(Subjects: Religion/Worship, Lightworkers, Food, Health, Prescription Drugs, Homeopathy, Innate (Body intelligence), New Age movement, Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)

“…… Should I use Doctors and Drugs to Heal Me or Spiritual Methods?

"Dear Kryon, I have heard that you should stay natural and not use the science on the planet for healing. It does not honor God to go to a doctor. After all, don't you say that we can heal with our minds? So why should we ever go to a doctor if we can do it ourselves? Not only that, my doctor isn't enlightened, so he has no idea about my innate or my spiritual body needs. What should I do?"

First, Human Being, why do you wish to put so many things in boxes? You continue to want a yes and no answer for complex situations due to your 3D, linear outlook on almost everything. Learn to think out of the 3D box! Look at the heading of this section [above]. It asks which one should you do. It already assumes you can't do both because they seem dichotomous.

Let's use some spiritual logic: Here is a hypothetical answer, "Don't go to a doctor, for you can heal everything with your mind." So now I will ask: How many of you can do that in this room right now? How many readers can do that with efficiency right now? All of you are old souls, but are you really ready to do that? Do you know how? Do you have really good results with it? Can you rid disease and chemical imbalance with your mind right now?

I'm going to give you a truth, whether you choose to see it or not. You're not ready for that! You are not yet prepared to take on the task of full healing using your spiritual tools. Lemurians could do that, because Pleiadians taught them how! It's one of the promises of God, that there'll come a day when your DNA works that efficiently and you will be able to walk away from drug chemistry and the medical industry forever, for you'll have the creator's energy working at 100 percent, something you saw within the great masters who walked the earth.

This will be possible within the ascended earth that you are looking forward to, dear one. Have you seen the news lately? Look out the window. Is that where you are now? We are telling you that the energy is going in that direction, but you are not there yet.

Let those who feel that they can heal themselves begin the process of learning how. Many will be appreciative of the fact that you have some of the gifts for this now. Let the process begin, but don't think for a moment that you have arrived at a place where every health issue can be healed with your own power. You are students of a grand process that eventually will be yours if you wish to begin the quantum process of talking to your cells. Some will be good at this, and some will just be planting the seeds of it.

Now, I would like to tell you how Spirit works and the potentials of what's going to happen in the next few years. We're going to give the doctors of the planet new inventions and new science. These will be major discoveries about the Human body and of the quantum attributes therein.

Look at what has already happened, for some of this science has already been given to you and you are actually using it. Imagine a science that would allow the heart to be transplanted because the one you have is failing. Of course! It's an operation done many times a month on this planet. That information came from the creator, did you realize that? It didn't drop off the shelf of some dark energy library to be used in evil ways.

So, if you need a new heart, Lightworker, should you go to the doctor or create one with your mind? Until you feel comfortable that you can replace your heart with a new one by yourself, then you might consider using the God-given information that is in the hands of the surgeon. For it will save your life, and create a situation where you stay and continue to send your light to the earth! Do you see what we're saying?

You can also alter that which is medicine [drugs] and begin a process that is spectacular in its design, but not very 3D. I challenge you to begin to use what I would call the homeopathic principle with major drugs. If some of you are taking major drugs in order to alter your chemistry so that you can live better and longer, you might feel you have no choice. "Well, this is keeping me alive," you might say. "I don't yet have the ability to do this with my consciousness, so I take the drugs."

In this new energy, there is something else that you can try if you are in this category. Do the following with safety, intelligence, common sense and logic. Here is the challenge: The principle of homeopathy is that an almost invisible tincture of a substance is ingested and is seen by your innate. Innate "sees" what you are trying to do and then adjusts the body's chemistry in response. Therefore, you might say that you are sending the body a "signal for balance." The actual tincture is not large enough to affect anything chemically - yet it works!

The body [innate] sees what you're trying to do and then cooperates. In a sense, you might say the body is healing itself because you were able to give it instructions through the homeopathic substance of what to do. So, why not do it with a major drug? Start reducing the dosage and start talking to your cells, and see what happens. If you're not successful, then stop the reduction. However, to your own amazement, you may often be successful over time.

You might be able to take the dosage that you're used to and cut it to at least a quarter of what it was. It is the homeopathy principle and it allows you to keep the purpose of the drug, but reduce it to a fraction of a common 3D dosage. You're still taking it internally, but now it's also signaling in addition to working chemically. The signal is sent, the body cooperates, and you reduce the chance of side effects.

You can't put things in boxes of yes or no when it comes to the grand system of Spirit. You can instead use spiritual logic and see the things that God has given you on the planet within the inventions and processes. Have an operation, save your life, and stand and say, "Thank you, God, for this and for my being born where these things are possible." It's a complicated subject, is it not? Each of you is so different! You'll know what to do, dear one. Never stress over that decision, because your innate will tell you what is appropriate for you if you're willing to listen. ….”

Monsanto / GMO - Global Health


(Subjects: Big pharma [the drug companies of America] are going to have to change very soon or collapse. When you have an industry that keeps people sick for money, it cannot survive in the new consciousness., Global Unity, ... etc.) - (Text version)
"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Lose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Pedal wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)
"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)
"THE BRIDGE OF SWORDS" – Sep 29, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: ... I'm in Canada and I know it, but I will tell those listening and reading in the American audience the following: Get ready! Because there are some institutions that are yet to fall, ones that don't have integrity and that could never be helped with a bail out. Again, we tell you the biggest one is big pharma, and we told you that before. It's inevitable. If not now, then in a decade. It's inevitable and they will fight to stay alive and they will not be crossing the bridge. For on the other side of the bridge is a new way, not just for medicine but for care. ....) - (Text Version)

Pharmaceutical Fraud / Corruption cases

Health Care

Health Care
Happy birthday to Percy Julian, a pioneer in plant-drug synthesis. His research produced steroids like cortisone. (11 April 2014)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bugs on the menu at Swiss supermarket

Yahoo – AFP, August 14, 2017

Protein-rich mealworms make up the bulk of the "insect balls" due to go on
sale at Switzerland's Coop supermarket (AFP Photo/Dieter Nagl)

Geneva (AFP) - Switzerland's first insect-based food aimed at humans will go on sale next week following a revision of the country's food safety laws, a supermarket chain said Monday.

Switzerland's second-largest supermarket chain, Coop, announced it would begin selling an insect burger, and insect balls, based on protein-rich mealworm.

The products, made by a Swiss start-up called Essento, will be available in a handful of Coop branches, including in Geneva, Bern and Zurich, as of August 21, according to a statement.

Switzerland is the first European country to authorise the sale of insect-based food items for human consumption, a spokeswoman for the country's food safety authority told AFP.

Swiss food safety laws were changed last May to allow for the sale of food items containing three types of insects: crickets, grasshoppers and mealworms, which are the larval form of the mealworm beetle.

These insects, long used in animal feed, must be bred under strict supervision for four generations before they are considered appropriate for human consumption, according to Swiss law.

Local production will thus take a few months to get started.

In the meantime, imports are possible under strict conditions -- the insects must be raised in accordance with the Swiss requirements at a company submitted to inspections by national food safety authorities.

Related Article:




Saturday, August 12, 2017

World's oldest man dead in Israel at 113: media

Yahoo – AFP, August 11, 2017

A file picture released by Guinness World Records on March 11, 2016 shows
Marco Frigatti (R), head of Records for Guinness World Records, presenting Yisrael
 Kristal with his certificate of achievement for oldest living man, in the presence of
Kristal's daughter, son and two grandchildren (AFP Photo/Dvir Rosen)

Jerusalem (AFP) - Israeli Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal, certified last year by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest man, died on Friday aged 113, Israeli media reported.

Since he was an observant Jew, his family could not be reached on Friday evening, the onset of the Jewish sabbath.

"Yisrael Kristal... died on Friday a month before his 114th birthday," Haaretz daily reported in its online edition.

News site Ynet said he was survived by two children, 9 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren.

The World Jewish Congress noted his passing in a brief Twitter statement.

"Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal was the oldest man in the world. Yisrael passed away today. May his memory be a blessing."

Kristal, originally from Zarnow in what is now Poland, was born on September 15, 1903 -- three months before the Wright brothers' first successful powered airplane flight.

Guinness World Records recognised him as the world's oldest man in March 2016.

In September he celebrated his Bar Mitzvah after a century-long delay.

Usually marked at 13 for boys and 12 or 13 for girls -- a Bat Mitzvah in that case -- it marks the transition into someone responsible for his or her actions.

Yisrael Kristal pictured on January 22, 2016 at his home in the Israeli 
city of Haifa (AFP Photo/SHULA KOPERSHTOUK)

Kristal was unable to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in 1916 because his mother had died three months earlier and his father was a soldier in the Russian army at the time of World War I.

"My father is religious and has prayed every morning for 100 years, but he has never had his Bar Mitzvah," his daughter Shula Koperstoch told AFP last year.

After World War I, Kristal moved to Lodz where he worked in the family confectionary factory, married and had two children.

But his life was disrupted when the Jewish quarter of the city became a ghetto under Nazi occupation during World War II and Kristal was sent to the infamous Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Around 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, perished in the camp between 1940 and 1945 before it was liberated by Soviet forces.

His wife and two children died but Kristal survived, weighing just 37 kilos (81 pounds) at the end of the war.

He then moved to Israel, where he opened a sweet shop.

Guinness World Records' website said that on receiving his certificate at his home in the northern Israeli city of Haifa last year Kristal offered no explanation for his longevity.

"I don't know the secret for long life. I believe that everything is determined from above and we shall never know the reasons why," he said.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Doctors at heart of US opioid crisis

Yahoo – AFP, Nova SAFO, August 10, 2017

Doctors in the United States prescribe more opioids than in any other
country -- enough to medicate every American adult

When 55-year-old Sheila Bartels left her doctor's office in Oklahoma, she had a prescription for 510 painkillers.

She died the same day of an overdose.

Her doctor, Regan Nichols, is now facing five second-degree murder charges -- one for each patient who overdosed after she prescribed them opioid drugs, such as Oxycontin -- prescriptions that can lead to addiction.

"Doctors bear enormous responsibility for the opioid crisis," said David Clark, a professor of anesthesiology at Stanford University who worked on a government-sponsored panel that studied the crisis, and recommended new training and guidelines for health care providers and regulators.

"We didn't have (a crisis) until doctors became enamored with what they imagined to be the potential for opioids in controlling chronic pain," Clark told AFP.

An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioid drugs -- many forced to buy pills illegally when prescriptions run out. Some, in desperation, resort to heroin and synthetic opioids smuggled into the US by Mexican drug cartels.

Ninety people die every day in the United States from opioid overdoses.

More than 180,000 have died since 1999, including pop icon Prince, who passed away in April 2016 at age 57 after an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller.

Doctors in the United States prescribe more opioids than in any other country -- enough to medicate every American adult.

While those physicians who are prosecuted for overprescribing make headlines, experts say they are not solely to blame, and that the US health care system as a whole must be held accountable for the country's spiralling opioid epidemic.

"Pharmaceutical companies targeted general practitioner doctors, the ones who see most of the people who have pain," Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine, whose state has been hard hit by the crisis, told AFP.

"I think they certainly were misled, and they were told things that were not true."

Pop icon Prince passed away in April 2016 at the age of 57 after an
accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller

Years in the making

The problem is not a new one -- it began two decades ago, as doctors were being taught to better manage their patients' pain and drug companies were touting the efficacy of opioid painkillers.

The painkillers -- meant only for patients in the most dire need -- started getting into the hands of those with chronic conditions that had been treated with simple over-the-counter drugs like aspirin.

And they didn't know they were addictive.

"You had people with a simple toothache, or knee surgery, or back surgery, that were on these opioids for too long a period of time or prescribed a higher dosage than they needed," said Robert Ware, chief of police in the town of Portsmouth, Ohio, which became a sort of ground zero for the crisis.

As more and more people were getting addicted, "pill mills" began to pop up in Portsmouth and across the nation to meet demand. These clinics were run by doctors who would prescribe opioid drugs to anyone who could pay.

In Portsmouth, a struggling Ohio town bordering two other states where the steel industry was once king, Ware was seeing pill mills become part of the economy, as addicts from nearby states traveled there to get their fix.

Eventually, state regulators and local law enforcement shut down the pill mills by arresting doctors and requiring that clinics be associated with established, reputable medical programs.

The Justice Department has promised a further crackdown on unscrupulous doctors and pharmacists.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump -- hosting a meeting on the crisis during his summer vacation -- suggested more prosecutions as a whole may be necessary.

An estimated two million Americans are addicted to opioid drugs -- many forced 
to buy pills illegally when prescriptions run out and some, in desperation, resort to
heroin and synthetic opioids

Arrests not the only answer

But in Portsmouth, Ware said the community has learned a tough lesson.

"You cannot arrest your way out of this problem," the chief said.

The town's opioid addicts came from a cross-section of society, because most got hooked through legitimate prescriptions.

And addicts needed help to recover over the long run.

So Portsmouth beefed up its health care offerings and addiction treatment -- and went from being a haven for pill mills to a refuge for recovery.

Overdoses there are now trending downward, in contrast to the rest of the country, Ware said.

"We are kind of ahead of the curve in getting out of the problem," he said.

A new target

Across the country, overall drug overdose deaths are rising to new highs -- 60,000 estimated fatalities in 2016. Certain states, like Ohio and West Virginia, have been harder hit than others.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dutch egg probe widens to chicken meat tests

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte van Ouwerkerk and Jan Hennop, August 8, 2017

"Chickens have feelings too": Dutch animal activists wave banners and placards
as they stage a protest at a poultry farm in Witteveen (AFP Photo/Erik Brinkhorst)

The Hague (AFP) - In a new twist in Europe's tainted egg scandal, Dutch authorities announced Tuesday they had started testing chicken meat coming from affected poultry farms to determine whether it was also contaminated.

Scientists are looking for the presence of the insecticide fipronil, a substance potentially dangerous to humans, after supermarkets in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland pulled millions of eggs from the shelves.

"We are currently testing chicken meat in the poultry farms where eggs were infected to determine whether the meat is contaminated as well," Tjitte Mastenbroek, spokesman for food security agency NVWA, told AFP.

The probe focuses on "a few dozen" farms that produce both eggs and chicken meat, NVWA said.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Safety Board, the country's agency looking into civilian safety issues, announced it was opening its own probe into why fipronil was not detected earlier in eggs as well as "the role in this of the poultry sector and Dutch government."

"The way consumers have been informed about the risks of fipronil are also being investigated," the Hague-based OVV said in a statement.

Millions of chickens now face being culled in the Netherlands as the scandal widens across Europe.

Hard-hit Germany on Tuesday called on Belgian and Dutch authorities to quickly shed light on what it termed a "criminal network" involved in the contamination of eggs with fipronil.

"When one sees a criminal energy that's almost organised as a network it's unacceptable," said German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt.

He again criticised Belgian and Dutch authorities' tardy response to the crisis.

Belgium's top agricultural official Monday ordered the country's food safety agency to report within a day why it failed to notify neighbouring countries until July 20 despite knowing about fipronil contamination since June.

"It's not in the spirit of the early warning system to be aware in June but only to inform us by the end of July," Schmidt said.

Mastenbroek told AFP that a criminal probe by the NVWA under Dutch prosecution authorities and assisted by Belgium is continuing, looking at the role of companies in contaminating Dutch poultry farms with fipronil.

Meanwhile, the French government said Monday "thirteen batches of contaminated eggs from The Netherlands" were delivered in July to food processing companies located in central-western France.

First egg, now chicken

Mastenbroek said so far her agency's "highest priority" has been the detection of contaminated eggs.

"But now we also have the time to look at meat as a precautionary measure," she said.

Most farms exclusively produce one or the other, said Eric Hubers at LTO, a Dutch farming organisation.

If the meat tests are negative for fipronil, producers will be cleared to resume sales, Mastenbroek said.

LTO said the probability of chicken meat found to be infected was small.

However, if fipronil was detected "farming will be completely suspended," Mastenbroek said.

'Cutting costs'

The contaminated egg scandal erupted last week when up to 180 Dutch farms were shuttered due to the presence of fipronil discovered in some of the eggs.

It is believed the toxic substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business named Chickfriend brought in to treat red lice, a parasite in chickens.

Dutch and Belgian media reports that the substance containing the insecticide was supplied to Chickfriend -- a small company operating out of the Dutch poultry heartland in the central town of Barneveld -- by a Belgian firm have not been confirmed.

Currently Dutch authorities have closed down 138 poultry farms -- about a fifth of those across the country -- and warned that eggs from another 59 farms contained enough levels of fipronil that they should not be eaten by children.

Belgium has blocked production from 51 farms -- a quarter of those nationwide -- with fipronil found at 21 farms, although levels were ten times below the maximum EU limit, the country's food and safety authority AFSCA said.

Other European countries including Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, Portugal and Romania said they were analysing imported eggs, but so far no contaminated eggs were found.

Enviromental group Greenpeace on Tuesday called for massive reforms in the food supply system to become safer, healthier and more transparent and to do away with so-called "factory farming".

"Factory farming has been at the centre of a number of scandals, from Mad cow (disease) to bird flu, from swine flu to horsemeat," said Davin Hutchins, Greenpeace senior food campaigner.

"These are symptoms of a system trying to cut costs at every corner to maximise profits at the expense of public health and the environment," he said.



Related Articles:


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Only in California: butcher agrees to display anti-meat sign

Yahoo – AFP, Veronique DUPONT, August 7, 2017

"The Local Butcher Shop" in Berkeley, California, shown in this handout photo from
Direct Action Everywhere, was besieged by anti-meat demonstrators for months (AFP
Photo/Matt JOHNSON)

Los Angeles (AFP) - It was perhaps only a matter of time in ultra-progressive California, but a luxury butcher's shop is surprising patrons with a sign warning about the cruelty of eating meat.

"Attention: Animals' lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it's done," reads the notice greeting patrons of The Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley.

The business stuck the sign in its window as part of a "peace treaty" with animal rights activists in the left-leaning university town who have been picketing the store for the last four months.

Every Sunday as it opened for butchery lessons, it was besieged by demonstrators from rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DXE) -- sometimes naked, dripping with fake blood and wrapped in cellophane.

Monica Rocchino, co-owner of The Local Butcher Shop with her husband Aaron, was at her wits' end and decided to meet with the activists.

"They said they wanted Berkeley to become a meat-free city and they were ready to shut down our business," said Monica.

"We asked for actions we could do. And they said they'd think about it, but they kept protesting for 10 weeks. They made our neighbors mad, our neighborhood businesses were losing customers."

Finally, DXE laid down its conditions for burying the hatchet.

Ideal meat

"Either we had to become a vegan butchery or we had to stop giving these classes, or put up a sign saying that animals have rights," Monica told AFP.

She says the sign hasn't impacted custom.

"We go to great lengths to make sure our meat is from local ranches, is raised as humanely as possible, free of antibiotics. We want... this to be the ideal meat. Our customers know this and support us."

She acknowledges, however that the sign will not placate DXE, for whom the issue is black-and-white.

"For them, you kill animals or you don't. I understand that belief but it's another thing to force your ideas on other people," says Monica.

Berkeley, the cradle of the US universities' free speech movement, has been the scene of regular demonstrations from the days of the anti-Vietnam War campaign to recent protests against visiting right-wing speakers.

Recently it has been criticized for chilling free speech after canceling an appearances by firebrand pundit Ann Coulter and right-wing provocateur and former Brietbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.

Berkeley also happens to be the epicenter of America's organic food industry, its reputation for being green sent up in the TV series "Portlandia," in which restaurateurs provide photographic evidence that their meat is from ethically-raised animals.

DXE organizer Matt Johnson says one of the group's activists felt his blood chill as he saw "an advertisement for these courses where people are taught how to properly dismember the body of an animal."

In line with the better-known Peta animal welfare association, DXE directs its protests "everywhere where violence against animals is normalized -- rodeo, circuses, restaurants, the butchers."

"We dont have any ill will against any individual, no hate for butchers -- only love for animals," says Johnson.

"But we cannot accept small businesses misleading people, saying this is just fine, to be promoting a better brand of violence."

Related Article:

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Belgium admits it kept quiet about 'tainted' eggs probe

Yahoo – AFP, August 5, 2017

A laboratory assistant for the Dutch food safety board carries out tests on
eggs on August 1, 2017 (AFP Photo/Piroschka van de Wouw)

Brussels (AFP) - Belgian officials admitted Saturday they knew in early June there was a potential problem over insecticide-contaminated eggs but kept it secret because of an ongoing fraud investigation.

"We knew since early June there was potentially a problem with fipronil in the poultry sector," Katrien Stragier, a spokeswoman for Belgium's food safety agency (AFSCA), told Flemish television VRT.

"We immediately launched an investigation and we also informed the prosecutor because it was a matter of possible fraud," she added.

"From that point on the secrecy of the inquiry took precedent. We understand that people have questions about public health and we are trying to answer them," she added.

Contacted by AFP over the past few days, the prosecutor in Antwerp handling the case refused to give out any information on the specific orders of the investigating judge.

Belgian supermarkets have cleared eggs from the shelves of supermarkets as a precautionary measure while awaiting the results of tests.

In Germany and the Netherlands several million eggs from Dutch farms have already been recalled.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt pressed the authorities, particularly in Belgium and The Netherlands, to clear up the situation.

"Someone has clearly proceeded with criminal intent to contaminate (the eggs) with a banned product," Schmidt told the daily Bild.

Dutch officials closed down 180 businesses earlier in the week and after tests, the Dutch food authority (NVWA) said 138 poultry farms -- about a fifth of those in the country -- would remain closed.

One batch of eggs posing in particular posed "an acute danger to public health", the agency said.

Eggs from another 59 farms contained high enough levels of the insecticide, fipronil, for the food authority to warn against any children eating them.

Fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks. It is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

In large quantities, the insecticide is considered to be "moderately hazardous" according to the World Health Organization, and can have dangerous effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

Farmers throw eggs at a poultry farm in Onstwedde, Netherlands, on August 3, 2017
after the Dutch Food and Welfare Authority (NVWA) highlighted the contamination of
eggs by fipronil, a toxic insecticide outlawed from use in the production of food (AFP
Photo/Patrick HUISMAN)

Related Article:


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Disgraced pharma CEO Martin Shkreli convicted of fraud

Shkreli, notorious for massively raising the price of a life-saving drug, has been found guilty of deceiving investors in a pair of hedge funds. He had been arrested on embezzlement charges in 2015. 

Deutsche Welle, 4 August 2017


A US court in Brooklyn on Friday convicted the former drug company executive Martin Shkreli on two counts of security fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud in a month-long, high-profile trial.


Federal prosecutors had accused Shkreli of defrauding investors in his hedge funds MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare and of using misappropriated money and stock from his old drug company, Retrophin Inc, to pay them back millions in losses. The charges went back to the period between 2009 and 2014, when he was Retrophin CEO.

Shkreli, 34, had told "lies upon lies," Assistant US Attorney Alixandra Smith told the court in closing arguments, while another prosecutor, Jacquelyn Kasulis, described him as "a con man who stole millions."

Notorious price-gouging

However, the court's decision was difficult to reach in view of the fact that some investors testified that they had indeed become richer through Shkreli.

"Who lost anything? Nobody," said Ben Brafman, the defense attorney, in his closing argument.

Shkreli was cleared on five other conspiracy counts.

Even before the trial, Shkreli had attained a degree of notoriety by raising the price of the anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent in 2015 as chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. His behavior led to his receiving the nickname "Pharma bro," with many people seeing him as the embodiment of corporate greed.

He was also known for his sometimes hours-long live streams on YouTube that often showed him engaged in mundane occupations such as petting his cat, although he also gave financial and chemistry lessons in the videos.

tj/gsw (AP, Reuters, afp)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Tainted Dutch eggs scandal widens across borders

Yahoo – AFP, Charlotte VAN OUWERKERK, August 3, 2017

Farmers throw eggs at a poultry farm in Onstwedde, Netherlands, on August 3, 2017
after the Dutch Food and Welfare Authority (NVWA) highlighted the contamination of
eggs by fipronil, a toxic insecticide outlawed from use in the production of food (AFP
Photo/Patrick HUISMAN)

The Hague (AFP) - Supermarkets in the Netherlands and Germany moved to halt some egg sales Thursday as hundreds of thousands may have been contaminated by a toxic insecticide in a widening food scandal.

Amid fears the Dutch poultry industry could be facing millions of euros in losses, the country's biggest supermarket chain Albert Heijn said it was pulling 14 types of eggs from its shelves.

"All the eggs of these 14 kinds have been sent back to the depot and destroyed," company spokeswoman Els van Dijk told AFP.

It was "an unprecedented" situation for Albert Heijn, she added, saying instructions of the Dutch food authority (NVWA) were being followed.

Damage to Dutch poultry farms is already believed to have run into millions of euros, said Hennie de Haan, president of the National Poultry Owners union.

The NVWA was due to publish its findings later Thursday having closed 180 poultry farms across The Netherlands this week after traces of the insecticide, fipronil, was first found in samples taken from eggs, droppings and meat in late July.

Manufactured by Germany's BASF among other companies, fipronil is commonly used in veterinary products to get rid of fleas, lice and ticks.

But it is banned from being used to treat animals destined for human consumption, such as chickens.

The European Commission said it had been made aware of the egg issue, and EC spokeswoman Anna-Kaisa Itkonen told reporters developments were being monitored "very closely".

"What I can say is that the farms are identified, the eggs are blocked, the contaminated eggs are traced and withdrawn from the market, and the situation is under control."

It is believed the substance was introduced to poultry farms by a Dutch business, named Chickfriend, which was called in to treat red lice, a nasty parasite in chickens.

German Agriculture Minister Christian Schmidt called a "crisis teleconference" Thursday with his counterparts in German states where fipronil was also detected in eggs.

About one million eggs being transported to Germany were also recalled from the border on Tuesday with The Netherlands, the Dutch food authority NVWA added.

Belgium's federal food chain security agency (AFSCA) said it too has launched an investigation in cooperation with prosecutors.

Tests have found fipronil in some eggs but not in quantities that pose a threat to human health. None of the eggs have made it to Belgian supermarket shelves, the Belgian authority said.

In large quantities, the substance is considered to be "moderately hazardous" according to the World Health Organisation, and can have dangerous effects on people's kidneys, liver and thyroid glands.

It is another blow for Dutch poultry farmers, some of who believe they could now be facing bankruptcy, after 190,000 ducks were culled in November due to a highly infectious strain of bird flu.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

'We have fish & chips': EU cities bid for Brexit agencies

Yahoo – AFP, Danny KEMP, August 1, 2017

23 cities bid for London-based EU agencies after Brexit

Brussels (AFP) - The battle for the spoils of Brexit began Tuesday as 23 European cities launched their bids to host two London-based EU regulatory agencies that will be forced to leave the British capital.

Slick videos and glossy brochures abounded as the EU announced that 19 cities were candidates to be the new home of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and eight to host the European Banking Authority (EBA).

The bids for the agencies -- which together employ more than 1,000 people and promise to bring both money and prestige to the new host cities -- will be assessed by the European Commission before EU states make a final decision in November.

The deadline for applications was Monday at midnight for a race that, if it gets heated, risks undermining the European Union's unity at a time when it is trying to present a common front in divorce negotiations with Britain.

"We will now proceed in assessing all offers in an objective manner," said European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

The cities seen as leading the race for the EMA are Amsterdam, Barcelona and Lille in France, with Athens, Bonn, Bratislava, Brussels, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Dublin, Helsinki, Milan, Porto, Sofia, Stockholm, Malta, Vienna, Warsaw and Zagreb also in contention.

The agency, which employs 900 pharmaceutical experts, biologists and doctors from every corner of Europe, evaluates medicines throughout the bloc.

The German financial hub of Frankfurt is the frontrunner for the EBA, followed by Paris and Luxembourg and Prague, while Brussels, Dublin, Vienna and Warsaw have also bid.

The EBA, with 159 staff, is perhaps best known for its regular stress tests on the EU's financial sector in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Europeans not 'vultures'

Six countries -- Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and Poland -- have made bids for both agencies. Hungary, Cyprus, Slovenia and the three Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have not bid for any.

Britain will no longer be able to host the agencies as it is set to leave the EU in March 2019 following its shock Brexit referendum vote last year.

"The two agencies will need to be relocated in the context of the UK's withdrawal from the EU. The future locations need to be decided by common agreement of the EU27 member states," the European Council said in a statement.

The European Commission's assessment will consider criteria such as accessibility for current employees, work opportunities for their spouses and schools for their children.

It will also look at whether a country already hosts other EU agencies to ensure they are not monopolised.

European officials insisted that they were not trying to suck all business away from Britain, which will inevitably retain close trading links with the huge EU market on its border.

"Luxembourg has not positioned itself as vultures circling round the Tower of London waiting for all those jobs to fly out our way," Luxembourg's ambassador George Friden told reporters in Brussels.

"The Luxembourg financial centre has had what we view as a long and fruitful relationship with the City of London and we very much wish for that to continue."

'Stylish queen'

The cities' individual bids were all posted on the EU's website, with many trying to outdo each other as they sought to position themselves as the natural choice.

"We also have a very stylish queen, and enjoy fish and chips," said a video for Amsterdam's bid, stressing the continuity with two famed parts of British life.

Malta and Warsaw meanwhile quoted testimony from happy expatriates, while the Danish and Irish prime ministers acted as salesmen for their respective cities.

The choice of new host cities will be made via a complicated points system that officials have compared to the Eurovision song contest.

After the commission assessment is published on September 30, European affairs ministers will then vote on the final choice at a meeting on November 20.

Each country will have six voting points -- three for its first preference, two points for the second and one for the third.

If any one gets the full three points from 14 or more members then it automatically wins -- otherwise there is a second round for the top three candidate cities, and if necessary a third and final knock-out between the last two cities.

Related Article:



Monday, July 31, 2017

Italian wheelchair hopes to bring users freedom

Yahoo – AFP, Céline CORNU, July 28, 2017

Mario Vigentini, left, drew inspiration from the Segway for his new wheelchair
(AFP Photo/MIGUEL MEDINA)

Bergamo (Italy) (AFP) - After nearly 20 years working with wheelchair-bound youngsters, Mario Vigentini wanted to revolutionise their quality of life, inventing a device that raises up users so they are face-to-face with those standing.

The Italian drew inspiration from the Segway -- the two-wheeled, self-balancing, electric vehicle that allows visitors to nip around cities without walking -- and came up with the "MarioWay", a hands-free, two-wheeled kneeling chair.

With its high seat, it allows users to do everything from ordering a coffee at a bar to plucking a book off a high shelf.

The Italian government was so impressed it proudly showed off the chair to the G7 transport ministers in June.

The aim was to create "a tool of social integration", Vigentini told AFP at his headquarters in Bergamo.

The 45-year-old found working with young people with mental and physical disabilities "an extraordinary adventure", but was disheartened by the prejudice they faced.

"At best, people approached them like a child," he said, as if because they were sitting closer to the ground they were somehow more infantile.

Racking his brains for a way to change the situation, he came up with the idea of "trying to put an ergonomic seat -- like those from the Nordic countries that were very fashionable in the 1990s -- on a Segway".

"Nine out of ten people I talked to about this idea looked at me as if I came from another planet," he said.

But he was persuaded to take the idea to a start-up competition in Naples in 2012 -- and made it to the final.

Curing wheelchair ills

Buoyed, he set up a team to study the ergonomics involved and brought in a dozen disabled people as collaborators.

Users of traditional wheelchairs are seated so that "the organs in the upper part of the trunk are compressed", while "almost the whole weight rests on the ischium" -- the lower and back part of the hip bone.

The chair can go up to 20 kilometres (12 miles) an hour (AFP Photo/
MIGUEL MEDINA)

This position "aggravates the pathologies of people with disabilities and results in other issues; digestive, respiratory, urinary or circulatory," he said, adding it also causes leg muscles to waste away.

But for users of Vigentini's invention, "the upper part of the trunk is straightened", strengthening muscles which go unused in traditional wheelchairs.

The chair can go up to 20 kilometres (12 miles) an hour on a battery life of 30 kilometres.

It is equipped with "sensors that read the position of the body", so that "if I move my upper body slightly forward, the MarioWay advances slightly," said Flaviano Tarducci, the company's business development manager.

"It's the same to move backwards, while to go from side to side you move your pelvis slightly left or right," he said.

Destigmatizing

The design means that tasks that have been very challenging for traditional wheelchair users -- such as opening doors or carrying a glass of water to a table -- can be carried out with relative ease.

Vigentini hopes to help destigmatize the wheelchair, which has remained unchanged for nigh on a century.

In the search for cool, his team has even swapped notes with a company that customises Harley Davidson motorbikes.

Its thermally-strengthened hubs and hand-stitched seats are not cheap. The MarioWay went on sale a few weeks ago at 19,300 euros ($22,500), while a standard electric wheelchair costs between 1,500 euros and 30,000 euros.

But Vigentini said he and his team are "doing everything we can" to lower the price to around 10,000 euros by signing a deal with an industrial production partner.

And one day he hopes able-bodied people will use MarioWay too as a means of getting about town -- much like a bicycle or Segway -- which could help make mobility differences, between those who are disabled and those who are not, a thing of the past.