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The Global South Needs a Debt Write-Off

"Global South economies like Zambia’s are being battered by the coronavirus. We must write-off their debt now. As stock markets in the rich world cling on to the gains made on the back of government and central bank largesse, emerging market economies are still being battered by the pandemic." (There is a linkage between the Third World Debt and trade in services deals like the GATS. And its not a pretty one.)

Non-Discrimination and the Pillars of International Economic Law – Comparative Analysis and Building Coherency

Nicolas F. Diebold University of Lucerne Date Written: June 30, 2010 Abstract This working paper was presented at the Second Biennial Global Conference of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) 2010 in Barcelona, available on SSRN and as IILJ Emerging Scholars Paper 18 (2010). The final version is published uner the title 'Standards of Non-Discrimination in International Econocmic Law' 60 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (2011), 831-865. The principle of non-discrimination constitutes a corner-stone in different fields of international economic law, notably international trade in goods and services as well as intellectual property and investment protection. While its basic rationale appears to be straight forward, the application of the different elements which constitute a non-discrimination obligation has proven to be most complicated. Due to the high fragmentation in international economic law, adjudicating bodies are applying different interpretations and standards with regard to ‘less favourable treatment,’ ‘likeness,’ ‘regulatory purpose’, and ‘necessity’. This article shows the different theories for each of these elements on the examples of WTO law, NAFTA, investment protection and EU law and demonstrates how these theories affect the scope and liberalizing effect of the non-discrimination obligation. The article then attempts to develop a coherent factor-based application of non-discrimination rules suitable for all fields of international economic law. The article submits the theory that the elements of nondiscrimination should not be applied as strict legal conditions which must be proven by a complainant, but as a range of soft-factors which may be weighed and balanced by the adjudicating bodies. Keywords: Non-Discrimination, National Treatment, Like Products, Like Circumstances, Less Favourable Treatment, WTO, GATT, GATS, NAFTA, Bilateral Investment Treaties

Trade Agreements and (Mutual) Recognition of Professional Qualifications

by Julia Nielsen of OECD This chapter explores the coverage of recognition of professional qualifications by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and a range of bilateral and regional trade agreements. It also provides a brief overview of what has been achieved to date in professional recognition internationally and the contribution that trade agreements might provide in increasing the transparency of professional recognition across borders. It also offers some preliminary thoughts on the relationship between cross-border education, recognition of professional qualifications and quality assurance in higher education. In recent times, a number of factors – increasing economic globalisation, reductions in transportation and communication costs, significant (temporary and permanent) migration flows, and the increasingly international labour market for the highly skilled – have led to a growing demand for greater recognition of foreign qualifications. The range of groups with an interest in the recognition of foreign qualifications is also expanding – in addition to universities assessing whether students should be accepted for further study, employers, professional associations and licensing bodies, as well as migration authorities, are also increasingly requiring information on the recognition of foreign qualifications. Many of these same factors have formed the backdrop for the growth in international trade in services. International trade in a range of services – for example, health and education services, or professional services such as accounting and engineering – is often conducted via the temporary movement of individuals seeking to supply these services

The Unbearable Lightness of Likeness

Pauwelyn, Joost, The Unbearable Lightness of Likeness (September 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2030940 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2030940

The looming disaster of immunity passports and digital identity

A digital ID that proves immunity will raise serious human rights issues. And the failure of the digital ID industry to deal with the issues of exclusion, exploitation and discrimination puts the entire industry under question. KEY FINDINGS 'Immunity passports' are a theoretical credential - most likely digital - that someone can prove that they have either had the virus and recovered, or have had a vaccination. Immunity passports are being hyped as a solution to ending lockdowns around the world by actors including the proponents of digital identity; the digital identity industry; think-tanks; and the travel industry. Yet there is currently no scientific basis for these measures, as highlighted by the WHO. The nature of what information would be held on an immunity passport is currently unknown. The social risks of immunity passports are great: it serves as a route to discrimination and exclusion, particularly if the powers to view these passports falls on people's employers, or the police. The digital identity industry - pushing their own products as immunity passport solutions - is failing to protect against these harms: they are interested in building wider digital identity systems, based on their pre-existing models, rather than developing a genuine solution to the risks of these passports.

"How diverse and how creative" (are regional trade agreements) as compared to the GATS (WTO)

The intended audience is trade negotiators This document is useful to show the nitty gritty of why some entities want them, and how RTAs sometimes modify the terms of the GATS between specific countries. These deals IMHO are not creative, BTW. Staff Working Paper ERSD-2012-19 Date: 31 October 2012 World Trade Organization Economic Research and Statistics Division SERVICES RULES IN REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS HOW DIVERSE AND HOW CREATIVE AS COMPARED TO THE GATS MULTILATERAL RULES? by Pierre Latrille and Juneyoung Lee WTO Manuscript date: October 2012

Wiki-leaks TISA documents (incomplete)

This is the link to the several dumps of TISA documents. Julian Assange is partly in jail because the US government wants there not to be any discussion of this huge theft of democracy. For this reason alone he should be freed because the public has a very great need to know that democracy is being stolen and how. Note that these are not the documents today. But all of them are useful to understand how its structured Big parts may be missing, though. Parts of GATS are also missing. As anybody who tries to find them will see. So they are all - ALL FTAS that are not voted on by the public, or hidden, are IMHO, illegitimate.

Overview of Various Approaches to Services Liberalization

Outline • Introduction: FORM vs. SUBSTANCE • Scheduling Techniques: Positive List, Negative List and Hybrid Approach • Structure of Negative List Agreements • Additional and Emerging Disciplines often included or proposed for Negative List Services AgreementsServices Agreements demonstrate a wide variety and diversity: no two agreements are identical IMPORTANT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SCHEDULING TECHNIQUE and SUBSTANCE....

The Draft GATS Domestic Regulation Disciplines – Potential Conflicts With Developing Country Regulations

(This is really a must read to understand what kinds of new destructions of democracy are in the pipeline, and what they mean.) "The most recent draft by the WPDR chairperson would impose seventy-one separate disciplines on domestic regulation that could be used separately or in combination to challenge services regulations through the WTO dispute process. The South Centre’s 2006 Analytical Note identified a number of common themes in the submissions developing countries have made to the WPDR. These themes are used below to organize discussion of key disciplines. A. Necessity tests"

Lori Wallach discusses Trump and trade

Big surprise -Trump's regime has been a disaster of outsourcing. See also my note (link in Related Pages below) on Trade Adjustment Authority figures being extremely deceptive.

Post Claim Underwriting (rescission) House hearings

This is rescission. A return to the insurance regulation status quo in 1998 includes a return to this practice. This is why the US needs to dump the GATS and dump for profit insurance, which dedicates itself to dumping costly patients when they get sick any way it can. The rich can take their chances with non-group insurance which is several times more expensive than group coverage and so often covers less. Or in some cases state high risk pools - but they may lose their subsidies, due to GATS. The poor, unless they are well-employed which sick people often are not, will most likely have to go overseas for care (what the powers that be likely want) or have to cope with no insurance. See also the series by Lisa Girion in the LA Times from 2007-2009 Please search on Post Claim Underwriting on YouTube

Global and European Constraints Upon National Right to Regulate: The Services Sector

This volume brings together research aimed at shedding light on a general problem, by focusing specifically on the services sector. In the WTO system, the services sector is regulated by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); in the European system, it is regulated by a broad and complex body of rules, combining judge-made principles with those embodied in the secondary legislation, which codifies and applies these principles to different regulated sectors. The general problem at the core of this study stems from the difficulty in striking a balance between two important needs. One the one hand, there is the need to recognise national authorities' right to autonomously regulate and govern in their own territory. On the other hand, there is the need to limit this power of autonomous regulation, mainly to protect the right of foreign economic operators to access the national market and function in conditions of equality with respect to all other operators. This problem is addressed from the particular perspective of administrative law. The premise underlying the various contributions is that supranational (global and European) law constrains domestic regulation (and domestic administrations) largely through techniques and procedures drawn from administrative law. Sovereignty-limiting procedures developed by national legal systems in order to protect citizens have been readapted by supranational public powers to protect the rights of foreign economic operators and to realise the goal of market integration. This administrative law perspective also gives shape to the structure of this volume, which is divided into three thematic areas. Each area corresponds to a category of constraints imposed by supranational administrative law upon States' right to regulate. Keywords: wto, european union, administrative law, services

Web of Debt - Ellen Brown

Ellen Brown's Web of Debt - lots of resources about financial mismanagement and even TISA but precious little about the one ring of evil, GATS, yet.

Cry for Argentina: Fiscal Mismanagement, Odious Debt or Pillage?

Fiscal mismanagement or odious debt? Besides impossibility of performance, there is another defense Argentina could raise in international court – that of “odious debt.” Also known as illegitimate debt, this legal theory holds that national debt incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the best interests of the nation should not be enforceable. The defence has been used successfully by a number of countries, including Ecuador in December 2008, when President Rafael Correa declared that its debt had been contracted by corrupt and despotic prior regimes. The odious-debt defence allowed Ecuador to reduce the sum owed by 70 percent. In a compelling article in Global Research in November 2006, Adrian Salbuchi made a similar case for Argentina. He traced the country’s problems back to 1976, when its foreign debt was just under six billion dollars and represented only a small portion of the country’s GDP. In that year: An illegal and de facto military-civilian regime ousted the constitutionally elected government of president María Isabel Martínez de Perón [and] named as economy minister, José Martinez de Hoz, who had close ties with, and the respect of, powerful international private banking interests. With the Junta’s full backing, he systematically implemented a series of highly destructive, speculative, illegitimate – even illegal – economic and financial policies and legislation, which increased Public Debt almost eightfold to 46 billion dollars in a few short years. This intimately tied-in to the interests of major international banking and oil circles which, at that time, needed to urgently re-cycle huge volumes of “Petrodollars” generated by the 1973 and 1979 Oil Crises. Those capital in-flows were not invested in industrial production or infrastructure, but rather were used to fuel speculation in local financial markets by local and international banks and traders who were able to take advantage of very high local interest rates in Argentine Pesos tied to stable and unrealistic medium-term U.S. dollar exchange rates. Salbuchi detailed Argentina’s fall from there into what became a 200 billion dollars debt trap. Large tranches of this debt, he maintained, were “odious debt” and should not have to be paid: “Making the Argentine State – i.e., the people of Argentina – weather the full brunt of this storm is tantamount to financial genocide and terrorism. . . . The people of Argentina are presently undergoing severe hardship with over 50% of the population submerged in poverty . . . . Basic universal law gives the Argentine people the right to legitimately defend their interests against the various multinational and supranational players which, abusing the huge power that they wield, directly and/or indirectly imposed complex actions and strategies leading to the Public Debt problem.” Of President Nestor Kirchner’s surprise 2006 payment of the full 10 billion dollars owed to the IMF, Salbuchi wrote cynically: “This key institution was instrumental in promoting and auditing the macroeconomic policies of the Argentine Government for decades. . . . Many analysts consider that . . . the IMF was to Argentina what Arthur Andersen was to Enron, the difference being that Andersen was dissolved and closed down, whilst the IMF continues preaching its misconceived doctrines and exerts leverage. . . . [T]he IMF’s primary purpose is to exert political pressure on indebted governments, acting as a veritable coercing agency on behalf of major international banks.” Sovereign bankruptcy and the “Global Economic Reset” Needless to say, the IMF was not closed down. Rather, it has gone on to become the international regulator of sovereign debt, which has reached crisis levels globally. Total debt, public and private, has grown by over 40 percent since 2007, to 100 trillion dollars. The U.S. national debt alone has grown from 10 trillion dollars in 2008 to over 17.6 trillion today. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde spoke of the need for a global economic “reset.” National debts have to be “reset” or “readjusted” periodically so that creditors can keep collecting on their exponentially growing interest claims, in a global financial scheme based on credit created privately by banks and lent at interest. More interest-bearing debt must continually be incurred, until debt overwhelms the system and it again needs to be reset to keep the usury game going. Sovereign debt (or national) in particular needs periodic “resets,” because unlike for individuals and corporations, there is no legal mechanism for countries to go bankrupt. Individuals and corporations have assets that can be liquidated by a bankruptcy court and distributed equitably to creditors. But countries cannot be liquidated and sold off – except by IMF-style “structural readjustment,” which can force the sale of national assets at fire sale prices. A Sovereign Debt Restructuring Mechanism ( SDRM) was proposed by the IMF in the early 2000s, but it was quickly killed by Wall Street and the U.S. Treasury. The IMF is working on a new version of the SDRM, but critics say it could be more destabilising than the earlier version. Meanwhile, the IMF has backed collective action clauses (CACs) designed to allow a country to negotiate with most of its creditors in a way that generally brings all of them into the net. But CACs can be challenged, and that is what happened in the case of the latest Argentine bankruptcy. According to Harvard Professor Jeffrey Frankel: “[T]he U.S. court rulings’ indulgence of a parochial instinct to enforce written contracts will undermine the possibility of negotiated restructuring in future debt crises.” We are back, he says, to square one. Better than redesigning the sovereign bankruptcy mechanism might be to redesign the global monetary scheme in a way that avoids the continual need for a bankruptcy mechanism. A government does not need to borrow its money supply from private banks that create it as credit on their books. A sovereign government can issue its own currency, debt-free. But that interesting topic must wait for a follow-up article. Stay tuned. (Ellen Brown - Web of Debt - http://ellenbrown.com )

Opinion: Crisis, Emergency Measures and Failure of the ISDS System: The Case of Argentina

"The first salient conclusion is that the ISDS system has a very low capacity to adapt to totally exceptional circumstances for which it does not seem to have been designed. Despite the efforts of Argentinian attorneys to show that the measures implemented in the post-crisis period were adopted in an emergency context, being so exceptional as to justify any breach of the substantial clauses of the BITs, few tribunals were prepared to sustain this defence."

Reviews of World Bank Group’s accountability mechanisms too important to be done in secret

You would be forgiven if you didn’t know that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector lending arm, was reviewing its accountability framework, including the effectiveness of its independent accountability mechanism (IAM), the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) (see Observer Winter 2018). Despite the importance of the process, in particular given the numerous documented cases in which IFC financing has resulted in harms to communities (see Observer Spring 2015), the only publicly available information about the review is a brief announcement made in October by the IFC and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency board of directors.

Trade Creep: The Implication of GATS for Higher Education Policy

by Jane Knight. The General Agreement on Trades in Service (GATS) plus other regional trade agreements are testimony to the increased emphasis on trade and the market economy in this era of globalization. GATS is the first legal trade agreement that focuses exclusively on trade in services—as opposed to products. It is administered by the World Trade Organization, a powerful organization with 144 member countries. Education is one of the 12 service sectors covered by GATS. The purpose of GATS is progressively and systematically to promote freer trade in services by removing many of the existing barriers. What does this mean for higher education? The current debate on the impact of GATS on higher education is divided, if not polarized. Critics focus on the threat to the role of government, the “public good,”and the quality of education. Supporters highlight the benefits that more trade can bring in terms of innovations through new providers and delivery modes, greater student access, and increased economic gain. The purpose of this article is to discuss both the risks and

ip-health mailing list Archives

Discussions of Intellectual Property and Health Care "To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the Ip-health Archives." This is one of the very best places to learn about the battle -access to medicines vs drug patents and the drug cartel. If you saw the film "Fire in the Blood" you saw how, in this era of global epidemics and corporate greed people must stand up for the rights of human beings to lifesaving drugs at affordable and not extortionate prices. This URL brings one straight to the list archives.

Enron's Global Crusade by Jon Nichols

"And Enron’s domestic activities are only a part of the story. To limit discussion of Enron to them is to miss the most dramatic lessons of this burgeoning scandal. “If you want to know where economic globalization along the lines cheered on by the WTO, the IMF, the World Bank, George W. Bush and Tony Blair is headed, look at Enron. Globalization has created an international no man’s land where businesses survive by engaging in financial practices that no responsible nation-state would permit,” says Tony Benn, Britain’s former minister of industry. “When you allow corporations to write their own rules in the global marketplace, which is what has essentially been the case in recent years, you will see unimaginable abuses.” Enron was big on writing the rules. Before its collapse, it held a place on the board of the National Foreign Trade Council, which worked with the WTO to forge trade policy. It sponsored the 1999 World Services Congress in Atlanta, where, Polaris Institute researchers say, the services industry set its agenda for a new round of WTO negotiations. Along with its accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, Enron was at the center of the shadowy US Coalition of Service Industries’ campaign to negotiate General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) schemes that remove restrictions on international commerce involving services. The GATS negotiations, which have been going on for two years under the aegis of the WTO, were described at the World Economic Forum by former Clinton Administration Treasury Department official Stuart Eizenstat as a move to “allow [Arthur] Andersen to export its accounting services to the world.” Eizenstat’s attempt at humor was actually a blunt statement of reality. The first rules for a profession developed by the WTO as part of the GATS negotiations were for the accounting sector–and the rules were indeed shaped with a big assist from Arthur Andersen. So what might appropriately be dubbed “Enron accounting” is already in the process of going global. The loosening of rules governing sectors of the global economy in which Enron was involved was a long-term corporate priority. During the go-go years of business expansion in the 1990s, the company scoured the planet in search of opportunities in countries that were embracing–sometimes willingly, often under pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund–“market-oriented reforms.” These public-policy shifts allowed multinational corporations to buy formerly public utilities and capitalize on the lifting of traditional regulations–moves that opened the door to aggressive global corporations like Enron. Forged in the last years of Ronald Reagan’s presidency by an ambitious former Pentagon economist named Ken Lay, Enron was a corporation designed to shape and then master the new economy of the post-cold war era. Lay preached what Britain’s Independent newspaper described as a “deregulation-happy philosophy” with such passion that The Economist would eventually describe Enron as “an evangelical cult” in which Lay was the messiah. Enron’s crusading globalism extended the corporation’s operations into virtually every sector of every economy worth owning a piece of, using all the tricks in the corporate globalizer’s handbook. “The thing that you have to understand about Enron is this: They have taken advantage of every opportunity globalization has presented them. They have been in the forefront of pushing deregulation and privatization, pushing for access to markets around the world, using pressure from the US government to open trade,” says the Polaris Institute’s Puscas. Once borders opened, once privatized industries were put up for sale and once sectors of economies were deregulated, Enron moved aggressively to gain advantage. Business Week explained that for companies like Enron, “the approach to globalization then was brutally simple: get in fast, strike megadeals with top officials, and watch the profits roll in.” Initially, it seemed, the model was working. Enron was often credited with putting new technologies to work in the service of its rapid expansion. But as much as the corporation benefited from the rise of the Internet, a case can be made that its bottom line gained at least as much from the opening of markets around the planet to swashbuckling corporate adventurers, who brought Texas-style business practice to Australia, Brazil and Croatia. Between 1998 and 2001 Enron’s foreign revenues increased from 7 percent to 23 percent of the company’s total revenues–adding $22.9 billion in 2001 to the coffers of a company that, it turns out, needed every cent it could get its hands on. Enron executives embraced the gospel of globalization with a fervor that portrayed free trade, deregulation, privatization and other planks in the neoliberal platform as the necessary and inevitable face of progress. “We are on the side of the angels,” declared former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling. “People want to have open, competitive markets.” That is a debatable point. When officials in the Indian state of Maharashtra took advantage of a recent relaxation of India’s restrictions on foreign investment to invite a joint venture led by Enron to build a power plant south of Bombay, nearby villagers were certainly not clamoring for the “open, competitive markets” Enron was offering. They worried that the Dabhol power-plant project would destroy their livelihoods and their environment. When they launched a movement to stop it, leading activists were dragged from their homes and beaten by Enron-paid “police” in what Human Rights Watch describes as “serious, sometimes brutal human rights violations carried out on behalf of the state’s and the company’s interests.” “Enron is now being widely accused of arrogance and lack of transparency, but the people of Dabhol have known that all along,” says Arvind Ganesan, who directs the group’s business and human rights program. “Enron was complicit in human rights abuse in India for several years.”

Who’s Fighting The War Against Cash?

Mastercard, Visa, and Bill Gates are all pushing for polices to make it harder to use cash, hoping to keep closer tabs on the population through the trail of electronic transactions. Here Norbert Haring speaks with Real News about the implications to the world and our future of the mostly US's combatants' war on cash, including the so called "Better Than Cash Alliance" including their involvement with India's demonetization.

The economics of populism by Dani Rodrik

(Video, quite good) "When it comes to free trade, democracy, and national sovereignty, you have to pick two and abandon one, so Dani Rodrik emphasizes. Herein lies the trilemma, which is related to a particular kind of globalization that we have been striving for since the 1980s, and which Rodrik calls hyperglobalization. It is an attempt to get rid of all the transactional costs associated with the national borders. This conception of globalization – which has been taken to its most extreme form in the Eurozone – runs into severe problems in practice, he argues. The trilemma manifests itself in all globalized sectors, such as trade, finance, and migration."

Put Globalization to Work for Democracies (and not the other way around)

By Dani Rodrik We need to rescue globalization not just from populists, but also from its cheerleaders. Globalization evangelists have done great damage to their cause not just by underplaying the real fears and concerns on which the Trumps of this world thrive, but by overlooking the benefits of a more moderate form of globalization. We must reassess the balance between national autonomy and economic globalization. Simply put, we have pushed economic globalization too far — toward an impractical version that we might call “hyperglobalization.” The transition to hyperglobalization is associated with two events in particular: the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s decision in 1989 to remove all restrictions on cross-border financial flows, and the establishment in 1995, after almost a decade of negotiations, of the World Trade Organization, with wide-ranging implications for domestic health and safety rules, subsidies and industrial policies. The new model of globalization stood priorities on their head, effectively putting democracy to work for the global economy, instead of the other way around. The elimination of barriers to trade and finance became an end in itself, rather than a means toward more fundamental economic and social goals. Societies were asked to subject domestic economies to the whims of global financial markets; sign investment treaties that created special rights for foreign companies; and reduce corporate and top income taxes to attract footloose corporations.

GATS: Public Services under Pressure to Liberalize:

Global Issue – Paper 1 GATS: Public Services under Pressure to Liberalize Published on occasion of the WTO-Conference in Cancún 2003- The GATS-negotiations in the WTO – A challenge for international civil society by Thomas Fritz & Peter Fuchs

Five danger signs: The GATS assault on sovereignty and democracy

..."The time has come for developing countries and concerned civil society organizations to take a fresh and critical look at what could happen to services sectors, to national sovereignty, policy space and democracy under the GATS. The following is a hit list of five dangers associated with the GATS regime and the current round of negotiations on services."

"H-1B visa restrictions illegal, US companies allege in lawsuit"

"He added that the lawsuit asks the court to “prohibit and enjoin” the USCIS overstepping the boundaries of its power and to prevent USCIS from introducing “unlawful requirements in the H-1B process”. “Without sufficient employees to meet their clients’ needs, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm to reputation and ability to compete,” the lawsuit says. “Defendants’ (USCIS) unlawful requirements will eventually choke out plaintiff’s work force through extension denials and refusing initial H-1B application. If left unchecked, Defendants will destroy Plaintiffs and hundreds of similar companies across the country.” The USCIS said it does not comment on pending litigation."

Bullshit Promises

by Curtis Bridgeman and Karen Sandrik A few years ago, the philosopher Harry Frankfurt published an essay provocatively entitled, "On Bullshit." Convinced both that our society is laden with bullshit and that we nevertheless do not have a clear idea of what it is, Frankfurt set out to explain what bullshit is and to distinguish it from lying. While the liar seeks to lead his listener to a false belief, the bullshitter is unconcerned with truth altogether. Although the project sounds at first like the essence of philosophical navel-gazing, Frankfurt was trying to make an important point about how this indifference to truth has caused us to lose our way a bit in philosophical and political discourse. In this project, we draw on Frankfurt's work to point out a disturbing trend in contract law: the use of bullshit promises. Bullshit promises are promises that are in a certain sense insincere even though they are not lying promises, at least not in a sense that would be actionable under the tort of promissory fraud. Promissory fraud is available in cases where a party makes a promise that it has no intention to keep, and it does so in order to deceive the promisee about its intentions. But it is quite common today for parties, especially companies dealing with consumers, to make promises that are not lying promises in that the promisor is not concealing an intention not to perform, but that are nevertheless insincere. In such cases a party uses promissory language but elsewhere reserves the right not to perform, or to change the terms of performance unilaterally as it sees fit. Such promises are not necessarily lying, especially if the promisor does not at the time have a specific plan to change the terms, but they are usually bullshit. By simply leaving its options open a party can help itself to the benefits of promissory language without being subject to the norms associated with promising, in particular some sort of commitment to a particular course of action. The tort of promissory fraud as now applied is not able to address this problem, but we will suggest minor modifications in both contract and tort that should help. At the very least, it is time courts and commentators recognized the phenomenon of bullshit promises and the potential challenges they create.

The Role of Glutathione in Protecting against the Severe Inflammatory Response Triggered by COVID-19

The novel COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world’s population differently: mostly in the presence of conditions such as aging, diabetes and hypertension the virus triggers a lethal cytokine storm and patients die from acute respiratory distress syndrome, whereas in many cases the disease has a mild or even asymptomatic progression. A common denominator in all conditions associated with COVID-19 appears to be the impaired redox homeostasis responsible for reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation; therefore, levels of glutathione (GSH), the key anti-oxidant guardian in all tissues, could be critical in extinguishing the exacerbated inflammation that triggers organ failure in COVID-19. The present review provides a biochemical investigation of the mechanisms leading to deadly inflammation in severe COVID-19, counterbalanced by GSH. The pathways competing for GSH are described to illustrate the events concurring to cause a depletion of endogenous GSH stocks. Drawing on evidence from literature that demonstrates the reduced levels of GSH in the main conditions clinically associated with severe disease, we highlight the relevance of restoring GSH levels in the attempt to protect the most vulnerable subjects from severe symptoms of COVID-19. Finally, we discuss the current data about the feasibility of increasing GSH levels, which could be used to prevent and subdue the disease. Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), glutathione, inflammation, ROS, N-acetylcysteine, NAC, glycine.

Silicon Valley's “Body Shop” Secret: Highly Educated Foreign Workers Treated Like Indentured Servants

The Future of Work in America? A year-long investigation by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) raises questions about a well-known visa program setup to recruit foreign workers to the US: Is it indentured servitude in the high tech age? Or is it a necessary business model to compete in a quickly changing high tech economy? NBC Bay Area and CIR’s team discovered an organized system that supplies cheap labor made up of highly-educated and highly-skilled foreign workers who come to the US via H-1B visas. Consulting firms recruit and then subcontract out skilled foreigners to major tech firms throughout the country and many in Silicon Valley.

"On TTIP and the NHS, they are trying to bamboozle us"

The TTIP trade treaty talks re-open in Brussels this week. We should not be reassured by the convenient 'leak' of a private letter between key TTIP advocates claiming the treaty poses no threat to the NHS. (This is part of a series (keyword: 'neoliberal deception') to show typical neoliberal tactics that are being used successfully to strip countries of democracy and public services as part of its global privatization agenda. Mistake #1 assuming they play by rules of any kind.)

FIRE IN THE BLOOD Preview Clip #1: Thematic Overview

FIRE IN THE BLOOD: http://www.fireintheblood.com https://www.facebook.com/fireintheblood Sundance Film Festival Official Selection 2013 A shocking exposé of how pharmaceutical companies use patent law to keep profits unconscionably high even at the expense of peoples' lives, and a plea for universal access to affordable, life-saving generic medicines. An intricate tale of "medicine, monopoly and malice", FIRE IN THE BLOOD tells the story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments aggressively blocked access to affordable AIDS drugs for the countries of Africa and the global south in the years after 1996 - causing ten million or more unnecessary deaths. It is also the inspiring story of the improbable group of people who decided to fight back. Shot on four continents and including contributions from global figures such as President Bill Clinton, Bishop Desmond Tutu and economist Joseph Stiglitz, FIRE IN THE BLOOD is the never-before-told true story of the remarkable coalition which came together to stop 'the Crime of the Century' and save millions of lives.

"Fire in the Blood": Millions Die in Africa After Big Pharma Blocks Imports of Generic AIDS Drugs (Democracy Now)

(From Democracy Now) The new documentary, "Fire in the Blood," examines how millions have died from AIDS because big pharmaceutical companies and the United States have refused to allow developing nations to import life-saving generic drugs. The problem continues today as the World Trade Organization continues to block the importation of generic drugs in many countries because of a trade deal known as the Trips Agreement. We're joined by the film's director, Dylan Mohan Gray, and Ugandan AIDS doctor Peter Mugyenyi, who was arrested for trying to import generic drugs, and is

Access to Medicines: Panel Discussion at Georgetown University about the "Crime of the Century" the disastrous murder by drug prices, of millions shown and discussed in the award winning film, Fire in the Blood

Doctors Without Borders and the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University screen (the 2013 film) Fire in the Blood and a discussion of challenges and opportunities for access to medicines, featuring a panel of distinguished speakers representing a range of expertise in the field of access to medicines.

Interpreting the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the WTO Instruments Relevant to the International Trade of Financial Services: The Lawyer's Perspective

25 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Com. Reg.1 (1999). by J. S. Jarreau, This is a very good essay on the GATS financial services provisions, especially their history and where they sit in the general GATS and WTO millieu. These additions to the GATS are of extreme relevance to anybody hoping to bring about any of the changes which US progressives want, which unfortunately have been locked down by the GATS, without the nation's ever having been informed. So if you are interested in those areas, "single pauer" (a tierless, national universal healthcare system, which is really the only way to gain sustainable universal healthcare within the GATS, - This requires we withdraw/modify relevant commitments via Article XXI) Also, banking, expansion of student loans, and loan forgiveness, free college, etc. Many things conflict with the new constraints GATS created.

Cultural Malware: The Rise of the RSS

India is part of the new global fascist alliance. We need to return democracy in all of our countries where it has been stolen by extremists, including our own.

Arkansas Senator calls slavery "a necessary evil" - showing how the United States is plagued by institutional racism at the highest levels of government

Cotton is trying to whip up a frenzy over a movement to teach our history without glossing over enslavement of millions of Africans who were sold into slavery in Africa and brought to the US in the 17th to 19th centuries. Many died on the journey. Cotton implied that commercial enslavement "was a necessary evil" suggests that enslavement of millions of Americans still is an option, a scary admission about capitalism which should be understood as having contemporary relevance.

International Institutions Today: An Imperial Global State in the Making, by B. S. Chimni

"The article argues that a growing network of international institutions — economic, social, and political — constitute a nascent global state, whose current task is to realize the interests of an emerging transnational capitalist class in the international system to the disadvantage of subaltern classes in the third and first worlds. The evolving global state formation can therefore be described as having an imperial character. Underpinning the emerging imperial global state is a web of sub-national authorities and spaces that represent, along with non-governmental organizations, its decentralized face. These developments, it is contended, seriously undermine substantive democracy at both inter-state and intra-state levels. Eight possible objections to the thesis that a nascent global state having an imperial character has evolved are next considered and rejected. The concluding section briefly explores the question as to whether international institutions can be reformed, the vision that should inform change, and some concrete proposals in this regard. It argues the case for a complex internationalism in which statist reforms are necessary in the short and medium terms. These reforms can only be brought about by a powerful global social movement."

European Parliament votes to strongly endorse new WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), de-linkage mechanisms, transparency, and compulsory licensing

On Friday, 10 July 2020, the European Parliament adopted a resolution entitled, *The EU’s public health strategy post-COVID-19* <https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2020-0205_EN.html>, by 526 votes to 105 and 50 abstentions. This resolution paves the way for the creation of a European Health Union and the establishment of a European Health Response Mechanism; the resolution contains strong language in support of WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), de-linkage mechanisms, transparency, and compulsory licensing.

The Trade, Investment and Competitiveness Implications of Unilateral Green Economic Pursuit (UNCTAD)

(NOTE: The creator of this site strongly disagrees with this approach to global economic integration) This PDF shows how trade in services (GATS) and procurement agreements such as the WTO "AGP" (or GPA) may likely block local green jobs programs in any countries that have made extensive commitments, due to restrictions against "local content requirements". This may mean that the "Green New Deal" could not be implemented under these FTAs without a withdrawing from the conflicting portions of these agreements entirely. Otherwise, going forward could have the exact opposite effect as desired with regard to local employment. It could actually decimate local employment in those areas. See Pages 11 and 12 in this document.

Neoliberalism is a species of fascism

by Manuela Cadelli, President of the Magistrates’ Union of Belgium, via Defend Democracy "The time for rhetorical reservations is over. Things have to be called by their name to make it possible for a co-ordinated democratic reaction to be initiated, above all in the public services. Liberalism was a doctrine derived from the philosophy of Enlightenment, at once political and economic, which aimed at imposing on the state the necessary distance for ensuring respect for liberties and the coming of democratic emancipation. It was the motor for the arrival, and the continuing progress, of Western democracies. Neoliberalism is a form of economism in our day that strikes at every moment at every sector of our community. It is a form of extremism. Fascism may be defined as the subordination of every part of the State to a totalitarian and nihilistic ideology. I argue that neoliberalism is a species of fascism because the economy has brought under subjection not only the government of democratic countries but also every aspect of our thought. The state is now at the disposal of the economy and of finance, which treat it as a subordinate and lord over it to an extent that puts the common good in jeopardy. The austerity that is demanded by the financial milieu has become a supreme value, replacing politics. Saving money precludes pursuing any other public objective. It is reaching the point where claims are being made that the principle of budgetary orthodoxy should be included in state constitutions. A mockery is being made of the notion of public service."

India Takes First Step Toward Challenging U.S. Visa Policy At WTO (March 10, 2016)

"India is also claiming that commitments made by the U.S. in its free trade agreements with Singapore and Chile to provide a certain number of H-1B visas to those countries violates the United States' commitment under GATS to annually provide 65,000 H-1Bs worldwide. However, the U.S. GATS schedule specifically states that it will offer "up to" 65,000 H-1B visas for persons annually on a worldwide basis. It also committed in its GATS schedule to allow entry for an unlimited number of qualifying L-1 visa holders."

The Critical Resource Theory of Fiduciary Duty

"Fiduciary law is messy. Courts routinely impose fiduciary duties in myriad relationships, including trustee-beneficiary, employee-employer, director-shareholder, attorney-client, and physician-patient. In each of these relationships, courts require fiduciaries to adhere to a general obligation of loyalty, 1 but countless variations on that theme tailor the general obligation to the specific context. In addition, courts regularly impose fiduciary obligations ad hoc in relationships where one person trusts another and becomes vulnerable to harm as a result. 2 Surveying this landscape, one of the leading commentators on the law of fiduciary obligation concluded that it is "atomistic," 3 and despite attempts to articulate a principled description of fiduciary relationships, 4 the prevailing view remains that fiduciary law is "elusive." 5 The purpose of this Article is to craft a unified theory of fiduciary duty."

Security of Property Rights for Whom? (Terra Lawson-Remer)

Property insecurity of non-elites can be compatible with or even enhance economic growth, but it also encourages conflict—which can undermine long-term growth and economic development. Using a new set of indicators which measure the property insecurity of marginalized ethno-cultural minority groups, this article demonstrates that the severity of property insecurity for the worst-off group in a country is strongly associated with the onset of armed conflict, and—once civil war is controlled for—property insecurity for marginalized minorities corresponds with higher growth rates. Economic growth can occur when the property rights of elites are secure but marginalized minorities face a high risk of expropriation, as land may be reallocated into the hands of investors with skills and access to capital. However, the potentially growth-enhancing effect of forced displacement and resettlement is reduced, because the property insecurity of minorities also increases the likelihood of armed conflict. 1. Introduction---------- ----------------------------------------------------------------- Perhaps you have heard of us. We are Mexican, mostly indigenous, and we took up arms on January 1, 1994 demanding a voice, a face and a name for the forgotten of the earth. Since then, the Mexican government has made war on us, pursues and harasses us seeking our death, our disappearance and our absolute silence. The reason? These lands are rich with oil, uranium and precious lumber. The government wants them for the great transnational companies. We want them for all Mexicans. The government sees our lands as a business. We see our history written in these lands. In order to defend our right (and that of all Mexicans) to live with liberty, democracy, justice and dignity we became an army and took on a name, a voice and face. (Subcomandante Marcos, Juana Ponce de León, April 1999, Letter to Mumia Abu Jamal)

Job Loss and Health in the U.S. Labor Market

While U.S. unemployment rates remain low, rates of job loss are high and rising. Job loss is also becoming increasingly common in more advantaged, white-collar occupations. This article is concerned with how these patterns impact the health of U.S. workers. Drawing on recent data from the U.S. Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I find that job loss harms health, beyond sicker people being more likely to lose their jobs. Respondents who lost jobs but were reemployed at the survey faced an increased risk of developing new health conditions; they were not, however, more likely to describe their health in negative terms. This suggests that recent job “churning” within the United States (i.e., high rates of job loss but low unemployment) may impact certain health outcomes but not others. I find no evidence that the health consequences of job loss differ across white- and blue-collar occupations, although health-related selection out of jobs appears stronger within the blue-collar category.

(Dis)placing trust: The long-term effects of job displacement on generalised trust over the adult lifecourse

Highlights • Experiencing job displacement leads to a decline in generalised trust over the adult lifecourse. • The effect of displacement scars adult trust, persisting even after re-employment occurs. • Displacement’s effect is observable at least nine years after the event occurred. • Individuals who attach greater value to employment experience a stronger negative effect of displacement. • A range of mediators drawn from the literature do not account for displacement’s effect.

Liberalisation Of Trade in Services Corporate Power at Work (GATSWatch/TNI/CEO)

The United Kingdom is home to a particularly influential services industry lobby, which operates through an organisation called International Financial Services, London (IFSL). Two IFSL working groups, the Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Committee and the High-Level LOTIS Group, constitute a veritable corporate-state alliance.

Local content in the oil and gas sector (World Bank)

"A number of countries have recently discovered and are developing oil and gas reserves. Policy makers in such countries are anxious to obtain the greatest benefits for their economies from the extraction of these exhaustible resources by designing appropriate policies to achieve desired goals. One important theme of such policies is the so-called local content created by the sector- the extent to which the output of the extractive industry sector generates further benefits to the economy beyond the direct contribution of its value-added, through its links to other sectors. Local Content Policies (LCPs) were first introduced in the North sea in the early 1970s and ranged from restrictions on imports to direct state intervention in the oil sector. While LCPs have the potential to stimulate broad-based economic development, which is necessary to alleviate poverty and achieve the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), their application in petroleum-rich countries has achieved mixed results. This paper serves to introduce the topic by describing policies and practices meant to foster the development of economic links from the petroleum sector, as adopted by a number of petroleum-producing countries both in and outside the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The paper is organized as follows: chapter one defines local content and briefly illustrates the links between the petroleum sector and other economic sectors (where policies may be able to increase the economic benefits of the petroleum sector). An attempt is made to measure local content levels in a wide sample of petroleum-producing countries including net importers and net exporters, and countries at different stages of economic development to put LCPs in context and to consider if the structure of an economy is a key driver of local content levels. Chapter two discusses the arguments that have been used in favor and against the use of productive development policies in general and LCPs in particular. Chapter three provides an outline of the tools and types of LCPs that have been used by petroleum producing countries, and present their strengths and weaknesses. Chapter four focuses on issues related to the measurement and monitoring of LCPs, and discusses the limitations of alternative metrics. Chapter five provides a description of LCP objectives, implementation tools, and reporting metrics used in a selected sample of oil-producing countries including Angola, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Trinidad and Tobago and draw initial lessons that may be relevant to other countries"

"The Future is Public: Towards Democratic Ownership of Public Services" (book)

Cities are fighting back against privatization globally, by remunicipalization (or remunicipalisation) bringing public services back under local control, in defiance of trade agreements that attempt to privatize them. This is a free resource on this important subject. This is hard to find info about in the US because it counters the idea that privatization/outsourcing, etc. is some irreversible force of nature.

US—India Visa Fee Controversy before the WTO: A Migration-Mobility Nexus for the WTO?

This is more about the outrageous DS-503 WTO dispute case that would allow unlimited guest workers to be imported into the US and other countries by foreign corporations, allowing them to do an end run around wage and labor laws and possibly ending the middle class most of us grew up with, and decent work for decent wages forever, possibly as soon as next year.

Special and Differential Treatment under the GATS

Unclassified TD/TC/WP(2005)24/FINAL Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 26-Jan-2006 Working Party of the Trade Committee SPECIAL AND DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT UNDER THE GATS OECD Trade Policy Working Paper No. 26 by the Trade Policy Linkages Division of the OECD Trade Directorate

Uncovering Offshore Financial Centers: Conduits and Sinks in the Global Corporate Ownership Network

"Multinational corporations use highly complex structures of parents and subsidiaries to organize their operations and ownership. Offshore Financial Centers (OFCs) facilitate these structures through low taxation and lenient regulation, but are increasingly under scrutiny, for instance for enabling tax avoidance. Therefore, the identification of OFC jurisdictions has become a politicized and contested issue. We introduce a novel data-driven approach for identifying OFCs based on the global corporate ownership network, in which over 98 million firms (nodes) are connected through 71 million ownership relations. This granular firm-level network data uniquely allows identifying both sink-OFCs and conduit-OFCs. Sink-OFCs attract and retain foreign capital while conduit-OFCs are attractive intermediate destinations in the routing of international investments and enable the transfer of capital without taxation. We identify 24 sink-OFCs. In addition, a small set of five countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland – canalize the majority of corporate offshore investment as conduit-OFCs. Each conduit jurisdiction is specialized in a geographical area and there is significant specialization based on industrial sectors. Against the idea of OFCs as exotic small islands that cannot be regulated, we show that many sink and conduit-OFCs are highly developed countries."

Liberalisation of Financial Services - by Stephen Woolcock

"Negotiations on a permanent agreement on financial services in the GATS are scheduled to be completed by mid December 1997. The prospects of success this year are better than in previous attempts in 1993 and 1995, but there is still much to do in a short time and still much work to be done. The current negotiations are shaped by compromises made during the Uruguay Round negotiations in order to get both developing country and US support for the approach adopted in the GATS. These compromises mean that there is no internal, liberalising dynamic in the negotiations. For the negotiations to succeed it is therefore necessary for all the key participants, which in the case of financial services effectively means some 30 WTO Members, to show the political will needed. "

"Next Generation" Trade and Investment Agreements: Upcoming Challenges for Public Services

This is an excellent recent presentation by a EU public services group about the attacks on public services in the EU by the trade agreements of countries like the US ('next generation' trade deals refers to US style negative list agreements which are particularly aggressive in privatizing and capturing public services, permanently (example, the US capture of healthcare around the globe by transnational corporations) ending public ownership and voter control over irreplaceable services and resources.. It shows the strategies which this global scheme, uses. Very much worth reading.

Human Trafficking and Slavery: Towards a New Framework for Prevention and Responsibility

By Dana S. Hathaway "Human trafficking and slavery are horrific crimes that require strict penalties for perpetrators and effective protections for survivors, but these crimes are in part facilitated by a system of laws and norms that effectively marginalize certain populations—the “unskilled” migrant. In this thesis I aim to reexamine and reinterpret the problem of human trafficking and slavery in a way that highlights the background conditions to the problem. - - - I argue that the framework used as a conceptual foundation for addressing the problem limits the scope of responsibility. Specifically, the framework fails to acknowledge structural contributing factors I show to be relevant: law, policy, and norms impacting immigration and migrant labor. I assert that the limited scope of responsibility, which focuses heavily on direct perpetrators of the crime, leaves largely unexamined the role of social-structural processes in contributing to the problem. I use the United States as a case study in order to provide a targeted analysis of social-structural processes that contribute to the problem. In this examination of the United States, I focus on agricultural and domestic slavery."

Declassified: Chinese official said at least 10,000 civilians died in 1989 Tiananmen massacre, documents show

A member of the Chinese State Council estimated that at least 10,000 civilians were killed in the Tiananmen massacre of June 4, 1989, declassified files reveal. Alan Donald, Britain’s ambassador when the Chinese government sent tanks into Tiananmen square to quell the student-led protests, sent telegrams to the foreign office on June 5, a day after the massacre. He said a person – whose name was redacted from the document – passed along the information from an unnamed member of the State Council. The documents from the UK National Archives in London were declassified in October and obtained by news site HK01.

GATS and Financial Services: Redefining Borders

"The First Annex brings financial services into the GATS definition of trade in services. Services conducted by a governmental authority, including central bank functions, statutory schemes for social security and retirement funds, and other government activities are excluded from the definition of services provided that such government does not permit private sector competition in the relevant area.' Members are permitted to retain a "prudential carve-out." That is, measures created for prudential reasons such as the protection of either depositors or financial system integrity are permitted so long as such measures are not designed to defeat the commitments under GATS. As with NAFTA, the prudential carve-out may have important implications: it will be the basis to defend virtually all actions in the financial services sector that are the subject of a dispute."

FDI and the right to regulate: Lessons from trade law

The problem of domestic regulation versus international trade and international investment. Note: This is part of a larger PDF - THE DEVELOPMENT DIMENSION OF FDI: POLICY AND RULE MAKING PERSPECTIVES Proceedings of the Expert Meeting held in Geneva from 6 to 8 November 2002

Global capitalism, the anti-globalisation movement and the Third World

There are some interesting insights in this paper, deconstructing the whole scheme from several different direstions. I like his observation that this outcome is not inevitable. We have agency, we just need to take back our right to regulate by dumping the corrupt politicians and their trade deals and neoliberal dogma. Thats all! *sigh*

Fresh air for sale

It started as a joke, but now people spend a fortune on bottled fresh air. Alex Moshakis reveals how global pollution is fuelling this fad

Food security as a global public good

For too long, agricultural, energy and development policies have lost sight of the need for food security. Yet, as a global public good, food security should be a structural objective of global governance. But reform of the latter is not sufficient and we should be fully aware of the role to be played by national policies, and of the growing importance of private stakeholders.

Thousands of National Guardsmen activated for COVID-19 will be one day short of qualifying for federal benefits

It sure looks like thousands of National Guardsmen who are helping states cope with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are about to get screwed out of federal benefits. Politico reporter Alice Miranda Ollstein first revealed that federal orders for roughly 40,000 Guardsmen are set to expire on June 24 – putting guardsmen just one day shy of being able to qualify for early retirement and education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill. A Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson confirmed to Task & Purpose that the federal government plans to stop funding the ongoing National Guard deployment on June 24.

'Ticking Time Bomb': Corporate Lawyers Openly Discussing Suing Nations Over Profits Lost to Covid-19 Measures

By Jake Johnson, Common Dreams. This is a major issue, Like Slovakia with its health insurance mess, in Achmea, once countries sign trade deals, they can't enact regulations that they need for common sense reasons, ISDS makes it impossible for countries to do things like close for epidemics, or limit business operations in needed ways, or (if they apply to foreign companies and their workers) It may even make it FTA illegal to raise minimum wages. Imagine if you could not fix deep seated problems like environmental risks, lack of affordable healthcare or rising education prices. That would be the US today. Thanks to ISDS and ISDS-like provisions in the WTO, now, for 20 years, corporations have always come first. This is why people can't be allowed to vote for improvements.

MSF briefing and position paper regarding WHA73 and COVID-19

MSF recommends the following actions to ensure access and equitable allocation of COVID-19 medical tools: * Adopt binding and enforceable measures * Encourage Member States to explore and use fully the existing policy and legal measures, including flexibilities under the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health * Ensure full transparency of all R&D funding agreements with explicit and binding obligations Briefing: https://msfaccess.org/sites/default/files/2020-05/WHA73-Briefing-12May2020.pdf Position paper: https://msfaccess.org/msf-access-campaign-position-paper-sharing-technologies-covid-19-ensure-equitable-access-all

Health Policy Watch: World Health Assembly Prepares For Show Of Unity On Global COVID-19 Response – But Potential Dispute Over Taiwan

Analysis 15/05/2020 • Elaine Ruth Fletcher The world seems set to make at least a symbolic display of unity in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), which begins on Monday. The WHO’s 194 member states are expected to overwhelmingly approve a European Union-led Resolution that aims to step up the global COVID-19 response, and ensure equitable access to treatments and future vaccines. But the show is unlikely to go off as smoothly as some might hope, and not only because the 73rd Assembly is meeting for the first time ever in a virtual format.

Anti-inflammatory effect of resveratrol in human coronary arterial endothelial cells via induction of autophagy: implication for the treatment of Kawasaki disease.

NOTE: Its not known if these effects would translate to beneficial effects in COVID-19 at all. Please don't think it's known if it would or would not, it's not. ------ Kawasaki disease (KD) is an acute febrile vasculitis in childhood, which is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children. If untreated, KD can result in coronary aneurysms in 25% of patients, and even under intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment, 10-20% of children will have IVIG resistance and increased risk of developing coronary arteritis complication. Additional therapies should be explored to decrease the incidence of coronary artery lesions and improve the prognosis in KD. Autophagy has been reported to play a critical role in a variety of heart diseases. Resveratrol (RSV) confers cardio protection during ischemia and reperfusion in rats via activation of autophagy. Serum TNF-alpha levels are elevated in KD, which might activate the endothelial cells to express intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cellular adhesion molecule-1(VCAM-1), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and IL-1β. METHODS: Human coronary arterial endothelial cells (HCAECs) were either untreated or treated by TNF-α 10 ng/ml for 2 h in the presence or absence of RSV or autophagy-related protein 16-like 1 (Atg16L1) siRNA. Total RNA was analyzed by real-time quantitative PCR for ICAM-1, VCAM-1, iNOS and IL-1β mRNA expressions. The involvement of autophagy proteins was investigated by Western blot. RESULTS: Pretreatment with resveratrol significantly inhibited TNF-α-induced ICAM-1, iNOS and IL-1β mRNA expression in HCAECs. Western blot revealed the enhanced autophagy proteins LC3B and Atg16L1 expression by RSV. The suppressive effects of RSV were obviously counteracted by Atg16L1 siRNA. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated RSV had anti-inflammatory effects on HCAECs via induction of autophagy. Our results suggest that resveratrol may modulate the inflammatory response of coronary artery in KD and explore the role of autophagy in the pathogenesis and alternative therapy of coronary arterial lesions in KD. KEYWORDS: Autophagy; Endothelial cells; Kawasaki disease; Resveratrol PMID: 28069066 PMCID: PMC5223384 DOI: 10.1186/s40360-016-0109-2

6000 Coronavirus dead unreported in Guayaquil: Corpses left on the sidewalk.

Ecuador has the highest per capita COVID-19 death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean. This story shows what will likely happen to the countries that have current infections if we abandon the social distancing too soon. The government should take care of people forced to stay at home, not give up on the poor and allow them to be evicted and forced to stand in line for aid. It should not be telling people to do things that will get them sick. This is why we should never have signed away the right to regulate. If we did not have GATS we could have public healthcare and housing, in particular. Not be trapped at a level set in the 90s. just before GATS (and perhaps soon TISA, TTIP, etc.) put us on their one way path to eventual "full unemployment" (due to it's massive offshoring, outsourcing, etc. jobs, a process which is only just beginning. Why? Its cheaper to offshore and outsource the jobs to temporary workers from developing countries than pay decent wages. That is "services liberalization": the Washington Consensus's real plan for everything. We should especially dump GATS before it dumps us.)

Antiviral properties of resveratrol against pseudorabies virus are associated with the inhibition of IκB kinase activation

Sci Rep. 2017; 7: 8782. Published online 2017 Aug 18. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09365-0 PMCID: PMC5562710 PMID: 28821840 Pseudorabies virus (PRV) is a pathogen of swine resulting in devastating disease and economic losses worldwide. Resveratrol (Res) exhibits inhibitory activity against a wide range of viruses. Despite these important advances, the molecular mechanism(s) by which Res exerts its broad biological effects have not yet been elucidated. In this paper, the antiviral activity of Res against PRV and its mechanism of action were investigated. The results showed that Res potently inhibited PRV replication in a dose-dependent manner, with a 50% inhibition concentration of 17.17 μM. The inhibition of virus multiplication in the presence of Res was not attributed to direct inactivation or inhibition of viral entry into the host cells but to the inhibition of viral multiplication in host cells. Further studies demonstrated that Res is a potent inhibitor of both NF-κB activation and NF-κB-dependent gene expression through its ability to inhibit IκB kinase activity, which is the key regulator in NF-κB activation. Thus, the inhibitory effect of Res on PRV-induced cell death and gene expression may be due to its ability to inhibit the degradation of IκB kinase. These results provided a new alternative control measure for PRV infection and new insights into the antiviral mechanism of Res.

Talking Points on Guest Workers

The future of work? (in the US?) This is a snapshot from 2005 but it could be today but for its emphasis on lower paid, agricultural workers. Services liberalization could involve millions of jobs, in dozens of fields, including large ones like teaching and nursing. Imagine an engineer working for $9/hr. (Not out of choice).

United Nations (Service Sectors) Sectoral Classification List (W/120) This is the service sector list that the WTO GATS uses.

The services sectoral classification list (W/120) is a comprehensive list of services sectors and sub-sectors covered under the GATS. It was compiled by the WTO in July 1991 and its purpose was to facilitate the Uruguay Round negotiations, ensuring cross-country comparability and consistency of the commitments undertaken. The 160 sub-sectors are defined as aggregate of the more detailed categories contained in the United Nations provisional Central Product Classification (CPC). The list is also available at the WTO website at: http://tsdb.wto.org/Includes/docs/W120_E.doc

Open letter asking 37 WTO Members to declare themselves eligible to import medicines manufactured under compulsory license in another country, under 31bis of TRIPS Agreement

Background In 2001, the World Trade Organization (WTO) began negotiations on the rules regarding patents and access to medicine. While several issues were clarified and resolved in the November 2001 “Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health”, the negotiations took nearly two more years to adopt on August 30, 2003, a decision that was a limited “waiver of the export restriction” on medicines and diagnostic tests manufactured under a compulsory license. The final resolution was complicated. Among the controversial features was the definition of an “eligible importing member”, which allowed WTO members to declare themselves ineligible in some cases or in all cases. In 2017, this decision became a formal amendment to the TRIPS agreement. Today 37 members of the WTO are listed as ineligible to import medicines manufactured in another country under a compulsory license, including the governments of Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, United States, and the European Union, including the following member states: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden. On April 7, 2020, more than 30 groups and three dozen experts on health, law and trade sent an open letter to those 37 WTO members, asking that “countries to notify the WTO that they have changed their policy and now considers itself an eligible importing country, and in addition, to also use whatever legal means are available to revoke the opt-out as importing members, for goods manufactured under a compulsory license.”

Certain U.S. Laws for Foreign Workers Draw Fire from India in the WTO (US Congress research "CRS" report)

This is an arguably incomplete, dismissive Congressional Research Reports report (PDF) on the DS503 case, but it fails to portray the situation with the needed urgency. . Note that they say that there is a possibility of the US losing the case, and having to modify behavior on the contested parts of our work visa system, which includes the visa quotas that limit the numbers of work visas granted per year. The effect of massive job outsourcing on workers is that many job ads turn out to be fake, using up jobseekers energy. It's only because of the quotas that far more jobs that can be, are not currently offshored. But the amount might rise very substantially. A very bad idea in this time of falling employment. GATS Mode Four and Three should be reduced or eliminated, not expanded. Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton found that 26% of all US jobs could be outsourced and offshored. A replication study of his study, attempting to verify his work found that actually 46% of our jobs are in immediate danger of outsourcing, But they left public services, the main target of GATS, out. So the actual number likely to be outsourced is potentially significantly higher.

Resveratrol inhibits rhinovirus replication and expression of inflammatory mediators in nasal epithelia.

Antiviral Res. 2015 Nov;123:15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2015.08.010. Epub 2015 Aug 19. Resveratrol inhibits rhinovirus replication and expression of inflammatory mediators in nasal epithelia. Mastromarino P1, Capobianco D2, Cannata F2, Nardis C2, Mattia E2, De Leo A2, Restignoli R3, Francioso A4, Mosca L4. Author information Abstract Human rhinoviruses (HRV), the cause of common colds, are the most frequent precipitants of acute exacerbation of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as causes of other serious respiratory diseases. No vaccine or antiviral agents are available for the prevention or treatment of HRV infection. Resveratrol exerts antiviral effect against different DNA and RNA viruses. The antiviral effect of a new resveratrol formulation containing carboxymethylated glucan was analyzed in H1HeLa cell monolayers and ex vivo nasal epithelia infected with HRV-16. Virus yield was evaluated by plaque assay and expression of viral capsid proteins by Western blot. IL-10, IFN-β, IL-6, IL-8 and RANTES levels were evaluated by ELISA assay. ICAM-1 was assessed by Western blot and immunofluorescence. Resveratrol exerted a high, dose-dependent, antiviral activity against HRV-16 replication and reduced virus-induced secretion of IL-6, IL-8 and RANTES to levels similar to that of uninfected nasal epithelia. Basal levels of IL-6 and RANTES were also significantly reduced in uninfected epithelia confirming an anti-inflammatory effect of the compound. HRV-induced expression of ICAM-1 was reversed by resveratrol. Resveratrol may be useful for a therapeutic approach to reduce HRV replication and virus-induced cytokine/chemokine production. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Human rhinovirus; Inflammatory mediators; Nasal epithelia; Resveratrol PMID: 26296578 DOI: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2015.08.010

Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol in airway disease.

Respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are a significant and increasing global health problem. These diseases are characterized by airway inflammation, which develops in response to various stimuli. In asthma, inflammation is driven by exposure to a variety of triggers, including allergens and viruses, which activate components of both the innate and acquired immune responses. In COPD, exposure to cigarette smoke is the primary stimulus of airway inflammation. Activation of airway inflammatory cells leads to the release of excessive quantities of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in oxidative stress. Antioxidants provide protection against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and thus may be useful in the management of inflammatory airways disease. Resveratrol, a polyphenol that demonstrates both antioxidative and anti-inflammatory functions, has been shown to improve outcomes in a variety of diseases, in particular, in cancer. We review the evidence for a protective role of resveratrol in respiratory disease. Mechanisms of resveratrol action that may be relevant to respiratory disease are described. We conclude that resveratrol has potential as a therapeutic agent in respiratory disease, which should be further investigated.

Resveratrol as a potential therapeutic drug for respiratory system diseases

Respiratory system diseases are common and major ailments that seriously endanger human health. Resveratrol, a polyphenolic phytoalexin, is considered an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer agent. Thanks to its wide range of biological activities, resveratrol has become a hotspot in many fields, including respiratory system diseases. Indeed, research has demonstrated that resveratrol is helpful to relieve pulmonary function in the general population. Meanwhile, growing evidence indicates that resveratrol plays a protective role in respiratory system diseases. This review aimed to summarize the main protective effects of resveratrol in respiratory system diseases, including its anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, antioxidant, antifibrotic, antihypertensive, and anticancer activities. We found that resveratrol plays a protective role in the respiratory system through a variety of mechanisms, and so it may become a new drug for the treatment of respiratory system diseases. Keywords: respiratory system diseases, resveratrol, inflammation, apoptosis, oxidation

WebMD on COVID-19 CNS symptoms

It's mainstream recognition that this is a danger to people, and that brainstem involvement may be one of the reasons people stop breathing. Personally, I suspect from what I have read that its a significant cause of mortality in COVID-19. If we can protect the brain, prevent apoptosis, far fewer people may die.

"Overshoot and collapse"? Was "The Limits to Growth" right or wrong?

The advocates for extreme capitalism act as if the often bad outcomes accruing to the "losers" of globalization are somehow carved in stone and cannot be changed. This is just plan wrong. They hide GATS and similar deals because its mostly because of it that things are stuck in this rut.

A tale of two treaties

I stumbled across this essay from 2005 because its literally one of just two instances of the term "services of general economic interest" left on the web. I seriously think that search engines are scrubbing instances of these terms that are essential to understanding GATS and similar deals. (in this case the governmental authority exclusion) Why are they doing that, why do you think they are, to deceive you and me, that's why.

Some analyses of domestic regulation disciplines – compilation for MC11 (2017)

This is a recent analysis of proposed (by a number of countries) Disciplines on Domestic Regulation from Sanya Reid Smith of TWN, an NGO that has been involved in WTO matters for a long time. It was made before the recent WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. You can see that its the WTO which is disciplining the countries domestic regulations. ------------------------------------------ Introduction Domestic regulation disciplines on services are being negotiated in a number of trade agreements including at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) 1 and in other free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 2 and those being negotiated by the European Union (EU) 3 . It seems that domestic regulation disciplines (DRD) will also be negotiated at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) from 10-13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 4 The European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland etc (‘EU et al’) released their DRD proposed text on 1 December 2017. 5 "These proposed DRD would restrict laws and regulations re services licensing etc, even non-discriminatory laws which apply to domestic and foreign companies equally. Yet, as United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) staff note, services regulation is important for a number of reasons including: protecting consumers, ensuring universal access to essential services cultural diversity, quality, safety, correcting market failures (eg: information asymmetry where the service provider has more information than the consumer, natural monopolies, negative externalities (eg environmental degradation from transport) where those not directly involved suffer costs). 6 After highlighting that many regulatory frameworks are still at an emerging stage in developing countries the UNCTAD staff conclude that ‘it is key for developing countries that international rules for services trade preserve the right to regulate (RtR) and grant the necessary policy space to experiment in the search for those policies that best suit individual countries’ specific, developmental needs.’ Given this, the UNCTAD staff note that ‘one would expect developing countries to take a cautious, rather than an offensive approach towards the development of these disciplines, with their main goal to preserve the RtR.’ 7 This compilation includes excerpts from existing analyses of the same DRD proposed in the WTO or in TISA." ----------------------------------- Compiled by Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network

The Necessity Test The following communication has been received from the delegation of Korea with the request that it be circulated to the Members of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA 1. There have been many constructive discussions on how to define the “necessity test” in the context of domestic regulation for trade in services. The proposals made by Canada, Australia, and EC have each contributed to stimulating and advancing the discussions in this area. However, as each proposal and relevant agreement uses different wording for outlining and defining the necessity test, there has been some confusion as to the exact meaning and implications of its use. 2. Korea is of the view that the different wording – such as “trade-restrictive” or “burdensome,” – despite some variance in nuance and focus, does not differ in their implications. This paper thus aims to clarify any differences that exist, elaborate on the possible alternatives that can be used, and suggest a draft provision for the necessity test that could be used in establishing multilateral rules for domestic regulation. 3. In the meantime, there still remain unresolved issues like what should be considered a “legitimate policy objective,” or what factors should be considered to determine the feasibility of an alternative measure. For an effective and strict application of the necessity test, these two issues need to be resolved. However, they will have to be discussed at another time.

Access to Care After Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform: A Safety Net Hospital Patient Survey

J Gen Intern Med. 2012 Nov; 27(11): 1548–1554. Published online 2012 Jul 24. doi: 10.1007/s11606-012-2173-7 PMCID: PMC3475814 PMID: 22825807 ------------------------- Access to Care After Massachusetts’ Health Care Reform: A Safety Net Hospital Patient Survey -------------------------- Danny McCormick, MD, MPH,corresponding author1,3 Assaad Sayah, MD,2,3 Hermione Lokko, BA,3 Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH,4 and Rachel Nardin, MD1,3 ------------------- Access to CARE and needed medications for people on fixed or low incomes with chronic medical conditions in urban areas DECLINED after Massachusetts' much hyped 2006 Health Care Reform, which was one of the models for ObamaCare. ----------------------------

Resveratrol was predicted to have possible activity against COVID-19 by a cutting edge medical informatics program looking for substances active against coronavirus induced heart damage.

Exploration of omics mechanism and drug prediction of coronavirus-induced heart failure based on clinical bioinformatics. --------------------- Objective: Present study investigated the mechanism of heart failure associated with coronavirus infection and predicted potential effective therapeutic drugs against heart failure associated with coronavirus infection. KEYWORDS: Bioinformatics; Coronavirus infections; Drug prediction; Heart failure PMID: 32228827 DOI: 10.3760/cma.j.cn112148-20200308-00172

Synthesis of stilbene derivatives with inhibition of SARS coronavirus replication.

Eur J Med Chem. 2006 Sep;41(9):1084-9. Epub 2006 Jul 27. Synthesis of stilbene derivatives with inhibition of SARS coronavirus replication. Li YQ1, Li ZL, Zhao WJ, Wen RX, Meng QW, Zeng Y. Author information Abstract Stilbene derivatives have wide range of activities. In an effort to find other potential activities of this kind of compounds, 17 derivatives, including resveratrol, were synthesized. Twelve of them were evaluated for their antiviral potential against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-induced cytopathicity in Vero E6 cell culture. The result showed that SARS virus was totally inhibited by compounds 17 and 19 (<or=0.5 mg ml(-1)) and no significant cytotoxic effects were observed in vitro. PMID: 16875760 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2006.03.024 [Indexed for MEDLINE] Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+

Covid-19 and the Digestive System.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2020 Mar 25. doi: 10.1111/jgh.15047. [Epub ahead of print] Covid-19 and the Digestive System. Wong SH1,2, Lui RN1,2, Sung JJ1,2. Author information Abstract The novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is currently causing a major pandemic. It is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a member of the Betacoronavirus genus that also includes the SARS-CoV and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). While patients typically present with fever and a respiratory illness, some patients also report gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Studies have identified the SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool specimens of infected patients, and its viral receptor angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) was found to be highly expressed in gastrointestinal epithelial cells. These suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can actively infect and replicate in the gastrointestinal tract. This has important implications to the disease management, transmission, and infection control. In this article, we review the important gastrointestinal aspects of the disease. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. KEYWORDS: Covid-19; coronavirus; diarrhoea; gastrointestinal infection; pneumonia PMID: 32215956 DOI: 10.1111/jgh.15047 Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+

Review article: Gastrointestinal features in COVID-19 and the possibility of faecal transmission.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2020 Mar 29. doi: 10.1111/apt.15731. [Epub ahead of print] Review article: Gastrointestinal features in COVID-19 and the possibility of faecal transmission. Tian Y1, Rong L1, Nian W1, He Y1. Author information Abstract BACKGROUND: There is little published evidence on the gastrointestinal features of COVID-19. AIMS: To report on the gastrointestinal manifestations and pathological findings of patients with COVID-19 and discuss the possibility of faecal transmission METHODS: We have reviewed gastrointestinal features of, and faecal test results in, COVID-19 from case reports and retrospective clinical studies relating to the digestive system published since the outbreak. RESULTS: With an incidence of 3%(1/41)-79% (159/201), gastrointestinal symptoms of COVID-19 included anorexia 39.9%(55/138)-50.2%(101/201), diarrhoea 2%(2/99)-49.5%(146/295), vomiting 3.6%(5/138)-66.7%(4/6), nausea 1%(1/99)-29.4%(59/201), abdominal pain 2.2%(3/138)-6.0%(12/201), and gastrointestinal bleeding 4%(2/52)-13.7%(10/73). Diarrhoea was the most common gastrointestinal symptom in children and adults, with a mean duration of 4.1 ± 2.5 days, and was observed before and after diagnosis. Vomiting was more prominent in children. 3.6%(5/138)-15.9%(32/201) of adult patients presented vomiting and 6.5%(2/31)-66.7%(4/6) of children. Adult and children patients can present with digestive symptoms in the absence of respiratory symptoms. The incidence of digestive manifestations was higher in the later than in the early stage of the epidemic, but no differences in digestive symptoms among different regions were found. Among the group of patients with a higher proportion of severe cases, the proportion of gastrointestinal symptoms in severe patients was higher than that in non-severe patients (anorexia 66.7% vs 30.4%; abdominal pain 8.3% vs 0%); while in the group of patients with a lower severe rate, the proportion of gastrointestinal symptoms were similar in severe and non-severe cases (nausea and vomiting 6.9% vs 4.6%; diarrhoea 5.8% vs 3.5%). ACE2 receptor and virus nucleocapsid protein was detected in gastrointestinal epithelial cells, and infectious virus particles were isolated from faeces. Faecal PCR testing was as accurate as respiratory specimen PCR detection. About 36%(5/14)-53%(39/73) faecal PCR becomes positive, 2-5 days later than sputum PCR positive. Faecal excretion persisted after sputum excretion in 23%(17/73)-82%(54/66) patients for 1-11 days. CONCLUSIONS: Gastrointestinal symptoms are common in patients with COVID-19, and had an increased prevalence in the later stage of the recent epidemic. SARS-CoV-2 enters gastrointestinal epithelial cells, and the faeces of COVID-19 patients were infectious. PMID: 32222988 DOI: 10.1111/apt.15731

Neuroinfection may potentially contribute to pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of COVID-19.

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2020 Mar 29:e13473. doi: 10.1111/apha.13473. [Epub ahead of print] Neuroinfection may potentially contribute to pathophysiology and clinical manifestations of COVID-19. Steardo L1,2, Steardo L Jr3, Zorec R4,5, Verkhratsky A5,6. Author information Abstract The new coronavirus, classified as SARS-CoV-2 that emerged in Hubei province in China, causes a new coronavirus disease, which was termed COVID-19 by WHO on February 11, 2020. COVID-19 claimed almost 19000 lives around the world by March 25, 2020. PMID: 32223077 DOI: 10.1111/apha.13473

The Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity on the Viability of the SARS Coronavirus

The main route of transmission of SARS CoV infection is presumed to be respiratory droplets. However the virus is also detectable in other body fluids and excreta. The stability of the virus at different temperatures and relative humidity on smooth surfaces were studied. The dried virus on smooth surfaces retained its viability for over 5 days at temperatures of 22–25°C and relative humidity of 40–50%, that is, typical air-conditioned environments. However, virus viability was rapidly lost (>3 log10) at higher temperatures and higher relative humidity (e.g., 38°C, and relative humidity of >95%). The better stability of SARS coronavirus at low temperature and low humidity environment may facilitate its transmission in community in subtropical area (such as Hong Kong) during the spring and in air-conditioned environments. It may also explain why some Asian countries in tropical area (such as Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand) with high temperature and high relative humidity environment did not have major community outbreaks of SARS.

Hidden Holocaust: Young Californian, turned away by urgent care facility because he was uninsured dies of cardiac arrest due to coronavirus

[WE HAVE GATS AND DISHONEST POLITICIANS AND MEDIA TO THANK FOR THIS] We still don’t know much about the 17-year-old who may have died of COVID-19 in California. He lived in the city of Lancaster; his father, also sick, is an Uber driver. He had no known preexisting conditions, and no health insurance either, according to a new Gizmodo report. In a YouTube video, Rex Parris, the mayor of Lancaster, suggested the teenager’s lack of insurance contributed to his death. When the sick teen reported to urgent care, staff allegedly turned him away. “He didn’t have insurance, so they did not treat him,” Parris said. Instead, they told him to go to a nearby public hospital. He tried. But the delay may have cost him his life. “En route to AV Hospital, he went into cardiac arrest. When he got to AV Hospital they were able to revive him and keep him alive for about six hours,” Parris continued. “But by the time he got there, it was too late.” Though the teen tested positive for COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation into his death to rule out any other medical factors in his death. But he wouldn’t be the only COVID-19 patient to die partly because of a lack of health insurance. A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, woman died from the virus after she refused to go to the hospital for care. “She didn’t have insurance. She thought she might not be able to pay the bills,” her son told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There are probably other cases like theirs, and behind each one, a person killed by our collective failure to protect them. About 45 percent of American adults were either uninsured or underinsured in 2018, the Commonwealth Fund estimates. Those people are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of any pandemic. They’re more likely to wait to seek care for fear of the expense, or to go entirely without it, and their ranks will increase over the next weeks and months. Because we tie health insurance to employment, a COVID-connected recession could potentially strand thousands, if not millions, without secure access to health care in the middle of a pandemic. Our health-care system is not the best in the world, as the New York Times credulously claimed a few days ago. It is failing. Heavily privatized, dependent on the whims of industry and the vagaries of insurance companies, it is collapsing under the weight of a crisis. Rural hospitals continue to close for lack of funds, and leave the communities they serve without quick access to care. Even in wealthy, urban areas, doctors and nurses don’t have enough masks, enough ventilators, enough protective shields, enough scrubs. In Philadelphia, city officials tried and failed to convince the millionaire owner of Paladin Healthcare, Joel Freedman, to lease them the public hospital he purchased and closed last summer. Sprawling corporations donate masks here and there. But charity can’t plug the gaps through which the poor and the dying fall. Health care is a public good. Policy-makers just don’t treat it that way, and now we’re reaping what they’ve sown.

Evidence of the COVID-19 Virus Targeting the CNS: Tissue Distribution, Host–Virus Interaction, and Proposed Neurotropic Mechanisms

The recent outbreak of coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) has gripped the world with apprehension and has evoked a scare of epic proportion regarding its potential to spread and infect humans worldwide. As we are in the midst of an ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, scientists are struggling to understand how it resembles and differs from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) at the genomic and transcriptomic level. In a short time following the outbreak, it has been shown that, similar to SARS-CoV, COVID-19 virus exploits the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to gain entry inside the cells. This finding raises the curiosity of investigating the expression of ACE2 in neurological tissue and determining the possible contribution of neurological tissue damage to the morbidity and mortality caused by COIVD-19. Here, we investigate the density of the expression levels of ACE2 in the CNS, the host–virus interaction and relate it to the pathogenesis and complications seen in the recent cases resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, we debate the need for a model for staging COVID-19 based on neurological tissue involvement. Keywords: Coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, ACE2 tissue distribution, host−virus interaction, spike protein