be no more effective than regular soap and water. Its links to public health hazards, including endocrine disruption, antibacterial resistance, and water contamination, has raised the question of its necessity in over the counter consumer products, given the hazards.

softsoapTriclosan, an antimicrobial pesticide used in many “antibacterial” hand soaps, as well as thousands of other consumer goods, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, and treated plastics and textiles, has been marketed as a ‘germ killer.’ However, its efficacy has been called into question by several agencies and independent studies. In fact, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee, and the American Medical Association both find that there is no evidence that triclosan is effective for its intended use. Instead, triclosan is linked to increasing bacterial resistance and cross-resistance to crucial antibiotic medications – potentially endangering public health.

In 2013, the FDA announced in new rulemaking that it will require manufacturers of antibacterial soaps and body washes to prove that their products are both safe for long-term use, and more effective than regular bar soap in order to remain on the market. According to FDA, the agency is currently “engaged in a comprehensive scientific and regulatory review of all the available safety and effectiveness data. This includes data relevant to the emerging safety issues of bacterial resistance and endocrine disruption due to triclosan in FDA-regulated products.” Just last week, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced in an adopted opinion, “[N]o safe use could be demonstrated for the proposed use of Triclosan,” stating that triclosan, is toxic and bioaccumulative, and will be phased-out for hygienic uses and replaced by more suitable alternatives.

The //www.manatt.com/uploadedFiles/Content/4_News_and_Events/Newsletters/AdvertisingLaw@manatt/InreColgatePalmoliveSoftsoap.pdf">multidistrict litigation brought against Colgate Palmolive in 2012 identifies triclosan as the active ingredient in the liquid soap that the company manufactured from 1992 to 2011, which claimed that it was “clinically proven to eliminate 99 percent of germs.” The five individual plaintiffs cite that triclosan does not actually provide the antibacterial protection the company claimed. The plaintiff’s argue that Colgate Palmolive, “intentionally misrepresented to consumers that washing with Softsoap Antibacterial was more effective at killing or eliminating germs than washing with other soaps that do not contain triclosan.”

The suit continues that Colgate-Palmolive “deceptively and unfairly represented to consumers that using Softsoap Antibacterial provides special health benefits, including but not limited to, statements that the product is “dermatologist tested,” “clinically proven to eliminate 99% of germs your family encounters,” “offers antibacterial protection,” “kills 99% of common germs,” “Goodbye Germ-Hello World,” and is “America’s most trusted hand soap.”” As part of the settlement, Colgate-Palmolive will no longer make such label claims. However, this may now be a moot point since the company became one of the first to announce in 2011 that it was reformulating its soaps to exclude triclosan including its Softsoap line and Ultra-Palmolive Antibacterial dish soaps. It is unclear whether this litigation helped to influence Colgate-Palmolive’s decision on triclosan. Its toothpaste however, Colgate Total®, will still contain triclosan. After legal fees, the money to be paid by Colgate Palmolive will go to Children’s Health Fund, a charity assisting “medically underserved” children.

This is not the first case against triclosan-containing soaps. In 2010, a class action complaint also claimed Dial Corp. defrauded consumers about its Dial Complete soap by falsely claiming that it ‘kills 99.99% of germs.’ The suit stated that Dial Corp.’s claims are deceptive and misleading, designed solely to cause consumers to buy the product. In this case, oral arguments are still being scheduled and a decision is expected soon after they are presented.

Under public pressure mounted by Beyond Pesticides and others, several major manufacturers have phased out triclosan from their products. Johnson & JohnsonProcter & Gamble joined Colgate-Palmolive and began reformulating to remove triclosan from their products. Avon joined these companies in 2014, announcing  it will begin phasing the chemical out of the products in its line that include it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which also has jurisdiction over triclosan (in textiles and plastics) recently denied a 2010 petition submitted by Beyond Pesticides and Food and Water Watch requesting cancellation of registered products that contain triclosan. However, the agency did note that it will evaluate and conduct a biological assessment of the potential for effects on listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the ongoing triclosan registration review, which began in 2013.

Since 2004, with the publication of “The Ubiquitous Triclosan,” Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan. Studies show that it can interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormones, and may promote the progression of cancer cells. This is alarming given that the CDC has found that 75% of the U.S. population contains triclosan in their bodies, even in breast milk, and at levels that are rising. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development. It is also shown to alter thyroid function. One preliminary study also linked triclosan to the growth of breast cancer cells.

In the face of continued regulatory inaction, Beyond Pesticides urges consumers, along with manufacturers, retailers, school districts, businesses and communities to wash their hands of triclosan and protect our water and health from this toxic pesticide. For additional information and resources on the human health and environmental effects of triclosan, join the ban triclosan campaign at http://bit.ly/BanTriclosanCampaign.

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

Sources: Law360, www.beyondpesticides.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:29:45 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62554-colgate-palmolive-pays-2mil-to-settle-litigation-on-lack-of-efficacy-of-its-triclosan-soaps.html
Statement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch on the Agreement in Principle with BP to Settle Civil Claims for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62543-statement-by-attorney-general-loretta-e-lynch-on-the-agreement-in-principle-with-bp-to-settle-civil-claims-for-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html Total Value of Settlement Would Top $18.7 Billion, the Largest Settlement with a Single Entity in American History

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—July 2, 2015. Today, BP disclosed that it has reached agreements in principle with the United States, state, and local governments for a settlement of civil claims arising from the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The Attorney General made the following statement:

“Since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history – the Justice Department has been fully committed to holding BP accountable, to achieving justice for the American people and to restoring the environment and the economy of the Gulf region at the expense of those responsible and not the American taxpayer.  In December 2010, my predecessor, Attorney General Eric Holder, announced a civil lawsuit against BP and its co-defendants.  Since that time, the Deepwater trial team has fought aggressively in federal court for an outcome that would achieve this mission, proving along the way that BP’s gross negligence resulted in the Deepwater disaster.

“Today, I am pleased to say that after productive discussions with BP over the previous several weeks, we have reached an agreement in principle that would justly and comprehensively address outstanding federal and state claims, including Clean Water Act civil penalties and natural resource damages.  BP is also resolving significant economic claims with the impacted state and local governments.  We will work diligently during the next several months to incorporate the agreement in principle into a consent decree, which would then undergo public comment before court approval.  If approved by the court, this settlement would be the largest settlement with a single entity in American history; it would help repair the damage done to the Gulf economy, fisheries, wetlands and wildlife; and it would bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region for generations to come. 

“I am so very grateful to the Deepwater civil trial team, made up of men and women from the department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Civil Division, as well as the incredible response, investigative and supporting efforts of the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, Commerce and Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, whose efforts have made this important step possible.  I also appreciate the extraordinary effort of the many state leaders and environmental professionals who collaborated to advance this agreement in principle.”

Related Material:

Download Background Sheet on Agreement In Principle with BP (96.95 KB)

Source: justice.gov

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Thu, 02 Jul 2015 15:59:54 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/62543-statement-by-attorney-general-loretta-e-lynch-on-the-agreement-in-principle-with-bp-to-settle-civil-claims-for-the-deepwater-horizon-oil-spill.html
A Christian Nation? Since When? http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62531-a-christian-nation-since-when.html

Princeton, New Jersey—(ENEWSPF)—June 30, 2015. 

By: Kevin Kruse

AMERICA may be a nation of believers, but when it comes to this country’s identity as a “Christian nation,” our beliefs are all over the map.

Just a few weeks ago, Public Policy Polling reported that 57 percent of Republicans favored officially making the United States a Christian nation. But in 2007, a survey by the First Amendment Center showed that 55 percent of Americans believed it already was one.

The confusion is understandable. For all our talk about separation of church and state, religious language has been written into our political culture in countless ways. It is inscribed in our pledge of patriotism, marked on our money, carved into the walls of our courts and our Capitol. Perhaps because it is everywhere, we assume it has been from the beginning.

But the founding fathers didn’t create the ceremonies and slogans that come to mind when we consider whether this is a Christian nation. Our grandfathers did.

Back in the 1930s, business leaders found themselves on the defensive. Their public prestige had plummeted with the Great Crash; their private businesses were under attack by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal from above and labor from below. To regain the upper hand, corporate leaders fought back on all fronts. They waged a figurative war in statehouses and, occasionally, a literal one in the streets; their campaigns extended from courts of law to the court of public opinion. But nothing worked particularly well until they began an inspired public relations offensive that cast capitalism as the handmaiden of Christianity.

The two had been described as soul mates before, but in this campaign they were wedded in pointed opposition to the “creeping socialism” of the New Deal. The federal government had never really factored into Americans’ thinking about the relationship between faith and free enterprise, mostly because it had never loomed that large over business interests. But now it cast a long and ominous shadow.

Accordingly, throughout the 1930s and ’40s, corporate leaders marketed a new ideology that combined elements of Christianity with an anti-federal libertarianism. Powerful business lobbies like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers led the way, promoting this ideology’s appeal in conferences and P.R. campaigns. Generous funding came from prominent businessmen, from household names like Harvey Firestone, Conrad Hilton, E. F. Hutton, Fred Maytag and Henry R. Luce to lesser-known leaders at U.S. Steel, General Motors and DuPont.

In a shrewd decision, these executives made clergymen their spokesmen. As Sun Oil’s J. Howard Pew noted, polls proved that ministers could mold public opinion more than any other profession. And so these businessmen worked to recruit clergy through private meetings and public appeals. Many answered the call, but three deserve special attention.

‘Pagan Statism’

The Rev. James W. Fifield — known as “the 13th Apostle of Big Business” and “Saint Paul of the Prosperous” — emerged as an early evangelist for the cause. Preaching to pews of millionaires at the elite First Congregational Church in Los Angeles, Mr. Fifield said reading the Bible was “like eating fish — we take the bones out to enjoy the meat. All parts are not of equal value.” He dismissed New Testament warnings about the corrupting nature of wealth. Instead, he paired Christianity and capitalism against the New Deal’s “pagan statism.”

Through his national organization, Spiritual Mobilization, founded in 1935, Mr. Fifield promoted “freedom under God.” By the late 1940s, his group was spreading the gospel of faith and free enterprise in a mass-circulated monthly magazine and a weekly radio program that eventually aired on more than 800 stations nationwide. It even encouraged ministers to preach sermons on its themes in competitions for cash prizes. Liberals howled at the group’s conflation of God and greed; in 1948, the radical journalist Carey McWilliams denounced it in a withering exposé. But Mr. Fifield exploited such criticism to raise more funds and redouble his efforts.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Abraham Vereide advanced the Christian libertarian cause with a national network of prayer groups. After ministering to industrialists facing huge labor strikes in Seattle and San Francisco in the mid-1930s, Mr. Vereide began building prayer breakfast groups in cities across America to bring business and political elites together in common cause. “The big men and the real leaders in New York and Chicago,” he wrote his wife, “look up to me in an embarrassing way.” In Manhattan alone, James Cash Penney, I.B.M.’s Thomas Watson, Norman Vincent Peale and Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia all sought audiences with him.

In 1942, Mr. Vereide’s influence spread to Washington. He persuaded the House and Senate to start weekly prayer meetings “in order that we might be a God-directed and God-controlled nation.” Mr. Vereide opened headquarters in Washington — “God’s Embassy,” he called it — and became a powerful force in its previously secular institutions. Among other activities, he held “dedication ceremonies” for several justices of the Supreme Court. “No country or civilization can last,” Justice Tom C. Clark announced at his 1949 consecration, “unless it is founded on Christian values.”

Enter Billy Graham

The most important clergyman for Christian libertarianism, though, was the Rev. Billy Graham. In his initial ministry, in the early 1950s, Mr. Graham supported corporate interests so zealously that a London paper called him “the Big Business evangelist.” The Garden of Eden, he informed revival attendees, was a paradise with “no union dues, no labor leaders, no snakes, no disease.” In the same spirit, he denounced all “government restrictions” in economic affairs, which he invariably attacked as “socialism.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower fulfilled that prediction. With Mr. Graham offering Scripture for Ike’s speeches, the Republican nominee campaigned in what he called a “great crusade for freedom.” His military record made the general a formidable candidate, but on the trail he emphasized spiritual issues over worldly concerns. As the journalist John Temple Graves observed: “America isn’t just a land of the free in Eisenhower’s conception. It is a land of freedom under God.” Elected in a landslide, Eisenhower told Mr. Graham that he had a mandate for a “spiritual renewal.”

Although Eisenhower relied on Christian libertarian groups in the campaign, he parted ways with their agenda once elected. The movement’s corporate sponsors had seen religious rhetoric as a way to dismantle the New Deal state. But the newly elected president thought that a fool’s errand. “Should any political party attempt to abolish Social Security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs,” he noted privately, “you would not hear of that party again in our political history.” Unlike those who held public spirituality as a means to an end, Eisenhower embraced it as an end unto itself.

‘One Nation Under God’

Uncoupling the language of “freedom under God” from its Christian libertarian roots, Eisenhower erected a bigger revival tent, welcoming Jews and Catholics alongside Protestants, and Democrats as well as Republicans. Rallying the country, he advanced a revolutionary array of new religious ceremonies and slogans.

The first week of February 1953 set the dizzying pace: On Sunday morning, he was baptized; that night, he broadcast an Oval Office address for the American Legion’s “Back to God” campaign; on Thursday, he appeared with Mr. Vereide at the inaugural National Prayer Breakfast; on Friday, he instituted the first opening prayers at a cabinet meeting.

The rest of Washington consecrated itself, too. The Pentagon, State Department and other executive agencies quickly instituted prayer services of their own. In 1954, Congress added “under God” to the previously secular Pledge of Allegiance. It placed a similar slogan, “In God We Trust,” on postage that year and voted the following year to add it to paper money; in 1956, it became the nation’s official motto.

During these years, Americans were told, time and time again, not just that the country should be a Christian nation, but that it always had been one. They soon came to think of the United States as “one nation under God.” They’ve believed it ever since.

NOTE:This article was originally published in The New York Times Sunday Review on March 14, 2015 and is reprinted with permission of the author.

About the Author:

Kevin M. Kruse is a professor of history at Princeton and the author, most recently, of “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.”

 

 

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Wed, 01 Jul 2015 09:40:39 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/62531-a-christian-nation-since-when.html
PTSD Raises Odds of Heart Attack and stroke in Women PTSD raises odds of heart attack and stroke in women PTSD Raises Odds of Heart Attack and Stroke in Women http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62529-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women.html Large study finds PTSD raises cardiovascular risk in women

Boston, MA ─(ENEWSPF)--June 30, 2015.  Women with elevated symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) consistent with the clinical threshold for the disorder had 60% higher rates of having a heart attack or stroke compared with women who never experienced trauma, according to scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Results appear in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

In a survey of nearly 50,000 younger and middle-aged women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, 80% reported experiencing a traumatic event in their lives. More than half of this group (58%) reported no symptoms of PTSD. Those reporting symptoms of PTSD were split evenly between those with one to three symptoms and those with four or more symptoms, a commonly used clinical cut-off for PTSD.

Trauma exposure alone—that is, reporting trauma but no symptoms of PTSD—also increased risk for heart attack and stroke by nearly 50%. However, cardiovascular risk in women who experienced trauma with one to three symptoms of PTSD was unchanged.

Psychological Trauma, Physical Health

Behaviors like smoking and lack of physical activity and medical factors like hypertension and the use of antidepressants accounted for nearly half the association between PTSD and cardiovascular disease in women with four or more symptoms of PTSD, but less than 15% in women who reported trauma without PTSD.

“Posttraumatic stress is truly heartbreaking. Our findings suggest that the psychological impact of trauma is not limited to a woman’s emotional health but also affects her heart health,” says first author Jennifer Sumner, Epidemiology Merit Fellow at Columbia’s Mailman School and visiting scientist at Harvard Chan School.

While more research is needed, the authors say PTSD may disrupt physiological stress systems such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the autonomic nervous system, in addition to leading to various unhealthy behaviors that may increase risk of heart attack and stroke.

The Takeaway

“Most women experience psychological trauma at some point in the their life, but few know that there could be serious long-term repercussions for physical health,” says senior author Karestan Koenen, professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School and the Harvard Chan School, whose earlier studies linked PTSD in women to diabetes and obesity.

“Our results provide further evidence that PTSD is not solely a mental health problem, but also increases risk of chronic disease,” continues Koenen. “The medical system needs to stop treating the mind and the body as if they are separate. Patients need access to integrated mental and physical health care.”

According to the authors, women who experienced trauma—even if they don’t have symptoms of PTSD—should talk to their doctor about their risk for cardiovascular disease and how to lower it.

“PTSD emerged as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in a sample of younger and middle-aged women all under the age of 65. This suggests that cardiovascular health and related risk factors should be assessed early in clinical settings,” says Sumner. Physical activity, diet, and drug treatments like aspirin and statins are known to lower risk for heart attack and stroke. It is not yet clear if treating PTSD can lower cardiovascular risk.

Women and PTSD

Unlike previous research, which has largely focused on men with PTSD related to combat, the new study looks at women and a wide range of traumas, from sexual and physical assault to surviving a natural disaster.

“PTSD is twice as common in women than in men, and women with PTSD are more likely to have severe and persistent symptoms,” says Koenen. “Likewise, women with cardiovascular disease are more likely to be hospitalized and die from a heart attack compared with men. For all these reasons, it’s critical that we understand how PTSD contributes to cardiovascular disease in women.”

Visit the Harvard Chan website for the latest newspress releases, and multimedia offerings.

Source: www.harvard.edu

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:31:23 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62529-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women-ptsd-raises-odds-of-heart-attack-and-stroke-in-women.html
Cuba Becomes First Country to Halt Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis – UN Health Agency http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62528-cuba-becomes-first-country-to-halt-mother-to-child-transmission-of-hiv-and-syphilis-un-health-agency.html
PAHO-WHO have been working with partners in Cuba and other countries in the Americas to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Photo: PAHO/WHO
GENEVA--(ENEWSPF)--30 June 2015 – Cuba has become the world’s first country to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis, “a major victory in our long fight against HIV and sexually transmitted infections, and an important step towards having an AIDS-free generation,” the World Health Organization announced today.

“Eliminating transmission of a virus is one of the greatest public health achievements possible,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said in a news release validating Cuba’s achievement.

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), said: “This is a celebration for Cuba and a celebration for children and families everywhere. It shows that ending the AIDS epidemic is possible and we expect Cuba to be the first of many countries coming forward to seek validation that they have ended their epidemics among children.”

Meanwhile, at present, an estimated 1.4 million women living with HIV become pregnant every year, and untreated, they have a 15-45 per cent chance of transmitting the virus to their children during pregnancy, labour, delivery or breastfeeding, according to WHO.

“However, that risk drops to just over 1 per cent if antiretroviral medicines are given to both mothers and children throughout the stages when infection can occur,” the health agency said.

And nearly 1 million pregnant women worldwide are infected with syphilis annually, which can result in early fetal loss and stillbirth, neonatal death, low-birth-weight infants and serious neonatal infections.

“However, simple, cost-effective screening and treatment options during pregnancy, such as penicillin, can eliminate most of these complications,” according to WHO.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and WHO have been working with partners in Cuba and other countries in the Americas since 2010 to implement a regional initiative to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis.

“Cuba’s achievement today provides inspiration for other countries to advance towards elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis,” said PAHO Director Dr Carissa F. Etienne.

An international expert mission convened by PAHO/WHO visited Cuba in March 2015 to validate the progress toward the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. Over five days, members visited health centres, laboratories, and government offices throughout the island, interviewing health officials and other key actors.

As treatment for prevention of mother-to-child-transmission is not 100% effective, elimination of transmission is defined as a reduction of transmission to such a low level that it no longer constitutes a public health problem, according to WHO.

Source: www.un.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:25:30 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/62528-cuba-becomes-first-country-to-halt-mother-to-child-transmission-of-hiv-and-syphilis-un-health-agency.html