ENEWSPF News http://www.enewspf.com/ Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:01:56 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) Cooldown to Invade Midwest, Northeast This Week http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60604-cooldown-to-invade-midwest-northeast-this-week.html Late April cold snap

AccuWeather Global Weather Center-(ENEWSPF)- April 20, 2015 - AccuWeather reported  after a period of above-average temperatures dominated most of the Midwest and Northeast last week, a complete reversal in the weather pattern will move in this week.

This weather pattern will move across the area after a period of rain and severe storms impact the mid-Atlantic on Monday.

According to AccuWeather.com Long Range Expert Paul Pastelok, a southward dip in the jet stream will develop and will be centered across the Great Lakes much of the time during the latter part of the month.

The jet stream is a fast river of air high above the ground, around the altitude where planes fly, that often marks the dividing line between chilly air to its north and warm air to its south.

The upper-level low associated with this surge of cool air will stall across Ontario for the week. This will send waves of cool air from the Midwest to the Northeast into the weekend.

According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde, "The 5- to 10-degree F above-average temperatures will turn the other direction averaging 5-10 degrees below average for the next 7-10 days."

One city that will experience quite a turnaround in terms of temperature is Cleveland.

According to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Todd Miner, "All but one day from April 1-19 has brought near- or above-average temperatures to Cleveland."

"Most of the remaining part of April will bring below-average temperatures to the city and many other locations of the Midwest and Northeast," Miner said.

High temperatures across portions of the upper Great Lakes will make it feel more like the end of March than the end of April.

Brisk northwest winds will accompany the cooler air. AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will dip into the 30s at times.

"The pattern, which is likely to linger into the first part of May, could also bring a round or two of frost," Pastelok said.

Temperatures are likely to drop below freezing overnight. Gardeners should make sure to cover any plants to prevent frost buildup.

Temperatures will remain above freezing during the overnights to prevent frost along the Interstate-95 corridor from Washington to Boston.

The below-freezing temperatures are not uncommon for this time of the year. Locations from the Upper Midwest to the Northeast tend to observe below-freezing nights into the middle of May.

Scattered showers will also rotate around the low. Some wet snowflakes may mix in across some locations during the overnight hours.

Temperatures can recover to near- or above-average levels in between each wave of cool air, especially over the Ohio Valley and the Interstate-95 corridor. These areas are likely to experience the most sunshine.

High temperatures this week will average in the 30s from northern Michigan to northern Minnesota to the 40s across the remainder of the upper Great Lakes to the 50s across the Northeast, Ohio Valley and the remainder of the Midwest.

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g@turningleft.net (Staff) Tue, 21 Apr 2015 00:03:09 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60604-cooldown-to-invade-midwest-northeast-this-week.html
Murders of Earth's Defenders: The Deadly Trend Continues http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60603-murders-of-earth-s-defenders-the-deadly-trend-continues.html

'The world is standing idle whilst people on the frontline of the struggle to protect the environment are getting killed'

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015
The "overarching theme" of the killings last year, which averaged more than two a week, involved disputes over control and use of land, but they also included incidents involving pollution, wildlife conservation, and illegal fishing. (Photo: Global Witness)

"How many more people will die before the world takes notice?"

That's a question posed by the organization Global Witness, whose new report, How Many More?, exposes what it calls a "hidden crisis" of murders of those who defend the earth from environmental destruction.

The "overarching theme" of the killings last year, which averaged more than two a week, involved disputes over control and use of land, but they also included incidents involving pollution, wildlife conservation, and illegal fishing. This year's report also found a spike in the deaths of those protesting hydroelectric dams.

The organization, which campaigns for transparency of global resource extraction, states that in 2014, 116 environmental and land defenders were killed—40 percent of whom were Indigenous. The report states that lack of accessible information makes that a likely conservative figure.

As one member of the Panamá community from the Bajo Aguán valley in Honduras states, according to the report: "Here the police, the military, prosecutors, judges, all of them are ready to defend the owners of the big farms, while we are the ones who are dying."

The report reflects the continuation of a deadly trend, as last year's figures reflect a 20 percent increase from those documented in 2013.

The report documents killings in 17 countries, though roughly three-quarters of them took place in Central and South America. The country with highest number of killings was Brazil with 29, followed by Colombia with 25, and the Philippines with 15.

Honduras has the dubious distinction of being the country with the most such killings per capita. The Central American county is home to one of the 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winners, Berta Cáceres, who's been involved in a years-long campaign to stop a dam that threatens to displace her Indigenous community off their ancestral land. "They follow me. They threaten to kill me, to kidnap me, they threaten my family. That is what we face," Cáceres is quoted as saying in the report.

Among the deadly incidents noted in report:

On 24 October 2014, Henry Alameda, an indigenous Lumad leader from the Southern Philippines, was dragged from his house, taken to a forested area and shot dead by a paramilitary group. Alameda was an active council member of MAPASU, an organization strongly protesting against mining operations and plantations in Caraga region."

Global Witness emphasizes the challenges of finding the perpetrators of these crimes, though in some cases it has been able to point to paramilitary groups or private security guards. Yet, the report states, "The true authors of these crimes—a powerful nexus of corporate and state interests—are escaping unpunished."

Unless real action is taken to protect these often invisible eco-defenders, agreements at the UN climate talks (COP21) taking place in Paris later this year "will ultimately ring hollow," Global Witness declares.

It's time, the report states, for governments to take action—and for civil society to exert pressure on governments to protect these land defenders.

"Environmental defenders are fighting to protect our climate against ever-increasing odds," Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness, said in a media statement.

"Now more than ever we need to start holding governments and companies to account for the rising death toll on our environmental frontiers," Kyte continued. "The secrecy around how natural resource deals are made fuels violence and must end. It’s time for the international community to stand up and take notice."

The report adds: "The world is standing idle whilst people on the frontline of the struggle to protect the environment are getting killed. The time for action on these killings is now."

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

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:43:35 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60603-murders-of-earth-s-defenders-the-deadly-trend-continues.html
Coalition Challenges Expansion of Hazardous Herbicide Containing Agent Orange Ingredient http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60592-coalition-challenges-expansion-of-hazardous-herbicide-containing-agent-orange-ingredient.html EPA allows nine additional states to use toxic 2,4-D on GE corn and soy crops

San Francisco, Calif. —(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.   A coalition of conservation, food safety, and public health groups filed a motion today challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soy crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota.

Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety filed the motion in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. This motion builds on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six Midwestern states where EPA previously approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soy crops.

The groups are challenging EPA’s decision to allow the use of Enlist Duo in 15 Midwestern states because of the serious impacts the powerful new herbicide cocktail, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D, will have on farmworkers, neighboring farms, and ground and surface water, as well as endangered species. For instance, 2,4-D, a component of the infamous Agent Orange, has been linked to serious illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reproductive problems. The EPA’s analyses also demonstrate plainly that the herbicide may affect endangered species like the whooping crane, Louisiana black bear, and Indiana bat through consumption of prey contaminated with the toxic chemical. 

 “Our federal regulators have again unlawfully bowed to the chemical industry, rather than protect our communities, land, and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, counsel in the case.  “We will continue to defend them vigorously.”

"Big chemical is profiting over dumping more and more toxins in our air, water and bodies and killing our endangered wildlife,” said Earthjustice attorney Paul Achitoff.  “Instead of being an environmental watchdog, the EPA is playing lapdog and allowing this deadly herbicide to be sprayed on millions of acres without adequate impact assessment. We filed our motion so we can finally stop the cycle of more and more pesticides with less and less oversight.”

“In expanding its approval for this super-toxic chemical cocktail, EPA has shown an utter disregard for human health, our drinking water, and endangered species like the iconic whooping crane,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “EPA has left us with no choice but to go to court.”

“Rural communities rely on EPA to take its job seriously. But in approving Dow’s proposed use of 2,4-D, EPA has failed to protect their health, their vulnerable crops and their livelihoods,” said Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist at Pesticide Action Network North America.  “Communities across the Midwest are furious, knowing that they now face unprecedented levels of 2,4-D drift each summer.”

EPA approved Enlist Duo to address the epidemic of glyphosate-resistant super weeds that now infest tens of millions of acres of U.S. farmland as a result of overuse of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup and probable carcinogen, on crops genetically engineered to resist glyphosate’s effects. Dow Chemical has introduced 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, allowing farmers to douse their fields with both 2,4-D and glyphosate to kill resistant weeds. Independent and USDA scientists, however, predict that the Enlist Duo “crop system” will only foster resistance to 2,4-D in addition to glyphosate, continuing the GE crop pesticide treadmill.

States that are now approved to use Enlist Duo on GE corn and soy crops:

  • Arkansas - NEW
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas - NEW
  • Louisiana - NEW
  • Minnesota - NEW
  • Missouri - NEW
  • Mississippi - NEW
  • Nebraska - NEW
  • North Dakota - NEW
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma - NEW
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin

###

Earthjustice, the nation’s premier nonprofit environmental law organization, wields 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.
Because the earth needs a good lawyer.

Center for Food Safety, a national, non-profit organization with over 650,000 members, was founded to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture.
More information can be found at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.

Source: www.centerforfoodsafety.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:08:39 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60592-coalition-challenges-expansion-of-hazardous-herbicide-containing-agent-orange-ingredient.html
Setting The Agenda For The Medical Marijuana Revolution http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60590-setting-the-agenda-for-the-medical-marijuana-revolution.html Dr. Sanjay Gupta puts medical marijuana under the microscope.

 WASHINGTON, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  Last night Dr. Sanjay Gupta continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with Weed 3, which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area. Weed 3 included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ),  Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act.  Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.  

“CNN’s Weed 3 showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”

Weed 3 also highlighted the important veterans PTSD study that researchers Rick Doblin and Dr. Sue Sisley are moving forward with despite significant political obstacles that have delayed and threatened to prevent the study from being conducted.  

“Dr. Gupta's reporting has showed that America is moving forward in the area of medical research, but there is little doubt that too many obstacles remain in place,” said Mike Liszewski, Government Affair Director of Americans for Safe Access. “The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the supply of cannabis available for government-approved research has proven to be a failure due to their inability to produce particular strains in a timely and consistent fashion. One of the many ways the CARERS Act would help move research forward is ending NIDA’s crippling monopoly on growing research marijuana.

Tonight at 7:00pm EST patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.

What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.

Featuring: ASA executive director Steph Sherer, Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.

When: Monday April 20th 7:00pm EST.

Where: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_live or https://www.youtube.com/user/SafeAccess

Source: www.safeaccessnow.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 23:02:07 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60590-setting-the-agenda-for-the-medical-marijuana-revolution.html
Thousands of RNs to Strike 9 California, Illinois Hospitals; Cite Staffing, Patient Care Concerns http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60581-thousands-of-rns-to-strike-9-california-illinois-hospitals-cite-staffing-patient-care-concerns.html

Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015. More than 6,400 registered nurses will hold either a one or two-day strike April 30 and May 1 at eight California hospitals, as well as at a major Chicago hospital. RNs are calling on hospitals to stop endangering patients by implementing safe staffing levels and taking steps to retain experienced RNs. They are also demanding policies that give RNs a stronger voice in patient care delivery. 

In Los Angeles, a two-day strike is set April 30 and May 1 at Kaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles Medical Center and for one day May 1 at Providence Health and Services hospitals in Santa Monica and Torrance.

In Northern California, RNs will strike for one day April 30 at five Sutter Health facilities, Sutter Roseville Medical Center, Mills-Peninsula Health Services hospitals in Burlingame and San Mateo, Sutter Auburn Faith, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, and Sutter Tracy. Sutter nurses will also conduct an informational picket that day at California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific facility in San Francisco where CNA represents 750 RNs.

RNs at the large University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago will also strike, for one day, April 30.

National Nurses United and its California affiliate, the California Nurses Association, are calling the strikes. 

“Across the country, nurses are unified in insisting that hospitals improve RN staffing which far too often is compromising patient safety and other patient protections,” said NNU Co-President Karen Higgins, RN. Other issues at many of the hospitals include hospital demands for cuts in nurses’ health care and other policies that hurt the retention of experienced RNs.

“We’re fighting for patient safety, we’re fighting against unsafe staffing. We believe patients deserve better.  I’m inspired by my colleagues who are willing to step up and take on the Sutter Health corporation in the name of safe patient care,” said Jennifer Barker Tilly, an emergency room RN, one of 1,000 RNs represented by CNA at Sutter Roseville. 

“We are striking to improve the quality of patient care and improve staffing,” said Susan Fong, an Operating Room RN, one of 1,100 nurses at Kaiser LAMC.  “Kaiser must hire more RNs so that the patients get the nursing care they deserve.  Kaiser’s net profit was over $4.3 billion last year and is increasing each week.  They have recruited more than half a million more members last year alone and that number is increasing."

“Kaiser needs need to invest in staffing so that the nurses can adequately care for the large increase in patients.  Instead of investing in improving the quality of care, Kaiser management is engaging in an anti-union campaign to silence the RNs who are fighting for a collective voice to advocate for our patients,” Fong said.

“University of Chicago nurses are standing together to end the unsafe practice of rotating shifts, to keep staffing advocacy in the hands of bedside clinical nurses and to improve staffing conditions for our patients and the community,” said Burn Unit RN Talisa Hardin, one of 1,550 RNs at the hospital.

“As the healthcare industry continues to change, the role of the RN remains the same, to advocate for our patients.  We want patient safety regulations and protections added to our contract. Patients come first,” said Intensive Care Unit RN Heather Garrant, one of 700 RNs at Providence Health’s Little Company of Mary Torrance.

“Sutter is offering health care plans to the public that are better than what they are offering their own nurses. We need adequate health-care for ourselves and for our families along with staffing conditions that are safe.  As it is, Sutter is trying to cut corners despite tremendous profits, but nurses deserve basic essentials, which, at the very least, consist of quality health coverage and safe staffing,” said Sutter Santa Rosa ER nurse Debra Bucculatto, one of 420 RNs at the hospital.

“A nurse is not a product or commodity, we are patient care providers,” said Torrance RN Maria Vazquez, who cares for cancer patients and patients on monitors. “The experience of each nurse must be valued because the safety for each patient depends on knowledgeable nurses. It's important to retain our newer nurses so they can become a well-rounded experienced RN. The strike vote will send a strong message to Providence that RNs are serious about fighting for patient care.”   

Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica is refusing to address critical patient safety concerns raised by the 520 RNs at the facility.  “Turnover has been huge at this hospital because we as nurses don’t feel we can deliver the kind of patient care we need to,” said Liz Wade, a Labor and Delivery nurse.  “The chronic short staffing, lack of break relief nurses and management’s refusal to respond seriously to our safety demands sends a bad message to RNs and the community.”

“Our willingness to strike shows that we will fight Sutter’s slash-and-burn agenda. As a nurse negotiator I am proud to stand with my fellow Mills-Peninsula RNs: united, determined, and strong,” said Chris Picard, Family Birth Center RN who is among 700 Mills-Peninsula RNs.

 “We truly see the value in being united with other Sutter nurses,” said Dotty Nygard, one of 175 RNs at Sutter Tracy.  “It has been a remarkable experience to witness our collective voice grow stronger as union nurses since we initially voted in the union. We are proudly standing up for safe patient care, a fair contract, and respect for our profession.”

“Nurses want management to respect the nurses,” said Torrance surgical unit RN Ludy Chang. “We want improvement in safe staffing and the delivery of safe patient care. We are here for our patients, our colleagues and our community” and need to make sure we can deliver the highest quality of care for them all year long, Chang said.

At Roseville, “Labor and Delivery staffing cuts are being carried out under the guise of  ‘efficiency’ when they are actually about cutting the quality of care,” said Labor and Delivery RN Andrea Seils. “Sutter is trying to restructure our unit to eliminate positions and combine care with no economic or operations justification for any of it. It’s unsafe for mothers and babies in our community.”

Source: www.nationalnursesunited.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:16:49 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60581-thousands-of-rns-to-strike-9-california-illinois-hospitals-cite-staffing-patient-care-concerns.html
Deepwater Horizon Trustees Announce Agreement in Principle for 10 Gulf Early Restoration Projects http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60580-deepwater-horizon-trustees-announce-agreement-in-principle-for-10-gulf-early-restoration-projects.html Louisiana shoreline
Aerial view of Louisiana shoreline.

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015. The Trustees and BP have identified approximately $134 million in projects to be included in the next proposed phase of early restoration. This milestone comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The 10 proposed projects would benefit sea turtles, birds and fish; increase recreational opportunities; and improve nearshore and reef habitats. The proposed projects and estimated costs are:

Osprey Restoration in Coastal Alabama – Baldwin and Mobile Counties, Alabama ($45,000)

Point aux Pins Living Shoreline – Mobile County, Alabama ($2,300,000)

Shell Belt and Coden Belt Roads Living Shoreline – Mobile County, Alabama ($8,050,000)

Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Trail Enhancement – Alabama ($545,110)

Seagrass Recovery at Gulf Islands National Seashore – Florida District ($136,700)

Bike and Pedestrian Use Enhancements at Davis Bayou, Gulf Islands National Seashore – Mississippi District ($6,967,000)

Restoring Living Shorelines and Reefs in Mississippi Estuaries – coastal Mississippi ($30,000,000)

Texas Bird Rookery Islands– Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay, Texas ($20,603,770)

Sea Turtle Early Restoration – Gulf of Mexico ($45,000,000)

Pelagic Longline Bycatch Reduction – Gulf of Mexico ($20,000,000)

We anticipate including these projects in a draft Phase IV Early Restoration Plan that will be made available for public review and comment. So far, we have approved three phases of early restoration, encompassing 54 projects at an estimated cost of $698 million.

Early restoration allows us to jump start restoration using up to $1 billion that BP has made available for jointly-agreed upon projects. In return, BP’s liability is reduced. Early restoration is not intended to provide the full extent of restoration needed to satisfy our claims against BP. The damage assessment—and restoration—will continue until the public is fully compensated for the natural resources and services that were lost as a result of the spill.

Information about the draft plan and related public comment period will be posted when it becomes available. Read more information about each of the proposed projects.

Source: noaa.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:11:24 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60580-deepwater-horizon-trustees-announce-agreement-in-principle-for-10-gulf-early-restoration-projects.html
Successful Conservation Efforts Recognized in Revised ESA Humpback Whale Listing http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60579-successful-conservation-efforts-recognized-in-revised-esa-humpback-whale-listing.html Reclassification into 14 distinct population segments will provide more tailored management approach
NOAA's proposal to reclassify humpback whales into 14 distinct population segments will offer fisheries managers a more tailored conservation approach. (Credit: NOAA).NOAA's proposal to reclassify humpback whales into 14 distinct population segments will offer fisheries managers a more tailored conservation approach. (Credit: NOAA)

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015. NOAA Fisheries proposed today to reclassify the humpback whale into 14 distinct population segments under the Endangered Species Act, providing a more tailored conservation approach for U.S. fisheries managers. Protection and restoration efforts over the past 40 years have led to an increase in numbers and growth rates for humpback whales in many areas.

The humpback whale is currently listed as endangered throughout its range. The proposed rule finds that ten of those 14 populations do not warrant ESA listing.

While commercial whaling severely depleted humpback whale numbers, population rebounds in many areas result in today’s larger numbers, with steady rates of population growth since the United States first listed the animal as endangered in 1970.

Also under the proposal, two of the other four populations would be listed as endangered and the remaining two would be listed as threatened. If the proposal is finalized, the humpback whale populations that would no longer be listed under the ESA would remain protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

NOAA Fisheries initiated an extensive review of the status of humpback whales in 2010, the results of which support separating the species into distinct population segments. The review also finds that many of the populations are not in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become so in the foreseeable future (threatened).  

“The return of the iconic humpback whale is an ESA success story,” said Eileen Sobeck, assistant NOAA administrator for fisheries. “As we learn more about the species -- and realize the populations are largely independent of each other -- managing them separately allows us to focus protection on the animals that need it the most.”

Approximate locations of proposed humpback whale distinct population segments: 1. West Indies, 2. Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa, 3. Western North Pacific, 4. Hawaii, 5. Mexico, 6. Central America, 7. Brazil, 8. Gabon/Southwest Africa, 9. Southeast Africa/Madagascar, 10. West Australia, 11. East Australia, 12. Oceania, 13. Southeastern Pacific, 14. Arabian Sea. (Credit: NOAA)Approximate locations of proposed humpback whale distinct population segments: 1. West Indies, 2. Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa, 3. Western North Pacific, 4. Hawaii, 5. Mexico, 6. Central America, 7. Brazil, 8. Gabon/Southwest Africa, 9. Southeast Africa/Madagascar, 10. West Australia, 11. East Australia, 12. Oceania, 13. Southeastern Pacific, 14. Arabian Sea. (Credit: NOAA)

The two populations proposed as threatened – the Central America and the Western North Pacific – at times enter U.S. waters. Two other populations that do not enter U.S. waters – in the Arabian Sea and off Cape Verde Islands/Northwest Africa – would remain listed as endangered.

NOAA Fisheries is opening up a 90-day public comment period for this proposed rule. During this time, NOAA Fisheries welcomes public comments and any new information to ensure that our final determination is based on the best available scientific and commercial information.

You may submit comments, information, or data on this document, identified by the code NOAA-NMFS-2015-0035, by any of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions : Submit all electronic comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2015-0035, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

  • Mail: Submit written comments to Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

For general information on humpback whales, go to: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/whales/humpback-whale.html

To read the the proposal’s Federal Register notice, go to: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-09010.pdf

Humpback Whale Images Slideshow and Facts vs. Fiction Information: http://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/stories/2015/02/02_11_14humpback_fact_vs_fiction.html

Humpback whale B-roll: https://vimeo.com/111689294

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) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 17:09:36 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60579-successful-conservation-efforts-recognized-in-revised-esa-humpback-whale-listing.html
FDA Approves First-of-its-kind Corneal Implant to Improve Near Vision in Certain Patients http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60576-fda-approves-first-of-its-kind-corneal-implant-to-improve-near-vision-in-certain-patients.html Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week approved the KAMRA inlay, a device implanted in the cornea of one eye (the clear, front surface) to improve near vision in certain patients with presbyopia. It is the first implantable device for correction of near vision in patients who have not had cataract surgery.

Presbyopia is the loss of the ability to change the focusing power of the eye. It occurs with normal aging and results in difficulty with near vision, generally in adults 40 to 50 years of age. The KAMRA inlay is an opaque, ring-shaped device intended for use in patients 45 to 60 years old who, in addition to not having had cataract surgery, are unable to focus clearly on near objects or small print and need reading glasses with +1.00 to +2.50 diopters of power—but do not need glasses or contacts for clear distance vision.

“Presbyopia is a natural part of aging and can make reading and performing close-up work difficult,” said William Maisel, M.D., deputy center director for science in the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The KAMRA inlay provides a new option for correcting near vision in certain patients.”

The device works by blocking unfocused light rays entering the eye in order to improve near vision. It blocks peripheral light rays while allowing central light rays to pass through a small opening in the center of the device, making near objects and small print less blurry.

To insert the device, an eye surgeon uses a laser to create a pocket in the cornea of one eye of the patient and implants the device in that pocket. This is intended to allow the patient to have improved near vision in the eye containing the implant, while not affecting the distance vision of the two eyes working together.

To evaluate the safety and efficacy of the KAMRA inlay, the FDA reviewed the results of three clinical studies. The results of the main study showed that 83.5 percent of the evaluable 478 participants achieved uncorrected near visual acuity of 20/40 or better at 12 months. This is the level of vision needed to read most text in magazines and newspapers.

The device is not intended for patients who have had cataract surgery or patients with severe dry eye; an active eye infection or inflammation; corneal abnormalities related to thinning and irregular shape of the surface of their eyes; insufficient corneal thickness to withstand the procedure; a recent or recurring herpes eye infection or problems resulting from past infection; uncontrolled glaucoma; uncontrolled diabetes; or active autoimmune or connective tissue disease. 

The labeling warns that the device’s safety and effectiveness in patients who have had LASIK or other refractive procedures is unknown.

The KAMRA inlay may cause or worsen dry eye and various vision-related problems, such as glare, halos, night vision problems, and blurry vision. It also can cause corneal complications such as swelling, clouding, thinning and potential perforation, and challenges evaluating and managing eye problems. For patients experiencing vision problems after the surgery, removal of the device may improve vision in some cases. In other cases, decreased vision could become permanent. There is also a potential risk for the focusing power of the eye to change, causing blurry vision and requiring glasses. 

The KAMRA inlay is manufactured by AcuFocus Inc., based in Irvine, California.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Source: fda.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:50:43 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60576-fda-approves-first-of-its-kind-corneal-implant-to-improve-near-vision-in-certain-patients.html
Drugs That Activate Brain Stem Cells May Reverse Multiple Sclerosis http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60575-drugs-that-activate-brain-stem-cells-may-reverse-multiple-sclerosis.html NIH-funded study identifies over-the-counter compounds that may replace damaged cells

Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  Two drugs already on the market — an antifungal and a steroid — may potentially take on new roles as treatments for multiple sclerosis. According to a study published in Nature today, researchers discovered that these drugs may activate stem cells in the brain to stimulate myelin producing cells and repair white matter, which is damaged in multiple sclerosis. The study was partially funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Illustration of remyelination

An artist’s representation of the study. Scientists found that certain drugs were able to promote remyelination in mouse models of multiple sclerosis. Image courtesy of Case Western Reserve University; Illustrator: Megan Kern

Specialized cells called oligodendrocytes lay down multiple layers of a fatty white substance known as myelin around axons, the long “wires” that connect brain cells. Myelin acts as an insulator and enables fast communication between brain cells. In multiple sclerosis there is breakdown of myelin and this deterioration leads to muscle weakness, numbness and problems with vision, coordination and balance.

“To replace damaged cells, the scientific field has focused on direct transplantation of stem cell-derived tissues for regenerative medicine, and that approach is likely to provide enormous benefit down the road. We asked if we could find a faster and less invasive approach by using drugs to activate native nervous system stem cells and direct them to form new myelin. Our ultimate goal was to enhance the body’s ability to repair itself,” said Paul J. Tesar, Ph.D., associate professor at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine in Cleveland, and senior author of the study.

It is unknown how myelin-producing cells are damaged, but research suggests they may be targeted by malfunctioning immune cells and that multiple sclerosis may start as an autoimmune disorder. Current therapies for multiple sclerosis include anti-inflammatory drugs, which help prevent the episodic relapses common in multiple sclerosis, but are less effective at preventing long-term disability. Scientists believe that therapies that promote myelin repair might improve neurologic disability in people with multiple sclerosis.    

Adult brains contain oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs), which are stem cells that generate myelin-producing cells. OPCs are found to multiply in the brains of multiple sclerosis patients as if to respond to myelin damage, but for unknown reasons they are not effective in restoring white matter. In the current study, Dr. Tesar wanted to see if drugs already approved for other uses were able to stimulate OPCs to increase myelination.   

OPCs have been difficult to isolate and study, but Dr. Tesar and his colleagues, in collaboration with Robert Miller, Ph.D., professor at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., developed a novel method to investigate these cells in a petri dish. Using this technique, they were able to quickly test the effects of hundreds of drugs on the stem cells.

The compounds screened in this study were obtained from a drug library maintained by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). All are approved for use in humans. NCATS and Dr. Tesar have an ongoing collaboration and plan to expand the library of drugs screened against OPCs in the near future to identify other promising compounds.

Dr. Tesar’s team found that two compounds in particular, miconazole (an antifungal) and clobetasol (a steroid), stimulated mouse and human OPCs into generating myelin-producing cells.

Next, they examined whether the drugs, when injected into a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, could improve re-myelination. They found that both drugs were effective in activating OPCs to enhance myelination and reverse paralysis. As a result, almost all of the animals regained the use of their hind limbs. They also found that the drugs acted through two very different molecular mechanisms. 

“The ability to activate white matter cells in the brain, as shown in this study, opens up an exciting new avenue of therapy development for myelin disorders such as multiple sclerosis,” said Ursula Utz, Ph.D., program director at the NINDS.

Dr. Tesar and his colleagues caution that more research is needed before miconazole and clobetasol can be tested in multiple sclerosis clinical trials. They are currently approved for use as creams or powders on the surfaces of the body but their safety administered in other forms, such as injections, in humans is unknown.

“Off-label use of the current forms of these drugs is more likely to increase other health concerns than alleviate multiple sclerosis symptoms. We are working tirelessly to ready a safe and effective drug for clinical use,” Dr. Tesar said.

This work was supported by the NINDS (NS085246, NS030800, NS026543), the New York Stem Cell Foundation and the Myelin Repair Foundation, New York City.

The NINDS is the nation’s leading funder of research on the brain and nervous system. The mission of NINDS is to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences is a distinctly different entity in the research ecosystem. Rather than targeting a particular disease or fundamental science, NCATS focuses on what is common across diseases and the translational process. The Center emphasizes innovation and deliverables, relying on the power of data and new technologies to develop, demonstrate and disseminate advancements in translational science that bring about tangible improvements in human health. For more information, visit http://www.ncats.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®

Reference

Najm et al. “Drug-based modulation of endogenous stem cells promotes functional remyelination in vivo,” Nature, April 20, 2015.

Source: nih.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:48:01 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60575-drugs-that-activate-brain-stem-cells-may-reverse-multiple-sclerosis.html
Global Pandemic of Fake Medicines Poses Urgent Risk, Scientists Say http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60574-global-pandemic-of-fake-medicines-poses-urgent-risk-scientists-say.html Bethesda, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015. Poor quality medicines are a real and urgent threat that could undermine decades of successful efforts to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, according to the editors of a collection of journal articles published today. Scientists report up to 41 percent of specimens failed to meet quality standards in global studies of about 17,000 drug samples. Among the collection is an article describing the discovery of falsified and substandard malaria drugs that caused an estimated 122,350 deaths in African children in 2013. Other studies identified poor quality antibiotics, which may harm health and increase antimicrobial resistance. However, new methodologies are being developed to detect problem drugs at the point of purchase and show some promise, scientists say.

Seventeen articles in all, detailing various aspects of the issue and proposing possible solutions, are included in a special journal supplement “The Global Pandemic of Falsified Medicines: Laboratory and Field Innovations and Policy Perspectives,” published online ahead of print by The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Several articles suggest policy interventions, including an international framework and the adoption of stricter national laws against drug counterfeiting.

“This problem continues to spread globally, creating an even greater challenge to cooperation among stakeholders, many with limited resources,” noted the supplement’s co-editor, Joel Breman, M.D., M.P.H., senior scientist emeritus at the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center. “The need is urgent for collaboration among those with expertise in policy, science, technology, surveillance, epidemiology and logistics, in order to secure global supply chains.”

In an introductory essay, former U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., says globalization has added layers of complexity to the drug supply chain that require greater oversight. “Today’s medical-product landscape blurs the line between domestic and foreign production, drawing attention to the need for global quality and safety oversight to prevent patient exposure to falsified products,” wrote Dr. Hamburg, who was recently named foreign secretary of the Institute of Medicine.

Scientists inspected the quality of about 16,800 samples of anti-malarials, anti-tuberculosis medicines, antibiotics and anti-leishmaniasis drugs and reported from 9 to 41 percent failed to meet the specifications. Seven separate studies were carried out, primarily in low-resource settings, and included samples from public and private sources.

“The pandemic of falsified and substandard medicines is pervasive and underestimated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where drug regulatory systems are weak or non-existent, as shown by field studies in the supplement,” says Jim Herrington, Ph.D., M.P.H., co-editor of the supplement and director of the University of North Carolina’s Gillings Global Gateway at Chapel Hill. Until recently, Herrington was director of Fogarty’s international relations division.

New methodologies to test drug quality are emerging and scientists reported the results of four investigations. Simple paper-based test cards proved to be an economical and portable method to identify very low quality anti-malarials. More sophisticated approaches using fluorescent and luminescent techniques or other novel technologies can measure with greater precision, but may be difficult to use in remote settings. All of these promising tools require further testing to provide a greater evidence base to guide policymakers, the authors say.

An urgent and coordinated international response is required to address the pandemic of poor quality drugs, the scientists maintain. Policy proposals include a global agreement, similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control External Web Site Policy, and stricter national laws to prosecute those who knowingly sell counterfeit medicines.

In addition to Fogarty, the supplement is sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the New Venture Fund.

The individual articles will be published online at: http://www.ajtmh.org/content/early/recent External Web Site Policy

The Fogarty International Center addresses global health challenges through innovative and collaborative research and training programs and supports and advances the NIH mission through international partnerships. For more information, visit http://www.fic.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Source: nih.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:44:53 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60574-global-pandemic-of-fake-medicines-poses-urgent-risk-scientists-say.html
Sierra Club Marks 5 Years since BP Oil Disaster http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60573-sierra-club-marks-5-years-since-bp-oil-disaster.html WASHINGTON, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  Today marks five years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill that killed 11 workers and spewed 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  It was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, leaving a lasting legacy of destruction from which coastal communities have still not recovered.

In response Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement.

"No matter what BP tells us, the Gulf is far from recovered. In fact, the full extent of the damage has yet to be discovered.  Sadly, the damages from the disaster itself are just a small fraction of those incurred by local communities as they deal with the daily leaks and spills and loss of wetlands that the oil industry considers nothing more than the cost of doing business.

"Developing dirty fuels, especially those off our coasts, is a risky business--one that America must get out of. Cleaner energy options, like offshore wind and solar, can safely and cleanly power our country. Instead of opening new areas off our coasts to drilling, the Obama administration should focus on speeding the clean energy transition. The safest place for dirty fuels, for our communities, our environment, and our climate, is in the ground. "

Source: www.sierraclub.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:41:37 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60573-sierra-club-marks-5-years-since-bp-oil-disaster.html
Canada Fights Toxic Mosquito Spraying Near Homes and Parks http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60572-canada-fights-toxic-mosquito-spraying-near-homes-and-parks.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  New details emerged last week after a Canadian volunteer group, Pesticide Free Alberta (PFA), received records from the City of Edmonton regarding ground and aerial application of Dursban 2.5, a restricted insecticide (in both Canada and the US), in close proximity to residential areas to kill off mosquito larvae. The coordinator of PFA, Sheryl McCumsey, fought for months for the data to be released.

Health Canada does not recommend using Dursban in areas where children will be exposed, such as homes, parks, school grounds or playing fields, but the City of Edmonton justifies the use of the product by its label language, citing that it can be used in industrial areas. These areas often end up bordering residential neighborhoods and natural lands, such as parks.

The active ingredient in Dursban is chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic insecticide that has been linked to many detrimental health and environmental effects, such as endocrine disruption, reproductive and birth effects, toxicity to birds, bees and aquatic wildlife.In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dow AgroSciences restricted the sale and use of most home, lawn and garden product due to its health risks for children. However, it is still used agriculturally and for mosquito management.

After the City of Winnipeg, Alberta, voted to phase out Dursban in 2005, Edmonton spent $79, 600 on the city’s remaining supply. As for phasing out the toxic chemical in Edmonton, “someone has to be the last person to use it,” said David Aitken, branch manager for community standards. “It’s about increasing livability in Edmonton so we can enjoy our summers.”

However, there are many options that don’t involve the use of dangerous pesticides in order to manage mosquitos and “increase livability to enjoy summers.” The city of Calgary, Alberta has been using a bacterial product for the last 15 years that is environmentally friendly and specific just to mosquitos. Winnipeg followed suit, using the same product to manage their mosquitos after Dursban was phased out.

In Sarasota County, Florida, their mosquito control has been breeding mosquito-eating fish, called Gambusia Holbrooki, the first of their kind in the state. These fish feed off of mosquito larvae, so if there is a problem area with mosquitos, the fish are brought out to manage them. The mosquito control technicians are also equipped with high tech tools that emit powerful sound waves that cause mosquito larvae to explode.

In 2012, one county in New Jersey began using 10,000 tiny shrimp-like crustaceans to eat through mosquito larvae in the county’s swamps. The crustaceans, known as copepods, are cousins to crayfish and water fleas, and do not get much bigger than two millimeters. They are voracious predators of mosquito larvae.

Toxic chemicals like chlorpyrifos should never be part of a responsible mosquito management program. Beyond Pesticides can provide alternatives. For more information on safe and effective mosquito management strategies, see Beyond Pesticides’ page on Mosquitoes and Insect Borne Diseases, or contact us at info@Beyondpesticides.org,

Sources: Edmonton Journal, www.beyondpesticides.org

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

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:33:26 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60572-canada-fights-toxic-mosquito-spraying-near-homes-and-parks.html
Another Fight For 15: A $15,000 Dividend for Every American Family http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/60568-another-fight-for-15-a-15-000-dividend-for-every-american-family.html CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015

Every American deserves a share of our country's co-owned wealth. While the Kochs and the Waltons may not be lining up to collect their checks, most families will, and they will benefit immensely, as will the economy in an inevitable surge of consumer spending. It's not redistribution or a handout, because each family will be reimbursed for the use of its share of the air and the land and the water, and for 70 years of labor and taxes. 

Americans want to work, but available jobs don't provide a living wage. Almost three-quarters of people receiving public assistance are members of working families. 

As a result of their low pay, almost two-thirds of Americans would be unable to cover a $1,000 emergency room visit with funds from their bank accounts. A national dividend would help to fix that. There are several powerful reasons why this should happen. 

Reason 1: Our Tax Money Has Been Used To Eliminate Our Jobs 

The process is insidious, quietly executed, still evolving after 60 years, deadly to America's middle class. The immeasurable benefits of doing business in our productive nation have led to innovations that demand less of workers, but without compensation for their years of labor and taxes. In fact, corporations have reduced their payment for our many resources. Yet they continue to take from the taxpayers. 

Over half of basic research is provided by our tax dollars, and as of 2009 universities were receiving ten times more science and engineering funding from government than from industry. 

Apple does most of its product and research development in the United States. The Google model was derived from the National Science Foundation's Digital Library Initiative. Facebook was made possible, notes Gar Alperovitz, by the NSF and DARPA and by "society’s general, slowly built 'stock of knowledge.'" 

Today's tech and telecom companies build products that require less American workers, less middle-income workers, and less workers overall. But more big-salary workers. Netflix, for example, serves 57 million customers with less than 2,200 employees, who have an average salary of $180,000. 

Reason 2: Most of Our New Jobs Are Low-Wage Jobs 

Nine of the ten fastest growing occupations don't require a college degree (including retail, food service, personal care, etc. -- only nursing requires a degree). 

Insensitive political and business leaders keep insisting that safety net programs should be cut because people need to find a job. But finding work may not pay the bills. Low-income jobs ($7.69 to $13.83 per hour) made up one-fifth of the jobs lost to the recession, but accounted for almost three-fifths of the jobs regained during the recovery. 

Reason 3: Basic Income is a Human Right 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care." The Universal Declaration of Emerging Human Rights goes further, asserting that "The right to an unconditional, regular, monetary income... is recognised as a right of citizenship, to each resident member of society... to allow them to cover their basic needs." 

The Brooks World Poverty Institute found that money transfers to the poor are used primarily for basic needs, help reduce poverty, and have long-term benefitssuch as decreases in crime and truancy rates and lower infant mortality and teenage pregnancy rates. 

Solution: Give $15,000 to the Koch Family. And to 120 Million Other Families. 

We should all be compensated for the use of our air and water and natural resources and airwaves. A program of national dividends, modeled after the popular and long-standing Alaska Permanent Fund, is fair, easy to administer, and based on successful precedent. It's also good business, since money earned by average Americans stimulates economic activity. 

How to pay for it? 

We can't. $15,000 per family is $1.8 trillion. It won't happen while the members of Congress, along with cronyish state leaders and CEOs throughout the country, continue to be deluded by supply-side, free market "magic," and by the belief that millions of poor people just need to "work harder" to be successful. 

The alternative, for the present, is $5,000 per family. That might be derived from the $550 billion underpayment of taxes by corporations that have used taxpayer money and natural resources to build their fortunes, yet have turned around and spent a stunning 95 percent of their profits on investor-enriching stock buybacks and dividend payouts. 

Or the $5,000 per family might come from the $450 billion tax gap, which consists largely of under-reporting by individuals at a time when the country's richest 5% have each gained over a million dollars since the recession. 

Eventually, the full $15,000 for a family of three could be funded through other sensible measures, such as a carbon tax ($300 billion), a financial speculation tax ($350 billion), and intellectual property charges ($300 billion). 

Billions more would be saved from the return on no-longer-needed safety net programs. 

But it all depends on whether Congress cares to fight for the American people.

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.

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

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:22:55 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/analysis/60568-another-fight-for-15-a-15-000-dividend-for-every-american-family.html
Oceana: Five Year Anniversary of BP Oil Disaster Highlights Risks of Expanding Offshore Drilling into New Areas http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60566-oceana-five-year-anniversary-of-bp-oil-disaster-highlights-risks-of-expanding-offshore-drilling-into-new-areas.html

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  Today marks the five-year anniversary of the worst environmental disaster in United States history. The BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster claimed the lives of 11 workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, wreaking havoc on communities, economies, fisheries and wildlife.

Since the spill, numerous studies have found that the oil, and the dispersants used to clean it up, has had detrimental effects on birds, dolphins, fish and other species.

Jacqueline Savitz, Oceana’s vice president for the U.S., marked the occasion with the following statement:

“It has been five years since the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, yet offshore drilling is still not safe. Offshore drilling continues to plague the Gulf with deaths, injuries, explosions and spills.

We are only now beginning to understand the true effects of the BP oil disaster. We have seen sea turtles wash up on our beaches. We know that the oil has damaged the hearts of fish like the valuable Bluefin tuna and caused illnesses in dolphins. Many of these impacts equaled death for these animals, which may lead to effects on populations that were already struggling from overfishing. While the jury is literally still out on the full extent of the impacts, we do know that BP has not yet come close to making Americans whole and recovering the Gulf to its pre-spill conditions.

Today’s anniversary is a stark reminder that when we drill, we spill. Yet Congress has not passed a single piece of legislation to better regulate this dirty and dangerous industry. The myth that more energy produced at home means lower gas prices is simply untrue – oil is sold on the world market, and the majority of what we produce at home is shipped overseas.

Instead, we have seen a constant push to expand our drilling efforts. In fact, the Obama administration is currently considering opening up the East Coast to offshore drilling for the first time in U.S. history. The federal government is also planning to authorize new drilling in the U.S. Arctic Ocean, the worst possible place we could allow drilling given its remoteness, extended darkness and icy conditions. There is no good reason to sell more leases in the Arctic Ocean, where companies such as Shell have proven so clearly that drilling can’t be done safely.

Drilling in the Atlantic could destroy coastal communities, economies, fish and marine mammals for decades to come. It would lead to a coastline scattered with oil and gas rigs, and industrialization in coastal communities. Commercial fishing, tourism and recreation would suffer from routine leaks as well as the looming risk of a Deepwater Horizon-like oil disaster along the East Coast.

Even the exploration itself is extremely dangerous. The Obama administration is currently reviewing applications to use seismic airguns that use repeated dynamite-like blasts to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor. This is being permitted in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida, in some cases in areas not even being considered for offshore drilling. Based on the government’s own estimates, seismic blasting in the Atlantic could harm fish populations while injuring as many as 138,000 marine mammals like whales and dolphins, killing some of them, and disturbing the vital activities of as many as 13.5 million more. To date, 50 coastal communities have passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling and seismic testing. In addition, 65 Members of Congress, over 400 elected officials, over 160 conservation and animal welfare organizations, as well as the Billfish Foundation, the International Game Fish Association, the Southeastern Fisheries Association and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, have all publically opposed offshore oil exploration and/or development.”

In March, 75 leading marine scientists sent a letter to President Obama detailing the impacts of seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic Ocean, stating that “the magnitude of the proposed seismic activity is likely to have significant, long-lasting, and widespread impacts on the reproduction and survival of fish and marine mammal populations in the region, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, of which approximately only 500 remain.

Oceana’s own analysis finds that offshore wind would produce twice the number of jobs and twice the amount of energy as offshore drilling in the Atlantic Ocean, without the risk of a catastrophic spill.

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Oceana is the largest international ocean conservation and advocacy organization. Oceana works to protect and restore the world’s oceans through targeted policy campaigns.

Source: www.commondreams.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:16:04 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60566-oceana-five-year-anniversary-of-bp-oil-disaster-highlights-risks-of-expanding-offshore-drilling-into-new-areas.html
Oxfam Condemns Coalition Bombing of a Warehouse Containing Vital Humanitarian Aid http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60565-oxfam-condemns-coalition-bombing-of-a-warehouse-containing-vital-humanitarian-aid.html Yesterday's events demonstrate again that all Parties to this conflict are adding to an increasingly dire humanitarian situation on the ground. All parties must now find a negotiated peace and allow for humanitarian access.
LONDON --(ENEWSPF)--April 20, 2015.  Oxfam has vehemently condemned yesterday's Coalition airstrike on one of its storage facilities in Saada Governorate in northern Yemen.

Grace Ommer, Oxfam's country director in Yemen said: "This is an absolute outrage particularly when one considers that we have shared detailed information with the Coalition on the locations of our offices and storage facilities. The contents of the warehouse had no military value. It only contained humanitarian supplies associated with our previous work in Saada, bringing clean water to thousands of households. Thankfully, no one was killed in this particular airstrike although conservative estimates put the death toll in the country as a whole, since the conflict began, at around 760 - the majority of which are civilians.”

Oxfam has been working in the northern governorate of Saada for several years, building water networks to bring clean water to 70,000 people in rural communities through the generous support of the European Union and Swiss Government. Before the escalation in violence, 10 million people were without access to clean water across the country..

Ommer added: "Yesterday's events demonstrate again that all Parties to this conflict are adding to an increasingly dire humanitarian situation on the ground. All parties must now find a negotiated peace and allow for humanitarian access.”

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Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 like-minded organizations working together and with partners and allies around the world to bring about lasting change. Oxfam works directly with communities and that seeks to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

Source: www.commondreams.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Mon, 20 Apr 2015 16:12:42 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60565-oxfam-condemns-coalition-bombing-of-a-warehouse-containing-vital-humanitarian-aid.html
Will House Democrats #StandWithJan to Back the Iran Talks? http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60558-will-house-democrats-standwithjan-to-back-the-iran-talks.html Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 19, 2015

US Rep. Jan Schakowsky

House Democrats will play a key role in whether the Obama Administration can get a deal with Iran. Under the Corker-Cardin deal on the Corker Congressional review legislation, if a third of the House or a third of the Senate were willing to sustain a Presidential veto of Congressional legislation against the deal, that would be sufficient to block Republican efforts to kill the deal.

Even if all House Republicans oppose the President if it comes to a vote (by no means guaranteed, but certainly plausible), that means roughly 3/4 of House Democrats supporting the President would be sufficient to protect the deal.

To be precise, there are 435 seats in the House, so a bloc of 435/3+1 = 146 House Members would be sufficient to protect the deal. There are 188 Democrats in the House. So roughly 3/4 (78%) of House Democrats have to support the President to guarantee House protection of the deal. If no more than forty-two House Democrats defect to the Republican side, the advocates of diplomacy are dancing in the street. But if forty-three House Democrats defect to the Republican side, diplomacy advocates will have to start calling in chits with the Ron Paul people (the father, not the prodigal son.)

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is strongly backing the President on Iran diplomacy. But that's no guarantee that three-fourths of House Democrats will back the deal. For example, House Democrat Alan Grayson is attacking the negotiations by trying to introduce issues that are outside the scope of the talks and by trying to set an impossible "unicorns and ponies" standard for a "good deal."

So, what would be really useful right now would be a show of strength by House Democrats in support of diplomacy.

Fortunately, Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky (you may recall that she skipped Netanyahu's anti-diplomacy speech to Congress) is circulating a letter to her colleagues in support of diplomacy. Wouldn't it be grand if we could get 146 House Democrats to sign the Schakowsky letter? You can weigh in online here; if you happen to be represented by a Democrat in the House, you can call them here.

A video - made by a Grayson supporter - of Alan Grayson attacking the scope of the Iran talks at a fundraiser in Santa Monica can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BLIgZmHukcA

About the Author:

Robert Naiman is Policy Director at Just Foreign Policy. Naiman has worked as a policy analyst and researcher at the Center for Economic and Policy Research and Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. He has masters degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Illinois and has studied and worked in the Middle East. You can contact him here.

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

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:19:53 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60558-will-house-democrats-standwithjan-to-back-the-iran-talks.html
'Make Global Goals a Global Reality': UN Chief Urges Climate Action at Earth Day Concert http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60557-make-global-goals-a-global-reality-un-chief-urges-climate-action-at-earth-day-concert.html
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon greets the crowd at the 2015 Global Citizen Earth Day Concert in Washington, D.C. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--19 April 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has declared 2015 a year for global action on climate, gender and development issues, warning revellers attending the 2015 edition of the Global Citizen Earth Day concert that there is “no Plan B because there is no Planet B.”

Addressing an electrified crowd gathered on Washington, D.C.'s National Mall for last night's performances which reportedly featured top-billing acts such as Will.i.am, Usher, No Doubt, and Mary J. Blige, the Secretary-General urged concert goers to speak up and raise their voices to make a difference.

“I want to hear from you. It's our last chance to slow global warning,” cautioned Mr. Ban.

“Will you support our global goal to empower women and girls? Will you speak up to get every child in school? Will you raise your voice for people and our planet?”

The Secretary-General's appeal comes as the United Nations gears up to launch its post-2015 development agenda while also rolling out a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at reducing poverty, ensuring gender equality and halting and reversing the effects of climate change.

From the stage on the National Mall yesterday evening, Mr. Ban told the audience that 2015 offered the international community its best chance to end global poverty and that this year was a crucial one for global action.

“You have the power. Your generation can make it happen,” he continued. “Be a global citizen. Take your passion and compassion and build a better, sustainable world and, together, let's make our global goals a global reality.”

Source: www.un.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sun, 19 Apr 2015 18:12:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/science/science-a-environmental/60557-make-global-goals-a-global-reality-un-chief-urges-climate-action-at-earth-day-concert.html
Obama’s Trade Agreements are a Gift to Corporations http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60553-obama-s-trade-agreements-are-a-gift-to-corporations.html

"These agreements are conceived and drafted by corporations, and sponsored by both political parties."

Washington, DC--(ENEWSPF)--April 18, 2015
People dressed in pig costumes take part in a demonstration against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States, in Munich, Germany on Saturday,  April 18, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

On Thursday, legislation moved forward that would give President Obama authority to negotiate two contentious trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But for the most part, these aren’t trade agreements at all. They’re a gift to corporations, here and in partner countries, that claim to be restrained by domestic regulations.

If these deals pass, the pharmaceutical industry could get new leverage to undermine regulations requiring the use of generic drugs. The tobacco industry has used similar “trade” provisions to attack cigarette package warnings.

A provision in both deals, known as Investor State Dispute Settlement, would allow corporations to do end runs around national governments by taking their claims to special tribunals, with none of the due process of normal law. This provision has attracted the most opposition. It’s such a stinker that one of the proposed member nations, Australia, got an exemption for its health and environmental policies.

To get so-called fast-track treatment for these deals, the administration needs special trade promotion authority from Congress. But Obama faces serious opposition in his own party, and he will need lots of Republican votes. He has to hope that Republicans are more eager to help their corporate allies than to embarrass this president by voting down one of his top priorities.

But the real intriguing question is why Obama invests so much political capital in promoting agreements like these. They do little for the American economy, and even less for its workers.

The trade authority vote had been bottled up while the Senate Finance Committee Chair, Orrin Hatch of Utah, and his Democratic counterpart, Ron Wyden of Oregon, worked out compromise language in the hope of winning over skeptical Democrats. The measure announced Thursday includes vague language on protections for labor and environmental standards, human rights, and Internet freedoms. Congress would get slightly longer to review the text, but it would still have to be voted on as a package that could not be amended.

Wyden trumpeted these provisions as breakthroughs, but they were scorned by leading labor and environmental critics as window dressing. Lori Wallach, of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, points out that the language is almost identical to that of a 2014 bill that had to be withdrawn for lack of support. Only about a dozen House Democrats are said to support the measure — and many Republicans won’t back it unless more Democrats do.

But why would they, at a time when Hillary Clinton sounds more populist and momentum is increasing for campaigns to raise the minimum wage? Speaking last week at the Brookings Institution, Jason Furman, chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, proclaimed that, according to an elaborate economic model, by 2025 the Pacific deal would increase US incomes by 0.4 percent, or about $77 billion.

That’s pretty small beer. And as Furman admitted, the projection is only as good as its economic assumptions. One such heroic assumption is full employment, but this deal might well reduce US employment by increasing our trade deficit.

The TPP was rolled out with great fanfare in 2012 as part of Obama’s “pivot to Asia.” The subtext was that a Pacific trade deal would help contain China’s influence in its own backyard.

Since then, Beijing has unveiled a development bank that rivals the US-dominated World Bank, and our closest allies — Britain, France, Germany, Italy — are lined up to join. It’s not at all clear how the TPP, whose only large Asian member would be Japan, helps contain China, whose economic influence continues to grow.

Basically, ever since the North American Free Trade Agreement of 1993 (NAFTA), trade policy has been on autopilot. Tariffs are now quite low, and these deals are mainly about dismantling health, safety, consumer, labor, environment, and corporate regulations.

These agreements are conceived and drafted by corporations, and sponsored by both political parties. For the Obama administration, the key official negotiating these deals is US Trade Ambassador Michael Froman, a protégé of former Citigroup and Goldman Sachs executive Robert Rubin, who was a big promoter of NAFTA while serving as Bill Clinton’s top economic official.

Mainly, these deals help cement a corporate alliance with the presidential wing of the Democratic Party and divert attention from the much tougher challenge of enacting policies that would actually raise living standards. In the closing days of the Obama era, this is what passes for bipartisanship.

About the Author:

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, as well as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe and Huffington Post. He is the author of A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future, Obama's Challenge, and other books.

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

Source: www.commondreams.org

 

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Sun, 19 Apr 2015 02:32:46 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/opinion/commentary/60553-obama-s-trade-agreements-are-a-gift-to-corporations.html
FDA Alert - Illnesses and Deaths in Pets Exposed to Prescription Topical Pain Medication http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60530-fda-alert-illnesses-and-deaths-in-pets-exposed-to-prescription-topical-pain-medication.html Silver Spring, Maryland--(ENEWSPF)--April 17, 2015.

ISSUE: FDA is alerting pet owners, veterinarians, health care providers and pharmacists that pets are at risk of illness and death when exposed to topical pain medications containing the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) flurbiprofen. People using these medications should use care when applying them in a household with pets, as even very small amounts could be dangerous to these animals.

The FDA received reports of cats in two households that became ill or died after their owners used topical medications containing flurbiprofen on themselves to treat muscle, joint, or other pain. The pet owners had applied the cream or lotion to their own neck or feet, and not directly to the pet, and it is not known exactly how the cats became exposed to the medication. The products contained the NSAID flurbiprofen and the muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine, as well as other varying active ingredients, including baclofen, gabapentin, lidocaine, or prilocaine.

BACKGROUND: Two cats in one household developed kidney failure and recovered with veterinary care. Two cats in a second household developed signs that included reluctance to eat, lethargy, vomiting, melena (black, tarry, bloody stools), anemia, and dilute urine. These two cats died despite veterinary care. A third cat in the second household also died after the owner had stopped using the medication. Veterinarians performed necropsies on the three cats that died and found evidence in the kidneys and intestines that were consistent with NSAID toxicity.

RECOMMENDATION:  FDA recommends that people who use topical medications containing flurbiprofen take care to prevent their pets from being exposed to them, even in ways that may seem unlikely to cause problems. Health care providers who prescribe topical pain medications containing flurbiprofen, and pharmacists who fill these prescriptions, should advise patients with pets to take care to prevent exposure of the pet to the medication.

Source: fda.gov

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 17 Apr 2015 22:46:00 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60530-fda-alert-illnesses-and-deaths-in-pets-exposed-to-prescription-topical-pain-medication.html
World Bank Announces Package of Aid and Loans to Ebola-Affected Countries http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60528-world-bank-announces-package-of-aid-and-loans-to-ebola-affected-countries.html

WASHINGTON --(ENEWSPF)--April 17, 2015.  As the Spring International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank meetings open, the World Bank announced $650 million of new grants and concessional loans to the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. About $220 million will be aid in the form of grants and the remainder will be in the form of highly concessional loans. Currently the three countries owe a combined $518 million to the World Bank. Liberia owes $105 million, Guinea $186 million and Sierra Leone $227 million.

“We urge the World Bank Group to consider bolstering their commitments with a new debt relief package for the impacted countries,” said Eric LeCompte, executive director of the religious development coalition, Jubilee USA Network. “We applaud the new aid for the affected countries and hope that the World Bank can come up with some rapid response plan to address this kind of crisis much faster in the future.”

The new financing is through the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA). The IDA determines its lending terms based on the borrowing country's risk of "debt distress."  The new IDA financing will be distributed as approximately 50% grants to Sierra Leone and Guinea and 100% as loans to Liberia. The loans will be repaid over 25 to 38 years. In February, the IMF announced $100 million in debt relief for the three West African countries and called on governments to contribute $70 million more. The IMF also set up a new debt relief fund for poor countries struck by natural disasters or health crises. 

"As a development institution, we need the World Bank to respond faster," said LeCompte, who serves on United Nations expert groups on debt. "It's ironic that the innovation for dealing with this crisis and future crises is coming from the IMF, whose mission is not development. World Bank innovation would look like a permanent facility to solely administer grants when the poorest countries face crisis."

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Jubilee USA Network is an alliance of more than 80 religious denominations and faith communities, human rights, environmental, labor, and community groups working for the definitive cancellation of crushing debts to fight poverty and injustice in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Source: www.commondreams.org

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shirkop4@shireweb.biz (Press Release) Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:43:20 GMT http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/health-and-fitness/60528-world-bank-announces-package-of-aid-and-loans-to-ebola-affected-countries.html